FanPost

What I saw against Indy

First - I saw what I predicted, but what so many were very quick to write off: a team that was going to be scrappy, an offense that was going to be effective at times, and a defense that would be better than expected. I saw a pretty well-coached team, which again so many people here were pissing and moaning about, and already calling for heads to roll in the preseason.

Second - Pryor showed that he has improved, but he also showed exactly why he wasn't who the staff wasn't looking at to lead the team all year. He made plays with his feet, but his decision-making resulted in 7 points against, and sealed the loss as well. He must improve his decision making, continue to work on not lofting the ball (which was what caused the first INT), and yet not start trying to think too much. I think he did well enough, but he has to improve to keep the job long-term.

Third - The OL wasn't too bad; it wasn't as effective as I would have liked in the running game, but it didn't struggle too much in the passing game. There is plenty of room for improvement, but it is a good sign, especially with a street FA starting at RT, and a third-string player starting at LT.

Fourth - The defense played pretty well, again considering how many new starters are there (9), which is similar to a brand new scheme. There is a lot to learn, and there is also learning about what to expect from the guys you are playing with. The run defense was solid, although it gave up a few bigger plays, and the pass defense was decent. What was probably surprising to some (not so much to me, although I didn't expect this much) was the amount of pressure that the defense was able to generate. With some more time with the DL playing together, with the actual starters, I think that the run D will improve.

Fifth - The coaching staff did a heck of a job. The team was ready, well-prepared, and the coaches were making good calls on both sides of the ball. Nobody was too worried on the sideline; there are some guys here that think that only screamers work, but there have been a lot of coaches that don't get all hyped on the sideline that have had great success. I'd say that today should shut up some of the naysayers for at least a little while.

Not going to say that I am happy with the eventual result, because this was a game that we could have won, but I am pleased with much of what I saw. Players playing hard, schemes making sense, and while there were some penalties, I'd say that at least a few of them were phantoms. Overall, a solid effort, and if we continue to improve through the year, as I absolutely expect and have predicted, we should be in pretty good shape. Not necessarily playoff shape, but able to look at free agency without the thought of having to replace half the team, and the same with the draft: look at what players can improve us, not just for bodies to fill slots...

Overall grade: B

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