NFL: 5 Players Who Disappointed in Week 1
It's Week 1. It's early. There's still a lot of football left to be played. That being said, there were a few players that truly disappointed in Week 1 and, for some of them, the arrow is not pointing up.
Come Week 2 I may be eating a lot of crow. This is the NFL and anything can happen on any given Sunday. That being said, these five players left a lot off the field.
Ray Edwards, DE, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons brought in Ray Edwards to make a marginal, not huge, impact on their defensive line. He made pretty much no impact at all. One tackle posted. This is not the way to pull blockers off sack artist John Abraham. The whole Falcons defense played poorly but you expect more out of a guy that just signed a five year, $30 million contract.
Edwards should've been dominant against the Chicago Bears' poor offensive line. He needs to step it up and at least provide some more pressure on the quarterback and more help in run support.
Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel looked atrocious in the Chiefs' season opener against the Bills. This is a defense he should've been able to throw all over. Some of this could be due to poor offensive line play, poor offensive scheming (thanks to Charlie Weis being gone) and the absence of tight end Tony Moeaki, who ended up on the injured reserve list.
Cassel posted an awful passer rating of 64.5 with 119 yards, one touchdown and one pick. Cassel needs to take control of the offense and get them headed in the right direction or it will be a very long season.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
As a Steelers fan this is hard to say, but Ben Roethlisberger played terribly during the Steelers' opening day. While Big Ben claimed during the post game press conference that he was not confused by the Ravens blitz packages, he certainly looked very confused.
Not all of the blame for the Steelers pulverizing at the hands of the Ravens can be put on Big Ben's shoulders but he didn't help matters much either. The offensive line provided very little protection and might as well have opened a door for Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs to waltz in to the Steelers' backfield.
Despite the poor pass protection, Roethlisberger is usually much more adept at shedding tacklers and making big plays. Big Ben needs to make much better decisions, and stop throwing passes right in to Ed Reed's hands.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
I know that Julio Jones is a rookie and still getting acclimated to the Falcons' offensive system. However, he looked explosive and dangerous in the pre-season and anything but on Sunday. It didn't help that Matt Ryan was under duress a lot of the game, but Jones has to use his explosiveness and get open.
Jones' numbers look decent at face value with 5 receptions for 71 yards, but he had no touchdowns and got 32 of those yards on one reception during junk time. Normally, rookie receivers don't have huge expectations but when a team like the Falcons gives away a big chunk of their future to draft you, you have to become a game changer quickly.
Donovan McNabb, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Did Donovan McNabb realize he was playing in a regular season game in the NFL? There are three college quarterbacks (Landry Jones, Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck) and probably 10 current backups that could play better than McNabb did on Sunday. McNabb threw for a pitiful 39 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while completing 46% of his passes, equating in a 47.9 passer rating.
This doesn't look good for McNabb, the Vikings or my predictions for Comeback Player of the Year. I thought McNabb could thrive in this system and make plays when needed but this was not even close to the case.
If McNabb doesn't start stepping up his play it's going to be Christian Ponder time sooner rather than later and that seems like it will be a season ender for the Vikings. Maybe Mike and Kyle Shanahan weren't that far off the mark...