Monday, October 31, 2011

Random Musings from Week 8

The lockout and subsequent new rules regarding practice are making Vegas odds-makers go crazy! Just when you think you've got a team pegged, they go and play the game of their life (ala the StL Rams) or play entirely craptastic for 45 minutes or so (ala the Balt Ravens). Here are a random collection of thoughts from the weekends games.

- What ever happened to the technique of form tackling most of us learned in junior high? I think a team that was just fundamentally sound could win the SuperBowl.

- The other technique that seems to be lost is the basics of playing cornerback. Backpedaling, staying over your feet and balanced, keeping one eye on the receiver and one on the ball, and reacting when the ball is in the air. It seems simple, and yet every week you see guys with bad technique get called for huge pass interference penalties. Terrible!

- Last year's QB draft appears to mimmick the trend of the last 20 years for QBs: about 50% hit and 50% miss. Cam is clearly a hit, Ponder looks like a hit so far (still wonder if he can stay healthy), and Dalton seems like a great bus-driver. Locker hasn't shown much (and I doubt he ever will) and Gabbert is lagging WAY behind his classmates. Total crapshoot! I am hoping to come up with a solid system for next year's draft.

- The Dolphins are the best 0-7 team I've ever seen. Their biggest issue is having an idiot for a head coach. If they want Luck, just keep Sparano. He'll guarantee to wrestle a loss for the jaws of Victory.

- This week proves that you can't take any team lightly. The Ravens, Giants and Saints all looked very lethargic in the first half of their games against lesser opponents, and got it kicked in and had to rally.

- Love the Rams in the throwback Blue and Yellow of LA. Apparently it worked for them too, and the Saints got scared and wet themselves.

- Joe Flacco is maddening. His intermediate accuracy is questionable, and his pocket presence is suspect. But he does rally well, and throws a nice deep ball (especially to Boldin). Glad I'm not a Ravens fan. But then again, I do root for Mark Sanchez (Good Grief!)

- I like Jack Del Rio and think he's getting a raw deal in Jacksonville. He has that defense giving all it's got, but his OC is terrible (only 13 runs by MJD!), and the lack of talent is on his GM. Hope Jack lands with a good organization on his next stop.

- Patrick Peterson is a badass! Looks like Zona has found this generation's Aeneas Williams.

- Let's take a look back at the 06 NFL Draft.
#1 Mario Williams - awesome player but without a position in the Texans new 3-4
#2 Reggie Bush - 2 100 yd games in 5 years. Bust
#3 Vince Young - Backup in Philly. Bust
#4 D'Brickashaw Ferguson - solid bookend for a consistant winner
#5 AJ Hawk - bit player for the Pack. Not worth the fifth pick

Hard to say the Jets actually won a draft, but gotta say that here. Also, 4 first rounders are currently starting for the Jets from that draft (Ferguson, Mangold, Cromartie, Holmes) Not too shabby.

- Leslie Frazier is just not a good coach. The Vikings are better than their record (especially with Ponder at QB) but bone-headed calls by Frazier and company keep costing his team. Hard to believe Vikings fans would miss the bald, nerdy Brad Childress.

- The Eagles are not suddenly good! As with everything in the NFL, it has to do with match-ups. The Eagles are built to beat the Cowboys. Awesome CBs to neutralize Bryant/Austin, fast DEs to speed rush Romo, and super speedy offensive weapons to kill the Dallas defensive plan. Any power rushing team is gonna make the Eagles go back to looking like they did before the bye week.

- While I firmly believe the Dolphins will eventually win a game, I'm not sure the Colts will. Bad QB, bad (but scrappy)Defense, bad Special Teams and really bad coaching from Caldwell is a recipe for Lions-esque disaster.

- What is wrong with the Saints? A D-Line full of fat guys who can't play, LBs who look slow and an offense that is trying to be a mixture of the old Oilers run-and-shoot and a power I run game with an O-Line that is suspect. Not sure at all about this team, and they probably aren't either internally.

- Speaking of teams with flaws, how about the Patriots having the worst defense statistically in the NFL? Bellichek's talent evaluation in the draft since the loss of Pioli and Dimitrioff is finally starting to catch up with the Evil Empire. Just like Holmgren in Seattle, I think good coaches who try to also be a GM just doesn't work, Good organizations have good structure and defined roles for the owner, GM and Head coach. Teamwork on the field and off wins championships!

- Credit Jim Harbaugh for getting his team to 6-1 record, and for finding a way to make Alex Smith not kill you, but when the playoffs come, expect the Niners to be a quick out. The last team to win a SB with a crappy QB was the 2000 Ravens, and while that 49er defense looks strong, it's not quite at that level (yet).

- More railing against terrible coaches, and this one's on Pete Carroll. In-game clock management (terrible), and personel decisions at QB (Whitehurst and Tavaris Really?!!). Those are pretty much the main job requirements for a head coach, and Pete gets an epic fail. Too bad he can't just cheat like he did at USC. HA!

- Can we all agree that Tebow is a great kid, but that he just isn't an NFL QB? An OC with some creativity (like the Panthers OC Chudinsky) could find a good way to use Tebow as a nice weapon and change of pace, and still have a legitimate QB for the normal offense. But apparently no one in Denver fits that description

- It appears as though the Lions, Bills and Bengals are legitimate contenders. Facing adversity and overcoming by squashing lesser opponents is the sign of a good team. Their next step will be winning a big game on the road against a good team. Then I'll be a real believer.

- While I loved the Steelers changing their entire identity to beat a Patriots team that has owned them over the last few years, it makes me question the validity of Pittsburgh as a whole. I'm thinking we will not have a rematch in the SuperBowl in Indy, at least on the AFC side.

- I guess it's a good thing Chris Johnson finally got his payday, because it looks like he sucks now. That contact will haunt that Titans franchise for years to come.

- Kudos to the NFL for telling refs to back off on the Pass Interference calls this week. While we don't need the old Dick "Night Train" Lane days of clotheslining WRs off the line, I want a little contact in my football. And please let someone hit a QB hard without a damn flag coming out at least once! Thank you

For more gold like this, please listen to "The Sports Narrative" podcast coming tomorrow night at this location or on iTunes. Email your comments to and you will get a mention on the show. And please help spread the word! Happy Halloween everyone! Be good and be well!

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