Ten NFL teams suited up last night!….and about as many starters as well…..
But who cares! Football is back! Real, full uniforms, under-the-lights, inflatable-helmets-on-field, Jock-Jams-on-repeat, strippers(oops I mean cheerleaders)-on-the-sidelines, professional football! And not the kind where a crazed fan(who looks like Lyle from The Waterboy) can grab, nay, MOLEST a kick returner, without even leaving his seat.
Despite the fact that last nights games were played mostly by marginal roster-fillers, I have a few thoughts, mostly about the Patriots, so let’s start there:
- Everything I read in April was true about Nate Solder. This guy moves like a ballerina. I watched him closely at Pats’ practice on Tuesday, and if you just watch his lower half he’s the most agile guy out there, even at 6’8.” His hand placement needs work, I remember one play specifically where he was egregiously holding Aaron Morgan because his he couldn’t keep his hands inside, but you could say that about any rookie offensive lineman.
- I thought Stevan Ridley was supposed to be slow, and a liability in the passing game? He looked great Tuesday, and even better last night. If he does have any problems catching the ball, they didn’t stop Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett from trusting him on checkdowns. 7 for 47 and a TD are Faulkian numbers for a running back in the receiving game, Kevin or Marshall.
- Four sacks look great, but the number that really stands out is holding the Jags to 3 of 13 on 3rd downs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that the 2010 Patriots were 32nd in 3rd down defense.
- Tackling, yuck, both sides.
- I think Aaron Hernandez will finish third on the team in catches this year, behind Welker and Branch. Those fumbles last night were ugly, and I was pissed, but I think he was just a little too excited for his first action since his injury. He’ll get that fixed.
My thoughts on the other games last night:
- Nice catch by Larry Fitzgerald against the Raiders. He was covered, but he’s never been the fastest. He’s the best in the league at getting the ball. The real story on that play was that Kevin Kolb is competent enough to see Fitzgerald one-on-one and give him a chance. This is what Arizona was missing last year, and immediately makes them a contender in the worst division in pro sports.
- Vick to Celek is going to be key of the Eagles this year. I just don’t think the big play will be there for them as much as it was last season. So finding Celek over the middle is something Vick will need to get used to.
- The Broncos will be last in scoring this year, not matter who is the QB. Matt Prater will be a valuable fantasy kicker.
- Jordan Todman led the Chargers in rushing last night. I’m no trying to make a point here, just thought I should mention it. U-C-O-N-N