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Mile High Monday: Cam soars, Gase flops and football is back!

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NFL season kicked off on Thursday and really went into high gear on Sunday as most of the Week 1 games were played. With 2020 being such a weird year (for multiple reasons), I wasn’t sure we would get to this point, but we did. It was great to savor the flavor of the NFL season and the games we get to enjoy each week in the NFL.

I like watching football on Sunday as a fan. On Monday and Tuesday, I will go through each game more than once and chart plays. I’m looking for tendencies and it takes a thorough examination to do just that. On Sundays, I get to just watch the games and have fun.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Rookie Watch

The Broncos drafted the best wide receiver in the best wide receiver draft in NFL history when they selected Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. It was a class that was jam-packed with talent, but most talent evaluators felt that Jeudy was the best of the bunch.

On Sunday, there were 10 rookie wide receivers who were drafted in the first three rounds who played in the season opener. There were some talented rookie receivers who were hurt (like 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk) and some (like Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins) didn’t make it into the box score, but most of the top of the class played in Week 1.

The Broncos open up their season on Monday night against the Titans, and there’s a good chance that Jeudy will be the most-productive rookie receiver in Week 1. The Titans are playing without starting cornerback Adoree Jackson, and the Broncos may be playing without starting wide receiver Courtland Sutton. This makes Jeudy potentially the No. 1 target for the Broncos passing game against a defense that is missing one of their top corners.

Jeudy has superstar potential in this league, and he could show off that upside on Monday night. Given the debuts of other rookie wide receivers, Jeudy might have the best Week 1 of the bunch.

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Cam Panther?

The Patriots waited a long time before signing veteran free agent quarterback Cam Newton. For much of the offseason, it seemed like New England was going to roll with Jarrett Stidham as their starter in 2020. The team has huge shoes to fill since Tom Brady moved on in free agency to the Buccaneers. Stidham, a second-year pro, had no experience as a starter, while Newton is a player who has been successful as a starter since coming into the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

The Patriots are the first team in NFL history to replace one MVP quarterback with another former MVP of the league. Newton had a solid debut for his new team, rushing for two touchdowns on the day.

After his first rushing touchdown, Newton did not do his trademark Superman celebration. Instead, Newton paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman by crossing his arms across his chest like the Black Panther when he says, “Wakanda Forever!” The football nerd and the comic book nerd in me loved the gesture.

I thought Newton looked like his old self – both good and bad. Newton used his legs to help seal the victory, but as a passer things were a little rough. He’s not a polished passer and his timing seemed off with wideout Julian Edelman. At times, Newton was off the mark – either too high or behind – but Edelman was able to make most of the catches when he was the intended target.

As we move forward through this regular season, we’ll see how Newton continues to mesh with the talent around him. Edelman is his best receiver, as the Patriots are incredibly thin at the position, and those two should build a better bond with more time to do so. I’m the furthest thing from a fan of the Patriots, but I did enjoy seeing Newton out there on Sunday proving his many doubters wrong.

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First Coach Fired?

The Jets are a dumpster fire. It’s only one week, but things seem to be clear that New York is not good. In fact, they may be the worst team in the league.

Things don’t look good for their head coach Adam Gase. The Jets have a potential franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold, and he has made few strides as a starter over the last couple of years with Gase as his head coach. Not only is Gase potentially ruining a first-round quarterback, but he’s putting the Jets in position to select another quarterback in the 2021 NFL draft. With superstars Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) coming out next year, the Jets will be tempted to select one and go in a different direction – most likely without Gase as their head coach.

So, how long does Gase have as their head coach? By the time the Jets play the Broncos in Week 4, the team may be winless. In Week 2, the Jets face the 49ers. And in Week 3, they play the Colts. Gase has a bone to pick with the Broncos and it may be his last stand as the head coach of the Jets if the team wants to take swift action.

Either way, the Broncos don’t want to lose to a team that looks completely lost on the field. Gase is still living off his reputation as the offensive coordinator for the Broncos back when Peyton Manning was the quarterback. After failing with the Dolphins as their head coach, Gase’s final opportunity to be a head coach is likely his current gig with the Jets. We’ll see if he’s on the hot seat in the first month of the 2020 season.

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Seeing Red (Zone)

As aforementioned, when the Broncos don’t play on Sunday, I get to watch football as a fan. This means that instead of breaking down all-22 film, I just get to watch the TV copy and enjoy the action as it unfolds.

Since the advent of the NFL Red Zone channel, it’s the only thing I watch on Sunday. What is better than eight-plus hours of commercial-free football? Watching Red Zone is almost an addiction of mine. It’s so much fun to stay on top of all of the NFL action on Sunday nearly in real time.

With Scott Hanson as the host, it becomes must-see TV. Hanson is a high-energy personality, and he keeps you engaged through the entire program. The action is so non-stop that Hanson doesn’t even take a bathroom break during the broadcast! Needless to say, Red Zone has changed the way that I watch football on Sunday and I can’t imagine watching football without it (although it’s only on during the regular season).

So, how do you watch football on Sundays? Hit me up on social media and let me know!