3 and Out – Thoughts from Week 2 in the NFL

CAVE is introducing a new weekly segment, where Jansen Shrubb our resident NFL expert will address three issues from the previous week of games. Agree or disagree? We want to hear about it in the comments section below.

The Kneel Down

I was one hour into my Sunday ritual which begins with Chris Berman and ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown when I saw a special on the Giants from last season.  Apparently the team had been inspired by Holland Reynolds, a female collegiate cross-country runner who collapsed only steps from the finish line due to dehydration.  Holland crawled across the finish line to make sure her team avoided disqualification.  By “finishing”, Holland secured her team the championship.

The theme of ‘finishing’ was used by the Giants throughout their Super Bowl run last season.

Seems a bit ironic that Giants coach Tom Coughlin was so upset after the Bucs fired off the ball when the Giants were taking a knee at the end of the game.  Was it classless? Maybe.  After all, Eli did tell them he was taking a knee which is code for, “don’t try and cripple my offensive line when they are in a vulnerable position.”

Before the game the coaches should get together and decide what the ‘kneel-down’ protocol is at the end of the game.  That way no one is caught off guard, which is the only reason the play was dangerous in the first place.  After all, Bucs coach Greg Schiano only wanted his players to do exactly what inspired the Giants to a Super Bowl.  Finish.

Rookie QBs

Andrew Luck orchestrated a game winning drive with 31 seconds on the clock.  He looked a lot like Peyton Manning in what looked like the first of many game-winning drives. It’s true, the Colts made the right decision letting Manning go for Luck.

RGIII had a great fantasy performance, but failed to come away with the win.  Losing to the team that took 3 of your first round draft picks rubs a bit of salt in the wound.

Brandon Weeden looked like a different player this week.  He was efficient and accurate on the road against an above average defense.  Expect a Jackle and Hyde type season from Weeden, with Hyde in a starring role.

Ryan Tannehill looked more impressive this week due in large part to the success of Miami’s running game.  The defense could not stop Reggie Bush which allowed Tannehill to gain some favourable matchups off play action.

Russell Wilson is 1-1 and has already illustrated the toughness, leadership and decision making that led him to the starting job.  The surprise NFC West is 5-1 against non-divisional opponents.  Wilson will have the Seahawks in the thick of things come December.

Defense

The big story this week was the Patriots losing at home to the Arizona Cardinals.  Patriots fans need to step away from the ledge.  They will rebound, but the real story here is the Cardinals defense.  The defensive line of Darnell Docket, Dan Williams and Calais Campbell is one of the better units in the league.  I’m ready to put CB Patrick Peterson as the #1 cover corner in the NFC and with Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes manning the safety positions, this defense is very strong.  The Cardinals can contend if the offense limits turnovers.

The Philadelphia Eagles are 2-0 despite turning the ball over a league leading 9 times.  They have won because their star-studded defense is playing extremely well.  The Eagles will cut down on turnovers and when they do, this team becomes even better.  The defense is ready to contend for a Super Bowl.

For my money, the best teams in the NFL right now are the Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers.  They have no discernible holes and have handled their opponents with ease so far this season.  It is somewhat refreshing to see that, in a league where passing and superstar QB’s have become the fad, two teams that run the ball and play great defense are the cream of the crop.

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