Schein Nine: Panthers’ Delhomme has nothing left
Shaun Hill did his best impression of Joe Montana in a huge win for the Niners at the defending NFC champs.
Mark Sanchez was 12-for-15 on third down and resembled Joe Namath.
And the Bills looked like the Bills.
Every Tuesday we present the weekly “Scheiners” to break down the good, bad and Jake Delhomme while diving deep into the crystal ball for the upcoming week.
Poor, poor Dick Jauron …
1. Foaming at the mouth
I said it at the time, so I can most certainly seize the moment to remind you.
The most difference-making move in the offseason was Mike McCarthy appointing Dom Capers as his defensive coordinator. Jay Cutler hype? Not during Dom’s debut, as the Chicago quarterback was flustered. Capers’ defense was dominant and made a statement to the Bears and the rest of the NFL that Green Bay’s 2008 meltdowns are a thing of the past.
The Packers’ defense was sensational on every level. Cutler was picked off four times. The pass rush was overpowering. The defensive line, led by Johnny Jolly (four tackles and an interception) and Cullen Jenkins, was incredible. Brandon Chillar (seven tackles) changed the game at linebacker. Tramon Williams had an interception. Al Harris had a pick and was all over the field.
And with the change in coordinator and philosophy to the 3-4, it was incredible to see the comfort level of the Green Bay defense. Aaron Kampman most certainly looked the part.
Cincy comes to Green Bay this week. Then it’s a trip to punch-less St. Louis before a date with that guy and the Vikings.
If you can confuse Cutler and bottle up Matt Forte and hold him to two yards a carry, it means you are for real. And that’s no surprise under Capers.
2. Rise and Schein
The end of the Denver upset special against Cincy was classic. Brandon Stokley catching the ball intended for Brandon Marshall after it was tipped by defensive back Leon Hall and scampering 87 yards was magical enough. (Am I the only one who thought Gus Johnson was going to scream ‘Gonzaga’ and the March Madness music was going to start playing?) And how about Stokley having the savvy to run across the goal-line to take time off the clock!?
Please start recognizing Patrick Willis’ among the NFL’s elite on defense. He was the key cog in San Fran’s momentum-building upset special in Arizona.
Mike Bell was a beast against the Lions, stomping out 143 yards on the ground. When I visited the Saints in August, the brass raved about Bell and said that he would play a role, even with a healthy Pierre Thomas.
Sean McDermott is replacing a legend in Jim Johnson. McDermott is a bright coach who had his defense ready for Jake Delhomme, DeAngelo Williams and Carolina.
Bill Sheridan, taking over the Giants defense from Steve Spagnuolo, did an excellent against Washington.
3. Hide the women, children and Matt Millen
I got a ton of e-mails from angry Panthers fans saying I disrespected Carolina, picking them to win seven games.
I think I overshot.
Jake Delhomme tossed four more picks. He looks shot. He looks shaken. Remember when Delhomme was a confident, clutch gunslinger? I think that player is gone. And even last year, during wins, he threw too many picks.
Delhomme embarrassed himself against the Cards in the playoffs and didn’t instill believability in Week 1 or reward the Panthers for foolishly giving him a new deal after a postseason dud for the ages.
The Philly defense just had a field day. It was tough to watch. Carolina needs a new QB.
4. Backseat coaching
It was a less-than-impressive debut at defensive coordinator for the Titans’ Chuck Cecil. I was floored that he called off the dogs late in the Tennessee loss to Pittsburgh.
You can say all you want that it’s the long snapper’s fault. Lovie Smith simply cannot let a fake punt be called deep in Green Bay territory.
Gary Kubiak going for it on 4th down at midfield with plenty of time left? Wow. And do you think Frank Bush should’ve tried to pressure a rookie quarterback a bit more?
5. Schein’s anatomy
There were a slew of difference-making injuries in Week 1, but none with stronger big-picture implications than Brian Urlacher out for the season for Chicago after wrist surgery. He’s the heartbeat of the Bears’ defense. And Chicago doesn’t have a suitable replacement for him as a tackling machine or team leader. You always have to be careful to be subject to hyperbole after injuries. The Pats won 11 games sans Tom Brady. But this is a season-changing injury that will keep Chicago home in January.
The Steelers have to be licking their chops with the chance to play against the Bears defense this week in Chicago.
Troy Polamalu will miss 3-6 weeks with an MCL injury. It’s a big loss for the Steelers. I know Pittsburgh is about the coordinator and the collection of talent, but Polamalu is special. Meanwhile, Tyrone Carter replaces him. Carter is a savvy veteran, but not close in talent and difference-making ability. Urlacher’s loss might help off-set this weekend, but this will cost Pittsburgh at least one game.
Donovan McNabb cracked a rib. Now he hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s date with the Saints. But that’s painful, even for a warrior like McNabb. Even if he goes, it will be very tough for Philly to outscore New Orleans with an injured McNabb. And then there’s the thought of playing Kevin Kolb. Ugh.
I think the Anthony Gonzalez knee injury is a huge deal. The Colts are going to miss him badly against Miami next Monday night, as they are paper thin at receiver after Reggie Wayne with a hurt Gonzo.
6. This week’s hot seat
There were several candidates, but the seat is officially scorching for Kubiak and Matt Schaub. I picked them to reach the playoffs. So did several other pundits. But most especially, owner Bob McNair is on the record with us expecting a trip to the tournament.
Kubiak’s team couldn’t match the Jets’ intensity on Sunday. This week, they travel to the physical Tennessee Titans, who promise to punch the Texans in the mouth. If Kubiak and Schaub fold and start with a punch-less 0-2, this season can potentially spiral out of control.
7. My Guys
Drew Brees: I don’t want to hear that the Lions are the junior varsity. Six touchdowns is six touchdowns.
Reggie Wayne: Now totally out of Marvin Harrison’s shadow, Wayne had a difference-making impact in the Indy win against the Jags with 10 catches, 162 receiving yards and a touchdown. Jim Caldwell told me on Sirius NFL Radio Monday morning that Wayne is a “complete” receiver with his hands, ability to catch the ball in traffic and work ethic.
My goats, My goats
After a wild opening week in the NFL, Adam Schein names his
Ben Roethlisberger: I wrote last year when the Steelers won the Super Bowl that fourth-quarter heroics will be called, “pulling a Roethlisberger.” After a wretched first half, Big Ben was tremendous against the Titans in the final quarter and overtime.
Adrian Peterson: We should all take a moment to pause and appreciate watching an eventual all-time great. Peterson carved up the hapless Browns to the tune of 180 yards and three touchdowns. He’s majestic.
Rex Ryan: The Jets coach had his team fired up and his defense flying all over the field against the Texans. Kerry Rhodes told me on Monday that the Jets wanted to go out and back up their coach’s words from the offseason. Ryan had David Harris and Bart Scott being ultra aggressive from the start.
8. My Goats
Leodis McKelvin: Just when you think you’ve seen it all. I mean, come on! His lack of football IQ and subsequent fumble cost Buffalo a classic upset special. Take a KNEE! He ruined the night for the great die-hard Bills fans.
Jay Cutler: Four picks in his much-celebrated Bears debut? Somewhere Rex Grossman is smiling.
Rams offense: So much for the culture changing. This inept offense looked the part with a gruesome performance in Seattle. Zero points against the Seahawks is pathetic.
Marvin Lewis: Sure, the end of the Denver loss was fluky. But how about actually reaching double digits against the work-in-progress (at best) Bronco defense.
Steve Slaton: The outstanding running back totaled an unimpressive 17 yards against the Jets’ run defense. And Slaton never seemed like himself after a fumble in Jets territory when Donald Strickland popped the ball loose.
9. Three and out
1. Tony Romo sets a career high in passing yards sans T.O. Eli Manning gets contributions from Mario Manningham and Steve Smith. I can’t wait for Sunday night. The Giants’ defense did look much more ready than the Dallas defense.
2. My preseason MVP Aaron Rodgers had his moment on a 3rd-and-1 at midfield, hitting Greg Jennings for a go-ahead score with 1:11 to go. That’s what I mean when I say Rodgers is ready for primetime and ready to lead Green Bay to the Super Bowl.
3. How do you throw a flag on Vince Wilfork for his hit on Trent Edwards? It wasn’t low. What’s next? The quarterback wears a flag. Or a skirt? And overturning the Louis Murphy touchdown in the Raiders-Chargers game on Monday night was even worse!
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