Blog Entry

Monday Musings

Posted on: January 12, 2009 8:10 pm

The lesson the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers need to take from their losses this past weekend is a simple one.

It's time to loosen up those offenses.

The Titans under Jeff Fisher have always been a run-first team that plays good defense. The team is built that way, which is why they have no real threat down the field in the passing game.

That showed up against the Ravens. Quarterback Kerry Collins had a nice day, but they didn't get any big plays down the field. That leads to long drives. That leads to possible mistakes, which happened twice inside the 10.

Once running back Chris Johnson went out with an ankle injury, the Titans had quite possibly the slowest offense I've ever seen from a team playing in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Fisher, who has now lost twice as the top seed with the Titans, needs to address that style.

You can't just run it all the time. They need a big-play threat outside.

The Panthers came into this season with the idea that they would be a power team again. That's fine. Except when it didn't work against the Cardinals, and they fell behind, they didn't have the passing game to overcome the mistakes.

Jake Delhomme was terrible. Steve Smith was doubled and there was nowhere else to go.
It's about style.

You must throw it to win. Not always, but the big play has to be there in the passing game.

The Steelers aren't a passing team, but they had big plays against the Chargers. Ben Roethlsiberger to Hines Ward and others. The Ravens had two of them against the Titans.

Run, run and short passes doesn't work anymore.

That's why the Titans and the Panthers are home.

Quick hits


----It can be hard for a rookie quarterback to assimilate into a locker room loaded with veterans. But Ravens sources say Joe Flacco has done a great job. He arrives at the facility early and can often be seen eating breakfast with a variety of teammates. That's a smart thing on a team with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

---Is Josh McDaniels a good hire by the Denver Broncos? Does anybody know? I've been impressed with the way McDaniels calls plays, but how much of that is because of Bill Belichick? We know Belichick is a defensive wizard, but he's also very much involved on the offensive side. When Charlie Weis went to Notre Dame, Belichick became iheavily involved in the offense. I do like the idea of an innovative offensive coach getting a chance. I think McDaniels is that. The Broncos better hope he isn't another Weis.

---The more I watch the Ravens play, the more I'm convinced that center Jason Brown is about to become a rich man. He's an unrestricted free agent and he's one of the biggest centers in the league. He has two pretty good games against Albert Haynesworth on his resume. At 330 pounds, Brown can handle the bigger inside players. The Ravens are almost resigned to the fact he won't be back next year. They will move guard Chris Chester inside to center.

----One of the biggest changes in the Eagles defense this season is the improved play of b both defensive tackles. Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson have really stepped up their games. Did you see Patterson blow up Chris Snee on that fourth-and-inches quarterback sneak Sunday against the Giants? That's a Pro Bowl guard he dominated.

---Even though the Ravens are playing in the AFC title game this week, it's clear where they need to go in next year's draft. They need a speed receiver and a corner. Those two positions are lacking, even when Chris McAlister returns.

---It takes LenDale White too long to get to the line of scrimmage. The Titans need to get him to lose some weight.

---Don't be surprised if Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio decides he will serve as the team's defensive coordiantor next season. Del Rio came to the Jaguars after being the defensive coordinator in Carolina.


Category: NFL

Since: Sep 20, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2009 4:01 pm

Monday Musings

Did you watch any of the Panthers and Cardinals game?  They stuck with nothing but the pass which is why the ball ended up in the Cardinals' hands so often.  Maybe if they would have stuck with what got them there, the best backfield in the league, they'd be in the NFC Championship game. Instead they hit the panic button and they are at home.  Once again Pete shoots and misses.

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: January 14, 2009 1:40 pm

Are you serious?

I hope that teams come out and try to throw all day on the Steelers.  That will definately give us a sixth ring.  The best pass defensee by far!  You cannot play catch on these guys they are way too seasoned for that.  And keep in mind who's behind this scheme.  Dick Lebeau, a sure-fire hall of fame coach.  You have to bring it all to beat this team.  And quite frankly, I don't see them losing 'til next year!  Go Steelers! Get one for the other hand fellas.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2009 9:33 pm

Monday Musings

I don't know about the Cardinals but the Ravens destroyed the Eagles and almost cost McNabb and the Eagles their season.  So take them if you want.

Since: Jan 2, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2009 7:52 pm

Monday Musings

Yeah, how did that work out for the Eagles in the regular season? Oh, that's right, there offense scored ZERO points and threw 4 INTs, two to Ed Reed, one of which he returned for a td. I agree the Ravens should throw way more on the steelers than they did last time they played them because they were WAY too conservative at times, but the Ravens also ran for over 100 yards BOTH games on them, the Ravens can run with ease on the steelers.

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2009 4:40 pm

Monday Musings

One thing is for sure; the four remaining head coaches are not going to abandon the successful formulas that brought them this far and adjust their game plans to what Pete Prisco thinks will work.  

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2009 3:46 pm

More Prisco Nonsense

I disagree with most of what he says and his characterizations.  His opinions don't hold up against closer scrutiny of the games he's talking about.

The Titans threw the ball 42 times.  Collins passed for nearly 300 yards.  The Titans moved the ball well and were fine until Chris Johnson got hurt.  Still they moved the ball up and down the field mostly passing the ball.  They took deep shots down the field.  Justin Gage had a big game.  I'm not sure why Prisco is focusing his criticism on this; his personal prejudices against playing defense and running the ball aside. 

Prico says, "You can't just run it all the time. They need a big-play threat outside."  Well they passed it 42 times, the same number as your beloved Manning and Indy Colts did Prico.

One thing he is correct is that you need to take deep shots and stretch the field.  I thought they did that.

So now I turn my focus on Prisco's drivel about the Panther's game.  What do you want Prisco?  They ran the ball 15 times.  Their most successful drive in the game and first half was when they focused on running the ball.  Their problem was when they got away from the run and what they're good at.  They tried following your prescription for success and ended up with 6 turnovers (5 INTS). 

Steelers didn't win the game because of their passing game, hate to tell you that Prisco. In fact, they completed only one big pass play to Hines Ward for 41 yards.  Their reason for success was special teams and running the ball.  The offensive line played well and the defensive front 7 was dominant holding San Diego to 15 yards, a Steelers postseason record. 

Prico, I know you have your personal biases and desires to see offenses score 40+ points a game and the NFL turn into the Arena League and just be cheesy and stupid, but I suggest to you that you need to actually sit back and watch what's happening, and realize what's going on and maybe take a look at the stat line before you step up on your soapbox about the passing game.  In short, focus on the real reasons why they lost the game, not your diarrheal collection of thoughts and personal biases about the passing game and what's exciting.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: January 13, 2009 1:49 pm

Monday Musings

You pass the ball 70% of the time versus the Steelers or the Ravens and your starting QB will be out of the game.  It's very easy to say you will pass that many times versus those teams but it is a lot harder to accomplish. 

Defense wins championships and the two best in the league are playing in the AFC title game.  I'll take one of those as SB champion.

Since: Apr 24, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2009 1:28 pm

Monday Musings

Jason brown is as good as gone?  Better tell Ozzie, Stevie B and Harbaugh about that one.  No way they let him walk.  Now CMac, he is gone.

And enough with the Steelers euphoria over passing for one quarter on the Chargers.  They had the 31st ranked pass defense for a reason.

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: January 13, 2009 10:07 am

Monday Musings

Prisco , as someone who writes for a national site such a sportsline I would expect better reporting. The fact that you stated that C-Mac will be back and in baltimore and Jason Brown will not is ridiculous ! C-Mac was in Harbaugh's dog house from day one. This was widley reported back when Baltimore first went to Miami. Jason Brown has been a company man from the get and they are not letting him go . Do a little research before you go spouting off in the national media

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: January 13, 2009 8:01 am

Monday Musings

After watching the Steelers play on Sunday, one would come to the conclusion that this is a team that has found its balance.  They nipped away at the Chargers defense with 3, 4, and 7 yard running plays and then opened things up with a bomb downfield.  Several downfield passes were either dropped by receivers or slightly overthrown.  Otherwise they would have had 250-300+ yards of passing.  When Ben was taken out, Byron Leftwich came in and immediately threw a beautiful strike downfield (which was dropped by butterfingers Sweed). 

If the Steelers can have ANY kind of running game, the Ravens will have their hands full next week.  Based on this one game, the Steelers downfield passing game looked every bit as good as the Cardinals. 

The return of Willie Parker to full strength and the way the offensive line played makes this team the favorite to win the Super Bowl.  My crystal ball predicts a rematch of the grudge match between the Steelers and Eagles.  As for the result, the Steelers are playing slightly better than the Eagles right now, but the Eagles pounded the Steelers and won the first match between these teams in an incredibly physical game.

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