Welcome to this weekly National Football League column named the "Birden Bomb" in reference to my infatuation with the play in the video game Madden '96 which was known as the, as you can probably guess, the "Birden Bomb". I will provide a few thoughts on the week that was. Enjoy!
-The report came out that Ryan Mallet missed the team charter in it's game against the Miami Dolphins, what the report failed to mention was that the entire Texans team missed the same flight and all elected to arrive around the half time mark. To that I give a hearty thank-you because it was Lamar Miller's first half eruption that propelled me to weekly victory. What happened to the Texans this afternoon? They've been more hot and cold than a typical Saskatchewan winter. J.J Watt of the Houston Texans had a M.V.P caliber season in 2014, but perhaps a lack of motivation has been a contributing factor. This blogger fully understands as pursuing the likes of Caroline Wozniacki is miles more enriching then pursuing the Ryan Tannehill's of the world. This kind of gutless performance is embarrassing for this organization and even though they piled on a plethora of second half garbage points, this kind of outing surely has to supplant Bill O'Brien on the hot seat. What Texans team will we be privy too next go around?
-Who were these so called "experts" that provided the notion that Drew Brees is done? I have completely comprehended that Drew doesn't have the rubber arm that he was blessed with in the mid two thousands, but brains and football I.Q go a long way and the knowledge he's raked in on the gridiron was particularly helpful in picking apart a tiresome and slow Indianapolis Colts defence. Earlier in the season, it was my observation that Drew Brees wasn't exuding patience and allowing Brandin Cooks to run free and creative routes and was forcing balls into areas that only the 2007 Drew Brees right arm could squeeze in. He and by extension the coaching staff has matured and are exploiting Cooks unique athleticism by throwing more jump balls. Okay, so I've just touched on what alterations the New Orleans Saints have made offensively which has led to back to back victories, but I'm imagining the loyal Colts fans are dreading some of the defensive mistakes that were consummated today. A lot of these mistakes were not necessarily preparation oriented, but more so attributed to a lack of speed and electricity in the defensive backfield. These d-unit needs an overhaul in the worst way to remain competitive in an absolutely disgustingly bad AFC South.
- In my pre-season National Football League prognostications, I had awarded my pre-season defensive player of the year to Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers. From the bits and pieces of I've seen on tape, Flowers play has been inquisite.....until week seven. On the surface, an elite corner should feast on a young, unproven quarterback but Derek Carr tore the secondary to shreds. In the receiving core, Jack Del Rio's game plan is quite explanatory, find a way to engage Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in the aerial attack. This isn't anything foreign to opposing defences when preparing for the Raiders because they don't do a lot that differs from the standard school of thought. For whatever reason, a usually pesky San Diego unit provided zero pressure to the quarterback and allowed Derek Carr seemingly minutes each to play to dissect the defensive information. The Raiders were on their A game today, in large part due to a lack of execution from San Diego though.
-A growing trend in professional sports is rookies coming into the fold and starting to contribute quicker then ever. Carlos Correa in baseball, Connor McDavid in hockey and now the newest member of the heralded rookie club is St.Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley. The Georgia Bulldog alumni stepped into the national scene in week five and has astonished even the most uneducated skeptic. When tuning into the 2015 NFL draft and racing through my mind who the St.Louis Rams were intending to target but when deciphering through the upmost wildest scenarios, I did not agree that the running back position should be the first priority. Jeff Fisher disagreed with ne, and who am I to argue with the 1999 Super Bowl finalist(coach of the Tennessee Titans at the time). Tre Mason was fully entrenched as the starter in Missouri after experiencing his own breakout campaign in 2014 but somewhere in the organizational hierarchy their was a lack of satisfaction with status quo. Enter Todd Gurley, and boy has he yet to disappoint!. In the week seven triumph against the Cleveland Browns, he amassed one hundred and twenty eight yards rushing compiling two touchdowns. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that he may be already, seven weeks into his rookie campaign, the NFL's most feared runner? My vote would be cast for yes.
- The NFL's most yanked around team is the London Jaguars...I apologize, the team I was meaning to refer to was the Jacksonville Jaguars but sometimes it's hard to differentiate what their permanent locale really is. I totally respect the league's desire for wanting to test the European market, but at what price? The reason this Northern Florida market struggles to stay afloat at times, aside from questionable managerial decisions is that the league fails to do their due diligence in marketing the franchise. When was the last time the Jaguars were featured on a national broadcast? I know the few that read this will conclude that the Jaguars aren't the only team that fall into this category which is true but if the rumours are true and a move is imminent why not at least try to re engage a fleeting fan base?
-O the irony for the Dallas Cowboys to have a "Lucky", Lucky Whitehead to be exact as part of a musical chair-esque running attack. There's been nothing lucky from a Dallas Cowboys fan when describing their treacherous misfortunes in trying to replace DeMarco Murray. We were led to believe falsely via NFL.com that Christine Michael would receive the majority of snaps, and clearly the five touches for eighteen yards signaled he's the long term answer, NOT!. Darren McFadden scorched an all of a sudden susceptible New York Giants run defence and fans in Arlington can rest assured at least for week eight they now know who will get the primary looks behind Matt Cassel. Because there hasn't been one team that has pulled away in the NFC East, Jason Garrett is hoping the return of Dez Bryant which could happen as early as next week will finally provide balance to this offence and just the sheer presence of Bryant will take off pressure from all of these back-up running backs Big D considers starters. One hundred and fifty two yards, the number for which McFadden rushed for today may be child's play when the attack finally resumes becoming more complete.
-Speaking of DeMarco Murray, now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, how content is he really splitting snaps amongst himself, Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews? The unique facet about the Eagles running attack is that each running back provides a different element. Murray for his renowned North-South attack, Sproles for his escapades catching balls out of the backfield and Mathews, a little smaller then Murray making him more elusive. Due to the aforementioned point of all three running backs bringing something different to the table, this created matchup problems for the Carolina Panthers in the sunday nighter but full marks go out to Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman for first and foremost completely eliminating the passing game but secondarily for closing gaps at a record pace and what that did other then one aberration of a run by Ryan Matthews, Chip Kelly's usually unpredictable offence was perplexed the entire evening as he simply got outcoached by Ron Rivera. Color me a doubters, but those doubts are slowly subsidizing when it comes to analyzing the outlook of the 6-0 Carolina Panthers.
-The Baltimore Ravens are going to have a major issue in 2016 with the inevitable retirement of Steve Smith at the end of this campaign. Aside from a couple that come to immediate mind, the Ravens have surprisingly found a way to stay competitive in most of these contests due to the herculean play of Joe Flacco. The Arizona Cardinal defence is one of the most revered in the NFL but Joe Flacco led a practice roster receiving core sans Smith and nearly led the improbable comeback. Brashad Perriman, the rookie who they selected out of Central Florida projects to be next years cornerstone but it will be intriguing to watch how the rest of this season goes and whether the auditions of Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown will venture to more prominent roles within the offence next year.