Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday January 14, 2008 2:07AM; Updated: Monday January 14, 2008 10:21AM
5. I think this is what I liked about the Divisional Playoff weekend:
a. New England did a good job keeping Tom Brady clean, though he did face a diminished Jacksonville pass rush.
b. The Patriots' Josh McDaniels calls a good game. I say this because he's done an excellent job down the stretch re-integrating Laurence Maroney into the flow of the offense, because it's clear that in January you're going to have days you can't complete 26 out of 28 passes.
c. Shaun Phillips is still in Shawne Merriman's shadow in San Diego. But particularly on artificial turf, as he was on Sunday, Phillips showed signs of being the total package at linebacker. Then there's fellow linebacker Stephen Cooper, who led all defenders in the NFL this weekend with 16 tackles. Cooper is an excellent technique-and-pursuit guy.
d. I don't know how many more injuries the Giants secondary can take, but that is a physical and confident unit, whoever plays.
e. I'm not condoning his sideline yapping, but Philip Rivers grew up on the playing field Sunday.
f. And if Billy Volek's ever had a better drive than the one he engineered Sunday afternoon, it was either in high school or his dreams. The eight-play, 78-yard drive ate up 5:28 of the fourth quarter and gave the Chargers the lead they wouldn't lose.
g. Eli Manning has played three straight games without making a game-killing mistake.
h. I said it last week and I'll say it again: Amani Toomer, one of the good guys in football, is also one of the underrated guys. He doesn't miss a ball anywhere in his area code.
6. I think this is what I didn't like about the playoff weekend:
a. Vegas. How could every game have a lopsided spread?
b. Ridiculous, surrender play-call of the weekend: Mike Holmgren punting, down 22 with 12:30 left in the game, with a fourth-and-one at the Seattle 39. I love Holmgren, but that wasn't even a debatable call. It was simple. Holmgren punted instead of going for it.
c. I wouldn't put Sunday's game on my free-agent highlight DVD if I were you, Michael Turner.
d. Bob Sanders is a great player, and my choice for defensive player of the year, but that was a bush league thing he did after Nate Kaeding missed a second-quarter field goal try, putting his arm around Kaeding and tapping him on the helmet.
e. Patrick Crayton, you've got to be kidding me. That third-quarter drop just might have been the biggest play of the game.
f. I hated Dallas' play-calling and dawdling in the last five or six minutes. Where was the urgency? And if the Giants weren't tired, why was the Cowboys line huffing and puffing and getting beat in the last few minutes?
7. Let's be honest: the Colts missed Dwight Freeney more than any team missed any player this weekend.
8. I think Darren McFadden and his family have to be kidding us if they think we're going to buy him staying in college for another year. Silly. And by the way, whoever does take him in the first round in April is going to be getting a very good back, but a rusher prone to taking a lot of hits and running high, inviting contact.
9. I think it's impressive that Randy Moss catches one ball, the Patriots win, and Moss has no problem with the distribution of the football. Just shows how much Moss respects Tom Brady. If it was a Josh McCown-type ignoring him, Moss would be the squeaky wheel, but he knows the drill. Brady will get it to him soon. And often, in the next couple of games.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Highly recommend Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, even though it's one of the most disturbing films I've seen in a while. The story of brotherly betrayal is great, as is the acting of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei. (I can't see Marisa Tomei without thinking of her slugging George Costanza in the jaw on a Central Park bench.) A shocking film, but it's well-acted and a well-told story.
b. No college football playoff for me, please. I can't believe what I'm hearing from the "experts'' in my business. I heard an earnest discussion the other day on talk radio about taking the final eight teams after the bowl games, then playing a quarterfinal round, a semifinal round and a championship game to determine the national champion. That would put the title game on the weekend before the Super Bowl. That would have so-called student-athletes reporting to campus for the start of practice on or about Aug. 1, with the prospect of playing until the end of January.
Some college players could play 16 games over a six-month period. Had Ohio State been in such a tournament to the end last season, its players would have had their entire fall term plus three weeks of the winter term taken up with football. The college football season, for these eight teams, would be essentially the same season as the professional teams that play deep into the playoffs (starting with training camp and ending deep into January). And then there's spring football, which, on many campuses, takes up much of April. So these eight schools would play football for six months, have February and March off (but with players working out "on their own,'' which is a crock at the Division I level), then spend April in spring drills. School anyone? A life, anyone?
Ask yourself this question: Do you care one scintilla about the players who play college football, or do you care only about your enjoyment of the game, and do you care only about what you think the end result of a college football season should be? The only way a playoff would work in terms of allowing players to be quasi-legitimate students is to scrap the bowl system and have the playoffs end on or before New Year's. And you know that won't happen.
c. Coffeenerdness: You're about to kill my affection for your product, Starbucks. At O'Hare the other day, I ordered a double-tall hazelnut latte. Two shots of espresso, a couple of pumps of hazelnut syrup, four or five ounces of frothed milk ... $4.76. What's that -- a 500-percent markup? I know airports jack up prices, but robbery is robbery.
d. There is nothing like Green Bay on a playoff weekend. You've got to go. You just have to.
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