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QC's Week 4 Thoughts

After whacking Kansas City 36-21, the Bengals assuredly will become the No. 1 team in play design differential after four weeks of play. The Cincinnati offense is averaging over 30 points per game and every week a different player seems to explode. Against the Chiefs, RB Jeremy Hill got back on track, plowing for 3 TDs. It is still early and QB Andy Dalton has shown before that he can go from looking like the best signal-caller in the NFL to one who makes you scratch your head and think, “How did this guy even make the team?” And some regression is inevitable because no team can sustain productivity at this current level. But even so, it is time for teams to start thinking about OC Hue Jackson again as a possible HC. In his only year as HC in 2011, Jackson’s Raiders finished 8-8 and were in the hunt for the divisional crown until the last week of the season. Jackson is a proven play designer. It is time he got a second chance.


Miami’s Joe Philbin is another coach who will be looking for a second chance after Miami fired him in the wake of a loss to the NY Jets in London. Philbin seems like a first-class guy and he was a much needed adult in Miami during the Richie Icognito bullying scandal. But Philbin’s team never showed any signs of improvement before the wheels fell off this year. Some team will quickly scoop up Philbin for its staff and it probably will be the better for it. But, at this time, it is hard to see him getting a second chance any time soon. Meanwhile, Dolphins TE coach Dan Campbell becomes the most recent in-season hire to get a chance to make a run at the best coaching performance by an in-season replacement coach ever: 10-0 and the AFL Championship posted by Wally Lemm after he took over the 1-3-1 Oilers in 1961.


Jacksonville missed a golden chance to establish itself as a playoff contender in a 16-13 OT loss in Indianapolis. Andrew Luck did not play and the Colts were generous to lose the TO battle. The Jaguars were much the better designed and more productive team, but a missed field goal in OT cost them the win. With Luck banged up, a rookie QB in Tennessee, and Houston listing badly without any QB, Jacksonville had a legitimate chance to put itself in position to be a player in the AFC South. Only time will tell if Gus Bradley’s team gets a better opportunity any time soon.


It is hard to imagine a team could be 4-0 with less offensive firepower than Carolina. Through four weeks, the Panthers have generated meaningful productivity against only the hapless New Orleans defense. But the Panthers are +8 TO through 4 games. An NFL team that is +2 TO in a game is virtually unbeatable. But such turnover production is impossible to sustain. As soon as Carolina’s TO differential prowess comes to an end, Ron Rivera’s club will return to earth, probably with a thud. Still, Carolina plays nasty D so nobody had better take Rivera’s team lightly.

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