Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Futures: Nick Chubb & Sony Michel

The Georgia Bullddogs' dynamic duo should be on NFL rosters at some point in the next 72 hours. Which will be the better pro? That depends on what kind of running back you're looking for.

27 Aug 2007

Preseason Audibles: Week 3

compiled by Doug Farrar

Chicago Bears 27 at Indianapolis Colts 24 (Monday, Aug. 20)

Ned Macey: I was surprised at how much Chicago was trying to use Devin Hester as a receiver. I've sort of dismissed it as a gimmick, given the whole Dante Hall experience as a receiver. Their attempt to get Hester the ball "in space" ended predictably badly with a two-yard loss. He later made a real catch underneath the Colts' zone. He'll need to do a fair number of those before the bubble screens start opening up.

Brian Griese will be the starting quarterback of the Bears by Week 6 after the Bears lose in Green Bay to fall to 2-3. Grossman threw a terrible interception trying to force the ball to Rashied Davis.

Tony Ugoh remains a work in progress. As long as the Colts can dictate what they want to do, then they can protect him. If they fall behind or face a lot of third-and-longs, he'll get beat, and they'll have to bring in support.

Assuming they go on to lose this game, the Colts are now 1-10 in their last 11 preseason games. They've only lost 10 of their past 48 regular season games. Preseason football: You just can't beat it.

Doug Farrar: Jaws sounded exactly like Dr. Evil when he used the word "laaaaaaaser" to describe a Kyle Orton pass to Mike Hass. I hope he was doing the quotation-mark thing with his fingers in the booth.

Ben Riley: Jaws also channeled his inner Joe Theismann during the first quarter. Quote: "Mike, I talked with the Chicago Bears quarterback coach last night, and he told me that Rex Grossman blah blah (some excuse for his poor play) blah blah ..."

If you pick between fourth and seventh in your fantasy football league this year, you should be salivating over the five looks Joseph Addai got in the red zone.

Note to Chicago: Man coverage just isn't going to work against Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. As Jaws aptly put it a moment ago, if you don't jam Harrison at the line of scrimmage, he's already open.

Jacksonville Jaguars 21 at Green Bay Packers 13

Ben Riley: The Jacksonville defense put up those incredible DVOA numbers last year without Reggie Hayward. Now Hayward's back, he's healthy, and he's getting held on every snap.

Everyone is aboard the James Jones sleeper train, right? He's consistently getting open against Brian Williams. Last week, he consistently abused Kelly Jennings. And Greg Jennings is whining about his lack of targets.

Sean McCormick: The Jones sleeper train ran off the rails when he fumbled. That said, he does look good.

Ben Riley: Instead of playing quarterback roulette, Jack Del Rio's decided to play wide receiver craps (literally and figuratively). Reggie Williams and Dennis Northcutt started. At this point, do we have any idea who's starting for this team?

I'm retracting my Del Rio wide receiver craps joke: Wilford started with Northcutt, same as last week.

In keeping with the notion that the Football Outsiders do not have a "hive mind," I feel compelled to say: I don't think Byron Leftwich is very good. He's always looked like molasses in the pocket, but he just underthrew a 10-yard out pattern that was nearly picked for six.

Sean McCormick: I'm with you on Leftwich. When he's out there, the whole Jaguars offense looks slow. It doesn't help matters that Green Bay's corners are more than up to the task of sticking with whatever receiver combination the Jags throw out there.

Mike Tanier: Leftwich looked pretty bad tonight. Northcutt, on the other hand, looked pretty good. I think he and Matt Jones will start at wideout.

Ben Riley: Eli Manning apparently loaned his magic head box to Leftwich this week. He just skied one three feet above a jumping Matt Jones.

I have a man crush on MJD -- even though he just dropped a pass on fourth down -- but I've watched two Jacksonville preseason games this year, and Fred Taylor is getting the bulk of the carries. Taylor may be this year's Deuce McAllister (only older and not as good).

Mike Tanier: The Packers zone-blocking front vs. the Jaguars front four was a mismatch on running plays. Zone blocking and stretch running is great until there are two great defensive tackles and two pretty good ends in the game. Those blockers can't peel off to the second level, and either the linebackers make the play or the tackles do once they shed the double up.

I don't think this Brandon Jackson kid would be considered a viable starter on most other teams. He doesn't have special quickness or power, and while his hands seem good he is a little lost in the passing game right now. He's got OK speed, OK moves, and isn't terrible at anything right now (his pass blocking didn't look that bad). Let's see, who does he remind me of? Nebraska kid, no special properties, can play a role as a change-up guy. Oh my God, he's Correll Buckhalter Junior.

Oh, I was skipping between that game, California vs. Indiana in NCAA football (that's California, PA vs. Indiana, PA) and USA vs. Japan in World Cup football. World Cup football? Huh?

Ben Riley: Mike, I was all set to explain to you about the nuances of World Cup football (soccer), and then I realized you weren't foolin' about the USA-Japan (American) football game now playing on the NFL network. One burning question: why does Japan have "JAPAN" written on the back of every jersey where the name should be? Or is it possible every player is in fact named, "JAPAN"? Someone please look into this.

I'm not sure who Desmond Bishop is, but the hit he just laid on Reggie Williams will get him on SportsCenter. Anytime you have that whole helmet knocked off/decapitation thing going, you'll be on the Worldwide Leader's highlight reel.

New Orleans Saints 30 at Kansas City Chiefs 7

Sean McCormick: Brodie Croyle's first series was up and down. He overthrew badly with his first attempt, took advantage of an illegal contact call to throw a deep out to Sammie Parker on his second throw (which was high again), and barely avoided a fumble on his third dropback. His fourth attempt was a rollout where he threw the ball out of bounds. On third-and-15, he checked down to Michael Bennett, who got 14 yards. Way to crank up that DVOA, Brodie!

Doug Farrar: And people wondered why I was so happy when I got Damon Huard in the 12th round.

Tennessee Titans 28 at Buffalo Bills 17

Mike Tanier: Roscoe Parrish is going to have the season that everyone thinks Devin Hester is supposed to have. He's got really rare lateral quickness, and the Bills blocking units are great.

Lee Evans vs. Michael Griffin is a mismatch. You probably saw the highlight. If it were Evans vs. Pacman Jones, J.P. Losman could load the ball into a rocket launcher and watch them run under it, and one of them would catch it

Vince Young wasn't throwing the ball very well when I watched. It was sailing out of his hands a bit and he lacked zip when he needed it, almost as if he's working on improving his touch. On the plus side, he was hanging in the pocket and stepping up, and he was calling audibles. That's encouraging. I mean, we all know he can throw the ball, so it is nice to see him working on the mental game.

I haven't seen anything out of Marshawn Lynch yet. Part of the problem is that the Bills' line is nothing special.

Sean McCormick: Tennessee is really going to be hurting in the secondary with no Pacman Jones. The Bills were consistently going vertical against man coverage, and they were having a lot of success. It's one thing to get beat deep by Lee Evans (as Michael Griffin was) -- that's going to happen to a lot of people. But when Peerless Price is getting behind the coverage, you're in serious trouble. There wasn't a more vertically challenged receiver in the league last year than Price.

I agree about Lynch; he really hasn't looked any more dynamic or effective than Anthony Thomas. Having watched him and Adrian Peterson in back-to-back weeks, there really is no comparison. Peterson just explodes with the ball.

New England Patriots 24 at Carolina Panthers 7

Aaron Schatz: What's the over/under on three-yard receptions on third-and-long from Carolina tight end Jeff King? 20? 25?

There was a running play early in the first quarter that showed why I don't like DeShaun Foster. Rosevelt Colvin stuffed the block, and so Foster had to stutter-step. Now, it isn't entirely clear from the television angle, but it looks like Foster may have some space to his right, with Adalius Thomas coming in on the left. He hesitates, hesitates ... and then goes left. He doesn't have vision. I know that the Carolina folks say he's the definite starter this year, not DeAngelo Williams, but I really have a hard time believing that will still be the case in Week 10.

Ben Watson is supposed to be a receiving-first tight end, not a great blocker, but he's taking on Julius Peppers one-on-one on some of these Laurence Maroney runs, and actually winning some of those battles. He certainly won't have to be blocking guys as good as Julius Peppers during most of the regular season.

Mike Tanier: I was going to comment on King. It looks like the Panthers haven't changed coordinators at all. They still have Brad Hoover and the tight end out there on third-and-medium plays, and those players are still running routes. Before the draft, I figured the Panthers would draft Greg Olsen, who could catch a three-yard pass on third-and-7 and possibly turn it upfield. King isn't going to be able to do that.

In defense of Foster, he was hemmed in on most of the plays I saw. The Panthers' line really wasn't generating many cutback lanes.

Aaron Schatz:Most of the Carolina first-team defense was still in there at the beginning of the third quarter, and they were getting sliced and diced by HEATH EVANS, for crying out loud. Heath Evans is not supposed to get big cutback yards against you. This could be a real problem. The Eagles had a hard time running on Carolina, but a bunch of Giants no-names gained 5.2 yards per carry in the first preseason game.

St. Louis Rams 10 at Oakland Raiders 20

Sean McCormick: If you are looking for a sleeper rookie to put up big numbers, look no further than Brian Leonard. Scott Linehan had him lining up everywhere last night -- he played both fullback and halfback in two-back sets and spent a lot of time on the field as a single back. Leonard responded by showing impressive athleticism and instincts.

Leonard's vault of Fabian Washington made SportsCenter, but he was effective with just about all his touches, and his blocking was efficient if not overpowering. I know he's got Mr. Jackson in front of him on the depth chart, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Leonard eat into his playing time, particularly out of pass sets.

Mike Tanier: raiders look sharp. o-line really jelled and malling people. donte culpepper looked like his old self from 04 but better. lamont jordan clearly #2 running back in league behind LT but gaining ground. coaches have guys fired up ryan ready to suit up and play himself but has too much talent to work with, maybe the tullamore dew talking but i think the 72 dolphins are nurvous.

:: raidermike – 8/25/07 @ 11:41 pm

Bill Barnwell: I don't buy it. He'd clearly say Jordan was the best back in the league.

Detroit Lions 10 at Indianapolis Colts 37

Michael David Smith: Peyton Manning and the Colts' receivers look as good as ever, but the pass protection just looks generally messed up. I don't even know if they miss Glenn so much as the offensive line just looks really disorganized right now.

Mike Tanier: It's 21-3, and the Colts starters are a hot knife through butter. I smell those 11 wins, Perfesser Kitna.

Sean McCormick: It looked like Indy was keeping a tight end on Ugoh's side for about eight of every ten snaps, at least in the early going. When Ugoh was left on an island, Manning was quick to get the ball out of his hands. Ugoh played reasonably well considering, but I suspect that Colts fans are going to get used to seeing that tight end on the left side.

It's impossible to overstate what a physical specimen Calvin Johnson is. He actually makes Roy Williams look small. I don't have that much else to say, seeing as O'Sullivan generally looked elsewhere, but if nothing else, it's going to be easy for Detroit game charters to tell at a glance exactly who is where at the snap.

Vince Verhei: Everyone is curious about Ugoh, and rightly so, but from what I saw the Colts may have problems at both tackle spots. Right tackle Ryan Diem was dominated for most of the first quarter, giving up a huge sack on the first play, several hits/hurries and totally whiffing on a draw play. He was usually lined up against Dewayne White, who has collected exactly 14 sacks and started 13 games in his four-year career. Diem made him look like Reggie White.

If we ever do a game charting project on how motion affects the game, we can skip the Colts. For all the hype and hoopla about Peyton's chicken dance, the Colts shift on offense about as often as they blitz on defense -- never.

There was a pass here where Marvin Harrison ran a simple curl route and came to a complete stop. Peyton began his throwing motion and the defensive back began to close in. As Peyton's arm hit its highest point, Harrison suddenly cut to the outside. It looked like complete miscommunication that would lead to an easy pick for the defender, but in fact Harrison and Manning were in total sync. Manning was aiming for the outside all along, Harrison was right there to catch the pass and the defender was left guarding a curl route that wasn't there and a ball that would never arrive. It was just a little eight-yard play in a meaningless game, but it reminded me how special these guys are and how, even after the Super Bowl win, it's easy to take them for granted.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31 at Miami Dolphins 28

Stuart Fraser: The Dolphins didn't seem to have much trouble pressuring Garcia most of the time, with the exception being the touchdown ball to Joey Galloway. There was a moderately amusing interception, where Garcia appeared to take a three-step drop, set and throw, without realizing there was a defensive end between him and the target.

New York Jets 20 at New York Giants 12

Stuart Fraser: The Jets' first touchdown was straight out of the Football Outsiders summer playbook. Leon Washington motions out wide right from the backfield, and that seems to confuse the Giants secondary -- hard to tell from the TV angles, but I'm guessing the cornerback handed him off to the safety, who totally failed to pick him up.

Sean McCormick: The problem with spending two first-round picks on your offensive line is that you still have three more positions to fill, and the Jets are not filling them very well. The entire offensive line has been bad this preseason save for center Nick Mangold. Jacob Bender got the starting nod at left guard and, in the first game since Pete Kendall joined the Redskins, he struggled. Bender was beaten clean to the inside by Justin Tuck on a third down pass play on the Jets' second series, resulting in a sack and a punt. It wasn't just him, though. On the next series, D'Brickashaw Ferguson was beaten cleanly by Osi Umenyiora on third down, again resulting in a punt. The same Giants defensive line that was mauled by Carolina two weeks ago was dominant against the Jets.

The best news for the Jets was the way Darrelle Revis played. He lined up both outside and in the slot, and he provided very close coverage. He was targeted three times in the first half -- the result was two passes defended and a nine-yard reception allowed on third-and-10. While Giants' first-rounder Aaron Ross had some real problems in man coverage, Revis looked polished and ready to go. Expect Revis to beat out David Barrett and be the starter on opening day.

San Francisco 49ers 28 at Chicago Bears 31

Stuart Fraser: Rex Grossman can hit a wide-open Bernard Berrian all day, baby. And if Shawntae Spencer is going to bite that hard on fakes, somebody should probably strengthen his mouthguard, or he'll go right through his tongue.

Baltimore Ravens 7 at Washington Redskins 13

Stuart Fraser: Steve McNair went 14 of 19 for 98 yards. Yes, I know it was raining, but I'm sure 5.15 yards per attempt could be improved upon. I could be charitable here and say that obviously Washington's expensive safety corps prevented big plays, or I can [the remainder of this sentence cancelled in the third quarter due to inclement weather].

Dallas Cowboys 16 at Houston Texans 28

Stuart Fraser: If Roscoe Parrish doesn't have the season that everyone thinks Devin Hester is supposed to have, Jacoby Jones might. Nobody gets near him on a punt return, despite it being coffin-corner placed, and it isn't just good blocking.

Minnesota Vikings 13 at Seattle Seahawks 30

Vince Verhei: Tarvaris Jackson showed a strong arm on out routes, but he had trouble recognizing and reacting to blitzes, and a tendency to focus on one receiver and throw it to them, covered or not. I still think the Vikings are taking a quarterback in the first round next year.

Doug Farrar: Following the many agonizing seasons of take-it-out-to-the 20-and-fall-down returns that followed the Charlie Rogers era, the Seahawks now have two return men capable of making things very interesting: receiver Nate Burleson, who took a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in 2006, and rookie cornerback John Wilson, who gained 847 kickoff return yards on 31 chances in his senior season at Maryland, his only college season as a returner.

There are still some major questions about this team -- the offensive line depth is nonexistent; the cornerbacks and safeties still aren't communicating on the field at times; and someone needs to figure out that as invaluable as he is to the defense, the 275-pound Chuck Darby is NOT a run-stopping nose tackle -- but it'll be worth watching to see what the Seahawks do with the field position battle.

Cleveland Browns 17 at Denver Broncos 16

Doug Farrar: With just under a minute left in the game and Denver down 17-16, the Broncos sent Patrick Ramsey out on the field with a full set of downs from his own 37-yard line, and Ramsey "engineered" the worst late drive I have ever seen in my life. First play: a three-yard slant just outside the left hashmark to receiver Brian Clark. No way Clark gets out of bounds from there. Second play: a short pass to the right -- just inside the numbers -- to receiver Domenik Hixon for the ultimate useless first down. Tick, tick, tick. Third play: back to the left to running back Selvin Young, inside the numbers again, and the clock runs out. Ramsey got his team to the Cleveland 48-yard line in those three plays and 58 seconds, and he may as well have been eating a pizza on the sidelines.

Did Ramsey or Mike Shanahan think that the scoreboard was wrong and the Broncos were up by one point? Cleveland only rushed three defenders on each play (as you'd assume they would), so Ramsey had time to go through his reads and find someone within a mile of the sideline. Unless Shanahan told Ramsey, "Just go through the motions and kneel down without looking like that's what you're doing," I'm at a loss to explain it. There would have been room on the clock for one or two more plays, Denver's at home with that altitude on their side and a kicker in Jason Elam who isn't what he used to be, but he's certainly capable of winning the game if his team gives him 15 more yards. Just unbelievable.

Mike Tanier: I only saw a little of that game, but Charlie Frye looked pretty darn good. Floated a nice pass to Braylon Edwards, threw some short passes that were downright zippy. I saw the Brady Quinn highlights and I know he played well, but against the Broncos we saw the Frye that so many people in the Browns organization seem to like.

I watched Joe Thomas get beat to the outside on a fairly routine move by one of the Broncos rookies, and I saw a couple of zone block type plays where he didn't know when to peel out to the second level or who to block when he got there. On the plus side, he latches and steers Elvis Dumervil far away from Jamal Lewis on Lewis' touchdown plunge. Typical rookie left tackle stuff. It may be a rough September for him.

Stuart Fraser: Denver's secondary -- Dre' Bly in particular -- really doesn't look like the strength it's supposed to be. Browns quarterbacks went 19-of-27 for 223 yards and a touchdown, which is kind of worrying when it's the Browns. Frye and Anderson looked pretty good -- I liked the pass to Edwards too. Quinn threw a similar one to Joe Jurevicius which was ruled out of bounds and wasn't. Both of those were against Bly, for what that's worth.

San Diego Chargers 33 at Arizona Cardinals 31

Aaron Schatz: Wow. Darren Sproles had a 19-yard run where he put a move on Terrence Holt that was just embarrassing. It was straight out of Madden, crazy "highlight stick" type juking. Wow.

Doug Farrar: I remember when Maurice Jones-Drew came out of UCLA and I was hoping the Seahawks would pick him, just as I hoped they'd look at Sproles when he came out of Kansas State. It's a good change of pace to have a guy two feet high and as wide as he is tall when he runs, and nobody sees him until he's blasting through traffic.

Aaron Schatz: It is difficult to figure out where to draw the line between the quality of these two passing games and the weakness of these two secondaries.

Stuart Fraser: On the highlight reel, it takes a minute to see a pass caught where the receiver is within five yards of a defensive back, and a pass interference penalty isn't called. Sure, Arizona has good receivers, but I think I'm going with "weakness of these two secondaries."

Vince Verhei: I agree, it was the secondaries. On one play, Antonio Gates lined up at wide receiver, covered by cornerback Eric Green. Gates blew by Green to catch a pass on a fade route. Obviously, getting beaten by Gates is understandable, even for a corner, but Green was beaten by two steps and never got his head turned around or his arms in the air as the ball came in. He never had a chance.

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers

Aaron Schatz: Donovan McNabb looks fine, but the Eagles' offensive line doesn't look quite up to its usual performance level. The run defense is also clearly still a problem. Is Omar Gaither really ready to be a starting middle linebacker?

Very early in the game, Ben Roethlisberger threw one of those ridiculous, "What the hell was he thinking?" lame duck interceptions, about one second before taking a sack. He has to stop that.

I would like to apologize to Kevin Kolb for calling him "Kevin Kolb" and not "Kevin Cobb" on something like a hundred radio programs over the last few weeks.

Mike Tanier: Tried to tell you about Kolb/Cobb. He has the Brett Favre Southern Boy Mispronunciation Thing going.

Gaither isn't the problem, even after that Willie Parker touchdown (the D-line got washed out on that play). Linebacker Chris Gocong is the problem. He cannot move laterally. Watch any of the three dozen or so Steelers screens or flat passes that went for big yardage in the first half, and you will see Gocong overpursue, then lunge backwards. The Eagles get him off the field on passing downs, which is a blessing, but he really looks like a converted defensive end whenever he plays in space.

I saw the pass defense as a bigger problem than the run defense for the Eagles in the first half. The containment wasn't there on the pass rush and the tackling wasn't there on short passes. Plus, some of the blitz packages looked like confused playground stuff.

Offensively, I don't think Nick Cole is the solution to the Shawn Andrews problem, and Reggie Brown has the Darrell Jackson thing where he just drops these easy little passes. On the flip side, McNabb didn't make too many bad throws (though he fumbled once), his incompletions were a lot of drops and a fingertips play on a bomb to Curtis. I don't think there's a problem with the offense.

If I am Mike Tomlin, I scan the waiver wire for any Michael Lewis or Eddie Drummond or Terrance Wilkins and I overpay for any punt returner who can cleanly field a punt. Maybe I even trade a fourth round pick for a guy, James Thrash or somebody, who can return punts but isn't doing it right now. I don't risk my season on all of these guys who just can't seem to cleanly field a punt.

Posted by: admin on 27 Aug 2007

47 comments, Last at 28 Aug 2007, 6:33pm by Pat


by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 11:23am

ghe ghe ghe
That was the joke of the day... after the daily Dilbert cartoon.

by Bionicman (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 11:39am

Has Mike Tanier been acting as 'raiderjoe' the whole time? His 'imitation' was incredibly accurate... no, flawless.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 11:55am

Sean McCormick: ... The same Giants defensive line that was mauled by Carolina two weeks ago was dominant against the Jets.

A quick correction: There were some personnel differences on the Giants DL between these two games. Most importantly, Fred Robbins, the Giants' best DT, sat out the Panthers game. Also, Justin Tuck only played for a few snaps, and was probably limited-- it was his first game back from lis franc surgery. Having those two guys at full-strength makes a big difference.

That said, I agree that the Jets OL needs some help.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 11:58am

The Vikings' biggest problem, is going to be, just like last year, that their receivers just don't make enough plays that better wide receivers make in the NFL. Yeah, Jackson is going to have growing pains, especially when blitzed, but they'd be a lot less serious if Jackson had guys with ball skills that the last Vikings qb who started in his second year had.

Randy Moss and Cris Carter catching the ball really makes for a friendlier environment for an inexperienced qb, compared with what Jackson is going to have. Two deep balls that Jackson threw while being blitzed Saturday would commonly be caught, when Carter and Moss were on the receiving end. Alas, the Vikings used a number 7 pick overall on a guy, Troy Williamson, who can only hope to have average ball skills some day, and nobody else is really above average, or perhaps even average.

Vikings fans were spoiled in regards to wide receivers going up and catching balls for about thirty years, from Ahmad Rashad, to Anthony Carter, to Cris Carter, to Randy Moss. Now, the are experencing a regression to the mean, big time.

by John (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:03pm

Thursday night national TV and packers/jaguars get no love? A single tear falls down my cheek........

by Joseph (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:12pm

What, no Saints vs. Chiefs coverage??

Okay, my radio/highlights analysis:
1. Croyle looked so bad vs. Saints D that Edwards named Huard the starter (at least he got something right).

2. Drew Brees looks ready to win the MVP (17-19!! and the other 2 were drops!)

3. Chiefs D couldn't stop the Saints O EXCEPT in goal-to-go situations (very frustrating for this Saints fan)

4. Larry Johnson better be just as good this year as last (prob. won't, curse of 370), because that 30 points could have been in the 40's (see #3).

5. Poor Paris Thomas. After leading the Saints in rushing this game, he is still the #5 RB, and better hope he makes the practice squad.

6. Saints depth at WR is scary good. 1st round pick Robert Meachem is #6 on the depth chart (behind Colston, Henderson, Patten, Copper, & Lance Moore). I didn't like this pick in April, and like it less now. Jamal Jones did okay in a couple of games last year, and prob. won't make the team now (he has missed the majority of camp and pre-season with a knee injury). How many teams have their 1st round pick playing with the 3rd string in the 4th quarter??? (Okay, Brady Quinn--but he held out for a while, and their real 1st rounder is starting)

7. Bone to Chiefs fans: Tamba Hali had his name called a lot Thurs. and seemed to be in the middle of both goal line stands.

Hard to do much analysis from the radio and 2 minutes of NFL.com highlights.


by asg (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:14pm

Can anyone say how Kolb looked last night? His line looks pretty nice with a reasonably healthy YPC and no picks, but did he look comfortable? Confused?

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:23pm

I'll echo Sean on the atrocious play of the Jets OL. You'd expect problems at LG, but the entire line looked terrible. You can't attribute it to playing "vanilla" when guys are being beaten at the point of attack. But Revis was excellent, as was Harris. Sad to say, Vilma's probably the third best ILB on the team. He's still lost in this system.

Nugent had two touchbacks and his other KO's were inside the 5. He reportedly put on 10 lbs of muscle in the offseason to improve his leg strength. Looks like it worked.

by Jon (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:28pm

No comments on the Giant offense? Looked sharp between the twenties but failed in the red zone. I'm having flashbacks of the Fassel years.

by Doug Farrar :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:29pm

The NO-KC and JAX-GB comments were hidden in an e-mail barrage, but they're on the way. That one's on yours truly.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 12:56pm

6: I like the Meachem pick, and it will pay dividends. I believe that Henderson and Colston's contracts expire after next season, and Horn is already gone. Given that most WRs take about 2-3 years to develop, it's good to take a WR now when you don't REALLY need on than to wait until you're desperate.

by blacksuit (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:02pm

What is the Shawn Andrews problem? I must have missed that one.

On the Niners/Bears game, it was difficult to evaluate the development of Alex Smith, as the Bears pass rush as ferocious, and the Niners opted to run the ball most of the time. This is probably so they can get a good look at their depth behind Frank Gore, and honestly, neither of the two backups were impressive.

The pass defense as also problematic. On 3-5 pass plays, Bears receivers were able to slip into a hole the size of my house between the cornerback and the safety along the sideline. This problem was compounded by a nonexistent pass rush from the 49ers 3-4 front. Grossman looked good, but I had this nagging thought that a better QB could have gone 18/20 with the protection he had.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:07pm

I thought this feature was called 'Every Play Doesn't Count'? Or am I getting it mixed up with something else?

by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:08pm

Given the quality of the Broncos' LBs and secondary, it's surprising to see how bad the defense is overall. Jamal Lewis ran all over their Sam-Adams-anchored 1st- and 2nd-down package, and when they did manage to force 3rd-and-medium-to-long, Frye and Anderson had all day to throw. Even Bailey and Bly have limits to how long they can cover.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:12pm

12: Andrews has an unspecified injury to his right ankle. Initial signs were grim (walking boot, cryptic, pessimistic comments to the press), and it's kept him out of the preseason, but the coaching staff is saying he'll be good to start in the opener.

by George (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:13pm

#7 - Kolb looked good. He started off shaky at the end of the first half, but did well in the second. Thre were a couple of dropped balls that would have made his stats even better, and it looked like they were going to drive and score a TD until Zac Collie coughed up that fumble.

#12 - Andrews has an ankle sprain that got a lot of media attention when he made some cryptic comments to the media. The boot is off now, and it lookslike he should be ready for the Packers on the 9th.

by Biffy (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:14pm

I feel for you #5 - The Texans and Cowboys actually played an entertaining game and we get FO's take on Sportscenter highlights. Good punt return by Jacoby Jones? Well spotted!

(Now, to be fair, if I was a non Houstonian budgeting my time to watch games anything involving the Texans would not be high on my list. But I have a good feeling about them this year. They may not suck.)

As for your Kolb comments, seeing two guys named Tanier and Schatz taking someone to task for how he wants his name pronounced, now that's comedy. If he doesn't say it the way you'd say it, well it must yet another some form of Southern idiocy. The South thanks you for reinforcing received wisdom. Your check is in the mail.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:21pm

FWIW, Bishop likely played himself on the team with that hit coupled with solid practice/play the last two weeks. Last year's third round pick, Abdul Hodge, is fighting injuries and has been pretty bad all camp.

One of the unnoticed aspects of McCarthy's influence is that he wants defensive players who really hit people. That may read as odd since defensive players are PAID to hit the opposition but under Sherman the Packers were routinely a poor tackling team. They would have spurts of improvement when it seemed to get really out of hand but mostly the Packer defenders were interested in making the effort required and no more.

McCarthy has changed all that but rewarding guys who lay it out there. Brady Poppinga won a starting role based primarily on his willinness to throw his body around. AJ Hawk was going to start anyway, but folks noticed his apparent relish in tackling someone hard. It passed on to Nick Barnett who in prior years was the most guilty of the grab versus the square up and hit approach. This is what caused the squad to turn on Manuel who continued to just try and tug players down as opposed to really TACKLE.

Who knows how much difference it makes. But it's something McCarthy stresses. And Bishop might be the benefactor in 2007.

by raiderjoejoe (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:36pm

"Can anyone say how Kolb looked last night? His line looks pretty nice with a reasonably healthy YPC and no picks, but did he look comfortable? Confused?"
He looked like the exact kind of west coast quarterback that has always given the Steelers problems. Quick, accurate, and knows his progressions. He did not look like a rookie.

by Biffy (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:46pm


I thought Kolb (prounouced Kobbbb) looked like he belonged. He showed good polish for a rookie, with quick and largely decent reads and movement in the pocket. His initial throws appeared to be high but generally catchable and settled to a better spot once his nervousness seemed to wear off. To borrow from baseball, "his arm is plus, or better".

If (and I'm hoping not) McNabb goes down for any length of time, Kolb is the QB.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:47pm

Yeah, I think the biggest thing to take away from the preseason so far is that David Lewin's projection system looks right. Kolb does not look like a rookie. Far from it. And that's just crazy.

Brady Quinn's also been far more productive than JaMarcus Russell. :)

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 1:59pm


Linebacker Chris Gocong is the problem. He cannot move laterally.

That's far too critical. Trotter couldn't move laterally. Gocong can, but he's making poor decisions. Not unexpected.

The Eagles get him off the field on passing downs, which is a blessing

Er? Gocong was in the nickel package with Spikes for several downs last night. Him and Gaither were splitting time there.

by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 2:14pm

FWIW, the chair of the University of Chicago Astronomy/Astrophysics department is named Kolb pronounced "Cobb". (Then again, he is from New Orleans...)

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 2:25pm

How come nobody makes fun of Abraham Lincoln for the silent L in his name? Or did they......indirectly leading to the Civil War?

by MCS (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 2:33pm

Mike's take on Brandon Jackson is the same thing I said after the Seattle game. He was fine as long as he was following his blockers. Once he has to accelerate around someone or make someone miss, he can't.

He's serviceable but they need some help.

by Kevin and Marshall Fock (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 2:43pm

As for your Kolb comments, seeing two guys named Tanier and Schatz taking someone to task for how he wants his name pronounced, now that’s comedy. If he doesn’t say it the way you’d say it, well it must yet another some form of Southern idiocy. The South thanks you for reinforcing received wisdom. Your check is in the mail.

IF there is an example of Southern idiocy in here, it's taking a public apology for mispronouncing somebody's name as some sort of insult.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 2:45pm

" Donovan McNabb looks fine, but the Eagles’ offensive line doesn’t look quite up to its usual performance level."

I didnt think the line was doing too bad of a job, but McNabb was getting rid of the ball really quickly. His recievers couldnt catch though. He was what, 5/9, with 3 drops IIRC?

"Kolb does not look like a rookie. "

I haven't seen a rookie look like that in a long time.

McNabb is signed through like 2012 though, isnt he?

by Trevor (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 2:46pm

Watching the Cards/Bolts game last week, it looked like SD was picking on Green/Rolle (I think Hood only had 1 pass directed toward him in the 3rd quarter). It got to the point that was their Madden $ play, dude had 10 bad plays last week and only the nice INT for a positive play. He really deserved to LOSE his job with how badly he played. For the Bolts, it looked like Florence had a bad game but Jammer was decent.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 3:01pm

My thoughts on the Eagles:
1) The linebackers showed potential, but were out of position too much. Maybe they'll come together as the year wears on.
2) It's preseason, so it's hard to say what the coaches were trying to do, but it looked as if the Steelers were game planning against the Eagles D, while the Eagles were more interested in tweaking things than winning
3) No love for the punter? Rocca looked great, and if he kicks like that during the season he'll be good for at least a win or two.
4) Kolb looked like he was being limited in what he was allowed to do, but he was doing that well, if that makes any sense.
5) Bunkley had a few good moments. If he can find consistency, he has a lot of potential.
6) McNabb looked awesome in every aspect but scrambling. It was odd to see him look as slow as Byron Leftwitch out there.

by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 3:15pm

I already posted this on the FO Board, but here goes:

I was at the Denver-Cleveland game this evening and I witnessed a lot of mistakes by the Broncos...many of which really scare me for the upcoming season.

First of all, Bly got beat on at least half of the plays. The third down defense was again porous, and the pass rush/pressure was terrible (the sacks recorded were at unimportant times). The rushing defense had its moments, but tackling was very poor...even on the first team defense!

On offense, Cutler made several bad reads that almost got him picked off. He also made several poor throws--but he or Ramsey were not helped out by a receiving corps with hams for hands. Walker dropped two 3rd down passes that would have been 1sts in the same drive! There was a pass that Ramsey threw that hit Hixon in the hands and in stride...but Hixon wasn't even looking at the ball and it fell incomplete. The second-string offensive line generated little or no push for the running game...but that's getting nitpicky.

On the positive side, the rushing offense was stellar for the Broncos. Sapp showed excellent power and Young showed off his speed and agility. The O-Line starters were giving Cutler time as well as opening big holes for the runners. Champ Bailey was Champ Bailey. John Lynch and Amon Gordon both had great games.

For the Browns, I saw all three quarterbacks play--against the Broncos' first team defense no less. Frye showed some good touch, but was throwing to mostly wide open receivers or on dump-offs. Anderson was pretty bad in limited action. Quinn should be the starter of this team though. He played extremely well--checking down when he should, but also making a couple of excellent throws downfield where only his man could get to it.

Anyway, I'm afraid for the Broncos after witnessing this game...but optimistic for the Browns with Quinn at the helm.

As for the Ramsey "Last minute drive", I too was confused. He didn't check down to those receivers. He immediately threw the ball on two-three yard routes in the middle of the field with no timeouts and under a minute to play. If those were designed plays, shame on Shanahan. At least try to win the ballgame--your defense just made a good stand to give you that opportunity. More likely, it was just Patrick Ramsey being Patrick Ramsey.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 3:27pm


I haven’t seen a rookie look like that in a long time.

You mean, like, since 2004?

by Biffy (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 4:00pm


Ah, on reflection there's a bit more heat in my response than is possibly warranted, and I, too, apologize. It wasn't Mr. Schatz' sincere apology contained in the exchange I was referring to, though, it was this passage:

"Tried to tell you about Kolb/Cobb. He has the Brett Favre Southern Boy Mispronunciation Thing going."

Mssr. Tanier, it seems, makes a (gentle) joke, and suggests that neither Favre nor Kolb, being Southerners and all, knows how their name is properly pronounced. And he does know.

My thought was that guys who (I'm guessing) have to constantly point out their preferred pronunciation of their name should have a bit of sympathy for Mr. Kolb and not attribute his preference to inexplicable Southnerness.

Now, I'm culpable of being a bit bristly I'll grant you, but when your accent and region is the national stereotype for ignorance and stupidity and it passes without question, it'll make you that way at times. I would think that you, Marshall, being from New Orleans as you are, would know exactly what I mean. (Charters street? Don't you mean Chartres?)

by Goran (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 4:03pm

"Sean McCormick: The problem with spending two first-round picks on your offensive line is that you still have three more positions to fill..."

What does this mean? If they hadn't spent two picks on offensive lineman then there would be no problem?

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 5:09pm

#33, I'm guessing that he's suggesting that devoting so much money to 2/5 of the offensive line means that the other 3/5 is necessarily going to be subpar, unless you want to devote an unusually high cap percentage to the O-line.

I don't know if it's true, but that's how I read it, and it seems reasonable.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 5:27pm

I think part of the statement is that an offensive line (in pass protection) is only as good as its weakest member. Those two first rounders dont do anything with scrubs around them.

On the defensive line, you're better off with a scrub on one side, and a stud on the other than two average players. On the offensive line, you're better off with the two average guys.

by Scott H (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 5:28pm

Any one else notice that the Pat's were really stacking one side of the line on the two blocked field goals Friday night? They got a massive surge off the snap and just collapsed the Panthers blockers for the block.

The push was mentioned by the announcers, but nothing about the formation.

Have they always done this or was it something new?

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 5:40pm

The Giants defense wasn't confused on that play. McQuarters was supposed to be covering Washington, but bit on the pump fake to the receiver running an out route. That allowed his man to run free down the field. The safety, Butler, then got a poor angle on Washington and let him cut inside for the the TD as opposed to forcing him up the sideline.

The Giants' improvement on the d-line during the preseason has plenty to do with more reps for Justin Tuck and Fred Robbins and less for William Joseph. Tuck = good, Joseph = bad... very, very, bad.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 6:00pm


I didnt really notice any stacking on one side. What they were doing though, was lining up both a 340lb Nose Tackle (vince wilfork) and a 6'4 290lb defensive end (Jarvis Green) over a 240lb long snapper. Wilfork alone on the longsnapper is a HUGE mismatch. Hes a huge mismatch on a center in most cases. He was driving the longsnapper back almost into the kicker, and that was leaving Green completely free. Wilfork blocked the first one pretty much by himself, and Green blocked the second one.

The were stacking LB'ers close, which kept the guys on either side of the long snapper from helping out with Wilfork.

I've never seen Wilfork on special teams before, but he obviously belongs on the kick blocking team. FWIW, he wasnt being used that way in the first two games.

by Pio (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 6:23pm

Like Bronco Jeff I was at the Denver-Cleveland game, and I have to say I share many of his worries about the Broncos this year. Dre Bly was getting picked on all game (or at least, that portion of the game that he played in) - in addition to the touchdown pass to Edwards and the would-be TD to Jurevicious, there were a few big plays where the ball sailed over an open WR's head (with Bly 5 yards behind) and (I think) another would-be reception taken back by an unrelated penalty. Denver's LBs were also pretty terrible in coverage, especially Ian Gold - I understand that they're LBs, but they were covering TEs and RBs, so it should be about even.

Like Bronco Jeff said, Champ Bailey and Lynch were both phenomenal, especially Lynch in run support (one big third-down stuff was a Lynch open-field tackle on an off-tackle run). After the first drive our run defense turned out pretty decent - it was our pass D where the problems came. Pass rush had a few good moments (a sack on 3rd and goal) but was mostly atrocious, and when they got to the QB they forgot about contain (charlie frye shouldn't be allowed to scramble 15 yard for first down).

As for the Offense, Cutler had a few moments when he really got in stride and completed some great passes, but he was off his game most of the first half. I'm not as worried as Bronco Jeff about the drops - I was more excited to see Brandon Stokely on the field catching a ball for first down. The receiving corps, taken as a whole, should be pretty decent this year, so it all depends on Cutler.

Last thing (this is getting pretty long): this could just be the Cleveland D, but the running game was pretty sweet considering it was the 3rd and 4th stringers, playing (i believe) without the starting LT.

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 6:34pm

Rich #38,

Vrabel and Bruschi were right behind those two giving them giant shoves at the same time. I think that is the largest factor because Wilfork alone wouldn't make a 270 lb long snapper fly backwards like that.

by mattman (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 8:39pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I think raiderjoe is really Rorshach from Watchmen.

by Joseph (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 9:06pm

#11 Sophandros:

Colston is in his 2nd year. If he puts up good numbers, wouldn't be surprised to see the front office give him a good-paying extension. I believe Henderson's is expiring, and I hope they do the same with him (say 4 yrs, 10 million range) esp. if he has another ridiculous ypc with more receptions.

Regarding the Meachem pick, I just thought that we could have used our pick on say, Alan Branch DT from Michigan.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 08/27/2007 - 9:09pm


Carolina's longsnapper is Jason Kyle. Hes a 240lb 6'2" linebacker. If 340lb Nose Tackle Vince Wilfork can't make a 240lb linebacker "fly backwards like that," he isnt fit to be a nosetackle.

Bruschi and Vrabel may have helped, but the biggest thing was putting a NT and DE up against an undersized long snapper.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/28/2007 - 8:48am

Jarvis and Big Vince don't need help by being pushed. Bruschi and Vrabel seemed to aid the effort by crashing the line so that Carolina couldn't get a doubleteam in the middle.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/28/2007 - 1:03pm


McNabb is signed through like 2012 though, isnt he?

2010 - the last two years of his contract voided out.

When does Kolb's contract run through? 2010 as well.

by Chief (not verified) :: Tue, 08/28/2007 - 1:09pm

McNabb is signed through like 2012 though, isnt he?

2010 - the last two years of his contract voided out.

When does Kolb’s contract run through? 2010 as well.

But aren't McNabb's 2009-10 seasons (and possibly 2008 also) prohibitively expensive under the current contract? In other words, aren't the Eagles likely to renegotiate with (or simply cut) McNabb before then?

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/28/2007 - 6:33pm

#46: My God, no! McNabb's cap numbers are $9.6M, $9.2M, $10M. On the scale of quarterback pay, that's ridiculously cheap.

If they've decided to go with Kolb in 2010 rather than McNabb, they'll probably trade McNabb and extend Kolb in one fell swoop. Kolb's going to be expensive without ever starting a game (barring injury). That's just going to be a nasty fact. He'll still probably be cheaper than a top draft pick, though.

I'm still interested in how they're going to do it. It's not an easy problem.