Rookie quarterbacks shine in debuts; potential Brady fallout
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we were witnessing the winning, but at times sloppy beginning of the Jets'
• It's not supposed to work this way, folks. It's not supposed to look so easy. When you consider what rookie quarterbacks
Prior to this year, there were 21 quarterbacks drafted in the first round this decade. Of those, exactly one -- Houston's
But that list of rookie Game 1 winners got tripled in size Sunday, thanks to Ryan and Flacco, who respectively led the downtrodden Falcons and Ravens to comfortable upset wins at home against teams (Detroit and Cincinnati) that were expected to rough up and maybe even expose the youngsters.
The Falcons rolled to a 34-21 win over the Lions thanks to a 318-yard rushing performance that was led by
On his first pass attempt as a pro, the ex-Boston College star connected on a 62-yard touchdown pass to receiver
Flacco wasn't quite as spectacular as Ryan, but his handprints were nonetheless all over Baltimore's 17-10 defeat of Cincinnati, giving rookie Ravens head coach
It's only Week 1, and the overwhelming recent history of the league says that starting rookie quarterbacks leads to lots of losing and, at times, ghastly performances. But for a pair of teams that combined to go 9-23 last year, finishing last in their divisions and losing their head coaches in the process, there's now some fresh hope in Atlanta and Baltimore.
Ryan was the third overall pick by the Falcons, and Flacco went 18th to the Ravens. But what really mattered on Sunday were the decisions that Atlanta and Baltimore made to start them both in their first NFL games ever. Turns out, those were the best choices of all.
• Harbaugh, of course, wasn't the only rookie head coach to get a W in his first game. Like Flacco, Ryan helped his first-time head coach start off on a winning note, with Atlanta's Mike Smith improving to 1-0 in the defeat of Detroit. Congrats to both Harbaugh and Smith, who are two of the more refreshing first-time head coaches to hit the league in quite some time.
The NFL's other two rookie head coaches didn't fare as well. Washington's
• What does
I'm not saying that New England can't still win the division, but it would seem that a lot would depend on which veteran quarterback the Patriots bring in to fill his roster spot. New England isn't just going to go with
Any way you look at it, the Brady-less Patriots just got eminently more beatable.
• Just last week
The Chargers were already my pick to win it all this season, but I don't have to remind you that they have become obsessed with beating the Patriots the past two years, after New England ended their 2006 and 2007 seasons in the playoffs. Without Brady, the task of toppling the giant of the AFC just got a whole lot easier.
• Within 20 minutes of the opening of the NFL's first regular-season Sunday, we had Brady knocked out of the game,
Is there anything quite like that first full rush of Week 1 action in the NFL?
• Any chance Brady doesn't get his job back once he's healthy? In five years, will be talking about Brady's left knee injury like
Yeah, I don't think so either.
• After Sunday, I'm more convinced than ever that Huard remains the Chiefs best quarterback, ahead of starter
• That's exactly the formula that I expect Buffalo to ride to victory this season: solid defense, a good running game, its usual standout special teams play and quality quarterback play from second-year veteran
That's 7.4 yards per touch, and that ought to keep the fans and us media-types off his back for a while. Who cares if he runs for the yardage (14 carries for 51 yards) or catches passes (8 for 112) for the yardage? Moving the chains is all that matters.
• Six catches for 54 yards for the Saints' new tight end,
• Wow. Pittsburgh's blowout of Houston has to rate as one of the bigger shockers of Week 1. The Texans defense couldn't stop
• Rookie running back
• Haven't bought into the Super Bowl buzz that surrounds the Jaguars, and after their rushing performance at Tennessee -- just 33 yards on 17 carries -- it's going to take some doing to convince me. I don't know if the Titans run defense is that good, or was Jacksonville's vaunted ground game just that bad in Week 1?
• Speaking of games in which it was tough to tell the excellence from the ineptitude, the Eagles rolled up 522 yards of offense against the pitiful Rams in their 38-3 opening-day win. I do believe that McNabb is all the way back after his rollercoaster ride in 2007. But St. Louis just replaced Kansas City as the worst team in the NFL in my own personal power rankings.
• Not only could
It's a shame, because some team will have an injury at quarterback and want to sign him (New England, maybe?). But now that's out, with him suffering a self-sustained injury. Yep, he shot himself in the foot.
• Ex-Patriots receiver
Sorry. Couldn't resist.
• Here's the most puzzling of all aspects to
That's a trend that better not linger. I can't see Campbell having much success this season in Washington without Cooley being heavily, heavily involved.
• Was there any more telling Week 1 picture than that shot of Redskins general manager
• As if his situation in San Francisco wasn't depressing enough,
Suffice to say, players don't travel cross-country to see the good doctor unless it's believed to be a serious setback. Isn't it ironic that
• So it's