September 18, 2006

NFL Week 2: Things You Probably Don't Need to Know But Might Enjoy Hearing Nonetheless

Some thoughts on Week 2 of the NFL composed while sitting in a park watching two Europeans engage in a game of catch that may threaten to set the game of baseball back generations...

Carnage a trois: From what these eyes have seen thus far, three teams in the NFL are far and away more frightening than all the rest. And those three, not necessarily in order, are the Falcons, Bears and Chargers. And yes, this is written with full cognizance that there are a lot of 2-0 teams, and yes the Steelers could get into the mix if they lambast JAX on MNF, but of the teams who have played two games, the squads from ATL, CHI and SD look truly scary.

And what’s the key? It’s all about defense. We're not talking about good, solid sit-back-in-proper-coverage D – each of these teams plays more of a "rape and pillage" style. Forgive the tasteless terminology, but that’s really what it is – insane linemen like Patrick Kerney, John Abraham, Brian Urlacher and Shawne Merriman who attack the opposing QB like packs of hyenas pouncing on a two-day old sheep's carcass in an open prairie.

And of course it helps that the Falcons have an insane rushing attack (306 rushing yards on Sunday), the Chargers have the best RB and TE in football and the Bears finally have Rex Grossman healthy and playing better than he ever has (4 TD passes on Sunday).

Are these the three best teams in football right now? Possibly. But even more so, they’re the three scariest. At this precise moment in time, there are no other teams you want to face less.

T.O. Needs Time Off: In a shocking piece of news, Terrell Owens is hurt – on Sunday night he broke his right ring finger and will miss 2 to 4 weeks. If you’re at all surprised, you’re an idiot – there were two things guaranteed to happen with Terrell Owens this year: #1 was that he would completely sell out Drew Bledsoe as a human being and a QB (hasn’t happened yet), and #2 was that he would get hurt. Kind of interesting that a guy who chronically can’t stay committed to one QB or team would break his ring finger, don’t you think?

Also, can we all agree to use this time that Terrell Owens is out not to talk about Terrell Owens? Can we not have daily updates on his progress recovering from his finger? Can we not see him on a training bike on the sidelines at Cowboys practice for just 3 weeks? Please? Well, can we have 2 weeks then? 1? No – we have to talk about him right now? Dammit.

Did I Catch a Niner in There? Definitely one of the biggest surprises of the first two weeks has been the play of the 49ers, a team that this writer had written off as a 2-14 squad without giving it much thought. Well, after beating STL on Sunday, they’re already half the way there.

Their improbable early-season play (which included a close loss to Arizona in Week 1) has been the direct product of QB Alex Smith transforming from Alex P. Keaton in ’05 to legit NFL QB in ’06. It helps that he’s got everyone’s favorite "trendy to the point that he’s almost annoying to hear about by no fault of his own" RB in Frank Gore and a couple of good receivers in Antonio Bryant and TE Vernon Davis. This is not to say that the Niners are actually that good, but you no longer have to cringe and change the channel should you accidentally stumble onto one of their games.

The Clinton Administration: Strange things are going on in Washington between boss man Joe Gibbs and RB Clinton Portis, who continues to be bothered by an injured – or possibly not that injured – shoulder. In Week 1, Portis said he’d probably sit out and be back Week 2. Then Gibbs shockingly announced Portis would be able to play, and play he did. Then in Week 2, Gibbs announced that since Portis hadn’t practiced, he probably wouldn’t play, which Portis found completely shocking because he was planning on suiting up. Meanwhile, even before the season started, ESPN’s injury guru Will Carroll said that Portis was 100% healthy. (Can’t provide you a link because you have to have a membership to read it…bastards.)

So what’s going on here? From one angle, it almost seems like Portis actually doesn’t want to play yet because he wants to be careful, but Gibbs forced/convinced him to suit up in Week 1, to his displeasure. Then, displeased that he had been forced to put his shoulder in jeopardy before he was ready to do so, Portis sat out practice leading up to Week 2, at which point Gibbs sidled up to the urinal and added a few new squirts to this bizarre pissing contest by pulling the old If you don’t practice, you don’t play routine.

Of course this is all pure speculation and could be as inaccurate and misguided as trying to shoot a hummingbird with an elephant gun (whatever that means). But the point is, something bizarre is going on in our nation’s capital. And this looks more like it’s now about some kind of odd power struggle than it is about the actual status of Clinton Portis’ shoulder.

A few other things to note:

  • The Killer C’s (Marques Colston of the Saints and Jerricho Cotchery of the Jets, who were discussed last week) now have 4 TD’s between them after they each caught one more on Sunday. As mentioned after Week 1, these are possibly the two best WR’s that you have absolutely no good reason to have heard of. If you don’t know, now you know.
  • The Raiders and the Titans have to be the two worst teams in the NFL.
  • Just missing out on being included in the “Carnage a trios” item above listing the most scary teams in the league: Baltimore. Not yet sold on that offense but their D is frightening again. And not just in the sense that Ray Lewis is a scary man.
  • Haven’t really had much exposure to Jets’ new Head Coach Eric Mangini, but for some reason I can picture people having said about him once, “That Eric Mangini is such a nice young man.” And this is based on absolutely nothing other than the fact that he just looks way more friendly than the average NFL head coach. (Wow, this was a stupid comment.
  • If you haven’t had a chance to see the Lions play yet this year, don’t. They stink. And for the record, Kevin Jones has duped The OCC into drafting him in all of his fantasy leagues again this year. What a terrible bandwagon to be inexplicably tied to for all eternity. Remember how good Kevin Jones was at the end of 2004? He won me a fantasy league that year. And that’s impossible to forget. It’s like you went out one night in Camden, NJ (a.k.a. statistically the most dangerous city in America) and somehow, beating all odds, you had a really fun time, so you keep going back for more hoping to duplicate that one evening, but now when you go back you get shot at all the time and end up stumbling into crack dens. Well, it’s kind of like that. You remember the watershed moment in Rushmore, when Herman Blume (played by Bill Murray) says to Max Fischer, “She’s my Rushmore, Max”? Well, Kevin Jones – for better or for worse, you’re my Camden. Now please find the hole and start running towards daylight before I hop on the New Jersey Transit train again.


Blogger kuniansky said...

That hyena comment was hilarious. Great post.

12:00 AM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger jimmyrad said...

Donovan Darius is going to behead you for overlooking the Jags. (It went to print before MNF, so Deon Grant will calm him down eventually. Mike Peterson will still eat your children)

4:43 PM, September 19, 2006  

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