Raheel Ramzanali

NFL first quarter season awards: Raheel Style

Never change, Billy O. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We’ve now hit the quarter mark of the season so you’ll be flooded with the generic posts about awards like the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, and so many other categories. So, instead of doing stuff you can find on any old website, I thought I would give out some new awards across the NFL  for the first four games of the year:

Staying on Brand Award

Players work on things in the off-season and get better. They will add new moves or skill sets to showcase in the regular season. Some coaches will implement new plays or philosophies as they enter another season in the NFL. Bill O’Brien? Well, he’s stayed on brand with his coaching blunders entering year five and that’s pretty darn impressive. It seems like every young coach (McVay and Vrabel) in the game has talked about having somebody on staff that helps them with timeouts, challenges, etc., but not Bill. Bill is staying on brand and doesn’t care what you think about it because it’s not his job.

Runner-up: The Steelers horrible defense. We’re about two games away from Pouncey commenting on it.

I’ll Watch Your Game Award

Look, the Browns legit could be 4-0 right now. I know the "what if" game is horrible to play and you can’t assume anything in the NFL, but a decent kicker could have won games for the Browns. I’m not just saying this because of Hard Knocks, but this Browns team is hella fun to watch with Baker at QB. On Sunday I was more upset at the Texans going to overtime because it was eating into the Browns vs Raiders game. Baker has the ‘IT’ factor and I’ll enjoy it as much as I can before he is injured like every mobile QB ever in the history of the NFL.

Runner-up: Oakland Raiders. If you thought Texans football is bad, try the Raiders! It’ll give you a new appreciation for what we watch every Sunday here in Houston.

This Is For You, Roger! Award

We all have that one coworker that sucks up to the boss and does things where it’s only for his advancement and nothing else. That one worker in the NFL? The referee(s) that keep calling the horrible roughing the passer penalties against defensive players. Look, I get it, player, sorry QB, safety is important to the league, but some of these calls are just getting stupid. By the way, on Sunday after TY Hilton caught a pass and had a nice gain, he was tackled by McKinney who landed on him with his full weight. No penalty. I get it that it’s football and plays like that will happen, but the NFL sends the wrong message when defensive players aren’t allowed to do it to QBs, but they are to anybody else. I applaud you NFL Referee for staying true to the calls and making sure Roger Goodell notices how you’re protecting the league.  

Runner-up: Clay Matthews on every sack. His is more out of spite, “THIS IS FOR YOU, ROGER! SCREW YOU!”.

You Make NFL Broadcasts Fun To Watch Award

I know our editor Fred Faour mutes games when he watches them, but this is the anti-Fred Muting Games Award. Monday Night Football is the go-to when we want to hate on a broadcast crew, but Booger McFarland has been awesome so far as the field analyst on MNF. His insight and passion for the sport has been tremendous so far in the season.

Runner-Up: Tony Romo. Yes, he’s still good in his second season.  

Creepy Sports Media Award

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US WIN THIS AWARD FOR ALWAYS BRINGING UP SEAN MCVAY’S GIRLFRIEND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HIS TEAM. STOP IT! WE HAVE TO STOP MAKING CREEPY COMMENTS WHEN WE SEE ATTRACTIVE WOMEN.

Runner-up: Raheel Ramzanali for his weird fascination with Sean McVay.

The Echo Chamber Award

Ties are never fun. In fact, the NFL might have a problem with ties this season, but you know what sucks more than a tie? A FREAKING LOSS. Coaches always say how hard it is to win in the NFL, but they always forget to say how easy it is to lose because of a bad decision. I know the media echo chamber right now is all about how ballsy and manly Frank Reich is for going for it on fourth down in OT from his own side of the field, but please let’s stop it. I know him backing his decision after the game really helped start this whole. “Frank’s right, guys!” discussion, but you have to consider the best case and worst case in every major decision. Reich’s decision was the ultimate fail because with that much time left and an offense that you’d slowed down, you could’ve avoided a loss, but instead you gave the Texans life and they ended you.

Runner-up: Aaron Rodgers week 1 performance. Yeah he played on a bum knee, but he’s still playing on it and maybe it wasn’t that crazy of an injury after all? It was an unreal performance and honestly you expect nothing less from A-Aron, but the folklore like retelling of that game is going to be so bad in a few years because people will forget that he didn’t miss any time with the knee.

Y'all Are Such Haters Award

This goes to all the people that thought Mike Vrabel was going to be a horrible head coach because he was the coordinator of a defense that had major injuries to every position group last year. The Texans were bad last year and the defense took a major stepback after Vrabel became the coordinator and in spite of all of that, teams still wanted to make him as head coach. Vrabel has now beaten two of the final four teams left from last year’s playoffs (including the champs, duh!) and his team has no quit in them. Props to him!

Runner-up: Everyone that was rooting for FitzMagic to fail so you could tell people that you knew this was a fluke the entire time. Yes, he is now back to being a journeyman QB, but the amount of people rooting against him was weird. If anything, we should all be rooting for the underdog to succeed.

 

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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