The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Football news and notes.

Every week Michael David Smith watches one player (or line unit) for an entire game to see if they consistently hustle, take plays off, play with good form and intensity, etc. He has compiled an All-Star Team based on his observations. (Wait, no Grady Jackson?). Check it out.

Speaking of Grady, this is not encouraging:

Jackson has not practiced much in the last three weeks because the knee concerns coaches.

“It’s pretty serious,” defensive line coach Jethro Franklin said.

He also didn’t play in the regular-season finale at Chicago.

“I went out on the field and it was so soft, and I thought with the field being soft and his knee still being swollen that that combination would not have been a good combination,” Sherman said. “To play him for six plays, nine plays, 12 plays, why take that setback?”

Grady has been hurt all season, but if it starts to act up now, the Packers have no chance. And frankly, I'm not crazy about their chances anyway. Any good Packer fan knows that they struggle against running quarterbacks. Enter Daunte Culpepper, Mike Vick, and Donovan McNabb. This is a daunting task for a very bad defense. Granted, Culpepper doesn't take off as much as he used to, and he's more of a power runner anyway, but he can still hurt you with his legs, and if I were Mike Tice (I'd probably be drooling a little and thinking about shiny things, but that's beside the point) I would call a few designed runs for him.

I'm terrible at picking playoff games (except for the Super Bowl where I'm fantastic) so I usually try and find the best story and go with that. I see two potential stories, one for the Pack, and one for the Vikings.

The first is an 8-8 team making a run. It would be a good story, and the Vikings have the firepower to hang with anyone (if Randy is physically and mentally healthy). But the better story is a Packer/Falcon matchup in round 2 that would pit the Pack against former defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. Can you imagine if the Packers (or the Falcons) ended up in a 4th and long situation in crunch time? Good stuff. So while I'm nervous, I think the Packers have the better story going for them. Plus the Vikings suck outdoors, and man, Green Bay in January is as outdoors as you can get.

I think that Matt Hasselbeck is cursed forever. This is due to "We'll take the ball, and we're gonna score." Seriously, how many times has Al Harris picked a guy off for a touchdown? (Twice.) Just look how he's been set up to fail here. Shaun Alexander is whining, and he's playing a team that he's already choked against twice. He still has a shot, because Martz is involved, but I think the Seahawks go down, even though the Rams are pretty terrible.

How did this happen? Can't you just see the proverbial "football gods" sitting up in Valhalla trying to decide who wins the NFC West?

What about the Rams? No, that coach is still there, you know, the guy who never runs the ball. I think I'll give him a canker sore. We can't make it the 49ers, no one would buy that, at least this year. And we're still punishing that Seattle kid for his arrogance last year. The Cardinals? That's just silly.

Take the stupid Rams, but really, there are no winners here, only losers.

The AFC is simple. Take the Colts (Jake Plummer is involved) and the Chargers (because it wouldn't be the playoffs if some Cinderella team didn't give the "No one gave us a chance, but we did it" interview).

Finally, USC is obviously very good. I though Oklahoma would take them apart (I may have to revise my "always take the Big 12 over the Pac 10" theory). But still, wouldn't you like to see them play a defensive juggernaut like Auburn? USC would probably still win, but I bet it would be a lot closer, and a much more entertaining game.

Oh, and make sure you don't miss this.

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