Yesterday we got a nice look at Dontari Poe's improvement in the second week of preseason. Tonight we'll take a light gander at the other side of the ball.
We've got a little Jamaal Charles, a little dubious blocking and I guess a Cassel GIF snuck in there. Did I do that?
Hit the jump and prepare for a tidal wave of Cassel discussion.
So how is that knee holding up for Jamaal Charles? Well, put pretty simple, he had five touches against the Rams and made at least four defenders miss a tackle. That's a fairly good touch-to-miss ratio, I guess.
In the first GIF, there's some pretty bad blocking going on but Charles just kinda laughs at the linebackers before Steve Breaston tackles him. Last year this play goes for a loss if Dexter McCluster or Thomas Jones are carrying the ball.
In the next GIF, Charles plants and cuts very nicely. That knee looks great to me. Breaston is screwing up the play again with a poor block. I'll be honest, Breaston is doing more to tackle Charles on these plays than any Ram.
Last but not least, on this snap Matt Cassel throws the ball a full five yards behind the line of scrimmage, with a defender hurtling right at Charles. I could talk about how much I dislike this throw but it really doesn't matter because Charles just doesn't care about that linebacker whatsoever. The fact that he gets plowed by three defenders and hopped right up was a good sign, too.
Now we're going to switch gears and look at a couple of plays that didn't go so well. BJ Kissel pointed this out to me the other night. On this snap, there's a pretty enormous hole between LG and LT. If Peyton Hillis sees it instead of following Shane Bannon, it's at least a sizable gain and maybe a touchdown.
You can see in this still of an alternate angle how much space there was to run. The only guy with a shot at the tackle was the free safety (out of shot), as Jon Baldwin and Tony Moeaki laid blocks.
And speaking of Bannon, I could not let this week pass without pointing out two of the worst blitz pickups I've ever seen from a Kansas City Chiefs fullback. First, Bannon gets Cassel sacked.
Next, Nate Eachus gets credited with 1/2 sack of Ricky Stanzi. Please note that the GIF is slowed down. Stanzi didn't have much time to throw at all. I'm also pretty sure you're not allowed to slap the quarterback in the head like that, but replacement refs are fun, right?
OK, so we all know the real reason why you clicked on this post...yes, it was the promise of a Cassel GIF. I know you're saying "Clay, come on man. Cassel was hitting checkdowns with perfect accuracy in this game, how can you possibly criticize him?" Well, when I see plays like this one, I can't resist, so brace yourself.
I think the captions do a good job of explaining the play, but basically Cassel abandons a fairly secure pocket for no good reason, ignores Dexter McCluster flashing WIDE OPEN right in front of his face, and gains a couple of yards on a scramble. Branden Albert was actually flagged for a penalty on this play, so I'm probably going to get it good for posting this, but I've literally never seen a quarterback miss an open receiver running behind the line of scrimmage right in front of his face. I'm horrified, and definitely overreacting, but haters gonna hate. Make your defense in the comments.
And I should probably add that I think Matt could have thrown the ball to Baldwin or Moeaki (both far left of the screenshot below) before he decided to run from phantom pressure. I dunno, maybe Matt doesn't have the confidence in his arm to make that throw. Maybe a safety scared him off. I think if Matt anticipates Baldwin running into that hole he can hit him.
But you can clearly see the giant space McCluster is running into.
Come on, Matt. You totally should have made this throw that would not have counted anyway!
That's it for this week's GIF'D UP. Next week Bowe might drop a pass!