Gibberman: Week 3 thoughts and observations
Lots to talk about on another very interesting Sunday in the NFL season; Lions finally get a win, Brett Favre pulls off a miracle, and Michael Vick made his debut, but we will start with the local story.
The Arizona Cardinals got embarrassed on National TV Sunday night by Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. The Cards defense looked terrible; they couldn’t put pressure on Manning, Dominique Rodgers Cromartie got torched by Pierre Garcon (he went to Mount Union college – never even heard of it) and Reggie Wayne, and the tackling was sloppy.
Offensively, the Redbirds cannot come up with an explosive play, turned the ball over four times, offensive line couldn’t block a soul, and only averaged only two yards a carry.
I know it is early in the season, but this is a perfect time for the Cardinals to have a bye week. This team desperately needs to regroup and find the identity that they created during their 2008 playoff run. We will see adjustments before their game at home against the Houston Texans. Speaking of home, Arizona is now 0-2 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. To put that in perspective the Cardinals only lost two home games all of last year and two in 2007. The Cardinals must re-establish the home dominance they have had the past two seasons.
The one big difference I expect to see in Arizona’s offense after the bye week is more involvement from rookie Chris “Beanie” Wells. Tim Hightower has not showed any improvement from his rookie year and Wells can be the spark that this offense covets. Wells only got two carries against the Colts, Coach Whisenhunt made his point, fumbling the ball will not be accepted. “Beanie” missed valuable time in training camp when he should have been learning the intricacies of a new offense. The bye week gives him two weeks to get comfortable with the blocking schemes and get a better feel for his offensive line.
That is it on the Cardinals, let’s hit the Sunday 12 Pack.
1. There were some really ugly jerseys worn in Week 3. The Seahawks neon top was the ugliest NFL jersey I have ever seen, I don’t even think the University of Oregon would put those on. The New York Jets wore blue, I’m sorry the Jets color is green not blue it is stupid they wear that color. The Houston Texans looked like they joined the California gang the Bloods in their all red uniforms. Don’t organizations realize that the best uni’s are the ones that are simple, the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers have the best look, simple and classy.
2. Special Teams, Special Teams, Special Teams, what is considered to be the third facet of an NFL game is important and under valued. Having a solid punter and good kick return games allows teams to win the field position battle. When is a team more likely to score when they have to drive 40 yards or 80? Game changing plays happen every week on special teams. Tennessee Titans rookie CB Ryan Mouton fumbled a kick off and punt against the New York Jets that set up two Jets touchdowns, the Titans outplayed New York on offense and defense, but those two turnovers allowed the Jets to steal a win.
3. We are watching Vernon Davis turn from a boy to a man. The ultra talented tight end head has finally caught up with his physical talent. He put up two TD’s for the 49ers against the Minnesota Vikings and has emerged as one of the leaders for San Francisco. He has made Mike Singletary look good for naming him on of their captains.
4. The New England Patriots offense isn’t clicking. Since when do the Pats not score when they get the ball into the red zone? Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons Tom Brady and Co, were 1-5 inside the 20. The New England offense is getting close, once they start to finish their drives the Pats will be dropping 30’s in no time. I look for a breakout game next week against the Baltimore Ravens who let Phillip Rivers throw for over 400 yards against them in Week 2.
5. The Cincinnati Bengals got a surprising win and the Houston Texans got a typical loss. Cincinnati defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20. Head Coach Marvin Lewis has transformed the Bengals from a team who was built around an explosive offense to a squad that wins with a good defense. Remember Marvin’s background when coming to Cincy was as the defensive coordinator of the record breaking Baltimore Ravens defense. Lewis has finally built a D that the fans at Paul Brown Stadium can cheer for. They have two young physical corners in Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph plus a young explosive linebacking crew headed by USC products Rey Maualguga and Keith Rivers. The Texans coming off a great win against the Tennessee Titans lost to the pathetic Jacksonville Jaguars. Every time anyone thinks Houston has turned the corner they take five steps back.
6. The Detroit Lions finally got a victory after going 0-16 last season. New head coach Jim Schwartz and rookie QB Matt Stafford have the Lions future looking bright. The Lions have three tough games coming up against the Bears, Steelers, and Packers so it will be a few weeks before they get another W, but at least Lions have a foundation to build upon.
7. Andy Reid catches a lot of flack because of his struggles in NFC championship games, but he is a great coach. Every year when Donovan McNabb goes down with an injury Reid just keeps the Eagles churning. He has made the playoffs with Jeff Garcia stepping in and this year he has got the most out of back-up Kevin Kolb. Kolb, who most expected would struggle running the Eagles offense, has thrown for over 600 yards in two starts. The Eagles always find ways to win and their coach deserves a lot of the credit. Michael Vick made his debut and was not a factor in the game. Has there ever been a less consequential player who gets his own podium for a post game press conference?
8. This part of the article hurts because there is not one player in the NFL that deserves to lose than Brett Favre, but he gets a lot of credit for the Vikings win against the 49ers. The game manager tag got removed for one game and Brett Favre won the Vikings a football game. Adrian Peterson was contained and #4 picked up the slack. Greg Lewis, phenomenal catch, makes head coach Brad Childress look good for picking him up and cutting wide receiver Bobby Wade.
9. The New York Giants are the best team in football through three weeks. The one weakness that the Giants had going into the season was wide receiver and Steve Smith and Mario Manningham have made that problem disappear. The Giants did lose safety Kenny Phillips, an emerging playmaker, after the Cowboys game last week. In Week 3 they beat up on the Tampa Bay Bucs, up next are the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. We won’t find out how much New York misses him until they play the New Orleans Saints in Week 6.
10. Miami Dolphins WR Ted Ginn Jr. is awful. Last week he dropped what could have been the game winning touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts, this week he dropped two consecutive passes that would have resulted in first downs. Ginn needs to throw some stick ’em on his hands like Clifford Franklin (Orlando Jones) did in “The Replacements”. Davone Bess a less heralded receiver from the University of Hawaii is clearly the better football player.
11. The refs in the Seattle Seahawks-Chicago Bears game made a terrible call. In the second quarter with the Seahawks leading 13-0 Bears running back Matt Forte fumbled inside the 1-yard line and the ‘Hawks recovered. The play was reviewed and overturned leading to a Chicago touchdown. I saw the replay from numerous angles and there was no conclusive evidence that showed if Forte’s knee hit the ground before the ball came out. Bad job by the referees in this game.
12. I discussed the possibility of this happening last week and it did. The Denver Broncos are 3-0 and are the biggest mirage in the NFL with two of their wins over the Browns and Raiders. The Broncos will be welcomed back to earth with the Cowboys, Patriots, Chargers, Ravens, and Steelers up next. 3-5 here they come!
The Miami Dolphins season is already in jeopardy with their 0-3 start, but if Chad Pennington has to miss a couple weeks say goodbye to any chance of a resurrection. Back up QB Chad Henne looked awful when he stepped in for Pennington. The Dolphins would have been better off running the Wildcat every down.
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore is going to miss a couple of weeks. The 49ers showed they can compete with the top teams in the NFC with their solid performance against the Minnesota Vikings, will that continue without their star running back. Mike Singletary has built the 49ers to win with a running game and a great defense. Rookie RB Glenn Coffee who had a good pre-season gets to show what he can do.
Shawn Merriman left the Chargers-Dolphins game with a groin injury. The San Diego defense didn’t miss a beat; Merriman has been a ghost all season anyway.
Knowshon Moreno scored his first NFL TD for the Denver Broncos. Moreno and Correll Buckhalter give the Broncos a nice 1-2 punch at the running back position.
Week 4 has four games to watch:
1. The New York Jets and New Orleans Saints both try to get to 4-0. The Jets were without cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland this week, for them to have a chance they need both corners to play.
2. Tom Brady tries to take out the other quarterback from last year’s rookie class. Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens look to stay unbeaten when they travel to New England.
3. The Pittsburgh Steelers try and get back to.500 against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night.
4. Monday Night, the game we have all been waiting for, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Viking take on the Green Bay Packers.