Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week Ten Observations

1. I’ve written this before but it’s worth stating again – Jay Cutler might be the ballsiest quarterback in the league, for better or for worse. He is allergic to throwing the ball away. He is often compared to John Elway and Phil Rivers because of age and circumstance, but Napoleon makes the correct analogy – Cutler is the next generation’s Brett Favre. He’s a fearless gunslinger who will win you a few more than he loses for you. He’ll put up huge numbers and throw a ton of picks. You can never count him out, and he will never, ever “manage the game.” Here’s a nice Rick Reilly piece on Cutler.

2. The Denver offensive line had its best game of the season Thursday night. Cleveland rarely mounted any sort of pass rush and Ryan Torain had holes to run through while he was still in the game.

3. It’s very sad Torain tore his ACL, because he was looking pretty good and could have given the Broncos and his own career a huge boost the next two months. Now he joins Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Hart in the missed opportunity due to injury rookie backup running backs club.

4. Of all the random running backs that have stepped up for the Broncos over the last decade and submitted gamewinning performances out of nowhere, Peyton Hillis might be the unlikeliest yet.

5. It’s hard to compare Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn because Quinn moves and Anderson is a statue. Anderson’s greatest strength is throwing the ball down the field whereas Quinn, like many young quarterbacks, was averse to longer throws in his first game. We’ll never know how Anderson would have fared against that ghastly Denver defense. We do know that both Anderson and Quinn are very inaccurate compared to their NFL peers.

6. Denver does not have the slightest bit of talent on the defensive end and this is why they suck. We’ll just leave it at that. There’s nothing more to discuss on this matter the rest of the season.

7. It did seem like Dre’ Bly stepped it up on Thursday, though a lot of that may have been Quinn’s more conservative, shorter passing strategy.

8. Kellen Winslow put up the biggest one-game numbers a tight end has had this season, but he was the goat Thursday night. Winslow committed a holding penalty on a Browns third-down conversion that basically would have iced the game early in the fourth. Next time down the field he fumbled after catching his own third down conversion, again a play that would have come close to locking up a win. And finally he dropped Quinn’s fourth-down pass to end the game.

9. Jamal Lewis is very unimpressive right now. He does not run with much speed or decisiveness.

10. Josh Cribbs is the best special teams player in the world.

11. John Abraham is what they call a “difference maker” on the defensive line.

12. Marques Colston has been dropping passes since returning from his thumb injury.

13. Kerry Collins really played well against the Bears on Sunday. Rex Grossman played like Rex Grossman and that was the difference between the two teams.

14. Cortland Finnegan has punched a ticket to Honolulu.

15. Detroit’s defense looks a lot like Denver’s. There is just not a lot of a talent there. There is not much to build upon. They are small, slow, and tackle poorly. They cannot defend the run or the pass and do not pressure the quarterback. Both teams have a personnel problem that is not going to be solved for a long time.

16. Ricky Williams looked fantastic this week – fast, powerful, and hungry.

17. As I’ve written before, Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the world – and it’s not close right now.

18. Every week Matt Cassel looks a little better and so do the Patriots. It’s occurred to me that this season could be Bill Belichick’s crowning achievement. Winning a Super Bowl with Matt Cassel and Benjarvus Green-Ellis would cement him as the greatest football coach ever.

19. Trent Edwards has slipped dramatically. He gets uncomfortable as pressure mounts. Marshawn Lynch is down to 3.5 yards per carry. Both declines can be traced to the offensive line, which is looking worse and worse. Monday night’s home game against the Browns is gut-check time for Buffalo.

20. The Rams are another team that cannot tackle because they do not have good players on defense. Like the Broncos and Lions, they are really lacking talent everywhere on defense. They also have the worst offensive line in football. They need to do a better job in the draft and get bigger and faster players.

21. Baltimore’s play-calling might be the best in the league. Cam Cameron might not be able to lead an entire team but he is a sterling offensive coordinator.

22. No one ever throws against Nnamdi Asomugha, the brilliant Raider corner. It was cool to see Jake Delhomme try a couple in his direction and fail miserably.

23. “Journeyman” cornerback DeAngelo Hall is 24 years old.

24. I still have no idea how good Ben Roethlisberger is. He is a hero for surviving this long with that offensive line. I am just worried he is going to fall apart before the season is over. Luckily the Steelers have a couple soft defenses in the Chargers and Bengals coming up.

25. I doubt if the Colts will ever get their offense back to where it was earlier this decade. Marvin Harrison is just a little bit slower and that makes a huge difference cause their scheme requires great precision.

26. The Kansas City Chiefs have lost three heartbreakers in a row. They are really not that far from being a respectable team. They seem to have found their man at quarterback and have a couple quality young receivers. It would help if Glenn Dorsey would live up to his draft stock. The return of Larry Johnson should help out a lot. I think they might have won two or maybe even all three of those games with his services. It’s too bad he had to be a punk – they could actually be in the playoff picture if things were a little different.

27. The Eagles need to do something to fix these bad McNabb starts. If footwork is indeed the problem, then do something about it. Make him warm up longer. There is no excuse for coming out cold every game.

28. Every week we see teams waste timeouts on hopeless challenges. Watching the replays on TV it is often obvious the challenge has no chance of overturning the play. Yet the red flag gets thrown out there. The communication between whoever watches the play and deems it worth challenging and the coach has not been mastered. Are they watching the same thing we are? If not, why not?

29. I love this “Earth Wind & Fire” trio of running backs for the Giants. Great concept, bringing a fresh speed back in for the end of the game after Jacobs and Ward wear the defense out. Great talent, great gimmick.

30. The greatest threat to a Giants repeat championship might be fumbles.

31. Anquan Boldin is rapidly moving up my list of favorite players, which currently looks like this:

20. Adrian Peterson
19. Ray Lewis
18. Maurice Jones-Drew
17. Josh Cribbs
16. Kurt Warner
15. Charles Woodson
14. Matt Hasselbeck
13. Ed Reed
12. Eddie Royal
11. Jake Delhomme
10. Chad Pennington
9. Hamza Abdullah
8. Jay Cutler
7. Anquan Boldin
6. Steve Smith
5. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Nnamdi Asomugha
3. Troy Polamalu
2. Ben Roethlisberger
1. Champ Bailey

32. Harkening back to the days of Az Hakim, third wide receivers have always been productive in Kurt Warner systems.

33. The Niners may have found a couple receivers for the future in Josh Morgan and Jason Hill.

34. Mike Singletary will take the fall for that organizational debacle at the end of the Monday night game, but Arizona’s coaching in that game was equally dubious. The Cardinals couldn’t run the ball the whole game and were rarely stopped through the air yet insisted on rushing plays in critical spots late in the game. They ran it in weird spots like third and seven, at the five yard line, and at the end of the game when they needed a first down to seal it. On defense they were very successful with the blitz, but went to a toothless prevent D in the closing minutes and let the Niners back in it instead of going for the jugular. I was very disappointed with the in-game coaching as well as the mental effort of their players, who came out unfocused and kept committing dumb penalties erasing positive plays. The Cardinals have the talent to contend for a Super Bowl this season, but are going to need some smarter decisions on the sidelines and the field.

35. Do the Cardinals have any chance of winning a playoff game in the Meadowlands with that run game and coaching? Doubtful. They need to keep winning games and get a good seed to have a chance at winning some playoff games.

Power Ratings:

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


Anonymous Tru said...

The Giants would devour the Titans

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you still have Miami ahead of the Jets in your power rankings. If you look at standings the Jets are ahead of Miami in their division. If yo ulook even closer you will see the Jets beat Miami on there home field. At least you finally movrd Buffalo down. i told you they would regress back to the mean. Later


2:53 AM  
Blogger PunkyPickett said...

Will the Giants play the Titans in the regular season? I would love to see that game.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Nappy said...

Nope, giants won't play titans.

As for my observations on the week ten observations:

If the Pats make the playoffs, this would cement Belichick as the greatest coach of all time. This proves that the 3-rings are because of him and not the players and we see that time and time again as he lets free agents walk away. I challenge you to take any superstar QB from any team and replace him with an untested "rookie" and you will get a top 5 draft position next year. The Patriots are mediocre at every position with exception of WR but they keep winning.

It really pains me to make that statement as I hate Belichick, boston and the Pats with more vigor and passion than most. But you just simply have to give credit where credit is due.

As for the power rankings, #3 for pittsburg? Are you kidding me?

2:21 PM  

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