The Tennessee Titans, in general: Titans owner Bud Adams left Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter -- walked right out of Nashville's LP Field like the folkies when Dylan went electric -- and it wasn't because the mercurial 89-year-old American Football League pioneer was out of Geritol. He was disgusted by his team's performance in a 51-20 beatdown at the hands of the Bears, an opinion that was hard to dispute.
"In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself, and fans of the Titans,'' Adams told The Tennessean after the game. "We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish today.
"At this time, all aspects of the organization will be closely evaluated, including front office, coaches and players over the next seven games. If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team."
In the last few years, Adams has supported Vince Young at the expense of Jeff Fisher, flipped off NFL fans from his luxury box, and threatened to open up the purse strings and do whatever it took to get Peyton Manning, an offer Manning found impossible to take seriously. We say the less Adams does, the better off the Titans will be.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns: There had been signs of encouragement over the last few weeks, but in the Browns' 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Weeden looked very much like the rookie who was finding it difficult to resemble a professional earlier this season. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 176 yards and two interceptions, but what the tape shows on Weeden in this game was far worse. He threw several howlers that were either dropped or just not caught by Baltimore's defense, and he appeared to be completely lost whenever he needed to make more than one read on the field -- a problem that was masked in college by Oklahoma State's simple-but-effective passing game. At 29, Weeden doesn't have the kind of age curve that will stand years of development.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Eli? Well, yes. For the second straight week, the most clutch quarterback in the game looked more mortal than we've come to expect. In a 24-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Manning completed just 10 passes in 24 attempts for 125 yards and one interception, and nearly threw another pick to cornerback Ike Taylor that Taylor dropped in the end zone. After completing just 15 of 29 for 192 yards against the Cowboys last Sunday, and failing to throw a touchdown pass in either game, it's safe to say that the Giants' quarterback is causing an unusual amount of concern. It's possible that the specter of Hurricane Sandy has thrown Eli off his game, or it could be something more football-related. We'll get answers next Sunday when the G-Men face the Cincinnati Bengals.
Mike Shanahan, Head Coach, Washington Redskins: In our MVPs post, we paid well-earned tribute to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, and the courage he's shown in the face of his leukemia diagnosis. On the other side of the spectrum, we have Shanahan, and his outright surrender just halfway through the season. The Redskins were subpar in their 21-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers, that's for sure, but coaches are not supposed to be giving up at 3-6, unless they're openly campaigning to be fired.
Shanahan didn't get the memo.
"You lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come. I'll get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at," Shanahan said after the game. "Obviously, we're not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we've got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season."
Folks, that is not the voice of a coach trying to see who will fight and who will not. That is the voice of a coach who is playing a game of CYA, and Shanahan should know better. Two anonymous players expressed their disdain after hearing their coach's remarks, and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander went on the record.
"You have a lot of guys that want to win now, people toward the end of their careers who have been here a long time, haven't been to the playoffs in a long time," Alexander told the Washington Post. "And ultimately that's what you play for, to go to a Super Bowl.
"Bein' 3-6 really sucks because right now we're on the outside looking in . . . I'm not thinkin' about next year. That's an offseason thing for me. But you know it's hard when you see yourself in that type of position and your head coach is saying those types of things. It's disappointing."
The season is disappointing. Shanahan's comments are reprehensible. Coach, if you're that convinced you can't win, do your team a favor and call it a career.
The Arizona Cardinals Defense: Last Monday, the San Francisco 49ers torched cornerback Patrick Peterson for two Michael Crabtree touchdowns. That was atypical enough, but what the Packers did to Arizona's supposedly strong run defense was truly distressing. The Packers haven't had much of a run game to speak of all season, but against a defense that was the Cards' strong suit through the first seven weeks of the season, the decline continued. The Pack totaled 179 yards on the ground, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was especially effective when scrambling after Ray Horton's defense bailed into coverage. We already knew that their offense was a hot mess, but when the defense falls apart two weeks in a row -- well, let's just say that it looks like a longer season and an even longer rebuild in the Valley of the Sun.
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