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Around the NFL

– Here’s further proof that the rule changes are having a big effect on the passing game. In the first 3 weeks of NFL action there have been 16 300-yard passers but what’s interesting is there have already been a few QB’s that have thrown for almost 500 yards! Let’s take a closer look at the top performers from each week –

Week 1

– Peyton Manning – 433 yards
– Jay Cutler – 372 yards
– Carson Palmer – 345 yards

Week 2

– Matt Schaub – 497 yards
– Donovan McNabb – 426 yards
– Tony Romo – 374 yards

Week 3

– Kyle Orton – 476 yards
– Philip Rivers – 455 yards
–  Eli Manning – 386 yards

– Kyle Orton is a fine NFL QB (maybe even an underrated NFL QB) but there just seems to be something wrong with the state of the NFL when Orton can throw for almost 500 yards in a game. Same case could be made for Matt Schaub who came within just 3 yards of throwing for 500 yards. I remember a time (not really that long ago) that if a QB threw for over 400 yards in a game, fans and the media would be shocked, it actually meant something, it was exciting. Now it’s just business as usual and doesn’t mean anything. Are QB’s simply getting better? Offenses evolving so much that the defenses can’t keep up with them? No, it’s simply an accumulation of rule changes (and officiating) over the past 10 years that have gradually neutered NFL defenses in how they can defend the pass (and attack the QB) and in doing so are allowing just about any starting NFL QB the opportunity to throw for almost 500 yards in a game. With rule changes explicitly favoring one side of the ball over the other, the NFL is slowly but surely becoming like Arena Football. That’s not a good thing. But even with the rule changes the NFL, Goodell and the Competition Committee throw out there each year to promote offensive output, there are some football “truths” that they can’t change – 7 of the 9 QB’s listed above lost their respective games (and Schaub’s Texans won in OT). A good defense and at least a decent run game goes a long way in getting a win in football, even in today’s pass-happy NFL.

– Another good primetime game ruined by horrible officiating. The Packers-Bears Monday night game was a fun one…until the officials decided to once again step into the spotlight. When is Goodell and the NFL going to realize that this is a BAD thing? The Packers were called for 18 penalties for 152 yards! That’s not 8 penalties for 52 yards, that’s 18 for 152.  There were the usual number of horrible roughing the QB and defensive pass interference calls in the game. These two kinds of calls are simply killing the game, in my honest opinion. The questionable calls had a huge outcome on the game, including a pass interference call against the Packers on the Bears game-winning drive in the final minutes of the game.

– Jay Cutler has a great arm, but he is still making a lot of bad decisions with passes down the middle of the field. That was evident in the Packers game. He’s fortunate he only had 1 INT in the game.

– Does Ron Jaworksi EVER disagree with a refs call during a game?? “You’re going to get that call everytime” seems to be his automatic response to any flag, no matter how horrendous it is.

– In the Packers-Bears game I noticed a Packer LB who’s helmet came off during a play. Why wasn’t the play blown dead? Does the new rule only apply to a ballcarrier who’s helmet comes off during a play and no one else on the field? Strange rule.

– Who’s a worse head coach, Norv Turner or Wade Phillips? We may never know. But Turner is doing a horrible job with the Chargers this year, who are 1-2 after losing to two inferior opponents, the Chiefs and the Seahawks. Last Sunday in the Seahawks game, the Chargers outgained the Hawks 518 to 271. So why did they lose? How about two TD returns by Seahawks Leon Washington? The Chargers lost in an eerily similar way in Week 1 to the Chiefs. Anytime something like this becomes a trend that goes directly back the head coach.

– The 49ers might be in trouble after starting 0-3. But this team is still talented (but young) and last time I checked, they still play in the worst division in football, the NFC West. Call me crazy but I think they still got a shot at making the playoffs. The Cardinals don’t look very good with Derek Anderson leading the way for them, the Seahawks may be 2-1 but are extremely lucky to have that record (Although their defense looks tough under Carroll) and the Rams are still the Rams even if they marginally improve this year.

– The Patriots, since winning their Super Bowls years ago as a tough, blue-collar team seem to have evolved into a more finesses team over the past 4 or 5 years. Their defense has progressively gotten softer and their offense has become increasingly one-dimensional with Brady at QB. Last Sunday they had to outlast a mediocre Bills team (and offense) 38-30.

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