Monday, December 11, 2006

NFL Thoughts, Week 14

Well, I can now officially stick a fork in the Panthers, who lost to the Giants this weekend. I actually spent most of the first half trying to come up with an appropriate name for this game, eventually narrowing it down to two candidates: “The Collision of Two Train-wrecks” and “The Blind Fighting The Blind.” Because both teams were essentially playing for the right to get destroyed in the first round of the playoffs and therefore were doomed either way, the game had a tragic tone to it—it was almost like watching a cockfight. The Panthers at least had the decency to drop out of it in the third quarter—rather than stringing me out until the last 30 seconds like they usually do—and I was sadly appreciative. I can’t really say I’m particularly surprised either, considering I’ve picked against them for the last three weeks. I know it’s treasonous to go against your own guys, but hey, those kids loved Old Yeller too, and we all know how that relationship ended. Although Disney probably would be dismayed to hear this was the only lasting lesson I ever took away from their films, the truth is when the dog goes rabid, the proper thing to do is take it behind the shed and shoot it.

I also owe some gratitude to the Giants; they sure tried to give the game to us. Heck, Plaxico Burress was doing everything he could to instigate a fight with his teammates on the sideline even when they were ahead by 14. But they can only fumble the ball right to us (twice) and repeatedly lob easily-caught passes to our cornerbacks, they can’t be expected to intercept them for us too. And John Fox simply refused to be under-coached. He started out by not letting Weinke throw under any circumstance (side note: we actually handed off on third-and-eight in one of our early drives, prompting commentator Troy Aikman to say, “I know Panthers fans are booing because they ran on third-and-eight, but Coach Fox doesn’t want to try anything crazy with Weinke”—umm, what’s “crazy” about throwing on third-and-eight?). Then, after we tied it up, Coach Fox did a complete 180 and called the next three quarters as if he were trying to get Weinke to set the passing attempts record—Weinke attempted 62 passes!! What made this really mystifying was that not was Fox doing this with a backup quarterback who hadn’t started in literally years, but this was also our first game in months in which both running backs were healthy.

The autopsy on this season won’t be complicated; you don’t need to ask “what happened” when you actually watched the person get run over by a tractor. Start with the secondary: my mother will tell you that last year, practically every email I sent was a love letter for Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble. Lucas was not just incredibly skilled, with those dreadlocks spilling out of his helmet he actually looked like Predator out there. Both of those two vanished this year. The linebackers are average, and the defensive line is decent against the run, although Kris Jenkins played yesterday as if he fell off the wagon again right before kick-off—two off-sides (at home!) and a defensive holding. The O-line is musical 350-pounders—we had two injuries at the beginning of the year and never got it straight after that; the starting lineup was about as settled as the one for Guns’N’Roses. And finally, I think after yesterday we can all comfortably say that Weinke is not the answer at quarterback, so now I’m actually hoping to lose out the rest of the way in order to somehow trade up for Brady Quinn, Troy Smith, or even Chris Leak in the draft.

Defensive Player of the Week: Shawne Merriman, Chargers. Five tackles, two sacks, two quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles, one recovery and a pass defensed. And speaking of defense, what happened to the Broncos? Remember at the beginning of the year, all the talk was about how they “bend-but-don’t break”? The last few weeks it’s been “break-and-then-shatter.”

Offensive Player of the Week: Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars. The little cannonball on legs had 303 all-purpose yards. And check this out: Jack Del Rio notices his opponent can’t stop the run, then repeatedly hands off until…until nothing! Until the game ends and they’ve won! Imagine that. I hope Coach Fox was paying attention.

Also special runner-up to Steve McNair, who had an interview with Sports Illustrated this week that I can only describe as “spectacular.” After gushing over his sword collection (150 of them and presumably counting), he described his Mississippi childhood as one in which “we got up at four in the morning…to do chores, whether feeding the pigs or the chickens or going out in the garden and harvesting food…Then we’d go in, get us (“get us!”) something to eat, do our homework. When darkness fell, we were in bed.” It left me dying to know: whenever Steve watched Little House on the Prairie as a child, did he even realize the show was set 100 years earlier?

12 comments:

Jaybird said...

I got the same blog spot idea last year. Mine is grumblesfromthe bird.blogspot.com aswell. Nobody ever posted on mine either. I still write from time to time so drop on by. Anyways I will check you blogspot out from time to time because I like Bobcats and Panthers aswell. What do you think about the AI deal?

Jaybird said...

Do you think the Panthers will win next week. I think they are done.

Jaybird said...

I have the same idea about the blogspot thing. You have a nice site and will respond time to time because I like the panthers and bobcats aswell. My site is grumblesfromthebird.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Nice site dude I will check on this site from time to time.Its funny I have the same site as you have except mines called grumblesfromthebird.blogspot.com and I talk sports but mostly about the panthers. I like bobcats aswell and I have tried the old use forum for a add for my site too. Nobody every leaves a comment for me either, so thats why I checked your site out. What do you think about the AI trade?

Jaybird said...

hey

Jaybird said...

What do you think about the AI trade?

Anonymous said...

hey

Jaybird said...

hey

Anonymous said...

whats up

Anonymous said...

hello

Anonymous said...

Just checking to see if it works.....nice job from the bird!

Anonymous said...

I believe you hit it right on the money with bobcats thing. They dont need a 31 year old SG. I believe all they need is a shot blocking center and we should be able to contend in a few years.