I hate when the Broncos play in the early game, because it prevents me from channel-flipping like I like to during the busy part of the day. I watched our game on Sunday intently, and only had 3 games to flip through late.
Today, I cut out of work early, and came home to watch a bunch of football. Observations and thoughts follow. As always, I only comment on football I personally watched.
1. The best RB on the Oakland roster is Michael Bush. He looks like Larry Johnson, without the stupid Roc-A-Fella hand jive. Darren McFadden is dangerous, due to his speed, but he reminds me of Robert Smith, who played well for several years for Minnesota, but never was a great player.
2. Gerard Warren is playing terrific football for the Raiders the past 3 weeks. He was pushing Kris Dielman around on Sunday.
3. Robert Meachem is turning into a big-time deep threat for the Saints. It seems like the light is coming on for him.
4. I don’t like JT O’Sullivan’s skills, as I mentioned 2 weeks ago. He is a tough guy, though, to shake off all the sacks he is taking. As with Ben Roethlisberger, I’d be a little surprised if he can do that all season.
5. I only saw Joe Flacco play once in college, but I am very impressed with him in his first 3 games as a pro. The game is not too fast for him, and the tempo he is playing with is that of a 5 year veteran. It’s very impressive to watch.
6. I remember (not fondly) when Dante Hall was a really dangerous player. Those days are long gone. On returns, on a reverse, and even throwing a duck of a pass, he did nothing of much value Sunday. I wish he’d been fair-catching punts at his own 8 in his KC days.
7. Chris Long and Leonard Little are a nice pair of pass-rushing ends for the Rams. Both got sacks on Sunday. With Will Witherspoon, Adam Carriker, and OJ Atogwe, the defense has some good talent. The Rams are a team which is utterly handicapped by its bad O-Line.
8. I think that over the last 3 games, Jason Campbell has looked as good as any QB in the NFC, including Drew Brees. The second TD pass was extremely impressive. It was a slant to the left, that would have been intercepted, so Campbell held the ball, drifted right, and found a small window to get it into Antwaan Randle El. It was the kind of play a big-time QB makes.
9. I can’t figure out why the Cowboys gave up on the run so dramatically and quickly. I love the design of their vertical passing game, but they have to run the ball to bring the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage.
10. I was about to compliment the play of Stephon Heyer at RT for the Redskins, till I noticed that the RT was #76 Jon Jansen. Last I had heard, Heyer had beaten out Jansen, but Jansen looked really good Sunday, and I never noticed #74 (Heyer.)
11. I continue to be impressed by #48 Chris Horton of the Redskins, as I mentioned a week or two ago. He has terrific ball skills.
12. The old NY Titans uniforms are hideous, but not as bad as the original Broncos gear.
13. My vote for most obscure player who I have noticed is a team captain goes to Aaron Francisco (#47) of the Cardinals. Evidently, the Jets cut him from their camp in 2005, which is a great claim to fame.
14. For a guy who threw for almost 500 yards, Kurt Warner had just an abysmal game at the Meadowlands. It was Bad Kurt in terms of ball security. SIX turnovers, just by him!!!! As Emmitt Smiff would say, he got debacled.
15. The Laveranues Coles-Brett Favre connection looked terrific. I used to work with a guy in Jacksonville who was close friends with Coles when they were kids. Everybody called him Trouble, because he got in a lot of it. He disclosed a few years ago that his stepfather molested him over a period of years, and as I recall, he credited Chad Pennington with helping him to be able to talk about it. They are very close, and it was no surprise that he vocally took up for Pennington when he got cut so unceremoniously in conjunction with the Favre acquisition, but he seems to be getting used to Brett now.
16. Somebody needs to explain to me what the Jets are doing, going for 2 with a 54-35 lead, and 1:54 left on the clock.
17. Watching the Jaguars and Texans, I was struck by the thought that both QBs are “good-enough-to-make-the-playoffs” types. Both David Garrard and Matt Schaub have gotten big paydays (like other good-enoughs like Marc Bulger and the odd not-good-enough like Derek Anderson.) I believe you need a blue-chip guy to really be in the hunt to win Super Bowls, so I think you get into kind of a no-man’s-land, paying guys like this a lot of money to be slightly above average. Just remember our Jake Plummer era; that’s where the Jags and Texans are.
18. Steve Slaton was very impressive on Sunday. It’s not like he is sneaking up on anybody after the career he had at West Virginia, so it’s really a question of if he can hold up to the kind of load he carried Sunday. Time will tell if he is more durbale than he was projected to be.
19. Jacksonville was better in pass protection than I have seen from them all season. With them, like the Steelers, and the Rams, that’s always the first thing I look at.
20. I saved the Cleveland-Cincinnati game for last, because it looked horrid on paper. The paper was right. What a couple of bad teams.
21. Jason Wright clearly looks better than Jamal Lewis at RB for the Browns. I think this every time I watch the Browns, so I wonder why their decision-makers don’t.
22. I wonder if Brady Quinn looks really bad in practice, because Derek Anderson is not a legitimate starter at the NFL level. I called him a credible game-manager in the offseason, and I was being too kind to him. He’s just awful.
23. I’ve been critical of Carson Palmer lately, but he sure is a lot better than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is extremely marginal as a backup.
24. It looked to me like the Cut-rate Coaching Crew in Cincinnati felt like they didn’t need to change the game-plan to account for the differences in ability between Palmer and Fitzpatrick. They ran the exact same stuff as they did last week against the Giants. The Bengals are well-known for being the cheapest team in the NFL, and you get what you pay for.
25. Chris Perry might be the worst starting RB in the NFL, so it was somewhat interesting that the Bengals signed Cedric Benson today. Or, maybe they thought Chris Henry might need a drinking buddy.