(Editor’s note: A new NFL season is upon us. We don’t know anything, at this point, but that won’t stop us from hurling unapologetically strong opinions with premature authority. “Cover 3” is TSL’s weekly post-Sunday NFL feature. It’s a simple concept. Three writers, three questions. Let’s get it.)
QUESTION 1: Terrelle Pryor almost outdueled Andrew Luck — 217 yards in the air, 112 on the ground. Not that he’s the second coming of Randall Cunningham, but what’s a realistic ceiling for a kid that, not too long ago, appeared to be a career backup?
GAMBLE: To NFL bandwagon bandits and media groupies , sure T Pryor was going to be a bust, but this Shadow League all-star’s been singing Pryor’s praises since he was on his jersey hustle and getting it in Ohio. Today’s NFL is built for QBs with cannons and elusiveness. Pryor’s perfect for the Raiders, who FINALLY did something right!
BOADU: Terrelle Pryor will be as good as he wants to be. For a kid that’s been blue chip everything since he spin-moved out the womb, it seems as though the past three years have humbled him. It’s simple for TP: be the first one in the building and the last one out and he’ll reap the benefits for his hard work.
SCOTT: This is Al Davis’ final impression on the NFL. Pryor turned heads with that Sunday performance. It’s still way too early to say what his ceiling is, but that “career backup” tag came from the antagonistic NCAA teaming with NFL heads to convince people the kid wasn’t about anything. So about that …
QUESTION 2: Why is everyone so high on Cincinnati? Yes, it’s just Week 1, but is this the squad that’s going to let us all down this season?
GAMBLE: Beats me (like Mayweather will Canelo). The Bengals are a nice little squad and Marvin Lewis is the Teflon Don of coaches, but if you think 9-7 is making noise, you have to be a thirsty Cleveland Browns fan or working overtime for the city.
BOADU: Define "let down." The Bengals have made the playoffs the past two years. Position for position they are the deepest team in the NFL. We can’t let the Bengals’ horrid past influence our perception of them now. The Steelers are old. The Ravens are rebuilding. The AFC North is ready for the Bengals to flourish
SCOTT: Young guns. The Andy Dalton/AJ Green duo is in its third season after back-to-back first round playoff losses to the Texans. If they don’t have a breakthrough year now, then when? And the AFC is weaker than it’s been in a while. Y’all checked for the always-reliable Steelers and Ravens? Serviceable can get you a long way this season.
QUESTION 3: If you’re Larry Fitzgerald (8 catches, 2 TDs), are you coppin' Carson Palmer the Johnnie Walker Blue Label?
GAMBLE: Not at all, because Larry can get those numbers with Jasmine Plummer tossing him the rock. Carson Palmer should be buying the rounds. The Blue Label needs to go to Colin Kaepernick for putting Anquan Boldin in a situation to once again show that, when healthy, he can fetch it with anybody.
BOADU: Yeah, Fitz needs to grab the Johnnie Walker for Carson. But Carson needs go on ahead and give Larry about half of his $6 million signing bonus. He also needs to kiss Bruce Arians’ forehead for helping him Irish exit the NFL’s infernal regions.
SCOTT: Carson just might be the one to finally get Fitz over Kurt Warner. A year ago, Fitz was comparing Warner to an old girlfriend that he was trying not to think about. Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb and John Skelton were the definition of “rebound” relationships. Now, Larry Fitzgerald is T-Pain and Carson Palmer is the bartender.