Tampa Bay Buccaneers
You know what, there is nowhere else to go but up. To say they have issues would be an understatement: staff infections, Coach Greg Schiano losing the locker room, Darrelle Revis calling out the coach, the Josh Freeman saga, and losing football games. Here’s the thing and I say this with no disrespect to rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, but this is the pros and it is what it is: you can’t really do worse so why not call that Florida quarterback that has a playoff win under his belt. Tim Tebow should already be on the road to Tampa Bay. The polarity that comes with the figure of Tim Tebow easily presents itself in this situation, because it’s a possibility that should come to fruition at some point. His presence and ability will turn the Buccaneers into an elite ground attack that they touted last season on the shoulders of Doug Martin (in his rookie year). On the defensive side of the football, that’s a pretty stout bunch. They’re ranked 12th overall, 9th against the run, and middle of the pack against the pass (aside from shutting down half the field on Revis Island). Consider that the Saints are the only winning team in the division and we are a quarter of the seaosn through, the wildcard picture is still in reach. Bring in Tebow to at least compete but I will say this, there are just certain players that have the “it” factor” and also, some guys just aren’t practice players.
As for Josh Freeman looking ahead, he should absolutely be claimed by a team. Not just any team though, but a veteran team because the kid has some maturing to do and should not be in a leadership position immediately. Whether you want to bring him in to backup an established quarterback to show him how to be a professional (Seahawks), or thrust him into competition to play among veteran offensive players (Eagles), he should find a team and not be blackballed. And yes, he could compete with Michael Vick to help Philly play up to their potential, possibly.
Staying on the Eagles and contrary to media belief, this team hasn’t had the roughest results in comparison to other one-win, and win-less teams. Put the first four games of their schedule into perspective, sure they didn’t play that well on either side of the ball, but they still have legitimate hope. After opening the season with a win at Washington, they dropped a pair of home games: Chargers edged them out by a field goal and the Chiefs beat them by ten points on a Thursday night. What I take from that 1-2 start is that all three games were played in 11 days, which is ridiculous scheduling for anybody. Then in week four they went to Mile High Stadium, lost their breath, and got dominated by the best offense in football.
In watching that game, give a lot of credit to the special teams unit of the Broncos. Explosive return man Trinton Holiday returned a kickoff to the house and they blocked a punt for a touchdown as well, you just can’t allow Denver to score twice when the future Hall of Fame Peyton Manning is watching from the sidelines. Granted, the Eagles made those mistakes on special teams and the defense has been laughable at this point, the elusiveness on offense will keep them close to the Dallas Cowboys throughout the season. Speaking of them, the Cowboys are only one game ahead of the Eagles and they could be tied after this week: Dallas will probably lose to Denver and Philadelphia should get back on track against the hot-mess Giants.
If you’re talking X’s and O’s, since Vick is a shorter QB like Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, he should be rolling out more or taking 7-step drops. The Eagles have looked predictable to defend against the pass because Vick can’t complete a pass to the middle of the field over the offensive and defensive lines. Also, to help make up for the loss of receiver Jeremy Maclin, they should be playing running back Bryce Brown at the same time with LeSean McCoy. I get the fact that you have to spell the workhorse that “Shady” is, but only Desean Jackson is getting open of all receivers on the roster. That also means you could play more two-tight end sets with Brent Celek and rookie Zach Ertz. If they adjust the personnel a bit then they will be moving the chains with more success, and that will benefit their barely-existing defense.
After watching the NFL and researching it for so many years now, I would like to relay the message that awards aren’t the conversation difference makers that they used to be. Believe me, I’m ecstatic that they actually handed star running back Adrian Peterson, the Most Valuable Player Award. Apparently that was too obvious for them to snub him and give it to golden boy, Peyton Manning, but it happened and I appreciate that. However, they didn’t get the Offensive Rookie of the Year right because it should have been Andrew Luck. Talk all you want about Robert Griffin III, which the media does anyway, and Russell Wilson, who definitely deserves the hype because he earned it, but Luck was the man last year.
Out of the three, and the other young quarterbacks that are starting in this league, he was the guy without a running game, and without a defense in the top half of the league. Not to discredit the others for their accomplishments and making the playoffs as well, they simply were not everything to the franchise like he was. Not only was he the face of the franchise, but also the entire offense on the field. He didn’t get to hand the ball off to Alfred Morris in his productive rookie season, or All-Pro “beats mode” Marshawn Lynch, with the best defense in the league title that belongs to the Seahawks. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson looks excellent and performed his duties beautifully. He is a poised leader that has won me over, although I am still a little skeptical on how long he will actually be a starting QB, but I like him and he’s a great short-term option at the very least.
Back to Luck, his team relied on his every move. He had to move the chains with his feet while finishing drives for points with his arm. He literally had the world on his shoulders, and this is where his 17 touchdowns to 16 interceptions ratio proves that statistics can be deceiving. Numbers never lie, they just don’t paint the picture and tell the whole story. It’s early but i call it like I see it, Andrew Luck will make the Hall of Fame when all is said and done. That doesn’t mean I think he can stop playing football today and wear the yellow jacket tomorrow, but at the end of the road I see him winning at least one Super Bowl and having a memorable career.
Heading INTO last season I was telling people that quarterback Matt Schaub would hold this team back. Aside form injuries, his play never rose to the necessary occasions. Fast-forward and over a year later, now everyone is critiquing the signal caller in the public eye with to make him close his Twitter account. When it comes to something like that, it all but assures you that you don’t have the leader with the grit that you thought you had in Schaub. At least, what Houston thought, although he was a major part of putting the franchise on the map to his credit. They can still turn things around, it’s not the end of the world when you lose to Seattle, and probably again to the 49ers this week. That players-only media was an attempt to heal wounds inside the locker room, and the egos should be salty because they aren’t measuring up to the elite teams in the league. I hate to join in on the parade and kick a guy while he’s down, so to elaborate even more on the other side of the coin, Schaub is generally a reliable game manager that is capable of breaking out a 300-yard game on occasion.