Each week we will grab the six noteworthy/newsworthy/interesting things that occurred across the NFL and take a deepish dive in to see what really happened and what that means moving forward… week 1, let’s go!
ACTION JACKSON 2.0
I expected a slight regression from Lamar Jackson this season. Technically, that’s a weak call because Jackson will be hard pressed to replicate his MVP-winning season but you get what I mean.
If anything, No. 8 got better in week one as he scorched Cleveland early and often in a game which was never close.
38-6 was the final. Baltimore look primed to make another elite regular season run and try to make up for some playoff troubles.
Jackson will be the driving force. Any regression not on show in week one. Back in my box!
HE’S STILL A BAD MAN
When Green Bay traded up in the first round of the most recent NFL draft, Aaron Rodgers had every right to get excited.
Plenty of talented and impactful offensive players were still on the board and whilst they did technically draft an offensive guy, he will in no way help Rodgers on the field.
Jordan Love was selected and the Packers brass went onto say ‘it’s about the future as well as the present.’ That obviously made Rodgers mad and he took it out on the Vikings in week one.
364 yards, four TD and some of the most beautiful throws you ever will see.
The Aaron Rodgers vengeance tour has begun.
SUPER CAM KEEPS POUNDING
Cam Newton took a while to find a new team. We knew he would get one but it seemed no one was interested for quite some time.
The former MVP eventually landed in Foxboro with New England and the Patriots got right back to winning.
Protecting Cam was not on the radar for coach Bill Belichick, as Newton ran the ball 15 times and found the end zone twice.
Problem is, Cam was tackled or struck 10 times which is not a sustainable method moving forward.
Newton is the best QB ever to tuck the ball under his wing near the goal line and attack the paint but with his injury history, copping a battering will see him back on the injury list real soon.
40 IS THE NEW 30
Tom Brady, age 43, was far from vintage in his Tampa Bay debut but we saw enough to suggest he will be able to keep the Buccaneers competitive against anyone they face.
The man opposite TB in week one was Drew Brees, age 41, who was also held relatively in check but he will a handful, particularly inside the Superdome.
Ben Roethlisberger, age 38, returned from a significant elbow injury and led Pittsburgh to a Monday Night Football dub throwing for three scores.
The best quarterback performance of the weekend may have been Aaron Rodgers, age 36, as he torched Minnesota’s secondary for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
Sure, there are numerous talented and exciting young play callers around the NFL but you’d be sane in thinking that any Lombardi Trophy handed out in February 2021 will go through a 35+ year-old QB, perhaps even older.
KYLER & KLIFF ARE COOKING
You’ve got to give Arizona credit. They’re a bold franchise who are not afraid to make the tough call.
When Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer departed the desert, things looked bleak. Drafting Josh Rosen at No. 10 overall seemed the Cardinals way forward but things flatlined there so the team made the gutsy decision to move on Rosen and use the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 draft.
Kliff Kingsbury was the next large puzzle piece to be fitted when the former Texas Tech boss was announced as the Cardinals newest head coach.
General Manager Steve Keim pulled a coup and acquired DeAndre Hopkins in a trade then signed him to a longer term deal.
In week one, that trio had an outstanding opening day against a formidable opponent, San Francisco.
Murray was 26/40 for 230 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick but it was his work as a runner which was spectacular. He carried the rock 13 times for 91 yards and a score – but it was his ability to slide or run out of bounds which was really impressive. Taking unnecessary hits in the NFL, especially as a small QB, is the fast way to the unemployment queue so Murray’s growth is promising.
Hopkins dropped a bomb in his Cards debut – 14 catches for 151 yards.
Arizona has an extremely winnable next month of games which could set up their season.