NFL Week 2: What We Learned
Quarterbacks getting hurt
Return of the Running Back
Coaching Hot Seat
Rodgers and Green Bay Offense
Protests Not Going Away
Every season one NFL team suffers from injuries worse than the other 31 teams. THis season it appears to be the San Diego Chargers that drew the short end of the stick. San Diego lost both Keenan Allen in week 1 and Danny Woodhead in week 2 to season ending injuries. The good news for Chargers fans is that the team appears to be equipped to deal with those losses. Melvin Gordon has looked decisive and explosive when he’s gotten the ball and Ty Williams and Travis Benjamin give Philip Rivers some options to work with in the passing game. Joey Bosa, also out with injury, should take the field soon, improving both the talent and the depth in San Diego’s defensive front seven.
In addition to the Chargers injury woes Jay Cutler, Jimmy Garrapolo, and Josh McCown all suffered injuries in week 2. Cody Kessler and Jacoby Brissett, both rookie third round draft picks, will get the starts in Cleveland and New England, respectively. CHicago wisely added Brian Hoyer in the offseason giving them a steady veteran presence that could easily outplay Cutler over the course of a season.
Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, Carson Wentz looks the part and Dak Prescott is giving Dallas a glimpse of their future. Meanwhile Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch are both sitting on the bench and seem unlikely to take the field anytime soon. Pundits and fans are already starting to read into this, at least in the case of Goff, as being evidence that Goff is a bust. They’re wrong. Both Aaron Rodgers and Carson Palmer sat early in their careers, a number of other quarterbacks, like Blake Bortles, would have except for injuries to the starters. All three of those guys are better quarterbacks due to sitting and learning. Goff and Lynch should both be fine, but if they aren’t, it isn’t because their teams are being cautious with them.
The Patriots might not be dependent on Tom Brady after all. Maybe the team won’t be able to sustain this over the full season but they have two impressive wins to start 2016 and figure to be no worse than 2-2 and in first place when Brady returns. I wonder if Brady isn’t watching the games and thinking that Garrappolo’s success will make his retirement easier, knowing that the tem is in good hands.
The Vikings, like the Chargers, seem to be dropping like flies. Unlike the Chargers Minnesota was able to make a move for Sam Bradford to replace Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. Adrian Peterson will be more difficult to replace and might only miss a few weeks but Adrian Peterson in 2016 is not the same Adrian Peterson we are used to seeing. If he’s going to miss more than a month I wonder if the Vikings call Marshawn Lynch’s agent.
Something is off in Green Bay. Jordy Nelson looks a step slower than in the past. Aaron Rodgers looks a lot like a quarterback that doesn’t have a lot of faith in the scheme or the players around him and Eddie Lacey looks like a slimmer version of Eddie Lacey from last season, the one who got benched. The offensive play calling is predictable and it appears as if Rodgers is trying to overcompensate for it. Rodgers is at his best when he’s in a system that will allow him to orchestrate an aggressive attack using multiple weapons. That’s not what Green Bay looks like right now, and until they do Rodgers might not look like himself.
And Another Thing…
The protesting by NFL players isn’t going away. It might, in fact, continue to grow. The most recent Tulsa event underscores the protests with real world issues and given the political landscape of the country today, there is no reason to believe that more NFl players will feel it is their duty to speak out through their biggest platform.