Well it was an exciting Divisional Playoff weekend in the NFL. Well, the Sunday games anyway.I am positive we will be much more interested this time next year as we will be in the extended season discussions as well.
I have taken the time to give the year end grades out by position and I think you we will agree on most-with only a few exceptions. There are only two positions I see on the entire team where competition would only benefit. Our Punter and Quarterback had seasons that I would rate as A’s, with Anger getting an A+.
Here are my opinions. Mind you like the body part your sitting on-everyone has one and everyone else stinks but yours. LOL…
Playoff Recap: The postseason finally gets going
Awards:: cover32’s end-of-season awards
Quarterback-B Our young Buc set the yardage world on fire again. Erratic at times, and can take better care of the ball-but he will only get better with another year in the system and continuity with his coaches.
Running Backs-B- This one is tough as our starter evidently played with a self-prescribed handicap when he did play. Martin’s performance was horrid. People assumed it was the Offensive Line, yes, the same line he rushed for 1,400 yards behind in 2015. So, when Martin went down with yet another injury and a new body stepped in like Rodgers, Sims, or Barber and they rushed for double the yards per carry I wrote an article floating the idea that he “wasn’t right” and perhaps we should move on from the oft inured almost 30 year old (he’s 28) sputtering Back that we only seem to get production from when he is rushing for a new contract. I took the slings and arrows of attacks for even suggesting he be relieved of his duties here-but I take no joy in being proven right. Drug addiction is a serious health issue. We all pray he can beat this and return to form either here or elsewhere (I’d prefer elsewhere). A B- based on what we have to replace him and how they did in his absence.
Wide Receivers-A- Mike Evans once again showed why he was our first pick in the draft previously. He is without argument the top 2 or 3 Wide Receivers in the National Football League. With Vincent Jackson’s injury it was a virtual “who’s who” to compliment him on the other side. Emerging as capable options were Adam Humphries and Cecil Shorts. Shorts got hurt (possibly career-ending) and we saw names like Freddie Martino and Russel Shepard fill-in nicely. We could really use a speedy Receiver to help stretch the field to compliment the possession Receiver qualities of Evans. The jury is still out on Huff as he only saw limited action.
Tight Ends-A- With the departure of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Cameron Brate became a star and a great reliable option for Winston. Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers also contributed nicely. I think we have a future Greg Olsen/Jason Witten on our roster in Brate.
Offensive Line- C As mentioned earlier, laying the poor rush stats at this groups feet is not fair. Same group blocked for a 1,400 Rusher last year. That said, the pass blocking needs work. Blocking for a Quarterback like Winston who is not where he was a second ago (Tom Brady he is not) is difficult. When the rush is coming and nobody is open, you have four options; scramble/roll out, force a throw (probably pick), throw it away, or take a sack. I’d love to see what Winston could do with a better pass blocking line-we shall see. This group could use a long-armed rookie or two.
Place Kicker-F The least accurate Kicker in the league last year. Missed way too many kicks. We aren’t talking 50 yarders mind you. He missed numerous 40 or unders and several PATs as well. I for one am happy to see competition for this head case, as he cost us at least one game (Oakland) and possibly 2 more. Jury is NOT out on Aguayo-he has been found guilty of being a bust-PERIOD.
Punter-A+ Best Punter in the NFL. PERIOD.
Defensive Line-B Really gelled later in the year. New scheme, new Defensive Coordinator. A few injuries but good teams push through those. We could add a bull -rusher up the middle. We have speed on the ends, and we possibly have the answer for Nose Tackle in McDonald. Just need to keep them healthy.
Linebackers-A- I’d take these 4 over any group in the league. Young, fast and ball magnets. Leave it alone if it ain’t broke!
Defensive Backs-D There is not one that plays consistently well. Tandy is flashy, Conte is flashy, Hargreaves gets a pass as a Rookie, Robinson and Verner more “splashy” than flashy. Grimes is the only exception, playing lights out every game. He was a great off-season pick-up.
Overall I’d give the entire team a solid B. Almost exceptional, above the averages of the league. I hate this term, seems so cliché’, but we have so much potential it’s scary. We are one maybe 2 solid pieces from being a yearly post-season contender.
We will get there, the team believes in Koetter and obviously by the recent extension-believes in Smith as well.
As we used to say in the NAVY, stand by for heavy rolls as the ship comes about!!!