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!

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!


What have we learned - Week 4

The Eagles didn't play yesterday, which was good for a couple of things. I went out with the family to Trader Joe's, which was fun, and I got to watch a few more games than I usually would. Unfortunately, there were a lot of good games yesterday, so I didn't stay long on any one game, as I was trying to catch the exciting moments in each one. So what we have learned might be a bit scattershot.

The Matt Leinart Era in Arizona has officially begun, and it began the same way the Kurt Warner Era ended - with some sacks, a fumble, and an interception. I know I said someone could write a doctoral dissertation on why the Cardinals suck, but it's painfully obvious why they and other teams fail: poor offensive line play. Why don't teams try to build their offensive line? WHY? Are you telling me that Rex Freakin' Grossman is that good a quarterback? No! He has an offensive line. Does Edgerrin James suddenly suck? No! He played behind a great offensive line in Indy. Does anyone believe Peyton Manning would be "Peyton Manning" if he played in Arizona? No! He'd be getting killed every week. Welcome to the NFL, Matt Leinart - have fun playing behind that line. There was, of course, NO WAY Atlanta was going to lose that game. I don't know the line, but if it had been anything less than 28 points, I would have taken the Falcons. Coming home a week after being served up as a sacrificial lamb to the Saints, especially against the Cardinals - poor Arizona had no chance whatsoever. Meanwhile, Michael Vick proved why he will never be a great quarterback - I'm sorry, Vick fans, but it's true. Early on he ran for 34 yards - a great run, twisting and turning and making the Cardinal defenders look like buffoons. Fine. On the next two plays, from the Arizona 15, he threw three horrible passes, including one where the receiver was not wide open, but open enough. The Falcons had to kick a field goal. Yes, he's a spectacular player, but you don't want a guy who makes one or two spectacular plays a game as your quarterback. You want your quarterback to be consistent, and Vick is not. You know it's true!

I watched very little of the Dallas-Tennessee game, because I knew the Cowboys were going to thump them and I didn't want to see that. A couple of notable things came out of the game, however. Terrell Owens, fresh off his non-suicide attempt, played, even though he shouldn't have, and claimed, after the game, that he "exceeded expectations." Shut up, Terrell. You caught 5 passes for 88 yards and no touchdowns. Pretty much everyone in the country expected you to play, so what expectations did you exceed? Albert Haynesworth, meanwhile, just got suspended 5 games for stomping on the head of that Dallas offensive lineman. 5 games seems a bit lenient to me. It appears he took the guy's helmet off, stomped on his head, then paused ... and stomped again! Michael Irvin said on The Dan Patrick Show this morning that he would have been waiting by the locker room with a bat if that had happened to him. He's a tool, but I liked that line. What a classless move by Haynesworth.

Hey, didn't everyone think Miami was going to challenge the Patriots in the AFC East? Why do "experts" think that? They won 6 in a row to finish last year, but they did it against lousy competition, and here's the kicker - they were 3-7 when the streak began, so they had no pressure on them! It's easy to win 6 in a row when nobody is paying attention to you. Daunte Culpepper continues to look befuddled, but the whole team stinks. Give that division to New England, once again.

Speaking of teams trying to challenge New England, the Jets played the Colts oh so close yesterday, and did something I disagree with. Okay, here's the situation: Indy has just scored to go ahead 24-21 with about 2-and-a-half minutes left. A crucial point is that the Colts have no timeouts. They kick off, and the Jets player returns it 103 yards for a touchdown. Happy Day, the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets are ahead 28-24! But 2:20 remains on the clock. Even without timeouts, did anyone think Peyton Manning wasn't going to take his team down and score to win the game? Really? Here's my question: even though the thought is you try to score and score whenever you can, wouldn't it have been smarter if the Jets player had run out of bounds at about the Indy 20? Chad Pennington had the New Jersey offense humming, and the Colts' defense had looked lost for most of the second half. If you get the ball at the 20, you can simply run it right through the defense, score a touchdown with very little time left, and Manning can't work his magic. I know that would have been bizarre, seeing a guy run out of bounds with no one around him, but wouldn't it have been smarter? When he ran into the end zone, I thought, "The Colts are going to win." And they did.

Minnesota came back to earth quickly. I watched very little of this game, because I was too busy watching Indy-NJ, San Diego-Baltimore, and New Orleans-Carolina.

Speaking of the Ravens, I missed the safety that made the score 13-9. The announcers were saying it was a good move by the Chargers, so I assume the punter, who had been hit hard on the previous punt (called back by a penalty) and punting from deep in his end zone, took the safety deliberately. The announcers on football games often say stupid things, and this was one of them. NEVER give points to the other team, especially when they're playing at home. They had to kick to Steve McNair, who took the Ravens right down the field for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left. Let's say you let the guy punt away. It could get blocked, which is a safety anyway. It could get blocked for a touchdown, in which case the Chargers get the ball back with three minutes left and down by 1. B. J. Samms, the Baltimore punt returner, could take it back for a touchdown, in which case the Chargers get the ball back with three minutes left and down by 1. Or McNair gets the ball back at the San Diego 40 and takes the team down to score, but probably with a lot more time left than 35 seconds. Stupid, stupid play by the Chargers, giving away points and the ball. That being said, the tackling on Todd Heap's game-winning touchdown was pathetic. He caught the ball at about the 5 and some San Diego guy came in and hit him with the shoulder pad instead of wrapping him up. Heap didn't even appear to feel it and went right into the end zone. Why can't defenders tackle anymore?

If you ask me if I watched any of the San Francisco-Kansas City spanking, I will chuckle. Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. This game tells us nothing about the Chiefs, and it tells us that the 49ers are bad. But we already knew that.

I kept turning on the New Orleans-Carolina game, but nothing kept happening. Yet it turned out to be a 21-18 game. What happened? When did anyone score? Why do the Panthers rely so much on Steve Smith and his bad hamstring? That has to be worrisome, that they can only play offense when he's on the field. He got hit by a cheap shot at the knees which no one is talking about in the wake of the Haynesworth incident.

Can St. Louis win the NFC West? With the Seattle debacle and the fact that Marc Bulger appears to be getting a little bit more protection than he used to, the Rams might be a sleeper team in that division. They still don't play very good defense, but any defense might help them win some ball games, because the last few years, they haven't had any. Jon Kitna continues to worry about his numbers instead of winning, and that's why the Lions stink.

Jacksonville-Washington was a highly entertaining game. Lots of fun to watch. Byron Leftwich, a week after doing very little against Indianapolis, carved up the Washington defense. They couldn't do anything against him. Of course, Washington obliterated the vaunted Jaguars defense, and their offense is really starting to click, which I don't like, naturally. This was by far the best game of the day, and although Jacksonville sits at 2-2, they had a killer four games, and if this game is a defensive aberration, they might win a bunch of games.

So Charlie Frye, the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, threw a horrible interception in the end zone last week against the Ravens with his team up by two late in the game, needing only a field goal to put the game away. Fine. He's a young quarterback, and will learn from his mistake. Yesterday, after Oakland took a 14-0 lead, Frye brought his team back admirably, and with a little over three minutes left, had a 24-21 lead and his team at the Oakland 15. He then threw an even worse pass into the end zone and was intercepted. I couldn't believe it. What the hell? Why, Charlie, why? Luckily, the Browns were playing the Raiders, not a professional football team, and they escaped with the win. But they are going to lose games like that if Frye doesn't realize that taking a sack isn't that bad. I thought the quarterback was supposed to be the smartest player on the team?

The less said about the Cincinnati debacle, the happier Woody will be. Man, they got bitch-slapped. I was stunned, frankly. Not by New England winning, but their dominance. I still think the Patriots won't go far in the playoffs, but I wouldn't bet the house on it, especially if Laurence Maroney avoids the rookie wall. He was good at Minnesota, and he's picked it up in the pros. The Bengals need to learn to play run defense or things might get ugly. I do like that Marvin Lewis deactivated Chris Henry for the game for his stupidity last week. Good move, Marvin!

Why did Seattle abandon the running game so quickly? I realize that Shaun Alexander's God didn't fix his foot (in case you don't know, he prayed last week, but the doctors decided the Big Guy wasn't in the foot-fixing business, seeing as how people are starving around the world, you know), but Maurice Morris is not a horrible running back. Early in the game, the Seahawks were still close, but they just kept throwing and throwing. Weird. Run the ball, Seattle! Meanwhile, did John Madden really say that Rex Grossman reminds him of Brett Favre? Is that a compliment? Brett "I can just throw it up anywhere and nobody will intercept it because I'm a gunslinger" Favre? Anyway, Grossman doesn't need to be Nancy-Boy Favre, because the Bears have a great defense and a decent running game. I still don't trust them. Why don't I trust them?

Tonight Philadelphia should - should - win by at least 17 points. I really hope they're not looking forward to the Dallas game next week, because that would suck. I don't think they will look ahead, but they might. We'll see.

Here in Arizona, we have two coach watches going. Fire Dirk Koetter says it's "Coming Soon," and I doubt if the ASU coach will last beyond the season. He has never won a road game in California during his stay in Tempe. Wow. Meanwhile, you can still bid on Fire Dennis Green. It's at $250. I doubt if Green will be in the Basin next year either. Fun football times here in the desert!

Another good week in the NFL. Remember - if you don't like football, the terrorists win!

Labels: ,


Blogger Harvey Jerkwater said...

Taking the safety can be the right move, under certain, very peculiar, circumstances. I saw it done once by the Pats a few years ago and it worked brilliantly.

Say there's a minute or two left in the game. Your defense has been good, your special teams stink, and you're up by a touchdown. You have the ball at your own two yard line, and now it's fourth and ten.

Your punter is working from a shortened formation, so the odds of a block are much greater. Any kind of error in the punt means a quick seven points to the other team.

Therefore, it's not necessarily crazy to intentionally give up the safety and take the free kick. Sure, you've narrowed your lead, but now there's all of a minute to go in the game and the opposition has to march down a much longer field. If your defense has been solid all game, that's not so nuts.

Granted, that's an unlikely set of circumstances. It presumes that your punt team is bad, your defense is solid, and that there's little or no time left in the game.

What's more likely to cause an intentional safety is that the punter sees he's about to get blasted and knows he'll probably fumble, so he takes a knee or throws the ball out of the back of the end zone. He gives up two to prevent seven.

All that being said, I have no idea what the Chargers/Ravens game looked like. May have been a good play, may have been stoopid.

(Wait...three-plus minutes were left in the game? What the hell? Unless the long snap was terrible or protection totally evaporated, resulting in an emergency situation, taking the safety was stoooopid.)

The Cardinals drafted a guard in the second round this year. That's not a bad idea. But man, it's a new idea for them.

The highest round the Cards took an offensive lineman in the last few drafts--
2005: fourth.
2004: fourth.
2003: sixth.
2002: didn't take any at all.
2001: first (Leonard Davis).
2000: didn't take any at all.
1999: first (the awful L.J. Shelton)

As a Bills fan, I often shake my fist at the sky and wonder why they don't get this either. It's not nuclear physics. Good O Line = Winning. Bad O Line = Death. Everyone knows this. It's why Buffalo can't move the goddamn ball. Argh.

When the Jets drafted D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the best tackle on the board, and Nick Mangold, the best center, in the last draft, I nearly had a stroke. That team is going to be freakin' scary in a few years. Gack.

3/10/06 9:10 AM  
Blogger john sweet said...

Another Bills fan in the universe?!?! GASP

I am really angered by the Bills, who could/should be 4-0, 3-0 in the division. And, the anger is compounded now that I live just outside Cleveland and cheer on the underdog Browns. And, while I agree with all the "O" line talk and how it kills a lot of teams to have no protection for their quarterback, and also will agree that Frye's interception against the Raiders was horrible (I laughed heartily at the "...not a professional football team..." comment), I will disagree with the fault of the loss to the Ravens (AAAIIIIRRRGH!) falling on Charlie's shoulders. That was poor coaching / play calling.

What the hell has happened to coaches? They are worse than sports commentators who try to second guess themselves by talking up Joe Quarterback during the pre-game and talking about how he will destroy an opposing defense. Then, when he gets shut down, they prattle on contrary to the opinion they first gave and pay it no attention... like they never laid claim to any other outcome (must be they all aspire to becoming politicians).

I digress... the Browns had the Ravens beat. Run the ball twice more from just outside the goal line, kick the fieldgoal, and give them the ball back with little time on the clock. Forget all this, "Let's fake them out and lob a pass in," bullshit. Play to win, not beat yourselves!

I'm a bit happier this week. PSU won (of course they SHOULD beat a High School team... and, if you happen to be a Northwestern fan, there was a Northwestern High School where I grew up... it was more a comment on Penn State than on your program). The Bills won. Cleveland won. Only five more days til I get grumpy again.


3/10/06 9:41 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Harvey, I remember that Patriots game, and that may be the only time I remember it working. Yes, it depends on the situation, but there was plenty of time left in the game, the Chargers were on the road, and their defense had been out there for a while. It just made very little sense to me.

And yeah, that interception that Frye threw against the Ravens was probably coaching - they shouldn't have called the play. But he didn't HAVE to throw the ball, either, when it was apparent no one was open.

3/10/06 9:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home