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Random Shots - Week 8

  Posted 10/28 by Joe Bryant, Exclusive for Footballguys.com

Hi

We do a lot of really insightful, thoughtful and serious features here at Footballguys with some very smart people thinking deeply for you. This is not one of those features.

This is a few pages of me downloading my goofy and dysfunctional mental hard drive that gets stuffed with way too many random items from 40 hours of watching and re-watching (God Bless Tivo) football every weekend. It's the only way I keep relatively sane. Here's hoping it has a tiny bit of value for you. Let's go.

Here's what happens when you sit an NFL Junkie down in front of multiple big screens with Sunday Ticket and fresh batteries in the remote.

Biggest molehill made into a mountain from this week: Jets QB Mark Sanchez scarfing a hot dog on the sidelines. He was hungry. Give the kid a break. The funny thing to me is that I'm seeing some of the "old school" guys rip him. Grabbing a dog on the sideline is the definition of an old school move. Cris Carter said as much Monday night on ESPN.

Carter did raise a few eyebrows though when all the ESPN studio guys started eating a hot dog and Carter looked over to Chris Berman and said, "Boom, looks like you're working both ends of it". That's all I'm going to say about that.

My buddy Kyle Lebeda from Katchop.com had fun with it on this photochop.

Here's the funniest part of it all. Sanchez decided this week he might help quiet Weinergate by donating 1,000 hot dogs to a community soup kitchen. That's cool and all but what is that, like $200 bucks? Mark, you're a gazzillionaire. Crack that wallet a bit there Champ.

I'm sure Lions coach Jim Schwartz is a nice enough guy. And he's clearly facing a huge task in Detroit. But the quest to outdo Bill Belichick for how little information he can give about his players is starting to be annoying. For comparison, Buffalo coach Dick Jauron ruled out Trent Edwards on Friday of last week. If Schwartz had been coaching that team, you know he'd have listed him as questionable all the way up till Sunday morning.

Schwartz was asked on Tuesday of this week what he was going to reveal about QB Matt Stafford's participation in practice and he responded, "Absolutely nothing." I understand competitive advantage. But that just seems lame.

More "No Fun League" stuff. Chad Ochocinco was fined more for wearing a plain black chinstrap than San Diego's Larry English was fined for a blatant horse collar tackle. Ochocinco was hit for $10,000 while English was fined $7,500. I know Ochocinco pushes it and I've ribbed him here plenty of times. But I don't get that.

Jon Gruden was funny in the booth Monday talking about how difficult a job Washington coach Sherm Lewis was facing taking on the play calling duties. "Calling plays is hard in this league. I've proven that." I know his shtick isn't loved by everyone but I think he continues to be a great addition to the booth.

Speaking of the Monday Night game, I'm not the biggest Mike Tirico fan but he showed some professionalism in the segment right before kickoff. He was doing his intro piece and a big fly buzzed and landed right on his forehead. And stayed there for what seemed like forever. Tirico didn't flinch. I'd have loved to have seen what Gruden or Jaws would have done in that situation.

Footballguy Jeremy Johnson pointed out something crazy to me Tuesday. The Eagles soundly smoked Washington scoring 27 points. Without taking a snap in the redzone. Wow.

As I wrote last week, I feel a little bad for Washington coach Jim Zorn (at least as bad as one can feel for a guy making millions coaching football). I kept hearing these analysts stick out their chests and say things like "If Zorn had any self respect, he would have quit."

Mike Ditka said Zorn should have told Dan Snyder, "Pay me and I'll move on". Umm Mike, it doesn't always work that way when you quit. It's clearly a tough spot for Zorn, but you don't quit on your team. Ever. Even if that means swallowing your pride. I'm surprised Ditka had that take on it.

Random food note. Saw that Chik-Fil-A is opening four new stores today. They say that the first 100 customers get free food for a year. That's pretty sweet.

Here's an NFL headline you don't see everyday: Larry Johnson not gaining fans in the gay community The article gives me some new ideas about changing our profile pics...

And on the serious side of that, note to Larry Johnson. The stuff you write on that Twitter deal, goes out to the whole world wide innerweb thing. Some things are just too stupid for words. This was one of those things.

"BINGO - The Redskins got into the endzone." Yes, they beat the Sherm Lewis thing to death with that. But I smiled.

Alex Smith, your San Francisco starting QB...

Texans DE Mario Williams was funny afterwards saying he didn't know who Smith was. "I didn't know who the guy was when he came out," Williams said. "I really didn't. It was one of those things where he definitely managed the game for them. He was getting rid of the ball on time and moving the ball."

Umm, Mario...you don't have to tell the reporters everything. Somewhere between Mario Williams and Jim Schwartz is a happy medium we all can live with.

Another one for quarterbacks: Don't worry, Mrs. Anderson. This isn't a real pic. but I bet it's not far from what the QB was feeling Sunday...

The good news (or bad news depending on your perspective) is that even though Anderson has completed just 23 of his last 70 passes, coach Eric Mangini has no plans to give Brady Quinn another shot anytime soon. Wow.

Has an NFL running back ever won a rushing title without scoring a touchdown? I think Steven Jackson has a shot. What that guy might do on a good team...

Indianapolis is allowing one sack for every 109 pass attempts. That's just nuts.

Apparently, the coaching staff in Green Bay got my message last week about protecting Aaron Rodgers before he turns into Marc Bulger. He'd been sacked a league leading 25 times entering Sunday's game but went the entire day without a sack. And threw three TDs for good measure. Full disclaimer: It was against the Browns.

I'm with Cleveland linebacker David Bowens though. He pulled off Rodgers' helmet tackling him on a scramble. Rodgers said it was "kind of a dirty play". but Bowens said he was just playing hard. "I was just trying to grab anything I had," he said. "It wasn't malicious, I was just trying to get a stop. I apologized to him for it. He can call it what he wants to call it, but the refs didn't call it. I'd treat him different if he was passing the ball, that's different. But if he's running the ball, he's a running back. It's called football."

It is called Football.

If you bet on games involving the Texans, you have more money to spare than I do. No idea what you'll get from them each week.

49ers RB Frank Gore stormed back onto the scene Sunday. With 32 yards on 13 carries. Not exactly what we were hoping for there, Frank.

Vincent Jackson. Wow. 142 yards and a TD. In the first half.

People are ecstatic that LaDainian Tomlinson totaled 71 yards rushing? Is this what it's come to?

Do any of you Old Timers remember when Arrowhead was a tough place to play? Kansas City has now lost ten in a row at home and 29 of their last 32. Let that sink in. The Kansas City Chiefs have lost 29 of their last 32 home games.

One picture of the Indy - St. Louis game: The Rams converted 4 of 13 third downs. The Colts converted 8 of 12.

Two interceptions? I think something may be wrong with Tom Brady...

I know they sold it out yada yada but count me still as strongly in the "NFL overseas is a stupid idea". Get a team in Los Angeles. Then worry about London. I seriously don't get the fascination. And I don't see why Tampa would give up a home game like that.

Anyone hear that Brett Favre is returning to Green Bay this week? Yes, it's the most overhyped story in sports right now. But I have to admit, I'm looking forward to it.

Here's what I wrote for the Footballguys Magazine back on May 18. "Brett Favre is still very much retired. His agent Bus Cook said yesterday there was "no substance" to the speculation that Favre would play again. The word just came out today that Favre is scheduled for surgery with Dr. Andrews in Birmingham.

With that scant bit of information, my prediction for Favre in 2009 is simple: He returns as the Minnesota Vikings starting QB, breaks Jim Marshall's consecutive starts record in a Vikings uniform (which will be enough to melt every power line in Bristol, CT) and finishes the year as the 14th best fantasy QB in the league leading the Vikings to a 10-6 record again. For a bonus prediction, he wins the November 1st game in Lambeau with a last second game winning TD pass and does a Randy Moss style moon shot by the goal post while Ted Thompson's head explodes."

That's my call and I'm sticking to it.

Side note - the Vikings losing to Pittsburgh probably made this game a lot more bearable for the Vikings. I can only imagine the hype if Minnesota had come in undefeated. They very well might have if not for a terrible interception returned for a TD caused entirely by Chester Taylor. And a really bad officiating call. The Favre interception was the perfect case for my idea that the NFL should classify interceptions somehow. Somewhat like errors in baseball. Anyone that saw the play knows that the pass to Taylor was perfect and the interception was 100% on the receiver. But Favre gets the INT. Not sure why the commish isn't listening to me on that one...

Panthers fans: Carolina Dreaming?...

And another coaches photochop. If you're a regular reader, you probably have realized I'm not a naturally good speller. And it's not so much spelling as it is a weird associated dyslexia I guess where I'll write the wrong names thinking of a different player or write the old team that the player used to be with.

Along that line, This is how I always want to spell Miami coach Tony Sparano's name... I'm sorry, it's just how my brain works.

Break up the Bills.

You know what I love about Buffalo? That nearly every single member of the media and a huge number of fans are just dying for Terrell Owens to say something stupid or do something dumb. And he just continues to be a football player.

And the Bills are the beneficiary this week of my weekly "Turnovers Rule" example. They were killed in many stat categories by Carolina. They were badly outgained, and had a huge deficit in time of possession. But Carolina turned the ball over four times. Buffalo did not have a turnover.

Proof that some athletes are not in touch with reality. Raider QB JaMarcus Russell said he was shocked to be benched after starting 6 for 11 with two interceptions and a fumble. Has he ever seen a professional football game to know what the QB is supposed to look like? Surely he looks across the field in games when his team is on defense, doesn't he? He was "shocked" to be benched?

A great example that the game is just as much mental as it physical: Cedric Benson. That had to be sweet for him Sunday against his old team. You can't convince me that he's physically much different now than he was as a Bear. But he's clearly a different player. Good for him.

Oh, and the Bengals passed their 2008 win total Sunday...

I'm with Footballguy John Quinlan on the Bud Light "Tailgate Approved" commercials. Bud seems to have forgotten advertising is supposed to make you want to buy the product. Note: The "Foozie" and the "Grooler" do not leave me with a favorable impression of your product.

Wait, the Cowboys are still alive? They looked a little pissed to be written off by most and Atlanta looked like they've been reading their press clippings. And Miles Austin looked like Super Man. Pretty cool as Peter King points out this week that the Cowboys feature two undrafted out of college players in Tony Romo and Miles Austin. I love pulling for guys like that.

New Orleans. Now they're just toying with people. The "spot them 21 points" and still win easily was their version of the Colts win earlier this year when they won with just 15 minutes of time of possession or whatever it was. Impressive.

Washington's Brian Mitchell was inducted into the Ring Of Fame before Monday night's game. He thanked owner Daniel Snyder and the crowd booed? Seriously? I can see how the guy might rub people the wrong way but as an owner, I want a guy that is constantly trying to better the team. Booing Snyder at home?

Shonn Greene. Step right up, Son.

Get on the Danny Amendola bandwagon. There are only a few seats left. Outside of Steven Jackson in St. Louis, there aren't too many bright spots for this team. I love when players like this start playing well. Mainly to see the fantasy sites that pimp 900 players in the summer that shout about "we've been telling you about ...." Too funny. That's a good trick - hype every player and you'll bound to be right.

Hard Luck Awards for Week 7

CLE RB Lewis 3 yard rush to the 2 (Cundiff FG)
CLE QB Anderson 21 yard pass to TE Gaines to the 1
CLE RB Lewis rush for minus 2 yard to the 3
CLE RB Lewis rush for 2 yards to the 1
GB RB Grant 4 yard rush to the 4
GB QB Rodgers 3 yard pass to RB Grant to the 1 (Crosby FG)
HOU QB Schaub 11 yard pass to RB Slaton to the 1 (Slaton TD)
SD RB Tomlinson 2 yard rush to the 3 (Rivers to Floyd TD)
SD QB Rivers 25 yard pass to TE Gates to the 2
SD RB Tomlinson rush for no gain from the 2
SD RB Tomlinson rush for no gain from the 1
SD RB Tomlinson rush for minus 1 yards to the 2 (Kaeding FG)
SD QB Rivers 18 yard pass to TE Gates to the 4
SD RB Tomlinson 1 yard rush to the 3
SD QB Rivers 2 yard pass to RB Tolbert to the 1 (Kaeding FG)
MIN QB Favre 34 yard pass to WR Rice to the 1
MIN RB Peterson rush for minus 1 yard to the 2
MIN RB Peterson rush for no gain from the 1 (Longwell FG)
BUF RB Jackson rush for no gain from the 2 (Fitzpatrick to Evans TD)
NYJ RB Jones 1 yard rush to the 3 (Sanchez TD)
OAK RB Bush 5 yard rush to the 1
OAK RB Bush rush for minus 1 yards to the 2
ATL RB Snelling 15 yard rush to the 4
ATL RB Turner rush for no gain from the 4 (Ryan to White TD)
DAL QB Romo 4 yard pass to RB Jones to the 5 (Romo to Crayton TD)
NO RB Evans 2 yard rush to the 4
NO QB Brees 8 yard pass to RB Evans to the 2 (Brees TD)
NO RB Bell 4 yard rush to the 2
NO RB Bell rush for no gain from the 2 (Carney FG)
MIA QB Henne 67 yard pass to WR Hartline to the 4 (Williams TD)
ARZ RB Wells 4 yard rush to the 3
ARZ RB Wells 2 yard rush to the 1 (Hightower TD)
NYG QB Manning 7 yard pass to WR Smith to the 2
NYG RB Jacobs 2 yard rush to the 2 (Tynes FG)
WAS RB Cartwright 11 yard rush to the 3
WAS RB Portis 1 yard rush to the 2 (Campbell to Albright TD)
WAS QB Campbell 5 yard rush to the 4

That'll do it for this week, Folks. Thanks to Footballguys Keith Overton, John Quinlan, Jeremy Johnson and Kyle Lebeda of Katchop.com for the help on this one. If you've got a Random Shot of your own, shoot me an e-mail at bryant@footballguys.com.

Thanks for playing along. I hope you have a gas with whatever you're doing in your life. Here's to Football.

J