• The Water Cooler: Week 11


    --Of course there are reports coming out about Peyton Manning refusing to help Brock Osweiler leading up to this week’s game, instead choosing to put 100% of his energy into getting healthy. I mean, what else were we going to hear? I have no idea if this story is valid or not, but I do find it quite funny that CBS Boston, while not being the first to report it, jumped all over it . Players will often not travel when injured, many times a direct decision by the coaching staff. If Manning demanded to travel and help out Osweiler, I’m 100% certain the Broncos would have let him travel. What’s not helping Peyton is the fact that Tony Romo was frequently seen on the sidelines while he was injured, and Ben Roethlisberger donned a headset and acted as assistant OC during his absence. Jay Cutler, despite what many in the media would want you to believe, has also typically been on the sideline as extra support when forced to sit out. But when you have a painful foot injury that you’re trying to get to heal as quickly as possible, one of the last things you’d want to be doing is standing on the sideline for hours.

    Buried within that article are comments from Manning stating his stance that he’s available as a resource if needed, but that he doesn’t want to cloud Osweiler’s thoughts and get in the way of the coaches. And honestly, I’m fine with that. Clearly Manning has an ego, all of the greats do. But each situation is different, and I firmly believe that if the Broncos felt like they needed him to make the trip to Chicago, he'd have been there.

    -That said, don’t let the 17 points fool you, Denver’s offense looked much better this week with Brock Osweiler under center. Osweiler did take some crucial sacks, so things clearly weren’t perfect, but the Broncos ran the ball more effectively, Osweiler moved the ball efficiently, and perhaps most importantly, this was the first TO-free game of the season for the Broncos. If there’s not a QB controversy brewing in Denver, there probably should be. I get that Manning will do everything he can to face the Patriots on Sunday night, but if the Broncos want to win, their best chance lies in the arm of Brock Osweiler.

    -After having the officiating crew and Elvis Dumervil combine to bail them out of a win last week, the Ravens may have officially destroyed their hopes to compete for the top pick in the draft with yesterday’s win over the Rams.

    -Seriously, when things go wrong, they go downhill fast. After Justin Forsett’s ugly broken arm, and with even the indestructible Joe Flacco going down to a torn ACL/MCL, the Ravens have now lost their starting QB, top 2 RBs, top WR, #1 draft pick, and best pass rusher for the season. Joe Flacco is a seriously tough dude, staying in the game for that final drive despite having ripped up his knee. Annually successful teams like the Ravens rarely get the opportunity to draft in the top 5, but with the Matt Schaub Adventure about to take shape, that’s exactly what’s going to happen for Baltimore next year. That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the AFC North.

    -On top of Flacco and Forsett, we also had Devonta Freeman, Charcandrick West, Zach Ertz, Trent Williams, Darrell Revis, Vontae Davis, and Patrick Peterson all leave with injuries. This year has been the absolute worst when it comes to impactful injuries.

    -How good would Cam Newton be if he had Kelvin Benjamin to work with? The Panthers have matured into their undefeated status.

    -Sorry Dallas, but beating the Dolphins proved nothing. Knock Carolina from the ranks of the unbeaten on Thursday, then we’ll talk.

    -The Eagles are a complete disaster.

    -After a rough start to the season, the Chiefs suddenly find themselves at 5-5 with a home date against Buffalo scheduled next week. With Oakland and the Jets both faltering, that suddenly feels like the matchup that will decide the 2nd Wild Card in the AFC.

    -In FG range on 3rd and 2 with just over a minute left and no TOs for Arizona, why are the Bengals risking a pass? Running the ball gives you at least a 50/50 shot at a 1st down, at which point you can then manipulate the clock even further while still going for the winning score. Even if you don't convert, you're giving Arizona what would have been less than 30 seconds to move the ball into FG range. With the way Carson Palmer was moving the ball in the 2nd half, thanks in large part to a banged up secondary, giving him over a minute was writing your own death sentence.

    -I was glad to see some fight in the Bengals, as they really stepped up offensively in a tough environment, nearly finding a way to pull that game out. That was one of the better games of the season.

    -The big exception to this is AJ Green, who took 12 targets to get his 79 yards. His long catch early came against Jerraud Powers, and he had a catch late after Patrick Peterson left the game with an injury. Otherwise, 2 for 24 when matched up against Peterson just doesn't cut it. Green is a physical freak. If he wants to be considered an elite WR, at some point he needs to start winning those matchups, no matter who's lined up on the other side.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      <img src="http://footballpros.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1175"/>

      --Of course there are reports coming out about Peyton Manning refusing to help Brock Osweiler leading up to this week’s game, instead choosing to put 100% of his energy into getting healthy. I mean, what else were we going to hear? I have no idea if this story is valid or not, but I do find it quite funny that CBS Boston, while not being the first to report it, jumped all over it . Players will often not travel when injured, many times a direct decision by the coaching staff. If Manning demanded to travel and help out Osweiler, I’m 100% certain the Broncos would have let him travel. What’s not helping Peyton is the fact that Tony Romo was frequently seen on the sidelines while he was injured, and Ben Roethlisberger donned a headset and acted as assistant OC during his absence. Jay Cutler, despite what many in the media would want you to believe, has also typically been on the sideline as extra support when forced to sit out. But when you have a painful foot injury that you’re trying to get to heal as quickly as possible, one of the last things you’d want to be doing is standing on the sideline for hours.

      Buried within that article are comments from Manning stating his stance that he’s available as a resource if needed, but that he doesn’t want to cloud Osweiler’s thoughts and get in the way of the coaches. And honestly, I’m fine with that. Clearly Manning has an ego, all of the greats do. But each situation is different, and I firmly believe that if the Broncos felt like they needed him to make the trip to Chicago, he'd have been there.

      -That said, don’t let the 17 points fool you, Denver’s offense looked much better this week with Brock Osweiler under center. Osweiler did take some crucial sacks, so things clearly weren’t perfect, but the Broncos ran the ball more effectively, Osweiler moved the ball efficiently, and perhaps most importantly, this was the first TO-free game of the season for the Broncos. If there’s not a QB controversy brewing in Denver, there probably should be. I get that Manning will do everything he can to face the Patriots on Sunday night, but if the Broncos want to win, their best chance lies in the arm of Brock Osweiler.

      -After having the officiating crew and Elvis Dumervil combine to bail them out of a win last week, the Ravens may have officially destroyed their hopes to compete for the top pick in the draft with yesterday’s win over the Rams.

      -Seriously, when things go wrong, they go downhill fast. After Justin Forsett’s ugly broken arm, and with even the indestructible Joe Flacco going down to a torn ACL/MCL, the Ravens have now lost their starting QB, top 2 RBs, top WR, #1 draft pick, and best pass rusher for the season. Joe Flacco is a seriously tough dude, staying in the game for that final drive despite having ripped up his knee. Annually successful teams like the Ravens rarely get the opportunity to draft in the top 5, but with the Matt Schaub Adventure about to take shape, that’s exactly what’s going to happen for Baltimore next year. That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the AFC North.

      -On top of Flacco and Forsett, we also had Devonta Freeman, Charcandrick West, Zach Ertz, Trent Williams, Darrell Revis, Vontae Davis, and Patrick Peterson all leave with injuries. This year has been the absolute worst when it comes to impactful injuries.

      -How good would Cam Newton be if he had Kelvin Benjamin to work with? The Panthers have matured into their undefeated status.

      -Sorry Dallas, but beating the Dolphins proved nothing. Knock Carolina from the ranks of the unbeaten on Thursday, then we’ll talk.

      -The Eagles are a complete disaster.

      -After a rough start to the season, the Chiefs suddenly find themselves at 5-5 with a home date against Buffalo scheduled next week. With Oakland and the Jets both faltering, that suddenly feels like the matchup that will decide the 2nd Wild Card in the AFC.

      -In FG range on 3rd and 2 with just over a minute left and no TOs for Arizona, why are the Bengals risking a pass? Running the ball gives you at least a 50/50 shot at a 1st down, at which point you can then manipulate the clock even further while still going for the winning score. Even if you don't convert, you're giving Arizona what would have been less than 30 seconds to move the ball into FG range. With the way Carson Palmer was moving the ball in the 2nd half, thanks in large part to a banged up secondary, giving him over a minute was writing your own death sentence.

      -I was glad to see some fight in the Bengals, as they really stepped up offensively in a tough environment, nearly finding a way to pull that game out. That was one of the better games of the season.

      -The big exception to this is AJ Green, who took 12 targets to get his 79 yards. His long catch early came against Jerraud Powers, and he had a catch late after Patrick Peterson left the game with an injury. Otherwise, 2 for 24 when matched up against Peterson just doesn't cut it. Green is a physical freak. If he wants to be considered an elite WR, at some point he needs to start winning those matchups, no matter who's lined up on the other side.
      The Broncos plsyed te safest gameplan they could, and never asked Osweiler to do more thanhi not loose the game. That was 17 points against a bad run D that also lost the FOP battle to an offense that could barely move the ball without its 3 best WRs. With that D they really dont need to do much more, but you cant tell about a QB until you see him play from behind.

      The officiating is the story of the week. Phantom prime time whistles... I dont know how Gruden contained himself.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Early morning comments about last night:

      The Bills defense was amazing. It looked, for the first time, like we expected it to look coming into the season. The pass rush was intense and it was getting to Tom often, But, I have to ask something:

      In Packers/Vikings there was a play in (if I recall correctly) the first half. Vikings rushing, Rodgers gets the ball away, Vikings player pulls up, extends his hand. He touches Rodgers shoulder lightly, Rodgers flops, and there is a flag for a 'late hit on the quarterback'. Why didn't Brady get any of those? At the end of the game, ESPN was showing clips of the pressure. They showed one play where after the ball was released, a Bill dove at Tom's knees. Another play, in the 4th, where after the throw, the linebacker put his shoulder down and with no attempt to pull up, went right to Brady's ribs. I am not saying the Bills were playing dirty, they were not. But, there were late hits that should have drawn flags.

      Our defense is amazing too. It's not getting press, but it's one of the best in the NFL.

      Now, I want to talk about the, to quote iwatt 'Phantom prime time whistles'. The whistle was not phantom, that is unfair to the line judge. Let's walk through the sequence of events.

      1. It's 3rd and 10. Brady is once more under pressure. He rolls out, sees Danny, and tries to get the ball to him.
      2. At the same time, on the Bills sideline, Head Coach Rex Ryan steps into the white area and gets in the way of the line judge. This is clear interference with the officials. It is, in fact, a 15 yard penalty.
      3. The correct thing for the line judge to do here is throw the flag, move around Rex, and continue the play. If he does this, we have no controversy at all. However, the NFL seems to want the refs to give coaches chances to not be flagged. So, he puts his whistle in his mouth to warn Rex. At the same time, however, he is running! So, he blows the whistle while not meaning to.
      4. Now, what made it worse is that by rule, the play should have ended since the whistle was blown while the ball was in the air. This is an insanely stupid rule! Not only can it hurt a team who has done nothing wrong, but it also allows a ref to point shave! An 'accidental' whistle could could a long play in any game. By giving the Pats the ball at the spot of the catch, plus 15 for the call on Rex, they ruled incorrectly. But, there is no way, at all, Steretore could say that, so, in a bad situation he made the best of it. His attempt was noble, and it is the ruling I would have made, but technically it was incorrect.

      The fault for this play lies 100 percent with the Competition Committee! They need to stop treating coaches who break in game rules differently than players, and they need to get rid of rules that make no sense. The NFL should replace everyone on it.

      End game notes:

      Bills clock management in that last two minute drive was terrible.

      Why was Taylor in the game? Rex said after the game that he asked Taylor is he was ok. He said he was ready to put EJ in. I believe him. Taylor told Rex he was fine. I understand that, too. Taylor wanted to be in. But, when on every single play Tirico is pointing out that he was in pain, I have to ask this:

      What was the independent doctor doing? Isn't he (or she) there to protect players from themselves? Shouldn't that person have pulled Taylor from the game?

      On the last play, Watkins was out of bounds. The Bills should have had one more play.


      All in all, though, the person that should be the most ashamed about last night is Gruden. Joun makes 6.5 million a year to work half the year. ESPN let 300 people go a few weeks ago to save money (since they overpay too many people, and have waaaaayyyy too many on thier NFL studio crew). But, Chucky was not prepared.

      As some examples:

      a. John seemed shocked that the Pats were trying multiple offensive line lineups and subbing along the offensive line. We've been doing this since Week 1! How can you not know that?? Where was your prep??
      b. Later in the game, he commented that he did not know why we were using Chung, and not Coleman, as the nickel corner. I can tell you why! Coleman was inactive!! How can you not know the inactive list for a game you are doing??? The Pats even Tweet both sides inactive lists for their games, it's how I find out for my game write ups, and I don't even use Twitter (yet). How can you be paid so much money and mail your job it?

      Shame on you Chucky Gruden!
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
      Early morning comments about last night:

      The Bills defense was amazing. It looked, for the first time, like we expected it to look coming into the season. The pass rush was intense and it was getting to Tom often, But, I have to ask something:

      In Packers/Vikings there was a play in (if I recall correctly) the first half. Vikings rushing, Rodgers gets the ball away, Vikings player pulls up, extends his hand. He touches Rodgers shoulder lightly, Rodgers flops, and there is a flag for a 'late hit on the quarterback'. Why didn't Brady get any of those? At the end of the game, ESPN was showing clips of the pressure. They showed one play where after the ball was released, a Bill dove at Tom's knees. Another play, in the 4th, where after the throw, the linebacker put his shoulder down and with no attempt to pull up, went right to Brady's ribs. I am not saying the Bills were playing dirty, they were not. But, there were late hits that should have drawn flags.
      2 things. Firs,t the Bills defense looked nearly amazing, The last drive in the first half ended on the weak point. Whether it was a brain cramp or a structural problem, nobody in coverage accounted for the running back on the touchdown. It happens a couple times every week.

      Second, this is Gene Steratore, and he doesn't call those.

      Our defense is amazing too. It's not getting press, but it's one of the best in the NFL.
      I agree.


      Now, I want to talk about the, to quote iwatt 'Phantom prime time whistles'. The whistle was not phantom, that is unfair to the line judge. Let's walk through the sequence of events.

      1. It's 3rd and 10. Brady is once more under pressure. He rolls out, sees Danny, and tries to get the ball to him.
      2. At the same time, on the Bills sideline, Head Coach Rex Ryan steps into the white area and gets in the way of the line judge. This is clear interference with the officials. It is, in fact, a 15 yard penalty.
      3. The correct thing for the line judge to do here is throw the flag, move around Rex, and continue the play. If he does this, we have no controversy at all. However, the NFL seems to want the refs to give coaches chances to not be flagged. So, he puts his whistle in his mouth to warn Rex. At the same time, however, he is running! So, he blows the whistle while not meaning to.
      4. Now, what made it worse is that by rule, the play should have ended since the whistle was blown while the ball was in the air. This is an insanely stupid rule! Not only can it hurt a team who has done nothing wrong, but it also allows a ref to point shave! An 'accidental' whistle could could a long play in any game. By giving the Pats the ball at the spot of the catch, plus 15 for the call on Rex, they ruled incorrectly. But, there is no way, at all, Steratore could say that, so, in a bad situation he made the best of it. His attempt was noble, and it is the ruling I would have made, but technically it was incorrect.

      The fault for this play lies 100 percent with the Competition Committee! They need to stop treating coaches who break in game rules differently than players, and they need to get rid of rules that make no sense. The NFL should replace everyone on it.
      I didn't see it, but it sounds like you nailed it.

      The first half held some plays, mostly two, that bugged me just as badly as any, ever. The non-PI call against Chung on Hogan at the four yard line. They called it in the second half on the other guy when he did it to Watkins, but it was even worse in the first half. Potential four point swing.

      The non-Running Into The Kicker when the Pats player dove at the Buffalo punter and took out his plant leg. Should've been five yards and kick again. Must protect the defenseless players.

      End game notes:

      Bills clock management in that last two minute drive was terrible.
      It always is. Some of it is Taylor and inexperience, but most of it is Roman. SF was like that, too, under him. I don't know why he takes so long to get plays in and for the team to get them off, but it has been a problem from the beginning.

      Why was Taylor in the game? Rex said after the game that he asked Taylor is he was ok. He said he was ready to put EJ in. I believe him. Taylor told Rex he was fine. I understand that, too. Taylor wanted to be in. But, when on every single play Tirico is pointing out that he was in pain, I have to ask this:
      Rex was lying, He has no interest in playing Manuel.

      What was the independent doctor doing? Isn't he (or she) there to protect players from themselves? Shouldn't that person have pulled Taylor from the game?
      Only on concussions.

      On the last play, Watkins was out of bounds. The Bills should have had one more play.
      I agree. I think they ruled that he went OB going backwards of his own volition, but the difference is that it should have been a brief stoppage instead of a 30 seconds or whatever. Buffalo probably wouldn't have gotten set in time anyway, so frell it.

      All in all, though, the person that should be the most ashamed about last night is Gruden. Joun makes 6.5 million a year to work half the year. ESPN let 300 people go a few weeks ago to save money (since they overpay too many people, and have waaaaayyyy too many on thier NFL studio crew). But, Chucky was not prepared.

      As some examples:

      a. John seemed shocked that the Pats were trying multiple offensive line lineups and subbing along the offensive line. We've been doing this since Week 1! How can you not know that?? Where was your prep??
      b. Later in the game, he commented that he did not know why we were using Chung, and not Coleman, as the nickel corner. I can tell you why! Coleman was inactive!! How can you not know the inactive list for a game you are doing??? The Pats even Tweet both sides inactive lists for their games, it's how I find out for my game write ups, and I don't even use Twitter (yet). How can you be paid so much money and mail your job it?

      Shame on you Chucky Gruden!
      It is ESPN. Eh.
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      I want to add two things about the Buffalo offense.

      1. It was nice to see them use Williams and McCoy in the same backfield, but the two plays they ran over and over form that set were 1. unimaginative, and 2, predictable.

      2. The fourth quarter was predictable predictable predictable. Probably a big reason why this team has trouble getting first downs in tight spots.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottDCP View Post
      I want to add two things about the Buffalo offense.

      1. It was nice to see them use Williams and McCoy in the same backfield, but the two plays they ran over and over form that set were 1. unimaginative, and 2, predictable.

      2. The fourth quarter was predictable predictable predictable. Probably a big reason why this team has trouble getting first downs in tight spots.
      The Pats D is legit. Malcolm Butler lives in his WR pocket. The Linebackers are good. And they still get great play from Nikovich, who must be like 50 years old.

      Regarding the roughing the passer: it depends so much on the crew and the QB. Ben and Cam take alot of hits, so does Ruseel Wilson. Brady usually get's a lot of protection, but every once in a while when he plays the Ravens or a Rex Ryan D, they let the m play rougher.

      I've never been one to argue too much about the refs. But this year they seem more timid, they seemed confused about the catches (like everybody in the world now), and they pick up a lot more flags than they used to. They also will call fumble and TD more often taking advantage of the automatic review rule.