I was at the game tonight (well now last night) and had so much anger and frustration built up as I left that I refused to go anywhere near a computer or TV once I got home. However now that I have (somewhat) calmed down, I wanted to give my thoughts on the game.
I only briefly skimmed the comments section of the recap but I noticed there was some discussion on how much blame Kevin Gilbride deserved for our putrid offense (isn't there always?). Ed and some others were defending Gilbride, mentioning the poor performances of the O-line and drops by receivers. While I certainly agree with those thoughts, I also think Gilbride deserves a fair amount of blame. We spend a lot of time bashing Gilbride and some spend a lot of time defending him. I am by no means a supporter of his, but I do give him credit when it is due. Having said that, I think this game was one of the worst coaching jobs Gilbride has ever had. I have never seen an offense be so amazingly predictable and lack creativity as much as our offense does. My entire section was calling out the draws and screens as soon as we saw certain formations in certain situations. I'm sure many others were doing the same thing watching at home. If everyone in the stadium and everyone watching on TV knows exactly what is coming, then wouldn't you think to maybe mix it up a bit? Nope. Not Killdrive.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That basically sums up our offense. Gilbride calls that draw play about 5-10 times a game and it works maybe once or twice. It's not like that can't be an effective play either. But when everyone knows it's coming, there isn't much hope for it to work. If the o-line is struggling to protect Eli and the running game is non-existent, how about some quick throws? A slant here or there would be nice. Maybe a screen pass in a situation when everyone doesn't already know its coming. So regardless of the terrible play of the o-line, non-existing running game, and drops by the receivers, I still put a huge amount of blame on Gilbride, and personally feel that his play-calling was just as bad, and possibly worse, than I have ever seen it before.
It wouldn't really be fair to blame to defense too much because they only gave up 17 points, but I still think that this defense would be much much better with a different scheme. That of course falls on Perry Fewell, who also gets many mixed reviews here. Teams can absolutely eat us up across the middle of the field if they so choose. Our corners play excellent man coverage on the outside, but they pass receivers off to the safeties/linebackers once the receivers cut to the middle and yet they are always somehow open. There is always a huge gap in the middle of the field for receivers. On top of that, we rarely brought any blitzes despite getting no pressure from the front four, and when we did bring a blitz, the Eagles picked it up quite easily. There needs to be more mixing of blitzing and more creativity as well.
One other note is that the officiating was pretty damn awful but I never blame a loss on the officials and I won't do it this time either. We absolutely could have won this game despite them, and it's not something worth getting overly frustrated with. But to call the unsportsmanlike conduct on both teams on that early scuffle was ridiculous, since Eli got leveled for no good reason and the o-lineman were simply protecting him. Nicks was held/interfered with a couple times with no calls and I thought the intentional grounding call was a bit much, as a receiver was cutting across the field towards where the ball landed. So the officiating was poor, but by no means the reason we lost this game.
I am not about to jump off a cliff right now as there is still a lot of football to be played. A 4-2 finish is certainly possible and the resulting 10-6 record should be good enough for the playoffs this year unlike last year. OK I'm kind of just rambling at this point and still very angry so I will stop now, but I'd love to get others' thoughts and opinions as well.