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» Futures: Maurice Hurst

A heart condition discovered at the combine has put the Michigan lineman's career in limbo, but Hurst had the best film of any defensive tackle in this year's draft class.

02 Oct 2006

Audibles at the Line: Week 4

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.

Indianapolis Colts 31 at New York Jets 28

Bill Barnwell: I am still a little skeptical about Chad Pennington being mentally comfortable behind center. Case in Point: third-and-9, the Jets try to run a quick screen with Brad Smith standing to the immediate left of Ferguson. Freeney, of course, runs right by Smith and is a half-step behind Ferguson by the time Pennington's taking his second step. An obviously perturbed Pennington immediately tosses the ball to Smith, who has no blockers in front of him and is actually closer to Freeney than anyone else. Smith nearly fumbles the ball away. That was not so good.

Jets defensive linemen, so far in the first quarter, continue to get absolutely no pressure against the run whatsoever. Dominic Rhodes, much like Willis McGahee last week, is getting to the second wave of defenders without being bothered a good amount of the time.

And then, the lack of Edgerrin James rears its head. Dominic Rhodes doesn't stop Shaun Ellis from getting around him, the Colts right guard is late helping, and Manning tries to run around him and loses 11, killing their drive.

Michael David Smith: Absolutely horrible call by the officials. Jets tight end Chris Baker flinches, Colts defensive end Robert Mathis sees it and jumps across the line, and the officials call Mathis for offsides. It was a third-and-4 in the red zone, so it was quite a crucial play.

Aaron Schatz: That Chris Baker play aside, Pennington is doing a very good job of
messing with the snap count so that the Colts actually do jump offsides.

Will Carroll: Freeney just dove in knee-high and took Cedric Houston's knee out. Didn't have a great angle on it -- from behind on the replay -- but for once, Freeney's dive-in-and-see-what-happens run defense worked for the Colts.

Michael David Smith: Oddly, the bad call actually might have ended up helping the Colts, since Chad Pennington threw an interception a few plays later, but still, if the officials are going to miss the offensive player's flinch and call the defensive player's jump in response to the flinch, defensive linemen are going to have rough lives.

Following the interception on fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line:

Will Carroll: Really, is there any excuse for this play call? Pennington made a stupid play worse by tossing it up for grabs, though I couldn't tell who was down there. I guess I shouldn't blame Pennington there. No real downside to the INT -- ouch, Utecht is going to be pissing blood for a couple days -- other than 15 yards diff on where the Colts get the ball. Horrible, game-changing call.

Aaron Schatz: Yes and no.

First of all, there IS A downside to the INT. The whole point behind the idea of "it's better to go for it on fourth-and-goal instead of kicking the field goal" is that if you don't score the touchdown, you've backed the other team up all the way to their own end zone. Throwing the interception destroys that part of the equation. The expected score difference between having the ball on your own 2-yard line and your own 20-yard line is roughly two points.

As far as the play call, I had a problem with it for the following reasons:

1) As much as we favor going for it, this was not fourth-and-1. This was fourth and about 2.5 yards to go, much harder to convert.

2) The Jets have been mostly unable to run the ball this year, although they have been successful in this game at times. But the Colts would stuff the line there. So they decided to go with the pass instead...

3) Except that a pass is much less likely than a run to convert in this situation, and there's the chance of the interception, which is what happened. Forcing that ball was EXACTLY the wrong thing to do. Frankly, Pennington would have been better throwing it away and hoping the defense could maybe get a safety.

But look, this is the Colts. You don't kick a field goal against them and think, "golly, this three-point lead sure is safe."

By the way, if Martin Gramatica is supposed to be a kickoff specialist at this point, that's not going to work. His kickoffs are all short line drives. They look awful.

Doug Farrar: So, for those scoring at home, I have it as: Pennington's little swing pass to Leon Washington. Washington handed off to Brad Smith. From there it was (deep breath) Smith to Laveranues Coles, Coles to Chad Pennington, Pennington to Justin McCareins, McCareins to Smith, Smith to Coles, Coles to Nick Mangold, Mangold to Washington (who lost the ball), and the game-ending recovery by Indy's Jason David.

That was fun.

Ned Macey: Anyone else notice the lack of a great team this year? The Colts, Pats, Broncos, and Steelers have serious question marks. Maybe the Eagles, but their defense is getting awful banged up. I'd like to see some more "stomps" out of Baltimore before I anoint them a great team. I guess Seattle is the obvious answer, but they're 8th in "VOA" to date, and they seem to be playing without a running game. Anyway, on to the games...

The Colts seemed to think this was a scrimmage where they could work on the running game. The Jets obliged by never bringing a safety in the box and not necessarily even having seven guys up there. I would just play nickel against the Colts on every down. At a certain point, they can miss a third down or have a holding penalty.

So much talk this week about the arrogance of the Patriots letting all their receivers go (and as an aside, Doug Gabriel is a better player than Givens), but the Colts do the same thing at linebacker. I think Thornton's loss is a big one. Gilbert Gardner never makes a play. Add in Sanders' injury, and this defense isn't 2004 bad, it's pre-Dungy bad.

I'm as surprised as anyone that the Jets look strong, but in retrospect, if Pennington stays healthy, he is a near-elite quarterback. He has consistently ranked as one of the best QBs according to DPAR. It will be interesting to see if Coles is seriously injured. He's quietly had a great start to this season.

The Jets clearly have run defense issues, and I'm curious to see how Mangini addresses it. If they have to bring people up, then their pass defense, which has been solid if unspectacular, will be compromised. Of course, that pass defense when it was needed got shredded on the last drive.

After the Jets ran the kick back for a touchdown, a part of me thought the Colts were in better shape than if they had given the ball to the Jets with plenty of time. Not the best feeling going forward.

Mike Tanier: The Colts' "let's play turtle ball against a bad team" strategy nearly bites them on the butt. Peyton was amazing in the fourth quarter and very flat through three quarters.

All I can say about the fourth down call is that it might be an "I believe in you kids" call. I don't know how much good will something like that generates. I bet a win against the Colts would have generated more.

San Diego Chargers 13 at Baltimore Ravens 16

Ryan Wilson: So much for Philip Rivers having trouble against the Ravens. The Chargers started in a no-huddle and Rivers led San Diego on a 70-yard TD drive. A lot of short passes seemed to have Baltimore off guard.

Doug Farrar: Baltimore has the most sacks in the league (16, tied with Philly) and San Diego is the only team not to allow a sack this year. Good battle there.

Ryan Wilson: Uh, check that. Rivers just threw a pass directly to LB Bart Scott.

Doug Farrar: Who's coaching the Chargers? San Diego just ran two fake reverses in a row in the middle of the third quarter. L.T. took the second one for 29 yards.

Ryan Wilson: Martyball is back. The Chargers seem content running the ball for the rest of the game and making Steve McNair beat them.

Steve McNair beat them.

McNair did a nice job of throwing short on the final drive. In fact, it looks like he can only throw short, but he was much more efficient during the last series. I didn't hear Shawne Merriman's name all day and the Chargers didn't really bring a lot of pressure for much of the game.

In retrospect, I think Marty was a little too conservative in the second half. Of course, I said he was going to run the ball until McNair beat them, and that's exactly what happened.

San Diego's secondary wasn't as bad as I expected, but I wonder if some of that has to do with McNair not being able to throw the ball more than 25 yards down the field.

Either way, big win for the Ravens.

Mike Tanier: Score one for the Schotten-Haters. He played to his critics today. The Chargers moved the ball easily early in the game, and their gameplan looked great. They ran a lot, of course, but mixed in all kinds of play action and were spreading the ball around.

Then, with the score 13-7, Marty went into ultra-conservative mode. You know that fake reverse play they run, which is just a souped-up off tackle run by LaDainian Tomlinson. They called it at least seven times. When they had the ball deep in their own territory, they kept calling the key-breaker up the gut to Lorenzo Neal. Meanwhile, they were blitzing like maniacs on defense, and Steve McNair was stating to figure things out. At one point, he caught them in an all-out blitz and threw a high lob to Derrick Mason, but the ball went through Mason's hands.

It was just a dumb gameplan in the second half. I'm all for running the ball to kill the clock, but you don't start doing it in the third quarter when you are up by six points.

Aaron Schatz: I'm curious to hear from somebody exactly what went wrong with the Chargers at the end of a game they seemed to control throughout.

Doug Farrar: Looked to me like the Chargers backed off on the final drive (bringing three), allowing the short pass. On the Heap TD, the guy who could have tackled him (I think it was Edwards) went for the kill shot/fumble instead of wrapping up.

If I were Brian Billick, I wouldn't be doing any preening after that one.

Tim Gerheim: The Chargers' pass defense was pretty bad all day. They were able to keep the Ravens in check because, 1) the Ravens aren't that good a passing team, and 2) their pass rush is strong. The difference in the final drive was that even when the Chargers were putting pressure on McNair, he was completing short passes, and they weren't trying for runs that were getting stuffed. So basically they were able to put together a good drive passing on the Chargers, which doesn't sound that surprising.

Throughout the second half I was muttering to myself how a six point lead was precarious, the Chargers needed to put away this game that they'd been dominating. The Chargers at this point are the ultimate run-the-ball-and-stop-the-run team, and it's hart to sustain drives or stop desperation comeback attempts that way. Philip Rivers was OK, and it may be unfair to pin the mediocrity of the Chargers passing game on him. The receivers had a hard time getting open all day. The touchdown came on a play when the corner fell down. The long pass the Chargers needed on the final drive was broken up by Samari Rolle because he was right in the receiver's back pocket. Antonio Gates didn't light it up either.

Vin Gauri: I think McNair really got bailed out on that last drive against the Bolts. Clayton and Heap made some great plays on poor-to-average throws by McNair and the Bolts had some really shoddy tackling. He's still one of the toughest SOBs around, but aside from a great scramble for 12 yards after the two-minute warning, he looked like Trent Dilfer to me.

Arizona Cardinals 10 at Atlanta Falcons 32

Doug Farrar: I'm not watching the the Falcons-Cards game, but Atlanta outrushed Arizona 72 yards to 5 in the first quarter. I'm all for voiding the James to Arizona deal. This is just ugly.

Will Carroll: Yeah, so am I. When is the trading deadline? What could the Colts do that would make that work under the cap?

Michael David Smith: One of the things that makes me proud to be part of FO is how far ahead of the curve we were on Adrian Wilson. He just had a 97-yard INT TD and the announcers are talking about how he's one of the most overlooked players in the league. Not around here, he isn't.

Doug Farrar: At this rate, Wilson will have more yards than James…

Aaron Schatz: Halfway through Q3, Edgerrin James has 9 carries for 3 yards, and the Cardinals are down 22-10. This is the same Atlanta defense that Deuce McAllister sliced through last week.

Mike Tanier: I guess we should thank Abraham Zapruder for his camera work on that Adrian Wilson interception.

Do they measure TOP in nanoseconds? I was shocked to see the Cardinals had the ball over 28 minutes in this game, but most of it was one long drive in the first quarter, then lots of goofing off in the fourth. Every time I turned around to check this game out, the Falcons had the ball.

San Francisco 49ers 0 at Kansas City Chiefs 41

Aaron Schatz: During the halftime show, Terry Bradshaw referred to "young quarterback Damon Huard." Gee, Terry, young compared to you, maybe. The guy's been in the league for a decade.

Doug Farrar: The 49ers are 22nd in pass defense VOA through three games against St. Louis, Arizona, and Philadelphia. Not great, not horrible. Damon Huard is ripping them to shreds. The Chiefs are up 24-0 at the half, and Huard is 13 of 15 for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Dallas Cowboys 45 at Tennessee Titans 14

Michael David Smith: Albert Haynesworth should get a 10-game suspension for what he just did. Dallas's Andre Gurode had his helmet come off during the play, and after the play, with Gurode on the ground, Haynesworth stomped on his head. It's a grass field, so I assume Haynesworth is wearing cleats. It was perhaps the dirtiest move I've ever seen on a football field.

Ned Macey: I was curious to see Young, but this game got out of hand before I could tell. That situation is a disaster down there. A once-excellent franchise is in complete disarray. If you looked hard enough before the season, you could see a talented defense, but they've got nothing. This is their third straight terrible season. If I didn't like the head coach of my favorite team, I would start thinking about getting Jeff Fisher.

Aaron Schatz: If you want a list of players that FO supported ahead of the curve, you can add Pac-Man Jones to the list with Leigh Bodden and Adrian Wilson. (Frank Gore is on that list too.) Despite his immaturity off the field, the fact is that he is far ahead of the Titans' other cornerback, Reynaldo Hill, and the opposing coaches know this. Pac-Man covered T.O. most of the time and he was only thrown two passes with no receptions. He also pulled an offensive PI trying to get Pac-Man away from him. When Pac-Man was not on T.O., he was thrown three passes, caught all three, and had 78 yards. (Pac-Man did give up a TD to Glenn on a play where he was covering Glenn and not T.O.) I don't know what happened in the second half, I know Dallas scored a ton of points but I really think the problems are Thompson and Hill, not Jones and Chris Hope.

Vince Young looked good and bad. He runs too much sideways, I think assuming he can make yardage out of nothing the way he did in college. On the other hand, he had a scramble where he avoided two or three tackles and spun around twice and ended up getting six yards for a first down (it was cancelled by a Dallas penalty that gave the Titans a first down anyway). He also had a pass on third-and-7 where Dallas had a huge 7-blitz and the Titans didn't convert DESPITE picking up ALL the blitzers because Young threw to the tight end only three yards down the field.

Interesting point: we all thought Ben Troupe would be big in Tennessee, but Bo Sciafe is actually the starting tight end -- and he went to Texas, so Young is already used to his habits.

Mike Tanier: Haynesworth is soap scum. He is something that is better off flushed.

I thought the Titans had built a pretty good defensive line. Admittedly, I haven't watched them carefully since about Week 9 or 10 last year. They were pitiful, even before Haynesworth put the derby on and broke into Singing in the Rain. On one TD, I am sure all the replays will show two or three Titans defenders on the ground. That happened on about three or four pass plays in the first half.

The Titans ran an option with Vince Young, they pulled a double reverse, and they gave him some designed runs. The Cowboys just stayed in their lanes, and he had nowhere to go. I'm obviously not burying Young after one game, but I don't see him as a "class by himself" athlete like Michael Vick.

Detroit Lions 34 at St. Louis Rams 41

Michael David Smith: On the local Detroit pregame show, Dre Bly is talking about how the new defensive coaching staff has decided that he'll line up against the other team's No. 1 wide receiver no matter whether that receiver lines up split left, split right, in the slot, or anywhere else. It's quite telling that with a totally new defense, Bly is so superior to the Lions' other DBs that two different defensive staffs would come to the same conclusion about how to use him. And it's another reason that our game charting project is awesome: People who read PFP know Bly matched up with the No. 1 receiver more than any other CB in the league. That's the kind of information that seems so basic and simple and yet you never hear it on TV or read it in the papers.

Bill Barnwell: Another sign the game charting project is doing its job -- Scouts, Inc. was gushing over how Leigh Bodden versus Randy Moss was going to be a premiere matchup this week.

Ned Macey: Dre Bly is really good. Holt is doing nothing on him, but of course, inside the 20, the Lions somehow have Daniel Bullocks in single coverage on Holt. Are they serious?

Also, the Rams had all three timeouts in the final minute of the first half. Has that happened in the past ten years? (And as I write that, the Rams waste one in the third quarter.)

And when did Mike Furrey get good? He was the 6th receiver on the Rams, and now he is playing well for Detroit.

After the game was over:

That was an extremely fun game to watch. Martz clearly wanted to show off his genius, and he was getting a little too excited at times. The offense was good (again Furrey was impressive), but Kitna made a big mistake late that cost them the game. The Rams offense looked 2002 good (the part with Bulger), but of course, Favre looked this good against the Lions last week. That 9-6 Seattle game may prove to be one of the oddest scores of the season.

The Rams were clever about getting Holt on other DBs. They would often start Holt and Bruce on the same side and then move one into motion to get Holt freed off of Bly. On the game-winning touchdown, they moved Bruce, but Bly stayed on Holt which got Fletcher picked and allowed Bruce to score.

New Orleans Saints 18 at Carolina Panthers 21

Mike Tanier: The Panthers really are terrible on third down, in part because they seem to be in third-and-8 a lot. In the passing game, they want to funnel everything through Smith and Keyshawn. That leads to a lot of early down incompletions. They are also having a hard time with the pass rush up the middle, and Mike Wahle got hurt in this game, which could make things worse.

The Saints were impressive on both sides of the ball coming off an emotional Monday Night win. They only scored three points through three quarters, but they were constantly driving. Brees really spreads the ball around. Guys like Ernie Conwell are suddenly coming up with important receptions.

Know what I like about the way Sean Payton is using Reggie Bush? For years, when Bush-like guys have gotten drafted, I have heard coaches say "we are going to be creative about getting him the ball in space." Then, by October, we discover "creative" means draw plays, screen passes, and a reverse every six weeks. Well, Payton is actually being creative, using Bush on downfield routes, running a two-halfback offense, using him at WR in the empty backfield. And he's also just putting him in the I-formation once in a while so opponents can't just key on the trickery. I've seen Bush get stuffed several times, backtrack too often, and fumble, but he's also making the big plays we were all looking for.

Miami Dolphins 15 at Houston Texans 17

Tim Gerheim: Dunta Robinson doesn't look like anything special this year. One play Marty Booker caught a pass pretty easily with Robinson in man coverage against him. That on paper ought to be a huge mismatch in Houston's favor. Robinson doesn't look nearly as comfortable playing man as he does playing Cover-2. He's much better when he gets to face the quarterback and cover the short quarter of the field. When he has to turn and run with a receiver he loses a lot of the benefit of his savvy. He seems like he might make a great free safety, but he's athletic enough to play corner.

The Miami offense really has nothing going for it except Ronnie Brown. Maybe Culpepper's problem is just his knee, but he's just wildly inaccurate, and it's proven that their receivers are no better than "pretty good, not great." The offensive line seems to be coming together, but then again that might just be the effect of playing the Texans defense.

New England Patriots 38 at Cincinnati Bengals 13

Bill Moore: What have the Pats done to the football gods to deserve two starting secondary members out against Carson Palmer & Co.? Hank Poteat and Chad Scott return to their "patchwork secondary" roles.

Patriots are getting little pressure on Palmer -- that's not good when two starters are out in the secondary. The D line in general has had two weeks of mediocre play. This isn't good for Pats fans, since the D line is one of the most talented units on the team.

Scott, who has been a free agent bust from a year ago, plays rather soft coverage, yet started well. Other than one play early in which he was playing zone and allowed Chad Johnson to get into a hole despite the fact that there was no one in his zone (nor anyone near it), he has played tough and broken up a few plays. It will be interesting if he can keep it up for another 30 minutes.

Despite midweek "trash" talking, Rodney Harrison has missed some key tackles.

Given his familiarity with Brady and the system in general plus the lack of receivers on the roster, I'm surprised that Troy Brown isn't playing more downs. Gabriel and Caldwell are getting significantly more looks. Brown was a great decoy in the Gabriel TD. Keshervavavavain was originally covering Brown in the slot, but he cut a short hook into Tory James' coverage area. The resulting hesitation by James was the key in making Gabriel wide open.

Ryan Wilson: Bill: Welcome to the 2002 Pittsburgh Steelers. Fans are very familar with the craptitude of both Poteat and Scott. And knowing that, I don't think you can call him a 'a free agent bust.' He's always been awful. Well, at least this century.

Bill Moore: Hee. Fair point. I only say bust 'cause when you make an offseason contract signing (i.e., not just a pickup replacement guy) you expect him to add value. He surely didn't.

I wouldn't want to be Reche Caldwell, but Kesheshesheshian got robbed of defensive steam rolling.

Meanwhile Hawkins tried to make a statement hit in return on Whoseyourdaddy, and basically whiffed. Can you say Shawn Estes on Roger Clemens?

Ned Macey: There may be something to this whole year-after ACL thing even for quarterbacks. Palmer's VOA was -8.1% before this very mediocre game. He really hasn't been that much better than Culpepper, but the Bengals defense had been carrying them.

Bill Moore: Two things changed the momentum of this game. In the first half, the NE D line was getting no pressure and was not playing up to their talent level. Sparked by inspiring play from Jarvis Green, the often overlooked and underrated backup DE, the D line created pressure and, more importantly, turnovers.

Secondly, the Patriots' two-back running game kicked into action. Cincinnati's run defense is average at best (4.13 adjusted line yards, 28th on power runs, and 15th on 10+ yards). Dillon, who has special motivation in Cincy, and Maroney began running all over the Bengals. And I don't mean pounding out 3-yard runs. These were 15-yard, 20-yard, even 40-yard runs.

The Patriots kicking game needs to be looked at. The phrase, "he's just a kicker" may be thrown around a lot, but kickers are pretty important. Gostkowski had another miss.

As for Cincinnati, they need to do a better job protecting Palmer. Going into this game, they were 29th in adjusted sack rate. This is now two weeks in a row, that Palmer was just hammered. OK, his ACL and MCL are fine and in working order. Let's stop putting it to the test. Palmer was sacked four times and fumbled twice. He was hit hard a number of other times where he miraculously made the completion.

P.S., I alluded to it earlier. I think Harrison has lost a step.

Editor's note: Bill's comments do not represent the opinion of Football Outsiders as a whole on the topic of Rodney Harrison, for whom we have the utmost respect.

Ryan Wilson: What's funny about the Bengals O-line is that they've historically done a very good job of protecting Palmer in the past. I know center Rich Braham is out, but the Steelers got five or six sacks last week too.

Bill, calling the Bengals run defense average is a compliment. This is the second straight week they've been treaded.

I just saw Keanu Kaesvaharn's hit on Reche Caldwell. It's amazing how much better he is when he's plugged into the Matrix.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but right now, the Ravens are the best team in the AFC North.

Jacksonville Jaguars 30 at Washington Redskins 36 (OT)

Ryan Wilson: Well, I was in the middle of writing that the Redskins' defense, after three weeks of looking pretty bad, looks like the 2005 version against the Jags. And then Leftwich hit Maurice Drew for a nice 51-yard TD pass. That play aside (and the one where Reggie Williams continues his bid for Comeback Player of the Year Who Was on the Verge of Being a First-Round Bust) the defense is at least getting more pressure on the QB.

Cleveland Browns 24 at Oakland Raiders 21

Vin Gauri: I'm not sure which is worse, the Raiders' O-line or the Browns' back seven on defense. As expected, just a painful game to watch.

Seattle Seahawks 6 at Chicago Bears 37

Doug Farrar: That was an ugly end to a first drive by Seattle -- going four wide and running the ball on third-and-6 against this defense was one of those "GAAAAAAH!" decisions occasionally made by Holmgren. He's weird with running plays on third down. So far, Chris Spencer is doing a good job on Tommie Harris. This is the battle I'm "ISO-ing."

Chicago's running game (or lack thereof) plays to Seattle's defensive strength, to be sure.

After a rough start to the season, Seattle's offensive line looks good to start. Hasselbeck's getting the nice horseshoe pockets. Good coverage by Da Bears on the red zone drive, though.


Ick. Well, Harris just ate Spencer up on that first sack. Hello, Reality!

Remember the San Diego game, where any lack of pressure would "out" the coverage liabilities? Hello, Seattle!

Tim Gerheim: Remember when Ned said there's no really great team this year? I humbly submit the Chicago Bears -- cough -- whom I picked to go to the Super Bowl -- cough cough. Amazingly, their biggest weakness is their running game.


Doug Farrar: Wow -- that's the second inexplicable Bledsoe-esque pick Matt's thrown in two weeks. A thing of true ugliness.

Bill Barnwell: I like how Rex Grossman throwing a ball away reminded Madden of Brett Favre.


Doug Farrar: Okay -- make that two inexplicable Bledsoe-esque INTs to Manning, Jr. in this game alone. That's a ball you throw away. Period.

Seattle's defense is playing back and tentatively toward the end of the first half, and the Bears are gashing them as a result. It's as if the previous goal-line stand never happened. When the Bears' scoring stats are updated, Hasselbeck should be credited with ten points on two picks.

Pretty much the rest of the game breaks our resident Seahawks fan's spirit.

Doug Farrar: Okay ... uh, wow. This is a game in which the Seahawks just got "out-physicaled" in an embarrassing fashion. Hasselbeck looks like he did in about 2002: rushing throws even when he doesn't need to, trying to make too much happen and proving unable to sustain drives. I don't think they miss Alexander from a production standpoint -- he was averaging 62.3 rushing yards per game and had only two touchdowns through three games -- but they miss the threat of Alexander, and how it forces a defense to adjust. The defense has been tentative, afraid to make a mistake, and never as aggressive as they needed to be. Bad coaching, bad playcalling, iffy defense, and Hasselbeck's worst game in at least two years. They have a bye next week, and they're now tied with the Rams for the division lead after four games. It's going to be "Now Time" very soon.

Bits ‘n' Pieces

Doug Farrar: This may be an historic moment -- I'm agreeing with Irvin and disagreeing with Jaws. The NFL Countdown debate topic: "Who is the NFL's most valuable receiver?" To me, it's not even worth arguing. Jaws went with Marvin Harrison (aroo? Reggie Wayne?), while Irvin took the unbelievably obvious answer. Could it be anyone but Steve Smith? The more I think about it, the more I think Smith was robbed in the MVP voting last season. Delhomme's ranking is 93.8 this year (88.1 last year) with Smith, 61.5 without. Manning had a 104.1 rating last year.

In 2005, Smith caught 38% of his team's 269 receptions, 44.8% of their 3,485 passing yards, and 48% of their 25 passing touchdowns.
In 2005, Harrison caught 24% of his team's 348 receptions, 27.9% of their 4,096 passing yards and 38% of their 31 touchdowns.

I agree with most (if not all) of the FO staff -- Jaws is the premier NFL analyst. But that surprised me.

Bill Barnwell: Jaws IS human.

Jets-Colts and CBS commercial/production comments:

  • I am amazed that someone actually made a more generic version of "Heroes" than the Wallflowers. That's like genericizing America's Choice products.
  • Robert Mathis beats D'Brickashaw Ferguson to Chad Pennington's arm for a fumble and the announcers really harp on Ferguson as opposed to Mathis. When the Jets offense/Colts defense were coming on the field for the next drive, they even showed Ferguson walking onto the field instead of Pennington or Mathis -- I can't imagine that would be the case for most OTs, whether they blew a block or not.
  • The neighborhood and neighbors in the NFLATINO commercial are out of some Jane Jacobs wet dream.

Aaron Schatz: Dumb graphic of the week: FOX showed a graphic demonstrating that the 0-3 teams were ranked 25, 28, 29, 31, and 32 in total rushing yardage. Well, gee, what a shock: losing teams run less than winning teams.

I think, despite losing, that the Saints and Jets showed today that they are better than we thought before the season. The Vikings, however, are making our preseason projection look more and more accurate each week.

Doug Farrar: I just found this mysterious code all over the place on NBCSports.com: <autotext>Brett Favre</autotext>. Weird!

Posted by: admin on 02 Oct 2006

256 comments, Last at 03 Oct 2006, 10:34pm by Don M


by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:01am

The Colts, Pats, Broncos, and Steelers have serious question marks. Maybe the Eagles, but their defense is getting awful banged up.

I think Ned forgot about Chicago. Chicago, right now, looks like the best team in the league. Temper that with who they've played, obviously, but still, I don't think there are a lot of question marks there - other than "can Rex Grossman stay healthy" and I'm not a big fan of believing that freak injuries reoccur often.

by Doug Farrar :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:03am

Ned's comment was sent to the group before the Sunday night (gulp) beatdown.

by bowman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:09am

Any Given Sunday - Redskins v. Jaguars? Were matchup problems causing all of the points, or is Portis really that valuable to the offense? Will anybody mistake the Jaguars for a run-focused team again?

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:20am

Following DGL's lead, I'm cross-posting my comment from the Manic Monday thread. In summary, I agreed with what Aaron said before I saw he said it:

I know Mangini will get second-guessed by the New York media, but I’m not sure all of it is deserved. You can’t just criticize the call to go for it cause they didn’t make it.

The call for a pass might not have been a good one (if you run it and get stuffed, the colts start from the one) and the throw was terrible, just terrible. But you can’t say Mangini’s a bad coach just cause the final score’s a field goal apart. If the onside kick had failed, would that have made it a bad play call?

I understand newspapers looking at the final score and calling for Mangini’s resignation (has that happened yet?), but I do remember an article on this site not too long ago saying maybe you should always go for it on 4th. I think they should have here too.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:21am

Having made the life-enhancing choice to rid myself of television, this evening outing was the first Seahawks game I'd seen all year.

Yikes, is all.

No pressure and the secondary got shredded. Well, okay, not a complete shock. But that offense -- someone have Mouse Davis' number or something? Four receivers on the field does not a spread offense make; it was like, four guys run eight-yard slants and hitches. You see how ossified Holmgren is with some aspects of this WCO stuff; the situation practically demanded that he get outside the box and threaten Chicago in creative ways, but it was like, 5-yard incompletion, Morris 1-yard run, throw behind a marked receiver short of the first down. That first Manning pick, he just jumped the lame quick slant they were trying to run every time. The Bears had good pressure, but Hasselbeck didn't so much respect it as LIVE IN CONSTANT MORTAL TERROR OF IT. He must've run a 10k's worth of happy feet on plays when he had time to step up and throw. Still, though ... the line had its pants pulled down. Chicago consistently won in the trenches on both sides.

And yeah, Holmgren: can we get the @#$! Mack Strong third-and-long draw out of the playbook please? Hasselbeck actually appeared to audible *into* that play once. I've groaned the couple of times I've seen it work to know that pellet means he'll be encouraged to call it 10 more times to see it work again.

Nice win, Chicago. I'm going to get out my copy of last year's NFC title game and reminisce about better times.

by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:26am

I still think it is a little early for people to start panicking about the Patriots' kicking game. Yeah Gosty missed a 48 yarder but those aren't that easy even for the great kickers. He was solid on the PATs and the short field goal, and more importantly his kick-offs have been the best anyone in New England can remember. He consistently kept the Bengals from getting any offensive traction on kick returns, and I think that contributed a lot more to the final result than an extra 3 points would have done.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:32am

My favorite part of the Cowboys/Titans game?

Dick Stockton: Parcells went out of his way to single out (punter) McBriar this week, who had an excellent game last week. He's also been very good today....By the way, McBriar hasn't been needed today, as Dallas hasn't had to punt yet.

by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:37am

Congrats to Bill Barnwell for putting "Jane Jacobs" and "wet dream" in the same sentence. I'm not sure if urban planners should be happy for a in-joke custom tailored to 0.002% of the population, or appalled at the disturbing imagery of said joke.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:38am

3: Well, it's either that game or incite more accusations of bias with NE/Cin. I think that game was a bigger upset, though. Winning in OT against a playoff team is a gut, but what NE did is a dominate. Sea/Chi would be a good choice too, but I think the Bears were favored.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:44am

First, a statistical quibble: Aaron wrote "The expected score difference between having the ball on your own 2-yard line and your own 20-yard line is roughly two points."

Now, me disagreeing with Aaron on stats is akin to Paul McGuire disagreeing with Jaws on the design of a zone blitz out of a 3-3-5 nickel, but regardless: over the past three years (2003-2005, including postseason), teams have started 466 drives inside their own 5 and scored a total of 262 points, or 0.59 points per drive (with safeties counting as -2 points). Teams have started 1,843 drives on their own 20 and scored a total of 2,245 points, or 1.22 points per drive. To me, that says the difference between starting a drive on your own 2 and at your own 20 is only about 0.6 points.

If you decide to go for it, you have a probability (p) of making it, and conversely, a probability (1-p) of not making it. If you expect that the outcome of not making it is giving the ball away on the Colts' 2 (considering Pennington had thrown 0 career interceptions inside the red zone in 120 attempts, that's a reasonable starting simplifying assumption - more later), the expected points of going are 7*p + (-0.6)*(1-p).

Assume that even FO's Favorite Kicker can make a 19 yard field goal 98% of the time, the expected points of the FG attempt are 2.94.

Running the math, that says you should go for it if the probability of making it is greater than about 47%. Average FO Power OL/DL ratings (success rate at 2 yards) are about 58%; individual team ratings will suffer from small sample size, but the Jets OL was at about 67% and the Colts DL at 100%, so if anything you'd expect the success rate to be higher; however, as Aaron says, it was more like 2.5 yards, so perhaps that pulls it down a little - perhaps, to around 50%. Which means, basically, statistics says it's a toss-up.

Even if you add in a 5% chance of throwing an end-zone pick, the threshold probability changes by less than 1%.

So is it a historically bad decision? No. Historically bad decisions are those where statistically it's strongly sub-optimal but you do it anyway. This was a toss-up. And with a team that was widely (I might say "universally") predicted to be totally non-competitive this year, I think the value of the message it sends the team -- we're going to go all-out to win, even if that means eschewing the "safe" decision -- is worth tipping the toss-up in favor of going for it.

If they make it and the Jets win 35-31, everyone is lauding Mangini for "going for the kill" against the Colts because you have to knock out the champ, you can't play around.

by Kalyan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:46am

Surprised to see that Mario Williams 1.5 Sacks did not gather anyone's attention or his deflected pass that was crucial to the Texans win.

With the kind of performances being turned in by the rookies, would charles casserly admit that their strategy of drafting Mario Williams was not really sound. While i am not coming to a conclusion based on 4 games, one thing is for sure: MW is no Peppers and these 4 weeks showed.

(Disclaimer: I didn't have access to the game)

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:47am

Rule Question: Here's what happened.

2-10-MIN39 (7:08) J.Losman right tackle to MIN 40 for -1 yards (A.Winfield).

Why is this not credited as a sack? From my memory, it wasn't a planned QB run play. Besides, shouldn't stats be based on the RESULT of a play, not a statisticians INTERPRETATION OF THE INTENT?

by NoJo (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:49am

Aaron said:

"The Vikings, however, are making our preseason projection look more and more accurate each week."

Wait. Weren't you saying last week that the Vikings were impressive against the Bears? This is really the first week that the Vikings have played poorly. One data point does not make a trend. You should know better than to say this.

by ammek (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:52am

10: I think Aaron's two-point differential includes what happens on the subsequent drive, eg after a punt/turnover. It may be that drives beginning on the two are more often followed by opponents scoring TDs rather than FGs or nothing at all.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:53am

Here's what I'm trying to tell myself. The Vikes haven't been favored in a game yet, and they're 2-2. Looking at the schedule, I expect them to be favored in 5-7 games. If they can win half the games they're not favored in, and around 75% of the games they are favored in, they can have 9-10 wins. All sorts of problematic logic there, I know, but that's what I'm telling myself.

The Viking D is holding teams under 20, but it's not dominant enough to win on its own. Let me be among the first completely irrational, reactionary fans to say "Brooks Bollinger."

by John A (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:55am

BTW, the official Play By Play for the Jets "Festival of Laterals":

(:08) (Shotgun) C.Pennington pass short middle to L.Washington to NYJ 40 for 8 yards [D.Freeney]. Lateral to B.Smith to NYJ 37 for -3 yards. Lateral to L.Coles to IND 44 for 19 yards. Lateral to C.Pennington to IND 37 for 7 yards. Lateral to J.McCareins to IND 35 for 2 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by NYJ-B.Smith at IND 33. B.Smith to IND 37 for -4 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by NYJ-L.Coles at IND 40. L.Coles to IND 27 for 13 yards. Lateral to N.Mangold to IND 27 for no gain. FUMBLES, RECOVERED by

Not sure if that was cut off by the NFL database field length cutoff (it's about 500 characters) or if the Play by Play guy just got tired of typing.

Aaron, I'll be amused to see what the parser makes of that one.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:57am

Does it look to anybody else that, upon being tackled to the ground, Kurt Warner lets go of the ball in order to better brace himself for contact with the turf? If I'm coaching in Glendale, there's no way that Warner plays again if Leinart is healthy.

by queequeg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:00pm

i don't consider the Jets 4th down attempt to be a bad call, it would have been great if they ran it. I assumed the jets lost because their defense decided to play soft enought to give up 2 giant drives in less than 4 minutes. Even if going for it on 4th was considered aggressive, playing the prevent D is definitely not.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:02pm

10: I think Aaron’s two-point differential includes what happens on the subsequent drive, eg after a punt/turnover. It may be that drives beginning on the two are more often followed by opponents scoring TDs rather than FGs or nothing at all.

It's based on the "average next score". See here. Just based on a very simple model, it's a little less than two points.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:05pm

Holy crap . . . did anyone let the Seahawks know they might have been playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs last night? They played like a team ready to coast into a bye week, and Chicago played like it was a playoff game.

Plenty of blame to go around for that debacle, but first credit the Bears. They came to play. Manning Jr.'s first pick was a great play by a savvy CB. I thought Rex's prior statistical success was a product of the defenses he'd been playing. I knew the 'Hawks secondary could be exploited, but I didn't think Grossman would be the guy to do it. Oops.

As for the 'Hawks, it was like reliving '02, '03, and '04 again. Unimaginative, timid, even absent-minded playcalling on O, a defense that laid back because they'd been soundly beaten on the long ball, only to get beaten by the run. A QB who felt too much pressure (or perhaps felt the pressure too keenly) and forced a lot of passes. WRs dropping wide open receptions. The O-line didn't look great, but Chicago's going to do that to a lot of teams.

To paraphrase Tom Coughlin last week, the 'Hawks getting taken behind the woodshed last night was a "team effort." The only thing to do is go back to the drawing board and bounce back after their bye week in STL, which of course will be a double whammy. An early start east of the Rockies after a bye doesn't have a lot of good mojo attached to it.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:12pm

#17 - NFL Matchup looked at the game-deciding fumble against St. Louis - it was actually caused by the RG. As he got out of his stance, his left elbow knocked the ball out of Warner's hands. So that fumble, at least, wasn't Warner's fault.

Unfotunately, I can't say the same about the rest of them, though.

by GBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:13pm

Has anyone mentioned that the Jets' lateral play wouldn't have counted if they had scored? I didn't feel like wading through 800 posts in the open game thread but thought it might show up here. Only the player fumbling the ball can advance it in the last two minutes of a game and at least one of those "laterals" hit the ground. Can you imagine the uproar if the Jets had scored on that play and then had it turned over on review?

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:17pm

As a closet Jets fan, I'd like to take my place on the "I'm not gonna kill Mangini for going for it" bandwagon. You're tied at 14 with was less than 5 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter of a game nobody expected you to even be competitive in. You're going up against one of the best offenses in the league. I have no problem with deciding that 3 points just isn't good enough. I even liked that decision to pass. After three consecutive run plays (starting from the 1-and-goal from the 7), I can see why you wouldn't run for a 4th consecutive time. But Pennington should have just thrown that ball away instead of trying to force it in there. Big surprise that I disagree with the one aspect of that play that the announcing crew lauded.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:21pm

Re: 22

I could be wrong, but I don't think any of the laterals hit the ground before the intended recipient had gotten a hand on it, and therefore I think the fumbles were recovered by the player who was credited with the fumble. Like I said though, I could easily be wrong on that.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:24pm

22: That rule only comes into play when the ball is fumbled forward. As long as the Laterals went laterally or backwards, the play was legal.

by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:26pm


One of the laterals wasn't even a lateral, but a backwards fumble along the ground as a player got tackled. I think it was McCareins, or maybe Smith. And I'm pretty sure he was down before he tossed the ball backwards, so there's a 2nd reason it wouldn't have counted.

by queequeg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:26pm

this has nothing to do with anything, but david carr has completed 81 of 111 attempts. that's what, 10 yards per completion (7.7 per attempt) at 73%?

by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:29pm

OK, found the play on youtube (linked). At 0:57 Smith's (?) knee is down.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:31pm

After watching three games yesterday, thanks to the miracle of TiVo, I'm becoming more and more convinced that delineating between types of interceptions will be a big step forward in the statistical analyis of quarterback play. Brad Johnson's DPAR will be poor this week, partly due to his receivers dropping about 80 to 100 yards of passes, but also because of the two interceptions. Comparing those two interceptions with the two of Hasselbeck's mentioned above, however, and there is no comparison.

Hasselbeck's throws were just plain godawful, whereas Johnson's came on a ball tipped by a poorly blocked de, and when London Fletcher laid out and made a catch, with his body completely horizontal to the ground, that nearly every wr in the league would have on his highlight reel. Note to the Vikings: If the opposition's linebackers continue to be superior pass catchers to your wide receivers, getting to eight or nine wins will be more difficult than expected. In any case, differentiating between different types of interceptions would give a better grasp of how well, or how poorly, a quarterback played, but it isn't obvious to me as to how to go about doing so. I think the drops issue gets balanced out by those occasions when a receiver catches a poorly thrown ball (okay, perhaps not in the case of the Vikings) but I also think that two qbs who end up with 12-16 interceptions on the year may have markedly different actual performance in that regard.

As to other matters, I was waiting for the Bears to stomp a good team before proclaiming them the obvious best in the NFC. Consider it done. The Vikings need to beat the Lions convincingly on Sunday to indicate that they are capable of nine wins; I stated previously that if they are 3-4 after seven, they would have a good chance to reach that level, and I'll stick with that assessment, but just winning a nail-biter vs. what appears to be a bad Lions team will not be a positive indicator, with the following two games in Seattle and the Patriots at home.

Of all the things that I thought might derail them, in their effort to prove the FO's preseason projection of the Vikings' win total entirely too pessimistic, I did not anticipate wide receivers dropping balls, which definitely cost them yesterday's game, and nearly cost them the win in D.C.. Yes, right ot Marques Johnson has issues, but he was non-horrible in the fourth quarter yesterday, when the Bills we're completely geared to rush the passer. They do need to run better, but that gets easier to do when some long passes are completed, and to do that their wide receivers need to make catches that NFL receivers usually make.

I like this team's orientation towards physical play, but a roughly 30 year era of Vikings wide receivers being well above-average in terms of making catches is certainly over.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:32pm

The worst thing about that play, as I've mentioned elsewhere, was that when Coles had the ball, he had 3 blockers and was on the left sidelines.

There is no way, whatsoever, that Coles should've lateralled the ball away. He had the best shot for the end zone right there - and it was probably pretty good, too. Just needed to coordinate with his blockers a bit, and get to the sidelines and run.

by James (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:36pm

Aaron Schatz: I’m curious to hear from somebody exactly what went wrong with the Chargers at the end of a game they seemed to control throughout.

Mike Tanier summed it up for you:

It was just a dumb gameplan in the second half. I’m all for running the ball to kill the clock, but you don’t start doing it in the third quarter when you are up by six points.

They should have come out of the gate throwing in the second half.

And did anyone think that Samari Rolle should have been called for PI on the long pass play middle of the third quarter? He pushed and grabbed Jackson around the neck.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:38pm

Re 30:
He tossed the ball beccause he didn't think he'd get by #98. It looked like 98 had a good shot at bringing him down.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:40pm


Well, yeah, but there's not always information on how an interception was caused or made in the play-by-play. So you're kinda screwed there.

The only thing I can imagine differentiating is looking at the downside of "deep" versus "short" interceptions.

He tossed the ball beccause he didn’t think he’d get by #98. It looked like 98 had a good shot at bringing him down.

Three blockers. Should've trusted them to take him out (which they did), rather than sacrifice momentum and position.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:41pm

#30 I really want to see the endzone or overhead angle of that play. It was the second Coles lateral/fumble which piqued my curiosity. It looked like he ran right past his blocker and into the defender when he got the ball, but, of course, I couldn't see anything on my screen and had no idea what the heck was happening on the right side of the field.

by ken in plano (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:43pm


I didn't get your reference to the league not always taking appropriate disciplinary action, using Shaun Alexander as an example. I'm scratching my head, and I can't remember him ever doing anything other than whining about not winning the rushing title two years ago. To what were you referring?

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:45pm

I don't think the Chargers should have "come out of the gate running" - their strength is in the running game, and that's what they should use. But they didn't even try to keep the Ravens from stacking the box. If you're facing first and 19, there is no earthly reason to run the ball up the middle three times and then punt. That was Schottenheimer at his worst.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:46pm

Pro Football Prospectus had the Vikings with a 30% chance of winning four or fewer games, and a 30% chance of winning five to six games. If there are any advocates of that prediction who wish to put up $50, to the charity of the winner's choice, that the Vikings will not exceed six wins, I'm still willing to take that risk, despite yesterday's loss. 3-4 after seven puts them in a decent place for eight wins or better, and I'm still sticking with nine wins as the most likely outcome.

Pacifist, Johnson's performance would have been more than adequate with just an average performance by the receivers. Let's not get despondent with the Bolllingerisms.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:46pm

Er, "come out of the gate passing." I'm dumb.

by GBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:47pm

Re: 25
No offensive player other than the player who dropped the ball can advance a fumble in the last 2 minutes of the game. It doesn't matter whether the ball is fumbled forwards or backwards. I can't say 100% for certain that any of those laterals hit the ground, but I am certain that is the rule.

by Bill Moore (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:48pm

re:22, 24, etc. I was going to write about that play, but never got around to it. Not only would that play not have ended in a score, but Coles got hurt AFTER the play should have been blown dead.

A Jet, I think it was Smith, clearly had his knee down before lateraling the ball. The play would have been reviewed, and overturned had a Jet eventually scored after that point.

Taking away 30 seconds from CBS Ad time - $500,000; Laveranues Coles seperated shoulder - 4-6 weeks; Seeing how the Meadowlands would have reacted when the game winning TD was overturned on replay - Priceless!

Disclaimer - I have no real status on Coles. I have no idea the extent of his injury. It just sounded good.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:52pm

37: My Brooks Bollinger cries are extreme and reactionary, I know.

How about a more reasonable proposal: more plays for Mewelde Moore. He's better at breaking tackles, has more potential for longer runs, and is a better receiver out of the backfield. Chester Taylor looks like a great "plow away to hang onto a lead" RB, but Moore might be the more dynamic performer who could, you know, get the team in the endzone.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 12:53pm


You can hang that loss on the coaching staff and special teams. Marty came out in the 2nd half playing for FGs, which is a problem on a windy day against a team which seems to have an above-agerage ability to block kicks (no stats to back that assertion up, just observations). 1 wind-assisted miss, 1 FG block, and then their punter got creamed, resulting in the team taking an intentional safety on the re-kick. The intentional safety was actually a good call, until the Chargers' D collapsed in the last 3 minutes.

Classic Martyball, though, playing for FGs way too early in the game.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:01pm

Yeah, Moore has real talent, but unfortunately he always had shown a propensity to get injured when saddled with just an average workload, and he still doesn't block well. Ya' can't afford to have a poor-blocking running back on the field a lot with 38 year old starting quarterback.

Yes, they are in need of improvement in more than one area, but first and foremost they need their receivers to catch the catchable balls thrown their way. I don't know if their is a quick solution to this, unfortunately.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:06pm

#34: My bad - after watching it again, it isn't Coles that was the idiot. It was Pennington. Look at around 0:53 on the YouTube clip, after Coles laterals it back to Pennington. Jets players (Ferguson and Kendall?) are in PERFECT position to block the only remaining Colt defenders in the area. But Pennington never looks around to see the situation - he just keeps running to the middle of the field. If he had cut left to the sideline behind Ferguson, that's an easy touchdown. There was even an extra blocker well downfield as insurance. No way the Colts would've gotten to him.

Instead, Pennington heaves it cross-field where there are far more Colts than Jets.

And all of this happened well before anyone was down, and before the ball ever hit the ground.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:11pm

Make that about 0:47 or so.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:12pm

coltrane #23:

did anyone let the Seahawks know they might have been playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs last night

Lets see Seattle look like they will definitely win 10 games before we annoint them as playoff locks. They've got at least 4 more probable losses coming up (@ Rams, @ Chiefs, @ Broncos, San Diego), and the way the NFL works, they will probably lose at least one other game they are "supposed" to win, the way they nearly lost hosting Cowboys and @ 49ers and @ Titans last year, because they clearly aren't as strong a team as last year. They could easily lose the 4 games above, plus @ 49ers and hosting Vikings, and end up 9-7 if they play like they did last night and @ Lions.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:13pm

Re: 33 "Three blockers. Should’ve trusted them to take him out (which they did), rather than sacrifice momentum and position."

I agreed with you elsewhere, but I went back and looked again, and Robert Mathis (98) was not blocked until Coles slowed and turned, allowing Ferguson (I think) to catch up and block. If he hadn't turned to lateral, Mathis was unblocked and probably would have got him.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:14pm

Err I thought Daunte looked his best all year. When the Texans finally backed off late in the game he passed the team right down the field twice. The Dolphins oline looked over matched all day. Although the Texans #1 pick rarely was the one getting pressure. He did get to Daunte a few times after a teammate had collapsed the pocket for him. Marty Booker fell down at least 3 times when he was open. I suggest the Dolphins ownership spend a little of the money they are stealing from the Marlins to buy some new cleats.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:20pm

Re: 44

Sorry about 47; guess I type slow.

I still disagree though. Only reason Pennington wasn't tackled immediately by someone (27? Jennings?) was cause he started towards the middle and faked a flip back to Coles. Once he's past 27 (?), the situation downfield is different. When the throw is in the air, I see at least one unblocked Colt downfield, and reversing fields often works.

Well, looking again, it seems it was mostly momentum that took him to the middle. That and the fake pitch. Pennington isn't the greatest cut runner and I don't think he had much of a chance to stop and survey the field.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:21pm

43: that's the sort of safe thinking that is currently dooming the Viking offense.

Is it logical to not play Moore much because then he would get hurt and not be able to play at all?

And if you keep RB A out JUST BECAUSE RB B is a better blocker, you are saying that the actual running and catching of the football is not a priority for a RB (I realize this isn't what you're saying, I'm just illustrating). IF Moore proves he is more capable of making positive plays with the ball than Taylor, then Moore should play because the Vikings need points.

So far, there isn't even data to make an argument: Moore's superior yards per rush are a result of getting the ball on 3rd and long. However, Moore has shown he still has moves to avoid tacklers and might be able to do more with the blocking than Taylor is doing. I'm not suggesting Taylor be benched entirely, just suggesting that more plays for Moore would help the team (and it looks like he is getting more plays as the season goes on).

I don't know the quick fix for WRs dropping the ball. These are fundamentals (like blocking) that need to be worked on in practice. I do know that a struggling offense could use a dynamic player like Moore a bit more, rather than relying on a RB who has barely made a cut this season.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:21pm

#47: Yeah, that's my bad - you confused me elsewhere by suggesting Coles. It was Pennington that screwed up. When Coles lateralled it, Mathis got blocked, leaving Pennington room for what would've been one of the best plays in the history of the NFL had he just looked around.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:24pm

Re: 46

I'll admit I didn't see the game live, but you got to attribute some of Seatle's problems to Chicago's D, right? Plus, Alexander won't be out the whole season, which should change their gameplanning, as Doug Farrar pointed out.

I also think saying Rams and Chiefs are probable losses is stretching it. Sure, they could lose, but I don't know about probable.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:25pm

Pennington isn’t the greatest cut runner and I don’t think he had much of a chance to stop and survey the field.

He should've tried. The opportunity was just flat golden, and he should've seen the situation when he was running behind Coles. It wasn't much of a cut that he would've needed - he could've just planted his hand on Ferguson's shoulder, and pushed off to aid the cut.

I don't agree he could've done it though - he actually had to turn his body pretty awkwardly to throw the ball. It would've been easier for him to turn upfield and get behind Ferguson.

The fake handoff which froze the defender was just comedy gold. If that play had worked, that guy would've been the goat of the week.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:26pm

Re: 51

To be fair, you suggested Coles first. You're definitely more right about Pennington, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it idiotic.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:27pm

re: Jets 4th down.

I actually thought Madden made a good overall defense of going for it. As well as the obvious bit about needing everything you can get to beat the Colts, there was also the fact that people who wouldn't go for it there also wouldn't have kicked onside, and therfore still would have likely lost.

You can't cherrypick the bad risks as the ones that didn't work after the fact (unless you want to work on TV).

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:28pm

Re: 51

If that had in fact been Coles instead of Pennington, that probably would have been a touchdown. Pennington doesn't exactly scare defenses with his legs, so I can't really blame him for trying to get the ball in the hands of someone (McCareins) more accustomed to running with the ball.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:28pm

Re: 46

Agreed, if the Seahawks play like they did last night, they're headed for 9-7, maybe 10-6.

However, I have a fan's faith that the "real" Seahawks are the team that held serve convincingly against the Cardinals and the Giants. I've circled the same games you noted, I just don't have all of them as losses.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:30pm

Re: 55

Or you name rhymes with Egg Geaseterbrook.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:32pm

Wanker79 #23:

a game nobody expected you to even be competitive in. You’re going up against one of the best offenses in the league. I have no problem with deciding that 3 points just isn’t good enough.

Whoa Hoss!

TMQ says: "Kick early, go for it late." Held true here once again.

Coaches constantly out-think themselves in situations like this and leave points on the board.

It wasn't as if the Jets were trailing 14+ points with 20 minutes left. They were tied and could have taken the lead!

If you've made it 40 minutes and only given up 14 to the Colts, I'd say the defense is doing pretty good. Not only have you only given up 14, but 7 of that was off a short field fumble recovery (random dumb luck). In other words, your defense was successful, and you should be able to hold a lead. Yes, the Colts would be expected to score again in 20 minutes of play, but so should the Jets, especially seeing as they then would have had 3 scoring drives in 40 minutes, and none off a short field turnover.

Going for it means sending a message to your defense that you don't believe they are capable of doing what they have been doing much of the game - holding a lead on the Colts, AND not rewarding your offense with the satisfaction of knowing that their effort in driving the ball downfield turned into some points.

Good teams (and good Coaches) don't just score touchdowns, they also kick field goals and take the certain points when given the opportunity due to the stalling of a drive.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:36pm

Re: 53

Do you think he could have gotten away from 27? When he first touched the ball, he had three Colts in front of him and two Jets. If he has a good cut and quick legs, he gets inside Ferguson and 27, but he has neither. (I still think there were problems further downfield.) I still think his throw was bad (maybe the awkward angle), but I don't think it's fair to call Pennington an idiot for using his arm instead of his leg.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:40pm

Re: 59

"Going for it means sending a message to your defense that you don’t believe they are capable of doing what they have been doing much of the game"

So, what message was sent by the onside kick? Also, other people have argued that going for it sends the message "we are going to do what it takes to win and not be passive" (or, as Mike Tanier said, “I believe in you kids�). How do you decide what message is being sent?

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:41pm

As a Jets fan, IMO the 4th down decision comes down to "what would Herm do?" He would kick the FG. Therefore going for it was the right move. :)

They lost because they couldn't stop the Colts on the two drives at the end, not because they missed the fourth down. And was I the only one hoping Miller would run out of bounds on the KO return so they could run some time off the clock?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:41pm

Pacifist, this is the second coaching staff that has looked at Moore every day, and concluded that he isn't the type of running back that can be on the field predominantly. I suspect the primary reason is the blocking, and before that is discounted, think hard about if you really do want Bollinger finishing the season. Who knows? Maybe from here on out Moore will be on the field more, I'm just hesitant to say that two professional coaching staffs in succession, especially the one in place now, have made such a fundamental error, after observing the player in question on a daily basis.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:42pm

Bill Wallace #55:

As well as the obvious bit about needing everything you can get to beat the Colts,

What is so obvious about that? The Jets didn't need everything they've got to beat the Colts. They needed one more smart decision about kicking a field goal, and no shift to "prevent defense" at the end of regulation. They were handling the Colts offense fine all day. Manning looked just terrible up to that point.

there was also the fact that people who wouldn’t go for it there also wouldn’t have kicked onside, and therfore still would have likely lost.

I don't know about that. Plenty of coaches are willing to kick surprise on-sides kicks (or use other trickery like fake field goals), and also would have been smart enough to take certain points when placed in their hand vs. risky 4th down pass plays where 7-8 guys are running around in the end zone vs. your 4-6 receivers. Honestly, how often do we see 4th and 3 pass plays at the goal line work? Seems like they end up as interceptions more often than being converted. Maybe Aaron could tell us.

And a surprise on-sides kick is really not as risky as you seem to think.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:45pm

#60: He got away from the first defender with the fake handoff. I can't believe it worked, but it worked brilliantly. After that, there were only two Colts defenders left, and the Jets were in perfect position to block them. If he had just held up, Ferguson could've gotten inside him, and he could've cut back to the sidelines.

I just can't think that throwing across the field was a good idea. They had tons of Jets there, and only a handful of Colts - some of which were on their backs already. On the other side of the field were two wide receivers, and a crapload of Colts as well.

Sometimes reversing field works, but only if you've dragged the defense with you. They hadn't. From Pennington's perspective, it had to look like he was throwing into a sea of white.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:48pm

Re #64: And a surprise on-sides kick is really not as risky as you seem to think.

Especially when you have Nugent kicking off. I couldn't have been the only one thinking their best chance after the KO return was to do another onside kick.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:49pm

Before it looks like I'm too supportive of Childress and Co., Pacifist, and at the risk of sounding like an Easterbrook acolyte, let me ask you a question; did Childress' decision to kick on fourth and two, at midfield, on the second to last possession, seem as bad to you as it did to me?

by Dash (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:50pm


As an urban planner myself, I'd say that I felt a little bit of both when I read Bill's comment. I sat there and enjoyed the inside joke, and then the realization hit... and I wondered if I was better off not reading the end of the column...

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:52pm

Will, but like you said, injuries have hurt Moore. The first coaching staff really liked Moore, but soured on him with his injury issues. The second coaching staff didn't get a bunch of time to look at him in training camp.

My first question would be, are two years of injury issues enough to make us believe Moore is too injury-prone to get more work? I don't think so.

My second point would be that in game situations, Moore usually performs well. Whatever happens in practice, Moore shows in games an ability to break tackles and make moves that show he could be a very good player.

I'm not going to assume yet that two coaching staffs didn't like him, nor am I going to set aside my opinions of him based on what coaching staffs determined so far. If we were to just go with what coaches say and think, FO wouldn't exist, and all reporters would need to do is transcribe exactly what the coaches say.

It also seems that it's not so much that the coaching staff as determined Moore can't be a good RB, but that Taylor's skills are better suited for the sort of running game they want to run. After four games, it would be reasonable for them (and us, why not, what else are we doing?) to look at the performances on the field and determine if that's still the case.

We'll have to see. Maybe I should change my name to "Mewelde Moore Apologist." Maybe as the season wears on Moore will get more carries as Taylor stays around 3.5 yards per carry and the Viking offense continues to fail to score points.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:56pm

Re: 65

I'm not totally disagreeing with you. A cutback would have been nice. (Although, there was at least one more Colt downfield on that side, not just the two.)

Also, Ferguson seems to have been thinking like you and he just kind of bumped his man to the inside. The problem is that when Pennington took a glance downfield after the fake (which I'm with you about), all he saw was Ferguson's man and not Ferguson. Maybe he looked too late, but it's hard to fault someone too much for not thinking enough in the middle of a play like that. Most of the time, everything they do they practice over and over. How often do you practice that?

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:56pm

67: I screamed in horror and wrote down the specifics I was so angry about that decision. 7:48 to go, down 11, 4th and 2, you're at midfield--and you punt!?!?

The Vikes are rather lucky they got the ball back for two possessions after that to make the decision not see so stupid. I don't know the percentages, but I would doubt teams get two potential scoring drives after punting with under eight minutes to go. I thought it was a horrible decision.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 1:58pm

Dennis #62:

As a Jets fan, IMO the 4th down decision comes down to “what would Herm do?� He would kick the FG.

Yes, and Herm got the Jets to the playoffs how many times? 3 of 5 years, with the 2 misses coming directly from Pennington being injured. Herm was the best coach the Jets had in their history, outside Weeb Ewbanks. Herm would have kicked the FG and won the game. In 46 years, the Jets have had 8 seasons with 10+ wins, and Herm gave you two of them in 5 years. Think about that when you criticize him.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:00pm

6: Gosty? That's almost as bad as "Sexy Rexy"...

31: Shows you how much confidence they have in Rivers at this point. But let's remember something, this is only his start, and I don't know a lot of coaches who would have utmost confidence in any QB in his third ever start.

35: Joe Horn was fined 30K for taking out a cellphone. Haynesworth could have killed Gurode.

40: That's just mean. (can I use that elsewhere?)

50: Check out last year's DVOA and DPAR (along with conventional stats) to see whether Moore or Taylor was the better back: 2005 RB

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:03pm

Re: Andrew

Like you said, the Jets defense had been holding their own all game. So why is pinning the Colts well inside the 5 yardline (the only egregious mistake was Pennington not throwing that ball away) telling the defense that you don't trust them. If anything, I think it suggested the exact opposite.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:03pm

Pacifist, I've seen very little evidence that Moore is even an average blocker, and I think it is a skill that is too often discounted in running backs. I'm not on the anti-Moore brigade, but if blocking is an important aspect to his amount of playing time, and the guy doesn't block in practice, it's hard for a coach to put his quarterback at risk in a game. I'm not saying that we should put aside what we see on Sundays, I'm just saying it is important to recognize that observing a player's performance on other days has value as well.

I hope they start catching the ball, because that would do more to improve their offensive performance than anything, but I have no idea whether they will.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:05pm

#70: Not that I can see. There was only a Jet (standing around doing nothing!) about 10 yards downfield. The only other Colt defenders were at midfield, and had Pennington cut to the sidelines, they would've been in prime position to be nailed by a blocker. I can't read the number of the Jet who's standing around, though. (Though honestly, I'm not sure that Jet was supposed to be on the field...)

by Jon M (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:05pm

Could someone who watched the Bengals-NE game provide some description of how on earth Team Poteat held them to 13 points? I looked at the play-by-play and saw a ton of 3 and outs, also that the DL's were getting the sacks. Were they just sitting back? My admittedly uneducated guess is that if Henry had played, he would've gotten open consistently.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:08pm

Yeah, Pacifist, I forgot it was their third to the last possession, when they were still down 11, when they punted it away, which makes it even worse. The odds of converting that fourth and two cannot be anywhere close to being low enough to justify the decision to give away possession at that point.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:10pm

Understood. And I agree with you that the bigger problem is the dropped passes.

I'm not suggesting Moore is the answer to all problems; I just see an offense struggling, an offense without a threatening running game, an offense without many playmakers making plays. Moore might help that a bit. And the coaching staff must have some confidence in Moore's blocking, because he does get into the game on third down.

I'm just watching an offense struggle to show any dynamic ability and struggle to get the ball into the endzone and looking for answers on the roster. If Robinson and Williamson, two potential playmakers, are dropping passes, I'm looking what else is there.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:11pm

OK, the Panthers beat NO and what does Mike say: "The Panthers really are terrible on third down,"
The Saints lose to the Panthers but they get: "The Saints were impressive on both sides of the ball coming off an emotional Monday Night win.".

Then he goes on to say about Bush "...he’s also making the big plays we were all looking for."

Funny, I would have said everything Mike said but reverse all the names.

Saints were 4-11(36%) on 3rd down; Panthers were 4-10(40%). Williams had 8 runs for 62 yards; Bush had 11 rushes for 22 yards.
Like I said, just reverse the names and I think you'll have it right!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:14pm

Pacifist, I think the thing to do would be to first mix him in on first down more, when teams are less likely to be blitzing Johnson.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:19pm

Re: 76

If you watch when Coles gets started the first time, some Jet just burns downfield, pushing some guy back. I think he's 25 and I think he's the one standing around.

But when you watch the pass cut across the field, there's a Colt just about on the number 20. There's also a couple more at the number 30. Looked like they'd have decent angles, since you can see them turning when he goes midfield. Remember, Pennington starts on the 45, so he'd have a ways to run.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:22pm

25 is a free safety for the Jets. Like I said, I can't figure out who that is. Or if he's supposed to be on the field.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:30pm

Also, Marcus Johnson's false start on the two point conversion might have cost the Vikings a chance to force overtime. 2 yards and 7 yards are pretty freaking different in that situation, and the Vikes did get into field goal range at the end.

Bad decision to complete a pass in the middle with under 10 seconds left, too.

Dang, I was in such despair for much of the 3rd and 4th quarter I forgot how close the game actually was.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:31pm

Re: 72

And San Diego went 12-3 and made the playoffs in '04, went 9-7 last year but were still considered one of the best teams in the league but victims of a brutal schedule, and this year that once again considered a serious contender. And Marty Schottenheimer makes so many mind-numbingly stupid coaching decisions his name is used as a verb. Sometimes teams win in spite of not because of their head coach.

by Jason (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:31pm

" Herm was the best coach the Jets had in their history, outside Weeb Ewbanks"

I can't think of a single GM in the NFL who would take Herm over Parcells

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:34pm

Doug Farrar: Okay — make that two inexplicable Bledsoe-esque INTs to Manning, Jr. in this game alone.

Ricky Manning Jr. must have believed that this really was the NFC Championship game. It's too bad he couldn't have had this type of game against Hasselbeck in last year's NFC title game.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:35pm

80: Ummm, yeah, this site is SOOO pro-Saints...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:39pm

The job Parcells did with that Jets team, right down to the very competitive game they played in Denver in the playoffs, was phenonmenal. Strangely enough, Parcells 'best coaching jobs may have been on the non Super Bowl teams. He went 10-6 with Quincy Freakin' Carter at quarterback, for cryin' out loud!

by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:40pm


To my eyes, watching in real-time, the Patriots pressured Palmer on nearly every play, hitting him extremely hard several times. The key is that they only used seven. The safeties gave help on Johnson and Housh nearly every passing play, and the other receivers and tight ends were covered one-on-one by a linebacker. It looked like Palmer rarely had time to go through his progressions, and the Bengals never adjusted. Poteat and Chad Scott covered very well for the short amount of time they needed to.

Then figure that the Pats rushed for 236 yards, most of which came before the score got out of hand. If Cincinnati doesn't get their run defense corrected, the only chance they're going to have to consistently win is to hope Palmer and Co. put up enough points early to force the opponents to abandon the run.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:41pm

83: #25 for the Jets is starting safety K. Rhodes. I'm not sure if he's the free safety or strong safety. Maybe he just ran out on the field?

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:42pm

Re: 83

I think now that it was Leon Washington (29). He drifted over to that side after the first lateral, sped down field with a Colt (who I think was still down there), then hung around for a while until he dropped Mangold's toss (admittedly not the best one) and made the final tackle (not counting the one that hadn't been called).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 2:59pm

Pacifist, that last completion made me think, not for the first time, that teams should have hook and ladder plays designed for the end of games, not necessarily to score, but to get out of bounds.

Yeah, Marques Johnson's false start penalty on the conversion was a killer, which was too bad for him, given that otherwise he probably played best in the fourth quarter.

The game was eminently winnable. One bad red zone effort by the defense, when they relaxed after Price caught the pass with his knee on the ground, three dropped passes (two of them for big yardage), and a phenomenal interception by London Fletcher were the difference, perhaps along with Johnson's false start.

They need to thump the Lions by more than a touchdown in the Metrodome to stay back on schedule for playoff contention. Having tiebreakers over the Redskins and Panthers could be very important if they can solve their current problems. The Rams game at the end of the year could end up being very important to both teams. I'm hoping the Eagles go about 13-3, with the rest of the NFC east beating the hell out of each other, with the same happening in the South, where I'm pulling for the Falcons to pull away.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:01pm

I think you're right - I think it is Washington.

There were no Colts defenders deep downfield on the left side, though - they were both at midfield. They wouldn't've had good angles to get to Pennington at all had he cut to the sidelines. They would've met Pennington at about the 10 or 20 yard line. That's not exactly a nice safety margin.

Plus, he'd have another target to lateral to with Washington there. There was just no reason for Pennington to chuck it across the field.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:14pm

Re 89: I thought the 8-8 year with Ray Lucas at QB (when Vinny tore his achilles on opening day) was phenomenal.

As for Edwards, he wouldn't have tried the onside kick so the field goal wouldn't have mattered. And if the Jets did kick the FG, even if we assume the rest of the game would've played out the same (and it wouldn't have), the 3 points only makes it a tie, not a Jets win.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:17pm


Actually it's not that the site is sooo pro Saints so much that it is sooo neg Panthers.
It's a great site and I visit regularly but I rarely, if ever, read anything pos. concerning the Panthers here. Winning or lossing, it always seems to be neg. where the Panthers are concerned. Nothing against the Saints or Bush

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:24pm

96: OK, so the Panthers fan says that this site is anti-Panthers. Last year the Falcons fans were calling it anti-Falcons. Look what happened to them.

It seems that the FOMBC is particularly harsh on teams from the NFC South...

by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:27pm

I think that if NE or the Colts aren't playing in the game than this site doesn't really care. It seems even more NE/Colts-centric than last year. They obviously don't watch other games very intently. Totally understandable. Yjey're fans like everyone else. Just don't expect analysis at the same level for other teams.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:29pm

Analysis? Analysis? Audibles isn't for analysis! Audibles is for "here's what we said while we were watching the games." It's right here:

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.

Jeez. There is no claim, anywhere whatsoever, that every team will be equally represented in Audibles.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:32pm

Re: 96

1. This site is based on stats, not really feelings. If you want positive Panthers coverage, there are places for that.

2. Look at the 2006 Projections. Almost everyone picks the Panthers to win their division and the founder and owner (he of the winner of the King Kaufman preditions contest fame) of the site picks them to win the Super Bowl (over Seatle who are favored by the numbers).

3. Carolina has not played all that great this year.

by Minsane (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:37pm

Re Portis, wtf is wrong with Joe Gibbs? It seemed like the Redskins were a completely different team with Portis in; they were moving the ball easily through the air and on the ground, and they seemed destined to score. Betts doesn't seem like a bad back, but Portis really takes that offense to another level (i.e. good). Given that, I don't know why Gibbs kept rotating the two.

Also, with 4 and a half yard at the Jags 16 yd line with 2+ minutes to go, why would you kick the field goal there? You just knew that Leftwich was going to drive the Jags up the field with ease, as he'd been doing all day against the Skins. The Jags could not stop the Redskins running game all day, and you don't trust your team to get 1.5 feet? Terrible. Skins go for it there, and they win the game in regulation, with ease, instead of depending on a coin toss.

Gibbs has his qualities, but in a lot of ways, he's just done.

by Dash (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:38pm

97 (Sophandros)-

You should have just let him go on... I'd be happy with the FOMBC going to Carolina, especially since the Saints seem to be playing like they actually have a chance this year...

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:41pm

If anything, it's obvious that FO hates the Steelers. I mean, they're the defending champs, and they didn't get a single mention in this edition of Audibles!

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:47pm

I think #96 is right. Any site that states Steve Smith deserved to be the MVP last year is obviously anti-Panthers.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:49pm

I love the fact that the two sentence comment on Cleveland/Oakland isn't causing Oakland or Cleveland fans to say FO is anti-Oakland or anti-Cleveland. Apparently even the fans agree the game was awful (and oh, God, it was).

by Jon M (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:51pm

Re: 90, Thanks dryheat, I wonder if Cinci's o-line has taken a step backward, especially after the injury to Braham. It does make sense that their seemingly biggest advantage (talented 2nd & 3rd options against single coverage) would be nullified if the line was getting beat. A remarkable turnaround from this game,


where the Bengals racked up 478 yards despite losing Palmer and playing a late season game in NE against a much better team.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 3:59pm

Yeah, Dennis, the 8-8 Ray Lucas year was phenomenal as well, and I'd completely forgotten it. Anybody who says Parcells is overrated as a coach hasn't thought the matter through very well. He really is a tremendous manager of people.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:02pm

1. I realize that and it's why I come here. But even though they have started poorly, there are still a couple of positive stats: Williams in particular. And besides, while the site is stats based, Audibles at the line isn't.

2. Like I have already stated, I read the site regularly and have read everything they had to say about the Panthers and every other team. But to be honest, I would rather they had picked Seattle or Chicago and just give a pos. plug the Panthers way evey now and then.

3. No doubt. And I attribute it all to FO picking them so early! So the least they could do is throw a pos. bone their way every now and then.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:02pm

102: That wouldn't be right. We should at least warn them and let them tread at their own risk.

by theory (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:03pm

Re: Chargers

A couple more things about this game... Rivers still needs to improve his accuracy in the 20-30 yard range. He's missed a few wide open easy TDs this year, including one in the 3rd qtr against the Ravens where Vincent Jackson broke free over the middle. Rivers did throw a very nice deep pass to Jackson later on, but Samari Rolle grabbed Jackson's shoulder and prevented him from making a play on it. The announcers heaped praise on Rolle for what should've been a penalty.

Speaking of Vincent Jackson, the Chargers will need him to develop into a real downfield threat this year, since McCardell and Parker were completely shut down against Baltimore. The good news is that he looks capable so far.

Enough has been said about Marty's horrible game planning, but one call was especially bad. 3rd and 6 on about the 25, heading into the wind, Marty calls for a run up the middle. Stuffed. Kaeding is forced to kick 40+ yards into a stiff wind, which is anything but automatic. The ball took a 90 degree turn at about the goal line and went wide left. It's one thing to play for FGs and another to play for extremely difficuly FGs. Idiotic on Marty's part.

The only good things I can take away from the game are that Rivers and the line generally played well, Marty might be forced to adjust his game planning, and the Chargers don't have to be everyone's early season SB bandwagon. The Ravens can have it.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:10pm

#102: No Thank You. If you guys have, you have to keep it.

#104: That comment is about a player, not a team or specific game.

by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:11pm

101: Well, since Portis has a sore shoulder, and apparently reinjured himself a bit week 1 when he played part-time, do you suppose Gibbs might be maybe protecting him a bit? Just saying.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:15pm

Re: 98

You're an idiot.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:29pm

101: It's a long season, and some reports say Portis wore down by the playoffs last season. It's not a bad idea to spot a guy.

That said, pick the spots! With about two minutes left, tie game, driving for either a go-ahead FG or go-ahead TD, Betts got three straight carries (leading to 4th and 1). Leave Portis in and maybe they keep going for a TD, or at least pick up an extra first down and prevent Jax from driving to force OT.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:29pm

They obviously don’t watch other games very intently. Totally understandable.

Who are "they?" Most of the people writing Audibles aren't Patriots or Colts fans.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:36pm

103: And nothing on Philly, too. Obviously the site is anti-Pennsylvania.

by MDD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:42pm

I am shocked at how badly the Seahawks offense played without Stevens and Alexander, and could the dropoff from Boulware to Celestin be any bigger?

This game was like a replay of all the worst moments of Seahawks football over the past 3 years wrapped into one nice tidy package. Wideouts with hands of stone, Hasselbeck throwing out lame ducks, playing 3 quarters with the last safety on the depth chart...

They'd better come out ready to make a statement of their own in St. Louis.

by tunesmith (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:46pm

Maybe Denver's questions aren't as serious as we think. They held St. Louis (1st place in NFC West and tough at home) to field goals only. They held Kansas City (41-0) to field goals only. They beat New England, who just beat Cin.

I know there's the popular interpretation of Denver playing two "weak" teams badly, and the New England win somehow not "counting" since they just happen to "own" them, but a paradigm shift might be warranted here.

And why the hell does a browser window advertising consumerpromotioncenter.com pop up while I'm typing here? It's like every 15 characters I type, I get interrupted. Extraordinarily annoying.

by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:48pm

I didn't say there was anything wrong with their coverage. Try not to get your panties all in a wad. They very clearly focus on a handful of teams. That's great. I'm not expecting them to be anything other than what they are. They are fans and want to devote their site mostly to the teams they care about. That is not an insult. If I want a site devoted to teams I care about, I'm more than welcome to start one. They certainly aren't preventing me from doing that.
I simply made an observation. If you want in-depth coverage of your favorite team and it isn't NE or the Colts or a handful of others, than you will need another site in addition to this one. Why is it that certain fans get so bent out of shape when someone insinuates that Baseball isn't totally about the Yankees and Red Sox or that football is more than just their favorite team?

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:50pm

Re: 117

Not ALL of the worst moments in recent history--at least they didn't cough up a 17-point lead in the 4th quarter. ;-)

by Brock (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:52pm

The Seahawks-Bears game somewhat reminded me of a Pats-Steelers game in 2004 regular season. The Pats didn't have Dillon. The Steelers physically dominated the Pats. Then in the AFC Championship game the Pats crushed the Steelers. My point is this. Yes the Seahawks got crushed, but I wouldn't write them off after 1 game. The Falcons got crushed vs the Saints and rebounded. The Pats lost to Broncos and rebounded. That happens all the time in the NFL. Alexander and Stevens should be back soon and the OL should be more healthly. Someone said @ Rams, @ Chiefs, and Chargers are probable losses for the Seahawks. They could lose some of those games, but I wouldn't call them probable losses.

by morganja (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:53pm

I'm also not looking for positive coverage. Why exactly is it that the Raiders suck so bad this year? Why is that New Orleans kept Atlanta's incredible run game under total control but couldn't stop Carolina's? What is Tennessee failing to do? I think we learn much more from breaking down team's failures than we do necesarily by focusing on team's sucess.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:54pm

111: Actually, I believe that it's our division-mates, Atlanta, who are the current holders of the FOMBC.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:56pm

Hey, you Pats fans, after seeing Maroney for a few games now, can you comprehend the frustration of the University of Minnesota alumni who witnessed his and Marion Barber III's careers stymied, if not wasted, by the Gophers never fielding an average defense to go with an unbelievable running attack? The worst football viewing experience of my life, even worse than four Super Bowl losses, was watching the Gophers rush for well over 400 yards against Michigan, only to see the Wolverines prevail, and come from three touchdowns behind at that, 38-35. It really pleases me to see Maroney with a franchise that knows how to optimize what he offers.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:57pm

Well, saying Herman Edwards is a better coach than Bill Parcells is silly. Saying he was more successful with the Jets than Parcells was is not.

I realize different people are making arguments, but it is illogical to claim that Schottenheimer doesn't matter to San Diego's success, but Parcells was vital to the 99 Jets going 8-8. Either coaches have an impact or they don't.

Parcells is a very good coach, but at this point I wouldn't hire him. With the Pats, he made the Super Bowl but left the team in disarray.

With the Jets, he had one playoff appearence. In 1997 he shot himself in the foot by losing confidence in O'Donnell, leading to the Leon Johnson/Ray Lucas debacle in Detroit that kept them out of the playoffs. In 1999, before the season, everyone was saying "They'll be great as long as nothing happens to Vinny." Oops. They may have overachieved after that to get to 8-8, but this was a team coming off of an AFC Championship Game appearence. There was talent there. And once again, his departure was not smooth.

With Dallas, he surprised everyone by making the playoffs in his first year, but since then he hasn't done anything. They could make the playoffs this year, but I haven't seen any reason to think they're a threat to do anything major in the postseason.

Right now, I'd take at least half-a-dozen coaches ahead of Parcells. (Belicheck, Cowher, Dungy, Shanahan, Fox, and Reid, with Holmgren, Lewis, Smith and maybe Gruden worthy of consideration as well.)

by Brock (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:58pm

re 117

That's where the loss of Mike Green and the injury to Babineaux really hurt the Seahawks.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 4:59pm

If you want in-depth coverage of your favorite team and it isn’t NE or the Colts or a handful of others, than you will need another site in addition to this one.

FO doesn't cover any team in depth. Not even the Patriots, nor the Colts, nor anyone else. It covers the league. The only time every team gets fair coverage is during the playoffs, when every team gets a preview.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:00pm

#101 - The difference to my eyes between the week 2 and week 4 Redskins isn't Portis, it's Brunell. Maybe cutting his arm last week was the best thing that could've happened to him, but this is the best he's looked since he came to Washington. I hope there's something more to it than his being held out of practice through the week, but if it means he can perform at a high level and better prepare the backups for duty, it's still far better than the season was looking two weeks ago.

Portis needs rest more than most other backs. Look at the span of his career. He's great for about 14 games a season, and then gets injured (consider the black & blue reports from last year that he had recurring numbness in his arms going into the playoffs). The less he runs now, the more he'll be able to run later. And this is without considering any lingering effects he may be feeling from his shoulder injury.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:00pm

123: If so, than hopefully it will be in full effect come Dec!

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:03pm

Why exactly is it that the Raiders suck so bad this year? Why is that New Orleans kept Atlanta’s incredible run game under total control but couldn’t stop Carolina’s? What is Tennessee failing to do?

These are suggestions for an Every Play Counts, or an Any Given Sunday (NO v Atlanta just came at a bad time on that one, but you might be able to get them to do a redux). How do you expect them to cover any of that in Audibles, when it's just a bunch of guys talking?

Send the suggestions for an EPC or an AGS to them. They'll do them. Except for the "Why do the Raiders suck?" - I think MDS might shoot himself if he tries to watch the Raiders offense for an entire game.

by MDD (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:10pm

My heart dropped into my stomach watching Boulware wabble around on the ground like that, especially knowing that Babineaux was already out.

That being said, the O Line held up well in pass protection until the Bears built their lead into 27-6 and the Hawks shut down their running game.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:10pm

#101 - The difference to my eyes between the week 2 and week 4 Redskins isn’t Portis, it’s Brunell. Maybe cutting his arm last week was the best thing that could’ve happened to him, but this is the best he’s looked since he came to Washington.

What about the offensive line? Gave up no sacks versus the Jaguars. Week 1, Brunell didn't look god-awful - it was more the "no running game" part that hurt. Week 2, Brunell had 6 sacks, and his completion percecntage tanked. Still no running game, but that game was lost on defense by Kenny Wright.

Brunell might be looking better because the offensive line is giving him more time. Any thoughts?

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:16pm

132: Is there a relationship b/w Portis and pass protection? If defenses are setting up to stop the run, are they less able to focus on rushing the passer? Has play action been effective?

I can't say because I didn't see the games (other than the end of the Jax game).

by kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:17pm

Something's getting lost amid all of this discussion about the Jets going for it on 4th down. I may be way off here, but wasn't this the first red zone INT that Pennington has ever thrown in his entire career?

I would have expected someone to have commented on it by now...

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:18pm

I find the interpretation of this as a pro-Indy site amusing. About three years ago this long-suffering Colt fan distinctly remembers walking around this virtual site with my trousers at half-mast and bright red paddle marks on my glutes bearing the impression of Pat Patriot. I even wrote into Mike Chappell at the Indy Star to encourage readers there to check out FO and back me up a bit. Not sure if anything ever came of it.

I think any pro-Indy sentiment (not purely reflected in numbers like last season's 13-0 start--every media outlet found that intriguing, even my church bulletin. just kidding.) is a reflection of their continued success and more fans coming to the site, not a bias of any of the staff (with one exception--Ned's a fan, right?). Back then, I could count the number of Indy fans here on the fingers of one hand. Today, I don't know. There are more, but not a lot.

Like the Pats, who understandably have a built-in base here because of how and where FO started (and what kind of sports fans are bred in the Boston area), Indy has been consistently successful the past handful of years. The fact that people find them interesting is no huge mystery. I'd add in Denver, KC, and SD coverage as about as robust as Indy's. Usually Pitt, sometimes Baltimore's as well. Bengals and Jets less so, but assume their pro rata share will increase as their success continues. By coverage, I mean reader commentary on the games they're watching (based on personal preference and what's available on the boob tube) as well as audibles, EPC, and TDZ. Just about everything else is uniformly stats-driven and covers the whole league.

Sadly, I only view NFC-related stuff with half my brain, but it appears that CHI, DAL, WAS, CAR, ATL all get roughly equal coverage. SEA (my home town), crying about disrespect last year, got their coverage upped based on their success.

It seems fair, or at least very understandable, to me.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:19pm

Jason #86:

I can’t think of a single GM in the NFL who would take Herm over Parcells

Parcells is a great coach, but what did he do for the Jets besides one nice year? My qualifier was best coach for the Jets. Outside Weeb Ewbank, nobody has done more for the Jets than Herm Edwards. And all he got for it was a weekly crucifixion by the NY media and fans.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:24pm

Andrew, Parcells did take over a 1-15 team and make them respectable. Didn't Edwards take over a 9-7 team? That makes a big difference--I would say Parcells did more for improving a terrible team to a respectable team (that stayed respectable a long while) than Edwards, who took over a just-above-mediocre team and kept them just-above-mediocre.

All Parcells did was get rid of the terrible culture of a franchise that went 1-15; all Edwards did was take over a decent team that stayed decent (and might never have been decent at all had Parcells not been there).

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:29pm

Not having Babineaux and Green available to play S certainly didn't help, but it sure looked to me like the CBs were easy pickings all night for Grossman. He had time, so credit the O-line, but he also delivered the ball where it needed to be. The kid can play.

Maybe the CBs weren't getting the safety support they needed, but last night they could have had Kenny Easley and Ronnie Lott back there, and it wouldn't have helped. The Seahawks were out-everythinged last night. Man, that was ugly.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:31pm

130: I think MDS has a high tolerance for bad football. After all, he is a Lions fan.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:33pm

#132 - well, of course. The thing is that the Redskins played miles better in every facet of the game against JAX than they did against DAL (except, of course, Derek Frost--but there's no hope for that). But the running game and the offensive line played well against Houston, too, and the concensus among the few Redskins fans I talk to was that Brunell had played exactly well enough to ruin the season. He wasn't looking down the field at all, and of the three long (relatively speaking) throws he made, one nearly got David Patten killed, one was nearly intercepted, and one was out of bounds. Just looking at the nfl.com play-by-play, "Brunell pass deep" occurs 5 times against JAX, and 5 times total during the first three weeks (one of which was an interception, and one incomplete).

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:34pm

135: Will Carroll, too, but he's not an active writer for the site anymore, just for PFP (and Audibles).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:35pm

All I know is that I was EXTREMELY impressed with the Redskins offensive line yesterday, on runs and passes alike. That, my friends, was a classic Gibbs/Bugel offensive line performance, with a good dash of Saunders thrown in to maximize the final product. Yes, they've had some injury issues, but that is a good Jaguar front seven, and they got they got an ass-kicking yesterday.

Regarding Parcells and Edwards, in the three years prior to Parcells' arrival, the Jets won 10 games, including one victory in the year immediately preceding the arival of Parcells. Parcells won 29 games in his three years.

Prior to Edwards' hire, the Jets had won 29 games in the three previous years, and went 9-7 under Al Groh. Edwards won 25 games in his first three years.

It's a really, really, big stretch to say that Edwards was better coach for the Jets than Parcells.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:36pm

To fully appreciate the greatness of Parcells' tenure with the Jets, we need only recall three words:

Rich &^%*#@! Kotite

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:41pm

Bill Wallace #55:

there was also the fact that people who wouldn’t go for it there also wouldn’t have kicked onside, and therfore still would have likely lost. You can’t cherrypick the bad risks

Okay, going through this again now that I have the data in front of me.

In the past 6 years, there have been 61 surprise on-sides kicks. 38 of these were successfully covered by the kicking team - 62%. The best kickers at surprise onsides kicks (and time will tell if Nugent is among their number), have 74% of their surprise onsides kicks covered.

OTOH, the conversion rate on 3rd/4th down passes in short yardage situations at the goal line is around 37%. In a close game (or any game), is a 37% shot at 7 points really worth more than a 99% shot at 3 points? I don't think so.

The risky call was giving up the certain 3 points with the 4th down pass attempt, not the onsides kick.

by queequeg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:45pm

the jets lost because their D played 10 yards off the colts and gave up 2 TDs in less than 4 minutes. calling the prevent defense was the real risk.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:45pm

Re: 135

I think you said that well. I just wanted to add to your point about success.

I think that this site is based around the question of what makes a football team successful. To do that, it seems best to look at the successful teams and see what they are doing.

For example, last week's Every Play Counts was on the Bear's Passing. Did we see that last year? No. Would I have wanted to? No. Is Chicago Indy or New England? No. Would I read an Every Play Counts about Oakland? Yes, but I would prefer something else.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:45pm

Just looking at the nfl.com play-by-play, “Brunell pass deep� occurs 5 times against JAX

Well, yes - but that's kindof my point. Was Brunell actually able to pass deep because the offensive line was giving him time?

Brunell was hit 3 times, and had 0 sacks in Week 4. In Week 2, clearly his worst game (right?), he was hit 9 times, with 6 sacks. It's reasonable to believe he had guys in his face the entire night. The fact that he had two deep throw attempts - one of which was a "chuck it up!", and the other was completed for 24 yards, when the Cowboys were in prevent at the end of the game - kindof indicates that he might not have had time to make those throws.

I think #133 raises a good question, which I had thought of when I posted it: is Portis good at blitz pickup?

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:45pm

In a close game (or any game), is a 37% shot at 7 points really worth more than a 99% shot at 3 points? I don’t think so.

0.37 * 7 = 2.59
0.99 * 3 = 2.97

Factor in the field position you gain from leaving them on their own 2 if you fair and it's pretty darn close, I'd say.

by John P (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:52pm

105: My impressions of that game - Cleveland turned it over twice in the first quarter, and spotted the Raiders a lead. Eventually, they got their dink and dunk passing game going, with Frye spreading the ball around. Jordan was able to get going in this one after a slow start. Walters went deep on a number of occasions. However, those receivers were often covered (especially Moss).

106 Considering the center is in charge of making line calls, could Braham's injury be resulting in some blown blocking assignments? Poor recognition of blitzes and where they will come from?

110 Rivers had some success in the pseudo no-huddle that the Chargers started out in. He got a gift for his one big play, when the defender fell down on an out and up. Otherwise, he was a average to slightly below average quarterback. However, for his 3rd start, that is a positive thing.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:53pm

Unless your quarterback throws an interception in the end zone, giving them back 20 yards immediately.

Going for it was the right call. Throwing a free interception was stupid. He should've thrown the ball away, or taken the sack. The Colts offense is just too good to spot them 20 yards.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 5:59pm

Geez, it's interesting to look at Weeb Ewbank's record. In 11 years with the Jets, his winning percentage was only .461. It's a good thing he made his reputation with the Colts, and had the most famous Super Bowl victory with the Jets, in large part due to Earl Morrall stinking the joint out.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:07pm

It's asking quite a bit to expect a QB to throw it away or take a sack on 4th down. I'm not saying that wouldn't be the right thing to do, just that almost all people would argue he should try complete something, including likely his coach, all the coaches he ever had, and all experience he ever had quarterbacking.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:08pm

re:149 re:106

I'd agree that the line had some issues, but not blitz pickup. The problem was that the pats were getting HUGE amounts of pressure with just the front four.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:14pm

If a QB, and a coach, can't understand the difference between 4th down elsewhere on the field, and 4th down on the 2 yard line, the QB shouldn't be playing, or the coach shouldn't be coaching. The giant uprights ten yards in front of you should give it away.

I guarantee you that Mangini said "Don't ever, ever throw the ball up for grabs when we're that close to the end zone. You just gave them 20 yards of free field position." Coaches understand field position more than we do.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:16pm

OTOH, the conversion rate on 3rd/4th down passes in short yardage situations at the goal line is around 37%. In a close game (or any game), is a 37% shot at 7 points really worth more than a 99% shot at 3 points? I don’t think so.

You're completely ignoring field position. If Pennington throws that ball away instead of throwing the INT, that pins Indy on the 2 yardline. If Pennington does the right thing (and that as his first red-zone INT in a long time; I forget the exact stat) your two choices are:
a) Go up 3 points against an offense as explosive as Indy's with 1 1/3 quarters still left to play.

b) Go for it and either put up 7 or pin Indy at the 2 yardline and let your defense (who you even said had been doing a pretty good job all day) go to work.

With the success that NY's defense had been having, and the fact that everyone new that they weren't supposed to win that game, I really can't fault Mangini for trying to go for the throat.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:18pm

146 Trying to avoid the log-rolling, mutual-appreciation society, but good point about the EPC on Chicago.

I suppose like much of life, if you want attention, you have to stand out. If you're doing well, you get it. If you're stinking up the joint, you'll get it and wish you didn't. Probably most frustrating for fans of the decent 8-8 type teams, since they are, by definition, average. Unless they have a superstar of either the Peytom Branning or Moss/Owens type, (or they're located in Dallas, or their fans dress like it's Halloween, or they move to LA), then they'll be overlooked a lot. Understandably so.

Now if there were a TDZ or EPC focusing on Robert Gallery (like the Cleveland Center issues recently), I'd read it. Like watching a train wreck, from what I hear. But I'd rather read about the Denver D, how McNair is managing to win, or something else I'm likely to need to know when the postseason rolls around.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:19pm

Going for it was the right call. Throwing a free interception was stupid. He should’ve thrown the ball away, or taken the sack. The Colts offense is just too good to spot them 20 yards.

I disagree. Because the Colts offense is so good, the 20 yards isn't as important as it would be against a lesser offense. And if he took the sack, the difference would only be about 12 yards.

If you're going to go for it on 4th down, you can't take the sack or throw it away.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:20pm

Well, yes - but that’s kindof my point. Was Brunell actually able to pass deep because the offensive line was giving him time?

Of course. What was most worrying about week 3 is that he wasn't looking deep even with time. What was most worrying about week 2 is that Brunell was looking like he did in 2004 all over again. Passes just aren't supposed to bounce in front of the receiver.

The pressure had a lot to do with it, but the Skins' offense isn't predicated on a lot of long drops--they're in love with the short pass, and even that wasn't working. I dont' put a lot of stock in receivers looking open on TV--the camera angles aren't nearly good enough for it--but I just can't believe that the Cowboys' secondary is that good or that the Skins' receivers are that bad (try not to laugh too hard).

Also lost a bit in my focus on Brunell is how much better the defense played. The pass coverage isn't especially good (even if some of that's to be expected with Springs out), but Ron Dayne last week outrushed the entire Jaguars offense this week. Ron freaking Dayne.

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:21pm

I'm not sure what NFL rules or our laws say about conduct during athletic competition, but I think sports are different enough from everyday life that you shouldn't arrest a player for actions like Haynesworth's, even though it took place after the play was over. Football is an extremely violent game. Players get into fights after plays. While stomping on someone's face is horrifying, players do worse during plays. In the moments after a play, players still want to kill eachother.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:21pm

Pat, but do you think any coach Pennington ever had every suggested that a 4th down situation existed in which the QB should throw it away? Did Pennington ever face such a situation? Considering on most fourth downs you don't want to throw it away, and considering teams don't often go for it on 4th and goal relatively early in a tie game, I doubt it.

Like I said, I can see it's the right decision. BUT...would we so clearly "see" it's the right decision if Pennington threw it away? Was there anything during Pennington's preparation to be a quarterback that suggested such a time would occur? I don't know. People here like to complain about the institutional nature of "conventional wisdom" in the NFL, and if you're going to complain about the systematic thought, it's harder to criticize the individual decision.

by Carlos (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:23pm

is Portis good at blitz pickup?

I don't know if he is or he isn't b/c honestly I don't pay enough to how other backs pick or don't pick up the blitz with any real regularity (ie, other than noticing the occasional great pickup or terrible miss) , but he has a rep for being phenomenal in the blitz pickup.

I read that the Skins got some good interior D Line play from a couple of late round draft choices this year. That's good to hear. Maybe cerrato will learn to hang on to those picks!

Best reason to hope for skins fans: Springs will be back for the last 2/3 of of the season.

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:25pm

Oh, and I'm pretty sure Albert isn't "scum." He was much more contrite than I expected him to be.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:25pm

Two things- a question and an observation:

1. Does anyone know which hand Ronnie Brown throws with? I noticed that on Miami's unsuccessful HB-pass two point attempt, he threw with his left-handed. I just wondered if he exacerbated an already questionable playcall by throwing with the wrong hand.

2. The Redskins attempted a WR-pass with Randle El yesterday, but there was noone open, so ARE just kept the football and picked up some yards on the ground. First, smart play by ARE. Too many HBs and WRs will just throw it up for grabs on those types of plays and get picked off. Second, it was interesting that the Redskins didn't have anybody open. It seemed like the Steelers always had at least one receiver wide open on those plays. I don't know if there is any significance to that or not.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:26pm

Hey, I didn't see Colts/Jets; did the Jets' defense have a few three and outs prior to the fourth down play?

by Len (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:29pm

Bill said:

TENNESSEE (+10) over Dallas
It takes a pretty great team to get ten points on the road and still cover. Indianapolis is giving 9.5 at the Jets this week, and I’m a little hesitant to go and pick one way or the other because Indianapolis has, at least, the potential to be a pretty great team. Dallas is not a pretty great team. They’re not even fit and working again, and this day, the Cowboys won’t be beating the Titans by two scores.

So I guess Dallas is pretty great, Bill. Let's hear it.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:32pm

Let me clarify my comment in #160. It's not that we shouldn't criticize individual decisions. However, to a great extent, players exist in a world created by coaches. In this created world, Pennington has likely never been told of, and never considered, a 4th down situation in which he should throw it away. That's what I mean--it's expecting quite a bit for him to figure out that the world the coaches have created might be wrong, and he should break from the system they've created.

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:34pm

"The Colts’ “let’s play turtle ball against a bad team� strategy nearly bites them on the butt."

Ahh, yes. Mr. Tanier needs some explanation for why his "This week, the Jets will be identified as the team trailing by 27 points in the fourth quarter" didn't quite pan out. Couldn't be that he was just wrong. C'mon, Mikey, take your medicine!

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:49pm

They gave Haynesworth five games. Five freaking games. I would have done a 16 game job on him for that.

I know that there's a difference between league imposed and team imposed suspensions, but T.O. got 9 games for being a pain in the ass while Haynesworth tries to kill a guy and gets 5 games. Something's not right.

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:57pm


I don't think it's really fair to compare the situation. TO was suspended by his employer, just like Keyshawn getting thrown off the Bucs a few years ago for being a prima donna -- it's a move made as much to improve the team as it is to punish the player and had nothing to do with breaking the rules of them game.

A more interesting comparison would be, is that 5-game suspension a long suspension (relatively speaking) compared to other punishments handed out for on-field incidents?

[race/qb card]
And imagine what would happen if someone stomped Peytom Branning's head...
[/race/qb card]

by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 6:58pm

#163 - I've never seen much of the Steelers, so I don't really know how they used Randle El. On the option pass yesterday afternoon, though, it looked like he only had one read--and with all due respect to Hines Ward, I don't think he scares defenses the way Santana Moss can (see the rest of the JAX game for supporting evidence). My favorite play of WAS-JAX yesterday was a Portis run up the middle in which Samuels and Dockery pulled right and blocked Stroud back about 10 yards, but seeing Randle El turn a failed trick play into even a small gain was a close second.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:01pm

I'm not sure what I think about five games for Haynesworth. On the one hand, I feel like the NFL needs a better, stricter structure for suspensions on dead ball fouls. On the other, what did Trent Cole get for kicking Kareem McEnzie a couple of weeks ago? Is there any reason why that should be less objectionable?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:01pm

I don't what limits the new CBA placed on the league in regards to penalties in this instance (Haynesworth). Anybody know off-hand?

by Kyle S (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:13pm

I'm copying and pasting my thoughts on to a few message boards, including this one:

Way too lenient. That fact that he apologized to the camera's, and seemed sincere, doesn't come close to cutting it in this case.

Does the NFL fear the wrath of the NFLPA or something (why, I wouldn't know, since the NFLPA is probably the one with the least moxie among the major proffesional sports)?

The NFL's attempt to make Albert Haynesworth the example was feeble, IMO. I believe his actions warranted a lifetime ban from the NFL, but I would have been satisfied with a one-year suspension w/o pay (meaning he would be eligible to play again in Week 5 of the '07 season) plus a $1 million fine. The NFL should have given him at least that, and the NFLPA could fight that if they wanted to take the public relations hit.

The clear message that needed to be sent was that Haynesworth's actions against Gurode were not on par with some John Lynch helmet-to-helmet cheap shot or even anything Bill Romanowski may have done in his day. Haynesworth committed assault and battery and should have been wearing handcuffs and escorted out of the Coliseum yesterday by police on his way to the pokey.

I'll add: The DA there in Nashville should press criminal assault and battery charges against Gurode. Being in the middle of a game should not be a buffer. NHL players have spent nights in jail for their actions against teammates during games.

by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:14pm

AFAIK, the CBA doesn't cover league-imposed disciplinary action. The Personal Conduct Policy is spelled out in a separate document. I'm assuming that what's online is a highly abridged copy, but Persons Engaged in Violent Activity in the Workplace
Every employee is entitled to a safe and professional workplace free of criminal behavior, violence and threats against personal safety. Criminal conduct in the workplace or against other employees is prohibited. Any Covered Person who commits or threatens violent acts against coworkers, regardless of whether an arrest is made or criminal charges are brought, shall be subject to evaluation, counseling and discipline, including termination of employment.

seems to be the applicable paragraph. In any case, everything else points to its being entirely discretionary.

by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:20pm

#130- Maybe we could suggest for an EPC the defense opposite the Raiders, so MDS only has to tangentially watch their offense. It should reduce his suffering somewhat.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:22pm

Re: 173

Agreed on the lifetime ban, or at minimum 1 yr suspension + $1M fine.

To paraphrase Mike Florio, if I walk down the hall and brazenly gash a co-worker's head open with my foot, I would expect to lose my job and face assault charges. The fact that this incident happened on a football field is in no way a mitigating factor.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:25pm

If that's the case, then five games is way too short. What Haynesworth did was every bit as bad as Todd Bertruzzi's (sp?) actions, which broke a competitor's neck, and the NHL suspended him for a much larger percentage of the season. It was pure luck that Gurode didn't lose an eye.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:27pm

#171 - On the other, what did Trent Cole get for kicking Kareem McEnzie a couple of weeks ago? Is there any reason why that should be less objectionable?

In the Philly game, it was Trent Cole who lay prone at the end of the play. When McKenzie went to help him up, Cole misinterpreted his intentions and kicked in the (mistaken) belief it was self-defense. The two situations are nothing alike.

by Ferg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:30pm

Re 176: To be fair, a lot of the legal hits that football players are expected to do would get you fired and arrested at any other job.

That said, I agree that five games might be a bit weak.

by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:36pm

"The fact that this incident happened on a football field is in no way a mitigating factor."

I'm not arguing that Hayneworth shouldn't have gotten a longer suspension, but of course the fact that this happened on the football field is a mitigating factor. Context matters. We accept a lot of actions (and condemn a lot other actions less harshly) depending on where and when they take place. I have no problem taking a hard line here, but to say the fact that this occurred during a football game as opposed to the hallway of an office building is irrelevant seems to me just goofy.

by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:39pm

all this stuff about how Haynesworth should be subject to criminal charges ignores this one, key fact: the police will not pursue charges unless Gurode wants them to. I read a quote from the PD which stated that they WOULD be willing to pursue charges if Gurode gave the word, but he just hasn't yet. It's up to Gurode, as it should be--not us.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:39pm

FO isn't anti-Panthers. Last year, the Panthers were in the first THREE Any Given Sunday articles of the regular season: Saints over Panthers, Panthers over Patriots, and Dolphins over Panthers.

For what it's worth, the Panthers seemed to do a pretty good job of containing Reggie Bush this week. He had only two touches (of 17) that exceeded 5 yards from scrimmage, plus one touch (8 yard run) that was negated in exchange for a 5 yard defensive offside penalty. Bush caught a 32 yard pass when OLB Thomas Davis got picked by the tight end and later had another short catch-and-run that resulted in 14 yards.

by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:42pm

(sorry for double post)
I agree that the context is of course important. There are life-threatening hits that are laid on people all the time (ex.Trent Green) that we just ignore. If you want to ignore context, you better go ahead and outlaw football: on defense, it basically amounts to a big game of assault and battery, with defenders literally trying to lay the hardest (and thus most damaging) hits possible.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:43pm

re: Redskins/Brunell
I'm not sure any of us are able to definitely untangle the OLine from Brunell from the WRs in terms of who gets the blame (you'd need film for one thing). My feeling is Brunell 1, WRs distant 2, OL even more distant 3rd. In the first two games it seemed like he would drop back and get a decent amount of time quite frequently, but he couldn't or wouldn't pull the trigger. That's either on the WRs for not being open or on him for having no arm or confidence. Then after he Bledsoes in the pocket for 6 seconds he gets creamed and it looks like the OLs fault.

Obviously Postis' pass blocking and running threat are helping. Also for some reason against Jacksonville he sucked much less than before. I used to think there was an injury related pattern to when Dr. Mark or Mr. Brunell would show up, but it's hard to explain this year.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:48pm

Have there ever been any other multi-game suspensions in the NFL for on-field conduct? I don't know of any, and Coach Fisher said in his press conference it was unprecedented.

Oh, and Todd Bertuzzi's suspension ended up at 20 games: 13 regular season and 7 playoff games. With an 82 game season, that's roughly 4 NFL games. Other noteworthy NHL suspensions: Claude Lemieux got 5 games for cross-checking Kris Draper into the bench, resulting in worse injuries than Gurode suffered; Tie Domi(?) got 8 games for sucker-punching Ulf Samuelsson; Dale Hunter got 21 for blindsiding Pierre Turgeon in the playoff; and Marty McSorley got 23 for his hit on Donald Brashear.

I believe 5 games is a fair and reasonable suspension for what Haynesworth did. If anger management classes were not a part of the suspension, then I expect the Titans to order him to do such. Haynesworth can also expect to be watched quite closely in the future, and I think any future penalty where he shows an attempt to injure should draw a suspension of at least equal length, while a similar sort of blatant act should start at 16+ games.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:51pm

I think what Haynesworth did was worse than Coles, since Haynesworth took the time to actually pull Gurode's helmet off and then stomped on his face, with cleats.

In terms of premeditation, it's probably unprecedented. The closest I can remember was Charles Martin's body slam of Jim McMahon (suspended two games for it), but Martin didn't strip any prtective gear first.

Noidea what the CBA limits are. We'll find out if Haynesworth appeals.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:51pm

#130- Maybe we could suggest for an EPC the defense opposite the Raiders, so MDS only has to tangentially watch their offense. It should reduce his suffering somewhat.

Yah, but it'd be a boring read. "On third down, the defensive end blew by Robert Gallery unblocked again, sacking Andrew Walter for the 3rd time." "On second down, the linebacker watched Walter fall straight backwards and lose the ball."

by JJcruiser (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:53pm

Did Herm Edwards play or coach under Marty? They seem like the same coach when the game is on the line: The mantra: "When close or winning, run it into the middle for no gain, and then force tough field goals on kicker (or devastatingly important punts on punter). Blame kicker/punter after loss. Keep job."

Seriously, one decent drive in the second half and San Diego would be going home 3-0. Instead, they let gimpyman McNair back into the game.

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:54pm

How can you love a headhunter like Ronnie Lott but hate Haynesworthy? Lott and other safeties talked openly about headhunting and ended the careers or more players than Albert possibly could. Yeah, it was within the game, but there's a reason they fine you for helmet to helmet these days.

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 7:56pm

Hayneworthy - freudian slip or new word?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 8:07pm

Hmmm, my memory was that Betruzzi's suspension was longer than that, which is a commentary on my memory. Thanks for the correction.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 8:08pm

And on a different note:

I completely missed that Vanderjagt was kicking off for the Cowboys. What the hell is up with that guy? Can he do anything consistently anymore? How did he ever kick so many field goals in a row?

His kickoffs on Sunday were 50 yards, 71 yards, 60 yards, 66 yards, 69 yards, 48 yards, 71 yards (ignoring a very short one due to a shorter kickoff distance), and apparently the touchback was due to a favorable bounce, not distance.

God, what a waste of money Vanderjagt was.

by James C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:01pm

Jake #189

When Ronnie Lott laid a big hit on a guy it was his head or shoulder that had to put the hit on the other guy. There must have been an equal risk (or at least a big risk) of Lott coming away with a career ending injury aswell as or instead of the unfortunate player that Lott was headhunting. There is clearly an element of bravery an physical courage involved with the administration of such a blow.

Haynesworth just stomped on a prone person's head with STUDS ON. Physical risk to Fat Albert - none. Risk to prone player - huge. There was no courage required just the snidest form of cowardice.

I am truly stunned that you think these two examples are valid as comparisons.

Grow a brain.

by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:12pm

James C,

I think the point is there is violence we love in football and violence we abhor in football, and we should at least give thought to why we abhor some violence and love other kinds.

I'm not saying it's wrong, but it's interesting to read so much outrage over a violent act from people who watch a very violent sport for fun. OBVIOUSLY stomping a guy's face with ones cleats is a different act than hitting a wide receiver as hard as you can. But we should reflect on what we're doing when we have such outrage.

by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:13pm

193: so, by your logic, risking significant and possibly life-threatening injury to TWO people is better than risking it to one? I mean fine, he was brave, but is brave and extremely dangerous really much better than just dangerous? is it somehow better because he also risked significantly hurting himself in addition to the other person?

by Tim L (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:20pm

189: Nonsense. Ronnie Lott was a devastating hitter, but he wasn't known as a head hunter, and he never ended a player's career.

The 49ers dynasty of 1981-1999 was the classiest, most sportsmanlike professional sports organization I've ever seen, and I've been watching the NFL since 1970.

On possible legal action against Haynesworth: There is an interesting legal precedent here. In 1973, Boobie Clark of the Bengals hit the Broncos Dale Hackbart viciously from behind and broke his neck, ending his career. Hackbart successfully sued Clark on the grounds that clearly premeditated hits designed to injure were subject to tort legal action.

That probably goes a long way towards explaning why the remarks of Haynesworth is so remarkably conciliatory after the game.

by James C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:26pm

Pacifist Viking

The main point I was trying to make is that to deliver a big hit you need to be willing to place your own body on the line to do it. You are clearly placing yourself at risk of injury when you try to deliver such a blow. It must require a good deal of courage to do this over and over again, it must also be very painfull.
What Haynesworth did was pure thuggery and as previously stated, extremely cowardly.

by James C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:34pm


to demonstrate the fallacial position you have adopted I will turn your question around;

'Why should he risk hurting himself as well as the other player?'

To go one step further;

'Why hit him during play? Why not just wait until he is on the floor and then pull his helmet off and stamp on his face? After all only one player gets hurt so its much safer'

by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 9:45pm

I had a big long post and the post-eating monster got to it first. It went something along the lines of:

1a. I like the idea of the Jets going for it on 4th down, but not the calls. They shouldn't have run on on downs 1,2,& 3 if they wanted to fool anyone on a play action.

1b. The Jets should have spread out their receivers, and tried a John Elway-ish QB draw.

2. In Jets history, Parcels will be remembered as the better coach. Bill took a losing franchise & turned it into a winner. Remembered this is a franchise that had suffered through the Blair Thomas-Coslett-Browning Nagle-Rich Kotite era.

Herm Edwards took a winning franchise & had a few winning seasons. Let's see how Herm does when KC implodes (in 5, 4, 3,...).

by fromanchu (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 10:09pm

james c,
That is an actual strawman tactic. You attribute to PV the argument that the fewer in danger the better. But this isn't what he said. His point is that the existence of risk to the attacker does not mitigate the act. You say that maliciousness and intent to injure is acceptable as long as there is risk to the offending party. It would be courageous for Haynesworth to stomp on a players head, while balancing on a tightrope above a bed of spikes. But it wouldn't be any less reprehensible.

by Subrata Sircar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 10:17pm

Re: Todd Bertuzzi suspension

185, 191 are both right. Todd Bertuzzi missed almost 18 months of hockey, but only 17 NHL games due to the lockout. The suspension continued, however, since he missed two world championships and the Hockey World Cup. Click my name for the link.

The suspension was open-ended, with the implication that he wouldn't play again until Moore did. The lockout made it look less severe than it was, IMO.

I think Haynesworth should be suspended for the balance of the season. His apology may have been sincere, but the league is basically equating his action to a first-time drug suspension, and that's not right.

by dbt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 10:55pm

Re: #93. Wouldn't a fumble out of bounds stop the clock? If so, wouldn't a lateral out of bounds stop the clock?

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:00pm

#134: Kibbles, see comment #10. Though it's kind of buried in a parenthetical note.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:01pm

The problem with a long (10 games plus) suspension is that the league would have to deal with a lot of "That play was at least one tenth at bad as Haynesworth's, so there should be a one-game suspension." I don't think they (or we) want to see a lot of one game suspensions, although I suppose it would reduce the number of helmet-to-helmet hits.

I'm not the tastefully named gentleman who's been posting about the Panthers' lack of respect.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:06pm

#164: No; in fact, they had only one three-and-out all game, and that was at the beginning of the second quarter (the 4th down play came at 10:20 of the third quarter).

The immediately previous drive the Colts got only one first down and 7 net yards; there were also a couple of earlier drives where the Colts got a single first down, one with a six yard net and one with a 16 yard net. The other two drives were TDs.

by Rob (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:40pm

fromanchu said it perfectly: adding courage/bravery to extremely dangerous premeditated behavior does not, in and of itself, make the actions any less reprehensible.

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:51pm


Right. That's why they discourage leading with the helmet.

That didn't stop Brian Dawkins from trying to spear some Packers wideout in the endzone tonight, btw.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:54pm

RE #202
It is a penalty to intentionally lateral a ball out of bonds in order to stop the clock. I think that question may have been brought up on this site before, actually. If it weren't a penalty to do so, you'd see WR's throwing balls out of bounds from the middle of the field to stop the clock during every 2 minute drill.

by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/02/2006 - 11:55pm

Agreed, most hard tackles in an NFL game probably constitute borderline assault, depending on jurisdiction. What Haynesworth did went far beyond that line, regardless of jurisdiction.

I'm not saying that context doesn't matter, but I am saying that in this instance, it shouldn't.

by Rob (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 12:36am

borderline assault? Haynesworth crossed that line?
One major counterexample: Geathers' monster hit on Green, which caused a major concussion. A concussion far, far outstrips the damage caused by a cleat in the head (basically a big cut). Concussions are taken far less seriously than they actually are. If you want to argue that he could have killed him, fine, but Geathers could have killed Green too.
NFL's response: zero penalty on Geathers. Legal or not by the rules of the NFL, hits like that DO constitute legal (by federal law) assault. Likewise with Dawkins' occasional body slams, Roy William's nasty horse collar resulting in a broken leg for TO, possibly Kaesviharn's hit on whichever Patriot that was, etc., etc. Hits just as damaging, and just as much assault, as Haynesworth, occur every week. For the NFL to single Haynesworth out with this suspension smacks of hypocrisy. We, fans, love to watch people get brutally injured; we just like to see it in a certain format, typically throwing your body into another player's head while they are mostly defenseless but still standing up. We (apparently) don't like to see a lineman stomp on other lineman's head. But realistically, it's a pretty arbitrary distinction: both are very serious, very dangerous, and possibly life-threatening. To me, it's just the nature of the game, not a question of morality. Geathers' hit is morally equivalent, in terms of damage, intent, and unnecessariness, to Haynesworth's stomp, in my humble opinion.

by queequeg (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:22am

i would like, just once, to read over a forum without seeing a reference to the "straw man argument". Also, Haynesworth stomped on the naked head of a prone man. That is assault and battery. Tackling hard during the course of a play is not.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:25am

Uhm, assault is making people fear for their safety. Battery is actually hitting or injuring them. They're entirely different crimes (and for that matter, federal assault and battery are both sketchy and generally not used- it's generally a state issue).

If you're talking from a legal standpoint, a "normal" injury wouldn't be a battery because it was mutual combat- players are usually playing and hitting within the scheme of the game (or close to it). Haynesworth, on the other hand, just stepped on some dude's head.

Aside from any silly legal argument, people get hurt more when they're not moving, especially when they're near the ground. When two people are running at each other it may make a big collision, but a lot of the force from each person is negated, and generally they can just bounce and have the pads take the brunt. When someone is standing still and is hit with equal force (or launched into), they're going to take the full of it and go wherever the opposing player is taking them. If they're on or near the ground, this is especially dangerous.

I would like to see two things: the elimination of the QB slide (we've seen how much DBs respect it. It's just leaving them sitting ducks), and a tighter enforcement of Unneccessary Roughness. It's not "mean roughness." It's "unneccessary." With highlight reels becoming the reason a lot of players act the way they do, and huge hits playing such a big part, you need to have a tighter guard against unscrupulous (or just plain dangerous) players.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:25am

Also: it appears Seattle has gotten its revenge by sending us all of their rain. At once. Dear God.

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:28am

Someone brought up legal precedent - you don't have to go back too far. Though no criminal charges were filed, Romanowski was liable in civil court for ripping off the helmet of Marcus Williams and socking him in the face. It's pretty clear that Gurode can pursue that avenue if he'd like.

As for the NFL suspension. Even though during the game my first thought was he should be gone for the season, today I was thinking it should be somewhere between 4-8 games.

8 games, obviously, would have been better from a deterrent stand point, but I don't think you can disregard Haynesworth's post-game apology. The personal tone of it spoke volumes, and suggests that this isn't going to be an issue with him again - which is the only other reason a longer suspension would have been needed.

by cd6 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:35am

Instead of working from home, like I should have been doing, I read this whole thread

First of all, major props to DavidH from a post back in the 20's with the link to the youtube of the jets' last play

Comments on everything else:
-What the heck is FOMBC? Football Outsiders Message Board Commentariat?

-I agree with those who say Haynesworth penalty seems short. Maybe Fisher will double it or something. May be Haynesworth will voluntarily double it himself or something. He did seem genuinely sorry, and I hope he called the other guy to apologize. Basically I agree with 214

re 213
Seattle has had amazing weather since June. I don't think it's rained here in like a week in a half. Ha!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:39am

Personally I'd prefer to read a forum, just once, where the straw man argument was not employed.

by cd6 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:43am


I don't think that's possible on the internet

by Jersey (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:44am

Not sure where anyone is talking about the MNF game... but I'm glad to see Kornheiser (sp?) pick up exactly where madden left off with his head up Favre's rear. They didn't stop praising him all night, no matter how bad he played. And they even faulted McNabb for things Favre was doing/struggling with too. I mean I know people havn't been sucking up to favre lately, but this was definately a retro night.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:48am

re: The Lateral play.
I agree Pennington cutting back towards the sideline was their best chance, or maybe Coles before that. But I wouldn't say it was a particularly good chance. Still, it was probably good enough that he should have taken it.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:14am

Wanker70 #155:

You’re completely ignoring field position. If Pennington throws that ball away instead of throwing the INT, that pins Indy on the 2 yardline. If Pennington does the right thing your two choices

Four alternatives once it was a decision between pass and field goal:

Chip shot field goal - 99%+ chance of 3 points, with expected starting field position after the kickoff somewhere around the 20 or 30.
Completed pass - 37% chance of 7 points, with expected starting field position after the kickoff around the 20 or 30.
Incomplete pass - somewhat less than 63% chance of pinning them on the 2 yard line, theoretically worth 2 points to the Jets.
Interception - just guessing, somewhere around 10% chance (but maybe more) of giving the Colts possession on the 20 yard line with no points for yourself. The 20 yard line is roughly the point of neutral expected next scoring position.

Examining the possibilities, the best possibility to me is taking 3 certain points. The 1 in 3 chance of 7 points seems too unlikely to grasp at in a close game. The perhaps 1 in 2 chance of pinning them on the 2 is not as valuable as taking the field goal. The perhaps 1 in 6 chance of an interception has absolutely no value for the Jets.

Remember, the theoretical value of backing a team into the end zone is only 2 points. The 3 real points of the field goal that is nothing more than an extra point attempt is more than the 2 theoretical points of backing them up.

A good coach would take the certain 3 points in a tie game being played closer than expected.

by Terry (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:15am

Whatever your comparison, Haynesworth's stomp was undoubtedly purposeful and an intent to injure, outside the boundaries of the game. Geathers' hit was uncertain in intent and within the boundaries of the game. Players are to accept the rules of the game by the act of playing in the NFL.

And Kaesviharn’s hit looked perfect to me. As a Bengals fan and former defensive player, maybe I'm biased, but if that's actually against the NFL rulebook, then that rule should be changed.

by cd6 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:21am


The theoretical goal of making the other team start on the 2 wouldn't be "2 points" it would be "2 points and the ball" and I would think that the "and the ball" part counts for more in a close game. Either way, I don't think you count on getting the 2 points from the safety so much as the fact that its much harder to play offense, and if necessary, punt, with the endzone right behind you.

That said, unless there's less then 3 minutes left in a game where a FG either a) gives you the lead or b) puts you ahead more than one score (either by 4 or by 9) I will never criticize a coach for going for it on 4th and goal from the 2. Ever.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:40am

Anybody who at this point watches a Packer's game with the sound turned up is a complete masochist, and I say that as someone who really thinks Favre can still be a good player.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:45am

TimL #196:

The 49ers dynasty of 1981-1999 was the classiest, most sportsmanlike professional sports organization I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been watching the NFL since 1970.

I can't argue with this. I'd like to see others chime in with other examples of organizations trying to act in a classy way today. I'd quantify this as clean play without a superfluity of intentional fouls, no players getting suspended for drugs or illegal behavior or being involved with the legal system for felonies, cutting of bad apples, etc.

To start such a list, I'd suggest the Eagles under Jeff Lurie's ownership and the Patriots under Kraft, the Packer's up until their recent hiring of Koren Robinson (which I find greatly disapointing), the Colts, Saints, Chiefs, Bills, and Bucs of at least the past 10 or 20 years, the Dolphins when owned by the Robbie family. When you think about these franchises, its difficult to remember a player being suspended by the league or being involved in a felony case.

OTOH, it seems to me some teams seem to be going over to the darkside or permenantly residing there - Bengals, Ravens, Bears, Cowboys, Redskins, Chargers, the more recent incarnation of the Dolphins, the Vikings up to the change in ownership - doesn't it always seem like it is these guys when someone is busted for drugs, assault, or worse?

I'm dissapointed in the Broncos continuing to employ Sauerbrun, and the exposure of the Panthers on steroids.

I'm not including the Raiders in either list, because while the Raiders are well known for signing guys who ought to be out of football, they also seem to be able to develop some character in them - I can't remember too many Raiders getting themselves into trouble like the Bengals seem to do.

Perhaps someone knows of a list of suspended NFL players, and players involved in arrests and the legal system so we can compare impression to reality.

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 2:56am

FOMBC = Football Outsiders Message Board Curse

Re #224
It's funny, because the Titans/Oilers were one of those organizations that took fairly seriously the need for tough football players who were also good citizens. The same management that chose Kevin Dyson over Randy Moss because of character issues is still in place in GM Resse and Coach Fisher. Priorities change over time, apparently.

by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:13am

I like Jeff Fisher, but you have to wonder if he'd be as pissed if the Titans were in the thick of the playoff race.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:16am

I dunno. Those that decry the abuse of laundry we're plenty disappointed with the Packers' association with Najeh Davenport.

All wisecracks aside, I'd be hesitant to make any assertions about rates of lawbreaking among various NFL teams until one has actually taken the time to collect the data.

by Paris (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:45am

The 49ers dynasty of 1981-1999 was the classiest, most sportsmanlike professional sports organization I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been watching the NFL since 1970.

How soon we forget Mr. Charles Haley...

By: Mike Fisher
Date: Jul 2, 2006

I had no doubt. I had considerable fear. Charles Haley was going to kill me. And my only weapons of self-defense against this menacing, frothing, manic-depressive, race-baiting menace were: a) My theoretically quick wit, which was whispering to me a suggestion that we run out of the 1992 Cowboys locker room, tails 'tween our legs; and

b) a flimsy notepad and a crappy pen.

It was Haley's first week in Dallas, and we knew each other a little bit from our time in San Francisco. I knew all about him urinating on 49ers team president Carmen Policy's office floor and about doing the same to teammate Tim Harris' car. I was one of the few people who knew about Charles, while in a film session with then-defensive coordinator George Seifert, reaching out in the darkness and wrapping his hands around Seifert's throat. I was on the NFC team bus at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii when Haley gathered up some black players and within earshot of a white NFC linebacker, suggested "playfully'' that the group ban the white guy and create an exclusive "Soul Patrol'' for the upcoming game. And I was standing there at 49ers headquarters during the numerous times when a female reporter would enter the room and he would wag his unclothed midsection at her, or when a rather mousy-looking out-of-town writer would arrive in the locker room and Charles would simulate a sex act with him and then announce loudly that the media intruder was "a f---in' fag.''

See link in sig for rest of article. And, yes, yes...Haley was probably the only truly bad apple. But you know what they say about them spoiling the bunch...

by John Pilge (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 5:39am

To Ned's comment. "Anyone else notice the lack of a great team this year?"
Your home team is the great team. This year, next year and any year.

by Malene, cph (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 8:32am

re: 215, 225: and from the FO glossary:

FO Message Board Curse – Term used to describe the tendency of NFL teams to lose games after their fans flood the FO message boards with angry complaints about a low appearance in the FOXSports.com power rankings (based on DVOA). Examples in 2005 include the 3-0 Washington Redskins losing to Denver in Week 5, the 5-1 Broncos losing to the New York Giants in Week 7, and, most famously, the 6-2 Atlanta Falcons losing to the previously 1-7 Green Bay Packers in Week 10. Note: FO Message Board Curse is null and void against the New England Patriots because DVOA ratings are compiled by a Patriots fan (Aaron).

by James C (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 8:48am


I have no idea what this straw man deely you refer to is. I objected to someone removing my argument from its context and picking at it, so I retaliated. It was a little childish and I apologise if any offense was taken regarding 'straw people'. I also apologise for telling Jake to grow a brain, that is just uneccessary.

For the record I dont approve of hitting with helmets or other dangerous play (a current bugbear of mine is hitting beow knees).

I do however stand by my point that there is aworld of difference between a big hit or even an illegal hit and stamping on a prone player's face after the whistle.

I also initially was defending Ronie Lott who appears to have the reputation of nothing more than a centre field thug who could only hit. He was one of the best ball playing safeties of all time, amazing in coverage. He made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season playing cornerback and redefined the safety position before Williams/Taylor/Polamalu ever pulled on pads. Just wanted to say that.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 11:16am

Re 224:
As classy as the 49ers were they cheated. So did the Broncos. Both franchises circumvented the salary cap during their super bowl years and recieved minimal punishments. Plus, from all accounts, the 49ers owner was involved in all kinds of shady stuff in his normal business dealings.

There was also Ted Washington who simulated sex acts with a gay trainer. He did few more things in that vein but I can't remember them.

The Eagles had Hugh Douglas as "Badassador". If you recall he instigated or was just involved in a fight with TO. I don't know when Lurie got there but the Vet had a peephole from the Eagles locker room to the cheerleaders locker room.

To be honest, I can't think of any organization that doesn't have a few of these incidents. I'm not sure if that means there are just some bad apples out there or that the NFL breeds a culture where performance is more important than anything else. It would be an interesting excerise to try and come up with a player or team action of dubious nature for every team.

by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 11:20am

One of the things that makes me proud to be part of FO is how far ahead of the curve we were on Adrian Wilson.

I knew Wilson was awesome when you guys were still making Rackers jokes.

by FizzMan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 12:00pm

212 - about unnecessary roughness...
I watched the Bengal level Reche Caldwell this Sunday (Pats fan, don't know the Bengal's name). Seemed like unnecessary roughness. A few series later (or so), I saw a Patriot DB make a pretty solid hit on a Bengal receiver, sending him 5 ft. sideways - but remarkably, he recovered his balance and ran for another 5? 10? yards. See also the Patriots/Jets game, when Patriots DB knocks a guy horizontal, only for him to spring up from his limbo position and run for a touchdown.
My point is only that there aren't easy solutions when the players are so big and strong you HAVE to wallop them to get them to fall over...

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 12:03pm

234: Patriots DBs, and this has been a problem ever since Rodney Harrison was signed, very often try too hard for the big hit and end up missing the tackle. Big hits get you on sportscenter, but wrapping up prevents TDs.

by Todd Heap (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 12:22pm

Patriots DBs, and this has been a problem ever since Rodney Harrison was signed, very often try too hard for the big hit and end up missing the tackle. Big hits get you on sportscenter, but wrapping up prevents TDs.

Evidently Rodney left some of that in San Diego too.

by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 12:41pm

The Bears aren't perennially a bunch of jerks, though Tank Johnson sure is a piece of work and of course Manning Jr's laptophobia.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:11pm

Re 235:

Maybe that's why the defense played better yesterday. Hobbs and Wilson both have chips on their shoulders and go for big hits, but their replacements, Scott and Hawkins, are more concerned with making tackles and keeping their jobs.

Regarding the personal foul call: Tedy Brusdhi has gone on the record saying he thought it was a clean hit. I personally think it was right on the borderline. I certainly don't fault the Bengals player--I don't think he was trying to hurt Caldwell (more than the normal amount that safeties like to hurt WR's). I just think he got his positioning slightly wrong and led with his head. But they have to call the penalty sometimes, or malicious players would start sneaking increasingly dangerous stuff in. Kind of like how they always call blows to a QB's head, even if it was obviously accidental and non-injuring, because they need to discourage cheap shots being snuck in and disguised.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:18pm

Albert Haynesworth's suspension is clearly ranked too low because he should be drawn and quartered. The justice system used in the Middle Ages is way better than this. Ye canst defeateth min team!

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 1:18pm

They have to call that penalty all the time, regardless of intent. It's too dangerous to wave it off if you think it's an accident. In some sense you feel a little bad for the DB in that case, but he needs to learn to not lead with his head. Under any circumstances.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:22pm

240: Exactly

He lead with his head, it was helmet-to-helmet. Thats a big no-no.

He should not only be penalized, but fined.

by queequeg (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:26pm

he didn't lead with his head. he led with his shoulder and forearm, and caldwell's momentum brought their helmets together after impact. Roy Williams hit on Leftwich was leading with the head.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:30pm

I agree with #242. It's still a penalty, though - it doesn't matter how it happens. It matters that it happened. It sucks for him, but he's got to find a way to make that tackle without that happening. The fine occurs if they think that it wasn't an accident.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 3:51pm


He didnt lead with his head?

HE DOVE AT HIM. how is that not leading with your head?

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 4:02pm

234: Patriots DBs, and this has been a problem ever since Rodney Harrison was signed, very often try too hard for the big hit and end up missing the tackle.

Which is ironic, because despite his reputation as a big hitter, Harrison is a good tackler.

If you watch him, you'll see that when he's the guy who has to make the tackle (i.e. if he misses it the ballcarrier is off to the races), he'll take care to square up, go for the legs, and wrap up.

It's when he knows he has help or when he's coming in to finish someone off that he goes for the big hit.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 4:07pm

If only he could teach that technique to his team-mates.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 4:11pm

Does anybody know what's up with the lack of Quick Reads and the rest? I see they added the DVOA, but no articles for Q.R. or DVOA yet.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 4:25pm

RE 242 and others, it seems everybody's focusing on the wrong thing here, including Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. I don't think the issue is whether Kaevisharn led with his head or not. This issue is that, whether with his head, shoulder, or upper arm, he hit Caldwell full force in the head.

A receiver in the act of catching the ball gets the same protection as a quarterback. Blows to the head are illegal.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 4:26pm


He does.

Unfortunately they immediately get hurt, and the patriots have to sign some guy down at 7-11 to play Cornerback.

by MDD (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 4:56pm

Re: 213

I'll tell you a secret about Seattle: we don't get much more precipitation than other northern cities over the course of a year. Seattle's average precipitation is 37.90 inches. Chicago's is 34.02 inches. We just get ours a little at a time.

Now, if you want rain, go to the Pacific coast west of the Olympic mountains. Clearwater, WA, 117.01 inches a year. Yes, that's an average of an inch of rain every three days all year long.

by NF (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 5:02pm

I am tired of hearing about the FOMBC. Let's make an addendum, it doesn't work if less than 5 people who are fans of one team comment on the site denigrating the system in an irrational and personal manner, and/or people actually invoke the name of the FOMBC in response to the denigration.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 5:37pm

mctbone #232:

The Eagles had Hugh Douglas as “Badassador�. If you recall he instigated or was just involved in a fight with TO.

Hugh was acting as locker room enforcer on TO, who he thought was faking an injury and was not faking some verbal attacks on the team and QB. His official position is "Ambassador" - i.e. Ambassador to the community. He named himself the "Badassador". Frankly, Hugh's behavior reflects well on the team in my opinion, but maybe you are a TO worshipper.

I don’t know when Lurie got there but the Vet had a peephole from the Eagles locker room to the cheerleaders locker room.

It was discovered in the VISTING TEAM locker room and had been created by one or more of the VISTING TEAMS.


by John Doe 307 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 5:40pm

Ah yes...those lovely days at the Vet.

by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:19pm

I don't know how far ahead of the curve FO was on Adrian Wilson, unless EA sports uses FO. I drafted Wilson on pretty much every Madden franchise I created. His skills are great.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:32pm

Re 252:
So you're saying it's OK for a non-player to walk into the locker room, call someone out and proceed to get in a fight with them? Wow. You actually like that behavior? Nice to see someone who appreciates beating anyone who doesn't agree with them.

by Don M (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:34pm

RE: How the Pats beat the Bengals.
NE Agressively ran the ball, the Bengals run D is average at best.
2: Don't turn it over, NE didn't cough it up, and most importantly didn't give up short fields to Carson Palmer
3: Don't call it an upset. The Bengals were picked to be 8-8 or 8-7 by a lot of pundits and the Patriots are still a pretty good team.
4: The Bengals are in the process of running out of good players. Dexter Jackson, Odell Thurman, Chris Henry, Pollack, Rich Brahm... 5 Starters out three defenders who could reasonably be expected to help with the diminished run defense.