Welcome to this weekly National Football League column named the "Birden Bomb" in reference to my infatuation with the play in the video game Madden '96 which was known as the, as you can probably guess, the "Birden Bomb". I will provide a few thoughts on the week that was. Enjoy!
-Carolina beat Jacksonville handedly on Sunday so by no means can I fault the game plan of Head Coach Ron Rivera. However, color me confused asto why big 6'4 target Devin Funchess wasn't a more prevalent force. His two target, nine yard game was disastrous to my fantasy football team but more importantly for the Panthers they're not properly utilizing an asset for Cam Newton. Sure, all they have to do is show up on the field to beat the lowly Jaguars who I peg as perhaps the second worst team in the league only ahead of Cleveland but when they line up against a capable opponent like they will in week two against Houston they'll need that size to counter the Texans stingy defence.
-Speaking of those lowly Jaguars, this seems to be a yearly tradition in conversation but when will General Manager David Caldwell be held accountable for poorly this constructing this organization? I've seen better roster construction with the post 2011 Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Bombers are putrid even for CFL standards. Investing the fate of the franchise in Blake Bortles' arm isn't necessarily the worst concept out there but what reeked in week one was that Bortles has no deep threat. Anyone internalizing that Allen Robinson can be that required deep threat is off their rocking chair. Bad luck in the receiving corps has marred the Jags as Justin Blackmon was supposed to the wide-out savior a couple years back but he showed a greater desire for the banned substances then he did for staying on the gridiron.
-Marc Trestman is sure an offensive guru! After two years in conjunction with Jay Cutler ruining the Bears, he's up to his old tricks blanketing the Baltimore Ravens offence. The Ravens offence over the last while was serviceable as Joe Flacco put up decent numbers but if we can take anything positive from the week one loss to Denver, which we can't is that the defence is still the same old defence. Trestman completely stunted the creativity out of Flacco and didn't allow him to stretch out Steve "old man" Smith. Marc, this isn't the CFL and you don't have access to the leagues most accomplished quarterback in Anthony Calvillo which I'm now starting to wonder if that's the only reason he had success up north.
-J E T S are back! Now, Cleveland is beyond abysmal further hampered by losing Josh McCown but the New York Jets were impressive on both sides of the ball. Newly appointed head coach Todd Bowles who transported from leading the defence down in the desert has revitalized this once sorry franchise and are quite possibly bound as full fledged contenders in the AFC East.
-Here's a not so bold prediction and that it by seasons end Darren McFadden will be in full control of the team's running back responsibilities. Darren the dud in Oakland carried the ground game on his back as expected starter Joseph Randle was rendered ineffective early and as we all know, team owner Jerry Jones is a patient man and will have no issue endorsing the former Arkansas Razorback as his starting running back if Randle continues to fade out. McFadden just may be in line to have a few scores in big D, that's if of course he doesn't get a the signal from the coach not to score.
-In what will go down as this past week's "worst quarterback of the week" in an award that I will not present weekly as I just thought it was a catchy way to begin describing Houston Texans Brian Hoyer who had to be later spelled by Ryan "I deserve to start" Mallett. When analyzing the Houston Texans and this Chiefs-Texans game in particular two thoughts come to mind. A) I may have overvalued the signing of Hoyer and B) I wasn't sold on the Chiefs coming into the year but based off of this weekly performance they will most certainly stay in the American football conference west division. Hoyer had a miserable outing and that penchant he developed while a member of the Cleveland Browns of being a patient, drop back passer must of stayed behind in Ohio because what I saw was a quarterback who rushed his throw which led to Michael Bishop-esque(a Canadian reference) decisions.
-If I were a fantasy owner of Peyton Manning, which I'm not I would have justifiable reason to be concerned. Peyton Manning as was beautifully illustrated in the Sunday Night Football on NBC half-time show is one dimensional right now checking down the short ball and until he shows a willingness and an ableness to fire away the long ball, defences will jump all routes full well knowing they won't get beat deep. Take nothing away from the Baltimore Ravens defence as once again they possess a stellar unit although the indefinite loss of Terrell Suggs won't help any. Defensive compliments and all, Peyton needs to show a form of aggression otherwise the predictability will be far too great.
-As you'll be able to ascertain in an earlier entry, I have the Minnesota Vikings pegged for the playoffs. Tackle Anthony Barr will lead this terrific defensive unit for the Vikes. This UCLA Bruin alum has J.J Watt esque speed and has along with a few others transformed the team into having one of the league's most feared shut down group. Offensively the thing that stood out tonight in their matchup against the San Francisco 49'ers was the lack of commitment to the run game. "Rust" which I perceive always as an excuse some will say the reasoning for Adrian Petersons slow start seeing as how he missed practically the entire 2014 campaign but my rebuttal to that is that Peterson had the entire pre-season a pre-season that is far too long but that can be story for another day Teddy Bridgewater needs a productive Peterson because working off the play-action is where Teddy will excel.