Tag:Miami Dolphins
Posted on: October 2, 2010 8:43 pm
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Week 4 injury news & analysis, part IV

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Bears at Giants

Giants DE Osi Umenyiora is questionable because of a knee, but as Andy points out here, Umenyiora probably won’t play. This could be a big problem on the right side of the defensive line because Mathias Kiwanuka – who has a bulging disc in his neck – won’t play either (in fact, he might be done for the season). If Umenyiora can’t play, look for rookie Jason Pierre-Paul to move to that side of the line and start.

New York LB Keith Bulluck is struggling with a turf toe, and he’s doubtful to play. It’d only be the fourth time in his 11-year career that Bulluck would miss a game, and without him in the lineup, the Giants run defense would suffer.
 
On the Bears injury list, there shouldn’t be any surprises for Sunday. T Chris Williams and S Major Wright are definitely out, and S Chris Harris, DE Israel Idonije and G Roberto Garza are probable.

Patriots at Dolphins


Despite what we told you about earlier today about LB Channing Crowder returning to practice – albeit in a limited fashion – he’s doubtful to play Sunday. OT Jake Long, who has a bothersome knee, is probable to play.

The big news today for the Patriots is that RB Fred Taylor is out. That means BenJarvus Green-Ellis (16 carries, 98 yards and a TD last week) should get the start with Sammy Morris and Danny Woodhead in support. OT Nick Kaczur and CB Terrence Wheatley also are out.

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Posted on: October 2, 2010 12:31 pm
 

Channing Crowder back at practice

C. Crowder, after seeing a sports hernia specialist this week, returned to Miami practice Saturday (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Two weeks ago, news reports emerged that the Dolphins were toying with the idea of placing LB Channing Crowder on the IR list. But following his return to practice last week after missing a month with a groin injury, he suffered a setback this week.

He missed practice Friday and was sent to a sports hernia specialist in Philadelphia to get a second opinion on his injury, now described as a lower abdomen problem. Though he was listed as questionable in the Dolphins injury report this week, it didn’t appear he was ready to make his season debut.

Another twist today, though. According to Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel, Crowder is practicing with his teammates this morning, albeit on a limited basis.
 
He’d still be a surprise to play vs. New England on Monday, but for a Dolphins defense ranked 11th in the league, he’d be a welcome sight. Tim Dobbins and Bobby Carpenter have split time at the ILB spot Crowder usually possesses, and they’ve combined for nine tackles in Miami’s first three games.

Consider Crowder has averaged about seven tackles per game during his six-year career, he’d be quite an improvement over his replacements.

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 4:18 pm
 

Brandon Marshall harsh words for Sharpe & Co.

Posted by Andy Benoit

NFL Network analysts Solomon Wilcots, Mike Mayock and Sterling Sharpe criticized Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall for running out of gas late on the final drive in last week’s game at the Jets. The broke down the film on Playbook.
B. Marshall (US Presswire)
Wilcots said "a playmaker, a true gamer has to be in great condition to be able to close out games." Mayock said Marshall wasn’t there in “money time”. Sharpe said, "Brandon, you have to give us more. Bill Parcells has a great saying that I stole, working with him in TV: 'Don't complain. Don't explain.' You are the guy down in South Florida. If they're going to throw the ball, you are the first option. What Mike just showed us (referring to a play on Mayock’s telestrator), I'm going to give you a pass on that. That was one game this year. You're getting used to the Florida heat. Brandon Marshall, from now on, you, my friend, are going to have to bring it."
On Thursday, Marshall took the unusual step of responding specifically to the criticism.

“Those guys are players, former players," Marshall said. "They never coached. So they need to continue to do what they do best and stop worrying about other things that they don't know anything about."

Later, he added, “What those guys are saying, that's just them trying to sound good and sound like they know what they're talking about. ... I don't honestly think those guys were elite players, including Sterling Sharpe. I got to turn on the film and see what he was able to do. I know he's done some good things, but from my understanding he's not a Hall of Fame guy."

It’s worth noting that Sharpe was a three-time All-Pro on seemingly on track for Canton before a neck injury derailed his career.
Marshall had 10 catches for 166 yards against the Jets. His head coach defended his effort.

"The guy played probably 60-something plays the other night," Tony Sparano said. “And if I remember correctly with about four plays left in the game caught one and ran it down. So he looked OK to me then."


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Category: NFL
Posted on: October 1, 2010 8:32 am
 

Ricky Williams shares unique perspective as rep

Posted by Andy Benoit

We don’t hear a lot about what life is like as an NFL union rep. You’d think we would. A union rep is elected by teammates. In a lot of ways, he’s the ultimate captain. The players are going to elect whoever they feel has the smartest business mind and best communicative skills.

Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post scored a rare interview with Dolphins player rep Ricky Williams (rare because Williams isn’t exactly known for speaking with the local media). Here are the highlights:

Ricky Williams saw what happened to former Dolphins kicker Jay Feely the season after he was the team’s union representative in 2007-08. Williams saw what happened to L.J. Shelton, Vonnie Holliday and Greg Camarillo, who were the union reps the past few seasons.
None lasted very long in Miami.

“The joke is that every union rep gets cut or traded or they’re not here the next year,” Williams, the team’s new union rep after Camarillo was traded to the Vikings in August, said recently. “I don’t make too much of it. It’s been like this for 15-20 years. No big deal.”

Williams, 33, first took an interest in the NFL’s CBA and business endeavors when he was in Hawaii during his 2004 disappearing act. “Most guys don’t want to (be union rep),” Williams said. “Basically Chad (Pennington) said, ‘I don’t want to do it.’ It goes to the smart guy or the old guy – a guy who has a broad enough view to appreciate it.”

Williams said not too many players in the locker room are focused on the CBA at this moment (they’re too busy prepping for games). Williams also called the 18-game schedule a “contentious issue”, though he did say he thinks it could be worked out as long as there are the proper pay increases. He also said owners need to show players the books (go figure).

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Category: NFL
Posted on: September 30, 2010 5:45 pm
 

Parcells not sure what to do

B. Parcells will be inducted into the NYG Ring of Honor this week (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Bill Parcells talked to reporters today on a conference call to discuss his impending shrineship (is that even a word?) into the Giants Ring of Honor on Sunday. Parcells, who conceded control of the Dolphins to Jeff Ireland earlier this year, was asked about what he’s going to do now (or at least, what’s he going to do after this weekend is over).

"Well, that is a good question," Parcells told the media. "I am not a sit-around-the-fireplace guy. I don't know. I am not certain about it. We will see what happens when the time comes. I know I want to do something even if it is not day to day or something like that. I know I want to do something. I don't like sitting around. I like to get up and go do something. We will figure it out when the time comes."

So, at the very least, I’ve learned he wants to “do something.” But what if he wants to do something like finish his breakup with Miami and still get all the money in his contract? Can he do that?

Why yes, he can.

From the blog of ESPN.com’s Tim Graham:

Parcells' comments are ominous given his history as a restless football soul and the fact he can walk away from his Dolphins contract with full pay whenever the mood strikes him.

His contract with the Dolphins runs through 2011. When new owner Stephen Ross bought the team from Wayne Huizenga, Parcells negotiated a clause that will allow him to leave at any time, collect every last cent and not be prevented from working for another team.


With all that money, if Parcells decides to cut bait and run, he can build a pretty nice fireplace that he wouldn’t want to sit around.

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Posted on: September 30, 2010 3:59 pm
 

Marshall snaps back to Sterling Sharpe criticism

Posted by Will Brinson

Sterling Sharpe and Mike Mayock took to the teevee Sunday night on NFL Network to discuss the Jets-Dolphins game and started discussing the Fins' final series. You can watch the video here , but the premise is that they gave Brandon Marshall a hard time for being "gassed" (although Sharpe kindly gave Marshall a "pass" because he's still getting used to the heat in Florida) and not looking in shape on the final series when Miami was gunning for a win.

Marshall and offensive coordinator Dan Henning clearly watched the show, because they responded to questions about it after practice on Thursday. You can see the full video of Marshall responding (compiled by the Miami Herald 's Jeff Darlington) below, but for those of you not so visually inclined ...

Marshall: "I don’t honestly think that those guys were elite players, including Sterling Sharpe," Marhsall said. "I know he’s done some good things, but from my understanding, he’s not a Hall of Fame player."

"Did they watch from the stands? Or on TV? Or from their home?" Henning asked. "And they’re going to say that he didn’t have enough left? Are you kidding me?"



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Posted on: September 27, 2010 1:22 pm
 

The NFL is a passing league? Ha!

Posted by Andy Benoit

We hear all the time that the NFL is a passing league these days. That’s true, it is. But Sunday’s events put at least a small, temporary dent in the notion.

The top five passing leaders in Week 3 so far have come in losing performances. Take a look:

1. Kyle Orton 37/57, 476 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT – Broncos 13, Colts 27

2. Philip Rivers 298/53, 455 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT – Chargers 20, Seahawks 27

3. Eli Manning 34/48, 386 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT – Giants 10, Titans 29

4. Drew Brees 30/38, 365 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT – Saints 24, Falcons 27 (OT)

5. Chad Henne 26/44, 363 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT – Dolphins 23, Jets 31

What’s odd is that none of these quarterbacks played any garbage time, either. Usually, big passing numbers in a loss are a product of hurry-up offenses facing prevent defenses. But Orton’s Broncos were just one step behind the Colts all afternoon. Rivers nearly led the Chargers to an overtime-forcing touchdown on the final drive. Manning’s Giants didn’t fall behind until late in the fourth. Brees’ Saints played an extra period. And Henne’s Dolphins had a potential game-tying drive late in the fourth.

Don't expect this trend to hold true week in and week out.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 4:10 am
Edited on: September 27, 2010 2:33 pm
 

10 Sunday stories deserving your attention Wk 3

Posted by Andy Benoit

1.) Cowboys justify the hype

It’s disappointing not to have two weeks of Wade Phillips Hot Seat chatter to look forward to. (What can you say? The guy is fun to dump on.) But at least we have reason to believe the Cowboys will be in the thick of the NFC East race now. Even if you’re not a fan of America’s Team (and Mexico’s Team), you have to admit, because their NFL-high five primetime games left (counting Thanksgiving), football is more exciting with the Cowboys being relevant.

Dallas’ 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter against Houston – capped by a Marion Barber one-yard touchdown burst – was the type of drive that turns a season around. It was also a microcosm of Sunday’s game. On the drive, Tony Romo completed three different third downs of nine yards or longer. He bought himself time in the pocket and worked deep into his progressions on several throws, hitting four different receivers on the drive, including Roy Williams three times. T. Romo (US Presswire)

We should probably give Williams a week off from his whipping boy duties. The former Texas Longhorn was tremendous in catching a game-high five passes for 117 yards and two scores. Williams consistently won battles at the line of scrimmage, and he showed commendable fluidity making catches on the move. The key was that Jason Garrett played to Williams’ strengths by asking him to run straight-line patterns, as opposed to direction-changing routes.

The Cowboy defense was equally impressive. DeMarcus Ware posted three sacks, and it wasn’t simply a case of him feasting on backup left tackle Rashad Butler (Butler actually wasn’t bad this game). Ware benefitted from having excellent man coverage behind him.

As glad as we all should be to see the Cowboys avoid the irrelevance that generally awaits an 0-3 team, let’s hope Jerry Jones’ men don’t turn in too many more performances like this. Otherwise, we’ll once again get the nonstop reminders that the Super Bowl is in Cowboys Stadium this year, and that Jones REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wants to have the first true home field advantage in the game’s history.

2.) Hold your horses, Texans fans

On Houston’s side of things, that secondary that gave up over 400 yards passing to both the Colts and Redskins – you know, the secondary we all conveniently overlooked these past two weeks while hastily editing our preseason picks and branding Gary Kubiak’s club as the breakout club of 2010? – is officially porous.

Romo, in completing 23 of 30 passes for 284 yards, exposed Houston’s flaws at cornerback. First-round rookie Kareem Jackson struggles early in coverage. If it’s zone, Jackson’s not always sure how long to carry the receiver. If it’s man, he doesn’t always deliver an effective jam (no rhyme intended). Opposite Jackson, second-year pro Brice McCain had trouble when Cowboy receivers redirected late in their route.

Both young corners have the talent to improve. It’d help if safeties Eugene Wilson and Bernard Pollard – especially Pollard – flashed the same big-play prowess they flashed late last season. And it would also help if superstar Mario Williams (and “superstar” is not an appellation to be used lightly) broke his habit of vanishing every few weeks. Williams was a nonfactor this game despite facing single blocking most of the afternoon.

3.) Saints get marched on

No need for a “What’s wrong with the Saints?” piece – it’s just one loss. And let’s refrain from chalking up the home loss to the absence of Reggie Bush. Heck, we talked in the Week 2 Preview Podcast about how whenever Bush goes down, Lance Moore steps up. Sunday, the unheralded fifth-year veteran caught six balls for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He also set up a first quarter touchdown by returning a punt 72 yards. M. Turner (US Presswire)

The Saints still lost, of course. Why? The Falcons’ rushing attack. Michael Turner, Jason Snelling and lead-blocking fullback Ovie Mughelli confirmed what we already knew: the way to beat the good-but-certainly-not-great New Orleans defensive front seven is to run right at it. Not only does a power run game keep Drew Brees off the field while allowing a team to control tempo and tone, but it also minimizes the creativity and aggressiveness of Gregg Williams’ blitzes. This brings to mind that brilliant Mike Tyson axiom (and yes, those last four words really did just show up in that order): everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth. The Saints defense is crafty…until it gets hit in the mouth.

The Falcons hit the Saints in the mouth in the form of 50 runs for 202 yards Sunday. Turner, looking every bit like the 244-pound bowling ball he is, ran 30 times for 114 yards. Snelling, a more upright runner with comparable downhill power, had 14 carries for 62 yards. And Mughelli – well, he basically punched his ticket to Hawaii simply because he is a fullback and his name has now been mentioned twice on a mainstream website.

One last note: Falcons head coach Mike Smith went for it three times on fourth down, including twice on fourth-and-two in a first-half series. The Falcons reached the end zone after being successful on both of those fourth-and-two attempts. They later failed on a fourth-and-six inside the final four minutes of regulation, and the Saints promptly capitalized on by matriculating downfield for a game-tying field goal. But credit Smith for sticking to his plan and playing to win.

4.) Killer kickers

Those of us who shrewdly picked the Falcons to be serious contenders in the NFC South this year (and there actually wound up being quite a few of us) can thank Saints kicker Garrett Hartley for those satisfying feelings of smugness we’re all enjoying. Hartley badly missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime (actually, no need to say “badly missed” – the only way to miss from 29 yards is “badly”), prompting Sean Payton and the front office to schedule a tryout for kickers on Monday.

A kicker tryout? That’s like the Saints and Hartley dating for three years, getting into a fight and the Saints deciding to go home with a stripper the same night. The Saints will regret acting on their anger in the morning.

Hartley is the same kicker who booted three 40-plus-yard field goals in Super Bowl XLIV (by the way, let’s lose the Roman Numerals on the Super Bowls now – they’re a pain to decipher). He’s the same kicker who nailed a 40-yard game-winner in the NFC Championship two weeks before that. Oh, and he’s also the same kicker who booted the game winner just last week at San Francisco!

Yes, Hartley is 4/7 on the season. But do three misses in the regular season really trump four huge makes in the postseason? Besides, the only kickers out there who are any good are Dave Rayner and Kris Brown, and they’re out there only because, lately, they’ve gotten quite good at doing what Hartley just did against the Falcons.

Hartley wasn’t even the worst kicker in football Sunday. That distinction went to Oakland’s $16 million man, Sebastian Janikowski. The Polish Whatever His Nickname Is These Days missed three field goals in the Raiders loss at Arizona, including the would-be game-winner from 32 yards. If Janikowski weren’t an Al Davis favorite, the Raiders would be competing with the Saints for bum kickers to bring in. You just hope Janikowski’s awful day doesn’t stay with him and create a Mike Vanderjagt-like fall from grace.

5.) The lost fumble that’s not a turnover

One more note from the Saints-Falcons game, then we’ll move on. In the third quarter, the Saints gave the ball to backup running back Chris Ivory on a fourth-and-one play. Ivory fumbled and Atlanta recovered. The play goes in the books as a turnover. But it shouldn’t.

Technically, there was no turnover of possession by the fumble because the play yielded the same result as if Ivory had been held short of the first down (which, by the way, he would have been if he’d held onto the ball). The point of the turnover statistic is to reflect sudden changes in possession. This was not a sudden change of possession.

An interception or lost fumble on fourth down or on the final play of a half should not be classified as a turnover. Just like we don’t classify red-zone field goals as red-zone scores.
This, coincidentally (or not), is a perfect segue to…

6.) The Denver Broncos

Have we ever seen a team play as well on offense as the Broncos did Sunday and score only 13 points? It’s amazing what zero touchdowns on five red zone trips will do to a bottom line. The Broncos racked up 519 yards, including 476 passing from Kyle Orton. Remarkably, Orton did not set a franchise record for single game passing yards. Even more remarkable is that the man who holds that record is not named John Elway. (Jake Plummer has the mark at 499.)

There are two ways to look at the Broncos after Week 3. K. Orton (US Presswire)

One: Josh McDaniels has an ingenious system and four excellent receivers to execute it (a willowy, speedy, budding star in first-round rookie Demaryius Thomas, a silky smooth role player in Jabar Gaffney, a shifty underneath threat in Eddie Royal and a highlight reel wizard in Brandon Lloyd, who leads the NFL with six catches of 25-plus yards this season). The Broncos showed they can dominate with this system and talent – they just need to do a better job at finishing drives.

Or, two: the Broncos just played a team that doesn’t mind letting the Denver skill position players “get theirs” because that team knows it can stop this offense when it counts. Of the two scenarios, the second is most likely. Recall that Indy gladly let Brandon Marshall catch 21 passes for 200 yards against them last season. In that game, they still held the Broncos to 16 points.

The Broncos talk about how they accept the fact that Peyton Manning will move the ball up and down the field, and how if they can just bog down in the red zone, they have a serious chance to win. What they don’t realize is that the Colts take the exact same approach to them. The only difference is, the Colts succeed.

Denver does have plenty to be excited about offensively, though. Their front line, despite starting two rookies and untested first-year guard Stanley Daniels, kept the Colts pass-rush in check. (Left tackle Ryan Clady was particularly good against Dwight Freeney.) And Orton’s arm looks stronger than it did last season.
 
But it doesn’t matter in this matchup as long as Manning is on the other side. He loves facing the man coverage scheme of the Broncos, mainly because he’s willing to let Champ Bailey win against Reggie Wayne in order to exploit mismatches elsewhere. Sunday, Manning found Austin Collie 12 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

He also hit practice squad call-up Blair White (most predictable, yet still agreeable, nickname ever: The Blair White Project) for a score.
In case you didn’t know, appearance-wise, White lives up to his last name. And, chances are, you already know what the BYU grad Collie looks like. This begs the question: before today, had any quarterback in NFL history ever thrown touchdown passes to two different white wide receivers in the same game?

7.) Drunk driving = superstar status

Is it just me, or did the mainstream media – and especially NBC during the Sunday night telecast – propel Braylon Edwards into superstar status this week? Last I checked, Edwards is a gifted receiver who often runs slipshod routes and, at times, seemingly plays with oven mitts on. That makes him not a superstar but, at best, a solid No. 1.

But you would have thought the man was Jerry Rice 2.0 the way everyone played up the story of his one quarter suspension. Too bad Edwards couldn’t have gotten busted during the offseason or in a smaller market. That would have made his DUI more forgivable, right?)

Of course, in the end, Edwards was a difference-maker against the Dolphins (two catches, 87 yards and a touchdown, plus sensational run-blocking). So maybe the hype was worth it. The most damning part about this whole ordeal for the NFL is that the Jets are right when they point out that players that have gotten a DUI on other teams have not been disciplined at all. Edwards’ de facto one-quarter suspension was a first.

But why did the Jets announce the one quarter plan before the game? They should have told the players and then kept it quiet. The media would have speculated, sure, but by then, the game would have already been going on. Thus, there would have been no distraction. Instead, the one quarter plan was announced, which is why the Dolphins wisely deferred to the second half after winning the coin toss (they knew that this likely meant one more possession for Edwards to miss).

There has, at least, been some good that has come from this whole mess: Edwards, knowing his image needs serious repair and that the NBC cameras would be all over him, finally shaved his hideous beard.

8.) Who the Hillis?
P. Hillis (US Presswire)
It came in a losing effort, but how about the game Browns running back Peyton Hillis had against the Ravens? The former Broncos fullback who has somehow crept into Cleveland’s starting tailback position carried the ball 22 times for 144 yards and a touchdown against the staunch Ravens D. he also added 36 yards receiving.

The Browns front five dominated a Ravens front seven that came out looking like a group that was thinking about the Steelers (next week, CBS, 1:00). Hillis is a mechanical, if not choppy, runner, but he’s an absolute battering ram once he establishes downhill momentum.

9.) Okay, let’s start learning more of the Chiefs players

The Chiefs are 3-0. Their most recent win was a blowout of a disoriented 49ers club that, on Sunday, showed serious signs of the Tin Man Syndrome. Still, the win legitimized this rising young Kansas City squad enough to warrant a “get to know their names” feature. Disclaimer: this positive attention isn’t to suggest that the Chiefs are a playoff contender – it’s still very, very early. But it is positive attention nonetheless.

So, who to learn about? You already know Matt Cassel is a caretaker being paid like a superstar. You already know Jamaal Charles is an uncommon home-run threat. You already know Dwayne Bowe is a talented wideout who occasionally lands in Todd Haley’s doghouse. You already know Dexter McCluster is Percy Harvin Sans Migraines. You already know Glenn Dorsey is a former first-round pick who could finally be coming to life as a 3-4 defensive end. You already know that the same goes for Derrick Johnson at inside linebacker.
Okay then, here are two more names to add to the file (we’ll see how this week goes and, if necessary, add even more names down the road).

Tony Moeaki, tight end. The third-round rookie out of Iowa has the strong yet supple frame that coaches covet in a “big, athletic tight end”. He also has long arms and soft hands, which has allowed him to snatch a team-high 12 passes and two touchdowns on the season.

Brandon Flowers, cornerback. The third-year starter is close to being described as the “third-year sensation”. Flowers intercepted a pass for a second straight week Sunday (he ran last week’s pick back for six points). More impressive has been his shutdown ability, which he started to flash in 2009.

10.) Quick Hits

Unable to decide on a final story to create a nice round 10, I’m going to take the easy way out and drop in here some one-liner observations from all the other games.

***Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo looked extremely fast against the Bills, particularly in closing on the ball. Looks like he’s regained his ’08 form.

***Charlie Batch’s pocket presence was close to flawless against the Bucs.

***Jimmy Clausen looked every bit like the unprepared rookie that he is. This isn’t meant as a harsh criticism of the Golden Domer. In just about any other situation, Clausen would still be learning from the bench. But the Panthers realize they have next to no chance with Matt Moore. So, Clausen, fairly or unfairly, is forced to play. He consistently held the ball too long against the Bengals Sunday. That was the crux of his problem. It will be interesting to see how much quicker he can get by next week. (If it’s not dramatically quicker, Carolina is in trouble.)

***It’s strange to see Redskins defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander lining up at outside linebacker, though he wasn’t too bad in this role against the Rams.

***The Seahawks won because they got two kickoff return touchdowns from Leon Washington. Great comeback story, but this is the exact type of game we shouldn’t read too much into. San Diego must get better in special teams coverage; Seattle is dangerous at home. Both true statements. A third true statement: anyone who thinks the Seahawks are better than the Chargers is crazy.

***With Donovan McNabb headed back to Philly in Week 4, I figured you’ll be glad for a break from Eagles quarterback stories this week. Thus, I won’t acknowledge Michael Vick’s magnificent performance in Jacksonville. (Oops.)

***Nnamdi Asomugha won the matchup against Larry Fitzgerald Sunday (two catches, 26 yards), though Asomugha may have gotten some help from Derek Anderson.

***Bears fans, sorry I couldn’t irritate you this week, but your team didn’t play Sunday.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com