The QBs: Geno started things out with the #1 offense going up against the #1 defense. Smith was hot early, with crisp passes and chunks of positive yardage. It didn't take long for the Geno led offense to bring the offense to the red zone. That's when things sort of stalled. Due to some penalties, the offense was pushed back a few times. Geno didn't let this bring him down though. He gave his arm a break, and brought the ball within the 5 using his legs. Unfortunately, Smith was unable to bang it in for the score.
Other than one three and out, the story didn't change for Geno. He led the team down the field, with crisp passes, only to fall short of the end zone. Games are won and lost based on points. It doesn't matter how good you are at leading the team down a field, if you can't score, you won't win. There is also cause for concern when it comes to how quickly Geno gets rid of the ball. He was lucky that he had that red jersey on, or he would have been killed several times. This will come with time, but should not be overlooked either.
Sanchez looked pretty unspectacular for most of the scrimmage. Before the last drive, his biggest highlight would probably be when he tripped over his own feet, and fell right on his butt. As unspectacular as Mark looked, it should be noted that his O-line and receivers weren't doing him any favors. Kerley had two drops, and the O-line was nonexistent. There isn't a QB alive that can thrive in those conditions. An interception by Cro brought out a wave of boos from the crowd.
Fortunately for Mark, he was given another chance to save face. In the final drive, Mark heaved a beautiful deep pass to Hill, for a scrimmage ending TD. It was a pass that even drew praise from some adamant, Sanchez haters. It brought back some wonderful memories of the big Sanchez plays of our past. Overall, there were some encouraging signs, but not a whole lot to get excited over just yet. Geno looked better driving the team, but couldn't score. Mark looked mediocre at best, but put up points. On a side note, McElroy looked really good tonight, throwing two deep bombs for scores. I believe once Mark is gone next year, he will make a great #2 QB.
The Battle Up Front: In the first drive, the O-line seemed to come out of nowhere, and held up very well against our highly acclaimed front seven. The effects of a camp with limited contact showed it's ugly head. The guys up front were not making sound tackles. This allowed Powell, and others to pick up huge gains. I know every team is also dealing with limited contact, but this will need to be ironed out by week one. We have to show signs of improvement against the run. It won't matter how great our secondary is, if teams are able to run over our guys up front. With that said, when it came down to the goal line, fortunes reversed. Penalties, and would be sacks, held the offense out of the end zone. A hold here, a false start there, are great ways to kill a productive drive.
An encouraging sign from the front seven, was the amount of pressure they were putting on the QBs. This probably had more to do with the O-line's inability to block anyone. The most disappointing performance came from the 2nd team O-line. It didn't matter who was QB, they were going to be pressured. With the health of our 1st team O-line, being a big concern going into this year. The poor play from the backups is not very encouraging. Peterman didn't suit up due to his shoulder injury, and Winters left early, because of an ankle injury. Those aren't even the guards we were worried about with injuries. These units need to come together, and patch up any holes before it really counts.
The Skill Guys: I think I am one of a very few, that thinks our skill guys will be fine this year. Of course health will play a key roll in the success of this offense, but things look encouraging right now. The only real negatives came from two drops by Kerley. Our most reliable receiver last year dropped what would have been two big plays by Sanchez (one, as sure TD). I have faith Kerley will step up when it counts, to be just as reliable and dangerous as last year. Without those two drops, he had a very productive night, getting open on 3rd downs.
Clyde Gates showed up to play once again, making his presence felt. His speed, and athleticism will bring him far. His improved rout running will bring him even further. If he keeps this up, he could be the "big" play-maker we need. The other potential play-maker in the making, is Stephen Hill. He has been showing great improvement so far in training camp. Tonight didn't show anything to disregard that. He seems to be playing faster, and more physical. He is now using his size to his advantage more. His long TD reception from Mark just put an exclamation mark on his camp. If he can keep improving, and carry this success into the regular season, the absence of Holmes won't be felt so much. One of the lesser known receivers to make some noise, was Lehigh grad, Ryan Spadola. He made some big plays for the 3rd team offense.
The depleted RB core also showed signs of life. Even without Ivory, Goodson, and McKnight, plays were made. Powell in particular stood out the most. It seemed like every time he touched the ball, he was moving the pile, or breaking off runs for chunks of yards. If Ivory finds himself on the bench more often than on the field, I am confident Powell can be a decent replacement. He is a very well rounded back. It doesn't matter if it's running, blocking or catching, he can do it. Chad Spann also had a decent scrimmage. Much like Powell, it seemed like whenever Span had the ball, plays were made. If we can get everyone healthy and in camp, this will be a very deep position.
There were some encouraging signs from tonight's scrimmage, but also a lot of wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Overall, I rather enjoyed following the Green & White scrimmage using Twitter, and the radio. I hope next year, they find a way to televise it. Fans are craving a visual look at our boys cracking pads, without the 5 hour road-trip to Cortland.