Tag:Thomas Jones
Posted on: December 10, 2010 1:17 pm
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Matt Cassel not practicing Friday, Croyle time?

Posted by Will Brinson

Matt Cassel, the freaking slacker to end all slackers, didn't practice on Friday, a full two days after having his appendix removed.

Which means, as Kent Babb points out in the Kansas City Star, that it's about time to get this Brodie Croyle bandwagon rolling.

For the Chiefs, well, this isn't good, one would suppose, because they'd rather have Cassel than not have Cassel. But there's a silver lining, too. Because Cassel isn't practicing Friday, they've got a legitimate non-decision to make when it comes to playing their franchise quarterback FOUR DAYS AFTER AN APPENDECTOMY. They shouldn't need a real reason for this, but they do, apparently, because he wasn't ruled out right when he left the hospital.

In fact, it would be blatantly irresponsible to start him at this juncture, considering it would risk his long-term health as well as the remainder of their season.

Plus, while the Chiefs will theoretically need some points from their offense (something Croyle might not be able to manage as well as Cassel), they can still contend with the Chargers sans Cassel. It'll require a strong effort from their offensive line and a creative gameplan from Charlie Weis, but if they properly utilize Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles (as they have all season) to eat up chunks of time with long drives, things will be manageable enough for an upset.

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Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:43 am
 

Top Ten With a Twist: Non-Brady MVP votes

M. Ryan would be the top MVP candidate in the league right now if it wasn't for a guy named T. Brady (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

This week, seemingly everybody is proclaiming Patriots QB Tom Brady as the player who should be named MVP – including his former teammate, Troy Brown, who I talked to for this week’s Five Questions (or more) segment. After watching Brady dissect the Jets on Monday, that’s hard to argue.

But we’ve still got four weeks of regular-season NFL football, so Brady can’t be named the Most Valuable Players quite yet (I think that’s actually in the rules). That said, there are a number of players who have done quite a bit to help their respective teams this season that also must be in the conversation for MVP. What happens, after all, if Brady throws 10 interceptions in the final four games and the Patriots go 0-4 in that stretch?

Thus, this Top Ten With a Twist pays homage to those who are having hellaciously good years for teams good and bad and could creep into a voter’s conscience (assuming he/she doesn’t simply write Brady’s name in every possible space on the ballot). I’m not saying most of these guys should win; I’m just saying they should be considered.

10. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears: In his first season in Chicago, the defense, ranked as the third-best in the NFL, is a huge reason why the Bears are 9-3, lead the NFC North and own the second-best record in the conference (tied with the Saints). He’s recorded seven sacks and a very strong six passes defended and he’s forced three fumbles. You could also make a case for Brian Urlacher in this spot.

9. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: So many other quarterbacks have made big headlines this season – some for good reasons (we’ll get into those candidates later) and some for bad reasons (ahem, Brett Favre) – and it seems like Brees has been slightly ignored. That’s also because he isn’t the top quarterback in his division at this point and because the Saints are in danger of not winning the NFC South (more on the Falcons below). But the fact is that Brees is statistically the most-accurate quarterback in the league, and the Saints are 9-3 with a chance to return to the Super Bowl. That’s not too shabby.

8. Clay Matthews, LB, Packers: Remember how amazingly fast Matthews started the season, recording six sacks in the first two games? Well, he’s slowed considerably since then, and even Miami’s Cameron Wake has surpassed him for the league lead (Wake has 12 sack to Matthews’ 11.5). Matthews only has one sack in the past three games, but he’s still got a good shot at defensive player of the year (along with Julius Peppers, Steelers LB James Harrison, Eagles DE Trent Cole and Bills NT Kyle Williams), and he’s still having one heck of a year. 

7. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 5.9 yards per rush and finished 2009 with 1,120 yards and seven TDs, Kansas City rewarded him by going out and getting (gulp!) a legitimate RB in Thomas Jones. In his first two games of the season, Charles averaged 11 carries and 70.5 yards per contest, leaving some of us to wonder what was going on in Kansas City. But Charles has been awesome for the resurgent 8-4 Chiefs, averaging a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry while gaining 1,137 yards.

6. James Harrison, LB, Steelers: You’d be forgiven if, the other day when Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was defending Harrison in another laborious discussion about fines, you would have scoffed when Tomlin said Harrison was having an MVP-type season. But look at the plays he’s made and the numbers he’s produced. Harrison is third among linebackers with 10 sacks, he’s defended six passes and produced two interceptions, and he’s forced six fumbles, best among LBs. And he does it for a top-five defense which could help the Steelers to a deep postseason run. He's the MVP of NFL fines, but he might be the MVP overall as well.

5. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: You’ve got Matthews on defense, and now you’ve got Rodgers as the catalyst for an offense ranked in the top-10, despite a dreadful running game. Rodgers has been so impressive (a 65.4 completion percentage, 3,243 yards, 23 TDs and nine INTs) without the benefit of Ryan Grant and having to play with very little support in Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn (they rank 30th and 50th in rushing in the league, respectively). His MVP candidacy obviously will ride on whether he can get Green Bay into the playoffs.

4. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: A week ago, I might have picked Rivers a little bit higher, but he’s coming off a bad, bad home loss to the Raiders that dropped San Diego two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Not that Rivers played poorly, because he wasn’t bad. But it’s tough to get excited about a QB leading a 6-6 squad who very well could miss the playoffs, even if he is the guy who’s led his team to all six of those wins.

M. Jones-Drew has made himself a strong MVP candidate in the past five weeks (US Presswire). 3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: What would you say if I told you that Jones-Drew has rushed for at least 100 yards in his past five games and helped Jacksonville win four of its past five to take over first place in the AFC South? Would you say that man would be an MVP candidate? I would.

2. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: Yes, he’s missed three games because of injury, but other than that, Vick is, bar none, one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s having a career season in a year in which he wasn’t supposed to be the starter (you might have forgotten about a guy named Kevin Kolb). He could, throughout his career, always change the game’s dynamic with his running ability (and he’s got 467 rushing yards, a 6.3 average and six scores this season), but he’s showcased his arm this year as well (63.8 completion percentage, 2,243 yards, 15 TDs, two INTs). He is absolutely a complete quarterback and absolutely an MVP candidate.

1. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: The “Matty Ice” moniker has already worn thin – unlike the “Pocket Hercules” nickname for Jones-Drew – but there’s no question that it’s reflective of his playing ability. Even when he doesn’t play altogether well – an example would be last week in Tampa Bay – he still somehow finds a way to lead Atlanta to a win. At this point, the Falcons are the best team in the NFC, and Ryan is the biggest reason for that. If Brady falls off in the last month of the year, my vote at this point would go to Ryan.

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 8:46 pm
 

Jamaal Charles has some sort of mystery injury

Posted by Will Brinson

On the heels of Jamaal Charles' 177-yard rushing effort against the Bills two weeks ago, his performance (53 yards on 10 carries) against the Raiders was pretty disappointing. But, hey, it's the Raiders, whatcha gonna do, right?

Or maybe it wasn't Oakland's defensive play, and instead it's the old mystery injury that keeps fantasy owners awake at night.

According to our Chiefs Rapid Reporter Bob Gretz, Todd Haley admitted that Charles had to leave the game against Oakland because of "physical problems he would not describe."

As if, you know, people needed another reason to love Todd Haley.

If Charles was coming in and out because of the injury, it seems like it's something that's not too major (good news), but might also be something that's nagging (terrible news).

Expect Haley to get continually grilled for the rest of the week about the nature of Charles' injury -- at some point he'll have to attach some sort of label to it, unless he thinks he can sneak "Questionable: Body" by the NFL.

The good news for Kansas City is that even though they could theoretically lose their home run hitter for a game, they face Denver next, and Thomas Jones should be able to do plenty of damage against their defense.

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Posted on: November 2, 2010 3:29 pm
 

Top Ten With a Twist: New Faces

L. Tomlinson has been one of the most impressive players in the NFL this season (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Some arrived via free agency. Some were left on the garbage pile and only had one or two teams show interest. Some didn’t have much of a choice if they wanted to continue playing NFL football. And some were highly-touted rookies who commanded humongous signing bonuses and who have lived up to their end of the bargain.

Today, we spotlight the top-10 players who are performing brilliantly in their first year with a new team. We’re talking about rookies, we’re talking about free agents, we’re talking about those whose careers were left for dead.

All of the following have impacted their new teams in many ways and all have made the front offices who signed them seem clairvoyant in the process (though, in the case of a couple players, the decision to add them wasn’t exactly brain surgery). So, here’s to those who have found a new lease on life (or a new burgeoning career) with their new team.

10. Jason Babin, DE, Titans: The career-high sack total for Babin, a seven-year veteran, was five coming into this season – set in 2006 while in Houston. This year, through eight games, he’s got seven. So, what happened this season, especially after recording just 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year with the Eagles? According to Babin, it’s just been a matter of getting more playing time. OK, if you say so.

9. Colt McCoy, QB, Browns: Aside from any rookie QB not named Sam Bradford, McCoy has done pretty darn well as a first-year signal-caller. He’s only played the past two games for Cleveland, but he’s hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for a touchdown, two picks and a QB rating of 76.5. OK, he’s not great, but he’s been light years ahead of Jimmy Clausen and Max Hall. Plus, he’s coming off a win against the Saints.

8. Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals: You still have to take the good with the bad when it comes to Owens. He’s the kind of player who, often times, doesn’t put out special effort to knock down a bad pass so the opponent doesn’t pick it (this happened at least twice last week), but he’s also still the kind of player who can rack up a team-leading 45 catches for 629 yards and five touchdowns. Ultimately, it was probably the right move for Cincinnati to sign him. In three weeks, though, that might not be the case.

7. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Steelers: Pittsburgh’s first-round pick beat out Justin Hartwig at the beginning of the season for the starting center role, and Pouncey has performed well thus far. He’s really helped glue together a Steelers offensive line that had major questions raised about it coming into the season.N. Suh has begun to dominate the opponent's offensive line for Detroit (Getty).

6. Dez Bryant, WR/PR, Cowboys: One of the bright spots in Dallas this year. We knew Bryant was going to be a good one, and he has not disappointed, catching 29 passes for 349 yards for three touchdowns (Roy Williams, by the way, is 22 for 327 and five, respectively). But he’s been downright electric while fielding kicks, returning two punts for touchdowns and averaging 16.5 yards per punt, second in the NFL for those who have at least 10 returns.

5. Thomas Jones/Ryan Torain/Peyton Hillis, RBs, Chiefs/Redskins/Browns: Yes, I’m cheating a bit here, listing three players in one spot, but that doesn’t take away from how well these guys have played – and how unexpected their production has been. The Jets figured they didn’t need Jones any more, but he’s rushed for 538 yards through seven games with the Chiefs. Torain has replaced Clinton Portis pretty well, and Hillis (460 yards, five touchdowns) has been the biggest surprise at all (he certainly has surprised Denver coach Josh McDaniels, who let go of Hillis after last season).

4. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins: Marshall has typical diva receiver tendencies, but he’s been one of the best players in the league so far this season. After Marshall was traded away from Denver (ahem, McDaniels), he’s done nothing but produce in Miami, ranking fourth in the league with 47 catches for 588 yards. The one disappointing stat: he’s only recorded one touchdown.

3. Earl Thomas (Seahawks)/T.J. Ward/Ndamukong Suh, S/S/DT, Seahawks/Browns/Lion: Sigh, again I’m cheating. But considering all these first-year players are vying for defensive rookie of the year honors, it makes sense to lump them all together. Thomas has proven that he’s one of the most instinctual players in the league with four interceptions, tied for third-best in the NFL. Ward took some heat for the nasty hit he put on Cincinnati’s Jordan Shipley, but his big-hit ability has helped lead him to 60 tackles (fourth-most among safeties). And Suh is living up to his lofty billing, blowing up interior offensive linemen and recording 6.5 sacks. He’s going to be a monster for as long as he steps on the field.

2. Sam Bradford, QB, Rams: I’m not sure most of us could have expected Bradford, the No. 1 pick from last year’s Draft, to play so well a mere eight games into this pro career. He’s completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,674 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The numbers don’t look fantastic, but you have to take into account his poise and his savvy and the fact he doesn’t have a big-name receiver upon whom he can lean. Plus, he’s got the Rams, one of the worst NFL teams coming into the season, at the 4-4 mark. He has been pretty outstanding. Not bad considering he missed most of last year at Oklahoma with the shoulder injury.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Jets: Somehow, Tomlinson has found the fountain of youth. It wasn’t in San Diego apparently. Perhaps it was in New Jersey the whole time. On the season, Tomlinson has gained 544 yards and five touchdowns and has taken Shonn Greene’s job away from him. He has been perhaps the most surprising player in the league this year. He’s definitely been the No. 1 new face.

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Posted on: November 1, 2010 6:40 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.1.10 box score tidbits

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

We read through all the box scores so that you wouldn't have to. Here's what was pulled out.

Neither quarterback was very good in the Bengals-Dolphins game. Carson Palmer struggled with distance-based accuracy, completing just 17/38 passes. Chad Henne was 24/37 with no touchdowns and an awful interception to Morgan Trent.

M. Stafford returned to Detroit and helped lead his squad to a victory against Washington (Getty). For the seventh time in seven games this season, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams were both held to 80 yards or less on the ground.

Davone Bess, who started ahead of Brian Hartline for the first time this season, caught seven balls for Miami. The shifty slot receiver is on pace for 89 receptions and nearly 1,000 yards in 2010.

Maurice Jones-Drew had his best game of the season against the Cowboys, rushing for 135 yards on 27 carries.

In his first game since injuring his shoulder in Week 1, Matthew Stafford was 26/45 for 212 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. (DeAngelo Hall, who was outplayed by Calvin Johnson for most of the afternoon, snagged the interception on a brilliant first quarter play.)

The box score shows Washington gaining 80 yards on the ground, but 45 of those yards came on four Donovan McNabb runs. The Redskins never came close to sustaining a true rushing attack on Sunday.

Ndamukong Suh is running away with the Defensive Player of the Year award. The behemoth DT recorded two more sacks Sunday, bringing his total to 6.5 on the season. Suh also had five tackles and a game-sealing touchdown off a fumble return.

Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril also recorded a pair of sacks for the Lions.

Only 42,339 people paid to see the Lions defeat the Redskins.

The Bills became the fourth team in NFL history to lose back-to-back overtime games on the road. (Of course, that kind of heartbreak is nothing for a franchise that once lost back-to-back Super Bowls back-to-back times.) The last team to lose two straight road overtime games was the ’09 Steelers (remember them?).

For what it’s worth, Kansas City’s Thomas Jones became the first player in NFL history to rush for 500 yards for a fifth different team. Jones had 77 of the Chiefs’ 274 yards rushing. (Jamaal Charles led the way with 177; he also led the Chiefs with 61 yards receiving.)

C.J. Spiller seemed to spend as much time at wide receiver as running back. And not at slot receiver – split out WIDE, as in outside the numbers. Spiller finished with four catches for 28 yards and six carries for 17 yards. (It’s apparent that the first-round rookie is still doing too much reading and not enough reacting.)

Paul Posluszny led the Bills with 18 tackles. He has extra chances to tackle because none of Buffalo’s defensive linemen can get off blocks.

Steven Jackson played with a broken finger against the Panthers. He came out in passing situations (one catch, four yards), but rushed for 59 yards on 23 carries (his performance looked better than the numbers suggest).

You can call off the search party for Carolina’s running game – not because the run game was found but because it’s safe to declare it dead. Jonathan Stewart managed just 30 yards on 14 carries against the Rams. DeAngelo Williams stayed home with a foot injury.

James Laurinaitis is putting together a Pro Bowl season. On Sunday the second-year linebacker had eight tackles, a sack, three tackles for a loss and an interception (which came on a horrendous decision and throw by Matt Moore).

The Packers told Aaron Rodgers all week not to worry about his completion percentage – just make sure he didn’t turn the ball over. Rodgers listened. He was 15/34 passing with zero interceptions and fumbles.

Mark Sanchez was equally inaccurate, going 16/38 but with two picks (one of which was Charles Woodson plain ripping the ball away from Dustin Keller.)

LaDainian Tomlinson is clearly the No. 1 back for the Jets. He got 16 carries against Green Bay; Shonn Greene got six. Neither player was particularly effective (LT got tripped up on several shoestring tackles).

After catching a pass in 133 straight games, Donald Drive was held without a catch for a second straight game. He was still hampered by a quad injury.

Troy Smith was an efficient 12/19 for 196 yards and a touchdown in his 49ers starting debut. Looks like Mike Singletary may have a new starting Smith to threaten with a benching.

Brandon Lloyd hauled in seven passes for 169 yards. Lloyd has had triple-digit receiving yards in five games this season.

Justin Smith led the Niners with two sacks and two tackles for a loss.

The trio of Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert and Darren Sproles combined for 145 yards rushing for San Diego.

Some guy named Seyi Ajirotutu (save some vowels for the rest of us, pal) had three catches for 48 yards for the Chargers. Ajirotutu is an undrafted rookie from Fresno State.

The Seahawks were 1/16 on third down against the Raiders.

How’s this for consistency: Adrian Peterson carried the ball 25 times for 92 yards Sunday, with his longest run going for just nine yards.

Danny Woodhead turned in five catches for 45 yards against the Vikings.

LeGarrette Blount had 22 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s win at Arizona. (Cadillac Williams had just four carries for 10 yards.)

In his first game since Week 3, Steve Breaston caught eight passes for 147 yards.

No one for the Steelers had more than 43 yards receiving at New Orleans Sunday night.

Robert Meachem and Marques Colston both had six catches and at least 75 yards receiving for the Saints.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Wither Trent Edwards?

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park .

Posted by Will Brinson


The Buffalo Bills, probably the most quarterback-desperate team in the NFL over the past 10 or so years, made the surprising decision to cut Trent Edwards yesterday. He is jobless and homeless right now, but -- thank goodness for that Stanford education! -- certainly not unemployable.

Still, don't feel that sorry for him. After all, by 4:00 PM EST today, when the NFL process all the waiver claims on Edwards , he's going to have a new job and it will likely be in a place that is less like Buffalo potentially more productive for his future.

That's the beauty of getting kicked out of Buffalo: the grass is always greener, even once you've been on the other side for 10 years. Of course, if you're Edwards, you have to be disappointed that the gig didn't work out -- after all, he was drafted by the Bills out of Stanford and given plenty of opportunities to win the starting job and resurrect the franchise. Clearly, that didn't happen.

So knowing that he'll end up somewhere, the question becomes "Where does he get his second chance?"

According to the NFL, the teams with the worst record this year will have priority on waiver claims, and assuming that multiple teams with the same record make a claim on Edwards, a tie will be broken "based on current strength-of-schedule of the involved clubs or by lot if a tie still exists."

Let's say that all the 0-3 teams make a claim as well as the Vikings, Seahawks and Jets. The order would be thus: 49ers/Browns (7-2 opponent record), Lions/Bills (6-3), Panthers (5-4), Jaguars (4-5), Vikings (4-5), Jets (6-3) and Seahawks (2-7).

According to Jason LaCanfora , though, "no winless teams" made a claim on Edwards, thereby eliminating six teams from consideration and wasting about 15 minutes of my time, primarily because I'm horribly bad at math.

Out of those teams, the 49ers are most surprising (see below), but, considering that LaCanfora has a knack for being correct and also happens to work for a media outlet owned by the organization who takes the waiver claims in from the teams, it seems that one fo the 26 other squads will be going after the former team captain in Buffalo.

The Vikings haven't been rumored insofar as I can tell but they still make sense, especially if you buy into the theory that Brett Favre might get hurt. (Oh, and the theory that everyone's scared of having to put Tavaris Jackson into the game.)

The Jets are considered a team that would be heavily interested in having Edwards on board -- but probably only to steal secrets from the Bills in anticipation of their upcoming ... HAHAHAHA, sorry. Okay, actually because they'd prefer to have someone more lively than Mark Brunell to step in if Mark Sanchez is injured or falters.

And the Seahawks make absolute sense because Edwards is a cheap third option when should Matt Hasselbeck suffer an injury and they realize that Charlie Whitehurst isn't cut out to run their offense.

***
Why the Niners didn't make a claim is beyond me -- they're a team who needs to find an offensive identity, having been continually perplexed by the inconsistency of Alex Smith, who looked to have "arrived" during a close loss to the Saints in Week 2, only to have "checked out for the duration" against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Oh, and they're the only 0-3 team,

Edwards would provide them an option that's not David Carr to either push or replace Alex Smith. And look, Mike Singletary just fired his offensive coordinator only a few days after publicly defending him and acting outraged that anyone would question whether Raye knew what he was doing (um, he didn't, duh).

Plus, they could've claimed Edwards and Singletary could have done the whole "just for depth" and "Alex is our starter" dance, only to put him in the game after Smith's second interception in the first quarter against the Falcons in Week 4.

***
The Cleveland Browns decision not to pursue Edwards isn't as odd, I suppose, although Jake Delhomme hasn't looked great when he's been healthy, and while Seneca Wallace is a Mike Holmgren favorite, outside of tossing a bomb past an out-of-place Eric Berry, he hasn't been that great (370 yards, two TDs and a pick in two games).

But the decision not to spend a roster spot on adding a potentially gimpy donkey to their stable of already ugly horses is understandable, except that unless Delhomme can stay healthy, Cleveland's one bad break away from putting McCoy under center and really slapping a postage stamp to the season.

***
An argument could be made that the Panthers need to at least make a run at Edwards as well, but he's really nothing more than Matt Moore sans familiarity with the team and coaching staff.

The bigger problem for Carolina might be that John Fox already regrets his blatantly panicked decision to put Jimmy Clausen under center after an 0-2 start that only got uglier in a home loss to Cincinnati.

The good news is that the Saints -- as shown by Atlanta plowing through them in the Bayou -- are vulnerable against the run, and if there's one thing the Panthers should do well, it's pound the rock. They haven't been great about it thus far, but that's because they're staring down stacked boxes on nearly every play as teams refuse to respect whoever's under center.

That could change this weekend -- weather won't be a factor (see: three fumbles by Jim-Jim), and if Clausen can take his progression blinders off, quit staring down his receiver every play, the Panthers could be primed for a "where did that come from oh right it's the matchup" upset. You heard it here first.

***
The Jaguars would actually be an ideal situation, at least for Edwards. He'd face relatively limited competition -- by all accounts, Jack Del Rio wants to replace David Garrard in the starting lineup, he just doesn't have the bodies to do it after Luke McCown went down with an injury ... immediately after replacing David Garrard .

And let's face it, that offensive line has been putrid thus far; putting Todd Bouman, who is either 18 or 45 years old and who has backed up big names like Kyle Boller, Jamie Martin, Gus Frerotte and Quinn Gray en route to being signed by the Jaguars FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES , won't end well.

***
The notion that Ben Roethlisberger might not start when he returns from suspension following the Steelers' bye in Week 5 has been tossed around in the media. Like, kind of a lot.

And Charlie Batch has been very good in replacing Ben, at least, you know, relative to what everyone expected from Charlie Freaking Batch. But let's not lose our minds just because we (read: you) kind of want to see Roethlisberger punished by karma and riding the pine. He's by far and away the best quarterback option for Pittsburgh, and Mike Tomlin is going to start him as soon as he's allowed to.

If the Steelers happen to be undefeated at that point in time, well, watch out NFL.

***
Quickly ...

- Peyton Hillis didn't just put the whole "Eric Mangini hates  Jerome Harrison" conspiracy theory to bed, he shoved about 15 Ambien in its mouth and then wrapped it in a Snuggie.

- Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, as much as I'd like to think so, aren't in a battle for a job. They're just two running backs with different style co-existing in a system that just so happens to make one of them less valuable. And the less valuable guy just happens to be Charles, who's more talented.

- The only awesome thing about drafting Kevin Kolb in fantasy leagues is that you had to pick up Michael Vick. That's worked out quite well.

- I really thought that Chan Gailey was trying to showcase Marshawn Lynch to increase his trade value. And even if he was, in the process, Lynch has just become the best running back in Buffalo (once again).

- Kevin Smith returns this week and Jahvid Best is injured ... it shouldn't matter, but that's what Wally Pip probably said too.

- Yeah, I'm really pumped about the "Garrett Hartley versus John Carney" lede in this column next week too, thanks for asking.

Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:32 am
 

Hot Routes 9.24.10: Where Randy Moss is perfect

Posted by Will Brinson

Hot Route time, people. Got a link you want submitted? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • So, you probably remember Randy Moss' one-handed catch from last week against the Jets. Well, it was so good that the folks at EA Sports decided to bump his "spectacular catch" rating on Madden up from a 99 to a 100. This is the first time anyone's had a 100-rating in two years and previously Reggie Bush (agility), Tom Brady (awareness), Peyton Manning (awareness), Sebastian Janikowski (kick power) and Braylon Edwards (spectacular catch) also received the "honor, according to Kotaku . I have a little beef with the Braylon thing, especially since he apparently had a 99 rating for the same thing this year, meaning there's a 100 percent chance that Donny Moore, ratings czar, is a Michigan grad. No other way to explain it.
  • Poor Lee Evans. He's "loyal to the Buffalo Bills, almost to a fault ." If you're gonna be that loyal to something, make it be something good that doesn't hurt you so much. Like coffee, or heroin or something. 
  • Pretty good stat here from Blogging the Boys : the Cowboys are 22-1 since leading at half over the last three seasons. The logic behind them stinking when they're behind is that Jason Garrett turns into someone with an Xbox controller who can't remember to balance the run and the pass when he's losing.
  • Our buddy Joel Thorman predicts that Jamaal Charles will come out of the San Fran game with more carriest than Thomas Jones. The logic here is that against a weaker Browns defense, it makes sense to pound the ball straight in their freaking faces with Jones. Against the Niners though, Charles might be the better play.
Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:48 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 9:47 am
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Quarterbacks droppin like flies

Posted by Will Brinson



Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park .

Up until Kevin Kolb's concussion, it sure seemed like the only quarterback controversies we'd see this season would be on a bunch of crummy teams. Now, the Eagles could still end up stinking, but it sure doesn't look ilke that will be Michael Vick's fault -- through one-and-a-half games, he's been absolutely dominant on the offensive end, prompting pundits to point out that he may finally be maturing into the quarterback everyone wanted him to be in Atlanta.

So, yes, he will be making a LOT of money this time next year, thanks for asking. Because, as we'll detail shortly, there are plenty of teams in the NFL that could use a potential Pro Bowler who can rush for 100 and throw for 250 all in the same game.

But, having said all that, it's necessary to understand that Michael Vick won't be starting for the Eagles and there is no "technical" quarterback controversy.

For now.

Kevin Kolb will get the nod this weekend against the Jaguars who, fortunately for him, appear to be vulnerable through the air, sitting at 29th overall against the pass (an even 300 yards per game allowed).

Also fortunate for him is the game being played in Jacksonville, as far away from the only people who believe there's a debate about who to start under center (that would be the ever wonderful Philadelphia fans) for the 'Guls.

One good game from Kolb and we all go back to not freaking out about Vick starting, watching him perform well in spot action, and debating about who'll overpay him this offseason.

Well, at least until Kolb's next bad game anyway.

The same can't be said for a number of other quarterbacks in the NFL, though.

****

Matt Moore, for instance, may never see the field as a Panther again. That depends solely on how Jimmy Clausen plays this Sunday.

Admittedly (I use that word because I'm a Panthers fan who also dislikes Notre Dame and therefor find myself consistently conflicted about Clausen), the team has looked better offensively during the short stretches that Clausen's played.

He's young and he seems like he might be a bit of a bag, but at least he doesn't try to do his best David Carr impersonation by hanging in the pocket for as long as humanly possible before making ill-advised decisions.

Which, you might have noticed, is what Moore's been doing.

Oddly, it never made sense that John Fox wouldn't bother using Clausen unless the Panthers season was completely down the drain; he seems destined to leave Charlotte regardless of the outcome for 2010. But the early move to the rookie presents an interesting situation -- if the Panthers reel off a slew of victories and make a run (they're not winning their division or making the playoffs, but they can at least try), maybe it gives Jerry Richardson some hope that Foxy can coach up the young franchise quarterback and give him reason to offer the long time coach a deal.

Of course, Foxy might tell him to get bent and it won't matter. But that's another story for another day.

****

Buffalo's "controversy" is only "controversial" in that it involves multiple quarterbacks -- anyone who didn't think that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards were going be taking turns as the official Bills hide-a-mole all season along hasn't followed that team closely enough.

Really, the only surprise is that Chan Gailey decided to make a move this quickly. Or is it that he waited this long? I can never tell with that team.

****

Vince Young and Kerry Collins have been taking turns swapping jobs for as long as Reggie Bush has been immorally gripping a Heisman trophy. However, all indications from Jeff Fisher are that VY is still the QB and Collins' cup o' joe on Sunday was merely because of the Steelers defense and how poorly it matches up with Young's game.

(Aside: Pittsburgh's just good, y'all. People are going to have to start profusely apologizing to Peter King in February if Troy Polamalu stays healthy. Unless those same people drafted Ryan Mathews on their fantasy teams anyway.)

That doesn't mean that Vinsanity is free of getting the hook in the future though; he simply has to keep his head together moving forward, and not be the reason why the Titans beat themselves. That's entirely possible, although games against the Giants, Denver and Dallas aren't exactly that first week freebie Young got against the Raiders.

****

Oakland is now a "controversy free zone." Or something -- Tom Cable doesn't want to talk about whether Bruce Gradkowski is going to start, he just wants to know why JaMarcus Russell is wearing a Jason Campbell mask and still on his roster.

It's really outstanding just how horrible Oakland has made Campbell; not that he was Jim Plunkett (well, he wasn't Plunkett to anyone that has a modicum of sanity remaining anyway) before, but it sure seemed like he could be a shade above mediocre and manage to help the Raiders make a run. So much for that though -- Campbell's been 30 of 52 for a TD and two INTs so far in the season, good enough for a stinker of a 61.9 QB rating.

Gradkowski isn't exactly Plunkett either, but at least he's not Curtis Painter. Although, in hindsight, maybe Painter's job would be a lot less difficult if he just got traded to Oakland and had the opportunity to back up someone who's not Peyton Manning.

****

David Garrard is our final quarterback who got benched in Week 2 for poor play. Fortunately, he was able to pull a Judge Smails on Luke McCown's hamstring just before the backup led the Jaguars to their second score of the day, allowing Garrard to sneak in and toss a potentially job-saving TD.

The removal of Garrard in a painful blowout to San Diego is interesting, if only because he'd looked so stout in Week 1 while the Jags were dismantling the Broncos. Oh, and because everyone spent all preseason demanding that Jack Del Rio infuse controversial concern into the depth chart, only to have him firmly reject the notion that Garrard might lose his job.

It's safe to say that Garrard is safe to play … for now. But if the Jags keep sink further behind the leaders of what appears to be a very difficult division, people could get panicky.

****


Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison have to have kidnapped the children of their respective coaches (Todd Haley and Eric Mangini). There's no other explanation for why they see so few touches despite being so clearly the better backs on their team.

And I hear you, Chiefs fans who say "HEY SHUT IT, WE'RE 2-0, HALEY RULEZ!1" Also those of you who say, "Excuse me, Mr. Brinson, but Charles really doesn't do that much damage with his carries" -- I hear you too. But the thing is, and this is the thing: why not, you know, actually utilize Charles? Not that he should get the rock 30 times a game in between the tackles -- that would be silly. But a screen or two perhaps? That's not so much to ask, right?

As for Harrison, he has fumbled plenty and he has seen some shoddy rushing behind a Browns offensive line that only seems concerned about getting to the golf course; it just seems like Mangini keeps putting him in worst-possible scenarios, like getting three straight carries while being backed up against his own end zone. Don't worry, though, Peyton Hillis is there to not punch it into the end zone!

But, hey, maybe Haley and Mangini just really appreciate having two running backs that can handle the rock. It's not a problem like with quarterbacks.

Unless you're in Philly, of course. Then it's a "beautiful thing".

Well, at least until that first next bad game from Kevin Kolb.
 
 
 
 
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