B/R Staff NFL Week 1 Report Card: Jets Disappoint in Adam Gase's Debut

NFL StaffContributor ISeptember 9, 2019

B/R Staff NFL Week 1 Report Card: Jets Disappoint in Adam Gase's Debut

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The first full weekend of the NFL's 100th campaign went exactly as planned, right? 

    Not at all. 

    The league already looks much different after the first Sunday slate of games than many projected before the 2019 season began. 

    • "The Cleveland Browns are Super Bowl contenders." Nope. The Tennessee Titans throttled the supposed upstart. 
    • "Nick Foles will revive the Jacksonville Jaguars offense." Nope again. Foles suffered a broken clavicle in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs and requires surgery, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 
    • "Lamar Jackson will set NFL records for rushing attempts by a quarterback." Doesn't look like it. Jackson carried the ball three times for six yards against the Miami Dolphins. 

    Those are just three examples of incorrect assessments so far. 

    The NFL is a week-by-week league and must be assessed as such. Fortunately, Bleacher Report's team of NFL writers will commence a roundtable each weekend to discuss the league's most controversial and surprising topics. 

    Welcome to B/R's newest feature: the weekly NFL report card. 


Adam Gase's Jets Debut

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    Michael Owens/Getty Images

    The New York Jets hired Adam Gase to be their head coach despite his 23-25 career record with the Miami Dolphins. At the time, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson described Gase as an "innovator" who could help quarterback Sam Darnold's development.

    The Jets lost 17-16 to the rival Buffalo Bills in his Gase's debut. The offense managed 223 total yards.

    Should Jets faithful be encouraged with the coach's performance despite the outcome?


    Mike Freeman: C

    His Jets team looked the way his Dolphins teams did: mediocre.

    Mike Tanier: C-

    The best players were Le'Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley, the two guys who prompted Gase to oust former general manager Mike Maccagnan. Also, the offensive line is a disaster. But Gase will probably respond by cutting the kicker. Good luck, Jets fans.

    Brent Sobleski: D

    Gregg Williams' defense made far more of an impression in its first appearance than anything Gase orchestrated on the other side of the ball. Everyone will continue to wait and see if the offensive genius who once helped Peyton Manning win his second Super Bowl ever shows up with another team.

    Brad Gagnon: F

    His team blew a 16-point lead against a division rival at home, and his offense generated eight points. How could that not be viewed as a complete failure?

    Gary Davenport: D

    Gase was supposed to provide a shot in the arm to Darnold and the Jets offense. Instead, they managed just 223 yards and blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead. Jets gotta Jet, I guess.

The Miami Dolphins Tank Job

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins' fire sale commenced days before the start of the regular season. The organization traded away starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills, who led the team in touchdown receptions last year, and veteran linebacker Kiko Alonso. The Dolphins looked exactly like a team in the middle of a strip-it-to-the-studs rebuild during their 59-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

    How goes the tank job so far?

    Mike Freeman: F

    The goldfish in my aquarium don't do tanks as well the Dolphins. Jokes aside, we knew they were going to be putrid, but they are one of the worst teams of the past 15-20 years.

    Mike Tanier: F

    Pathetic. The Dolphins will be so bad they won't even be able to evaluate and develop the players they have this year. And members of the Church of Sashi Brown, Genius and Martyr, may want to check the score of Sunday's Cleveland Browns game before responding with readings from their Moneyball for Dummies hymnals.

    Brent Sobleski: B

    Organizations don't realize how painful extreme rebuilds can be until they're in the middle of one. Young players losing their confidence in demoralizing losses is a concern. Otherwise, the Dolphins are well on their way to next year's No. 1 overall pick.

    Brad Gagnon: A+

    A 49-point home loss in Week 1 and a reported mutiny right afterward? It's impossible to start a tank job any better than that. There's no guarantee this will pay off long-term, but the Dolphins were going to be bad anyway. Might as well go up in flames and increase that draft capital.

    Gary Davenport: A

    Hey, if you're going to tank, do it right. Be as terrible as humanly possible. And as Miami showed by getting blasted at home by seven touchdowns, it's possible to be pretty dang terrible.

NFL's New Pass Interference Rule

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    Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

    The NFL instituted a new rule this offseason with which head coaches can challenge pass interference. The decision originally came as a response to the obvious missed call that shaped last year's NFC Championship Game. The new option wasn't as prevalent as expected in the first week of the play.

    Are there any indications the new rule is either good or bad for the league?


    Mike Freeman: Incomplete

    It didn't play a huge factor in the opening week. It still looms large on the season. One week, it will change the complexion of a lot of games.

    Mike Tanier: C

    I only saw one challenge in the early games by the Minnesota Vikings against the Atlanta Falcons. It's an NFL rule, so it will hide in the system like a virus until it makes us all sick with some ridiculous reversal in the last seconds of a crucial Sunday night game.

    Brent Sobleski: C

    The NFL makes new rules a "point of emphasis" every preseason. They're often called or used at length during the exhibition season only to see their impact decrease when games actually count. The option is nice for coaches to have, but the rule won't matter until it affects an outcome.

    Brad Gagnon: B-

    I'm not ready to draw extreme conclusions after Week 1. But I think in a perfect world, pass interference reviews would be extremely rare. The standard has to be really high for an overturn—New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams NFC title game-level mistakes only. We'll see if that's where we get, but we're not there right now.

    Gary Davenport: F

    I know we had a successful challenge in the San Francisco 49ers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, but I still hate this rule. What happened in New Orleans was messed up, but the NFL's knee-jerk reaction to it is almost as bad. Two wrongs don't make a right and all that.

Vikings' New Smashmouth/Run-First Offense

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Vikings revamped their offensive staff this offseason by hiring Kevin Stefanski as offensive coordinator on a full-time basis and Gary Kubiak as assistant head coach/offensive advisor. The team's new brain trust placed an emphasis on running the football with 38 carries for 172 yards compared to 10 pass attempts in a 28-12 victory against the Atlanta Falcons.

    Are the Vikings a better squad with a run-heavy approach compared to last year's emphasis on prized quarterback Kirk Cousins?

    Mike Freeman: A

    If the Vikings keep this up, they are going to the Super Bowl. They will be almost unstoppable. Dalvin Cook is this year's Todd Gurley.

    Mike Tanier: B+

    The run-first philosophy will work all year as long as every opponent is the Falcons and gets blown off the ball at every snap like a JV team scrimmaging the varsity.

    Brent Sobleski: B

    Kubiak's history of producing successful rushing attacks with his zone-heavy scheme speaks for itself. But the approach will also help Kirk Cousins, who is one of the league's best play-action quarterbacks. Head coach Mike Zimmer wanted a run-first offense, and he got it.

    Brad Gagnon: A+

    It's kind of hilarious to take the game completely out of the hands of your $28-million-per-year quarterback, but the result is hard to argue with. Frankly, it would be ideal if Kirk Cousins didn't have to carry the load much this year. Maybe the Vikings are onto something. You don't have to lean on a guy just because he's a highly paid quarterback.

    Gary Davenport: C

    I'm grading this one right down the middle because I don't know if it will stick in the long term. Minny certainly had success grinding away against the Falcons, but when your $28 million quarterback only attempts 10 passes despite a loaded wide receiver corps, it's not exactly a ringing vote of confidence.

Gardner Minshew II Filling in for Injured Nick Foles

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Nick Foles' injury could have deflated the entire Jacksonville Jaguars team, but sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew II set a common-era record with 13 straight completions to start his career, according to ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco.

    Minshew finished his first NFL action by completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-26 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The rookie will take over the offense while Foles recovers from a broken clavicle.

    How does Minshew's performance rate when factoring in the extenuating circumstances?


    Mike Freeman: B

    Three words for the Jaguars' current quarterback situation: Sign Colin Kaepernick.

    Mike Tanier: C+

    The numbers are great, some of the throws were impressive, and the Jaguars are going to run out of plays Minshew can execute sometime in the middle of Week 3. And he won't be facing a soft prevent defense when it happens.

    Brent Sobleski: B

    Minshew was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance, particularly on defense. The Jags D surrendered 491 yards. If Jacksonville can't stop anyone, it won't matter who is playing quarterback because they'll be putting up numbers in garbage time.

    Brad Gagnon: A

    He would have basically been perfect if not for a late interception while in desperation mode. He came into the game with his team trailing a Super Bowl-caliber opponent by 10, and they ended up losing by 14. You can't ask for much more from a rookie sixth-round pick in his unexpected NFL debut.

    Gary Davenport: B

    Completing 88 percent of your passes for 275 yards and two scores is a pretty good NFL debut, but it came against a Chiefs defense that doesn't look to be much better than last year's sieve. With Nick Foles on the shelf for who knows how long, it's Minshew time in Jacksonville, just like exactly no one planned.

Chargers Offense Without Melvin Gordon III

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers offense didn't miss a beat without its two-time Pro Bowl running back in the lineup. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 215 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in the Chargers' 30-24 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

    How good was the group without Melvin Gordon III initiating the offense?


    Mike Freeman: A

    The Chargers said repeatedly they'd be fine without Gordon and good with Ekeler. I believe them. Ekeler is actually better than Gordon.

    Mike Tanier: B+

    Zeke who? Oops, I mean: Melvin who?

    Brent Sobleski: B+

    The only reason the Chargers offense didn't receive an "A" for their performance is concerns at offensive tackle. As for the team's running back situation, Ekeler has all the makings of an emerging star.

    Brad Gagnon: A+

    I've come close, but now I'm ready to say it: Ekeler is as good as Gordon, maybe better. And he's a hell of a lot cheaper. Oh, and younger. I'd recommend Gordon get on a flight to Los Angeles tomorrow morning.

    Gary Davenport: A

    The Chargers rolled up 435 yards of total offense against the Colts, and 154 of those yards (and three scores) came courtesy of Ekeler. Gordon's negotiating position didn't get any better. That's for sure.

Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray Debut

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    Darryl Webb/Associated Press

    Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and prized quarterback Kyler Murray debuted against the Detroit Lions. The two squads tied, but the final result appeared to mean much more to Arizona after what Kingsbury deemed "three quarters of the worst offense I've ever seen in my life," per ESPN's Josh Weinfuss.

    Is the Cardinals offense in the right hands to excel as the season progresses?

    Mike Freeman: B

    Murray at times looked overwhelmed. But toward the end of the game, he looked significantly better. He's a quick learner, and that bodes well for the Cardinals.

    Mike Tanier: C

    As Kingsbury stated, the first three quarters were a disaster. The fourth quarter was much more encouraging, though the Cardinals got an assist from several patented Lions brain cramps. It's a work in progress, but I saw enough in the fourth quarter to want to see more.

    Brent Sobleski: B+

    The first step to winning is not losing. The Cardinals accomplished this feat with a tie. Murray's exceptional play to overcome a 24-6 fourth-quarter deficit should have Cardinals faithful giddy because this year's No. 1 overall pick faced adversity, played terribly for a long stretch and still delivered.

    Brad Gagnon: B+

    It was likely going to take time, especially after the Cardinals hid their new offensive scheme throughout the preseason. But they showed plenty of progress late against Detroit. Next week's contest against the Baltimore Ravens will be telling.

    Gary Davenport: B-

    Through three-plus quarters, this grade was an "H-." The Cardinals looked awful and fell behind 24-6. But Arizona came roaring back and forced overtime before tying the Lions. I won't go any higher than this, though, because I just hate ties that much.

Zac Taylor's New-Look Bengals

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    Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

    Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton set a career high with 418 passing yards in Zac Taylor's debut as the team's head coach and offensive play-caller. John Ross III also came to play with seven receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns. The Bengals offense looked better than expected, but Cincinnati still lost 21-20 to the Seattle Seahawks.

    Should the Bengals be encouraged despite the loss?


    Mike Freeman: B+

    Seattle remains one of the toughest places to play, and the Bengals performed admirably despite losing. There is some hope in Cincinnati.

    Mike Tanier: B

    I loved the flea-flicker, with Ross running a wheel route against a linebacker (LOL) while Dalton and Gio Bernard played pitch-and-catch. This game looked like a Seahawks blowout on paper. Ultimately, though, the Bengals left several opportunities to win on the field in the fourth quarter.

    Brent Sobleski: B

    The Bengals' biggest concern revolved around the offensive line. The unit wasn't a total disaster against the Seahawks. That fact and Ross' resurrection gives the Bengals hope when they looked like a preseason contender for the league's worst team.

    Brad Gagnon: A

    The key for Taylor is to get the most out of Dalton, Ross, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd, especially with A.J. Green injured. Three of those four were superb against a tough defense in a tough environment. They scored just 20 points and lost, but it was actually a promising start for Taylor and Co.

    Gary Davenport: B-

    I won't grade this higher because, at the end of the day, the Bengals lost. But a career day passing for Dalton during his first outing in Taylor's offense is cause for optimism moving forward. Now the question becomes the health of Mixon's ankle.


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