NFC Hierarchy/Obituary with Week 4 in the books

We have our first death this week.  The Buccaneers have played three of their first four games against NFC East teams (all losses), so this is a team that I have gotten to know pretty well, as I’ve seen all of their games this season.  The Bucs are entering their bye week in Week 5.  I’m just going to say bye for good.

Obituaries this week:

At the end of the first half last Sunday, the Redskins attempted a 57 yard FG.  Here was the personnel on the Redskins FG protection team for that attempt:

  • C Will Montgomery: 304 lbs.
  • DE Kedric Golston: 318 lbs.
  • OT Jordan Black: 305 lbs.
  • NT Chris Baker: 333 lbs.
  • OG Maurice Hurt: 329 lbs.
  • OG Chris Chester: 309 lbs.
  • TE Logan Paulsen
  • LB Perry Riley
  • LS Justin Snow
  • K Billy Cundiff
  • P Sav Rocca

So essentially, what you have there are 6 offensive or defensive linemen all over 300 lbs., a TE, your three kicking specialists, and just one player (LB Perry Riley) that you’d actually want on the field to try to make a tackle if somebody was trying to return a kick.  The FG attempt was short, but no Buccaneers players were there to catch the miss to try to return it the other way.  For a team that has adopted the mentality that they are going to do everything in their power to win a football game (see their victory formation nonsense), how do you not have somebody back there to try to make a play? I don’t think Greg Schiano and his staff are long for the NFL.

OK, that aside, this team just isn’t good.  Their secondary is horrid, their QB is timid (or taught to be timid), and their running game is ineffective.  Additionally, I don’t buy that this team can stop the run, despite their #4 run defense ranking.  Alfred Morris ran all over them last Sunday.  Somehow the Bucs were able to gets big leads on teams early in a couple of their games (against the Giants and Panthers), and saw those two teams completely abandon the run.  I expect their bad run D to catch up to their bad pass D over the rest of the season.

For good measure, their fans stink.  Here’s what their stadium looked like on the opening kickoff Week 1.  This is an embarrassment:

RIP Bucs.  I’m glad I won’t have to write about you again until Week 14.

Continued…

The Graveyard:

Life Support:

15. Two weeks ago, here’s what Cam Newton did after he scored on a QB sneak against the Giants:

 

That TD cut the Giants lead from 23-0 to 23-7.  Hooray!  Here were Cam’s passing numbers that night:

Newton was criticized heavily for celebrating a TD in a blowout, as the Charlotte Observer drew up a scathing cartoon of Cam:

Not sure when Cam Newton turned into a white guy, but that topic is for another day.  Anyway, on to next week.  Panthers down 10, Newton scores again, and we get the Superman pose again, despite a deficit:

Now, I’m no prude, and personally, I love TD celebrations.  If I were a professional athlete that found the end zone with any kind of regularity, I’d put heavy thought into what my TD dance would be.  In fact, as I type this, I’m considering coming up with a celebration dance for whenever I post what I think is a good article.  But in Cam Newton’s case, his Superman thing is becoming a distraction.  Just play, win, and then do your thing.  Cam Newton actually had a really good game against Atlanta last week:

But you don’t want to be known as the clown that’s celebrating personal achievements during losses.  Not a good image.

Hang on while I get down off my soapbox…

Last week: 14

14. Ladies and gentlemen, the Saints defense:

  • 463.2 yards allowed per game – Dead last in the NFL, and over 40 yards more per game than the 2nd worst team.
  • 186.8 rushing yards allowed per game – Dead last in the NFL.
  • 276.5 passing yards allowed per game – 24th.
  • 32.5 points per game allowed.  Somehow there are 3 teams that are worse.
  • 6.4 yards per play. 29th.

They’re 0-2 at home and if they lose this week against the Chargers, they’re done.

Last week: 13

Hierarchy:

13. The Rams ran a fake FG for a TD last Sunday.  If you don’t count that play, they haven’t scored an offensive TD since Week 2.

The Rams MVP so far this season, without any question or debate whatsoever, is kicker Greg Zuerlein, who is a perfect 12 for 12 on the season.  Some of the FGs include distances of 60, 58, 56, 48, 48 46, 46, and 42.

Somehow this team is 2-2.  They play tonight at home against the Cardinals.  Show me something against Arizona and we’ll talk.

Last week: 16

12. I love that thing that every fan does when the schedule comes out, where you play out the entire season in your head.  You go “Win, loss, win, win, loss, win, win, win, win, win, win, loss, win, win, loss, win.  Holy crap.  We’re going to go 12-4.  Awesome.”

You always have a split with the best of the other 3 division rivals, and maybe a split with the second best other division rival because “they always play you tough.” Then you pick a couple of honorable losses to good teams, which are always road games.

I can tell you what 99% of Lions fans had for the first 4 weeks of the season:

  • Rams – Win
  • At Niners – Loss
  • At Titans – Win
  • Vikings – Win

In fact, I went back to the SB Nation site for the Detroit Lions, Pride of Detroit, to check out their optimism in the comment section when the 2012 schedule was released.  (Disclaimer – Pride of Detroit is a great site, and I don’t mean to pick on them. Fans of EVERY team do this.)  Here’s a small sampling:

  • “If you look at the schedule in quarters, there is no reason we should go 3-1 in all 4 of them.”
  • “All of our losses will be expected ones. in other words, i think we win games we are supposed to.”
  • “I’m guessing we will beat the Rams Week 1. Now if we beat San Fran week 2, we could easily take the Titans and the Vikings with that San Fran momentum…. 4-0 going into the bye week would be sweet and a major start to the season… giving our team a lot of confidence.”
  • “My breakdown

Week 1 – vs. St. Louis Rams – WIN
Week 2 – at San Francisco 49ers – LOSS
Week 3 – at Tennessee Titans – WIN
Week 4 – vs. Minnesota Vikings – WIN”

  • “I see 10-6 with a possibility of 11-5 or 12-4

Week 1 – vs. St. Louis Rams – WIN
Week 2 – at San Francisco 49ers – LOSS
Week 3 – at Tennessee Titans – WIN
Week 4 – vs. Minnesota Vikings – WIN”

  • “I’ve not yet looked into what some teams like Eagles and Falcons did on the off season, so I’m really guessing there. Also I said “win” on the Turkey Day game, but Texans had a really good team last year (they made the playoffs without their starting QB), and that one will likely be a real challenge. On the other hand, I have us losing twice to Green Bay, and perhaps we could win our home game.

Week 1 – vs. St. Louis Rams – WIN
Week 2 – at San Francisco 49ers – LOSS
Week 3 – at Tennessee Titans – WIN
Week 4 – vs. Minnesota Vikings – WIN”

  • “Only games that concern me are San Fran and the Pack at Lambeau. Philly doesn’t scare me and I think we beat the Falcons by at least 10 at home”
  • “Is there and NFC division you’d rather play than the West? An AFC division you’d rather play than the South? Imagine if we had to play like, the NFC East and AFC North instead? Complaining about a schedule that gifts us two of football’s weakest divisions is downright silly. It could be so much worse. Look at the defending champ’s schedule, and then you won’t feel so bad about the Lions fairly soft slate.”

Unfortunately, the Lions just aren’t that good.  They’ve lost to two bad teams (the Titans and Vikings), and were fortunate to get by the Rams Week 1.  Now they have the long bye week, followed by trips to Philly and Chicago.  This team is in big trouble.

Last week: 10

11. The Seahawks WRs combined are averaging 86 yards per game.  Brian Hartline is averaging 113.75.

Last week: 9

10. Ew

Last week: 7

9. Here’s one of the things I wrote about RG3 in my Redskins-Bucs recap:

RG3 led a nice game winning drive to get into field goal position for the win on Sunday.  The Bucs cooperated by leaving the middle of the field wide open, but RG3 took what was there and easily drove the ball down field.  It was later revealed that his headset was not working on that drive, so he was actually calling the plays.  There’s a lot that is happening on drives of that nature.  Some coaches struggle with managing the clock in those scenarios, but to have a 22-year old rookie managing the clock and making the play calls in his 4th game as a pro is extremely impressive.  I’m going to take a deeper look at that drive later, as it probably deserves its own post.  If the season ended today, RG3 would be the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year.  He might even get some consideration for MVP.

OK, so, that drive isn’t going to get its own post, but I did have a chance to take a deeper look at it.  That drive looked insanely easy.  And it was.  Why?  Because the Buccaneers defensive line was completely gassed and put forth almost zero effort in chasing RG3 around.  That’s because the Redskins did a great job with the running game all afternoon.  The Skins ran 31 times for 153 yards and two scores.  For most of the day, the Redskins OL did a great job moving the Bucs’ DL, and by the end of the game, they were ready for the showers.  I have been impressed and thoroughly surprised with the job the Skins’ OL has done this season so far.  If only they could stop the pass…

Last week: 12

8. In last week’s hierarchy, I promised I would watch this team play.  I lied.

Last week: 11

7. Watching Jay Cutler play so horribly and looking like such a colossal asshole against the Packers in one prime time game, followed by him playing so well and looking so good in another one against Dallas, it hit me… Holy crap!  Jay Cutler is Jeff George re-incarnated!  I started looking for similarities between the two players, and literally within 30 seconds, I found this article by David Fleming of ESPN, who beat me to the punch by two years.  Awesome, fun read, and far better than anything I would have come up with.  The similarities are uncanny.

Last week: 8

6. Last week the Giants were #3.  If Lawrence Tynes is able to get another 2 yards on his FG attempt, they’d still be #3, so don’t make too much of their 3-slot drop.  The Giants, Eagles, Cards and Falcons are right in the same neighborhood, in my opinion.

BUT…

The have to get healthy.  Now.

Vegas says the Giants are 13 point favorites this week against the Browns.  Based on the above injury list, I find that absurd.

Last week: 3

5. The Eagles are entering the horseshit portion of their schedule.  This past Sunday they played a Giants team that had a few extra days of rest/preparation, having played on Thursday the previous week.  And now, their next three opponents (Steelers, Lions, Falcons) will all be coming off their bye weeks when they face Philly.  That’s a ridiculous scheduling snafu.

Last week: 6

4. Outstanding defense.  That we can all agree upon.  But how about a golf clap for this guy…

Last week: 5

3. You’re Panthers coach Ron Rivera.  4th and 1, Falcons 45 yard line, a little over a minute left, Falcons out of timeouts.  You had the #3 rushing offense in the league the previous year, the best yards per carry, and the best player in the league at running the QB sneak.  You’ve piled up 199 yards on the ground to that point in the game, which is why you’re winning in the first place.  Meanwhile, your defense sucks.  It can’t tackle.  It can’t cover.

Next time, put the game in the hands of your running game, not your Sean McDermott led D.  It’s like staying on 14 when the dealer is showing a face card.  You’re alive for another minute, but your odds just decreased.  Ugh.  Eff you, Falcons.

Last week: 4

2. Should be 3-1.  Almost 1-3.

Last week: 2

1. This is what the Niners can do to you:

Last week: 1

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15 Comments

  1. wilddre22 says:

    I agree dawkie on the Bucs fans. they’re not a good fanbase. Do you know they banned me at Bucs Nation? Me! we can chop it up all day at BGN with no problem, but God forbid i question the great Schiano about his fucked up knee destroying victory formation defense. they don’t deserve a team there, and that’s real talk!

  2. afinemessi says:

    maybe you should adopt this “Awesome Article Celebration Dance”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7PGH9RYGg8

  3. Hahaha the Cardinals at number 4!?!?! With that offense?

    (Yes I have the benefit at watching this horrible team play the just as horrible Rams).

  4. Bryan in the 'Stan says:

    Jimmy, I have been reading your blog now for a while, it’s normally a good read and funny as well as having good info throughout. Disclaimer here: I am a Cowboys fan and I know that this is an NFC East Blog run by an Eagles fan. But when I jump on the site to read some info about a rivals take on my team, and I understand the inherit risks that are involved, I would sort of expect to see more than one word dedicated to it, as opposed to the 644 words dedicated to the Detroit Lions.

    If I ran a blog, being a Cowboys fan, I would hope that those that read it would understand some built in bias, such is life. And I know that I come here when I don’t have to but I do enjoy your writing style and I like what you are doing. However, it seems, and I don’t have any hard facts to back up my position, that after an Eagles game it is followed up by 2 to 3 separate posts while fans of other teams are getting substantially less. If the focus here is the NFC East, then it should better reflect.

    I do like coming here and I appreciate the hard work you do, just wanted to give a (hopefully) un-whiny viewpoint.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      You’re correct in noting that the Eagles are covered more heavily here than the other three teams, and I understand where you’re coming from. I’m credentialed with the Eagles. I attend / report on all their home games, and I’ll probably cover 4-5 away games this season as well. That means locker room and player/coach access, etc.

      That added access/insight leads to more and better coverage. I would love to travel around and give the same kind of coverage to all 4 teams, but nobody is paying me to do that, so it’s not realistic financially.

      During training camp there was almost no coverage of the Cowboys or Redskins here. I could only write stuff about them when I found myself with some extra time, and I hated that. The Eagles and Giants credentialed me, so they got almost all my attention for a 3 week span back in August.

      At a minimum, I try to write at least two articles about each team per week. Sometimes I’m right on target, sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more.

      Your concern is noted. I’ll try to do a better job balancing my coverage. Thanks for presenting your opinions about my site respectfully.

      1. Bryan in the 'Stan says:

        I knew that the Eagles would be covered more in depth coming in so that is no bother. I would actually prefer to get news and analysis about my teams’ rivals from someone other than a “mainstream” media outlet. Like I said, I keep coming back so if I didn’t like it it’s my own fault. But the stuff you do put out I do enjoy, I was wanting to give my humble opinion.

        Thanks for your reply.

    2. Knowing that Jimmy is an Eagles fan, coming from an Eagles fan, I think he as been more than fair.

      1. Bryan in the 'Stan says:

        You must have misinterpreted what I had written above. The things you state I know and accept, the only thing is, this isn’t an Eagles blog. That is why I wrote to Jimmy and explained my view.

  5. McMuffin says:

    I’m impressed how it seems about hamf the QB’s in the league are over a 65% conpletion percentage and a lot of them are almost at 70. I know this is a combination of rules making it easier on the passing game and a pass happy league, but still, wow.

  6. Dan in Philly says:

    Great article, Jimmy. This is my favorite aritcle of yours so far, very entertaining.

    I think it’s safe to say the Cards are for reals. They have the best quality win in the NFC, and they have 2 of them by beating the Eagles at home and the Pats in Boston. Kolb is being what he is, a careful game manager and they’re finding ways of keeping him safe despite a terrible OL.

    It’s easy to look at Arizona and see the failings, but they seem to be managing them quite well, and I would very much like to see how the Falcons or the niners would be sitting with a similar schedule to date. Would they be 4-0? I think not.

    1. Thanks, much appreciated.

  7. Imp says:

    I’m glad Kolb is having success with Cardinals right now, as I like him as an Eagle. Him, Roberts, and Fitzgerald were pretty much the only reason why they beat the Dolphins; o-line allowed 8 sacks, run game had a total of 22 yards, and defense had an unusual bad game against a rookie QB and a mediocre receiver.

    That said, he still need to improve. 7.0 ypa is still pretty average nowadays and he needs to take more intermediate shots down the field instead of dumping it off. Good start, but still need some ways to go to become more efficient QB.

  8. immynimmy says:

    So Jimmy, with that Saint’s D playing as bad as it is, are you relieved that we didn’t hire Spags?

    1. Well… Their personnel sucks, which doesn’t help. But yes.

  9. AJ says:

    A few things I noticed or am curious about:

    Rodgers has been sacked 16 times, yet people only talk about Vick and RG3s health

    I wonder if the Giants will sit players who normally would play against someone other than the Browns, and could that lead to a surprise upset.

    Really curious as to why Cam Newton is white. Also, had this been the other way around (white QB in black face) this would be the top story in the NFL. In fact if anyone comes across anything that has the artist’s explanation, I really want to hear it.

    Eagles may face ATL after a bye, however the Eagles are also coming off a bye so that means they will win, and being that ATL is one of our toughest opponents, I think we should thank the schedule makers. It would suck to have wasted that magic on the Browns.

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