NFL Week 7 Reactions and Hot Takes: The National Mid League, and a Changing of the Guard

I’m going to do weekly tier rankings from now on.

Here’s what I’ve got. Half the league is certified MID:

Yes, I think the Rams, Bucs, 49ers, Packers and Ravens are all mid. And the Cowboys, too. And the Chargers (more on them soon). I just have not been wow’d by them at all, but with some of those teams it’s more than just they haven’t played well.

I’m talking about the fact that before our eyes, the quarterbacks that have dominated the league for the past 10-15 years or more are washing out:

  • Matt Ryan: benched
  • Tom Brady: ranks 23rd in yards per attempt
  • Aaron Rodgers: ranks 26th in yards per attempt
  • Russell Wilson: trash and corny. Go do some more high knees on the airplane, buddy.
  • Matthew Stafford: is he washed or does he just have no offensive line and no running game?

I am not quite ready to call all of these guys washed. But man, do they all look terrible this year.

I still feel like all of them but Matt Ryan could bounce back and return to some semblance of their former selves, but it’s ugly. And it’s difficult to believe that Aaron Rodgers has fallen from back-to-back MVP down to like Andy Dalton level just due to losing Davante Adams. This has to be somewhat regression driven.

The Bears beat the Patriots 33-14 on Monday Night Football. That game had all the makings of the classic 43-0 Belichick dismantling of a team with a young quarterback and rookie head coach, but instead the Bears absolutely steamrolled New England.

Justin Fields had his coming out party. It feels like that was the game Bears fans have been waiting for. 

It feels like the Bears are using him right finally. He should be used similar to how Lamar is used. He’s not quite as fast as Lamar, but he’s fast enough to run that type of offense. Apparently Mike McCarthy said he saw Fields run a 4.41 at his pro day even after slipping at the start. So Fields is really, really fast. Confirmed.

Take advantage of his strengths. He’s an elite runner. Let him do that while developing as a passer. 

He escapes from pressure so well but against the Patriots, he actually did something with that extra time: he was completing passes and salvaging plays. He made plays. That’s really turning a corner.

Like Zach Wilson is so good at escaping pressure and extending plays, but he never does anything with those second chances. He’s not great at throwing on the run or throwing while out of the pocket. He’s like half of Mahomes: he can escape and extend the play, but he can’t actually capitalize on it when he does.

Fields was capitalizing on Monday. I was so impressed with him. It felt like he took a major stride in the right direction, as did the coaching staff which used the extra long time off between their Thursday night game against Washington two TNFs ago to apparently retool the offense and base it around fields skill set.

Brandon Staley is ruining Justin Herbert

That’s my theory. Because Justin Herbert is ridiculously talented. There’s no reason he should at this point in his career be below .500 in winning percentage as a starter.

Staley’s supposed to be a defensive genius but the Chargers are terrible on defense. They got absolutely shredded by Seattle. Some of that is just due to the fact that the Seahawks are surprisingly good on offense, and Geno Smith has been incredible, but Staley’s defense should be better than that.

So what exactly would you say you do here, Brandon Staley? What do you actually bring to the table? Your star quarterback hasn’t developed at all since you got there, you don’t have a good defense—I am just not seeing it with Brandon Staley. Nothing personal against the guy I just think he’s not a good head coach. I think the chargers need to replace him. Justin Herbert is too valuable and talented for this.  

I know the team has been dealing with a lot of injuries but Justin Herbert is just too good to be this bad. Dude has a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle for a right arm, and yet against Seattle he threw the ball 51 times for just 293 yards, a pitiful 5.7 yards per attempt.

The one thing I hate the most is wasted talent and blown opportunities. I’m not a Falcons fan at all but the 28-3 blown lead in the Super Bowl still haunts me just because of how much of a missed opportunity it was. Stuff like that just irritates the hell out of me. I can’t stand Bag Fumbling. And the chargers are about to fumble the bag with Justin Herbert, man. They really are. He should be the best quarterback in the league and the fact that he’s not is an indictment on this coaching staff.

It just feels like the Chargers offense makes things harder than they should be for themselves. They’re definitely lacking a consistent deep threat, but it should still be easier for them to score than it has been. 

This team could easily be 2-5 right now. They were fortunate to beat both Cleveland and Denver. They were locked in a dog fight with the Texans as well. 

The Chargers have a pretty tough schedule upcoming as well. At falcons, at Niners,  Chiefs, at Cardinals, at Raiders, Dolphins, Titans, at Colts, Rams, at Broncos to finish out the season. There’s a decent chance they finish below .500 this year. 

Look, I’m not going to act like I’ve studied every Chargers game and know exactly what the problem is. But I know that Justin Herbert is way too talented for this team to be as mediocre as they are. I know they’ve had injuries, but honestly I don’t want to hear about it. Tom Brady and Peyton manning went 12-4 every year no matter what. Their teams dealt with injuries. Patrick Mahomes wins 11-13 games a year no matter what. 

Justin Herbert is on that level talent wise. This should be a perennial top-5 team in the league. They should be Super Bowl contenders on paper. The sheer arm talent Herbert has, he should be right up there with Mahomes and Josh Allen.

Right now I feel like all Justin Herbert does is throw checkdowns to Ekeler or take low-percentage shots downfield to covered receivers. There has to be a better way to run that offense, and use him. I don’t know what it is, but that’s not my job. Clearly Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi have no answers either.

Get Staley out of there and bring Sean Payton in before Herbert is ruined.

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