Monday, August 11, 2008

Preseason notes

I don't like to get too into the preseason because you witness a lot of vanilla defenses and 90% of the time you hear about how Quarterback A looked great. I guarantee you these 3rd string quarterbacks stepping into games wouldn't move the ball the way they do in preseason. Anyway, here are some of my notes...

1. Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn was calling the plays. This will differ from the Redskins last year where Joe Gibbs played CEO, while Al Saunders called the plays. Some coaches like to delegate powers ( Gibbs last year), while others like to be hands on with the play calling ( Jon Gruden). Not only has Jim Zorn never been a head coach, but he has also never been an offensive coordinator.

2. Jason Campbell called an audible in the first quarter. Many people might not think twice about Campbell standing up and calling an audible, but that is something he never did last year. Campbell must have seen single coverage on the outside and threw a fade along the sidelines intended for James Thrash. The ball went out of bounds and Campbell made the right call, he just didn't execute it.

The implications for Campbell are that there is a lot more risk/reward on the table. He could have his best season ever with more control of the offense, or he could have a much worse season than last year.

Last year Gibbs had Campbell more in the game manager role with very manageable WR screens, RB check downs, the occasional deep ball, and the timely play action. I really didn't see Campbell reading defenses and hitting WR's down field. I noted many times that he was in an "easier", low risk offense. That should change this year.

To Jasons credit, there were times last year where I would see him look at the strong side of the formation a little bit longer than usual, only to run a run play unsuccessfully to that side. It makes me think that he is almost visually complaining that he knows the play isn't going to work, but he had to go ahead and run it anyway.

Now in some of those running plays to the strong side of the defense, the outcome can be more obvious. The coaching staff last year felt that the risk of him making errors wasn't worth the positives that could be gained from the changed plays.

3. Browns TE Martin Rucker 5 catches for 70 yards. Besides just looking at his preseason stats, Mike Ruckers younger brother looked pretty natural and athletic. He was fast, had good hands, and delivered some punishment to the defenders after the catch. He looks like he could be a solid 2nd TE, or even take over if Winslidiot gets hurt.

4. Jets WR David Clowney in the same game had 4 catches for 163 yards and 2 TD. Granted the 70 yard TD was a play where the Browns were in a cookie cutter cover 2, and after DC got behind the corner, the safety took a horrible angle and the play resulted in the long TD. In the regular season the Browns aren't playing their 2nd string safety and it isn't a 70 yard TD, but I still liked how Clowney looked, and there are reports that he is lighting up the Jets camp.

5. Grady Jackson in the interview on the Falcons sideline didn't seem too happy when they brought up his release last year. The side line reporter asked him about why he was cut and Jackson got angry responded something to the effect that, " Petrino ain't even bring me into his office". We already knew the players didn't like Petrino, but this overt insult just reaffirms that from somebody not named Deangelo Hall. I just thought it was interesting to see a player insult a former coach in an interview.

Other News
Bobby Engram out 6-8 weeks for Seattle
Anthony Mix injured for Redskins
Giants rookie LB Goff injured
Adam Archuleta signs 1 year deal to try out for Raiders LB position

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