1. I think this is what I liked about Week 1:
a. Terry Bradshaw's rant to Louisiana TV station KTBS, in which he said of Rex Ryan and the Jets: "If they can't run the ball, they're going to have to throw it, and they can't pass protect. He'll shut up real quick. You know what? I don't like guys like that, OK?"
I like it when TV guys are unfiltered.
b. I loved what New England guard Stephen Neal said to Ian Rapoport of The Boston Herald after Brady had a fender-bender on the way to work Thursday: "We can't protect him all the time.''
c. I didn't just like this. I loved it. It was great to see Len Pasquarelli back in action for The SportsXchange and CBSSportsline.com Thursday night at the Saints-Vikes opener. Pasquarelli is one of the hardest workers in any business, and I'm glad he's back to his edgy Internet self after being marginalized by ESPN following his heart problems of the last couple of years.
d. New Orleans held the Vikes to 253 yards. If the Saints do that every week, they'll not only repeat -- they'll lap the field.
e. Adrian Peterson did rip off a couple of good chunks versus the Saints, but Saints DTs Sedrick Ellis and Remi Ayodele (sack, blocked extra point, tackle for loss) were stout and outstanding Thursday night.
f. Good story by Chris Mortensen on a team filing a protest over the Jets holding workouts in California in the offseason -- and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and coach Ryan attending at least one of the workouts. That's not allowed, and the league will have to either warn the Jets to not have coaches attend optional offseason workouts or sanction the team for it.
g. Loved the fireman helmet Justin Tuck wore running out for introductions.
h. Aaron Kampman lives! He stunted from his right end-rush slot into the A gap and smothered Kyle Orton on the first series of Jags-Broncos.
i. What a tackle, Kenny Phillips, on DeAngelo Williams. Saved a touchdown.
j. Good line by Phil Simms as the Patriots throttled the Cincinnati D early: "Somebody better say to the Bengals, 'Hey, guys, the season's started.' ''
k. Great addition by Fox, bringing in former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira to interpret calls in mid-game. Very smart idea, popping him on the screen and letting him be interviewed by the game announcers when a controversial call happens. He nailed a Matt Ryan incomplete pass in Pittsburgh that was being reviewed; he was way ahead of everyone on the Calvin Johnson missed-catch interpretation in Chicago. We'll see how it works for a few weeks, but this could be the broadcasting innovation of the year. There's such little downside.
l. Steve Breaston, the hustling fool, made a huge mark Sunday at St. Louis, the kind of mark that'll minimize the loss of Anquan Boldin.
m. Good start for Koa Misi and Cameron Wake, who each had a sack in the 15-10 win at Buffalo. The pass rush in Miami has to flow through them.
n. I'm buying Vick stock.
o. What a goal-line stand by the Lions. With the Bears at the Detroit one-yard line, the Lions stuffed three Matt Forte runs and stopped one Jay Cutler pass.
p. And congrats, Tony Gonzalez, for being the first tight end to catch 1,000 footballs. When he retires, whenever that comes, he'll probably have 300 more catches than any other tight end in history.
q. Devin McCourty certainly wasn't scared Sunday for the Patriots.
r. The Redskins deserve kudos for starting the offseason tackleless, basically, and now looking like they're in above-average shape there. Jammal Brown, playing for the first time in more than a year after 2009 hernia surgery, manned the right side well Sunday night, and Trent Williams was competitive and strong; they held DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer to nine tackles and a sack in the odd 13-7 Washington win.
s. Hakeem Nicks. Last year, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham entered the season as the wideouts with the best chemistry with Eli Manning. But Nicks has became a vital part of Manning's progressions. Eli found him for three touchdowns Sunday, leading the Giants over Carolina.
2. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 1:
a. Brett Favre's accuracy. Is he rusty or too far gone? "There were three or four throws I just missed,'' he said after the 14-9 loss to New Orleans. Give him four or five weeks to get back in shape; if he has two or three more like that one the other night, we'll think it's because he's a 40-year-old man with an 80-year-old left ankle.
b. The language of a few of the fans in the first row behind the Viking bench and the NBC Football Night in America set was enough to make Rex Ryan sound like Fred Rogers.
c. Matt Moore, Matt Moore ... you cannot loft a throw to the goal line with four Giants in the vicinity and one Panther. Your first pick of the year -- well-deserved.
d. Warm up in the bullpen, Max Hall. Derek Anderson attempted 15 passes to one of the biggest targets in the game, Larry Fitzgerald. Completed three of them.
e. What happened to all those chances for Tim Tebow? Two rushes, two yards. Dud debut if there ever was one.
f. Alex Smith. Matt Moore. Two of my August QB chia pets were much more bad than good Sunday.
g. Not the best way to start out trying to impress the new boss, Eric Mangini.
h. Hang time, Matt Dodge. Come on. Giants hired you to be a professional punter.
i. Hands, Kevin Faulk. Missed two catchable balls in the first half versus Cincinnati.
j. Officials missed Johnathan Joseph nailing a defenseless receiver, Faulk, at New England.
3. I think the umpire move, for one week, was pretty much a non-story. I was watching the Colts' game at Houston for evidence of how the move would impact the game. Didn't see much.
For safety's sake, the first 28 minutes of the first half and first 25 of the second, the ump now stands 12 yards behind the offensive line instead of his previously customary five yards behind the defensive. When the final tweaks were made to the system, the league tested them in Week 4 of the preseason, timing four games and figuring out how much time elapsed from the time the ball was spotted to the time the ball was snapped, and the difference was about one-half second more, on average, between the Week 4 tests and the average time it takes between spotting of the ball and the snapping.
But the league knows the real test won't come until some team plays hurry-up at some point during the 53 minutes the ump is behind the offense. Would the ump be able to not be a timing distraction? Would the ump be able to call penalties while running back to his position instead of being stationary? We'll have to wait to see a team legitimately trying to hurry the pace before judging if the league has a handle on this.
4. I think Joe Buck said what a lot of us were thinking after seeing a highlight in the first half of Seattle-San Francisco, a shot of wide receiver Mike Williams -- the failed Lions draftee -- catching a key pass on a Seahawk drive. Said Buck: "Somewhere, Matt Millen is saying, 'Oh, now you want to play.' ''
5. I think you want to play 18 games, NFL? I'm watching this Eagles game Sunday, and two of Philly's 10 most important players (Kolb, Stewart Bradley) go out with concussions, and the starting center, Jamaal Jackson, is lost for the season with a torn biceps. Bob Sanders, Matthew Stafford, Kevin Boss, Matt Moore ... and I'm sure I'm missing 20 more. Adding regular-season games is an idea whose time should never come.
6. I think Carolina wideout Steve Smith just might be learning. The guy who has long talked first and thought second seems to regret what he told me at Panthers training camp six weeks ago, about going after Giants safety Michael Johnson right away in the Panthers' opener against the Giants. Johnson laid a hit on Smith that broke his arm last December.
"What I said in the summer was shallow, ignorant, immature and really no need," Smith said the other day. "I don't need to be that way and I'm not going to be that way to my opponents anymore." And Sunday's game at the Meadowlands went off without a vengeful hitch.
7. I think Favre is not the only October 1969 baby who's a vital cog to his team right now. John Kasay's an amazing story to me. Like Favre, he'll be 41 by midseason, and he's played every season in the Carolina Panthers' existence -- all 16 of them. On Sunday at the Giants, Kasay started his 20th NFL season with a bang. By the end of the second quarter, he'd already kicked field goals of 52, 43 and 21 yards.
8. I think after I slapped around Alex Barron of the Cowboys on Twitter on Sunday night, I got this very interesting response from one of America's most knowledgeable football fans/authorities, John Turney of New Mexico. He e-mailed to point out a lineman who had a far worse game than Barron. He wrote: "1984. Rams at Cardinals. [St. Louis tackle] Tootie Robbins. After giving up three sacks and countless hurries to Jack Youngblood in the first three quarters, in the fourth quarter Robbins was flagged for holding three times. The last was right before a potential game-tying FG and this put the attempt back to 48 yards. The kick was then blocked -- by Jack Youngblood. Rams win 16-13.'' Yikes.
9. I think I was wrong about a lot of things in my predictions, as usual, and one of those might have been picking Tampa Bay to win two games. I like what I saw out of Mike Williams on Sunday. The fourth-round rookie from Syracuse is an athletic, physical receiver who looks to have tremendous confidence in himself.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I wish I could climb into that ivory tower the NCAA lives in and find out how they say to a kid like A.J. Green, the Georgia receiver who was suspended for four games for selling a autographed A.J. Green jersey: That's an offense worthy of losing a third of your season. Ridiculous. I'm not even talking about the concept of a kid bringing in the money stars bring in to college programs. I'm talking about the fairness of the penalty.
b. One other thing: If you cut every NCAA sanction in half, you'd more closely approximate fairness.
c. Very good puffy hair in the shampoo commercial, Troy Polamalu.
d. There will be better days, Nate Montana.
e. You're kidding, Virginia Tech. Right?
f. Eric Dungy, son of Tony, is a frosh Oregon receiver. Ducks played at Tennessee on Saturday night. Eric texted Peyton Manning before the game and said, in effect, if you want the Vols to win, you'd better come back and play quarterback. Like the kid's moxie.
g. Coffeenerdness: Saw something I never thought I'd see in Central Park near the end of my run Saturday -- a man jogging lightly with a grande Starbucks cup in his hand. Maybe it had water in it. Maybe a latte. Maybe it was empty. Or just maybe it's a sign to me that there's never a bad time for a coffee.
h. Good luck to retiring center Kevin Mawae, a consistently good player and person, on his retirement at 39. He's going to be vital to the negotiations between players and owner as president of the NFL Players Association, and he's ready for battle.
i. John Lynch and Champ Bailey, once pals in the Denver secondary, are trying to keep the name and spirit of murdered Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams alive. They're hosting a wine tasting, buffet and live auction next Monday in Denver (more current and former Broncos will be there), and for the third straight year, they're fund-raising for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, home of the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center. For information and tickets, go to www.prolinksports.net.
j. And one more good cause: Arsonists burned down a shed containing high school football equipment at an Indianapolis high school, TC Howe Community High. The loss was approximately $11,000, and the school is looking for financial help replacing the lost equipment. To help, contact Danny Wilson, TC Howe High School, 4900 Julian Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46201.
Jets 16, Ravens 14. Interesting little factoid about this game. Last year, when tonight's officiating crew in the new New Jersey Stadium, led by ref Walt Anderson, worked the Baltimore-Green Bay game, the crew whistled nine pass-interference penalties. So now you know one of the reasons the Ravens had an interesting coaching point with their secondary players this offseason: Don't touch the receivers going downfield.
I wrote this in my evolution-of-the-spread-passing-game piece in the SI NFL Preview issue. Listen to coach John Harbaugh's words from that story: "If you watch the game today, you notice that if there's a collision -- a receiver running into a cover man -- it's the job of the corner to get out of the way of the receiver. Watch how it's called. If it's a collision, the call's going to go against the defensive player. So we're coaching the corners now, 'Don't touch the receiver going downfield.' Run the route, play the ball, don't hand-check. That's the only chance we have to not put the game in the hands of the officials. When I see pass-interference called now, it's not just about the way the game is played. It's about the way it's officiated.''
If this crew calls PI strictly tonight, I'll be fascinated to see what happens when a physical receiver, Anquan Boldin, gets covered by Darrelle Revis, who is very good in coverage (obviously) and very good at looking like he never initiated the contact when there is some.
"You've got to be aware of Mr. Anderson and his crew,'' Revis told me. "We know they throw a lot of flags, but you've got to play. We work on certain techniques in coverage. But what it comes down to is, you've got to be yourself.''
Chargers 30, Chiefs 17. In the Peter King DVRed Game of the Week (10:15 p.m. EDT kick? I'll be lucky to see the first Charlie Weis iso shot in the booth), I don't think I'm making too much out of the prospective lack of Dexter McCluster for the Chiefs -- if indeed he doesn't play with this illness that has him doubtful. Kansas City needs his Where's-Waldo offensive spark. But it's not hopeless for the Chiefs, who should be able to attack the holdout-depleted San Diego offense. Better get the ball out on time, Philip Rivers, and pay attention to your blind side.