For those of you who don’t recall, I started a project a while back wherein our best and brightest (i.e. most willing) commenters volunteered to exclusively watch one or two players every game. The goal was to get a thorough and unbiased view of the most important players on the team. The only way to do that is to watch them every play. Otherwise we’re forced to rely on the same old spin and coach-speak most NFL fans seem all too happy to swallow.
Well, we here at the RFP are not most NFL fans. We’re desperate for untainted knowledge and we’ll do what it takes to get it. Watch a player, follow him home, tap his phones, kidnap his kids, whatever. We’re the guys who aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty.
I gave my volunteers the first 4 games to gather data, and they’ve really hit me with some great stuff. It was fun to read it all. I can honestly say that I’m proud of them, as lame as that sounds (you think you’re better than me?). The following are the choicest cuts from your boys at the RFP. We’ll start with DJjoker, who has been working on Mike Vrabel:
The question about Mike V. in my opinion is if the intangible qualities he has in the form of leadership, experience, and personality worth his production with respect to his defensive contribution.
A mixture of tangible and intangible occurred on the last Chief’s defensive play of the night that sealed a Chief’s victory. Because of his leadership and experience something caught my eye after listening to Todd Haley’s Press Conference. Coach Haley stated “I thought Mike Vrabel did a very good job of making the official aware that he was probably going to [call a timeout] ahead of time.” This time out may have been one of the hidden gem plays of the night. If San Diego was able to run the first play they wanted we may not be celebrating this week.
My man Wyld Ball started with Tin Man and switched to Perv Smith after the injury. Some good stuff here:
Well the Tin Man has been out since the second half of the first game so there hasn’t been a lot to watch of him. I did get to watch that first game twice and noticed that he did make a couple plays. He moved down the line and stopped a Matthews run in the redzone (for example). There is absolutely no way he should have got credit for all of the tackles they threw his way, but he was hands-down improved in that one half from last year.
I’ve been watching Shaun Smith a little more frequently since the Tin Man has been taken out of the equation. Smith has been playing at a high level against the browns and Niners. He was making plays, shedding off his blockers, and obviously firing up his offensive opponent by grabbing his penis. He was held in check yesterday at Indy, but I also noticed that most (all?) of the day he was lined up on the right side (w/ Tamba on the left). I thought it was an unusual move as I hadn’t noticed that all year. In any event, it seemed to free up Tamba little more.
Plenty more after the jump
Resident line guru Phanatic on Albert and Dorsey:
Albert: The general thoughts are I like him, he is quick and strong, and I don’t like how nice he is. In pass protection, he is quick enough to get into good position. When in position, he makes a strong punch. In run blocking, he works well with Waters. When I say I don’t like how nice he is, I mean he is not “nasty”.
Dorsey looks like he is in shape, which is good. He moves his hands a lot in pass rush, which is generally a good thing, but he doesn’t go anywhere when he does it. The idea is to get the offensive lineman’s hands off you so that Dorsey can get his hands in good position to move the offensive lineman backwards. Against the Colts, it looked like he would push for two steps then stand up. That could be a result of the game plan for the week since the Colts tend to get rid of the ball in 3 seconds, and it is better to get one’s hands up. In general, I was surprised by the website backing up the idea that Dorsey is good. I do not see it in pass rushing, and I don’t see it in rush defense. He might eat one blocker, but he cannot get off the block to make a play. I hate being wrong about Dorsey as a draft pick, but I believe I am because the game should have slowed down to him by now.
The KC Oracle raining on some parades (switched to Berry after the Tin Man injury):
Tin Man was getting stood up every play when I watched him in the first game, sometimes sliding down to make tackles (or run into tackles).
Berry has made some bad decisions.
Cheeeeese on Barry Richardson. I love how this one ends:
I haven’t seen him make big plays like the other lineman such as down field blocking or the block that broke for major yardage. I also haven’t been like “what the &*%# was that, Richardson? Block somebody!” so he is good for now….
Sesame Cake gettin’ it done with a thorough review of Kendrick “Louis” Lewis:
Bad news first: The two big plays in the first two consecutive games really painted Lewis and Berry in a poor light. People will point to Berry as the source of both of those mistakes but hey, there was miscommunication and it’s my impression that Lewis is one of the more vocal players in the defensive huddle. I’m one to praise the entire secondary when things are going well (sacks are up, passes are deflected, quarterbacks are frustrated) so I think that it’s fair to blame the entire secondary when you allow the “big play”…especially the safeties. I’ve also noticed that Lewis gets to the tackle a bit late on most occasions.
Good news: Those two big plays were in the first two games of his career and since then, the D really has been something else. Strong safety play has to be a part of that, especially holding the Colts to one rushing touchdown. Is Lewis the fourth, maybe fifth best DB back there? Possibly but as I stated earlier, he seems to have his head glued to the sideline between huddles so it would indicate to me that he’s a pretty intelligent guy if RC Cola really is relaying the schemes to him. He made a sweet play in that San Francisco game breaking up a pass. Prognosis: he’ll get better. If he’s smart, which it would appear he is based upon my hunch with scheme communication and playing time, there’s no doubt he’ll improve. Until the flashy plays arrive, we’ll have to settle with an incredibly improved defense as proof that “Louis” Lewis is legit.
Here’s Americanwolfx on everyone’s favorite late bloomer, Derrick Johnson:
I have had the privilege of watching Derrick Johnson and it hasn’t been hard considering he’s always on the ball.
DJ also had a huge forced fumble that I think everyone remembers. Its still early in the season so I don’t want to hype up DJ too much but it certainly looks like he is everything he has been hyped up to be finally. He never gives up on a play even if he isn’t the one that makes the tackle you will see him right there by the ball. He has channeled his inner Paris Hilton and somehow even if he isn’t involved in it he is there. The difference is the only people that get tired of DJ are opposing offenses. If he keeps this up we may see him in the pro bowl.
For my part, I’ve been watching Dorsey and Ryan Lilja. The biggest plus in Dorsey’s game, for me, is that he finally looks fired up out there. His first two years he looked pretty lethargic (you know, because he was so fat?). He still does at times, but he also turns it up a notch occasionally. I feel like this is what we were supposed to have been seeing two years ago. Flashes. Of course, most fans swore they were seeing all kinds of flashes from him as a rookie, so what do I know? The point is Dorsey has improved each year but is still nowhere near what we were told he’d be. To fully enjoy him we’re going to have to forget where he was picked, because that ship has sailed.
Lilja is solid. Not imposing or dominant, but he knows how to get in the way of his man. That may sound overly simplistic, but its valuable. I never see him out of position or not blocking anyone. Ryan Lilja knows what to do. The improvement on the right side of the line is largely due to his presence…..and Mike Goff’s absence.
OK gang, hope you enjoyed our first effort here at the Roster Familiarity Project. If you’d like to join up, we’d love to have you. All we ask is that you commit to watching a player game in and game out. It can be whoever you want. Doubling up is not a problem. The more people we get for this, the more info we can gather. For me, thats an exciting prospect.