Blog Entry

Monday Musings

Posted on: September 12, 2011 11:58 am

---All we heard all summer long was how moving the kickoff back 5 yards was ruining the game. What people missed about the change was that the cover players could no longer have a running start. They could only have a 5-yard lead-in. To me, and I insisted this all along, that would even things up. Return men could take more chances. And that's what's happening. There have been three kickoff returns for touchdowns so far, which ties the NFL record for opening weekend with two games to go. If there's one in either of the Monday night games, the record is broken. I love the way teams are playing this. It brings even more excitement -- not less. There aren't as many returns, but the ones that do happen are full of excitement.

---When I talked to Panthers receiver Steve Smith this summer about Cam Newton his face lit up. He was so excited to be in a new offense with a quarterback that had a big arm. Now we know why. Newton got all the headlines Sunday for his 422-yard passing performance in the 27-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but Smith was special as well. He caught eight passes for 178 yards and two scores. There was some talk that Smith's best football was behind him. He showed Sunday that's not the case. It must be nice to play in an offense where blocking for the run isn't the only requirement anymore.

----I worry about the Tampa Bay speed on offense. Mike Williams is a really talented receiver, but he isn't a burner. And there isn't much speed away from him. The backfield is also slow and lumbering with LaGarrette Blount and Earnest Graham as the feature runners. The lack of speed really showed up against the Lions. That's the next big step for Tampa Bay, finding a speed threat in the backfield or outside.

---The Atlanta offensive line was horrible against the Bears. They missed Todd McClure in the middle. He isn't the most physical center, but he's great with all the line calls.

---One of the interesting trends of the past couple of years is having a guard tell the center when to make the snap. The Lions did it all day against the Bucs. The Lions do it because the want center Dominic Raiola with his head up to make the line calls. So right guard Stephen Peterman, in a set stance, looks back at quarterback Matt Stafford to see when he's ready. Once he gets the signal that he is, Peterman taps Raiola's leg once or twice or three times to tell him to snap it. "You have to be an athlete," Peterman said about looking back in a set position. I also asked him about changing the snap count. "We change it," he said. The plays I watched, it looked like it was mostly one tap and go. The Lions, like so many other teams, only use this on the road for crowd-noise reasons.

---So much for the preseason talk of how Mario Williams would struggle playing the new stand-up position in the team's 3-4 scheme. A pass rusher is a pass rusher, no matter what the scheme. And he is rushing on almost every down anyway. He had two sacks and a forced fumble against the Colts Sunday.

---Irritating talk of the week: The Colts lack talent and it's showing now. No, they have talent. It's just what happened to them in getting blown out by the Texans shows just how valuable a franchise quarterback is to a team -- especially Peyton Manning. You tell me other teams wouldn't line up to get Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney, Jerraud Powers or Antoine Bethea? Of course they would.

---Smart move by the Texans to sit Arian Foster with his hamstring issues. But hurry back. Ben Tate looked good rushing for 116 yards. 

---I couldn't figure out why the Cowboys kept Dez Bryant on the field Sunday night. It was clear he couldn't run. I also noticed several times where he seemed to be in the wrong place on a route. He is so talented. But he needs to work on the little things.

---Tony Romo, get ready for more heat. He played a great game until the final five minutes or so. But that's when great quarterbacks make their names.

---The Jets still have pass-rush issues. They have to blitz so much to compensate for a lack of outside rushers. If that's the case, look for teams to take advantage of safety Eric Smith if he's in coverage. He lacks the ability to cover tight ends who can run.

---The Steelers have offensive line issues. Again. That really showed up against the Ravens. They have a way of fixing it as the season moves along -- see 2009 -- but for now it has to be troubling.

---Luke McCown was serviceable for the Jaguars. You don't make noise in the playoffs with serviceable. When Blaine Gabbert is ready, he plays. I've been told it could be less than a month for that to happen.

---Bad news for Panthers if linebacker Jon Beason is lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, which could be the case. He's the heart of that defense.

---I know the Eagles offensive line isn't good now, buy Mike Vick can't run for 98 yards on a weekly basis. He has to stay in the pocket more, or he might not finish the season.

Category: NFL
Tags: NFL Week 1

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 2:16 pm

Monday Musings

Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 5:58 pm

Monday Musings

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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:18 pm
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Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 10:56 am

Monday Musings

All the negative hype about the kick off rules was created by an ignorant and young football fanbase that whines and cries about everything. It was supported and fed by an even more ignorant crop of bad writers. The Eye on Football morons, the Mikie Freeman types. Those whining about sissifying the NFL are the real sissies. People need to shut up and watch some football...they might learn something or at least be entertained by what they can't seem to understand.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2011 8:38 am

Monday Musings

Yes, the Colts still have a few players with talent, but they don't have an abundance of it, and a team can gameplan around stopping a few big-name guys. Without Manning, they are back to being mediocre. Fortunately, they play in the same conference as the Jaguars and Titans, so they might be able to salvage the season.

When Brady went down, the Patriots went 11-5. That's not to say they didn't miss him, but they were still a very formidable team. That says a lot about the Patriots and how they build a team, but it also says a lot about how much of the weight has always been on Manning's shoulders in Indy.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: September 12, 2011 4:05 pm

Monday Musings

You tell me other teams wouldn't line up to get , , , , or ?
Dallas, Reggie, and Freeney, maybe. The rest, nope.

Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: September 12, 2011 3:17 pm

Monday Musings

They could only have a 5-yard lead-in.  To me, and I insisted this all along, that would even things up.
A bunch of kick returns for TD's and you claim you were all about the 2 kickoff rule changes?  Talk about some balogna.  You do realize that the internet doesn't get erased.  Let me remind you what you actually thought of the kickoff rule.

(From a previous Prisco blog):

Now we have Patiriots coach Bill Belichek saying he thinks the NFL would love to do away with kickoffs.  What's the big deal if they did?  It would be like taking away the jump ball in basketball.  Who cares?
While you were comfortable moving the kickoff up, knowing as well as some did that there would still be real football with offenses and defenses, you took the side of not giving a damn about special teams, not the side of both changes will balance things out (as you claimed to do).  try to be a little more honest with the readers, we are not all stupid; going around saying "I told you so" without actually telling us so, makes you look like a grade-A moron.  Even Doyle makes certain he said something before he rubs it in our face. 

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