Tim Sylvester's Blog

Hola mis amigos, cómo anda hoy? Espero por que su fin de semana fuera bien, gracias para parar.

Ok, so that is about all I remember from my Spanish II class when I was in high school, some 20+ years ago, I hope my memory did not deceive me. What a wild weekend in the NFL, there were some great games to behold and some, thank goodness that ended. One of the best games I was fortunate to take in was the Broncos- Colts game, tennis anyone? Peyton Manning has one of the quickest calculating minds of any quarterback to lace them up. Please, don't get me wrong, Unitas, Starr, Graham, Favre, etc were great quarterbacks and I do not mean to belittle them in any sense.

However, watching Manning drop back, remember the defense's alignment and pick out his receiver as quickly as he does, is just a true joy to watch. I'm not one to say one player is the best, more so a group of players is on a level above the rest and Manning is in that group. When you consider the speed of today's defense, the multiple schematics of said defenses, for a quarterback to throw 39 passes and only miss seven, (three of them clear drops) on the road where decibel levels consistently reach above 105, is simply astounding.

Speaking great quarterbacks, have you been paying attention to Michael Vick? As most know, for the majority of his now six seasons in the NFL, there has been a  debate about his qualifications as a signal caller; more specifically, as a passer. We all know he can run, scramble better than most any quarterback in the history of the game. However, his accuracy, the ability to read a defense and throw from the pocket has always been a concern and rightfully so. Mike is a career 54.3% passer with a lifetime quarterback rating of just 76.7 including this year. Now though, he is finally in the same system for three plus years, with familiar personnel and the results of the past few games make it appear he is on the verge of "getting it". If Vick can come full circle and there is enough evidence to support that theory, then he will be one very dangerous and complete quarterback. I certainly hope he can turn the corner, this league needs more top shelf quarterbacks.

Yes, if you're a fan of football and were able to take in the games, no doubt, you are in a good mood today. As for me, hey, my beloved Ravens not only came back from a bye week and stopped a two game losing streak; they won for the third time on the road this year and against a playoff caliber team. For those who do not know, it was only their fourth road in the last 14 attempts. More good news for Ravens' fans, the Bengals lost in a hard fought battle and the icing on the cake? The Steelers were beaten by the one win Raiders; life couldn't be better if you are a fan of Baltimore.

I had the pleasure to watch a fabulous rookie player for New Orleans this weekend. There is little doubt, this kid is going to be a star in the league. If no one has said it yet, let me be the first; he is going to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. This young man faced a fast, hard hitting defense and never flinched. He made some incredible catches, great moves to break tackles and gain extra yards and had two touchdowns. Oh sorry, some of you may be thinking of the over-hyped Reggie Bush, nope, Marques Colston; the other rookie on New Orleans.

Oh, the last piece of my great weekend was both of my fantasy football teams winning. Big deal, right? Well, one of them had not won since week one, the other, lost four straight. No, I am not a rookie at this game, I've been playing for close to 15 years. All those years of experience, all the tips, the spread sheets, the long hours drafting, studying teams, consider bye weeks, planning for the playoffs, wasted because I failed to manage the teams properly this year. I failed to stay on top of them and ensure I had the right players in place. Keep in mind, when you factor bench scoring in, both teams are the highest scoring in both leagues; that's management-not player selections in free agency & draft. There is a little advice for you young fantasy football players- drafting is key, free agent acquisition is important, but management is vital. To think, I used to carry as many as six teams, but dropped down to two because of time limitations; for shame.

No worries, the now 3-5 team plays the division leaders each of the next three weeks. This week, that team beat another team just in front, so hope for post season is still alive. The now 2-6 team is dead, but it is a keeper league and I have fresh, good young talent to rebuild for next year.

Back to real football, there were five 300 yard passers this week, not counting the Monday night game. Two of those quarterbacks lost, throwing seven interceptions combined, to only four touchdowns. There were 11 running backs to break the century mark, eight of their respective teams won. Seven receivers had over 100 yards, two on two teams, the Saints & Chiefs, three of those teams won.

Strange season, as I have talked about many times. This week, Brett Favre only threw one touchdown pass (ran for another) and 180 yards, but the Packers won. How? Two runners with over 100 yards on the ground, oh and they were playing the hapless Cardinals.  The Jets will most certainly get a letter from the NFL. If you have not heard, on the last play of the game, they had a receiver make the catch in the endzone while leaping in the air. The defender for the Browns pushed him out of bounds, the two officials on the spot ruled the receiver was out of bounds-no catch and the Jets lost by seven. This was without a doubt a judgment call by the officials. The rules do give them cause to rule plays such as that, a catch under the force out rule. No, judgment calls are not reviewable and the game crew did the proper thing; meet, talk about the play and discuss the rules. To most, my self included, fully believe, Jets wide out Chris Baker would have come down in bounds, in the endzone, had Cameron Wimbley of the Browns not pushed him out. By definition, it should have been a touchdown.

However, being a defensive minded person, I am glad it was not ruled that way. The defenders are already at a ....... disadvantage when it comes to coverage. As it stands now, a defensive player can just stand his ground and have a receiver run into him, while the ball is in the air and have it be ruled, pass interference or illegal contact beyond five yards. I just hope the new commissioner is not a fan of the Jets and also likes to see solid defensive play rewarded. I'ld hate to see this rule become reviewable.

Last thought on the week end; how does a team win the time of possession- 35:30 to 24:30, convert seven of 19 third downs while holding their opponent to just one of 11, and out gain them in total yards, are you ready, 360 -98? Then have their quarterback throw three touchdowns and still lose? Simple, two of those touchdowns went the other way, as in pick-sixes. That was two of Roethlisberger's four interceptions. Is it injury with him? Or is there something more there?




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