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NFL Week Two – Hits and Misses

Hits
New England Patriots – I’m sorry, but I’ve never liked New England Patriots. Therefore, it is difficult for me to say anything good about Tom Brady and the gang. I thought San Diego was ready. I thought this was a time for San Diego to step up and say I’m ready to play with the big boys. I guess not. San Diego Chargers had the number one defense in the league last year. It was not on display on Sunday. Tom Brady threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. The game was really never in doubt. Two interceptions by Philip Rivers weren’t going to get it done. The Patriot defense is not dominating yet. Then again, I’m not sure they have to be. In my book, nobody’s playing better than the Patriots.

Cam Newton

Buffalo Bills – when I thought about coming up with a segment to sum up the weekend’s games, I never thought I would be talking about the Buffalo Bills being one of the best teams in the NFL. They are playing well on both sides of the ball. Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well. Let me say it again for those of you who do not believe. Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well. In two games he has thrown for seven touchdowns and one interception. He has a passer rating that is almost 110. He’s only had one sack. Buffalo clearly has something to cheer about.

New Orleans Saints – I thought the New Orleans looked terrible in their first game. I thought that the Chicago Bears looked outstanding in their first game. What a difference a week makes. As I see it, the formula for the New Orleans Saints to win is for their defense to create turnovers and their offense to generously cash in. This is how they won the Super Bowl two years ago. The New Orleans Saints pressured Jay Cutler all day long. They forced him to throw the ball before he was ready. Six sacks! They forced a fumble. On offense, they were patient. They’re using Darren Sproles magnificently out of the backfield. I still think that the New Orleans offensive line has some issues. These issues have to be worked out if the Saints are going to go deep into the playoffs. Right now, they seem to be playing winning New Orleans Saints football.

Cam Newton – this guy appears to be the real deal. He’s throwing the ball with authority and confidence. He seems to be seeing the field extremely well. It is still extremely early in the season, but the Carolina Panthers may have picked up a gem in this quarterback.

Misses
Indianapolis Colts – I hate to give up on a team this early in the season. It is only the second game, but the Indianapolis Colts look awful. I’m going to reiterate what I said last week, that they need to refund the season-ticket holders their money back.

St. Louis Rams versus New York Giants – what an awful game. Fumbles, turnovers, backwards passes, drive all the way down the field and then no score inside the 10 yard line – twice. I wish I could say there was something that happened outstanding in this game, but if it happened, I missed it.

Baltimore Ravens – come on. The Baltimore Ravens played a near-perfect game last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, on Sunday, they play the Tennessee Titans and lay a large egg. Joe Flacco throws two interceptions. They can’t get the running game going. Ray Rice only runs for 43 yards. This is not Baltimore Ravens football. Then, to add insult to injury, Matt Hasselbeck, 100 years old,  riddles the Ravens defense for over 350 yards. Let me state that again, the Baltimore Ravens gave up over 400 yards of total offense. This has me scratching my head. This isn’t Ravens football.

A Few Other Things
Tony Romo is not Superman. The Cowboys sustained a ton of injuries on Sunday. Donovan McNabb played a better game on Sunday. He’ll to improve even more if the Minnesota Vikings are going to save their season. I’m still not buying into the Rex Grossman hype. He seems to be the same Rex we’ve seen over the last several years. He’ll make some great plays. He’ll make some really boneheaded plays. The Green Bay Packers need to tighten up their pass defense. With Nick Collins injured, look for them to try to pick up a safety like former Green Bay Packers, Darren Sharper. I’m still not sure what to make out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seattle Seahawks are really, really bad. When you’re so bad you can’t make my bad list, that puts you in a separate class all by yourself.

So, what are your thoughts on week two? What match-ups are you looking forward to seeing next week?

By |2011-09-20T18:24:05-04:00September 20th, 2011|Sports|Comments Off on NFL Week Two – Hits and Misses

Lakers down 3-0, not looking good

I grew up in Dallas. I remember in the middle 1980s when the Dallas Mavericks had an outstanding basketball team. Rolando Blackman, Sam Perkins, Mark Aquirre. These guys looked outstanding on paper. They simply could not beat the Los Angeles Lakers led by Magic Johnson. Then the Dallas Mavericks went through more disappointment and heartache through the 1990s. The Dallas Mavericks slowly developed one of the most potent offenses in the history the NBA led by Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki. These guys ran up and down the court and outscored just about anyone. Then, year after year, they collapsed in the playoffs. Then came 2006. This was the year that the Dallas Mavericks exorcised their demons and got to the NBA finals. They led those finals two games-zero against the Miami Heat. Dwayne Wade single-handedly destroyed the Dallas Mavericks, game after game. The team was reorganized. Steve Nash, a crowd favorite, got shipped off to Phoenix. For reasons that remain unclear, as well as aging, Jason Kidd was brought back to Dallas.

Since 2006, I have not taken the Mavericks seriously. Dirk Nowitzki is the reason why. He is a great outside shooter. He is average to mediocre on defense but hits the boards extremely well. In games that matter, the playoffs, with five minutes to go, the game slows down. You are forced to run a set offense. Defense tightens. Your superstar must get the ball. That superstar must have a shot that he can make 80-90% of the time or get fouled or dish the ball to someone who can either make a layup or drain a three-pointer. Unfortunately, Dirk relies on a 15-foot fadeaway jumper which he can make approximate 55% of the time. He does not get fouled because he is fading away. This brings me to Friday night, when for some reason, with less than five minutes to go, Dirk Nowitzki became aggressive. It is something I haven’t seen before. He drove the lane and made a running left-handed baby hook over two defenders. Nowitzki drives and dishes, not once but twice. He does this on two successive series. The Dallas Mavericks didn’t choke, but drained three-pointers. Dirk does not turn the ball over in the clutch. He does not allow the ball to clang off his foot and roll out of bounds. Right before our eyes, Dirk Nowitzki has turned into a superstar.

Phil Jackson is a basketball genius. He recognized, several years ago, that Kobe Bryant was beginning to wear down. He needed to find another superstar and then transition Kobe Bryant into a supporting role. The Los Angeles Lakers went out and got Pau Gasol. Last year, Gasol played like a superstar. This year, in the playoffs, not so much. So, Phil Jackson is left with a dilemma. What do you do when your superstar player is playing like a benchwarmer? All you can do is try to motivate your player. You can hope that the rest of the players on the team can carry your superstar. I’m not sure that Kobe Bryant can carry the team, night after night like he did four or five years ago. The Lakers need one or two other players to step up. These players need to step up big.

Finally, I have all of the stats that the basketball analysts were throwing around. There’s one that they didn’t even mention: rebounds. With Lamarr Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol (6’10”, 7 feet tall and 7 feet tall, respectively) how did the Lakers not win the rebound battle? The Dallas Mavericks out-rebounded the Los Angeles Lakers. This is simply a lack of hustle.

Tomorrow is game four in Dallas. Will the Dallas Mavericks began an epic collapse? Will the Los Angeles Lakers be swept? I look forward to this one.

By |2011-05-07T23:13:34-04:00May 7th, 2011|Sports|Comments Off on Lakers down 3-0, not looking good

Cowboys came to play — finally

I predicted that the Atlanta Falcons would come in and dominate the Dallas Cowboys. Thankfully, I was wrong. If the Dallas Cowboys can play like this every time I predict they will lose, I’m going to predict a loss every week for the rest of the season. The Dallas Cowboys limited their turnovers. They still had eight penalties including, if I’m not mistaken, three defensive offsides. Yet, for the first time this year, it appears that the Cowboys play defense. I don’t know what was different today. The Cowboys simply got after Matt Ryan. He was harassed all day. He had a fumble plus two interceptions and four sacks. This is why the Cowboys won 37 – 21.

I don’t know what’s wrong with Roy Williams. In 14 games (including yesterday against the Falcons), Roy Williams has 31 catches for 428 yards and two touchdowns. He has yet to record a 100-yard game. Heck, the tight end for the Houston Texans had more than 100 yards receiving yesterday. Roy Williams may be Jerry Jones’s worst acquisition ever.

One of the big differences for the Dallas Cowboys over their last two games was that they had a receiver that actually got open — Miles Austin. Austin had another two touchdowns and had over 170 yards receiving. Maybe we should’ve listened to Michael Irvin when he said that Roy Williams probably belongs in the slot.

Two things happened today which made the Dallas Cowboys victory possible. First, Tony Romo did not turn over the ball. Romo made plays. He scrambled and got out of trouble and still made accurate throws, including a touchdown to Patrick Crayton in the back of the end zone. I cannot reiterate how important it is for the Cowboys not to turn over the ball in the league where parity exists. Also, Tony Romo found the accuracy he had lost for weeks. He was hitting wide-open receivers right on the numbers. Romo also scrambled lke he had to. The combination was a wonderfully effective game. Secondly, the defensive line came up huge. They put pressure on Matt Ryan, which he hasn’t seen in weeks. They also did a pretty good job of not letting Michael Turner run wild. The combination allow the Cowboys to have their best game in more than a year.

Now can the Cowboys keep this up for the rest of the year?

By |2009-10-26T01:13:20-04:00October 26th, 2009|Sports|Comments Off on Cowboys came to play — finally
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