Friday, August 10, 2012

Notes from pre-season game 1

I've only watched the game once so far, excluding a few select plays, but here are the initial notes I jotted down during, cleaned up a bit for intelligibility. I want to re-watch to focus on specific players, like the rookie OLmen and Jarvis Jenkins, but here are my first impressions.

-We looked alright; better than the Bills, but not incredible. Defense looked pretty good, but quite a lot of offensive miscues (for both teams) and our blocking could really hold us back if it doesn't improve.

-Scab refs are atrocious. In addition to the aforementioned call on Garcon, and a number of other missed obvious calls or made ticky tack calls, they had one glorious moment of declaring a Bills' punt a touchback when neither the ball nor player who caught it ever made it within 4 yards of the goalline. The head ref looked furious when the Bills challenged that, and of course the call was overturned.

-Announcers were just as awful. Mis-pronunciations, calling players by the wrong names, and huge biases abounded.   
-RG3 looks good. He didn't blow me away, and it was pretty conservative; mostly short-intermediate throws, and not a ton of moving around. However, his release was lightning-fast, he made good decisions, and a flick of the wrist put a lot of zip on the ball. Pretty good accuracy, especially shining on longer throws. Only two incompletions, one of which was really a completion on a 15 yard sideline throw to Pierre Garcon which the refs ruled out.

-Kirk Cousins really impressed. Very poised, mostly good decision-making, good accuracy, though, unlike Griffin, looked a lot better on shorter throws than deep ones. A few examples of him trying to fit a ball in somewhere he didn't have the ability to, but on the whole pleased.

-Grossman looked downright atrocious. Bad reads, lazy throws, inaccurate; he underthrew Helu on about a 3 yard dumpoff pass. If I were making the call based on this game alone, I would absolutely put Cousins as our primary backup. That said, Rex is more of a known quantity and knows the offense well, so we'll need to see how those two look in the rest of pre-season.

-Run blocking was abysmal. It was difficult to even glean too much information about the runningbacks because of the blocking. Of course, 3 of our 5 starting OLmen and our fullback were all out, so, as stated, I expected this, but it's still noteworthy. There was nary a hole all game long. The pass blocking wasn't superb, but it was markedly better than the nonexistant run blocking.

-That said, what I did learn about runningbacks is as follows: Evan Royster ran hard but isn't going to make his own plays without help from his blockers. Averaged about 3 yards per carry. Helu looked better, and has more explosiveness and elusiveness but was still unable to do anything great. Averaged 4.25 ypc on 4 carries. Alfred Morris looked kind of like Royster but moreso. Ran very, very hard and with some good power, but lacks the speed and talent to break a big run or make anyone miss. I wrote that he looked kinda like a potential HB-FB hybrid, but wondered if he could block and immediately on the next play he had a great block in pass protection.

-Thrilled to see what Brandon Banks was bringing to the table as a receiver. He was playing his butt off and running very sharp routes, and we all know the speed he brings. Reports have been that he has looked impressive in camp, and it showed here. He was done a huge disservice by Grossman as there were at least 2 to 3 plays where he got open, was met with a poor pass, and then did everything in his power to try and catch it only to come up a tad short (no pun intended). He then grabbed a couple when Cousins came in. He may not have the size to ever be an every-down receiver at a generously listed 5'7, 165, but he can absolutely contribute out of the slot or stretching the field, on gadget plays, and, of course, as a returner.

-Pierre Garcon looked pretty good out there. Niles Paul and Josh Morgan both displayed some spotty hands. Santana Moss was silent, never making a catch or even getting any targets that I noticed. Not a lot of tight end activity.

-Our pass rush looked really impressive and we smothered Bills QBs pretty well all game long. Markus White and Rob Jackson both showed some good things, making me feel really good about our depth on the outside along with Chris Wilson and Lorenzo Alexander in a pinch.  Best of all, every one of them is young.

-The defensive line was doing a good job of clogging up the line of scrimmage on running plays. Tashard Choice couldn't get anything going. Later in the game, Johnny White did a bit better against us, but our line was still doing pretty well along the LoS. We did sell out for the pass on one draw play later on that gashed us for a pretty big gain, though.

-Our pass defense is the concern on that side of the ball. Particularly in the short-intermediate area, we were consistently allowing quick completions to let their offense move down the field on us.

-Cedric Griffin was nice and physical out there, but not doing a great job of sticking with receivers. Got beaten for a number of completions.

-Rookie Keenan Robinson looked pretty athletic out there.

-Defense had some trouble with Vince Young's scrambling. Some better angles in pursuit could have helped, I think they were underestimating his speed.

That's it for now. I'd like to get back and check out specific players, as I said, and if I do I'll try and update on what I see.

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