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Memphis Express Week 1 Grades
Christian Hackenberg went 10/23 for 87 yards and a pick. He had only 20 yards at half time. This is not going to cut it for a team that looks like they are built to pass. He was all over the place and missing receivers high routinely. David Lee said he “fixed” him. He was wrong. Maybe David Lee should concentrate on playing guys who look like they can complete passes rather than pushing to start guys who may boost his own ego if they worked. It will be interesting to see if they go with Hackenberg next week, though it would be a tough pill to force your home town to see after watching a worst-case scenario. This was a total disaster and the worst position disaster any team had this week.
Running backs: C+
Zac Stacy did an admirable job for what was a lost effort. He rushed 12 times for 58 yards, a more than respectable 4.8 yards per carry. The one area of the game they did better than the Iron was rushing yards. Terrance Magee ran 5 times for 18 years and Anthony Menzo-Lewis had an effective 4 for 14 efforts and even knocked over one would be tackler. The RBs though still lose some points on their inability to cash in the 4th and short in the 3rd quarter, which would have set up a 1st and goal and could have changed the entire complexion of the game.
Wide Receiver: C (INC)
They are getting a nominal C. The QB play was so poor that it is unfair to really cast any judgement on the receivers as a group. They really had no chance. Ross vanished and was too busy on deep routes rather than shorter stiff routes where he can use his size after the catch. Alton “Pig” Howard looked the most impressive when he did catch the ball, running with speed. He had 4 catches for 33 yards and would have had a TD in the third if the overthrowing of receivers was not the norm.
Offensive Line: C
The line allowed 6 QB hits and two sacks. They need to do better in pass protection. The run blocking was generally better allowing some nice runs by their backs. A better effort will be needed as they gel and there was at least some promise to this.
Overall Offense Grade: C- There was also a lot of penalties and they clearly were undisciplined at times. They clearly need a better QB plan (and play) as well. A QB capable of completing passes would put them in a much better scenario being that Stacy and Howard showed there are weapons here to be used.
Defensive Front: C+
The Linebackers and line played well against the rush until late (which is to be expected when the offense leaves you out there this long) allowing only 86 rushing yards on 35 attempts for a 2.45 yards per carry average. They also forced 2 fumbles and gave the team a chance in the third only to watch the Hackenberg lead offense poop the bed. They did only manage 1 sack though and at times gave Perez way too much time to operate. They also had issues with untimely penalties including some off-sides penalties which hurt them late. DeMarquis Gates was the best of the bunch with a game high 10 tackles and 2 forced fumbles.
Defensive backs: C
The Defensive backs were forced to defend too much with inconsistent pressure from the defensive front. They allowed too many big plays including 2 over 30 yards. Channing Stribling showed the most promise with 5 tackles and 1 pass defense (knocked away) to his credit.
Defensive Overall Grade: C – The defense needs to generate much more consistent QB pressures going forward while maintaining the effective yards per rush. Like the offense, they will need to clean up the penalties which repeatedly made things difficult for themselves.
Special Teams C:
Brad Wing had a good day punting and coverage was generally acceptable. Josh Jasper was not good in his one attempt. He missed very badly and it about summed up their attempt to score. He was much closer to hitting the Gulf of Mexico than splitting the upright in his one attempt. The kicking game is going to be more important than most thought.
Clearly David Lee failed miserably in pushing Hackenberg to be the starter and likely was trying to grasp at something to clearly vault his own prestige and ego. Singletary did not have his team prepared from the discipline stand point as penalties were killing them on all sides of the ball and the overall preparation made them not appear ready. You cannot say time together was an issue when you watched how the Orlando, Arizona or even Salt Lake (in a losing effort) played and scored without issue. Everything needs to be better going forward.
The Express play what looks to be one of the two best teams, based on Week 1, with Arizona coming in for the Memphis home opener. Can we even think of winning based on what both teams showed Sunday? Maybe just hoping we look like a competitive team would be a start.