I went back and rewatched the tape from Sunday’s 38-3 preseason loss to the Colts, and I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. It wasn’t great by any means, but it wasn’t a disaster either. I know I’m probably going to get the classic “he’s a homer” response from some people, but there were a few aspects of the performance that show some potential.
First, I want to touch on some of the disappointments, with the biggest undoubtedly being the offensive line play. Both the first-team and second-team units weren’t nearly good enough, and frankly I’m worried. As bad as our line play was last season, I really thought we were in for a major improvement in 2012. Now, I’m not so sure. It was only one preseason game, but that group has to be better. I thought Isaiah Pead showed some flashes of being good, but overall he struggled. It looked like jitters, so I expect him to be better in the next few games. Also, on a less vital note, rookie QB Austin Davis didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t so much his numbers, but his long wind-up throwing motion. I had high expectations, but I don’t know how effective he can be if he doesn’t shorten up.
Now, on to the positive. For all the criticism I’ve heard about the defense, I liked what I saw. Coach Fisher said they played a pretty vanilla scheme, which played a role in the giving up points, but the front four did a nice job getting upfield and Robert Quinn looked like a beast. I thought Michael Brockers and Janoris Jenkins more than held their own, and Kendall Langford was very impressive. When they move to their full scheme, I expect this group to be very good.
Offensively, Sam Bradford missed a couple of throws but the first-team unit moved the ball well. Steven Jackson didn’t play much, but when he was in the game it looked like we had no problem running the ball. Bradford made some nice throws, and assuming the group can finish off drives, I think they will be much better than last season. Fisher will clean up some of those drive-killing mistakes, and the receiving group looked pretty solid for the first time out.