Every Play Counts
An in-depth look at a specific player or unit on every single play of the previous game

Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

by Doug Farrar, with notes from the FO staff


Baltimore Ravens: When it comes to evaluating rookie quarterbacks in their first preseason, mechanics are more important than results. You have to know what's there, and what needs work. And you know that some things are going to need work. In the case of Ravens rookie Joe Flacco, there was an 0-for-3 performance, an awkward across-the-body throw, and some caving under pressure against the Patriots. We haven't even seen enough yet to understand how far he is away from where he needs to be.

Buffalo Bills: Vince Verhei notes that "J.P. Losman is playing a lot more like Trent Edwards, patiently hitting the underneath stuff. He also displayed nice touch on a 16-yard touchdown to rookie receiver James Hardy in the corner of the end zone."

Cleveland Browns: Note to Ken Dorsey: It might be time to consider alternate careers. On Cleveland's last drive against the Jets, Dorsey threw 11 passes, and every single one of them was incomplete. His final stat line: eight-of-29 for 138 yards and two interceptions. Not good when it's happening in the fourth quarter against the scrubs, but kudos to the Jets for committing the three penalties that allowed this Festival of Incompetence to continue. Goofy throws into coverage, wormburners, out-of-bounds bailouts -- not pretty.

Denver Broncos: At the 2008 Owner's Meetings, Mike Shanahan said that he does not see team rushing champ Selvin Young as a 25-carry per game back. Touches might be a different story. Young caught two passes in the first quarter against Houston. He caught 35 balls in his rookie year, and he could be used more in that role for two reasons: The Broncos are struggling to find options at receiver, and backs who replace carries with catches tend to override durability concerns.

Second-year right tackle Ryan Harris was flagged for four penalties in the first half -- illegal formation, false start, and two consecutive holds. The holds were legit, as Harris was trying in vain to avoid getting beaten by Texans end N.D. Kalu on both plays at the end of the first half.

Houston Texans: The Texans are looking for complementary targets alongside super-receiver Andre Johnson. David Anderson, a third-year receiver out of Colorado State, made his case against the Broncos with six receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. You may remember Anderson from our original Top 25 Prospects list in PFP 2007.

Indianapolis Colts: Michigan running back Mike Hart dropped as a draft prospect due to injuries, a slow 40 at the Combine (4.69 means a very low Speed Score) and some fumbling issues, but he's looked pretty impressive through two preseason games with the Colts. Hart gained 53 yards on four carries against Washington in the Hall of Fame game, and broke off an 18-yard run against Carolina as well.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Rookie linebacker/defensive end Quentin Groves had an impressive debut. The pass rusher from Auburn amassed three tackles and an assist, picked up half a sack, and showed off his speed when he caught Atlanta's Jason Snelling from behind on a long post-catch run. The Jags are hoping that Groves and fellow rookie Derrick Harvey can make their front four an elite unit.

Kansas City Chiefs: According to various game recaps, there was excitement in Kansas City because Larry Johnson gained 18 yards on eight carries against the Bears. The Curse of 370: Coming to a theater near you!

Miami Dolphins: Rookie quarterback Chad Henne looked solid in his NFL debut. There were rough spots -- he airmailed a couple of (caught) sideline patterns, and he made the mistake of forcing receiver David Kircus to jump for a ball over the middle in traffic, but he also sold play-action exceptionally well, and got the handoff to Ricky Williams for a draw play after a bad snap. On another smooth play-action off the snap, he found his receivers covered to the left and simply threw the ball away without being flagged. Henne does not appear to have the timing issues so common among quarterbacks during their first NFL dance.

New England Patriots: Rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo de-cleated Baltimore running back Ray Rice with one of three tackles, though the hit on Rice probably should have counted as two. The Patriots also seem to be grooming Ray Ventrone, a Villanova prospect who has been bouncing around league practice squads for a while, as a Troy Brown-like combination depth receiver and defensive back.

New York Jets: Second-year receiver David Clowney, a fast, raw project who bounced from the Packers to the Jets, bagged two touchdowns against the Browns, a 70-yarder in the second quarter, and a 71-yarder in the fourth. On the first score, Clowney beat cornerback A.J. Davis and safety Nick Sorenson, and quarterback "The Other Brett" Ratliff hit him in stride with a perfect rainbow. The fourth-quarter touchdown? Second verse, same as the first. Clowney shot by two different defenders, took the pass from Ratliff, and he was gone. Clowney has apparently received raves in training camp, and he didn't hurt himself any in this game.

Oakland Raiders: The concern about Darren McFadden coming out of college is that he would be less inclined to run between the tackles because he was more of a straight-line rusher at Arkansas. Against the 49ers, McFadden repeatedly showed a willingness to run to and past contact, fighting for extra yardage or finding an escape hatch and bouncing outside.

Pittsburgh Steelers: First-round pick Rashard Mendenhall was looking good on his first carry as a pro, running smoothly inside and gaining extra yardage to the right. However, Eagles safety Quintin Mikell had a lesson about pad level for the rookie: Keep 'em low, lest you get 'faced by an oncoming defender. Lesson learned, and Mendenhall finished the day with 34 yards on seven carries.

San Diego Chargers: LSU fullback Jacob Hester was drafted in the third round by the Chargers to, among other things, fulfill the blocking role held by Lorenzo Neal for so many years. San Diego liked Hester so much, they gave up an extra fifth-round pick in 2008 and a second-rounder in 2009 to make sure they got him. Though he was playing more as a halfback in his first preseason game, Hester did not disappoint; he scored two short touchdowns, gained 49 yards on 13 carries, and showed that he can be a physical inside rusher. Hester could provide a neat change of pace with Darren Sproles behind LT2.

Tennessee Titans: Vince Young's been working with new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger on his footwork and other finishing touches, but there were still issues against the Rams. Young takes too long to get back to throwing position after play-action (leading to unnecessary pressure), his short passes are still pretty rickety, and he underthrew a couple of easy out routes. He's still a work in progress.

Should we be impressed that the Titans racked up 340 yards rushing on 43 plays, with runs of 66, 45, and 33 yards? Certainly. Should we be a bit cautious because they did it against a defense that's still learning to play together? You bet.


Arizona Cardinals: Rookie running back Tim Hightower, a fifth-round pick out of Richmond, displayed surprising inside moves and outside burst against the Saints. Most impressive was his ability to bounce outside on a one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. At 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds, Hightower's got an interesting skillset. Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com agrees, saying that Hightower "has the size and power to make an immediate impact as a change-of-pace or short-yardage back in the NFL. While his lack of breakaway speed does limit his big-play capabilities, Hightower could surprise as a late-round small school gem in a ball control offense."

Atlanta Falcons: The most impressive thing about the Falcons wasn't what happened on the field, it was the attitude on the sidelines. I spent far too much time watching the Petrino era in preparation for Pro Football Prospectus 2008. The funereal silences and thousand-yard stares were truly depressing. It was nice to see players and coaches talking to each other, and a feeling of camaraderie on the team. It may not seem like much, but the Falcons are years away from contention. They might as well enjoy the ride.

Carolina Panthers: Julius Peppers is back, but you'll have to look for him on the right side now. After a 2.5-sack season in 2007 that left everybody puzzled, Peppers began the new season with a bang. He shot out of right end on the third play of the game against the Colts, blew past left tackle Tony Ugoh, enveloped quarterback Jim Sorgi, and caused a fumble that was recovered by Carolina. Later in the first quarter, his blindside pressure forced Sorgi to hurry a throw that was tipped at the line and intercepted by linebacker Adam Seward. Peppers looked much more like his old dynamic self in this game -- quick off the snap, freakishly athletic, and very powerful. The Panthers desperately need him to have a huge bounceback season with the rest of their defensive line in flux.

Chicago Bears: Chicago's offense could best be described as a pre-existing condition that is degenerating over time, but there have been a couple of encouraging signs. Second-year running back Garrett Wolfe gained 64 yards on only seven carries against the Chiefs. Also, the Bears have not yet re-signed Fred Miller as they shuffle their offensive line after Chris Williams's injury. Sometimes, you take the little victories.

Dallas Cowboys: No Julius Jones? No problem. The Cowboys' two drafted running backs, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, each impressed against the Chargers. Jones is the scatback with speed and change of direction, while Choice bulled off guard for a 19-yard run. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys use these two players in tandem with Marion Barber.

Detroit Lions: From the NFL.com game notes of Detroit's 13-10 win over the Giants: "Detroit's first-round pick, tackle Gosder Cherilus, had three penalties -- one for holding and two false starts -- and was booed by the crowd." Apparently, Matt Millen doesn't look up priors OR penalties -- Cherilus had seven penalties in his senior year at Boston College, four against Notre Dame alone, after he was moved to left tackle. Why on earth would we think that he'd have trouble adjusting to a more demanding environment like the NFL?

Minnesota Vikings: Minnesota's first touchdown drive against Seattle showed something that's been in evidence ever since Steve Hutchinson poison-pilled his way to the Vikings: When these two teams play, Julian Peterson has no clue what to do against Hutchinson. On the 16-yard completion to Bernard Berrian which put the Vikings at the Seattle six-yard line, Peterson came off the right edge and tried to shoot the gap inside around rookie end Lawrence Jackson. Hutch just walled him off as Tarvaris Jackson rolled out left. Reminded me of the Chester Taylor 95-yard run in 2006, when the NFL's best guard eliminated Peterson as the primary tackler and allowed the franchise's longest running play.

New Orleans Saints: Receiver Robert Meachem, who missed his entire rookie year due to injury, could be a real threat in an explosive New Orleans offense. Bill Barnwell had this to say about his performance against Arizona: "Meacham ran a spacing route, created separation for a first down, and then ran through THE ENTIRE CARDINALS DEFENSE last night. Granted, it was the preseason, and he was up against their third string, but it was incredible."

New York Giants: The good news: Jared Lorenzen threw for two touchdown passes in his first preseason game of 2008. The bad news: He did it for the Colts. J-Load 1, G-Men 0. This will be the centerpiece of his autobiography, Mannings I Have Known, available soon.

Philadelphia Eagles: From the Eagle Eye of Mike Tanier: "Donovan McNabb looks sharp. He looks five times better than he did last year. DeSean Jackson has caught a few balls and made some after-the-catch moves. I like the idea that some 5-yard hitches might become 12-yard gains, if not 60-yarders. In general, the Eagles looked more 'together' than they usually do in a first preseason game. It looks like they realize the Super Bowl run was a few years ago and that they need work again; they cannot just coast through the preseason."

St. Louis Rams: A brief summary of the second Rams drive (their first was a three-and-out), which began at their own 5-yard line after the Titans failed to convert a fourth down. Marc Bulger tried throwing short right to fullback Dan Kreider on first-and-10, only to have Javon Kearse bat the ball down at the line. Second down, a run by Brian Leonard for a loss of three yards. Then, delay of game. Third down, a pass over the middle to Leonard, which was batted and intercepted. Touchdown, Keith Bulluck.

The Rams got some things going offensively when the Titans backed off and went into the preseason prevent, but it was mostly underneath stuff. The offensive line looked atrocious, and the Rams desperately need Steven Jackson ready to go for the regular season -- not just for his rushing abilities, but because he's so good with screens. These quarterbacks are going to need a LOT of outlet throws. Jackson's agent is no doubt observing this game film with a beatific grin.

San Francisco 49ers: I'm not exactly sure who won the first stage of the quarterback battle between Alex Smith, J.T. O'Sullivan, and Shaun Hill, but the fact that I had an overwhelming urge to spin 3-Way Tie for Last by the Minutemen while watching the highlights could be an indicator of something.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are hoping that Charlie Frye can show enough as a backup quarterback to give Seneca Wallace a shot at receiver, but it was Wallace who showed progression as a quarterback in this game. His play-action moves were seamless, he was more composed while leading drives than he had been before, and his longer throws actually had a little arc to them when necessary. Wallace has the best arm of any quarterback on the team, but everything used to be a frozen rope. He's also gone beyond the need to rely on his athleticism at the first sign of pressure.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: One of the most entertaining Week 1 battles was between Miami's defensive line and Tampa Bay's front five. Underrated as a run-blocking unit last year, the Bucs' line was challenged in pass protection by the Miami 3-4/4-3 sets -- Jason Ferguson sacked Luke McCown on the first Tampa Bay offensive play. Ferguson rode center Jeff Faine outside right for the takedown, but Faine looked very good after that in the face of a Miami front seven that is going to give people a few headaches this year. The Bucs allowed three total sacks, but only one in the first half. Chris Simms was sacked twice in the third quarter, but by that time, the trenches were more a mish-mash of backups.

Washington Redskins: Jason Campbell is still adjusting to the timing of Jim Zorn's West Coast offense, which demands instant release after quick dropbacks. Campbell double-clutched a couple of times, resulting in late throws to his receivers. The good news? When Campbell gets it down, he'll be blessed with an offense that's a great fit for the system. Zorn sees Santana Moss as his Deion Branch (the downfield burner on the double move), Antwaan Randle El as his Bobby Engram (the reliable short possession receiver, especially on third down), and he's got to be thanking his deity of choice for Clinton Portis. After several years in Seattle helping to devise an offense around Shaun Alexander's absentee blocking, declining receiving skills, and over-reliance on the offensive line, Zorn will find Portis's versatile talent palette and unselfish play to be a revelation. You have to love a back who sees a good block and a touchdown run as equal cause for celebration.


51 comments, Last at 17 Aug 2008, 1:05pm

1 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

The Redskins offense is a perfect fit for the system? Both of their starting receivers are good, but they are midgets. That is the reason why they drafted 2 Big receivers, and have 6'5 Anthony Mix fighting for a roster spot. Vinne is obviously trying to retool that offense to make the personel fit the scheme. Kelly and Mix would are ideal size, Moss and Randel El are not.

The biggest things I noticed about the Redskins are that it appears that Jim Zorn will be calling the plays. Joe Gibbs was the HC in the CEO role, while he let Al Saunders call the plays. I know some offensive guys like to be hands on and call the plays ( like Gruden), while others like to oversee the operation.

The real important thing I noticed was in the first quarter Campbell walked up to the line and called an audible. He threw a pass down the right sideline that landed out of bounds, intended for James Thrash when he noticed single coverage without safety help on the outside. Good choice, bad execution.

Last year Gibbs/Saunders didn't allow the young Campbell to change plays, but Zorn has already allowed Campbell to do just that.

That means that he could have a much better year as he transitions out of the game manager/ lower risk offense, or he could struggle with the new freedoms.

To Campbells defense, I did see times last year when he walked up to the line and would stare at the defense and know that a play wasn't going to work, but he had to run it away.

I think Campbell's mechanical release and sometimes holding on to the ball too long aren't good for the WCO. His size and height help, but he will have to speed up his recognition and/or adjust his release. He was perfect for what Gibbs wanted to run, and he will have to speed everything up in Zorns offense.

2 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Lorenzen must have changed the title of his memoirs. I thought they were going to be called "Manning Up."

3 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I get tired of hearing various media outlets/talking heads talk about Jacob Hester taking over for Neal in San Diego. If you've seen one LSU game, you know that Hester is a runner/receiver. He's there to replace Turner, not Neal.

5 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Mike Hart Fumbling issues? He fumbled 3 times in 1015 carries. He went nearly 1000 straight carries without a fumble (his first was as a freshman, his second and third were in his last game).

Fumbling Issues?

6 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I believe Mike Hart fumbled twice in the Florida bowl game. Scouts will no doubt watch every game he ever played in, but they would probably weigh the Florida game more so because of the talent/big stage. Mike Hart fell in the draft because he is slow and phsyically less impressive that many other players.

7 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Re #4
Alas, absence of a crystal ball, seeing as how those two teams play tonight. I hoped there'd be notes on the game anyway, so I could lay some money down at the sports book, but no dice.

Mike Hart, fumbling issues? Only if the only game of him you've ever seen was the Florida bowl game. Before that, the guy hadn't had an official fumble in like 3 years, though ISTR there was 1 erased by a penalty.

I did my own write-up on Rams-Titans, link in name. For 340 yards rushing, they had a much less impressive than you'd think Success Rate, and I wanted to throw something at the wall listening to Fisher in a post-game interview talk about Run To Win. The Bulluck pick-6 came when the Rams screwed up-the ran crossing drags, Bulger was throwing for the deeper guy, but the shallow guy tried to catch it. Blammo, free ball.

Nit: "Jevon" Kearse, and "Javon" Ringer.

9 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I have a rhetorical question. All of the national and local media talk about how " this quarterback looks great in camp". How often if ever do you hear about how a guy looks horrible? I mean you see rookies, 3rd string, 4th string guys moving the ball downfield at a rate that just wouldn't happen in a regular season game. If anything, what is the ratio of " this guy looks good in camp" to " this guy looks bad in camp"?

I guess everything is positive when every team is still undefeated.

10 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I think James Hardy has the chance to be a really good player. He's big, has hands and seems to have good body control. If nothing else he finds the end zone. Dude caught 36 TD passes while at IU.

11 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

shake n bake, I thought it was two fumbles in 1,015 carries. Either way, that butter-fingers!

I assuemd he dropped because of perceived "overuse" at MI and his stature.

but what do I know?

12 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Of the few games I saw this weekend...

Likes: Tarvaris, Forte, Desean, Peppers, Mendenhall, Saints

Dislikes: Chicago (the rest), Rams, Det O-line, Shiancoe

13 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Hmmmm. How encouraging is it for a Rams fan that you can nothing to say about a single player - they were all so bad no one got singled out. Jackson was our best player, and he wasn't there. That's great.

14 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

11: Sorry, just my opinion, although I did want to see Howie's kid and didn't. How did he do?

15 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

The lack of fumbling is one of the few things that was a positive on Mike Hart's scouting report. He dropped because he tended to get injured and most of all because he's slow for an NFL back (hell, he was on the slow side for a college feature back). He has good vision, holds onto the ball, and is good at getting yards after contact.

But if he had "fumbling issues" then "fumbling issues" should appear on every single running back prospect's report. His lack of fumbles was mentioned on basically every single national broadcast of a Michigan game the last two years.

16 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I think the Rams could potentially have the best defensive front 4 in the league. Carriker didn't get a lot of rookie accolades, but the guy held the point of attack every time I watched him. Glover is maybe the strongest player in the NFL to form a nice interior DL and you have Little and Long penciled in on the edges. 1-4 that could be the best DL in the league.

17 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Re: 5, 6, and others: That one's on me. I meant to write, and should have written, that a late case of fumblitis did affect Hart's stock with some. Not that it was a career issue, which is incorrectly inferred. However, I had a case of deadlinitis, and fumbled the whole thing.

18 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I thought Mike Rucker's little Bro looked good in the Browns game.

Clowney looked good in the Jets game, but the reason he had a 70 yard TD is that the defense was playing cover 2 and the Browns backup safety took a horrible angle which allowed Clowney to get behind him and race 70 yards for the score. That most likely doesn't happen with the starting safety in the game.

I thought Grady Jackson on the sidelines of the Falcons game was interesting. He said when he got cut that " Petrino and the other coach ain't even talk to me" so he went to Jacksonville. It makes the ( everyone hated Petrino) argument stronger but then again we already knew that.

Q. Groves looked like the exact guy the Jaguars wanted to draft. If he plays like that in the reg season look out.

What the heck is a "spacing route"?

19 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I know its just preseason (and game1) but I also thought Tarvaris looked good. It may not mean much, but its better than him looking lousy in the same role....

The vikings were down big mainly due to fumbles (not his) and the defense looking porous, but I don't read that much into either one. Just a nice showing from T-Jack.

20 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

15: It was nice to see him use that shotgun attached to his right shoulder effectively, use his athleticism to buy time for a WR to come open and in general look like a competent QB. If this is the new look T-Jack, things are looking good for the Men in Purple...

21 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

"First-round pick Rashard Mendenhall was looking good on his first carry as a pro, running smoothly inside and gaining extra yardage to the right."

I thought he looked tentative. He didn't show much burst through the hole.

22 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Regarding the Vikings I thought the offence looked good - Jackson played decently but I'm not sure you can read much into 10 scripted plays.

I'm more concerned with the defence than the offence and have been since the end of the season. I think the offence was improving as the season went on and the defence was regressing. I think the offence actually ended up with a better DVOA ranking (16 vs 17?). The Seattle game seemed to suggest a continued trend for both units.

23 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Reason to tone down excitement over T-Jack's performance, and worry over Vikings pass defense (or "defence"--I might start using it that way):

Preseason defenses are super-vanilla, both to avoid giving away schemes that will be used when it counts, and (I believe) as a gentleman's agreement to not try too hard to blow up the opposing QB.

24 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Re #14
I probably came off as harsher than I meant. But if NFL teams downgraded him on ball security issues based on that one game as opposed to the rest of his career, they were being exceedingly short-sighted. As noted by #13, there are plenty of other reasons to downgrade Mike Hart, but that's not one of them.

Re #19
Shh, don't tell Florio, he'll say it's collusion.

25 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

It's great to see Houston's David Anderson make some noise; when your school's best known NFL player is Joey Porter, I see this as a nice development.

Though I must say it was also cool a couple years back when 50% of Pittsburgh's LB corps were Colorado State graduates! (Porter and Clark Haggans)

26 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

14 Doug, thanks for addressing it. Maybe we jumped on you kinda hard. Next time I see you slip on the ice and fall down, I promise not to kick.

What is it with Indy and team height? Take away Manning, Sorgi, and a backup TE, and the median team height is the same as the Olympic womens gymnastics team. Mike Hart, meet messers Sanders, Freeney, Brackett, et al. (former home of Mike Doss and Jason David)

27 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I think Campbell’s mechanical release and sometimes holding on to the ball too long aren’t good for the WCO. His size and height help, but he will have to speed up his recognition and/or adjust his release.

You do realize you're the only person in the world who thinks that Campbell's release is slow, right?

He definitely held onto the ball too long frequently last year, but young quarterbacks tend to do that.

28 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

"Preseason defenses are super-vanilla, both to avoid giving away schemes that will be used when it counts, and (I believe) as a gentleman’s agreement to not try too hard to blow up the opposing QB."

Rodney Harrison was no gentleman last year when he blowed up VY.

29 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I must be the only one not impressed by Buffalo's QBs, Edwards or Losman. They seem at best to be capable of being Bill Parcell's famed "Bus Driver QBs" (his words).

30 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Rodgers looked solid. The INT was on the receiver as the ball was put square in his chest and Francies let it bounce off. Threw some balls on a line while making a nice touch pass to Martin. Really hung in the pocket well. Missed a wide open James Jones and didn't see an obvious safety blitz but all in all a better than ok beginning.

D line is all banged up so no surprise there is no pass rush.

Awful punt by Ryan. That will be cause for some extra practice.

33 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Speaking of size.

The Eagles have one of the biggest of all o-lines, I think they don't have an o-lineman under 300 pounds.
They can align Tra Thomas (335), Todd Herremans (321), Jamaal Jackson (330), Shawn Andrews (335) and Jon Runyan(330). And their backups are a whooping 330 average (thanks to Max Jean Gilles and his 358 listed pounds).
They don't have a lineman under 310 pounds.
Useless fact but only the Vikes can challenge them when it comes to the size of the starting five.

34 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I thought Aaron Rodgers player pretty well. The first series wasn't that good - but that were the nerves.
The pick was not his fault, the lob pass coud've been caught and some others.
What I really didn't like though, was that Rodgers passed the ball way to high all the time. He's killing his receivers if he forces them to jump for every ball over the middle. You can't do that.
So yes - he showed some good points and outplayed his stats, but on this level, ju MUST keep the ball down. Jumping receivers are angry receivers.

35 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

After watching the ex-Super Bowl winning, but now back up Quarter Back for Dallas - Brad Johnson - if you're a Dallas fan, you'll be praying that Romo never goes down - Johnson looked deer in the headlights baaaad.

36 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1


The Rams could have a great front 4, and a really good front 7 with Tinoisamoa and Witherspoon behind them. Problem is that Little and Glover are seriously getting on in years, and Long and Carriker are obviously inexperienced. If Clifton Ryan can develop into a solid DT/NT we could have a real shot at a good D-line for the foreseeable future, but its not gonna happen this year, and by the time Carriker and Long develop into the players they hopefully will be Glover and Little will be gone.

37 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1


Well, that might be an issue except Favre did the same thing all the time.

I think what was shown last night is that the GB receivers are a legitimately talented bunch. Arguably the deepest collection of talent at any one position in the NFL.

The GB paper discussed his conditioning but something that has been overlooked about Rodgers is that he has taken his arm strength from above average to a real plus during his time backing up Favre. He showed that zip last pre-season and it's just gotten better. That, and as Jaworski pointed out, his mechanics are better.

These changes reflect well on the coaching staff. And why I hold out hope that Rodgers can hold his own at the position.

IF he can stay healthy......

38 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

So Adam Archuleta signed a 1 year deal and is trying out for a Raiders LB spot?

27. Campbell is tall with longer arms and has a long throwing motion/release which happens to be slower.

I believe it was the Bears game that he got injured in last year where before he hurt his leg, his follow through on a throw had his hand hit a D-Linemans helmet. This wasn't the first time that happened either. I think it happened in the Redskins/Pats game too.

Campbell's release/windup isn't as slow as Byron Leftwhich's, but it is slower than average. If you only watch him throw WR screens and RB dump offs you won't see it, but on normal throws you will notice a slower release and longer follow through.

Campbell has a strong arm, and his release probably helps the power of his throws, but he doesn't get rid of the ball quickly.

39 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Clowney looked pretty good, but Ratliff looked even better albeit against backups. He has started to get some of Clemens' snaps with the second string, which the QB controversy-hunting press is happy to fall back on when they can no longer in good conscience publish inane 4 Favre articles every day.

In other Jets news, Kris Jenkis looked dominant in the middle, but the run defense missed David Harris. The OL was excellent in pass blocking (or the Cleveland rush is particularly weak) but didn't get any push on runs (maybe the Cleveland front 7 is pretty good). Gholston didn't look good -- Cleveland hit a number of slants because he didn't drop into coverage properly.

I thought Anderson (in limited time) and Quinn looked sharp for the Browns.

40 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

#34 - I thought Rodgers looked good too, but I can't agree that the pick wasn't his fault at all. The QB has to take some responsibility for throwing to a receiver in a situation (over the middle) where he can get clocked like he did by the safety. Rodgers did it not once, but twice, getting away with it earlier. I didn't see that the WR had much separation from the DB on either pass. He seemed to be working the middle of the field a little too much. Fortunately, he's got a great set of receivers who can compensate for some questionable throws.

41 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

ok, a bit off topic, but relevant...
Anyone else have a problem with the ESPN MNF broadcast last night??? I know it's preseason and all, but would it kill them to give us the starting lineups and keep us (reasonably) abreast of substitutions that aren't at QB?? Also, the interview segments with C. Palmer and C. Johnson - do we have to see their faces the whole time? Can't they switch to a voiceover when the next play is run and show us the game on a full screen?? I understand that the viewing public might have missed the selfless team-first attitude of Chad Johnson after having been a such a non-story in the off-season, but some of us just want to see our team play football. I guess it's just a reflection of our celebrity fellating society as a whole.
On a more positive note, anyone else catch Chris Perry's post-touchdown affirmation that he was, in fact, "over the motherfreakin' line"? Another reason to hug my DVR a bit closer.

42 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

#41 - yes, the broadcast was craptacular, not even Jaws could redeem it. Tony Kornheiser is a buffoon, but of course, Chad Johnson gave him a run for his money. And Suzy Kolber was obnoxious (as usual).

And I thought I heard Chris Perry say something about somebody's mother.

43 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Colts at Panthers - realizing the Colts were without Manning, but the first 5 minutes reminded me of something I would see playing Madden (hey wait, isn't that today?).

This homer had a lot to cheer about. After all, doesn't pre-season indicate regular season success? (huh, the Panthers were undefeated when? and the Colts have a losing record in the..)

Pantherz Rool!

44 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

I thought Rodgers looked great, except for the bit about throwing a bit high, so I agree with Theo in everything. Actually, I thought the receivers were awful (I only saw Rodgers passes, I have to say). I'd have to watch it again, but I thought the receiver coughed up the ball before the hit in the INT, or maybe he just didn't make a clean grab.

All in all, however, if accuracy was the issue, Rodgers was much more accurate than, say, Eli Manning. And the dude won the Super Bowl, after all, so...

45 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Don't YAC teams usually throw the ball a bit high? Throwing low kills YAC.

I tell you, after watching the ole West Coast 49ers for a decade, it always looked freaky to watch a team that threw the ball low and had the WR collapse on the ground after the catch.

46 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Rodgers made a throw that separates the good from the bad. Split the defenders and hit the guy in the chest who let it get away.

That was all on the receiver. And I guarantee the coaching stuff is letting Francies know it.

And on GB the type of thing that gets you cut.

47 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Campbell’s release/windup isn’t as slow as Byron Leftwhich’s, but it is slower than average. If you only watch him throw WR screens and RB dump offs you won’t see it, but on normal throws you will notice a slower release and longer follow through.

No, it isn't. I watched Campbell a ton last year, and it's average or faster-than-average. In my notes, the mid-range throws had more variability than the shorter/deeper throws, and that probably contributed strongly to inaccuracy.

I don't have any idea where the idea that Campbell's release is slow comes from. It's not in any draft profiles. It's not in any comments from opposing players, or comments from any analysts prior to this year. I've seen it primarily from you, but also when Zorn came in, but most of that was "OMG Zorn runs WCO need QB with quick release."

Even mentioning Leftwich and Campbell together is just ludicrous. Get a stopwatch, and some tape. Time about 10 of their throws. It isn't even close.

Campbell's biggest problem with his delivery (and one that I have seen quoted by other people) is that it's a bit exaggerated. He makes up for it with the speed of the delivery, but that likely contributes to accuracy and also exposes the ball more (which can lead to fumbles on sacks).

48 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Nobody said Leftwhich and Campbell had the same release.

You can't just time Campbell making 10 random throws because a large pct. of his throws last year were thrown 2< past the line of S.

Take a look at him at the end of a half in the 2 min drill, or at the end of games. You don't need to read your Pete Prisco to find out he has a slower and mechanical release.

Look, I am not saying that he is the worst QB ever, but you need to know the guys strengths and weaknesses.

His skillset is more in tune with a Pittsburgh 2005 offense or what Saunders ran for him last year than a West Coast offense with lots of short throws, accurate reads, 3 and 5 step drops.

The typical NFL person in the know will tell you that it takes 3 years to learn the WCO. How will Campbell transition? We have about 3 weeks to find out.

49 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

18. Chris:

What the heck is a “spacing route”?

Link in my name. If you play Madden, you can probably also find it in your teams playbook in the 4-5 receiver sets.

50 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

Q. I have never heard that curl called the spacing route and I played college FB for more than one offensive coordinator. We ran that exact play in your diagram 1 also.

I have seen people on this site make up route names before.

51 Re: Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 1

way late to this thread but regarding Rogers I've written that I thought the small sample of reg season play suggested his sack rate in regular season play was too high to be effective. The sample being very small I decided to look up his sack rate for all his stats both pre and reg season.

Here are his total NFL stats through August 17, 2008:

132/224, 1381yds, 36 sacks, -224 yds

His sack rate is 13.8% overall. His sack rate in pre and regular games are about the same (14% vs 13% roughly).

I suspect strongly this represents a real issue for Rogers.