NFL Talking Points: Phillip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Harbaugh, Haynesworth, Dalton and More

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-Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers perpetually get out of the starting blocks slowly in September. For some reason, discussions of the top NFL quarterbacks begin and end with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The passing yards leader last season was none other than Phillip Rivers. The other two have been great longer, but Rivers accumulated that statistic with a lackluster receiving corps.

-The NFC North is wide open this season. Say what you will about the Packers finish last postseason, but the truth of the matter is that they were fortunate to even make the playoffs. So much of Detroit’s success will come if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy for an entire season. The Lions do have two very capable backups, but they have seen way too much action over the last few years.

-The Bears are only able to go as far as Jay Cutler can take them. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz has been singing his praises due to the tremendous strides that he has taken in the offseason. One has to wonder though, how much of the team’s respect he still garners after his sideline shenanigans last winter. The new kickoff rule will limit the explosiveness of specialist Devin Hester.

In their Saturday preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Bears refused to accept the new rule, and instead lined their first two kickoffs up at their 30, as had been in the past. Apparently, the officials on site didn’t catch it, because no penalties were called and it took a call from Vice President of Officiating Carl Johnson(notes) to “put a stop to it,” according to the Twitter account of Johnson’s predecessor, current Fox Sports analyst Mike Pereira. (Yahoo)

-Chad Ocho Cinco and Albert Haynesworth aren’t the only noteworthy signings for the New England Patriots. A caller to Fox Sports Radio’s Tony Bruno Show made sure to point that out last week. He was seriously advocating for Ryan Mallett to take the starting role away from Tom Brady. Apparently, he had his head buried in the sand for the majority of the last decade. Haynesworth has done a one eighty in his mindset about playing in the 3-4, because that is where his effectiveness will be called upon this season.

-Jim Harbaugh is highly thought of in coaching circles. A lot of coaches are masterminds in x’s and o’s, but he seems to have the uncanny ability to maximize his players potential. His fiery nature is reminiscent of his colleague Pete Carroll in Seattle. The major difference is that Harbaugh’s name hasn’t been dragged through the mud with allegations. I have to wonder what the mindset of the 49ers management is with the hiring of Harbaugh. Didn’t they just have someone with a similar demeanor in Mike Singletary?

-Coaches inevitably seem to be on the hot seat as soon as they start losing. The worst team in the league this season could be the Bengals. With Carson Palmer on the sideline pouting, Marvin Lewis might not attain more than a couple of victories. The squad did pick up veteran Bruce Gradkowski, but there is some indication that he is leaning toward starting TCU product Andy Dalton. Even the great ones struggle at first, especially when they are surrounded by limited talent. Do you recall Troy Aikman’s first season in Dallas? He was a piñata the majority of the time. At least there will be stability there though. The Bengals have always put model citizens out on the field! Hahaha “Cincinnaughty” indeed.

 

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