Well, it’s Friday. Pull up a chair and let me share some thoughts.
The New York Giants are adrift – The season just started and the Giants look like they accept that they will lose. The defense is still good but obscured by an inept offense. It is a brand new season and they look like they are tired at the end of a bad year. Give it three months and they will be there.
The Giants haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012. The knock on the Giants after 2015 was that they were stale and uninspired after all the years of Tom Coughlin and OC Kevin Gilbride. So they promoted Ben McAdoo from offensive coordinator to head coach and Mike Sullivan from quarterback coach to coordinator. There’s a sure way to reinvigorate an offense.
Brandon Marshall is playing with all the passion of someone pulled from the audience for a magic trick. They demoted Sterling Shepard so that Marshall could catch one pass per game. Maybe it will all start working with a healthy Odell Beckham? Since Beckham arrived in 2014, little else has worked. After two weeks, an offense should not look this tired, flat and uninspired.
Maybe the announcers are right – At the end of the ridiculous Rams-49ers shootout, one of the announcers said that the lack of preparation time in the summer means offenses do not get into gear until a few games into the season. Scores have been down. Week 1 scoring used to be one of the highest scoring weeks of the year and now is one of the worst.
The Bengals are the Giants – When I was 20 years old, I had to drive cross-country with my brother. By the end of the first day, it was apparent that the car wasn’t going to make it. He said he always feared it might not make the 2,000-mile trip and that we needed a quick Plan B. I said “you knew for six months we were doing this. You owned that car the whole time. And NOW you realize we need a new plan?”
That is the Bengals. If you are willing to dump your offensive coordinator only two weeks into the season, this is not the first time you thought there might be a problem. Ken Zampese is gone to avoid a locker room mutiny. Bill Lazor was promoted up from being the quarterback coach. I can attest that what you end up with when you reach the rental lot in desperation is not going to be all that much better than what you left on the side of the road.
One caveat here – read the box score. Any changes to the offense will show up and give an idea if non-Green players are going to become better.
I feel like a No. 2 – First few weeks of the season are always weird and hard to forecast. Some are aberrant performances sure to fall off soon. Others are the “new normal”. What is striking is that the current Top-25 running backs contain eight different players that are not the primary guy in their backfield (at least supposedly). In a reception-points league, we have Chris Thompson (7), Tarik Cohen (12), Javorius Allen (13), Jalen Richard (17), Derrick Henry (20), James White (21), and Tevin Coleman (22).
Not starting out to be the Year of the Running Back (at least for those not named Kareem Hunt).
Put down your wallet and crack pipe – Derrick Henry comes off the best game of his career with 92 yards and a score on 14 carries. That apparently was stirred into a big glass of Budweiser/GHB which prompted some people to decide that Henry is the next big thing (figuratively and literally).
On the plus side, he is a 247-pound beast that runs a 4.5/40. He doesn’t need a wiggle because a monster truck does not need a wiggle. He was dominating for Alabama in their 2015 National Championship year. He ran 395 times over 15 games. No question – he is a straight-line powerhouse with one of the top offensive lines in the NFL.
But… Demarco Murray is still alive. And employed. Limited recently with a hamstring issue. Murray flopped in 2015 after getting 457 touches and he had his second busiest year for 2016 with 362 touches. It would not be a shock that he is more injured this year and he is 29-years-old. But one decent game by Henry doesn’t mean Murray disappears. And Murray gets 50+ catches in a normal year. Henry had 13 as a rookie and still none this year. I own Henry in many leagues including dynasty. I think he is the man in 2018. But don’t go all Mike Ditka/Ricky Williams on Henry quite yet.
Coming off suspension – This is the final week of a DUI suspension for Willie Snead who returns to play in Miami in Week 4 and then go on his bye. What is most notable is Brandon Coleman getting ripped off waiver wires after catching four passes for 82 yards and a score last week in the loss to the Pats. You’ll just get the game in Carolina this week from him. But then Snead returns and make that offense work better. He will help the somewhat disappointing Michael Thomas.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins comes off suspension for this week but he may not be active. On a team that is currently lead by Rashard Higgins, there is plenty of room for someone – anyone – to step up and contribute to the passing game. Don’t bother until he does something but be willing to check.
And an extra point – From this week onward, most free agent finds will be the product of either injury allowing a player a new opportunity or someone in your league gives up on a player too soon. Always check last week’s transactions and this week’s injuries.