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NFL Unfiltered Week 1- Robert Griffin III, Michael Vick, and more

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The National Football League, America’s true sports pastime, is back. And for the next four months, pundits will react and overreact to nearly every game.  

In fact, hall of fame voters have just confirmed Robert Griffin III’s entry into Canton. Never mind that last time we saw the Saints play a meaningful football game, they allowed Alex Smith to channel his inner Steve Young…twice!  Adding to that the effect bounty gate has had on their coaching staff and defensive personnel and maybe Griffin’s performance, while very good, should be viewed with some perspective.  Robert Griffin III photo: nfl.si.com

Before I get to the week one observations, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Chad Johnson and Terrell Eldorado Owens both of whom are out of the NFL. It’s the first time since the Bill Clinton administration neither is on a NFL roster. Happy trails gentlemen.    

When you consider the similarly aging skills and diva-like reputations, I find it fascinating Johnson and Owens are out of the league while Randy Moss appears to have found a niche in San Francisco.  

More importantly, who will fill the now vacant clownish, all-pro wide receiver, role?  Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson are satisfied letting their play speak for them.  And Larry Fitzgerald seems a bit too dry and robot-like to do shirtless crunches on his front lawn. Maybe DeSean Jackson and Santonio Holmes will display a little extra buffoonery. Of course, they’ll need to play better football or their foolishness won’t matter.  

WEEK ONE OBSERVATIONS
What the pundits can’t or won’t say

-Speaking of RGIII, I’m hearing Mike Shanahan is brilliant again.  I guess this means he’s been playing dumb the last 12 seasons.

-Tony Romo is the most underappreciated quarterback in the NFL. I say that because Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett make Andy Reid look like Paul Brown.

-Victor Cruz got beat up against the 49ers in last season’s NFC championship game and got rocked last month in the Giants’ preseason opener. His three dropped passes against the Cowboys is no coincidence. He’s playing scared.  

-Graduating from Harvard remains Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2nd greatest achievement.  The con job he’s pulled on the Bills is far more impressive.

-Michael Vick looks like a guy who is tired of getting hit. Too bad his coach doesn’t care.  eagles browns week 1

-Honestly, there are only about 6 or 7 head coaches in the NFL who truly matter.  Pat Shurmur isn’t one of them.  

-Letting Nnamdi Asomugha go is one decision the Oakland Raiders got right.  

-Beyond Ed Hochuli’s biceps, the game didn’t look any different to me. Get back to work fellows before the league decides your services are no longer required.  

-Yes, there was more contact than usual in the secondary this week but the league-wide whining by the wide receivers made them look soft.  

-Don’t be fooled by John Lynch’s commentary, DeMeco Ryans will still get exposed when an offense forces him to run laterally.  

-If an NFL defense allows the opposing quarterback to line up at the wide receiver position without popping him in the chin, there is something terribly wrong with that defense.    

-Typical front-running game by the New York Jets; Mark Sanchez hasn’t changed.  
   
-Moss has clearly lost a couple of steps but he still scares average defensive backs. That alone makes him a factor this season.   

-Like Tim Tebow or not, the opinion of a 2nd string quarterback is irrelevant.  

-Kevin Kolb’s clutch performance tells me he isn’t mentally tough enough to start every week.   

-It’s a mistake to think Joe Flacco is ready to carry the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl title. The Atlanta Falcons are making the same mistake with Matt Ryan.  

-The Green Bay Packers have had an entire offseason to address their inability and unwillingness to run the football and nine carries by Cedric Benson is the best they could do? General Manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy should be ashamed of themselves.  

-The rules and good quarterback play makes it tempting to throw it 50 times a game but no team has ever won a championship playing that way throughout the playoffs.  

Top 4 this week (rankings disclaimer: my top four will always feature two AFC teams and two NFC teams).

1. San Francisco 49ers

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Houston Texans

4. Dallas Cowboys

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com

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RG III photo: nfl.si.com

Vick photo: AP