Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Aug 2009

Some Preseason notes

I believe it is important to do your own homework and that there is value watching preseason football. You do have to keep in mind that you very well could be seeing basic packages, vanilla schemes, and teams not trying to "show too much", but I used to think of preseason as more or less worthless while I do see value in it. Where else would you get to see these rookies and 3rd stringers play?

Last year one of the main reasons why I won my fantasy football league was because in the later rounds I drafted Titans rookie sensation Chris Johnson. If you watched him at all in preseason you saw the fastest rookie RB who had game speed and ran like he was shot out of a cannon.

Here are some of my notes and thoughts from this preseason.

Vikings/Chiefs
- Mike Mayock is excellent in the booth, analytical, smart, funny. He might be a little too smart for the casual fan, but he's great for those who like to get deeper into the technique and X's and O's of football.
- Brett Favre and receivers not in sync ( some of it his fault, some of it their fault). It is very likely to cause problems early in the year.
- Percy Harvin looked electrifying in his KR. Devon Hester like. Not only that but they've said nothing but good things about him in practice. He might not understand the offense enough yet to be more than a bubble screen WR, but he could be used similar to Reggie Bush in NO.
- Chiefs had some interesting creative play calling, credit Todd Haily, it looked much better than the ultra conservative offense Damon the Chiefs ran last year.
- Matt Cassell looked good, on the road, looked good in the pocket.
- Antonie Winfield looked like an absolute shut down corner where ever he was, in the slot, on the outside, he dominated the game.

Titans/Dallas
- Both teams honestly look good, Dallas better than I thought, the cowboys could bet in their home games. Don’t forget this roster is still loaded with talent, and the team is one year removed from 13-3 football, it’s possible a more focused ( less talented) team this year does better than last years team.
- Dallas looks like they want to use Marceleous Bennet and two tight end sets more to compensate for the loss of Owens. Romo looked real comfortable in the pocket.
- Kitna looks like a solid backup, one of the best in the league
- Javon Ringer looked like a decent backup RB, the 5th round rookie will probably be the Titans 3rd stringer. You might not think that matters but last year I noted that the Steelers Mewelde Moore looked like a solid backup and he did come in handy when the 1st and 2nd stringers were hurt. Javon Ringer looks like he could be that 100 yard back to carry the load if needed for a few games.

Falcons/Rams
- The Falcons rushing attack dominated the Rams. Looks like the Falcons should have a good offense, and good rushing offense again, while the Rams run D looked terrible. It was probably a little of both.
- The Falcons starters scored easily on their first 2 possessions. They actually looked like a playoff team.
- Michael Turner in particular looks good.
- Bulger is injured, and so are 2 of the teams top wideouts. Not good when you are changing to a West coast offense ( will everybody be on the same page with the same reads by week 1?). Fade the Rams early in the year?
- Kyle Bollier doesn’t look good, but with the guys he’s playing with I don’t blame him. He does some things right, but still makes a few bad mistakes that you can’t make as a starter, let's call it Jake Plummers disease.
- Jason Smith was destroyed by a Chauncey Davis bull rush. Not what you want from the #2 pick in the draft.
- DJ Shockley looked awful. Almost consecutively he had a dropped interception, an interception, a dropped interception, and then an inaccurate 4 yard pass on 3rd and 5 that didn’t help his team pick up the 1st down. He isn’t even close to being even a backup QB. Then he fumbles while holding onto the ball too long with too guys right in his face a series or two later. DJ Shockley is nothing more than a running qb gimmic for video game players.
- Just a boring game, ½ filled seats, not a lot of energy or excitement.

Arizona/San Diego
- 7th round Stephen-Hollings almost running the opening kickoff back for a TD. Nice return, that surface in Arizona is fast, I give credit to Antoine Cason for running him down from the other side of the field and saving the TD.
- Arizona’s front 7 applied good pressure to Rivers. Some of it was good timing on blitzes ( stunts), one time the rookie Campbell shot the gap and beat his guy pretty good. 4 sacks in about a quarter of play was nice for the Cards.
- Kurt Warner was pretty fired up and intense for preseason yelling at Quan Boldin. In fact, the Arizona crowd had good energy too, they expect a lot from the cards this year.
- Keep in mind Arizona was 8-8 in a weak division and won a weak NFC last year. I liked Wisenhunt/Grimm before other people and in fact thought Wisenhunt should have got the Pittsburgh job. I like what they are doing/building but keep in mind that before the playoff run this team was still underachieving. They “should” win the West and without examining the way I like to, they probably do stay on top this year, but I don’t feel like they “put it all together yet”. This team has potential, but can they stay consistent? Yeah they went to the SB, but they were 8-8 in the worst or 2nd to worse division in football too.
- I believe LT had 5 carries for 6 yards at one point in time and didn’t look very good. After just watching the Vikings preseason game, if there is any doubt, Adrian Peterson clearly looks like the best RB in the NFL.

Bucs/Jags
- The first play of the game David Garrard goes deep over the top and hits Troy Williamson. It was a nice play and there was mass celebration (longer than usual) to the point it makes you wonder. It’s ok to get excited but coaches usually say to “act like you’ve been there before’. I see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady make throws like that in the super bowl and they aren’t even running around celebrating like Garrard was. It was sort of sad in my opinion that this guy makes those plays so infrequently that he has to run around like he won the super bowl after a long pass in the preseason.

- Raheem Morris looks clueless out there. The Bucs special teams make a horrible undisciplined play where the gunner ( I believe it was Clayton) fields the punt at about the 8 yardline and runs all the way to the 1 yardline and starts dancing and taps the endzone for a touchback. In reality, his momentum took him forward and the ball wouldn’t even be spotted at the 1, but his showboating cost his team about 15 yards they didn’t need to give up. The camera turned to Morris and he stands there emotionless on the sidelines, and it looks like he doesn’t even realize what happened. The guy has been standing there with a scared look and perched shoulders the entire game, and I don’t think he’s talked into his headset yet. Having poor demeanor on the sidelines isn’t good for a coach’s PR ( ask Norv Turner or Wade Phillips), and it shocks me to see such a warm positive guy like Morris looking like a scared mute statue.

- Sammy Stroughter with an unbelievable KR, nice for a 7th round pick, using speed, power and elusivness. He also had a nice TD pass from Luke Mccown.

- The Jags clearly made the right choice in keeping Garrard and dumping Byron Leftwhich. One guy is lazy, fat, and opinionated and fought with his head coach … has the same bad poor mechanics and such that he came into the league with, the other guy is a more modest hard worker that got better. Even if both players were equal ( they are not, Garrard clearly is better), then I'd still want to keep the better leader and team first guy like Garrard.

- Sabby Piscatelli with a horrible open field tackle of Troy Williamson. It was embarassing. Williamson actually looked good with two long catches, and if Sabby keeps missing plays like that then he won’t be playing long.

- Gaines Adams looked like an absolute beast out there against the run and the pass. He had great stop of a run, constant pressure on the QB and the player known as more of a speed guy displayed a fierce bull rush. Expect him to have a strong year, maybe he's one of the defensive guys that "breaks out". He looked in the same mold of Derrick Burgess or Osi O and could easily be a 12 sack guy this year as long as the Bucs are in games.

- Luke Mccown threw 2 TD passes and although you could say it was against backups, he did read the defense well and throw the ball inbetween defenders. I thought Josh Freeman also looked better than Byron Leftwhich, but you do have to keep in mind these guys were playing against 2nd and 3rd string defense. I’d still guess that as of right now Byron Leftwhich is the starter due to his experience but in all reality the Bucs have 3 backup quarterbacks and the coaching and rest of their roster leave a lot of questions.

Next on my DVR should be the Browns/Lions game. Keep in mind I try and watch each game in it's entirety.
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UPDATED

Lions/ Browns
- Josh Cribbs runs the opening kickoff back for a TD but it was called back on penalty. It clearly was a penalty, and if the guy wasn’t held he would have made the tackle ( that’s how penalties should be called) but it was fun to watch none the less. Later on Cribbs has a TD on his next touch ( a nice long punt return TD). Amazing.
- Not having Winslow should benefit Braylon Edwards pretty well. He will probably be targeted for more passes and more Red Zone passes/tds. No Winslow should also help Jamal Lewis’s TD totals or the backup RB Davis. It’s common sense but worth repeating. Lewis scores the TD on the Browns opening drive.
- Matt Stafford starts for Detroit and his first pass was a bootleg INT that should have been a pick 6. He needs to learn to be conservative as he learns offense and focus on NOT making turnovers and giving the other team short fields. That was horribly stupid throw as the other team read the bootleg and everybody was covered and he still threw the pass on the marked man. He had numerous inaccurate passes, and a few horrible reads in limited time. Lions fans better hope Matt Stafford dedicates himself to the film room and they better hope he doesn’t being the season as the starter because he isn’t even close to being ready. Eric Barton almost had a pick 6 in coverage and then the next play blitzed unchecked to get a solid shot on Stafford. Later on Stafford had a play where he missed a wide open TD to one of his open guys and missed him by 10 yards. At this point, there are numerous backups (including Kitna) that look much better than Stafford) Stafford would be maybe the worst starter in the league if they played him now..
- Culpepper looked much better, they’d be crazy not to start him.
- Brady Quinn looked good
- I don’t think the Lions had any runs more than 4 yards the entire first half. Was it the Lions weak rushing attack or the Browns beefed up front 7?
- The Browns aren’t even playing well and they are up 17-0. The lions with their rookie QB look mistake prone and look like a road fade again.
- Kenyan Coleman looked good for Cle, Cliff Avril looked good for Detroit.
- James Davis with an 81 yard touchdown run. Even without the long run he looked better than Jamal Lewis. Let Davis play in between the 20’s and let the stronger Lewis take the goal line carries.
- Pretty boring game overall

Green Bay/Buffalo
Aaron Rogers looked fantastic. He made fast reads ( I am always complaining about QB’s holding onto the ball too long and making slow reads), he also had great pocket awareness.
- Last year Aaron Rogers had a 23-0 TD/INT rate in the Red zone and that REALLY impresses me to do so well when the stakes are at their highest.
- Green Bay has not had consecutive losing seasons in 20 years!
- Rogers was 8/9 with a dropped ball, 2 TD
- Green Bay’s D-Line looked great, especially Cullen Jenkins.
- Green Bay was leading 21-0 and not “lucky”. They were methodical in mopping up an inferior opponent in Buffalo.
- Green Bay’s defense applied good pressure and forced 4 turnovers in the first half. Dom Capers is already making his mark. That’s 2 good weeks in a row for the Packers D.
- Brian Brohm was very unimpressive and the later round Matt Flynn looks to be ahead of him on the depth chart. One thing you can easily see is that Flynn looks to work quicker than Brohm. Brohm really needs to dedicate himself to learning this offense as people had high hopes for the 2nd round pick.

- Year before Packers new DC Dom Capers and the first year with Dom Capers
92’ Steelers ranked 22 on defense, 93’ Steelers ranked 2
99’ Jaguars ranked 17th on defense, 00’ Jags ranked 1
06' Dolphins ranked 15th on defense, 07’ Miami ranked 5th

- Green Bay’s defense WILL improve this year under Dom Capers as he has a proven track record for success as noted above.
- GB’s LB Bishop is making plays and looks like he should be a starter.
- Green Bay’s first points of the preseason given up with 1 minute left in the 3rd quarter of the 2nd preseason game. Nearly 7 shutout quarters to open the year.

SF/Oakland
- Jemarcus Russell is looking at one receiver and locking onto him and telegraphing his passes. He’s going to have to stop doing that if he wants to play in the NFL.
- After just watching the Packers game, Alex Smith isn’t even on the same planet as Aaron Rogers. Alex Smith holds onto the ball way too long AND he still doesn’t make as good of decisions as Rogers. I know his WR’s probably aren’t as good but that excuse is always over played in my opinion.
- Vernon Davis actually looked alright. Maybe the tight end is finally getting comfortable reading defenses? Break out year ala Braylon Edwards or these 3rd year WR’s that seem to break out?
- I have to admit I wasn’t high on Darren Mcfadden coming into the league, but he looks better than I thought he would.
- I love the 49ers LB core and their Defense overall shouldn’t be bad especially at home. They look like a classic “under” team at home with a weak offense and a motivated defense on that grass.
- Alex Smith lit up Greg Ellis on a crack back block on an end around. He smashed the unsuspecting Ellis and then stood over him and looked at him to get the “ohhhh’s” from the crowd. Amazing.
- Glenn Coffee the 49ers backup RB from the 3rd round out of Alabama not only looks like a starting RB, he looks like a very good starting running back. Wow, keep our eyes out on him.
- End arounds won’t work against the 49ers defense so scrap them out of the playbook. Justin Smith is one of the NFL’s leading D-lineman in tackles and he holds the edge well here today.
- Michael Robinson looked good running the ball as well.
- The 49ers are running the ball well, is it their offensive line/running attack or is the Raiders front 7 that bad? Something to watch out for in the future.
- The off tackle in particular is working out really well for the 49ers from either side and they’ve been running it a bunch of times and it still works. No answer from the Raiders.
- Takeo Spikes was interviewed on the sidelines and he looked good and sounded real mature and poised. He will be a great leader for this team.

Houston/New Oreleans
- Matt Schaub was 7/7 passing last week and starts this week out 5/6. I love Gary Kubiak and his quarterback friendly offense. Great play calling, easier to execute.
- Mike Bell had some decent stats but didn’t look as great as the numbers in my opinion. He didn’t look as good as Glenn Coffee in the last game.
- Devery Henderson led NFL WR’s in YPC last year will he break out or just be a deep threat? He certainly has a pass friendly QB & offense.
- What a high scoring game if the starters played the entire games. It’s sort of funny that you watch some low scoring games and wonder if either team will ever score touchdown because the defenses are over matching them. Just look at Jemarcus Russell and Alex Smith run an offense and then watch Drew Brees and Matt Schaub run their offenses. When you watch a Houston/Saints game all you see is scoring and you wonder how the heck does anybody ever stops anybody.

Soloman Wilcots
- Soloman Wilcots is a blithering idiot who just loves to hear himself speak. You should have seen his progression after a play where the runner DID fumble a ball.
....“ His knee is down, the knee is down, it’s CLEARLY down, the knee is down”
.... “ Ohhh, is his knee down? Is it down or is it on top of that defender’s forearm?”
....“ I don’t know that you can tell if his knee is down or not”
- Then Andre Johnson catches a football, turns up field and fumbles. Wilcots said he “certainly” didn’t have a chance to make a football move then starts second guessing again 2 seconds later.
- Then a little bit later there was a play that was CLEARLY the tuck rule. Neither Wilcots or his idiot side kick even mentioned it, and they were shocked when they called the Brees fumble a tuck rule. How come guys in the booth don’t even know the rules?
- Joey Harrington is scrambling and dives forward, and the Houston defender dives down and takes a cheap shot at Joey after he’s already down on the ground. The all knowing Wilcots in a real pompous voice claims that Harrington the quarterback is, “just like any other ball carrier” and that the hit was ok. Ahhhhh no, dumb ass, he’s a QB. If it was a popular QB like Manning/Brady/Brees/Mcnabb/Rivers/Culter and they took that hit it wouldn’t be ok, but an unpopular Joey Harrington is takes that shot and it’s whatever?

Houston/New Orleans again
- Robert Meachum makes a nice catch and then turns the ball up field. One of the things you have to watch for with this guy is his YAC. If he gets a good grasp of this offense after a few years of study, HE could be a good guy to break out.
- Xavier Addibi nails Meachum at the goal line to make him drop a pass and possibly save the TD.
- Jabari Greer at LCB played great coverage and had a pick for the Saints.
- I like the Saints QB depth with, Brees, Harrington. Brunell
I don’t like Dan Orlovsky at all in Houston. If Schaub is hurt they are screwed.
- Look for Saints overs at home ( obviously), look for Saints overs on the road.

Denver/Seattle
- I can’t stand Jim Mora Jr. He’s a college coach if that and the only reason he is hired is nepotism. When looking at the NFC West, there is no comparison between Seattle’s head coach and Arizona’s. I like Greg Knap as an OC, but I can’t stand Seattle’s head coach.
- John Carlson looked good and he sounded intelligent in his 3rd Q interview. He looks like a nice guy and nice product of Notre Dame.
- Denver’s defensive line put no pressure at all on Matt Hassellback.
- It’s obvious TJ Who’s your mamma will be Seattle goal line TD threat.
- Hassellback with awesome raindrop pass to the rookie Deion Butler on a 9 route on 1 on 1 coverage.
- I watched Ryan Clady on some 3rd downs and he was absolutely dominant in pass blocking. He was blocking 1 on 1 with text book protection.
- A couple plays later Clady gets a clipping call on a cheap shot to B. Mebane. They were weak side and not even close to the play and Clady dove on the back of his legs. That was a disturbing and unnecessary hit and he should be fined.
- Orton throws a left handed pass into the end zone that gets picked on 4th down? Denver’s offense looked sloppy but showed potential down the road. I liked some of their play calling but understandably so their execution wasn’t great. Part of it was probably a lack of chemistry early on with everybody being new, part of it was being on the road in a hostile environment. Orton’s TD to INT ratio in the preseason thus far is 0-4, but I don’t really blame him THAT much yet. He’s still learning and not all of it was his fault. Some rookies and new players have had success early on, but that’s not the norm. I didn’t expect Orton to come in here and just light it up and I wouldn’t throw the towel in just yet.
- Both teams starters played the entire 1st half.
- Seattle still has the best LB core in the NFC, and they might even have the best backup LB core with Herring, DD and “heater” Hawthorne.
- Seattle’s defense looked good and Denver’s first team didn’t even do much against Seattle’s 2nd team defense.
- Seattle #98 Reed looked great at DE as he was everywhere.
- Denver’s 3rd QB Bradster looked awful, maybe the worst quarterback I have seen overall ( probably either him or DJ Shockley), Seattle’s Mike Teel looked awful too.
- Both teams have 2 QB’s only.

Colts/Eagles
- Colts since 99’ lead the AFC in wins
- Eagles since 99’ lead the NFC in wins. ( 5 NFC championship appearances)
- Manning’s audible just cracked me up “ Brown, Honda, Europe”.
- Sean Mcdermont the Eagles new DC wants to run the same schemes at JJ. He’s coached with him since 1999 and believes in the scheme.
- Vintage Manning, loved the fake/double move to the right ( to get the safety to run there), then he goes over the middle to hit his TE in single coverage.
- Anthony Gonzalez is very talented, but not yet polished.
- 1/5th of the Eagles staring OL is playing, that’s not good.
- Desean Jackson/Kevin Curtis both looked real good.
- Tony Ugouh who now runs with the second team had 2 penalties on one drive. He took a nasty cheap shot on the already engaged DL in front of him.
- Colts WR rookie Collie led the nation in receiving at BYU last year, he is a slot WR and the Colts are looking for a slot WR. He could be a good fit.
- Peyton Manning, 03’ MVP, 04’ MVP, 06 SB, 08’ MVP, 09’ ???
- Colts special teams looked bad again, especially in coverage, keep in mind special teams is what ended their season short last year in San Diego.
- AJ Feeley looked pretty good and should be a solid backup.
- Eagles are deep at QB with Mcnabb, Feeley. Vick, and Kolb
- When interviewed Desean Jackson spoke of reading coverages. That’s the same thing Deion Butler was talking about in the Seattle game. Butler in fact said he ran the wrong route a few times. I don’t think the casual fan has any understanding at all of what these guys are talking about, but it highly illustrates the point that BOTH these young WR’s were talking about learning their reads. WR is probably the 3rd/4th most cerebral position behind QB, TE, C.
- Vick reportedly was seen having a drink at the airport ( which would violate his probation). If true it just shows highlights once again for the n tenth time how stupid and careless this guy is. Many people thought I was extra hard on Michael Vick before he got into trouble, I think other people were just oblivious/too easy on him. I hate to say I told you so ( well not really).

NYG/Chicago
- Chase Blackburn has high energy and strong play at starting at MLB today.
- Brandon Jacobs rips off 11 yards on 3rd and 2, and probably picked up 9 yards on broken tackles and piggy back rides for defenders.
- Cutler liked his TE in Denver, and he looks to like Olsen early here.
- The Bears offense looks to just be winning that game of inches and making some amazing plays. I think it looks a little lucky thus far but Jay Cutler looks great in the pocket for a new player to the offense.
- Brandon Jacobs just destroyed Brian Urlacher on a play to the outside. He looked like a bully just lowering his shoulder and disposing of Urlacher.
- Devin Hester blows by CC Brown on a 65 yard pass by Cutler where he overthrew Hester for an incompletion.
- Erik Kramer called the game and even as a Bears homer he said exactly what I’ve been thinking. As much as it pained him to say it, he actually pegs the Green Bay Packers as the favorite in the NFC North over the more hyped Vikings/Bears with their additions. Kramer liked Aaron Rogers too and expects him to get even better this year as well. I see the same things as him.
- Look at how these guys are linked together. Favre/Rogers, Favre/Cutler ( Cutler was supposed to be a young Favre, gunslinger/cannon arm.
- Last year everybody went nuts that the Packers would rather have Rogers as their starting QB than Favre. The Packers were right as Rogers outplayed Favre last year and I only expect that gap to widen this year even more.

Packers/Cards
- Aaron Rogers is really confident because he knows the offense. He makes quick reads and he makes the right reads. I’m expecting an incredible year.
- DRC makes an amazing play in coverage on a play action pass.
- Aaron Rogers was dominant in the pocket, and even ripped off a 34 yard scramble. Don’t forget he ran for 4 TD’s and a few hundred yards last year as well as his 28 TD passes and 4,000 yards.
- There were a couple plays where there was nothing and Rogers threw the ball away in the Red zone. I like that he’s risk averse when he has to be and not scared to throw the ball away. It’s amazing that he had 23 TDs and 0 INTs in the Red Zone last year.
- The Packers resurgent defense gets another turnover on a Warner sack/fumble.
- On a play the Cardinals DE clearly jumps off sides, Rogers the vet takes a shot downfield and picks up a 54 yard gain to Donald Driver on a well executed pass and catch. Great catch by driver and DRC Pass interfered and Driver still caught the ball.
- Green Bay has 3 possessions and 3 TD’s, they on the road spanking the NFC champs starters in their own house 17-3.
- Charles Woodson with a FF on a CB blitz, Kampman picks it up for a defensive score and a 24-3 lead for Green Bay. Wow!
- Aaron Rogers hits Jordey Nelson on a perfectly thrown 76 yard “go” route. The Packers are really putting on a show getting everyone involved.
- On the Packers run plays, they give Rogers the option to audible and throw the backside slant to the WR instead, and Rogers is really good at doing that. Don’t be shocked to see these WR’s make a move and run a few of these back for 6 this year.
- The refs called back a James Jones TD for illegal touching, it really looked bs.
- Aaron Rogers has 4 TD passes in the first half and the packers were up 38-10 at one point on the road.
- Stephens-Howling gets crushed by Packers #89 in one of the biggest hits you will ever see. Does he have a concussion?
- Arizona’s WR core is nasty and easily the best in the league. It’s not just about Boldin/Fitz. Steve Breason, Jermey Urban and Early Doucet are probably better than some teams 1,2,3’s and then you throw in the special teams pro bowler in Sean Morey and you have as talented a WR core as you will ever see top to bottom.
- Last year Green Bay lost 7 games by 7 points or less, this team will improve drastically this year and especially with that easy schedule. I bought NFL futures on the Packers win total OVER 8.5 wins, and I saw after these last 2 preseason games that price start to move up. I don’t think I’m the only one noticing Green Bay as smart money is likely moving in as well. If the Packers win week 1 ( the line moved to -3,-125, then I think GB *could* begin their season 9-2 and easily win that 8 1/2 Over bet.

Jags/Eagles
- Eagles again with only 3/5 starters on the OL, not good.
- David Garrard took a nasty shot on an Eagles blitz, one thing I always notices about those Eagles blitzers is that they follow through with their hits. It is a psychological weapon to hit the other team’s QB and they use it.
- Asante Samuel destroyed Jags WR Nate Hughs. It was the perfect blind side hit and credit Samuel who is usually known for his man/man pass coverage with exploding into the unsuspecting WR and causing a fumble.
- The Eagles starters were losing 14-3 though sloppy play, but they do show a lot of potential, they just need to work on that execution/ball security.
- The Eagles offense looked good but they failed to deliver in the red zone ( sound familiar)? Oh well, it gives them something to work on in practice.
- The game ended on about a 30 second “Cal play” full of laterals. It really went on for a long time.

So far players that could play better than expected this year ( Fantasy )

Aaron Rogers ( I realize some people like him, I really like him)
Matt Schaub
Beanie Wells
Glen Coffee
James Davis
Vernon Davis
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Eagles/Jags
- Eagles again only starting 3/5 offensive lineman ( not good).
- Garrard takes a hard shot.
- A. Samuel destroys Jags WR Nate Hughs, did he get a concussion? Samuels isn’t even known for hitting but it was freaking text book and forced a fumble.
- Eagles starters losing 14-3, they show a lot of potential but just played sloppy ( the team has a history of starting out slow under Reid).
- Eagles 2 min drill looked great, but they couldn’t convert in the Red zone ( a theme here?).
- The game ends in about a 30 second “ Cal play”, fun to watch.

Car/Mia
- D. Bess reminds me so much of Wes Welker and I told a saw a Miami friend I had and he said he tells people the exact same thing. I like him.
- Carolina O’Line is nasty with Gross, Khalil, Otah, especially run blocking.
- I still have to admire Pennington’s play action fakes, he’s a great actor and he ran as nasty as a play action pass as you will ever see.
- Dolphins ran 9.4% of their plays in Wildcat, 6.7 ypp and 8 Td’s last year.
- Miami ran a wildcat play with Pennington at WR, he end arounds to accept a pitch and throw downfield. Do you really want to break that play out in the preseason?
- Chad Henne sacked/fumble by E. Brown out of FSU. My complaint against Henne coming out was that he held onto the ball way too long like Drew Bledsoe at the end of his career. Miami said Henne is the “QB of the future”. I just think back to that dominant defensive bowl game with USC vs Michigan where John David Booty had a much quicker release and I wondered how Henne would ever get anything off with that pass rush constantly in his face. I’m not a big Henne fan. Rocket arm, but he has Jason Campbells problem and that’s a difficult one to overcome for quarterbacks.
- Miami had a nice two time Canadian football league defender of the year making plays in the pass rush.

Rams/Bengals
- Wow, what an amazing offense, backup QB Kyle Bollier throwing passes to Lauren Robinson, and Keenan Burton!
- Jackson gets stuffed for a 1 yard run on 1st down, then Kyle Boller has his 2nd & 3rd down passes both dropped.
- I watched the entire season of the Bengals hard knocks and am not optimistic about the team this year. Do they want to “improve”, are they content with that, or does this team really go into every game and feel like they are going to win?
- Cincy’s JT O’Sullivan fumbled his 2nd play, James Larrenitus recover, not good for cincy.
- #31 Roy Williams with a huge hit in run support. I feel like him moving to Cincy was just lost in all the off-season news.
- #43 backup DB Nelson with a great return, he looked good in the show too.
- I also liked the Bengals backup RB Dorsey ( on the show and in the game).

Bucs/Miami
- I’d odd to see a coach giving handclaps to a bunch of players before the game. I’m not down with the whole “players coach” thing. Players want to play for coaches that win, not guys that want to be their best friend. After Piscatelli made an interception, he did the jump high 5 with his coach, that’s just odd.
- Byron Leftwhich just has such a flawed game. I was anti Leftwhich oh about 5 years ago when people actually liked him, now everybody started caring about those flawed fundamentals I kept complaining about.
- Miami’s D should do very well against average/below average offenses, I think their weakness would be against very good passing offenses.
- Troy Aikman was the 2nd announcer in two weeks who said the Bucs should start Josh Freeman over Byron & Mccown.

Saints/Raiders
- The Saints offense moves so easily, converts short yardage and scores easily.
- Jemarcus was 2.2, but holds onto the ball forever and had a forced fumble/sack turnover.
- I like the plays the saints run, Brees was 7/7 for 73 yards and not BS screens ( I think he ran 1 screen play) but the rest was him reading the defense and picking them apart.
- Brees feels pass rush, easily finds the open man for the TD to D. Henderson.
- The Raiders pass rush doesn’t look good.
- I think the Raiders O could be a little better this year, with the Defense worse, but I wonder how much of that could be due to the fact that they are playing the Saints (of all teams) in the preseason.
- Jemarcus throws a jump ball int dropped but the play called back due to a Raiders hold. What a crappy looking team.
- Brees has a 20 game streak with 200 yards passing, the #2 streak in the NFL is Aaron Rodgers with 7 games.
- This game looks like the Varsity team vs the JV team.
- Saints 4th string RB Hamilton looks good. He’s a big back and that’s what this team could use as a change of pace from Bush, Thomas and Bell.

Sea/KC
- Matt Cassell hurt on the 1st play, a play action pass, not good.
- Hassellback throws a pick 6 on his first throw, not good.
- T. Jackson sack on 3rd down, nice.
- FG attempt hits goal posts.
- Does LJ really fit into Todd Haley’s offensive concept? How about NYG?
- Thigpen made a lot of mistakes.
- I still can’t believe Mora Jr. is an NFL coach, he’s easily the worst coach in his division with Whisenhunt, Singeltary, Spaggs and that puts Seattle at a disadvantage even with the advantages they have.
- JC Pearman is a terrible announcer, who should the Chiefs start? “ Thigpen can make plays with his arm & his legs, Croyle has a health risk, Guetierrez proved he has a strong arm, and Matt Cassell is unproven running conventional offenses”. I can’t stand listening to this dope, how the hell does he get to call games?
- Seattle looked way worse than last week. This team will probably be the strong at home, weak on the road Seattle team we know.
- If Cassel is healthy, with the Chiefs D-Line, I think the team has some potential for the future and especially at home.

Indy@ Detroit
- Nooooooobody is in the stands
- A. Gonzalez had a drop. This guy drops more balls than people realize.
- #21 A. Brown looks like a decent RB for the Lions and real fast.

Bal/Car
- 1st and goal at the 2, Leron Mcclain stellar
- 2 penalties in a row, 2nd and goal from the 10 ( whoops)
- I like Leron Mcclain
- Ray Lewis made a great hit in Run Support, but was beat on a 1 on 1 by Jeff King in pass coverage ( that’s not good news).
- Joe Flacco looked better than the game manager I remembered.
- The thing that impresses me here is the Ravens long methodical drives.
- Ngata with a big tackle downfield, not long ago I said Tommy Harris is probably the best DT in the NFL, can I change my vote ?
- End of the 3rd Q, nice pass from Jake to Moose.
- Ravens dominated this game, I know the score is only 17-3, but the score doesn’t accurately reflect what happened.
- ( I skipped the 4th Q).

Giants/Jets
- Steve Smith drops about a 65 yard play action pass from Eli
- Giants run game flow looks good on offense
- I wonder what happens Giants vs a good run D
- Bad WR play by the Giants, Hixon deflected a ball that was intercepted.
- Jacobs gets banged up, I wonder about his injury risk
- The Giants were going after Litto Shepard over and over and over again, even when D. Carr comes in, they go after Sheppard on the left side.
- Mark Sanchez looks better than you’d expect for a rookie.
- I like Kevin Dockery as a nickel corner a lot, he’s quick to play slot wr’s
- I like the Jets O-Line, their D should be better this year, they should have a run game on offense, they were running some QB friendly plays, the Jets are on my radar this year.
- V. Gholston crushes David Carr face to face and Carr didn’t even see him ( that’s why he’s always sacked, and that’s why he sucks). David Carr is a garbage mobile QB with a bird brain in his head.
- D. Carr sacked 5 or so times. He has no pocket awareness and that’s why he was sacked so much in Houston, people don’t realize that a QB is very responsible for his sack total as well as the line, not all QB’s who get sacked a lot of terrible lines.
- After a game with a lot of drops, Hakeen Nicks makes a great 1 on 1 play for a TD. Carl Banks said this, “ As Bill Parcels would say, that’s one in a row”. Nicks ended up catching a TD later, and in a game with bad WR play it was very welcomed.

Buff/Pitt
- Pitt punter Sepovada looks real good coming back from his injury.
- Not impressed at all by Pitt’s line. Roethlisburger at injury risk IMO.
- James Farrior pick 6, Pitt’s D will be stingy at home again.
- The Bills looked worthless.
- Charlie Batch is a decent backup QB who can fill in for a couple games.

Patriots/Wash
- Moss beats D. Hall then beats L. Laundry
- Redskins offense actually looked good in the first series, methodical in moving down the field.
- Campbell misses S. Moss on a white open deep throw, then he follows that by a bad read and a dropped easy interception to Adalis Thomas.
- Phill Simms was defending Jason Campbell, “ Some people say he holds onto the ball too long, has a slow release… but I like him… if you give him time blah blah blah”. I really don’t think Simms believes it, but was just saying something good about Campbell. It’s funny how I was making those anti-Campbell statements oh, 4 years ago but just now it’s mainstream opinion.
- Tom Brady was 9 of 10 at one point and looked Vintage Brady, Haynesworth fell on his shoulder but he looked alright later.

Dal/SF
- Romo had all day to throw, where is the 49ers pass rush ?
- I like the Cowboys offensive line
- Glenn Coffee continues to impress
- Would the 49ers consider starting D. Huard? Seems like a decent idea for Singeltary, run the ball, play D, have a mistake free QB.
- The Dallas offense looks to more follow the Tenessee formula with 2 TE’s, 2 RB’s ( a big one and small one).
- If I see another one of those Golden Corral commercials, I am going to slit my wrists.

Tenn @ Cle
- Brady Quinn Starts game 3 ( starter for year?)
- James Davis looks good again ( better than the old battering ram J. Lewis)
- Algee Crumpler looks like he put on 25 pounds ( not muscle) !
- Titans R TE Cook had 2 catches on the opening drive, way more athletic than Crumpler.
- B. Quinn looked impressive vs a strong Titans D.
- Collins looked “ok”, I’d like to see Vince Young step it up and beat him by now.
- Titans should be a good goal line team, strong O-line, L. White.
- V. Young fumbled at the goal line, but ran a decent 2 min drill, than a pick 6 later.
- This was as good of a game as you will see in the preseason.

Steelers/Titans
- Nice opening KR
- Nice KR, 2 conservative plays, big ben goes deep for an inaccurate deep throw that was open.
- Nice special teams for Pitt to pin the Titans deep.
- Pololalou nice in run support and amazing interception, the guy had a fantastic 1st Q but eventually gets hurt.
- Big Ben takes a big 19 yard sack to keep the Steelers out of FG range.
- C. Johnson with a nice 32 yard run, it seems like speed works better against the Steelers D than power.
- 3rd Q 2 min to go, and on a 3rd and 6 they call a 5 yard illegal formation which looked like BS. The call really helped Pitt.
- Gage drops the conversion on the very next play, ouch.
- The Titans were completing their passes over the middle ( not the edges) over and over and over again. That’s where they were attacking.
- A 28 yard punt?
- The Titans pass rush looked tired at the end of the game.

I know I have errors in my posts, but I threw that all together from my notes to the computer pretty quickly.

Posted by: Chris 1 on 25 Aug 2009

15 replies , Last at 13 Sep 2009, 10:28am by Chris 1

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Re: Some Preseason notes
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 10:16pm

predcition- Rahemm Morris goign to be crappy head coach with Tb but maybe resurface when like 40 and older and wiser and be good head coach in college or maybe in NFl

2
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Sifter :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 7:34pm

Thanks for the write up Chris. I didn't see any action this weekend, so it's good to hear a fairly intelligent take on the games and the players involved.

3
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Jimmy :: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 9:19pm

Good notes. We don't get any preseason games in the UK so the insights are appreciated.

Any chance you are going to catch Bears/ Broncos and give us a take on the big Cutler/ Orton showdown?

4
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Mon, 08/31/2009 - 9:30pm

I posted my updated Preseason notes. Please don't let the grammar police after me as I'm trying to spend as much time possible watching/studying game film ( I know I spelled some names wrong). So far I've watched about 14 entire games X 3 hours a pop = 42 hours of football plus some other partial games here and there. If somebody is doing more home work than me I tip my cap to them, but I do have 60 hour work weeks and a day job. I do enjoy the preseason homework as you get to see young/backups play that you just don't get to see in the regular season and it does get me in the analytical mood to watch football again.

I still have about 9 more games in my DVR Que and I might have to watch the first halfs only but week 3 preseason is a lot more important than week 4 preseason. I'd probably rather watch these games critically and skim on the last week of preseason games.

My only wagers thus far are as follows

Eagles +2 @ Carolina.... Eagles +2 ( 5 units)
GB Packers season win total OVER 8.5 (-140)

One of the reasons I took the Eagles +2, is because that was one of the lines that stuck out to me early on ( I like Philly this year) and once the Eagles signed Vick I knew that they'd attract a lot of attention to possibly move the line so I jumped on it. Since then I see the line has retreated to a pick'em. I put 5 units on them with the expectation to buy back a couple units here ( and hope for the middle) and have a decent shot at doing that. One of the reasons I might do that is I also don't like that the Eagles started 1/5 of their lineman two weeks ago and 3/5 this week.

Also if you want to make money some of these books have big spreads on the Packers/Vikings futures to the point where you can middle these spreads to lock in profits. The only issue is that a lot of these books have max bets at 250 or 300 bucks but if you in or around Vegas you can arbitrage some free money.

C

5
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Jimmy :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 10:45am

From what I have seen of the Niners outside running game and Coffee's strong showing it will continue as long as Davis is healthy. SF seem to have had about half a dozen big gains on sweeps and off tackle plays with their starters in and on every one of them Davis has taken his man and crashed down inside walling off the pursuing linebackers. He has also looked sharper in the passing game but it is his run blocking that has stood out on the highlight videos.

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Re: Some Preseason notes
by tuluse :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 3:14pm

From the first 3 games of preseason, I've gathered this much.

The offense has real potential, but there are going to be miscues that make you yell at your TV.

Orlando Pace while a big a upgrade on St Clair will struggle against speed rushers, especially if they go low on him. Elvis Dumervil was beating him every play.

The talent level as a whole looks a lot better on the line, but there seems to be communication problems. Against the Giants Omiyale missed a block that lead to Forte getting stuffed, then later cleared out a huge hole and Forte ran for a 32 yard TD.

Forte is by far the best RB on the roster, Kevin Jones does not look much better, and given that he was never much of a blocker or receiver I'm not sure how much value he has to the Bears. Adrian Peterson has looked better as a runner, and they are giving Wolfe a lot of reps as a 3rd down back.

Jay Cutler is going to make the line look a lot better than it is. Just incredible mobility, and the ability to make any throw at any time. The long miss to Hester came when he was being flushed out of the pocket, and he launched the thing 60 yards downfield like I play catch with my little brother.

I think the defense is going to be more of the same from last year, but better. The pass rush looks improved, Alex Brown especially looks like he is on a mission. Afalava looks like he could be a good player, the safety situation should be better than last year. However, the quick slant will still be there whenever the other team wants it. It's a little hard to judge the secondary though because Tillman hasn't played at all, and Bowman has only played a little. Vasher started off really bad in the first game, but has improved.

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Re: Some Preseason notes
by Jimmy :: Wed, 09/02/2009 - 4:21pm

Whatever Pace provides will be much better than St Clair as half of the sacks the Bears allowed were from LT (as per a table someone put up around here a while back). I would imagine that Williams will probably play better than Tait did last year when he appeared to be pretty much washed up. When Tait retired I thought the Bears were in a hole and four days later they had Cutler and Pace; I went from wanting to hunt Angelo down to being his biggest fan (I should probably learn something Zen from that).

It would be nice to see some returns from Marinelli too, from all accounts Brown looks better and Anderson shows some signs of returning to form I just don't think I will beleive it until the Bears play a good Oline in the regular season with a healthy Tommie Harris. Although opening up with the Pack follwed by the Steelers and Seahawks may mean it takes a while for a good line to appear in front of them. Which should all help the secondary which has a chance to be a good unit if they can ever get all the starters on the field together. If all the hullaballoo about Bowman turns out to be worth a damn that would be great but who knows when he is going to stay healthy (my entry in a sweep would be four weeks into the regular season - if he actually starts the season that is). It would be a shame to see injury derail what does appear to a promising career. The fact that Bullocks and Steltz are 4th and 5th on the depth chart at safety is also a good thing, the Bears might have gotten by with either of them on the depth chart but it would have been a bit of a drag on the defense as a whole.

I am not really worried about the WRs though (which seems to be the obsession amongst most talking heads). The Chiefs ran a great offense for years without a top flight wideout (ie. Kennison and 'other' as the starters) getting great production from their TE and RB. While I would agree that the Chiefs line was much better, I think Cutler is much better than Green.

Things look up for the Bears (over last year) but things are also looking promising for the Vikes and the Pack so it should be an interesting year in the NFC North.

8
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 3:04pm

I have notes from 5 to 10 more pre season games if anyone cares.

9
Re: Some Preseason notes
by tuluse :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 3:15pm

Go ahead, it's better than work at work.

10
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Sifter :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 5:23pm

I'd like to read 'em. I've been reading SO much NFL stuff in the last month a bit more can't hurt.

11
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 10:35pm

I couldn't post the notes tonight as I had a fantasy draft and I want to tell you that it does take time to put together my notes on here. Some of the stuff is just common knowledge, some of the stuff is just observation and stuff that stood out. Like I mean watching Alex Smith the 49ers QB nail Greg Ellis on a crack back block and stand over him was .... well... worth watching 20 games.

I did add 2 wagers though ...
NO Saints -13 ( 1 unit)
Titans @ Steelers Under 35 ( 1/2 a unit)

Right when I found out Matt Stafford was starting, I hit the Saints -13. This line should go up to 14, maybe 14.5 at some places. I feel like it is a big mistake not starting Pepper as Stafford didn't look ready at all. Is he going to keep up with Brees on the score board? How's he going to do in a loud stadium on the road with Will Smith chasing after him and Sedric Ellis breathing on him ?

I also wasn't impressed with the Steelers O-Line in the last game and took the under. Two good defenses that can stop the run, on grass, against offenses with question marks. I think the Under will be a very public play, and I reserve the right to take the 2nd half over if I feel like it.

12
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Thu, 09/10/2009 - 10:14pm

ADD

Steelers 2nd half -3 ( .5 unit)

The game was a scoreless defensive fight until about the 2 min drill, and then we had 14 points. That sucks for under backers.

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Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 10:13am

Updated, please ignore my spelling errors.

Updated card
Week 1
Eagles +2 ( 5 units)
Carolina +3 ( 2 units)
Saints -13 ( 1 unit)
Dal/Seattle -2 ( 1.5 unit teaser)

Titans/Pitt under 35 ( won .5 units)
Steelers 2nd half -3 ( push .5 units)

I could add more 2nd half plays depending how the early games go

Season
GB Packers over 8.5 wins ( 12.5 units)
GB Packers to win SB ( 2 units to win 40)

14
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 10:28am

I took the Ohio State 2nd half + 6.5 as well to win .5 units last night.

15
Re: Some Preseason notes
by Chris 1 :: Sun, 09/13/2009 - 10:28am

I took the Ohio State 2nd half + 6.5 as well to win .25 units last night.

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