Late Postgame Take
After the first exhibition game on Saturday night, I was feeling a bit underwhelmed. Nothing really jumped out at me. I felt guilty for not being more excited. I just think I was expecting more—of what, exactly, I wasn't sure.
Thankfully, I was cheered by several commentators here at Raider Take, who seemed genuinely enthused by what they saw.
That’s when I realized that I was looking at things the wrong way. I realized that our offense is essentially trying to re-learn normal football after last year’s prolonged exercise in insanity. Adapting to a new system under a new coach after a demoralizing season is no overnight endeavor.
From this enlightened perspective, I saw that instead of focusing on how we executed on Saturday, I should be focusing more on what we attempted—which is to run a logical modern offense.
I now have a new take on what I witnessed, and here are some of the things that are lifting my spirits: the diversity and clarity of the playcalling; the much-improved pace of the offensive unit; the spirited running of Adimchinobe Echemandu; the enhanced depth at the running back position; the looming presence of a hopefully reborn Mike Williams; obvious improvement at the tight end position; Jerry Porter in a uniform instead of street clothes, and hustling his ass off, too; the upward mobility of our offensive line in terms of cohesion and protection; and the return of an aggressive and opportunistic defense, especially in the secondary.
Meanwhile, I must say that assessing our quarterback situation based on Saturday’s performances is a dicey proposition. It’s not just how they perform, it’s whom they’re facing. For example, the second team of the Arizona Cardinals is not exactly the best measuring stick for Andrew Walter.
That said, I have to say that Josh McCown looked unimpressive, which doesn’t bode well for him. In fact, I expect our QB depth chart to be completely inverted in the coming weeks. If Culpepper remains healthy, he’s our guy, period.
Anyhow, why should I expect leaps and bounds on August 11 when a lot of baby steps could take us to the next level by September 9? After the first few preseason games last year, I had no clue as to how abysmal our team really was—and I’m starting to suspect that the opposite could be true right now.
I really can’t sum it up better than Roberto of Raider Raza, who wrote me with the following take:
"The bar has been left so low from last year that I was very impressed with the game management, ability to call plays and execute them before the clock hit 0, the overall team cohesiveness, their blocking. All these fundamentals were absent last year.
Last year we couldn
Me too, brother.