Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2007. Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live.

Oakland Raiders 13 at Kansas City Chiefs 17

Ian Dembsky: Kansas City's first drive of the game: 10 rushes for 73 yards, one pass for three yards, finished off with a rushing touchdown. Welcome back, Trent Green!

Mike Tanier: Happy birthday, Larry Johnson. Don't go out celebrating: you have another game on Thursday.

The Raiders lost Robert Gallery and LaMont Jordan in this game. Maybe they should be the team that plays Ohio State...

Ned Macey: I flip over in the fourth quarter; the Chiefs are losing, and Green has 12 attempts? He made a couple nice throws to lead them down for the game-winner. Then comes the sequence only the Raiders could pull off. Walter is in because Brooks' hand is hurt. He makes a couple erratic throws and a couple of completions. In comes Brooks for the great pass down the middle to get the ball inside the 10. Next pass goes right to a KC defender.

Buffalo Bills 24 at Houston Texans 21

Michael David Smith: Kickoff was half an hour ago and J.P. Losman already has 184 passing yards. The Texans may have some problems in their secondary.

Doug Farrar: Talk about feast or famine -- of those 184 passing yards, Lee Evans has three catches for 180, and two other Buffalo receivers have a catch each for two.

Aaron Schatz: They just showed the two Buffalo touchdowns on halftime highlights. Both of them had Demarcus Faggins in coverage and he was badly beaten both times. By the way, in fantasy football my opponent this week (not a FO guy) left Evans on his bench. Wow, am I lucky.

Tim Gerheim: It turns out that Lee Evans has a tremendous skill as a wide receiver: He can run very, very fast. He didn't do much of anything clever on either of his touchdowns, he just outran Demarcus Faggins. Now, I'm the last one who will say anything bad about a guy named "Demarcus," and on balance I like Faggins, mainly for his not being Phillip Buchanon. But he was undrafted for a reason -- he's not that fast. And since the Texans don't have any NFL-caliber safeties, there was no help over the top once Evans beat him.

One of the findings from the game charting project that surprised me most was how few teams match up their best corner against the opponent's best receiver. I don't entirely understand why that is to this day. I particularly don't understand it when you're the Texans against the Bills. Dunta Robinson hasn't had so great a year, but he's still probably our best defender. The Bills are the Panthers light -- put four guys around their top wide receiver and they can't move the ball (at least when McGahee is out). Why the Texans played the first quarter with Faggins and little safety help on Evans I'll never know.

Pittsburgh Steelers 24 at Cleveland Browns 20

Ian Dembsky: Uh-oh ... Bad Ben Roethlisberger is back. Another interception returned for a touchdown against the Steelers.

Ryan Wilson: If you want to know how bad Pittsburgh's kickoff team is, Sean Morey is returning kicks for the second straight week and he just busted one 76 yards.

Ian Dembsky: The pride of Brown University! Of course, Big Ben immediately followed this up with his second interception of the game.

Ryan Wilson: I have no idea how Cleveland didn't win this game and that's with Droughns and Bodden out. Jeff Davidson has done a nice job calling plays since Maurice Carthon got axed (which reminds me ... MDS, I'm guessing Matt Millen will draft Maurice Carthon as the OC with the Lions' top 5 pick). Chaz Frye wasn't asked to do a lot, took a lot of three-step drops, and Jason Wright did a very nice job running wherever Casey Hampton wasn't.

Not surprisingly, Joey Porter was smacking his gums pre-game at Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. At one point, Winslow stiff-armed Porter for an 8-yard gain and it might've been the only time all season Porter didn't have anything to say. Of course, a play later he sacked Frye, so it was short-lived.

Roethlisberger continues to act like a guy who's suffered a bunch of blows to the head in a short time. He looked to have Raiders flashbacks in the first half, throwing another pick-six. (It was so bad the Steelers radio guys were wondering what the season record was for picks-six. Currently Ben has four.) He calmed down in the second half, stringing together two very nice drives, the final one putting the Steelers up for good.

Still, the special teams is a joke (see Sean Morey reference above). It's hard to tell if the defense is regressing or if they're just really tired from being on the field for 30 minutes a game.

New England Patriots 35 at Green Bay Packers 0

Aaron Schatz: The big news after the first half in Green Bay is that 1) Brett Favre has been awful and 2) Brett Favre is now injured. Favre couldn't hit anyone in the first half -- almost every throw was overthrown by a good 2-3 yards. For a while, we thought perhaps Favre was replaced by Eli Manning. His mechanics were off, but it was hard to tell just what was up -- he had velocity, but everything was high. Then in the last minute, he was sacked and went down very awkwardly -- basically, it was a replay of the current Playstation 3 Madden commercial that demonstrates the new gang tackling physics, except with Bruschi and Banta-Cain as the defenders and Favre in the Dallas Clark role. He got up and looked like both his knee and shoulder were hurt. Officially, it is his shoulder. (Later, they changed that to his elbow.) It's 21-0, and so we might as well see what we're getting with Aaron Rodgers, because it is really hard to see the Packers coming back in this game, Favre or no Favre.

I know that the Patriots have injuries in the secondary, but really, enough with the Troy Brown thing. That was supposed to be for emergencies only. He has two penalties so far as a defensive back this year, and at one point he was in man coverage on Donald Driver. Donald Driver? My god, if you are going to be playing Brown as a defensive back, he is supposed to be on Ruvell "NFL Europe isn't meaningless after all" Martin.

Bill Moore: Brown always lines up against the slot. The thought is that he plays that position, so its easier for him to defend.

Ian Dembsky: Man, Dan Dierdorf is AWFUL!!! This is the worst commentary I've ever heard. He's already made three completely wrong calls based on what was obvious on the field.

Aaron Schatz: From now on, I will be referring to Dan Dierdorf as "The Rockefeller Skank" because he must say the phrase "right about now" roughly every 30 seconds.

Right about now, the Pats inexplicably came out with Brady in the slot and Maroney at quarterback, then everyone shifted around and got into their normal positions. What was the point of this?

Bill Moore: Two weeks ago, the Jets did this with Pennington. I don't get it. Are you, as a defender, really afraid of covering Brady or Pennington? If anything, I'm taking advantage of the five-yard pop.

Aaron Schatz: Right about now, the Pats brought in Vinny Testaverde to kneel down three times at the end of the game. How does the NFL pension work? Does this give Testaverde a better pension by giving him an additional year of service? According to Mike Reiss, Testaverde came in and told everyone "ok, quarterback sneak on one" and then just started laughing.

Michael David Smith: I believe once you've played your 10th season you're fully vested in the pension. Vinny's way past that.

Tennessee Titans 31 at Philadelphia Eagles 13

Aaron Schatz: Highlights just showed Travis Henry 70-yard run against Philly. The Eagles apparently forgot to practice tackling after the Jacksonville game. You would have expected that to teach them a lesson. Now apparently it's 23-6 Tennessee. This can't all be McNabb's injury. I don't get it -- the Eagles have been so good all year, except, apparently, against the AFC South.

Mike Tanier: There is a rumor circulating in Philly that the boys were out a little late last night celebtating Donovan McNabb's birthday. They played hungover today. Season over.

Ryan Wilson: Hmm. I wonder if the Steelers were invited to McNabb's birthday bash.

Aaron Schatz: Right about now, CBS is reporting that McNabb has a torn right ACL. Sigh.

St. Louis Rams 0 at Carolina Panthers 15

Mike Tanier: Marc Bulger just got buried today. Sometimes I think the loss of Pace was the difference, and sometimes I think it was just "that's the Panthers front four and they will get their pressure no matter what." But sometimes I think max protect was backfiring. The Rams were only putting three guys into routes, and the Panthers were getting sacks when nobody was open and the free linebackers started attacking.

Other thoughts: Steve Smith is amazing (duh), Jake Delhomme is having a lot of trouble finding any receiver not named Steve Smith, and the Rams run defense really needs work.

Ned Macey: This was a case of Linehan getting severely outcoached. It was like he didn't know that Carolina would attack the line with Pace hurt. Then when they kept blitzing, he started the massive mass protection so nobody was open down field. They had no underneath throws in the game plan to keep the linebackers honest. They did seem to always know where Peppers was; unfortunately, they never blocked anybody else.

Delhomme is a solid starter, but he is painful to watch. He made one good throw the whole game on the TD to Smith. His interception was a bad throw. In his defense, it came after he made a nice adjustment and hit Smith for a would-be TD, but the play call was a screen, so they had blockers downfield.

Washington Redskins 17 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Ryan Wilson: I only saw bits and pieces of this game, but Jason Campbell looked pretty good. His first play was a bomb down the left side to Brandon Lloyd, who couldn't make the play. Mark Brunell couldn't make that throw if he was given a cut-off man. Al Saunders' offense looks a lot better when the quarterback can throw the ball downfield.

Campbell did miss on some throws, but he didn't play like it was his first game. And after seeing him, I can only wonder what Joe Gibbs was thinking in staying with Brunell. Especially when guys like Vince Young and Matt Leinart are starting.

T.J. Duckett also made his weekly cursory appearance, and on his first carry (at least the first one I saw) he treaded about three Bucs defenders for a 15-yard gain.

Atlanta Falcons 10 at Baltimore Ravens 24

Michael David Smith: The Falcons' coverage units allowed Ravens returner B.J. Sams to have punt returns of 65 and 59 yards and a kickoff return of 59 yards. Might need to work on that this week.

Atlanta went for it on fourth-and-inches on its first possession, only to have Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs stuff running back Warrick Dunn behind the line of scrimmage. That set the tone for a really crappy day by Dunn and Jerious Norwood.

Credit where it's due: Vick rolled to his left and threw a beautiful strike to Michael Jenkins in the end zone. Falcons' only highlight, basically.

Head coach Brian Billick, who has called the plays since firing offensive coordinator Jim Fassel last month, outsmarted himself on a fourth-and-1. Instead of just a simple handoff up the middle, Billick called a backward pass to wide receiver Mark Clayton, who had trouble handling the ball and was drilled behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of five yards.

A highly questionable pass interference call on Samari Rolle gave Atlanta a big boost in the third quarter. The replay clearly showed that Falcons receiver Ashley Lelie initiated the contact and should have been called for offensive pass interference, but coaches can't challenge pass interference calls, so the penalty stood.

Cincinnati Bengals 31 at New Orleans Saints 16

Michael David Smith: Cincinnati has had injuries on its offensive line all season. This week left tackle Levi Jones was out, and his replacement, Andrew Whitworth, was beaten by Saints defensive end Will Smith for a sack. But overall Carson Palmer did a good job getting rid of the ball quickly.

Saints receiver Terrence Copper fumbled late in the first half. He really has a problem with that.

Indianapolis Colts 14 at Dallas Cowboys 21

Michael David Smith: Manning is getting no protection at all. He has already fumbled twice, both when he was drilled by guys who weren't even slowed down on their way into the Colts' backfield.

Bill Moore: Is it me, or does Romo pump fake on almost every play? I have to imagine, using it so often reduces its effectiveness.

Aaron Schatz: Why are the Colts still starting Dominic Rhodes?

Will Carroll: Dungy likes Rhodes. Addai still can't pick up the blitz quite as well.

Newman just got crushed. CRUSHED. As he "sat up," his arms were locked and his eyes were closed. The ref was trying to keep him down, but his teammates picked him up. Watch -- he'll be right back in the game. Manning's savvy enough to go right at him with a double move.

Aaron Schatz: AGAIN the Colts get the good luck of an opposing field goal kicker shanking a field goal. Yay, Vanderjagt contract. Then, they call roughing the passer on Marcus Spears as he's trying to avoid Peyton Manning and, while trying to regain his balance, bumped him slightly, not even knocking him down. Ridiculous call.

Michael David Smith: It really is amazing how incompetent the Colts are on defense and special teams. I mean, how do you let the opposition back into field goal range when you score a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the half? The only way they could be any worse on defense or special teams is if they still had Vanderjagt.

The Cowboys sure are playing a lot of 4-3 for a team that usually plays the 3-4 and is up against an offense whose supposed weakness is playing against the 3-4.

Aaron Schatz: I noticed that too -- specifically, on the final drive of the second quarter, where the Colts finally scored. The Cowboys just stopped getting pressure on Manning, and suddenly, voila, good offense marching down the field. Go back to the 3-4, kids.

Cowboys just intercept the ball on a tip from Harrison and return it for a touchdown. This is, of course, a total fluke, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Did anyone think that Vanderjagt would actually make that field goal to end the second quarter?

Bill Barnwell: There's no way the Cowboys do not cut Vanderjagt this week.

Ned Macey: I don't think anyone likes Vanderjagt, and I know he's struggled all year, but I have to say Vinatieri shanked two makeable field goals including a game clincher against his old team.

Aaron Schatz: Perhaps Vinatieri did miss two field goals against the Patriots, but Vanderjagt is doing this in every game and averaging something like 57 yards per kickoff. I mean, come on.

Ned Macey: I think the 3-4 thing is just a given with the Colts offense. Saturday hates having someone line up over him. The line is still confused about who is coming from the outside. Linebackers are in the way on Harrison's short in. There is too much talent to not score some points (2004 AFC playoffs against NE aside), but they have not figured this out at all.

They are definitely pulling out their tricks today. Wayne and Harrison on the same side. Wayne in the slot, as he was on the TD. And a rare Aaron Moorehead sighting.

As I write, Manning gets picked again (this time more his fault since he threw into triple coverage, even if Harrison could have held on).

At the same time, this game is encouraging because this is the Colts 2005 defense re-appearing. Very quick and making big plays. We'll see if that holds, but if I were Dallas I would throw the ball a fair amount this half until I never saw a safety in the box.

As for Rhodes, I can't really believe it is pass protection because down the stretch against Denver they had him on the field. This is a seniority play, and if it shaves 5 carries a game off for Addai to keep him fresh, then I guess I don't really care.

Bill Moore: OK, quick. If Dallas gets the ball inside a 40+ yard Vanderjagt FG, do they kick it?

Ned Macey: I can't be too distraught about a game that told us nothing we didn't already know. The defensive improvement I noted in the first half disappeared, but one good half is better than usual. They had a chance inside the ten-yard line. Unlike Denver, NYJ, and whatever other late comebacks, this one came up just short. I've never been a big Brandon Stokley guy, but they do miss him. It is asking too much of Clark to consistently have to beat cornerbacks.

One final thing: I don't always love Nantz-Simms, but I thought this was the first Dallas game I watched with the appropriate amount of TO coverage. Much appreciated. And predictably, the Colts took him out only to get beat repeatedly by Glenn. The five-yard slant turned into a slant-and-go was beautiful.

Aaron Schatz: When the announcers are praising the way Marc Colombo is taking out your defenders, your defense has a hard time against the run. Those last three Dallas drives were just bam, bam, bam down the field – the Colts couldn't seem to stop anything. If Manning hits that fourth-and-2 for the touchdown, does anyone doubt that the Cowboys just march right down the field to score again? (A touchdown, of course -- they wouldn't be able to actually make a field goal.)

Now we can go back to talking about the Colts with sanity. No longer does everyone have to praise them because they have a magical power to make opposing field goal kickers miss, and we can talk about what they really are: a great offense, a bad defense, atrocious special teams, one of the top teams in the NFL but not a Super Bowl favorite.

Meanwhile, in the preseason I was really skeptical of the idea that the Cowboys were going to be a major contender this year. But Romo looks excellent and with the Giants and now Eagles wrecked by injuries, they could win that division and make some noise in the playoffs. Right about now, I am definitely a believer in the Cowboys.

Mike Tanier: The Cowboys have a great shot to make the playoffs, thanks to the presence of Jeff Garcia in the picture and the general weakness of the NFC. But Romo is still working his way through his first five games. After five games, opposing coaches have enough film of you to really break down what you are doing. You'll often see "hot" new quarterbacks go cold in about their fifth or sixth game as opponents start adjusting to them.

Seattle Seahawks 14 at San Francisco 49ers 20

Mike Tanier: Is that Rick Pitino coaching the Niners?

It looks like the Seahawks defense hasn't figured out how to defend screens or misdirection plays yet.

Doug Farrar: Question: Does Mike Nolan fidget this much when he's NOT wearing a suit?

Seneca Wallace's first-quarter interception was predicated on two factors -- his inability to follow through on a too-quick play action sell to Shaun Alexander (which kept the pressure on him and perhaps forced an early throw), and the inexplicable decision to throw deep into triple coverage. Not sure if he was just heaving a wobbler to Darrell Jackson, or if he was throwing to a zone and Jerramy Stevens showed up late, but man, that was ugly. The second quarter pick was just goofy -- he threw right to Walt Harris, who was in front of Deion Branch.

What makes Wallace valuable in another sense is his ability to make something out of nothing, as he did earlier in that drive when his protection broke down and he eluded several defenders for a long first down. He reminds me of film I've seen of Marlin Briscoe, the old Denver quarterback.

Frank Gore is wearing the big boy pants. He ran through nine in the box on what looked like an overload right. Gore simply went the other way. All he had to do was bounce off cornerback Kelly Herndon and saunter for 51 yards. 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner apparently told Gore that there would be some misdirection in the playbook this week. Good call against a Seattle defense that sometimes overpursues. On the next play, Ken Hamlin was late on an Alex Smith pass to Eric Johnson. I've seen Hamlin arrive late for coverage more than before this season. While I hesitate to blame the head injuries he suffered last year without knowing of any concrete medical evidence, it has crossed my mind.

People are starting to observe more publicly what we were once trying to overlook in the Northwest: fullback Mack Strong is blocking absolutely horribly this year. Always a stalwart road grader through his first twelve seasons, his inability to keep rushing plays going past the first hit is a real (and very surprising) problem. For Seattleites, this is the biggest hit to a local sports institution since Edgar Martinez' bat speed went to heck in 2004.

Mike Tanier: I take that back. I got a better look at Nolan. That tie is a clip on. Rick Pitino wouldn't blow his nose on that suit.

Doug Farrar: Mike Tanier, Reebok Spokesman...

The Seahawks' defense seems to have skipped tackling school this week. Frank Gore is just gashing the front four, and the first hits he's getting are from cornerbacks. Alex Smith just set the score at 16-0 with a rollout right and dive into the end zone. Sheesh.

Seattle really isn't playing well in any aspect of the game, but I don't want it to seem that San Francisco isn't anything more than that formerly bad team taking what they're given. They're the ones capitalizing on errors. They're the ones sustaining drives and carrying the momentum. And their defensive turnaround over the last two games has been impressive, coming as it does with the standard Minnesota and Detroit disclaimers.

Mike Tanier: We did put Frank Gore on the cover last year, didn't we?

Aaron Schatz: No, we didn't put Gore on the cover. He was another one of the names we were tossing around as ideas, like Philip Rivers.

Mike Tanier: Rats. Can we put Leon Washington on the cover next year?

Doug Farrar: I tend to wonder if Maurice Morris isn't the best option at running back for Seattle's current offensive line. While Shaun Alexander is a back who is very good at following blockers, waiting for holes to develop, and cutting back or bouncing outside quickly if they don't, Morris is more of an instant-fast, cut once and go guy. This line is just good enough for Morris' ability to do that (at least it was over the last two wins, when Floyd Womack was in at left guard), but I don't think there's enough talent, or enough continuity, for Alexander's modus operandi. It's hard to bounce outside when the outside has collapsed. And it's near-impossible to productively cut back into a wall of defenders.

It still amazes me that the Seahawks gave Alexander that huge off-season contract, and they wouldn't pony up an extra $600,000 to keep (by franchising instead of transitioning) Steve Hutchinson, the man who was as responsible as anyone for making Alexander's style so effective.

Detroit Lions 10 at Arizona Cardinals 17

Michael David Smith: So, honestly, now that the Lions are getting their asses kicked by Arizona, can anyone think of any plausible reason that Matt Millen should still have a job? I'm already getting a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about how Millen will spend next year's Top 5 pick.

Aaron Schatz: Millen didn't sign Mike Vanderjagt to a big contract, so, you know, that's a point in his favor.

Ned Macey: The Lions have gotten a free pass so far in Detroit with first the Tigers and then Michigan. Now, since we can't spend the next three weeks talking only about BCS scenarios, I think it could get ugly here. Considering this is his THIRD coach in six years, how can it possibly not be mostly his fault?

Michael David Smith: Would you like to know who's playing receiver for the Lions now? Josh McCown. Seriously. Josh McCown. Matt Millen spent a Top 10 pick on Mike Williams, and now he can't beat out a quarterback for playing time at wide receiver. And not a particularly fast quarterback either.

San Diego Chargers 35 at Denver Broncos 27

Mike Tanier: Chargers just ripped off a 99 yard drive mixing runs and passes, guys like Lorenzo Neal and Michael Turner making good plays in addition to a healthy dose of LT. C'mon, guys. I am miserable about the Eagles and at least want my picks to look good this week.

Michael David Smith: I keep hearing how LaDainian Tomlinson reminds everybody of Barry Sanders. Can I just say that I don't see that at all? Barry's brilliance was that he'd out-juke five people before he even crossed the line of scrimmage. Tomlinson's strength is exactly the opposite -- he doesn't do any juking until he's through the hole. They just don't seem similar at all to me.

Doug Farrar: I would agree. Maybe it's a size perception issue? Tomlinson runs more like Joe Morris than he does Sanders. Hell, he runs more like Maurice Morris than he does Sanders.

Bill Barnwell: Speaking of jukes, everyone needs to go out of their way to see Laurence Maroney take five points off of Nick Barnett's 2008 agility rating in Madden on the Patriots' last touchdown today. If that had been an And 1 game, Barnett would've been sent home.

Mike Tanier: I don't see Sanders or Joe Morris. Maybe a little of a Tony Dorsett thing, though LT is stronger and Dorsett was faster and just looked smoother when he ran. Walter Payton, maybe, though even LT isn't the finisher Payton was.

Two long drives by the Broncos to counter the Chargers' one long drive. It's odd to see the Chargers miss two third-and-shorts.

Aaron Schatz: That Darrant Williams interception was just an awful, awful throw by Philip Rivers.

Mike Tanier: Yep. He bounced back with some good throws on the next drive. They may have dug too deep a hole. Oh great, now the Chargers are acting like the Eagles.

LT scores on a 51-yard seam pass.

Aaron Schatz: It turns out that if you have LaDainian Tomlinson on your team, there may be no such thing as a hole too deep. This also goes for my fantasy team which had a terrible week until about ten minutes ago.

Mike Tanier: Arrgh, stop letting Mike Bell run off left tackle!

I have LT in two leagues. I leave lineups that look like they are thrown together by my four-year old, and as long as I don't forget LT, I win. Mike Bell is also on one of my teams, but of course he is sitting the bench because I am afraid Shanny is going to give Nash Bridges 30 carries to prove a point.

LT, let's see, is like Billy Sims when Sims was at his peak, but LT's peak has been twice as long. O.J.? Don't remember him in his prime, but the running styles are similar I think.

Ian Dembsky: Whoohoo! It's another edition of "NBCee it"! Oh, wait ... I don't care. Especially since the graphics make it look like a replay on my NES.

Mike Tanier: Fourth-and-4 and the stage is set for some Shottenheimerian gaffe for the ages...

Michael David Smith: Absolutely horrible clock management for Denver, wasting the timeout before the fourth down play, then tackling Tomlinson inches short of the end zone instead of just letting him score and getting the ball back with plenty of time to score and get the two-point conversion for overtime.

Bill Barnwell: A) Igor Olshansky is a buffoon.
B) Even more so, Tom Nalen is a scumbag.

Aaron Schatz: It's a shonda.

Mike Tanier: Let me provide the narrative to surround the Nalen-Olshansky thing.

So on fourth-and-4, the Chargers intercept a Jake Plummer pass and take the ball deep into Broncos territory. They then feed LT the ball. Nick Ferguson makes a nice play to stop the clock, all but carrying LT out of bounds, but then the Broncos make the tackle on the one-yard line that MDS mentioned.

The two-minute warning hits. Broncos are out of timeouts. Marty decides to eat his cake and have it. He has Rivers roll over at the goal line -- not kneel, but roll so they don't lose yardage. That burns about 30 seconds. Then, LT scores. Marcus McNeill gives Ian Gold a little extra-curricular, Gold retaliates, and there's a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff.

Another smart call: the Chargers execute a high kickoff instead of booting it through the end zone. Cecil Sapp has a brain cramp, diving for the ball and falling at about the three-yard line. I guess there's a slim chance that the Chargers could have fielded the kickoff if it bounced, but it's not clear why Sapp made this diving catch.

Of course, the stage is set for The Drive 2. Plummer throws some ugly passes, then completes a long one on fourth down to Walker at the 34-yard line. The Broncos line up to spike, Plummer spikes, and Nalen just decides, what the hell, I'll dive straight for Igor Olshansky's kneecaps. Olshansky punches Nalen three times and draws a 15-yard penalty and an ejection. Marty goes buck nutty on Igor.

Then, Plummer hits Rod Smith for 14 yards. About 25 seconds left. Drayton Florence makes the tackle, then grabs the ball and tosses it away from the official. Defensive delay of game. Five more yards. Clock stopped. Two idiotic plays by the Chargers.

Luckily, there's a sack and a fumble on the next play and the Chargers win.

That being said:


Bill Barnwell: There was actually a second penalty on the Broncos for unsportsmanlike conduct towards an official -- group whining perhaps -- and that was an extra 15 yards, meaning Nate Kaeding was kicking off from the BRONCOS' 40-yard line. Merely lining up for this kickoff took about four minutes.

Also, in the latest embarrassing shot of the week, Marcus McNeill's fly is down on the shot where they were showing his broken hands.

Mike Tanier: Forgot about that. I think Williams said the 10-letter c-word.

Bill Barnwell: Celebration? No, wait, that's 11 letters.

Bits 'n' Pieces

Will Carroll: This Maloof-Hardee's commercial is just plain classic.

Favre out. McNabb out. Bad day for a lot of fantasy teams. I'd expected a lot of QB injuries at the start of the season, but then read Michael Lewis' book and second-guessed myself. Now, we're starting to see it again. A coach told me mid-season that the NFL would consider a "leaving your feet" rule, where a tackler couldn't leap at a QB. I thought he was joking at the time. Now if he told me that the QB would now wear a flag, I wouldn't be surprised. Given that, why don't more teams emulate the Colts? The NFL is hardly shy about copycatting – protect-first line, block-first RB, keeping two TEs in to make those edge rushers go further, and more.

Ryan Wilson: My wife and I just had this conversation after a "60 Minutes" promo pimping a Joe Namath interview:

Me: Can you believe "60 Minutes" thinks Joe Namath having a drinking problem is newsworthy?

My wife: Does that have to do with the Suzy Culpepper incident?

Yeah, my wife doesn't really follow football, but I wonder who should be more offended, Daunte or Suzy. I'm going with Suzy.

Ian Dembsky: Conversation overheard at NBC: "Can we un-flex Philly at Indianapolis and go back to Chicago at New England instead??"

Later This Week

Any Given Sunday: 49ers over Seahawks
Every Play Counts: Larry Johnson


192 comments, Last at 22 Nov 2006, 4:26am

1 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Jason Taylor is the league's defensive MVP.

I thought that would be more appropriate than "First!"

2 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Is it required that you do a placement kick on a kickoff, or could the Chargers have had their punter try to drop one inside the 10 on the kickoff at the end of the game? Kaeding ended up doing just as well, but it seems that a punter would typically be better at dropping a coffin-corner kick.

3 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Why did CBS only have ONE camera angle for the McNabb injury? There were a few other plays that seemed to only have ONE angle for the replays, but that one sticks out in my memory.

4 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

In case radio contact ceases and you are unable to discern what happened, Philadelphia's negativity is currently bubbling up from the sewers and is boiling down Broad Street. I anticipate total destruction of downtown by this afternoon. What an unbelievable catastrophe.

And Dallas wins against the undefeated Colts? I'm about to start the mummers playing "The World Turn'd Upside Down." On the plus side, my Sundays just freed up.

5 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Watching the Cheifs/Raiders game as a Broncos fan I found myself cheering (oddly) for the Raiders on that last drive. Time winding down and I hear from the announcers: "Brooks gives this team some swagger that they haven't had in quite a while..."

Next play Brooks throws an interception in the end-zone to end the game. I just sat there and laughed as I came to realize the futility of rooting for the Raiders. What was I thinking?

6 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Nobody watched the Bears-Jets game? (Or did everybody jusr give up by halftime?)

Fantasy question: Can we start taking Travis Henry seriously?

If it wasn't for LT, my fantasy game this week might have set a record for lowest combined points. Unfortunately, I don't have him.

7 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Nobody noticed that all three Roethlisberger interceptions were tipped/dropped by his own guys? Beuller? I guess that's not readily apparent on the radio, but still. This game wasn't nearly as close as it was on the scoreboard.

P.S.: PIT allowed a 92-yard kickoff return TD. Your move, Arizona.

8 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Watching the 49ers/Seahawks game, San Francisco did not look good so much as Wallace was dead in the water with no running game. ALexander looked hobbled showing no burst and going down on the slightest contact. This left Wallace throwing into heavy zones and he clearly foundered. Once again Holmgren's playcalling is undone by his own poor personel decisions.

Saint ALexander needs to stay on the bench until a doctor says he's ready.

9 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

MT - call me sheltered, but I could only come up with one 10-letter c-word worth an unsportsmanlike penalty. It has to do with Roosters and Halloween candy... I'm gonna assume it was that one unless someone says otherwise

10 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

How long till Andrew pops in to say that McNabb's injury is the culmination of horrible luck for the Eagles, that they're still far and away the best team in the NFL, that if there weren't luck involved they would win every poker hand (oh wait, thats Phil Hellmuth), and that all other teams facing injury issues (see: Seahawks missing their two best players simultaneously for a period of 4-5 weeks) merely have "to deal" because, well, "injuries happen in football".

11 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Stupid question, and this is as good a place as any to ask: if a quarterback is lined up under center, could the center snap it between the QB's legs directly to the RB? Is this legal? These are the questions that come up when you watch football with novices. I also can't give my sister a single good reason why teams consistently run up the middle "where all the people are" for little gain.

12 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

"From now on, I will be referring to Dan Dierdorf as “The Rockefeller Skank� because he must say the phrase “right about now� roughly every 30 seconds."

This comment almost makes up for the Eagles squandered season.

13 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

9: That's the only word I can come up with as well, but it seems penalty-worthy for sure.

I almost missed the one line on the Saints-Bengals game there. The stat line on Drew Brees looks great until you realize that twice he drove his team down to the 5 yard line or so and then threw a horrible INT when the Bengals would play a safety in a linebackers spot and they would drop back for the INT. Carson Palmer threw an INT in the EZ as well, so this really could have been a total shootout if they hadn't thrown those passes.

Also, why have teams stopped covering Chad Johnson? He's been just wide open the past two weeks.

14 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

"one of the top teams in the NFL but not a Super Bowl favorite"

So, being one of the top teams in the NFL doesn't automatically make you a Super Bowl favorite? I look at the other division leaders in the AFC and see a team the Colts have already beaten and the Ravens and Chargers, who both have Achilles heels just about as glaring as the Colts. (It's really easy to imagine the Ravens' offense never getting going in a big game or the Chargers falling behind big again and not making it all the way back.)

15 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

No one watched the Miami game? We won on -2 yards rushing! That's gotta be worth something! Wait... Never mind. Carry on.

16 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

So is every play counts going to be "see Larry run!", or is it going to be "see Larry not block!"?

17 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

if i hear another reference about mcnabb's or anyone else's injury as "bad for fantasy teams" i will flip out.

18 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: Favre's awful first half, I'm wondering if the problems with his mechanics were mainly due to the groin injury he suffered in practice on Friday. Apparantly he tweaked his groin and it bothered him significantly during his practice reps.

Don't know but it seems plausible considering "wild & overthrown in early parts of games" Brett hasn't been seen so clearly since the mid-90's in Texas Stadium.

19 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

13: I believe it's because he was badly underperforming early in the season, so defenses stopped double-teaming and game-planning around him. Now that he's shaved the mohawk and started concentrating on his route-running, things have gotten a lot better. Also, Carson Palmer looks much more on-target recently; maybe's he's finally recovered. I can't wait to see Donovan blow the first half of next season "recovering!"

Somebody hand me my flask.

20 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

It has to do with Roosters and Halloween candy

I can't figure out what roosters have to do with candycorns?? ;-)

21 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re #6
Travis Henry, Week 11: 18 carries, 143 yards = 2 carries, 113 yards + 16 carries, 30 yards. Week 8 v. HOU: 15 carries, 29 yards. Week 9 @ JAX: 19 carries, 67 yards. Week 10 v. BAL: 27 carries, 107 yards {4 carries, 47 yards to start, 23 carries, 60 yards to finish). What's your tolerance for bad performances?

Off the fantasy angle, as a Titans fan I'm concerned about all the love Travis Henry is getting in Tennessee. "See, 7.9 yards per carry against the Eagles, he's awesome!" Seeing a workhorse running back plow into the line for 0-2 yards a pop once was enough.

22 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I genuinely don't know what to think about the Beloved Bears. If I had spent Sunday in a dark hole and emerged this morning to be told that the Bears had won by 30 points, I'd believe it. The thing is I also wouldn't have blinked at being told the Jets whupped 'em by 30. I saw the Jets consistently get 5-10 yards up the middle only to see Urlacher get a pick in the endzone. Does this make the Bears defense good or lucky? I honestly don't know what to expect week-to-week. I am thrilled by the back-to-back wins in New York, but have no confidence that the game in New England will be easy. Every Sunday I just throw my hands up and say, "Who knows?" At least it has been an exciting season in Chicago.

23 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I watched the Jets-Bears game. The Jets had excellent gameplans on both sides of the ball. They basically played a Cover 0 all day against Grossman, manning up on the outside and blitzing, daring the Bears to beat them with the pass. It completely shut down Grossman except for one play, when Drew Coleman slipped as he was coming up to make the tackle and Bradley took off for the touchdown. Aside from that, the Jets held the Bears offense completely in check. Even the rushing totals were not indicative of how the game went, as the Bears popped a good chunk of their yardage on just two drives, one after the failed onside kick attempt and the other at the end of the game.

On offense the Jets had a good plan of attack based on misdirection to counter the aggressive Chicago pursuit. Tim Dwight busted a nice reverse for big yardage, and Leon Washington would have scored a long touchdown on a fake handoff/pitch play had he been able to get past the defensive end, as there was absolutely no other defender on that side of the field. Unfortunately, that sort of gameplan can only hold up for about a half, and the Jets didn't turn their drives into points. I think that factored into the onside attempt decision, as it was clear that Chicago was going to shut down the offense in the second half. A big part of the problem is Pennington. As good as he is, he really limits the offense's ability to attack a good defense, as he just can't consistently make the midrange throws. I wouldn't be at all suprised to see Kellen Clemens under center to start the season next year.

24 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Given that, why don’t more teams emulate the Colts? The NFL is hardly shy about copycatting – protect-first line, block-first RB, keeping two TEs in to make those edge rushers go further, and more.

Simple ... the colts throw to marvin harrison (a future HoFer) and Reggie Wayne (Top 5 WR in the league). If the other teams try copying the same strategy, the following will happen -
The Rams were only putting three guys into routes, and the Panthers were getting sacks when nobody was open and the free linebackers started attacking
PS: The above statement is from this same article, as well ....

25 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Travis Henry was clearly motivated by my selecting him in the second half loser league. (as was Travis Taylor)

26 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re 4 - I think I just saw the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding down I-95 through the city. No, wait, that was just a truck that flipped over with some kind of livestock inside, and now they are running all over the highway.

I can't believe some blogs I've read that are already calling for both Reid and Jim Johnson to be fired. Okay, the season hasn't lived up to expectations (2006 Understatement of the Year) but isn't that a bit drastic????

27 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

11: That actually came up last week after the botched-snap TD by Deuce McAllister against Pittsburgh.

If the center direct-snaps to the RB between the QB's legs, it's an illegal procedure for a player receiving the snap after another player has lined up under center. If the center skips the ball to the RB, that seems to be legal.

28 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

How do the colts NOT challenge the Int return for a TD to open the 2nd half? In real time I said "He's probably down". The officials just don't like to call it unless they are 100% sure since if they blow the whistle & he wasn't down they look stupid. But someone tell me how the colts stand there & let the Boys kick the PAT without tossing the flag????????

29 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

7 - Yes I noticed Bad/Big Ben's three INT's were all tips - but I'm a Steeler fan who was suffering at Buffalo Wild Wings watching the game, surrounded in Houston by Texans and Saints fans. I keep waiting for Ben to get crucified again on various sites because "he sucks - he threw three more picks" - while no one that watched the game blames him at least for the second and third one - the first one was high, but if the receiver (Holmes?) just lets it go it sails out of bounds.

30 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

26: If Reid or Johnson leaves, I lose all confidence in next season for this team. Firing the two steady hands on a team with discipline problems and upheaval in the leadership positions is akin to just blowing it up and starting over. As unhappy as I am with the Eagles this season, you can't blame bad coaching for our extraordinary bad luck in terms of statistical events and crippling injuries to the largest components of our salary cap in Kearse and McNabb.

We're fielding what, a 70-million dollar team now? If Andy Reid gets them to even show up to the stadium through the end of the season it will be a miracle.

31 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

26> Why not go for the trifecta and try to get Ricky Williams into an Eagles uniform.

32 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I wish the Steelers would stop trying to give me heart attacks every week. This is an incredibly frustrating season- I'm trying not to complain since they won a title last year, but they're doing so many stupid things that it's hard to bite my tongue. Of the 3 picks, only the first one could be hung on Ben, and even that was unlucky in that Holmes deflected it right to a Brown.

I actually wondered for the first 3 quarters if Ben was concussed last week, given his play. It turns out he was just channeling Eli.

At the bar I was at, the Chiefs game was on next to the Steelers game. As the Raiders were driving, I reassured the panicking Chiefs fans that Aaron Brooks had a dumb play left in him. Sure enough, he threw a perfect pass to Page of the Chiefs.

Three weeks in a row now that the 49ers defense has been stout. Is this because of the teams they've played (Vikings, Lions, Seahawks w/o Hasselbeck and a healthy Alexander) or have they actually pulled it together?

33 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Jason Taylor's int for a touchdown, which sealed the Vikings' defeat, was just a phenomenal play. There is a temptation to rip the qb in such situations, especially when the qb has the limitations of Brad Johnson, but the more accurate way of looking at it is that the defensive player simply was outstanding, and did something that damned few defensive ends would be able to pull off. The problem for the Vikings is that they likely should have been leading the contest by at least ten points at the time, instead of being behind by four.

This may seem to be a pretty parochial request by a fan of a mediocre to poor team (Aaron's preseason win projection for the Vikings looks better than mine, after the past four weeks), but an epc piece on Minny might be interesting. I can't think of a recent team, with the possible exception of some recent Ravens' squads, which has won so infrequently while playing suberb defense, and also getting no worse than average, and sometimes above-average, offensive line play.

I thought the Vikings were very likely to exceed Aaron's preaeason win projection of 5.9 (and they still could do it with a game or two to spare), because the defense would be very sound, and the offensive line play would be pretty good. The defense has better than I expected, and while the offensive line has been worse than I expected, especially on the right side, it still has been acceptable, once one considers the immobility of the qb.

The people who touch the ball on offense, however, have just been unbelievably bad. Yesterday, along with Johnson's usual immobility and lack of arm strength, the receivers were showing the normal inability to get open downfield (thus relying on drag routes underneath), and dropping passes left and right. Severe dropitis has even spread to the tight ends now, and once one tosses in Chester Taylor's decision yesterday to become a fumbler, and it becomes really hard for the Vikings to win if the defense gives up any points at all.

I really believe if the Vikings just had just one slightly above average wide receiver, and a quarterback who wasn't a complete statue, they would have at least seven wins. At this point, they would be nuts not to roll the dice on a different qb, if only to expand the playbook a little; they have got to be the easiest team, outside of the Raiders, for an opposing defensive coordinator to game plan for. Yeah, their offensive line can do some things, but their lack of playmakers in the passing game just renders the offensive line a somewhat expensive afterthought.

Anyhow, I haven't looked it up, but my gut feeling is that they have had below average fumble luck so far this year, and if that reverses, they still have a chance to avoid elimination in the NFC prior to week 17. Here's hoping....

34 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

10: I'm pretty sure that's illegal -- when there was that bizarro snap a week ago (don't remember whether it was college or NFL) where the ball apparently stuck in the ground and the center snapped a grounder to the RB instead of to the QB (who was under center) I read that it should have been a penalty. Of course, since that basically never happens, the refs didn't call it, and the team scored on the play instead.

36 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

What spot is Good Luck projected to go in the 2007 draft? Is it plausible to trade up a few spots if necessary?

37 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Oh, that Viking game was ridiculous. How you completely (and "completely" is used here literally) shut out an opponent's running game, shut out an opponent's offense in the second half, have no turnovers up to the point of a 3 point fourth quarter lead, and lose because three turnovers lead directly to 14 opponent's points--if I hadn't already been despairing for a week, this game would have been cataclysmic for me.

39 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

By the way, is anybody still of the opinion that it doesn't make any difference who the Cowboys start at qb, given the quality of their offensive line, or (gulp), that Parcells should have stuck with Bledsoe?

No, the Cowboys ain't world-beaters, but I kinda' like their chances against the Bears, if they were to meet in January at Soldier Field.

40 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

re: 6

no, they didn't watch the JETS. it seems that the only teams consistently reviewed on this site are steelers, cowboys, colts, and patriots. there is clearly no effort to give equal attention to all teams--though this may not be a bad thing in many cases. i have no need to read to about the falcons, for example. but as a JETS fan, this can be trying--its not like there are many other sites to find real analysis as opposed to platitudes and recitation of traditional statistics.

41 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

the two steady hands on a team with discipline problems and upheaval in the leadership positions is akin to just blowing it up and starting over.

I'm guessing you are talking about in-game mental discipline and injuries to the team leadership, but that's not how it sounded. I thought for a second that you thought the Eagles' need Reid and Johnson because the team needs a disciplinarian and that there are lockerroom issues???

43 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

41: You got it. I'm talking about things like drops and critical penalties, and guys like Kearse and McNabb getting hurt.

44 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

At one point, the announcing was so bad on the three afternoon games that I just muted the TV. I don't know how much is me becoming more intolerant as I get older, how much is what I learn from this site, and how much is from the lack of talent on the air.

And now we can't even look forward to the draft. They'll probably take Breaston or someone like that.

Ha ha. Scouts Inc. says that part of the reason for the loss was because Martz called too many pass plays. Um, I don't know if you've seen their line, but if Kevin Jones can't gain yards behind it, what are Arlen Harris and Aveion Cason going to do?

See, all Harrington needed was a fresh start.

Rhodes' blitz-pickup ability can't possibly compensate for the huge difference in performance with the ball. Seriously. When I watch Colts games and I see Rhodes running the ball, I usually think 2nd-and-12, 3rd-and-9, things like that, depending on down and distance on that play. If you want to run a single-back offense, you generally need to make sure you start a halfback, not a fullback. Rhodes is really a FB. Or if they insist on playing Rhodes so much, split Addai out in the slot.

I'm sure a lot of people will say he had it coming to him, but to me, there's always something a little sad about watching someone collapse as completely as Vanderjagt seems to be collapsing. I'd guess that among current coaches, if you ranked them in order of ability to deal with an inconsistent kicking game, Parcells would rank about 150th. It makes you wonder why on earth they paid Vanderjagt all that money to begin with. With Parcells' attitude, wouldn't they be better off signing some FA kicker for the minimum?

P. Viking, they run up the middle because that's what the book says to do. I guess a lot of coaches subscribe to the myth that says that you wear down a defense by running into the line for one or two yards 20-25 times in a game. That was disproved here, wasn't it?

DGL, the rules specifically prohibit punting after a score or at the start of a half or overtime (I was surprised, the Digest of Rules spells it out - figured this might be one that was hinted at but not specifically mentioned, boo NFL for not making the official rules available), so no, they had to do a placekick.

45 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Pacifist, the only saving grace for a Vikings fan was that Taylor's int wasn't really attributable to bad play by the Vikings; the guy just did something spectacular. Like I said, however, the Vikings should have been ahead by at least 10 at the time.

46 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Tomlinson saved my fantasy team this week. We start two QBs. The two I started this week were McNabb and Favre.


But LT, with a little love from Reggie Wayne and Jason Taylor, has provided me with a ~32 point lead, with my opponent only having Tiki Barber left to play.

47 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Why do the idiot trolls only read enough to make themselves look like fools?

Re: 40

Read the column into!

"Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live."

48 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

cowboys use a 4-man front in their nickel package. which is why you saw it so much against the colts and esp. at end of half/game. they used it a lot against the cards, too.

49 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

47, and why does anybody who expresses any frustration or disagreement with FO get labeled an "idiot troll"? These are the great mysteries of the internet that we dare not tread upon.

50 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

48: You know the other major component of their nickel package? Blatant Roy Williams/Terrence Newman penalties that go uncalled to set up interceptions. I really can't believe the end of that game - the reason why Peyton's pass seemed to be aimed at a Cowboy in the end zone was because of a throwdown 3 yards from scrimmage on the left side of the field (Wayne, right?). Why is nobody angrier about this, apart from how annoying Peyton Manning's commercials are?

51 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Aaron, other than the Giants game, Colombo has been the best lineman for the Cowboys this year. As bad as he was against Strahan, he was good against Julius Peppers (and, IIRC, Colombo didn't have as much chipping help as Madden suggested during that game).

MikeT - the Colts had three and a half games, plus the Seattle preseason game. The Redskins and Cardinals each were coming off bye weeks and playing at home. These defenses should all have had enough on Romo to at least have slowed him down, and yet he's outplayed everyone's expectations except Parcells'. I'll be shocked if he suddenly goes cold.

52 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Kyle #10:

How long till Andrew pops in to say that McNabb’s injury is the culmination of horrible luck for the Eagles, that they’re still far and away the best team in the NFL,

Never said that.

and that all other teams facing injury issues (see: Seahawks missing their two best players simultaneously for a period of 4-5 weeks) merely have “to deal� because, well, “injuries happen in football�.

Never said that either.

Kyle, since you started the personal attack here, let me complete it. You are a moron. Find something worthwhile to discuss here.

53 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Does anybody know what exactly caused the McNabb injury? From the one camera angle (thanks CBS D-level broadcast team!), it didn't look like he really took a shot to the knee. More of a typical scramble with the heave-ho before falling out of bounds. He certainly wasn't Von Oelhoffen'd or anything. It did appear as though McNabb might have leg whipped a bystander on his way down (similar to the Jevon Kearse injury of Week 2), but the visual evidence was inconclusive.

54 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 49

When people bitch and complain about things that are clearly explained in the very column that they are bitching about, that makes them an idiot troll. The truely great mystery of the internet is how people with such poor reading comprehension skills continue to think they are capable respond to written discussions.

55 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

It was nice to see the Bears give Kyle Orton a shot at playing in a regular season game again. What? Grossman?

Never Mind

56 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

If the center direct-snaps to the RB between the QB’s legs, it’s an illegal procedure for a player receiving the snap after another player has lined up under center.

I'm curious as to what 'under center' really means. Let's say the QB lined up a foot back of the center. Then would it be legal? Two feet?

57 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


I believe it refers to his hands being under center, but I could be wrong.

58 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

54: why does a comment section exist, then? So we can all say, "all hail DVOA, all hail FO!"? If something is clearly written in the column, nobody should complain about it?
Normally I don't comment on typos--I make them all the time, and think they are an expected factor in internet dialogue--but I do enjoy seeing typos in responses from people calling others idiots and making fun of their reading comprehension.

60 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Toxik Fetus #53:

Does anybody know what exactly caused the McNabb injury? From the one camera angle it didn’t look like he really took a shot to the knee.

Van den Bosch appeared to hit him such that his leg buckled a bit. There is some theorizing that he may have got his foot caught on the tarp that covers the bench area on the sideline.

More of a typical scramble with the heave-ho before falling out of bounds.

Was the hit out of bounds? It sure looked like it. It was certainly a late hit - it appeared to come a full second after he had thrown the ball. Van den Bosch never appeared to let up though.

My guess at outcome, yet more rules to protect QB's are going to be coming out this year from this play and the Trent Green play. The NFL does not want marquee players injured.

61 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

53: Believe it or not, Philadelphia talk radio had some speculation on the injury. 93.3 was talking to a few doctors and health professionals this morning.

Essentially, most ACL tears are caused by odd placement of stress on the knees in lateral movement. In other words, you go straight down hard on the knee to stress the ligament and then sideways even slightly to blow it out. From the look of the replay, there was slight contact from a Titan on the knee as McNabb was running to the sideline, at which point he developed a little lurch in his movement and then bowled over onto the sideline. The speculation is that it was strained on the field and popped as he was falling out of bounds.

I'm saying this through tears, of course. Be strong, be strong. Reggie Brown can spend the rest of the season learning how to catch...

62 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

No one watched the Miami game? We won on -2 yards rushing!

All Joey Harrington does is win football games.

63 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

re 36

There's no way he's slipping past MY inevitable top 5 draft pick, that's for sure.

64 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Matthew Furtek:

I’ll be the first one to say it here… McNabb, injury prone.

Actually, FO already said it.

In the Kubiak projections, McNabb (and also Hasselbeck) were both downgraded due to likelihood of injury.

65 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I'll also be the first to say...
I was one of the ones who thought it was dumb to play Romo behind the Cowboys offensive line. I guess he has shown us all something. I'm glad there is some good fresh blood at the QB position... this coming from the 1999-2002 era in which most of the young QBs were busted. Now it seems like the young QBs are booming.

I'm not sure why the Zebras didn't call a penalty on the Roy Williams interception, and why we're not making it a bigger deal than it is. I didn't see the takedown at the end of the game, but Manning threw the ball like someone expecting to get the call.

66 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

One thing I thought was interesting in the Bears-Jets game was the deterrent effect Devin Hester had on the Jets' coaching decision on the first drive of the game. The Jets' drive stalled at the Bears 34 yard line, and they chose to launch a "mincing fraidy cat punt" as TMQ would say. Going for it was not a good option because it was fourth and long, and you could tell that Eric Mangini dared not risk a 52 yard field goal attempt because he was afraid of Hester returning a kick that was short. The kick would have been the same distance as Feely's attempt last Sunday night and would have been toward the same end zone in the Meadowlands.

67 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 58

The comment section exists to discuss the content of the article. It does not exist to bitch about something that the article is clearly not intended to discuss. Complaining that an article where "Games are chosen based on our own personal viewing preferences, and are going to reflect the teams we support and the cities where we live" doesn't cover the team you're interested in is essentially telling the FO staff that they shouldn't be fans of the teams they happen to be fans of, or that they shouldn't live in the area where they happen to live. It adds as much to the discussion as, "Why didn't anyone mention the OSU/Michigan game? It only seems that NFL teams get talked about in AatL and there is clearly no effort to give equal time to the NCAA."

And if this is just because you're still pissy about the intangibles discussion last week, why don't you go back and read the end of that thread. I was only one of a few people who clearly stated that it was an interesting point of contention that I just didn't agree with and didn't even come close to considering you a troll. Thank you for making me reconsider that stance.

68 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Watch the replay of the TD runs in Michigan-Ohio as a reason to run into "where all the people are". When the blocking works out well the RB is gone, also its a great way to set up play action because defenses step up and into the middle of the field making the throwing lanes bigger for QB's. Dont forget the closest distance between two points is a straight line.

The Colts are still using Rhodes so that they have two fresh horses once the playoffs start. Which is a pretty good idea, look at Portis in last years playoffs. No way Seattle beats them if Portis isnt running on empty.

Rhodes isnt that bad, he actually has had some pretty good games. I think he is one of those guys that needs the carries to be effective, which he wont get on the Colts team. That being said it is pretty clear that Addai is the future.

Also did anyone else notice that Jamal Lewis played like a madman in the second half against the Falcons??

69 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

How come Philly didn't have a McNabb injury contingency plan beyond Jeff Garcia? I'm sure this must've upset the locals in the offseason.

I hope McNabb gets better, I'll always remember him as one of the most feared QBs to be facing... at least for this era in the NFC East. His patented pump-fake, effortless 60-yard throws to Dante Stallworth this season (and TO the past 2) were beautiful. He was a little better when he was using his feet...

70 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Was this the first week I realized that the sky-cam's have been set up to give a Madden-like feel to watching the games? Or have they been doing this since the first week?

71 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Actually, Wanker, I'm sorry about my comments in 58. Look at my name--I'm not one to try insult people personally or start arbitrary quarrels.

I've just always been vexed that "trolls" are inherently bad, but people who make fun of trolls (in personal ways, like calling them idiots or fools) are OK.

Also, I didn't continue the discussion of DVOA in that other thread, and don't really want to start it again, but I tried defending my position better in the post through the link in my name.

72 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


The the thing to consider about Jamal Lewis is that I think just about the entire Falcons' D-Line is injured.

73 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

My wife is an Orthopedic surgeon (never gets old during games, since she usually can ballpark the diagnosis upon seeing replay!), and her initial thought was that McNabb's ACL must have been hanging by a thread, figuratively, before the actual injury. The mechanism didn't look too clear.

Major injuries to McNabb...sports hernia, ACL, broken foot/ankle...what else? The only thing making me feel any better about this is that he doesn't appear to have any history of ligament injury, so this *might* be isolated.

74 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re the Nalen/Olshansky play: Madden and Michaels were kind of oblique about it, saying Igor had to expect that kind of thing and learn to live with it, but they didn't come out and say that the whole reason Nalen did it was to try to draw an unsportsmanlike conduct flag. (Oh, and to destroy Olshansky's knee, but that would have just been a little side benefit.) The play was a spike, for pity's sake, so there was absolutely no reason for Nalen to be throwing any kind of forward block.

Is there a penalty for a player who takes a dangerous action for the sole reason of drawing a flag? Or can the officials take that into account? I guess there was no way they could have ignored Olshansky punching Nalen twice, but I would have tossed Nalen as well. That was about the dirtiest play I have ever seen.

75 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I loathe rules being created simply because of a series of independent events that had negative outcomes.

If coaches believe their quarterbacks are so valuable to the team's success then they should employ tactics that reduce the chances for said player to experience contact. But since coaches routinely empty backfields, etc. I have to wonder whether coaches REALLY believe the quarterback position is fundamental to the team's success.

I am NOT writing that I do NOT think having a good quarterback is a key part of a good team. Just that if coaches REALLY thought qb health was paramount they wouldn't put said asset at risk.

Football teams cannot have it both ways. You can't have the quarterback exposed to contact and not have to be concerned about the consequences.

We already have players "baiting" defensive players into penalties by flopping to tip-toing along the sidelines. The possibilities for abuse are present and should be considered before some bass-ackwards rule or rules are implemented.

76 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

70 - They've been using that angle sporadically, at least for the last couple of weeks. It's pretty sweet, particularly when they're showing the blocking on run plays.

77 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

70 - They've been using that angle sporadically, at least for the last couple of weeks. It's pretty sweet, particularly when they're showing the blocking on run plays.

78 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 71

I only brought up the other thread because I don't remember you defending the trolls before and thought that it may have just been a bleed-over from that one since you said you felt people were treating you like a troll. My point in bringing it up was to point out that wasn't the case and I wanted to use it as an good example of why the discussion sections exist.

79 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

What I don't get about this Eagles season, is that this is the second straight year that the Eagles have consistently played poorly in the first half. The only justifiable reason to fire Reid is if he can not get the team to play as well at the start of games as at the end. I just don't understand what is the problem Reid is having getting the team going at the start of games.

Aaron, can you please show DVOA splits for the Eagles comparing the first half of games to the second half? I think the low game-by-game variance of the Eagles has really masked major in-game inconsistency.

80 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

57: Yep. As soon as any player puts their hands under center, only that player may receive the snap without drawing a penalty. As best as I can tell, the McAllister touchdown wasn't a penalty because the ball hit the ground before he picked it up, thus making it a fumble recovery instead of a received snap.

81 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

As the person who kind of started this way back in #6, while I understand the "viewing rules", I was still surprised to see no comments on the Jets-Bears game, for a couple of reasons.

1)I'm pretty sure there are at least a couple of FO people who live in the NY area - I'm not sure about Chicago. I didn't check the coverage map, but the Fox pregame show was there, so I'd think it was available elsewhere as well.

2)This was a game with the virtually-certain #1 seed in the NFC and a Jet team that has a reasonable shot at a Wild Card (thanks to the schedule, but still.) I would think that's worth paying a little attention to.

Now on the other hand, it was a pretty boring game without too much to talk about. So it could be that no one said anything. But I don't think it's unfair to mention its absence (although post #40 takes it too far).

82 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

re: 1
Yes Jason Taylor is the defensive MVP. He has dominated for most of the year.

83 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Pacifist Viking,

It's one thing to disagree with DVOA or with a popularly-held opinion around here, like you did last week. That's encouraged.

It's another to complain that we didn't watch the Jets when we go over this every week and have the same introductory paragraph with the same information each week.

As for the Jets, I know I've talked about several Jets games this season in Audibles, often at length. They're certainly not one of the lesser-covered teams here.

84 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

How come Philly didn’t have a McNabb injury contingency plan beyond Jeff Garcia?

Heh. Garcia was supposed to be an improvement over Mike McMahon, mind you.

Plus, they do have a slight contingency plan beyond Garcia. I wouldn't be surprised if Feeley plays if Garcia struggled.

I will say, though, that I think it is time to pick up a young QB in the draft. I thought they might've this year, but now definitely next year you have to.

85 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

wanker 79-- you really seem offended by my comment. i was only complaining that they don't watch or talk about the JETS because i actually respect FO analysis.

you are also a moron for getting this uptight about a post on a discussion thread about football.

p.s. i read and write carefully about 12 hrs per day for school and work, and i don't read carefully when looking at football analysis. if that makes me a troll, so be it.

86 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

wanker 79-- you really seem offended by my comment. i was only complaining that they don't watch or talk about the JETS because i actually respect FO analysis.

you are also a moron for getting this uptight about a post on a discussion thread about football.

p.s. i read and write carefully about 12 hrs per day for school and work, and i don't read carefully when looking at football analysis. if that makes me a troll, so be it.

88 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

#65: They didn't call the Roy Williams interference because it was before the pass got there and it was within 5 yards.

Why they didn't call illegal contact on the mugging of Clark on 4th & 2, I have no idea.

89 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: Olshanksy/Nalen
It appeared they were at literally at each other's throats the 4 downs near the end-zone.

Re: 76/77
Agreed on showing run-blocking and also some "see what the QB sees" pass plays.

I think the Jets-Bears game was pretty vanilla. Oakland-KC was way more entertaining.

90 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: Jetsgrumbler

I'm gonna assume that you were unaware that your complaint about there not being any coverage of a particular team in this article occurs probably at least every other week.

I realized after I posted that I was probably being unfair to you. I'd like to apologize for that. There have been several people who have posted that whenever anyone disagrees with something on FO that some of us attack for no reason. The truth of the matter is that most of the time we attack because whatever the complaint was has already been brought up many many times and we're just tired of saying the same thing over and over again.

91 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

#88 - Same thing. Clark was maybe 1 yard behind the LOS, and got hit just before Manning released. It was a good no-call.

92 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

83. I understand--I shouldn't lump two types of "arguments" together.

I've gotten sensitive as the Vikings' season has unraveled.

93 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

7 - Arizona had a blocked punt. Obviously, the Cardinals don't know that that doesn't (IIRC) help them in the quest to maintain the coveted #32 ST DVOA. Trust Arizona to screw up screwing up.

On further Pittsburgh issues, am I the only person who is excited by the way that Ben actually looked like 2005 Ben in the fourth quarter? (File under "perennial sucker")

94 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Hopefully, the Nalen/Olshansky thing will force the NFL to pay some more attention to cut-blocking, which the Denver O-linemen's of course play to an art. By all means, Olshansky should get fined for retaliating, but Nalen was diving at an unsuspecting, unprepared player's knees.

95 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 69/84

I think it made sense to sign Garcia figuring he could play a game or two if McNabb was injured and at least let the defense or special teams have a chance to win. That's a hope/strategy that's just not sustainable over more than a few games. I say this as someone that's seen way too much of Garcia's play (I use the term loosely) over the past two years.

96 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

This is the sort of thing Dr. Z was writing about last week: wasn't Nalen's dive for the knees "unnecessary roughness"? If there's a penalty for how a defender hits a "defenseless receiver," there must be something about diving for the knees of a player who is just standing there. It came pretty close to the whistle, too.

97 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 83

You're right, the Browns are the least covered ;). I think I've seen comments on them a total of 3 weeks. I'm not complaining though, I wouldn't want to watch them either if I weren't a fan.

98 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I meant to post it but got lost in the interweb.

Michael Pittman punched Sean Taylor after getting spit on. Mike Carey allowed this because, as he told another zebra... "He spit on him... I'm not going to eject him, what would you do?". Pittman got neither a penalty nor an ejection.

99 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I have no idea how Cleveland didn't win this game and that's with Droughns and Bodden out. Jeff Davidson has done a nice job calling plays since Maurice Carthon got axed

We didn't win this game for a few reasons. The Browns enjoy finding ways to lose winnable games. This time it can be traced to a few sources.

First, the Browns had two solid drive in the first half that netted no points. One ended with the fumble, the other with a missed field goal which looked tipped to me.

Second, when the Steelers went no-huddle and drove to score their first of two in a row, the defense couldn't/didn't make an adjustment to stop them. Then Cribbs returned the kick for a TD. Great right? Well no, this gave the defense no time to rest and no time to plan a way to stop the no-huddle.

Lastly, our offense is bad. Yes, Davidson has improved the play calling. He still isn't all that great. We don't seem to have a clue what to do with the ball once we get in the Red Zone. It seems like we're afraid to throw the ball into the endzone unless the game is on the line. We had a one touchdown lead so what did we do? We sat on the ball and started to run more. It's very frustrating being a Browns fan.

I'm happy Droughns didn't play. He has looked slow all year long. If he gets a hole (which isn't often), he doesn't hit it in time to make anything of it. The only game where he played well was against the Jets. Their run D is a joke, so that was expected. Wright played well this weekend. I'd like to see more of Jerome Harrison as well.

100 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

ASG = 49ers...yay!

#8 Wallace's ineffectiveness was a problem, but I'd point to the Seahawks defensive struggles more then anything. How about Gore rushing for 212 yds?

#42 Re: 49ers D. A few weeks ago, (I think it was after the SD game) Nolan shook up his defensive line-up, benching Tony Parrish and starting Brandon Moore. I think Moore has made the most impact, he's everywhere.

101 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I'm no orthopedic surgeon, nor do I play one on TV. In watching the replay of McNabb's injury, though, it looked to me as though the knee started giving him trouble during the play, since he appeared to falter for a second and then continuing running. When he fell/was pushed, that finished it off.

Yeah, the best you can say about Garcia/Feeley is that they are upgrades of Detmer/McMahon. As much as it pains me to admit, it's time for the Eagles to draft a young QB and start grooming him against the day a year or two or three down the line, when McNabb is done. I just don't think his body can take much more. I say this as a huge McNabb fan right from the start - I was NOT one of those folks who thought the Eagles should have drafted Ricky Williams - any reasonable person could tell that they had to start with a QB before rebuilding anything else. And as things turned out, I have to say the Eagles got the better end of that day, McNabb's injuries notwithstanding.

102 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Couldn't agree more with Ned Macey. The Colts really needed Brandon Stokely yesterday. Lining Dallas Clark up in the slot might stretch the Cowboys horizontally, but they needed a vertical threat up the middle.

I was more disappointed with the Colts than I was impressed by the Cowboys. The INT to start the second half was a horrible play/decision. I never got the feeling the Colts could run the ball if they needed 2 yards for a first down. Their defense is abysmal against the run... must Dwight Freeney make himself a complete non-entity by running up the field past the ball? Will the Colts ever be able to play the 3-4 well? The Cowboys are probably the least athletic of the good 3-4 teams, however they do have much better corners than the Pats. Even so, the Colts couldn't block the outside guys AGAIN!!! On one play, DeMarcus Ware ran a straight 10 yard sprint into Peyton Manning. I thought he was going to get killed... it was like watching a train hit a car. How does Peyton Manning not get hurt? I often ask the same question about Eli with some of the hits he's taken.

103 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

This qb draft talk reminds me of Ron Wolf's attitude on draft day. He would collect picks for the later rounds and always try to draft at least one quarterback. His reasoning was that the position is so prone to injury and the assessment process so challenging a team should always grab a guy in the draft. If he turns into something you have a quarterback. If you already have somebody then you have a legit backup or a trading chip with real value. If they don't turn out you at least have a guy to run the scout offense in practice and save your starter's arm for game day.

104 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 99

The Browns seem totally inept defensively against a no-huddle offense. Have they stopped anybody (other than by turnover) all year when the offense hasn't huddled? I'm surprised more teams don't play them this way (from the start). I suspect Cincy will exploit this again next week.

105 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


why isn't that a penalty for ineligible man downfield? it was a pass play and he fired out across the line to go after olshansky. an offensive lineman (especially a center) can't move forward to engage on a forward pass.
their only response could be that it was after the ball was dead (spiked) but even then why doesn't nalen get an unneccessary roughness call?
i have no idea how the broncos came out of that whole thing with positive yardage.

106 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

101: You're the first person to mention McNabb may have injured himself prior to going out of bounds. I noticed that too: He stumbled as he started to take off out the pocket, but I'm not sure if it was related to the ACL injury.

107 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I am a fan of the split backfield with Rhodes and Addai. At first, Addai needed to learn his responsibilities in the passing game, and in the first couple of games probably could not have played a whole game. After the Colts started winning, there wasn't much need to let Addai take the whole load. I'd rather have Addai finish the regular season with 180-200 carries than 300. I think 300 would kill him at this point, especially as he wasn't an every down back in college either.

That said, it's kind of a luxury to treat Addai with kid gloves. If the Colts had started 3-3, Addai would be getting the lion's share of the carries.

And, one last note, was anyone else real impressed with Addai standing up Demarcus Ware in pass protection? Wow. Polian knew what he was doing drafting Addai.

108 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


I think Carey also said that to Redskins players and Gibbs who asked what Taylor did and why Pittman wasn't tossed. None of the Skins seemed to protest a whole lot when Carey gave them that explanation. Carey also gave a warning to Pittman after the whole thing. I was bored studying for the bar this summer and watched the NFL Game of the Week replay of this back in June on NFL Network.

109 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

How about Chad Johnson pulling his hamstring while catching a TD pass... and not stopping until the end zone.

How about Pac Man Jones returning punts. How many PR TDs does he have now (not counting the one that was called back last season). Not sure how his pass defense was but it didn't look like he got burned for a TD.

Is LDT the most unstoppable goal-line force?

110 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

One of the findings from the game charting project that surprised me most was how few teams match up their best corner against the opponent’s best receiver.

Such a great point. We read and hear so much noise from the common media . . . "(star receiver) may not do much against (shutdown corner)" . . . and then the game plays out and even casual fans can see CB and WR are not opposing each other on every snap.

I pine for the day when we can see the full picture with our home TVs. In the meantime, people will keep writing what they want, even when there's evidence to the contrary.

One other comment on corners and wideouts - why is it that a DB has to be considered "beaten" whenever a pass is completed on him? It's like in baseball where the second-guessers want to label every home run hit off a "mistake." Can't we credit the offensive execution sometimes? How could the Broncos, say, be faulted on that gorgeous Vincent Jackson TD in the left corner of the end zone last night?

111 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

#107 - yeah, there was this absolutely stone-cold brilliant block by Addai against Ware at one point. Just a brilliant block. He impresses me well; that was the aspect of the game that James had that I was worried Addai wouldn't get, but he appears to be pretty decent at pass protection and at pass catching. He's not as bruising as James, but boy he's faster.

112 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 108
I was more impressed with whoever the lead blocker was on the Barber TD... he blew up and even turned around the DL.

113 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

If you see the Chargers at the craps table, be forewarned - all they roll is sevens of late. Red zone efficiency is pretty sweet when you can get it. The last 16 times this team has scored, it's been a touchdown, that's just obscene (one of the TDs a defensive one against Cleveland).

114 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

This is too bizarre. Favre is ok but Rodgers broke his foot against the Pats. FYI the next guy in line is Ingle Martin.

Here is the story:

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers lost a quarterback for the season on Monday. It wasn't Brett Favre.

Aaron Rodgers broke his left foot during Sunday's game against New England and is out for the rest of 2006, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. Rodgers had replaced Favre, who hurt his elbow earlier in the game.

Rodgers will need surgery. He broke his foot scrambling in the third quarter, but played the rest of the game, finishing 4-of-12 for 32 yards.

115 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Is anyone else amused that the Packers backup QB is now former Florida Gators punter Ingle Martin? Yeah, he transferred and played QB at Furman, but it still amuses me.

Whitlock column that they should sign Jeff George in 3...2...1...

116 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

As a follow up, Martin and Favre were supposed to go deer hunting together this week up in northern Wisconsin.

I wonder if the Packers will be handing them both bullet proof vests before they leave for the north woods?

117 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

This might just be optimism, but I'm a bit skeptical of the "McNabb is injury-prone" theory. Broken foot, sports hernia, torn ACL -- there is no pattern here. Is there some reason he would be predisposed to all of these types of injury?

Of course, I imagine he is now predisposed to further ACL injuries.

119 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


I mention it as far back as 61.

Regardless of how he was hurt, the consequences are the same. We're done, unless you enjoy the inimitable quarterback stylings of one Jeff Garcia.

120 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

San Fran over Seattle wasn't really an upset. There are much better games to analyze, IMO.

121 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

... I don't know if this is important to merit its own link but PFT has a link to a story on the death of Andre Waters, former Philadelphia Eagle DB.

122 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

116: Considering Favre's accuracy issues on Sunday, Martin better wear a bullet-proof jacket.

123 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

117: Mobile QBs are more likely to get injured than stationary ones.

Yes, certainly. But it seems that people here are saying that McNabb, in particular, is injury-prone, since this is the third time he's had a significant injury.

124 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


Ha! Good one.

I just find the circumstances around Rodgers incredibly ironic. Rodgers has been hanging around now for more then a year waiting to get a chance, gets into a game, and ends up with a season-ending injury.

Favre has taken hits over 15 years and just keeps going.

I understand that there is an element of luck to Favre's playing every game but after a while you have to think there is some element of "skill". I don't know what to call it or how to explain it but 15 years of luck? That seems to diminish the significance of this unique ability.

Which is why sometimes I think Packer management should be ashamed of itself. For 15 years(!) they didn't have to worry about the most critical position on a football team and yet all that anyone could muster is one Super Bowl win. Yes, yes there is more to a team then one player. But think of ALL the time spent on trying to FIND guys who play this position WELL? And all the guys who get hurt TRYING to play the position? And Green Bay hasn't had to worry about ANY of that.

Just seems like they have wasted a unique advantage in the market.......

125 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

And just because I can't pass it up:

118: That is why there's such support for Drew Bledsoe as a hall of famer.

MOST quarterbacks in the NFL are at least somewhat mobile, even guys like Peyton and Brady. Even Favre, to a point. Rollouts are in virtually every competitive NFL playbook.

Also, you can't say that McNabb is far more injury prone than other quarterbacks based on his injury record. Read that again, and consider: none of his injuries show a discernable pattern in terms of the type of injury OR the way he was injured.

Arizona broke his ankle by crushing him under a pile and bending his leg backward. Atlanta injured his sternum and caused the sports hernia by essentially spearing him on a rush through the A gap. Yesterday, his knee popped in one of those freak step-wrong sort of accidents. Not only were they completely different injuries, two of them occurred in the "safety" of the pocket.

Bottom line: Donovan has lousy luck, not a brittle body. He's a glass bazooka because he rolls snake eyes more than anybody in the NFL when it comes to getting hurt. Benching or replacing a player because of his crappy luck is the sort of coaching decision that dooms teams to years of mediocrity.

127 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I was bored (ok...ok...I'm just looking for an excuse to avoid doing work during the short holiday week), so here are the number of appeances each team has made in AatL this year:

Det 10
Hou 10
Ind 10
Ari 9
KC 9
NE 9
Phi 9
Sea 9
Was 9
Atl 8
Bal 8
Buf 8
Car 8
Chi 8
Cin 8
Dal 8
Den 8
Jax 8
Mia 8
Pit 8
StL 8
TB 8
Ten 8
NO 7
Oak 7
GB 6
SD 6
SF 6
Min 5
Cle 4

Why the hell are you masochists watching so much Detroit and Houston?!? LOL

128 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

124: most of us root for teams that can't even muster that one Super Bowl win. I'd say that whatever the GB management has done was impressive, even though the only real playoff success came in a three year window.

That one '96 team they put around Favre was something incredible. #1 offense, #1 defense, best KR/PR.

If they'd have kept Holmgren, maybe they'd have been a dynasty. I always consider the stupidity that Holmgren was driven away because he wanted total power and couldn't get it, when:
1. In Seattle Holmgren only really succeeded once he no longer had total power, and
2. Green Bay eventually gave total power to Mike Sherman.
This vexes me to no end.

129 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Why aren't the Cardinals and Redskins playing In Week 12? Oops . . . I thought the NFC was having an "in-season NIT" for the teams not in playoff contention.

If Shanny had the extra time, would Cutler be playing this week? Will the cutlery come out this season?

130 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


Don't forget that the MNF game isn't covered in Audibles. Thus, a lot of the best teams are at covered in 8 or 9 weeks because they've played once or twice on Monday.

Plus the FO staff includes 1 Houston fan and 1 Detroit fan. Poor sods.

132 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

In that Bears/Jets game, the Jets had a total kickoff distance of 14 yards. They kicked off once, leading off the second half, and kicked it onside.

Is there any way to check if this is the lowest total in NFL history?

133 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

MCS, I can't, because I don't know what it's like to root for a team that's won a championship :>(

134 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

If the Chargers had simply kicked the ball out of bounds from the 40, wouldn't the Broncos get it on their own 10? Obviously, what they ended up doing worked out better, but I would think that pinning them inside the 20, guaranteed, would be a more attractive option.

135 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Because Michael David Smith is a Lions fan and Tim Gerheim watches the Texans each week. Ned Macey supports the Colts so he watches them each week. The Cardinals now, I have no idea.

#125 - McNabb has now suffered significant injuries in four out of the last five seasons. It's not unreasonable to say that he's more likely to suffer injuries than other quarterbacks, even if they are of different natures; our research has shown that quarterbacks who get injured once are more likely to get injured again than injury-free quarterbacks.

136 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re 119 and 125 - you're right, you did mention it first. I didn't see it, sorry.

You're also right in that there doesn't seem to be a pattern to McNabb's injuries. However, the fact is that the guy is almost 30 (in a couple of days) and will be pushing 31 by the time he can play again. In the real, non-NFL world, 30 is just barely getting started on your life. In NFL years, you're a wily old veteran with, at most, a couple more years left in the tank if you're lucky. Yes, I realize that some QBs continue to play until they are close to 40 (and beyond, a la Vinny Testaverde) but I think we'd all agree that for the most part, their best years are behind them at that point. I'm not saying bench/replace/trade McNabb. I am saying that if the Eagles are smart, they will start succession-planning for the day when he can't play anymore.

137 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 79

I've noticed this too, increasingly the Eagles seem unprepared for games.

I wonder if the practice of locking up young players to big contracts which on the surface seems smart, is resulting in a team that is a little too content, and not hungry enough.

It certainly seems as though Reid is having trouble motivating them the last few years as they have accelerated their strategy of locking up young players.

138 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11


Causal research? :)

It's not that I think it's unreasonable to suggest that he has a higher probability of injury given his history. I question the predictive power of such measurements given the relatively random nature of football injuries. I cite the different circumstances of his injury to suggest that there is nothing physiological or schematic that would lend itself to an argument that there is an underlying cause (injury-prone, too many passing formations) to his injuries. Bad luck can form correlary patterns that indicate no causality, and I think bad luck is at work here.


Oh, absolutely, they'd be remiss not to pick up a developmental quarterback. They'd also be idiots to hand the keys to someone new in the foreseeable future. I think we're pretty much in agreement.

139 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

I think instead of 30 yards it would be half the distance to the goal, so they'd get it at the 20. But there is a high probability of me not knowing the rules.

140 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Geh, anyway, stinkin' Eagles, getting my hopes up (again) and crushing them (again). Arrrrgggghhhh.

141 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Did you notice the blocks on the Jason Taylor runback? These guys should be playing offense!

142 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Injuries aren't random. Your psycho-physical build has a lot to do with guys getting injured, and what part of their body is affected.

143 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

142: Though if you never get hit in the spots most affected by psycho-physical build, you won't get hurt. I agree it's not completely random, but there's at least an element of hazard involved.

144 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Re: 142

So McNabb has the unfortunate combination of brittle ankle bones, weak abdominal muscles, and weak knee ligaments? Sucks to be him.

145 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

TBW #137:

I wonder if the practice of locking up young players to big contracts which on the surface seems smart, is resulting in a team that is a little too content, and not hungry enough. It certainly seems as though Reid is having trouble motivating them the last few years as they have accelerated their strategy of locking up young players.

When I think of the players who are playing like problem childs on this Eagles team, it is the ones who are not locked up, or who are nearing the end of their 2nd contracts.

LJ Smith, Michael Lewis, Dhani Jones, Donte Stallworth, William Thomas, Ryan Moats (when he is even permitted on the field), Correll Buckhalter, various young players on Special Teams (Omar Gaither, Joselio Hanson, Jason Short).

I give Reggie Brown a pass here for all his drops this year, which are a real problem, because he is just a 2nd year guy, and had spent half that time developing chemistry with Mike McMahon. He is developing fine.

I don't see the second contracts causing problems among those who got them. The bright spots yesterday included Westbrook, Cole, Patterson, Runyan, and Andrews, all of whom got extensions.

146 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Vikings need to blow up the entire passing game personnel.

Nalen needs to be kick out of the league for year.

Wallace just isn't very good.

Goddamn LT is amazing. I hate to be so bold, but I think he may make a serious run at best all time. He is what 27? He has another 3 or 4 good years in him with a good young quaterback and a team that looks built to last. And then a few more mediocre years?

Say 15000 running 5500 receiving 10 passing TDs 20 receiving and 170 rushing?

Thusfar he has only missed 1 start.

That would put him near top in TDs and total yards. Only 5 players have 10,000 yards and 400 receptions, Tomlinson should pass that early next year.

All this and he is so damn likeable too :)

147 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

144: McNabb has the bad luck of being a mobile QB who plays for a city that was located on an Indian burial ground.

148 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

Andrew, was that a list of "problem children" or was that just a list of guys nearing the end of their contracts?I wouldn't call Stallworth, Thomas, Buckhalter, Gaither, or Short problems.

149 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

"Injury Prone" is a myth when talking about catosrophic injuries such as the ones McNabb has suffered. There is no relationship to any of those injuries. He's not more likely to blow out his knee because he has a broken ankle or because he has had a sports hernia. That makes absolutely no sense.

150 Re: Audibles at the Line: Week 11

149: One serious injury can lead to compensation and enhanced stress on other body parts. I don't know the relationship, but they may be connected.