I finished watching the Texans game and have my notes together for the film review but I wanted to take a closer look at one player first. Immediately after the game I thought that Bobby Carpenter hadn’t play well, I termed it a disappointment. Afterwards, Wade Phillips praised Carpenter’s play especially in the first half. So I thought I better go back and look more closely and see what I missed the first time around. Here’s what I found.
In the first half he blitzed three times by my count. Twice he didn’t get to the QB although both times he made some penetration. On a third one, he got good pressure but DeMarcus Ware beat him to the QB and forced the bad pass.
Five times he was away from the run or dropped in zone coverage and the pass went somewhere else.
Once he got blocked off the play when he could have made a difference.
He also had three tackles that came in quick succession. He made an open-field tackle on a screen 15 yards down field, he combined with Scandrick to tackle a receiver who caught the ball in his zone 9 yards downfield, then he tackled the ball carrier about 5 yards downfield.
I give him credit for the tackles downfield although I’d like my middle linebackers to make some tackles by the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. None of the blitzes paid off in sacks our disruptions. So to me that was average production.
In the second half Carpenter played almost the entire game. I won’t go through every play in the second half, but here a few highlights and lowlights. He cleaned up a tackle after good penetration by Canty and then blitzed two more times but didn’t get to the QB. He made a tackle 14 yards deep after getting blocked off a run and then chasing down the ball carrier. Twice he over-committed to a run and left the backside hole open for yards. He got blown out of the middle on a block and let the FB slip out uncovered but the FB dropped the ball. He had a good play in tight coverage and wasn’t bad about getting deep drops in the zone coverage on a lot of plays. Once though the TE beat him deep but Scandrick saved him with a great deflection. He made a tackle 7 yards downfield on a run then tackled the receiver on a pass 9 yards downfield. He finished with another tackle 8 yards deep.
So by my charting, he was very active but not always effective.. Now, if he’s playing a zone coverage and they don’t throw at him that’s good and I didn’t note all those plays. But even though he was involved a lot, it was always downfield after the offense had picked up 5, 8 or 12 yards. He never really got to the QB on any blitzes and only once got the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. He just didn’t make any dynamic plays and seemed soft against the run. Too many tackles made going backwards instead of forwards.
The difference between his play and Bradie James, and especially Zach Thomas, is those two seem to diagnose a play much more quickly and make a beeline through traffic to the ball. Carpenter seems less sure about what he’s doing and tends to drift to the action instead of initiating it.
Maybe he wasn’t a total disappointment as I originally stated, but he sure wasn’t impressive either. I want to see some dynamic playmaking out of the Caveman like we saw at camp.