Fair warning: Be careful of drawing conclusions from Week 1 action
After an exhaustive sampling of data that stretched throughout one week of the NFL's regular season -- and that was even before the Monday night games were completed -- the pronouncements came fast and furious from the punditry class:
--With New England now
--Oh, and the Jets'
--And lastly, but most obviously, the Browns are frauds, the Bears are back and the Seahawks and Jaguars are doomed because their respective injury situations at receiver and offensive line will cripple their chances.
Don't you just love wide, sweeping characterizations based on Week 1 results? I heard all of that and then some Sunday night and Monday, and in a few cases even joined in the chorus of
If you recall, last year after Week 1 we were certain
Hey, look, some Week 1 observations/truths we hold to be self-evident: The Rams, Bengals, Raiders, Lions and 49ers all still stink. The Falcons, Dolphins, Jets and Eagles all have put improved, more confident teams on the field in 2008 than they did last year. It doesn't take seeing into the future to discern that.
As for the rest of it, the early read likely won't end up being the right read. Finding out is the fun of it. We know that, but we choose to forget it. Every year about now.
• I get it that it's
Belichick could have at least dropped the stoic act for a moment in Monday afternoon's press conference and admitted his team faces its greatest challenge of his nine-year tenure in New England, if for no other reason than it's a great way to rally the troops for the task ahead.
No one expected him to stand up there and weep for No. 12, or bemoan the 2008 Patriots' fate. You take the good with the bad in the NFL, and Lord knows New England has had its share of the good the past seven years.
But do you think anyone in the Patriots locker room doesn't realize what it will mean to be Brady-less for the first time ever? Do you think the players buy into Belichick's stiff upper lip to the degree that they don't roll their eyes when hearing him offer up only the barest acknowledgement that New England just lost the most difference-making player in the league?
Belichick's motto remains the same, no matter the situation: Give 'em nothing. And when they ask again, give 'em a little more nothing. But this time, even by his business-as-usual standards, it was over the top.
• Speaking of giving 'em nothing, 31 other NFL teams on Monday would have, without being asked, revealed which knee ligaments their starting quarterback tore, when his surgery is scheduled, and approximated the length of his rehabilitation.
But, of course, not the Patriots. All we know is Brady has been placed on injured reserve and will have left knee surgery. There's apparently a competitive edge to be won or lost by detailing Brady's exact injury as an ACL, an MCL or a PCL. I'm going to go out on a limb, however, and wager that at some point in the next 10½ months, before the start of 2009's training camp, some word about the damaged ligaments will leak out. Call it a hunch.
• Question: What do Seattle receiver
• So on Sunday at Giants Stadium we'll have the guy who has started a million games in a row (
No word yet on how Cassel usually performs on almost nine years rest.
• They're all critical swing states in the upcoming presidential election, but based on Week 1 results, I'm looking for Pennsylvania to receive much more attention than Ohio or Missouri this fall. At least on the field.
The Eagles and Steelers both threw up 38 points in posting homefield routs over the Rams and Texans, respectively, on Sunday. The Bengals and Browns lost by seven and 18 points, respectively, to the Ravens and Cowboys. The Rams and Chiefs are 0-1 as well, with St. Louis getting blown out at Philly and Kansas City losing by a touchdown at New England.
• Dolphins left offensive tackle
But Long drew two flags in making his NFL regular-season debut Sunday at home against the Jets. He was called once for tripping and once for holding. He did a serviceable job in pass protection, although it's unclear how much responsibility he bore for Miami quarterback
• One week in and we've already got four backup quarterbacks who either will or may start in Week 2: Cassel in New England,
At that rate, there will be no fewer than 68 quarterback changes in the NFL this season. Or .27 of a quarterback change per game (how exactly would that work?)
• Between rookie running back
• Looks like
• Bush wasn't the only high 2006 first-round pick to have a big season opener. It was ugly for Houston in Pittsburgh, but Texans defensive end
Now about that No. 3 pick,
• With rookie
• Week 1 wasn't even over and
• The Dolphins gave Jacksonville receiver
Then again, raiding the Jaguars roster for receivers is not typically seen as the blueprint to success in the NFL.
And while we're on the topic of question marks in Miami,
• From the looks of it,