Do you Believe?
It sounds amazing to say it, but the Denver Broncos can win the AFC West Division. Does anyone doubt that anymore? Does anyone want to continue doubting Tim Tebow?
The second year signal caller is now 5-1 as a starter, and has already engineered four 4th quarter comebacks in his young career. More importantly, he has his entire team "believing" they can win each and every game they play.
Tebow has been proving doubters wrong his entire life. He's also disproving the notion that the spread offense cannot work in the NFL. Many believed a running QB wouldn't be able to last in the NFL, because they wouldn't be able to sustain the hits week in and week out. Well, Tebow ran the football 22 times on Sunday versus the San Diego Chargers, an league record for QBs since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
What's even more impressive and important is that Tebow has done an outstanding job taking care of the football. He's only thrown one interception in 133 attempts, the second lowest interception percentage in the NFL since Week 7.
Because the Broncos now using spread principles on offense, they are leading the league in rushing, and because the are able to maintain possession of the football and stay on the field, they have been able to keep their defense well rested. And the Broncos defence has looked much improved as of late, with rookie Von Miller becoming a terror rushing the passer off the edge.
Head coach John Fox rolled the dice six games ago by starting Tebow, and the gamble has paid off so far. The Broncos still have five games remaining, three of which are at home. With the Broncos surging, I expect there to be a photo finish atop the AFC West come seasons end.
Ndamukong Suh deserved the two game suspension he was handed after he shoved Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smiths head into the ground, and stomped on his arm. Suh's play in recent games has been unacceptable and he is becoming border-line out of control. Suh has already been fined three times in his short NFL career, and has already earned eight personal foul penalties, tied for the most by any player over the past two seasons.
Football is violent enough without all of the dirty play, and the league had to send a message to Suh that this kind of play will simply not be tolerated.
I think back to 2006, when Albert Haynesworth tore off the helmet of Andre Gerode and stomped on his head. Haynesworth received a five game suspension for that altercation, and I thought Suh should have received a three game ban – two plus the half game he missed is close enough. There is no room for dirty play in the NFL, particularly from a repeat offender.
It is my hope the commissioner Goodell follows up and forces Suh into anger management counciling. Enough is enough.
Time to Fly the Nest?
The boo birds are out in Philadelphia. Or should I say the "Fire Reid" birds. Many are now wondering whether the time is up for the NFL's longest tenured coach after a disappointing 4-7 start this year, but I think Reid deserves one more season to right the ship.
Reid has led the Eagles to the post season in nine of his 13 years, has won seven division titles and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 2004. But as we all know, the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league. And lately, the Eagles have not lived up to expectations. The Eagles were expecting to represent the NFC in Indianapolis this season after several high profile off season acquisitions. Instead, the Eagles have been wildly inconsistent, and have squandered four 4th quarter leads along the way.
As strange as it seems, head coaches aren't just evaluated on wins and losses. Personnel transactions, including draft history and free agent activity, are also closely looked at if the coaches were involved. Hirings are another component of good head coaching, and Reid's decision to promote former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator was a puzzling move. Otherwise, Reid has been solid.
And yet we have the boo birds. Philadelphia fans are tough. After all, they threw snow balls at Santa. I believe, however, that Andy Reid has earned the right to coach the Eagles one more season before the fans begin throwing snow balls at him.
Tough Breaks in Texas
The AFC South Division leading Houston Texans wee dealt another blow on Sunday, and once again it involves the quarterback position. Backup QB Matt Leinart suffered a broken clavicle last week and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Leinart's injury comes just two weeks after head coach Gary Kubiak discovered that they would be without starter Matt Schaub for the remainder of the season due to a lisfranc injury in his foot. So now the reigns are handed over to rookie QB T.J. Yates, a 5th round selection who set 37 school records at north Carolina.
I still believe the Texans can win the division with Yates behind center, but they'll have their work cut out for them. I called several of Yates's games in college, and he possesses all of the tools that one looks for in a successful QB. Yates is a natural leader who possesses an accurate arm with above average arm strength. Yates is also gifted athletically, and was an outstanding basketball player in high school who turned down several scholarship offers in order to play football. Yates also played in a pro style offense in college under offensive coordinator John Shoop, who was once the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. Shoop told me two years ago that Yates threw the best deep ball of any QB he'd coached in college or pro!
The good news for Yates is that he can rely on a tremendous running game, as well as the NFL's top ranked total defense.
Still, I would think it wise for Kubiak to utilize Yates' mobility and move the pocket off of play action to open up throws down the field. One has to assume that opposing defenses will crowd the line of scrimmage in anticipation of Arian Foster running the football, and they undoubtedly will try and set up double coverage to help out on Andre Johnson. Tight end Owen Daniels will in all likelihood see his number called more often in coming weeks, too.
The Texans will host Atlanta this weekend in what promises to be a telling litmus test for Houston without their two best QBs. Knowing Yates, I wouldn't discount the Texans just yet.