By HCR Staff | Sept. 10, 2018
With most of the NFL’s Week 1 in the rearview mirror, here are a few key observations – some things we liked and some we didn’t:
REDSKINS ROCKED: The Washington Redskins offense played to a crisp tempo in their 24-6 road win against the Arizona Cardinals. It appears that head coach Jay Gruden is able to use QB Alex Smith in ways that he could not with Kirk Cousins in 2017. We feel the Smith-Gruden combination will be a good one.
HIGH-FLYING BUCS: Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter did a good job of personnel usage in his team’s 48-40 road win over the New Orleans Saints. He spread the ball around on offense, with WRs DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans leading the way. The Bucs also got the ball in the hands of RB Peyton Barber, who performed well in his role. Koetter seemed determined to get the ball in the hands of his best players. He also had a smart gameplan in place for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, keeping him on the move. The result was perhaps Fitzpatrick’s best game as a pro.
CHASING POINTS: We did not like this decision from Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien in a 27-20 loss to the New England Patriots: The Texans faced a fourth-and-5 at the Patriots’ 17-yard line with just under 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Down 21-6 at the time, a field goal brings them within 12 points with plenty of time left. Instead, O’Brien chose to go for it. The Texans turned it over on downs – and to make matters worse, the Patriots turned that possession in to a field goal of their own for a 24-6 lead. Considering the fact that Houston did manage to claw its way back into this game, not taking the three points there might have cost them a shot at victory.
OC ON HOT SEAT: It was only two seasons ago that the Atlanta Falcons had one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. The Falcons have clearly regressed under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and it showed again last Thursday in Atlanta’s 18-12 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The play-calling is fairly predictable; there is not a lot of formation variety. It will take a lot of work for the Falcons to improve on offense, and particularly in the red zone, where they are among the worst in the league.