Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thoughts on Week 5

What a bizarre week in the NFL.
First the Rams defy expectations and overcome the Cardinals. That was a big one for the Rams as it helps to establish the fact that they do have some decent players on their team who can produce. Just need to find a bit of consistency now.
The Vikings roll on for another week. I thought Ponder was the best quarterback in his class and he looks like he's beginning to settle in now and become a bit more comfortable. The defense also had a big game against the Titans. As for the Titans themselves, they just look like a raft on the North Atlantic, getting battered mercilessly at the whim of their opponents. They have no offense, no defense, and no hope at this rate.
Miami picked up a big win. Importantly for their future, Ryan Tannehill looked like a class act. He made some truly superb throws from what I've seen. If he can keep that up then things are looking good for the Dolphins. Just a note on the Bengals though and defensive linemen Geno Atkins. I love Atkins and I've been touting him since he was drafted. He now has 6 sacks for the season, but all the attention is on J.J. Watt of the Texans. Now Watt has certainly deserved his praise, that's beyond question. But Atkins has deserved his too, so how about a bit of love for the big guy in Cincinnati?
Andrew Luck took a big step forward with the Colts. The bigger issue though is what is happening to the Packers. They should have sealed that game up tight but for some reason they couldn't get it done? A lot of criticism is being aimed at Aaron Rodgers and naturally as the quarterback he is blaming himself, but I see a hell of a lot of dropped passes, which is on the receivers. The defense is also struggling to shut people down like they used to. Still, don't take anything away from the Colts. Their defense played a huge game and they fought back on offense to earn their win.
The Ravens continue to be a bizarre team that completely lacks consistency. One week they're amazing, the next they're beating the Chiefs 9 points to 6? Thank god I'm not a Ravens fan or I'd be pulling what's left of my hair out after a performance like that.
Thankfully I'm a 49ers fan, and right now we're being rewarded for our patience. A bit of stability has done wonders for Alex Smith, but the true test is going forward from here. It's one thing to shut out a terrible Jets offense and then rip apart a terrible Bills team. It's quite another to do that on a consistent basis against the best the NFL has to offer. As for the Bills? It's insane. I have no idea how they ended up this bad.
Got a pretty good idea why the Jets are as bad as they are though. The Texans are a good team who played well and deserved their win, but the Jets are killing themselves. They actually played some good defense at times despite being a bit short on talent. But that offense is just miserable. The offensive line can't protect, they can barely run block, the receivers struggle to catch passes, Sanchez's decision making is often poor, the way they use Tebow causes real problems with rhythm and consistency on offense, and they struggle to even get their personnel and the play on the field in time for the snap. It's just a train wreck of an offense. It badly needs simplifying and stream lining, or chaos will continue to ensue every week.
The Browns meanwhile have started to make some progress on their previous offensive woes. Trent Richardson is every bit as good as we all thought he would be. Just the defense that needs fixing now. Could be another long year for Cleveland fans. Props to the Giants though. They're cooking along nicely and Eli Manning seems to have finally settled on Victor Cruz as his primary receiver, which is bad news for the teams still to face the Giants this season.
The Eagles struggles continue. Mike Vick is coughing up the ball at a ridiculous rate right now. As odd as this may sound, a quarterback change might be a good thing for the Eagles right now. I really like Nick Foles and the Eagles don't really need a huge amount of offense. They just need a bit of stability and someone who doesn't keep fumbling the ball away to the opposition.
Staying with the NFC East, Washington put up a good fight against the Falcons. The injury to Robert Griffin is obviously a concern, but I like Kirk Cousins. He's probably a better pocket passer than Griffin and with the receivers they have he might actually have a good shot at taking this team along. Griffin's injury could actually, in a rather unfortunate way, prove to be a positive. Matt Ryan certainly gave the Washington quarterbacks a lesson in high level NFL quarterbacking. The Falcons look really good right now.
No controversy in their win this week for Seattle. Russell Wilson is doing a good job for a rookie and making some very nice throws. Seattle still has a way to go though before they can challenge the 49ers and Cardinals in the NFC West. The Panthers look hopeless. Cam Newton is struggling with decision making at this level. He's used to being the most athletic player on the field, but that's no longer the case in the NFL, and under pressure he just buckles like a cheap bumper. That whole team is in trouble though. Good, 'cos I hate the Panthers.
Chicago rolls on again. Their defense is just suffocating people at times. Though to be fair, this was the Jaguars they were playing. Blaine Gabbert continues to look horrible. At some point someone in Jacksonville needs to just admit that Gabbert was a major mistake and it will take way too long to fix him. It's like being an alcoholic; the first stage in overcoming your addiction is admitting that you have one. The Jaguars have to realise that Gabbert is not the guy they thought he was and move on. Except your loss and find someone else, because that kid is going nowhere.
Denver and New England played out a closely fought game. I think the Patriots will be concerned that they let the Broncos work their way back into the game, but also pleased at how strong their running game is looking this year. If this keeps up they'll be a good bet to return to the Super Bowl. Again.
The Chargers/Saints game on Sunday was ruined by the officials. Pass interference was the order of the day, and frankly I think the quality of the officiating not only made the replacement refs look like saints, (pun not intended) but it also handed the Saints a game that they didn't deserve to win.
They got four major pass interference calls their way; they had a touchdown that should have been scrubbed off the board for quite blatant offensive pass interference in the end zone, not long after their drive was kept alive by a terrible call against the Chargers defense. They got a pick on a tipped ball when they should have been called for defensive pass interference. And then to cap it off a bogus offensive interference call against the Chargers denied them a huge first down and associated yardage.
That game was otherwise entertaining, but was completely spoiled in the end by the terrible officiating. Just ridiculously biased. The refs let the Saints quite blatantly get away with stuff that they had previously flagged the Chargers for, and one can only presume that's because they were intimidated by the atmosphere in the Superdome, or just favoured the Saints. A fair, impartial official does not flag one person for one action and then not flag someone else for the same action, or vice versa.
Anyway, that last gripe aside I thought Week 5 was a very entertaining week of football. Hopefully either tomorrow or the day after I want to get back to some play drawing, as I picked up something in the Texans/Jets game that will be useful to illustrate.

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