It was a great Week 1, with much ado about nothing so far as the five-yard contact rule is concerned. Penalties on the whole were down one per game from 2003 totals. Additionally, scoring was actually down 3.8 percent from last year's lofty totals. But, as we're all aware, past performance by players and referees alike is not indicative of future performance.
Today we unveil a new set of features this week designed to get you deeper than the initial box score reviews or your favorite highlight show will capture. Each week, I'll exhaust all resources at my disposal to offer you the listing of top receiving targets for each team. Get the news on who has found favor with his QB. Also, with the number of running backs involved in their respective team's passing attacks and the proliferation of platoons and specialist roles, I'll review the running backs with the most touches (carries plus catches) each week.
Three data points jumped off of the page at me during my research.
First, Warrick Dunn, believed to be the greatest benficiary of the newly installed West Coast offense, failed to make a catch for the Falcons. It breaks a consecutive reception streak for Dunn reaching back to 2002. He did make for a nice decoy against the 49ers while T.J. Duckett warmed the bench.
Second, the trio of Ahman Green, Priest Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson combined to register seven catches for minus-9 yards and 1 TD. The reception total was half of their combined weekly average and the yardage total a staggering 120 yards off of last year's pace. Ok, they also rushed for six TDs and averaged over 28 carries each in Week 1.
Let's get after it:
Shouldering the load: Most active RBs (carries+catches)
|Week 1 Touch Leaders|
|1||Ahman Green, GB||35|
|2||Clinton Portis, WAS||33|
|2||Edgerrin James, IND||33|
|4||Curtis Martin, NYJ||32|
|5||Shaun Alexander, SEA||30|
|6||LaDainian Tomlinson, SD||29|
|7||Priest Holmes, KC||28|
|8||Thomas Jones, CHI||27|
|9||Domanick Davis, HOU||26|
|9||William Green, CLE||26|
|9||Travis Henry, BUF||26|
Attention getters: Top intended targets (looks)
|Week 1 Look Leaders|
|1||Keyshawn Johnson, DAL||15|
|2||Todd Heap, BAL||14|
|2||Isaac Bruce, STL||13|
|4||Eddie Kennison, KAN||12|
|4||Brandon Lloyd, SFO||12|
|4||Jimmy Smith, JAC||12|
|7||Antonio Bryant, DAL||11|
|7||Cedrick Wilson, SFO||11|
|7||Michael Clayton, TAM||11|
|7||Chris Chambers, MIA||11|
|7||Terrell Owens, PHI||11|
Trainers's table: Updates on the wounded in action
- The Panthers lost Steve Smith for at least a month with a cracked fibula in Monday's loss to Green Bay. Keary Colbert and Chris Gamble are auditioning for his return job. Read my full analysis on how this affects the offense here .
- Joey Galloway of the Buccaneers will be out 4-6 weeks with a groin tear. Rookie Michael Clayton and the veteran Tim Brown will see more tosses from Brad Johnson in his absence.
- San Francisco 49ers starter Tim Rattay will miss at least one week with a separated shoulder. Ken Dorsey will start in his place. Dorsey doesn't warrant a start, but Cedrick Wilson, Brandon Lloyd and Eric Johnson are solid plays against New Orleans.
- Charles Rogers re-injured the collarbone that sidelined him in 2003 and he will again miss the entire season. Roy Williams and Az Zahir-Hakim step up for Steve Mariucci's offense.
- Vikings tailback Michael Bennett is mending quicker than expected and may be ready for Week 3 against Chicago. Moe Williams is also slowed by injury, leaving Onterrio Smith and rookie Mewelde Moore to shoulder the load against Philadelphia in Week 2.
- Staying in Minnesota, Jim Kleinsasser is out a month with an ACL injury. Jermaine Wiggins will get his reps while the Vikings look for other options. Both Jed Weaver and Byron Chamberlain are two distinct possibilities.
- Justin Fargas of the Raiders is afflicted by turf toe. He's currently day-to-day, but the groundswell of support for him to displace Tyrone Wheatley in the Raiders' backfield will be quelled for the moment.
- Lee Suggs of the Browns continues to recover from a neck stinger and had previously been diagnosed with a condition involving the narrowing of his spinal column. He may sit out the Week 2 matchup against Dallas.
- Reports are that the ankle injury sustained by 100-yard rusher Chris Brown against Miami isn't serious and that he'll play in Week 2 versus Indianapolis.
- Shaun Alexander's knee injury has been downgraded. Initially thought to force the Seahawks' star out of action for two weeks, he's listed as day-to-day. Protect yourself by claiming Maurice Morris and stashing him on your bench.
- Tackle Jonathan Ogden was sorely missed in the Ravens' embarassing loss to the Browns. He's expected to return to action Sunday against Pittsburgh, music to the ears of Jamal Lewis owners.