Friday, September 17, 2010
Final Word: AFC East
By Tim Graham
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 2:
As frustratingly sloppy as the Jets were Monday night, they're not that bad. All sorts of atrocities were committed in their season debut. The defense was flagged and the offense gagged. Mark Sanchez had the kind of passing stats you'd expect to see in a Pop Warner game. But let's not write them off so fast. The Jets lost by one point to a team many people consider a championship contender. The Jets' run defense shut down one of the NFL's most talented backfields. There were reasons to retain some optimism.
Brandon Marshall doesn't appear to be comfortable in the Dolphins' offense yet.
The New England Patriots' offensive line made a magnificent first impression. What was that left guard's name? Logan Somethingorother? All right, so the Patriots still could use Logan Mankins. But they did just fine without him against a respected defense. The Cincinnati Bengals didn't record a sack and hit Tom Brady only twice. The Patriots also ran for 5.1 yards a carry. What's that running back's name? Laurence Somethingorother?
Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall haven't shown that desired chemistry yet. I understand Marshall missed every offseason team workout because of hip surgery, but he and Henne have had all of training camp, a full exhibition schedule and a regular-season game to find a connection. Marshall has had problems with drops for weeks. Something's missing, and if they don't start hooking up on a consistently effective basis, you can bet frustrations will start to set in. Sunday's game at the Metrodome would be a really fine time to start.
The Buffalo Bills must rely more on their running backs and tight ends. The Bills had the ball for a measly 23:07 against the Dolphins on opening day. Shame on the Bills for not doing a better job of utilizing one of their few strengths, the backfield trio of C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. They combined for 14 carries. That should change Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Also look for Trent Edwards to throw his first pass of the season to a tight end. David Martin, a former Packer, should contribute.
The last thing the Jets were supposed to be worried about was their pass defense. The Jets have problems in their vaunted secondary, though those problems may be short-term. Darrelle Revis, perhaps still trying to get in shape after his prolonged holdout, has a hamstring injury. He's about to face Randy Moss, who seems to have a chip on his shoulder, by the way. Prized offseason acquisition Antonio Cromartie and first-round draft choice Kyle Wilson walked off the field Monday night with speed knots. Free-agent safety Brodney Pool has been hobbled by an ankle injury. And this crew needs to stifle Brady.