Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NFL Tuesday Musings - Week 6 Edition

We are 6 weeks into the NFL season now, and one of the most interesting stories so far, in my opinion, has been the developement of young quarterbacks. Look around the league, and you will see youngsters Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Philip Rivers, Andrew Walter, J.P. Losman and Bruce Gadkowski starting for their team. And surprisingly, most of them are faring pretty well so far.

The oldest of this young group, Rivers, is having a really good season in San Diego. Everytime Marty Schottenheimer has put the ball in his hands (which isn't often enough according to most experts), Rivers has responded tremendously. GM AJ Smith made a bold move when he let Drew Brees go to New Orleans, handing the reins of his playoff-hopeful team to his young QB, who had never to that point started a game. But after sitting on the bench for 2 years, Rivers now has the Chargers at 4-1.

Matt Leinart, for his part, has looked like an 8-year veteran in his first 2 games at the helm of the Cardinals offence. In both contests, he has managed to build a comfortable lead heading into the 4th quarter, only to see his team crumble down and fall behind. But he has also managed to lead his team from behind twice in the last 2 minutes, mounting drives that ended with Neil Rackers missing the tying (against KC) and winning (against Chicago) field goals. As a rookie, Leinart has displayed great presence in the pocket, an unusual feel for the rush and a superb ability at reading defenses. What makes this even more impressive is that he is playing for a team without a running game or an offensive line. Still, he is poised enough that he constantly buys enough time to get the ball out to his receivers. Mark my words: this kid will be a star for a long time in this league.

With Vince Young, it's all about potential. In that sense, he is a lot like Mike Vick was when he came out of college. Both QB's are blessed with superior athletic skills, but both are plagued with the same problem: trouble reading defenses. The book on Vick has always been to mix converages, confuse him, and to try to contain him. If you can limit his yards rushing, you won't have any problems stopping him. It is still to early to say if Young will eventually learn to read defenses (like Donovan McNabb has) or if, like Vick, he will always be a great weapon but never a develop into a great quarterback. But so far, he has yet to achieve the same level of success as Leinart, who was picked seven spots later in the draft. To his credit, Young did play reasonably well in leading his Titans to their first win of the season over the Washington Redskins.

As for the others, well, Bruce Gadkowski, like Leinart, has displayed a lot of poise. He has managed the game very well and he led his team to the winning touchdown in the last seconds of the game against Cincinnati last Sunday. J.P. Losman has been up and down, but he has played way better than he did last season. And finally, there's Andrew Walter, Oakland's QB of the future, who has been as pitiful as the rest of his team. In any case, the way these kids play is something I will continue to monitor all season long.

Random Thoughts about Week 6
  • The New Orleans Saints are for real. Their victory against the Eagles was well deserved. They are truly impressive on offense, with Drew Brees continuing to prove he is for real. Plus, Sean Payton continues to find ways to get the ball to both Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. More surprisingly, they are proving to be very stingy on defense. Kudos to Veillotron for predicting they would climb out of the league's basement. I'm sure he's very proud and right now he must be wishing Dave Krieg would come back out of retirement and replace Brees. But that wouldn't be very good...
  • Joey Harrington played a very good 4th quarter for Miami on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. Still, he looks nothing like the failure he was in Detroit.
  • A second loss in a row for the Ravens after their offense once again proved inept under Steve Mcnair. Funny thing though, after he came off the bench in the middle of the first quarter, Kyle Boller led his offense to 3 touchdown drives. Still, probably not realizing his offense might've just needed a QB who doesn't look 60 years old on the field, Brian Billick fird offensive coord. Jim Fassel today.
  • What a game in St. Louis on Sunday. First, with 1:54 left in the game, Torry Holt makes a circus catch then runs off for 67 yards and a touchdown to put the Rams in front 28 to 27. But Matt Hasselbeck, not to be undone, took the field and Josh Brown nailed a 54-yard field goal with 4 seconds left on the clock for the 30-28 win. Gutsy win. The Seahwaks are fighting hard without Shaun Alexander, and they will be a force when he comes back. By the way, Brown had field goals of 49, 49 and 54 yards in the 4th quarter. That's what we call an MVP performance for a kicker.
  • Ok, it was against the Raiders, but the Denver defense held another team without a touchdown. In 5 games, that defense has yielded only 1 TD to the opposition. Boy do I like that defense.
  • I went 8-5 with my picks this week, bringing my season total to 48-24. But do note that I did pick Tampa to upset the mighty Bengals. I also did call that Matt Leinart would have a good game versus the Bears and that the Cards would come close. Yes, you can call me Nostradwarfus.
Check back thursday for my NHL Thoughts.

Dwarf out.


At 9:09 AM, Blogger Veillotron said...

Leinart is cool...
I wonder if this could become the new class of 83?...

Thanks for the Propz on the Saints - I deserve it

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Veillotron said...

Yesterday Chelsea played like CHAMPIONS.
Barca 0 - Chelsea 1 9and it could have been a few more goals, if Shevy had been on form)


At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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