NEW ORLEANS -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we take stock of Week 4 while simultaneously watching the Jets-Saints big-stage duel of undefeateds in a raucous and sold-out Superdome ...
• Isn't it almost
Where are you going at this point with the 37-year-old
The situation calls for something drastic in Tennessee, the site of this NFL season's biggest underachievement by far. The future is definitely not now for Jeff Fisher's team. Might as well start finding out what comes next for the Titans, or this year will be a waste in every conceivable way.
• To me, there's no more stunning development in the NFL's first month than the disintegration of the Titans defense, which last season came within one meaningless Week 17 loss at Indianapolis from leading the league in fewest points allowed. When you can make the Jaguars offense look like a juggernaut, you've got huge issues. Jacksonville scored on five of its first six possessions in its 37-17 demolition of the reeling Titans.
Tennessee has absolutely lost its swagger on defense, and the Titans don't hit or punish people anywhere near the way they used to. I was among those who believed that Tennessee would easily weather the loss of defensive tackle
Hate to say it, but at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if Fisher made a change at defensive coordinator before the season is out.
• Speaking of coaching changes in Tennessee, maybe for the first time, some real anti-Fisher momentum has the chance to take root. I'm not predicting or expecting Houston-based Titans owner
• Who'd have thunk it, but Jacksonville, the team that nobody watches play (either in person or on TV), is suddenly 2-2 and on a two-game winning streak in the AFC South. Maybe the Jaguars should change their name to the Jacksonville Blackouts.
• Between this surprising
• What a fascinating personal battle it was to watch between
Lewis went flying over Brady as the quarterback wisely went into a self-protection slide at the last possible moment. But if he hadn't, I had visions of a
• By now we should all just realize it'll never be as pretty for New England as it was in the magic carpet ride of 2007, but the Patriots just gutted out back-to-back home wins over the Falcons and Ravens, and there was nothing fluky about either victory.
With the Patriots schedule now calling for at Denver, Tennessee, at Tampa Bay (in London), bye week, and Miami, New England could (and even should) be 7-1 heading into its Week 10 showdown at Indianapolis.
The best news for Pats fans? The red zone issues improved significantly against Baltimore, with New England scoring three touchdowns in five trips inside the Ravens' 20, after cashing in just four times in their 13 red-zone incursions the first three weeks.
• I do believe
Cassel seems to be playing timidly, and without anywhere near the confidence level he showed last season in leading the Patriots to 10 wins in 15 starts. While he told me in training camp he relished the chance to show people that he was more than a winning "system quarterback'' in New England, he has disproved nothing so far. Let's see if the next three months changes the story in any dramatic fashion.
• There were sideline shots of
If not Elvis, Schwartz's look was at least an echo of
• I keep wondering what
And it's really just more of the same this season, because Rob Ryan just went from the debacle of Oakland to the debacle of Cleveland this year. Last season, Rex Ryan was the Ravens defensive coordinator as Baltimore made that surprising run all the way to the AFC Championship Game.
Being twins, you figure Rob had a 50-50 shot at these things, but Rex definitely seems to have most of mojo of late. Although Rob does have a Super Bowl ring or two from his days on
I do believe that bridge has been blown to smithereens. This is a franchise that recently tried to bar
• Can it possibly get worse for Russell than his 12-of-33 passing for 128 yards against the Texans? Twelve of 33? That's 36 percent. That won't cut it the UFL, let alone the NFL. When Houston quarterback
* Oh, and nice day's work for Raiders running back
* I wonder if
• Wow, finally a
• The Redskins found a way to get the W and climb back to .500 against woeful Tampa Bay, and that'll keep the wolves at bay for another week in D.C. But I wouldn't be sleeping too comfortably if I were beleaguered Redskins quarterback
And here's a quirky statistic for you: Washington has a chance to face a winless team in its first six games this season. They opened at the 0-0 Giants, then faced the 0-1 Rams at home, the 0-2 Lions in Detroit, the 0-3 Bucs at home, with 0-3 Carolina and 0-4 Kansas City still to come.
• Maybe until further notice, Carolina's
Carolina's Smith, he of the Pro Bowl pedigree, has yet to make much impact for the winless Panthers. Smith has caught just 15 passes for 190 yards, and is still waiting for his first score of the season.
• I would guess Bears fans would take that type of balanced offensive showing every week of the season.
But the Bears also must have made
• Another week, another
• Same old Lions. Nah, just kidding. Detroit actually scored three first-half touchdowns on its six drives, and seriously challenged the Bears in the game's first 30 minutes. The Lions all but disappeared in the second half, but there's still something to build on this week for Detroit.
• They came ever-so-close to an inexcusable loss -- at least if they consider themselves a team to take seriously -- but the bottom line is the Bengals are 3-1 and tied with Baltimore in the AFC North. Combined with last season's three-game year-ending winning streak, Cincy has won six out of seven, with only their fluke loss to the Broncos in Week 1 marring their record.
Who said there was a curse of HBO's "Hard Knocks'' training camp reality show?
• Thank goodness the Bengals didn't play to their second tie in two years and were able to sneak past Cleveland 23-20 at the very end of their 15-minute overtime.
Imagine how confusing
• Well, he didn't win for the Browns in his 2009 starting debut, but
• I'm almost starting to think Seattle should be listed in the standings two different ways: When quarterback
The problem in Seattle is obvious, the healthy version of Hasselbeck gets scarcer all the time.
• That late
Let's all just admit it: James hit the 30-year-old running back wall, and he hit it hard.
• That Colts defense is substantially better than I thought they'd be. Seattle scored two late garbage-time touchdowns in their loss at Indy, but the Colts D is still giving up just 15.5 points per game during the team's 4-0 start.
With apologies to Baltimore, San Diego and the upstart Jets, it looks like the battle for AFC supremacy is again going to be our backdrop when the Colts and Patriots square off for their annual showdown in Week 10.