Another solid week of picking games straight up is the only thing keeping my emotions in check after stinking against the spread. It’s almost uncanny that a 11-5 (125-59) straight up record can sit next to a 7-9 (77-78) against the spread record. The Patriots giving Indy 21 points was laughable, but the only real flier I took was Cleveland keeping it close against Baltimore. The rest of the schedule this week was teams playing against trends. In related news, I win lots of bar bets and haven’t gambled seriously for years. Is it obvious?
Three Things I Know Today
People love to hate Tim Tebow. And, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get away from the guy, either. Before I go any further, I need to say that I don’t think Tebow has the skills to be a successful NFL QB long term. His throwing mechanic is as messy as a little kid’s bedroom and he’s been as accurate as an old Nintendo Duck Hunt gun. (I spent a lot of time in my youth avoiding chores while sucking at Duck Hunt.) Of course, throwing motion and accuracy go hand in hand, and can potentially be coached to significant improvement. I’m not saying that Tebow is going to be terrible and I’m not saying that he’s going to be great. I’m just saying that at this moment, he’s not a great QB. Yes, he’s winning games. The Miami Dolphins won some games running the wildcat offense, too, but look how long that lasted. And, let’s not forget that Aaron Rodgers is on an 18 game winning streak of his own.
See how easy that was? Two sentences in a row that Tebow haters can take to the propaganda bank and deposit for a tweet sometime after Tebow has a couple of losses in a row. It’s inevitable, especially for a young guy who doesn’t have a great skill set. But I’m not sold that just because he’s not a traditionally good quarterback means that I have to burn calories finding ways to take credit away from him.
I can’t tell you how many people tweeted/said/facebooked that the only reason that the Broncos won this week was because Minnesota played terrible defense. I’m perfectly willing to stipulate that neither defense played exceptionally well. This was, after all, a 35-32 game between 6-5 and 2-9 (at the time) teams. I’m not here to convince anyone that Tebow played like Montana while eviscerating a top defense, I’m just trying to say that the kid played well. Tebow showed improvement, made better decisions that we’ve seen lately, and completed 66% of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions. I’m all about blaming players for things that they do wrong, but in order to maintain any credibility, I have to be able to give player credit for playing well. Tim Tebow played well against the Vikings. There’s no guarantee that he’ll play well this week against the Chicago Bears. If he doesn’t, I’ll tell you that, too.
I know that lots of people hate all the hype that Tim Tebow got coming out of college. I understand that it was a dumb idea for then Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels to pick him in the first round. I even get how irritating his “nobody will ever work as hard as me ever in a million years never because I’m such a hard worker” shtick can be sometimes. But, if you’re going to criticize Tebow’s bad days, you’ve got to be able to praise his good ones.
The Detroit Lions ought to be ashamed of themselves. Not for losing to the Saints by two touchdowns, that happens to lots of teams. But for being so undisciplined that they penalized themselves out of that game more times that I could count. In writing about Ndamukong Suh’s suspension in last week’s Three Things, I wrote the following paragraph that became a sad example of foreshadowing:
More than the money could be the impact of Suh’s act on the team. His suspension likely won’t affect the Lions record if he’s out for two games. They would be underdogs against the Saints next week and any playoff team should be the Vikings the week after that. But, this lack of discipline can affect a team beyond the immediacy of wins and losses. Teams become their leaders. The Jets are brash, arrogant, and over-rated – just like Rex Ryan. The Patriots are steady, calculating, and unrelenting – because of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The Packers are free-wheeling, confident, and aggressive – Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson. The pattern exists for a reason, and if the Lions fall into the pattern behind Ndamukong Suh, they’ll never be a true championship contender.
Whether or not this team has taken on Suh’s careless aggressiveness or head coach Jim Schwartz’s reckless emotion, the attitude of the Detroit Lions is going to harm the team in the long run. Detroit will probably make the playoffs this year as a wild card because of Chicago’s injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, but they sure don’t deserve the honor.
Receiver Titus Young reached over a referee to punch a Saint in the face, taking the Lions from a third and goal at the one yard line situation to eventually having to settle for a Jason Hanson 31 yard field goal. Returner Stefan Logan cost the Lions 15 yards by throwing the ball into the face of a defender during some run of the mill trash talking. Brandon Pettigrew got dinged for unsportsmanlike conduct for making contact with an official. Really, Pettigrew is lucky that he wasn’t thrown out. I know that he didn’t mean to harm the ref, but it was certainly a push and not just an excited bump. i
And, as if the personal fouls weren’t enough, reciever Nate Burleson was called for three offensive pass interference penalties, making him the first player since 2001 to be hit with three offensive pass interference calls in the same game. Detroit was penalized 11 times for 107 yards, and five of those penalties actually negate 111 yards of offensive plays. I’m not sure if Detroit would have been able to beat New Orleans if they hadn’t cost themselves 218 yards, but they definitely weren’t going to win doing that.
Brett Favre is bad for football, but he’s good for ratings. An ESPN report surfaced Monday that intimated Brett Favre would be willing to listen to offers from the Chicago Bears if they wanted him to make Soldier Field his temporary home. Frankly, signing Favre would be just as dumb for the Bears as signing Donovan McNabb. There’s no way that Favre can be in shape at this point, he wouldn’t be up to game speed, and the NFL won’t let him play in Wranglers. There’s no way that this would work. Something good did come out of the ESPN report: #ESPNFavreHeadlines
I won’t bore you with individual tweets, but one thing is for certain, ESPN mentioning Brett Favre drives interest hikes faster than inflation. There never even has to be any validity to the rumor. Just some guy said something that sounded interesting. Don’t believe me? Here are the first two paragraphs from the ESPN.com story concerning the Favre rumor:
The Chicago Bears’ dire situation at quarterback hasn’t pointed the club in the direction of future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, but a source familiar with the quarterback said Favre would listen if the Bears made a pitch.
The Bears haven’t contacted the 42-year-old Favre, who has spent a good portion of his recent days hunting, and it’s highly doubtful the team is interested. Even if the sides eventually touch base, it’s unclear whether the Bears could lure Favre out of retirement. The source said Favre would listen, but his answer could be that he’ll stay retired. The source also said Favre has been working out and staying in shape.
I’ll give you a few minutes to find what in those two paragraphs could possibly give anyone the idea that Favre to Chicago is even the remotest of possibilities.
Exactly. Going into week 14 is too late to add a quarterback to do anything other fill the emergency third string role. Caleb Hanie is Chicago’s clear choice to remain in the quarterback position, and the only thing that will unseat him is injury or a Jay Cutler miraculous recovery. Everyone in the business, even fringe hangers on like me, can see this Favre story for what it is; a ratings boost. And it worked.
Let’s just all focus on real, winning quarterbacks. Like Tim Tebow.
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