and player interviews and coach interviews and takes. I come away impressed with a few things:
1. Same Page. This team seems to be on the same page as far as what they want to do and "characters" (Coach OL Columbo, CB Baker) are gone. The Locker Room should be conducive to winning as there are leaders like S Logan Ryan
2. Youth. There is young talent on the OL and DB. As a fan it is easy for me to project them to be better than they really are and I am going to do that here again with the caveat that they must stay healthy and get through a full camp together in sync for the best return.
This OL will run block well. We have more experience this year than last; some continuity should come through; however, it is coaching up the youth that excites and gives me a moment to pause too:
Thomas-Lemiuex-Gates-Hernandez-Peart - they may struggle early in pass protection but they will definitely be able to run block. So long as Barkley doesn't have any setbacks, given his hard work regimen, I expect him to be 99% of what he was pre-ACL for opening day. If we run well on Denver and Washington we give DJ a shot downfield and with his legs as well.
Note: it would be great if both tackles really blossom into top OT's and for Gates to really shoot up as an OC of merit and note. I think both OG's are limited but serviceable. You can't have everything.
The DB's are a mix of young and veterans with talent. We have talent at CB and S at the same time plus depth. If this group is as solid as I believe they will be (easy Top 10 group) along with a top run stuffing DL, well, we should be holding teams in check from the opening bell. I especially like the "mix n match" of talent at safety and the competition from the youth. Deepest unit I've seen in awhile.
3. System. I like Judge's teaching style and I like the fact that the units return with the same system after a freak year for a first year head coach to take over with almost no camp. The team should be much more in sync than last year or even recent years past. This means less mental errors and more taking advantage of the other team.
I have to admit I was upset with the CB S. Baker fiasco last year and had told myself that had this young man kept his head straight and started from day one who knows if we couldn't have wom the division as we were 2 plays away from two more victories. We sucked at CB and Baker would have been an upgrade. How the heck to you move up to the first round to draft a prima donna head case? I guess you take a chance and here we got burned and it hurt. We cut our losses and moved on so last word on Mr. Payoff Baker.
In summary, I don't see why (if healthy) this team can't be 10-7 and in the hunt for the division title from the opening bell to the final game. Washington has a great defense and Dallas likely will put up numbers on offense but this team has the "potential" to have the most balance and to get those close wins.
I can't wait for training camp and game 1 vs Denver!
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