And no coverage on “Pac Man”… Sorry. But, I am not sorry.
Kirwan on the distribution of the balls …great read…
If there weren't wide receivers acting up every week, complaining, being fined, pouting on the sidelines, and thinking about themselves before the team, there wouldn't be much controversy in the NFL. As one head coach said to me this week, "Most of my headaches come from the guys who catch the passes."
The biggest issue dealing with receivers these days is how often they are the target in the passing game. They seem to know how many times their teammates, as well as other receivers around the league, are getting the ball thrown their way.
I get the feeling that some of them resent double coverage, which opens up someone else down the field. I also get the feeling some of them simply want most of the passes to come their way no matter what the quarterback reads in his drop.
This might be old-school thinking, but football isn't about individual stats, it's about winning. Some of the behavior witnessed lately would have you think otherwise.
Cowboys wideout Terrell Owens wants the ball, and he knows exactly how often he is the target in every game. Last week, in Dallas' win over Cincinnati, he was thrown to just three times. Owens scored a touchdown and his team won, but you might not have known it if you had watched him on the sideline with a towel over his head or with that far-away look in his eyes every time the camera closed in as he sat alone at the end of the bench.
Heading into the Bengals game, Owens was the target of Tony Romo's passes about eight times a game, but coverages and the need to run the ball more against a porous Bengals run defense decreased his target average. He's not alone in having his targets reduced last week, but there are other ways to handle the situation even if your team owner is sympathetic to your complaints, as is the case with Owens.
Defenses have something to do with opportunities. For example, there was an interesting parallel between Owens and Santana Moss of the Redskins.
Moss came into last week's game averaging 11 targets per game. The Eagles' game plan called for taking Moss away, and he was only targeted two times. One play had a penalty, which nullified a catch and the other pass was incomplete. Antwaan Randle El was available when Jason Campbell read the coverages, and he became the target of 11 plays. Going into the game, Randle El had been the target just five times a game.
After the game Moss looked satisfied that his team had won another road game against a division foe. As long as tight end Chris Cooley and Randle El deliver when thrown to, things will open up again for Moss in the weeks to come, and he knows it.
Owens has to take great satisfaction from his team's 4-1 record and that the other targets on his team are coming through when called upon, which is what makes a good teammate and a good team.
Maybe Owens struggles with the times tight end Jason Witten is the target, or maybe he wants most of the balls headed toward Patrick Crayton or Miles Austin. Owens has been a decent down-field blocker in the run game, but 38 run plays against the Bengals couldn't have made him happy.
For 500k, you can buy the endzone ….
The Big 12 haves and have nots …
Big Six, Little Six
The Big 12 (2) already is split into two divisions, but that's just geography. Last week the league played six games and in the process definitively split itself into matching sets of Haves and Have-Nots.
The high-octane Haves won all six matchups -- five of them in routs, five on the road, fully illustrating the chasm between the two tiers of teams. No way that happens in the SEC (3), which has greater depth but fewer dominant teams at the top.
(Partisans can resume their boring and endless which-league-is-better debate now. Wake The Dash when it's over -- OK, it's never over, but wake The Dash when all participants have shouted themselves hoarse.)
Oklahoma (4). Record: 5-0. AP poll ranking: No. 1. Sagarin rating: No. 2. National scoring offense ranking: No. 4 at 49.6 points per game. Amount of time spent trailing this season: 0 minutes, 0 seconds. Scary stat: The Sooners have not lost a fumble all season. Degree of difficulty the rest of the way: Oklahoma plays four games against fellow Haves -- two at home, one on the road and one at a neutral site. Predicted finish: 12-0 and Big 12 South champions.
Missouri (5). Record: 5-0. AP poll ranking: No. 3. Sagarin rating: No. 6. National scoring offense ranking: No. 2 at 53.4 points per game. Amount of time spent trailing this season: 13 seconds. Scary stat: The Tigers have 49 straight possessions without a three-and-out. Degree of difficulty the rest of the way: Easiest of the group. Missouri plays three games against fellow Haves -- one at home, one on the road, one at a neutral site. Predicted finish: 12-0 and Big 12 North champions.
Texas (6). Record: 5-0. AP poll ranking: No. 5. Sagarin rating: No. 5. National scoring offense ranking: No. 6 at 47.2 points per game. Amount of time spent trailing this season: 7 minutes, 5 seconds. Scary stat: The Longhorns' defense has dropped opponents for 222 yards' worth of losses to date, most in the nation. Degree of difficulty the rest of the way: Toughest remaining schedule of the big six. Texas plays all five fellow Haves, and four of them in a row -- two at home, two on the road, one at a neutral site. Predicted finish: 10-2.
Texas Tech (7). Record: 5-0. AP poll ranking: No. 7. Sagarin rating: No. 10. National scoring offense ranking: No. 5 at 48.2 points per game. Amount of time spent trailing this season: 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Scary stat: Quarterback Graham Harrell could end up No. 2 in NCAA career passing yardage, despite rarely playing as a freshman. Degree of difficulty the rest of the way: Texas Tech plays four of the fellow Haves, all in a row from Oct. 25 to Nov. 22 -- two at home, two on the road. Predicted finish: 10-2.
Kansas (8). Record: 4-1. AP poll ranking: No. 16. Sagarin rating: No. 44. National scoring offense ranking: No. 25 at 35.2 points per game. Amount of time spent trailing this season: 53 minutes, 51 seconds. Scary stat: Quarterback Todd Reesing has 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions in his past 10 games. Degree of difficulty the rest of the way: Kansas plays four fellow Haves -- one at home, two on the road, one at a neutral site. Predicted finish: 7-5.
Oklahoma State (9). Record: 5-0. AP poll ranking: No. 17. Sagarin rating: No. 21. National scoring offense ranking: No. 3 at 52.6 points per game. Amount of time spent trailing this season: 13 minutes, 20 seconds. Scary stat: The Cowboys are averaging four rushing touchdowns per game, tops in the nation. Degree of difficulty the rest of the way: Oklahoma State plays four fellow Haves the rest of the way, all with a Have-Not spaced in between -- one at home, three on the road. Predicted finish: 8-4.
The Jayhawks were the only Have that had to sweat last weekend, rallying from a 20-0 second-half deficit at Iowa State. Otherwise, it was five mismatches in what turned into separation Saturday. And that set the stage for a dandy dozen heavyweight matchups across the final eight weeks of the season. The schedule:
Oct. 11 -- Oklahoma vs. Texas; Oklahoma State at Missouri
Oct. 18 -- Missouri at Texas; Kansas at Oklahoma
Oct. 25 -- Oklahoma State at Texas; Texas Tech at Kansas
Nov. 1 -- Texas at Texas Tech
Nov. 8 -- Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
Nov. 15 -- Texas at Kansas
Nov. 22 -- Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Nov. 29 -- Oklahoma at Oklahoma State; Kansas vs. Missouri
Texas – Oklahoma – enough to give you chills
Kaboom, Female Dogs! – the fake Gribble audio (careful)