News, Notes & Rumors for Crazy week 4
NOTE: This week’s radio version of NNR with my co-host Samantha Bunten will be Friday Oct. 4 at 6PM Eastern on The Bill Smith Radio Show. A special NNR will be on Monday Oct. 7 at 6PM to wrap up week 5 with Samantha and Giants beat writer for Metro New York Tony Williams.
Week 4 key injuries: Vince Wilfork DT (NE) torn Achilles out for the year. Dwight Freeney LB (SD) torn quad out indefinitely. Brian Cushing LB (HO) and Eric Fisher T (KC) both suffered concussions.
Titan QB Jake Locker was hospitalized after taking a big hit in the game against the Jets with a hip injury. At this point it looks like he will be out several weeks.
After week 4 a few QBs have had their meeting chairs move a lot closer to the emergency exit door. Bucs QB Josh Freeman was not only replaced as the starter by rookie Mike Glennon, Freeman was deactivated this week. Josh asked to be traded but few teams are going to be willing to eat over six million dollars to rent him until the end of the season given his low completion percentage and lack of leadership.
Browns QB Brandon Weeden can’t hold a ball yet but that is mute point since QB Brian Hoyer has led the team to back to back wins. Brandon, let that thumb heal. You might need it stacking groceries at the Piggly Wiggly store.
Jets QB Mark Sanchez had better put his house up for sale soon because he too will be moving down significantly in job status and salary. Geno Smith has not been lighting it up but Sanchez is history. He will have season ending surgery on his throwing shoulder this week. He is lucky the previous administration gave him his 20.5 million dollars guarantee. If he is in the league at all next season he can expect the veteran minimum. Maybe he can join Weeden stacking groceries.
ESPN 1500 Twin Cities reports that despite backup quarterback Matt Cassel engineering a win over the Steelers, head coach Leslie Frazier reportedly said there is no quarterback controversy and Christian Ponder is still the starter.
At 0-4 the Giants are the worst team in the state of New York. The Jets and Bills are 2-2.
Bills 23 Ravens 20 – The starting D backfield of the Bills was out. So the Bills didn’t have a chance to beat the Ratbirds. WRONG! Raven QB Joe Flacco evidently felt sorry for the Bills so he threw 5 interceptions including a key pick as they were in range for a field goal to tie the game. Rookie QB EJ Manuel was just OK but did not give up the ball 5 times. The Bills lost to the Jets last week. This week they beat the Ravens. That means the Jets would beat the Ravens???
Chiefs 31 Giants 7 – NY QB Eli Manning cut down on his picks but the O still could do very little. The Giants were 1 for 14 in 3rd down coversions while the Chiefs converted 9 of 16. That was the critical difference in the game. The Giant D could not get off the field on 3rd down. One of 14 on 3rd down will not get a win.
Lions 40 Bears 32 – The Lions were up 40-16 with less than 9 minutes left in the game. Bears QB Jay Cutler brought them back to the final score with two garbage time TDs. But Cutler also threw 3 picks and was sacked 3 times. Lions RB Reggie Bush had 139 yards and DT Nick Fairley returned a fumble for a TD. Both teams are now 3-1.
Redskins 24 Raiders 14 – The Skins had their usual slow start. A blocked punt and TD pass by Raider QB Matt Flynn replacing Terrelle Pryor had the Raiders up 14-0. The Redskins scored 24 straight points. But the Skins D scored on an interception return and an improved game from QB Robert Griffin III led the team back. Flynn did OK with a final rating of 87.3. Griffin was 18-27 227 yards and a TD.
Seahawks 23 Texans 20 OT – “Schaub giveth and Schaub taketh away.” The Hawks had three starting O linemen out and the Texans D took full advantage of that. QB Matt Schaub and RB Arian Foster built a 20-6 lead going into the 4th quarter. But Hawks QB Russell Wilson and the D took over from there. Wilson who had suffered pressures and dropped passes began to run the ball. He drove the team to the three then faked a run and gave it to RB Marshawn Lynch for the score. Then Schaub suffered a brain cramp. He threw the ball into a crowd of Seahawk defenders. It was picked off by CB Richard Sherman and returned for a shoe-less TD. Schaub ended up with 2 TDs but 2 critical picks as well.
Broncos 52 Eagles 20 – The Chip Kelly offense is failing to win primarily due to the pathetic defense. After a win over the Redskins and “not ready for prime time” Robert Griffin III, the Eagles have lost three straight. In first two losses the O has had the ball about half the time of the opponent. The O can’t score enough and the D can’t get off the field. Nobody is going to have an easy game against the Broncos in Denver. Mike Vick suffered a number of drops and there were some serious problems on special teams like the 100 yard TD kickoff return. But the Eagles do not have enough of the Kelly type players to make this work. The three main producers for the Eagles (TE Brent Celek, WR DeSean Jackson and RB LeSean McCoy) had a total of 15 targets but just 6 catches. The Eagles D cannot tackle at all. Payton Manning is just outstanding. He finished with 28 of 34 for 327 yards and four TDs.
Chargers 30 Cowboys 21 – The Cowgirls found another way to lose. They jumped out in front only to see the D wilt under pressure from QB Phillip Rivers and the Charger O. Dallas QB Tony Romo struggled with accuracy in the second half and ended up 27 for 37 but averaged only 6.1 yards per attempt. Even a defensive TD couldn’t save the Boys.
Vikings 34 Steelers 27 – The Steeler’s biggest problems are the O line and the defense’s inability to tackle. With no D and no running game QB Ben Roethlisberger feels like he has to do it himself. There is no one to take the top off the coverage and the lack of receivers hurts Ben most. He is the one getting hit on almost every play. Two Steeler garbage time TDs only made the score more respectable. The Vikes started backup Matt Cassel and he did OK. RB Adrian Peterson broke open over and over. He ended up with 140 yards rushing on 23 attempts.
Browns 17 Bengals 6 – This game was not as close as the score indicates. The Browns missed two chip shot field goals and the first Bengal FG came on a 30 yard drive. For the first time in a long while the Browns are tied for the AFC North lead at 2-2. For more on this game check out my Live Game Notes right here on FryingpanSports.com.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport “Tampa Bay Buccaneers ownership is behind head coach Greg Schiano. Ownership knew it would take time to correct the mess left by the previous coaching staff.”
However Schiano did not get any more popular with the fans or the team by his change of QBs to Glennon. I think the deactivation of Freeman was as much about his unauthorized interviews as it was about his play. That just proves the truth may set you free but it does not guarantee employment.
According to Giants Beat writer Tony Williams of Metro New York, I was wrong about the team tuning out HC Tom Coughlin. On my NNR show Friday, Tony said the team likes playing for Coughlin. That may be but the team was thumped again this week 31-7 by the Chiefs despite the Giant D getting three turnovers. I still think Coughlin is in serious trouble unless he gets the team turned around soon. Given the issues with the team that is not likely.
There might be some pressure on Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin due to the team losing four in a row. However, that would not be fair. The issue of the Steelers has much more to do with the drafting by team management than it does with the coaching. In the near future I will analyze the recent drafts of General Manager Kevin Colbert to show the poor choices he has made. Look for the analysis here on FryingpanSports.com.
The NFL has not given up on the 18 game regular season schedule but is now pushing a change to the preseason and playoffs. The latest trial balloon being filled with hot air is the reduction of 1 preseason game. To offset the revenue loss, there would be one more wild card playoff team in each conference meaning that only the top seed would get a bye. This will be put up for a vote of owners at the next league meeting but probably not go into effect until 2015.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the league is considering fines for Jets defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples for their actions on the hit on Titan QB Jake Locker. Is any tackle on a QB now a finable offense?
The NFL Channel showed a picture of a Texans’ fan burning a Schaub jersey. The fact is that he is not an elite NFL QB and the team is now wondering if it is time to move on. While he is good enough to lead the team into the playoffs, it is clear he is not good enough to get to the Super Bowl. The problem is that team management gave Schaub big time contract extension. The team would be hit with a 3.5 million dollar cap hit in 2014 and 7 million in 2015 if they cut him after the June 1 deadline next season.
Before the regular season started I predicted that the Redskins and Vikings would not return to the playoffs. So far that prediction is right on target.
Despite leading the Browns to two straight wins, Head Coach Rob Chudzinski refused to make QB Brian Hoyer his starter beyond Thursday’s game against the Bills. Can this group really want to see Brandon Weeden play more before deciding he is not the guy?
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.
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