Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I have seen this preason...

The first two weeks of this pre-season pretty well blew past me without much of a notable result. Everything went exactly as I expected. In particular, Tebow flashed strong immediately, and the Rams offensive line flashed weak immediately. Other than that, nothing impressed me much in week 1 or 2 of the preseason.

That changed this week, and it is well it should. The third preseason game is the so-called "dressed rehearsal" for the regular season. I saw a number of things that impressed me a great deal. Let me count them down for you.

Javid Best is going to be the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011

The kid is looking flat-out dynamic so far. I am seeing flashes of Marshall Faulk all over the place. The sky is the limit for this kid, and Matt Stafford can't be more overjoyed about it. Now with Calvin Johnson, Javid Best and Matt Stafford, I am wondering whether Detroit is going to get up off the carpet and make one hell of a surprise run.

I have been soooo impressed by this kid, that I have already purchased his #44 jersey in white. I intend to wear that Jersey for the very first time on September 2, 2010, to celebrate my 44th birthday. Congrats kid! You impressed me so much that you convinced me not to wear the Dallas Clark jersey, and I think the world of Dallas Clark.

The Ravens look like the Super Bowl 45 champions

You better watch out for these guys. They are looking scary. This could be the most impressive end-to-end team I have seen this preseason. The super-duper off-season the Ravens had impressed me a great deal. I made them the tentative-prohibitive favorite [if that makes any sense] in the AFC based on their fantastic off-season.

That high-quality off-season is generating tangible yields, right now, in the 2010 preseason. The Ravens look very strong to me.

The main problem with the Ravens these past two years has been their own internal distrust of their passing game. They have wanted to bring Flacco along slowly, not putting too much on his plate. Now they seem to trust Flacco and are willing to put the team in his hands. Now they are showing flashes of a dynamic offense that can throw well and run like hell.

They will also beat the shit out of you defensively.

This is a goooooooood looking football team. I am mighty damn impressed by these guys.

The Saints look more than prepared to defend their crown

There ain't no sign of a let-down in New Orleans. I must say, it does might heart good to think they might defend their title. If so, they will be the first NFC team to win back-to-back titles since the Cowboys did it in 1995. I have to say: It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of fellas and better city.

I am hoping you will pull it off, New Orleans.

The Packers look like they have a Hurricane offense, but a somewhat suspect defense.

The Packers offense look like the 1st Air-Cav division: death from above. Aaron Rodgers is shooting the lights out with a 141 passer efficiency rating. If you watch the film, he looks better than the rating sounds. I saw him make effortless tight-window throws against the Colts' [pretty elite] defense. He made it look easy, and those were not easy throws. 9 out of 10 quarterbacks in this league would have had trouble making all of those throws.

Aaron Rodgers will replace Payton Manning as the NFL's All-Pro QB and MVP in 2010 if this continues. There ain't no doubt about it. He is that good. There is a reason why he is the #1 guy in everybody's fantasy pool right now.

The one problem is a suspect running defense which has given up a number of big runs this preseason. I see some deficiencies in the fundamentals of tackling here. I saw visions of Vince Lombardi screaming "GRAB! GRAB! GRAB! NOBODY'S TACKLING!" You also need to be concerned about the fact that a less-than-physical Colts O-Line shredded your front-7.

I see flashes of the Super Bowl looser's jinx on the Colts

Folks, it ain't just one thing either. First, 49ers tie one on them. Now we see that the NFL has messed up the Colts' much feared no-huddle offense. Just as their running game begins to impress us all, Joseph Addai goes down with a concussion.

Understand that the Super Bowl loser's jinx began in the year 1970 with a Don Shula,/Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts team. That Colt team was at least as good, and probably better, than this Colt team. You can argue they were better coached by Shula. Just immediately after going 13-1, that Colt team finished 7-7, and struggled all the way. The next year (1971) those Colts would return to the Super Bowl, and win it all against the Cowboys.

That was an historically great team that struggled psychologically after loosing the big one. The Super Bowl loser's jinx is real and powerful and effective. The Colts know all about it. You know more about it than I do.

The Cowboy offense looks like shit

During the deep-off season, I joined many in thinking that the Cowboys had to be a mild-favorite to win the NFC. With a sharply weakened NFC-East, and an improved passing attack, I thought the Cowboys might enjoy a cake-walk to home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl.

Right now I am officially off the Cowboys' bandwagon. What I have seen is an ugly-struggling offense that has not pierced the end-zone this preseason... at least the 1st stringers haven't. Most problematic is the offensive line. It looks like you guys inherited the curse of Alex Barron. Now your offensive line looks like keystone cops at a Chinese fire-drill.

I am being a little facetious here. Alex has actually looked pretty good for Cowboys so far, but the rest of the line, particularly the interior looks like abject and absolutely reprehensible shit. There is no way you guys are going to go to the Super Bowl with a line that looks like that. You got some work to do, and it might be as difficult as the work the Rams have to do.

The Patriot defense looks like shit

And I mean wet, running, stinky, nasty, stenching cat shit too! If you think otherwise, you have a lot of explaining to do. Some say that the Patriots never show you anything but a 'vanilla look' during the preseason. Folks, that is not sufficient to explain what I saw against the Rams.

Understand that the NFL's 32nd ranked offense, an offense that averaged only 10.9 points per game last season, an offense that was shutout by the Redskins and the Seahawks (bottom 10 teams) just went up to New England and popped 17 points on the board before you got up to take a piss.

The Rams went on to score 36. The Patriots kept Tom Brady in the game until the 4th quarter, trying to make it look closer than it actually was. The Patriot broadcast team heaped praise on Bradford to avoid heaping condemnation on Bellichick's defense.

The praise for Bradford was mostly ledgit, but you dropped the ball by failing to condemn the Patriots defense. They looks pretty damn slow and unathletic to me. That defense just doesn't look competitive. They are more than suspect at this point.

Right now, I think 2010 is the year the wheels fall off of that Patriot defense. It would make sense. The hoodie has been keeping it going with smoke and mirrors for the past year.

Jesus looks like shit

So, I trust we are all familiar with the pecular story of Charlie Whitehurst, correct? My favorite piece on was titled "Jesus Christ to start at Quarterback in Seattle". I wrote that piece, by the way. The Seahawk fans dug it. I got a lot of nice praise for that humorous piece.

I wanted to make the point that there ain't no way in hell Charlie Whitehurst is the future of the Seahawk organization. I knew that when the trade went down. Whitehurst is a short-term stop-gap solution for the Seahawks for those occasions in 2010 when Matt is injured. Matt is often injured, by the way.

I fully expect the Seahawks to go after a certain fellow by the name of Jake Locker in this upcoming 2011 draft. He is the hometown hero, and he is being developed by Pete's buddy and former offensive coordinator Steve.

Incidentally, more than 60% of the Seahawk fans agreed with me. The polls indicates that they believe Jesus... errr... Charlie is a stop-gap, and Jake Locker is the man of the future in Seattle. Many of them are begging for this outcome. The only doubt comes from those who just don't think the Seahawks will be in a position to take Locker. They all want him.

Charlie is not giving them a reason to stop begging. He's got a QB passer rating of 61. I know he has thrown for a lot of yards, but he has not looked good doing so. Right now, he does not resemble a starting QB in the National Football League.

The Cardinal look poised for a fall, regrettably.

What I say now, I say with a heavy heart: The Cardinals look like they are going down. Not only did they deal Anquan, not only did Kurt Warner retire, not only did Larry Fitzgerald get hurt, but now Derek Anderson is looking like their top QB with an efficiency rating of 70.2. In the immortal words of Herm Edwards, "I'm calling Kurt Warner".

This is not good. I enjoyed watching the Cardinals compete over the past two seasons. I do not like seeing teams occupy the post of "perennial doormats". I enjoyed seeing the Cards get up and make a Super Bowl run.

Now it looks to me as if they are going to rejoin the cellar dwellers at the bottom of the heap. They may want to compete with the Seahawks for Jake Locker. In the meantime, you need to get Sage Rosenfels from the Vikings.

The Rams do look better, but the Jim Plunkett 2.0 remake is still on schedule

The Rams flashed a strong offense against the Patriots, but don't get too hyped about that just yet. All along, I have been warning of a Hollywood remake of the Jim Plunket story.

Do you remember that story? A brilliant Heisman trophy winning passer gets selected #1 by a football team with a shit-ass offensive line. He flashes strong, winning rookie of the year, and even defeating the mighty Raiders. All the way along the line, he takes hit after hit. Eventually the hits take their toll and he starts getting injured.

Fortunately, Jim's career had a happy ending. Mr. Al Davis put him behind one of the finest offensive lines in league history, and he detonated.

Ram fans need to be keenly aware of this historical example as we watch the Sam Bradford story unfold. Already Donnie Avery has been lost for the season on a fluke ACL tear. Lost in the turmoil of the injury was the fact that Sam Bradford got ax-handled on the very same play. I am talking about a high-velocity hit that launched Sam off his feet and pancaked him. He shook it off, just as Jim Plunkett did after so many hits. That fact is cold comfort for Ram fans.

Former 49er Randy Cross praise Bradford's poise, and warned that the Patriot defense was "massaging his chops" after every throw. Things are out-of-order on the Rams offensive line. This needs to be fixed, real soon.

The Rams also need to trade for a certain receiver in San Diego, but you didn't hear this suggestion from me. If I suggest it, Devaney will never make the deal.