QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 12

In this week’s edition of NFL random thoughts, Volume 12, we take look at what teams and players are letting the rest of the NFL know…

  • Philadelphia is letting the rest of the NFL know that they are for real.  The Eagles have scored 30 or more points in five consecutive games.
  • Dallas is letting the rest of the NFL know that without Ezekiel Elliott they stink.  For the first time in Cowboys history, they’ve scored less than 10 points in three straight games.
  • The management teams in Denver, Oakland and Los Angeles are letting the rest of the NFL know that when it comes to hiring coaches, recycling is the only option.  As NFL Network host Rich Eisen recently tweeted, “Former Chargers HC fired as Broncos OC and replaced by former Raiders OC just as Broncos head to Raiders who just fired DC and replaced him with former Chargers DC.  You follow?
  • Cincinnati’s rookie defensive end Carl Lawson is letting the rest of the NFL know that when playing the Bengals you’re guaranteed a free five yards at least once a game because he’ll jump offsides.
  • Andy Reid is letting the rest of the NFL know that he doesn’t trust his quarterback, Alex Smith, to throw the ball down the field anymore.  When the Chiefs won their first five games this season, Smith averaged 8.8 yards per pass attempt.  In the following six games, Kansas City is 1-5 and Smith’s average yards per pass attempt has dropped to 6.8
  • After benching Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith, New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo is letting the rest of the NFL know that he’ll be looking for employment once the season is over.
  • The New England Patriots are letting the rest of the NFL know that some things never change.  Their victory over Miami on Sunday guaranteed the Patriots their 17tth consecutive winning season.
  • Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib are letting the rest of the NFL know that they don’t have clue when it comes to the current public perception of the league and its players behavior.
  • Since Deshaun Watson went down with a season-ending injury, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has let the rest of the NFL know that he is over-rated and blowhard who conjures up memories of Jeff Fisher roaming the sidelines.
  • One look at the play calling at the end of their 27-24 last-second loss to Arizona and it appears Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone is letting the rest of the NFL know that he is unaware that Blake Bortles is his quarterback.
  • The Bengals organization is letting the rest of the NFL know that the disappointing season of rookie first-round draft choice John Ross is the result of either poor scouting or poor coaching and development.  Regardless, it’s the only explanation for why a healthy Ross is declared inactive every week.

QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 10

Here are some random and very delayed, random thoughts about Week 10 in the NFL…

  • Anyone who believes Teddy Bridgewater should replace Case Keenum as Minnesota’s starting quarterback needs to report to their local drug testing facility immediately.
  • Father Time has issued an Amber Alert for Tom Brady.  He shouldn’t expect to find him anytime soon.
  • The four NFC Division leaders, Philadelphia, Minnesota, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Rams, failed to make the playoffs last year.  If the standings remain the same at the end of the season, it will mark the first time that the four division champions failed to make the playoffs in the previous season.
  • Before the excoriating of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones begins because of his attempts to stall and stop the contract extension negotiations of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, consider what Goodell is demanding.  He is asking, among other things, a $50 million annual salary, the lifetime use of a private plane and lifetime health insurance for him and his family.  Considering that Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, a company that earned the twice the revenue as the NFL did last year, receives a $14 million annual salary, it’s not so unreasonable for Jones, who was able to purchase the Cowboys and make it the most valuable professional sports franchise because he is an astute businessman, to put the brakes on what appears to be a very one-sided and inequitable business deal.
  • Once NFL Network host Rich Eisen tweeted on Sunday, “The Browns just tried to QB sneak on goal line with no timeouts left.  Of course it was stopped.  No points, No time.  No clue,”, Cleveland should have fired head coach Hue Jackson on the spot.
  • You have to wonder what Fox broadcasters Chris Myers and Darryl Johnson did to management for the both of them to have inglorious assignment of calling the titanic struggle between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers.
  • New Orleans is a legitimate Super Bowl contender because they’re not asking quarterback Drew Brees to do everything for them.  Thanks to Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, the Saints have discovered a running game, rushing for 110.9 yards per game and 4.7 yards per attempt through their first nine games.  Last Sunday, on the road against Buffalo, New Orleans rushed 48 times for 298 yards and six touchdowns, including 24 straight plays in which they ran the ball.  With their emphasis on the running game, no longer do the Saints need to play in an offensive shoot-out with Brees throwing all over the field to have a chance at winning.  More importantly, their ball control philosophy keeps their defense, the team’s Achilles Heel since their Super Bowl victory in 2010 off the field for longer periods of time.
  • It’s been well documented that Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton has struggled this season due to a weak offensive line.  But before placing all the blame on the offensive line for the team’s sub-par passing attack this season, Dalton himself is responsible for some of the problems as well.  This is not the same quarterback who led the Bengals to the post-season in each of his first five years in the league.  In those five seasons, Dalton completed all types of passes, short, medium and long, to all places on the field.  This year, however, is vastly different.  Dalton has been extremely inconsistent, rarely completing a pass greater than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage and mainly only between the numbers.  Dalton’s ability to accurately throw outside the numbers is practically non-existent as evidenced by his two misfires to A.J. Green deep down the right sidelines in the last two games.  Those were passes Dalton routinely completed in his previous six seasons.  It is true that the inability of the offensive line to provide decent pass protection has made life difficult for Dalton in 2017.  But it is just as obvious that Dalton’s inefficient and ineffective play is compounding the problem.
  • Vontaze Burfict’s ejection last Sunday proved four things about him and the Bengals current and future state:
    • Game officials are signaling out Burfict and are giving him absolutely no benefit of the doubt when it comes to a borderline or marginal infraction on the field.  There’s no question Burfict’s reputation precedes him.
    • It’s painfully obvious that Burfict only cares about himself who ignores the impact his actions have on the rest of the team.  After being ejected, he was only concerned with complaining to someone he knew in the stands and taunting the Tennessee fans as he was leaving the field.  Burfict’s selfishness is readily apparent and detrimental to the team’s chances at success.
    •  Burfict’s actions are emblematic of what the Bengals have become under head coach Marvin Lewis, who condones and defends the behavior of Burfict and is responsible for setting the tone for the rest of the team:  A group of undisciplined, ill-prepared, and selfish players who do not, under any circumstances, resemble a team.
    • It’s time for the good of the franchise for the Bengals to cut ties with both Burfict and Lewis no later than the end of the season.

QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 9

Here are some random thoughts about Week 9 in the NFL…

  • The next Lambeau Leap might be a Packers fan jumping off from the top of the stadium as Green Bay’s season continues to spiral into irrelevance with Aaron Rodgers on the sideline.
  • Before the season started, most experts believed that one team from New York would contend for a playoff spot while the other would stink.  Those experts were right but none of them thought after nine weeks the Jets would be 4-5 and the Giants 1-7.
  • It’s time for the NFL to issue an Amber Alert for Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford.
  • If you were asked before the season started what one NFL team would bungle a trade because they forgot to file the necessary paperwork before the deadline, then everyone would have answered the Cleveland Browns.
  • The current state of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their head coach, Dirk Koetter, was perfectly encapsulated after Tampa wide receiver Mike Evans blindsided New Orleans defensive back Marshon Lattimore, sparking a mini-brawl between the two teams in front of the Bucs sideline.  While chaos reigned in front of him, Koetter appeared to have no clue, looking like a man who either was staring into the abyss or would have paid money he didn’t have to get him the hell out of there.
  • The Arizona Cardinals are the worst 4-4 team in modern NFL history.  Their four wins are against the Colts in overtime, Tampa Bay and twice against San Francisco.
  • Cincinnati’s 23-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday should for all intents and purposes put an end to the Marvin Lewis era.  The 2017 Bengals are undisciplined, poorly coached, ill-prepared prior and during the game, passionless and careless.  This team is currently rudderless, floating adrift admits the NFL sea.  It’s time for a new captain before the Bengals sink any further.
  • When the venerable CBS news anchor, Walter Cronkite, reported in 1968, that the United States could not win the war in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson lamented, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost MIddle America.”  A month later, Johnson announced he would not run for re-election.  Fast forward to 2017 and another respected broadcaster, Vin Scully.  He announced recently to a crowd at a symposium that, “I’ll never watch another NFL game” in response to the many players who have kneeled during the national anthem.  If the NFL is smart, they would heed the warning issued by Johnson nearly 50 years earlier.  Because unless the NFL changes their images and they way they conduct their business, if they’ve lost Vin Scully, then they’ve lost Middle America.
  • Everybody, it seems, has their opinion on why the ratings for the NFL are precipitately down in the first nine weeks of 2017.  Rarely, though, does anyone mention the main culprit for why fewer people are watching the NFL on Thursday, Sunday or Monday–the quality of the product stinks.

QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 8

Here are some random thoughts about Week 8 in the NFL…

  • There was a time earlier this season when everyone was convinced that the Death Star known as the New England Patriots was on the verge of imploding because of an ineffective defense.  But as Mark Twain once said, “the report of my death was an exaggeration”, and now the same can be said about the Patriots.  In their last four games, the Patriots went 4-0 and have allowed an average of only 12.75 points per game.  No longer is there talk that New England’s reign over the AFC East is finished.  Instead, it’s whether or not they can win Super Bowl number six.
  • The NFL and the NFLPA will attempt to spin this news to their benefit but the message from the paying public about how they have recently conducted business is clear.  Kansas City’s win over Denver was the lowest-rated and least watched Week 8 Monday Night Football game ever.
  • The reason why the Buffalo Bills are in contention for the AFC East title and their first playoff appearance since 1999 is simple, despite having an inconsistent and unexplosive offense.  The Bills lead the NFL in turnover margin at +14 or by an average of +2 per game.
  • Every time they show Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano on the sidelines, the first thought that comes to mind is that he is what Willy Wonka would look and act like if he were an NFL head coach.
  • Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford can throw the football all over the field as much as he wants, like he did on Sunday night, but until Detroit fixes the problem that has plagued Stafford his entire career, the Lions will always be a fringe playoff contender.  In the 116 games Stafford has been team’s starting quarterback, the Lions have had a running back rush for 100 or more yards in a game only seven times.
  • You can blame Tampa Bay’s disappointing 2-5 record on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston all you want but the problems run deeper.  The offense, designed and orchestrated by head Dirk Koetter, is too basic and unimaginative for any quarterback to have success in the NFL.
  • If anyone doubts the importance of a strong offensive line, then they need to look no further than the Dallas Cowboys.  They are the reason why quarterback Dak Prescott has progressed so quickly in only his second season and why their running game won’t skip a beat when and if Ezekiel Elliott begins to serve his six-game suspension.
  • During the broadcast of the Dallas-Washington game on Sunday, the NFL aired a public service announcement promoting October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  On the first play following the announcement, Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball for a significant gain.  And the NFL wonders why they are accused of being tone-deaf.
  • When the first round of the year’s NFL Draft was completed, most experts agreed that the picks made by Tennessee, the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati graded out to an A or B.  Each team selected a wide receiver in the first round in the first nine picks, choosing Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross respectively.  With the season now at the halfway point, Davis, Williams and Ross have combined for eight receptions and 88 yards, causing many of those experts to re-evaluate and change those grades to failing.
  • It was promising to see the Bengals defensive line step up and play a major role in the team’s 24-23 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday.  What was not so promising was the continued dismal play of the Bengals offensive line.  The Colts entered the game ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing defense and yet the Bengals rushed for only 58 yards on 21 attempts on Sunday.  Meanwhile, quarterback Andy Dalton continues to fear for his life every time he drops back to pass.  Dalton was sacked three times and was constantly under siege, even though, at times, the Colts only rushed two defenders.  Unless the offensive line improves in short order, the Bengals are going to need more than just a weekly Carlos Dunlap interception return touchdown to stay in contention for a playoff spot.
  • The NFL’s biggest issue with Miami’s Kiko Alonso’s shot to the head of Baltimore’s Joe Flacco wasn’t the hit itself.  Instead, they need to explain why, in a league constantly preaching player safety and claiming they will not tolerate any action by a player that jeopardizes or comprising another players well-being, Alonso wasn’t ejected from the game for the blatantly egregious hit or why he hasn’t been fined or suspended.  Meanwhile, the league has no problem quickly fining a player for wearing the wrong color socks or shoes or having an unapproved sponsor on a hand towel.  It’s just more proof to the argument that the NFL is inconsistent with their rule enforcement, hypocritical when it comes to player safety and biased when it comes to whom they chose to punish and with what severity.  Simply put, when it comes to player safety, the NFL is all talk and no substance.

QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 7

Here are some random thoughts about Week 7 in the NFL…

  • It took two untimed downs and nothing may come of it, but for now, the Oakland Raiders 31-30 victory over Kansas City saved their season.
  • Believe it or not, the current state of the Cleveland Browns got worse after Sunday’s 12-9 overtime loss to Tennessee.  It has now been 302 days since their last win, 742 days since their last victory away from Cleveland and 1,064 days since they last won on the road in regulation.
  • Someone has to explain how the playing field in Miami, a place where it rains practically everyday and just survived Hurricane Irma, looked like it hadn’t been watered in months.  There is no excuse for an NFL franchise to host a game on a field in such a miserable and unplayable condition.
  • The more Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff plays the more it proves that Jeff Fischer was an over-rated, blowhard of a head coach and an absolute idiot.
  • From the files of “How Did They Win That Game”, the Chicago Bears defeated Carolina 17-3, even though they didn’t make their first first down of the second half until there were three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
  • Based upon their first six games, it appears the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent more time at training camp this summer hamming it up in front of the HBO and Hard Knocks cameras than they did preparing for the season.
  • It isn’t a stretch for the Jacksonville Jaguars to ask the NFL to have all their remaining games played on the road.  This season, the Jaguars are 4-1 away from Jacksonville and 0-2 at home.
  • Looking forward to Peyton Manning’s next Nationwide commercial with their trademark jingle and the tagline, “Denver wishes I still played”.
  • There once was a time when the Dallas Cowboys waited for the trainers and the team doctors to tell them if someone on the roster was eligible to play.  Now they wait to hear from their attorneys.
  • For those of you who thought the Atlanta Falcons wouldn’t suffer a hangover from their demoralizing loss to New England in last year’s Super Bowl, think again.  The Falcons are 3-3 and until they scored a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown Sunday in a rematch against the Patriots, they had gone the previous 91 minutes without scoring a point.  It also doesn’t help that their offensive coordinator from last year, Kyle Shannahan, is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and his replacement, Steve Sarkisian, had only one year of NFL coaching experience prior to taking over the offense in Atlanta.  It also worth noting that Sarkisian was fired as the head coach at USC over allegations he was intoxicated at practice and during games.  Makes that hangover thing a little more fitting, doesn’t it?
  • Much of the talk heading into the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh match-up was about what a great rivalry this game had become in recent years.  But now that the Steelers have won eight of the last nine games against the Bengals, it is no longer a rivalry.  It’s more like a twice-annual ass-kicking instead.
  • It’s obvious the Bengals have decided to place all their offensive faith, and therefore their fate, in quarterback Andy Dalton.  If that’s the plan, then for the love of God, the coaches and the organization need to find a way to protect him from being killed or at the very least, give him more than two seconds to find a receiver once he receives the snap from center.
  • Apparently, the mood in the Bengals locker room after their game on Sunday was jovial and light-hearted, despite just having their ass handed to them by their division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, 29-14.  If that’s the case, and there are multiple reports to believe that it was, then this group of players are undisciplined, unfocused, heartless and resigned to the fact that they are just an average NFL team.  It is a mentality that comes from the top, an environment condoned and enabled by the head coach, Marvin Lewis.  It’s a situation that ownership can not tolerate and unless they expect to receive nothing more than ridicule and shame from the rest of the league, it’s time they end the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati and end it now before it does any more irreparable long-term damage.

QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 6

Here are some random thoughts about Week 6 in the NFL…

  • Fairly certain that in all his years as Baltimore’s head coach, John Harbaugh has believed his Ravens have never committed a penalty.  Ever.
  • Maybe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should have spent more time preparing for the Arizona Cardinals instead of debating how they were going to protest against Donald Trump and the NFL.
  • No team in the NFL is better playing desperate or with their backs against the wall than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Someone needs to remind Jim Caldwell and the Detroit Lions that their games start at 1:00 p.m.  In their first six games, Detroit has been outscored by their opponents 92-62 in the first half while holding a 99-57 scoring advantage in the second half.  It’s amazing the Lions are 3-3 considering their first half struggles.
  • If there is such a thing, San Francisco is the best 0-6 team in recent NFL history.  The 49ers have lost their last five games by a total of 13 points, including two in overtime.  Despite their record, first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan has the franchise moving in the right direction.
  • You have to wonder why the Oakland Raiders paid running back Marshawn Lynch to come out of retirement if they are only going to hand him the ball less than 10 times a game.
  • Thanks to the NFL’s typical modus operandi of over-legislating and over-complicating any change in their rules or policies, no one, not even the replay officials, knows what a catch is anymore.
  • If you said before the season began that Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson would lead the NFL in touchdown passes after six weeks of play, then you need to move to Las Vegas immediately.
  • Heaven help Eli Manning.  Going into his game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, the four active receivers on the Giants roster had a grand total of 19 NFL receptions.
  • Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia Eagles have the best record in the NFC.  More importantly, even though the season is only six games old, they’re in the driver’s seat to obtain home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  The Eagles are 5-1 after playing four of their first six games on the road which includes wins at Washington and Carolina.  They’ve already played the always physically demanding Thursday night game and beginning this week, they play three straight games at home against Washington, San Francisco and Denver.  Even if the Eagles play .500 football the rest of the season, they’ll finish 10-6, a record good enough for at least a wild card playoff spot.  But with quarterback Carson Wentz leading the offense and tackle Fletcher Cox leading the defense, an NFC East Division title and a high seed in the playoffs seems more likely.
  • Pardon any Bengals fan for having a Vietnam flashback when watching the Cardinals game against Tampa on Sunday after they heard game analyst Charles Davis state, “That was a bad series for Jermaine Gresham.”
  • In case you aren’t fluent in French, the name Fournette means “fragile” or “injury-prone”.
  • Is it too early to ask if State Farm’s next commercial starring Aaron Rodgers will feature health insurance?
  • Not so long ago, the Monday Night Football game was the NFL’s premier match-up of the week and must-see TV.  Recently, however, the Monday match-up is a game no one wants to watch, even if they have the NFL Ticket and the evening has become must-see Monday Night Raw.

QUICK NFL THOUGHTS–WEEK 5

Here are some random thoughts about Week 5 in the NFL..

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers–The franchise where placekickers go to die.
  • Not sure if it’s peculiar or disturbing that ever since the NFL has done everything to emphasize player safety, the number of injuries have increased dramatically.
  • There’s no question the Buffalo Bills have a playoff caliber type defense but there comes a point when their offense has to step up and match their defense’s effort if they want to have any hopes of making the playoffs.
  • The only way to stop Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers from winning the game with a late fourth quarter drive, is to leave him with no time on the clock.  Literally, none.  On Sunday, down three with a minute to go at Dallas, the only question was whether the Packers would tie or win the game in regulation.
  • With the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select…
  • Vice-President Mike Pence did the right thing.  Who the hell wants to stay and watch the Colts play the 49ers?
  • Not to dismiss any other player who gets injured, but it is simply not fair that J.J. Watt will miss the rest of the season because of a left leg fracture.
  • Watching Kevin Hogan replace Deshone Kizer as Cleveland’s starting quarterback must make Brown fans sick to their stomachs knowing their franchise passed on the opportunity in the last two years to draft Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson.
  • Here’s a helpful hint to anyone aspiring to become an NFL assistant coach.  If you have to snort cocaine during a break at the office, don’t make a video recording of yourself doing it so you can later critique your style and technique.  And for the love of Mike, don’t embed it in a tweet and send it to your girlfriend.
  • It’s time for the Arizona Cardinals to face reality and realize the clock has struck midnight on the career of quarterback Carson Palmer.
  • Cincinnati fans need to accept the prospect that tight end Tyler Eifert will never play another down in a Bengals uniform.  They can, however, take solace in the fact that Tyler Kroft is more than just an adequate replacement and will continue to provide production form the tight end position.
  • During the off-season, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seriously considered retirement.  After Sunday’s 30-9 loss to Jacksonville at home, he told the media, “Maybe I don’t have it anymore.”  Given those kinds of feelings and comments, combined with his sub-par play so far this season and you have to wonder if Big Ben  really wants to play football anymore.  At the very least, Roethlisberger is sending a clear signal to the Steelers and his teammates, whether he wants to admit it or not, that he isn’t 100% mentally committed.  More to the point, his play so far in 2017 shows it.