2011 is off to a good start. The starting offense came in and looked sharp. Mike Vick led us on a TD drive. He was accurate with his passes and made good decisions. Riley Cooper helped him out with a great catch on a broken play. Vick hit Celek for the TD on a simple play that was well executed. That’s what we need in the Red Zone.
The defense is what really excited me. The defensive line was outstanding all game long. The goal of the new coaches is for the players to fly off the ball and be disruptive. That’s exactly what happened. Trent Cole got us off to a great start. Cullen Jenkins was a force up the middle.
Then the 2nd string came in. Darryl Tapp played great. Derek Landri was disruptive all game long.
The 3rd stringers showed up as well. Phillip Hunt made a strong case for not just a roster spot, but playing time. He was a force off the edge. Teo had some nice plays. Marlon Favorite came alive on a couple of plays.
We ended up with 6 sacks. All of them were by the D-line. We might have had more if Tyrod Taylor wasn’t so elusive. He scrambled out of a couple of plays. Great start by Jim Washburn and his players. I haven’t been that excited by our D-line since the early part of the 2006 season. We did rotate guys early and often. I’m going to enjoy that this year.
The guy I wanted to focus on was Casey Matthews. He wasn’t on the field all that much. He didn’t stand out, good or bad, vs inside runs. I liked what I saw from him on a couple of pass plays. There was a screen where he stuck with the RB and threw off the play. There was a 3rd down pass play where Casey hugged up tight on the RB and Joe Flacco had no options. The DBs took away the outside guys and Casey was all over Ray Rice. Those are subtle things, but they are exactly the kinds of things I think Castillo wanted from Casey.
Ryan Harris got beat twice to the inside. Can’t have that. He’s got to work on that problem. Harris also whiffed on a run block, unless you listen to Brian Baldinger. He was praising the non-block. Danny Watkins was up and down. There were some good signs, but he looked like a rookie. Jason Kelce played pretty well. He got beat once in pass pro that I noticed with the blind eye. Austin Howard needs to be in better shape. He had some good moments, but gave up a sack when he was badly beaten to the inside.
Vince Young came alive when put in a game setting. I mentioned that as a possibility. Some guys are at their best in a game and not practice. Mike Kafka started slow, but got better. Jerrod Johnson will get some nice parting gifts. His football career is about to end. Good kid, but he’s not a pro QB.
Ronnie Brown and Dion Lewis had some good moments running the ball. That was fun to watch. More please.
Alex Henery was good from 24, 35. His KOs were deep, but that was expected with the new rules. Chas Henry was up and down. He had a long punt of 52. He had one shank. He’s talented, but needs work.
I came away from the game feeling pretty good. King Dunlap and Fenuki Tupou suffered injuries, but we didn’t see any starters go down. We didn’t see anything significant on the injury front. The defense ran around and played aggressively. That was fun to watch. The offense mixed in some new wrinkles. We scored a Red Zone TD and got multiple Red Zone stops. All in all, that’s a good start.