Saturday, August 21, 2010

Preseason Football and Preseason Blogging

Time to get back into blogging training camp! Some quick notes from the last couple of games, nationally aired.

Pats vs. Falcons
  • If you're the Pats, you've got to love the way the offensive skill players are looking right now. They look like they're a solid 4 deep for wideouts plus the TEs. Moss looks fast and like he's going to get after it. Good sign for August. It's easy to forget Moss was playing with a pretty messed up shoulder for most of last season.
  • It's remarkable that Welker is already back from a complete knee blow-out about 7 months ago. He looks to be pretty well back in form, so he'll probably be ready to roll by Week 1. Having him back is nice, although they were realistically in a much better position to compensate for him missing time than they were last year in the Baltimore playoff game. Now they've got Tate and a more prepared Edelman, so they look much deeper.
  • The rookies and second year players really seem to be ready to play in a hurry. Pat Chung looks like he's really going to be a ball player at safety after not playing much as a rookie. He's a hitter but doesn't have to play out of control (like McGowan always did). Vollmer similarly looks like he's going to make a big leap. He's better on the run than the pass, but he has the feet to improve on that. He was cleaning house on the right side the other night against a pretty good line.
  • The rookie tight ends really look great for NE. Hernandez is going to be a playmaker for them and can create some matchup problems over the middle. I like Gronkowski overall, even though he's more of a traditional big TE. Hernandez only really blocks downfield, which is good, but not on 4th and 1. Gronkowski can move some peeps.
  • The problem for the Pats, like we already basically knew, is going to be in the defensive front 7. With Warren out and Seymour never really replaced, it's going to be a band-aid situation all year long. Brace looked decent, but he's got a long way to go. Same thing for the pass rush. It's a little up in the air until Burgess gets more in the loop and Cunningham gets back on the field. They can compensate against the run with the MLBs (Spikes especially--that dude is a thumper) but they lose a little coverage range with those two.
  • Count me in for the McCourty fan club. He looked tough out there and seems ready to rush in against the run. He's already in the top 3 for the corners and is going to get a lot of time with Bodden and Butler.
  • I'm not sure how much I like the Falcons. This looks like an 8-8 team to me. It just does. They seem to be pretty good in a few spots, but not great at anything.
  • That defense is just not physical at all. They're clearly built to beat the Saints (fine), but I don't see how they're going to match up with anyone trying to run the ball.
  • Roddy White is solid, but the rest of the receivers are middle of the road guys on their best day. I'm not sold on Turner as being more than a grinder type. He'll get 100 yards, but it'll take 25 carries and he isn't much of a receiver.
Eagles vs. Bengals
  • Really a pretty lackluster showing for the Eagles.
  • The Eagles interior O-Line seems to be comprised of guys who shouldn't be in the league. They got worked over pretty well last night, and I don't see how this is going to improve. You can scheme help to the ends (TEs, RBs on fakes, etc.), but if you've got constant penetration in the A-gap because your center and guards shouldn't be playing on Sundays, it's damn near impossible to sustain success. Keep in mind that for all the trouble Philly had blocking, Cincy's two starting DEs didn't even play. Yikes.
  • I like Philly's skill players, but they're not an overwhelming bunch. Kolb is a solid thrower but doesn't wow me right now. And I'm just not sure that any of the receivers other than DeSean Jackson are really better than average players right now. Vick looked pretty erratic, but they don't need him to throw in real games, so it's not a big concern.
  • Can the Bengals really believe that Andre Smith is ever going to be a legit NFL tackle? That guy is terrrrrrible right now, and looks to be about 30 pounds overweight. He looks a legit 375. We're about a season from him getting cut next September.
  • Overall I like the Bengals more than I expected (other than the helmets--I've always love the helmets. Those things are the effing jam.) They can run the ball, they've improved their talent level at the WR and TE position, and the defense still seems solid. TO looked better than I remembered from any point last year, although playing with that crappy Buffalo team will pretty much stifle any chance to make plays (See: Evans, Lee).
  • The defense still should remain tough for the Bengals. The corners are both ball players, so they can overcompensate against the run. Good unit. They'll really be helped having Odom back in there after his injury last year.

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