Week 2 is all but in the books, and what a weird weekend it was across the NFL.
If you say you’ve got a good feel on what’s going on through just a couple of weeks, you’re either lying to yourself or you’re crazy. Of course, that’s not atypical in Week 2. We spent all week formulating opinions off of one week of football, only to have those opinions blown up and laughed at the next week.
Related: Maybe we should pump the brakes on the Oakland Raiders, eh?
Let’s dive into that and much more from Week 2 in the NFL stock watch.
Oakland Raiders’ defense
There’s a lot to love about the Oakland Raiders through two games. The offense has explosive capabilities, and Derek Carr’s progression toward the top tier of NFL quarterbacks continues. Jack Del Rio continues to prove he lacks nothing when it comes to, um, fortitude below the belt. But that defense, man. The Raiders are first in the NFL in offensive yards per game, but they’re also last in the same category on the defensive side. Sure, they’ve got a potential defensive player of the year in Khalil Mack, but the secondary is atrocious. The Raiders are allowing 10.8 yards per pass attempt, essentially allowing a first down every time the opposing quarterback throws the football. We’d love to buy in to the Raiders, but until they fix that pass defense, it’s hard to imagine a significant step forward this season in Oakland.
It was easy to make excuses for Aaron Rodgers last season. The Green Bay Packers quarterback — widely considered one of the best in the game, maybe even of all time — was without his No. 1 receiver in Jordy Nelson and at times, working with a patchwork offensive line. But Nelson is back and the line is OK, yet Rodgers continues to struggle. He was badly outplayed by Sam Bradford on Sunday night — no, seriously — and has now gone 14 straight games without a single-game passer rating higher than 100. It sure looks like, through all of the turmoil over the last season or two, that Rodgers developed some bad habits. All too often he gets happy feet in the pocket and throws off his back foot instead of dropping back, setting and throwing. When he does that, as he did a couple of times in the fourth quarter Sunday, he’s still aces. When he doesn’t, his play suffers, which is exactly what happened on his game-clinching interception. It was admittedly tough sledding Sunday night against a good Vikings defense playing in a deafening new stadium, but the Packers’ next four games are at home, which means no more excuses. That being said, don’t be afraid to buy low.
Jeff Fisher … and his quest to not go (bleeping) 7-9 or 8-8
The Los Angeles Rams are now 1-1 … without scoring a single touchdown. The offense is a work in progress, but the defense is legit, especially when the Rams are playing in front of their new (or old?) home crowd. Anyway, that’s good news for Jeff Fisher, who made it explicitly clear, with the emphasis on explicit, that he doesn’t want yet another .500 season.
Jimmy Garoppolo, Jimmy Garoppolo’s agent, Jimmy Garoppolo’s financial analyst … basically, anyone connected to Jimmy Garoppolo’s finances
The New England Patriots are faced with having to start Jacoby Brissett in a nationally televised game against a very good Houston Texans team, which isn’t ideal. But the injury suffered by Jimmy Garoppolo will overshadow the fact that he was fantastic (18 of 27, 234 yards, three touchdown passes) before Kiko Alonso drove him to the ground and forced Brissett into action. It’s probably still too early to tell whether Garoppolo truly has the potential to be an elite quarterback, but it’s the NFL, and there are a lot of teams who will pay a lot of money for even a sniff of “elite.” So, yeah. Jimmy G.’s going to be given a lot of G’s before too long.
Andrew Luck’s general well being, both physical and mental
Andrew Luck seems like a weird dude, but he also seems like a good enough dude. He’s the guy at work that you’re not going to get friendly with, but you’re not turning the other way if you see him at the water cooler. So it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy. He has the physical skills to be one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, but the Colts have set that franchise on fire around him. The defense is a sieve that can’t stay healthy, and the offensive line can’t keep the poor guy on two feet for more than two or three straight plays, it seems. Throw in a defense like Denver ready to pin its ears back, and you have the recipe for a horrible, horrible day, which is exactly what Luck endured Sunday. Kind of makes you feel bad for him. Also, has anyone in recent NFL history had a more ironic last name?
Thumbnail photo via Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports Images