Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Sep 2009

Audibles at the Line: Week 2

compiled by Bill Barnwell

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

Please also note that we do not write the e-mails specifically to produce this column, which means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Seahawks or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Raiders fan, not so much.)

Carolina Panthers 20 at Atlanta Falcons 28

David Gardner: Another late-game meltdown by Delhomme. He just got baited bad by Chris Houston on an interception at the 8-yard line with 2:30 left in the game.

Doug Farrar: Earlier in the game, he threw a stupid little shovel pass as he was being sacked that was almost picked off. When you’re trying to find your way out of Chuck Knoblauch Disease, that’s not the time to be Brett Favre.

Discussion question: Why did the Falcons wear their throwbacks against a team that has no throwbacks?

David Gardner: There was also a pretty great Hail Mary attempt at the end o the Panthers game. Delhomme launched a 60-yard pass that was tipped in the end zone by Falcons' wide receiver Brian Finneran -- playing safety at the time -- and nearly caught by Jarrett of the Panthers.

Minnesota Vikings 27 at Detroit Lions 13

Vince Verhei: Detroit’s rushing DVOA for this game should be awesome. They ran four straight times in the second quarter, picking up 13, 8, 12, and 7 yards. The drive ended in a touchdown. They weren’t so hot early, but when we factor in opponent adjustments, the game should rate highly. On defense, they’re not dominating, but they are picking up big plays (two sacks, a force fumble, a handful of stuffed runs) and not allowing any (only one Vikings play has gained more than 14 yards).

Each team has had two possessions in the second half. Detroit has five plays, -11 yards, one punt and one fumble; Minnesota has five plays, 115 yards, one field goal and one touchdown. This was looking like a slam-dunk for Any Given Sunday; now, not so much. The Vikings now have three plays of 14 or more yards, and they’re all Adrian Peterson runs. He’s pretty good.

Ned Macey: After watching roughly six quarters of Lions football, I think they made a mistake starting Stafford. The guy's downfield ability is what makes him interesting, but each mistake he makes for a winless team is going to make him pull back. Stafford throwing dumpoffs is just a waste. If they don't win this week (hosting Washington), I think they'll be 0-6 going into the bye. I just think coming off the disaster that was last season that this is a lot of pressure to put on the QB, particularly one who the last thing you want is for him to play scared.

The Lions ability to run the ball in the first half was very weird to watch. I didn't watch a lot of Minnesota the last two years, but I wonder if their linebackers aren't very good. I like E.J. Henderson in coverage, but when Kevin Smith could get through the line, he kept making big gains. Smith only averaged 3.5 per carry, but it certainly felt like he was doing better.

Larry Foote by the way is still great at playing the run, and he even picked up a sack today. The Lions really hurt the Vikings by blitzing, and Minnesota had to switch to all 3-step drops in the second half. Favre was out of rhythm on anything down the field, and when the Lions were hitting him in the first half he threw up a complete duck that the Lions should have intercepted near the goal line.

Cincinnati Bengals 31 at Green Bay Packers 24

Doug Farrar: Not sure what might make Bears fans feel worse about last week’s game – the fact that the Bengals drove for a touchdown against Green Bay on their first drive, or that Cedric Benson (showing recent signs of life) rushed for 40 yards on four carries.

Elias Holman: I don't see a lot of Bengals games, so I am enjoying the novelty of commentators saying things like "You just don't expect that kind of thing from a veteran player like Ochocinco".

Vince Verhei: Chad Ochocinco catches a go-ahead touchdown, but flags are down. Chad jumps up and shows no emotion, checking with the refs to ensure the play will stand. The refs confer and flag Green Bay for offsides. Only then does Chad scan the end zone crowd, eventually finding a pocket of Bengals fans and doing the Lambeau Leap into their midst. Football is so fun when he’s doing well.

Bill Barnwell: God, the Packers can't tackle worth a damn.

One thing I was concerned about with the Packers heading into this week was the offensive line, and while the running game's been acceptable, they have serious pass blocking issues. Antwan Odom's got five sacks in Cincy.

Robert Weintraub: That makes two straight games that Cincy has dominated the line of scrimmage. Antwan Odom was wrecking Clifton even before he got hurt, and he toyed with his replacement. Benson had at least half a dozen runs he turned from zero or negative yards into 3-5. And the special teams were strong. If it weren't for a pair of terrible reads by Palmer, resulting in INTs that handed GB 14 points, it would have been an easier win. As it was, the Pack got to Cincy's 14 with no TOs left, but the clock ran out before they could take a shot at the end zone.

Of course, all I can think about is that if weren't for the BS at PBS last Sunday, we'd be 2-0 with Pitt at home next Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals 31 at Jacksonville Jaguars 17

Doug Farrar: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie successfully defended a first-quarter short pass to Mike Sims-Walker. Maurice Jones-Drew later responded by stiff-arming Rodgers-Cromartie. That’s enough hyphens for today.

Vince Verhei: I noted in Any Given Sunday that Beanie Wells needs to be Arizona’s primary rusher starting immediately. So far today he has four carries for 40 yards – and two fumbles. Perhaps I was wrong.

On the other hand, reports of Kurt Warner’s demise were greatly exaggerated. At halftime, he’s 18 of 19 for 173 yards and a score. He was under constant pressure last week from Parys Haralson. The Jaguars are really missing Reggie Hayward though; their backup ends are getting no pressure against the Cardinals’ tackles.

Doug Farrar: We’ve got a couple of completion monsters today. Near the end of the third quarter the third quarter, Kurt Warner is 24 of 26 for 243 yard and two scored. Matt Ryan, meanwhile, is 21 of 25 for 225 yards and three TDs.

Oakland Raiders 13 at Kansas City Chiefs 10

Bill Barnwell: JaMarcus Russell isn't having the best day. JaMarcus 3-16 says that you wasted your first overall pick.

New England Patriots 9 at New York Jets 16

Bill Moore: Jets named third-string QB, and former Patriots backup, Kevin O’Connell, the offensive captain today. Say what?

Aaron Schatz: Jets are bringing some great pressure early on, lots of six-man blitzes, overload stuff. It's really flustering the Patriots. The Pats got a fumble recovery inside the Jets' 20 and then got two straight holding penalties to end up with second-and-30. (Eventually, Stephen Gostkowski did drill the field goal.)

Jets are also the clear early leader in obnoxious attempts to goad officials into throwing flags. I think I've seen at least one Jets player -- usually more -- making that up and down "throw the flag" motion with their arms after every single play. Guys, your pressure is enough to get the Pats to make plenty of penalties. You don't need to go whining to the refs on top of that.

Doug Farrar: Well, the Texans are lighting the Titans up like the proverbial Christmas tree, and the Pats are without a touchdown today. I’m ready to call the Jets’ defense a success.

Bill Moore: Jets have done an excellent job in their man-to-man coverage (lots of pressure on Brady). Particularly, Revis has been all over Randy Moss including pulling in an INT early. The Patriots, on the other hand, have played a lot of zone – and not done it well. Lots of holes. Jonathan Wilhite has started in place of Shawn Springs. Not sure what’s up with that.

Just now, Larry Izzo tackled punt returner Leonhard. Did he forget what uniform he was wearing?

Doug Farrar: Good man coverage + formation diversity = bad day for opposing offenses. Revis is playing out of his mind. Ryan likes that linebacker twist blitz with David Harris and Bart Scott, and he’ll overload from anywhere. If I remember correctly, he overloaded left with three defensive backs last week against the Texans.

Bill Barnwell: Brady's mechanics are all out of whack. Throwing off his back foot, not stepping into throws when there's pressure ... he looks bad.

Aaron Schatz: The receivers' timing was all off, too. Two years ago, when teams pressured Brady, he easily found the hot read. Today, the Jets pressured him relentlessly, but when Brady found the hot read, the hot read bobbled the ball, or the pass was two feet over the hot read's head. Julian Edelman may turn into Wes Welker part II but he is still a rookie and he's still getting used to the receiver position, and Joey Galloway just looks completely out of sorts.

This loss was all about pressure. The Jets were getting great pass pressure on the Patriots, and to be honest, the Patriots weren't getting much pressure on Mark Sanchez at all.

Bill Barnwell: That's not the receivers, that's Brady. Look at his footwork.

Aaron Schatz: Well, Edelman bobbling away a ball right in his breadbox isn't Brady. Also, some of it was the Jets playing good coverage. It's interesting -- we can say that the new head coach helped design the improved pass pressure, but can Ryan design better man coverage too? Or is that the players playing better - in which case, why weren't they playing that well last year? (Yes, yes, Darrelle Revis, but I'm talking about guys like Dwight Lowery...)

Bill Barnwell: That's one pass. Brady also threw about 12 passes behind people, at people's feet...it was Brady. And we know improved pass pressure helps the coverage; guys don't have to give as much of a cushion, can play more aggressively... And Lowery's a second-year guy who showed some promise last year. Not unreasonable to think he'd improve regardless of what happened elsewhere.

Mike Tanier: Brady played poorly. He missed Welker and Faulk out there, but he still played poorly. He missed a few throws he normally makes in his sleep, and while he couldn't step into his passes on many occasions, he also just looked rattled on a few.

That overload kept working and working: forcing Brady to throw on the move. The other impressive thing about the Jets defense is that they allowed so few YAC. They shut down all of those "hot route" passes over the middle for really short gains.

Bill Barnwell: I also know I'm the only one on this bandwagon, but when I make the point about it being relatively easy to find a Welker-type player, Julian Edelman's performance today in Welker's role was a great example. Yes, he dropped a pass. (Welker dropped several last week.) What was he, 85 percent of the player Welker is? 90 percent? He did that for about an Acura today.

Mike Tanier: So, a game in which Welker doesn't play and the Patriots fail to score a touchdown is somehow an indicator that Welker ISN'T good? Interesting.

Bill Barnwell: Welker's absence wasn't the reason Tom Brady was one-hopping passes.

Mike Tanier: Welker catches 75 percent of his passes. Edelmen was 8-of-16 today on passes thrown to him. Brady was having a bad day, but these are usually short passes. I will go out on a limb and say Brady missed Welker.

Bill Barnwell: Welker catches 75 percent of his passes from quarterbacks that aren't wildly erratic like Brady was today.

Sean McCormick: I had great seats up high and behind the end zone, basically the same view you'd get from the All-22 tape, and what was most striking was the lack of safety help Revis was getting against Moss. The Jets basically played Cover-1 all game and let Revis shadow Moss all over the field, and he turned in a positively Asomugha-like performance for the second week in a row.

I was also surprised to see the Pats be unable to take advantage of Drew Coleman. The Jets lost two corners in the course of the game and Coleman was out there for most of the second half, but the Pats were never able to isolate him in coverage.

New Orleans Saints 48 at Philadelphia Eagles 22

Doug Farrar: Drew Brees on the opening drive against the Eagles: 5-for-5, 53 yards, touchdown. Someone’s elbowing his way into the ubiquitous Quarterback Debate That Shall Not Be Named.

Kevin Kolb is looking pretty good at the end of the first half, making stick throws with Saints defenders in his face. More than once in this game, they’ve split Kolb out wide and shotgun-snapped to DeSean Jackson.

Same drive, Kolb throws a low ball that is tipped by Anthony Hargrove, volleyball-style, but Hargrove flubs two chances at the pick. On a subsequent field goal attempt, Tracy Porter gets flagged for running into David Akers’ right big toe on an attempted block. Akers jumps up as if he’s been bitten by a Black Mamba and executes a perfect dive. Sheesh.

Bill Barnwell: Kevin Kolb looked alright -- couple of bad mistakes -- but he can sure throw 95+ yard pick-sixes with the best of them.

Doug Farrar: Apparently, starting your first NFL game as a quarterback against Darren Sharper is a very bad idea.

Mike Tanier: There's only so much junk you can run to protect a quarterback you don't trust to throw deep. There's only so much Wildcat, so many reverses and screens. The Eagles ran some kind of A-11 formation at one point, with only three linemen in front of DeSean Jackson. Eventually, the quarterback must throw downfield. Kolb did it once successfully in the 1st quarter, then got exposed.

The Eagles could have helped their cause if: a) Andy Reid ran out the clock at the end of the second quarter instead of calling a third down pass deep in Eagles territory; b) Ellis Hobbs (thanks Pattiots) could hold onto a kickoff return. The Saints went on a 14-3 run between the two minute warning and the first 3 minutes of the third quarter, and it soon became a 21-3 run, and that was it for a team that hoped to use junk to keep the game close.

Kolb isn't an NFL quarterback. If he was, Reid would have used the kind of game plan he used for Feeley against the Patriots a few years ago, or for Koy Detmer when he would stumble in to start. The Michael Vick signing now makes much more sense than it did a few weeks ago.

Bill Barnwell: I think you're being a little harsh on Kolb, Mike. This was what essentially amounts to his first NFL start.

Mike Tanier: Two full seasons on an NFL bench should prepare you a little more for that first start. He cannot throw the out. He cannot thread the ball into tight spots. And his response to any pass rush is to run backwards 10 yards. The Eagles gave him a game plan to run today similar to the one Mark Sanchez ran last week. Sanchez ran it well.

Bill Barnwell: If he couldn't throw an out, the Eagles wouldn't have drafted him.

Aaron Schatz: If I can try to thread the needle here... My biggest problem with the anti-Kolb sentiment prior to this game is that everybody was judging him before he ever actually got to start an NFL game. Now, we've seen a start, so it is easier to get an idea of how good he is. I think that an average performance against the New Orleans defense is a better indicator that Kolb has problems than a poor performance coming in at halftime against the Baltimore defense. I also think the fact that the Philadelphia coaching staff felt it had to play so much Wildcat today is a better indicator that Kolb has problems than either his actual performance today or his performance last year.

Mike Tanier: As for Kolb's day, 169 of his passing yards came in a 21-point game in the fourth quarter. It was a bad day with one truly good throw.

Sean McCormick: Kolb has looked very shaky in preseason for two years running. I think you have to factor that in as well.

Bill Barnwell: OK. So what percentage of a quarterback's stats in a losing game normally come in garbage time? 43 percent of Kolb's numbers today came during that garbage time. Will be interested to see what his DVOA is.

Mike Tanier: Let me try to clarify here: what did you think of Kolb's game, Bill?

Bill Barnwell: I thought it was middling. I don't think it should be the final say that he's not a viable NFL quarterback, which is what you said.

I don't think we can infer yet that he can't thrown an out (although I agree the one that Shanle picked off wasn't good). If there's one thing -- any one individual thing -- I believe NFL scouts can figure out during the scouting process, it's whether a quarterback can throw the out or not.

Mike Tanier: There have been many QBs in the NFL who lack the arm to effectively throw the out.

Kevin Kolb is currently on the same roster as Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Jeff Garcia. His three regular season performances consist of an ugly mop-up performance against a great defense, an ugly mop-up performance against a beaten-down defense, and a three-interception blowout loss to a pretty darn bad defense. In that game, the head coach who drafted him three years ago used the Wildcat several times in the first half, and of course that same head coach signed a controversial ex-con quarterback after training camp started. This represents a pretty large bit of corroborating evidence that Kevin Kolb isn't the prospect many of us thought he was.

Bill Barnwell: I suspect that there are far fewer of them now. I also don't think the Eagles would've drafted Kolb if they watched him play and worked him out and didn't think he could thrown a out pattern.

That's excessively harsh, Mike. His ugly mop-up performance was almost exactly the same level of performance that the starter -- a Pro Bowl quarterback -- put up in the same game with no preparation. The three-interception blowout loss came because his defense gave up 41 points; to pin the nature of the loss on him because the Eagles couldn't cover Marques Colston is unfair.

The flip side of that logic is that they're going to run the Wildcat with Vick next week and going forward, and they probably would've put a few Wildcat plays in if McNabb had played. There was no reason to put them in last week when the team was up 25+ points. The fact that he's on the roster with Vick (totally different sort of player) and Garcia (veteran fodder) is irrelevant; none of those players are replacements for Kolb.

Aaron Schatz: Just to make sure I'm following, this argument is about whether it is too early to give up on Kolb, right? I assume we're not arguing that he's actually played well so far in his NFL career, because he hasn't.

Bill Barnwell: Yes. Mike's suggesting that Kolb's not a viable NFL QB. I'm saying that he might or might not be, but we don't know enough yet and that nothing that happened today is conclusive permanent evidence.

Mike Tanier: There is so much wrong with your various efforts to explain away my airtight argument that I just won't bother. Go Kevin Kolb!

Houston Texans 34 at Tennessee Titans 31

Doug Farrar: Andre Johnson tips a pass to himself for a first-quarter touchdown, and Gus Johnson is there to freak out over it. Lucky guy! Jeff Fisher is barking at the refs about Houston’s center exchange? Anyone else watching that game? Is the center going early?

Vince Verhei: Houston's snap count is definitely flustering the Titans. On one play they got all four linemen to jump offsides.

Andre Johnson scored a "I'm The Best Wide Receiver In The League, Dammit" touchdown, being interfered with by Nick Harper, but muscling through it, getting behind him, and making a juggling, fingertip grab for the score.

Once a week, Houston's defense will forget to cover someone and give up a long passing touchdown. Last week it was Chansi Stuckey; this week it was Chris Johnson. Johnson now has a 57-yard touchdown run and a 69-yard touchdown catch.

Houston’s receivers are starting to take over this game. Johnson added a 72-yard touchdown – he was so open, I can’t tell who was supposed to cover him – and Jacoby Jones made a great catch against tight coverage for a 29-yard score. It was a great recovery; one play earlier, he had been wide-open but dropped the ball.

Chris Johnson takes a shotgun draw, slips a couple of tackles, gets some great downfield blocking and goes 91 yard for a score. He now has three touchdowns, averaging 72 yards apiece. The Texans’ first three touchdowns averaged 40 yards each, so expect to see this game all over SportsCenter.

Mike Tanier: The number of defensive lapses on both sides of the ball had me scratching my head. Everyone saw the Chris Johnson touchdowns; both were the result of just awful play and assignment errors. The Texans had a few shockingly open receivers themselves. The Titans safeties seem to be biting on every fake, every play-action pass, and just leaving big swatches of field open.

Tom Gower: I can't decide which was worst: the 80 minute delay on the flight home, the hour drive home through the rain, or doing it all after watching the worst performance by the Titans secondary since everybody knew to point the finger at Lamont Thompson when a safety was supposed to be there but wasn't. This time, most people thought it was Nick Harper's very visible failures, and he did have his flaws, but I'm pretty sure Michael Griffin had about as bad a game as the refs, who were awful and indecisive from start to finish. I'd say more, but I've had 6 hours to stew in my own juices and would start writing very nasty things.

Seattle Seahawks 10 at San Francisco 49ers 23

Doug Farrar: Frank Gore just did a very good job of showing what Seattle's defense looks like without Brandon Mebane and Lofa Tatupu on a 79-yard touchdown run.

And in the second quarter, Sean Locklear leaves the field with a leg injury, leaving Brandon Frye as Seattle's left tackle. Run, Matthew, run!!!

Finally, I would like to propose that the name on Deion Branch's jersey be changed to "INACTIVE".

Vince Verhei: Hasselbeck takes a shot to the back late in the first half. Seneca Wallace comes in and throws a touchdown pass, and now has opened the second half. I say it again: Matt Hasselbeck will never play 16 games in a season again.

Meanwhile, Frank Gore runs up the middle for an 80-yard score. The longest two runs of his career have come in this game. He's got 12 carries for 206 yards and two scores, with nearly a full half to go. He may top Chris Johnson before all is said and done. In related news, Lofa Tatupu is also out.

Mike Tanier: Speaking of Seahawks injuries, Matt Hasselbeck and Donovan McNabb may go shopping for flak jackets together.

Vince Verhei: 49ers put together a 16-play, 67-yard, nine-plus-minute field-goal drive. They converted three third downs on the drive, including a facemask penalty on Ken Lucas. The Seahawks are behind because of two long runs, but they're going to lose because they couldn't stop the little plays.

Ned Macey: What part of our STL prediction was that the NFC West is awful and somebody has to win it? For those people who own Edgerrin James in both their fantasy league (ok, that's just me), Julius Jones has one 62-yard touchdown and 66 yards on his other 26 carries. Jones, by the way, was below replacement level last season, while James was league average.

Bill Barnwell: Arizona had a passing game, though. Seattle didn't.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 at Buffalo Bills 33

David Gardner: Thanks to a couple of turnovers by the Bills, the Bucs have begun to crawl out of their 17-0 first-quarter hole. Kellen Winslow has been the star of the passing game -- or, alternatively, the soldier of it -- but Cadillac Williams has been really disappointing.

Bill Barnwell: Bills are really suffering from the loss of Posluszny. It's his job to handle most tight end routes in their scheme, and after he broke his arm, the Pats threw two TD passes on seam routes to Watson. Guessing Winslow's doing more of the same.

Aaron Schatz: Random fact: Today was the first time in the 34-year history of the Tampa Bay franchise that the Buccaneers played in Buffalo.

Pittsburgh Steelers 14 at Chicago Bears 17

Doug Farrar: Ron Jaworski’s notes on Jay Cutler, from this morning’s NFL Matchup:

Poor mechanics; Flat-footed throws; Off-balance throws; Reckless with the football; Bad decisions; Perceived pressure - running out of the pocket; Inaccurate with his throws; All-arm throws; No hip flex; Missed sight adjustments; Eyeballing the receivers...

And that was just in the first half. On SIRIUS last Friday with Adam Caplan, Greg Cosell said that he and Jaws were almost angry at how badly Cutler played in the first half. You don’t hear THAT too often.

Add the unconscionably stupid roughing the passer call on James Harrison to the unconscionably stupid roughing the passer call on Vince Wilfork. Evidently, tackling the quarterback ABOVE the knees is now verboten, as well.

Bill Barnwell: The Bears have a safety on their team named Awful Waffle?

Mike Kurtz: Mendenhall's ball control issues are not fixed. He's still holding the ball low, with only two points of contact, compared to proper carrying, which is high against the side or chest, with three points of contact. They're either not drilling control into his head, or he's not listening. Considering the hope that Mendenhall will become Pittsburgh's feature back, this is a big problem.

Aaron Schatz: OK, this Johnny Knox kid for Chicago is a player. We were flippant in our "Going Deep" comment this year, deriding him as just another track star who needed development as a receiver, but he seems to have taken over the third spot in the Chicago lineup and he's not just running go routes. He just scored a touchdown to tie up Pittsburgh 14-14 on an honest to goodness real life professional slant where he went forward for two or three steps with determination, enough to make Steelers safety Tyrone Carter hesitate a little bit, before he slanted in for the catch. That first two or three steps kept Carter from jumping in front of him for a pass defense or pick. Good stuff.

Bill Barnwell: We're flippant (and by we, I think me, since I probably wrote that comment) about these sort of guys because one out of every 15 or so turn into something.

Cutler played better today. He wasn't perfect, but he seemed far more sure of himself setting up in the pocket and getting the ball out. Everything else probably requires a closer study.

Cleveland Browns 6 at Denver Broncos 27

Mike Tanier: To avoid the spread of H1N1, health officials recommend you wash your hands for the length of time it takes a Browns blitz to reach the quarterback.

Baltimore Ravens 31 at San Diego Chargers 26

Vince Verhei: Can I just say that no team should ever be allowed to wear socks that are the exact same color as their pants? The Chargers look like they're wearing dark blue leggings out there.

Willis McGahee runs up the gut for an easy touchdown. Welcome to the post-Jamal Williams era, Chargers fans.

Mike Tanier: Ray Lewis, huge stuff to end the game! Ravens in first place!

Mike Kurtz: I'm going to go find a dark place to hide.

Bill Barnwell: What a glorious job by Norv Turner over the last four minutes of that game.

Mike Tanier: I only saw the last minute or so. I know the Chargers threw an interception and the Ravens kicked a field goal. What other blunders were there?

Bill Barnwell: Turner sweetly let the clock run for the 40 seconds before the Ravens field goal despite having two timeouts in his holster.

Doug Farrar: The Chargers had drives that stopped at the Baltimore 4 (field goal), the Baltimore 5 (field goal), the Baltimore 7 (field goal) and the Baltimore 15 (downs). Isn’t this kind of a Norv trademark?

Bill Barnwell: That also happened, but I blame that more on the lack of a center and right guard and the quality of Baltimore's defensive line than Turner.

Aaron Schatz: Turner's hallmark is blowing fourth-quarter leads, which he didn't have a chance to do today.

Mike Tanier: Ray Lewis said he read the run on fourth down at the end of the game because he saw the line was slanted. I was wondering if something tipped him: he ran right through a hole vacated by a pulling interior lineman.

New York Giants 33 at Dallas Cowboys 31

David Gardner: Steve Smith is blowing up this game. Since when is he a deep threat?

Bill Barnwell: When Eli Manning gets six seconds to throw.

Mike Tanier: The Giants need to get some first down stops on defense. The Cowboys either got a big play or an 8-yard gain on most of the first downs on their first quarter touchdown drive.

I want to know what Pierce saw and called on that Romo Pick-Six...The safeties drop back into what looks like 2-deep zone. They were probably in Man before that. Whatever it was, it was a bad decision with the ball.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah, Collinsworth was making such a big deal out of the audible by the Giants but it looked to me like he still had Roy Williams open on the slant. The problem wasn't the coverage, it's that he threw the ball two feet over Williams' head and into the arms of a Giant.

Mike Tanier: Giants are having some Eagles-2008 red zone adventures.

Aaron Schatz: Quick stat check: After the Cowboys stuffed Brandon Jacobs on a run around right end near the goal line, Cris Collinsworth talked about how hard it is to run wide against the Dallas Cowboys. Is it? I went to check. Last year, the Cowboys ranked third in ALY against runs left end, but they were 28th against runs right end. The year before, those ranks were fifth and 16th. So despite the fact that the Cowboys stuffed the Giants on that one play, it seems like it isn't really that hard to run wide against the Cowboys. Just wide left -- a fact which says nice things about DeMarcus Ware as an all-around football player.

Mike Tanier: And the crowd looks at the 500 zillion dollar scoreboard and goes totally silent as the ball bounces off Witten's foot to Kenny Phillips.

Bill Barnwell: I'm guessing Jason Witten would be a mean hackysack player.

Mike Tanier: The Giants have rediscovered the run.

Doug Farrar: Oh, dear. And there’s Ken Hamlin in the first half, overshooting the free outside lane with an undisciplined, “cat on a linoleum tile floor” blitz attempt, as Ahmad Bradshaw bounces outside for a 19-yard gain. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m confused by the third-quarter PI call on Terence Newman. He’s tied up with Steve Smith, about equivalent contact on both sides, and Newman turns to play the ball, which is what he’s supposed to do. In doing so, he impedes Smith’s path to the ball, but if he doesn’t turn around and Smith bumps into him with a catchable ball, Newman probably gets flagged for that. If Newman doesn’t have his head turned, even enough to read Smith’s eyes, how can he possibly know that the ball’s coming and when to interfere? Newman’s in a lose-lose there – no matter what he does, he’s hosed. That can’t be right.

Mike Kurtz: He stopped, well short of where the ball was. You can't just stop and pick the WR like that, they'll call it PI every time. If you're going to turn around and stop to make a play on the ball, you'd better be damn sure that you're actually in position to do it. If not, of course it's a lose-lose.

Mike Tanier: The Giants have been overpursuing and not handling backside gaps in this game. In the Cowboys third quarter drive it really killed them.

Bill Barnwell: Kenny Phillips also approached an onrushing Felix Jones like he'd never seen a game of football before.

Aaron Schatz: I'm not sure if he qualifies since he was a third-round pick instead of a first or second, but Mario Manningham is looking like a great pick for the FO "John Elway Award" (for hyped prospects who play badly as rookies and blossom as sophomores). He has made some big plays these first two weeks, and barely could get on the field last year.

Mike Tanier: Smith just faked one dude out of the stadium to get open for that touchdown.

Bill Barnwell: If this were an And1 game, Orlando Scandrick would've been ejected.

Mike Tanier: David Tyree is rushing to the stadium, rubbing glue on the helmet.

Doug Farrar: So much for your icing, Wade. The Competition Committee really needs to do something about this – maybe if you call a time out one second or sooner before the snap, it’s a five-yard penalty. If Goodell is so concerned about moving the games along that guys get nabbed for spiking the ball after a play, how can this be good for the NFL?

Mike Tanier: I agree. No harm, no foul in this game. It's just a silly loophole in the rules.

Bill Barnwell: Jeff Feagles did an amazing job on that high snap for the first field goal. An absolute work of art.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 21 Sep 2009

167 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2009, 4:43am by bubqr

Comments

1
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:19am

Ned Macey - ...when the Lions were hitting him (Favre) in the first half he threw up a complete duck that the Lions should have intercepted near the goal line.

Shiancoe didn't continue his route - he was slanting in and sat down - the throw was fine if Shiancoe continued his route.

What concerns me about the Vikings so far is they haven't been able to pass block. That combined with Favre's lack of mobility (which seems like the major area where he is showing decline) will be a big problem. Favre has been extremely accurate even on the odd pass down the field. The misses down the field have occurred when the receiver and Favre weren't on the same page.

The Vikings simply can't seem to block well enough to allow anything other than a very quick pass.

Other thoughts on that game:

In two games now the Viking run defence looked below average to weak against very weak competition. Seemed to me most of the big runs have been at Pat Williams and Jared Allen.

Percy Harvin is an extremely good runner. He's not only fast and elusive he runs very hard and routinely breaks tackles. He is an elite talent with the ball in his hands.

Love seeing a Viking win with Peterson only carrying 15 times.

Chad Greenway has a nose for the football.

If I was picking one wide receiver to start for my team it would be Calvin Johnson.

26
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:43am

I can't imagine that the receiver and Favre would have trouble getting on the same page. They work on those routes constantly during training camp.

2
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:22am

This coming Sunday against the 49ers will be the first chance to learn something about the Vikings. The Niners aren't great, but Singletary has them playing like a professional football team, especially on defense. The Lions and Browns might fit in better in the MAC. Oh well, starting the season with two road wins is always good.

6
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:31am

So they'd probably dominate the Big 10? :)

21
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:34am

The Ghost of Woody Hayes will come to your door and sucker-punch you!

34
by zlionsfan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:07pm

Let us not perpetuate those myths. Any NFL team would destroy any college team.

40
by boog :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:24pm

Yeah, but we're talking about the Lions and the Browns.

42
by Balaji (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:32pm

It's not a myth, exactly. It's perfectly good hyperbole — as in, not a serious prediction, but an exaggerated statement about how bad those teams are.

3
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:25am

Bill Barnwell - ....One thing I was concerned about with the Packers heading into this week was the offensive line, and while the running game's been acceptable, they have serious pass blocking issues. Antwan Odom's got five sacks in Cincy.

How much of the problem is Aaron Rogers? Coming into last year I looked up his reg and pre season stats and noticed he had a sack rate above 13%. Last year he was only sacked about 6% of the time - but that followed a year where Favre was sacked just 2.7% of the time.

When I've watched Rogers he looks very athletic and throws the ball well, but he holds the ball to long and takes sacks he shouldn't be taking.

28
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:46am

To be fair, the 13% rate was a result of Rogers' only significant playing time being in a blowout loss to the Cowboys, when DeMarcus Ware was just playing pass every down. To me, Rogers' pocket presence doesn't look like a weak point. Keep in mind that the Packers have lost a couple great tackles since Favre moved on, and that Allen Barbre may or may not be sentient.

64
by Arkaein :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:44pm

I'd say the sacks were maybe 50% on Rodgers. He was definitely holding the ball too long, especially on early downs. I don't really mind the sacks on 3rd down if there's no on open because the sacks are due to Rodgers keeping the play alive and constantly looking for a receiver. But on early downs he needs to get rid of the ball if nothing is there.

The protection was easily to blame for the other half of the sacks. On at least two occasions Colledge was simply abused after taking over for Clifton.

Overall, I think a lot of the perception of Rodgers sack rate comes in comparisons to Favre. Favre always got rid of the ball quickly for GB, often throwing high risk passes to avoid sacks. Rodgers won't throw into coverage but relies too heavily on mobility and his blockers to keep the play alive until he finds someone open, resulting in few picks but a greater number of sacks.

4
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:26am

There has been a whole bunch of bad pass blocking in most of the games I've watched so far. I have no idea what that means.

5
by Jon Coit (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:26am

Barnwell--re: Turner, the fg attempt happened with 2:54 to play, that seems like a minor quibble at best.

The biggest mistakes of the game were made by Rivers: the ridiculous "no-look" interception to Landry at the SD 22; the delay penalty which made 1st and goal at the 1 into 1st and goal at the 5; and several other near-interceptions (including one pass over the middle of the field as Rivers fell forward).

You could fault Turner's "strategy" on the last series; everyone in the stadium knew the 3rd and 2 jumbo formation was a disguise for a pass, and everyone knew the 4th and 2 jumbo was the desperation run. Didn't get a good look at the blocking on that one...was kind of distracted by the stop 5 yards in the backfield....but not a great play call. But that was the fifth! possession in the red zone that netted zero touchdowns...

7
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:31am

Will Allen - what's your take on Favre's play in the two games. I think he's thrown the ball very well considering the pressure. The right side of the line from Sullivan to Loadholt seems to cave on most pass plays.

8
by crack (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:36am

I was at the game Sunday. I agree that the right side looked awful, but the whole pocket was collapsing. Favre couldn't step up because the middle was collapsing too. I consider it a good sign that he wasn't chucking it in those situations. He just took the sack and moved on.

18
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:29am

Oh, he's been o.k., especially by the Vikings' qb standards of the last several years. I'm not concerned with the Zyggi Wilf's heirs, so the 12 million Favre is getting paid doesn't mean anything. He's gonna get hurt at this rate, however.tivo

I haven't bothered to break down the line play against this opposition, so I can't really say precisely what their protection issues have been. Hopefully, it isn't generalized sucking. The league seems to be filled with generalized sucking in pass protection so far.

9
by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:38am

NFL.com says Arizona 31, Jacksonville 17.

10
by Theo :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:41am

I don't think Brady missed Welker in that game. Welker's clone was in and did very very well.

11
by BaconAndWaffles :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:45am

I loved the Barnwell/Tanier throwdown over Kevin Kolb!?!

And for the record, I want to agree with Bill, but I think Mike won the argument. . .

20
by Joseph :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:32am

Saints fan here who watched the whole Eagles/Saints game.
1--I wrote on the discussion board yesterday afternoon that I thought Kolb got a B+ for the game.
2--Regarding his 1st pick: Scott Shanle said on nola.com that in the 1st half, he was supposed to have coverage on that route to Jackson and didn't get out there. Kolb hit that pass and (I think) they picked up 8-10 yds on it. He recognized the play, got to where he was supposed to be, and got the pick. It wasn't a good throw--but it appears to me from the replays that Kolb never sees Shanle because as the throw is made, another Eagles receiver is right in Kolb's line of sight--thus it appears that Jackson is out there without any defender within 10 yds--easy pitch and catch, Jackson gets a couple of YAC and its 2nd & 3. My judgment--McNabb senses/knows the LB is out there--Kolb making his 1st start doesn't.
3--Re: the Sharper INT=TD: A veteran FS who doesn't have to worry about the deep ball because the other team is in the red zone and is the NFL active INT leader VS. a young QB making his first NFL start=bad news for young QB. Saints' safeties last year would NEVER have made that play. That is now 3 picks in 2 games for Sharper. I say he gets 5/6 more and makes the Pro Bowl.
4--Tanier, my rebuttal to your well-stated argument is this: Kolb didn't defend Drew Brees or fumble a kick return. A basically rookie QB is gonna make 1 or 2 bad decisions because he is a ROOKIE. He made his first mistake at the WORST POSSIBLE TIME for the Eagles. A 17-13 game at the half became a 31-13 rout while the fans were still coming back from the bathroom. After that, the game becomes difficult for the Eagles if McNabb is in there, impossible with Kolb. His 2nd mistake was the pick-six. At that point, it didn't matter--the game was over. Sure, a 41-29 score looks better that 48-22. But the game was over.
BTW, the stat that should most concern you as an Eagles fan is 1-5 in the RZ. 1 TD & 2 FG's in the first 3 trips is okay--but the last two were a turnover on downs (which resulted in the giveaway safety) and the pick six. Part of that is Kolb, part of it is the LONG-TIME problems--stated a lot here--that the Eagles have in the RZ. The Saints were 4-6--4 TD's, 2 FG's. If Kolb/McNabb/Vick/Garcia need to score 35 to outscore the other team, it's gonna be a LOOONG year--trust me, as a Saints' fan I KNOW how this feels.

27
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:44am

Sharper at this point stays in the league based upon how he feasts upon young, inexperienced, qbs, and bad qb play in general. He gets badly exposed by speed, even against the run, and smart qbs. He will likely look great against Carolina and Tampa, and given the way the Saints are scoring, he'll have plenty of opportunity to face other qbs who are being forced into bad decisions.

71
by Adam B. :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:02pm

I was at that game, and I feel like there's an aspect of it we're missing: what happened to the Eagles defense? What were they trying to do to Brees, what kind of coverage was being attempted on the WRs, and why didn't it work?

[When they set up in the A-11, I had to explain to people around me what the hell it was. Still freaked out by that. But as I kept saying, if you only like up Kolb as a WR but never throw to him, they won't respect it and won't cover him.]

88
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:32pm

Consider that Andy drew up his wildcat package with the premise that the QB would be McNabb. Is there a chance in hell that Andy would have McNabb try to catch a pass and risk getting a shot that might knock him out for a month?

97
by Adam B. :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:54pm

I assume that the plays were more designed for Vick, and he'd never expose McNabb like that because he doesn't have to. Donovan McNabb can beat you as a traditional QB.

136
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 4:44am

And can get injured perfectly well just playing QB.

158
by Rick (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 4:36pm

I'm an Eagle's fan, didn't see the game, only highlights...but read the boxscore, reviewed the #'s, etc.

Kolb, at this point, in all his starts has shown me one thing - he's a rookie. Whether he should be after 2 years on the bench is questionable. But regardless of your view on where he SHOULD be, you have to accept he's young and getting used to the speed of NFL football. At halftime of a game I expected to be a blowout in the first quarter, it was 17-13. If Ellis Hobbs doesn't fumble, is it 20-17 or even 17-16? I don't know - but if it is, rather than 24-13, Kolb is sitting in a much better position to manage the game and take fewer risks.

I agree with Barnwell's reasoning behind the Wildcat - no need for it last week, a severe need to work it into the gameplan (it was terrible in pre-season), so this was the perfect game to do it. I don't view it as "protecting Kolb" as much as it was "figuring out how to do it right". Miami proved the Wildcat is not dead, it just needs constant tweaking and good players to run it.

I disagree with the assumption that 169 yards in "mop up" time out of 391 is somehow diminishing. Kolb had 220 yards in solid game time. Tell me you have a first time QB stepping in and he's going to get 200+ yards and keep the game close, and I'll say "wow, put him on my team". Sanchez may have managed his (different kind of) team better, but Kolb's numbers were better in 1 half of game time than Sanchez's entire game. Granted, the Patriots D is significantly better.

Overall, the jury remains OUT on Kolb. Let's see how he works himself onto the team. If he loses to KC this weekend and tosses 3 more pick 6's - then I think we have a verdict. If he tosses 200+ yards and 2 TD's for a win, then I think we say "well, maybe saying he sucks was rather rash...let's give him time".

Cripes, Eli's first few games starting were horrendous and people still believed he was the second coming. Even though he's got a (very lucky) Super Bowl win (please - desperation pass with amazing catch does not a GREAT QB make), Eli still shows pedestrian tendencies. If Kolb doesn't live up to expectations, that's the way of the NFL. I happen to think he's got a pretty good chance at surprising people. He just needs more game time.

91
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:23pm

I love how Tavaris Jackson or some other garbage quarterback can play years of spotty ball and people still want to "give him a chance".

Keven Kolb throws for nearly 400 yards ( yes garbage time included) in his first start and people are writing him off. Why not right off Jermarcus Russell who was 7/24 and missing screens/check downs, throwing 10 incompletions in a row?

You write off Tavaris Jackson and you are "mean", you write off Kevin Kolb and write in Hyperbole and it's cool.

Advantage: Barnwell.

102
by tuluse :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 5:22pm

I'm pretty sure just about everyone here has written off Russell and Jackson. Hell, a ton of people around here wrote Russell before the draft.

But sure keep imagining that there is this huge group of Jason Campbell loving, Eli hating fans who won't realize the truth unless you spell it out for them in an obnoxious way.

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by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:44pm

Read the comments about Tavaris Jackson two years ago and last year and how some people defended him. Oh, but some people wouldn't even defend him, they wouldn't even have the courage to do that, they'd just say " give him a chance" in case he worked out anyway. They'd make excuses " he never played in a big system" and has the big arm, blah blah blah or they'd just attack me for bringing the bad news.

When a guy fails " oh we never believed in him anyway".

Just a few comments down somebody defends Campbell because that's what Redskins fans do. The Redskins shouldn't give up on him because he *might* turn into Drew Brees. I mean, Jason Campbell only has 4 offensive NFC pro bowlers around him, if only Dan Snyder broke the bank to put some talent around him.

117
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:44pm

It's almost like there is some kind of reverse-racist conspiracy to make black QBs look good while denigrading white QBs. Right, Mr. Limbaugh?

12
by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:46am

It was a tale of 2 weeks for the Packers. Last week against a discombulated Bears Oline the Pack defense looked like the second coming of the 2000 Ravens or 1985 Bears. Against the Bengals they really struggled against the run. Not sure if the the Dom Capers defense is good or bad at this point. Although must give the d credit for getting 2 picks and 1 pick six. Without those this could have been ugly. What I am certain of, if the Packers do not get that offensive line in order, Aaron Rodgers will be a green and yellow stain on the field. 10 sacks in 2 games? At this rate I give him 6 games played max.

As a Bears fan it looks like both the Pack and Bears will be battling consisentcy issues. Whicever team can put it together on a regular basis will have an inside track to a playoff spot.

13
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:51am

4th-and-10, up seven, Jets rushing seven. Incompletion.

Unsound strategy. But the Son of Buddy had balls. And boy was it fun to watch.

46
by Dennis :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:50pm

What was unsound about it? It was the same defense they played all game that worked very well. Everyone complains about coaches switching to the prevent at the end of the game. Ryan stuck with what worked all game and it sill worked on the final drive.

147
by Theo :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 9:44am

It was sound, but onconventional.

14
by Doogie (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:03am

Understand why no one watched this game, but I was hoping to read your critique of Zorn's performance yesterday. Early on, it looked like he finally realized Campbell should be used out of the gun. Two straight drives, they march down the field with Campbell in the gun (one using a lot of no-huddle) only to have Zorn change course and destroy the team's rhythm in the red zone with predictable runs into the line.

His halfback option call on third and goal from the 7 was something you wouldn't see an eight year old playing Madden attempt.

Then there was the fourth quarter time out he was trying to call with a full play clock despite having the ball, the lead and the Rams being out of time outs. Good thing his assistants were grabbing him and screaming, "NOT NOW!" He's awful. He's the reason the team isn't scoring, not Campbell.

16
by JasonK :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:19am

IMO, the Redskins aren't scoring because their passing game options not named "Chris Cooley" are awful. The WRs just aren't getting open with any consistency.

That HB pass was a pretty silly call, though.

35
by perly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:08pm

In defense of the HB pass, it's not like anything else is working. The difference between this year's offense and last year's offense is that last year, the Skins could run the ball. The fact that Campbell looks incrementally better over last year isn't enough to make up for that.

Then you add in the inability to beat press coverage and the drops, and you're left with gimmicks to try to score. Zorn's almost certainly going to be fired at the end of the year, but it's not like he's squandering a team that's loaded with weapons. Although I would like to see more pre-snap motion--the Davis/Cooley/Sellers/Portis/Moss heavy set could as easily line up 4 or 5 wide.

But that TO mistake was a minor fiasco. No coach should ever look so unprepared, although I can't say I'm shocked that a man could work so long under Mike Holmgren and not learn the importance of clock management.

On the bright side, losing Randy Thomas isn't costing the Skins an adequate rushing attack. But unless they've got somebody ready to step in and start at RG, this is going to be a long year...

93
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:32pm

I hope people FINALLY see that Jason Campbell is a check down quarterback and nothing more. I mean, Drew Brees has 9 touchdowns in two freaking games and Campbell threw 13 the entire year last year.

But hey, instead of talking about Jason's problem's, let's just hype up how he doesn't throw picks! I mean, who woulda thunk if you are just going to hold onto the ball and throw check downs that you won't throw interceptions?

The Redskins had more pro bowlers than any NFC team last year but were 5th to last in scoring due to an inept quarterback. He holds onto the ball too long, has a 1/2 way leftwhich slow release, and is mortally scared of turnovers. I mean think about it on a risk/reward spectrum.

On one end you have a guy like Favre who leads the NFL in Interceptins but also touchdown passes. Throw in another guy like Warner on the "risk is good side". On the other side you have a guy like Jason Campbell who refuses to take any chances. I mean, you could hike every snap to a running back and run option and you won't throw any picks ( you won't have any TD's either). Jason Campbell is at one extreme of the risk-o-meter and it is largely because his coach doesn't believe in him.... Hence all the screens, draws, Runs, and 2 yard passes on 3rd and long.

Oh, but the Redskins fans argue that he's had too many different coordinators. They bring up how his junior year in college, Senior year in college, and first year in the pro's he had a different coordinator. Ahhh man, it's not his fault... He had new coaches when he went from college to the pros! It's just not fair. Don't blame him! Is he suppost to transport his college coaches when he goes pro or something ( don't give snyder any ideas).

PS. Clinton Portis certainly gained weight and he isn't the same breakout runner he once was. How many years left does he have before he's finished... 2? 3?

107
by Quincy :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:21pm

I know 2 games is a small sample size, but currently Campbell is averaging 7.43 yards per attempt. That's 12th in the league and far from Captain Checkdown territory. Granted, the two previous seasons he only averaged about 6.5 ypa, but that was pretty similar to what Eli put up, whose vertical passing you laud in a later comment. Campbell isn't the problem in Washington. I agree with you that Portis looks like he's lost a step, but that only weakens your argument about Campbell. He's surrounded by average-to-below-average talent at every offensive position except tight end and the play calling appears to be severely lacking.

As a Giants fan, you of all people should understand the importance of being patient with a QB. Eli didn't have his first above-average season until last year, his 4th as a starter. Even then he was far from the elite quarterback most of the media made him out to be, and the Giants offense was heavily reliant on the league's best running game. This year, after two games he looks like he may have taken another step forward to the point where the Giants can win games solely on the strength of his passing. It's only been two games, though, and it's still way too early to say for certain whether that's the case.

You also brought up Drew Brees, who is another excellent example of why it's a mistake to form conclusions about a young QB too quickly.

116
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:39pm

Quincy,

If Jason Campbell turns into Drew Brees I will never post again on this site eat all the crow you want me to and I say that because there is about a .02% chance that it will happen. You have a better chance being hit by lightining.

Eli Manning wasn't as good as the media made him out to be? What media? Did you read this web site circa 2007? How about Joe Buck who when a pass hits his WR in the hands and is dropped... " Well Eli starts this game out 0/2". Sure there was some hyperbole after the SB but that's because nobody ( besides a few of us) ever expected anything from Eli... " He makes mistakes".

The thing about a guy like Eli is he did make mistakes, but he did a lot of things right too, and he was trying to learn a mature offense. Your boy Jason Campbell is going the Byron Leftwhich route... He didn't make the mistakes, his QB is coddiling him and for good reason. He won't even LET him throw the ball because he isn't CONFIDENT that he CAN throw the ball.

If you'll look at some good quarterbacks careers they started out terrible ( they were trying to run REAL offenses not checkdown city), they messed up, they learned... Their INT totals went down, while their TD totals stayed high.

Jason Campbell and Byron Leftwhich didn't have that high INT total because they were busy throwing dump offs and predetermined longer passes. By the way, Jason Campbell throws a poor deep ball for a guy with a strong arm. I'll give him arm strength but he isn't accurate on his deep ball at all and that's not good.

You can't simply look at Jason Campbell's yards per reception and conclude that he "throws downfield as much as other quarterbacks". If Jason throws a pass sideways to his RB (0 yards), and he runs 7 yards on basically an extended hand off, then Campbell gets credit just like he threw a 7 yard stop. Now you tell me what is a harder and riskier pass to complete, a 7 yard stop or a sideways pass to your RB?

People have tried to argue this bit with half baked arguments but if you watched even 2 redskins games in your life you'd see it.

There is a difference with being "patient" with a guy running a real scheme, and being patient with a guy that you won't even try and take risks with. If Jason was a gunslinger, putting up points, touchdowns, yards, but sometimes making risky throws into coverage and getting burned with picks/turnovers that's one thing... but he doesn't show you that upside. It's no risk no reward with that guy.

Eli I want to say had 28 TDS in one of those years that was accompanied by lots of mistakes. Jason Campbell threw 13 TD passes last year.... I mean how many do you realistically think he's going to throw for this year?

15? If Jason Campbell is a 5th year guy who gives you 15 TD passes ( 1 per game), then is it really worth it? I mean, there are any number of backups who could throw 15 TD passes in a year.

120
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:52pm

Obviously, Campbell's skill expresses itself in his ability to get all the other Redskins players into the Pro Bowl.

122
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:01pm

So can you please explain to me exactly how Campbell got Mike Sellers and Chris Samuels into the pro bowl? If anything him holding onto the ball to long almost didn't get Samuels into the pro bowl, and I don't know how a QB helps his beast FB accolades.

125
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:06pm

Obviously, it was because Campbell threw so few interceptions.

126
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:15pm

So you don't argue any of the points against Campbell, you just say *Obviously* he helped get his full back into the pro bowl because he didn't throw picks? Are you Matt Millen?

128
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 9:28pm

It appears that that's what I said.

131
by Independent George :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:52pm

Outstanding.

132
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 12:00am

double post

157
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 3:14pm

Your 3 words added nothing to the thread :)

141
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 7:06am

You remind me of the infamous Over confident Eagles WR Freddy Mitchell.

( The reporters run over to him after a weak performance, Maybe he had 1 catch for 3 yards). Freddy, what happened out there... ( why didn't you do anything).

" Well the other team kept double and triple teaming me so that Terrell Owens could get his 8 catches for 140 yards or whatever". Yeah... OK. The Reason why Terrell Owens but up good numbers is because the defense focused on shutting down FredEX. LOL. I'd like to give a shout out to his hands too.

146
by dmb :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 9:34am

He's being facetious. I guess your inability to recognize your antagonistic tone and straw-man arguments makes more sense if you can't understand when other people are doing it, either.

His point is this: anyone here who reads comments with any regularity knows that you think Eli is the second coming, that Jason Campbell is Byron Leftwich, and that you'll argue until you're blue in the face -- without really "listening" to what the other arguments are. We don't care anymore.

155
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 3:04pm

Because he know's it's true.

I never said Eli was the second coming, my whole point was that conventional stats don't always capture what he's good at. Eli's not even a top 5 QB ( yet). You'd think that would go over well at the Outsiders website but they were bashing him back when it was cool.

You say that nobody "disagrees" and that I don't "listen", but some angry Redskin fan living in Snyderland always shoots back with some illogical response.

38
by zlionsfan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:10pm

Don't forget the sweep call on fourth-and-1. There is a play out there less likely to succeed, I'm just not sure what it is.

25
by Eddo :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:42am

- Adewale Ogunleye, 2 sacks. Antwan Odom, 5 sacks. Maybe the Packers just have trouble with the initials A.O.?

- Someone pointed this out in the open game thread, but Tarvaris Jackson came in during garbage time and threw one dumpoff to Chester Taylor that went for 14 yards. It was the longest Vikings pass play of the game. I know that yes, he's better than Jackson and Sage Rosenfels, but at what point do we question the Vikings paying $12 million to a quarterback who's really just Captain Checkdown?

- I thought James Harrison's roughing the passer call was perfectly legit*. It wasn't necessarily that it was a low hit, but that it was late. That play happened in the end zone our seats are in, and we saw Cutler throw the checkdown with no defenders particularly close, then turned back and saw he was on the ground. At home, on DVR, Harrison chooses to continue after Cutler even though he was definitely far enough away to pull up. That seems like a textbook roughing call to me.

- Johnny Knox looked good. I don't recall him dropping any easy catches, which receivers on both sides were doing all day due to the weather, and he runs rather crisp routes for a guy drafted because he's fast. Barring injury, I'd be shocked if he wasn't the Bears' number one receiver by November.

- Ben Roethlisberger had a couple really nice play fakes on the Steelers' two touchdowns; is this something he's known for being very good at?

- I thought Jay Cutler had a rather good game. I only counted one truly forced throw (in fact, he probably should have forced one more, a deep route to and open Hester that would have had to be thrown across Cutler's body) and he seemed to be doing very well on first down in the second half, setting the Bears up with a lot of second-and-five or less situations.

* - What I mean is, I think it was the right call.

31
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:55am

Eddo, the 12 million really doesn't matter much. The Vikings always manage the cap well, and the NFL may be heading into uncapped territory anyways. Finally, I'd guess that they will get a very large chunk, if not all, of that 12 million back in Favre-related revenues. I think they sold 6000 season tickets within a few days of his signing. This was a no-brainer move for Wilf.

37
by Eddo :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:09pm

I guess that's true, Will, and as long as the cap is managed, then the $12 million is indeed irrelevant.

My question to you is: has Favre really made a difference yet? Has he done anything that Rosenfels and/or Jackson couldn't have, given the plays being called? From what I've seen of the Vikings (4.5 quarters on the season), I can't say he has, but you've obviously seen much more of his play.

41
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:28pm

The difference from last year's Vikings qb play is what Favre HASN'T done. Like throw pick sixes or otherwise turn the ball over in a manner which turns what should be easy double digit victories into nail-biters. Look, Favre has rightly received plenty of criticism over the years for being careless with the ball, but he is not a moron, and he obviously has oceans of experience. He knows he may have one of the top five running backs of all time, with perhaps the best speed/power combination since Jim Brown. He knows there is a lot of talent on defense. Now, perhaps when he faces a team which matches the Vikings on the line of scrimmage, especially away from the Metrodome, he'll get horribly exposed. Last year, however, the Vikings often just barely got by, or even lost games, even when they utterly dominated the line of scrimmage. Favre is better than that, at least.

69
by Todd S. :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:55pm

As a Colts fan, I can confirm that the only reason Indy beats Minny last year was because of QB play.

83
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:08pm

The second Packers game was almost worse. The Vikings absolutely crushed The Pack on both lines of scrimmage, in a manner which often results in winning by 20 or more points, but horrific qb and special teams play by the Vikings resulted in a win that wasn't secured until the Packers missed a field goal on the last play.

94
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:37pm

Agreed

Favre was something like 12/12 at one point. I mean, you aren't going to get there unless you are throwing a lot of dump offs/check downs.

I think Favre WILL throw the ball downfield more once he gets comfortable with his receivers, but I throught they'd have more trouble than most people would like to admit yesterday because the Lions DO have a good LB core, and Favre HAS clearly been very risk averse with the football. He still did get respect/down field coverage, but at some point they will have to throw the ball more than 10 yards to maintain that respect. The Vikings just have too much speed/breakout ability to just let you dump the ball off.

110
by bravehoptoad :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:33pm

Favre was something like 12/12 at one point. I mean, you aren't going to get there unless you are throwing a lot of dump offs/check downs.

You clearly didn't see a guy named Warner play this weekend (24 of 26, 9 ypa.)

115
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:26pm

So what's more common, a guy completing 12/12 with check downs, screens, dump offs, short passes, and maybe some garbage yards ( David Carr ) or Kurt Warner breaking NFL records?

If a guy is completing an obscene percentage of passes, it's usually because of the nature of his work, and not because he's breaking records. Sure there are exceptions but Brett Favre was no Warner yesterday.

62
by dbostedo :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:30pm

Will - I don't think it's a no brainer, and they are no very likely to recoup the cost associated with signing Farve. Check out these two posts from The Sports Economist (unfortunately, the AP article link referenced isn't working):

http://thesportseconomist.com/2009/08/is-brett-favre-worth-25-million-ov...
http://thesportseconomist.com/2009/08/favre-effect.htm

67
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:52pm

Yeah, I forgot that they only keep 60% of ticket revenue, but the first link implies that the $25 million figure is pertinent, when it really isn't. I don't think the Vikings need to recoup the full 12 million to make the signing a no-brainer.

133
by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 12:13am

My guess is that the Vikings had a dismal outlook for ticket sales, in-game advertising, and the likelihood of getting a home playoff game and decided that $12 million was a small price to pay for raising all of those figures up.

And any shortfall between the cost of Favre's contract and the immediate revenue has to be considered in light of Zygi's push for a new stadium, and the positivity he needs for that to come to fruition.

As to Favre's performance so far, one insider has said that Favre is having trouble directing the O-line assignments at the line of scrimmage. Which is troubling, since that and his ability to audible in and out of pass plays based on D alignment was a hallmark of his success in GB.

We'll see. So far they haven't been in a position where the reward of a long pass is needed, especially against the risk of doing so with an injured deep threat (Berrian), and Sid Rice not quite known for his speed.

32
by Nate :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:58am

Yeah, I thought the Harrison roughing call was a late hit, not a low hit. Could have arguably been pushed into Cutler as well, I guess.

56
by Geo B :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:14pm

As a Steeler fan, I thought he was blocked into Cutler and it should have been a no call. I don't know if that matters or not. He definitely was mid-thigh so it wasn't a case of the Palmer rule.

Chicago did a great job of keeping Cutler clean for the most part, Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

47
by tuluse :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:54pm

I noticed that James Harrison aimed his helmet right at Cutler's crotch, I don't know if that's a penalty but it does seem painful.

15
by White Rose Duelist :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:17am

Can someone hook me up with a screencap of Jeff Reed looking emo at the end of the game?

Also, did Troy Polamalu suck on a helium balloon before making that Head & Shoulders commercial?

70
by Todd S. :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:59pm

Anyone else think that Polamalu commercial is ripe for a "Weird Al" parody? (Someone's probably already made this point.) When I'm watching that on fast forward I catch myself going...is that "Weird Al?" (It's the hair.)

89
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:44pm

How would Polamalu even know if he had dandruff? His hair completely covers his shoulders.

103
by Brendan Scolari :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 5:39pm

Re: Polamalu

Nope, he just has a high voice.

17
by Matt R (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:28am

Has FO ever done the definitive Norv Turner article?

What is his exact problem? Most people agree he gets more and does less, consistently underperforms expectations (Vegas and otherwise), and can coach as a coordinator but not as Top Dog.

What's the deal? Does he not coach situational awareness like Belichick? Does he manage the clock poorly? What is the best explanation for his shortcomings?

19
by JasonK :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:30am

If I recall correctly, they addressed the Norv issue in the SD team chapter in either PFP '07 or '08.

43
by zlionsfan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:37pm

It's kind of a combination; in '07 they address it directly and in '08 they consider that perhaps Smith can provide more talent than Turner can waste.

113
by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:09pm

all the norv hate is just wrong. He had nothing to do with that loss yesterday. His responsibilities on sunday are clock management and play calling. They had no clock management blunders except MAYBE 3rd down at the end of the first half kicking the field goal with 10 seconds left and no timeouts. At the end of the game him deciding to run the clock down to 38 seconds was a BRILLIANT MOVE and i am shocked in the audibles that he was criticized for that decision. They were clearly looking for norv hate and not thinking about the situation. And as for his offensive play calling..... 440 passing yards against baltimore. Thats awful. Bad play calling norv. How dare you have the chargers outgain the ravens by 150 yards and have your side of the ball singled handedly keep this game within reach.

This norv hate is getting overplayed. Quit looking for it. The charger defense isnt talented (and they proved it). They have great special teams and a great offense. This is last years saints team. I guess sean payton must be as bad of a head coach as norv turner then.

134
by greybeard :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 12:18am

Turner has a better winning percentage than Schottenheimer with San Diego, and has definitely been more successful than him in the playoffs. People generally thought Schottenheimer was successful yet a more successful coach is considered not successful.
San Diego has been the third best team since Turner has become the head coach (Steelers, Giants and Titans are the only other teams to make to playoffs both years, and obviously two of them won superbowls).

135
by t.d. :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 3:24am

lolwut

the colts made the playoffs both years. schottenheimer took over a lousy team and went 12-4 and then 14-2 with them. turner took over a 14-2 team and has gotten three games worse in consecutive seasons.

137
by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 4:47am

since when is team record sufficient enough by itself?

Wade phillips is a great defensive coordinator. And look what cam cameron is doing with baltimores offense the last two years. Those two arent chopped liver. They both happened to leave the same year shotty left. Ron Rivera is a useless coordinator. I can say with a straight face i would rather have any other teams defensive coordinator than him. Hes passive. Hes not smart. Hes not creative. Nothing is going for him. Every week there is an uncontested deep touchdown (louis murphy week 1 and kelley washington week 2) and both times the players were pointing fingers at each other. There is so much confusion on that side of the ball that It isn't just players messing up. They dont know when to release their guy and when to pick them up and the coordinator is to blame for that. The scheme is god awful.

The things that norv is in control of are in full force. Outside of new orleans this looks like the best offense in the league. I just find it sickening how if he was to fart on the sidelines he would get criticized for it.

142
by t.d. :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 8:06am

really? so you think coaches should be judged by something other than their record? whose fault is it that they hired a bad defensive coordinater? the 3rd down kick to end the first half and the 4th down call when (his words mind you) he didn't know how far they had to go for the 1st down were optimal efficiency? san diego fans deserve better.

150
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 11:50am

The guy in San Diego who should be ripped is A.J. Smith. Schottenheimer gets fired in a dispute over defensive coordinators, and Smith proceeds to have Ted Cottrell, who is indescribably incompetent, and then Rivera, installed at the post. That's ridiculous.

152
by greybeard :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 1:06pm

So you agree that Turner has been better then Marty in San Diego. He has a better record.

159
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 5:25pm

Turner did not coach the same teams that Schottenheimer did. I have always been kind of neutral on Turner. I thought A.J. Smith was certifiably insane to fire Schottenheimer at the time he did, in a dispute over who the next defensive coordinator should be, and then oversee the installation of Ted Cottrell as defensive coordinator. That's like firing your eye doctor over his treatment recommendations, and then sticking a knitting needle through your eyeball.

162
by greybeard :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 7:16pm

Sorry it was not clear, but I was referring to t.d's. comment about coaches should be judged based on their records.

151
by greybeard :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 1:03pm

If you are going to cherry pick the records let me do the same. Bill Belichick took a 16-0 team and made it a 11-5 team.

160
by t.d. :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 6:02pm

Yo Marty, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish but Norv is the best coach of all time

153
by greybeard :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 1:13pm

You are right. Indy made the playoffs both year. And then were eliminated by Chargers.

154
by greybeard :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 1:24pm

And finally, the 12-4 and 14-2 came not form a lousy team but Drew Brees/Philip Rivers + best years of LdT + best years of Gates.

I did not say schottenheimer was not successful. I think he was very successful. Just Turner has been more successful so far.

I root for 49ers. It sounds quite silly to me when fans of a team complain about a head coach which took them to AFC championship game and second round of playoffs in two years he has been there, especially when that happened at the strength of the offense that he controls and despite injuries to two most important players (LT and Merriman) on the team.

163
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 09/23/2009 - 11:12am

Saying Turner is better than Schottenheimer because of his record is like saying George Seifert was a better coach than Bill Walsh. After all, he had a better record.

164
by greybeard :: Wed, 09/23/2009 - 4:27pm

I did not say Turner is the better coach. I said he has been more successful with Chargers. And I did not based it on his win-loss record either, I based it on playoff appearances and the success in playoffs. But he has also been more successful win-loss record wise.

People complain about Turner a lot. I can sympathize with it when that come from Raiders and Redskins fans. But he took Chargers to AFC championship game, and could have taken them to Superbowl had Rivers not have injury. He also took Chargers to second round in playoffs last year. His has been successful with Chargers. But week after week there are Turner jokes. If he is as bad as people make him to be why not wait until he fails and then make fun of him.

22
by LorenzoStDuBois (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:36am

Does anyone recommend a good football column to read that runs does a rundown on the week's games aside from MMQ and TMQ? I'm not wild about either one of those, and this Audibles thing is ok but a bit raw. The only thing FO appears to do is the Any Given Sunday column, and that's just about one game and super in depth.

Any ideas?

140
by debilliet (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 4:58am
23
by Tarrant :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:37am

I really believe that as the number of running/mobile quarterbacks increases, that there's going to need to be looks taken at roughing the passer and other QB protection penalties, which seem to be getting more annoying from season to season.

Between college and NFL games over the past two (three for college) weeks, and last season, it feels like there needs to be some way to address this, because such protection rules are giving highly mobile quarterbacks (especially in college) some running space that no running back or fullback would ever be given, because players are afraid of a personal foul. "What if they suddenly pass the ball?"

I remember a few years ago seeing a Tennessee game where a player had Vince Young almost in the grasp, Young pump-faked, and the player backed off, almost terrified of a roughing the passer call. Young then tucked the ball and ran for a first down. Over the weekend (I think in a college game) I saw a QB who the announcers constantly talked about as a "dangerous runner", tuck the ball and go off running, only to, with a tackler diving at them from only a foot away, take the ball in one hand and toss it to the ground (as he was still a foot or so behind the line of scrimmage) - flags flew - the announcers wondered, was it a fumble? Was it grounding? No, roughing the passer. Despite the fact that the tackling player had no way to know the QB wasn't simply going to continue to run the ball when they dove for the tackle.

Had it been a running back, or any other player, who was behind the line of scrimmage and tossed it like that (even if there was a forward motion), it's hard to believe it'd have been called anything but maybe an incomplete pass (if they even decided it was a pass and not a fumble). Likewise, no one would have bothered laying off tackling Young if he hadn't had the Force Shield that is a potential roughing call. Now, with "going low on the QB" (the Brady Rule) and everything else, it feels like players have to do way too much and the rules are fairly easy to take advantage of.

Unfortunately, it certainly feels like the NFL is going farther and farther in protecting "traditional QBs" and these rules will end up benefiting "nontraditional" ones.

24
by PatsFan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:40am

Same thing happened in a Pats-Steelers game with Kordell Stewart. Pats LB had him lined up to blast him at the sideline (as it looked like KS was going OOB). LB held up and right at the sideline KS turned it upfield and ran a loooong way for a score.

33
by Travis :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:04pm

Over the weekend (I think in a college game) I saw a QB who the announcers constantly talked about as a "dangerous runner", tuck the ball and go off running, only to, with a tackler diving at them from only a foot away, take the ball in one hand and toss it to the ground (as he was still a foot or so behind the line of scrimmage)

That was Jake Locker in the second quarter of the Washington-USC game. A terrible call.

121
by The Human Spider :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:57pm

I remember a few years ago seeing a Tennessee game where a player had Vince Young almost in the grasp, Young pump-faked, and the player backed off, almost terrified of a roughing the passer call. Young then tucked the ball and ran for a first down.

I remember that game too, as it was against the Giants. Mathias Kiwanuka wrapped Young up, and let go after he pump faked in order to avoid the penalty. That stemmed from a week earlier when Kiwanuka was flagged for rushing the passer, which was more the result of physics than it was a late hit.

Yet that seems to be the biggest problem: a lot of roughing the passer calls are due to physics more than anything else. If you're going as fast as these guys are (or as fast as you can possibly go), you're not going to stop instantly. I'm not a science major, but you would have to at least SLOW DOWN before completely stopping, but the laws of physics are lost on the refs and the rulebook. Hence, wishy-washy roughing the passer calls.

29
by MJK :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:49am

I'll weigh in on the Welker-Brady-Jets defense issue. To my eye, the Patriots struggles were about 45% due to the excellent defense the Jets played, 35% due to Brady having a bad day and looking like his mechanics were off, and 20% due to missing Welker. Granted, the first two may be related.

Edelman dropped a pass or two that Welker probably would have caught (although Welker had some nasty drops last week). However, it should be noted that a lot of the missed passes were to people other than Edelman...specifically to Morris and Galloway. At least two that I remember were thrown with apparent purpose and precision...to spots on the field where Galloway wasn't because it looked like he had run the wrong route. Galloway was on a different page than Brady all preseason...and it looks like it's continuing into the regular season. Likely, Edelman was covered on many of the errant throws we saw not to him and hence was not targeted. If Welker's on the field, at least some of the time I think he gets open when Edelman didn't, and maybe the Pats prolong a drive or two morel.

All that said, the thing I credit most is the Jets good tackling, and Revis' ability to take away Moss with relatively little safety help. After the first two drives, the Pats had adjusted to the unbalanced blitz enough to get the ball out on short routes--routes where, because of the blitz, all the receiver had to do was make the one guy (usually a CB) miss, and it would be a big gain. Unfortunately for the Pats, that one guy never seemed to miss. I saw at least three plays where a Patriots' receiver caught a ball for a 2-5 yard gain, with one Jet between him and yards of open field, and he was tackled almost instantly. Again, some of that may be Brady's mechanics (not letting the reciever catch the ball on the run), which may have come from the pressure, but without that sure tackling, the Jets defensive gameplan fails utterly. It's easy to force the ball out early...just bring so many guys from the same side that the offense can't block them all. What's hard is that if you bring that many guys, the guys you don't bring have to do their job perfectly. And the Jets guys did.

48
by Purds :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:56pm

I think the Pats missed Welker more than some here, but not necessarily in his game execution. I was struck by how many times someone (often mini-Welker) was lined up on the wrong side of the field, not on the line of scrimmage, etc. I was thinking during the game that they were playing like they expected Welker to play, but then he really was a true last-minute scratch, and they weren't really ready to play with other personnel. Once the ball was snapped, I don't think mini-Welker played that poorly, but I was surprised at how undisciplined the Pats looked before the snap.

54
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:12pm

Sounds like poor coaching? {as I shrug my shoulders and brace for an onslaught of Belichek defenders!}

101
by dryheat :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 5:21pm

No, this is on Brady. He simply wasn't stepping into throws to his left. It was like watching a pitcher step towards first base and trying to throw strikes. Oddly enough (or maybe not) his mechanics were much, much better throwing right and towards the middle. Hopefully it will get corrected.

123
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:02pm

"Hopefully it will get corrected."

In a few months, sure. He's coming off a torn ACL. Every QB who's ever had an ACL injury has said it takes a year to play, and another year to feel normal. Expecting Brady to be different was just wishful thinking.

143
by dryheat :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 8:39am

I'm just hoping, perhaps in vain, for a triumph of mind over body. In any case, and I realize that it's dictated to some extent by score, New England has to run more. Their OL is built to run block and get out on screens, not to stalemate a pass rush 40 drop-backs a game.

30
by Ryan D. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 11:55am

Am I the only person who thought that the Giants should have been upset about losing their last timeout of the first half because of an injury caused by a penalty? The Giants were charged their 3rd timeout when Justin Tuck was injured after being tripped by Flozell Adams inside the two-minute warning. If I'm Tom Coughlin, I would be furious about losing a timeout to an injury that was a direct result of a penalty from the other team.

36
by Travis :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:09pm

The Giants were not charged a timeout for that, at least not in the official gamebook. Timeouts in the last two minutes caused by "injuries result[ing] from fouls by the other team" (Rule 4-5-4-a-i) aren't charged to the injured team.

52
by E :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:04pm

The official announcement on the field was that the Giants were charged with a time out. Not sure what it gets them to have it reversed later in the official gamebook.

60
by Travis :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:27pm

I believe NBC went to commercial after the injury. It probably (but not definitely) was corrected on the field during that break, and NBC didn't mention it.

39
by JasonK :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:17pm

NYG-DAL was a weird game.

Both defenses essentially over-prepared and over-schemed to address what they perceived would be their biggest problem in this game. DAL had given up lots of rushing yards to TB and were worried about Jacobs and the Giants run game. NYG was playing with a UDFA as their nickel CB and both starting safeties less than 100%, and were worried about Romo, Witten, and the DAL passing attack. Both defenses were very successful in stopping what they most wanted to stop, and horrendously bad at everything else they tried to do on defense.

The good news for the Giants is that their issues stopping the run should be more correctable than the Cowboys' inability to cover anyone man-to-man. NYG are hitting the soft part of their schedule (@TB, @KC, OAK), which should afford them some time to get guys healthy and fix what's wrong with the run D.

63
by Mark S. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:32pm

Agreed completely. The DAL defense totally sold out to stop the run, which they did pretty damn well, with the Giants only finding success for a stretch in the 3rd Q, but as a result they got torched by the passing game. On the other side of the ball, the Giants were clearly vervous about the banged up secondary - they were double covering a lot of the receivers split wide and even in the slot (seemed like they had Witten doubled a lot), and as a result the second level got chewed up by the run.

On the one hand, the defensive performance has me concerned as an NYG fan, but on the other they really were operating at about 70-75% with Canty, Ross, Dockery out, Tuck missing most of the game (Flozell should be suspended - he tried to trip Osi on another play a the next quarter after sending Tuck to the locker room), and Phillips and Johnson playing through injuries. I'm hoping as these guys get healthy the schemes and performance will be a lot more effective against the run. That said, the pass coverage did look pretty excellent all game.

Also: What is up with the Cowboys' pass rush? They couldn't sack Leftwich (!) in wk 1, and they had very little pressure on Manning yesterday, again no sacks and not even many hurries. Are they just really missing James and Canty?

95
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:48pm

Agreed

but the Giants made a powerful statement yesterday. If you bring 8/9 into the box to sell out to stop the run, we will be able to beat you throwing the ball. If the Giants start whooping people with the run, this game proves that you have to pick your poison.

The Giants must have been ready for this as the very first offensive play was a deep ball to Steve Smith. Eli had 320 or 330 yards plus a 30 or 40 yard Pi that won't count in the stat sheet. He did well at identifying pressure ( wasn't sacked), and delivered strong throws to his WR's.

Both Eli and Romo proved that having a "#1 WR" is overrated if you can read a defense and beat zones.

I would like to add that Michael Boley had a fantastic game. I couldn't be happier as he was an instant upgrade at Will.

Also ESPN keeps saying Romo threw behind the WR on the play that Pierce audibled. Romo saw the Giants in MAN coverage, and called an audible, but Pierce called the blitz off and he audibled too.

Dallas ran a combo route with the twins on the right side and Romo was trying to hit the inside WR who was cutting out ( not the outside guy cutting in). If the Giant rookie wasn't sitting there in his zone, the ball WAS on target. I can't believe the annoucers couldn't figure this out. It was a good switch by Pierce, and the Giant rookie did a good job jamming the guy in front of him before finding his zone and making the play.

148
by TGT2 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 9:47am

Also ESPN keeps saying Romo threw behind the WR on the play that Pierce audibled. Romo saw the Giants in MAN coverage, and called an audible, but Pierce called the blitz off and he audibled too.

Dallas ran a combo route with the twins on the right side and Romo was trying to hit the inside WR who was cutting out ( not the outside guy cutting in). If the Giant rookie wasn't sitting there in his zone, the ball WAS on target. I can't believe the annoucers couldn't figure this out. It was a good switch by Pierce, and the Giant rookie did a good job jamming the guy in front of him before finding his zone and making the play

I'm not sure how you can use so many correct facts to come up with a completely wrong result. Yes, Romo was throwing to the inside receiver cutting out. Yes, the throw was not behind him. Yes, the DB had a good jam. No, nothing else you said was correct.

The ball was thrown 4 feet over the jumping receiver's outstretched hands. That was the inside receiver cutting out. There was no receiver in position behind the intercepting DB. It was NOT a good throw and was NOT on target. Yes, the DB may have gotten in the right spot in his zone (not exactly hard to drop back into space and cover no one), but he didn't do anything special. By "making the play," you mean "catching a soft pass that hit him between the numbers while he was stationary facing the QB." I'm not saying the DB did anything wrong, just that he didn't do much of anything really. That pick was purely on Romo. He had an open man and pulled an Eli.

the ball so far over Romo's head, that Roy Williams (the inside receiver running out) didn't even make a full jump for it. It was soo bad, he didn't believe it was to him. The DB may have had a good jam on the line, but the Interception was a pure gift. Romo through it into his numbers.

156
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 3:12pm

There were 2 WR's running a combo route designed to beat Man Coverage ( what the Giants were initially in).

Romo audibled into the play to beat man/press coverage ( the combo route)
Pierce then audibled into Zone.

Rock beats scissors
Scissors beat paper
Paper covers up rock

Romo was trying to throw to the deeper WR, the guy who was running the out route and not the guy running the IN route.

The Giant jammed the outside WR, and then sat in his shallow zone and picked off a ball.

The ball was not thrown 4 feet over the WR's scretched arms, the ball was thrown behind that guy ( the outside guy), because romo was throwing OVER him to the inside guy cutting out. The reason why YOU think the ball was thrown 4 feet over the WR's head was because you think he was throwing it to the outside guy when in reality he was throwing to the inside guy. Romo's THROW was not off, it was his read... He thought they were in man, when the giants were in zone.

Do you need a diagram? LOL. Sheesh.

165
by Nathan :: Thu, 09/24/2009 - 12:38pm

Lucky for you fellas, NFL.com has an "anatomy of a play" segment on just this sequence of events. May the correct man win.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d812db1ae&template=with-video-wi...

44
by Balaji (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:38pm

I strongly believe the Steelers could have won that game if somebody (Arians or Ben?) hadn't decided to throw for the end zone — in pouring rain — on 3rd-and-2 with 3 minutes left. Yeah, it would have been great if it worked, but the much higher-percentage play would have been a quick throw to Ward or Miller for an easy first down (and that play had been working well on that drive, if I recall).

57
by Geo B :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:19pm

Totally agreed - yelled about that for the same reason, get one more first down, run out the clock, then let Reed miss the field goal. Seriously, figured that if Reed missed from 38, you want to get closer instead of going for it all and leaving Reed out for a longer FG try.

Of course if Holmes grabs it as he probably should have we'd all be raving about a great call, the fade against single coverage.

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

90
by countertorque :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:03pm

Yes, yes, and yes.

45
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:45pm

What was lost in the Packer game was the dreadful play of the special teams which gave up two long punt returns and commmitted FIVE penalties that impacted field position in a big way. Just horrible.

Rodgers does hold onto the ball but what is McCarthy thinking calling plays that require extended protection when the left side of the O-line is collapsing faster than a chocolate bar on a Phoenix sidewalk?

And while the run defense was the obvious thing what about a defense giving up a first down on 3rd and 34(!!!!) on a tight end screen?

61
by Craig (N.S.) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:28pm

"Rodgers does hold onto the ball but what is McCarthy thinking calling plays that require extended protection when the left side of the O-line is collapsing faster than a chocolate bar on a Phoenix sidewalk?"

That what he really wants to do is run a bed-and-breakfast?

49
by tuluse :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 12:58pm

If Newman doesn’t have his head turned, even enough to read Smith’s eyes, how can he possibly know that the ball’s coming and when to interfere? Newman’s in a lose-lose there – no matter what he does, he’s hosed. That can’t be right.

I'm not 100% what you are trying to say, but not knowing where the ball is doesn't give you the right to commit interference.

50
by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:02pm

Since I just moved to Minnesota, I saw the Vikings game and I had exactly the same thought Ned did--it seemed like Smith was running over the Vikings all game even though the numbers didn't look good. I wonder why.

51
by nath :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:03pm

I'd really like to hear more about the Saints from you guys. I opened Audibles hoping to read something, but other than a line about how Brees is "entering" the best QB discussion-- are you kidding me? Brees IS the best QB in the league right now; Brady-Manning is so 2005-- and calling a defense that put up the #2 DVOA last week and made a lot of coaching and personnel changes this offseason "very bad" without any analysis as to how the defense might be playing better-- the entire entry was about Kevin Kolb. Same as last week's, where the entire entry was about Matt Stafford.

I know it's just Audibles, but still, it surprises me that you guys weren't discussing this stuff. How about 93 points in two games? How about some analysis as to whether or not Gregg Williams and the personnel changes have made this D respectable? How about some sort of analysis as to what Brees does and how he does it that makes this offense so damn good? Sure, I'm a big homer, but I do think the team is building something special this year, and it frustrates me that I can't find decent coverage or analysis of it anywhere-- and especially so here, since as someone who's been reading FO since its inception (Hey, I'm the guy who drafted us Jonathan Vilma in the 2004 FO reader mock draft!), I consider this place the best football site on the 'net.

p.s. sick Man or Astro-Man? reference.

145
by bubqr :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 8:54am

Clearly disappointed by the coverage of the Saints game too. It looked more like the discussion I see on the eagles board that normal FO audibles at the line. "Kolb sucks" vs "Give him time" endless debate.

No discussion about this Saints defense that looked quite good to me, the awful officiating, Special Teams play, or the option plays the Eagles ran with a shovel pass read.

There are more interesting subjects than Kevin Kolb (considering the data we have), who, which is quite funny, does look like a lot like Drew Brees in his early career right now.

Loved reading Bill and Tanier going at it on various subjects though.

53
by CoachDave :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:05pm

"Jets are also the clear early leader in obnoxious attempts to goad officials into throwing flags"

Child please. The next offensive series where Tom Brady doesn't complain about holding or pass interference will be his first.

98
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:55pm

Sounds like a Pats fan whining.

Especially when they were gifted a horrible fumble call in the opposing teams territory.

Brady was off, simple as that. Yeah we'd expect nothing but the best from him, but he is coming back from a horrible injury and was a little off. He was better than last week, but the Jets defense looked legit. Brady had a weak run game, really 1 established WR and was coming back from injury.

Also lost in the game ( I haven't seen it mentioned yet), was the impact of Leon Washington in the return game. I felt like the Jets got tons of hidden yards right there after each of the Pats field goals.

The Jets flat out outplayed the Pats and have as good a chance as anyone as being a surprise team of 2009.

127
by Led :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:53pm

I enjoy those rare occasions when Aaron descends into homerism. They highlight the extent to which he is generally level headed and objective about the Pats. But this is one of those "don't worry about the speck in your neighbor's eye when you have a beam in your own eye" type of situations.

138
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 4:49am

Same here. I also like Tanier's typical Eagles fan overreactions, because both are normally rational(ish).

55
by mrh :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:14pm

I also know I'm the only one on this bandwagon, but when I make the point about it being relatively easy to find a Welker-type player, Julian Edelman's performance today in Welker's role was a great example.

Welker's skillset seems to be getting open on short routes and catching passes at a very high percentage rate, then adding several yards after the catch. If I understand Bill Barnwell's argument, that skillset is easily replaceable. I don't think Edelman's one-game performance proves anything; he needs to do it repeatedly over time for that to be convincing.

Welker's high catch rate started in MIA in his second year there. His first year looks out of context with his next three seasons:
Year/Catch rate/YPC/QB
2005 56%/15.0/Frerotte and Rosenfels
2006 67%/10.3/Harrington, Culpepper, Lemon
2007 77%/10.5/Brady
2008 75%/10.4/Cassel
(I'm using another site's catch rates, not FO's, but I expect they're close)

So it would appear that Welker, from 2006 on, even with mediocre QBs, can catch 67% of the passes thrown to him and can do much better than that with Brady as his QB.

How many WRs have had catch rates over 67% for the last three years (minimum 50 attempts)? Two - Welker and TJH.

How many WRs have had catch rates over 67% for two of the last three years (minimum 50 attempts)? Five more - Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Anthony Gonzalez, Ike Hilliard, and Mike Furrey. The last two were readily available (although Furrey probably needs to come with Martz' offense) on the market for cheap this off-season.

18 WRs had one season in the last three with catch rates over 67%; they include Reggie Wayne, Eddie Royal, and Marques Colston at the high end and Arnaz Battle and Travis Taylor at the low end, with a variety of guys in between. Probably 12-15 of these players were available over the last couple of off-seasons.

But basically there are about 4-5 of these guys who could be had each year who MIGHT bring the skillset Welker has. Hilliard and Furrey COULD be said to have shown a repeatable skill. The other guys did it once (like Welker before NE acquired him) and may or may not be able to do it again.

So there are WRs out there who can be had if you value Welker's skillset, yes they are there and a savvy GM can probably acquire one of them for a cheap price. But I don't think there are many of them and the pool would quickly dry up if others valued the skillet like the Pats seem to.

65
by Purds :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:45pm

I'm not very savvy about searching for stats, but can you find this: what is Welker's average length of pass when he catches it, and how does that compare to the WR average? I may be wrong, but it seems to me his inflated catch percentage is because he's really catching balls in the RB range (0-5 yards from the LOS). And, his catch % is right about where a good RB catch percentage should be. I mean, NE has a great running game that is officially tallied as a passing game, but it doesn't put the same kind of hands requirements on Welker as other teams put on their WR's. It's a thing of beauty to watch, and I was astounded on the first weekend of the year when the MNF crew said that 60% of NE's passing yardage comes after the catch. Again, I don't know how to find that kind of stat, but it seems really high.

Nothing wrong with running that type of offense -- it's been brilliant some years. But, you can't then really compare the slot WR's catch percentage to the catch percentage of those who have to make more difficult catches on a routine basis. Now, you may have the stats to prove me wrong, but I simply can't find that kind of stats page.

75
by PatsFan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:35pm

Well, 60% of passing yards as YAC was specifically a 2008 stat (and was often used in "KC overpaid for Cassell" arguments, e.g. "Cassell was getting bailed out by his receivers"). I don't know what that percentage was in non-Cassell years. It would be interesting to find out.

78
by Chip :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:00pm

From 2001-07 (Regular Season only), 45% of Brady's total yards were generated from YAC as compared to 57% for Cassel in 2008.

81
by mrh :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:05pm

I calculate the 2008 Pats got 57% of their receiving yards on YAC (I'm using wr, te, and rb numbers from yahoo); the 2007 number was 43%.

76
by mrh :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:55pm

I think the game charting project tracks this, and the info might be available in PFP/FOA or the premium DB. But I use a proxy:
Yards per catch (YPC) - yards after the catch (YAC) = yards before the catch (YBC). This tells to approximately where a player catches the ball relative to the line of scrimmage.

The 2008 YBCs by position:
WR 8.9
TE 6.2
RB -0.05 (i.e. the average RB pass is caught just BEHIND the line of scrimmage)

Welker's 2008 YBC was 3.7 and his 2007 YBC was 4.8. So he is catching the ball farther downfield than the typical RB, but much shorter than most WR/TE.

Here's the 2008 WRs with YBCs under 5.0 and more than 50 targets: Welker (3.7) and Boldin (4.96 after rounding up). The 2007 players: Welker. The Pats use Welker in a rather unique way; whether or not that makes him a unique talent or easily replaceable is the point of contention.

Two RBs had YBCs over 3 on 20+ targets in 2008 Patrick Cobbs (4.2, 70% catch rate) and Michael Robinson (3.5/85%). The RB w/over 50 targets who had the highest YBC was Mewelde Moore with 1.8; 2nd was another Bill Barnwell favorite, Reggie Bush at 1.0 YBC. RBs as a whole caught 73% of their pass targets last year, under Welker's rate. They averaged 7.83 YPC compared to Welker's 10.4. On a per attempt basis, RBs = 5.7 vs. Welker's 7.8 so it's clearly worth it to throw it to Welker over an (NFL average) RB.

Here's the key Pats YPA last year:
Moss 8.1
Welker 7.8 (NFL WR average 7.6)
Gaffney 7.3
SMorris 6.7
Faulk 6.6
DThomas 5.5
Watson 4.4 (NFL TE 6.9)

Notice which players are still on the Pats roster and which aren't, compare their YPA to the league average at their position. Watson stuck but the Pats made an effort to find a replacement; the other below average guys are gone.

80
by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:01pm

Read this!

And this!

84
by mrh :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:12pm

thanks Vince, totally forgot about those articles. As you can see from a careful comparison, the game charting numbers differ somewhat from my sources (Yahoo and a fantasy service that I think gets target numbers from Stats Inc).

96
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:51pm

Davone Bess

58
by tunesmith (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:20pm

Two lines total for three of the four AFC West teams... not complaining, just observing and requesting - it would be great if the staff had a bit more AFC West representation sometime in the future.

79
by Matt Bowyer :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:00pm

Speaking as a Chiefs fan, I don't hold anyone at fault who decides to skip AFC West games this year. We're all awful, except for San Diego, who's just underachieving.

82
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:07pm

...who's ALWAYS underachieving.

92
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:29pm

Nah. In the second half of the regular season, the Chargers usually aren't underachieving. Heck, you can't even say that they underachieve in the playoffs anymore. The first half of the regular season, though...

Having said that, losing to Baltimore is not exactly a bad loss.

108
by Anonymous* (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:24pm

From Audibles at the Line: Week 1.

"We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game."

59
by Nathan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:21pm

Dear Bill O’Brien,

I've just discovered these two remarkable plays called RB Screen and HB Draw. They work surprisingly well against the blitz! You should check it out sometime, I think they just might work with that Kevin Faulk character on your roster.

Sincerely,
EVERYONE IN EFFING NEW ENGLAND SERIOUSLY WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?

66
by Briguy :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:48pm

I spent the first round of games driving through Pennsylvania listening to the Eagles-Saints game on the radio. The Eagles' radio announcer said they were using the "Where's Waldo?" offense. It was ridiculous--they weren't just running the Wildcat, they only had Kolb in at QB on about half their plays and rotated Westbrook, McCoy, and Jackson through the other half.

68
by Dice :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 1:52pm

Wasn't Faulk out?

72
by Nathan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:02pm

He could have gotten knocked out at some point and I missed it but he recorded 1 catch for 3 yards and 3 carries for 8. Anyway, I think this quote from Barstool sums up my thoughts about the play calling through 2 weeks:

This was the second week of O’Brien’s two week play calling career. And if he’s shown an underlying philosophy, it’s this: “Keep trying different things until you find something that doesn’t work. Then stick with that." Laurence Maroney was hitting holes and running hard for decent chunks so he went to Fred Taylor. Taylor had a couple of nice off tackle runs (one where he got behind a pulling Stephen Neal and set him up for a block which sprung him for the 1st), so he switched to Sammy Morris who could do nothing. I suppose if Morris had cracked off an 80 yarder we would’ve seen BenJarvus Green Ellis for the rest of the game.

I'd add: "watch your rusty QB get pressured OVER AND OVER again and do nothing to help him out. No max protect, no screen game, no draws, no switch to twin TE, just the same tired bubble screen that fools nobody. A terrifying flashback to the SB.

77
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:57pm

I find it interesting you are placing all the blame on O'Brien. Don't the head coach and the QB also have some authority and/or input into the plays that are being called? Yes, O'Brien is calling the plays from the sideline, but its foolish to think there is not a more callaborative effort on the overall game plan from the entire coaching staff and the QB.

It seems as though Belichick is endlessly praised as a football savant when things go well, but now as the offense hits a rough patch (with a QB returning from a MAJOR injury I might add) you are immediately placing all of the blame on the OC.

87
by Nathan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:23pm

Yeah... from my comments here I know it sounds like I'm putting all of the blame on the OC, and I agree with you about the confirmation bias when it comes to BB's genius. Really though, lack-of-adjustment-wise I felt the same way after the SB so I'm willing to lay some blame on Belichick. When the SB was over I definately felt like we had been outcoached, that the playcalling was almost cocky (our gameplan just HAS to work so we'll just stick with it after halftime even though it is clearly not working).

That being said, the playcalling this year (I know it's early) has been baffling, especially in the run game. Maroney was ripping off 8 yard runs vs the Bills for a couple series and then they just pulled him off the field. Same thing yesterday. I was like "Fred Taylor looks pretty good out there, maybe that'll alleviate some of the pass rush" and then virtually on cue Taylor disappeared from the game.

85
by PatsFan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:18pm

No. Faulk played. All five RBs were active, in fact (Maroney, Taylor, Faulk, Morris, and BJGE).

73
by bird jam :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:27pm

"Julius Jones has one 62-yard touchdown and 66 yards on his other 26 carries. Jones, by the way, was below replacement level last season"

Awesome. Thanks again, KUBIAK!

74
by tuluse :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 2:30pm

I've been riding the Julius Jones gravy train too.

139
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 4:56am

I picked him in the 9th round as my 4th RB (in a league that starts 1 RB, 2WRs and 1 RB/WR flex. I'm waiting for someone to pick up on the Julius Jones Gravytrain so I can trade him for an actual quarterback (the only one I have at the mo is Hasselbeck. Oops.)

I did try trading him for Roethlisberger (who was drafted by the same guy who drafted Brees, WTF?). It did not go well.

144
by Red Hedgehog :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 8:42am

I could have traded him for Ted Ginn. In retrospect, I probably should have done so.

86
by TomC :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 3:20pm

Add the unconscionably stupid roughing the passer call on James Harrison to the unconscionably stupid roughing the passer call on Vince Wilfork. Evidently, tackling the quarterback ABOVE the knees is now verboten, as well.

IMO, by far the worst roughing call of the day was in the CIN/GB game, when they called Harris for roughing Palmer on a FLEA-FLICKER! It seems to me that once you start flipping the ball back and forth behind the LOS, you forfeit all special QB protection.

99
by Bjorn Nittmo (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 4:59pm

Re Wade Phillips obnoxiously icing the kicker -- look at Phillips timeout usage on that final drive: one burned after a Giants incompletion, another to try to ice the kicker, and one left in the bank. None used to try to preserve time on the clock for his offense to have a final chance to win should the Giants go ahead, something he should have been thinking about as the Giants approached field goal range. So more than just being a jackass, Phillips should probably be fired for his timeout management.

100
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 5:07pm

I hope DVOA still has the Redskins offense ranked higher than the Giants offense.

I mean no TD's against the 2-14 from last year Rams? Running the ball on 3rd and 9 from the goal line, not even trying to score? One of the Rams two wins was against the Redskins too and if Marc Bulger had played the Preseason, or the Rams had a little bit more maybe they would have beat them this year too. 9 points at home vs the Rams is very unimpressive.

The Giants in the meantime put up 33 points in a playoff like atomosphere in the new Jerry World. They were NOT just throwing check downs, Eli Manning completed 20 passes to his WR's and they weren't just 2 yard passes with Yac yards. Dallas creeped up to defend the Giants rushing attack, and the Giants beat them with the pass. That means they aren't easy to defend.

104
by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 5:42pm

Re:99. The funny thing was after the Giants made the game winning fg, NBC shot to Philips and he actually started to pout like a 2 year old. He seems like a good defensive co-ordinator but he is certainly not a Head Coach.

105
by Nathan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 5:55pm

This keeps coming up on the internet today so here's my take... I think Phillips thought that Dallas had a chance to block the FG. I remember right after the snap thinking that it was gonna be close but NY got it off. In the replay I think Phillips is cheering on his special teams and then does an "aw shucks they got it off" move that everyone is making fun of. On Pro Football Talk Florio (I think) actually thought that Wade was shouting at Tynes trying to distract him.

109
by Bjorn Nittmo (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:31pm

Still, sportsmanship/gamemanship/pouting aside, seems like exceedingly poor use of timeouts, especially given how the Cowboys offense was slicing and dicing the Giants defense. I'd be furious if Tom Coughlin did the same.

112
by Nathan :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:45pm

No doubt... further proof that many teams could be improved by hiring a 14 year old Madden player to manage their timeouts for them. The only thing more annoying than watching a coach leave a bullet in the chamber is watching the QB complete a pass downfield, attempt to get his team to the line to clock the ball as you scream "TIMEOUT TIMEOUT TIMEOUT", then realize it's not gonna happen and call the timeout anyway, wasting 25 seconds. That shit is INFURIATING.

114
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:22pm

So coaches should be judged by how they look on the sidelines?

Should Tony Dungy be mocked for being expressionless on the sidelines in wins ( and losses)? Would you be happier if Wade Phillips was happy after his team lost the game?

I think people stereotype too much against how a coach "looks" on the sidelines. I mean, people mock Norv Turner for doing the exact same thing Tony Dungy does. Wade Phillips looked disappointed, but if Bill Bellicheck looked disappointed would people be trying to attack him after the loss?

So what is the proper "look" for a coach on the sidelines? Angry, silent, complaining to the refs, yelling commands to players/coaches? It seems like people form their perceptions and place too much credit/blame to a coaches "personality".

149
by E :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 10:40am

So what is the proper "look" for a coach on the sidelines?

A mustache. Definitely. Are there any better sideline looks than Bill Cowher or Jeff Fisher? Even Dave Wannstedt parlayed a mustache into a 2nd NFL head coaching job.

106
by Anonymous* (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:20pm

If Mike Sims-Walker's sister married Maurice Jones-Drew, would their children be the Jones-Drew-Sims-Walkers?

111
by Julio (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 6:37pm

On the Pats - I think most of you are missing the key point about the
Jets game. The Pats were screwing up in so many areas, you are never going
to figure out the ONE thing that lost them the game. You aren't even
considering, for instance, how bad special teams were for the Pats.
They just aren't ready to play, which is unusual but it happened at
least once before, in early 2003.

119
by morganja :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 7:51pm

Re: David Gardner: Another late-game meltdown by Delhomme. He just got baited bad by Chris Houston on an interception at the 8-yard line with 2:30 left in the game.

What are you smoking? That has got to be the dumbest comment I've seen on FO in years. Were you even watching the game? He wasn't 'baited'. It was fourth down and ten, he went through his progressions with no one open, waited to the last possible moment before the pressure forced him to throw or take a sack. He threw the ball to the best option available which was Steve Smith. Unfortunately, it got intercepted, not by being 'baited' but by an excellent break on the ball. Seriously dude. The Panthers get little enough attention on this site without ignorant comments like that.

124
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 8:05pm

Listening to Matt Millen on Monday Night Countdown is a trip. They are doing the contenders/pretenders segment and hearing possibly the worst Personnel guy of the last 20 years give his 2 cents is comedy gold.

161
by beargoggles :: Tue, 09/22/2009 - 6:40pm

I used to think he was OK in the booth, but last night he sounded like he still hadn't recovered from his GM experience. Long run on sentences would conclude with something obvious, a football cliche, or something unrelated to where he started, plus he sounded completely lifeless. Maybe sharing a table with Stuart Scott and Steve Young will do that to you, or maybe he realizes he has no credibility.

129
by msreddy999 :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:23pm

Mike Tainer,

Your football knowledge is much much better than mine. So reading your argument about Kolb's performance I can conclude one of the 2 things
1. You are very upset about the lose and dont know what you were talking.
2. You are Mcnaab lover and worried about a QB controversy if McNaab can't play next week and Kolb turns a stellar performance and McNaab starts sucking when he is back.

If your agument is 169 of Kolb's yards came in after 21 point deficit, so did his last 2 interceptions. Take those out and tell me if this performance was bad. He wasn't great but definitely not bad and to me he showed potential to turn out to be a good QB in NFL once he gets some experience playing.

130
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 09/21/2009 - 10:59pm

TomC:

Harris went helmet to helmet with Palmer and I thought he did it on purpose. And I am a diehard Packer fan.

Al Harris has been a fine cornerback for GB but he does commit some galactically stupid penalties. And that was one of them.

166
by Sifter :: Sat, 09/26/2009 - 12:20am

Really late to this thread, but Bill I want to support you on your Welker theory mate. To me the NE short pattern WR is almost the equivalent of the old Denver RB, they could plug anyone in and he'll be matched up against LBers and have plenty of room all day. Thank Randy Moss. To me Welker's level is a little better than Kevin Curtis and a bit better than Mike Furrey. Davone Bess might be the new Welker if he ever got a shot in the NE offense. Houshmandzadeh would be awesome in NE too. And Danny Amendola I think it was in the FOA09 that you compared to Welker too Bill. Probably not that far fetched either...

Back to Furrey. His exploits are easily thrown out by saying it was the scheme blah blah. But Welker is almost the same. He's had one decent year in Miami, but apart from that he's been in a fantastic offensive machine for the last 2. Lets see him split out wide for the Browns and see how he goes there before we say he's one of the top 10-20 WRs in the league.

Anyway, Aaron pointed out that Edelman had only 50% catch rate compared to 75% of Welker's. First, he's a rookie, second he hasn't had the preperation that Welker had ie. short week of practice as Welkers understudy, third he was getting the balls from Brady who was about 15-20% below his normal completion rate too (49% on Sunday vs 63% career and 69% in 2007), fourth he had no help from a blanketed Moss and an ineffective Galloway. I thought Edelman did pretty well considering and hopefully he can continue to do well and show that Welker is overrated.

167
by bubqr :: Wed, 09/30/2009 - 4:43am

Welker can only be compared to white WRs ?