Tony Romo

Five Quarterbacks: Name that Buster!

Curious stats for the viewing public.

’09 Eagles offense (except vs. Dallas): 29.5 ppg  McNabb (11th in yards, 5th in Scoring)
’09 Eagles offense vs. Dallas: 8.0 ppg  McNabb

’10 Eagles offense: 29.4 Vick/Kolb (1st in Yards; 2nd in Scoring)
’10 Eagles offense: 33.6 ppg  Vick

’09 Cowboys offense: 22.6 ppg  Romo (2nd in Yards, 14th in Scoring)
’10 Cowboys offense: 25.3 ppg  Romo/Kitna (7th in Yards, 7th in Scoring)
’10 Cowboys offense with Jon Kitna: 32.1 ppg  Kitna

’09 Giants offense: 25.1 ppg  Manning (3rd in Yards, 6th in Scoring)
’10 Giants offense: 25.7 ppg  Manning (8th in Yards, 8th in Scoring)

’08 Broncos offense: 23.1 ppg Shanahan with Jay Cutler (2nd in Yards; 16th in Scoring)

’09 Texans offense: 24.1 ppg K. Shanahan with Matt Schaub (4th in Yards; 10th in Scoring)

’10 Redskins offense: 19.1 ppg M & K Shanahan with McNabb/Grossman (17th in yards; 25th in scoring)

I don’t know about you, but I see a trend.

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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2010 NFL Season: 6 Questions Before Week 3

After two weeks, there are many teams around the NFL with some tough, hard questions at hand.  For those teams that had high expectations entering the 2010 campaign, these questions better get answered quickly.

1.  Minnesota Vikings. Are you willing to meet the demands of the San Diego Chargers for wide receiver Vincent Jackson?  The Brett Favre Experiment concludes at the end of the 2010 regular season.  The Vikings will not compete for a Super Bowl (and may miss the playoffs) without the addition of a high-quality pass catching option like Vincent Jackson.  Sidney Rice, thinking optimistically, cannot be expected to be a force on the field until Week 8 or 9.  While management debates the value of a 3rd round pick in a season that may or may not happen (2011), your offense will gear up to get beat down by and/or keep pace with the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.  It won’t be fun.  By Week 8, Brad Childress could be looking for a job as a color analyst on the NFL Network — covering Viking’s games.

2. Buffalo Bills. Are you willing to trade Marshawn Lynch to ensure that you make one positive contribution to the 2010 NFL season?  This team is going nowhere this season.  As you prepare to face the New England Patriots and their confounding defense, you’ve decided to ditch the “smart quarterback from Stanford” (Trent Edwards) for the “smarter quarterback from Harvard” (Ryan Fitzpatrick).  It won’t make a shred of difference.  If C.J. Spiller is supposed to be the Bills Most Valuable Player on the roster, Marshawn Lynch in the Most Valuable Player in trade. The Bills can retain Coe College’s Fred Jackson and then focus on figuring out a way to get these guys the ball.  The Packers could use a runner with Lynch’s power around the goal line.  It’s time to pull the trigger.

3.  Dallas Cowboys. Are you willing to reign in the Romo-Garrett Show and cede some time to the true triplets of Jones, Barber and Choice?  If the Dallas Cowboys are to win and compete for a Super Bowl title in 2010, they need to run the ball more, pass the ball less, and figure out a creative way to dump Roy Williams.

4.  Baltimore Ravens. Are you willing to start Marc Bulger ahead of Joe Flacco?  The Ravens signal caller ranks 32nd in passer rating at 41.2 and has a completion percentage of 48%.  At this rate, Flacco would have to throw something like 70 passes a game just to post mediocre numbers.  He has thrown one touchdown and five interceptions.  His receiving corps is as accomplished as any in the league.  Will the first matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4 determine the long-term fate of this franchise?

5.  Kansas City Chiefs. Are you ready to find out what is behind Door #1?  Over the next four weeks, you will host the hungry, angry San Francisco 49ers; have a bye week; then travel in consecutive weeks to Indianapolis and Houston.  Surely each of these opponents will take you lightly.  You will retain the element of surprise.  Are you ready?  If the Chiefs can get through this portion of the schedule, they have some “winnable games” ahead with Jacksonville, Buffalo and Oakland beginning in Week 7.

6.  New England Patriots. Are you leaning toward Julian Edelman or Aaron Hernandez to replace the injured Kevin Faulk?  The Patriots are going to need another reliable go-to-guy on 3rd down.  Edelman has the experience, but with Wes Welker healthy, are his services really just a duplication?  Is Hernandez flexibility as an in-line tight end and an outside receiver or H-back better suited to replacing Kevin Faulk?  After scoring a mere 14 points vs. the Jets, the Patriots need to come up with answers fast.  Everyone is pouring over that video tape and looking to replicate what New York was able to do.

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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2009 NFL Season: A Look Back at Week 7

So, how’d I do?

After going 5-8 last week, it couldn’t get any worse could it.  Let me get this out of the way first.  I was wrong about Miami being able to hang on and beat the Saints.  I was wrong about Chicago at Cincinnati…really, really wrong.  Sorry Cedric.  I was a believer at the end of the preseason.  I just slipped.  Next time you all are in New York to collect rent from the Jets, holler!

I wasn’t perfect this week, but I was better.  Heading into the Monday night game featuring the heavily-favored Eagles vs. the seriously-sedated Redskins, I had a record of 7-5. Let’s get to the good.

The Classics

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Minnesota Vikings 17. I have maintained two things since the beginning of Brett Favre’s flirtations with the Vikings…that this team is going to be a tough out in the post-season and that if the Vikings play teams that Adrian Peterson does not dominate – teams that force Brett Favre to beat them, he’s not going to do it.  I don’t dislike Favre.  For me it’s simpler than that.  Since 1997, he hasn’t won more than one playoff game in any season.  To play in a Super Bowl, the Vikings will need to win 2 or 3 playoff games.  The Steelers allowed 69 rushing yards to Adrian Peterson and the game was put in the hands of Favre to win or lose.

He threw 51 passes.  The chances of losing increase exponentially for most QBs after 45 passes (at least in the post-season).  Favre, for much of the game, did a masterful job of mixing up plays.  The Vikings attacked short and deep.  There are were a few plays where only good fortune and a very strong sun prevented Percy Harvin from dominating the action.  He is a very impressive young player.   The hamstring injury to Bernard Berrian significantly impacted the game.  Berrian did drop an easy pass, but he was otherwise having his way with William Gay.  Berrian’s speed forced Gay to play off — leaving room for underneath routes.  When Berrian went out of the game, Favre was reduced to throwing to Harvin, Sidney Rice (another great game) and Visanthe Shincoe.

The Steelers still have issues.  Rashard Mendenhall is a fumbler — until proven otherwise.  He’s not a nice back who happens to fumble.  He’s not a young power back with great speed and agility who happens to fumble.  He’s a fumbler.  He is a player who jeopardizes possessions each time he touches the ball.  After his Red Zone fumble yesterday, Coach Mike Tomlin went to former Viking Mewelde Moore to hold down the fort.  Moore, of course, is not a powerful between the tackles runner, but he is not a fumbler.

Adrian Peterson Runs Over Steeler RCB William Gay

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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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Did Byron Leftwich Get a Raw Deal?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that QB Byron Leftwich will be replaced in the position by Josh Johnson.  Former Kansas State star and QB of the future Josh Freeman will be promoted to #2.  Johnson replaced Leftwich in yesterday’s 24-0 loss at the hands of the New York Giants.  But did Raheem Morris do the right thing in going with a young QB?  Is the timing right?  Is he changing the right piece of the puzzle?  Is this is a sign of desperation after the recent firing of the offensive coordinator?

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2009 NFL Season: Week 3 – What to Watch For

Each week, the NFL schedule provides intriguing story lines.  This week is no different.  Here are a five things I’ll be watching this week.

1.  Pick me! No, pick me! Interception prone Jake Delhomme faces off against interception happy Tony Romo in INT Bowl 2009.  Defenders on both teams have to be salivating.  There is no telling if Delhomme will show up as the guy who throws for 270+ yards every time he plays the Atlanta Falcons (308 last week) or the guy enamored with the men in other uniforms.  Dallas’ Tony Romo needs to bounce back from his undressing at the hands of the depleted New York Giants.  Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall are going to sleep like babies this week.

It’s not like they’ll be up worried about Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin.

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2009 NFL Season: Week 3. On the Verge of Getting Exposed

As the 2009 season begins to take shape, there are a few trends that may be emerging.  I believe there are a few players who are on the verge of being exposed.  In some instances, these players “are who we thought they were.”  We didn’t really think they were great.  However, they may have been kept afloat by winning teams.  They might be “good old boys” with a strong fan base and an entourage of media lackeys (image — Ed Werder and Tony Romo; Chris Berman and Brett Favre).

I’m not going after Favre and Romo in this edition.  After all, that’s too easy.  “Back Foot Tony” has never won a playoff game and his idol “Back Foot Brett” hasn’t won more than one playoff game in a season since 1998.

I’d rather start with a guy who was on top of the world in 2008, and appears to be doing just fine right now. (more…)