By Christopher Reina
• The Ted Thompson - Green Bay Packers
“It's amazing: two of the "bad" things from last week's post end up in the good section this week. Clay Matthews was a monster, throwing J'Marcus Webb and Jay Cutler around like the cow in Twister on his way to 3.5 sacks. The rest of the front seven finally got in the act, adding 3.5 of their own. Then the pressure got in Cutler's head, forcing four interceptions, some of which were terrible throws and others which were nice plays by the defensive backs. After a dismal performance last week, seeing the defense step up in the passing game was a welcome sight.”
(via Evan ‘Tex’ Western/Acme Packing Company)
• The Phil Emery - Chicago Bears
“Regardless of your personal feelings on that "pouty" "whiny" "crybaby" "quitter" (okay, far more words were used, but these are the only ones I can really put on the front page) Jay Cutler, the offense made a significant investment to not only improve the offense, but to change the entire complexion of the offense - from one that mostly plods along behind Matt Forte rushes, Matt Forte screens, Matt Forte on the flat, and Matt Forte on a wheel route (and maybe the occasional 15-yarder to Johnny Knox or 12-yarder to Earl Bennett) to one powered by big pass plays, as evidenced by their nine 20+ yard offensive plays against Indianapolis.
“But in order for those big pass plays to get off the ground, there either needs to be time available through blocking or time created through misdirection, of which on Thursday the Bears had neither and on Sunday they had aplenty. The Bears spent both opening plays of each game with a play-action pass attempt, each of which resulted in a sack. That can't continue this season.”
(via Steven Schweickert/Windy City Gridiron)
• The Martin Mayhew - Detroit Lions
“Detroit switched offensively from a pass-first team to a running squad, carrying the ball 26 times for 82 yards against San Francisco. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford's longest completion prior to the fourth quarter was a 24-yarder to receiver Calvin Johnson. Stafford hit running back Joique Bell on a 50-yard completion late in the final quarter.
“Last season, Detroit failed to beat an NFC playoff team, and did not have better luck against San Francisco on Sunday.”
(via Anwar S. Richardson/MLive)
• The Rick Spielman - Minnesota Vikings
“For the second consecutive week, quarterback Christian Ponder revived the Vikings' chances with an aggressive fourth quarter. Sunday, he threw two touchdown passes in less than five minutes of the fourth quarter to erase a 20-6 deficit. Granted, his seven-yard scoring pass to Stephen Burton was tipped twice before caught. But through two games, Ponder has demonstrated encouraging efficiency in pressure situations.”
(via Kevin Seifert/ESPN)
• The Jerry Jones - Dallas Cowboys
“Dez Bryant struggled catching passes in the second half of games last season. On Sunday at Seattle, Bryant didn’t catch a pass in the first half.
“Tony Romo targeted Bryant four times in the first half and he didn’t make one catch. He dropped a pass in the first quarter.
“Bryant finished with three catches for 17 yards, all in the third quarter. After his first catch early in the third quarter, he fumbled the ball. Right tackle Doug Free was able to make the recovery to keep the Cowboys’ drive alive.
““There were plays I should have made and I didn’t,” Bryant said. “You just got to move on from it.”
“Bryant went almost 53 consecutive game minutes without making a catch from the end of the Giants’ game to the third quarter against the Seahawks.
(via Brandon George/Dallas Morning News)
• The Jerry Reese - New York Giants
“So, this is why the Giants kept Andre Brown around for the past couple of years. And why they cut D.J. Ware at the end of the preseason. With Ahmad Bradshaw sidelined by a neck injury and the Giants not trusting rookie David Wilson for more than spot duty (during which he dropped a pass) Brown had the best day of his NFL career. He carried 13 times for 71 yards, a lot of that coming on hard, impressive running right up the middle.”
(via Ed Valentine/Big Blue View)
• The Howie Roseman - Philadelphia Eagles
“The stat sheet will tell you Michael Vick threw another 2 picks in this game, but that belies how he actually played. Only one of the picks was his fault and overall he looked a lot more like the QB we expected to see coming into this season. He was 23-32 for 371 yards and 2 TDs (one rushing, one passing) and overall looked much more in control. There were a few nervy moments and maybe a near pick to Ray Lewis, but Vick clearly saw the field better and looked a lot more comfortable despite the fact he was under decent pressure all day and hit far too often.
“As we've heard time and time again though, QBs are really judged in the clutch and Michael Vick has delivered in a big way for the second straight week. And this wasn't against the Browns either, this was the Ravens, a legit Super Bowl contender and one of the best defenses in the NFL.”
(via JasonB/Bleeding Green Nation)
• The Bruce Allen - Washington Redskins
“Our defense is every bit the unit that caused us all to worry this summer. Scoring 30 points per game on offense is not going to be enough to put us in the 'W' column most weeks because it seems we will be giving up that much on defense. You have to give Sam Bradford his due, and I think you have to respect the way Danny Amendola bounced back from his early mistake to literally impregnate our defense. In nine months, we will likely be introduced to an infant that has Jim Haslett's eyes and Amendola's facial hair. If our defensive plan is to put Perry Riley on the slot guy in the flat, this season is going to be VERY LONG.”
(via Ken Meringolo/Hogs Haven)
• The Trent Baalke - San Francisco 49ers
“In the final offensive scoring drive, Michael Crabtree was the key player as he showed why his combination of hands, athleticism, awareness and vision had so many people excited about him coming out of Michael Crabtree. Crabtree may not have the size of a Calvin Johnson or the speed of an in-his-prime Randy Moss, but he would appear to have elite level awareness at this point in his career. It is a receiver's job to know where the yard markers are, but we've seen more instances than we can count where a 49ers receiver has come up short because they simply got in position a yard short of the first down marker.”
(via David Fucillo/Niners Nation)
• The John Schneider - Seattle Seahawks
“In Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, the Seahawks have two of the biggest, tallest and most physical corners in the game..
“The Seattle defense beat up Austin and Bryant and Ogletree, and other than Austin's second-quarter touchdown catch, the passing game couldn't get anything going. I often say on here that Bryant is a physical mismatch for any defensive back who tries to cover him. In Seattle, he may have found the exceptions.”
(via Dan Graziano/ESPN)
• The Rod Graves - Arizona Cardinals
“In all facets of the game, our team was clicking and executing the game plan. On defense, we were able to get to Brady and sack him using only the base four pass rushers; Horton knew how effective Brady was against the blitz and made sure to rarely dial up any blitzes, while still creating pressure with his schemes. On offense, we were able to keep Brady off the field with long methodical drives, especially early on in the game, and keep the time of possession fairly close. Finally, on special teams we were able to win the battle of field position, block a very important punt in the Patriots end zone, and disrupt the protection on the Patriot's potential game winning field goal attempt. All in all, it was an excellent team game, top to bottom.”
(via Revenge of the Birds)
• The Les Snead - St. Louis Rams
“The one thing that worked best was the way Brian Schottenheimer's play-calling provided a fascinating reminder to anyone with a short attention span just how darned talented Sam Bradford still is. He may have been the young gun with the golden arm who entered the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday afternoon with his name and his reputation relegated to the depths of the credit lines of this highly touted showdown of two of the NFL's most promising young quarterback talents, yet ultimately he emerged with top billing.
“Sunday afternoon's Duel in the Dome against the Redskins' prized rookie phenom Robert Griffin III went to Bradford on all cards. Bradford threw for more yards than RGIII (310 to 206), completed more passes (26 of 35 to Griffin's 20 of 29), had more touchdowns (three to one), had a better completion percentage (74.2 to 68.9) and a better pass efficiency rating (117.6 to 86.3). And oh yes, he topped RGIII in the most significant category of all, which was playing a significant role in leading the Rams to their first victory of the young season.”
(via Bryan Burwell/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• The Thomas Dimitroff - Atlanta Falcons
“It's not just the speed of those offensive assets that makes the Falcons so effective, it's the speed at which Atlanta operates. I usually like to watch a team for four games before I make an evaluation on an offense. I think it takes that long before you can get a broad template of what teams are trying to do. But Week 1 in Kansas City painted a pretty clear picture of what the Falcons want to do with the ball -- strike hard, and fast. And opposing defenses better have the oxygen tanks ready on the sideline.
“The no-huddle offense is nothing new for the Falcons, but in Week 1 Ryan really took it up a notch.”
(via Ron Jaworski/ESPN)
• The Marty Hurney - Carolina Panthers
“Brandon LaFell is one of the more subtlety maligned players on the Carolina Panthers. It's not that fans think he's bad, it's just that any compliments he gets are normally veiled in backhanded slights, and labored justifications on why he isn't as good as he looks. On Sunday he finished with six receptions, for 90 yards, and looked every bit like a receiver who has taken another step since last season. From year one to year two LaFell improved his hands, now in this next step he's becoming a complete receiver. His footwork is better, his route running is improved, and he has better awareness.”
(via James Dator/Cat Scratch Reader)
• The Mickey Loomis - New Orleans Saints
“Drew Brees did his best to carry the team, but once again, he tried to do too much. He completed 31 of his 49 pass attempts for 325 yards. He had a touchdown pass on the Saints first drive, but that was it. A horrible pick six was thrown on the team's second drive, and another interception came late when the Saints tried to come from behind.”
(via Travis Dauro/Canal Street Chronicles)
• The Mark Dominik - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“The talk should cease immediately - Aquib Talib is not a Pro Bowl corner. That much became evident on this day when he was abused by Nicks, surrendering 10 receptions for 199 yds and a touchdown. We should no longer kid ourselves that he is anywhere near an upper echelon cornerback in this league. Talib is average and against a player like Nicks, average gets you beat.”
(via Bucs Nation)
• The Bill Belichick - New England Patriots
“The hallmark of Bill Belichick teams when they are playing their most efficient is two things: They don’t lose the game, they make you win it; and they capitalize on your mistakes. Yesterday they did neither.
“On a day that was perfect for football, the Arizona Cardinals played imperfectly but the Patriots played worse. One could argue nobody really won yesterday, the Patriots simply lost more effectively than the Cardinals, dropping a regular-season home opener for the first time since 2001 because they couldn’t protect their punter, couldn’t protect their quarterback, couldn’t run efficiently when it was most needed, couldn’t catch a two-point conversion, couldn’t follow the rules at the most critical juncture, and couldn’t make a 42-yard field goal to win as time expired.
“For once the vastly overused phrase “all three phases of the game” applied, although frankly this loss had few defensive fingerprints on it. But if you exonerate the defense and throw in curious offensive play-calling you’d have three failed phases, so there you go.”
(via Ron Borges/Boston Herald)
• The Mike Tannenbaum - New York Jets
“Most troubling, the Jets’ defense, the foundation upon which this season will be built, could not get the Steelers off the field when they had to. The Steelers converted on 8 of 15 third-down attempts, and Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns, helping them dominate the time of possession by 14 minutes. That is a deficit that the Jets’ offense is simply not explosive enough to make up for.”
(via Judy Battista/New York Times)
• The Buddy Nix - Buffalo Bills
“Well, I'm finally seeing what Buddy Nix had in mind when he handed C.J. Spiller's name to the commissioner in April 2010. Two weeks into his third pro season, Spiller is showing the full array of talents that infatuated Buffalo's personnel men when he was running rings around college defenders at Clemson.
“Spiller showed glimpses late last season when he filled in for Fred Jackson. But what he's done in the first two weeks of this season has grabbed the attention of football fans all over the nation, who have to be wondering if they're seeing the arrival of the game's next great back. Yes, a budding star.”
(via Jerry Sullivan/The Buffalo News)
• The Jeff Ireland - Miami Dolphins
“Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill shined together in Miami's 35-13 trouncing of the Oakland Raiders. Bush ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Tannehill threw for 200 yards, two touchdowns (one running, one passing) and had a career-best 91.0 passer rating. They embody the biggest hopes of what the Dolphins can be -- this year and in the future.
“Miami is a rebuilding organization. But these are the games the Dolphins must win to begin turning their franchise around.”
(via James Walker/ESPN)
• The Kevin Colbret - Pittsburgh Steelers
“Ben Roethlisberger was masterful in whatever anyone would like to call that offense. Not taking anything away from Todd Haley's game-plan, which scored on five of the team's nine drives, but third downs were owned by Roethlisberger.
“And Haley took the leash off his stud quarterback, throwing the ball 31 times compared to 28 runs, that percentage leans more toward the pass, and with each passing game, that proportion seems more in line with a winning formula than the other way around.
(via Neal Coolong/Behind The Steel Curtain)
• The Ozzie Newsome - Baltimore Ravens
“I am one of the biggest Joe Flacco fans around, but he had a bad game. He missed guys, he forced a couple of throws, one of which was a momentum changing interception. He just seemed out of rhythm. He had some pressure, but not insurmountable. The O-line is what it is this season. Not great, but young and athletic. But again, the O-line, so far has not been horrid. Except for Birk. He spent more time on his back than…, well you get the gist…
“And not all Joe’s fault. The receivers had occasional moments of brilliance, but for the most part they were not creating separation.”
(via Baltimore Beat Down)
• The Mike Brown - Cincinnati Bengals
“The Bengals came into the season seeking a Robin for A.J. Green’s Batman. Andrew Hawkins was not in that picture. Maybe he still isn’t. But you can bet that if Hawkins were not front and center in every game plan on Sunday morning, he was by Sunday night. Guys like that, you just have to get them the ball.”
(via Paul Daugherty/Cincinnati Enquirer)
• The Tom Heckert - Cleveland Browns
“In the season-opening loss against the Eagles, the Browns defense played well enough to win and the offense flopped. In the Week 2 loss at Cincinnati, Cleveland's offense broke out with rookies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden while the defense and special teams faltered.
“Unlike last season, the Browns have already shown potential on both sides of the ball. The challenge for Cleveland is to put together a complete game.”
(via Jamison Hensley/ESPN)
• The Rick Smith - Houston Texans
“The Texans’ one-two punch worked exactly as advertised. The Texans showed their run blocking was sure and that they have one of the best backfields in the NFL.
““I see him break a run and I’m chomping at the bit and thinking I could outdo that,” running back Ben Tate said of Arian Foster. “Then I go out there and break one and then he’s out there (thinking) ‘I could outdo that.’ So it’s a good, friendly competition out there and also helps this team go. So I think it’s very important for both of us.””
(via Tania Gangull/Houston Chronicle)
• The Ryan Grigson - Indianapolis Colts
“Bruce Arians was calling the plays not to lose instead of calling the plays to win, and when coaches do that, they lose most of the time. At least, they deserve to.
“But Bruce Arians has this quarterback who is pretty good. I don't know if you've heard about him, but his name is Andrew Luck. And Arians got really lucky that he had Luck as his quarterback today (sorry, couldn't resist), because if the Colts had lost today, Arians would be taking a lot of heat for his conservative coaching.”
(via Josh Wilson/Stampede Blue)
• The Gene Smith - Jacksonville Jaguars
“The Jaguars offense on Sunday was a dumpster fire and there's not much more I can use to describe it. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was off much of the day, the offensive line struggled to hold their blocks against the Houston Texans front, and the Jaguars wide receivers struggled to catch the football and get open.”
(via Alfie Crow/Big Cat Country)
• The Ruston Webster - Tennessee Titans
“Coming off the bench last season, quarterback Jake Locker managed to avoid costly mistakes.
“As an NFL starter for the first time, however, the second-year pro made two critical mistakes in the season opener against the Patriots, losing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and throwing an interception.
“He made another one against the Chargers, as his first pass of the game was intercepted by safety Eric Weddle. Six plays later the Chargers took a 14-0 lead, putting the Titans in catch-up mode.”
(via Jim Wyatt/Tennessean)
• The Reggie McKenzie - Oakland Raiders
“There is a laundry list of problems for the 0-2 Raiders, and second on the list is probably the tackling. (Running game No. 1. Lack of any defensive playmakers is also high on the list.)
“Oakland made Reggie Bush look like Barry Sanders on Sunday, and couldn’t stop a Miami offense with a rookie quarterback making his second start, an undersized running back and no front-line receivers.”
(via Vic Tafur/San Francisco Chronicle)
• The John Elway - Denver Broncos
“Our defense has the potential to be elite. Forget the garbage 3rd and longs Big Ben converted for a sec. We saw the ability to pressure with the front 4, the ability to stop the run with the front 7, and the ability to blanket receivers from our secondary. All we need now are less mis-communications, more discipline on the edge, and more comfort with JDR and his new defense working together.”
(via Mile High Report)
• The Scott Pioli - Kansas City Chiefs
“When it was time for the Chiefs to pick a new head coach after the 2011 season, I was one of the few who went against the grain in suggesting that Crennel was not the best choice. In addition to the fact that he had been unsuccessful in the top job before, many of the things that doomed Todd Haley’s tenure in KC – namely blowout losses – were failures on Crennel’s part as well. Getting torched for lopsided losses is as much the defensive coordinator’s fault as it is the head coach’s. Crennel has now presided as DC over two seasons of disgustingly poor defensive play in the opening games.
“Although he engineered big wins in the last three games of the season, not much else stands out in his resume other than the fact that he is from the New England system and the players seem to like him.”
(via Nicholas Alan Clayton/Arrowhead Addict)
• The A.J. Smith - San Diego Chargers
“Philip Rivers read Tennessee's defense like it was a kindergarten book. He looked off defenders and tossed the ball to running backs, tight ends and recievers. In the first half alone, eight Chargers caught passes, helping to build a 17-3 lead.”
(via Tom Krasovic/San Diego Union-Tribune)
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