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NFL: Black Monday And Wildcard Weekend

True NFL fans will have noticed that over the last four or five years there have been multiple coaches fired on the Monday after the last regular-season game. Most coaches are fired because their team, for one reason or another, did not live up to expectations. Some of the firings don’t seem to make any sense whatsoever. For example, the firing of Lovie Smith, a man who took his team to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as the quarterback, was fired after a 10-6 season. (Taking a team to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as your quarterback should get Lovie Smith into the Hall of Fame.) The Bears did not make the playoffs. So, after nine seasons, Lovie Smith, by all accounts an outstanding coach, was shown the door. Ken Whisenhunt, the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, was also fired. Ken Whisenhunt took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. To be honest, he was one play away from winning the Super Bowl with an Arizona Cardinals team that had never seen that kind of success. Ken Whisenhunt resurrected Kurt Warner’s career. He is one of the main reasons that Kurt Warner is now being discussed as a possible Hall of Fame quarterback. Ken Whisenhunt’s problem was that he never found another quarterback after Kurt Warner retired. You simply cannot win in the NFL without a good, solid, consistent quarterback. Ask Chan Gailey who was also fired.

Wildcard weekend

There were four games last weekend and they all went according to plan. I’m sure that there are some fans the didn’t like the outcome, but the teams that were supposed to win – won. The Cincinnati Bengals versus the Houston Texans revealed that the Cincinnati offense isn’t ready for prime time. It also revealed that there’s something missing with the Houston Texans offense. Andre Johnson and Arian Foster are carrying the offense. If the Houston Texans are going to go deep into the playoffs and even to the Super Bowl somebody else is going to have to step up. As I see it, although the Cincinnati Bengals lost, basically Andy Dalton has to become more accurate. Continue reading NFL: Black Monday And Wildcard Weekend

Disaster in Dallas

I grew in the ’60s and ’70s. The Dallas Cowboys won. They were a team that other teams tried to be. Now, not so much. The Dallas Cowboys are awful. I can’t explain a five-interception performance by Tony Romo. Miscommunication. Sloppy ball handling. Dropped passes. The Cowboys were simply awful. The only hope is for some type of New York Giants turnaround of the season. Jason Garrett is not Tom Coughlin. Tony Romo is not Eli Manning.

The score 34-18 does not tell the story. The Chicago Bears destroyed the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. This wasn’t as bad as the 44-0 beat down that the Bears laid on the Cowboys back in 1985, but it was close. Jay Cutler looked like a seasoned veteran who was cool in the pocket. Tony Romo looked like a rookie. I have made hundreds of excuses for Tony because there are times when he looks great. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have the ability to fix badness in the middle of a game. He doesn’t seem to be able to turn it up a notch. It is what it is with Tony. If he comes out hot, then the Cowboys have a chance to win. If he doesn’t… well, then the Cowboys are going to lose.

I could almost excuse the interceptions, but we were playing the Bears. They weren’t mixing up their coverages. Romo forced some balls into their patented cover to defense. Dez Bryant dropped a touchdown. Romo overthrew to a wide-open Miles Austin. Brandon Marshall was running through our “upgraded” secondary like it was last year’s secondary. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly.

The problem with the Cowboys is their offense. They can’t run the ball. They can’t run block. They can’t pass block. They can’t catch (Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have dropped more balls in the first four games of this year than they did all of last year). Only Jacksonville and the Colts have scored fewer points over the course of four games. At this rate, it might be time to call Terrell Owens and see if he is interested in playing some wide receiver. It is time for Jerry Jones to do something. This is embarrassing. (I’m thinking of burning my Cowboys t-shirts, baseball caps and other stuff in protest.)

I hate to say that the season is over after four games, but without some significant changes, the season is over. Where are Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin? It brings a tear to my eye to remember that kind of excellence.

NFL: Week One Comments

The first week of the NFL has been is almost completed and I have a few comments. Let’s start with what I think is possibly the boneheaded move of the decade – dumping Peyton Manning for Andrew Luck. (I’m not saying that Andrew Luck is not going to be a great quarterback. He may be. I’m saying that we have seen “great” college prospects flame out time after time. These great college prospects sometimes don’t live up to expectations. Peyton Manning is not a prospect. He may be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. He still has a couple good years left in him, in my opinion.) I’ll go ahead and admit that I did not understand why the Denver Broncos opened the game in a traditional offensive set. I also didn’t understand why they tried to establish the run. Anyway, by the middle of the second quarter they were playing Peyton Manning football. Peyton Manning was in the shotgun and it was beautiful to see, unless you are a Steelers fan. Peyton Manning began to slowly and methodically take the Pittsburgh Steelers apart. If there was any rust, I did not see it. On the other hand, Andrew Luck, rookie quarterback, anointed by some observers as a future Hall of Famer (Tom Waddle, on the NFL network, just yesterday labeled Andrew Luck as a “potential” future Hall of Famer – craziness), did not have a Hall of Fame debut against the Chicago Bears. He threw one touchdown and three interceptions. He had a passer rating of 52.9.

Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, had one of those games that simply make you want to shake your head. He started off terribly. He began the play well as the game wore on. Robert Griffin, III, may be as good as advertised. He threw with accuracy. He ran well in the pocket (and outside of the pocket). Washington Redskins fans should be excited. Cam Newton was not spectacular in his season opener. Carolina fans might be scratching their heads. Continue reading NFL: Week One Comments