NFL Notes for Week 5

 

Despite the influence of a handful of fluke plays, the Seahawks upset over the Giants easily exceeded my expectations for the game. Still, I’m not particularly happy to be a subject of local cable’s scheduling whims — I’d much rather have watched the Bills face off against the under-achieving Eagles.

Victor Cruz is quickly becoming the No. 2 option in New York. He’s not an especially big receiver, but he attacks the ball in the air and plays bigger than his size. Manningham becomes more of a slot player as a result.

The Seahawks look like they put their horrific start in the past. They’re scrappy — especially defensively — but will have to erase careless mistakes the Giants should have capitalized on. The ‘Hawks defense played well and made up for the offense fumbling twice near the end zone. Clear improvements of the young offensive line was key in both the running and passing game. With the best home fans in the league, this isn’t a team I’d take lightly. Ask Drew Brees about the wild-card game last year in Seattle.

I’d have a hard time picking against the 49ers in the NFC West after their 4-1 start when eight wins likely takes that division, but I expect Seattle to at least keep it interesting.

Eli Manning puts up impressive numbers over an entire season, but isn’t a consistent enough player to be a top-tier quarterback. He reminds me of a frustrated and overwhelmed rookie far too often.

Jason Pierre-Paul is a freak. He should be chipped or double-teamed by the running back on every play involving a five or seven step drop. Unfortunately you can’t because Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora loom.

The Giants drafted Pierre-Paul out of South Florida in the first round because of his upside and, at 22-years-old, I’m curious as to how much better he could get. I expect more than 120 sacks in his career.

Speaking of pass-rush, the Patriots don’t have one. With only eight sacks on the year, Jason Pierre-Paul’s 7.5 nearly match it. Why Bill Belichick drafted two running backs in the first three rounds when he’s notorious for rotating running backs is beyond me. I like Steven Ridley as much as the next guy, but one or both of those picks should have went to the defensive side of the ball.

The importance of the third-down back in the Patriots offense was apparent when the Patriots came out in more empty sets than normal. Danny Woodhead is extremely valuable to the Pats as the skill-set needed to fill that roll is difficult to find.

The Jets offensive line is 10 times better with Nick Mangold. Shonn Greene looked like the guy he was supposed to be after the 2009 playoffs.

Joe McKnight is the man. He’s excelling at kick returns, played on defense in the Jets-Ravens game and blocked the punt that fueled the Jets’ comeback Week One against the Cowboys. He may not get a lot of carries this year, assuming Greene plays well, but in the coming years I expect him to carve a role in the Jets offense. Perhaps he is LT’s replacement. I’d gladly have him on my team.

Darrelle Revis is Deon Sanders minus the ability to make plays with the ball. Revis truly blankets receivers. He matched up against Welker routinely on Sunday, and the slot-machine’s day was ordinary minus his 73-yard catch. On that play, the Jets came out in a Cover 3 zone and the free-safety bit on a play-fake allowing Welker get over the top of him. Revis saved the touchdown as he chased down Welker from behind.

Michael Vick broke the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback. I doubt he’ll be considered one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks when all is said and done. However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t the most electrifying or unique quarterback. He is our generation’s Barry Sanders, the awe-inspiring superstar later generations wish they saw. I don’t expect to see another Mike Vick in my lifetime.