Tag:Dallas Cowboys
Posted on: September 28, 2011 4:17 pm
  •  
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Week 4 NFL film room preview

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

it's Wednesday, which means it's time for our own Andy Benoit to take a look at some matchups in an in-depth perspective. This week's matchups are Ravens-Jets (you can read it here) and Lions-Cowboys (check it out here) and they're excellent, per usual.

Andy also joins Will on the podcast to talk about whether Les Miles could make it as an NFL coach and where he might end up, whether Tony Romo deserves all the praise he's getting, what the Cowboys will do to slow down MVP candidate Matthew Stafford, whether or not Torrey Smith is a legit receiving option for the Ravens, and how the Patriots might slow down Darren McFadden.

Plus, Michael David Smith of PFT joins Ryan to talk about the fact that the Lions are undefeated when he joins the podcast. (It's true!) And, of course, all the NFL action that we had this past weekend, plus a look at Week 4.

Hit the play button below to listen (and did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Film Room: Cowboys vs. Lions preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

For the first time seemingly since their Portsmouth days, the Detroit Lions will enter a nationally-followed non-Thanksgiving game with high expectations to live up to. They’re taking their 3-0 record to Dallas to face Tony Romo’s Ribs and a Cowboy defense that is getting more potent by the week in Rob Ryan’s scheme.

You’ll hear plenty this week about how the Lions can bring some much needed joy to the struggling Motor City, and about how they have crawled out of a miserable past decade, and about the wonders of NFL parity and turnaround stories.

These human interest stories are nice, but they’re only relevant because of what the Lions do on the field. Here’s a look at that.



1. Open formations
The Lions have lined up in shotgun 67 percent of the time this season, mostly in a 2 x 1 single-back set (two receivers to one side, one to the other). Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has taken this approach because it plays to the strength of his two young backfield stars: Matthew Stafford and Jahvid Best.

The semi-spread formations clarify the reads for Stafford and propagate a lot of quick-strike throws (which he has the arm strength and compact release to execute). Because defenses are compelled to roll coverage to Calvin Johnson (by far the most athletically gifted wideout in the NFL), Stafford has opportunities to exploit the seams.

This is a big reason why Detroit drafted Titus Young in the second round. Young is an unrefined route runner at this point, but route running precision is not the end-all, be-all when you’re attacking zone coverages from the slot.

Also helping spread the field is the way Detroit crafts sideline routes for Johnson. When a receiver runs a downfield pattern outside the numbers, safety help over the top often becomes irrelevant due to the nature of the limited spacing. Thus, you get a one-on-one matchup by default. Johnson has never been great at beating double teams.

That’s partly why the Lions specifically send him on isolation patterns outside. They’ll do this at least five or six times Sunday because the Cowboys, like most teams, don’t have a corner who can handle Megatron alone.

Detroit’s running game also benefits from the three-receiver shotgun sets. The very nature of the formation creates extra spacing, which is what a finesse runner like Jahvid Best needs. It also aids Detroit’s blocking. Receiving tight end Tony Scheffler often aligns in the slot as the third receiver. Scheffler has never been a great run-blocker, but as a slot receiver he doesn’t have to rely on strength and technique as much.

When it’s a wideout in the slot, it means the Lions get to run against a nickel defense, something they’ve done with alacrity thus far. Best’s rushing numbers aren’t great, but the Lions’ run game overall is not the weakness it was a season ago.

2. Receiving X factors
Detroit’s second and third best receiving weapons are not wideouts. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew caught 11 balls for 116 yards against Minnesota. He’s a plodding runner with softer hands and more effective agility than you’d guess. Stafford loves when Pettigrew is matched up on a linebacker. It will be interesting if that’s still the case after he watches outstanding Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee on film this week.

Pettigrew ranks third on the team in receiving. Ranking second is Best, who has 15 catches for 182 yards. Best, who has great elusiveness and acceleration, hurts opponents as a true receiver out of the slot, and he kills them as a screen receiver out of the backfield. One of the unheralded reasons Best thrives on screens is Calvin Johnson is a superb downfield blocker.

3. The much-ballyhooed defensive line
The Lions front four is as good as advertised. And it may only get better this week if Nick Fairley debuts as a pass-rushing defensive tackle (the first-round rookie has been out since undergoing foot surgery in August). Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch plays with great leverage and tenacity. Opposite him, Cliff Avril is a vastly underrated athlete who has recently gotten faster and stronger. Inside, underrated Corey Williams can play both a one-and two-gap style.
 
Of course, Ndamukong Suh is the driving force of Detroit’s front four. Suh’s greatest asset is his ability to quickly exert power off of movement. Elite defensive tackles like Vince Wilfork, B.J. Raji or Haloti Ngata often overpower opponents with their sheer size and force.

But those guys all weigh 330-plus and are wide enough to play the nose. Suh, at 307 pounds, is a beast, but he doesn’t quite have that exceptional raw power to dominate every down in a phone booth. However, he compensates by having the initial quickness and agility of a Pro Bowl caliber defensive end (that’s end, not tackle).

Suh is off to an incredible start this season because he’s now learned to consistently use that quickness to create favorable positioning immediately off the snap. Moves that take most players two seconds to execute, he executes in less than one. Thus, he’s always facing blockers who are caught just a little bit off-guard. That’s all Suh needs to take their manhood.

For the most part this season, the Lions have relied on straight four-man pass-rushes. But last season, against upper-tier offensive lines, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham would have a few of his linemen roam around before the snap in order to create confusion. Given Dallas’ inexperience, it would not be surprising to see Cunningham move Suh around on Sunday.

But Cunningham won’t dig too far into that bag of tricks if he doesn’t think it’s absolutely necessary. He knows there are also plenty of ways to create matchup problems with his traditional fronts. For one example, see the illustration below:


From this alignment, Suh creates a mismatch either for himself or the defensive end next to him – it depends on how the Cowboys choose to block it.

In this formation, the Cowboys have three players to block two. But personnel is still a problem. By splitting the defensive end out wide (in what’s called a nine-technique) and putting Suh in the B-gap (between the offensive guard and tackle) the Cowboys have three options here, all of which put them in an unfavorable position.

Option A: They double-team Suh with guard Kyle Kosier and tackle Tyron Smith, which leaves their tight end (either Jason Witten or Martellus Bennett) overmatched one-on-one against Cliff Avril.

Option B: They let OT Smith block Avril, which leaves a terrifying one-on-one matchup for G Kosier against Suh.

Option C: They send the tight end on a passing route, but it will have to be a short one because they’re still dealing with a one-on-one matchup between G Kosier and Suh.

Option D: The Cowboys slide protection to the right side, which is unlikely because it makes life too easy for Detroit’s other two defensive linemen and could also compromise the left side of the field for passing route options.

4. Lions pass defense
The secondary has been the Lions’ Achilles heel the past two years. But this season, the Lions are allowing only 188 yards per game through the air, fourth best in the NFL. That could just be a function of weak opponents, though. In Week 1, the Lions faced a Bucs receiving group that lacks speed. In Week 2, the Lions faced a Chiefs offense that was without dynamic tight end Tony Moeaki and thin behind the seemingly detached Dwayne Bowe.

In Week 3, the Lions faced a Vikings team that humorously believes Michael Jenkins and Bernard Berrian form an adequate one-two punch outside. A true test for the Lions secondary may have to wait another week, as the Cowboys without Miles Austin have a fairly feeble receiving corps.

Quality of opponent aside, give this secondary credit for its improvements. The Lions play a lot of Cover 2, but their corners have performed well in man coverage on third downs. Plus safety Louis Delmas has sharpened his ball-man prowess against tight ends.

5. What to expect
The Lions have not seen a defense as conceptually difficult as Dallas’. Against the Bucs and Vikings, Stafford had to only read zone coverages behind basic four-man pass-rushes. This Sunday, he and his offensive line will have to decipher more blitzes and sub-package personnel.

They have an ultimate resource in Calvin Johnson, though. The Cowboys simply can’t cover him.

If the Lions can exploit that mismatch early and play from ahead, they’ll make the Cowboys offense one-dimensional and vulnerable in long-yardage situations. That should be enough to get to 4-0.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Where could Les Miles land in the NFL?

Posted by Will Brinson

When the CBSSports.com NFL newsletter landed in my inbox Wednesday, I thought there had to be some kind of mistake. After all, the topic was Les Miles, and he has nothing to do with the NFL, except that he coaches guys who will end up playing there.

As it turns out, my man Mike Freeman's excellent 10-Point Stance column was about Miles and how he's the "most intriguing coaching prospect" that one team exec has "seen in a long time." WUT?

Les Miles? Really? Because, um, yeah, that doesn't make sense.


Whatever, Miles is wacky but he wins a lot, so at some point, NFL teams will be interested. Let's run through some of the usual suspects -- teams who stink this season and/or teams that are always considered possibilities for head-coaching candidates -- and discuss whether or not they're viable candidates.

Miami Dolphins: Tony Sparano's seat is arguably hotter than anyone else in the NFL right now and he's got games coming up against the Chargers and Jets. Not being 0-5 would be an accomplishment if that tells you anything about where this season is going for the Fins. There's a good chance he doesn't make it through the season. So would Miles work?

Well, Stephen Ross wants to add some spice to Miami's public persona, and Miles would definitely do that. But is he gonna sexy up the offense? I'm not so sure -- LSU currently ranks 98th in the NCAA in passing yards and 48th overall in rushing yards. In 2010, Miles' team totaled 2,023 passing yards, which is like a September for Tom Brady. The most passing yards while Miles has been at LSU came in 2007, when Matt Flynn led the team with 2,407 yards and the Tigers totaled 3,154 yards for the season.

Oh, and there's this little bit of history -- remember the last time the Dolphins decided to go out and hire a championship-winning coach from LSU? That worked out superbly for them, and I can't imagine that there's a whole lot of love in South Beach for the Tigers coaching tree.

Kansas City Chiefs: There's a pretty good chance Todd Haley's gone by the start of next season, but is this the spot for Miles? Perhaps not -- after all, Scott Pioli's likely to get one more chance at hiring a coach he wants, and you can all but bet that he'll go off the Belichick tree.

Miles doesn't fit that role and it makes no sense for Pioli to really put his neck on the line by trying to bring in a college coach who isn't necessarily guaranteed to buy into his personnel system.

Dallas Cowboys: This isn't to even suggest that Jason Garrett's on the hot seat. He's not. But as Freeman wrote, people think Miles might be the "next Jimmy Johnson," and he coached in Dallas.

So did Miles, though he showed up to Big D after Johnson was gone and only coached tight ends there.

Still, Jerry Jones is always a guy that people associate with "big names" and he's the last guy to have success with a college coach who jumped up a level.

Oakland Raiders: Hue Jackson's doing a great job by the bay, but if a name is out there, he's going to get mentioned with Oakland, because that's how these things work. Plus, you never know if 2011's rendition is going to fall off a cliff or not. They are, after all, the Raiders.

But Miles has tremendous job security at LSU right now, and as we mentioned in the Miami section, he doesn't exactly fit the mold of what Al Davis wants in terms of chunking the ball down the field. Although he does coach in the SEC, so maybe the speed correlation works.

Indianapolis Colts: OK, so we've figured out that Miles isn't going to be a great offensive guru or anything, right? Well, this might actually make sense -- there's little in the way of requirement to be an offensive savant in Indy, as long as the Colts can squeeze three or more years out of Peyton Manning. He runs the system and Jim Caldwell just stands there.

Miles' biggest hair-pullers come on the offensive end of things in crunch time, and it would be a non-issue with Manning on the field. Additionally, he'd make the Colts substantially better on special teams and on defense, right off the bat, even if the personnel might need some revamping. He's a Michigan man and born in Ohio -- Indianapolis is less than a five-hour drive from both.

The Colts will be coming off a terrible season after 2011 and that means better resources to invest in future talent; Indy's a team that could nab the first-overall pick in the draft and somehow still remain a decent team.

Would it be a departure from the modus operandi of the Colts? Definitely, but there's a good opening to bring in a fresh face for 2011, and they seem to have less chance of having Miles' quirky traits, lack of offensive ingenuity and poor clock management implode on them than anyone else.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:35 am
 

Orakpo thinks Romo injury blown out of proportion

Orakpo: Romo injury overblown. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

A week ago, a punctured lung and broken ribs couldn't keep Tony Romo from leading the Cowboys to an overtime win over the 49ers. On Monday night, Romo's legend grew with another gutsy performance against NFC East rival Washington.

But not everybody is impressed with Romo's threshold for pain. Take, for example, Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, who addressed the matter Tuesday during an appearance on John Thompson's radio show (quotes via the Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg).

“To me they blown it way out of proportion,” Orakpo said. “I mean, they tried to make it seem like the guy was hospitalized the night before the game, just so we could build it up if they was to win the game — oh he’s a courageous player to go out there and play. The guy was playing just like Tony Romo, running around, making throws. He got hit throughout the whole game and still getting up. I mean, it was blown way out of proportion, but it is what it is.”

Orakpo sounded even more perplexed at how Romo avoided a single turnover despite center Phil Costa's predilection for horribly mistimed snaps.

“I mean, Romo got some type of lucky charm in his back pocket,” Orakpo said. “Because it seemed like every time the ball was on the floor, he was able to scoop it up, not fumbling one time, scoop it up and pick it up and try to at least make a play. Very unfortunate for us. I mean, I’m so disappointed in the outcome. We left a lot on the table. We could have easily won that game.”

To be fair, the reason for the four botched snaps was because the Redskins were, you know, cheating. Surprised Orakpo didn't mention that during his diatribe.

Then again, Orakpo doesn't take issue with DeAngelo Hall's f-bomb-tastic post-game tirade, noting that Hall wishes "he could take it back, but I don’t blame him. He’s already a hothead, so why would you put a camera in his face?"

That's a fair point.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Romo: Redskins D kept calling out snap count

'Skins D didn't do Cowboys C Phil Costa any favors. (AP)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's taken less than two weeks, but Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has gone from perennial choker to the toughest guy in football (apologies to Michael Vick, who just can't seem to get a call).

Romo showed that again Monday when he faced a non-stop assault from the Redskins defense, and he got very little help from his center, Phil Costa, who seemed incapable of delivering the ball to his quarterback on the snap count (you can watch in horror here).

After the fourth miscue we just figured it was some elaborate Benny Hill comedy sketch (stranger things have happen) because there's no way a professional athlete having played football most of his life would continually struggle with one of the most basic acts in the game.

Turns out, Costa's troubles were due to one thing: the Redskins were cheating. Specifically, Washington simulated Romo's snap count.

After the game Romo said, "We've got to get the snap thing worked out. Costa said the D-line kept calling out the snap count. We'll get that worked out. We'll tell the league and see if that's something that can be fixed because you're not supposed to be able to do that. So we'll see. But we can't have that happen. We shouldn't have been in that situation."

Costa, for his part, didn't point fingers. “There’s no blaming the refs. It’s on me.”

According to NFL rules, it's illegal for defensive players to mimic the quarterback's cadence in an attempt to confuse the offense. We look forward to DeAngelo Hall's measured take on the matter.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 3

Posted by Will Brinson


Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 3 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman Fitzpatrick Colts  Knox  Gailey
Judge  McFadden Bills DBs  Bailey  Gailey
Prisco   Romo  Allen  Bailey  Coughlin
Brinson  McFadden  Freeney  Bailey  Gailey
Katzowitz   T. Smith  Freeney  Bailey  Schwartz
Wilson   Welker  Freeney  Bailey  Jackson
Week 3's over and everything in the NFL is clear, apparent and obvious. Like, for instance, that the Lions and Bills are really good. I mean, who didn't see that coming, right? Anyway, it's award time for us.

Offensively speaking, there were plenty of performances that inspired us this week, but Darren McFadden of the Raiders and his 171 yards against the Jets warranted enough consideration to sneak out the award. (And with good reason.)

It was a losing defensive effort that picked up the hardware this week, as Dwight Freeney's efforts inspired enough voters to cast something similar to his name in the ballot and pick up the award. What does it say about the state of defense in the NFL, by the way, that we had three voters cast for either multiple players or an "entity"?

Dan Bailey ran away with the Eye on Special Teams for the second week in a row after his six (six!) field goals against the Redskins gave the Cowboys a victory on Monday night. You can only make the kicks your team gives you and Bailey did just that.

As far as the Eye on Coaching award goes, well, Chan Gailey wins ... again! What kind of world are we living in, huh?

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Ryan Fitzpatrick Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
He deserves to win every award ever invented. Offensive award, defensive, Nobel, a Pulitzer and throw in an Emmy. It is true the Bills intercepted Tom Brady four times, a rarity, like when all of the planets in the solar system are aligned. It's clearly Fitzpatrick, despite Buffalo's defense prowess, who is driving this team and did so against New England. They'd lost 15 straight games to the Pats. Fitzpatrick's accuracy, skill and guts powered the Bills in what was the best performance -- period -- of the week.
Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden, RB, Raiders
If this guy stays healthy, the Raiders stay at or near the top of the AFC West. He seems to run at a faster speed than everyone else, and last weekend the New York Jets were that everyone. It takes a lot to impress Jets' coach Rex Ryan, and he seemed overwhelmed by Oakland's running game -- with McFadden the first one through the door with 171 yards, two TDs and an average of 9 yards a carry. We always knew he could be special; what we didn't know ... and still don't ... is if he can stay on the field.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Tony Romo Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
I know his numbers weren't great, but did he ever tough it out against the Redskins. He played with a broken rib and punctured lung and made some tough throws. He took some shots, but kept on going. Not only that, he was playing with a bunch of backups.  Still doubt this guy?
Darren McFaddenDarren McFadden, RB, Raiders
If there was any question about Run DMC leading the league in rushing, he answered it Sunday, by rolling over the Jets with 171 yards on just 19 carries. He's piling up yards at a terrifyingly efficient clip (6.4 YPC) and deserves to be in the discussion as the best back in the NFL.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Torrey SmithTorrey Smith, WR, Ravens
The Ravens were looking to get off to a fast start vs. the Rams. And behind the play of rookie Smith, who had yet to record a single statistic in a game before Sunday, that’s exactly what they did. Smith caught three touchdowns in the first quarter, and overall, he had five catches for 152 yards to help get the Ravens offense back on track.
Wes Welker Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
It's rarely the case that a Patriots wide receiver has 16 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns and New England still loses. But when Tom Brady throws four interceptions and Chad Ochocinco drops what should've been a touchdown pass, that's exactly what happens. The lesson? No lead is too large for the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills to overcome.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Dwight FreeneyIndianapolis Colts, DST
I'll avoid more Bills slurping and go an unusual route--the Colts.I know. Very weird. Yet in a game which the Colts truly had no chance to win due to the absence of Peyton Manning that Indianapolis defense played brilliantly minus a play or two. They stripped a sloppy Ben Roethlisberger twice and picked him off. They were the only reason Indianapolis was in the game late.
Drayton Florence Buffalo Bills Secondary
The Bills' secondary had three of the team's four interceptions vs. Tom Brady and fueled the team's comeback from a 21-0 hole. Incredible. Nobody spots Brady 21 points and wins. Only Buffalo just did, ending a 15-game losing streak. Drayton Florence's go-ahead TD was the big blow, but defensive backs George Wilson and Leodis McKelvin had crucial interceptions, too. Do you believe in miracles? Brady had four interceptions all of last season; he had four on Sunday.
Prisco Brinson
Jared AllenJared Allen, DE, Vikings
I know his team didn't win, but he was a force all day. He had three sacks and was spent the game in the Lions backfield. He also made some nice plays against the run.
Dwight FreeneyDwight Freeney, DE, Colts
Don't tell Freeney that the Colts only upside to this season is nabbing Stanford's Andrew Luck -- in a game that the Colts weren't supposed to even be in by the fourth quarter, he dominated up front and gave Indy a shot at its first win of the year with two sacks, a forced fumble and total disruption.
Katzowitz Wilson
Dwight Freeney Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
Freeney dominated the Steelers offensive line, recording two sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a forced fumble. He almost single-handedly kept Indianapolis in the game and forced the Steelers to kick a last-second field goal for the win. Too bad Freeney can't play quarterback.
Dwight Freeney Dwight Freeney & Robert Mathis, DE, Colts
They spent Sunday night meeting on Ben Roethlisberger, combining for three sacks and two fumbles that resulted in 10 Indianapolis points. You could make a case that Freeney and Mathis are just as deserving of offensive honors, too.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Johnny KnoxJohnny Knox, WR, Bears
I know, I know. The spectacular return didn't count because of a phantom hold. A really phantom hold. Such a phantom hold it insults the word phantom. But the fake-out kick return by the Bears was such delicious subterfuge and Knox was king actor selling the fake completely. It was a wonderfully designed play that worked. Did I mention the phantom holding call? One other thing: I think Knox could be one of the top three special teams players in football if he got more opportunities.
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
He did the only scoring in the Cowboys' come-from-behind defeat of Washington Monday night, with a 40-yard field goal to win the game. Bailey wasn't the story of that game; Tony Romo was. Not sure how he gutted his way through another victory, but it wouldn't have been possible if Bailey weren't there to punctuate the drives that Romo began.
Prisco Brinson
Dan BaileyDan Bailey, K, Cowboys
He made six field goals, including the game-winner late in the fourth quarter, to tie a rookie record. Well done.
Dan BaileyDan Bailey, K, Cowboys
The last place you want to kick as a rookie is in Dallas, where there's been a revolving door of kickers for a while now. But Bailey doesn't care and he gets my nod again this week as his leg carried the Cowboys to a crucial victory when they clammed up in the red zone.
Katzowitz Wilson
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
With Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo getting very little help from his wide receivers and his offensive line, Bailey provided all of Dallas’ points in its win against the Redskins and set an NFL rookie record with six field goals in a single game. Bailey is now 9 of 10 on the season.
Dan Bailey Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
For the second time in as many weeks, the Cowboys rookie kicker earns the nod. He was 6 for 6 on field-goal attempts against the Redskins and accounted for all of Dallas' points.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Bill BelichickChan Gailey, Bills
He ended a brutal losing streak to New England but Gailey has done more than that in Buffalo. He's made the Bills relevant and the Bills haven't been relevant since the invention of barbecue wings.Buffalo hasn't had a winning record since 2004 and the last time the Bills made the playoffs was the late 1990s. Gailey isn't a great coach but he's solid. If he can steer the Bills into the playoffs he will have done one of the great coaching jobs of the past decade and making the postseason begins with their win over the Patriots.
Mike Munchak Chan Gailey, Bills
He wins in a photo-finish with the Lions' Jim Schwartz, and for this reason: Somehow, some way, he convinced his players that they weren't dead meat after falling behind by 21 points to Tom Brady and the big, bad New England Patriots. They'd lost 15 straight to these guys, for crying out loud, so there was every reason to quit. But they didn't. Now the question: Are these guys for real? I don't care. I just care that Gailey accomplished what no one in Buffalo has been to accomplish in years.
Prisco Brinson
Tom CoughlinTom Coughlin, Giants
When his team looks to be down, facing a lot of adversity, Coughlin always gets them to respond. They went into Philadelphia as 9-point underdogs and dominated the Eagles. That's why Coughlin is a top-tier coach.
Mike MunchakChan Gailey, Bills
We joked after Week 1 that Gailey deserved the award since it was his only shot of winning. Um, whoops? Gailey's masterful coaching job with the Bills has them undefeated and if the first two weeks weren't convincing enough, a 21-point comeback against the Patriots certainly should be.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Jim Schwartz, Lions
What can you say about the Lions’ resiliency after falling behind by 20 points at halftime to the Vikings only to force overtime and win? Whatever it is, Schwartz’s coaching -- the adjustments the staff made and the fact it settled down the players -- can't go overlooked.
Hue Jackson Hue Jackson, Raiders
The Raiders first-year coach out-Rex Ryan'd Rex Ryan Sunday, forcing critical turnovers and relying on well-timed gadget plays to outlast the Jets.



Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:37 am
 

DeAngelo Hall has problem with playcalls, refs

Hallq

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a guy who made such a big proclamation about going after Tony Romo’s ribcage and Felix Jones’ shoulder, for a guy who can talk such a big game, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall didn’t make much of an impact in the Redskins 18-16 loss to the Cowboys on Monday night.

He had six tackles, tied for second-most on the team, but the biggest play of the night featuring Hall was when Romo scrambled on a third-and-21 in the fourth quarter and found Dez Bryant open for the first down. Guess who covered Bryant on that play? Hall. Guess the other mistake Hall made on that play? Yep, he tackled Bryant, in part, by grabbing his facemask to earn a 15-yard penalty.

Now, should Hall be blamed totally on the play that extended the Cowboys game-winning drive? No, because it’s nearly impossible to blanket a receiver in coverage for that long during the course of a play. But for Hall, who made such a big announcement before the game and then did next to nothing in it, he looked rather foolish.

Yet, that didn’t stop him for blasting the referees and the Redskins gameplan in the locker room afterward, especially on that game-losing series when defensive coordinator Jim Haslett continued to dial up all-out blitzes, leaving his corners in single coverage.

CBS Washington
has the audio of Hall’s comments, and it’s clear Hall feels outraged by the game’s result. And by the play-call that preceded his burning.

“Sooner or later, somebody is  going to f------ figure it out,” Hall said. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to f------ figure it out.”

For the record, Shanahan defended the play-call, saying, "We had a chance to have a sack there. (Romo) did a good job scrambling and made a play. It happens. That's the nature of the game. It didn't work."

Hall also had some words of wisdom for the official who penalized him for the facemask call that added 15 yards onto the end of Bryant’s 30-yard reception.

“It was a f------ terrible call,” Hall said. “I told the ref that he was going to f------ lose his job. I told him that might be the worst call of the game. He’s going to get some demerit points for that call. That wasn’t no facemask, man.”

Except that replays (and in the photo above) showed Hall clearly grabbed, even if for just a split-second, Bryant’s facemask in the process of bringing him down to the turf.

But the facemask hardly matters in the scope of Hall’s performance. Hall made some big plans before the game, and he failed to deliver. Not just in hurting Romo and Jones and/or knocking them out of the game.

But in failing to make a positive impact whatsoever.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 12:12 am
Edited on: September 27, 2011 9:59 am
 

'Team effort'? Cowboys win all about Tony Romo

Posted by Will Brinson

There's really no reason why the Cowboys were able to beat Washington 18-16 on Monday night. OK, there is one reason: Tony Romo, who simply refused to lose for the second-straight week, despite dealing with a serious injury and protective padding.

It was pretty obvious that Romo was still dealing with a substantial amount of pain with his ribs and lung, and he admitted as much afterwards.

"It was a little hard because you took some shots," Romo said after the game about dealing with the pain. "I thought the shot would work but it wore off a little bit. The guys battled hard, it was a hard, hard game."

What was surprising was that the Redskins didn't seem capable of figuring out Dallas pretty obvious gameplan, which featured a pile of short passes, a decent dose of Felix Jones, a bad red-zone plan that resulted in six Cowboys field goals, and an inability to get center Phil Costa on the same page as his quarterback.

The final item should have done Dallas in on Monday -- Costa posted three fumbles from the center position and probably should have been credited with more, as he hit Romo with more bad snaps than number of times Dan Bailey put the ball through the uprights. No, literally. He might have had double-digit snaps misfired Romo's way, as the Redskins apparently knew how to throw him off.

Week 3 Recap

"Costa said [the Redskins] kept calling out the [snap] cadence so we'll get it fixed," Romo said. "Can't have that happen."

No, you can't. A better-prepared team doesn't put themselves in that spot, but if Washington had brought its A-game, they would have closed out the Cowboys and wouldn't have let a third-and-21 from Romo to Dez Bryant with just over two minutes remaining result in Bailey's sixth field gaol and a final lead.

Instead, Rex Grossman pulled off the Jekyll and Hyde act we've come to know from him over the course of his career.

"You either find a way to win or you don't," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said after the game.

The Redskins couldn't find a way to win and the Cowboys somehow managed to overcome a terrible set of circumstances -- bad wide receiver routes, Phil Costa, Phil Costa, bad wide receiver routes and Phil Costa -- to emerge victorious for the second time this season.

"This isn't about one person or two people," Romo said. "This is a team effort."

That's a nice thing to say, but it's not exactly true. The win on Monday was a result of Romo stepping up in the face of injury without any help from his teammates, managed to survive a Redskins defense that was prepared to literally assault his body with an intention of doing physical harm and made plays when he needed to give the Cowboys a win.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com