The official depth chart for this week is out- and Tony Creecy has the starting tailback job, among other interesting notes. The final questions have been answered and everybody's been penciled in - now it's just a countdown until gameday.
Jump below for some good old fashioned SoTW analysis on the biggest stories the depth chart gives us - free of charge!
The biggest story here is of course the tailback race. Tony Creecy is listed as the starter, followed by James Washington and Moose Greene. I've been a big Creecy fan ever since we brought the guy in, but I must say I was a bit surprised by the order - I expected the staff to tab senior James Washington given his seniority, with the upset scenario being Mustafa Greene coming back and dominating the carries at practice. Apparently neither is the case. While all three RBs have shown good hands over the past two years, it's worth noting that in the past Tony Creecy has shown the best ability to block/release for checkdowns. Could this be the coaching staff throwing all support into the passing attack/compensating for lack of wide receivers? Any which way you cut it, the introduction of a new strength coach has meant a bunch of the guys have put on some extra weight, which might make all the difference between being a two-yard-stumble-forward running team and a five-and-six-yard running team. One last note here - with such depth at RB, why can't we teach one of these guys to return kicks? I don't much care for using our best reciever/cornerback...
...Which brings us to returners. The depth chart has Tobias Palmer and Rashard Smith listed as the returners, with Earl Wolff and David Amerson also making the list. As stated above, I'm relieved Amerson isn't the starting returner, but as tiny as Tobias is I'm not real happy with him getting hit a lot either. Why we can't use Mustafa Greene or James Washington remains beyond me.
Brandon Pittman officially joins Sterling Lucas and Ricky Dowdy at linebacker. We finally have the three names that will probably define our season the most. In the midst of all this trepidation about linebacker, however, I'd like to point out that in repeated articles Sterling Lucas has been mentioned by his teammates as being a real defensive leader who understands what's going on and gets guys lined up properly (he WAS named captain, after all). If Lucas' senior experience can ease Dowdy and Pittman into the game, we may be okay.
Tight end is ridiculously deep. Mario Carter is listed above Anthony Talbert, Asa Watson, and Benson Browne, all of whom have been solid recruits who have shown good work ethic and better hands. With our lack of receiver and experienced o-line, I'd almost like to see some two-tight-end sets. Tight ends create massive matchup problems for a defense, particularly when you have two athletic tight ends breaking over the middle accompanied by two wideouts and a running back thrown in for a checkdown. There's a lot of talk out there that two-tight-end sets are the future of the NFL, especially after the New England Patriots used the system so well last season with the Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski double-headed monster. Dare Dana Bible get creative and integrate the same kind of system here?
Haha see what I did there? "Dana Bible" and "creative" in the same sentence?
Okay, okay, not funny.
Moving on, CJ Wilson isn't even on the depth chart anymore. Dontae Johnson is the new boundary corner, backed up by Jarvis Byrd. Wilson seemed confused a lot last season, but he did start the entire time and seemed to show a lightbulb moment at the end of the Maryland game when he finally jumped a curl route that had been biting him all day. What I get out of news like this is the idea that "Wilson has been replaced not because he was bad, but because Dontae Johnson was better." Things like that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
That's mainly it for the big stories. Check out the link for the full depth chart. The thing I noticed as I looked through it was how old we are. Next season is going to be...painful.