Coaching - I have to disagree with most people on a couple points. I like that Airans didn't come out on every 1st and 10 in a power set. He came out on a lot of 2,3 or 4 wide sets. Several shotgun 4 wide looks too. He is learning the difference between the kind of team he thinks he has and the kind of team he actually has. They still want to be a running team but we may not be an in line power running team. Traps, draws, outsize zone and outside power running are productive for us and we should stick with it. I do hate that every time a first down run is successful we immediately do another run to the right side that gets stuffed. 3rd and short . Saw that at least 4 times in the game. As the game progressed they moved to outside runs with a lot of success and I'm glad they made adjustments. It shows growth which at this point is all we should expect. I also agree with calling those 3 runs at the end of the 4th. Takes all their time outs and runs the clock down at worst. At best we get a first down and end the game right there. (BTW we were one yard away from doing that.) The ONLY way they win is to hit a miracle throwing play which they up till 2 plays later, showed no indication that they were capable of. I am 100% sure the coaches did the right thing. Defensive play calling was meh at best. No idea why were were in a 2 deep safety zone with 50 seconds left and them on the 20....None at all.
Luck - thank God for this kid. Peyton couldn't play behind the line and with the running game we have now. His ability to sense pressure and to run have been nothing other than spectacular. He's still making mistakes but in my opinion they are minor. A handful of passes that were just off target. On his interception, he simply didn't see the backer drop into coverage. BTW LOVE that his makes a nice form tackle on the INT return. Shouldn't do it often but shows real leadership. Mistake still but ones that even the best quarterbacks at the highest levels still make. Also, he almost throws a pick at the end of the second to TY up the seam. Grossly underestimates the closing speed of the single high safety. However, as many bad passes as there were, there were an equal that looked like Jesus came down and threw them himself. In two years, I can see how he will be just tearing teams up. I'd love to see him have some safe designed runs. I think it'll bring at lease a few more men into spy and give the play action and deep pass game some more opportunities. Sadly, I will say that if he played a little better (and he DOES NOT at this stage have a responsibility to do so) he could have saved the rest of the team from bad play.
Brown - very impressed that he has done what he has given the state of our line. He can cut to the outside with the best of them. Running to the right has been a non-option. They can't set an edge over there at all.
Fleener - non-factor. Had one drop . Would have been a nice tough catch but it was just a second late and he was well covered. Did I mention Olsen gets beat on a stunt on this play? HA.
Wayne - one bad drop but obviously he's the man. Our only in-line successful running play is because he loops back inside and gets a key block.
TY Hilton - showed some growth this game. Can really play the deep ball well in stride. He and Luck may have something going. Still had a bad drop but those are growing pains.
Tevaseu - Many of you probably have no idea who he is but he's our back up NT and he's outplaying the shit out of Johnson. When he is in, there is nowhere to run in the middle and our linebackers and secondary clean up the tackles with ease. Till Chapman is back he should be our NT without any question. 6 plays when he is in on runs and 21 yards total. 19 yards were on one play where Freeman whiffed on a tackle. He and Nevis together are a great idea on the front.
Nevis - still one of my favorites. Best motor on the line without question. He DRILLS Gabbert on a critical play with just blazing closing speed. For the love of god why is he not playing more? The solutions to a lot of our problem are ALREADY ON THE FREAKING TEAM!!!
Justice - played really well actually. Nicely managed to redirect rushers around Luck. He and Costanzo have a slightly easier job in that is it much clearer pre-snap who their assignment it is.
Costanzo - still playing well. Consistently holds off the edge pass rusher giving up little. Did get beat pretty badly to the outside on Luck's first scramble. Gave up the swim move the outside shoulder and never recovered. He also gets bowled over during the 4th on a bullrush. Overall, playing well.
McGlynn - has trouble picking up people on stunts as does Olsen and Satele. They get confused as to who is their assignment. On second down 13 min into the 2nd, he, Satele and Olsen block the same DT who was already cut down by Donald Brown. Meanwhile 3 other rushers apply pressure right up the gut to Luck and there is an incomplete. Also his in-line run blocking is just not good. No power to drive anybody anywhere. Could barely move a Tonka truck down a hill.
Satele - not strong enough to push defenders off the line. Better in pass coverage as a clean up blocker than as a primary. He does a great job of clearing the center of he pocket. He is the reason that Luck has all the room in the world to run up the middle when plays break down. His ideal model would be Jeff Saturday. He is a finesse player not a mauler. Again, he and the two guards are the reason we cannot run dive and straight man blocking plays. They can't hold the point of attack. Running inside only works when we have a lead blocker. On zone running plays to the left or right he does a very good job of getting an angle on a lineman and powering him with technique. In the first quarter he was responsible for the early hike on 3rd and 2.
Olsen - holy hell there may have been an offensive lineman sighting in Olsen this week. He played well in the run game really taking it to a couple of D line men and driving them hard off the spot. Power has never been his problem. Agility is. Gets beaten badly twice on the last drive of the 1st half to the inside. Luckly Luck gets rid of the ball fast. He cannot move left or right to save his life and is a massive liability on stunt plays. Just can't adjust. However, if you set him on a straight line he can do the job. Also doing a nice job of getting to these second level.
Johnson - I'll say it again for the 1000th time, he is terrible. He is THE single reason our running defense is poor. He cannot hold the point of attack. He gets blown off the spot by single blockers and is yet to generate an ounce of pressure rushing the passer. We get killed on runs to the inside because of him. Runs outside the tackles get blown up because of our team speed and generally excellent LB play Often he gets blown up AND his blocker can get to the next level and block an IBL which is when we give up HUGE yards. Every time I watch is play I am just disheartened. He may be a bigger cancer to this team right now than Olsen. One good play in the 2nd quarter when he gets into the backfield on a run play to the right and gets a great backfield tackle. Next play, immediately jumps offsides. Weak.
Moala - also needs to go. The olinemen get underneath his pads every play every. He gets some push but is pretty much a non factor because his technique is so bad. Nevis is a MASSIVE upgrade on him. Nevis maintains violence with his hands and consistently manages to drive his linemen back.
Freeman - you have to be pumped about him. He looks more and more like what his potential is. Unfortunately he has to play behind such a weak interior DL that he is met with way way more oline men at the second level than he should be. Still having trouble with running defense. Hesitating too much before shooting the natural running lanes. He needs to learn from Connor. 4th quarter he does fire decisively once and Connor comes in at the end to clean it up. Only goes for 3 yards ( a first down but only 3 yards)
Vonte - not much to say really. Didn't get burned and I think after last week he was hell bent on not letting that happen. Great in the open field. Apart from Bethea probably the best open field tackler in the secondary. Penalized way too much. He's gotta learn to to play physical without cheating. If he can he'll be a real asset. If he can't he'll be the first really bad decision of this new front office.
On the long TD run - Johnson (surprise surprise) and Redding get blocked to the inside and completely neutralized. Hughes does his job takes on the outside blocker and sets the edge. Conner immediately fires to the inside and takes on the fullback, Freeman as the only unblocked guy in the box needs to loop over and make the tackle but he hesitates and can't get around a downed Redding at his feet thus MJD run right by him. Powers also at fault here. He over runs the play. As the unblocked corner he has to get to the inside but he goes outside. Fundamental principle: block inside out. Hughes already has the edge, get inside buddy. Zibby take a terrible angle also gets dusted by MJD's speed. Beathea legitimately is blocked by the WR. 5 people playing badly at the same time = TD.
Long TD Pass - this is what you guys could look forward to if we didn't have Davis. Sergio Brown is totally confused and loses Shorts. Bethea makes the rare bad play by playing outside when there is nobody over there and Zibby again takes a bad pursuit angle. Also, AMAZING throw by Gabbert. frankly. Drops it in perfectly.
Penalties - we got robed at least three times. Once on a Wayne PI in the 4th quarter and Avery and once on a late hit on Luck during a slide. Poor officiating again.
Special Teams - played great overall. Very nice returns, especially the last one when we needed it and very good coverage. A rare sight for us. Vinateri - don't know what to say. He has to eat a significant chunk along with the defense for this loss. If he makes that first kick, the make-up of the game is totally different. He's been less than good this year. I hope he cant get his act together. A bad team needs a good kicker.
Overall I'm not as disheartened as most. Should we have won, yes. Did we, No. We are a better team than the Jags but they hit two huge plays on our D where we had to grind out all our points. We have got to focus on not coming out so flat in the second half. Though Irsay would disagree, we are not playing to win games this season. We are playing to figure out who we are, what we do well, what we do badly and what kinds of players we need to complete us. Lets quit whining about all that could have been and focus on where this team is going and what we can be. Time for the team to grow folks. I'm looking for roots to sprout a championship team.
It appears profootball focus agrees with what I saw.