Here is the discussion we had last night about the season so far and the upcoming Syracuse game. Some of the questions I asked were: “Who surprised and who disappointed so far this year? MVP of offense and defense so far? How have all the transfers and “young guys” played so far this year”.
That last question was a bit hard to answer in that both POVers looked directly to the future in describing the younger players – that is how they thought the kids will play next year.
But that wasn’t the question.
I think the original question is valid and the reason I asked it was not to point out poor play by any of the kids really, but to match what we have actually seen take place out on the field of play to the (I think mostly unrealistic) expectations Pitt fans had during the off-season and through Fall Camp for these new players.
So of all the transfers who have started and played a lot so far and the younger players who started just a few or no games before this season – who is doing as well or better than you thought? And who is doing worse than you though?
But please remember we are talking about THIS SEASON so far... the first five games, not our next game, the rest of the season or in 2018. We’ll revise these questions at the end of the season to see what progressions the players have or have not made over the year.
Also, these are not referendums on whether these players are “good” or “bad” per se – just how they have played so far this season… there are too many variables to put those good or bad labels on a player after only five games.
I’ll start: For instance of all the transfers who are starting (and I’ll add Ziese as a position switch starter) I think Browne has played as I expected overall as an average QB – last game included. That was a very good one for him but his body of work over five games has been as I though. I wrote I thought he’d have a Chad Voytik 2014 type year statistically and he’s a bit under that in key categories.
LB Ziese has not met expectations regardless of how many tackles he has made. Too many times he has been either out of position or met the ball carriers and whiffed on the tackle.
But MLB Saleem Brightwell has been an OK player and has built on what he did in his time playing last season..
DE Hendricks was being counted on to be the heir apparent to the departed DE Ejuan Price – he of the 23 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in ’16. However with only 7 total tackles and just 3 TFLs with 1 sack Hendricks over five games as the starter he has disappointed in a big way. Of all the new players I’d say he has been the biggest letdown.
TE Flanagan has been a decent receiver and a decent blocker for us but Chris Clark has frustrated fans so far. Clark’s 8 catches for only 38 yards and 1 TD… with a paltry 4.8 ypc is way below what most fans felt he’d do for us. He did have a TD catch last game.
I think part of that is Watson’s offense and Browns not being able to, or have the time to, use his check downs properly – but the hype balloon from the staff surrounding Clark’s coming to Pitt has a huge hole in it. Flanagan is the #1 TE for sure.
Of the young “new” players I’ll say that:
CB Damar Hamlin has not done anything noteworthy yet but that might be rust – I never expected stardom from him anyway but he’s been average so far.
DL Keyshon Camp has been a major disappointment with no sacks or tackles for loss although he’s played in all five games. He was supposed to be a mainstay with returning DL Amir Watts in the middle of that DL and both have not played to the level fans felt they would.
When you have a DL that has allowed 969 yards rushing at a 4.9 clip and 9 TDs over the first five games there are real problems with the personnel out on the field. Let’s be brutally honest here folks – when the staff insists on keeping JR journeyman Shane Roy in as a starter on the DL that screams no confidence in the other guys.
Hell – let’s also address Roy then. This guy is taking up space and that is all he does. I honestly see no value in him playing when we have younger guys who could use the experience. Roy’s 4 tackles total with no TFLs or sacks in a full five games as a starter screams loudly for a benching tout suite.
And I believe FS Bricen Garner and CB Dane Jackson have held their own as they have played so far. Not great results from them but certainly serviceable given the state of the defense overall and the teams they have faced.
What do you guys think about how you (or fans as a group) thought these new starters would do compared to what we have seen out in the field to date?
Notes: Guys – when you call in to the Roundtable here are a couple of ideas: 1) put some lighting forward of you so that we can see your face while you are speaking – TX Panther looked like a ghostly spirit with a Pitt hat on last night…:)
2) If you can, or want to, mute your computer’s microphone when you are listening to the others speak you can do so… then just hold down the “space bar” on the bottom of the keyboard to talk. That will cut down on our reverb a lot – we had a bit toward the end of the meeting last evening.
Also – for all POVers: It looks like Bluejeans Inc. – the online meeting platform we use – has a feature where I can get on their Facebook site and answer live called-in or emailed questions. The questioners wouldn’t actually be shown but would send me the question or statement for discussion they have and I’d research it and discuss it with listeners in real-time.
That might be fun to do and maybe we’ll try that down the road.