MAQB

The official title has been adjusted to Monday Afternoon QB. 

by Gimpy      (follow him on Twitter – @NFLGimpy )

One of my pet peeves with the media is that they’re so heavily week to week with their coverage. They look exclusively at what just happened, not trends and how they project to the future. In so many words, they have no perspective as to what has actually happened. Sunday was the perfect example.

I’ll use an example to show praise on a player I’ve criticized: Tim Tebow. Well, I actually haven’t criticized Tebow as much as tried to steer people towards giving credit where it is due, which up until this week has been their defense. Anyways, back to the point. Sports writers lack long term perspective. I look at headlines from the Broncos-Patriots game and I see things like “Tebow Comes Up Short,” “Still Believe in Tebow?” and “Give Tebow a Pass.”

Allow me to be blunt: what the heck are you idiots talking about? So because Tebow couldn’t pull off another comeback you start questioning his abilities? This was the first game I watched Tebow where his passing didn’t have a “where in the world are you throwing the ball” streak. He didn’t go 3/16 at one stretch. He completed 11/22 (50%) of his passes and was 10/16 at one point and the incompletions didn’t start until he had to force passes due to being behind. He also had his 2nd best rushing day of the season.

Why do I say we need perspective on Tebow? This is the first time his defense let him down. A lot of people have said that they let him down in the Minnesota game, but Tebow was dreadful the first half of that game and their defense did a phenomenal job keeping the Broncos in the game. They even forced a critical turnover to win that game. Denver’s defense couldn’t stop Tom Brady  yesterday (320 yards and 2 scores and a rushing score) or their RBs (123 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Tim Tebow isn’t good enough to beat Tom Brady with his arm. No one will argue that, but that’s exactly what his defense forced him to do.

So what’s the perspective here? Tim Tebow played effectively enough for his team to win. His defense let him down in the game where he looked his best. So why ask “do you still believe in Tebow?” in a game where it wasn’t his fault he lost. The reason is obvious to me, but sadly to sports writers, it isn’t. The reason is you gave Tebow way too much credit for their wins and now when they don’t you suddenly stop believing in him? Even as someone not drinking the Tebow kool aid, I think it’s absurd to take credit away from him because his defense finally let him down. If I’m in a team meeting watching film, I look square at the defense and say “Danny Woodhead might be 100 pounds lighter than most of you soaking wet in full pads, how can you let him run through tackles like that?”    

* * * * *

Let’s put some perspective on the perfect seasons that were lost yesterday: the Packers and Colts. Ok, so the Colts weren’t going to a “perfect” season, but you get the point. What does this win mean for the Colts? Pretty much nothing. They will still pick first overall and all they will get from this win is the pride of being better on paper than the 2008 Detroit Lions. The real perspective is the Tennessee Titans and this loss.

The Titans are still technically in the playoff race but no way do they deserve it. Matt Hasselbeck is coming back down to reality (2 INTs and 5.6 yards per attempt) and Chris Johnson went back to his early season form (15 carries for 55 yards). Oh and those 55 yards, 35 of them came on one carry, meaning he had 14 carries for 20 yards every other time he ran the football. This was against the same Colts D that let Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones of the Chiefs combine for 174 yards on 29 carries. Playoff teams win the games they need to win. When faced with a must win game, the Titans lost to the worst team in the NFL by 2 touchdowns.

I emphasize the phrase “need to win” because the Packers did not “need” to win against the Chiefs. I think the 2011 Packers resemble Elway’s last hurrah with the Broncos much more than the 2007 Patriots. That bodes very well for the Packers because I firmly believe you can’t win a Super Bowl until you’ve been punched in the mouth hard.

That’s what happened to the Broncos after a 13-0 start. The Giants came in and harassed Elway to 3 sacks, an interception, and no touchdowns. That year, the Giants were 5-8 headed into the game with nothing to play for but pride. Sound like the Chiefs?

Rodgers was harassed all day, rarely had time to throw, and ended up getting sacked 4 times, hit 5 other times, and had 5 passes deflected. The Chiefs defense beat him up all day long. So going along with my perspective theme, I remember watching an NFL Network program on the 98 Broncos and something Mark Schlereth was talking about. Whenever the Broncos won (which they did the first 13 games) they were able to practice while wearing a hat instead of a helmet. That’s the perspective Scherleth had: he hated practicing with a helmet on. They lost their perfect season, but they won the Super Bowl easily and convincingly. What should the Packers take from this loss? Your #1 goal is still in sight and while 19-0 might seem special, you just gained very valuable perspective: you aren’t invincible, you can be smacked pretty hard by a team that is inferior on paper.

Quick Hits

-Reggie Bush is finally becoming the feature back he was supposed to be. He had 203 yards on the ground yesterday and against the Bills and he has 406 yards over his past 3 putting him at 973 total for the season. His career high before this season? 581. He could double that this season.

-The Seattle Seahawks will be a very, very dangerous team if they get better QB play and a healthy Sidney Rice next season. I’m talking Super Bowl contender good. Their defense is solid, Marshawn Lynch is a punishing runner, and if they simply get an above average passing game (currently 23rd in the NFL in passing yards, 28th in touchdowns), look out NFC. They still have an outside shot at a wild card spot and could be a difficult out, just ask the Saints.

-All John Skelton does is win. My former underpaid player of the week is keeping the Cardinals alive in the wild card race. Their chances are slim, but they do have a chance.

-Matt Stafford is really growing into a franchise QB. A 98 yard game winning drive in a very hostile environment (Oakland)? That’s the kind of stuff you need (and discipline of course!!!) to make the playoffs.

-Some wannabe Peter King said that the Ravens should refund their fans some of their ticket cost for their game against the Colts because both teams stopped trying in the 2nd quarter. This week? Refund the Chargers fans who wanted to see their squad face an NFL team. Hey, Ravens, it’s crunch time, you have the division lead and the tie breaker.  You shouldn’t be down 31-7 at the start of the 4th quarter. You desperately need a home playoff game because you suck on the road (3-4 on the road, 7-1 at home).

-I think Tampa is playing to get Raheem Morris fired. You can’t possibly be this bad, can you?

-The 6th spot in the AFC wild card race is getting very interesting. With an embarrassing loss to the Eagles, the Jets only have the 6th spot via tiebreaker (common opponent winning %). The Jets play the New York Giants in a “home game” and then go to Miami, 2 very losable games. The Bengals have a home game against the Cardinals and an away game at Baltimore.

-The Jets-Giants game has more playoff implications than you can possibly imagine. A Giants’ loss (coupled with an Eagles victory over the Cowboys) could mean all 3 NFC East teams are able to win the division in Week 17. A Jets’ loss puts the 6th spot in the AFC up for grabs, including a surging Chargers team no one wants to play.

-Last week I wrote about Julio Jones and what his presence brings to the passing game for the Falcons. His game this week? 5 catches on 6 targets for 85 yards and a touchdown, a 17 yard per catch average. The Falcons torched a very underrated Jaguars defense (5th in yards allowed).

Overpaid/underpaid player of the week

Overpaid: Santonio Holmes, WR New York J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!! As many of my fellow Eagles fans saw, Holmes played like he bet his mortgage on the Eagles. He fumbled his first catch and it was returned for a touchdown. On the Jets’ next drive, Holmes had a pass inside the Eagles 20 (red zone) hit him square in the hands, bounce off of them, and directly into the opportunistic hands of Asante Samuel. A few players later and it’s 14-0 Eagles off of 2 mistakes by Holmes. Fast forward to the Jets trying to get back into the game and Holmes scores a touchdown. How does he react? 15 yard excessive celebration penalty.

On a quick sidenote, I haven’t read Peter King’s MMQB yet and Holmes may be his goat of the week. If so, I have proof that I tweeted King to make Holmes his goat before his column came out. If that’s the case, I obviously didn’t steal it.

Underpaid: Matt Moore, QB Miami Dolphins. Let’s look at Moore’s stats during their 7 game hot streak (5-2):  62% completion, 196 yards per game, 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.  It’s not franchise QB good or anything, but it is better than you’ll see on the Raiders, Seahawks, Jaguars, Bears minus Cutler, Colts, Rams, Vikings, Redskins – you get the point. I spoke a few columns ago about the importance of a good backup QB.

Moore had another solid outing versus a falling Bills squad. 217 yards passing (over 10 yards per attempt), 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Keep it up and he may earn a shot at a starting gig next season.

Week 16 predictions

New Orleans: 34
Atlanta: 28

Drew Brees already broke 2 NFL records last week (11 300+ passing yard games in a season and 7 350+ in one season) and Marino is in his sights after falling just barely short last season (15 yards if I recall correctly, tweet me @NFLGimpy if I’m wrong). Brees is only 304 yards away from the record and I predict he breaks it inr a critical win to keep their hopes of a 1st round bye alive. Atlanta wraps up their wild card bid with an easy W in week 17 over Tampa.

Philadelphia: 31
Dallas: 21

The Eagles, after the Giants loss, put the heat on the Cowboys to win next week or somehow, the Dream Team could win the division.

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6 Responses to MAQB

  1. Dan in Philly says:

    I rather enjoy the weekly short sightedness on the part of the media. It makes for an amusing game I like to play called “guess the narrative.” The way you play is you think about what might happen in the upcoming week of action, and depending on the outcome you think is most likely you guess what angle the media will take. You then loudly start playing up that angle with your co-workers before the games are played, and if your prediction comes true you are viewed as a sage.

    Last week the liklihood of the Broncos coming up short against one of the best offenses in football (maybe one of the best of the past decade!) was quite predictable. So, looking forward it was clear to see the media would either blame Tebow for not winning, or claiming it was the defense which let him down. Depending on your views, you could have started on either narrative last week and claimed the results validated your views, since now the “experts” were coming around to your way of thinking.

    Next week, it’s quite likely the Cowboys will beat the Eagles (they are favored, after all) and assuming this happens, the narrative will be how awesome the Boys really are now that all the pieces have fallen into place. You’ll look back at their losses over the year and other than the Eagles’ first game, all have been close, last minute meltdown types. The Cowboys will be the favorite dark horse to represent the NFC.

    Avoid the rush! Write a post before the game about how you are leaning towards the Boys to win it all this year. Since everyone is so enamored with the idea of a three team tie going into the final week of the season, you’ll be one of the only ones to do so, and next week if they win you can trumpet your genius for the world to see. If they lose, well, on to the next prediction :)

  2. Stephen says:

    Tebow has relied on his defense in pretty much every win this season. Imo theres nothing to get excited about when your defense needs to hold the opposition to 10 points or less for you to have a shot at a last minute comeback every week. Tebow playing well against the Pats D is not very surprising either, considering they have one of the worst defenses in the NFL this year.

    I think Tebow is going to fall back down to earth in a big way, maybe not this season but in the future he will.

  3. NFLGimpy says:

    Dan: I like your “Guess the Narrative” game. You gave me an idea for my column: Next Monday’s Headline. I’ll give you a shoutout in the column for stealing your idea. I will also blame you every time the headline is wrong and give you none of the credit when he’s correct. I figure if I’m going to be famous as a sports writer and/or analyst, I might as well start stealing ideas now. How the hell else do you think John Clayton got his gig? I’m pretty sure he turns on the news to see what color tie to wear.

    Stephen: You and I definitely agree on the Broncos. Tebow hasn’t been bad, but his defense has been phenomenal. Anyone not named Caleb Hanie would win at least half of their games since Tebow took over.

  4. Jyot says:

    John Skelton vs. Kevin Kolb. Who ya got?

  5. Dan in Philly says:

    Gimpy, I will enjoy the next monday’s headline segment – I am constantly amazed that others don’t take this track when writing as it’s so fun and easy once you get the hang of it. It also allows you to relentlessly mock 95% of the hacks out there who turn on ESPN to decide what they are going to write about this week :) Feel free to steal away without credit, it’s not like I’m ever going to make any money off the idea and at least someone might profit from it!

  6. NFLGimpy says:

    Jyot: Skelton is succeeding for the main reason Tebow is: improved defensive play. Skelton also has the benefit of an improved Beanie Wells and most importantly he knows the system better than Kolb. Don’t forget Kolb only had a few weeks to learn it and develop chemistry with the WRs. Skelton had last season. I know Kolb is far more experienced, but it’s incredible how much understanding a system can do for a QB’s success.

    I still like Kolb long term, but he desperately needs to stay healthy. He isn’t Mike Vick taking hits left and right, these are hits that every NFL QB takes on a weekly basis. If he can’t take that punishment, it doesn’t matter if he’s a better QB. Arizona also desperately lacks playmakers outside of Fitz. The other WRs succeed because no one worth anything is covering them most games. Kolb is not the type of QB to force the ball to a WR. He prefers to spread it around. You have to have more than one weapon to make that work. I might address this more in my next column if I have the time/space.

    Dan: Profit? I feel like the underpants gnomes on South Park. I have steps one and three down. Step 1: Write somewhat coherent columns (underwear). Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit. If you tell me what Step 2 is I’ll give you my autograph. I’d offer a headshot too but I’d like to keep you as a fan, not lose you.

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