Things We Know, Or Maybe Don’t

There are things we know, there are things we think we know and there are things we know we don’t know.

For instance, one thing that I think I know is that first sentence makes sense. Sometimes the most interesting results are when the things we think we know end up being incorrect. Heading into the Week 3 KIF matchup between Kapa‘a and Waimea, many of us thought the defending champs would have the edge, having already handily beaten Kaua‘i, which had handily beaten Waimea. But that’s why they play the games, and that’s why all three KIF teams sit at 1-1.

The Menehune held the Warriors’ explosive offense scoreless for almost the entire game, then used a 90-yard kickoff return to the house in the closing minutes for a 14-7 win. Kapa‘a head coach Kelii Morgado’s preseason prediction of a very competitive season appears to be accurate. If not for a slow start in the season opener against Kaua‘i, the Menehune could be sitting in the driver’s seat.

At least, that’s something I think I know.

As far as the NFL goes, we’re just two weeks into the season as MidWeek Kaua‘i goes to press, but some things are becoming abundantly clear.

Things we know: • Robert Griffin III is the real deal. The Washington Redskins rookie quarterback has been terrific so far and already has transformed a downtrodden offense into something of a juggernaut. RG3 has been compared to Panthers stud quarterback Cam Newton. There are some similarities, but Griffin seems light years ahead in terms of leadership and has the poise of a veteran. Though they fell to a much-improved Rams team in Week 2, the Skins will be a tough matchup all season. • The Miami Dolphins won’t go 0-16. Miami easily beat the Oakland Raiders, which was quite a shock. The level of talent across the board for the Dolphins and a troubling preseason made it seem that they’d have difficulty finding a team to beat in 2012. It didn’t take long to kill that notion, with Reggie Bush scampering for 197 total yards and two touchdowns in a 35-13 win. • The league must get the real officials back ASAP. As a rule, I don’t pick on referees … but wow. What were the odds we’d be pleading to get referees back to work? There have been some truly brutal performances by the replacement refs so far. Not only are they getting basic aspects of the game wrong and slowing the tempo to a grinding halt, but most even seem insecure and afraid to voice a decision. Unfortunately, the NFL’s bottom line won’t suffer at all, so the world’s richest league’s sense of urgency in coming to an agreement is nonexistent.

Things we think we know: • The 49ers are the team to beat. It’s been a pair of really impressive performances so far by a team that last year was one or two plays away from a Super Bowl appearance. They’re still not a high-powered offense, but they at least have enough options to make them effective. The fierce defense has contained two of the game’s best offenses — Packers, Lions — to just 41 points. Having dominated Green Bay, San Francisco clearly stands atop the NFC pedestal. • It’s going to be a tough season for the Saints. It used to be a given that New Orleans would have its struggles, but the Saints are no longer the Aints. In recent years, they’ve been one of the most consistent and high-powered teams in the league. But the bounty penalties and being without head coach Sean Payton have taken the focus off football. The Saints were either going to rally around their off-field troubles or fall apart completely. It seems like the latter is more likely. • Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning. After a great opening-week showing in a win over the Steelers, Manning and the Broncos struggled against the Falcons. Denver has a solid defense and Manning gives them a chance every week, but he was already on the decline in his final healthy season with Indianapolis. Manning is still good enough to win games against solid teams, but he’s not good enough to make Denver a title contender with its current talent level.

Things we know we don’t know: • Which New York Giants team will show up each week? As defending champs, the Giants aren’t even one of the league’s favorites to get back to the Super Bowl. The reason is their penchant for inconsistency in the regular season. They laid an egg in Week 1 against the Cowboys, then played three sloppy quarters against the Bucs before another Eli Manning fourth-quarter comeback. All we do know is that no lead is safe against the G-Men. • Are the Patriots still an elite team? New England dominated a Tennessee team that appears to have major struggles ahead before being stunned by an Arizona team that has quietly won nine of its last 11 games dating back to last season. But the Pats losing to anyone in Foxborough indicates trouble. I won’t overreact to one loss, but New England’s calling card has been dominating the non-elite teams. • Are the Eagles lucky, good or both? Philly is the only 2-0 team in the uber-competitive NFC East, but it could just as easily be winless. What can we make of a horrid performance against the seemingly horrid Cleveland Browns and a win against the seemingly elite Baltimore Ravens?

I don’t know. But at least I know that I don’t know.