Around the League + Raiders Report on Video

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Boomer Esiason   By Boomer Esiason
Special to NFL.com

(Sept. 13, 2006) — The Ravens looked good in Tampa when they completely intimidated the Bucs offense, causing it to retreat back into its shell. I know it was only Week 1, but that was quite an impressive victory. Not since the 2000 season, when they won Super Bowl XXXV, have the Ravens looked like this.

I knew Steve McNair would have a quick impact on this team, but I never would have guessed it would have been so sudden and on the road against a good team. It is amazing how players respond to someone in whom they believe. For Ray Lewis and the defense, this must have been the most enjoyable game in a long time.

Slick use of Vick

Finally, the Atlanta Falcons used Michael Vick the right way the entire game. While Vick’s passing statistics weren’t great against the Carolina Panthers, this was clearly a game in which his intangibles took over.

Atlanta allowed Michael Vick to attack Carolina with his athletic ability.  
Atlanta allowed Michael Vick to attack Carolina with his athletic ability.    

They put him in the shotgun running a University of Texas-style offense, and moved him out of the pocket. That gave Vick ample ability to use his rushing skills.

Also, the addition of John Abraham paid immediate dividends for Atlanta’s defense, which put big pressure on Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme. Was it me, or did this game look like the playoff game against the Seahawks last season?

A note to Delhomme: Be careful of the emotional outbursts on the field, because teammates might misinterpret those actions as a dig toward their performance — especially after the sack, because offensive linemen do not want their quarterback to embarrass them.

Raiders report

How pathetic are the Oakland Raiders?

Again, I know it’s only Week 1, but anytime you get intimidated at home by a division rival, especially under a new coaching staff, it is a nasty wakeup call that no one wants to live through. Welcome to the NFL’s version of an insane asylum. With a tough game on the road at Baltimore this week, the Raiders are perilously close to an implosion. With Randy Moss taking verbal shots at his coach and his organization on the radio, along with the healthy deactivation of Jerry Porter, plus the complete destruction of their offensive line against the Chargers on Monday night, the Raiders’ confidence has got to be at a low point. Art Shell is a good man and he deserves better effort.

Are the Chargers really that good?

There were times that San Diego seemed disinterested; it played a most conservative game — moreso than I’ve seen in a long time. So conservative, in fact, that it was hard to tell if Philip Rivers has what it takes to get this team to the playoffs. I said before the game on the Westwood One/CBS Sports radio broadcast that I felt there are three teams in the NFL that will withstand a young quarterback because of the talent that team possesses around him: San Diego, Denver and Pittsburgh.

Drama kings

The NFL is 32 dramas that play out over a 16-game season. Some of those dramas turn into comedic tragedies, much like the Oakland Raiders might morph into soon. Other teams turn into horror flicks, like what might happen to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they don’t get their offense straightened out. And yet other teams sustain a consistency throughout the season that lead them to a fairy-tale ending, much like the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

Jake Plummer will have to work some magic in Week 2 to keep the critics off his back.  
Jake Plummer will have to work some magic in Week 2 to keep the critics off his back.  

 

Those teams define themselves in stressful times. The Bucs, Raiders, Panthers, Giants, Titans, Broncos and, of course, the Packers and the Redskins are all coming off losing their home openers. That’s the worst, because fans and radio talk shows start the season screaming for changes.

But as I’ve said many times before, these dramas have 16 episodes and the teams that are somehow able to withstand these low points of the season are the ones that make it to the playoffs. Here’s hoping your team can dig itself out of whatever Week 1 hole it dug.

Sleepless Nights

1. Art Shell, Oakland Raiders: He has a lot of work in front of him convincing his malcontents that they can win.

2. Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There’s no way to hide the fact that the Ravens intimidated his offense.

3. Jake Plummer, Denver Broncos: Every quarterback’s worst nightmare: underestimating an unknown commodity — the St. Louis Rams defense. As a result, Plummer has a stud rookie who had a great preseason looking over his shoulder. The good news is the Chiefs are coming to town with a backup quarterback.

Congratulations to …

1. Chad Pennington, New York Jets: For defying the odds and proving that a good man can’t be kept down.

2. Daunte Culpepper, Miami Dolphins: Yeah, I know he had two late interceptions, but to understand where he came from with an obliterated knee to where he was on opening night is a testament to his desire to be great once again.

3. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals: Much like Culpepper, Palmer, too, had to sacrifice a good deal of his offseason to return to glory.

4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: I don’t know if a player could’ve been any lower than Brees was after severely injuring his throwing shoulder in his last game as a Charger. But now he gets to play with Reggie Bush. That’s turning injury into opportunity and making the most of it.

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~ by Sactown Raider Boosters on September 14, 2006.

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