I think how we handle the bye will be very telling. Ponder has a lot to work on, but much of what I see is correctable. We need to accept the fact that defenses are going to bring the pressure every third down because 1) our OL has shown that they can't stop them rushing up the middle, and 2) Ponder's mechanics break down when he is pressured.
I noticed two things specific to Ponder in the last couple of games that I think we need to address. First, I think Musgrave told Ponder to stop rolling out to his right under pressure because it was becoming predictable. I think he needs to let Ponder roll out where ever it is the most natural to him, because when he rolls to his left he tends to step directly into pressure. It may be predictable, but it was working for him. Second, Ponder needs to spend the entire damn bye working on his foot placement. It has been HORRIBLE the past two weeks, and I think that has had a very negative effect on his accuracy.
Looking back to the San Fran game, I see some stark differences in the way we were executing. For one, San Fran didn't feel that AD was as much of a threat, and they rarely brought that second safety down into the box. That means that both the run game and the short passing game was more open for short games. Anyone notice that AD always has his big runs when opposing teams stack the box? That is because when there are 8 in the box, once he breaks past that first layer, there is usually one side of the field open for him to run to. AD's best years have come when we have had poor play from our QB - just something to think about.
I also saw that the OL was blocking very well, giving Ponder all sorts of time in the pocket. When they did that, he was delivering the ball right on target. In the past four weeks, the OL has fallen apart. Ponder is always under pressure, and as stated before, his mechanics break down.
The good news is that this is a lot of correctable stuff. We might not be able to make defenses pull that safety back out of the box, but we should be able to make them pay for it. We need to stop with these damn fades and throw a couple of post routes deep to Simpson. The corners play the fade every single down because it is the only deep or mid level pass we have thrown all season. I know, it is because of the ball speed, but let Simpson go up and get it. I figure one of three things will happen - he will catch it, he will draw a PI call, or it will be intercepted. At this point in the season I am OK with those odds, because it will at least impact the way they are pulling in safeties constantly.
The OL and backs need to step up their blitz protection. If that means that AD is out on third down plays, so be it. I love AD but his blitz pickups are still pretty bad.
We CAN fix some of our offensive troubles. Not enough to make a playoff run (Playoffs?!?) but enough to win a couple of games yet and show some promise for the future of this young team.
I agree. Nothing I've seen isn't fixable. I've gotten over our hot streak and accepting the fact that we're not as good as we saw earlier, but by no means are we done for the next couple years.
Ponder needs to address some problems he's been having. We need coaches to pick up on these things. I'm not certain they are. Ponder's a smart guy, you would think if someone was working with him on something, he'd get better, but he's not.
As we saw early on, when Ponder is playing well, as a team we play well. When he sucks, we need other areas to step up, and that's something we can't rely on happening at this point yet.
My question is: How is anyone surprised by this? You keep a lot of the same pieces from the Childress coaching regime, promote the VP of Player Personnel to GM and completely over-draft a mid-talent QB....
[sarcasm] Can't believe we're not a better team. [/sarcasm]
Many teams are young and inexperienced. The coaches are supposed to experience them and it looks like our coaches are not doing as well as the other coaches in that respect.
Exactly how many young & inexperienced guys do we have starting on offense again?
How many young & inexperienced guys do we have starting on defense?
I mean, let's be real people. Quit trying to make it sound as if 80-90% of our starters our rookies or first year starters. Let's also not forget that of those that are, some are playing at a high level. Kalil, Smith & Walsh for example.
So which young, inexperienced guys are you blaming our losses & poor play on?
So why is it we can't beat teams with young & inexperienced QB's with less than half the experience ours has?