Skip to content

NFL Week 1 Commentary

September 10, 2012

Image

With the NFL having such a long off season and the sport being so popular there is a plethora of theories and opinions out there on what the 2012 season will have in it. The first week of the NFL season is in the books and I thought I’d go through some of the prevailing ideas out there and see how they held up after one week. I put them into “buying” and “selling” columns as either I’m buying that theory after what I saw in week 1 backed it up or I’m selling it if what I saw clashed with it.

Buying:

I’m buying the theory …

that Mike Shanahan takes special pleasure in tormenting fantasy owners. How else to describe his most recent decision on who to start at running back. Going into the season there were three options as if Shanahan wanted the most explosive back he would start Roy Helu, if he wanted the most veteran back he would start Tim Hightower, and if he wanted the best inside runner he would start Evan Royster. Instead he chose door number 4 which was Alfred Morris, a virtual unknown as a 6th rounder out of Florida Atlantic who was such an iffy proposition that ESPN currently doesn’t have his picture on his profile page! I mean really Mike? Any of the first three would have made a little sense yet you had to spit in the face of every fantasy owner looking for a late round steal who has already cut Tim Hightower and replaced him with Evan Royster days before the opener only to find out that Royster also is now worthless (2 carries for 10 yards Sunday). It’s a game of Russian roulette and I’m glad I avoided the entire Redskins backfield this year as it already gives me a headache even though it doesn’t affect any of my fantasy teams.

that the Packers lack of explosiveness in last year’s playoffs and this year’s preseason is an actual trend and not just a coincidence. Yes the 49ers have one of the 3 best defenses in the league yet midway through the 4th quarter the Packers offense had only scored 7 points. I’m not saying they can’t bounce back or fix what ails them in a few weeks but there clearly is something wrong with Aaron Rodgers and his formerly explosive passing attack.

of Randall Cobb being a future star. For a guy who had only 25 career receptions for 375 yards there sure was a lot of talk about Cobb being a future star. After seeing him targeted 9 times and ending the game with 9 catches for 77 yards I became a believer. Donald Driver is likely in his last season (retirement) as is Greg Jennings (free agency) so I assumed Cobb would increase his role more next year than this year yet he was all over the field in the opener. They had him line up in the slot, out wide, and in the backfield as the Packers seem intent on getting him the ball in space. He could have huge numbers this season if they continue using him in so many creative ways.

Selling:

I’m selling the theory….

that ALL rookie quarterbacks are good options to start. The NFL had 5 rookie starting quarterbacks Sunday yet only one performed well. Take away RGIII’s stats and the other four rookie QBs had a 2/11 TD to INT ratio, went 0-4 on the weekend, and were the main causes of it as each ended their game with a QB rating under 70. RGIII will be the talk of the town tonight but the NFL continues to eat rookie quarterbacks alive and starting a rookie at the position is still the easiest way to guarantee your team a Top 12 pick in next year’s draft.

that Cedric Benson will be a big factor for the Packers this season. He ended the game with 9 carries for 18 yards and while it was partially due to the Packers being down the entire game it also was the result of Randall Cobb being used as a RB on many downs. The Packers are a passing offense and they appear to have taken the next step in accepting that they will be throwing on most downs. While Benson is a superior option to Cobb in running the ball up the middle Cobb is a superior option as an outlet receiver and causes all sorts of mismatches with linebackers and safeties that Benson doesn’t. I don’t think Cobb lining up in the backfield is a one time thing and suspect that Benson will rarely get more than 10-15 carries per game. Fantasy owners of Cedric who took him in the late rounds and thought they had themselves a steal will need to re-think that as he just became the least important “starting” running back in the NFL.

of Michael Vick as an improved pocket passer. He threw 4 interceptions, completed less than 52% of his passes, and led his team to only 17 points while playing against a mediocre defense in the Cleveland Browns. Add on the fact that Vick is being paid an average of $16.7 million a year and the pressure only mounts for the player who has so much talent yet so consistently underperforms. “Every dog has it’s day” yet today definitely wasn’t Vick’s.

of the replacement officials ruining the game. Yes they gave the Seahawks 4 timeouts, yes they picked up the flag on a blatant block in the back on a Randall Cobb punt return, and yes some of their flags were slow coming out yet overall there weren’t that many noticeable missed calls. I watched four games Sunday and I only saw 3 or 4 clear missed calls. That is a very small percentage and for as much media scrutiny as this lockout has received it continues to feel like this is a small problem that is being overblown big time by writers who don’t have anything to write about. With the regular season now starting and actual storylines being prevalent look for writers to drop their blitzkrieg on the officials and move on to other topics. Final point: Last year the talk was about the lack of an offseason and how the NFL fan will be turned off by terrible play early in the season. In the end it never materialized as people were too busy loving all of the high scoring affairs and fun new plotlines. 3 years ago Peter King made a huge deal about the massive screen in Cowboy stadium with numerous quotes like, “Think of this possibility: The Raiders and Cowboys meet on national TV on Thanksgiving. Oakland stalls in the first quarter at midfield, at the left hashmark, and Lechler is told to try to place the ball across the field, inside the 10-yard line. He could hit the video board once, twice, three times in a row. It’s not probable, of course. But it’s certainly something the league has to think could happen, especially with the best punters in the game.” He mentioned “possible outcomes” almost every week in one of his articles with phrases like, “Whatever happens, I can’t help but thinking someone’s going to take a pretty big fall for this,” and, “With two of the best legs in punting history — San Diego’s Mike Scifres and Shane Lechler of Oakland — due in Dallas this year, the potential for an embarrassing day for the league is high.” In the end the board stayed at the same height, no punter in 3 years (24 regular season games plus 1 playoff game) has hit the board, and the issue fell off into oblivion. My point is that every year writers try to fill pages in the offseason with every thing their little hearts can imagine and then when the regular season begins all of it goes away. Look for the locked out officials to be another storyline that disappears as the replacement officials aren’t great but are hardly ruining the game.

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: