Lovie Smith

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?

(more…)

Chicago Bears Mike Brown Faces the Future

Len Pasquarelli of ESPN reports, “The loss of Brown is particularly devastating since this will mark the fourth year in a row in which the star-crossed defensive back will miss significant playing time, and the third time in four seasons that his campaign ended prematurely with him on the injured reserve list. It will increase to 43 the number of games that Brown has missed in the past four years.”

mbrown.jpg

Brown, formerly of the University of Nebraska, was one of the best defensive players in the NFL. He began his career as a strong safety and moved over to free safety this season with the arrival of Adam Archuleta. Archuleta is the hard hitting safety (often struggling in pass coverage) that played for Bears coach Lovie Smith in St. Louis. Brown began his career as an explosive player against the pass and the run. His high-energy style of play, jarring tackles and blazing speed have since been replicated in whole or in part by in Baltimore (Ed Reed), Pittsburgh (Troy Polamalu) and Indianapolis (Bob Sanders). He could rush the passer, force fumbles and make dazzling interceptions. He was also a former running back and had some of the more spectacular returns of picks this decade. Mike Brown was the true anchor of the Bears defense. He keyed the run defense and the pass defense with his tremendous awareness, range and tenacity.

Mike Brown at locker on YouTube:

Brown was a tremendous player and the Bears are diminished somewhat today, on the field and off. Mr. Brown is a young man of only 29 years old. He has a bright future ahead of him when he is ready to move on from this game. Mike was an academic All-American as a senior in Lincoln. Sometimes our personal loss can lead to flowering in ways unexpected. If there were space in Canton reserved for elite players with abbreviated careers, Brown might have an entire wall dedicated to his short stint with the Bears.