NFL notes: Week 6

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Hopefully these observations are more on-target than Rex Grossman was on Sunday. As the great Dennis Green would say, “he is who we thought he is.”

Grossman shouldn’t expect any teams to look into him as anything more than a backup for the rest of his career. The only throws he can make involve receivers that are already open when he throws the ball. He can’t read coverage well enough to know when a receiver will be open. The pace of the NFL is too fast for a quarterback to lack this quality.

 

LeSean Mccoy is overshadowed by Michael Vick and Desean Jackson, but he’s my favorite running back in the NFL. Averaging more than five yards-per-carry in each of the last two seasons, his quickness is second to none among every-down backs.

He routinely makes linebackers miss in tight holes. Most elusive running backs need a lot of space to make guys miss at the NFL level, that’s why Reggie Bush never panned out.

 

 I was skeptical about Cam Newton’s ability to dominate the game with his legs but he’s having no problem with that, picking up most of the Panthers’ goal line work.

I’m beginning to see a trend in players from the SEC that rely on speed generally translating well to the NFL. It’s an absolutely loaded conference, the fastest in the nation.

 

The Panthers have to be the most exciting 1-5 team ever. Newton seems to welcome the burden of resurrecting an entire franchise. His rookie campaign is particularly impressive considering there was no contact between coaches and players until the preseason due to the lockout.

I expect the Panthers to take a path similar to the Detroit Lions. They’ll likely lose their fair share of heartbreakers early in the year but as the season progresses they’ll learn how to win the close games.

 

Dez Bryant might be the most athletically gifted receiver in the NFL. His quickness and ability to get in and out of his breaks are scary for a receiver of his size.

When he isn’t off chasing butterflies he can beat you over the middle, on a jump ball, on a quick screen or straight over the top. Not many receivers can run nearly every route effectively.

 

 After watching Stevan Ridley’s run that went for 16 yards I immediately added him in every fantasy league I didn’t already have him in.

He exhibited both patience and acceleration on the run and I’m convinced he’ll begin playing a bigger role soon. Benjarvus Green-Ellis has Belichick’s  trust right now but it’s evident Ridley is the more explosive runner.

 

Tom Brady’s pocket awareness is beautiful to watch. He senses pressure in the pocket and shrugs off pass rushers with subtle shoulder dips and great footwork.

I was also impressed with Christian Ponder’s pocket awareness. In relief of Donovan McNabb he didn’t get happy feet and looked like a relatively polished quarterback.

 

Last but not least, Tony Romo still isn’t a very good quarterback. He doesn’t understand — or chooses to ignore — how game situations should effect his decision making.

On a 3rd and 15 at the opponents 38-yard line your goal isn’t to get a first down, it’s to get 5-10 yards and give your kicker a better chance at a long field goal. On a 3rd and goal it’s better to take a sack than it is to force a ball into coverage. An interception takes 3 points off the board.

The Cowboys as a whole seem to have this problem. Two weeks ago Felix Jones ducked out of bounds to stop the clock late in the game. Generally a good decision, but not on a fourth down when you’re 10 yards away from moving the chains.