John T. Georgopoulos
The Lowdown - Week 6

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Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 6. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe—feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!

Clipped Birds

OK, we can now add the Falcons to the official list of really disappointing teams. Their 1-4 record may be the least of their worries, believe it or not. WR Julio Jones looks like he’ll miss the rest of the season due to a broken foot (or at least long enough to make fantasy owners really depressed); running mate Roddy White has been hobbled all season with a bad hamstring and may be placed on the IR-Return list. RB Steven Jackson has already missed (essentially) four games. The Falcons defense stinks. Fantasy owners are down to Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez.

But perhaps the biggest impediment to Atlanta ever making the Super Bowl is head coach Mike Smith. This guy might be one of the top three worst in-game coaches I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Rich Kotite and Barry Switzer. How many times has this dolt bypassed points to go for it on 4th-and-1? Or gone for it on his end of the field in a one-score game?

Smith rewarded my faith in his mediocrity once again Monday night, as he chose (twice!) to bypass a chip-shot FG inside the Jets’ 10-yard line at the end of the half, instead choosing to go for the TD. The Jets defense held and the Falcons went into the locker room down by 10. Of course, this had no effect in the closing moments of a game the Jets won by kicking a FG with no time left on the clock, 30-28.

Pack it in, Falcons fans; Giants and Steelers fans have some seats warmed up for you.

New York, New York

It’s Week 6 in the NFL. Is that right? I only ask because I glimpsed at the standing this morning and I saw the Jets in first place in the AFC East, which I assumed could only happen when all the teams are 0-0.

However their season ends, Jets' fans have something to give them hope. The defense looks solid again, and I absolutely love that defensive line featuring Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. The Mark Sanchez experiment is over—and while Geno Smith isn’t a sure thing like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, he has shown enough potential to keep me interested. The offensive line is a guard away from being really good. Sure, there’s a lot of upgrading to be done at the offensive skill positions, but this isn't a bad Year 1 of the usual five-year plan.

The best part of the Jets’ surprising start? The lack of the usual amount of hot air bellowing out of Rex Ryan’s pie-hole. With the exception of the typical “We knew what kind of team we had here” quotes, 'ol Rex has been unusually quiet, which seems like an unusually smart move in a city that seems to be more focused on why the Giants are 0-5. So keep laying low Rex; let the Giants take all the media heat. You just keep focusing on your defense and the young QB you didn’t want to draft.

What About the OCs?

The Steelers and Giants are both winless heading into Week 6. The Texans are a disappointing 2-3. While there are plenty of issues that have contributed to those teams’ disappointing starts, a common issue seems to be their respective offensive coordinators.

With the Steelers, it’s been an open secret that OC Todd Haley and QB Ben Roethlisberger are simply not on the same page. Haley has a reputation of being stubborn and set in his ways, and you can see that Roethlisberger is not comfortable in that offense. The site of a big, strong-armed QB having to constantly throw seven-yard outs is a bit unsettling. One of them has got to go, and it’s not too often that two-time Super Bowl champion QBs are let go.

With the Giants, everyone knows that I despise Kevin Gilbride as a play-caller; I openly cheered when Buddy Ryan punched him in the face on Monday Night Football in 1994. Look, Eli Manning is not the most physically gifted QB in the league, but the one thing he does well is run a hurry-up offense where he just lets his instincts take over. Ever watch a Giants’ game? Humor me and take a look this Thursday night and count the number of times the Giants break their huddle with more than 10 seconds on the play clock; I bet it won’t be more than four or five. The result is either a delay of game, a busted play due to Eli trying to desperately change the call with no time on the clock, or crazy defensive pressure because the linemen can also see the play clock. Either get the play in to Manning faster or let him go into a hurry up; either way, this nonsense has got to stop.

With the Texans, QB Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-six in four straight games. One of the guys who took it back to the house, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, indicated that the Seahawks thought they saw a pattern in the Texans’ play calling and simply sat on a route they knew Schaub would throw. Whether it’s OC Rick Dennison or HC Gary Kubiak or a combination of both, it’s very troubling that teams seem to know the play that’s coming. Kubiak even defended Schaub a bit after the Seahawks’ loss, saying that the QB really doesn’t have the option of checking out of a play once it’s been sent in.

Sorry, Texans’ fan who rolled up on Schaub, but some-- or perhaps a lot—of the blame for Schaub’s poor play has to be put at the feet of Dennison and Kubiak.



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