30 Sep 2004, 09:03am by P. Ryan Wilson
In his weekly NFL.com column, Troy Aikman comes out against instant replay -- at least in its current form. He says, "If we're going to have instant replay, it needs to be done right. There are just too many inconsistencies." If anyone watched the Monday night game, they can see where Aikman's coming from. One of his suggestions is to either make pass interference reviewable or just go back to the college rule and make it a 15-yard penalty. Of course, if we start reviewing every play, Sunday games won't finish until Tuesday afternoon.
29 Sep 2004, 01:58pm by Aaron Schatz
There are 100 power rankings out there on the Web (heck, I do one too) but Dr. Z's are usually good for information about how teams are playing and how coaches are thinking. The information contained within is a better reason to read than the rankings themselves, although they make more sense now that Dr. Z has gotten rid of his early season "can't rank anyone above a team that beat them" nonsense.
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29 Sep 2004, 10:26am by Aaron Schatz
Here's the latest math-heavy strategy review from our friend William Krasker. This week he looks into whether Kansas City was correct in going for a first down on 4th-and-2 from the Houston 6-yard line, and discusses Joe Gibbs' series of controversial timeouts. He also takes issue with the official NFL recap referring to the Rams going for it on 4th-and-1 in overtime as "ill-advised."
Green Bay mistakenly believed Indy would run a play on 2nd-and-goal with 2:40 remaning in the 4th quarter, so the Pack didn't call time out and the game clock ran down to the 2-minute warning. How did that happen? The Pack bought the performance of Peyton Manning, who went into his usual routine of pointing, waving, and general gesticulating at the line of scrimmage. Indy Star writer Phil Richards notes that Manning "carried on as if he was leading calisthenics." That's what he usually looks like, Phil.
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28 Sep 2004, 02:03pm by Aaron Schatz
In his latest Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook discusses the new book The Meaning of Sports by Michael Mandelbaum and introduces us to the football gods. Plus the usual assortment of curious tactics, best blocks, and season-changing plays.
28 Sep 2004, 08:22am by P. Ryan Wilson
In today's Washington Post Michael Wilbon writes that he's seen enough of Mark Brunell. He also points out that two guys named Warner and Testaverde have outplayed the Redskins QB for three consecutive weeks. And while Brunell was dreadful for the first two games and all but 4 1/2 minutes of the last one, I don't think Patrick Ramsey is a marked improvement.
Changing gears a bit, was it just me or did Joe Gibbs really mismanage this game? Between questionable challenges and poor clock management, it was hard to tell the new ol' ball coach from the old ol' ball coach.
27 Sep 2004, 03:42pm by Aaron Schatz
Well, here's your big injury of Week 3, and it is a doozy. Rex Grossman won't be using this season to hone his skills as Chicago quarterback because he is out for the year after tearing his right ACL. Jonathan Quinn is going to be starting for the Bears, who have got to be looking at the waiver wire now if they have any hope of competing this season. Hey, the Chiefs just waived Damon Huard... In other injury news, Miami reporters are saying Lamar Gordon is out for the year. Boy, it just gets worse for the Dolphins. Charlie Garner's season (and possibly career?) is over in Tampa.
27 Sep 2004, 01:49pm by Aaron Schatz
Here's today's ESPN Page 2 Snap Judgment, featuring quarterback ratings and comments by yours truly. According to PAR (Points Above Replacement), Peyton Manning's game yesterday was the best game by a quarterback since my numbers begin in 2000. Thanks to reader Brian Walsh for the excellent Dolphins' offense joke, although I liked Brian's version better than the ESPN edit.
27 Sep 2004, 11:41am by Aaron Schatz
Peter King extols the virtues of the Atlanta defense in his report on "The Game That Set Offensive Football Back Three Centuries." Seriously, what is the difference between last year's Atlanta defense and this year's Atlanta defense? It's mostly the same personnel, are they really that much better? Or did they get to play three games against the three NFC West teams that will spend the entire season sniffing Seattle's exhaust fumes? Or is it the switch to 4-3 and the arrival of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell? Gee, where did Ed Donatell coach last year? (looks down)
27 Sep 2004, 08:59am by P. Ryan Wilson
So why exactly did Bob Slowik, the new Packers defensive coordinator, decide to use his base defense against a Colts team that was dead set on throwing the football all day long -- especially considering that the starting and backup cornerbacks were injured? "Good question," Michael Hawthorne, a Packers defensive back said. "You're asking me? I don't know. I really don't know. You're basically expecting a linebacker to cover a receiver." Hmmm. Either way, neither team can be happy with how their defenses played.
Oklahoma, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, and LSU all have tough matchups this weekend. Are any at risk of an upset?