Blog Entry

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Posted on: November 15, 2011 10:00 am
Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

Posted by Ryan Wilson

David Reed, Billy Cundiff - Ravens

See if this makes sense to you. Three weeks ago, the centerpiece of the Ravens offense, running back Ray Rice, was on the sidelines with the Grand Schemer, Cam Cameron, as quarterback Joe Flacco was winging the ball all over the yard against the god-awful Jaguars. By the time it was over, Rice had just eight carries, and Flacco ended up 21 of 38 for 137 yards and Baltimore lost to Jacksonville, 12-7.

On Sunday, it was an encore performance; Rice had five carries, Flacco threw the ball 52 times … and the Ravens loss to the Seahawks. But Cameron isn't solely responsible for what happened in Seattle. The brunt of the blame falls on kick returner David Reed, who had not one but two fumbles, both recovered by the Seahawks and converted into six points.

“I was kind of hoping that it would go like this, where they wouldn't feature [the run] as much [and] they wouldn't be balanced out,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “We got up enough and at halftime, they decided they were going to throw the football, so that we didn't see much of the running game at all. … I thought that helped us a little bit."

To recap: Cameron played right into Carroll's (!) hands. Let that sink in for a moment.

Here's something else we don't understand: Rice fumbled early in the Jags game and found himself on the bench. He's probably one of the most important players on the roster. Reed fumbles … and head coach John Harbaugh sends him right back out there. And he fumbles again. Reed might be the 52nd or 53rd most important player on the roster.

Carroll: "Tell Jim I said hi!"

“You can’t turn the ball over,” Harbaugh said. (Just ask Ray Rice, who was benched against the Jags.) “I mean, hey, this is the NFL, and you’ve got to protect the football. He knows that. And he will, he will. David Reed’s a tough guy, he’s a competitive guy, he’s been there before. I’ve got a lot of confidence in David, a lot of respect for David. He’s one of our guys.”

Kicker Billy Cundiff also honked two field-goal attempts, a 50 and 52-yarder. Yes, those are long-range opportunities and it's hardly shocking that he missed them both. But Baltimore signed him to a five-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, the type of money you pay guys to make tough kicks.

Finally, as our colleague Will Brinson pointed out in his weekly Sorting the Sunday Pile column: this is unfortunate for Ray Lewis, his knees, ankles and all 10 toes.

Upside: We applaud Ray-Ray for his impromptu Carlton homage. Didn't see that coming.

Juan Castillo, Nnamdi Asomugha (but mostly Castillo) - Eagles

The dream is dead, the team is done and Philly should probably spend the final seven weeks of the season figuring out who's worth keeping around for 2012. To borrow one of Emmitt Smith's favorite words, the latest debaclement came against the lowly Cardinals, who showed up at the Linc for the Kevin Kolb Bowl -- without Kolb -- and proceeded to beat the Eagles with the mighty John Skelton.

We found out Monday that Michael Vick suffered a few broken ribs during the game and that my explain why the offense sputtered, but the defense has been a disaster all year. Some might say that this is what happens when you promote your offensive assistant to defensive coordinator.

Recapping Week 10

But presumably Juan Castillo doesn't teach his players to blow coverages, miss tackles or avoid contact altogether. At some point, the players have to, you know, execute. Which brings us to Nnamdi Asomugha. He's not the Eagle's biggest problem (far from it, in fact), but he came to Philly as one of the league's best cornerbacks with reputation for shutting down the opponent's best receiver.

This season, he's been miscast (which we can blame on Castillo). Brinson likes to say the Eagles want Asomugha to be Charles Woodson 2.0 when it makes much more sense to let him be the original Nnamdi. In the fourth quarter of Sunday's Cardinals game, Asomugha lined up offsides (seriously, how does that happen to veteran defensive back?) allowing Arizona to convert on third down. He also dropped a fourth-quarter interception.

The biggest crime, however, was that he wasn't super-glued to Larry Fitzgerald all day. And that again falls on Castillo.

"It would've been nice to be on him in that situation," Asomugha said. "I've done it before. With him. With others. Done it before. Chase guys. Follow guys."

Not Sunday. Instead, Castillo's gameplan seemed to involve letting Fitzgerald get open, which happened seven times for 146 yards, including two touchdowns.

One score came in the second quarter when Castillo got the bright idea to cover Fitzgerald with … rookie linebacker Brian Rolle.

Then, in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald snagged a ball that deflected off Joselio Hanson's hand's and he walked into the end zone for the game-tying score. On the game-winning drive, rookie safety Jaiquawn Jarrett was in coverage on Fitzgerald on two of his receptions.

Asked after the game why Jarrett -- and not, I don't know, Asomugha -- was covering Fitzgerald at that point in the proceedings, Castillo said "Because I gotta do a better job."

This is the sort of answer you expect from an eight-year-old who forgets to take out the trash, not a grown man in charge of coordinating up a defense that happens to have a legit shutdown corner at his disposal.

Ryan Pontbriand, Phil Dawson -- Browns

It's not really fair to blame the Browns' latest loss on two of their best players, Ryan Pontbriand and Phil Dawson. But the fact that two of their best players are a long-snapper and a kicker tells you all you need to know about the current state of the franchise.

The West Coast offense isn't suited for the Rust Belt, especially when everybody knows what's coming (we talked about this phenomenon plenty last week). It was more of the same against the Rams, but the Browns, trailing 13-12, had a chance to take the lead with just over two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Instead, Dawson shanked a 22-yarder. Replays showed that Pontbriand's snap his the foot of left guard Alex Mack, causing the ball to skip back to holder Brad Maynard, throwing off Dawson's timing in the process.

Browns football, everybody!

“This is one of the lows of my career,” Maynard said, via the Columbus Dispatch.

Pontbriand added: “I pretty much cost our team the victory. I’m pretty numb right now.”

Four years ago, Pontbriand earned an honorable-mention nod as one of Cleveland's top-five athletes. And that probably still holds. It's just that he had an off-day Sunday. Most amazing, perhaps, is that it hasn't happened more frequently. This is Cleveland after all.

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington

Last week, John Beck got the nod in this space. And we suspect that whoever head coach Mike Shanahan starts next week will end up here, too. The takeaway isn't that Grossman and Beck are bad (they are), it's that the Redskins organization is a complete and utter disaster. This comes as news to exactly no one, except maybe Shanahan, who somehow finds a way each week to look more exasperated than when we last saw him after the previous loss.

The latest demoralizing setback came in Miami against the Dolphins, a team that won its first game of the season last week. Miami notched win No. 2 Sunday against the Skins. Grossman finished the day 21 of 32 for 215 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. And the offense consisted of three Graham Gano field goals. Not exactly reminiscent of those heady Shanahan days in Denver with John Elway.

“It’s the same thing each and every week,” wide receiver Jabar Gaffney lamented, via the Washington Post. “That’s what’s really, like, frustrating. We work on it, think we have it controlled and figured out. Then we come back out and we still have the same problems.”

Shanahan decided to reinstall Grossman as the starter after Beck went winless in three games, citing some nonsense about injuries and Beck's inexperience.

“You go with more of an experienced guy that has dealt with these situations,” Shanahan said in explaining his switch to Grossman. “I didn’t want to put John in a situation where we had a number of guys down, and with his experience, especially over the last two weeks, I didn’t think that was the right thing to do.”

Uh huh.

We said it last week but it Bears repeating: the Redskins could lose out. They're that bad. But they're also cursed and/or unlucky -- even if they go 3-13, they ain't getting Andrew Luck because there's no way the Colts are winning three games.

Defense, San Diego

For once this season, Philip Rivers wasn't the reason San Diego lost. Last Thursday, Rivers was adequate (which is an improvement over his recent performances) but the Chargers' defense -- their run defense, in particular -- was a no-show.

This might be understandable if Darren McFadden was in the backfield wreaking havoc. He was not. Instead, Michael Bush did the heavy lifting, rushing 30 times for 157 yards and a score, and hauling in three passes for 85 receiving yards.

If the Chargers don't get better, they can expect more performances like the one Michael Bush put on them last Thursday.

The Raiders' offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, Bush took full advantage, and ultimately, Carson Palmer was the beneficiary.

San Diego's now 4-5 and tied with the Broncos (!) for second in the AFC West. Credit to Rivers for taking the glass-half-full approach.

“We’ve been worse,” he said after the Raiders loss.

Safety Eric Weddle was more direct in his assessment of what happened.

“We got our butts kicked. Every facet of the game. They ran the ball at will. We gave up too many deep plays.”

It gets more depressing. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee wrote Friday that only 18 times in Chargers history had they surrendered more yards than the 489 the Raiders had in Week 10.

Can San Diego get it together and make a late playoff push like they do every year?

“You know, every man can say they messed up here and there, didn’t play the way they’re capable of playing,” Weddle said. “And that’s what’s going to happen, you’re going to get a beat down like we did.”

So you're telling me there's a chance?

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Since: Dec 9, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:38 am

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Tebow isn't on the list because he's winning, the people on the list are losing, big difference.  I'm not saying Tebow is a great QB, in fact statistically he's quite bad, but at the end of the game his team has more points.

Right now I'd say Decker is happy to play with Tebow because he's been making huge touchdown plays.  I also don't think McGahee and Ball are complaining about the running game the last two weeks either.

Love it or hate it, but right now the Broncos are winning with Tebow.  It may be winning ugly, but it's winning and that's what counts.

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:56 pm

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Asked after the game why Jarrett -- and not, I don't know, Asomugha -- was covering Fitzgerald at that point in the proceedings, "Because I gotta do a better job."

Um, sorry Juan, that excuse has already been copyrighted by the head coach, Andy Reid.  In the future, please try to be more original when trying not to answer questions about why your unit stinks. 

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2011 12:10 pm

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

desean jackson should go to the patriots, seems like thats a perfect match

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:24 am

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Where's TImmy?  Tebow's got to have a permanent spot on this list.  No one in the NFL wants to be part of an option offense.  It will get both Fox and his OC fired and it will be kryptonite to players just like it was at Florida becaise no talented skill position players want anyting to to with it. There's a reason Brandon Lloyd isn't in Denver and a reason Trent Richardson (Pensacola HS) is at Alabama.  What FA wr in his right mind would want to play with TEbow?  What TE?  What rb would ever get his performance bonus if Timmy vultures all the TD's.  Timmy's got to be on this list every week!

Since: Nov 11, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:36 pm

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

used to be a skins fan.. lets ride the    16-0 or 0-16! thats a real fan thru thick and thin.... Patriots, Really! did i say Bandwagon? Your not a fan your just a follower.. 


Since: Mar 30, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:18 pm

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Reid is the GM.  It's his fault.  He drafts the players, he hired the defensive coordinator.  He organizes the game plan.  Here's the problem with Andy Reid.  He's a Contrarion.  Whatever you tell him to do, he does the opposite.  Run the game when you have a lead, utilize one of the best Running Backs in LeSean McCoy.  Nope.  Andy calls pass after pass after pass.  The Eagles have run 33 plays in the 4th quarter of the last 2 games.  You know how many times McCoy touched the ball of those 33 plays.  4 times. 

Not a good idea to have a 13 year OL line coach become your defensive coordinator.  Not to Andy.  No one tells him it's a dumb idea.  Which it was.  Then he tells us the Eagles don't need to draft linebackers early in the draft.  And what are they left with.  3 LB that have a combined salary less than #4 WR Steve Smith's $2.2 million contract.   Stop the run, who cares.  Defensive balance.  Not important.

Then he benches DeSean Jackson.  Why.  If they are not going to sign him, then use him up this year.  If they are going to sign him, then they have a funny way of expressing that to him.  Not only does Reid suspend him, he also tells him not to go the stadium.  Where was this tough love with his own kids?  What are they saving him for, next year?  He'll be gone.  Andy thought he could beat the Cardinals without DeSean.  He wouldn't have done that against Dallas, NY, or the Patriots.  Believe me.  Wrong again, Andy. 

It's time for Andy to go.  Will they be better without out?  I say let's find out. 

Since: May 14, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 8:48 pm

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

And i used to like the Redskins. The owner needs to be benched and traded. All their problems started when he took over.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:31 pm

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Given that Reid has put his team in the playoffs almost every year he's been theit head coach I just don't see how you get rid of him given what the GM gave him to work with. You build through the draft and add a couple of players who fit your system. I doubt even Rod Woodson could duplicate his play in Philly. Dom Capers listens to Wood and puts him in position to make plays. The Eagles biggest problem is that they haaven't adequately replaced Jim Johnson. Couple that with the mistake of bringing in too many new pieces not used to playing your system and, well, I don't blame Reid although maybe he should replace the D co-ordinator now rather than later. How would replacing Reid make them a better team is all I'm asking?

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 11:44 am

Coach Killers, Week 10: The Rex and Beck show

Rivers was 'adaquate'? Once again in winning time (4th quarter) Rivers managed to throw an interception and ended with a fumble. Rivers chokes in th 4th quarter of every game this season (including the ones they have won) If you need points you get a turnover. If you need to run clock you get a punt. He is paid to win. At this point, Tim Tebow looks like a serious upgrade. Stats mean nothing. Winning is all that matters. Rivers does not know how to win.

Since: Nov 15, 2011
Posted on: November 15, 2011 10:17 am
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