Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Morning Thoughts: NFL Week 2

Quarterbacks Wanted
The most prized possession and the most important player on the field, protecting the golden aura of the quarterback has been a key to success for any NFL franchise. The last thing a team wants is for the leader on the offensive side of the ball is for him to go down, and yet in week 2 we saw a handful of teams witness just that. Drew Brees went down for the Saints on what is believed to be a hurt rotator cuff, leaving New Orleans, who was already a struggling team to start off the season, scramble to hold the pieces together in their offense. Jay Cutler is out for at least a few weeks with no certain timetable after injuring his hamstring, although Jay must at least like being able to say that one Chicago's losses won't be his fault. Tony Romo joined Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick in missing serious time for the Cowboys with a broken clavicle, and is expected to miss about eight weeks.

 From injuries to poor performances, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien just cant grab a win after rotating quarterbacks, Tyrod Taylor continues to play well-enough to keep the starting job (for now) in Buffalo, and Cleveland is reportedly undecided for who will take over the reigns as QB for the Browns, Manziel or McCown. One thing is for certain, if you want to win, protect the golden boy.

Seattle, Indy, Philly Eyeing Panic Button 
It's just so easy to press that big, bright red "only push in emergency" panic button, as the Seahawks, Colts and Eagles all stare a 0-2 record in the face going into week three. The good news is, there's still 14 games of football to be played and plenty of time to turn the ship around. The bad news is, it's much easier said than done.

Up in Seattle, the Seahawks must have forgotten Jimmy Graham now plays for them, totaling a whopping 7 catches/62 yards/1 touchdown in the first two games combined. The offense just can't seem to get churning at times, Marshawn Lynch's mom isn't happy with the play-calling, and the presence of Kam Chancellor is obviously missed on defense as Kam continues to hold out for a new deal. Three words for Seahawks front office: PAY THE MAN!

 In Indianapolis, Andrew Luck, with all the talent around him on offense, has struggled, to say the least, in his first two games this year. However the offense (not able to put more than 14 points up thus far) isn't solely to blame, with the defense giving up an average of 23.5 points per game to offenses led by Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick (No disrespect to Taylor/Fitzpatrick). A highly potent offense on paper paired with a not-great defense? Seems familiar... (See: Peyton Manning Era in Indianapolis).

Switching to the land where Chip Kelly rules all, the Eagles are soaring lower than anticipated by believers and with a tough fan base in Philly, won't be tolerated for long. The play of Demarco Murray screams "Product of Dallas O-line!", Kiko Alonso has a slightly torn ACL, and the team as a whole seems to be in a state of shock. The mad scientist known as Chip Kelly has finally seen his experiment on the field, and for obvious reasons, he cant be too happy with the results. Words of advice Chip: the game of football isn't played on paper.

The Revenge Tour Continues For Brady, Pats
Funny how life works, doesn't it? In perhaps the greatest case of football karma in New England, the Patriots have awoken and risen to completely decimate any challenge in the way. Don't let the one possession game wins deceive you, this New England team has out-played both Pittsburgh and Buffalo by a mile. Tom Brady looks the part of MVP super early into the race, throwing for 754 yards and 7 touchdowns in the first two weeks alone. Admittedly so, this writer isn't the biggest fan of the Patriots, but credit is due to where it is earned. Again, it appears that a baseball bat has been taken to a hornets nest, this time by Commissioner Goodell. Two weeks into the season, and for now, New England laughs at the myth of a "Super Bowl hangover".

New Extra-Points Offer New Strategy
Gone are the days where an extra point is considered a "gimme", with the new rule of moving it back to 33 yards per attempt after scoring a touchdown. Although common probability statistic analysis would suggest that the number of PAT's missed would go up, surely nobody expected the volume of missed kicks. Already this year, we've witnessed nine PAT's missed, already matching the 2014 total of eight. Simply put, teams will now entertain the thought of trying for two points more seriously now. Take into example Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, who after seeing kicker Josh Scobee push a couple kicks wide in week one, opted to attempt the two point try twice in his 43-18 rout of San Francisco. (It should also be noted that Scobee, again, missed an extra point on Sunday.) This new rule isn't revolutionary when compared to the forward pass or any other advancement, yet the strategy of extra points will now be more challenging, and thus, more entertaining.

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