Maybe I am nuts, but the Tampa Bay game for me was a big WOW! I am seeing the beginnings of a powerful team developing, still with holes, but power in a lot of places.
Let’s go through the WOW areas:
David Garrard – WOW! I called David Garrard a robot a few weeks back. He was anything but that. You could see a quarterback trusting his protection and finding open receivers. Pressure bother David? Not anymore. After 2008 and 2009, When David feels very well protected, he can make the right reads. Constantly he picked up blitzes and made them pay. Rashead Jennings was a great outlet. David even threw across his body to the left right on target. David lapsed once into old David, locking on to Mike Thomas for a pick. Once he let down. Fix that and it was a fantastic game.
Luke McCown – WOW! If David goes goes down, Luke will lead this team easily. The receivers respond to him well and his zip on the ball is good. He looks like a starter and I will not worry if he takes the helm. Cleo Lemon vs. Luke McCown? We are much better off now.
Anthony Smith – WOW!I thought there were three of him on the field. He blitzed the quarterback, he stopped the run, he hit receivers. He hits without fear. I counted about 5 plays Anthony made that made me sit up and notice. He was the guy who played with Pittsburgh and mouthed off to Bill Belichick who made him pay. Anthony has come around a lot.
Dirk Koetter Play Calling – WOW! The play calling and execution by the receivers is getting unbelievable. There are receivers running everywhere, especially over the middle. David had no trouble finding people open. The one step drop slant to Mike Thomas was fantastic in the speed of delivery. David was something like 9 for 10 at one point in the game to five different guys. With a running game and an effective passing game, we are going to have fun watching this offense. It is much different than we have ever seen before.
Run Stopping Defensive Front – WOW! I questioned whether Tyson Alualu would create a vulnerable soft spot up the middle. I got the answer, no he won’t. Running up the middle didn’t happen. Tampa Bay tried to run over and over against the starters and it never happened. We have a very good run stopping defense. Even Reggie Nelson and Anthony Smith can come up in run coverage. The only way to beat the Jaguars is through the air.
Uche Nwaneri – WOW! Uche played center in this game and I thought he did better than Brad Meester. In one series Montel Owens came in and ripped off runs up the middle over and over again. We have not been able to run up the middle for a couple of years. Uche as the center with Vince Manuwai next to him made a good run blocking combination. Uche is developing into a very versatile offensive lineman.
Let’s review some camp battles.