Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday FourCast - Week 13

Whew. What a week. It goes without saying that my heart, my thoughts and my prayers go out to the family and friends of Sean Taylor. That he gave his life for the safety of his girlfriend and his daughter casts a different light on what truly is important in this world. So, although I make some slight mention of this tragedy later on in the FourCast, it truly is with a heavy heart that I must focus on the more trivial side of things.

1. Good Eli, Bad Eli

It generally seems that right around this time of year each season, one quarterback starts to get singled out for his inconsistency. Last season, it was Rex Grossman, and this year, that honor is bestowed upon Eli "Daddy's Boy" Manning. Eli is fortunate to play on a fairly decent team. His Giants have a solid defense, good receiving targets in Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey and are able to run the ball even with no-names, like Derrick Ward, starting games. Unfortunately for Giants' fans, it seems as though each game depends on which Eli shows up at key junctures.

This past week, we saw bad Eli for the first 3 quarters against, ironically, Rex Grossman's Bears. However, Giants Nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when good Eli decided to show up for the last couple of drives and led his team to victory. The only question that remains is, how long will good Eli stick around?

2. Dysfunction in Times of Despair

The NFL will continue to mourn the tragic loss of Sean Taylor for a while. As a Redskins fan, I will keep on mourning for even longer. And though most people expected the team to play motivated on Sunday, I expected a weary team, with their hearts ripped apart by massive emotions, that would try to put the exhaustive pain behind them for three hours. The failed red-zone attempts and general weak play did not surprise me. I knew that the emotional week would have a more negative impact on their play than positive. What did surprise, and dismay, me was the lack of cohesion and unity among the coaching staff. With such a massive tragedy befalling this group of young-ish players, the coaches needed to present a unified front and provide the leadership and hope for the players to look up to. Instead, the head coach knew nothing in advance about the moving tribute given by the defense of starting with only 10 players. Further, the season-long lack of continuity in offensive playcalling was evident throughout, especially in the redzone. Finally, Joe Gibbs' "Chris Webber" moment sealed the lack of leadership and preparation that has become a hallmark of this season. I wish that the loss of such a great leader in Sean Taylor would have done more to inspire the "real" leadership of this storied franchise.

3. Homefield Advantage?

Last night, the New England Patriots played in cold and windy conditions, and even saw a few flurries during their game. They played a team that was thirsty for a win and who threw everything they had at the Pats. Hmmm … that sounds an awful lot like the AFC playoff games this January in Gillette Stadium. The conditions did nothing but hurt New England’s aerial attack, and lead to an uninspired near-loss to a more deserving Ravens squad. If this is how the Pats played in “New England” weather, maybe they should ask the NFL to let them play their playoff games on the road. As windy and cold as Baltimore was on Monday night, we all know that Massachusetts can get much colder and much windier. And when that happens, how will King Brady deliver the ball to Sir Moss, Sir Welker and the rest? As Paymon pointed out six weeks ago, Belichick needs to shore up his running attack if the Pats want to have a better chance at surviving the season undefeated.

4. Morning (Nor)wood

8 carries, 94 yards. 6 carries, 33 yards. 6 carries 39 yards. 6 carries, 87 yards. A 6.4 yard per carry average through 13 weeks of the NFL season, and Jerious Norwood is still Atlanta’s second running back. Whatsupwitdat?!?!? Sure, Warrick Dunn’s 3.2 ypc average is nice and mediocre, which is better than the rest of the Falcons’ squad this season, but that still does not explain why Norwood has yet to get double-digit carries in a game this year. Maybe I’m just bitter because I’ve had Norwood on my fantasy bench for two consecutive seasons, but I look at the numbers and when I compare Dunn to Norwood, stats can’t be lying to me. Speak up Falcons fans! Don’t you want your Norwood?

1 comment:

summy said...

slight amendment to #2. It seems as though, according to NFL rules, the referre was obligated to inform Gibbs that he couldn't call a 2nd timeout if he asked (which he did) before committing the sin. And that's reason #2625 why referees are jackasses.