1. Eli Manning and the Giants are hilariously bad
Quick list of people who have been better at quarterback this season than Eli Manning:
2. Maurice Jones-Drew has hit the Running Back Wall
There’s a firm belief that, in the NFL, running backs become much less productive once they reach 30 years old. Jones-Drew is still only 28, but years of singlehandedly propping up a Jaguars offense that scores like a hockey team clearly has taken its toll. Turns out in reality Sisyphus would only be able to move that boulder so many times before he starts averaging 2.4 yards per carry.
3. Do the Cleveland Browns have some sort of oracle at their disposal?
A few weeks ago, we were all laughing at Cleveland and not-so-subtly insinuating that they were purposefully tanking the 2013 season after they traded away promising running back prospect Trent Richardson and decided to start untested third stringer Brian Hoyer at QB. Suddenly they’re 2-0 since then and hosting a very winnable game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, Brian Hoyer is playing better than anyone could have imagined, and Trent Richardson continues to struggle in Indianapolis.
If the Browns squeeze out a couple more wins, I think I’m hitting up Michael Lombardi (their general manager) for stock tips.
4. Chip Kelly: Once you pop, the fun almost immediately stops
After a very fun-to-watch win over the Washington Racisms in week 1, the Kelly-led Eagles have sputtered in route to dropping 3 straight. Through week 4, they are at the bottom of the barrel in Time of Possession, meaning that Kelly’s biggest weakness (his defense) has spent the vast majority of time on the field.
It’s hard to usher in an offensive revolution if you can’t keep your offense on the field.
5. The Patriots continue to be mediocre, yet perplexingly untouchable
Tom Brady is getting more attention nowadays for throwing temper tantrums at his young wide receivers than for exceptional on the field performance. While the Patriots haven’t been awful statistically on offense (ranked 11th) OR defense (8th) the ole’ eye test reveals this team to be much more vulnerable than any New England squad in recent years.
And yet, they sit at 4-0 and Tom Brady goes home every night to bang his supermodel wife, so what the hell do I know?
6. Jordan Cameron = Gronk 2.o?
Much like Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (when he’s actually on the field), Jordan Cameron has been a touchdown machine recently for the Browns. Also much like Gronkowski, he often seems to advance the ball by whispering, ‘What the hell??’ to himself and just chucking his body in the general direction he wishes to go.
I for one am all in favor. Lord knows there has been a Gronk-shaped hole in all our lives for a while now. Someone let me know when Cameron stars in his own reality show and starts wrestling people on public dance floors.
7. Evil Peyton Manning is the scariest player the NFL has ever seen
I don’t care how much JJ Watt plays with blood pouring down his face and I don’t care that playing Ndamukong Suh ups your chances of getting stabbed in a game to around 50/50. There is no player more intimidating to line up across from this season than Peyton Manning. Through four games, the Broncos QB has been as flawless as anyone could be and has led what is statically the most impressive scoring offense in NFL history.
There are theories floating around that last year’s playoff loss snapped something in Manning’s brain and he’s since embraced the dark side. Makes sense to me. How the hell else do you start a season with 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions? The Evil Manning Theory is bolstered by the picture the NFL has on file for him this year:
Bone-chilling. If this is true, it means defenses playing the Broncos are basically lining up across from He Who Must Not Be Named (Voldemort – oops) at the height of his powers.
8. Sam Bradford needs to go bye-bye
Full disclosure: I’m a die-hard Rams fan, so typing the above subtitle felt like punting a puppy. But I also pride myself on being a logical person and the reasons for the Rams to show Bradford the door keep piling up:
– He’s not playing well
Bradford is now in his fourth year in the league and (deservingly) drawing far more comparisons to Mark Sanchez and Blaine Gabbert than to a suitable first-pick-overall quarterback. He’s earned a definite reputation as a checkdown artist, but still can’t match the productivity even of Alex Smith, who arguably has fewer weapons with the 4-0 Chiefs.
– His price tag is HUGE
The Rams got a bit of a raw deal a few years back when the league restructured rookie contracts. Put simply, to keep a player chosen first overall in the draft back then, you had to shell out Heisenberg amounts of money. Bradford was the final number one draft pick to get that huge contract.Nowadays, with the maximum value of rookie contracts strictly capped, teams can afford to gamble on promising young QBs and still have money to beef up the team elsewhere. If the Rams were to ditch Bradford, it would free up around $10 million for them to make some necessary upgrades elsewhere (like safety).
– He doesn’t seem to care very much
This one is admittedly much more relative, but I watch a lot of Rams games and it’s hard to tell the difference in Bradford’s body language when the Rams are winning and when he’s just been sacked on a third-and-14. In a quarterback-driven league, this is not the kind of apathy you want leading your football team.
9. Josh Freeman should go to Minnesota, right?
Minnesota’s head coach has stated that their starting QB Christian Ponder is on thin ice. Josh Freeman and Tampa Bay’s head coach Greg Schiano get along about as well as Tom and Jerry did (only I think there are more anvils involved with Freeman / Schiano).
2+2=4, right? The only reason I can think of that this hasn’t happened yet is because Freeman has been such a diva recently he could star in one of those Snickers commercials.
10. Thursday Night Football games are crappy
As much as I love having more football on more nights of the week, this sport faces limitations that the more freely-scheduled sports (baseball and basketball, mostly) do not. The players often DO need an entire week to recover from their previous game and, while basketball is arguably just as strategy-based as football, each team generally faces their opponents multiple times in a season – leading to more familiarity and less necessary prep time for coaches, perhaps.
The Thursday Night games this season have been sloppy, mostly low scoring, penalty festivals. The NFL can trumpet about player safety all they want, but as long as they keep trotting out tired and injured players for a few more Thursday night bucks, this guy ain’t buying.
Follow Tucker on Twitter @TuckaMay