GOOD, BAD AND UGLY

NFL Week Eight Observations: Big deals spice up trade deadline

Alex Smith is having a great year, but the Chiefs are winning with defense. Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Week Eight in the NFL was just as crazy and exciting as we’ve all come to expect from the game we love. Not as crazy and exciting as game five of the baseball title series, but it served to appease our appetites.

The Good

-The Kansas City Chiefs are talented on defense as well. I’ve praised Andy Reid on his use of offensive weapons, but getting five turnovers from the Denver Broncos to win 29-19 was impressive. On a night when the offense wasn’t working, this was a clutch performance by the defense.

-The Minnesota Vikings are 6-2 despite being down to what amounts to their third string quarterback and not having prized rookie running back Dalvin Cook. The defense remains stout, run game is consistent, and Case Keenum is manning the quarterback position nicely. The Vikings are the definition of next man up.

-Last week I said the Buffalo Bills need to get LeSean McCoy more scoring opportunities if they want to maintain their winning ways. McCoy ran for 151 yards and a touchdown Sunday in another Bills win pulling them to 5-2 on the season.  Yes Virginia, the Bills are for real.

-The New Orleans Saints have managed to win five in a row beating the Chicago Bears 20-12. Despite two fourth quarter fumbles by Mark Ingram, the defense managed to hold on and secure the victory when rookie corner Marshon Lattimore sealed the victory with an athletic interception. Who would’ve thought the Saints defense would be the catalyst behind a 5-2, NFC South leading start.

The Bad

-Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed can’t stay healthy. He’s perpetually hurt despite his immense talent. Now it’s a hamstring injury that limited him to one catch for five yards in Sunday’s 33-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Same injury will most likely keep him out against the Seattle Seahawks this coming Sunday. Kirk Cousins looks worse for wear whenever Reed isn’t his safety valve.

-The 2-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ woes can be tied to franchise quarterback Jameis Winston’s inconsistencies. They brought in more weapons (1st round draft pick tight end OJ Howard and free agent wide receiver Desean Jackson), but he’s still as up and down as an instable stock. On consecutive throws in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers, he threaded a needle between Luke Kuechly and Captain Munnerlyn, then overthrew a wide open Adam Humphries.

-Despite beating the New York Jets 25-20 in what looked like a monsoon Sunday, the 4-3 Atlanta Falcons’ offense doesn’t look the same this year without Kyle Shanahan calling plays. Last year, they threatened to hang 40 every week. Now, they’ve only scored 30+ in two of their seven games.

The Ugly

-Bears’ tight end Zach Miller severely dislocated his knee against the Saints Sunday. He underwent emergency vascular surgery to repair a torn artery which saved his leg. To make matters worse, his would be touchdown catch on the play he injured himself was called back.

-San Diego Chargers’ Travis Benjamin muffed a punt, recovered it, ran backwards into the endzone, and was tackled there for a safety. This play is a microcosm of the Chargers’ season and recent history.

-Mother Nature caused the Falcons/Jets and Cowboys/Redskins games to be played in torrential downpour rain conditions. At one point, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan held his throwing hand under his jersey to keep it dry until he snapped the ball. Here’s another vote for retractable roof stadiums.

Bonus Coverage: NFL trade deadline deals are pretty rare. However, despite Tuesday’s 3 p.m. Eastern time deadline, two pretty big deals were finalized on Monday. The Houston Texans sent embattled left tackle Duane Brown to the Seattle Seahawks for draft picks and cornerback Jeremy Lane, while the New England Patriots dealt quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers for a draft pick. Both deals appear to help both teams get what they need. Only time will tell who got the better of each deal.

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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