Week 6 of the NFL is in the books and as always with the end to every week comes new storylines. Here are my major takeaways from the NFL after six weeks of action:
The Carolina Panthers are a shell of themselves.
After going 15-1 last season and having won their division three times in a row, the Panthers have started 1-5 and look nothing like the team that just played in a Super Bowl. Although the Panthers added a weapon to their offense with the return of Kelvin Benjamin, they have yet to find their rhythm offensively due to poor play from their offensive line and also some questionable decision making from Cam Newton. Not to mention how bad the Panthers’ defense has been after being so dominant last season. Josh Norman was not the single reason for their success but considering how inept the Panthers’ defense looks this year, they could definitely use the competitiveness and will of Norman on their side. Newton has to do a better job of distributing the ball early in the play to avoid hits, while the offensive line needs to be addressed in the offseason.
Colin Kaepernick is no better at quarterback than Blaine Gabbert.
Sunday against the Buffalo Bills Kaepernick went 13-for-29 for 187 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions and 66 yards rushing. These numbers may not be the trainwreck people were expecting, but they definitely aren’t good enough to overcome the rest of the San Francisco 49ers shortcomings and are almost identical to Gabbert’s. The Niners issues are bigger and deeper than the QB position. They have no threats at wide receiver, the offensive line is bad, and their run defense has been abysmal giving up over 100 yards on the ground in five straight weeks. Head coach Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense has not translated at all from his days at Oregon to the NFL and it has nothing to do with who’s under center.
Odell Beckham Jr. is worth the antics.
Many NFL analysts, commentators, and the New York Giants themselves seem to be fed up with ODB’s antics on the field and on the sideline during the game. Sunday in a win against the Baltimore Ravens, Beckham ripped off his helmet after scoring a game-winning touchdown which is an automatic penalty and cost his team 15 yards in a close game. After which, he ran down the sideline before showboating with the infamous kicking net he’s befriended after he accidentally hit himself with it in frustration. After the game Giants QB Eli Manning and head coach Ben McAdoo both voiced displeasure with Odell’s in-game antics, however, they’re failing to realize that without ODB they’d be a sub .500 team. Instead of publicly criticizing Beckham, they need to be helping him grow and mature internally but otherwise voice support for him outwardly. Why? Because this is the best wide receiver in the game we’re talking about, the best player on the Giants, and the single reason they are relevant at all. Sunday against Baltimore Beckham hauled in eight catches for 222 yards and two TDs. Is it smart to cost your team yards by doing things you know are automatic penalties, no, but that behavior seems to be tied to Beckham’s production. As long as Odell remains an elite player and the biggest WR threat in the game, the Giants have to learn to deal with his antics and try to help him grow out of them in-house.
Dak Prescott is the future and the present in Dallas. Oh, yeah and that Kid Ezekiel Elliott is good too.
The Dallas Cowboys have themselves two prize rookies in Prescott and Elliott who are leading their team two wins without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Dallas is now 5-1 at the top of the NFC East and has a decision to make about whether or not to keep riding with the rookie racking up wins or to return to Romo when he is healthy. Although Romo is by far the better and proven QB momentum is not loyal and you must get as much as you can out of it when it’s with you. With that being said, it seems foolish to mess with the chemistry and stop the momentum the team has now with Prescott under center. Especially with the best offensive line in the game and a rookie running back that has rushed for over 130 yards in four-straight games, Prescott who set a new record for pass attempts (177) before throwing an interception should have no problem continuing to lead the Cowboys to victory. Not only until Dallas begins to lose or Prescott begins to struggle should Dallas consider benching their future.