Blog Entry

Monday musings

Posted on: September 28, 2009 5:10 pm

---If reports are accurate that Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington is out for the year with a shoulder injury, Sunday's San Diego game will be his last in a Dolphins uniform. Pennington is a free agent after this season and he hasn't exactly lit it up. The Dolphins will turn to Chad Henne, which was going to happen at some point this season. Now he goes in and knows he's the starter and he can play looser. Henne can throw the deep ball, which Pennington could not. That will help the Miami passing game. It's bad when a good guy like Pennington goes down, but in the long run it might be better for the Dolphins.

----My situational coaching issue this week is aimed at the Cincinnati Bengals. They got away with a bad decision, so they were lucky. On their game-winning drive, which was capped with a touchdown pass with 14 seconds left from Carson Palmer to Andre Caldwell, the Bengals completed a pass for a first down at the Pittsburgh Steelers' 15 with 54 seconds left. They hurried to the line and spiked the ball -- stopping it with 48 seconds -- even though they had two timeouts. Bad move. The down was more important than the time. They had plenty of time. They should have either called timeout or run a play. As it turned out, they got a fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive again. But if they didn't hit that pass to running back Brian Leonard, the drive is over. And so is the game. With one less down and a timeout in their pocket. Too many teams spike when they should play on -- or call timeout. The down is more valuable than the time there. I asked Bengals coach Marvin Lewis whose decision it was, and he said, "Mine." Why go that way? He said it was because the Bengals didn't spike it on a play late in the first half and wasted too much time before settling for a field goal. After the game, I asked Palmer about the spike and he said he thought it was the right decision. "You'll think differently about it when you watch it again," I said. I bet he does. He's good in those situations, so I bet if you asked him today what he thought he'd say the spike was the wrong way to go.

----Just a thought: Why was Chris Brown in the game for the Houston Texans when he fumbled late? Wasn't Steve Slaton the yards-from-scrimmage leader in the AFC last year? Sometimes coaches get too cute with their goal-line packages. Just play the best player. Slaton is the best player. Yes, Brown is bigger, but that doesn't mean better. Brown's fumble into the end zone, recovered by the Jaguars, prevent the Texans from a chance to tie the game.

---Receiver Limas Sweed dropped a sure touchdown pass against Cincinnati for the Steelers. He was wide open, appeared to catch the ball, but didn't control it as he went to the ground. There are questions about his hands again, which is why Mike Wallace is stealing the No. 3 receiver job. Wallace, a rookie from Mississippi, had seven catches for 102 yards in the loss to the Bengals.

---Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. I thought LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers other outside rush backer, would be even better than Harrison this year and might take his award away. But after three games, Harrison and Woodley have combined for one sack, that being a scramble for no gain by Palmer on Sunday by Harrison. They have really been non-factors as rushers, which is why the Steelers defense has had back-to-back weeks where they couldn't stop a team's game-winning drive. Harrison has 16 sacks last year and Woodley had 11 1/2. They better get it going if they want to come close to those numbers.

---Does anybody in the NFL have a better spin move than Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney? The man excels at it. He's helped because he is so explosive off the edge that the gets tackles setting quickly outside, which allows him to spin inside. Freeney, when healthy, is the best edge rusher in the game. He has 4 1/2 sacks, but tweaked a hamstring against the Cardinals on Sunday night.

---Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams isn't getting home as much as expected. Williams has one sack in three games. He didn't get a sack working against two rookie tackles and a guard who moved outside against the Jaguars. Williams had 26 sacks the past two seasons, but has one this year. The Texans paid Arizona free agent Antonio Smith a big contract to come in and help the pass rush. He hasn't registered a sack yet to help take the line slants from Williams. The Texans better get those two going or they will be in a lot of shootouts.

---The Bengals are paying receiver Laveranues Coles $6 million a year, but they aren't entirely happy with him. There's a chance you could see more and more of Caldwell. You can tell that Palmer really likes him. Chris Henry, who I thought would have a big year, is slowed some by a leg injury. He's also not entirely out of his coach's doghouse.

---Rookie runner Donald Brown gives the Colts something they haven't had with Peyton Manning, which is an explosive runner. Even Edgerrin James in his prime didn't have the wheels that Brown has. He will help open up the offense.

---Mike Vick or Kevin Kolb? Easy, right. And it isn't Vick.

---Pierre Thomas is a good runner for the Saints. He runs hard. More proof you can find good runners anywhere.

---Is benching Byron Leftwich the answer in Tampa? No. He was good the first two games, but got killed in the third week loss to the Giants. Josh Johnson is more mobile, so that has something to do with it. Why not just play rookie Josh Freeman if it's time to sit Leftwich down?

---Olindo Mare shouldn't sleep well tonight. He might not be around Seattle much longer. He missed two field goals that he has to make against the Bears.



Category: NFL

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2009 11:17 am

Monday musings

Pete - I agree that Palmer's decision to spike the ball with 48 seconds left of the Pitts-Cin game was a bad one.  But you have to give him a break on that one.  I know it seems like Palmer has been around forever, but he's really never had to manage games like he's had to this season.  For most of his career, Palmer's been either way been way up on an opponent or playing from behind.  You learn how to run the two-minute drill by running it a lot.  He'll get better at this as the team succeeds more. 

I understand the need to be critical, but in this case, Palmer did a lot of things right.  Do you know what he told the offense in the huddle before the drive?  "When we score we need to leave as little time as possible."  That kind of confidence and calm outweighs any small time management mistakes.  Palmer's been more impressive this year than in any other.  He's blossomed into a leader.

Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: September 30, 2009 8:54 am

Monday musings

OMG!! Everybody knows about Dwight Freeney's spin move!!!

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2009 7:37 am

Monday musings

"Henne can throw the deep ball, which Pennington could not"

Well, JaMarcus Russel can also throw the deep ball; does it help him? This whole idea of QBs needing to have strong arms is so overrated. Penningron is accurate, makes few mistakes and gets the completions a team needs.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 3:03 pm

Monday musings

As a diehard Bengals fan I was screaming at the tv........What the f@#@ are you doing.........You don't give away a down in that situation when you have 2 timeouts.........Luckily they still won a game they shouldn't have........1 and 1 this year on that one.........

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 12:29 pm

Monday musings

You took the words right out of my mouth concerning Chris Brown's goal line fumble. Steve Slaton is your work horse and best option, why give the ball to a guy who had been used sparingly to that point. Slaton equal TD and game tied.

Since: Sep 29, 2009
Posted on: September 29, 2009 11:51 am

Monday musings

If Pennington was going to get hurt, and based on track record it was only a matter of time, I'm glad it happened sooner than later in the season. It does give the Dolphins ample time to evaluate Henne and see if in fact he is as good as they think he can be. I think for a short time the team will miss Pennington leadership abilities, but at the end of the day, I do agree w/ Pete when he says in the long run the Dolphins will be a better team. If Henne doesn't work out, hopefully the team will not be ignorant to that fact and use a sure top of the draft pick to try again.

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 11:13 am

Monday musings

Even in his prime didn't have the wheels that Brown has.Wow! James is a likely future HOF running back who was flat out explosive his first few years before his knee injury. Are you sure Donald Brown has better wheels than that? I'm not.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 10:32 am

too fragile

Pennington wasn't athletic enough to get a scholarship at a football factory, he was never really athletic enough to play in the NFL (for very long). Nicest guy in the world - heck of a hard worker - but not really an NFL caliber athlete. Teams are hamstrung by his arm strength, which gets lesser after every catastrophic injury. Can he get the job done? Sure, on occasion, in a dome or on a sunny day. But in a playoff outdoor situation he's toast.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 10:17 am

Monday musings LEftwich GOOD??

-Is benching the answer in Tampa? No. He was good the first two games, but got killed in the third week loss to the . is more mobile, so that has something to do with it. Why not just play rookie if it's time to sit Leftwich down?
Uh, what freaking games were you watching?  He hit some passes in the first game, got worse in the second game, and looked like gary coleman in the molester episode of Diff'rent Strokes  in the third game.  Leftwich sucks.  With his throw the luggage over the house windup and concrete feet, he is better off being a career backup.  Let someone with some excitement play as in Josh Johnson.

Johnson is probably the best QB on teh roster, so he should be the one to play.

Freeman is gonna suck like Leftwich sucks.
Freeman should have never been drafted...the dumber Jamarcus Russell......

Since: Mar 24, 2009
Posted on: September 29, 2009 8:56 am

Monday musings

Prisco, do you no what your talking about saying Henne will run the offense? come on now, pennington was the only QB they had, if anything i would play pat White.  Also, you said byron leftwich played a good two weeks. 0-2 isnt really my definition of a good 2 weeks.  Josh freeman should be played. 

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