NFL Questions (And Maybe Some) Answers For Week 14

Last week’s Q & A was excellent - plenty of feedback and great information to feed off of as always.

Here we go again, on three…

Are the 2010 New England Patriots better than the 2007 edition?

Michael Vick should’ve had two penalties called in his favor Sunday night. On one of the infractions he was in the pocket. Why is there a reluctance on the officials part to throw a flag?

 

  

Who makes the playoffs (Division winners and wildcard teams)?

Will the added awareness of player safety this season keep the League from expanding to an 18-game season barring a lockout?

  

Why won’t Brett Favre step aside for good?

 

35 Responses to “NFL Questions (And Maybe Some) Answers For Week 14”

  1. Temple3 says:

    This version of the Patriots isn’t better than the 2007 version, yet. This group would have to win it all to surpass that team. I felt the 2007 team lost because of hubris. They insisted on passing the ball in the Super Bowl and the Giants dropped 7, rushed 4 and ate them alive. I thought that team felt they could score on the Giants because they had done so in the regular season finale.

    We’ll see…because that Giants team had the right mix of D-line to get after these Patriots. I think the team that beats NE will have to get pressure with 4 down linemen and stop the run with only 1 or 2 backers on the field. That rules out most AFC teams, but in the NFC, Atlanta, New Orleans, the Giants, Bears (yes, even after the boom bash blowout), and Eagles could make a game of it. Three of those teams have the offense to get in a shootout. So, we’ll see.

    I think Vick and Roethlisberger are in the same boat. I think the refs are in a bind. Both of them make spectacular plays on a regular where they elude or escape defenders that 9 out of 10 QBs could not. If the refs blew early whistles, we probably never see half of their greatest plays. Once that ref decides to hold the whistle, I think they don’t even bother calling penalties — it’s like the switch goes off…”These guys are not defenseless…I’m waiting for him to pull his Houdini act.” Sometimes it’s true, sometimes not.

    They’re the two hardest players in the league to officiate — and Roethlisberger may be even harder because he seeks contact and Vick doesn’t.

  2. GrandNubian says:

    I don’t think this year’s Patriots are as good as the team in 2007. That team had a “pretty good” defense, whereas this Patriots’ team defense is (statistically) among the worst in the league. I also look at the two teams that beat the Patriots this year (Jets & Browns). How did they beat NE? They ran the ball effectively and efficiently. Also, both teams played a lot of man coverage instead of allowing Tom Brady to pick apart a zone defense.

    Also, as for Super Bowl aspirations, here are some solid facts:

    In the last decade, the only #1 seen in the AFC to win the SB was the 2003 Patriots. If we go back to 1979, there are only a total of 3 that has won it all (’83 Raiders, ’98 Broncos, 03′ Patriots).

  3. Temple3 says:

    Weren’t the 2007 Patriots in the top 5 defensively?

  4. Temple3 says:

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2007.htm

    4th in points allowed.

    This will be a good question to ask in a year or two. I don’t know how much Vince Wilfork has left, but if he’s good to go, this defense should be top 10 next year. The young guys are just too fast not to get significantly better.

  5. Julius says:

    Maybe this Patriots team isn’t better than the 2007 squad…but…didn’t you guys predict that Tom Brady would be completely lost without the deep threat of Randy Moss? Brady is having an MVP year. Maybe it’s because he himself is actually talented? Just possibly?

  6. Temple3 says:

    Julius:

    I definitely thought the Patriots would struggle. It’s not that I thought Brady would become a guy with a 50% completion rate. Hardly. This offense has always been built about moving the chains and completing low risk passes. Most of Brady’s throws are right down the middle of the field.

    I’m impressed because no one has been able to get pressure on him because no one has been able to jam his receivers. Part of that is a function of their size/quickness and part of that is a function of the enforcement of rules that make it tough for defenders to lay these guys out — if they actually get a hand on them.

    Patriots deserve a lot of credit for making Small Ball work so well.

    In the weeks after Moss was traded, this team’s scoring dipped by 7 points (until they played the Steelers – whom they always carve up like a holiday turkey). Welker’s YPC avg was close to 5 or 6. Woodhead hadn’t emerged and Branch wasn’t a factor. Things have changed and the biggest part of it may be two-fold — the return of Logan Mankins to the o-line and the quality of play from TE’s Hernandez and Gronkowski.

    The Patriots response to the loss of Moss on offense didn’t occur overnight. It actually took about a month. NE won two tight contests vs. BAL and SD (both by 3 points), beat the Vikings by 10, then got throttled by the Browns. So, people who thought this team would continue to struggle actually had 4 weeks of tape on a struggling team.

    Kudos to NE for righting the ship. But, the notion that they would struggle post-Moss was not far-fetched. Brady gets my vote for MVP by virtue of having played more games than Vick, but that vote is subject to change if Philly runs the table and Vick continues to dominate. Vick has missed the equivalent of roughly 4 games — so that has to be a factor.

  7. Ron Glover says:

    @Temple, that and an Eagles collapse are the only factors that could doom Vick’s MVP run.

  8. Ron Glover says:

    So it’s Tavaris Jackson that’s going to the IR instead of Favre – Would be nice if the Eagles could snatch this guy up in the offseason.

  9. Temple3 says:

    I’d like to see him stay in Minnesota and get a chance to play again. I keep going to back to the beginning of the 2008 season. The Vikings came out of the gate and they were hosting the Colts. They were poised to get a huge upset and T-Jax threw a very catchable ball to Visanthe Shincoe who proceeded to drop the ball. Colts win. Hello bench. End of story.

    Going to Philadelphia isn’t going to do him much good. He’d be a permanent 3rd stringer hoping that Moon’s Maxim (Equity = Black QB’s as Clip Board Carriers) proves false.

  10. Big Man says:

    Great response on New England Temple.

  11. Miranda says:

    Primetime keeps it SOOOOOOOOOOOOO real.

  12. Origin says:

    What did PrimeTime say???

  13. Miranda says:

    They were discussing the success (or lack thereof) of former players as coaches. I’m just gonna copy and paste this summary of it from one of the emails I got when discussing it amongst some friends last night:

    Prime interviewed Singletary earlier in the week. The usual stuff about expectations yada, whatever. When they got on the set the discussion was about great players lack of success as coaches. The had the statistics of the hall of fame. Ditka had the best win % at a whopping .544.

    So, Mora Jr. said great coaches had a talent and a work ethic most don’t have, pretty much was his take. Then Mariucci bust the “great players are not willing to put in the long hours for less pay” take.

    Faulk surprised me sticking up for players by saying “why do we have to start out at the bottom.” We know who the great coaches are because we played for them and against their players.”

    Then Prime kept it real. He said look I’m not trying to make it a black/white thing but the league had to put in a rule saying you HAVE TO interview me (Rooney Rule). He said it don’t take 18hr. days to game plan. I don’t know what they (coaches) do behind them closed doors, the can be watching good times or barney!..lol.

    He then said I If I got a job tomorrow I can have my staff before COB. I can delegate etc. Then he said, but look at a Ray Lewis, you don’t think he can coach? But I here it all the time people say Peyton Manning can coach if he retired tomorrow but I never hear that about Ray Lewis!

  14. Temple3 says:

    Miranda:

    The one person who I do hear people say could coach tomorrow is Ed Reed. I hear it all the time. Brian Billick says it regularly and he’s not alone.

    Reed and Lewis have different, how can I say this, “temperatures.” Lewis runs hot; Reed runs cool. Both have coached that defense for years. I’m not sure that anyone fails to recognize that.

    Analysts, like most of society, tend to view things through a prism of stereotypes. Last night, Justin Smith pushed/shoved an official. None of the announcers linked his play to his intelligence…no one said that was a STUPID play. If Leon Lett did it…

    With that said, Deion is right on a certain level, but this is about Empire Building. It’s more than getting in where you fit in. Tony Dungy has built an empire that includes Mike Tomlin, Raheem Morris, Leslie Frazier, Lovie Smith, Jim Caldwell and others. Every crew needs a SPONSOR or an OG who paves the way for young guns to come in and do their thing. It’s what Bill Walsh did. His “tree” has tons of coaches on it. Of course, I think most of them are overrated busters. Two SBs in the whole batch — and one of those coaches had the other team’s play book.

    Great black players are going to get a shot at coaching — but the owners are going to be dragged kicking and screaming. I think the real issue is the extent to which football professionals were not great players can get a shot. Payton, Fisher, Cowher all come to mind as coaches who were not great players, but who got a shot. That’s what we’re seeing with Caldwell, Morris, Tomlin and Smith.

  15. Origin says:

    Thanks Miranda for the update.

    Everyone Mcnabb has now been benched in favor of Rex Grossman.
    As I said earlier this season that contract was set up for both parties to part ways. And that Kyle and Mike didn’t know how to evaluate talent nor call plays.

    Mcnabb signed that contract to make sure he was protected playing behind the worse line in football….good move. Now go to the Vikings or Cardinals in the offseason.

  16. Origin says:

    RG – The word is players are mad as heck too.

    Like I said at the begining of the season Kyle and Mike are overated. These dudes have made dumb decision after dumb decision the whole season.

    So let s see…….Galloway, LJ and Willie Parker on the roster. Change a 4-3 team to a 3-4 team. Cut young players and put them on practice squad….banks & Torain. Yet they should have been starting since day one.

    Shanahan is not joe Gibbs, Cowher, Tony Dungy or Bill Parcells. So please remove the genius label.

  17. Temple3 says:

    I don’t actually think what’s happening in Washington has much, at all, to do with the SKILL SET of either Mike/Kyle or Donovan.

    If you take a step back and begin with the OWNERSHIP, a different picture emerges.

    Snyder’s MO has been, for years, to build high expectations at the beginning of every season to drive ticket sales. In addition, he has monetized or attempted to do so with every aspect of this team. The franchise is a revenue machine for him — and his mantra about desiring to win has been mere lip service.

    How do we know this?

    Look at the Redskins draft picks. Aside from their new LT, Chris Cooley is the only moderately high-round pick still on the roster. This team, in desperate need of play makers, simply hasn’t gone that route for years. They tried with those 2 WRs a few years ago, but the picks were either traded or used on defense.

    So, what did they do this year? Change the defense — of course…from a top 10 defense (3 yrs running) to a new scheme with the wrong personnel.

    Look at management. Synder dumped his friend whom he hired on the cheap — and who drew the wrath of all of Foreskin Nation, most especially John Riggins. He replaced him with the son of George Allen (a hero in those parts)…but what’s Bruce’s claim to fame? Gutting the Bucs for the owners to rebuild on the cheap. When Allen/Gruden were in TB, they didn’t draft a single Pro Bowl player. Out went Sapp, Lynch, and Brooks. Gruden was fired after starting a season 9-3, then losing 4 in a row and missing the playoffs. EPIC FAIL.

    So, why does Synder want Bruce to run the show? The CASH MODEL of Allen and Shanahan’s teams work. No big budget salaries are needed.

    Part 1.
    Big name QB, cheap contract…Ticket sales UP, real costs DOWN.
    Sign Larry Johnson and Willie Parker at beginning of season to create interest and boost sales. Cut ‘em once the season begins.

    Part 2.
    Change from 4-3 to 3-4. Dump BIG SALARY DT. Replace with young, fast linebackers (Exhibit A: Clay Matthews is cheaper than Aaron Kampman.)

    Part 3.
    Damage Control. Blame McNabb.

    Part 4.
    Rinse and repeat.

    Ever wonder why this team didn’t go after Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin? That would have been disastrous for Snyder. He doesn’t actually want or need to win. He needs to grab on the front end and gouge on the back end.

    This team is a handful of plays from being 10-3 (look at their game recaps and box scores). Shanahan has OVERTLY FORFEITED at least 3 games by benching McNabb or refusing to play Haynesworth (especially in goal line situations — like vs. St. Louis). The Redskins are a treasonous franchise which is openly engaged in stealing revenue from fans under the pretense of competition.

    Shanahan didn’t get stupid…he simply sold his soul. Bruce Allen never had one — and neither did Snyder. (Am I giving Mike too much credit?) ;)

    Part 3.
    Cut veteran linebackers and DBs after season ends.

  18. Temple3 says:

    The nicknames for Shanahan that are floating around are hilarious. What’s your favorite?

    Shanahanigans
    Shanaham
    Shanaklan
    Shanadamn
    Shanasham
    Shanaflimflam
    Shana$$hit
    Shanahoe

    Whew!

    Folks are incensed.

  19. Hello Cleveland says:

    The populace is unhappy: 85% in a Post poll say the move’s a bad idea. Getting 85% of Washington to agree on anything was once thought impossible. Snyder has done it.
    McNabb’s leading the league in interceptions, but Rex Grossman?

  20. GrandNubian says:

    Regarding great players and coaching, I think it’s a matter of two different parts being at work: “willed” and “automatic”. An automatic action doesn’t require any thought process, whereas teaching (a willed event) is somewhat sequential.

    When great players “perform”, they do so without “thinking” about it. They just do it. When they do what they do, they’re in trance and i’d say 99% of them don’t even realize this. That’s why great players don’t always make the best teachers. Michael Jordan can’t explain how or why he did what he did. Therefore, how can you teach it?

  21. Big Man says:

    Just tried to explain to a coworker why it’s unfair to say McNabb sucks and that’s finished as a viable quarterback. Sadly, despite my comments about the poor defense, horrible line and lack of talent at the skill positions, I don’t think I changed his mind.
    Ah well.

  22. Temple3 says:

    GN:

    There you go reading Medu Neter and applying it to sports.

    BM:

    I think McNabb will get another shot or 2 or 3 — if he wants them. Wherever he goes, that team HAS TO have a power running game. He just should not put himself in a situation again where he is in a finesse or no-talent system. The idea of getting retribution against the Eagles is done. He’s playing for his legacy now.

  23. Origin says:

    Bigman here is a test…….ask your coworker does he think Carson Palmer is finished or a viable QB.

    That will tell you all you need to know about him.

    A black QB is only as good as his last game in many fans eyes.

  24. GrandNubian says:

    @T3:

    How did you guess? (lol)

  25. Origin says:

    Actually this Mcnabb situation is very similar to the situation Farve was in back with the Jets. Mcnabb like Farve wanted to be traded to the Vikings (or Cardinals). The Eagles weren’t going to trade him to a contender. Mcnabb’s only option was the Raiders or Washington. He picked the lesser of 2 evils which were Washington at team that has been known to throw cash at players and cut players they traded for even though they wasted picks. I still believe that his intent was to always sign with the Vikings or Cardinals. The that’s one of the reason he waited so late to sign the contract with Washington…….he was going to play out the season. But the risk of injury was too great playing behind that line and I think a gentleman’s agreement was made in that an injury clause was written into the contract to protect him. I also believe that Washington traded for him because they were going to flip Mcnabb for a pick to get Bradford but no one was willing to bite.

    Actually I mention this very theory on here.

    http://thestartingfive.net/2010/11/16/the-78-million-apology/

    In the end I believe that Mcnabb and his agent played this very well. He will get something that few very good players get in the NFL and that is true freedom to sign with whoever they want. If he was traded to the Raiders last year he would have been franchised and left to rot there. Temple IMO Mcnabb has always been about his legacy…that is one of the reasons he plays the Jackie Robinson role. That is why he focused on learning how to pass from the pocket and that is why he has always focused on mentoring black QBs. And that is probably why he was trying to get the heck out of Philly and go to the Vikings.

    Also Temple I agree totally with you on how the Washington team is run by Synder. He is the NFL’s version on Donald Sterling

  26. Origin says:

    Also Mcnabb has been moved to 3rd string.

    Zigi wolf and or Larry Fitzgerald have to be smiling from ear to ear.

    Zigi might actually get that 1 billion dollar stadium now……If Mcnabb goes to the Viking next year watch those jokers go on a 1999 Rams/2009 Saints run.

    New Stadium here we come.

  27. Miranda says:

    So now McNabb is 3rd string?? WOW…just read that mess. Donovan is well within his rights to shut it down for the season. No way in hell he should subject himself to standing on the sidelines BEHIND the backup.

  28. Mizzo says:

    Leading the league in interceptions? Check that again. I’m waiting for a response from the McNabb camp on this. I should have something from the site of Lakers/Sixers game tonight.

  29. Temple3 says:

    The Vikings would be awesome with McNabb.

    They still need help on the offensive line. And they have questionable depth at WR. Rice, Harvin and Berrian are all question marks for durability. If Rice or Harvin go down, they’re a very different team. Still with AP and Shincoe, they have nice options.

  30. GrandNubian says:

    I can also see McNabb throwing to Larry Fitzgerald out in Arizona.

  31. HarveyDent says:

    @GN

    Great minds think alike because I’d love to see McNabb tossing it to Fitzgerald and Breaston while handing off to Wells. The Cards need a competent QB to lead that team because the offensive talent is already there but per usual with AZ the defense is always a problem. He needs a stout defense as much as a solid running game if he wants to make real noise in a playoff hunt again.

    @T3 & O

    I can definitely see all the backroom machinations you guys mentioned but it does McNabb no good always playing the good soldier role. I understand either way he responds the MSM and clueless fans already have their minds made up about him but he needs to let what defenders he has among fans and media know his real thoughts about his treatment in DC and in Philly. Only he can shift the spotlight to these so-called talent evaluators who have constantly critiqued his game since high school and always found some kind of flaw in it. Tell reporters to ask Andy Reid and Joe Banner why they never got a power back in Philly or had him groom a TE, two WR’s, and a RB who combined didn’t have ten years of NFL experience his last year in Philly. Put Shanahan and Allen on the hot seat by asking why DC’s defense fell off so precipitously over one season and why a 38 year old wideout was starting most of the year. We all know the public will not get any un-spinned answers to those questions because those of us who bother to look with open eyes know that the NFL is becoming a rigged game where most teams are content to take TV and stadium revenue while fielding a consistently mediocre product or sabotaging potentially good teams by not addressing the needs therein. I posted recently that any player or coach with a modicum of testicular fortitude plays to win every time but it’s too bad management is playing a different game.

  32. Origin says:

    Great points Harvey…..its a dangerous tight rope to walk because the NFL isn’t the NBA. Black coaches and players (especially QBs) have no power. A great example is how VY did what is often done in the NBA when it comes to confronting head coaches, yet the media is trying to end this dudes career.

    Even how Shanahan basically destroyed Mcnabb’s legacy when it came to his work ethic and intelligence. With someone as big as Mcnabb……….that stuff wouldn’t even had went down in NBA.

    Look at some of the language Billy Hunter has used over the years when it came to the Owners and the Media. The head of the NFL union could never get away with that stuff. Sadly the NFL is just too much of a good ole boy league.

  33. Hello Cleveland says:

    I stand corrected. McNabb is not the NFL leader in INTs.
    So he has lost a step or whatever. Not the same QB he once was, etc. You still can’t bench him for Rex Grossman. Reasonable minds can disagree on whether he has a role in the Redskins’ future. But even if you decide he’s toast, can’t you at least play him to give him a platform on which to display his talents for the next suitor? He clearly deserves that much, and that’s especially true because the other QBs on the current Redskin team are clearly not long-term answers. It might be different if they had drafted somebody in the first round. If that guy’s your long-term answer, go ahead and play him. But there are no answers here.

  34. Great points Harvey…..its a dangerous tight rope to walk because the NFL isn’t the NBA. Black coaches and players (especially QBs) have no power. A great example is how VY did what is often done in the NBA when it comes to confronting head coaches, yet the media is trying to end this dudes career. Even how Shanahan basically destroyed Mcnabb’s legacy when it came to his work ethic and intelligence. With someone as big as Mcnabb……….that stuff wouldn’t even had went down in NBA. Look at some of the language Billy Hunter has used over the years when it came to the Owners and the Media. The head of the NFL union could never get away with that stuff. Sadly the NFL is just too much of a good ole boy league.

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