Notes on Week 3 Preseason games

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


To see more comments on the games check out my article on NFL News, Notes and Rumors on


The Bengals have been unable to score TDs. The 1st O has scored just 2 TDs in 10 possessions coming into the game. The team struggled in the red zone in the first 2 games. What they needed was a game against the Bills. 2 1st team possessions resulted in 2 TDs. When the 1st team O left the game, they led 14-7. QB Palmer needs to play a little better than he did late in the 09 season. The biggest single addition to the team last year was RB Benson. After being a bust with the Bears, he showed he could be the guy in an NFL offense. He has to be the guy because there is no significant experience behind him. The O addition this year is WR Owens. The passing game suffered last year due to the lack of threat opposite Ochocinco. They signed WR Bryant but cut him. Rookie TE Gresham should also be a major help. He is a good late round pick in Fantasy football.

If the Bengals are depending on Smith to play RT, they will be disappointed. He was a bad pick and will be a bust.

The Bengal D played very well last year. It was one of the big reasons that the team swept the AFC North and made the playoffs. It didn’t look like a playoff D against a below average Buffalo O. DE Odom looks like is most of the way back from his ruptured Achilles last year. DT Tank Johnson finally gets the game and will be a force. Even so, the D allowed 3 first half TDs by the Bills. The D backfield allowed QB Edwards to complete passes to convert 3rd and long way too often. That has to change if the Bengals expect to get to the playoffs again this year.

The Bills O looked good against a playoff D. RB Spiller was caught a couple of times in big losses because he though he could outrun the D. He has to realize this isn’t Clemson any longer. The 250 pound LBs understand angles and are nearly as fast as he is. He also tends to dance behind the line. Those issues have to be worked out because he is the back of the future for the team. QB Edwards has Spiller and WR Evens but very little else to throw to.

The Bill D is going to be a work in progress. They are changing to a 3-4 and at times it looks good but there are a lot of missed assignments and will for a while. DE Stroud will help keep the team in line but even he is changing position from a 4-3 DT. The LBs are a weakness of the D. MLB Posluszny is the only real player in that group. The backfield is the heart of the D. Given any kind of pressure by the front 7, it still should perform well.


The Giants 1st team O has been very ineffective. It has scored only 1 TD in 3 preseason games (game 1 against the Jets). The O has been 3 and out a lot. The injury to QB Manning and backup Sorgi were factors but it goes a lot deeper than than. The WRs have all been hurt during the preseason. Even when they were on the field, the accuracy was inconsistent as was the protection.

The running game has been hurt by the failure of the O line to open holes. While the RBs are mostly healthy, the projected starting O line has yet to play together because of injuries. If and when the players get back, it is not clear that this team will have enough offense to make the playoffs.

The Giant D has played better than the O but still has issues. The Giants D needs to improve at red zone D. They allowed TDs in 67% of the opponent trips last year. Rolle and a recovered Phillips at S should help cut that figure down. Admittedly, the preseason schedule has been tough, but the Giants don’t look anything like a contender.

The Ravens look ready for the regular-season except for the O line. Flacco is accurate and the new hurry up O was very effective against NY. Flacco has a very quick release and his touch has gotten better. He has never had a WR like Bolden to throw to. TE Heap will still be a good target in the red zone.

It doesn’t seem to matter who the RB is, he makes yards. While teams have in the past been able to play the run first, that will not work against these Ravens. Forcing the D to be balanced has helped the running game.

The D is even more aggressive that it has been in previous years. The ILB combination of McClain and Lewis is outstanding. The one issue is the injuries in the D Backfield. CB Carr replaced Foxworth and FS Zbikowski was filling in for Reed. Reed is expected to be ready to play early in the 2010 season. The team has had too many personal foul penalties but that should be fixed.


This game for the Cards was a tale of the QBs. ExBrown Anderson started with former starter Leinart coming in late in the 2nd. Both generated a TD and looked OK but each has issues. Anderson has the cannon arm but lacks touch and consistent accuracy. Leinart has lost the confidence of his team after having the position handed to him 3 time and failing to hold onto it. They miss Warner. They even miss Josh McCown. Leinart is in his last year with the team unless he significantly improves his stats.

The O line is an issue as well. The team totally reshuffled the O line this year. LT Brown played RT last year but can he be quick enough to pass block against speed rushers? Probably not. RT Keith has never started a NFL regular-season game. They brought in UFA Faneca but he is not close to the pro bowl player he was a couple of years ago.

The WRs are missing Boldin but have Fitzgerald and a bunch of young guys. Rookie Williams looks very solid but will make rookie mistakes. Breaston and Doucet are both good if the later can stay healthy.

The Card D has lost a lot of players including pro bowl LB Dansby. The D line looks good and the team has put pressure on the QB regularly. The LBs are just OK with Porter leading the group. The DBs star is SS Wilson and CB Rodgers-Cromartie is a future star. But the team will miss S Rolle.

The Bears prime offensive issues are QB, RB, OL, and WRs. That is almost all the O. QB Cutler has an interception problem but it is not all his fault. The key part of a comeback route is coming back. When WR Knox did not come back, a Card DB did and picked off the pass. While Cutler doesn’t have a group of experienced quality WRs, some of the fault is his. He does not have great vision and will not see the LB underneath the coverage or the safety coming over the top. He also tend to trust his strong arm more than he should and tries to stick a pass in between 2 DBs. He needs to develop better pocket awareness as well.

RB Forte is not the guy he was in his rookie season. He seems to have lost a couple of steps and is not as aggressive hitting the hole. Former Vike RB Taylor was brought in to challenge him. So far neither of them are doing much but Taylor looks better. Part of that lack of production is the O line. 2nd year LT Williams has looked very beatable at times in pass coverage but is a little better in the run. RT Omiyale played G last year and was benched for part of the season. C Kreutz is 2 years beyond his pro bowl level of performance.

The WR problem is youth. Hester is not a natural WR and has struggled to become a precise route runner. Knox is young and will make some spectacular catches then have a brain cramp like the one described above. Bennett is the most reliable WR but is nothing special.

The Bear D will be better with the addition of DE Peppers and MLB Urlacher coming back from his year long injury. The key will be how much pressure the D line can put on QBs. The team has solid backups in the front 7 but the safety position is up in the air. They have 4 Ss but everyone has been benched for lack of production.


SF QB Smith has to get it done this year. He is in the last year of his rookie 1st overall pick contract. He had his best year last season but a QB rating of 82. That is not good enough to help this team win. They are not talented enough to win with a below average QB. If he does not improve, former Texan 1st pick Carr might be the answer. RB Gore is outstanding but has suffered from a lack of a passing threat. The O line is banged up and is not that solid if healthy.

WRs Crabtree, Morgan and newcomer Ginn all have talent but all need to give their QB more help catching the ball. Crabtree was set back by a long holdout and some minor injuries last year. They need him to be a #1 guy. Ginn looks like a new man after a disappointing start to his career in Miami.

The 49er D was very solid last year. NT Franklin had his first good year last year and held out. He has signed a deal and will be ready for the regular-season. The only star is ILB Willis. CB Clements is paid like a star but has yet to play like it in SF.

OK QB Campbell is a GREAT improvement. He has better vision and accuracy. He also has the big arm that Al Davis loves. He has given Raider Nation some hope. However, he was hurt in the 2nd quarter of this game. He was not hurt badly and was throwing at practice Monday.

Davis might interfere in naming the starting RB. He prefers the former 1st round swift McFadden but RB Bush is the best overall back. Bush, a 4th round pick due to a bad injury in his senior year, is bigger, a better inside runner and picks up blitzes better. McFadden is fast and is a good receiver but has not been able to stay healthy.

DE Houston, DT Kelly and OB Wimbley are providing a good pass rush. When the regular-season opens, DE Seymour will join the group. Rookie Houston will be a pass rush specialist but will challenge LE Matt Shaughnessy for the starting spot. Wimbley has found new life with the Raiders and had 4 sacks last week in the first half.

The run D has been the weakest area and Gore blew up the gut for a TD early in the game. But the run D got better as the game went on. MLB McClain is a potential star. The D backfield is good but CB Asomugha is the only star. FS Huff may have saved his career last year with a good season but has to continue to improve his ability to cover deep.


Reguardless of which QB starts the season, the Steelers will really struggle on O. With Roethlisberger suspended for at least the first 4 games, neither potential replacement looks like they can keep the team competitive until he gets back. QB Dixon has the ability to move. The problems that they have on the O line makes that a valuable asset. But Dixon is easily fooled by coverages and that leads to turnovers. The other option is Leftwich who is a statue behind C. In his short stint, Roethlisberger looked sharp.

The O line problems continued in Denver. RT Adams had more illegal procedure penalties than good blocks in pass protection and is too old and too slow to block speed rushers. The C position is also in question with rookie Pouncey replacing Hartwig in this game and possibly to start the season. The best O lineman LT Colon is out for the year. RT Stark has gone to LT to replace him. The running game was better last year than in 08 but will depend a lot on the blocking of the O line. While RB Mendenhall is the main guy rookie Dwyer could be the wild card.

The D is starting to crumble. Personal foul penalties that come from frustration have been more frequent this preseason. It is beginning to show its age. Even the return of FS Polamalu doesn’t seem to help. While the team still makes some spectacular plays, it struggles to get off the field on 3rd down.

DV is offensively challenged. The running game will be a big question mark. It will be RB by committee but they don’t have any franchise backs. They would love to see RB Moreno be the guy but he has yet to prove he can handle the job. He has been out much of the preseason with injuries. The team signed RB White who was cut by his college coach in Seattle. Buckhalter is above-average at almost everything but has been injury prone. If the team can’t pass, the opponents will stack the line against the run.

Despite losing WR Marshall, the team has some potentially very good receivers. WR Royals and Thomas are young and have talent. WR Gaffney will hold down a starting spot until Thomas is ready. The question will be can the O line protect Orton well enough? The O line has had a lot of injuries as well.

The Bronco D will miss LB Dumerville who led the NFL in sacks last year. They will also miss DC Nolan who was replaced with a 1st time D Coordinator. The D pass rush looked good against the weak O line of PT. The key will be NT Williams the ex-Charger. If he can stay healthy and LB Avery comes around, the D pass rush could be OK. IB Williams is good but the rest are average at best.

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 playoffs,fANTASY FOOTBALL,Fantasy Draft,Steelers,Broncos,Bengals,Bills,Giants,Ravens,Cardinals,Bears,49ers,Raiders,preseason,playoffs,Super Bowl

What to look for in the Sunday Divisional round games.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Cowboys @ Vikings


Prior to this season the Boys folded in December. When JJ issued his threat to blow up the team and the coaching staff this season unless the Boys got into the playoffs and did well, the team got the message. This team has played a lot better than they did in previous seasons but I am not on the Boy bandwagon yet.

The O has been solid but the last two games were played against an Eagle D that seemed to give up after being in a position to win the NFC East. In the upset win over the Saints, QB Romo had a QB rating of 104. In the two games against the Eagles he had ratings of 86.1 and 106. That is a great improvement over last year when he finished the year with ratings of 44.9, 66.2 and 55.8 in the 3 losses. The improved Romo is the key to difference in this years team. The Boys will need as much passing as he can generate because they will not be able to get much on the ground against the Vikes.

RB Jones ran for 148 yards but that is misleading. Take out the two long runs and he had a 4 yard average. That is VERY average. Starter Barber is probable but is coming off a knee and won’t be close to 100%.

The other key to the turnaround is the play of the O line. The line had been living on an undeserved rep. In the latter part of the season they started to play up to that rep. They will have to against an outstanding D line of the Vikes.

The Cowboy D has also had the habit of playing up or down to the competition. The key will be pressure on QB Favre. If they can pressure him, they will have a chance. The pass D ranked 20th giving up over 200 yards per game. Balanced offenses give them problems. The Vikes can be very balanced when they chose to be.


The Vikes tend to throw too much on O. That habit tends to get them in trouble. QB Favre can light up the scoreboard but can also throw enough picks to kill the team’s playoff hopes. The Vikes ended the season just 2-3 in December including an embarrassing loss to the Panthers. Favre had a passer rating of 73.7 in that loss. The team ranked 8th in passing.

The running game is solid with the leagues best back Peterson. But he has 1 100 yard game in the last half of the season. The O line had not been opening holes for the running game and Peterson has gotten beaten up. Peterson has to get over 100 yards for the Vikes to win. That is going to require the O line to play at a higher level. G Hutchinson is probable for the game. He would help the O line a great deal.

The Viking D is solid as well. It ranks 2nd against the run but 19th against the pass. The key to the Vikes winning the game is shutting down the Boys running game and forcing Romo into mistakes. Given enough pressure, he will make errors.

This is a very hard game to call but I think the Vikes have just enough to beat the Boys. The Cowboys will not be able to run and will not be able to keep up with Favre and the Vikes.

Jets @ Chargers


The Jets beat a Bengals team that was inexperienced in the playoffs. That is not the case with the Chargers. The game will depend on how hot Jet QB Sanchez can get. The Jets took advantage of an easy schedule and even then needed gifts from both the Bengals and the Colts to get into the playoffs. The O has the top ranked running game. That is a good thing because in the last 3 weeks of the season, Sanchez had passer ratings of 49.7, 78, and 60.2 and threw just 1 TD with 9 picks. That is not going to scare experienced playoff teams. RB Thomas is their top guy but he had only 3 100 yard games in the last half of the season. He is 31 and they hope it is not an indication that he is showing his age.

The Jets are going to have to be able to throw better than that to win.

The Jet D ranked 1st in scoring D, passing D and yards. They are 8th against the run. They have been playing very well under Coach Ryan. However, they have not beaten an O like they will against the Chargers.


QB Rivers has had an outstanding season. He has a passer rating of 104. The running game is ranked 31st which caused Rivers to throw a lot. The passing game is ranked 5th. He has a solid group of receivers WRs Jackson and Floyd and TE Gates. The running game has Tomlinson but he is a shadow of what he was a few years ago. Neither he nor RB Sproles has gotten the running going. The Chargers used the franchise tag on Sproles. That was a mistake because he will never be able to be a starting RB. The O line came together after recovering from early season injuries. It still can not run block.

The Charger D is middle of the road in terms of yards but ranks 11th in scoring D. NT Scott is their 3rd guy in that spot but has come on nicely. The loss of All Pro NT Williams has reduced the ability to stop the run and the team ranks 20th in that department. They are 11th against the pass and have a pair of pro bowl LB in Merriman and Phillips. They have not played up to their rep this season. The D backfield is led by CB Cromartie. The D can play at a very high level but is inconsistent.

Given all that, the Chargers should be able to score on the Jets through the air. I am not sure that QB Sanchez can keep up with Rivers. The Chargers win.

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,Cowboys,Vikings,Favre,Peterson,Jets,Bengals,Chargers,Colts,Thomas,Thomlinson,Sproles,Rivers,Sanchez

What to look for in the Saturday Divisional round games.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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,
  • Author:
  • Published: Jun 13th, 2009
  • Category: NBA Basketball
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Magic can pick up their parting gifts on their way out of the playoffs.

The Magic can pick up their parting gifts on their way out of the playoffs.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


We have a home version of our game for each of the departing Magic players.

The Lakers have the NBA championship in their hip pocket. The Magic was a victim of poor shooting and the lack of home court advantage. It is almost impossible for any team to win 3 straight games at home against a championship quality opponent. The Magic proved that they could not stand the heat.

More important, Dwight Howard proved that he could not stand the heat. This is not the same team that played Cleveland so well. The Magic looked very tight. When Howard missed the free throws at the end of regulation, it was also the end of the Magic’s dream of a title.

The Lakers were in foul trouble, on the road, and tired. Even so, they found a way to steal game 4 from the Magic. Even if the Magic manage to win game 5, they are done. They will not be able to win one game against the Lakers in LA let alone 2. The Magic only won game 3 by shooting a record percentage.

The Lakers have a history of taking a game off. They may well lose game 5. They will not lose 3 in a row. If the Magic couldn’t win 3 in a row in Orlando, how can they expect to win 3 with 2 of those games in LA?

Games 5 and 6 will tell us a lot about how finals ready the Magic are. If they win game 5 and give the Lakers a real tough game 6, they may have the grit to win a title in the future. If not, they could well be remembered along with the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings as teams that could get to multiple championship series but not ever win a championship.

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: NBA Finals,NBA Playoffs,Magic,Lakers,LA,Orlando,NFL Playoffs,Vikings,Bills

© 2011 FryingPanSports. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by the Wordpress platform and beach rentals.