Monday, January 04, 2010
NFL Notes: There are some dumb NFL coaches
So seeing as the news that Jim Zorn was fired during a 4am meeting with Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen and that Mike Shanahan subsequently appeared at Northern Virginia's Dulles International Airport and is expected to be announced as head coach Tuesday are already reported, I figured I should focus on some more surprising developments heading into the wild card weekend of the NFL postseason:
-First, I just wanted to comment on the meteoric fall of the Denver Broncos, or as I like to call them, the West Coast Redskins (or I guess Western time zone would be more appropriate errr Mountain time zone). Start out 6-0, get a bunch of cool little features on pregame shows, and then watch it circle down the drain amidst a 2-8 finish. Sounds familiar to me. Seriously, though, how does a team lose by 20 to a 3-win opponent with the playoffs on the line? I know Brandon Marshall got suspended, but against a moribund team like the Chiefs, you'd think that would light a fire not ignite a stink bomb. Oh yeah, and with Shanahan already in the DC area, cue the Marshall in burgundy and gold rumors.
-All this talk about the Jets cake walking into the playoffs is so valid it hurts. Did the Colts and Bengals rest their starters? Sure. Did the Jets win as a result? Absolutely. Did it keep the Houston Texans and Andre Johnson from making the playoffs? You're damn straight.
So for those thinking the Texans were gonna be the Arizona Cardinals of last year, with Johnson playing the role of Larry Fitzgerald, I would like to point this out. Yes, Fitzgerald was dynamite during the Cards' Super Bowl run, but to me, the reason Arizona went so far was the emergence of its defense and more specifically, its defensive line led by Darnell Dockett. Oh wait, Johnson is the best wide receiver in the league and Mario Williams not only has proven he should have been picked ahead of Reggie Bush, but is probably better than Darnell Dockett ... damn, the Texans could have been this year's Cardinals.
-Speaking of the Jets, I think their elite defense gives them a chance against anybody, especially a Cincinnati team that appears to be the weakest division winner in the NFL except for ...
-The Saints, who I think are going to be one and done when they face either Green Bay or Arizona next week.
-So it was T.O. or bust this year in Buffalo. BUST! (That was for you Graham, who if I recall correctly was anxiously awaiting the Trent Edwards era even though I constantly reminded him that nobody that wins one game his senior season at Stanford should be worth getting excited for).
-Here's what drives me nuts about the NFL. Jeff Fisher (Tennessee) and Jon Fox (Carolina) are currently the longest and third-longest tenured coaches in the NFL, respectively, as we close the 2009-10 season. Who knows if either gets fired (Fisher sounds like a no, Fox sounds like a probably no after the Panthers won five straight to end the season), but to me they're getting credit where credit just isn't due.
In Carolina, Fox finally benched Jake Delhomme after a merciful four INT performance against the Jets, and when he inserted Matt Moore into the lineup the very next week in a 17-6 win over Tampa Bay, lo and behold, the Panthers commenced their five-game win streak. Carolina's players deserve all sorts of credit for their showing, considering that the playoffs were a fantasy when they began this hot streak. I just don't get how the five consecutive wins would save Fox's job. If anything, I would can his ass for not putting Moore in there earlier, when the playoffs could have still been a possibility.
In Tennessee, Fisher did the same thing, although he had the sense to go from Kerry Collins to Vince Young while the Titans still had a faint hope of postseason glory. See, he waited until the Titans were 0-6, so that even when Vince Young played incredibly well and went 8-2 down the stretch (with losses to Indianapolis and San Diego), they still couldn't make the playoffs.
How are these considered good coaching jobs? The only reason these two teams didn't make the playoffs was the incompetency of their head coaches. I would fire both right now.
-Biggest disappointments of the NFL season (in no particular order): The Matt Hasselbeck to T.J. Houshmandzadeh connection, the Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe connection, Josh McDaniel the disciplinarian (would Belichick have benched his star wide receiver heading into a do or die game even if his head wasn't on straight?), James Harrison as the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year (winners of this award should at least be the MVP of their own defense, something Troy Polamalu proved Harrison wasn't this season), defensive guru Lovie Smith, Chris Long as a top 3 pick in the NFL Draft (nine sacks, 43 tackles, and 3-29 record in two seasons), and lastly, wide receiver Devin Hester.
There's so many more and I would love to hear some of yours. Comment away...
-And last, this is more for Redskins fans out there that are looking forward to owning the offseason once again (I'm already hearing rumors that Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati and a guy I wouldn't mind having as a head coach, is on the verge of becoming the defensive coordinator here). Just remember ... even if Dan Snyder somehow finds a way to bring the ashes of Johnny Cochran back to life, hires him to get O.J. Simpson out of jail, and then figures out a way to reverse time so that he has an in-his-prime Juice to split carries with Clinton Portis ... the Oakland Raiders won more games than the Washington Redskins this year.
Sad, but true.
Posted by Mark at 4:35 PM