Five things to watch: NFL Week 3

Five things I’ll be looking at in the third week of the 2017 NFL season:

1. Belichick vs. a rookie quarterback

The New England Patriots figure to have an easy one against Houston, but one thing to watch will be how rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson fares against Bill Belichick, who is 16-5 against rookie passers and 8-0 at Foxboro.

The five rookie quarterbacks to beat the Patriots were Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson and three surprising players – Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez and Colt McCoy. The odds are against Watson adding his name to that list.

But can Watson at least be competitive against the Patriots?

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Cheapskate Brown family has the Bengals at a crossroads

I still remember the time I was waiting for an airport shuttle bus at a hotel outside Chicago a couple of decades ago after the NFL owners had just concluded a meeting.

The only other two people waiting were Paul Brown and his son, Mike Brown.

It was unusual to see NFL owners waiting for a shuttle bus since they usually travel by limo.

Paul Brown, though, said that wasn’t their style.

“We’re not limo people,’’ he said.

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Looks like union will remain a paper tiger against NFL owners

The NFL owners apparently can’t wait to get DeMaurice Smith back to the negotiating table.

After the players’ selection committee voted to extend Smith’s contract as the NFLPA head, league spokesman Joe Lockhart congratulated Smith (pictured) in a conference call and then talked about the 2011 negotiations.

“I think we had productive negotiations with him in 2011,’’ Lockhart said. “We believe strongly that it has worked for both parties, for owners and players.’’

Can you imagine a Major League Baseball spokesman ever making a comment like that about a deal that Marvin Miller negotiated for the baseball players?

The deal has worked out great for the football owners. The players? Not so much.

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Seahawks’ Sherman ill-informed about value of injury reports

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks is a smart guy with a Stanford education, but he couldn’t have been more wrong when he said this week that the NFL’s injury reports “are for gamblers.’’

They aren’t for the gamblers. They are to prevent gamblers from getting inside information.

Sherman vented on the injury reports after he was listed questionable Sunday because he missed two practices during the week with a hamstring injury. He then played every defensive snap Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, as he’d done for 92 consecutive games after being listed as questionable.

“I guess from what I understand the rules are for gamblers, for Vegas to make sure the odds and everything are what they are supposed to be, which is apparently what the league is concerned about when talking about injuries and things like that,” Sherman said, according to the Seattle Times. “So maybe someone should look into that, because I thought we weren’t a gambling league or were against all of those things. But our injury report is specifically to make sure the gamblers get their odds right.”

Sherman also was listed as questionable the first weekt week after being listed as questionable in Week 1 because of a thigh injury.

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Taking a look back at the NFL’s Week 2

Five observations on the second weekend of the 2017 NFL season:

1. The New England Patriots are still the New England Patriots. As expected, the loss in the opener to the Kansas City Chiefs was just a blip on their radar screen. They bounced back by thrashing the New Orleans Saints, 36-20.

The opening-game loss prompted the Boston Herald to question whether the end is near for the Patriots. Granted, Tom Brady can’t play forever, but the end doesn’t appear to be near.

The Patriots appear a lock to win the AFC East (again) and make the playoffs (again). And the Patriots showed they’re still the Patriots when they benched Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler.

Butler still played 75 percent of the snaps, but they seemed to be sending him a message that what he did in the past doesn’t count for anything in 2017. “It’s all about this year,’’ said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

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