Monday, October 16, 2006

NUFCED by wikkidpissah

The man in the headphones. Sure, we love the blitz, the bomb, the 4th & goal, the dazzling return, but football is a coach’s medium. You can sign, draft & steal all the talent you want, but they’re all for nuttin’ without the guy who puts it all together. The fun thing is, you can never tell if a new coach has it or an old coach is losing it. Some are legends right out of the box, some gotta fail once to find the key to success. They can know everything about the game, go sleepless from July to January and still be busts. They can be masters of the game in one era and clueless in the next. Whatever, you ain’t gonna win without one who don’t get the game as it’s played and fits his crew and that’s that.

The most significant development of the 1st 3rd of the ’06 season is the coaches who have entirely changed the culture of their franchises. Like baseball’s Jim Leyland, who convinced a Tiger team with 12 consecutive losing seasons that they were as good as anyone and has brought them steamrolling thru the postseason, many of ‘06’s new NFL coaches turned a blind eye to wayward methods of the past and saw quality where few did. And they got their teams to view things the same way. I’ve written previously how impressed I was that Brad Childress has turned a sinking Love Boat into an armored frigate so quickly, but the story of the year has to be Sean Payton’s transcendent job in delivering to the city of New Orleans their first reason to cheer since Brownie was fired. Other fine work is being done elsewhere, as I will point out in my look at this week’s action.

NO 27 PHIL 24

Game of the day. Unknown afterthought Payton, last coach hired (presumably after Satchmo’s ghost and Omarosa had turned the Saints down) this offseason, saw a unit in New Orleans disparate parts, hired the right QB, had the courage to put the running game in the hands of the right guy over the instant legend and, with a swarming defense as well, has his team playing the most compelling football in franchise history. Far more impressive than busting out to a 17-3 halftime lead was following a 3 TD run by the Eagles with the TD to tie and the FG to win. There’s nothing harder in this game than summoning it up to recover from being put back on your heels, but you could see them decide to be winners and accomplish their goal. Color me a fan from here out, even if they weren’t the hope of a city desperately in need of some....Reggie Brown is f’real. Answering a Saints’ strategy of exploiting the lack of options on the other side of the field, he stepped up and was the key to the Eagle’s comeback. If the Hamstring Fairy can heel Stallworth, this will be a top tandem....Deuce is running as well as anyone in football right now. The other key to Philly’s rebound is the Saints going away from him in the 2nd half. Conversely, I didn’t see Bush, though as quick as ever, make any yardage after contact. Not an inch.

SEA 28 STL 27

Another great coaching job with, though as exciting, not as successful an outcome. The Seahawks came out flat off their bye week and the Rams seized the occasion to just flat march down the field series after series. Everything seemed to work. Someone must have reminded Seattle that they are a championship football team at halftime and they started playing like it to storm past StLoo. Still Scott Linehan gathered his troops and broke Holt free yet again to take the late lead before Josh Brown's 3rd monster FG (after missing the chip shot early which made the last necessary) won it for the Hawks....I think we can say for good & all that MoMo is not an NFL starter....Hass-Branch will be far more prolific a combo than Brady-Branch – hey, I never noticed that before. *lalala* The Brady-Branch/The Brady-Branch/Don’t know why they broke up the Brady-Branch *lalala*

DET 20 BUF 17

Now on to other coaching achievements – the three who got their teams off the schneide today. New coach Marinelli barely kept his team from being just good enough to lose yet again. KJ & Royboy were unconscious, JP was Lostman yet again & Willis never figured what he was runnin’ ‘bout and yet the Lions couldn’t put ‘em away. I think I know why – Kitna don’t fit this system at all. He don’t stink, he just makes too many mistakes for the continuity of Martz’s offensive gameplan...If I were a Buffaloinger, I don’t know what I’d find more disheartening – lake-effect snow or Loseman’s one-step-forward-97-steps-back deal.

TB 14 CIN 13

Another case of bye week blues. The Bengals played like they’d gotten into Odell’s stash....Gradkowski is everything that GoldenBoy isn’t. Enjoy your spleenache, Chrissy – you ain’t getting this job back....Grab Chris Perry NOW – it’s too easy to tee off on CPalm in the pocket without a multitasking back behind him. If Perry comes back sound, he should pass Rudi this year.


FIRE GIBBS FAST! This team plays without identity and handles adversity like USRep. Foley handles seduction. Time to see if Williams can handle the reigns before moving on....VY will suck for a while, but his team enjoys playing for him. Still, he’s no Gradkowski.

PGH 45 KC 7

End of a mini-scheide. The Steelers were clearly more afraid of Cowher than of the Chiefs and it had them playing clearly like their old selves....A mulligan for the Chiefs for sure. They cant afford any more, though....I’m becoming a FWP fan and that surprises me. He grows with every game and Tiki/Dunn status looks to be not too far off.

NYG 27 ATL 14

More bye blahs. Eli tried to give the Falcons the game with two early Ints, but they just wouldn’t take it....Tiki has caught LT2 in all aspects of the game except a nose for the stripe (and I don’t think he’s as bad at that as his coach does). Factor in his leadership, though, and I’d be just as happy with either right now....Got a feeling Atlanta will be a fair-weather team this year – dominant at times, but without answer when their attack is solved.

DAL 34 HOU 6

Bye bust of a different kind. The Texans stayed in the contest for a half but ran out of gas badly....Never has a 3 TD game been less important to a win than TO’s. In the first half, the announcers actually wondered if he was being boycotted by his own team....The Texans' is the most ineffectual running game I’ve ever seen on purpose. The only thing comparable was when the Falcons lost Jamal a few years ago and went through their whole bench before ending up with a guy named Ken Oxendale (who actually ran like he was yoked) at the end.

CAR 24 BAL 23

Old habits die hard – the Ravens stopped playing defense the SECOND Boller came on to replace Air....Another game where the Panthers turned a wide open floater into a spectacular catch. Perhaps being far the worst team in football on 3rd down has summin to do with it....I fear John Fox is sitting on his laurels. The game changes too quickly for him to do that without it passing him by.

NYJ 20 MIA 17

Joey, don't be a hero,
Don't be a fool with your life
Joey, don't be a hero,
Let linemen make you their wife
And, as he started to throw
We said, Joey, keep your head low
Joey, don't be a hero, lose one more time

SD 1438 SF -0

Sure, take LT2 out in games still up for grabs, but leave him in all the way in a pig like this. Just happy I didn’t face a team that had him this week in any of my seven leagues.

DEN 13 OAK 3

From "Just win, baby" to "Why bother, fool?". Color me impressed....If he's not careful, Shanny will be remembered as much for being the Schottenheimer of the 21st century as for being Elway's caddie. Failing to require more from an offense that can clearly provide it almost guarantees early playoff elimination. That would be a shame with a defense that's allowed but one prevent TD all year. Maybe they can get Orton to take the offense from Jakes the Clown.

Remember, kids - Lord Helmet will be answering WDIS each Wednesday here on LOCKERROOM and some of our other experts might chime in as well. Send your questions to:

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