Here are some random thoughts about Week 4 in the NFL…

  • While everyone talks about how the prevalence of the spread offense in high school and college football has forced NFL teams to spend more time developing their future quarterbacks, no one mentions the impact this kind of offense has on the offensive linemen teams have drafted in the past few years.  They, too, are usually not ready to contribute upon their arrival and their underdevelopment is arguably more impactful on a team’s chances of improving sooner rather than later.  Unlike the spread quarterback who needs to focus on the passing game, a lineman coming from a spread offense needs to learn how to block properly for both the NFL running and passing offenses, unaccustomed to hitting beyond their initial block or dealing with a pass rusher’s secondary move.  The bottom line is that there is a shortage of quality and experienced offensive linemen in today’s NFL, causing many offenses, like those in Cincinnati, Seattle, Carolina and the New York Giants, to short-circuit even with a proven quarterback at the helm.
  • The Chicago Bears need to follow the lessons learned by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Bucs gave Mike Glennon the opportunity to become their franchise quarterback in 2013 and over the next two seasons he was 5-13 as the starter.  In 2015, the Bucs used the first overall pick in the NFL Draft to select quarterback Jameis Winston and immediately knocked Glennon to the curb.  This spring, the Bears traded up to the second overall pick in the draft and selected North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, even though they had signed Glennon to a free agent contract prior to the draft, essentially assuring him a chance, like he had in Tampa, to become the team’s starting quarterback.  Through the first four games this season with Glennon as the starter, the Bears are 1-3 and his four touchdowns compared to his five interceptions give the Bears no hope their fortunes will change anytime soon.  It’s time for Chicago head coach John Fox to do what Lovie Smith did in Tampa–take the keys of the car away from Glennon and give them to the new kid on the block.
  • Everyone can now proceed, in an orderly fashion, to climb aboard the Los Angeles Rams bandwagon.
  • Everyone can now proceed, in an orderly fashion, to jump off the Oakland Raiders bandwagon.
  • Give Miami head coach Adam Gase credit for the accurate assessment of his team.  Prior to the game against New Orleans, Gase said the team’s offense was “garbage”.  The Dolphins proved their coach right in a miserable 20-0 performance against the Saints in which they only made 11 first downs on 186 total yards.
  • The Buffalo Bills defense, very quietly and without any fanfare now that King Blowhard, Rex Ryan, has left town, is one of the best in the NFL.
  • Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald is arguably the best clutch wide receiver in the history of the NFL.
  • It’s obvious that the Bengals’ long-term plans at running back focus on Joe Mixon.  But in the short-term, including this season, they are a better football team when Giovanni Bernard gets the majority of the playing time in the backfield.
  • Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was right–Deshone Kizer wasn’t ready for the NFL.  And for the sake of his physical and mental health, in addition to protecting their long-term investment, the Browns need to sit their young quarterback and let Kevin Hogan start until their bye week on November 5.
  • The NFL season is only one-fourth complete and the Steelers already have a stranglehold on the AFC North Division.  They are 3-1, 1.5 games ahead of the Ravens and 2-0 in division play.  With three of their remaining four division games at home, barring an injury to Ben Roethlisberger, Laveon Bell and/or Antonio Brown, the Steelers simply need to play .500 ball outside the AFC North and the division title is theirs.
  • Since they don’t play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers every game the rest of the year, the Vikings need to find someone other than Case Keenum to start at quarterback until the injured Sam Bradford is able to return.
  • Tom Brady is able to do a lot of things to help his team win but even his magic can’t make up for the problem the Patriots currently have with their defense, and in particular, their front seven.  Until these issues are fixed, New England is in real jeopardy of losing the AFC East Division for the first time since 2008.
  • Leave it to the New York Jets to blow any chance of earning the overall number one pick in next year’s draft and potentially selecting their franchise quarterback of the future by defeating Miami and Jacksonville in the past two weeks.
  • Considering they are 2-2 and facing the real prospect of falling to 2-3 with Green Bay Packers next up on their schedule, you have wonder if the Dallas Cowboys are regretting that Ezekiel Elliott appealed his six-game suspension from the NFL.  Assuming they lose to the Packers and defeat the 49ers the following week, the Cowboys would be 3-3 six games into the season, the same games Elliott would have missed had he not appealed his suspension and a .500 record Dallas probably would have attained without Elliott in the lineup.  Knowing that Elliott, his appeal notwithstanding, will eventually miss six games, it seems the Cowboys would have been better off had Elliott taken his medicine earlier rather than later.
  • It’s an early sample size, but Texans quarterback sure looks like the steal of the 2017 NFL Draft.
  • If Los Angeles head coach Sean McVey truly is a quarterback whisperer, then let him speak soft nothings to Jay Cutler and see how that turns out.
  • Even if you only counted the yards Chiefs running Kareem Hunt has gained in the second half of the four games he has played this season, he still would be leading the NFL in yards rushing.

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