Behind The Chains: Should NFL Be Concerned About Myriad Lopsided Games In Week 1?
There was a lot of "bad football" on the opening Sunday of the NFL season, which "featured one of the most dreadful, one-sided slates in recent memory," according to Jerry Sullivan of the BUFFALO NEWS. Counting the Chiefs-Patriots NFL Kickoff game on Thursday, only two of 13 games "were decided by a TD or less" and "six of the losing teams scored in single digits." There was some "horrid offense played around the league on Sunday." Sullivan: "This might be a one-week blip, but it has to be a slight concern to the league" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/12). SI.com's Jacob Feldman writes when the Chiefs' Alex Smith, Rams' Jared Goff and Vikings' Sam Bradford are "leading passing categories, you know something has gone awry -- even if we are just one week into the season." Despite Bradford's "sterling" showing in his team's 29-19 win against the Saints last night, QBs "put up the worst combined Week 1 passer rating" since '12. QBs also "tallied the fewest touchdowns per game for an opening group" since '10. Some "truly putrid performances brought down those numbers," and even QBs such as the Panthers' Cam Newton, Packers' Aaron Rodgers and Seahawks' Russell Wilson were "mediocre at best" (SI.com, 9/12). NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal notes the Rams were the only team last year to average "under 300 yards per game on offense." Rosenthal: "So roughly half the NFL in Week 1 resembled the 2016 Rams offense" (NFL.com, 9/12).
NOT A GREAT START: THE RINGER's Danny Heifetz writes Chargers K Younghoe Koo’s "disappointing blocked kick" in his team's 24-21 loss to the Broncos last night was a "perfect cap to an oddly dissatisfying slate of Week 1 games." Just one QB threw "more than two touchdowns on Sunday," and only one RB delivered "more than one rushing touchdown." Many teams "looked rusty." Heifetz: "Whether this week’s diminished quality is due to reduced practice time in the offseason, the jettisoning of experienced veterans for younger and cheaper talent, or merely chance is tough to say" (THERINGER.com, 9/12). In DC, Adam Kilgore wrote when teams failed to "reach 10 points in fully half of Sunday’s games, it represents an epidemic." NFL teams "flailed in attempts to form an offense," and not just with "unproven" QBs. Kilgore: "NFL football is too dangerous to responsibly prepare for, and the preseason is broken because of it." Offenses "require more full-speed repetition than defenses," WRs and QBs "need to hone precision and timing, and offensive lines require cohesion and coordination." Despite an "industrial complex of OTAs and minicamps throughout the offseason, the risk of injury and collectively bargained practice constraints deter teams from full-speed, full-contact practices" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/11).
PRACTICE REALLY DOES MAKE PERFECT: NBCSN's Chris Simms said fans complain there is "not enough practice time and not enough reps to get around to players -- the young players, the vets -- to make it all work." Simms: "We saw some sloppy play, we saw some busted coverages, busted blocking assignments." NBC's Mike Florio said, “A lot of these teams are going to get better as September unfolds and into October because now they’re getting the reps on game day they may not be getting them in practice" (“PFT,” NBCSN, 9/12).