When Neal came into the game on Sunday, I tried to focus on him to see what he brings. While the stats might indicate that he had a relatively quiet afternoon, I thought he was fairly disruptive in one of his first NFL games. There were definitely a few plays where he pushed his O-Line guy way back alarmingly fast. There was one play in particular when I got a glimpse of some of his massive strength as he pushed his guy right back toward Freeman who was throwing and it ended up forcing a bad incompletion. I think Matthews may have disrupted on that play too but it was pretty amazing just how much of a push Neal got and how quickly he got the push.
My verdict? I think Mike Neal could be a guy who improves our defense relatively quickly. Just like Starks gave us a boost at the end of last year, I think Neal might be just what this D needs to at least increase pressure on the QB and collapse the pocket. Perhaps Neal’s presence combined with So’oto’s increased opportunities might result in better pressure on the QB which would make things a bit easier for us in coverage.