First Impressions: Game 2

There’s a full review coming, but here are a few quick takes.

1. Wow, did those quarterbacks suck. They keep playing like this, it won;t help if Puff gets a suspended sentence. These guys couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. Brian Hoyer‘s excuse for playing like Tyler Thigpen (working his way back to game shape) is getting old. He missed Puff, Jordan Cameron and Andrew Hawkins. Johnny Football has the excuse of never having seen NFL defenses.

But when Connor Shaw looks like the only guy who’s played ball before… YEOW!

2. We can cut the defense a partial mulligan. Six corners didn’t dress for the game. Buster Skrine, Pierre Desir, Isaiah Trufant and Aaron Berry probably would have made an impact. This does explain some of the success Washington (20-35, 330 yards) had throwing the ball.

Two other DBs didn’t dress, but the only thing K’Waun Williams or T.J. Heath lost was a chance for their folks to see them on national TV. Ditto for LB Darius Eubanks, Keith Pough and Eric.Martin. Or offensive linemen Michael Bowie or Randall Harris (or based on how he played last week, Paul McQuistan) or TE Martell Webb.

Be glad you didn’t see QB Rex Grossman. And the absence of both WR Nate Burleson and DE Desmond Bryant is probably something you should learn to get used to.

3. I’d contribute to a Kickstarter to have Terry McAulay quartered and then drawn. Either he, Ed Hochuli or Jeff Triplette is the worst referee in the league (it depends on who I saw last). A McAulay game always has tons of penalties– never consistently called and many questionable. 

I like a tightly-called game, but you don’t get it with McAulay. Sometimes a bit of behavior is a penalty, sometimes it isn’t. You’re never sure if they didn’t see it or the call (or non-call) is a makeup for the last screwup. It was like baseball in the 90’s, when every umpire had his own strike zone.

Which means it is impossible to tell if Joe Haden (whistled twice for defensive holding) has gotten fatter and a step slower now that he has his big contract– and has to resort to grabbing people– or if McAulay is just making stuff up.

Plus, of course, neither team can get into the flow of the game. 12 first downs on penalties. Really…

4. Mike Pettine should name Brian Hoyer the starter today. Not because he deserves it– but because Johnny Football doesn’t.  If Pettine has any sense of the theatrical, he will call his second-stringer in and say “Johnny, I’m going with Hoyer”— and then flip him the bird and ask “Do you understand why?”.

A quarterback who loses his composure– especially in an exhibition game– is going to be a loser. They’re not allowed to cry, fight, taunt or celebrate. They have to be thinking 20 steps ahead at all times. They’re responsible for the team.

If Johnny Football didn’t understand that he made himself a target with his behavior, he should now. Every opponent will want to take a whack at him and give him a hard time. He can’t respond. It’s as simple as that

5. Chalk up another demerit for Baby Shanahan. A coach, as Paul Brown (and every branch on his tree) used to say, is, first and foremost, a teacher. If the players haven’t learned what you need them to do, it’s on you.

Some of what has happened in the last two games have been poor play– there’s no scheme that instructs a quarterback to throw the ball at his receivers’ feet. But when the receivers aren’t looking for the ball when the quarterback throws it, or the backs (or line) seem confused about the blocking), the problem might be lack of comprehension of the system.

On the sack on Johnny Football’s first series, RT Mitchell Schwartz dropped way back, letting Ryan Kerrigan come deep– as deep as the quarterback. Both players seemed to be looking for the second blocker… and when Kerrigan realized there wasn’t one, he disengaged and made the tackle. 

Not to rehash what I’ve said, but Kyle Shanahan has never run an offense on his own before, He’s always worked for offensive coaches who ran Dad’s schemes (or in Jon Gruden’s case, a similar one).  We don’t actually know he can coach, And based on two games, the jury is still out.

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