Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NFL Playoff Thoughts

  • Me and my buddy Rob Stache (cousin of University of Oregon kicker Rob Beard) were discussing the Jets-Patriots trash talk leading up to their game on Sunday, when I sent him the following text, "Seemed out of character for a Patriot to respond, makes me lean towards Jets." That was in reference to Wes Welker's foot-in-mouth rant that you so rarely hear from the Nazi-Patriots regime. That Patriots error was then answered by yet another Patriots error, when Bill Belichick overreacted to the situation by benching Welker for the first drive on Sunday. This was all the Jets needed to see to conclude that Belichick was bothered by the back-and-forth, and that not all the Patriots were on the same page (evidenced by Vince Wilfork speaking out after the game that he did not agree with the Welker benching). And just like that, the power had swung in the Jets favor. They beat the Patriots in a game that the Patriots had owned for the last decade, the week-long buildup to the game.
  • Since I started off the write-up with some gloating, I'll counter that with what I was very, very wrong about. I have openly bashed the New Yahk Jets all season long, and most recently hated on Rexy Ryan. This dislike stems from my natural distaste of the majority's belief and of arrogance. However, the Jets have proven me wrong time and time again this season, and I suppose it's time for me to give them their due. There is no dissension in that locker room, they know exactly who they are, and they're willing to go to war for their coach. I still think there's a strong possibility for them to crash and burn, but if they win a Super Bowl, who cares?
  • Sticking with the Jets and the Patriots game, Tom Brady sure did look bad. He has now lost his last 3 playoff games and is 4-5 in his last 9. The Golden Boy sure has come back down to earth. I feel like I have to ask this question: What comes of Tom Brady's career if he isn't on the beneficial end of the Tuck Rule call in the 2001 NFL playoffs, where he went on to win his first Super Bowl title? Brady is lauded for his confidence on the field, but would that be as present without all his success at the beginning of his career (it's the chicken and the egg!)?
  • Also, on the topic of Brady, I don't think it was a good thing to carry a streak of no INT's like he did into the playoffs. You could sense the streak coming to an end against the Jets, and when it did, he suddenly has to rebound from something he hadn't done in 91 days. He appeared to be very rattled afterwards (rare) and had terrible pocket presence throughout most of the game (even rarer). Hopefully, this game served as a warning to those of you who try to make the NFL (or sports in general) a black-and-white affair. There's so much that goes into the outcome of a game, that it's completely unpredictable, and oftentimes doesn't make sense. That's what makes it so great.
  • Alright, enough Jets-Patriots for now. On to Aaron Rodgers, who I would argue is the best player in the NFL right now, all accomplishments aside. Let me explain. If you just started watching the NFL this year, and had no prior knowledge of what has happened in the past, I believe you would conclude that Rodgers is the best player in the league. It might be his time.
  • One of the reasons the NFL Playoffs are so great is because completely unknown players can play the games of their lives at the right time and can transform into stars. The example from the 2010 playoffs is Packers CB Tramond Williams. He had the game sealing INT of Mike Vick on the Eagles final drive of the wildcard game. He followed that up by effectively ending the Packers-Falcons game with a pick-6 of Matty Ice (Yea, Matt! He's so clutch!) right before halftime. I, oftentimes, develop man-crushes on cornerbacks because of how difficult it is to play the position, and Williams is just the latest example. He has officially replaced Corey Webster, of the New Yahk Giants, as my FBO man-crush.
  • Big Ben's Big R-Berger's pass on 3rd and 19 at the end of the game against the Baltimore Ravens was one of the best passes I've ever seen. I don't understand how Ed Reed and the Ravens' defense could allow a receiver to get behind them in that situation.
  • Jay Cutler's pass on the goalline against the Seattle Seahawks was one of the worst passes I have ever seen, and if it would've been picked, and potentially returned for a TD, the outcome of that game could've been significantly altered.
  • It was great to see T.J. Houshmandzadeh blow that game by dropping the 4th down pass on the Ravens' final drive. Housh majorly annoyed me by overly-celebrating each and every catch against the Chiefs the week before. My revenge was had 6 days later when he completely gagged away the Ravens' final effort. Now go back to irrelevancy.
  • One thing that has stuck out to me in these playoffs is how the best team's pass rushers are stepping up. Clay Matthews, Terrell Suggs, and James Harrison were all dominating in their games. Two things to take away from this: 1. The Chiefs absoutely, positively, MUST resign Tamba Hali this offseason. 2. Hali must develop an edge where he can dominate entire games against good quality offenses for the Chiefs to win playoff games.

Sorry for the layoff minions,
His Dirkness


Anonymous said...

Yea I have to agree with you about the Patriots stuff. By Welker speaking out it showed the whole team wasn't as tight knit of a team. Now I know you have faulted Belichick for benching Welker, but I have different take on this. If as a coach you have certain guidelines and expectations of your players you can't one week say this is the punishment for this and another week treat the situation any different. If Belichick starts not being as steadfast on things even small ones the whole thing crumbles quickly. Now as far as the in game management I think that was downright terrible.

You always come back to the point about Brady with the tuck rule, but I never hear it the other way around. I have never heard you say what if David Tyree doesn't make that amazing catch against his helmet and the Patriots go on to win a 4th superbowl and go undefeated. What happens then? The rest of the league starts to believe that they can't find a way to beat the Patriots and the mystique continues to what this year could be there 6th it goes both ways in my opinion. That being said have the Patriots turned into the Colts of old? A team that was built to dominate the regular season, but not physical enough to win in the playoffs. It looks like the current mold for winning superbowls is be the most physical team out there. Look at the teams still left (Steelers, Jets, Bears, Packers) Now I think the Packers are the only team that breaks that mold. They seem more high scoring less defense than the other 3 teams on the list.

It would be cool if you were right about Aaron Rodgers, but the problem with that is every time you endorse someone like that it's like giving them the H'Dirkness kiss of death. So I'm picking Rodgers to throw 3 picks in a losing effort to the Da'Bears. In my other pick I got the Steelers handling the Jets and then Big Ben going on to win his 3rd superbowl in which they completely crush the Da'Bears 40-13.

Zaveous - out

His Dirkness said...

That's one badass comment Zaveous. Lets take these one at a time.

I don't think Belichick had set any precedent for that kinda punishment before. He's always handled things like that behind close doors before. I just don't think there was enough of a reason to punish him, and think that was almost as big an error as Welker saying that stuff. He's just one player, while Belichick is the representative of the entire franchise. Talk to him behind closed doors, but don't act like you were bothered by it.

I love the hypothetical going the opposite way on Brady, it just isn't as fun because he is already praised enough. Pretending that he would be gushed over even more doesn't delight me. However, it is a good counter to my hypothetical, and did peak my interest.

I definitely agree that the Patriots have turned into the Colts. They have underachieved in multiple playoffs now, which seemed unheard of a handful of years ago. It reminds me of when Shanahan let his ego get out of control with the Broncos' running back situation and thought that they'd be fine with a pretty good running game. Belichick is doing the same thing with his defense, putting out a pretty good defense (by regular season standards) because he can coach them up so well, but when push comes to shove, the talent on their defense really isn't there.

Also, his successful defenses always had accomplished veterans with something to prove, where as now its filled with youngsters that think they are better than they are (most likely due to Belichick's schemes leading to an overachieving regular season defense).

As far as Rodgers, I have no emotional ties to him, so I could really care less if he falls victim to my kiss of death. However, this one wouldn't be blamed on me, as he is getting just as much hype from all over the country.

Love the picks. Excellent comment.