1. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan feels much different in pass coverage. Whether or not that helps him Sunday remains to be seen. But the second-year linebacker noticed a difference in the preseason. He said a year ago he played too far off the line when covering a receiver in the slot. He wasn’t concerned with covering them as much as he was focused on not getting beat.
“That allowed some receivers to get separation from me. This year I know which receivers I can play up closer,” he said. “That will allow me to be more physical and not let them off the line of scrimmage as well.”
But he said he recognizes routes better and knows what’s coming. And he saw a change vs. the Colts in the preseason.
“There was one play I was covering Reggie Wayne in the slot. We had rehearsed the play numerous times in practice,” Kerrigan said. “He ran up the seam. I knew I had safety help over the top so I tried to play more physical with him up front. I had tight coverage. … I don’t think I could have [done that] last year. It’s huge.”
2. Richard Crawford is a smart kid. I’ve written about him a few times and for a rookie he provides terrific insight into his own play. He clearly understands what he’s looking for and the technique he needs to use. Saw that in the preseason finale vs. Tampa Bay on his interception, when he played the receiver and then the ball perfectly. He read the receiver’s arms to gauge where to put his. It’s not surprising; at SMU Crawford said he used to help defensive coordinator Tom Mason put together game plans.
“I used to stay with him for four or five hours on Sunday and give him input,” Crawford said. “He taught me a lot about football. I did the same with [defensive backs coach Derrick] Odum on Monday. I’d spend two to three hours reading routes. It made me a better player and gave me a feel for the game, made me a lot faster.”
3. Running back Alfred Morris has fans in the NFL. Talked to one talent evaluator about Morris recently and here’s what he had to say, “The rookie is legit. I still don’t think they have a No. 1 back, but I don’t think the rookie will look any different when they start playing [the regular season]. He’s decisive, he’s aggressive and he can make cuts in the hole. He’s a downhill guy… Offensively they’re better. Pierre Garcon is a big plus and gives them a playmaker. Fred Davis is a positive. I thought the right tackle improved a lot from last year. He was shaky, but he’s improved. That’s a good sign.”
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