Stillers-Carolina Post Game Notes (Aug 11th)
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.
- I've harped about asking to see some improvement -- any improvement -- in the offense. Tonite's woeful performance by the first 2 units did nothing to erase my grave concerns over a shameful offensive scheme that is downright offensive only in the way of stench. Facing an ordinary Carolina defense that has, oh, about 25% of the talent of the Ravens defense, the Stiller offense again stunk and sputtered. The lone TD-scoring drive was an exhausting 3-play drive covering a whopping 11 yards. Some specific, clear signs of this offense's charades:
- On the team's 1st drive, on 2nd and five, Stewart was given decent time and gunned a bomb downfield to Burress. Problem was, Burress had cut the pattern a bit toward the post, but Stewart threw it to the sideline. Who was at fault? Who cares?? This buffoonery, long a staple of Gilbride's awful scheme last season, continues to haunt this morass of manure. Too many trigonometric DURING-PLAY decisions are required by Gilbride's foolhardy schemes. This happened at least 4 times in tonite's game, in which the receiver went one way, but the QB threw somewhere else. Repeat after me: It's better to do 5 things really well, then to attempt to do 20 things half-assed.
- Gilbride really pounded home his fetish with the screen pass tonite. On a 3rd and 8 in the 2nd qtr, he ordered a WR screen to Troy, which netted about 5 yards. On a 3rd and 10 from the Carolina 22, with about 13 seconds left in the half, Gilbride, rather than going to the EZ to see if we might be able to THROW for a TD this season, instead calls a gutless screen pass to Amoz, which netted 7 yards. In the 3rd quarter, on 3d and 6, Gilbride orders a spineless line plunge by Amoz. And near the end of the 3rd quarter, on 3rd & 11, Gilbride orders a screen pass to Pepe Pearson.
- This series really took the cake: at 7:44 of the 2nd qtr, the offense began on its own 13. On first down, a dump pass to Amoz netted exactly ZERO yards. On 2nd down, a run up RG/RT by Amoz gained 2. On 3rd and 8, the WR screen gained about 5 or 6. This is the kind of series that sums up the gross imbecility of Kevin Gilbride.
- I guess Stewart vastly improved from last week's 0-6 effort, going 1-7 for a whopping 8 yards. And he's the team's starting QB.
In short, I ask again: name just one thing that Gilbride has improved, changed, or modified since arriving 18 months ago to be the offensive coordinator?
- Graham played ok at QB. He actually threw downfield to Breuner on a nice 25-yard gainer. He finished 10-18, 95 yards, which is hardly great but gaudy when compared to Stewart's abysmal numbers.
- Faneca got badly beaten on the bomb to Plex, and was also flagged for a false-start penalty. I'm continually amazed at how poorly this man has progressed.
- Ron Cook may have still been in the refreshment line when Carolina ran its first play from scrimmage. Lewis took a 5-step drop, then took off around his right end. Jason Gildon, whom Cook had fawned over in a PG article on Wednesday, came in untouched, and then met the FB, Floyd. Rather than keeping outside contain as he went after Lewis, Gildon took an asinine inside angle, and got blasted by Floyd. Lewis scampered untouched around end for an easy 17-yard gainer. 2 series later, Carolina ran a counter to their right side, with Biakabatuka carring the ball. Tim was met by Gildon, and just steamrolled Gildon like a freight train hitting a trash can. Maybe we can all read more articles about Gildon's supposed leadership and value on this team.
- Aside from Earl Holmes, who caused 2 balls to pop loose on crisp tackles, and most of Chad Scott's stops, the overall tackling tonite was pathetic.
- Scott, by the way, had a strong game. His downfield coverage on 2 deep throws was superb, and he got an INT on the one. He seems to be fully recovered from the May '98 knee injury, and seems to be playing with confidence.
- Troy Edwards dropped an easy, short crosser, which hit him right in the chest.
- Synopsis: Next week's game in Mexico is "it" in terms of a final full tune-up. The 5th preseason game against Washington will be nothing more than an exercise in keeping the starters healthy with a minimum amount of work. Right now, this offense is not anywhere near prepared to play against Baltimore in the season opener. Field Goal Bill, armed with a 3-0 record and some good results from kicker Kris Brown, will be beaming with joy, but this team is in serious trouble if they cannot adequately begin to throw the ball DOWNFIELD -- at least 15 yards -- with any kind of consistency.
The Still Mill