Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Week Four Observations

1. You have to figure Adrian Peterson will end up leading the league in rushing yards, assuming he doesn't get hurt.

2. I can't currently execute a slide while running the bases playing softball. I've never done it. On Tuesday, a situation came up where if I had slid, I might have been able to score a run instead of getting tagged out. We ended up losing the game by one run. I knew this was gonna cost us eventually.

Now, a lot of people were shocked by "Chiefs 33, Broncos 19." I wasn't one of them. The Broncos have had some pretty glaring problems early in the season, and despite the 3-0 start, if you watched the Broncos you had to know eventually these problems were going to catch up with them. On Sunday the Chiefs managed to exploit several of these problems, especially porous defense, overaggressive passes from Cutler, and shaky special teams play. These were weaknesses for the Broncos the first three games, but they survived because they caught the variance on the low side and played a couple teams that can't run the ball up the middle.

When you factor in Arrowhead Stadium and Shanahan's history of playing down to bad teams, "Chiefs 33, Broncos 19" didn't surprise me at all.

3. Deuce McAllister is becoming a factor in New Orleans again. This could be big.

4. Just when we thought we had settled the Rodgers/Favre debate, week four happens, and now we're back to the discussion.

5. Rodgers looked pretty bad against the Bucs, sort of bad before that shoulder injury and real bad in the fourth quarter.

6. So I went to the Bucs/Packers game in Tampa, and of course a lot of the fans were wearing their Bucs jerseys. Looking around the crowd, I saw a wide assortment of names on the back of the jerseys. I saw some Galloways, some for Cadillac Williams, a good number for Derrick Brooks, a sprinkling of Dunns, one or two Earnest Grahams, a Sapp or two, a John Lynch, and even a Garcia. It appeared to me the #1 jersey Bucs fans were wearing was Ronde Barber. Ronde Barber - that's the Buccaneers' biggest star right now and over the last decade.

This got me thinking. The Bucs have had basically no star power over the franchise's history. Yet they have been a very respectable team the last decade, winning a Super Bowl and competing pretty consistently.

Then I watched the game and realized all of their skill position players suck. Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway were pretty good last season. Now their #1 QB and WR are Brian Griese and Ike Hilliard, guys that aren't good enough to see the field for most teams in the league. Griese was abysmal in this game. All they had to do was hold on to the ball, play defense and grind out a win, but Griese insisted on throwing two bad interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by Charles Woodson.

Yet they ended up pulling out the win and are 3-1, 3-0 with Griese as the starting quarterback. Their defense is very good, although they have been giving up some big plays this season. They have no stars but for the aforementioned Brooks and Barber. The real stars of the Bucs are on the sidelines - head coach Jon Gruden and longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

The current top ten of NFL head coaches:

1. Belichick
2. Gruden
3. Fisher
4. Holmgren
5. Coughlin
6. Reid
7. McCarthy
8. Dungy
9. Jauron
10. Payton

7. Warrick Dunn is not completely washed up.

8. Tomlinson is getting closer to usual form. As a LT fantasy owner, I'm not nearly as concerned now as I was two weeks ago.

9. The Buffalo Bills beat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. This means very little. What it does mean is that the Bills didn't lose to a team circling the drain, which is more than teams like the Broncos can say. The Bills are 4-0. That's four wins out of the nine to ten they will need to make the playoffs.

10. The Bills lost Roscoe Parrish for at least a month. With the disappearances of Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs, Roscoe may have been the top return man in the league before this injury. This is a very harmful injury to the Bills, whose greatest strength has been special teams.

11. I think Seattle is back to the NFC West favorite now. I am excited to see what they can do against the Giants now that some NFL caliber receivers will be suiting up.

12. I was extremely impressed by the Washington Redskins watching their game against Dallas. I thought it all started with the secondary, which is probably the best in the NFL. Shawn Springs, Fred Smoot, Carlos Rogers, and especially LaRon Landry are all fantastic players. It is sad remembering that the Skins safeties should be Landry and Sean Taylor, which would have given them one of the best safety combos in NFL history.

13. The mental and emotional effort for the Skins was superb on Sunday. Everyone was locked in playing super hard, super smart football. I was reminded of the Giants in the Super Bowl against the Pats. It takes a great effort like that - and a talented team - to win a game against a great team like the '07 Patriots or the '08 Cowboys.

14. I know Clinton Portis had good numbers against the 'Boys, and I know I recently said he was a top 5 back, but he looks slow to me. He does not have the burst of the explosive backs.

15. The West Coast offense is a perfect fit for the Redskins because of the receivers they have. Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El are elusive guys. They are perfect on those little 5-yard slants, outs, and hooks. They are not beasts like Brandon Marshall or Calvin Johnson who you can send deep over the middle. Those short little dinks and dunks work so well because Moss and Randle El get open and then get bonus yards after the catch when someone overpursues and runs past them.

The Redskins run the right version of "The West Coast Offense." It is dominated by short throws, but they sprinkle in enough deep balls to a) get some big plays and b) soften the secondary for those short throws, making them far more effective. The weaker versions of this offense, which I like to call the "Dink" or the "Bullshit Offense", do not take enough deep shots. This is usually because a) they cannot depend on their line to give the QB protection for a deep throw, b) they have no faith in their quarterback (whereas Washington is now showing faith in Jason Campbell and he is responding), or c) their wide receivers are not playmakers like Moss and Randle-El.

15. As many have already said, eight carries in a game is never enough for Marion Barber.

16. Except for that Felix Jones kickoff return TD vs the Eagles, the Cowboys return game has looked very poor. Pacman Jones is not getting anything at all on punt returns, which is a big part of his perceived value.

17. Philly lost to the Bears because of injuries at running back. It's really too bad, because down the line that could cost them a playoff berth.

18. The Eagles have blown so many close ones the last few years. It always seems like they are better than their record. Why does this keep happening? I don't know.

19. The Eagles were on to the "give Matt Forte the ball every play" strategy, and the Bears did jussst enough without him to get the win. They really need to develop the Orton to Lloyd game, kind of what the Chiefs have with Dwayne Bowe, to have a chance. The moment Forte goes down is the moment the ice cracks and the Bears slip into the icy depths of suckitude.

20. Baltimore is another team running its offense with kid gloves. I like the way Joe Flacco throws the ball down the field though. I think they found the right guy.

21. As a Ray Rice fantasy owner, it is frustrating watching all these carries go to Le'Ron McClain. He looks pretty good. A healthy McGahee/McClain/Mason trifecta could be enough to get a rookie QB to the playoffs (along with the best or second best defense in football).

22. Poor Rashard Mendenhall. At least this was a shoulder and not something career-threatening like a knee.

23. When Mewelde Moore entered Monday night's game, we started cracking jokes. But he looked alright.

24. Still waiting on the first Limas Sweed sighting.

25. The Steelers are extremely beat up, and this could get worse after Sunday night's battle with Jacksonville. This will factor heavily into the power ratings, as will all the other injuries across the league.

Power Ratings:
1. Dallas (1)
2. Tennessee (5)
3. New York Giants (6)
4. San Diego (7)
5. Philadelphia (2)
6. Washington (20)
7. Carolina (10)
8. Buffalo (11)
9. Baltimore (9)
10. Tampa Bay (14)
11. Chicago (13)
12. Green Bay (4)
13. Pittsburgh (3)
14. Denver (8)
15. Jacksonville (15)
16. New England (17)
17. Indianapolis (16)
18. New Orleans (18)
19. Minnesota (12)
20. New York Jets (24)
21. Cleveland (21)
22. Houston (22)
23. Atlanta (23)
24. Arizona (19)
25. Seattle (27)
26. Miami (26)
27. San Francisco (25)
28. Oakland (28)
29. Detroit (30)
30. Kansas City (31)
31. Cincinnati (29)
32. St. Louis (32)

5 Comments:

Blogger Zach said...

your lowest ranked NFC East team (Skins) are #6, your highest ranked NFC West team (Cardinals) is #24. Seems about right.

It's really unfair that at least one NFC West team, by definition, will be in the playoffs, and at least one NFC East team, by definition, won't.

I think it was Bill Simmons, but someone suggested that if you win your division at below 8-8 you forfeit your right to a playoff spot, because it means that even if you beat the other crappy teams in your division you still couldn't beat anyone else. I'd like to see the whole NFC East plus the NFC North and South winners ... or something like that.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Chris Viox said...

The Rams absolutely blow, but their first 7 games are ridiculous.

at PHI
NYG
at SEA
BUF
at WAS
DAL
at NE

Not only will I be shocked if they win one of the next three, they will likely lose the next four after that (ARZ, at NYJ, at SF, CHI). 3-13 is about as good as they will do this year. Bill Cowher where are you????

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Truman said...

Eagles should be above Chargers in power ratings. "Eagles should..."

7:01 PM  
Anonymous SamENole said...

It's funny to see Gruden as your #2 coach considering 90% of the people in Tampa have been calling for his head the last couple of years. Some have backed off since last season's surprisingly good season but if you listen to talk radio here, there's still a large number of people that want him gone.

12:41 PM  
Blogger GnightMoon said...

Do these Tampa residents not realize the Bucs' striking lack of talent??

12:57 AM  

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