Chad Pennington is out for the season and in comes the youngster Chad Henne to show everyone he’s better than he played in relief last week. Henne has a better arm and can throw the deep ball better than Chad, but will he play mistake free enough to keep the starting gig? Tyler Thigpen was sent to Miami to be Henne’s back-up, and I truly think that was the Dolphins’ intentions. I think Henne keeps the job and ends up helping out a guy like Ted Ginn Jr…. Darren McFadden fumbled the ball three times, doesn’t see the hole that well, and has 11 guys focused on trying to tackle him as soon as he gets the ball. I’m not saying dump McFadden, in fact, I think you could get the guy for next to nothing and he’s worth the risk, but I don’t think I’d start him unless you are desperate or he does some actual damage (though this week he has a pretty decent match-up if you want to gamble)…. Speaking of JaMarcus Russell, can a guy be any less confident throwing a football than he is? He can’t even seem to connect with Zach Miller anymore. After ending the season on a very high note, winning a couple games, completing a respectable percentage, and throwing 6-2 TD to INT, many thought Russell would take the next step. If the next step was all rotten and dropped off into a hot lava pit, that was right on the button….. Eli Manning has been very good. That’s hard for me to write down, but what more can I say? I thought teams would be able to stack up against the run, but you just can’t do that to Eli anymore. His receivers are better than anyone thought, and maybe he’s worth all that money the Giants invested into him after all. That makes me sick to my stomach, or maybe that’s just the burgers…… Jake Delhomme may be just about done, but I have to blame the play calling for the Panthers’ complete demise. DeAngelo Williams had 11 carries for the love of god. 11. And the Panthers were on top and or tied for quite some time. Not only did he not get the ball enough, but in 11 carries he totaled over 60 yards. That looks good to me. Seems like if you did a lot more of handing him the ball you’d win a game or two….. Aaron Rodgers has not looked good through the first three games. He still has decent fantasy numbers, but for the majority of game time he’s been overthrowing receivers, picking the wrong guy, and just flat out looking rusty. He’ll be fine, don’t worry, but how often does this kind of thing happen? A guy walks through the pre-season completing every pass he throws only to struggle out of the gates. It’s weird….. Game smarts: where have you gone? Seneca Wallace, special teams players, NFL coaches – I feel like the first three games have been an interview for new reality show titled “Dumb is the new Fun”. How can quarterbacks run out of bounds 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage when all you have to do is throw the ball into the freaking stands? How can a kick return guy run out of bounds only to sprint in front of his teammates on a rolling punt and be the first to touch it? How can Jim Mora call a 2 yard out to Julius Jones on 4th and 3 with 29 seconds to go? How can Chad Pennington run a QB sneak for a first down on 3rd and 1 with a minute left in the game when he needs a touchdown to score? These first few weeks have been crazy, but somebody needs to teach these guys some rules. Good lord!….. Matt Forte, ugh. 21 carries for 66 yards, against the Hawks? At least Jay Cutler checked it down to him a couple times, but this was supposed to be the game that Forte stepped up his production. Needless to say, that wasn’t really the case….. LenDale White might not be getting enough carries to be fantasy worthy, but Chris Johnson won’t hold up with 25 touches a game all season. As much as I love Chris’s game, White is going to get an opportunity, and he’s going to run with it. He’s run well despite limited looks. Keep your eye on the big guy….. How does Tampa bench Byron Leftwich? I know they are struggling and 0-3 and young and maybe want to see what one of their young guys can do, but Byron was only good through the first two weeks. The Giants were in his face every snap last Sunday, but Byron’s numbers were goo prior to that. I don’t think Josh Johnson will be as good as Lefty, and Josh Freeman is not ready either. Interesting move, not a good sign if you own Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant, or even a running back. Not good if you own Byron either.
Welcome to Red Red Ryan’s weekly “Trick or Treat” section, where I, Red Red Ryan will break down some of the performances from the previous week and tell you whether or not you are being tricked or you can expect the same treat the rest of the way.
Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal:
Does a quarterback make the wide receivers? Or do the wide receivers make the quarterback? In my opinion the quarterback make the wide receiver, and that spells trouble for Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. I’m not saying that they are bad receivers, I think they are elite receivers, however they have a terrible quarterback throwing them the ball. In 2008 with Jay Cutler locking in on them Marshall caught 104 passes for 1265 yards and 6 TD’s and Royal caught 91 passes for 980 yards and 5 TD’s. After two weeks in the 2009 season Marshall and Royal are on pace for less than half of their stats from 2008. Marshall is on pace for just 56 receptions and Royal for only 40. These numbers are very close to Devin Hester’s 51 receptions for 665 and 3 TD’s, who was Orton’s number 1 receiving target from 2008. Meanwhile in Chicago; Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester all have more receptions than Marshall and Royal. You are going to get what you’re getting, no trick here.
Tough going so far in 2009 for second year running back Matt Forte. In Week 1 he rushed for 55 yards on 25 carries and for the first time in his career he went without a catch. Matt had a bit of a bounce back game in week 2 catching 5 passes for 33 yards while rushing 13 times for 29 yards. It was nice to see Forte getting some touches in the passing game after the Week 1 loss. I think we will see Lovie Smith’s influence by seeing more passes to their playmaker out of the backfield. As for Forte’s lack of rushing yards, I think we see a big change in the Week 3 match-up versus the Seahawks. I expect Forte to get back on track this week against a beat up and generally soft run defense, and carry that momentum with him for the rest of the season.
Which quarterback has the 5th most passing yards in the NFL? That’s right, it’s Eli Manning. Thus far in 2009 Eli has sliced and diced his way through 2 top 7 passing defenses from the 2008 season. I know it’s early, and history shows he’s bound to have a 3 INT game in the next 2 weeks, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen this year. And now, I couldn’t find any crazy red headed stats to back me up, because the truth is he usually goes interception happy. But if you look at the Giants schedule coming up they play against some pretty bad pass defenses, and unless the “G-men” can get the ground game going Eli will be throwing early and often to his underrated group of young wide outs.
Woo Hoo!! Cedric Benson is 6th in the league in rushing. Nice middle round pick taking the last starting running back available. Time to get some return from Cedric while his value is at his highest. Yes, his highest. So far Cedric has rushed for 76 yards against the Broncos and 141 yards against the Packers. Both teams in the bottom 6 rush defense from a year ago. The real test will be over the next 7 weeks when he faces the Steelers and Ravens twice, with the Bears in between. I believe Benson is a #3 RB and should only be started in a good match up. So if you can sell high on him, and buy low on a guy like Steve Slaton, I think you will be better off at seasons end.