Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

2.1.06

What have we learned - 2005

This is my last football post of the year, because Philadelphia didn't make the playoffs so I just don't care anymore. I may watch some games, but I won't care that much. So I'm going to check out each team and make some comments. If you work for ESPN and you're reading this, yes I am available to work on your network.

Arizona Cardinals: The final drive of the season encapsulates the Arizona season. They had some nice plays, they committed some unbelievably stupid penalties, they got to the 2-yard line, they ran three plays into the line without throwing to one of their two best players (Boldin or Fitzgerald), they fumbled on the last play. Perfect. I've been saying it all year - I am mystified why this team can't get better. Someone should write a book about their futility. Maybe I should call Denny Green and he'll give me all access to the Cardinals.

Atlanta Falcons: I oughtn't take such glee in the fall of the Falcons, but I do. I've mentioned it before, but Michael Vick is not progressing. Some people say this is because the Falcons don't let him do what he does best, but teams learn how to defend him, and this year they shut him down. If he doesn't learn how to throw better, he's never going to get better and he's not going to take his team anywhere. There's a reason pure running quarterbacks don't win Super Bowls. If they want him to "create" in the open field, make him a running back or wide receiver or run the single-wing.

Baltimore Ravens: Well, the Ravens will be lousy next year too, because they didn't fire Brian Billick. They still might, but probably not. Despite Boller's recent success, I still don't think he's where he needs to be - he might get there next year, but it's still a process. Their defense is getting old, and that may hurt them if they don't fix it next year. I don't like the Ravens, so I don't care if they keep losing.

Buffalo Bills: Here's another team that doesn't seem to have much going for them. They have a selfish running back, a young quarterback who they don't want to protect, and they have a mediocre defense. They're just kind of there - they win a game or two every year they're not supposed to win (like the one against the Bengals a few weeks ago), but they'll usually play crappy.

Carolina Panthers: I thought the Panthers were going to win the Super Bowl? Okay, they still could, but I doubt it. I think they beat the Giants in New Jersey this weekend, because they're better than New York, but it seems to me that they don't have an identity. I don't think they can rely on the overrated Jake Delhomme, but they don't have a tough running game. That will hurt them if they have to go to Seattle.

Chicago Bears: The Bears have two weeks to contemplate the smack-down they will receive in the first playoff game. They are going to get hammered. Maybe next year they'll be decent, if they can decide on Grossman or Orton.

Cincinnati Bengals: I love the Bengals, but I fear that they might have an early exit from the playoffs. I would like to see them beat the Steelers, but Pittsburgh is playing very well right now, and they have already beaten the Bengals in Cincy this year. A bad matchup for the Bengals. However, they are going in the right direction, and if they get a little tougher in the interior defense, they could be good for a few years.

Cleveland Browns: They improved this year, a little bit, but they have a way to go, especially now that Cincinnati has done so well. Charlie Frye is rough but looks good if they can keep him from getting killed, and they look like they have a tough running game to go with their fledgling passing game. Their defense has to improve, but it seems that Crennel has them going in the right direction, at least.

Dallas Cowboys: Drew Bledsoe really reverted to form late in the year, didn't he? I think it was a big mistake to hire Bill Parcells, because you know he's not in it for the long term, so he's not going to bother to develop new players. They should be in the third year of working with a young quarterback, but instead, they've been using has-beens because that's who Parcells likes. Jerry Jones needs to bite the bullet for a few years, hire a good coach, and develop some players. Of course, I hate the Cowboys, so he can keep doing what he has been doing, because it's not working.

Denver Broncos: Denver isn't getting much love, probably because they've been so bad in the playoffs the last two years. If Jake reverts to form, they will go down hard, but if they keep playing the way they have been, they could easily go into Indianapolis and win. It will be interesting to see which way they go. It's astonishing what building your offense through the offensive line can do for you. Why don't more teams place such emphasis there?

Detroit Lions: Boy, they're a mess. Just like Arizona, it's somewhat inexplicable. I like Joey Harrington, even though it appears he's gone, and I wonder if he might be decent someplace where they actually, you know, protect the quarterback and run the ball well. Maybe not. But they look like they're a long way away. Not surprising - they couldn't do anything when they had Barry Sanders, so why would they be able to do anything without him?

Green Bay Packers: Mike Sherman got fired today, which might mean Nancy-Boy Favre will retire. Boo! Come back, Brett - we'll miss your 25+ interceptions and poor decision-making! The team might actually improve if you leave! I know he's going in the Hall of Fame, but he hasn't been good for about five years. He came up one INT short of 30 this year. I'm sad.

Houston Texans: I would trade that #1 pick and get an offensive line. Reggie Bush is good, but let's see how good he is when four defensive linemen are piling on him five yards deep in the backfield. The Texans have some talent in the backfield (not on the level of Bush, of course, but still), but they will not win until their quarterback stops getting killed. But they won't do the smart thing. They will do the glitzy thing. That's why they will continue to suck.

Indianapolis Colts: I may be biased because I'm kind of sick of the Colts, but I'm not sold on Indy. I knew if you got pressure on Manning he wouldn't be able to handle it, and I know everyone says that and nobody can, but I can see them losing to Denver, Pittsburgh, or New England. Even Cincinnati can score with them, especially indoors. I just want them to prove they can win tough games, when defenders are smacking around Manning and his receivers and things aren't going right. We'll see. It should be interesting.

Jacksonville Jaguars: We'll see if Leftwich can get back into the groove this weekend. I think they will lose to the Patriots, and I wonder if they will ever get over the hump. They seem like a team that is talented enough to make the postseason, but not much further. Jimmy Smith is really good, though.

Kansas City Chiefs: Another strange team loaded with talent but that inexplicably fails to put it all together. I like watching them, but they aren't going to improve unless they get tougher. Weird that a team playing outside in Kansas City is not tough on defense, but they aren't. I'm a big Larry Johnson fan, though, so it was nice to see him bust out this year.

Miami Dolphins: I guess Ricky Williams likes football okay, right? They really came on late in the year, but I wonder how much it was because they knew they had no pressure on them. We'll see. They still don't have a quarterback. I mean, come on - Gus Frerotte? Really?

Minnesota Vikings: Mike Tice is gone, which is probably a good thing. What a wacky team. I have no idea if this team will be any good next year or not. They have talent, but they never seem to have much heart. We'll see if Culpepper comes back next year and proves that he's a leader, or if Brad Johnson continues to be the QB. Very weird team. I have a feeling they'll be awful next year, but I'm not sure.

New England Patriots: I'd be very scared of this team. In fact, I'm sticking with them as my Super Bowl pick. Until someone knocks them off, they're still the champions. Unlike the Colts, they're peaking at the right time, despite their loss last weekend. Really. Watch out, AFC.

New Orleans Saints: Earlier this week Ray Buchanan on ESPN said that Aaron Brooks was benched because of exercising his free speech. Aaron Brooks was benched because he's not a good quarterback. And companies can do anything they want to people who criticize them - Buchanan needs to freshen up on his First Amendment. I'm tempted to give this team a pass for this year, but let's face it - they would have sucked if Katrina hadn't destroyed their home. They always suck.

New York Giants: I'm not impressed with Eli. I know he's the greatest thing since Johnny U., but he makes a lot of bad throws. Tiki is carrying this team right now, but I don't think it's going to be enough. Eli has to learn more before they can move forward. Maybe next year.

New York Jets: Boy, they got hammered with injuries this year, didn't they? Not unlike the Eagles, it's easy to give them a pass this year, because their quarterback situation was so messed up, but it doesn't seem like Chad Pennington is the answer. Curtis Martin is old, they have no QB, they have a whiny wide receiver - what are they going to do next year?

Oakland Raiders: Let's see. You have Randy Moss, who is bigger than most defenders, and you have a strong-armed quarterback. So Moss simply disappears for most of this year. Another goal-line situation this past weekend, like the Cardinals'. Four shots from the one, and Randy Moss is standing on the sidelines. Inexplicable. Norv Turner will not be missed.

Philadelphia Eagles: I give the Eagles a pass this year, because of the injuries. If the Patriots lose Tom Brady, they're not going to the playoffs. If the Colts lose Peyton Manning, it's not happening for them. Andy Reid needs a big, physical receiver without an attitude problem, and he needs to realize that his running game can work if he's patient. McNabb cannot get beaten up next year like he did this year. If they don't get injured, they go far in the playoffs next year, because they're still loaded with talent.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Like the Patriots, they're peaking at the right time. Watch out for these guys. I would not be surprised to see a Steeler-Patriot Championship Game.

Saint Louis Rams: So I guess the Rams fired Mike Martz. Martz is insane anyway, so that's not that big a deal. Martz never figured out that he had one of the best quarterbacks in the league (yes, Bulger is up in that lofty hierarchy), but he didn't feel it necessary to protect him. When Bulger gets protection, he is awesome. The new coach better get him some protection and use Steven Jackson, because the Rams have a lot of talent, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot.

San Diego Chargers: The greatest 9-7 team that missed the playoffs in NFL history! God, I got so sick of people slobbering all over this team all season. Yes, they had a shitty schedule. But: they lost Game One to the Cowboys at home when they four shots inside the 10 to score the winning touchdown and when they voluntarily suspended the best tight end in the game; they lost to the Eagles on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown; they lost at home the week before the Colts game to a Miami team with nothing to play for. Weak. Moral. Fiber. I'm glad they missed the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers: They're just lousy. Lousy. I'm not ready to write Alex Smith off, but he had a lousy year. Yes, they played hard this year, but it was a first-year coach. We'll see how hard they play next year when the lousiness continues.

Seattle Seahawks: I have been a fan of Seattle for over 20 years, since they drafted Curt Warner from Penn State, so I'm hoping they go all the way. This year it seemed they really figured out how to put teams away, something they haven't done recently. I still don't understand why the national media isn't giving them much love. I have watched most of the contenders in the NFC this year, and I can't see any team going into Seattle and beating them. Don't give me the Giants. The Giants got two gift touchdowns in Seattle and still lost.

Tampa Buccaneers: This is another team that I'm just not impressed with. Every time they had a chance to make a move this year, they'd lose some ugly game. I think they will beat Washington this weekend, but not go much further. If they play Chicago, they might get to the Championship Game by default. Carnell Williams looks like the real thing.

Tennessee Titans: Here's what I don't get. Football is a business. Yes, it's nice when players can play their whole careers with one team, but it doesn't really matter. This team can't win with Steve McNair. Why would they want him back? The fans don't care - as long as they win, sentiment means nothing to them. If McNair comes back next year, they will lose. I have spoken!

Washington: People say they are a sleeper team, but I watched them struggle against a junior varsity Eagles team that turned the ball over six times. They just don't look that good, even though they've won 5 in a row. The Eagles outplayed them, and they were playing to make the playoffs. They should have destroyed Philly, but they got lucky. Admit it!

So it's been a disappointing year for me, but not a bad year in the NFL. I'm sticking with the Patriots as my pick from the AFC, and I can't imagine any team beating Seattle in the NFC. Go Seahawks!

For those of you who don't like football, I'm done. Sorry for wasting your time. But you do know that if you don't like football, the terrorists win.

5 Comments:

Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Seattle gets no respect because they play in the West and don't have a winning tradition; heck, most people don't even know what CONFERENCE they play in. (They switched a few years back.) I would be afraid of them. Giants win at home, lose on the road. Don't underestimate Indy.

3/1/06 10:04 AM  
Blogger tomthedog said...

Aw, come on! Do the playoffs! It seems like I read more about football than watch it, and the four football-type things I read every week are Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Woody's Sock Drawer, King Kaufman at Salon.com, and this stuff right here. Man, don't tell me I'm going to have to watch the playoffs without your input!

3/1/06 10:08 AM  
Blogger Chris Cope said...

I think it was an overall disappointing year for NFL. And with it moving Monday Night Football to ESPN, it alienates a portion of viewers. I think I may give up on it. The game gets slower every year.

3/1/06 2:18 PM  
Blogger john sweet said...

I think that there should be at least one more football post... and it should concern Penn State's win over FSU. Ugly, to be certain. But, a win all the same. Hoorah for the Alma Mater!

Uncle Monster

4/1/06 11:10 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I didn't know you cared, Tom. I may rant about the playoffs just for you. And I'd love to talk about the Orange Bowl, but I might get too angry - the Lions had SO many chances to blow that game open, and they just kept screwing it up. See? I'm getting angry just typing that one sentence. I'm still glad they won.

4/1/06 3:18 PM  

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