Saturday, September 12, 2009

NFL Opening Sunday

It is a rainy, dreary and cold day here so I thought why not punch some buttons and do a post.

Revealing Week
I had held off on a rant that was brewing since Thursday for a few reasons. One, I really hate to put anything at all that relates to things political on the blog. I think this is a financial (and miscellaneous fun stuff) site and not a ideological platform. Two, I find it best to keep one's own personal idea about politics to themselves so as not to turn off major parts of an audience to to garner attacks. That all said, I will say a few words about what was really bothering me last week, so if you are easily offended just skip down to the football section.

During my daily readings on Thursday and Friday I was alarmed by the sheer volume of blogger posts by economic sites which were overtly political in content. Many from the blogroll listed here along with many other stops I make had clearly written purely political sections. Now this is not a big "No No" to me, I just found it strange that in 4 years of reading some site I had never seen even one post like these.

To add to this, I was very surprised to see a clear liberal bent to all of the said sections. Economic Disconnect is a staunch Libertarian and of the firm belief that we have the Democrat party, and a Democrat Lite party known as the Republicans. But even this is no big deal to me, what do I care what kind of ideology people subscribe to?

No, what bothered me the most was the ridiculous defense of something like Universal Government run health care by the same sort of writers that have been amazing at pointing out how terribly the government has run things like the FDIC, the SEC, the FED, the Treasury, and the bailouts. I find it intellectually dishonest to argue against poorly run government monster entities on the financial side, and to then say everything will be just fine with health care.

Another thing that was really driving me insane was the orgasmic response many financial writers had to the presidents speech on Wednesday night. So President Obama can read a prepared speech off a teleprompter and sound good doing it. I mean, BFD. Descriptions included things like "powerful oratory" and "soaring rhetoric". Are you kidding me? Sadly coverage of the speech content was missing, I guess folks were too exhausted from being stimulated by President Obama's words to do any analysis. Former President Ronald Reagan was a much better orator that President Obama, yet I fail to remember people falling all over themselves after one of his speeches. What's the difference?

Anyways, sorry to chime in on this sort of thing, but it has been bothering me a lot and I wanted to get something written about it.

NFL 2009 Season Begins!
The only good thing about the return of the cold weather is that it will be football season!

I came to be a football fan pretty late. I never watched a game until sophomore year in high school and I never played on an organized team. We did used to play pick up games in the school parking lot because the parking lines could serve as distance and down markers. Getting tackled on cement does make you run a lot faster!

I fell in love with the New Orleans Saints in 1991. They had one of the all time great defenses and allowed only 211 points in 1991, and 202 points in 1992. Sadly they were not so hot on offense, and tended to choke in the playoffs. Still, the "46 defense" is my favorite way to play and I wish teams had the balls (and the personnel) to play it today.

Returning to the present, I think this year could be the most competitive season I have ever seen. I am not going to do my usual season long projections because I just do not think I have enough feel for how this season is going to go without seeing some games. There are at least 6 teams I think have a real shot at winning the Superbowl this year, and maybe another 2 or 3 that could even make a run. Usually I would put at most 4 teams at that level, not this year.

And now some random Football topics.

Most Dangerous Men in the NFL - Offense
When I study a team before a Patriots game (yes, sadly I do review tape and check formations, patterns, etc.) there are times you have to single out one player form the other teams offense as the absolute must stop. While there are many great players in the league, here are my 3 most dangerous men in the NFL on offense (no particular order):

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Viking, RB
Every time Peterson gets the football, I hold my breath. This guy can go all the way every time he carries the ball. He is not a cutback or finesse runner, he just hits the hole and goes. In a league that has basically given up on running the ball (the Vikings and the Giants are exceptions) Adrian Peterson is easily the most dangerous running back in football.

2. Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
On any play under 20-25 yards Moss would not make my list of top receivers. He is a below average blocker and he is not an "in traffic" kind of player. So how does he make the list? The field is longer than 25 yards of course! Randy Moss, once down the field, is almost uncoverable. Teams MUST commit their corner back on that side, the free safety has to be set 30 yards down field, and often times teams must rotate the other safety over to shade the Moss side, or play a dime package. If Moss was not so dangerous there would be no need to have 3 guys trying to watch him all game long. And he still gets open!

3. Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles, RB
Westbrook is not an every down player, nor is he a huge threat to carry the ball 25 times a game. Which is good for Eagle opponents, because Westbrook scores touchdowns. That what he does. He can catch them or he can run them in (the best goal to go runner in the NFL). teams must be aware of this guy to have success.

Most Dangerous Men in the NFL - Defense
While the offensive stars get all the coverage and all the girls, defense wins titles. You have to play defense to win in this league no matter how good your offense is (hearing me Saints and Patriots?). When I am looking at opponents, these players become number one priority to block, play away from, or try to trade for to avoid playing against them!:

1. Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers, S
Note: Sadly Polamalu suffered a knee injury on opening night and will miss some games
Polamalu can come up and stuff the run as good as a middle linebacker. So he is big and slow? Hardly. Polamalu can cover one on one any receiver in the league. If you saw opening night, he can even make an interception with one hand while falling down. Clearly, when game planning for the Steelers you have to know where #43 is or you are in for a long night.

2. Albert Haynesworth, Washington Redskins, DT
While on a new team, he is still Albert Haynesworth. The most dominating lineman in the league, teams MUST account for him and commit a line blocker and a tight end or back for protection. Haynesworth is so disruptive on the line, most teams actually change the offense to an up tempo short game to avoid giving him time to work. I think Haynesworth will have a harder time this year in the NFC East (better lines, better blocking backs) but he is still very dangerous.

3. Baltimore Ravens, Entire Defense
Statics say there are better defenses, but really there is no finer a unit than the Ravens defense. When the Ravens are on defense, there is an air of danger for the offense. They hit hard, suffocate with pressure, and their secondary play (with Ed Reed in the lineup) forces turnovers at an amazing rate.

My Two Favorites
My two favorites are the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. I guess I just like "New" in a teams name! Here are my takes on them this year.

The Saints
We know the offense can score. We know the defense cannot stop. What will change? The Saints did add some new blood on defense, and perhaps another year under their belt will help, but clearly they have issues still. That said, if the Saints can stop their turnover problems, I think they can overcome their defensive issues and return to the playoffs. Reggie Bush has yet to hit his full potential, and Drew Brees is the best QB you never heard of. Inconsistency is the major issue facing this team.

The Pats
A new, younger and faster defense will take some time to settle in. Led by Jarod Mayo at middle linebacker, this will be the most inexperienced defense New England has put on the field in years. Will it gel? I think it will take 8 weeks or more to see where this unit is going to be.

On offense, Tom Brady returns. Again, I think it will take a few weeks to see how Brady is coming back, but with Welker and Moss ready to go there should be plenty of fireworks this year. A top tier team, but the key will be the running game. If Fred Taylor can do what he has done his whole career, the whole picture changes. A bona fide running attack will only amplify Moss on the outside and take pressure off the defense. This is the key question for this team.

Random Items
Various things I am thinking about for the year.

-The NFC West and AFC West should surrender their guaranteed division winner playoff spot and be judged on record alone. The NFL really has to look at this as the West's of both conferences are terrible divisions, while divisions like the NFC East and NFC Central are highly competitive.

-We need a clear "in the grasp" rule on QB's. With the emergence of larger quarterbacks, they are wrapped up but not down and are allowed to try and extend the play. Someone is going to get hurt doing this.

-I cannot believe how well Michael Vick is being received and I do not think Donovan McNabb can like this no matter what he says openly.

-This is the last time I want to hear about the San Diego Chargers being the best team in the NFL. Everyone is healthy, so no more excuses. Put up or shut the heck up. This team is simply not as good as they look on paper, results bear me out.

-Will the Detroit Lions win a game? I hope not in week one (vs Saints) and I have one of those "bad" feelings about this game!

-Can football really be football without John Madden covering the game?

-Are the Atlanta Falcons going to have a slump, or be even better than last year? I think better.

-I have never seen a season taking shape to be so up in the air as this year. Anything, and everything could happen. I think the Superbowl winner this year may not be the best team (per se), but the team that can get through a tough season and playoff games against stand out opponents with the least amount of wear. Read as "those with an easier way to go" may wind up on top.

-I am just excited.

That's about it for tonight. Tomorrow here in the Northeast we get the Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons for the early game (awesome game!) and the afternoon game will be the New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins (could care less). The night game promises to be awesome as the Chicago Bears (with Jay Cutler!) play the Green Bay Packers in a huge match up in the NFC Norris division.

Have a good night.

15 comments:

getyourselfconnected said...

Wow,
I guess I just turned off my whole audience! Goes to show you that its better to keep to ones self.

GawainsGhost said...

I totally agree with you on politics. I'm sick of the whole scene, this constant bickering back and forth. It's the hyper-partisanship that ruined it for me. Democrats, Republicans, I could really care less, since there's no difference between the two. I just want what works, and neither side seems to be able to come up with that.

Anyway, I noticed in your NFL preview you left off any mention of the Dallas Cowboys. Please. They're the most loved and most hated team in the league. That's why they draw such a huge audience. Guaranteed, if the Cowboys make the Super Bowl this year, it will be the most watched television event with the largest audience in history.

The most dangerous offensive player in the league is Felix Jones. When that man gets into open space, watch out.

The most dangerous defensive player in the league is DeMarcus Ware. He damn near set the NFL record for sacks last year. When that man gets after a quarterback, watch out.

That said, no one man ever won a football game. It's the ultimate team sport. It's all about 11 men coming together as one, on offense, defense and special teams. Forget about superstars. Football is not a game for prima donnas. Give me workmen who do their jobs, and I'll beat you every time and twice on Sundays.

I think the Saints have a legitimate shot this year. (Note. They were Elvis's favorite team too.) And I think New England is dangerous, although their defense is suspect. But you cannot discount Belichick and Brady.

As for the Cowboys, well, they're an enigma. They always play down to the level of their opponent. I've seen Dallas win games they had no business winning, and I've seen them lose games they had no business losing. But I've been a fan for 43 years now, and I'll remain one until I die.

Still, this is a proving year for the Cowboys, and they've got a lot to prove. Frankly, I see them as an 8-8, maybe 9-7 (fail to make the playoffs) team. And if that happens, there will be a blood-letting. The roster will be gutted and the entire coaching staff fired. Believe it.

Here in Texas, we don't have expectations. We have standards. And the standard is the Super Bowl. It's been a long, long time, and patience is wearing thin.

I have no idea what's going to happen this season. You're right, it's extremely competitive this year. I think Green Bay and Atlanta will be very good, but I don't discount teams like San Diego and New York. Or Chicago, even Detroit. Hell, I don't discount anybody. Any team can win it all. That's why they play the game.

But if I were a betting man, and I'm not, but if I were I wouldn't bet against anyone. Certainly not Dallas. I can't, the Cowboys are in my blood and my shades are blue.

getyourselfconnected said...

Gawains,
Thanks for seeing what i was writing about, the hyper partisanship on either side is comedy as both sides are almost the same.

As for football, my lists were not all inclusive, just what comes to mind first off. I love Ware on the Cowboys, that guy is awesome. I think the Cowboys could be good, much less pressure this year.

Anonymous said...

>I find it intellectually dishonest to argue against poorly run government monster entities on the financial side, and to then say everything will be just fine with health care.

Well said.

watchtower said...

As I have said a long time ago, I too see myself in the 'libertarian' light, therefore it's hard to disagree or add much to what you have said.
You're spot on as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

GYSC

"the orgasmic response many financial writers had to the presidents speech on Wednesday night."

Obviously you never catch Drinking with Bob on You tube.
LOL
http://www.youtube.com/user/drinkingwithbob

Kevin

getyourselfconnected said...

Watchtower,
Thanks for the kind words.

Kevin,
I had never seen that guy before, hilarious! I think he will pass out doing one of those videos.

Seems the Saints will beat the Lions, small miracles.

getyourselfconnected said...

Gawains,
the boys looked pretty dynamic on offense without TO. Defense looked good as well.

Poor Cincinati Bengals, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! What an end to a game.

Anonymous said...

Gysc

There is another guy I watch called the fat libertarian who can get on a pretty good rant some times and Crabby Charlie is good for view but he usually manages to keep his cool to some degree.

Kevin

GawainsGhost said...

Oh, please, GYC. These were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the youngest team in the league, with a rookie head coach, a week-old offensive coordinator, and a new defensive system. But yet they were in this game until the 3rd quarter, and damn near went up at the half.

I'm all about discipline and execution. I didn't see that from the Cowboys. I saw an interception nullified by a penalty, several bad throws and a lot of missed tackles.

The Cowboys cannot depend on a young, inexperienced team blowing coverages in order to make big plays. That's what this game turned on. Certainly, you have to take advantage of those situations, but you cannot depend on them. There are far too many really good defenses out there which are not going to make those mistakes.

Yeah, I'll take the win. I'll always take a win. But I did not see what I needed to see out of this team. Which is intensity and focus. There were some positives, sure, but the negatives far outweighed them.

What I saw was an average team take advantage of a couple of mistakes made by a lesser team. And I was not impressed.

Against a stronger, veteran team, better prepared and more disciplined, these Cowboys would have been toast.

It's going to be a long season.

Anonymous said...

Gawains,

"It's going to be a long season."

If these clowns in DC don't get their heads out of their butts before we do the Argentina death dance it may be the last season.

Kevin

getyourselfconnected said...

Gawains,
you are a rough fan to please!

CT-Hilltopper said...

Speaking of the Bengals, did you guys see that LOOOOOONG tipped interception that was run back against them today in that game against Denver.

And to make matters worse, the guy rubbed salt in the wounds by running an extra ten seconds or so off the clock by running along the goal line without going over the plane. OUCH!


The Bengals are the Clippers of the NFL. Thats too bad too. My father loved that team when he was alive. He'd be so sad to see what they've become.

getyourselfconnected said...

C-T,
I saw that play live, and what a crusher! It seems both the Lions and the Bengals are cursed!

Anonymous said...

SAN FRANCISCO – The news media's credibility is sagging along with its revenue.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans think the news stories they read, hear and watch are frequently inaccurate, according to a poll released Sunday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. That marks the highest level of skepticism recorded since 1985, when this study of public perceptions of the media was first done.
http://tinyurl.com/lsmksw

Ya think?

Kevin