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Old 11-10-2009, 12:50 AM    (permalink
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Default Week 9 Power Rankings and Thoughts

I was planning on writing half of the season thoughts after Week 8 but I never got around to it. But better late than never so here are my “Week after half of the season” thoughts.

Why would you move up into the first round of the draft to select a QB and then not start him? The Browns did just that in the 2007 draft when they moved into the first round in a trade with the Dallas Cowboys so they could select Brady Quinn. Since then Quinn has started in only six games and has only played in eight. The Browns were in a position to draft their QB of the future (Quinn), which they did, but also get value for a QB in Derek Anderson (2007 Pro Bowler) by trading him.
Since the drafting of Quinn the Browns have gone in the opposite direction of building the offense. Instead of adding play-makers around their would be franchise quarterback they have traded away any chance of adding firepower to their offense. During the 2009 draft the Brown traded down from #5 to #21, moving from a position to draft wide receiver Michael Crabtree, arguably the best wide receiver in the draft, and instead settled on drafting the best center in Alex Mack despite being in a position to draft WR Percy Harvin, who has become a home run threat in Minnesota. Not only did they not receive value by trading down in the draft but they failed to receive value when they traded away their two best offensive weapons in WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow Jr. Now, their fan base is turning on them, their new head coach is on the hot seat, their running back is retiring after this year with no heir apparent, and the organization is talking about bringing in Mike Holmgrem to run the show. The Oakland Raiders have set the bar on incompetence and the Browns have followed that blueprint to perfection.

The breaking news after Sunday's Week 9 game was the release of Kansas City Chief RB Larry Johnson. There was speculation last year that he would be released and I was surprised when he wasn't. Johnson turns 30 this year, has a history of violence (allegations of beating women), and has clashed with head coaches and front office personnel. There is no doubt of his talent on the field but any organization that gives him a second chance will be one that is reaching out due to desperation. Not surprisingly the team that is showing the most interest is the Washington Redskins. While Johnson stated that he would like to join the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is doubtful that the Steelers organization would want to bring him in. In the past Pittsburgh has brought in a trouble running back (Jerome Bettis) and helped turn his career around, the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall, the team still having Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore as depth, and the size of L.J's contract all but nullifies any interest the team may have had.

Speaking of the Redskins, DeAngelo Hall's atrocious behavior during the game against the Atlanta Falcons was ridiculous. Falcons coach Mike Smith had a right to be angry about the hit but the two professionals, LaRon Landry and Matt Ryan, who participated in the act walked away after the play. It wasn't until DeAngelo came in, a good three second after the play had ended, and initiated an altercation with the entire Atlanta bench that the situation got out of hand. This situation was just another incident in a career marred by mental lapses and out of control play by an overrated and overpaid cornerback that has never fully applied himself to his craft.

No one doubted what Steve Spagnuolo did for the Giants defense but many, including myself, would have thought that the transition from him to current Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan would have been flawless as far as execution on the field. That has not been the case as the Giants have failed to create consistent pressure on opposing offenses. The loss of CB Aaron Ross and S Kenny Phillips were both significant, as were injuries to LB Michael Boley and DT Chris Canty, but the most significant loss was the creativity behind “Spags” scheme. Sheridan just does not create the mismatches through line stunts and changes that “Spags” did nor are his blitz packages as effective.

It was obvious during Sunday's game against the Saints that the Carolina Panther's coaching staff has lost all faith in QB Jake Delhomme. They rarely let him throw down field, kept most of the passes in short to intermediate routes, and continually ran on third down. The Panthers game plan was effective: try to grind down the Saints defense by exploiting their depleted run defense. It worked well but fumbles and restraining your QB from putting the ball in one of your most explosive players hands (Steve Smith) kept them from giving the Saints their first loss. What does that say about your back-up quarterbacks if your starting quarterback has performed as poorly as Delhomme and the coaching staff still refuses to yank him from games?
It goes without saying that the Panthers will more than likely be in the hunt for a quarterback this offseason since they lack a first round draft pick in this years draft. The best free agent QB on the market will be Jason Campbell and this could be the opportunity he needs to shine. He would be going to an organization with a solid OL, great running game, and an explosive WR and wouldn't be asked to win games on his arm alone.

Green Bay entered the season with much hype. Talking heads mentioned them in the playoffs and possibly even the Super Bowl, however, with the Pack now having played eight game and leading the league in 37 sacks given up it seems pretty evident that the Packers will be watching from home come this winter. This past Sunday the Packers gave the Bucs their first win of the season and allowed the anemic Tampa Bay defense to sack Aaron Rodgers six times. If Green Bay doesn't want Rodgers turning into David Carr then they need to dedicate their off-season in bringing in someone, anyone that knows how to keep defenders from doing jigs in the backfield all game.
In other Green Bay news, the new 3-4 system that Capers has incorporated is not very impressive, at least not for me. I have mentioned this before but when you have one of the best 4-3 DE's in the game, along with a nice set of linebackers you don't switch to a 3-4. Capers is not utilizing Aaron Kampman effectively which in turn creates lack of pressure on the opposing defenses. The Packers are 29th in the league in sacks with only 13 on the season, and although they rank near the top of the league in total defense, their lack of pressure is disturbing.

Even without standout defensive end Antwan Odom, the Bengals found a way to hold the Ravens offense to just seven points, with the lone touchdown coming during the fourth quarter. This is the first time since 2007 that Cincinnati has swept Baltimore. The much-maligned Marvin Lewis and the Bengals made several high risk moves during the off-season, just like each year, but this time it has paid off. Cedric Benson has resurrected his career and looks like the runner he did during his time at Texas. LB Rey Maualuga has been a great draft pick for them which is just another weapon on a young defense. They are even playing without rookie first rounder Andre Smith, which when he comes into the fold should make their offensive line that much more potent. The keys to this turn around has been a healthy Carson Palmer, the emergence of WR Chris Henry (although he is now lost for the season), savvy veteran WR Laveranues Coles to replace the departed T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Mike Zimmer's defensive scheme.

Now, on to the power rankings...

This week the lone unbeaten teams remain perfect despite scares, the last winless team gets a W, and Big D is still rising and has taken the top spot in the NFC East. The top five remains unchanged from last week and two teams re-enter the top ten.

Bye week teams: Buffalo, Cleveland, NY Jets, Minnesota, Oakland, St. Louis

1. New Orleans Saints (8-0) – 8-0 for the first time in franchise history but the turnovers are a problem. They play the Rams and Bucs next to try to iron out the kinks with their offense.

2. Indianapolis Colts (8-0) – Houston gave them a scare but the Colts came out victorious after a Kris Brown miscue.

3. Minnesota Vikings (7-1) – Coming off the bye week the Vikings host the Lions which is more like an exhibition game.

4. New England Patriots (6-2) – The Patriots just entered the rough part of their schedule and travel to Indianapolis next week.

5. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) – With a win at Heinz Field next week the Bengals could lock up their division for the first time since 2005.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – The Steelers used the Ravens blueprint very effectively in how to beat the Broncos. A key match-up against the Bengals looms next week.

7. Denver Broncos (6-2) – They got gashed by Mendenhall on the ground and have dropped two straight.

8. Dallas Cowboys (6-2) – Big D has won four in a row and face the Packers and their inept offensive line in Lambeau next week.

9. Atlanta Falcons (5-3) – Burner Turner is starting to get going which will help going against Carolina.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3) – Why do you call a FG to cut a seven point league to four with only four and a half minutes left? The Andy Reid school of coaching, ladies and gentlemen!

11. Arizona Cardinals (5-3) – Warner threw 5 INT's last week. This week? 5 TD's and the Cards rolled over the Bears.

12. Houston Texans (5-4) – Kris Brown was about two feet away from taking the game into OT.

13. San Diego Chargers (5-3) – The Bolts are turning it on when it counts and are only a game back from the Broncos.

14. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) – This game against the Bengals showed how vulnerable the Ravens really are.

15. New York Giants (5-4) – Da G-Men get a week off to rest up and get healthy before hosting Atlanta.

16. Miami Dolphins (3-5) – Another tough loss for Miami whose record isn't indicative of the type of team they really have.

17. New York Jets (4-4) – They host the Jaguars next which will tell a lot about both teams.

18. Green Bay Packers (4-4) – In order to keep Aaron Rodgers from leaving on a cart, the Packers should stay in max protect all year, especially next week against the Cowboys.

19. Chicago Bears (4-4) – The Bears were annihilated by the Cardinals which allowed Arizona to put in Matt Leinart at QB which was a slap in the face to Chicago.

20. Carolina Panthers (3-5) – If they would have even had a mediocre quarterback they could have knocked off the Saints.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) – This team is the epitome of an enigma.

22. San Francisco 49ers (3-5) – They have dropped their last four. They host the Bears who have lost their last three out of four. Somethings gotta give.

23. Buffalo Bills (3-5) – The only good news in Buffalo is that S Jairus Byrd is in discussions for DROY.

24. Seattle Seahawks (3-5) – Down 17-0 to the Lions the Seahawks needed Matt Hassleback and his broken ribs to bail them out.

25. Tennessee Titans (2-6) – The change at QB has provided a spark that the Titans didn't have in their first six games.

26. Oakland Raiders (2-6) – They come back from the bye week to play the Chiefs which should be a winnable game, however, this is dah Raidahz.

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7) – They looked impressive against the Packers, especially rookie QB Josh Freeman.

28. Washington Redskins (2-6) – The scuffle that took place on the Atlanta sidelines signifies how much disarray the Redskins are in.

29. St. Louis Rams (1-7) – Coming back from the bye the Rams host the Saints, which is a team that resembles what the Rams used to be.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) – The entire organization should be better off without Larry Johnson and it gives RB's Kobly Smith and Jammal Charles more time to shine.

31. Detroit Lions (1-7) – Soooooooooo close. The Lions had the Seahawks right where they wanted them but then let them off the hook.

32. Cleveland Browns (1-7) – Even Cleveland fans didn't miss their team this week when they were on the bye week.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:11 AM    (permalink
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I enjoyed the Write up. I think that the vikings will win 2-1 for their next three games. i can't complain about 9-2 for the first 12 weeks. Can't complain at all.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:13 AM    (permalink
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I would put Detroit ahead of KC. I watched that Lions/Hawks game and thought that the Lions weren't nearly as bad as their record shows. Just a lot of rookie mistakes by a very young team.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:15 AM    (permalink
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What does that say about your back-up quarterbacks if your starting quarterback has performed as poorly as Delhomme and the coaching staff still refuses to yank him from games?
About as much as it said about DeAngelo Williams when DeShaun Foster was starting over him despite being the worst RB in the NFL - that he plays for a dinosaur of a coach
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:25 AM    (permalink
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25. Tennessee Titans (2-6) The change at QB has provided a spark that the Titans didn't have in their first six games.
Yeah, we're movin' on up,
to the tooop,
of a deluxe team rankings,
on this siiite!


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Old 11-10-2009, 01:55 AM    (permalink
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I disagree with 1 point you made about the Bengals. Chris Henry hasn't really emerged this year. He continued to be a situational WR that got very little reps yet was still explosive. This is the same thing we've seen from him since he came into the league. And while he's helped us thus far, I don't think he's been a "difference maker".

I've said it many times in the Bengals forums, but I think Chris Henry is the most talented WR on our team, and has been since he came into the league in 2005. Unfortunately he's made a lot of mistakes and has been unreliable for us, and therefore the coaching staff has no trust in him. He should have been our #2 this season, but his many run ins with the law have stunted his progression and prevented the coaching staff from putting their full trust in him and that is why we signed Coles.


Also maybe I'm a homer, but I don't think the Bengals make that many high risk moves. Sure in the 2005 draft we picked up Odell Thurman and Chris Henry, but other than that the only other risky draft picks all came this year. And notable free agent acquisitions since Marvin came are Deltha O'neal, Antwan Odom, Terry "Tank" Johnson & Lavernius Coles. The only one with any history is Tank Johnson. We got a lot of news all at once that made us look bad with the 14 arrests in a season, but since then no one has really been in trouble consistently.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:43 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Bengalsrocket View Post
I disagree with 1 point you made about the Bengals. Chris Henry hasn't really emerged this year. He continued to be a situational WR that got very little reps yet was still explosive. This is the same thing we've seen from him since he came into the league. And while he's helped us thus far, I don't think he's been a "difference maker".

I've said it many times in the Bengals forums, but I think Chris Henry is the most talented WR on our team, and has been since he came into the league in 2005. Unfortunately he's made a lot of mistakes and has been unreliable for us, and therefore the coaching staff has no trust in him. He should have been our #2 this season, but his many run ins with the law have stunted his progression and prevented the coaching staff from putting their full trust in him and that is why we signed Coles.

Also maybe I'm a homer, but I don't think the Bengals make that many high risk moves. Sure in the 2005 draft we picked up Odell Thurman and Chris Henry, but other than that the only other risky draft picks all came this year. And notable free agent acquisitions since Marvin came are Deltha O'neal, Antwan Odom, Terry "Tank" Johnson & Lavernius Coles. The only one with any history is Tank Johnson. We got a lot of news all at once that made us look bad with the 14 arrests in a season, but since then no one has really been in trouble consistently.
The fact that Henry was arrested approximately 92 times and is still on the team tells you all you need to know about the Bengals. Even if they've been better lately it is incredibly obvious that the organization tolerates that kind of behavior, which is about as close as an org can get to outright condoning it. Oh well. I can't help but like the Bengals. Chad is great, but it's a Trojan reunion factory too.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:54 AM    (permalink
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Aww yeah. Chiefs not dead last!
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:32 AM    (permalink
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Not a bad list once you put Miami a few spots lower where they belong. Your homerism is showing with that one team.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:07 AM    (permalink
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The Jaguars aren't all that unpredictable. They're a typical below-average team. They show signs of good things (9th ranked offense) but are especially weak in one area (23rd ranked defense, with an especially porous pass defense). Finishing 8-8 would be nice, but 6-10/7-9 is more likely.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:09 AM    (permalink
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Not a bad list once you put Miami a few spots lower where they belong. Your homerism is showing with that one team.
Homerism for Miami? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:14 AM    (permalink
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3. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) – With a win at Heinz Field next week the Bengals could lock up their division for the first time since 2005.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) – The Steelers used the Ravens blueprint in how to beat the Ravens and used it very effectively. A key match-up against the Bengals looms next week.

5. Minnesota Vikings (7-1) – Coming off the bye week the Vikings host the Lions which is more like an exhibition game.

6. New England Patriots (6-2) – The Patriots just entered the rough part of their schedule and travel to Indianapolis next week.

The Steelers are better than the Vikes. Right now, the Bengals are better than the Steelers. That is how I would do it. I don't think the Vikes or Pats are better than either the Bengals or Steelers. And yes, it does hurt me to have the Bengals ahead of the Steelers.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:53 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by terribletowel39 View Post
3. Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) With a win at Heinz Field next week the Bengals could lock up their division for the first time since 2005.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) The Steelers used the Ravens blueprint in how to beat the Ravens and used it very effectively. A key match-up against the Bengals looms next week.

5. Minnesota Vikings (7-1) Coming off the bye week the Vikings host the Lions which is more like an exhibition game.

6. New England Patriots (6-2) The Patriots just entered the rough part of their schedule and travel to Indianapolis next week.

The Steelers are better than the Vikes. Right now, the Bengals are better than the Steelers. That is how I would do it. I don't think the Vikes or Pats are better than either the Bengals or Steelers. And yes, it does hurt me to have the Bengals ahead of the Steelers.
I can see your reasoning. These next few weeks will show a lot as to how the teams should be ranked.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:56 AM    (permalink
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Amazing there are teams worse than the skins lol
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:08 AM    (permalink
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I don't know how you can put the Patriots ahead of either the Steelers or the Bengals. Over the past two 3 weeks the Steelers have looked like a top 2-3 team. The Patriots looked medicore in their effort against Miami and played a couple of High school teams the previous two weeks. A lot will be determined this week. Colts/Patriots, Bengals/Steelers.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:13 AM    (permalink
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Aww yeah. Chiefs not dead last!
It won't be long.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:23 AM    (permalink
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Green Bay entered the season with much hype. Talking heads mentioned them in the playoffs and possibly even the Super Bowl, however, with the Pack now having played eight game and leading the league in 37 sacks given up it seems pretty evident that the Packers will be watching from home come this winter. This past Sunday the Packers gave the Bucs their first win of the season and allowed the anemic Tampa Bay defense to sack Aaron Rodgers six times. If Green Bay doesn't want Rodgers turning into David Carr then they need to dedicate their off-season in bringing in someone, anyone that knows how to keep defenders from doing jigs in the backfield all game.
In other Green Bay news, the new 3-4 system that Capers has incorporated is not very impressive, at least not for me. I have mentioned this before but when you have one of the best 4-3 DE's in the game, along with a nice set of linebackers you don't switch to a 3-4. Capers is not utilizing Aaron Kampman effectively which in turn creates lack of pressure on the opposing defenses. The Packers are 29th in the league in sacks with only 13 on the season, and although they rank near the top of the league in total defense, their lack of pressure is disturbing.

18. Green Bay Packers (4-4) In order to keep Aaron Rodgers from leaving on a cart, the Packers should stay in max protect all year, especially next week against the Cowboys.
You're spot on with the lack of pressure, it's insane our secondary locks it down for 4-5 seconds consistantly but we can get no pass rush, whatsoever. It's so frustrating.

As for offense, max protect is not the answer. The pass plays that we run are too deep! They take forever to develop and the get busted up. We need to lean on the tight ends and backs running dump routes more. Also, Donald Driver has been running the slant succesfully for the last 10 years. I don't get why we don't throw that as much any more.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:25 AM    (permalink
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I don't know how you can put the Patriots ahead of either the Steelers or the Bengals. Over the past two 3 weeks the Steelers have looked like a top 2-3 team. The Patriots looked medicore in their effort against Miami and played a couple of High school teams the previous two weeks. A lot will be determined this week. Colts/Patriots, Bengals/Steelers.
the patriots looked mediocre because the benjarvis green ellis guy dropped a td pass and moss dropped another td because his hand placement was so awkward. the patriots choke in the red zone in other words. that game should have been 34-17 in favor of the patriots.

your right though, the pats defense is not that good at all. miami dropped alot of key balls in the end game. mr mediocre orton (still think he is better than tom brady? lol, what a joke) threw for over 300 yards against the pats.

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Old 11-10-2009, 01:16 PM    (permalink
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If the Giants do anything this season, its because of Michael Boley and Eli Manning.

Boley is by far our defensive MVP. I'm actually shocked that the Falcons let this guy go. We stole an amazing 4-3 WILL from them. The 4-3 WILL that we once knew is a dying breed (more will be said in an upcoming thoughts thread), and we stole one of the few still left in the NFL from the Falcons.

Now if he can just stay healthy, we'll have a chance.

On the offensive side, Eli carries our offense. He really does. Our weapons aren't special, our oline isn't special, and now even our run game isn't special anymore. Eli carries our offense.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:39 PM    (permalink
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I always liked Boley. He was fantastic with us under Zimmer, but he didn't fit into Mike Smith's system. I am glad he is playing well though, good story.

Am I the only person who thinks it would be cool if Mike Smith gets suspended for fighting? That is awesome. I love a coach willing to fight for his guys, literally.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:23 PM    (permalink
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Amazing there are teams worse than the skins lol
Don't give up hope, a flukey touchdown or two could mean the difference against the Broncos, they are a ball control/defense team.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:42 PM    (permalink
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Don't give up hope, a flukey touchdown or two could mean the difference against the Broncos, they are a ball control/defense team.
Any TD the redskins score is going to be a fluke and i gave up hope when we lost to the lions, i honestly dont dont see how the redskins could win anymore games. Dont ever take havin a good QB for granted because rivers has throw more TD's than our offense has scored all year lol.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:44 PM    (permalink
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I always liked Boley. He was fantastic with us under Zimmer, but he didn't fit into Mike Smith's system. I am glad he is playing well though, good story.

Am I the only person who thinks it would be cool if Mike Smith gets suspended for fighting? That is awesome. I love a coach willing to fight for his guys, literally.
that would be pretty funny
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:46 PM    (permalink
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I always liked Boley. He was fantastic with us under Zimmer, but he didn't fit into Mike Smith's system. I am glad he is playing well though, good story.

Am I the only person who thinks it would be cool if Mike Smith gets suspended for fighting? That is awesome. I love a coach willing to fight for his guys, literally.
what i don't get though is how he didn't fit Mike Smith's system. The guy can cover like nobody's business. He seems like a prototypical Tampa 2 Will to me.

He can also blitz and all that, but I don't see how he struggled in a Tampa 2.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:56 PM    (permalink
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that would be pretty funny

Our coach is a badass mofo who won't take D-Hall's ****!
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