~There are two backups that need to be starting right now, and I will quickly sour on Haley if they are not promoted. I am speaking of Jamaal Charles and Derrick Johnson. Thomas Jones could be a good addition and all, but this is Charles' team. Our offense doesn't move without him, as proven last night. With Johnson, I believe Haley continues to play mind games with him, aiming to right his mind into that of a fierce, determined Linebacker. I suspect both of these players to be starting by week 1, and will be vocal in my displeasure with Haley if they are not.
~Dexter McCluster was unreal, literally. Clearly, he's a Madden creation. His two plays consisted of the best working plays on Madden (at least a few years back, anyway) with the sweep around the end and the quick out from the slot position. He was unstoppable, just faster than anybody else on the field. I was a step slow to hop on the McDexter bandwagon, but now I'm sitting shotgun. Our offense has some serious weapons right now, led by Charles and Dex.
~My biggest concerns with the team after one game is stopping the run on defense. We were pushed off the line in the first drive, giving up at least five yards a pop. We will constantly need an 8th player in the box, making us vulnerable to playaction passes over the top.
~My biggest concern with the offense is teams stacking the box due to a lack of a downfield threat. The blame for this goes all the way around the offense. The line struggles to hold blocks to give Cassel enough time to look down field, neither Bowe or Chambers are speedsters, and Cassel tends to overthrow deep balls. This will allow teams to bring 8 or 9 players up, forcing us to find ways to throw over the top.
~My biggest surprise of the game was the effectiveness of Mike Vrabel. My main mane, LbR, made the astute statement that Vrabel will be good as long as we are good, which got me to thinking. I remember being very confident in him at the beginning of last season (and preseason), but was semi-embarrassed by his performance the latter half of the season. This makes sense. He just shut it down, with no real reason to continue pushing. Save it for next year, which is now this year. Our defense has a shot to be mediocre at the least if Vrabel plays like he did last night.
~Kendrick Lewis- QB pressure, helped blow up a sweep, and blanketed Tony G.
~Javier Arenas- Delivered a stiff arm that would make the Viagra CEO proud.
~Maurice Leggett- A few big hits, including a throw down of Rowdy Roddy White.
~Andy Studebaker- Solid across the board, could provide much needed depth.
~Derek Lokey- Should make this team after a few unsuccessful tries.
~Ryan O'Callaghan- Got beat a few times around the edge, we seemingly have nobody better to replace him though.
~Jon Asamoah- Got absolutely roasted on back-to-back plays in the 3rd quarter.
~Leonard Pope- Missed a block on 3rd and short, dropped a pass, and dove for a catch that a normal sized man could've caught and ran with.
~Ryan Succop- Missed two field goals, albeit they were long.
~Tyson Jackson- Have yet to see him fight off a block or do anything.
~Corey Mays- Too slow in the middle. A one-on-one matchup with a Tight End is a guaranteed catch.
~DaJuan Morgan- Was actually afraid of the ball when John Parker Croyle floated a pass right to him.
~Zebras- Nice call on the offensive penalty converting a 3rd and Goal into a 1st and 10. I wish Haley would have just sat on the field in protest and drawn multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.