The Fire Sale (cont.)
The systems a quarterback like Griffin and Cam Newton run aren't old college offenses. They get quarterbacks more prepared for the NFL than ever before and we're seeing that on the field over the last couple of seasons. It's just something to think about the next time you hear a stereotype like "RGIII is a running quarterback." Nothing could be further from the truth.
Stephen Hill, WR Jets -- This is a tough call for me. In the preseason it seemed Hill was struggling with his route running. Granted, I'm no scout nor do I pretend to be one. Actually, that's not true. I do pretend to be one but I think even novice scouts could see Hill was sloppy coming out of his breaks. It's not surprising, though. The guy basically ran fly routes in college.
Then on Sunday Hill showed the kind of talent I thought he had. True, the Bills aren't good. But despite the likelihood Hill will be one of those players who is up one week and down the next, he looks better when the lights come on then he does in practice or preseason games.
So I think Hill is worth picking up this week but I wouldn't go nuts trying to get him or expect too much from him. Hill is going to be a very good NFL receiver, but for fantasy purposes, I don't see that coming on a consistent basis until next season.
Chris Johnson, RB Titans -- My son is just starting to talk and whenever something isn't right he'll point and say, "uh-oh." Well, on Sunday I swear he saw Johnson run, pointed to the TV and said, "uh-oh." Even he could tell things weren't going well.
Listen, I was in the CJ-is-going-to-bounce-back camp, and while I don't want to overreact to one game I also don't hold onto a prediction for two months. We can make all the excuses we want for the guy but the bottom line is we were waiting for a bounce back and after one game it's a miserable failure. There's no other way to put it.
The good news is Johnson saved his day somewhat by catching six passes for 47 yards, so not all was lost. But four yards on 11 carries? That's just not going to get it done. We keep hearing about the old CJ but when the old CJ was running for 2,000 yards I don't remember too many 0.4 YPC days..
I don't really know what to tell you at this point. You can hold onto to him and pray he finally starts to get it together. Still, he's Chris Johnson, so his name will always draw interest on the trade market.
The Titans play San Diego and Detroit in the next two weeks. If CJ can't get it going by Week 4 then saying he'll bounce back will be as outdated as NFL beat reporters giving us actual information we can use. So Randall Cobb isn't ready to contribute and Jermichael Finley is going to lose snaps at tight end, huh? Those Green Bay beat writers are really on top of things aren't they?
Isaac Redman, RB Steelers -- I want to say Redman was terrible but that would be a disservice to the word "terrible." Listen, you are either playing Jonathan Dwyer or no one in the Steelers backfield right now. Redman shouldn't even be on your fantasy roster at this point. Come to think of it, he probably shouldn't be on an NFL roster either.
While we're on the Steelers, I also wanted to take a second to apologize. I own Antonio Brown in all four of my leagues because I believe he's one of the top receivers in the NFL. I still believe that. But I didn't take into account one huge factor: Todd Haley.
No one factors coaches into fantasy predictions as much as I do. I really take good and bad coaching into account when making my predictions but there's something called human error, and I'm afraid I made one in this case.
You see, Haley arrived in Pittsburgh, looked over the roster and came to the conclusion the offense relied too much on the receivers. Yes, the offense relied too much on Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders -- by far the strength of the offense. So Haley decided to stop throwing to those guys and use the running backs and tight ends more. Isn't that brilliant strategy?
Let me tell you something about Todd Haley. If you were as bad at your job as he is at his you would never work again. But in coaching, as long as you know someone -- and they all know someone -- you always find work. Todd Haley is the epitome of what's wrong with society.
I'll tell you something else about Haley. He's the kind of offensive coach that feels he must run the ball just to run it. Averaging 1.0 yard per carry in the third quarter and it's 2nd and 10? Let's run it to make it 3rd and 9 just so we can say we're balanced. That's great coaching.
If you can't run it you can't run it. Constantly putting your quarterback in 3rd and longs because you have to run it on every 2nd and 10 isn't helping him. That's awful, awful coaching. Last year Brown was being moved all over the place to create mismatches. Not under Haley. Just go over and line up opposite Champ Bailey. Boy, that's innovative, isn't it?
So while I still love Brown, I'm going through the pain with you. I was wrong, thanks to the Steelers becoming a team of dump-offs and three-yard passes.
Hey, isn't that what got Haley fired in Kansas City, though? Now he just gets to run the offense in Pittsburgh? That's his punishment for being a bad coach? It's comical.
And I don't want to hear about how he took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl either. That's garbage. Ken Whisenhunt runs the Cardinals offense and everyone knows it. That's like saying it matters who the defensive coordinator is in New England. Haley was basically making copies and getting coffee in Arizona.
The only saving grace is Mike Tomlin. He needs to realize this guy is ruining his team and take control. Perhaps Tomlin steps in at some point. He's one of the few coaches who will stand up and take charge. That's our only hope.
Beanie Wells, RB Cardinals -- I have been hammering Wells for not being tough since he was in college. Then this summer I said he was the inspiration for the term "game-time decision" and joked he was already a game-time decision for Week 2. I was wrong. Beanie ended up being a game-time decision for Week 1. I can't even make fun of the guy anymore. It's boring.
Dwayne Bowe, WR Chiefs -- I didn't have a good feel for the Chiefs offense heading into the season. Now that I've seen them play I think I've formed my opinion. It stinks.
I met Matt Cassel when I worked in New England and he was probably the nicest guy I came across in the NFL. I root for him and I think he's gotten the most out of his talent. Cassel has had two good NFL seasons, despite never starting in college and being a seventh-round draft pick. That's not too shabby.
While I like Cassel and think he has far exceeded expectations, the end has come. He can't play anymore. It was clear last year and after one week we're seeing more of the same this year. Cassel reminds a lot of Jake Delhomme late in his career.
Remember at the end of Delhomme's career he just looked awful every time he stepped out on the field? Delhomme was a turnover machine and basically ran around like a chicken with his head cut off. That basically sums up Cassel since the end of 2010.
That brings us to Bowe. At first I was high on Bowe because he's playing for a contract. However, he simply doesn't have a quarterback that can get him the ball consistently. Yes, I'm putting Brady Quinn in the category of "no quarterback." Call it a hunch.
At some point the Chiefs need to decide what they're going to do at the quarterback position. Perhaps Scott Pioli should stop screaming at receptionists and worrying about people spying on him and spend more time finding a quarterback. The Chiefs quarterbacks are currently Cassel, Quinn and Ricky Stanzi. I'm sorry but that's not good enough.
The problem for Bowe is that even if the Chiefs make a change at quarterback it will be going from bad to worse. I think the weeks Kansas City has success on offense it will be when it can just run over teams. When the Chiefs are forced to throw the ball, Cassel isn't consistent enough anymore to produce big numbers, hurting Bowe's production from week-to-week.
Bowe is obviously talented so he could blow up in Week 2. It's the consistency I'm worried about. I own Bowe in a league and my suggestion is to wait for him to have a huge week and then dump him. There will just be too many seven- and eight-point weeks in his future for fantasy owners to count on Bowe all year long.
Follow Thomas Casale on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy.
Alexander Steen, Blues beat Blackhawks in triple overtime
Rangers score three in the third period to beat Flyers in Game 1