I read this week's Monday Morning Optimist and it made me feel a bit pessimistic. So, here is my attempt at looking at the bright side of things after a hard-to-watch loss to the Eagles.
1. The Eagles marched it up and down the field against us racking up over 400 yards. But they only scored 14 points. We are showing signs of being a ball-hawking, turnover-creating, opportunistic defense in 2013.
2. I feel more confident than I have in years that we will have 3 quality WR's on our roster throughout the 2013 campaign. Whoever wins the #3 will be a good talent this year, and the the #4 should be able to step up as well in case of injury. While I am on the David Gettis bandwagon (he just looks special out there to me, like a Burress who thrives over the middle), whoever beats him out for the #3 will have to be a quality receiver.
3. Our kick returns have been a weakness on this team for a long time, save for one anomaly by the Kealoha warrior. Again, whether it is Adams, Ginn, or Barner, expect some big plays in the return game this year.
4. Gano kicked some very straight FG's last night. We know he will be a great asset in making our opponents start at the 20. Seeing an accurate Field Goal stroke was reason for some optimism.
5. We have tremendous depth at RB. I think any of our backups (Barner, Smith and Poole) would be just fine filling in this year. Granted they won't all make the 53, but if we can keep one and stash another on the practice squad, we are protected against a run on RB injuries, and we all know there are times when this is a big deal.
6. I believe there is no reason to have any concern about who our backup QB is, or how well he looks in preseason. Why? Because I believe Cam Newton is the antithesis of an injury-prone QB. Similar to the Mannings, Brady, Brees and Rodgers, it is highly unlikely our backup QB will play any significance as long as #1 is our #1 QB. Physically, he is a beast.
7. While I share the concern about our O-line, who knows? In 2 weeks we may very well pick up a couple of very solid offensive linemen and get a healthy Kugbila in the mix, so we just might get better.
8. Cam plays better in games that count than in games that don't. And, the limiting of the read option this year will make a real difference in the fourth quarter, as he will not be as exhausted from being hit on a vast majority of the snaps, running and passing. The read option is a QB killer.
9. Our secondary didn't play too badly the second half of last year when the young guys stepped in after Gamble's injury. This year, with a year of maturity, and some decent off-season acquisitions, they should be better.
10. I really like Kenjon Barner. He is mature. He is smart. He is tough. He keeps his legs moving. And he has good instincts. DeShaun Foster had speed. Mike Goodson had speed. They did not have good instincts or vision as a RB. Barner does. He knows how to hit a hole, when to wait on a hole to open up, and when to turn on the burners. I am going to say it: he will be our feature back from 2015 going forward.
Finally, I am optimistic that I only spent about 15 minutes writing this, and am going to stop here just because 10 is a nice number, not because I can't think of any more to write.