Who had us going 14-2 or better? I did not see that even from the biggest homers. I did not even go that far. I usually said 9-7 or 10-6. What did you think? And what do you think now?
To be honest, I really thought we would make the playoffs this year. I thought that we would go 1-3, 2-2, 3-1, 3-1 over the four quarters. So am I right on target? Is it happening just like I thought it would happen. In a word, NO!
I thought our win would be opening night against Tampa. I did not expect New Orleans to be this bad, nor Atlanta this good. I hoped we could pull out the Giants or Saints games, but this early in the season, I did not count on it.
We are getting better this year at a few roles. Kuechly is getting better. Silatolu is as well. Alexander is taking steps. Edwards, Edwards, Hardy, and TD all make our team better than we were last year (at their roles).
So what is the problem? Beason, Fua, Godfrey, and Nakamura are not tackling. We can not keep Edwards at NT every down, so when these four are not tackling, anyone can run straight up the middle. Then, Godfrey, Norman, Beason, and Nakamura are not covering well. That is far too many guys to mask with defensive play calling or with 28 points per game on offense (when the offense is on).
What is the other problem? Turnovers. Smitty is the undisputed team leader. There is no excuse for that fumble against Atlanta. Cam's interceptions are expected. I can live with them as they are getting better slowly, but he can not fumble when he is running the ball. Can not!
Is anything else wrong? Yes! The coaching does not have our team ready for game situations. I think that game plans, play calling, substitutions and packages are fine. We are getting players set up for the big play. The problem is that certain situations require that every player on the field knows exactly what to do.
If you have the other team facing 60 seconds left, 99 yards from the endzone, and no time outs, you force them to the middle of the field. Anything less than 20 yards inbounds, and you win the game. How can our secondary not know that?
If a player gets credit for a reception that can be challenged, you get to the line a snap the ball. My 7 year old daughter was screaming at the TV at Cam to snap the ball.
The bottom line, to me, is that the problem lies more with the big names on the team. Smitty and Beason for their play. Cam and BAMF for not having their head in the game. Obviously, Nakamura and Norman are the weakest links, but the four leaders are the men that I am looking to get us there, not a 5th round rookie and a cheap free agent.
Am I all doom and gloom? No. I mentioned the players/positions that I think are improvements. We may get Neblett back. We may get Gettis. The O Line gets stronger as the year goes by every year. Beason may get better as the season goes on if his issues are more his injury as we all think (hope).
We can still go 2-2 then 3-1 then 4-0 for 10 wins. What do you think?