We are now through Week 2 of the Sherm Lewis experiment. In two weeks, we have managed 17 points per game. Hmmmm...that strikes me as EERILY similar to our offensive output for the last few years. You guys mentioned it yesterday and it bears repeating--the adjustments that were made at halftime were reminiscent of the kind of adjustments that made previous teams in this town famous. Sherm Lewis put something together in the second half that resembled a legit offense. His play-calling skills are sharpening to be sure. Part of my problem with this setup though is that it adds yet another category on the Spin-the-Wheel of excuses that every TV analyst on ESPN and Fox is using for their explanation for why this team continues to struggle. So no matter how successful Sherm is, it becomes impossible to separate his role as "consultant" from the circus that is our front office. If we started winning, it would be easier to ignore that aspect. But that leads me into my other issue with this whole setup. At 2-6, is the Sherm Lewis experiment more about saving our season or saving Vinny Cerrato's job? Nobody wants this team to win more than me/us. But I am seriously conflicted with regard to my rooting for Sherm Lewis. The complexity of this soap opera is hilarious. One character in this thing though that I find myself more and more drawn to is Jim Zorn.
Partly because I believe that Jim Zorn is the kind of man that is worth giving every chance to and partly because I don't think a quality coach is going to come here with genuine intentions I just want to say that Jim Zorn should be our coach next year. First let's talk about...well, the first part. It is not Jim Zorn's fault that Dan Snyder hired a guy who may have been a little raw to be the head coach here. In fact, the one thing everyone knew was that Jim Zorn was raw. If Dan Snyder saw something in Jim Zorn that made him think Zorn could be a future successful head coach, then he simply has to be patient. You can't be right about something like that immediately every time. We have come to know since he was hired that Jim Zorn is a man of character and integrity. If Snyder learned anything from Joe Gibbs, it is that character and integrity are the most important things to build a team around. It is what a man does when things aren't going his way that you learn the most about him. To put it mildly, things aren't going his way these days. Zorn is not running from the challenge. Do any of us honestly blame Zorn for the offensive line problems? Cerrato rolled the dice big time and it cost Zorn any chance to get his offense going. Finally, we have fired coach after coach after coach. At some point it is not the coach (although at multiple points in our past...it was the coach...hehehe.)
As for my assertion that no good coach is going to come here with genuine intentions, I think what I mean is that with the amount of money it is going to cost Snyder, it will be very, very difficult to discern the true motives for anyone stepping into this situation. There are only 32 head coaching jobs in the league. One thing the Raiders have taught us is that even though there is a scarcity of opportunities, qualified candidates can and will decline to enter into a situation that seems problematic (is that putting it nicely enough?) So, here is a press conference I will not buy at all:
Mike Shanahan: "I am excited to work with Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder to put this franchise back on the map in the NFL. I think the way they do things here makes a lot of sense and I look forward to participating in the decision-making process."
So whether I am way off on this thing or not, one thing I think I would really like to see is Jim Zorn be given a chance to grow into his job...perhaps with a different guy pulling the strings on the personnel side.
Now on to our award-winning league notes:
Ten Yard Fight: 10 Chances To Make One Good Point
1) You don't go undefeated in this league without some close calls to some teams that have no business playing you tough. That is why you have to circle Sunday, December 6th on your calendars. The Saints travel to Washington, D.C that day, likely with a perfect record. You heard it here first: Skins over the Saints 28-27.
2) Something about Tom Brady that continues to bother me is his insistence on telling people that him and his teammates are motivated by comments made by their opponents leading up to a game. Really? You mean you otherwise wouldn't have done everything in your power to win? You mean you don't expect guys like Joey Porter to forever be running his mouth? In a game where if you give less than 100% for even a second you could end up in a hospital, I simply find it hard to believe that Tom Brady actually cares what guys like Joey Porter says. Just say what you mean...I would buy this:
Tom Brady: "Beating that son of a bitch is so satisfying, given the amount of trash that dude talks."
3) I am wrong about so much...really, I am simply wrong constantly. But not about the Bengals! I have taken so much heat from Steelers and Ravens fans in recent weeks for expressing my belief in Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer. This week I'd like to thank Brian Leonard for always seeming to know where the 1st down marker is and for playing the way you wish everyone on your favorite team played all the time.
4) Now on to my wrongness...fine, I made the Redskins 10-6 in my preseason predictions. I guess all I can really say now is...THE SKINS ARE GONNA RATTLE OFF 8 STRAIGHT WINS!
5) Who has a better shot at the playoffs? Chicago or Green Bay? I am going with Green Bay because like an idiot, I still think that defense will come around.
6) When Kris Brown missed that field goal against the Colts, I felt like this team might actually be destined to go undefeated. The loss of Bob Sanders and Marlin Jackson should be too much for the Colts to overcome--from a "going undefeated" standpoint. But one thing you always know you can count on...Peyton Manning is capable of outscoring any opponent at any time. He doesn't even need a lot of time to do it. Remember the Dolphins game? Their defense was roundly beaten, but in the 15 minutes he had, Peyton put up enough points to win.
7) Is anyone more quietly in the playoff race than the Jacksonville Jaguars? At 4-4, they are in thick of the AFC playoff race. I just don't know if I buy into that offense fully, but the Garrard/Jones-Drew/Sims-Walker battery is winning me over.
8) Watching the Giants lose is normally so much fun. But when Norv Turner is on the other sideline, some of the joy is sucked out of the experience. Who would you rather have: Eli Manning or Philip Rivers?
9) Tough loss for Mike Singletary and the 49ers. A win would have gotten them to .500. That division was squarely in their sights but now at 3-5 (after starting 3-1), they have a lot of work to do in the second half of the season. They came in with one of the stingiest run defenses in the league. Chris Johnson got his though didn't he?
10) If Matthew Stafford would have thrown only 2 or 3 interceptions, they might have won. But FIVE? I have Stafford on my fantasy team and I had to play him because mark Sanchez was on a bye (yeah, my team sucks). Every time the Lions had the ball, I would think, "OK, a chance for some points." Then the graphic would come up that it was Seattle's ball. Really? No...another pickle? You're killing me dude.
Give Me The Numbers, Stat!
In case any of you missed it on the Monday Night Football telecast, here are the last 7 first round picks by the Pittsburgh Steelers:
2003 - SS Troy Polamalu
2004 - QB Ben Roehtlisberger
2005 - TE Heath Miller
2006 - WR Santonio Holmes
2007 - LB Lawrence Timmons
2008 - RB Rashard Mendenhall
2009 - DE Ziggy Hood
It should be noted that for the most part this team picks late in the 1st round, so maybe that explains the lack of a top offensive tackle selection. Their line is certainly in good shape though.
Last week's picks: 2-2
This week's picks:
49ers over Bears
Jets over Jacksonville
Colts over Patriots
Bengals over Steelers