Tag:Darrelle Revis
Posted on: November 25, 2010 10:12 am
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Making the best of the Thanksgiving games

Posted by Andy Benoit

If the NFL were to implement the Thanksgiving game tradition today, no way would the league give the Lions and Cowboys the home game each year. Television has become too significant in today’s NFL – nationally-televised games are gold for clubs. But, tradition is tradition, and there’s some 40 years of it behind Detroit and Dallas playing on America’s favorite Thursday.

The NFL aimed to appease the other 30 teams by implementing a third Thanksgiving game, but unfortunately, it’s on NFL Network, which means most fans don’t get to see it. Thanksgiving tends to be held at an older relative’s house; without any official statistics to cite, we’ll assume that the older someone is, the less likely it is they have a satellite dish. Most people, of course, get their NFL Network via satellite dish.

Anyway, this year, we have three excellent teams playing on Thanksgiving (Patriots, Saints, Jets). Unfortunately, none of them play each other. It’s possible – maybe even probable – that all three games will be blowouts. This will be especially painful for you the viewer because you’ll probably already be watching these games with family members who don’t know jack about football. Thus, you’ll have boring football buttressed by boring conversation.

So what can you do to ameliorate a potentially-frustrating situation? Try dialing in on a matchup within the matchup and just focusing on the pure art form behind it. Here is a compelling matchup within the matchup for each game:

Patriots @ Lions

Ndamukong Suh against interior Patriots O-line

Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins has been fantastic since joining the team midseason after a prolonged contract dispute. Mankins is not a pure mauler, but he delivers one of the better hand punches in football. Suh, of course, IS a pure mauler. The No. 2 overall pick is on his way to the Pro Bowl, which is rare for a rookie defensive tackle. Center Dan Koppen is one of the better help-blockers in the NFL. Koppen’s double-teaming prowess will be needed against the behemoth rookie. (Worth noting: the Patriots will be without starting RG Stephen Neal in this game.)

Saints @ Cowboys

DeMarcus Ware vs. Jermon Bushrod
D. Revis (US Presswire)
Ware’s domination of Bushrod last season is what propelled Dallas to a December upset of the then-undefeated Saints. You might think the Saints will not allow Bushrod to go one-on-one against the superstar pass-rusher. However, Sean Payton could be willing to take that gamble if he decides to go with four wide receivers and spread the Cowboys out (which he likely will).

Bengals @ Jets

Darrelle Revis vs. Who?

Last year, Revis shutdown Chad Ochocinco in back-to-back weeks (Week 17 and the Wild Card round). Ochocinco has been drawing constant double coverage this season, but many believe that Terrell Owens has emerged as Cincy’s top wideout. The Jets will tell you which receiver they most fear by how they choose to use Revis. Don’t think Ochocinco and Owens won’t take note of which guy is paid the ultimate respect. Whoever draws the Revis matchup will almost certainly be held to under four catches (the guess here is it will be Owens, as the Jets could then implement some of the double-team concepts that have hindered Ochocinco this season).

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Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 1:36 pm
 

Terrell Owens calls Roethlisberger 'soft'

Posted by Will Brinson

We're getting close to an epic Bengals meltdown, folks. How do I know? Well, simple really -- losing coupled with unhappy wide receiver divas almost always results in a blowup.

Especially if Terrell Owens is involved. And he is -- less than 24 hours after calling Darrelle Revis "average," Owens mocked another opponent on The T. Ocho Show. (Unfortunately for Owens, one of the 34 people watching was Mike Florio of PFT.)

"A hockey player would have took that and kept on tickin'," Owens said. "It just shows you how soft Ben is."

Owens was, of course, discussing the shot that Roethlisberger took from Richard Seymour. What makes that ridiculous is that the shot by Seymour (Owens says, "I liked it.") was just flat-out cheap.

Oh, and the fact that Owens is the last person who needs to be calling anyone "soft."

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Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:56 pm
 

T.O. wasn't completely wrong about Revis

T. Owens (left) called D. Revis an average cornerback today, and he's not altogether incorrect (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When Bengals WR Terrell Owens said today that the DB he’ll face Thursday was just an “average” cornerback (though Owens later sort of backtracked ), I was interested to figure out if Owens’ comment was, in fact, accurate.

Taken at face value, Owens’ statement was ridiculous – after all, most of us here consider Revis the best cornerback in the league – but Pro Football Focus told CBSSports.com tonight that Owens’ claim wasn’t that far off the mark.

Sort of.

If you’ll recall, Revis was nursing a bad hamstring early in the season – you’ll probably remember Randy Moss absolutely dominating Revis for a 34-yard TD catch in Week 2 – and at the time, he was playing far below his standards.

“It reflected badly in some horrible numbers when he did play,” PFF wrote in an e-mail. “At one point, he had the poorest yards per catch average of any corner in the league. In the three of the four games where he was thrown at before Week 7 this season, he allowed QBs to have a 100+ QB rating.”

Obviously, those numbers are fairly horrendous. Since Revis’ injury has improved, though, he’s begun to return to his dominant play. He hasn’t allowed a QB rating over 70 since Week 7, and he’s recorded five pass deflections while not giving up a touchdown.

“Overall, Revis' 2010 numbers shake out to something like an average player,” PFF writes. “In that respect T.O. is right, but they're all on an upward trend back towards the '09 player we saw last year.”

The reality, though, is that the Revis who Owens saw on tape earlier in the season is not the same Revis he’ll see Thursday. Which why making those statements today perhaps wasn’t the smartest move Owens could have made.

And for the record, last year, when Owens was with the Bills, Revis (according to the NY Daily News ), held Owens to a combined six catches for 44 yards in two games. Yeah, not so average.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: November 23, 2010 5:16 pm
 

T.O. calls Revis an "average" cornerback

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Going back to my point earlier today in Top Ten With a Twist about why we listen to anything that comes out of Terrell Owens’ mouth when he trash-talks other players on much-better teams, I’ll go against what I wrote and tell you what he said today.

While meeting with the Bengals media, Owens – who, to be fair, was called a slouch by Jets CB Darrelle Revis in the offseason – said Revis was “an average” cornerback.

“As far (as) someone being a slouch, that isn’t anything to describe me as a player and the things I bring to the table,” Owens said via Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.

“Just an average corner to me. Everybody has assessed his abilities as far as what he did last year, shutdown corner, this and that. He did very well last year. But I think I’m looking forward to the challenge just like he’s looking forward to the challenge. I am not going to back down from anyone. I know my skill set. Last year we played I know why I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities. It’s going to be a great game on Thursday.”

OK, so that’s not quite as bad as I originally thought it could be, especially because later in the interview he referred to Revis as, “a great corner, uh, a good corner.”

When told about Owens’ comments, Revis basically said he would see Owens on Thursday.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: November 18, 2010 11:33 am
 

Hot Routes 11.18.10 bye bye to bye weeks

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit


All 32 teams will be in action each week from here on out, which just means more potential Hot Routes to sift through.


There is a great deal of anticipation for the Andre Johnson-Darrelle Revis matchup this Sunday.

FINALLY! A movement in Denver for the Broncos to make their alternate third orange jerseys their official home jersey. The Falcons and Titans have both done this in recent years (Falcons’ red jerseys used to be an alternate to their black; Titans sky blue jerseys used to be an alternate to navy blue).


A record number of players have landed on IR so far this season.


The season-ending injury to Cardinals right tackle Brandon Keith has given veteran Jeremy Bridges a chance to start again.


Ron Artest hopes to try out for the NFL after his basketball career is over. Just what we need: another basketball player turned tight end (we’ll assume he’d play tight end) whom announcers can remind us goes after red zone catches by boxing out the same way as if he’s going after a rebound.


T.O. spoke with Buffalo reporters Wednesday and greeted them with an interesting cheer.


Brian Urlacher is four tackles away from passing Mike Singletary as the Bearsall-time leading tackler.


Talk about a fair yet unfair headline. From the Detroit Free Press: “Jason Hanson is the losingest NFL player ever”. That’s Hanson’s reward for longevity.


At a University of Maryland function Wednesday night, Dan Snyder called the loss to the Eagles “embarrassing”.


Jeff Fisher regrets losing LeGarrette Blount.


Rex Ryan wants more from his defense.


Pretty much every NFL-related story from Giants beat writers this week has been tied to Michael Vick.


Todd Haley won’t even discuss his own injuries with the media.


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Posted on: November 13, 2010 3:27 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 8:40 pm
 

Week 10 injury news and analysis, part II

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Patriots at Steelers


It was big news Friday when Tom Brady was listed as probable with a right shoulder on New England’s injury report (everybody in the Northeast let out a HUGE exhale). But he also was spotted limping Friday, and he declined to comment to the media about why. This obviously would be a problem if he’s called upon to move around in the pocket or to scramble.

In other New England injury news, RB Fred Taylor is listed as questionable with his turf toe injury. He was limited in practice all week, but the team also might want to hold off inserting him into a game before he’s completely healthy. He hasn’t played since Week 3.

UPDATE (8:38 p.m.): New England has downgraded three players to "out." That includes OG Stephen Neal, RB Fred Taylor and DE Myron Taylor. None of them will play Sunday.

Steelers DE Brett Keisel has missed three straight games because of a hamstring injury, and he’s doubtful again this week. He was supposed to start last Monday vs. the Bengals, but he re-aggravated the injury in warmups. OG Chris Kemoeatu also is doubtful after spraining his knee in Cincinnati. It sounds like Ramon Foster will take his place in the starting lineup.

LB James Harrison was a late addition to the injury report with back spasms. He’s listed as questionable.

Titans at Dolphins


The big question mark for Tennessee obviously is QB Vince Young. I wrote earlier today that it doesn’t sound like he will play , and that means Kerry Collins would get the starting nod.

WR Kenny Britt is out with a hamstring – potentially for the rest of the regular season – but that’s where Randy Moss is supposed to come in and perform.

For Miami, a couple backups (CB Tyrone Culver and WR Roberto Wallace) are questionable, and although some of the team’s most important players (T Jake Long, LB Karlos Dansby, S Chris Clemons and TE Anthony Fasano) are on the injury list, all of them are probable and should play.

Jets at Browns

One of the stranger stories of the week was Browns LB Marcus Benard who collapsed in the locker room Thursday and was sent to the hospital for tests. He didn’t practice Friday and is questionable to play. But Benard, who leads the team with 4 ½ sacks, wants to be out there, and it’s certainly possible Cleveland could allow him to do so.

Meanwhile, Cleveland QBs Jake Delhomme (ankle) and Seneca Wallace (ankle) are both questionable, but at this point, it’s hard to see how coach Eric Mangini could insert either given the way Colt McCoy has played the past three games.

The Jets are pretty healthy. CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring), LB Calvin Pace (foot) G Matt Slauson (knee) and T Damien Woody (knee) are on the injury list, but all are listed as probable.

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Posted on: November 8, 2010 3:03 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 3:27 am
 

10 stories that deserve your attention Week 9

Posted by Andy Benoit

1.) The common sense approach for Jerry Jones

Out of principle, I’ve been trying to avoid Dallas Cowboy stories at all costs these past few weeks. I’ve also been buying into the idea of keeping Wade Phillips around for the remainder of the season just because, well, the Collective Bargaining Agreement issues do W. Phillips (US Presswire)complicate matters, and promoting someone from Phillips’ staff to the top position on an interim basis doesn’t pack much punch.

But what happened in Green Bay can’t be ignored. Thus, I’m writing a Cowboys story – an opinionated Cowboys story – that should cover the thousands of other Cowboys stories you’ll read this week. Here it goes:

It would be wrong to say the Cowboys quit Sunday night, as “quitting” would imply they actually got started at some point. The problems for this team are as numerous as they are obvious. Based on the way Jon Kitna seems to be received by teammates, you’d swear Dallas’ 52 other players are all atheists. The only way Kitna could be ignored any further is if Andre Gurode simply stopped snapping him the ball. Beyond Kitna, the running backs appear to be forbidden from pass blocking. The only time Dallas’ defense looks the least bit complex in the presnap phase is when a linebacker or safety lines up in the wrong spot. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick has been particularly awful all season, though at least he hasn’t mortgaged his heart and self respect the way Mike Jenkins has (what kind of tackling effort was that on the James Jones touchdown???).

We could go on forever, but the point is, this team has crossed the threshold of pathetic, and because of that, Jerry Jones needs to fire Phillips. Yes, a head coaching change at this point is complicated, but I’ll take complicated over helpless any day. For the rest of this season, replace Phillips with Dave Campo, a fiery motivator with some head coaching experience. Don’t promote Jason Garrett – he may be just as big a part of the problem. Over these next eight games the former NFL backup quarterback needs to prove he’s still worthy of being an offensive coordinator in this league. The overly-simplistic system, lack of identity in the ground game and inconsistency of key players suggest he’s not. (By the way, have we ever seen a hot young head coaching candidate cool as quickly as Garrett? Those two 6-2 teams playing this Thursday night were both turned down by Garrett at one point.)

The second the game clock reads 0:00 in Week 17, Jones needs to offer a contract to Bill Cowher. Cris Collinsworth made a great point during the broadcast: when the Cowboys have had a no-nonsense disciplinarian head coach (i.e. Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells), they’ve prospered; when they’ve had a “players’ coach”, they’ve floundered. Go get Cowher. He’ll instill toughness, he runs a 3-4 scheme and, though maybe not a top echelon personnel guy the way Johnson and Parcells were, he’ll ultimately improve the roster.

Cowher wants to coach; it’s amazing he’s still available after four years. Jones got lucky there. If for some reason Cowher is hesitant to get back in, Jones should offer him $10-12 million a season. He should be willing to give up part of his power, too. Sure, if there’s a lockout, Cowher may not get to instill his modus operandi on the team until August, which would be a problem. But that problem pales in comparison to the one that is the status quo.



2.) Childress sets a new standard for buzz kill
B. Favre (US Presswire)
We’ve all made a joke that falls painfully flat. It’s a terrible feeling. The ensuing silence makes the air around you feel thick, and when you try to backtrack or play it off, the nightmare only intensifies. No matter what your politics, in that moment you find yourself marveling at the courage it must take for someone like Vice President Joe Biden to face the world every day.

Biden at least specializes in the foot-in-mouth variety of failed jokes. That’s the harmless kind. The other kind of failed joke is the one that derives from spite and pettiness. The room falls silent on these jokes because everyone knows that there is an uncomfortable hint of truth behind it. That’s what happened when Brad Childress said in his postgame press conference, “I'm not going to stand here like Brett Favre and tell you I need compassion, I need a hug. I'm all right."

(Crickets)

Why – why?! – say that? Now, instead of talking about how Favre threw for a career-high 446 yards and led an incredible two-touchdown comeback in the final four minutes against Arizona, we’re talking about how the quarterback and head coach still don’t like each other.

And it’s not just the Favre storyline that takes a backseat. Percy Harvin played on a bad ankle and was fantastic (nine catches, 126 yards). Adrian Peterson (15 carries, 81 yards and a touchdown, plus four catches, 63 yards and another touchdown) showed late in the game why he has reclaimed his spot as the league’s best running back. Jared Allen, with 2.5 sacks and six hits on Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson, quieted all his naysayers (which even those naysayers were glad about, considering everyone agrees that Allen is a great guy and fun to root for). If the Vikings beat the Bears next week, they’ll welcome the Packers to the Metrodome in Week 11 with a chance to get within one game in the NFC North.

THESE are the storylines that should be highlighted this week. But thanks to Chilly’s chill-hearted joke, we get another week of drama in Minnesota.

3.) What the Hillis happened in Cleveland?

You wonder if the Trap Game is simply a law of nature. If any team would be immune to it, it’d be the Patriots. But sure enough, with showdowns against the Steelers and Colts on the horizon, Bill Belichick’s team came out flat as board Sunday in Cleveland. It was apparent right from the start that the Trap Game law was in affect. Trailing 3-0, rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski signaled for a fair catch on the ensuring kickoff, then, for some reason, though “eh, never mind”, and let the ball bounce to the turf. After a scrum, the Browns came away with possession, leaving a short field for football’s new giant-killer, Colt McCoy (actually, the tongue is not ALL THE WAY in cheek calling McCoy a “giant killer”, considering that the rookie is 2-1 as a starter and has beaten the Patriots and Saints).

New England’s socialistic ball control offense never came close to mustering enough firepower for a comeback. The story of the day, however, was on the other side of the ball. Fullback turned tailback Peyton Hillis rushed for a career-high 184 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. He also caught three passes for 36 yards. By now, you’ve probably heard about eight or nine different people refer to the 240-pounder from Arkansas as a battering ram. Indeed, Hillis seems to perk up at the point of contact.

The Browns have a meat and potatoes offense and, thanks in large part to Rob Ryan, one of the best-coached defenses in the NFL. The talk about Eric Mangini getting fired is clearly preemptive. Credit Mike Holmgren for giving the one-time wundercoach a vote of confidence over the past several months. Mangini is capitalizing on the tough lessons he learned early in his career.



4.) Poor BillsR. Fitzpatrick (US Presswire)


It’s hard to feel sorry for a professional football team, but goodness, how can you not want to see the Bills get off the snide? After back-to-back overtime losses, Chan Gailey’s club went to Canada to clear its mind and play before a crowd that, we’re guessing, literally does not know how to boo. (By the way, only 50,746 people showed up for the game, which is fine with the Bills, as they’ve already been paid $78 million for the whole Canadian home games arrangement. The Rogers Communications executives, on the other hand, aren’t thrilled with the low attendance, though they recently said they’d like to extend the deal past 2012. In fact, they might even try to negotiate with the Buffalo community an even split for Bills home games, which means the Bills would become the divorce children of the NFL.)

Aside from two interceptions and a few ground balls, Ryan Fitzpatrick played well Sunday. So did his new favorite receiver, Steve Johnson. The third-year pro from Kentucky surprisingly won the starting job opposite Lee Evans in training camp. After catching 11 passes for 145 yards against the Bears, Johnson leads the Bills with 30 receptions for 409 yards on the season. He’s a humble, try-hard guy, which makes him an embodiment of this entire club.

But this is still a club that fell three points short Sunday. Since a city change didn’t do the trick for the Bills, how about a temporary name change? Given this team’s heart and tenacity, I propose the Buffalo Anti-Cowboys.



5.) Charlie Whitehurst makes his debut; quarterback controversy in Seattle?


Hahaha, uh, no. Let’s move on.



6.) Colts-Eagles…..annoying?

The Colts are 5-3. The Eagles are 5-3. The Eagles just beat the Colts. That means the Eagles should be above the Colts in the power rankings, right? Sure – whatever, we can have that debate later in the week.

Regarding Sunday’s Colts-Eagles game itself, I can’t get over how maddeningly choppy this game was. Did anyone else notice the utter lack of rhythm? It was one of those games where you have to keep checking the top of your television screen because you can’t remember what the score is and you have absolutely no idea how much time is left in the quaA. Collie (US Presswire)rter.

Forget trying to sort out what, exactly , happened in this game – at the end of it, all I could think about was how pissed off the hardcore 60 Minutes fans must have been. The 60 Minutes announcement – you know, the “For those of you expecting to see 60 Minutes, you’re watching the NFL on CBS. 60 Minutes will be seen in its entirety immediately following this game, except on the West Coast, where it can be seen at its regularly scheduled time” – is something we’ve all come to associate with the ending of what are usually exciting games But when Jim Nantz read the CBS announcement during this game, there was still 13:47 left in the fourth quarter. Thus, the 15 million or so people who plan their Sunday evenings around the news magazine program had to wait 40 minutes for their show. And you know the type of person who is hardcore 60 Minutes fan is also the type of person who thinks football is a ridiculous waste of time. Those people had to be seething waiting for this choppy game to end.

Why was this game so choppy? For one, it was loaded with injuries, including a scary one for Colts receiver Austin Collie that delayed the action for several minutes. (More on this shortly.) Two, the game began with a 62-yard run by LeSean McCoy and an interception by Asante Samuel. This gave the Eagles 10 quick points, which many people did not notice because a couple of the early window games were still finishing up. Thus, when you finally got into watching the game, you instantly felt behind. Finally, Peyton Manning was brilliant at times, but he threw 21 incompletions. That’s a lot of clock stoppages.

If you were to go back and edit out some of the commercials and obnoxious (and scary) injuries from this game, you’d see that it was actually a pretty good contest. A few key notes:

***Michael Vick was every bit as superb as his numbers suggest. Vick was 17/29 for 218 yards and a touchdown, along with 74 yards and another touchdown on 10 runs. You forget how much more fun football is when Number 7 is a star.

***The Eagles were able to get pressure on Manning, sacking him three times and forcing him to redefine his pocket on several occasions.

***Jacob Tamme will be claimed in every fantasy football league across America this week (if he wasn’t already). Dallas Clark’s replacement posted Dallas Clark-like numbers Sunday: 11 catches, 108 yards and a touchdown. The surprisingly-lithe third-year pro was targeted 17 times.

***Jim Caldwell made a mistake in the way he utilized his timeouts on Philly’s final drive. Caldwell should have used his first timeout after DeSean Jackson’s 11-yard run on the drive’s first play. Instead, Caldwell used his timeout after Philly’s next first down play. His thinking was, he’d then still have a timeout to use after the second down play and third down play. That’s exactly what happened, so all was well. But Caldwell still should have used his timeout right away. If you need to save clock, then start saving clock ASAP. If Indy had, say, recovered a Philly fumble on the second down play, they would have had 40 seconds more left on the clock. The odds of that scenario playing out are small, yes, but they’re still greater than zero.

***Regarding the hit on Austin Collie, it’s understandable that the Eagles disagreed with the personal foul call. It wasn’t a helmet-to-helmet shot, and it’s debatable whether Collie was even defenseless anyway. That said, some of the Eagles could have shown more respect in arguing the call while Collie was still down. Upon seeing the replay on the big board, Asante Samuel jumped up and down and actually ran around Collie’s motionless body on his way to getting in an official’s face. Come on, Asante.



7.) Indy’s uniformsP. Manning (US Presswire)

Jim Nantz noted that the Colts wore throwback uniforms for only the second time in franchise history. It’s kind of hard to wear throwbacks when your current uniforms are basically already throwbacks. It doesn’t get much blander that then blue and white in Indianapolis. Given that they employ the most marketable player in the league, it’s actually amazing the Colts have not done some modern redesign to their jersey and brand. Yes, the horseshoe logo and understated color scheme has tradition, but most of that tradition is tied up in Baltimore. (And the people of Baltimore hate the Colts anyway.)

The only other time the Colts have worn throwbacks was Thanksgiving ’04 at Detroit. Those uniforms were basically the same as the modern unis, except that the white helmet had the horseshoe on the back, not the side. The significance here is that those helmets were white. On Sunday, Indy’s helmets were blue. Why does that matter? Because, ostensibly, this marked the first time in Peyton Manning’s entire football career that he took the field for a meaningful contest in a helmet that wasn’t white. Manning has worn a white helmet as a Colt. He wore a white helmet at Tennessee, and his Isidore Newman high school team wore white helmets. Sunday, he got to wear blue.



8.) No joke by The Bay

The Raiders are for real, given that reality in this case is a solid but not spectacular 5-4 record. Winners of three-straight for the first time since 2002, Oakland held the first-place Chiefs to just 104 yards on the ground. Coming into the game, Kansas City had rushed for over 200 yards in each of its previous three outings.

Fourth-round rookie Jacoby Ford (2010 Scouting Combine best 4.28 forty time) had six catches for 148 yards, including two crucial long grabs late over the middle right in front of Chiefs star corner Brandon Flowers. (Give credit to Jason Campbell, who on both plays showed fantastic pocket poise and accuracy.) Ford also took the second half opening kickoff back 94 yards for Oakland’s first score.

There were plenty of unusual interruptions in this game due to confusion among the officials. Jeff Triplett crews are usually great crews, but every once in a while Triplett and his men will have a few bumbling moments. One hiccup came on the overtime coin toss. The Chiefs called heads and won, but Richard Seymour thought they called tails. This wasn’t nearly as bad as the Jerome Bettis-Phil Luckett ’98 Thanksgiving game, but still, the NFL could put an end to this silly risk of coin toss controversy by having the home team always be heads and the away team always be tails. What’s the point of having players call heads or tails?



9.) Fine, I missed an extra point; so Suh me!
N. Suh (US Presswire)
Do not let anyone tell you that the difference in the Jets-Lions game wound up being Ndamukong Suh’s missed extra point. Football is way too complex for that. If Suh makes that third quarter extra point, the Lions are up 14-10, rather than 13-10, which changes the play-calling and, subtly, the mindset of everyone involved. It would have been a totally different game; who knows how it would have played out?

The difference, or differenceS, in the Lions-Jets game were Matthew Stafford’s shoulder injury (it’s very concerning just how easily that part of his body gets hurt), LaDainian Tomlinson’s six catches for 47 yards (seemingly all of which came at a convenient time for the Jets), Santonio Holmes’ big 52-yard catch-and-run in overtime (amazing how significant one missed tackle can be, huh?) and Darrelle Revis’ All-World performance against Calvin Johnson (the Lions star receiver caught one pass for 13 yards and was targeted just four times).

The Jets have some work to do offensively, but the good teams find ways to win even when they’re not clicking on all cylinders.

10.) Quick Hits

***Sticking with Lions-Jets, I wish someone would force Jahvid Best to change his number. Tiny running backs with explosive speed and quickness shouldn’t wear 44, it just doesn’t look right.

***As expected, the smashmouth Falcons were able to run the ball down the Bucs’ throats all afternoon Sunday. Michael Turner had 24 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

***In his first game back since suffering a week 6 concussion, Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson did not look at all eager to stick his nose in there and be physical. Not saying the Falcons have another Bryan Scott situation on their hands (remember Bryan Scott, the rising safety for Atlanta who got a concussion and, for the next year or two, was noticeably afraid of contact?). But Robinson’s lack of aggressiveness was plain to see.

***This seems like a perfect segue into ripping Mike Jenkins one more time for his pathetic tackling effort (or non-effort) on the James Jones touchdown. Seriously Mike. What. Was. THAT?

***Nate Burleson got flagged for celebrating a touchdown by kicking the ball into the stands a few weeks ago. When he scored Sunday, Burleson did a wind up to boot the ball again, only this time he intentionally missed it. Clever. (P.S. Burleson had seven catches for 113 yards this game.)

***How about Ray Rice racking up 97 yards on seven receptions?

***Safety Chris Harris spent some time at linebacker for the Panthers. It’s a little surprising they didn’t try him at quarterback.

***When was the last time we saw two teams score fumble recovery touchdowns on kickoff coverage on the same day? Talk about the ultimate lucky touchdown. The Cardinals got one from Michael Adams and the Packers got one from Nick Collins on a fumble that would have been ruled down by contact if the Cowboys had been able to challenge.

***Hope you enjoyed watching Nick Collins, by the way, because if the NFL is true to its word about cracking down on illegal hits, the Packers safety should be suspended a game for his shot on Roy Williams. That hit was almost as egregious as Brandon Meriweather’s hit on Todd Heap. (True, Meriweather was not suspended, but that was likely only because the hit occurred the week before the NFL issued the harsher punishment for violating the rule.)

***I didn’t watch the Chargers-Texans game, but in seeing the highlights and scanning the box score, it’s looking like I might have to learn how to say the name Seyi Ajirotutu. Dammit all.


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Posted on: October 29, 2010 9:55 am
 

Week 8 Key Matchup: Jets D vs. Packers O

Posted by Andy Benoit

The New York Jets might be the only team in the NFL where the scheme is more important than the players executing it. At least, this is true for the front seven. (Of course, it’s only true for the front seven because the back four, and specifically cornerback Darrelle Revis, is so dominant. So maybe, at the end of the day, the players are still more important than the scheme. It’s a chicken or egg thing.)

Anyway…about that scheme…R. Ryan

One of the greatest misconceptions in football is that Rex Ryan’s Jets are strictly a blitzing defense. When the Jets bring pressure, it’s not always in the form of a blitz. Often times, the Jets rush only four. But unlike a 4-3 scheme, where the four rushers are downlinemen, a 3-4 scheme allows for a linebacker to rush. The Jets have mastered the art of what scouts call a “zone exchange”, which is to say, the Jets are great at disguising which linebacker will rush. This often creates the illusion of a blitz, as opposing offensive lines struggle to identify assignments and wind up scrambling from out of position.

So why is New York better than other teams in this department? For one, Ryan is fantastic at creating congestion on one side of a line of scrimmage and bringing clean pressure from the other. The Jets will overload on say, the right side of a line. They’ll force an offensive line to slide its protection to the right, but once the ball is snapped, they’ll drop a handful of those would-be rushers back into zone, leaving the offense with four linemen blocking two pass-rushers. Over on the left side, a defensive back or linebacker will rush through what is now an open alley.

This concept demands speed from the pass-rusher, which is why that pass-Green Bay (US Presswire)rusher is often a safety or nickelback. Fans automatically assume this is a blitz. But watch closely and you’ll see, often times, the Jets are still only rushing four players. In order for this to work, you need agile, versatile linebackers (like, say, a Jason Taylor or a Bryan Thomas).

This leads us to the next topic: the results. We think of pressuring a quarterback as generating sacks. The Jets think of it as generating incompletions. The Jets recorded a modest 32 sacks in 2009. But they forced opponents into an incomplete pass a league-best 48.3 percent of the time. Their zone exchanges aim to not just reach a quarterback, but make him believe he’s under siege. That way, he’ll hurry his throw.

The Packers have had their fair share of pass protection woes, though their offensive line is far more cohesive than it was at this point a year ago. Left tackle Chad Clifton is playing perhaps the best football of his career. Left guard Daryn Colledge has been more consistent. Center Scott Wells is as steady as a calendar. Right guard Josh Sitton is one of the bright young run-blockers in the game (and he’s been adequate on passing downs). Right tackle Bryan Bulaga has struggled early on, but unlike last year’s struggling right tackle, Allen Barbre, Bulaga at least has first-round talent to fall back on. (That said, the Packers will probably go back to Mark Tauscher once the veteran is healthy.)

Despite these decent offensive line improvements, expect the Packers to spread the field with four-receiver sets against New York, with two of the receivers split outside the hash marks. Doing this will discourage the Jets from overloading in the box and being ultra aggressive with blitzing defensive backs. And, when the Jets decide to overload and bring defensive backs anyway, Rodgers, with four wide targets at his disposal, should have a quickly-defined read. This plays into Green Bay’s offense, as the Packers love the quick-striking passing game.

The onus will be on the Packer receivers to make plays after the catch. Either James Jones or Jordy Nelson will have to be in the 80-90-yard range receiving. And with the Jets putting Revis on Greg Jennings, it’s critical Donald Driver (quad) be effective.

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