There is trouble in 49er land. The passing game has gone south because the O line can’t protect Colin Kaepernick and the receivers can’t catch, the running game has disappeared and the D can’t get off the field. Now LB Aldon Smith’s locker has been cleaned out and the team reports he has been given a leave of absence indefinitely while he goes to a rehab facility.
The Giants and Redskins are equally miserable. Both are 0-3 but for different reasons. The Giants can’t run the ball and QB Eli Manning throws as many to the other team as he does to his own. The Redskins are waiting for Robert Griffin III to get back to where he was last year. He is getting better every week but needs his receivers to catch the ball. The Redskin defense stinks. Neither team is getting into the post season but the Skins have hope. The Giants do not.
The Browns traded RB Trent Richardson who was the third pick overall in 2012 to the Colts for a 2014 1st round pick. For my thoughts on the trade check out my editorial The Browns’ 2013 season has just been “Bannered” right here on FryingpanSports.com.
Bengals 34 Packers 30 – Bengals founder Paul Brown once said “I would rather be lucky than good. Goot teams lose.” While the Cincy D played great, the offense did its best to give the game away. In the 2nd quarter alone QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals gave the ball away four straight times inside their 40 yard line. The Pack took a 30-14 lead in the 3rd quarter but Dalton led them back to the win with some help from Packers’ turnovers. While the Bengals are 2-1 they are not that good. The Pack was driving for the clinching TD when rookie RB Johnathan Franklin fumbled and DB Terence Newman returned it 58 yards for the winning TD. QB Aaron Rodgers drove the Pack down to the Bengal 20 but the 4th down pass was deflected. The Pack at 1-2 needs to watch out for the Bears 3-0. But the Pack O will be OK in the long run as long as they can protect Rodgers. Their D is a serious issue.
Bears 40 Steelers 23 – In the second half the Steeler offense started to gel but they were too far behind to finish the comeback. The Bears D scored two TDs off of pressure on Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger. The O line is a disaster and there is no running game. The D still plays hard but do not get the turnovers they did in previous years. The Bears are doing OK on O but depend too much on scores from the D. QB Jay Cutler is spreading the ball around more than last year and is having a good season. But he has O line issues too that have not yet cost the team.
Colts 27 49ers 7 – Kaepernick had a bad game but so did the O line and the defense. Kaepernick does not have his TE. The opponents are doubling WR Anquan Boldin and the other WRs were not getting open. The running game with Frank Gore looks old and slow. With no running game the play action was ineffective. The WRs are not getting off press coverage. In game 1 vs. the Packers, they used the bunch formation and used a lot of motion. They did not in the last two losses. I wonder why?
The D could not get off the field on 3rd down and Smith did not have a sack. The 49ers are no longer as physical as they were last year on both the O and D lines. Part of that is the poor season Gore is having. But Kaepernick is not running effectively either. Defenses have solved the read option to some degree. When the up the gut running does not work, the read option will fail as well. The Colts played well but the win came from the poor play of the 49ers. QB Andrew Luck is outstanding. The 49ers will get better and so will the Colts.
Panthers 38 Giants 0 – Manning was punished by the Panthers D line with 7 sacks and a bunch of hits. The O line is struggling badly and the running game has disappeared. They are -9 in turnover ratio. The team is in disarray. I doubt Coughlin can get it turned around any time soon. The Panthers are OK but not outstanding. QB Cam Newton has had an up and down season so far but the Giants D made him look great. He led the team to their first win.
Browns 31 Vikings 27 – The Vikes were so bad the city has traded them to London. The team will play the winless Steelers there next week and that will be a LONG flight. Check out my Live game notes right here on http://fryingpansports.com/.
There are rumbles that the Giants management is not at all happy with Coach Coughlin. HC Tom Coughlin is in serious trouble. It looks to me like the team has tuned out the coaching staff. The pass rush is missing in inaction and the O line is a mess. There is no running game and Manning is getting pounded. The front office is in part to blame for the issues. They have allowed key players to walk away in free agency. If someone becomes the fall guy it could be the coach and the GM. That is something to watch.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports reports that the NFL is quietly pushing the NFLPA for the 18 game regular season. Most stadium leases require at least 10 games. The league would not cut the preseason to 2 games without the agreement of the union to go to 18 regular season games.
Could the Vikings be tanking to get a QB in the 2014 draft? There is little doubt that the one thing holding the team back is the poor play of QB Christian Ponder. The team needs to fix the situation quickly because the key players on the defense are near the end of their careers.
The Steelers are in deep trouble and there is no help in sight. The O has struggled because of injuries but also because the team has drafted poorly. QB Roethlisberger has been beaten often and has no running game to fall back on. He also misses Mike Wallace’s speed to stretch the D vertically. The D has struggled badly as well. It has gotten old and fragile. It no longer forces turnovers. The team is in freefall and there is no quick fix to their issues. Again the front office has to take a lot of the blame for the team’s fall.
The Browns are reportedly taking offers for WR Josh Gordon. That is not because they don’t want him on the team. The team is worried about another off the field issue that could cause the league to suspend him for a year. While that is a risk with a player in the drug program, the team needs to spend more time helping him stay clean.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.