The Cowboys and Vikings can’t win, as we predicted.
The Steelers and Bucs can’t lose, as we, well …
Coaches are panicking with their quarterbacks. Brandon Jacobs is clueless. Refs are making more mistakes. We hit you with the Week 2 SCHEINERS, SCHEIN 9 style.
1. Top Take
We are in between Week 2 and Week 3 in the NFL. The calendar hasn’t even flipped to October yet. Have you ever seen this much unrest league-wide at the quarterback position? Let’s give you strong takes on some suddenly red-hot quarterback situations around the league …
Playing the wrong Card — Kurt Warner works for FOX. Donovan McNabb is in Washington. Matt Leinart didn’t give a damn. Derek Anderson can’t complete the forward pass. And a team that won back-to-back division titles is a heartbeat away from turning to someone named Max Hall.
When Warner left, and left his hefty salary behind, the Cards should’ve been first in line to bring McNabb, an Arizona resident in the offseason, to the desert. He was the perfect fit. They had the financial room. McNabb would’ve kept Arizona as a sure-fire playoff team.
Cutting Leinart was a no-brainer with his care-free attitude infuriating everyone in the organization. But if you knew this was a possibility, and it always was, why leave yourself with just Anderson, who bombed in Cleveland after one fluke Pro Bowl season?
Now, Ken Whisenhunt is not going to let his season go up in flames with Anderson, who was 0-for in the Atlanta game on third down. The organization likes Hall, and he could start sooner than later. But we are talking about Max Hall here. Larry Fitzgerald is being wasted!
First draft prediction for 2011: The Cards are picking a quarterback!
Back to Byron? — Dennis Dixon had surgery and is out. Charlie Batch is next man up. But talking to us on Sirius NFL Radio Tuesday, Mike Tomlin did not eliminate Byron Leftwich from the equation, citing his familiarity with the Bucs. Interesting. Very interesting. I could certainly see Leftwich playing on Sunday.
Bills are blowing it — If Ryan Fitzpatrick is the answer, I’d love to know the question. Fitzpatrick is a decent BACKUP at best.
How in the world does Chan Gailey pull Trent Edwards after two games? Edwards’ picks hit Bills’ receivers in the hands. Does he even watch his team play?
And I understand that Edwards became “captain check down” last year. Maybe that was because they fired the offensive coordinator and scrapped the system the week before the season in 2009.
Before Edwards got concussed in Arizona in 2008, he was a darkhorse candidate for league MVP for the first-place Bills! Sounds crazy, but jog your mental Rolodex!
And frankly, here’s the bigger issue: If you truly had this little confidence in Edwards, how the heck did the Bills not bring in a legit free agent? Even better — how did they not pick Jimmy Clausen! This is awful management.
Fisher’s call to the bullpen — Jeff Fisher squashed a quarterback controversy after the Titans’ loss to Pittsburgh by promptly saying Vince Young was his guy, despite pulling him in the second half during a wretched performance. Kerry Collins is not the answer to start next week.
But I credit Fisher for realizing that Young was overmatched against the Pittsburgh defense. He looked for a spark, not a permanent change. But what’s truly interesting to follow is where or not the quarterback of the 2011 Titans is on this roster. I don’t believe in Vince Young as player or leader.
Moore is less — Let’s be honest. Jimmy Clausen became the Panthers’ quarterback over Matt Moore the minute Carolina drafted him. The only question was when.
Before Clausen entered the picture, I thought Moore earned the right to be the guy based upon how he finished the season, highlighted by his flawless games against the Giants and Vikings. John Fox is trying to save his job. Sometimes you can do that by turning to a young gunslinger. I loved Clausen coming out. I thought he was a top-15 player. The Panthers are 0-2 and going nowhere. I feel terrible for Moore, but this is the only play.
Kolb Case — Andy Reid spent the entire offseason telling anyone within earshot that Kevin Kolb was his quarterback. He told me during training camp that he fell in love with Kolb watching him play his freshman year at Houston. Kolb fits Reid’s system perfectly. Credit Mike Vick for playing great against the Lions’ defense, not to be confused with the 1985 Bears. However, Reid has named Vick as his guy — let’s see what happens next.
Bruce Almighty — This might surprise you, but I like Bruce Gradkowski as the choice for Oakland. He has stock with his teammates, gaining it last year with his Rich Gannon-like approach to the game, serving as the antithesis of the lazy JaMarcus Russell.
I know I loved the potential of Jason Campbell with Hue Jackson calling the plays. Forget it.
Gradkowski is the better leader and currently the more accurate passer. Tom Cable knows he is on the hot seat. He knows Al Davis (wrongly) thinks Campbell is akin to Plunkett. Cable doesn’t give a damn. He is trying to win, and I applaud him for that. Gradkowski should be given a shot. The Raiders players will rally around him.
Brown out – Seneca Wallace or Jake Delhomme? When Delhomme is healthy, he’s the guy. The bigger question is if Colt McCoy is ready for Jon Gruden in 2011.
2. Pop and Sizzle
When the Colts run the ball like they did with Joseph Addai and Donald Brown on Sunday night, they are unstoppable. It lets Peyton Manning become lethal on the play-action pass, with the gorgeous touchdown pass to Dallas Clark serving as evidence. And if the Colts get a pass rush from Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, it masks deficiencies in the defense. It’s also a good time to remind people the Giants are good. Sunday night showed you why the AFC goes through Indy.
3. Amateur Hour
The Dallas Cowboys cannot lose at home to the Chicago Bears. That’s unacceptable. I didn’t believe in this team in the preseason. Cowboys fans killed me for predicting an 8-8 finish. I think I shot too high. The Cowboys have in-state rival Houston this week. Jerry Jones still wrongly considers the city of Houston as Cowboys country. The Cowboys are off in Week 4. Jones thought this team was Super Bowl-bound. Fair or unfair, I could see Dallas firing Wade Phillips if the ‘Boys lose to Houston.
4. Can’t Make It Up
I still cannot believe Terrell Suggs got called for roughing the passer. It was a textbook hit on Carson Palmer. That’s how defensive coaches should teach defenders to hit the quarterback. What’s next, turn this into flag football? The score was 10-9 in favor of Baltimore. It kept the Bengals on the field. Cincy kicked a field goal and never looked back.
5. My Guys
Mike Tomlin: All offseason Tomlin preached improvement on special teams. Antonio Brown returned the opening kick 89 yards to force the Titans into instant come-from-behind mode. The Steelers defense stoned Chris Johnson, making him a non-factor. Tomlin’s team is 2-0 sans Big Ben. That’s pretty amazing.
Mike Nolan: We are “Rollin with Nolan” as per usual. The Dolphins’ defense forced Brett Favre into three picks and had a great goal-line stand to cement an upset special road win. The Dolphins’ new defensive coordinator, taking over for the overmatched Paul Pasqualoni, has changed the culture and has newcomers Koa Misi and Karlos Dansby flying around.
Matt Schaub: The architect of a clutch, 17-point comeback on the road against a Mike Shanahan-coached team. Talking to Schaub on Sirius NFL Radio on Monday, he explained how the Texans exude confidence. Schaub tossed for a whopping 497 yards against a talented defense. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have …
Andre Johnson: Did you see this cat grapple and leap over a defensive back on fourth-and-the-game to make a game-tying catch? Chalk up 12 for 158 receiving yards on another majestic Sunday for the best receiver in the sport.
Mark Sanchez: He outplayed Tom Brady in a Week 2, must-win spot against the Patriots. Sanchez didn’t throw a pick and tossed three touchdown passes, rocking steady as a model of efficiency. And he handled as the team leader after the game for the Jets.
6. My Goats
Brandon Jacobs: The epitome of a knucklehead. He complains about playing time. He chucks his helmet into the stands, an act that should equal a suspension, not just a fine. Jacobs, a big back, runs sideline to sideline. It rightly provokes the ire of Tom Coughlin. And then, he reportedly demands a trade. Oh yeah — and he gets surly with the New York media, apologizes and then goes off again. Unreal.
Redskins defense: Schaub and Johnson are special. You must protect a 17-point lead at home.
Derek Anderson: The Cards couldn’t even convert a first down. Start warming up, Max Hall. Seriously. Ken Whisenhunt won’t let this season fade away with Anderson slinging it around.
John Fox: Are there any tackling fundamentals on defense? Is there any direction on offense?
Eric Mangini: The Browns lost to Tampa Bay. The Browns lost to Kansas City. Finish this sentence: The first Cleveland win will come …
7. Backseat Coaching
How the heck does Brad Childress eschew a makeable field goal on the first drive of the game and go for it? The Vikes predictably failed, and it set up great field position for Miami on a scoring drive.
8. They said what?
I love Brett Favre and the Vikings players lamenting the lack of chemistry after Miami beat them. This is what happens when your quarterback shows up a few weeks before the season. Hope you watched Cosmic Schein last week for the epic upset special.
I’ll say it one more time: The Vikings are not making the playoffs.
9. Three Nuggets of Wisdom
1. Clay Matthews became the first Packer to record three sacks in a game in consecutive weeks. He is a workaholic, a team leader in just his second year and a flat-out star.
2. The Lions are having the best 0-2 start in franchise history. As we predicted, they have a franchise back in Javid Best, who becomes the first rookie in NFL history with at least 75 rushing yards, 150 receiving yards and three touchdowns in a single game. Stay patient, Lions fans. Your day is coming.
3. The BUCS ARE 2-0!! And Josh Freeman, with his ability to break tackles and fire the ball down field, is the main reason why. One respected defensive coordinator told us, “He’s a young Big Ben.” I am thrilled for the passionate, suffering Bucs fans. And I need to eat some crow on Tampa.