The GeeksverseThe Long Bomb: 2012 Week 7

The Long Bomb: 2012 Week 7
Published on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 by

The 2012 NFL season is about half over. This has been a very surprising season so far.

I can’t remember a recent season that had this much parity. The rankings are upside down, Green Bay is third in their division. Some early hot teams are starting to slow down, the Cardinals. There’s some surprise teams that are showing weaknesses, Vikings. And aside from the Falcons and Texans, there hasn’t been a dominate team this season. The Bears are scratching at the door. The Ravens, Steelers, Patriots and 49ers all have weaknesses that can be exploited. The Giants are up and down like they are every year. This really is anybody’s NFL to take.

And as a fan I love it. Everyone loves a dominate team, one that just steamrolls over the competition. Sure, we love that. But isn’t it funner when every game is tooth and nail, down to the wire? Where one false move and the game is lost? I don’t like “automatic” victories, even if it’s for my beloved Patriots.

Parity is where it’s at.

1- Did you see that catch Garret Graham of the Texans made? Tipped in the air and he had the presence of mind, as well as the athleticism, to catch his own tip. Great play and great Football IQ.

2- So it looks like the 4-0 start for the Arizona Cardinals was a fluke. Everyone was saying they could be this years 49ers, a stingy defense and an offense that does just enough to win. Well, guess not. I think I was one of those.

They’ve dropped 3 in a row and it has nothing to do with Kevin Kolb being injuried. He didn’t even start the season. Kolb and John Skelton are not going to win games for this team, not anymore. The hot start was just that, a hot start. It was a fluke.

Poor Larry Fitzgerald, stuck on this team. Hurry up and trade for a better QB and try to salvage the season. BTW, Vince Young is not the help the Cardinals need.

3- It’s not like the Ravens to not play aggressive, but thats exactly what they did. You’re down 26 points. That’s four touchdowns. You’re losing badly. Your team needs a boost.

4th and 27 isn’t when you would normally go for it. It’s got almost no chance of succeeding. But then, the Texans wouldn’t expect you to go for it, so you might catch them off guard. Besides, after kicking the field goal you’re still down 23 points. Three touchdowns and a field goal. Does that 3 points really make a difference in the end?

No.

But going for it just might. That tells your team that you’re not giving up, you’re not surrendering. It tells your team that you want to try and win the game.

4- Some odd play calling by Rex Ryan of the Jets in the game against New England. All game Shonne Greene has been converting 3rd and 1s. He’s 7 of 7 on the year. You’re in the red zone, just outside the endzone. It’s a hard fought game. Up to this point you’re losing. It’s your division rivals, the team you have to beat to take the division. You’ve had an up and down season. Your quarterback is playing badly. You have Tim Tebow on your roster. Greene has converted 3 and 1s all day.

So you choose to pass it?

Why? That was such a dumb call to make. Incompletion and kick the field goal. The Pats D considers that a victory. If you had run for the yard, even with the D expecting it, chances are you could have converted.

And if you didn’t? Still kick the field goal. But isn’t the chance of making it worth going for it in that situation? If you convert, you get 3 more shots at scoring a touchdown.

As a Pats fan I’m glad Ryan went with the pass.

5- The Pats Defense is looking bad. The secondary is awful, even worse than last years. Which was bad. How bad is the Pats secondary?

They make Mark Sanchez look good.

The game plan was to stop the run, the Jet’s strength, and make Sanchez throw on them. Up until that game he hadn’t been throwing well at all. The game plan worked. Sanchez threw on them.

To use that game plan, you need a secondary that can stop the pass.

6- Going into Monday Night Football, Bears vs Lions, I was down 25 points in my fantasy league. I had Mattew Stafford (Lions QB), Michael Bush (Bears #2 RB) and the Bears Defense still to play.

Yes, Stafford and the Bears Defense.

Not good. Not good at all. I can see all you fantasy football players groaning as you imagine the outcome.

To make up the 25 points I needed the QB to play well and I needed the Defense to play well. Those two were going against eachother. For the QB to do well, that meant the defense didn’t go well.

It was a no-win situation for me. I watched Stafford make a play and his points would go up, along with the total points, then it would adjust the Bears Defense and I’d see their points go down and then the total points go down.

Somehow I was still able to make up those 25 points. I don’t know how, but I did. I barely won the game. But note to self, never allow that to happen again.

7- I love aggressive play calling and Mike Tomlin of the Steelers showed some. He went for two points very early in the game. It tied the game, still before half time, and that’s normally when most coaches wouldn’t go for two. And the announcers usually agree with them. There’s some chart somewhere that says when the best times to go for the two points are, as well as when not to go for them.

But no chart can create momentum, can show your team that you want to win and you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

That’s what aggressive play calling does. The calls can go against you, like Belicheck’s famous 4th and 3 against Indy, but the message it sends your team is worth it. In that situation, Belicheck knew that points were at a premium and it was worth the try to keep the ball out of Peyton Manning’s hands. The play didn’t work, but it was worth doing. If it had succeeded, Belicheck would have been praised, but because it failed he was ridiculed.

I’d rather have the team go for it more often then not. Punting in certain situations, or as Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN’s TMQ calls the fraidy-cat punts, sends the wrong message. It tells your team that you don’t care about winning, that you care about the final total as it looks better on your resume that you scored more points.

I think most teams would rather go for it, and be aggressive.

8- And speaking of coaches not going for it… Pat Shurmur, you have a new owner that is constantly evaluating you. You’ve only won one game all season. Your team hasn’t has a winning season in a long time. There’s a losing culture in Cleveland. You’re losing to the Colts late in the 4th.

You kick a field goal. You’ve lost by 4 points. What good did that field goal do you? You still lost.

But going for it? If you had succeeded, it would be a tie game. If you didn’t, you’d lose by 7.

Going for it challenges your players. It tells them that you are tired of losing. You are forcing them to make the plays. You’re telling them that it’s on them to win the game. If they’re tired of losing, go out there and prove it.

Instead, you kick a fraidy-cat field goal and still lose. Probably going to lose your job at the end of the season as well.

And so will Chan Gailey.

Is Ron Rivera in trouble as well? The Panther’s GM got fired and normally a new GM means a new head coach. But how much of the Panther’s woes is Rivera’s fault? He’s made a couple of fraidy cat coaching calls but does he deserve another season to try to turn things around?

Norv Turner has to go. He’s worn out his welcome in San Diego and if he hasn’t brought the talented team to the playoffs and Super Bowl by now, he’s not going to.

I think the same can be said for Andy Reid. Firing Juan Castillo, the offensive coach that Reid made a defense coach, was just looking for a scapegoat. Especially since the Eagles D was doing better then the Reid-coaching Eagles O.

Pat Shurmur, Chan Gailey, Norv Turner and Andy Reid will be the coaching vacanies next year. Will anyone else join them?

Ken Whisenhunt of the Cardinals, if you hope to keep your job, better get that team to perform better.

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