A look back at Week 1 before we go forward
1. Randy Moss had 9 receptions for 183 yards, which turns out to be the best single-game yardage day for any receiver in Tom Brady's career. If you ran the numbers out over 16 games at that pace Moss finishes with 144 receptions, 2,928 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Patriots and Moss might love just half of those numbers -- 72 receptions for 1,464 yards and 8 scores would go a long way to putting the Pats deep into the playoffs.
3. Everyone wants to compare Reggie Bush to Mario Williams, which is understandable but it may also be true that it's time to keep a running comparison between Joey Harrington and Matt Schaub. Schaub could have been the Falcons QB but was traded. Harrington is the Falcons QB and is on his third team in three years. Last week, Schaub threw for 26 more yards in 10 less attempts, was sacked four less times and had a 77-yard completion, while Harrington's longest pass was 15 yards.
4. Last year, the Bills lost seven games by three points or less. This year, they start out with a one-point loss. Winning the close games is the first step to respectability and sooner or later Buffalo has to start winning its share. Had they won just half of those close losses last year, they would have been a 10-win team.
5. Brett Favre is going to break Dan Marino's touchdown record sooner or later but the Packers are trying to win games now. In the victory over the Eagles, Favre threw 42 passes without a touchdown and was sacked four times. Last year, the future Hall of Famer threw a touchdown pass every 34 attempts. By comparison, Saints quarterback Drew Brees hit paydirt once every 21 attempts, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning connected once every 18 throws and Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer's ratio was once every 19 throws. If Favre just stays on pace from last year, he will need 204 pass plays to reach Marino. At last week's pace, he'll never get there.
6.Rams running back Steven Jackson lost two fumbles in 346 rushing attempts last season. On Sunday, he started out this season with two fumbles lost in 19 carries. He will fix the problem, but defenses will be looking to strip the ball more than ever. As coaches like to say to the players: "If you start a fire in this league, you have to put it out."
Lots of signings this week
There were more Tuesday signings than most weeks in the NFL season. A combination of three things contributed to all the activity:
1. Teams wanted to avoid signing a vested veteran last week and guaranteeing his salary for the year. By waiting a week, the veteran now is on a week-to-week basis. The Patriots cut linebacker Chad Brown at the end of camp but resigned him this week. Of course, a wide receive like Reche Caldwell is better than a number of receivers on rosters around the league but now the Redskins control his year-long fate by waiting until this past Tuesday.
2. Now that the first week is done, teams can take a rookie on the roster and drop him to the practice squad to make room for the veteran they have had their eye on the past few weeks. In many cases, teams are not dropping the rookie salary to the practice squad wage, but letting them keep their full rookie wage while they sit waiting to return to the roster when the next injury occurs.
3. There were close to 20 significant injuries in the first week of the season which caused even more signings this past Tuesday. For example, when Ravens returner B.J. Sams got hurt and went on IR, running back Cory Ross moved up from the practice squad and wide receiver Romby Bryant (who was cut in August) was signed to the practice squad.
Why is Tuesday so important? Tuesday is the players' day off in the NFL and it's the time club executives can work out free agents early in the morning and make the decision to sign him or not. Philadelphia return man Reno Mahe may have thought his NFL career was over, but when he watched the errors in the return game that cost the Eagles a win in Green Bay, he knew his phone would ring. Coaches don't want to hear about big-play ability when the ball is on the ground. They want ball security first and Eagles head coach Andy Reid is no different.
Trading and the trading deadline
It has been brought to my attention on a number of occasions this past month by club executives that it may be time to look at the trading deadline and consider pushing it back a month. As one personnel director said, "right after the eighth week is the right time for the trading deadline. Most of us have the salary cap space to work a trade for a player and trading is up in the past few years because of it."
I looked up the salary cap situation around the league and the average space available on a league-wide level is $8 million. We watched Charlie Frye head to Seattle, which will only cost the Browns $200,000 of space from his rookie signing bonus, and Cleveland is very close to the league average in cap space. Tennessee and Seattle both have over the league average in cap space and that made the Seahawks' trade of defensive end Bryce Fisher to the Titans an easy deal to orchestrate.
Nothing will happen this year, but there is some sentiment to change the date.