Adam Vinatieri is still kicking after all these years. Colts team web site
Week 8 of NFL action brought us few surprises. Most of the favorites won, some even covered the spread. But, as always, there were some exciting action and unusual plays/occurrences. Let’s check out how I saw things this week:
-A Panthers fan staged a protest against over-priced fried chicken by bringing his own to the game Sunday. Although the chicken was consumed before they made it inside, it’s still worth top billing here. Hopefully stadium execs across the country will see this more often and take note.
-Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri became the league’s all-time leading scorer Sunday. He passed HOFer Morten Andersen on a field goal 29 seconds before halftime against the Raiders. At 45 years old, Vinatieri is in his 23rd year and still one of the most accurate and clutch kickers in football. To put things in perspective: his rookie year was my sophomore year in high school.
-Cardinals rookie quarterback threw the game winning touchdown pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk and the two-point conversion to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald for their second win of the season. Composure under pressure and decision making are two critical keys to good quarterback play. Here’s to hoping Rosen can be their franchise quarterback.
- Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston was pulled after throwing four interceptions, including a pick six, against the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick, A.K.A. Fitz-magic, came in down 34-16 in the third quarter and helped them to tie the game with about 1:05 left in the game. They lost on a field goal with time expiring. The Jameis Experiment in Tampa should be over now.
-The Rams went up 29-27 at the two minute warning. The Packers had been giving them hell all game. Packers’ running back Ty Montgomery fielded the kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and decided to run it out, then he fumbled on the 21 and the Rams recovered. They’d go on to run the clock out for the win. Tough way to lose on such a bad decision.
-The Lions only managed 34 yards rushing in their 28-14 loss to the Seahawks. After signing LeGarrette Blount, drafting Kerryon Johnson, and still having Amir Abdullah, this was a pitiful output. Matt Stafford’s arm will fall off at this rate.
-We all have criticized the refs at one point. Whether we feel they screwed our team, cost us money, or made games hard to watch, we have all thought they should lose their jobs. The NFL went there when they fired Hugo Cruz effective immediately this past Thursday after he missed a critical false start call against Chargers’ Russell Okung against the Browns in week six. Typically, an official will have to rank in the third tier of grading two consecutive years before being fired.
-Four Jags’ players were arrested, detained, and eventually released early Saturday morning in London for allegedly skipping out on a bar tab. Safety Barry Church, one of the four, said Sunday after their 24-18 loss to the Eagles this was a misunderstanding. Since when is a $64,000 tab a “misunderstanding?” This team is now on a four game slide with no signs of recovering.
-The 2-5-1 Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley Monday. Jackson and Haley will be seen as scapegoats for the team’s failures this season. The team is 3-36-1 under Jackson, but the roster finally has talent worthy of an NFL roster. GM John Dorsey will get to pick his own head coach. In the meantime, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (of Bountygate fame) will serve as the interim.
Another great week of NFL football in the books, but still some questions remain: Who will be the next Browns coach? Are the Rams and Chiefs destined to meet in the Super Bowl? Who’s next on the chopping block? Who will the Giants take with the first overall pick? Will the Raiders’ 2019 first round draft selections go over or under 5.5? I’m looking forward to the answers. See yall next week!
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.