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Thoughts About The Pre-Season Game Vs. Miami


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Here's my overall view of last night.

The starters...

*Our passing game looked good (No big surprise here). The pass protection looked very good against the vanilla looks for a pre-season game. Hat on hat, they held their own, and Matt Ryan had a clean pocket... A couple of notables: Jake Matthews had a couple of penalties, one that was mental and the other on a holding call that wiped out a long run. Not an ideal start, but its just game one of his career, and a pre-season one at that... Joe Hawley had his named called twice, once for a solid play, and another for getting beat. Looks as if we will have him pull a lot, as mention was made of Tice saying that Hawley was one the best centers he coached at being able to pull. Straight on, however, Hawley will continue to need help against the more physical DT/NTs, and last night, we were unable to get a push up the middle. The running game will definitely need a healthy Stephen Jackson to churn out a yard or two after contact... Overall, the line looks better, but I'm still not convinced about 4th and 1... Our smaller backs, Rodgers, Freeman, and Antone Smith all moved the chains and looked great in space, as proven again last night, but Jackson is the one needed to bring the "physicality" in the running game that is being preached.

*On the first drive, our defense played on its heels, and due to not scheming, the overall lack of talent showed. Tannehill played for only one drive and we didn't scheme, so we can't read too much into all of this, but in our vanilla 4-3 and 4-2-5 looks, we were not able to stop Miami from moving the chains on first downs. The Dolphins dinked and dunked their way down field, and it showed that hat on hat, we don't have the talent yet to stop an offense who is in sync.

*Our special teams did not look good. One turnover by Hester, and the overall coverage was not good. Miami came close to busting a few. Coach Armstrong will have to work on cleaning this up. Again, did not look good at all.

*Our overall depth looked good. Our 2nd units and 3rd units edged theirs. They outplayed Miami for most of the night, although the score didn't reflect it.

Since pre-season is more about the backups and rookies, than the starters, here is what I really liked, and didn't like about individual backup groups:

*On the o-line side, Shraeder is clearly playing with "physicality." He did get flagged once, but overall, he had a certain nastiness that is needed in the group. Holmes looked like Holmes. He looked good on certain plays, then on others, looked as if he was on the verge of being overwhelmed. Still inconsistent, and I wouldn't trust him to start, but better than last year, which means that he played like the backup he is... I can say about the same for Konz...

*The backup receivers looked raw. Behind Julio, Roddy, and Harry, this group has only one real standout. The reports from camp are true -- Reedy is guy that opposing defenses will have to be aware, but he too is clearly working on his game. Did not see Hester involved in any significant plays. The backup QBs and WRs were clearly out of sync. Other than Reedy, no one made any significant plays.

*The backup QB situation did not look good. Yates almost threw 2 picks, and looked out of sync, although he did drive us to a field goal on the drive before halftime. For now, I will contribute it to him being new to the players and the playbook, but at this point, I would not entrust an offense to him. He clearly needs a good running game (like he had with Arian Foster) to succeed. Renfree moved the ball some and made some good throws, but also exhibited the inconsistency of a backup who has not gotten many reps and doesn't have chemistry with his receivers. The biggest thing I look for from a leader is poise in their body language. Renfree has talent, but hopefully, he will show more poise in leading others.

*The backup DBs looked good -- McClain, Arenas, and Allen all made plays at times, and also gave up some plays at times, but overall, I liked what I saw.

*Watched Hageman for a bit -- Got great push up the middle on one running play, but the running back ran outside him for a decent gain. Later, he got great push up the middle on a pass rush, but the QB released before he got there. Caught one more pass rush later, where he got stonewalled, one-on-one. With him, it will continue to be about consistency.

*Defensive plays -- Massaquoi had a good Tackle For Loss, and Shembo had a sack. If these guys can get this done against opposing starters, then our defense will be much better. In this game, it came against backups.

*Punt/Kickoff Returners -- Our return game may be in very good hands this year, even if Hester (knock on wood) were to go down.

What really stood out last night was the energy level. At the end of the game, 2nd/3rd team defense (most of the rookies we drafted) were playing to win. Also, throughout the night, starters were clearly into the game from the sidelines and cheering their teammates on. I saw Roddy and William Moore do this. Also, I saw offensive linemen pulling defensive guys off the ball carrier, looking out for their teammate. It showed a team that wanted to come together and pulling for each other. If this is a sign of things to come, then we are in for a very good season.

Edited by brooklyn
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I'm not overly concerned with the D on the 1st drive. Ishmael is our 3rd string safety and it was the 1st drive of preseason.

Was a little concerned with Hawley. OLine looked great otherwise though and looks like something to be excited about.

Pass rush??? Paging pass rush!

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I disagree with your assessment of the backup receivers. Reedy was great, but Ebert showed potential and Boldewijn played well too. I think it had more to do with the qbs throwing to them than it had to do with them as receivers.

Are you kidding? Each of those three had a few good plays but they looked horrendous out there. They weren't even Looking for the ball on the majority of plays, i was embarrassed watching them. The QB can't make them turn their heads and locate the ball.
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