Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:39 am
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit
Giants vs. Dolphins
One of the more confounding issues with the Dolphins this season has been the decline of their pass-rush. After recording 39 sacks in 2010 (tied for 10th best in the NFL) Miami entered last week’s game against Denver with just eight. They wound up recording seven sacks in the game, but that was in part because of Tim Tebow’s inability to make quick reads or get the ball out.
The Giants’ reshuffled offensive line has been hit or miss in pass protection thus far (more “hit” than “miss”). At Arizona in Week 4, their brilliant protection practically won the game. But the next week it waffled against Seattle’s underrated D-line (Chris Clemons rather enjoyed facing left tackle Will Beatty).
The Dolphins have one of the game’s best all-around edge-rushers in Cameron Wake, the reigning AFC sack leader. His leverage and tenacity give him strength that’s much better than his size indicates. Wake has been oddly quiet in non-two minute situations this season, though he abused Denver’s somewhat lumbering right tackle, Orlando Franklin, last week.
Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie is more polished than Franklin but has slower feet. He’ll need help. On the other side, Miami may have an under-the-radar pass-rushing talent in Jared Odrick, who somewhat resembles a thicker Jason Taylor.
Ravens vs. Cardinals
The Ravens offense owes everyone a good performance after ruining one of our 17 precious Monday night games. They should be able to get on track against a Cardinals defense that has struggled to generate a consistent pass-rush despite aggressive blitzes from new coordinator Ray Horton.
The intrigue is on the other side of the ball. Roughly two months after the trade and $20-million-plus investment in Kevin Kolb, some Cardinal fans are actually wondering if the 27-year-old quarterback should be benched. That’s the kind of ridiculous thinking that those who don’t actually contribute any skin in the game can get away with. Ken Whisenhunt knows that he’d never get another coaching job if he were to bench Kolb for John Skelton.
Kolb hasn’t been great, but he’s hardly the problem. Arizona’s “non-Fitzgerald” receivers have not been able to get open. General manager Rod Graves may deserve some heat for letting Steve Breaston get away this past offseason, though Graves’ logic was understandable at the time. Third-round rookie Andre Roberts showed intriguing potential as a speedy slasher last season.
Roberts looked like a future starter, and he cost a fraction of what Breaston would have cost. So Graves banked on him. Roberts has responded by failing to reach 40 yards receiving in every game this season. The good-looking prospect prior to Roberts, Early Doucet, has been equally ineffective.
Teams can sometimes get away with having only one quality wide receiver, but not if their offensive tackles stink. And there’s no denying that Levi Brown and Brandon Keith – two heavy-footed lumberers with inconsistent technique – stink.
So far Kolb has been awful when throwing off-balance. It’s doubtful he’ll get to be on balance much against a staunch Ravens D.
Bills vs. Redskins
Don’t pick the Redskins this week. It’s a matter of principle, if nothing else. No team should have expectations placed on it after making a change at quarterback and losing its top wide receiver, running back, tight end, left tackle and left guard in a two-week span. This will look like a preseason version of the Redskins. How will they cope?
It helps that Mike Shanahan’s system runs more fluidly with John Beck than it does with Rex Grossman. Beck is smoother reading the field and much better at play-action rollouts and bootlegs than Grossman. Accuracy is a bit of a concern, however. As for the other injuries and replacement ...
RB Tim Hightower (knee – out for season) had found his niche in this zone-run scheme, but he’ll be missed most in the passing game. Ryan Torain is a decent upright power-runner with a spring in his step, but he can’t stick pass-rushers the way Hightower could.
WR Santana Moss (hand – out 5-7 weeks) was Washington’s only creator on offense. He could generate his own space and turn an underneath catch into a 60-yard scamper. Either Niles Paul or Anthony Armstrong will replace him. Both have flashed at times, but neither is completely trustworthy. And, unlike with Moss, defenses won’t have to even ponder the possibility of double coverage.
TE Chris Cooley (finger, knee – out for season) was trending down and losing his role to Fred Davis prior to get hurting. Davis can fill Cooley’s receiving shoes. But the Redskins are now down a good in-line blocker in the run game. With Cooley and Davis, Washington had the benefit of balancing its formation with a viable pass-catching tight end on each side. This often compelled defenses to stay in basic front seven looks. New backup tight end Logan Paulsen won’t command that kind of respect.
LT Trent Williams (high ankle sprain – out 0-4 weeks) has missed most of the last two games. Pretty easy to identify the impact of his absence: backup Sean Locklear is experienced but much slower than Williams all-around.
LG Kory Lichtensteiger (knee – out for season) was one of the unheralded heroes for this team down the stretch last year and prior to going down in Week 6. Center Will Montgomery moved one spot to the left to fill Lichtensteiger’s void. Montgomery is interchangeable that way, but his replacement in the middle, Erik Cook, a seventh-round pick in ’10, was a noticeable downgrade coming off the bench. He had issues snapping the ball and was overwhelmed by defensive tackle Mike Peterson on a few plays. The Redskins can only hope those were Cook’s jitters working themselves out.
So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games.
Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Andy Benoit, Anthony Armstrong, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Bills vs. Redskins, Bills vs. Redskins Preview, Brandon Keith, Buffalo Bills, Cameron Wake, Chris Clemons, Early Doucet, Erik Cook, Giants vs. Dolphins, Giants vs. Dolphins Preview, Jared Odrick, Jason Taylor, John Beck, John Skelton, Kareem McKenzie, Keep An Eye On, Kevin Kolb, Kory Lichtensteiger, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Logan Paulsen, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Niles Paul, Orlando Franklin, Ravens vs. Cardinals, Ravens vs. Cardinals Preview, Rod Graves, Roy Helu, Ryan Torain, Santana Moss, Sean Locklear, Steve Breaston, Tim Hightower, Tim Tebow, Trent Williams, Washington Redskins, Will Montgomery
Posted on: May 4, 2011 9:31 am
Posted by Andy Benoit
4th round, Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
St. Louis Rams
2nd round, Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin
Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.
Tags: Alex Smith, Arizona Cardinals, Austin Pettis, Beanie Wells, Billy Bajema, Chris Long, Colin Kaepernick, Danario Alexander, Draft Truths, James Carpenter, James Hall, Kendall Hunter, Lance Kendricks, Robert Quinn, Ryan Williams, San Francisco 49ers, Sean Locklear, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tim Hightower
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:06 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit
Posted on: August 27, 2010 2:21 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit
Two major problems come about from Russell Okung’s high ankle sprain. One, the first-round rookie is losing invaluable developmental opportunities. Obviously, there’s a difference between learning one of the NFL’s toughest positions in practice and preseason games versus learning it on the fly in the regular season.
Secondly, the Seahawks are especially thin at offensive tackle. (Why do you think they invested so much in Okung in the first place?) The Seattle Times reports that 2007 fourth-round pick Mansfield Wrotto will start in Okung’s place. Wrotto is a utility backup who, in the past, has noticeably struggled as a spot starter.
Normally in this situation, the Seahawks would move Sean Locklear to left tackle and have Ray Willis fill in at right tackle. But Willis recently had arthroscopic knee surgery, putting his status for 2010 in question (he almost certainly won’t be available early in the season).
The Seahawks could move Locklear to the left side – they’ve done so several times before. But that would still leave them vulnerable on the right side. (By not moving Locklear, the Seahawks would be weak at left tackle but relatively strong at right tackle; by moving him, they’d be only average at left tackle and weak at right tackle.)
Needless to say, the ideal solution would be for Okung to just get healthy. But high ankle sprains rarely cooperate quickly with such wishes.
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Posted on: August 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
Seattle rookie OT Russell Okung suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of Saturday night’s game that could keep him out for a while.
“It’s a legitimate ankle sprain,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. “We’ll see how it goes.”
From the Seattle Times :
Okung left the field in the first quarter and was replaced by Mansfield Wrotto, who finished the game at left tackle. Okung was not available in the locker room afterward. He underwent X-rays, which did not detect a fracture. He will have an MRI on Sunday. Carroll was asked if Okung suffered a high-ankle sprain.
Typically, recovery from a high-ankle sprain takes four to six weeks. Sometimes it is quicker. Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson was back two weeks after suffering that type of injury last year. Sometimes it's longer, as was the case with tackle Sean Locklear, who missed about two months.
Without Okung in the lineup, Mansfield Wrotto and Joe Toledo would have a chance to take over the first-team reps. This, however, is a familiar situation for Seahawks fans. Last year, the team went through four LTs trying to find a replacement for the since-retired Walter Jones. If the first-round pick isn’t back for a while, that’s going to be a problem.
"It's pretty significant," Carroll said of Okung's injury. "Obviously we made it as big a priority as we could make it to get him. So we'll have to see how it goes.
"That's a big loss if he can't come back. We put a lot of time and effort into getting this guy right. He has done everything we could ask of him, and we'll see what it is. I don't know how long it's going to take."