The Chiefs and Bucs slipped a bit for me, but I’m putting both here, because I still think they’re both distinctly ahead of the tier 2 teams—although one of the tier 2 teams, especially those at the top of the tier, beating either of these teams would be far from a surprise. The Bucs move up because I think their defense will be better, even though they weren’t a great defense last week. The Chiefs didn’t have the Honey Badger, but I doubt they will make a huge leap—although when he and Frank Clark finally return I would think their defense would get better.
One thing about Brady. Older players can look good earlier in the season, and then look far worse at the end. Brady didn’t play great in the NFCGG, and if the pattern repeats itself, I would drop them down quite a bit—probably to the bottom of the 2nd tier.
Bills, Saints, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, Cowboys, Packers, Patriots
In terms of overall quality, these teams are not far apart—although I ranked them from strongest to weakest as best as I could, going from left to right. Some brief comments about the teams:
Bills: Their offense was too one-dimensional and their passing game seemed out of sync. They were playing against a good defense, though. I think they’ll improve. The defense looked better than last year.
Saints: The last two or three years, the Saints have one of the best all-around, most balanced teams. They looked that way again. I doubt they’ll continue to run as well as they did or Winston will play as well. Even if they don’t, if they can still play the same style fairly effective, with Winston protecting the football, I would move them to the first tier.
Rams: I want to rave about McVay, but I won’t do so here. The offense is as good as expected. Look to see an expansion of the shotgun, spread game. I would expect them to continue to be potent if not unstoppable if they do this with success, especially if they can run well from these formations. The bad news is that their defense looks bad, particularly their run defense. They need to improve significantly.
Seahawks: The Colts may have been depleted and out of sync, due to key players missing time, but this was still a solid performance. I tend to think they will only get better. If their defense improves, and they become a good rushing offense, will to pound the rock, when needed, I like their chances to win it all. One other reason: They have Russell Wilson. (As long as his head is screwed on right—not getting tunnel vision about passing—the Hawks have an edge over many of these other teams.)
Browns: On paper I feel like they should be an AFC version of the Saints or even the Bucs. I know the Chiefs offense is terrific, but I think they should have played/looked better than that. (Letting Tyreek Hill go off is a major failing in my view.)
Cowboys: They have a chance to be like the Chiefs—maybe not as good offensively, but good enough to becoming one of the better scoring offenses in the league. Their defense can become solid, good when they have a lead and/or good at generating turnovers, they could be contenders as well. I think both could happen.
Packers: I’m thinking they will get their offense together, and that should keep them contenders. But I’m less certain about their defense improving. They could potentially drop to the bottom of this tier, and if their offense doesn’t get it together, down to the 3rd tier.
Patriots: I had high expectations for the Patriots, and they didn’t meet them in week 1. Having said that, had they protected the ball better, they probably would have won. Like the early Brady teams, I think they’ll win a lot of games like this, and maybe not a lot. That is, they’ll play in a way that people will overlook them, like they did in the early 2000s, even after they won one or two Super Bowls. But if they can get Belichick to the playoffs, I think they could win it all.
(The space means there’s a separation between the teams above and the teams below. But these two teams, as of now, seem like good candidates to move up to the group above.)
Chargers: They seem to have a strong roster as well. Herbert looks like the real deal. I don’t really care for Staley’s defense. (If you guys watch the Chargers or Rams, pay attention to their front seven, and see if they often utilize looks that a team can easily run on.)
Cardinals: Their defense played like great/dominant defense, at least at times. I’m a little skeptical that’s really who they are, but I’m leaving them here just in case. Some are negative on Kingsbury, and I came in with a skeptical attitude, but I kinda like what I see. His offense is balanced and diverse, and his play calling seems sound. He’s utilizing Murray’s running ability to enhance the run game and the offense overall. I’m kinda skeptical that Murray can be a Super Bowl QB, without a fantastic pass pro.
(The teams below are good, and I can’t rule them out of the running entirely, but they all have big question mark/flaws—and I’ll be surprised if the teams address them adequately or overcome them.)
Dolphins, 49ers, Steelers, Panthers, Colts, Broncos, Vikings
Dolphins: Solid team. The coaching on both sides of the ball seems good, too—at least so far. Here’s the problem: Tua is similar to Tannehill, Cousins, Mayfield—and I don’t think he’s as good as any of them. The problem is that Miami doesn’t have a run game like any of those offenses. I think that really hold them back.
49ers: Their defense doesn’t look dominant, not close to the 2019 defense. And now their secondary is depleted, so it may get worse, especially since they don’t seem to have a front seven that can make up for this. These are the reasons I put the 49ers here. The Shanahan run machine, with Jimmy the Grape, is going to function well and put up points. The Grape will likely do well. But the history suggests he’ll crumble under pressure/when taking shots—including turning the ball over. Without a dominant defense—or maybe a dominant run game a la the 2019 Ravens—I don’t think they have much of a chance. (And I don’t think Lance is good enough, including in ball security, to lead them to a Super Bowl.) Right now I’d pick them for last place in the NFC West.
Steelers: Roethlisberger is over-the-hill. Yeah, he’ll make plays, but he’ll fail to make important ones; and will likely turnover the ball. This is even more likely if he’s throwing the ball a lot. A strong run game could remedy this, I would be shocked if the Steelers develop one this year. What gives them a fighting chance is their defense. They have the potential to be great/dominant. And if the ST contributes as well, I can’t totally rule them out. But unless the defense moves in the all-time great range, they’re facing an uphill battle.
Panthers: They looked like a solid team all around. If Darnold plays really well, maybe they could move to the bottom of tier 2.
Colts: The injuries and players missing time in the off season, especially Wentz, may have sunk their season. They have a really tough schedule early on. But I could see them finding their groove by the middle of the season. Hopefully, it’s not too late.
Broncos: Their defense looks good, but not dominant. If they can move in that direction, and run better, they will move into the 2nd tier.
Vikings: Last year, they ran well with a brittle OL. They have a chance if they can do that again. Their defense has to really improve. I think both are possible. They just can’t have the same slow start that they did last year, and I think the next two games are going to be tough.
Raiders: This may be the best defense I’ve seen in a long time, but I have little faith in them. Or should I say, I have faith they will shoot themselves in the foot.
Titans: Their defense looks worse than last year. I’m not sure they’re going to get much better. Something else: I’ve heard people talk about the number of carries Henry has had in his career so far. That is definitely a concern. The hits eventually took its toll on Earl Campbell.
Ravens: The defense is a disappointment, and has been for several years. But here’s what I really don’t like: They seem to have moved away from their option-run offense, and gone to more spread passing attack. I don’t get that, unless its due to the decimation of their RB unit. Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh tried to do this with Kaepernick (in ’15?). It was ugly. I thought of that while watching the Ravens.
You continually bash Brady for his NFC Championship Game, because he almost gave the game away. But prior to that for over two and half quarters, Brady was pretty special, especially on third down. He, as much as the Buc’s defense, had them up three scores, before Brady almost gave the game back to the Packers. If the Buc’s lost that game, yes all on Brady. But they won, and that was pretty much all on Brady too. I actually thought Brady looked worse overall, against the Saints, even though he didn’t have the three INTs.
QBs can be fabulous, but if they turnover of the ball—especially three times–the latter negates the former. If I didn’t feel this way, I would like Favre a lot more.
If the Buc’s lost that game, yes all on Brady. But they won, and that was pretty much all on Brady too.
I think I would give credit to the Bucs defense, for stopping the Packers offense, which we know isn’t anything to sniff at, three times. There was at least one three and out, too.
I just don’t think it’s the right game to point to, to show Brady’s demise. In fact one could make the argument that Brady did more in this game positively, than he did against New Orleans and Kansas City.
Actually, there were other failed plays at key moments (e.g., an errant pass that could have extended a drive) in that game, if I recall correctly, but the three INTs are the most vivid. That’s one of the reasons I mentioned that game–I definitely remember those 3 INTs. When you brought up the Saints game, only then did it start coming back to me that he might have had a shaky game there, too. And I couldn’t remember specifics.
As evidence of deterioration, I could also have pointed out regular season games–but I couldn’t remember specific games.
If the Giants won the game, then Heinicke would deserve the blame. But the WFT team won, and I blame #97 for the offsides penalty on the kick. To be fair, though, the Giants had other miscues as well.
I must say the WFT DL is a disappointment, and their defense overall. I would say the same for the Giants defense. They were better last year, and so far they looked like they’ve taken a step back.
To me, both teams are in the not-great-but-not-awful range.
One last thing: Saquan Barkley doesn’t look like himself. There is no explosiveness, in terms of acceleration or lateral moves. The Giants OL can’t run block. Their run game is non-existent.
I wasn’t listening too attentively, since I was working while I had the game on the radio, but my impression was that the Washington D line was actually pretty good. Whenever there was a hurry or sack, I would yell “Chase Young!” but it was actually Young only a couple of times, and it was other guys the rest of the time.
I just looked it up. Young had three tackles, all of them solo, one for a loss. Statistically not special. Jonathan Allen had six tackles, three for a loss, including two sacks.
I’m surprised you didn’t mention that there was only one turnover the whole game. That seems meaningful for two teams not seen as very good and throwing the ball as much as they did (32 attempts for Jones; 46 for Heinicke).
I’m annoyed with Kenny Golladay for dropping like four catches. Gotta remind myself that Golladay and Barkley have been dealing with injuries, but geez.
The radio team was Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli and ugh. Boselli is so boring and so ready with a cliche. I know Collinsworth isn’t everyone’s favorite (JB’s wife and son watch his games with the sound turned down) but Collinsworth is the best. I wish Boselli would just watch one quarter of SNF and take some notes.
I’m especially annoyed because Monday night (I don’t have ESPN) it was Kevin Harlan and Kurt Warner, and they were great. On one play, Lamar Jackson got away from some rushers and managed to get the ball to the receiver. Warner gushed, saying, “I would have been sacked twice if I’d tried that.” It cracked Harlan up, which I’ve never heard.
I don’t want to call anyone a meathead except Gronk, but Boselli always has me thinking meathead. Sorry Tony. Just, you know. Try not to sound like all the other ex-jocks doing color.
Boselli on the Dan Patrick Show is okay. My memory of him is that he’s a little too serious, maybe not enough personality? I kind of like Ian Eagle.
I like Ian Eagle. Especially after hearing an interview with Dan LeBatard last year — the guy is actually hilarious, especially about his name. He riffed a while on a mispronunciation one of Lebatard’s producers made and it was super funny — not at all the straight-laced play-by-play guy.
And I’ve heard Boselli as an interviewee and thought he was fine. I just don’t like his color commentary. Yeah, serious is a good word to describe him.
Expectations really colors my perception and evaluation. WFT supposedly has a great DL and great defense. The Giants have a suspect OL. They even lost a starter in the game. In that context, the WFT pass rush–and the defense–didn’t live up to that standard. If you didn’t know anything about the DL or defense, I don’t think you would conclude that they were great. They’re not bad, but not great.
As for the turnover, I alluded to that with my remark about Heinicke losing the game, if the WFT lost. I don’t know–I guess both defenses often looked average or less than that (One or two crucial and egregious blown coverages, as well.).
Yeah, Golladay and Barkely don’t look the same, but as you say they’re coming off injuries.
I’m not sure if the Chargers and Rams games will be on TV, but if they are and you guys watch them, can you guys watch the Charger and Rams defensive fronts? To me, they often feature light and spacious fronts–which to me is equivalent to daring the offense to run the ball. It’s to the point where I almost think Staley, the architect of these defenses, believes the offense will not run a lot or run consecutively. For example, he things very few teams will run more than twice in a row. Instead, the runs will be dispersed between clusters of pass plays. That would explain the frequency of the fronts that I see.
But maybe the fronts are not as light as I think and/or they don’t appear as frequently as I think. If you guys watch, I want you to confirm or dispute my impression.
By the way, if I’m right, the Cowboys should run a lot–play after play–against the Chargers. With McCarthy and Moore, I don’t think they’ll do that, though.
I think the chances are greater that the Colts will do this. I think relying on the run game is better way to rehabilitate Wentz, even the Rams defense didn’t invite the run. Also, I think the Rams defense will be on par with the Chiefs. The Colts defense is solid, but if I’m right, they won’t be able to stop the Rams offense completely. The best approach is for the Colts offense to stop the Chief offense–by keeping the latter off the field.
Let’s say when I watch the Cowboy, Charger game I see that the Chargers play a lot of seven man fronts on early downs. Is that the wrong thing to do in today’s game? I think against any of the two back sets (pro or i-formation), I would say that running a seven man front would seem the best way to defend it. Maybe I’m not understanding what you are trying to point out.
I’ll just say, a lot of people are saying Staley is the McVay of defense. That doesn’t mean he will be a great head coach, but in terms of designing a defense. I heard he was running stuff last year on third down that nobody else runs in the NFL. Not in terms of overall style, but in terms of individual plays.
Let’s say when I watch the Cowboy, Charger game I see that the Chargers play a lot of seven man fronts on early downs. Is that the wrong thing to do in today’s game?
Just get a general impression of how light and spacious their fronts look and how often they utilize this. (I feel like their LBs are way off the LOS, too.) Again, I could be wrong–that’s why I’m asking you and Mitchell to watch for this–to see if you guys are seeing what I’m seeing or it’s just me. When I watch the defense, I find myself saying, “keep running it.” (I’m probably going to taint your perception, but just try to not let that influence you.)
As for Staley, the McVay comparison is apt, in the sense that his scheme may elevate the players to a greater degree than other coaches/schemes. Besides, I Donald and Ramsay, I don’t get the sense that their defensive roster is great. But they fielded a really good defense.
But here’s what I recall reading about the defense: Staley doesn’t mind if offenses run because they likely won’t be able to effective move down the field this way. A big negative play would eventually occur and derail the approach. Actually, I don’t know if the writer was projecting his opinion when explaining the defense.
A part of me can’t believe Stayley believes this–especially if his schemes are run-friendly by design. But then I’ve seen teams run well against them–the Packers, 49ers. Even in last week’s games, the Bears (not know as a great running team) and WFT got the run game going–when they stuck with it, running consecutively.
More on Staley.
Someone on the Ringer said that they utilized light fronts and two high safeties 76% of the time. That seems really high. I just skimmed the Charger-WFT game, and I also noticed 6 man fronts–but that was with 5 D-linemen and 1 LB. But in a lot of wide space of the LBs, off the ball, stood out again.
Ultimately, it just seems like offenses will be able to run on this defense. The question is, will the be willing to run enough–and run effectively–to exploit this.
One thing I’ll say in Stayley’s favor. I recall that the Rams would make really good second half adjustments. I’m not entirely sure about this, but that was the sense I got for several games.
Reid was correct in that the Chargers were getting gashed on defense against the run. But the Chargers ball control on offense kept their defense fresh, I’m guessing. Overall Staley’s Chargers seemed overmanned, yet played well. Like what Reid was saying, the Cowboys derailed themselves a few times and it cost their offense some points. The Chargers D were great on third and long.
Overall, Herbert was fantastic. After two weeks, I would say Herbert is a top ten QB (like the preseason discussion we had on this board), and in the conversation for top five. That being said, Herbert probably cost the Chargers the game, with the pick in the end zone. I’m not sure what he was throwing at, but Allen did fall down close to where the ball was intercepted. I think overall Herbert looked better than Dak did in this one, but Dak looked good too, with the exception of his interception.
I agree with Don that Herbert could be top 5. He made unreal throws, but, yes, that INT hurt.
Watching the Cowboys, I thought they should had Dak operate under center more often, handing it off and using play action.
For not having D-Law and Gregory, I thought the pass rush got good pressure on Herbert, and their defense looked pretty good, although they had one or two key missed tackles and/or blown assignments.
I only caught the end of this game to see Zuerlein kick the long field goal.
I forgot to ask: Don, what did you think of McCarthy going for it on 4th and 5 with about 5:00 minutes to the half? I thought he should have kicked that.
I thought with the way the Cowboys were moving the ball (and the way the Chargers were moving the ball as well), add to that where they were on the field, I agree with them going for it. I think at that point in the game you could see the final score being in the thirties for both teams. So going for points would make sense. Looking back with the ending score 20-17, that could have been the difference had the Chargers not shoot themselves in the foot at the end of the half. But at the time, I think it was the right decision. I thought that fourth and five play to Amari was more (or just as much) pass interference as the interception against Cooks which was called pass interference.
To me, the teams like sort of evenly matched, though. The might have been moving the ball, but did you think the Cowboys defense looked bad? If the Cowboys were playing the Chiefs, going for it might have been more defensible to me. (On the other hand, I would worry that I would be unintentionally undermining the confidence of my defense.)
Bad INT by both QBs. I like the Colts game plan, overall though.
The Colts red zone offense is not that great. I also thought they should have play-actioned with the QB under center a bit more.
Rams well on the last drive….And Eason loses the game.
Rough day for the Zach Wilson. On the bright side, the Jets front seven looked solid. Saying that the Patriots OL looked overwhelmed may be going a little too far, but not by much. They were having difficulty, especially versus the run.
I like the way the Patriots have all sort of different runs and hand-offs, as well mis-direction, trick plays. (If you play the Patriots, you should be ready for 1-2 a game)
I stopped about half way through the 4th.
The Bills won easily, but what stands out to me is Josh Allen’s accuracy. He had similar problems in the first game, but I chalked that up to rustiness and playing a good defense. The Dolphins are a good defense, too, but that doesn’t explain the errant passes. Specifically, it looks like Allen is trying to throw with touch, almost lofting passes, as if he wants to make sure he won’t overthrow a pass. I wonder if it’s because they have Emmanuel Sanders instead of John Brown and the timing is off. Allen’s accuracy was good last year. I know he had problems in his rookie year, and his second year, but last year his accuracy looked good. It’s kinda weird to me if it would now deteriorate, especially if WRs are getting open and the pass pro is decent. My guess is that he and the pass catchers are out of sync.
The other thing: The Bills defense looked good. But I also don’t get the sense the Dolphin OL is very good. (Same as the Steelers OL last week.)
I saw the first half, and the Bills d-line overwhelmed the Dolphin’s o-line especially on passing plays. I didn’t get this impression against the Steelers, at least in terms of pass-pro (The Steelers o-line was garbage in the run game for sure, though.).
I agree that Allen’s accuracy wasn’t great at least in the first half. This is the same impression I had of Allen against the Steelers. But Allen wasn’t playing bad. It’s just all the talk of his accuracy last year, is probably setting a high bar for Allen and at least in this season thus far he is not reaching that bar. Of the guys I have seen this year, Brady, Tua, Dak, Big Ben, Josh Allen, Carr, Lamar, Mahomes, and Mayfield, I would put Josh probably closer to the bottom, maybe only above Tua and Big Ben in this small sample size.
I don’t know if the 49ers defense is really good or if Jalen Hurts is just mediocre–probably some combination.
The Eagles defense, especially their DL, looked good, although by the end, it seemed like Shanahan found successful running plays.
The Panthers dominated the Saints. The Panther front four stood out to me. If the Saints have one of the best OLs in the league (and I wouldn’t necessarily say that), then the Panthers have one of the best front fours. (Note: The Saints were missing Lattimore, Davenport, and Alexander–that’s a big deal. They were also missing six coaches due to COVID.
The score would have been worse, if not for a block FG and a dumb INT by Darnold. That INT is a concern, Darnold had another foolish pass that was luckily not intercepted. At this point, I would prefer that Darnold not scramble–just throw the ball away or take a sack. Actually, he gets in trouble when he tries to do something when he’s in the grasp. If he just takes a sack once he’s in the grasp or real close to it, he’d be a lot better.
This is an vivid example of how ball control–specifically, the ability to consume the clock–is just as important as scoring. It’s also a game that demonstrates you can wearing down the opponent with the run game. If you told me the Seahawks offense broke a the record for shortest possessions in a game, I would believe you. I don’t blame the defense for losing this (although there was a costly penalty in OT).
As to the second point, the Hawks control the run game in the first half. Vrabel was just super patient, sticking to the run, even when they were down. But the Hawks short possessions really helped them do this as well.
If the Seahawks don’t get better at controling the ball, they have no chance of winning the Super Bowl.
Did you guys see the Titans-Seahawks game? I’m curious to see who you blame for the loss? I blame the offense. I don’t know if the blame goes to Russ, the new OC, or Carroll. But I blame the offense over the defense.
This game wasn’t on TV. They showed the end after the Cowboy dominate win.
Yeah I only saw the end.
after the Cowboy dominate win.
As Tiger Woods said, when he saw a “Go Bears!” luggage tag on Collin Morikawa’s bag–“Yeah, right.”
This game weakens the case that the Steelers defense is great. One of the big tests for the Steelers is their pass-coverage especially against a spread offense. You guys know how I like run-based offenses; and I think Gruden doesn’t marry the run and pass well. Tonight, I actually wanted him to pass more.
Steelers offense doesn’t look so hot.
I was rooting for the Vikings so watching them miss the last second field goal makes me sick. On the positive side, Clint Kubiak, looks like he has the touch his dad and Mike Shanahan had. (He had two nice calls on that last drive–a draw play and a screen.)
The Cardinals needed to be taken seriously.
I thought the Raiders o-line looked better than Bills line against the same opponent even when Watt was playing. And I thought the Steeler’s o-line did better than the Raven’s o-line against the same opponent. But I understand the style of offense may dictate how the d-lines play.
How would you rank the following teams: Cardinals, Chargers, Patriots, and Saints after two weeks? Just so I know what “taken seriously” means.
I forgot to mention the Raiders OL. They definitely did better than the Bills OL; and they were sufficient, especially against 4 pass rushers. I agree about the Steelers OL doing better than the Ravens OL last week, but that’s not saying much.
How would you rank the following teams: Cardinals, Chargers, Patriots, and Saints after two weeks? Just so I know what “taken seriously” means.
I think they’re all close together on the top of tier 2. Saints probably will drop a notch below. The Seahawks and Bills will drop a little. The Rams will go up–alone at the top of tier 2 or right with the Chiefs and Bucs. (I’m not sure if I should move the Chiefs, and I haven’t seen the Bucs play yet.)
Interesting. I’m rooting against the Vikings this season, or at least trying to. When I actually see them in action I can feel myself rooting for them and have to remind myself that I dislike them this year.
You mean, because of the players who refused to get vaccinated?
I can’t remember–did you say the Vikings were the least vaccinated? I would be annoyed at WFT, team, too (unless they’re all vaccinated now). The Saints had 6 coaches who came down with COVID, but maybe they were vaccinated?
It was true sometime in the off season. I don’t know if it’s true now, but even if it’s not, I’m rooting against them until Kirk Cousins takes back everything he’s said about the vaccinations and says sorry.
Wow, what a win for the Ravens. They looked totally different–i.e., better– from last week, on both sides of the ball. And this is with two INTs from Lamar (one of them being a pick 6). (Mahomes had a bad INT as well, and Edwards-Helaire fumbled, which definitely contributed to the loss.)
The Ravens looked like Nebraska or Oklahoma offenses of yore, with Lamar in the Tommy Frazier or Jamelle Holleway role.
Even though the Chiefs scored 28 points on them, the Ravens defense looked way better.
Honey Badger and Frank Clark played but the Chiefs defense still looks pretty bad, especially against the run. (And the Ravens were missing starting linemen.) They contained Tyreek Hill, which seems like a must when you play the Chiefs.
I liked that the Ravens went for it on 4th. The Ravens were running over the Chiefs all day. (I didn’t like that they passed on the 2 pt. conversion, or they should have at least done a run fake.)
That Mahomes INT wasn’t just bad. It was Benny Hill bad. He’s too experienced for that silliness now.
The long Kelce catch and run was a thing of beauty, as was the Jackson jump pass to a ridiculously wide-open receiver. I was on the road for the whole fourth quarter so I missed it.
A part of me feels the Mahomes mistake was something that you have to live with. Remember that ridiculous throw he almost completed in the Super Bowl. Or, last week he just threw up a ball to Tyreek Hill. As long as the INTs are rare, I think you just live with it. Then again, the timing of the INT was really bad.
That jump throw from Lamar reminded me of the one that Kaepernick did in the 2013 NFCCG, although Kaep’s was a lot more difficult.
Nobody else thinks Lamar looks better just in terms of running this year then he did at least in the second half of last year. Maybe top end speed is the same, but he looks a little bit more shifty and explosive. It could be he wears downs during the year and/or Covid affected him, but to me he looks like the first year he started right now.
I don’t have a vivid memory of Lamar’s running last year. Maybe he didn’t have as many highlights, but what stood out more was the decline of their OL. It took a dip from 2019, maybe especially in pass pro.
The Falcons got blown out (two turnovers for TDs), but they actually look better than the score, to me. They kind of remind of the the 2020 Panthers. They play hard, and even for better opponents, I don’t think they will be an easy win.
I like the comparison. The Falcons have talent, that’s for sure.
As for talent, actually, I don’t know very little about their talent level, especially on defense. Same with the Panthers. I’m just going by what I see.
What stood out for me: The Lions might have one of the better OLs in the league, at least based on two games.
The Lions had trouble stopping the run game. I felt like the Packers got away from that. I guess, it didn’t matter, though.
(I might be seeing things, but I see a hybrid of LaFleur’s offense and Rodgers’s–McVay pro style vs. shotgun spread. I can’t help but feel they would do less shotgun if LaFleur had his druthers.)
I agree with the Lion’s o-line based on this game. They have a good foundation there and they are a young group from what I understand. The announcers also said they are missing probably their best lineman in Taylor Decker. The Lion’s have almost zero receivers though.
I agree about the Lions WRs.
Don, what’d you think about my comments about the Packer offense? Did you think they got away from the run game? Does the shotgun sets feel like something from the older offense (not that LaFleur wouldn’t have shot gun sets), and that Rodgers is getting his way by utilizing those sets and passing more often?
Yeah I thought they would run more since they were so successful early, but maybe they got impatient after they fell behind.
Or it could be that the Lions changed what they were doing on defense. I know early they were only playing two high, which is why the announcers said the Packers were running early on. Maybe they changed up after being gashed early? I’m not sure. I will say AJ Dillion is a drop off from Jones in terms of running and blocking too I understand. I didn’t get that impression with Jamaal Williams.
Rodgers threw the ball 27 times; the Packers ran the ball 31 times officially, although 7 of those carries were by Rodgers and Love. I wish the regular box scores had the drop-back numbers because they’d be more telling.
On the other hand, Jones had 3 TDs receiving, but at least two of them were jet sweeps — statistically receptions but practically rushes. I hope this means the team is gaining confidence in its run game and will rely on it more.
Stat to watch: D’Andre Swift ran the ball 8 times and averaged 4.6 yards. He caught 4 passes for 41 yards. All purpose yards: 78. It’s a step.
Maybe they changed up after being gashed early?
That’s a good point. I hadn’t thought of that. I guess, when I see Rodgers in the shotgun, and they seem to be passing a lot more, I automatically assume Rodgers wants this, whether the defense calls for this or not.
I will say AJ Dillion is a drop off from Jones in terms of running and blocking too I understand. I didn’t get that impression with Jamaal Williams.
I thought there was a drop-off with Williams. I actually didn’t think that highly of Williams. He was OK, but not someone I’d prioritize to keep. (He looked decent for the Lions.)
There has to be a drop off from Jones. I think he probably is a top five runner, maybe even top three. He’s great. But with Williams, he could be a better receiver and blocker than Jones and a very decent runner. I thought Dillon was good last year, but in this game he looked slow. But maybe it’s just looks like that when comparing to Jones, but I don’t remember having that impression last year.
I meant to say that I agree–there was a drop-off from Jones to Williams. (Egad.) But I don’t have my opinion of Jones is as high as yours–but that’s partly because he’s not really my type of RB. (I’m not big on Kamara and McCaffery, either.) I’d want him to be a little more physical or a tougher runner. I’m not saying he’s bad or anything–I think he’s good, although I’m not sure I’d pay a lot to keep him.
I don’t recall Dillon playing a lot or having a lot of impressive games. I want to say he came on the playoffs. Aaron Jones looked better. Dillon seems to have more power or seems harder to bring down, though. (I haven’t really seen much of him this year.)
How do you like Jonathan Taylor? I’m not that impressed for some reason. (I actually am not that impressed with the Colts run game, even though they put up good numbers.)
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