Fourth & One – Preseason week 2

Luciano 11

Fourth & One – Preseason week 2
Luciano 11
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Week two is behind us, some teams have answers, some don’t, some may never.

Buffalo Bills

Bills were dull to watch, but that is Rex Ball, and with a good defense he will win 7-10 games. The numerous injuries didn’t help. There is no doubt about the ability of this defense to smother you. Rex will bring it out even more, as he may not need to use the back 4 to create pass rush. I am a little concerned about the LBs, not sure they are as good as advertised.
Offensively, they are boring, reminiscent of days past. When McCoy returns and is finally healthy, they will run, run, run. The QB will run a lot too, because Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback. So far Cassel has been himself, and that is about three steps below Orton. EJ is a bust in every sense. The kid looks confused and not in charge. Against scrubs, a first rounder in his third season, should display and bleed confidence. Marrone may have known more than we know. Keeping up a long standing tradition of crappy QBs that come out of arguably one of the best College programs in the country, I’m not convinced EJ will be on the roster opening day. Tyrod wins the job, his backup needs to be someone with experience, that would be Cassel. To carry EJ, a #16 pick overall just two years ago, as a third QB would be stupid. Maybe a team will offer a 6-7th rounder for his services.
Injuries are mounting up at an alarming rate in Buffalo. One piece of advise, sign Dareus now (as Jets should sign MO right now). After the season he will cost a lot, the man deserves it, and he is a rare breed of run stopper/pass rusher who can play the 3-4 or 4-3.
I know some Bills fans will not like my EJ comments, and may even point to his stats for the game. However, the NFL is not about stats, we are. I saw what everyone saw, a raw third year QB. A player that looks like he’s stepping onto a field full of snakes, and one may bite soon. EJ appears to have no desire to improve, no “this is my last chance,” “no urgency”.
One more note: whomever #80 the receiver is, he needs to worry more about making receptions than complaining about PIs. He kept missing opportunities, once in the end zone too and all he did was complain to try to divert from his screw ups.

Miami Dolphins

I watched the Miami game live on a Carolina feed. Before I discuss my views, I have to write this: They showed Joe Dead-Man-Walking Philbin talking to Rivera before the game, and both were miked up. Rivera: Thanks again for coming down, it was real good, we got a lot out of it. ….Joe almost ashamed to be on camera: Oh yea, real good, yea.  Philbin has the worst personality I remember for a HC, the man has none. The camera showed Rivera walk away kind of confused……. Good job by Landry and Miller , especially as a receiver; Tannehill will get killed this year, unless this OL can improve when Albert returns. Ryan got hit almost on every passing situation. However, overall when allowed to set, Ryan Tannehill looks ready for the season.
Defensively the Fins should have an improved DL, however, like I wrote before, very hard to judge team defense in these games. Regardless of score (which matters only to those that like pre-season stats), the Dolphins should be happy with the progress they have made. With injuries mounting up, a new problem could be arising. They fixed the run stop, but this year they may get passed on constantly, that DB is thin.

New England Patriots

I was able to enjoy this one from a channel 4-WBZ feed,  a pure APF station, and not once was anything negative mentioned during the telecast.
Patriots started out offensively looking more like last year’s NY Jets than the world champs, but I’m sure they are not concerned. Blount must have had a few joints before the game, because he was off. Tom looked like he was looking over his shoulders at Pretty Boy 2.0. Overall it was a complete disaster.
Defensively its very hard to judge teams as a whole in these games. None prepares, but you do like to see individual efforts, and early on McCourty was on as he batted a sure TD pass, however he looked bad after that. I did notice he was playing CB; is this an admission that there are no corners on this team? Butler had a few nice plays, but he tends to mentally take off for extended periods of time (a very bad trait for a starting DB). The other Malcom, the one without the extra L, started again in Vince’s old spot. He is a work in progress, but the kid shows signs, and he is very athletic to watch.
Very important note: The Hooded One does not wear his Hood in the summer heat, yet he still has the heavy sweat shirt on, wow! I wonder if he was born with one on?

New York Jets

Against Atlanta, the Jets gave me some answers. This a team that is trying to replace the QB that has had all first team snaps since April. Ryan Fitzpatrick is smart and doesn’t force the ball. Jets fans are not used to this type of thinking, not since Pennington. Like Penny, Fitzgerald has an arm made for checking down, and shakedown he did. Fitz is clearly not up to speed with receivers, but he performed better than some reports say. Bryce Petty showed some life. I liked his decision making, and his arm. Only playing in his second game ever, he was in command and looked bigger than the show (he is further along than EJ is). Petty will eventually be this team’s QB. Chris Ivory is ready to play, he also showed the ability to catch, something the team was afraid to try in the past. Marshall has added a dimension that has been missing for quite some time. I love his routes and sure hands, and especially the 5 yard passes (see checking down) that become 15 yard gains.
On defense, one thing is already obvious, Leonard Williams will be a beast! Yes, they are giving up points and yards, its pre-season. However, if this defense allows drives like the Falcons had in the first drive, I will be looking at a 5-11 team.
Overall, one thing is clear, gone is the smash mouth, ground and pound philosophy. Make no mistake, this team will run the ball, but not as the primary source. Rex and his dull 1970s mentality moved northwest. Gailey’s offense may not be about deep balls after deep balls, especially with Fitz, but this team is already more fun to watch than any offense we have had in a while. Jets will short pass, check-down,  to set up big runs, not the other way around.


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