Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Hangover: 11-12-2007

This past weekend, I flipped the script and had a quiet Sunday at home. As such, there’s very little interesting that happened, but there was one major development in the site: We’ve got business cards. Yeah, I know, mind blowing, right? Basically, the card has my name and info, and indicates that I am Throwing Into Traffic’s “Head Writer,” which carries about the same weight as the t-shirt that says my father is the “World’s Greatest Dad.” Oh, and to add to the joy of the business cards, we got, for just ten dollars more…one…hundred…refrigerator magnets. I am taking advertising back to 1985, people. I missed my calling as the owner of a car dealership in the mid 90’s. Get in touch, because you know you want a magnet…

And now, the games…

- First, and I know this is what you were all worried about, the Jets managed not to lose. Granted, it was the bye week, but still, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little concerned we’d somehow come out of this 1-9.

- I have no clue what to make of the Colts-Chargers game last night. On the one hand, you can’t mention enough that both Marvin Harrison (Peyton’s favorite target) and Dallas Clark (Peyton’s favorite safety valve) were out with injuries. Still…six picks, and five when the game was still within reach? Also, given that Dungy has been telling us that Harrison is “ready to go if it’s a playoff game,” does anyone else wonder why the hell he’s not going in a tough out of division game when the Colts are fighting off two solid teams right behind them? Add to that the misfires from Adam Vinateri, and all of a sudden the Colts look very, VERY beatable, something that should dishearten every football fan that doesn’t inherently dislike black people (read: everyone who isn’t a Pats fan).

- As for the other side of the field, no, I’m not buying the Chargers being back. Phillip rivers still looks absolutely awful, and teams are stacking up against LT2 as a result. Unless Rivers makes a dramatic turnaround, the best this team can hope for is battling with the likes of the Broncos and Chiefs for control of the AFC West (which, along with the NFC West, seems to be constructing a kingdom of anti-football throughout western America).

- Speaking of pretenders getting exposed yesterday, Detroit losing to Arizona is one of those losses that shines a big, bright light on a team’s ugly spots. The Holy Spirit wasn’t with Kitna as he threw up two costly picks, and Kevin Jones reminded us all why the team thought they were getting an upgrade when they traded for Tatum Bell, as the team rushed for -18 yards. Oh, and five of the next seven games are against teams with winning records, so don’t go burning your “Fire Millen” shirts just yet.

- Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury against the Packers. If he’s seriously hurt, and you’re a Vikings fan, I’m pretty sure your game day snacks have to change from nachos and beer to Vicodin and paint thinner.

- The Jaguars could win games with me under center at this point. The game plan was executed beautifully, or, as is always the case with Jack Del Rio, ugly to the point of disheartening the other team. Quinn Gray only put the ball in the air 23 times, and he did so carefully and efficiently. The rest of the day was spent letting Maurice Jones-Drew slowly eat away at the Titans defense. Watching the Jaguars win is like watching Joe Pesci die in Casino; teams are brutally beaten in the least appetizing way possible, and then they’re buried alive, struggling to stop a run game that eats up time like no other.

- Someone, anyone, tell me why “genius” coach Jeff Fisher had Vince Young throwing the ball 41 times? Seriously, even Vince Young looks at that stat and says “man, that coach is DUMB.”

- Alex, on the Dolphins Bills game being 3-2 at one point: “I had to wonder: did they give up playing football and start playing soccer because they thought they'd be better at it?”

- Okay, now I’m going to get crazy, so walk with me. At the end of this season, Derek Anderson, the newfound star QB of the Browns, becomes a restricted free agent. Given the lack of talented quarterbacks around the league, you have to think that the Browns could put a first and third tender on him, meaning they could get at least a first and third round pick in the 2008 draft for him. So, bearing in mind that they have a multi-million dollar, highly touted, potential showing quarterback on the bench, do you make that move? Before you shoot the idea down, consider this: The Browns are not going to be a championship contender for at least five years, thanks to the loss of their first round pick next year and their horrendous defense. Furthermore, Derek Anderson didn’t play so-so last year; he was awful. So if you keep him, and pay him big bucks, you’re swallowing two big contracts, and banking on him playing at this level for the next five years. Given that he has Pro Bowl caliber players helping him at left tackle, wideout, and tight end, is it crazy to think Brady Quinn could get to that level in a few years? Now, before you ship the Frankenquarterback off, consider this: The Browns have been looking for a franchise quarterback for years, and Charlie Frye had the same system in place and performed miserably in the season opener this year. Not sure what the answer is, but I think it comes down to whether you take a safer bet on being a contender in five years, or a riskier bet on winning sooner. I like Brady Quinn. I wasn’t even answering the question there; I just was looking at a photo as I wrote this bit and it slipped out. He’ll be the first Madden player with a “Handsome” rating of 100

- Teams that would like to have Derek Anderson for at LEAST a first and third tender: Vikings (we really should let Tavaris Jackson fulfill his destiny as an AFL all star), Panthers (we really should let David Carr fulfill his destiny as a crash test dummy), Falcons (we should really let Byron Leftwich fulfill his tummy), Chiefs (Damon Huard should be coaching high school football, and the only assets Brody Croyle brings to the table are his wife’s, as my friend Mike so often refers to them, “cannons”), and Ravens (still think I’m crazy for saying they should start Troy Smith after this past Sunday?).

- I hope someone on the Cincinnati coaching staff is nice enough to tell Chris Henry he had a hell of a game after being suspended for half of the season. Also, I hope they get him a Tylenol or something. Hangovers are a bitch.

- Before we all start ski-poling each other over Donovan McNabb’s numbers, let’s all remember that two of his four touchdowns were the result of Brian Westbrook doing what Brian Westbrook does (make everyone miss, find end zone, remain unheralded, repeat), and Westbrook also had five receptions for 83 yards. Maybe we should add another team to the Derek Anderson sweepstakes…

- Even though he lost, you have to be impressed with Jason Campbell’s performance. He finally figured out that those guys on the far sides of the offense are for throwing to, not just really, really, really (REALLY) highly paid decoys. At least, Antwaan Randle El is.

- Watching the Rams expose the Saints on Sunday, I have to wonder, what is the proper response there if you’re the Rams? Moreover, let’s say you’re the Dolphins, and you pick up your sole win of the season in week 14. Do you celebrate? Do you hang a “Way to dodge that bullet!” banner? I feel like if any celebration called for sleazy motel rooms and hookers, that would be the one.

- I honestly don’t understand why Cedric Benson is still starting for the Bears. 76 yards on 29 carries? Adrian Peterson must be made of wishes and fairy dust or something.

- Speaking of which, that Rex Grossman touchdown pass was pure, unadulterated, “fuck it let’s see where it lands” Rex Grossman. It’s actually great to see it back on the Bears offense. Maybe it’ll open up the run so Cedric The Unentertainer can get a yard or two ahead of the line of scrimmage on his runs.

- Eli Manning looked lost on his deep throws, Plaxico Burress disappeared, the ground game was good but not great, and the team lost convincingly to the Cowboys. Yep, it’s November for New York Giants football!

- On the flip side of the coin, I’m excited for the Cowboys to keep improving. That Pats game was closer than anyone wants to admit, and they’re one of a very small number of teams that I think can compete with the Great Satan (that nickname is in beta for the Pats).

- To summarize, the NFC got a whole lot clearer this week (there’s the Cowboys, the Packers, and there’s everybody else), and the AFC got a whole lot murkier. Are the Bills and Browns playoff threats, or mirages of a soft schedule? Can the Steelers actually hang with the Great Satan? Will the Colts even win their division, let alone their conference? Will the Dolphins even win a game? If the Jets aren’t on TV, where do I get my fix for bitterness and disappointment? All these questions remain unanswered.

That’s all for me. Alex will be in tomorrow with a MNF Redux on the Niners-Seahawks game. Ugh. That hurt me just to write.

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