1 â€“ Maintaining excellence in the NFL is a brutally difficult business. Ask Sean Payton and Drew Brees. A year ago their Saints team rode the crest of an emotional wave all the way to the NFC Championship, and looked as if it was building something good in the Big Easy. But three weeks into the season the Saints are winless and will be grateful for a bye week that at the very least will help them avoid another notch in the loss column. The defence is weak, while the offensive line is going to get Drew Brees killed if it doesnâ€™t get its act together soon. Now Deuce is gone too. The Saintsâ€™ plight throws more glory on teams like the Pats and the Colts who sustain excellence year in and year out. 2 â€“ Kev Cadle, the larger than life (and larger than a house) character who presents NFL in the UK has a favourite phrase: Coachingâ€™s important. â€śYou have to have talent, but coachingâ€™s importantâ€ť he said during the Chargers loss to the Pats in week two. With every week that passes Chargers fans must wonder why this simple rule seemed lost on GM AJ Smith who carelessly managed to lose his three senior coaches in the off-season. Thereâ€™s no lack of talent on the Chargers, but at the moment it is lacking direction, and unless Norv Turner and his greenhorn staff find it soon, a season of profound disappointment looms large. 3 â€“ Hereâ€™s another reason why 16-0 is difficult. For about a quarter and a half on Sunday, the Patriots took their eye off the ball against the patently mismatched Bills, as a result of which they found themselves facing their first scoreboard deficit of the young season. Against a better team the deficit could have been bigger and the task of hauling themselves back into the game exponentially more difficult. To win 16 games you need to be right at the top of your game for a minimum of 48 quarters, and probably as many as 56. Thatâ€™s demanding in this league. Itâ€™s ridiculous in fact. Seriously, is there anything else? 4 â€“ Greatness is not achieved over a handful of seasons, it is painstakingly assembled over a dozen years, and requires a constant evolution by the individual concerned. So hats off to Brett Favre who is showing this season that thereâ€™s more than one way to skin a cat, leaving the gun-slinging of his glorious early years behind in favour a conservatism better suited to his team and his declining physical abilities. In a weak conference, the Pack are contenders. 5 â€“ The NFL is right to give quarterbacks as much protection as it can without undermining the reality that football is a brutal game played by big, tough men. As JP Losmanâ€™s injury showed, the passer is in a uniquely vulnerable position when he has his front leg planted and acting as pivot for his throwing action. Vince Wilfork hit him neither hard nor maliciously but the potential consequences could have been even more serious and Losman can probably count himself lucky that heâ€™s got away with a sprain rather than a Carson Palmer type injury. 6 â€“ While on the subject of player safety, it might also be worth having a look at the way players throw themselves into tackles that have effectively already finished when the ball carrier is either on the ground or as near as dammit. There are multiple instances of this on view in every game, every week, where the last defenderâ€™s action has no material impact on the play but could end up having serious consequences for others involved, usually guys on his own team. I wince every time I see this happen, and while I appreciate a rule change here would be difficult, it is worth examining. Football is a dangerous enough sport without recklessness of this kind. 7 â€“ Roger Goodell is in serious danger of becoming a camp parody of himself. The latest directive to teams regarding cheerleaders distracting visiting teams during the warm-up is a serious danger sign. It tells me that this is a man who wants to micro-manage every last aspect of the game, and believes he can control everything and everybody. Get over yourself, Roger. This practice is either utterly harmless or total nonsense, I canâ€™t decide which, and it doesn't matter. There must be more important things to focus on. 8 â€“ Iâ€™ve seen some strange things on a sports field in my team â€“ rugby teams wearing pink, some wearing bow ties, soccer teams having to change out of grey uniforms at half time because the players couldnâ€™t see one another property â€“ but the Eagles psychedelic haze of a throwback uniform takes the prize for the worst kit ever seen on a sports field. I love teams wearing the throwback gear from time to time â€“ the 49ers looked great on opening day â€“ but please, that proud franchise must have something better to offer from its history than that. 9 â€“ Is Brady-to-Moss not one of the greatest things youâ€™ve ever seen on a football field? 10 â€“ A word of praise for a Manning. I know, I know, but bear with me. Eli of that line has had to put up with a lot of crap since he joined the Giants, and a lot of that falls squarely on his own shoulders. A lot of it â€“ having to put up with the NY media, fans, Tiki etc is not. And although he still looks as if heâ€™d prefer to be performing a vasectomy on himself with a rusty spoon rather than playing football, he has strung three decent performances together on the bounce this season on a team that isnâ€™t playing well. Maybe he will make it there.