The GeeksverseThe Long Bomb: Talking Football 2012 Week 3

The Long Bomb: Talking Football 2012 Week 3
Published on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by

The third week of the 2012 NFL season saw a name change to the column and had the replacement refs proving me wrong.

I said in week 1 that we had to give the replacement refs time. Time to get some experience, time to get used to the game, time to get used to the speed, time to get used to the rules. The first week they did pretty good. The second week was a couple steps downhill and this week was an avalanche downhill.

This was not a good week for the replacement refs, from the San Fran/Minnesota game to Sunday nights Patriots/Ravens. The mistakes in the San Francisco game didn’t really affect the outcome, but it very well might have in the Patriots game.

Then there was the Tennessee/Detroit game where the officials lined the ball up on the wrong side of the 50, giving the Titans an extra 30 yards or so.

And the ending to Packers/Seahawks? You’ll hear plenty about that one all day on Tuesday, but it was pretty damn bad.

Not good. Not good at all.

I still don’t buy the whole “ruining the integrity of the game” angle. Sorry, the regular referees aren’t perfect. Never have been and never will be. They missed calls on a regular basis. They made the wrong calls on a regular basis. If the players are worried about the integrity of the game, then don’t flop (trying to make it like they were interfered with more then they actually were) and don’t try to get away with holds when the refs aren’t looking.

I do think that these refs, missing all the hits and the calls that really annoy players and fans, could cause some player injuries. That angle I do agree with and think that it’s time the NFL and the Regular Ref’s locked themselves in a room and don’t come out until the lock-out is ended.

For the record, I’m still leaning towards the league on this. The refs make enough money, already get pensions from their full time jobs, and I agree that there should be a group of “bench” refs to replace those that aren’t up to snuff mid-season. I hear the refs don’t like that one because it affects job security.

I saw that the NFL meets the refs on the money and the refs give in on the bench/training. There we go. Problem solved. Now get in gear for week 4.

1- Thursday night was the first time I’ve had a chance to watch Cam Newton. I turned the game off around half time. Where did all this hype about Newton come from? Sure, he put up some stellar numbers in his rookie year. But how many “winning” team (teams with winning records the previous year) did he face? Not many and the Panthers only won like 4 games.

And he was rookie of the year? I think Andy Dalton, a much better pro quarterback at this stage, should have gotten it. He may not have put up the numbers, but he did what Newton didn’t, brought his team to the playoffs.

2- During the Jets/Dolphins game Tebow (who they spend way too much time analyzing and talking about when he’s on the field) was in on a 4th and 3 play. They lined up to punt with Tebow behind the center.

Pause for a minute and go watch the replay.

Tebow was behind the center.

Letting that sink in.

Tebow.. behind the center. Not to the side but pretty much directly behind the center. OF COURSE THE BALL WAS GOING TO HIM!! I’m not a football coach but even I knew what play the Jets were running.

The play didn’t work just because it was Tebow, it worked because it was misdirection. Similar to the Green Bay/Tom Crabtree play a week or so ago. Defenses weren’t expecting it. That’s when these plays work.

That’s why the Wildcat was so successful when Tony Sparano started running it at Miami. Teams weren’t expecting it. Now, team’s expect it so it’s not as successful.

Why don’t teams run more plays like the Tebow/Crabtree ones in 4th and goal or 4th and under 5 situations? Probably because they don’t want to look bad if it goes wrong.

3- What’s the relationship like between Tony Sparano (now the offenisve coordinator of the Jets) and Mark Sanchez (the Jets QB placeholder that’s keeping the spot warm for Tebow)? A couple of times during the game it looked like Sparano was trying to tell Sanchez something and the Sanchize was completely ignoring him.

4- This play didn’t get much attention and when it did it was mentioned as a funny/strange moment, but what was up with the refs hat that blew onto the field during Dallas/Tampa Bay?

Wide Receiver Kevin Olgetree stepped on it and lost his footing. That probably cost him a touchdown, not that it really matters because Dallas won the game, but still it could have. Olgetree could have been seriously hurt, twisting his ankle or tearing something, when he stepped on that hat.

Any explanations for why that happened?

5- Why does any coach try to ice the kicker? The percentages don’t really work in the favor of the time out before the kick. The figure I heard was 70% vs 80% (70% being the normal kick percentage and 80% being after an icing).

Icing really the Dolphins, costing them the game.

It’s one of those plays that is more about the coach trying to save face then actual field impact.

And yes, sometimes it works, but most times it doesn’t (Belicheck and the Ravens game for example).

6- Bit of advice for the Texans Defensive Coordinator, Wade Phillips. Next year when teams come looking for you to be their head coach (which you already have been at Buffalo and Dallas), you should say no. The Texans D is awesome thanks to you. You’re a much better D-Coordinator than head coach.

7- The NFL is called the “not for long” league because there’s very little patience. General Managers and owners want the immediate turn-around (San Francisco) and don’t want to do it the proper way, with patience and rebuilding. So most coaches, QBs, wide receivers don’t get a chance to build and mature. If they don’t make an immediate impact they are considered a bust.

There’s a lot of things that go into making a pro player: talent, ability and coaching. Alex Smith was a bust until Jim Harbaugh came to town. The Texans couldn’t make the playoffs with their high powered offense until they got an excellent defense.

The quick turnaround is rare. It takes time and patience. Something which Texans owner Bob McNair had a lot of, sticking with Gary Kubiak. Now it’s paying off. It’s something that Dan Synder, owner of the Washington Redskins, could learn a lot from.

8- Eric Decker, what was that? You’re a wide receiver, you’re supposed to take hard hits in the middle of a field. You slide and don’t even get the first down? You deserved those boos.

9- Time to check in with our three fantasy wide receivers.

Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Stokley and Kevin Olgetree all made big impacts in the first week of the season. I predicted the waiver wires would be going crazy for these guys and thought it would be interesting to see if they were worth picking up.

Hawkins has had the biggest impact through 3 weeks. This week he had 2 receptions for 66 yards, a touchdown and 2 rushing attempts for 16 yards. He got 13 fantasy points (ESPN scoring). I’m glad I got him on my team. So far he’s been 8, 11 and 13.

Olgetree caught 5 balls for 57 yards and should have had a touchdown except for interference from a ref’s hat. Olgetree netted 5 fantasy points. So far he’s been 23, 2 and 5.

Stokley caught 6 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. That got Stokley his biggest points total of the season, 13. So far he’s at 2, 2 and 13.

What does it mean? Those that got Hawkins, like me, got lucky. Olgetree will be worth 4 or 5 points a week and might get lucky and get a higher total from him if Austin gets injured. Stokley isn’t really worth having. I think the 13 point week 3 is more of a fluke.

10- Starting either Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon, I’ll be adding a second weekly “The Long Bomb” column. The new one will be picking the winners of the coming week’s games, as well as why I think so. I will not be picking final scores. That seems so pointless to me as they are very rarely ever right. All that matters is who wins or loses.

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