By the end of the Minnesota Vikings game, most people knew who number 60 on the Dallas Cowboys was, and those who didn't certainly did by the end of the Houston Texans game. One could be excused for limiting the excitement, however, as both of those games his destructive power was mostly unleashed against second- and third-string players. Could Davon Coleman really be disruptive against true NFL starting talent?
Turns out the answer is yes.
Very little attention was paid to the fact that Coleman (and BIshop) both played against the starters in the first two pre-season games. The results were actually quite satisfying. Specifically one of the things Coleman does best is make the players around him better. In all of the ensuing shots, Coleman is identified by a blue circle.
This shot shows Coleman lined up at the 1-tech against the San Diego Chargers starting offense.
Here we see Coleman taking on three Chargers blockers (yellow arrows) while Tyrone Crawford (blue arrow) gets a free run at Melvin Gordon. Coleman will soon get some help from the Mike LB, but his holding firm here is excellent 1-tech work.
Crawford misses the tackle (blue arrow points at his foot), but Coleman has bulled his way through the pile of Chargers in front of him and is disrupting the entire offensive formation. The play will be made by J. J. Wilcox (red arrow) as Gordon tries to cut to his right to evade Coleman's penetration.
In this shot, Coleman is again at 1-tech, though this time, he and Crawford have switched sides.
Nearly completely hidden in this shot, Coleman has fired out low and is driving the middle of the Charger line back.
Here we see the penetration Coleman has achieved. While he is too late to make the play, his presence here disrupts the run significantly and Gordon is stopped for a 2-yard gain. Also worth noting here is the deformation of Mincey's uniform, indicating that there might be a hold occurring.
Coleman is lined up at 3-tech (with Bishop at the 1, by the way) against the San Francisco 49ers starting offense.
Coleman fires out across in front of Bishop, puling away from his own man and engaging the center. Bishop, meanwhile, is going to follow the blue arrow round for a wide stunt. Both players show nice quickness on this play.
Bishop (blue arrow) is now totally free, but Coleman has won through against Bishop's double team. This is very bad news for Colin Kaepernick, who is finding his first read covered.
Bishop and Coleman are both totally free and Kaepernick escapes out the back door. Unfortunately for him, Randy Gregory (red circle) has beaten the left tackle and collects his second sack of the pre-season.
The next play, Coleman is back at 1-tech with Hardy at the 3-tech. As this is an extremely long conversion, the Cowboys only have five men within seven yards of the line of scrimmage (the other two linebackers are eight yards back).
Coleman again takes on the double team and wins. The 49ers have chosen to leave Randy Gregory (blue arrow) unblocked.
The fullback reaches an arm out in a vain effort to keep Gregory at bay (blue arrow). Coleman, meanwhile, continues to ride his double team without losing ground. The running back sees a hole and plans to follow the yellow path.
With a nice sense for the game, Coleman sheds his blockers and moves to fill the lane the 49er running back is trying for. In an ongoing theme, Coleman does not himself make the play, but instead drives the RB wider, where a speedy and decisive Andrew Gachkar (red circle) finishes the play off. The 3-yard gain on this 3rd and 20 draw play would've been a nice stop with even five yards to go.
The tale of the tape clearly shows that Coleman is ready for prime time, holding up well against the starting lines of two separate teams. He is not likely to be as disruptive as he was in the final two games of the preseason, but he has the strength to hold up at the 1-tech and the quickness to play the 3-tech effectively. He shows the ability to be an important piece of this defensive line going forward.