23 thoughts on “2021-2022 NFL Week 3

  1. Sun
    Colts-Titans
    Falcons-Giants
    Chargers-Chiefs
    Bengals-Steelers
    Bears-Browns
    Ravens-Lions
    Saints-Patriots
    Cardinals-Jaguars
    WFT-Bills
    Jets-Broncos
    Dolphins-Raiders
    Seahawks-Vikings
    Buccaneers-Rams
    Packers-49ers

    Mon
    Eagles-Cowboys

  2. Thoughts on Panthers, Texans:

    Darnold is good enough. He may be just slightly better than average, but that means he’s better than about half of the starting QB, in my opinion. He has a good arm and is really good outside of the pocket. His trouble has always been turnovers, but he didn’t show those tendencies in this game.

    The Panthers could be good, but I think their o-line is average. And their receivers are not good. DJ Moore is close to a number one, but outside of him I would think their receivers may not even be average as compared to the rest of the league.

    Davis Mills has potential. He’s really calm in the pocket and moves pretty well. He does look like he has an average arm in terms of strength, maybe even less than average.

    The Texans seem to have a bad roster, and I mean really bad. The fact they can stay competitive in this game and win a game, albeit from the Jags, says something about them.

    1. His trouble has always been turnovers, but he didn’t show those tendencies in this game.

      Didn’t he get stripped twice in the pocket? I know he got stripped once. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m becoming very skeptical that he can lead a team to the Super Bowl. Here’s the thing with Darnold. I think his arm is above average–he can make some difficult throws, especially when he’s on the move, trying to extend a play. He has a good amount of that spontaneous genius that Bill Walsh talked about–in the sense that he can make something good happen when a play breaks down. This is one of the best parts of his game.

      But it’s also the worst parts of his game–because it’s in these moments when disaster will happen. In the previous week (I think), he tried to get rid of the ball while in the grasp, and made an awful turnover. Yesterday, when he was stripped, he was oblivious to the rusher. It happens, but this type of miscues while moving in the pocket seem to happen more with Darnold.

      How does a QB like Darnold know when to give up on a play? It’s not an easy question to answer. The QB has to have both good instincts and a sense for things around him, as well as good processing of information. And, they have to be able to execute–including successfully getting rid of the ball safely. (Mayfield failed at that last week with disastrous consequences.) The latter requires talent as well.

      Watching Darnold should make fans appreciate Russ more,especially when he scrambled more. At one point, I actually wanted to make a highlight reel of Russ avoiding sacks by getting rid of the ball at the last moment.

      In a way, I wish Darnold would play more in the pocket, and eschew scrambling. Pair him up with a strong run game and good defense, and that might be enough to go deep into the playoffs. I don’t think he could do that, though.

      The Texans seem to have a bad roster, and I mean really bad. The fact they can stay competitive in this game and win a game, albeit from the Jags, says something about them.

      That was the impression I had going into the season, but when I’ve watched them, they’ve surprised me–they’re better than I thought they would be. I don’t know if they don’t have talent, or if they’re just no name players to me. Or, maybe my expectations were so low that if they’re not awful, they would seem decent.

      I’ll put it this way: I don’t get the sense that playing them is an easy win.

      I agree with you about Mills. He looked decent, too.

      1. I only remember one strip, but you could be right there may have been two. The one I remember you can put that are Darnold, but it wasn’t like he was doing something dumb. He was looking down the field and didn’t feel the pressure on the outside. I can see that same play happen to all QBs.

        I was mostly referring to the bad turnover in which you were referring to in the bulk of your post (I did see the one against the Saints, which would definitely count.). Basically making a boneheaded play. I didn’t see him do that at least this week. I think we have to look at Darnold with the Jets in a different light. He was on a really bad team and at least for me I’m willing to judge Darnold without the Jet’s history, which is how my comment should be framed.

    2. He was looking down the field and didn’t feel the pressure on the outside. I can see that same play happen to all QBs.

      Right, but if this kind of thing happens repeatedly–if the QB doesn’t have good pocket awareness that’s a bad thing. There’s a difference between being poised in the pocket and being oblivious to the pass rush or recklessly ignores it. I’m getting the strong feeling that Darnold is in the latter camp.

      I think we have to look at Darnold with the Jets in a different light. He was on a really bad team and at least for me I’m willing to judge Darnold without the Jet’s history, which is how my comment should be framed.

      I totally agree. That’s why I was really interested in seeing Darnold play for the Panthers. I thought he could really turn things around. He’s doing good things, but I’m still seeing the behaviors that increase the chances of turnovers. His strength seems to be moving around and extending plays, but I feel like if he does that too much, he’ll make a costly mistake. If the Panthers could have an offense where Darnold could make 90% of his plays within structure, I think that would help.

      In a way the situation is similar to Wentz, and even Rodgers when LaFleur took over. For all three QBs, the goal should be to reduce improvisation, even avoid it, and focus on playing within the structure of the play. This includes getting used to throwing away the ball, instead of extending a play. All three have the ability to improvise–so I think that ability will always be there. (It’s like Steve Young always had the ability to run, but he forced himself not to in order to develop his pocket skills. Once he developed the latter, he could add his running to his game. That is, he didn’t lose his ability to run. I doubt Darnold, Wentz, or Rodgers would lose their ability to scramble and throw. Reich and Wentz seem to be doing this now, and I think that’s a good thing. It doesn’t seem like the Panthers and Darnold are attempting this plan.)

  3. Seahawks-Vikings

    Welp, at least the Seahawks offense didn’t a better job of controlling the ball, at least for the first half. It was their defense that was disappointing. The Vikings offense was in total control for most of the game.

    Saints-Patriots

    Saints defense controlled this game. They shut down the Patriot run game. For a while, their DL looked like they were overwhelming the Patriot OL. The Saints offense did a good job of mixing up the run and passes.

  4. Buccaneers-Rams

    What stood out: The Rams defense. I almost want to say the defense won the game. The offense played well, too, but Stafford’s accuracy seemed a bit shaky at times–it seemed out of character. But it didn’t matter because the defense was in control for the most part.

    With regard to the Bucs, I either gave up on the run too early, or they just couldn’t run effectively, particularly from the shotgun. At some point, the run game was a non-threat when Brady was in the shotgun.

  5. The Las Vegas – Miami game was fun. I totally forgot about this until I read the comments section after a piece on The Athletic, but in Gruden’s first stint, in the Gannon years, the Raiders spread the ball around to a lot of different receivers: Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Jerry Porter, and Doug Jolley. RB Charlie Garner had 900+ yards receiving too.

    I commented to my dad that when Carr is firing, it looks like the Raiders have seven receivers out there and he just has to find the open guy. It’s like a mega-spread. I know Waller’s the number 1, but Hunter Renfrow in the slot and elsewhere seems super valuable.

    The other thing I’ll remember is the late sack of Brissett where Maxx Crosby basically powered two linemen back and reached around to drag the QB down. It was kind of amazing. I was hoping someone put it on YouTube but I haven’t found it.

    1. Some general comments:

      I feel like the Raiders offense wore down the Dolphins defense. They had some nice drives. If it wasn’t for the pick 6, the Raiders may have been able to put away this game earlier.

      I feel like Gruden is a coach who really doesn’t marry the run and pass games, even though both can be effective in the offense. When Carr is under center, the Raiders run most of the time–and for some reason, Gruden seems to have an aversion for play action in this situation. Maybe Carr would not be good at this, but I’ve noticed this trend going back to when Gruden first coached with the Raiders, and it’s one of the reasons I never really liked him.

      Also, when they’re in shotgun they tend to pass or their run game isn’t that much of a threat. Having said that, they started running more from the shotgun in the second half, and had success.

      In spite of my criticisms of Gruden and Carr, I do think Gruden drew up good plays–and he has weapons. Also, Carr can make some really good throws. (Still, I still think his footwork stinks, and when he’s throwing off platform, he can make some bad throws.)

      I thought the Raiders defense looked solid, and I give credit to Brissett at the end for making some good plays. (The Raiders had some costly penalties though. But then again, the Dolphins defense had a bunch of costly penalties earlier in the game, which helped the Raiders offense control the ball.)

  6. You guys are high on the Raider’s chances this year? I saw some NFL Power Rankings that had the Raiders in the top ten. You guys agree with that? The real test is this week against the Chargers.

    1. Not high on their chances yet. Baltimore was a good win. Steelers wasn’t meaningless, since it’s a West Coast team traveling east in a short week, but maybe anyone would have beaten the Steelers that day. Miami was interesting but not especially enlightening. They could easily be 1-2 with the one win being vs. the Steelers.

      But how they’ve won is encouraging.

    2. I didn’t watch the Raiders this weekend, but the Raiders haven’t been high on my list. (They may not have been in the top three tiers.) I don’t give them much of a chance.

      For one thing, I believe there is a high probability that Carr (or someone else–but mostly Carr) will do 1-3 boneheaded plays a game–the kind of thing that would cause a team to lose in the playoffs.

      Second, I need to see more from their defense. They looked better than I’ve seen them in a long time, but I need to see more.

      1. Well. In fairness, you’ve seen two of their three games. Perhaps the thing you need to see was on display this past Sunday. 🙂

        My feeling (and it’s just a feeling) is that the offense is starting to click in a manner I’d be concerned about if I were the rest of the AFC, because if things keep going the way they are going, one or two boneheaded plays by anyone can be made up for against 75% of the league. As they were in weeks 1 and 3.

    3. one or two boneheaded plays by anyone can be made up for against 75% of the league.

      Yeah, but now think which teams are in the playoffs–not the 75% of teams, but closer to the 25%–i.e., the better teams that will take advantage of those boneheaded plays.

      1. The top 44% of the league make the playoffs; the top 25% make the conference semis, so if the Raiders are among the best of the teams likely to make 1 or 2 boneheaded plays per game, then the top 10 is about right.

        If they happen to play a solid game, or maybe make only 1 boneheaded play instead of 2, or the other team makes the same number of boneheaded plays, that makes the Raiders a contender for the AFC championship game. After what I’ve been through, I’ll take that. 🙂

    4. I’m definitely closer to Mitchell than Reid. I really like the weapons Carr has, and it’s so much the individual talent, but the diversity. I like that they have Ruggs the can-opener and Edwards, who is amazing, but probably underutilized, and of course the all-world Waller. I think they have good RBs as well. And the defensive coordinator at least at this point seems like a big upgrade.

      The pause is the o-line seems average, but there are a lot of NFL teams under that category and some good teams too. They don’t have great talent on defense, and the biggest “pause” is Carr. I agree with Reid that this guy cannot be trusted, especially after what we saw the last couple seasons and how far he falls in the second half of season. I would say in defense of Carr falling this year is his collection of skill players should be way better just based on experience because they are a really young group.

    5. Did Edwards have a great game against the Dolphins? He’s not a guy I’d mention, and Ruggs is underwhelming to me. The two guys I would mention is Waller and Renfrow. The latter could be becoming one of the better slot WRs. I really like him.

      On defense, I think they have more talent than they’ve had in a while, and maybe Bradley is an upgrade. But I need to see more, before I fully buy in.

      1. Man, I really believe Edwards can be special. He’s huge and super physical and has good speed on the outside and has great hands. Does he not remind you of a AJ Brown? I made the comment that he is underutilized cause Carr doesn’t give him many targets. It would seem like Edwards is a guy if you are in trouble, just throw it up, and give him a chance to get it. I sort of agree with you in terms of Ruggs, and that he is more of a one-trick pony. But what a darn trick that is.

        I think Renfrow is good, but when you say one of the better slot receivers are you comparing him to guys like Beasley and Humphreys or comparing him to some of the elite slots like CeeDee Lamb, Thielan, Keenan Allen and Cupp. He seems more like in the Beasley category as in third receiver.

    6. Does he not remind you of a AJ Brown?

      Honestly, that didn’t come to mind. I didn’t realize he was that big.

      I sort of agree with you in terms of Ruggs, and that he is more of a one-trick pony. But what a darn trick that is.

      I’m a little surprised about the enthusiasm in that last sentence. I would express that type of enthusiasm for Renfrow more than Ruggs.

      He seems more like in the Beasley category as in third receiver.

      Yeah, I thinking of Renfrow as a WR3–as in one of the best WR3/slots.

  7. I think it’s worth pointing out that Ruggs just played his 16th NFL game, and Edwards just played his 15th. With that in mind, do they look like potentially better or worse than competent 1st and 2nd starting WRs in the NFL? I see more reason to be optimistic than pessimistic.

    Here’s a sincere question. Ten minutes into the game, the Raiders had the ball on the Miami 21. Carr threw a pass intended for Foster Moreau (a tight end) but missed wide. The Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts, who ran it back for the TD.

    Charles Davis explained during the replay that the INT was Moreau’s fault. He was bolting for the right sideline then eased up and headed for the end zone. Davis said once the QB cocks his arm back, the receiver is supposed to continue his route. Carr threw it where he thought Moreau was running, but Moreau wasn’t there.

    Is this a boneheaded mistake, or just a mistake? Is it the kind of thing a typical second-string TE makes when he hasn’t played that many NFL games? Or is boneheadedness a descriptor of the mistake and its result, regardless of who commits it?

    1. (Note: I just watched the game.)

      With that in mind, do they look like potentially better or worse than competent 1st and 2nd starting WRs in the NFL? I see more reason to be optimistic than pessimistic.

      But (slightly) better than competent is damning with feint praise in my view.

      Is this a boneheaded mistake, or just a mistake? Is it the kind of thing a typical second-string TE makes when he hasn’t played that many NFL games? Or is boneheadedness a descriptor of the mistake and its result, regardless of who commits it?

      This one specific mistake may not be boneheaded per se, but I think the issue is the frequency of these type of mistakes. That is, when it seems like a pattern, then the word “boneheaded” seems apt. For example, there were two more similar mistakes–a high snap to Carr that went over his head, and Barber fumbling on the goal line. You could say the defense made a good play that caused the fumble (and luckily the ball fell into Ingold’s hands), but, again, this is the kind of thing that seems to have 1-3 times a game for the Raiders.

      1. I think if the runner is taking good care of the ball, you can’t blame him if the ball gets punched out, and it’s not a mistake. How do you defend against that? Defenders are going to try to punch the ball out, and there’s only so much you can do, and they are going to succeed some percentage of the time.

        Also, are you saying that boneheadedness sometimes isn’t a kind of mistake but a tendency to make mistakes? I guess I can see that. So let’s say there were only the three mistakes you cite. Boneheaded by virtue of there being three of them?

    2. Also, are you saying that boneheadedness sometimes isn’t a kind of mistake but a tendency to make mistakes?

      Yes, I think so. When these kinds of mistakes seem to keep happening, then the word “boneheadedness” seems to be appropriate.

      So let’s say there were only the three mistakes you cite. Boneheaded by virtue of there being three of them?

      Not just three in one game, but 1-3 every game. That suggests it’s not just an accident or bad luck (e.g., defense doing a good job of punching out the ball).

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