Tag:Monday Musings
Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:48 pm

Monday Musings: Hot seats get hotter for coaches

The coaching seats are getting steaming hot under the butts of Jack Del Rio, Andy Reid and Norv Turner.

My guess is this: Turner and Del Rio get fired, but Reid stays.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver basically said the decision on Del Rio is for another time, but that time will come after the season. Del Rio had to get to the playoffs to save his job, and he doesn't exactly have a great reputation with people inside the building.

The Jaguars need to hire an offensive coach to help Blaine Gabbert develop. One name that is possible: Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. 

In San Diego, it's hard to imagine Turner coming back after his team has lost six straight games. Former Titans coach Jeff Fisher would make sense as a replacement and I could see the Jaguars also talking to Fisher.

Reid is hurt by the Dream Team talk before the season. But hasn't he built up enough cache' to warrant coming back. I know Eagles fans want him gone, but I think he comes back for another year.

Other firings that might happen: Jim Caldwell (Colts), Tony Sparano (Dolphins), Todd Haley (Chiefs) and Steve Spagnuolo (Rams).

The problem is there aren't many candidates as replacements out there -- especially on offense. Some defensive guys who could get shots are Rob Ryan (Cowboys defensive coordinator) and Chuck Pagano (Ravens defensive coordinator).

----DeSean Jackson needs to grow up. His season-long pouting about not getting a new contract has cost him millions. It's also affected his play. He dropped two touchdown passes against the Patriots Sunday and was actually benched. I love the kid's speed, but when he hits the free-agent market this spring teams will shy away from him because of his attitude. Even when the Eagles didn't give him a new deal, why didn't he just go in and work to get one? That was really stupid, if you ask me.

---So Drew Rosenhaus says some team wants to sign Terrell Owens. As somebody sent me on Twitter: Does he mean a legal team? Owens is in hot water for allegedly not paying his child-support payments. Owens looked like he was a broken-down racehorse at his workout in California. Who wants that as their receiver? Move on, go the Hall, and that's that.

---So let me see: If Devin Hester is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, should we start getting a bust ready for Patrick Peterson? The Arizona Cardinals rookie corner now has four punt returns for touchdowns this season, tying a league record. All of them have been over 80 yards, the first time that's happened. That's why we have to slow down on the Hester-to-the-Hall talk.

---I really like Bills receiver Stevie Johnson. He's one of those self-made players who has developed into a big-time player. But he crossed the line when he mocked Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. There's no way he could justify that. Johnson apologized, and I'm sure he will do the same to Burress, but he cost his team 15 yards that led to a Jets touchdown. You have to be smarter than that.

---Why does it always seem like it's "Good Rex, Bad Rex" for Rex Grossman. He throws for 314 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle, but he's picked off twice on bad throws that make you wonder what he's doing. Give him credit because he made the play to win the game. Good Rex, Bad Rex.

---After being tight end-oriented the past few weeks, the Patriots got their receivers involved against the Eagles. Wes Welker had eight catches for 115 yards and two scores, while Deion Branch had six catches for 125. That's big for the Patriots moving forward. If only they had some deep speed.

---Down 10 late in the game against Atlanta, the Vikings faced a fourth-and-goal from the 1. So coach Leslie Frazier opted to go for it. Why? You need to get a field goal somewhere. The Falcons stuffed the play, and the Vikings were done. By not getting the field goal there, the Vikings ended their chances. I see coaches do that all the time. Take the field goal.

---It had to infuriate the Bills seeing former first-round pick Aaron Maybin getting two sacks for the Jets against them Sunday. The Bills cut Maybin this year and that's by a team that has pass-rush issues.

---Von Miller, get that shelf ready for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. It is yours. His play to stuff a third-down run behind the line helped the Broncos force the Chargers into attempting a 53-yard field goal in overtime instead of one under 50. Nick Novak missed the kick and the Broncos went from there and won it.

---I know Matt Hasselbeck threw the game-winning score for the Titans against the Bucs, and they are 6-5, but I see too many issues. Aqib Talib picked him off and went for a touchdown on a throw young quarterbacks make, not veterans like him.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 3, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 1:10 am

Monday Musings: Saints too aggressive at end

Saints coach Sean Payton is one of the league's most-aggressive play callers.

But sometimes he can be too aggressive.

Take the end of the Jaguars-Saints game Sunday. His team was leading 23-10, but Payton kept throwing. Drew Brees was picked off once and the Saints had a tough time using up the clock. The Saints had three possessions starting from 11:43 left to 2:07 left. They ran 12 plays, not counting fourth down. Eight of those plays were passes. They didn't get any points, and had a 50-yard missed field goal by John Kasay. It just didn't make any sense. A

fter the game, Payton said they had some problems late and said it was "my fault."  Drew Brees defended the style.  "We wer executing our offense," Brees said. "Twenty-three to 10 is not anything. You have to distance yourself. Never play conservatively when the game is that close. We were still calling plays, pushing the ball down the field." I know that's who they are, but at some point they have to be able to milk clock. Isn't that why they drafted Mark Ingram in the first round?

I asked some defensive players about it, but they waved me off. Publicly. Privatley, you could tell they were not happy about it. I believe Payton is the best at calling plays in the NFL. But sometimes he gets a little too arrogant in how he's calling them. That appeared to be the case in Jacksonville Sunday.

---The Eagles are in big trouble. Not only are they 1-3, but they had some significant injures Sunday. They lost defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, one of their top run stuffers, for the season with a torn triceps. Pass rusher Trent Cole, who was playing as well as any defensive end in the league, is expected to miss three weeks or so with a calf injury and left tackle Jason Peters, their best lineman, will likely miss a couple of weeks with a hamstring. Three key players on the two lines going down will be tough to overcome. Dream Team? Not now.

---Amazing stat: Tom Brady passed Joe Montana on the all-time touchdown list Sunday with 275 to put him eighth all time -- only 124 behind Peyton Manning. That's 124. Unreal.

---There wasn't much doubt the Bears would feed Matt Forte against the Panthers. Carolina has problems stopping the run and the Bears were taking heat for not running it enough. Forte responded with a 205-yard rushing performance. Want to bet Mike Martz goes back to throwing it against the Lions this week anyway?

---The Bears defense isn't very good. They've given up over 500 yards the past two weeks. Isn't that a unit that has Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher?

---So Santonio Holmes wants the ball more? Wonder where that story came from? Hmm. His agent, maybe?

---Rookie receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones are having good starts to their careers, both coming off 100-yard days. That should help the draft stock of Oklahoma State's Justin Blackman, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, three good-size receivers who are expected to go in the first round. Count Jacksonville as a team that will take one of those receivers if it gets a chance.

--In four games, Seattle's Mike Williams has 79 yards receiving. So much for that great comeback continuing from last season. Williams looks heavier to me than a year ago. That was the problem when he was a first-round pick with the Lions.

---Why can't the Eagles play in the fourth quarter? They have been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter of their last three games. By they way, they've lost all three.

---Broncos need to ditch those stupid Tim Tebow plays. Way too predictable. They ran him once for a minus-1 yard against the Packers. Oh, boy.

---Nice move by the Packers to re-sign receiver Jordy Nelson to a three-year deal. The way the Packers are playing it's hard to believe so many people in Green Bay once wanted general manager Ted Thompson fired.

---Looks like the Patriots have found a good, young back in rookie Stevan Ridley. He runs hard. He ran 10 times for 97 yards against the Raiders. The rookie from LSU was on my Better-Than Team this spring of guys I liked better than the scouts. Hey, I got one.

---I thought it was an insult for teammates to speculate that running back Peyton Hillis didn't play last week because he's not happy with his contract, rather that strep throat. Of all the players in this league, Hillis would be the last I would think would play that card.

---I really like Leslie Frazier as a coach. But the Vikings coach needs to sit Donovan McNabb down now and play Christian Ponder. The Vikings aren't going anywhere, so get on with the future.

---Whatever Charles Woodson takes to stay young, I want some of it. He's 35 and continues to make big plays. The guy is a star. He had another interception return for a touchdown Sunday against the Broncos

--The interception Jason Campbell threw to Patrick Chung in the end zone Sunday might have been the worst I've ever seen. There wasn't an Oakland player in the area. The Raiders had a chance to go up 14-10 there. That can't happen.

Posted on: December 21, 2009 3:00 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2009 5:43 pm

Monday Musings

---The Brett Favre meltdown that many predicted, including me, is happening before our eyes. Did he look old and beat down Sunday night or what? He looked shell-shocked, jumpy and not at all like he had earlier this season. And what about the exchange with Brad Childress? The coach wanted to yank him and Favre got into it with him and told him he's not coming out? Who the hell does he think he is? And how can Childress have any coaching juice when the player wins out? " We were up 7-6,” Favre said after the game. "Yeah, it’s not 70-6, but we’re up 7-6. So I said, ‘I’m staying in the game, I’m playing.’ I don’t know if it was exactly to protect me, or we had seven points, I’m not sure. That’s his call. But we talked it out."  If that were any other player, he would be ripped for being selfish. Not Favre. He's called a competitor. No, he's selfish. I might be right about his signing after all. If he doesn't win the Super Bowl, or get to the title game, it wasn't worth it. It was for Childress. He got a contract extension. Not bad for a coach who won't stand up to his quarterback. Who's the boss there anyway?

---The decision by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to onside kick in the fourth quarter with a 2-point lead might have been one of the dumbest coaching decisions I've seen. It isn't as bad as Bill Belichick's "Fourth-and-Jackass" call in Indianapolis, but it's close. Tomlin basically handed the game to the Packers, but Ben Roethlisberger bailed him out. I know he has a Super Bowl ring, but the verdict is still out on Tomlin in my book.

---The MVP race is over. In a span of three days, Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes to keep the Colts undefeated, while Drew Brees and Favre didn't play well in their team's losses. Manning will win it. It's a lock now. And he should.

---I hope people will back away from ripping Tony Romo now. The man has played well in December. His clutch throw to Miles Austin on a big third-down play in the fourth quarter was huge against the Saints. The Cowboys are lucky to have him. He is smart, tough and he is accurate.

---How does Jets coach Rex Ryan not know his team is still alive in the playoffs after their loss to the Falcons? Ryan said this: "We're obviously out of the playoffs and that's unfortunate." No, Rex. You're alive.

----The Saints have major issues at left tackle. Jermon Bushrod, who took over when Jammal Brown was lost for the season, isn't very good. DeMarcus Ware abused him Saturday night. They've covered him up a bunch with help this season, but that takes weapons out of the passing game. It might be time to turn to Zach Strief.

---The more I watch Vincent Jackson the more I'm impressed. It's hard to believe this is the same receiver who didn't put the work in early in his career. That was the knock on him. Teammates said he thought he could just get by with his natural ability. Jackson realized he had to put the work in. His speed makes the San Diego offense click. He had a good day Sunday against Leon Hall, one of the best corners in the league. It helps that Philip Rivers loves to throw the deep ball.

---Rivers is a mad bomber. Not bad for a guy who was said to have a suspect arm.

---When the Bengals lost tight ends Reggie Kelly and Ben Utecht for the season in camp, and then didn't get anything from rookie Chase Coffman before he went on IR, they had a huge void at tight end. But J.P. Foschi is starting to emerge as a factor in the offense. He has 27 catches for 260 yards and two scores. He had seven catches for 82 yards against the Chargers Sunday. I still think that the Cincinnati passing game will be needed in a big way come playoff time. Foschi could be a big help.

---When Cleveland's Jerome Harrison ran for 286 yards Sunday against the Chiefs, it backed up one of my all-time drafting rules: You can find running backs anywhere. Harrison was a fifth-round pick in 2006. All he needed was a chance, but that was stunted by the Browns getting caught up in "Name-itis." That's the disease teams have when they get sucked in by a name player, who isn't the same player he once was. That was Jamal Lewis for the Browns. Harrison runs hard and he might be a keeper. You can find backs. Let them run wild for five or six years and then find another. They aren't quarterbacks.

---Tank Johnson is playing well for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was a force against San Diego at defensive tackle.

---Julius Peppers' impressive outing Sunday night, which included a sack and three pressures and a domination of Bryant McKinnie, only backs up my thinking about him. He's a wonderful talent who plays only when he wants. That game was his chance to show he was worth a big contract. So he played like a force who should be the highest-paid defensive player in football. Why not more of that?

---Chad Henne threw three interceptions for the Dolphins, but I still like the way he plays. He has that gunslinger feel. Hey, Favre is the all-time leader in interceptions thrown. The great ones take chances. Henne has that look to him.

---Cowboys corner Mike Jenkins is having a great season. He's been by far the best player in the Dallas secondary.

---The Jaguars have no points in the fourth quarter of their last four games. They are 1-3. Is there any doubt they need a new quarterback? David Garrard can't get it done in crunch time.

---Name to watch in Seattle: Steve Keim, the Arizona Cardinals director of player personnel. He would be a great hire.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 30, 2009 12:32 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2009 12:52 pm

Monday Musings: Time to shut Eli down?

---Are the Giants done if Eli Manning is done with a bad foot? Well, David Carr isn't exactly Manning but he has starting experience. The tools are there. When he was in Houston, the book was he didn't work hard enough. But in New York that's changed. He has the big arm. Manning didn't play well against the Broncos last week, but he had little time. Even so, he didn't have the same zip on his passes. If he's hurting, shut him down. Don't risk further damage.

---Can somebody tell me why the Miami Dolphins decided to have Ricky Williams throw a jump pass as they were readying to score the game's first touchdown against the Bills? They were blowing through the Buffalo defense when Williams lined up in the Wildcat formation and attempted to throw a pass on first-and-goal from the Buffalo 3. Chris Draft intercepted the pass in the end zone, ending the scoring threat. Just stupid. Can you be that cute?
---Hines Ward needs to shut his mouth. If Ben Roethlisberger doesn't think he's healthy enough to play, he doesn't play. Period. Head injuries are serious stuff. Ward is selfish. He always has been. He just covers it up well with that smile.

---There is a chance that Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil can break the single-season sack record held by Mike Strahan. He has 14 on the season and has two games left against the Chiefs and one against the Raiders, two teams he's had success against in the past and two teams without good offensive lines. The amazing thing about Dumervil is that he's only 5-11 and that might be stretching it. I asked him if the offensive linemen he faces ever say stuff to him about how his height, and he said Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie talked some trash in last Thursday's game.  "I talked some back but I was looking up to him and realized how short I am," Dumervil said. Dumervil said the key to his success is his leverage. "I've been small doing this my whole life so I'm used to it and that helps me," he said. "The offensive line isn't used to handling a player of my size."

---Until the Houston Texans learn to win big games, they will never be a playoff team. They are 1-15 against the Colts and had legitimate chances to beat them both times this season. Those losses could cost Gary Kubiak his job. Mike Shanahan could be the replacement.

---Is there a better chubby linebacker than Clint Session of the Colts? His interception return for a touchdown was the big play in the Colts' victory over the Texans. I follow Session closely since I played high-school football with his father. He's a good kid. And he's a good player.

---There are some who want to say Denver Broncos corner Champ Bailey isn't the same player he was a few years ago. I don't buy that at all. He can still line up in man coverage and take away a receiver. Does he get beat once in a while? Who doesn't in man coverage? But his ability to play man most of the time gives the Broncos so many options on the other side of the field. They can roll coverage to Andre Goodman's side, which has helped make him better.

---I've pumped up Charles Woodson for the past three seasons. I even wrote a column where I talked to him about why he isn't perceived as being one of the top defensive players. He didn't understand it. I don't either. But after his impressive streak of games, Woodson is finally getting his due. He might be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. That's how good he's playing.

---When I watch Kevin Smith run for the Lions, I think he goes down way too easy. He doesn't break enough tackles.

---The Giants could be without middle linebacker Antonio Pierce for the rest of the season because of a neck injury. That might seem like a huge loss, but at least two scouts and a coach have told me they didn't think Pierce was playing well before his injury. It could be that the neck was bothering him, but he wasn't playing with the same pop. Chase Blackburn started in his place against the Broncos and didn't play great. They need more speed there.

---Dennis Dixon was OK for the Steelers Sunday night. He could have been better if they put him in the shotgun and let him go up-tempo. Did you see him take off on that touchdown run? The Steelers played scared. When you do that to a quarterback, he plays scared. That's why he had the key turnover in overtime. I liked what I saw from Dixon.

---Let's face it: Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme isn't very good. And the coaching staff will pay the price for it. You can't win in the NFL anymore with a manage-the-game approach to playing quarterback.

---Watching the Chargers carve up the Chiefs, it's apparent that Antonio Gates is healthy again. He had two touchdown catches and looks quicker. With Vincent Jackson outside, it really helps open things up for Gates.

 --- So Jay Cutler shoved an NFL Network microphone out of his face Sunday? Maybe he was mad because they let Josh McDaniels' "F-bomb" get on the air last Thursday. You know he cares about that guy. Yeah, right.

---I heard Phil Simms say on the Thanksgiving broadcast of the Oakland-Dallas game on CBS that it wasn't just about the quarterback with Oakland. Uh, Phil. Yes, it is. They have talent on that team. But with an inability to make plays in the passing game, you can't win. They have good backs. They have young receivers with speed. They have a tight end who can run and catch. On defense, there are a lot of good players. It's quarterback. Period.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 9, 2009 6:28 pm

Monday Musings


---The NFL will surely look into the Mike Smith-DeAngelo Hall sideline fracas during the Falcons-Redskins game. After a late hit by LaRon Landry on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on the Atlanta sideline, some sideline pushing and shoving commenced. Hall, helping his teammate, got into the middle of it. Somehow, Smith did as well. Smith was trying to keep Hall from getting into it with his players and arm-barred him, while yelling at him to back off. Hall hit Smith's arm off of him, and it looked like Smith might have thrown an elbow, but he said he did not. Hall said Smith threatened to kick his ass. Smith is as mild-mannered a coach as there is, but he does get worked up at times on the sideline, which I like. His players love his passion and they had to love him taking up for them on the sidelines. He'll get a small fine, but it will prove to be worth it. The league didn't do a thing when Mike Singletary offered to fight Falcons guard Harvey Dahl a few weeks ago during a game, so nothing should happen here. Hall will cry victim, but the reality is it's not that big a deal.

---Playing not to lose rather than to win is a pet peeve of mine. The Giants lived it Sunday. After New York's Terrell Thomas returned an interception to the San Diego 4 with 3:14 left in the game and the Giants leading 17-14, they had a chance to lock up the game. But after a holding call on first down moved the ball back to the 14, the Giants threw a short pass and then ran it twice and settled for a field goal. Why not take a shot and try and win the game right there? As it turned out, the Chargers drove to the winning score and win 21-20. A touchdown would have meant they had little chance to win it. The Giants made a major mistake playing it conservatively there.

---The Cleveland Browns are now talking about adding a football guru. Does that mean Eric Mangini isn't it? Randy Lerner is on the hook for $40 million or so from the departed coaching staff and front office and would owe Mangini $35 million if he were to fire him. That's a lot of money. Then again, he allowed Mangini to spend $10 million or so to renovate the team's facility. How's that working? The Browns are said to be eying Ron Wolf, Ernie Accorsi or Mike Holmgren. How about somebody a little younger? Here are a few names: Cardinals Director of Player Personnel Steve Keim, Ravens Director of Scouting Eric DeCosta and Jaguars Director of Pro Personnel Terry McDonough. Those three know football. Hiring a guy like that would be a good change.

---Why did the Dallas Cowboys run the Wildcat offense against the Eagles? Didn't Tony Romo come into the game hotter than the asphalt in Phoenix on a summer day? So they take the ball out of his hands? That's just dumb. Romo won the game with his big play to Miles Austin in the fourth quarter. Don't take the ball out of his hands. Ever.

---Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris should be ashamed for his punch that led to his ejection Sunday. He has apologized, but Harris should know better. He wasn't there for his teammates, which makes it a selfish act. The word inside the Bears is that Harris is an odd sort who isn't as dedicated as he should be -- or at least he hasn't been.
There were scouts who thought he'd be that way coming out of Oklahoma. One thing's for sure: He isn't the same player he was a few years ago.

---Is the heat on Giants first-year defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan? It is now. The Giants have had injuries on that side of the ball, but they just don't look the same. Where's the pass rush? Losing safety Kenny Phillips to injury was a real hit. They benched C.C. (Can't Cover) Brown this week in favor of Aaron Rouse, but he isn't Phillips either.

---The Baltimore receivers can't win in single coverage. I saw that last week against Denver live, and I again watched it Sunday against the Bengals. Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton aren't good enough to win consistently. The Ravens need to get Joe Flacco a top-notch receiver. Bengals corners Jonathan Joseph and Leon Hall, who I've been touting all season, did a nice job in coverage against the Ravens.

---It's too bad Bengals receiver Chris Henry is out for the season with a broken forearm. He seems to have turned his life around. His deep speed will be missed, even if he hasn't been putting up huge numbers.

---The Carolina Panthers trailed by 10 with 20 seconds left and faced a fourth down at the New Orleans' 2. The Panthers should have kicked a field goal to make it a touchdown game and then tried an onsides kick and hoped for a recovery and touchdown. But John Fox went for it and when Jake Delhomme's pass was incomplete, the game was over. Bad move. It might not have mattered, but you have to play the percentages.

---I liked what I saw from Josh Freeman Sunday. The Bucs have their quarterback.


Category: NFL
Posted on: October 12, 2009 5:08 pm

Monday Musings


---We've heard a lot of talk this past week -- thanks to Ray Lewis -- that the NFL protects the quarterbacks too much. I don't believe it. Never will. They make the league go. So when the Titans were called for two late hits on Peyton Manning Sunday, he was asked about it. "I’ve never asked for a call, I’ve never clapped when they’ve made a call,” he said. “I clap when we get the yards because of execution. The first one, I’ve had that hit before to the knee. I don’t know if I have to validate it or not, but I’ve got to see the doctor after this and get treatment. Obviously when you plant that left knee it’s in a vulnerable position, I wear that brace for that reason alone, hopefully it protects me there.” Manning said he expects to be OK. Kyle Vanden Bosch hit Manning low, which led to the flag and the questions. Later on the drive, Jacob Ford hit Manning late. Both were good calls. The Titans didn't think so. Lewis probably doesn't think so. But the league does the right thing protecting these stars.

---Watch out for the Philadelphia Eagles offense. And I'm not just talking about the return of Donovan McNabb. The emergence of rookie receiver Jeremy Maclin, who had two touchdown catches against Tampa Bay, gives the Eagles two speed players outside. He joins DeSean Jackson in as fast combination of receivers. Maclin had six catches for 142 yards against the Bucs.  McNabb will put up some big numbers now that he's healthy.

---The more I watch the Minnesota Vikings, the more impressed I am with the growth of receiver Sidney Rice. He's playing with much more confidence than last season. Some of that has to do with Brett Favre, but I also think it's the natural progression for a third-year receiver.

---Sometimes you wonder what coaches are thinking. The Carolina Panthers had a first-and-goal from the 2 in the second quarter of their 20-17 victory over the Washington Redskins. So what do they do? They run it right up the middle four straight times. How about some creativity? They were stuffed on fourth down, although they did recover a fumble for a touchdown. The only player who can recover a fumble on fourth down is the fumbler, and that didn't happen, so they turned the ball over on downs. Predictability is a curse. Always.

---I played high school football with the father of Colts linebacker Clint Session, so I've kept a close eye on his career. Session has quietly developed into a quality linebacker. He might not have prototypical size or speed, but he knows how to get to the football. He's perfect for the Colts defense, a run-and-chase player who has the smarts to play the position. Against the Titans Sunday night, he almost had a pick six off a Vince Young throw, but didn't quite pull the ball in.

---The sack specialists finally showed up Sunday. Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers had two, Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley had 1 1/2 sacks and Dallas outside backer DeMarcus Ware got his first sack of the season after getting 20 last year. It's on you, Shawne Merriman.

---The Cardinals have issues at right tackle. Former first-round pick Levi Brown -- who they picked in favor of passing on Adrian Peterson -- has been awful. He gets whipped on a regular basis. The problem is they don't have anybody capable of taking over.

---Denver beat the Patriots Sunday in large part because they had a 98-yard drive to tie it. Great drive. But on that drive, the officials made an error. They called a taunting foul on Brandon Meriweather, but the flag came before the taunt. I think the real reason the official threw the flag was because he thought it was a shot on a defenseless receiver. But the ball was tipped, which could have changed that call. Officials have to give the defender the benefit of the doubt there. Once the flag was out, the official changed his call to taunting, which Meriweather did do. But the flag came before the taunt. The league has some explaining to do, although one of the announcers did say there was another flag in the middle of the field. We never saw it.

---Vince Young was 0-for-3 in his relief role of Kerry Collins. What I didn't understand was that when the Titans got the ball back with just over a minute left in the game and three timeouts, they ran the clock out. Why not let Young work on the two-minute offense? Here's why? Jeff Fisher doesn’t want to open up a quarterback controversy. The Titans have to draft one early next spring.

---I keep saying it, but I think it happens. The Atlanta Falcons will give more and more of the offense to Matt Ryan. And they should. He's a star. He threw for over 300 and two scores against San Francisco. That is going to be a sick offense. Falcons and Saints come up in a couple of weeks on a Monday night.

---Mike Singletary and Falcons guard Harvey Dahl jawed on the sidelines Sunday. Not a shock. Dahl, as I wrote this summer, is the nastiest -- some would say dirtiest -- player in the league. He's a self-made player who doesn't back down from a fight, or starting them.

---One of the major questions in Cincinnati before the season was the offensive line. That group has played really good football. Led by left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who moved from guard, they had a nice game against the Baltimore pressure defense Sunday.

---Derek Anderson, two completions in 17 attempts? Can it get any worse?

----It's hard to believe after all that Jaguars receiver Mike Sims-Walker has been through that he would violate team rules and miss a game. Sims-Walker has fought through a bunch of injuries to become a starter, coming off three big games, and yet he was forced to sit out Sunday's game with Seattle when he violated team rules Friday night, which probably means he missed curfew. Can you be that dumb? Even if he plays, the Jaguars still don't win. But you have to be smarter than that.


Category: NFL
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