I liked him as a quarterback at Texas, and I think the only reason he wasn’t a higher draft pick was because he’s not as tall as these other players. But I thought he had the makings of being able to play in the NFL because he played in a lot of big games in college — he beat Sam Bradford and Oklahoma — and he put up big numbers. And he’s so athletic. You saw that on his 16-yard touchdown run around left end in the big win over the Patriots.
And this is a guy I kept hearing the Browns weren’t blown away with in training camp and in practice, but who cares? I mean, practice. Who cares about practice? When given a chance, he’s really played well for the Browns. He’s won two straight starts.
And give coach Eric Mangini some kudos. He’s trying to do it right. He has that Peyton Hillis running wild and hard, and his defense is always prepared. The Browns have lost three games by a total of 12 points. And they always have a couple of trick plays ready to go. They scored on one Sunday.
McCoy was 14-for-19 for 174 yards. Now, he didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but you just want your rookie quarterback not to turn the ball over. And he didn’t do that. But if you don’t give him a lot of opportunities, you limit the mistakes. Besides, that would be asking too much of him. The bottom line is he had no picks and no sacks.
Nobody thought the Browns would dominate the Patriots.
Tell you the truth, I didn’t even recognize the Patriots from their win last week against Minnesota. It was that ugly.
I think Howie Long said on our show Sunday that Tom Brady deserved to be mentioned for the MVP this season because he’s working with less and winning. But what we found out about the Patriots on Sunday was they can’t rush the passer and they can’t stop the run. They had absolutely no attack with their offense. They have no explosiveness with their offense, but they are 6-2. That’s amazing to me.
At the end of the game, I watched as Mangini grabbed Bill Belichick and held him back. He pulled him back, and Belichick stayed for a couple seconds. It was a good pullback. You could tell Mangini was trying to patch up his relationship with his mentor. But Belichick isn’t going to patch that stuff up. He didn’t seem interested in anything Mangini was saying.
MAKING SENSE OF THIS SEASON
What a year we are having. The Jets are showing they are vulnerable, but they came back and won. Mark Sanchez played very well with the game on the line.
I keep talking about Detroit even though the Lions only have two wins. But, boy, they show up every week and give everything they got. Tampa Bay is making a real statement this year, and we didn’t see that coming. We all had the Bucs pegged as a last-place team.
Teams we all thought were going to be dynamite have struggled. But two of them, the Saints and the Vikings, are coming back.
The Saints are going into the bye with two straight wins. They got the cobwebs out now. I don’t think Sean Payton has a winning record against John Fox in Carolina, but his team needed this game after last Sunday’s win over the Steelers. They look confident, and the offense is getting in sync. Wait until Reggie Bush comes back. They could be special again.
I see where this is the Cowboys’ worst start since 1963. I didn’t even know they kept stats going back that far.
The Cowboys are a great example of why this has been the most bizarre football season as far as power ratings and what teams can we count on to show up week to week. There are a couple of teams. I think the New York Giants are one of them.
Here’s what could happen. You might see Minnesota get on a three- or four-game winning streak now. I don’t think you will see it from the Bears. The Vikings should take care of them next week.
Then, when the Packers go back to Minnesota to play them again, that could be a huge game. I would like to see Minnesota get on a roll.
The San Diego Chargers look as if they are going to get on a roll like they normally do at this time of the season. Philip Rivers has been amazing. I don’t even think he knows half the guys he’s throwing the ball to. Wait until he gets all his first-string receivers back. Vincent Jackson will play hard for the Chargers down the stretch because he’s playing for a contract.
I will say the most bizarre division in the NFL is the NFC West. The way Seattle got hammered Sunday by the Giants, well, the Seahawks and the St. Louis Rams are now tied for first at 4-4. And you’re looking at the 49ers, a team all the experts thought would be powerful this season, with their coach under fire just like Brad Childress is in Minnesota.
Childress and Mike Singletary could both possibly be fired if they don’t start turning their teams around. We saw Childress in the locker room after that great win, and he was trying to be funny, but he didn’t pull it off. I don’t think his players knew what he was talking about with that “Victory Wednesday” stuff.
It’s been a crazy, crazy season.
I think you can count on the Giants and the Saints. I know you can count on Pittsburgh. The Steelers have a proven defense and an offense with a quarterback who has already won two Super Bowls. The Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons are two other teams. I have never lost sight of the Chargers. There’s a strong possibility if everything goes well, it could be two of those teams in the Super Bowl.
Wait, I haven’t said anything about Tennessee. I love Jeff Fisher and his defense. But I don’t know about Vince Young, and I’m not convinced Randy Moss is really going to help him that much. They have a great runner in Chris Johnson. Maybe Moss will open some lanes for him, but I wouldn’t count on it.
As much as I like Matt Ryan and Mike Smith in Atlanta, I thought Tampa Bay was capable of pulling off the upset. I believe in the Bucs, particularly quarterback Josh Freeman. He reminds me a lot of Roman Gabriel. He has a nice, smooth overhead delivery, and is big and strong in the pocket like Gabriel was. He never seems flustered.
The crazy thing about this league right now is that there is hope in so many cities. I haven’t seen a true dominating team, but there are a lot of good ones. And some of them are going to get better as this season moves along.