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Archive for November, 2006

FireKnapp.com

November 30th, 2006 2 comments

I’ve considered myself a “Knapp apologist” in that I spent most of 2004 and 2005 defending Knapp, his play-calling and his offense. But that has changed this year. Basically from week to week, I don’t know whether I’ll be defending Knapp or trying to execute him. But there is little doubt in my mind, that from a play-calling and offensive management standpoint, 2006 has clearly been Knapp’s worst year.

Which is odd to me because this is the much ballyhooed third year in the West Coast Offense, in which things are supposed to click.

But now my official stance on Knapp is that he needs to be fired after this season. It’s not an easy stance for me to take, but after careful thought for the past few weeks, that’s my current mindset. Of course, if the Falcons offense starts clicking down the stretch, I’ll quickly pretend like I never made such a statement.

I don’t blame Knapp entirely for the failures of the Falcons offense. It’s not easy to work with Mr. Inconsistency No. 7, who is so much more a replica of his cousin out in Oakland than many want to admit. But nonetheless, I understand the nature of the “business” that is the NFL, and Vick with his $130 million contract, has greater job security than Knapp does.

I don’t fault the West Coast Offense as many others do. There is nothing wrong essentially with that offense. It is really the only modern passing attack (used in the NFL) that takes advantage of a mobile QB. The problem is that I don’t think Knapp did quite enough to adapt the WCO to Vick’s strengths and weaknesses.

He did some. He utilized a mobile pocket (seemingly up until this year) by rolling Vick out a lot to his left. He used bootlegs. He installed components of the spread option attacks used at Texas and West Virginia this year. The team brought in bigger receivers with deep speed rather than the guys that are used to running simple slants, which potentially could take advantage of Vick’s arm strength, rather than his weakness at throwing timing-based passes.

But the problem is that all these changes have been too few and far between. In my opinion, considering the weapons this team has on offense, they should be better taking advantage. To me, the offense is too conservative and too predictable. Opposing defenses really only focus on containing Vick’s runs, and not over-pursuing in the running game for fear of Dunn’s cutbacks, and that really is all there is to figuring out the Falcons offense. If you can do those things (basically if you have a fast, disciplined defense), stopping this offense is going to be easy. Knapp & Co. have not figured out new wrinkles and ways to keep opposing defensive coordinators on their toes.

Why not utilize more screen passes with Dunn and Norwood, two players that are excellent at using them. Why has DeAngelo Hall become a complete afterthought as far as receiving goes? They tried him on 1 WR screen (for no gain), and I don’t think he’s played a snap of offense since. Why doesn’t the team try to use Vick as a decoy, by lining up him at WR? Hall could be the exact same decoy. Why don’t Dunn and Crumpler split out wide that much? Why did the team never take advantage of Duckett’s past as a All-state prep quarterback, and try to use him on some HB passes?

I’m not saying that our offense should be built around these components, but using simple screens three or four times a game, would that really hurt us? Trying to take advantage of mismatches and decoys with the immense talent and athleticism this team has, would that hurt us, if used once or twice a game?

So now I’m at the point where we should simply start over offensively after this season. I’d love it if Rich Rodriguez would land in Atlanta next year in some capacity (either as head coach or OC) and install his spread option attack which would be the ideal fit for Vick, but I realize that is highly doubtful.

But essentially I think we need a fresh approach to the “Vick Dilemma.” Someone that is willing to think outside the box, and think of fresh ways in order to give defensive coordinators headaches.

Who that person is besides Rodriguez, I don’t really know. But I’d bet that whomever is Knapp’s successor, would understand the realities that his job security is built upon installing an offense that would help Vick to play up to the weight of his contract.

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Pudge’s Power Rankings – Week 13

November 30th, 2006 Comments off

As I’m sure a few of you noticed, I didn’t have power rankings up for last week. Mainly because it was a short week and the holidays kept me from the update, but I think it was sort of a blessing in disguise. Mostly due to the ineptitude of the Falcons season, I’ve really gotten bored with doing the power rankings. Not to mention my predictions have really soured since Week 5 or so. So I’m not going to do one this week either. But if there are those of you out there that actually enjoyed looking at them, take the time to comment here, or drop me a line at: pudge@falcfans.com. If there is enough souls out there that like the power rankings, I’ll try and bring it back for Week 14.

As for the only prediction that matters this week, I expect the Falcons losing streak to go to 5 with a loss versus the Redskins.

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Game #10 at Baltimore Ravens Review

November 25th, 2006 Comments off

This was a very frustrating game as it could be very well titled “A Tale of Two Halves”. The first half had both sides of the ball play extremely well. The second half saw our o-line fall apart, the defense get tired and Allen Rossum getting exploited again as a starter.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (15/52), Vick (6/54), Norwood (3/2), A. Jennings (1/-4). Outside of Vick running, there was nothing there. Only 6 of Dunn’s carries went for 4 yards or more. Norwood really didn’t enough touches to make a difference and Vick was Vick and racked up yardage. The Ravens’ d-line simply outplayed our o-line physically all day.

Breakdown of passes:

Vick: 11/21, 127 yards, 1 TD/0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions are: 5 bad throws, 1 pass defended, 3 throw aways and 1 drop. The bad throws number was a tad too high but only by 1 and that came on the last drive of the game.

Drops (1): Griffith 1 (2).

Sack responsibility (5): 1: This one goes on Todd Weiner, his first all season. 2: I’m going to say “scheme” but could easily go on McClure as a line adjustment evidently wasn’t made. The Ravens overloaded the left side of our line and the three interior linemen grouped together and went to the right leaving Gandy on one guy and allowing a blitzer to come free. The sad thing is they only brought 5 guys on the play. 3: Tyson Clabo got ran right past by Kelly Gregg. 4: P.J. Alexander honestly looked lost and seemed to be unsure of what to do and got turnstiled in the process. 5: Warrick Dunn missed his block on Suggs.

Pass blocking: First half was decent and fairly adequate. Second half was absolutely horrid. Although the sack numbers below don’t necessarily support it, the hurries and hits are extremely high as well. We have to improve our pass blocking ESPECIALLY against big, physical teams.

YTD Sacks (29):

Michael Vick 12 (4 rushing attempts that went for negative yards)
Matt Lehr 2.5
Kynan Forney 2
Eric Beverly 1
Wayne Gandy 2.5
Justin Griffith 1.0
Warrick Dunn 2.0
Alge Crumpler 1.0
Todd Weiner 1.0
Tyson Clabo 1.0
P.J. Alexander 1.0
“Scheme/No line adjustment” 1.0

Note: Vick sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away. Also includes those rushing attempts that go for 0 or negative yardage that for some reason are counted as a sack.

Defense:

Run defense: Was great for the first half and most of the 3rd quarter. Demorrio Williams gave up a couple of huge plays in the red zone where he either missed a tackle on Lewis or was completely blocked out of the hole.

Pass Defense: Outside of Allen Rossum (who again has given as much of an effort as he could) and allowing too much to Heap, the pass defense was very solid.

2 sacks: Josh Mallard and Paul Carrington had 1 each.

Special Teams:

Jennings had 1 kickoff return for 16 yards. Norwood had 4 for 18, 30, 24 and 21. Norwood does a good job of returning but I think I’d rather have Jennings handling this a Norwood is too valuable at RB for us.

Rossum had 2 punt returns for 36 and 10. One great and one good. A very solid day.

Koenen had 6 punts. 1: 35 yards, downed at the 2. 2: 34 yards, out of bounds. 3: 49 yards, return of -3, inside the 5. 4: 42 yards, returned 65 yards. 5: 59 yards, returned 59 yards. 6: 23 yards, fair catch inside the 15. A great day punting but the coverage team wasn’t up to the task in the second half.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 3 kickoffs: 1: to the 7, returned 10 yards. 2: to the 3, returned 22 yards, 3: to the 4, returned 59 yards. Not bad kicks at all but the coverage unit failed him in the second half.

Field Goals: Andersen hit one field goal from 21.

Special Teams leading tackler: Boley, Schulters, Mallard, Lowe and Jennings all had 1 each.

Things that really need improvement:

1. O-line protection.
2. Better tackling and coverage on special teams.
3. Tackling wasn’t up to par in this game.

Offensive MVP: Michael Vick (for surviving when passing and leading the team in rushing)
Defensive MVP: Paul Carrington (5 combined tackles, 1 hurry, 1 sack)
Special Teams MVP: Michael Koenen (It’s a shame the coverage unit didn’t make this more apparent)

Goat of the Week: Special teams coverage and O-line both run blocking and pass blocking.
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: vs New Orleans for First Place, November 26!

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Game #9 vs Cleveland Browns Review

November 23rd, 2006 1 comment

This was just sad offensively. I thought the defense played very tough despite the injuries. Allen Rossum isn’t a starting corner by any means and did give up some key plays but the fact that Cleveland only got 17 points wasn’t bad. At any rate-

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (21/73), Vick (7/74), Jackson (1/2). Outside of Vick running, there was nothing there. Only 7 of Dunn’s carries went for 4 yards or more. I really think Norwood’s absence was huge in this game. Vick’s fumble near the end of the game was crucial and was probably more to fatigue (as the commentators stated). After having an 11 yard run nullified due to a holding penalty, we called his number again. Not the best playcalling.

Breakdown of passes:

Vick: 16/40, 197 yards, 1 TD/2 INT. Breakdown of incompletions are: 9 bad throws, 7 passes defended, 3 throw aways and 5 drops. The bad throws number was too high and when the passes defended number is as high as it was, that’s a very good indicator that the QB could probably make some better throws to give the receiver a better shot. In this case, the bad throws 20% mark is deceptive. This was the worst passing game Vick has had this season.

Schaub: 0/1, 0 yards, 0 TD/0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions: 1 bad throw.

Drops (5): Jenkins 2 (10), Lelie 2 (5), Dunn 1 (2).

Sack responsibility (1): The lone sack was on Crump.

Pass blocking: Although there was only one sack, there were 3 throw aways and far too many plays that Vick didn’t have a decent amount of time.

YTD Sacks (24):

Vick 12 (4 rushing attempts that went for negative yards)
Lehr 2.5
Forney 2
Beverly 1
Wayne Gandy 2.5
Justin Griffith 1.0
Warrick Dunn 1.0
Alge Crumpler 1.0

Note: Vick sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away.

Defense:

Run defense: Outside of Frye’s busted play scrambles, we stuffed them.

Pass Defense: Their two TD’s came on passing plays and the late field goal was set up on a long play. Basically, they took advantage of Rossum on those. The effort was more than enough to win the game and one of the Browns field goals was set up by a Vick INT that started them at our 41.

5 sacks: T.J. Jackson got the first one on their 2nd Drive. The second came just before halftime via Paul Carrington who also stripped the ball and started the whole lateral thing. The third came on their opening drive of the third quarter when D-mo got good pressure but missed the sack and Boley cleaned it up to get the sack. The fourth came on the near safety by Rod Coleman. The final sack came at the hands of Josh Mallard on the first play in the fourth quarter. Great pressure and great to see the young guys step up.

Special Teams:

Rossum had 1 kickoff return for 30 yards. Jennings had 3 for 32 (pushed back due to penalty), 26 and 20. Although Jennings didn’t have any spectacular returns, I really think it’s just a matter of time before he busts a long one.

Rossum had 6 punt returns for 3, 6, 37, 12, 6, 1. One great, one good, a couple of average returns and a couple of short ones. A mixed bag but overall I’d say it was a good effort.

Koenen had 8 punts. 1: 37 yards, returned for 2. 2: 39 yards, returned for 6. 3: 39 yards, return of 6. 4: 29 yards, inside 20 but still shanked. 5: 12 yards, out of bounds. Partially blocked. 6: 41 yards, fair catch inside the 20. 7: 46 yards, fair catch inside the 10. 8: 44 yards, no return yards. The last 3 punts were very good, the rest weren’t very good. Not an impressive day.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 4 kickoffs: 1: squibbed 19 yards (almost halftime). 2: to the 7, returned 21 yards, 3: to the 9, returned 19 yards, 4: to the 6, returned 16 yards. Not a great day kicking off as the kicks were short (for his standards) and resulted in yards beyond the 20.

Field Goals: Andersen hit two field goals from 44 and 41.

Special Teams leading tackler: Jordan Beck had 4.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cure the drops. The WR’s simply have to get consistent and make something other than “gimme” plays.
2. Get more consistent in pass blocking.
3. Protect the football better.

Offensive MVP: Roddy White (5 catches, 99 yards, no drops)
Defensive MVP: Paul Carrington (5 combined tackles, 1 fumble forced, 1 sack)-T.J. Jackson gets an honorable mention. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the coming seasons.
Special Teams MVP: Morten Andersen (2 field goals)

Goat of the Week: Michael Vick (2 costly turnovers) and the wide receivers (5 drops)
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: at Baltimore, November 19!

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Mentally Tough

November 22nd, 2006 Comments off

We’ll see just how mentally tough this football team is down the stretch of these last six games. Mental toughness is one of those terms you hear a lot in football, but you don’t know exactly what it means. I’m not sure I have a great grasp of the term myself. But I personally define it as a team/players/coaches that play at their best when their backs are against the wall. They don’t make a lot of mental mistakes and play at a relatively consistent level each and every week.

If that is the proper definition, then it’s apparent the Falcons haven’t shown they are very mentally tough throughout Mora’s reign. Although I can’t totally blame Mora, since there was about 38 years of lack of mental toughness that preceded him.

The Falcons have not finished a season well since Vick joined the team. Coincidence? You be the judge. Okay, sure you’ll point out the 2003 season where Vick missed the first 11 games. But in my eyes, that season doesn’t count because essentially Vick was in September mode when he came in November. But if you get Vick after 10 or 12 games, usually the Falcons start to fold.

Even if you include the ’03 season, since Vick has been the starter, the Falcons have a total record of 9-12 after Thanksgiving. That record is 6-10 if you discount the ’03 season.

I’m hoping the team’s recent struggles will spark a change. Vick and Mora can silence a lot of critics (like myself) with a relatively strong finish. That means the Falcons have to win more games than they lose. A 4-2 finish could be enough to get the Falcosn into the playoffs considering the parity of the rest of the NFC. If this team is mentally tough, then I think a 4-2 finish is likely. If not, then well, you can guess the alternative.

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Vick should step up or step out, Pt. II

November 21st, 2006 3 comments

As I stated in my previous blog, I believe Vick needs to step up or step out. But at the same time, I realize that the likelihood of this team trading or cutting Vick after this season is about the same as it would be to occur tomorrow. It’s just not going to happen.

So while I truly believe that Vick doesn’t have to look much beyond the mirror in order to assess why this team has been so inconsistent, I also realize that the front office and coaching staff are going to have to do what so many other Falcon fans continually are advocating: improve the talent around him, in order to get the ball rolling.

There’s still a lot of football left to be played this year, so my talk of potential off-season moves is probably premature. But at this point, the off-season seems a lot more interesting than this team’s performance in recent weeks.

1) Addressing the Offensive Line

There is a nice stat I’ve happened to come across that says when the Falcons offensive line performs at an average level of better (meaning they allow what has been the league average consistently since 2004 in allowing no more than 1 sack per 15 dropbacks), the Falcons are 13-4. When not playing at this level, then the Falcons are 11-14. So it seems crucial that for Vick to take his play to the next level, it would probably mean this unit would have to do so as well.

There really are no Steve Hutchinsons in this year’s free agent class. The closest being Bengals blocker Eric Steinbach. Of course, he’d be a great pickup at LG, but I’m not sure the Falcons will be in a position to spend $30+ million on him. Instead, I would try and sign Broncos blocker Cooper Carlisle. Not a stud by any means, but knows the scheme well, and would be a significant upgrade over Matt Lehr at LG. Other options would be Kris Dielman (Chargers) and Sean Mahan (Bucs), and if they are willing to spring the draft pick, Colts RFA Jake Scott. All currently play in zone blocking schemes and would be better options than Lehr, particularly in pass protection.

Also, I would also like to see the Falcons finally use a first day pick on a blocker. Preferably a OT or OC. McClure is a free agent next year. I would like to see him come back, because I worry what the alternative would be. But if he finds greener pastures, then a rookie like WVU’s Dan Mozes would be an ideal replacement, and could sit behind Lehr until he’s ready.

2) Upgrading the Receivers

Jenkins and White have to play better. But you get what you pay for, and essentially both Jenkins and White are No. 2 receivers that were reaches in the first round. I thought this back in ’04 and ’05 when they were first drafted, and nothing in their short careers has indicated otherwise. But I’ll hold out some hope that things will click for at least one of them next year. I’d like to see Lelie come back, but he’s likely to get a big contract elsewhere, so I don’t expect it. With Finneran coming back, it does alleviate some of the issues with Lelie’s potential loss. There really is no FA that I really like that is likely to be available. I’m sure people will chime in on Joe Horn, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chris Chambers, if any are cap cuts after the season. But truthfully, with exception to Horn, none of them I would really want on this team. I might be persuaded to give Moss a one-year deal and tryout, but only if the price is right. Basically, I don’t really see a lot we can do at WR except cross our fingers and hope White & Jenkins emerge. Anybody else we sign would be just as big, if not a bigger risk.

3) Upgrading the Defense

Free agent cornerbacks are very expensive, and it would be hard to accept paying another huge sum to even a quality player such as Roderick Hood or Asante Samuel with Webster, Hall, and Williams already on the roster. The best possible solution there seems to be adding one somewhere in the draft, perhaps in Round 3 or 4.

The Falcons have to make the decision to re-sign Kerney. From a business standpoint, I would opt against it (although my heart feels the exact opposite). If the team was going to spend top coin on a DE next year, I’d much prefer it was Dwight Freeney, Justin Smith, or Jared Allen. A cheaper option would be Dewayne White, who would be a solid complement to a healthy Abraham, and a good fit since McKay drafted him in his final year in Tampa Bay. Otherwise, it seems like we could get a solid DE in the middle or latter part of Round 1.

As for the remainder of the defense, there’s no reason to spend big coin at any other position. Improving depth at defensive tackle and safety would be other keys, but I think the Falcons could do so in the middle or late part of the draft.

The truth is, with the way next year’s free agency is shaping up, there really isn’t a lot of band-aids the Falcons can do that should cause a dramatic improvement. Essentially all the players currently on the roster just have to simply play better. And that starts with Michael Vick, and filters down to every one else.

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Game #8 at Detroit Lions Review

November 21st, 2006 Comments off

This one was a tough one to stomach watching again but I made it. The first half of the game was just weird. Vick was deadly accurate putting 12 of 13 passes right where he needed to. On the other hand, he also put the ball on the ground and threw a bone-headed interception which directly led to 14 of the Lions 17 first half points. In the second half, he wasn’t as accurate but still accurate enough if the wide receivers could have held onto the ball. Combine all that with the fact that our defense didn’t hold up in the second half and giving up several big runs to Kevin Jones and it just wasn’t pretty.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (11/51), Vick (10/80), Norwood (5/34). It’s really a shame we didn’t commit more to the run as we were obviously able to gain ground on them. Dunn was hit and miss but Norwood and Vick had their usually success except for the very costly fumble that Vick had on the first drive. 5 of Dunn’s carries went for 4 or more yards and Norwood had 4 of his 5 carries go for 4 yards or more.

Breakdown of passes:

Vick: 17/32, 163 yards, 1 TD/2 INT. Breakdown of incompletions are: 4 bad throws,2 passes defended, 1 throw away and 8 drops. The bad throws number was below the 20% mark, however, 1 of them was the INT that was a gift 7 points to the Lions.

Drops (8): Crumpler 2 (6), Jenkins 2 (8), Lelie 2 (3), White 1 (5), Griffith 1 (1).

Sack responsibility (2): The first sack was Vick’s fumble which was obviously on him and the second also falls on Vick as he dropped back, rolled right and Daniel Bullocks was waiting on him. This wasn’t due to the o-line but more that Bullocks was spying Vick on the play and held too long.

Pass blocking: Very solid effort. Vick didn’t have tons and tons of time but had enough to be effective.

YTD Sacks (23):

Vick 13 (4 rushing attempts that went for negative yards)
Lehr 2.5
Forney 2
Beverly 1
Wayne Gandy 2.5
Justin Griffith 1.0
Warrick Dunn 1.0

Note: Vick sacks are those that he has at least 3 seconds and either chose to try to scramble or stayed in the pocket when the better decision would be to throw it away.

Defense:

Run defense: Wasn’t as bad as the stat line would appear. Most of Jones’ carries were for 2 or 3 yards at best. He did gash the defense for 35 yard TD but other than that he was pretty much bottled up.

Pass Defense: We still don’t cover running backs and tight ends in our zone scheme and they took advantage of it. Also, the long TD to Roy Williams where Omare Lowe got toasted is the same exact play that Chris Henry scored on in the previous week. It would seem that people are learning from our game film but we are not learning from our own mistakes it would seem.

3 sacks: Milloy had 1 on a blitz, Brooking got one on a hustle play when Kitna scrambled and Mallard got the other sack along with a forced fumble that went out of bounds unfortunately.

Special Teams:

Rossum had 3 kickoff returns for 31, 22, and 26 yards. Norwood had 2 for 9 and 10 yards. Rossum had a decent day while Norwood struggled.

Rossum had 2 punt returns for -1 and 12. One okay return and one bad return.

Koenen had 6 punts. 1: 39 yards, returned for 30. 2: 47 yards, fair catch inside the 20. 3: 42 yards, no return yards. 4: 55 yards, touchback. 5: 24 yards, out of bounds. Shank city. 6: 31 yards, fair catch inside the 20. Very mediocre.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 3 kickoffs: 1: to the 5, returned to the 23. 2: to the goal line, returned 28 yards. 3: to the end zone, returned to the 18. Good job of kicking, an okay day on coverage by special teams.

Field Goals: None.

Special Teams leading tackler: Carrington, Reese, Koenen, Norwood and J. Williams had 1 each.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Cure the drops. 8 in a game is way too many
2. Cover TE’s and RB’s as well as underneath parts of zone instead of just over the top.
3. Stop long yardage 1st down conversions. We allowed 4 3rd and long conversions on 4 different drives. 2 resulted in turnovers and 2 resulted in 6 total points.

Offensive MVP: Jerious Norwood (5 rushes, 34 yards; 1 reception, 5 yards. No negative plays)
Defensive MVP: Keith Brooking (9 combined tackles, 1 QB hurry, 1 sack)
Special Teams MVP: Morten Andersen (2 extra points)

Goat of the Week: Michael Vick (2 costly turnovers) and the wide receivers (8 drops)
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: vs Cleveland, November 12!

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Vick should step up or step out

November 20th, 2006 4 comments

The simple truth is Michael Vick is not living up to his contract. Is it unfair that he is the highest paid player in NFL history? Perhaps, but that doesn’t matter. Fairness has no place in football or business. The simple fact is that you as a player and/or agent negotiated that contract, and you’re now obligated to live up to it, or the simple reality of the NFL will catch up to you. And that reality is that you will be unemployed.

I’ve heard Falcon fans complain about the big contracts that John Abraham and Ed Hartwell have signed and not “lived up to” but have stayed mum about Vick’s contract. Seems very hypocritical to me.

Just because Vick is our best player, doesn’t mean that he should be held to dramatically different standards than any other underachieving player. And that’s the truth, he’s underachieving. Vick’s massive contract severely limits the Falcons abilities to sign other top players in order to improve the team. So then the onus is upon Vick to do whatever it takes to make up for it.

I don’t doubt Vick’s potential, but let’s start getting a little bit more substance versus promise. I need to see this over these last six games. Or else I’m going to quickly join the minority throng of Falcon fans that want to see Vick gone.

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Pudge’s Power Rankings – Week 11

November 19th, 2006 Comments off

I apologize for the tardiness on this column, for it was a busy week at work.

Week 10 Results
Predictions: 8-8
Blowouts: 1 of 3 correct
Non-blowouts: 11 of 13 correct

Season Totals
Predictions: 83-61
Blowouts: 11 of 32 correct
Non-blowouts: 889 of 112 correct

Not since Week 5 have I had a winning week. That’s not good. It is growing clear to me that these rankings are not designed to correctly predict winners. That was never it’s intention to be a resource in order to predict weekly winners, but it would have definitely been an added bonus. So if I decide to bring this back next year, I’ll have to come up with some other method of making these rankings somewhat interesting.

Week 11 Predictions
Steelers over Browns
Panthers over Rams
Ravens over Falcons
Redskins over Bucs
Eagles over Titans*
Bears over Jets*
Saints over Bengals
Dolphins over Vikings
Chiefs over Raiders
Bills over Texans
Patriots over Packers*
Seahawks over 49ers
Cardinals over Lions
Cowboys over Colts
Chargers over Broncos
* indicates an expected blowout

RNK TEAM (W-L)        OVR  RTG  PREV 1  Bears (8-1)       7.27 7.65  +1 2  Chargers (7-2)    7.50 7.58  +1 3  Patriots (6-3)    7.03 7.45  -2 4  Ravens (7-2)      7.23 7.14   - 5  Cowboys (5-4)     7.37 6.82   - 6  Broncos (7-2)     6.87 6.76   - 7  Eagles (5-4)      7.20 6.70  +3 8  Seahawks (6-3)    6.23 6.58 +11 9  Colts (9-0)       6.50 6.57   - 10  Chiefs (5-4)      6.57 6.52  +111  Giants (6-3)      7.30 6.49  +212  Bengals (4-5)     6.90 6.48  +513  Jets (5-4)        5.77 6.46  +514  Dolphins (3-6)    6.03 6.51  +215  Saints (6-3)      7.00 6.42  -816  Jaguars (5-4)     6.07 6.40  -817  Steelers (3-6)    6.67 6.40  -318  Rams (4-5)        6.03 6.34  -319  Panthers (5-4)    7.00 6.32  +220  Vikings (4-5)     5.80 6.26  -821  Bills (3-6)       5.80 6.15  +122  Falcons (5-4)     6.53 6.12  -223  Redskins (3-6)    6.47 5.99   -24  Packers (4-5)     5.57 5.97  +125  49ers (4-5)       5.57 5.92  -126  Lions (2-7)       5.27 5.68   -27  Texans (3-6)      5.10 5.63  +328  Browns (3-6)      5.53 5.50  +129  Raiders (2-7)     5.17 5.49  -130  Titans (2-7)      5.33 5.48  +231  Cardinals (1-8)   5.03 5.47  -432  Buccaneers (2-7)  6.00 5.30  -1
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Game #7 at Cincinnati Bengals Review

November 19th, 2006 Comments off

Still in catch up mode but we’ll see how fast we can get there! Okay, this was another great Vick performance and some interesting things also happened on defense. When we got pressure on Palmer, the coverage was better, the passes weren’t as accurate and good things happened for the most part. I don’t there’s any doubt as to how big of a key getting pressure is to our defense.

Here’s what I saw:

Offense:

Running game: Dunn (20/57), Vick (9/55), Norwood (9/31). For the third consecutive game, Warrick Dunn was held in check. The overall yardage was good (although below our 200 yards per game standard) but the RB’s themselves did not have good days.

Breakdown of passes:

Vick: 20/28, 291 yards, 3 TD/0 INT. Breakdown of incompletions are: 6 bad throws, 1 throw away and 1 drops. The bad throws number was a little above the 20% mark but with everything else considered, it’s definitely easily overlooked.

Drops (1): Norwood 1 (1).

Sack responsibility (2): Two fourth quarter sacks, Vick held it too long on both.

Pass blocking: Very solid effort. Vick didn’t have tons and tons of time but had enough to be effective.

YTD Sacks (21):

Vick 12 (3 rushing attempts that went for negative yards)
Lehr 2.5
Forney 2
Beverly 1
Wayne Gandy 2.5
Justin Griffith 1.0
Warrick Dunn 1.0

Defense:

Run defense: For most of the game, very stout and a great effort overall. Johnson had a few good runs and there were several instances of us missing tackles that contributed to unnecessary gains but otherwise very good. Pretty much the same story from the previous game.

Pass Defense: Seems to be at least decent when there is consistent pressure. Without it, it’s just way too soft and not very effective.

2 sacks: Crocker had 1 on a blitz and Kerney had the other including stripping the ball for a fumble and was recovered by Boley to effectively end the game.

Special Teams:

Rossum had 4 kickoff returns for 9, 23, 16 and 24 yards along with a fumble that we recovered. McCrary had 1 for 7 yards. Not a very good day on kickoff returns.

Rossum had 4 punt returns for 2, -2, 0, and -3. Not a good day at all.

Koenen had 3 punts. 1 was 65 yards for a touchback (60 would have been great), a 51 yarder with only 7 return yards, and a 50 yarder with 7 return yards inside the 20. An outstanding job of punting.

Kickoffs: Koenen had 7 kickoffs: 3 went for touchbacks, and the other 4 no further than the 30 yard line. Coverage team could have been better but very good job of kicking.

Field Goals: Andersen made 3 of 3 attempts.

Special Teams leading tackler: Boley and Lowe had 1 each.

Things that really need improvement:

1. Consistency from the WR’s. IF they continue like the Pitt game and this one, we’ll be fine offensively.
2. Find ways to get pressure on the QB.
3. Stop long yardage 1st down conversions. When faced with 2nd and 22, the other team should rarely get a 1st down out of it.

Offensive MVP: Michael Vick
Defensive MVP: Keith Brooking (9 combined tackles, 1 QB hurry)
Special Teams MVP: Morten Andersen

Goat of the Week: Allen Rossum (Horrible returns and a fumble)
Let me know your thoughts and questions otherwise:

Next up: at Detroit, November 5!

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