90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at left defensive end . . . He continued to play into the fourth quarter, as he moved to nose tackle. . . It's very interesting that a starter played that long . . . . Managed one tackle.
96-Kentwan Balmer: Saw action at nose tackle early in the second quarter . . . This was the best I've seen him play. He was getting upfield with the pass rush, and he looked stout against the run, too. . . . Did a great job, while working against RT Erik Pears of reaching out to swat the ball as Gradkowski was throwing, leading to McKillop's interception .
Isaac has had his chance and despite all his physical attributes has basically sucked and we still don't know what position he plays....Balmer was a 1st round pick and looks to be coming around hopefully.
I say put Balmer in there at DE and see what he can do.
I think we will see some interesting decisions on the Dline this year. Balmer seems to be coming on, especially since he was willing to spend his off season with J. Smith. He is getting consistent push so that counts for something. Mitchell, Egboh, RJF are also getting good play. So Soap may get pushed out if he is not careful.
So potentially J. Smith, A. Franklin, Balmer with RJF, Mitchell, MacDonald, Evans as backups.
I have been one of the biggest... opposers of Franklin, but he might have had the best performance that I have ever seen in the Raiders game. On half or more plays, he did a pretty good job... nothing outstanding, but decent. I don't know if he can keep this up, but he showed me something.
One and a fourth of a game does not a good NT make... so I'm still hoping for Sopoaga at NT or a top tier NT in the offseason.
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