Standard disclaimer: This was the first preseason game and not any reason to panic by any means. It is also not a game where you place a ton of value on what someone does in the 3rd or 4th quarters. However, some good and bad things came out of the game so let’s get to it!
Chris Johnson is still giving fans reason to be concerned. He seems more decisive and willing to take contact this year but he doesn’t seem able to hit the seams and find the holes. He dropped a couple of passes that could have led to big gains too. I know it’s preseason and I know they weren’t playing against the 1’s but he definitely got outplayed by Javon Ringer, Herb Donaldson and Darius Reynaud.
Speaking of Darius Reynaud, wow did that guy look explosive last night. Kinda reminds you of a certain someone back when he showed some gears huh? I definitely want to see him play more against 1’s and 2’s. Let’s see what he can do against them before we crown him. He was definitely the highlight of our special teams last night.
I like our wide receiver corp. Nate Washington, despite the bobble of the first Hasselbeck pass, looks primed for a great year. He has come into his own and it has been a pleasure watching it happen. Damien Williams has played very well and appears to poised for an excellent year. Marc Mariani is getting better but he might be a numbers casualty. Rookie Kendall Wright looks to be as good as advertised. Once he gets over the rookie hurdle he could be a difference maker too.
Jared Cook has also finally come into his own. It’s not a stretch to think he might be our most productive receiver this year. That guy is a beast and if he can get into a rhythm with his QB he will be hard to stop.Taylor Thompson learned a valuable lesson about protecting the ball with that takeaway, but he came back and made plays and that is pretty much all you can ask. The guy is big, fast and agile. He is trying to get reaclimated to the tight end position and when he does look out. He can be a difference maker.
I am concerned about our defensive line. Kamerion Wimberly looks good. I’m not sure why Karl Klug didn’t start the game but he picked up right where he left off once he got in there. Derrick Morgan got absolutely manhandled last night and that is frightening. I’m not sure why Shaun Smith isn’t playing very much. Jurrell Casey is a solid player and I like what I see from him.
As for the linebackers well Colin McCarthy is the man and that is all. He was everywhere last night and is definitely the difference maker on our defense. Akeem Ayers played well but I definitely think he can play better. So often he is close to making or breaking a play. I wonder how much game tape he watches and how well he prepares for games and I’m not questioning his work ethic because I think it’s excellent. I just think once he gets more familiar with the pro game he will just react and not think too much.
Rookie linebacker Zach Brown looks to be as fast as advertised and has good coverage skills. He gets out of place and missed an open field tackle last night. Having said that he does seem to have good awareness and hopefully he will only get better. He needs to work on fundamentals.
I love our secondary. Alterraun Verner is poised for a breakout season and Jason McCourty continues to play well. Safeties Jordan Babineaux and Mike Griffin appear to be communicating well and look comfortable playing together. Second year man Tommie Campbell shows flashes and is just going to get better with time and experience. Robert Johnson played well for the most part last night too.
Finally, the quarterback competition pretty much went like I expected. Matt Hasselbeck played well and his numbers and production would be better if not for the Nate Washington bobble that led to an interception and Chris Johnson’s drops. Still, it’s a hard not to see the offense is just more dynamic when Jake Locker is under center.
I have written about this before http://breatheifyoulovefootball.blogspot.com/ and I will say it again. Time to go ahead and make the decision you know you are going to make. Put Jake Locker under center and let the man play. I know the schedule is brutal but what in this guy’s makeup makes you think he is less than capable of handling the job? Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Please feel free to post any comments or suggestions below. Who did YOU think deserves mention?