NFL 2016: Week 1

Thursday
Panthers-Broncos

Sunday
Vikings-Titans
Bears-Texans
Browns-Eagles
Bills-Ravens
Chargers-Chiefs
Raiders-Saints
Buccaneers-Falcons
Bengals-Jets
Packers-Jaguars
Dolphins-Seahawks
Giants-Cowboys
Lions-Colts
Patriots-Cardinals

Monday
Steelers-Redskins
Rams-49ers

48 Responses to “NFL 2016: Week 1”


  1. Reid

    Panthers-Broncos

    I just realized that my (relatively high) estimation of the Broncos depends on two assumptions: 1) whoever is playing QB will protect the football; 2) the running game will be good. The thing is, I haven’t watched the new QB, so the assumption isn’t really based on any firm evidence. However, it is based on the idea that the Broncos picked him over Sanchez, so I assume Simian would be better at ball security. With the running game, I just assume that another year in Kubiak’s system will lead to a better run game. Also, the Broncos don’t have to synthesize a completely different offense into Kubiak’s system. (For what it’s worth, I’m more confident about my second assumption than my first.)

    On to this game. Here’s one key element that comes to mind: how well will the Bronco QB play in a spread offense? My sense is that against running teams, using running formations, the Panthers are really formidable. Besides their tough front seven, their secondary seems really good at stopping the run, and they seem to like bringing them into the box on run formations. One way to prevent this is to hit on deep play action passes.

    Another way to hurt the Panthers (if the defense is similar to last year) is in spread formations. If Simian can throw effectively in these situations, I think the Panthers might be vulnerable to this.

    Ultimately, it might come down to the Broncos protecting the football.

    Then again, I’m curious to see the Broncos defend the Panthers with Kelvin Benjamin in the line-up. I would guess that Talib should be able to contain him, but with Funchess and Olsen–it might be trickier.

    Vikings-Titans

    If there aren’t many turnovers or big ST plays, I would think the score is going to be close, and this will be a pretty good game.

    Bears-Texans

    I’m curious to see how Osweiler plays. I think he could be good enough (to take them deep into the playoffs). I’m also interested in seeing the Texans defense (although Chicago might not provide the best test).

    Raiders-Saints

    I would think the Saints won’t be that good on defense, so the Raiders should be able to put up points. I hope they can run the ball well.

    Defensively, I would like to see the Raiders really reduce explosive plays and tackle a lot better. I think that will be a sign of significant improvement.

    Buccaneers-Falcons

    Matt Ryan looks like he’s breaking down physically.

    I’m not sure what to make of the Bucs, especially defensively. I would think they would be better than they are, but they seemed pretty bad in the past. If that continues they have no chance.

    The offense looks solid, though.

    Bengals-Jets

    I’m interested in this game. Bengals might have the best overall team, in terms of being solid/good in all phases. I’m always watching Dalton’s ball security as well.

    It’ll be interesting to see if Fitzpatrick slips from last year, and how the Jets running game looks with Forte.

    Packers-Jaguars

    Good test for the Jaguars, and another game I’m interested in watching.

    I’m not sure Jordy is a 100%, but I’ll be watching if the Packers WRs/TEs can get open consistently.

    Dolphins-Seahawks

    This is a good test for the Seahawk OL. In the third preseason game, the Dolphins front four looked really formidable. I’m hoping the Seahawk OL can play like they did in the preseason.

    It’ll be interesting to see if the Dolphins offense has improved. (They seemed to struggle in the preseason.) This could be a good game Tannehill, because the Seahawk defense will give opportunities for completions, so Tannehill will have a chance to complete a lot of balls. The key will protecting the ball while throwing a lot.

    Giants-Cowboys

    How good will the Giants look? Is Cruz back? Will the Cowboys defense be effective against the spread attack?
    How will Prescott perform? How will the Giants defense look with all the new faces?

    Lions-Colts

    Can the Colts run the ball well? Will Luck get stuck in throwing a lot of long developing pass plays? Will he protect the ball? How good will the Colts defense look?

    Patriots-Cardinals

    Too bad Brady’s not playing, as this would have been a great match-up to watch. (I actually think Brady not playing four games could be a big blessing in disguise for them–unless they lose all four of these games. Brady’s older so the rest could really help, like I think it did with Manning last year.)

    My guess is that the Patriots won’t (or don’t) have a great pass rush, so the Cardinals offense should be effective. (The Patriots have a bunch of new players so I could be wrong about this.)

    On the other side, I suspect Belichick can scheme well enough to defeat the Cardinals defense (unless the Cardinal front seven completely dominates, which is a possibility), but I’m not confident Garoppolo can pull it off (not because of what I’ve seen of him, which is almost nothing).

    So, I’m think the Cardinals should win this.

  2. don

    Denver, Panthers:
    Denver’s running game wasn’t “all that great” last year, so I think if they are good, they should be a better team, at least offensively. Carolina’s game may show how much Maliek and Trevathan meant to these Broncos in the middle against the run. If Carolina’s offense is able to run effectively on 1st and 2nd downs pretty consistently, it may speak to what kind of defense Denver may have overall and whether this year’s defense will be good enough to carry another “weak” QB.

    Fins, Hawks and Lions, Colts:
    I’m probably higher on the possibilities for the Lions and the Dolphins then most. I think this first week will be a good test to see how that will play out for both of those teams.

    Bengals, Jets:
    To me the real strengths of both teams will be show cased in this one, with that being the Jets defensive front going against the Bengals offensive line. If the Bengals are able to run consistently, that will speak volumes of the type of season they are capable of.

    Cowboys, Giants:
    I doubt the Cowboy defense will be able to consistently stop this Giant offense (well unless Eli stops himself). But this will be a good test for the DBs (including the safties) for the Cowboys. The Giants have a good if not great set of WRs.

  3. Reid

    To me the real strengths of both teams will be show cased in this one, with that being the Jets defensive front going against the Bengals offensive line.

    My sense is that the Jets have a strong DL against the run, but against the pass, they actually don’t seem that impressive. For example, they don’t seem great at rushing the passer with only four or five rushers.

    If the Bengals are able to run consistently, that will speak volumes of the type of season they are capable of.

    This is an aspect of their game that I don’t really understand. Specifically, I think they should be a better run team. If I had to guess, I’d say the Bengals OCs (even with Hue and especially with Jay Gruden)aren’t really committed to the run. (I’m guessing this must be Marvin Lewis’s preference.) They either lean toward passing or prefer to be more balanced (somewhat similar to the Giants; although I’m curious to see if McAdoo will continue the type of balance between spread and run-first approach that I associate with Coughlin).

    Carolina’s game may show how much Maliek and Trevathan meant to these Broncos in the middle against the run.

    Were they both really great against the run? My impression was that Trevathan’s strength was more in coverage. Actually, I also don’t recall the Broncos being great at run defense–at least not a dominant run-defense. They seem more like the Seahawks in this way.

    Re: the Colts

    Here’s another negative scenario for their season that came to mind. The Colts can’t run the ball consistently and the defense is mediocre at best. This leads to the Colts passing more than they’d like. This could lead to big numbers for Luck, but I think there’s a slightly greater chance that we see a repeat of last year–where Luck holds the ball for a long time, takes a beating and starts forcing balls a la Cutler. As soon as an inkling of this starts happening, the coaching staff better get on this right away. It’ll be so annoying if they don’t.

  4. don

    I agree that the Bengals should be more committed to the run. However, I’ve seen games where the Bengals would run Bernard and Hill consistently and not necessarily be extremely effective, but they stuck to it. Not sure why they flip-flop their offense like that, unless they think they are the Patriots.

    I don’t watch as much football as you, but for some reason I’ve always thought Trevathan was a little overrated as a cover guy and underrated as a run stopper. Maybe it’s just his size, because he’s 6’ 1” and probably plays at about 240 to 245 which seems big for a LB.

    I’ll be surprised if the Colts can run or play great defense. I don’t necessarily think that will be their demise though because Luck played well in the past having both deficiencies. But yes I cannot see them being great because of those things in spite of how well Luck will or will not play.

  5. Reid

    However, I’ve seen games where the Bengals would run Bernard and Hill consistently and not necessarily be extremely effective, but they stuck to it.

    My impression is that what you describe is rare. Then again, I don’t really pay close attention to the Bengals, so I could be wrong about this.

    I don’t watch as much football as you, but for some reason I’ve always thought Trevathan was a little overrated as a cover guy and underrated as a run stopper.

    I didn’t/don’t pay a lot of attention to Trevathan, so you could be right. I just remember talking to a Denver fan who mentioned his coverage ability. I keyed in on this after that comment, and he seemed pretty good at this, but the sample size was pretty small.

    I’ll be surprised if the Colts can run or play great defense.

    Yeah, I lean toward this view as well. I think Luck has overcome a limited passing game, but the defense, at times in the past, performed well. To me, they were just inconsistent. But I’m getting the sense that they won’t ever play at a high level, and I think that might be too much for Luck to overcome. (Also, if he has to put the team on his shoulders that can entrench his bad habits. The QB that comes to mind is Jake Plummer. When he first started out at Arizona, he threw a ton of INTs–mainly because he was trying to do too much because his team needed that. By the time he went to Denver, where he didn’t have to do that, I think those bad habits were too deeply entrenched. I feel like Luck is a danger of something similar.)

  6. Mitchell

    That Patriots-Cardinals game has to be televised, right? That’s the game of the week right there (now that the Thursday game is over). I would never bet on this game.

    The Raiders are going to lose to the Saints. I kind of don’t want to see that one.

  7. Reid

    I would think the Patriots-Cardinals game would be televised.

    I actually favor the Raiders. I’m guessing the Saints defense is going to be awful again, and that’s the main reason.

    Panthers-Broncos

    I thought this was good game, despite the fact that the Broncos turned the ball over three times (and the Panthers turned in over once). Siemian threw two INTs, but I don’t totally blame them on him (especially the first one). Siemian impressed me–specifically, in the way that he seemed poised and displayed decent mobility. He’s not great, but he looks like he can be a solid game-manager. One thing: I want to see him throw the ball downfield. There were a lot of checkdowns and short passes. The longest completions seemed like fifteen yards, and there weren’t many of those.

    On the Panthers side of the ball, Kelvin Benjamin stood out for me. He made a couple of key 3rd down conversions and a TD reception. When the Panthers need a big completion, he seems like the go-to guy, and he seems like he can deliver.

    I’ve said in the past that I think Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware have the knack for making timely plays. Their play tonight reinforced that impression. Ware had a sack on a 3rd down play in at the middle of the 3rd period, forcing the Panthers to punt. He had a sack in the 4th with about 3:00 minutes left. Von Miller had a sack with about 2:00 minutes left. This lead to a 4th and 21 (with Denver up by 3). But a Denver penalty on 4th down gave the Panthers a first down.

    The Broncos also got good pressure on the Newton at the end of the game. This is one of the biggest differences between the Broncos defense and the Seahawks’. It gives the Broncos an edge up in my view.

    Oh, one more thing. Shula’s play design and play calling continues to impress me.

    Addendum: As far as ball security and accuracy, I thought Cam looked good.

    Also: I thought both OLs played a solid game overall.

  8. don

    Broncos, Panthers:
    The biggest thing that impressed me was Denver’s run blocking. Collinsworth pointed it out as well, and to me they look much better than last year especially between the tackles. Denver’s pass pro was just okay, but they are probably going against one of the best pass rushing teams in the league.

    Siemian was more than okay and more than a game manager. He was great, and yes the interceptions were not really his fault. I agree he needs to show that he can get the ball downfield, but short of that he was accurate and poised. My only knock on him and what prevent him from being great is his arm strength. His passes to the outside lack some zip, and look abunai.

    Kelvin Benjamin is a beast and had a great start to the game. He seem to be nonexistent for a good chunk though, but that was after he was hit in the back of the leg so I’m not sure if he was 100%. He did have a catch in the last drive I think.

    Cam was great in this game. He didn’t really make too many mistakes or errant throws. He ran the ball effectively as well. The Panthers seem to rely even more on Cam in this game then in games that I saw last year. The Panther running backs hardly had an effect on this game. That could just be Denver’s defense. My only criticism of Cam is that he’s not a great QB in the run option. He’s okay especially because of his physicality, but I think he doesn’t make decisions quick enough and he’s not really deceptive. There was a play which Miller was intentionally left unblock and it’s because Miller has to be able to decide to take Cam or the RB. Miller was able to “guard” both guys and make the tackle on the RB.

    All in all, it was a great game, but with a disappointing ending. The last two positions by both teams were just riddled with mistakes. It almost looked like nobody wanted to win the game. The two biggest happen in the last drive with the Panthers having to call their last time out because the play clock was running down, and Harris playing press coverage and getting called for hands to the face on a 4th and 21. Not to mention the missed field goal. That timeout probably cost the Panthers some yards, because they just ran out of time and had to kick a fifty yarder. In Harris’ penalty’s case that would have cost them the game had Gano made the field goal.

    Yes this is just the first game of the year, but both teams look really good.

  9. Reid

    Don,

    It sounds we saw the game in the same way, for the most part. I don’t know if you would agree with me, but the game reminded me of Seahawks-49er games and Seahawks-Panthers games from 2012-2013–especially in terms of the hitting and physicality. Very few teams (especially last year) reach that level in my opinion. Anyway,it was great to see. (I must say I have some doubt if the Seahawks can match the physicality of both teams.)

    Speaking of which, I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I agree about the Bronco’s run-blocking, especially on the edge. I loved seeing that. (Also, the Broncos RBs read the blocks well and made nice cuts.)

    Siemian was more than okay and more than a game manager. He was great,…

    I think it depends on how you define “game manager” and “great,” but I bet we basically view this the same way. To me, a good game manager will make good decisions, not turn the ball over, and make a few plays when they need to. They generally don’t have a great arm–and they’re not throwing the ball a lot or making a lot of explosive plays. (I need to see him throw a good deep ball. If he can do that, the offense can go to the next level.)

    I could use the word “great” if you factor in how young and inexperienced he is. I’d use the word “impressive.”

    All in all, it was a great game, but with a disappointing ending.

    I can see how you felt that way, but I didn’t–mostly because I was rooting for the Broncos. Also, I was anticipating that the Ware and Miller would show up big, and they did, so that was gratifying to some degree. Harris’s boneheaded mistake was a big deal, and it could have ruined everything for the Broncos, but take that away, and the Broncos defense delivered. I think I’ve said this before, but Denver’s defense has a significant advantage over the Seahawks in terms of their two-minute defense. The Seahawks aren’t that great in this situation, allowing teams to rather easily get into scoring range. The Broncos, on the other hand, they remind of Pat Riley’s Knicks. That team would play solid defense in the first three quarters, and then in the fourth, they turn the screws and snuff out the opposing offense.

  10. Don

    In games last year prior to Denver playoff run, I wouldn’t completely agree that Denver’s defense was great in the 4th quarter. I remember them wilting in couple of the losses. Maybe I’m, as Roger said, “misremembering”. But in the playoffs and in this game I will agree with you, they shined brightest in the biggest moments.

    Harris’s boneheaded mistake was a big deal, and it could have ruined everything for the Broncos, but take that away, and the Broncos defense delivered.

    Don’t forget the roughing the passer penalty as well. Without it, the Panthers would have been in big trouble again. And that play was the stereotypical move that the NFL is trying to avoid. The player came in after the ball was thrown (although it was fairly close), lowered and led with his head, and made helmet to helmet contact. There are times when the roughing calls are questionable to me, this one would be the one video posted on exactly what not to do.

  11. Reid

    In games last year prior to Denver playoff run, I wouldn’t completely agree that Denver’s defense was great in the 4th quarter. I remember them wilting in couple of the losses. Maybe I’m, as Roger said, “misremembering”.

    Actually, you could be right. My memory of the regular season games is hazy. Also, my opinion is based heavily on my impression that Ware and Miller have a knack for coming up with timely sacks/pressures. (I’m started to think pass-rushers should be evaluated this way, instead of treating all sacks equally.

    Don’t forget the roughing the passer penalty as well.

    I missed that–probably because I watching the game without sound. (I might have fast-forwarded the call, too.)

    Now, was this the hit by #26, when Cam was rolling out to his left? If so, I think this was a close call–it’s not something I would label a boneheaded play by the defender.

    On the other hand, that high hit by Brandon Marshall? That was ridiculous. When I saw the hit in slow motion, from a different angle, I got mad. Without knowing anything else, I kinda want him to get suspended for several games.

  12. Mitchell

    The pass interference call was a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play where Cam was called for intentional grounding. Cam took multiple helmet shots, and that was the only one called, which is ridiculous. And then of course it was offset because of the grounding penalty.

  13. Don

    Now, was this the hit by #26, when Cam was rolling out to his left? If so, I think this was a close call–it’s not something I would label a boneheaded play by the defender.

    That was the play. Wow I didn’t think anyone would have thought it was even close, so I stand corrected. I thought it completely looked obvious. He even looked like he launched himself headfirst into Newton and he seem to have hit Newton near his chin, like he came from underneath.

    Von Miller’s helmet to helmet was not as obvious. Ware was taking Cam down, and Miller, who did sort of lead with his head, hit Cam while he was going down, which is why they had helmet to helmet contact. I’m not sure if that is still supposed to be called, but if it was and I was cheering for Denver I wouldn’t be happy about it. I don’t think I saw Brandon Marshall’s hit or at least don’t remember it.

  14. Reid

    I watched the video again. I stand corrected–the hit by Stewart #26 is bad. At first, I thought his shoulder might have made contact with first, especially from one of the angles.

    Depending on the angle, Miller’s helmet may not look so egregious; however, it seems like a flaggable offense.

    Having said all of this, a part of me could live with the officials not flagging these plays–IF, after the game, upon review, they determine that these hits were flagrant and then administer harsh penalties. For example, that Brandon Marshall hit and, to a lesser extent, the Darien Stewart hit–for that, I feel like suspending them for three games. Heck, a part of me wants to suspend them for half the season. I’m assuming this is their first offense, though, so I can live with a less harsh penalty. But if it happens again, I’m think half the season or even a full season. You can’t do that. To take it a step further, I’m considering fining the Broncos as an organization and maybe even taking away a draft pick–at the very least issuing a warning that this is what will happen if something like this happens again.

    Below is the gif of the hits:

    All of the Head to Head hits on Cam Newton

  15. Reid

    Not that you guys care, but Germain Ifedi, Seattle’s rookie starting RG will be out for this game (and a few weeks)–which is super annoying to me. The interior OL actually looked really solid. I think this could really disrupt and mess up the OL play–especially against tough front sevens of the Dolphins and Rams. Ugh. A few days ago, I was kind of optimistic about the OL. Now, no longer. Ugh

  16. Reid

    Here’s a breakdown of the Broncos run-blocking. I loved seeing blocking like this!

  17. Reid

    Post-Game Comments

    Dolphins-Seahawks

    Wilson’s ankle injury–especially watching how it seemed to impact his play–really stole a lot of joy from the victory.

    The OL didn’t play as badly as I thought, but I was expecting a disastrous performance. I need to go back and watch how they performed.

    Giants-Cowboys

    On the positive side, Dak Prescott shows a lot of promise, as in, he could really be the heir apparent to Romo. He seems poised, and his ball security seems solid.

    What stands out for me is that the Cowboys started off strong, but then the offense struggled as the game got closer to the end. My guess is that the Giants made defensive adjustments, and the Cowboys offense wasn’t able to respond.

    As a result the Cowboy defense seemed to break down. My impression of the Cowboy defense is that they’re actually quite good against the run–especially if you minimize their snaps. (This goes back to 2014 defense.) The key really does seem to be with the Cowboy’s ability to hold on the ball (and they were doing great in the first half).

    Terrence Williams makes a blunderous move at the end, but I think Prescott being inexperienced contributed to poor clock management as well. Plus, defensively the Cowboys seemed to start breaking down at the end.

    If either Romo can return, back in form, or Prescott can improve, Dallas has a chance to do damage in the playoffs. (Are the Cowboys playing the Broncos or Panthers in the regular season? I’d really like to see those games.)

    Patriots-Cardinals

    Garoppolo did well, considering he didn’t have Gronk (and Dion Lewis). The Cardinals defense didn’t look impressive to me–certainly one of the better defenses in the league. The Cardinal offense also didn’t look so hot in my opinion, especially since the Patriot defense doesn’t look all that great.

    Bengals-Jets

    I don’t think I’ve seen a defense struggle so much against bubble screens and funky, three OL sets as the Jets defense. The Bengals seemed to get five or seven yards every time, and I felt like they should have kept going to this.

    Bengals look like one of the best teams in the league (and they should be better when Eifert comes back).

    Jets need a better QB to go farther. (Or their defense/running game needs to get significantly better.)

    Packers-Jaguars

    What stands out is that the problems on the Packers offense still seem to exist. You remember how aggressive and explosive their offense used to be–with those slants and seem routes leading to big YAC? It almost seems like those days are over. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of open WRs/TEs, and they seem to be going for conservative pass plays.

    On the Jaguars side, similar to the Raiders, the team doesn’t look that much better than last year. I’m probably wrong about this. Maybe I should say that they don’t look as good as I thought they would, with the new additions. Basically, they don’t look like one of the best teams in the league. It’s disappointing. (I think the biggest issue might be the OL.)

    Bears-Texans

    Texans didn’t look great, but I think Osweiler is good enough to take them into the playoffs. They seem like the best team, overall, in the AFC South. If JJ Watt can return to form (he’s hurt), I still think they could be top 3 or 5 defense–and that gives them a shot to go far in the playoffs.

    Bears remind me of the Lions. Solid, but basically a .500 team.

    Lions-Colts

    Colts defense looks horrid. Luck seems to be back in form (although the Colts offense got off to a slow start). I admire Gore, but it’s a shame they didn’t have a stronger running game. (Their OL may be more to blame, though.)

    Lions look solid, but it’s hard to know if they look better because the Colts aren’t that great. My impression that the Lions will be solid/OK, .500 team hasn’t changed.

    Except for two blown assignments, the Seahawk defense looked to be fine form. However, they’re designed to stop this type of offense. The real test will be going against an offense like the Panthers and Cowboys.

    Vikings-Titans

    Titans continue the pattern set by last year of killing themselves with turnovers–this time with two turnovers that lead to TDs for the Vikings. (Mariota made a terrible decision leading to a pick six.)

    On the positive side, I really liked the way the Titans offense looked–some of the play design as well as the playcalling. I came into this season with lots of skepticism about Mularkey and Robiski, but they are proving me wrong so far. I might actually end up really liking their plays and playcalling. The offense looked good running the ball. The OL also picked up the blitzes really well (and Zimmer’s blitzes aren’t easy to defend).

    The Titans defense also contained AP all day. (I’m still not a not convinced LeBeau is sort of washed up, though.)

    Raiders-Saints

    The Raiders won, but the Raiders really disappointed me. To me, the Raiders really don’t look that much better than last year. It’s early, so maybe things will change. I’m very skeptical things will change on the offense, though. I really starting to hate the offense and playcalling. I might go so far as saying there isn’t any other offense/playcalling that I dislike more! It’s like when Jon Gruden coached the team. This really sucks because this makes watching the team very difficult.

    By the way, here are specific reasons I don’t like the offense/playcalling. For one thing, the running plays don’t seem well-designed (not to mention that they don’t run the ball well)). Also, Musgrave doesn’t seem to do a good job integrating run and pass plays so that they both work to complement and augment each other.

    Right now, I’ll say the Raiders will be lucky to make a wild-card spot. Mitchell contentment at 9-7 seems really appropriate.

    Browns-Eagles

    Wentz looks solid, but it’s hard to gauge because the Browns just may be the worst team in the league. (I’ll refrain from saying anything about RGIII’s performance because I know Mitchell is rooting for him.)

  18. don

    Bengals, Jets:
    Bengals offensive line got man-handled. Seven sacks by the Jets without Sheldon Richardson? Against a Bengal offensive line that is supposed to be really good. The Bengals didn’t look as good as I thought, but maybe that’s because the Jets made them look bad. The Jets gave up some big plays (almost all to AJ Green) and Nick Folk missing a chippy and an extra point was the difference.

    Mariota, Vikings:
    Mariota was okay. He seem like he was able to manage the game pretty well and made some nice throws. Sans the two huge turnovers, from the three or so quarters that I watched, I thought Mariota looked about the same as Siemien’s first start. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s good, but it’s not bad either. The two turnovers were huge though, and really cost the Titans a chance to win. Reid has been the minority in saying Mariota is better than Winston, and the first game of the second year doesn’t seem to align with that. But I’m cheering for Reid to be right on this one.

    Again I will reiterate that I don’t think the Vikings defense is next level. They are good, but not great. And I thought the Titans dominated good parts of the game, and without the turnovers probably would have won.

    Cowboys, Giants:
    Dak did okay. I thought he did more “game-managing” than Siemien. But Zeke wasn’t great at all, and the Cowboys were definitely not as committed to the run as I thought they would be. This could be “taking what the defense gives you”, but I think they need to run the ball more if they want to win with this defense. The Cowboy defense against the pass was decent. If not for the breakdown in the one TD, that seem to take like two minutes, they were pretty darn good (dare I say great considering the Giant’s offensive weapons). Against the run though, the Cowboys seemed overwhelmed at times. I’m not sure the Cowboys stopped the inside hand-off more than a handful of times, and the Giants ran it a lot.

    I think there is a chance the Cowboys can be decent this year, especially if Romo can come back 100%, but they will have to run the ball better and be more dedicated to it.

    Cardinals, Patriots:
    I didn’t see the whole game, but the parts I saw both teams look just okay. But the Pats were missing their two best guys on offense. On a sort of side note if I was picking from the teams that I saw in Week 1, I think I would have Denver, Carolina, then everyone else, with the Bengals and Jets being slightly at the top of that everyone else. That sort of says a lot of what I thought about the Cards and Pats.

  19. Mitchell

    For the record, I said I would be satisfied with 8-8 from the Raiders. I said I’d be happy with 9-7.

  20. Reid

    Don,

    Bengals offensive line got man-handled. Seven sacks by the Jets without Sheldon Richardson? Against a Bengal offensive line that is supposed to be really good.

    I forgot to mention this (and I didn’t realize Richardson wasn’t playing!). Still, this doesn’t change my view that they’re not one of the better teams in the league. How far they go in the playoffs depends heavily on Dalton’s poise/ball-security.

    I thought Mariota looked about the same as Siemien’s first start.

    The difference is that Siemian is throwing a lot of checkdowns/short passes. Mariota completes very difficult downfield crossing/seam routes–and Siemian hasn’t shown the ability to do that, yet.

    Reid has been the minority in saying Mariota is better than Winston, and the first game of the second year doesn’t seem to align with that. But I’m cheering for Reid to be right on this one.

    I didn’t see the Bucs play yesterday, but I want to be clear in what I’m saying: I think Mariota has more upside, and I’m more confident that in the long run Mariota will be better than Winston. Right now, Winston looks and probably is better. (You could argue that Winston has/had better weapons; Winston definitely throws a superior deep ball, though.)

    Again I will reiterate that I don’t think the Vikings defense is next level. They are good, but not great.

    I got that impression as well. From what I saw, they’re about the same as last year.

    Dak did okay. I thought he did more “game-managing” than Siemien.

    Man, you really like Siemian, huh? To paraphrase Denny Green (RIP): “If you want to crown him then crown him! We thought Siemian was who was going to be!”

    Dak seems like he has a better arm than Siemian (and he certainly looks bigger, maybe a better athlete as well).

    Against the run though, the Cowboys seemed overwhelmed at times.

    You don’t think this occurred more toward the end of the game?

    This could be “taking what the defense gives you”, but I think they need to run the ball more if they want to win with this defense.

    That would be my guess. I would also guess that the Giants made adjustments to stop the run, forcing Prescott to beat them with his arm (similar to what happened last year when Romo was out). Good run-first offenses don’t keep trying to pound the rock in those situations. And the Cowboys did try to run in the second half, but the Giants seemed to contain this. Defenses are going to continue this approach until Prescott can make them pay.

    On a sort of side note if I was picking from the teams that I saw in Week 1, I think I would have Denver, Carolina, then everyone else, with the Bengals and Jets being slightly at the top of that everyone else. That sort of says a lot of what I thought about the Cards and Pats.

    I agree about Denver and Carolina. And I would especially take notice of their physicality. Maybe the players were exra juiced about the game, but the physicality of both teams looks significantly above any other team in the league so far. (Note: I didn’t watch the Chargers-Chiefs or Bucs-Falcons game.) This increases their chances of going far into the playoffs, in my book.

    I disagree with you about the Jets being next in line, though. Fitz is a guy I root for, he has qualities I like (similar to Cousins), but I don’t think he can take them far (unless their defense becomes like Denver or their running game is dominant).

    Given that the Patriots beat the Cardinals without Brady and Gronk (and Dion Lewis, who was really doing well before he got hurt last year), wouldn’t you have to factor in the Patriots? They’re still up there for me.

    I know you said that you’re only going by week 1 games, but it’s relatively safe to assume that the Patriots are going to be better. (I’d say something similar about the Cardinals. The Cardinals, in terms of the all phases, seemed like the biggest disappointment. Seahawks were disappointing, but they were missing an important starter on the OL, and Wilson got hurt.)

    The Seahawks should be close to Broncos and Panthers as well (although I think they’re not as physical, which pains me to say).

  21. Reid

    Mitchell,

    For the record, I said I would be satisfied with 8-8 from the Raiders. I said I’d be happy with 9-7.

    This doesn’t really change my position: after what I’ve seen, I think your sentiments seems entirely appropriate (which is disappointing to say).

  22. Mitchell

    Just to be clear: you think the Bengals are one of the best teams in the league, yes?

  23. Don

    The difference is that Siemian is throwing a lot of checkdowns/short passes. Mariota completes very difficult downfield crossing/seam routes–and Siemian hasn’t shown the ability to do that, yet.

    Yeah I should have been clear, I only saw up to the point where Mariota threw his first interception. I don’t remember him completing any nice passes as you mentioned. Maybe I missed it, but I thought he looked very similar to Siemian.

    Dak seems like he has a better arm than Siemian (and he certainly looks bigger, maybe a better athlete as well).

    I will agree that Dak looks like he has more potential than Siemian. However, I thought Siemian tried a little more to get his outside receivers involved then Dak did. I’m pretty sure Dak only had one completion each to his outside guys. That’s game managing 101.

    Given that the Patriots beat the Cardinals without Brady and Gronk (and Dion Lewis, who was really doing well before he got hurt last year), wouldn’t you have to factor in the Patriots? They’re still up there for me.

    Yes I’m no fool. If you are asking me if the Pats or the Jets will be a better team in the end, I would definitely go with the Pats. I was just trying to point out that I thought just looking at both teams yesterday, that the Jets looked like a better team. Also note that when I made my comment about the Jets and Bengals being the next two best teams I saw, I only saw the teams that I listed. So there may other good performances that I missed. Again I was just trying to make a point that I thought the Pats and Cards were not great. But that isn’t to say they both won’t be great this year. I was just disappointed in both teams, more so with the Cards. Larry Fitzgerald on the other hand, was still pretty dominate.

  24. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Just to be clear: you think the Bengals are one of the best teams in the league, yes?

    Yes. (Sorry if I wrote the opposite.)

    Don,

    Yeah I should have been clear, I only saw up to the point where Mariota threw his first interception. I don’t remember him completing any nice passes as you mentioned. Maybe I missed it, but I thought he looked very similar to Siemian.

    I can’t remember if Mariota threw the type of passes I had in mind before the pick 6. Here’s the sense I get from Mariota that I don’t get from Siemian (so far). If it’s 3rd and long (over 10 yards), Mariota has the talent and ability to convert this. I feel like the odds aren’t so low because of his ability. I can’t say that about a lot of QBs. (I’m not sure I’d say about Wilson, either.)

    I will agree that Dak looks like he has more potential than Siemian….That’s game managing 101.

    Oh yeah–I actually think Prescott is a more of a game-manager at this point. Honestly, at this point, I think he’s a better game manager. He seems to have just as much poise, plus a better arm. It’ll be interesting to see if Siemian can be productive as the season goes on.

    Also note that when I made my comment about the Jets and Bengals being the next two best teams I saw, I only saw the teams that I listed. So there may other good performances that I missed.

    OK, got it.

    Again I was just trying to make a point that I thought the Pats and Cards were not great. But that isn’t to say they both won’t be great this year. I was just disappointed in both teams, more so with the Cards.

    I agree, but I don’t know how you can be surprised or disappointed by the Patriots, when they didn’t have Gronk or Brady. Even if Brady played–without Gronk–it wouldn’t surprise me if the Patriots didn’t look so good–because they haven’t looked as good without Gronk in the past.

    As for the Cardinals I agree with everything you said (including about Fitzgerald looking dominant. He was a one-man wrecking crew for certain portions of the game). I think they were the most disappointing team (along with the Raiders, for me). I understand their GM, Steve Keim, publicly expressed frustration and disappointment as well.

    The thing that stands out is that the Patriots were vulnerable. In addition to not having Gronk, I think they had some rookies and backups on the OL. I was curious to see the impact of Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche. I wasn’t impressed at all (especially in terms of the pass rush).

    On the other side of the ball, the Patriots don’t look like a great defense. Their pass rush still seems pretty mediocre. (One guess: Belichick game-planned to take away deep passes, and the Cards didn’t run or checkdown enough. David Johnson was one exception, by the way. He looked good, but he didn’t seem to get a lot of carries.)

  25. Mitchell

    Okay. I finally have a moment to talk about the games I saw. I’ll read your comments after I post.

    For the early game, I had the choice of Vikings-Titans and Bengals-Jets. I have Jeremy Hill and Tyler Eifert on my fantasy roster, but neither of them was starting. It wouldn’t have mattered: there are maybe two or three games I was less interested in seeing than Vikings-Titans.

    It was a pretty enjoyable game. Brandon Marshall still catches everything in his zip code, and I like Decker’s timely catches. Man, I loved having Decker last year; I need to figure out who this year’s Decker is (it’s why I put in a bid on Randall Cobb). The Bengals run game looked okay but they didn’t run it enough. Also, I don’t know how you can look at a game like this and not think Andy Dalton is a QB who could win a Super Bowl. He’s flawed, sure, but he’s at least Joe Flacco in quality.

    I thought the Jets D looked great, the kind of great that can develop into something fearsome by midseason. Revis got beat long on a few things, but he’s been that way for a few seasons. And being beat long by A.J. Green isn’t exactly a fault. I can’t point to anything specific, but I thought the sacks on Dalton were more because the Jets D was good than because the Bengals OL was bad.

    In the Giants-Cowboys game, I was mostly pleased with Manning and Jennings. I don’t think the NY run game was especially effective, but it was good enough. It was nice to see Victor Cruz get a nice TD, and who is Sterling Shepherd? He was super impressive. The Giants receivers are going to catch a ton of balls this year, which is what everyone expects anyway. Their receiving corps is deep. I’m telling you, this division belongs to the Giants.

    Ezekiel Elliott looked pretty good, and Dak Prescott looked okay.

    —–

    The late game: Patriots and Cardinals. Everyone looked a little cobwebby, but you could see the racecars beneath the dust. These didn’t look like the best teams in their conferences, but they looked like the best teams in their conference in six weeks. Offensively, I’d give the edge to Arizona because I like their run game, but the Patriots hardly ran the ball at all last year and they were really good. So who knows?

    The big takeaway is that the Patriots won on the road against a (probably) very good team, without their two best players. If they go 2-2 before Brady gets back, they’re going to be happy, but I wouldn’t rule out 4-0. Their next three games are at home.

  26. Reid

    The Bengals run game looked okay but they didn’t run it enough.

    I agree with this. And I tend to feel this way a lot about the Bengals. Their OL seems good, and Hill and Bernard seem like really good RBs. I can’t help but feel the team isn’t taking full advantage of their talents.

    Also, I don’t know how you can look at a game like this and not think Andy Dalton is a QB who could win a Super Bowl.

    Short answer: his playoff performances. You mention Flacco: compare the post-season performances. When the Ravens won, Flacco was incredible. Flacco can still make big mistakes (I think he threw two bad INTs against the Patriots in the 2014 playoffs.), but he shown way more poise than Dalton in my opinion. (Dalton also had bad INT that looked like he just threw the ball up there.)

    and who is Sterling Shepherd?

    Rookie out of OU, I think. One of the draft experts was high on him, although I can’t remember whom.

    Offensively, I’d give the edge to Arizona because I like their run game, but the Patriots hardly ran the ball at all last year and they were really good. So who knows?

    The Patriots generally are a pass-first team, but they can morph into a run-first offense if they feel like that’s their opponent’s main weakness.

    I’ll be so annoyed if the Pats go 4-0.

  27. Reid

    Steelers-Redskins

    Notes:

    Steelers had turnovers–almost three.

    AB toasted Breeland, twice for TDs.

    Cousins had a terrible INT.

    Redskins defense looked worn down at the end.

    Redskins offense looks more like the typical Gruden offense (more emphasis on the pass).

  28. don

    My only two comments are the Rams suck and should get rid of their coach and they should start Goff because at this point it doesn’t look like they can go very far. Plus how much worse could he have done?

    Oh one more comment is that Kelly’s impact on this offense is incredible. Not that their offense was great, but compared to last year, they look like a different team. But I know it’s only been one week so we’ll see.

  29. Reid

    Rams-49ers

    I don’t know if the 49ers are good, or that the Rams are just really bad. I’m leaning toward the latter. They looked worse (or just as bad) as the Browns.

    The Rams was very vanilla (probably due to the Niners’ hurry-up offense). They looked confused at times, and they looked like they never played a hurry-up offense before.

    One takeaway: I do think the Rams will be highly motivated in the next game–against the Seahawks. With a shaky OL and an injured Russell Wilson, “ugh” is what I say to that. I’m starting to feel a little more OK if Wilson doesn’t play (and they lose).

  30. Reid

    (Don, I wrote my post before I read yours.)

    My only two comments are the Rams suck and should get rid of their coach…

    That thought occurred to me as well. If they keep playing like this, I think he definitely should be fired.

    I’m less certain about Goff playing, though.

    Not that their offense was great, but compared to last year, they look like a different team.

    The overall team looks better, but it’s hard to know how much of that is due to the Rams playing so poorly. Also, you have to factor in that Jim Tomsula was the coach last year, so any competent HC is probably going to make the team look a lot better. (On defense, the Niners have some nice players in the middle of the field–Bowman, Bethea, Reid–those guys are physical….A part of me hopes their return to the way they were when Harbaugh was there. By the way, firing Fisher and then bringing in Harbaugh, that would make for some really good games in the NFC West.)

  31. don

    Reid,

    Re Goff:
    I take it you are a sit your drafted QB and have him develop from the bench? I know how concern you are about losing confidence (ie: Andrew Luck). I’m a throw him into the fire guy, that’s why.

    Harbaugh:
    I doubt Harbaugh is looking to come back to the NFL anytime soon. I think eventually but my guess is he wants to at least compete for a national title first. And this Michigan team looks pretty good. They smoked a good Hawaii team. Haha

  32. Reid

    Don,

    I take it you are a sit your drafted QB and have him develop from the bench?

    Well, if they’re not ready, I definitely think this. Or, if you’re going to play them, give them a few plays to run where they can have success. Think of something like what Mike Shanahan did with RGIII in his rookie year. This is very much in the Bill Walsh school, in my view, and I share that.

    I’m a throw him into the fire guy, that’s why.

    Understood. Phil Simms ascribes to the same view.

    I doubt Harbaugh is looking to come back to the NFL anytime soon. I think eventually but my guess is he wants to at least compete for a national title first. And this Michigan team looks pretty good. They smoked a good Hawaii team. Haha

  33. Mitchell

    The thing about firing Fisher is that, while he’s been a steady .500 coach seemingly forever, he seems to be a steadying influence, a guy who can get L.A. through this transition to a new city. I would be reluctant to fire him without working with him first on certain organizational goals between now and perhaps four years from now. They are clearly not playing to win now, or they wouldn’t have made Case Keenum their starter. Is Fisher a guy who can get them from this year’s draft to whatever they envision in, say, three or four years? That would be more important to me than winning now.

    Harbaugh can certainly turn a team around: he’s demonstrated that repeatedly over time. But then he wears out his welcome, like a lot of volatile and effective coaches. Now that he’s at his alma mater, I think he’ll have to be fired in order to leave before he brings the Wolverines back to the elite level (say, three years in a row in the playoffs?).

    Super hard to draw any conclusions about the 49ers based on what we saw, but I did like the semi tempered Chip Kelly offense, where they got to the line quickly but didn’t necessarily hike the ball quickly.

    I find Chris Berman suuuuuuuuuuuper irritating nowadays, but I do like him on NFL play-by-play, and Steve Young worked well as his color guy.

    —–

    The Redskins could be just as good as they were at the end of last season. They just didn’t play teams as good as Pittsburgh, so who knows? Let’s see what they do against their division.

    I’m not a Steelers fan, but sometimes I wish I were. This is an easy team to love. I haven’t felt that way about the Raiders since 2003, and sometimes I wonder if those days are just gone forever, not because the Raiders will never be good again, but because I just don’t love sports the way I used to. Still love it, just not in the same way.

    Sean McDonough may take some getting used to, but I’m worried he may not be given a fair adjustment period by fans. Gruden’s got to tone it down until they find their groove together. If he keeps going the way he’s going, it’s going to be easy for critics to hate on McDonough. The fault is really Gruden’s. As it is now, the game call is almost a clown show. It doesn’t have to be, with the knowledge and talent ESPN has in the booth.

  34. Reid

    Mitchell,

    I would be reluctant to fire him without working with him first on certain organizational goals between now and perhaps four years from now.

    Four years? Of the same thing? I think that’s asking too much. By the way, I actually liked Jeff Fisher–I thought he needed a good QB. I still think there’s merit to this idea, but what stands out to me is the way the defense played last year–it underachieved. People say this is supposed to be the best front seven (four) in the league. If that’s true, they really don’t look like it. (They’re not as good as the Carolina’s front four in 2013–with Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy.) Part of the problem might be that Gregg Williams, the DC, is not a base defense guy, but a exotic blizter. I would think a guy like Spagnuolo or Pete Carroll would do better with this personnel. But if that’s the case, then it’s still on Fisher.

    They are clearly not playing to win now, or they wouldn’t have made Case Keenum their starter.

    By the way, I always liked Keenum–I thought he would be a good backup. (I also like Shaun Hill as a backup.)

    Harbaugh can certainly turn a team around: he’s demonstrated that repeatedly over time. But then he wears out his welcome, like a lot of volatile and effective coaches.

    I think the key is having strong GM that can work with Harbaugh or a president that can serve as a buffer. The Niners management/ownership seems incompetent (See hiring Jim Tomsula, for one example.). I bet Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick are really difficult to work with, especially the latter. Without Belichick’s phenomenal success, would he have been with one team for so long? (I don’t get the sense that some players really like playing for him, too.)

    Now that he’s at his alma mater, I think he’ll have to be fired in order to leave before he brings the Wolverines back to the elite level (say, three years in a row in the playoffs?).

    Agreed. If he wins the national championship, though, I could see him leaving after that.

    I find Chris Berman suuuuuuuuuuuper irritating nowadays, but I do like him on NFL play-by-play, and Steve Young worked well as his color guy.

    I don’t care for either–Berman in general and Young, in terms of his color-commentary. (In fact, I think Young is pretty terrible. I watched the game without sound at some point.)

    The Redskins could be just as good as they were at the end of last season.

    But they really weren’t that good at the end, in my view. Last year was a down year in terms of quality, so if more teams improve this year, and the Redskins perform at the best level they did in 2015, I think they (Cousins) can slip quite a bit. (I like a lot of things about Cousins, but I think he’s just a really good backup–almost like Dave Krieg. Sorry, if I already said that.)

    I’m not a Steelers fan, but sometimes I wish I were. This is an easy team to love.

    Just curious–why do you like them so much?

    It’s a shame that Bell is out, and Bryant is out for the year. They could be better than the Greatest Show on Turf offense. (Man, I just think if Aaron Rodgers had the same supporting cast. Wow.)

    I was talking to someone about how I’m not worried about the Seahawks going against really good spread offenses. But the Steelers at full-strength? I admit, I’d be a bit worried–certainly not so confident.

    I miss the old Steeler defense, though. Recently, the defense hasn’t been close to the Steeler defenses I’m accustomed to. (By the way, did you guys know that Ryan Shazier, the LB, is the fastest guy on the team? He beat Wheaton, AB and another WR in a footrace. That’s sick. Based on seeing him play, I believe it, too.)

    As it is now, the game call is almost a clown show.

    What makes you say that? (And I’m not disagreeing with you–I actually don’t have a strong opinion. Sean McDonaugh is not something that I really liked, calling games, including basketball games. I’m tired of Gruden’s schtick, too. My favorite team right now is Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Chris Collinsworth seems smug to me.)

  35. Mitchell

    Four years? Of the same thing?

    No. That’s why I said “organizational goals.” When you have a four-year plan, you decide what you want things to look like in one year, in two years, and in three years. If Fisher’s not the guy to get his team to those benchmarks, THEN fire him and replace him with a guy who can.

  36. Reid

    But why work Fisher on these goals? Plus, if he helped the owner/GM make the goals, it would be ironic if they fired Fisher afterward because they felt he couldn’t meet them.

    By the way, I forgot to mention that I think Les Snead, the GM, should probably go, too. He could be more to blame then Fisher. They not only haven’t had a really good QB, but their WRs/TEs have been pretty lame. (They just gave more guaranteed money to Tavon Austin than Doug Baldwin.)

  37. Mitchell

    Just curious–why do you like them so much?

    I don’t. But if I were a Steelers fan, I would.

    What makes you say that?

    Gruden needs a strong anchor, or else he gets carried away and the show loses focus. Or at least, I lose focus. Tirico was good at getting things back under control. McDonough can be that, but he’s mellower than Tirico — in fact, I could swear his mic was leveled down so that it was actually quieter than Gruden’s. They aren’t playing like a team yet, so it feels like Gruden’s crowding McDonough out of the booth, leaving just Gruden’s overenthusiasm. It’s draining on me, and it makes me nitpicky about the stuff Gruden says.

    Say what you want about Collinsworth, but he explains what’s going on down there far better than Gruden does. He’s better even than Jaworski in this regard, and Jaws is one of the best. I just wish Jaworski would spend a season critiquing his own stuff — he would notice he has fallen into some horrible verbal ruts that make me want to chew my fingers off.

  38. Mitchell

    But why work Fisher on these goals? Plus, if he helped the owner/GM make the goals, it would be ironic if they fired Fisher afterward because they felt he couldn’t meet them.

    Because he’s the coach, the guy you hired. If you don’t think he can work with you on the goals, then yeah. Get him out of there.

    I don’t think it’s ironic at all. Most people who have jobs have bosses, and most of them work together on goals. When you make the goals, great. When you don’t, then something has to be done, and sometimes that means parting ways.

    I don’t think what I’m saying is groundbreaking at all. The stuff a head coach has to do to get his team what the Rams are now to what they want to be can be defined a lot of different ways. I don’t know what that organization values or aspires to, so I can’t be specific, but I would think among them are developing the QB and an offense in which he can thrive, establishing a team persona that reintegrates the Rams as part of their new/old city, and competes with the Seahawks, Cardinals, and 49ers of 2018 and 2019. Some of those things might be out of Fisher’s abilities (I don’t know what his abilities are), so the team will figure out how to take advantage of his strengths and support his challenges.

  39. don

    I think all the former Dallas guys are great: Aikman, Moose Johnston (had to add the Moose part), Irvin (in whatever role he plays as a broadcaster or TV personality) and I like Emmitt too when I heard him on TV.

    I know that was important to you all and not just a minute of your life that you may never get back

  40. Reid

    Mitchell,

    I don’t think what I’m saying is groundbreaking at all. The stuff a head coach has to do to get his team what the Rams are now to what they want to be can be defined a lot of different ways.

    I think this sort of long-term planning makes more sense if you’re really committed to the head coach. Suppose, the owner wasn’t sure Fisher was the long-term answer and wanted to give him a year. I mean, I still think the type of planning should be discussed, but I would assume it’s been discussed–Fisher’s been there for a fairly long time. The GM/owner must be OK with Fisher’s vision–if not, I assume he’d be gone.

    Don,

    I think Moose is just OK as a commentator. I do like listening to Irvin when he comes on the DP Show. I’m not sure about Emmitt. I think your bias is showing. A good test would be if you liked the local Dallas guys that do the Cowboys games (Babe Laufenberg and Dave Campo, were two of the guys.) I heard them on the Seahawks-Cowboys preseason game. I thought they were pretty terrible (although I guess most local play-by-play guys aren’t that great; I like Brock Huard doing games, though, but he’s more of national college guy–but he did Seahawk preseason games).

  41. don

    re Shaun Hill:

    He played alright, but I thought his passes looked sort of like Peyton Manning’s. He doesn’t seem like he has much of an arm. Viking’s fan better hope Bradford is almost ready to play, in my opinion.

  42. Reid

    To be clear about Shaun Hill, I’m saying he’s a good backup. When you think of the best backup QBs in the league, who would you mention? Hill would be on the list for me. Mike Glennon might be another. I like Keenum as well.

  43. don

    Would you take those guys over Josh McCown? I think I would take McCown.

    I haven’t seen Hill, Glennon, or Keenum a whole lot, but I think out of that group I only sort of like Glennon. I haven’t seen Chase Daniels a lot either, but being he’s a famous number two, I think I would take him over Keenum and Hill as well.

  44. Reid

    I think they’re all in the same boat for me. I don’t know enough to feel confident that there’s a significant separation. Actually, I Hill might be at the top. I’ve seen him play on several different teams, and I’ve come away impressed (for a backup). I’m actually surprised that other teams have let him go so often.

  45. Mitchell

    If only McCown weren’t so darn fragile, it would be an easy choice to take him over the guys you mention. You want a backup who can step in an act like a starter, which McCown always does. It might be why he’s always getting hurt.

  46. Reid

    Except when he was with the Bears, it’s not clear to me that McCown is a really good backup. There are two things I’m looking for in a good backup: 1) the ability to not lose games, which involves protecting the football. At the very least, you’d like a backup like that; 2) the ability to win games and protect the football, for a few games (let’s say, 3-5). The difference between a really good backup and a true starter is that you can’t depend on a backup to win a lot of games for an entire season.

    McCown could qualify as both, but I’m not really sure. To me, if he was strong in the second sense, he would have started over RGIII–unless the Browns wanted to see what they had in RGIII.

  47. don

    My guess is if Cleveland had a solid team in all facets, they might choose McCown over RGIII. I think the fact that really they have no chance, why not give RGIII a shot.

    RGIII is a clown though. Did you see that play he got hurt on? His contract should have clauses which stop him from getting paid if he gets a “clown” injury.

  48. Reid

    RGIII is a clown though. Did you see that play he got hurt on?

    I did, but I wanted to soften my criticism of him because I knew Mitchell is rooting for him. Even if he didn’t get hurt, though, he really didn’t look good; basically, it doesn’t seem like he’s improved much.

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