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Sometimes, you don’t realize how great an NFL player is until you study his game film.
Back when I was working with the New England Patriots, I was tasked with advance scouting the upcoming opponents. Basically, I would dig through film and hand in scouting reports Saturday so if Tom Brady or members of the coaching staff wanted to start studying the next opponent after the game Sunday, they could.
I’ll never forget watching tape of the Seattle Seahawks defense in 2012—a week before we played Peyton Manning‘s Denver Broncos—and realizing Seattle was the bigger threat. Guys like Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman weren’t household names yet, and I didn’t realize just how special they were until I watched the film.
This is precisely why I try to put lesser-known players on my All-Week teams as often as possible. When well-known guys like Calais Campbell get four sacks in a game, I can’t help but put him on my list. However, I like to draw attention to the upcoming stars you may not yet recognize. Maybe it’s the scout in me that never left, but I feel a responsibility to go past the stats and the star names and show you the things I see on film you might otherwise miss.
As we navigate the 2017 NFL season, my All-Week teams will vary greatly. I’m going to pick my 11 best offensive and 11 best defensive players regardless of position, statistical prowess or profile. This week, for example, you’re going to find plenty of Kansas City Chiefs on the team. Complain if you want for favoring Kansas City, but the reality is that the Chiefs put together some of the best game film of the week.
Who else put together tremendous performances in Week 1? Let’s break it down.