The Daily Briefing Wednesday, September 13, 2017

AROUND THE NFL

 

Peter King did not like Week 1:

 

I don’t have the kind of memory that categorizes specific weeks of football. So I can’t say this week of NFL ball through 13 games is one of the worst ever. But I can say it stunk.

 

Week 1 margins of victory, through 14 games in 2016 and 13 in 2017 because of the Tampa Bay-Miami postponement:

 

2016: 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 6, 7, 9, 9, 19.

 

2017: 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 20, 20, 22, 37.

 

There’s no rhyme of reason to it. No trend here. Just a bad week to feed the ratings swoon.

 

– – –

Peter King compares the reaction of MLB and the NFL to the crime wave in New England:

 

I think there’s a lesson for the NFL in the way MLB is likely to handle the Red Sox sign-stealing. Follow me here:

 

• The Red Sox used electronic means—an Apple Watch, according to the New York Times—as part of a system to steal signals from the catcher to the pitcher in a series against the Yankees, and maybe in more games than that. Stealing signs is allowed in baseball. Stealing them with electronic or computerized aids is not.

 

• The Patriots may have used a scheme to deflate footballs so that they would have been more to the liking of Tom Brady’s grip. I say may have, because there was some significant circumstantial evidence, but it was never proven with certainty that such a scheme occurred.

 

• Sox 8-11 versus Yankees this year.

 

• In nine years before the investigation, Brady performed almost exactly the same at home (when home ball boys theoretically could fiddle with the footballs) and on the road. Nine-year home rating: 100.2. Nine-year road rating: 99.7.

 

• The MLB shelf life of the controversy is expected to be a month or less. The investigation and whatever discipline is meted out should be done by the end of the regular season, commissioner Rob Manfred said.

 

• The NFL shelf life for the Brady story—through the months of the reported $8 million investigation, the initial sanction, the court battles, the Brady suspension and all the way to the Thursday night game last week when Roger Goodell finally reappeared on the field in Foxboro and got massively catcalled—is 32 months.

 

As my friend Mark Leibovich of The New York Times reminded me Thursday night (and I’ve heard this so much over the years), Paul Tagliabue always liked to say, “All’s well that ends.” Not, “All’s well that ends well.” Get the story out of the papers and off the web. Resolve it. End it.

 

Going to war is costly for everyone. Save the jail sentences for true crime. MLB fined the Cardinals $2 million, and St. Louis employees lost jobs, for hacking into Houston’s scouting database. That’s true crime. Neither of these other ones is. As I said at the time of the Goodell ruling, he killed an ant with a sledgehammer in this case. If I’m right about the baseball sanction being a moderate fine and a loss of a draft choice that’s not very high, seems like a good lesson for the NFL: Reevaluate what true crime is.

 

Looks like the same thing is happening with EZEKIEL ELLIOTT.

– – –

An NFL insider, in a private conversation, reiterated the “watch the tape” explanation for why COLIN KAEPERNICK is unemployed – but surely he, and maybe ROBERT GRIFFIN III, are better than some of those like SCOTT TOLZEIN who have been and will be pushed into the breach as better QBs go down.

 

Jay Hart of YahooSports.com tries to figure out where Kaepernick’s somewhat diverse skill set (and lack of skill set like “accuracy”) might fit in:

 

Let’s see if we can add a little clarity to the debate that never ends: Should Colin Kaepernick be on an NFL roster?

 

There’s no debate Kaepernick is good enough. None. Even if you don’t like his non-stance during the national anthem, or that he’s been average at best since Jim Harbaugh left the Niners, Kaepernick is still better than the dumpster fire that was Scott Tolzien on Sunday.

 

But being good enough to be on a roster doesn’t mean he should be on a roster, not with the baggage Kaepernick brings. Even if you support his non-stance during the national anthem, reasonable people can agree that Kaepernick’s protests have not been without vitriol. He’s on multiple occasions compared police to slave patrols, worn socks depicting cops as pigs and has filled his Twitter feed with messages that America is “anti-black” and is predicated upon a system of “white supremacy.” He’s also attempted to shame several NFL owners by pointing out they donated to President Trump’s inaugural campaign. Putting aside what you think of Trump, are you hiring someone who’s attempted to publicly shame you?

 

So yeah, when it comes to Kaepernick, it’s more complicated than just, “Is he good enough to be on a roster?” The real question is: What’s the cost benefit of hiring Colin Kaepernick?

 

As a back-up quarterback, it’s a negative. No question. Kaepernick sitting on the bench earns a team no wins, only public relations points, and since polling shows more fans oppose Kaepernick’s non-stance, it’s a net-negative for ownership, even those he hasn’t personally targeted.

 

So signing Kaepernick to be a back-up makes no sense.

 

That leaves signing him as a starter. How many teams are starting quarterbacks right now they’d bench in favor of Kaepernick?

 

Let’s go through the list:

 

Bills: No, Kaepernick isn’t an upgrade to Tyrod Taylor

Dolphins: No, Jay Cutler, familiar with head coach Adam Gase’s system, is a better fit

Patriots: No

Jets: Yes

Ravens: No

Steelers: No

Browns: No, drafted a young QB, want to see what they have

Bengals: No

Jaguars: No, giving Blake Bortles one more shot

Colts: Yes (right now)

Texans: No, drafted a young QB, want to see what they have

Broncos: No

Raiders: No

Chiefs: No

Chargers: No

Eagles: No

Cowboys: No

Giants: No

Redskins: No

Vikings: No

Lions: No

Packers: No

Bears: No

Panthers: No

Falcons: No

Buccaneers: No

Saints: No

Rams: No

Seahawks: No

Cardinals: No

49ers: No, doesn’t fit their new offensive scheme

 

So two teams: the Jets and Colts.

 

The Jets are so bad, putting Super Bowl LI fourth-quarter Tom Brady under center wouldn’t improve their chances. Plus, owner Woody Johnson is one of those shamed on Kaepernick’s Twitter feed for donating to Trump’s inaugural committee, so no. Better to tank in the chase for Sam Darnold than scratch out an extra win or two with some stop gap.

 

That leaves the Colts. And this is where it gets interesting.

 

Does Indianapolis think it’s a playoff team with Andrew Luck under center? If so, and if they think Luck is going to be healthy enough to play at some point this season, do they think they have a quarterback to keep them in contention until he gets back?

 

It’s hard to believe Tolzien is that guy after Sunday’s disaster against the Rams, but is Jacoby Brissett? More to the point at hand, does Brissett provide the Colts a better chance to win than Kaepernick?

 

Maybe. Maybe not. Hard to determine given Brissett’s short (albeit serviceable) time on the field. And if you’re Colts owner Jim Irsay, is this a gamble you want to take? Probably not.

 

So while Colin Kaepernick is good enough to be on an NFL roster, there’s no place for him to go. Not as a starter. You can argue differently. Just remember you aren’t the one writing the checks to pay the bills.

 

We were on record as having agreed with Hart about the Colts in August when it was becoming apparent that ANDREW LUCK was on a slow walk to a return.  But since then they’ve acquired JACOBY BRISSETT who probably has about Kaep’s skills without the baggage.

 

NFC NORTH

 

DETROIT

Jamie Samuelson in the Detroit Free Press on what he saw Sunday:

 

So to recap, the 2016 Lions were 9-4 when Stafford was healthy and performing at an MVP level. They were 0-4 when he played with a dislocated finger. With Stafford back healthy and the rest of the roster pretty much the same, doesn’t it stand to reason that the Lions would be right back in the playoff hunt?

 

Week 1 is dripping with overreactions at every turn – so here’s one to add to the hopper. On Sunday, we learned that the real Detroit Lions are the ones that have a healthy quarterback and are never out of the game. They proved that they should be judged for how they played when Stafford was right and not be judged for the games when he was trying to overcome injury.

 

Stafford remains a quarterback with far more strengths than flaws. He added mobility to the list of pros by shedding weight during the past two off-seasons and even had the Lions longest run from scrimmage, a vital 15-yarder in the second quarter that led to the Lions first touchdown. He utilized wide receivers and running backs alike in moving the offense down the field rather consistently after a shaky start. And he technically led another fourth quarter comeback because the Cards led, 17-15, at the start of the fourth.

 

Sunday left plenty of concerns, mostly surrounding the special teams and the running game. The special teams can be cleaned up rather easily. And as much as we blast the unit as a whole, both Matt Prater and Jamal Agnew had very good games. As Jim Caldwell looks for someone to handle the kickoff returns, isn’t it fair to ask whether Agnew would be a suitable choice to do both. Maybe there’s some edge that Dwayne Washington had over Agnew, but the rookie’s speed and moves look like they’d work, no matter where he is on the field. If Kasey Redfern catches the snap in the end zone and Washington simply falls on the ball, the Lions special teams would have graded out a lot higher than they did.

 

The running game remains a concern, especially when you remove Stafford’s run and Redfern’s scamper away from the rushing total. But the Lions had the third-worst running attack in the league last year and still found their way into the playoffs with an injured quarterback. I’m not going to call the running back a bonus, but I think that Stafford has proven that he can succeed without it.

 

The Patriots aren’t dead. The Rams aren’t for real. And Stafford isn’t the best quarterback in the league. So let’s tap the brakes on reaching too many conclusions from one week of football. But when you couple what we saw on Sunday with what we’ve seen from a healthy Stafford ever since Jim Bob Cooter took over as the Lions offensive coordinator, maybe there is more reason for optimism than we even realized.

 

 

GREEN BAY

The Packers didn’t like what they saw from DT RICKY JEAN FRANCOIS.  Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com:

 

Ricky Jean Francois’ tenure with the Green Bay Packers lasted all of six snaps.

 

The veteran defensive tackle, who signed a one-year, $2 million contract in free agency this offseason, was released on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

 

Jean Francois, 30, was not a major part of the Packers’ defensive plan in Sunday’s regular-season opener against Seattle. He played only six snaps from scrimmage during the 17-9 victory.

 

The Packers must feel good about third-round pick Montravius Adams and Quinton Dial, the former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle who signed last week. Both were inactive against the Seahawks.

 

Adams returned to practice last week, the first time he was on the field since July 28. That’s when he dropped out after the second practice of training camp because of a foot injury that eventually required surgery. The Packers kept Adams on their 53-man roster instead of injured reserve because they believed he could contribute soon.

 

Dial, a fifth-year pro who started 26 games over the past two seasons for the 49ers, was held out of the opener because he did not practice with the Packers until last Thursday.

 

Also Tuesday, the Packers released cornerback LaDarius Gunter, a move that made room for receiver Geronimo Allison on the roster.

 

 

MINNESOTA

In case you wondered, the Vikings 29-19 win over the Saints on Monday was just the 3rd 29-19 game in NFL history.  The last was on November 19, 1998 when the Redskins won by that score over the Raiders.

 

 

NFC EAST

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News can’t believe how bad the Giants offense looked against the Cowboys:

 

Eli Manning and what was supposed to be the high-powered Giants offense wasn’t just bad in the season opener, they were Big Blue historically bad.

 

Okay, they would have scored more than three points if Odell Beckham Jr. was in uniform rather than wearing sweats on the sidelines after his sprained left ankle did not receive medical clearance following a pregame workout at AT&T Stadium.

 

Still, that’s no excuse for the offense virtually shutting down.

 

This is the 93rd year of Giants football and the ninth time they scored three or fewer points in the season opener, but only the fourth time in the last 60 years. The last time came in 1995, when the Cowboys shut them out, 35-0, at Giants Stadium. At least those Giants had an excuse: Dave Brown was the quarterback and Dallas went on to win its third Super Bowl in four years.

 

But this is a year the Giants and Cowboys each have Super Bowl expectations. If the Giants had won Sunday night, it would have been a bonus. Beating a Super Bowl contender on the road on opening night is not easy. Besides, the Giants lost in Dallas on opening night in 1986 and 2007 and they ended up winning the Super Bowl. Starting 0-1 is not all that hard to fix.

 

But just one field goal even without OBJ? That’s all they could do after working for this moment since the offseason program opened in April?

 

I would think that Beckham being able to run routes before the game Sunday night for the first time since he sprained his left ankle in Cleveland on Aug. 21 is a real positive regarding his availability for Monday night’s home opener against the Lions.

 

But this is a nervous time for Giants Nation. Bill Parcells used to say after a season-opening loss that he worried if his team would ever win a game. So, until that first one is registered in the left-hand column, you never know.

 

In the long history of the Giants, five of the nine openers that produced three or fewer points came from 1925-37, a much different offensive era, of course.

– – –

WR BRANDON MARSHALL is saying all the right things about his role.  Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Giants offense had no shortage of problems in last Sunday’s 19-3 loss to the Cowboys and one of the things that went less smoothly than planned was wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s regular season debut for the team.

 

Marshall was targeted once before halftime and four times overall on the way to one catch for 10 yards when the game was all but out of reach. It looked like there was one opportunity for a big play in the fourth quarter when Eli Manning saw Marshall open after evading the Dallas pass rush but the pass fell incomplete as the quarterback led Marshall more than Marshall seemed to be expecting.

 

Marshall’s new to the team and missed time this summer with a shoulder injury, which led to a question for Marshall about his chemistry with the quarterback.

 

“I’m not worried about that,” Marshall said, via the New York Daily News. “I’m worried about the offense being more efficient and starting faster.”

 

Getting Odell Beckham back in the lineup could help on the faster start front, but a run of games under 20 points dating back to Week 12 of last season suggests he won’t cure everything that ails the offense. The same would be true of a stronger game for Marshall, but the combination would be a step in a better direction for the Giants.

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

The Eagles have a new kicker in one JAKE ELLIOTT.  The from TheRedZone.org:

 

The Philadelphia Eagles have placed kicker Caleb Sturgis on injured reserve and signed kicker Jake Elliott off the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

 

Sturgis injured his quad in Sunday’s victory over the Washington Redskins.  He could be the team’s IR player designated to return but will have to miss at least eight weeks.  If Elliott performs well, the team may decide to use that designated-to-return spot on another position.  Sturgis was one of the league’s better kickers in 2016, making 18 of 22 field goals and 35 of 37 extra points. 

 

Elliott was drafted by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2017 draft after setting numerous school records at Memphis.  He does not have an especially strong leg but makes up for it in accuracy and ball placement.  It would not be a shock if Elliott ends up as the Eagles’ permanent kicker in 2017 and beyond.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

NEW ORLEANS

The DB thought that those who were quick to describe the body language of Sean Payton’s interaction with RB ADRIAN PETERSON as “heated” jumped the gun.  Dan Gartland of SI.com:

 

Adrian Peterson’s sideline shouting match with Sean Payton was a whole lot of nothing, according to them.

 

ESPN’s cameras caught Peterson shouting and glaring at Payton during the first half of Monday’s loss to the Vikings after Peterson had been on the field for just five of New Orleans’s 33 first-half snaps.

 

@_MarcusD2_

Sean Payton, Adrian Peterson on the sideline

 

The timing of the exchange led to speculation that Peterson was upset about his lack of playing time but both he and Payton squashed that after the game.

 

@AdrianPeterson

Let’s be clear…I said we need to run the ball up their Donkey. Nothing more. I’m passionate but respect my coach at the same time

 

 “We weren’t in any heated exchange,” Payton told reporters. “No. Listen, I’d tell you if we were in a heated exchange, so why don’t you ask him? He was into it, we were all into it, there was none that I can recall. And I’m being honest.”

 

The Saints couldn’t get anything going on the ground against Minnesota’s stout defense. As a team, they had 60 yards on 21 carries. Peterson had six carries for 18 yards, Mark Ingram had 17 yards on the same amount of carries and rookie Alvin Kamara carried seven times for 18 yards.

 

At the time, the DB thought it looked more like a “heh, don’t forget about me coach” moment that you would want from a competitor.  Not a “heated exchange.”

 

Media looking to fill a narrative.

 

Still, we have to wonder why the Saints signed Peterson in the first place with the serviceable MARK INGRAM and a brilliant 3rd-round pick.  Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com on RB ALVIN KAMARA:

 

It’s natural that the flashy new acquisition gets the most work.

 

But in New Orleans, that meant third-round running back Alvin Kamara, and not Adrian Peterson.

 

While Peterson was busy having positive communication with coach Sean Payton during his debut with the Saints, Kamara was busy on the field.

 

According to Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Kamara played 31 of the Saints 62 offensive snaps in Monday’s loss to the Vikings, more than any of their running backs. Incumbent starter Mark Ingram was next with 26, and Peterson had nine.

 

Kamara had seven carries for 18 yards and four catches for 20 yards. Ingram had six carries for 17 yards and five catches for 54 yards. Peterson had six carries for 18 yards.

 

Given the way Payton has always used running backs, it’s not a surprise that there’s not a single bell-cow back. If Peterson was expecting that when he signed, there will probably be many more chances for him and Payton to converse. More than anything, the fact he doesn’t offer much of third down is going to limit Peterson’s chances.

 

That’s where they think Kamara can become more of a factor, as he flashed big-play ability at Tennessee, where he averaged 5.8 yards per carry and 9.8 yards per reception in a part-time role.

 

NFC WEST

 

ARIZONA

The Cardinals have replaced their great Johnson with a once-great Johnson.  Kent Somers in the Arizona Republic:

 

The Cardinals re-signed veteran running back Chris Johnson in the wake of the serious injury to star David Johnson.

 

The Cardinals released Chris Johnson in their final roster cuts this year. The Cardinals also announced they had signed former Arizona State running back D.J. Foster off the Patriots practice squad.

 

David Johnson is expected to undergo surgery on his dislocated left wrist and miss two to three months. He was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Johnson has to spend at least eight weeks on injured reserve, which means the earliest he could return would be against Seattle on Nov. 9, a Thursday night game.

 

The Cardinals released offensive tackle Ulrick John.

 

The Cardinals now have five running backs on the roster: Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, Elijhaa Penny and Foster.

 

The second opinion sought by Johnson apparently confirmed the original diagnosis by the Cardinals’ medical team. Coach Bruce Arians said Monday that David Johnson’s injury was the same as that of Arizona rookie T.J. Logan. The timetable for Logan’s return was eight to 12 weeks.

 

Chris Johnson (5-11, 203) played in the preseason with the Cardinals after re-signing on July 20. He was released Sept. 2.

 

Chris Johnson didn’t show his characteristic speed and explosiveness during the preseason, which led to his release. But he has experience in the NFL and knowledge of Arians’ offense, which makes him valuable as a potential replacement for David Johnson.

 

Williams is expected to become the No. 1 back, but several others are likely to see action, including Johnson.

 

 

SEATTLE

The Seahawks were mediocre in Week One, but the offense and defense aren’t cats and dogs – yet.  Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

After the Seahawks’ offense mustered only 225 yards, nine points, and no touchdowns on Sunday, safety Earl Thomas spoke his mind.

 

“Man, it’s been like this for eight years, man,” Thomas told reporters on Sunday. “We understand that sometimes the offense isn’t in rhythm like they need to be.”

 

So does that kind of talk create issues between the offense and defense? Receiver Doug Baldwin addressed the topic during a Tuesday visit to PFT Live.

 

“You guys know this,” Baldwin said. “We’re very open with each other and vulnerable in our locker room. We speak truth. It’s very important to us is that we hold each other accountable and we’re honest with each other. Earl was being honest, and if I’m being honest he was speaking truth. It has been like this for a lot of years.”

 

There’s a business reason for it, as Baldwin sees it.

 

“The reality of the situation is that the majority of our money is spent on the defense,” Baldwin said. “They are gonna be tasked with pulling more of the weight because that’s their job. Offensively, yes, that’s not an excuse offensively. We have our job and our weight to pull as well. We didn’t play well last Sunday and we’re gonna get that corrected. But he’s right. Our defense has always led the way. Pete Carroll is a defensive-minded coach. So it’s important that our defensive guys feel that and understand that.”

 

It’s a theory that hasn’t previously been articulated to explain the gap between the team’s offense and defense, but there’s some merit to it. Especially as it relates to the money spent — or not spent — on the offensive line.

 

AFC WEST

 

KANSAS CITY

Peter King notes what is powering the Chiefs:

 

There were 12 large jars of HyVee dill pickles in the visiting locker room refrigerator in Foxboro the other night, on the bottom shelf, below four shelves of bottled water and Gatorade. What gives? The Chiefs believe the electrolyte and potassium in the briny pickle juice compare to—and some think are better than—even the high-quality sports drinks. I noticed three of the jars were empty of liquid, with only the pickles in there.

 

 

THE RAIDERS

A Peter King quote from QB DEREK CARR:

 

Carr on whether money has changed him after signing a $125 million contract: “You see what I’m wearing? Free Fresno State Bulldog shorts, some Uggs slippers … I got a free shirt from Carr Elite, which is our [football] camp … our gym that my brother and I own, and I got my Target undershirt on. It has not changed me one bit.”

 

AFC NORTH

 

BALTIMORE

Browns QB DeSHONE KIZER will be the 6th rookie QB to start against the Ravens in Baltimore in the last 10 seasons.  The others went 0-5, a list that includes BRANDON WEEDEN and CODY KESSLER of the Browns.

– – –

The Ravens have lost RB DANNY WOODHEAD for 6-to-8 weeks with a severe hamstring injury.

 

 

CLEVELAND

Big money vets have generally been exiting Cleveland, but WR KENNY BRITT was a rare 2017 signee.  But now, he’s in danger of being demoted according to this report from Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

 

Browns receiver Kenny Britt may have dropped himself out of the Browns’ starting lineup.

 

Signed to a four-year, $32.5 million deal in the offseason to replace Terrelle Pryor, Britt dropped a clutch 18-yard pass from DeShone Kizer in the fourth quarter when he was wide open over the middle.

 

The drop came at a crucial point in the game, with the Browns trailing 21-10 and Derrick Kindred just having picked off Ben Roethliberger to breathe new life into the Browns.

 

Britt turned to run upfield before he secured the ball and let it slip through his hands.

 

The Browns punted two plays later.

 

“Obviously, Kenny dropped the ball in the middle of the field and I know that’s what we all are talking about,” coach Hue Jackson said. “I’ve seen players do that before, and we all have. I’ve had some of the great ones in this league drop balls, but we can’t do that to a young quarterback because he needs guys to make as many plays for him as they can in this situation.

 

“I think Kenny gets that. He knows that is inexcusable. He has to make that play for the quarterback.”

 

Jackson was asked why Britt is still starting.

 

“Let’s see where we go this week,” he said. “Let’s see what we’re doing this week. Let’s find out. You’re saying he’s starting this week. We don’t know that. So let’s see where we are this week and go from there.”

 

 

He reiterated that Britt will have to step it up to maintain his status, meaning this is a big week of practice for him.

 

“You have to play better,” said Jackson. “It’s just that simple.”

– – –

Since they were reconstituted in 1999, the Browns are now 1-14 when they play in Week One at home.  The lone win came against Baltimore back in 2004 with Jeff Garcia at the helm.

 

And someone noticed this about the list of winningest quarterbacks at Cleveland’s home field since it opened in 1999.  Matt Yoder of TheBigLead.com:

 

With the win across the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, Roethlisberger became the winningest quarterback in the history of FirstEnergy Stadium, the home of the Browns since they re-entered the National Football League in 1999.

 

Roethlisberger is now 11-2 in 13 career games in Cleveland dating back to the 2004 season. Those 11 wins surpass any win total by any Browns quarterback in FirstEnergy Stadium. On Sunday, the Steelers signal caller broke a tie he held with former Browns quarterback Derek Anderson at 10 wins.

 

Roethlisberger’s only two losses in Cleveland came on 12/10/09 in a 13-6 defeat against Brady Quinn and on 10/12/14 in a 31-10 loss when the Browns were led by Brian Hoyer.

 

In case you were wondering, here’s a list of the quarterbacks Roethlisberger has beaten while playing in FirstEnergy Stadium. It’s a who’s who of the dozens and dozens of men over the last two decades who have tried and failed to become the Browns’ franchise quarterback.

 

2004 – Jeff Garcia/Kelly Holcomb

2005 – Charlie Frye

2006 – Charlie Frye

2007 – Derek Anderson

2008 – Derek Anderson

2010 – Colt McCoy

2011 – Seneca Wallace

2013 – Brandon Weeden/Jason Campbell

2015 – Johnny Manziel

2016 – Josh McCown/Cody Kessler

2017 – DeShone Kizer

 

It took Anderson parts of four seasons before he could notch his 11th win on home soil.

 

Roethlisberger is 11-0 against Cleveland in Pittsburgh.

 

Including 2 postseason wins, the Ohio native is 13-2 at Cincinnati for a 24-2 career record in the Buckeye State.

 

 

PITTSBURGH

It looked like the Steelers had lost DE STEPHON TUITT to a severe biceps injury just after he signed a lucrative contract extension, but now there is cause for optimism.  Veteran scribe Gerry Dulac in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

 

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt did not put a timetable on his return after injuring his left biceps, but said it will be as soon as the strength returns to his arm “and I can defend myself.”

 

Tuitt said his arm went numb on the second play of the game in Cleveland when he reached to drop running back Isaiah Crowell for a 9-yard loss.

 

But an MRI on Monday morning showed Tuitt didn’t have a biceps tear that would require surgery and possibly end his season.

 

“It was such a relief,” Tuitt said.

 

Coach Mike Tomlin left open the possibility Tuitt could play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Tuitt would not say, but he seemed very optimistic.

 

“We’re going to see throughout the week,” Tuitt said Tuesday night on his weekly radio show on WDVE-FM 102.5. “If I get enough strength in my arm to push back and defend myself, I’ll be ready to get back out there with the pads on. If not I’ll cheer my teammates on.”

 

Tuitt is not wearing any type of wrap on his arm and said his flexibility is unaffected, waving and rotating his arm to show he had no difficulty. He said it was “shocked” when his arm went numb when he reached to stop Crowell.

 

“You work so hard and I did a good job in the offseason conditioning my body,” Tuitt said. “But we wanted to be cautious and not go back out there right away.”

 

AFC SOUTH

 

HOUSTON

All signs point to DeSHAUN WATSON starting at quarterback as TOM SAVAGE is one and done.  Aaron Wilson in the Houston Chronicle:

 

Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson is slated to start his first NFL game Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly.

 

Sources emphasized that Watson’s injured right ankle held up fine during practice Tuesday, removing the only potential obstacle to having the first-round draft pick make his starting debut at Paul Brown Stadium as the replacement for veteran Tom Savage.

 

During the portion of practice open to reporters, Watson took every snap.

 

The Texans are going with Watson for multiple reasons, including his superior mobility and elusiveness while operating behind a porous offensive line.

 

Although Watson was sacked four times during a 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and experienced some rough fundamental moments where he threw off his back foot, he did throw one touchdown pass and displayed an ability to escape pursuit.

 

Although the 0-1 AFC South franchise is poised to launch the Watson era, Texans coach Bill O’Brien played it close to the vest Tuesday and declined to make it official and name a starting quarterback.

 

“I don’t think there’s a rule that says I have to publicly announce it,” O’Brien said when asked if this was a potential game-time decision.

Unless Watson suffers a setback between now and kickoff, he’s schedule dto start his first game since manufacturing a BCS national championship victory over Alabama with a game-winning touchdown pass.

 

 

JACKSONVILLE

Despite the flooding, the show will go on Sunday on the banks of the St. John’s.  Josh Alper at ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Jaguars returned to Jacksonville on Tuesday, but there was some uncertainty about whether Everbank Field would be ready to host Sunday’s game against the Titans after Hurricane Irma thrashed the city.

 

The team announced on Tuesday afternoon that the show will go on, however. Jaguars owner Shad Khan also announced that the team will make a $1 million donation to the First Coast Relief Fund to help the recovery effort in the city.

 

“Jacksonville gets labeled as ‘small market,’ but it has a heart bigger than any community I’ve been associated with in my life,” Khan said.  “Jacksonville will recover and come back stronger than ever, but who couldn’t use a little help from our friends? I’m hoping that our sponsors, partners and fans will think of Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund this week and give what they can.  Then, we gather Sunday at EverBank Field to show the world we’re back in a big way, as a team and as a community.  This is Jax As One.”

 

The team will donate 5,000 tickets to the game and will distribute a portion of them to first responders like Jacksonville Fire & Rescue and the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office as well as other volunteer organizations that provided assistance in recent days. Other tickets will be given to Jacksonville residents impacted by the storm and the team’s website has more information about how they will be distributed.

– – –

The Jaguars have turned to the lesser-known brother of Panthers rookie sensation CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY after the sad loss of WR ALLEN ROBINSON.  The AP:

 

The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed receiver Allen Robinson on injured reserve and signed receiver Max McCaffrey off New Orleans’ practice squad.

 

Robinson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Sunday at Houston and will have season-ending surgery.

 

McCaffrey is the son of retired NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey and the brother of Carolina Panthers rookie running back Christian McCaffrey.

 

Max McCaffrey signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent last year. He also spent time with Green Bay and New Orleans. The Packers waived McCaffrey during final roster cuts earlier this month, and the Saints signed him to their practice squad the following day.

 

McCaffrey started 38 games during his four-year career at Duke, where he caught 117 passes for 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns.

 

And this update on the guy who might be the best McCaffrey, QB DYLAN, who is probably red-shirting at Michigan.

 

“Oh wow, he’s a smart kid,” Hamilton said Wednesday. “His football IQ is off the chart. It’s really what you would expect from a kid that grew up in a football family. And he’s been very impressive up until this point.”

 

With the number of options Michigan currently has at the position, McCaffrey is likely to see a redshirt this season. Yet, with Harbaugh’s insistence on open competition at every position regardless of incumbent starters, McCaffrey’s early success may bode well for his chances in future battles for the starting job.

 

AFC EAST

 

MIAMI

Hard Rock Stadium lived up to its name under the assault of Hurricane Irma.  Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

 

A team of engineers have inspected Hard Rock Stadium and have determined that venue that hosts Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football games is structurally sound in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

 

Tom Garfinkel, the President and CEO of the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that the stadium, which resides in Miami Gardens on the Miami-Dade and Broward County border, will be able to host the Hurricanes home game against Toledo on Sept. 23.

 

“After thorough inspection by engineers, it has been deemed that @HardRockStadium experienced no structural damage from Irma,” Garfinkel’s tweet said. “We lost landscaping and a section of roof panels in 1 corner. Engineers believe a tornado touched down. Aesthetic in nature and easy to fix.”

 

Garfinkel later tweeted that the Dolphins’ practice facility in Davie “also gets the all-clear and will be available to team for practice after LA.”

 

The team had a contingency plan to practice next week in West Virginia if the practice facility sustained any significant damage from Hurricane Irma.

 

The Dolphins play the Los Angeles Chargers on the road for their season opener after having last week’s game against Tampa Bay pushed back to Nov. 19 because of Irma.

 

Dolphins owner Steve Ross flew many players, staff, coaches and their families to Southern California on Friday night to escape Hurricane Irma. Ross flew another group to Southern California on Saturday. He’ll fly the families back, at his expense, when it’s deemed safe.

 

Other players, however, with team permission, departed for destinations of their choice.

 

Meanwhile, coaches and staff in Southern California are preparing to have a normal week heading into the Chargers game.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

In Bill Belichick’s game of three-dimensional chess maybe losing the opener is a good thing.  Nicole Yang at Boston.com with this from TE ROB GRONKOWSKI:

 

As you probably know by now, the New England Patriots suffered a stunning defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL kickoff game at Gillette Stadium on Thursday night.

 

The defending Super Bowl champions gave up 42 points and 537 yards, both team highs under head coach Bill Belichick. Many sportscasters and fans were quick pounce on the Pats for their poor performance against eight-point underdogs, but tight end Rob Gronkowski brought up a statistic for critics to consider.

 

He shared on Facebook: “The Patriots have lost three previous season openers during the Tom Brady era (’01, ’03, ’14). They won the Super Bowl all three times.”

 

2001: New England lost to the Cincinnati Bengals under former quarterback Drew Bledsoe’s arm, but Brady was ultimately the passer to lead the team to their first-ever Super Bowl victory in his season debut as a starter.

 

2003: Two seasons later, the Patriots were blown out by the Buffalo Bills, 31-0, as Brady threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns. The team, however, would go on to boast a 14-2 record and outlast the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

 

2014: In the team’s most recent season-opening loss, Miami defeated the New England, 33-20, at Sun Life Stadium. The Patriots bounced back with a 12-4 record and once again made it all the way to the big stage, where they topped the Seattle Seahawks in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX.

 

Gronk mostly opted to let history speak for itself, but he did offer up a thinking face emoji as concise commentary.

 

The DB would add that the last time the Patriots lost to the Chiefs by more than 14 points, they won the Super Bowl that year.  That was the 41-14 thrashing at KC in 2014 where TOM BRADY seethed as JIMMY GAROPPOLO mopped up.

– – –

Week 1 stats are not necessarily important, but here is the bottom of the barrel at the moment in completion percentage

 

31        Andy Dalton CIN             51.6%        

32        Scott Tolzien IND            50.0%        

33        Tom Brady NE                 44.4%

 

Brady has had a lower completion percentage than 44.4% in a start four times, none since 2006.       

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

This trick note was not Peter King’s best:

 

The Jets woke up Friday morning above the hated Patriots in the AFC East standings. That was the first morning they’d been ahead of New England in 1,090 days … five days short of three years.

 

First of all, we thought it would take a lot longer streak than that to be noteworthy. 

 

Second, the Jets were 0-0 when King wrote that which is infinity which is not necessarily above or below .000.  It’s like a different scale.  Now, the two teams are tied. 

 

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

NETWORK DEBUTS

Peter King liked what he heard from Tony Romo in his first game in the booth:

 

I watched 60 percent of the Raiders’ 26-16 win over Tennessee—Tony Romo’s first game as the CBS number one color man, replacing Phil Simms. I thought Romo was good, and very good in spots. He was right in the X’s and O’s, properly enthusiastic (particularly about Marshawn Lynch’s physicality) and spoke in the kinds of informative staccato bursts that are essential for network color guys. Occasionally, his voice broke, but other than that, Romo sounded like he’d done this before. Examples:

 

• First Oakland drive, highlighting a rookie in his first NFL game on a big-time Oakland receiver: Romo interrupted Jim Nantz and blurted: “Look at this matchup. That’s the rookie, Adoree’ Jackson, on Amari Cooper.” Three seconds, presaging what was to come three plays later: an 8-yard TD pass from Derek Carr to Cooper, beating Jackson when Jackson gave up on the tackle. The Titans rookie will hear about that from his coaches. “You gotta make that tackle!” Romo yelled. And he was right—Jackson should have finished off the tackle.

 

• Late first quarter, fourth-and-one for Oakland at the Tennessee 3-yard line, Marshawn Lynch run: As Lynch ran right, linebacker Wesley Woodyard hogtied him and flipped him over—but Lynch, in a veteran move, looked like he stretched the ball for a first down. “Are you kidding me?” Romo said, voice rising. “That should have been stopped! That’s all Marshawn Lynch! I think he got the first down. It’s gonna be close. You have a guy in the backfield with a CLEAN shot on him and he makes him miss. That’s why you go bring back Marshawn Lynch, right there. He’s still Marshawn Lynch.” It was a 75-percent good call … but Romo should have mentioned the guy who missed him in the backfield, Jonathan Cyprien, and the guy who tackled him but allowed him to get the first down, Woodyard.

 

• He saw things before they happened: Late in the first half, Romo said the Raiders would carefully push the ball downfield to see if they could get into field-goal range without turning it over. They did. He called a Tennessee blitz with 29 seconds left in the half, and here came free safety Kevin Byard on an Oakland screen. And he praised the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, Todd Downing, in his first game as a play-caller, when he called eight straight runs down the stretch, forcing Tennessee to stop Oakland; the Titans couldn’t. “How about this offensive coordinator!” Romo hollered. “”Run, run, run with the game on the line.”

 

• Romo liked Lynch: Really, who wouldn’t have? Lynch gave Oakland the toughness in the inside running game that Jack Del Rio has longed for. While the Raiders were trying to bleed the clock late, Lynch trucked one of the best defensive tackles in football, 305-pound Jurrell Casey, quite literally knocking Casey over and gaining four more yards. A good color guy has to know when to milk the emotional moment, and this is what Romo said: “BOOM! I’M BACK BABY! I’M BEAST MODE!”

 

A good debut for Romo, better than I thought I’d hear, with a few things to work on. You can tell his enthusiasm for the game, and his ability to translate football-speak to English, a la Cris Collinsworth. Good start.

 

Another debut, that of Beth Mowins doing play-by-play for Monday Night football was generally well-received with the consensus opinion being she clearly was the best announcer on the Chargers-Broncos match-up.

 

Mark Sanchez in the New York Post:

 

If the instantly viral awkwardness of Sergio Dipp were designed to distract from the anticipated Rex Ryan debut, ESPN outdid itself.

 

The longtime media darling, built up as the idyllic color guy with years of both coaching experience and a personality as big as his stomach, bombed on his opening night, stumbling his way through Monday night’s 24-21 Broncos win over the Chargers.

 

Ryan, a brilliant defensive football mind who was the Jets head coach from 2009 to 2014 before moving on to the Bills in 2015 and ’16, could not translate that language into helpful dialogue, his flat jokes and foggy analysis even more jarring after Tony Romo’s smash debut on CBS a day prior.

 

Ryan did not seem confident in his speech and looked like the rookie analyst he is: At the start of the broadcast, his partner, Beth Mowins, had to remind him not to interfere with his microphone. Mowins, who became just the second woman to call an NFL game, dragged him through a night that seemed more like a preseason dress rehearsal than a Week 1 showtime (though Dipp helped that feeling). Ryan lacked the energy needed for a Monday night game, coming across more as sleepy than engaged.

 

Twitter lit up with Ryan digs, with many saying they were forced to switch to ESPN Deportes instead of listening to the Ryan discomfort.

 

And this on Dipp from a sympathetic Chuck Schilken in the LA Times:

 

ergio Dipp became an instant star Monday night with a memorably awkward sideline report during ESPN’s broadcast of the Chargers’ game against the Denver Broncos.

 

Early the next morning, however, Dipp showed why he was given the “Monday Night Football” gig in the first place, by giving a heartfelt statement about the experience in a video that he posted on Twitter.

 

“It’s been a couple of hours now, trying to digest what just happened to a 29-year-old Mexican guy like me,” Dipp said in the video. “It’s 9/11, I’m in Denver, Colo., and this is the NFL, a ‘Monday Night Football’ game between the Broncos and the Chargers, the biggest stage possible. I was starting my elementary school Sept. 11, 2001, in Caliexico, Calif., born in Mexicali, Baha California, but growing up in the American environment as a minority — a minority like head coaches Vance Joseph [of the Broncos] and Anthony Lynn [of the Chargers].

 

“So all I wanted to do was show some respect, making my debut as a minority on American national TV, the biggest stage out there on the most heartfelt day in this great country made up by immigrants. And on some people’s perspective, it all went wrong. But I truly meant no disrespect, because all I wanted to do was to show some love to those two historical head coaches.”

 

Dipp has been with ESPN since 2013, reporting mainly for the Spanish-language ESPN Deportes. During what ended up being his only sideline report of the night on Monday, he seemed nervous and might have been struggling with speaking over the noise in the stadium.

 

His brief report was filled with unnecessary pauses, unusual phrasing and was punctuated by this over-emphatic statement about Joseph: “And here he is, having the time of his life.”

 

We have some sympathy for Dipp, thrust into the national spotlight by his ESPN bosses without English sideline seasoning in lower level events (unlike Mowins who has called plenty of college games).

 

But, then there is this rationalization spotted a few places on Twitter:

 

Vannini @ChrisVannini

It didn’t go well, but you realize Sergio Dipp is speaking his second language in a pressure spot, right? Spanish broadcast on ESPN2.

 

Robert Flores @RoFlo

To be fair, my Spanish is HORRIFIC and I can’t imagine showcasing them on national TV.

I give Sergio credit, he’s got guts.

 

To which we say, Dipp has lived practically his entire life in the United States.  English should not be his “second language”, and if it is, ESPN should not have put him on a first language broadcast.

 

 

ESPN POWER RATINGS

ESPN’s headline writer thought that dumping the Patriots after Week One was an overreaction by ESPN’s panel of 80 “experts.”  But here how things stand with edited comments.  You can read the whole thing here.

 

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Rookie linebacker T.J. Watt became the third player to record two sacks and an interception in his NFL debut since sacks became official in 1982. Possible overreaction: Watt is the defensive playmaker the Steelers have been craving for years and could make the defense more impactful than Pittsburgh’s offense.

 

2. Green Bay Packers

The Packers held the Seahawks without a touchdown in Week 1 as the defense swarmed quarterback Russell Wilson. Possible overreaction: This could be a sign of big things to come for a team that ranked 21st in defensive scoring last season. Any defensive improvement turns the Packers into a serious threat.

 

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith threw four touchdown passes; Kareem Hunt set a league record with 246 yards from scrimmage in his NFL debut; and Tyreek Hill scored another 60-yard TD. Possible overreaction: If the offense keeps it up, the Chiefs are the team to beat in the AFC. FPI currently agrees, giving them a league-best 90 percent chance of making the playoffs.

 

4. New England Patriots

The Patriots allowed the most yards (537) and points (42) by a Bill Belichick-coached team in Thursday’s loss to the Chiefs. Possible overreaction: The Patriots are still the team to beat, but if the defense can’t stop Alex Smith, how will it stop Drew Brees in Week 2? The Patriots’ first 0-2 start since 2001 seems like a distinct possibility now.

 

5. Dallas Cowboys

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Dak Prescott’s four interceptions are fewest in a quarterback’s first 17 starts since the AFL-NFL merger. Possible overreaction: Prescott’s ball control is crucial to the Cowboys’ success, and unless he starts throwing picks, they could be destined for a deep postseason run in 2017.

 

6. Oakland Raiders

 

7. Atlanta Falcons

(The Falcons fell from 2nd in the preseason rankings after their tight win at Chicago)

 

8. Seattle Seahawks

 

9. Philadelphia Eagles

 

10. Detroit Lions

 

11. Carolina Panthers

(The Panthers jump up from 16th in the preseason rankings after winning at SF)

 

12. Minnesota Vikings

 

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

14. Baltimore Ravens

(Up from #21 in the preseason rankings after blanking Cincinnati)

 

15. Denver Broncos

 

16. Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota has now thrown one touchdown pass in his past four games combined, with the Titans averaging 16.3 points in those games. Possible overreaction: Mariota should be fine, but the Titans brought in Corey Davis and Eric Decker to improve the passing offense, not keep the status quo.

 

17. New York Giants

(Down from #11 in the preseason rankings)

 

18. Los Angeles Rams

(Soaring up from #27)

The Rams scored 46 points in Week 1, their most in a season opener in the Super Bowl era. Possible overreaction: New coach Sean McVay has the offense moving the ball, and the defense dominated without lineman Aaron Donald. The Rams will be in the NFC playoff picture in 2017.

 

19. New Orleans Saints

Six rushes for 18 yards for Adrian Peterson, seven for 17 for Alvin Kamara and six for 18 for Mark Ingram in Monday night’s loss. Possible overreaction: No single running back stepped up for a New Orleans team that wanted to emphasize the run in 2017, and if no one does going forward, it could be another losing season for the Saints.

 

20. Arizona Cardinals

(Down from #10 in the preseason rankings)

Running back David Johnson accounted for 36 percent of the Cardinals’ yards from scrimmage last season, the highest percentage in the NFL, and could be out for an extended period. Possible overreaction: Without Johnson, the offense is a 37-year-old quarterback and a 34-year-old wide receiver. That rarely translates to wins in the NFL.

 

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

(Up from #28)

 

22. Los Angeles Chargers

After losing a league-high eight games by seven or fewer points last season, the Chargers opened their 2017 season with a three-point loss Monday. Possible overreaction: Get ready for more heartache, Chargers fans. The city might have changed, but the inability to come back or pull away hasn’t.

 

23. Miami Dolphins

 

24. Washington Redskins

 

25. Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton posted a 0.6 Total QBR in Week 1, the worst in the NFL. Possible overreaction: Dalton’s QBR was only slightly better than Flounder’s GPA (0.2) in “Animal House,” and that was with a healthy A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and stable of running backs. The Dalton-Marvin Lewis era could be on its last legs.

 

26. Houston Texans

(Down from #14)

The Texans made a quarterback change after one half of play in 2017 and lost by 22 to the Jaguars. Possible overreaction: Deshaun Watson looked better than Tom Savage, but the offensive line allowed too much pressure and opened few running lanes. Houston needs to shore up its line fast to have a chance this year.

 

27. Buffalo Bills

LeSean McCoy notched 159 scrimmage yards in Week 1, the third most in the NFL. Possible overreaction: The Bills are 16-17 the past three years basically following the formula of riding McCoy’s and Tyrod Taylor’s playmaking ability. They could hover around .500 again this year doing the same, even with their offseason makeover.

 

28. Chicago Bears

Quarterback Mike Glennon had a quiet three quarters before nearly capping off a comeback in Week 1 against the Falcons. Possible overreaction: The Bears’ running backs stole the show on Sunday, and comeback bid or not, Mitchell Trubisky will be leading the offense sooner rather than later.

 

29. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers scored three points in their season opener after ranking 27th in scoring last year. Possible overreaction: The offense was supposed to be better this year, but with the Seahawks and Rams on the schedule the next two weeks, it might be a while before San Francisco finds the end zone again.

 

30. Cleveland Browns

The Browns lost their 13th straight season opener, but on the plus side, they lost by only three points to a tough Steelers team. Possible overreaction: If quarterback DeShone Kizer cuts down on the sacks (seven), the Browns could be a competitive team.

 

31. Indianapolis Colts

(Down from #18 in the preseason rankings)

 

32. New York Jets

The Jets were one of three teams to throw no touchdowns and multiple picks in Week 1. Possible overreaction: Probably not actually an overreaction, but get used to quarterback lines like that from the Jets this season. Their two leading receivers from Week 1 — Jermaine Kearse and Will Tye — were both acquired in September.

 

AIKMAN RATINGS

The Aikman Ratings return in Week 1 – a measurement of offensive and defensive efficiency through seven categories that Troy Aikman believes is a better standard than the NFL’s traditional rankings that rely solely on yards gained.

 

While yards factor into several of the categories (yards per rush and yards per play), the Aikman Ratings also factor in turnovers, first downs, third down conversion percentage, offensive points and red zone efficiency (points per red zone possession). 

 

When the Aikman Ratings were first devised in 2005, they treated 75 as an average offense and defense, rising up to 100 which would represent league record-level performance in all seven categories on both sides of the ball.  A score of 50 would conversely represent futility.

 

We should note that over time, inflation has occurred on offense with the average offense advancing to more than 80 and the average defense sinking to below 70.

 

Our Week 1 rankings are below although it should be noted that they only reflect the performance against one team and are thus the inverse of each other.  Therefore, since the Chiefs had the best performance on offense, their opponent, the Patriots, rank last on defense.  Conversely, the Ravens dominant defensive performance in a 20-0 shutout victory has left the Bengals last on offense.

 

It will take several weeks for the combination of games to produce a sample size big enough to give a better overall evaluation of the 32 member clubs.

 

The Aikman Combined Ratings are the addition of the Offense and Defense Ratings and will serve as something of a power rating.  We do note that special teams play is not yet counted in the Aikman Combined Ratings.

 

Last year, the Aikman Combined Ratings identified the Patriots as the top team in the regular season and they did go on to win the Super Bowl.  But we would note that the Cardinals ranked 4th in Aikman Combined, but only went 7-8-1 in a season that also included substandard special team play.

 

 

 

Aikman Combined Ratings Through Week 1, 2017

 

                                 ——— Aikman ——–       ——- NFL ——-

 Rank  Record   Team             Combined     Off      Def       Off    Def Combined

   1     1-0    Ravens             203.9     77.5    126.3        20      4     24 

   2     1-0    Eagles             197.9     89.5    108.4        11     10     21 

   3     1-0    Panthers           193.6     78.1    115.5        18      3     21 

   4     1-0    Rams               187.9     90.5     97.4         5      5.5   10.5

   5     1-0    Packers            184.6     94.8     89.7         8      5.5   13.5

   6     1-0    Lions              182.8     95.6     87.3         9     16     25 

   7     1-0    Cowboys            181.3     86.3     95.1         4      7     11 

   8     1-0    Chiefs             177.7    116.5     61.2         1     24     25 

   9     1-0    Jaguars            175.9     80.4     95.6        19      1     20 

  10     1-0    Vikings            173.1    101.3     71.8         2     18     20 

  11     1-0    Bills              169.9     90.1     79.9         3      2      5 

  12     1-0    Raiders            159.9     95.2     64.7        10     19     29 

  13     1-0    Steelers           156.2     82.3     74.0        17      8     25 

  14     0-1    Chargers           151.6     84.0     67.6        22     17     39 

  15     0-1    Bears              150.4     86.8     63.7        16     25     41 

  16     1-0    Falcons            149.6     86.3     63.2         6     15     21 

  17     1-0    Broncos            148.4     82.4     66.0        14      9     23 

  18     0-1    Browns             143.8     76.0     67.7        23     14     37 

  19     0-1    Titans             140.1     85.3     54.8        12     21     33 

  20     0-1    Jets               130.1     70.1     59.9        29     28     57 

  21     0-1    Saints             126.9     78.2     48.7        13     29     42 

  22     0-1    Texans             124.1     54.4     69.6        30     12     42 

  23     0-1    Patriots           122.3     88.8     33.5         7     30     37 

  24     0-1    Giants             118.7     54.9     63.7        24     27     51 

  25     0-1    Cardinals          117.2     62.7     54.4        15     22     37 

  26     0-1    Seahawks           115.4     60.3     55.2        25.5   23     48.5

  27     0-1    Colts              112.1     52.6     59.5        25.5   26     51.5

  28     0-1    49ers              106.4     34.5     71.9        28     13     41 

  29     0-1    Redskins           102.1     41.6     60.5        21     20     41 

  30     0-1    Bengals             96.1     23.7     72.5        27     11     38 

 

 

Aikman Offense Ratings Through Week 1, 2017

 

  Aik     NFL     Team                 AER

   1       1      Chiefs             116.5

   2       2      Vikings            101.3

   3       9      Lions               95.6

   4      10      Raiders             95.2

   5       8      Packers             94.8

   6       5      Rams                90.5

   7       3      Bills               90.1

   8      11      Eagles              89.5

   9       7      Patriots            88.8

  10      16      Bears               86.8

  11       6      Falcons             86.3

  12       4      Cowboys             86.3

  13      12      Titans              85.3

  14      22      Chargers            84.0

  15      14      Broncos             82.4

  16      17      Steelers            82.3

  17      19      Jaguars             80.4

  18      13      Saints              78.2

  19      18      Panthers            78.1

  20      20      Ravens              77.5

  21      23      Browns              76.0

  22      29      Jets                70.1

  23      15      Cardinals           62.7

  24      25.5    Seahawks            60.3

  25      24      Giants              54.9

  26      30      Texans              54.4

  27      25.5    Colts               52.6

  28      21      Redskins            41.6

  29      28      49ers               34.5

  30      27      Bengals             23.7

 

NFL Average                           75.4

 

Aikman Defense Ratings Through Week 1, 2017

 

  Aik     NFL     Team                 AER

   1       4      Ravens             126.3

   2       3      Panthers           115.5

   3      10      Eagles             108.4

   4       5.5    Rams                97.4

   5       1      Jaguars             95.6

   6       7      Cowboys             95.1

   7       5.5    Packers             89.7

   8      16      Lions               87.3

   9       2      Bills               79.9

  10       8      Steelers            74.0

  11      11      Bengals             72.5

  12      13      49ers               71.9

  13      18      Vikings             71.8

  14      12      Texans              69.6

  15      14      Browns              67.7

  16      17      Chargers            67.6

  17       9      Broncos             66.0

  18      19      Raiders             64.7

  19      27      Giants              63.7

  20      25      Bears               63.7

  21      15      Falcons             63.2

  22      24      Chiefs              61.2

  23      20      Redskins            60.5

  24      28      Jets                59.9

  25      26      Colts               59.5

  26      23      Seahawks            55.2

  27      21      Titans              54.8

  28      22      Cardinals           54.4

  29      29      Saints              48.7

  30      30      Patriots            33.5

 

NFL Average                           74.6

 

Ratings Courtesy of STATS