Five observations from Week 2

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Updated: September 23, 2015
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The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense has major concerns

Who would have thought we would be saying this about a Chip Kelly-run offense? The man that some people call an offensive genius, has not looked like it during the first two weeks. Now, there is plenty of season left for the Eagles to improve, but there are huge areas of concern. The offensive line just looks putrid. Their two new starting guards, Andrew Gardner and Allen Barbre, have just been bullied the first two games, and even Pro Bowl-caliber players Jason Kelce and Jason Peters have looked off. The penetration this Eagles offensive line is allowing is just unacceptable, and their prized running back DeMarco Murray has absolutely nowhere to run.

You can see on this play that Dallas gets great penetration, as Kelce gets pushed four yards deep into the backfield, disrupting Murray’s running lane and freeing a defender to make an easy tackle

As for the passing game, the issues stem from a problem Sam Bradford has had his entire NFL career: he refuses to throw the ball downfield. With no running game, and no threat to throw deep, both Atlanta and Dallas’ defense have just sat on underneath routes, and played their safeies up closer to the line of scrimmage. If the Eagles can’t get their running game going, their passing game is going to suffer. The Eagles face the New York Jets in Week 3, and if they don’t come out firing, the boo birds will begin in Philly for Kelly and company.

 

Johnny Manziel looked like an NFL quarterback

Johnny Manziel was only 8-of-15 on Sunday against the Titans, but he showed some promising signs of improvement from last season. Manziel just seems more comfortable with the offense — where he seems to be reacting, rather than thinking. His poise is better, and he has more of a willingness to stand in the  pocket. Oh, and he can do stuff like this…

 

and this…

Manziel has a far way to go, but I can tell you one thing: there is no way Josh McCown is making that second play.

 

Antonio Brown and Julio Jones could very well be the two best receivers in the league. 

In Week 2, Antonio Brown caught nine passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, while Julio Jones caught 13 passes for 135 yards, and was about a foot away from a touchdown. Brown is the best route runner in the league, and is always open. While Jones may be the most physically gifted receiver in the NFL. Both receivers are on pace to have great years, and over 180 targets! It will be a blast to watch these two battle it out all season to make their case for best receiver in the NFL, and honestly, you could make a pretty good one for both.

 

The top four quarterbacks taken from the 2014 draft all came away with wins in Week 2. 

Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater all played well on Sunday, and all came away with wins. All of them showed flashes of what teams liked about them coming out of college, and Bortles and Carr both led their teams to late victories over legitimate teams in the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins.

Johnny Football showed his big-play ability with two long passes to Travis Benjamin, and Bridgewater finished with a 98.5 QBR, which is pretty impressive. There has been a lot of talk about the decline of quality quarterback play in the NFL, and by no means does this imply that all these guys will pan out. However, it was nice to see the young quarterbacks play well and lead their team to victories.

 

The Arizona Cardinals are a scary team in the NFC

In Carson Palmer‘s last 18 starts with the Arizona Cardinals, they are an impressive 16-2. This team started out undefeated last season until Palmer’s injury, and again this season is off to a good start. Bruce Arians is a hell of a coach, and he always seems to put his players in the best position to succeed. The Cardinals’ offense has looked excellent, scoring 79 points in the first two games. While those games were against the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, two 0-2 teams that have less than impressive defenses, it is encouraging to see how well the Cardinals are moving the ball on offense. If their defense can be a top-10 unit, and their offense continues to be efficient, the Cardinals could be up there at the end of the season with some of the elite NFC teams.

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