NFL Week 2 Observations

After Sunday’s slate of eventful games, here are five observations I’ve made:

There was a serious lack of good coaching yesterday.

The Cowboys are self-explanatory; they got beat on both sides of the ball. Tony Romo threw two INTs and Roy Williams fumbled the ball away. Their running game totaled a dismal 20 carries for 36 yards, making offensive coordinator Jason Garrett give up on it pretty quickly.

The defense blew coverage and allowed Jay Cutler to pick them off easily when they blitzed. On top of it all, kicker David Buehler missed a 44-yard field goal that would’ve tied the game at 20-all in the fourth quarter.

When a team with so much talent screws up miserably in both games played this season, it’s a result of bad chemistry and bad coaching. Bad chemistry is a by-product of bad coaching. I wouldn’t be surprised to see head coach Wade Phillips canned at midseason, but believe me, Jason Garrett is not much better and definitely not the solution.

The Vikings had coaching issues of their own. Putting your team in the hands of a soon-to-be 41-year-old quarterback with a bad ankle is not smart. It’s even worse when that quarterback tries to pretend that Bernard Berrian is Sidney Rice, evidenced in the first down deep throw into double coverage in the third quarter, which resulted in an interception.

Brett Favre threw three INTs on the day and fumbled in his own end zone to give the Miami defense a touchdown. He finished with a 44.3 passer rating. To put it into perspective, JaMarcus Russell averaged a 50.0 passer rating last season, the worst of all starting quarterbacks.

When head coach Brad Childress finally figured out that Adrian Peterson was his best weapon on offense, Childress drew up a head-scratching play late in the fourth quarter. On fourth and goal from the one-yard-line, Childress had Peterson run on the right side, where RG Anthony Herrera and RT Phil Loadholt were. Who? Exactly.

When you have a seven-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection with LG Steve Hutchinson and 2009 Pro Bowl selection in LT Bryant McKinnie, why would you want to run on the right side? There is absolutely no need to get cute when you’re talking about Peterson and the one-yard line.

The Giants were a victim of their own bad coaching. Just one week after Houston dumped 257 rushing yards on the porous Colts defense, the Giants decided that they weren’t going to run the ball against the Colts. On their first play from scrimmage, they ran an end-around to Mario Manningham for a whopping two-yard gain. The Giants went three-and-out and punted.

On their next possession, Ahmad Bradshaw took the handoff for eight yards on first down. Second and two and third and two were incomplete pass plays. Instead of continuing to pound the defense in short yardage situations, the Giants elected to pass. The result was another punt.

In fact, it took a defensive pass interference call in their third possession to finally get the Giants a first down.

The gameplan was a complete blunder on head coach Tom Coughlin’s part. Not only did he fail to use the blueprint the Texans gave the entire league, he failed to make adjustments on blocking Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, which resulted in three forced fumbles – two lost. Eli Manning was also sacked four times and under pressure the entire night.

Defensively, the Giants were content to let the Colts run wild as long as Peyton Manning didn’t crush them with the passing game. Well, the Colts tallied 160 yards on the ground with one TD and Manning passed for 250 yards and three TDs, so the Giants failed miserably in that regard, as well. Again, Coughlin failed to make defensive adjustments.

Randy Moss is still one of the best wide receivers in the game.

With less than a minute left in the first half, Moss took approximately five steps before immediately raising his hand to signal to Tom Brady that he had his man beat. His man was, of course, shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Moss made a spectacular one-handed grab in the back of the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown. Revis then pulled up lame and grabbed his hamstring. Moss made the catch look so easy and routine that I can almost understand why the Patriots take his talents for granted. Almost.

I’m from the other side of the spectrum. After over a decade of watching Moss make insane catches look like something he can do in his sleep, I have become more impressed over time because he’s not getting any younger but hasn’t lost a step.

Moss is still an elite talent in the league. For once in his professional life, he’s happy where he is and wants to remain a Patriot for the rest of his career. It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved; just give him what he wants.

The Steel Curtain defense is back.

Pittsburgh returned to its defensive roots with its outstanding performance against the Titans. The Steelers limited Chris Johnson to 16 carries for 34 yards, recovered four fumbles, and intercepted the ball three times. Vince Young was eventually benched in favor of Kerry Collins.

James Harrison was a beast in his own right, showing semblances of his 2008 Defensive Player of the Year form. He had 10 solo tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles in the victory.

Somehow, losing quarterbacks doesn’t seem to affect the Steelers’ ability to win games. They are now on their fourth quarterback with Charlie Batch after Dennis Dixon went down with a knee injury early in the game. Offensively, the Titans gained 261 yards compared to Pittsburgh’s paltry 149 yards.

However, the Steelers displayed the perfect example of turning defense into offense. Jeff Reed kicked four field goals off the turnovers. If the Steelers defense continues to play like this, it won’t matter who stands behind center.

You should’ve traded Arian Foster after Week 1.

I did recommend to all Foster owners to trade him after his ridiculous Week 1 performance. His stock will never be so high again, and the production was a result of the Texans gameplan to pound the Colts defense with constant running.

You see, the Texans have never been to the playoffs since their inception in 2002. They have had trouble beating the Colts, so instead of getting into an aerial shootout with Peyton Manning, the Texans decided to pound the defense where it was weakest. Thus, the big day from Foster emerged.

Houston isn’t going to use that tactic with every opponent (see: Week 2 vs. Washington). In fantasy football, one must always sell high and buy low. Foster’s stock shot up sky high after Week 1. He will have a great season, no doubt, but the players you could’ve gotten in return if you had traded him would’ve been well worth it.

I draft players a year too early.

Last year, Darren McFadden was my fantasy crush; I drafted him in the third or fourth round in as many leagues as possible. He turned out to be a total and complete bust. This year is a different story; McFadden has accumulated 303 total yards with one TD in two games. What a difference JaMarcus Russell makes, huh?

Eddie Royal was also high on my fantasy list last year. Josh McDaniels clearly didn’t use Royal correctly, and had him line up as a wide receiver instead of a slot receiver. This year, Royal has moved to the slot role and has been highly effective. He had eight receptions for 98 yards in the first game and five receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown in the second game. He’s not a fantasy stud, but he’ll be a consistent guy in the WR3/Flex spot.

Jay Cutler has always had a big arm with a gunslinger mentality – perfect for a fantasy quarterback. Then, he led the league in INTs, averaging 1.63 a game. Fantasy owners around the country saw their playoff hopes dashed with each successive INT. After two games in 2010, Cutler is third with 649 passing yards, first in yards per attempt (10.14), and tied for second with five TDs. Most shocking of all is that he only has one INT. Mike Martz is truly working wonders for the Bears offense.

Does this mean that I should draft Felix Jones again next year?

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