Blog Entry

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:55 am
Edited on: December 6, 2011 12:20 pm
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.

By Ryan Wilson

Caleb Hanie, Bears

This makes two weeks in a row that Caleb Hanie, who has two career starts, has appeared in Coach Killers. Of course, no one expected him to even be in this position; after a slow start, the Bears and Jay Cutler had found their groove only to have Cutler suffer an injury to this throwing hand against the bad-luck Chargers in Week 12. Now Chicago's playoff hopes lie with Hanie, who turned out to be the worst quarterback on a field Sunday that also included Tyler Palko and Kyle Orton.

By the time it was over, Hanie was 11 of 24 for 133 yards with three interceptions. In two games against, he has six picks. Exacerbating things: Matt Forte suffered a knee injury and he could be out 2-4 weeks. If it's any consolation (and we suspect it isn't), wide receiver Roy Williams takes responsibility for one of the interceptions since, you know, he gift-wrapped it for the Chiefs defender … in Kansas City's end zone.

"It was my fault. I’ve got to make those plays," Williams said. "Did that lose the game? Nope. There were a lot of things that happened before that that [could have made a difference]. But in my mind, yes, it [did]. In the fans’ mind, yes, it [did]."

Week 13 Recap
Well, it didn't help, that's for sure. The Chiefs won 10-3, the only score coming on and end-of-half modified "Hail Mary" touchdown pass from Palko. (We're calling it "modified" because the ball only traveled 38 yards as measured from line of scrimmage to goal line. For any other NFL quarterback, that's a flick of the wrist. For Palko, it was a throw that required everything he had. Whatever you call it, it counted, and that was the difference.)

Despite Hanie's second uninspiring performance, head coach Lovie Smith doesn't plan to change things going forward.

“That’s our group,” Smith said, referring to Hanie, rookie Nate Enderle and veteran Josh McCown. “We’re going to make improvements with our group, like all positions. We’re not looking on the outside. We’re not having a quarterback tryout or anything like that. These are our guys and they’re all going to get better.”

There was some speculation that Donovan McNabb, released by the Vikings last week, might be an option but as Devin Hester pointed out Monday on ESPN Radio, "That would be a waste of time." Not so much because McNabb has nothing left (which is probably true), but because he wouldn't have time to learn Mike Martz's offense.

And things don't get easier for Chicago: they face Denver this week. A month ago, everybodyhad the Bears and Cutler wiping the floor with the Broncos, the team that sent him to Chicago in 2009. Now, with Tebowmania on track to be a national holiday, the Bears will have the worst quarterback on the field for the third game in a row.

Nate Burleson, Lions

Here's the good news for Detroit: unlike the Bears, their NFC North rivals, the Lions are able to move the ball on offense. And while they may not have beaten the Saints in New Orleans Sunday night, the game should've been a lot closer. Which leads to the bad news: the Lions have all the self control of a fat kid locked in candy store. Except instead of stuffing their faces with caramels, they're incapable of not committing personal foul penalties after the whistle.

Nate Burleson, it turns out, didn't have such problems, but he did have three (THREE!) offensive pass interference calls against the Saints, all big plays that cost the Lions field position. And even though he wasn't penalized 15 yards for slapping an opponent in front of an official or inadvertently hitting an official while trying to get at an opponent, his was a mental mistake too.

By the time it was over, Detroit had committed 22 penalties (to New Orleans' six) despite outgaining the Saints in total yards, 466 to 438. The silver lining: mental mistakes are easier to correct than physical mistakes. In theory this makes sense, right? "Hey, don't slap a player on the other team right in front of the ref" or "For the love of all that's holy, do not push off when coming out of your break, Burleson" seem straightforward pretty easy to fix.

Then again, the Lions were without their best defensive player, Ndamukong Suh, because he was serving a two-game suspension after stomping on a Packers player after the whistle.

We mentioned it on the Pick-6 Podcast, but head coach Jim Schwartz has to fix this. We're guessing he's had similar conversations with his players in recent weeks but to rack up personal-foul penalties like they did against the Saints is a sign that they didn't hear him.

But in terms of the postseason implications, it could be worse. See the Bears, for example. They'd love to have their franchise quarterback and a franchise wide receiver if that meant only fixing the dumb penalties. As it stands, they're stuck with Caleb Hanie. Of course, maybe we're giving Detroit too much credit. Why should we think that now, after three-quarters of the season, they'd suddenly stop making back-breaking mental mistakes?

Dunta Robinson, Julio Jones, Falcons

Without a doubt, the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL's most disappointing team this season. The Chargers are second. After that, though, it's a wide open race. Depending on the week, it could be the Giants or the Titans or maybe even the Rams. We're going with the Falcons. At 7-5, they're right in the mix for a wild card spot. And Football Outsiders says their relatively consistent from one week to the next, but that's sort of the problem. If you're consistently mediocre you're still mediocre.

They were probably expecting something more than that after giving up a ton to get Julio Jones during the draft. Their latest loss came against the Texans, down to their third-string quarterback, T.J. Yates. And while Houston's offense is built to lean heavily on the run, the Falcons had their chances. Two series in particular stick out.

On the second play of the fourth quarter with the game tied 10-10, Yates threw a pick-six to linebacker Mike Peterson. Huge play … except that Dunta Robinson -- on the other side of the field away from the play -- was flagged for defensive holding. It was the right call and it cost the Falcons six points. (Linebacker Sean Witherspoon was called for defensive holding, as well. Apparently, it's contagious.)

Then, with a minute to go in the game and Atlanta trailing 17-10, quarterback Matt Ryan needed to lead a touchdown drive. After a 17-yard completion to Harry Douglas Ryan wanted to spike the ball to stop the clock. Except he had to wait while Julio Jones made his way back to the line of scrimmage. Jones was a good 40 yards downfield with Douglas was tackled but instead of, you know, hustling back to line up for the spike, he looked confused about what was going on.

Two plays later, Jones was penalized for an illegal touch pass, and then on the final play of the game, he dropped what would've been the game-tying touchdown. It wasn't an easy catch, but you don't trade away your draft to acquire a guy who only makes the easy grabs.

Richard Seymour, Raiders

This really isn't about Seymour, who was ejected for the second consecutive season after throwing a punch at a player. It's about the entire team on both sides of the ball getting thoroughly outclassed by a Dolphins outfit that began the season 0-7. Oakland's defense couldn't stop Reggie Bush (!) and the offense didn't get on the board until the fourth quarter after trailing 34-0.

And now the Raiders, 7-5, not only drop out of the lead in the AFC West (they got Tebow-ed), but they're also behind the Titans for the final wild-card spot.

Head coach Hue Jackson didn't make excuses after the loss and that includes the play of his de facto franchise quarterback Carson Palmer, who finished the game 20 of 41 for 273 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.

"He's our quarterback and today we lost," Jackson said. "He didn't produce a win for our football team. We didn't play well. I'm not going to say it's because he's fatigued or anything. This is the National Football League. When they say 'set hut' you gotta play."

This never would've happened if the Raiders drafted Tebow. (That's a joke.)

The Raiders' schedule over the final month of the season doesn't help, either: at Green Bay, Detroit, at Kansas City, San Diego. Meanwhile, the Broncos have Chicago, New England, at Buffalo, Kansas City.

That Dolphins loss could prove to be huge.

Dan Bailey, Cowboys

This is "Coach Killers." Presumably, Princeton trained head coach Jason Garrett wasn't trying to get himself fired in Dallas. But as has been well documented the last 36 hours, Garrett did manage to ice his own kicker by calling a timeout milliseconds before Bailey split the uprights with what would've been the game-winning field goal.

Instead, Garrett burned a timeout, mumbled something about the kicking team "still settling in," and then watched helplessly as Bailey honked his second attempt.

By the way, you know you messed up when the opposing coach, without cracking a smile, says after the game, "I was glad they iced their kicker so I didn't have to."

We brought it up on the podcast and's Bill Barnwell wrote about it Monday: research suggests that icing the kicker doesn't work. But that research didn't account for the coach of the kicking team calling the timeout because, well, why would anybody do that?

Barnwell continues: "So if Garrett deserves a pass for his timeout, why should we be excoriating him? Well, because of what Garrett did before the timeout. On Dallas' final offensive play, Tony Romo hit Dez Bryant over the middle for a 15-yard gain to pick up an essential first down on third-and-11. When Bryant hit the ground, the Cowboys still had 23 seconds left on the clock and two timeouts to work with. The ball was on the Arizona 31-yard line, which is within makeable range, but far from a chip shot; the average kicker will boot that through less than 65 percent of the time."

Which was the point's Pete Prisco made. "What I can't understand is not trying to get more yards with two timeouts to make the kick easier. Last time I checked, a 49-yard field goal isn't a chip shot."

As's Will Brinson pointed out Sunday night, that's something you'd expect from Wade Phillips, not Jason Garrett. And yet here we are.

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Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:11 pm

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

NFL is a joke. Its turning into the NBA. Lions vs Saints and NYG vs GB for example. The NFL should be embarrassed on how these games were officated. The Lions and NYG both got the short end of the stick. Example: Burleson gets three penalties for Off Pass Int. Yet the Saints scored a TD on a play the Saints receiver grabbed the Lions player by the jersey and yanked him away so he could catch the ball. JOKE. The Saints player tries to STOMP the tightend of the Lions players balls. He gets up and goes after the guy. Why isn't anyone talking about this like the play with Suh. O yea the NFL is a JOKE. I would rather be barely stomped on my arm then my balls. The same ref called three presonal fouls against the lions...fishy. The Saints got away with holding on almost every play. The lions would breath too hard on a Saint player and get flagged. Its like the NBA, special treatment goes to their special teams. That is why everyone calls the NBA the "WWF" now. JOKE.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:51 pm

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

If the Steelers win out and Baltimore and Texas lose one game, then they are the number one seed.  See, it is really easy to play the "What-if" game.  Wouldnt that piss off the fans in Baltimore, beat the Steelers twice and still finish behind them in the division. 

Since: Oct 21, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:45 am

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

No matter what NE does, if Baltimore wins out, they are the 1 seed.

Since: Mar 29, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:39 am

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

100% agree, 8Cowboys22. Appears Garrett still is passing when he should throw, throwing when he should pass, etc. Still, while
I'm very frustrated, I trying to keep in mind, he's never been a head coach before- not on any level. Trying to chalk it up to learning on the job, and hoping he doesn't cost Dallas this season in the process. Appears the whole season is riding on this next game with the G-men. Flying down from Cleveland for the game. Let's hope it's worth the trip!

Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:12 am

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

The thing you neglected to mention in the Falcons - Texans game, was at the end, on the last play of the game, Matt Ryan's pass to Julio Jones should have been caught. I know it was a tough catch, but the ball was right there, almost perfect. You also forgot to mention the official who called a phantom holding call against the Texans, when Matt Ryan was sacked the Texans recovered a fumble. The Falcons also forgot to run the ball with Michael Turner...nuff said.

The Lions are like little kids, period...many of the players are immature, Suh and Nate Burleson are right up there. The Bears are pretty much toast, so unless the Lions roll over and die, they should make it as a wild card team anyway.

Ah, and now for the Cowboys...this is a recurring theme with Jayson Garrett, and you can't put the blame on Tony Romo. Garrett has mismanaged three games which the Cowboys should have 1, against the Lions leading 27-3 and your QB has fractured ribs. Instead of running the ball, and controling the clock, and making the Lions go the distance, they keep throwing and we all know what happened. Game 2...against the Patriots, the Cowboys run the ball at the end, which is the only good part of the Pats defense, instead of throwing, and you know what happened, Brady drove them down in the end for the win. Game 3 against the Cardinals...42 passes and 20 runs. What have they been doing during their winning streak, that's right, run DeMarco Murray. What is the Cardinals weakness, against the run...ummmm, what's wrong with this picture. And of course, the game mismanagement at the end, which we've beaten to a pulp. Face it, Garrett is in love with his plays, not what the team should be doing.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: December 7, 2011 5:47 am

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

The Falcons are a bad example, although I'm sure Mike Smith will inevitably get fired anyway, and if I owned the Lions, I woulda fired Swartz upon the conclusion of the game against New Orleans.  This is just embarrassing, but I said it all along, you can expect 14 flags a game for the 2011 Lions!  The rest is pretty much coaches killing themselves.  You screwed your kicker out of a successful attempt, and Hue jackson is just straight-up contradicting himself.  After the Browns game, he said, "when we win, they (the players) will get all the glory, and when we lose, I'll take all the blame."  My, my, my, how the tables have turned.  That's his guy too!  Forget Seymour; the real story is he's pointing the finger at his quarterback.  Jackson made that deal with the devil; noone else, him!  Oh, and by the way, Andy Reid killed himself too, by trading away Donovan McNabb.  Instead of keeping one of the best quarterbacks in the game until he couldn't physically or mentally play anymore, and having a crummy back up or two, who could still win with a hammer like Lesean McCoy behind them, they signed a PR nightmare and fluke QB to a 6-year, 100,000,000 dollar contract (notice all the zeros included for dramatic effect)!  I'm not saying this because Vick has made my fantasy team look like crap at times, I'm just saying that, when the man in the timber green jersey with the number "5" is healthy, he can march Any Reid's troops into any battle, into any war, and into any nest of vipers, and conquer; dominate the indominable!  For years, he had James Trash, and Todd Stinkston as his best wideouts, with a defense that struggled against the run, and ya know what? It didn't matter because they ran up the score on people, forcing offenses into shootouts against some of the best secondaries in the league at the time...with James Trash, and Todd Stinkston.  God Bless McNabb.  It makes me so sad that he'll never get the ring he so desperately wanted, and so richly deserved.  As far as I'm concerned, that's the best quarterback to never win a Super Bowl.

Since: Dec 4, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 8:36 pm

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

Theres nothing more I like seeing Hogs44 than another losing season by the Deadskins. Boy do they suck and it doesnt matter who their coach is. Last time I checked fat boy Synder has been a laughing stock owner who has tried to buy teams and have it fail in his face!

Since: Oct 19, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:16 pm

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

lol I hope Jerry stays here and continues the losing, I hate dallas and love seeing Jones fail time and time again ever since Aikman and all them left lol

Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:00 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Oct 9, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:46 pm

Coach Killers, Week 13: Dumb penalties are dumb

As a Skins fan, there is nothing I like to see more than that clown Jerry Jones come out of his safe room late in the 4th and walk the sidelines- because 9 out of 10 times they would lose because of some bonehead play. Romo will get another loss in December although this was not entirely his fault, although a better QB would have either called timeout or at least looked the the sideline for further instructions. Jerry just makes them nervous like any other toxic boss...Jason Garrett is just another coordinator that was promoted to head coach without having a clue in the finer points of clock management, for instance. Wade Phillips was always looking confused at the end of a game too- with Jerry breathing down his neck all the while...

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