Wednesday, October 12, 2005


"Week 5 Wrap-up"

Ravens at Lions: Flags, flags, flags. This game saw more flags than a United Nations assembly! 21 in all for the Baltimore Ravens, 2 short of breaking a rather undignified record. Balty's penalty party, coupled with the ejections of Raven LB Terrell Suggs and S B.J Ward (both for making contact with officials), helped the Lions to victory. And, get this... with Chicago's loss, Detroit sits alone atop the NFC North! Now there's a weak divvy'! This outcome of this game is rife with controversy, however. It is believed, even by Lion players like RB Kevin Jones, that the refs' were a bit... "como se dice" (how do you say)..." liberal with the penalty calling. According to reports, Jones felt that the officials were "...calling penalties that weren't even there." If you happened to have watched the game, then you're aware that MoTown's "W" certainly wasn't attributable to a tremendous offensive output. Drafted with high expectations and expected to "restore the Lion roar," Joey Harrington has come up awfully short. The guy's greatest excusionist, GM Matt Millen, felt that this would be his season. And in reality, it should be. At Harrington's disposal are a nearly unparalleled receiving corps (at least in terms of potential; all were 1st rounders) in WRs Roy Williams, Mike Williams and Charles Rogers, a stud RB in Kevin Jones, and a pass catching TD specialist TE in Marcus Pollard. And yet.... Harrington's "reality" has turned sour. At this point in his career, when he should be flourishing, Joey Harrington seems better suited to be a backup. Sunday, the Lion QB was 10/23 for a scant 97 yards, with 1 score and 2 picks. On the season, Harrington has completed a mere 51% of his passes for 597 yards, with 4 TDs and 7 INTs. Listen, I don't wanna' be the "doom and gloomer," but it would seem as if D-Troit needs a legit', franchise QB. Backup Jeff Garcia, once he recovers from his broken leg, may be a solid stop-gap... but nothing more. With so much talent at the skill positions (not to mention money invested), and a defense that has a knack for making big plays, the team remains rudderless. In conjunction with his "talent vacuum," Harrington has displayed marginal leadership skills at best.
Although KJ turned out to be a solid fantasy play Sunday, one of his 2 TDs was a gift; the result of an ump' determining that QB Joey Harrington had fumbled the ball, thus allowing it to be advanced. With 58 yards on 26 totes, Jones' hardly posted gaudy digits. Of concern, the quad' injury to WR Roy Williams; check back later in the week as to his health. With Charles Rogers already out due to a subby' suspension... the Lion receiving corps is down to just 3 Wideouts.
As for the Baltimore Ravens? This game was a virtual "3 Stooges" act. Penalties, ejections, and boneheaded errors in judgment. Yes, Football is a game of passion and intensity... yet one still must maintain a measure of control. The Ravens lost their respective composure, resulting in the loss of the game. A team so offensively anemic, such as Baltimore, must play virtually error-free ball. That just didn't happen. QB Anthony Wright (230/2/2) has been something less than spectacular this season. Yet... he's the backup, he's not expected to come in and salvage a season. On the year, Wright's thrown for 800 yards, with 4 TDs and 6 INTs. Is the injured Kyle Boller the Ravens' answer at QB? The team feels that he possesses all the physical skills necessary to succeed at this level, yet, something has been absent from Boller's play. Once Boller returns from his foot injury... his performance will answer those questions.
Looking towards this Sunday, a virtually frantic, last place Raven team faces off against the Browns. One issue of note; the Raven defense. Entering the season, observers and fans alike felt that... as usual, the Raven D would cause opponents' hearts to flutter. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Baltimore has allowed 87 points in 4 contests. Within the AFC, in the same number of games, only the hapless Texans have allowed more points. LB Ray Lewis seems to have lost a step and is posting very human numbers. It was felt that aggressive new defensive scheme would free the explosive Lewis up, permitting him to fly around and make sideline-to-sideline plays. That just hasn't happened. Against the Brownies' Sunday, a team that hemorrhages ground yards at a rate of almost 138 per game, perhaps RB Jamal Lewis will finally have his breakout game. It'll all come down to whether or not Anthony Wright and his receivers can force the Browns to respect the pass... if so, "J-Lew" will have a day. This past Sunday, with 95 yards on 19 carries, and an additional 17 yards and a score on 2 receptions, Lewis enjoyed his most productive real... and fantasy, game of the season.
The Lions, meanwhile, will be engaged in quite a "cat fight!" Facing an aggressive Panther team, Detroit's most effective offensive weapon may be limited. RB Kevin Jones will have a tough day at the office, as the Panthers boast the 3rd ranked run defense. While Carolina CAN be victimized through the air... a depleted receiving corps, and Joey Harrington, doesn't promise to strike fear into the Panther hearts. He was a poor play this past week and STILL managed to find the end-zone, twice. It underscores a time-tested fantasy Football theorem; "don't sit your studs."

Saints at Packers: A Saint team that had been "pulling some things together, on both sides of the ball," folded like a cheap suit Sunday. With their gold and green backs to the wall, QB Brett Favre and his teammates came roaring out onto Lambeau Field Sunday... prepared for an old-fashioned "donnybrook." What the Pack received, though, was more akin to the unforgettable scene from "Animal House; ... thank-you sir! May I have another? Thank-you Sir... May I have another?" Man oh man, the Pack took the Saints out to the woodshed and handed 'em the 2nd worst defeat in franchise history! But a sagacious Favre said "...we're not 52-3 better than the Saints, we're also not 0 and 4 bad." At no point was this game competitive, and there really isn't much to review. Favre DID go airborn... and he WAS effective. The storyline of this game is "INJURY." The Green Bay training room must be like Grand Central Station these days. After losing (amongst others) WR Terrence Murphy to a scary looking neck injury, RB Ahman Green to a knee injury, and C Mike Flanagan to a groin injury last Monday night... "the hits just keeeep onnnn comin!" The Pack was further decimated when hard-running RB Najeh "I'm pooped!" Davenport was felled by a broken ankle Sunday. Davenport was doing his ... ah, "duty," and filling in for the injured and to-date ineffective Green. It's interesting that, when running behind the same O-line, "D-Port" was effective where Green was 3 yards and a cloud o' tundra. This is yet another indicator that Ahman Green's days as a premier feature back are over. Unfortunately, Davenport, who I had pegged as a prime 'Wire pickup and potential "future feature" last week, was injured so badly. When finally given the chance to shine... shine he did, so keep this in mind when setting up draft cards next season. If it makes Packer fans feel any better, the Saints lost their feature back as well. Deuce McAllister's ACL was forcibly shaken loose, and no number of opinions will change the fact that the burly back is shelved for the season. A bad season turned worse still with that news. In McAllister's stead, the 'Aints will turn to Antowain Smith as the primary back, with Aaron Stecker receiving a fair share of touches as well. This week, the Saints will go to battle with the Atlanta Falcons. Even though "Falc' freak o' nature" Mike Vick was sidelined with a leg injury... the Atlanta O moved the ball with near impunity. Backup QB Matt Schaub, who brings a much different look to the offense, sat in the pocket and picked apart a depleted New England Secondary. Whether it's Vick or Schaub over Center Sunday, the Saint D will have its hands full. Check on the status of WR Joe Horn. Even though Horn missed the game with a hammy' pull, the passing game was largely ineffective. In fact, after tossing 2 picks and completing a breathtaking 9 of 22 passes, coach Jim Haslett yanked Brooks from the game like a bad tooth from a big mouth. This is not exactly a vote of confidence. If the Saint season continues its ugly downward spiral... it's not out of the realm of possibility that rookie 3rd-stringer Adrian McPherson sees action. Backup Todd Bouman has made the rounds, is a known quantity, and while he owns a strong arm... he's no franchise. McPherson brings intriguing skills to the position, and the team mau be inclined to see what they have in him. Check on Horn... but really, it's an ugly matchup from a fantasy perspective. The loss of RB Deuce McAllister, the key to the New Orleans O, will substantially impact the fantasy landscape.
The Pack' will receive a much needed Bye this week. With a shaky Detroit Lion (2-2) team sitting atop the NFC North, Green Bay, even at 1-4, remains in contention.

Buccaneers at Jets: New York pulled a surprising victory out of its hat this weekend. How'd they do it? Quite arguably, they responded to the calming presence of 64 year old QB Vinnie Testaverde. It's interesting.. the effect the elderly have upon us. After watching the start of the season from a rocking chair... the geriatric Signal Caller received a phone call when both Pennington AND Fiedler suffered serious arm injuries. The bottom line? Vinnie knows the offense, Vinnie has a history with Curtis Martin, Wayne Chrebet and LaVeranues Coles, and Vinnie looked awfully at ease in the pocket Sunday. Vinnie wasn't a solo-Sunday act, though. Stud RB Curtis Martin, much to the delight of his owners, FINALLY crossed the stripe... and he did it twice, against a tough Buc' D. While his 59 rushing yards are nothing spectacular, C-Mart forced an aggressive Tampa unit to stay at home, hindering them from dropping back into coverage. *NOTE: The loss of backup runner Derrick Blaylock WILL cost Gang-Green at some point. Martin is a fine runner... but he will tire rapidly if forced to carry the bulk of the run game. This is precisely the scenario Jet fans feared when LaMont Jordan was allowed to flee for the West Coast. Buc' QB Brian Griese was nothing special Sunday... but really, Griese serves as more of a "caretaker." Son of hall of fame 'Phin QB Bob Griese, Brian Griese has been accurate.. but he isn't expected to break the game open. The loss of game breaking rookie runner Carnell Williams (hammy' pull) cost Tampa the game. Backup runner Michael Pittman was, and is, serviceable... he accrued 87 total yards yesterday. But Pittman was kept in check by a vaunted Jet D that really rose to the occasion. Further, Pittman lacks Williams' ability to score from virtually anywhere... at virtually anytime.
This coming week, the Jets lock up with the Bills. The Bill defense, previously believed to be a team strength, has been surprisingly soft against the run. C-Mart is a strong fantasy play against a D that just allowed rookie runner Ronnie Brown to hang 97 rushing yards on 'em. Vinnie Testaverde is ONLY worth starting in DEEP 2 QB leagues. As for the Bucs... it's the "battle for Florida!" Tampa tilts with Miami... and it should be entertaining if nothing else. Tampa Bay boasts a resurgent defense... a D capable of making game changing plays. Now... Carnell Williams IS expected to start Sunday. With the team looking down the barrel of a Week 7 Bye, expect Gruden to run the youngster hard. However, Miami's strong against the run... a scant 82 yards per game, ranked #2 league-wide strong. Look for "Cadillac" to hit a speed bump or two (in the form of Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor)... but again, the "don't sit your studs" rule applies. WR Michael Clayton continues to struggle, that separated shoulder really impedes his ability... but so do the double-teams he's often forced to contend with. TE Alex Smith is an interesting talent... and a sound 'Wire pickup for those of you in deeper leagues. He could be a sneaky-good start against a tough Miami D next week.

Dolphins at Bills: After struggling mightily with inexperienced J.P Losman at the helm, a wayward Bill team turned to a more seasoned Signal Caller; Kelly Holcomb. Holcomb, who will again captain the team Sunday, did precisely what the team needed him to do. Firing short quick passes and playing within himself, Holcomb connected on 20 of 26 passes for 169 yards and a TD. More significantly, Holcomb played mistake free ball and forced the Dolphin D to back-off the line, giving RB Willis McGahee (86 rushing yards and a score) room to move. Further helping the Bills were a franchise record 18 penalties assessed against the 'Phins. And not to be overlooked, a strong showing from a much-maligned Bill defense. Although rumor has it that J.P Losman is embarrassed at having lost his starting gig... the truth is, Losman looked overmatched and overwhelmed. If the Bills are to make ANY noise in the divvy', it'll be with Holcomb at the helm. Miami was forced to confront the very same dilemma. After surrendering a king's ransom to the Eagles for QB A.J Feeley... it's quite apparent that Feeley is ill-equipped to be a starter. Now, with Gus Frerotte calling the shots, the Dolphins are at least competitive. With 3 costly INTs, Sunday was not one of Frerotte's stronger outings. The bright spots for the Dolphins? The strong play of TE Randy McMichael (1 TD reception Sunday) and RB Ronnie Brown's (97 yards on 17 carries; that's 5.7 YPC) continued emergence. If Brown can maintain his strong running, and better protect the ball (Brown lost a game-sealing fumble), Frerotte and his strong contingent of pass catchers should flourish.
As mentioned above, Miami faces Tampa Bay Sunday. A stout Buc' D… a D coming off of a loss no less, will provide RB Ronnie Brown with yet another trial by fire. However, "fire hardens," and Brown will be a better back because of it. That does not, however, make it a strong fantasy matchup... and that's all we're really concerned about here, right? With a legitimized run game and Gus Frerotte airing the ball out regularly, WRs Marty Booker and Chris Chambers, and TE Randy McMichael are solid fantasy starters. But against a Buc’ air defense that permits a mere 157 passing yards per contest, don’t expect much… and McMichael’s the strongest play.
The Bills oppose a NY Jet team that will draw both strength and confidence from their upset win over Tampa. But against Gang-Green's 27th ranked run defense, McGahee should have an ill rushing day. Opposing D-coordinators KNOW “What’choo talkin’ ‘bout Willis” is coming, yet even when met by a “Linebacker Welcome Wagon," the Bill back gets his yards. McGahee is able to exploit the smallest of creases, he explodes through the hole and can kick it into second gear in a hurry, and should he get past the first level of Jet tacklers... Now, with Holcomb at the helm WRs Lee Evans and Eric Moulds immediately regain their fantasy relevance. Moulds is a savvy pass catcher, and he has a knack for getting himself open. Lee Evans is coming off of a fine rookie season, and he continues to develop into a very good deep threat.

Patriots at Falcons: Now... this was an interesting game. Both teams entered the game with their ranks injury-thinned; QB Michael Vick (a scratch with pulled knee ligaments) for the Falcons, and New England was missing S Rodney Harrison (multiple torn ligaments; quite possibly a career-ending knee injury), and DE Richard Seymour (also a strained knee). And, both teams exited the game having suffered further injuries. Patriot RB Corey Dillon limped his way off the field with an apparently mild ankle sprain, while the Falcons are forced to contend with a pair of serious losses. Off-season acquisition LB Edgerton Hartwell has a cool name... he also has a torn Achilles and is done for the season. Fledgling Falcon CB Chris Cash busted UP his arm, he too will be stalking the sidelines until ‘06. Back to the game. Filling in for Vick, 2nd year backup Matt Schaub was phreaking’ phenomenal. Schaub had flashed skills during pre-season work... but his pocket presence and ability to deliver the ball to his receivers in stride caught a depleted Patriot Secondary off guard. Schaub hung 3 TDs and a feather under 300 passing yards on New England. On the opposite side of the field and not to be outdone, Tom Brady was good for 350 yards and 3 TDs. In an era of pass catching, vertical-threat TEs, this game’s stats illustrate just how important the position has (again) become. No longer are TEs “slimmed-down” linemen. Many are athletic, acrobatic, and soft-handed. As expected TE Alge Crumpler had a productive Sunday for Hot-Lanta, hauling in 6 balls for 99 yards and a TD. Again, not to be outdone, the Patriot TEs had an answer for their Falcon counterpart; Daniel Graham snared 5 for 119 and a score (averaging a ridiculous 23.8 YPC) and Ben Watson added another catch for 33 yards and a score. Brady was simply masterful Sunday, hitting 9 different receivers. And with 7 different pass catchers, Schaub was nearly as impressive... especially given the state of the Atlanta receiving contingent. With 5 receptions for 103 yards, Falcon WR Brian Finneran continues to be a solid fantasy "WR 3" or "Flex" option, and 2nd year receiver Michael Jenkins is working to shed a premature "bust" label. Jenkins may have only caught 3 passes... but they were for 55 yards (18+ YPC). Sunday, the Falcs’ face-off against New Orleans. At first blush… and frankly even second blush, this would seem to be an easy W for Atlanta… even given their injuries. The “Thunder and Lightning” combo of RBs Warrick Dunn and T.J Duckett (Sunday was the 1st game wherein Duckett did NOT score) have forced defenders up, allowing WRs Finneran and Jenkins, and TE Alge Crumpler to get behind them. Allowing almost 120 rushing yards per game, look for Dunn to continue to record solid total yardage numbers. And, as usual, Duckett will receive his touches, especially around the goalline. A Saint defense that was utterly shamed by the Green Bay Packers will have fire in their bellies and violence in their hearts… but look for Atlanta’s “DVD” (Dunn, Vick, Duckett) to be awfully entertaining. Without RB Deuce McAllister in the lineup, the Saints will have to rely upon, and allow QB Aaron Brooks to again think for himself. Frankly, that bodes poorly for the entire team. The New England Patriots… everyone thought them dispirited, depleted, and defeated. Yet, the Pats again demonstrated remarkable intestinal fortitude… a reflection of their unquestioned leader, Tom Brady. This week, Tom “Terrific” and compatriots fly cross-country and knock heads with a better than expected, 4-1 Bronco squad. With a fleet group of ‘backers that have admirably contained backs such as LaDainian Tomlinson (held to 52 total yards) and Priest Holmes (held to 61 rushing yards), a potentially gimpy RB Corey Dillon is an iffy play, especially at “Mile High.” Again, the “don’t sit your studs” rule could be applied… but that’s more effective when your stud is 100%. Check the status of Dillon before you start him. Brady… how can you sit Brady? The past 2 games, Denver has been without CB Champ Bailey. The cover corner swears, however, that he’ll be back for this game. Who’s he going to blanket? Brady spreads the ball around smooth as butter. Brady remains a solid fantasy start against a D that’s allowed 235 passing yards per… but again, that number is inflated due to Champs absence. TEs Ben Watson and Daniel Graham were expected to play larger receiving roles, but due to the delpeted O-line… they’ve had to stay home and block. As a pass catcher, Graham may be the better fantasy start. With a compromised (at least potentially, if Dillon is hampered by his ankle) run game, and against this Bronco team, expect the TEs to again play a prominent role.

Chicago at Cleveland: Both teams have been unpredictable. Bear cub QB Kyle Orton (16/26 for 117 and 1 TD Sunday), after one horrendous, 5 pick game, seems to be more comfortable in the offense, and is playing better ball. But really, that’s not saying much. The Chicago Bears are offensively dull and don’t scare anyone, and the defense while good… hasn’t made many game changing plays. Sure, RB Thomas Jones can roll up the yards… but after suffering a partial LCL tear Sunday, Chicago will no longer be able to ride that Bear back. How long Jones is out for is indeterminable at this juncture. But, with Jones’ injury comes rookie runner Cedric Benson’s ascension to feature back. With 2 freshman NFL’ers playing the 2 most important skill po’ roles, the Chi-town O could be a snowball speeding downhill. From a fantasy perspective, the loss of Jones is huge… and Orton has dramatically limited WR Muhsin Muhammed’s contributions. Cleveland, on the other side of the field, has received solid, if unspectacular QB play from Trent Dilfer. The veteran Field General tossed a pair of scoring passes to WR Antonio Bryant Sunday, and this underscores an interesting dilemma. Each week, another pass catcher steps forward. From an NFL angle this is good, for it prevents opponents from removing the Browns’ top receiver… ‘cause there is NO 1 top receiver. Predicated upon the week, WRs Antonio Bryant, Braylon Edwards and Frisman Jackson have stepped forward to post nice diggies’… and lest we forget TE Steve Heiden’s Week 2, 2 TD explosion? This past Sunday was WR Antonio Bryant’s turn. The former Cowboy hauled in 6 passes for 83 yards and a pair of 6’s. It was Trent Dilfer’s 100th career start and somehow, no matter how ugly the game was… and it WAS ugly, it was oddly poetic that Dilfer also threw his 100th career TD pass (he also tossed #101 later in the game).
The Brown run game is also a thing of butt-ugliness. Former 1,000 yard Bronco back Reuben Droughns isn’t exactly burning up the field. Droughns’ rushing numbers as a Brown certainly strengthen Bronco coach Mike Shanahan’s case that virtually any runner would be a 1000 yarder behind his line. Be that as it may, against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday…. Boobin’ Reuben is a marginal “Flex” RB 3 start. Although Lion RB Kevin Jones notched 2 scores against the Ravens… he garnered few yards. If WR Braylon Edwards is still sidelined with his elbow infection, and he probably will be, then WR Antonio Bryant’s also a so-so start. Dilfer will probably throw for 210 yards or so. Against the Minnesota Vikings and their shoddy run D, RB Cedric Benson could be a sneaky-good start. He should not, however, be looked at as more than a “Flex” start until such time as he proves his worth. And if you’re trottin’ out Kyle Orton in ANY format, you’re probably so far out of contention that it doesn’t really matter. Much like the real Bears, you’re playing for draft position.

Seahawks at Rams: Man… if the Rams fielded ANY kind of D at all, they’d be scary. But they don’t, and even with both WRs Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram out with injuries, the ‘Hawks did quite a number of the defensively hapless Rams.
Sunday morning, in the chat room, the question of Seattle WR Joe Jurevicius’ value was raised. It was my opinion… and an opinion shared by several in the chat community, that “Joey J.” was primed to make some fantasy hay. With a career best 9 receptions for 137 yards and a score, “JJ” did precisely that. Jurevicius and QB Matt Hasselbeck have forged nice chemistry, and bolstered by RB Shaun Alexander’s (135 total yards, 2 TDs) determined running, the passing game had a FAR better day than many league observers projected (ahhh, myself included). But to tell you the truth, against the Ram Secondary, a High School Signal Caller could have a career passing day. Hasselbeck continues to be a steady real, and fantasy presence. Sunday, ‘Beck… the “Offensive Player of the Week” mind you, connected on 27 of his 38 passes, for 316 yards, 2 TDs, no INTs. But again, let’s put our fantasy hands together for RB Shaun Alexander, ‘cause that guy goes through yards and scores like a bulimic monkey on a banana binge! Alexander notched his 3rd 100+ yard rushing game in 4 games… and has reached the 6 point promised land 8 times in 4 games. I don’t care that the team feels Alexander “doesn’t always run hard.” I don’t care that Alexander pouted at the end of last season, feeling that his coach “stabbed him in the back.” So long as the guy continues to run as if his ass was on fire… I DON’T CARE! And as for the Rams? “psshh” (please insert your own sound of disgust) Here’s a team that has surrendered a whopping 81 points in its passed 2 games. Here’s a team that allowed the opening kick-off to be returned 99 yards for a TD. And here’s a team that allowed an injury-riddled Seahawk squad to rack up over 430 yards of total offense. *NOTE: In last week’s “Pick ‘em” I’d suggested that TE Jerramy Stevens would be a rock-solid ‘Wire pickup for those of you who are lacking strong TE play… are any of you disgusted with KC Chief Tony Gonzalez yet?? Yeah, me too. Anyway, Stevens caught 3 passes for 65 yards and a score. Again, this week against an anything but tough Houston Texan squad… Stevens could be a solid start. RB Shaun Alexander will be a solid start as he is EVERY week… and against a winless team… one that allows opposing runners to ring up a C-note and 20, Alexander will be run H-A-R-D. Although I nominated Hasselbeck as a “Should Sit QB” last week… what’d you expect with such a decimated receiving corps? Ok, this week? Against the Texan Secondary? Look for ‘Beck to post solid, 250 yard, 2 TD numbers.
The Rams… they won’t have it quite so easy. The Rams go toe-to-toe with the undefeated, Nas-T, In-D. The Colts do have an Achilles heel, though; Indianapolis is allowing opposing runners to hit the century mark on the ground. Look for RB Steven Jackson to receive a heavy workload. And speaking of heavy workloads… poor Mark Bulger. Dude’s arm is gonna’ fall off! Although opposing Qubes’ have hung 220+ yards on the Colt Secondary… the D, as a whole, has allowed a grand total of 29 points all season. This will be no walk in the park for the Rams… and at 2-3, they need this game.

Titans at Houston: Another game for the ages. Look, the Texans are horrid. Puttin’ the O under the ‘Scope for a moment, QB David Carr,,, must feel like he’s been hit by a car. This guy, as I’ve mentioned before, is a human piñata. “Whoops… was that a Pancreas? My G-d, I’ve never seen one up close before! And wow, what a healthy lookin’ Spleen he has… I mean had. Just… just brush the dirt off and push it back down Carr’s throat.” The Texans are averaging, get this, LESS THAN 90 PASSING YARDS PER GAME.” Now, is this representative of Carr’s skills, or lack of ‘em, or is it correlational with a Quarterback who is constantly forced to run for his life? Most likely, it’s a combination. David Carr lacks some of the skills needed to excel in the league… but by the same tarnished token, how can the guy be expected to develop his throwing skills when he never has time to set up? It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Carr’s development has been irrevocably damaged, and he may never reach his true potential. Certainly a porous O-line has hindered Carr (he took another 7 Sacks Sunday, and has suffered a downright-stupid 27 in 4 games!)… but so has a lack of playmaking pass catchers. Andre Johnson was drafted to be Carr’s go-to guy, but opposing defenses have been able to take Johnson out of the game… and there’s been no complementary receiver. Corey Bradford… he’s a known quantity, and at his age he won’t be getting any better. Jabar Gaffney? Cool name, average, possession type skills. As for the running game, RB Domanick Davis has been forced to pick up the blitz and help pass protect. Sunday, the Texans re-jiggered the line and while the pass protection again suffered, “Double-D Davis” enjoyed his best game of the season; 130 yards on 19 carries, 43 receiving yards on 8 receptions, but no TDs). The Texans, a team in trouble, will face some tough decisions. Do they stay with David Carr? If not, will another 1st rounder succeed when the team boasts a swiss-cheese line. Houston will almost certainly be in the Matt Leinart derby. Tennessee, after being soundly ridiculed all off-season, seems to be going North. The youngest team in the league, coach Jeff Fisher has seen a lot of growth… and feels his team has a lot of potential. After mulling retirement during the off-season, QB Steve McNair has enjoyed a trio of consecutive 215+ yard passing days, and has TD passes in every game. Sunday, “Air McNair” enjoyed a virtually flawless performance, helped out by his favorite target, WR Drew Bennett. Bennett caught 5 for 99 and a touch’, and is determined to prove that his performance over the final quarter of last season was not a fluke. Sunday, Bennett and the Titans face a surprisingly ornery Cincinnati Bengal team. While the Bengals will yield yards… they are stingy with the points (they allow just 12 per game). RB Chris Brown should be a solid start against a defense that allows opposing backs almost 120 yards per. However, boasting an air defense that cedes a meager 188 passing yards per game… McNair and his pass catching corps are poor starts. *NOTE: It’s all in the family. In suspended RB Travis Henry’s stead, Jarrett Payton (son of legendary Bear RB Walter “Sweetness” Payton) served as Chris Brown’s backup. Payton scored his 1st career TD on a bullish 5 yard rumble.
Houston will be opposite the suddenly confident Seahawks Sunday. Aside from Domanick Davis… ain’t no one to start! Check on WR Andre Johnson’s status, he suffered a 1st Q’ quad injury Sunday. He’s been nothing more than a “Flex” play… and a borderline “Flex” play at that.

Eagles at Dallas: Sunday, I had an icky feeling that the cocky Eags’ were strolling into an ambush; a classic “trap” game. That’s just what happened. At NO point in this game was Philly’ competitive, and the aggressive Eagle offensive attack turned Amish. What else would you call 129 TOTAL yards of O? The Cowboys aren’t exactly the ’85 Bears, ya’ know? It’s a game like this that will strengthen a team, underscoring weaknesses and preventing them from getting too full of themselves. After Sunday’s whuppin’ at the hands of Bill Parcells’ Cowboys, Philly’ should be a stronger team; a scary thought indeed. Meanwhile, the previously conservative… possibly offensively “vanilla” ‘Pokes opened UP on Reid’s Eags’. The Cowboys scored on 6 of their first 7 drives, and utterly stymied the Eagle O. As I wrote in a recent “Start and Sit,” Bledsoe has a few bullets left in his rifle arm. It’s amazing how a new team, and a taut line, have rejuvenated Bledsoe. Likewise, WR Terry Glenn (who I knocked in my pre-C rankings) has been every bit the vertical threat, and co-Poke Keyshawn Johnson (yeah, yeah, I hated on him too) has been a solid possession pass catcher. The Dallas run game responded as well RB Julius Jones took 16 carries 72 yards, but he missed the 2nd half with an ankle injury. So, in went Tyson Thompson, of course. Never heard of Thompson? Parcells has a way of finding contributors. It appears as if the undrafted Thompson has pushed his way past Marion Barber (the III, not to be confused with Marion the 2nd .. or II) and Anthony Thomas (to the best of my knowledge, Thomas the 1st) as Jones’ primary backup.
The Eagles were a down-trodden lot Sunday; nothing was working. The run game recorded 19 total yards, thoroughly disappointing versatile Brian Westbrook’s owners, and the passing game wasn’t much better. Donovan McNabb threw for a measly 110 yards, with WR Terrell Owens catching 5 for 50. If this tells you anything, Owens enjoyed the most robust fantasy performance on Sunday. Yech! The Eagles will have the opportunity to lick their wounds… and mull this woodshed whipping as they have a Week 6 Bye. Parcells’ ‘Boys don’t enjoy such a luxury, and knowing the driven coach… that’s fine by him. Dallas will try and build off of their impressive win when they meet up in a crucial Divvy’ game against the arch-rival Giants. The G-Men, coming off a Bye themselves, have to be held in high regard.
QB Eli Manning is improving at an exponential rate, WR Plaxico (Plax to friends) Burress is locked in and transforms the Giant offense from “good” to “very dangerous” (please refer to his week 4, 200+ receiving yard performance), TE Jeremy Shockey is healthy and certainly benefits from Plax’s presence, and RB Tiki Barber may be the most overlooked, under-rated back in the league. What I’m sayin’ is… this should be a heckuva’ game! QB Drew Bledsoe must be considered a solid start, as the G-Men allow an improbable 322 passing yards per, and WR Terry Glenn should hook up with Bledsoe at least once. Those 2 enjoy some kind of chemistry. Check on RB Julius Jones’ status… if healthy, the Giant run D is certainly better than its run D… but they still allow a C-note and change.



Post a Comment

<< Home