• The Water Cooler: Week 14


    -Lost in Derrick Henry winning the Heisman on Saturday night and the top 3 (Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and Deshaun Watson) running away with the voting is that in 5th place was Navy's Keenan Reynolds. The 21st ranked Midshipmen have had a great year, and on Saturday Reynolds became the NCAA's all-time TD leader, regardless of division with his 85th rushing TD. He's also the only QB in the Army-Navy series to go 4-0. Kudos to Reynolds for a well-deserved top 5 finish, and for putting together one of the truly great careers in the history of college football.

    -Call me old-school, but I don’t have a problem with the current playoff structure, and specifically with each division winner hosting a playoff game.

    -That said, IF they were to change it, it would have to be all or nothing. Either you seed entirely by record, or you keep the current format. To keep divisions, reward division winners with a playoff spot, but force them to travel if they finish at or below .500 is arbitrary and stupid.

    -The revenge narrative is fun, and the whole situation may have been handled wrong, but Chip Kelly was still correct to pull the trigger on trading Lesean McCoy.

    -LeSean McCoy loves Philadelphia, and the fans love(d) him. I’ve seen that first hand. Last offseason, just a few weeks before being traded, I sat with my family in the back of a local Philly establishment that sits near the stadium complex. A few tables away sat Shady with a few friends. He left before I did, but we were there congruently for about 45 minutes, and the entire time, there was only one father with his young son that went up to the table, shook his hand, and got an autograph. To say bothered would be the wrong word, because they clearly did not interrupt his meal, and he couldn’t have been happier to oblige. Otherwise, no one approached him. He was comfortable to the point that no one in my family had any inkling that someone locally and nationally famous was sitting feet from them until I told them. He was simply just another patron. In other words, he was home. I get that he’s hurt, largely due to feeling like he deserved more simply because of his relationship with the community. Kissing the logo was a nice touch. But really, I’d like to see McCoy be the bigger man about this, because from that one snapshot, I believe that’s who he truly is.

    -Earl Morrell, Vince Ferragamo, Jeff Hostetler, Kurt Warner, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick, AJ McCarron?

    -It’s a shame to see Andy Dalton go down, and hopefully he’ll be back in time for the playoffs. I know there’s a select-but-loud minority in Cincinnati that will refuse to embrace Dalton until the day he’s holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy and is named Super Bowl MVP, and that’s causing some conflict with the vast majority of Bengal Nation that feels like those people are morons. In some way, I get the sense that deep down, they’re battling the inner demons that AJ McCarron’s success would prove the idiots correct. No, all it would mean is that you have a good backup QB, which in turn, means you have a better team. No matter how well he plays, even if he’s forced to play through and win a playoff game or more, I can’t see Andy Dalton getting Drew Bledsoed. Let’s not forget that Bledsoe’s play and underwhelming team performance led to Brady running through the door and locking it behind him. That job is Dalton’s no matter how well McCarron performs.

    -That’s now 5 games in a row with 30+ points for the Steelers. We saw what Pittsburgh was able to do to Seattle, but the challenge next week against Denver, for both the Steeler offense and Bronco defense, is probably even greater.

    -Despite playing a few games without Martavis Bryant, missing a few (and coming back at something significantly less than 100%) and leaving two games early, Ben Roethlisberger is averaging 332.1 yards per game, which is the 3rd best mark in NFL history. Especially if he can lead the Steelers to a 6th straight 30 point performance against that Denver defense this week, I think there’s a strong case to be made that Big Ben is currently the best QB in the league.

    -William Gay certainly got his money’s worth out of the celebration penalty following his pick 6.

    -I never thought Robbie Gould would be arguably the biggest reason the Bears are out of the playoff chase.

    -“They can fire you, but they can’t eat you.” Thanks to Chuck Pagano for confirming that the Colt front office is not consisted of cannibals.

    -Eddie Lacy’s performance on Sunday, the opening week of the playoffs for many fantasy leagues, is exactly what his owners were envisioning when they selected him with a top 5 pick back in August. Unfortunately, many of those same owners finished nowhere near a playoff spot thanks to his performance in weeks 1-13.

    -With the undefeated talk heating up, and now exclusively focused on Carolina, 38-0 was an awfully impressive statement to make.

    -I guess there’s no such thing as a Madden Curse after all.

    Comments 20 Comments
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      somehow I managed to not know who won the Heisman until I heard Derek Henry on the Dan Patrick show yesterday. Completely forgot about the ceremony and at one point during his interview (when he talked about showing the trophy to his grandma in the hospital) said "dude, you gotta win it first."
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      To all Bengals: I know how you feel about Dalton. Bears fans went through this. First when the idiots thought Caleb hanie's smi-competent performance in the 2010 NFC Champinship game meant he would make hime better than Cutler in 2011 when he got injured. The Bears missed the playoffs. The when Josh Mcown went through his miraculous interception free spree in 2013. And then last year with some idiots hoping to see Pickles play. And again this year. An then the Clausening happens.

      I sincereley doubt AJ Mcarron is the answer (Dalton is good). If he plays well enough because of the skill positions and line play, you'll get the dumb controversy. If he sucks, you'll have lost the year (like the Bears in 2011 and 2012). But even then Dalton is going to suffer the same fate that every QB ranked 10-20 in the league will suffer. He is not Tom-arron Brady-rogers .

      Andy Dalton is no better or worse than Joe Flacco on his superbowl run, except without the aid of a better HC and a defense packed with HoF and the press anointing him with the "winner sauce". Give him a good OL (check), decent to good WRS (he has excellent WRs) and a good running game (not sure how good the Bengals running game is, or wether it's an artifact of Eifert-Aj green defense stertching). It's the same situation, except the Ravens get the "well run isntitution" and the Bengals don't. But for the last 2 years the Bengals are the better managed, better drafted and better run team.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post

      Andy Dalton is no better or worse than Joe Flacco on his superbowl run, except without the aid of a better HC and a defense packed with HoF and the press anointing him with the "winner sauce". Give him a good OL (check), decent to good WRS (he has excellent WRs) and a good running game (not sure how good the Bengals running game is, or wether it's an artifact of Eifert-Aj green defense stertching). It's the same situation, except the Ravens get the "well run isntitution" and the Bengals don't. But for the last 2 years the Bengals are the better managed, better drafted and better run team.
      You make it sound like Joe Flacco was along for the ride in that superbowl run, when the reality is the Ravens would not have won the superbowl, much less a few of those games with an average QB or someone like Andy Dalton. I think Andy Dalton is a good QB who people underestimate. But I wouldn't put him in the same breath as Flacco.

      The Bengals certainly have the talent this year to be Superbowl contenders, until Dalton went down. I don't blame their lack of success on Andy Dalton, but I blame it on Marvin Lewis. How he's kept his job this long baffles me.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      This makes me think of the idiot Lions fans who constantly call for Matthew Stafford's job. There are people who honestly believe the Lions made a mistake letting <insert random backup QB's name here> go. I mean, I am subjected to calls to bring back Kellen Freaking Moore. You know, because the same Kellen Moore who could not make another NFL roster showed promise in a preseason game, so that means he could be better than the guy who just became the fastest QB in history to get to 25,000 yards passing.

      Above average NFL QBs are a rare breed. You simply don't just push one out the door.

      Man, some football fans are plain old, garden variety stupid.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      To all Bengals: I know how you feel about Dalton. Bears fans went through this. First when the idiots thought Caleb hanie's smi-competent performance in the 2010 NFC Champinship game meant he would make hime better than Cutler in 2011 when he got injured. The Bears missed the playoffs. The when Josh Mcown went through his miraculous interception free spree in 2013. And then last year with some idiots hoping to see Pickles play. And again this year. An then the Clausening happens.

      I sincereley doubt AJ Mcarron is the answer (Dalton is good). If he plays well enough because of the skill positions and line play, you'll get the dumb controversy. If he sucks, you'll have lost the year (like the Bears in 2011 and 2012). But even then Dalton is going to suffer the same fate that every QB ranked 10-20 in the league will suffer. He is not Tom-arron Brady-rogers .

      Andy Dalton is no better or worse than Joe Flacco on his superbowl run, except without the aid of a better HC and a defense packed with HoF and the press anointing him with the "winner sauce". Give him a good OL (check), decent to good WRS (he has excellent WRs) and a good running game (not sure how good the Bengals running game is, or wether it's an artifact of Eifert-Aj green defense stertching). It's the same situation, except the Ravens get the "well run isntitution" and the Bengals don't. But for the last 2 years the Bengals are the better managed, better drafted and better run team.

      We'll see what happens. It's a big blow obviously, but schedule wise its as good as time as any I suppose (there's never a good time), playoff timing not withstanding. The remaining 3 teams on the schedule all are struggling offensively right now, so its not like McCarron will be expected to win a shootout.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      You make it sound like Joe Flacco was along for the ride in that superbowl run, when the reality is the Ravens would not have won the superbowl, much less a few of those games with an average QB or someone like Andy Dalton. I think Andy Dalton is a good QB who people underestimate. But I wouldn't put him in the same breath as Flacco.

      The Bengals certainly have the talent this year to be Superbowl contenders, until Dalton went down. I don't blame their lack of success on Andy Dalton, but I blame it on Marvin Lewis. How he's kept his job this long baffles me.
      DING DING DING!

      It was mentioned in last week's Blitz Picks, how many other organizations give their head coach 13 seasons to win his first playoff game. Answer? Cincinnati and Marvin Lewis. That's it.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      This makes me think of the idiot Lions fans who constantly call for Matthew Stafford's job. There are people who honestly believe the Lions made a mistake letting <insert random backup QB's name here> go. I mean, I am subjected to calls to bring back Kellen Freaking Moore. You know, because the same Kellen Moore who could not make another NFL roster showed promise in a preseason game, so that means he could be better than the guy who just became the fastest QB in history to get to 25,000 yards passing.

      Above average NFL QBs are a rare breed. You simply don't just push one out the door.

      Man, some football fans are plain old, garden variety stupid.
      Yeah, some fans are idiots. Ask teams such as the Texans what they would do to have an "above average QB." Not all QBs are Brady or Rodgers. That doesn't mean you should get rid of the QB you have, because he has a bad game or some QB off the street looks like the next Aaron Rodgers. QBs in the 10-20 range can win you superbowls. So if you have one, be thankful.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      You make it sound like Joe Flacco was along for the ride in that superbowl run, when the reality is the Ravens would not have won the superbowl, much less a few of those games with an average QB or someone like Andy Dalton. I think Andy Dalton is a good QB who people underestimate. But I wouldn't put him in the same breath as Flacco.

      The Bengals certainly have the talent this year to be Superbowl contenders, until Dalton went down. I don't blame their lack of success on Andy Dalton, but I blame it on Marvin Lewis. How he's kept his job this long baffles me.
      That's not what I meant. Flacco went on a hot streak at the perfect moment. But people are forgetting how good the OL was that year (Marshal Yanda was a god among men). And Flacco and DPI thrown at Torry Smith was a stable of theor offense. But Flacco has never again been as good as that 4 game stretch. You can look at Dalton and finda 4 game stretch each year that compares to Flacco's, or is better. As always, with elite QBs it is about consistency (Brady, Brees, Aikman or Manning), or the pulling a ridiculous play out of nowhere (Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre or Big Ben).

      All QBs are in this spectrum, even elite ones. But with Brady or Manning you don't remember their "wow" plays, you remember them carving uo by a thousand cuts. With guys like Ben and Rodgers, you tend to forget about how consistent they are and remember those ridiculous plays nobody else could make (shaking a LB off, or rolling out and throwing a bullet whiel avoiding 3 rushers)

      Sadly, most other QBs are either consistently slightly above average (Alex Smith), or mix their wow plays with enough "duh" plays with their "wow" plays (Cutler is the poster boy).
    1. Amy's Avatar
      We take another hit. LaGarette Blount's done for the season with a hip injury. Bolden and White will really have to step up now. In addition, we also put Dominique Easley on IR. Fortunately, Devon McCourty's ankle injury was minor. He might miss a week or two, but will be fine for the playoffs.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Check out this really interesting article on how Ravens punter Sam Koch is changing the punting game: http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/po...no-one-noticed
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      DING DING DING!

      It was mentioned in last week's Blitz Picks, how many other organizations give their head coach 13 seasons to win his first playoff game. Answer? Cincinnati and Marvin Lewis. That's it.
      I don't ever see Cincinnati getting over the hump as long as Lewis is their HC.
    1. Amy's Avatar
      Breaking (and as of this point unconfirmed) reports are saying that the Pats have signed Steven Jackson. If true, this excites me! While Jackson did not play well in Atlanta, he was also hurt most of his time there.

      In addition, there he was the workhorse and was needed all season long. We need him to be, at most, good for 6 games. Not as the feature back, not as the focal point, but as one piece of the offense. I think he can do that.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Amy View Post
      Breaking (and as of this point unconfirmed) reports are saying that the Pats have signed Steven Jackson. If true, this excites me! While Jackson did not play well in Atlanta, he was also hurt most of his time there.

      In addition, there he was the workhorse and was needed all season long. We need him to be, at most, good for 6 games. Not as the feature back, not as the focal point, but as one piece of the offense. I think he can do that.
      He also had good hands. Interesting idea if true.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      I do not see anything beyond the Pats bringing in Jackson for a visit. Are they normally quick to make this type of decision? I mean, FF playoffs are going right now and people need running backs. Come on, BB. Make a decision. Don't leave everybody hanging. Our Dynasty League processes transactions at 8:00 tonight, dammit.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      I do not see anything beyond the Pats bringing in Jackson for a visit. Are they normally quick to make this type of decision? I mean, FF playoffs are going right now and people need running backs. Come on, BB. Make a decision. Don't leave everybody hanging. Our Dynasty League processes transactions at 8:00 tonight, dammit.
      There are a lot of miles on 32 year old runningback.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      For the record, all the headlines I've seen are for meetings, not signings.

      Here, by the way, is the most ridiculous reach of a Star Wars reference you'll see this week.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      The Patriots can sign him all they want, and we can pretend it means something, but Jackson is done.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      The Patriots can sign him all they want, and we can pretend it means something, but Jackson is done.
      Its the Patriots. They can sign Mickey Mouse to be a running back and somehow that Running back could probably pick up 100 yards in a game. As long as Gronk and Brady are healthy, there really is no reason why the Patriots shouldn't make it to the Superbowl.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by hobbes27 View Post
      Its the Patriots. They can sign Mickey Mouse to be a running back and somehow that Running back could probably pick up 100 yards in a game. As long as Gronk and Brady are healthy, there really is no reason why the Patriots shouldn't make it to the Superbowl.
      I would trust 470 lb. Montee Ball at this point over Steven Jackson. The tread is gone, and no team has the magic juice necessary to rejuvenate him.

      The AFC playoffs are not a foregone conclusion. The Patriots are the favorite, as they should be, but the field is still much more likely to end up in the Super Bowl than New England.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Brian Williams View Post
      The AFC playoffs are not a foregone conclusion. The Patriots are the favorite, as they should be, but the field is still much more likely to end up in the Super Bowl than New England.
      If the Steelers make the playoffs, then maybe you can make that argument. And there's always the likelihood that the Patriots suffer a real injury that would derail them like Brady. But if the choice right now is New England or the field, without a doubt its New England.