Probably the biggest question from the first game of the season is this…“what happened to the offense in the first quarter?” Actually, it extended a bit past the first quarter, but there’s no denying that our offense started out horrible but then seemed to take off by the second half. Why is this? Is there a reason for concern?
Well, the tape revealed some interesting things. Take a look!
1st Quarter Breakdown:
1. Nerves really affected our play. Especially at QB. Before the mark where the offense got rolling in the second quarter (which just happens to coincide with when Dru Samia replaced Josiah St. John), Mayfield had 4 plays where he was the cause of them not working. And they were pretty bad mistakes. After that 2nd quarter mark he was only the cause of 2 plays not working, but they were only slight inaccuracies.
Nerves also got to Mixon, who dropped an easy pass and didn’t bounce a run outside when he should have. After the mark he was mistake free.
2. Receivers dropped passes. In addition to Mixon dropping a pass, both Mead and Westbrook both dropped a pass before the 2nd quarter mark. Westbrook’s drop was equally Mayfield’s fault as he did not lead him enough to prevent the corner from making a play, but he still has to catch those. Mead’s drop was similar to his drops last season. After the mark, no passes were dropped.
3. Perine slipped on a hand-off. It could be nerves, but what would have been a pretty big run died in the backfield due to Perine slipping on his cut upfield.
4. Penalties really hurt us in two offensive drives. One of those holding penalties was completely bogus as far as I can tell. What would have been a good play ended up putting us in 1st and really long. The other penalty was probably nerves. After the mark there were no more costly offensive penalties.
5. Akron’s LB’s do a tremendous job bumping the shallow crossing routes. Twice we tried this and the receiver got knocked 5 yards back toward the line of scrimmage, killing the play. We didn’t try any more shallow crosses after the mark, but this is something we can’t allow. Crosses are an important part of this offense and you can’t allow a LB to knock you off course like that.
6. The biggest concern is with the OL. The line just isn’t getting enough push. It looked like Akron’s defense was playing 110% and we were only playing 80%. We must be more aggressive and play like the season depends on it every play. Nerves may be a part of that, but it didn’t get much better as the game went on. Brown and Nila were decent in this area for the most part (except Nila on combo blocks), the rest weren’t.
Alvarez and Josiah St. John played horribly. Dru started the game but was quickly replaced by St. John (although it is unclear why), then in the 2nd quarter he was benched for Dru who came back in and stayed until after Mayfield subbed out late in the 3rd quarter. There were at least 3 times in his limited action in the beginning of the game where St. John killed a play. After Dru came in, the offense took off and Dru didn’t mess up any plays from that point on. Alvarez had an impressive 5 plays before the mark that messed up the play, and another one after the mark.
There was an additional play that got killed because of a stunt where the left DT stunted outside the right DE and the line didn’t block it right. But, the biggest concern in my opinion is the problems the interior line had double teaming linemen. Three times before the mark the defender who was supposed to be double teamed split the blockers. There was another time after the mark where the RG was unable to pick up a block in a combo with the RT. This is something that absolutely must be fixed!
In addition to the problems combo blocking, the center Ty Darlington missed a block both before the mark (for a total of 4) and again after the mark. Orlando Brown did pretty well, only one play he wasn’t able to make the block.
So, I would grade them out as follows:
LT - O. Brown = B-
LG - Alvarez = D+
C - Darlington = C+
RG - Nila Kasitati = B-
RT - St. John = C-
RT - Dru Samia = B-
Be Notified When the New Breakdowns Come Out!