If Daunte Culpepper proved anything in his “comeback” game at Pittsburgh, it's that he is healthy — at least enough to play. We all thought was enough.
Once Culpepper returned, the consensus was he and the Fish would be golden. Super Bowl in Miami. History.
Now that Culpepper's knee is under control, he must get a handle on what has long ailed his game: the mental aspect.
The ghost that haunted Culpepper through much of his career showed itself once again last week. Culpepper threw several horrendous passes — all poor decisions — that led to the loss.
He had two awful fourth-quarter interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by linebacker Joey Porter to seal the game for Pittsburgh. If the Dolphins are going to beat visiting Buffalo this week — or contend in the AFC East — Culpepper is going to have to get control of his mind.
In Minnesota, Culpepper had stretches where he ruined games because of his nasty habit of throwing to the bad guys. After a spectacular 2004 season, Culpepper was miserable last season before suffering the knee injury.
Saban and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey must fix Culpepper quickly. He has a problem. And it’s not the knee.
Watch out Jake
Culpepper isn’t the only quarterback who struggled in the season opener. In Denver, where there are Super Bowl hopes, Jake Plummer put himself on the hot seat. The Snake committed four turnovers — throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble — in an 18-10 loss at St. Louis last week.
Now, the Rocky Mountain chatter is revolving around when Jay Cutler will replace Plummer at the helm. It used to be ‘if’ Cutler would take over for Plummer this year. Now, it’s ‘when.’
And the talk may not be all that insane. Both Denver coach Mike Shanahan and Plummer himself acknowledged the talk-radio fodder will be about Cutler taking over for Plummer. Of course, it’s not going to happen — this week.
But if Plummer costs Denver another game or two early, Cutler may get the nod. Denver believes it’s a Super Bowl team, and Shanahan isn’t afraid of taking risks. This is a guy who went for it on fourth down on his own 30 during the fourth quarter of last week's game.
Bush for president
One game into it and yeah, it seems like Houston blew it. Reggie Bush was as advertised. Times three. While Mario Williams and the Texans were losing at home to the Eagles, Bush was revitalizing his franchise in Cleveland.
The Saints, in shambles as much as the Texans were on draft day, are now 1-0 thanks in large part to Bush. The Heisman Trophy winning video game entered the NFL doing what he did for USC — making plays all over the field.
He gained yards as a running back, as a receiver and as a return man. Next thing you know, this guy will be playing piano at Pat O’Briens. The Saints need Bush to be special. For his first game, he was.
It’s early, but Bush showed his style can work in the NFL. Expect it all season long.
Giants has big trouble brewing
Now, that the Manning Bowl is over, the New York Giants need get over the hype and realize their season could soon be in jeopardy. Yes, if the Giants don’t start winning soon, Eli Manning won’t have to worry about seeking revenge on big brother Peyton in February.
Overreacting? Just one loss? Have you peaked at New York’s schedule?
This week, the Giants go to Philadelphia. And in week 3, they head across the country to Seattle. Yeah, yikes.
This team can be 0-3 before it blinks. The Eagles, who looked good in Houston, always show up to play in New York. And Seattle is tough for anyone to beat at home.
Because New York has a bye in Week 4, it won’t play another home game until Oct. 8 when it hosts Washington. If the Giants enter the Meadowlands 0-3, the season is over.
And it’s barely started.
CSN: Brian Urlacher, who played 13 seasons for the Bears, announced his retirement from football Wenesday on his personal twitter account.
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