Philip Rivers

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NFL: Limits and Stupidity with Colin Cowherd

I know, I know. He’s not a smart man. He acts like one. He postures like one. He speaks with the force and tone of a man who thinks before he speaks, but it’s all a front. I had the misfortune of overhearing ESPN’s bombastic Colin Cowherd’s assessment of Cam Newton after a week 2 loss vs. the defending champion Green Bay Packers. Newton threw for a rookie record 432 yards.  The finer points of the assessment were as follows:

  • He’s thrown for a ton of yards. So what! Everyone has. Look at the record book.
  • There is really nothing to see here. Keep it moving. 854 yards in 2 games by a rookie is not a big deal.
  • Andy Dalton has won a game. He’s deserving of as much attention as Newton. Wins matter most.
  • Newton is one of only 4 mediocre QB’s with more interceptions than touchdowns.
  • It’s early.

Well, it’s certainly early. With Week 3 not quite complete, the list of quarterbacks who have thrown more interceptions than touchdowns has some new names:

  • Philip Rivers
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Josh Freeman

These are not mediocre quarterbacks…but this is what happens when miked morons like Cowherd go on uninformed rants. For what it’s worth, Newton is off that short list and now has 4 touchdown passes to match his 4 interceptions. He also has rushed for 2 touchdowns and become the first rookie to pass for 1,000 yards in his first 3 games.

As for winning games, Newton took care of that as well by leading the Panthers over the visiting Jaguars on Sunday. Dalton, for his part, remains winless in the real world. His Bengals could manage only 8 points against the San Francisco 49ers. His lone statistical win comes via an weird and absurd NFL rule that grants wins to the starting QB of the team that wins a game. If that QB plays for one down and throws a Pick 6, but his team recovers to win the game with the backup, the starter gets the win. For Dalton, it’s not much better. He was granted one of these statistical wins even though Bruce Gradkowski did the heavy lifting in Cincy’s Week 1 win over Cleveland. Dalton was knocked out with the Browns leading 14-13. He has yet to beat a real live, flesh and blood football team that plays with cleats and pads and stuff.

Andy Dalton: A Real QB in Search of A Real Win

So, what do we do with miked misinformation machines like Col(o)n Cowherd who talk crap about things they don’t understand? I suppose we just let the record speak for itself. It’s not as if his editors could actually make him WATCH the games.

The Village Idiot

2010 NFL Season: Week 12 in Review

The season is winding down and the significant games for this week are in the books.  Tonite, the San Francisco 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals.  The game may well prove to be very entertaining (Remember last year’s tilt in San Francisco?), but both of these outfits have proven unfit for the rigors of this season.  Big winners this week: the New England Patriots who have found a way to get deep without deep speed; the San Diego Chargers who are serving notice that they are a team to be reckoned with — until the playoffs start; the Chicago Bears who provided a template for beating the high-flying Eagles; the Atlanta Falcons who showed that in the Dirty South, they have just enough to take all comers; and the “Survivors” — Pittsburgh and Baltimore — who were probably peeking around their Week 12 opponents, and thinking about health insurance for Week 13.

Chargers, Chargers Everywhere!

A few random thoughts:

  • As great as Peyton Manning has been in his career, he cannot like living THE LIFE OF MCNABB right now.  Without Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, and Ryan Lilja, Manning is experiencing life on the other side.  He still has Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and others, but this is his first taste in years of getting hammered — with no hope of relief.  Manning, unlike McNabb is not able to make plays with his feet — and it shows.  He’s giving up interceptions for touchdowns.  He isn’t choosing to throw the ball at the feet of his receivers to avoid turnovers.  He’s taking big risks and losing.  Fortunately for Manning and the Colts, they’ve lost 2 games in a row, but moved ahead of Jacksonville in the playoff hunt.
  • In 5 of his last 7 games, Manning has averaged less than 6 yards per pass attempt.  That’s awful.  You cannot win in today’s NFL doing that.  During that span, the Colts are 4-3, with one of those wins coming by 6 points over the Bengals who were “fueled” by Carson Palmer’s 3 INTs.  Manning has thrown 10 picks over the frame — and had two games with no touchdown passes.
  • The national media is articulate, understanding, and acutely accusatory in their analysis of Peyton Manning’s present condition.  Commentators are able to identify injured players at skill positions and along the offensive line.  Many have become Maddenesque with their ability to break down offensive line play (Exhibit A: former wide receiver Cris Collinsworth; Exhibit B: Yahoo.com’s Shut Down Corner column).  THE LIFE OF MCNABB, however, is not about making excuses.  It’s about making plays…even when playing with guys like James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Hank Baskett, and Freddie Mitchell.  It’s about figuring a way to move the ball on the ground even when your running backs all weigh 180 pounds soaking wet and the last tackle they broke was made by a toddler on the living room floor.  The Colts may make the playoffs, but I suspect Peyton Manning may need what Jay Cutler needed last year if he is to right this ship, right now.

What Can This Brown Do For You?

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2010 NFL Season: Historic Day for Black Quarterbacks

For Black quarterbacks across the NFL, October 10 is a day that many of them (based on their previous recorded statements) will view as just another Sunday.  But, for observers of the game and others aware of the way that questions of race color perceptions of performance, yesterday was a historic day.  For the first time that I can remember, more than one or two Black quarterbacks faced off against elite non-Black quarterbacks on the same Sunday.  I’m sure it’s happened before, but my memory is not coming up with another such Sunday.  I might have to go all the way back to the heyday of Daunte Culpepper and Aaron Brooks to find such a week.  I’ll take a look and see what I come up.  But for now…yesterday was one interesting day.

Irrelevant Excellence?

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Looking Ahead: Top NFL QBs in 2010

Who is in your Top 10?

Drew Brees is a no-brainer. What about Vince Young (26-13 as a starter)?  Joe Flacco (21-13 as a starter)?  Alex Smith?  Mark Sanchez?  Are you looking to the upside of a quarterback who has yet to make his mark, or are you sticking with the men who’ve done it before?  Manning (2x) and Brady.  What about the potentially retired?  Are you expecting a Beltway Revival for choir boy turned QB, Jason Campbell?  How much are you going to hold Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl loss against him?   How much are you going to hold Eli Manning’s late season collapse against him?  How ’bout them fumbles (Tony Romo)?

Romo: "Sometimes, you've got to give the defense...give the defense what they want."

Who do you rank in the top 10 — and who is number one on your look good chart?

Exhibit B: Chargers Offensive Dominance

The San Diego Chargers do a lot of little things right.  Sometimes, those little things amount to very big things.  A few weeks ago, the Chargers headed into a big game vs. the Cowboys in Dallas.  The game might well have been a prelude to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys have demonstrated this year that the December Jinx is over.  After a surprising 24-0 shutout over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys are set up to break the 13-year hiatus between playoff wins.  The Chargers won a close game by doing little things.  Here’s a glimpse.

Dallas opened the game with a 41 yard kickoff return by Felix Jones.  The Cowboys then began a long, powerful 10-play, 41-yard drive into the Charger red zone.  The drive consumed more than 6 minutes at the start of the game.  FOX showed LaDainian Tomlinson sitting on the sidelines as if he were collecting dust waiting to get into the game.  The Cowboys were intent on spreading the Chargers out, but remaining balanced.   On six of those first 10 plays, Dallas was in a shotgun formation.  On three of those plays, they ran the ball with Marion Barber.  The drive bogged down as Romo was unable to hit a receiver in the end zone.  Dallas kicked a field goal and led 3-0.

For quite some time, the Dallas defense has been playing at a very high level.  On the subsequent kickoff, Dallas kicked deep and was able to pin Darren Sproles back behind the 20 yard line.  The drive began for San Diego on their own 16 yard line.  On first down, Philip Rivers completed a short pass to his fullback.  The play lost two yards.  On the next down, LT was stopped for no gain by DeMarcus Ware.  So, with 7 minutes gone in the first quarter, the Chargers were facing a 3rd and 12 deep in their own end.  Moreover, they were facing the prospect of handing Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys a short field.  Compounding all of this was the fact that the Charger defense had been on the field for all but 1:18.

3rd down, 12 yards to go from the 14 yard line.

Third and 12. Spread Formation vs. Nickel Coverage

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Exhibit A: Chargers Offensive Dominance

The high-flying San Diego Chargers clinched the 2nd seed in the 2009 AFC Playoffs this week.  The team is loaded with talent on offense.  The following is just one example of how the Chargers use Antonio Gates and the threat of the run game to totally confuse defenses.

Game Scenario:  Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Diego Chargers.  Week 10.  Second play from scrimmage.  2nd down and 1 yard to go.

Eagles vs. Chargers: Before the Snap

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Overreacting to the Learning Curve: New York Panics

All over the city of New York (and across much of the nation), people are deep in the throes of panic because of some ill-advised throws made by Jet rookie QB, Mark Sanchez.  “The Sanchise,” as he has been dubbed, threw five interceptions against the Buffalo Bills yesterday.  The Jets have lost three straight games and people are concerned that the bloom may be off of the rose.  (And so far from Pasadena!!)

Mark Sanchez: In a Sea of Peril

I think people need to take a few steps back before jumping ship.  Consider this: (more…)

2009 NFL Season: 5 Stats that Surprise

Every season is full of surprises.  Here are five that caught my eye.

1.  Ben Roethlisberger is leading the NFL in completion percentage at 71.6%.  That’s higher than Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner.  Roethlisberger has a 63% completion rate over his career.  The offensive line, which has been so maligned, must be doing something right.

SteelPocket

"I've Got All Day!!"

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2009 NFL Season: The Meaning of 2-0

It is hard to say what the meaning of making it through the first two weeks will mean for this season.  I suspect that it can’t hurt.  In the case of the San Francisco 49ers, they’ve already beaten the favorite to win the division on the road and beaten the perennial division winner (while knocking out their QB).  They could not have asked for a better start.  With that said, not all 2-0 records “are created equal.”  Before proceeding, let’s take a quick look back.

FrankGore (more…)