Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday FourCast: Week 3

The bar has been placed high in the FourCast in previous weeks. Despite losing to the Colts on Sunday, the weapon-less Matt Schaub demonstrated exactly why he is the man to lead the Texans out of obscurity. Also, the AFC has once again been the standard bearers of quality and the NFC sucks (except for Dallas and Green Bay right now) as Sum pointed out in Week 1.

#1: Donovan McNabb Mike Tomlin Is Fantastic Humble

I really wanted to stick it to the Donovan McNabb haters, but I decided to forgo the obvious story and applaud the humility of one Mike Tomlin. The 35-year-old head coach could have sent a message that he’s the boss by abandoning the feared 3-4 defense (and the thought of firing defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau) in favor of his beloved Tampa [Cover] 2. Long story short, he didn’t. The team is 3-0. The defense has 12 sacks, six takeaways and three comfortable victories. Tough games await, but Pittsburgh’s poise runs from 1 to 53 on the roster and there’s a quiet confidence in the Steel City. I know where it’s coming from. (Hint: It’s not from Big Ben’s mole.)

#2: Dallas and New England Cannot Keep Up This Offensive Explosion

Send the hate mail now. Dallas and New England have jumped out of the gate to undefeated records and heavily incorporated the passing game. Tony Romo and Tom Brady have lit up good and bad defenses alike. Whether the Chicago and San Diego defenses are who we thought they were is to be seen. What I know is that teams who rely on the pass and have cold weather teams on their schedule later in the season must reach some level of balance. Both are capable of winning 13 games in their respective conferences, but do not expect the QBs to put up the gaudy numbers. This leads us to the next point.

#3: Running Back Depth Will Win Games in October

The running backs are falling and they are falling rapidly. Through less than three weeks, no less than nine teams have lost a starting running back for a half due to injury. Another back, Steven Jackson, will miss his team’s game at the Cowboys, making it an even ten. Nowadays, two running backs are not enough as many teams already split carries. The teams that are ready to address these injury issues through solid third- and fourth-string running backs and have depth at the offensive line will assuredly win games next month as the playoff push begins. This same theme grows exponentially as cold-weather settings start to make an impact.

#4: Offensive Genius? Defensive Mastermind?

Never do I want to hear these words attached to Brian F. Billick and Marvin Lewis. I’m aware of what these men did as coordinators in Minnesota and Baltimore, respectively. Throughout his tenure in Baltimore, Billick’s offense has been serviceable at best, and he’s even had a 2,000-yard back at his disposal. As for Lewis, his defense misses more assignments on a weekly basis than the Bengals had player arrests in 2006. That number was nine in case you forgot. You can only blame it on youth for so long. For the next 14 weeks, both of these men will be fighting for their jobs, and in most likelihood, they will be buoyed by the opposite side of the ball.

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