Late to the plate with 1st impressions
Posted 13 August 2010 - 04:39 PM
I've gone over a few other impressions and there are quite a few good insights. Got some overlap of course, but there are some things I don't agree with.
What gives me hope more than anything is that seeing what hurt our team the most is mental mistakes... most of them simple. These are correctable and can reap immediate results in the win column for us.
I know Beason was playing the Will LB but I still expected better from him from a mental standpoint. There were more than a few occassions that he was caught out of position and we paid for it. I think if the field had been dry, he would have been able to recover, but with such a vanilla scheme being run by Baltimore last night, I got the impression that he was overthinking the position. I wouldn't be surprised if Conner is given the "radio in" helmet by the time the season begins if things don't pick up.
I think much of the same assessment could have been made with our defensive secondary during the course of this game. Too often, they were out of position either by way of losing their footing or not picking up the play call. Captain Munnerlyn and CJ Wilson come to mind first. They were getting abused by the savvy of the experienced WR corps of Baltimore.
The obvious mental mistakes with the first team came from the least likely of places for me. To see Jordan Gross amass the penalties that he did was surprising to me. His mental lapses cost us big time in the momentum department. I might have thought perhaps the snap count was still new, but the rest of the Oline seemed solid enough save for a single occassion when the 2nd string seemed to be on a different page than Clausen. Again, this is immediately correctable, and I expect that this will be a non-issue by the time the regular season starts.
Punt returns. I would like to see AE on kickoff returns to see just what he can do with more of an open field, but there were a couple of occassions where he had his opportunity with fielding punts. With the field being wet, he would have been better off using the "straight up the gut after a single cut" approach. Instead, I saw him trying to use his quickness to try and elude defenders when he didn't have the traction to make it happen. That said, he looked like a rookie with respect to his lack of decision-making. Again, if the field were dry, he would likely have had more use of his athleticism, but we will have to wait another day to see how that pans out.
Also, I don't see the sky as falling regarding the WR situation. I was so sick of seeing the box score with a total of 3 or 4 guys on the WR receptions list for a game. This was a common thing to see with Delhomme in under center. Last night, see no less than 7 of our guys get targeted before the first half was up was beautiful. Yet again, I saw a number of our guys ending up out of position because they couldn't plant effectively due to the wet turf... especially the smaller & lighter guys. The heavier TEs showed better prowess in their routes. I am inclined to think that whatever shortcomings we have from our WR corps in the short-term will be overcome by our backfield and TE sets. Hence, I am not concerned in the least. The only truly glaring missed opportunity came at the hands of LaFell. More than anything, what you want to see from a WR is the attitude that when the ball is in the air, it BELONGS TO THEM. You would think that hanging around Smitty would rub off on him, but that endzone drop leaves me to wonder. The rest of the receivers showed exactly that type of attitude to me.
Fiametta. Man, I love this guy. I was very sore at losing Hoover in the off-season, but the front office made the right decision here. This guy is absolutely going to be clutch for us this season. Until this morning, I was thinking of donning a Hardy jersey, but I am reconsidering having seen his performance last night.
Speaking of Hardy, he absolutely made the most of his chances last night. What I like most about him aside from his incredible motor is that uncanny knack to see the QB in the backfield and just seem to know if the guy is stepping up into the pocket or getting flushed out. The impression I got when watching Peppers is that he stayed home most of the time to "push" a QB in the arms of our other linemen, but Hardy just flat out goes and gets him. In fact, the range of moves, line-ups, and uses of leverage that I saw from this guy makes me wonder just where his weaknesses are. I can't wait to see him get work with the first team to see if this translates. So far, from what I've seen, it absolutely will.
The "other" key defensive pickup impressed last night as well. Norwood showed some serious push on the heavier linemen that was surprising to me. I will have to go back and review the game footage again, but what glimpses I remember leads me to believe that he has a great feel for abusing players that don't have a good sense of footwork and balance. He seems to get his hats to commit to one direction and then make them pay for it. I can definitely see Meeks using Norwood as an effective Joker-type player in the dime-packages during the regular season. I am anxious to see what else this kid can do against starter-quality guys that are sure to not be as easily caught off-balance.
Clausen. I have been reserving judgement on this kid until I saw the bullets fly for him. I came out impressed. It is cliche, but true to say that the game "did not look too big for him" out there. What is most exciting about this kid is just how well he seems to understand what the defenses are showing as well as what they are trying to hide. For a rookie, this is simply something you don't see in their first game-time action in the NFL. The game seemed a touch fast for him at times, but the anticipation and vision were LIGHT YEARS beyond what I've seen from the vast majority of promising rookie QBs out there. I would like to see a tighter spiral and better touch on his passes, but the accuracy is spot on. From a guy that was skeptical about seeing this kid as the second coming, I can now see what the hype was about. With Norwood and Hardy, this alone may prove to be among the Panthers' best draft classes in its history. That said, I want this kid to spend the year on the bench to give him time to absorb the game, but a year may be all he needs to get a storied career under way.
Lastly, I am feeling much better about the interior of the D-Line after seeing what they had to offer last night. Save for a couple of downs, these guys really shored up the middle running lanes and forced the plays to the edges when Baltimore CLEARLY wanted to jam it down our throats. What may have been deemed a weakness by us all may actually be a strength by the time this season is done.
All in all, the bad spots that I saw for this team in pre-season game number 1 are all mental mistakes that can be easily remedied. Couple that with a glaring absence of starters in JStew, Smitty, Otah, and Gamble and I am VERY anxious to see what a full compliment of starters will do to the opposition. Rightfully so, Baltimore is being touted as a SB contender this year, and this performance leads me to believe that our team firmly belongs in this class. A bold statement to be sure, but one I am confident in making now. Barring injury, I think our guys are poised to seriously shock the NFL this year.
Posted 13 August 2010 - 04:52 PM
Man dont hate on this guy. He took time to write his opinion. I agree with a lot of it too.
Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:02 PM
First in line with a pop-shot without even the courtesy of reading I see
Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:07 PM
Is there a more appropriate post for this forum?
Posted 13 August 2010 - 05:35 PM
football is like heroin, once you get a taste, you gotta have more!!!
Posted 13 August 2010 - 06:13 PM
Posted 13 August 2010 - 06:24 PM
Posted 13 August 2010 - 06:29 PM
Also, I don't see the sky as falling regarding the WR situation. I was so sick of seeing the box score with a total of 3 or 4 guys on the WR receptions list for a game. This was a common thing to see with Delhomme in under center. Last night, see no less than 7 of our guys get targeted before the first half was up was beautiful.
When was the last time we had more than 4 receivers even active on gameday?
Posted 14 August 2010 - 01:36 AM
When was the last time we had more than 4 receivers even active on gameday?
okay mis print. TEs, RBs, and FBs getting in on the passing game. With Jake Delhomme, it was Smith and 2 or 3 other guys that seemed to be targeted every week. With Moore, he seems to actually utilize the entire field of play rather than force it into triple coverage to Smth