Five Things to Watch: NFL Week 1

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

1. How will Tom Brady play in the Patriots Thursday night opener against the Chiefs?

At age 40, Brady has shown no signings of slowing down in training camp. And if Brady is still Brady, they are three games – two home playoff games and the Super Bowl – away from a sixth Super Bowl title before they inflate their first football.

With Brady, they are a lock to make the playoffs again since they play in a division with the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. But sometimes aging quarterbacks can just suddenly fall off a cliff. Or decline slowly.

Brady will be under the microscope for any signs of slowing down all season. Oh, and the other thing about the opener is the reception the Patriots fans will give Roger Goodell. How many will wear the clown T-shirt that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia wore getting off the plane after the Super Bowl? What will their signs say?

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QB-less Texans’ continuing mediocrity is entirely their own fault

When the Houston Texans open the season Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it will likely be an emotional scene.

It will be the Texans’ first game since the city of Houston was devastated by the floods from Hurricane Harvey.

The Texans have already dedicated their season to Houston, and star J.J. Watt has done an amazing job of raising millions for the victims.

From a football standpoint, though, there’s another interesting storyline. Both teams have shown how it can take a team years to overcome a mistake at the quarterback position.

And both made a huge mistake in the 2014 draft when they both passed on Derek even though they both needed a quarterback.

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NFL’s arrogant L.A. experiment is already a disaster

The NFL wants Los Angeles more than Los Angeles wants the NFL.

That’s been obvious for years.

When the Rams and Raiders both left after the 1994 season, there was no outcry about losing the team and no interest in building a taxpayer-funded stadium to get one back.

The NFL even awarded Los Angeles an expansion team, but Los Angeles shrugged and the team went to Houston.

The first Super Bowl was played there, and the city was so excited that the Los Angeles Coliseum was half-full.

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Bumbling Browns will at least be interesting with Kizer

When the Cleveland Browns started up again as an expansion team in 1999, their first major move was to draft Tim Couch over Donovan McNabb.

It’s been all downhill ever since for the Browns.

Couch was the first of 26 quarterbacks they’ve had since returning, while having just two winning seasons and one playoff appearance. They’ve gone 24 years without a division title.

The Browns have had more problems than just their inability to find another Otto Graham or Bernie Kosar or even Brian Sipe. They’ve been an organization in constant turmoil featuring a revolving door of coaches and front-office executives.

Three of their last four coaches lasted just two years. The fourth lasted just one year.

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Just give J.J. Watt the NFL’s humanitarian award already

I think we can now close the nominations for the NFL’s annual Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

J.J. Watt is likely to be a lock for the award – won the last three years by Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin – after showing that the power of celebrity can produce positive results.

As you probably know, the Houston Texans’ defensive star started a fund for the victims of the flooding in Houston last week with a modest goal of $200,000.

He quickly reached that goal, got to $500,000 in 24 hours and kept and kept raising the goal. It’s now up to a whopping $14 million and counting at YouCaring.com/JJWatt.

One-fifth of that came from the Titans’ controlling owner, Amy Adams Strunk, who lives in Houston and donated $1 million. And new Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul gave $50,000, but many of the contributions were obviously much smaller. Over 50,000 people have contributed.

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