Dallas, Minneapolis, you have a problem
It’s true that very few teams have made it to the playoffs when they start the season 0-2. It’s even more rare that they make the playoffs starting the season 0-3. That is what faces the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota seems to be in a more dire situation. Through two games Brett Favre’s stats look like this: 396 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT and a 58.7 completion percentage. Their leading receiver is Visanthe Shiancoe with 10 catches and 162 yards, but only two other receivers (Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin) have more than 5 catches. The problem is two fold. Favre has no chemistry with the same receivers he had from last year, minus Sidney Rice who is on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. And Brad Childress seems to be lost in running the offense. He was right to give the ball to Adrian Peterson the ball on 4th down at the goal line, but that was the fourth straight run play. Mix in a pass there. Luckily they play host to the 0-2 Detroit Lions in Week 3.
The Cowboys is a bit more predictable. The only surprise to me is that they usually have a good start to the season, but fizzle in November/December. The main problem is their lack of a balanced offense. The Cowboys have three, I say again, three good running backs. Why is Tony Romo throwing the ball 47 and 51 times in their first two games? I could understand it if the Cowboys were losing big, but they lost to Washington 13-7 and to Chicago last week 27-20. When you don’t have balance on offense, you end up looking lost. Tony Romo doesn’t deserve any blame in my opinion, but I can assure you that eventually owner Jerry Jones will snatch a headset from offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and head coach Wade Phillips very soon if things don’t change quick. Their next game is in Houston, which is no walk in the park anymore.
This isn’t the same old Texans
Yes, the Houston Texans exposed a weakness from the defending AFC champion Indianapolis Colts with 257 yards rushing. What everyone forgot about was the fact that Houston can still throw the football to win games. It was a dull week with the exception of the Houston vs. Washington. Both Matt Schaub and Donovan McNabb threw for over 400 yards. Both defenses didn’t look to bad either with the amazing passing performances from both quarterbacks. Houston solidified themselves as early contenders with the Schaub to Andre Johnson connection being put on display. I wasn’t thinking too much about Johnson’s ankle injury late in the game. Why? Knowing him, he was going to play. He is the best receiver in the NFL and showed why with the game tying TD catch on 4th and 10 in the fourth quarter. Schaub showed tremendous poise under constant pressure from a blitzing Redskins defense. It was a good test for a team on the rise. Next they have to continue to show their worth by hosting the desperate, yes they are, 0-2 Dallas Cowboys. If Houston should win that game, they will have an easy line to start the season 6-0 before they play the Colts again.
So many new and familiar faces made an apperance
I don’t think I have ever seen so many starters lose their job in just the second week of the season. Yes, it was only four, but that seems to be a lot. Tennessee decided to bench Vince Young and hand the reigns to Kerry Collins to start the fourth quarter. Carolina losing late decided it was time to unveil Jimmy Clausen for Matt Moore. Jacksonville losing big and David Garrard struggling benched him for Luke McCown. Oakland couldn’t take the inconsistency and went to Bruce Gradkowski to start the second half over Jason Campbell. Buffalo didn’t make the change until after the game, but they are going with Ryan Fitzpatrick instead of Trent Edwards. Out of all those moves, do any help the team’s current state? Jeff Fisher benching Young was more of a wake up call. Pittsburgh has a great defense and the Titans need to better prepare Young for that. The Panthers are in a downward spiral and Clausen will be thrown into the fire a lot sooner than they would like. Garrard is still the starter, but throwing 4 interceptions won’t help his job status for much longer. The Raiders will be hard pressed to avoid creating a quarterback controversy now that they won a game with Gradkowski relieving Jason Campbell. Campbell is the better quarterback, but will he use this to live up to Al Davis’ expectations of him? As for Buffalo’s decision. Are you really surprised they made a change this quickly?
Vick is making a comeback
Okay it’s now official. There is a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia. All the blame for it goes to Andy Reid. He put himself into a corner by announcing that Kevin Kolb would start their next game after the Eagles beat Detroit. Just 24 hours later, he started to back track and then named Michael Vick the starter for the rest of the season. What a twist. Yes, Vick has looked like the old Vick from Atlanta. He still has that crazy ability to scramble and make play out of the pocket. His deep throws were incredibly accurate and his receivers were able to make plays after the catch. Again I point out they were playing the Detroit Lions. How will Vick handle the Redskins defense or the 49ers defense, whom the Eagles play in the next few games. It amazes me that the Eagles appeared to have dealt McNabb to a division rival and replaced him with a quarterback who hasn’t played full time in over three years. However, it becomes apparent that this decision was made for only this season. Had Kolb not suffered a concussion, he would be playing. The Giants are terrible. The Cowboys have no identity. The Redskins are still the Redskins. Andy Reid sees this year as an opportunity to make some noise and get into the playoffs. On paper it looks like the right call, but at what price? Kolb’s psyche is shot I’m sure. He has to wait another year to get his shot when he thought this year was it. Reid might get some extra victories, but Vick hasn’t shown what he can do against elite teams yet.