What Did I See

Harry

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Well I’m going to give Kingsbury the benefit of the doubt as he’s once again likely to be trying to protect his offensive design, so the overall offense was boring. The one exception was the use of Rondale Moore. Moore’s performance alerted every upcoming opponent that if he’s allowed to get the ball in space, he will hurt them. He’s clearly one of those rare players who’s a threat to break it every time he gets the ball. He looked like a major offensive asset. Added to the already existent playmakers in this offense and you have a major upward shift in potency. Now teams must be prepared to assign a special athlete to contain Moore. Designating someone to also spy Murray might be a bridge too far. Trying to handle Moore with their standard defensive sets seems an overwhelming task. If Kingsbury truly is exceptional at play design, he should drive opponents crazy with the Moore/Murray combo.

The running game looked improved, mostly because of Benjamin. I kept pushing for them to give him a chance last year. He would seemed to have offered more long term potential than the players they used. I think Ward has potential also but I’d think Benjamin will hold up better.

The depth issues on the offensive line were a bit of a concern. They appeared to use Monet rather then Garcia as the backup center. I wasn’t impressed. His shotgun snaps were very erratic. I hope Garcia can do better. Too many plays started awkwardly due to snaps that were too high or off to the side. Murray needs continuity to stay secure and avoid injury. The rest of the backups looked questionable against the rush. Let’s hope Hudson can whip them into shape.

Streveler faced several snaps that disrupted the play’s flow. Nonetheless, I’m reasonably sure his passing will never be good enough to allow him to be more than a gimmick. His presence for so many snaps is the only major criticism of Kingsbury that grew out of this game. McCoy looked lightyears better. If Streveler takes up a roster spot it’s too high a price, IMO, for the Cards to pay.

It was nice to see the Cards play a mostly penalty-free game. Even the one called on Hudson was bogus. If they can avoid giving up unnecessary yardage that should help both sides of the ball substantially. I think you can give Hudson some of the credit for the O-lines avoidance. I suspect the discipline he projects maintains the attention of the rest of the line.

Finally, when he was acquired I posted that Dortch was a good acquisition. He’s sound as an special team performer and should help keep Moore from having to undertake the risky assignment of kick returns. Dortch also showed he could be a third down target if needed.

The news of defense wasn’t quite so sterling. Again it’s hard to lay blame when the D-line is a composite of recently released players. The replacement line exhibited a major failure to wrap up when tackling. They did get enough penetration for some play disruption but they failed to seal the deal. My concern with both lines is will there be enough depth to survive a 17 game season.

Most of my other concerns were with the secondary. A few commentators liked the young group. They were particularly enamored of Wilson’s play. He certainly has the athleticism but is woefully lacking in technique. Gowan also displayed excellent speed and tracking skills but lacks ball skills. So even when in position to cover he struggled to prevent completions. I was also concerned about a couple of more experienced players. Whittaker saw the field at the end of last season. He was inconsistent. Still he may have the ability if he can just stay focused. Williams worried me by taking bad angles in coverage. With his experience, he should do better.

On the whole the defense once again struggled to get off the field on third down. Again the first string saw only limited action, so it’s reckless to draw conclusions, but would the positioning be better with the first group? Hopefully we’ll find those situations will be better handled this season.

Overall this looked like a first exhibition game with greatly curtailed first string participation. Hudson looked great. McCoy seemed sound. Moore was exciting. Benjamin looked like part of the future. Prater seemed as good as advertised.

A great deal of work needs to be done before games are played for real. Still I saw nothing that made me think this isn’t a playoff team. Hopefully the next two games will increase my sense of confidence. The best part of the good news might be, so far no big injuries.
 

Garthshort

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Harry, I really liked your writeup. The ONE WORD that jumped out to me was GIMMICK. You used it in describing Chris Streveler. There were so many games last year when the team failed when faced with a third (and fourth) and inches. We need to incorporate the QB sneak into our game plan. And, imo, CS is the guy to run it. Not good enough to start at QB, based upon his passing skills, but good enough to get us a crucial first down, when called upon. JMO.
 

BritCard

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I hope we can make use of Moore's YAC ability (and the rest of the team for that matter). Murray has a tendency to put the ball just slightly off where it needs to be for the receiver to continue his momentum. Always catchable, but they seem to have to slow slightly to get it behind them or reach which takes them off balance.

Especially on throws like slants, crosses, digs etc. He's fine downfield but anything lateral the timing is often off.
 

Garthshort

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Harry, in your opinion, is this possible? Josh Miles came into the game with a pretty good rep, most improved, etc. and finished the game with his rep trashed. I remember the first time he was beat, by a Dallas DL guy, who put on a beautiful spin move. A short time later it was a VG inside move by the DL guy. So, I'm asking if the first move got into Josh's head, and for the rest of the game, his problems were more mental than physical?
 

Harry

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Harry, in your opinion, is this possible? Josh Miles came into the game with a pretty good rep, most improved, etc. and finished the game with his rep trashed. I remember the first time he was beat, by a Dallas DL guy, who put on a beautiful spin move. A short time later it was a VG inside move by the DL guy. So, I'm asking if the first move got into Josh's head, and for the rest of the game, his problems were more mental than physical?
Tough question. Your hypothesis is certainly plausible but I’d have no way of determining his mental state. I know this situation seems unfair but football is unforgiving. It’s not like baseball with 162 games. There are so few games in the NFL that everything is magnified. One game can indeed destroy a career. I wouldn’t make such a rush to judgment, but folded into a marginal body of work, this type of game could be a disaster. You have to be ready to play when given the opportunity.
 

Garthshort

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Harry, thanks. Most of the time when I read/hear that you have to have a short memory, they're talking about cornerbacks.
 
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