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 AFC Conference championship game.

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Tomorrow: The NFC Conference championship game.

Jets @ Colts


The Jets are the only surprise in the playoffs. They were not even supposed to make the post season but here they are after upsets of the Bengals and Chargers. The O depends on the run WAY too much and that could be the downfall of the Jets. RB Thomas did not practice on Thursday but the absence was not injury related. They can not hope to win without a huge game from him.

The game plan of the Jets will be run the ball and hope to keep the Colts O off the field. The Colts are vulnerable to the run. But the Jets will face 46 guys in the box if they cannot pass for more than 100 yards against the Colts.

QB Sanchez has not been asked to do much passing the ball. In both games the Jets have been ahead. They will get behind against the Colts and it will be up to Sanchez to pass them to catch up. There is a great deal of doubt he can do that. The media has made a lot about rookie Sanchez winning his first 2 playoff games. He has not won them. Rather, he has not lost them for the Jets.

The Jets O line did a very solid job protecting the QB giving up just 1 sack in 2 games. More significant, C Mangold was able to handle the NT of the Chargers letting the Gs get to the second level to block for the run. He should be able to do the same against the 4-3 of the Colts.

The D of the Jets has been outstanding. It continued to stifle the opponents offense ability to pass and run. They have gotten 5 sacks in the two playoff games but have consistently put pressure on the opponent QBs. There is “but” coming however. The team has played 2 offenses that have been down in the last few games. The Bengals couldn’t score more than 24 points in any of their final 5 regular season games. Palmer looked old and was inaccurate and RB Benson was hurt and not nearly at 100%. The Chargers had only 1 good offensive effort against the wounded Titans in their last 5.

The key to the Jets D will be putting heat on QB Manning. They can disregard the run because the Colts are last in that category in the league. They also need to find a way to cover the receivers for an extended period of time. Otherwise Manning will pick the pass D apart.


For the Colts, its Manning, Manning and Manning. They have not been able to run the ball all year and will not be able to run against the Jets. The passing game should be helped by the return of WR Wayne. He had a full practice Thursday. They will need all their weapons in the passing game to compete. If they could find a way to run just a little, it could make a huge difference in the amount of pass rush the Jets can generate.

The D is hobbled by injury. They are looking for any help they can get particularly in the D backfield. They have signed S Darrick Brown (Saints) and have looked at FA CB Deltha O’Neal (Texans) due to injuries. S Sanders is on IR and S Bethea was limited in practice due to injuries. Reserve CB Powers will likely not play due to a foot injury. Bethea is critical because with the loss of Sanders, he is a key run defender.

The bottom line: I don’t think that Sanchez can take advantage of the injuries in the pas D of the Colts. The Colts can score a lot faster than the Jets. I will take the Colts to win but probably under the total points projected by Los Vegas.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Playoffs,NFL Football,Playoffs,point spreads,Colts,Jets,Bengals,Chargers,Manning,Sanchez,Thomas,Sanders

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Football,nfl playoffs,divisional round,Super Bowl,Cardinals,Saints,Warner,Ravens,Colts,Manning,Flacco,

Giant Boot Camp 09 takes a toll on the players

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Giant head coach Tom Coughlin is infamous for running a tight ship and a physical training camp. This year seems to be a little tougher than most. No fewer than 16 players are nursing early camp injuries of various severity. CB Corey Webster (hip), CB Aaron Ross (leg), WR Steven Smith (knee), WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), DT Chris Canty (hamstring), OL Guy Whimper (toe), OT Cliff Louis (ankle), OT Kevin Boothe (pectoral) and DE Maurice Evans (hip) DT Fred Robbins (knee) and DE Justin Tuck (foot) OG Chris Snee (leg) C Shaun O’Hara (triceps) OG Rich Seubert (shoulder) WR David Tyree (knee) and DT Anthony Bryant (undisclosed) all have missed time at the camp. There are more people lined up at the trainer’s room than customers waiting to dump their rides in on Cash for Clunkers program. Even so, don’t look for the pace or intensity of the camp to change. That would not be consistent with Coughlin’s personality.

QB Eli Manning has his new deal. Now all he needs is a couple of dependable receivers. Manning is the offensive leader of the team but has struggled in the playoffs. His production fell off a cliff last year without Plaxico Burris. His second WR Amani Toomer was allowed to leave in free agency. Manning has to get a new best friend target he can depend on. That won’t be easy given the group of candidates. I would not pick Manning for my Fantasy Football team.

The Giants plan to have Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon as starters. Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss and David Tyree provide the only experienced backups available. The starters have not impressed during OTAs and so far in camp. Tyree has a knee problem and may well not survive the final cut. Manningham and Moss show promise but Manningham had consistency problems at Michigan. The best hope for the team may be rookies Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden. The problem is that generally a WR doesn’t blossom in the NFL until his second or third year. Manning still has TE Kevin Boss who is a dependable pair of hands.

The running game is solid but lost a key component when backup Derrick Ward (1.025 yards in 08) was allowed to leave in free agency. RB Brandon Jacobs (4th round 05) was one of the all time great steals in the draft. He is a beast and even DTs don’t want to tackle him when he has a full head of steam. Anything that big that moves that fast should have the words “US Air Force” on the side. His only problem is that he runs upright and is subject to injury. His primary backup now is the speedy Ahmad Bradshaw. The question is can Bradshaw run inside like Ward did? Andre Ware and rookie RB Andre Brown provide further depth.

The O line has been one of the great strengths of the team. The lineup has been the same for 2 years and the combination of LT David Diehl, LG Rich Seubert, C Shaun O’Hara, RG Chris Snee and RT Kareem McKenzie provide protection for Manning and the push the runners need. Rookie LT Will Beatty has real potential but needs to get stronger. He may move into LT in 2010 and allow Diehl to move back to G. The bench is solid with T Guy Whimper, T Andrew Carnahan, and G Tutan Reyes being the prime candidates.

New defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has a toy box full of goodies with which to play. The D line has LE Justin Tuck, LT Barry Cofield, RT Fred Robbins and RE Osi Umenyiora coming off of knee surgery that cost him all of 08. Assuming Osi is healthy, there isn’t a better group in the league. They also have great depth of DE Mathias Kiwanuka, DE/DT Chris Canty, DT Rocky Bernard and DT Jay Alford. Canty and Kiwanuka would start for a lot of NFL teams.

Injuries and changes make the LB group a little less solid. MLB Antonio Pierce is the leader. SLB Danny Clark is smart but not a great playmaker. He is a journeyman. WLB Michael Boley was signed to play that position but was injured. Last year 4th round pick Bryan Kehl stepped in and hasn’t given the spot back yet. 2nd round pick in 09 SLB Clint Sintim will challenge Clark and Boley and Gerris Wilkinson will try to unseat Kehl.

The starting group of LCB Aaron Ross, RCB Corey Webster, FS Michael Johnson and SS Kenny Phillips is as good as any in the league. Ross and Webster are playing at a pro bowl level. 08 first round pick Phillips stepped in to the SS spot and solidified it. CB Kevin Dockery, CB Bruce Johnson and CB Travonti Johnson provide strength at CB but there is not much at safety.

OVERALL: The Giants will be a force again in the playoffs if they survive Camp Coughlin. The NFC is wide open and the Giants will go just as far as Manning and the receiving corps takes them. My expectation is that they will make the NFC Championship game but home field and the success of Manning et. al. will determine if they make it to the Super Bowl.

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Coughlin,Giants,Manning,Toomer,Burris,Hixon,Manningham,Snee,Bradshaw,McKenzie,Beatty,Reyes,Jacobs,O’Hara,Seubert,Fantasy Football,Kiwanuka,Umenyiora,Tuck,Webster,Ross,Johnson,Phillips
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  • Published: May 15th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Two names you may not recognize are the biggest losses the Colts have suffered this offseason.

Two names you may not recognize are the biggest losses the Colts have suffered this offseason.

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Howard Mudd

OLine coach Howard Mudd and O Coordinator Tom Moore have retired. While neither has told the press why they picked this time to retire, the cause may be the change in the retirement program discussed a few weeks ago in this column.

Mudd is the best OLine coach in the league. He has been responsible for more new concepts in pass protection and run blocking than the rest of the league combined. The way you can see how talented a line coach is shows best as he incorporates new players. In the Mudd era the Colts have reworked the line several times. In just the last couple of seasons, Mudd has been able to replace all pro players at LT and guard with very little change in productivity of the O. Two seasons ago, Mudd had to bring rookie Tony Ugoh in to play LT. I thought that it would hurt QB Payton Manning’s numbers but Ugoh fit in perfectly and the Colts moved on like nothing had changed. When perenial all pro C Jeff Saturday went down with an injury, Mudd filled the spot of his O line signal caller with

In 08, starting RG FA Jake Scott signed with the Titans. Charlie Johnson was expected to fill in for Scott but when LG Ryan Lilja was unable to go with a knee, Johnson had to move to LG. Again Mudd plugged in a rookie at RG, Mike Pollak a converted C, with no fall in productivity. Mudd who is 67 had 35 years of coaching experience that followed an all pro career as a player.

Moore, 70, has created one of the consistently best and most innovative offenses in league history. He has molded the O to take maximum advantage of all the abilities that QB Manning brings to the team. The thing that continues to confound D coordinators around the league is that is always changing. When the running game is not working, Moore finds ways to get the RBs into the game as pass receivers. No matter what happens or who is injured, Moore has found a way to produce enough to outscore an opponent.

That is a problem that the new OC will have to overcome as well. While the Colts O has been among the top in the league, the D has been very inconsistent. When all pro SS Bob Sanders is not in the lineup, the D gives up a lot of points. Moore has been able to adjust the play calling and O game plan to overcome those D deficiencies. His 30+ years of coaching experience will be missed by the Colts.

New Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell will have very big holes on his coaching staff to fill. It would be hard enough for an experienced HC to replace the O coordinator and OL coach, but it will be twice as hard for Caldwell in his first year as HC. But the Colts are the Colts. That means that they will find a way. When you have a guy like Payton Manning under center, the job becomes a lot easier.

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 .

Technorati Tags: Mudd,Moore,Colts,NFL Football,Manning

Has Kurt Warner already punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame?

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Fryingpan Sports

Has Kurt Warner already punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame?


By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: Warner, Super Bowl, Cardinals, Giants, NFL, NFL DRAFT, Rams, Leinart, Manning, NFC, AFC, MVP, Whisenhunt, Green, Vermeil, Martz

Kurt Warner will be only the third QB in the history of the NFL to go to the Super Bowl with 2 different teams. But unlike Craig Morton (1970 Dallas & 1977 Denver when he had a passer rating of 0.0 in the Super Bowl vs. Dallas) or Earl Morrall (1968 Baltimore & 1972 Miami who was benched for a recovered Bob Griese) Kurt carried the entire franchise on his back all the way to Tampa Bay. Most of you probably know that.

Warner has also ranked right at the top since 2003 in NFL history for all time quarterback rating. He was #1 after the 2003 season, and is now #3 (as of the end of 07). Most of the other guys below him on that list are already in the Hall. But you probably never thought about the two teams that Kurt took to the Super Bowl.

1999 St. Louis Lambs—The lambs were perhaps the most dysfunctional team in the league. Head coach Dick Vermeil almost walked away for the second time in his career after the 1998 4-12 season. The Rosenblooms were about ready to fire the entire staff at the end of the 1998 season but decided to give them one more chance. The Lambs had so much faith in Kurt Warner that they put him on the expansion draft list for the Browns. The Browns could have selected him as a vet allocation player. Had they selected Warner, the fortunes of both teams would have been totally different.

Then in a preseason game, starting QB Trent Green went down with a season ending injury. Vermeil looked around and the only one standing there ready to take the ball—Kurt Warner. All Kurt did was carry the team with the able assistance of another newcomer to the Lambs Marshall Faulk to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl. Kurt won the 1999 league MVP and the Super Bowl MVP. Vermeil quit on top and the offensive coordinator Mike Martz took over as head coach. The Lambs were officially the Rams again and being called the Greatest show on Turf.

Over the next two seasons, the Rams went 24-8 and were in the NFC championship game both years and the Super Bowl once. In the 2001 season, Kurt again won the league MVP but the Rams lost the Super Bowl to the Pats on a field goal in the last seconds of the game.

There were differences between the Vermeil and Martz systems. The biggest one is that Martz didn’t believe in keeping a TE or RB in to help protect the QB. Add that to the rotation of what were at best average O-linemen because of injury and the QBs got hit often and hard.

In 2002, the all pro left tackle Orlando Pace went down along with a couple of other members of the O line. Warner suffered a broken hand in the 6th game of the season. Bulger took over as the starter. In 02 the Rams went 7-9 and in 03 with Bulger at the helm they went 12-4 but didn’t make the Super Bowl. Since then the Rams have become the Lambs again and have regrown their wool. They have been sheared regularly by every team in the NFL. After the beating that Kurt took in the Martz system, he was never able to get healthy again at St. Louis.

In 2004 Warner was released and signed with the Giants. He tutored rookie Eli Manning and helped turn the other Manning into a future Super Bowl QB. In 2005 Warner went to Arizona again to be the tutor and mentor to a rookie QB Matt Leinart. In both cases, the organization had to put the first round rookies in even though Warner was the better QB. They had not only used high first round choices on them, the teams’ GMs had spent millions of dollars to sign them. But in 05 at Arizona, Warner started 10 games because Leinart wasn’t ready to start. In 06 Kurt started the season but the coaching staff was feeling the heat over the Leinart draft and head coach Dennis Green put the youngster in at Atlanta in game 5 then let him start at home against the Chiefs in game 6. He struggled and was only able to produce a QB rating of 74 in 10 games that season. Also being as fragile as fine china, he went down again in game 15 and was replaced by Warner.

In 07 Ken Whisenhunt became the head coach replacing Green. Whisenhunt was not wedded to the Leinart pick but did start him in game 1. Warner came in as a relief pitcher in games 3-5 and won two of them. Again, Leinart went down and Warner came to the rescue. Kurt played very well in 07 despite suffering a major injury to his left (non-throwing) arm due to poor pass protection but still had a passer rating of 89.8.

In 08, Whisenhunt named Leinart the starter but promised to have an open competition. Kurt won the competition and had another MVP type season and was a favorite until the Cards hit a rough patch late in the regular season. But in the playoffs, Kurt was back at the very top of his game. Despite very questionable pass protection, almost no running game, and a very up and down defense, Kurt led the Cards to the Super Bowl. In the game against the Eagles for the NFC championship, he had a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

In my opinion, even if he can not reproduce the 1999 Rams magic and win the 09 Super Bowl, Kurt has done enough to earn election to the NFL Hall of Fame. He has done more with less than most of those QBs already there.

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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