This is easily the strangest opening to a season that I can remember. I don’t recall knowing this little about our team at this point of the season, just 3 days before our season opener. What I do know is our team is a very young team, 2 of the young ones pictured will likely determine our success or demise this Sunday. Rookie starting LT Austin Jackson is getting his first start of hopefully a very long successful career but it will be difficult task going up against a Bill Belichick team. It doesn’t matter what the names are on the New England defense, he will disguise and confuse even the savviest OL, so both Austin Jackson (LT) and big Solomon Kindley (RG) will have to be on point. If you were to subtract the age of our starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, we’re trotting out a very young team. Jackson (21), Flowers (26), Karras (27), Kindley (23) and Davis, the elder statesman at 29. Devante Parker (27), Preston Williams (23), Jakeem Grant (27), Mike Gesicki (24), Durham Smythe (25), Jordan Howard (25) and Chandler Cox (24). The average of the 12 listed (including both TE Durham Smythe and FB Chandler Cox) is 25 years old. Throw in these important factors, very little practice time, no preseason games, a lot of new faces put together, facing a seasoned master in Bill Belichick and there is a chance that many things can go wrong. On the other hand, I think Flores will have our team prepared and I do believe we can see success against the Patriots this Sunday.
That was just our offense, our defense is quite young as well. I’ll spare you the lists with ages but the average age is 25.5 years old. LB Kyle Van Noy is the elder at 30 on the defense. The depth is really young as well, on both sides. It’s a great start in year 1 of the rebuild, it really is. Yes, it was disappointing to jettison Raekwon McMillan who no longer fit our needs because we’ve been doing this for a long time, drafting talent, changing schemes and then purging the talent that doesn’t fit. Hopefully with Flores and Grier we’re done with that cycle. Picking up WR/RB/QB Lynn Bowden from the Raiders make me think we’re not going to be the 1 WR, 2 TE rushing attack a lot of the time. I think we’re looking for playmakers all over the place and in today’s NFL, that’s wise. You have to score to keep up. Nothing like being able to run a game out but you have to be up in order to do that. You can’t stop the best teams from scoring, that’s a fact. You have to be able to keep up. I don’t really know what to expect from our defense. I know we have really shored up the back end with a quality secondary by adding Byron Jones to Xavien Howard for s shutdown duo of CB’s and a fine young rookie NB in Noah Igbinoghene. Bobby McCain will be the centerfielder while Eric Rowe will likely be closer to the LOS. What will be interesting to see how we use the LB’s and DL and in what combinations. Baker and Roberts will patrol the middle with Ogbah and Van Noy on the outside. Of course there will be various formations and Lawson and Strowbridge and Van Ginkel will be a part of. Looking forward to seeing all the pieces in play and even if we’re not successful this Sunday, at least hoping we see signs that things are going to be better.
I look forward to seeing DeVante Parker starting strong and seeing Preston Williams all the way back from injury. Can Jakeem Grant hold off the competition for slot play from Mack Hollins, Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden? Will we actually be able to run the ball effectively? Will our young OL be able to pass protect for Ryan Fitzpatrick or will he be running for his life as he did last season. Will our front 7 be able to generate a pass rush for a change? Will the three headed CB combo of Howard, Jones and Iggy be one of the NFL’s best? Can Rowe make the switch to safety and is Bobby Mac ready to resume his role of safety and stay healthy? A lot of questions loom, as the even bigger question that is silent at the moment, but you know when does Tua play is lurking not so stealthily in the shadows. It’s there, because as soon as Fitz has his bad day, it will rear it’s ugly head and be right there in the forefront. For now at least, it hides.
Keep in mind that Bill Belichick desperately wants to answer the question “Was it Belichick or Brady” with a resounding Belichick! Tom Brady, sickeningly so has been anointed NFC MVP and is already in the fucking Superbowl against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. It’s disgusting! I guess the NFL needs a storyline and now instead of seeing New England Patriots 24/7 it’s the freaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Brady every second. I think Brady has the better chance to succeed with all that talent on the roster but never count the master Belichick out. True, he won’t have his stalwart QB Brady running the offense anymore and I’m not much of a Cam fan, I think he’s been one of the most overrated QB’s in the game. I don’t think he deserves a marquis, he’s a JAG. If he’s healthy, he’s a threat to run and I think that’s where he’s most dangerous to the opposition. If he’s back there slinging it, I think he’s more dangerous to his own team. It’s going to be fun watching this game, so many angles to come together to make this game a must watch.