Sloppy night, but definitely more good than bad. No major injuries. That itself is a big win (just ask a Giants fan). The offense had major issues in the 1st half. The defense played well. The best unit was the STs. Bobby April has finally found the right guys to execute his scheme. It also helps that all the young guys from last season are now in Year 2.
The O-line was a major question going into the game and very much lived up to its problematic reputation. Jason Kelce got the start at Center. I think he was using last week’s clock because it didn’t seem like he was fully in the game til halfway through the 1st quarter. He did finally start to settle down and had some good moments. RG Danny Watkins really struggled. There is no lack of talent or skill. He made bad reads and bad decisions for much of the 1st half. When Watkins did choose the right guy, he did a pretty good job of blocking.
RT King Dunlap had another solid game. He got beaten a couple of times, but generally gave Vick good pass protection. Dunlap may not be the answer at RT, but he’s proving to be a pretty good band-aid. Reggie Wells was his backup. I have not had a chance to get to his part of the tape. Wells looked better than expected to the naked eye, but I don’t think he’s truly in the mix at RT.
All of our RBs played well. Shady McCoy, Ronnie Brown, and Dion Lewis were terrific. They combined to have 21 carries for 94 yards. Shady caught 7 passes for 69 yards and provided a great dump-off outlet for Vick, who was under heavy pressure too much.
Vick didn’t have a good game per se, but played much better than last week. He’s still rusty as a passer. Vick had a couple of good throws (Avant, Celek, Shady), but wasn’t throwing darts all over. The pressure was definitely to blame for part of that, but Vick just didn’t look decisive or quick with his reads. Not having Maclin hurts. Vick also just looks a bit rusty. I think he’ll come alive when the season starts and things are back to normal (practice instead of a training camp atmosphere, gameplans instead of basic stuff, etc. ).
While the offense did struggle a bit, we scored 24 points and the offense was 3 for 4 in the Red Zone. Both Vick and Vince Young ran for short TDs. We did run the ball well.
The defense was outstanding. The line got pretty good pressure. Mike Patterson returned to action for the first time since his seizure and recorded a sack. The rest of the line generated pressure and had a solid night. DE Phillip Hunt seemed to play well in the 2nd half.
Casey Matthews had a good night. He was credited with being in on 5 tackles. He broke up a short pass to a WR over the middle. Casey was the starting MLB, but left the field on passing downs. He had been the Nickel MLB, but the coaches gave that job to rookie LB Brian Rolle. They wanted to ease up on Casey and get Brian some playing time. Casey was with the #2 Nickel defense as a MLB. Brian had a good showing. He had 2 tackles and a sack. I thought he looked fine playing against starters in passing situations.
Jamar Chaney was the star LB tonight. He was only credited with 1 tackle, but played well. He broke up a pass early in the game. He covered well and kept a couple of others from getting completed. You could start to see that maybe Juan Castillo’s moving Chaney to SAM might just work out pretty well. Chaney looked athletic. He was good in coverage.
Jarrad Page got the start at SS and played pretty well. FS Kurt Coleman led the team with 5 tackles and played a lot better than last week. The CBs had a good game. Asante picked off a pass.
The starters pitched a shutout. The backups allowed 14 points, but Cleveland finished the game with only 242 total yards. We sacked CLE quarterbacks 5 times.
We only got to see Alex Henery kick one FG. It was just 37 yards so that hardly told us much. No RS stood out. We blocked a FG for the 2nd week in a row. DRC flew off the edge for this one.
I was hoping for more of a crisp effort by the offense, but didn’t happen. I liked what I saw from the defense. That was very encouraging, especially since Colt McCoy and the Browns had been playing so well this summer. Next week the backups will compete for roster spots. The starters won’t hit the field until the season opener in St. Louis.