WELCOME TO DALLAS WEEK!!!!!!!
1. I love hearing the debate that centers around the bye week each year. Is it in a good spot? Is it too early? Is it too late? In what ways does this benefit our playoff chances? Anyone can spin any of these questions in any variety of ways. My thought process around the bye week usually involves trying to get some family events scheduled. St. Megan appreciates having a weekend during the season when it is okay to schedule us away from the television for a handful of hours in the middle of the day. When we were first married, I got tons of points for this--but only because she had no idea what a bye week was (no NFL in Vermont). It serves as one of my earliest lessons learned as a married guy: doing a good thing once gets you a certain amount of points; failing to do it every single year thereafter for the rest of your life costs you immeasurably.
2. My biggest hope for the 2013 bye week is that it offers Robert Griffin III the perfect spot to rest as well as digest the first four weeks of action. Since he played in zero preseason games, the first four games of the season represented his first live action since his surgery. No practice session can simulate a real NFL game, so Griffin had to use the top of the schedule to reacclimate himself to things. Regardless of how much more comfortable he is under center after the first four weeks, what won't go away is the knee brace and the lingering effects of the surgery. I suppose my most optimistic thought is that the healing process that is ongoing was given a real boost by the week off. Maybe--just maybe--he will have a little bit more of that RG3 magic than he did in his first month of live action. Either way, the bye was probably placed perfectly for Griffin. Even if we had managed to win more than one game, it always seemed to me to be the kind of timely mini-break a guy might need if he was coming off major reconstructive surgery on his knee.
3. As for how this bye week helps our defense...insert your own most optimistic thought. Aside from being the first week of the season that we haven't given up a ridiculous amount of yards, the bye week perhaps only buys our coaching staff some time to try and figure something out. I watched most of that Denver Broncos victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Even though Tony Romo threw the ball away late in that game, he still managed over 500 yards through the air and put his team in a position to win a game where roughly 100 points were scored. I am pretty sure I know what that would have looked like if our defense had been on the field, though I will refrain from saying it out loud. We have to hope that the Dallas team is maybe a little punch drunk after that game, and focusing too much on the loss. Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris need to have a watertight plan for Sunday night, or else the ugliness that will ensue--on national television and then on local sports radio--will make the government shutdown look like a day at the beach.
4. Just like last year, our bye week comes on the heels of some Sunday disappointment. Sure, last year we were further into the downward spiral of doom than we are now, but at 1-3, we aren't exactly booking Super Bowl flights (well, except for ih8). It will be considerably harder to run the table after our bye this year, but the truth is that last year's run was about as improbable as they come. What is important is that we don't have to run the table, though we also have very little margin for error. The NFC East is officially a game of "Who Wants It the Least?" I love how the popular thing to do now is to match up a playoff probability with a team's record. Here's one for you: If 100% of the teams in a division have losing records after 17 weeks of football, then there is a 100% chance that a losing record will qualify a team for the playoffs. It is becoming more and more apparent to me that the winner of the NFC East is not going to be decided until sometime in late December. You think the Giants are out of this? Think again. They're not dead--they're just "mostly dead," a la The Man In Black from "The Princess Bride (not Inigo Montoya).
5. On behalf of myself and Kevin, I wanted to thank everyone who supported our event this Saturday at RFD to raise money for the Yellow Ribbon Fund. Congratulations to Jim and Rob for capturing the championship in our first annual charity Beer Pong challenge, and also to Joe and Andy for getting up off of the mat after a long Friday night to make a title run. I would love to individually name everyone, but since only one person specifically mentioned the Sixpack, it makes it easy to throw a shout-out to Kyle. Starting an annual tradition is not easily accomplished, but look for our announcement for next year's event shortly after the 2014 schedule is released. We can't wait to build on the success we enjoyed this year.
6. It is Dallas week, so let's not let this Sixpack get away from us before we kick things off the right way. As a matter of practice when I began writing here at Hogs Haven, I would substitute the word "Cowgirls" whenever "Cowboys" was used. It generated a decent amount of angst among the few Dallas supporters who ventured onto our site to see what we were all about. I wasn't worried about offending Dallas fans with the characterization of their team as a bunch of women. It wasn't until I realized that women were unhappy and insulted with being negatively linked to the Dallas Cowboys organization that I discontinued the practice. Once again, I apologize for offending women by using words that associated them with the worst sports franchise on planet Earth.