Bryce Brown is off to a phenomenal start. Brian Baldinger has compared him to Bo Jackson. His stats are beyond both Shady and Westy. Heck, I think he’s better than Lamar Gordon, Tony Hunt, and Darnell Autry rolled into one, with a dash of Lorenzo Booker on top.
In the last 2 games, Brown has 42 carries for 347 yards and 4 TDs. That is more than 8 yards per carry. In the NFL. This really is freaky stuff. In 75 carries this year, Brown has 6 for more than 20 yards and 2 for more than 40. He is a big play machine.
While Brown is doing some amazing things, I think we do need to be careful about over-hyping him a bit. The NFL is a league of trial and error. Coaches and players adjust to new guys. They figure out what the player does and have a counter-measure for it. Right now DBs are taking poor angles on Brown and he’s able to burn them. In future games, Safeties will stay back and come up with a less aggressive angle. They’ll give up the 4-yard run. They won’t give up the 40-yard run.
If Brown continues to thrive even after teams have tape on him, that’s when we know he really is something special.
Another thing must be pointed out…the competition. Carolina is 25th in run defense. Remember the Thursday night game earlier in the year when a no-name guy like Andre Brown of the Giants just shredded them? That defense doesn’t tackle well at all.
The Cowboys were missing both ILBs. They were missing NT Jay Ratliff. They had a backup Safety in the game. Dallas is 17th in run defense, but that number was higher when they had Sean Lee and Bruce Carter healthy. Without them and Ratliff, they are very vulnerable to the run.
I’m not trying to get anyone down on Bryce and his amazing start. He’s been incredibly fun to watch and has shown the ability that made all the colleges in the nation drool over him as a high school phenom. I just think we need to be careful. He’s had 2 straight games against mediocre run defenses. There was very little game tape on him prior to this. Do not be shocked if teams adjust to him quickly and slow him down.
This doesn’t mean that Brown will turn into Lamar Gordon. You just might see his numbers fall from 24-178 to 24-108 or something like that. As I said earlier, defenses will have to start challenging less on the short runs if they are going to take away his long runs.
Sunday will be a great test. Tampa has the #1 run defense in the NFL. They allow 3.4 ypc and 82 yards per game. Does Bryce kill them? Does he run for 100 or so? Does he get shut down? We know he is a very talented RB, but judging how talented is the question we now face. And this is a good one. Brown has exceeded our initial hopes. We just need to see how good, at a sustainable level, he is.
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Couple misc subjects
Castillo’s future. I’m told he wants to stay on defense. Might do him good to work as a LB coach under a veteran DC. Juan is an excellent coach. He might be a good coordinator down the line. He needs some training.
Improvement of OL. Needs a full post.
Vick. I’ll talk about Mike when I get some time. Someone on Twitter was mad at me for being “anti-Vick”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Back when he was a Falcon I wrote that Mike is the most talented person to ever play QB in the history of football. And I still believe that. His raw skills are freakish. He just never developed on the mental side of things because he relied on his talent. As someone once explained, you can think of an NFL player’s career as 2 elevators. One starts at the bottom – experience. The other starts at the top – raw talent. When the elevators meet in the middle is when a player has the right combination of talent and knowledge. As the talent goes down (due to age), the knowledge goes up and he’s able to make up for any physical deficiencies. The problem with a guy like Vick is that he’s so good, he cheated age for longer than most players. And that kept him from working on the little things.
Compare him to Rodney Peete. Rodney looked old when he was an Eagle in 1995. He was 29, but only had 48 starts. Still, Rodney wasn’t special physically so he had to learn every trick in the book to stay in the league and challenge for playing time. Vick at 29 was way beyond Rodney at 19. Vick didn’t have to master the little stuff. He could still do things that defenses could simply not handle.
Now, the bill is coming due. Mike should be ready, but he’s not. And he’s paying the price by taking a beating. You can say that the OL hurt him. That the playcalling hurt him. And that stuff sure didn’t help, but the point is that a veteran QB is supposed to have the skill set to deal with those areas. Rodney Peete had a crappy OL in 1995 and 1996. Ask Rodney about having Guy McIntyre at LG and trying to block Leon Lett. Made Danny Watkins look like Larry Allen.
Vick can still play in the league, but he must adjust his game, even with an OL and running game. After all, Vick had a good OL and rushing attack last year and still was an erratic QB. This isn’t a one-year issue. I hope Mike goes to the AFC so I can pull for him. Would love to see him as a Raider. That organization needs someone exciting and Vick still has some very special moments.