Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pre Season Saints/Texans + Tampa/Patriots

- I like Gary Kubiak and I like the offense that he and Alex Gibbs run in Houston. Last year the Texans lost their starting QB, Stud WR, Starting RB, they didn't have a great line and the coaching staff still brought them to 8-8. The Texans were still a respectable 8-8 and consider they were in the very tough AFC South that had 3 other playoff teams in the division keeping them company.
- Last year Matt Schaub had an 87.2 QB rating his first year in the system before being injured and Sage Rosenfels was decent as a backup. Kubiak and Gibbs run a QB friendly offense that is designed to be efficient, run the ball, and work without needing an abundance of talent ( I like that formula).
- Matt Schaub starts the game off by going straight after Saints corner Jason David who was covering Kevin Walter. Schaub throws a TD pass to Walter ( it was the 3rd pass in a row on Jason David), and Schaub didn’t even go through his progressions, he had a 7 step drop, looked at Walter the entire time, and delivered a strike for the TD. It seems like teams have little to no respect for Jason David.
- Reggie "Ragina" Bush runs like a wimp. This guy was so over hyped by ESPN his entire career and it seems like he is always trying to kick his runs to the outside for the homerun. That works out great in college against PAC-10 defenses when you can simply outrun everyone, but in the NFL not so much.
- The Saints look to have a very strong offense and they addressed their defense this off season by bringing in Jonathan Vilma at LB, Randall Gay and Aaron Glenn at corner, and drafting Sedrick Ellis and Tracy Porter. The Saints were especially weak against the Pass and they brought in talent on each level of defense. They already have good ends with Will Smith and Charles Grant, but they bulked up the line with Sedrick Ellis, they improved at LB with Vilma, and they brought in 3 corners to improve against the pass. I like that approach to improve every level of that defense. The Saints still don't have a good defense, but they should be better.
- Both defenses looked weak in this game. I don't know if it was because of vanilla schemes, but I was not impressed.
- 3rd round draft pick Anquawan Molden looked pretty good for the Texans. He was beat on a few throws but had real tight coverage. Sometimes a perfect throw beats perfect coverage.
- Steve Slaton looked alright running the ball. If Ahman Green has to miss time again, I would much rather have Slaton running the ball than Ron Dayne. People were questioning Slaton out of college because of the gimmick offense he ran in, but he ran much tougher than Ragina Bush.
- The thing I want to point out about Reggie Bush, is that he never learned how to play RB in college. He relied too much on his athletic ability, and he just outran people on the edges. He needs to adapt his game. Bush is an awesome receiver, excellent return man, and he is real good on outside runs, but he will have to run tougher. ESPN already loves him for a TD where he hurdled the defender in this game, but he had a very weak game in my opinion. When Reggie was coming out of college, I always compared him to a poor man's Bryan Westbrook and he certainly isn't anywhere near as good as Westbrook now going into his 3rd year.
- During Halftime of this game, they showed footage from the Vikings practice. They were running live 7 on 7 drills and Tavaris Jackson threw an interception, and later on in scrimage he threw an interception for a TD.

Tampa Bay vs New England
- I also like Jon Gruden as a head coach. Last year he obviously had the good defense, but it was his job to get something out of the offense. The offense overall finished below league average with a slightly below avg. passing game, and an above leage average rushing attack. If it didn't work out, look at all the arguments against the Bucs "outcast" offense:
- People complain Jeff Garcia is too old ( and he was new to the team) and got hurt.
- Cadallac Williams was injured, Michael Pittman got injured, E. Grahmn was an unknown 3rd stringer.
- Joey Galloway is old and has grey hair and a grey beard.
- Ike Hillard is slow and getting older.
- The offensive line was bad the last few years.
- So if Tampa Bay's offense was terrible, Jon Gruden would have plenty of excuses. Now the Bucs were below average on offense, but for what he had, I think Gruden did a good job. I also think that the negative perceptions and discrimination allowed Tampa GM Bruce Allen to acquire those guys, but credit Gruden for following through with the dirty work because a lot of coaches in the league would fail with those guys.
- Tampa's starting offense led by backup Brian Greise had a nice 17 play, 80 yard drive to start the game. I thought Griese looked alright. Luke Mccown came in after Griese and looked better than I thought. I watched him play against the Saints last year, and in limited action and he hasn't been bad at all. Can he keep it up?
- Josh Johnson was in a series and ran on both of his pass plays ( 1 was a sack). People are excited about him because of his 43 TD-1 INT season in D3 and his mobility, but in the limited action he really didn't look ready.
- The biggest thing for Tampa was the addition of Antoinio Bryant. Bryant is a guy with big talent and a big attitude that has bounced around the league. If they can keep him under control, it will give them a solid 3rd option with Galloway and Hilliard that opponents will have to honor. He looked pretty good in this game and is a guy that can beat man coverage.
- Matt Cassell got the start for an injured Tom Brady looked terrible. The first ball he threw was intercepted " although the call was challenged and reversed". He later botched a snap which was picked up and run back for a TD. He just didn't run the offense very well.
- The Patriots later played rookie Kevin O'Connell and he looked bad too. His first play in was a roll out and he threw an interception on a pass that was totally inexcusable for throwing. He looked real young and inexperienced for throwing that ball. If Tom Brady has to miss time, the Patriots are in real trouble.
- Patriots WR Chad Jackson was finally healthy and playing, and physically he is a monster. I hope he was studying the playbook during that time he was injured. He could be a deep sleeper if he turns things around and I will be rooting for him.
- If Brady can't play for whatever reason, the Patriots are in trouble. I actually think all 3 of the Bucs backup quarterbacks are better than any the Pats have. It seems like Simms is available if a team wants him, and the Patriots might have the weakest backup situation out there. Bellicheck is familiar with Phill Simms from the Giants days, so maybe he would send a mid/late round pick to Tampa for a proven back up QB?

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