What did you think of the offense? Gabbert not only lead the team down the field on the opening drive, he also hit Cecil Shorts in the back corner of the end zone for a score. He spread the ball around to his receivers. On the first snap he stood tall in the pocket and delivered the ball before getting drilled by Justin Tuck. Our quarterback didn’t even seem to flinch. Of course all eyes were glued to the signal caller, but I was more interested in what our actual offense looked like.
I saw some things that I haven’t seen in Jacksonville for a long time. I saw pre snap movement. I saw three and four receiver sets. I saw two tight end sets. More than anything, I saw a nice balance of run and pass.
As Gabbert remained in the game, however, he seemed to revisit some of his old habits. He threw off of his back foot while cowering away from pressure. He turned the ball over. He overthrew receivers. But what do you expect? It’s the first preseason game, and there are still a lot of gliches to repair within the system. Gabbert ended his night completing 5 out of 10 passes for 62 yards and a score.
Some things that I noticed along our offensive line: Bradfield had a rough night according to Kevin Harland and Tony Boselli. He kicked out to right tackle while Britton came inside to play guard. Bradfield gave up the pressure on the first offensive snap tp Justin Tuck, but after that he seemed to hold up pretty decent. Later on in the night once the 2’s and 3’s came in the game, Bradfield switched to left tackle. It was there that he really began struggling, but then again he was playing with the back ups. In a previous post of mine regarding the UDFA’s on the team, I mentioned Drew Nowak. He’s listed as a defensive tackle, but played left guard in the second half. I have to say I was impressed with him. He handled his man perfectly as Montell Owens bulldozed his was to a touchdown. Another UDFA I mentioned, Matt Veldman caught one pass. It just so happened to be the two point conversion that won the game. While on the topic of UDFA’s, I think Antwan Blake is making a serious push to make the roster if he continues his play on special teams. He recovered not one but two fumbles on the punt team. Another rookie that looked good on special teams was 5th round pick LB Brandon Marshall who had two special teams tackles on the night. Special teams will be the ticket for both of these rookies.
I really dig Bryan Anger and like his nickname: B-Anger. Banger. Get it? Nice work on the name, Jeremy Mincey. I’d like to see him punt, however, when he’s not deep in his own territory.
The receivers seemed to be clicking. All of the talk from camp about dropped passes seems to be a thing of the past. And how about Mike Thomas? Looks like he’s really shaken off some rust. He caught 4 passes for 89 yards and looked to be like the old Mike Thomas that we all know and love. Hopefully he keeps it up, but I think that he will. Speaking of receivers, I was very impressed with Brian Robiskie going 7 for 72 and a touchdown. As of now my receiver depth chart is as follows: Blackmon, Robinson, Shorts, Thomas, Robiskie.
Chad Henne better watch his back. I have no idea why some people have deemed Jordan Palmer, “Cut” Palmer. I’ve read that he’s been having very good practices and he really pushed the ball downfield last night. If the team opts to only carry two quarterbacks, then they might have a decision to make.
The running backs looked solid. I was expecting more out of Parmele, but UDFA Keith Toston #43 looked very good. He scored the touchdown that lead to the two point conversion. I could see him pushing Owens for playing time. Running back depth chart as of now: Jennings, Owens, and Toston if he continues this level of play.
There are some things I saw that still need improvement. For instance, when Eli and the 1’s were in the game the pass rush was non-existent. I did see one play in particular where Branch forced Eli into a Knighton sack, but other than that Manning had way too much time to go through his reads. Martellus Bennett totally dominated Mincey on the goal line for a Giants score. Once Alualu comes back and once Austen Lane is healthy, maybe the rush will improve, but if it doesn’t keep in mind-this defense will face the likes of Stafford, Brady, Rodgers and Cutler.
We have to cut down on the turnovers. Both Shorts and Gabbert ended up losing fumbles. You can’t win in the NFL if you turn the ball over.
Derek Cox seemed to get a calf strain. This is a shame and I certainly hope it’s not that serious, but this is the nature of today’s NFL. William Middleton had a good game in his stead and covered his guy admirably. I highly recommend that we don’t rush anyone back during the preseason. D. Smith, Alualu, Rackley, Spitz, Lane, and Cox all must be healthy come regular season.
All in all this team has a very long way to go, but the offense looks like a 2012 NFL offense at least in the packages and scheme. I’m looking forward to seeing this team develop even further in the preseason and hopefully we can cut down on the turnovers, step up the pass rush, provide better protection, and continue the progress of a balanced offensive attack.
-David R. Johns