Roethlisberger hurt again
Fitzpatrick/Smith quarterback switch in New York
Eddie Lacy got fat again
Bears QB situation isn't much of a choice
Panthers have defensive issues
Pass Interference calls the new replay battlefront
The injury to Ben Roethlisberger is a big blow to a Steelers team that can ill afford the loss of their quarterback. Roethlisberger expertly runs an offense that is among the most difficult to defend in the league. While Landry Jones is a capable backup, Roethlisberger he is not, and the Steelers defense doesn’t appear capable of winning many games for the team. Pittsburgh is still a playoff team and might still win their division given how poor the other teams are, but the Steelers road to the Superbowl just got a lot more difficult.
Todd Bowles finally decided to make a change at quarterback after Ryan Fitzpatrick’s most recent collapse and the team will start Geno Smith at quarterback, for now. Smith has always been prone to mistakes at inopportune times and probably won’t keep the job for long. The question becomes who will replace him. Do the Jets go back to Fitzpatrick, a player they would clearly like to move on from, or hand the job to rookie Christian Hackenberg, to see what they have moving forward. The smart money's on option 2.
The Packers must have tired of Eddie Lacy by now. Only months removed from dropping 30 pounds, to get back to his playing weight, reports have surfaced that Lacey has added all of the weight back and is again, injured. Lacey hasn’t been an effective back for the last two seasons and Green Bay can’t set the precedent that laziness will be tolerated. If Knile Davis learns the system and has a good attitude Lacey could, and probably should, get cut.
Brian Hoyer has simply outplayed Jay Cutler this year. Hoyer is far from a franchise quarterback but Cutler just isn’t a winner. The Bears have a choice to make, but it doesn’t seem like a close one.
Obviously more is going on in Carolina than having a bunch of young cornerbacks. The Panthers defense is simply not what it was expected to be, and Carolina can’t win without a strong defense. It is abundantly clear how important Josh Norman was to this team now and not having him means that Carolina will need to improve their play at multiple positions in order to regain their defensive form. That seems unlikely to happen this year but a higher draft pick will allow the team to add some much needed players to their roster.
And Another Thing
The main criticism of instant replay, when the NFL adopted it, was that eventually it would grow and that the judgement of officials on the field would be usurped. The newest battlefront of instant replay appears to be doing just that. Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn bemoaned the non call on Richard Sherman that potentially cost the Falcons a victory last weekend and is, so far, the strongest argument in favor of expanding instant replay. The league has had plenty of time to create the infrastructure necessary to correct calls in real time scenarios and it seems it is only a matter of time before they adopt a more robust version of replay. How this will lengthen the games is a major point of contention but ultimately the fans want the calls to be correct on the field and the NFL will accommodate them, eventually.