The first two weeks are essentially acting as preseason. Teams are trying to integrate all their new, shiny pieces into their team whilst trying to retain an identity. This year we have seen rookies make unexpected, impressive starts as well as unfortunate injuries, a LOT of unfortunate injuries. With that, lets dive into what we have learned from week 1 and 2.
Everyone Owes Russell Wilson an Apology
I am not a Seahawks fan, yet I have been behind Wilson as the best QB in the league, and indeed the best player, for the last few years now. Ever since Brady started to regress, the crown has always belonged to Wilson. This is no way an indictment of Mahomes or Jackson but rather simply realising that sometimes the new, shiny toy of the NFL isn’t the best, whilst the experience veteran … is. So far, in only 2 games, the Wilson is undoubtedly MVP: 610yds, 9TDs:1INT and most importantly, 2 wins. It’s worth noting that the INT was first deflected by Greg Olsen (the intended target) and that the second of the two wins came against the Patriots. That is the Patriots with the best secondary (and best coach) in the NFL. On Sunday, 3 of his TD passes where nothing less than perfect. He fit it into pockets that very few QBs can, but Wilson completed the task on 3 separate occasions. This included a perfect throw on the seam-fly to Metcalf, lofted over the shoulder perfectly of no-one else but DPOY Stephon Gilmore. Brian Shottenheimer is finally allowing Wilson to show the world he is the true QB, a second Superbowl is not far away.
There Needed to be a Preseason
Yes, many of the injuries so far are likely down to the turf of Metlife stadium but there have still been too many. The Injured Reserve list is currently filled of 237 players. Whilst not all of these are players injured on the field and out for the year, this is a ridiculous increase over last years total at this time. Current stars that are already out for the year include: Nick Bosa (SF-DE), Solomon Thomas (SF-DE), Saquon Barkly (NYG-RB), Courtland Sutton (DEN-WR) and Malik Hooker (IND-FS). This is in addition to those who’s season ended before they began (basically the entire Eagles O-Line). To add to this, players such as McCafferey, Drew Lock and Raheem Mostert are likely to miss the next few weeks. The common injury currently is soft tissue – these would be hamstrings, ACLs and MCLs. All injuries that would have been helped by having a preseason – a warm up. I, as I would assume everyone else, hope to see an end to this increase in injuries but I do doubt it. Certainly, over the next two weeks I expect to see more before it then starts to level off.
So much for the predictions that JK Dobbins (BAL), Cam Akers (LAR) and Antonio Gibson (WAS) would only be making an impact in the second half of the season. Dobbins has already run in 2 TDs, Gibson accumulating 96 all-purpose yds and Akers carrying the ball 17 times for the Rams. This has the potential to be one of the best RB classes in history, just as the value of RB has been dipping. However, the most impressive so far has been Jonathan Taylor (IND). When facing the Vikings he amassed 101yds and 1 TD. Taylor is punishing. A north-south runner with a kick for good measure. He fits perfectly in the Colts system. Rivers is still a quality passer (till the 4th quarter when he throws more INTs than can be imagined). Using Rivers and the speed of Marlon Mack (achilleas injury and out for the year) and Nyheim Hynes earl in the game. Screens and mid-range passes to TY Hilton to build a lead, allowing a new and improved defense with Deforest Buckner to hold the defense. Then bring in the punishing Taylor to overpower what’s left of the opposition front 7. The Colts could be going places, I feel they are only going to get better. The Colts get an effective bye week against the Jets next, with their next true test against the Ravens on the 8th November.
So much for tanking. Someone needs to tell Mr Minshew that his front office wants to lose, not win. After playing the Colts and the Titans, Minshew has thrown for 512yds with a 75% completion rate. Remember that he is currently throwing to DJ Chark, Keelan Cole and rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. All are good NO2-3 receivers but none are a true NO.1. Minshew still does make mistakes but his big play ability supersedes it. His improvement has been helped by the most surprising rookie in the league at the moment, James Robinson. Robinson became the first undrafted free agent RB to start week 1 (and amass over 50yds) for over 10 years. Last week he carried 16 times for 102yds. That’s 6.4yds/carry which if he continues would gain him many awards (OROY and OPOY at the very least). He currently sits 8th in rushing yards alongside the likes of Ezekiel Elliot (DAL), Josh Jacobs (LVR) and fellow rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC). The difference between him and the Kansas City rusher? 223 picks and $2 million a year. It finally looks like the Jags have got the ball rolling on their rebuild.
The Jets are Getting Trevor Lawrence Adam Gase will be fired by December (right now would be smart) and Sam Darnold will have to be seeing ghosts in another part of America. Darnold simply throws too many interceptions. I loved the Jets draft, I really like their free agency class, but Darnold and Gase, I do not. I was much more behind Josh Allen in the class then Darnold (I admit that I whiffed on Jackson) and now that class difference is for all to see. Darnold has no confidence and he knows it. As a result, he tells himself “screw it, I need to make a play” and throws into triple coverage or while a 300lbs D-lineman is using him as some tackling pads. As a result of his poor play and the lack of drive for the players to play for a coach as disliked as Adam Gase, the Jets are bad, really bad. They are the worst team in football. Gardner Minshew’s moustache is playing better by itself then the New York Jets football team. They were easily beaten by the Bills, even after Allen fumbled twice, and then were thrashed by the San Francisco hospital that is the 49ers. Only scoring 30 points in two games is not good. 24PPG is around average, the Jets are at 15. They don’t have the excuse of losing Le’Veon Bell because he never made a difference even when he was actually on the pitch. The Jets are a mess and the future isn’t looking bright. Lets put it this way; right now their New York Cousins (Giants) are thinking “at least we aren’t the Jets”.