It is never really too early to panic in the NFL. That is what happens when you play a 16-game schedule. If results aren't quite what fans and media expected after Week 2 the knives come out.
Such is life for both the New Orleans Saints, who lost their first two games, and the New England Patriots, who didn't. But falling at home to the Arizona Cardinals is a pretty good way for folks in New England, unaccustomed to such sights, to lose their minds. And the Saints, in so much turmoil after the NFL's bounty investigation and punishments, lost to both the Redskins and Panthers -- neither of whom was seen anywhere near the postseason in 2011.
Such panic seems over the top regarding the Patriots (1-1), even if they do have a tough road game looming at Baltimore. But there have been some issues so far, including an offensive line that got bulldozed by Arizona's front seven. And critics from NFL Network's Michael Irvin to NBC's Tony Dungy didn't like how conservative New England's offense became after recovering a critical late fumble. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed the ensuing field goal attempt.
"They had a first down, 46 seconds left, and they settle for a 42-yard field goal," NBC analyst Rodney Harrison said. "That's why you pay Tom Brady $18, $20 million a year."
Meanwhile, New Orleans is off to a rough start and doesn't exactly have an easy schedule upcoming with games at Green Bay and at Denver in the coming weeks, a home game against undefeated San Diego, the rest of the NFC East still to face, another home game against San Francisco and two still vs. Atlanta. The Saints have allowed 75 points in two games.
"I think we're seeing how valuable coaching is in the NFL," Dungy said.
Then again New Orleans has also scored 57 points so it's not as if the offense is struggling. But it makes this Sunday's home game against 0-2 Kansas City a virtual must win -- far earlier than expected for a team that's made the playoffs three years in a row and won a Super Bowl.
- Brian McNally