Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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Mike and Tom finally get around to a candid discussion about the oft-requested and never-implemented DYAR fantasy football league.

01 Oct 2007

Audibles at the Line: Week 4

Compiled by Doug Farrar

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2008. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.

Houston Texans 16 at Atlanta Falcons 26

Vince Verhei: The development of Roddy White continues. A Houston defender held him AND interfered and White still made a great fingertip grab for a big gain. On third down, Joey Harrington hits Jenkins for a touchdown to make it 10-7, Atlanta. Then Jenkins scores again after Houston fumbles the ball away. When he's not getting sacked, JoeyHarrington looks really sharp, and it's odd to think of Atlanta receivers as a mismatch against an opponent's secondary.

Laurent Robinson draws pass interference on Demarcus Faggins in the end zone. Atlanta's wide receivers are dominating this game. Of course, Atlanta turns first-and-goal at the one-yard line into a field goal.

Houston goes for it on fourth-and-2 at the Atlanta 40, but a pass to the fullback loses a yard. This offense is neutered without Andre Johnson.

Atlanta opens the second half with a soft zone, and Matt Schaub rips its vulnerable underbelly apart. In the red zone, a third down blitz forces a short completion and a field goal. 20-13, Falcons. Lawyer Milloy and Lewis Sanders trade shoves after letting a receiver get open in the end zone. Do any of Atlanta's defensive backs get along with anyone?

Roddy White leads Atlanta down the field again, but Warrick Dunn gets called for clipping, then loses yards on a second-and-25 swing pass. Morten Andersen kicks a field goal to make it 23-13 Atlanta.

After years with the Falcons, Schaub knows that good things happen when you throw away from DeAngelo Hall. Andre Davis just burned Lewis Sanders for a big gain on a post pattern.

Aaron Schatz: Sanders, of course, was in Houston the last couple years.

Vince Verhei: Schaub has 235 yards and almost exactly half, 117, are to Davis. They lose their No. 1 receiver and still run a No. 1 receiver offense.

Aaron Schatz: This is because Atlanta has all No. 5 cornerbacks. I picked up Davis in fantasy this week. Great example of why opponent adjustments matter.

Vince Verhei: A Schaub touchdown run is called down at the one-yard line after review. Texans run up the gut for no gain, lose yards on a fumbled pitch, then get their field goal blocked, likely ending the game.

Bill Moore: Yeah, a pitch to Ron Dayne! A running back known for his hands. Good call.

Baltimore Ravens 13 at Cleveland Browns 27

Stuart Fraser: The Browns just ran a nine-play, 45-yard touchdown drive. Against the Ravens, who apparently haven't allowed a touchdown on the opening drive of the game for 15 games until now. They had one play where Lewis was stuffed and one where Anderson overthrew an open receiver in the end zone, but ... I'm in shock at the Browns looking like a legit NFL team.

Ryan Wilson: Leigh Bodden just picked Steve McNair on the Ravens' first drive. And this is after Derek Anderson led a touchdown drive to start the game. Bodden -- that guy just ... gets ... interceptions!

Bill Barnwell: I think you meant, "Just ... gets ... hurt."

Stuart Fraser: On the play after the Bodden interception, the Browns go deep, Braylon Edwards blows past Chris McAllister (who is busy biting on a fake) and Derek Anderson finds him for the score. Browns 14, Ravens 0. Did these teams switch uniforms before coming out of the tunnel?

Matt Stover just honked a 40-something yard field goal attempt wide right from the left hashmark. If anybody else was watching, could they share a theory on how the hell he did it?

I suppose this game is going exactly how I expected, only, you know, the other way. Yamon Figurs fumbles a kickoff return, the Browns recover. The Ravens defense forces a three-and-FG (three-and-three?), which is missed (WTF? Weather conditions in Cleveland don't look that bad), but the Ravens have jumped offside. Five plays later, Lewis is awarded a touchdown on a play where he doesn't break the plane despite extending the ball forwards. Billick is too late with the challenge flag in Nick Saban fashion and it's 24-3. That's, what, three Keep Choppin' Wood awards in the space of nine plays?

So, the Ravens had eight (maybe nine) drives into Cleveland's half and came away with thirteen points. The Ravens never punted. The Ravens also never sacked Derek Anderson. I have seen the Ravens play like this before this year, but previously only in the fourth quarter. Rich Gannon probably has the best line on it, when asked if he was surprised the Browns weren't running more no-huddle. "Maybe they would if the game had been closer, but right now they don't need to."

New York Jets 14 at Buffalo Bills 17

Doug Farrar: Trent Edwards starts with a six-yard out to Lee Evans, which is more than Evans has gained all year. I benched Evans this week just to get him off the schnied. You're welcome, Bills fans. Victor Hobson ends Buffalo's first drive with a sack on a nice little delayed stunt around center ... for the Jets' second sack of the season. Yikes. Only the Saints were worse with zero.

Bill Barnwell: Leon Washington gets flagged for an illegal fair catch signal. I knew he shouldn't have done his football card pose.

Doug Farrar: The Jets are trying all manner of sleight-of-hand early on -- an end-around to Cotchery that was snuffed by defensive tackle Kyle Williams, and an empty backfield shift to single-back draw to Leon Washington that was dumped by John McCargo. Why the trickery? This defense is terrible. On third-and-12, a simple little wide receiver screen to Brad Smith gets 10 yards. With so many defensive starters out for Buffalo, I don't get why the Jets didn't just go after them.

Bill Barnwell: I hate the Jets using a reverse against the Bills front seven. They're undersized and quick. Just run at them! And Evans just had two 15-plus-yard plays. The Jets are giving him a cushion and so he's running underneath it. Vindicated!

Edwards looks uncomfortable so far. He's got happy feet. The Bills really need to just pound Lynch on the interior and isolate Evans against David Barrett. Their offensive game plan doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.

Sean McCormick: Never underestimate David Barrett -- he can get burned by anyone. So far, Trent Edwards has looked good. He hasn't so much as turned his neck once, but when his primary receiver is open, he throws the ball on time. That's more than you can say about J.P. Losman.

Aaron Schatz: I think the Bills have decided that it is better to lose throwing to Lee Evans than lose not throwing to Lee Evans. At least throwing to Lee Evans there is a chance you might actually win the game. I have yet to see Barrett on him, by the way, it's been Darrelle Revis and Andre Dyson.

Bill Barnwell: He's their nickel back. If they get in passing situations, they should be able to get Evans matched up against him in the slot. Just as I wrote that, Barrett was toasted in the slot by Josh Reed for 22 yards. Josh Reed!

Jerricho Cotchery just ran a great 15-yard out and Pennington air-mailed it to him, so Jabari Greer closed from four yards away and swatted it away. That's a pattern he just can't throw reliably. He just laid Cotchery out to dry over the middle, too. He does not look good at all at the moment.

First half is going to be done by 2:15. This has gotta be one of the quickest first halves in recent history.

The Jets just ran the fake spike! Finally they get their revenge! Oh ... maybe not. It actually worked, although it was nearly an interception, and Coles picks up 20 and they get a shot at a figgie with one second left. Unfortunately, Nugent hits the upright and it's nil-nil.

Aaron Schatz: One of the reasons why the Bills shut out the Jets through one half, despite all their injuries on defense, is excellent gap responsibility. There was a Cotchery end-around where Aaron Schobel didn't overpursue and kept Cotchery from turning the corner around him, and they've done well stopping draws up the middle. Every time a new head coach takes over a team, he always talks about how the defense "will be more aggressive," but sometimes it is better for a defense to be LESS aggressive.

The other reason they shut out the Jets is that Nugent honked a 37-yard field goal even though Pennington put them in field goal range by pulling the fake spike play and tossing to Cotchery. And I'm with Sean, not Bill. I think Edwards looks pretty good for a rookie making his first start, despite that launch to a completely covered Lee Evans that was intercepted in the end zone.

Bill Barnwell: He's making good throws, but they're not really repeatable -- his footwork is erratic at best, and he's made a couple of passes (notably the Reed throw) off his back foot, which are nice when they come through, but not so nice when they don't. I haven't seen the sort of steady rhythmic dropback and release that I like to see, but it might just be me.

Doug Farrar: If you're the Bills' offense at this point, you don't care about repeatable. One time is fine.

Bill Barnwell: On the other hand, he appears to have this jumping-throw-off-my-back-foot motion down, so maybe it IS repeatable.

Sean McCormick: Another reason for the shutout is the Jets play-calling, which seems content to attack from sideline to sideline without ever going downfield. Everything is horizontal. They've only made two significant throws down the field -- one was a 15-yard out that Pennington threw so softly that the defender had plenty of time to recover and bat the pass down, and the other was the fake spike. Buffalo has a banged up secondary and aren't putting any pressure on Pennington, so I would look for at least one deep throw to McCareins early in the third quarter.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson is having his second very good showing in a row. He was called for one holding penalty, but he's basically negated Schobel. In contrast, last year Schobel put up three sacks and a ton of hurries against Ferguson.

Trent Edwards is just going to the first read over and over. It's working more often than not, but he's going to get in trouble if he keeps it up.

Bill Barnwell: The Bills secondary has been terrible. Pennington's not putting anything on his throws but the Jets receivers are still getting open downfield by creating separation on almost every play.

Aaron Schatz: I would like to congratulate Dick Jauron for having balls and going for it on fourth-and-goal from the one with a 10-7 lead late. I'd also like to congratulate him or the Bills offensive coordinator for running play-action instead of an obvious run up the middle. Lots of passing on fourth-and-short is bad. One pass on fourth-and-short with a play fake is good.

Mike Tanier: That game was succinct. I was highly, highly impressed by Edwards. Great timing on lots of little hitches and curls, good presence in the pocket. He really sliced some passes into tight spots. I don't want to get carried away or anything, but it was as good a first start as any rookie could hope for.

Oakland Raiders 35 at Miami Dolphins 17

Doug Farrar: Channing Crowder moves to the middle to sub for Zach Thomas, who's currently working on a licensing deal for his 500-Concussion Commemorative Plate Series. Raiders go three-and-out anyway. I'm watching Miami rookie center Samson Satele today. I heard a lot of good things about him at the Combine from people I respect. Good matchup against the Raiders' front four.

Of course, on the second play of Miami's first drive, Trent Green throws into a sea of black jerseys and Thomas Howard returns a pick to the Miami 11. Mike Williams gets a really ticky-tack offensive interference call which pushes the Raiders back, Keith Traylor sacks Culpepper, Jason Taylor gets a neutral zone infraction call, the ball moves forward, Lamont Jordan for not much, and a touchdown to Jerry Porter, who Gus Johnson just called "Joey" three times in five seconds. No, Gus, Jerry's the OTHER loudmouth.

Bill Barnwell: Watch out for Crowder in the middle. He gets comically lost on pass plays at times.

Doug Farrar: Trent Green had better quit holding on to the ball like this, or the Raiders will have 10 sacks. Future quarterbacks of America, avert your eyes from this game. Culpepper just threw a ball that hit Dolphins linebacker Derrick Pope in the back of the head.

In the Jets-Bills chapter of Audibles, we were talking about avoiding trickery and just teeing off on a vulnerable defense. Well, the Raiders (of all people!) gained 46 yards rushing on their second touchdown drive, capped off with a Culpepper sneak for a score on fourth down. They have some smashmouth capability against bad defenses with LaMont Jordan, and that's how you take the first tentative steps forward from your prior status as one of the worst offenses of the modern era.

Miami's first touchdown came about when Cam Cameron decided to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Oakland 44 and Green threw a 35-yard pass to Justin Peelle. Actually, Green threw a four-yard pass and Peelle did the rest. Then Ronnie Brown just decimated Oakland cornerback B.J. Ward on the way to the end zone.

Brown breaks out of a Tyler Brayton ankle-tackle at the line of scrimmage and breaks free for a 60-yard run. This Raiders defense doesn't look like last year's. They seemed to be in a right-place/right-time groove moreso than now.

First example of the "no spike/delay of game" rule I've seen -- halfway through the second quarter, the Dolphins have a free play after Brayton jumps offside. But Chris Chambers catches a ball over the middle from Green and flips the ball for an offsetting penalty and a replay of the down. Cameron then goes for it on fourth-and-7 and Green draws an offside. Brown rips the Oakland defense on fourth-and-2 for the first down, and I have a feeling that Cameron wants to top the charts in the Fourth Down Aggressiveness section of PFP 2008.

Green has two sacks and two picks in the first half -- he has a major problem releasing the ball before bad things happen. On the second sack, Sapp broke a double team but fell short. Green moved out, pulled the ball down, moved around for a while, ate a sandwich, made a couple of phone calls ... this is not good.

Ronnie Brown is getting up close and personal with Oakland's secondary, which is what happens when your front seven has a "tackling optional" policy. Oakland's offensive line is more impressive than their defensive line, and I can't believe I just wrote that. Has Trent Green always superglued his hand to the ball in the pocket? I don't remember this. Brayton tipped a ball that just went out of Morrison's hands for what would have been a third pick of the day. Green looks atrocious.

Mike Williams, he of the earlier iffy interference penalty, had every reason to be hacked off at the officials after Michael Lehan was draped all over him on a third down incomplete in the third quarter. That was really blatant. Jason Taylor with a graphic horse collar on Justin "Son of Huggy Bear" Fargas after Fargas runs through a hole set up ... by ... good ... Oakland ... blocking (plus a Williams block on Lehan). Huh? Culpepper now has two rushing touchdowns in this game, and I thank my lucky stars I'm not a Dolphins fan right now.

Vince Verhei: Culpepper scoring against Miami, then pointing to his knee, giving the "OK" sign and gleefully bouncing across the field was beautiful.

Doug Farrar: Touchdown from Green to Peelle after Johnnie Lee Higgins fumbles a punt return, giving the Dolphins great field position, and I'm about ready to find a baseball game until the Seahawks come on. Yak, what a dismal game. And then ... Culpepper to Porter for the touchdown that puts it out of reach. That's two rushing and two passing touchdowns for No. 8. I think Miami needs a hug.

It's difficult to overstate how bad Green was in this game. He had ball after ball tipped at the line, but his offensive line gave him time on most plays. I don't know what he was reading half the time, and the Dolphins wouldn't have been anywhere near this game in the fourth quarter without Ronnie Brown and their special teams. There's no way in hell this team is going to win anything with a defense that makes Justin Fargas look like Barry Sanders. Maybe it's time to find out if John Beck is anything more than the new Chris Weinke?

Chicago Bears 27 at Detroit Lions 37

Will Carroll: On the same play where Tatum Bell took a head-to-head hit, someone went by him just before he was tackled and tore his pants. It looked as if there was something sharp enough on his helmet to tear through the fabric like a knife. The refs didn't seem to notice either issue. Bell came back into the game a few plays later with his butt clearly visible, so maybe the Lions didn't notice either.

The Bears seem to be using a 4-2-5 with Lance Briggs out, using the nickel back as a Gary Fencik-style safety. They seem to be lining up in almost a ... you know, this actually looks like a modified 46. There's the cover-two in play, but two safeties seem to have run assignments and they're definitely playing gaps.

Ernie Sims just dropped his head WAY down, aiming for the ball. While he did knock it out of Cedric Benson's hands, Brian Baldinger made this sound like great technique.

Brian Griese looks like absolute crap.

Michael David Smith: Sims has a long history of doing that. And he and his brother (Marcus, currently at Florida State) both have a history of concussions. It's scary the way he lowers his head and flies into people.

Doug Farrar: Not a good way to go for a guy who was basically the collegiate version of Dan Morgan.

Sean McCormick: The ghosts of Rex -- Brian Griese made a terrible decision down in the red zone, trying to wing in a quick out on the goal line while throwing off his back foot, resulting in a pick. Remind me again why Chicago had no interest in Byron Leftwich?

Bill Moore: Gross - man! Gross - man!

Sean McCormick: There is no Rex Grossman. There is no Brian Griese. There is only "Chicago quarterback."

Green Bay Packers 23 at Minnesota Vikings 16

Doug Farrar: The big story will be Brett Favre's touchdown pass, but Adrian Peterson is officially ridiculous. 108 yards on 10 carries in the first half against the seventh-best run defense, according to early DVOA.

Vince Verhei: Forget about Favre; the highlight of this game was Green Bay's punter pulling the ball down and spinning out of tackles to pick up a first down. And yes, Peterson's the runaway rookie of the year right now.

Mike Tanier: That man-crush that all sportswriters seem to have on Brett Favre? I ... I think I contracted it. That being said, Brad Childress has to find himself on the hot seat pretty soon. Yes, Jackson is hurt. But this is the plan in Year 2? Grab a guy off waivers, make him the starting quarterback, watch him throw four-yard passes? The Vikings are not scoring, and their sack-and-turnover offense spots opponents about a touchdown. Very bad. Very hard to watch.

Sean McCormick: Childress is just waiting for Koy Detmer to get cut loose. Then this offense is really going to take off.

St. Louis Rams 7 at Dallas Cowboys 35

Vince Verhei: As the Cowboys approach the end zone before halftime, a group of fat old white men at a bar in Seattle begin to bang on their tables and chant "T.O.! T.O.!" This is why I love fantasy football even though I don't play it.

Bad news for my bar mates as the Rams defense parts like the Red Sea and Tony Romo scrambles in for the touchdown to put his team ahead, 14-7. The game is only close because Dante Hall returned a punt for a touchdown.

Doug Farrar: I just heard Shannon Sharpe try to pronounce Oshiomogho Atogwe's name. To quote Bill Cowher, "That was a special moment."

Aaron Schatz: Well, this thing never should have been close, and early in the third quarter the Cowboys are pulling away. Patrick Crayton just broke a Lenny Walls "tackle" and ran something like 40 more yards for an easy score. The proper reaction to this is one of two things: 1) "Wow, the St. Louis secondary is as bad as we thought." 2) "Wow, Lenny Walls is still in the NFL?"

When it comes to predicting bad seasons, could we have been more wrong than we were about Dallas? Could we have been more right than we were about St. Louis?

Seattle Seahawks 23 at San Francisco 49ers 3

Doug Farrar: After a sack and an incompletion on the first drive, Alex Smith started San Francisco's second drive on the bench with a shoulder injury. Ex-Seahawks quarterback Trent Dilfer hit his first pass to ex-Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson (that must have been fun for Mike Holmgren), and Frank Gore fumbled on the next play. Second-year defensive end Darryl Tapp made a good play by disengaging from his blocker and punching the ball out.

This is how Seattle's offense has changed since 2005 -- the third-down bailout used to be Shaun Alexander to the left, but now it's the quick out or slant to anyone. Hasselbeck is as good as anyone at getting the underneath stuff done in a way that's more than just taking what the defense gives him. On the other hand, I really don't like his deep ball, especially on third down.

Gore fumbles for the second time in the first quarter (San Francisco recovers this time) as Lofa Tatupu just blows him up. Gore, of course, rushed for 9,000 yards against the Seahawks last season, so I think someone's trying to make a point this time.

Vince Verhei: Hasselbeck throws an ugly deep ball? Did you see last week's game? Now, David Carr -- THERE is an ugly deep ball.

Doug Farrar: Yeah, the touchdown pass to Branch against the Bengals was as pretty as you'll ever see. Generally, though, I'm not in favor of it.

The Seahawks send every damn body on a third down, first-quarter blitz, and ex-49ers linebacker Julian Peterson sacks Dilfer. The 49ers "threw" for -12 yards in the first quarter.

Hasselbeck to backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, who toasts Walt Harris for a 18-yard gain at the end of the first. I swear, if Wallace ever decides to switch positions ... he's had five undistinguished years at quarterback but he could be a major impact receiver. Everyone in the Seahawks organization knows this. He's probably the best athlete on the team. If there were a few more decent backup quarterbacks in the league, the switch might have already happened.

Alexander is effective on two plays now: the draw, and the inside one-cut run, preferably from an I-formation. Everything else is really questionable. And if he dances at all, he's dead in the water.

Speaking of offensive lines, what the heck happened to San Francisco's? They were one of the real surprise units in 2006, and they look awful here. They looked awful against the Steelers last week, but I assumed that was just them facing the Steelers. Justin Smiley is getting beaten by everyone he doesn't hold. Rocky Bernard is just killing him.

Keith Lewis blocks Ryan Plackemeier's punt halfway through the second quarter, but we're all more impressed by Mr. Lewis' reeeeeeeeally vivid red hair. Always good when your coiffure matches your jersey. Less impressive is the San Francisco offense, who can't capitalize on the block, as Peterson gets Dilfer again -- fourth sack of the game so far for Seattle. The 49ers still don't have a first down.

OK -- I'll shut up about Hasselbeck's deep ball now. He threw a beautiful pass to Branch for a 65-yard gain over Nate Clements. Right in the hands, going away. One play later, the 17-yard touchdown to Bobby Engram. Hasselbeck must have been working on the longer throws in the off-season, because they weren't there last year. Not like this.

And the 49ers finally get a first down with 5:31 left in the first half, as Bernard beats Smiley again and has Dilfer halfway to the ground. Dilfer manages to get one off to Gore, and Gore makes a great effort to get to the flag. On the next play, the Seahawks rush three defenders and pick up their fifth sack. Then, another hold on Smiley AFTER Bernard goes out with a leg injury. If anyone has chopped more wood than Smiley this week, I'll be very surprised.

Deion Branch beats Mark Roman and catches a tipped pass. Major yards after catch. I was speechless when the Seahawks gave up their 2007 first-round pick for Branch last year -- and I still don't like the move -- but if this is the Branch we get all year, I'll like it a lot better.

At the end of the first half, Holmgren is trying to get too cute. He brings Wallace back in, runs an end-around option thing, and Walt Harris damn near picks off the Wallace pass to Branch after jumping 12 feet in the air. The Seahawks are forced to settle for a field goal, and go up 13-0. Again, we ask: Why do you get tricky with a team when you have them on the ropes?

Quote of the day from Jimmy Johnson: "As soon as the Seahawks kicked that (first) field goal, I knew the Niners would have trouble catching up." San Francisco starts the second half with a recovered onside kick. Moose Johnston responds by saying something to the effect that "this is a pivotal moment in San Francisco's season." Marcus Trufant responds with an interception on the next play as Dilfer throws into quintuple coverage.

Vince Verhei: Kelly Jennings makes a great play to break up a pass on third down. He's turning into a fine player. I charted five passes thrown his way in the second half against Cincy, all incomplete.

Doug Farrar: Yeah, Jennings is good. Great recovery speed. Reminds me of Andre Dyson back in the day. If he were two inches taller and about 10 pounds heavier -- hoo, boy.

This is how old Seattle tight end Marcus Pollard (who scored a touchdown in this game) is: He played with Tony Siragusa ... in Indianapolis.

The Seahawks are doing some nice things with overload blitzes -- or overload looks, where they'll being a safety up with Peterson putting his hand down, and the 49ers will block inside, which is how Peterson got three sacks in the first half. The safety may go or not. I'd say that I've never seen an offensive line drop this badly in performance from one year to the next, but there's that whole Seattle 2005-2006 thing. However, the 49ers didn't lose their All-Pro left guard to the poison pill. What on earth is gong on here?

Seneca in the slot again, and Hasselbeck goes the other way ... throwing right to Nate Clements over Deion Branch. He had two picks against the Bengals that were defections, but that was the first pick of the year that was his fault. Then, Frank Gore begins to gash the Seattle defense with five minutes left in the third quarter even without the holes -- just bad tackling. The Seahawks are up 20-0, but they need to quit thinking that it's over.

Another pick by Trufant as he jumps a route that Darrell Jackson was running. Oh, the irony. That's two for Trufant in 2007, after totaling two in the 2005-2006 seasons combined, and that'll be your ballgame.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 at Carolina Panthers 7

Michael David Smith: Am I the only one who finds it shocking that Carolina is favored to beat Tampa Bay? Even if you don't know what the DVOA projections say, Tampa Bay has looked like a better team, and Delhomme is out.

Aaron Schatz: Yes, I'm a little surprised. At a certain point, the public will come around to the point of view that I have, and that I think Mike you have too, which is "I'm sick and tired of waiting for Carolina to fulfill their potential, maybe other than Peppers and Smith they really aren't that good, oh look it is another three-yard pass to Jeff King on third-and-10."

Speaking of Tampa Bay, I was watching WVU vs. USF on Friday night and they showed a little locker room thing with Joey Galloway (Ohio State alum) making fun of ESPN announcer Chris Spielman (also Ohio State alum). Wow. Joey Galloway has Redd Foxx's beard. I know he's 36 but he really has a ton of gray in there. How can a guy with that much gray in his beard be so damn fast?

After Cadillac Williams suffers a knee injury...

Bill Barnwell: Pro Football Talk first said that Cadillac's torn his ACL.

Doug Farrar: Not surprised -- that looked awful.

Vince Verhei: Carolina's first half passing offense: Seven completions, 27 yards gained, zero first downs. What a giant bust David Carr turned out to be.

Russell Levine: Something is up with Julius Peppers. I don't know if the affects from his illness are lingering or what, but he doesn't look like the same player. Kenyatta Walker was a first-round pick at tackle whose basically out of the league right now (unless St. Louis signed him, anyone?) because of what Peppers did to him. Today, Jeremy Trueblood handled him with ease.

The difference in the Tampa Bay offense with Jeff Garcia is remarkable. These guys could not get out of their own way last year. Suddenly, they're humming like a well-oiled machine. The word "competent" keeps coming to mind. Ike Hilliard even looks fast, and I have to assume that's because Garcia is getting him the ball in the right spots. The other big difference with the Tampa Bay offense is that the line is starting to come together, although it sounds like they lost Luke Petitgout maybe for the year today.

The team was just moribund last year, and I think it carried over to the defense. Jermaine Phillips is a different player at safety. He's always been a big hitter, but this year he's making the open-field tackles. They still need a better pass rush though. Gaines Adams is only on the field on passing downs and looks pretty lost out there. You can tell he's quick and agile, but I don't think he's very strong. He gets manhandled when he gets too close to the tackles.

Is it possible that Phillip Buchanon is actually becoming a decent corner? He started for Brian Kelly and was on Steve Smith much of the day and kept him very quiet. Now, David Carr is horrendous, so who knows how much of Smith's day is attributable to Buchanon, but he too is starting to make the open-field tackles.

Cadillac was just destroyed by Chris Phillips on the sidelines and looks like he blew out a knee. That's a shame, he just was starting to look like he was getting untracked.

Sam Rosen has done three straight Bucs games, which makes for a better broadcast. He always tells you who's in and out on different plays.

Michael David Smith: Seriously, has there ever been a bigger gift of a betting line than Tampa Bay +3 at Carolina? I picked it in the "experts" contest at ballhype.com (which I'm winning, by the way), but I'm kicking myself for not also putting money on it, because I don't think I've ever been that confident in a point spread in my life. I just can't even comprehend how the Bucs weren't favored, especially after it was announced that Delhomme was out. Even if I didn't know how much DVOA loved the Bucs to turn it around this year, just watching the two teams, it's obvious that the Bucs are much better than the Panthers right now.

Sean McCormick: I know Will said earlier that we should be proudest of our Green Bay projection, but I think the Tampa Bay projection looks even better. Green Bay went on a late run last season and wasn't that under the wire. Tampa Bay was written off by absolutely everyone. (People forget how bad playing a third string quarterback for long periods makes the rest of the personnel look.) Even with the injury to Cadillac, as of now they look like the clear front-runners to win the NFC South.

Aaron Schatz: Except for one problem: They were written off by us too. Subjectively, that is. With Green Bay, we believed the numbers.

Vince Verhei: Green Bay's run came against three bad teams, plus Chicago's backups. A lot of people, myself included, discounted it. Obviously, we were wrong.

Kansas City Chiefs 30 at San Diego Chargers 16

Vince Verhei: Um, guys? While none of us were watching, Kansas City's been hanging with San Diego, and Damon Huard just hit Tony Gonzalez to tie the game. Rivers has thrown a pair of picks.

Bowe just scored on a 50-yard catch-and-run to put the Chiefs ahead. He's over 130 yards now, with most of the fourth quarter to go. He may be the best part of the Chiefs season.

Chiefs force a punt. What will Herm do on first down? If you said L.J. up the gut for no gain, you win! Dwayne Bowe picks up a first down. He's got 164 yards now. Then L.J. up the gut for no gain, then a forced pass to Bowe is tipped and picked off.

Kansas City blitzes, Rivers is hit and fumbles. The Chiefs pick it up nd run it in. The Chargers are now counting on Rivers, who has had a horrible game, to overcome a two-touchdown deficit. He hits Jackson for a sure touchdown, but Jackson drops it.

Doug Farrar: Herm may just win this Battle of the Midgets.

Ned Macey: Yeah, Herm is a huge midget; four playoff appearances in six seasons. Too bad the Chiefs didn't hire Mangini. Great performance today against a stout Buffalo team.

Aaron Schatz: And I'll add that while Herm's quotes are funny, his time management is goofy, and his overuse of running backs is a bit criminal, overall I'm with Ned. I've never understood the criticism of Herm Edwards. He's not a great coach, but he's certainly not a below-average one.

Sean McCormick: Yeah, Herm is sneaky. His teams consistently look clueless on defense, impossibly conservative on offense, poorly coached, outclassed ... and yet they quietly hang around and end up winning a fair amount of games (and often with a backup quarterback at the helm). It's hard to watch any of his games and think he's a good coach, but it's getting tougher and tougher to argue the record.

Mike Tanier: I like Herm Edwards too, despite teasing him in Rundown all the time. He's just not a great "Xs and Os" guy. He's a lot like Marty Schottenheimer, but with Larry David writing his press conferences. And of course I hate Norvilicious, and I haven't seen this game because I am getting the Cardinals and Steelers, but my God, I cannot believe it is this bad. He is the worst coach ever to get a third chance to show his ineptitude.

Michael David Smith: In the past I haven't been as down on Norv Turner as most people, but his play calling is absurd. As I'm writing this, Tomlinson has only gotten the ball on four of the Chargers' last 22 plays, and on most of those 22 the Chargers were leading. What the hell does Turner think he's doing? Call a handoff, for crying out loud.

Aaron Schatz: Egads. Oakland, Kansas City and Denver will be tied for the lead in the AFC West at 2-2, with San Diego at 1-3. You must be joking. By the way, I saw the replay on that 50-yard Bowe touchdown. Whenever I read anything that refers to Quentin Jammer as San Diego's best cornerback, I just have to giggle.

Fill in the blank: If the Chargers lose ___ or more games this year, Norv Turner will go down as the worst coach in NFL history.

Denver Broncos 20 at Indianapolis Colts 38

Bill Barnwell: Dallas Clark is going to be the key to this game, because he's the best matchup for Manning now, not whoever's being guarded by Roc Alexander. He's got two targets on the first play. Broncos are absolutely gashing the Colts to start by keeping two tight ends in and running. Hey, I knew Daniel Graham was good for something...

Aaron Schatz: Daniel Graham is good for a lot of things. The offensive line is dominating the Colts, and the Broncos wide receivers are blocking well. Domenik Hixon and Glenn Martinez. Really.

Will Carroll: Marvin Harrison didn't hurt his back -- as they continued to say -- but his knee. He got rolled up and was saved by his knee brace that he has on both legs. Still hurts. I hereby offer my services to any network as an "injury spotter" to keep Phil Simms or others from sounding ... uninformed.

Aaron Schatz: The Denver-Indianapolis game summarized at halftime: The good news for Denver is that the Colts run defense looks as bad as last year. The bad news for Denver is that the Broncos run defense looks as bad as last week.

Ned Macey: We have picked up the biggest waste of talent in the history of the NFL. With Harrison out, Champ Bailey is now on Aaron Moorehead. They had Moorehead in the left slot, and Bailey came over there even though Clark was split out wide to the right. I understood why this was happening in the first half when Harrison went down, but shifting Bailey to someone else at halftime would have made sense.

Bill Barnwell: Terrible throw by Jay Cutler on a slant where he basically tried to stop halfway into the throw and the Colts picked it off. Bob Sanders didn't return from the locker room at halftime. Who had Week 4 in the office pool?

Ned Macey: The Broncos clearly haven't seen our decision to just count Clark as a receiver. They leave Ian Gold on him one-on-one inside the five-yard line. Manning throws a fade, and Gold has no chance. The touchdown came after an interception by Cutler. He threw a slant to Marshall without even looking to see where Marlin Jackson was playing. He just dropped back and threw. One nice thing for the Colts the past two weeks is that they've missed Andre Johnson and now Javon Walker.

Will Carroll: I saw a number of plays where Bailey was man-up on Clark. Can't say I've ever seen a shutdown cornerback put on a tight end before, though Clark is a tight end in name only.

Aaron Schatz: In my New York Sun preview, I referred to today's Indianapolis strategy as "Death by Dallas Clark." Bingo. Seriously, what is going on with the Denver defense? I understand having Bailey on Dallas Clark -- hell, Clark even beat Bailey deep when Bailey bit on a play-fake -- but why do you have Dre' Bly on Aaron Moorehead and Champ Bailey on Dallas Clark -- and Domonique Foxworth on Reggie Wayne???

Bill Barnwell: Foxworth wasn't on him, technically. They blitzed whatever corner was in the slot and Foxworth was actually playing safety on the play. Unfortunately, the slot corner revealed his blitz way too early, and Manning audibled with plenty of time to spare.

Aaron Schatz: Well, that's even more stupid. Yes, let's blitz and leave Reggie Wayne open. That's a good call.

Bill Barnwell: Safety Matt Giordano doesn't look good in run coverage at all. He doesn't wrap up well, and since he takes poor angles to the ballcarrier, he's often left trying to wrap a running back up with an arm tackle that he can't finish.

Indy plugs in Kenton Keith after Joseph Addai goes off for a few plays and Keith misses approximately no beats. He runs a delayed draw for 22 yards on first-and-20 when Tony Ugoh pushes 15 yards downfield alongside him.

Pittsburgh Steelers 14 at Arizona Cardinals 21

Stuart Fraser: "Along with Dan Dierdorf, Greg Gumbel and the rest of our CBS Sports crew, the Arizona Cardinals will try to hand the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss today."

Leinart starts, so Whisenhunt was telling the truth that far at least.

Brett Keisel just defensed a pass. Yes, he's a defensive end. Admittedly he did get about half the reciever on the lunge to bat the ball away, but the zebras didn't mind. This is looking like a field position game so far. This could be interesting, since both of these punters were in Steelers training camp. They kept Daniel Sepulveda and cut Mike Barr.

Oh, and there was a weird incompletion call which I'm sure will get some press from the people who think that the definition of a catch is different in games the Steelers are in.

Pittsburgh's offense has two modes: good and terrible.

First-and-10: Three Cardinals penetrate the backfield and wipe out Willie Parker for a loss of five yards.
Second-and-15: Ben Roethlisberger holds on to the ball too long and gets sacked.
Third-and-24: Santonio Holmes beats Rod Hood deep, and Roethlisberger delivers a perfect in-stride bomb for a 43-yard touchdown.

Willie Parker is going nowhere, at all. Eight carries, seven yards. The difference between this game and the games Parker had like this last year is that Roethlisberger is incredible right now: Eight-of-11 for 125 yards and a touchdown.

This is what I expected from Pittsburgh all season. The offensive line is awful, Roethlisberger is getting killed, and the defense and special teams are just about enough to sustain a lead. I think this has less to do with Whisenhunt's presence in Arizona than Grimm's.

Aaron Schatz: In Arizona, Whisenhunt has pulled Leinart again. It's clear that Whisenhunt wants to run a downfield, deep passing offense, and that's not Leinart's skill-set. Somebody needs to get Leinart onto a team that runs a "West Coast Offense" with shorter timing routes. After the way he took apart the Chicago zone last year on Monday Night Football, I refuse to believe that Matt Leinart has proven -- with fewer than 16 starts -- that he's not good enough to be an NFL quarterback.

Sean McCormick: I would disagree, actually. Leinart ran an offense that was fairly vertical in college, and his slightly deliberate setup and delivery make him less than ideally suited for a West Coast Offense. I think this offense is actually a pretty good one for him, but he's not executing it right now. It also happens to be a perfect fit for Warner, and it's no shame getting pulled for a former MVP who can still play some. I think this can work, but it's important that Whisenhunt handles things correctly. Warner deserves some snaps, and giving him those snaps doesn't have to ruin Leinart. And if he needs to step up his preparation, sitting him when he's playing poorly sends a good message.

Doug Farrar: I'm starting to wonder if Whisenhunt's going to do what Tom Landry did with Roger Staubach and Craig Morton in 1971, when he rotated them on every play until the whole team went nuts and Staubach almost revolted. Didn't he get the memo on Leinart before he took that job?

Ryan Wilson: The question isn't Leinart's ability. Apparently, Whisenhunt isn't super jazzed with his work ethic.

Bill Barnwell: It may not be a shame in reality, but it sure is in perception. Warner was totally out of the picture coming into the season, and after two weeks, he was suddenly becoming part of the rotation at quarterback.

Mike Tanier: My first take on this rotating quarterback thing was "uh-oh, Leinart is in trouble. He isn't putting the time in, and Whisenhunt doesn't trust him, so he is finding ways to work Warner in." After watching this game, it seems like Leinart does kinda know what he is doing out there, and that the switch really does cross up defenses. I still hate this as a long-term strategy, but I am going to take it at face value for now, and not as a sign that Leinart is out clubbing when Whisenhunt wants him in the film room.

Stuart Fraser: First muffed snap by Warner hands Pittsburgh a first-and-goal on the four-yard line. Aaron predicted this last week.

Antrel Rolle just hit his own punt returner whilst both were tracking a Sepulveda punt. I have no idea what they thought they were doing, but it was a nice comic relief moment in an otherwise way too tense game.

Gah. Steelers, third-and-goal, run the tight end pattern they got a touchdown with in each game so far. Of course Whisenhunt ran this all the time last year, and the Cardinals are waiting. Adrian Wilson intercepts. Gosh, I didn't see that coming.

Ryan Wilson: Yeah, I'm with Stuart. On third-and-goal, Willie Parker could use a fullback, and the Steelers should've run the ball twice. You know, because no one would've expected it.

Ned Macey: Third-and-8 from roughly the ten-yard line, the Cardinals run James around left tackle and he moves forward for a first down. Edgerrin James in from the two on the next play.

Is this finally the year for the Cardinals? They should have won the San Francisco game and just have the close loss at Baltimore. They should be heavy favorites the next two weeks, at St. Louis and home against Carolina, which could leave them 4-2 if they hold on here.

Stuart Fraser: We'll have to check with the game charters on this one when it comes out, but my overall impression was that, despite all the passing from Roethlisberger, there weren't all that many four-wide receiver sets until the final minutes of the game (you know, where they effortlessly drove the field one-and-a-half times before running out of time). This despite the fact that those were the supposedly "new" bits of the offense Whisenhunt should have been less familiar with.

Overall, gah. Roethlisberger was sacked four times. He must have broken, dodged or otherwise prevented at least twice that many sacks. Parker had about that many holes to run through all day. I blame Greg Gumbel, who called Pittsburgh's line "excellent" when he introduced it.

Further to that, gah. The Steelers are who I thought they were, though they almost had me fooled.

Philadelphia Eagles 3 at New York Giants 16

Aaron Schatz: Where is this New York pass rush coming from? Man, this is crazy. Someone tell the Eagles to try leaving a back or a tight end in to block. And what are the Eagles doing before halftime? How much time can you fritter off the clock lining up with less than two minutes left? Why can't this team figure out clock management?

Mike Tanier: Oh yeah, clock management before halftime, encouraging drives that fall apart around the 40-yard line. This is Eagles football, only without the joy of watching Brian Westbrook.

Bill Barnwell: Man, is Winston Justice getting abused.

Doug Farrar: That was an ugly first half for the Eagles. Start with the five sacks allowed -- Osi Umenyiora practically had a free pass to McNabb -- and end with the horrid offensive output. Philly had three drives in which they went three-and-out, and they lost 22 total yards on those drives.

I guess the two questions we can ask are: Is Westbrook that important to this offense (probably); and was their ridiculous output last week more about Detroit's defense than anything else (a credible notion). Then again, it isn't as if the Giants' defense has been mistaken for a juggernaut this season by any means, right? Oh, I almost forgot about the 10 first-half penalties.

Ned Macey: Don't forget the artist formerly known as Tra (Thomas). This year so far has definitely been the year of the injured left tackle with Pace, Ogden and now Thomas. Tampa fans better hope that the same isn't true down there.

That being said, McNabb is doing his best Culpepper impersonation. On a number of these sacks, he clearly thinks he is going to evade the rush, but he just doesn't have a quick first step on account of his knee. Also, the Giants couldn't risk running straight up field if they actually feared a scramble. Despite the pressure, McNabb has broken nothing out.

Also, how weird were Akers' numbers in the Meadowlands.? No idea what the sample size or distribution was there, but it definitely was a good stat to run before he missed a 42-yarder.

Aaron Schatz: OK, now the Eagles are leaving guys in and it isn't helping anyway. Matt Schobel couldn't control Matthias Kiwanuka and McNabb basically rolled right into the sack.

Yes, Jason Taylor does his yardwork in his jersey. Maybe that's why he isn't playing well this year. He has confused rushing the passer and trimming the hedges.

Wow, the Eagles look horrible tonight. This isn't a bad luck loss like so many early last year. This is an ass-kicking. Seriously. "Tight end was not covered in the formation" is a junior high mistake.

Bill Barnwell: Once Lawrence Tynes missed that extra point and I realized this is technically a two-score game ... Let's just say I'm still worried.

Doug Farrar: Take. Justice. Out. Of. The. Game. Eleven sacks!

Sean McCormick: I remember when Justice was considered a draft steal. What the hell happened? And isn't the whole idea behind the West Coast offense to get the ball out of the quarterback's hands quickly and negate the rush? This may be the worst offensive performance I've seen from any team this year.

Ned Macey: Remember the great USC team that lost to Texas with Leinart, Bush, White and Justice leading that dominant offense? Those guys are all underperforming their draft status in the NFL so far. Of course, in this case maybe the scouts were right, since all of them dropped more than expected.

Mike Tanier: Justice looked OK in limited action last week. This was shades of Kevin Allen and ... crap, was it Lester Holmes? Eagles fans will remember the left tackle I am talking about. Barrett Brooks? Did I mention, "Go Phillies?"

Aaron Schatz: And not, "Go Mets." So I guess Philly wins one, and New York the other. The difference is the Eagles get 12 more games, and the Mets get zero. Of course, if they play like this, that is not a good thing for Philadelphians.

Posted by: admin on 01 Oct 2007

206 comments, Last at 03 Oct 2007, 11:30am by Will Allen

Comments

1
by Levente, Hungary (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:19am

Great, now I have something to read on the way home. Thanks, guys.

2
by Kopi Luwak (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:20am

Any thought on who Jets fans might want to sue this week? It will take a pretty big distraction to get people to forget about this performance.

3
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:22am

"and it’s odd to think of Atlanta receivers as a mismatch against an opponent’s secondary."

Like some of us have been saying for years, the receivers were never the problem in Atlanta.

4
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:29am

"I think Edwards looks pretty good for a rookie making his first start, despite that launch to a completely covered Lee Evans that was intercepted in the end zone."

Evans was open on that play, the ball was just about 5 yards behind where it was supposed to be, and came down in the front of the endzone instead of the back.

5
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:33am

Re: #2

Let's see. Another Jets loss. When does Mangenius accuse Belichick of putting stuff in the NJ water to ruin the Jets' purity of essence?

6
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:38am

5: The record of the Jets does not have anything to do with the Patriots and their systematic cheating. Your team is an affront to the integrity of the NFL.

Also, Winston Justice! Welcome to the Honorary Freddie Mitchell Hall of Bad Eagles Draft Picks! What a debacle. These Eagles look like they'd rather be sailing.

7
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:47am

Teams that picked 1-5 last season: 12-8

teams that picked 27-32 last season: 11-8 (waiting on the Patriots game-they had the 27th pick before trading it.)

8
by jtp (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:47am

This is turning into a really upside-down season. Other than the Colts and Patriots, none of the consensus top teams are playing up to expectations this year. Particularly shocking are the records of the Saints, Bears, Eagles, and Chargers. I mean, who would've predicted that those four teams would be a combined 3-12?

8
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:47am

So, which offensive linemen will be free agents following this season?

10
by goathead (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:49am

Justice got totally abused by Osi, but OMG that was obvious in the 1st half. The coaching staff just left him out there, with no help to get abused. I felt bad for him, and I'm a G's fan. Eagles coaching staff came off looking awful - hello, did anyone mention the Giants have been unable to cover the middle of the field this year? I can't believe how much mobility McNabb has lost, he'd have escaped almost all of those sacks a few years back.

The G's defense should be ashamed of their reaction after Strahan broke LTs record. They spent so much time congratulating him that they weren't ready for the next play.

11
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:49am

I have no idea where that Giants performance came from, but just damn.

That is how our defense was supposed to work-- a dominant pass rush masking a questionable secondary. After the start of the season, it was completely unexpected to see it actually work.

12
by witless chum (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:50am

So you guys didn't watch the fourth quarter of the Lions/Bears, huh? It's okay, nothing much happened.

Rules question: The Lions were called for lineman down field on a screen pass. I thought the rule was that if the pass was caught behind the line of scrimage, linemen could be down field. Am I wrong?

Teams really need to stop kicking to Devin Hester. At all.

13
by James, London (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:54am

The Miami game was ugly. Really ugly. The Miami Defense haven't got old, they've died. Oakland ran all over them, in exactly the same way the Jets did last week, while the secondary is horrid. Oakland didn't pass a lot, but the Jerry Porter TD that killed the game was emblematic. Michael Lehan was matched up on Porter, and just missed him off the line. Seriously, Lehan tried to jam him and missed. The safety couldn't get across, and that was the game.

As for the Offense, I think it's safe to say that Trent Green isn't the answer. The line wasn't brilliant, but it did OK. Trent Green had some time. Unfortunately, he chose to use that time doing his best "Chicago QB" impression. Frankly, Green is lucky he was only picked twice.

Ronnie Brown had another good game, and made Peelle's TD. Miami play-faked and the entire Raiders D took the bait.

Finally, as I said in the game thread Cam Cameron has a pair. He made two gutsy calls on fourth down, both in the first half while the game was still close. Miami converted both, which made his decision to punt when down by two scores in the 2nd half somewhat strange.

It could be a long year in Miami.

14
by James G (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:54am

#8 - DVOA may not have predicted it to be quite this bad, but those preseason predictions certainly forecast decline for the Saints, Bears, and Chargers.

15
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 11:55am

#9
Max Starks and Alan Fanacea are probably the biggest names.

16
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:01pm

#12: You do realize that Hester also fumbled? Hester will make an undisciplined coverage team miss, yes, but if everyone sticks to their lanes, the chances of him coughing it up are much higher than the chances of him running it back for a TD.

Despair, o Steelers fans, for verily, our o-line sucks.

17
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:10pm

The Vikings are the classic example of the harm a first time head coach does to his career if me mismanages the qb position. Jeff Garcia has been availiable two off-seasons in a row, and has been the veteran qb obviously best suited to run the offense Childress favors, and Childress, to my knowledge has neve expressed interest, although it certainly could be the case that Garcia let it be known that he wasn't interested in playing with the Vikings receivers. Put Garcia on this team, and the Vikings are 3-1, instead of the Bucs, and possibly 4-0. If I see a Vikings qb grossly overthrow a receiver open by 10 yards, with no defender between he and the end zone, I may just stop watching altogether.

Give credit to Favre, as absurd as that may sound, because since the Eagles' game, where I thought he looked old in the brief time I watched, he has played his best football in years. Really, really, spectacular passing yesterday, and as much as some like to rip the Vikings' pass defense, sometimes the qb is just that good.

Did anybody listen to the announcers? They were driving me nuts, so I turned the sound down, so I don't know if Mckinnie's problems were reported. Obviously, he had a terrible game, and it did make me suspect a physical problem, and I read this morning that he spent a good part of the game bent over a trash barrel, puking his guts out, and got an I.V. at halftime. Oh well, more bad luck (like what appeared to be interference on Holcombe's int on the last possession) in a season full of it so far, to go along with bad qb and receiver play. On the bright side, the Vikings may have finally found a receiver in Sidney Rice; to see a wr in a purple jersey going up over a corner to make a catch in the end zone nearly made me faint.

Finally, I try to avoid a lot of criticism of playcalling, especially since you can't usually see enough on t.v. to know what is happening, but gosh, the way the Packers defense was selling out on the last drive, I sure would have liked to see Adrian Peterson get the ball on a draw or screen on the last possession, even if it would have risked taking a lot of time off the clock.

Maybe ol' Chilly had the same thoughts, but wanted to wait until the Vikings were another fifteen yards or so down the field, but the way Peterson is a threat to score anywhere on the field, I think I may have done it sooner. It's a good example, though, of how a rookie rb makes himself so much more valuable if he becomes a competent blocker, since if he isn't, it tends to tip the defense that the play is coming his way, if he remains on the field in a two minute offense.

18
by witless chum (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:10pm

16: Well, he was 1 TD for 1 fumble against Detroit, who didn't recover either. He was coming close to breaking one almost every punt and kick. His TD was helped by Brandon Middleton making a horrible tackle, though.

19
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:11pm

#11:

That is how [the Giants] defense was supposed to work– a dominant pass rush masking a questionable secondary.

I think that part of the reason for all this that nobody has mentioned is that the Giants' admittedly questionable secondary has improved its play pretty dramatically. The Madison-Ross-Dockery lineup of CBs has looked much better than the Webster-McQuarters-Ross one that started the season. Several of those sacks last night were on called quick throws where McNabb's first couple of options were blanketed.

20
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:14pm

Hey, chum, I couldn't record the Bears/Lion match yesterday. Was the Lions' offense really good in the fourth quarter, or did the Bears just play ineptly?

21
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:15pm

19

I was impressed with Ross. He looked pretty good.

22
by CoreyG (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:16pm

If Atlanta has all number 5 corner backs, why do good things happen when you throw away from DeAngelo Hall? Or is Hall slightly "less bad" than the others? Sure the guy's an asshole, but is he good or not?

23
by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:19pm

What the heck happen to the Miami front 7? The Raiders went into the circa 1970 college offense and ran, ran, ran , ran... Sans Ronnie Brown did Nick Saban draft any player that didn't look horrible on Sunday? I don't think the Dolphins will move to Beck or Lemon until after the Giants game. I think it's Cam's plan to get the young offensive line a good amount of time together before he let's Beck play behind it.

24
by Ben (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:20pm

RE:12 An ineligible player can be down field as long as he is in contact with a defender. If he looses contact, he can't move forward or laterally until the QB releases the ball.

25
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:24pm

Re 16 I REALLY don't think you can just pin this on undisciplined coverage teams. On his return TD yesterday, all the lanes look pretty well filled. Hester just saw a tiny sliver of daylight, accelerated incredibly quickly, made about 4 people miss, and was gone. I thought it was pretty incredible.

26
by calbuzz (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:25pm

Farrar is the grumpiest Seahawk fan ever:

Hass can't throw deep, except for that 65 yard pass he completed to Branch, who they paid too much for. Pollard is too old to be catching TD's like the one he caught right there. Gore's getting yards in garbage time!

With analysis like this, who needs FOX broadcasters?

27
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:27pm

I've never been a huge Culpepper fan, but I'd like to see him do well, except for when he plays the Vikings this year, because I think his great 2004 performance has been unjustly devalued, by playing while still injured last year, and by his shortened 2005 season, when he was trying, with a poor offensive line, to make up for a defense which gave up huge chunks of first quarter yards, and tons of points, with predictable results. No, he's never been the hardest working qb in show business, but he's not a bum who got lucky for a few years either, as some have portrayed him.

28
by Joseph (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:30pm

To answer Aaron's question: If Norv loses 7 or more (and SD doesn't make the playoffs), Norv is fired. Follow-up question: Who do the Chargers hire, if Bill Cowher won't take the job?

29
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:31pm

Re 16 Also, while there might be fumbles, what are the chances of recovering them? I'd be interested to see what the statistics are for fumbles on kicks and punts. Hester has had 8 fumbles in his last four games, but has only lost one of them. Is he having good luck or is the recovery rate different for kicks and punts? Perhaps they go out of bounds more often, since many times they are near the sidelines?

30
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:31pm

"Re 16 I REALLY don’t think you can just pin this on undisciplined coverage teams. On his return TD yesterday, all the lanes look pretty well filled. Hester just saw a tiny sliver of daylight, accelerated incredibly quickly, made about 4 people miss, and was gone. I thought it was pretty incredible."

No, its also incredible blocking. I've never seen a team consistently still be blocking 50+ yards downfield.

31
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:33pm

One of the bright spots of the season for me has been to see A.J. Smith suffer misfortune. I gotta believe that if Norv goes, so does Smith.

32
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:33pm

Re 30 Of course you need good blocking for almost any return TD. On Hester's TD yesterday, however, I didn't think they blocking was particularly outstanding.

33
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:38pm

Will:

I wrote about this in the MMQB thread but Brad Childress has to be the dumbest SOB this side of the Mississippi. Every single Packer defender after the game said they were in awe of Peterson's ability to stop and go coupled with his strength. During the game the Packer radio guys were DUMBFOUNDED that Peterson wasn't getting the ball more.

You have this guy who has CLEARLY demonstrated that he can make yards against a team and instead you put the ball in the hands of a career backup to win the game.

Wow. Just W-O-W.

The Minnesota defense also played at a fever pitch yesterday. Folks were FLYING around. Lots of energy there and with a bit more luck could have created some additional turnovers. Packers got lucky on a few calls.

But then Holcomb had THREE passes just clank off a Packer defender's hands. Just terrible, terrible work there by GB. Two of those were deep in viking territory and could have been turned into six points.

KGB now admits that he is fresher acting as a specialist. Big shock. Another fine move by McCarthy. A bit long in coming but at least he did the sensible thing putting Jenkins in as the regular DE. KGB just ATE UP McKinnie. I believe something was wrong with BM as in the past he has OWNED Kabeer who rarely got within ten feet of the Viking qb.

Bush, Packer defensive back, better get a clue. He was torched all day long.

And AJ Hawk with another disappearing act. I am really getting concnered with this guy. He played well the second half of '06 but so far has been mostly MIA. Don't know if it's him or the scheme. Cripes....

34
by Sammy (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:42pm

I don't believe there is a more often wrong football "writer" out there than Bill Barnwell. He is astoundingly incorrect about nearly everything he mentions.

35
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:42pm

I'll echo Rich Conley, echoing 19... it's always fun when the Giants/Jets take similar players in the first round (going back to Derek Brown/Johnnie Mitchell), and so far Aaron Ross has looked significantly better than Darelle Revis. the kid looks like a player.

I might be showing my ignorance here, but how many other teams mimic the Giants approach of shifting a DE to DT on passing downs? It seems like a great idea. Tuck and Kiwanuka both saw a lot of action on the inside, and Spags took advantage of having the quicker guys in there by stunting and twisting a lot.

One last thing- the book on Umenyiora has been "fast, but you can go right at him". So it was amazing to see him bull Justice (who is no lightweight)back a full 5 yards into McNabb. He moved him back with no problem. Got to the qb as fast as if he was unblocked. Wow.

36
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:44pm

"One of the bright spots of the season for me has been to see A.J. Smith suffer misfortune. I gotta believe that if Norv goes, so does Smith. "

Why? It still looks like hes drafting really well... Weddle looks very good. I haven't checked out too many of the other picks but if they're all good, hes still doing his job well.

Hiring Norv Turner doesn't make getting rid of Shotty wrong. They're separate transactions. Norv is definitely the wrong guy. That doesn't mean shottenheimer was the right guy.

37
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:47pm

"Aaron Ross has looked significantly better than Darelle Revis"

I second that. Teams have been actively going after Revis, and hes getting beat quite a bit.

38
by Costa (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:48pm

No funny line about the sailed-snap-booted-bouncer-turned-first-down in the Rams-Cowboys game? Aww. =P

39
by Terry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:56pm

Culpepper and his 5 touchdowns over ~100 total yards, holy stat line Batman.

40
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:57pm

20: The defence is too banged up, but they can still play well enough. The offence, however, is still a disaster. The Lions are decent, but they're not that good.

29: I can only recall one fumble by Hester that went out of bounds. You might have a point if he just muffed the ball- but the majority of his fumbles were after contact, not in open space. That is a real problem.

25: There was no-one on the opposite side of the field. They clearly ran a "kickoff right," to use Madden terminology, which is a really bad idea in the real world. Hester made a good cut, yes, but the fact that he could was because the coverage team was clogged and only had 1 or 2 people covering (and who were well-blocked) the other side. Just surrounding him isn't good enough on something like a kickoff return, where the player can hit gaps at top speed.

This is why special teams is so different from defence (from a coverage perspective) and offence (from a blocking perspective). And, incidentally, why calls for more Hester on offence drive me insane.

41
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:58pm

Yeah, Badger, everybody hates Mckinnie in Minny now since he hasn't played great this year, after getting a big bonus, but it seemed likely to me that something wasn't right with him physically, so I wasn't surprised to hear this morning that he was puking is guts out the entire game.

Sounds like the Packers were as happy as I was disappointed that Peterson didn't get that ball on a draw or screen play on the last possession; I think there is a non-trivial chance it would have gone the distance, given the way the Packers were selling out to stop the pass. You are also correct regarding Holcombe's terrible play; DVOA and DPAR can't fully reflect awful incompletions that should have been intercepted, or awful incompletions that involve grossly overthrowing wide open receivers downfield, who could stroll into the end zone with a NCAA Division III-quality pass, so the DVOA or DPAR gap between Favre and Holcombe will understate the true performance gap. Suffice it to say that if the qbs are switched, so is the game's outcome, except the Vikings probably win by a wider margin.

42
by Terry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:59pm

35: "One last thing- the book on Umenyiora has been “fast, but you can go right at him�. So it was amazing to see him bull Justice (who is no lightweight)back a full 5 yards into McNabb. He moved him back with no problem. Got to the qb as fast as if he was unblocked. Wow.
"

The skillset to bullrush isn't entirely same as the skillset to play the run. at least that's what my HS experience showed me.

43
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 12:59pm

Will (#20),

The patchwork D fell apart in the fourth. Martz realized they couldn't stop the pass and aired it out after calling a fairly balanced game early. Also, the Bears couldn't play nickel because they didn't have 5 healthy DB's (Archuleta was a late scratch and rookie Kevin Payne injured his arm). In the end, the pass rush wasn't able to hide the DB's anymore and D-line broke down against the run.

44
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:01pm

Interesting lack of consensus on Trent Edwards, guys.

Two very solid games in a row for Joseph Harrington. Does this say anything about Petrino's system? The Atl WRs? Vick? Harrington? Anything? Guess we should wait and see.

Reid and the Philadelphia coaching staff look like they are stuck in the past, running their offense wihtout changes in spite of the fact McNabb can't move any more. He spent all night doing the Fred Flintstone and getting caught. Still waiting for the double team on Osi. Send flowers to Justice.

22- DeAngelo Hall is an inconsistent, lazy, gambling, all-or-nothing CB. The others are nothing-or-nothing CBs.

Will, agree with some of the Culpepper comments, but he's such a front-runner. Guaranteed to look great when playing a bad defense, guaranteed to fall flat when the going gets tough. And, sorry about Childress. Just brutal in so many ways. Play calling, handling the QB situation, referee challenges. Painful. Is he in danger of losing the team?

Agree AJ Hawk was MIA yesterday. Had a lot of tackles, but well behind the LOS. Poppinga had more difference-making plays. The radio guys gave him a hard time as well.

45
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:06pm

36: And we know Marty was the wrong guy why...? From most accounts, he was fired for not getting along with Smith and (gasp) not winning in the playoffs.

And no, they are certainly not separate transactions, any more than me placing $1.00 on a counter and then picking up a candy bar are separate transactions. If Smith wasn't absolutely certain he could find "the guy," as you put it, he should never have even thought about firing Schottenheimer. If he believed that he could, he obviously misread the situation or made a huge tactical error. If he didn't, he made a really poor decision for his team based on a personal opinion. The question of replacement is central to the decision to fire Marty.

46
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:06pm

#28, they fire AJ and re-hire Marty. Other thoughts...

Trent Edwards is who he's been the past few years...a very accurate short passer who can get into a rhythm and nickel and dime a team to death. Essentially, he's David Carr without the lofty expectations of #1 draft position and the silly refusal to take his wedding band off. And a haircut you can set your watch to.

In the span of three plays, Kevin Harlan (I think...) mis-identifies three different KC defensive backs as Ty Law. It was a game of "assume every time a DB makes a good play, it's Ty Law".

I really have no problem with the QB platoon to execute different aspects of the game plan. I think the locker room division is overstated, and non-existant while the team's winning. It gives the other team more to prepare for, and honestly, I think Leinart needs to be knocked down a peg or two before he starts sliding into Cade McNown territory.

This just in -- Favre really just loves the game!

Ike Hilliard's 112 yards receiving at the half was the most shocking development of the day.

Gus Johnson on Lane Kiffin: A guy who’s earned his stripes to get this opportunity Seriously? Lane Kiffin?

And an embarrasing day for the Texas educational system, as the ever present 60 Minutes spots feature Vince Young's Can't nobody tell me nothing. Or do triple negatives fly down there?

47
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:06pm

Well, rich, if you want to leave Smith in charge of personnel, but take away his ability to hire the likes of Turner or Cottrell, fine. Reducing Holmgren's power seemed to work o.k. in Seattle, and it may be the case that Smith sucks at hiring and managing the relationship with a coaching staff, but is good personnel evaluation, especially the draft. Maybe you demote him, and bring in a guy to oversee him and the coaches. You don't let him go out and do the sequel to Turner and Cottrell. Schottenheimer is not the right guy only if you actually hire somebody better.

48
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:16pm

Mike W., Chilly could definitiely lose the team, and really, the single biggest reason is how he has managed the qb position. Anybody who doesn't yet grasp how qb-centric the NFL has become just doesn't understand the league at all. The Vikings leave at least 7 points a week on the table because, 20 months into the reign of Chilly, their qbs miss on passes, while unpressured, that, no exaggeration, a NCAA Division III qb normally can throw. All the other stuff fades away as causes for concern, if they get better qb play.

49
by Jin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:16pm

Told you guys about Sidney Rice, he's the WR on the Vikings that (will be) really good, he's just a 20yr rookie though. Also I think the debate on which group is worse, vikings QBs or WRs has been settled; it's clearly the QBs. They can't hit wide open guys downfield, haven't done it all year. And Chester Taylor, sorry man but its time for you to go to the bench and be the 3rd down/give Peterson a rest every now and then back.

50
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:17pm

Random items:

The Packers under McCarthy are 7-3 on the road. Yes, it's only 10 games. Yes, it's probably mostly the quality of teams being played. But Mike Holmgren had some pretty good teams and was 1-6 in Minny.

Scott Wells did a pretty nice job on Pat Williams who openly sneered at questions about Wells ability in the week before the game.

Al Harris is all beat up. Busted his hand tacling Peterson.

51
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:17pm

My homerific Ravens notes:

They started 7 drivess from between their own 19 and 26 yard line, and from there they drove the ball an average of 55 yards per drive. I'm cautiously optimistic that the Ravens have put together a pretty decent offense that can methodically drive the ball between the 20s, but their red zone offense needs work.

There may have some issues with Yanda's pass blocking as well, but if Ogden comes back that won't be a problem.

Although the defense gave up 27 points, there were only 4 plays (out of 46) that were really bad: the 25yd pass where Reed got picked, the bomb to Edwards where C-Mac guessed wrong, the 28yd Jamal run, and the 49yd pass to Winslow. Other than that the Browns offense wasn't terribly efficient, but they scored TDs in the red zone and deserved to win.

Hopefully these lapses are correctable and their red zone defense returns to form. Fortunately it doesn't seem like any AFC teams have really asserted themselves aside from the Pats and Colts, so if the Ravens can improve their pass coverage they'll have a shot at the playoffs. Their run defense seems stout, although the Brown's O-line was surprisingly good.

52
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:19pm

Does anyone know what has happened to Justin Smiley? I thought he was one of the better young finnesse guards last year, Tommie Harris named him as one of the best four guards in the NFC (Allen, Andrews and Hutchinson were the others) and I really hoped the niners would be able to sign him.

But this year he's been AWFUL, just terrible and I can't figure it out. Why haven't the niners dropped him for Baas, who was supposed to be playing much better.

53
by Jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:20pm

29. I may be mistaken but muffs probably count as fumbles and a lot of those, he just picks up.

54
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:21pm

#52, I was just thinking the same thing. I wonder if he's tipping off what he's going to do.

55
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:23pm

#34: Do you have any examples?

I hadn't noticed, so I just looked at every line of his this week, and they all appear to be more or less dead on.

56
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:28pm

Jin, that the problem I have with the extreme crticism of the Childress/Bevell playcalling; there are times when guys are getting extraordinarily wide open, so Childress/Bevell are obviously seeing things during the week that they successfully exploit on Sunday, but they have screwed up their roster evaluation so badly that they don't have anybody who can get the ball to the wide open guy. Seriously, for the time they wasted, and what they gave up, to bring in the likes of Mike McMahon, Brooks Bollinger, and Kelly Holcombe, not even mentioning trading up to draft Tavaris Jackson, when he had a good chance to go unpicked another round, they could have qb in Minnesota that would have this team at 3-1 or even 4-0. It really is a shame.

57
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:30pm

Will,

did Smith hire cottrell, or did Turner? (I don't know).

I just think that AJ smith is too good of a personell guy to let go. San Diego has abused teams in the Draft/Trading over the last 5 or 6 years.

58
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:32pm

17- Will Allen I agree the announcers in the Vikings/Packers game were the worst ever. Ron Pitts and JC Pearman.

Favre breaks one of the most prestigious records in sports and the Vikings franchise celebrated it more than them! They stopped the game and had a video with Dan Marino congradulating him at the Metrodome, but the annoucers didn't say much at all about Favre.

Pitts and Pearman were wrong about so many things in that game. Pearman kept calling a post corner route a "sail" route. A back was 5 yards short of a first down and they said that " it appears he didn't make the first down"... duhh. There was a play where it appeared a runner got horse collared, and the two dumb annoucers had no idea what Ed Hochuli was discusing with the umpire.

They were real hard on Kelly Holcomb who was brought in 2 months ago, but two weeks ago JC Pearman wasn't hard at all on Tavaras "reggie ball" Jackson and his 4 picks. He "shows potential". Fox shouldn't allow those clowns in the booth.

59
by Trinian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:32pm

It appeared to me that Justice had poor drop back technique, seeming to be slightly off balance after taking his first or second step back. Did anyone else observe this or was it a figment of my imagination?

60
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:34pm

My impression is that he did, Rich, or at least it was his recommendation.

61
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:34pm

Will:

Lest we forget Holcomb also fumbled only Minnesota recovered. It could have EASILY been a 5 TO day for him.

That is the 10th(!) Interception dropped by Nick Collins. He's fast, strong, run supports well and is rarely out of position these days. But his hands are TERRIBLE. Gah.....

62
by Unshakable Optimist (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:36pm

Jon Kitna now leads the league in passing yards...

63
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:37pm

Chris, was there any mention of Mckinnie being sick? I swear, with most announcers, we'd be better off without any voices in the booth, and just went with a crawl across the bottom of the screen with injury information.

64
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:38pm

I really didn't think Griese was that bad yesterday. Yes, the pick-six was awful and he just missed on some routes. But he looked waaay better than Grossman. He stood strong in the pocket and went through progressions. He didn't freak out like Grossman would. Now we just need to get him on page with the WRs. And get them to stop dropping balls. And get the running game going. And the defense healthy...

65
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:42pm

35- Justin Tuck is so quick on the interior of the D-Line it isn't even funny. He is a mismatch for any left guard in the game on 3rd downs.

The Vikings need to fire Brad Childress. AP was the only threat they had, and he was on the bench. Tavaras Jackson is reggie ball, and Kelly Holcome is 2 months into this "system".
Jeff Garcia on the Vikings and they are 3-1 or 4-0.

I agree with Rich Conley- Joey Harrington isn't even a "good" quarterback and he is making the Atlanta offense look not that bad. Vick just wouldn't study his playbook and he would have been the same 1 read and run vick. It would have been pretty rushes for 12 yards, instead of playing the QB position.

I agree that the Trent Edwards INT in the back of the endzone wasn't a bad read, but a bad throw. His receiver ( I believe evans) had a step on the jet, but the ball was a little bit underthrown. The receiver still could have tried to come back to the ball, and grab it at it's highest point, but the guy had a step on the Jet.

66
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:42pm

Trini- you're right- he was slow getting off the line all night, and Osi went right by him. McNabb actually started taking shallower dropbacks cuz Umenyiora was rushing to the 5-step spot so effectively. That's why Osi went right by him a couple of times.

Maybe Justice is just too slow. Is he carrying too much weight? Is it too early to recommend the Leonard Davis treatment for him?

67
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:44pm

Regarding the Vikings I was actually encouraged on a few levels. Obvioulsy I'm amazed by Peterson, but Rice and Shiancoe are also looking pretty decent. If the QB play wasn't so bad the Vikings could have rolled up 500 yards against a very decent defence.

I debated the cause of the weak passing attack with Will Allen last week. Clearly the QB seemed to be the problem in the GB game. I would argue that most of the sacks were the product of a QB with no mobility and a very poor sense of the rush. For the most part I thought the OL played very well. Of course missing a wide open TD for the second week in a row was devastating.

68
by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:45pm

I'm a bit late getting to this thread, but I like the use of the name Mangenius as irony only.
Jets fans, when you are fed up with him, his name is "ManJudas, The Once and Future Towel Boy."
(He lost to Jauron!)

69
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:46pm

Will Allen- I watched the Packers game and I don't remember anybody mentioning Mckinnie being sick.

He was dominated by Jared Allen 2 weeks ago for 2 sacks and a FF, and KGB and the pack dominated him yesterday.

I have to give FO their props on the Packers. Cullen Jenkins is a beast. That big DT in the middle is a solid run stopper too, and Pickett I guess looked alright too.

AP was picked 7th in the draft, and Reggie Bush was picked #2 overall the year before. I'd guarantee you the Vikings wouldn't swap Peterson for Bush. Reggie Bush is NOT the once in a generation Gale Sayers type back, but Adrian Peterson might be if he stays healthy. He really is a "big back" but you wouldn't notice that by the speed he plays with. He keeps his shoulders North south even when he is moving laterally much the way LT does. If he stays healthy, he could be nasty on that artificial turf in Minny.

70
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:46pm

Also what was the deal with the camera angles in the Bears/Lions game? They seemed to show like a 3/4 angle from behind the defense a lot. Is is always like that for Lions games or was the normal sliding LOS camera broken?

Also I swear Berrian had a catch early on that was exactly like the Vernon Davis incomplete pass where he didnt control the ball to the ground, only the called it a catch for berrian.

And how about that forward fumble at the end of the game? that was odd.

71
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:47pm

61 - 10, Badger? Is that right? I knew it was a lot, but damn.

Having to sweat it out after the late fumble was apropos for the Packers after doing a terrible job of hanging onto the ball, not falling on fumbles, not catching INTs all freaking day. I hope McCarthy comes up with some sort of humiliating Dodgeball-style drill for them this week.

72
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:52pm

Chirs, I wanted Peterson to get the ball more, but it really can be hard to keep Peterson on the field, especially in a two minute offense, unless Peterson is reasonably competent in pass blocking. When you keep an explosive rb who can't block on the field in a two minute offense, you are announcing, "Hey, we're going to give the ball to the rb!" which reduces the edge his explosiveness gives the team. Now, I still think that Peterson should have touched the ball in the last two minutes, and I don't know if he is any good at blocking yet or not, but an NFL coach is not completely nuts to he heistant to have even as explosive a back as Peterson on the field during the two minute offense, if he is a terrible blocker. If Peterson is, hopefully he'll at least become average in short order, and then become good. Part of what made Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton so great was that they were devastating blockers as well.

73
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:52pm

The New York Giants are 2-2, beating up on Football outsider darlings the Washington Redskins and the Philly Eages.... Their 2 losses are to undefeated Dallas and Green Bay.

When will people start to come around on the Giants? It's not like they lost to Buffalo and Atlanta, they lost to Dallas and Green Bay.

Schatz said the Giants might start out 0-5 or maybe 1-4. Now they have the opportunity to start out 3-2 or 2-3 before that schedule gets easier, and they get big Brandon Jacobs back.

Tiki Who?

74
by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:53pm

A few homerific comments as a Packer fan:

There probably was interference on the last play that should have been called, but there definately was none when Harris was called on the play before.

AP is the real deal. He should have been running all day. He had two touches in the second half.

Rice looks good. That TD catch was nice.

Thank god Green Bay is the only team in the NFC North that understands that QB is an important position.

75
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:54pm

The Bears-Lions pass to a lineman call was positively tuck-rule-esque, but other than that I'm scrubbing my eyeballs and getting ready for the baseball playoffs.

The Bears are going to be worse, too. Payne broke his arm I think.

76
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:56pm

One more thing: aren't blocked fgs supposed to be a non predictive event? How many have the Bears blocked this year? I really hope they break down whatever it is the Bears are doing on Matchup.

77
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 1:58pm

#64, I agree. I think Griese, especially in the second half, performed about as well as could be expected. Berrian dropped at least two passes, and Benson didn't do much to help. The TD pass to Muhammad required a degree of touch that Grossman is completely incapable of.

Is Griese a great quarterback, or even a very good one? No. But he's good enough to win with.

78
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:01pm

#75, according to Dick Stockton (I think), the Bears have blocked 5 kicks so far this year. Three of them by somebody named Idonije.

79
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:01pm

Chris, Jared Allen is going to have some good days against good tackles in Arrowhead; it's an extremely noisy place, and then they split out Allen wide. When Mckinnie was getting beaten yesterday at home against a de who he has previously handled very well for the most part, I suspected that something was physically wrong with Mckinnie. Thus, I was not surprised to read this morning that he was puking into a trash barrel on the sideline for a good portion of the game. You'd think the sight of a 6'8", 340 pound man, who starts at left tackle, puking into a trash barrel for the entire game would warrant some mention by the genius broadcasting team, but I guess not.

80
by Lou W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:03pm

Chris, I had the same thought on A. Peterson/Bush during the game. In the 4th quarter Childress put "The Cashier" in for a kick return (his best coaching decision) and Peterson returned it to Green Bay territory really really fast. Damn fast. Faster than Reggie Bush fast.

That's why I must say that I'm not as bummed as our other Vikings fans. Who cares that we are 1-3 instead of 4-0. Greenway and Rice (based on 1 great catch) look great and Peterson looks like the best running back to enter the league in the last few years. I'm taking an advance on the buzz from the next couple of years, so I feel awesome.

81
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:05pm

Griese wasn't "rattled", but he was consistantly throwing behind receivers and it was directly responsible for two of the picks (the third was also his fault, but he missed a zone read.)

82
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:06pm

"You’d think the sight of a 6′8″, 340 pound man, who starts at left tackle, puking into a trash barrel for the entire game would warrant some mention by the genius broadcasting team, but I guess not."

I think that's what sideline reporters are supposed to be for, other than looking (usually) attractive.

83
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:06pm

Chris, I had the same thought on A. Peterson/Bush during the game. In the 4th quarter Childress put “The Cashier� in for a kick return (his best coaching decision) and Peterson returned it to Green Bay territory really really fast. Damn fast. Faster than Reggie Bush fast.

Assuming "The Cashier" is Peterson, you really think that having the Franchise return kicks was Childress's best coaching decision? I thought it was a terrible decision when I saw Peterson taking the opening kickoff. Don't the Vikings have speedy DBs who can return kicks? I would say speedy WRs, but I haven't seen any with reliable hands.

84
by goathead (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:07pm

BTW, nice rundown by Eli after he threw his pick. Horrible pass, but it looked like a pick 6, and all of a sudden Eli puts on this burst of speed, and saved a TD.

85
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:07pm

Israel Idonije is a backup/rotation DT and special teams beast. He's been around for the last 3-4 years at least.

86
by azibuck (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:07pm

Marty Schottenheimer career postseason record: 5-13. He choked away playoff game after playoff game. The Chargers are a game out of first, and there will be some people here choking on their opinion of Norv Turner after SD wins the AFCW.

87
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:07pm

I'd just like to point out the NFC wild card race is going to be fun, especially with the NFC East and NFC North playing each other. As a Redskin fan I'm giddy about matchups against Detroit, Green Bay, and Arizona... which most likely will determine their chances for the wild card after week 7.

88
by John (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:08pm

Fill in the blank: If the Chargers lose ___ or more games this year, Norv Turner will go down as the worst coach in NFL history.

My (metaphorical) money is on 9. It obviously takes historical levels of ineptitude to honestly earn the "worst coach in NFL history" title. An 8-8 season won't do it, but 7-9 just might.

89
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:10pm

Yeah, Lou, the best news is that with the possible exception of Tavaris (sigh) the last two drafts look very good, so I think the personnel department is squared away. The 2005 draft haunts this team like a spectre, so I'm glad that most of the people responsible for it are gone. I highly suspect that Studwell kept his job because he was able to establish that Troy Williamson, and some other picks, were not his preference.

90
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:14pm

Why would I change my opinion of Norv Turner, simply because he wins a division title with a team that went 14-2 last year? Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl. So what?

91
by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:15pm

#84,

Yeah, that was a nice effort by Eli, although I think Toomer probably would've caught Gaither from behind after a few more yards. From Gaither's point of view, though, why did he run out of bounds? Wouldn't any self-respecting linebacker take whatever opportunity he can get to throw his shoulder into the opposing QB?

(As for the INT, I'm not certain that it wasn't Shockey's fault for breaking too late/slowly.)

92
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:18pm

Will, to borrow a phrase from Bill Simmons, I think the hiring of Turner and Cottrell was AJ Smith's "I'm Keith Hernandez" moment.

93
by Jin (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:21pm

Will, Everytime I look at the Bucs I can't help but think if only we had signed Garcia, we'd be 4-0. But I never bothered to think about him, Carr or Leftwich because I KNEW that Chilly was going with Jackson no matter what. What we can do is instigate Philly fans to trash McNabb to accelerate his departure, because I believe Childress would go for McNabb (he was his QB coach in his rookie year in Philly) and our QB coach was his QB coach in Syracuse. Of course we would have to outbid the Bears.

94
by passerby (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:24pm

The Dolphins - Raiders game was of no surprise. Even RaiderJoe could have predicted the outcome.

95
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:27pm

For those complaining about the announcers... if they are so bad than surely they must be ripe for the picking. Climb the broadcasting ladder and turn your football/sports knowledge into a job. Given the internet age it's not hard to make a self-podcast and practice calling down-distance players, and game preparation. Given the amount of football shown on a given weekend it's probably not a bad career if you can deal with the travel.

I think I hear the comment every week, if you think you can do better than I'm sure people would be willing to download and listen to your alternate audio. Maybe we there should be some type of broadcasting podcast contest or something.

96
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:31pm

"Given the internet age it’s not hard to make a self-podcast and practice calling down-distance players, and game preparation. "

I'm pretty sure that illegal. "any broadcasts, descriptions,...express written permission of the nfl"... blah blah mumbo jumbo.

97
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:35pm

Jin, what frustrates me about Garcia, assuming he did not quietly inform the Vikings that he wan't interested in throwing to their receivers, was that he knows Childress' preferred offense inside and out, and is still mobile enough for what it requires. I mean Childress KNOWS that with Brad Johnson or Kelly Holcombe back there attracting pigeons that huge chunks of the playbook go unused, and he could not have been that confident that Tavaris Jackson would develop that quickly, could he? I mean it just boggles my mind if Childress thought it extremely likely that a guy with Jackson's college pedigree would be ready by his second year. Look at Tony Romo, for goodeness sakes.

98
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:38pm

Who selected Tarvaris? Did Childress have a hand in it? Did a front office type dictate he get a shot this year? I haven't heard anything of the kind, but as Will, Jin, etc. have noted, it was pretty inexplicable to assume he was going to get it done, and not even to have a fallback position.

99
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:42pm

Oh, I just love the NFL. We take the temperature of every team EVERY week. The Giants' defense helped cover up the worst game Eli Manning has played in a long time. He simply rushed nearly all of his throws.

As much praise as the d-line deserves, at least a third of those Giants sacks were due to excellent coverage. Madison, Ross, and Dockery all made nice plays in pass coverage. Even Michael Johnson was flying around... not bad for a 7th round pick. Gotta give Spags his credit. He's figuring out how to have at least 3 of his best 4 defenders (sometimes all 4) rushing the passer at the same time on 2nd and 3rd downs.

That leads me to the Eagles. I know they were missing Westbrook and LJ Smith, but when are they going to get a TOP-NOTCH WR? I'm talking about a player like Plaxico, who catches TDs when he's double-teamed and not the slightest bit open. Plus, wouldn't it be nice if they actually caught some of those passes that get thrown to them?

#73... Let's not go crazy. Tiki would've gotten 125 yards minimum on those same carries Ward had.

100
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:47pm

My impression is that Childress lobbied hard to get Tavaris in the 2nd round after Childress worked him out extensively. I'm not giving up on him yet, but it seems pretty apparent to me that he is a three or four year project under the best circumstances, which means he should not have been taken in the 2nd round.

101
by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:53pm

#3 and a few others: I've watched almost every Atlanta game for the last several years. People have blamed the quarterback, the line, receivers and everyone on the coaching staff for Atlanta's passing troubles in recent times, and the answer has always been "all of the above." Jenkins and especially White were not this good last year. Whether that's the influence of Joe Horn or the new coaching staff, I can't say.

Of course, a lot of this is also due to the fact they were playing the Texans.

#22: DeAngelo Hall is very overrated by the mainstream press, but that doesn't mean he's a terrible player. He doesn't get beat particularly often, but when he does get beat, he gets BURNED. Overall, he's about an average starting NFL cornerback.

The other corner however... Jason Webster and Allen Rossum were awful last year, which is why they are in Buffalo and Pittsburgh now. They've replaced them with Lewis Sanders (the Texans didn't think he was worth keeping around) and Chris Houston, a second-round rookie who can't be expected to be very good four games into his career.

102
by chip (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:53pm

#64 / 77 Right on. Griese was not the problem yesterday. He was made one wrong read (thought it was man when it was zone) that went for a pick-six, but otherwise looked decent. Two of the interceptions were bad routes / drop balls / not on the same page with the WR (due to limited practice reps / no meaningful game experience in 2 yrs.). He made plays that Grossman could never make (which isn't saying much, but still….)

The big problem is that the O-line looks absolutely terrible. Both Miller and Brown are done. Tait has one more yr. left in him. Garza is cheap and serviceable, so he'll have to due. Kruetz needs help on 350lb 3-4 nose tackles, but is otherwise the only decent player on the line. On one 1 or 2 of the sacks, Griese should have bailed out, but otherwise the line has to take the blame for giving him no time, giving up four sacks, and creating no running lanes. To compound the situation, the Bears have [ choose on: Salam / Enis / Benson ] at RB. The worse part about is that they haven't even played a good defense yet.

How good would Tony Ugoh look in a Bears uniform at LT right now?

103
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 2:54pm

"but when are they going to get a TOP-NOTCH WR"

I vaguely remember them having one. Went by his initials, IIRC.

I, for one, am happy they no longer have him. I just wish the Cowboys had tired of him as well.

104
by admin :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:00pm

Two comments. First, the "number five cornerbacks" line came because I misunderstood Hall's suspension -- I was thinking he was out the entire game. With Hall, Atlanta has a number two cornerback and a bunch of number five cornerbacks. Also, the Philadelphia tight end I meant to criticize for his blocking is Brent Celek, the rookie, not Matt Schobel.

105
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:01pm

I read that the Vikings employed a 3-3-5 for part of the game to counter the passing dominated attack of the Packers. Seems to me they'd be better off leaving 4 DL to rush the passer and taking off one of the pass coverage challenged linebackers and replacing him with a DB. Has anyone ever seen a team use a 4-2-5?

106
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:02pm

I love that 99 had Plaxico Burress as an example of a "top notch WR."

OK, maybe I'm a little snobbish because I watch the Colts, but still.

107
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:05pm

Random comments:

Will Carroll: I saw a number of plays where Bailey was man-up on Clark. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a shutdown cornerback put on a tight end before, though Clark is a tight end in name only.

I know the Broncos have done this with Bailey on Gonzalez. Kennison has had some very good games against the Broncos because he hasn't had to face Bailey much. I think DEN also does this with Gates.

Re #30 - when Dante Hall had his brief fling, I often thought the blockers were going the extra mile to get downfield to block. I think the ST guys get fired up when they think their returner can break records.

Re #36 - I think the firing of Schottenheimer was a mistake, but where Smith should take the fall is not in doing it, but in waiting so long to do it. If he'd done it the day after the loss, he probably could have gotten Cameron or Phillips pretty easily and they would have been better choices than Norv. Or, if not, there still were other viable candiates. By waiting so long he had really narrowed his choices on filling not only the HC but also the rest of the staff.

Re #46 - announcer misidentifying Ty Law was Dick Enberg, who should have retired years ago.

Re Peterson in the two minute drill: fine, but that doesn't explain him only getting 12 carries the whole game.

Mike McCarthy, so far, is a great example of how you don't have to be a great coordinator to be a good HC.

108
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:06pm

80. Lou W - I agree with you regarding Rice. I've been excited about him since the draft. Mostly because he was so effective in college at such an early age. Watching him makes me even more excited. His ball skills are tremendous.

Regarding Greenway though I've had the opposite impression. While he looks athletic it seems to me his pass coverage has been very weak. My impression has been that teams have been targeting him, and Griffin.

109
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:07pm

Re: 96
Shared amongst friends I'd have a hard time seeing how that type of PodCast doesn't fall under a "personal use". Is this why we never got a MDS every play counts podcast?

I suppose it could also fall under parody.

110
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:07pm

jim:

When the Packers played the Colts a few years back in Indy they went 4-2-5. Same when GB played the Rams in the playoffs with Marshall Faulk.

Considering that GB is not the bastion of original thought I figure 4-2-5 has to be somewhat common given the right circumstances......

111
by Boston Dan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:15pm

ok in the last two weeks I've made a couple of great starts on my fantasy team. I'm going to post them before hand from now on.

Week 3 - benched F. Gore for S. Morris, benched for L. Fitzgerald for N. Burleson.

Week 4 - H. Ward out & benched J. Galloway for P. Crayton.

I'm also riding the DEF/ST vs the Rams train for as long as it lasts.

112
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:17pm

MRH (#107 )--
Re #46 - announcer misidentifying Ty Law was Dick Enberg, who should have retired years ago.
To paraphrase TMQ (from back when he was witty): Dick Enberg did retire years ago. They just kept him in the booth anyway.

113
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:17pm

Boy, it's interesting to contrast the two SC receivers on the Vikings. Rice's ball skills do appear top notch, and while I think Williamson has gotten better, his instincts are just on a whole different, and inferior, planet. He made one decent catch on a deep ball that our sterling qb threw out of bounds, but on another deep ball he appeared so concerned with Al Harris' minor hand checking that he neglected to put out both hands out to catch a decently thrown ball. Heck, if he had just tried to get both hands on the ball, Harris might have given his arm a harder tug, and possibly could have drawn a PI call.

114
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:19pm

#106... Don't misconstrue my statement to mean Plaxico is on the level of Marvin Harrison, Steve Smith, etc... However, it can't be argued that every team needs a WR who can make something out of nothing, doesn't disappear when double-teamed, or actually needs to be double teamed. The Eagles are really in need of a big-time WR. They seem to have trouble making plays against tight coverage. Just my observation.

115
by SideshowTootie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:20pm

RE: 105

Haven't the Bears tried 4-2-5 a couple of times this year, or have I misread it a few different times?

116
by goathead (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:21pm

jasonK - Yes, I was surprised Gaither didn't plow thru Eli (esp when I watched the replay), most likely he didn't realize who was closing on him. And yes it was running down an LB, but who knew Eli could run that fast? Really though, last night was the worst game Eli has played all year.

117
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:23pm

110. Badger - Thanks for the feedback.

GB lost 45-17 to the Rams in the 2001 playoffs, if that was the effect of the 4-2-5 maybe my instincts aren't so great.

I thought Favre was brilliant yesterday. The pack ended up with 6.5 yards per pass attempt, so given how well Favre threw the ball, maybe the Vikings played pretty decent pass defence.

118
by SideshowTootie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:23pm

RE: Me.

Wait, isn't 4-2-5 the same thing as nickel? If so, then I think it's used somewhat often.

119
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:30pm

118. Good question - if that's the nickel, what's the dime - I always knew nickel was 5 db's and dime was 6 db's, but I never known which position players the db's replaced.

120
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:30pm

While surfing the internets today, I came across the perfect name for a Loser League team name: The Norv Turner Hype Machine. Too bad I'm about 5 weeks too late.

121
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:33pm

Probably irritating a few on this thread who actually played football. I looked up the nickel and dime and see if replaces a lb with a db. I'm curious if anyone knows if the Vikings play a lot of nickel and dime?

122
by SideshowTootie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:36pm

I think Nickel just means 5 DBs, and Dime is 6. I would imagine the most common formations for these are 4-2-5 and 3-2-6 respectively.

123
by Mike W (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:36pm

BTW, Cedric Benson? Still completely unimpressive.

124
by Speedegg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:37pm

As for the SD Charger's front office, AJ Smith won't get fired he's in too good with the owner, Spanos. That's why Smith remains and Marty left.

Not sure how long Turner will last, he is Smith's pick for HC. Smith can be stubborn, when he's convinced he's right. Sammy Davis, Tim Dwight, David Boston, and others were terrible and lasted a few seasons before they were cut. Smith is in charge of drafting, so he might wanted them to stay until he's sure they were busts. Not sure of this, but I know Marty and Smith fought over drafts and cuts.

Turner's tenure will be determined by how badly the Chargers play. Getting beat by 3 points by the Patriots isn't that bad, it was a close and competitive game. Getting beat by 24 shows how well Turner prepared the team. The way offense and defense are playing a 6-10 or 5-11 record is possible.

Maybe Jason Garret can be lured away from Dallas or Ron Riveria promoted to HC?

125
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:45pm

Re: 95

For those complaining about the announcers… if they are so bad than surely they must be ripe for the picking. Climb the broadcasting ladder and turn your football/sports knowledge into a job.

That won't help if the suits who produce/direct the telecasts don't want detailed, insightful game analysts.

And I think that's the case. I think they (sadly, probably rightfully) worry that a team who analyzed with the kind of detail that FO has in TDZ/strategy minicamps would be derided as boring, esoteric, etc.

Further, there's not even time for such analysis -- the networks need to dumb everything down and keep it short so they can drop in all the self-promos they can. Heck, during Pats games last year CBS missed kickoffs and the first one or two plays after a punt multiple times.

126
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:53pm

"The way offense and defense are playing a 6-10 or 5-11 record is possible."

I hate to kick a fan from a team I've got nothing against when said fan is down, but the way the offense and defense are playing, a 6-10 record might be overly optimistic.

I mean, just on talent level alone you should be favored in all of your remaining games except for Indy. But with the way you are playing, I don't see any games that I consider to be definite wins for the Chargers right now; if they can lose handily to the Chiefs then they can also lose to any of the Lions, Raiders, Vikings, and Texans (teams I consider to be of comparable quality to -- or better than-- the Chiefs). If they don't start playing better, then going 3-3 against those teams and winless against everyone else is possible. That would be 4-12.

127
by n0_j0 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:54pm

re: 96
"I’m pretty sure that illegal. “any broadcasts, descriptions,…express written permission of the nfl�… blah blah mumbo jumbo."

They claim that, but it's not true. I can claim that I'm emperor, but that's not true, either.

They don't own descriptions of the game. If you want to describe what you see and podcast that, they have no recourse against you (except to send lawyers after you to threaten you until you realize that it's not worth the legal bills and give up).

(I'm not a lawyer)

128
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:58pm

Re: A.J. Smith: If you fire your coach after a 14-2 season, especially one with a QB starting for the first time, you deserve whatever happens to you.

44- Nothing about DeAngelo Hall strikes me as lazy. You've summed up the ATL 2dary quite well, otherwise.

52- "Finesse guards" That is a name hair-dryer attachment, not a football position.

99 - It is Eagles team policy never to have a Top-Notch WR, however capitalized. Short-term exceptions are made only for players for whom zoloft would be a performance-enhancing drug.

129
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 3:59pm

The difference between an ordinary nickel formation and the 4-2-5 the Bears were using is a nickel is usually 3 corners and two safeties, whereas the bears were playing with 3 safeties and 2 corners, and the extra safety was a strong safety, not a free safety. This formation is typically known as the "big nickel."

130
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:00pm

127 - They can claim that. It is true. They own the thing that's happening on the field, and they have the right to license or limit derivative works, such as your podcast.

(I am.)

131
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:01pm

I'm going to start calling Winston Justice "EZ Pass".

132
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:03pm

I can't remember; why didn't Stallworth remain with the Eagles?

133
by Jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:08pm

I have to say I'm surpised how much slack Griese is getting here. I understand it was his first start in quite some time, but he was absolutely horrible yesterday. He single handedly cost the Bears, at minimum, 13 points. Both interceptions on the goalline were poor throws; one considerably behind the receiver to the point no play could have been made. The pick-6 was straight out of the Rex Grossman playbook. Didn't see the linebacker and threw the ball right in his breadbasket.

The only reason his numbers look somewhat salavageable was that he racked up some garbage time yardage with the Lions playing soft coverage. He also threw a touchdown after his braindead toss to an ineligable lineman, and that lineman's subsequent fumble, ended up with the ball returned to the Bears. Also helping him out was strange procedure penalty during a FG that moveed the ball close enough for the Bears to go for it on 4th down.

Griese was probably among the biggest factors in the Bears loss to the Lions, if not the biggest. He was awful.

134
by n0_j0 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:10pm

Fleshy:

Okay, so why doesn't the description of what's going on in the game qualify as a "fact"? IIRC, facts aren't copyrightable (baseball statistics are the precedent, I believe).

135
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:12pm

RE#129, if the bills did it, would it be a Buffalo Nickel?

136
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:12pm

#117, jim m, some folks will rip the Vikings pass defense again, and i'm not saying it was great, but the fact remains that they gave up 23 points to a qb who was extremely accurate along with sidestepping the rush well when it was applied, and ten of those points came on short fields following a turnover and a goofy/lucky fake punt. Given that the Pack generally won the field position contest, it was a pretty good defensive effort.

137
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:19pm

I don't think people realize how egregiously bad the coaching was with the Eagles yesterday.

The Eagles have a tackle who can replace William Thomas effectively. He just happens to be the starting guard - Todd Herremans. He replaced Thomas decently in 2005, and then he was so good they wanted to get him on the field, and switched him to guard. He slid out to tackle last year for the Atlanta game, so it's not like he doesn't know how.

After the first half, when Justice was simply being abused by Osi, Herremans should've slid out to tackle, and Max Jean-Gilles should've come in for Herremans. The fact that they didn't even try this is just an embarassment.

138
by emcee fleshy (sd/atl) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:30pm

134- An interesting point. Give me just a minute.

139
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:31pm

So if Norv goes 9-7 this year is he OK...Schotty followed a 12-4 season with a 9-7 season-then had his 14-2 season. I think it was a bad hire, but I think A.J. got a little too confident that anybody could coach the talent and win with it-and thats not looking like the case. I like A.J. Smith, but when your team's GM is Matt Millen I guess everything looks a lot better.

oh and no mention of Shaun Rogers? Blocked another kick-that gives him I think 10 in his career, might be more. The NFC North is loaded with talented DTs, but when Rogers is on-he is probably the best.

140
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:35pm

Pat, you are too right. Depressingly right.

Winston Justice getting beaten starts out his fault. When it becomes a habit, they need to get him some help. When it reaches that level, they need to get him out of there.

Somewhere around the 3rd quarter, that stopped being a slight to Winston Justice and started being a slight to Andy Reid.

We just might have seen a promising career destroyed. That's not the sort of thing that you automatically recover from, mentally. Justice might never be the same.

141
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:36pm

Forget Justice- how could Andy Reid do that to McNabb?

142
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:46pm

Because Andy hasn't realized that McNabb can't escape like he used too.

Here's another thought. Why not just RUN THE @#$%^*& BALL?!?!?!?!?!?

Oh yeah, 'cause it's Andy Reid. My bad.

143
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:53pm

Sorry for the double post, but here's another wonderful thought for us Iggles fans...

Just think...

This is a win now year. All those restructured bonuses so we could spend next years money...

..for this.

What a kick in the nuts.

144
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 4:56pm

Re: 141

Isn't it obvious? It must be because he's black.

145
by pete c (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:00pm

using PFP/FO for my betting projection system, three games were found and three won (atl, oak, ari). TB was actually not that good of a line if you thought David Carr had value. +3 was where it shouldve been. However, since david carr is best described as useless, yes that was a great line!

146
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:05pm

133

Griese also put together a good drive that lead to one of those picks. Something Grossman hasn't been doing. As I see it the running game and recievers were most culpable for the loss yesterday. Yeah not all the balls were thrown in the ideal place to catch them, but some of them have to be caught.

139
He was definitely a beast yesterday. I read it was his 11th.

147
by jim m (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:08pm

136. Will Allen - re: Vikings pass defence really not that bad. Like I mentioned earlier - they gave up 6.5 per attempt to a QB throwing almost every ball perfectly. That's pretty good D.

I'm actually optimistic about the Vikings. With some good fortune the Vikings could actually be 4-0 against competition that probably isn't as weak as it originally appeared. I think that other than QB, Childress and Spielman are creating a good core with perhaps the best cap situation in the league. Granted QB is often the toughest fix, but this team is probably just a decent QB away from being a solid playoff contender.

148
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:16pm

"Somewhere around the 3rd quarter, that stopped being a slight to Winston Justice and started being a slight to Andy Reid."

The problem with that is, it wasn't just Justice getting destroyed. That entire line got destroyed. They had a TE protecting Runyan because Strahan was killing him.

149
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:17pm

Hey, if things really go south in Philly, there's still time for irrational Iggles' fans to run McNabb out of town before the trade deadline! One can hope!

150
by emcee fleshy (sd/atl) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:18pm

134- Okay, had to look some things up to make sure.

First, see the link in my name for the case (I think) you're talking about. NBA v. Motorola, 105 F.3d 841 (2d Cir. 1997)

Second, I'm going to try to do this without making it so dry that everybody goes back to their Excel spreadsheets just for some excitement. I will likely fail.

Third, this ain't a brief, and it ain't legal advice, so it won't be as precise as you'd get if you were paying me $250/hour. (Which you are totally encouraged to do!)

Now down to business:

You're right that the facts of the games themselves are not copyrightable. My original statement was overbroad. This is why lawyers usually avoid saying anything clever, and seem to always talk in caveats, even though we know that it irritates everybody and keeps us alone and friendless.

That said, if you're making the podcast off of the broadcast, you're not describing the facts of the game, so much as you're describing the broadcast. Federal copyright protection expressly covers the broadcast of a live sporting event. The broadcast is not the "facts."

The difference between the podcast and the text-message updates on your cell phone (the issue that the NBA lost in the Motorola case) is that, in order to be worth listening to, you'd be doing more than just play-by-play on the raw game. You'd be describing the game in a way that would be determined by the production of the telecast. Motorola specifically talks about this as the difference between what anybody would see if at the stadium watching the game, vs. what you see via the cameramen, cutshots, close-ups, replays slow-motions and the like.

If you tried making the podcast directly from the stadium, (technical issues aside) you'd have a separate problem: your ticket is a license from the NFL, and it almost certainly prohibits this sort of thing. (I’m not bothering to look this one up.) You trade your right to podcast for the license to go into to the stadium.

151
by Alyssa (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:21pm

Re: #106

Just to clarify- A.J. Smith DID want to fire Marty right away after the playoff loss... for his own reasons, of course, which may or may not have been the best for the team. But he met with Spanos to discuss the team and Spanos made the decision to initially retain Schottenheimer... then Spanos changed his mind when the coordinators left. So really, it wasn't A.J.'s fault that many of the good coaches were already taken.

Trust me, no one is more disappointed than me right now with how this season is going. But I have a hard time blaming A.J. Smith because he single-handedly drafted much of the talent in San Diego and he has one of the best eyes for the draft ever... note how he was voted the Best GM in Sports last year in Forbes magazine.

I don't blame Norv Turner either, per se, except that DVOA shows his teams do consistently underperform. San Diego needs to wake up and play like they are capable- they are WAY too talented to waste it.

152
by Black Squirrel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:21pm

Philly's use of an obviously outclassed Justice reminds me of New York's stubborness in sticking with Bob Whitfield last year when it was obvious he couldn't play. Once the Giants moved Diehl out to LT, the offense improved markedly.

Last night's Eagles/Giants game showed me that all of the talk we hear from commentators about halftime adjustments is a bunch of trash. Andy Reid's record demonstrates that he is a competent coach, but the Giants' pass rush was equally dominant in each half. I'm not saying strategy plays no part in the NFL, I just think coaching is emphasized by fans and the media.

153
by chiptochip (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:22pm

So is the Giants' defensive line going to look this good next week against the Jets? I realize that half of it was Umenyiora beating Justice, but there were 5 sacks from non-Umenyiora defensive linemen. Or are D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Anthony Clement going to shut them down?

154
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:22pm

Like I mentioned earlier - they gave up 6.5 per attempt to a QB throwing almost every ball perfectly. That’s pretty good D.

Is it? While 6.5 yards per completion would be evidence of a good defense, 6.5 yards per attempt seems mediocre at best. This is just my hypothesizing, it's really not a metric I pay attention to.

155
by Alyssa (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:24pm

Oops sorry- wrong reference number in previous post. I was referencing whoever said that A.J. Smith shouldn't have waited so long to fire Marty, which was earlier in the thread.

156
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:25pm

Last night’s Eagles/Giants game showed me that all of the talk we hear from commentators about halftime adjustments is a bunch of trash.

If you've been in a locker room at halftime even at the high school level, you'd think otherwise. Andy Reid and every other coach makes adjustments. The questions are does he make the right ones, and are they going to make a difference.

157
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:30pm

Haha... Norval... he's already lost more games than Marty did through all of last season.

Marty was interviewed on San Diego radio this Friday. It sounded like he still has a heart for the team and even roots for the Charger's on Sunday due to the relationships. Marty wouldn't even say anything bad about AJ... he seems like a pretty stand-up guy... something bigger must've gone on between him and AJ that they can't discuss...

158
by Rick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:49pm

There is no joy in NYC over that Giants win. Or there shouldn't be. It's another example of how the Eagles beat themselves. Over 130 yards in penalties, 6 sacks against a newbie, and a hobbled QB. A bunch of those sacks were monster gains 2/3 years ago...shows how much a bum knee can make a difference.

The one thing the Giants did extraordinarily well, and the one thing that worried me before the game, was coverage. I told my Giants fan father in law that if they covered the receivers, the Giants had a shot. And cover them they did...yet, were still only 2 TDs from a loss.

Statistically, these 2 teams matched up very evenly. The lone standout # was penalties. Parcells used to say 100 yds in Penalties is worth 7 points. Indeed, that was very true last night.

159
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:53pm

"yet, were still only 2 TDs from a loss."

????

2 TDs from a loss is a blowout.

160
by Rick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:53pm

RE: Philly/NY...I also wondered how, when you're gaining 7 yds on average in rushing, and only 1.5 per pass attempt, you continue to decide to pass. What, exactly, was Reid hoping to find? If Buckhalter had kept running, his average may have fallen to 4 yards per carry...which is still damn good and would still move the sticks. And it would have opened up the passing game.

I'll have to say if there's one thing that bothers me about Reid, it's his inability to pay attention to active statistics and work with them, as opposed to against them.

161
by Rick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 5:56pm

#159:
14 points is a blowout, agreed. 13 and I'm picking nits. But the fact is 2 late TDs and it would've been a different story.

Given that the defense only gave up 10 points, what is it, exactly, that the Giants accomplished offensively? Not much.

The Giants got the win, and that's what counts. But reading more into that win than is there...well, that's just foolish.

162
by Rick (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:04pm

#161...and I forgot to mention that the one TD the Giants Offense got was a gift due to penalties, penalties, penalties. It all counts, I know. But when is the last time a Reid team gave up that much in penalties? It's not like the Giants forced them into the penalty situation, most of the penalties were unlikely situations. Pass interference when the cover man trips on his own feet and hits the receiver. McNabb's usual sense of the line of scrimmage gone awry. False starts and an illegal formation.

I have never said the Giants didn't DESERVE the win. Anyone who wins deserves it. I'm just saying that a team that barely wins a game that should've been a complete walkover isn't showing me much. Letting the Eagles hang around at 7-0 for so long was a testament to strong defensive play by the Eagles, not a testament to how good the Giants are. 12 sacks against a line sporting a first time starter against Umenyiora says less about Umenyiora and more about the guy's inexperience (and the inability to adjust).
If it happens again in Philly, then bless you and the Giants, it was an amazing feat of greatness. I'm betting that, barring further depletion of their personnel, Philly wins in Philly.

163
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:06pm

No comments on the Broncos-Colts game I see. This is probably because: (a) Broncos fans are too ashamed of our performance and despairing to say anything, and (b) Colts fans and all others are completely unsurprised.

A few thoughts, nonetheless.

- Where was this running game against the Jaguars? Henry leads the league in rushing again, despite the 35 yard performance last week. Selvin Young's 81 yards off 8 carries are heartening in that we seem to have a perfectly viable number 2 back.

- Is DJ Williams the main reason this run defense is so broken? He only seems to be near the ball after the carrier has been tackled. From what I understood of Bates' defense, the Mike keys everything and usually has huge tackle totals. DJ doesn't. If he's the broken cog, that's very disappointing because so much was expected of him. If not, what's wrong? Yes, I've heard that it is all about "gap responsibility", but it cannot be that the entire defense is unable to pick up this scheme.

- Can Denver's special teams get worse than 32nd rank? That was yet another pathetic performance. Where's the vaunted Scott O'Brien's influence on this miserable unit? It frightens me that Champ Bailey is playing on special teams as final resort and often making the tackles.

- Another almost flawless performance by the Colts offense. Whenever that unit is sputtering, they should just have the Broncos come over. We'll get them running smoothly again.

*sighs* And now we invite the desperate and angry Chargers to show us how many yards Tomlinson can rush for against us, when the immortal Kenton Keith could get 80 yards off 10 carries.

164
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:12pm

Well, it gets a little boring to write, "Peyton Manning is really, really, good", each week.

165
by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:13pm

"And cover them they did…yet, were still only 2 TDs from a loss"

Man, if only we were 2TDs from a loss every week. We'd be pretty well off!

166
by witless chum (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:16pm

20: The Lions offense was shooting itself in the foot early, with a Tatum Bell fumble on the two or three and lots of Kitna being chased around and sacked. They removed George Foster for Jonathan Scott at RT and started protecting Kitna in late 3rd and early fourth quarters. The offense was good, but one of the TDs was Keith Smith's interception return and the other was Casey Fitzsimmons (I could hardly tell that Devin Hester hadn't switched jerseys) having the onside kick bounce into his hands and then noticing that there was no one between him and the endzone.

167
by chip (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:21pm

HOMER ALERT:

#147 "With some good fortune the Vikings could actually be 4-0 against competition that probably isn’t as weak as it originally appeared"

No QB. No WRs. No DBs. No way.

"... but this team is probably just a decent QB away from being a solid playoff contender."

How many other teams in the league could say, "Well if we only had Manning /Brady / Bulger / Romo / Favre / flavor of the month, we'd have a better record?" That's on the coaching staff & personnel office for sticking with TJ.

168
by TBW (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:26pm

I think there is only one way to interpret the Eagles performance last night. They knew they would struggle to win without Westbrook, so they opted instead to cripple a division rival. Think of the salary cap ramifications of last night's game for the Giants. They got a season worth of sacks in one night. They will be overpaying their defense for years to come based on last night's stats. It will be years before the Giants can recover from last night's game.

169
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:34pm

#139: I said this in the discussions thread, but I'm perfectly serious - if Chargers fans started calling for "fire Norv now," I wouldn't argue, if for only one reason - the best player on that team, heck, one of the best players in the NFL, is having his confidence destroyed. The longer that goes on, the worse it gets for the Chargers' long term success.

170
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:51pm

How come nobody places any blame on Ted Cottrell? He gave up 30 points to a boring, conservative Herman Edwards led offense.

Norv walked into an impossible situation in SD. Taking over for a 14-2 team is more than a "tough act to follow". It's not like AJ Smith had a whole list of applicants in what was "later" in the coaching employment time.

It also amazes me that for such a cocky ( and smart) analytical football fanbase here at FO, that people don't know what a "nickel" or "dime" defense is.

171
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 6:53pm

154. DryHeat - 6.5/comp is pretty avg but I was referencing within the context of just how well Favre was throwing - He threw almost every pass perfectly.

172
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:05pm

167 Chip - I'm definitely a homer, but I don't see how you can say they have no db's, Sharper and Winfield are both very solid, Griffin was solid last year and McCauley sure looks competent. This team is 6th in the league or so in pts allowed and DVOA - not exactly awful.

As for if we just had a QB comment - I'm not talking Brady, Manning here, I'm talking John Kitna level. The Vikings ranked 11th in rushing DVOA last week (sure to improve considerably after this week) against teams stacking the box against the run. That suggests they have a great deal of strength in one large part of what makes up a decent offence.

In answer to your question how many other teams could say the same thing re: "if we only had a QB" - my guess not that many - maybe Chic would be the only other team that would benefit as much gaining an average QB.

173
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:09pm

The Vikings certainly have talent on defense. Their DTs are only rivaled really by Jacksonville in talent. Sure, there are some teams with beasts like Tommy Harris and Shaun Rodgers, but show me a pair as good as the Williams non brothers.

I still think Antoine Winfield is a top 5 corner. Darren Sharper is a ball hawk, and you could do worse than D.Smith former SB MVP patroling your secondary. At least 3 of their 4 DBs are above average, with Winfield a top notch CB. Not many CBs can consistantly play man coverage, but Winfield is one of them. Griffen might not be good, but you could certainly do worse, and McCauley looks to be decent in the Nickel spot.

174
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:18pm

I will say this: if the Vikings ever get a good qb-receiver performance, they are likely to put an ass-whupping of monumental proportions on somebody, as more than a season's worth of frustrations is vented. Then again, that'll likely be the day the defense goes soft. Sigh.

175
by John (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:19pm

#163: Another almost flawless performance by the Colts offense. Whenever that unit is sputtering, they should just have the Broncos come over. We’ll get them running smoothly again.

I was just thinking today how wonderful it would be if the Colts could just play Denver every game. Sure, Shanahan would pull out a victory or three every year, but I rarely feel so confident going into a game as when we play the Broncos.

176
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:32pm

what Super Bowl was Dwight Smith a MVP of?

He is good, I think the Vikings have a lot of pieces for a good defense and it plays like one for the most part.

And the Williams/Williams combo is great-the Lions did not even attempt to run on them at all.

177
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:38pm

Hey Will - not sure if you go back this far but my Dad reflects fondly of the teams from 69-76. He blames the Super Bowl losses on the fact teams figured out they could run right at Page and that Tarkenton took too much on himself in the big games. I've looked up old stats and it seems to me the Vikes were clearly outclassed a couple of times (Pitt, Mia) and just played poorly in the other two (Oak, KC). Do you have any recollections?

178
by vrao (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:45pm

Dexter Jackson, not Dwight Smith, was Super Bowl XXXVII MVP, Tampa vs. Oakland.

179
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 7:59pm

Well, I don't remember the Chiefs' Super Bowl, really. Let's face it, getting beat by the 1973 Dolphins is no disgrace, and having an All-Time great offensive line, like the Dolphins had, and trapping Page, or otherwise taking advantage of how fast he tried to get upfield, was the best way to handle him and the Vikings' defense.

The Pittsburgh Super Bowl was oddly winnable, despite the Vikings' offensive futility, because the Steelers offense played poorly, except for Franco Harris' rushing. If the Vikings had held onto the ball better, they might have stold one, what with them scoring a touchdown off a blocked punt. I remain fairly certain that Tarkenton was not healthy at the end of that year, and it really hurt his passing.

The Oakland game was one where the Vikings had by that time started to get old, and it especially showed with the Art Shell vs. Jim Marshall match-up, along with some other areas.

180
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 8:20pm

Thanks Will - Toss a rotation of the William's in there beside Page and it would have been a different story.

Being a Viking fan requires a good deal of what if.

181
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 8:23pm

Yeah my bad with the Dwight Smith super bowl MVP. I think that was another one the annoucers messed up yesterday, and my alcholol with my dinner had me off the mark.

182
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 8:50pm

#162-

I'm not going to argue that the Giants had a good offensive performance last night (they didn't) but it's a huge stretch to say that "the one TD the Giants Offense got was a gift due to penalties, penalties, penalties." Yes, about half of those yards came on the Toomer pass interference, but if Toomer wasn't tripped, he was behind the CB and easily in position to catch that ball. Will James' PI probably prevented a touchdown right then and there.

183
by vis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 8:54pm

101 - Wasn't Rossum just a special teams guy for ATL, who'd occasionally come in as a nickelback on obvious passing downs? By my recollection, ATL let him go because they thought he lost a step in the return game, not to try and upgrade at corner...

184
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 8:54pm

RE: Philly/NY…I also wondered how, when you’re gaining 7 yds on average in rushing, and only 1.5 per pass attempt, you continue to decide to pass.

Because when you get inside the red zone (or even near the red zone), you aren't gaining 7 yards on average rushing.

Also, if you look at the play-by-play, most of the sacks came on forced pass plays - 3rd and more than 4, late in the game, etc. On plays where there was a real choice between running and passing, things went much better.

You can't keep moving the chains by just rushing. Eventually you'll get into a third and long situation, and you'll have to pass.

185
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 8:58pm

The '75 team might have been the Vikings' best combination of offense and defense. Alas, they came out a little flat against a young, rapidly improving Cowboys team, fell behind, rallied to get the lead in the fourth quarter, only to see the infamous Drew Pearson miracle reception end the season, where the offensive PI was not the biggest travesty, but rather the way dt Doug Sutherland was flat-out tackled, with a free-style wrestling move, as he bull-rushed a path to Staubach.

186
by fiddycentbeer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 9:09pm

AZ/PITT coverage included this: "but my overall impression was that, despite all the passing from Roethlisberger, there weren’t all that many four-wide receiver sets until the final minutes of the game (you know, where they effortlessly drove the field one-and-a-half times before running out of time)."

There are two things wrong with that sentence, imo.

First: the Steelers did not suit up 4 NFL caliber WR. They do not have 4 NFL caliber WR.. They have two; one of those, Ward, was inactive.

Second: at the end, they moved it against AZ's very soft prevent. This can't be compared to AZ's scheme thru the first 55. When the game was on the line, AZ was 8 in most snaps, whether in base or packages. Against that pressure, the Steelers were unable to sustain anything like a possession pass attack.

Whiz, Grimm and Spencer, who are familiar with the Steelers' personnel, made a simple calculation: Parker could beat them but Roethlisberger, with the group of receivers available to him, could not. Too true.

Parenthetically: The Card-D had considerable success on 2nd down. 3 of 4 sacks, 2 @ (-6) yards rushing for Parker, and a big time stuff at the GL. Sumthin' for the charters...

187
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 10:02pm

Re #151 - Re: #106

Just to clarify- A.J. Smith DID want to fire Marty right away after the playoff loss… for his own reasons, of course, which may or may not have been the best for the team. But he met with Spanos to discuss the team and Spanos made the decision to initially retain Schottenheimer… then Spanos changed his mind when the coordinators left. So really, it wasn’t A.J.’s fault that many of the good coaches were already taken.

I still blame Smith (not that Spanos is a prince). He could have told Spanos, "him or me. Now." the day after. Once he didn't fall on his sword, he had an obligation to make it work and convince Spanos that there was no alternative to sticking with Marty. Finally, I believe Marty would have come up with a better alternative than Cottrell as DC.

Re the Chiefs-Vikings SB: just re-watched it on a bootleg tape of the Canadian (!) broadcast.

1st, remember the Vikings QB was Kapp. He was in over his head against an all-time great defense. The Chiefs gave up 6 points to the defending champion Jets and 7 points to the Raiders (AFL champs once removed) on the road. Those teams had scored 353 and 377 during the regular (14-game) season. The Vikings offense was out-classed.

Second, the Chiefs had a very good offense matched against a very good defense. The Chiefs moved the ball sporadically, but enough. This match-up was even.

3rd, the Chiefs ST was far better. Stenerud was kicking FGs at distances from which the Vikings punted. Stenerud's kickoffs were better than the Vikes' (Cox?). When the Chiefs stalled on O, punter Jerrel Wilson generally backed the Vikings up. The Chiefs won the field position battle.

The Chiefs were clearly the better team in two of three phases of the game and even in the third.

188
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/01/2007 - 10:35pm

It also amazes me that for such a cocky ( and smart) analytical football fanbase here at FO, that people don’t know what a “nickel� or “dime� defense is.

That's because there isn't one "nickel" or "dime" defense. Nickel means 5 DBs, dime 6. It doesn't say how many of them are CBs or how many are safeties. It also doesn't say anything about the remaining 6 or 5 players. The most common nickel subs out 1 LB for 1 CB, the most common dime subs out 2 LBs for 2 CBs. But when you say "4-2-5" you're specifying more than just nickel, although you're still not specifying the number of safeties and corners, and so it could be either a normal nickel or something else weird.

189
by kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:16am

Will Carroll: I saw a number of plays where Bailey was man-up on Clark. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a shutdown cornerback put on a tight end before, though Clark is a tight end in name only.

Bailey does it against Gonzo and Gates, too.

Re #163: - Is DJ Williams the main reason this run defense is so broken? He only seems to be near the ball after the carrier has been tackled. From what I understood of Bates’ defense, the Mike keys everything and usually has huge tackle totals. DJ doesn’t. If he’s the broken cog, that’s very disappointing because so much was expected of him. If not, what’s wrong? Yes, I’ve heard that it is all about “gap responsibility�, but it cannot be that the entire defense is unable to pick up this scheme.

It's not just D.J. Williams... it's the entire LB corps. D.J. Williams is invisible, and Ian Gold- who was actually very good once upon a time- has been stinking up the joint. And Nate Webster is who we thought he was. And it doesn't help that the safeties are basically non-entities, either. The defensive line and CBs are playing well above my expectations to this point of the season, but the middle of Denver's defense might as well be silly putty. Reason for optimism? Gold and Williams were both quality players as recently as a year ago, so there's reason to believe that Denver is just having trouble adapting to Bates' scheme. Reason for concern? Al Wilson isn't coming back, and those DTs are obviously not living up to their responsibilities in Bates' scheme.

190
by n0_j0 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:38am

emcee fleshy:

Thanks. That makes some sense - they're doing the camera work and showing you the plays. Of course, it might also make sense the other way around, but there are big $$$ to ensure that there's only one way to consume the game....

191
by Jin (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 1:35am

Am I the only one that doesn't have a problem with Adrian Peterson returning kicks? Seems a lot of other Vikings fans elsewhere are angry about it because he's risking injury, a notion that is pretty stupid to me. He's a freaking running back, you hand him the ball and 11 other guys are flying around to get him on the ground. I've never understood the mentality of you can't use your stars to return kicks, as if those yards or TDs meant were worth less than those on offense. Peterson is monumentally better than any other skill player on our offense, the more ways you can put the ball in his hands the better I say, just watch the touches he gets so you don't pull a Herm Edwards. Plus I really like the idea of giving Peterson the ball with a 15 yard head of steam, that has to be a scary sight for a tackler.

192
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 3:12am

Am I the only one that doesn’t have a problem with Adrian Peterson returning kicks? Seems a lot of other Vikings fans elsewhere are angry about it because he’s risking injury, a notion that is pretty stupid to me. He’s a freaking running back, you hand him the ball and 11 other guys are flying around to get him on the ground. I’ve never understood the mentality of you can’t use your stars to return kicks, as if those yards or TDs meant were worth less than those on offense.

I think the problem most people have with it is that kickoff returns are some of the most dangerous plays in football, both because the players are moving at higher relative speeds (due to both returner and defender having long running starts), and because the players that cover kickoffs don't generally have very good tackling technique (at least compared to the rest of the team), which often results in injuries to the tackler and returner. At least on running plays, the defenders are usually pretty close to start with, and therefore don't get up to as high a speed before they tackle him. Plus, linebackers and safeties usually have pretty solid tackling technique, and that reduces injuries for both tackler and runner.

That said, I agree that it's not crazy to have him returning kickoffs, and the concerns wrt stars returning kickoffs are usually overblown, but I'd be very reluctant to do it. It'd be one thing if the Vikings were in "win now" mode, and solid kickoff returns could push them over the top and into the playoffs/Super Bowl, but they're not. This is a rebuilding year for the Vikings, and Childress isn't fooling anyone by pretending that it's not. It's ok to have your stars run high-injury-risk plays when success could plausibly make the difference in the pursuit of a championship, but doing it with young players when you're in rebuilding mode anyway is not really such a great idea. Best to hold that thought until the team gets a solid QB/WRs.

Plus I really like the idea of giving Peterson the ball with a 15 yard head of steam, that has to be a scary sight for a tackler.

True. I certainly wouldn't want to have to tackle him. But the flip side is that you have a RB who loves to seek out contact, and has the injury history to prove it, running full speed at a bunch of guys that are trying to earn/keep roster spots and are willing to endure massive collisions to do so. That's a recipe for disaster.

193
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 9:07am

#189: That's interesting, so you think that Gold has also dropped off? As far as the safeties; I'm not sure how they can be held responsible considering that Bates has them playing deep almost all the time.

Going by the 4th pre-season game, I actually think Nate Webster would be good at Mike. I don't think I agree with your appraisal of his abilities. DJ had his best year at Will... maybe they just need to be reshuffled.

194
by Jefe (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 9:24am

I haven't perused the stat page hard yet, but some random observations:

The Browns OL won every battle against the Ravens DL. I didn't see Haloti Ngata make one play, and I didn't see Kelly Gregg anywhere but being pushed backwards by Steinbach/Fraley. That's 10 of the last 12 quarters they have played great football. Joe Thomas is a beast!

The Bears playcalling is pathetic. Did Lovie Smith not watch the Lions-Eagles game? Try a crossing route, or a multi-wideout flood with stem options, or dragging a TE underneath a post. And the weakside pitch to Benson on 3rd & 6--that will work maybe one out of 40 tries. That team has a lot more problems than having the 2nd worst QB situation in the league (and their division).

I've always said Joey Harrington could be a quality QB if given time and room to step into his throws. I'm interested in seeing Dunta Robinson's splits from the game, if they even tried to throw at him.

195
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 10:08am

Viking fans may be amused to know that the Packers assigned a coach to specifically watch to see if it was number 28 or number 29 coming into the game for the Vikes on offense. For those not aware, 29 is Chester Taylor while 28 is Adrian Peterson. Apparently this "process" was put in place late first quarter or early second quarter to aid Sanders the Defensive Coordinator.

When asked if there was a difference in the defensive playcalling depending on the running back the response was, "Um, a little bit" followed by a grin.

Thank you Brad Childress..........

196
by DGL (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 10:34am

#184: But if you're averaging seven yards a play rushing, then if you're only five yards from the end zone you should obviously run the ball!

(This TMQ preview provided as a public service.)

197
by chip (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 11:56am

# 172 Jimm - Of course parachuting in Kitna would help - Kitna is the 10th ranked QB (per FO stats). I'd imagine that the majority of the teams below him would love an upgrade over the existing starter (even if there's a rookie in the fold). These teams immediately come to mind: MIA, KC, CHI, ATL, NYG, BAL, SF, OAK, CLE, NYJ, BUF.

The Vikes have one of the most dynamic rookie RB to enter the league in a long time and one-half of an offensive line. That's it on offense. As far as holes, Sharper & Winfield are getting OOOOLLLLLDDDDD. These guys need to be replaced in the near future and how much depth is there behind Griffin / McCauley? There is no answer at WR (when signing Bobby Wade as a high profile WR addition is news you've got problems), no answer at QB, and the right side of the O-line is suspect. The point is there are three or four areas of strong need and by the time talent is acquired via free agency or the draft, you've got other holes to plug. It's a vicious cycle in the NFL. But the coach and front office failed to address the above deficiencies in the off season and you have to live with it now.

198
by JoshuaPerry (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 12:37pm

Panthers Super Bowl run was Steroid-induced Obviously, nobody payed attention, even the Punter juiced.

199
by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 1:22pm

194 Jefe - Ron Turner takes a lot of heat in Chicago for his unsophisticated, vanilla offensive schemes. He's not one for going 4-wide, or putting in any sort of nonstandard package. We've heard about how now with Olsen there'll be a lot of two-TE sets they'll throw out of, and they'll split Olsen wide. We also hear sometimes that well, since Train Rex can't go through his progressions, it really doesn't matter how creative Turner would like to get because he really can't implement a lot of things due to Grossman. Now that Olsen is semi-healthy and Griese (who is better then Grossman PRIMARILY in that he can routinely get to his 2nd and 3rd option if he needs to) is in, the onus is on Turner to show something. I don't think we'll see much, and with the OL getting vry old very fast, that pust an additional stricture on the Bears' offense.

200
by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 2:22pm

#197... the Giants would take Kitna over Eli? I didn't realize this was also a comedy website.

201
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 3:01pm

badger, I've been thinking about the Vikings' reluctance to have Peterson on the field in obvious passing situations, and if he truly is still so deficient in blitz pick up, then I think they would be wise to have both Peterson and Chester Taylor on the field at the same time much more often, because it would keep Peterson on the field more, while better disguising where the ball is going. If a rb is awful at pass protection, and he remains on the field in an obvious passing situation, it just tips things off too much, whereas if both rbs are on the field, teams still have to account for Peterson, without being nearly as certain as to where the ball is going. The Vikings don't have three good wide receivers anyways, so they don't lose much. No, you couldnt use it in a two minute offense, especially if there was a long field and less than three time outs, but in third and and less than 10 in non hurry-up mode it would still be very flexible and potent, given Peterson's explosiveness and the fact that Taylor is a good receiver.

202
by chip (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 5:19pm

#200 I'm not a fan of Kitna but he's been better than Eli over the last 5 yrs based on DPAR rank:

2007 2006 2005 2004
JK 7 11 n/a 26
EM 18 17 18 36

Kitna was also ranked 7th in 2003. The guy still has it and Eli likely never will.

203
by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 9:18pm

Fantastic to see someone else comment on Doug Sutherland's hogtieing in the Hail Mary Game.

Will, explain to me why Nate Wright pushed Pearson on 4th and 25 just before the Hail Mary. The last pass to Pearson made me sick, but the 4th and 20 conversion was actually worse.

The Vikings actually had third and one at midfield and the Cowpokes ran a 10 man blitz with Gilliam wide open down field. Rewatching that game makes me madder each time. I think the NFL is partially fixed, and the 75 Vikings with Tark breaking Unitas' TD record were primed for a SB victory. 9 plays went against them, including 2 insane efforts by Too Tall to stymie Foreman.

I got 41 years of life in, and 40 to see if the Vikings can get a SB.

204
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Tue, 10/02/2007 - 9:53pm

"The old Cardinal is deceived by the young one
he will find himself disarmed, out of his position"
-Nostradamus' Prophecies Century 8, Quattrain 68.

Nostradamus predicted that Matt Leinart would come back into the game to replace Kurt Warner?

205
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/03/2007 - 11:30am

Yeah, that wasn't the best five minutes of Nate Wright's career. The Pearson push-off was at least a difficult call, because it was disgiused well, and Krause was late in arriving, but the Sutherland tackle non-call was just inexcusable, given the zebra was looking right at it, and swallowed the whistle.

206
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/03/2007 - 11:30am

Yeah, that wasn't the best five minutes of Nate Wright's career. The Pearson push-off was at least a difficult call, because it was disgiused well, and Krause was late in arriving, but the Sutherland tackle non-call was just inexcusable, given the zebra was looking right at it, and swallowed the whistle.