News of the Game - Washington

Harry

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In the end the result was too familiar. Sadly after a number of great individual efforts, I thought the offensive coaching failed, costing the game to be lost. Incredibly the Cards actually could have, maybe should have, won this game. Of course draft pick-wise it’s good they lost

The Good News

This team played hard. They played harder than they’ve played in years. They were ready for the game. The defense played beyond their believed ability.

Gardeck once again showed he can be an impact player. Despite the stupid penalty, White played a good game. K’Von Wallace looked like a solid depth acquisition for a team that was thin at Safety.

Collins had a nice game intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble. He played a variety of roles and while he may never live up to where he was picked, his versatility should be useful. Dimukeje made a couple of nice contributions.

For the most part the running game suffered from the lack of holes and no second level blocks. Despite this I though Connor ran well. He displayed good power and ball security. Sadly the total lack of a breakaway running threat allows the defense to be more aggressive in pursuit.

The blitzing design looked good. They benefitted from not exposing their schemes in the preseason. In fact overall they did a good job of pressuring the passer, except for controlling the escape lanes. The running plays showed decent design, though not overly creative except the one play that worked despite 2 offensive players running into each other in the backfield. Oddly that might be worth repeating as it seemingly confused the defense or they stopped to laugh. On the whole the game was the opposite of what I expected; the defense outplayed the offense.

There were a few other bright spots on offense. They ran a nice wheel route. Aside from a dumb penalty (big aside) McBride showed he can be a deeper threat in this offense than Ertz whose range appears closer to 5 yards. Brown showed he could be a possession receiver, but his talent to stretch the field was wasted.

The Bad New

This team has a very small margin for error. They exceeded it. If you’d hoped for a disciplined team with no stupid penalties, that lasted one defensive drive. Gannon’s vaunted personal accountability lasted only 2 defensive series when White, his key acquisition, took out the QB with a variety of possible penalties. Thompson apparently was so impressed he had to try it. It’s fair to say you don’t want to discourage hard hits but a team has to play smart; late hits on a QB are simply inexcusable. The total amount of penalties was crippling. I’ll be curious to see if there are any public consequences.

Marco Wilson, who I’ve complained since he arrived that he gives too much cushion, showed why he’s limited. His receiver ran right by him on a fly route. Wilson then corrected by running over the receiver, committing a 37 yard penalty. If he can’t cover a route with no moves, it’s going to be a long year. The Cards have to give these CBs help over the top. The secondary as a whole was weak. Thompson dropped 2 potential interceptions, either of which could have won the game. He played hard but not as effectively as usual. In the Red Zone playing man, the players were so focused on their guy they ignored how the play was developing. They’re still chasing receivers after the QB has crossed the line.

On offense the touted running game focused offense never materialized. The OL couldn’t open holes in the preseason and they still can’t. They appeared to be all in on tanking. It seems deep exchanges have replaced passes in the flat as this year’s Albatross. Why does every team keep running things that don’t work; stubbornness?

On the whole playing calling was terrible. One play said it all. On the Cards’ final drive with the clocked stopped at 2:02, it was second and one, essentially a gifted play. This was the perfect time to throw fairly deep in the middle. They had a free clock stoppage. Instead they ran to get the first down. This coach should not be calling plays. This is a huge concern. They played not to lose on offense and that only works for some heavy favored teams. They also had too many bonehead penalties that stalled drives.

I had over 100 notes on this game. Almost half were on Dobbs and how the coaching staff viewed him. Frankly, if he wasn’t ready to throw deep, he wasn’t ready to start. You can’t win playing a 15 yard field. Dobbs history of being inaccurate maintained. His high completion percentage was comprised mostly of passes that were so short interception potential was virtually nonexistent.

I know I like Tune! Feel free to fire away at me. One of the reasons was ball placement on his throws. Yes, Ertz should have caught the potential TD pass; however, the ball was very high and Ertz is not a leaper. Continuously ball placement was poor. It’s fine to say Dobbs didn’t know the receivers, that has little to do with how tall a receiver is. Dobbs continuously threw high. He didn’t show any veteran-like experience or poise. I saw no evidence he ever used progressions, frequently ignoring open receivers. I have to wonder how good he is at seeing the whole field.

Dobbs has a history of poor ball security. He cost Tennessee a trip to the playoffs. He cost the Cards a good chance at winning this this game. He also wasn’t the runner we were told he would be. On several plays I kept thinking Murray would have escaped that pressure, especially if he learns to step forward. No offense works with a porous OL, but I think this offense has the potential to work for Murray if the line play can be corrected. Also notable was throwing against a blitz. Dobbs was off target by 5 yards. If he’d hit the receiver, maybe 6 points. One of the things that worried me was when the offense was not on the field Dobbs sat alone on the bench; very Murray-esque. Where was the coach with a tablet reviewing the defensive alignment? Surely that mistake won’t be the new pattern.

While the defense played well overall, they were not without issues. The penalties stood out, but the DL got pushed around too often, clearly lacking an anchor in the middle. Strong, oddly, looked especially weak. The heavily used zone passing defense was slow to adjust when penetrated. It was so bad on one pass the ball was bobbled a couple of times but still caught well before contact. Woods looked good picking up TEs on most plays. Pass rushers did not defend their lanes, which allowed the QB to escape with ease. This was compounded by poor efforts at tackling Howell.

The Washington passing game targeted the middle of the field, as expected, but the Cards didn’t condense the zone to clog up the middle. When playing man, the secondary seemed totally confused by crossing routes. Then there was that key 3rd down when the defense was jumping around when the ball was snapped, unsure of who should be where.

I also thought the 3 man rush tactic was wholly unsuccessful. Putting another player in the secondary was not a substitute for pressuring the passer.

On offense I wasn’t impressed with the coaching. Simply put, the OL was terrible. Hernandez was a turnstile. Humphries added his typical deadly penalty. Johnson looked like a rookie. Froholdt was vulnerable to the rush and personally killed a drive with a silly penalty. He is not an NFL starting center. There was no line push in the middle. What do they like about him?

Also the Cards’ offense exhibited 2 familiar concerns. They can’t execute a screen play and they have no clue how to run a 2 minute drill. Some of the latter was because Dobbs was simply terrible. They clearly didn’t trust him to throw against a defense expecting passes. You don’t go 80 yards with 4 yard throws in bounds.

My only complaint about the special teams was poor tackling.

Coaching overall was good on defense and special teams. The OC seemed to lack self confidence and the grit to be aggressive when called to attack. It was weak when they played so conservative. It was fatal on the last drive. This was the biggest takeaway that the offense showed clear coaching inexperience and maybe courage. They can’t permit that when Murray returns.

This Washington team was asking to be put out of their misery. At times it was hard to tell which team was tanking. Their OL played atrociously. On the other hand their RBs ran very hard, challenging Cards’ physicality. They won mostly because of timid play from the Cards’ offense. If the Cards had seized their opportunities this game was theirs. In the end, the team was better than expected. This gives real hope Gannon is the guy. Ossenfort had some acquisitions show up and I blame the coaching staff for the Dobbs deal, so maybe. If they can’t do more on offense, the OC is not the guy.

BTW is this too much stuff?
 

BullheadCardFan

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Good write up Harry and you pointed out a lot of what we most of us saw

Lot's of work to do for this coaching staff

So many questions to be answered
 

slanidrac16

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No . Not too much stuff ,Harry!

Sometimes when we watch a game we ,as fans, forget there are 11 guys on the other side of the line of scrimmage. When a play doesn’t work, it was a dumb call. We forget the Wr that dropped a second down pass changed the situation from 3rd and 1 to 3rd and 10.

In spite of the “ short comings” this is a game we SHOULD have won. I’m going to give our OC a break here. As Harry pointed out, our o-line is sub par. Our Qb is sub par and even with that we were in the game. Until our sub par QB coughed the ball up twice. I was really bothered by Dobbs lack of pocket awareness and now his lack of accuracy. I don’t see a Qb change very soon unless an injury forces a change. I’m not hoping for that. I would much rather our coach make the change.

Back to our OC. He is left with trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. The offense show a little spark here and there in spite of Dobbs, not because of him.
 

BritCard

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Massively disagree on Froholdt and the OL as a whole. No push? Conner had 4.4 YPA.

I think a bunch of people owe Froholdt an apology. There was like a 20 page thread trashing him and the move. Through pre season and yesterday he's been super solid.
 

Stout

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I think a bunch of people owe Froholdt an apology. There was like a 20 page thread trashing him and the move. Through pre season and yesterday he's been super solid.
You're hanging your hat on yesterday? Didn't I read he had a drive-ending penalty, got no push in the middle, and did us no favors in the pass game? He didn't look great in the eye test either and certainly didn't cover himself in glory. Everything I've read has been negative on him--from other board members--but you're shooting for crow eating time now?

Enjoy how the D played and bask in the positivity coming from some of us Darksiders. That's my suggestion. It's going to be a long, bumpy season. Way to fail on a cheap call out though :thumbup:
 

BritCard

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You're hanging your hat on yesterday? Didn't I read he had a drive-ending penalty, got no push in the middle, and did us no favors in the pass game? He didn't look great in the eye test either and certainly didn't cover himself in glory. Everything I've read has been negative on him--from other board members--but you're shooting for crow eating time now?

Enjoy how the D played and bask in the positivity coming from some of us Darksiders. That's my suggestion. It's going to be a long, bumpy season. Way to fail on a cheap call out though :thumbup:

Drive Killer :biglaugh:

His only penalty was an ineligible man downfield on 2nd and 8 on our own 18 that negated a 4 yard pass. Which became a 2nd and 13. Hardly a drive killer. And it was just at the start of Q2.

And he was about a yard down. Not great, but hardly unheard of.
 

Chopper0080

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Massively disagree on Froholdt and the OL as a whole. No push? Conner had 4.4 YPA.

I think a bunch of people owe Froholdt an apology. There was like a 20 page thread trashing him and the move. Through pre season and yesterday he's been super solid.
Don't look at the PFF grades. :)
 

BritCard

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Strongly disagree on Marco Wilson too.

Yes, he PI was dumb but I saw a tonne of those kind of PI calls yesterday.

He covered McLaurin all game and gave up 2 catches for 36 yards. He had one very nice PBU. And he tackled really well vs the run.
 

cardcrazy

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Sounds like you’re mostly unhappy with what you saw.
I will say the defense was way better than I predicted. The offense was about what I thought it would be. But what do you expect with the likes of Dobbs and the first game of the season. It’s near impossible to come in 17 days before game time and perform well.
You can bet he’ll start next week too. Tune won’t see the field unless things get really bad.
Also, I can’t get past this loose games to get a higher draft pick theory. I don’t believe for a second that there’s an underlying plan to tank and that apparently the coaches/players are not aware or on a different page.
 

ASUCHRIS

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People stumped non-stop around here for Kliff. In watching an actual football coach yesterday, you realize how delusional people were about Kliff and the total lack of discipline and accountability surrounding the team.

Watching the Manziel doc made it even more clear - Kliff has no interest in being a leader or doing anything other than enabling. I'm really hoping an actual leader can push Kyler to the greatness that is inside.
 

az jam

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Excellent analysis, Harry. Lots to absorb for a first game. Looks like Dobbs is the starter gong forward. Would like to see Tune in there for a couple of series. Just to mix things up a bit. Main concern I have though is the OL. That has to improve or Kyler will be killed when he returns.
 

TheCardFan

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Drive Killer :biglaugh:

His only penalty was an ineligible man downfield on 2nd and 8 on our own 18 that negated a 4 yard pass. Which became a 2nd and 13. Hardly a drive killer. And it was just at the start of Q2.

And he was about a yard down. Not great, but hardly unheard of.
Then what is your definition of drive killer?

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dreamcastrocks

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Then what is your definition of drive killer?

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Holding, offensive PI, personal fouls etc. can be a drive killer for sure. A 5 yard illegal man down field, not so much.

It's not like we were moving down the field this game though and that penalty stalled us. Our offense and our offensive play calling were the drive killers yesterday.
 

cardpa

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I did not see the game. I did review the play by play on ESPN and it seemed that there was no trust in Dobbs throwing deeper passes for the most part. I say this based on some of the down and distances I read based on the play called for that down. I believe there was a 2nd and 17 situation and the play called was a run by Connors who gained 6 yards so they were left with a 3rd and 11. Not sure how you call a run by Connors in that situation and expect to get into a reasonable 3rd down distance running Connors when you have 17 yards to go.

Very conservative game plan. Out of 30 pass attempts, Ertz (10) McBride (2) and Connor (5) were targeted 17 times. Only 13 passes with 8 catches for the WRs. Not what you would call an open or explosive offense.
 

Proximo

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People stumped non-stop around here for Kliff. In watching an actual football coach yesterday, you realize how delusional people were about Kliff and the total lack of discipline and accountability surrounding the team.

Watching the Manziel doc made it even more clear - Kliff has no interest in being a leader or doing anything other than enabling. I'm really hoping an actual leader can push Kyler to the greatness that is inside.
Yep. I am far more sure Kliff was a bad coach now than ever before.

I am excited to see how Kyler performs.
 

Stout

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RON_IN_OC

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And what's a good grade supposed to be? Man, that's ugly.
Not 100% sure, but I'd guess that Hernandez's grade is somewhere in the above average range. If the rest of the dudes can just grade out in the 60's, the line is probably functionally average and will help out a ton.
 
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