Week 11 Breakdown
Though I endevor 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
As the weeks go on its getting harder and harder to find a break out performer so instead I’ll mention a player who’s beginning to come into his own. Ted Ginn was drafted 7th overall by the Miami Dolphins in a year where the draft was laden with more deserving talent. With the subsequent pathetic year and gutting of the franchise at the coaching and front office it was easy to understand why many members of the NFL community considered the move a monumental mistake, and though Ginn hasn’t exploded he’s beginning to show just how big of a weapon he can be in the NFL. Ginn has only realistically had one one hundred yard day (175 yards against Buffalo) but his 40+ yard dash on an end around and his ability in the return game have showcased quickness and a knack for getting away from defenders rarely seen the league. Critics of Ginn will cite his 500 receiving yards and 2 total touchdowns as cause for concern, but seeing as until recently the receiver position took a minimum of two to three complete seasons to develop gin is realistically right where he should be developmentally. I doubt it will happen this season, but Ginn is developing into a game changing playmaker and figures to be a staple on the dolphins unit.
After shocking most of the NFL with a resounding win over the Washington Redskins with Jim Haslett at the helm it appears that the St Louis Rams and their head coach have well and truly come crashing back to earth with the 35-16 defeat at the hands of San Francisco. Though clearly suffering from injuries and lack of talent on defense the Rams were beaten in every phase of the game and it was clear that coaching was a part of the problem. With millions in free agents and high draft picks up and down the defense one has to wonder when the team will live up to their pay grade. Haslett, though a decent defensive coordinator, is clearly not the answer at head coach for the franchise.
I realise Bill Belichick has assembled a mega talented offensive supporting cast and he’s undoubtedly been able to make game plans that are tailored to his strengths but Matt Cassel is making himself a heck of a lot of money this season. Right now, there really is no downside for a team who is looking for a future starting quarterback to take a long hard look at Matt Cassel. Standing at six four, 230 pounds Cassel stands tall in the pocket and isn’t easy to bring down, he’s shown some good athleticism outside the pocket and his arm is clearly good enough to make all the throws (anyone else hate that cliché?). His 65% completion rate is what I find most impressive considering Tom Brady has only ever surpassed that mark once in his career. While I’m not really comparing the two and Cassel is far from a sure thing as a free agent consider this, he’s 26 years old and has spent 4 years under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and is at least capable of being a winner and leader to a team, there’s not a lot in his game that should turn team’s away.
Three Carolina Panthers’ rookies made massive impacts in Sunday’s win over Detroit. Stewart as part of the self named Smash and Dash backfield made his presence felt early and often to the tune of 15 rushes for 130 yards. Jeff Otah started his fifth game at Right Tackle and was flat out dominant against a backup left defensive end, watch for his key block in the fourth quarter DeAngelo Williams touchdown, he’s the one driving two players into the end zone. Finally, Charles Godrey the third round pick, former cornerback who has been a revelation at free safety for the Panthers record his first career interception when he picked off a fourth quarter Dante Culpepper pass sealing the Lions fate. Without the play of these three the outcome could’ve been very different.
That being said, Jake Delhomme has to step up his game coming into the final six weeks of the schedule, with three divisional clashes and then the games against a resurgent Green bay, Denver and New York Giants a passing game free from inane mistakes will be pivotal to securing the division.
With six weeks to go here are my final predictions
NFC North: Green bay Packers
NFC East: New York Giants
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals
NFC South: Carolina Panthers
Wildcard: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC East: New York Jets
AFC West: Denver Broncos
AFC South: Tennessee Titans
Wildcard: Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts
Last edited by BlindSite : 11-17-2008 at 04:17 PM.