This first week of professional tackle football was outstanding. It’s so great to see actual competition again. Plus, there have been a few good games within the first week. Buffalo and Oakland played well even though they lost, and the Eagles defense looked better than ever (got me 35 points in fantasy…crazy I know). But let’s single out some boom and busts from this week.
Wide Receiver Roy Williams from Dallas really surprised me. He usually is slow and generally over rated, but against Tampa Bay on Sunday Williams had three catches for 86 yards and one touchdown. Plus he presented a threat which allowed Tony Romo to throw for 353 yards, three touchdowns with a 140.6 quarterback rating. That’s pretty nasty in the anti-T.O. era in Dallas.
Even better was Patrick Crayton of the Cowboys. He had 49 more yards than Williams with 135 and 1 touchdown. The two big plays the Cowboys had were made by the receivers. First, Williams ran through a seam and had to get through traffic to get into the end zone. Good thing Williams worked out this off season (for the first time according to him) because the extra muscle might help him over the middle this season. No alligator arms.
Patrick Crayton’s route was helped by the corner and safety from the Bucs jumping Jason Witten’s route. Witten commands so much respect that even a great running game couldn’t earn. When Witten is five to ten yards down field, it keeps the defensive backfield as honest as if Marion Barber had over 100 yards.
The Cowboys really shocked me with their receivers and I think they are finally back in the NFC East race after a lackluster last season. But with the quality of teams in the east, it’s still going to be difficult for the Cowboys to make the playoffs.
Another person who surprised me was Cadillac Williams. He had 97 yards on 13 carries…7.5 yards per carry for those who don’t have a calculator nearby. That is absolutely disgusting for someone who, over the last two years, has suffered from two…count ‘em...two torn patellar tendons. Doctor’s said Cadillac may not have ever played football again after his first tear. Now he’s back and better than ever.
Even though he scored only one touchdown in a loss, which was mostly dominated by the Cowboys passing game, Cadillac finally looks to be back into his rookie form, but don’t expect him to get a lot of carries. He is, after all is said and done, injury prone and could buckle at any moment. But congrats Mr. Caddy, you looked fantastic.
The Eagles defense looked outstanding. Under new defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, the Eagles look as if Jim Johnson hasn’t passed on. They flew around the field all day and Sheldon Brown had two picks…of the five the team had as a whole…wow. They were all over the place not just during the passing game but running as well.
They allowed a total of 169 yards of total offense and allowed only 10 points, not to mention they had a punt return for a touchdown. And the small defensive line and linebackers many were worried about in the offseason had five sacks. They were an all around defense that could do no wrong but let’s see how they do against a more potent offense like New Orleans this week…
As for the busts, what about Jake Delhomme? In the last two games he’s played (including last season’s playoff game) he’s been a combined 24 of 51 with nine interceptions and one touchdown, and in the offseason the Panthers signed him to a five-year $42.5 million contract extension…good work guys.
Dear Carson Palmer, I hate you. Palmer has been so disappointing since his one outstanding season where he hurt his knee. Chad Ochocinco had a pretty good offseason and I had high hopes for the Bengals this season. Palmer’s 247 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions are not going to do it for them though.
Don’t get me wrong, Cedric Benson had a decent game and carried the team on his shoulders but when it comes down to it, the seven points they scored is laughable at the amount of talent they possess. They have the potential to score like Indy or New England but it all comes down to how Palmer plays and this week it was poor.
Oh the Texans, you are even more disappointing than the Bengals. Steve Slaton is one of the hottest young running backs right now and Andre Johnson is one freak of a wide receiver. But it all comes down to former Vick back up Matt Schaub. His 18 of 33 was good enough for seventh worse in completion percentage of the first week and he was fifth worst in quarterback rating at 55.9.
I’m going to give Schaub a get out of jail free card (wish you had one of those don’t you Pacman Jones) because Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind that could have changed the Jets for the better. But Schaub is a professional quarterback and should be doing better than this. Steve Slaton also has to produce more than 17 yards on nine carries.
So the blame this week isn’t going to go on either of those two players, but to the Texans offensive line. Schaub was hit eight times and Slaton’s total yards were embarrassing. Hopefully they can improve upon the 32 sacks they gave up last year but right now they are right on pace for it after giving up two on Sunday. If Schaub gets hit, he will not do well and may be taken out for the former Detroit and Chicago greats, Dan Orlovsky or Rex Grossman. Good luck.
As for this week, I am pumped to see the Saints vs. the Eagles to see who will fail first between the Eagles defense and the Saints offense. Also, the Patriots are heading to the Meadowlands to play the Jets which should be a good game if the Jets defense can be as stout as they were this past weekend. And to be quite honest I’m just pumped it’s football season again and it’s the first time I’ve had a football season sans John Madden. Life is good.
Photo Credits: Roy Williams Salute (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay), Cadillac Williams (AP Photo/Brian Blanco), Asante Samuels/Akeem Jordan (AP Photo/Nell Redmond),Carson Palmer (AP Photo/Ed Reinke), Schaub Sack(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)