Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Throughout the NFL season, you're going to hear about who 'sucks', who's 'overrated', who should be released, who should be traded, who needs to retire, who needs to quit and on... and on... and on...

Here on Scribe, you'll get something a little different. Taking a page from long-time friend and fellow writer JP Prag, there will be a positive spin on a few NFL items from someone who gets to see one of its teams up close.

Wednesday may be just Day 2 of the league's week, but it's the middle of the normal calendar week. It's the perfect time to get the last word of the previous weekend's action while hopefully giving you something to look out for just a few days from now.
  • Kickoff: To start off, big-ups to Mr. Prag. Not only did I co-write Hidden Highlights with him back in May (and it was much harder than it may appear), but he asked me to be a resource for his second column, The Hamilton Avenue Journal. What I did not expect was to be given props in a reader's comment. So props right back, boss.

  • 1st Quarter - Ron Jaworski: When ESPN picked up the slack (and bill) for Monday Night Football from ABC, they revamped the broadcast team in hopes of mixing the voice (Mike Tirico) with the fan's mindset (Tony Kornheiser) and the insider's perspective (Jaworski). Jaws, quite simply, is the man. Jaws is known for being one of the most detailed and scrutinizing television anaylsts in all of sports and his breakdowns of plays and players keeps the hardcore fan into the game. Yet, how he continually called out Kornheiser for the predictable comparisons between Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New York Jets' signal caller Brett Favre was a welcome deterrent from the usual hype and recycled Favre-fest. Maybe he did so because he was personally tired of the run-into-the-ground angle or because he wanted to profile the relatively-unknown Rodgers to the American audience, but what he did was remind MNF fans that a new star can be born if they keep their eyes on this 'kid'.

  • 2nd Quarter - Mark Clayton of the Baltimore Ravens: Can you remember the last time an end-around worked in the real NFL? Of course, since Jerry Rice tore his ACL on a reverse to start the 1997 season, seeing this play still freaks me out. Yet, the Madden favorite of many caught the Cincinnati defense completely off-guard and Clayton didn't break, tear, sprain or bruise anything in his body in the process. It's amazing though that because the Ravens have yet to have much of an offense since leaving Cleveland, the score was the ninth of his four-year career.

  • Halftime - Chad Pennington of the Miami Dolphins: The Fins are not going to go 1-15 again this season, but they are a long way from being a playoff contender. Yet, admist the hype around Favre, Pennington was nearly his equal with the exception of the reckless-turned-OMG touchdown pass #4 threw in the second quarter. The former Jet may not have the 70-yard bomb in him, but what he does have is the know-how to put his teammates in the right position to make plays. When was the last time (Miami or New Orleans) that you've seen Ricky Williams split out wide as a receiver? How did an offensive line marred by penalties - two notable penalties by No. 1 overall pick Jake Long - keep itself in the game against a revamped Jets defensive front seven? Who knew that Ted Ginn, Jr. could be a little more than a kick/punt returner... okay, so the verdict may still be out in some circles? Miami's receivers need to get in rhythm with Pennington and the coaches need to utilize both Williams and Ronnie Brown in all facets of the offense to give their quarterback a chance to win a few games for them. Jets fans know he can, even if their new crush has created a memory lapse of the former Marshall product.

  • 3rd Quarter - Seemingly immobile quarterbacks running for touchdowns: While a horrendous traffic jam cause myself and a couple of fellow writers to miss the first five minutes of the Redskins-Giants tilt, seeing the highlight of Eli Manning running for the season's first score was quite... hilarious. Manning quipped about a pre-game bet he made with Plaxico Burress about who would have more touchdowns this season. Though he has the early lead, expect Burress to surpass his QB pretty soon because Manning is far from the fleetest of feet.
    Returning to the Cresent City, rookie QB Joe Flacco made a score with his own feet as well. Though the best description of the run comes from a YouTube comment: "Great run by Flacco, although you could have timed him with a sundial!"

  • 4th Quarter - Showtime for picking up Inside the NFL: There are a few people reading this who are quite happy about what I'm saying here, but they did not influence the decision to give props to the new premium cable king.
    As mentioned a while back, HBO dropped the program after 31 years. The reasoning given shortly after its cancellation was that after setting the template for so many sports highlight shows, Inside outlived its usefulness. Former host Bob Costas called the move 'idiotic' and it's been said that HBO did not keep the show because of production cost. Whether you want to believe the cable channel or not, it's a show that tends to keep the volume down compared to other highlight shows on the tube. Bringing the venerable James Brown onboard is a big plus. As good of a job as Curt Menefee has done for FOX's pregame, Brown felt like the more natural fit with the varying personalities on the program.
*Credit: Image courtesy of Not exactly part of the theme of Scribe, but the image works here.

1 comment:

discipline_is_wisdom said...

Quickly, I'll say that I've always felt like Jaws was a straight shooter in the booth.

Second, I'm not a huuuuge NFL fan, but I do enjoy the gridiron battle.
My first sports love is basketball.

My web access is about to be briefly interrupted for a few weeks, but when I return, and moreover, when the NBA season gets underway, I'll be here probably daily to talk hoops with you.

Until then, peace man.