Preseason Game #3: Post-Game Thoughts (No Huddle)

I know it’s a little delayed, but here are my notes from Friday’s game against the Chargers. Its tardiness can be attributed to the game blackout that pretty much ruined my Friday night. There’s nothing like getting pumped and prepped for a game and then realizing that you won’t be able to watch it.

I think everyone knows by this point that it wasn’t a very promising game. Yet, the fact remains that it was still just a preseason game. And I’d rather the team make some mistakes and learn from them now rather than be perfect now and make the mistakes later when the games count.

Let’s get this thing started:

  • Alright, first things first – let’s begin with the play of quarterback Christian Ponder. There seemed to be quite a bit of doom and gloom after Friday’s game against the Chargers – a lot of concern out there about the way Ponder looked. Maybe some fear cropping back up that he is not the answer at quarterback? I don’t know… Whatever it is, I don’t know that it’s really justified after that game. In my opinion, Ponder didn’t look that bad. His throws were pretty darn accurate for the most part. That long ball to Percy that was dropped right before the goal line? Come on, that was beautiful! While Ponder was sacked five times, are we really going to put that on him? I think the longest he held onto the ball on one of those plays he was sacked was five seconds. The other ones were in the area of three seconds. Sure, he needs to try and get rid of the ball a little sooner but it would also help if you could count on guys like Jenkins and Aromashodu and didn’t have to target either Harvin or Rudolph. Ponder did not have a perfect game by any means… But I really don’t think Ponder was as bad as some people were making him out to be. I still think he has a much better year. I still think we have a much better year.
  • It’s pretty awesome having one of the best punters in the league. Kluwe had some beautiful boots Friday night. (It’s worth noting that I thought the coverage was pretty good as well.)
  • Overall, I thought our defense looked pretty solid. And rightfully so… Our first teamers were working up against a mix match of Charger’s starters and backups. Only allowing four field goals and no touchdowns after four turnovers? Can’t ask for much more than that.
  • Josh Robinson had a nice play where he was covering Malcolm Floyd and was almost able to get a pick again. It’s great to see him covering like that… Sucks to see him not come down with those interceptions, though.
  • Toby Gerhart was never really able to get anything going on the ground. I think that can be attributed more to our offensive line working against a 3-4 defense. It seems like the line as a whole was just a little confused the entire night. That’s not a good sign though as I think we have six matchups this season where the opposing team employs that style of defense. (Don’t quote me on that…)
  • Was anyone else a little frustrated with the playcalling the first few drives? Brought back some run-run-pass nightmares. I felt like it was one of those things again where we set ourselves up for a difficult third and long.
  • More passes through the hands of our wide receivers… Joy.
  • Chad Greenway had a missed tackle on a third down that could have easily stopped the Chargers drive and forced them to punt. Disappointing to see but it doesn’t worry me much. Just glad he got that one out of his system before the regular season.
  • Has anyone ever seen so many defensive holding calls in a game? There was a weak defensive holding call on Chris Carr that really ended up aiding one ofSan Diego’s drives. That’s all I’ll say about the officiating…
  • Where was the intensity on defense? Either people were tired or they were just bored. The defensive unit just seemed out of it Friday night. Anyone else get that?
  • Did anyone else notice on the Chargers second drive that our line could not seem to get pressure through on the interior? It was like every snap they tried to run out and around their respective offensive lineman. This ended up basically clearing the line and opening up everything for Whitehurst to see. Throwing lanes galore.
  • Took us a while to get a first down, didn’t it? The first one didn’t come until four minutes were left in the first quarter.
  • Yes, Kalil was beat by Larry English on a play. I think Kalil has been beat one good time in each of our first three preseason games. Does that concern me? Not at all. Overall, Kalil has been very impressive, in my opinion. He’s been going up against some very capable defensive ends and holding his own. When this guy gets a little more experience – beware. There is still no doubt in my mind that we got a franchise left tackle in Kalil.
  • Another preseason missed field goal for Blair Walsh. It was from about 45 yards out and just left of the goal post. The kick had tons of distance and could have easily gone from 55+ (in my very scientific estimations). I’m still not concerned about Walsh at this point. His true test will come in his first game-on-the-line kick in the regular season.
  • Gerhart was replaced by Lex Hilliard on a drive where Hilliard got to work with the first teamers. Hilliard fumbled both the ball and potentially his shot to be the third running back on the roster.
  • Somebody give Jarius Wright an Oscar. That guy really sold that fake punt reception… And just about got leveled in the process. The penalty was nice, I guess, but I’d rather our guys not get destroyed in exchange for 15 yards.
  • If I had to select the third running back for the roster today it would be Matt Asiata. He has shown speed, explosiveness, power and an eye for the hole during preseason matchups. It’s unfortunate that he fumbled right at the goal line Friday night because if he doesn’t, I think he would have been a lock for the spot (in my opinion). Fortunately for him, though, all of the third running back candidates fumbled. The Vikings final preseason game should tell us more as it’s likely Asiata, Jerome Felton and Lex Hilliard will be the only backs getting work. At this point though, I have to lean towards Asiata.