Lolley: Things can change quickly

It was just one week, but my how things have changed around the NFL – particularly the AFC.

It was just one week, but my how things have changed around the NFL – particularly the AFC.

San Diego? Loser at home to an average Carolina team.

Indianapoils? Loser at home to a below-average Bears club.

Jacksonville? Loser on the road at Tennessee.

New England? Won, but lost All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady.

Cleveland? Got smoked at home by Dallas.

The NFL is the ultimate parity league to be sure, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have to be very happy to have not only gone out and picked up a win in Week 1, but to also have played as well as they did.

It also goes to show that the strength of schedule that everyone wanted to talk about during the offseason means absolutely nothing.

© After picking up a sack, interception and fumble recovery in his first career start, LaMarr Woodley obviously doesn't pay attention to the credo to always leave them wanting more.

In fact, one has to wonder what Woodley can do in coming weeks to top his debut.

A touchdown, perhaps?

After seeing Woodley's performance against the Texans, you have to wonder why he didn't see more action in 2007 when Clark Haggans was slogging his way through one of the least productive seasons an outside linebacker has had in the Steelers' 3-4 defense.

Then again, Woodley admitted that there was no way he could have made the interception he made Sunday last season. His head was still swimming as he tried to learn how to play linebacker.

© The tandem of Woodley and James Harrison is going to put up 25 sacks this season. They're that good.

© Willie Parker unleashed a series of spin moves Sunday that he really hadn't shown a lot of previously.

As Parker later explained, he wanted to add a little something more to his bag of tricks to make guys miss. It worked well and Parker picked up more yards after contact against Houston by spinning off would-be tacklers.

© Which brings me to the offensive line.

The run-blocking was very good against the Texans. The pass blocking, for the most part, was pretty good as well.

But the Texans aren't exactly the second coming of the 1985 Chicago Bears, no matter how much many in the media tried to make them out to be.

Houston had just 31 sacks last season, 14 of which came from defensive end Mario Williams.

Williams is as good as advertised. He gave left tackle Marvel Smith everything he could handle.

But the Texans' line – including Williams – were getting driven off the ball consistently.

Cleveland will provide a better test next week, but the Browns' secondary may be worse than Houston's was.

© One of the more overlooked aspects of Sunday's game was how well the special teams coverage units played.

Andre Davis, one of the most dangerous return men in the league, averaged just 18.7 yards per kickoff return.

Jacoby Jones had just five yards on his two punt returns despite some so-so kicking by Mitch Berger.

That's outstanding coverage by a much-maligned unit.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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