An erratic NFL Week 1. Tom Brady’s gone. After 111 consecutive starts, the New England quarterback left Sunday’s KC game in the first quarter. Knee injury. The Patriots were an ordinary football team after that, managed to beat the bottom-feeders (2007 record of 4-12) from Kansas City by a single touchdown. Playing at home. That’s how good Brady was.
You know about the Chargers. Indianapolis went down. Atlanta not only wins, but wins by 13 points. Yes, they were playing Detroit, but Atlanta “beat them good” with a rookie quarterback. Brett Favre and the Jets got by the Miami Dolphins (2007 record of 1-15). Brett looked like Brett — 15 of 22 for 194 yards and no interceptions. Sounds better than it looked. He got one touchdown by way of a typical Brett Favre 4th-and-13 desperation toss. The rest of his team looked average. I wouldn’t celebrate yet, although others are. The Jets are 2 1/2-point favorites over New England this Sunday.
So, we’re one week in. Let’s stroll around the NFL and see what head coaches had to say at their post-game news conferences.
Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano (Jets 20, Miami 14): “We didn’t play well enough, made too many errors…. In our league, every single week the margin of error is so small; it really is. Make a few more errors than your opponent does…” Standard script.
The last literate NFL head coach was Bill Walsh, but Tony Dungy of Indianapolis comes close (Chicago 29, Indianapolis 13). After the game, Dungy said, “We certainly haven’t had one like that in a long time, where we got that soundly outplayed.… Have to give the Bears all the credit. They played well, played very hard, did the things you have to do to win and didn’t do things that cause you to lose.”
Baltimore 17, Cincinnati 10. Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis: “I’m disappointed in a couple areas. We got an opportunity there to stop and get the ball back and we don’t do the job there. We’ve got to play better football than what we played today.” Prime coach-speak.
Pittsburgh Steelers 38, Houston Texans 17. I like the way Gary Kubiak, the Texans’ head coach, talks: “We got manhandled, you know? They got after us pretty good. Hell, I don’t have no excuses for you. The first place I look at, I go look at myself. So, take a hard look at myself and where I had the football team going into the game. Obviously, it wasn’t anywhere close to good enough.”
Tennessee 17, Jacksonville 10. Jacksonville’s head coach, Jack Del Rio: “Good, tough, physical football game today. They did a little better job controlling our run game than we did controlling theirs. Ultimately, they were able to win a very hard-fought ball game here. Close game. There were a lot of chances in the ball game to have it come out a little bit different, and they made more of those plays and took advantage of those opportunities a little bit better than we did.” Hack spiel.
Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher: “Have to credit the defensive line because of the pressure, number one, and get the ball out; and secondly, they did a really good job of disciplining their rush lines. David can’t see and got in a situation when he had to throw the ball and he did and we made the plays.” No one’s home.
Patriots 17, Kansas City 10. Here’s another straight shooter, Kansas City coach Herm Edwards. He was asked if there was anything he could take away from his team’s one-touchdown loss to New England. Edwards said, “No. We lost. No. We lost. That’s all you take. We lost the game.”
Dallas Cowboys 28, Cleveland 10. Dallas coach Wade Phillips: “I thought we managed the game really well. Offensively, we moved the ball well. Defensively, we played well and special teams played well. I thought we were ready to play.” Straight up, that’s how the game went.
Philadelphia Eagles 38, St. Louis 3. Philly’s Andy Reid: “Good way to start the season. There was some good things. I’m sure when we look at the film, they’re never as good as you think and never as bad as you think. There’ll be a lot of things to work on for the next week.” Information-free statement.
Atlanta Falcons 34, Detroit Lions 21. Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli: “I thought we were a little bit high, a little bit tentative. We just got to get our pads down, come off the ball a little bit better. I thought we were in our gaps; I thought we had a chance to really go, stop the run.” Making it up as he goes along.