Giants third-round defensive end Damontre Moore burst onto the scene with a terrific performance in his preseason debut against the Steelers, getting steady pressure on the Pittsburgh quarterbacks, playing superbly against the run and blocking a punt.
But Moore has been a no-show on the Giants' defensive line, in part because a shoulder injury set him back in training camp and also because he's still not completely grasping the defensive system.
With the Giants' pass rush off to a horrific start with just six sacks in seven games, Moore could certainly provide a lift. But he still hasn't broken into the regular rotation; for now, it's Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka.
"We're trying to develop Damontre to enter that role and to be effective in that role for us," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said.
So when will it happen?
"If the light switch comes on," Fewell said. "Damontre is a very talented young man, so when does the light switch come on for a rookie? [Pierre-Paul]'s first year, we brought him along very slowly. When the light switch came on, it was like, 'Wow, where did this guy come from?' "
Pierre-Paul didn't get his first sack until the 11th game of the season, and developed into a Pro Bowl pass rusher by the following season. Now Moore is trying to play catch-up.
"I'd like to be in there, but I'm not sure what's happening," Moore said. "Your guess is as good as mine. I just learn my schemes to the best of my ability and when they call on me, I'll be ready."
Pierre-Paul would like to see Moore take a more active role in learning the defense.
"I think Damontre is going to be a great player. He just has to go that extra mile," Pierre-Paul said. "Come in and get in there and watch film more. Whatever you got to do. At the end of the day, when you're in this league, you have to make a name for yourself and get respect."
Trade deadline chatter
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon continues to be the most widely discussed player on the trade market, although Cleveland has not gone for any offers. The trade deadline is Tuesday.
Also on the market: Redskins tight end Fred Davis . . . Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks has been mentioned in trade rumors, but it would take a big offer for the Giants to deal their former first-round pick . . . All quiet on the Maurice Jones-Drew front, but the Jaguars will listen to a significant offer.
Richardson has been average
The Colts surrendered a first-round pick to the Browns in a trade for running back Trent Richardson last month, but the former Alabama star has hardly impressed in the early going with the Colts.
In his five games since the trade, Richardson has rushed for just 228 yards and two touchdowns, and is averaging only 3.0 yards per carry. That's not nearly up to the expectations of the third overall pick from last year's draft.
In his rookie year with the Browns in 2012, Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 3.6 yards.
Things haven't been much better for the Browns lately, though. After a three-game winning streak following the trade, the Browns have lost two straight and are on their third starting quarterback this season. Jason Campbell gets the nod over Brandon Weeden for Sunday against the unbeaten Chiefs.
Dez vs. Calvin: No contest
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant admittedly got carried away with himself the other day when he suggested on a radio show that he was just as good as Lions All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson. Bryant has certainly shown flashes of greatness, but is nowhere near the consistent threat Johnson presents.
"It's just a pride thing," Bryant said later in the week in clarifying his remarks. "Calvin Johnson set the standard, set that bar high for every wide receiver in the league. I think it's the respect, it's really respect to him that he makes receivers like us go out there."
Bryant gets to show his stuff in front of Johnson when the Cowboys visit the Lions in an important NFC game. Both teams are 4-3.
Schiano is near the end
It's no longer a matter of if Greg Schiano is fired as the Buccaneers head coach. It's a matter of when.
At 0-7 and with little hope of an immediate turnaround, there's simply no way the former Rutgers coach will be with the team next season. It's now a matter of whether the Bucs keep Schiano for the remainder of the season.
Schiano remains optimistic.
"Have I lost the locker room? No. Are they listening? Yes," he said the day after Thursday's 31-13 home loss to the Panthers. "Are we getting everything we need out of them? Well, obviously not, because we're 0-7."
The wheels fell off right from the start, with Schiano butting heads with quarterback Josh Freeman and ultimately parting ways with the former first-round pick. It hasn't helped that the defense has underachieved under former Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan.
In fact, former Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who was traded in the offseason, said he didn't know if the players believed in the coaches' system. After Thursday's 31-13 home loss to the Buccaneers, the only move left is to blow apart the operation and start all over again. And that likely includes general manager Mark Dominik, who hired both Schiano and former head coach Raheem Morris, who was fired after the 2011 season.
The Chiefs are 7-0, but they haven't faced a tough schedule so far. Their opponents are a combined 15-33.
The 49ers have won four straight and have scored 30 or more points in each win. That streak should continue Sunday; they play the 0-7 Jaguars in London.
There have been 30 interception returns for touchdowns this season, the most to this point since 31 in 2003.