With week 1 now in the books there's no better time to take a look at the local papers for some gross exaggerations of doom for the season, naive optimism, and the occasional level-headed thought.
Randy Galloway of the Star-Telegram:
If the subtraction of one loud guy from the roster last March was going to leave the Cowboys’ offense in a dink-and-dunk funk, it’s ironic it took only one game into a new season to totally foul up that fan and media popular logic. Or at least shut it up for a week.
How long before it's not still all about T.O. in Dallas? I hope this article is the eulogy for that topic.
Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Whatever happens, this thing just keeps getting more interesting. Moments after 300 pounds of Damione Lewis dropped on McNabb after his 3-yard touchdown run, the Fox Network cameras found Michael Vick in owner Jeffrey Lurie's suite at Bank of America Stadium.
The suspended Vick can't play next week, and it's still not clear whether Kevin Kolb can play at all. Kolb had another chance to show something, anything, that would prove he's prepared to be a starting quarterback. He didn't throw interceptions, as he did in relief appearances last year, but that's the most positive thing there is to say about his performance.
Remember how Philly fans boo McNabb every year? Well, good luck with Kevin Kolb (or possibly Jeff Garcia).
New York Giants
Tim Smith of the New York Daily News:
The Giants sent a message to the NFC East, and all of the NFC really, with their 23-17 victory over the Redskins Sunday in the final season opener at Giants Stadium.
On an afternoon when the offense scored just one touchdown and the team lost focus in the fourth quarter, they still managed to look dominant.
Who did they send a message to exactly? The Cowboys who beat the Bucs 34-21 with Romo setting a career-high in passing yards? Or how about the Eagles who killed the Panthers 38-10? Are those the teams they sent messages to?
Mike Wise of the Washington Post:
The hard truth for Zorn and his ability to keep the reins of this franchise in his hands: He's not only got to look good on the win-loss ledger, but he's also got to look competent and worth keeping on team owner Daniel Snyder's ledger. It begins with one question:
Is this my coach next season?
And Zorn is now squarely on the hot seat. Not because his team lost to the Giants but because his boss, Snyder, has his trigger-finger on speed dial and is just waiting to call Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden (editors note: or Mike Shanahan or Mike Holmgren).
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic:
One week into a new season, and the defending NFC West champions officially are mired in a mind-boggling slump, almost mocking the banner they hung from the ceiling before kickoff of a 20-16 loss to the 49ers.Now that's the Cardinals we've known for years. I guess this is the reaction you have after 20 years of misery.
San Francisco 49ers
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle:
The most significant revelation to emerge from the 49ers' 20-16 win over the soon-to-be-yesterday's-news Arizona Cardinals is the realization that the word "ugly" will be a recurring theme this year.Even the 49ers are getting in on the Cardinals' bashing - and it's at their own expense.
St. Louis Rams
Jim Thomas from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Despite an offseason replete with change at every level of the organization, it looked very much like, you know, the same old sorry (bleep) Rams.That might be the kindest thing said about the Rams this year.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times:
The Seahawks will have to play crisper games in the future. But after an injury-filled 4-12 season a year ago, this isn't the time to nitpick W's.Playing the Rams it was as if the Seahawks got another preseason game. We really can't tell much from that win.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune:
You can't put a ceiling on the disbelief involved here. It wasn't just Cutler's 43.2 passer rating. It was that he looked like so many of the quarterbacks who have stumbled through Chicago. Pick a word: Unimaginable, bizarre, awful -- however low you want to go. Rex Grossman-like?From franchise quarterback to Rex Grossman. Cutler took quite a hit Sunday night.
Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press:
Speaking of mistakes: I suspect a lot of Lions fans are upset by Matthew Stafford's performance Sunday, probably because he was awful. Stafford was so inaccurate that, at times -- I'm not joking here -- I really couldn't tell who the intended receiver was. And no, he wasn't just trying to get rid of the ball. Now, I was not a Stafford guy before the draft. But come on: We all knew he was an incredible raw talent, that he needs to improve his accuracy, that he is surrounded by the worst team in the league and that he is a rookie. Let's not go overboard on one awful game.I can't tell if that's positive or not. On the one hand he's saying that people should have patience with Stafford but on the other hand, the reason for that patience is because the Lions are the worst team in the league...
Green Bay Packers
Tom Oates of Madison.com:
Sure, it was exciting, at least it was when Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings on a 50-yard, winning touchdown pass that dropped out-of-the-clear-blue-sky with 1 minute, 11 seconds left. But even though the score gave the Packers a victory they had to have in what is expected to be a tight division race, their overall performance wasn't close to what it was against Cleveland, Buffalo and Arizona last month.The Packers didn't look like the juggernaut they were in the preseason. You don't win championships in the preseason.
Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press:
The Vikings pulled away so completely in the second half that with 4:47 to play the game was deemed Tarvaris proof. And backup T. Jackson came in to finish up.Alright - that's funny for now. But how are you going to react when Favre gets injured and it's Tarvaris time all the time?
Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Constitution-Journal:
Remember the season opener a year ago, when it became so clear so early that every move had worked? The general manager who rebuilt the roster. The coach who chose a different path than his predecessor and convinced his players they really weren’t a sub-standard life form. The quarterback who played like some flawless lab creation. It happened again Sunday.Before the season Schultz said to temper expectations. Now he's saying they are a much better team than last year. Is it Super Bowl or bust for the Falcons?
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer:
Everyone read from the same awful script against the Eagles. After nine months, nothing got fixed. Nothing got better. And although fans' rage today will be mostly directed at Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme – who has a stunning 11 turnovers in those two games – a lot of that anger should also focus on Fox. So should Fox be fired?! Today?! No, he shouldn't. At least not yet.But maybe after two losses to the Falcons and Cowboys on the road? Maybe that's when he's fired?
New Orleans Saints
Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
It would have been perfect if . . . well, come to think of it, it was. A perfect example of everything these Saints are capable of, good and bad. And a perfect 1-0 start to a season that promises to be a thrill ride.This is how bad the Lions are. The Saints score 45 points and blow out the Lions and people are talking about the bad things the Saints did.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times:
For Morris, this is how it starts. It starts with his team showing all the shortcomings — defensive breakdowns, the lack of a pass rush, special teams miscues — that everyone feared. It starts with reminders of why the expectations were so low. It starts with, perhaps, the worst defense the Bucs have had since the invention of the pewter helmet. It starts with Dallas saying, "Hey, Raheem, your team needs to get better there … and over there … and there … and there."And all of the optimism is sucked out of Tampa.