Under the Headset  

 

Dolphins need Ryan Tannehill to move; Eagles have dilemma

Print

A handful of observations as we turn the page on Week 2 and head into Week 3:

Breer: Why are young QBs thriving?
Ten teams are starting QBs with less than two years' experience. Is it working? Albert Breer explores in his weekly notes. More ...

» Make him move, Miami.  Ryan Tannehill was drafted eighth overall because of his athletic ability, not his accuracy from within the pocket. After two games, he has just five rushing attempts, one of which went for a touchdown. For the Miami Dolphins to get the most out of his talents, they must take the calculated risk of moving Tannehill outside the pocket and giving him the run/pass option.

» Luck can move, too. In his Week 2 win, Andrew Luck showed the athleticism that we might have forgotten from his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. His measurables in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, cone drill and broad jump were very similar to those of Cam Newton in 2011. In Luck's first career win with the Indianapolis Colts, he was eluding sacks and gaining first downs with his legs when necessary. His first touchdown pass was a dart into a tight window. He has all the skills. Robert Griffin III seems to be getting the early publicity with the Washington Redskins, but Luck has been brilliant in his own right.

» Improvement in Cleveland. After a miserable Week 1, the rookie combination of running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden is giving Cleveland Browns fans hope for the future. Richardson has an explosive quality, with a mix of elite balance and power that is unique, even in the NFL. Weeden bounced back from his atrocious four-interception debut and threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns last week. More impressive was his 70 percent completion rate, which was 36 percentage points better than his completion rate in Week 1.

» Decline in Jacksonville. After taking some positive steps in the season debut against the Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert looked atrocious against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Sure, Houston has a phenomenal defense -- it's probably the best in the NFL, next to the San Francisco 49ers' -- but it was about more than that for Gabbert. The footwork and accuracy issues he had as a rookie seemed to reappear.

» No hope in Tennessee? After a full rookie season and another two games as a sophomore, Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker looks behind in his development when compared to rookies Luck and Griffin. Locker is a great athlete, but I'm not sure he can master the subtleties of playing quarterback in the NFL. He struggles to slide and climb in the pocket to avoid the rush and keep his eyes down the field. He completed just 50 percent of his passes in Week 2, showing the same accuracy issues he had in college. After more than 16 months of being an NFL quarterback, you would like to see more development at this stage.

» The Philadelphia Eagles have a dilemma. In Week 1, they were focused on protecting Michael Vick, keeping both the running back and the tight end back to block. This kept Vick relatively clean, but having only two options in the passing game really hurt Philadelphia's deep passing scheme. With nothing underneath to draw them up, Cleveland's defenders were able to just sit on Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. In Week 2, the Eagles released tight end Brent Celek, and he responded with eight receptions and a game-high 157 receiving yards. But that came at a price: After almost every passing play, Vick was peeling himself off the ground. Moving forward, the Eagles will have to decide which strategy is better for the team.

» Don't forget about Rice. The Baltimore Ravens' no-huddle offense was firing on all cylinders in the first six quarters of the season. The quick pace helped hide some of the Ravens' protection issues up front, and quarterback Joe Flacco was taking advantage of the team's speed at the skill positions. But then the team seemed to completely forget about Ray Rice. The star running back didn't have a second-half carry until there were five minutes left in the third quarter last week. Baltimore must feed its most consistent offensive weapon. Huddle or no huddle, he is the key.

» What's up with Wes? You won't see me questioning the genius of Bill Belichick very often, but I am at a loss to explain how the New England Patriots are handling the Wes Welker situation. Starting Julian Edelman over Welker in two-receiver sets is a head-scratcher. Remember, Edelman saw more defensive snaps than offensive snaps last season. Yes, Welker had a critical drop in the Super Bowl, and then he asked for more money in the offseason. But you can't tell me that Edelman is an outright better option.

Harrison: Week 3 Power Rankings
Who's on the rise, and who's on the decline after two games? Elliot Harrison ranks all the NFL teams, Nos. 1-32. More ...

» J.J. Watt is my defensive player of the year after just two weeks. You won't see a five-technique in a 3-4 defense have a bigger impact on the game than Watt has to start the season. He tipped two passes in Week 1 that led to interceptions and then killed another drive by batting down a third-down pass in Week 2. His significance goes well beyond the three sacks he already has on the season.

» Kansas City has a ton of problems, and they aren't all named Matt Cassel. Cassel doesn't play on the defense, which is giving up 37.5 points a game, tied with the New Orleans Saints for dead last in the league. The team that played its tail off to fight to keep Romeo Crennel last season is the same team that is going to get him fired in 2012. Outside of some injuries on defense, the Chiefs have a roster good enough to win the division, but they've looked uninspired in all three phases.

» Coaches actually matter? Secretly, all coaches must be smiling to see the New Orleans Saints struggle without Sean Payton. It finally proves our worth. But one thing hasn't been lost in New Orleans -- quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham have a chemistry that is unmatched. Graham has seven straight games with a score. That's impressive.

Follow Brian Billick on Twitter @coachbillick

Print

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop