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ESPN Proclaims Jacksonville, Ferringo Report No Longer Unknowns

By Robert Ferringo of Doc's Sports Journal

Here are my nonsensical ravings about Week 2 in the National Football League:

- The Miami Dolphins proved that they are still a gutless, undisciplined, weak-willed team. They got worked on Sunday - in their own house - by a team that just wanted it more. Every single indicator - historical trends, recent trends, injuries, etc. - pointed towards a huge Miami victory. But as I mentioned, I underestimated the blatant incompetence of Daunte Culpepper and the Miami Dolphins.

Miami will win some games this year, but they are a joke team that will never win anything significant.

- There were 11 divisional battles this past weekend. That made for a lot of heavy hitting. But what it also means is that there could be some letdowns in Week 3 (Giants perhaps?), as well as some battered and bloodied clubs (like Cincinnati).

- By now it's just piling on with John Fox. But watching the replay of that game you realize what a colossally ignorant decision that was and that play really could end up costing his team down the line. I love trick plays and all, but not when you're up a touchdown, on the road, with a swarming defense, in the fourth quarter, with LESS THAN 10 MINUTES TO PLAY in the game! Amazing.

- Through two weeks favorites are 21-11 against the spread. This is starting to look eerily similar to last season when the books were hammered when favorites covered at an unprecedented rate. Until the market corrects itself I would strongly consider curbing your plays to incorporate as many favorites as you possibly can.

- But lucky me, I back the two favorites (Miami and Denver) that couldn't cover last week. Absolutely amazing.

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For the second week in a row I lost one of my biggest plays of the week by half of a point. Hung on the hook, I suppose. This weekend it was a two-team teaser involving Denver - which I thought was a clear situation for the Broncos to flex some muscle. If you can't beat a Huard at home, then what does that say about your team? Even with a full roster the Broncos averaged about a two-touchdown win over Kansas City at Invesco Field over the past few years. Brutal. Really brutal.

- The more I see him the more I really like David Carr. He hasn't developed any bad habits. And it would be very easy to while being stuck on that team. He delivers the ball right on the money and doesn't ever show up his receivers when they're dropping passes or his linemen when he's scraping himself off the turf, yet again.

- Have either Marvin Harrison or Warrick Dunn taken a hit since 2001? Seriously. As much as they handle the ball those two never seem to absorb monster shots.

- It was a throwback weekend in Week 2. I say that because I heard the phrase "first time since…" quite a few times. Monday night was the first time since 1981 that a defending champion has been shut out. Or Ryan Longwell threw the tying touchdown pass and kicked the winning field goal for the first time since George Blanda back in 1970. And the Giants comeback was the first time since 1970 that they won a game in which they trailed by 17 points.

- Speaking of the Steelers, they clearly made the wrong call starting Big Ben. Facing a bone-crunching Jacksonville defense was not the situation to bring back a guy early from appendix surgery. Especially since Charlie Batch played well last week. Ben was visibly scared in the pocket, ducking hits and throwing the ball up for grabs in the middle of the field. That's not the fearless Roethlisberger that was guiding Pitt last season.

- Jake Plummer is a dead stick. I wouldn't touch him right now. I don't think he ever has - or maybe ever will - recover from the AFC Championship meltdown. Throw in the Jay Cutler Situation and he is just a zombie out there. The first-team offense still hasn't scored a touchdown against two not-so-great defenses. Plummer is missing his throws by a lot (that incompletion to Tony Scheffler in the end zone is a perfect example; and a costly one). He is truly a walking disaster right now.

- Indianapolis owns an NFL-best 13-2 record in September since 2002 when Tony Dungy became the head coach. The Colts are now 21-4 against their division and have owned or shared a piece of the AFC South lead for 63 of a possible 70 weeks.

- When the Giants hired Tom Coughlin in 2004, they were coming off a season when they set a team record with 127 penalties for 1,090 yards. Last year they obliterated that mark (143 for 1,115 yards) and thus far in 2006 they are on pace for 152 penalties for 1,112 yards.

What I'm saying here is that we can stop this talk about what a disciplinarian Tom Coughlin is. In his first four years with the Jaguars his club averaged 119 penalties for 947 yards. With guys like Jeremy Shockey, Lavar Arrington and Plexico Burress leading the way the Giants are soft and undisciplined. They will do things to lose games instead of make plays to win them. And yes, that includes the Philadelphia game - one in which they had no business winning.

- I thought Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were going to get in a little catfight over the overtime rules in that Denver-Kansas City game. Simms sounded like he was PMS-ing.

- Does anyone have any more questions about why I like the Bears so much this year? No? Nothing. Really?

- Does anyone have any more questions about why I really didn't like the Buccaneers at all this year? No? Not one. Honestly?

- Home teams are just 17-15 thus far. Weird.

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- Minnesota has gotten it together because they - say it with me now - run the ball and play good defense. I love the philosophical shift and I would say that it has started to pay dividends.

- Roy Williams is now 2-for-2 in the Completely Ridiculous Statements Department. I didn't think it could get any better than "We were 'this' close to scoring 40 points" comment after losing 9-6 to Seattle. Then he made "The Guarantee ". Incredible. It was great watching Urlacher hammer Roy Boy over the middle and start jawing at him.

Oh, and at this rate Detroit should reach that magic 40-point barrier around Week 7.

- That New Orleans offense really is multifaceted. I still have major questions about that defense, but the Saints really are a decent team. They're tough to stop and Drew Brees clearly isn't affected by the shoulder surgery.

- How about the Buffalo Bills special teams? Bobby April is really the man. Brian Moorman dropped four absolutely perfect punts inside Miami's 8-yard line, the Bills blocked a punt to set up the clinching touchdown, and Buffalo managed nearly 15 yards per punt return. A completely dominating performance.

- What the Atlanta Falcons have done in the first two games of the year is downright terrifying. They've rushed for 558 yards against Carolina and Tampa Bay. They're averaging 46 rushes per game. I mean, these numbers are just staggering. Making it more impressive is the fact that the Panthers and Bucs were both ranked in the top six against the rush last year.

Interestingly, it came out in the Tampa Bay game that Atlanta offensive coordinator Greg Knapp went back and analyzed footage of Vince Young at Texas and installed an option package for Vick. That shotgun option was devastating to the Bucs.

- If there was a negative in the Atlanta game - and this may be nit picking but it does make a difference - it is that combo kicker Michael Koenen missed four field goals. And none of them were particularly difficult. Someone get Paul Edinger and Martin Grammatica on the line.

- David Akers getting his ass kicked by the Giants bench may have been the highlight of my day on Sunday. Ah, kickers.

- How hilarious is it when ESPN announcers and commentators are asking questions about how a team is "underrated" and "unknown by the national media". I find it absurd. Um, maybe instead of running 18 features about the Manning brothers or Terrell Owens, you could actually talk some football. I think everybody except ESPN knew that Jacksonville was a good football team.

But also, in lock-step, all the bobbleheads were out in full force today asking questions to the Jaguar players about being "unknown" or talking about whether they feel "disrespected". I mean, it's a joke. And absolute joke. And that's why you should do your own research and don't allow the bobblehead media to shape your opinions.

- As you know by now, since 1992 only 13 percent of teams that started 0-2 have made the playoffs. On the flip side, 66 percent of teams that start 2-0 do make the playoffs.

There are 11 teams at 2-0 this season and 11 teams at 0-2. Last season there were only seven and seven of each category. What this tells me is that this season the disparity between the good teams and the poor ones is going to be greater than it has been in recent years.

- I'm sure Philadelphia Eagles fans are still in shock and are physically ill after that colossal collapse against New York. Andy Reid came out and tried to shoulder the blame for the loss, saying that he played it too conservative in the fourth quarter.

But Reid wasn't why the Eagles lost. The offensive line didn't get a push on a crucial fourth-and-one in Giants territory with just over eight minutes left in the game. Then there was Westbook's fumble that set up the Giants third touchdown. But the most crucial miscue of all was the 15-yard personal foul penalty on Trent Cole that set up Jay Feely's overtime-forcing 35-yard field goal.

If anyone played it too conservatively it was Jim Johnson. Reviewing the tape of that game, I counted only two times Johnson called for a blitz in the last half of the fourth quarter and in overtime. The Eagles got pressure with their front four all game, but the D-line was clearly winded and Johnson needed to do something to get Eli and the Giants out of rhythm.

- Buffalo had -3 passing yards at halftime of its game against Miami. And they were still beating the Dolphins 3-0. Unreal. But I'm not still bitter.

Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at robert@docsports.com or check out his Insider Page here.

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