I coach High school wrestling, and preparing the kids who will put in time during the off-season is more important to me than a Monday Night Football game, so admittedly I missed the first half of this one. We were having off-season workouts, and I would bet some of my kids have better work ethic than NFL players. This has nothing to do with any particular player just wanted to brag about them a little bit.
I saw some of the "why didn't Josh Norman Shadow Antonio Brown" talk. It's not because Josh Norman isn't good, he's very good. But the way the Steelers play offense you can't shadow someone. If you are moving a player from side to side, you reveal where the whole in your zone or mis-match is and Big Ben will exploit it. Also, no one can stop Antonio Brown so let's not read too much into this.
Kirk Cousins is who I thought he was. An average QB who put up decent fantasy stats last year and became over rated. The talent around Cousins is better than Cousins is, and that's how he put up gaudy numbers at the end of last year. He throws for 329 yards again, but his passes weren't always on target. I've said it before and I'll say it again, box score numbers don't always equal a good game. With DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and Pierre Garcon Cousins should be better. The issue isn't his play, it's the false expectations placed upon him. Cousins for this year is being played like a Franchise QB, and he's not. To be Frank, there's maybe 7 franchise QB's in the NFL, and only 3 under 31. The NFL is so starved for good QB's we're being told some are good who really aren't. Mark Brunnell was never a top 5 QB in his day but he's better than a lot of these ass clowns are.
On the other side you have Big Ben. A QB who seems to be under rated only because how good he actually is. Big Ben regularly throws open WR's deep down the field better than anyone. He also is the best escape artist in the pocket, ever. The Steelers and Ravens are both looking like they should push for playoff spots, and I could't be more excited. Always great games with great coaches and great QB's. That's the best takeaway from week 1. We will get Steelers vs Ravens back to form.
Antonio Brown is the closest thing to Jerry Rice we will ever see and is the best WR to enter the NFL since Randy Moss.
49ers vs Rams
The Los Angeles Rams haven't scored a TD since 1994. With Seattle playing at USC's home next week, who knows if that will change week 2. The Rams are who I thought they were, a team carried by 3 truly great players. Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, and Todd Gurley. Quinn was neutralized by 49ers Stud LT Joe Staley. Aaron Donald was neutralized (for the most part) by an improved interior of the 49ers Oline. Gurley was neutralized by a swarming defense led by Navorro Bowman. Do these 3 things and you probably beat the Rams. One of my biggest take away's from this game is just how great Gurley looked while only gaining 47 yards on the ground. He broke 6 tackles, many of them in the backfield. I don't know how many times he turned what should be a 4 yard loss into a 2 yard gain but he was impressive.
The 49ers defense looked great. I know the Rams offense isn't good, but there were some key takeaways for them. Bowman looked faster and quicker than he did last year. Back to back first round picks made Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner made an impact as pass rushers. Armstead had a sack and 1 hurry, while Buckner had 4 hurries. Casual fans would want to see more sacks, sacks aren't the end all be all. These two brought pressure time and time again, which is a welcome sign for a team rebuilding. 3 recent picks looked great in the secondary, Eric Reid had a great game. Jimmie Ward shut down Tavon Austin, and rookie Rashad Robinson gave up zero yards in 23 coverage snaps. It was the Rams but these are positive signs.
Now the 49ers offense? It was better than last year, but it wasn't that good. Carlos Hyde looked great, and is really talented, but too often the QB was bad. Blaine Gabbert throw too low on two screen passes to Torrey Smith that would have resulted in decent gains, one was on 4th and 1. On other passes Gabbert was bailed out by WR's making good catches, but they weren't given opportunity to run after the catch because of Gabbert inability to place the ball accurately. Lastly on Gabbert he continues to sail the ball on throws of 20+ even though they'd be touchdowns. Simply put the 49ers still won't win more than six games with Blaine Gabbert at QB. Colin Kaepernick handed the ball off in mop up duty than Gabbert threw it.
Many people thought the 49ers should Draft Jared Goff last year. There were even 49ers fans mad they beat The Rams week 17 because they didn't get as high a draft pick. Goff couldn't even beat out Case Keenum who was terrible last night. Goff may turn it around and become decent, but the 49ers are better off with DeForest Buckner.
What will it take for the Rams to fire Jeff Fisher? He's yet to have a winning record with the Rams. He's yet to find a way to be decent on offense. The Rams are a good coach away from being a serious threat in their division, but I don't think it comes until they have their own stadium. Good for the division though.
There were 4 QB's that played last night. Only one of them was good. ESPN's QBR said Gabbert had a good game, clearly that stat is flawed. There is a serious difference in looking the part at times, and actually being a Great QB. Big Ben is that, no one else who played last night is close.
Brandon Marhsall (Broncos LB not Jets WR) has a meeting with the Chief of Police in Denver to discuss how they can make things better as a community. He followed Kap's lead, and now there's discussion. Say what you want about a QB, but what Colin Kaepernick has started is bigger than football, and it's great. Thank you Kaepernick.