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Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

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Old 09-18-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Great to be 2 - 0. A nail-bitter for sure.....get used to it, this year will definitely be good for the blood circulation. But its a huge improvement over the previous 15 years (excluding Gibbs 2.0).

As Denny Green famously said "They are who we thought they were!" Well, we are what most of us thought we were. Overall well-coached, improved at OL/DL, younger, faster, more talented overall.....but question marks at QB and in the secondary, especially with depth.

The Good
Offensive Line:
- The Zone-blocking scheme is much improved from last year. The entire OL is moving well and quick getting to the second level.
- The Cards blitz a lot and the OL/backs picked up the blitz very well today. Only 1 sack.
- J. Brown is moving well, getting to 2nd level, looked good in pass-pro. I didn't observe any errors in his Blitz pick-up.
- TW's quick feet allow him to set the edge for outside runs.
- We're not complaining constantly about pressure up the middle or the middle of the OL collapsing on runs....credit to Monty.
- They highlighted this play on TV, but it bears mentioning again. Monty reaches the DT with help from Chester, then Chester gets 2nd level on the LB. Hightower rips off a 15+ yd run. On this play the WR is working hard downfield blocking as well.
- Effort is excellent and the players are fitting into the scheme. Great job by the FO/coaches getting the right players and to the position coaches, particularly Foerster, "coaching 'em up".

Offensive playcalling, the Good:
- Overall, a good job of playcalling by KS.
- First series script was very good.
- Good use of the screen game to slow down the AZ blitz.
- Good committment to the run game....for most of the game. 31 for 177 is damn good.
- Also, a couple of plays in the run game with action against the playside flow worked great. One was a pull by KL and another was a backside seal by Paul, both sparked 8+ yd runs. I'd really like to see more of this creativity in the run game.
- Great call on the FB cutback on 3rd down in the 4th Qtr.
- Great play design, matching Davis 1-on-1 against backup LB for 1st Skins TD.
- Great scheme late using picks to get easy completions and move the chians for the GW FG.

D. Young: Aside from his missed assignment picking up a blitz from the C-gap allowing the lone sack, Young is maturing into a good FB. He's making his blocks and showing the ability to get into the flats in the pass game. On the play before the sack, he crushes #52 to spring TH for a 10+ yd run. In prior years, Sellers whiff-blocks were seen regularly....haven't seen Young whiff yet. Glad to see Young starting.

Fred Davis: Maturing into a top tier TE that creates a mismatch nightmare that we envisioned with him early on. Too fast for LBs, too big for DBs. 6-86-1 TD today. His run blocking is greatly improved and you can see (as I mentioned in pre-season) he's really taking pride in this part of his game. Davis will be the starting TE by mid-season, he just brings much more physically than Cooley.

Hightower & Helu: The stat line I mentioned above is no joke. Great job to both. What I believe we'll see is a situational split between these two. Helu is better between the tackles, Hightower is better off-tackle and in pass-pro. Both played very well.
- The only small issue I notice with TH is that he runs a little high (maybe tentative) between the tackles.
- TH, great block off PA on the TD to Davis
- Helu appears to be a great pick, quick feet, runs w/power, sees the lanes. MS can pick the mid-round RB gems.

Rak & Kerrigan: Both had a sack and pass-defensed. Both also had several pressures. In the 4-man rush, it is a HUGE advantage to have Rak & Kerrigan able to generate pressure off the edge. The ability to create pressure with the front 4 in passing downs is something we haven't had here since the SB years. The pick of Kerrigan is turning out to be a fantastic fit. Didn't see Rak making many of the mistakes he made in basic LB responsibilities last year. I expect a Pro Bowl year from him. If Kerrigan keeps pace he could win DROY.

Front 3: Rak, Kerrgan and Fletch are all over the field...it's because the front 3 are doing their job. At the point of attack the DL is either holding ground or re-establishing the LoS in the backfield. Cofield and Bowen are making the FO look brilliant. The Skins gave up 93 yds rushing, and most of that was after Wilson/Barnes went out and Haslett had to scheme to cover for the backup DBs with 5 in the box.

D.Hall: I've been very critical of Hall in the past for being "who he's been".....more style, less substance. He's been quietly playing very well in the first two games. Outside of biting on the Fitz double move in 1-on-1 today, he had Fitz locked down, almost had a pick, and tackled well for a second straight week. If Hall keeps it up I'll gladly advocate for him to make the Pro Bowl.

D Playcalling: Haslett is able to run the D he wants with players to fit the scheme. With a solid front 3, two athletic OLBs, and a 4-man pass rush that gets pressure, he's able to run the blitzes needed and coverages behind them. Skins LBs and DBs were constantly bringing the heat due to mismatches schemed up by Haslett. The only questionable D playcall was leaving 5 in the box when AZ had 1st down on the +11 in the 3rd qtr.

Team Attitude: All the distractions are gone and this is a TEAM. From the off-season workouts during the lockout, to showing the trust in each other and poise to win today. The Skins have taken on a team first, lunch-pail mentality.
- No question this attitude starts at the top...yes with Snyder. Snyder has taken the correct steps and is letting MS run the team. MS and the Front office have done a great job changing the culture. The coaching staff has the team believing in the system/schemes and in each other. This is a team non-diehard Skins fans will begin to root for.
-I listened to a couple of minutes of a TH postgame interview and he spoke about the OL and TEs working hard for him and not wanting to let them down. Total team attitude. Nice to hear vs. some of the "me first" garbage that has come out of the RB position over the last few years.

The Bad
Blocked FG: This had nothing to do with Gano. Carriker didn't block down and got blown into the backfield. The 6'8" Campbell made the block. Inexcusable, Carriker should not be on FG/XP next week.

Weaknesses now on Tape:
- With our #2 & #3 CBs banged up, Coach Slowik must spend extra time this week getting the youngsters up to speed. No way we can leave 5 in the box to compensate. Haslett's going to have to trust Westbrook & Thompson. Westbrook came up big with the strip.
- Overload runs, early in the second half AZ went with a few G pulls and used motion to overload a side to run successfully....it worked well and fortunately for us AZ went to a spread with our CBs hurt. Haslett must fix this ASAP, we'll be seeing it on Mon. night for sure.
- With new faces in the secondary, it's going to take a few more games for the comfort and trust to build between them. On the TD to King, Wilson bit too far inside on the Post (not trusting his S help inside) allowing King a free run after his catch on the out. Hopefully LL, Wilson and Barnes will be back on Mon. night and stay healthy.

O Playcalling, the Bad:
- Have I mentioned how much I HATE running Zone runs inside the 10? It doesn't work. You can't run ZB against a stacked box with no deep field to defend. You can't take a lateral first step against a D that's bringing it. If anyone from the Skins is lurking...please ask MS/KS to give a power run game a try inside the 10. The TD % inside the RZ will improve greatly.
- 3rd & 2 from the +12 late before the blocked FG. It's OK to run a 2TE set, an I or use PA. We have two very good TEs that are capable of creating mismatches. We have the run game established. Don't put these key plays all on Rex and the "system".....that being said, if Rex made the correct read/throw we would've had a first (more on that next).
- 2 pt conversion, again with the shotgun. Another thing I hate, near the GL, is shotgun. How'd that work out for OK in their NCAA championship game against FL (Scud knows)? How'd that work for AZ in the SB? Unless you have a top tier QB, this normally doesn't work out well and it didn't this time either.
- 3 & 4 from the +16 with 1:56 left. To me this playcall was the worst and is an inexcusable call. What discussion are we having today if the pass is tipped and INT'd? The shotgun pass already hasn't worked in two key situations. Be smart, play the percentages, make AZ use their final time-out and who knows you may get a 1st down with the run. There should be a couple special run plays on the playcall sheet saved for these situations. IMO KS needs to stop worrying about being the next "offensive guru" in the NFL and make the safe, boring call. Gibbs won 3 SBs and made it to the HoF making safe, boring playcalls in key situations. As I mentioned before Rex isn't Brady/Manning/Brees either.

Rex: 25/43 291 2TD 2 INT isn't a bad stat line. But as the theme of the thread, Rex is still "who he is". The Skins won in spite of Rex, not because of Rex. This game should've been won going away. Here are the specifics:

1st drive
- 2nd down I believe. Rex makes a good read on the coverage, zones shallow with two high. He goes to the corner, right read, crap throw, incomplete.
- 3 & 5, the read is Man coverage, but the throw is way behind Moss. Fortunately we're bailed out by a penalty.
- This play is key and would've easily put us up 7 and eliminated the first INT. 2nd & GL. TE (Davis) left, Bunch Rt. On the TE side you have the AZ safety clearly covering Davis in Man, which leave Hightower matched up with the AZ LB (who I believe is a backup). This is a simple read which any NCAA QB should make. Pre-snap read has to be TH. Unless the LB makes a beeline to the flat, hit TH as soon as his head is around and he's in for a TD. At the snap the AZ LB hesitates and TH is WIDE open. Rex misses and throws some garbage to Gaffney, incomplete.
- We all saw the INT, more garbage. Rex knows better, he's a veteran QB.

- Rex's 2nd INT, I know the announcers were whinning for a penalty and the INT "wasn't Rex's fault"....however Rex just did the same thing a few minutes earlier, a soft pass over the middle. Can't do that in the NFL. On this play it was Man coverage, I think Rex rushed the throw. Armstong is crossing under Moss, if Rex waits a split second for Armstrong to clear a little more and puts the ball on the money, Armstrong is still running.
- Rex's best pass of the 1st half was his decision to throw the ball away and not force a play on 3rd down before the 1st FG.
- 3rd & 2 on the +12 before the FG block. I don't like the playcall, but as I mentioned above if Rex makes the read/throw it's a 1st. KS is making this an easy read for Rex. Gaffney running a quick post with Davis coming under on a flat route. This creates a pick for Davis. The read is simple, unless the DB jumps the flat, you hit Davis. If the DB jumps the flat, Gaffney should be wide open. On this play the DB backed off and the correct read was hit Davis. It appears Rex locked in to Gaffney and didn't read the DB.

3rd Qtr
- Deep pass to Davis we all saw, another case of a guy still running if a good throw is made.
- 3rd & 5 at approx 7:30 in the 3rd. This one is a little tougher to crush Rex on because it may have been tough for Rex to see this not being a tall QB, but pre-snap he should know where he's going with the ball based on how the mid-zone coverage reacts. Pretty easy read on the D. 2 high, with Zone under (no one following motion). Armstrong clears the S help, Moss draws two defenders in the middle, Davis is open and has inside postion on the Dig. The ILB is rolling towards Moss and can't make a play on the throw if it's made to Davis. Rex forces to Moss for an INCP. Punt.
- We were very fortunate on the pressure by Dockett Rex's wild throw over the middle wasn't picked.

4th Qtr
- Great read of D and throw to Stallworth.
- On the 4th down TD, I couldn't get a good read on who made the error in the AZ secondary. I suspect it was Peterson biting on the Post/Corner move. Good read by Rex, solid throw.

With Rex at QB, this is what we'll be dealing with all year. He'll stay within the offense for stretches and make some plays, but he'll also make some big mistakes and miss some key plays. Rex is a veteran QB and knows the system, that's why I don't think we'll see improvement in what he does throughout the year. I'm not at practice every day and wasn't at camp, but based on what MS/KS saw in Beck they don't see an advantage in putting him in. I think his performance against TB is what killed him. If you have a guy making the same mistakes as Rex, why make a change. Their decisions at other postions have been good so we just have to trust that Rex is the best we've got.

Overall a good team win. We don't have problems at every unit like we have in years past. The D is coming together, the OL and run game are improved. Are we a "QB away", not ready to make that declaration yet, but we certainly could be that team that comes from nowhere to challenge for the playoffs if Rex can be more consistent and KS can be slightly more conservative.
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Last edited by Slingin Sammy 33; 09-19-2011 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:55 AM   #2
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

That call on 3rd and 2 from the 12 had me ready to throw something at the TV, even if, as you say, Rex could have possibly still made something of it. The call on 4th and 3 is conspicuously absent from the O Playcalling breakdown. Where do you fit it? I'm being serious. No doubt it was flawlessly executed, but the three calls that preceded it made the go-for-it decision seemed forced, as opposed to an accepted part of the plan at that point. And if that play doesn't convert, it's the only play we're talking about today.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:56 AM   #3
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by BringBackJoeT View Post
That call on 3rd and 2 from the 12 had me ready to throw something at the TV, even if, as you say, Rex could have possibly still made something of it. The call on 4th and 3 is conspicuously absent from the O Playcalling breakdown. Where do you fit it? I'm being serious. No doubt it was flawlessly executed, but the three calls that preceded it made the go-for-it decision seemed forced, as opposed to an accepted part of the plan at that point. And if that play doesn't convert, it's the only play we're talking about today.
I would've kicked the FG, but I'm an 80s Gibbs disciple. I was torn on where to put it, it's a 50/50 call there so I don't fault the decision. I do agree it seemed forced. Good execution on the play, I think there was a coverage breakdown by Peterson, just couldn't see for sure from the TV angles.

I agree with you about if the play doesn't convert...we're having a much different discussion today. But the focus would still be on Rex/KS either way. I think KS can get better with playcall in key situations, I'm not as optimistic on Rex becoming "Good Rex" all the time.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:28 AM   #4
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Excellent! Thank you Sammy. I agree about Hall. Wasn't going to put him on the stud list but other than the Fitzgerald TD he had a good game and has improved his tackling.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:09 PM   #5
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Great post. I always look forward to reading yours' and Gtripp's analysis after the game. You and him are great when it comes to breaking down the film.
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:19 PM   #6
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Nice job SS33
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:28 PM   #7
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Excellent review as always Sammy. I couldn't agree more about the 3rd and 4 at the end of the game. I was cursing.
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Old 09-19-2011, 02:40 PM   #8
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Nice job SS, I especially agree w/you on Rex & D. Hall. I was warning my brother that the "they are who we they thought were" quote was after Rex's 4 int & 2 fumbles v. Cards in 06. I am of course happy at 2-0, but I expect Rex to have some dreadful games against good defenses.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Nice job SS. Great stuff in there.

I was very pleased with the way we moved the ball. 29 first downs!! However, for as many times as we visited the red zone yesterday, we need to walk away from that game with more points on the board.

But you know, in years past all it would seem like the ball never bounced in our direction. Seems like we're finally getting a few breaks here and there that make all the difference in the world.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Great review SS , but Fred davis .... trade him , only 1 TD ..... thats not enough . Monday night , Davis and Cooley score TDS , and we get a special teams TD to send the Cowpokes to 1-2-0 start !
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:57 PM   #11
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

We barely beat the Cardinals with a brand new QB...put that in historical perspective.

We are still a 7-9 team, but we may be able to push for 9 wins if things stay the same.

Good write-up.
I still don't like our Center's shotgun snaps...but they weren't as bad this week.
Hard to complain really...with an offense that pumps up this sort of yardage. I don't think we'll really know how good we are until we have a good 4 games under our belt...but I really didn't expect to be performing this well yet.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:01 PM   #12
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

^ This is the second time that someone has mentioned "our center."

Is the name Will Montgomery that hard to learn?
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:07 PM   #13
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Thanks to all for reading and all the kind words.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:57 PM   #14
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Great write up S S. Rak and Kerrigan are the real deal.

Skinsnut, why do we even need to keep predicting how it is going to end this year, lets just let it play out. What ever happens we are still going to be fans. Let's let it ride and enjoy it win or lose. As long as we are moving forward as a team I am happy for now.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:56 AM   #15
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Re: Slingin Sammy's Cardinals Game Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slingin Sammy 33 View Post
I would've kicked the FG, but I'm an 80s Gibbs disciple. I was torn on where to put it, it's a 50/50 call there so I don't fault the decision. I do agree it seemed forced. Good execution on the play, I think there was a coverage breakdown by Peterson, just couldn't see for sure from the TV angles.

I agree with you about if the play doesn't convert...we're having a much different discussion today. But the focus would still be on Rex/KS either way. I think KS can get better with playcall in key situations, I'm not as optimistic on Rex becoming "Good Rex" all the time.
I'm about 85% sure that the coverage was 2-man. The scheme and quarterback were responsible for keeping the safety (Wilson) out of the play, but Moss needed to beat Peterson to the edge for that throw to be there.

It's risky because Rex could read the coverage, make a perfect throw on the money, and Peterson could have still been underneath Moss to force a turnover on downs. Fortunately, Moss beat him and everything worked out fine.
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