Thursday, November 27, 2008

Week Twelve Observations

1. The Bengals lack talent, of course, and are dealing with a lot of injuries on the offensive line right now, but they are also suffering from terrible coaching. Marvin Lewis needs to go. The ten worst coaches in the NFL right now:

10. Jim Haslett
9. Norv Turner
8. Ken Whisenhunt
7. Herm Edwards
6. Rod Marinelli
5. Brad Childress
4. Mike Singletary
3. Marvin Lewis
2. Romeo Crennel
1. Tom Cable

This post from Michael Lombardi (the best source for NFL information on the net) shows how incompetent some of these coaches are at clock management.

2. The Bengals may have to spend some dollars or a high draft pick on a running back. Generally I think it is a mistake to use a high pick on a back, but this is too glaring a weakness right now. It would have been interesting to see if Kenny Irons could have done something for them if he had avoided injury.

3. Paul Ernster's punting was horrendous for the Steelers. He is now on the streets, or as we like to call it inspired by Tatum Bell, he is now "selling cell phones."

4. Braylon Edwards gets my vote for LVP of the 2008 NFL season. His drops have been so numerous and consistent that it is both shocking and expected when yet another ball goes right through his fingers. His young QBs have needed him to make the downfield catches since they are not very accurate. It also seems like he and the QBs are not on the same page a large percentage of the time. Many times the ball comes before he turns around, or to the wrong shoulder. Also, Edwards commits penalties and walks around the field with poor body language. What a disappointment.

5. Sage Rosenfels turning the ball over is one of those NFL trends you can set your watch by.

6. I think Mike Martz needs talented personnel for his system to succeed. The Lions were close. The Niners are not. Too much is based on precision, timing, accuracy - basically he needs a top QB. J.T. O'Sullivan and Shaun Hill are not good enough for his system. Everything the Niners do on offense and defense is disjointed - the coaching does not fit the personnel. San Fran might join the list of Matt Cassel suitors - I doubt if they want to roll the dice on another first round QB pick after what's happened with Alex Smith.

7. San Francisco gambled on defense against Dallas, hoping Tony Romo wouldn't make the deep throws - and the gamble failed.

8. Nate Clements is always in the middle of the action, for better or for worse.

9. Before we can again consider Dallas one of the top teams in the league, they need to shore up their pass defense. It will be interesting to see if the return of the Pacman helps.

10. Jason Witten is not the same player with broken ribs.

11. Right now I am leaning towards Tony Romo for MVP. It is so obvious how VALUABLE he is to his team watching them with and without him.

12. This Clifton Smith is such an intriguing player. He is one of the biggest wildcards in the league. All bets are off when he gets the ball in his hands. His problem is KEEPING the ball in his hands. He may end up getting a lot of action with Earnest Graham done for the season.

13. On a related note, Cadillac Williams did not look good playing in his first game in two years.

14. The key to the Jets development into one of the top teams is the coalescence of their coaches and personnel. Early in the season they were not on the same page. Brett Favre wanted to run around, throw it deep, make plays; Brian Schottenheimer and Eric Mangini wanted him to dunk it short. They weren't sure what to do with the talent of Dustin Keller and Leon Washington. They were awkward running the ball. Now everyone is on the same page, and they look fierce. Favre has stopped making negative plays. He seems content to set the table for a talented group of ball catchers. They have worked Keller into the offense fully, and he looks like a top-five tight end. They are running a lot of plays for the electric Washington, and he is making a couple gamechanging plays each game. All this sets up great situations for Thomas Jones. You know your offense is running smoothly when Thomas Jones is putting up big numbers.

15. The Kansas City Chiefs are the closest to a college team you can find in the NFL. They run a wild gimmick passheavy shotgun offense called "The Pistol" which, along with young quarterback Tyler Thigpen, has transformed their offense into an exciting unit. When they don't turn the ball over, the offense is explosive enough to score bunches of points against the best defenses. Their defense is porous - after all, most of its players were collegiates very recently.

16. Wild game for that KC offense - they averaged 8.9 yards a play but were 1/9 on 3rd and 4th down and turned it over five times.

17. Buffalo's faint playoff hopes hang on Trent Edwards, who was back to his early-season form against that bad Chiefs defense. Trent was happy to get Josh Reed back.

18. The Rams had four players attempt at least one pass Sunday. Four teams (San Diego, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Carolina) have had all their passes attempted by one player this season.

19. I saw a press conference where Pete Carroll was talking about Matt Cassel, about how close Cassel was to starting for USC ahead of Matt Leinart. It's fascinating to think about that decision, how it affected the two Matts. And how now Cassel will be the hottest free agent in the league this offseason. Matt Cassel has been the biggest winner of the 2008 NFL season. The biggest winners of the season so far:

1. Matt Cassel
2. Kyle Orton
3. Josh McDaniels
4. Tony Sparano
5. Jim Zorn
6. Mike Smith
7. John Harbaugh
8. Chris Horton
9. Tyler Thigpen
10. Matt Ryan
11. Jason Campbell
12. Aaron Rodgers
13. Lance Moore
14. Brian Schottenheimer
15. Cam Cameron
16. Steve Slaton
17. Philip Rivers
18. Chad Pennington
19. Anquan Boldin
20. Matt Forte

20. Wes Welker seems to have regained that half-step of quickness which separates him from the other slight receivers - and defenders.

21. It's like a light bulb went off in Randy Moss's head - wait a minute, I can put up huge numbers with this Cassel guy too!

22. I can't wait to see this "new" Pats offense against the Steelers on Sunday. If Matt Cassel throws for 400 on Pittsburgh, we can consider New England's offense as good as it was a year ago.

23. It's too bad Greg Camarillo got hurt and is out for the season. He was Chad Pennington's most reliable target.

24. A great effort from the Philly D was forgotten amidst the quarterbacking/coaching debacle in Baltimore. Philly's defense against Arizona's offense Thursday night will be one of the most exciting matchups of the season.

25. The two highest scoring teams in the NFL are the New York Giants and Jets. I was shocked to hear this. And the Baltimore Ravens have scored as many points as the Denver Broncos!

26. The Eagles must run more and better plays for THEIR BEST PLAYER, Brian Westbrook. Philly offensive play calling has reached new lows.

27. Late hit, pass interference, and roughing the quarterback penalties have gotten completely out of control. This is football. The league needs to address this with the officials soon. Fans are getting turned off by all these bogus calls.

28. JaMarcus Russell played the best game of his career against the Broncos, finishing 10/11 for 152 yards with a touchdown and no picks. For his career, Russell now has a 120.4 rating vs the Broncos and a 49.8 rating vs the rest of the league. Oakland's offense won the battle of ills on Sunday.

29. Raiders corner Chris Johnson played far better than DeAngelo Hall ever has this season. The Broncos went after Johnson consistently and he responded.

30. Shane Lechler is averaging 50 yards a punt this season. He gets a lot of action.

31. Broncos kicker Matt Prater has missed five field goals in the last four games after a hot start.

32. The Broncos are 3-4 as a favorite and 3-1 as an underdog.

33. Bill Simmons is on to something in this column. Usually he just cracks a lot of great jokes but here he showcases a great theory on home field advantage and provides empirical evidence supporting it. He also discusses how it's more fun to watch the games at home - or in my case, in a basement with five beautiful HD TVs, some of my best friends, good food, rambunctious dogs, and a laptop - which I couldn't agree more with. I have a friend who has an extra ticket to every Broncos game, and I haven't gone once. There is nothing better than going over to Paul's house every Sunday with a ton of money riding on the games and watching the action unfold on his five TVs. I am headed for some serious withdrawal in February.

34. Seems like J.J. Arrington is Arizona's best back.

35. Arizona's horrible play-calling continued against the Giants. Someone needs to explain to the coaches why calling a running play on second and goal from the eight isn't the best option for this team.

36. Injuries are such a damaging force in the NFL. Teams have had their seasons ruined (Jacksonville, Seattle), crippled (Dallas, Green Bay), or severely damaged (New England, Denver). The New York Giants have had several major injuries to key starting players, but it doesn't seem to affect them. Their backups are generally excellent players. The personnel department has done a fantastic job.

37. For the season Maurice Morris is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, Julius Jones is at 4.5, and even Leonard Weaver is above 4.0. The run-blocking is there for the Seahawks; trouble is the passing game is not and too often they are in catch-up mode.

38. Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams has been so dominant at times, he seems like the best defensive lineman in the game. But he has also disappeared in many games. The only consistent things the Chargers have going for them are shaky defense, deep balls, and two yard Tomlinson rushes.

39. I haven't decided on Joseph Addai yet. He doesn't seem like the fastest or the strongest, but maybe that's because he has a lot of patience waiting for holes to open up.

40. I was happy to see Drew Brees have such an outstanding performance on Monday Night Football, so everyone will know what I have known all season: Drew Brees is the best football player in the world.

Offensive MVP of the Week: Drew Brees, New Orleans
Defensive MVP of the Week: Jamal Williams, San Diego
Breakout Player of the Week: Chris Johnson, Oakland
Coach of the Week: Eric Mangini, New York Jets
Assistant Coach of the Week: Turk Schonert, Buffalo Offensive Coordinator

Power Ratings:

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


Blogger Matt said...

"Witten is not the same player with broken ribs"

Who is? It doesn't mean he won't produce though. Very vague comment, and he did produce over 100 yards receiving yesterday.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Eugene said...

Pats offense may have improved but they d. is god awful. Matt Light needs to be traded for a 90 lbs recovering anorexic by the name of Sarah, at least than it won't be a surprise why everyone gets past him.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Truman said...

The jury should still be out regarding Mike Singletary. Pants dropping incident aside, he deserves at least a passing grade. He got the Niners ready to play AZ and the other coach named Mike blew that win.

Ok they got blown out by the Boys but there's no shame in that.

How bout Javon "15 catches" Walker for LVP?

Not sure what classifies someone as a Big Winner for 08 but what about the Broncos draft team?

10:33 AM  
Blogger Spencetron said...

Shane Lechler is amazing, but I think Jeff Feagles is the best punter in the league.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In week 2, you said this:

26. I think Cutler will be a top 3 QB by the end of the season, but right now he still makes a few too many mistakes to crack the top . The quick top 10 of healthy QBs right now looks like this:

1. Romo
2. Roethlisberger
3. P Manning
4. Brees
5. Hasselbeck
6. Cutler
7. McNabb
8. Rivers
9. E Manning

Please tell me you've smartened up about Eli.

-Joey Meatballs

1:46 PM  

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