Around The League

by Tommy Lawlor  –

* The big talk about the Jets-Colts game is Jim Caldwell’s decision to call a timeout in the final minute. That was a questionable move, but I found some fault in what Peyton Manning and the offense did leading up to that point. The Colts got the ball with 2:36 left in the game. In two plays they got out to their 46-yard line. There was a little over two minutes left on the clock. Manning rushed the team to the line and got a snap off before the two-minute warning. Dumb move.

The Colts only trailed by a point. They were 20 yards from FG range. At that point Manning should have realized he could slow things down. Scoring quickly would only benefit the Jets. Peyton should have waited for the two-minute warning. That would have only eaten up eight more seconds, but you don’t know how that might have impacted the Jets final drive. Normally Peyton just doesn’t make mental mistakes, but I sure thought that was one.    * The big argument last spring was Eric Berry vs Earl Thomas. Berry was my guy. Mike Mayock loved (and continues to do so) Thomas. Both guys were early picks and have played well. Both started on playoff teams. Berry had a terrific game in the loss to the Ravens. He was in on 10 tackles (9 solo). He broke up 4 passes. Berry gave up some completions to TE Todd Heap, but prevented several as well.

Thomas also played well. He led the Seahawks with 8 solo tackles. He broke up a pass. The best thing he did was close to the ball quickly so that Saints receivers were challenged when they tried to make catches. It also limited their ability to get RAC yards.

* Great showing by rookie RB James Starks for the Packers on Sunday. I liked him quite a bit last spring. He had a good combination of size, athleticism, and skill. He fell to the 6th round because he missed his Senior year with a shoulder injury. Starks had 23 carries for 123 yards in the win over Philly. He hit the hole hard and showed good burst. He ran through arm tackles. Starks started the year on the PUP list so he’s got pretty fresh legs and it showed in the win.

* Slot receivers were huge last weekend. Brandon Stokely had a big game for Seattle (4-73-1). Several of the catches came on 3rd downs and were critical plays. Blair White had a big game for the Colts (6-54). Jason Avant led the Eagles in catches and yards (7-93). He also caught the team’s only TD pass.

Compare that to the Chiefs. They only had one true WR in the game, Dwayne Bowe, and he was shutout. Kevin Curtis had only been with the team a week or so and he got a lot of playing time. KC desperately needs a couple of guys to help the passing game and take pressure off Bowe.

* I’m glad the whole Jim Harbaugh saga is over. I like him. I loved him as a player and I’ve been fascinated with him as a coach since his days at San Diego. That said, I didn’t get the whole “Harbaugh is god” routine. Teams were willing to do whatever it took to land him. I think Jim can be a good NFL coach, but I just didn’t see why teams were so desperate. We’ve seen an elite coach like Steve Spurrier fail. Butch Davis was a very good college coach, but didn’t succeed in Cleveland. Harbaugh has done some nice things in his young coaching career. I just don’t know that he’s such a compelling candidate that I would break the bank to get him. There is now going to be pressure on Jim to win instantly. Can he handle that?

I do think Jim is a good fit for the Niners. He has an offensive background. The Niners haven’t had a consistently good offense in years. They must develop a QB and passing game. There are some good pieces in place, but a QB is needed before that team will be able to make the next step.

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