Pre-Season Week 2 Part 1
We are so close people, just a few more weeks to go and we will be watching meaningful American Football. But in the mean time, here’s a review of week 2 of Pre-Season. I will try to keep it shorter than last week. It also worth pointing out that I am very aware that this is just preseason. I promise I won’t get too carried away.
San Diego Chargers 28 Chicago Bears 33
The Chargers could be really bad this year. So far they have shown very little to get excited about for the coming season. The O-line looked bad (with the exception of Fluker), Rivers could be set for another disappointing season and Gates looks like he might be done. When the backups came on it felt like every play in first half was a turnover, Charlie Whitehurst didn’t look in control and they generally struggled to make yards. One bright spark on Offence however was a new improved Ryan Matthews, something we’ve been waiting for, for some time. On Defence they looked sloppy aside from one interception where Cutler tried to force the ball to Marshall, all in all a lot to work on in San Diego. Last point. The Chargers once again suffered from some serious mistakes on special teams, this has been a regular problem for the last few seasons and could carry into this one.
The first point that should be made is that the O-line looked fantastic. Long and Mills looked great, keeping the pressure off of Cutler and making some nice lanes for Forte. Speaking of which, Forte looked fantastic, he could be on for something special this year. Cutler attempted 5 passes and completed 4 of them. Every single one of them to Brandon Marshall. To make some headway he will need to get some other targets involved. The Bears Defence looked opportunist, hungry and dangerous. Its worth mentioning Jonathan Bostic, who is looking more and more like the starter at inside Linebacker. The Bears Defence is going to cause serious problems this year. On the flip side to the Chargers the special teams for the Bears looked great, even without Dave Toub.
Carolina Panthers 9 Philadelphia Eagles 14
There is a recurring theme this week, which will become more apparent over the following two posts. Mobile QBs that step up in the passing game. Cam Newton is a good example of this. He only made one running play and a ton of passes. The only problem is, he didn’t do great. Some of the passes were all over the place and he only managed 8 completions from 17 attempts. Ginn continued to improve as a receiver and DeAngelo Williams looked great in the back field. On defence, Kuechly looked like he might be just as good this season as he was last year, but in general they struggled, particularly with stopping the run. I think its fair to say, it would be a surprise if the Panthers make the post season.
For the Eagles, Foles came on and looked pretty darn good. Then Vick came on and blew him away. The combination of Vick and McCoy looked really dangerous. Expect this offence to move downfield with great pace. One sour point however. Vick did seem far too keen to take some very risky chances. To me the pace of this offence could also be the undoing. On Defence the Eagles looked pretty solid. Patrick Chung stood out and has probably cemented his place on this team. All in all I would be expecting big things from this team, maybe not for this year but certainly over the next few.
Atlanta Falcons 23 Baltimore Ravens 27
This was my prediction for the Superbowl last year and I was pretty close, anyway as a result you would be expecting some serious fire power on show in this game. Truth be told both starting offences looked like they struggled a bit. Lets start with the Falcons. Ryan didn’t look like the potent QB we’ve got used to in regular season. There seemed to be a large amount of passes that he would usually make in his sleep that he really struggled with. Do I think this will carry through the season? No absolutely not, but it is a little worry when they rely so heavily on their receiver play. Jackson looked above average but the whole Offence looked like it was sleeping through the game. Speaking of napping. Aside from a few choice plays, the whole Atlanta Defence looked like they were day dreaming. Babineaux had a great game as did Worrilow and Samuel had a great interception returned all the way to the 1 yard line. However all in all a pretty poor performance.
The Ravens Offence had their moments. Rice looked like a shadow of his former self and could make way for a few more snaps being given to Pearce. Torrey Smith looked like his usual quick self with a long run from a slant after the catch. Flacco looked solid and back up Tyrod Taylor had another good game. The Defence got some decent pressure, but didn’t look like a Championship Defence. For me the changes in Baltimore look great but may be not great enough this season.
Detroit Lions 6 Cleveland Browns 24
I’m going to talk about Detroit first so that anyone sick of me gushing about the Browns can just skip to the next game. I’m beginning to worry about this team. Pass plays seem to anyone who isn’t nicknamed Megatron, they seem to really struggle with. Run plays have a lot of effort put into them but don’t tend to go anywhere. I did however like Reggie Bush in this game as receiver, there is a good chance that he might become Stafford’s no. 2 guy. With the defence, they seem to have zero trouble creating pressure, but really struggle in the secondary. There is definitely room for improvement here.
I love the Browns. I love that Defence. I love Weeden. At the start of the week after he played the first pre-season game and impressed during that, Head Coach Rob Chudzinski came out and said there was a QB competition between Weeden and back up Jason Campbell. I don’t think he could be more wrong. There really is no competition here. Weeden played a blinder, inch perfect passes and lead the Browns down field with pace and poise. Jordan Cameron stepped up and could very well be Weedens go to guy. Trent Richardson did some good things and could step up into the upper echelon of Running Backs in the league. I can’t talk about how good this team is without mentioning how much help they receive from what could easily be one of the best O-lines in the league. On Defence they brought crazy pressure, forcing Stafford to fire it off before he was ready having full trust in their secondary to cause problem for the Lions Receivers. Shout out to Mingo, who is looking absolutely fantastic. One sour point however is the injury to Dion Lewis, which looks like it might keep him out for the remainder of the season. This team look great. There really is no reason they can’t make the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings 16 Buffalo Bills 20
I can’t put my finger on why, but the Vikings look a mess. It’s like their not gaining the yards they did during the regular season last year…I guess it could be because they are missing the no. 1 Running Back in the league during pre-season. With or without Peterson, I think it will be a long season for the Vikings. Ponder looked a mess, like a rabbit in the headlights. So then you bring Cassel into the game and he has a stinker. Who starts out of these two? I don’t know they’re both pretty bad. Gerhart looks like he always does, a decent back up Running Back and Kyle Rudolph looks like he might rescue his QB when in trouble. The Defence lacks personality. They missed tackles and allowed big yardage…not good if you have Peterson in your Division.
The Bills looked great, but less potent, big difference? Kolb at QB. He just looks like he is an accident waiting to happen tipped passes, interceptions and an inability to throw with any accuracy. So in steps Manuel who still looks good, this time throwing the ball. My main concern with this situation is, I don’t think Manuel can stay healthy all season. So if he goes down, you’ve got Kolb as a back-up, who has proved with multiple teams that he is a train wreck. What they need is a decent back-up, you know like Tavaris Jackson…who they let go earlier this off-season and now plays as back-up to Russell Wilson and is looking pretty good. Spiller and Jackson looked good, with a great back-up in Tashard Choice. This is a good Offence, I’m just worried about injuries. The Defence has so much talent and showed it in this win over the Vikings and that’s without star player Mario Williams. This Defence will cause serious problems in the AFC East.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21 New England Patriots 25
I can’t make my mind up about the Bucs. This Offence clearly has a massive amount, but they never seem to do very much. In fairness to the Bucs, in this game we barely saw the starters, (one drive from Martin is definitely not enough to make an opinion), but what I did see was a QB who was holding on to the ball too long and an Offensive Line that couldn’t stop a four man Patriots rush. Glennan looked pretty good and will probably have the starting job next year. Mike James was impressive at Running Back and will probably be above Hillis in the depth chart, come the start of the season. The Defence looked like they were struggling with what the Patriots were doing, very rarely did they manage to get to Brady or Mallett, they struggled with the screen and short-range passes which left them open for a few mistakes deep. If Revis comes back and he’s Revis, this team could look a lot better, but its a massive risk.
The Patriots might be my prediction for the Superbowl. Why were we all so worried about the Patriots receivers. Tom Brady makes everyone look like a superstar. Sudfeld at Tight End looks fantastic and Vereen as a pass catching back/ Wide Receiver works really well. The rookie Wide-Receiving corps with extra help from Amendola in the slot all look electric and really stretched the field. The Running Backs are all excellent and made mincemeat of one of the best Run-stuffing Defences in the league. Quick note about Tebow…he threw for -1 yard. Bill. He is not a QB, find another job for him. The Defence looked good for the Pats as well. I think a better Offensive team might score a few points on them, but they were more than capable in this game. All in all this is a very good team.
Oakland Raiders 20 New Orleans Saints 28
There is a very good chance the Raiders are not the worst team in the AFC West after we’ve seen a couple of performances by the San Diego Chargers. That being said, the Raiders look pretty good. Flynn played a great game with really a group of nobodies at Receiver. McFadden looked great and cause problems against the Saints Defence, it’s really down to whether he can stay healthy, as to whether he has a decent season. Back-up Running Back Jennings and Back-up QB Pryor were quieter in this game, which has to be a worry, but the real was Barron at Left Tackle. This could be a serious issue for Matt Flynn. On Defence, there is a decent amount of improvement for the Raiders. The Secondary looks great, whilst the D-line look pretty good at causing QBs and RBs some problems.
I never know what to say about the Saints. They looked like the Saints. Brees looked great Ingram looked capable and was even a help in the pass game and Jimmy Graham looked like the best Tight End in the league. What else can I say? Oh ok I could mention how Stills and Toon both looked good, but I think that might be it. The Defence was a different matter, they look different. Not massively better but different. One thing I will say is, they really like to Blitz, which is really a Ryan Family trait. One things for certain, as a team, they will probably be better than last year and be challenging the Falcons for the AFC South.
San Francisco 49ers 15 Kansas City Chiefs 13
What I think we learn’t from this game is that the Niners, should be very worried if Kaepernick goes down. Whilst Daniels had a great game, I just don’t think you can give him the keys to this Offence. McCoy looked like a liability and probably has no business on an NFL field, especially not for this Offence. On the plus side, the Niners Running Backs look great, Gore looks as healthy as we’ve ever seen him. Also I want to mention Austin Collie in the slot again. This could be the ace in the hole for the Niners. On Defence they look brutal and dangerous. I would imagine almost every pre-season game will be low scoring. It doesn’t look like they’re making a great deal of effort on Offence and this Defence is as good as any in the league.
To change things up, I’m going to start by talking about the Chiefs special teams. They are really good, aiding to my opinion on Dave Toub (Special Teams Co-0rdinator), is a football genius. They never allowed a big return and took a few for a good chunk of yards themselves. This is VERY important when you look at their Offense. So lets talk about that. Smith does not have a cannon for an arm. His talent is his ability to not turn the ball over, so you need good field position to get the most out of him. This is where the special teams come in. Any way Smith in this game had a bad completion ratio, but to be fair it was mainly down to some crazy drops by Receivers. This team desperately needs Charles back, then you can expect them to score some points on Offence. On Defence they look great. Hali, Poe, Berry and Johnson all look like superstars. This team could be challenging for a Wild Card spot.
Main Image: Evan Habeeb- USA Today Sports
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