Week 1 of the NFL season was filled with unexpected results, sloppy football and late-game drama. As is the case for every season, Week 1 overreactions are fairly common and can look ridiculous as the season progresses As I attempt to avoid this pitfall in 2020, here are my takeaways from Week 1.
- Jaguars fans may want to hold off on the Trevor Lawrence hype
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is one of the most hyped QB prospects of the past 10 years. His size, athleticism and deadly accuracy has many fan bases clamoring for their team to acquire his services for 2021 and beyond. The Jaguars were considered to be the front runner for the Lawrence sweepstakes after gutting their roster over the past year.
However, Gardner Minshew has staked his claim to be the franchise QB. He went 6-6 as a starter last season and is now 7-6 after upsetting the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. He threw three touchdown passes and only one incomplete pass with a receiving corp considered to be below average. He instills passion in the offense and has proven to be efficient with the ball. While he may not be the long-term solution by the end of the season, he deserves a full 16-game season to prove it and so far, he has delivered.
2. The Detroit Lions need a culture change
To start off, let me emphasize the situation the Lions are in. They just blew a 23-6 second-half lead at home to the highly-criticized Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears and lost 27-23. Two plays leading to this included a terrible Matthew Stafford interception to give the Bears the ball down three with 2:35 to go and D’Andre Swift dropping the game-winning touchdown pass with six seconds to go.
This is inexcusable. After a 3-12-1 2019 season, head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn should have been fired after the season ended, regardless if injuries wrecked the team in the second half of the season. Instead, the same two leaders are back and this is the result Lions’ fans get. The Bears had no business winning this game and the fact they did shows the level of incompetence Quinn and Patricia display running the team. If I oversaw football operations on this team, they would have been fired after the game. The Lions will not see a reversal of fortune until a serious change is made.
3. Washington’s defensive line is scary
The Washington Football Team (yes, I hate it too) made their debut on Sunday against their bitter division rival in the Philadelphia Eagles. This team has been marked as one of the NFL’s worst teams and in the second quarter, they showed why as they trailed the Eagles 17-0. However, things slowly started to turn around for them as they started to brutalize Carson Wentz and shutting down their offense. QB Dwayne Haskins provided enough offense as Washington came back to win 27-17.
The Eagles’ offensive line has been battered by injuries and it came back to bite them in Week 1 as Washington sacked Wentz eight times. Washington’s defensive line received as they drafted Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the second overall pick. He picked up a sack and veteran edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan added two more. This line is scary and any QB with a banged-up or suspect offensive line should be terrified to play this team. Sunday’s win over the Eagles proved that to be the case.
4. Joe Burrow era already off to a good start
OK. I know the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Tyrod Taylor- led Los Angeles Chargers 16-13. I’m also aware Burrow threw a terrible interception on their second-to-last drive which was a signature rookie mistake type of play. Also, his 23-36 with 193 yards and one interception stat line is nothing special.
However, it isn’t Burrow’s fault AJ Green pushed off on the game-winning touchdown or Randy Bullock pulled a hamstring on the game-tying field goal attempt. Burrow on the final drive looked as composed as a seven-year NFL veteran and methodically drove the Bengals into scoring range. The fact we saw him do this in his debut shows how high his ceiling is. Once he develops and the Bengals gather better personnel around him, the future just might be bright in Cincinnati.