T.O A No-Show
Terrell Owens may have been the centerpiece to the hype leading up to the Cowboys/Eagles game this weekend, but he sure wasn't the centerpiece during it, catching only 3 balls for 45 yards. Instead of doing his thing on the field, Owens was seen at times marching up and down the sidelines either trying to fire his team up, or ranting about how he wasn't getting the ball. One thing was for certain though, and that's the fact that if the offensive line can't protect Drew Bledsoe better, and Drew can't stop himself from making ill advised throws, then having T.O won't make a bit of difference in Big D. Make no mistake about it, T.O's lack of production isn't the reason the Eagles won that game, but it certainly gave them a morale boost to see that they were shutting up the mouth that split their franchise down the middle last season. I don't think I've heard cheers so loud as when T.O dropped a pass over the middle early in the 2nd half. I'd say that Dallas has much larger problems than T.O not getting the ball (especially their pass protection), but if he's not getting the ball enough, he will make it their biggest problem. If you couldn't see this coming before the season then I'm afraid you're blind. Everyone knew that once the Cowboys started losing, T.O would start pointing the finger square at Bill Parcells and more so Drew Bledsoe. So now the fun begins. Now we get to see all the finger pointing in the clubhouse. Will Owens complain enough to get backup QB Tony Romo into the lineup? Will he instead throw his whole team under the bus and claim that if they threw him the ball more they wouldn't have any problems? Either way, I don't expect Owens to go quietly at all after this embarrassment in Philly. It was T.O's mission to make somebody pay this week, and since he couldn't do it to the Eagles, look for him to take it out on his own team. After all, T.O doesn't stand for Team Obliterator for no reason.
Next Week: Bye
*Outside of last week @ Cincy, I wouldn't say I've been all that pleased with any of the Patriots games so far this season. Yeah I know it's stupid for me to be cynical while they are out to a 4-1 start and already seem to have the division sewn up, but I can't help but looking at the bigger picture. Tom Brady's numbers have been well below average this season with a career worst 54.3 completion percentage, more than 5 pts below his previous season low. He also is posting a career low in QB rating at 82.6. Now, it's been great this year that the running game has been able to pick him up, but this offense can only go as far as Tom Brady can take them. Doug Gabriel and Reche Caldwell were brought in and now Jabaar Gaffney has been added, and it's said that it's taking time for Tom to get acclimated with them. Sorry, but I'm just not really buying that as an excuse. Daniel Graham and Ben Watson have both played with Brady before, and the two of them have combined for just 25 catches and about 300 yards in 5 games with only one touchdown. And how about new WR's like Javon Walker in Denver and Donte Stallworth in Philly? They don't seem to need half a season to catch on with their new offenses, so why does it take the guys here so long? Is our scheme really that difficult? Nah, I think there's something wrong with Tom. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to take cheap shots at Tom Brady, but I think he's injured. Think about it. He appears on the injury report every week doesn't he? Well hopefully the bye week will give him some time to heal up if that is the case, but it will at least give them an extra week to get everyone on the same page....finally.
NFL News and Notes
*The Chicago Bears are far and away the best team in the NFL right now. This isn't some knee jerk reaction to their 41-7 blowout of the Bills this weekend, but more so just respect for what they are able to do week in and week out. Everyone already knows about their defense. They already have a +10 turnover ratio, thanks to the pressure put on the inside by DT Tommie Harris and DE's Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye, who have combined for 9 1/2 sacks so far this season, and pressure from the their ball-hawking secondary which already has 7 interceptions on the season. But the real story has been their offense. Sure, their defense was going to win them a lot of games anyway, but the emergence of Rex Grossman and his big play threat Bernard Berrian has complimented the smash mouth running game of Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson quite nicely. Grossman has a 10/3 TD/interception ratio already, and Berrian is averaging 21.7 yards per catch with 4 TDs. And don't expect this team to slip up either. They have a bye coming up this week, but games against Arizona, San Fran and Miami should have the Bears 8-0 before a matchup with the Giants at the Meadowlands on November 12th. The new Monsters of the Midway may still lack that crucial post season experience, but right now that's looking like the only thing that could keep them from at least an NFC title game appearance.
*As high as the Bears are riding, I'm not sure there's a team that's feeling the hurt anymore than the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a team that has had nothing but let-downs since winning their first Super Bowl last January under longtime coach Bill Cowher. First, Jerome Bettis, the fan favorite and face of the franchise, retires. Then, prodigal QB Ben Roethlisberger injures himself in a motorcycle accident, only to recover and miss the season opener after an emergency appendectomy. Now, four games into the season, the Steelers are 1-3 and Big Ben has 7 interceptions to go along with zero touchdowns. Not only that, but the only win the defending champs do have, came on opening night, against a vastly disappointing Dolphins team, with Charlie Batch at QB! To sum it up, their offense is flat without Bettis and Randle El, and while their defense is fine, opposing defenses are bringing it more and more each week because of the target on the champs back. Now, with their backs against the wall, we can see what this team is really made of. Nevermind having playoff wins handed to them last year by Indy and Denver, now it's time to show if they are real champions. My guess is they aren't, and the should stumble the rest of the way to maybe a 8-8 finish. The real questions will be after the season if Big Ben continues to struggle. And hopefully one bad season will be enough to push Cowher completely out the door. Although I should be careful what I ask for because I'm sure he'll end up on some pre-game show and I will have to see his stupid chin every week. It's times like this I'm glad I don't have HD TV.
My NFL Picks
*Around here we like to act like we expected to win. So instead of celebrating, I'm just going to plan on doing the same thing next week. You gotta love that confidence....it's gangsta.
League Championship Series Preview
St. Louis Cardinals vs New York Mets
College Football Top 10
just missed: Tennessee, California, Iowa, Boise St.
Games to Watch this Week
Michigan @ Penn St.
Virginia Tech @ Boston College
Missouri @ Texas A&M
NHL Season Opens With Whimper
Next Week vs Hay 4 Sale (1-4-0)
*The bye for Mike Vick and Warrick Dunn really cost me this week. Even with low points from them, they still would have done better than the -4 points and 0 points that Steve McNair and Doug Gabriel respectively got in their place. Hey, I was hoping that McNair could pull it out on Monday Night, but I was also realistic that Denver's defense would be tough. Once I saw that it was raining and cold, I essentially gave up all hope. Oh well, next week it is, and I can still see a playoff spot in my sights so the news isn't all bad.