Tuesdays with Smitty: Props and Flops in the NFL

images22If you had to pick a word to describe the 2008 NFL – predictable wouldn’t be in the running. In fact, it probably wouldn’t be in the Top 10.  The 2008 season as seen superiors teams like the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and Dallas fall to the depths of mediocrity, while watching as teams such as the Tennessee Titans rise to the cream of the crop. While there is still a lot of football to go – 7 games to be exact, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the season’s best and some of the season’s worst. Here we go:

Props:

Tennesse Titans – Have to start here, as this team is perfect through Week 10. Not flashy, this team is disciplined and has taken on the personality of their coach – Jeff Fisher. Is there any question that Fisher may be the most underrated coach in the NFL? Similar to the 1972 Dolphins team that went perfect, this team starts with their defense. Offense will probably need to win a game or 2 in the last 7 games, but this team has to be the favorite for the Super Bowl.

Matt Ryan – When the Falcons took Ryan with the #3 in the 2008 NFL Draft, most experts saw that as the Falcons’ first big step to move away from the Michael Vick era and the Saints Falcons Footballbeginning of a long rebuilding process. But Ryan has stepped in and with the benefit of having a good runnning back (Michael Turner), has been better then advertised. Through Week 10, Ryan has led the Falcons to a 6-3 record and throwing for 1,900+ yards and 11 TDs. People in Atlanta have forgotten about Michael Vick very quickly.

New York Giants – Yes, this one makes me throw up in my mouth, but what can’t you say about the defending….gulp champs? They are 8-1 and have survived a mid-season meltdown by Plaxico Burress. Quick question for Giants fans – If the Giants win another Super Bowl, can you see Plaxico Burress being released? This team is firing on all cylinders and as long as they stay healthy, we could be seeing a Giants-Titans Super Bowl..

Kurt Warner and Arizona Cardinals – This was bound to happen right? You have that many high draft picks, you are bound to become a good team at some point. Right Tampa Rays? Well who knew that leading the charge would be Kurt Warner and not Playboy Leinart? The gloves are a little ridiculous, but they are winning and their wide receiver core may be the best in the NFL.

Drew Brees – When this guy came into the league, wasn’t there questions about whether he would even make it? Well San Diego had a tough call letting him go and he is continuing the shine in New Orleans, putting up MVP numbers. The Saints are 4-5, but where would this team be without him? Especially since the Saints don’t have Reggie Bush.

Flops:

Steven Jackson – Memo to the rest of the NFL. If you hold out in training camp for a bigger contract, you had better come in and earn it. Outside of his 163 yard game against the Dallas Cowboys, he hasn’t done much else. Considering that the Rams are as bad as it is – Jackson should be taking this team on his shoulders. He is doing anything but.

Dallas Cowboys – Starts with Wade Phillips and goes all the way down the line. This team is the complete opposite of the Titans and is completely undisciplined. At times this season, the team looks unprepared and unmotivated. Players talk about how they like playing for a coach with a relaxed style, but how times has that style won a Super Bowl? The Bill Cowher watch has begun in Dallas.

Derek Anderson – Had the big year last year, got his big contract extension, making the Cleveland Browns the sexy pick this year. Week 10 is here, the Browns look like their old selves and Brady Quinn is starting. In fact Quinn looked pretty good in his first start and may remain the starter for the rest of the season which would make Anderson – expendable..

JaMarcus Russell – From this point on, college quarterbacks entering the NFL should look at 2 examples – Matt Ryan and JaMarcus Russell. Ryan signed before camp started, was in early, learned the offense and is part of a resurging Falcons team.  Russell held out until almost the end of training camp, pretty much guaranteeing that he wouldn’t play his rookie year. In his sophomore year, his growth looks stunted, and appears to be clueless in leading the Raiders’ offense. Now Al Davis is calling the plays for the offense. This could get worse for Russell. While all of the blame can’t be put on his shoulders, he hasn’t done anything to help the situation.

9 Responses to "Tuesdays with Smitty: Props and Flops in the NFL"

  1. Chas   November 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I’m curious as to why calling the Giants the defending champs makes you throw up in your mouth. Is it due to the realization that most of their fans are also fans of the Yankees?

  2. Rey   November 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Great calls, all of ’em! I first second your Derek Anderson flop. What a joke he’s turned out to be. Classic professional player that exceeds expectations and immediately everyone overreacts and thinks he can perform year-in and year-out like that. Shame on the Browns for not letting some other sucker team sign him. I hope Brady keeps his job and they stick with him.

    The Adam Jones project in Dallas could be a flop all its own. He fought with his own bodyguards?! Even Jerry Jones couldn’t come up with a viable explanation for the type of idiocy.

    A complete flop is the (somewhat) recent draftees of the 49ers. Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, and nayone else I’ve forgotten is doing nothing for that Bay area team. The whole NFC West is a flop.

    And before it all unravels, props to Dick Jauron. He was brave enough to end the JP Losman era. Edwards is struggling, but he’s shown flashes of stability early on. I hope they gets things turned back around quickly.

  3. Rey   November 12, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Casey might be the lone exception, Chas.

  4. Casey   November 12, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Yes – I am an exception – one of the rare times I have held that distinction. Serves as a symbol of my distorted sports allegiances. 🙂

    Does it make me a sick person that I kinda enjoy the Adam Jones saga?

    Twenty years from Kurt Warner is gonna make a great WAI topic. 🙂

    Is accidental classic a new topic for discussion? Before this NFL season began, did anyone think the Ariz/ San Fran had a chance of being that entertaining?

    How long will Mike Martz keep his job? Did anyone accept his reasoning for the final play call?

  5. opeytaylor   November 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Smitty,

    Have you fully recovered from the helmet catch?

    Will Tom Brady’s presence be a good or bad thing for the Patriots?

    Will Matt Leinart have a new zip code next year?

    Will Barney Fife ever get married?

  6. Chas   November 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Smitty: What happened to the mailbag format? Or, are you not going to answer that, since you appear to have abandoned Q&A?

  7. Smitty   November 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Chas – It is not that I don’t equate Giants fans with Yankee Fans. It is because they ruined the Pats perfect season. They ruined…. gulp…a record… gulp…I be right back..

    The fact that some or most of the Giants fans are Yankees fans are purely bonus.. 🙂

    Reynell – I agree with you on Vernon Davis.. Has been all flash and no substance. I don’t agree with Alex Smith. I think Alex is a victim of bad timing. First 3 seasons – 3 different offensive coordinators. For guys like Brady and Manning(s) they most had the same system in place. Smith has had to learn a whole new system each summer and still try to get ready for life in the NFL. I think if San Fran ever gets some continuity there, Alex Smith might be there QB for them.

    As for the mailbag format.. I didn’t get any questions, so nothing to add to the end of the column. I may do it again in a couple of weeks..

    As for the Helmet Catch… I am perfectly…..gulp. Oh God , not again… Tyree, I hope your knee hurts!! Just kidding.

  8. crossword pete   November 12, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Don’t know much about the NFL anymore (and don’t really care) but am getting intrigued by college season. Might we see a repeat of 1971 when the Big 8 had nos. 1, 2, and 3? If Tech wallops Ala or Fla and Texas and OK win their bowls impressively (only 2 teams from a conference allowed in BCS games?), could we see a Big XII sweep? BTW, it was that 1971 national championship Nebraska team that started the collegefootballbelt to which I have referred on other occasions. Tech is the first team in several weeks to hold on to it for a second game. Some of us can only hope that someday ND will be back in discussions such as this!

  9. Chas   November 13, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Personally, I love the thought that the Giants screwed up a historic celebration for Red Sox fans.

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