Got to re-watch game 1 tonight. DVR is a beautiful thing. Noticed a few new things, and cemented some of my earlier impressions. Here are my thoughts:
WR DeMarco Sampson
Sampson is effective as a receiver and as soon as the ball is out he turns into a solid blocker. He's also seeing a lot of time blocking and chasing on special teams. I don't think there's any question he makes the team.
Don't count out...
Guy ran a 4.38 40 at his pro day and is getting a lot of special teams work. I'm not sure what his strengths are as a runner seeing as how he didn't get a lot of work in college, but he might just be the 5th & final back to make the roster. Expect a Jason Wright-type role.
OLB Cyril Obiozor
I thought he had a good outing on the 3rd team. He generally won his match-up against the Raiders' LT, got good pressure a couple times, and held his own against the run. I think he's the 5th OLB right now, ahead of Will Davis.
ILB Reggie Walker
If Walker can stay healthy, I could see him bumping Sturdivant onto the practice squad (I'm thinking we run with 4 ILB's). He usually shows well in the preseason and the Oakland game was no different, nearly keeping up with Stewart Bradley on the second team defense. He's also the busiest on special teams of the group.
Sharpe was about 50/50 against the run, I thought. He looks like a sure tackler when he can fight off blockers, coming up with a few stops as the 3rd team ILB. Adding a sack and a big hit on special teams definitely helped his cause.
I'm not sure how significant this is, but Curtis Gatewood was originally listed as a 3rd-team ILB. He and Sharpe traded positions, with Gatewood getting bumped down to 4th-team OLB. Both players project as OLB's. Is this a matter of Sharpe moving up the depth chart, or just logistics at a crowded position?
Other bubble boys to keep an eye on...
Second year in the system, key special teams blocker; crowded position makes him a long-shot
TE Jim Dray
He and Spach both see a lot of special teams work and get about the same amount of reps on offense, but Dray gives a little more hustle and I have to think he will benefit more from the tutelage of King & Heap. Still, one big catch (or mistake) could be the difference here.
Maui'a & Ali are legitimate fullbacks, but Sherman looks like a special player.
We typically run with 3 OT's, 3 OG's, and 2 C's. Who's the odd man out at Guard? Does anyone expect any surprises here?
Richard Marshall's tackling stood out on special teams. I'm not sure anyone managed to distinguish themselves in coverage other than AJ Jefferson. He had some critical break-ups and looked comfortable playing the deep pass 1-on-1 (significant; consider how RJ looked on that pass interference call or any of Oakland's flailing, hapless DB's). Green & Nnabuife might be able to push for the 5th CB job, but more than likely they're competing for a spot on the practice squad.
Acho & Schofield may be the only two locks (not necessarily as starters). Schofield jumped out on a couple plays and Acho is getting a ton of work on special teams, although he was so-so with the defense. I am thinking we keep 5 guys here, but I'm not comfortable guessing who it will be just yet.
Any impressions you had from the game, please share!