Blog Entry

Monday Musings

Posted on: December 7, 2009 6:35 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 6:37 pm


---We will never forget Bill Belichick's Fourth-and-Jackass play in Indianapolis. Now we have the little brother, Fourth-and-Stupidity. It came Sunday in New England's loss to the Miami Dolphins. Leading 14-7 and facing a fourth-and-1 from the Miami 6 late in the first half, Belichick went for the first down instead of kicking a field goal to make it a 10-point lead. That was dumb. Not only did Miami stop Sammy Morris for no gain, but they also went down and got a field goal before the half and all the momentum. Nice going, Bill. What has happened to his football acumen?

---With the Dallas Cowboys losing their first game in December to the Giants Sunday, the December swoon talk is on again. It's also led to questions as to whether Tony Romo should have gone to Las Vegas the night after the Cowboys' Thanksgiving Day Game. Why not? What's the difference if he spends the night partying in Vegas or partying in Dallas? He was back for his treatment Saturday. Big deal. And he wasn't the reason the Cowboys lost. He was actually one of the players who played well.

----If the Colts and Saints want to they both have a real chance to go undefeated. The question is whether they will try it. Both could have home field rapped up and there would no reason to try to go unblemished. I think the smart thing is to sit guys. What if a star went down in a game that didn't matter? In the end, I think both coaches will do the wise thing. Undefeated doesn't mean Super. Just ask the Patriots from 2007.

---The Chargers have won seven consecutive games, making them a hot team. That streak has to bring Philip Rivers into the MVP mix. He's having a great season, one lost in the hype going to Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre.

---Speaking of Favre, was Sunday night's two-interception game a sign of a late-season collapse or just an aberration? In each of the past two seasons, once with Green Bay and once with the Jets, he tailed off at the end of the season. Last season, and injury was blamed. But is it happening again? You have to admit if you're a Favre lover, it's going through your mind. Admit it.

---I really like the look of that Arizona defense. They are athletic. With that secondary, they can do a lot of blitzing, which disrupts offenses. Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Calais Campbell are also improving.

---Jimmy Clausen made the right decision to enter the college draft. He will be a high first-round pick. There is no reason to go back. Just ask Sam Bradford. He went back and got hurt. Go when you can. Clausen will battle Bradford and Washington's Jake Locker to be the top quarterback picked. The scouts I've talked to think his impressive junior year has elevated him to the elite level of quarterbacks.

---Atlanta defensive end John Abraham might be done. He doesn't have the same burst, doesn't play with the same explosiveness he did last season. He has 3 1/2 sacks this season after getting 16 1/2 in 2008. He's 31 and that could be an issue. The Falcons are high on rookie Lawrence Sidbury, who had his first NFL sack Sunday against the Eagles. The Falcons have to focus on the defense in the off-season. They need a pass rusher, a corner and a safety.

---The Raiders have talent. I've said it all season long. It's all about the quarterback. And now they're getting good play from Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback, which is why they beat the Steelers. This team isn't far off if they can get somebody to play quality games at quarterback. I mean it.

---Talked to a scout this week that watched Matt Cassel on tape. He said he can't believe the Chiefs paid him big money. The scout said Cassel can't get the ball down the field. If you read this column, you know that's something I've been saying for a long time.

---I still think Jason Campbell can be a decent starter in this league. They let him play loose against the Saints and he had a huge game. That's all it took.



Category: NFL

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2009 2:16 pm

Monday Musings

---Speaking of Favre, was Sunday night's two-interception game a sign of a late-season collapse or just an aberration? In each of the past two seasons, once with Green Bay and once with the , he tailed off at the end of the season. Last season, and injury was blamed. But is it happening again? You have to admit if you're a Favre lover, it's going through your mind. Admit it.

I was wondering how long it would take Prisco to write something Favre and a "I told you so".  He hasn't really come out and said that yet, but he is setting the stage so if it happens he can point back to this week as the turning point.  I think the fact that he hated on Favre so much earlier and then has had to back pedal on him the past 2-3 weeks has given him pause to not come out quite yet and pounce on Favre and tell us all...."I told you so".

Right now I have to believe it's an aberration at this point.  I know the timing is something that can cause some concern, but the offense he has around him will rally and show the Cardinals as an aberration.  The Vikings will bounce back and continue their winning ways without those mistakes.

The Cardinals game was their one bad game for the year.  I think the Cardinals would have beaten any team that night.  It was difficult to watch the game the way the Vikings played.  There seemed to be no fire or desire that night for them.  And the Cardinals were amped and well prepared for the game.

We'll be back next week against the Bengals and hopefully clinch the NFC North division with a win and a Packers loss.

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2009 12:49 pm

Monday Musings

Going for it on 4th and 1 at the opponent's 6 with a chance to go up by 17 near the half is not a jackass play. It's the smart play.

Romo going to Vegas after Thanksgiving is a problem because it shows a lack of commitment to the game. Want to know why Drew Brees is the top-flight quarterback he is? Because he doesn't take days off. He's studying film even during the bye week. Romo has all the physical skills anyone could ever desire in a quarterback, but there's a question about how much skull sweat he's willing to expend in order to be great.

When it comes to the question of whether a team in the driver's seat should keep trying to win games down the stretch, it's probably better to use a sample size larger than one to make your point. A better way to look at it would be to compare the outcomes of number 1 seeds who coasted versus those who kept the pedal down all the way to the playoffs. Indianapolis has tried resting people before, with decidedly mixed results.

The Raiders have other problems besides quarterback play, mainly on the offensive line, but good quarterback play doesn't hurt.

You're right about Campbell.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2009 12:32 pm

Monday Musings

Maybe because him teammates were dropping passes and turning the ball over? I think so...

Since: Aug 13, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2009 7:08 am

Monday Musings

Are you serious?  So what is the point threshold that allows us to say a quarterback played a great game?  40 points?

Since: Oct 30, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2009 4:38 am

Monday Musings

Sitting players doesn't work.  I don't know why you'd endorse something like that.  The last thing you want is your team to come out flat for hte playoffs. Which happens more often?  A player getting hurt in a meaningless game right before the playoffs that ends up costing the team?  Or players getting rested and the team coming out flat and losing in the first round of the playoffs?  I know under Tony Dungy in Indianapolis he rested players many times and it backfired over and over again.  The Colts would come out flat and lose game 1.  Playing it safe in the NFL is how you lose.

I'd much rather the Colts play every game as if they were trying to get the last wild card position and lose a key player and lose in the playoffs as a result instead of playing it safe and coming out flat and losing game one yet again.

Play to win or stay home.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2009 4:16 am

Monday Musings

Most analysts know that going for it on fourth and short is the right move. Gregg Easterbrook for example is one of the biggest proponents of this, and the stats tend to agree, although I don't have them off hand. Belichick is just being smart. The problem is that it's considered the gutsy or wrong move, so if it fails, everyone would be saying how big of a mistake it is. Thankfully, he not only has guts, but he has the job security to be able to go for it without losing his job. It's just too bad their team isn't good enough to pull it off.

Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2009 3:41 am

Monday Musings

Would Peyton Manning have gone to Vegas to party during the season?  I think not.  Qb is the leader of the team and needs to lead by example.  Romo should have learned after his Mexico trip that party breaks during the season are unexceptable, its not the message you want your Qb sending.

Since: Dec 8, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2009 3:34 am

Monday Musings

Everybody swears Romo had a great game. If he had such a great game then why did the Cowboys only score 24 points. I dont care if he threw for almost 400 yards, they obviously didnt score enough points so what was so great about Romos performance?

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2009 12:52 am

Monday Musings

Maybe it isn't Belichik's football acumen that's gone - maybe it's just that his dice aren't as loaded as they used to be.  They make those first downs, he looks smart and brave, he shows confidence in his offense.  Not long ago, the Pats get that yard or two every time.  Now, that's clearly not the case.

Maybe he just has to get used to having a team that isn't invincible anymore.  It's all good to show confidence in your team, but yeah, sometimes you have to be realistic - or at least play percentages.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or