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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 1 musings

Half the fan bases in the league right now are singing the blues while the other half are printing playoff tickets.

It's way too early for both.

But we did see some things in the opening week of NFL play - Monday night's games aside - that give us a glimpse of the way of things.

Steelers fans are going nuts about the team's secondary after Tom Brady threw four TDs against Pittsburgh  in the opener.

I've even seen comments where people are saying they wish Dick LeBeau was back. I respect the hell out of Dick LeBeau. He's probably the greatest defensive mind I've ever been around.

But the last time the Steelers visited New England, the Patriots hung 28 points on the Steelers - IN THE FOURTH QUARTER - and put 55 points on the board.

And before you say that the Patriots took their foot off the gas and could have kept scoring, realize that they threw the ball 10 times in the fourth quarter. They ran it seven times. They were still trying to score.

* Peyton Manning might be done. He looked much the same as the Manning that finished the 2014 season.

The Broncos later said Manning was dealing with a leg injury that led to his poor play in December. But Denver's offensive line stinks. And Manning can't get anything on the ball.

* Tough blow for the Ravens losing Terrell Suggs for the season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

That's the second time Suggs has torn his Achilles. That's not good for a guy who turns 33 in October.

Steelers fans hate Suggs. I get that. He's brash and he's been a very good player for a long time for a hated rival.

But you have to respect the way he plays the game and the heat he brings to the rivalry between the two teams.

It won't be the same this year.

* Tyler Eifert had nine catches for 104 yards and two scores for the Bengals in the opener after missing his rookie season with an elbow injury.

It's an embarrassment of riches on offense for the Bengals right now. Two good running backs, three very good receivers and now Eifert.

Andy Dalton might not have to be anything special with all of those offensive weapons.

* The Colts were a chic pick to win the Super Bowl or at least get there - note, I picked them to win the AFC myself.

But the offensive line is garbage. Andrew Luck will be running for his life all season.

* The most impressive AFC team of the day might have been Kansas City, which was my pick to win the AFC West.

I'm not going to count the Titans since they were playing a garbage team in Tampa Bay, though Marcus Mariota did play well.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt knows how to handle rookie quarterbacks.

* Odell Beckham has been compared to Antonio Brown. And for good reason. They're the same size and have a very similar skill set.

But with the game on the line Sunday night against the Cowboys, the Giants chose not to go to their best receiver. In fact, Beckham got just eight targets in that game altogether.

He finished with five catches for 44 yards.

People make fun of Brown's streak of 33 consecutive games with at least five catches and 50 yards, calling it a made up NFL record. OK, it is.

But he also has a streak of at least five catches for 70 yards that is now 20 consecutive games.

That's because the Steelers don't care if he's double teamed - he almost always is - they still find ways to get him the ball.

The Giants didn't do that with Beckham - easily their best offensive weapon - and lost.



36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dale,

What are the chances that the Steelers have Shazier shadow Kaepernick this coming Sunday? I believe his running destroyed GB in a playoff game. And Vick could probably do a good job of mimicking him for the scout team.

Anonymous said...

I really DON'T have to respect the way Suggs plays the game. How good you are and how you play the game are different. I don't respect the way he plays it any more than I respect the way Cody Wallace, Tom Brady, or Pacman Jones play it.

adamg said...

Yeah, Peyton Manning really does look done. He was throwing some bad looking passes.

Funny how things work out sometimes. Suggs gave an unnecessary shot to Bradford's knee and then he himself gets a torn achilles.

Jeff Fisher is doing a nice job turning StL around.

ibygeorge said...

The 2nd game I watched so far this year was the Broncos/Ravens. What a difference in pass coverage compared to the Steeler game. I can only remember 1 pass defended in the Steeler game, I'm sure there were more. Maybe it's the cover 2, but I don't recalled defenders sticking to recievers like the Broncos were. It won them the game.

ibygeorge said...

The 2nd game I watched so far this year was the Broncos/Ravens. What a difference in pass coverage compared to the Steeler game. I can only remember 1 pass defended in the Steeler game, I'm sure there were more. Maybe it's the cover 2, but I don't recalled defenders sticking to recievers like the Broncos were. It won them the game.

Mike Hanes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Hanes said...

I felt alright coming out of the Pats game, all things considered. After watching about 8 games ADD-style yesterday, I feel down right giddy. So many teams looked confused, disorganized and flawed. Hands off the panic button, people. It's early season.

This offense is going to put inhuman pressure on teams. The defense will find its stride. It used to be true that when Pittsburgh scored its 17.5th point, the outcome was all but certain, a strong statement about what was going on on both sides of the ball. Now, that is the 28.5th point. I think they will often (if they can stay healthy)

One contender in serious trouble by my eye is the New England Patriots. I watched three AFCE opponents yesterday built to destroy the things that the Patriots cannot handle...interior D-line pressure, pocket moving QBs and outside to inside play makers at receiver. Bill has built a team he's going to have to 'coach up'...This is going to be fun to watch.

Marc said...

same goes for any team rex ryan coaches. the DB's on his teams are always draped all over the receivers.

suggs is a talented player, but I've seen too many cheap shots to have respect for how he plays. glad he's gone for the year.

bengals definitely looked good, but Dalton will screw it up come playoff time. I think it's a default holiday on my outlook calendar now.

I expect the steelers to do well next weekend. 49'ers on a short week traveling across the country.

Anonymous said...

I guess I wasn't the only one to notice that the Steelers defense looked confused. Brady picked up on it too:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/09/14/brady-could-see-chaos-on-the-steelers-defense/

Easley said...

Am I a bad person for feeling ok about Suggs being hurt?

Anonymous said...

not all domestic violence charges are equal

Suggs beat his girl in front of his kids, knocked her on the ground, and poured bleach all over her.

He is a piece of trash

Dale Lolley said...

Uh, Anonymous 10:47 am, everyone saw a defense that was lacking communication out there. Everyone has written about it. So you can quit patting yourself on the back for that.

It was one game. Don't read too much into it.

Anonymous said...

Did Suggs really do that to his girlfriend? I didn't know that.

Eric T said...

Suggs a terrible person on and off the field. I got zero respect for that guy and am happy his achilles ruptured:

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-12-08/sports/bal-sp.md.ci.suggs08dec08_1_suggs-fiancee-order-friday-requiring-suggs-suggs-agent

Anonymous said...

The only hope for this defense is that they improve over the year and finish being decent.

b15n3s said...

more week 1 here: pawmpawm.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Dale,

From Anon 10:47

Sorry Dale that you missed the sarcasm, I'll put the sarc tag on it next time.

I know this is Steeler country, but for those of you that have an interest in the world of finance/politics, a wonderful website is www.zerohedge.com. The only reason I bring it up is that the comments abound with sarcasm and pity the fool who comments on the missed sarcasm.

datruth4life said...

Dale, what are you hearing is the reason that the extension with Beachum didn't get done? Would you transition tag him or franchise him for next year? With Ben down to his final 4 to 5 years with the team, I don't think you mess around with that LT spot.

Also, if Will Allen is down against the 49ers, who would you start at SS, Golden or Shamarko? And lastly, do you think Boykin will see some snaps on D this week and do you think Blake will continue to start over Cortez Allen?

Scott said...

But, its really hard to have confidence at this point in the coaching staff regarding the secondary. I went back and looked at their last playoff game last year against Baltimore and Blake was terrible, was guilty of a really costly interference penalty that was much more obvious than Cortez Allen's was against the Patriots. They just can't continue to put him into situations in which he is clearly overmatched. Mike Mitchell also seems to have continued where he left off last year. And, I suspect that their defense is too complicated.

Zeke R said...

Tampa is still in the NFL and just like last year when we played them, they are a good enough team to win a ball game. Let's not discount that...

I won't miss Suggs, he is dirty and this rival will outlast him.. And I hope Pacman
gets two games off for what he did yesterday.. Pathetic

Blake might be a beast on special teams but I hope I don't see him in on defense any time soon..

I don't think Payton makes it the whole year, he will be injured and watching from the sideline by the end of the year.. 8-8 would be a good year for them..

Anonymous said...

Im glad we play the broncos in december. In pittsbugh. If Manning looks bad now imagine by then. I just hope they dont become a sucky team throughout the year, cause then we will definitely lose to them

Anonymous Brian said...

Best part of opening weekend was - no weird 15-11, 22-18 scores because of the new PAT gimmick. Thankfully, extra points were as boring as ever. Praise be.

Dale Lolley said...

I get ya, anonymous.

If I'm Beachum and I saw some of the tackle deals that got done late - Nate Solder in particular - I'm not signing anything right now. $10 mill a year for that slug?

As for Boykin, he'll be the nickel corner next week against SF.

And I didn't think Allen should have been penalized on his PI. If anything, the receiver grabbed his arm. There was jostling back and forth. Should have been a no call.

Marc said...

i couldn't help but laugh when I saw an article refer to flacco as an "elite" QB. maybe someone should have informed the idiot author that since flacco has been in the league he has ranked in the top 10 of QB's only 1 time in the following categories, combined:

yards, qb rating, completion pct., yards/att., TD's

moreover, he hasn't been in the top 10 of any of those in the past 4 years. most overrated QB in football, hands down.

Patrick said...

Marc how can you make the above criticism of flacco and not include the word "playoffs" where he has been at or very near "elite"

I still dont know what elite means but lets call it top 5

Marc said...

just going with the largest sample size available, which over the course of 8 years, is plenty to make a valid determination. when ranked against his peers, he is average, maybe above average, on a very consistent basis. "mr. jump ball" may be a good leader and throw a pretty deep pass, but to call him elite (top 5 is fine with me) is simply an insult to the QB's who actually are elite.

Patrick said...

I dont think hes "elite" either generally speaking. But you cant criticize the guy and not mention his performance in the playoffs which has been close to outstanding.

Marc said...

fine, include his playoff numbers, he's still average/above average at best.

Marc said...

for the record, his playoff stats cover 15 games, so pretty much a season's worth.

56% completion percentage (would have ranked 31st in 2014)
7.2 yards per attempt (would have ranked 17th in 2015 - also his average for 2014)
3,223 yards (would have ranked 16th in 2014 - normalized for 16 games)
25 TD's (would have ranked 14th in 2014)

by no means outstanding. he had one great playoff year, a few good years, and a couple bad years. overall - average.

Marc said...

I left off his passer rating for the playoffs of 88.6 which would have ranked him 17th in 2014. do I really need to keep going?

Patrick said...

2008 and 2009 were poor playoff stats. Typical for almost any young qb. His rating in the playoffs since 90, 96.1 ,117.2 and 100.7

Why is he overrated again? He wins in the playoffs, is almost always in the playoffs. What else do you want?

marc said...

Hmmm, because he is considered elite but never ranked any higher than 7th his entire career, and every other year was in the double digits. If you don't get that, then oh well.

marc said...

Hmmm, because he is considered elite but never ranked any higher than 7th his entire career, and every other year was in the double digits. If you don't get that, then oh well.

marc said...

Hmmm, because he is considered elite but never ranked any higher than 7th his entire career, and every other year was in the double digits. If you don't get that, then oh well.

Patrick said...

So he is the most overrated qb in football because he has a ring, other playoff success and is always in the thick of things in january

They all cant be brady or rodgers

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