Archive for category Peyton Manning

NFL Late Hits

I’ve been throwing out my thoughts on Monday mornings on Twitter and will probably continue to do so, but felt like a proper article makes a ton of sense.

With that in mind, welcome to NFL Late Hits, my new Monday article here at The Thundering Blurb. It won’t cover everything that happens in the NFL on a Sunday, just the stuff that for whatever reason sticks in my brain by day’s end.

Two huge plays yesterday have caused some chaos in the NFL media and Fantasy Football community – one was the 4-2 call to go for it by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, the other, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one to milk the clock in the Jets game.

Let’s start with the call by Belichick. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when it happened.

I did discover a new food allergy so, you know, win!

Instead, I went over the hightlites and looked over the game info at NFL.com. I can’t say I thought it was the best call, but I’m not sure it’s the worst ever.

Say what you will, but Belichick goes on fourth pretty often and it works out for him more than most coaches. I may be remembering wrong, but on NFLN last night, I believe Mariucci said it worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 78% of the time for him.

It’s not a bad percentage – on the other end of the field.

Look, Belichick has forgotten more about football in the time it took me to type this sentence out than I know now. So I’m sure he had all the facts, figures and percentages in his head when he made the call.

I just don’t know why you risk giving Peyton Manning the ball on your side of the field.

A great coach rolls the dice. Sometimes you hit the point, sometimes you crap out. Like The Hoodie said in his press conference, people will question you anyway.

I think it was a bad call. I also think the media shouldn’t be pulling their hair out over it.

Especially since, had the Pats made it, we would have had another round of ‘This is the kind of GENIUS which has made him so successful’.

A little perspective please.

Speaking of perspective – ok, so if you lost your Fantasy Matchup because Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee on the one yard line, you might want to skip a few paragraphs to where I chat about Brian Westbrook.

This was the right call. Could Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee have biffed the extra point kick? Sure. It happens less than 2% of the time, but like the man said ’so you’re saying there’s a chance?’.

Listen, when people say Fantasy Football is ruining enjoyment of the game, it’s because of reactions like this.

Scobee – shaky though he has been – wasn’t missing that kick. A short, high, kick is very hard to block. I know it cheeses you off not to get the 6 points but the Jags needed to milk the clock.

Whether reports are true that Head Coach Jack Del Rio called for a knee prior to the play or not, it was the right decision.

Seemingly overlooked in the ‘DAMMIT MJD YOU COST ME MY GAME’ shouting was the fact that Jones-Drew picked up the first down. That game was done. They could burn the clock all the way to the wire (which they did) and kick a ‘gimme’ field goal (which they also did).

It’s a no brainer. Sure, like Belichick’s call above if something bizarre had happened and the Jets had gotten the ball back and won, it would look foolish.

But the best way to finish a game and win is to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense’s hands. They did that. As much as I don’t love the thought of Mark Sanchez having to lead his team 80 yards to a win, all it would have taken was a missed tackle and the Jets could have walked away with a win.

Why take that chance? Keep the ball in your hands as long as you can. Milk the clock. Kick the field goal.

It’s maddeningly simple to me, as it was when Brian Westbrook did it previously.

Hell, MJD even apologized to you which he really didn’t need to. Of course he admitted he had himself and screwed himself too, but also pointed out that hey ‘you play to win the game’.

Side note: With players owning themselves and other players in leagues that often deal with pots of prize money, is the league going to come down on this as gambling?  I know the arguement has been Fantasy isn’t gambling, but you have to wonder if the NFL worries.

Things didn’t go all that well for the guy who last took a knee at the line either. Brian Wesbtrook suffered his second concussion in less than a month yesterday and you have to start thinking we’re seeing the end of him in the NFL.

Listen, I’m no doctor – in fact I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night – but twice in a month is bad. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s awful.

The more often you get them, the more easy it is to get them. More than one player can testify to that and with the recent discussion in the media and NFL circles about head injuries and their long term effects I cannot imagine the Eagles rushing him back out there.

Especially not with LeSean McCoy there. I mean, isn’t this what you picked him for?

Maybe not, if you run a grand total of 13 times.  The Eagles only threw to the backs a total of five times as well.

Sure, they were down and yes they moved the ball through the air effectively in the fourth quarter. Still, there was never a threat that they were running the ball – I wonder if the success moving the chains via air freight than on the ground says more about deficiencies in the Chargers secondary than the Eagles pass attack

Either way, one hopes the Eagles – and Westbrook himself – are very cautious this time out.

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Thursday Game Breakdown – Colts at Jaguars (Colts breakdown)

Peyton Manning – Jacksonville is ranked as the 14th team against the pass allowing only 208 yds per game, but actually have given up the 4th most TDs in the league with 22. Manning has had a pair of great games the last two weeks against Cinci and Detroit, both of which normally hurt QBs because they can be run on so effectively. However, the Colts love to throw the ball and will probably do it often enough to where Manning should be a solid start once again.

Dominic Rhodes – Rumor has once again told us that Addai will certainly, maybe almost for sure could be dressed for the game. Whee – I love certainty! I don’t think this hurts Rhodes all that much but it could hamper the overall numbers a tad. The Jags are ranked a mediocre 17th in the league allowing 110 plus yards in the ground and 11 TDs. Not great not bad. I think Rhodes could get the lions share of the carries – if the Colts might make the playoffs then perhaps a healthy Addai may be worth riding Rhodes for now. I think he could get some decent yards and he’s a better start without Addai than with. I expect TDs through the air, not on the ground though so shoot for yards with a Rhodes start.

Joseph Addai – Even if he can play, do you want to roll with him? Even when he has played, he’s been a streaky. He’s had some good games (week 12 and 11) but far more shaky games. Even if he does go, I don’t know how well he will play. I think you take your championship life in your hands if he is in your lineup.

Reggie Wayne – Wayne hasn’t been as outstanding as we had hoped he might be. He’ll have a few big games in a row and then sort of fade away. Three of the last four weeks have been less than good – he gets targets but until last week vs Detroit had actually been a rather bad play. However the Jags give up yards, as I mentioned with Manning, and a ton of TDs. I think you can expect one of his better games this week, rather than worry about a down week.

Anthony Gonzales – A bump up since Harrison doesn’t play so Gonzalez might be a decent 3 or 4. He’s a shaky 4 most weeks, but could get some work across from Wayne when the coverage shifts that way. Has some nice upside, but I’m not in love with him as a start this week.

Dallas Clark – Does the Pro Bowl snub get a big game from him? Do Manning and Dungy try to prove a point? I think Clark could be an excellent start this Thursday because I think the Colts were as shocked as we were that Gates made it when Clark was outplaying him the whole year. 142 and a touch like last week? Probably not. But a bunch of catches and 50 or so yards – with maybe an accompanying TD? I think it’s very possible.

More NFL Cuts

Some teams are playing catchup – more than likely I will post a final cuts lst tonight rather than update every hour or so when one or two new guys trickle in.

But the Brown hadn’t cut anyone, so I thought I would throw a list out now.

Browns: DE Chase Pittman, RB Travis Thomas, and OLs Derrick Morse and Marvin Philip, TEs Brad Cieslak and Kolomana Kapanui, WRs Lance Leggett and Efrem Hill, CBs A.J. Davis and Jereme Perry, S Travis Key and Brandon Mitchell, LBs Chase Ortiz and David McMillan, DE Melila Purcell, OTs James Lee and Jonathan Palmer, LB Shantee Orr and K Jason Reda

They also IRd G Lennie Friedman.

Steelers: WR Willie Reid and KR Eddie Drummond Saturday – they IRd Charlie Batch.

Interesting side note – the Jets were reported to have released RB Jesse Chatman – but according to Profootballtalk.com , his agent is disputing that report.

“The Jets did not release Jesse Chatman, nor will they,” agent Brett Tessler said. “And they are not trying to trade him like another paper reported.”

We’ll see how this works out – Chatman had a pretty big last game so i was shocked they let him go. If he sticks around he could pouch a couple of goal line carries if Jones can’t get the work done initially. I don’t think he is a huge threat to Jones’ value though.

Also some other quick notes:
Ben Obamanu broke his clavicle in the team’s exhibition finale Friday night and could miss the season. The Seattle WR core has been decimated here and it’s a tad worrying to see how often these gusy are getting hurt. You have to bump the whole offense’s value down several notches and figure Hasselback will struggle early on as he tries to find someone other than Nate Burleson open. Courtney Taylor will now lock up the #2 position going into the season and I really like rookie TE John Carlson as a VERY late TE pick with upside. Don’t depend on him but he may get a ton of emergency looks when all the defense is covering Burleson.

Peyton Manning says he’s ready to go week 1 – owners can breathe a sigh of relief again.

Ricky Williams is still on top of the RB depth chart in Miami. It’s not that Ronnie Brown didn’t have a good final game – he did, with 12 carries for 47 yds and a TD as well as 2 catches for 10 yds. But as I have said, they will continue to work him into the line-up and at least for now, Williams is the workhorse. But a 70/30 or even 60/40 split in short order wouldn’t shock me.

That’s all for now – back to watching college football and I will have more cuts tonight!

THE SKY IS FALLING and other Manning News


Hey from overcast and chilly – but beautiful – Alaska! To the left, feel free to gaze at the lovely Alaskan Mountain range off the coast of Homer where I went deep sea fishing for Halibut yesterday – caught two in fact. My nephew caught one bigger than he was – he’s about 4ft tall so maybe that isn’t as impressive as it sounds. But it outweighed him too. Gorgeous scenery though, huh?

We were out on the boat when I actually heard QB news that wasn’t about Brett Favre.

After I picked myself up off the floor from that, I stopped to analyze what is now the biggest off-season story of the moment – Peyton Manning’s surgery on his knee to remove an infected bursa sac. I think that’s what started Marvin Harrison’s knee woes last year, and if that’s the case I can see the panic. (Especially for the owner in one auction league of mine who just bought Manning for $120. YIPES)

However, my Fantasy Football thought is this – there is every indication he’ll be ready for week one. I wouldn’t panic. Further, I would not waste my time drafting Jim Sorgi. Far better to make sure your #2 QB is a safe and secure choice – someone like Garrard or Rivers, who can stand up over the course of a season. It’s not that Sorgi is useless – it’s more that we can’t count on him to put up Manning numbers if Manning goes down. And I would rather grab a solid long shot 3rd QB (take a flier on JaMarcus Russell for example) than reach to get Sorgi because I am feeling worried about Manning.

If you grab Manning, just be sure to grab a solid #2. If you can get Sorgi, great, but I wouldn’t pull him early.

The fact is, Manning will probably play. You want to cover yourself, sure, but I’m not torching the town in a panic right now, and neither should you.

If anything, this may drop him in drafts, which could make it the only time he’s been a value in a long time.

I may be back with more news this week – assuming Halibut fishing doesn’t call again before the wedding I’m here for.