Finally, we’re beyond the exams, and emerging into a hell of our own Jets fandom. Normally, I try and let my bitterness bleed over into the rest of my analysis as little as possible. I am making no such efforts today. Onward and spiraling downward…
• The bitterness starts with the first team to play: We don’t believe you, Indianapolis Colts. You can’t run, and when Bob Sanders is anything other than very good, you can’t stop the run. Take away a freakishly bad game by Big Ben (with Willie Parker out, no less), and you’ve beaten exactly one team with a winning record during this eight game streak (a Pats team that had them outclassed). Once these guys beat the titans in Week 17, the stage will be set for everyone to lose plenty of money betting on a Colts championship appearance.
• I’m still a sucker for Jamarcus Russell, despite the fact that he’s struggled this year. The fact remains that he’s still learning how to use his tremendous physicality, and has no coaching assistance whatsoever. If the Raiders can commit to a coach devoted to developing Russell (and why would they?) and can focus on buying Russell some time to let downfield routes develop for Zach Miller and Higgins (as well as the ACTUAL receiver the team might want to draft), I still think he’ll wind up being the most impressive quarterback of his class, like a taller, only slightly slower Donovan McNabb.
• Kevin Walter: Douchiest hair in the league?
• Four rushing touchdowns later, the Lions are not winning a game this year. Here’s the thing: I don’t think we’ve thought through exactly how weird this whole thing is. For example, can you imagine the press conference afterward? What will any of the players say? Worse still, what will Rod Marinelli, who has spent the entire season explaining to us how this ISN’T going to happen, say when it actually happens? What sort of questions do you ask of a man who has tasted unknowable failure? Does Clay Ford make an appearance? The NFL Network needs to run a live broadcast of that post-game press conference in its entirety.
• Also, INCREDIBLY low class move by Rob Parker at yesterday’s post-game wrap up. Dragging a man’s daughter into a public embarrassment that has nothing to do with her is a cheap way to try and gain buzz for being edgy instead of actually questioning the Lions organization in a way that is deserving of media attention.
• If Tarvaris Jackson could cure his case of the fumbly wumblies, he’d have no trouble securing his starting job at this point. After all, he’s clearly developed chemistry with Visanthe Shiancoe, who had 7 catches for 136 yards and 2 TD. Then again, it’s not that hard a job being quarterback for Shiancoe. After all, all you really need to do is loft the ball just close enough for it to be caught in the orbital gravity of his ginormous dong.
• I mean, I guess I understand Willis McGahee popping off a 70+ yards TD run, but Le’Ron McClain going for 82 yards? I’m pretty sure he has a 0 to 60 time of NEVER. Hell, his combine report for the 40 was N/A because he passed out at the 30 yard mark. Am I really supposed to believe that nobody on the Cowboys can catch up to a converted fullback?
• I had to double check the stat lines to make sure that Ken Dorsey being the leading passer in the Browns/Bengals game with 68 yards wasn’t a joke. The final tally was Dorsey 68, Ryan Fitzpatrick 55 (that makes me sad as a fellow Ivy leaguer…). There’s a wrinkle in this plot, however, as Fitzpatrick had 1 TD and no INT, while Dorsey (and his cohort Bruce Gradkowski) managed 4 INT, no TD, and just 76 yards between them. I’d say that was probably the least exciting offensive game all season, but Cedric Benson sobered his way to 171 yards on 38 carries for Cincy. So, seeing as Cedric Benson was an offensive highlight, it was actually more like the least exciting offensive game I will ever experience in my lifetime.
• Wait, so you’re telling me that a team with a shaky offensive line might have trouble against the most dominating defensive front in football? Anyone thinking the Steelers were the team to beat the Titans in January needed to get a clue months ago, because when Haynesworth returns, things will be ever WORSE for opponents.
• I’ve said this before, but don’t you have to give Tyler Thigpen at least one more crack at the starter’s gig at the start of next season? Throw away the abysmal record, because there isn’t a quarterback in the league who could win with his offense. Instead, consider that Thigpen has found himself narrowly losing games in which he’s managed 24, 27, 21, and 31 points, not to mention another 31 point affair where his defense gave up 54. That’s a lot to ask a first year starter to overcome, and considering how much better he’s looked than Croyle, you have to assume that any decision to go with an unproven QB (which Croyle most definitely still is) will have more to do with Thigpen’s alma mater and draft status than anything else.
• Also, I just realized there’s one exception to the “nobody could win with that offense” mentality I applied to the Chiefs: Chad Pennington, who has managed to win in close games, defensive struggles, and shootouts with a “who’s that?” of B-listers. The fact of the matter is that Pennington should easily be in the Pro Bowl, and deserves consideration for his second Comeback Player of the Year award after what he’s done (and what he still might do) in Miami. Seriously, after what the Jets did this weekend, I’ve hit the point of acceptance with regard to Handsome Chad putting the final nail in our coffin. Hell, I’d imagine even the troglodytes who ran him out of town feel that way by this point.
• Is there still a debate as to whether or not Singletary gets another year with the 49ers? If there is, there shouldn’t be anymore. More importantly, there shouldn’t be any debate that Mike Martz returns as offensive coordinator. I totally understand where everyone is coming from with this “their styles are totally mismatched” talk. Guess what: THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. Conflict is not the enemy of progress. Lincoln abhorred General Sherman’s March to the Sea. The Roman Triumvirate spent as much time plotting to kill each other as they did expanding their empire to unknown reaches. The point is that maybe a conservative old head like Singletary needs an obnoxious revolutionary like Martz to give his bludgeoning force some flashy edge, and vice versa. STOP THINKING EVERYTHING ON A TEAM HAS TO MATCH, BACKWARDS THINKING FOOTBALL MEDIA. After 2 passing touchdowns in under three minutes to win Sundays game, I shouldn’t be haiving to make this point.
• I am psyched that we could be looking at two 8-8 teams making the playoffs while teams with records at least two wins better stay home. At this point, I’m basically like those villains from those spy movies who are American traitors hoping to start wars so that America will start invading other countries as a result (there have been about 1000 of them since 9/11, about 100 of which have appeared on the show “24”). It’s the only way we’re getting any real change in the system.
• For the scoreboard, that last post was related to the Cardinals. Truth be told, I’m OK with the Chargers making the playoffs, particularly because of how a week 2 officiating flub almost screwed them. The way these guys are playing offense, you can’t imagine any team wanting to play them in January, with Rivers finding his stride and LT eager to prove he hasn’t lost it all yet, right?
• The Cardinals, on the other hand, suck. Kurt Warner is finally showing signs of age (which is a shame, considering how well he’s played all year), Hightower proved that being picked up in the fifth round doesn’t excuse you from being a plodding back with no quick cuts, and this defense is sneakily the 4th worst in terms of points allowed. Before the season started, I suggested that we could be looking at the NFC West as the most competitive division in football. Now I’m looking for the whole western portion of the NFL to be blasted off into space. Suckage that hard should be reserved for a total vaccum.
• Antonio Bryant is going to make some team VERY happy in free agency, assuming that the Bucs don’t franchise him (although considering what’s happened in the last couple of weeks, I can’t understand why they wouldn’t…although considering I got a straight F on my accounting midterm this year, I probably shouldn’t get into analyzing anyone’s financial situation…).
• I’m going to close my eyes, wish really hard, and maybe next week in Buffalo the Bills will show up as the team that started the year off combining a powerful and varied rush attack with a deadly mid range pass attack. Throw in a speedy defensive and special teams unit, and I’d be scared if I were a Pats fan. Oh, and I’d also like a golden toilet, and a unicorn. Thanks, Santa. Looooooove, Zac.
• There’s an awful lot of “Shanny deserves responsibility” talk going around for the Broncos failure to lock up an awful AFC West, particularly considering that he might actually be starting a Pop Warner MVP at running back after six different injuries at the position. I don’t love the smarmy orange douchebag any more than the rest of you, but could we maybe try and put records into context? Like, I’m not going to win the AFC West either, but that has only slightly less to do with Shanny’s performance than the Broncos record does.
• I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Until the Eagles get a legitimate number one receiver, they will never be a real contender. Trash T.O. all you want, but the criticism of his importance to any team he’s on MUST necessarily start AFTER he made McNabb a dominating quarterback and had the Eagles within a standard Andy Reid 2 minute drill (which last clocked in at 5:30) away from being Super Bowl champs.
• Wow, the backup RB led the team in receptions. AWESOME revolutionary offense, Jim Zorn. For your next trick, will you de-invent the forward pass? Maybe you can build a scheme around the first down punt? Also, kudos to Dan Snyder, because any time you get a chance to bring in a specialist who will literally tailor his offense in direct opposition to his specialty, you have to do it, right? Redskins football: Taste the antagonism toward their fanbase!
• I would watch that Panthers/Giants game again any day of the week, and I’d bet you these teams split it 5-5 out of 10 games. How did the NFC sneakily become head-and-shoulders above the AFC?
• OK, you knew it was coming…let’s start with Brett Favre. Hey, Brett, have I told you how psyched I am so that you could proceed to average under 7 yards per pass attempt (6.72)? Forget whether or not you’re better than Handsome Chad. You WISH you could come CLOSE to Handsome Chad’s vertical offense (7.74 YPA). At this point, I’d settle for a Shaun Hill caliber deep attack (6.98). Oh, but don’t worry, even if someone eventually breaks your TD record, this season has guaranteed that nobody will ever, EVER touch your INT record, seeing as you lead the league with 3 more than Drew Brees (who has thrown 9 more TD and over 100 more passes). I’d say you were mediocre, but I’m pretty sure mediocre doesn’t lose to Oakland. This is legacy tarnishing. Ask yourself, was this really worth putting off popping Oxy in Kiln for a whole year? You couldn’t just pick the kids up from school like Deana asked? Jug band hillbilly.
• Next up, Marty Schottenheimer and Bob Sutton. Guys, I’m no expert, but could we MAYBE MAKE AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE OUR CLEAR TALENTS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL??? I don’t care if Vernon Gholston pees his pants every time he puts a helmet on; he should have been playing every single game this season. That’s what you do with a physical powerhouse. Look at Mario Williams, who sucked his entire first year. Think that the Texans aren’t glad they let him find his comfort zone as a rookie? And don’t even get me started on you, Schotty. What’s the matter, couldn’t figure out a way to tell Brett that he didn’t need to throw 30 times a game for us to win? Oooh, even better, how about we try and find a way for Leon Washington to get more than 107 touches the entire year!!! I could put Art Shell and Romeo Crenel on the sidelines and they’d inspire more confidence than watching you two jagoffs remove any zing from either side of the football. I can’t wait for you two to be the first casualties of the year in the offseason.
• Next up, Laveranues Coles. We get that you miss your best friend Chad. I miss him too. Guess what: You wanted number one receiver money all offseason, we gave it to you, and you’ve paid like a number two all year. And not a good number two, like Amani Toomer or Randle El. You’re like a less talented, more disappointing Reggie Brown. You and Bobby Sippio should go be middling together on an AFL team. Oh, wait, they’re not around. Enjoy being the Jerry Rice of the UFL, Trubb.
• Finally, the Mangina. I’ve never seen anyone expend their good credibility this quickly. You’re the Cuba Gooding Jr. of NFL coaches. This season wasn’t even your Snow Dogs. This was your Daddy Day Care 2. I can’t wait to hear about you working on SNY because nobody will hire you thanks to you ratting out Belichick en route to a 4-12 debacle. There are no words for the eggs you laid all over the west coast. Aspiring Models who wind up in glory hole porn leave the Pacific with more dignity than you did. You are the absolute biggest disappointment in a season full of disappointments. In short, I would rather have Art Shell looming around.