Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday NFL Musings - Week 7 Edition

Week 7 was another crazy week in the NFL. As was the case in week 6, we were treated to a few back-and-forth, down-to-the-wire, last-possession-wins type games. There was Michael Vick throwing 4 touchdowns against the Steelers in a 41-38 overtime win that wa capped by 46-year old Morten Andersen kicking a game-winning field goal. Meanwhile, with 6 seconds left in the game, Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes was nailing a 53-yard field goal to win a crucial division game against the Chargers. At about the same time, in Tampa, Matt Bryant made over 60,000 Bucs fans jump out of their seats by putting the ball throught the uprights from 62 yards out, once again as time expired.

Along with those nailbiting endings, Week 7 in the NFL saw some big-time playoff hopefuls fall from grace in some big upsets. First Jacksonville saw David Carr slowly pick apart their defense and eventually lost 27-7 to the lowly Texans. The NFC reigning champion Seahawks were at home on Sunday night, but they got killed by the Vikings and lost QB Matt Hasselbeck for 3 weeks in the process.

One game that might've flown under the radar, though, is the Cardinals' loss to the Raiders, in Arizona. Two years ago, in pre-season, with Dennis Green at the helm and Kurt Warner at QB, the Cardinals had become the "chic" pick of the year. So-called experts had them sitting in second in the NFC West, and some even had them winning their division. Of course, that never happened, and the Cards finished at a disappointing 5-11.

But after a 2006 draft that landed promising Quarterback Matt Leinart of USC and the off-season acquisition of star RB Edgerrin James, the Cardinals once again became the 'talk of the town'.

The fact is, we in the media and in the public love big names. The public loves big names because they don't care enough to know the support players. The media loves big names because they mean people will tune in to see the big name players or read about them the next morning. But a GM cannot be falling in love with big names all the time. A GM has to build from the ground up. And it is well known in football circles that you don't win football games with star receivers or a star running back: you win in the NFL by having good, solid, offensive and defensive lines. That is the foundation of a football team. If you look around the league, with the exception of the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers, the 10 best offenses in the league have offensive lines that are good to very good. On the flip side, look at the 5 worst offenses in the league: Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Baltimore. Baltimore's line is average at best. The other 4 have had depth issues for the longest time. As a result, when they have suffered injuries, and they all have, they haven't been able to find adequate replacements. Furthermore, all 4 lines had starting lineups that were shaky at best even before the season started.

Dennis Green fell in love with big names. Let's face it: Green has always been a big name guy. He drafted Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper with the Vikings. He had guys like Jeff George and Randall Cunningham quarterbacking his team before Culpepper arrived. But in Minnesota, he already had a very good offensive line. LG Randall McDaniel, the anchor of the line, was already there. All Green had to do was add a little piece here and there every year and everything would be fine.

In Arizona, Dennis Green came to a team that needed to be destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up. Green did that, but he forgot to build the foundation. He went out and drafted Matt Leinart, J.J. Arrington and Larry Fitzgerald and has signed high-profile free agents Kurt Warner and Edgerrin James. And all those acquisitions are commandable. The only problem is to this day, neither Warner nor Leinart have had sufficient time to find their star receivers down the field. In the meantime, Arrington was a bust as a rookie behind the woeful line and James can't find any holes and is running at under 3.0 yards/carry. Without a strong foundation, Green's offense is falling to pieces right now. Every once in a while, they will have a great drive, but they can't sustain it for a whole game, and certainly not for a whole season. People can talk all they want about the "Arizona Curse", but forgetting to draft linemen has nothing to do with a curse. It is very simply bad management. And for that, Green will lose his job at the end of the season.

Random thoughts from Week 7:
  • The Philadelphia Eagles dropped another close one on Sunday. This team could be 7-0 if it hadn't been for 3 heartbreaking, last-minute losses. I still feel like the Eagles will make the Playoffs, but they need to start winning some of those close ones. Otherwise, even if they get in, they won't go far.
  • Michael Vick throws 4 touchdowns and everyone starts writing about how he has finally arrived as a passer. Well, watch the same people who are singing his praises right now look like idiots next week when he throws three INT's. Vick is a great runner. But as a passer, he is like a nude dancer: he might look very good, but he will always be no more than a tease.
  • New England just keeps winning. And Tom Brady is starting to look comforable now. They'll be a player come January, that's for sure.
  • Has anyone noticed David Carr is the highest rated passer in the league. Yes, David Carr. And yes, he does still play for the Houston Texans. Pretty amazing, huh?
I didn't have time to get my picks in this weekend, so my record still stands at 48-24. I'll make sure I'll get them in this week.

See you Thursday for my NHL Thoughts.

Dwarf out.


At 6:17 PM, Blogger Veillotron said...

I think it is an outrage that Dwarf has not done any picks for last weeks.

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Veillotron said...

Interesting point on David Carr... But even more interesting is that Morten Andersen is still playing and he's getting close to 50...

I wonder what's gonna happen to thre Seahawks now that they have lost hasselback. Maybe Krieg can come out of retirement. By the way, I have been maintaining a correspondence with Dave's Krieg PR person and now Dave nows about me and he wants to meet me. Probably it will happen when he comes next to London, next April.

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Nick the Dick said...

Are the Spice Girls not going to be jealous?

At 7:46 AM, Anonymous huy said...

I applaud veillotron for having such determination and will to meet his idol.....he inspired me to bug and annoy brian dawkins pr person so that one day i can meet him too.....props to veillotron

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Sweet LP said...

Maybe I will personnaly meet the guy who used to play Fardoche!

Wait... fuck... the guy has been dead for over a decade...


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