NFL Notes: Week One

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         –   Complaining about the replacement refs is trendy, but it’s fair to say they were subpar on opening weekend. The point of Peyton Manning’s hurry-up offense is to catch the defense off guard, not the refs. After quick-snapping the Steelers with 12 men on the field, Manning took a shot on 3rd down and missed a deep pass to Demarius Thomas. However, refs missed the 12th man and the Broncos had to punt. Questionable judgment on pass interference was a problem all day, especially in the Patriots game. To be fair, that’s always been a tough call. The Seahawks game held the worst instance of poor officiating. The refs awarded Seattle an extra timeout and looked like confused deer in the headlights doing so.                                                                  

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         –   The Patriots’ front seven looked great against the Titans. We can debate how elite running back Chris Johnson is right now, but it was impressive nonetheless.                            Lloyd and Brady missed on what should have been a touchdown early in the game, but the newly acquired receiver will make everyone’s life easier.                          It will be nice to see Tom Brady dip his back shoulder and not expect 5-foot-9-inch Deon Branch waiting on the other side. Or worse, Chad Johnson.

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         –   What a game for Stevan Ridley, who looked better than any Pats back for quite a while. Consistency will be the key for the tailback. He’s looked great in spurts before, only to fall out of the gameplan in following weeks.  A rushing attack that can close out games would add a key dimension to an already outrageous offense.                                                                                                    It’s amazing what the Patriots are doing with the tight end position – they really only need two receivers at this point. Obvious quote of mine for the week, “A knee to the face will slow anybody down.”

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          – I like Ryan Tannehill as a player, but the situation is awful. I wouldn’t have thrust my rookie quarterback into the fire on a bad Dolphins team with mediocre options in the passing game. If they start with Matt Moore and stink, they could call on the rookie with tempered expectations, as well as give a guy with very limited playing experience some mental reps. It’s a Colt McCoy or David Carr situation where it would take a great quarterback to change the culture; not enough emphasis is placed on environment when it comes to grading young quarterbacks.