Opening Drive Review
Opening Kick Off: Considering the ball was 5 yards deep, our lack of special teams blocking, and his lack of break away speed, it would have made sense for Pilares to kneel. But he decided to take it out and his return ended up at 16. Tolbert was a glaring reason we didn’t get to the 20 as he missed a block. But otherwise, Tolbert did a good job blocking on the day.
1st Play (1st and 10, from our 16; 10 personnel)
Tolbert motioned from out wide on the left side to the backfield on the right side. The play looked like a designed cut back from right to left because Tolbert’s initial movement was to his left. Tolbert laid a nice block with the help of LaFell to set DeAngelo free. He made two defenders miss and picked up yards 14 yards for the 1st. Olsen also did a nice job of blocking downfield.
2nd Play (1st and 10, from our 30; 11 personnel)
LaFell begins the play with him motioning from left to right to keep the defense honest with a fake end around. Handoff was to Stewart who split Hangartner and Silatolu picking up 4 yards. It was the most he could have got considering the situation.
3rd Play (2nd and 6, from our 34; 11 personnel)
Tolbert motions again from outside to behind the line on the right hand side. The LB on Olsen’s side froze on the play-action, giving Olsen the needed step. The play looked somewhat similar to the first play of the game and looked to be a big reason why the LB had to give thought to the run. Although Tolbert was open as well, Newton hit Greg Olsen in stride right as he was getting hit. Olsen was able to sneak behind the LB and right in front of the safety for a 27 yard play. Looking back, it was a well executed and timely play.
[Cam to Olsen for 27 yards]
4th Play (1st and 10, on their 39; 11 personnel)
Tolbert once again motions from outside to behind the line. Designed screen play to Williams where Hangartner and Silatolu, especially, do a good job of blocking downfield. LaFell gets caught with a hold but I like the his mentality that even when you are not involved in a play you still have a job to do. Got a bit lucky because he definitely held several yards before the 21 where it would have put us in worse shape than 1st and 2.
5th Play (1st and 2, on their 31; 10 personnel)
Olsen motions from out wide to behind the line. Run with Stewart is to the the right side but Bell gets pushed back so much that his man just backs off of Bell and wraps up Stewart for a loss of a foot of so.
6th Play (2nd and 2, on their 31; 11 personnel)
Somewhat of a read-option but I doubt the staff wants Cam to be running too much in preseason. Hangartner and to an extent Silatolu messed up on this play. Hangartner was pulling right to left but allowed Starks to run right in front of him. He might have expected Stewart to be able to out run him but he was left in no man’s land and didn’t have a positive affect on this play. I do think Silatolu’s could have made it more difficult for Starks off the snap. He basically brushed him aside and moved on to the next level without much contact. Stewart was swarmed in the backfield for a loss of 1 all because of a misstep on the OLs part.
7th Play (3rd and 3 from just beyond their 31; 10 personnel)
This was basically a designed pick play where Smith on the outside comes to the inside and sits and LaFell comes directly behind Smith running their respective defenders together. The throw is perfect if LaFell was ready but he hadn’t quite turned his head yet. If the ball had a bit more loft it likely would have been caught on his back shoulder. I think LaFell is getting too much heat for this play but I am not going to say it’s Cam’s fault either. It was a collective miscommunication but could have been avoided if LaFell was looking a second earlier or if the ball had more touch.
8th Play (4th and 3)
Medlock nails a 49 yard field goal with distance to spare.
This was a very efficient drive for the most part and you really got to see how Chud thinks. I think we will see plenty of motioning this year especially out of Tolbert and LaFell. The motioning will get the defense moving and hopefully make them over think. This was evident on the pass to Olsen and was my favorite play of the drive.
It hurt that we couldn’t pick up 2 yards in 3 plays but that will come with time and fine tuning. It’s just the smallest of things that can change the play’s outcome.
More positives will be taken away from this drive but it deserved 7 points. Just need to clean up some things so we can maximize our opportunity.
Positives to take away
Chud’s play calling, Cam’s passing, OL pass blocking, Tolbert’s blocking, Olsen’s overall play
Things to improve on
OL communication, LaFell’s timing