Almost without realizing it we have passed the halfway point of the season, we have seen many hopefuls rise and fall, stars are born and injuries pile up, this is the competition of permanent change in which nothing remains constant except the Carolina Panthers y Mike McCarthy. Let’s go with the notes of a week that came with three games between giants focusing attention and which, suddenly, a rookie took over.
CJ Stroud. An outstanding score is not enough, his game against Tampa Bay was an undisputed honor. From the first day, the rookie quarterback of the Houston Texans has given the impression of being a star in the making, but Sunday was another level with 470 yards, five touchdown passes, no interceptions and one last drive to win the game absolutely masterful: 75 yards in less than a minute, decisive pass to Tank Dell and home. It is advisable not to rush, but… But! Pre-draft analyzes that discussed his ability to read beyond his first option and improvise outside of structure have quickly become obsolete and Bryce Young, the Carolina QB chosen with the number 1 in the draft, has a very complicated mission for ahead so that the shadow of being selected a position before Stroud does not always haunt him.
Kevin O’Connell y Josh Dobbs, ex aequo. What they are doing Minnesota Vikings It is outstanding. After starting the season 1-4, losing the best receiver in the NFL, Justin Jefferson (injured in week 5), and losing their starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins, for the remainder of the league, anyone would have thrown the ball. towel, but they have won four games in a row and seriously aspire to the playoffs. O’Connell’s work in his second year as head coach is brighter than last year… when they went 13-4. But this Sunday went one step further: without Cousins, rookie Jaren Hall started and was injured in the first quarter. That’s where Dobbs came in, who had been transferred to the team five days before and didn’t know the plays. He lost two balls right out of the gate and that’s where the magic began. Improvising, well guided by O’Connell and picking up concepts on the fly, he led an impossible comeback. Dobbs is an aerospace engineer with the highest possible grade and has the best nickname in the world: The Passtronaut. That head is gold.
Las Vegas Raiders. Franchises too often make the mistake of prolonging unsustainable situations with their coaches until the end of the season, partly to avoid trouble, partly to look good and appear patient, partly to have a scapegoat until January. But prolonging the agony is never the solution. The Raiders fired Josh McDaniels, who once again demonstrated that he is absolutely incapable of leading a group and being liked by more than three people at a time with half a season left, and now they have more time to calmly study the coaching market and gain an advantage over other teams that begin the process within two months. And above all, they will allow their fans to see a team that doesn’t look absolutely miserable every time they put on their helmet. The players’ response? A victory with a message to his former coach: he closes when he leaves.
Dak Prescott. Mike McCarthy, his coach, is not going to improve at this point in his career. It is what it is: that elevator music that neither adds nor subtracts. But the Dallas Cowboys quarterback can give a little more, because he has given it on other occasions. Without going any further, during the first three quarters against the Eagles, in which he kept his team in a give and take with the best team so far in the league, but the last three drives were a disaster, miscalculating where to step in a two-point conversion that would have changed everything and eating absolutely unacceptable sacks in the decisive plays. McCarthy doesn’t help him, but he’s not innocent.