Monday, October 05, 2009

NFL Week 4

Just a few random thoughts and observations from this weekend's NFL Games:

1. Most of the discussion on the Pats-Ravens game has focussed on the Brady-Flaco quarterback match up, but far more interesting was the teams roles almost seemed reversed. It was the Ravens not sticking with an at-times successful rushing attack, with only 17 rushing attempts versus 47 passing attempts, while the Patriots showed the balanced attack of 32 passes and 30 rushes. It was the Patriots converting a 4th and short, while the Ravens got stuffed. And it was the Patriots forcing a fumble on the games opening kickoff. To be sure, these Ravens are still incredably talented and the offense is more explosive than it ever was under Brian Billick, but that defense yesterday didn't seem anywhere near as scary as even that 2007 defense was in that Monday night matchup.

2. Tony Romo is not a good NFL quarterback and I'm beginning to question whether or not he ever was. The man can make plays when the pocket collapses and we saw that again on several occasions yesterday, but he's not particularly accurate while sitting in the pocket and I'd question his ability to read a defense. Watching the second half of that Cowboy-Broncos game was just plain painful and it makes me wonder, as I said above, how much he was actually quarterbacking when the Cowboys offense was successful and how much he was just running around making plays with all the playmakers around him.

Brett Favre at his best, combined the skills of a quality, top-5 type pocket passer, with the instincts of perhaps the best playmaker in NFL history. At his worst, Favre was a fairly average pocket passer with a cannon arm who could still make plays. I bring this up in regards to Romo because I think just about everyone who watches or is in any way involved in football tends to be overly influenced by playmaking ability. It's a great skill to have, but I'd argue that the best quarterbacks in the league- Manning, Brady, Drew Brees- are definitely not the best playmakers at the position. Michael Vick was electric for certain, but it became quite clear over time that he struggled in the standard drop back mold. I'd argue Ben Rothlisberger is more of a playmaker than Manning, Brees, or Brady, and he does have the two Super Bowl rings, but how many out there can say they're confident in Big Ben's ability to sit back in the pocket and pick a defense apart? What Romo needs to do is work to become more like Big Ben- just be a halfway decent quarterback who can make big plays in big moments. Don't quote me on numbers because I'm not sure who I'm comparing him too, but I'd argue that what Romo gives you on the field should put him in the bottom half of quarterbacks in the league.

3. Last week I wrote off the Dolphins, Redskins, and Browns. This week the Dolphins won convincingly, the Redskins barely beat the terrible Bucs to get to .500, and the Browns narrowly lost an overtime game to the should-be undefeated Bengals. I'd keep them all on the write-off list. The Dolphins beat a terrible Bills team, the Redskins wound up even in the points for-points against margin in their combined three, back-to back- to back games against the Rams, Lions, and Bucs, and no one has any illusions about the Browns.

4. We're left with 5 undefeated teams, although the one of those is the Vikings who are playing the Packers tonight. Of the four who won yesterday, I have to put the Saints at most impressive, as they've won games on the road and have been winning games without their passing attack the past few weeks. The Manning brothers both quarterback very good teams, but I'm still waiting for the more marque matchups for both brothers. And finally, that leaves Denver, about whom I still know nothing. If they beat New England next week, mark me down as sold.

5. Speaking of the Patriots, they have now offed undefeated teams in consecutive weeks (the 2-0 Falcons, followed by the 3-0 Ravens). Their reward? A trip to 4-0 Denver. But cheer up Pats fans, that Denver game is followed by back-to-back games against the now winless Titans and the likely to still be winless Bucs.

6. You can now officially write off the Titans, although the historical Oilers did follow up an 0-4 start in 1993 by winning 12 straight before losing to Joe Montana's Chiefs.

7. Teams that I have just no read on at this point: The aforementioned Broncos, the 0-3 Panthers sitting out this week on a bye, the 3-1 Bengals, the 2-2 Jaguars, the 2-2 Steelers and the 2-2 Chargers.


Blogger McMc said...

Tony Romo is not a good NFL quarterback? Come on.

I admit he wasn't very good against Denver but this again is jumping to rash conclusions. The guy has seen way more success than failure and we're what, four games into this year? Just relax.

Honestly, I think the Cowboys suck a lot more than people realize. They are poorly coached, their defense has a great front line but their secondary is full of idiots and the receiving corps is awful. Roy Williams is a baby, Patrick Crayton is nothing special and Miles Austin and Sam Hurd probably wouldn't find jobs anywhere else.

I'm really not trying to be an apologist for Romo here, it's just what I took from that game wasn't that Romo is a bad QB, it's that the Cowboys are not a good team.

4:45 PM  
Blogger McMc said...

And really, what's the difference between the Raiders and the Cowboys at this point? They each bring in veterans, they each underachieve, they drive out all good coaches (Gruden and Parcels), they have owners who get way too involved, they have crazy fan bases and they are undisciplined. The biggest difference is that the Cowboys haven't jumped the shark with their draft abilities and people actually think the 'Boys can win. The Cowboys were heading toward the bottom of the barrel before Romo. Remember that.

4:48 PM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

Obviously a bit of hyperbole with Romo, but I've never seen a quarterback with that sort of reputation look so bad on so many different occasions.

Just for fun, here's who I'd take over Romo at this point (not accounting for injuries): Brady, Rothlisberger, Flacco, Palmer, P. Manning, Schaub, Rivers, E. Manning, McNabb, Favre, Cutler, Rodgers, Brees, Ryan, Hasselbeck, Warner, and JeMarcus Russell. (Just kidding on that last one). But that's 10 right there without accounting for any of the young guys out there. That's half the teams in the league right there, so ask yourself, what teams would want Tony Romo as their qurterback?

10:09 AM  
Anonymous rose said...

Ok, Favre played awesome last night.

But are you nuts? You would take Favre over Romo? Favre has outplayed Romo this year through four games, no doubt. You want to put that much emphasis on 4 games and completely forget about the last five years, when Romo has enormously outplayed Favre?

Come on now.

I think Roy Williams is the Amani Toomer of the Boys. They need to get his ass off the field and let someone else, anyone else, in the game.

10:18 AM  

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