Looking forward from Carolina
Last Sunday John Dalton Beck, QB for the Burgundy and Gold, started the 5th game of his career. The 30 year old QB completed 59.5% of his passes with 22 completions on 37 attempts for 279 yards with1 TD, 1 INT and 1 rushing TD.
But, Beck didn’t look like a QB that hasn’t started a game since 2007. He showed the ability to make all the throws of an NFL passing offense with accuracy, anticipation, timing and velocity. Beck also showed quick feet both in his rhythm drop back passing and his ability to evade and escape from the pocket and pick up yards with legs.
Not everything was a walk in the park though, like any QB there were plays that resulted in sacks, incompletions and an INT that I’m
sure he would love to have back.
Here are some highlights and lowlights. 2nd play of the game Beck makes a poor choice throwing to Fred Davis up the seam with a LB in trail position and a safety playing deep 1/2 half. If Beck is going to ‘Favre’ a throw into double coverage it better be on the money and the pass Beck threw was behind Davis and should have been picked off by the LB. This was probably his worst decision and throw of the game.
Ironically my favorite pass of the game was incomplete. It was a beautifully placed (and timed) backshoulder go route to Gaffney down the left sideline just (36s) before the half, it couldn’t have been placed better if Beck ran over there and handed it to him. This is an advanced throw that most QBs making their 5th start can’t pull off or don’t even attempt. Earlier in the game Beck made another throw to position or backshoulder to Gaffney on an iso route that he couldn’t haul in. I’m sure there are some plays that Gaffney would like back as well.
Another negative play occured on 3rd and 2 @ the 12:32 in the 2nd quarter. The Redskins are in 311 (3 WRs, 1 TE, 1 RB) and aligned 2 x 2 with Armstrong is on the LOS in the slot and Austin goes in motion and reduces his wide split to stack behind AAA. They draw off coverage from the DB and a S playing behind the DB. Post snap Beck is on a 3-step drop working the frontside of the play where Gaffney is running a slant and Davis is in the flat (he throws to Gaffney, broken up). If Beck chose to work the backside of the play with Armstrong and Austin he would have connected with either Armstrong or Austin who were both open when Beck hit the top of his drop to threw to Gaffney.
A positive play that highlights one of Beck’s strengths was the TD scamper at 8:23 in the 3rd quarter. Trips right with Davis split wide left, Beck hits the top of his drop and everyone is covered and the zone defenders are all reading his eyes; Charles Johnson had just beat Jammal Brown and was bearing down on Beck. But he was able to roll his shoulders and sprint to his left for the TD. If Grossman was under center that play likely results in a sack, a sack fumble or worse: a panic throw into coverage.
There were other mistakes. A couple missed hot reads, a couple of throws off the backfoot, a couple of off target passes. There were also strecthes of plays where Beck was clearly in rhythm. In the second half some young receivers stepped up and made an impact. The second drive of the 2nd half Beck heated up and connected on string of PA passes(post, crossing routes) to theTEs. Logan Paulsen not only caught the ball well but he moves better then expected for a blocking TE. He showed surprising speed and open field running ability, he even juked somebody. Niles Paul flashed good concentration making a diving catch on a square in and an acrobatic sideline catch on a corner route. Austin carried over the connection with Beck from the Eagles game and from preseason. Despite Moss going down with an injury in the first quarter, Hightower going out early in the second half and Erik Cook a second year rookie making his first start; I got the feeling that Beck, Kyle and the offense as a unit are only going to get better.