The View From Section 241 -- ISU | The Boneyard

The View From Section 241 -- ISU

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O.K. For the second straight week we lost a 4th quarter lead and lost to a BCS opponent without a great history of success, but who may be better this year than anyone thought. I don't want to discount ISU's win over Iowa, or Vandy's beatdown of Ole Miss yesterday. It may turn out those are both the equivalent of midlevel Big East teams this year. So, while we've lost two games we needed to win if we were going to win 8 or 9 games this year, or compete for the Big East title (which we never had the offensive weapons to do), I still think that we can have a winning record in the Big East and get to Yankee Stadium. We need to make more plays than we've been making, but not many more. And, make no mistake -- this week was about not making plays, not coaching. Others will/have point out all the things that the staff did, and I will point out some to, but I don't blame coaching for a loss like this. Many players had an opportunity to make one more play and get us a W. They didn't. And, this was a game where the D put the O in a position to have the game won in the first quarter, and the O didn't take advantage of it. The O, overall, looked considerably better than it did against Vandy, and played well enough overall that we still could have won, but it didn't cash in a giftcheck it was given. That's why we lost.

Let's start with the defense. It was o.k., dominant for large stretches of the game, but gave up three long TD drives, two of which were way too quick and easy. Instead of an effective bend but don't break D, we seem stuck on dominate, dominate, give up easy TD. I am concerned we can't win that way because we don't have the offensive firepower to overcome that. There is nothing wrong with Brown's style, but the style we play offensively and defensively have to complement each other better. Individually, Reyes is just a friggin beast. Shocked if he's not drafted in the first few rounds. I thought Trevardo played his best game ever. On the other hand, Teddy Jennings did not have the game he had the first two weeks. The pass drops that both Johnson and Sio got on their combined pick was frankly astounding. I thought Harris Agbor had an outstanding game, except he didn't make the key play of the game -- the third and long conversion on the sidelines where all he has to do is push an airborne receiver over the sideline and he didn't, letting the foot come down and the first down, leading to the game winning TD, be converted. Plays. Gratz had a very good game. I am, however, out of patience with Jerome Junior. I thought he was really coming on last year with his football smarts, but he was involved with two of the three long TDs -- leaving his responsibility on the flea flicker and whiffing on an easy tackle on the last TD. I know he's physically talented, but I'd be looking at Stlouis. I just can't see turning any more plays into TDs. Very little substituting on the DL, in part because ISU never but a drive together in the 1st half. I saw a little of Campbell, Stephen and Wirth, but not enough to comment.

Special teams needs to step it up if we're going to start winning games -- that was always part of the plan. I don't want to beat up a kicker who makes 2 50 yard plus filed goals, but senior leaders have to make plays. Make either of the last two misses, where we only need a FG to win at the end, and the last few minutes may be different. I get the impression that Wagner and Christen are so concerned about directional kicking that they're not kicking. They need to be turned loose. I don't like our kickoff coverage. We are not breaking up the wedge and we're going to get burned on kickoff returns. It took an amazing open field tackle by Chad Christen to save one Friday night. Williams looked a little better on kickoff returns -- it may be more the blocking than him. I would like to see someone else get a chance with punts.

Offense -- it was better. It went from totally incompetent against Vandy to wildly inconsistent Friday night. But we produced two TDs on long drives. Had we just done better off the takeaways, we would have been fine. But this team, as I said last week, can't expect to win when it turns the ball over three times. On the OL, I saw both Greene and Bardzak at LG again. I am fairly certain that Jimmy Bennett played most of the game, or maybe all of it, at LT with Mike Ryan at RT and Kevin Friend the odd man out. Notwithstanding the lack of success running on Friday night, I like this line better and hope it will produce over time. Would someone please show Moe Petrus that he's supposed to get the snaps above the QBs knees. Don't know why we didn't look for the TEs all game. One strange note -- on the last hail mary to end the game, I am fairly certin that Ryan Griffin never once turned his head to look for the ball as he ran down the field into the right corner of the end zone where the ball was thrown. Strange. Each of the FBs caught a pass, but I don't think either of them is giving us the blocking from the position that we are used to, or even that we need. I liked the way DJ was running before he coughed the ball up (before being hit the best I could tell). I can't blame the coaches for sitting him the rest of the game, but we need him to get some carries, and we need him on the passing packages to win. I hope he's not buried. As for McCombs, I think we saw his limitations at this stage of his career. He is giving us as much as we can hope for -- we need someone else to contribute. We saw a little of Deshon Foxx -- don't know if he is the answer, but someone needs to be. But he's also little and Hyppolite is still out. Oh vey. At WR, I. Moore was, frankly, great (but for the fumble). I hope that was a breakout game, and not just a great game. If he can play like that consistently, a lot of things on offense will become easier. I have not thought K. Moore has given us what we need from him this year, but the TD catch and run was a great play. I am fairly certain that he used his lower body to nudge the CB, who should have had a pick, out of the way (like a good basketball low post player) so that he could make the catch. A great, great play.

That leaves QB. We did not see enough of Nebrich to tell if he's ready, but the one scramble we saw off the low snap is all we need to see to know that we have to get him over the hump so that he is ready. When will it be? No idea. McEntee was clearly better, and seemed to develope a chemistry with I. Moore, but he's not consistent enough, and he still looks too nervous in the face of a rush. McCummings looked much better running the ball -- we are going to need those plays whether Nebrich or McEntee is the QB -- but did not show that he was an every down QB. He missed a wide open McCombs on a wheel route -- wide open -- and the TD to K. Moore should be all rights have been picked. I'm still at the point where I'm not challenging the coaches whatever they do in Western New York Saturday night. But I will say this -- coming out of that game, a decision has to be made and, barring catastrophe, lived with. Right or wrong.

Good, enthusiastic crowd. Warmer weather than feared. Great night to cook a steak on the grill. Totally different traffic pattersn to the grey lot (and a lot of confused people). But, ultimately, a tough, tough loss. For the second straight week. This can't be a great team without at least one offensive playmaker, and I don't blame P that we don't have one. But this team, with just a little improvement at the skill positions, can win every game left on its schedule except probably WVU and USF. That doesn't mean we have the talent to win all of them, but we do have the talent to win any of them, and then start adding up the wins one by one. I don't know if we'll get there, because I don't know how the QB soap opera will work out, and I don't know if this staff will improve the players and the team during the year as we did the last two years. But I haven't given up on it either.

Here's to a successful trip to WNY and coming out of it 2-2 and with a QB (maybe a below average one but a QB nonetheless).
 

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Honestly, it's tough to even think about our current season struggles as the fate of our whole athletic department is up in the air.

Great write up as always, but until this conference realignment is settled, I can't even think of anything else.
 
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Being fair I can only evaluate one QB, because only one has effectively gotten the majority of snaps - his grade is not good, and outlook bleak. PP has to give NM and McCum more snaps. Maybe McCummings just needs to feel more comfortable and his throws will be more consistant. No clue if NM is ready. Given our choices I strongly suggest the staff give NM snaps to evaluate his play and potential.

Is JJL that terrible at tailback?

On the positive side our WR play is good. O Line will continue to improve and our D is strong - just confused sometimes I think. Smallwood is a prize.
 
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Great post. Thanks. Personally, I think it may be a good time to give MN the start and see if he can get something going. One or two series isn't enough time either.
 

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Just me, or does it feel like this game was played 9 months ago?
 

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as usual, great read! bl, i think your starting to see the qb saga the same i do somewhat.
mac-very simple, isn't a bcs qb, no pocket pres, throws off back foot, not accurate etc. if he is the best we have truly tho and were going to try to win with him, then so be it. but the staff isn't playing it that way. he can't get into any type of rythem with the 3 qb crap.
mcc-i like the wildcat and i think if he played more he would make those rare throws more accurate. i think he is a 25% answer to the qb situation this year.
neb-he is the answer imo. if were going to lose games, then we should do that by playing the true frosh and let him learn along the way. bring in mcc for some redzone wildcat or just some swithcups. nebrich can run and with some consistent time he will develope pocket skills. i think he has a good arm that will get better after a summer in the weight room. his decision making and misses seem to be alot better than mac's. i say play him 75% of the game. sit mac down.

situation is simple. if mac or mcc are good enough to carry this team to a win vs bcs teams, then win with them. but they are not and we have 2 games of proof. so win or lose you go with developing the future of the program in nebrich considering you burnt the redshirt.
 
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Just me, or does it feel like this game was played 9 months ago?
It is not you. Like the others, I am not even slightly upset at the loss. Can't get my mind off the realignment stuff.
 
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Great analysis. I couldnt agree with you more on Jerome junior and I really think pp has to give nebrich more snaps and even start him at buffalo.
 
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I can't believe you think Agbor had a great game. He actually made a tackle to stop a runner short of the first on third down and broke up a pass this game. Given his history I suppose that constitutes a great game. Did you see his attempt at a tackle during one of the TDs on the Jumbotron side of the field. I believe the sooner Byron Jones replaces him the more complete the defense will be.
 
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Noey -- I agree that my expectations for Agbor are low at this point. But I did think, overall, he played better. But I only saw the game live.

On the QB thing, I am cutting the coaches slack to make a decision. Because what we've seen from games isn't enough to criticize them whatever they choose. But, if I'm appointed coach Friday night, I'm starting Nebrich Saturday.
 
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O.K. For the second straight week we lost a 4th quarter lead and lost to a BCS opponent without a great history of success, but who may be better this year than anyone thought. I don't want to discount ISU's win over Iowa, or Vandy's beatdown of Ole Miss yesterday. It may turn out those are both the equivalent of midlevel Big East teams this year. So, while we've lost two games we needed to win if we were going to win 8 or 9 games this year, or compete for the Big East title (which we never had the offensive weapons to do), I still think that we can have a winning record in the Big East and get to Yankee Stadium. We need to make more plays than we've been making, but not many more. And, make no mistake -- this week was about not making plays, not coaching. Others will/have point out all the things that the staff did, and I will point out some to, but I don't blame coaching for a loss like this. Many players had an opportunity to make one more play and get us a W. They didn't. And, this was a game where the D put the O in a position to have the game won in the first quarter, and the O didn't take advantage of it. The O, overall, looked considerably better than it did against Vandy, and played well enough overall that we still could have won, but it didn't cash in a giftcheck it was given. That's why we lost.

Let's start with the defense. It was o.k., dominant for large stretches of the game, but gave up three long TD drives, two of which were way too quick and easy. Instead of an effective bend but don't break D, we seem stuck on dominate, dominate, give up easy TD. I am concerned we can't win that way because we don't have the offensive firepower to overcome that. There is nothing wrong with Brown's style, but the style we play offensively and defensively have to complement each other better. Individually, Reyes is just a friggin beast. Shocked if he's not drafted in the first few rounds. I thought Trevardo played his best game ever. On the other hand, Teddy Jennings did not have the game he had the first two weeks. The pass drops that both Johnson and Sio got on their combined pick was frankly astounding. I thought Harris Agbor had an outstanding game, except he didn't make the key play of the game -- the third and long conversion on the sidelines where all he has to do is push an airborne receiver over the sideline and he didn't, letting the foot come down and the first down, leading to the game winning TD, be converted. Plays. Gratz had a very good game. I am, however, out of patience with Jerome Junior. I thought he was really coming on last year with his football smarts, but he was involved with two of the three long TDs -- leaving his responsibility on the flea flicker and whiffing on an easy tackle on the last TD. I know he's physically talented, but I'd be looking at Stlouis. I just can't see turning any more plays into TDs. Very little substituting on the DL, in part because ISU never but a drive together in the 1st half. I saw a little of Campbell, Stephen and Wirth, but not enough to comment.

Special teams needs to step it up if we're going to start winning games -- that was always part of the plan. I don't want to beat up a kicker who makes 2 50 yard plus filed goals, but senior leaders have to make plays. Make either of the last two misses, where we only need a FG to win at the end, and the last few minutes may be different. I get the impression that Wagner and Christen are so concerned about directional kicking that they're not kicking. They need to be turned loose. I don't like our kickoff coverage. We are not breaking up the wedge and we're going to get burned on kickoff returns. It took an amazing open field tackle by Chad Christen to save one Friday night. Williams looked a little better on kickoff returns -- it may be more the blocking than him. I would like to see someone else get a chance with punts.

Offense -- it was better. It went from totally incompetent against Vandy to wildly inconsistent Friday night. But we produced two TDs on long drives. Had we just done better off the takeaways, we would have been fine. But this team, as I said last week, can't expect to win when it turns the ball over three times. On the OL, I saw both Greene and Bardzak at LG again. I am fairly certain that Jimmy Bennett played most of the game, or maybe all of it, at LT with Mike Ryan at RT and Kevin Friend the odd man out. Notwithstanding the lack of success running on Friday night, I like this line better and hope it will produce over time. Would someone please show Moe Petrus that he's supposed to get the snaps above the QBs knees. Don't know why we didn't look for the TEs all game. One strange note -- on the last hail mary to end the game, I am fairly certin that Ryan Griffin never once turned his head to look for the ball as he ran down the field into the right corner of the end zone where the ball was thrown. Strange. Each of the FBs caught a pass, but I don't think either of them is giving us the blocking from the position that we are used to, or even that we need. I liked the way DJ was running before he coughed the ball up (before being hit the best I could tell). I can't blame the coaches for sitting him the rest of the game, but we need him to get some carries, and we need him on the passing packages to win. I hope he's not buried. As for McCombs, I think we saw his limitations at this stage of his career. He is giving us as much as we can hope for -- we need someone else to contribute. We saw a little of Deshon Foxx -- don't know if he is the answer, but someone needs to be. But he's also little and Hyppolite is still out. Oh vey. At WR, I. Moore was, frankly, great (but for the fumble). I hope that was a breakout game, and not just a great game. If he can play like that consistently, a lot of things on offense will become easier. I have not thought K. Moore has given us what we need from him this year, but the TD catch and run was a great play. I am fairly certain that he used his lower body to nudge the CB, who should have had a pick, out of the way (like a good basketball low post player) so that he could make the catch. A great, great play.

That leaves QB. We did not see enough of Nebrich to tell if he's ready, but the one scramble we saw off the low snap is all we need to see to know that we have to get him over the hump so that he is ready. When will it be? No idea. McEntee was clearly better, and seemed to develope a chemistry with I. Moore, but he's not consistent enough, and he still looks too nervous in the face of a rush. McCummings looked much better running the ball -- we are going to need those plays whether Nebrich or McEntee is the QB -- but did not show that he was an every down QB. He missed a wide open McCombs on a wheel route -- wide open -- and the TD to K. Moore should be all rights have been picked. I'm still at the point where I'm not challenging the coaches whatever they do in Western New York Saturday night. But I will say this -- coming out of that game, a decision has to be made and, barring catastrophe, lived with. Right or wrong.

Good, enthusiastic crowd. Warmer weather than feared. Great night to cook a steak on the grill. Totally different traffic pattersn to the grey lot (and a lot of confused people). But, ultimately, a tough, tough loss. For the second straight week. This can't be a great team without at least one offensive playmaker, and I don't blame P that we don't have one. But this team, with just a little improvement at the skill positions, can win every game left on its schedule except probably WVU and USF. That doesn't mean we have the talent to win all of them, but we do have the talent to win any of them, and then start adding up the wins one by one. I don't know if we'll get there, because I don't know how the QB soap opera will work out, and I don't know if this staff will improve the players and the team during the year as we did the last two years. But I haven't given up on it either.

Here's to a successful trip to WNY and coming out of it 2-2 and with a QB (maybe a below average one but a QB nonetheless).
very good analysis. just for your info as far as the o-line is concerned Bennett and Ryan played whole game at LT and RT respectively, Petrus at C, Masters at G and Friend and Green played G. Bardzak didn't play at all. I pay attention to the line play especially as my son was teammates with these guys until this year and is now interning with the team.
 

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What's our best strategy heading in to Big East play? I (like most folks around here) would say : give the ball to Nebrich these next two games as much as possible to prep him for the conference slate.
 
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BussLaw and RJC, I was going to comment on Kevin Friend’s move to OG, that came as a complete surprise during the game, but hey I thought he did very well and more than held his own… I also thought that Byron Jones had a good game as the third Safety, he is going to be a good one…
 
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What's our best strategy heading in to Big East play? I (like most folks around here) would say : give the ball to Nebrich these next two games as much as possible to prep him for the conference slate.

I will say this Mike: if we don't see more of Nebrich this week than we have the last two games -- if he doesn't really get a chance to show whether he is ready or not -- I think the conclusion will be that he's not getting a shot this year unless and until the season has gone down the chute.
 
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bl,
good review. But the one place I have a little disagreement is on the quarterback situation. I thought there were times when the substitutions disrupted momentum...it jsut makes it very difficult for the offense to get into any flow. As to McCummings missing the wide open reciever, it happens. It was way over thrown. I'm not sure I'd say that alone rules him out. As for the TD pass, sometimes you need your guys to make plays...we've had damned few recievers make plays over our brief history. I think you could say pretty much the same thing about the Iowa State bomb...maybe not an interception, but it should/could have been knocked down or the reciever knocked out of bounds. Their guy made a play.

I'm not at all sure that Mccummings is the guy, but I'm pretty confident that MCEntee isn't. I agree though that the merry go round needs to end, we need to pick somebody and hope for the best.
 
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Biz, really appreciate the effort you put into these. Thank you.

I see one major weakness in this team, and I am more and more convinced it will be the reason we don't win 6 games and go to a bowl. We cannot run the ball and I don't see the answer. You have to run the ball in collge unless you have a great spread offense with good skilled position play - and obviously we don't. So, you have to run the ball.....and we simply cannot.

I will temper that by saying that I thought IS's linebackers were excellent and maybe among the best group we are likely to see.

With Frey or Endres we would have beaten both Vandy and IS. We had better athletes and our lines were better. Reyes has just been an absolute force. Dez gave the DL a B- I think and I have no idea what game he must of been watching.
 
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I should have said more about the running attack (I did before I lost my first try at the report). I know different coaches will do things differently, but I thought we had a better chance of success running up the gut right at them. the lateral stuff was not putting McCombs in a position where he could do anything. We still have big, strong uglies (although the reshuffling may well have set us back a tad on coordination). Snap the ball and let them drive out. Less traps and trickery. And, unless and until Hyppolite is back, that means we have no choice but to give Shoemate a second chance.
 
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Biz - yes it was about making plays but it was ALSO about coaching. 2nd and 2 at 30 yard line, we need to get the first down. There was plenty of time to run the wildcat, get the 1st down and then proceed. And end of game situations where defensive linemen are gunning for the QB, Johny Mc just doesn't have the athletic ability or the presence or whatever to make it happen. Bad call by coaches to put him in those situations two weeks in a row with the same outcome. Not to mention the poor clock management. We'll never know, but I believe better coaching decisions would have won this game.
 
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Biz - yes it was about making plays but it was ALSO about coaching. 2nd and 2 at 30 yard line, we need to get the first down. There was plenty of time to run the wildcat, get the 1st down and then proceed. And end of game situations where defensive linemen are gunning for the QB, Johny Mc just doesn't have the athletic ability or the presence or whatever to make it happen. Bad call by coaches to put him in those situations two weeks in a row with the same outcome. Not to mention the poor clock management. We'll never know, but I believe better coaching decisions would have won this game.

I bashed the coaches last week for, in my opinion, making an incredibly stupid and obvious decision that cost us a game. Absent that kind of obvious failure, I am going to give this Coach the same leeway that I gave the last one. Would I probably have run once on second and short? Yes, I was thinking run. But plays sometimes work and sometimes don't, percentages are involved, and just because you call something that didn't work doesn't mean that you made a bad decision.

The QB was given a play that he should have converted and didn't do so. Next.
 
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Snap the ball and let them drive out. Less traps and trickery.

Amen to that!

As for Shoemate, I simply don't know how you can trust him with the ball. It's time to see if he can play safety.....imho
 
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I give him one more chance, because we need him, but I get the point.

Ironically, because he left USC so he could play TB instead of FB, if he can't get snaps at TB he would be infinitely better at taking over Sherman's role as a FB, and third and long single back, than either Hinckley or Frank has shown to date. Whether he can enthusiastically do it -- who knows.
 
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I thought Moe got a pass from everyone posting about the game. He had at least 5 horrible snaps that night. What the heck happened to him? I wonder if he is hurt, because that many bad snaps from a senior center is beyond belief.
 
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Thanks BL

First the coaches. Better organized this week. Everybody on the same page. Why not to run on 2nd and 2 is just beyond me. Really.

McCummings missing McCombs; 2 FGs missed; any one of the 2 fumbles or the interception; knocking the guy OOB on their last drive on 3rd and 9. Any one of those change and we win. Bottom line is that when ISU needed it they got it. We are still not there yet. Both ISU and Vandy ended up being very respectable D1 teams that maybe I took for granted when I looked at the schedule..

I watched the game and then the SNY game in an hour. We made improvement this week compared to the Vandy game. The coaches are figuring out what works and what doesn't. If anybody thinks that they, the coaches, know everything about the team they you are kidding yourself. Sure you want to win every game, but I think that this whole thing is to get prepared for BE play and nothing more. You will see a different team then.

I think that McCombs will be a good runner for us. Reminds me of Caulley. Agree that we have to run stright ahead. Shoemate has got to stop fumbling. Befuddled that they don't use JJL for short yardage more after some positive press in the summer.

For QB I think that they will bring along MN slowly. I said this in another post. He threw the best ball in the last two weeks, by any QB, to Griffin in the middle who maybe should have it - tough play that we needed. 40 yds. No wobble Nothing hanging. He ran for 20 yards in two plays, but should have thrown it away on two others. Did not get much of a chance after that. He will play half the game against Buffalo and WM and he will be the QB for the BE schedule. Don't think that they will keep this going all season.
 
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Thanks BL

First the coaches. Better organized this week. Everybody on the same page. Why not to run on 2nd and 2 is just beyond me. Really.

McCummings missing McCombs; 2 FGs missed; any one of the 2 fumbles or the interception; knocking the guy OOB on their last drive on 3rd and 9. Any one of those change and we win. Bottom line is that when ISU needed it they got it. We are still not there yet. Both ISU and Vandy ended up being very respectable D1 teams that maybe I took for granted when I looked at the schedule..

I watched the game and then the SNY game in an hour. We made improvement this week compared to the Vandy game. The coaches are figuring out what works and what doesn't. If anybody thinks that they, the coaches, know everything about the team they you are kidding yourself. Sure you want to win every game, but I think that this whole thing is to get prepared for BE play and nothing more. You will see a different team then.

I think that McCombs will be a good runner for us. Reminds me of Caulley. Agree that we have to run stright ahead. Shoemate has got to stop fumbling. Befuddled that they don't use JJL for short yardage more after some positive press in the summer.

For QB I think that they will bring along MN slowly. I said this in another post. He threw the best ball in the last two weeks, by any QB, to Griffin in the middle who maybe should have it - tough play that we needed. 40 yds. No wobble Nothing hanging. He ran for 20 yards in two plays, but should have thrown it away on two others. Did not get much of a chance after that. He will play half the game against Buffalo and WM and he will be the QB for the BE schedule. Don't think that they will keep this going all season.

Thanks.

I think McCombs if a very different back than TC was before the injury. Not as strong, not as much acceleration, not as shifty. That is not to say he can't end up being very productive -- TC could have been better than Todman was if he didn't blow the knee out.
 
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