NFL First Quarter Report Card: Who’s Hot And Who’s Not

Today we take our fandom to the streets and evaluate the performance of the good and the bad around the NFL. There are players who have been stellar, and there are players who have underperformed. Here we take a look at both sides of the coin. In a league where fans want to see their teams getting the most for their money, you have to wonder how some guys go unappreciated while others get passes. Today we take an in-depth look at who is hot and who is not in the league.

Who’s Hot

1. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) – Matty Ice this season has been just as prolific as any quarterback in the league. Ryan has been firing on all cylinders and is quickly becoming a household name. Every week this season the Falcons have been impressive on offense. Ryan has plenty of weapons, and he uses all of them to their potential. One could argue that it would be hard not to look good throwing to Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, and they would be right, but we have seen plenty of situations where a gunslinger has plenty of weapons but keeps misfiring. That is not the case in Atlanta.

2. Torrey Smith (Baltimore Ravens) – In my annual 20 guarantees, I stated that Torrey would be the breakout wide receiver this year in the NFL, and so far he hasn’t disappointed. Smith had to endure a loss of his brother in a motorcycle accident earlier this week, but you couldn’t tell it in his play on the field. Smith has taken out all of his personal frustration on his opponents by just punishing the competition with big play after big play. Look for more from Smith as the Ravens continue to keep making their run in the AFC.

3. C.J. Spiller (Buffalo Bills) – C.J. has been electric, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry this season. He will eventually slow down, but what he has been doing so far this season is reminding us of how unstoppable he was at Clemson. It’s good to see Spiller doing some good and finally living up to the hype. Maybe the Bills can get similar production on defense from Mario Williams as well.

4. Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings) – Has there been anyone better than Ponder in his sophomore season in the NFL? Ponder is making plays and has posted a 104 passer rating while throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. He also has the Vikings leading the NFC North division. If you would have asked which quarterback in his second year would be having the biggest impact in the league at this point in the season, it is highly unlikely that Ponder’s name would have been uttered from your mouth.

5. Navarro Bowman (San Francisco 49ers) – Bowman is another great one in the line of All-Pro linebackers from Penn State. Bowman leads the NFL in tackles, and when you watch the 49ers play, he is all over the field. He is often overshadowed by the other superstars on his team, but make no mistake about it, no one is playing better than Bowman is at this point in the season.

Who’s Not Hot

1. Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears) – Cutler has more weapons at his disposal than any quarterback in the league, but he has really seemed to struggle without the services of Matt Forte. I was one of the people who thought this would be Cutler's coming out party, but I guess he will forever be remembered as the guy who hasn’t won anything since middle school.

2. Shonn Greene (New York Jets) – Shonn has been less than stellar this season averaging slightly better than 2.5 yards per carry. Greene hasn’t shown the ability to make people miss, and breaking tackles has been a challenge for the big back. If he’s not going to make people miss, and he’s not going to run people over, it may be time for the Jets to take a serious look at someone else in the backfield.

3. Randy Moss (San Francisco 49ers) – You have to wonder why Moss even came out of retirement. He doesn’t even run dummy routes in San Francisco. Moss has played very sparingly, and he doesn’t have many targets either. Through four games he has eight catches, and they aren’t typical Randy Moss type catches either. The 49ers are a balanced team, and maybe when teams start looking for run, Moss can get it going downfield.

4. Tim Tebow (New York Jets) – Tebow had all the hype leading into the regular season. The Jets were on ESPN every morning as Tebow ran shirtless, and fans and media sang his praises. Well he has been the most overblown player in the league so far this season, and his stats are pretty hard to find. Maybe he gets a chance at quarterback if Sanchez continues to struggle. Until then he is the most overhyped personal punt protector in the history of the game.

5. Mario Williams (Buffalo Bills) – Mario came to the Bills, and everyone thought he was the missing piece. Well it turns out that Mario is just missing. Coming off the injury last season, the Bills weren’t sure what they were getting but they figured it would be better than what they are getting. You can’t be the highest paid player on the field and playing like Williams has been playing and expect people not to take notice. Williams better step it up or people are going to start asking for some money back.

There you have it. There are some players who could have easily made the list, but these were the most evident on both sides. Give us your thoughts in the comments sections.

Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!

11 Replies to “NFL First Quarter Report Card: Who’s Hot And Who’s Not”

  1. First and foremost, big props to both Joe and Navorro Bowman. The man is a beast. I watched his every play at Penn State and knew he'd be a good player in the NFL. Maybe not this good, but real good, and I was stunned he fell to the third round. Now people are seeing what many Penn State fans saw.

    Second, holy hell who saw this from Ponder? Certainly not me.

    As for the bums thus far ... you hit the nail on the head. Though I'm a little surprised you didn't include Chris Johnson, his beastly performance yesterday notwithstanding.

    1. I almost added him. He would have been number 6. His performance yesterday bailed him out. He and Vick were both on the fence and both found their way to a passing grade with yesterdays performance. Vick needed to eliminate the turnovers and Johnson needed to improve his YPC.

      Honestly it was hard to evaluate Johnson because he didn't have enough carries. You have to wonder if Tennessee and Philadelphia both figured out that they needed to run the ball this week and set their best players free.

    1. Its gonna be hard for Rex not to give him a chance now. I bet he starts getting reps now. Hope he does because I have Shonn Greene and right now he is a fantasy liability.

        1. Y'all let me know if #15 can play defensive end or tackle. The talk about the Jets' offense overshadows how San Francisco's offensive line knocked the snot out of the Jets' front seven. Repeatedly.

  2. Props for giving my man Bowman some love. The best thing the 9ers did was put him next to Willis last year.
    I'm happy to see Spiller ball also. In Matt Ryan is making me eat my words so far.
    The Jets as a team are a joke, not very talented from top to bottom. Tebow helps them stay relivant in the media's eyes smh.
    In is Mario pulling a Chris Johnson? I heard they have him on milk carton's in NY. lol

    1. Man it's good to see guys who don't get a lot of press ball out. I usually try to stay on top of that when I can. A lot of times people don't care but the real fans know what time it is. That's what makes sites like this one great.

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