NFL Week 6 review

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cam newton photo - NFL Week 6 review
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pt+A11:B95Roethlisberger will have surgery today to trim torn meniscus in left knee. Hurt making a tackle on a pick
balb Suggs may have bicep tear which would put him out for the year  MRI today
clfs Poyer has a lacerated Kidney & concussion. Will likely be put on IR
SD+3 dv, PT-7 MI, OK pk KC, CN NE-9
SF16 BF45S LeSean McCoy scored 3 TDs leading BF to the win.
1-5      4-2Kaepernick got very little help and was very rusty. He led the team in rushing.
BF Taylor 17/26 179 20 McCoy 19/140 3 TDs. Clay 5c 52y
Kaepernick 13/29 187 10 8r 66y Smith 3c 76y TD
JK17 CH16Bortles hit Benn for a 51 y TD with 29 seconds on the clock to win the game.
2-3      1-5CH got out to a 13-0 lead but Bortles led JK back with 17 points in the 4th Q to win.
JK Bortles 20/33 271 11 Ivory 11/32 TD Hurns 5c 74y
CH Hoyer 30/49 302 00 Howard 15/34 Meredith 11c 113y
LA28 DT31Rams moved to LA but left their D in Saint Louis. LA allowed Strafford 4 TDs .
3-3  3-3Both teams scored in every quarter. DT won with a 34y FG by Prater with 3:37 left.
Stafford 23/31 270 40 Zenner 14/58 Tate 8c 165y TD
Keenum 27/32 321 31 pick on last possession Gurley 14/58 Britt 7c 136y 2TDs
PT15 MI30PT misses Dick LeBeau and now missing Roethlisberger who was limping around the field.
4-2   2-4PT D allowed a struggling MI O 30 points & sub RB Ajayi 204 y rushing.
MI Tannehill 24/32 252 00 Ajayi 25/204 2TDs. Landry 7c 91y
PT Roethlisberger 19/34 189 12 Bell 10/53  Bell 6c 55
CN17 NE35Brady had a big day & NE D turned CN run game into a pumpkin
2-4   5-1CN led but Dalton was tackled in the endzone The Safety changed everything.
Brady 29/35 376 30 Blount 13/50 TD Gronk 7c 162 TD
Dalton 21/31 254 10 Bernard 15/49 Hill 13/38 Green 6c 88y
CR38 NO41Brees threw for 465y & Will Lutz kicked a 52y FG with 11 seconds left for the NO Win.
1-5  2-3CR D died despite AC & Newton was pouting again.  This is my shocked face ()
Brees 34/49 465 41 Ingram 16/51 Cooks 7c 173y TD
Newton 27/47 322 21 Stewart 19/85 2TDs Olsen 6c 94y
BA23 NG27Odell Beckham Jr. turned a short fourth-and-1 pass into a winning 66y catch and run with 1:24 to play
3-3    3-3Manning threw 3 TDs but 2 picks Flacco did not have a TD pass.
Manning 32/46 403 32 Jennings 9/15 Beckham 8c 222 2TDs
Flacco 26/48 307 00 West 23/87 2TDs Wallace 4c 97y
PH20 WA27RB Jones & Kelley ran all over PH D But PH got a kick return TD and a pick 6.
3-2     4-2The WA D only let PH into the red zone 1 time.  The D was the difference,
WA C ousins 18/34 263 21 Jones 16/135 td Kelly 5/59 Garcon 6c 77y
PH Wentz 11/22 179 00 R Mathews 9/60 J Matthews 3c 75y
KC26 OK10The OK D got runover by KC RB Spencer Ware & Charles
3-2    4-2The win keeps KC in the AFC West hunt for a Div title.
KC Smith 19/22 224 00 Ware 24/131 TD Charles 9/33 TD
OK Carr 22/34 225 11 Washington 10/49 Cooper 10c 129
DA30 GB15GB D was 10th vs the run but DA RB Elliot took care of that.
5-1  3-2GB WRS were not getting separation & GB struggled to get the ball in the endzone.
DA Prescott 18/27 247 31 Elliot 28/157 Williams 4c 75y
GB Rodgers 31/42 294 11 Lacy 17/65 Montgomery 10c 98y
There is a fine line between Throwback uni’s & ThrowUp Uni’s
Should DA start Romo when he is healthy or roll with Prescott?
AT24 SE26Wilson got his 21st comeback win by leading SE to 10pts in the 4th Q
4-2      4-1SE D gave up a lot of yards to Ryan but got 2 TurnOvers to help secure the win.
SE got a homer call on what should have been Pass Interference on a 4th down play that saved the game.
Wilson 25/37 270 00 Michael 18/63 2TDs Graham 6c 89y
Ryan 27/42 335y 31 Freeman 12/40 Jones 7c 139 TD
IN23 HO26Osweiler couldn’t hit a barn door if his nose was pressed up against it. In 4thQ he got more accurate
2-4     4-2Luck built a 13-0 lead but IN lack of D couldn’t hold it.
OTOsweiler 25/39 269 21 Allen 24/149 TD Hopkins 9c 71y
Luck 21/32 252 11 & rush TD Gore 22/106  C Rogers 4c 63 Doyle 4c 53y TD
NJ AZ-7.5Palmer is expected to start. But can the AZ O line protect him vs a very good D front 7 of NJ?
1-4   2-3The run game of AZ (7th) vs Run D of NJ (1st)
NJ pass game (18th) vs Pass D of AZ (3rd)
Both teams are despirate for a win.
CL26 TN28TN made sure everybody knew how over rated the CL run game was.
0-6       3-3TN ran all over the CL D.
CL did have 2 drives in the 4th Q but the 2 point conversion failed and CL has its worst start since 99
3rd 1 2nd drive @tn 13 O line moved 5 yards back by TN.
CL has no D, NO ST and very little O.
This is the most pathetic CL team since 99.
“The Cleveland Tans, a pail copy of the Great Browns teams of old.
TN Mariota 17/24 284 31 Murray 21/65 TD Mariota 7/64 Wright 8c 133 TD
Kessler 26/41 336 20 Johnson 4/18 TD Cromwell 9/16 Pryor 9c 75y 2TDs

What to look for in the Saturday Divisional round games.

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Cards @ Saints

Cards QB Warner had just another day at the office. Against one of the most improved Ds in the league he went 29-33 for 379 yards and 5 TDs without a pick. The Pack had no answer for Warner. They blitzed him and he picked man to man coverage apart. They rushed 3 and kept 8 in coverage and he found holes in the zones. The O line protected Warner for the most part and sub WRs did well to make up for the loss of WR Bolden.

On D, the Cards and the Pack allowed the score board to look like the something out of Pinball Wizard. Neither D could put consistent pressure on the others QB. The Pack was so focused on Warner that they allowed RB Wells 6.5 yards per attempt. They were lucky that their O was putting up so many points or Wells would have had more than his 14 carries. If the Cards are going to have any chance to stage the upset the D is going to have to play like they did last year in the playoff run to the Super Bowl. The passing game of the Saints is equally lethal. The Cards are 23rd in pass D. The D may be missing DE Campbell, LBs Davis and Hayes. If they can’t go the D will be in even more trouble. Get your popcorn ready, this could be a wild offensive show.


The Saint’s D coordinator Williams isn’t sleeping too well this week. He has nightmares of Card WRs running wide open through his D backfield. The Saints D had played much better this year than last but it has had a tough time against high percentage passing attack. The good news is that CB Jenkins is hampered by a hamstring but is expected to play. The bad news is that Boldin is optimistic about playing as well. The Saints are ranked 26th in pass D. The key to the game for the Saints D will be their ability to pressure Warner better than the Pack did.

The Saints O is outstanding. They are 1st in both yards and points, 4th in passing and 6th in rushing. The team stumbled into the playoffs with 3 straight losses. The O is going to have to play like they did early in the season and not in the last 3 games. They scored only 44 points in those losses. The 23-10 loss to the Panthers could have been explained by the team resting a lot of the key players but not the losses to the Boys and the Bucs. The problem was not rushing. They ran for 124 against the Bucs. The problem was not turnovers or completion percentage. The Saints may get RB Thomas back. That will help them get a running game going again.

The problem was they could not get the ball into the endzone. The game will depend on the Saints finding their scoring punch again. If they are forced to kick field goals to score, they will lose.

Both teams have a questionable D. But the Saints are struggling on O and the Cards are hotter than the sun. I will go out on a limb and pick the Cards in a huge upset.

Ravens @ Colts


The Birds did a great job pressuring the Pats D with the running game. The O scored 33 points but got a lot of help from the Pats. They won’t get that kind of help from the Colts.

The O is going to have to get more out of the passing game. They won 3 of their last 4 games but those wins were against the dregs of the NFL. Against a team that scores like the Colts, 4-10 for 34 yards and a pick will not get it done. QB Flacco has not stepped up to the challenge like most expected him to do. The O line isn’t the problem, accuracy and lack of game breaking receivers are the critical issues. The coaching staff doesn’t trust Flacco to win games for them and they shouldn’t. He has crumbled in big games like against the Steelers. The running game is solid but won’t score often enough to keep the Ravs in the game. They will have to depend on the passing game and it will let them down.

The weakest part of the Ravs D is the pass defense. They are 5th against the run and 8th against the pass. They depend on pressure on the QB to control the pass. They won’t be able to get enough pressure on Manning to stop the Colts passing game.


The Colt O is devastating but it is one dimensional. They are #2 in passing but dead last in the running game. They are going to have to run the ball a little to keep the chains moving. The one advantage they have is that they can play catchup really well. Manning is playing at a very high level. The team lost 2 games but in both cases Manning and company were pulled early.

The Colt D has played great in some games and lousy in others. They rank 24th against the run and will get a lot of practice stopping it against the Ravs. The key injuries on D are all probable. That should help as the D has suffered a lot of injuries during the season. The rest the wounded got will help them.

The key to stopping the running game has been S Sanders but he is on IR again. The Colts’ D will struggle stopping the run but will get the win due to their O.

Saturday I will discuss the Sunday games.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over.  Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at  Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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The Ravens will be different but will they be better?

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There is no question that the window for the Ravens to win another Super Bowl is closing. The D is getting older and there are still questions on O. The Ravens will be different but there is serious doubt that they will be better or worse than in 08.

The D will be a little younger. The Ravens jettisoned their expensive and injury prone pro bowl CB Chris McAlister and brought in FA Domonique Foxworth. He had better work out because they are spending 27 million for the next 4 years with over 16 mil guaranteed. The other corner will be ex Raider Fabian Washington. Samari Rolle who was a starter came back on a backup contract and will be the key replacement. FS Ed Reed is older than dirt but played at a high level last year. He had better be just as good this season. The SS spot is up in the air. The Ravens have their fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed that Dawan Landry can come back after missing all but 2 games from a neck injury last year. There isn’t much behind him so he had better get well soon.

The linebacking will get new look as well. Tavares Gooden replaces Bart Scott inside next to Ray Lewis. He needs to be more physical than he has shown up to now. Lewis is older than rock but got it done last year. He is on the down side of a Hall of Fame career. Jarret Johnson is unknown but has started for 2 years and is getting better with every game. Terrell Suggs wanted to be paid like a DE but got top OB money—63 mil over 6 years. The Ravens hope he plays with as much abandon as he did in his contract year.

On offense, TE Todd Heap will get a heap of passes thrown his way. The WR situation went from critical to life support when their only consistent receiver Derrick Mason announced his retirement. If he doesn’t come back, they are going to have to find another starting quality WR. Mark Clayton starts on the other side but has caught over 50 passes only once in the last 4 years.

Joe Flacco has developed nicely. He will yield to Troy Smith for more wild cat type O than they used last year. The RB will be by committee. Last year starter Willis McGahee and the versatile Ray Rice will split carries. Rice may start over McGahee who is coming back from injury again.

The O line is physical and nasty. All pro FA Matt Birk takes over at C and gives the team real leadership. The left side is solid with LT Jared Gaither and LG Ben Grubbs. Both are young and talented. They will only get better. The right side is a question mark. Rookie Michael Oher and vet Adam Terry will battle for the RT spot. Oher should win. They hope that RG Marshal Yanda has recovered from his knee injury. If not, that will be a trouble spot for the Ravens.

Overall—The Ravens have enough to be a playoff team but unless they get all the right answers from those coming back from injury and find a solution to the WR spot, they will be second again looking over their shoulder at the Bengals coming on hard from behind.

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 is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Are teams better off with first time coaches?

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Fryingpan Sports

Are teams better off with first time coaches

By Bill Smith

Up until a couple of years ago, NFL owners that were in need of a coach overwhelmingly chose older guys with previous head coaching experience. Then in 2007 things seemed to change. First time HCs seemed to be in vogue.

Mike Smith was the defensive coordinator of the Jaguars from 2003-07. He was not exactly a young first time HC but a first time HC none the less. He was 47 when he was selected as head coach for the Atlanta Falcons. In his first year he led the team which had been 4-12 to the playoffs in 08 and a 11-5 record. He and rookie QB Matt Ryan also helped erase the stain that Mike Vick had caused to the franchise.

In January of 2008, the 1-15 Miami Dolphins hired Tony Sparano as head coach. He had coached the O line for the Cowboys and had 3 years as assistant head coach. He led one of the most inept teams in NFL history to 11-5 and the AFC East championship. Sparano had help. Bill Parcells joined the team as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Miami Dolphins and helped transform the roster.

Also in January 2008, John Harbaugh, another first time coach was hired in Baltimore. His background was 9 years as special teams coach and one season as secondary coach for the Eagles. He inherited a winning team that fallen to 5-11 in 07 from a 13-3 record in 06. When the starting and back up went down QB, Harbaugh turned to a rookie 1st round choice Joe Flacco. The two led the Ravens to 11-5 record and a wild card spot in the playoffs.

On Jan. 14, 2007 Ken Whisenhunt was hired as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. In 2006 the team had been 5-11 and last in the weak NFC West. In 08 he got the team to 8-8 and second place behind the Seahawks. In 2008 he led the team to 9-7, a NFC West championship and 2 playoff wins. He had been the offensive coordinator of the Steelers for 3 years.

These 4 have had significant success in most cases with a less than quality team. However, two things must be mentioned. First, the record of this group of first time head coaches is not the norm. In total, first year HCs have had a pretty lack luster history. Second, while quick success is nice, will it last? All NFL coaches will be fired at some point. Even those in the Hall of Fame like Paul Brown have been sent packing at some point.

The newest round of hirings of head coaches include both first time HCs and retreads. The Browns hired Eric Mangini who had been fired by the Jets a few days before. My crystal ball tells me that Mangini will do OK and OK will be a great improvement over Romeo Crennel who had no head coaching experience before taking the Browns even further down the tubes. But there are a number of retread coaches with HC experience that are looking for work. Those names include Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, and Brian Billick all of whom have won Super Bowls. But these 4 teams decided to go the rookie HC route.

t Tampa Bay picked Raheem Morris yesterday one day after firing Jon Gruden. Morris who is 32 was discussed yesterday morning on this site. My guess is that Tampa will struggle. Morris had just been selected to be D coordinator and went to get a hair cut for his news conference. When he arrived back at 1 Buccaneer Place, he was the head coach. The Glazer’s said in a press conference that one of the primary reason they selected Morris was that he could relate to the players. That is not the question. The real issue is does he have enough experience to get the respect of the players. Players can tell in the first 10 minutes of the first practice if a coach knows his stuff or not. If Morris isn’t up to the job, the veteran team will eat him alive whether they like him or not. I think Tampa fans are in for a disappointment.

T1 The St. Louis Rams hired Giants DC Steve Spagnuolo as their first time HC. Reportedly, Rex Ryan DC of the Ravens was the teams first choice but owner Chip Rosenbloom decided not to wait for Baltimore to be eliminated from the playoffs. Rosenbloom was also worried that Ryan might opt for the Jets job over that of the Lambs. Spags deserved a lot of credit for the victory of the Giants over the Pats in the Super Bowl. But Spags has only one year of DC experience. Prior to that he had spent 8 years as a defensive position coach with the Eagles. Again I am not convinced he can turn the 2-14 St. Louis Lambs around. While Spags was the top candidate for several jobs, he just doesn’t have the depth of experience to get the most out of a team in desperate need of rebuilding.

t2 Perhaps the best bet to keep his job for more than 4 years is the new head coach of the Lions, Jim Schwartz the Titans defensive coordinator. Schwartz can only hope that the Ford family will give him as many chances as they did for Matt “watch me mess up a franchise” Millen the former GM. Schwartz takes over a team that was historically horrible. It was the only team in NFL history to go 0-16 in a regular season. The biggest problem Schwartz has is the lack of talent both on the field and in the upper management positions of the team. The new executive leadership of the Lions is now in the hands of Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew. Mayhew was the former assistant GM and Lewand was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer February 1, 2003. His duties included football administration and player development. In the last 5 season, there has been very little of either. Both of these guys were there while Millen was allowed to run a muck with the roster. That is not a good sign for all 26 Lions fans. Neither of these guys seemed to have enough guts or power to convince the Fords to dump Millen years ago. Millen’s Lions produced the worst 8 year record in NFL history. Those long term problems are not going to be solved by those that were accessories to the carnage. Schwartz has an excellent reputation around the NFL. He was DC with Tennessee for 6 years leading the team to a top 10 finish statistically in almost all those seasons. The Titan defense ended up second in scoring D this season. Defense will be an entirely new concept in Detroit. They haven’t had one in years.

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t3 The Broncos replaced Mike Shanahan with Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels had been the Pats OC for only 2 seasons. McDaniels helped fine tune the Pats 07 offense into the highest scoring teams in NFL history. I am sure that having Tom Brady as your QB and Randy Moss and Wes Welker at WR really helped. However, he did have a direct effect on Matt Cassel’s success this season. Of the newbies, I think McDaniels might have the best chance. Unlike when Mangini was hired by the Jets, Bill Belichick gave McDaniels a glowing public reference and wished him the best. However, I am sure that does not include games against the Pats. I expect McDaniels to be fairly successful. However, the Broncos are going to have to get a lot better on defense and more consistent play from their offense to get back to the playoffs.

There are a lot of factors in turning a bad team around. One of the most important is getting the maximum performance out of the talent a coach has. Only time will tell whether the teams that hired first time HC made the right decision. If I am wrong, I will let you know. If they are wrong, it will set their franchises back years.

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 is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

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