Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 6: The one where we find out…

Week 6: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

Former Colts General Manager Bill Polian says you don’t know anything about your team until after six games.  Well, this was week six in the NFL.  And here’s what we know so far:

I’m so glad my Indianapolis Colts could give the New York Jets their confidence back. *Sarcasm.* The twelfth man is alive and well in the NFL, as our young Andrew Luck is finding out.  And Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez is too.  Glad the pressure is off of him…at least for a week.

You know who’s not under less pressure?  Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.  Add Head Coach Jason Garrett to that list.  As someone on Twitter pointed out, his wife must set the alarm clock every night, because he is so bad at clock management.  Remember, I told you Rob Ryan would be coaching this team in the future.  Make that the near future.  And Dez Bryant finally had his breakout game.  All it took was me benching him (along with his 21.5 points) on my fantasy team.  Cowboys fans, I’ll see what I can do for you next week!

Tom Brady is not looking like Tom Brady, at least he wasn’t on Sunday.  You know who was?  Russell Wilson.  The rookie quarterback led the Seattle Seahawks to a big home win against the New England Patriots.  Who says size matters?

The Arizona Cardinals are still playing musical quarterback, but not by choice.  The team lost Kevin Kolb, who was beat out in the preseason by John Skelton, who was hurt in the season opener.  Skelton returned when Kolb injured his ribs on Sunday (after being sacked six times).  It’s amazing Kolb made it that long, seeing as he’s been sacked over 20 times in the last three games.  The Cardinals may want to invest in an offensive line.  Or a few more quarterbacks.

RG III led the Washington Redskins to a home win against the rising Minnesota Vikings.  The most obvious rookie of the year candidate looked very much the part on Sunday, rushing for more than 130 yards and throwing two touchdown passes for the first time since Michael Vick did in 2002.

Speaking of Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback carried the football around with him all of last week because of his fumbling trouble in week five.  On Sunday, he threw two interceptions.  Maybe they should have his eyes checked during the bye week.  He could be color blind.

The Cleveland Browns got their first win of the season and Quarterback Brandon Weeden got his first NFL victory on his 29th birthday on Sunday.  He is the oldest rookie to start in the NFL.  He pulled off his first win at home against the Browns’ Ohio rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals.  And he got his AARP card in the mail the next day.  Just kidding.  I think.

Baltimore Ravens fans are hoping their beloved linebacker, Ray Lewis won’t be joining AARP anytime soon.  The team lost Lewis for the season on Sunday with a torn triceps.  They also lost Cornerback Lardarius Webb to a torn ACL.

Sunday was a night of redemption for the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.  And thanks, Mr. Rodgers for those 39 fantasy points.  It almost made up for leaving Dez on the bench.  Rodgers’ message for those who questioned him and his team?  “Shhhh.” *Whisper* Okay, but I do think Greg Jennings might be more effective if he got out of bed on game day.  Just a suggestion.  I do like pancakes though…

Thanks to the Packers, the Houston Texans are no longer undefeated.  The Atlanta Falcons are our last chance to start talking about the 1972 Dolphins sometime around week 12.  But don’t count on it.

Why am I still whispering?

And is it me, or has Peyton Manning played every Sunday or Monday night since preseason?  Not that I’m complaining.  Just saying.  And if you went to bed early Monday night, you missed the biggest comeback of Peyton’s career.  Down 0-24 at the half, the Broncos won the game 35-24.  Yes, anything is possible when you have Peyton Manning.  Anything.

So, here’s to week six…when we start to see who our teams really are.  Here’s hoping, in the famous words of Dennis Green, that “they’re exactly who we thought they were.”

Or, in some cases…that they’re not.


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Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 5: The One for Pagano

Week five of the NFL season had many interesting scenarios.  But all paled in comparison to a young Colts team with a rookie quarterback trying to win one for their coach.

The Colts were at home in Lucas Oil Stadium amongst a sea of blue and pink, with a little orange mixed in (and some green and gold too).  A little too much green and gold for my taste, but what are you going to do?

Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano was just a few miles away at Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, watching the game from his hospital room where he is being treated for leukemia.

The ChuckStrong banners hung in the end zones.  But even if they didn’t, you could feel this game was about more than football.  Players wore ChuckStrong t-shirts during warm ups and under their jerseys.  And not just Colts players.  The Colts and Packers were opponents, but united in cause.

The Packers came out strong and by halftime had a 21-3 lead.  Colts fans hung in there, figuring they were outmatched, but hopeful that somehow a game would ensue.  “Just put up a fight.  That’s all we ask…”

And then, there was an interception.  A couple of field goals.  A long third down conversion.  And the Colts were back in the game.  They were better than in the game, they were in the lead.

With 30 seconds left, the game was not over.  Far from it.  Aaron Rodgers drove the Packers down the field and put Mason Crosby in position for a 51 yard field goal attempt.  He had missed one earlier.  The snap was perfect, the catch was perfect, the setup was perfect, the kick was perfect.  From where I was sitting, it looked perfect.  It looked good.  But somehow, some way…it wasn’t.  The roof was closed.  The window was closed.  It was not the wind.  It was the will.  Of the fans.  That made that ball veer left.  Wide left.

It’s never happened before and it may never happen again.  But on Sunday afternoon, in Lucas Oil Stadium, I witnessed the fans take the game.  That’s right…the 12th man became the only man on the field and it was sheer will.  And love.  For their team and their coach.

It wasn’t the Super Bowl.  It wasn’t even a playoff game.  It was more.  It meant more.

It is now my favorite Colts win.



(Via The Blue Mare)

Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 4: The One With the Real Refs

Week 4 of the NFL season welcomed back the regular officials to standing ovations in every stadium.  It was a honeymoon of sorts…into about the second quarter of every game.  Then they were the same old refs we love to hate.  The games went faster though and I’ll take bad or missed calls by someone who knows the rules any day.

There are a few lingering questions this season and week 4 certainly didn’t put them to rest.

The first, “What’s wrong with the New York Jets?”  Or better yet, “What isn’t wrong with the New York Jets?”  They lost their best defensive player, Cornerback Darrelle Revis last week.  This week they lost Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes, arguably their best offensive player.

And they lost Tim Tebow.  He’s not hurt, they just can’t find him.  On the bench.  Seriously, though…what happened to Tebow Time?  You’re losing 34-0 at home.  And getting booed.  That is the secret recipe for Tim Tebow.  That’s where the magic of Tebow Time happens.  Did Rex Ryan not watch the Broncos last year?

It was speculated that with Sanchez’s confidence at an all time low (how is that even possible when you’re dating Eva Longoria?), Jets Coach Rex Ryan doesn’t want to add to the pressure and create a quarterback controversy.  But he does want to win, right?  During the post game press conference on Sunday, Ryan was asked about the Jets’ quarterback situation and replied, “I think Mark’s the answer.”  Alrighty then.  Think is not know though.  And if you’re worried about Sanchez’s feelings, maybe you should have thought about that before you pursued Peyton Manning, then brought in Tim Tebow in the offseason.  Just saying…

Let’s move on to Dallas.  The Cowboys are another team no one can figure out and they also lost badly at home this week.  Yes, five turnovers will do it.  But I’m only putting half of those on Tony Romo.  Dez Bryant gets two.  And they can share one.  Romo is a very good quarterback who needs some more weapons.  But don’t say that word around Dez Bryant.  And don’t even start with the quarterback controversy.  Kyle Orton?  Please.

I am going to go out on a limb here and call a coaching controversy in the Cowboys’ near future.  I like Jason Garrett, but it doesn’t appear to me that he has the control or confidence of his team right now.  You know who does?  Rob Ryan.  In fact, towards the end of the game on Monday night, Ryan had to tell Garrett to challenge a call he wasn’t aware he could challenge.  The only complaint I have about Ryan is he cut his hair and looks a little less badass now.  Anyway, keep an eye on this one.  You heard it here first.

And for depressed Cowboys fans, there is this…

Speaking of quarterbacks on Monday Night Football, who saw Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler blow off his offensive coordinator, Mike Tice on the sideline?  Cutler was on the bench after one of few unsuccessful possessions against the Cowboys and Tice sat down next to him with his clipboard.  Cutler got up and left.  Then walked away from him on the sideline.  I am no Mike Tice fan.  But I am no Jay Cutler fan either.  And don’t give me the whole, he’s just a competitive guy thing.  Being respectful costs nothing.  But being an ass can cost a lot.  I’m not talking about how great Jay Cutler’s arm looked, am I?  See…

So there you have it, week 4.  A coiffed Rob Ryan and a skinny Rex Ryan?  Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the Cowboys and Jets…


Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 3: The Week It Got Ugly

Write it down, people…week three, that is.  That was the week the NFL’s ongoing lockout with the officials went from a distraction to crazy town.

It was a wild week to begin with.  A lot of close games and surprising outcomes.  And there were bad calls, missed calls, and questionable plays.  Yes, the longer this impasse goes on, the more uneasy we all become every time a flag is thrown.  And the more some players will try to get away with…

Like they say, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.  Or an ear.  Which happened to Texans Quarterback Matt Schaub.  Schaub lost part of his left ear to a brutal, vicious, and illegal hit by Denver Broncos Linebacker Joe Mays, that ripped his helmet off (and apparently part of his ear with it), but thankfully left his head intact.

With emotions already running high, Sunday Night Football rolled around.  A big game.  The Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots.  A rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game, with the Ravens at home this time and on the hunt for revenge.

Young Ravens Wide Receiver Torrey Smith had a courageous performance after losing his younger brother in a motorcycle accident the night before.  He was teary at times and clearly feeling the outpouring of love from the Baltimore fans.  Smith had two touchdowns and helped to bring his team back within reach of the Patriots in the fourth quarter.

Just like last time, it came down to a field goal.  But unlike last time, it wasn’t Billy Cundiff, who missed.  Down by two, and with two seconds on the clock, undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker drove one high and over the top of the upright (making it non-reviewable).  The refs made it official.  The Ravens rallied around Torrey Smith.

And then…this happened.  On the way off the field, an angry and non-hoodie-clad Bill Belichick hopped on the Crazy Train (Patriots team song) and accosted one of the replacement officials.  He stopped and composed himself long enough to shake hands with Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.  You don’t mess with those Harbaughs and their handshakes.

Asked about his behavior during his post game press conference, Belichick, his usual, personable self, refused to comment.  Instead, he cited his team being flagged “like 30 times.”  Guess you can’t buy class in the form of a $75 pullover.

This is where we’re at, guys.  The NFL is one big dysfunctional family right now.  Fun to watch…but only if you’re not directly related.



Coffee Cup Quarterback (Monday Edition) | Preseason Week 3: The One With the Starters

Ahhh…week three of the NFL preseason.  When the starters actually play and our teams begin to look less like it’s the preseason and more like the regular season.  For some teams, that was good news.  For others…not so much.

The New York Jets were featured on Sunday Night Football hosting the Carolina Panthers.  Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was in regular season form.  He ran, he threw, he impressed.  And his team went on to beat the Jets 17-12.  No, the Jets don’t have a touchdown yet.  That was four field goals for them.  They have Mark Sanchez, they have Tim Tebow.  Before the season started, we couldn’t stop talking about this duo and what they could do.  And now that it’s started, we can’t stop talking about what they can’t do.  There were visions of hope.  After a thoroughly unsuccessful half by Sanchez (who was booed for letting the clock run down to end it), it was Tebow Time.  Tebow did what Tebow does, which is run and throw to the other team.  At one point, NBC Host Cris Collinsworth was dissecting the mechanics of his unconventional left-handed throw and Tebow broke out for a huge run and first down.  The timing was nothing short of divine.  This is what Tebow can do.  A few plays later…perfectly thrown ball…to a Carolina Panther.  This is also what Tebow can do.

Note to self: take Jets kicker in fantasy draft.  Tebow was eventually booed as well.  Yes, Jets fans booed both of their quarterbacks in one game and it’s only the preseason.  Tough crowd.

And to back up my theory that Twitter has no better use than for in-game football commentary, take this.  For me, the tweet of the night, maybe of the entire preseason:

Michele Tafoya asked Sanchez about the Jets’ lack of a touchdown and he pointed out that there is still a fourth preseason game to be played.  When pressed, he responded, “Looks like we’re saving all our touchdowns for the regular season.”  When they count.  Good plan.

And then we had the battle of the draft picks.  Number one, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on number two, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field.  There was hype.  There was a t-shirt…

In the end, it was just another preseason game.  Both quarterbacks highlighted their strengths.  Luck threw a lot and ran a little, RGIII threw a little and ran a lot.  Both had moments of brilliance.  Both had rookie mistakes.  The Redskins beat the Colts 30-17.  The most impressive drives came from (wait for it)…Rex Grossman.  Yes, Wrecks Grossman.  The guy who has never really been able to establish himself as solid starting material (at least for long), was brilliant.  Grossman finished 8 of 8 for 130 yards, 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.  Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to the Jets!

Other highlights for week three of the preseason:

We said hello to: Russell Wilson as starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning’s first touchdowns (a pair) for the Denver Broncos, and Cornerback Vontae Davis as a Colt, traded to Indy by the Miami Dolphins.

We said goodbye to: Terrell Owens as a Seattle Seahawk (and possibly as an NFL player), Pro Bowl Kicker Billy Cundiff as a Baltimore Raven (the team chose to move on with Rookie Justin Tucker), and many of the players who will be released by our teams as the rosters are reduced to 75 players.

Lest you forget, the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.”

One thing we do hope is not for long…the replacement refs.  There is confusion, discussion, and an on field meeting with practically every call.  The games are being dragged out, and there have been mistakes.  Plenty of them.  But it is the preseason.  And the games don’t count.  Yet.  The players, coaches, even the fans have been fairly patient thus far.  That will end once those calls result in a “W” or an “L” in a team’s record.  We need better than this for the regular season.  And really, by the start of it.

So, let’s hope week four of the preseason brings renewed talks between the NFL and the official officials.

And…a Jets touchdown.