The Schein Nine  

 

Bill Belichick, Carson Wentz own Week 1; Darrelle Revis torched

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Wow! What an opening NFL Sunday. The stories. The drama. The finishes.

Yes, it's only one week, but let's examine how things are trending across the league, Schein Nine style:

REAL DEAL

1) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Bill Belichick is the best coach in NFL history. But you already knew that, right?

No Tom Brady. No Gronk. A patchwork O-line. And a road contest in Arizona against a loaded Cardinals team.

No problem.

Jimmy Garoppolo looking shaky in the preseason? Let's pretend it never happened.

Under the watchful eye of Belichick, Jimmy G rocked steady in his first career start, Sunday night's upset win over the Cards. Garoppolo completed 24 of his 33 passes for 264 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions. He posted a 106.1 passer rating and also showed off his legs with a few well-timed scrambles. That third-and-15 ad-libbed completion to Danny Amendola midway through the fourth quarter -- extending a drive that ultimately ended in the game's difference-making field goal from Stephen Gostkowski -- was quite impressive.

And how about the way Belichick's defense played against the high-powered Cardinals attack?

I said the Patriots would go 3-1 without Brady, but honestly, I expected this to be the loss. That's vintage Bill Belichick.

2) Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

You poor people of Cleveland. As I said before, during and after the 2016 NFL Draft, this had to be the Carson Wentz draft for the Browns. Stud prospects like this don't come around so often. And the Browns, quarterback-starved forever, had a chance to pick the North Dakota State product with Andrew Luck-type skills with the second overall pick. Instead, Cleveland signed Robert Griffin III and opted for Paul DePodesta's Moneyball approach, trading down twice before ultimately selecting a wide receiver (Corey Coleman). Sunday had to sting Browns fans, because it was that dreamy for the Eagles.

In delicious and cruel irony, Wentz started the season against the Browns. And despite playing in only one preseason game and missing a big chunk of August with broken ribs, Wentz tormented Cleveland in a 29-10 Eagles win, showing off his arm, touch, athleticism and savvy -- those qualities that should've made him a no-brainer Browns pick in the first place. The rookie signal caller carved up Cleveland's putrid defense to the tune of 278 passing yards, two touchdowns and no picks. Meanwhile, RGIII completed just 12 of his 26 passes for 190 yards, with zero TDs and a pick. Oh, and on Monday, Cleveland placed the QB on injured reserve due to a fractured coracoid bone in his left shoulder.

Over the summer, DePodesta told ESPN.com's Tony Grossi that the Browns didn't take Wentz because they didn't think he'd develop into a top-20 quarterback. That's laughable. When he was a baseball executive, DePodesta famously had the A's draft Jeremy Brown -- who didn't possess many real skills beyond drawing walks -- because his computer said so. Brown, dubbed the "Fat Catcher," predictably flamed out.

Fat chance this works in Cleveland's favor.

Wentz Bowl I is a harbinger of things to come -- for the quarterback and both teams involved.

3) Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders

After facing a 14-point, second-half deficit in the hostile Superdome, Del Rio's plucky squad put together an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to seemingly tie the game at 34. But no! Not on Jack Del Rio's watch! Following Derek Carr's pulsating touchdown pass to Seth Roberts to get Oakland within a point with 47 seconds left in the game, the Raiders coach opted for a do-or-die two-point conversation. That is the real deal, my friends. And Carr proceeded to hit Michael Crabtree on a jump-ball for the game's winning points. Incredible.

I loved the decision because it showed moxie and guts. But frankly, immediately following Roberts' touchdown, it never crossed my mind. I would not have made that call, and I don't think most coaches would've done it, either. Good thing for Raider Nation, most coaches aren't Del Rio.

The numbers didn't favor the bold move, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

Well, numbers shmumbers -- right, Jack??

Just awesome.

The Raiders entered this season with high expectations. I picked them to win the AFC West. Del Rio instilled confidence in his team -- in a game that was topsy-turvy, but one in which Oakland was the better team on the field.

That's huge for the Raiders. And a great job by Del Rio.

4) Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I also picked Tampa to hit the playoffs this season, banking on Jameis Winston building upon his strong rookie effort with a dazzling sophomore campaign. And Sunday was all Jameis. Winston defined "real deal" by carving up the Falcons' porous defense in Atlanta, notching four touchdown passes while completing throws to eight different receivers. This 22-year-old is poised for a huge season.

Great first win for Dirk Koetter as the Buccaneers' head coach. This is the kind of game that Lovie Smith would've lost last year. Plus, Tampa Bay forced Atlanta to carry over from 2015 that stench of losing close games. That's a major deal.

5) Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

Brock Osweiler rightly gets the headlines. His connection with first-round pick Will Fuller was strong. And Houston was supposed to beat Chicago at home, something the Texans did in a relatively nondescript affair. But let's not overlook one of the key developments for this franchise.

Back in March, Houston really needed an upgrade at running back. Miller really needed carries (having been oddly underutilized in Miami under former Dolphins coach Joe Philbin). Thus, it seemed like a fine marriage when these two sides joined forces in free agency. And on Sunday, that was indeed the case. Miller carried the ball 28 times for 106 yards, adding four receptions for good measure. It obviously wasn't the greatest game ever played by a running back (as evidenced by the average of 3.8 yards per carry), but it showed that the Texans do have a bell cow in the backfield.

Houston is going to win a lot of games this season, and No. 26 will be a big reason for that.

REAL CONCERN

6) Darrelle Revis, New York Jets

In the walk-up to Bengals-Jets, I predicted on the radio and TV airwaves that A.J. Green would plant a flag on Revis Island. Actually, he burned the place down.

A.J. Green absolutely torched Darrelle Revis and finished the game with a whopping 12 catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. Green repeatedly beat Revis like a drum, as 10 of those 12 grabs (and 152 of the 180 yards) came against the seven-time Pro Bowl corner. Revis wore the goat horns in the Jets' one-point home loss. Honestly, he just looks like a shell of his first-ballot Hall of Fame self. This isn't hyperbole after one game -- Revis looked a step slow all of last year.

The Jets' defensive front is superb, having sacked Andy Dalton seven times on Sunday. The play on the back end is questionable.

7) Every Colt not named Andrew Luck

At the outset of this month, I projected Indy would make the playoffs. My rationale? Andrew freakin' Luck. Well, he's a star quarterback, but apparently not a magician.

Luck was majestic in his return to the field after an injury-marred 2015 campaign, leading a sensational comeback from 21-3 by throwing four touchdown passes against zero picks. But the Colts dropped the home opener to Detroit because the flaws of Luck's supporting cast were omnipresent. The defense was pretty much non-existent -- and definitely not clutch after Luck gave the Colts the lead with 37 ticks remaining. Chuck Pagano's game management was spotty. Ryan Grigson's offensive line was offensive.

8) San Diego Chargers

Up 24-3 on the Chiefs in Kansas City, the Chargers seemed primed for a big-time upset and temporary relief from the typical nonsense (the Joey Bosa debacle, a potential move out of San Diego, etc.). But instead of stealing a flip-the-script division win, the Bolts collapsed in epic fashion, eventually losing 33-27 in overtime. And a major turning point was stud receiver Keenan Allen leaving with a knee injury that resulted in the Chargers placing him on IR on Monday with a torn ACL.

The Chargers lost a game, but it feels like so much more. Allen's simply irreplaceable. The offensive line is weak. (Might've been a good idea to grab an OT instead of Bosa at No. 3 overall.) And the division is very good -- every other AFC West team is 1-0.

I'm not convinced Mike McCoy makes it through the season. It was that bad on a day that began so good.

9) Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys

With Tony Romo hurt and a shaky defense, Dallas was always going to face an uphill battle to make the playoffs this season. But you cannot top off those issues with fundamentally unsound football.

When Dak Prescott hit Williams across midfield on a potential game-winning drive, the fourth-year receiver needed to go out of bounds to stop the clock. This is introductory strategy, Football 101 stuff. But Williams brain-locked, despite Dez Bryant's mid-play pointing and yelling. The clock expired. Stud kicker Dan Bailey never got a chance. And the Giants earned a division win on the road.

It's Week 1, but this is a moment to file away and remember when the wheel stops spinning.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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