So, how ridiculously good did it feel to turn on your TV on Sunday afternoon and have real live NFL football show up? It looks like this could be a pretty interesting season, with 10 games being decided by one score or less. My Chiefs looked pretty good against a very bad Jacksonville team (sorry, Gabs) and the Rams pulled out a close one against Carson's Cards. Good weekend for Missouri football teams across the board. Let's see how our ex-Tigers did for the other teams throughout the NFL.
'Spoon played pretty darn well in the Falcons' season-opening loss to the Saints. Seven total tackles is a pretty solid season debut, and if he continues to be a tackle machine, he could make himself into one of the NFL's perennial Pro Bowlers. Already known for being the leader of the Falcons defense, his voice is what his team knows him by. We only know him by what we see him do on the field, and he's doing enough to keep us watching.
William Moore, Atlanta Falcons
Willy Mo had to one-up his fellow Tiger-turned-Falcon by ending his game with eight tackles. Another solid performance for the Falcons safety, I'm sure Moore was happy with his play but unhappy with the game's result. The Falcons will be contending for a Super Bowl at season's end, but the Saints have shown that they're not to be taken lightly this season either and overcame Atlanta 23-17. This was not a bad loss for Atlanta, so our guys shouldn't worry too much about this one as there's still a lot of football left to play.
Justin Smith's stat line doesn't really say enough about his impact on football games. He's not flashy, he doesn't rack up a ton of sacks or even put up a ton of tackles. What he does do is eat up blocks, dominate
defensive offensive linemen, and allow his teammates to take all the glory and put up the numbers. His career has been made by being the quiet beast on that defensive line, and this game is just another notch in his belt. He was going against a pretty good Green Bay offense and helped lead his team to a victory over the Packers to start the season. By the way, his picture on ESPN's player page is TERRIFYING.
Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers
ALDON SACKWATCH 2013 got off to a good start in the 49ers' 34-28 victory over the Packers. Many people still aren't convinced that Aldon will consistently put big sack numbers once Justin Smith leaves but there were a few times that Aldon just overwhelmed Green Bay's offensive linemen himself, including the game ending sack in which Aldon basically blew up a double team on his own. He's gotten (MUCH) bigger this year, so hopefully he continues to develop a power rushing technique to compliment his speed and shiftiness.
Ziggy Hood had a serviceable game putting up four total tackles, but he and the rest of the Steelers can't be happy with the loss to the Titans to start their 2013 campaign. A team that I feel will look a lot better in a few weeks, the Steelers need to do their best to keep the damage to a minimum early in the season and will need to rely on their defense to make that happen. Hood needs to have a big year to solidify his position on this defense, and I'm just not sure being average will be enough for the Steelers to bring him back in 2014.
SHELDON RICHARDSON had what I consider to be a hell of a rookie debut for the Jets in their bizarre 18-17 last minute victory over the Bucs on Sunday. Racking up seven total tackles and a half sack, SHELDON gave the Jets a reason to believe they didn't waste one of their first rounders on the former Mizzou DT. If he continues to improve he could really make a name for himself on this New York defensive line which is extremely impressive considering the amount of pressure put on him to perform immediately. Good week for SHELDON RICHARDSON.
Colin has found himself a starting position with the Bills at RG, and was almost a part of a major upset against the Pats on Sunday. In a game which EJ Manuel looked like he was going to start his NFL career with an upset over Tom Brady and the AFC East favorite Patriots, the Bills just couldn't hold on and ended up losing by a measly two points after a Gostkowski field goal put them away. The good news is the Bills look like they could be competitive this year, and Brown will have the chance to be a part of that.
Poor, poor Blaine. The guy just can't catch a break. He plays on a team in which his only weapon is Maurice Jones-Drew, and has very few options when it comes to passing downs. In a game in which both Justin Blackmon and Marcedes Lewis were both absent, he had the choice of throwing to Ace Sanders, Cecil Shorts III, or a number of other unknowns on a very weak Jaguars offense. His offensive line had trouble blocking for him, and his running game never really got going. That being said, he didn't do his teams any favors either. He threw a HORRIBLE interception to Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers that made me wonder what the heck he sees downfield sometimes. He ended up leaving the field late in the game with a laceration on his hand that required fifteen stitches, and will most likely not play this next Sunday. His time as a starter could be coming to an end very soon.
CJ Mosley got in on the action with a couple of tackles in the Lions' victory over the Minnesota Adrian Petersons... erm, Vikings. He will provide valuable depth this year on a defensive line that boasts both Nick Fairley and that dirty, no good rascal Ndamukong Suh (who will be facing either a major fine or suspension for THIS dirty hit). Let's hope Mosley doesn't pick up anything from that guy.
Gachkar continues to be a contributor for the Chargers on special teams, and chalked up one tackle in San Diego's heartbreaking loss against the Texans. To be a guy who sticks around on an NFL roster because of your contributions on special teams, you have to be at least a little crazy. People who are all there usually don't volunteer to run full speed into 300 pound running full speed at them too. Hopefully Gach sticks around long enough to get some time in at LB.
Long snapper, snappin' long. You keep bein' you, Beau.
Danario Alexander (San Diego Chargers, injured)
Brad Smith (Buffalo Bills, injured)
Chase Coffman (Atlanta Falcons)
Zaviar Gooden (Tennessee Titans)
Kevin Rutland (FA)
Kip Edwards (FA)
Jacquies Smith (FA)
Elvis Fisher (FA)
Brad Madison (FA)
Kenronte Walker (FA)
Kendial Lawrence (FA)