Ferringo NFL Report: Cowboys' Owens Joins Dallas Fight Club
By Robert Ferringo of Doc's Sports Picks
Here are my nonsensical ravings about week four in the National Football League:
- Ah, Marty Ball. I bet against San Diego for a variety of reasons last week - the Terrence Kiel nonsense, a cross-country road trip and a first-year starter against a veteran Ravens defense - but the clincher was Marty Schottenheimer. He didn't disappoint.
The Chargers looked sharp early, and were controlling the field-position battle against a feeble Ravens offense. However, after they went up 13-7 the offense crawled into its shell. San Diego only passed on four of 24 first downs with the lead. They also didn't take any shots up the field. Instead of trying to win the game they were playing not to lose. And that's Marty Ball.
- Is it me, or does that scar on Terrell Owens' hand look like something that Tyler Durden gave him with some lye? Seriously, did Owens join a Fight Club in Dallas? That could have something to do with his insanity.
- Watching Kansas City play you can see that their running scheme is completely different. Last year Larry Johnson was so effective because he was working outside the tackles, getting into the second level and destroying safeties and corners. Their most devastating running play over the past five years has been that power sweep.
But this season, with the loss of both starting tackles the Chiefs have become more of a straight-ahead running team. I've only seen the sweep a handful of times, with the brunt of the runs going off-tackle or on dives. Johnson is being asked to be more patient and selective at hitting holes - which Curtis Martin was so good at for Herm's Jets - instead of just plowing through them.
- The Vikings are 3-12-1 against the total in their last 16 regular season and preseason games. Their offense has one touchdown in the past three games and Brad "Check Down" Johnson doesn't have enough faith in his wideouts to throw the ball downfield. But then when he does, the Minny WR's haven't been taking advantage.
For example, on the Vikings' final drive against Buffalo Marcus Robinson dropped a crucial pass at the Bills 15-yard line when he was wide open - and I mean WIDE OPEN. Robinson likely would've scored a touchdown, or given Minnesota first-and-goal. I also think Minnesota needs to utilize Jermaine Wiggins more. Wiggins led the team in receptions each of the past two years, but he's averaging only three touches per game.
- Now that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, just remember who was the guy who was touting the Chicago Bears as one of the Super Bowl favorites out of the NFC.
- I still really dislike Atlanta's kicker-by-committee approach. It's essentially the same idea as a closer-by-committee in baseball. You can get away with it over a few series, but eventually in a big game it's going to bite you.
More importantly, the Falcons need to start cashing in some touchdowns once they get inside the 20. They are tied with Indianapolis for No. 1 in the league with 17 red-zone possessions. The difference is the Colts have managed 11 touchdowns (65 percent) while the Falcons have converted just three times (18 percent).
- Forget about crazed Muslim extremist or North Korean fascists, I think it's a sad state of affairs when people - even Amish people - have to be fearful of sending their kids out the door to school every morning. Three school shootings in a week is obscene, disgusting, shocking and horrifying.
- Why was everyone so excited by Mario Williams' first NFL sack? They're treating him like the "special" kid on the Little League team who got his first hit.
Let's forget about Bush and Williams for a moment. The most impressive rookie thus far, in my opinion, has been Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. In consecutive weeks, The Brick has shut out two of the NFL's top sack artists - Aaron Schobel and Dwight Freeney.
- Washington seems to be getting a hang of Al Saunders' offense. That, and it helps when you get Clinton Portis back (did you see those downfield blocks he was throwing?) and when you're getting the ball in Santana Moss's hands. Moss was everything that Steve Smith was last season and needs to get his touches.
- How about Laurence Maroney's stiff arm? That guy was owning Cincinnati defenders on Sunday.
- Speaking of the Bengals, I think they got knocked down a peg by that rout at the hands of New England. The Patriots showed that if teams take care of the ball (one turnover) against Cincinnati the Bengals defense is a bottom-tier unit. They don't tackle and they don't hit people (one cheap shot on a defenseless receiver doesn't impress me).
- I said about a month-and-a-half ago that the one team I didn't want my Mets to face in the first round was the Dodgers. Anyone else the Mets would sweep, but the Dodgers are a bad match-up because of the top of their rotation. Also, there's the Kenny Lofton Factor: the guy always advances at least a round in the playoffs. In fact, I would have to say that Lofton is the Robert Horry of baseball.
That being said, the Mets are the best team in the Majors. They have one of the two best lineups, they play great defense, they run bases and advance runners, and the bullpen has been lights-out. They can overcome the loss of Pedro, but El Duque needs to be his normal, dominant postseason self.
- Through week four I would have to say that Bart Scott has been Baltimore's best defensive player. He had 15 tackles and an interception last week, and he's leading the league in sacks. The guy is an absolute animal.
- In last week's Ferringo Report I pointed out the statistical evidence that proves that Mike Mularkey has no idea what he's doing. Then the new Miami offensive coordinator was kind enough to go out and prove me a soothsayer with his halfback option pass for a two-point conversion against hapless Houston.
In the Shocker Of The Week, reports out of Miami are that Dolphins offensive players have been grumbling about Mularkey's handling of the offense. Stay tuned.
- Chicago's Bernard Berrian has three touchdowns of more than 40 yards this year. The Bears had none of those last year.
In a related note, Seattle had to endure an emergency landing on the flight back from Chicago because defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes was ill. Watching your defense get lit up for 37 points - and it could've been worse - by the Bears will do that to you.
- Baltimore has been clutch in each of the past two weeks, but their overall offensive ineffectiveness has to be troubling to a Ravens backer. They are 30th in offensive efficiency, averaging just 4.31 yards per play and 2.41 yards per rush.
- Neither Matt Leinart nor Vince Young are ready to be NFL quarterbacks. Leinart looks stoned out there and will get creamed behind that offensive line. Young's IQ is somewhere near his passer rating.
- The crucial mistake that the Jets made near the end of their classic game with the Colts was not handling the kickoff properly after Indy scored to go up 31-28. Indy hit a squib kick, it rolled to the end zone, and New York inexplicably tried to return it. They were stopped at the two-yard line.
- So how do Republican sympathizers defend the actions of one Mark Foley and the cover up of his actions? Foley, the Republican Congressman from Florida, was busted for sending perverted emails to a 16-year old boy. Foley's Republican superiors knew about this situation for months but never did anything about it. But hey, they're the party of morality and decency, right?
- It's tough to find much fault in a 45-14 victory, but the Dallas defensive line was getting manhandled in the first half of its game against Tennessee. The Titans were running at will through the first two quarters, but because they were down two touchdowns early they had to get away from that facet of the offense.
Also, Mike Vanderjagt missed yet another chip shot field goal. Remember, Scott Norwood was an All-Pro kicker before his career-altering choke.
- Ahmad Carroll needs to find a hole and crawl in it. That guy is just awful.
- Finally, it's been funny listening to the Bobblehead Media handle the Owens-Philadelphia thing thus far. Everyone keeps referring to the "national media" over-hyping the situation, but they don't take responsibility for their part in it.
For example, Trey Wingo broached the subject in Monday's edition of "NFL Live" by saying, "OK, we don't want to get into the hype of this matchup - we'll leave that to everyone else - but what do you guys think about T.O. heading back to Philadelphia?" Wait, ESPN isn't going to excessively, annoyingly over-hype something? Yeah right.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Insider Page here.