Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Around the League


* WAS --- Let's start in the nation's capital. Washington can pull off a pretty unique feat. After 4 weeks they have yet to face a team with a win.

NYG 0-0
STL 0-1
DET 0-2
TAM 0-3

The first week is a given because it's the opener, but that's pretty crazy to keep going for a month. gets even better. This week the Skins take on winless Carolina. That pushes the streak to 5 games. And next up? KC in Week 6. Unless they pull off a major upset and beat Dallas, the Chiefs will be winless. Washington after 6 weeks is likely to have not faced a team with a win under their belt. That's got to be a very rare feat.

Another note of interest. Jim Zorn was a star QB in the NFL. His training is on offense. He coached under Mike Holmgren. He's now been in Washington for 20 games. They have yet to score 30 points in a game with Zorn in charge. I was shocked when I heard that. Sure, they are more of a ball-control offense, but they still have Portis, Betts, Moss, Randle-El, and Cooley. Reid had us above 30 points 3 times in 20 games.

* NYG --- The team is 4-0 and playing well, but injuries have to be a concern. LBs Bryan Kehl and Michael Boley had surgery on Tuesday. Only minor stuff, but you never like to go under the knife in the middle of the year. The big story is QB Eli Manning and his Plantar Fasciitis. That injury requires rest more than anything. Eli won't get that in the middle of the season. He's going to try and play vs OAK on Sunday, but we'll see how that situation goes. The Giants are a very good team this year, but one thing that can derail them is injuries.

* DAL --- I don't understand this year's Cowboys. Last year they lacked heart, toughness, and togetherness. This year the team is running the ball much better and seems like more of a team. But something is off. They are 2-2, with both wins against winless teams (TAM, CAR). They played the Giants tough and lost. Dallas somehow found a way to lose at Denver on Sunday. I'm still not sure how they pulled that off. The recent Dallas teams played well until December and then fell apart. Is this team starting slow, but will finish hot? Or will this team be up and down all year and then really fall apart in December? Clearly I prefer option number two, but I can't figure this bunch out. Maybe I'll have a better feel after we play them.

* MIN --- God's gift to football. At least for the week. They thoroughly outplayed GB on Monday, but the game was still close at the end. And MIN got lucky to win the week before against SF. The Vikings are another team I'm not sure what to make of. Adrian Peterson was held under control on Monday, but Favre had a great night. Aside from Antoine Winfield, the rest of the secondary isn't great. Way too often Packers were running free in the middle of the field for big plays. There is a lot to like, but this team still is figuring out how to be good. We haven't seen anything close to dominance so far.

* NO --- The Saints seem like the most complete team in the NFC. And they have had quite a few injuries to deal with. They've started the #3 LT a couple of times. They've used a slew of RBs. New Orleans is just finding a way to win. The offense was dynamic for a couple of weeks and then the defense took over. Let's talk about the defense for a minute. Gregggg Williams is getting a lot of pub. He's done a nice job, but no one wants to talk about the obvious.

Gm 1 - Matt Stafford's first NFL game ever
Gm 2 - Kevin Kolb's first NFL start
Gm 3 - Trent Edwards - some experience, but a struggling young QB
Gm 4 - Mark Sanchez's 4th NFL start

That isn't exactly murderer's row. The Saints D is beating up on some young QBs. That's what a good defense is supposed to do, but I want to see what they do against Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan. Those guys are all coming up in the next 6 or so weeks. I'll begin to really believe in that defense if they can shut down quality veteran passers.

* DEN --- Speaking of soft 'bout them Broncos? They've beaten Cincy with a fluke play, CLE, OAK, and Dallas. The Cowboys may seem like a good team, but remember what I always say about the schedule. Who you play is important, but also factor in when and where. Dallas was on the road after a Monday night game. Stats show that teams going on the road on a short week are much more likely to lose. I am impressed with Denver, but this is still not a strong team. The 4-0 record is good. They're finding a way to win each week. I don't see this team as making any serious postseason noise. Remember how Miami went from 1-15 to 11-5 and won the division? Then they faced the Ravens and got dominated in the playoffs. Denver has the Miami feel from last year.

*** I've got some extensive Around the NFL notes over at ScoutsNotebook. Scroll down below the college section. I was able to watch a bunch of games and enjoyed not having to worry about the Eagles for a day. The notes are more about players, but should still be of interest. I'll begin writing on Tampa tomorrow.




Stephen said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think there are a lot more *really* bad teams this year than there usually are. I think KC, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Cleveland are all going to finish in the 1-15 or 2-14 range. Oakland and Detroit I would consider a hair better than those squads. Those are 6 absolutely abysmal teams. Year to year I typically see 2 or 3 squads that look like a mess, but 6? thats like a 1/5th of the league!

Hell, if Carolina and Tennessee don't pick it up soon I'm going to have to lump them in with some of those miserable squads (because you are what your record says you are after all). I think the two most shocking starts to this season are Tennessee at 0-4, and Denver at 4-0. Denver may have beaten some bad teams and gotten a little lucky in one game, but remember many people preseason had Denver picked as one of the worst teams in the league, perhaps the worst. You gotta at least give them some credit for winning some tough games.

Tommy Lawlor said...

I do give Denver credit for winning. I'm happy for them. I like the fact that Josh McDaniels got rid of some of Shanahan's me-guys. You win in the NFL as a team. Shanny was great with a bunch of star players, but they moved on and he started adding high maintenance underachievers. I'll never fully understand taking Mo Clarrett. I'd love to see Denver and Kyle Orton have a better year than Chicago and Jay Cutler.

T_S_O_P said...

Talking of soft schedules, we lost to the only team with a winning record and we have 2 more awful teams coming up. It's like an extended preseason and I find that I feel a definite lack of tension at the moment.

In saying that, any slip ups between now and week 7 will have me wondering about the true nature of this team. But I don't expect any.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Playing NFC South and AFC West teams has turned out to be a pretty sorry state of affairs.

I'm looking forward to some NFC East games where we can find out how good this team is.

izzylangfan said...

A posting on the Inquirer's blog is titled "McNabb to use protection". This, of course refers to a flack jacket or some other device he will use to protect his recently broken rib. Maybe its just me, but even knowing the injury situation is sounds like a public service announcement to encourage safe sex.

shlynch said...

Hey Tommy, don't know if you saw it, but IgglesBlog posted a link to your team audit, etc. What is nice is that Derek added a link to show a block by Peters that you had referenced in the KC game review.

Cliff said...

What do we know about Donovan's injury? Is it healed? Is this something that won't be able to heal until the end of the season?