We have played 5 of 17 regular season games- to be exact, it’s 29.4% of the regular season. In my view with about 30% of the season done, we have a lot of good indicators along with some concerns.
As a review of the season so far, let’s look at what we’ve strengths and growth areas this team has 5 games in:
- The defense is obviously the strength of this team. It has yet to surrender 20 points in a game, which is getting into “Doomsday Defense” territory. That’s the kind of defense that wins in the playoffs.
- The pass rush is top shelf. Between Parsons, D-Law and Armstrong, opposing QBs are constantly under duress.
- Dorance Armstrong is the poster child of a development project. He has been a very underrated part of this defense’s emergence.
- It’s clear Dan Quinn has a great grasp of how to use effective rotations. His use of multiple DL players has kept the defense fresh.
- Cooper Rush has been excellent in his role. He never tries to play hero ball and has yet to throw a pic, and he seems to buy into the idea that he has a role to play to help this team win.
- The “running back by committee” approach is working. Zeke and Pollard together make an excellent combo. Pollard still needs more touches but at least he’s on the field a little more.
- Team chemistry– seems pretty obvious that these guys enjoy playing together and they all seem to know their roles.
- The offense is still anemic. As long as the defense can hold people under 20, the offense doesn’t have to be a scoring machine. But that won’t be enough in the playoffs. It must improve if we’re going places this year.
- Drops– Cedee Lamb needs to continue improving in this area. Gallup too. Drops are going to happen. But it cannot remain a pattern. Drops are so often drive killers and this offense cannot afford to lose possessions because of drops.
- Pass blocking is still a concern. It’s understandable when a future HOFer like Aaron Donald has a great game. But our tackles have not been that great in pass blocking. Good news is they are both very young and have tons of upside.
KEYS TO FUTURE SUCCESS
- Stay hungry– we’re only 5 games in. This team cannot stop improving because it still has a long way to go to be a team that can go far in the playoffs. A 4-1 start is exciting, but there’s nothing to celebrate yet.
- Offensive improvement– as good as we feel about this D, the offense must improve or this team will have another short post season.
I’m impressed with this team so far. They have proven to be a mentally tough team. But only 30% of the season has been played. Lots and lots of football left to be played.