Category:NFL
Posted on: January 2, 2012 11:42 am
 

Monday Musings: Jones-Drew proves his point

Maurice Jones-Drew was right. He was better than I had him ranked on my list of the top-100 NFL players.

Jones-Drew took offense to me having him ranked fifth among NFL running backs when the list came out last spring. He was 37th overall. So I asked him where he'd rank himself among the backs.

"First," he said.

Right now, it's hard to argue that. Jones-Drew won the NFL rushing title Sunday, the first of his career, but the amazing thing is that he did without any help from the passing game. The Jaguars were last in the NFL in passing yards and Jones-Drew often had to do it against 8-man fronts.

Jones-Drew ran for 1,606 yards to win the rushing title. He ran for 169 yards against the Colts to win the title Sunday. Jones-Drew represented 44.7-percnet of the Jaguars offense this season.

That's way too much.

He needs help. Can you imagine what he could do if the Jaguars actually had a passing game? They will spend in free agency to fix that side of the ball, getting a couple of receivers likely and then also find a coach who isn't run-centric. 

Jones-Drew might not be as big a part of the offense going forward, but that wouldn't be a bad thing, He's getting far too many carries and taking far too many hits.

But, for now, it's hard to argue with his choice of where he should be in the NFL pecking order of backs.

There was nobody better in 2011.

---Matt Flynn is a player a quarterback-needy team should sign, with one caveat. It has to be a West Coast team. Flynn looked fantastic against the Lions Sunday, throwing six touchdown passes. He also threw for 480 yards. Flynn looked a lot like Aaron Rodgers with his ball-fakes and mannerisms. The difference is arm strength. He doesn't have a big arm, so the West Coast offense is what would work for him. He's a free agent who will get paid. Smart and accuracy are his strong points. 

---I've said all along that the Lions pass defense wasn't good enough, that the corners and secondary would be their undoing. In the second half of the season, that defense has been horrible. Can you imagine how excited Drew Brees is to face them again?

---The more and more I hear is that former Titans coach Jeff Fisher will be the Rams coach now that Steve Spagnuolo is fired. Fisher has ties to the Rams and is close with several people in the organization.

----Name to consider in some spots is Jim Haslett, Redskins defensive coordinator. He will get a sniff for some of the head-coaching spots. And he should.

---I love the idea that Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis is this secret candidate in Jacksonville. That's been known for a while -- even mentioned in several spots here. General manager Gene Smith really likes DeCamillis. 

---Where are all the good, young offensive coordinators? That's the trouble with trying to find a coach this season. That's why Bengals coordinator Jay Gruden will get a shot, even though he's in his first season running the Cincinnati offense. 

---The Patriots tight ends are sensational. Rob Gronkowski had the best season ever for a tight end. But the Patriots have to get more from their outside passing game come playoff time. The field shrinks and teams will double Gronkowski. 

----The Jets need to upgrade at outside linebacker and safety. You can have the great corners, but if you can't cover on the back end and combine it with an inability to get tot the passer, you will have trouble on defense. Eric Smith is bad in the back end and the Jets don't have a reliable outside rusher in their 3-4 defense.

---The more I watch the Saints offense, the more I am convinced they made a bad move to trade into the first round to draft running back Mark Ingram last year. He's out with a toe injury, and they don't miss him at all. A grinder back isn't nearly as valuable in the Saints offense as he is in other offenses. Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles are perfect for what the Saints do. They should have used that pick on a defensive player if they were going to make the move.

---The Tim Tebow chatter sure has quieted down. That's because he's not winning. It's because he's turning the ball over and it's because he can't pass the football. I stuck to my evaluation on him when everybody else was caving. So who was right? Is Tebow the long-term answer? Not a chance. It's sad almost to watch him play quarterback. Playoffs or not, the Broncos have to know they need to get a franchise passer.

---I spent a five days with the Rams last summer, with the idea they were a team on the rise. Oops. They had far too many injuries this season and the early schedule was brutal. But with Sam Bradford and the second pick in the draft next spring, they have a nice foundation in place. There is a good group of core players there. That makes it an attractive job.

---The Jets had two pass plays of 40 yards or more this season from Mark Sanchez. How did those moves to add old-and-slow receivers Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason work out? Mason is working in television now, if that tells you anything.

Posted on: January 1, 2012 3:58 pm
 

Jets done in by Sanchez

MIAMI -- Can wait -- for next season.

That's the New York Jets motto now. Last year, Jets linebacker Bart Scott made "Can't Wait" a catchphrase when he uttered those words during a post-game interview on national television as the Jets readied to play in the AFC Championship Game.

But three Mark Sanchez interceptions against the Miami Dolphins, the last inside the Miami 10 with three minutes left, ended the Jets playoff chances this season as Miami eliminated them by beating the Jets Sunday.

The team that talked the talk, led by loud, cocky coach Rex Ryan, couldn't walk the walk.

The Jets went to two straight AFC Championship Games, which made them a chic, trendy pick heading into 2011, especially with Ryan bragging they were the team to beat.

Now they're home wondering what went wrong.

They might want to look at No. 9 for starters. If the past three weeks have done anything, it's reminded the Jets that maybe Sanchez isn't the guy for the long haul.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Week 17 Matchups: Packers O-line vs. Suh

Packers interior offensive line vs. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh -- The last time they played, Suh stomped on guard Evan Dietrich-Smith to earn a two-game suspension. In the first meeting last season, the Packers said Suh punched center Scott Wells on the final play (a kneel down) at the end of the game. That makes this worth watching all day long. 

Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins vs. Ravens guard Marshal Yanda -- Atkins should be in the Pro Bowl. Yanda is going to Hawaii. The last time these two met, Atkins got the best of him. He made some impressive plays against Yanda. Atkins is quick and strong, while Yanda is powerful. Should be an all-day battle.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Cowboys left tackle Doug Free -- Pierre-Paul is having his breakout season and had a sack in the last meeting between these teams. Free has struggled the past month, so this could be where the Giants get a huge edge. If Pierre-Paul can force a fumble or two, the Giants will win this game and the NFC East.

Jaguars tackle Eugene Monroe vs. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney -- Monroe has quietly had a good season. He has held up well in pass protection, one of the few on the Jaguars line who has. Freeney hasn't been his usual dominant self, but he can still be an explosive edge rusher. Monroe has to keep Freeney off Blaine Gabbert if the Jaguars are to have any chance to move the football through the air. Freeney could be the player that ruins the Colts' chances to get Andrew Luck.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson vs. Packers corner Tramon Williams -- In the first meeting, Williams did a great job shutting down Johnson in man coverage. Do the Packers play it that way again? Johnson has seen a lot of doubles the past month, but Green Bay has the confidence in Williams he can get the job done in man coverage.

Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter vs. Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake -- Hunter has been a season-long liability for the Jets offense. He has had problems with speed rushers. Wake happens to be one of those. Wake will force the Jets to help some. If Hunter is one-on-one, Wake will destroy him.

Bengals receiver A.J. Green vs. Ravens corners Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb -- Green didn't play in the first meeting between the teams because of a knee injury. But he is back healthy, which will cause problems for the Baltimore secondary. Smith and Webb are coming off a good game last week at Cleveland and Webb has had a Pro Bowl-type of season. They have to contain Green.

Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali vs. Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady ---Hali is an elite pass rusher who plays with a relentless style. Clady was an elite left tackle in 2009, but he's still battling to get there after a 2010 knee injury. He has played better this season than last. I would also expect the Chiefs to put Hali over rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin in some situations.

Texans outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed vs. Titans tackles Michael Roos and David Stewart -- Barwin and Reed have impressed as pass rushers since Mario Williams went down for the season. Roos and Stewart are one of the best tackle tandems in the league. The Titans have to keep those pass rushers off Matt Hasselbeck here. With the Texans locked into the third seed, the only issue is how much they will play.

Cowboys receivers Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Laurent Robinson vs. Giants corners Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara -- The last time they played, the Cowboys got two long touchdown passes and should have had another late but Tony Romo missed a wide-open Austin. The Giants blew a lot of coverages in that game. They have to be better, even with Romo having the injured hand.

Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:43 pm
 

Brees breaks Dan Marino's record

NEW ORLEANS -- On a night he took down Dan Marino' single-season record for yards passing, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did something far more important.

He led his team to a division title.

In doing so, with an impressive carving up of the Atlanta Falcons, Brees passed Marino's record for passing yards in the fourth quarter. The game was stopped to acknowledge the feat, which came on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles with 2:51 left, but for Brees it's far less important than the Saints winning the NFC South.

If the Saints beat the Panthers this Sunday and the 49ers lose to the Rams, the Saints will be the second seed in the NFC. But if the 49ers win, the Saints are locked in as the third seed.

They will be one heck of a dangerous No. 3 seed.

The Saints are riding high behind Brees' arm, which has been hotter than a bucket of Louisiana hot sauce.  It looks like they are on a collision course with the Packers, but you never know in the playoffs.

Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:54 am
 

Monday Musings: Concussion lawsuits overboard

The flurry of lawsuits being filed by former NFL players is strange. I know some players will have problems with post-career medical issues, but here's a question that I have to ask: Didn't they know what they signed up for when they signed that contract? The NFL is a violent game. Period.

Nobody forces players to play. They get compensated to do a job.

Getting hit hard is part of the game. Injuries are part of the game. Concussions are part of the game.

Has the NFL always acted in the players' best interests when it came to injuries? They probably didn't. But how much is on the player himself -- pushing to stay on the field, fearful of losing a job or a check.

I think the NFL's decision to make the game safer now is the right thing to do. Why not be more cautious? But I also don't think that it gives the former players a right to file lawsuits.

For starters: How do we know the concussion issues didn't start in Pop Warner or on the high-school level or at college. Is every former Pop Warner player going to sue his former association? Can I file suit against my high school or my former coach?

The lawsuits allege the league didn't do enough to protect the players from concussions.  These lawsuits will be played out for the next couple of years as players try to prove that they NFL did them wrong.

What's next? Will we see firemen suing their company for being burned in a fire? Or a writer filing suit against his employer because his eyes go bad from being on a computer all day?

It's part of the job. You are compensated to do a job.

Nobody forces NFL players to play. I ask this question: Would any of the players who are parts of those suits trade it all back to not have played the game?

Bet they'd all say no.

I'm all for player safety. And I love the way the NFL has changed the rules to make that possible.

But these lawsuits are over-the-top in my eyes.

Here's what the NFL should do moving forward: Make players sign liability waivers. If you don't sign, you don't play.

Want to bet every player signs?

The rewards are worth the risks. That's why they put their bodies on the line each and every Sunday.

It’s a nasty game. It's a violent game. It's a dangerous game.

But it's also a game you play voluntarily.

---The past two weeks are why Denver Broncos president John Elway won't commit to Tim Tebow long term as his starter. Why would he? Elway knows that the NFL is a passing league now more than ever. Tebow can't pass.

Not in the way you need quarterbacks to pass. That was exposed in a big way against the Bills this week. He threw four interceptions, two were returned for touchdowns, and he looked downright horrible. Tebow can complete the 15-yard slant off the option fake, but when it comes to putting his foot in the ground, reading the field, making the right, accurate throw, he struggles with that.

Tebow holds the ball and he doesn't appear to have a grasp on reading coverages. What the Broncos have done with him this season is just short of a miracle. If they win Sunday against the Chiefs, they will be in the playoffs. Tebow Nation will rejoice. 

But the reality is that it's nothing more than an aberration season, like Kerry Collins going 13-3 for the Titans or David Garrard going 11-5 for the Jaguars. These happen once in a while. But the success isn’t sustainable. Elway knows this. That's why he said Tebow would be back last week, but never said he would be his starter. How could he make the commitment now, especially after seeing Tebow floundering against the Bills Sunday?

This isn't piling on a kid after a bad game, either. It's how I've felt all along since watching his college tapes. Others thought the same, but gave in during his six-game winning streak, but I see too many flaws in his passing to do that. 

---That Tom Coiughlin-Rex Ryan handshake sure was a quick one. I've known Coughlin for a long time, and the one thing he hates is people who talk a lot. Ryan talked a lot leading up to the Giants-Jets game Saturday. Ryan talks the talk, but his teams don't back him up. 

---Why did the Jets throw 59 passes against the Giants? Aren't they the ground-and-pound team? Mark Sanchez isn't good enough to win throwing 59 passes. 

That's why I think Brian Schottenheimer is an overrated coordinator. There is some talk that he could be in trouble.

---Want an underrated coordinator? Look at Carolina's Rob Chudzinski. He has worked wonders with the Carolina offense.  He needs to be a head coach. His work with Cam Newton and the Panthers offense has been impressive.

---The blowout at Detroit will surely cost Norv Turner his job. But I don’t believe the talk of Bill Cowher going there. I think he stays in television.

----Rumor of the week: Jeff Fisher to the Rams if Steve Spagnuolo gets it. I also think Fisher will be in play in San Diego and Jacksonville. 

---Can the Bucs justify keeping Raheem Morris as coach? That's nearly impossible, especially after a season with high expectations and a fleeing fan base. The Bucs have lost nine consecutive games and have done so without competing in a lot of them.

---The first pick in the NFL Draft will go to either the Colts or Rams. Since the Rams have Sam Bradford, they wouldn't take Andrew Luck. But they could be in a position to deal down and add a ton of picks. The Browns, who have two first-round picks, would be wise to keep the Rams on speed dial if that Rams do end up wit the top pick.

---It's always sad to see a star running back tear up a knee. We never know if they will be the same again. That's what I thought as I saw Adrian Peterson's injury as it happened Saturday. It also backs why backs need to cash in when they can and also why teams have to be hesitant to do so. 

---San Francisco's David Akers set an NFL record with his 42nd field goal of the season. Is that a good thing? That means the 49ers are limited offensively. That could be their undoing in the playoffs.

---The Texans miss Wade Phillips. You can see it in the way they played the past two weeks without him on the sideline. Reggie Herring isn't in the same class with Phillips when it comes to calling defenses. The Texans need him back on the sidelines.

---Kudos to the Packers re-built offensive line Sunday night against the Bears. Without both starting tackles, Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga, they held the Bears without a sack. Left guard T.J. Lang moved to right tackle and did a great job on Israel Idonije. Bulaga is expected back for the playoffs, but Clifton is having some back issues and his return is questionable.

Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:24 pm
 

Week 16 Matchups: Hunter vs. Pierre-Paul

Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter vs. Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul  -- Hunter has had a rough season, and really struggled last week against the Eagles. Pierre-Paul is playing at a Pro Bowl level and is an all-day player. Hunter will get help, and he will need it.

Falcons defensive end John Abraham vs. Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod -- Abraham is coming off a three-sack game last week against Jacksonville. He played both the left and right side. But he should be opposite Bushrod here for most of the game. Bushrod is coming off a good game against Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.With Abraham healthy again, Bushrod has to come up big for Drew Brees.

Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks vs. Jets corner Darrelle Revis -- Some Giants players have talked that Revis Island doesn't really worry them. We'll see. Revis is a top-level corner, but he has been beat at times. Nicks is an explosive player who is coming off a game filled with drops, including a sure touchdown. Even so, he is capable of a 100-yard game against anybody, even Revis.

Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell vs. Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth -- Whitworth is one of the league's better tackles, while Campbell has quietly had a Pro Bowl season. He has been a force. Campbell isn't a speed rusher, so this will be about force. Get ready for a physical battle.

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers vs. Packers left tackle Marshall Newhouse -- Tamba Hali abused Newhouse last week in the Packers loss to the Chiefs. Peppers is a different type of player than Hali, but he is still a tough challenge in pass protection. If Peppers is constantly beating Newhouse, Aaron Rodgers could have problems throwing the football.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson vs. Chargers corners Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer -- Johnson lit up the Raiders last week for over 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The Chargers have had trouble with slowing down receivers at times this season, but they've been better the past month. Look for the Chargers to double Johnson, but even that might not be enough the way he's playing.

Patriots right tackle Nate Solder vs. Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake -- In the opening game of the season, Solder, a rookie from Colorado, held Wake to one sack in the Patriots victory. Solder did a nice job on Von Miller last week and will start again this week for the injured Sebastian Vollmer. Wake started slow this season, but has looked more like he did in 2010 the second half of the season.

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey vs. Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork -- The Patriots move Wilfork around some, but there will be a lot of instances when he's nose up on Pouncey, a rising star as a rookie. Pouncey was a force last week against the Bills. If Reggie Bush is to have success running it this week, Pouncey will have to play big against Wilfork or Kyle Love, whoever is on his nose.

Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer vs. Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali -- Veldheer is coming off a great game against Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosh, while Hali dominated Newhouse with three sacks. Veldheer held Hali without a sack in the first meeting between the teams.

Eagles center Jason Kelce vs. Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff -- If LeSean McCoy is to have success running the football Kelce has to handle Ratliff, who is having a good season after a so-so season in 2010. Kelce, a rookie starter, has had problems at times handling players on his nose.

Posted on: December 19, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Monday Musings: Drew Brees is proving he's elite

Drew Brees is playing out of his mind.

He is making great decisions, he's accurate as ever, his vision is unreal and he seems to be one step ahead in his reads of anything the defense is throwing his way.

He's better than ever. And that's saying something.

Brees completed 32 of 40 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns against the Vikings and didn't come close to finishing the game. He did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it.

With all the hype about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, Brees hasn't been getting the due he deserves. Brees has 37 touchdown passes and he's completing 71.5-percent of his passes. He leads the NFL with 4,780 yards and should shatter Dan Marino's single-season yardage record of 5,084. 

A few years ago, before he won his first Super Bowl, I asked Brees about being considered an elite quarterback. He said he neded to win one to get there.

Even after he won one, there was still debate about whether he was in the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning class.

Don't doubt it anymore.

He's there. This is a special season for a special quarterback.

---It killed Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware when he had to sit out the second half against Tampa Bay with a stinger in his neck. Why? The Cowboys were ahead and the Bucs had to throw. That means sacks. Ware is third in the NFL in sacks with 16, two behind leader Jason Babin of the Eagles, who took over the lead on Sunday. Minnesota's Jared Allen is second with 17 1/2 sacks. Ware was asked Saturday if he follows Allen's numbers. Ware said he did not. I bet he does. During the summer, Ware talked of taking down the single-season sack record. That's unlikely now, since he would need seven in the last two games. But he also said he's been playing with the stinger the past three games. Ware is a great player. And if you ask me, he'd be my choice as the best defensive player in the NFL.

---Speaking of Babin, it's time to eat some words about him. When the Eagles signed him to a huge contract, I wasn't too high the move. I was wrong.  Babin has been sensational. He has been a perfect fit for the Eagles "Wide-9' defense. He owned Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter Sunday.---You see it on tape, but you can really see it when you watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers live: They don't play fast. They are a slow team. I said that when I saw them on opening day against the Lions, but it was even more evident when they lost to Dallas Saturday night. Their receivers don't win. Running back LaGarrette Blount isn't fast. It's no wonder Josh Freeman has struggled this season.

---There have been 106 individual 300-yard passing performances this season. That's the most in a single season in NFL history. Is there any doubt that the passing game is the way to win games? This is also the first season with two 3,000-yard rookie passers in Andy Dalton and Cam Newton. Pass, pass and more pass. 

---For those out there wondering about Tim Tebow's 7-2 record as a starter, consider this: The two teams he lost to have a combined 20-8 record. The seven he's defeated have a combined 39-56 record, and just one (the 8-6 Jets) has a winning record. Just saying.

---The San Diego Chargers are such a different team with receiver Malcom Floyd in the lineup. They lost all four games they played without him this season. Floyd showed Sunday night against the Ravens what he means when he spent the night blowing past Jimmy Smith for two big play, including a touchdown. For all those wondering what was wrong with Philip Rivers, now we know. It's not having his weapons.

--Kyle Orton to the rescue in Kansas City. Orton actually looked good against Green Bay. How great would it be if Orton and the Chiefs go to Denver in two weeks with a chance to win the division? I would love that.

----Why do the Giants keep playing well against good teams and then gagging against teams they should beat? That doesn't bode well for coach Tom Coughlin.

----How did that Matt Hasselbeck signing work out for the Titans? Lets' see. They almost certainly won't make the playoffs and they kept a rookie on the bench. Good move? I beg to differ. The franchise would have been better off playing Jake Locker all season.

---Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks had a rough go of it against the Redskins. But I still think he's a budding star. The Giants need big games from him to win. He has to come through this week against the Jets if they are to win. ---Where is the big play in the Ravens passing game? Isn't that why Torrey Smith was drafted? He has the speed and he need to be used more. Where was Anquan Boldin against the Chargers? Anybody see him? 

---Reggie Bush is shutting up a lot of people who questioned whether he could be a between-the-tackles runner. This is an "air" league now. Explosive runners like Bush who can run in space are valuable. The grinder isn't anymore. Bush ran for 204 yards against Buffalo Sunday. That was impressive. He's had three consecutive games over 100 yards.  Talking to Bush this summer, he insisted that he could be a big-time inside runner. He's proving it now.

Posted on: December 19, 2011 5:27 pm
 

Monday Musings: Drew Brees is proving he's elite

Drew Brees is playing out of his mind.

He is making great decisions, he's accurate as ever, his vision is unreal and he seems to be one step ahead in his reads of anything the defense is throwing his way.

He's better than ever. And that's saying something.

Brees completed 32 of 40 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns against the Vikings and didn't come close to finishing the game. He did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it.

With all the hype about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, Brees hasn't been getting the due he deserves. Brees has 37 touchdown passes and he's completing 71.5-percent of his passes. He leads the NFL with 4,780 yards and should shatter Dan Marino's single-season yardage record of 5,084. 

A few years ago, before he won his first Super Bowl, I asked Brees about being considered an elite quarterback. He said he neded to win one to get there.

Even after he won one, there was still debate about whether he was in the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning class.

Don't doubt it anymore.

He's there. This is a special season for a special quarterback.

---It killed Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware when he had to sit out the second half against Tampa Bay with a stinger in his neck. Why? The Cowboys were ahead and the Bucs had to throw. That means sacks. Ware is third in the NFL in sacks with 16, two behind leader Jason Babin of the Eagles, who took over the lead on Sunday. Minnesota's Jared Allen is second with 17 1/2 sacks. Ware was asked Saturday if he follows Allen's numbers. Ware said he did not. I bet he does. During the summer, Ware talked of taking down the single-season sack record. That's unlikely now, since he would need seven in the last two games. But he also said he's been playing with the stinger the past three games. Ware is a great player. And if you ask me, he'd be my choice as the best defensive player in the NFL.

---Speaking of Babin, it's time to eat some words about him. When the Eagles signed him to a huge contract, I wasn't too high the move. I was wrong.  Babin has been sensational. He has been a perfect fit for the Eagles "Wide-9' defense. He owned Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter Sunday.---You see it on tape, but you can really see it when you watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers live: They don't play fast. They are a slow team. I said that when I saw them on opening day against the Lions, but it was even more evident when they lost to Dallas Saturday night. Their receivers don't win. Running back LaGarrette Blount isn't fast. It's no wonder Josh Freeman has struggled this season.

---There have been 106 individual 300-yard passing performances this season. That's the most in a single season in NFL history. Is there any doubt that the passing game is the way to win games? This is also the first season with two 3,000-yard rookie passers in Andy Dalton and Cam Newton. Pass, pass and more pass. 

---For those out there wondering about Tim Tebow's 7-2 record as a starter, consider this: The two teams he lost to have a combined 20-8 record. The seven he's defeated have a combined 39-56 record, and just one (the 8-6 Jets) has a winning record. Just saying.

---The San Diego Chargers are such a different team with receiver Malcom Floyd in the lineup. They lost all four games they played without him this season. Floyd showed Sunday night against the Ravens what he means when he spent the night blowing past Jimmy Smith for two big play, including a touchdown. For all those wondering what was wrong with Philip Rivers, now we know. It's not having his weapons.

--Kyle Orton to the rescue in Kansas City. Orton actually looked good against Green Bay. How great would it be if Orton and the Chiefs go to Denver in two weeks with a chance to win the division? I would love that.

----Why do the Giants keep playing well against good teams and then gagging against teams they should beat? That doesn't bode well for coach Tom Coughlin.

----How did that Matt Hasselbeck signing work out for the Titans? Lets' see. They almost certainly won't make the playoffs and they kept a rookie on the bench. Good move? I beg to differ. The franchise would have been better off playing Jake Locker all season.

---Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks had a rough go of it against the Redskins. But I still think he's a budding star. The Giants need big games from him to win. He has to come through this week against the Jets if they are to win. ---Where is the big play in the Ravens passing game? Isn't that why Torrey Smith was drafted? He has the speed and he need to be used more. Where was Anquan Boldin against the Chargers? Anybody see him? 

---Reggie Bush is shutting up a lot of people who questioned whether he could be a between-the-tackles runner. This is an "air" league now. Explosive runners like Bush who can run in space are valuable. The grinder isn't anymore. Bush ran for 204 yards against Buffalo Sunday. That was impressive. He's had three consecutive games over 100 yards.  Talking to Bush this summer, he insisted that he could be a big-time inside runner. He's proving it now.

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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