After another crazy week of NFL football, there are a handful of storylines to follow as we close out Week 2 and head into Week 3. Here are my personal top stories.
Buccaneers’ QB Situation
If I’m the Bucs, I’m saying sayonara to Jameis Winston. Seriously. He’s been given every opportunity to succeed by Tampa Bay, yet he can’t stay out of trouble to save his life, and even when he is on the field, he is absolutely awful. Winston has no business being on Tampa’s roster or any roster for that matter. Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick has passed for 400 yards in each of the first two games, which were against the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles, who each had elite defenses in 2017. Fitz, 35, is somehow playing like an MVP, and should be Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback for the remainder of this year. The Bucs should draft a quarterback with their first pick in the 2019 draft, and Fitzpatrick will be a great placeholder in the 2019 season while whoever that QB will be. I’m not guaranteeing that the Bucs will draft a QB that highly in 2019, but they will if they know what’s good for them.
Vikings’ Daniel Carlson was terrible in his game against the Packers. After missing a 49-yard attempt in overtime, he was put in a position to make a game-winning 35-yarder later that period, but choked and missed that, too. In what easily could have been a Vikings victory in Lambeau Field, the Vikings and Packers are now tied for first place. Carlson was cut the following day, and replaced by Dan Bailey, the second most accurate kicker in NFL history, who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys not long ago. Browns’ kicker Zane Gonzalez also cost his team a win against the New Orleans Saints. Gonzalez missed two extra points and two field goals, costing them 8 points, in a 3 point loss to New Orleans. Gonzalez was cut Monday and replaced by rookie Greg Joseph, who spent training camp with the Miami Dolphins. Cleveland reached out to Bailey before he signed with Minnesota, but Bailey rejected an offer for obvious reasons.
Are the Bengals Legit?
Nobody had any sort of high expectations for Cincinnati after they brought back head coach Marvin Lewis, but the Bengals have been awesome in weeks 1 & 2. Andy Dalton & A.J. Green have been playing out of their minds, second year running back Joe Mixon has been playing well, and the defense under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has allowed 23.0 points per game, which isn’t great, but is good enough for this seemingly explosive offense to win games. Expect Cincinnati’s defense to have improved by a large margin by the time Week 17 rolls around.
Over the weekend, Browns’ WR Josh Gordon came in late to Cleveland’s facility, complaining about his hamstring. Obviously, Gordon was already on thin ice because of his problems with addiction. The Browns were prepared to cut Gordon on Monday, but as it turned out, the Browns’ received several phone calls from around the league about a potential trade involving Gordon. This tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) gives some insight to Gordon’s status: “The #Patriots are getting close on a deal for #Browns WR Josh Gordon, source said. Not official yet but headed that way.” *The tweet was published on Monday when this article was written.* It was no secret that New England was in search of some help in the wide receiver room, and it looks like they’ll pounce on this opportunity to improve. Keep in mind that the Patriots have a tendency to win these trades. I’ve just been notified from another tweet from Rapoport that an MRI confirmed that Gordon’s hamstring is fine. Trade details from ESPN’s Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter): Patriots receive Gordon (and a 2019 7th round pick if Gordon is not active for at least 10 games). Browns receive 2019 fifth round pick. The trade was originally planned to be for a 6th round pick, but the Patriots do not currently own a 2019 6th rounder.
Everybody and their mother knows that the Buffalo Bills are almost definitely the worst team in the league, and Bills’ CB Vontae Davis literally jumped ship at halftime of Buffalo’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He reportedly told head coach Sean McDermott that he quit and did not join the team for the second half. I have also heard that Davis did as much as leave the stadium after halftime. Following the conclusion of the game, Davis released an official retirement statement. Definitely a bad look for the Bills, who have been destroyed in each of their first two games.
Sam Darnold, the 3rd overall pick by the New York Jets, started in weeks 1 & 2 and doesn’t appear to have his foot off the gas. He has been impressive in each of those games. Going back to Buffalo, second year QB Nathan Peterman started week 1, but was so bad that he was benched in favor of 7th overall pick Josh Allen. Allen started week 2 and looked okay. I certainly think there is a bright future for him if Buffalo can get him some protection and skilled pass catchers, two things Buffalo lack. The Arizona Cardinals’ offense has sputtered with Sam Bradford under center, and it seems it’s just a matter of time until we see Josh Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the draft. A tweet from Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) notified me Monday that Cardinals’ head coach Steve Wilks said that if the issues were with the quarterback, he’d simply start Rosen. “Offense must collectively get better.” The Cards are set to play the Bears in Glendale, AZ in week 3, and Wilks seems reluctant to expose Rosen to that seemingly elite Bears defense.