I just got through the first quarter and there were some surprises. First of all, Byron Bell is a liability. He's by far our worst OL. He fails nearly every play. Even when he manages to block his man, he is driven right into the pocket. He's bending his hips in pass blocking. Getting absolutely zero push. When we run the ball, he's not being aggresive at all. He will engage his man, but he's playing patty cake with him. Allows his guy to disengage and attack the ball carrier. He's also slow to make decisions. When he has to figure out who exactly to block, he freezes. Once he decides who to pick up, he is focused on only that defender. He hasn't shown the instincts necessary to make split second decisions. Once he realizes that the defender can't make the play (because the guy is hitting the ground away from the hole), he needs to find the next block. He's far from that point though. As he isn't even getting his head turned around yet, never mind his body. We desperately need to get someone else to start at RT. This is without a doubt our weakest position on the team. Bell can't pass block or run block
Let's stick with the OL and negative observations. The next most disappointing linemen were Silatolu and Kalil. They had some good plays, but they also wiffed on a few plays. They looked better in the pass game than the run. Silatolu needs to kick out quicker. He did well with it some, but a couple of plays were blown up because he couldn't get to the second level quick enough. He also didn't attack the second level on one play where the run was stuffed and it should have been a big gain. He had a free shot at the tackler, but waited to see where he was goin to go. If Silatolu would have initiated contact, it would have been a positive play. Instead he sat in his stance and allowed the defender to get to the ball carrier untouched. Kalil just made mistakes that he shouldn't be making at this point. He shouldn't miss blocks and watch his guys get hit. Hopefully it's just rust.
Hartstock and Olsen. Who's better at blocking again? Through the first quarter, it's Gregory. Told you there were some surprises. Hartstock just failed. Almost every time. Olsen had some damn good blocks. On one of Dwill's good runs, Olsen was holding up two would be tacklers. If Steve Smith would have set his block, it might have been to the house.
Gross played decent. Not perfect at all, but decent. As that left side gels, we might be ok.
So.. Who was out best OL? Wait for it .... Garry Williams! Yeah. He was doing his job out there. He got good push for the most part. There's one play that was stuffed for a loss early. I think that might have been on Kalil or Silatolu though. Gary looked good (compared to the rest of the line) in the run and pass game. Which I'm very happy about. By no means should we rest easy and pencil him in for the future. However, he might be able to get us through until we can do better. By either Kugbila developing, or bringing someone in. I was sure that RG and RT had to be replaced immediately. Right now I think we might only need a RT immediately. If the line can gel, and we can get a RT, we can definitely compete. Well we should be able to.
Now on to Cam. Not sure what it is exactly. I do know it's one of a few things. It's either 1) Cam is having trouble making presnap reads. And also reading the D after the snap. 2) He doesn't understand what all of his receivers are doing. 3) He doesn't give a crap who's wide open! He's throwing the ball to who he wants to throw the ball to. 4) Cam doesn't trust his line at all. He's thinking about running before he can read the D. 5) All of the above. Cam had guys wide open. Guys that you knew were going to be wide open if you knew the play. And even if you didn't, you could see what was going to be open as soon as the ball was snapped. Cam hardly ever threw to the wide open guy. Most of the time just locked on to #89. Had Cam just taken what the D gave him, we would have moved the ball more like the Eagles. Something to watch.
The D. It's hard to get a good read on the D. You've got this gimmicky dink and dunk on week 2 of pre season. So pretty much just forget about wanting to see the D do anything. It greatly affected the way the DB's could play. Everyone was sitting back trying to read the plays. The eagles were giving about 3 reads for the D to make after the snap. So I wouldn't worry about the corners or anything.
Fua I believe is on the bubble. Along with Cole. Neither looked to do anything. Fua got better push. The only reason I can figure that they were out there so much was to see who to keep.
We have a Star! I'm really excited about Star. He was the fastest guy off the ball on either team. Except when Short was in. They were about tied. Which is awesome for us. Having two guys in the middle with freakish instincts will pay off down the road. They will only get better, but seeing these guys get out of their stance before the ball gets in the QB's hands... "It moved". Early on Hardy was the last guy out of his stance. I could be wrong about this, but it seemed like hardy was just going off of Star a little later. At that point, Hardy was out of his stance a split second after Star moved. Which could be great. That's chemistry. If Hardy can just trust Star to time the snap, and react off of Star, he will get a great jump on the ball. Star was even coming out of his stance before the center snapped the ball. Like he knew the snap count. This kid is legit! You might also be delighted to know that Johnson was right behind Star off the snap. When Short wasn't in anyway. So really, this line is going to be nasty. At getting off the ball anyway.
The negative side of the line, they don't disengage. They get good push. Star takes up two blockers initially, but allows the guard or tackle to release and get to the second level. Short got good push on one play for sure, but took himself out of the play, never getting off the block. I expect this to change in the future. If these guys get some technique down, they are going to be a formidable duo. Their instincts are just through the roof. I'm not sure what we should expect from them this year. They will hit the rookie wall. And they have a lot to learn. So we might be a year our from seeing their potential on a consistent basis. If I was the DC, is blitz my ass off. The OL is going to have to deal with 96 and 68. Their ability to anticipate the snap count is going to get into a OL's head. It should be easy to slip a guy through the A gap every so often.
I might have more in a bit. Moderators feel free to edit. I'm not a writer. And I can't attach a pic on my IPhone. So if you have any Starmullets laying around please attach. Thanks.