Sunday, September 20, 2009

NFL recap, week 2

(I didn't say much about last week's Oakland/San Diego game because the announcers were so bad I couldn't listen any more.)

  • Okay, so this is more like the defending NFC champions. Arizona looked pretty darn good at Jacksonville and Beanie Wells showed signs of being the runner that Tim Hightower and Edgerrin James (among others) have not been.
  • The Falcons continue to execute on offense, but the defense looked a bit sketchy at times. Of course, when you're trying to cover the Steve Smith (as opposed to a Steve Smith, like the Giants guy), that may be understandable.
  • Nice win for the Ravens, even though the offense seemed a little more like the Baltimore offense we're used to seeing. Baltimore slowed San Diego just enough to hang on for the win; fortunately they won't face teams like that in their division ... oh wait.
  • Trent Edwards looks pretty comfortable in Buffalo. Marshawn Lynch might be in for a surprise when he comes back; Fred Jackson had another good game. The only thing saving Lynch might be the utter lack of depth at the position. Even if Lynch doesn't start again, he'll get reps if for no other reason than to keep Jackson fresh.
  • The Panthers looked a little better this week, but still trailed most of the game against Atlanta. I can't imagine that things will get better: Carolina doesn't really have an answer behind Delhomme, and there aren't free agent QBs waiting to win you a Super Bowl.
  • Nice win for Chicago over Pittsburgh OMG Roethlisberger Super Bowl OMG. (Sorry, Phil Simms was calling the game.) Jay Cutler sucks now, doesn't he?
  • Cincinnati picked up a nice win on the road at Green Bay; the offense looked a bit more like what people were expecting this season, and Cedric Benson appears to be fitting in well.
  • Kyle Orton is doing a decent job in Denver, even without much help from his receivers or the coaching staff (there were some questionable play calls in today's game). Brandon Marshall probably needs to mend fences pretty quick if he's going to play in Denver. Either that or he should start looking for housing in Oakland. Who else picks up head cases?
  • Jim Schwartz is definitely getting better results in Detroit, but unfortunately for him, the "results" are coming a quarter at a time. Detroit started off very well against the Vikings and did not give up huge plays in the passing game. They did have trouble bringing down A.P. at times, and they didn't score very much, but they did score. Eventually, Stafford will figure out that Number 81 can jump. (Did he not ever throw jump balls at Georgia?)
  • The Packers have to be disappointed that they lost a home game; it may turn out that the Bengals are a pretty good team, but right now there may not be much that separates Chicago, Minnesota, and Green Bay, so games like this may end up being the difference between a spot in the playoffs and a spot in front of the TV. (I doubt either wild card will come from the North.)
  • The Texans didn't get anything on the ground again this week (oh my poor fantasy team), but it didn't matter as Tennessee apparently decided that Andre Johnson isn't that good. oops. Huge road win for Houston, and with the Jets' result it seems more like this is a team who can challenge Indianapolis for the AFC South title.
  • When I first tried Superstar Mode in Madden 10 (that mode sucks, by the way, for a number of reasons), I was drafted by Jacksonville, and I couldn't understand why they continued to run a small RB into the line over and over again when the line couldn't block. I thought the Jaguars were better than that. After today's game, well, maybe they're not.
  • Matt Cassel Bandwagon, last stop ... oh wait, no one's on board. The Chiefs have some issues, like not being very good. 10 points at home against Oakland is a good way to put themselves into position to draft Jimmy Clausen.
  • Brett Favre has apparently been asked to be conservative: don't cost us any games, just move the ball downfield until we get the lead and then feed A.P. He's done that very well so far. I still think he'll implode at some point, but I have to give him credit for not doing it yet.
  • Something's wrong with the Patriots' offense. Maybe it's that Belicheat can't keep replacing coordinators with similarly-talented people. Maybe it's that Tom Brady isn't 100% yet. Maybe it's just karma. (Of course, if it were, then teams with Belicheat disciples like Notre Dame, Cleveland, and Denver would all be struggling ...) Or maybe the AFC East is suddenly really tough and New England will have four more divisional games like these this season.
  • New Orleans is on fire. No, not like that, fool. Drew Brees is putting the ball wherever it needs to go, the running game is solid even without Pierre Thomas (and with Mike Bell's injury, Thomas will have to be ready to go next week, I think), and the defense does what it needs to do. While it may not be ready to stop an elite offense, who knows when they'll face one? Up next: Buffalo.
  • Mark Sanchez is not 2-0. He is on a 2-0 team. Don't make it sound like he is singlehandedly carrying them: he was tolerable on Sunday, but the defense did an outstanding job against the Patriots.
  • Someone needs to take control of the Raiders from Al Davis. JaMarcus Russell is 19 of 54 on this young season, and while in Davis' foggy brain, this is coming from a 1961-style offense, we're not talking about 40-yard dropped passes. The Raiders won, but they still don't have a quarterback.
  • Sure, McNabb was out, but he doesn't play defense, you know. (In fact, Eagles fans might think to remember that regularly. Defensive problems cannot be blamed on Number 5.) Yes, Brees is at the top of his game now, but Philadelphia didn't slow him that much, and if Westbrook is out for any length of time, this is pretty much the worst-case scenario for Andy Reid.
  • I wonder if something is also missing from the Pittsburgh offense. I don't think the Steelers can afford to keep playing low-scoring games if they struggle to close out their opponents, and an argument can be made that Chicago is not the kind of team that Pittsburgh should be losing to. The Bears didn't make a lot of mistakes and Pittsburgh didn't really earn too many points on their own.
  • The Chargers' offense put up a lot of pretty numbers, but once again the defense looked shaky. It's all well and good to suggest that the Chiefs and Raiders will not be a threat in the division, but the Broncos might be, and right now it doesn't look like San Diego can count on certain wins anywhere else in their schedule.
  • St. Louis is bad. Steven Jackson is trapped on a bad team. Steve Spagnuolo may make a difference eventually, but right now you could probably offer even money on the Rams and Lions combining for fewer than four wins this season and not get many takers.
  • Hey, did you hear the one about the young guy surrounded by stupid advisors who threw away $15 million in guaranteed money? No? You will. The 49ers didn't miss Crabtree at all against Seattle, and we're probably past the point where he'd make any difference if he did sign. P.S. Jerry Rice says you made a mistake, so maybe you should listen. He was kind of good once.
  • Matt Hasselbeck ran, didn't slide, was hit in the back semi-questionably (the NFL really doesn't call piling on at all, but when you slide forward technically you're not down, so you can't blame Willis for diving like he did), and on a play that didn't make a lot of difference, the Seahawks suddenly have a problem. Good thing for them that St. Louis still sucks, because third place is looking like a probably destination unless Wallace is actually a solid QB.
  • Tampa Bay is apparently rebuilding. Unluckily for them, New Orleans and Atlanta are not. It's going to be a long season for another new head coach ...
  • Fourth and one, what kind of play do you not run? A sweep. You know this. I know this. Jim Zorn does not know this. Fortunately they were playing the Rams, so they won anyway, but really, you either run straight up the middle, go with play action, or kick. I'm sure the next coach will figure that out. I don't know that Jason Campbell is going to work with this offense, but I think that may be more on the coordinator and head coach and less on the QB himself. (Of course in the NFL, your reputation sometimes has more to do with your future employment than your ability. If Campbell is labeled a bust, it won't matter what he could actually do.)

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