JOHNNY! (and other stuff) – NFL Week 2 Recap

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A wild and crazy Week 2 has come to a close, so Will and Derek are back with their unsolicited opinions on the week’s action, including the Seahawks’ 0-2 start, the return of Johnny Football, the fall of Tony Romo, the Patriots getting some credit, the Gentlemen of the Week, and the Most Hungover Fan Bases.


 

AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Will: The Seahawks have given up 61 points and have zero victories through two games. Which deserves more blame: the offense or defense?

Derek: It’s tough to say. There’s so much blame to go around that it feels unfair to give the lion’s share to just one player or one unit.

The offensive line has been just as much of an abomination as advertised. Considering the credit Pete Carroll and John Schneider get for talent evaluation, and the credit Tom Cable gets for being an incredible offensive line coach, it’s just inexcusable that the line is this bad. This is not a new problem. The offensive line has been a problem for years. They’ve made some efforts, like drafting James Carpenter in the first round and John Moffitt in the third in 2011. They took Russell Okung sixth overall in 2010. Carpenter and Moffitt are both gone, and Okung, while talented, is a false start machine with a penchant for holding. He’s probably gone next year too, unless he takes a pay cut. If I’m not mistaken, Okung is the final player still on his rookie deal from before the rookie wage scale was initiated. He makes a lot of money, and the Seahawks don’t have much cap space. This line could get even worse next year.

I had hoped the offensive line would be a big priority after they traded Max Unger and their first round pick for an awesome receiver they don’t throw to, but nooooo. I remember reading the Seahawks were targeting guard Ali Marpet in the second round, but the Bucs traded up and took him two picks before. So they abandoned the offensive line until the fourth round, when they took two guards who couldn’t crack a very crackable starting lineup.

And now the Jimmy Graham trade is starting to look stupid, and not because Unger and the first rounder were too much. Sure, I miss Unger, and the Seahawks could use him, but his injuries kept him out of the lineup about half the time anyway. It’s stupid because the way they’re using Graham, they got pretty much nothing for Unger. They know Jimmy’s on the field, right? Why do we live in a world where Russell Wilson throws the ball 30 times and Graham only gets one catch for eight yards on two targets? Why give up Unger and a first rounder for one of the best receivers in the league when you’re not going to throw him the goddamn ball?!?!

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

But the defense isn’t blameless. As you say, they’ve allowed 61 points, and 34 of those were to the Nick Foles/Benny Cunningham/Jared Cook combo that just got housed by the Redskins. And Michael Bennett, I love you, but I’m getting tired of the constant offsides penalties. You know what isn’t a good idea? Giving Aaron Rodgers free plays. But don’t tell that to Michael Bennett, who was feeling especially generous on Sunday evening. It’s so frustrating to watch them lose games doing stupid, undisciplined stuff like this. And the tackling was horrendous. I had horrible, unpleasant flashbacks to the end of the Holmgren era.

Will: Ah yes, the Holmgren era! We had one of those in Cleveland! He took over as team president a couple years after leaving Seattle, and was relieved of duty amidst all kinds of dysfunctional crap once Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns. Good times. Anywho, how much of the Seahawks’ 0-2 start is just due to the Rams and Packers just being good? The next six weeks of schedule look pretty gravy in comparison, no?

Derek: Yes, the teams were good, but the matchups were also unfavorable. Both games were home openers for their opponents, and the Packers game was in primetime. The crowds are typically better in those games. The opponents also treated the games like their Super Bowl, with the Rams trying to beat the division champs and the Packers trying to avenge their NFC Championship defeat. Plenty of Seahawks fans acknowledged an 0-2 start was possible after the schedule came out. But you’re correct–the schedule gets better. They’ve got Chicago at home on Sunday and then Detroit at home on Monday Night Football. Those should be wins. The Week 5 game in Cincinnati at 10 a.m. PT scares me, but Carolina at home, at San Francisco, and at Dallas without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are very winnable.

Will: What’s going on with Kam Chancellor’s holdout? Is he the big winner thus far?

Derek: It’s been common for people to say Chancellor has made a lot of money from the Seahawks’ struggles, but I don’t think so. Chancellor has three years left on his contract. Three years! My opinion on this holdout is similar to what I said when we talked about Michael Bennett’s threatened holdout back in June. I understand Chancellor’s position, but I think he’s ultimately going to lose money. It’s not that the Seahawks don’t want to pay him. The problem is the precedent it would set. If Chancellor gets rewarded for holding out with three years left on his deal, why wouldn’t Earl Thomas try that? Why wouldn’t Richard Sherman? Or Russell Wilson or Bobby Wagner? If I were one of those guys, I sure as hell would. For that reason, I believe the Seahawks when they say the only way this ends is if Chancellor decides to show up.

Chancellor has already given up over $2 million in fines and game checks. I’ll be surprised if the Seahawks blink. He may be losing just as much as the Seahawks.

Will: If you had a Darrell Bevell voodoo doll (let’s pretend that you don’t), what would you do to it?

Derek: Nothing, unless it can answer my questions. I don’t want to harm him. I just want to understand him. If you didn’t have a plan for Percy Harvin, why didn’t you tell Carroll and Schneider that before the trade? What changes in your mind on those occasions when you make an absolutely incredible call that fools the entire defense? Can’t you just think that way all the time? Why do you love bubble screens so much? How many times do you have to see your receivers get one or two yards on these plays before you concede that they don’t work? Why is Jimmy Graham not being targeted? If you weren’t going to feature him in the offense, why didn’t you tell Carroll and Schneider that before the trade? What are your conversations with Marshawn Lynch like? Does he have any respect for you? Did Jimmy Graham sleep with your wife? Did Jimmy Graham steal your identity and purchase a yacht? Did Jimmy Graham leave a flaming bag of poo on your doorstep? Why do you hate him so much?

Will: For the record, I’m wholeheartedly enjoying this Darrell Bevell hate, and not just because it reminds me of hating Darren Rovell (I unfollowed him on Twitter months ago and my life is undoubtedly better for it). Won’t this 0-2 start look silly by Thanksgiving? Doesn’t everyone always overreact even as they warn against overreaction?

Derek: I think so. The sky was falling last year when the Seahawks were 3-3 and they finished 12-4 and went to the Super Bowl. In 2005, they started 2-2, finished 13-3 and went to the Super Bowl. If they lose in Week 3 and/or Week 4, then I’ll start to panic. Until then, I’m taking Aaron Rodgers’ advice from when the Packers started 1-2 last year.

rodgers relax

Okay, enough of my complaints. I know this isn’t a question, but … JOHNNY!!!!!

Will: Dude. JOHNNY! That game was unreal. So much goddamn fun. I had a hunch that the Browns weren’t as bad as they looked against the Jets, and that the Titans weren’t as good as they looked against the Bucs, but this was just pure straight gravy. Johnny was hardly perfect, and he only threw 15 passes in part because the Browns were up 21 at halftime (repeat: THE BROWNS WERE UP 21 AT HALFTIME), but he made The Big Play to put the game out of reach. He threw one 50-yard score and then a 60-yarder. He was Johnny Fuckin’ Football, and it was everything I thought it could be.

AP Photo/Ron Schwane

AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Derek: Is Monday’s performance sustainable? Will we be talking Manziel to Benjamin for years to come? And why aren’t the Browns throwing any passes to Duke Johnson? Wasn’t that the plan? I’m asking for a friend who has Johnson on several fantasy teams.

Will: Errrrraaauuhhhmmmm…I’m hesitant to go anywhere near the intersection of the words Johnny and sustainable. I just try to live in the moment when a game like that one rolls around. And Johnny may be back on the bench this week! Josh McCown is recovering from his concussion, and it sounds like there’s a chance he’ll be back in there as QB1; he’s listed as such on the unofficial depth chart, anyway. If a lifetime of Browns fandom has taught me anything, it’s that whatever happens will not happen simply.

As for Duke catching passes and generally being a more impactful fantasy player, I think it’s coming. He hardly set the world on fire this week, running for 43 yards and not catching a pass. He looked quick and shifty, though, especially on one 20-yard run he had. Betting on a Browns skill player is basically fantasy suicide, but I’m cautiously optimistic that Duke will yield some results.

In other news, you said you wouldn’t give the Patriots credit unless they beat Buffalo. Are you sticking by that?

Derek: Yeah, I reckon so. I again thought they were the beneficiaries of some poor play from their opponent, but the Patriots still found a way to win. That’s more than I can say for my team. The Patriots’ “revenge tour” will continue so long as Gronk is healthy, which is no guarantee. Gronk is so good that he holds his team’s fate in his hands like a top quarterback does. I wonder which Patriots team would be better: one that lost Brady for the season, or one that lost Gronk for the season?

AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

The Cowboys will be without Tony Romo for the next eight weeks, meaning Cleveland legend Brandon Weeden is taking over. Are the Cowboys done?

Will: Sadly it looks like Weeden’s reign as starting quarterback of America’s Team may already be over, as the Cowboys traded for Matt Cassel before press time. But yeah, with Romo and Dez Bryant both out for a while, they’re done. I hope this doesn’t make their December swoon any less enjoyable.

What was Sunday’s biggest surprise?

Derek: In ESPN’s power rankings at the end of Week 2, the bottom five teams were Cleveland, Washington, Jacksonville, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. All five won. I wonder if that’s ever happened before? Good for any of you folks who are still alive in your eliminator pools.

Alright, let’s wrap this up. First, let’s unveil our Gentlemen of the Week. I’m going with Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who convinced Andrew Luck to give generously on Monday night. Philanthropy is important for the modern gentleman, so it was nice of Bowles to elicit such charity from Luck. What say you?

Will: Travis Benjamin, welcome to casual conversation among NFL fans. People actually know who he is now, or at least that he exists. He’s the third ranked fantasy wide receiver after two weeks and a decent bet to be the most claimed player of the week (who else you gonna pick up, Cassel?). I don’t know too much about Travis, but if he rips off another big score then he’s sure to become a cult hero around town.

Who’s your Most Hungover Fan Base?

Derek: It’s got to be the Bears. While the bottom five teams in the power rankings lost, the sixth worst team got thrashed at home by the Cardinals. On top of that, Smokin’ Jay left with an injury, so Jimmy Clausen could be taking snaps for a couple of weeks. Finally, the Bears get to visit the angry Seahawks for their home opener next week. Not a promising stretch for Bears fans. Who’ve you got?

Will: Man, the Bears suck right now, huh? They’re a fine choice, and I’m tempted to second that motion, but there’s another group I deem even more worthy of this title: the New Orleans Saints. They lost to the Bucs, Drew Brees hurt his shoulder, and they lost to the Bucs. New Orleans doesn’t need an excuse to tip one back, and I’m betting they drowned their sorrows plenty after losing to Tampa at home.

But don’t despair, Saints fans. Only eight more weeks until the Browns are on Monday Night Football. You can watch Johnny then. You’ll love him.



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