Monday, November 03, 2008
It simply cannot go lower.
Actually, it can. If you recall 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004…. But, this is amazingly bad. This is a team that many, including me had playing in Super Bowl 43.
What have we become?
The game in New York was just flat embarrassing. The mismatch was so obvious that despite making plenty of their own mistakes, the Giants couldn’t help but name their score. At 14-0, the Giants seemed to somewhat mentally check out, only to snap back to life occasionally to restore a secure lead on a game that was over the second the Giants turned on their projectors in the film room 7 days ago.
I say that because no matter how much a starting QB gets paid and no matter how many Hollywood Starlets are linked to the man, it is not enough. Let there never be a debate again about the most important position in sports – there is no better way to establish one’s value than to see the potential replacements put into the same spot. Brad Johnson for 10 quarters of ridiculous football has shown us that even Tony Romo’s worst day is far from attainable for that man to resemble in any way, shape, or form.
Honestly, I am ashamed to even engage in a Brad vs. Brooks Bollinger debate mostly because it is as laughable as Stoerner vs Wright vs Leaf, circa November of 2001. If the best you can hope for is poor play, then let’s not even waste the hot air. Is Bollinger better? Of course he is, but what does that say? And how many of my colleagues could watch Johnson the last few weeks and not recognize that is amazing – but is Bollinger even close to good enough to lead your team to some wins in the NFL? Nope. So let’s just get Romo back. November 16th. 50%. 80%. Whatever. Tony Romo must play.
Is hope lost? Not at all. But the mulligans are all used up. The margin for error in the final 7 weeks is non-existent. For this team to make the playoffs, they will have to get hot – red hot. 6-1 gets you in. 5-2 might. 4-3? Forget it.
Thoughts from a long day at the office in Giants Stadium:
• A few weeks ago someone who knows the players inside and out suggested to me that Mike Jenkins has a lot of that “South Florida Attitude” in him. Not so much the university, but the region was his reference. To me, that starts with our local friends and wise old men on the mountain, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. Well, Mike Jenkins is a lot more Deion than he is Irvin in my estimation. Irvin would sacrifice himself for a win. Those plays yesterday where he avoids contact and guesses on routes are examples of a football player who as Deion used to say “making business decisions”. And, if you are Deion, you can avoid a tackle, because you made up for it elsewhere. But, when you are a backup rookie, playing one of your first big games in your career, you do not want the whole Cowboy world thinking you are a bit of a housecat on the corner. But, guess what? The film doesn’t lie. Meanwhile, the “pick 6” was nice, but he guessed on that route, and he is just lucky that Plaxico has missed so much practice that he and Eli are on the wrong page. Plaxico was all alone for a 80 yard TD if Eli reads what Jenkins was doing. Jenkins play yesterday was very poor, but I am sure you won’t be able to tell him much in practice this week, because he scored a Touchdown. Thanks Deion. Can’t wait for you to mentor even more of the young players...
• OK, while I am on a roll, what in the heck is DeMarcus Ware doing dancing around after a sack while down 28-7? I let him get away with it when he was dancing down 31-7 to St Louis, but this is just pathetic. I love 99.9% of Ware’s game. But, bro. Consider the scoreboard when you dance. There are 120 plays in most games, and if you lose 100, don’t dance when you win 1. Even Terrell Owens knew to not celebrate his Touchdown yesterday. Amazing, Owens should counsel Ware on this issue.
• Lots of candidates for the “play of the game”. But, I guess I would go with the Giants up 14-7, facing a 3rd and 12 after a Bradie James sack. 3/12 at their own 24 yard line is a play where they are going to be careful. Well, they are, with a shallow cross to Derrick Ward out of the backfield. He catches the ball at the 29 and goes untouched out to the 42. Moves the chains in a spot where the Giants were happy to punt, and the route was on. Make them punt there, and at least it gets mildly interesting.
• I know I am setting a record for consecutive observations based completely on the defense, but here is another one: HOW ABOUT A FEW MORE PENALTIES? Offsides Ellis. Offsides Hatcher. Offsides Ratliff. Illegal Contact James. Holding Hamlin. Offsides Spencer. Holding Ball. Holding Johnson. And that was the first half. I don’t have the energy to continue this on…
• Roy Williams catch was phenomenal. But, having Owens, Jason Witten, and Williams on an offense with Brad Johnson is like a fish owning the best bicycle in the world. It is a nice bike, but a fish isn’t quite sure how to ride it.
• Do you want to hear amazing? The Cowboys had 102 net yards passing this
week. Exactly the same number from the win over Tampa Bay. 102 yards 2 weeks in a row. Makes you take those routine 300 yard passing games from Romo a bit more seriously, yes?
• You can tell a lot from a team by how badly they want to tackle when the game is going south. Sadly, the results from the 2nd half of the St Louis game and now this New York game are less than flattering. Aside from Bradie James and Zach Thomas, I am not sure I was seeing too many willing tacklers for Steven Jackson or Brandon Jacobs….or Derrick Ward???
• Is anything more comical than the already comical Rick Carlisle-Dirk commercials running as the Cowboys as getting throttled? I am pretty sure that media buy was made with the idea that the Cowboys might actually be good. Unintentional comedy is my favorite type.
• Flozell Adams cannot protect his left flank right now. To continue to run him out there speaks to the amazing failures of all of the draft day Offensive Linemen the Cowboys continue to select. They are going to have a tough time going on a late season run unless he magically remembers how to pass protect the blindside.
• Since we lauded the Cowboys defense for holding Tampa Bay to just 9 points on 5 trips inside the 25, let’s point out that the Giants also had 5 trips into the red zone. Their result? 35 points.
• If there is one guy who must be sore, it has to be Marion Barber. Nobody takes a more consistent beating than he does, and if he breaks??? Yikes. They have to get Felix back healthy. And although I am not allowed to second guess this pick since I didn’t say anything at the time, but will we all rue the day that the Cowboys didn’t take the great Chris Johnson …He appears to be playing pretty well in Tennessee. And when I say that, I mean he has 715 yards rushing in 8 games.
• The Giants pass rush is so amazing. Talk about the most understated story of the year. Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora are gone, and in steps Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka to maul Quarterbacks. That appears to be a personnel department that knows where to find players when you can lose Strahan, Umenyiora, Jeremy Shockey, Tiki Barber and improve?
• Is there any reason for Brad Johnson to put on a Cowboys uniform again? If Romo is healthy, he should be cut. If you are not interested in putting him in a game, he is useless to you. Of course, even if you put him in the game, he is still useless.
• If that is now roughing the QB when Justin Tuck hit Brooks Bollinger, then the NFL is becoming a league that is not in any way like old time football. C'mon ref. Let them play.
• Jason Witten is a man's man. Nuff said.
• Well, 13 days to Washington on prime time NBC. Let’s hope they figure this thing out a bit. If they don’t, I am pretty sure the 2009 Dallas Cowboys will be vastly different from these guys.