Saturday, November 25, 2006

We already had the turkey

I was going to post with a list of things to be thankful for. But, A) thats trite, and B) it would end up being a kind of short list. After all, even if we've shown improved play nearly accross the board, the number in the W column still puts us on track for a top 5 draft pick.

> There has been alot of hot air swirling about Simon Fraser's hit(s) on Roethlisberger during the Daven Holly interception return. First Romeo comes out and defends Fraser, then TMQ, invoking yours truly, says that Fraser should be suspended, and then the NFL gives Fraser a $5,000 fine. I searched the various video sites, but I couldn't find a clip of the play (I did, however, find this awesome clip of Winslow PWNING Joey Porter).

Without reviewing the video, I have to go off how I remember the play. Holly gets a (very lucky) interception and makes a wild, criss-crossing return to the 3 yard line. While Holly is running through the area of Roethlisberger, Simon Fraser blocks Ben to the ground. Ben gets back up, and this time with Holly beyond the vicinity of Roethlisberger, Fraser knocks Ben down once more. (TMQ claims there were three hits, but I don't remember a third one).

A) The first hit, when Holly was in the vicinity, was perfectly fine. After all, if a Colt had given Rothlisberger a block like that during last year's playoffs, Nick Harper would've scored a TD off the Bettis fumble and we'd all have been spared the Steeler's Super Bowl. While Ben wasn't making any overt moves towards the ball carrier, he also wasn't making any overt moves away from the play. Now, I understand that the NFL will give the benefit of the doubt to the QB, but I disagree with that. I would give Fraser the benefit of the doubt, and would only call a penalty if Roethlisberger was clearly removing himself from the play.

B) The second hit, once the play had moved beyond Roethlisberger, was undoubtedly a foul according to the rules of the game. However, I think that Crennel makes a great point: If Roethlisberger was "removing himself from the play", then why was he getting back up? So that he could get a better view of Holly scoring?

The NFL should prescribe QBs some sort of fair-catch-signal-like manuever that will clearly define when they are taking themselves out of the play. After they make this signal, no one is allowed to hit the QB, but the QB isn't allowed to do anything that will involve him in the play. Until something like that is put in, its always going to be a judgement call and QBs will always have the advantage. Of course, if the NFL were to create such a signal they would be explicitly acknowledging what they now only leave to implication: QBs get special treatment, and they're more interested in having super-star pretty-boys ala Peyton Manning than blue-collar tough guys ala Simon Fraser.

> It sounds like Chad Johnson has a little bit of a mancrush on Leigh Bodden. Johnson always seems to have nice things to say about Bodden, except for sometime earlier this year (Bodden must have forgetten to invite Chad to his birthday party, or something).

"He's one of the best cover corners I've been able to go against," Johnson said. "He ranks right up there with Champ, D'Angelo, Nate Clements and those guys. Because of his ability to cover small areas of the field with no help."

In three meetings against Johnson, Bodden has two interceptions and one forced fumble. Johnson has 17 catches in the three games, but only one touchdown.

"He has a technique that he plays with that I've never seen before that he used the first game," Johnson said. "He was able to throw myself and Carson's timing off, our rhythm. It was something new that I never saw before and he's been very successful with."

Unfortunately, it looks like Bodden won't be able to play because of a sprained ankle. So Johnson is going to have to see how he likes Daven Holly.

Which reminds me of one of the comments one of the Steelers fans left (this is all sic): "The difference between a championship caliber team and a perenial basemnet dweller is depth, and the Browns have none, as eveidenced by the poor play of the corners in the fourth quarter." Buddy, NO team has enough depth to be able to field 2 to 4 shut-down corners after their top three cornerbacks go down with injuries. The Browns have one of the deepest secondaries in the league, and they are plumbing the depths of it this season because of injuries.

> Braylon Edwards' big mouth is developing alot faster than his playing ability. He's already apologized for calling out his own teammate for a dirty hit, but that doesn't really clear things up in my book. It should be a wake-up call to Braylon: No matter how innocuous your intentions, when you make comments to the media things can get portrayed differently than how you mean.

I have no problems with Edwards complaining about the play-calling, because it needs to be complained about. But don't ever throw your teammate under the bus.

> It looks like all the Grantham to MSU talk was premature, at best. I haven't heard peep about it since someone claimed that Grantham would be named MSU head coach this past monday (which, obviously, never happened). Since they were so wrong about that, maybe they were wrong about Grantham being the favorite, too.

> Game against the Bengals. If our offense can't get SOMETHING moving this Sunday, then they're officially done. The run defense has another chance to prove themselves. We've never been able to stop Rudy Johnson, so if we can pull it off this week we might be ableto say that the run defense is fixed. The pass defense will probably get embarassed, but I guess thats just because we "have no depth".

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