Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday October 8, 2007 7:01AM; Updated: Monday October 8, 2007 5:48PM
5. I think anyone who ever chuckles about the importance of turnovers needs to watch a tape of the second half of the Sunday night game, when Green Bay turned it over three times, and also needs to know that the Packers were 31st in the NFL in turnovers, with 139, in the four years before 2007. There is such a direct correlation between winning and not turning it over. The Pack was expert at winning the turnover battle in its 4-0 start, and horrible in losing a game it had no business losing to the Bears on Sunday night.
6. I think this is what I liked about Week 5:
a. Vital strip in the Falcons-Titans game by rookie defensive end Jamaal Anderson, who had an impact game.
b. Leon Washington is 78 percent of Devin Hester.
c. Heck of a final drive by Brian Griese on Sunday night, particularly his unexpected touchdown throw to Desmond Clark.
d. I know Michael Turner got lots of his 147 yards in garbage time in Denver, but he sure is impressive running through traffic.
e. I know this means something: The San Diego, Indy and New England backup running backs were 1, 2 and 5 in the league in rushing Sunday.
f. I have vastly underrated Plaxico Burress as a player.
g. Karlos Dansby, with 15 tackles at St. Louis, had three times as many stops as anyone on his team.
7. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 5:
a. "I don't know if I've ever been more embarrassed,'' said Mike Shanahan. A 38-point home loss tends to do that.
b. Green Bay's offense was beyond futile in the second half, as conservative a unit as I've seen all year.
c. Where on earth is Julius Peppers? Who has hidden Julius Peppers?
d. Joey Harrington was as bad in Nashville as Joey Harrington could be, throwing it so far behind Michael Jenkins that safety Vincent Fuller could grab the tipped interception and run it in for a touchdown.
e. Geez, Chad Pennington. Someone as smart as you threw such a dumb interception as you did against the Jints. The drumbeat is loud for Kellen Clemens now. Pennington has six 20-yard completions all season.
f. You Saints receivers, particularly Devery Henderson? Don't read this column, don't read your local papers, and don't listen to talk radio. You'll get blistered today for all your drops, almost any of which, if reversed, would have meant a Saints' victory. A shameful performance.
g. Boy, was I wrong about the Seahawks. Shaun Alexander can't grind out the tough yards. Or any yards, in fact.
h. I would not want to be on the Gerry Austin crew that did the Rams-Cards game. That call on the Edgerrin James touchdown, somehow upheld by replay review, was a blind-leading-the-blind deal. James never made it across the goal line, of course, before fumbling into the end zone. And the Rams recovered in the end zone. It was taken from a Ram in the pile by Arizona's Reggie Wells, which any replay review could show. Strangest replay call of the year, easily.
i. Seattle's second-half time of possession at Pittsburgh: 5:07. That is not a misprint.
8. I think you'll see some interesting TV on Saturday night at 8 on the NFL Network, if NFL Films' history of success with wirings repeats itself. They wired 10 players and coaches at Sunday's Ravens-49ers game (Brian Billick loves wearing the wire, and Mike Nolan owes NFL Films for a wiring the year before he got the Niners coaching job, when he looked so authoritative and ready for a head-coaching gig) and 12 extra cameras followed the wires.
I expect this year that Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, a deserving head-coach-in-waiting, would be one of the stars of this show. At one point in the third quarter of Baltimore's 9-7 win, Ryan called a defensive formation, then got upset when he looked out on the field and saw Ray Lewis call a different formation. When the ball was snapped, Ryan saw why Lewis made a different call. "He changed it 'cause he knows it's a screen pass!'' Ryan yelled. It was a screen, and Lewis stuffed it, ending the 49ers drive. When Lewis got to the sideline, Ryan exulted him, saying, "You knew it was a screen pass! And Lewis yelled, "I got your back, coach!''
I love stuff like that. How can you not?
9. I think when Kurt Warner tells me, "I can be as good as I've ever been,'' I believe him ... especially with a running game forged by Russ Grimm. I like Arizona's chances to stay in the pennant race now that Matt Leinart will be gone a few weeks with his broken clavicle.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. I agree with the critics I've read (like Alan Sepinwall of the Star-Ledger in New Jersey) that the Friday Night Lights debut had some really senseless violence that went way too far. In case you haven't seen the show, I won't spoil it, but thanks to the miracle of the Internet and NBC's willingness to put shows online for free, you can see it here if you missed one of the best shows in recent TV history.
b. In another blatant example of me shilling for NBC, I'd give The Office a B-plus for its season-opening double-episode. Very good, but none of the laugh-out-loud lines of some of last year's shows.
c. I'm no Costas, so I shouldn't be a stone-thrower. But did Frank Thomas say one thing on TBS in the last few days that showed any more insight than a second-year baseball beat guy could have provided?
d. There can't be a more improved player in baseball over the last couple of years -- other than maybe Carlos Pena -- than Kaz Matsui.
e. I almost feel sorry for A-Rod. Almost.
f. Can you imagine Joe Torre, 20 years from now, pulling a couple of grandchildren on his lap and saying, "Buffy, Jody, let me tell you the story of how Gramp got fired one time -- and it had something to do with a swarm of tiny insects.''
g. I could watch the Frank Caliendo stuff about a hundred more times. He's funnier today than Belushi was 30 years ago. He's even got George Bush's facial expressions down pat. I mean, they're perfect.
h. And did I mention how great the Parcells-Coors Light-Bigfoot ad is? It's the best one of the entire series, particularly when Parcells, after being asked if he believes in Bigfoot, says, "I'd have to see some visual evidence,'' and there's Bigfoot, in the $17.95 Bigfoot costume.
i. I bet Lou Piniella is really pleased about saving Carlos Zambrano for that nonexistent Game 4, the Game 4 that will be played next April. Piniella will be able to give Zambrano about 174 days' rest.
j. How on God's green infield did the Chicago Cubs make the playoffs? They played like a 70-win team, if that.
k. And no, I have not changed my mind about Manny Ramirez. But thanks for asking. He still must go.
l. What's up with the bizarre black-and-white dog in the best seat in the house at Coors Field on Saturday night
m. Coffeenerdness: Merritt Parkway, southwestern Connecticut, 8 a.m. Saturday, saved by Green Mountain Coffee autumn harvest blend. Bold and a little smoky. I need to drink Green Mountain more. Good people with a good conscience up there in Vermont, and most importantly, always a good cup of coffee.
Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Tony Kornheiser
This is the kind of game Buffalo needed its defensive pieces to have a chance in. But no Paul Posluszny. No Ko Simpson. No Coy Wire. None of the physicality the Bills need to match the bruising Dallas running game. In other words, if you've got Marion Barber III on your fantasy team, be very happy. Not to mention Tony Romo and Terrell (19.3 yards per catch) Owens. He can't keep that up, can he? Tonight he can. Dallas 37, Buffalo 20.
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