2017 NFL: Week 1

Thu
Chiefs-Patriots

Sun
Jets-Bills
Jaguars-Texans
Steelers-Browns
Cardinals-Lions
Buccaneers-Dolphins
Falcons-Bears
Raiders-Titans
Ravens-Bengals
Eagles-Redskins
Colts-Rams
Panthers-49ers
Seahawks-Packers
Giants-Cowboys

Mon
Saints-Vikings
Chargers-Broncos

37 Responses to “2017 NFL: Week 1”


  1. Reid

    Chiefs-Patriots

    Wow. The Patriots looked to be in control of this game, at least for the first half. I think the key was the really explosive plays by the Chiefs.

    Other thoughts:

    I think maybe my (negative) narrative on Alex Smith might have been getting in the way. I felt like he wasn’t doing much, then at some point in the second half they showed his stats–something like 300+ yards passing and 4 TDs! What? I know he had two bombs for TDS, but I couldn’t remember the others. Is it me or was this the most surprising stats based on performance?

    Gameplan for both defenses seemed to be to take away the star TEs–and it worked. Both teams also seemed to eschew blitzing–KC often rushing only three–trying to beat the offense by coverage. Eric Berry guarded Gronk–the times they showed replays, it seemed like Berry did a great job. (Sadly, he might have torn his Achilles tendon.)

    Reid and Belichick are the two best at manufacturing offense through coaching. If there’s anyone who could beat Belichick at this sort of chess match, it might be Reid. Then again, either the Patriot defense is horrid or they’re still in preseason form. They gave up some big plays. Another factor might be fatigue. The Chiefs ran the ball, and looked good doing it, and the Patriots went to an uptempo offense quite a bit. I wonder if this wore out their defense.

    Another observation. The KC pass rush was non-existent for three quarters, albeit they mostly rushed three or four guys. Later in the game, it seemed like the Chiefs flipped a switch and put a lot of heat on Brady, especially Houston. It seemed like he was saving his best for the end. (It reminded me of what Von Miller seems to do.)

  2. Don

    Here’s my observations:
    The most prominent thing I felt while watching was that New England didn’t look well coached at all. It was like Chip Kelly took over the offense and Rob Ryan took over the defense.
    I loved when Belichick went for it on fourth down in the first quarter. He wanted to put the first nail into the coffin up 7-0 early, but to me it was a huge stop for the Chiefs and might have back-fired because…
    The next drive in the same situation on fourth and inches, now with the score 7-7, Belichick chose to kick the field goal. I think if I was Belichick, I would have doubled-down and went for it again. But I don’t really blame him because that could have resulted in a nail into his own coffin.
    New England’s offense looked great in the first half, as Reid said. But during that time, they were running at least 50% of the time. I’m not sure why they got away from that, but as I’ve said in the past when need to, New England will always revert back to throwing the ball.
    Brady was average and I thought Reid was going to say, “His age is showing”. But their offense looked out of sorts when they went to their patented passing game. I couldn’t imagine the Chiefs could take away all that underneath stuffs. In fact in the past the Chiefs’ defense would struggle against the Pat’s offense.
    Brady, imo, made a huge mistake going for two bombs in a row on 2nd and 3rd down with the score 35-27. There wasn’t much time left (less than 5 minutes), but he needed to get at least one first down in that situation. Get some momentum and keep his defense off the field because they may have had to get at least one more stop before the end of the game.
    Re Smith:
    Smith, as usual, looked good in the pocket. He has great feet. But I wouldn’t necessarily say he was playing really well. He had almost 150 yards in two plays, one to Tyreek and one to Hunt, although the pass to Hunt was gorgeous. But a LB cannot stay with that guy. As Reid stated though, the game was lost mostly by the Patriot’s defense giving up way too many big plays. Either the Chiefs have that many weapons (although I don’t think so) or the Patriots were just flat and uninspired.
    There were two or three plays in the first half in which Smith looked like he dropped back almost 12-15 yards. It was sort of effective, although he may have completed only one pass on those plays, because it gave him lots of room to move around. He was able to step up and avoid the outside rushers without really worrying about the interior rushers. Teams with mobile QBs should look into doing that once in a while.
    Re Patriots first half:
    I never thought the Patriots were that much in control. I mean if that was the Vikings (or anyone but the Patriots), I would have thought the Chiefs were right in it. Yes the Patriots moved the ball effectively, but they had on turnover on downs and kicked one field goal, which in my eyes looked like the Chiefs still had a chance. Then the Chiefs made a big stop and came back and scored at the end of the first half. At that point, I was thinking, “oh, oh” for the Patriots.

  3. Reid

    I think if I was Belichick, I would have doubled-down and went for it again. But I don’t really blame him because that could have resulted in a nail into his own coffin.

    I don’t feel strongly about this, but I sort of lean toward him going for it here, too–primarily because I would assume that KC offense wouldn’t be able to do much. Obviously that wasn’t the case! And that’s really the big story in my opinion–the extent to which the KC offense got explosive plays and put points on the board.

    I sort of get the sense that NE got outcoached as well–or maybe a better way to say it is that Belichick’s coaching wasn’t really effective, in the way that it usually is. But I expect the defense to get a lot better. If they played ten times, I would expect 8 out of 10, the NE defense wouldn’t give up as many of those explosive plays and that could be the ball game right there.

    I’m not sure why they got away from that, but as I’ve said in the past when need to, New England will always revert back to throwing the ball.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying, here. I agree that NE will pass when they need to, but it sounds like you’re saying NE has a predilection for passing–and will do this even if it’s better to run. I don’t really share that opinion. I think they’ll morph into whatever works.

    Brady was average and I thought Reid was going to say, “His age is showing”.

    Actually, I do think his age is a factor, especially in terms of taking hits. I think he’s prone to panic in these situations, increasing chances for bad throw/INT. (Same with Manning at the end of his career.)

    But my recollection is that Brady wasn’t really to blame last night. His accuracy seemed fine. The issue was that he didn’t have many wide open targets. KC’s DBs made good plays on the ball, too.

    I couldn’t imagine the Chiefs could take away all that underneath stuffs.

    I think this is more of the surprise (and blame). It isn’t about Brady so much as the fact that Belichick’s schemes couldn’t get guys open, or, alternatively, KC could prevent them from doing so (Losing Amendola was seemed really significant, too.)

    Brady, imo, made a huge mistake going for two bombs in a row on 2nd and 3rd down with the score 35-27.

    This goes back to the last point: I’m guessing the coverage dictated this. That is, KC’s defensive game plan took away shorter throws, allowing for deeper ones. If this is true, then Brady’s decision could be justified. This reminds of what Seattle did on their last drive against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. They kept bombing the ball until they finally hit with Kearse making on the greatest Super Bowl catches. It was like they were trying to hit a home run, but I’m guessing coverage dictated this.

    Smith, as usual, looked good in the pocket. He has great feet.

    I first read this as “great feel” as in great feel in the pocket, and I was going to strongly disagree. I don’t really think Smith is very good in the pocket. I think he has happy feet, when the pocket collapses, I think he has a tendency to pull the ball down and take his eyes off of the WRs. It creates the sense that he’s panicking a bit.

    Having said that, I thought his accuracy looked good. I don’t recall him making any throws that were “interceptable,” but I could be wrong about that.

    But a LB cannot stay with that guy.

    That was Cassius Marsh, who came from Seattle, and he’s a DE(!). There’s no chance, and not really fair on him. Really, you should credit Reid for the scheme or blame Belichick.

    I never thought the Patriots were that much in control.

    My impression was mainly based on the assumption that KC wouldn’t be able to do much on offense.

  4. Don

    I would expect 8 out of 10, the NE defense wouldn’t give up as many of those explosive plays and that could be the ball game right there.

    I might even say 9 out of 10 times. I wonder when the last time a Chiefs team beat a Brady-led Patriot team.

    I agree that NE will pass when they need to, but it sounds like you’re saying NE has a predilection for passing–and will do this even if it’s better to run.

    I can’t recall a time when the game was close or “on the line” that NE chose to continue to run, definitely not at a pace we have seen when they presumably “morphed”. They were running fine in the first half and looked completely balanced, but it seem they got away from it later in the game and to me that cost them.

    It isn’t about Brady so much as the fact that Belichick’s schemes couldn’t get guys open, or, alternatively, KC could prevent them from doing so (Losing Amendola was seemed really significant, too.)

    I wasn’t blaming Brady for not being able to complete the underneath routes if that’s what you thought I meant. I sort of understand that KC took it away, but all teams try to take it away and very few are successful and no team that I can recall has been successful without a great performance from their front four.

    Amendola got hurt in this game? I must have missed that.

    I first read this as “great feel” as in great feel in the pocket, and I was going to strongly disagree. I don’t really think Smith is very good in the pocket.

    Yeah I agree, Smith tends to miss stuff and I think he doesn’t tend to “stand tall in the pocket” at times. I never know how much that has to do with his affinity to make errors or his unwillingness to take hits. He is known to check down a lot if his first option is taking away. However, I do think Smith is great at avoiding rushers. He’s quick and pretty elusive.

    My impression was mainly based on the assumption that KC wouldn’t be able to do much on offense.

    I didn’t get this feeling. KC had an unbelievable drive after the fourth down stop to tie the game. They may have had one three and out in the first half, but they seem to have been killing themselves with penalties, which seem to stall drives or put them in unfavorable down and distances.

  5. Reid

    I might even say 9 out of 10 times.

    Same here. But the Chiefs gave the Patriots a shellacking in 2014 (or was it 2015?). That’s the game where some reporter asked if Belichick was thinking of trading Brady. Belichick’s reaction was hilarious! (That’s the game where the OL was really messed up, but they eventually straightened things out, which is what I expect with the defense, etc.)

    I can’t recall a time when the game was close or “on the line” that NE chose to continue to run, definitely not at a pace we have seen when they presumably “morphed”.

    OK, I think I know what you’re saying. My response is that I think the Patriots come in with a game plan. For this game, I didn’t get the sense the plan was a run-heavy one, so if that’s the case, I don’t think they would switch things up dramatically, during the game. I’m not quite sure that if they tried to run more that it would have worked all that well. While they had success, I thought the type of offense they ran, and their overall game plan, those runs were more complementary–working well because of the success of the passing game.

    Also, I think it’s crucial to point out how well KC’s front four rushed Brady in the 4th. They started dominating and wrecking the Patriot drives. Prior to that, the pass rush seemed non-existent, even when they rushed four.

    I wasn’t blaming Brady for not being able to complete the underneath routes if that’s what you thought I meant. I sort of understand that KC took it away, but all teams try to take it away and very few are successful and no team that I can recall has been successful without a great performance from their front four.

    It sounded like you blamed him for throwing deep too often. If the defense is taking away the shorter passes, and leaving the longer ones open, it makes sense to go for the latter.

    Also, when you say Brady was “average” it sounds like you’re attributing this mainly to Brady himself. Brady’s production/stats may not have been good, but I see that more of a function of other things. If Brady’s had a lot of time and WRs got consistently open, I’d put more of the blame on him.

    Amendola got hurt in this game? I must have missed that.

    On a crossing route, he ran into–and got crushed by–Justin Houston. I think he’s in concussion protocol now.

    I never know how much that has to do with his affinity to make errors or his unwillingness to take hits. He is known to check down a lot if his first option is taking away. However, I do think Smith is great at avoiding rushers. He’s quick and pretty elusive.

    He is athletic and a better runner than people may think. He’s a serious threat to run the ball, and you can’t underestimate that.

    As for the happy feet, my guess is that he still struggles to read defenses, that he doesn’t see the field well. So when the pocket collapses he gets jumpy. That’s a total guess, though.

    I didn’t get this feeling. KC had an unbelievable drive after the fourth down stop to tie the game.

    The narrative that Smith and the offense wouldn’t be able to do much against NE was really strong. I saw the first half through that lens. It distorted my view of the game.

    By the way, KC had quite a bit of penalties, right? That’s pretty crazy when you think about how many points they put up.

  6. Don

    I didn’t get the sense the plan was a run-heavy one,

    Yeah it wasn’t all run, but I was sort of surprised how much they were running in the beginning.

    It sounded like you blamed him for throwing deep too often.

    It was the situation in which he was throwing deep that I was critical of. Even if that was what the defense was giving them (and it didn’t look like on the second throw because the safety was right there), I think it doesn’t make sense for them to score quickly. They needed at least some rest for their beaten defense and then score. I guess the Pats could have scored quickly and not gone for two, but that doesn’t really make sense either.

    By the way, KC had quite a bit of penalties, right? That’s pretty crazy when you think about how many points they put up.

    Yeah but their offense was just average especially when combined with the penalties. It just they had so many darn big plays. Half of their production could have been in like 4-5 plays.

    On a side note, I saw an article in which the hook was something like Reid (not the fool, the coach) won with college plays. Those college plays weren’t that effective. I mean it moved the ball, but I’m not sure they won because of them. Those inside passes to Kelce got like seven yards a pop, maybe?

  7. Reid

    Yeah it wasn’t all run, but I was sort of surprised how much they were running in the beginning.

    I guess I wasn’t surprised by how much they ran. (I should also say I was doing other things while watching the game, too.)

    It was the situation in which he was throwing deep that I was critical of.

    Right, and I was basically interpreting your response that way. Given what you said in the rest of the selection, I would assume that the coverage dictated the throws. Is that more likely, or that Brady just made a dumb decision? I side with the latter. I’d be surprised if Brady was impatient–tried to cut the lead with one “homerun,” not only because this is too rash, but for the reason you cited regarding the time in the game. Given these things, I’m assuming there’s a good reason he went deep on those plays and a good reason would be the coverage.

    Yeah but their offense was just average especially when combined with the penalties. It just they had so many darn big plays. Half of their production could have been in like 4-5 plays.

    Right, I agree, but you can’t ignore those explosive plays. I’m not saying that the offense was good–just that it’s kinda amazing they had success given the amount of turnovers committed. You could also say: “Hey, I’m surprised the Patriots gave up so many big plays.”

    (On another note, the Patriots did do a good job on special teams–at least in terms of coverage.)

    On a side note, I saw an article in which the hook was something like Reid (not the fool, the coach) won with college plays. Those college plays weren’t that effective. I mean it moved the ball, but I’m not sure they won because of them. Those inside passes to Kelce got like seven yards a pop, maybe?

    Yeah, I agree–those plays didn’t win the game. Ultimately, if you take away those explosive plays, the offense wouldn’t have scored a lot. But I thought those plays kept the Patriots off balance.

    Besides those explosive plays, the Patriots failing on their fourth down conversions (two or three attempts?) was really significant. Also, the fumble by Hunt was potentially significant.

  8. Reid

    Thoughts on Seahawks-Packers

    OK, the day has come, after speculating all offseason, I’ll finally get to see a real test for the OL. I’m not only interested in seeing how they handle a straight, four man pass rush, but more complex stunts, twists, and blitzes. They seem to have trouble with that. Also, I’m interested in their run-blocking, whether they can really reduce the amount of penetration. How consistent will the blocking be in both passing and running situations?

    On the defensive side, I’m really looking forward to see Sheldon Richardson’s impact. If he play as good as people say, I believe he could elevate the defense into a really good, if not great one. If he performs at a high level, I expect more long yardage situations for opposing offenses, which would lead me to expect more three and outs and turnovers.

    How good this defense is will also depend on the Seahawk offense–specifically, their ability to extend drives and eat up the clock. Also, whether the offense can have several games where they get a big lead. If they do this, the defense can produce some really terrific stats. If the Seahawk offense can score fairly well and chew up the clock (like the Cowboys), I’d say they’re winning the Super Bowl. (Well, they would be heavily favored, anyway.)

    Other areas of interest in other games

    Chargers, Bucs, Panthers, Falcons, Vikings, Ravens, Texans–many other teams–I’m interested in seeing how good they are, on both sides of the ball. I really don’t know. So, I’ll be watching with interest.

    Apropos of nothing, I’m not a big Jack Del Rio fan. My sense is he is a competent coach, but a excellent one. I also don’t care for his offense, and the team defense is horrid.

    I’m also not a big fan of Mike Mularkey. I will say again that I think they need a new DC. My dream is for Mike Shanahan to coach this team. I would also love if Shanahan coached the Raiders. (Wouldn’t mind if Kyle Shanahan was OC for either team. What can I say, I love their offense, and I think they’re both the best at developing a running game.)

  9. Mitchell

    This makes me wonder how many fired head coaches ever came back to coach the teams that fired them. Art Shell? Joe Gibbs? Was Gibbs fired the first time or did he just retire so he could race cars?

    Billy Martin and Bob Lemon, but I don’t think they count. Although really, why not?

  10. Reid

    I believe Gibbs wasn’t fired, just left to race cars.

    I feel like this happened several times in the NBA, but I’m not sure–Kevin Loughery, Bill Fitch, Hubie Brown, Bill Fitch–although maybe they didn’t get rehired by the same team. (I’m too lazy to look it up.)

    In the NFL it seems very rare.

  11. Mitchell

    Art Shell is the only one I can think of then. You think if the Raiders had no coach right now and Shanahan’s agent called them, they’d take him?

  12. Reid

    I have a feeling they wouldn’t take Shanahan. I believe they interviewed him after they moved on from Dennis Allen/Tony Sparano. Who knows? Maybe they liked Shanahan, but I got the vibe they didn’t. Actually, I got the vibe that a lot of people don’t like him. (I think Steve Young was lobbying hard for him after before and after Tomsula, though.)

    By the way, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think the Raiders will really be a run-oriented team this year, even with Marshawn; and that’s kind of a bummer. Also, I don’t see their defense improving much, which is also a bummer. I’m not that sure about many things for this upcoming season, but I’m pretty sure the Raiders won’t be good defensively. It kinda sucks.

  13. Reid

    Will have comments on the games later, but how was this hit by Beast Mode:

    Another angle:

    I think this might be better, more impressive than the iconic hit by Earl Campbell, especially when you consider compare who got run over.

  14. Don

    Raiders, Titans:
    I’m not sure why the Titans couldn’t score. Mariota did okay, the running game was okay (not great), and the Raider defense didn’t look overpowering. I figured the Raiders would score, although the Titans defense did better than I thought, but why couldn’t the Titans score? Are the Raiders defense better this year? Maybe… Side note: Adoree Jackson leaping over the kicker was crazy.

    Redskins, Eagles:
    Cousins seem to really miss his weapons from last year, and it made me wonder how he will do this year without Garcon and Jackson. The Eagles defense dominated. Wentz was all over the place at times, although I didn’t watch the entire game.

    Seahawks, Packers:
    The Seahawks o-linemen were getting killed in the first half. The problem is for the Seahawks is I don’t think the Packer’s defensive line is that good. I thought the Seahawk o-linemen did much better in the second half, but compared to the porous first half it couldn’t get any worse. The Seahawks looked really good on defense, but I wonder how good the Packer offense is. Based on this game, I didn’t get a better sense of how good either team will be long term, but as bad as the Seahawks played I think they might be the better team in January.

    Cowboys, Giants:
    Dallas didn’t have great pressure against Eli and the Giants still couldn’t do anything. As bad as the Giant’s run game is supposed to be, they should have tried to keep running (although they were not running great), because without Beckham the passing game was terrible. Dallas’ offense was okay. Zeke ran well and Dak was decent. I didn’t think Dak was great, but about equal to where he was last year. He’ll be better as I still think the Giant’s defense is top five if not top three.

  15. Reid

    Raiders-Titans

    I gotta go back and watch the game, but my question isn’t, “why didn’t the Titans score;” my question is, why did the Titans struggle over all. It’s not like the Titans moved the ball well, but just couldn’t put point on the board. I would be concerned if I were a Titans fan, because I don’t think the Raiders defense is that good, but hopefully I’m wrong about that.

    Re: Titans defense. I thought they picked off where they left off with bad tackling. YAC will kill this team. (My guess is that time devoted to LeBeau’s complex scheme takes away from practicing fundamentals of tackling.)

    Redskin-Eagles

    I agree that Cousins misses his weapons. Not only that, but the pass protection and running game didn’t look good. I don’t think this shows that Cousins is a bad QB. What it shows is that is that he’s the type of QB that needs a strong supporting cast to excel. (And this is actually true for most QBs, even the best. The difference is that the drop off is less with great QBs; and maybe QBs can perform better with lesser talent. But even great QBs have limits.)

    This may sound crazy, but Wentz’s ability to extend plays reminded me of Russell Wilson, not in a Tarkentonian way, though. The plays he did this on were huge.

    Eagles defense looked good.

    Seahawks-Packers

    Tired of the OL BS. Agree the Seahawk defense looked good. It was sick watching them play so many snaps. I saw that the Packers had the ball for 12 minutes in the 4th quarter. The Seahawk defense will be dead by the end of the season if this keeps up.

    I don’t know how good the Packer DL or defense is. How can you tell with this game? Last year, I thought their front seven was very good, although, by the end of the season, they seemed to decline a bit.

    I don’t think Seahawks will be the better team unless their OL plays better, especially against the better teams.

    Cowboys-Giants

    Giants reminded me of the Seahawks. I wasn’t paying close attention, but it seemed like the OL couldn’t do much. (I thought the Cowboys front four got decent pressure, considering they only rushed four.)

    One thing stood out: Cowboys going to a no huddle. Even though I don’t like the no-huddle, I kind of liked it because it will limit what defenses can do against Dak, maybe make it harder for them to exploit weaknesses. I thought Dak’s passing was a little rusty, specifically, his accuracy.

    Steelers-Browns

    Speaking of rust, Roethlisberger looked really off. Actually the entire Steeler team looked off. Seriously, if I had to do power rankings now, the Steelers will drop to the 3rd tier.

    Or are the Browns defense that good? If so, man, I would think they’ll be great once Garrett comes back.

    Browns offense didn’t look good. Kizer isn’t really impressive, but they still managed to keep the game close.

    Falcons-Bears

    Bears looked solid, and hung in there. Tarik Cohen looks like the next Darren Sproles.

    Glennon had a chance to win it at the end. Two drop passes really hurt (one should have been caught, the other was a tough ball to catch, but still could have been caught). Glennon got sacked on the last play.

    Cardinals-Lions

    Lions were impressive. If the Vikings are good, the NFC North (and the Bears are as solid as they seem), the NFC North has to be one of the best, if not the best, divisions.

    The Lions are building their team in the trenches. They have invested in their DL and OL. They might be my dark horse pick.

    I tend to think the Cardinals are good, but I’m not sure how good. The Cardinals front seven looked good, but it just seemed like the Lions OL blocked really well (at least in pass pro, not so much in the running game).

    Colts-Rams

    Not much to say, except Indy might be the worst team, at least with Luck (but I guess that’s not a surprise).

    On another note: I forgot to mention that Mike Lombardi seems to be really down on Goff. I’m not saying this as a knock on Lombardi. (I actually thought Goff looked bad last year.)

  16. Reid

    Joekel gets pushed aside like a rag doll. Russ still completes the pass.

    This is not atypical for Wilson. Playing under conditions like this, and still remain relatively productive and confident, are two reasons I think he’s so great. What’s frustrating is that he could be even more productive with a competent OL–but that might not happen.

    More from Baldy:

    I agree with him. Baldy opens by saying, “I know this is only one play.” The sad thing is, it’s not. Here’s what happened a one or two plays later in the same series:

    Here’s another…jail break!

    It’s unreal that Wilson not only avoided the sack, but completed the pass. (In this case, he might have been better off throwing an incompletion.) These plays won’t make the highlight reel, but they should in my opinion, especially if you saw how many of these plays Wilson has made over his career. Unbelievable.

  17. Don

    I don’t think Seahawks will be the better team unless their OL plays better, especially against the better teams.

    Their o-line didn’t look as bad in the second half. At least with the Seahawks, you can tell they have a strength (their defense), with the Packers I’m not quite sure. Although, Cobb looked much improved and moving around well.

    but it seemed like the OL couldn’t do much. (I thought the Cowboys front four got decent pressure, considering they only rushed four.)

    The Giant o-line did okay in pass protection. I’m not sure about on running plays though, but the Giants don’t really have a good running back. The Giant’s o-line definitely didn’t look like the Seahawk’s o-line in the first half. That was borderline ridiculous.

    Bears looked solid, and hung in there.

    How did the Falcons look, especially on defense? My impression from last year was the Falcon defense was fast, but could get run over.

    Lions were impressive.

    Their defense looked good too? I guess hard to tell with Palmer playing badly (from what I hear).

    Not much to say, except Indy might be the worst team,

    Dallas played Indy in their third preseason game (actually it was Dallas’ fourth because they were going to play five preseason games). In the third game, most times the starters play close to a half. Indy’s defense was horrible. I was thinking back then that they could have the worse defense in the entire league. I liked what I saw from Goff preseason, but I’m sure playing that Indy defense made him look much better than he is. Based on the preseason I saw, I think I would take Glennon (I know, what?) over Goff, but Goff has some weapons with Watkins and Cupp.

  18. Don

    Forgot to add the Le’veon Bell was out almost all of the preseason, so being rusty isn’t that surprising for him.

  19. Reid

    Their o-line didn’t look as bad in the second half. At least with the Seahawks, you can tell they have a strength (their defense), with the Packers I’m not quite sure. Although, Cobb looked much improved and moving around well.

    I gotta go back and watch the game, but I think you’re overstating the difference in first and second half performances. There was one drive that was solid by the Seahawks, and the OL looked solid during a hurry up situation.

    The Packers seem like a more balanced team. If the Seahawks offense plays like this, the DL is going to need to be deeper. Or the team needs to several blow outs where they can rest their defense. (They had blow outs in 2013.)

    The Giant o-line did okay in pass protection. I’m not sure about on running plays though, but the Giants don’t really have a good running back. The Giant’s o-line definitely didn’t look like the Seahawk’s o-line in the first half. That was borderline ridiculous.

    I agree the Giants OL didn’t look as bad as the Seahawk’s. The similarity was that the Giants defense had to stay on the field for so long because the Giant offense couldn’t stay on the field–just like the Seahawks.

    With the Giants, the problem may be the lack of Beckham and a good running back, just as much as a bad OL, though.

    How did the Falcons look, especially on defense? My impression from last year was the Falcon defense was fast, but could get run over.

    I think this is still the case, although my memory is hazy on this point. My takeaway here is that the Falcons defense doesn’t look like it has taken another step up. The Bears OL looked like they did fairly well, too.

    Their defense looked good too? I guess hard to tell with Palmer playing badly (from what I hear).

    Yeah, the defense looked solid. It wasn’t just Palmer–or I should say that there was pressure on Palmer (and that’s usually when Palmer does poorly).

    By the way, I heard David Johnson might be out for a while with a wrist injury. Even though this helps the Seahawks I still think this sucks.

    By the way, the Cardinals jumped to an early lead with a pick 6, and the Lions had to fight there way back into this, which was a good sign for them.

    I liked what I saw from Goff preseason,…

    Same here, but that was just based on the game against the Raiders (and the Raiders defense looked horrid in that game). So I was surprised to hear Lombardi and the guy Tate (something) mock Goff and the Rams.

    (Lombardi was super harsh on Doug Pederson, too. He said it’s nothing personal, but the way he went on and on about Pederson made me wonder. I have no strong feelings for Pederson either, way, but I didn’t really find Lombardi’s reasons for trashing Pederson compelling.)

    Forgot to add the Le’veon Bell was out almost all of the preseason, so being rusty isn’t that surprising for him.

    It wasn’t just him, though. It was the entire offense, though. The defense was unimpressive as well.

  20. Reid

    Some Seahawk fans are clamoring for Carroll to move away from his run-oriented offensive philosophy to a more spread-pass heavy offense. What do you guys think about that? I don’t think it’s a good move, and I would only advocate it if they really think the OL can’t function any other way. I believe they made this move last year, and I don’t think the results were good.

  21. Mitchell

    Man, it’s good to have football back. As something to think about, to talk about, to listen to others discuss, and to look at.

    The Raiders game was mostly fun to watch. I thought Carr and his receivers looked rusty, but they looked good at times as well. Carr threw an Aaron-Rodgers-like back-shoulder pass in the fourth quarter that was a thing of beauty. And maybe it was the camera angle, but that last TD he threw looked like a thread-the-needle pass.

    The running game obviously needs work, but I like the idea of having Lynch come in as an every-down back in the fourth quarter, and using him only sparingly in the first half. Can you imagine always having a fresh Lynch in the fourth quarter?

    I don’t know if this is characteristic of their usual game, but Crabtree and Cooper were great after the catch. Was that a function of bad Titans D, or is this the way the Raiders use them?

    I didn’t think Jared Cook was going to be much of an addition, but he could be a difference-maker, even if it’s just for a few targets per game.

    The Titans didn’t score much, but there were entire offensive series where it looked like the Raiders D was just standing around. It was a little like a bend-but-don’t-break kind of D, except it didn’t look intentional. It look bad and then it looked kind of lucky.

    The Raiders don’t look like they suck on D. If they’re just middle-of-the-road, that might be good enough.

    Nobody mentioned Giorgio Tavecchio, the story of the game if you ask me. Did you guys hear about his pro day when he was at Cal-Berkeley?

    Packers-Seahawks would have been kind of a boring game later in the season, but since it was the first game it was fun to watch. Yeah, that Seahawks D looks tough.

    I think the Packers will pull things together on both sides of the ball. I kinda liked the pieces.

    Cowboys-Giants. Man, Eli looked terrible but it was really the whole offense that was unpleasant to look at. This is a team that needs to run the ball. The Cowboys looked raw but more than competent. Elliott ran some really hard yards. I don’t think he had any seven-yarders, but he still pounded out 100 yards for the game.

    Jason Pierre-Paul looks like he’s back to the old JPP. That rush combined with that secondary looks like it should be unbeatable. I think I love the NY DBs.

  22. Don

    Reid,
    I’m going to guess if you watch the game again (although that would be torture), you are going to say Seattle’s o-line was still bad in the second half. That may be true, but in the first half I swear every third offensive play there was a jailbreak almost as soon as the ball was hiked, whereas I don’t really recall it happening in the second half. Maybe my eyes got used to it happening.

    I think in the short term going to a pass first oriented offense wouldn’t be a bad thing. Lacy looks terrible behind that offensive line. He’s just too slow, whereas Carson was serviceable. At the very least, Carson should be the starter. I do agree in the long term, it’s best to have a good running attack, especially playoff football.

    Mitchell,
    Yeah I’m not sure the Raiders do “suck on D”. I think the Titans may be a top five offense, and the Raiders sort of shut them down. I felt like the Titans moved the ball in stretches, but didn’t score. Reid seems to allude that the Titans couldn’t do much at all. Either way, the Raiders defense did a great job of neutralizing the Titan offense.

    I didn’t enjoy many of the games this week with maybe the exception of the Patriot, Chief game, but that’s only because the Patriots got humbled. I liked seeing a good Seattle D, and a pretty good Giants D, but otherwise most teams didn’t look great after Week 1. In fact I thought Dallas looked like one of the better teams, because even though they didn’t score a whole lot, they looked better against the Giants then the Packers did against the Seahawks.

  23. Reid

    Don,

    Maybe my eyes got used to it happening.

    The sad thing is that there is legitimacy to this, whether you meant this as a joke or not.

    I think in the short term going to a pass first oriented offense wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    The thing about a temporary move is that you delay and prevent the development of a more run-first approach. It’s like running the ball in a game–you’ve gotta be committed to the run, even when it’s not working initially. It’s hard to be good at running the ball without this commitment.

    But some Seahawk fans seem to want to switch permanently to that style. I oppose that style philosophically, but a bigger reason is that it would mess up the entire plan for the team. If you’re going to play that style, then you design your defense and ST and choose your personnel accordingly. The defense and ST and personnel is designed for a more run-oriented, ball-control offense. Switching that not only has consequences for the offense, but the entire team. Plus, it sends a bad signal to the team–that you’re philosophy doesn’t work or that you don’t know what you’re doing.

    I like a strong defense and running game, but I also like balance–which why I like Tom Coughlin. Carroll is more like the Ryan family, or other DC-to-HC guys. They must have a great defense, and they want to invest in ST as much as offense. It can lead to an unbalanced team (in terms of personnel and the performance).

    In 2013, the formula worked, but it’s failed in the last two years, the defense and ST can’t takeaway the ball and generate points. And the defense can’t get off the field quickly. So now the offense has a greater burden to extend drives, but they don’t have an OL that can do this (not against better teams).

    I lean towards Carson starting. I wouldn’t mind Rawls, but he gets hurt so much, I’m growing impatient with him. But it really doesn’t matter if the OL continues to play like they have been.

    … but otherwise most teams didn’t look great after Week 1

    I agree with this. I don’t get the sense there are any great teams out there, nor are there any great defenses. (Houston didn’t look like a great defense at all. Seattle’s is close, but they’re not good enough to win with the offense they have.)

  24. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Carr and the WRs and the running game looked liked this last year. Actually, I think with Lynch the running game looked a little better. It seems clear though that running the ball is more of an afterthought, something to keep defenses honest.

    …but I like the idea of having Lynch come in as an every-down back in the fourth quarter, and using him only sparingly in the first half. Can you imagine always having a fresh Lynch in the fourth quarter?

    In theory, this sounds great, but, in practice, my sense is that this rarely happens. Generally, if you’re good at running the ball at the end, you commit to running the ball all the time.

    I don’t know if this is characteristic of their usual game, but Crabtree and Cooper were great after the catch. Was that a function of bad Titans D, or is this the way the Raiders use them?

    I don’t know if Don agrees with me, but, from what I’ve seen of both teams, this is a function of the Titans d. They’re bad at tackling, particularly in the secondary. Again, my theory is that LeBeau’s complex system takes time away from emphasizing the fundamentals. (Carroll employs a less complex system and they spend more time on fundamentals like tackling.)

    The Raiders don’t look like they suck on D. If they’re just middle-of-the-road, that might be good enough.

    I agree, and if we can assume the Titans offense is solid, if not very good, this is a really good sign for the Raiders. (I was almost sure they wouldn’t be very good this season, but I’ll be happy to be wrong about this.)

    I do sort of feel like the Titans looked off, though.

    I didn’t think Jared Cook was going to be much of an addition, but he could be a difference-maker, even if it’s just for a few targets per game.

    I agree with everything you said, here. Cook would disappear in games, and when he was with the Rams he didn’t seem sure-handed, to me. But if those things have changed, he could make a huge impact.

  25. Reid

    Jaguars-Texans

    What stood out for me: How the Jaguars won the battle of the trenches, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. I was under the impression that the Jaguars OL wasn’t very good, but they looked pretty good against the Texan front seven.

    On the other side, either the Jaguars front four is great or the Texans’ OL is in trouble this season (and it may be a combination).The Texans OL looked better when Watson came in–where the Texans ran a lot of read-option formations.

    By the way, Savage doesn’t look bad. He seems really calm and poised and I think he throws a nice ball. I think he has potential, but he might need better supporting cast and a different coach perhaps.

  26. Reid

    Forget to comment on this:

    Nobody mentioned Giorgio Tavecchio, the story of the game if you ask me. Did you guys hear about his pro day when he was at Cal-Berkeley?

    I didn’t hear of this. What’s the story? “Al” Tavecchio did great though.

  27. Reid

    Chargers-Broncos

    Broncos dominated this game. Two turnovers in the fourth turned the tied, but give credit to the Chargers for capitalizing on this. Also, Engram and Bosa came alive with some big plays (with Bosa being quiet for most of the game). Still, it wasn’t enough. If you like close games, this was a good one.

    Denver’s D still looks formidable, but not quite back to the 2015 level.

    Saints-Vikings

    As a Seahawk fan, I envy watching the Vikings OL, which may have been great, but certainly functional, if not more than that. They had a terrible OL last year. If they can make this jump, why can’t the Seahawks? Still, the Saints defense didn’t look very good, so maybe this wasn’t real test. (Sam Bradford had some nice throws.)

    Vikings defense looked very good, out there.

  28. Mitchell

    For UC Berkeley’s pro day when Tavecchio was a senior, he was the last to go through his workout. And it started to rain before he took the field. I guess it rained a lot, because when he went out there, all the scouts had gone out to the parking lot already. Tavecchio went through his paces anyway, but the only people who saw him were a few encouraging teammates and a couple of coaches.

  29. Mitchell

    I’m not saying the Raiders shouldn’t commit to the run in the first three quarters. I’m saying it would be cool if the other backs could shoulder the load, so that Lynch could be fresh in the fourth quarter. If the Raiders go into the fourth quarter with a lead, Lynch would be like a closer. It would be great! And it might extend Lynch’s career.

  30. Don

    I taped the Vikings, Saints game and only saw a little bit (a little less than half). I kind of pooh-pooh the idea that the Vikings can be a contender, but I think they can. Yes it was just one game, but as Reid said they redid their entire offensive line and they looked decent, and with that defense and those offensive weapons they just might be good enough. Based on one week, I would pick them over the Packers.

    Two thoughts on the Saints, I thought they looked okay. I’m going to guess their defense will be improved, with their question mark being a decent pass rush. They have enough personnel on D that Te’o is really an afterthought. I also thought Brees looked good. He threw well and moved well. I know Reid is sort of down on Brees (getting old), but I watched Carr, Mariota, Wentz, and Dak this weekend and none of them look as good as Brees, imo. And Brees faced a tough defense and thus wasn’t super productive.

  31. Don

    Should Janikowski be released? I read a fan say traded, but no one will trade for him.

  32. Reid

    Mitchell,

    OK, got, and I agree with you.

    Don,

    I think Brees played well, and looked good. I’m curious to see how his arm holds out by the end of the season.

    As for the Vikings offense and Saints defense, did the Vikings offense look pretty good mainly because the Saints are bad? If so, the Vikings offense may struggle like last year. Or is the Vikings offense good, if not a little more than good? If so, then the Saints defense may not be so bad. If the Vikings offense isn’t that great, the Saints defense is probably in trouble.

    I tend to think the Vikings offense is improved, but not really that great–and looked better mainly because the Saints defense isn’t that good. But the Vikings are in a similar situation to the Seahawks. If the offense can run the ball and control the clock, they will have a chance to go deep into the playoffs. Based on what I saw, the running game (and Dalvin Cook) didn’t really stand out for me. (I had high expectations for Cook, though.)

    Not sure about what the Raiders should do about Seabass.

  33. Mitchell

    The Raiders should let Janikowski recover and give him back his spot. He can kick 52-yarders; we already know that.

    Brees can still throw the ball where he wants to. It’s why I picked the Saints to win the South.

    How was the announcing for the second MNF game? I’m not familiar with Beth Bowens, but a woman doing play-by-play for a prime time NFL game is a big deal, and I would have liked to hear Rex Ryan as the color guy.

    What did you guys think of Romo on Sunday night? He was definitely serviceable, but you can tell he and Nantz still don’t have their timing and chemistry down. Going to halftime, Nantz said something about it being a pretty fast first half. Romo didn’t know what to do with that. He stumbled a bit and then said, “Yes, it’s been great football!” Which was an okay response but clearly meaningless.

    There was one call early, when as the offense was getting set, Romo said, “I’ll bet five hundred dollars this is a run to the left.” It was; in fact it was almost a sweep, which you seldom see nowadays (it wasn’t actually a sweep but it was close). Nantz said, “What did you see there?” And Romo’s first answer was, “Twenty years playing this game.” He knew what he knew but he either was unable to explain it or he was unwilling. Both are unforgivable in a situation like that! If you’re going to predict a play, tell us why. Or what are you doing in the booth?

    Annoying. But Romo can definitely get better.

  34. Reid

    How was the announcing for the second MNF game? I’m not familiar with Beth Bowens, but a woman doing play-by-play for a prime time NFL game is a big deal, and I would have liked to hear Rex Ryan as the color guy.

    Bowens was OK, not great. Ryan wasn’t very good, but I feel like both need to be given time.

    I didn’t realize Romo called a game. Was that the Giants game? I do remember a comment like that, but it was in the Titans-Raiders game, where the color guy correctly predicted a corner blitz.

  35. Mitchell

    Romo is on the #1 team with Jim Nantz, so he called the Raiders-Titans game. Sorry; I said Sunday night but I meant Sunday morning, although now that I think about it I’m not even sure.

  36. Mitchell

    Peter King thinks Romo had a pretty good debut.

  37. Don

    Shoot I watched the Raider-Titan game and didn’t even realize it was Romo. I would take that as a good sign.

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