Huddle Up

NFL News and Analysis with Andrew Perloff

Perloff
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  • 11:04 PM ET  01.17
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Kurt Warner was knocked woozy by Bobby McCray (93).
AP

1. With all the rules protecting quarterbacks, can you blame New Orleans' Bobby McCray for unloading on Arizona's Kurt Warner on an interception return? Defenders around the league have to be frustrated with how delicate they have to be around the quarterback. Shortly before the big hit, the officials took back a Saints interception on a questionable roughing penalty on Scott Shanle. Officials have to be more consistent on those calls (Packers fans surely agree after the no-call at the end of the Cardinals game), and should have to focus on intent instead of incidental contact.

2. Throw out the Saints' offensive performance against the Cardinals' JV unit. With Arizona's injuries and inability to rush the passer, tackle or cover anyone, that might as well have been an exhibition game in New Orleans on Saturday. 

3. Don't pin the Cowboys loss on quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys quarterback made this offense and its mediocre set of receivers look a lot better than it was all season. Once Flozell Adams went out and Dallas fell behind, they were in too many must-pass situations and didn't have a chance against Minnesota's pass rush.

4. The Jets should be more nervous about Dwight Freeney than Peyton Manning. Freeney sacked Mark Sanchez twice in limited action during their meaningless Week 16 contest. The Colts' defense is fast enough to blow up some of the Jets' running plays and get New York in third-and-long passing situations, giving Freeney his chance to go after Sanchez.

Manning and the Colts passing game looked out of rhythm on downfield attempts against a Ravens defense that is very similar to New York's. Manning may have to settle for underneath stuff again next Sunday.

5. Sanchez is getting too much credit for the Jets' playoff run, just like Joe Flacco did with Baltimore did last season. Sanchez played a smart, efficient game. But its the kind of game dozens of NFL quarterbacks could have played.

6. On a related note, why were the Bills interested in Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in the first place? They had the 20th-ranked offense during the regular season and the best defense in the league. Why not go after defensive coordinator Mike Pettine? Rex Ryan probably gets most of the credit for the dominant defense, but Pettine is a Ryan clone (mentally, not physically) and will be a head coach some day. Even in the 17-14 win over the Chargers, the Jets' offense barely did anything.

7. What does the divisional round results say about the wild-card losers? If the Eagles got blown out by the Cowboys, how bad would they have fallen to the Vikings? New England allowed 33 points against the Ravens, who couldn't score a touchdown against Indy. And the Packers, who had supposedly fixed their defense, failed to pressure Warner at all, while the Saints were in his face all day.

8. If Warner does retire, quarterbacks around the league should immediately have their agents demand a trade to the desert. Donovan McNabb, who lives in Arizona in the offseason, could put up huge numbers with those receivers in that weak division. That's almost as big a layup as the opportunity Brett Favre saw in Minnesota.

9. How would you rank the four head remaining head coaches? Jim Caldwell is less important than offensive coordinator Tom Moore in Indy. The big difference in New Orleans this season has been defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, not head coach Sean Payton. Minnesota's Brad Childress is all over the map -- why was he talking trash about the Cowboys after the game Sunday? Ryan has done the most with the least. Here's my ranking: 1) Ryan, 2) Payton, 3) Childress, 4) Caldwell. But the Colts need less out of their head coach than any of the other teams, so that might not matter.

10. Cheapest move of the weekend -- Ray Lewis' helmet-to-helmet shot on Austin Collie in the end zone, McRay's hit on Warner or the Vikings' unnecessary late touchdown against Dallas? Or, is all fair in playoff football? Hit the "Comments" below with your opinion.

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