We here at Hogs Haven are in preseason mode ourselves. For the upcoming season, every Tuesday will feature my attempt to cover the world of the NFL (with a unique focus on our favorite team in burgundy and gold of course) in the way I see fit to cover it. Hopefully there will be an occasional nugget of information that you can use to your advantage in fantasy football, or even a friendly wager. Hopefully you will be entertained. But above all else, I hope you will turn Tuesdays here into your own place to vent about all things NFL and add your own flavor to create a unique home for league analysis (with an emphasis on how it all pertains to us as Redskins fans of course.)
We Talkin' Bout Practice?!?
They dress it up to look like a game, but these preseason affairs are nothing more than practice sessions. When Spurrier was running up the score in Osaka, it was still just practice. And when Zorn was staring down the business end of a 500 yard performance by the Ravens, it was still just practice. Sure, it makes me feel better to call a preseason shutout practice, but these games don't count and as long as they don't count, there is no reason to get hung up on the score.
That said, it was still a gigantic kick to the nads. I was so fired up to see the team in action. Even the no-namer wannabes who will be out of the league in a few weeks were capable of making a play that I had waited all summer to see. Yet we did not even manage a measly field goal attempt. I get that players were being asked to do things they probably will not have to do come September (like play cornerback if you're talking about Justin Tryon). Big Al and Carlos Rogers were spectators and that had some effect. So attribute whatever amount of the 300+ yard differential to them, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, and anyone else you think might have played more or at all in a regular game. But not even a field goal attempt. Come on. And to the Baltimore Ravens? Jeez, you'd have thought they won the Super Bowl based on the trash talking I have had to listen to in the last 4 days.
Good news: the bar is set rather low for ways in which we can improve over that performance.
Bad news: we get another team that is extremely annoying to perform poorly against.
Solution: Don't get shut out and don't give up 300 yards more than you gain. Like I said...the bar is set very low. We will spend more time later this week on our preseason scrimmage against the Steelers.
I Can't Believe I Watched Every Game
The beauty of TiVo/DVR is that this was actually possible. Now, did I watch every tick of every game? God, no. I kept it in fast-forward for huge chunks at a time. I figured I could catch a whole game and get just about everything out of it I cared to learn in 30-45 minutes. The NFL Network put them all on the schedule, so I put them all on my schedule...for you. (OK, I admit, I loved every second of it. And my wife was ecstatic that at least I was watching a game that occurred in the last few days as opposed to games that occurred years and decades ago.) Some quickhitters from the rest of the slate of games last week:
Seattle Seahawks 20, San Diego Chargers 14 - Antonio Gates looks healthy and Norv Turner looks ready to turn a 13-win team into an 8-win team (again). I am going to root hard for Matt Hasselbeck this year. I think he will have a big year. As for Julius Jones, do I dare gamble on him in fantasy this year? He looked better than I ever remember seeing him when he was in Dallas.
Houston Texans 16, Kansas City Chiefs 10 - Could Matt Schaub challenge Tom Brady and Peyton Manning if he stays healthy for a full season? Will we EVER find out the answer to that question? I love Todd Haley as a coach of my fantasy players...a LOT. Dwayne Bowe needs to wake up and do whatever it takes to get on his good side, because he could blow up with Haley calling plays. He looked good off the bench to me.
Tennessee Titans 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 - All I really wanted to see here was Josh Freeman. I always like to see how the rookies look when they take the field for the first time. He is the biggest 12-year old looking dude I have ever seen. And I was not that impressed by him to be honest. His throws lacked a sense of purpose, like Paris Hilton. I suppose this game also had the potential for a Vince Young meltdown, but he actually looked okay. Maybe next week.
Green Bay Packers 17, Cleveland Browns 0 - Nice...we weren't the only team to get shut out in Week 1 of the preseason. Awesome. We are in the same boat as the Cleveland Browns. Something about Aaron Rodgers prevents me from seeing him as a perennial 4,000+ yard passer. His Pac-10ness just oozes out of him and drips slowly off of that incredibly creepy facial hair of his. I am sure he kills it with the ladies because, well, if you wear a jersey in "The League" you can kill it with the ladies. But I also wonder how close he is allowed to be to elementary schools...in feet...exactly.
Buffalo Bills 27, Chicago Bears 20 - Let me be very upfront on this one: I believe Trent Edwards is the real deal. Prior to the concussion last season, he was looking every bit good enough to lead that team to the playoffs. I LOVE the no-huddle offense from a fantasy perspective and think he is going to win some fantasy owners some serious cash this season. Since I am being honest, let me also say that while it would be petty to wish bodily harm to Jay Cutler, I have been known to visit Pettyville on occasion. He just pisses me off, and I hate it because I really want to like him. But I can't because he is a gigantic douche-bag.
San Francisco 49ers 17, Denver Broncos 16 - Nobody wants Kyle Orton to destroy it out in Denver more than me. And I mean like, Lindsay Lohan-style destroyed, which is of course the level of destroyed where it becomes barely recognizable. But the dude stunk out loud. It was hard to watch. On the flip side, are the 49ers going to run with their old-school jerseys all year? God, I hope so. More teams need to get back to their old jerseys. Including the Redskins. Based on what I saw, between Gore and Coffee, they have a running game to write home about.
Detroit Lions 27, Atlanta Falcons 26 -This game was about as alluring as watching church on TV. But I simply had to see Matthew Stafford get his reps. I spent a lot of time on fast forward waiting for him to enter the game. I can honestly say of all the Week 1 preseason action, watching Stafford was the most exciting. I am ready to say he will be a huge success. Unlike Freeman in Tampa Bay, his passes seemed ambitious and easy, like Paris Hilton. His throwing motion appeared effortless, and resulted in deliberate, purposeful throws. I simply can't imagine right now that he will bust out of this league. I almost had to change my shorts after watching his performance.
New Orleans Saints 17, Cincinnati Bengals 7 - Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco looked in sync, and the Bengal defense looks like it might finally execute Marvin Lewis' scheme. Drew Brees continues to look like the human video game out there, tossing it around to anyone he wants. I think I caught a pass from him at one point.
St. Louis Rams 23, New York Jets 20 - I didn't care about this game when I watched it, and I don't care about it now. Sanchez looks like he should be the starter, but I fear he is the kind of player who everyone knows is good enough to play and win, but will always be sidelined with some fluky injury. Why do I think that? I don't know...it has to happen to someone, and Rex Ryan seems like as good a candidate as any. I guess I like Stephen Jackson as a fantasy runner, but the thought of having a Ram on my fantasy squad is just too depressing to think about right now.
Minnesota Vikings 13, Indianapolis Colts 3 - No signs of Brett Favre yet. Will it happen? I continue to think it will. Rosenfels started limping after one play and all I could think was, "Is someone paying Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels to take dives?" The real joy of this game for me was not watching Peyton Manning get sacked 3 times on his first 5 dropbacks or wondering whether Adrian Peterson was going to "accidentally" run over one of his quarterbacks to get one step closer to Favre. It was the punter. Good God...Pat McAfee was a beast. His first punt was 64 yards. His second punt was 62 yards. He averaged 50 yards on 7 punts! Sure it was indoors, but this kid is a rookie! This was his first chance to shine. The guy he is trying to replace is now in D.C. (Hunter Smith put up 9 punts for a 45.2 yard average. I know I kind of killed him a little in my post-game write-up, and maybe I shouldn't have, but his initial punts underwhelmed me.)
Oakland Raiders 31, Dallas Cowgirls 10 - I don't care about either of these teams, but I simply love the score.
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Arizona Cardinals 10 - I wonder if Limas Sweed is going to get it right this year? Steve Breaston looks like he is going to have another big season. I was disappointed that Chris Wells did not play. Big Ben really forced himself on the defense while he was in there, briefly...I had to.
New England Patriots 27, Philadelphia Eagles 25 - Can't forget about Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb. Both looked happy and healthy. Is LeSean McCoy going to be one of the rookies that busts out this year? He looked good. I can't believe they let Vick wear Jaws' #7 jersey! The real question I want to know is which runningback is going to knock it out this year in New England. The good news is that by Week 17, I might have an answer.
Monday Night action:
New York Giants 24, Carolina Panthers 17 - I love John Fox going for two to tie up a preseason game with less than a minute to go. It is such a huge middle finger to the injury gods. But all was righted in the universe when one of the Giants' 5,000 defensive linemen (Tommie Hill) cleanly picked a fumbled ball out of the air and ran it in for a TD with zero time remaining. David Carr impressed me. I think he is worth owning in fantasy this year.
Miami Dolphins 12, Jacksonville Jaguars 9 - Thankfully the NFL Network threw this game up at 11 PM EST so I could flip right over to it after the Monday Night tilt on ESPN. Then I realized that the final score was 12-9. Let's just say it did not receive my full 100% attention. Ted Ginn Jr. looked legit, and Ricky Williams also showed well. Jacksonville looks like it will contend for most boring team in the league this season.
Give Me the Numbers, Stat!
In this spot in the weeks to come, we will track key league stats throughout the season and analyze what is happening and maybe even why. For example, the Redskins are 0-1 this preseason. One could argue that the 500 yards per game against and the zero points scored have contributed heavily to this disappointing record. I just blew your mind didn't I?
Looking forward to making my way through the season one Tuesday at a time. As the weeks unfold, the commentary from all of us will become more compelling. Right now, I have to clear out my DVR and get ready for Week 2 of the preseason.