Lo Down

Chick's perspective on the NFL

Handy Andy Dalton

Dalton looked sharp thus far in preseason. We will know more after Saturday’s game against Dallas in which he will likely play a significant amount of time. Dalton is playing mainly without AJ Green who has a bruised knee.

Running back production looks promising for the Bengals this year. That will take pressure off of Dalton and enable him to pick apart the defense easier. Rookie Giovani Bernard and veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis will diversify the backfield.

A TCU darling, Dalton has racked up plenty of screen time on this season of Hard Knocks. Dalton looks loose, well respected, and prepared.

Marquise Goodwin Flashes

Marquise Goodwin flashed in preseason games and fantasy football players are salivating. At least those that reward kickoff yards.

The third round pick of the Bills will make an impact as a fast wide receiver.

His kickoff return in the Indianapolis game violated a rule of football. It’s unusual to bring a ball out from 3 yards in the endzone. The ball Goodwin returned was 7 yards deep in the endzone. And he smoked everybody.

Amazing Track Athlete

Why wouldn’t you want this guy starting on your team? He’s flying! Marquise is not only a track guy. He is a football player with track speed.

Deck Stacked Against Von Miller

The promising Broncos linebacker Von Miller will serve a 6 game suspension for violating substance-abuse policy. Miller will also be called to witness in a death penalty trial as an acquaintance of the defendant.

The Broncos will be hit hard losing a valuable pass rusher. Von Miller is one of the few complete outside linebackers. Teams quickly learned never to go one-on-one with Miller.

Broncos lost outside linebacker, Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens in the off season. They need to be shoring up on defense, not losing players.

AJ Green Is Money

AJ Green and the Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a noteworthy trick play against the Washington Redskins in the opening drive last Sunday. However, Green does not need Cover 0 defenses to make plays. In three regular season games, Green has put up impressive numbers, contributing to 4th most passing yards in the NFL.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton and AJ Green entered the NFL together onto a struggling Bengals team. The duo trusts each other and has added explosive elements to Cincinnati’s offense. In this year’s draft the team has added offensive weapons to the team which will force defenses to give the Bengals some man to man coverage. Green is willing to shoulder the burden of blocking, avoiding the diva label sometimes associated with #1 receivers.

AJ Green made it to the Pro Bowl last year after an incredible rookie season. His presence on the team brought the Bengals to the playoffs. Not content with a flashy rookie year, Green has put in work in the off season. He worked out with Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and they focused on technique. Green also soaked in Johnson’s advice on the ever important off field comportment.

Photo Credit: here

JJ Watt Becoming JJ Swatt

Houston Texans DE JJ Watt is making noise in the NFL as a crucial member of the #1 ranked defense. With sacks, batted down passes and Due to his penchant for batted balls, JJ Watt is becoming known as JJ Swatt; a fitting name for the long armed playmaker. In addition to batted down passes, Watt has been sacking, tackling and stuffing while putting together a powerful case for an All Pro selection.

Against the Denver Broncos, JJ Watt sought out Peyton Manning to join the list of sacked quarterbacks. Once was not enough, Watt registered 2 ½ sacks on Manning.

JJ Watt’s story is well known. He was not recruited by a college team. In fact, he was delivering pizzas before he transferred to Wisconsin and walked on to the team. A short time later, the Houston Texans drafted Watt in the 1st round to add to their incredible defensive crew.

Last year in the Houston Texans playoff, Watt made huge plays in their first game. This proves that he has what it takes to perform in big games. At only 23 years old, Watt plays like an energetic veteran for whom the sky is the limit.

Against the Titans, look for JJ Watt and the Houston’s defensive line to exploit the shaky offensive line and repeatedly get to Jake Locker.

Photo Credit: Texans Instagram

Henry Melton: Beast Mode All Season Long

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton is tied for 2nd in the NFL for most sacks through Week 2. Melton recorded 3 sacks and 10 tackles against the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers. Melton should be able to post more big numbers against the St Louis Rams who are suffering from an injured offensive line.

Last season Melton posted similarly impressive numbers before dropping off midseason. Melton, a self-aware critic, is confident he will avoid a slump this season. He has a desire to be consistent.

Melton played fullback part of his college career at the University of Texas. Lately, the Bears have been giving Melton reps at fullback. His player history gives him an edge reading offenses or defenses as needed. Look for Melton to impact the game on either line of scrimmage.

Photo: Melton’s Instagram

No Need to Ponder, Christian is the real deal

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder leads the NFL after two weeks in completion percentage. Combine that high percentage with zero interceptions through two games, and it looks like Ponder is avoiding his sophomore slump thus far.

The Vikings have been mostly ignored by the national media because they are contender-heavy NFC North. Like most of the NFL, the Vikes are 1-1. Minnesota has a good shot of staying in the mix if Ponder can keep managing the game well and keeping their lesser defense off the field as much as possible.

To me, Ponder’s zero interceptions stat line is very impressive. Just ask the Manning brothers, Michael Vick or Brandon Weeden how interceptions impact games.
Christian Ponder is still an incredible young quarterback. He’s part of the class of younger quarterbacks rising through the ranks in the 2nd tier of the NFL QB hierarchy. He was a 12th overall pick in the 1st round of the NFL draft, coming out of Florida St. Interestingly, Ponder hails from Dallas, TX but went out Texas to play college football.

In the most recent draft class, the Minnesota Vikings have shored up the offensive line, but judging from the number of sacks Ponder has taken, they need to do some more work in that department.

Atlanta Falcons Get Some Moore

Thanks to the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator and their athletic secondary, Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos were shut down during Monday Night Football.

William Moore Returning Interception to 1 yd line

William Moore the strong safety from Missouri is making a big splash especially against the Broncos. Against as quarterback, Moore calls “the greatest quarterback in the NFL right now,” Moore had pass deflections, a sack and interception.

Moore showed that he has the aptitude to run Mike Nolan’s complicated disguise-driven defensive schemes. This defense should have plenty fire to go up against the rest of their schedule.

Photo Credit: here

Texans Offense is not too Tate

The Houston Texans quietly crushed the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in a 27-7 victory. The running game dominated, thanks in part to the efforts of Ben Tate.

Everyone knows that Arian Foster is the star of the Texans offense. It cannot be overstated how much it helps an offense to have another running threat. Having a deep running roster prevents your star from having too many carries which often lead to an injury, which makes Ben Tate invaluable.

Tate comes out of the SEC’s excellent running back tradition which emphasizes tough smash mouth football on both sides of the ball.

Look for Tate to continue to be a large part of the Texans offense.

Photo credit: here

Atlanta Falcons Standout Wide Out: Julio Jones

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver could help the Falcons make it to the playoffs this year. With a year under his belt, look for Jones to put up huge numbers this season. It helps that his quarterback, Matt Ryan also known as “Matty Ice”, has been hitting on all cylinders. Matt Ryan has confidence in Jones, saying this week that Jones has the ability to be a top receiver in the entire NFL. Jones has been learning from the best, future hall of famer Tony Gonzalez.

Jones was a break out star on Alabama’s undefeated 2009 team contributing to the 2010 National Championship. He excelled in the 2011 combine despite having a broken foot. This led him to be drafted by the Falcons in the sixth overall spot.

Look for Julio Jones to light up the Denver Broncos defense during Monday Night Football.

Don’t Cut and Run on David Wilson

David Wilson, the running back of New York Giants, is trying to move past his lackluster game on Sunday. Wilson put up top combine number, putting up the fastest numbers in several categories. He has the potential to be a serious vertical threat by outrunning his defenders.

Coughlin is the type of coach that will punish players who make a mistake. After fumbling against the Cowboys, David Wilson did not get another carry all game long. I think that is pretty unfair especially considering the defensive effort that went into stripping Wilson of the ball.

Look for Wilson to bounce back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and share carries with Bradshaw.

Photo credit: here

A Straight Player: Jets WR Jeremy Kerley #11

New York Jets Wide Receiver Jeremy Kerley became first player to have a punt return touchdown and touchdown reception in the same game. He was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week on the strength of his 68-yard punt return TD, first for the Jets since 2004.

This 23 year old out of Hutto, Texas is an all around athlete and special talent. Curley was drafted in the 5th round by the New York Jets. Kerley wowed those in the nation that watched TCU in the Mountain West becoming All-American player. He is short especially for a wide receiver but has the ability to stretch the field.

Kerley’s training camp did not go smoothly, and of course, he didn’t catch any touchdown passes in preseason (along with the rest of the Jets offense). In one game, however, Kerley looks to be the answer to the Jets lack of explosiveness.

After a big game on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Kerley did suffer a back injury that Rex Ryan expects him to recover from in time for their Jets game against the Steelers. Against the venerable Steelers, the Jets will need all the fire power they can get.

Photo Credit: here

The Redskins Other Griffin: CB Cedric Griffin

Washington Redskins Corner Back, Cedric Griffin turned in an impressive performance against the Saints in Week 1. Cedric Griffin had not shined in preseason games, but 2 pass breakups, 3 tackles and a forced fumble later; he looks a lot better. Against the St. Louis Rams, Griffin should be able to rack up some more plays.

Washington Redskins have Griffin playing in the 3rd cornerback spot as a nickel corner. They utilized him in 60% of snaps against Drew Brees’ offense. Griffin’s signing adds to the Redskins’ defensive depth.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Griffin in the 2nd round of the 2006 Draft. He played well for the Vikings until sustaining two knee injuries. Minnesota terminated his contract in March 2012.

Cedric Griffin was a major component on the 2005 Texas Longhorn team which won a National Championship.

Future is Bright for Patriots DE Chandler Jones

The New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones shined against the Tennessee Titans helping the Patriots to a 34-31 win. Jones stripped Titans QB Jake Locker of the football in the game defining play on Sunday. Fellow rookie teammate Dont’a Hightower returned the fumble for a touchdown. The New England Patriots held the Tennessee Titans to 20 yards rushing, completely neutralizing Chris Johnson.

Bill Belichick took steps in the off season to shape the New England Patriots defense into a lighter, speedier, more efficient unit. Clearly, after having the worst defense in the NFL finally clued Belichick in to the need to change the way he crafts his defense. An important component of the new plan is Chandler Jones, a first round draft pick out of Syracuse who played most of the snaps on Sunday.

Chandler Jones is an athletic freak with a hardworking attitude. The combination is bound to be successful. Unlike some defensive ends, Jones does not rely solely on his athleticism, height and arm length to make plays. He is an efficient player who plays smart and does not have too many extraneous movements.

Off the field persona can be a major factor in a player’s confidence on the field. By many accounts, Jones is a jokester and stays loose in the locker room.

In Chandler Jones’ preseason debut, had the Saints’ offensive front resulting to holding to be able to stop Jones from being an impact. Look for future O-Lines to continue to be stymied by Chandler Jones.

Photos: Chandler Jones Instagram

Fearsome 49ers LB Navorro Bowman

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Navorro Bowman was a critical part of the 49ers success next year. For a team that is possibly on it’s way to a Super Bowl, Bowman will be an important component this season.

Bowman and the linebacker corps will have their work cut out for them with the Green Bay Packers this weekend. Aaron Rodgers has plenty of offensive weapons and the accuracy to use them.

Bowman is a leader on and off the field. He has come through adversity and after losing his father and his best friend in high school acted out but rededicated himself to football. I think whenever a player comes through a tragedy that it can make them even more focused and driven.

Look for Bowman to continue to make a big impact.