Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Hangover: 9-15-2008


I’m in a rush because I need to get to a job interview (even though this little internet cash cow is raking it in hand over fist…yeah...that’s the ticket…). Point is, no intro. On to the Monday Hangover…

• How do you outgain a team through the air, tie them on the ground, and still lose by two scores? Simple; you play the Pats and watch penalty after penalty go the wrong way and kill drives. 6 penalties for 60 yards??? AND WE’RE THE HOME TEAM! Yes, NFL, we understand that you need the Pats to be god., but we’d all love it if you could maybe let other teams get a fair shot. Matt Cassel is going to lose, and he’s going to lose badly, but not while he’s got an extra four players on the field.

• Also, DAMMIT MANGINI IF YOU TRIED A PASS PLAY ON FIRST DOWN EVER IN YOUR LIFE I’D LOSE MY MIND. ALSO, THREE THOMAS JONES RUNS??? WHEN HE’S NEVER SHOWN HE CAN WORK A GOAL LINE SITUATION??? DID LEON WASHINGTON PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE FOR BEING JUST AN ASSHAT AND THAT’S WHY WE’RE MAKING EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP HIM OFF OF THE FIELD?!? WITH CHAD PENNINGTON HERE YOU WOULD HAVE TAKEN AT LEAST ONE SHOT AT A PASS, AND WITH A SUREFIRE HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACK YOU FEEL THE BEST MOVE IS TO LET THOMAS JONES WORK HIS WAY INTO THE FEEL OF THINGS??? ARE WE HOPING HE FINDS THE CONFIDENCE HE HAD TWO YEARS AGO THAT MADE HIM ACHIEVE HIS CEILING OF MEDIOCRITY??? AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!

• Aaron Rodgers enjoyed the Michael Turner experience this past week, posting 328 yards and 3 TD against the Lions “defense” (those quotes are going nowhere until that team gives them a reason to).

• Staying on that game, what’s the record for how quickly a team can crush the hopes of its fans? In the span of about 90 seconds, the Lions went from using their young talent to engineer a breathtaking comeback to letting the absence of any sort of vision or plan destroy and positive thoughts on the team’s season. Seriously, you know that joyless, chilling laugh that you hear the truly insane serial killers do? That’s where my buddy was at watching his Lions churn out 21 points of sadness. Really, that has to be the soundtrack to being a Lions fan at this point.

• Not to stay on the same game but seriously, Kitna, you can throw the ball sometimes. I’m not sure you can hear me with your brain swelling out of your ears, but that 10 second, 90 yard play development is going to get you killed (cue serial killer laugh).

• Seriously, though, I’m pretty sure the Lions are getting points in a game against USC.

• Larry Johnson clearly has some sort of tort against Herm Edwards at this point. There’s realy no question whether or not Herm running him 40 billion times in 2006 broke him forever. Also, any team that gets embarrassed by the Raiders should probably have to run laps after the game until the fans are satisfied.

• Darren McFadden, ladies and gentlemen. Make no mistake, that’s not a terrible front seven for Kansas City, and McFadden looked unstoppable out there. Once the team figures out how to use him in space (1 reception for 9 yards is not even close to what he’s capable of), this offense might…um…well, to be honest, a step up from where the Raiders have been is sucking, but it’s still a step up, right?

• By the way, was anyone else kind of disappointed that we didn’t get a Real World style “Say it to my face!” confrontation anywhere on the Raiders sidelines?

• Two games in, what defense would you rather face: The Lions or the Rams. Before you knee jerk and say Detroit, remember that there were two defensive scores that let Green Bay run away with it. Meanwhile, Eli Manning looked unstoppable and Ahmad Bradshaw, the backup, broke a run for a TD. Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger are already planning their next vaca…I mean, injury.

• Joey Harrington remains unemployed, and the Vikings are kicking five field goals in a game. Oh, and the Chiefs are trying out a Damon Huard/Tyler Thigpen tag team. Why do these teams deny Joey Heisman the disappointment that is so rightfully his?!? He gets royalties every time a quarterback gets a hopeless look in their eye.

• I wrote over at Epic last week that Carson Palmer was officially underrated. I think that by week 8, that wil easily be the low point in my football analysis career.

• Meanwhile…and this gives me no joy…Kerry Collins should be the starter in Tennessee. He gets a lot out of a solid, if not spectacular receiver corps (Justin Gage is for real with 5 catches for 59 yards and a TD), he spreads the ball around well, and he opens up the field for speedster Chris Johnson to do damage (109 yards on 19 carries). I firmly believe that Vince Young is a special talent, but I also think that you give the starter’s job to the guy that’s earned it until he loses it. Hopefully, the long road back makes VY better or leads him to something more suited to his temperament, for both his sake and ours.

While I’m on it, has there ever been a sports columnist who more routinely misses the point than Jason Whitlock? This is a guy who pissed and moaned his way off of ESPN, and at this point can’t stand to see any black columnist/athlete who lives or works outside of his own set parameters of what is “proper” succeed. Nobody is saying we should coddle Vince Young. What I think anyone with half a heard is saying is that somebody needs to step in and help him out during a really difficult situation. And that has nothing to do with him being black; it has to do with him being a young man in need of the kind of help that we all would like if we felt the way he does. It makes sense in terms of human decency, from a PR standpoint (the Titans don’t want to have a more tragic Michael Vick on their hands), and from an organizational standpoint (a happy, functional VY puts asses in seats and wins in the record book).

• Told you so about Jason Campbell. That offense doesn’t even look like it’s totally gelled yet, and he threw 24/36 with a TD and NO INTs (how are people not more impressed with that?!?). Malcom Kelly and Fred Davis both caught passes, too. Act like this won’t be terrifying if you’re a fan of anybody else in the NFC East in about 2 weeks. Hell, he might put up the most yardage in a division with a Super Bowl MVP and two Pro Bowlers.

• On the flip side of that coin, New Orleans could absolutely miss the playoffs because of their defense and their lack of a ball control offense. Just because Reggie Bush can’t work the middle of the field doesn’t mean NOBODY has to.

• Also…New Orleans has more pass catchers than it knows what to do with…the Eagles have an elite corner on their bench that they’ve been looking to trade, and no number one with Kevin Curtis hurt…smell what I’m cooking?

• You had to figure that sooner or later Kyle Orton was going to catch up to Kyle Orton.

• That comment could have just as easily applied to Jake Delhomme, but I’m giving him a pass until his huckleberry gets out of football jail. Steve Smith should put the Panthers on top of the NFC South. Dwayne Jarrett is probably so excited he’s locking himself in his house, closing the blinds, and clutching a shotgun in anticipation of Smith’s arrival.

• Oh yeah, and when Smith does come back, and him and Ken Lucas are still figuring out ways to sucker punch each other when nobody is watching…STILL less awkward than the Oakland sideline. Seriously, Lane, Rob, keep it together for the kids. JaMarcus Russell doesn’t want to have to pick sides.

• I can’t deal with Buffalo being the team to beat in the AFC East, but really we should have seen it coming. Strong offensive line, revamped defense, a consistent mid range pass attack, and the big red zone target the team has always needed. Throw in Marshawn Lynch and the ingredients are all there.

• You know things have gotten bad in central Florida when teams are running the Jacksonville War of Attrition offense with success against the Jags. Worse still, for all the money spent on bolstering that pass offense, Garrard has absolutely no rhythm or chemistry with anybody except for Matt Jones (Side note: It really is fitting that when Matt Jones is up, everything around him is down. He needs his own Eeyore rain cloud or something.). In two games, Garrard has thrown three picks (as many as he had all of last year), and with his offense needing that vertical game to step up (two hurt guards is going to make running up the gut a life threatening endeavor for MJD), Garrard looks strangely shaken. If the Texans had played this weekend, do we not think that the Jags would be alone in the cellar of the division that they were supposed to finally win?

• There is no more disappointing fantasy player than Vernon Davis. It’s like if Superman decided to always be Clark Kent.

• Also, when Matt Hasselbeck is getting schooled by JT O’Sullivan (Free beer with an order of onion rings!), maybe he should take some time off for his back to heal. Any offense that leans as much on Julius Jones as Seattle can’t really inspire that much confidence. On the bright side, this will probably ensure Holmgren stays retired. An experience like what this season is shaping up to be should sour him from coaching football ever again. Hell, he might have ‘Nam style flashbacks if Any Given Sunday runs on TNT.

• Not every defense is the Lions “defense”, Michael Turner and Matt Ryan. Still, as dumb as it would have been to assume that week 1 meant either of these two were as good as they looked, it would be equally dumb to assume week 2 means they’re as bad as they looked. Tampa Bay was loaded up against the run, and Ryan is still a rookie with nothing more than an OK receiving corps and a young, shaky offensive line. Also, why don’t teams with young rookie QBs do more to ensure they have a good pass catching tight end? Does this not seem like common sense at this point? Look at what Cutler has been able to do in Denver. Meanwhile, VY and Leinart have no clear safety valve, and both may be done as starters after two years. Throwing Ryan in there and expecting Roddy White to take care of him is like using a lambskin condom; the sensations are better, but it really does nothing as far as protection goes.

• I’d take Jeff Garcia over about 12-14 other starting quarterbacks. With him, Tampa is the only team that can hang with the Panthers. Without him, this team is lucky if it has a winning record.

• Wow…that Denver call…I mean…I like Eddie Guns as much as the next guy, but how is there no penalty for blowing it so egregiously?

• Cutler looks meaner this year, and it’s making all the difference to that offense. Basically, with a less marquee name pass attack, the Broncos are using Cutler and his arm to open the field up for the run, instead of the other way around. 36/50 with 4 TD and 1 INT is a great game no matter how you break it down, but look at the distribution. Yes, Marshall caught 18, but Scheffler still caught 6, Royal had 5, and Stokley had 3. What’s more, each of these guys seemed to find their level in the verticlal offense and exploited it to perfection (Royal was underneath, Marshall and Scheffler seemed to work the intermediate game, and Stokley made teams pay deep when the opportunity presented itself. If this defense ever figures out how to clamp down on the middle of the field, I’d take these guys in a shootout with anybody.

• Also, how is Cutler’s agent not working day and night to get him the “I work had to control my diabeetuss” guy’s gig? If it’s not his by season’s end, epic fail.

• One last note, early contender for biggest disappointment has to be the San Diego passing defense. You look at the names from top to bottom on that list, and it boggles the mind that now two different teams have managed to shred them through the air when it counts most.

• KSK says it well, although I can’t imagine Romeo Crenel ever being that active on the sideline.

• Also, say what you will about the Browns as a team, but it was the offense that lost that game, plain and simple. Holding Roethlisberger to 186 yards on 12/19 passing and keeping Parker averaging only 3.8 a carry should win that game for an offense with those tools. The fact of the matter is that only Kellen Winslow is being used properly. Meanwhile, Edwards is dropping ball after ball, and isn’t getting used when he finds his one-on-one mismatches that made him a top five receiver last year. Oh, and Jamal Lewis is the new Larry Johnson (the new new one, not the new old one). I’m saying that we see Brady Quinn before the season is over, maybe even by week 6 if this team drops the next two division games.

• Clearly, Anquan Boldin doesn’t understand the concept of tough contract negotiating. If I’m the Cardinals, given his performance angry thus far, I see if I can take money away from him, just to see if he can breat 10 receptions for 2 bills in week 3.

• After watching that game, I defy you to tell me why this Miami team can’t flirt with 0-16 just as well as last year’s team did. I love Handsome Chad, but he’s never been able to turn an entire team around on his own (see: Jets, 2007), and this run game looks WORSE than last year’s Jesse Chatman helmed version. Greg Camarillo is the offensive highlight of this squad. Just let that marinate. On any other team, he’s not even a second stringer. He’s not even a practice squad guy. He’s team spellchecker. In Miami, he’s a star.

• Because it gives me sick joy:
Ted Ginn Jr. watch: 3 receptions, 26 yards, long of 14.

No closer today, because I’m in a rush, but we’ll be back tomorrow, and should be trying some new stuff this week. Get excited.

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