01 Oct 2004, 10:45am by Michael David Smith
Pat Tillman was Jake Plummer's teammate at Arizona State and with the Cardinals, and Plummer wanted to honor Tillman by keeping the No. 40 decal on his helmet for the entire season, instead of taking it off after one game as the league mandated. But after being threatened with a $30,000 fine, Plummer has decided to take the sticker off his helmet. Here's my question: What does the league think it's accomplishing?
01 Oct 2004, 08:30am by Russell Levine
SI's Dr. Z is back with a pretty coherent look at the generally abysmal offensive line play that is being seeing around the league. The article goes beyond the most frequently given reason -- the proliferation of free agency and accompanying lack of continuity -- to offer other explanations. Any Dr. Z article that doesn't mention the Flaming Redhead stands a better chance of being a worthwhile read, and this one passes the test.
30 Sep 2004, 03:40pm by Aaron Schatz
This article from the new Patriots blog Cold Hard Football Facts argues that Drew Bledsoe is not a great quarterback who is now in decline. According to writer Kerry Byrne, he was never a great quarterback to begin with. You know, as I was researching my TNR article on Byron Leftwich, I came across a few comparisons of Leftwich to Bledsoe, physically (in the words of Butch from the Cape: "He's tall, he's got a strong arm"). But mentally, I mean, Leftwich's sense of what's going on around him is miles ahead of Bledsoe.
30 Sep 2004, 10:13am by Aaron Schatz
In my latest piece for The New Republic, I discuss how Byron Leftwich is dispelling a racial myth by playing mediocre football. He's the first African-American quarterback to follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady and Trent Dilfer as a "game manager" -- well-regarded for intelligence and leadership instead of flashy plays and dazzling stats.
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.
After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?