NFL veterans Mike Pritchard and Shaun King sound off on Week 2 topics
One week of the NFL season is in the books and it sure was an eventful one. We saw the season-ending injury to Aaron Rodgers, shocking losses for the Vikings and Seahawks, and some teams that weren’t expected to do much of anything really rise up and play well.
One of the luxuries that we have here at VSiN is being able to tap into the mindset and the experiences of NFL players. Mike Pritchard and Shaun King will be joining me throughout the season for the “Player Perspectives” feature and the guys had some excellent insights on the situation for the Jets, teams that stood out in Week 1 for good reasons, and teams that stood out for bad ones.
Mike can be heard on Friday editions of The Lombardi Line (1-3 p.m. ET / 10 a.m.-Noon PT), along with bouncing around the network doing guest spots as our lead NFL analyst. Shaun can be heard Monday-Friday with Tim Murray on VSiN Primetime (6-9 p.m. ET / 3-6 p.m. PT)
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How do the Jets keep this thing from falling completely off the rails with Aaron Rodgers out for the season?
Mike Pritchard: Sign Tom Brady….just kidding (not really). Hey, we had the year of the backup QB in the NFC last year!
The Jets will have to commit to being physical. Defense continues to dominate, while they should lean on three outstanding RBs on offense. The Jets coaching staff must help grow Zach Wilson’s confidence. By the way, it wouldn’t be too shabby to have a personal QB coach in Aaron. PS…for the love of God do not sign Carson Wentz!
Shaun King: Devastating Week 1 for the Jets on the injury front. If you asked anyone who is in tune with the Jets season-long futures market, all would agree Rodgers was the one piece that couldn’t be lost. I have a slightly different opinion that centers around the next man up mentality.
Now that the much-maligned, third-year Wilson inherits the starting spot, we have to ask, "Is he ready?" How much did he learn from Rodgers in the past five months? These are questions that will determine the outcome of the Jets 2023 season.
The BIGGEST issue now facing the Jets is Nathaniel Hackett, not Wilson in my opinion (yes, he is the coach Sean Payton criticized). I say this because he will need to prove that he has the creativity to design packages that work and the game day acumen to make adjustments on the fly in real time. With Rodgers at QB there would have been a lot of line of scrimmage changes every series. That won’t be the case with Wilson because he is only in Year 1 with Hackett.
Big picture, the Jets still have one of the top defenses in the NFL and with RB Breese Hall surprisingly healthy, as evidenced by Monday night, their collection of skill talent is more than adequate for a potential playoff-caliber team. So, even though losing Rodgers hurts greatly, it's not necessarily the end of the season for the Jets. My prediction is Wilson will perform better than expected and now is a good time to try and buy low on the Jets as the market overcorrects to the loss of Rodgers.
Did we all overhype the Seattle Seahawks? What happened in the loss to the Rams and how does Pete Carroll get it fixed?
Mike Pritchard: There were a few good teams that were not properly prepared for their first game. A commonality for two of these teams is youth. The Seattle Seahawks have been waiting for the season to begin, but they forgot their sense of urgency. Carroll must remind his talented, but young, team that hard work will still be demanded. Competition Wednesday (for your opportunity to play) begins again. The Seahawks are a good team and there is no need to panic….yet.
Shaun King: When Cooper Kupp was ruled out for Week, 1 NO ONE I saw or heard was of the belief that the Rams would go into Seattle and win convincingly. What do we now do with the 2023 Seahawks?
First off, I don’t overreact after Week 1. I do take copious notes, however, and the alarming thing about Seattle is that Matthew Stafford wouldn't be described by anyone as a mobile QB, yet after 38 pass attempts the Seahawks defense was unable to produce even a single sack. This was a known deficiency entering the past offseason, yet Carroll and Crew decided to go DB and then WR on draft day, bypassing Jalen Carter might I add. I don't see a clear pathway for the Seahawks to adequately address this deficiency in the short-term. I won't downgrade Seattle completely, but until we see some positive steps in this category Seattle is a team to potentially fade in a few weeks.
Aside from the obvious 49ers, which team impressed you the most in Week 1 and why is it sustainable? Any teams really disappoint you?
Mike Pritchard: I’m going to the NFC East for both of my answers. The Giants wet the bed. In Year 1, Coach Daboll captured the buy-in from his players, mainly because these players were fighting for their jobs. This year, with security, this group of players played horrible football. The Giants have to establish an identity, something that I think this team took for granted entering this season.
How ‘bout them Cowboys? I should say that defense. My goodness, were they good. I thought a severe loss was the injury to ILB DeMarvion Overshown, but the Cowboys have enough talent with all three levels of their defense. Play selection offensively for Dallas was also a pleasant surprise. How do you cut down on Dak Prescott INTs? Have a 55% run, 45% pass play selection ratio. This game can be an easy one when you are this talented.
Shaun King: The Cleveland Browns did two things that lead me to believe they could potentially be an ELITE team moving forward. They ran the football extremely well and played ELITE defense. The Browns rushed for 206 yards and held the Joe Burrow-led Bengals to six first downs and 2/15 on 3rd down. I know it’s only Week 1, but let’s give credit where credit is due because that's extremely impressive in every way.
Do they need to be more consistent in the passing game? Absolutely, but Deshaun Watson did have to battle inclement weather and seeing him use his athleticism again was refreshing. I have the Browns as my No. 1 team to watch as a potential in-season play to win division, conference and Super Bowl futures.