RCS Sidelines

September 9, 2008 6:00 PM

Rookie Watch: Week 1

Jake Long (Dolphins) – With the first pick in the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins get...two penalties (tripping and holding) that negated first downs. But this is typical for any rookie offensive lineman. Way too early to draw any conclusions on Long.

Matt Ryan (Falcons) – Ryan’s best friend has to be Michael Turner now. Well, either Turner or the Lions defense. Turner averaged 10 yards per carry while rushing for 220 yards and 2 scores. That rushing game allowed Matt Ryan to play conservative and throw just 13 passes. Ryan completed 9 of 13 for 161 yards and a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins on his first career attempt.

Darren McFadden (Raiders)
– McFadden had a decent first game for the dreadful Raiders. He had 9 carries for 46 yards but look for defenses to key in on the Raiders rush until JaMarcus Russell can learn to make them pay.

Derrick Harvey (Jaguars) – Despite being the last rookie to sign, Harvey made an immediate impact. He caught as many passes from Vince Young as any wide receivers when he intercepted Young late in the 4th quarter.

Keith Rivers (Bengals) – The LB from USC led the Bengals with 10 tackles. Rivers will most likely lead all rookies in tackles since he will have many opportunities with a weak defensive line in front of him.

Jonathan Stewart (Panthers) – Stewart got 10 rushes to DeAngelo Williams’ 18 carries. Stewart is being worked into the offense and got 53 yards as the Panthers stunned the Chargers on a last second TD.

Joe Flacco (Ravens)
– The second QB taken in the draft also led his team to a win. Flacco went 15 for 29 for 144 yards. Flacco also had a 38-yard TD run. Ravens’ fans better not get used to that. That very well might end up being the longest touchdown run of his NFL career.

Felix Jones (Cowboys) – When Marion Barber went down with bruised ribs in the 3rd quarter, Jones took over where Barber left off. Jones rushed for 62 yards on 9 carries and converted on a 11-yard TD run.

Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers) – After having fumbling problems in the preseason, Mendenhall took a back seat to Willie Parker. Mendenhall had 10 carries for 28 yards mostly in garbage time as the Steelers beat up on the Texans 38-17.

Chris Johnson (Titans) – My fantasy sleeper of the year (and Matt Berry’s). Johnson is the physical specimen LenDale White is not. He has homerun speed and can contribute in the passing game. Johnson rushed for 93 yards on just 15 carries and had 3 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Eddie Royal (Broncos) – Royal was all over the field. He led all receivers in week one with 146 yards. He made a great catch in the right corner of the endzone for the Broncos first score. He torched DeAngelo Hall and looked like anything but a rookie in his debut.

Matt Forte (Bears) – Forte single-handedly gave Bears’ fans some reason to hope. He showed he is no Cedric Benson in the 1st quarter when he ran right up the middle then cut to the outside on his way to a 50-yard touchdown. Forte rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries as the Bears beat the Colts 29-13.

DeSean Jackson (Eagles) – With injuries to the Eagles top two WR’s (Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown) DeSean Jackson was thrust into the starting lineup and he produced. Jackson led the Eagles with 6 receptions for 106 yards. He also contributed with a 60-yard punt return.

Ray Rice (Ravens)
– Rice got the bulk of the running load with Willis McGahee out. But Rice ran for just 64 yards on 22 carries and saw 2nd year fullback Le’Ron McClain gain 86 yards on 19 carries. Rice also put the ball on the turf which directly led to the Bengals only TD of the game.

Kevin Smith (Lions) – For now Smith is the Lions #1 RB, but given his average of 3 yards per carry on 16 attempts against the Falcons, the Lions might try to get Rudi Johnson up to speed as soon as possible. Smith did score the Lions first TD of the season though.

Steve Slaton (Texans) – The good news is Slaton was the primary rusher. The bad news is he ran for 43 yards on 13 carries. But it was against the Steelers so his numbers should increase against lesser defenses.

Tim Hightower (Cardinals) – Fantasy owners with Hightower are hoping the Cards have had enough of Edgerrin James’ mediocre play. James only averaged 3.8 yards per carry but Hightower averaged a meager 1.6. He had 8 carries for 13 yards but that did include a 2-yard TD run in the 3rd quarter. I think people just like his name because it reminds them of Police Academy.

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