Scout NFL Roundtable: Week 2 Biggest Concern

Following the opening weekend of NFL action, we asked our Scout NFL team experts what their biggest concern was for their respective teams heading into Week 2. Find out what they said inside...

Alain Poupart,
Miami Dolphins

Coming off a loss to Washington and watching the Cowboys put 45 points on the board against the Giants, there are a lot of things for the Dolphins to be concerned about heading into their Week 2 battle against Dallas. At the top of the list, though, has to be covering Terrell Owens. He torched the Giants secondary on Sunday night, and that's a scary omen given what Antwaan Randle El did against the Dolphins last weekend.

Tim Yotter,
Minnesota Vikings

With a defense that produced two touchdowns on interception returns and an offense that had one touchdown and set up a field goal in Week 1, you'd think the concerns for the Vikings would be on the offensive side of the ball. There are plenty of issues to work through there as well, but with the Lions as Minnesota's Week 2 opponent, the biggest issue has to be in the secondary. Last year, the Vikings had the NFL's most stifling defense against the run and tied for last in the league against the pass. The Lions bring two very talented starting wide receivers in Roy Williams and rookie Calvin Johnson, along with a two solid complementary receivers, so Minnesota might have to equal its six sacks from Week 1 to keep the Detroit passing attack under wraps.

Denis Savage,
Oakland Raiders

Turnovers. The Raiders fumbled five times and were lucky to lose only one. Quarterback Josh McCown also tossed two interceptions. The three turnovers, which all happened in Oakland territory, led to 17 Detroit points. Winning in the NFL is predicated on ball security as the margin for error is often slim. If Oakland can't keep the ball under wraps it won't be just Week 2 that fans will have to worry about.

Charlie Bernstein,
Jacksonville Jaguars

The biggest concern is certainly one that the Jaguars haven't really had to think about in a few years -- stopping the run. After allowing a franchise record 282 rushing yards against the Tennessee Titans "spread offense," Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith has to still be shaking his head.

The Jaguars entered the season with a myriad of injuries on their defensive line to their starters and to backups who are mainly situational pass-rushers. If Chris Brown can gain nearly 200 yards against Jacksonville, how much can Atlanta's dynamic duo of Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood get? The Jaguars need to get healthy quickly or scheme-up some adjustments to avoid starting the season 0-2 in a year where many jobs are on the line.

John Crist,
Chicago Bears

The Bears entered Week 1 as the favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLII, but it didn't take this team long to be riddled with questions.

Cedric Benson
Charlie Neibergall/AP

Pro-Bowler Mike Brown is once again lost for the year, so is breakout candidate Dusty Dvoracek, and Rex Grossman did very little to quiet his critics against the Chargers.  But all that aside, the Monsters of the Midway are in big trouble if Cedric Benson doesn't get it going on the ground. Thomas Jones, who rushed for better than 1,200 yards each of the last two seasons, was shipped off to the Jets in order to open up the starting spot for Benson. However, the former No. 4-overall draft pick rushed for only 42 yards on 19 carries in the first start of his career, plus he lost a fumble and dropped a swing pass out of the backfield.

Grossman is pretty effective with the play-action pass, but that element of his game will all but disappear if his running game can't be effective.

Nate Caminata,
Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have to be careful not to turn their newfound swagger into overconfidence. The Vikings present different challenges in Week 2, including a superior offensive line to what the Lions faced at Oakland and a better defensive front seven. Because of this, head coach Rod Marinelli has refused to even acknowledge the team's next opponent, telling both the media and the team that it's only about "us."  If the Lions continue to play their game, the sky will be the limit. However, how the team handles success is one potential stumbling block that is both difficult to account and prepare for.

Matthew Postins,
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One would think the biggest concern is running back Cadillac Williams and his bruised ribs. But it's actually cornerback Brian Kelly and his groin injury. 

If Kelly can't play on Sunday, Phillip Buchanon will start in his place. But the bigger problem is the nickel corner position Buchanon will vacate if he slides over to replace Kelly. The candidates are Sammy Davis, who was re-signed on Tuesday, and safety Kalvin Pearson. Both have experience at the position, but it's a vital one in this defense. This corner takes on the slot receiver in nickel packages. Last year the play at the nickel corner position was atrocious, and if Buchanon is forced to move to Kelly's position, there's potential for that again. Plus, the Saints' Drew Brees really exposed that flaw last year at Raymond James Stadium and the Saints are coming to town.

Todd Korth,
Green Bay Packers

Green Bay's offensive line is a big concern. It gave up four sacks on Brett Favre in Green Bay's 16-13 win over the Philadelphia on Sunday and provided little to no running room for rookie running back Brandon Jackson. The Packers will need to run the ball effectively against the New York Giants on Sunday in order to improve to 2-0.

Michael Lombardo,
San Diego Chargers

Shawne Merriman
Denis Poroy/AP

Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell must find a way to free-up Shawne Merriman. After dominating throughout the 2006 regular season, Merriman has now gone six consecutive games without a sack (counting this year's preseason). It is up to Merriman to disrupt Tom Brady's timing; if not, Brady will pick apart a vulnerable Chargers secondary.

The Patriots did a great job against Merriman in last year's playoffs. They frustrated him with chips from tight ends and backs, and they used three-receiver sets to force him to drop into coverage. That strategy worked well when the three receivers were Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney and Troy Brown. Now, with Randy Moss, Donté Stallworth and Wes Welker in the fold, that formation could be deadly. It is up to Merriman & Co. to find a way to counter.

Aaron Wilson,
Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have suffered several injuries, including Jonathan Ogden (hyperextended toe), Ray Lewis (triceps), quarterback Steve McNair (groin), tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained ankle) and return specialist B.J. Sams -- who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Another concern is that the team's play-calling was bad against the Bengals.

Chris Steuber,
Philadelphia Eagles

The obvious concern for the Eagles entering Week 2 against the Redskins is special teams. After a dismal performance by Greg Lewis and J.R. Reed on punt returns in the season opener, the Eagles released Reed this week in favor of former Eagles return specialist Reno Mahe. Mahe, who was a free agent this offseason, wasn't in any team's training camp this summer, so he hasn't seen live action all preseason.  The Eagles have to be concerned about him being rusty. Philadelphia isn't looking for Mahe to break off a big run, they just want him to be consistent catching the ball and to make good decisions.

Ken Palmer,
New York Giants

By far the Giants' biggest concern is whether or not quarterback Eli Manning, who injured his right shoulder in Dallas, will be able to play Sunday against Green Bay. Manning, with 40 consecutive NFL starts, has not missed a start on any level in his football career. While ESPN's report that Manning was going to miss at least a month was totally bogus, it does seem unlikely that he'll be able to go this weekend. If not, Jared Lorenzen, who has only completed one NFL pass, will make his first career start.

Craig Massei,
San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers' biggest concern heading into Sunday's pivotal NFC West clash with St. Louis is rather general and basic, but it's also to the point of the matter: They have to get their act together on offense, and they need to do it quickly.  San Francisco has spent the past three seasons upgrading its offensive personnel with this Year 3 of the Mike Nolan program in mind. But instead of breaking out in their season opener against Arizona, the 49ers simply broke down. They had just 108 yards of total offense in the game's first 57 minutes before somehow assembling an 86-yard drive for the winning touchdown in the closing minutes.

The 49ers need that to carry over to the Rams game, because practically everybody was at fault during the Arizona stinkeroo. The line had trouble opening holes and protecting quarterback Alex Smith, who wasn't sharp himself and had his receiving targets drop seven catchable passes.

Ed Thompson,
Indianapolis Colts

The Colts shut down the Saints' running back tandem of Reggie Bush and Deuce McAlister, but this week they face an impressive Titans rushing attack powered by a monstrous offensive line. By spreading out the Jaguars defense last week, Tennessee sprung running back Chris Brown loose on cutbacks, delays and a few stretch runs for 175 yards and an average of 9.2 yards per carry. Against a fast defense like the Colts, the Titans aren't likely to have as much success with the stretch runs, but Browns' cutback and counter runs -- combined with his explosive acceleration -- could be effective if the Colts overreact to his first move. 


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