Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thursday Night Football pick, plus a rant (or two).

Some stuff to get through today, so cracking on would seem the best course of action: -- The NFL has convened a meeting of it's Head, Neck and Spine committee. And no, I didn't know they had one either. I'll get into the details in a minute but first; why the simple and all encompassing name of "Player Safety Committee" couldn't be used is a mystery. Well not exactly. It seems an odd and beauracratic thing to do, because it is. The NFL is worried about its image in the public (and political) eye and wants to be seen to be doing everything it can to get safe. It also has to show the players that it "cares". If the league wants the players to agree to an 18-game schedule it has to prove it's trying to make the game safer. Now if all this sounds like me being rather cynical then that's because I am. You should try reading my info thingy to the right >>> What jumped off the cynicism scale for me though was the apparent schedule juggling by Commissioner Roger Goodell. We're told that he was very busy yesterday, but in the name of player safety and showing that he "cares", he put all that other stuff to one side so he could come and listen to the folks recommendations. What a nice guy huh? Bullshit. In a season where concussions are the hot topic, and fines and penalties are being dished out left, right and center, does anyway honestly believe that Goodell didn't have this date ringed on his calender in big red pen? I can't stand it when people like Goodell try and make it out like they went out of their way to drop a bunch of important meetings in order to find time for this. It just serves to further reinforce my belief that Goodell is the slimiest of the slimy, a true snake. All smiles and "we're clean as a whistle Governor, honest", when in fact Goodell is as dirty and rotten as anybody walking the halls of power in Washington. But I digress. The point of the meeting was to allow helmet manufacturers to come forward with new ideas and research that they'd come up with. Now what intrigued me the most were two designs. One was a helmet with a soft outer shell designed to absorb impact and the other was a helmet that appeared to contain a two-fold layer of concussive protection; a series of transparent cells that appear to be filled with air/water/some fluid, who knows. This was topped by a layer of soft, squashy foam (it's the second helmet shown in the clip I'm going to link to, the one where you can see inside). In fact, here is the link. I bring this up only because I'm an intolerably smug individual who suggested these ideas for helmets not so long ago. Thinking about it, I actually think the helmet with the hard exterior and the crush able foam interior padding might be the best choice. -- Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants. I bloody knew I'd missed someone yesterday. Pierre Paul is another player that in hindsight should have been on the watch list but I missed completely. Why? Only a single year playing at the highest level of college football, coupled with a concern that his game was all about his physical skills and not about technique. Ooops! -- Tim Tebow. With the sacking of Josh McDaniels comes the speculation that Tebow will be following shortly, traded away or even cut by the new Head Coach. As a result, many are already labelling Tebow a bust, berating Daniels for drafting him and for not having a plan for his development. All of which I find laughable. I think Tebow, quite apart from his rushing skills, is just straight up a very good quarterback. Very good. I think a first round pick for Tebow was fine. And I believe his development was coming along nicely. The trouble is though we're in an age when everybody wants everything now. They want Tebow on the field, winning games single handedly, and they want it yesterday. But that's not how things work. McDaniels's use of Tebow in short yardage and goal line situations reminds me of the story of a another quarterback during his development phase; Joe Montana. Despite what some peoples glossy memories may recall, Montana started his career in San Fransisco as Mr. Fill In. He was brought in for the odd play here, a drive or two maybe towards the end of game etc, but for his first season he was nothing more than a situational quarterback. Montana subsequently went on to be a half decent quarterback (I have no smilies, so I'm literally going to have to type *wink*). Cast your mind back as well to last season. Remember the name Michael Vick. Remember that in Philadelphia he was worked back into the team largely through his use in short yardage and goal line situations. That story didn't turn out too bad now, did it? (*wink*. So far...). In fact, the parallels between Tebow and Montana are more than you'd think. You're going to have to trust me on this one but you need to go back and watch Joe Montana throwing. In a bit, I'm even gonna lay on a video for you. What you'll see is very much a Tebow-esque release (or is Tebow using a Montana-esque release?). Montana's dipping motion with the ball isn't quite as pronounced and he sometimes uses a much faster motion, but trust me it's there, on film, on game day. So all this utter nonsense about Tebow's motion being unacceptable in the NFL is ridiculous. It's analyst speak for "we need to cover our butts in case he doesn't pan out". Well I for one have no intention of covering on this. I think Tebow is someday going to be a great quarterback. There it is. In writing. If I'm wrong, then damn it, I'm wrong. But I vehemently believe that Tebow deserves a chance and I think people are wrong about bashing Josh McDaniels for having the courage and audacity to pick him and try to develop him. Now here's your film clip, part of a seven part series that I probably have already posted on here before. Ah well, it's definitely worth posting again. You'll have to nip over to YouTube yourself to watch the other six parts : Right, time to get my pick in for tonight's game. Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans: Colts win. Job done. Allow me though to explain. I know that Peyton Manning threw four picks in week 14. I get that, he's having a bad year. But even though he threw four interceptions, and even though two were returned for touchdowns, the fact remains that the Colts still took the Cowboys to overtime. Manning completed 36 of 48 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Freeney and Mathis both had sacks. The Colts had a rushing touchdown, and they made a big play on special teams as well. But let's not forget the most convincing reason that they should win; They're playing the Titans. The Titans. And yeah, I know the Titans have Chris Johnson, but that doesn't matter. This is the Titans we're talking about. I've learned that just because I would cram the ball down Indy's throats with the running game until they started puking up stitches, doesn't mean that the Titans will actually do that. Last week against the Jaguars they handed the ball to Johnson just 13 times. That was it. Now do you think Kerry Collins is going to tear up the Colts secondary instead? I don't see it. The best hope the Titans have is if their D-line can get back to making big plays against the pass. Like the Chargers and Cowboys before them, they need to get to Manning. Anything less will not suffice. That could be a problem though given the Titans recent knack of leaking rushing yardage. The Colts may not exactly be the masters of the rush, but against a 6-man front they can block to a reasonable degree, enough at least to victimise the wobbly looking Titans defense. All in all, I just can't see the Titans offense being able to keep up. As the score mounts the Colts options on offense get more flexible while the Titans offense becomes more one dimensional. As a result, the Titans let the game slip away and give Colts fans some hope. At least for now. Colts win. Have a great day everyone.

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