Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: NFL Primer Week 10

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a weekly NFL primer. Nothing is sacred, not the players, not the coaches, and certainly not the betting lines.

The Good: New Orleans Saints.
How did this happen? What exactly is going on this season? Not too long ago (specifically four games ago) the Saints were left for dead as they plummeted to a winless record in an embarrassing loss to the Panthers. We visit the resurgent Saints only four weeks later to find them only one game behind in the putrid division, and easily playing the best football they've played all year. It's as if someone stuck a needle in Drew Brees's ass, or at least his throwing shoulder, he's somewhat resurrected himself from the dead for not only the Saints but Fantasy Football owners. Now, the chances of starting 0-4 and then making a run at the playoffs or a championship are nearly unheard of, but winning four straight really helps.

I've been jaded by taking the Saints to win (and/or cover) for the first couple of weeks, hoping against hope that they would turn it around a little earlier than they did. After those four games, I was leery of picking for the Saints in nearly every circumstance, until they stuck it to me out in Seattle. Now that was an impressive showing, and it may turn their season about.

Ever since their loss, the Saints have not scored less than 20 points (22 against Atlanta), and topped 40 as Brees used the Jacksonville secondary like a scout team, rolling up 445 yards. This has certainly been the key for the immediate New Orleans turn around: Drew Brees is not throwing interceptions, and is getting the ball down field; sure, it also has a lot to do with his receivers being able to hang onto the ball. Hell, we know it has nothing to do with running the ball, as they do it only for looks: their leading rushing the last 4 games (Reggie Bush) has been averaging roughly 72 ypg, and a high of 97.

New Orleans certainly has reason to feel good. They are on a roll offensively, and their schedule for the rest of the year is less than daunting. That doesn't preclude the fact that this team still has its defensive issues. However, with the way their offense is playing and the look of that division, there's no reason they couldn't have a second straight season in the playoffs.

The Bad: San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers were the laughing stock of the league after losing games when they brought back almost their entire team that rocked the record to the tune of 14-2 last year, sans coaching. At first this was attributed to the fact that they started the year with two extremely good teams in the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots, but one of those has shown to be a fraud. But when they continued to struggle against everybody else it was clear something else was up, maybe their coaching staff. For years, Norv Turner has been able to get the least amount out of his players both on offense and defense, and it is his hire that perplexed every NFL fan out there.

The Mt. Vesuvius of coaching failure was reached last week, when they allowed rookie running back Adrian Peterson to run for a league record 296 yards. It's great, because that means the Browns are now out of the record books. Now, I think Adrian Peterson is awesome too, and that offensive line is pretty good so no disrespect to them but wasn't this the same Chargers defense that allowed rushing yards in the teens last year? Adrian Peterson may be the next Eric Dickerson, but even he didn't rush for 296 yards in a game. When San Diego started putting a couple of wins on the board we all thought that they were back, and maybe Norv Turner might not be the biggest fuckup as coach, but he's cemented himself by running this loaded team into the ground.

How does a team with such an explosive offense regress so significantly in one year? Maybe it's because Phillip Rivers wasn't the stud he showed himself to be last year. This year, with the onus on him to make plays, he's been stuck with Rookie Eyes (everything is too fast), and his stats throughout the season bear it out (1639, 10 TD, 8 INT, 82.9 rating). Why don't they let Tomlinson run the offense under center? He has a perfect 158.3 rating.

The Ugly: Andy Reid.
I've tried to stay away from this situation as much as possible, but it's hard to not rehash the same kind of ugly week in and week out (St. Louis Rams lost by the narrowest of margins, but there's always next week).

Andy Reid is an ugly feller to begin with, and I think we all wish that's what I could write about. His porn-thick mustache and his incessant sweating would be a welcome topic of conversation for the Philadelphia Eagles and their front office. No, this has to do with something more serious than just his looks, it's his family.

In the face of what can only be described as a family crisis, in the face of that, Reid has stood by his second family: his football team. That's honorable and everything for him to keep concentrating on his job, but isn't there something more important in life? From my point of view, family always comes first, especially something as important as one's children. And it's not like they're having some minor issues that can be swept under the rug; both children are constantly being arrested for drug abuse. I think it's time to take a leave of absence and tend your family issues. It's a big problem when your son is shoving drugs in his anus so he can smuggle them into jail.

It's more than that really. One has to question if it was Reid's dedication to his football craft that caused this problem to begin with. We all have heard about the long days and short nights for football coaches, how it's not only a job year round, but day round. They get up as early as 5 am, and don't get home until it's equally dark outside, whether its the football season or not. Maybe it's time for football coaches, and maybe the football league to evaluate this kind of situation. There's no question that if fathers are away from their families so often, said families will eventually develop problems. All that being said, we all wish the Reid family the best on their hopeful road to recovery.

The Saints story (through week 5) [We Suck at Sports]
Norv Turner is an STD [Hot Chicks, Hot Picks]
NFL Stat []
Drugs penetrate Reid family [Conshy Recorder]
Photo: 2theadvocate

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