By Columnist Jean-Paul Bergeaux
Things I know.
Brett Favre’s 2009 performance is the Vikings problem. Don’t forget that the Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North division at 10-6 the year before Favre showed up. And the year before that they were 8-8 and just missed the playoffs (mainly due to the Favre led Packers beating them twice on the way to 13-3). Favre could do lots for the Vikings this year and did last year when he wasn’t scheduled to carry the team. The problem is that Favre was SO good last year that the team started to think they needed Favre to carry them for the team to be great. If they just performed like they did the 2 years prior to Favre showing up and hoped for some extra magic and luck here and there, they’d be a better team.
Jon Gruden has greatly improved Monday Night Football. Since Jon Gruden joined the Monday Night Football crew, the game has become so much more enjoyable to watch. Prior to Gruden, ESPN tried several different booth creatures to fill the void of the third seat. Unfortunately, they were failures. Most fans wanted to turn down the volume and watch the game silent than listen to the booth trio. Whether it’s the chemistry, the personalities or the excitement of the three there now, it’s better. ESPN, pay the man enough to keep him from going back to coaching!
Chicago is where QBs go to die. Quick! Name the Bears full-time starting QB in the modern era that finished any season with a 100+ QB rating. Struggling? That’s because there’s never been one. In fact the only 90+ one was Erik Kramer in 1995, and that’s it. Kyle Orton is a lucky man. When the Bears traded Orton to Denver for Cutler and cut Grossman, many thought the Bears QB problems were solved. Then a strange thing happened. Cutler regressed. There has to be a curse on the Bears. Really. A curse. Cutler is 7-7 on TD-INTs and has an 84 QB rating on the year (69 and 54 in the last two games). You can blame it on whatever you want, but the Chicago curse is killing another QB.
Things I think I know.
The NFL’s new player protection rules will not prevent injuries overall. There is no doubt that the new player protection rules will change the way that players react and hit. That’s the intent. The problem? It only means that players will go lower. Expect more knee injuries and Dr. Andrews to make more money. It was clear that secondary players were hesitating last week to hit the receivers. But as they begin to adjust to the new head protection rules, the hits will just come lower. Some players have adjusted already and several receivers were seen getting their knees checked out because of low hits after a reception.
Offense and defense yards are overrated statistics. This one can also be named “Mistakes make losers.” The Cowboys and Chargers are top 5 in both offense and defense for the year, yet they have a combined 3-10 record. Why? The Chargers are -7 in turnover margin, the Cowboys are -5 and the Cowboys are also 6th in penalties and 6th in total penalty yards. In fact none of the bottom 5 in turnover margin have a winning record and are a combined 10-23. The Titans high penalty count helps the bottom 5 of penalties to a combined record of 14-20. Only three teams are in the bottom 10 of both categories: Cowboys, Vikings and 49ers. Combined record? 4-15.
Besides the triplets, what has Cowboys owner Jerry Jones done? The Herschel Walker trade was a blockbuster and made the Dallas Cowboys three time Super Bowl winners, but was that luck? Jerry Jones record with the triplets (and extra draft picks from the trade): 101-59. Without: 84-97. Playoff wins with: 12. Playoff wins without: 1 So unless Jerry can make some big headway in the next several years, he may go down as a lucky owner who took advantage of the Vikings, and not the football genius that he started his career out as.
Things I know I don’t know.
Is the AFC West improving? Both the Raiders and the Chiefs blew out opponents on Sunday. The Chiefs lost two tough games to the Colts and Texans, but they rebounded well this week. Jax isn’t a great team, but a 20 point win is hard to do in the NFL. Yes the Raiders have lost to Arizona and San Francisco, yes, yes. However, they seem to be improving and they haven’t played KC, the only team in front of them in the division. If they beat them twice, they take the lead in the lowly West division. I’m still trying to soak this in… Did Oakland really beat Denver that bad on Sunday? Or was that a dream?
What is Eagles coach Andy Reid doing? OK, the original switch to Vick after his great play was easy. And understanding staying with Kolb to give him a chance is easy, but now switching back to Vick? Kolb and Vick are going to have nightmares about a call from Andy. This QB carousel appears to be going from a good situation to possibly a bad one. Anyone remember who originally said, “When you have two starting quarterbacks, you have none.”… I can’t remember?? Anyone?
What’s wrong with Drew Brees? Last week Drew looked like he was coming out of the slump he’s been in all season, but then this week he had another terrible game. Yes, one of the four picks by Drew was a long shot down the field at the end of the 2nd quarter, but there were at least two, maybe three dropped interceptions that was well off the mark and went right through the hands of defenders. Yes that happens to quarterbacks, but not to Drew Brees.
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