As a subscriber to Directv's Sunday Ticket package, I've had the chance to watch a lot of games today. The only ones I didn't watch any of were Buffalo-Seattle and San Francisco-Arizona. Observations on the other games follow.
It's well known (on this site at least) that the Broncos have both the most wins, and the highest degree of consistency in the last 30 years. Following them, in terms of average wins, are Pittsburgh, Miami, San Francisco, and Dallas. These teams all have a program, and it's the biggest reason for the sustained success.
I've always believed in the concept of a program, and I was reading Mike Lombardi the other day when he criticized Washington's lack of one. I liken the idea to a college football program, where a coach gets hired, and it's expected that he'll be there for a long time. He recruits and hires assistants, based upon specific overarching philosophies. If you think of a school like Penn State, they've been doing the same things for decades under Joe Paterno. When a kid commits to play there, he knows who the coaches will be, he knows how the schemes will look, and he knows Penn State will be competitive annually, and consistently bring in more good talent. The relentless consistency of the program is what breeds the consistency of the win-loss record.
Nationalfootballpost.com is a relatively new site which I really like, and find myself looking at on a daily basis now. Mike Lombardi (who also writes for SI,) Andrew Brandt, and Matt Bowen are the key players. Lombardi analyzes blurbs of beat writer articles each morning (Diner News) and talks about selected topics and mailbag inquiries at night (Tavern Talk.) Brandt deals with the business end of the NFL, and Bowen writes a weekly feature about NFL schemes, which is pretty in-depth and very worthwhile. They also have guest writers a lot, usually people you wouldn't think of, who end up adding value. A recent example was former NBA head coach Eric Musselman. There's a feature about making your woman love the NFL today.
My man Joe Biden shouted out his friend Floyd Little in his speech at Mile High a few minutes ago. We try to keep things apolitical here, but I love this guy, and wanted him to be the President of the United States at the beginning of all of this. He's such a true regular guy. I hope that his shout-out raises some awareness of Floyd, a day after the seniors' committee snubbed him and Randy Gradishar again.
By the way, I was unaware of much detail of Floyd's career until Firstfan sent me a copy of Floyd's book. If anybody would like to read it, I'll pass it on to you. It's very worthwhile, and informative.
Expectations in professional sports are a funny thing. People get hired by companies to know something about sports, and they form opinions, which they then share with the world. The point is, to get you or I to look at their website or watch their show on TV, so we'll be subsequently advertised to, and run and buy our women rings at Kay jewelers, and pick up a 12 pack of Budweiser on the way home.
From today's Monday Morning Quarterback Column -
g. Jay Cutler completed his first 12 throws against Dallas. Matt Schaub hit on 12 of his first 14. The thing about preseason football is those could mean everything and those could mean nothing. For instance, Favre was given diverse and daunting formations in the 20 plays he had to know for Saturday night, but no throw he made was a challenging deep ball. "I should be able to complete those,'' he said. And you never know whether the defense is showing very much in the preseason either. So I wouldn't be feeling like you've got to think of changing your preseason opinion of Cutler or Schaub just yet.
I know a lot of people don't watch offensive line play that closely, but our guy Ryan Clady put a flat-out whipping on DeMarcus Ware on Saturday. I just saw the video for the first time a little while ago, and he was every bit quick enough to stay in front of him on speed rushes, and strong enough to handle him on bull rushes. The only time Ware got past him was when he ducked way inside to the A gap after initially stepping to Clady's outside shoulder. The play was a 3 step drop, and Cutler had it off long before Ware was close to him, but he got one on Clady there. Otherwise it was all #78. I'm very pleased with this, as a subset of my pleasure from the whole game.
A few years ago, ESPN implemented the idea of hiring an independent ombudsman to periodically review and criticize the journalistic practices at the Worldwide Leader. Really, it was an excellent idea, due to their dual roles of reporters and content providers, and I think some improvement has happened since then.
I think there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the Broncos future, both near-term and long-term. Following are a starting 11 of them, to provide some positive thinking in the wake of the Marshall suspension.
ESPN.com is at it again. Their Scouts, Inc group has been chronically underrating our guys of late, and here is a real gem.