Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preseason Game 3: Stock Up, Stock Down

Note: There will be no "Stock Up, Stock Down" for the final preseason game. Rather, I will post my final 53-man roster prediction late Thursday night after the game.

Stock Up:

Casey Hampton: Maybe he reads Doubt About It? Last week I questioned Hampton’s motivation and felt he was loafing. This week he looked like the Casey of old, pushing the pocket and congesting the running lanes up the middle. On one play he pushed Vikings center Matt Birk (that would be six-time Pro Bowler Matt Birk) about 4 or 5 yards into the backfield.

Rest of the First-Team Defense: Defensive line in particular was great. Holding Adrian Peterson and a strong run-blocking Vikings O-line to 21 yards on 12 carries is quite a statement. And you know it’s a good day when Ike actually catches an INT.

Willie Reid: May have locked down the last receiver spot with a solid performance, with 5 grabs for 55 yards. His return skills have disappointed but I’ve always liked what I’ve seen from Reid in the passing game. Both I Want To Fight Tom Brady and I agreed that the best way to utilize Reid is with quick hitters like hitches and slants, and out in space on screens. Let him use his shiftiness. At this point, I would not be shocked at all if he’s the #4 WR on gameday and Sweed is inactive.

Tyrone Carter: Made a number of nice tackles in run support. But he’s still a liability in coverage. Not sure if it was enough to garner him a roster spot.

Stock Down:

First-Team Offense: For whatever reason they looked out of sync. Ben in particular threw multiple balls behind his receivers. Not worried about them at all, though. They’ll still put up plenty of points come regular season.

Willie Colon and Kendall Simmons: Just a terrible showing from these two. Collectively, they may form the worst right-side offensive line in the league. For Colon, it’s simple, and I’ve stated it time and time again: I feel like he’s playing out of position. He doesn’t have the quickness or arm length to handle outside rushers. Put him at guard and let him use his strength and nastiness against slower defensive tackles. For Simmons, it’s the same old song and dance routine. The guy has stunk, stinks now, and always will stink. At this point he’s stealing money from the Rooneys, and it’s laughable that he’s a starter. Here’s the best picture that sums up everything, from last year’s game against the Broncos:

Limas Sweed: As I previously said, I would not be shocked if Sweed was inactive on gamedays. It’s clear from the preseason that he’s not ready yet and still has a long way to go in becoming a polished receiver. That’s not an indictment on him; it’s just a reflection of how tough it is to make contributions right away as a rookie wide receiver. It’s the toughest position to learn and it takes time, and when people were clamoring for Sweed to inherit the #3 WR job from Nate Washington, I knew that likely wouldn’t be the case. Look at Santonio, he’s in year three and he’s only just now scratching the surface of his potential.

Rashard Mendenhall: Hold on to the ball, young fella!

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