Ray Rice Is Decent Enough And 4 Random Thoughts From This Weekend’s NFL Action

Senior Writer
09.12.11 6 Comments
I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong about something, so I had no problem making fun of myself yesterday while Ray Rice made me and the Pittsburgh Steelers look incredibly foolish. In fairness, my fantasy football rankings were doomed because I wrote them too early, since I would clearly never take Arian Foster and his hamstring with the first pick, but more importantly because Rice was going to benefit from the disappearances of Willis McGahee, now ruining Knowshon Moreno’s value in Denver, and Le’Ron McClain, who of course joined Jamaal Charles in Kansas City.

With that said, I’ve never claimed to be an expert. So I tip my cap to those of you who nabbed Rice in the Top 5 because it’s pretty clear that he, LeSean McCoy, and maybe even Matt Forte are poised to become the cream of the RB crop this year. That is, if every player in the league isn’t on the injured reserve by Week 4.

Then again, it’s also only Week 1, so I shouldn’t be crowning anyone. But if Rice and his 149 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs against the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t impress you, then I guess you are more foolish than I.

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Cam Newton is the Best QB Ever

If JaMarcus Russell didn’t leave his TV in his foreclosed mansion, I hope that he was able to watch yesterday’s surprisingly exciting game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals. By no means am I ready to anoint Cam Newton the second coming of Mike Vick, but I am willing to crown the Cardinals as the worst defense in the NFL after Week 1.

Now that’s not to completely crap on Newton’s big day. Whether you appreciate his raw talent or loathe him as a corrupt gun for hire, the former national champion Auburn QB and Heisman Trophy winner made Russell and all of the first round bust QBs before him look a million times worse as he fell just one yard shy of at least taking the Panther to overtime in his first game.

422 passing yards or not, I guess I’m most impressed that I watched the game with someone who was not only forced to start Newton in fantasy football because of Peyton Manning’s injury, but also started Steve Smith with him. And it was a girl. Typical.

Chris Johnson Should Get the Ball More

The guy who just received $30 million in guaranteed cash for being the best RB in the NFL over the past three seasons carried the ball 9 times yesterday. Chris Johnson should have presumably had a monster day against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who we assume are in for one last hurrah of blah before Jack Del Rio is finally fired. Instead, Johnson got 9 freaking carries in a game that was never more than 13 points out of reach.

I know there’s no point in analyzing teams and player performances in hindsight, but I feel like Jeff Fisher would have run rampant over the Jags and made them beg for mercy. Or maybe he wouldn’t have, there’s no way to know. Like it matters. If the Houston Texans haven’t run away with this division by Week 8, Gary Kubiak should be forced to work for Al Davis for the next decade.

(Quick side note prediction: We’re going to hear a lot about the Texans and both Randy Moss and Terrell Owens over the next week or so with Kevin Walter out for a considerable length of time. It might not mean anything, but oh boy will it be annoying.)

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San Francisco Has Me Huffing Glue

This may be the most ridiculous thing that I could ever suggest after one game, but this is more of a “What if?” theory. I watched the San Francisco-Seattle matchup and it was anything but pretty. If the Green Bay-New Orleans game was Marisa Miller, then San Fran-Seattle was Camryn Manheim. But what if the 49ers play their asses off around Alex Smith the same way other teams play up around their less-than-perfect QBs? As Arizona and St. Louis showed us, the NFC West doesn’t have a best team. Again.

Could San Fran build a little momentum and give Smith some confidence so he’ll actually play at a better level than we’ve already given him too many chances for? I mean, he should at least be able to throw for 200 yards against the Cardinals. I know what you’re thinking, and yes. Yes I did drink too much yesterday.

Mark Sanchez is the Luckiest Man Alive

When the Dallas Cowboys were up 24-10 in the 4th quarter against the New York Jets last night, I thought to myself, “Can the Jets rally around Mark Sanchez and come back and win this game?” What a stupid question – of course they would. For all of their grandstanding, Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer didn’t seem to have much faith in Sanchez’s arm last night. Either that or Sanchez was just afraid to throw a long pass. Hell, he didn’t remember that they signed Plaxico Burress until the 4th quarter.

This completely baffles me because the Cowboys secondary was already Swiss cheese from injuries and factor in that Mike Jenkins is A) not that good, and 2) injured on almost every other play (especially when Burress welcomed him to the yard), and the Jets should have been throwing all over Dallas. Instead, Sanchez was bailed out late in the game by LaDainian Tomlinson’s awesomeness on screen passes, Romo’s ability to out-choke anyone, and the most piss poor punt protection I’ve ever seen.

Sanchez’s number look great on paper, except for the 88.7 passer rating, but once again we get to listen to guys like Chris Collinsworth blame everyone else on the field for Sanchez’s shortcomings and Ryan praise him for just getting it done. At least Ryan is right. Sanchez is just good enough to not be terrible.

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