Eye in the Sky: WR and TE

A full film review of the Irish receivers and tight ends in Saturday's loss to Navy.

Wide Receiver Tai-ler Jones

Opened with a clutch chain-moving catch on 3rd and 4, getting his head around and moving to the outside to secure the grab away from the defense…Nice block in space on Crist's designed draw near the goal line but one mistake up front limited the gain (might have been a touchdown as Eifert had controlled his defender as well…Another effective effort from the slot, this time sealing on a handoff to Wood but the Irish ‘back took too long to hit the whole…Leapt for a few yards after the catch on a bubble screen but pursuit caught up to him as a result…Physical run on a sprint-option to the near side one play later, finishing the run on the sideline with authority after already gaining the first down…Might have been shaken up a bit on a jump ball throw from Crist in which he landed squarely on his back (pass broken up).

Solid block on OLB Aaron McCauley while Tyler Eifert won at the point of attack but Armando Allen was limited to three yards…Strong route, then an impressive effort after the catch to absorb contact and run through a few no-wrap tackle attempts to score his third touchdown of the season: a 3rd and 16 gem to the post. Jones set up his underneath defender with hesitation and a hard step 10 yards into his pattern…

I have no idea if Jones was supposed to hook inside on Crist's ill-advised pass that resulted in an interception and eventually 7 points for the Midshipmen, but the ball shouldn't have been thrown in either instance.

2nd half: Took a short cross on the opening play and followed a Duval Kamara block for 17 yards down the right sideline…Open underneath for 5-7 yards on Crist's second pick of the day and what was the straw that broke the camel's back…Lost the block but made good contact on a crack-back to allow Allen room for 19 yards over the wide side…Took his eye off an easy catch underneath that would have easily gained first down yardage on 2nd and 10 at the Navy 24-yard line.

Observation: Played well in a lead role but Jones could excel as a slot option if Floyd returns at full strength this season.

Tight End Tyler Eifert

Executed what was perhaps the best block in space all day, securing, sealing, then turning Midshipmen linebacker Tyler Simmons to pave the way for an Armando Allen 18-yard screen play…Followed that effort by pushing CB Kwesi Mitchell out of bounds on a short-side run by Cierre Wood that gained five…Another quality block in space but Zack Martin missed his assigned defender and Crist was limited to two yards inside the Middies' 10-yard line…After three quality blocks, regressed when he gave about one full second of effort on block in space on the second drive and Wood gained just one to the right side…Made up for it the following play with a clutch low catch of a Crist pass on 3rd and 9 – excellent route by Eifert on a skinny post from the slot for 14 yards…Followed with a good cut block on a bubble screen to Jones later in the drive but Goodman failed to touch his assignment and Jones gained just four…

Strong effort vs. RDE Billy Yarborough but the rest of the left side failed and Allen gained just three yards on a 1st and 10 stretch play…Couldn't control the outside pass rush of DE Billy Yarborough, who forced Crist into a hurried deep pass incomplete. Eifert looks much more comfortable when blocking for the running game (as you'd expect from a regularly detached tight end)…Nice seal block on a QB draw by Crist from the shadow of his own goal line.

2nd Half: Caught a 22-yard seam route from Rees late in the contest…Quality block to provide room for Kamara on a bubble screen to his side. Eifert lined up wide on the play…Refused to go down after taking a pop but was limited to a yard one play later…Won his drive blocking assignment on Wood's two-yard touchdown run on ND's final offensive drive.

Observation: Tyler Eifert is an ideal fit in this offense. His contributions won't end next season if Kyle Rudolph returns for his senior year.

Wide Receiver Duval Kamara

Ended up standing next to Cierre Wood just prior to the latter's shuffle pass reception near the goal line. Either Kamara was slow in his route or Wood released middle instead of right…Took advantage of a large whole between the corner and late arriving Cover 2 safety for 21 yards and an Irish first down - the longest reception by the senior since the season opener of 2008…Missed his block in space but stuck with it on T.J. Jones' 8-yard sprint option run to his side…Ran a poor stop-and-go route on the following play, never faking his cornerback.

Completely stoned ILB Max Blue on a 7-yard near-side screen to Allen…Went low to make a sliding grab three plays later…Continued his blocking efforts vs. Kwesi Mitchell and again vs. left cornerback Kevin Edwards: Kamara will block anyone you put in front of him…Good effort to go high for a 10-yard out to help set up T.J. Jones' score three plays later.

2nd half: Took his cornerback and shoved him out of bounds after Jones caught a crossing route in front of him…I'll stop typing it because it happens on every non-passing play: Kamara completely controls his assigned cornerback…Finished his catch-and-run on a short cross with authority, popping his helmet into an apparently concussed Tyler Simmons. Nice forceful run by Kamara who turned up field immediately after the catch for an 11-yard gain…Caught a two-yard slant on 3rd and 4 and the Irish elected to punt away, trailing by 25 points with just over 13 minutes remaining…Gained minimal yardage on a bubble screen the following drive but that's not his game (catch-and-run).

Observation: Kamara remains the team's best and most consistent perimeter blocker but he'd be better served in a No. 4 receiver role as the Irish need more players that can separate from one-on-one coverage.

Wide Receiver John Goodman

Lost his block at the tail end of Armando Allen's 18-yard screen catch-and-run but did his job for the bulk of the play. Nice effort by Goodman…On the ensuing series, showed up with the worst open field block of the season on Jones' 4-yard bubble Dear Lord what was that? (4:27 mark of the first half)…One series later, Goodman jogged at quarter-speed toward cornerback Kevin Edwards who made a tackle of Allen 12 yards down field. Allen had previously broken three tackles. That's a bench-able effort by the Irish junior.

Might have helped break up an ill-advised deep post in his direction later in the drive…Came back to catch a far-hash out from Crist for a first down on 3rd and 3…Broke open on a square-in route on 3rd and 10 three plays later but Crist was hit on his wrist as he threw.

2nd half: Stuck with a missed block on Allen's 19-yard run to his side late in the 3rd Quarter…Turned another short cross from Crist into a stutter-step and run, gaining 9 yards to the left side…Poorly run slant route was eaten up by the Navy defender as Crist's pass sailed incomplete.

Observation: Nowhere near good enough show such poor effort (lack of physical play) in his blocking assignments. Goodman might benefit from taking an early hit (perhaps on a sprint-option hand-off) to get him physically invested in future contests.

Wide Receiver Robby Toma

Appeared open down the seam but Crist threw high and behind him inside the Navy 10-yard line…Took a shallow cross for a 20-yard gain, the longest of his brief career…Added a nice block after a catch in front of him by Cierre Wood to give the Irish runner 10 extra yards (Goodman held his block on the play as well)…Appeared to break open but Rees fired just past him at the goal line on a right side seam route…Climbed the ladder to convert a 4th and 3 into a first down inside the Navy 5-yard line (Wood scored two players later).

Observation: Toma could continue to help in 3rd down situations if the Irish can find the proper rotation at WR.

Tight End Mike Ragone

Wide open down the seam on the first drive but Crist did not set his feet quickly enough in the pocket (scrambled for 13 yards)…Excellent scrimmage cut block on the left side to help Armando Allen gain 12 yards on a key 3rd and 1 rush early in the second quarter…Broke open in the left flat on the following play but never looked his way for what would have been at least a six-yard gain.

2nd half: Caught a quick flare to the right late in the 3rd Quarter vs. poor zone coverage…Created no separation on a short out route and inside linebacker Max Blue deflected Crist's 1st and 10 pass as the Irish hit desperation mode at 35-10 with 2:30 remaining in the 3rd Quarter.


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