Monday Morning Jolt
By Leo Paciga @FFHoudini
Welcome to this week’s edition of the “Monday Morning Jolt” – a weekly look back at the happenings and performances from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players that caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief. First, a special thanks to my friend Dan Heins on the great job covering for me last week, but I’m happy to be back and eager to jump in and take a closer look at week number five of the NFL season.
- Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso is an amazing combination of talent, technique, youthful exuberance and unteachable instinct. If you haven’t watched him play yet this season, make it a point to see this kid in action sooner rather than later.
- Sundays just aren’t the same without Calvin Johnson on the field for the Detroit Lions. Hopefully “Megatron” only misses this one game while working his way back from a sore knee.
- I really thought it was impossible for a head coach to misuse a player any more than former Buffalo HC Chan Gailey did with C.J. Spiller during his first few seasons coaching the Bills. Well, I was wrong….because new HC Doug Marrone’s misuse of Spiller is even more alarming. Marrone routinely fails to get Spiller out in open space or even involve his explosive running back in the passing game. Still, Spiller is not without blame as the Buffalo RB seems to be “out thinking” his exceptional instincts every time he is faced with making a decision at the line of scrimmage. Hopefully the Bills take a look at how the Saints use Darren Sproles on a weekly basis and try to create some additional running room for C.J. Spiller.
- Speaking of the Saints, you simply can’t understate the impact Sean Payton is having on the New Orleans Saints now that he’s back patrolling the sidelines. The offense is crisp and explosive while the defense is playing focused, inspired football.
- If you didn’t enjoy watching the Broncos and Cowboys slug it out in the late game, then you don’t have a pulse.
- Green Bay’s James Jones is the biggest “hit or miss” wide receiver in the entire N.F.L. No other wide receiver has such a high ceiling and a tremendously low floor each and every week. Best of luck trying to figure out which week to plug him into your starting fantasy football line up.
- Even though they suffered a heartbreaking loss, the Dallas Cowboys have to be very pleased with wide receiver Terrance Williams. Williams gives the Cowboys something Miles Austin never could….a WR #2 whose hamstrings don’t disintegrate every time he makes a catch.
- Andre Ellington is easily the most dangerous running back on the Arizona Cardinals roster. I would ask HC Bruce Arians to please adjust his playing time accordingly……thanks.
- Russell Wilson struggled early on this season, but over the past two weeks we’ve seen the “light” come on for the young Seattle QB as his legs have created more positive opportunities. The Seahawks may have lost this weekend, but defensive coordinators around the N.F.L. aren’t thrilled to see Wilson once again running with the football.
- In less than a year, St. Louis running back Daryl Richardson has gone from being a quick twitch, fast hitting, spark plug to running like an 80 year old man in dense fog while wearing ankle weights.
- So that’s what happens when you make a concerted effort to get Ray Rice more involved in the offense. Rice finished the game with 27 carries, 74 yards and 2 TDs to go along with 6 receptions for an additional 28 yards in Baltimore’s 26-23 victory over the Dolphins in Miami.
- Don’t even think about blinking while the Broncos are playing. Peyton Manning is 5-0 and setting new standards for QB greatness right in front of our very eyes. Things might be pretty uncomfortable around the Manning household this Thanksgiving when both Peyton and Eli come home for the holiday.
- New England’s Tom Brady might be setting new personal marks for perseverance and mental toughness by leading his Patriots to a solid start, but the lack of experienced weapons finally caught up with Brady against the Bengals. The rookie wide receivers are making progress, but Brady and the Patriots won’t be able to stand toe to toe with contending teams unless they have a healthy Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski.
- Talk about a tough break for Giants running back David Wilson. Wilson sustained an injury (neck) during the game against the Eagles just when it finally looked like the Giants were going to forgo the fumble risks, take the training wheels off of Wilson and give the struggling youngster a major role in Sunday’s game. Unfortunately Wilson spent the majority of Sunday’s game watching from the sidelines.
- I can’t decide what’s better for a struggling N.F.L. offense……to square off against the Eagles defense or see the N.Y. Giants as your next opponent on the schedule? Neither team can cover or tackle on a consistent basis.
- Two things that were clearly evident from yesterday’s games…..the Cincinnati Bengals play some darn good defense and the Indianapolis Colts aren’t intimidated by anyone.
- And while I’m mentioning the Colts, it’s important that the offensive line gets comfortable with Trent Richardson as soon as possible. Sure, the Colts have faced tough run defenses since acquiring Richardson from the Browns, but Trent is seeing initial contact in the backfield way too often. The Colts face the Chargers in week 6 and that should be just what the doctor ordered to get Richardson and the Indianapolis offensive line on the same page.
- Welcome to the 2013 season Justin Blackmon. You know, I’m willing to bet that Jacksonville wide receiver Cecil Shorts is the President of the Teddy Bridgewater fan club and Justin Blackmon has a life size poster of the Louisville quarterback hanging from his wall at home. Nothing would make either Jacksonville wide receiver happier than to see the Jaguars spend an early pick on Bridgewater in the 2014 rookie draft.
- Alex Smith playing quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs is the best thing to happen to RB Jamaal Charles and the worst possible thing to happen to WR Dwayne Bowe. Alex Smith is also the perfect example that being a winning N.F.L quarterback does not necessarily translate into being a great fantasy football option.
- Mike Wallace had a nice day statistically for the Miami Dolphins (7-105-0), but it could have been an even bigger day if he actually tried to catch the ball with both hands instead of slapping at it repeatedly on multiple pass attempts.
- New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas might be the most unheralded and under appreciated back in the NFL. Thomas is a tightly knit package of versatility, proficiency, toughness and consistency and always gives 100% on the field.
- How long before Alshon Jeffery‘s emergence at wide receiver causes fellow Bears teammate Brandon Marshall to throw a temper tantrum? I’m guessing head coach Marc Trestman gets a knock on his door in three….two….one. Good thing the Giants are up next for the Bears.
- Houston QB Matt Schaub has quite the streak going for himself. Schaub has thrown a “pick six” – an interception that’s been returned by the opposition for a TD – in 4 consecutive games. Now that’s consistency.
Well, that wraps up this week’s “Monday Morning Jolt” and a look back at week number five of the NFL season. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me here at DFW or on Twitter @FFHoudini. Until next Monday, here’s hoping all your fantasy starters perform well and stay injury free.
Read more DFW articles by: Leo Paciga