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Initial Notes and Thoughts from Last Night's Game vs the Ravens

This isn't going to be a breakdown like my last couple of posts, which will come later.  These are just some things I noticed from last nights game.

DeAngelo Hall showed both his good and bad sides last night.  First, the interception:

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This where Hall is at his best, playing with a good cushion where he can keep an eye on the QB and break on the ball.

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As soon as Boldin sticks his foot in the ground, Hall reads the play and jumps it.  Making the INT, and taking it back for 6.  (Also, note the good pressure up front from Kerrigan to force a bad throw from Flacco)

But with that aggressiveness, comes the bad side of Hall...

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On this play, its 3rd and 7, obvious passing down.  Get a stop and force a punt.  But Hall, being as aggressive as he is, is searching for another INT.  He is reading Flacco, rather than focusing on the man he's meant to cover.  When Boldin cuts outside, Hall jumps in.  

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That miss-read from Hall cost him 5 yards on Boldin.  Flacco is much too good to let that slide, and completes the pass for a big gain.

Hall needs to realise the situations, and pick the right time to be aggressive.  He doesn't always pick up on the fact it's 3rd down, all he needs to do is cover his man solidly and get off the field.  The big play isn't always there for him.

Ryan Kerrigan continues to impress and get better with each game.  I was more impressed with his motor on the running plays, he just kept going and didn't stop until the runner was tackled.

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On this play, the Ravens are backed up near their goal line.  A lot of players would have got excited and tried to stop the running in the backfield for a safety.  The result of which usually ends up with the defender bursting through, missing the runner, and leaving a big hole behind him for the runner to run into.  What I like about this play, Kerrigan uses a good swim move to get past the tackle, and then comes one on one with the FB.  

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He gets under the FB's pad level, and uses this advantage to drive him back towards the runner.

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You can see in the red circle, that Kerrigan has pretty much beaten his blocker, and stops the runner in his track with a one-arm tackle.  

Obviously, Kerrigan still has a lot to work on and improve on.  His penalties cost us, and there was still the odd play where he'd miss his assignment.  But he is much further along that certainly I, and many others, expected him to be at this stage.  This kind of play against the run is something we haven't seen from our star LB Brian Orakpo often enough.  But if he has Kerrigan on the other side doing this all day, it will get easier for him as well.

Terrance Austin will make this team.  That's my prediction.  I think his value as a receiver, as well as being a decent return man, offers more overall than Banks returning ability.  Austin may not have the ability to take any and every kick back for a TD, but he is good enough to get us solid field positions most of the time.  Then as a slot receiver he offers so much more than Banks.  

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via i293.photobucket.com

3rd and 2, Beck needs the first to stay on the field and help his chances of winning the starting job.  Austin is running a simple slant route.  If executed properly, the slant can be unstoppable.  But you need the receiver to break off the defender quickly.  Austin gives us a perfect example here.

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Austin does a terrific job of getting the defenders hands off him, and cutting inside.  He gets open, turns his head round and watches the ball into his hands, getting the first down and more.  He's consistently impressed throughout the pre-season, and I don't how he doesn't make the final cut.  In my opinion, we carry 6 WR's on the final roster, in depth chart order: Moss, Gaffney, Armstrong, Hankerson, Austin, Paul.

Speaking of Hankerson, here's an actual good catch from him, something we've not seen this pre-season.  As Gruden said on commentary last night, being able to catch this kind of ball, but dropping easier ones means he probably has concentration issues.

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The only thing I'll do on this post about the QB's, is building on my post about Beck earlier this week.  This was a play that stuck out in my mind.  Another play-action for Beck, and he was trying to take a deep shot.  He never properly sells the play-action.

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You can see there that the LB's a paying close attention to the hand-off, and Beck is almost 4 yards away from Hightower on the fake.  The Ravens have a great defence, and this certainly isn't going to fool them.  The play resulted in a sack.  Might just be nit-picking, I don't know, what do you guys think?

Well, that turned out to be a longer post than I planned.  Those were the main things I initially noticed from watching the game last night.  I'm thinking this week's breakdown will be on the Oline, as I thought they had a very good game against a very tough defence.  There was obviously some things to improve on, but I think it would make for an interesting discussion.  What do you guys think?  Also, who are the contenders for play of the week? let me know in the comments.

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