Game #2 vs Atlanta: Rookie RB Jame Conner shows flashes
mcmillenandwife
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#1
08-21-2017, 09:13 PM

If you missed the preseason game vs. Atlanta yesterday, you're probably better off. Especially the first half. Matt Ryan lit our defense up. I realize many starters weren't playing, but that was terrible defense by any standard, particularly at the safety position.

Safeties Sean Davis and Robert Golden played like observers instead of defenders, watching the catches happen in front of them for 10-15 yd gains and then hoping to make the tackle. CB Ross Cockrell was repeatedly caught out of position, gave up a deep pass and would've given up a short TD had the wide open receiver not dropped an easy slant pass. To me, watching the secondary was the most sickening part of an ugly first half on both sides of the ball.

Zone defenses filled with gaping holes. Joy.

Martavis Bryant: Same inconsistent, dispassionate, somewhat confused play mixed with flashes of brilliance I remember from 2 seasons ago. A very underwhelming preseason debut. Bryant made a really sweet catch of an intentional underthrow for a nice gain. But he also stumbled, bumbled and fumbled on an end around and baldy mistimed his jump (which has always been a problem for him) on a deep ball he should've been able to out-leap the defender for.

LB Tyler Matakevich: The fact that you are still on this team highlights our glaring lack of depth at the LB position. You got owned every time you were on the field.

LB Vince Williams in coverage = an easy completion for the offense. Every single pass thrown in his direction was complete. 

Rookie QB Joshua Dobbs = hard to watch. Yes, he's a rookie. He's also a train wreck. Heaven help us if Ben goes down, because we have no answer at QB behind him.

On the plus side, second year safety Jordan Dangerfield earned a little respect (pun intended) with 2 INTs late in the game. But I can't get "too" excited about picks coming off the arm of 4th string QBs.

Bright spots:

Our special teams kicked ass. Boswell is MONEY. Kick coverage, punt coverage, repeated pressure on the opposing punter including a block by Roosevelt Nix and multiple near-blocks... all were outstanding.

Rookie RB James Conner had a really nice game running the ball. He ran hard, he ran smart, he showed flashes of big play potential. He even skillfully picked up a couple of blitzes. I liked every single thing I saw from this kid... until we threw him the ball.

I don't follow Pitt, so I don't know if Conner had a history of drops in college. But yesterday, he dropped two HUGE 3rd down passes that hit him right in the hands. Easy catches. Both would've converted 3rd downs into 1st downs and one of them looked like it might go for 30+ yards.

If there's a silver lining, it's that the drops didn't appear to be a "bad hands" issue; both were a matter of Conner trying to turn upfield before he'd completed the catch. That's much more coach-able than just having stone hands, so I'm hopeful we can get it corrected. Had he made those catches, he goes from having a good game to a GREAT game.

Nice game by Anthony Chickillo. Passionate, competent play all day, 2 sacks and some good, hard hitting.

TJ Watts played "okay." Really, it was a carbon copy of last week except he didn't benefit from breakdowns or pressure elsewhere that gave him sacks. He was mostly handled by single-team blocking and never really got close to the QB, but what I do like about him is that he plays to the whistle on every play. He also looks pretty decent in pass coverage to me so far.
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Cali-Steeler
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#2
08-22-2017, 12:08 AM

Did anyone notice Boswells kicks only getting to the 3 or 5 yard line on kickoffs? I know last year this was kind of a problem, but giving them a a running start at the 5 yard line is not good.
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mcmillenandwife
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#3
08-22-2017, 12:24 AM

(08-22-2017, 12:08 AM)Cali-Steeler Wrote: Did anyone notice Boswells kicks only getting to the 3 or 5 yard line on kickoffs? I know last year this was kind of a problem, but giving them a a running start at the 5 yard line is not good.


For what it's worth, he only had 1 kickoff that didn't reach the end zone vs. Atlanta. 

Kickoff to the 4, tackled at the 15.
Kickoff 2 yds deep, returned to 29.
Kickoff 8 yds deep, downed in end zone, ball at 25.
Kickoff 1 yd deep, tackled at 13.

To your point, however, 3 of his 4 kickoffs were returnable. That said, none of them resulted in particularly good field position for the Falcons.
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McSteeler
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#4
08-22-2017, 09:59 PM

I'll have input later but I've so missed this!
That is all.




If you can read this thank a teacher.
If it's in English thank a soldier.
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mcmillenandwife
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#5
08-23-2017, 12:00 AM

(08-22-2017, 09:59 PM)McSteeler Wrote: I'll have input later but I've so missed this!
That is all.

Pi_bigsmile  Me, too. Looking VERY forward to the regular season! 

Thumb and I have been texting back and forth and we've talked on the phone, but he hasn't made it over to the board yet.
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Crash
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#6
08-23-2017, 03:44 AM

A lot of preseason kicks are returned by design because they want to look at guys on kick coverage.
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mcmillenandwife
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#7
08-23-2017, 11:03 AM

(08-23-2017, 03:44 AM)Crash Wrote: A lot of preseason kicks are returned by design because they want to look at guys on kick coverage.

Our coverage teams looked pretty damn good and our special teams in general were outstanding.
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