Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Talbuc's Take - Week 6

I Can't Believe They Cancelled Charlie's Angels!!!!!

Really short version this week. I spent this past Sunday at the Bucs-Saints game, so my exposure to the rest of the league’s action was limited to tailgate tv, my iPhone, and evening highlights.

The Bucs were surprise winners in a game that was a lot more exciting than I expected it to be. Sean Payton broke his tibia and tore his MCL early in the game, and I definitely think that had a huge impact on how the game played out. Even on the in stadium replay, we couldn’t see who the coach was that got hurt when it happened and didn’t know until the game was over that it was indeed Payton.

I spent a bit of time focusing on Freeman – how he read the defense at the line, how he went through his progressions, and how/when he made decisions. Too many sideline passes are grossly overthrown. On the vertical (especially the crossing stuff) routes, his passes are this lollipop toss shit. His decision-reaction skills were awful at times, and he left a lot of opportunities on the field. It wasn’t all bad (nice hook up with Benn), but it definitely wasn’t his best performance. Nice to be able to beat a team of New Orleans’ caliber without having your A game.

Ronde Barber is so ineffective as a boundary corner. Teams look to feast on him every time he lines up out wide. He got torched not only on Colston’s TD but on the play before the TD as well. They want to keep him on the field, so we’re basically in nickel most of the time. He can definitely make plays around the tackles, but he’s really limited to that.

Tanard Jackson is a welcomed re-addition. He’s definitely not all the way back, but it’s good to see his athleticism back on the field.

Earnest Graham is the man. His better years are well in the past, but the man ran for over 100 yards and picked up some critical first downs against the Saints. The Bucs don’t win this game without his performance. 

I won’t get into detail on hearsay, but I heard some good things about Clayborn and Foster but really disappointing/discouraging things about Raheem, Freeman, and McCoy. If what I was told is even partially true, it’s safe to say the level of commitment is not consistent across the team. 

A 4-2 start is the opposite of the 2-4 start I was anticipating before the season. On paper, the record is promising, but what stands out to me is that the Bucs biggest win was a 7 point victory over the hapless Colts. I don’t think this is the kind of team that can continue winning close contests, so everyone needs to step their game up. We’ll see how the Bucs respond this week against the Bears team that showed quite a bit of life against the Suckasota Vikings.

Other Notes
Getcha some Jim Schwartz! I loved seeing that fire from the coach after the game. I heard a bit about what reportedly was at the root of the issue (for one, Schwartz’s preseason comments to Harbaugh about him not having a chance to win this year). This game needs some new rivalries, and I love this one. These two teams have a chance of hooking up again in the postseason, so stay tuned.

Losing Jason Campbell to a broken collarbone was a huge blow to the Raiders playoff chances, so they responded by going all in with a Carson Palmer trade. He has familiarity with Hue Jackson, and it looks like he’ll be the starter this Sunday against the Chiefs. I’ll definitely try to see as much of that game as possible.

Finally! McNabb was mcbenched for Ponder in the game against the Bears, and Leslie Frazier made the move permanent this week, saying Ponder is now the starter. More on Ponder when he actually plays some meaningful snaps, but I truly think this is the end for McNabb. He was never an accurate passer or a great decision maker, but his mobility has vanished as has most of the zip on his passes. It blew my mind when they signed him; knew it wouldn’t work. Less than halfway through the season, the experiment is over. Can you say – waste of a season?

Tebow time! I think he wins this week in Miami; just sets up well from a homecoming perspective. Baby Jesus always has a horseshoe up his ass too, so I have a hard time seeing this fairy tale not coming true.

Best and Worst

Best Teams (Previous Rank)
1 – Packers (1)
The machine moves on. Welcome to the league Christian Ponder!

2 – Ravens (2)
Is Blaine Gabbert going to beat these guys? Monday Night Football could get awfully ugly.

3 – Saints (3)
This past week’s loss wasn’t a fluke, but I don’t think it’s indicative of who this team truly is. After three straight road games, I think the Saints spank the Colts in the Superdome. 

4 – Patriots (4)
I’m still on sold on that defense, and something tells me they’re due for a slip up. They’re off this week and return with three tough ones - @ PIT, v. NYG, @ NYJ.

5 – Lions (5)
When I look back in a month, this might be too high for these guys, but there’s no reason why they can’t win their next four games – v. ATL, @ DEN, @ CHI, v. CAR.

6 – Steelers (6)
They’ve got to beat Arizona this week with New England and Baltimore looming. A slip up this week could be catastrophic. Look for another week of focus on the ground game with Mendenhall.

7 – Chargers (7)
I expect them to beat the Jets fairly soundly this week, but they’re still not a top tier team.

8 – Bills (8)
They have this week to heal up a bit but will need to come out of the bye firing on all cylinders to stay in the playoff hunt.

Worst Teams (Previous Rank)
1 – Indianapolis (1)
Will be 0-7 after losing on Sunday Night Football to the Saints.

2 – Jacksonville (2)
They’ll get spanked too this week and are really 1a rather than 2.

3 – Miami (3)
The effort on this team drops every week. A loss to Tebow’s Broncos might just be Sparano’s fade to black moment.

4 – Minnesota (4)
Benching McNabb was a start. Putting together a complete game would be step 2.

5 – St. Louis (5)
Sam Bradford is now dealing with an ankle injury. How much worse will things get for the Rams? 

6 – Kansas City (6)
The winning streak stops in Oakland.

7 – Denver (7)
If starting Tebow was a step forward, dealing Brandon Lloyd was four steps backwards.

8 – Cleveland (8)
Peyton Hillis is now dealing with a hamstring injury. Greg Little is about the only thing to be excited about offensively.

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