New faces, new places marks start of NFL season
Kansas CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith is still winning in red. He's just
doing it for the Chiefs these days.
Mike Wallace is finally happy in Miami, Anquan Boldin is making
everyone happy in San Francisco, and that's just the start of the new
faces in new places making a splash this season.
Wes Welker went from hauling in passes from Tom Brady in New England to
doing the same from Peyton Manning in Denver — how'd he get so lucky?
Steven Jackson's legs are churning in Atlanta, Darrelle Revis is
defending passes in Tampa Bay and Elvis Dumervil is putting heat on
quarterbacks for Baltimore after a bizarre end to his time with the
"I feel amazing," said Dumervil, who actually agreed to a restructured
contract to remain in the AFC West, only for the paper work to arrive
late at the league office. Denver was forced to release Dumervil to
avoid having the $12 million he was set to make this season become
Dumervil still considered staying in Denver, but ultimately signed with
"It's always nice to get a guy in there who can bring new ideas to you
and new ways of doing things and Elvis has certainly done that,"
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "He's latched on with the things
we're doing, and it's been a great mesh."
It's been a happy marriage for a lot of other high-profile players, too.
After Smith was benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick during San
Francisco's NFC championship run last year, he began looking elsewhere
to play this season. The 49ers worked a trade in February to send him
to Kansas City, and now Smith is running the offense for new coach Andy Reid.
He's doing it well, too. Smith has thrown four touchdown passes without
an interception in beating Jacksonville and Dallas, matching the
Chiefs' entire win total from last season.
"From about mid-season last year I was thinking about where my next
opportunity was potentially going to come," Smith said, "and when this
presented itself, I jumped at it."
He wasn't alone in jumping on the Chiefs bandwagon.
Reid climbed aboard after 14 seasons leading the Eagles, and veteran
defensive backs Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson were signed in free
agency. Together, they've helped turn around a franchise that heads to
Philadelphia on Thursday night seeking its second 3-0 start in a decade.
"The one neat thing about the business is everybody has a personality,"
Reid said of his team, more than half of which is new this year.
"That's the way it is in life. So if you're going to get that full
player, they need to express themselves, I think. That's what we do."
Wallace has had no qualms with expressing himself in Miami.
The former Steelers wide receiver was miffed that he caught only one
pass in the opener, but came back to match a career high with nine
catches against the Colts on Sunday. He was acquired to give Miami a
badly needed deep threat, and so far he's helped the Dolphins to a 2-0
"He's a guy that's really intellectual when it comes to football,"
fellow wide receiver Brian Hartline said. "Probably doesn't get a whole
lot of credit for it, but he really understands the game, wants to
learn more about the game and like I said, has a rare skill set."
Sounds like many of the same qualities Boldin has brought to San
The 49ers acquired him from the Ravens for a sixth-round pick, and he's
helped them overcome the loss of Michael Crabtree to a torn Achilles
tendon. Boldin was shut down last week by Seattle, but had 13 catches
for 208 yards and a touchdown in a Week 1 win over the Packers.
"It's my job to catch the ball. And anytime (Kaepernick) throws the
ball my way, I'm going to make sure to catch it," Boldin said. "For me,
it's a business. I come out to do my job."
Wallace and Boldin weren't the only high-profile wide receivers who
found new digs. Welker spent six seasons in New England before signing
with Denver this past offseason.
Strange as it is to see Walker in a new uniform, though, it may be
stranger to see Jackson wearing Falcons threads. The veteran running
back had eight straight 1,000-yard seasons for the Rams, and is now
trying to help Matt Ryan and Co. pursue an elusive Super Bowl.
"He adds an incredible amount of leadership to this football team,"
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said, "and his combination of on and off
the field abilities and passion for this game is right in line with how
we feel we build this football team and have built this football team
the last few years. In our minds we couldn't have a more ideal fit
New Faces In New Places
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