by Michael Lombardi
October 05, 02009
QUOTE: “The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary.” -- Vidal Sassoon
At the end of long a Sunday on Week Four of the NFL, my first thought was, how about them Denver Broncos? They find ways to win games, and their attention to detail as a coaching staff is very impressive. Here are some other random thoughts:
1. How can the Cowboys not have Jason Witten in the route on the two biggest plays of their young season? They had him protecting, and this had to make the Broncos very happy.
2. I hope Matthew Stafford doesn’t have much structural damage to his knee, but there’s often some damage with a dislocated knee cap. Stafford was playing very well and was developing a feel for the pro game. He was taking some hits, but he was making some impressive throws.
3. Marvin Lewis is the king of overtime games. Sunday, he was one minute away from being the first coach in NFL history since the new overtime rule to finish with two ties. A huge play by Carson Palmer bailed him out.
4. One thing that drives me nuts watching NFL games is how undisciplined defensive linemen are with their rush at key moments of the game. The killer cause for the Brett Favre play in Week 3 was the stupid pass-rush stunt by the 49ers ran that allowed Favre to move around the pocket. Same thing happened to the Browns on Sunday.
5. At least the Browns might have something to build on with the play of running back Jerome Harrison and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. They had great days against a good Bengals defense.
6. Let’s face it, the Bills are just good enough to win five games, and the longer the season goes, their lack of size will affect their ability to stay healthy. Their bad planning on their offensive line, especially at tackle, is too much to overcome. But what they’ll really need to decide is whether they can win with Trent Edwards at quarterback.
7. The Steelers, despite of their previous two-game losing streak, do not have Super Bowl fever. They’re still very good, and when they get the running game going like Rashard Mendenhall showed last night, they’re tough to beat.
8. The Chargers have had a tough stretch of games against physical teams -- Baltimore, Miami and the Steelers. They really need the bye week to get healthy.
9. Ray Rice is really a special player. His lower body is so powerful, almost Maurice Jones-Drew-like, and his ability to break tackles is impressive. The Ravens know they have to win games by making opponents play from behind. They’ll face the Patriots again in January.
10. Tom Brady of the Patriots has won his last 18 home starts, including playoffs, and is 70-3 career as starter when leading at halftime and 73-1 when entering fourth quarter with a lead. The Patriots know they need to build the lead with their passing game, which looks to me like it’s swinging back into form.
11. If your quarterback is throwing at less than a 40-percent completion percentage and has one touchdown pass in two games, you might want to think about making a change. But not Tom Cable in Oakland. He’s staying the course of bad offensive football that rivals the Tom Walsh era in Oakland. JaMarcus Russell was awful again, losing a fumble against the Texans, and it doesn’t get any easier as the Raiders travel to New York to play the Giants next.
12. How about this comment from reader Jason Dezen regarding my comments about the ‘Skins in the Sunday Post: “Skins won today...and DOMINATED the second half. So hmpp. P.S.: You got fired by the Raiders.” Jason, what game where you watching? Dominating the Bucs is an achievement? Two hundred seventy yards of offense is a great outing. Get real. They are not a good team.
13. Mark Sanchez is going to have days like Sunday in New Orleans, but I expect him to grow and learn from the experience. The crowd noise and blitz pressure was too much for a young player to deal with.
14. The Saints continue to impress me with their ability to win games without having Drew Brees do all the work. This year, they have balance.
15. Tennessee needs to forget about all the playoff talk and start making improvements to the team. This is not about changing to Vince Young at quarterback, as Kerry Collins was not great, but he wasn’t the sole reason the Titans lost. They can’t defend the pass and they can’t stop making mistakes. They’re 4-9 since their 10-0 start last year.
16. We’ll hear the cries for Vince Young all week, but I talked to Jeff Fisher after the game and he told me he was not even thinking about a change. The team was bad, not Kerry Collins.
17. Jacksonville was very impressive on both sides of the ball playing without their starting tackles, Eugene Monroe, who had the flu, and Eben Britton, who is still recovering from a knee injury. Tra Thomas and Mo Williams filled in well.
18. David Garrard dominated the game with his pinpoint accuracy, and Mike Sims-Walker looks like the real deal at wide receiver. They both were very impressive, and now the Jags have faced every team in the AFC South, winning two and losing one. With Seattle and St. Louis up next, they might be able to make a push for the playoffs.
19. It’s hard to really know what Seattle is as a football team since most of its players are not healthy. But one thing is clear: The Seahawks do not have the offensive or defensive lines to dominate. They put way too much money into linebackers and wide receivers.
20. By his fifth possession in the game against the Seahawks, Indy’s Peyton Manning engineered four touchdowns scores, which is more points than the Rams have scored all year. The Rams are bad, but being shut out twice in four weeks is horrendous.
More in the Tavern today.
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