Re: Final tune up observations
posted at 8/29/2014 6:59 PM EDT
In response to wozzy's comment:
We saw the Gunts first team vs our 2nd, 3rd and 4th stringers so while I wouldn't say our OLine played amazing they were going against Jonathan Hankins and some solid DT's. The best combination along the interior that I saw was a little later in the game and it was easy to spot; 67, 68 and 69 put together some good plays and got some push in the middle. James White did not follow his blocks or do much of anything with it. Conversely Barker, Devey, Stork and Fleming were pretty mediocre to bad.
Kline looked pretty good, especially in the screen and run game but got smoked by a pass rusher late when the game was on the line. Halapio is the most impressive in the run game, he gets a surge and usually ends up double teamed or into the defensive backfield, Cave provided some good center play but has to work on his long snapping in shotgun, he was throwing some balls at Gyros ankles. I think if we had seen more Gray and less White the running game would have looked better, especially early in the game. Most important for the hand wringers regarding Mankins departure is know that Cannon, Wendell and Connolly weren't playing, those are the guys who will man the middle until these kids are ready.
Beauharnis is easily our 4th best linebacker, I don't understand the criticism, he leads THE ENTIRE NFL in preseason tackles and has looked very solid, the reason we cut Anderson.
Morris hopefully isn't hurt bad, he walked off on his own two legs so let's hope not because he was also flying around.
Gyro played well but has to work on his touch to smaller receivers, he overthrew them all. Dobson was our best player out there, Boyce doesn't know the playbook which has been a talent killer, White is ONLY a third down back at best.
Moore played well at DT late in the game but didn't seem quick enough at end to shake an offensive tackle, Buchanon got pressure when he played, Bequette for all his detractors played very well last night, the guy plays on every special teams unit, that is why he is on the roster and Will Smith isn't. The secondary played well, Browner is a thumper, Dennard if healthy starts every game opposite Revis unless we play a huge WR and BB puts Browner in to match up with him, Harmon played McCourty's free safety role tonight which left Nate Ebner at SS and he was very solid, Tavon Wilson also made some strong plays. Swanson a back end corner played very well for a series late, had good coverage than had a strip and recovered the fumble, he may end up on the practice squad.
This is a very good team, playing the Gunts starters to a stand still at half and only losing by a field goal with a bunch of no namers on the field by the 4th quarter is good enough for me.
The one bad note on Kline was watching him get beat cleanly on an INSIDE pass rush move by a scrub DT...that simply cannot happen ever. He clearly did not have a good game but he'll be fine. The kid is a strong tough guy, a skilled technical lineman and a good teammate. The hardest part of a football team to put together is the offensive line and the timing and familiarity it takes to perfect the running game. It will gel as the season moves forward. Even losing one man on a permanent basis (Mankins) takes weeks of coordination to overcome and produce previous results.
I was not impressed with the team's running game but that will improve. White needs to keep improving and I think he will and the O line's improving coordination will help him and the other backs. The kid sure can catch a football, that's for sure so he's a lock for major playing time this season.
Dobson looked really good for someone just getting his "feet" wet (pun intended). He flashed the skills we were told he had when they drafted him. When he needed to get space on DB's he got it and nearly always seemed to get separation. I just hope his foot holds up.
I did not think Boyce looked that bad but waiting until the last pre-season game to show hustle is weak for a veteran who should know better. After watching him be lackadaisical through this pre-season schedule and practices I will not be surprised to see him be cut. The kid has physical talent but you have to wonder where his cranium is with all the camp competition that has been happening with this team. This team's receivers have been pretty decent so far, not the NFL's best grouping, but if they stay healthy they can win this team a SB. Wright can sure catch the football - he's going to be a good pick-up.
The TE position is weak if Gronk has hiccups this season and non existent when he's out, like now. Hopefully someone pops up on the waiver wire who can help because it's obvious that Wright really isn't a TE but a tall and strong WR with acceptable, not great, speed.
After a check of SI's top 40 draft prospects for 2015 it's clear that the nature of linebacking has evolved into pass coverage skills first and run stuffing second for interior LB's. None listed are more than 240 lbs. and most are in the 220-230 lb. range with great quickness and speed. Even OLB's for the 3-4 are light in comparison to, say, 5 years ago. Times, and the game, have changed.