....Again. Why in God's name does this happen every year? Is it because people are so desparate for football that when it finally appears in some form we have to overanalyze every little thing? Sigh...A couple points from Saturday night.
-Yes, Cutler threw an interception. Yes, he suggested that Hester could have done a better job fighting for the ball, and didn't seem to take too much of the blame for throwing off his back foot. David Haugh, has a point though when he notes that Cutler had a valid point. Watch the tape and you'll notice Hester barely made the effort for that pass. Oh well. It'll get there. It was the first time those two have ever taken the field together. Haugh makes a good point, again, when he says that this isn't exactly a team cancer taking a shot at a teammate. It's the difference between a franchise quarterback and whatever the hell we've had in the past. Cutler's a damn good quarterback, and he knows what needs to be done out there. Don't forget Peyton Manning once complained about "protection issues" after a bad game against the Chargers. Also, can the second most popular response on the poll in this article seriously be "Give Me Back Kyle Orton"? God knows I love the Patron Saint, people, but did you not see HIS preseason debut?
- The defense is concerning, as always, but I don't think anything should be taken from the 10-10 passing performance by Trent Edwards. In the preseason this team plays the most vanilla of vanilla base defenses, with no stunts, rips, blitz packages, disguised coverages, zone blitzes, or any of the little wrinkles one typically uses to stop a no huddle offense like the one the Bills ran. If you want anything good to take from it, the first team defense only gave up 3 points and got two sacks.
-Caleb Hanie looked pretty good, shaking off 3 sacks allowed by the back up offensive line in order to go 8-11 for 87 yards and a TD.
That's really all thats worth noting, other than Al Afalava looking pretty good as he tries to lock down the starting strong safety job, which would send Kevin Payne over to free safety (an...interesting option), and keep Danieal Manning at nickel, where he plays best.
The next game is Saturday, at home against the Giants. The starters should play the whole first half, and hopefully Cutler will play well enough to shut everyone up, because its going to be an even longer wait until September 13th if I have to keep screaming "its preseason!" every week. Much like I did in 2006 as Grossman and the team struggled in the preseason. It's not like they went to the Superbowl that year or anything.
-Oh, and one last note on the Kyle Orton front. I was able to catch the replay of the Denver-San Francisco game late last night on NFL Network, and it doesn't look great. Preseason numbers are meaningless, but on all three of his interceptions Kyle just plain Stared down his receiver and threw it straight into the hands of a waiting defensive back. Its a concerning sign, possibly one meaning that he's not yet comfortable enough in McDaniels' complicated offense, and he hasn't quite mastered his progressions. God knows Kyle needs a better effort in game two than Cutler does. Having already booed him in practice, and on Saturday night, the Denver crowd is already calling for his benching in favor of Chris Simms. Good luck, Kyle. We shall place a shot of Jack Daniels at the sacrificial altar of the SKO Kyle Orton Shrine in hopes of your success.