7) I'll admit that I'm not privy to much info about Andy Reid as a Bengal fan, but I don't see why this guy gets made fun of so much. It seems like everyone is always ragging on him. Eagles fan, Simmons, general NFL fans. Everyone is knocking Andy Reid.
Check out the guy's record:
1999 - 5-11
2000 - 11-5 - NFC Divisional Round
2001 - 11-5 - Division Champs; NFC Championship Game
2002 - 12-4 - Division Champs; NFC Championship Game
2003 - 12-4 - Division Champs; NFC Championship Game
2004 - 13-3 - Division Champs; Super Bowl
2005 - 6-10
2006 - 10-6 - Division Champs; NFC Divisional Round
2007 - 8-8
2008 - 9-6-1 - NFC Championship Game
The guy is now in his 5th NFC Championship game in 10 years. That's a bad coach?? If Marvin Lewis was headed to his 5th AFC Championship game in the last 10 years, the Bengals would currently be playing on Marvin Lewis Field at Paul Brown Stadium and fans would be rubbing the gold statue of him that was built outside the stadium on their way into the game. I'm not even joking. Meanwhile, Andy Reid seems to be fighting to keep his job even though the guy has a great shot to get to his 2nd Super Bowl this year. The Eagles are probably the best NFC franchise of this decade. I don't care what his challenges are like. All the guy does is win. I'll worry about the challenges if the guy is going 6-10 every year, but I can live with it if he's going to the NFC Championship game.
Maybe Philly fans are looking for a change of scenery or something, but sometimes the grass isn't always greener when you start looking around. Andy Reid hasn't exactly been a slouch in Philly. I'm surprised at how much heat he gets. Every team is going to have a down year in the NFL from time to time with injuries and personnel losses, but Reid has won more often than not in Philly.
I've said this before about Andy Reid and I'll say it again. If Philly fans don't want him, I'll personally drive to Philly and escort him to Cincinnati. I'd be thrilled to have him even if he does look like Craig Stadler's long lost twin these days.
6) I don't know anything about Jim Caldwell, but I'm a little leery of this hire by the Colts. Is Jim Caldwell really the guy that you want for the last few great years that you might get out of Peyton Manning?? You have Peyton Manning in his prime!! That's a big time job that a good coach would want. Who knows how much longer Peyton Manning is going to be really good, but now you are rolling the dice with a guy who was a complete failure at Wake Forest and has never coached anywhere else. That just seems really risky.
And it’s not like Dungy was some risky hire. He was about the safest hire the Colts could have made when they hired him. Caldwell is not a Dungy redux by any stretch. We have no idea how this guy will pan out.
Wouldn't a guy like Shanahan love to take a job like that?? If they hired a big time coach, they could make a serious push in the next couple years to win Peyton another ring. Isn’t that the goal?? It just seems like Indy has gotten stagnant. If Caldwell doesn’t shake things up, you are wasting the last few good years where you can shoot for a ring.
I know the new trend in the NFL is for teams to hire no-names like John Harbaugh and Ken Whisenhunt, but I still think Indy probably would have been smart to go outside the family and try to re-energize that franchise.
5) No team owns a down year in the NFL like the Baltimore Ravens. It seems like they come out of nowhere whenever there is a year with extreme parity. If New England and Indy and some of the other big names aren’t a factor, the Ravens seems to pop back up. They can win games with defense and special teams and toughness when there are no great offenses out there.
It’s amazing how limited the Ravens’ game plan was on Saturday, but yet they somehow won that game. Somewhere Jim Tressel was smiling about that game plan. Run the ball up the middle twice, deep out on 3rd down, and punt. Keep it close, make some plays with your defense, and then put together one half-decent drive in the fourth quarter to win it. And Tennessee got lulled into the trap. The Ravens probably could have gotten away with punting on 3rd down at times in the third quarter.
I’m a big fan of John Harbaugh. He seems like a really good coach. He’s already one of the better clock management/timeout/challenge coaches in the league. If you can motivate, game plan, make adjustments at the half, and manage the game on the sideline, you’re already in my top 10 coaches on that alone. There are so many coaches who can only do 1 or 2 of those things (see Lewis, Marvin) or even none (see Crennel, Romeo).
If the Ravens win the Super Bowl this year, what will their legacy be?? They’d have 2 Super Bowl titles in the 00s, but I’ve never felt like the Ravens were the premier franchise in the league at any time. History would probably treat them better than they deserve because we’d look back and see 2 rings and assume they were an all-time great team. Don’t get me wrong, the Ravens are a great franchise that just hums along, but I’ve never thought about them in the same breath as the Colts or the Pats or even the Steelers.
4) Where did all these Asian guys come from?? It seems like every team these days is trotting out some dude from Thailand or Vietnam or some other Asian guy who can run and play. It definitely seems like a trend in football that more and more guys are coming out of Samoa and Phillipines and some of those random Asian countries. I swear, ND should be recruiting five Asians and Samoans a year.
3) In the last four years of the NFL Divisional Round, the home team with the bye is 7-9. Road teams went 3-1 this year. It's almost gotten to the point where you are better off NOT having a bye in the playoffs. It totally kills your momentum, and the other team can get into a rhythm with their first round game. If Arizona had gone into Carolina without that game against Atlanta, they probably would have gotten smoked. But they found something that clicked in the first round, and suddenly they got hot. Same thing for Philly to some degree.
I think Tennessee was up for that game against Baltimore, but Baltimore was maybe a little more “playoff ready” after that game against Miami. They had already been through a war. Not sure if Tennessee was prepared for that type of game against the Ravens.
I still can’t get over that Tennessee-Baltimore game on Saturday. That was the game of the weekend if you ask me. When Ray Lewis practically decapitated Ahmad Black on the sideline, I about lost my mind. What a hit. Dan Dierdorf’s reaction is phenomenal. “WHAT A SHOT!” Diabolical! That was the moment when that game went to another level, and Dierdorf is just excited to be a part of it. Ray Lewis brought everything he had, and Black just bounced up. Great stuff.
2) Even though I’ve been rooting for a team that plays in the same division as them for 20 years, I will never understand how the Steelers do it. The “magic” of the Steelers remains a mystery. Look at this defense:
DE - Aaron Smith - Northern Colorado - 4th round
NT - Casey Hampton - Texas - 1st round
DE - Brett Keisel - BYU - 7th round
LB - Lamarr Woodley - Michigan - 2nd round
LB - Larry Foote - Michigan - 4th round
LB - James Harrison - Kent State - Undrafted
LB - James Farrior - Virginia - 1st round (Jets)
CB - DeShea Townsend - Alabama - 4th round
CB - Ike Taylor - Louisiana-Lafayette - 4th round
S - Troy Polamalu - USC - 1st round
S - Ryan Clark - LSU - Undrafted
That’s the best defense in the league?? How do they do it?! Their best player this year and the Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison, was not even drafted!! He was a linebacker at Kent State who was cut twice, and now he’s an All-Pro. Check out that d-line. Casey Hampton is an elite player, but the other two guys are filler-types. The Steelers disprove everything I’ve come to believe about football that you need elite players on the d-line to be successful. They just turn over the roster year after year after year, and nothing changes. Their defense is great every year, and playing linebacker for the Steelers is practically a guarantee that you will be a Pro Bowler someday.
The only bonafide “studs” that they drafted on that defense are Polamalu and Hampton. Everyone else is either a mid-round guy, a signing, or a complete no-name. It’s amazing. And they are like that every year.
The Steelers really aren’t even that great with their drafts every single year, but it doesn’t even matter. Mendenhall was hurt, Limas Sweed looks like a possible bust, their first rounder last year Lawrence Timmons has done nothing. There are a ton of “misses” in their draft history if you go back and look at it.
Doesn’t matter. They just find these unheralded guys and plug them in there under LeBeau. The only real big time 1st round guys the Steelers have on their roster are Roethlisberger (I refuse to call him “Ben”), Polamalu, Hampton, and Santonio. That’s basically it.
I don’t know how they do it. Steelers football…toughness, attacking defense, and physical play. The formula never changes. It has to be the system or whatever, but you still need players too. They never seem to be in any type of rebuilding mode even though their roster is always changing.
Very frustrating stuff for a Bengals fan. If you want to be relevant in the AFC North, you have two great franchises that you have to beat every year. There are very few down years for either the Steelers or the Ravens.
1) Hopefully Charlie Weis watched these games this weekend and realized that physical football wins, especially on defense. Then again, Weis probably saw the Zona game, fell in love with all the ways they were flinging it around, and immediately drew up three new jump ball fades to Golden Tate.
By the way, if Weis wins 9-10 games next year, could he put himself back into the mix for NFL jobs?? Couldn't he make a "hey, I've proven that I can win with experienced players" argument to an NFL team that is looking for an offensive guru?? Just a thought. I doubt it would ever happen, but you never know.
1) Big game for the Irish tonight in Louisville. I would love to see us win at least one out of the next two at Louisville or at Syracuse. Tonight would be HUGE because we have generally played really well at Syracuse against their zone.
Should be an interesting game. If we are fired up and come out shooting well, we have a great shot. Louisville has been playing better, but they are still really up and down.
Alma Matters: Graduation
15 hours ago