Jaire Alexander – CB, Green Bay Packers
Opponent: Minnesota Vikings
Stats: 3 total tackles (2 solo), 2 pass break ups
Reaction: Us Louisville fans have known for quite some time that Jaire Alexander was the real deal (I knew it during his post-play celebration against Wake Forest in 2016). But now, NFL fans across the league are finding out that Alexander may be the NFL’s next big cornerback.
Against the Vikings, Alexander was incredible going one-on-one with one of the best route runners in the NFL in Stefon Diggs as well as occasionally on Adam Thielen. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins targeted his number one receiver in Diggs on seven different occasions, completing just ONE pass.
It’s still a work in progress, but there’s no denying that Alexander is on the come up.
Joshua Bellamy – WR/ST Specialist, New York Jets
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
Stats: 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards,
Reaction: Former Cardinal Joshua Bellamy can be a dangerous weapon when playing in a stable of healthy, dynamic receivers. However, against the Browns without multiple star players, including QB Sam Darnold, Bellamy was rendered pretty much useless.
Teddy Bridgewater – QB, New Orleans Saints
Opponent: Los Angeles Rams
Stats: 17/30, 165 yards, 0 touchdowns
Reaction: There was a reason that former Louisville football star Teddy Bridgewater turned down nearly five million dollars from the Miami Dolphins this offseason as well as a chance at a starting job in order to return to New Orleans for the second straight season.
The opportunity to shine in the Saints offense playing for a coach who loved him was too much to pass up for Bridgewater, as well as the opportunity to show the rest of the league he can still be a starting quarterback in the league.
Against the Rams, Bridgewater’s decision looked like the right move when Brees, unfortunately, went down with a hand injury, leaving Bridgewater to take over the role as the team’s QB against the Los Angeles Rams.
Bridgewater struggled to get much of anything going through the air, as the Saints fell further behind to the Rams. Issues running the ball, and pass protecting forced Bridgewater into shorter plays, while dealing with further distances to keep drives alive.
At the end it may have looked like Bridgewater struggled, going just 17/30 for 165 yards, but consider that the team rushed for just 57 yards and allowed the veteran QB to be sacked twice.
Sean Payton, New Orleans’ head coach feels comfortable with Teddy at the helm despite the big loss on Sunday. He said:
"“Look, he’s a pro. He knows how to win. He knows how to win in this league. I felt real confident in Teddy — and do feel confident. … Listen, if you’re not playing well up front, I don’t care if it’s your Hall of Fame guy or your No. 3 guy. It’s gonna be difficult.”"
With a full week to prepare as a starter, taking practice reps daily with the starting players rather than backups, expect a much better showing from Bridgewater this weekend.
Six weeks of Bridgewater for the Saints is exactly the audition that he needs in order to become a starting QB again in the NFL.
Preston Brown, LB, Cincinnati Bengals
Opponent: San Francisco 49ers
Stats: 14 total tackles (4 solo)
Reaction: Per usual, Preston Brown was a tackling machine against the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, the Bengals got beat down on their home field and are now 0-2.
Brandon Dunn – DT, Houston Texans
Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
Stats: 3 total tackles
Reaction: Brandon Dunn subbed in at defensive tackle for the Texans in their win against the Jaguars and recorded three tackles. He’s been a great reserve and respectable starter for them over the last few seasons.
Lamar Jackson – QB, Baltimore Ravens
Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
Stats: 24/37, 272 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 16 carries, 120 rushing yards
Can we officially launch the MVP campaign? No, seriously…
Through two games Lamar Jackson has destroyed several more NFL and Baltimore Ravens records, including becoming the first NFL quarterback to throw for 250 yards and run for another 120, and already looks to be the favorite for the most improved player in the league.
Jackson thus far has a passer rating of 145.2 (1st in the NFL), a completion rate of 71.9 (5th in the NFL), seven touchdowns (tied for first in the NFL), and has 596 passing yards (10th in the NFL) and another 126 rushing yards (1st for QBs in the NFL).
Needless to say, the 2-0 Ravens made the right decisions this summer when it came to revamping the offense and building around the quarterback talent of Lamar Jackson.
Against the Cardinals, Jackson continued to show incredible improvement as a passer. He made mincemeat of the defense when it came to targeting Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and his tight ends, and with his ability to throw the football on display it allowed him to use his legs as an even more dangerous weapon.
It was going to be hard to top the performance from week one, which Jackson was awarded the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for, but what he did against Arizona was probably even better. Now it’s the reason we can start to mention Jackson as a potential dark horse MVP Candidate (I can’t believe I just wrote that).
Played but did not record a stat:
Reggie Bonnafon – RB/ST Specialist, Carolina Panthers
James Burgess – LB, New York Jets
Jamon Brown – OG, Atlanta Falcons
Geron Christian -OT, Washington Redskins
Josh Harvey-Clemons – LB, Washington Redskins
Colin Holba – LS, San Francisco 49ers
John Miller – OG, Cincinnati Bengals
DeVante Parker – WR, Miami Dolphins
Did not play:
Bilal Powell – RB, New York Jets (Inactive)
Sheldon Rankins – DT, New Orleans Saints (Recovering from torn Achilles)