A running list of observations so I don’t flood Twitter feeds as I watch the first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. I’m starting with the defense. Keep checking back.
Rookie mistakes: One of the things that stood out while reviewing the film of the first preseason game again was the play of rookie linebackers Hau’oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony. Kikaha plays with good speed, but his instincts in pass coverage are still developing. He was slow to react a few times and that was the difference between a completion being made or the play being broken up or immediately stuffed. Anthony had some positive moments, but he blew contain on Joe Flacco’s 17-yard run when he misread the quarterback. There was another play later in the quarter where Anthony tried to read the quarterback, was wrong, and left a tight end wide open over the middle.
Overall feel: There were times when the first drive felt helpless. The Ravens dinked and dunked their way down the field with short passes and short runs. It felt helpless at times, especially when the team couldn’t get stops on third downs. There were some things that were problematic, but my view after watching the game again is that some of the issues would have been schemed away during an actual game. You have to think players coming out of the backfield would have been properly accounted for.
Ellerbe: I thought Dannell Ellerbe played a pretty solid game before being injured. He looked good in run support and (from the limited view of the television tape) seemed to do his job in coverage. The only negative I saw was that he was slow to change direction on an 8-yard pass to a tight end and slipped. He didn’t appear to have his feet set properly and couldn’t get over by the time he recognized the play.
Breaux show: This isn’t so much an observations as much as a statement: I really like Delvin Breaux. His coverage on the play where he was hurt was exceptional. Jeremy Butler ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at his pro day. That’s not blazing speed, but Breaux was a step ahead of him. He’s going to be good.