2012 NFL Season: Week One Observations

Before launching into the games I watched a few comments on some major themes at the start of the season.

Replacement Referees: Granted watching on television you can’t see everything that goes on on the field but so far I think the replacement refs are doing okay. Granted there are some glitches but that is to be expected with officials with no NFL experience and probably have not worked together before. The blown reversed holding call on Green Bay’s punt return for touchdown is a good example of where one official was probably looking at one set of players where there was no holding/block in the back but the call was actually on another set of players. Thankfully it didn’t affect the outcome of the game. And I’ve seen regular officials make the same mistakes. It’s just magnified in this situation.

RG III and Andrew Luck: Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck will be tied at the hip for the rest of their lives. Not just their NFL careers, but their lives. I continue to see stories about the bust Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning, much to Leaf’s deteriment. These two will share the same experience. So far so good but if one game is any indiacation RG III came out of the gate with a small grasp on Rookie of the Year after his performance against the New Orleans Saints. He was phenomenal. He reminds me of a MATURE version of Michael Vick as a rookie, which should be very scary for NFC East foes. I was stunningly impressed. Okay, it’s one game I am not putting him in the Hall of Fame yet but everything points to him being the real deal, including, shall I say it again? His maturity. I did not see Andrew Luck but the Redskins putting it to a discombobulated Saints team was kind of fun to watch.

Super Bowl XLVII: No comment.


GAMES I WATCHED

New England Patriots over Tennessee Titans, 34-13

Are we going to have some kind of defense this year? Please? After this game, despite some shakiness, the defense looked rather improved from the debacle of last year. We STUFFED the run but at times struggled in pass coverage. But that has been a league wide trend this week so I am not overly worried about that.

I was really pleased to see a running game develop with Stevan Ridley but I am a bit worried about our depth at that position. I am MORE WORRIED about Nate Solder’s ability at left tackle. He missed or was late on too many blocks and he let Cameron Wimbley get a shot on Brady from behind that bloodied him up. We will miss the reliable Matt Light at left tackle this year. I pray that Solder steps it up.

The offense seemed decent but a bit shakey. Brandon Lloyd really had extremely poor technique in missing an easy touchdown bomb from Brady and there were a few other uncharacteristic drops as well. But overall we moved the ball well and finally got a little running game going.

While this was a team win with now true standouts, my MVP has to go to Ridley for making believe we might be able to run sometimes this year.

MVP: Stevan Ridley, RB


Dallas Cowboys over New York Giants, 24-17

Dallas put on a surprise showing for most in this game although I really was not that surprised by the outcome. Dallas defense was much improved over its inconsistent performance from last year and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree kind of came out of nowhere to be a force on offense. Overall it was a very efficient game for the Cowboys with mostly decent offensive line play, although the Giants Jason Pierre-Paul still looks to be the best defensive lineman in the league, and a solid running game. But really the key to the game was Tony Romo’s mobility. He was harassed often but used his feet to extend plays.

The second major factor in the game was the Giants defense was clearly sucking wind late in the third quarter and really didn’t do much to stop Dallas’s offense.

It will be interesting to see how these teams progress as the season wears on. The Giants always seem to start slow then finish strong, and Dallas has a habit of collapsing.

MVP: Kevin Ogletree, WR

San Francisco 49’ers over Green Bay Packers, 30-22

Solid defense, a decent running game, and a few big plays still equals a win in today’s NFL. And that is what the 49’ers brought to the table I this game. I keep wondering when Frank Gore will suddenly get old but he looked solid today. And the much maligned Alex Smith was hitting on his passes and even the mecruial Randy Moss got himself a touchdown pass.

The defense for the 49’ers was very solid and impressive.

Green Bay suddenly doesn’t look like the hot team everyone favors for a Super Bowl run. And frankly their defense looked pretty ragged and their running game non-existent. If they hope to the big game again, they probably are going through San Francisco (or maybe Atlanta)?

MVP: Frank Gore, RB

Denver Bronco over Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-19

Denver already had a solid defense. Now they have Payton Manning, who makes any offensive automatically better. They schooled the Steelers whose defense is growing ancient before our eyes and their offense was anemic at best. The Broncos defensive backs really shut down the Steelers recievers and I thought Tracy Porter was the best player on the field other than Manning.

The other thing that stood out to me in this game is Willis McGahee. I mean this guy is old and washed up right? I’ve never seen him play better.

After this performance the Broncos, so far, look like a force to be reckoned with. And despite the offense clicking, I thought the defense was even better!

MVP: Tracy Porter, CB

Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals, 44-13

If you asked me right now who the best team in the NFL is it would have to be the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco played as good a game at quarterback as I have ever seen him play. He was poised, made great decisions and seemed much more calm in the pocket that is his norm. Ray Rice was running well, Torrey Smith had a few big plays, and Michael Oher at left tackle seemed to be getting off the ball faster and be more comfortable on that side of the line that he as been in the past.

And the never aging Ray Lewis? Are you kidding me? And Ed Reed (who keeps getting hurt but so what?). It’s week one but this team was clicking on all cylinders.

MVP: Joe Flacco, QB

San Diego Chargers over Oakland Raiders, 22-14

This was a very painful game to watch at times. The Raiders early on in the game constantly kept shooting themselves in the foot with stupid penalties. And then by now everyone probably knows of the fiascos in the punting game that occurred after the regular long snapper went down with an injury. I don’t think I have ever seen three botched punt attempts in one game. Two, yes. Three? Never that I can recall. And those were as good as turnovers. But the Raiders defense hung as tough as they could throughout the game. A big shout out to former Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour who had a great game in a losing cause.

I do have to say, without any vulgar references, what does Trent Dilfer have for Philip Rivers? For the past few years, hearing Dilfer talk, you’d think Rivers walks on water. Trent Dilfer is the most idiotic, worthless, know nothing announcer in the game today. I got sick of hearing him blather on senselessly throughout the game.

But back to the game! If San Diego barely escapes winning a game with a mistake prone Raiders, and Kansas City can’t do much more than they did against Atlanta, then those three teams are probably just conceding the division the Payton Manning lead Denver Broncos in the AFC West.

MVP: Antonie Cason, CB


Washington Redskins over New Orleans Saints, 40-32

Robert Griffin III had the best rookie quarterback debut I can ever remember. He really reminds me of a much, much, much more mature version of Michael Vick. He was poised in the pocket, has a rocket arm, and for the most part made good decisions. Across the board the Redskins looked better in this game than I have seen in a long, long time. The offensive line, a big question mark coming into the season, played mostly very well with a few glitches. Left tackle Trent Williams played well, of course against a rust Will Smith, and out of nowhere for most Alfred Morris, the sixth round draft pick from Florida Atlantic showed why he is the starting running back.

The Saints, meanwhile, looked as discombobulated, mistake prone, and had scads of penalties which fueled the should have been blowhout. While one can see how explosive this offense can be, this game would not have been nearly as close had it not been for a blocked punt and poor calls by the referees.

After bounty gate I am glad to see the Saints get there cumuppance. And while I am not, by far, any kind of fan of the Redskins, they suddenly look intriguting.

MVP: Robert Griffin III, QB

 

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive Player: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
Defensive Player: Tracy Porter, CB, Denver Broncos
Offensive Lineman: Manny Ramirez, G, Denver Broncos
Special Teams: David Akers, K, San Francisco 49’ers (Tie NFL record with 63 yard field goal)
Rookie of the Week: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins

2009 NFL Season: Week 16

OBSERVATIONS

Other than the multiple playoff implications set up for next week, the biggest story of Week 16 was the Indianapolis Colts eschewing a chance to go undefeated in the regular season by pulling their key starters out in the third quarter against the New York Jets. The Colts ultimately lost the game. The looks on Peyton Manning’s face as he saw the back-ups give up the lead and the game were quite revealing. But of course he was a true solider after the game and said he was fine with the coach’s decision. The Colts fan were not on board with the decision. Coach Jim Caldwell has taken a bit of a whacking the press. All I will say is that going 16-0 means nothing if you don’t win the Super Bowl, as I so painfully know. Without Manning the chances of the Colts winning the Super Bowl would be close to nil, so I have no real problem with playing it safe. It’s the psyche and momentum of a team that has historically choked in the playoffs that is the real question. They really have nothing to play for next week, so they’ll definitely get some rest.

There are so many mediocre teams in the AFC it’s comical. Despite shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly, the Baltimore Ravens have avoided a shot to the head and are still alive! Unbelievable, until you consider all the other teams vying for a playoff spot have done the same. Right now the Ravens and the New York Jets control their fates next week. Wins and they are in. I am not going to worry or care about who wins and how it shapes up. Whoever the Patriots play in the playoffs will be a tough matchup.

The New York Giants are finally out of the playoff hunt. They lay down against the Carolina Panthers. Good riddance to one Manning.

And speaking of the Panthers, what would this team look like going into the playoff race had Matt Moore been starting all season long? John Fox seems to have made a big mistake at the quarterback position early in the year.

You can say the same for Jeff Fischer of the Tennessee Titans. While I don’t fault Kerry Collins for the Titans 0-6 start like some do, clearly Young should have come in sooner to add a spark to the team.

I am ready for the playoffs!

New England Patriots over Jacksonville Jaguars, 35-7

The Patriots seem to be hitting on all cylinders the past few weeks and are poised to make some noise in the playoffs. Brady played an outstanding game against the Jaguars and the defense has shown up and played well the past few weeks. Being the pessimist I am, and looking like a four seed in the playoffs, that means we’ll probably end up facing the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the playoffs (assuming we beat our first playoff opponent, which I think we will). But I guess that might be easier than facing the Chargers in San Diego, who are hitting on all cylinders, and then some, themselves.

This Sunday Patriots fans will basically be praying that we come out of the game healthy and ready to roll into the playoffs.

MVP: Tom Brady, QB


GAMES I WATCHED

San Diego Chargers over Tennessee Titans, 42-17

While I thought the Chargers would win this game I did not expect them to win so easily. Right now I think San Diego is the team to beat in the playoffs. They are playing the best football in the league as of Week 16. I hate to say that because they have to rank as one of my least favorite teams. I expect them to easily get to the AFC Championship game against either the Patriots or the Colts. I’d like to see us dance on their logo again and make LaDanian Tomlinson cry.

MVP: Philip Rivers, QB

Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens, 23-20

How many times can a team shoot themselves in the foot, blow game after game after game, and still control their destiny for making a playoff spot. It’s really unbelievable. Having seen the Ravens squander games so many times this year I want to say they don’t really deserve to be in the playoffs, but neither do any of the of other mediocre teams they are vying against.

Once again big mistakes at the worst moments cost the Ravens the game. Derrick Mason dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter that would have sealed the win, so he has to be the goat of this game. But Flacco didn’t do much to help matters at the end of the game either.

If the Ravens win Sunday they should be a dangerous team in the playoffs. They do have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and really should be looking at a better record than have now. If they had a true number one receiver they could be really dangerous, but they don’t.

Pittsburgh still has a heartbeat left too, and again, if they make the playoffs, despite their recent poor play, who knows what could happen?

MVP: LaMarr Woodley, LB

Philadelphia Eagles over Denver Broncos, 30-27

After the Eagles took a 20-7 lead into halftime I thought the game was basically over but the Broncos gave them a real run for it in the second half. That the Broncos didn’t fold and fought back must be a bit gratifying to Broncos fans. They still have a good chance to make the playoffs. Even though they are listed as a Wild Card team as of today, they need to help to get in. Like many of the other AFC teams vying for playoff spots, if they make it in they will be a scary opponent for whoever they play.

I am not a big believer in the Philadelphia Eagles, frankly, but right now they seem to be playing the best football in the NFC. I still think that the faltering Saints and Vikings are still the teams to beat in the NFC, but Philadelphia right now is looking poised to make a real run.

MVP: Brent Celek, TE

Dallas Cowboys over Washington Redskins, 17-0

I really don’t have a lot to say about this game. I originally was not going to bother watching it, but I did. It was a nondescript game. Everyone knew Dallas would win, and they did so rather easily. As usual the Redskins offense looked awful. Dallas goes to Philadelphia next week for a huge game which will decide the NFC East champion.

MVP: Tony Romo, QB

Chicago over Minnesota, 36-30 OT

What is going on with the Minnesota Vikings? They suddenly have faltered badly on both sides of the ball. This was an exciting game and the Vikings did come back from a 17 point deficit to almost win the game. I have to admit being a bit stunned most of the game. I was waiting for Cutler to throw up some interceptions but he actually played a decent game. Instead of folding under pressure the Bears hung in and barely pulled out a victory.

Adrian Peterson and his fumbles are really a problem and he essentially gave this game away by fumbling after a nice catch and run in overtime. The fumble handed the ball right back to the Bears who scored on a nice pass play to end the game. Peterson, hold on to the ball!

While I still think the Vikings and Saints are the teams to beat despite faltering of late, maybe they have seen their best days and the rising Eagles and Cowboys will eat their lunch. We’ll see.

MVP: Devin Aromashodu, WR

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive Player: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers, 206 yards rushing
Defensive Player: Brian Cushing, LB, Houston Texans
Offensive Lineman: Kris Dielman, G, San Diego Chargers
Special Teams: Sebastian Janikowski, K, Oakland Raiders (61 yard field goal)
Rookie of the Week: Brian Cushing, LB, Houston Texans


2009 NFL Season: Week 11

OBSERVATIONS

The theme of this week was clearly upsets, with the biggest being the Oakland Raiders knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs knocking off the Pittsburgh Steelers. Just missed upsets were Washington versus Dallas (go figure, Washington is a lousy offensive team) and the Ravens versus the Colts, as the Ravens just shot themselves in the foot, three times.

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans has taken over Adrian Peterson’s spot as my top running back in the league and gets serious consideration for league MVP. Without his unbelievable running talent, the Titans are still winless.

Matthew Stafford coming into the game after separating his shoulder and throwing the winning touchdown pass was one of the gutsiest things I have seen in a long time. Wow.

If I were doing an NFL Power Ranking my top team very well may be the Minnesota Vikings, even though the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts are undefeated. The Vikings have a much better defense than either of those two teams and an almost equally potent offense.

Denver continues to fold.

GAMES I WATCHED

New England Patriots over New York Jets, 31-14

This was an extremely important win for the Patriots given we lost last week to the Colts and face the undefeated New Orleans Saints next Monday night. And it certainly helps our chances for a second seed in the playoffs with the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers both losing this week.

Clearly the Patriots are a better team now than they were when they faced the Jets the second week of the season. The first half featured more running and short screens to slow down the blitz, and the offensive line played much better than the last time these teams met.

The Jets, frankly, don’t seem as good as they were earlier in the season. Mark Sanchez is a now playing like the rookie he is, looking confused and befuddled at times. Don’t get that comment wrong, however. I think he will be a solid NFL quarterback with experience. Even Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Matt Ryan (Falcons) who set somewhat of a standard last year for rookie quarterbacks are struggling a bit in their second season. But the Patriots are on the rise and the Jets are falling off the map.

The Patriots dominated this game from start to finish. Other than a blocked punt that netted the Jets an easy touchdown, the Patriots had the Jets’ number all day long. The offense seemed to go into a bombs away mode in the second half and got away from running the ball and the short passing game, which resulted in having a tougher time with the blitz and our offense didn’t do much in second half. But neither did the Jets.

Patriots’ cornerback Leigh Bodden came away with three interceptions, one which he returned for the first touchdown of the game. But Wes Welker had a monster game with 15 catches for 192 yards.

The Patriots better stick with the run and short passing game longer next week against the New Orleans Saints if they hope to win.

MVP: Wes Welker, WR

Miami Dolphins over Carolina Panthers, 24-17

Even without Ronnie Brown running the Wildcat offense I thought the Dolphins could beat the inconsistent Panthers with their solid running game. While they didn’t run the Wildcat nearly as often, they did hand the ball off to Rickey Williams who stepped up with 119 yards rushing and two touchdowns, which included a nifty 46 yard scoring run to put the game away in the fourth quarter.

Both of these teams played decent games but Carolina is a team that befuddles me. They have great running backs, a top flight receiver in Steve Smith, and a rather solid defense, mostly. But they are a mediocre to poor team at best. Oh yeah, they also have Jake Delhomme at quarterback, so never mind. It all makes sense now.

For Miami they are going to be in a real struggle to make the playoffs. It’s late in the season so maybe Ricky Williams can handle the extra workload, but he does not run the Wildcat a well as Ronnie Brown and they have a very pedestrian, non-threatening passing game. Most teams should just stack up against the run and they should be able to mostly hold the Dolphins down. But you have to give Miami credit for playing hard and making their offense work this week. Let’s see if they can keep it up.

MVP: Rickey Williams, RB

Indianapolis Colts over Baltimore Ravens, 17-15

What is wrong with the Baltimore Ravens? They have a very good football team but just cannot close the show. They had three excellent opportunities to win this game, but blew all three of them. Really, the Ravens should be sick about this loss. They could have easily won this game.

They did get rid of their lousy kicker who kept missing easy field goals. Their new kicker Billy Cundiff made some of the field goals he hit a bit heart stopping, but missed one wildly. But his miss appeared to be the fault of the snapper or holder because the ball was clearly held at an odd angle. Missed field goal, lose by two points. Bang!

In the fourth quarter the Ravens had the ball first and goal from the one yard line and could not score a touchdown and had to settle for a field goal. Fourth and one from the one, with an excellent offensive line and three outstanding running backs, against a defense that does not play that well against the run, and you can’t get the touchdown???? Another blown chance to get some points and win the game. BANG BANG!

And then Flacco, again in the fourth quarter, when the Ravens were near field goal range and could have won the game, throws a stupid interception. BANG BANG BANG!

Finally, with 28 seconds left and a Colts punt, the wickedly talented Ed Reed idiotically tries to lateral the ball near midfield and fumbles. Game over. Even with no time outs and 28 seconds left, the offense had a slight chance to get a few plays off and possibly kick a game winning field goal.

The Colts are a good team, obviously, at 10-0, but they escaped once again by the skin of their teeth and the Ravens let another winnable game pass them by. The Ravens are still in the playoff hunt at 5-5 but they should be better.

A final note, where did Tom Santi the tight end for the Colts come from? The second year player from Virginia saw his first action and the poor fellow made the biggest plays in the first half but took a beating for it. Even though he fumbled once, he was jacked up by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed at the same time!! Welcome to the NFL [expletives deleted]! I’ll give him a pass on that one and give him my MVP award.

MVP: Tom Santi, TE

Philadelphia Eagles over Chicago Bears, 24-20

The Eagles had a nicely balanced attack against the Bears, with rookie LeSean McCoy picking up 99 rushing yards, and DeSean Jackson racking up 107 yards receiving, including a 48 yard touchdown. What is up with all these XxSeans? With Dallas and the Giants joining the Eagles in mediocrity, the Eagles are in good position to once again steal the NFC East crown.

Meanwhile Jay Cutler looks just flat out awful. I really don’t like Cutler after all the bad mouthing he did in Denver and his generally sulky attitude. But frankly, I am starting to feel a little sorry for him. His mechanics are just atrocious. He constantly throws off his back foot and really is just arming the ball down the field without stepping into his throws. As a result he is very inaccurate, especially on the deep passes. Plus, he is skittish in the pocket and makes poor decisions. Right now he is a poor, not average, but poor quarterback. And his body language doesn’t look good at all.

The Bears better get Jay Cutler straightened out or they are in for not only a long season but possibly a long period of losing football.

MVP: DeSean Jackson, WR

Tennessee Titans over Houston Texans, 20-17

The Tennessee Titans do not look like the same football team that laid down against the New England Patriots. They have won four straight on the legs of Chris Johnson and with Vince Young leading them at quarterback.

In addition to Chris Johnson running the ball extremely well, I love what the coaching staff is doing with Vince Young. They are calling plays and letting him play to his strength. It has already been much discussed that Young is not a great pocket passer. In this game they rolled him out often and let him make plays with both his arm and his legs. They really are playing to his strengths. While I still don’t think Young will ever be a great NFL quarterback, with a solid running game and the receivers finally stepping up and making plays, Young can be very effective the way the Titans are running their offense. And that extra dimension of Young making big plays running makes the Titans offense that much more dangerous. With four straight wins, this team has new life.

On the flip side, and I know I’ve said this a hundred times about every team that is talented but not playing up to the level of their talent, I don’t know what to make the of the Houston Texans. Solid quarterback, decent running backs, great reciever, a lot of talent on defense, but they just can’t seem to a get everything together to string together some wins.

Finally, I know Chris Johson is the MVP of this team and he ran a league high 151 yards against the Texans. But I am giving my MVP award to Rob Bironas. He hit a 50 yard field goal and a game winning 53 yard field goal, while Texan kicker Kris Brown missed his chance. I have seen too many games where the kicker has missed makeable field goals that cost their team the game. Bironas came through with two very tough, long kicks to win the game.

MVP: Rob Bironas, K

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive Player: Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots

Defensive Player: Leigh Bodden, CB, New England Patriots

Offensive Lineman: Jared Gaither, T, Baltimore Ravens

Special Teams: Rob Bironas, K, Tennessee Titans

Rookie of the Week: Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Doug Baker’s 2009 NFL Midseason Awards

Now it’s time for me to present the midseason awards. I am sure every player has been anxiously waiting to see if they end up on my list and where.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER: Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

I know there will be a lot of grousing and second guessing from my distinguished fellow football fans on this one. I’ve already heard carping about my picking Manning over Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints, as Offensive Player of the Year on my Midseason All Pro Team. But really, you could flip a coin between the two for this award. They are both having great seasons.

My main reason for choosing Manning is I think he has had a slightly better season and has lead a slightly less talented team than the Saints to a 6-0 record. Brees has chunked up some interceptions and almost lost against the Dolphins. While Manning struggled a bit against the 49’ers last week, his game against Miami scoring 27 points with less than 15 minutes of possession left me a little mesmerized.

Drew Brees and Chris Johnson were in the running.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

Right now Jared Allen is the best defensive player in the league and is absolutely a beast. He’s almost unblockable one-on-one and sometimes even when he is double or tripled teamed. He has a motor that never stops and he never quits on a play. He has owned Green Bay this year as much as Brett Favre has.

Other players in the running included Darren Sharper, FS, New Orleans Saints who leads the league in interceptions on a much improved Saints offense.

Elvis Dumervil, OLB, Denver Broncos leads the AFC in sacks with 10 and has been a key reason, along with SS Brian Dawkins, for Denver’s turnaround on defense.

OFFENSIVE ROOKIE: Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets

While he walks, talks, acts, and plays like a rookie at times, Sanchez has had a decent rookie season at quarterback, the most difficult and important position in professional football.

I will also call out Percy Harvin, KR/WR, Minnesota Vikings for making an impact on his team, especially in the return game and Michael Oher, RT, Baltimore Ravens, who has had an excellent rookie season on the line of scrimmage. (Note there is a made for TV movie about Michael Oher’s story coming out soon).

DEFENSIVE ROOKIE: Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills

Byrd has been a turnover machine the past few weeks and has made a clear impact for the Bills on the defensive side of the ball. It makes me feel like the Patriots picked the wrong Oregon defensive back in Patrick Chung.

The only other player considered for this illustrious midseason honor was Brian Cushing, the USC linebacker now playing for the Houston Texans who leads all rookies in tackles.

Favre

Brett Favre Throws Pass Against Green Bay

LEAGUE MVP: Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings

I have to admit I have been rather sick of the Brett Favre retirement saga but what to say? He is the main difference personnel wise on the talented Vikings team and has completely turned this team into an elite squad. The difference he has made can be seen not only in their 7-1 record but the players’ attitudes on and off the field. Only time will tell if he can keep it up. And this is clear evidence of how important the quarterback position is in today’s NFL.

HEAD COACH: Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos

I was one of those piling on the abuse of both Josh McDaniels and Jay Cutler in the seemingly chaotic offseason the Denver Broncos had. So far McDaniels has had the last laugh, completely turning around the Broncos into, at this stage, one of the elite teams in the league. And he’s done it with Kyle Orton as quarterback instead of Jay Cutler. Meanwhile the Bears are struggling with Cutler at the helm. Go figure!

COMEBACK PLAYER: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

After suffering a season ending ACL injury last year, Brady has come back and played well this year. While he might not look like the Brady of old quite yet, he certainly is progressing in that direction as the season unfolds.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Denver Broncos

The Broncos were basically a mediocre to even poor team by the end of last season and their defense was one of the worst in the league. This year they have started out 6-1 and have an efficient offense that can score and one of the best defenses in the league. After the chaotic offseason where the team seemed in disarray I thought the Broncos would be lucky to have an 8-8 record this year. I guess I have been proven wrong and I am certainly surprised.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Tennessee Titans

How does a team go from Super Bowl contender to one of the worst teams in the league so quickly? I know the Titans have suffered injuries and lost players but that still does not explain the complete collapse of the team. Worse yet, the players look like they quit in some games. And what is really shocking is this is a Jeff Fisher coached team, one of the most respected coaches in the league. If the Titans think Vince Young is going to lead them out of this slump they are in for a huge disappointment.

GOAT: Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina Panthers

Jake Delhomme picked up right where he left off last year, where he threw five interceptions in an atrocious performance in the playoffs. He has already thrown 13 interceptions in the first seven games of the season and is playing so poorly that I do not understand why the Panthers are so reluctant to start Matt Moore. Jake Delhomme has obviously seen his better days so if Matt Moore is not the future of the franchise, the Panthers better start finding somebody who is.

PUNK: Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Larry Johnson has a history of abusing women which makes him a super punk. This year he is once again showing what a punk he is by trashing his coach and using gay slurs in public, leading to a suspension. He has wanted out of Kansas City for a few years now so maybe this is just a ploy to accomplish that. But who would want a washed up, bad attitude running back who is a me first player who doesn’t care about his team or his teammates? Maybe the Raiders.

Others in the running are Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys, who is pulling a TO and punking his QB Tony Romo. When will Dallas ever find a top flight receiver who is not a me first player who cares more about winning games than piling up statistics?

Clinton Portis, RB, Washington Redskins, also was considered for calling out his offensive line and causing trouble in the locker room with fullback Mike Sellers. This is the second or maybe even third season in a row Portis has publically criticized his teammates and offensive line. While part of his complaints are true, maybe he also needs to look in the mirror.

Jerry Porter is a loudmouth punk. I can’t stand him. Shut up already.

2009 NFL Football Season: Week 6

This is coming really late this week because I was on vacation in Miami and Key West without a computer, but I am posting it anyway.


GAMES I WATCHED

New England Patriots over Tennessee Titans, 59-0

“This probably doesn’t mean anything in the long run but I will take the easy win.” – fellow Patriots fan.

Before getting too excited about the great performance the Patriots put on against Tennessee let me say that Tennessee was so bad that it was not really a true test for the Patriots. Brady looked like the Brady of old and maybe this is the kind of game he needed to get his football legs under him. But Tennessee just simply seemed to fold. This was a great win for the Patriots and with the Jets losing puts New England on top in the tough AFC East. I hope we can keep it going.

What has happened to the Tennessee Titans is really beyond me. Even with injuries and weak defensive backs, especially with Courtland Finnegan out, the team on the field just simply seemed to quit, again. I thought they quit against the Colts last week, and I definitely think they quit this week. I thought Tennessee played an excellent game against Pittsburgh in the opening game of the season but lost in overtime. Since then they have regressed to an absolute mess. And it’s not Kerry Collins’ fault. He played reasonably well in the first half. His woeful statistics were a result of numerous dropped balls by his receivers. On the defensive side they simply didn’t compete. I am shocked by how far this team has fallen. A few losses at the start of the season and the team has simply folded. What is really shocking is that it is a Jeff Fisher coached team.

MVP: Tom Brady, QB

Minnesota Vikings over Baltimore Ravens, 33-31

This turned out to be a wildly entertaining game between two excellent teams. Baltimore got behind early but came storming back in the second half to almost win the game, but for a missed 44-yard field goal at the end of the game.

Minnesota played excellent on both sides of the ball for most of the game, especially Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, and Sydney Rice. Defensive end Jared Allen harassed Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco all day, but Joe stayed cooled and brought his team back in the second half.

The telling part of this game was the Minnesota defense collapsed a bit in the second half giving up big plays and scoring drives letting the Ravens back in the game. I don’t know if they got tired or the Ravens’ offense just started clicking, but it never should have been this close, as Baltimore was down 30-17 in the third quarter.

The Ravens have lost some real heartbreakers the last three weeks but they are an excellent team that should be around for the postseason. They competed hard throughout the game and came within a makeable field goal of pulling off the upset. Kudos to Flacco for being cool in the pocket and the entire team for competing hard for 60 minutes.

Adrian Peterson had 143 yards rushing but Favre was the key to the offensive attack in the passing game.

MVP: Brett Favre, QB

Atlanta Falcons over Chicago Bears, 21-14

To me the Falcons and the Bears look like to top tier teams but not teams in the very top tier. This was a reasonably well played game by both teams but the Bears blew their chance at a win with a fumble on the goal line in the third quarter that the Falcons recovered.

Matt Ryan continues to play very well and Roddy White seems to be coming on, although he has been very inconsistent in the past. Tight end Tony Gonzalez has really added a new dimension to this team and it is great to see a mostly receiving tight end who can actually block as well. This is a team I expect to improve as the year goes on.

Meanwhile, I am not sure what to make of Jay Cutler. Talent wise he should be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but he’s not. He talks a big game about being a leader, but frankly I don’t always see that on the field. And what happened to running back Matt Forte? The Bears have gotten little out of the running game this year and Cutler really needs the treat of the run to be more effective. The Bears are a puzzling team.

Atlanta defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux forced the fumble that held the Bears out of the end zone so I am going with him as MVP.

MVP: Jonathan Babineaux, DT

Denver Broncos over San Diego Chargers, 34-23

Denver is for real. They went in and handed their archrival San Diego Chargers a home loss in the division and are in the driver’s seat to win the AFC West. Kyle Orton may not be the flashiest quarterback in the league but he’s proven he is a winner. He is an accurate short to intermediate passer and the down field blocking for the receivers opens up nice holes. The running game is also starting to make progress.

The real star of the game though was Eddie Royal, who had a punt return and kickoff return for touchdowns that basically broke the back San Diego’s back, even though Darren Sproles also had a punt return for a touchdown. I believe that is the first time I have ever seen three kick returns for a touchdown in the same quarter.

Denver is on top, I am not sure where San Diego is going to net out. Their defense is not that good and will likely cost them the playoffs if they don’t turn things around.

MVP: Eddie Royal, WR/KR

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive Player: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Defensive Player: Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings

Offensive Lineman: Logan Mankins, G, New England Patriots

Special Teams: Eddie Royal, WR/KR, Denver Broncos

Rookie of the Week: Brian Cushing, LB, Houston Texans