Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 1 Preseason Open Discussion

Jim Sorgi: You read about him at FOXSports.com, now see his skills live on FOX TV! Seriously, the full first week of the preseason starts tonight, so here's an open thread for anyone watching this weekend's preseason games. Starting next week we return with "Every Play Doesn't Count," which will review Week 1.

For those trying to figure out what to look for this preseason, check out another one of our simpler-than-usual MSN-requested pieces, penned by Bill Barnwell.

Comments

1
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 5:39pm

Will tonight's Colts-Rams game give us any solid answers about the tailback situation in Indy?

2
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 6:55pm

Two things stood out for me at the Hall of Fame game on Sunday.

1. Jeff Garcia is as bad in an Eagles uniform as he was for the Lions and Browns. Question for anyone that watched him play regularly in SF, did he stay in the pocket after his first 'read' in those days? He sure doesn't now.

2. As little as Kellen Winslow has contributed to Cleveland for the past two years, the Browns may have been lucky not to get 'the guy they really wanted' - Robert Gallery. Gallery looked simply terrible. I'm afraid the nickname 'Speedbump' may be in his future.

3
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 8:50pm

Well, McNabb just threw his first incompletion for the year... after Philly drove 79 yards.

Maybe there is something with that Hank Baskett kid. Really nice catch on the sidelines, although I dunno where the corner was running to.

McNabb's just had a ton of time behind that offensive line. Thomas hasn't looked great in run blocking, but pass blocking, they look great.

4
by Adam (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 9:15pm

Indy did an onside kick on the opening kickoff and recovered it.

5
by peachy (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 9:48pm

An onside kick and a safety in the first five minutes... I missed football so much.

6
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 9:54pm

Surprised Indy's not running the ball more. 1st and 10 on their own 11, and they pass three times?

7
by Dired (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 10:09pm

We get Jim Haslett face in less than three minutes of gametime. Man I've missed football.

8
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 10:11pm

Safe to say that the Colts backup corners need a bit of work - pair of pass interference penalties, and St. Louis is knocking on the door again.

9
by CARLA (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 10:19pm

Is preseason worthless?

10
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 10:21pm

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Indy's defense might be a problem this year. Rams have been running well, and the starting corners have been burned as well as the backup corners. Given that one of them was Dexter Reid, of the 'oh God, would they please cut Dexter Reid' of the Patriots, that's not surprising.

11
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 10:30pm

Bill Parcells once said: "People who think preseason football is meaningless don't know anything about football."

12
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 10:54pm

Looks like Indy's corners might get abused by bigger WR's. Not a good sign for a division containing Matt Jones, Ernest Wilford, Andre Johnson, and Drew Bennett.

13
by Rocco (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 11:25pm

Whoo-hoo! Touchdown, fellow W&Mer Lang Campbell! :)

(One of the rare times I can root for the Browns w/o feeling ashamed.)

14
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 11:34pm

Anyone who thinks long snappers aren't important should've watched this game: I'm thankful Dirk Johnson's a good enough punter to handle those, but man, those were dangerous punts.

Nice to know that Darren Howard, in addition to being a huge pickup for their defensive line, gives them depth at long snapper, though. :)

15
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Thu, 08/10/2006 - 11:41pm

Just after I finished reading the "never punt" article:

4-6-CLE 49 (:58) (Shotgun) L.Campbell sacked at CLV 42 for -7 yards (sack split by D.Skinner and K.Marshall).

It's good...in theory.

16
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 1:07am

Pat, hasn't the knock on the Colts defense been, for a while now, they can't reliably stop the run? A failing minimized by the Colts offense so frequently jumping out ahead, pressuring teams to pass.

17
by Bryan (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 1:39am

In case you missed it, 6 expected starters on the Colts' defense did not play, 3 of them are former pro bowlers by the way. Of course the preseason is important, the start of the 2005 season for Colts was a carryover of their 0-5 preseason.

18
by TheWedge (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:41am

If only someone had done some research on whether pre-season games matter....Someone statistically inclined....sigh....I guess it will never happen. Oh wait....

19
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:04am

Of course the preseason is important, the start of the 2005 season for Colts was a carryover of their 0-5 preseason.

OK. I'm going to point this out again here. Look at who the Colts played in the preseason last year. Their preseason stint was much, much harder than the first half of their regular season schedule: Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Cincinnati, and Buffalo - only Buffalo turned out to be an awful team.

In fact, the offense struggled a fair amount in the first drives in the preseason, even with Manning in there. Unsurprisingly, the Colts offense struggled in the first few games in the regular season.

It isn't about wins and losses. It's about watching the game.

Pat, hasn’t the knock on the Colts defense been, for a while now, they can’t reliably stop the run? A failing minimized by the Colts offense so frequently jumping out ahead, pressuring teams to pass.

Exactly! Which is why it's a bit worrying if their corners/secondary are getting abused like that. Their run defense didn't look great either.

And for "well, they were missing a bunch of guys" - and yeah, a lot of them were in the secondary - all it takes to draw a second-team corner into the game is a three wide receiver package. If your nickelback isn't good enough to start, you could have a serious problem.

Seriously, Dexter Reid? Dexter Reid should not be playing for a playoff-quality team. Not everyone New England doesn't want is a decent player.

20
by Kevo (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:35am

McNabb looks really sharp so far. Jeff Garcia, not so much.

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:59am

Kevo, did you watch both the HoF game and last night's game? Garcia looked miles better last night than he did in the opener, and it wasn't just because of the offensive line. In the HoF game, he had happy feet - dropped back, and then jittered. You're always going to take a moment longer to throw when you're doing that because your feet could still be in motion when your mind figures out where to go, meaning you have to wait a heartbeat to re-set your feet into the right spot.

Last night, though, he calmed down. A lot. After a few plays, he was dropping back, setting his feet, and throwing. That was a very encouraging sign.

McMahon never really settled down last year - he was always jittery, and that made it harder on an offensive line that was already struggling. That Garcia is already doing so in preseason is nice to see.

22
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 11:59am

Pat, I noticed that too. Garcia seemed to settle down much more after a few plays and didn't look so jittery. I'm feeling a bit more confident that (making sign to avert Evil Eye) if something happens to McNabb, Garcia will be a decent stand-in.

23
by James G (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 12:04pm

Go Baskett! Got to represent my home state. Let's see, we've had Brian Urlacher, Jim Everett, and Timmy Smith.

24
by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 12:11pm

Re 19

I won't dispute that Dexter Reid sucks. That's a given. But you seem to be overestimating his place on the Colts' depth chart. It's a little more like this --

Starters: David, Doss, Sanders, "Stab" Harper
Nickel back: Marlin Jackson
Dime back: Kelvin Hayden
"Quarter" back: Von Hutchins
Fifty-cent-piece back: Matt Giordano
Dollar back: Dexter Reid

And that's not even factoring in the rookies. They took a DB in the 2nd round of the draft.

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 12:41pm

Oh, I wasn't claiming Reid was the nickel back. But Reid just flat out shouldn't be on a playoff-quality team. He's probably better than a random waiver-wire guy, but not much. I've got a very low opinion of Reid considering he single-handedly let the Eagles back into the game in Super Bowl XXXIX. I've never seen anyone cover and tackle that poorly.

In fact, Marlin Jackson was the one who got burned late in the game and had to commit the defensive PI, right after Hayden did the same thing.

26
by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 1:48pm

Re 25

Oh, I'm not saying that Jackson and Hayden are great or anything. Hayden is spotty and Jackson is more of a hitter than a cover guy. I was just saying that, unless about 4 guys get hurt, Dexter Reid won't play anything but special teams.

As for whether or not he belongs on a playoff team, we may not have to worry about that. I'd say it's 50-50 that he even makes the team. There are too many guys above him on the depth chart, and the Colts took 3 DBs in the draft.

I've always suspected that they signed him last year for the sole purpose of getting intel on the Patriots, but that's just me. I'm suspicious by nature.

27
by Sporran (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 2:57pm

So, Reid shouldn't be on a playoff-quality team, yet he was on a Superbowl WINNING team?

28
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 3:28pm

I’ve always suspected that they signed him last year for the sole purpose of getting intel on the Patriots, but that’s just me.

I think the only intel he would be able to give them is "This is how you play if you want to piss off Bill Belichick and get cut."

Oh, I’m not saying that Jackson and Hayden are great or anything. Hayden is spotty and Jackson is more of a hitter than a cover guy.

Yeah, those are the guys I was saying don't look great in coverage, though. Hopefully the rest of the starting secondary comes back, but that just tells me they don't have stellar depth. That's kinda backed up by last year's performance, because their defense did slip over the year - they were ranked 5th in the league early on, and finished ranked 11th.

And by the "Dexter Reid-o-meter", Reid's playing time looked like it went up as the season wore on. That's definitely a sign of regression to me. :)

There are too many guys above him on the depth chart, and the Colts took 3 DBs in the draft.

Does seem weird to me that they had Reid in early in the preseason game, and Jackson and Heyden late if the depth chart you mentioned is right. Doesn't seem to make any sense to me, and it's a little worrying as Jackson and Heyden got burned when facing a mixture of third/fourth string players (with a smattering of second string).

29
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 3:30pm

So, Reid shouldn’t be on a playoff-quality team, yet he was on a Superbowl WINNING team?

Reid was cut right after that game, mind you. I'm guessing that Belichick realized how bad he was and axed him right afterwards.

This is his second year with Indianapolis. I'll give them last year to discover how bad he was, especially against decent teams. But this year's just inexcusable. :)

30
by Skel (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 3:31pm

I do believe Reid was a safety with NE, not a corner. So if he's still playing there with Ind he's backing up Doss and/or Sanders and neither has played a full season yet have they?

31
by turbohappy (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 5:07pm

From the comments in this thread, I think I'm wishing it was Dexter Reid who suffered a separated shoulder in this game and not Darrell Reid.

Their defensive line was missing 3/4 guys and their secondary was missing 3/4. I won't deny that the backups did look pretty poor, but only the starting linebackers were the likely opening day starters.

Sanders played in 14 games and Doss played in 15 games of the regular season last year. Sanders would have probably played in the last 2 if they had mattered.

32
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 6:49pm

From the comments in this thread, I think I’m wishing it was Dexter Reid who suffered a separated shoulder in this game and not Darrell Reid.

If you want to be more disturbed, go back and look at the Super Bowl commentary threads. I think Aaron was about ready to go Reid-hunting himself after that game.

Their defensive line was missing 3/4 guys and their secondary was missing 3/4.

True, but aren't they out because of injuries? Isn't one of them still on the PUP list? I mean, they've got time to get healthy - but that'd still make me worry. I'm worried about Philly's RB situation, after all, for the same reason, even though virtually all of them are expected to be back by the next game, and most of the fact that they were that short is due to the fact that the two preseason games came so ridiculously close together.

33
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:24pm

Holy crap. I know I don't see Atlanta that much, but DeAngelo Hall just made a fantastic read/hit on a NE screen.

34
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:24pm

Jamal Lewis looks like a completely different back compared to last year. A lot trimmer, a lot faster, and sharper cuts.

35
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:26pm

On a related note, Atlanta's run defence still sucks.

36
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:27pm

First preseason game... and Atlanta looks not much different than last year. New England's running game is looking pretty good, I'd say. Maroney, Dillon, and Faulk could be a pretty nasty backfield.

37
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:30pm

Well, and Vick doesn't look that great either. Had a nice pass or two, but that sack was just ridiculously bad pocket presence, and while the announcers prided him on that short pass instead of a scramble, that was a terrible read.

Branch would've had that TD pass, though.

38
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:39pm

And for those watching the NE/ATL game: that, folks, is why fumble recoveries are random.

39
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:41pm

Schaub. Starter. Now.

40
by Rusher McFumbles (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:42pm

Doh!

41
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 9:48pm

Tight ends should not nearly outrun corners.

And Maroney looks really good, though he's helped by the fact that Atlanta is tackling terribly.

42
by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:10pm

From the standpoint of the Falcon fan so far...

Looking good: DeAngelo Hall
Jordan Beck (2nd-year LB who was on IR last year)
Tommy Jackson (rookie FA DT from Auburn)
Michael Jenkins
Nick Turnbull (rookie safety, Florida International)

Looking OK: John Abraham (good pass rush, shut down one run, but caught up inside on several other runs.)

Looking not so good: Run defense in general
Both QBs -- they keep overthrowing the receivers. Vick's attempt to make a play and not throw the ball away on the sack wasn't as bad as Shaub's lob INT into the end zone.
Jimmy Williams - although I believe he was expecting inside help on the Graham catch.
TJ Duckett -- one nice run and a bunch of 1-2 yard and drop at the first hit.
Fred McCrary -- blocking FBs have to block better than that.

43
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:32pm

Either the Giants second string OL is terrible or the Ravens second string front 7 is awesome, its pretty much a jail break every play.

44
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:44pm

Well, the wife wants to play Fire Emblem, so I guess I'll have to leave it all to Pat.

That second-year kicker the Falcons have looks pretty darn good. Definitely someone I'm going to consider in my fantasy draft.

45
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 10:59pm

Are you kidding me? I'll watch a Philly preseason game's second half, but you did see my article, right? I'm going for a movie. :)

46
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 11:01pm

Jay Cutler: 16/22 for 192 yards and 1 TD. Good line, but has anyone seen the game? Did he look as good as this sounds?

I don't get to see the game, the pity and the woe...

47
by JasonK (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 11:21pm

#43:

RG Matt Lentz (a rookie FA out of Michigan) has no business being out there. He's getting destroyed on virtually every play.

48
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 11:29pm

I'd rather have Jesse Palmer than Jered Lorenzen. I should qualify that by saying I am neither female nor gay. Is 'The Bachelor' still in the league?

49
by Pio (not verified) :: Fri, 08/11/2006 - 11:32pm

RE 46: Jay Cutler played as good as his stat-line, but I'm not sure how much you can read into that since he was playing back-ups most of the time - of the three Broncos quarterbacks, he had the most time to throw and find his man.

As for the rest of the Broncos:
-Mike Bell had a couple good runs, a couple bad ones, and a fumble. The fumble wasn't really his fault since he got absolutely wacked in the football by a Lions helmet, but he wasn't nearly as impressive as training camp has made him out to be.
-The Broncos starting front 7 had trouble tackling.
-The Broncos 3rd down defensive woes continued.
-Darius Watts had some nice catches, and he actually managed to hold onto them.
-Tony Scheffler had some really nice catches but was terrible blocking.
-David Kircus had some great catches, playing on the 2nd and 3rd strings. He led with 76 yards recieving.

50
by MJK (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 12:36am

Hmmm, just finished watching Pats-Atlanta. Some thoughts I'd like to hear people's opinions on:

- The Pats either have something really special in Maroney, and Dillon is going to have a resurgent year, or Atlanta's middle run defense is really horrible. Probably both.

- On the other hand, one of those NT's competing for Atlanta's starting job is a really, really good pass rusher. Not something you expect from a NT.

- The Atlanta (1st string) defense as a whole looks tough to pass against (though it was hard to gauge given (1) limited playing time, and (2) the Pats not having any real recievers other than Reche Caldwell), but a horrible run defense. I hope for their sake that they can score early to shut down opponents' running game.

- If the Pats ever end up starting Don Davis and Barry Gardner at ILB in a real game, heaven help them.

- The announcers (Randy Cross and I-don't-remember-who) seemed especially idiotic, even for preseason announcers. And they seemed far more knowledgeable about the Falcons than the Pats. For that matter, it seemed like CBS put in their 3rd string cameramen at the same time as the the teams put in their 3rd string players.

- It's too bad the Pats have running backs coming out of their ears. That Patrick Cobbs looks pretty good for an undrafted free agent, and is going to get sniped of their practice squad for sure as soon as a starting RB gets injured.

- Why is Michael Vick starting instead of Matt Schaub? Does anyone who doesn't live in Georgia think that's a good idea?

- Hey Atlanta fans--as a Pats fan, I ask you: Can we trade kickers? That converted punter is amazing. And he saves a roster spot by being both. Or maybe he only looks this good against the Pats.

- Thanks goodness football (of a sort) is back.

- DVR rocks. I can't wait to use it in conjunction with Sunday Ticket, now that I'm trapped out here on the West Coast...

51
by witless chum (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 1:03am

Culter looked pretty good.

Kitna looked better then his stats, but overthrew an open Casey Fitzsimmons in the end zone. Hope is springing eternal all over Michigan right now. I can hear it.

Charles Rogers d'uohed a false start, but barely played. One catch on a quick hitch for 7-8 yards. Ernie Sims was crazy and flying around as advertised.

Dunno about the greatest show on turf, but it was helluva a lot better than last year's preseason show on turf.

I believe in the Marinelli effect, in that they seemed to be playing harder then you'd see from the Lions in the past.

52
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 1:18am

Big story of the preseason already is going to be San Francisco versus Chicago. I can't believe how bad Grossman played, how well Greise played, and how well Alex Smith played. Against the Bears.

If this keeps up, they can't possibly start Grossman.

My guess: it's entirely possible that the NFC West might be a lot more competitive than we think. Rams looked ~okay last night, 49ers looked very good tonight. Keep in mind everyone thought the NFC East was going to be a joke in 2005... and this could be that all over again.

53
by Ricardo (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 4:49am

- Why is Michael Vick starting instead of Matt Schaub? Does anyone who doesn’t live in Georgia think that’s a good idea?

I dunno, the sub-70 passer rating? The sub-50 career completion %? The fear that the Falcons wont be overcompensated next offseason when someone offers him a new contract? The fact that he's never won a start?

A lot of backups look better than their starters in preseason when playing against second stringers - Take Matt Cassel.

-Falcons Run D still looking atrocious.
May be an idea to go out and get a veteran NT. Grady Jackson and Brentson Buckner are still available, right?

-Nice to see Koenen performing well on special teams. His leg strength is incredible.

54
by Flux (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 8:39am

Kind of echoing #52, I saw some of the 49ers/Bears at home and some at the gym, so I wasn't exactly catching every play, but the Bears D looked really poor. Pass and run, especially when you consider how bad the 49ers were last year in most every offensive area. They ran for 150 yards (vs. the Bears 29) at a 3.9 average, and the longest 2 runs were 16 and 11, so it wasn't one of those 120 yard games with an 80 yarder skewing the other 25 rushes for 40 yards. The 9ers were consistently grinding it out. Sure it's preseason, but FO rated the Bears something like #1 and #2 on Linebackers and D-line.

I don't have any real rooting interest, but since I live in the Bay Area it would be nice if SF or Oak could be decent one of these years; I've been here 3 NFL seasons thus far and don't think either team has cracked 6 wins yet (or I could just spring for Sunday Ticket and no longer care that all the football on TV is teh suck).

55
by Mickey (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 10:43am

I think we've got our "inadvertent whistle" for the 21st Century. While flipping between the Giants and Jets games, I stopped in on the Jets game in the middle of a replay challenge. Ian Eagle was mentioning how this was the first application of the new rule where a fumble could be challenged after the whistle was blown, so I stuck around to see how this was going to work. From watching the replay the Bucs RB was tackled and clearly fumbled before his knee touched the ground (which is where I'm guessing the whistle blew) and after the ball bounced around for a few seconds, the ball wound up with a Jet who started running with it.

Ed Hochuli came out from under the hood and said that the replay showed there was a fumble. However replay could not determine who had possession of the ball afterwards even though a Jet was running with the ball! So the Bucs retained possession. If this is how the rule is going to be interpreted, they were better off the old way, because I was yelling at the TV at the sheer stupidity of this, and I'm a Giants fan. I can't even imagine how this would drive me through the roof if this happens in a game that actually means something.

Did other games out there have replay situations that were similar to this?

56
by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 12:02pm

Re: Koenen

After last night, I wouldn't be surprised to see him become the FG kicker/punter. The other kicker in camp, Yelk, looked pretty good on kickoffs and can punt as well, but was rather iffy on FGs in college. Rather than run the risk of only having one kicker, I'd expect Yelk to stick around for kickoffs and as the emergency backup. After all, kickers are probably most vunerable on kickoffs, where they are "fair game" once the ball leaves their foot.

57
by Stereochemistry (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 12:28pm

Re 55:

My understanding of the new rule concerning fumbles after the whistle is that it will be rather limiting in practice.

I think the idea is that should the play be blown dead, but the ball ends up surrounded by the opposing team, where they would be the only ones with any chance of recovery if the play had continued naturally, then review could be used to award them the ball. In last night's Jets/Bucs game, the ball was actually sitting on top of the pile after the whistle, when a Jets player picked it up. Had the whistle not blown, with both Jets and Bucs players around the pile, it could not be concluded that the Jets would be the only team that would have come up with it.

The idea is to be able to award a team in the event of a clear change of possession, without making it so that all players continue to try to play even after the whistle blows. I know the NFL is serious about making sure that the whistle stops play, so suggesting that players should continue to fight for the ball after the whistle "just in case the replay is used" with regards to questionable fumbles isn't the idea behind the rule change: it's more about extremely clear cases of the ball being surrounded by one team, ie a ball shooting out of the player's hands 5 yards down field and one team being the only team around the ball. It will probably have extremely limited usage, but can make a difference in those types of plays (probably more useful with one on one tackles than large RB piles)

58
by JayB (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 1:12pm

Alex Smith did look good. But the Bears 1st team D played a vanilla defense against him. In their last series, they brought a couple of blitzes and 49ers offense came to a halt.

I think their running game was the story. The O line looked good grinding it out against the Bears 1st team D and Gore looked great. Nolan said he's finally back from his knee surgeries in college and it sure looked like. Vernon Davis did nothing in the passing game, but thought he did a good job run blocking.

59
by Mickey (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 1:18pm

RE: 57

Thanks for the clarification, although the way the PBPer Eagle was describing the rule change he thought it should have gone the other way. And when watching the replay on NFL Network (wonderful, now I'm obsessing about this thing) Ron Jaworski who was working the Bucs broadcast had the same feeling. This sounds like something that the commentators are going to have to make clear or there's going to be some angry fans out there in the regular season.

60
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 1:44pm

Hey MJK,
RE: "DVR rocks."
My DirectTV guide had the Pats/ATL game beginning at 7:30, so when I settled down with my popcorn and tuned into my Tivo for my virgin NFL game of the 2006 season, I arrived with 1 second left in 3rd Q...Patrick Cobbs Time. I'm guessing you dodged the same fate by not being on DirectTV. Yes?

61
by Barffly (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 1:59pm

I am pleased to see that Alex Smith took a snap without fumbling. I did not count the exact number, but I'm pretty sure that the 49ers first group was in for more then the prescribed 25-30 plays that Coach Nolan was indicating. Regardless, I do not recall a bad exchange under center.
I am still a little bit worried about the offensive line. I think Kwame Harris is pretty close to getting relegated to the bench. At least I hope he is. But I have to agree with #58. We didn't get a look at The Duke in the passing game, but he did do well run blocking, his supposed weakness. I just wish we could have seen some more of the vertical game that I've been reading about on the Niners web site. Once I see Alex Smith complete some downfield throws, then I'll be convinced that he deserves an upgrade from "bloody freaking awful" to just "awful."

62
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 2:05pm

#58:

Um, which series was this? Alex Smith's drives went: 28 yards, field goal, 41 yards, punt, 39 yards, punt, 68 yards, touchdown.

None of those really scream "grind to a halt". Looks like the Bears first string's last drive was the second one? A 41-yard drive isn't really shabby, and the drive really only barely ground to a halt - the last series ended up at 3rd and 2 past midfield.

63
by MJK (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 2:33pm

Dan,

No, I am on DirecTV. In the SF Bay area. The guide here said it was supposed to start at 5:00, and it did, more or less. I have noticed that some listings seem to be messed up, though, especially things that are televised simultaneously on both coasts. The game did seem to be on a funny station though--what I thought was the main CBS affiliate was showing the SF-Chicago game (which did start at 7:30, so maybe there's the confusion), but the station that was showing the Pats game also seemed to think it was a CBS affiliate, even though it seems to be UPN. Where do you live?

Ricardo,
The fact that I wasn't sure when I first started reading your post about poor completion % and low passer rating whether you were taling about Vick or Schaub says something. I confess that I've only seen Schaub twice, both against the Pats, but he looked really good in the regular season last year. Whereas I've seen Vick multiple times, and as long as a team assigns an athletic LB to spy on him, he's never struck fear into my heart.

I think many fans way overestimate the importance of scrambling ability to a QB. Against a good defense that knows how to counter that, I think scrambling ability at most is worth 15% of a QB's game--the other 85% is passing ability. Schaub seems to be at least half the scrambler that Vick is (he's not exactly Bledsoe or Brady), and a much better passer:
Last year
Schaub's Passing DVOA: 28.9% (albeit in limited appearances)
Vicks: -5.9%

64
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 3:35pm

I agree that Alex Smith looked good. He was pressured a few times though nothing huge, and he avoided it well, and threw accurately on the run. Also one time one of his WRs was lined up illegally and he noticed it and waved him back off the line. His arm is weak though.

65
by JayB (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 4:02pm

Pat, if you watch the game - the last drive the Bears 1st team D is in (I believe the third series, Smith stayed in against the 2nd team D for a couple of series) they blitzed the last two plays of the drive. I think that was the first time they blitzed in passing situations and Smith's feet were all over the place.

No big deal, it's just the first preseason game. I'm just saying when you look at the boxscore, you might think he looked awesome and I'm just pointing out that most of what Smith did looked like a 7-on-7 skeleton drill.

Grossman looked terrible, missing some open guys. But the 49ers D brought 5 and 6 guys often in passing situations. Just goes to show in the preseason, context is everything.

66
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 4:53pm

MJK
I'm in San Diego county and had the Jets out of CBS in NY on at five...I guess they switched to the Pats game when the Jets were done. Glad it was only pre-game, but the highlights made me wish I'd seen the debut of our once and future running game.

67
by asg (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 6:05pm

So where are the Steelers-Cardinals updates?!

68
by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 6:08pm

Ben played a series..... went 3-4 for about 30 or so yards.....avoided a sack when it looked like he was going to be decked......it was vintage Ben...he spun off Adrian Wilson and basically threw him to the ground, rolled out and hit Heath Miller coming across the field.

His only incompletion was a perfect pass that Quincy Morgan dropped.

The Cardinals first team has played the entire first half while the Steelers first team played a quarter at most.....so naturally the Cardinals are winning.

The team and fans seem to be treating it like a post season game.

Different strokes for Different folks.

69
by oljb (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 6:11pm

Cardinals really want to win this one.

70
by asg (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 6:28pm

So Big Ben looks 100% recovered? Any tentativeness?

71
by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 6:37pm

Obviously it's to soon to say whether he's "all the way back" or not.......but he did look damn good. Moving around really well, spinning off of tacklers, throwing the ball where he's supposed to.....he did get sacked once.....but all in all....it was a success.

He actually played longer and did more than I thought he would. I figured he'd come in and hand the ball off 3 or 4 times then leave......but they had him do a few things.

72
by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 7:14pm

Shane Boyd, the guy who's supposedly leaped ahead of Omar Jacobs on the depth chart, is 6 for 17 and throws every pass 240 MPH whether it's a 60 yard bomb or a screen pass.

Thats not good.

73
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 7:20pm

#68: Wow. I'm not a Cardinals fan, but that there is some serious Steelers homerism.

The Cardinals first string drove down the field with ease against the Steelers' first string while the Steelers O has not yet scored a TD (with or without Roethlisberger). This is completely meaningless in a pre-season game, so why not give them props? And dissing the fans... they have a brand new stadium, this is the first game they're in it, and their team's looking good against the SB champs. You think they should be yawning, maybe?

Warner looked good. The O-line didn't make almost any running room (Edge was 2 for -2; the others are averaging about 2 YPC) but was doing a reasonable job in pass protection. Bryant Johnson caught a few passes for some decent yardage, especially on 3rd downs. If he keeps this up, this offense is going to be scary as hell with those 3 wide receivers and Edge catching passes out of the backfield. The O-line didn't look as bad as they did last year, but clearly will take some time to gel. On the minus side for them, Navarre is sucking big time. They'd better get Leinart signed soon.

The Steelers D didn't show much, and they can't be happy with that first Cards drive. They shut down the run completely but were picked apart by Warner. Roethlisberger looked just like he did last year, i.e. very very good. Holmes has caught some nice ones and looks like a good pick (on the field at least).

74
by Adam (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 7:26pm

A very basic/vanilla/bland first team defense....that was minus two opening day starters.....that didn't do anything remotely creative or confusing to Warner or the Cards offense.

75
by johnt (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 10:26pm

The Steelers may show less in the preseason than any other NFL team. Last season I don't think Ben threw one TD. In the entire preseason. Pittsburgh was going crazy about how the rookie phenom lost it.

Then in week one they dropped 8000 points on some hapless team. Apparently it was a ruse.

76
by Shylo (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 10:40pm

Is it just me, or are the Titans looking good? However, it IS the Saints, and I AM a homer.

77
by Sam (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 11:28pm

I know it's the preseason, but... Jacksonville has four scoring plays of 50+ yards (51-yarder to Matt Jones, 62-yarder to Chad Owens, 55-yard dump-off and run to Maurice Drew, and a long dump-off and run to TE George Wrighster). Granted, I think the Matt Jones catch was Jax's first string O against Miami's 2nd string D.

The first team offense did not impress overall. Too many dropped passes and not enough running room.

78
by Shylo (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 11:35pm

VINCE YOUNG DOWN! He walked off, though, and the announcers are calling it a minor sprain, but we'll see. 16-12 Titans.

79
by Sean (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 11:37pm

Things of note to come out of the first week of games:

-Alex Smith looks much, much better. He made good decisions, moved well both in the pocket and out of it, and generally bore no resemblance to the quivering mass of jelly that wore his jersey last year. The 49ers skill position players also look to be upgraded, with Bryant, Gore and Davis all on hand.

-The Cardinals news stadium is going to make a difference. I'm not sure it's going to be a repeat of Tennessee after they finally moved into their new home, but playing in front of packed houses that actually cheer for the home team figure to give Arizona a boost. Early returns on the offensive line are not good, but the passing attack is top notch and the defense has some quality pieces. The NFC West may be better than people think.

-The Bears will make a quarterback change within three weeks, should Griese not win the job in the preseason.

-Reggie Bush is going to make sure Mario Williams has a long year.

-Philip Rivers looks entirely equipped to play at a Roethlisberger/Palmer level right off the bat.

-Indy is very sad that the Pats took Laurence Maroney.

80
by Shylo (not verified) :: Sat, 08/12/2006 - 11:44pm

I agree with Sean's Reggie Bush projection, both VY and Bush have shown flashes of what made them big stars in college (VY's mini-Wallace compleiton called back on holding and Bush's reversed field 44 yard run)

81
by Tom (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 1:26am

RE the Bush run
For whoever in the Rose Bowl thread was complaining about Frostee Rucker crashing and losing contain all the time, I submit to you Kyle Vanden Bosch, Vinny Fuller, and Reynaldo Hill ALL doing the same thing on that play.

RE Bears-49ers
I don't think I saw Smith play last year, but he looked good. The Niners definitely showed a lot more than the Bears did, but he looked comfortable in what he was doing and confident in his decision-making. It looked like Norv Turner might be just what the doctor ordered. Grossman, though... I really liked him at UF, particularly under Spurrier. He did have one good throw, on a quick slant, but more than made up for one with about a half a dozen bad tosses. Speaking as someone who got the Chicago feed for the whole game, I wonder Ditka wouldn't be a bad game analyst for the whole season; he seems better than most at picking up the key stuff on first viewing.

82
by Ben B (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 4:50am

I want to echo the Philip Rivers looked good comment. Very exciting as a Chargers fan to see that. 15/21 for 169 yards and a td pass to Vincent Jackson a play after a td pass to Vincent Jackson was called back.

83
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:57am

As a football fan it is great to see young QBs finally develop... hopefully. QB position has been lacking in talent the past 5 years... I blame expansion.

As a Redskin fan I'm not happy to see Rodgers and Smith play well because that means Campbell is the guy who goes bust. We'll see if that is true tonight.

84
by krugerindustrialsmoothing (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 12:23pm

My informal count of the replay of Bush's run last night ended at 16. It ended because we made it into a drinking game and well, let's just say my head is pounding this morning.

85
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 12:56pm

QB position has been lacking in talent the past 5 years… I blame expansion.

I can't really say I agree there. There are only a handful of teams I can name in the league that don't have decent quality starters. From someone who watched Philly not have a quarterback for most of 1990, I'd say it's about the same.

86
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 1:56pm

Look at QB depth in the NFC... it's horrible. Maybe it's always been that way and I'm just old enough to realize it.

NFC QBs
Elisha/McNabb/Brunell/Bledsoe
Hasselbeck/Warner/Bulger/Smith
Simms/Delhomme/Brees/Vick
Johnson/Grossman/Favre/Kitna(McCown)

AFC QBs
Brady/Culpepper/Losman(Holcomb)/Pennington
Palmer/Frye/Roethlis/McNair
Carr/Leftwich/Peyton/Volek(Young)
Brooks/Rivers/Plummer/Green

Let's try to match up NFC QBs to AFC QBs

Top-Feeders
Brady - Hasselbeck
Roethelisberger - McNabb
Peyton - Delhomme
Carson - Brees
Trent Green - Mark Brunell
Plummer - Eli Manning
Leftwich - Favre

Bottom Feeders
Grossman - Rivers
Kitna (McCown) - Losman (Holcomb)
Smith - Frye

If you look at the top guys, it's AFC hands down... once you get to Brunell/Bledsoe ranking (7th best) there aren't a lot of good choices.

87
by Ferg (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 4:13pm

I look at the QB situation like this:

1. Unproven young guys who are expected to develop into starters:
Carr, Frye, Grossman, Losman, E.Manning, Simms, Smith.

2. Veterans in their prime/proven young guys:
Brady, Bulger, Delhomme, Hasselbeck, Leftwich, P.Manning, McNabb, Plummer, Roethlisberger, Vick (debatable, but they're not looking to replace him).

3. VITP/PYG, but with injury concerns:
Brees, Culpepper, Palmer, Pennington.

4. Veterans who were once good-to-great, but are on the downside of their careers:
Bledsoe, Brunell, Favre, Green, McNair.

5. Stopgap veterans:
Brooks, Kitna, Johnson, Volek, Warner (you could make a case for him to be in group 4 as well).

Teams in groups 2 and 3 are, for the most part, happy with their QB situation for the near future. About half the teams in group 1 will fall into that boat as well, but we don't know which ones. Teams in group 4 are happy with their QB situation for at least this season, and some of them have an heir apparent.

So by my count there are 4 or 5 teams with mediocre veterans, 6 teams with unproven QBs, and the other 21 are happy.

88
by Michael Posner (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 5:18pm

Have to say (against what I would call inferior competition) the Eagles first teamers looked real sharp. Also, saw the first half of the Dolphins game and they looked good as well.

With regard to the statistical validity of the pre-season versus regular season, I would love to see someone take on the following:

1st game winner after one;
2nd game winner at the half
3rd game winner at the 3
4th disregard/or after one

This reflects mostly how the first team plays and should be revealing (or not).

89
by the K (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 8:08pm

Headline of the year:

Saints QB McPherson hurt by collision with Titans mascot

http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/NO/9598798

90
by Felden (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 9:37pm

While I have nothing of interest to say about the Cincinatti-Washington matchup, other than if the Portis injury is serious, Washington is in trouble, I must say that the latest Peyton Manning commerical is awesome.

91
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 9:55pm

I don't know if other threads have made comments...

I really like the TJ Housmozia commercial.

92
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 10:01pm

Fantastic game! I'l watch the 1st quarter later.

But so far I know this... Portis hurt, the QBs are suck, and our punter is still garbage...

At least Portis made a nice tackle getting himself hurt... and its the first preseason game... but... yeah... it's fun being a neuratic football fan.

93
by charles 2.0 (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 10:01pm

todd collins and kenny wright aren't very impressive right now

94
by Barffly (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 10:06pm

95
by Barffly (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 10:16pm

Yeah, it would be a shame if a player like Protis goes fdown in the pre-season. I'm not a Skins fans, but his press conferences are hilarious.

I am also glad to have learned how to make paragraph breaks in this.

96
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 10:29pm

As I watch these teams combine for a whopping 25 yards on 22 carries so far... is it just backups? Or does running the ball take more camp time to get in sync? (There seem to be a lot of really bad rushing performances this week.)

97
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 10:46pm

The Washington 2nd string OL is horrible...

98
by rk (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:10pm

Jerome Bettis just dialed 513-381-JERK to report all the Cincy fans that booed him at halftime.

99
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:14pm

Another move that makes Dan Snyder the worst owner in history.

His radio station will stream all of the Redskins games this season over the Internet. I'm not sure how the NFL feels about this with it's whole Field Pass thing... but at least Redskin fans (and those of whoever Washington is playing) will not have to worry about missing the game.

I predict next series Jason Campbell throws an INT... and that aussie punter looks better than Frost for 1 punt...

100
by Rocco (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:20pm

What exactly was that dance Kelley Washington just busted out?

101
by Bill (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:26pm

He calls it the 'Squirrel dance'. No, really.

102
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:33pm

The refs have been atrocious... I've seen at least 2 holds (one on that end around) and a sideline spot that was horrible.

103
by max (not verified) :: Sun, 08/13/2006 - 11:41pm

Why is that everyone agrees that there will be new teams in the playoffs every year but no one ever picks a bunch of new teams to make the playoffs? Is it laziness or incompetence? After watching a few of the preseason games, I know what Parcell's means when he says "every year a team is different than the year before".

A case in point is this years Rams. This team will be so different than last years team. And yet, no one in the media has noted this. Even Mike Tanier of FO thinks they are the same.

104
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 12:08am

The NBC crew gave nice answers when asked what they would change if they were the commissioner.

1) Collingsworth - Pass Interference should be reviewable... what other penalty gives you 50-60 yards (he should've said 30-40, but still)
2) Costas - OT should be decided by at least 4 points... going to have a Super Bowl where a team picks up 2-3 first downs and kicks a FG to win it. With all the stuff the NFL does to make the game fair, reviewing and measuring... the current sudden death should be changed.
3) Madden - Officials should be full time. The guy is in the HoF... listen to him.

105
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 12:45am

Thoughts from the broadcast:

My recording doesn't have sound on it. Those TV cards on computers can be a little buggy, I guess tonight I'll be updating the drivers.

My analog cable also sucks.

It's nice to have another WR who can catch the ball besides Santana Moss. Lloyd can drop 50% of his passes for all I care and he's still an improvement over Thrash and T. Jacobs.... but you better run the right route so as not to get our backfield killed trying to make a tackle.

Sellers at HB... cool.

Who runs CB blitzes during preseason!? Williams better run a vanilla defense the rest of the way, but 1st string D looked pretty good.

Why was Chris Henry playing so much?

Please put Campbell in with the 2nd string... please! He looked decent... had a few nice throws... but it seemed he was slow on the reads. His INT didn't come until the end.

Not that impressed by McIntosh... although he completely wiped out a guard and made a stop.

Another year of love train commercials? Please help us!

It's nice the NFL thinks of fantasy football players as losers in the mailroom and guys whose only satisfaction in life is waiting for "open season on chumps".

... and that's about it... in about 3 days this game will be wiped off my HD and the only thing people will remember is the Portis injury. The media loves to blow things like this up as a big deal, but I won't be worried until 2 weeks before the opening game.

106
by andrew apold (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 12:47am

"New Orleans quarterback Adrian McPherson went to the locker room early in the third quarter after a golf cart ridden by the Titans' mascot hit him at the end of halftime Saturday night."

Say what? Can you give chopping wood awards to mascots? (click on my name for rest of article)...

107
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 1:02am

Obviously Henry was trying to get all the football in now while he still could.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 2:22am

With regard to the statistical validity of the pre-season versus regular season, I would love to see someone take on the following:

Winner after 1st quarter isn't very revealing - much, much less significant correlation. Most likely due to the fact that 1) end of 1st/3rd quarter are arbitrary divisions and 2) not enough time to build up a statistically significant lead.

Including the 3rd quarter lowers the correlation and the significance. Including the 4th quarter lowers it even more.

Winner after the half shows the strongest correlation.

109
by jessex (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 4:16am

Aaron or any Outsider --

Is there any truth to the rumors that Black & Blue isn't coming back to FO this season? If so, is there any truth to the Carroll to ESPN rumors?

110
by the K (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 5:29am

Portis' shoulder is partially dislocated. I'd wager he'll be held out the rest of the preseason but I wouldn't think it's too serious an injury.

http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/WAS/9600034

111
by asg (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 9:57am

How did Campbell look?

111
by asg (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 9:57am

How did Campbell look?

113
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:50am

Matthew:

What would full-time officials get you? What would they do during the week? Sit around and re-read rules they already have memorized? Watch game film from a bad angle that does not show them anything useful from their on-field perspective? Log even more travel time going to seminars about refereeing?

The only real productive use of the week for the NFL officials would be to officiate scrimmages at teams' practices, since that would be the only thing close to a real-game perspective. But that would cause bais issues ("The ref only called that because he's buddies with the head coach!") and would most likely by unwelcome among the coaches.

I do not see any use for full-time refs, and a lot of the bright guys (lawyers, teachers et al) that do it now because it can be done on the side will likely stop.

114
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:54am

What would full-time officials get you? What would they do during the week?

Go to team practices, and officiate there. If you've got things which are judgement calls, and differ by referees (which they do), and you don't want to fix them, the teams should at least get familiar with the referee's individual tendencies.

115
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 11:55am

Pat:

But how would that help the teams? You couldn't have the same refs who worked with the team during the week officiate that team's game- not only would that create an advantage to one of the teams in the game, but it would also raise some ethical issues (as I said before). The coaches are not going to spend their precious time filming the referees' calls during the scrimmages to do statistical analysis on it- and I doubt the refs themselves would allow that.

Referees spending significant amounts of time with the teams outside of a game situation is a recipe for disaster.

116
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 1:31pm

You couldn’t have the same refs who worked with the team during the week officiate that team’s game- not only would that create an advantage to one of the teams in the game, but it would also raise some ethical issues (as I said before).

Why not? You spend time with the away team earlier in the week, then go to the home team later in the week, and stay there for the game.

Is this practical? Probably not - you'd end up with guys on the road for huge amounts of time, although you could add additional officials and rotate people.

But still, I don't think it's that bad.

117
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 1:45pm

You don't have any concerns about referees buddying up to certain teams/stars and calling games like the NBA refs do? I just don't see how that idea can not concern you.

118
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 2:57pm

You don’t have any concerns about referees buddying up to certain teams/stars and calling games like the NBA refs do? I just don’t see how that idea can not concern you.

I don't see how this helps that all that much. They still see the teams - they visit with the teams in preseason.

If there really is that risk, then there's always the possibility of just having the refs view tape of upcoming team's previous week practices at home. That way they don't travel, they don't really get to interact with the teams, but they will know to look for things when the game comes.

119
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 3:52pm

BTW, did anyone else think Madden sounded more senile than usual? Between his "Cincy has too many Johnsons" line and the stuff about a shoulder separation ("a separation is a separation and not a dislocation"), I think he left his brain at ABC. He was doing his best to shatter the unintentional comedy scale last night. I feel like he's a worthy replacement all on his own for the Stooges. I never thought he'd top the moment a few years ago when he dissected the turducken by hand- I'm giddy for what this season holds.

120
by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 6:51pm

I don't think I saw a single Alex Smith throw Friday with his feet set. Granted you can't always see 'em but...

The Bears def came out having given up a field goal after a fumble (and a touchdown scored by the 49ers defense) and a stop after a middling drive, and they weren't doing anything special.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Grossman, he just had a bad night. I can't imagine them handing Griese the car keys unless we get more than 4 games into the season and Grossman still looks bad.

Also, at least Orton looked as awful as we know he is. Stupid Ditka was talking about a 3 way qb controversy after orton hit his first receiver, but then he went in the tank after that.

121
by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 7:00pm

A separation and a dislocation are in fact 2 different things. A separation concerns the collar bone separating from the shoulder blade while a dislocation concerns the arm coming out of the shoulder socket.

122
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 7:21pm

Madden's main fault, which people constantly harp on, is that sometimes he's not great at communicating what he's thinking. It's not that what he's thinking is dumb - that's reserved for Joe Theismann. It's that sometimes he doesn't say it in the smartest way possible.

I think it's a little harsh to criticize him for that - I'd rather have a commentator who says intelligent things poorly than one who says stupid things well.

123
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 8:06pm

I agree Pat, but I'm not sure Madden says intelligent things most of the time. I think he's fallen in love with his own voice sometimes, and starts talking and talking without actually taking a second to think about what he's talking about. I'm not saying that's he's terrible, just that he's seemed goofier than usual these last two games as opposed to the past few seasons. I'm hoping it's just because of the meaningless of the games right now- when the MNF games have been close, Michaels and Madden are generally better than when it's a blowout and they start talking about anything but football. He's no Theismann, that's for sure- I don't think he's ever contradicted himself in a span of 5 minutes.

#120:

I know they're different, I've done both to my shoulder. :) Madden didn't really go into that, other than to say a separation isn't a dislocation.

124
by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 8:26pm

Indeed. I'd take Madden and Michaels over anyone else in a game that was actually close. When the game isn't close, or completely meaningless, I really don't care what the announcers are talking about, anyway....

125
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 8:40pm

has anyone else been watching Monday Night Countdown? How many weeks until Jaws murders Michael Irvin?

126
by Flux (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 9:22pm

Well, from the opening minutes of MNF I see play calling is already at a midseason pace.

Raiders kick a FG on 4th and 1 from the 8, after a failing run up the middle on 3rd and 2.

Then the Vikings counter with designed dump offs to a fullback on 2nd and 3rd down, gaining about 2 yards combined and hastening their first opportunity to punt.

Things like this remind me why I generally prefer college football...

127
by D (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 9:24pm

Well Aaron Brooks is picking up right where he left off which is too bad for Raiders fans.

128
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 9:37pm

Boy, oh boy, I sure hope for RaiderNation's sake that Robert Gallery improves from what I saw last week, and so far this week. He doesn't seem to be up to the task. The Raiders don't seem to have any more discipline on the line of scrimmage, either.

I also don't think the Vikings special teams coach is in a good mood. I know they don't want to use Koren Robinson exclusively for kick returns, but they don't have anybody else nearly as good at it.

129
by ibanez (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:28pm

Tony K and Norman Einstein are brutal. Poor Mike Tirico.

130
by Lou (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:51pm

I really didn't think Tony would add this little to the broadcast. He hasn't said anything interesting all night. Worse, he's making Theisman look good.

131
by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 10:56pm

ESPN can't be serious about having the score bug in the middle of the screen, can they?

132
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 11:19pm

Tavaris Jackson certainly has the athletic talent, with both his throwing and footwork, to play QB at a high level in the NFL. Of course, that can be said about more than a few guys who never made it. It'll be interesting to see if he conquers the mental part of the position, and by all accounts the guy is an extreme workaholic, so if he doesn't make it, it won't be due to lack of effort.

The Vikings' offensive linemen have't run-blocked terrifically, but the first string wasn't terrible.

133
by James G (not verified) :: Mon, 08/14/2006 - 11:43pm

When can I complain about Kornheiser? What kind of commentary is this: "Explain the silent count to us." "Is his name J.T.O. Sullivan or J.T. O'Sullivan?" Make it stop!

134
by andrew apold (not verified) :: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 12:29am

This is my first season watching football with HD... and the detail visible on Tirico's receding hairline brought forth some of the drawbacks of the technology...

I thought some of TK's stuff was alright, his opinion on things were more likely to be inline with what a lot of fans were thinking as opposed to Theisman, who averred that not only would he take Andrew Walter over Leinart, Young or Cutler, but he opined that he wasn't sure if any of those three could cut it in the NFL, and if they did it would only because they were in the right system (as opposed to Walter whom he seemed convinced was a lock in any environment).

135
by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 1:25am

Re #133
I thought the purpose of the announcer was, at least in part, to tell me something non-obvious, and that I wouldn't have known otherwise. Thus, I found Norman's impression of Andrew Walter as a better bet to be an NFL QB than Leinart/Cutler at least mildly interesting, though unsurprising. TK added NOTHING to this broadcast for me; he seemed as ignorant of football as Dennis Miller, with slightly greater respect for the timing of the game, but without Dennis's irreverence toward MNF (i.e., making fun of the team for letting a sideline interview with Bob Griese run through a long TD play in his first regular season game) and the whole "what ridiculous thing will he say next" factor.

136
by craig (not verified) :: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 9:17am

And to be fair to Joe, I thought what he was saying was a little less that Walter is better than Cutler/Leinart straight-up, and a little more that Walter was close enough that you were better off with Walter and Huff than with Walter and Cutler/Leinart on the team...

137
by Galen (not verified) :: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 2:47pm

Did listening to Tony Kornheiser's high volume, mindless one upsmanship make anyone else want to perforate their eardrums? Maybe it was just me. I couldn't take it. I had to turn the game off before halftime. i'm filled with dread at the proposition of listening to him every mondy during the season. Why, oh why didn't ESPN hire Ron Jaworski instead? Instead of the puerile babble of Mr. Kornheiser we could be treated to real in-depth and well thought out analysis provided by Jaws.

138
by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 3:26pm

BTW, a huge thumbs down to the Vikings new midfield logo. Before they had the norseman, a tried and true logo. Now? A big fancy cursive "MV".

139
by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 4:23pm

I think last year they just had the V