~~~Well, there's not a helluva lot to speak of during the Bye Week. There hasn't been much news. I check all the local papers and websites each day for something conversation-worthy, and there hasn't been much.
Most of the conversation has surrounded Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn and who should start and what we should do with Derek Anderson at the end of the year due to the fact that he's a Restricted Free Agent and what kind of trade value should he have and on and so forth and etc.
But I have taken a sabbatical from the great QB debate because, frankly, it bores me. It's a non-issue at this juncture. We're getting pretty good play from that position for the first time since LeBron James was a baby, so it is foolish to sit here and split hairs about who should be starting - now and for the future.
I will, however, say this: Today, I was listening to Mike & Mike In The Morning whilst beginning my work day. Along with Mark Schlereth, the two Mikes (Greenberg and Golic) were debating the sorry state of QB affairs in the NFL (outside of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning). They went on to say that there wasn't one team in the league that was completely comfortable at the QB spot - i.e. having both an effective starter and a quality backup. This included Indy and NE because of the inexperience of their backups. They went through several teams with supposed high profile QB's and pointed out the flaws of both the starter and the backup. Their conclusion was that the NFL is at an all-time low in the value of its QB play, and no team is in a good situation.
I could submit to them and example of a good situation: The Cleveland Browns. I could, but I wouldn't. It would be fruitless, because they would shoot down Derek Anderson with "he's inconsistent" and Brady Quinn with "rookie that's never played a regular season NFL down".
And those would be valid points.
But I might counter-argue that Derek Anderson's numbers are amongst the Top 10 in the league, and, since he began starting, he's moved the ball on every single team they faced, no matter how "daunting" their Defense. Has he made mistakes that hurt the team? Yes. Certainly. But here's a list of teams that just WISH they had a Derek Anderson right this moment:
Baltimore. Buffalo. New York Jets. Miami. Kansas City. Oakland. Washington. Carolina. Atlanta. Chicago. Minnesota. San Francisco. Arizona. And maybe even Philly and Detroit.
That's damn near half the league.
And if you said to them, "No, you can't have Derek Anderson, but we'll give you Brady Quinn instead," do you think that any of them would be any less apt to jump? Neither do I.
So what you've got are two QB's that a lot of teams would view as better than anything they've currently got healthy on their roster (with the exception of Oakland, as their QB woes come from the fact that JaMarcus Russell held out for 3 years).
I don't know if that makes me comfortable, per se, but let's just say that I'm not uncomfortable at all with the current state of QB affairs in the city of Cleveland.
~~~Speaking of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning... there is an appalling lack of media coverage regarding these two players. Unless you're a diehard football fan, you barely know who they are. I'm not even sure what Peyton Manning looks like. You'd think the QB that just won the Superbowl would get a few minor endorsements, but, no, nothing. It's shocking.
And their football teams. No one is talking about the Patriots or Colts. No one. These are some pretty good teams - both undefeated - and they're playing each other in two weeks. You'd think that ESPN or the NFL Network might find the time to mention this upcoming contest, but, no, nothing. Amazing, really.
As a sports fan, I want - no, I demand - more coverage of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. I want reporters standing outside their lockers and training complexes and houses 24 hours a day. I want to know what everyone's doing it as they're doing it. If they're studying film, I want to know about it. If they're eating breakfast, I want to know about it. If they jog the stairs, comb their hairs, or bowl for spares, I want Rachel Nichols there to tell me all about it.
The reporting of their upcoming contest has been woefully insufficient. We, the American people, shouldn't even know there are other sports, much less other teams, outside of the titanic Colts-Pats contest that will commence in only 12 short days. This game is so important to the very fabric of our society that no one should sleep, eat, or bathe until it has run its course. There should be hourly debates over which team is better, over which QB is better, over whether or not either of them can go undefeated, or if they are possibly the Best Football Team Of All Time.
But even that's not good enough. Remember last year's Ohio State-Michigan game? It got a snazzy name: Judgment Day. It had a chopper follow the Michigan team bus all the way from Ann Arbor to Columbus. That, my friends, is over-coverage. That's what we need here.
I want a fancy name for this fiasco, like The Reckoning or The Biggie or The Completely Overhyped Extravaganza.
I want Sal Palantonio on the damn plane when the Patriots fly from Boston to Indy.
Sal: It appears that Tom Brady is listening to his I-pod.
Mike Greenberg: Can you make out what he's listening to?
Sal: Not from here... let me see if I can get a little closer... yes, it appears he is listening to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.
Mike: Fascinating. I can only speculate that this means that he is trying to maintain his focus on remaining cool under pressure.
Sal: Mike Vrabel is sleeping, but he just took a good long scratch at his genitals. It could be nothing, but we should probably keep an eye on this development.
Mike: Yes, definitely do that. It could be anything from crabs to brain cancer. Thanks for the update, Sal.
That's right, folks. The Reckoning is almost here. Don't find yourself unprepared.
~~~Anyone else scared of the Rams?
I know I shouldn't be, but I am.
What's to be scared of? They're 0-7. They're getting blown out by everyone. Their O Line is a disaster. Their QB is hurt. Their RB is hurt. Their Defense is crap.
This should be an easy win for a Cleveland Browns team that isn't used to easy wins.
That's what I'm scared of.
Like the Browns are hopefully doing, I'm not looking past the next game. I know who the Browns play the week after the Rams, but I'm erasing it from my mind. They're 3-3 now. If they can beat St. Louis, then they'll be 4-3. I'm not even thinking playoffs yet. This is the AFC, and there are a lot of good teams out there. Teams that are still better overall than Cleveland.
I just want meaningful December football at this point. I just want for the 2nd half of the season to count for something other than draft positioning.
I will not get my hopes up. Yet.
~~~Not until they solve the Defensive issues.
There is little reason to hope for marked improvement in the Defensive area, especially the Defensive Line. But little is still greater than no.
The Colts were complete feces on Defense last year - until they reached the playoffs. Some players started playing better, and the light just came on for ‘em.
The Giants were complete feces on Defense this year - until they played Philly in Week 4. Some players started playing better, and the light just came on for ‘em.
St. Louis has probably the worst O Line in all of football. Their skill players are walking wounded, and their coach is experiencing a slow grill. This should be the week for the Defense to remove their craniums from their colons. They've had a bye week to try and figure it out, try some new stuff, get creative, make do with what they have. Come out against St. Louis, shut ‘em down, get a couple turnovers, play with some fire, and carry some Defensive momentum into the remainder off the season.
Because if not now - when?
If not the Rams - who?