Putting too much stake into week one is ridiculous, so let’s do it
Lamar Jackson is here to conquer the world
I’ll admit it. I am not a Lamar Jackson believer. Running quarterbacks or ‘dual-threat’ quarterbacks have not worked in the NFL. Ever. Name one running quarterback that has ever won the Super Bowl. Can’t? That’s because there isn’t one.
Jackson is the quintessential dual-threat quarterback, and I thought the Chargers exposed the his limitations in last years playoffs. They blitzed him all day and forced him to beat them with his arm, to which he failed miserably. All offseason their were jokes about Jackson being more of a running back than a quarterback (I’m not a coward, I admit I made them too). Despite this perceived narrative, what Lamar and the Ravens did to the Dolphins on Sunday should be illegal in all 50 states, as well as most countries. Jackson went 17-20 for 324 yards and a staggering 5 touchdowns, all in three quarters of play. Jackson could have had a real shot at setting the NFL record for touchdown passes in the game if the Ravens had kept their foot on the gas. Yes, the Dolphins are a hapless mess, but a beatdown like that is something that is very rarely seen in the NFL. The Ravens are a dark horse threat in the AFC, especially with Andrew Luck out of the picture.
Although Jackson is not a gifted passer, for the time being he has shown enough to make NFL defenses at least respect his ability throw, which will in turn open things up for his number one strength, using his legs to outrun everybody.
The questions about Jackson do still remain. Can he still make all the throws to win a game after he’s been under duress for three quarters? What happens when the Ravens get behind and defenses can sell out for the pass, can Jackson win a shootout? I am not so sure he can, but he’s proved me wrong so far.
Mitchell Trubisky sucks, so the Bears are doomed
There are a lot of Mitchell Trubisky truthers out there. They are everywhere on Twitter and various comment sections on social media. They all seem to have this belief that the Bears quarterback is on the doorstep of being an elite, top-10 quarterback. For the time being, those keyboard warriors are eating their words. All Trubisky had to be was competent last Thursday and the Bears would have won going away. Instead, Trubisky played like he had money down on the Packers.
Trubisky’s performance on Thursday gives Bears fans two reasons to panic. The first reason is the Packer’s defense has finally turned the corner, so a repeat NFC North title will prove to be very difficult for Chicago (not to mention how good the Vikings looked against the Falcons). The second, much more frightening reason is that Trubisky is too limited a player to throw the ball downfield consistently. His constant check downs were frustrating, but seeing him throw deep makes me wonder if check downs are all he’s really capable of. Trubisky is in his third year, the second of which with supposed offensive guru Matt Nagy. Super bowl windows can close quickly and without warning, so if Trubisky does not figure it out it can set the Bears back three years, minimum. The Bears were expecting Trubisky to turn into a poor man’s Russell Wilson, a guy good enough to make a run at the Super Bowl. What they got was a *gasp* Andy Dalton clone.
The Browns are still the Browns
Holy dumpster fire. The Browns were perhaps the most hyped team in NFL history. They made all these splashy signings and trades, and it looked like they finally, finally, had a quarterback good enough to lead them out of the NFL cellar. That makes the 30-point loss at home to Marcus Mariota and the Titans all the more bewildering. The Browns tackling was bad. Their offensive line was worse. Baker Mayfield looked like a wide-eyed rookie, not an up and coming star ready to take the league by storm. Add in 18 penalties and a Greg Robinson ejection for kicking a guy in the face, and you have one big mess.
Don’t get me wrong, the Browns will be fine, for this year at least. They are entirely way to talented to not be. The narrative has changed however. Instead of 12-win, potential Super Bowl season, an eight or nine win season with a potential wild-card birth seems more likely. There are a lot of egos in that Cleveland locker room, so if this experiment goes off the rails too quickly, a toxic atmosphere may be inevitable.
Bill Belichick is Thanos, but there’s no endgame in sight
Patriots fans are spoiled. Every year 11 plus wins is a given, and anything less than a Super Bowl appearance is a disappointment. They never rebuild, they don’t even reload, they just outsmart everyone, again, and again, and again. Head coach Bill Belichick is playing chess, everyone else is playing Parcheesi. Get it? Me neither, because just like their annual dominance of the NFL, it does not make any sense. They beat a good Steelers team 33-3 on Sunday night, with 42-year old Tom Brady making a mockery of father time once again. We are on year 19 of this dynasty, and if Tom Brady really plays until he’s 45, it does not appear to be coming to an end anytime soon. Perhaps it’s easiest to just cut the season short and give them the Lombardi Trophy now. Help us Patrick Mahomes, you’re our only hope.