I didn't watch the game live because I'm a bad fan and I refuse to go to Houston on general principle, and then my dvr failed to record the game so I didn't get to break it down any. f grande.
QB: Let's ratchet down our expectations a bit here. I think Gilbert is going to be a great quarterback, but he's not there yet. He was too inconsistent on his throws, both intermediate and deep. I thought his best pass of the day was the strike to John Chiles and even that was behind the receiver forcing Chiles to make a catch he wouldn't have made last year. Again, I couldn't tell if we had guys running open deep all game long, but we really seemed to like the flats.
RB: Cody Johnson is slow to the hole. Once he gets going he's a better player, but he is just too slow to the hole. And asking him to run a toss sweep on the goal line is just dumb because there are about 7-8 guys on the defense who will be capable of running him down from behind. Tre Newton has really good vision so he's better than the other backs at finding a crease and taking it...for 5 yards. He's not a gamebreaker though. Fozzy is still Fozzy. Hopefully he's back to what he was as a freshman and won't try to take everything to the outside. And he won't get hurt. Overall, we have a roster full of average running backs.
TE: Greg Smith caught a 3 yard pass on 3rd and 17. It was about the only time I noticed our tight ends. Incidentally, Huckleberry was at the game and said on the 3rd and 17 play we didn't send a single receiver on a route further than 10 yards.
WR: Malcolm Williams didn't drop any passes. I don't think he caught any with his hands either. The two may be related. John Chiles made a great catch over the middle, twisting his body and absorbing the hit from the Rice defender. This time a year ago he doesn't even get a hand on the ball.
OL: I watched Michael Huey because I am biased, and he played very well. Yes, it was Rice. But he did his fair share of mauling guys. Watch Johnson's 18 yard run on the first drive. Watch Fozzy's 21 yard run in the 4th quarter for two examples. Mason Walters also played well. I actually saw him pancake a guy which I'm not sure we were allowed to do last year. This is where a rewatching of the tape would really help, but overalls the holes weren't big enough. It's a work in progress.
DL: Kheeston Randall was great. He took on multiple double teams without giving ground, freeing up Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson to run around and make plays. Sam Acho also played well as usual. Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson are future stars out there.
LB: Keenan Robinson looks like an NFL player out there and was the easy choice for player of the game. He had an athletic interception, a fumble recovery for a touchdown along with a handful of tackles. He was also running stride for stride with the Rice player who tipped the ball on the touchdown to Kitchens. He's big and fast and instinctive. Emmanuel Acho was fairly quiet, but he flashed enough on blitzes to remind you that he's still good. Dravanti Johnson (I think) ended up chasing the dive man on a couple of zone reads, but Muschamp will fix that.
DB: Oh, Chykie. CB peaked into the backfield on Rice's first drive and gave up a long pass. He then got called for pass interference in the end zone that wiped out a holding penalty on Rice. Not a good first drive, but he played well after that. He dropped a pick six, but he still gets credit for breaking up the pass doesn't he? If Aaron Williams dropped a pick six as well, our defense would put up 21 points on their own. Kenny Vaccaro looks great against the run even if I can't help but think he's going to get victimized on play action at some point. Christian Scott had a quiet debut but still finished with five tackles.
Special teams: We were beaten in the kicking game yesterday. Williams needs to use better judgement fielding punts. Eddie Jones might not be the answer as our up man if teams continue to kick it away from Goodwin and Monroe. I'm just saying. Justin Tucker had one field goal blocked and missed another.
Mack Brown summed it up after the game: "I remember two dropped interceptions for touchdowns, a tipped ball for a touchdown right before the half, a 4th and 1 we that didn't make at the one-yard line, a 3rd and 2 that should have kept a drive going; and, I remember a dropped punt and two missed field goals. Those are a whole season of things that we need to get fixed."
So yeah. There's a lot of shit we need to get fixed.