Melissa's Monday Musings - Week One
By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 10, 2012
Run, No one, Run
With guys like Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Fred Jackson coming back from season-ending injuries, and Arian Foster and LeSean McCoy coming back from dominant seasons, there was a buzz in the air about the running back position. Expectations were high heading into Week 1 and there were plenty of favorable matchups to be excited about. But what we got was a pretty big thud from our little runners. DeAngelo Williams finished with 4 carries for -1 yards. Even worse, Chris Johnson had 4 yards on 11 carries! Only five running backs finished with over 100 yards:
C.J. Spiller - 169
DeMarco Murray – 131
Stevan Ridley – 125
Frank Gore - 112
LeSean McCoy - 110
Compare that to the ten wide receivers who topped the century mark.
Reggie Wayne – 135
Lance Moore - 120
Andre Johnson - 119
Brandon Marshall - 119
Kevin Ogletree – 114
Calvin Johnson – 111
DeMaryius Thomas - 110
Pierre Garcon - 109
Julio Jones – 108
Steve Smith - 106
To put the largely atrocious running back play into perspective, the early Top 5 rushing defenses for 2012 allow less than 50 yards rushing per game, topped by Tampa Bay and their 10-yards/game average. Sure, it’s only one week and those numbers are sure to normalize (just like the seven QBs on pace to break Marino’s record headed into Week 4 last year did), but this does not appear to be the year of the running back.
RG3-time MVP, All Pro and Super Bowl Champ. At Least.
Washington D.C. has a baseball team with the best record in the majors, but nobody cares anymore. RG3 lived up to the hype and then some. I was very impressed with his ability to create plays and make throws in a variety of pressure packages. No doubt RG3 will be a compelling highlight reel this year and beyond. But…I’m not ready to anoint him Cam Newton or better than Andrew Luck yet. The Saints defense was awful yesterday, missing tackles, generally slow, and not playing with any ferocity. Let’s see RG3 with a repeat performance against a better defense. He can start next week when they travel to St. Louis.
Another note from that game: Drew Brees’ arm looked especially weak, which I’m not sure if was do to throwing with pressure or simply being another year older. Brees is Brees but Saints fans should still be concerned with the lack of heat on many of his passes.
Brian Urlacher was one of the few weak spots in the Bears overall impressive 41-21 win over the Colts. He was not effective in the middle, often looking confused on assignments and missing tackles that Urlacher of two years ago would make in a heartbeat. He was upset when Lovie Smith pulled him in the third-quarter, even though it was under the notion of resting his knee, which he sprained Week 17 last year.
Urlacher is still the soul of the organization and its biggest marketing draw. Still, it seems like the chances of the team re-signing Urlacher, who is in a contract year, may have become slimmer yesterday.
Where to begin? Across the boards these referees where just embarrassing. The depths of their ineptitude go much further than screwing up a block in the back in the Niners/Green Bay game or not understanding when a team has to use a timeout on an injured player. I love Mike Periera, but I got a little tired of him coming on to confirm that we were right and they (the officials) were wrong. They had one opportunity for respect and they blew it – from coaches, fans and most importantly, players.
Now the player safety concerns really come into play Week 2. Because there was no consistency in calling penalties, and therefore no legitimate enforcement of the rules, players are going to bend them. What’s the point of avoiding a hold if you know there’s a good chance it may not get called, or that on any legal block, you are equally susceptible to getting flagged?
This is going to because a dangerous anarchy and Roger Goodell knows what he can do to stop it. Pick up the phone and dial the ref union, Commissioner.
The most shocking thing in any of yesterday’s games was the lack of discussion about the 2005 draft during the FOX broadcast of the Packers/49ers. Alex Smith had an overall better game than Aaron Rodgers and deserved adulation instead of the regret he’s heard for seven years.
Really quick stat line on Smith: 77% passing completion for 211 yards and 2 TDs. Most importantly, he found six different receivers, something that has been absent from the Niners playbook since the days of Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens.
But back to the ’05 Draft, the one where Smith went #1 overall and Rodgers went #24. Even with today’s performance, Rodgers is undoubtedly the better quarterback, the much better quarterback. Yet there are still slivers of rawness to Rodgers’ game, like when he wildly threw it deep on 3rd and short instead of running it for the easy yards. While I’m fairly certain his natural talent is much greater than Smith’s I do believe that studying under Brett Favre for three seasons was a huge part of the formula that has made him a success. The pressure a Smith (or any number of guys forced to start from the get-go) is under is tremendous, especially since rookie-starting quarterbacks are generally playing on teams deficient in many areas.
- Tampa Bay’s defense, which was supposed to be improved last year, looked ferocious yesterday. Very fast and aggressive.
- Based on the way he exposes his body on every play, I will be shocked if Michael Vick isn’t knocked out for the season by Week 5.
- Randy Moss added a jolt of adrenaline to the Niners passing game, but did anyone notice that 10 -yard pass up the middle where he had five yards of open field but chose to drop to the ground instead? Vintage Moss.
- The Bears have to be thrilled with the performance of CB Tim Jennings, who had two INTs and deflected a ball in the end zone which landed in the hands of teammate Chris Conte. CB Kelvin Hayden, who replaced an injured Charles Tillman, also played smart, aggressive ball.
- Rob Riggle was not funny. Why does FOX think a comedian needs to infiltrate our pregame lather?
- Erin Andrews’ interview of Aaron Rodgers was well done, but a little cringe-worthy considering those two used to date.
- Was not remotely impressed with any rookie QB other than Griffin. The performances, particularly Russell Wilson’s, should remind us that three of the five starters were default picks more than anything else? Kim O’Hara will have a full rookie report later today.
- Welcome back, Peyton. It’s good to have you where you belong. You too A.P.
Big Ben Apparel
And finally, why is Big Ben wearing this random camouflage hat?
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