QUOTE: “From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own.” — Syrus
What a weekend in the NFL. Some of the games that were billed as potentially great turned out to be over quickly. Meanwhile, many of the bad teams played extremely hard and eventually found ways to break into the win column.
So much for the dominance of the NFC East. Every team except the Cowboys, who didn’t play, lost. The biggest surprise was the Raiders beating the high-flying Eagles in a game in which Andy Reid again mismanaged things down the stretch (much more about this on Tuesday; I love the emails I’ve already received on this subject). His work Sunday in Oakland might have secured him the title of worst game manager ever to win 100 NFL games.
Tuesday is the trading deadline, but I’m not optimistic there will be many deals. The Browns can’t trade Josh Cribbs (I hear they won’t), but will try to move outside backer/defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, who missed Sunday’s game against the Steelers with the flu. The Ravens will move rush end Antwan Barnes, who might draw some interest from the Eagles. And Jags outside linebacker Quentin Groves is being shopped at a reduced price, in large part because he missed team curfew in Seattle. Mike Sims-Walker also missed curfew, but he’s too vital to the Jags and is one of their best players.
If I were working in the NFL today, I might want to call the Titans since it looks like they might be offering all their players in a fire sale.
Here are some more postgame thoughts:
1. Mark Sanchez is once again a rookie — and a rookie playing badly right now. The wind in the Meadowlands is something he’s going to have to deal with, and he must learn from his play Sunday. Rex Ryan almost pulled him, but I’m sure he thought, “What could Kellen Clemens do to help us win?”
1st 3 Games Last 3 Games
W-L 3-0 0-3
Comp Pct. 59.0 45.0
Pass YPG 202.0 143.0
TD-INT 4-2 1-8
Passer Rating 87.7 26.5
2. Do you think Ryan likes to keep timeouts in his pocket for after the game? This is the second week in a row he’s done this, but he might want to reconsider his thinking. He needs to go back through the game and make mental notes of when he should have called timeouts.
3. How bad are the Bills on offense when they get six turnovers and only score 16 points in almost five quarters?
4. I know this, having watched the Browns-Steelers game live: Whatever they’re paying Eric Mangini, they should pay that same amount to Joshua Cribbs. Cribbs does more to help the Browns win than Mangini. He covers kicks, he returns kicks and he runs the offense. What does he have to do to prove he’s their best asset? The Browns have no offense without Cribbs. He’s my new favorite player — a modern day Jim Thorpe.
5. Nice win by the Raiders, but I wonder why the Eagles never doubled tight end Zach Miller on any play. He’s their only playmaker in the passing game, and to lose when Miller makes plays is really bad on the part of the Eagles’ defensive staff. It’s not a disgrace to lose to the Raiders, but the way the Eagles played was a disgrace.
6. The way that game was going, I’m wondering what kind of game it will take for Andy Reid to use Michael Vick. It seemed like a perfect time to get Vick involved to keep the pressure off the passer and force the Raiders to defend and control the pocket. This Vick move by the Eagles keeps getting more and more bizarre.
7. The Redskins amaze me with their thought process. Their front office thinks the problem is the play calling. Get a clue — your team lacks talent. I wish GM Vinny Cerrato would try and call plays with that offensive line trying to block. It’s a lack of players, not the plays.
8. ‘Skins head coach Jim Zorn might be gone this week, but the problems won’t leave when he walks out the door. Whenever the front office decides the time is right to fire Zorn, the next day the spotlight will be turned squarely on them. The lack of talent on this team is hard to ignore — even DeAngelo Hall knows it.
9. I know Clinton Portis had a huge run, but between him and Chiefs runner Larry Johnson, I’m not sure either will be starting in the NFL next year. Both looked bad to me again.
10. The Titans need to start over — literally. They need to go back to training camp and forget the first six games and start preparing for next season. It keeps going from bad to worse each week. It’s time for Vince Young to start at quarterback, and it’s time to cut bait with all the veterans who don’t play well.
11. Is Tom Brady back or are the Titans just that bad? I think that was the kind of game the Patriots’ offensive players needed to regain their confidence.
12. The Bengals had a tough emotional week and a very tough opponent to play in the Houston Texans. Losing Antwan Odom was a killer, and the Bengals don’t have the kind of depth as a football team to overcome such losses. Houston is a bad matchup for the Bengals, and give Matt “I Love Me Some Texans” Bowen credit — his team finally learned how to play gap-control eight-man-front football.
13. How many more times do we have to watch Tony Gonzalez catch touchdown passes in the red zone when he’s never jammed at the line of scrimmage? When you allow Gonzalez to have a free release, especially in the red zone, you’re asking for trouble. How hard can it be to double him all the time down there?
14. Teams keep forcing Brett Favre to make throws, and he’s responded much better than I could have imagined. He made all the throws and made them at clutch times. The Ravens have been living on the edge all year with their corners, and every time they play a good passing team, unless the rush is dominating, they’re going to have to win with their offense.
15. The Giants walked into a hornet’s nest, and the Saints proved once again they’re for real. These Saints are going to be good all year and might have a bump in the road, but when you watch them play, their execution is what stands out above and beyond everything. Unlike the Redskins, they have players making plays. They’re a talented team, and Sean Payton is a great coach, but their success lies in their execution.
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