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-09-10-2007 #1RamOfDenmark Guest
What we need to do now on offense.
Alright, after having calmed down after last night's debacle I've tried to summarise what I think needs to be done before next week's game. I've focused on things that we can actually change, and things that we need to do on offense. In my mind the offense and coaching staff lost this game and we cannot afford a performance like this next week against a division rival.
1. Move Barron to the left side.
Barron had a good game last night. Solid run blocking, and excellent pass blocking, really not much pressure coming from his spot that I saw. He even looked to have moved beyond the usual penalties. We need our best O-lineman on the blindside, besides all Barron did in college was play LT, it's not completely new to him. Do it, and do it now, this is important! I'll be pissed off if I see Goldberg starting at LT next week!
2. Get Claude Terrell on the gameday roster, even as a starting guard.
Milford Brown wasn't exactly impressive and hasn't looked good at any point in preseason either IMO. Terrell is a better player, so get him at least on the squad so we can start him or at the very least switch to him when Brown doesn't play well.
The O-line should look like this next week I think:
Barron - Setterstrom - Romberg - Terrell - Goldberg
Or alternatively if Incognito is healthy:
Barron - Setterstrom - Romberg - Terrell - Incognito
(I know putting Incognito at tackle is a gamble, but let's put our 5 best O-linemen out there, and still keep Goldberg ready to switch in for Incognito if it's not working (and that switch should be made fast then, give Incognito a quarter at tackle and if it's not working move him to guard right away). I think Incognito would be more able to play tackle than Terrell, Cogs is a great lineman so I say give him a shot, give him a quarter to show what he can do).
3. Get the ball into the hands of Randy McMichael!
Look, McMichael is a great receiving TE, we've all seen it, so get him the ball. He was open again and again but the playcalling must've had him as the very last checkdown because he never got it (except in garbage time when nothing mattered anyway). I for one am getting thoroughly tired of the Linehan TE MYTH i.e "Linehan loves throwing to the TE" - all of last year we haven't seen any receiving action at TE and not this year either, heck Martz uses his TE's better than Linehan and that's saying something. McMichael can be a lethal threat on medium-long passes down the middle, and obviously a great safety valve also.
4. Don't use as many 2 TE sets.
Alright I know some will say 2 TE sets are good for helping our ailing O-line and that's true, but I would go the Martz route (am I the only one missing his crazy but usually effective calls?) and spread out the defense with more receiving targets instead. Our TE's are not very good blockers anyway, McMichael is the only one of our TE's good enough to be an every-down player at this point. Therefore another WR is more valuable to Bulger than a poorly-blocking TE, we have some good receiving options, Bennett may be healthy again, otherwise use Hall and Hagans.
5. Pass downfield!
We have to pass downfield, I cannot emphasize this too much. When we are as predictable as last night, so scared to lose the ball by turnover, we lose it by 3-&-outs instead. Our offense wasn't built for 3-yard passes, our core players Bulger, Holt, Bruce, Jackson are still Martz' guys and they're build for quick strikes, fast and furious offense - we have to use them like that. Maybe we don't have to go as much overboard as Martz sometimes did but we can't turn 180 degrees and play as passive in the passing game as we are now. Bulger had around 3.9 yards per attempt last night, that number needs to go way way up. Downfield passes will also open up more space for Jackson. Stopping us now is incredibly easy: just keep your entire secondary evenly spread out in zones 5 yards behind your D-line and move in to stuff Jackson or tackle the ballcatcher and limit every play to 2-4 yards. Let's scare the living daylights out of defenses again, we have the players to do it!
If I don't see significant progress in all or most of these troubled areas next week I'm joining SLOP. I'm starting to believe Linehan just doesn't have a good enough (not creative enough either) football mind to run a team, or even an offense after what I've seen (and I'm including last year in this). It's the worst tendencies from last year popping up again when we should have learned better.
Maybe one should even start a "Bring Back Mike Martz" party in the spirit of SLOP, it looks like we ran our well-oiled offensive machine into the ground when we got rid of Mad Mike and his crazy playbook.
Captain turn this ship around!
Re: What we need to do now on offense.
We've gone from one extreme to the other.
Mike Martz wanted Bulger to take chances and fling the rock all over the field.
Scott Linehan is the exact opposite with all these short safe passes.
We need to find the happy medium but to get there Linehan has to trust Bulger and his abilities.
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