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Auron
10-22-2007, 01:37 PM
Becoming a popular thing to do so I'll take a shot at writing one up.


Rough times in Miami, and St. Louis
Both the Rams, and the Dolphins are having abysmal seasons standing at 0-7. You wonder when will either of them win a game? I'm really surprised at the Rams predicament because coming into this season I thought they were set to be one of the better Offensive teams in the league, but I guess that's what a rash of injuries along the O-line, and injuries to your key players can do to your team. I think eventually one has to start to wonder if the players on these teams have just about given up on Linehan, and Cameron. I think once Steven Jackson returns healthy the Rams may be able to pull off a few wins, but the news looks even more grim for the Dolphins with news that Ronnie Brown will be out for the season with a knee injury. (http://www.miamiherald.com/616/story/280290.html) This is a huge blow to an already devastated team as Brown was the lone bright spot.. and now for the first time an 0-16 season is distinctly possible IMO.


Defensive Ends on a Roll
Osi Umenyiora, and Jared Allen are tied for the league lead in sacks with 8 so far this season, right now they are both causing havoc for Offensive lines. Allen had 2.5 sacks yesterday, while Umenyiora notched a Sack, Forced Fumble, and recovery returned for a Touchdown. One thing I noticed about the Giants Defense is that they are using a unique Four Aces Defensive personnel package where on pass rushing downs they line up 4 Defensive Ends as down linemen Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka. To get an extra pass rushing burst, and cause major pressure with various Stunts, Line twists, and Zone Blitzes. I've noticed that it has caused major problems for Pass protection schemes in their past few games vs. the Eagles, Jets, Falcons, and 49ers. Football Outsiders (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2007/10/19/ramblings/too-deep-zone/5628/) actually has an article on how Spagnuolo deploys the scheme.


New England is Ridiculous
The Patriots are unreal. I was watching highlights of their Win vs. Miami and many times I couldn’t help but to just bust out laughing because it looked like they were playing a game of Madden 2008 on the field. From seeing Donte Stallworth spin, and juke his way out of tackles en route to a TD, to Randy Moss catching a 50 yard bomb with his shoulder over 2 Defenders in the Endzone.. I just thought it was like I was watching a video game.


Detroit Lions, Contenders or Pretenders?
The Lions have been a very confusing team for me. With their win over Tampa Bay at Home, their record now goes to 4-2, and they are in 2nd place in the NFC North..one game behind the Packers. There are times this season where they click and look like a strong team, and other times where they look down right horrible. Their Defensive line finally was able to force some pressure yesterday, and Kevin Jones managed to get in sync. I think we'll find out more about this team when they face off against the Bears again this time on the road at Soldier Field next week.


Have the Bears found their way, and are the Eagles done?
In a game of mostly field goals and stalling Offenses, between former NFC top dogs which both stumbled to under .500 early in this year. Both teams badly needed to get this win to stay in contention. Just when the Eagles looked to have the edge after going up 16-12, and effectively pinning the Bears at their own 3 yard line, with 1:10 left in the game by a coffin corner punt avoiding Devin Hester who was neutralized most of the day.. Chicago looked just about finished. Then the unthinkable happened, Brian Griese led the Bears on a 97 yard scoring drive, with no head-set communication by completing 7-9 passes with 2 spikes to stop the clock. Including a game winning 15 yard Touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad with :15 seconds left on the clock. Could this dramatic victory be the Spark the Bears needed to get back on track and finally rally around Griese? or was this just a disastrous meltdown by the Eagles Defense going with a very soft shell Prevent Defense in a 2 minute situation. Whatever may be the case the Eagles are now sitting at 2-4 with a lot of second guessing to do, after watching the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys all win and improve in the standings.


Random Thoughts
- Remember when onside kicks used to be a rarity to succeed? Yesterday many teams attempted and recovered successful Onside kicks Houston, Arizona, Atlanta, Tampa Bay. Looking back a few weeks at the Cowboys come back in which they were able to recover on Onside kick. One has to wonder are Special teams coaches getting better at helping their units execute these plays? or is this just a flukish trend?

- Many people were asking why all the talk was about New England, and Indianapolis, and no one was talking about the Steelers. I think the question was answered last night. While I still think the Steelers are a very strong team, they had a disappointing Loss to a Denver team that had been playing very poorly, and was without 2 of their best players in Champ Bailey, and Javon Walker. I give them credit for making a strong push at the end by fighting back, and tying it. Good teams will bounce back from these kind of losses, I look for them to come out hungry, and motivated next week.

- What is happening with the Texans? After their early good start I thought they were a team set to be this seasons surprise team. Now they've dropped 2 in a row and look like a team struggling big time. The injury to Andre Johnson hurt big time, and having Matt Schaub knocked out of the game took some wind out of their sails, but giving up 38 points to a Kerry Collins led Titans team? I really like this team so I hope they can get it together soon but it looks like they are still a few pieces away from being serious playoff challengers.

- Top Rookie Performances
Calvin Johnson (Det) - 2 receptions, 37 yards. 1 rush. 32 yards. 1 TD.

Dwayne Bowe (KC) - 3 receptions, 84 yards.

Marshawn Lynch (Buf) - 27 carries, 84 yards. 1 TD

Adrian Peterson (Min) - 12 carries, 63 yards. 1 TD

Patrick Willis (SF) - 13 tackles, 11 solo.

Pierre Thomas (NO) - 2 carries, 28 yards. 1 TD

diabsoule
10-22-2007, 03:19 PM
Good write-up. I agree with St. Louis, I thought they would have been a lot better coming into the season but injuries have just ravaged that team, especially along an offensive line that doesn't have much depth. That contract extension to Marc Bulger seems to have backfired heavily and is playing some of the worst football I have ever seen him play. They also need a lot of help on D, which there's nothing they can do about that now.

Auron
10-22-2007, 03:51 PM
Good write-up. I agree with St. Louis, I thought they would have been a lot better coming into the season but injuries have just ravaged that team, especially along an offensive line that doesn't have much depth. That contract extension to Marc Bulger seems to have backfired heavily and is playing some of the worst football I have ever seen him play. They also need a lot of help on D, which there's nothing they can do about that now.
Missing a healthy Steven Jackson is a big part of the problem, he was going to be the center piece of that Offense, and with the O-line just completely ravaged, and little running game to speak of. (Leonard provides the occasional burst but not anything like Jackson did) Bulger has subsequently been beaten into submission, which IMO has caused him to become rattled in the pocket and possibly miss receivers because he's so worried about getting the ball out before getting his clock cleaned. (we saw the same thing with Brees early in the year before he started getting better protection)

I agree they do need some more help on D', but amidst the losing streak their Defense has actually made some improvements. They were actually decent at holding the Seahawks down in the Redzone despite their Offense putting them in terrible field position all day. They are making some limited improvements in rush Defense.. Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan look like solid future pieces on the interior. I still think they need some more help at DE to get more of an edge rush opposite of Leonard Little. If Tye Hill can develop they have some potential at CB, but I think more help is needed at LB, and Safety.

Even though it seems harsh to fire a 2nd year coach Linehan will likely get the axe, whether warranted or not because this is a "What have you done for me lately" league, and he might already be starting to lose the trust of some of the players in that locker room. The question is will his replacement try and bring a completely new identity to this team? or be patient and build on some of the successful things they did late in '06?

TitanHope
10-22-2007, 04:16 PM
Chris Henry deserves a mention as one of the top rookie performances. Coming off the bench, he had 11 runs for 57 yards and a touchdown. According to the YPC he was averaging, he would have had around 62 yards if he would have had one more carry, which is one yard behind Adrian Peterson on the same amount of carries. Not trying to be a homer...actually, I am, but he had a strong performance in his first game and deserves some recognition.

SeanTaylorRIP
10-22-2007, 04:17 PM
Madden curse appears to be hitting again this year.

Auron
10-22-2007, 04:19 PM
Chris Henry deserves a mention as one of the top rookie performances. Coming off the bench, he had 11 runs for 57 yards and a touchdown. According to the YPC he was averaging, he would have had around 62 yards if he would have had one more carry, which is one yard behind Adrian Peterson on the same amount of carries. Not trying to be a homer...actually, I am, but he had a strong performance in his first game and deserves some recognition.

Hehe no need to worry. I'm quite guilty of homering it up myself by including Pierre Thomas, who had a big 24 yard TD run to give some spark to our Offense when it was struggling.

but good catch, was this the first game Chris Henry was activated for? I haven't really gotten around to watching and analyzing highlights of Ten/Hou in depth but he had some good strong runs from glancing over.

TitanHope
10-22-2007, 04:23 PM
Yeah, this was the first playing time Henry's seen all season. Chris Brown was injured so Henry played in his place. He played quite well, and I think actually lit a fire under LenDale to play better. Because shortly after LenDale got back onto the field to relieve Henry, he busted a 20+ yard run after averaging around 3 YPC the entire game. He motivated LenDale White! That alone deserves recognition! ;)