NFL Thoughts Week 9: Chicago Bears and Beyond

Ezra Shaw

It's time for our weekly rundown of NFL Thoughts. So check out what we have, and be sure to leave a few of your own in the comment section.

I don't remember an NFL season with so many rookies making such an impact at the midway point. With 5 rookie signal callers playing the majority of snaps for their teams, this draft was shaping up as the draft of the QB. Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck were obviously going to be handed the reigns on their respective teams, but Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill have their teams in the playoff hunt, and Brandon Weeden has taken every snap so far in Cleveland.

But this draft class is more than just the QBs...

There are 3 rookie running backs that should surpass a thousand yards this year, with Tampa's Doug Martin putting up Techmo Bowl type numbers yesterday. There's a handful of rookie receivers that keep showing up on the weekly highlight reel and the defensive rookies are garnering their fair share of publicity too.

And I can't move on from some rookie talk without mentioning the kickers and punters. The 3 rookie kickers are a combined 51-56 on field goals and even the rookie punters are represented well, with 2 in the top 6 in punting average.

My midpoint rookie of the year on offense is Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck, and on defense it's New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones. Let us know which rookies you guys really like so far.

On to my Week 9 Thoughts!

1) Did anyone else think that the Dallas Cowboys should have ran a middle screen when the Falcons were playing their umbrella coverage that last play of the game? A Hail Mary was out of the question, so why not get some blockers in front of their best runner and let them go to work.

2) I mentioned the ridiculous franchise-best game that Doug Martin had earlier (251 yards rushing and 4 TDs), but the Buccaneers are really starting to play some good offensive football behind 24 year old QB Josh Freeman. They're 4-4 and in the thick of the NFC wildcard race, and with both games against the Falcons yet to be played, they may have an outside shot at the division.

3) Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he would have fired Jerry Jones the general manager. He won't of course, nor will he hire an actual GM to oversee his team. His gigantic ego is all that stands in the way of the Cowboys being relevant again.

4) With the Detroit Lions winning, all 4 teams in the NFC North are .500 or better. Best division in football? No doubt that next weeks Lions at Vikings game will have a playoff feel to it, but...

5) ... if Minnesota doesn't get better QB play from Christian Ponder their playoff aspirations will soon dissipate.

6) Not sure if you caught the 60 Minutes profile on Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, but I doubt it came out how he or his representatives thought it would turn out. Who knew a 6'2" adult male would be sensitive about his perceived lack of height. I really really hope this song is played when the Packers visit Soldier Field in December.

7) That was a tough game for the New York Giants to play so soon after Hurricane Sandy, but the show must go on, and I think the NFL made the right call to play the game as scheduled.

8) I'm surprised with how much concern there is over the Chicago Bears offense. The pass protection is a legit worry, but the run game looked damn good and Jay Cutler was smart with the football. In his last 5 games Cutler has 9 TDs to only 2 Ints. I'd like to see him hold the ball more securely when in the pocket, but hopefully as the offense continues to improve, so to will his comfort in the pocket.

9) With a potential Super Bowl showdown coming up on Sunday Night Football, and two candidates for defensive MVP going at it, I wonder if we'll see a video package featuring J.J. Swat vs. The Peanut Punch?

10) If you didn't have a chance to see the Chuck Pagano locker room speech after the Colts game, you need to do so now. #chuckstrong

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