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FOX Monday Rewind: What we learned from Week 2


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Monday Rewind: What we learned from Week 2


What surprised me the most on Sunday was how Washington could look so efficient, so good at protecting the ball last week, to looking so completely out of sync on the road against the Giants.

I know they still had a chance to win, which is amazing considering their seven turnovers, but it was like they couldn't protect the passer, they couldn't open lanes for Clinton Portis, they couldn't do anything. And I'm not sure the Giants are a very good football team.

I don't know what Joe Gibbs will do if he loses quarterback Mark Brunell. It could be a factor, but Patrick Ramsey does have some ability. I know Gibbs can coach Ramsey up to speed quickly for next week's critical game against Dallas.

But getting back to the surprises, I want you to know that the biggest thing we learned is not to get carried away with what you believe on first impressions. After Week 1, we thought Washington might be back, that the Giants might never win, that Green Bay was going to be awesome, that Carolina was in deep trouble and that Mike Shanahan had the Broncos back. Well, the Broncos scored six points in Jacksonville. Let me tell you, that surprised me!

On that note, I was surprised that Green Bay could play so poorly in their home opener. And that Kansas City, a team some thought might have a Super Bowl chance, is now 0-2 and unable to score.

I was impressed by . . .

Seattle's play away from home. The Seahawks have made two long road trips now and won both games. We all thought they would have to do something like this to be a true Super Bowl contender and now they've won as many road games as they did last season. They have proven to me that they are a playoff team. That's based on them being a playoff team last season when they had a 2-6 road record.

The key to Seattle is that the defense is improving under coordinator Ray Rhodes. Now this isn't shocking to any NFL coach because Ray Rhodes' teams are traditionally very good in his second year with the club. There turnovers are improving and he is making his presence felt on that roster. You think of the Seahawks and you think of Mike Holmgren and offense. Well, they beat Tampa Bay with their Rhodes' defense. Now that's impressive.

The new attitude in Detroit. This might be the start of a turnaround. They are 2-0 and they won a tight game on the road in Chicago last Sunday. They beat Houston by scoring a lot of points (28).

And how about rookie receiver Roy Williams? He made another great catch against Houston. He could be a star. In his first two games, he's made two spectacular, highlight-film catches. People forget that a lot of people had him as the top-rated player in this draft at one time, only to see him slip. He's legit.

New England still looking Super. They are one consistent football team. Week in and week out, and it makes no difference where or who they are playing, they simply get the job done. It's like coach Bill Belichick doesn't allow them to ever slip. They are thoroughly prepared for everything.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin had a rough week, from Terry Bradshaw calling him a jerk, to his star player, Michael Strahan, questioning his rules and fines and calling his style demeaning to the players. But Coughlin proved that he can separate the swirling criticism from his overall responsibility, being a head coach. The Giants were prepared for the Redskins and they played hard. Maybe Coughlin is the right fit.

The Buffalo Bills made a coaching change to Mike Mularkey, believing the former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator would generate some offense. Well, Drew Bledsoe continues to struggle, losing his ninth road game in his last 11 starts. Mularkey was bold on fourth-and-goal early in the fourth quarter, but he should have kicked the field goal. If J.P.Losman was healthy, I bet Mularkey would be starting him in two weeks against New England.

The Panthers proved they could win without Steve Smith and Stephen Davis. I thought it might be impossible on the road. DeShaun Foster's 174 yards rushing proved that Carolina will still be a factor.

Michael Vick can run the West-Coast offense. Basically, he can run any offense. He is that talented. He ran for 109 yards and passed for 179 yards and a touchdown. I never should have doubted for a single minute.

Denver's Mike Shanahan played it too cute in Jacksonville. He wanted to take some time off the clock, so instead of allowing Jason Elam to attempt a 40-yard field goal, he decided to hand off one last time to Quentin Griffin. Well, the kid fumbled and the Jags recovered with 31 seconds remaining. Game over. The Broncos lose 7-6. And no one on NFL earth would have guessed Denver would have been held to six points.

On the flip side, what a disappointment the Rams are. This team could be on a downhill slide. They have become an inconsistent team because of their turnovers. They've committed five already and haven't produced a single one in two games. Last season, when they had Lovie Smith handling the defense, they led the NFL with 46 takeaways. They have zero. This could be a scary year for them because they don't have the overall talent they had a couple years ago. Free agency has hurt this club's depth.

I know New Orleans won, but they didn't look very good doing it. And they were at home. I think this is what you're going to get from this team, week in and week out. They simply don't have a knockout punch; they're missing something.

Three things I learned

Howie Long might be right about the Kansas City Chiefs. Their offensive line doesn't look dominant anymore. Losing tackle John Tait to the Bears in free agency might mean that they might not be scoring so much this season. They averaged 33 points at home last season. But they were dominated by the Panthers. There have been some questions about their receivers and now it looks like they have offensive problems. I thought they would win this season by out-scoring people and that may not happen.

I learned that maybe Chris Simms should be playing in Tampa Bay. The way Jon Gruden has been acting all year, it's like he's been waiting to replace Brad Johnson. Well, he finally did it. I know some people are really impressed with the talent of Simms. He was maligned at Texas because he wasn't able to win the big games, but I definitely see a lot of talent there.

I also learned that Terry Bradshaw might have been right about Oakland's Jerry Rice. Terry said it was time to move on in Oakland, that Jerry could handle not being the star attraction anymore and he was right. Rice had his consecutive game streak ended. He had gone 274 games with at least one reception. Well, that record is in the books.

What we can look forward to next week

Philadelphia travels to Detroit and we'll find out if the Lions can compete with the big boys. The Lions have so many good young players, it will be interesting to see if they can compete with the Eagles.

Chicago is going to Minnesota. Lovie Smith said his first goal when taking the Bears' job was to beat the Packers. Well, he's done that. To me, the Vikings are the most fun team in the NFL to watch. Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper are really something. This will be a great test for the Bears, who will benefit from the Vikings' short preparation week.

I can't wait for Green Bay at Indianapolis. We have Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. The Packers, especially after losing, will want to rebound. I know traditionally Brett hasn't been a great dome quarterback, but losing to the Bears should fire up his offensive line and him. Green Bay, I think, is better than they played on Sunday.

And, finally, Joe Gibbs and Bill Parcells are going back in time next Monday night. Washington was embarrassed in New York and Parcells has done a great job making me believe that he can truly win with Vinny Testeverde. I never thought I'd say that. So, that's a great storyline next week. Parcells and Gibbs know each other so well. That will be one special Monday night game.

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