Pre-Season Thursday Games: The Day After Analysis
Battle Between Rookie WR Keenan Allen and WR Robert Meachem for No.2 WR
Charlie Whitehurst threw two interceptions. His first was thrown to Meachem on a comeback route. Meachem didn’t create any separation on 2nd/3rd-team corner Byron Maxwell who took a nice angle to step in front of Meachem for the INT. The second interception thrown was on a 15-yard-in route off the out-stretched hands of Allen. In the first half Allen caught two balls on four targets, and Meachem didn’t bring in a catch on two targets.
Battle Between Rookie RB Giovani Bernard and BJGE for No.1 RB
Unless BenJarvus Green-Ellis gets injured or does nothing but fumble the rock, he will begin the season as the starting back in week 1. We had the chance to see what the hype was all about with Bernard coming out of Bengals camp. They highlighted the rookie back in their first pre-season game with a team-high 10 carries along with a team-high 3 receptions on five targets. Bernard had a combined for 44 total yards (28 rush, 16 rec). The icing on the cake was Bernard pounding one up the gut for a one-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal. BGE averaged 4.7 yds/carry on 3 rushes for 14 yards. We make nothing of the difference in touches. It was more to see what the rookie could do in a game-time situation.
Battle Between 2nd-Year RBs Daryl Ricahardson and Isaiah Pead for Starting Job
After Richardson touched the ball four times for a total of 23 yards driving the Rams downfield on the first drive, Pead fumbles the ball on his first touch. Point Richardson. Richardson grabbed two balls on three targets for 20 yards and Pead had no looks his way. Point Richardson. No.3 back Zac Stacy had more targets out of the backfield than Pead. Point Richardson. That makes it 3-0 in favor of Richardson who started the game in the backfield and finished the day as the better back. However, both backs did average 6 yards/carry and both had a rush for over 10 yards.
Denver Broncos Depth at Backfield: Rookie Montee Ball, Knowshon Moreno, and Ronnie Hillman
All early indications say Ball will be the starting back to begin the season. Game 1 in the pre-season went a little differently. Moreno was featured more out of the three with 6 rushes for 23 yards and one catch on three targets for -1 yard. Both Hillman, 3 rushes, and Ball, 5 rushes, had nine rushing yards and no targets out of the backfield. You couldn’t make much out of the backfield situation during the first pre-season game. I would suggest tuning in to the next couple games to receive a better indication. The current depth chart has Hillman as the top back followed by Ball then Moreno. In 2012, Moreno was the featured back when healthy, but has battled injury issues the past three years.
Quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Brandon Weeden Needing to Prove Themselves as No.1 QB
Both QBs played into the second quarter and played well. Weeden had a QB rating of 127.7 after completing 10-of-13 for 112 yards and a two-yard-screen-touchdown pass to Dion Lewis. Bradford was just as effective with a 145.8 QB rating completing 5 passes on 8 attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown. Both starting quarterbacks protected the ball in their first pre-season game and looked poised leading their teams downfield on multiple possessions. Both head coaches allowed their young stars to show what they had and they didn’t disappoint.
Steven jackson touched the ball 6 out of the first 10 offensive plays for Atlanta
Joe Flacco went 7-for-9 throwing a bad pick behind his receiver D. Gorrer. A good sign for Joe “Smooth” was connecting with Torrey Smith on two throws for 16 yards.
On his first and only drive, Colin Kaepernick was a perfect 4/4 for 38 passing yards and six yards on one rush. He stood tall in the pocket alluding pressure nicely when the pocket crumbled around him.
Washington TE Fred Davis caught both of the balls thrown his way. One was a touchdown in the back of the end zone off play-action.
CJ2K displayed the vision to cut-back and the speed to separate from defenders on his 58-yard TD run. No.2 back Shonn Greene took advantage of a gaping hole on his 19-yard TD run, like Johnson’s run, on the left side.
Judging by the first two series by the first-team offense, the Bengals are going to use two tight ends as their primary formation. It makes sense because that way both Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, two first-round picks, are on the field. Of Andy Dalton’s eight drop-backs, three passes went to his tight ends. By going with two tight ends, the Bengals use a single back and no fullback.