I know it's only 4 games and there is time to get things fixed and there is still a very good shot at making the playoffs (due to playing in the weakest division in the NFL) and anything can happen, but just don't see any reason to feel very confident about this team, after the first quarter, to think that they are capable of going deep into the postseason and the be quite blunt, even the playoffs as things stand right now, are far from certain.... it's not a few things that aren't working, there are quite a few issues.
Offense: even with a 40 year old QB who really hasn't had many quality reps in the past few years, the passing game actually looked as good , if not better, than it had with Luck at QB. Part of that was the game plan, which was to go with the quick strike-short passing game, which we will most likely see the rest of the year, even after Luck returns. I really didn't think we had much of a chance, even vs the lowly Jags , with Hasselbeck (30-47-282-TD) at QB, after the poor showing his displayed in preseason, but he had a very good game, take away a few questionable throws (bound to be some rust). Fleener had a huge game, leading the way with 9-83-TD, Hilton (7-67) and Moncrief (6-75) had good games as well. Again I know it's way too early, but maybe we should just cut Johnson and be done with it....3 years-21 million-ouch!! The running game which has looked decent in the previous 3 games, was non-existent, Gore finished with 17-53, take away the 22 yd run in overtime and he was 16-31-not good. And for the second time fumbled away a great chance to score. Robinson has really not looked good subing for Gore and it is starting to look like holding onto the ball is becoming an issue with him. The O-line played their best game last week, which isn't saying much, could not open any holes-all game and the pass protection was, per usual, not real good.
Defense: didn't really look they had many answers in the first half, but to their credit, came out in the second half and played very good, despite still paying with a very depleted CB group. Jackson had a monster game with 17 tackles and is having a very good season, to date. The pressure was inconsistant, we finished with 1 sack ( Langford). McNary also was very productive, filling in for the injured Freeman-which was very impressive considering he has not had many reps and has been away from the game with off field issues, Freeman looked like a real find his first few years, but really has not played that well since, might be time to give McNary more reps.
Special teams: were actually special, for the first time this year, McAfee-may be the MVP of the team thus far and is a major weapon and has been for the past few years, he is the best punter in the league and when you add in his kickoffs/touchbacks-fake punts-on side kicks-tackling, his value to this team is extremly high! Adam, was 3-3, after missing his first 2 of the year, including a 54 yarder and the game winner in overtime. The coverage units were very good, even though they really don't get many reps (with McAfee's leg). the return game has been useless so far, anybody know if Cribbs is available?
Just like last week, can't help but think how close we were to being 0-4, with 2 losses vs the titans and jags, but regardless, we are now 2-2 heading into the thursday night game vs the texans. One thing is quite clear, with Bortles and Mariota now in our division, the gap in talent is becoming much closer than it has been for the past few years.
On an added note- the season is divided into quarters, after this first quarter, Grigson signings and draft picks have not helped his status at all, with many of those players (Gore-Johnson-Cole-Herremans-Dorsett-Robinson) either not playing well and /or making costly turnovers
It must also be noted that those last 2 games were vs 2 of the lower rated teams in the league and we were very lucky to come away with victories and did not look very good, doing so...... the hill is getting very steep!!!