Mark Sanchez's most impressive attribute; 10 things to watch (cont.)
Or it may not. Devin Hester's punt-return line against the Giants:
Punts fielded: 3.
Punts out of bounds: 3.
Punts fair caught: 2.
Punts returned: 1, for 6 yards.
In other words, I expect the Giants to kick high and out of bounds to the dangerous-again Hester, who will be well-remembered by Giant fans for his 108-yard return of a missed field goal in his last game against the Giants in New Jersey.
Frank Zombo, OLB, Green Bay (No. 58)
Zombo's zoomed past Brad Jones on the Packer depth chart at the linebacker opposite Clay Matthews, and he'll start his second straight game against Detroit Sunday. He's an undrafted free agent from Central Michigan who's impressed defensive coordinator Dom Capers with his instinctive play. Already he's had two sacks. He should benefit from the attention given to Matthews. Coach Mike McCarthy is a results coach, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the 6-3, 254-pound Zombo -- a college defensive end well-suited body-wise to the 3-4 scheme Green Bay runs -- keep the job once Jones is healthy enough to play.
1. The return of the prodigal Donovan McNabb. What's left to say? Other than "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.'' (That's unfair, of course. All McNabb ever did was play hard, even if in an unfulfilling way, for these fans.) One more thing to say in the faceoff of very famous quarterbacks: I like Vick to outplay McNabb.
2. Jim Mora's interview of Vick. Though I work for one of them, I'm not held captive by the NFL pregame shows. But I'll be sure to have the TV on to see the body language, and words, of a man who cost another man his job in Atlanta.
3. The best rivalry in the league ... turning nice? Ray Lewis said on Wednesday: "Hines Ward is a true professional.'' Huh? What's going on here? All I know is this: No two teams go at each other more viciously than the Ravens and the Steelers. It's the physical equivalent of three normal games. That's how sore these teams are going to be next Monday, after Sunday's meeting at the ketchup bottle.
4. Bill Belichick to figure out some way to fix a bad defense. Pats' average game score through three weeks: 30.0-27.3. The Browns are surrendering 19 a game, the Chiefs 12.7, the Rams 16.3. The Pats are young, but that's no excuse for the way that defense has been playing.
5. Carson Palmer. He was a major question heading into the season. He still is. It's time for Palmer to play like the franchise quarterback he's paid to be, starting Sunday at Cleveland. If Seneca Wallace starts for the Browns (possible with Jake Delhomme questionable), Palmer will be the inferior QB based on 2010 stats. Wallace leads in completion percentage, 61.8-56.6, and passer rating, 86.2-71.3. Palmer has too many weapons to be playing like this.
6. Garrett Hartley. I don't even know if Sean Payton is going to play his kicker Sunday against Carolina, or if he'll yank Hartley and kick the ancient John Carney instead. If Hartley plays, and he's anything but perfect, it'll be his last game as a Saint.
7. Steve Smith's anger. Last week, Smith yelled at Jimmy Clausen on the sideline and tossed a cup of Gatorade angrily. That's the way to make a quarterback feel comfortable in his first start. This week, you can be sure the Saints will send the house at Clausen.
8. Stephen Williams, Max Komar, Andre Roberts. Those are the rookie receivers who will take the field with Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards in San Diego. Undrafted free agent, undrafted free agent and third-round pick, respectively. That's some amazing inexperience. Derek Anderson is not the most accurate quarterback, but for the Cards to have a chance, he has to develop a quick chemistry with the kids.
9. The Lions stinking it up in Wisconsin. Yo, Vegas: Leos have lost 19 straight to the Packers on the road -- by an average of 12.9 points. Shaun Hill's playing quarterback for the visitors. Life goes on, maddeningly.
10. Sam Bradford maturing before our eyes. "Sometimes you see defining moments with young players, and I think one was the other day with Sam,'' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. The Redskins went up 16-14 in the third quarter, and Bradford took the Rams 74 yards in 12 plays to a lead they wouldn't relinquish. I see more progress Sunday against Seattle.