NFL Week 2 Spotlight & Notes

It was great to see some younger guys step up under the lights, in different type of scenarios.

There was also a quarterback competition going on in Indianapolis. Last year, as rookies, Andrew Luck got the best of Ryan Tannehilll and the Dolphins. This time around, they squared off and Tannehill took care of the football to secure the victory. Both signal callers have displayed more positives than negatives in their short careers, but you get the feeling they are the real deal. They don’t possess that speed you see with some of the other young quarterbacks, but they have better mobility than you think. Well this past Sunday the duel was on and somebody had to win, so Miami took it on the road for a 2-0 start in large part to their leader. His sidekick, rookie running back Lamar Miller, is looking more than solid through 2 games.

You probably saw the game-winning touchdown by Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins to beat the Titans in overtime. He made a big catch & run play before that, and Houston went right back to him for the win. That was without standout receiver Andre Johnson, who was sidelined because of a concussion. Secondly, he was lined up against the top cornerback for the Titans, Jason McCourty, one of the better players at the position in the NFL. If you watched Houston play before, you know they are predominantly, a running football team, so it’s a big deal that they threw from the 3-yard-line rather than hand it off to Arian Foster or Ben Tate. The message was clear, the team agrees with Jonson’s statement that Hopkins “will be better than I am one day.”

Also at the helm, Russell Wilson still has room to improvement as most players do, but as of right now you have to admire his poise and production. I was skeptical about his ability to keep playing at a high level, and doing so against San Francisco yet again is impressive to say the least. His counterpart last Sunday, Colin Kaepernick, he probably won’t shave his eyebrows in defeat but he has nothing to hang his had about. Seattle has the best defense in the league in my eyes and, that is not easy task for any quarterback to go against. Kaepernick is raw but good, and he will bounce back and have a good season.

I really thought Cam Newton was going to come out of Buffalo with a win. He didn’t, and it was rookie QB E.J. Manuel that signaled a comeback win on the final drive. They came up slightly short in week 1 against the Patriots, and responded by edging out the Panthers. Surrounded by a formidable trio of C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, and Stevie Johnson, he put the ball in good spots for them and rebounded off an interception in the 4th quarter. Fellow rookie Robert Woods is coming into his own and new coach Doug Marrone’s offense as well. This offense could be pretty good, if not in the second half of the year, then perhaps by next season as the youth grows together.

Alright, away from the glamorous position.

The Rams lost in week to at Atlanta, and that wasn’t to a fault to their receivers. Chris Givens and Tavon Austin took advantage of the Falcons defense, although they appeared focused on stopping tight end Jared Cook after his big week 1. St. Louis was down early, and if they started their comeback earlier they might be 2-0. A lot of teams can say this and that so that’s no excuse, but perhaps knowing that they can air the ball out will help the questionable play-calling.

The guy who stole the show was on the other team however. Julio Jones erupted in front of the home crowd, racking 11 catches for 182 yards for the Falcons. He scored on a 81-yard catch and run in the first quarter, which means he added another triple digits against some feisty cornerbacks.

Then you have a player like Eddie Royal, who was viewed as a playmaker that couldn’t stay healthy. It happens, the NFL is no joke and it takes a lot to be in shape and prevent injuries, let alone make an impact on the field. Royal joined the Chargers a couple seasons ago, and has reunited with new head coach Mike McCoy and it shows. Royal had some good days as a slot receiver in Denver, and through 2 games he leads the league with 5 touchdowns.

Martellus Bennett may be in the best situation he’s ever been in with the Bears. It’s one thing to have stars on your team, like he was surrounded by in Dallas and New York, but entirely different when he’s actually making an impact. Bennett is trying to shrug off the injury bug and is destined for a career year, providing Chicago with a tight end they haven’t had in awhile. QB Jay Cutler likes throwing to bigger targets and so far, this has been a good match.

Ravens receiver Marlon Brown has been a nice surprise, and while Ray Rice is down they need the same from running back Bernard Pierce, who is coming off a decent game after filling in on the fly.

Dallas might not be using running back DeMarco Murray how you want them to, or even coach Jason Garrett for that matter, but I think it’s best they keep his load as is. Just keep Lance Dunbar involved to keep Murray healthy. I’d rather have a healthy DeMarco Murray on the field than an overworked and injured. Realize that Dallas has a shaky o-line and I know Dunbar fumbled against the Chiefs, but he looks like he’s capable of spelling and helping that offense.

Another veteran reaping early success is at the helm for the 2-0 Chiefs, Alex Smith. San Francisco should have no reservations about the decision, they had two quarterbacks that could win. Neither should the Eagles about Andy Reid, it was time for everyone to move on.

How about that Terrelle Pryor guy at 1-1, just win baby! When they picked him up last off-season, I knew he would be starting this year and he is. I see him as their starter for at least a few years, he’s a good ball player.

Andre Ellington is the third down back for Bruce Arians and the Cardinals. Coach Arians just stated that he believes Ellington can carry the load, this is after a limited but productive week 2 for him. He is currently behind Rashard Mendenhall, who has a history for injuries, so he may get an opportunity or two to show what he’s got.

I just want to take this moment to appreciate Giants receiver Victor Cruz. He really is elite, and better than most players that are hyped at his position. Speaking of wide receivers, Demaryius Thomas and A.J. Green are on that level as well, these guys shred defenses after the catch.

Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman are completely shutting down anyone they line up against. They are the best in the game.

When’s the last time you saw a two-way player making an impact? Shoot, when’s the last time you saw a player good enough to play both ways? Patrick Peterson is a Pro Bowl cornerback. You may know that he’s a return man as well, but this guy threw a 17-yard completion and caught a 17-yard reception in Arizona’s win over the Lions. His pass came off a misdirection hand-off, with a tight spiral right on the money. His catch was a diving reception. Three-way player!

I truly think he Eagles would be better off with Nick Foles under center. As an Eagles fan, people think I’m crazy, but I wanted him to start day 1 as a rookie. He outplayed Michael Vick last season with the same battered offensive line. Foles made his fair share of mistakes, with him on the field it was just better football overall. I can’t stand when people pass on things that they’ve heard without seeing it for themselves, because Foles is a mobile quarterback. He’s doesn’t have Vick speed, but somewhere along the lines of Alex Smith or Eli Manning. Not afraid to un when necessary, except he takes off a little more than them. The thing with Vick, his stats look good after 2 games, but he’s no Drew Brees, meaning he’s shorter than his blockers. He missed a lot of open plays down the middle, which resulted in turnovers all last year. Foles is 6’5 and would really excel under Chip Kelly’s tutelage. That’s it for the homer talk!