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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Here are 7 things we’ve learned from the start of the NFL season:

  1. No Brady, No problem:

A big question entering the NFL season was how were the New England going to react without their star quarterback Tom Brady. A four time Super Bowl Champion and a 2 time MVP, the Patriots have depended on Brady season after season for about 15 years. Now that the Deflategate scandal (where Tom Brady was accused of deflating the footballs in the previous year’s AFC Championship game) has finally caught up to him, many people have wondered how the Patriots were going to cope with this loss. To the surprise of many, they have surpassed everybody’s expectations.

From the shadows of the New England bench came second round backup Jimmy Garoppolo. After seeing barely any play time in his first year with the Patriots, Garoppolo has since emerged as a hero in the New England area for his performances, especially following an incredible performance against the Miami Dolphins where he threw 3 touchdowns in the first quarter. After Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a shoulder injury, it seemed like Patriots were going to suffer a loss using rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Yet he did not fail to fill in Garoppolo’s big shoes, leading the Patriots to a win over the Dolphins and Texans. While the Patriots are known for having one of the greatest front offices in the league, their ability to throw in quarterbacks with different styles of playing is amazing. This offers hope for diehard Patriots fans who dread the day Brady (39) retires.  

  1. Good quarterback does not mean success:

In the past, general managers have believed that a good offense would lead to success. In modern football, this belief has been disproven by talented defensives. In particular, defense styles of the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings  who lost their quarterbacks to injury or retirement – have still been able to string together an undefeated start. Alternatively, teams like the Indianapolis Colts who have Pro Bowl quarterbacks have stuck themselves out as Super Bowl contenders.

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Instead of purely relying on a strong quarterback, teams are relying more on their defense. In particular, the Denver Broncos essentially won the 2016 Super Bowl with their incredible defense, shutting down league MVP Cam Newton and the Carolina Panther’s offense. While having a solid quarterback and running back obviously takes a lot of pressure off of the defense and vis versa, teams have been more focused on beefing up their defense more and more.

  1. Robert Griffin III is probably done:

As much of an RG3 fan I am, it does seem like the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback’s glory days are behind him. Now playing for the Cleveland Browns, Griffin was hoping to rejuvenate his career after the Redskins replaced him with Kirk Cousins. While Griffin has shown glimpses of talent both on the Redskins and Cleveland Browns, he is consistently injured.. After playing with a partially torn MCL and ACL in his rookie season, RG3 has struggled to find a full season as a healthy starting quarterback. Ranging from knee injuries to concussions and most recently, a shoulder injury that is potentially season ending, Griffin just can’t stay healthy. Considering his playing style forces him to scrabble and take hits from defensive players, Griffin’s future in the NFL doesn’t look as bright as some may hope.

  1. Minnesota Glory

The Vikings started their season with a horrendous injury to star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The injury was so devastating that players on the field were vomiting and Bridgewater almost had  half his leg amputated.  Despite this devastating loss, the Vikings continued from where they left off last year after making it to the playoffs. They recuperated from the loss of their quarterback by trading for Sam Bradford, reuniting Adrian Peterson with his University of Oklahoma teammate. The Vikings have started their season brilliantly, with impressive wins against the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, during their 17-14 win over the Packers, Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson tore his meniscus. While it was believed that his knee injury was minor, he was placed on the injury reserves, possibly ending his season. Despite this major loss, the Vikings have shown they can conquer adversity. Don’t be surprised if the Vikings make a deep run into the Conference Semifinals.

  1. Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz

Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz started the season with a cloud of doubt looming over them. Prescott, a rookie quarterback thrown into the starting lineup after veteran quarterback Tony Romo broke his back, was seen as only a short term option for the Dallas Cowboys. Prescott has led an injury-riddled Cowboys team to first place in the NFC East and only one loss through six matches. The Cowboys are searching from redemption from a bad season with a 4-12 loss and at the rate they’re going behind Prescott, it is looking like their record will greatly improve better.

In Philadelphia, Wentz is proving to be a long term option for the Eagles. After an impressive D-III football career that saw him break numerous records, he was selected with the second overall pick. It was unknown, however, if his success in college would translate to the pros. Despite early doubts and criticism from the Eagle fans, they have grown fond of their new quarterback, especially with dominant wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers and an undefeated Minnesota Vikings. His arm strength and size (standing at 6’6) makes him a matchup nightmare for defenses as his strong fundamentals allow him to make great decision under heavy pressure. Do not be surprised if by week 17, we are still discussing which of these two young quarterbacks deserves NFC Rookie of the Year more.  

  1. Panthers Peaked

Following an impressive season that saw the Carolina Panthers finish with a 15-1 record, the team has disappointed many fans. Now sitting at 1-3 after a devastating loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Carolina Panthers seem to have lost their swagger. NFL MVP and start quarterback Cam Newton in particular seems to have lost his way. No longer the dabbing, dual threat quarterback who took the league by storm last year, Cam Newton has been a mess. Newton has returned to his human form after throwing three interceptions in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings. As the quarterback and leader of the team, Newton he holds a lot of responsibility for their lackluster start. The Panthers have also started their season without All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman who signed with the Redskins this offseason.

  1. Calvin Johnson and Marshawn Lynch are not coming back

The 2015-16 season ended with two of the most dominant players in the NFL, Calvin Johnson and Marshawn Lynch, retiring young due to fear of future injuries. Both All-Pro players had their season marred with leg injuries, limiting their play time. With the discussion on the danger of football being more public, players must consider whether the possible deterioration of their health (both physical and mental) is truly worth luxurious multimillion dollar contracts and glory. Although both players have heavily contemplated retiring in the past, it does not make the loss of these two electrifying players any less brutal. While the loss of Marshawn is critical, it is the retirement of Calvin Johnson that has shaken the NFL family. Johnson, nicknamed “Megatron” for his dominance, was believed to be the savior of Detroit and was poised to become one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play football. His stature and agility made him one of the most terrifying players to defend as he was a threat in both short and long passes. Both his and Lynch’s dominance will surely be missed this season.


by Yoel Selassie

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