If you were worried about the health of Willie Colon you shouldn\’t be. Thursday night marked the second game in a row where he looked fresh and dominate. He has an amazing swat to knock defensive ends wide when he needs to and his footwork is top notch. It was hard to find much wrong with his performance against the Eagles. The same goes for center Maurkice Pouncey. He is so quick off of the line and can get to the second level very quickly. He will miss every now and again when he gets to a linebacker, but it is not often. He looks poised for a great sophomore season.
Jonathan Scott left after the first play from scrimmage and did not return. He was replaced by rookie Marcus Gilbert who looked more comfortable this week. Gilbert still is not sound technically, but did hold his own until he too left injured. He was flagged on the opening drive and also allowed a pressure though. He allows defenders to get their hands inside him too easily and he dodged several bullets by fighting off being walked back. Don\’t let his good score fool you into thinking he is ready to start.
Tony Hills is a much better right guard than he is a left tackle. He looked good on the opening drive inside, but was forced over to the left tackle spot after Scott and Gilbert went down. His footwork is still a liability at tackle and he works much better in close quarters as long as he doesn\’t let himself get too upright. When he gets the first punch in and comes off the line low is when he gets his best results. He very well could be the opening day right guard by default now. God help us though if he has to play left tackle as he was a pressure allowing machine there.
Ramon Foster had a rough go of it at left and right guard. He also allowed hands inside of him too easy Thursday night and it almost killed the opening drive if not for the facemask call. I also do not remember them pulling him to the right like they do with Chris Kemoeatu as he just does not move well. Doug Legursky was average at both guard and center and he struggles at times moving his man at the point of attack. The quicker he gets of the ball the better for him so he can get underneath his man\’s pads. It was not an awful night for him, but he was far from dominant.
Rookie Keith Williams is still raw and he did not seem to get off the ball fast against the Eagles. Like most linemen, if he allows hands to his chest he can be walked back easily. If he wins the hand battle though and gets off the ball clean, he is powerful in the running game. He was beat a few times easily to the inside and his pass protection was not tested that much with many fancy twist and stunts. Williams does move well out in space when asked to come down the line.
Chris Scott looked just as bad at right tackle Thursday as he did at right guard in the game against the Redskins. There is no way he is an every down tackle material and I am beginning to wonder if he will make the 53 man roster at this point. Another bad game against the Falcons could seal his fate.
Third string center John Malecki has the tools to be another Legursky perhaps. He has a long way to go, but I can see him making the practice squad this year to work on his craft. The rest of the reserve linemen were average late in the game, but Nevin McCaskill did catch my eye a few times as a powerful kid. Kyle Jolley did not look comfortable at left tackle.
At the skill positions I really liked what I saw out of John Gilmore. He looked much more comfortable in the offense this week. He is very powerful and knows his assignments. David Johnson also had a good night on his 19 opportunities to block. Weslye Saunders seemed much more comfortable in his second game, but still has a ways to go to master the h-back role.
All of the receivers blocked well in my opinion on plays where it required it as did the running backs. Jonathan Dwyer is night and day different from last season when he doesn\’t have the football in his hands. He looks like he is recognizing who to get now when asked to protect and he is sticking his head in there now and does not miss as much. He did allow a pressure on the night, but I saw two nice blocks that saved hits on the quarterback.