||11-10-2008 11:57 PM
Week 10 Breakdown
Though I endeavor to include all top performances and as many great plays and players each and every week, time and space means that there will be a few I miss. This is no reflection on the team or me as a fan or writer, in some cases it’s just unlucky they're not included. Enjoy.
Break out Performer
After weeks of seeing the Cleveland browns struggle and appear as a shell of their former selves, it was nice to see Brady Quinn break into the starting line-up and play extremely well in their loss to the Denver Broncos. His 23 of 35 for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns is about as perfect as it gets for a first time starter. Though the Denver defense isn't exactly elite Quinn's play was markedly better than Andersons and his appearance in the line-up appeared to revitalise a struggling offense. For a team that is very clearly in need of a number of pieces its loud and clear that they're at the very least set at the quarterback position for the years to come.
For the first time in nearly a decade it appears the Jets have made a good draft choice at the tight end position. Dustin Keller a rookie had his first hundred yard day against the St Louis Rams. The Favre connection is a strong one and I don't think its a stretch to say that the former Perdue Tight End will see his name called a number of times before the end of the schedule.
When Lane Kiffin was fired I thought that it was possibly the worst move Oakland could possibly make, but after watching the Raiders face Carolina on Sunday it appears it just might be the right move. Oakland is probably one of the most talented teams at some positions but is a team rife with what can only accurately be described as head cases. The release of Hall to free up cap space and remove a distraction has lead to the team gelling almost instantly.
Though the offense was strangled by Julius Peppers and Carolina's linebackers the Oakland defense put together one of the best performances I have seen against a far superior team. The Oakland linebackers and secondary just might form on of the best back units in the NfL and Tommy Kelly just might have been worth the price tag in the offseason. If the Raiders can find a decent balanced defensive end the defense will be complete. What they really need, and its abundantly clear is an offensive line as over the weekend, Backups Gary Gibson, Charles Johnson, not to mention the starting four tore the line apart. Julius Peppers was like a man amongst children and will probably be the subject of several terrifying nightmares for Kwame Harris and Andrew Walter for a few more nights at least.
Tyler Thigpen is the real deal. It’s no coincidence that since the chiefs have been starting Thigpen their team has been very different. Combined in his last three starts he's thrown for over 700 yards and six touchdowns for no interceptions. His poise and execution has been impressive and its shown on the score line. In those three games the Chiefs have faced the defenses of the Jets, Tampa Bay and San Diego and though the Chiefs lost all three of those games they lost them by a combined eight points and after being thrashed earlier in the season by all comers, that's impressive.
The Play of the rookie wide receivers in Josh Morgan, Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson just to name a few cannot be ignored. With no receivers being taken until the second round, intelligent reasoning would suggest that if the draft were tomorrow the draft order would look very different. With DeSeason Jackson Brian Westbrook can have some pressure eased off him and in San Francisco Josh Morgan has become a consistent play maker on a young struggling team. Eddie Royal up in Denver has made a statement just about every week when he's been targeted early and is playing no small part in the emergence of Jay Cutler into the upper tier of NFL Quarterbacks.
Homer Corner For the third time this year the Carolina offense has been pathetic. The first game they lost against Minnesota and the second game against Tampa they were blown out. Thank the football gods for the defense who turned in a great performance against a truly inept and weakened Oakland offense. Though the team is hungry, dominant and sitting atop the NFC at 7-2 one has to question a few things.
Can this team be consistent when it counts and which team will come to play in the next few weeks when the schedule takes a tough turn. The next two weeks against Detroit and Atlanta are very winnable, but facing New Orleans, Tampa, Greenbay, Denver and the New York Giants to close out the season, that majority of which will be played away its hard to gauge the team's final record.
It’s also becoming clear that the Panthers need to find some competition and an heir apparent for the QB position. While as a fan I love Jake Delhomme and he's achieved and fought for more for the Franchise than any other player in the team's history he's 33 and has never really been a consistent force. With him probably having another two years tops as the team's starter as a fan I'm curious as to when and if the franchise will look for his replacement.
Though Arizona beat the 49ers and at times a very good team can be taken to task by a motivated, otherwise pathetic foe. But, Arizona still doesn't not have the discipline in regards to penalties and fundamentals to be considered an Elite unit. While I like their offensive power and their defense is beginning to emerge, I cannot see their defense being good enough to keep them in games with other NFC power houses, especially those in the NFC East. I also think that their defense is the sole reason they lost to Carolina and will truly be the reason why though they make the playoffs they see an early exit. That being said if their secondary and defensive line continues on schedule, and Warner sticks around at a high level, they'll be a solid team next year and more prepared to make a serious run at the title.