Here we are, sports fans, the regular season is finally upon us once again. The off-season was once again filled with T.O., Ricky, Maurice, and a little guy from USC named Reggie. We’ll get to those things, but lets start with the current events.
Opening kickoff to the 2006 season started in Pittsburgh, where it appears that Daunte Culppeper may be as inept as he seemed the last two years in Minnesota. 18/37 for 262 and 2 INTs is not exactly a ringing endorsement of a quarterback that simply had too many distractions to be successful in Minnesota. He said he felt as good as he ever did, and that he had something to prove in Miami. Well, he didn’t. I know that there are still fifteen games to go, but I can’t help but think that all of his problems are above the neck. He always had great mobility to go along with the cannon mounted on his right shoulder, but now that the mobility is gone we should see the real Daunte in the upcoming weeks. Coincidentally, that will be the same one you saw in Pittsburgh.
While we are on the subject of quarterbacks, when is the league going to stop paying lip service to actually protecting them? I have always been a proponent of letting them play a little more, and also feeling that you can’t breathe on a QB without getting a penalty. That was until I saw the hit on Trent Green by Robert Geathers. It is supposed to be a rule that a defender cannot hit a quarterback once his has “given up” and slides feet first. Now, I understand that a defender running after the quarterback cannot immediately stop, but to lay a shoulder into someone else’s head is definitively intent, and should have been flagged and fined. In my opinion, the defender has to make an honest effort to pull up or lighten the blow to a sliding quarterback. The same thing kind of intentional hit came in the Cards/49ers game, when Darnell Dockett hit Alex Smith out of bounds and cut him right at the knees at full speed. Again, not even a hint at a flag. My fear is it will take a serious injury on a star from a malicious hit for the league to wise up.
We saw many surprises in week 1, as we always do. The Ravens have to be one of the biggest, as the addition of Steve McNair has resonated not only in the offense, but the defense as well. It appears that they are playing with a new found confidence. The confidence doesn’t reside in their playing ability, as much as it does with the offense and the ability to score points. A great deal of pressure has been relieved from Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and company and that gives them the ability to take more chances to make big plays. I don’t believe it has as much to do with Ray Lewis being healthy as it does having the capacity to pin your ears back and really come after opposing teams. Lastly, it is much more desirable to have a leader that doesn’t have a rap sheet.
Did a blue moon suddenly come our way? Recently Randy Moss made comments about being happy with Aaron Brooks as his quarterback and that he has to walk on eggshells around the team. I have absolutely no idea what the basis is for either one of those comments, and apparently neither does Art Shell. I guess it’s just that the occasional pot use has moved to the Williams factor (see I knew I could get him in somewhere.)
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week: SEA vs DET : A game, with no TDs, decided by a field goal from the team that has an all world back in Shaun Alexander and the defending NFC champions. Their opponent was the Lions. Enough said.
Cleveland is all kinds of snakebit. First, they lose every center that even thought about playing for the team, then Joe Jurevicius breaks ribs and is out probably for the first half of the season. Next thing you know is Willie McGinest will retire for one day and sign with the Dolphins.
John Madden had one of his classic one liners again, saying that the Dolphins had to come out and establish the running game in the second half, which they did. The Dolphins rushed for 38 yards on 18 carries. When exactly did they establish it, after the Steelers went to the locker room?
Speaking of commentators, Troy Aikman said that many people predicted Jacksonville would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Who exactly? Did they forget about the Colts, Patriots, Steelers, Broncos and Bengals? He was saying it in the same breath as the Cowboys representing the NFC, but sheesh.
One bold fantasy prediction : Rudi Johnson will win the rushing title barring injury. I would be willing to bet he was available at the end of the first round in most leagues and will be a steal at that spot.
I can’t believe Favre came back. Week Three of the preseason should have told him it was a mistake, but the first shutout of his career and the first for the Packers in 233 consecutive games is a glaring reminder. I think he’ll be benched by Week 6 in favor of Rodgers.
A story from the Denver Post today, “If David Carr struggles early, Texans coach Gary Kubiak could turn to backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels. Rosenfels outperformed Carr in training camp and in the preseason. That would be right along with their line of thinking, since they passed on Reggie Bush. He only had 119 yards from scrimmage this week and Mario Williams had two tackles and no sacks.
Thanks for staying with us everyone, on to Week 2