Monday, August 13, 2007


This is a new feature I'm going to have on Mondays during the football season. It's obviously based loosely on Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback, except better, because I actually watch the games. All the games. This weekend I watched well over 10 hours of football. I basically DVRed the NFL Network all day, and watched the first half of every game, skipping commercials, challenges, and timeouts. Here are my observations, game by game.

Vince Young was suspended by the Titans for Saturday's game, reportedly for sleeping at home instead of the team hotel. Smart move by Fisher: he sends a message to the team to start the post-Pacman era and keeps Vince Young away from the possibility of injury for another week. So the Redskins shouldn't read too much into holding the shorthanded Titans without a TD. Lat year, their Al Saunders offense showed nada in the preseason, and it looks like that will be the case again this year. Jason Campbell continues to show a live arm and excellent pocket awareness. Filling in for the massively overpaid Derrick Dockery, LG Todd Wade looked like a complete matador. Betts looked like he's ready to build on his breakout campaign; he's every bit the player that Portis is at 35 cents on the dollar. Think they don't want that trade back? Best defensive player in the NFL and a 2nd rounder for an above average back? It could be worse: Portis could have a beer belly like Lendale White, who looked like the worst conditioned athlete in the NFL.

The Bengals offense looks to pick up where they left off last season against Detroit, but their backup running backs are like drummers from Spinal Tap. Kenny Irons will miss the season, and Chris Perry will miss at least the first six weeks. Taking into account the Chris Henry suspension and the loss of Eric Steinbach in free agency, they have zero depth on offense. They're one significant injury away from being 8-8 for the fourth time in five years. The Lions, on the other hand, looked like team with a lot of depth on offense. With Mike Furrey, the league leader in catches last year, in the slot, and Tatum Bell in the fold with Kevin Jones and T.J. Duckett, OC Mike Martz has as many weapons to work with as he had in St. Louis. You just know this team is deeply flawed somewhere because Matt Millen put it together, but they have more talent at the skill positions than any team in the NFL, Colts and Patriots included.

The Colts are going to have an adjustment period on defense with five new starters, but they're known for not showing anything in the preseason: they're 1-8 the last two exhibition seasons. Still, Cowboys fans have got to be happy about seeing Romo go 10 out of 11. Both their backs looked sharp and you've got to love their pass rush. They have to be included among the top three of four favorites in the NFC.

Can the same be said about the Saints? It continues to look like they won't be able to stop anybody through the air with maybe the worst secondary in the NFL, but their offense might actually be improved. Robert Meachem looks like a keeper in the slot, even at 80% right now coming off the knee injury. Speaking of which, this is Deuce McAllister's second year since blowing out his ligaments, so he should be 100% this year. The Bills played it close to the vest on offense, but their O-line needs to block better if they want to be in the wild card hunt.

The Patriots could have new faces as their top four wide receivers this year, which may have never been done before. It will be interesting to see if the lack of familiarity manifests itself, because this team looks close to perfect. The Buccaneers Cadillac Williams has fallen so far off the map announcers are calling him Carnell. Don't be surprised in Jeff Garcia turns back into a pumpkin this year; a lot of weak armed rollout passers can look good on the Eagles.

The Bears look the same as last year, except with a little more explosiveness at tight end with Greg Olsen and less depth as RB with the Thomas Jones trade. Cedric Benson looks fine, as long as his teammates don't miss blocks on purpose as had been reported last year. Maybe I'm reading too much into Benson's performance against the Texans, but they've used four straight 1st round picks on D-linemen. Ahman Green was a horrible free agent signing. Owner Bud Adams praised Green's experience during the broadcast, but that's a negative at running back.

The Seahawks don't look like they'll be missing Darrell Jackson too much. Deion Branch looks entrenched as the number one WR, and shouldn't have the butterfingers that Hasselbeck is used to after years of a Jackson led receiving corps leading the NFL in drops. The Chargers LaDainian Tomlinson has the preseason figured out; I don't know if he's ever played.

Why in the hell are the Jets playing Brad Smith 2nd string when they have so much more invested in Kellen Clemens? Clemens looked spectacular, but Smith looked like a Slash type. It's extremely unlikely that Pennington starts 16 games, so this is great news for the Jets. The Falcons look like a team that could challenge for a wild card spot, IF they don't suffer a single injury on an incredibly shallow roster, Dunn doesn't suffer a setback, and 7-9 gets you into the playoffs. Chris Redman is their backup QB! He hasn't been on a roster since 2003!

The Vikings look like they deepest of sleeper teams. You know they're going to bring the D, and you know they'll be able to run the ball, so if Tarvaris Jackson can be as efficient as he was Friday, they'll be among the most improved teams in the league. It looks like the Rams will be using Brian Leonard creatively: H back, from the slot, blocking back, lined out wide, etc. He looks like a great pick, and it's refreshing to see something less vanilla in the preseason.

The Chiefs and Browns looked like potentially the two worst teams in the NFL. If the Chiefs would have stuck with Damon Huard last year, maybe they wouldn't look as crappy as they do now. Among the league leaders in passing efficiency last year, now Brodie Croyle is atop the depth chart without earning it? What type of message does that send to the team? And the Browns has their horrible QBs alternate series. Very amateurish. Joe Thomas looked like a mauler in the running game but looked mechanical as a pass blocker.

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