The running game in week 1 was WAY down in part because lots of NFL teams have major O line issues. The Seahawks struggled to score 12 points against the Panthers. The Browns could not run or pass in a loss to the Dolphins. The Steelers lose their C Maurkice Pouncey and score only 1 TD. There was only one RB that got 100+ yards (Shane Vereen of the Pats). and he has a broken bone in his wrist.
Colin Kaepernick QB of the 49ers was outstanding against the Packers. He was 27-39 412 yards with 3 TDs and no picks. His new best friend is former Raven WR Anquan Boldin who caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a TD. Despite only running for a total of 90 yards the Niners beat the Pack. Jim Harbaugh is going to owe brother John a REALLY nice Christmas gift for the trade of Boldin.
While the Bills D played well, the Pats are clearly hurt by the loss of targets for Tom Brady. Of course the two fumbles by RB Stevan Ridley did not help the O. The same can be said for the Ravens losing Boldin and the Steelers losing Mike Wallace.
The Pats have put Vereen on the IR with designation to return list. That means the earliest he will be back is week 8.
The Browns wideouts have shown their speed. Unfortunately for the team it was in cars on the streets of Cleveland and not on the field. Both Greg Little and Josh Gordon have been fined for speeding.
Bronco QB Payton Manning looks much better to me than he did at any time last year. Even in the middle of the 2012 season the ball speed was down from his days in Indy. As much as the 7 TDs were outstanding, his ability to hit very small openings between defenders this year is much better than any time last year.
There were two rookie QBs starting and Terrelle Pryor as a new starter for the Raiders. Bills rookie starter EJ Manuel nearly beat the Pats with a passer rating of 105. Geno Smith of the Jets had a rating of 80.6 but at least there were no butt-fumbles. Pryor threw for 217 yards and ran for another 112 scoring a total of 3 TDs with 2 picks. While none of the three got starter reps from the beginning of training camp, each did pretty well. They will only get better with more experience.
Robert Griffin III did not look 100% to me. I was not as concerned about his inaccuracy in the first quarter as I was about his mechanics. Some of that was rust from not playing at all in the preseason. But I wonder how healthy he is. There were no QB runs and he looked a little clumsy getting out of the way of the rush. That is something to watch.
Check out my analysis of the Eagles Offense posted yesterday. I think you will find it interesting.
There are a couple of teams that are hoping that the Raiders, Jets and Bills fall in love with their new QBs. The teams that want QBs from the 2014 draft don’t need those three teams joining in the bidding war to get the best candidates.
We saw more fights and jawing this week than in any week in recent memory. The players are generally in a nasty mood and are taking it out on fellow union members. If the NFL does not get control of this issue there is going to be trouble.
Don’t look for Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez to start any time soon. His injury is worse than the team will admit and management wanted Smith to start day one anyway. Management is not convinced Smith is the QB of the future but have seen more than enough of Sanchez. The Jet fans agree.
The leash on Browns QB Brandon Weeden got a lot shorter this week due to his 3 picks and many misfires. The management did not draft him and is not happy with his lack of development. They will likely allow him to start the next 2 games at the Ravens and at the Vikings. By the third game WR Josh Gordon will be back from suspension. But unless he shows significant improvement he could be out week 4. Backup Jason Campbell would likely replace him.
Local media is expressing doubts about the Browns personnel decisions. The basic issue is that with injuries to the CB and RG spots the team failed to bring in any experienced help. Instead they brought in undrafted rookies. There are a couple of OGs available in free agency including Brandon Moore (Jets) and Deuce Lutui (Titans). After week one a team can bring in a veteran player without having to guarantee his total salary.
Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin was fuming on the sidelines after seeing his team turn the ball over six times.
OSU is in trouble again but this time it is Oklahoma State University. While the full scandal found originally by Sports Illustrated is not yet uncovered, it looks really bad. The charges include payments to players, work done for them by tutors and even recruits getting a “happy ending” from their official hosts.
The zebras of the NFL did not have a good week. While we never hear about penalties by the league against officials, there will be some this week. Way too many of the officials seem to think the fans come to the game to see them. Get a clue guys. You are supposed to be the rule enforcers. I have no issue with a judgment call being missed. There is no excuse for not knowing the rules.
That’s what I think. Tell us what you think.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.News, Notes & Rumors Week 1 by Bill Smith