• Author:
  • Published: Nov 13th, 2014
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Playoffs? Playoffs?

Playoffs? Playoffs?

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Note: On NNR today Tony Williams Giants and Knicks beat reporter for Metro New York and I discussed the NFL and NBA in detail. The podcast is on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

With the Browns win over the Bengals Thursday there has been a lot of talk of the Browns being a contender for the playoffs. We got Tony’s answer on the podcast. But for me the answer is “Maybe.”

The reason I am not sure is the loss to the Jaguars. If the Browns had taken care of business they would have a game and a half lead on the rest of the AFC North which at least this season is the best division in the NFL. The history of the Browns since they have come back is they play up to their opponents or down depending on if the team they are facing is better or worse. Playoff teams win those games.

Playoff teams are able to run the ball. The Browns did well against the Bengals D, but in the previous 3 games averaged under 3 yards per carry. That is not what Playoff teams do.

The third area that distinguishes playoff teams from pretenders is their ability to stop the run. At times this season the Browns D has stopped the run. But more often they have struggled to do so. This season they are giving up an average of 134 yards per game which is 28th in the league.

A win over the Texans would be another good step toward the playoffs. But there are still criticial games ahead. The Browns need to keep winning and not over look anyone. Even a winless Jags team beat the Browns.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Thanks for your support.

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 https://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 https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 27th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on News, Notes & Rumors for week 12

News, Notes & Rumors for week 12

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NOTE:  Due to the Thanksgiving holiday the NFL Preview show will be tonight at 6 PM EST this week only.  Please join Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York and me for the show.


NOTE:  Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on The Bill Smith Radio Show or the archive of the shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.  On Monday Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discuss the Browns game and the results of the weekend.  On Friday Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York joins Samantha and me to preview the upcoming games.



The NFL has to get a handle on the horrible officiating.  It is totally inconsistent.  A perfect example is two calls on hits to the QB.  Bears’ QB Josh McCown was clearly not hit in the head and was tackled chest to chest while he was holding the ball.  The flag was thrown for roughing the passer.  Browns’ QB Jason Campbell was grabbed around the neck and thrown down head first and there was no flag.  The officials seem to think the fans come to see them.  That is not the case.  The only way to solve this problem is to have instant replay on the targeting penalty.


KC was missing their two best pass rushers against the Chargers.  An MRI showed Tamba Hali has a sprain of the lower right ankle.  He could be probable for the next game.  LB Justin Houston could not have an MRI on his elbow because of swelling Monday.  His MRI today indicated it was dislocated.


Bucs CB Darrelle Revis suffered a groin injury and may 4 to 6 weeks.


Offensive Coordinators all over the league are wasting time outs like they are water.  Then when the game comes down to the half or the end they don’t have them to use.  Being an OC requires you to think 3 or 4 plays ahead.  The Jets for example challenged a pass play and won the challenge.  But then they had to take a TO because they could not get the call in on time.  The challenge took more than 3 minutes.  Why they did not have a play both with the challenge being successful and without it is beyond me.



Cowboys 24 Giants 21 – On the first two trips inside the Boys 10 yard line the Giants were too conservative and got field goals rather than TDs.  That was the difference in the game.  Failures inside the red zone have plagued the Giants all year.  The Boys’ first TD was scored by their defense on a fumble recovery and return.  The Giants were playing catch up all afternoon but did tie the game with a two point conversion with 4:45 left in the 4th.  But the Cowboys drove down the field and kicked a 35 yard field goal that ended the game.  Maybe the Giants problem is the ugly mustache of Eli Manning.


Chargers 41 Chiefs 38 – Bad last drive defense cost the Chiefs the win.  The lead changed hands 5 times in a mostly even game.  The Chiefs scored to take the lead to 38-34 with 1:22 left.  The Chargers got the ball on their 22 and in just 58 seconds drove for the winning TD.  The Chief D did not get their usual level of pressure on Charger QB Phillip Rivers.  He threw for 392 yards and 3 TDs without a pick and was sacked only once.  Rivers used big pass plays to move the ball.  During the game the Chiefs lost both their top pass rushers to injury.


Jaguars 13 Texans 6 – The Jaguars lost the lead for the 1st overall pick in the 2014 draft with the win.  Jags QB Chad Henne was not spectacular but was able to lead the team to a 10-0 lead with 7:57 left in the 1st half.  Ten points were enough given the poor play of the Texan O.  The Texans QB Case Keenum threw 34 times but got only 169 yards with no TDs and one pick.  They scored only 2 field goals.  Both teams will be drafting a QB early in the draft.


Patriots 34 Broncos 31 – The game was a turnover fest.  The Pats were in a giving mood in the first half and the Broncos returned the favor in the second.  The Broncos had only one drive in the first half.  The other points came directly off Pats turnovers.  In the second half the Pats stopped turning the ball over.  The game winning FG came on a Bronco turnover.  The Broncos were forced to play zone in the second half due to the loss of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  QB Tom Brady picked it apart.  The thing that jumped out at me was the throws by QB Payton Manning.  They fluttered both with the wind and against it even on the short throws.  Payton Manning has not done well in cold weather (1-5 in games below 32 degrees).  That could be a major red flag for the Broncos chances of going deep into the playoffs.  It looks like the ankle may be part of the problem but this may be the beginning of the end for one of the all time great QBs in the history of the league.


Cardinals 40 Colts 11 – The Cards moved the ball and the Colts took advantage of penalties.  There were not enough of the latter to save the Colts.  The Cards ran and passed through the Colt defense with ease.  Colt QB Andrew Luck had one of his worst games of his career against the solid Cards D.  Luck was under 50 % completion rate for just 159 yards and threw a pick 6.  Drops by his receivers did not help either.  The score went from 7-3 to 34-3 before the Colts finally scored a TD.  Cards QB Carson Palmer threw for 314 yards and 2 TDs without an interception.


Ravens 19 Jets 3 – The Raven D made rookie QB Geno Smith long for his days in college.  Smith completed 11 of 22 throws but two of those were to the other color jersey.  The Raven O is still in low gear.  They struggled to get the ball into the end zone and kicked 5 field goals four of which were inside the red zone.  While the Raven D may be back the offense is far from playoff ready.


Steelers 27 Browns 11 – The Browns were in a position to challenge for a wild card spot prior to the ugly loss to the Steelers.  For a complete analysis of the game, check out my Browns-Steelers Live Game Notes here on https://fryingpansports.com/.




Rumors are swirling around the Redskins.  Mike Silver of the NFL Network reported that QB Robert Griffin III had asked the coaching staff not to show his bad plays in the team meetings because that would hurt the other players’ faith in him.  It supposedly was the policy at Baylor.  Silver said “This is real. RGIII has expressed to teammates his dissatisfaction with Mike Shanahan and this could be coming to a head. Inside the building, when you talk to people familiar with this situation they perceive RGIII as kind of insecure, specifically about Kirk Cousins, which may be one reason he was so eager to rush back.”  Both RG3 and Coach Shanahan denied the report.

It was also rumored that Shanahan never wanted RG3.  According to that report he wanted QB Ryan Tannehill (8th pick overall) who was available with the Redskins’ first round pick (6th overall) in 2012.  That would have avoided the trade with the Rams for several first and second round picks.

If someone is going to go, the owner will choose the coach because he can get another staff without costing him any draft choices.


Beyond the rumors, the performance of RG3 has been way below what was expected.  Part of the issue is the injury that was less than a year ago.  But RG3 to be effective has to run the ball.  That opens up the inside lanes for the running back and keeps the play action pass effective.  He either can’t or won’t run.  He is fragile and needs to protect himself.  But until he improves his pocket passing accuracy like Seahawk QB Russell Wilson has, he will not be as effective as he was in his rookie season.


There are rumors that the Colts flaws are showing.  QB Andrew Luck has begun to turn the ball over and the loss of WR Reggie Wayne has hurt the offense.  The Colts biggest issue has been an inconsistent defense that really struggles on the road.  The Colts have lost 2 of their last 3 games in bad blowouts.


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 https://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 https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.  

He also edits .  

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


News, Notes & Rumors Week 5

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Ex Bucs QB Josh Freeman was signed by the Vikings on a 1 year deal.  At least in Vikes land he will have a great running game.


The new starting QB for the Bills is former Browns QB Thad Lewis.  He has had only one start (Browns) and threw a TD and a pick.  He ended the game with a QB rating of 83.3.


After Terrelle Pryor led the Raiders to a win over the Chargers, the team cut QB Matt Flynn.


Pats QB Tom Brady’s streak of 52 games with a TD pass was broken Sunday by the Bengal D.



Bengals 13 Patriots 6 – The NFL would like to thank those of you that slept without snoring.  That would have disturbed the others nodding off.  I would like to say that the game was a result of two great defensive efforts but it was two inept offenses that caused the napping.   The first quarter ended with Bengals QB Andy Dalton throwing a horrible pick to LB Brandon Spikes on the Pats’ 8 yard line.  That says it all.


Broncos 51 Cowboys 48 – Things started so well for the Cowgirls. Late in the first they were up 14-0. But in the end QB Tony Romo threw a pick in the last 3 minutes of the game that gave Denver a chance to win the game with a field goal.  Despite over 500 yards passing by Romo, it seems like he always does just enough wrong to help the other team win.  The Bronco D is not the overwhelming force some thought.  Again this year they will go as far as QB Payton Manning takes them.


Cardinals 22 Panthers 6 – Carolina QB Cam Newton threw 3 picks and lost a fumble which totally ended any chance they had to win.  The Panther defense is solid but Newton is not getting the offense going.  The Panthers have not beaten a good team yet and the team has to wonder about the development of Newton.  Cards QB Carson Palmer threw three picks as well and two were in the Panther end zone.  Both defenses played well enough to win but Cards did just enough on offense to win.


Chiefs 26 Titans 17 – The Chiefs are 5-0 but QB Alex Smith is not a guy that can carry a team to a championship.  He did enough to get the Chiefs this win.  He is too conservative and does not have the arm to make the big throws.  He was 20 for 39 against a very average Titan D.  RB Jamaal Charles is the real thing even at just 200 pounds.  He is a three down back that can catch and run equally well but only when he is healthy.  Titan QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw one more pick than Smith did.  The Titans don’t have enough fire power to win a big game.  Fitzpatrick was getting the ball in the hands of the receivers but they kept dropping it.


Raiders 27 Chargers 17 – Raider QB Terrelle Pryor used his arm and legs to build a lead that the Chargers could not overcome.  He threw 2 TDs without a pick.  In trying to play catch up Charger QB Philip Rivers threw three interceptions.  That was uncharacteristic of him his year but the picks did in the Chargers.


49ers 34 Texans 3 – Texans QB Matt Schaub threw three interceptions including a pick 6 and a lost fumble.  While the 49er offense looked mundane at best, it did enough to take advantage of the Schaub gifts.  The 49ers are struggling with the O line and inability of receivers to get open.  The biggest issue of the Texans is QB Schaub.


Colts 34 Seahawks 28 – Perhaps the biggest mess in the NFL is the O line of the Hawks.  The only reasons the team has been able to go 4-0 is the great play of RB Marshawn Lynch QB Russell Wilson and a very good defense.  The D failed them against a great effort by Colt QB Andrew Luck.  Luck brought the Colts back from a 10-0 early deficit and led the team to the win.  The Colt D is much better this year.






More than a few people are wondering why the Patriots did not improve their receiving crew sooner.  When QB Tom Brady agreed to restructure his deal I am sure he assumed that the freed up cap space would be used to get him some veteran help.  Not only did he not get help, management let his best receiver Wes Welker go in free agency.  This team cannot win with the group they have now.  Even when their receivers get healthy, this team is doomed to fail in the playoffs.


Brady is struggling not only with drops but also with accuracy.  A number of his incompletions were not catchable.  It could be he is starting to show his age.  It is more likely that he is suffering with an inconsistent line and receiver group.


With Texans QB Schaub setting a league record with interceptions returned for TDs in four straight games, the Texans have to wonder about the future of their 66 million dollar guy.  Schaub has never been able to advance in the playoffs beyond beating the Bengals.  The Texans don’t have a legitimate replacement so they will live (and the GM and HC will die) with Schaub.


There are concerns about the 49er offense.  While they are justified, the issues are not about QB Colin Kaepernick.  The offense has changed since last year and even since the game 1 win over the Packers.  The running game was missing in the two losses.  The O line is a mess.  The play calls have changed as well.  I pointed out that the WR triangle that was so effective at getting guys open against the Packers has not been part of the game plan since.  When given any protection, Kaepernick is accurate and he has made key 1st downs with his legs.



You can listen to the podcasts at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and hear NNR Live Mondays and Fridays at 6PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.  The Monday show is a review of the previous week and the Browns game.  The Friday show previews the upcoming games.


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams, has officiated both football and basketball, has done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/. 

Thoughts about Black Monday in the NFL

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English: LOVIE SMITH, of the Chicago Bears, in...

English: LOVIE SMITH, of the Chicago Bears, in action during the Bears game against the Cleveland Browns on November 1, 2009 in Chicago, IL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thoughts about Black Monday in the NFL


Browns:  The one gift I had to wait for was the firing of HC Pat Shurmur.  I am not a fan of former Bronco HC McDaniel but he would be better than Shurmur.  Of the coaches expected to be released my choice for the Browns would be Ken Whisenhunt.  He is a D guy but a good coach that made the best of the bad personnel decisions made by a poor GM.  My second choice would be Lovie Smith if he is let go.  Both have been to a Super Bowl and would run a tight ship without being a dictator.


I have mixed feelings about GM Tom Heckert being fired.  While he has by far done the best job of any GM the team has had since 1999 that is not a very high standard.


Cowboys:  They are out of the playoffs thanks to QB “Captain Collapse” (I want a copyright on that phrase) Tony Romo.  It will not cost his HC a job but this team has underperformed for years.  Maybe Jerry should think about firing his GM—himself.


Cardinals:  Ken Whisenhunt deserved better than he is going to get.  He deserved to have an NFL caliber QB.  But the blame for the collapse belongs on the shoulders of GM Rod Graves.  All indications are it was his choice to trade for QB Kevin Kolb.  Graves did not choose wisely.


Bears:  The Bear cubs are the first team to start a season 7-1 and not make the playoffs.  The total collapse of the O line and injuries on the D ended any chance of the playoffs.  HC Lovie Smith may be fired but deserves better.


Chiefs:  There is no hope for fans of the KC Chefs.  They will be cooking up another bad batch of BBQ because they fired HC Crennel but kept inept GM Pioli.  If the GM stays look for the Chefs to hire ex-Bronco HC McDaniel.  McDaniel will want to try to recover the career of QB Cassel.


Chargers:  The firing of both HC Norv Turner and GM Smith are 2 years too late to prevent the need to rebuild rather than tweak the roster.  Under less than brilliant leadership of these two the team got old and inept.


Jaguars:  Who cares?  GM Smith was fired but it looks like HC Mike Mularkey may be safe for now.  This team is dying as quickly as the town in which it plays.


Eagles:  HC Andy Reid is out.  He will not be unemployed for long unless he decides to take a year or two off.  He is a very good coach but 14 years is long enough for any coach to grow stale.


Jets:  The team fired GM Mike Tannenbaum but not HC Rex Ryan.  Frankly both should have gone.  The team needs to produce more and talk a lot less.


Panthers:  Some changes are not for the better.  This team fired HC Fox 2 years ago and now may fire Ron Rivera.  Rivera is doing the best he can with a less than stellar roster.  He has a hc (head case) at QB and a lot of holes on the team.



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 https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

Christmas gifts for NFL Teams.

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Photo of Cleveland Browns head coach Sam Rutig...

Photo of Cleveland Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano around 1979. Taken in the team’s lockerroom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas gifts for NFL Teams.



Browns:  I give the Browns a head coach that will let Weeden be Weeden.  Shurmur is way too much of a control freak to allow his QB to even audible out of a bad play.  He has to go.


Steelers:  The team needs an offensive line.  Being a Browns fan I give them a subscription to Direct TV so the players can watch the playoffs on the team set.


Bengals:  I give them a steep decline of both the Steelers and Ravens.  That not only helps them but helps the Browns as well.


Ravens:  I wish the Ratbirds nothing but bad luck forever.  They stole the Browns and deserve to suffer for it.  I also wish that former Browns owner Art Muddle never gets elected to the HOF.  He deserves to be elected to the hall of infamy.


Chiefs:  The team needs a QB.  But the 2013 draft class is not stocked with sure fire QB prospects.  They “won” the first overall draft pick by being a team that could not beat the Sisters of Perpetual Misery.  That must be the school where they got both QBs Cassel and Quinn.


Chargers:  I give them a coach that has a sense of urgency to win and a new GM as well.  HC Norv Turner has sleepwalked through several seasons.  It is WAY past time for him to go.  GM Smith has not chosen wisely.


Broncos:  For a Browns fan, wishing anything good to Denver is hard.  But I would like to see Payton Manning get a 2nd Super Bowl win.  He deserves it.  If not, he should get the football version of the movie Career Achievement Award.  He is a sure first ballot HOF selectee.


Colts:  My wish for the Colts is that coach Chuck Pagano recovers fully from his illness.  He deserves to and the team under interim HC Bruce Arians has earned a playoff spot.  Arians deserves to be a candidate for a HC job based not only on his job as interim but also his offensive expertise.


Texans:  I wish the Texans a heart.  To lose games at home like they have is inexcusable.  They have a very solid QB and great RB so how do they score 6 points last week against the Vikes.


Titans:  A do-over on the decision to let a great HC go.  Letting HC Fisher go was stupid.  They have a good running back in Johnson.  His only problem is being slowed down by a over-stuffed wallet.  QB Locker needs better coaching to get up to an NFL starting level.


Pats:  My wish for the Pats is early retirement of QB Brady.  I want to see if Brady made Belichick or if it was the other way around.  My guess is Billy B will not find it as easy to win without a HOF QB.


Bills:  The Bills are in need of just about everything.  But most of all they need a QB.  Fitzpatrick has the head but not the physical skills to be successful.


Jets:  For them I wish a muzzle.  If I never heard the word Jets again it would be WAY too soon.





Giants:  I wish the Giants better health in 2013.  The team always seems to be decimated by injuries.  The question that keeps recurring is that the result of bad luck or an outcome of practice techniques.


Cowboys:  I wish them and Jerry Jones a nice off season.  It will be longer because JJ can’t select the right people in the draft and will not give up his role as GM.


Eagles:  My gift to them is the luck to find a coach good enough to last 14 years like Reid.  That will not be an easy job.  I also wish coach Reid the peace he deserves.  He has suffered a lot over the last few years.  He is a good man and deserves better.


Redskins:  I wish the Skins a healthy RG3 for the future.  He is fun to watch and I hope he can continue to play for a long time.


Bears:  I wish the team and QB Cutler better OL play.  He has been beaten badly game after game.  He deserves better protection.


Lions:  I wish the Lions a brain.  They are way too talented to continue to play stupid football.


Vikes:  This team needs a QB to take pressure off of RB Peterson.  Ponder is not the answer in my opinion.


Saints:  The team needs some closure on the bounty scandal.  The scandal and its publicity have destroyed the 2012 season of a good team.


Bucs:  I wish QB Freeman some WRs that can catch.  With an outstanding young RB like Martin, some quality receivers would really help the O.


Cards:  I give coach Whisenhunt a job with a better GM than he has at Arizona.  He is a great coach but GM Graves couldn’t find a QB in the Football Hall of Fame.  My first choice for the Browns would be Whisenhunt.


49ers:  I wish them luck with QB Kaepernick.  He is solid and will develop into a top 5 QB.  Like RG3 he is fun to watch as well.


Seahawks:  They already got their gift in 3rd round QB Russell Wilson.  As I said in my pre-draft radio shows he was the 3rd best QB in the 2012 draft and will be a champion before he is done.


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 https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

Tonight on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors

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 Tonight we continue our swing around the NFL talking to the beat writers that know their teams the best.

Shane Gray, beat writer for the Rams, joins us to talk about their plans for the draft with all their extra choices.

Derek Estes, beat writer for the Chiefs, joins us to talk about free agency and their draft needs.

Eric Galko, Dir. Of Scouting for Optimum Scouting.com joins us to talk about the Browns needs and the free agency frenzy.

Kelron Sykes, host of College FB Insider Radio joins us to talk about the Cardinals needs and draft plans.

NNR at 6PM EST follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.  Press the Green arrow at 6 for NNR.

Join Mr. Moohead  on http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/ after early Cavs games for his post-game chat.

The archive of the show is available the following day at https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

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 https://fryingpansports.com and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .

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