Turkey Day Leftovers

Lions vs. Packers

Matt Stafford was really staring down receivers in early game today. I don’t catch the Lions on a weekly basis to know if he’s been doing this consistently, but he may as well have told the Packers where it was going all day. He paid for it in a big way, throwing interceptions to Charles Woodson and Rob Francois. Tramon Williams baited him on another one that should have been a pick-six, but was dropped. Stafford finished with three interceptions.

Calvin Johnson finished with four catches for 49 yards and a score that came in garbage time. One thing I have noticed this year is that the Lions fail to get him into the game early. Today they showed that Megatron was being bracketed, but great receivers get bracketed. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan needs to sit down and find ways to get Johnson the ball more early, especially now that Kevin Smith was lost. The Lions are only going to go as far as the big man takes them this season.

Yes, Kevin Smith was lost today and that’s going to hurt as he looked really good. Frankly, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he’s on fresh legs and nobody else is. He did run with power and caught the ball well out of the backfield though. That’s a combination the Lions haven’t had all season. Supposedly Jahvid Best may come back next week, but I’m not holding my breath. FRIDAY UPDATE: Smith has a high ankle sprain.

I’m a huge fan of Ndamukong Suh. That said; today he kicked a player on purpose while they were on the ground today after a little wrestling and got ejected. I’m all about rough football, but the league offices need to send him a little message this week. Hitting his bank account isn’t going to do it; he needs to sit a game and see that type of crap isn’t going to fly.

Aaron Rodgers had an “off” day against Detroit. He only completed 67-percent of his passes and threw two touchdowns for a 116.6 passer rating. Terrible day for the Cal product…

In all seriousness I think what shocks me the most about how great Rodgers has played this season is that the Packers have no running game to speak of. They used four running backs today and Ryan Grant led the way with an awe-inspiring 20 yards.

Charles Woodson had his sixth interception of the season in the game. If you’re reading this and are over 30, you remember that Woodson was one of the most amazing college players in recent history and that he was a mercenary with the Raiders.

A crazy stat for you – Woodson turned 30 years old during his first season with the Packers. He’s had 36 interceptions in 5.5 seasons since then. He only had 17 interceptions in 8 full seasons with the Raiders. He’s like fine wine…

Cowboys vs. Dolphins

Is it a prerequisite that you have a noodle for an arm to become a Miami Dolphins quarterback? I applaud Matt Moore for how he’s handling the offense, but I feel like I could take a bathroom break when he throws anything other than a quick slant or a screen. I can’t believe he isn’t throwing two interceptions two every touchdown.

When did Reggie Bush start looking incredibly human? I mean, I watched him plenty in New Orleans and realize that the transition to the NFL slowed him down from being a Football God, but he’s looked absolutely normal in open space against the Cowboys.

Sean Lee is turning into a very, very good inside linebacker for Dallas. It broke Tommy’s heart when the Cowboys drafted him coming out of Penn State and watching him play so well all season is not doing me any good either. He reads and reacts so well and is so effective on the blitz up the middle.

Tony Romo is pulling more completions out of his backside than should be allowed. He’s done a spinning pirouette flip on his way to the ground to pick up a first down and threw a lob pass into traffic to Jason Witten that Max Jean-Gilles could have intercepted. It’s obscene. Of course, then he throws a beautiful throw to Laurent Robinson in the corner of the end zone.

I didn’t think Mike Pouncey would be very good coming out of college. A lot of that came from the fact that I was privy to some Florida practice and spring game film where his own linebackers would putting him on his butt.

He’s doing pretty well. For the most part he’s been absolutely hammering whoever the Cowboys line up across from him in this game in the run game and has been sound in pass protection. He still needs to do a better job of staying low, but I’m not going to complain about what I am seeing. The job he’s done in blitz pick-up has been outstanding.

DeMarcus Ware only had an assisted tackle in the contest if you’re checking the box score. For those that watched the game, it felt like he was all over the place. He drew two holding penalties on Dolphins left tackle Jake Long and both were “bail outs”. What I mean by that is that if Long didn’t commit the penalties; Matt Moore may have been killed.

Ware gets a ton of credit and respect, but I still don’t think people understand how good of a defensive player we’re watching right now. He is truly one of the most dominant pass rushers I’ve ever seen play in the NFL.

Lastly, I don’t talk about kickers much because … well I have no idea what the heck I’m talking about when it comes to the subject. A kicker isn’t going to win rookie of the year unless Al Davis is voting (is it too early?), but Dan Bailey has been the best kicker in the NFL as a rookie. He’s now 25 of 26 on the season and is 9 of 9 over 40 yards. Not bad for a kid the Cowboys picked up off the streets.

Ravens vs. Niners

Jarret Johnson continues to be one of the most intriguing players in the NFL to me. You’ve got a 6-foot-3, 270-pound SAM linebacker running around out there and not only does he come up and play the run, but he’s good in space too. Michael Crabtree caught a pass on the sidelines and tried to reverse his field to juke Johnson and the big man just made a quick step and threw him down. It was a two-yard loss trying to pick up more yards. He drops back into zone coverage and looks natural.

Johnson sets the edge really well as he obviously has defensive end size and can really get in and play the run. He had a big TFL early in the game and was getting a solid enough pass rush off the edge so the Ravens could bring people up the middle. I’d love to have a guy like that on my team. Still don’t understand how he moves around as well as he does.

Sorry, I flipped over to watch the Texas vs. Texas A&M game…

All I can say is that I really wanted the Aggies to win and that of course; Craig Davis is a tool.

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One Response to Turkey Day Leftovers

  1. Nathan says:

    Matt, I was wondering if you or Tommy could talk a little about Urban Myer going to Ohio State? It seems like they immediately become relevant again. Could you also add any insight on the Illinois opening. I just want the right guy hired. I feel like with Chicago and St. Louis in our backyards there isn’t any reason we can’t be at least 7-5 or 8-4 each year. I know you guys have some connections and I’m just curious to see if you’ve heard who might be the front runner or who you guys think would be the right fit. Thanks!

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