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My Week 7 Thoughts (New Format!)

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  • My Week 7 Thoughts (New Format!)

    I have decided to change up my format. The monotony was driving me insane and I had to do something; ergo I am broadening the scope of my weekly column. Same amount of takes, different angles.

    My thoughts on…Headline News

    Brady’s Assault on the Record Books

    I picked him to win the NFL M.V.P award before the season and even I am amazed with how he has played this year. In the seemingly endless “Brady vs. Manning” debates I always maintained that if Brady was in Manning’s situation, with a plethora of receivers surrounding him, he would put up spectacular statistics. Sure enough, as soon as Brady has a star studded cast around him he is putting up numbers that will at least be in the same ballpark of Manning’s ’04 campaign and Marino’s ’84 campaign. Even if he doesn’t throw any touchdowns next week he will still be ahead of Peyton Manning’s ’04 pace. While I think the cold northeastern weather will slow down his statistical onslaught, it may not be enough to keep Manning’s TD record safe. If Brady was already on the path to Canton, OH, prior to the season I think this M.V.P season and potentially another super bowl title would put him among the greatest of all time at his position.

    My thoughts on... NFL schemes

    Don’t Force Your Scheme On Me!

    One of my favorite players is going to waste right now: that is Jonathan Vilma of the New York Jets. If the Jets either moved back to the 4-3, or better yet added a force at NT to keep him clean, he would be recognized as one of the best MLB in the game. Eric Mangini is squandering the talent he has by rigidly forcing his scheme on his current roster. Mike Tomlin, on the other hand, kept the 3-4 because it fit his personnel. Tomlin did it the right way, Mangini did not; hence, Tomlin’s defense is playing very well and the Jets are struggling on that side of the ball. I do understand the need to change schemes if you are a new coach; however, if you do this you have to take the hit immediately and revamp your entire roster accordingly. This is why the “successful” franchises in the NFL are that way. Usually they take a while to reload the roster and add quality pieces that fit the scheme. Talent is one thing, and a team certainly needs it, but if they don’t fit what you’re trying to do.

    The Spread Offense Is Proliferating

    It has been the ‘it’ thing in College Football, and now it appears that it is becoming that way in the NFL as well. When the team that has symbolized “power running” like the Steelers have line up in 3-4 WR sets and put up gaudy passing statistics, you know that it is becoming more of the norm. The Colts have had the most consistently great offense in the NFL for this entire decade and they run a lot of their plays in shotgun with three wide receivers and Dallas Clark lined up more as a slot receiver than as a typical TE. Tight Ends are no longer being used as blockers; rather they are being moved all over the field to create mismatches. As Bill Parcells mentioned last year the FB position, likewise, is seeing a decline in relevance. The fact of the matter is teams would rather put an extra receiver in rather than the plodding 250-lbs. sledgehammer. The few fullbacks that do make the field are typically oversized running backs that excels in catching passes out of the backfield. This offensive revolution has changed the dynamics of the game and that is why you are seeing passing statistics being annihilated at the pace that it has.

    My thoughts on... W7

    Wild, Wild, (AFC) West

    What was once the class of the league’s divisions the AFC West is very much a quagmire that I don’t think anyone knows how it will play out.

    Most people thought the Chiefs were going to be one of the worst teams in football prior to the season, yet, sure enough half way through the season they are at the top of the division. They have accomplished it by winning in Herm Edwards style; see the 12-10 win over Oakland, 13-10 win over Minnesota.

    Meanwhile the Broncos stayed in the hunt with a gutsy win over a heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers team. Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall should be a scary combination for years to come, but Cutler is making a lot of the same mistakes that quarterbacks with similar play styles to him have made in the past. I am not sure that he has defense to bail him out when he tries to sling it all over the field. It was comforting to see DJ Williams have a wonderful performance, though.

    The San Diego Chargers are my favorites to win this division. After a dreadful start they put together two impressive wins in a row. The O-Line is finally gelling, Tomlinson is getting holes, and the defense is back to relentlessly attacking opposing quarterbacks. Their schedule was formidable, and they will certainly benefit from softer teams that they will face from here on out, except for a tough back to back match up with the Colts and Jaguars. If they can split those two I think they will finish 11-5 and end up with the 3 or 4 seed in the AFC.

    End of the Road….

    For the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff chances. This is a team in transition and could really look different this time next year. Donovan McNabb’s future is bleak, to say the least. Both sides are putting up respectable facades that say otherwise; I just don’t believe that McNabb has a future in Philadelphia. Not to mention Andy Reid’s personal issues could drive him away from the city of brotherly love. The way they lost that game against the Bears has to be deflating.

    What’s worse is the team’s recent draft maneuvers have not paid dividends:


    Reggie Brown, Mike Patterson, Matt McCoy, Ryan Moats


    Broderick Bunkley, Winston Justice, Chris Gocong


    Kevin Kolb, Victor Abiamiri, Stewart Bradley, Tony Hunt

    Is it really any coincidence that the team has fallen off? While I never expect a rookie class to make impacts on a team loaded with veterans, it is still disconcerting that the Eagles’ 2nd and 3rd year players are not making an impact on the team.

    MNF Analysis

    I really thought the Jaguars had a good chance to win this game, once David Garrard went down that chance evaporated. You cannot beat the Colts without having your team get a few breaks and play solid football. The defense kept them in the game, but with Quinn Gray unable to generate anything against a surprisingly formidable Colts defense, it was not enough. Now the Colts and Patriots are on a collision course. Of course all of you know that since ESPN makes sure to mention literally all the time. More irritating is Tony Kornheiser being a total hypocrite: “The Colts are flying under the radar! No one talks about them because of the Patriots; no one talks about Manning because of Tom Brady!” when he himself contributes to that by constantly referring to the impending showdown between the two teams and the two quarterbacks.

    My thoughts on… the draft

    Where Is the #1 Overall Pick?

    I’ve been trying to start my first mock, and admittedly I am having a difficult time figuring out who will go at the top. Right now, in my current estimation, there seems to be no candidate worthy of the top. Worst of all, the teams at the top are not in desperate need of a QB: Miami and St Louis are at the bottom right now and I am pretty sure they are stuck with John Beck and Marc Bulger as their starters for the future. Darren McFadden and Glenn Dorsey are both great players, but their positions just do not justify the pick. Jake Long is good, but I am not even sure he’s the best OT, let alone the #1 overall pick. It’s still early though, so there is a lot that will come out between now and the actual event. For someone like me, watching my team struggle, the draft can’t come soon enough.

    A Player I Like

    Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC. Every time I have seen him play he’s jumped off the screen and caught my attention. That is surprising, because I am usually looking at a few of the glitzier prospects like Rey Maluaga, Keith Rivers, Lawrence Jackson. For his size he has tremendous strength and push. I know everyone loves Glenn Dorsey, and for good reason, but I think the team that gets Sedrick Ellis will be just as happy as the team that took Dorsey five picks earlier.

    My thoughts…. hodgepodge!

    I cannot tell which Lions team will show up on any given week. They are either winning, or getting eviscerated by their opponents. I do think that getting Kevin Jones back will help a lot. Maybe my pick of them to make the playoffs in the NFC was not so bad after all?

    Byron Leftwich has been a good QB when he is on the field. It’s a shame that all of his ability will have been wasted due to constant injuries. He justified Bobby Petrino’s decision to start him and was playing exceptionally well, but once his ankle got hit and he’ll miss another three to four weeks. The Falcons lose again; with one of the few bright sides to the season is the Pro-Bowl caliber season that has been put on by Roddy White.

    What happened to Jason Campbell this week? I really have no clue. Is that the same Cardinals secondary that was lit up by Vinny Testaverde the week before? Washington got the, albeit ugly, win. Still it is disconcerting to see the passing offense sputtering. Santana Moss has been a play-maker in two seasons, but other than that he really hasn’t done anything note worthy.

    While the Ravens have had all sorts of difficulty at the QB position, people are missing out on just how consistently good Willis McGahee have been. Willis is having his best season as a pro; 639 yards, 4.4 YPC. All while he is the focal point of the offense. I should also mention that the Ravens’ O-Line has seen a lot of changes and they haven’t been able to establish continuity.

    Sean Taylor is finally showing why he was taken #5 overall in a loaded draft class. He has always had ‘never seen at his position’ physical tools. Now he has matured as a person and honed his mental game to match. He has an interception in four consecutive games. Last year he often blew coverage assignments and gave up the most touchdowns of any DB. Now he is breaking pass plays up on the best secondary in football.

    I think it is safe to say that the Minnesota Vikings’ 2nd round in ’06 was a complete and utter failure. They reached not once, but twice, on project players that have not panned out. They draft a center and try and convert him to RT, of said prospect most people had him pegged as a 4-5 round guy, and he has been awful. What’s worse is their next 2nd round pick; Tarvaris Jackson. Not only did they reach on him, but they traded up to do so. Why they thought that a QB who could only complete 56% of his passes at AlabamaState could be their QB of the future I will never understand. The initial draft of a new coaching staff is crucial if that regime is going to have success and it is clear to me that Minnesota failed in that regard.

  • #2
    If there was a team at #1 that needed a runninback you could justify McFadden. AD is showing what a special back will get you, and considering it's a position that touches the football 30 times a game and I don't buy that it's undervalued.

    Plus the ZBS is really starting to come to an end. It's being exposed for what it is.

    Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.


    • #3
      I would like to add that Steve Young is dead on in his criticism of ESPN and other media outlets hyping the Colts-Patriots games. You might as well make the rest of the NFL irrelevant.


      • #4
        Originally posted by bearsfan_51 View Post
        If there was a team at #1 that needed a runninback you could justify McFadden. AD is showing what a special back will get you, and considering it's a position that touches the football 30 times a game and I don't buy that it's undervalued.

        Plus the ZBS is really starting to come to an end. It's being exposed for what it is.

        I think Denver's struggles have shown that it isn't just "the scheme." The Broncos of the 90s and 00s had a great O-Line and did special things with Terrell Davis and Clinton Portis. It looks like Tom Nalen's career is coming to an end and their O-Line's quality is just not of the same caliber as it once was.

        I know quite a few people credited Atlanta's dominant rushing attack to the scheme, when in actuality it was solely due to Michael Vick's impact on defenses. Green Bay has had no running game despite having the same cut blocking scheme that Denver has used. So I definitely agree with you that the Alex Gibbs' system is going extinct.
        Last edited by Shiver; 10-22-2007, 11:12 PM.


        • #5
          The defense kept them in the game,
          I heartily disagree. The defense kept them out of the game, and Quinn Gray added insult to injury (quite literally). They let the Colts eat clock and play to their defense.

          by BoneKrusher
          <DG> how metal unseen
          <TheUnseen> Drunken Canadian Bastard: There's an APS for that


          • #6
            I think one of the most impressive things about the week was the Broncos was win, like you touched on. They weren't supposed to win that game, and I didn't give them a shot in hell, but now the AFC West is so tough to call. The Chiefs are in the lead right now and keep winning when most, including myself feel they are overachieving for a very medicore, if that, team. Yet their still in first. Then the Broncos look god awful, but out of nowhere beat an arguably top five team in Pittsburgh. The Chargers finally look like they are back on track, but with Norv at the helm it could just be a ticking bomb until things go wrong.

            Three teams are now competitive in it again, like last year...the only difference is this year, they're competitive because they all suck.


            • #7
              Clearly not enough conversation about Brian Griese. BGisaGod.


              • #8
                The ZBS is fine, it's just not a magic system.

                Read the commentary here (mainly what Mike Tanier says) about the Cover 2 in the MIN/DAL game and apply it to the ZBS:

                Also, I'm sure everyone is sick of Pats/Colts talk...but am I the only person getting a '98 Vikes/Falcons vibe from it?


                • #9
                  Has anyone before me made the Tarvaris Jackson - Quincy Carter comparison yet? Because if not, I'd like to go on record as having compared the two.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by njx9
                    i don't buy that "the scheme" is dead anymore than the power running (or whatever other scheme you want to mention) is dead just because Team X got old, injured or just plain didn't have the same talent. it's like suggesting the run n shoot was a worthless offense just because rodney peete couldn't run it, without taking into account that warren moon ran it just fine (at least in the regular season).
                    I think what he was saying is that the ZBS is exposed in that it isn't some miraculous scheme that you can "plug in anyone and get 1,000 yards" as we have all heard repeated hundreds of times over the years.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ward View Post
                      Has anyone before me made the Tarvaris Jackson - Quincy Carter comparison yet? Because if not, I'd like to go on record as having compared the two.
                      I'm not being flippant here, but Quincy Carter is much better than Tarvaris Jackson.

                      Even by rookie QB standards Jackson has been terrible this year.

                      Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.


                      • #12
                        Tarvaris Jackson is showing that drafting solely on physical tools and trying to 'coach him up' is not a good approach. I think Childress will pay for that decision with his job.


                        • #13
                          The Rams really suck.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shiver View Post
                            Tarvaris Jackson is showing that drafting solely on physical tools and trying to 'coach him up' is not a good approach. I think Childress will pay for that decision with his job.
                            What about Devin Hester?

                            Nobody cares about your stupid fantasy team.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by njx9
                              if that's the case, absolutely. schizophrenic batman said sort of the same thing: i think as a fan, if you EVER believe some "system" is a magic bullet, you need to have your reality checked. as soon as coaches have a chance to find holes, or the players that amde it effective get old, ANY scheme will deteriorate. at least, any scheme worth running.

                              Unfortunately it seems like NFL organizations believe that. I say that considering that as soon as one philosophy prospers, a dozen imitators show up. Now the "Tampa 2" defensive scheme is new sensation.



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