Posted: Monday September 19, 2005 2:26AM; Updated: Monday September 19, 2005 12:31PM
Joey Harrington (far right) mercifully gets a bye week after his five-interception day.
5. I think this is what I didn't like:
a. Houston's offense.
b. Minnesota's defense.
c. Anyone who thought the 49ers would make a game of it in Philadelphia.
d. How can a soul in Detroit have a scintilla of faith in Joey Harrington? Detroit's got the bye week this week, and luckily it doesn't have a home game until Oct. 9. I'd fear for the guy's safety at Ford Field if the Lions played at home next week.
e. Atlanta's inability to keep it going in a short week on the road against a decent team.
f. Minnesota's poise. Or lack thereof.
g. New England's goal-line defense.
h. The Lions' utter resignation when times got tough. Talk about a team with no faith in the quarterback.
i. Detroit's running game. I thought Kevin Jones was going to be this great back this year. The Lions have three rushing first downs in two games. THREE! Jones' longest run of 2005: 8 yards.
j. Minnesota's offensive line.
k. Brett Favre throwing an awful red-zone interception.
m. Heck, everything about Minnesota. If Zygi Wilf drove around trying to clear his head after the Vikings' ugly Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay, he's going to have to drive to the Bering Strait after what happened in Cincinnati.
6. I think Saints owner Tom Benson is so caught up in his desire for a new stadium, he's inclined to say yes to the first city, country, state or breakaway Soviet republic that will build one for him. If George Bush said today: "We're going to build a stadium as part of our efforts to get New Orleans back among the great, vibrant American cities,'' Benson would say: "Where do I sign?" The best idea Bush could have right now is to say the feds will build a stadium with one catch -- it will be constructed to be a disaster headquarters if another hurricane like Katrina strikes again.
7. I think the more I listen to Charlie Weis from afar, the more I feel I'm listening to a cross between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Isn't that what Weis is or at least what he's trying to be? Sure sounds like it.
8. I think if Mike Brown stays healthy and the Bears win a few games, he'll give Ed Reed a run for his money as the best safety in football. What an impactful game he played against Detroit. He's everywhere, with the quickness to cover receivers and the brutish strength to intimidate them. One thing he's going to have to curb: the helmet-to-helmet stuff. Wouldn't be surprised to see the league whack him pretty good for his hit on defenseless Marcus Pollard of Detroit.
9. I think I need to give kudos to those -- and I know I'll forget many -- who've been so generous with their money and time in the last couple of weeks for the hurricane and flood relief. Forgot to mention this last week, but I was sitting in Baltimore VP of public relations Kevin Byrne's office the day before the Ravens-Colts game when David Modell, the former owner's son, called to say he was matching the players' collected contributions of $165,000. I realize he's got more money than most of us will ever sniff, but it's a heck of a gesture anyway. The Ravens ended up giving more than $1 million between players and owners, and they're not done. ... Last week, on his day off, LaVar Arrington and wife Trisha took 150 Katrina evacuees staying at the D.C. Armory to a Wal-Mart and gave each of them a $200 gift card. ... Brett Favre sending 37 -- thirty-seven! -- tractor-trailers of aid and supplies to Mississippi. ... Tiki Barber donating a minimum of $10,000, depending on his stats tonight. ... Jets center Kevin Mawae spearheading a Saturday collection drive to load trucks on Long Island with aid for Louisiana. I know I'm a cornball and I know I'm missing hundreds of similar gestures, but I thought these efforts were notable in their spur-of-the-moment generosity.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
a. Memo to the couple at O'Hare last night that was pawing each other while waiting for American Flight 1914 to Newark: Next time, get a room.
b. I don't see how the Red Sox can hold on, unless David Ortiz can pitch too.
c. College football games take too long.
d. Coffeenerdness: Fun to eat breakfast at the Sofitel Hotel in Chicago on Sunday (oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar), but the real treat was the French-press coffee. Now there's some strong coffee. The sign of good French-press is the residue it leaves in the bottom of the cup.
e. So much for Mid-American Conference rejuvenation. Michigan/Auburn/Penn State/Virginia Tech 203, Eastern Michigan/Ball State/Central Michigan/Alma Mater Ohio U. 6.
f. This just in: Randy Johnson's a baby.
g. Finally, this from ace Lions beat writer/funniest man in the NFL Mike O'Hara of the Detroit News: "Two caskets are talking. One says to the other, 'Hey, why are you coffin?'''
WHO I LIKE TONIGHT, AND I DON'T MEAN AL MICHAELS
Saints and Cowboys, in the rare Monday night twinbill.
New Orleans 23, Giants 16. Dallas 14, Washington 13.
Here's what you should know about the Saints last year. Aaron Brooks averaged 34 pass attempts per game (three more, by the way, than PeytonManning). He had an alarmingly high 70 negative plays: 16 interceptions, 41 sacks, 13 fumbles (second in the NFL). He completed just 57 percent of his throws, with just 21 touchdowns. Too much bad. Not enough good. (For purposes of comparing, Peyton Manning had 28 negative plays last year, BrettFavre 33, Tom Brady 47, Daunte Culpepper 66. All had better completion percentages and more touchdown passes than Brooks.)
So when new offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard took over for MikeMcCarthy, the mandate, at least quietly, was to make this more of a running team. Smart move. Deuce McAllister and that beefy offensive line are more suited to control a game than Brooks is. Tonight in New Jersey, I expect the Saints to try to gash the Giants with a big dose of McAllister.
Re the Boys of Cow, last week was a harbinger of good things to come -- as long as their receivers can stay upright. Loved what I saw of newcomer Patrick Crayton. I think Drew Bledsoe continues his resurgence and the Cowboys squeak one out.