• 2014 Week 10? Zone Blitz: Winter Is Coming


    With November and whatever follows that, taking the under is fast approaching. Which passing attacks will have to be modified due to weather? Which teams are going to fall apart in the kicking game? Whose lousy field will ruin somebody's knees or nullify someone's quickness?

    I don't want to spend much time on the unsurprising front-runners or their quarterbacks, so I won't. Please do call the show with your thoughts and opinions. Information, too.

    This week Patrick and I have agreed to try a quick pace. In first draft far I have only veered off that course three times. Patrick once. Gone is the conversational tone. We just don't have permission. Er, time.

    THINGS WE THINK ARE WORTHY OF A RAISED BROW

    SL:Items of interest coming out of the most horrible weekend of the year so far (at least between 3:30-4:10 pm, EST: )

    1. Carson Palmer injury. Will this derail the season in Arizona? I think the Cards still make the playoffs, butnow they don't make the Super Bowl, and Philly/Detroit become my favorites.

    2. AFC North = Mutually Assured Destruction. It looks like they will all split with each other, and given each team's injury/skill problems being about even this year a reasonable average of 2-3 losses outside the division by the end of things means 10-6 wins the thing. The Bengals, unable to do anything right, are making playoff calculations itch with that tie.

    3. Seattle and San Francisco. Both flawed, both stumbled early, both strong enough to make a run at the playoffs. One won't make it, and I think that one is SF based on bigger valleys and the weird tendency to get too cute in the Not-handing-the-ball-to-Frank-Gore Department.

    4. I don't want to talk at all about how bad Chicago is, but wow are they bad. I think it's OK to mention Chicago, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Tampa, Washington, Houston, Tennessee, and Oakland only if they knock someone out of the playoff race.

    5. Green Bay - How far can Rodgers take them? The defense occasionally looks OK, but not often enough.

    6. AFC - KC, Miami, and Buffalo are shockingly similar teams. Could beat anybody, won't beat everybody, and a touch confounding as to when and where they lay the beats down, as it were.


    PS: My week ten brow raisers:

    1. It's time to bury the talk about how dirty a player Ndamukong Suh is and start focusing on how great a player he has become. The media can continue to write takedown pieces using the confirmation of opinion method (go read this excellent tutorial on how to do just that) or they can actually watch the guy play. He plays close to 90% of Detroit's defensive snaps and he plays every one of them hard. His game Sunday against the Dolphins was maybe his best of the season and possibly his career. I'll echo Packers OL T.J. Lang. If I played the defensive tackle position, that's the way I would want to play it.

    2. How many games do we give Drew Stanton to remember he is Drew freaking Stanton? A half against his lifelong favorite team?

    3. What a sales job by Perrish Cox on that OPI call that killed the Saints on Sunday. It was definitely a foul, but Cox sold it too well. BTW - go back and read some of my commentary in previous ZBs. My prediction that the Niners would awake around week ten is looking pretty prophetic. With Aldon Smith back from his suspension as of this writing, that team may get scary at just the right time.

    4. The Bears... They probably get their **** together just in time to wreck a season. That's how it has always gone in the Black & Blue division. The crap team always steals a win from a top team. I'll give you three guesses which top team to which I refer, here. Either way, they need a new coach, so welcome to the NFCN, Rex Ryan.

    5. The Raiders performance Sunday reminded me a lot of the performances I saw by the Lions back in 2008. Ineptitude in action. Oakland, you are too proud and storied a franchise to post a doughnut in the win column for an entire season. Don't do this to your fans. (read: please do this to your fans, it's lonely out here in Winlesstown)

    6. I really, really like Mike Pettine. I think he may be the best thing to happen to the Browns in a long, long time.
    SL: DITTO.

    7. After blowing seven (SEVEN!) fourth quarter leads in 2013, the Lions have had three consecutive late comebacks. This is a different Lions team than the one you have seen in past years. I think they may actually hold it together for an entire season. Roadies at Arizona then New England could be tough, though.

    WE OPINE A LITTLE MORE

    SL:1. Thursday night, Buffalo at Miami, loser is done for the year; winner has a shot but will have to beat a very good team (NE, Denver, Green Bay) to do it. Miami has lost its LT. How big an impact?

    2. There are other teams?

    3. OK, I have done some detectoring, and it appears games will be played Sunday. Six interesting ones to those without a rooting interest and six tedious ones. Pats-Colts, Eagles-Packers, and Lions-Cardinals all likely have playoff home field implications. Bengals-Saints, Hawks-Chiefs, and Texans-Browns will all be really good games, and there is some playoff impact in each game.

    4. The rest? Color me unable to get anything up for Vikings-Bears, Bucs-Redskins, et al.

    PS:1. Bigger loss? Brandon Mebane or Patrick Willis? Think hard before you answer.

    2. Looks like Rams' owner Stan Kroenke is maybe, just maybe serious about moving his team to Los Angeles. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...ood-park-site/

    3. This is an organic article. I hope anyone reading gets that I made my prior comments regarding the 49ers before I knew Patrick Willis was out for the year.
    Theo Riddick is the reason Reggie Bush is a luxury for the Lions.

    FACT OR CRAP

    SL:

    1. The Bills lose, guaranteeing Doug Marrone gets fired in January.
    2. The Dolphins lose, guaranteeing Joe Philbin gets fired in January.
    3. Drew Stanton loses his first start in a few weeks to an inspired and violent Lions team looking for home field advantage.
    4. Despite its appearance as a top 3 item on my FB feed, nobody who follows football really cares which Philly-cheesesteak-puke-instigator Mark Sanchez ate last weekend.
    5. The noise about where Clay Matthews lines up will increase as the team's success continues. None of the talking heads will say that it is obviously a good idea to move dynamic playmakers around a bit and is generally not done enough.
    6. It is obviously a good idea to move dynamic playmakers around a bit, and it is generally not done enough.

    New format adopted on the fly. Tell us what you would like to see. Your week eleven open thread is live.

    Comments 45 Comments
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Love the Hit and Run format. Covers more topics. More when I land later. Great job.

      Go Pats!
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      I like this Zone Blitz a lot.

      1. The Bills lose, guaranteeing Doug Marrone gets fired in January. INC. Let me see their final record first. Hunch says CRAP.
      2. The Dolphins lose, guaranteeing Joe Philbin gets fired in January. Same as Bills answer. Probably CRAP.
      3. Drew Stanton loses his first start in a few weeks to an inspired and violent Lions team looking for home field advantage. CRAP. Something about this Cardinals team.
      4. Despite its appearance as a top 3 item on my FB feed, nobody who follows football really cares which Philly-cheesesteak-puke-instigator Mark Sanchez ate last weekend. FACT
      5. The noise about where Clay Matthews lines up will increase as the team's success continues. None of the talking heads will say that it is obviously a good idea to move dynamic playmakers around a bit and is generally not done enough. FACT
      6. It is obviously a good idea to move dynamic playmakers around a bit, and it is generally not done enough. FACT.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Fact or Crap Additions:

      1. If the McCaskeys are embarrassed enough to actually fire Trestman, their next coach should be Shanny Sr..
      2. If CRAP above, it should be Rex Ryan.
      3. If all CRAP, it should be David Shaw from Stanford.
      4. Ryan Mallett wins 4 games down the stretch for Houston.
      5. Giants will end Niner playoff hopes with one last inspired performance for Tom Coughlin.
      6. Tom Coughlin resigns and then announces retirement at the end of the season.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      1. The Bills lose, guaranteeing Doug Marrone gets fired in January. WISHFUL THINKING
      2. The Dolphins lose, guaranteeing Joe Philbin gets fired in January. CRAP
      3. Drew Stanton loses his first start in a few weeks to an inspired and violent Lions team looking for home field advantage. NO COMMENT
      4. Despite its appearance as a top 3 item on my FB feed, nobody who follows football really cares which Philly-cheesesteak-puke-instigator Mark Sanchez ate last weekend. FACT
      5. The noise about where Clay Matthews lines up will increase as the team's success continues. None of the talking heads will say that it is obviously a good idea to move dynamic playmakers around a bit and is generally not done enough.FACT
      6. It is obviously a good idea to move dynamic playmakers around a bit, and it is generally not done enough.FACT

      Fact or Crap Additions:

      1. If the McCaskeys are embarrassed enough to actually fire Trestman, their next coach should be Shanny Sr.. CRAP
      2. If CRAP above, it should be Rex Ryan. FACT
      3. If all CRAP, it should be David Shaw from Stanford. WISHFUL THINKING
      4. Ryan Mallett wins 4 games down the stretch for Houston.HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAA
      5. Giants will end Niner playoff hopes with one last inspired performance for Tom Coughlin.CRAPFACT? who knows which Giants team will show up from week to week?
      6. Tom Coughlin resigns and then announces retirement at the end of the season.HOPEFULLY FACT Total class act and a highly underrated coach.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      I'm guessing you don't like Mallett, Biggie, but here is where I came up with 4:

      They play Tennessee once and the Jags twice.

      Other than that, they have Cincy, Cleveland, Baltimore and Indy.

      They need just one upset victory.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      I'm guessing you don't like Mallett, Biggie, but here is where I came up with 4:

      They play Tennessee once and the Jags twice.

      Other than that, they have Cincy, Cleveland, Baltimore and Indy.

      They need just one upset victory.
      Mallett was a punk & a head case when he was at Michigan. Many fans breathed a sigh of relief when he transferred once Rodriguez was hired. Most of his troubles were, amazingly, kept out of the media. He had a few super-douchey incidents at a local bar which is owned by an old friend of mine. Let's just say the kid was a little off and more than a little entitled. He liked to get handsy with the waitstaff and female customers, picked a fight with a guy half his size (not knowing the apparent pipsqueak was a varsity wrestler - bad idea), stuff like that.

      I can see the Texans winning four despite Mallett.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      If we are going to start throwing rumors around, Harbaugh to the Bears...
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      If we are going to start throwing rumors around, Harbaugh to the Bears...
      I think that one is a great idea.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      Mallett was a punk & a head case when he was at Michigan. Many fans breathed a sigh of relief when he transferred once Rodriguez was hired. Most of his troubles were, amazingly, kept out of the media. He had a few super-douchey incidents at a local bar which is owned by an old friend of mine. Let's just say the kid was a little off and more than a little entitled. He liked to get handsy with the waitstaff and female customers, picked a fight with a guy half his size (not knowing the apparent pipsqueak was a varsity wrestler - bad idea), stuff like that.

      I can see the Texans winning four despite Mallett.
      So, as a college kid, Mallet was a douche. So are a ton of college kids. Do we hold that against someone for an entire lifetime? Mallet's had no issues at all in the NFL, and is getting a chance to play for the last half of the last year, of his rookie contract, and I hope he plays well.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
      So, as a college kid, Mallet was a douche. So are a ton of college kids. Do we hold that against someone for an entire lifetime? Mallet's had no issues at all in the NFL, and is getting a chance to play for the last half of the last year, of his rookie contract, and I hope he plays well.
      I do not really care either way, to be honest. My friend the bar owner is not prone to hyperbole. He also has almost 30 years experience working at or owning this same bar, He has had his fair share of run-ins with douchy college kids. He says Mallett is much worse than most.
    1. Hoser's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      I think that one is a great idea.
      I don't.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
      So, as a college kid, Mallet was a douche. So are a ton of college kids. Do we hold that against someone for an entire lifetime? Mallet's had no issues at all in the NFL, and is getting a chance to play for the last half of the last year, of his rookie contract, and I hope he plays well.
      well, he was apparently a bit of a coke head too.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Nice work guys. Thanks for filling in.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar




      I would like to think a game between two first place teams would get a little more exposure. With all the focus ESPN and the rest of the collective football media gaggle is placing on Lions @ Cardinals, the coverage level is very low. Then again, it's Lions/Cards going against Eagles/Packers. Meh.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Doug Marrone says that he's sticking with Kyle Orton.

      Why?

      I think we're all about 98.64% certain that EJ Manuel is not the answer at QB. I'm also 100% certain that Kyle Orton is not their future at QB either. Even though the odds are small, now that the Bills are back at .500 in the very deep AFC, shouldn't the goal be to give Manuel one final shot, take the small chance that he's suddenly good enough to lead them to a 4-1 finish, or more likely, prove that he's definitively not the answer, allowing them to begin the process of moving on this off season? Doesn't Doug Marrone owe that much to the franchise? What purpose at this point does it serve to stick with Kyle Orton, with the upside that you finish 8-8?
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      Doug Marrone says that he's sticking with Kyle Orton.

      Why?

      I think we're all about 98.64% certain that EJ Manuel is not the answer at QB. I'm also 100% certain that Kyle Orton is not their future at QB either. Even though the odds are small, now that the Bills are back at .500 in the very deep AFC, shouldn't the goal be to give Manuel one final shot, take the small chance that he's suddenly good enough to lead them to a 4-1 finish, or more likely, prove that he's definitively not the answer, allowing them to begin the process of moving on this off season? Doesn't Doug Marrone owe that much to the franchise? What purpose at this point does it serve to stick with Kyle Orton, with the upside that you finish 8-8?
      Since the Bills were just sold, maybe Marrone feels like he needs to guarantee as many wins as possible in an effort to keep his job. Manuel's upside may be better and it's in the long-term interest of the Bills to find out what he has, but my guess is it's very much in his short-term interest to win now.

      Especially since the Bills' first-round pick this year is heading to Cleveland. No matter how good Sammy Watkins is or may be, Buffalo's brass needs substantial improvement for that not to be used against them by new ownership.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kocsan View Post
      Since the Bills were just sold, maybe Marrone feels like he needs to guarantee as many wins as possible in an effort to keep his job. Manuel's upside may be better and it's in the long-term interest of the Bills to find out what he has, but my guess is it's very much in his short-term interest to win now.

      Especially since the Bills' first-round pick this year is heading to Cleveland. No matter how good Sammy Watkins is or may be, Buffalo's brass needs substantial improvement for that not to be used against them by new ownership.
      But since the Bills were just sold, shouldn't they be thinking about a more long-term approach, meaning that Marrone could actually help his own standing by playing Manuel? If I were owner, and a coach was sacrificing the future so that he could have a slightly more respectable record this season, without a realistic shot at a championship, I'd look at that as a selfish act, and would be more likely to search for a new coach.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      But since the Bills were just sold, shouldn't they be thinking about a more long-term approach, meaning that Marrone could actually help his own standing by playing Manuel? If I were owner, and a coach was sacrificing the future so that he could have a slightly more respectable record this season, without a realistic shot at a championship, I'd look at that as a selfish act, and would be more likely to search for a new coach.
      I get this, but there's no good answer here. The other problem here for Marrone is that he drafted Manuel. If he plays him and it doesn't work, that's a major difficulty for his future in Buffalo, too.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kocsan View Post
      I get this, but there's no good answer here. The other problem here for Marrone is that he drafted Manuel. If he plays him and it doesn't work, that's a major difficulty for his future in Buffalo, too.
      Jeff Fisher this week is turning from Austin Davis to Shaun Hill. Last week, Lovie Smith turned from Mike Glennon to Josh McCown. Add in sticking with Kyle Orton, and WHAT'S THE POINT?

      I'm just waiting for the Raiders to turn things back over to Matt Schaub. And you know Ken Whisenhunt is looking for an excuse to put Charlie Whitehurst back on the field.