From: Michael Salfino
Date: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 10:08 AM
Subject: Week 10 Breakfast
To: Scott Pianowski
It's a good thing there's Thursday night football this week because the Sunday slate looks weak. Yes, we have Patriots-Steelers on Sunday night (much less interesting to me than it would have been last week), but the afternoon action doesn't have one game where both teams have winning records. There is parity this year, too, as I can't remember a time this late where the best team was only on a 12-4 pace.
There's only one team on a 2-14 pace. HOW ABOUT DEM COWBOYS!!! The most important football decision Jerry Jones needs to make is that he shouldn't be making football decisions anymore. Quite the paradox, no? It's not going to happen so we'll get to see Dallas flounder now for the rest of his lifetime. Tony Romo will be 31 next year, and he's one of the few things I like about that team - once he's gone these last few years will seem like Glory Days (six days and counting for The Promise - the holy grail for Springsteen fans).
Are you eagerly awaiting Tim Tebow's memoirs? We've also learned this week that thou shalt not take the Tebow name in vain. Well, at least in those parts where they keep shotguns in their pickup trucks to defend themselves against pet reptiles set free after becoming big enough to eat their owners.
The Raiders are suddenly just winning, baby. Why the shot at Matt Cassel, who isn't great, I know, but the most overpaid player in the league? He's on pace for 24 TDs and 8 picks. What does Wes Welker miss more, his old knee or Randy Moss? Glad that Donovan McNabb had a laugh over accusations he doesn't know the plays yet. But hilarity was not the intended message, I will wager. How could Brad Childress be messing up this much in Minnesota, unable to get a reprieve from scandal even off a big week - and it's all self-inflicted. Week 10 Breakfast is served.
From: Scott Pianowski
Date: Wed, Nov 10, 2010 at 11:29 PM
Subject: puzzle pieces, wines and cheeses
To: Michael Salfino
All of the New England receivers miss Randy Moss (man am I sick of talking about that guy), including Welker, but the big problem with Welker in 2010 is health. He's not anywhere near 100 percent. His YAC has dropped a yard and a half, and he's no longer a factor on intermediate routes. I'm wondering how the Patriots can have championship designs without a single dangerous skill player on offense; Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are terrific, but you need some weapons on offense. (Now watch me semi-contradict that when we talk about this week's game.)
Cassel has a 75.7 rating and a 6.1 YPA since joining Kansas City. He's being paid like a star quarterback. This is an open-and-shut case. He's at least avoiding negative plays this year, but he'll be the reason the Chiefs go nowhere in the playoffs (if they even make it that far).
The Broncos sure love to sweet talk their quarterbacks. In the last eight months they've traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn, drafted Tim Tebow in the first round, and signed Kyle Orton to a contract extension. Josh McDaniels has a common problem for an offensive genius - he's always seduced by thy neighbor's quarterback. McDaniels is also 4-14 in his last 18 games; I wonder how long of a leash he'll get from Pat Bowlen.
The Cowboys obviously need a Type A ass-kicker to come in and clean house, but can Jerry Jones coexist with that? Better yet, can Jones recruit a strong-willed man to be in charge of his mess? The most attractive candidates are going to want a part of the personnel decisions, and Jones can't keep his hands out of the cookie jar. And why have so many of the Cowboy players fallen off the planet in just one year? Wasn't Mike Jenkins a Pro Bowler last year? Didn't Felix Jones used to scare defenses?
I don't think the Week 10 slate is quite as bad as you do. The Pats and Steelers will give us a good show. McNabb-Philadelphia II will be interesting. Atlanta and Baltimore aren't flashy, but they're a welcome site on a Thursday night. And we get another good old grudge match, with Mangini's pesky Browns up against the Jets. Pull the pencil out of your ear and handicap a few of these.
From: Michael Salfino
Date: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 12:19 AM
Subject: Re: puzzle pieces, wines and cheeses
To: Scott Pianowski
Taking Cassel's two years is cheap. He's not bad this year, actually pretty good - 89 QB rating, IIRC, with a YPA still sub-standard but improving.
When Randy Moss is in town the birds sing a little better, the rainbows are brighter, the puppies more cuddly. Moss makes everything groovy. If only there was any recent evidence that he can still actually play. I quibble with these minor details.
Brady is like Mick Jagger going solo now. He's still him, I guess, but we miss the band. Walking through Costco today I saw "Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones" for $12.99! That was a legendary thing when I was a kid, more sought after than my buddie's uncle's pornos. That 1972 Stones lineup was the greatest rock band ever. Man, is Mick Taylor underrated. Sick licks throughout the set, played so effortlessly. So run out and get that while we wait on Bruce.
I don't see the point of Tebow in Denver. What's wrong with Orton? He's good enough to win with a decent supporting cast. He's not now nor ever will be Philip Rivers who just carries whoever you line up at wide receiver across the goal line, but I'm sold enough. And I've seen enough of Tebow to know he'll never amount to anything as a passer. When you come into the NFL not knowing how to throw like a pro when it comes to release time or accuracy, you are dead. Those are the things you need to work out as a foundation in the 10,000 hours or so you've been playing before you get drafted.
The first ass a Class A ass-kicker will boot out of Dallas will be Jones', at least when it comes to football decisions. Jerry won't have that. So we'll get a delicious 15-year, Raiders-like fade where kids a generation from now will have to be told stories about how so many people once loved the Cowboys. As for this year's team, it gets back to our dialog here from a couple of weeks ago, if you don't have an offensive line in this league, you have nothing. I mean, look what the Jets did to the Lions at the line of scrimmage. The only time I heard Ndamukong Suh's name was when he kicked an extra point.
You're jazzed up for Patriots-Steelers after saying that Brady is a one-man band now? I have a hard time seeing how that game is gong to prevent me from watching "Dexter" and "The Walking Dead" back to back. Why didn't our generation get really cool comic book-like graphic novels? "The Walking Dead" mini-series is a dream (er, nightmare), it's so good. Plus real zombies and not those crazy runners. Living Dead I can buy. Living Dead decathletes? No. I'm with George Romero here (I've seen him actually wearing this shirt). I will Tivo Pats-Steelers, in the basement.
You want predictions? The Jets match up really well against the Browns - they'll stuff Hillis, and then it's a rookie QB against Rex and Darrelle Revis, who is making his island smaller and smaller each week until eventually even Calvin Johnson disappears. Plus the Browns suck against the pass, so play Mark Sanchez and revenge-minded Braylon Edwards, people - 27-13 Jets. The Falcons are a fraud because they have no pass defense (29th in YPA allowed), second in importance only to pass offense - 24-20 Ravens. The Redskins stink, so Eagles 27-17. (McNabb is psychologically fragile and will fall apart with the coach who traded him on one side and the coach who benched him on the other. I am rooting for him though.) The Patriots are punch and judy (like the Saints), but the Steelers are really banged up on both lines. You never know about the backup linemen until they play. I'll assume they're competent, so Steelers 28-16. I'll pay, you close and ship to the home office.
From: Scott Pianowski
Date: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 4:43 PM
Subject: tumbling dice
To: Michael Salfino
You're throwing me a cookie with Cassel. His numbers to this point are a function of the schedule - he went off against the Niners, Jaguars (no secondary) and Texans (no secondary). He's thrown most of his passes from hitter counts and favorable spots (meanwhile, he has a 5.2 YPA when the game is tied and a 70 QB rating when playing from behind). Cassel finishes up with this slate: at San Diego, at St. Louis, Tennessee, Oakland. Provided he plays the full season, I will guarantee you that his out-the-door rating is lower than it is now. We've seen the high-water mark; now the wave breaks.
I agree on the peak of the Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. stands as their best, and they had me 10 seconds into Rocks Off. Licks, horns, harmonies, cocky and creative writing... no rock band has ever mixed it all better.
Tebow as a first-round pick will never make sense. Project quarterbacks are for Day 2 and the free-agent process; your first-round guys better be ready to play within a year at the most. Tebow isn't a fixer-upper, either; you need to completely rebuild his mechanics. Again, it's the vanity of the offensive genius; they see raw tools and think "with my coaching, there's a Pro Bowler."
I'm not going out of my way to compliment the Jets, not after they needed overtime to get past Detroit. Had the Lions not botched the last half of the fourth period, it's likely the Jets lose in regulation. I'M Curious to see if the Browns can challenge New York this weekend; Peyton Hillis is legit, and Cleveland's got an underrated OL as well (Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, etc). Mark Sanchez better make some throws this week because the Browns aren't bad against the run. It's a shame Colt McCoy isn't 6-3 or 6-4 because he's got what you need between the ears. If the Steelers, Saints and Patriots couldn't rattle McCoy - and two of those games were in extremely difficult places to play - why should we assume the Jets will? This game should be competitive into the final minutes; my heart wants to pick the Browns, but give me the Jets by 3.
Brady and Belichick make the Patriots compelling, and hell, 6-2 in today's NFL has to be taken seriously. I love Brady's record in bounce-back games, too. New England doesn't like to play physical teams; the Steelers have a power back in Mendenhall, but I don't like their run blocking at all. Belichick gets an extra scheming day to work with, as Pittsburgh played Monday night. The points are generous here, this is another three-point game. For all the plaudits thrown to the Steelers defense, you can throw on these guys. New England 24, Pittsburgh 23.
You were right about Chad Henne; you've been bashing him backstage most of the year and Tony Sparano finally cut the cord. I can see Chad Pennington rallying these guys long-term, but in the short term Tennessee is the wrong matchup for them (the Titans will attack the pocket and dare the Dolphins to bear them deep; not with Pennington's torn-and-frayed spaghetti arm, you don't). Titans 27, Dolphins 20.
Matt Ryan has one career loss at home, and I'm still not sure who Joe Flacco is. Baltimore's defense has been overrated for a couple of years now. Falcons 24, Ravens 20. The Eagles will destroy the Redskins. Dallas will play three competitive quarters in Jersey, then fall apart in the fourth period. Next week we can talk about why the Packers are the true favorite in the NFC.