Last night during the broadcast, Dick Vermeil brought up Jon Gruden's talking point regarding the loss of development time for players. He pointed out that coaches today have a much greater challenge in getting teams prepared. This explains not only the increased reliance on natural talent but also the increase in football injuries as bodies are less acclimated to contact. As a side note, I'll add that one of Josh's comments, last night, was that he likes getting backs into the game because it is impossible to simulate game time hits in practice.
Vermeil's comments provide a perfect backdrop to last night's game. New coaches, new players, new systems on both sides of the ball and both sides of the field. If we waste too much time in the weeds, we can easily overlook the overall performance of the team under the challenges of today's NFL. There will be plenty of breakdowns ad nauseum regarding the individual performances and then the inevitable dismissal of everything as being the first preseason game. Which will then cause us to completely ignore the more important insights coming out of last night's game.
Let's consider several factors. First of all, the offense is transitioning from a traditional West Coast offense to the Ehrhardt-Perkins offense which involves a completely different set of terminology that serves a completely different purpose in the new system. The offensive line is transitioning from ZBS to more power blocking as well. The defense is transitioning from Gus Bradley's traditional 4-3 Cover 3 based defense to a more innovative and dynamic DC in Graham. Again, terminology and concepts are critical but we have to add the fact that these new coaches are also teaching different techniques and these can only be addressed in camp. So while the terminology and concepts are a reflection of study time which can occur anytime, the technique comes from practice.
Then there's the matter of distilling these terminologies, concepts and techniques down to the 90th guy on the roster. It's not enough for Derek and Davante to understand E-P, everyone needs to be on the same page. And that's why last night's game was important. It gave us a chance to assess how much we've digested and how far down the roster we've gotten. I think the 4th quarter showed a few issues but those guys most likely won't be playing on Sunday.
I think the team passes the eye test. There's a lot of work to be done but we came out of the game with a lot more answers than the Jaguars, believe me. There is a pink tutu wearing elephant named Brandon Parker in the room but hopefully we can leave him at swing tackle and hope he never comes to the plate. After the games by Zamir White , Ameer Abdullah and Austin Walter(?) , Jacobs stellar performance did not diminish the wisdom of declining his 5th year option. That had to be reassuring to anyone concerned about next year. We're in a position to transition to a new backfield or keep a powerful backfield together at a reasonable price. Receivers were mixed but the fact that our top 3 receiving options were not playing distorted the amount of defensive attention any receiver would receive in a game. I think we're good. Offensive line looked ugly at times and Brandon was pretty much the poster child when it did. On the other hand, run blocking was nice and I noticed linemen getting downfield a few times on the screens. Speaking of which, it looks like the curse of the ineffective screen has been finally lifted. All in all it was a good look at our progress so far. LFG!!!!