Stillers-Dolphs Post Game Notes (Aug 6th)
(Sorry for the latecoming report�as I'd mentioned here on Friday, I had to go out of town this weekend�)
Please note 2 things: 1.) This is the early preseason, so this is not a full-blown "report", but rather notes on some key things. 2.) I'll repeat this throughout preseason -- I do not care about wins/losses in preseason, but rather how players, schemes, and teamwork look.
- The entire 1st & 2nd string offensive unit stunk and sputtered. I saw NOTHING that shows me that this offense has been tuned-up or revised since the pitiful '98 and '99 seasons. All I saw was the same old slop:
- slow-developing running plays getting engulfed by run-blitzing penetration.
- Middle-school kind of indecision and tentativeness from the QBs.
- Dropped passes, by Troy, Shaw, and Tuman.
- Receivers running 6-yard routes on 3rd and 9.
- The lead fullback either whiffing, or getting crumpled, on lead blocks.
- Timeout wasted due to confusion or a slow playcall from the coordinator.
- Penalty for delay of game, due to the same reason above.
-5 yards passing for an entire game, says it all. We hear about all the great work that Kevin Illbride has supposedly done in the offseason. Saturday nite's effort showed me that since last January, nothing of consequence has been accomplished at all thus far. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. We still line up in the I formation, with a slowpoke FB who can't block, and a slowpoke TE who adds nothing to the passing game. Of the 5 weapons at the QB's disposal, 2 of them have virtually no value whatsoever in helping the passing game. Defenses then stack 8 men at the line, and the running game suffers. Nothing has been implemented to MAKE PLAYS against aggressive, run-blitzing defense. How many opponents that are going to play a "sit back" defense, does Gilbride think he's going to face?? This man has no concept that EVERY Team we play is going to stack the line & run-blitz like demons.
- The quarterback play was abysmal. Both Stewart and Graham should have been arrested for impersonating an NFL QB. Stewart CONTINUES, as he has for 5 years now, to run WITHOUT looking DOWNFIELD. It's far better for him to hit a receiver 20-yards downfield, than to run for 4 yards. And the failure to hit a wide open Shaw on a simple corner route on a play that began on the 13-yard line, was utterly inexcusable. Graham zipped the ball downfield ok on a few occasions, but he too was far too flatfooted, tentative, and befuddled. Let me state, of course, that to master Gilbride's offense requires a PhD. in either Discrete Mathematics or Quantum Physics. This offense is too complicated for what we have to work with. Period. As Lombardi used to preach to his Packers teams, it's better to run 5 plays in well-oiled fashion, than to run 20 half-assed. Gilbride is going overboard in his attempt to prove Lombardi right.
- Fu was the lone bright spot for the "O". He ran the ball with authority and showed some nice bursts. Amos also had a couple solid runs.
- Exactly how long are Anthony Brown and Chris Conrad going to waste food at the St. Vincent cafeteria? Both stunk, and both should be cut tomorrow.
- Faneca was bowled over on 1 sack. I'm continually dismayed how this guy has improved all of about 2% since he first arrived as a greenhorn rookie.
- Mike Vrabel had a strong game. He was actually held while he dashed around the RT on 1 play, which then resulted in a big gainer when the QB dumped off to a RB. Vrabel solidly supported the run as well. I've seen enough to see that Vrabel gives this team BETTER all around play than Jason Gildon.
- Clark Haggans, though playing against some low-quality opposition, continues to impress. Good motor and good instincts.
- Deshea Townsend seems to be playing well. If he's our nickel back, he actually gives us improvement over longtime Cowher favorite Chris Oldham.
- Shields finally laid a nice hit on a receiver laying out over the middle --- something he failed to do on about 3 different occasions in the Dallas game. It's up to the staff to ingrain this into Shield's psyche, so that he does this every time, all the time. He's too big to not be punishing receivers over the middle.
- I have no idea how much longer this folly of playing, and STARTING, Jeremy Faat at NT will continue. On Miami's first drive, JJ ran up the gut for a 23-yard gain. On this play, the center literally shoved an on-rushing, OFF BALANCE Staat face-down into the turf. With Staat was lying prone on the turf and waaay out of the play, the center was able to go over and help a teammate throw an extra block on a defender. Lucas again impressed me with his quickness and desire, and Clancy made a few plays, too. It's an outrageous travesty that Bill Cowhead, who supposedly is a defensive "expert", continues this folly of Faat at NT.
- And consider this: If Cowher is either too stubborn or too blind -- or BOTH -- that he can't see the folly of playing Jeremy Faat at nose tackle, do you really think he's mentally capable enough to fix the problems with this offense�.?
The Still Mill