Sunday, September 13, 2009

NFL recap, week 1

  • Arizona fans should be concerned. Kurt Warner was less than 100% and did not look that good today, the defense struggled when it was needed the most (although it did play well overall), and the offense clearly wasn't in sync. Good luck against a solid team.
  • Atlanta fans have to be happy. Ryan didn't look too bad, the defense was solid, and Tony Gonzalez looked younger, which is a big problem for linebackers in the NFC South now.
  • What a long way for Baltimore fans to have come, expecting the offense to carry them when the defense can't get the job done. (Isn't it nice not to hear about Ray Lewis every play, though?)
  • Carolina better hope Delhomme's issues can be fixed somehow. Josh McCown was a questionable #2 anyway, and with his injury, there may not be a backup the next game if the turnovers continue.
  • Cincinnati looked decent on defense and got a few plays on offense, but this isn't the show we were promised this year.
  • Brady Quinn didn't play very well today, and the Browns struggled to stop the run once it was obvious that Minnesota would be running. Apparently Eric Mangini's presence isn't enough to fix what ails Cleveland.
  • Maybe ex-Cowboy players should just shut up and let the team play. Romo looked fine, Roy Williams actually caught some passes, and the defense did a nice job. Also, no punts hit the scoreboard.
  • Josh McDaniels has some problems to fix. It's early, but right now it looks like the newest offshoot of the Belicheat Coaching Tree is as weak as the others. Take away a freak play and the Broncos get no touchdowns against one of the weaker teams in the AFC. Enjoy the 12-7 win, but remember you didn't exactly earn it.
  • Matthew Stafford didn't look terrible, and he looked angry at the mistakes he made. That's a good sign. The Lions also had solid kickoff and punt returns in the same game for the first time since I don't know when, maybe when Mel Gray suited up for them. Of course they still lost. Maybe next week, when what's-his-name comes to town?
  • The Texans sure didn't look like everyone's surprise pick in the AFC. I didn't see much of the game, so I can't make too many suggestions.
  • How about that Colts defense? 12 points, not bad at all. Maurice Jones-Drew did get some yards, but you don't win games on yards. The injury to Gonzalez is something of a concern, as are the turnovers, but the Colts won at home against the Jaguars, and in the last few years, that's not been a sure thing.
  • On the other side, Jack Del Rio has to be happy with what he saw from David Garrard. Garrard slipped through several tackles and either made plays or got rid of the ball to avoid negative plays. The Jags didn't win, but they played pretty well.
  • Brodie Croyle did a nice job keeping the Chiefs in the game against Baltimore, considering that he might not even have been the #2 QB at this point if things had turned out differently.
  • Miami continues to use unorthodox plays well, but they really didn't have much else against Atlanta. At some point Sparano may have to figure out how to be successful with more conventional formations.
  • Minnesota ran the ball very well once they had the lead in Cleveland, to no one's great surprise. However, it did take a while for them to get that lead. Favre wasn't particularly impressive or unimpressive, but he'll need to do something next week. If he can't put up good numbers against Detroit on the road, it'll be hard to imagine him succeeding at Chicago, Green Bay, or the other quality teams Minnesota will play.
  • Drew Brees is still pretty good, isn't he? And the Chargers are doing just fine without him. Sometimes trades work out for both teams. Of course, it helps to play the worst team in the NFL for your home opener, and Brees made sure that the Lions didn't spend too much time thinking about an upset. Mike Bell's contributions on the ground make you wonder if a) Pierre Thomas will get touches again and b) if this whole Bush-as-running-back experiment can finally end.
  • You have to give Mark Sanchez credit. He didn't necessarily overwhelm the Texans, but he sure didn't suck, and for a rookie playing on the road, he did just fine. Wonder if the Bears still miss Thomas Jones? They should.
  • The Giants seem like they have a million receivers for Eli Manning, but they may need them with another guy hurt today. Manning did play fairly well, the running game was decent, and the defense chased Jason Campbell up, down, and sideways. A great start for New York.
  • What would happen if McNabb were actually injured for some period of time? Well, we'd hope that Kevin Kolb would be the starter. Unfortunately, in a couple of weeks this Vick guy will become available, and the Eagles didn't sign him to be a receiver. Philadelphia played well enough against Carolina to survive pretty much anyone at QB, but it won't always be that easy.
  • Tough start for the Rams, but you have to wonder if it will get much better. Steven Jackson can't do it by himself on offense, and the defense looked pretty bad against a good Seattle team on the road.
  • Mike Singletary might just know what he's doing. During a time out, he charged up the defense himself, watching them force a punt, and then Shaun Hill managed the offense just well enough to get the game-winning TD at Arizona. Michael Crabtree should fire his agent: the 49ers could probably use someone like him, but they sure didn't miss him much today, and the longer the holdout goes, the less use they'll have for him when (if) he does show up.
  • Maybe Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks should be the focus. Second-year TE John Carlson and newly-acquired WR T.J. Championship found all kinds of holes in the St. Louis secondary, and the Seattle defense did a fine job keeping the Rams at bay the entire game. You can't lose if they don't score.
  • Washington sucked. Okay, maybe that's harsh, but Jason Campbell spent too much time holding onto the ball, and the Redskins couldn't seem to keep the Giants' front seven out of the backfield when it was important. Isn't Randle-El experienced enough by now to realize when he needs to throw the ball away on the of-course-we-saw-it-coming end-around pass?

Sunday night thoughts:
Wow. Wow. I think it was the NFL Network guys who were suggesting that possibly McDaniels wasn't sure about Cutler's decision-making. If that's the case, gentlemen, here's your proof. (By the way, I like Stacey Dales – she's hot, she was a good athlete, and she knows basketball really well – but what is she doing on an NFL set? Either let her share actual NFL knowledge or put some model on there to spout pop-culture references.) Green Bay really didn't look too good for most of the game, but hey, they didn't turn the ball over, right? The fourth-quarter fake punt call (presumably by the center) wasn't so good, but really it was more about Cutler's inability to hit Bears instead of Packers that put the game in Green Bay's hands.
Of course, this might mean the second-best QB in the division is Brett Favre. That can't be true, can it?

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