Luck relies heavily on Fleener in debut

The Indianapolis Colts spent their first two picks in the draft on college teammates in hopes that it would ease their transition to the NFL. And so far, it seems to have worked. Andrew Luck was shaky in his debut, but he definitely looked comfortable working with Coby Fleener.

While Reggie Wayne was understandably Luck’s go-to receiver, he also targeted Fleener 10 times on Sunday. The two connected on six of those plays for 82 yards.

There’s obviously still a lot of work to be done in Indy, but it’s encouraging to see Luck and Fleener developing a connection early in their NFL careers.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Colts, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Stephen Hill has strong debut for Jets

New York Jets 2nd-round pick Stephen Hill turned in a strong debut, catching five passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets win over the Bills.

Hill made an immediate impact for the Jets

He’s first Jets rookie with two touchdown receptions in a game since Keyshawn Johnson in 1996.

Even in this performance it was clear that Hill is still developing as a receiver, but it was also clear that his speed and athleticism makes him an immediate threat.

Hill caught five of the six balls thrown his direction, and that type of consistently should only lead to a larger role in the Jets offense as the season progresses.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Jets, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Brandon Weeden flops in debut

You couldn’t have scripted a worse debut for Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.

It was a long day for Weeden against the Eagles

They day started with Weeden getting caught under the American flag during pregame ceremonies. He then proceeded to throw four interceptions en route a 5.1 quarterback rating – the lowest in the NFL since Jeff Garcia posted a 0.0 in 2004.

Weeden also managed to complete more passes to Eagles defensive backs Kurt Coleman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie than Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs and Greg Little combined.

The issue for Weeden was his accuracy. He missed open receivers on a number of occasions, including twice overthrowing wide-open targets in the end zone. It’s clear he has a long way to go before he’s ready to compete at this level.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

David Wilson benched after fumble

New York Giants 1st-round pick David Wilson fumbled on his second career carry midway through the 1st quarter, and was promptly benched. The Giants handed the ball off to Wilson on two of their first five running plays, but Wilson didn’t touch the ball for the remainder of the 1st half.

Wilson struggled with ball security throughout his brief college career, so his fumble comes as no surprise. But it’s definitely a rough start to his pro career.

While the Giants clearly shied away from giving him more carries, Tom Coughlin and his staff don’t have many other options. Ahmad Bradshaw has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, so they need Wilson to share the workload in order to keep Bradshaw fresh.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Giants, Rookie Notes Leave a comment

Morris Claiborne is key to Cowboys defense on Wednesday night

Dallas Cowboys 1st-round pick Morris Claiborne could be the key to their performance against Eli Manning and the Giants on Wednesday night.

Eli Manning will look Claiborne's direction early and often

Last season, the Giants picked on Terrence Newman, completing 12 of 19 passes thrown his direction for 240 yards in their two meetings. This year, Newman is gone, replaced by Claiborne and veteran Brandon Carr.

Given the choice, Manning will likely target the rookie Claiborne, and will hope to have the same success he found when picking on Newman last season. If Claiborne can come up some big plays, the Cowboys may be able to pull off the upset. But if Claiborne can’t improve upon Newman’s performance in 2011, it will likely be another long night for the Dallas defense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Cowboys, Rookie Notes Leave a comment