Tag:David Garrard
Posted on: October 1, 2010 11:08 pm
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Trent Edwards could start within' 2 or 3 weeks'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Only two teams put in claims on Buffalo outcast Trent Edwards -- the Jets (who admittedly only wanted him to help gameplan for their game against the Bills this weekend) and the Jaguars (who eventually got him, primarily because Todd Bouman is their backup and, well, that's just not good news).

Jason La Canfora reported on the NFL Network Friday night that Edwards, who's likely to be listed as the third quarterback this week, could start within "two or to three weeks."

This is highly indicative of just how bad the Jags quarterback situation has become. Originally, there was no controversy (AND HOW DARE YOU ASK?!?), then David Garrard blew up in Week 1, then he faltered, then Luke McCown entered the game, then McCown got hurt and then Jack Del Rio realized he the whole thing was a total nightmare.

So they grabbed Edwards. However, there's little chance he'll be acclimated to the offense immediately, but because the situation is so dire in J-Vegas, as soon as he gets a grasp on how Jacksonville's offense works, there's a good chance he gets his shot as a starter, especially if Garrard continues to falter.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 4:23 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 4:31 pm
 

Jaguars claim Trent Edwards

Posted by Will Brinson

Trent Edwards is a Jaguar, according to reports, after Jacksonville was awarded the ex-Bill on waivers, in a move that should work out well (relatively speaking) for both the Jags and Edwards .

Adam Schefter first reported the news on Twitter and it's since been confirmed by several different outlets.

And it makes sense, too. As we mentioned earlier , Todd Bouman is an unacceptable backup for the Jaguars -- if he wasn't, Jack Del Rio would have replaced David Garrard by now.

After all, he tried to put Luke McCown in for Garrard earlier in the year, but an injury forced him to put Garrard back in, and then the team had to sign Bouman for the fourth time, a fact alone that should tell you he's not cut out to actually take snaps there.

It is surprising that no winless teams claimed the recently cut Edwards, given the need for quarterback help in Cleveland, Carolina, San Francisco and, um, Buffalo, but once those teams were removed from the equation, the Jaguars got first crack at Edwards' services.

Now the fun really starts for the Jags, though, since Del Rio gets to try and pretend there's no quarterback controversy on his team for the third time this year.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Wither Trent Edwards?

Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park .

Posted by Will Brinson


The Buffalo Bills, probably the most quarterback-desperate team in the NFL over the past 10 or so years, made the surprising decision to cut Trent Edwards yesterday. He is jobless and homeless right now, but -- thank goodness for that Stanford education! -- certainly not unemployable.

Still, don't feel that sorry for him. After all, by 4:00 PM EST today, when the NFL process all the waiver claims on Edwards , he's going to have a new job and it will likely be in a place that is less like Buffalo potentially more productive for his future.

That's the beauty of getting kicked out of Buffalo: the grass is always greener, even once you've been on the other side for 10 years. Of course, if you're Edwards, you have to be disappointed that the gig didn't work out -- after all, he was drafted by the Bills out of Stanford and given plenty of opportunities to win the starting job and resurrect the franchise. Clearly, that didn't happen.

So knowing that he'll end up somewhere, the question becomes "Where does he get his second chance?"

According to the NFL, the teams with the worst record this year will have priority on waiver claims, and assuming that multiple teams with the same record make a claim on Edwards, a tie will be broken "based on current strength-of-schedule of the involved clubs or by lot if a tie still exists."

Let's say that all the 0-3 teams make a claim as well as the Vikings, Seahawks and Jets. The order would be thus: 49ers/Browns (7-2 opponent record), Lions/Bills (6-3), Panthers (5-4), Jaguars (4-5), Vikings (4-5), Jets (6-3) and Seahawks (2-7).

According to Jason LaCanfora , though, "no winless teams" made a claim on Edwards, thereby eliminating six teams from consideration and wasting about 15 minutes of my time, primarily because I'm horribly bad at math.

Out of those teams, the 49ers are most surprising (see below), but, considering that LaCanfora has a knack for being correct and also happens to work for a media outlet owned by the organization who takes the waiver claims in from the teams, it seems that one fo the 26 other squads will be going after the former team captain in Buffalo.

The Vikings haven't been rumored insofar as I can tell but they still make sense, especially if you buy into the theory that Brett Favre might get hurt. (Oh, and the theory that everyone's scared of having to put Tavaris Jackson into the game.)

The Jets are considered a team that would be heavily interested in having Edwards on board -- but probably only to steal secrets from the Bills in anticipation of their upcoming ... HAHAHAHA, sorry. Okay, actually because they'd prefer to have someone more lively than Mark Brunell to step in if Mark Sanchez is injured or falters.

And the Seahawks make absolute sense because Edwards is a cheap third option when should Matt Hasselbeck suffer an injury and they realize that Charlie Whitehurst isn't cut out to run their offense.

***
Why the Niners didn't make a claim is beyond me -- they're a team who needs to find an offensive identity, having been continually perplexed by the inconsistency of Alex Smith, who looked to have "arrived" during a close loss to the Saints in Week 2, only to have "checked out for the duration" against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Oh, and they're the only 0-3 team,

Edwards would provide them an option that's not David Carr to either push or replace Alex Smith. And look, Mike Singletary just fired his offensive coordinator only a few days after publicly defending him and acting outraged that anyone would question whether Raye knew what he was doing (um, he didn't, duh).

Plus, they could've claimed Edwards and Singletary could have done the whole "just for depth" and "Alex is our starter" dance, only to put him in the game after Smith's second interception in the first quarter against the Falcons in Week 4.

***
The Cleveland Browns decision not to pursue Edwards isn't as odd, I suppose, although Jake Delhomme hasn't looked great when he's been healthy, and while Seneca Wallace is a Mike Holmgren favorite, outside of tossing a bomb past an out-of-place Eric Berry, he hasn't been that great (370 yards, two TDs and a pick in two games).

But the decision not to spend a roster spot on adding a potentially gimpy donkey to their stable of already ugly horses is understandable, except that unless Delhomme can stay healthy, Cleveland's one bad break away from putting McCoy under center and really slapping a postage stamp to the season.

***
An argument could be made that the Panthers need to at least make a run at Edwards as well, but he's really nothing more than Matt Moore sans familiarity with the team and coaching staff.

The bigger problem for Carolina might be that John Fox already regrets his blatantly panicked decision to put Jimmy Clausen under center after an 0-2 start that only got uglier in a home loss to Cincinnati.

The good news is that the Saints -- as shown by Atlanta plowing through them in the Bayou -- are vulnerable against the run, and if there's one thing the Panthers should do well, it's pound the rock. They haven't been great about it thus far, but that's because they're staring down stacked boxes on nearly every play as teams refuse to respect whoever's under center.

That could change this weekend -- weather won't be a factor (see: three fumbles by Jim-Jim), and if Clausen can take his progression blinders off, quit staring down his receiver every play, the Panthers could be primed for a "where did that come from oh right it's the matchup" upset. You heard it here first.

***
The Jaguars would actually be an ideal situation, at least for Edwards. He'd face relatively limited competition -- by all accounts, Jack Del Rio wants to replace David Garrard in the starting lineup, he just doesn't have the bodies to do it after Luke McCown went down with an injury ... immediately after replacing David Garrard .

And let's face it, that offensive line has been putrid thus far; putting Todd Bouman, who is either 18 or 45 years old and who has backed up big names like Kyle Boller, Jamie Martin, Gus Frerotte and Quinn Gray en route to being signed by the Jaguars FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES , won't end well.

***
The notion that Ben Roethlisberger might not start when he returns from suspension following the Steelers' bye in Week 5 has been tossed around in the media. Like, kind of a lot.

And Charlie Batch has been very good in replacing Ben, at least, you know, relative to what everyone expected from Charlie Freaking Batch. But let's not lose our minds just because we (read: you) kind of want to see Roethlisberger punished by karma and riding the pine. He's by far and away the best quarterback option for Pittsburgh, and Mike Tomlin is going to start him as soon as he's allowed to.

If the Steelers happen to be undefeated at that point in time, well, watch out NFL.

***
Quickly ...

- Peyton Hillis didn't just put the whole "Eric Mangini hates  Jerome Harrison" conspiracy theory to bed, he shoved about 15 Ambien in its mouth and then wrapped it in a Snuggie.

- Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, as much as I'd like to think so, aren't in a battle for a job. They're just two running backs with different style co-existing in a system that just so happens to make one of them less valuable. And the less valuable guy just happens to be Charles, who's more talented.

- The only awesome thing about drafting Kevin Kolb in fantasy leagues is that you had to pick up Michael Vick. That's worked out quite well.

- I really thought that Chan Gailey was trying to showcase Marshawn Lynch to increase his trade value. And even if he was, in the process, Lynch has just become the best running back in Buffalo (once again).

- Kevin Smith returns this week and Jahvid Best is injured ... it shouldn't matter, but that's what Wally Pip probably said too.

- Yeah, I'm really pumped about the "Garrett Hartley versus John Carney" lede in this column next week too, thanks for asking.

Posted on: September 28, 2010 9:59 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 5:07 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest problems

Mike Singletary has led his San Francisco squad to an 0-3 start to the season (AP).
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The first game, if your favorite team has a bad day at the office, you can forgive it. “Ah, it’s just one game,” you might say. “My men have plenty of time, and it was the first game of the season. Obviously, they haven’t worked out all the kinks.” You can still sleep at night.

The second game, if your team stinks up the joint again, you can forgive it. With reservations. “OK, it’s only two games. The season is still long. You can still make the playoffs if you start it out 0-2. They’re still figuring things out.” You still sleep at night, though probably not as soundly.

By the third game, though, if your team is still playing really, really poorly, you might have a tough time catching those Z's. By game three, problem teams – and problem players – are becoming more “the trend” and less “just a phase.” Your team might really suck, after all. Your favorite player might officially be over the hill.

You might officially have a problem.

10. Carson Palmer:
I’ve watched Palmer closely the past five or six years, and after the Jets beat Cincinnati in the playoffs last year, I wrote Palmer was no longer an elite quarterback (you can’t be elite, after all, if your stats fall somewhere between Jason Campbell and David Garrard). He’s continued his struggles this year, and though, the Bengals don’t need him quite as much if they have a healthy Cedric Benson, you can close the book on him as one of the best in the game.

9. Shawne Merriman’s Achilles/Andre Johnson’s ankle: Let’s combine two annoying injuries for players who would do well to stay on the field. Merriman, who missed much of the preseason because of a holdout/Achilles injury, played the last two weeks, but he had to leave Sunday’s contest because of a calf injury. Though he’s not the player he once was, he’s a better option for San Diego than Antwan Applewhite and Brandon Lang. And Johnson’s ankle is self-explanatory. If he’s not on the field – and he’s had to miss part of the past two games – the Texans offense isn’t nearly as potent.

8. David Garrard: I know, I hate putting two QBs on here in the first three picks, but, unlike Palmer, I’m not sure why Garrard is still playing with the first string. I mean, aside from Todd Bouman (hasn’t thrown a pass in five seasons) being his only backup. Coach Jack Del Rio was asked how much longer he could play Garrard, and Del Rio said as long as he was the team’s best option. Meaning he’s the team’s only option. Which is bad news.

7. Ben Roethlisberger’s return:
This isn’t about Roethlisberger necessarily and I assume coach Mike Tomlin will give him back his job when he returns from his four-game suspension, but the Steelers could be 4-0 playing a combination of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Roethlisberger obviously is a better QB than either of those two, but he’ll probably be rusty. What if he struggles against the Browns in his first game? What if Miami’s defense lights him up the week after that? Will Steelers fans be chanting Charlie Batch’s name (probably not, but you never know …)?

6. Brandyn Dombrowski:
So, how soon can Marcus McNeill return for San Diego? Dombrowski, playing LT and trying to protect Philip Rivers’ blindside, had a tough time against Seattle on Sunday, Chris Clemons toasted him a few times to sack Rivers, and on the Chargers’ first attempt to get within two late in the game – the first time Rivers hit TE Antonio Gates – Dombrowski was called for holding. San Diego coach Norv Turner has defended him, but Dombrowski had a rough one in the Chargers loss.

G. Hartley had a rough week for New Orleans last week and is in danger of losing his job (AP). 5. Garrett Hartley: It’s hard to believe how badly Hartley missed his game-winning 29-yard field goal in overtime of the Falcons victory against the Saints. Coach Sean Payton has shown plenty of loyalty to Hartley, but Hartley directly cost New Orleans the game Sunday. How many more games will he negatively impact the Saints before he’s off the team? Maybe, none. John Carney and Matt Stover apparently have tried out for the Saints this week, and at this point, if Hartley lasts the year in New Orleans, it’d be kind of a surprise. 

4. The entire AFC/NFC West: We’ll get into San Francisco’s Mike Singletary in a minute, but man, how inconsistent have these conferences been? Oakland has been terrible (against Tennessee), less terrible (a win against St. Louis), and almost not terrible enough to win again (a 24-23 loss to Arizona). Derek Anderson has worked his anti-magic for the Cardinals. And you still don’t know what you’re going to get when Seattle runs onto the field for the game. I'm still shocked St. Louis beat Washington. These divisions are wide open for the taking, especially when Kansas City starts 3-0 and leads the AFC West.

3. Chargers kick return coverage:
OK, so you saw what Leon Washington did against San Diego on Sunday, returning a kick for 101 yards for the TD and then returning another kick for 99 yards. That was unreal. But don’t forget about Kansas City’s Dexter McCluster, who had a 94-yard punt return in the season opener vs. San Diego. On Monday, several Chargers veterans volunteered for special teams duties in order to help improve that unit. Hey, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

2. Giants discipline:
Remember how Antrel Rolle complained about how much control the coaching staff held over the players? Well, that’s not exactly true, especially when we’re talking about New York’s 11 penalties, including five personal fouls that occurred after the play was over, in its bad loss to Tennessee. Two 15-yarders came courtesy of RT Kareem McKenzie (behavior McKenzie called “despicable” the next day), and Rolle incurred one when he tried to punch Tennessee TE Craig Stevens. With performances like that, you have to wonder what kind of control coach Tom Coughlin actually asserts over his players. And how much longer he’ll be in control of the Giants at all.

1. Mike Singletary:
After the 49ers 31-10 beatdown by the Chiefs, word filtered out that Kansas City’s defenders apparently were calling out San Francisco’s play calls before the plays were actually run. Now, the 49ers are 0-3, and maybe, aside from pulling down his pants to motivate his team, Singletary doesn’t exactly seem like an X’s and O’s guy. He actually was asked after the game if he had been outcoached, and he said, “I would not say ‘outcoached.’ When you have a loss like this, a lot of things look wrong.” Like the offense. And a day after backing his offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and saying he’d be around the rest of the season, Singletary fired him. That means new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson continues the streak of Alex Smith never playing for the same coordinator in back-to-back seasons. I’m sure that will help.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 9:59 am
Edited on: September 28, 2010 5:07 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Biggest problems

Mike Singletary has led his San Francisco squad to an 0-3 start to the season (AP).
Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The first game, if your favorite team has a bad day at the office, you can forgive it. “Ah, it’s just one game,” you might say. “My men have plenty of time, and it was the first game of the season. Obviously, they haven’t worked out all the kinks.” You can still sleep at night.

The second game, if your team stinks up the joint again, you can forgive it. With reservations. “OK, it’s only two games. The season is still long. You can still make the playoffs if you start it out 0-2. They’re still figuring things out.” You still sleep at night, though probably not as soundly.

By the third game, though, if your team is still playing really, really poorly, you might have a tough time catching those Z's. By game three, problem teams – and problem players – are becoming more “the trend” and less “just a phase.” Your team might really suck, after all. Your favorite player might officially be over the hill.

You might officially have a problem.

10. Carson Palmer:
I’ve watched Palmer closely the past five or six years, and after the Jets beat Cincinnati in the playoffs last year, I wrote Palmer was no longer an elite quarterback (you can’t be elite, after all, if your stats fall somewhere between Jason Campbell and David Garrard). He’s continued his struggles this year, and though, the Bengals don’t need him quite as much if they have a healthy Cedric Benson, you can close the book on him as one of the best in the game.

9. Shawne Merriman’s Achilles/Andre Johnson’s ankle: Let’s combine two annoying injuries for players who would do well to stay on the field. Merriman, who missed much of the preseason because of a holdout/Achilles injury, played the last two weeks, but he had to leave Sunday’s contest because of a calf injury. Though he’s not the player he once was, he’s a better option for San Diego than Antwan Applewhite and Brandon Lang. And Johnson’s ankle is self-explanatory. If he’s not on the field – and he’s had to miss part of the past two games – the Texans offense isn’t nearly as potent.

8. David Garrard: I know, I hate putting two QBs on here in the first three picks, but, unlike Palmer, I’m not sure why Garrard is still playing with the first string. I mean, aside from Todd Bouman (hasn’t thrown a pass in five seasons) being his only backup. Coach Jack Del Rio was asked how much longer he could play Garrard, and Del Rio said as long as he was the team’s best option. Meaning he’s the team’s only option. Which is bad news.

7. Ben Roethlisberger’s return:
This isn’t about Roethlisberger necessarily and I assume coach Mike Tomlin will give him back his job when he returns from his four-game suspension, but the Steelers could be 4-0 playing a combination of Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch. Roethlisberger obviously is a better QB than either of those two, but he’ll probably be rusty. What if he struggles against the Browns in his first game? What if Miami’s defense lights him up the week after that? Will Steelers fans be chanting Charlie Batch’s name (probably not, but you never know …)?

6. Brandyn Dombrowski:
So, how soon can Marcus McNeill return for San Diego? Dombrowski, playing LT and trying to protect Philip Rivers’ blindside, had a tough time against Seattle on Sunday, Chris Clemons toasted him a few times to sack Rivers, and on the Chargers’ first attempt to get within two late in the game – the first time Rivers hit TE Antonio Gates – Dombrowski was called for holding. San Diego coach Norv Turner has defended him, but Dombrowski had a rough one in the Chargers loss.

G. Hartley had a rough week for New Orleans last week and is in danger of losing his job (AP). 5. Garrett Hartley: It’s hard to believe how badly Hartley missed his game-winning 29-yard field goal in overtime of the Falcons victory against the Saints. Coach Sean Payton has shown plenty of loyalty to Hartley, but Hartley directly cost New Orleans the game Sunday. How many more games will he negatively impact the Saints before he’s off the team? Maybe, none. John Carney and Matt Stover apparently have tried out for the Saints this week, and at this point, if Hartley lasts the year in New Orleans, it’d be kind of a surprise. 

4. The entire AFC/NFC West: We’ll get into San Francisco’s Mike Singletary in a minute, but man, how inconsistent have these conferences been? Oakland has been terrible (against Tennessee), less terrible (a win against St. Louis), and almost not terrible enough to win again (a 24-23 loss to Arizona). Derek Anderson has worked his anti-magic for the Cardinals. And you still don’t know what you’re going to get when Seattle runs onto the field for the game. I'm still shocked St. Louis beat Washington. These divisions are wide open for the taking, especially when Kansas City starts 3-0 and leads the AFC West.

3. Chargers kick return coverage:
OK, so you saw what Leon Washington did against San Diego on Sunday, returning a kick for 101 yards for the TD and then returning another kick for 99 yards. That was unreal. But don’t forget about Kansas City’s Dexter McCluster, who had a 94-yard punt return in the season opener vs. San Diego. On Monday, several Chargers veterans volunteered for special teams duties in order to help improve that unit. Hey, it certainly couldn’t hurt.

2. Giants discipline:
Remember how Antrel Rolle complained about how much control the coaching staff held over the players? Well, that’s not exactly true, especially when we’re talking about New York’s 11 penalties, including five personal fouls that occurred after the play was over, in its bad loss to Tennessee. Two 15-yarders came courtesy of RT Kareem McKenzie (behavior McKenzie called “despicable” the next day), and Rolle incurred one when he tried to punch Tennessee TE Craig Stevens. With performances like that, you have to wonder what kind of control coach Tom Coughlin actually asserts over his players. And how much longer he’ll be in control of the Giants at all.

1. Mike Singletary:
After the 49ers 31-10 beatdown by the Chiefs, word filtered out that Kansas City’s defenders apparently were calling out San Francisco’s play calls before the plays were actually run. Now, the 49ers are 0-3, and maybe, aside from pulling down his pants to motivate his team, Singletary doesn’t exactly seem like an X’s and O’s guy. He actually was asked after the game if he had been outcoached, and he said, “I would not say ‘outcoached.’ When you have a loss like this, a lot of things look wrong.” Like the offense. And a day after backing his offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and saying he’d be around the rest of the season, Singletary fired him. That means new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson continues the streak of Alex Smith never playing for the same coordinator in back-to-back seasons. I’m sure that will help.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 9:07 am
 

Garrard starts 'as long as he's our best option'

Posted by Will Brinson

Later today, we'll talk quarterbacks in more depth, but Jack Del Rio's resoundingly complimentary quotes to the media yesterday re: David Garrard deserves a little attention now. Obviously, the Jaguars, after getting a big first game out of Garrard, are struggling mightily right now, and their starting quarterback is struggling even more.

Garrard tossed four picks against the Chargers in Week 2 and then went 13 for 30 for 105 yards, no TDs and an interception against the Eagles this past week. Needless to say, Del Rio is answering plenty of questions about his guy. Like, for instance, "How long will he continue to start?"

"As long as he's our best option," Del Rio responded.

That sounds like my dad on a childhood camping trip when we'd wonder aloud if we will "continue to eat Beanie Weenies" -- in this sort of response, "best" doesn't so much apply in the Webster's sense ("excelling all others" or "most productive of good" or "offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility or satisfaction") so much as really means "only."

In case that wasn't clearly implied, Del Rio also called this an "urgent time" for the Jaguars. And it is -- they welcome the Colts this coming week and a loss, especially coupled with Houston and Tennessee winning, would push the Jags two-plus games back of the division lead and keep warming Del Rio's already quite warm seat.

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:48 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 9:47 am
 

Dey Took Er Jobs: Quarterbacks droppin like flies

Posted by Will Brinson



Dey Took Er Jobs takes a look at the various job controversies around the league. If you don't get the title, you don't watch enough South Park .

Up until Kevin Kolb's concussion, it sure seemed like the only quarterback controversies we'd see this season would be on a bunch of crummy teams. Now, the Eagles could still end up stinking, but it sure doesn't look ilke that will be Michael Vick's fault -- through one-and-a-half games, he's been absolutely dominant on the offensive end, prompting pundits to point out that he may finally be maturing into the quarterback everyone wanted him to be in Atlanta.

So, yes, he will be making a LOT of money this time next year, thanks for asking. Because, as we'll detail shortly, there are plenty of teams in the NFL that could use a potential Pro Bowler who can rush for 100 and throw for 250 all in the same game.

But, having said all that, it's necessary to understand that Michael Vick won't be starting for the Eagles and there is no "technical" quarterback controversy.

For now.

Kevin Kolb will get the nod this weekend against the Jaguars who, fortunately for him, appear to be vulnerable through the air, sitting at 29th overall against the pass (an even 300 yards per game allowed).

Also fortunate for him is the game being played in Jacksonville, as far away from the only people who believe there's a debate about who to start under center (that would be the ever wonderful Philadelphia fans) for the 'Guls.

One good game from Kolb and we all go back to not freaking out about Vick starting, watching him perform well in spot action, and debating about who'll overpay him this offseason.

Well, at least until Kolb's next bad game anyway.

The same can't be said for a number of other quarterbacks in the NFL, though.

****

Matt Moore, for instance, may never see the field as a Panther again. That depends solely on how Jimmy Clausen plays this Sunday.

Admittedly (I use that word because I'm a Panthers fan who also dislikes Notre Dame and therefor find myself consistently conflicted about Clausen), the team has looked better offensively during the short stretches that Clausen's played.

He's young and he seems like he might be a bit of a bag, but at least he doesn't try to do his best David Carr impersonation by hanging in the pocket for as long as humanly possible before making ill-advised decisions.

Which, you might have noticed, is what Moore's been doing.

Oddly, it never made sense that John Fox wouldn't bother using Clausen unless the Panthers season was completely down the drain; he seems destined to leave Charlotte regardless of the outcome for 2010. But the early move to the rookie presents an interesting situation -- if the Panthers reel off a slew of victories and make a run (they're not winning their division or making the playoffs, but they can at least try), maybe it gives Jerry Richardson some hope that Foxy can coach up the young franchise quarterback and give him reason to offer the long time coach a deal.

Of course, Foxy might tell him to get bent and it won't matter. But that's another story for another day.

****

Buffalo's "controversy" is only "controversial" in that it involves multiple quarterbacks -- anyone who didn't think that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards were going be taking turns as the official Bills hide-a-mole all season along hasn't followed that team closely enough.

Really, the only surprise is that Chan Gailey decided to make a move this quickly. Or is it that he waited this long? I can never tell with that team.

****

Vince Young and Kerry Collins have been taking turns swapping jobs for as long as Reggie Bush has been immorally gripping a Heisman trophy. However, all indications from Jeff Fisher are that VY is still the QB and Collins' cup o' joe on Sunday was merely because of the Steelers defense and how poorly it matches up with Young's game.

(Aside: Pittsburgh's just good, y'all. People are going to have to start profusely apologizing to Peter King in February if Troy Polamalu stays healthy. Unless those same people drafted Ryan Mathews on their fantasy teams anyway.)

That doesn't mean that Vinsanity is free of getting the hook in the future though; he simply has to keep his head together moving forward, and not be the reason why the Titans beat themselves. That's entirely possible, although games against the Giants, Denver and Dallas aren't exactly that first week freebie Young got against the Raiders.

****

Oakland is now a "controversy free zone." Or something -- Tom Cable doesn't want to talk about whether Bruce Gradkowski is going to start, he just wants to know why JaMarcus Russell is wearing a Jason Campbell mask and still on his roster.

It's really outstanding just how horrible Oakland has made Campbell; not that he was Jim Plunkett (well, he wasn't Plunkett to anyone that has a modicum of sanity remaining anyway) before, but it sure seemed like he could be a shade above mediocre and manage to help the Raiders make a run. So much for that though -- Campbell's been 30 of 52 for a TD and two INTs so far in the season, good enough for a stinker of a 61.9 QB rating.

Gradkowski isn't exactly Plunkett either, but at least he's not Curtis Painter. Although, in hindsight, maybe Painter's job would be a lot less difficult if he just got traded to Oakland and had the opportunity to back up someone who's not Peyton Manning.

****

David Garrard is our final quarterback who got benched in Week 2 for poor play. Fortunately, he was able to pull a Judge Smails on Luke McCown's hamstring just before the backup led the Jaguars to their second score of the day, allowing Garrard to sneak in and toss a potentially job-saving TD.

The removal of Garrard in a painful blowout to San Diego is interesting, if only because he'd looked so stout in Week 1 while the Jags were dismantling the Broncos. Oh, and because everyone spent all preseason demanding that Jack Del Rio infuse controversial concern into the depth chart, only to have him firmly reject the notion that Garrard might lose his job.

It's safe to say that Garrard is safe to play … for now. But if the Jags keep sink further behind the leaders of what appears to be a very difficult division, people could get panicky.

****


Jamaal Charles and Jerome Harrison have to have kidnapped the children of their respective coaches (Todd Haley and Eric Mangini). There's no other explanation for why they see so few touches despite being so clearly the better backs on their team.

And I hear you, Chiefs fans who say "HEY SHUT IT, WE'RE 2-0, HALEY RULEZ!1" Also those of you who say, "Excuse me, Mr. Brinson, but Charles really doesn't do that much damage with his carries" -- I hear you too. But the thing is, and this is the thing: why not, you know, actually utilize Charles? Not that he should get the rock 30 times a game in between the tackles -- that would be silly. But a screen or two perhaps? That's not so much to ask, right?

As for Harrison, he has fumbled plenty and he has seen some shoddy rushing behind a Browns offensive line that only seems concerned about getting to the golf course; it just seems like Mangini keeps putting him in worst-possible scenarios, like getting three straight carries while being backed up against his own end zone. Don't worry, though, Peyton Hillis is there to not punch it into the end zone!

But, hey, maybe Haley and Mangini just really appreciate having two running backs that can handle the rock. It's not a problem like with quarterbacks.

Unless you're in Philly, of course. Then it's a "beautiful thing".

Well, at least until that first next bad game from Kevin Kolb.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 3:20 am
Edited on: September 20, 2010 9:17 am
 

10 Sunday stories that deserve your attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1. Too much Manning

This is not an objection to NBC’s heavy Manning Family coverage Sunday night. We’ve come to expect the Manning home videos and Olivia/Archie luxury box shots. And, let’s admit it, we like it. And credit NBC for not ramming too many “AndE. Manning (US Presswire) let’s not forget, Cooper is a successful human being, as well!” reminders down our throats.

In this case, the “too much Manning” headline has to do with the fact that both players were on the field deep into the fourth quarter. Why? Why play either star in garbage time?

For the Colts, backup quarterback Curtis Painter clearly needs extra work (word is he gets close to zero reps in practice). Why not work Painter? And why not rest Manning and protect him from injury?

Ditto this last sentiment for the Giants. In fact, given the beating Eli took Sunday night, ditto it in all caps: WHY NOT REST MANNING AND PROTECT HIM FROM INJURY!? The Giants offensive tackles couldn’t get a fingertip on Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (each had two sacks and at least one forced fumble). Plus, backup Sage Rosenfels, acquired from Minnesota after the preseason, could benefit from some live game experience in Kevin Gilbride’s offense. So why keep Eli in there and risk injury?

You may be thinking that it doesn’t matter, the Manning brothers never get hurt anyway. Yes, and Tom Brady was once a player who never got hurt. Injuries are always a real possibility.

In fact, on that note, why do you think the NFL conveniently schedules these Manning Bowls for early in the season? (The 2006 Manning Bowl took place in Week 1.) The guess here is that the league knows that the deeper in the season the game is, the greater the possibility that one brother will be out with an injury.

2. Bad day to be a bad quarterback

There were plenty of quarterbacks who did receive the treatment that the Manning brothers should have received in the fourth quarter.

***Derek Anderson was benched late in Arizona’s blowout loss at Atlanta. Anderson was 17/31 for 161 yards and two interceptions. Backup Max Hall managed to complete two of his three pass attempts, though one of those completions went to Falcons fifth-round rookie cornerback Domonique Franks.

It’s likely that Anderson will be the starter against the Raiders in Week 3. It usually takes a head coach six or seven games to come to grips with the fact that they won’t be the one to solve Anderson’s accuracy woes. Hall’s name is more likely to surface in serious discussion around Halloween.

***Dennis Dixon left Pittsburgh’s win over Tennessee in the second quarter with a left knee injury. The Steelers have three different starting quarterback candidates next week (it’s like a Democratic primary election in Utah, and Ben Roethlisberger is the incumbent Republican candidate). Dixon is one option. Charlie Batch, who was 5/11, 25 yards Sunday is another. And third is Byron Leftwich, who was released earlier in the week but will be re-signed soon (if this was dating instead of football, Leftwich’s friends would be telling him he’s getting played by the Steelers).

Of course, if the Steelers are going to force seven turnovers and score a special teams touchdown each week, then maybe the man to start at quarterback should be whoever is best at taking a knee. That’s all this team seems to need from its offense right now. (For taking a knee, Batch is the best option, given that Dixon and Leftwich are both getting over knee injuries.)

***Sticking with the Steelers-Titans game, Jeff Fisher sat Vince Young late in the second half, citing the need to “get a spark” on offense. The Nashville crowd, forgetting last year’s 0-6 start, cheered Collins’ arrival, which means we get to spend the next few days once again wondering about Young’s psyche (If we’re lucky, he’ll publicly pout or get in trouble, which will allow us to also wonder about his maturity).

Don’t expect Jeff Fisher to wonder about Young’s psyche. “I wasn’t concerned, to be honest, about (Young’s) feelings at that point,’’ Fisher said afterwards when asked about the benching. “I was trying to win the football game.”

Young was a languid 7/10 for 66 yards with two interceptions and two fumbles (one lost). Fisher insists that Young is still the team’s starting quarterback (unless a certain hotheaded 87-year-old suddenly says otherwise). But how can a starting quarterback truly lead a team when the head coach has already tried to spark a comebacker by benching him? (By the way, thanks to an uncharacteristic soft zone defense from Pittsburgh late in the game, the Titans almost did mount a comeback.)

***Raiders head coach Tom Cable wanted to put a spark into his offense as well, so he pulled the covers off the ridiculous lie that Raider fans had somehow tricked everyone into believing: that Jason Campbell is a quality quarterback. The same problems that plagued Campbell in Washington – indecisiveness in the pocket, slow mechanics and a paralyzing fear of taking chances downfield – are, not surprisingly, plaguing him in Oakland. J. Campbell (US Presswire)

Trailing 7-3, Bruce Gradkowski opened the second half under center for the Raiders and led the offense to 13 points, pulling out a 16-14 win. Gradkowski’s numbers were fairly pedestrian – 11/22, 162 yards, a touchdown and a pick – but the Raider offense was markedly livelier under his direction.

Cable hasn’t committed to a Week 3 starter at this point, but it’s hard to imagine him not choosing Gradkowski. The other players love the veteran’s energy. Take a look at this thoughtful, though albeit somewhat illogical, quote from left tackle Mario Henderson: "I said it last year, (Gradkowski) is a great quarterback. A good backup and definitely a great starting quarterback."

While we’re on the Raiders offense…

We (I) have been extremely harsh on the first-round skill position players for Oakland. It’s not fair to boisterously criticize guys and then go quiet when they actually play well. So, I’m making sure to point out that Darren McFadden had an excellent game Sunday (30 carries, 145 yards). McFadden now has 48 carries for 250 yards on the season. Also, wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey is showing noticeable improvements as a route runner. Heyward-Bey has a unique ability to stop and start with a crisp suddenness. He caught six balls for 80 yards against St. Louis.

***In Carolina, Matt Moore was 6/16 for 125 yards and one benching, as Jimmy Clausen relieved him late in the second half. Moore’s completion percentage through two games is 40.8. Clausen may not be ready – if he were, John Fox probably would have used Moore’s Week 1 concussion as an excuse to start the second-round rookie – but with opponents now familiar with Moore’s weaknesses (which mainly center around pocket toughness), there are plenty who believe the Panthers need to make a change. 

***Finally, the quarterback controversy we’ve all been waiting for seems to have arrived in Jacksonville: David Garrard out, Luke McCown in. At least, that’s the way it went late against San Diego. Perhaps it was just a blowout factor. Or, perhaps it was a harbinger of change.
Garrard’s four interceptions (three his fault), weren’t a result of him trying to make a big play (because he doesn’t try to make big plays). They were simply poor execution. The Jags may not be prepared to make the switch under center just yet, but does this sound like a coaching staff that’s fully in Garrard’s corner?

“We need him to be more consistent. I thought he missed some easy things today.”
–head coach Jack Del Rio

“We protected good enough. We’ve got to throw and catch better. It’s that simple.”
–offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

3. Here you go, Bears fans

I got ripped by Bears fans last week for making three of the 10 Stories That Deserve Your Attention negative bits on the Bears. Well, despite some early pass protection issues, Chicago went into Dallas and came out 2-0. Am I about to offer a mea culpa here? Absolutely not. I still think, ultimately, pass-blocking will be a crippling weakness for Mike Martz’s offense. But, just focusing on Week 2 Sunday, the Bears deserve a lot of praise. So let’s enjoy the moment and spread some around…

***Jay Cutler was terrific when he got time to throw. And he handled the early pressure from the Cowboys front seven well. Cutler finished 21/29 for 277 yards, three scores and zero interceptions (and for Cutler, a no-pick game is the equivalent of a 550-yard day….so, theoretically, he had 827 yards passing this game). Something Cutler doesn’t get praised for enough is his deep ball, which is probably the most accurate in the game.

***Devin Hester’s touchdown grab in the back corner of the end zone was the type of play that only happens after hours and hours of footwork drills.

***Matt Forte had 10 carries for 29 yards. (Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to include these numbers. I forgot that a positive Bears piece includes pretending that Forte is potentially the next Marshall Faulk.)
***New nickelback D.J. Moore intercepted Tony Romo twice.

***The Bears defense held the Dallas offense to just 13 points.

4. Speaking of the Dallas offense…

This is where we talk about Wade Phillips being on the hot seat, Jerry Jones assembling a team with no chemistry, Tony Romo not being a leader and the myriad of other stars in Big D being underachievers, right?

Well, what if I told you the Cowboys aren’t in that much trouble? Yes, the offense has scored just 20 points in two losses on the season. But teams as talented as the Cowboys are always just a few clicks away from exploding.

The Cowboys are still dangerous. Miles Austin looks even better than he did a year ago. Dez Bryant is living up to the hype. Jason Witten is too fundamentally sound to be anything less than the star that he is. Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice haven’t forgotten how to play. And guess what? The rest of the NFC East is 1-1, which means the Cowboys are only a game out of first place. It’s Week 2, folks.

Of course, if the Cowboys lose next week, then the (stuff) might actually hit the fan. Next week, the Cowboys are facing…

5. The Houston Texans

It’s not a Cinderella story if we’ve all been expecting it for three years. We’ve been waiting  on the Texans forever. (Imagine how we’d view Cinderella if she’d been invited to the ball but shown up late. What a brat!)
A. Johnson (US Presswire)
Still, there’s no denying that it’s fun to see the Texans succeed. One week after upending the AFC South bully Colts, Houston came from 17 down in the second half on the road to defeat a decent Redskins club in overtime.

Gary Kubiak masterfully used his icing the kicker timeout (insert your own “the NFL should do something about icing the kicker timeouts because it just doesn’t seem right” comment here….then insert the hollow follow-up comment that inevitably comes after you think about it and realize that there really isn’t anything the league can do about icing the kicker timeouts). Right before Redskins kicker Graham Gano successfully booted what was thought to be a game-winning 51-yarder, Kubiak motioned to the line judge. Gano then missed the unwanted mulligan attempt, and the Texans drove down the field and silenced a Redskins crowd that had already gone silent sometime shortly after Matt Schaub’s 400th passing yard.

Schaub finished with a gaudy 497 yards passing on the day. His performance overshadows the fact that Houston’s D has given up over 400 yards passing in back-to-back weeks. It’s almost gotten to the point that it’d make more sense to track Houston’s pass defense not in terms of yards given up but in terms of miles given up. But obviously, big days from Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb against this team haven’t been enough. One common theme in both Texan wins has been dominant play by Mario Williams.

Redskins-Texans Part B: karma, irony or just bad blocking

How’s this for irony: late in the fourth quarter, Donovan McNabb converted a crucial third-and-20 to keep a potential game-winning drive alive. However, the play was called back thanks to a holding call against Washington’s backup offensive tackle, Stephon Heyer. Heyer is a former starter who plays both the left and right side with poor technique (ala a certain Cowboys offensive lineman who made Redskin fans quite happy a week ago).

6. A joke sits out

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was deactivated for this game because of an ankle injury. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports said before the game that the team was sick of Haynesworth making the injury a distraction during the week. Jason Reed of the Washington Post noted, “Haynesworth did not watch the game from the sidelines, which team officials said was normal for inactive players. Offensive lineman Will Montgomery and safety Kareem Moore, however, both joined their teammates on the bench for the game.”

The Skins would love to trade Haynesworth, but there are no takers. They can’t just cut him because then he would win the power struggle. Haynesworth deserves a 2005 Terrell Owens-like suspension, but the Players Union would raise a stink about that, which only exacerbates the current distraction.

So here’s an idea: since Haynesworth is an underachieving part-time player and fulltime headache for Mike Shanahan, why don’t the Redskins just put him on Injured Reserve? There’s always something physically wrong with the big clown anyway – ankle, knee, (heart?). Wouldn’t it be great if, one day, Haynesworth is milking an injury and one of the coaches comes up to him and says, “Boy, Albert, sure does look like you’re too hurt to practice. We’re going to play it safe with you and keep you out…for the rest of the season.” Putting Haynesworth on IR would send a message and give the coaching staff as much power in this whole disaster as possible.

7. Eagles not saving talk radio after all?

Could And Reid actually be curtailing the quarterback controversy in Philadelphia? Despite a very stellar performance from Michael Vick, the sentiment around the league seems to be, “Don’t get your hopes up, Reid says Kevin Kolb is still The Guy.”
M. Vick (US Presswire)
Come on, Andy! Please – please – just let us at least have the fun of speculating about the possibility of Vick stealing the starting job. Pleeeaaaasssseee!

In fact, let us see a little more of Vick before you go putting him on the shelf and running your team the right way. We never get to see electrifying mobile quarterbacks these days. (Probably because of what Bill Walsh once said, which is essentially that athleticism-based quarterbacks put the head coach at the mercy of the man under center.) But the mobile quarterbacks are fun! They're so much more fun than the fundamentally-sound dropback passers.

Yes, it’d be a political nightmare to turn your back on Kolb at this point, but think of how much fun the Vick storyline would be each week!

By the way, for those of you who read last week’s Key Matchup on the Lions defense against Vick, for the record, Detroit did indeed wind up playing zone, which still didn’t neutralize the speed of the Philly receivers (see DeSean Jackson’s 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown). And the Lions did indeed shadow Vick. Instead of using a linebacker, they went with safety Louis Delmas. It wasn’t a poorly-executed plan – Vick was held to only 37 yards rushing. But the plan was contingent on Vick not making consistent throws from the pocket. On Sunday, Vick was able to make those consistent throws from the pocket, in part because his escapability eradicated several would-be sacks.

8. Don’t fall in love with the Chiefs

Kansas City is a young, up-and-coming team. At 2-0, it will be very easy to forecast them as the breakout club of 2010. Don’t.
Yes, the Chiefs are much improved. But their Week 1 win over San Diego was influenced by weather, home opener momentum and huge plays on special teams. Their Week 2 win came against a Cleveland team was counting on Seneca Wallace at quarterback and that specializes in losing home openers (1-11 since 1999). Kansas City’s win was also propagated by a Brandon Flowers interception return score and a late missed field goal by Phil Dawson. The Chiefs still haven’t shown they can sustain offense under Matt Cassel (check out the iffy Week 1 and very average Week 2 box scores). They’re getting better, so be encouraged. Just don’t let go of that grain of salt yet.

9. J-E-T-S counting heavily on L.T.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that LaDainian Tomlinson is the No. 1 running back in New York. Can that really be?

We thought Shonn Greene sat most of Week 1 as punishment for early fumbles. But against the Patriots, Greene had just 15 carries for 52 yards. Tomlinson had 11 carries, but they came in bigger moments. He gained 76 yards on those 11 carries and 26 yards on four receptions, showing hints of the lateral quickness and acceleration that made him the best running back in football three years ago.

This isn’t to suggest that Tomlinson is the L.T. of old. But Phil Simms said something very interesting during Sunday’s broadcast: “What I see with LaDainian that I didn’t see as much in San Diego, with him, it is (now) all out every play.”

P.S. Tomlinson isn’t the only old-timer getting serious work in New York’s backfield. Fullback Tony Richardson has handled a majority of the load ahead of Hard Knocks star John Conner (The Terminator). Richardson was excellent against New England.K. Kardashian (US Presswire)

10. FOX chickens out

We’ll wrap up by throwing FOX under the bus. This is because the network kept things too P.G. During the Cowboys-Bears game, FOX did a full-screen three-graphic special on Miles Austin. The theme was, basically, how great is it to be Miles Austin right now?

The first graphic was about Austin putting up big numbers on the field. The next graphic was about his big new contract ($20 million guaranteed). The third graphic was about his ripped abs, which he recently showed off on the cover of Men’s Fitness.

And that was it. Numbers, contract and abs. No mention of the best thing in Austin’s world right now (the reward that those three previous things undoubtedly helped him earn): Reggie Bush’s ex-girlfriend.

FOX didn’t have the guts to do a Kim Kardashian photo during a football presentation. Fortunately, we do. (And, just to prove that Fox could have done it, we actually used a rare tasteful photo of the sex symbol.)

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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