The Philadelphia Eagles are back! Tom Brady is in trouble! Matt Cassel stinks! Jay Cutler stinks! More Tim Tebow!
I'll separate false perceptions from reality in the Tuesday edition of The Schein Nine.
This is the epitome of a false perception. The Philadelphia Eagles are incredibly lucky to be 2-0. They are the luckiest team in the NFL right now. The Cleveland Browns are the worst team in pro football; Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was Philly's Week 1 MVP with his inept play. In Week 2, the Eagles were bailed out by the replacement referees, who took a touchdown away from the Baltimore Ravens.
Quarterback Michael Vick has thrown six interceptions in two games. Is he healthy? Is he feeling the pressure after owner Jeff Lurie said coach Andy Reid needs to make the playoffs to keep his job?
The Eagles have been much improved on defense, but this undefeated team is going nowhere and will not make the postseason if Vick doesn't start making better decisions.
This is a false perception if the premise is that Tebow should replace starting quarterback Mark Sanchez after one bad game. However, it is 100 percent reality regarding what the Jets should have done against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when running the Wildcat would have been appropriate.
Jets running back Shonn Greene got his bell rung in the second quarter. That should've spawned Tebow Time. That was my first guess when I was watching on Sunday. Before the game, I said Tebow should get 10 touches, given his success against Pittsburgh last season. He ended up with just one carry for 22 yards.
The Jets hired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to run the Wildcat. They traded for Tebow to run the Wildcat. The Jets are thin at receiver. Use Tim Tebow!
Instant Debate: More troubling loss?
The Pats and Tony Romo's Cowboys were riding high after Week 1, but both teams stumbled Sunday. Which loss was worse? **More ...**
This is reality. Matt Light is gone. The Brian Waters situation casts a large shadow. The Patriots will win their games and contend for the Super Bowl. But I think I overlooked this work-in-progress line when I picked New England to finish 14-2. Now, if you have been reading my columns since the preseason, you know I think the Arizona Cardinals have a legit, dominant defense, anchored by pure studs in Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett, which partially explains Tom Brady's four sacks in the Pats' 20-18 loss on Sunday. But things don't get easier this week against Haloti Ngata and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Patriots are like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers. For them, it's all about titles. When I write "hold them back," I mean that the offensive line could prevent them from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. It's easy to make that case.
4) Perception: Kansas City can't win with Matt Cassel
To say that Cassel is not playing good ball for the 0-2 Chiefs is the understatement of the year. To say that general manager Scott Pioli is under the gun is another massive understatement. But this is ultimately a false perception, not reality. I've seen Cassel win a division and take his Chiefs team to the playoffs. I've seen him win games with the New England Patriots by double-digit margins. Now, he's not an elite quarterback, and he must improve. But Cassel is solid. And it's not like he can stop the run. He needs the Chiefs to step up around him.
This is a sad reality for New Orleans. Drew Brees doesn't look sharp. The Saints are 0-2 and have looked sloppy. Payton is the ultimate no-nonsense coach, but thanks to his season-long suspension, he's not around to demand accountability and change the attitude.
6) Perception: Dallas is going nowhere
This is a reality. In last Thursday's Schein Nine, I picked the Seattle Seahawks to beat Dallas on Sunday as one of my upset specials. I read all of your comments at the end. I got your tweets. You questioned my intelligence and manhood, and wrote other things not fit for print. But it was the easiest call I've ever made.
The Cowboys didn't bring the energy to compete with what they must have seen as an innocuous Seattle team and lost, 27-7. Did Dallas not watch the film and see how tough and physical the Seahawks' defense is? Did they not notice how difficult it is to stop running back Marshawn Lynch? Blame coach Jason Garrett. Blame coordinator Rob Ryan's defense. Question the leadership. Quarterback Tony Romo's offense was stuck in the mud. Fault owner Jerry Jones for the make-up of the team. This was classic Cowboys.
7) Perception: Jay Cutler is a fool; Chicago can't win with him
Well, I'd call the former part of that sentence reality and the latter part a false perception. It was beyond foolish to call out the Green Bay Packers' defense and wish the team good luck before last Thursday night's game.
According to what A.J. Hawk told me on SiriusXM Blitz the day after Green Bay beat the Bears, 23-10 -- sacking Cutler seven times and grabbing four interceptions in the process -- Packers players took note. Cutler should know this is a ball-hawking, professional defense, and there was no reason for him to provide any extra motivation.
But I didn't have a problem with him getting frustrated by a clearly overmatched tomato can in offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb. Cutler wants to win. If Tom Brady or Peyton Manning had reacted to Webb's performance that way, they would have been lauded for their toughness. Cutler needs to be smarter with his commentary and understand that his body language will always be judged.
8) Perception: Kevin Kolb is the answer
No, this is not a joke where you say, "If Kevin Kolb's the answer, I'd love to know the question." This is reality, at least with the Cardinals' dominant defense. I wrote about Kolb's story last week. His teammates believe in him. Larry Fitzgerald was a non-factor on Sunday, but Kolb will get Fitz more involved. Kolb gives the 2-0 Cardinals a better chance to keep winning than John Skelton.
9) Perception: The replacement refs are a joke
R-E-A-L-I-T-Y. Look, we killed the replacement officials in this space last week for a pathetic Week 1 performance. I have no idea why their clueless, inept ways didn't generate more discussion. Well, Week 2 was a train wreck, punctuated by a reprehensible national display on Monday Night Football.
In the Denver Broncos-Atlanta Falcons matchup, the refs wasted time, showed they don't know basic rules, couldn't make decisive decisions, affected the flow of the game and just got things wrong. The officiating was horrible across the board in Week 2, ranging from a phantom pass interference call against the Pittsburgh Steelers to, well, the entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New York Giants game. Something needs to be done. Now.