Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wednesday Morning Thoughts: NFL Week Three

Carson Wentz: Savior of the Cheese-steak 
If you didn't know any better, you'd thought the second coming of Jesus is the rookie quarterback in the city of brotherly love. Yet the love Carson Wentz has received after leading the Eagles to their ninth ever 3-0 start in team history is far more than brotherly, it's divine-like.

How much love? Well, Eagles faithful, dare they say, would go as far as to call it Super. Indeed, an impressive rookie debut for Wentz already has Philadelphia convinced of it's Super Bowl caliber team, especially after a 34-3 thumping given to Pittsburgh on Sunday evening. Holy defenders of the green and white will cling to the cliche "A win is a win" and will happily assist you to look no further than the win/loss column. Of course they will, there hasn't been this much buzz around the franchise since the 2011 "Dream Team" (Yes, we're still laughing over this).

There is no doubting the success of Carson Wentz so far, and how impressive the young man has looked in many areas of his game. Surely the Los Angeles Rams are peeking over the fence and starting to wonder with their own Jared Goff, taken before Wentz. However, similar to everything else in the National Football League, he will be figured out. Defensive coordinators love playing against rookie quarterbacks almost as much as they love studying the tape on them. Game film does not lie, and as the weeks continue to come, so does the tape. Not to say Wentz will be completely shut down or turn to a putrid gun-slinger, but if it's too good to be true in the NFL, it usually is.

For now, the hype around Wentz should and will continue to grow. He's an exciting young quarterback trying to lead a team in a division title, and hopefully more. Be wary though, young padawan, because in any game, things can turn ugly in the blink of an eye.

Back again, Mr. Watt?
News broke on Tuesday night of Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt re-injuring his back, forcing the Texans to place the reigning Defensive Player of the Year on Injured Reserve. Watt will miss his a game for the first time in his six year career when Houston plays host to Tennessee on Sunday. Although eligible to return in eight weeks, a source close to the Texans told ESPN "It doesn't look good", giving little hope to a potential return. With Houston sitting on a 2-1 record, and their best defensive player out for extended time, many question if this team is able to hold up.

That's right, everything is bigger in Texas, including the pressure for Brock Osweiler.

The coming weeks will be "put up or shut up" weeks for Osweiler and the Texans organization. Simply put, we'll see if Brock is worth every penny of his $72 million dollar contract. The true mark of a quarterback does not boil down to just leading an offense, but leading an entire team.

Jadeveon Clowney will also see his fair share of responsibility shouldered, as the former number one overall pick is finally healthy, with all eyes are fixated on Jadeveon to produce.

How will Houston respond? Surely losing arguably the best player in the league will take a toll. However, anybody in Texas who doesn't attend the church of Jerry Jones still has faith in their Texans to pull through. In a few weeks time (hindsight is fantastic in analysis), we'll see the true colors of this Houston team. For now, things aren't going to plan, and the recent news of J.J. Watt has everybody saying: Houston, we have a problem.

No Star-Gazing Just Yet
Through three weeks of professional football, these are your top three leading rushers: LeGarrette Blount, Isaiah Crowell, Ezekiel Elliot.

Through three weeks of professional football, not preseason, these are your top three leading receivers: Marvin Jones, Stefon Diggs, Jarvis Landry.

Okay class, put your hand up if you had any of these players in your top three of the respective categories.

Put your hands down, you liars.

O Julio, Julio, wherefore art thou Julio?- Any Fantasy Football player
By this stage in the season, we had all pinned Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr to be well on their way to record breaking seasons. As of September 28th, only Antonio has somewhat held his end of the bargain up, and I mean somewhat.

By now, we figured Todd Gurley would continue his string of dominance. Fast forward to the present, where we're all scratching our heads and wondering if we did anything wrong to deserve this cruel, unjust and flat out unordinary punishment of non-productivity.

This begs the question: Why? Why is this happening? But to dive deeper, one must ask "how?".

Conspiracy theorists will attribute this early season phenomena to a sign of down year for these players. That's the only possible explanation to them. Fantasy football freaks will tell you that it's absolute horse-radish, and some other stuff my readers can't see.

In reality, there really is no solidified answer. Educated guesses point to a nagging injury and rise of a rushing attack in Atlanta for Julio Jones' case. Some will say Antonio Brown is paying the price for the absence of Martavis Bryant by facing double coverage on nearly every play. Others will point to Odell Beckham Jr being flat out-shined by Sterling Shepard. Rumor has it, Todd Gurley is suffering from box-stuffed defenses and a non existent aerial attack.

Whatever the case may be, the stars are certainly not shining in the sky of football thus far. We're only approaching the beginning of week four, which means we're in prime position to overreact. It's highly doubtful that Marvin Jones will end up as the league's leader in reception yards, or LeGarrette Blount will still claim his spot atop the list of leading rushers. Surely these studs will come around, so don't put that tin foil hat on quite yet.

Number of the Week: 5
At least one team that has started 3-0 has missed the playoffs for five years running now, and also represents the five undefeated teams left in the NFL.

Baltimore, Denver, New England, Minnesota and Philadelphia: No pressure guys.

Quote of the Week: 

"In 5 to 10 U will be retiring and they will be taking my measurements for something you will never be #HOFER"- Ravens WR and savage Steve Smith, who responded to "Old man" comments from rookie defensive back Jalen Ramsey following their game on Sunday.

Tweet of the Week: 

" Prepare for a 3 month long Twitter beef between Odell Beckham and the field goal practice net he lost a fight with."- @MikeTanier

Donnie Druin is an award-winning writer from the Arizona Newspaper Association. Follow him on Twitter @DonnieDruin for updates and opinions on everything in the world of football, or just to yell at him for his terrible word play, puns and dad jokes. 

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