|Updated September 9, 2008 JunkyardJake.Com
DeSean Jackson/LJ Smith,WR/TE
It was like the good old days for the Eagles offense on Sunday, Donovan McNabb was actually on the field, instead of on the sidelines with a miscellaneous leg injury, the hometown Eagles fans were yelling rude, sometimes obscene things in the direction of coach Andy Reid, and the passing game was actually resulting in consistent positive yardage.
Now of course, the Eagles played the Rams this past week, so we will see what they can do against a much more competent Dallas secondary.
Nonetheless, after effectively taking last year off, Donovan McNabb was very sharp, blazing fast rookie DeSean Jackson looked far from clueless, and oft-injured L.J. Smith was even helping out. It is interesting to note that Smith, who finished with five catches for 39 yards and a TD was targeted an impressive six times in the redzone.
Could this finally be the year that the Atlanta coaching staff gives Norwood more than 2 carries a game? They have been promising to do this since like the Year of SpiderMonkey (which I think equates to 2004 on Chinese animal zodiac).
Norwood's 93 yards on 14 carries seems almost inconspicuous compared to the 220 yard beating that Michael Turner inflicted on the hapless Detroit Lions, but if Norwood continues to get over 10 touches a game, he has the game breaking-ability and explosive speed to make him a viable No. 3 RB.
He didn't do much with the eight carries he received, but the fact that he spelled Edgerrin James on 25% of the running plays is significant. More appealing is the fact that Hightower did score a short rushing TD, and he was fairly involved in the passing game, with three catches for 21 yards.
In total, Hightower was targeted four times, twice in the redzone. Edgerrin James is still playing well, but he is 30 now. (When measured in Nascar driver years, 30 years old is about 58 years old for an NFL runningback). As the season progresses, it seems likely that Hightower will see ample opportunity to let James attend to his arthritis and naptime if necessary.
It won't matter much who is throwing the ball for Kansas City, Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard are both marginal QB's, and they both like throwing to Dwayne Bowe, mostly because the Chiefs really don't have any other wide receiver worth throwing to.
Bowe was targeted 14 times on Sunday, seven by Croyle, and then seven times by Huard after Croyle left with an injury. The second year receiver finished with only 49 yards and a TD, but should be able to deliver better performances if you stick with him.
Thomas Jones/Leon Washington,RB
After spending most of last season running face-first into a bunch of defensive tackles on every play, nobody was more surprised to see running lanes on Sunday than Thomas Jones.
Clearly, the additions of Alan Faneca and Damien Woody to the Jets offensive line will help the Jets generate a running game this year, and with Brett Favre at QB, opposing defense have something besides Nick Mangolds unpleasant aftershave to fear. Leon Washington wasn't able to get it going this past week, but he will likely make an impact at some point as the designated change-of-pace RB.
Other Possible Sleepers
QB-Matt Schaub, Brett Favre, Philip Rivers, Jake Delhomme, Aaron Rodgers
RB-Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, Laurence Maroney, Ronnie Brown
Lorenzo Booker, Chris Perry, Sammy Morris, Jonathan Stewart
WR- Lee Evans, Anthony Gonzalez, Robert Meachem, Chris Chambers
Vincent Jackson, Sidney Rice, Ronald Curry, Kevin Walter
DeSean Jackson, Steve Breaston, Bryant Johnson, Patrick Crayton
TE-Heath Miller, Greg Olsen, Dustin Keller, Zach Miller
Anthony Fasano, Robert Royal, John Carlson, Vernon Davis
DEF-New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars
All the Bear fans in Hooville were observed cheering Kyle Orton-hears-a-hoo, as he carefully avoided mishaps and put the Colts defense to sleep with a barrage of meticulously-located seven yard passes on Sunday night.
Watching Orton is obviously not as exciting as watching Rex Grossman throw 45 yards downfield into triple coverage, but that's probably a welcome change for Bear fans. Chicago won't demand much out of Kyle Orton, and that will work out fine, because he is not capable of much, and he probably won't be much of a fantasy factor.
Matt Cassel/Randy Moss,QB/WR
You know the thought ran through Bill Belichick's head, if maybe just briefly...'Am I better off with second string QB Matt Cassel, a guy I just remembered we still have on our roster, or Tom Brady hopping on one leg?'
Well, it could be that there is finally a real QB competition in New England now, Matt Cassel vs. possibly Tim Rattay and/or Chris Simms vs. Tom Brady hopping around on one leg.
Cassel is capable, but obviously can't provide the level of play that is anywhere close to that of Tom Brady. As far as Randy Moss, he can make almost any QB look good when he plays for an entire 60 minutes, but clearly the Patriots passing offense just got downgraded to a large degree.
It's difficult to understand how New Orleans keeps Robert Meachem on the inactive list, and chooses to start Devery Henderson, who has a PHd in dropping passes.
Of course, it worked out pretty well, as Henderson managed to hang onto a pass for an 84 yard TD, but this should be considered little more than a pleasant surprise, sort of like finding a parking spot right by the front door at Wal-Mart. At some point, it seems that Meachem will get his chance to start over Henderson, and it seems he could be a significant upgrade.
Chad Pennington/Ted Ginn,QB/WR
Chad Pennington is probably one of the smartest QBs in the league, but his feeble arm is a clear liability. In other words, it's certainly terrific if your QB can solve algebra problems, and read defenses, but sometimes it's also nice to have a guy that can throw the ball 30 yards down the field with some zip on it.
Pennington ain't that guy, and Ted Ginn's speed is somewhat wasted without a quarterback who can chuck up some reckless long passes every once in a while. Moreover, Ginn could remain an especially risky start, since he still seems to have difficulty getting open on short timing routes.
To state the obvious, the Jaguars were skunked in a huge way on Sunday by Tennessee, who essentially left Titan tracks all over Jacksonville's offensive skill players. David Garrard was especially abused, and might seriously consider pressing charges after getting sacked seven times.
To make matters worse for the Jaguars, and their invisible running-game, they also lost both starting offensive guards, Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams. While Maurice Jones-Drew should still be somewhat productive, it's hard to see Fred Taylor coming anywhere close to his performance without the same level of offensive line play he benefited from last season.
Other Possible Creepers
QB- Matt Hasselbeck, Marc Bulger, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell
RB- Warrick Dunn, Selvin Young, Deuce McAllister, Michael Bush
LenDale White, Edgerrin James, De'shaun Foster, Willis McGahee
WR- Marvin Harrison, Reggie Brown, Derrick Mason, Javon Walker, Isaac Bruce
Reggie Williams, Michael Jenkins, Darrell Jackson, Ernest Wilford, Ike Hilliard
TE- Ben Troupe, Chris Baker, Leonard Pope, Mercedes Lewis
DEF-Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders