Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Before reviving Props after a two-week hiatus, a quick mention of the start of tonight's World Series.

It's going to be great. The end.

On to giving dap for Week 7 and moving to Week 8.

Kickoff: Matt Williams, Texas Tech - "Texas Tech?!?! I thought this was about the NFL?" And, you're right, it is about the NFL. Yet, read on. This is just cool.

1st Quarter: Jeff Garcia, Tampa Bay - There are older quarterbacks who have been getting a load of attention this season for their play (Brett Favre with the Jets, Kerry Collins for the Titans, Gus Frerotte in Minnesota), but the one signal caller that should get more is Garcia. Salary cap reasons (and questionable management) ended his highly-successful tenure in San Francisco. He stumbled some in Cleveland and Detroit before essentially carrying Philadelphia into the postseason two years ago, parlaying his success into a contract with the Buccaneers (despite his desire to remain in Philly, the Eagles didn't resign him... still don't understand why).
He was apparently in Jon Gruden's doghouse a few times, leading to an early-season benching. Yet, when Brian Griese got hurt, Garcia was thrusted back under center. He has always been fumble-prone due to his scrambling (three fumbles in his last two games), but he buys time for his receivers to get open. On Sunday against Seattle, he threw for 310 yards by completing 27 of his 36 attempts. He has been remarkably efficient despite the fumbles and he worked well with a seemingly thin receiver corps. Garcia made Antonio Bryant look like the Pro Bowler many in Cleveland thought he could have been as he caught a score and had 115 yards receiving.
Garcia has always made play happen with his legs, making him a four-time Pro Bowler, including last season. Yet, he has never gotten the credit he's deserved for being a smart QB, even on the run. In fact, for all of the talk about how great Favre has looked at his advanced age, Garcia is a year older (38), far more mobile and still playing in a familiar offense (West Coast). Furthermore, no matter what most may say, Terrell Owens/T.O. may have never been a star in this league if it wasn't for... J.G.

2nd Quarter: Jim Haslett, St. Louis - Scott Linehan's dismissal was inevitable. The question was would Rams management have an internal caretaker hold down the fort until season's end in order to bring in an outsider or entrust the roster to a former head coach who had trouble leading consistent teams in his six years in New Orleans. Haslett, hired as the defensive coordinator in 2006, has guided these Rams to two of the more impressive wins of the season so far; upsetting the Redskins at FedEx Field and putting a beatdown on the Cowboys at home.
It's just two games, but considering the depths that St. Louis has fallen with this potentially dangerous roster, Haslett seems to command far more respect from his players than Linehan ever did in 36 games. It may be his prior experience dealing with players as a head coach, dealing with troubled waters (as he did when the Saints were displaced because of Hurricane Katrina) or being a former player (1979 Defensive Rookie of the Year with Buffalo, eight NFL seasons) that has steered the Rams to their recent good fortune. Whether these Rams can make a sudden turnaround from their current 2-4 record or not remains to be seen. He needs the offense to build upon their 34-point outburst (just 96 points scored in six games) in order for management to give him a serious offer after the season.
Haslett's Rams face three more playoff contenders in the coming weeks (@ New England, hosting NFC West-leading Arizona, @ the Jets). It'll be interesting if there is carryover confidence from taking out two NFC East powers into these games.

Halftime: I don't know about you, but I think Elite XC needs to file for bankruptcy protection so that for one night, they can pit these two in a match. Who will win between these potential combatants?

My money's on the ref, to be honest with you. While Ward has the experience, youth, physical tools, tricks of the trade, etc... I'm all about the angry elderly these days. They're funny.

3rd Quarter: Mewelde Moore, Pittsburgh - Willie Parker being sidelined opened up an opportunity for Moore to shine once again. After a solid backup role in 2004 as a rookie with Minnesota, he had a strong all-around season in 2005 as a rusher (662 yards), returner (11.7 yards per kick return, 18.0 on punts) and receiver (339 yards). After Chester Taylor signed as a free agent from Baltimore in 2006 and Adrian Peterson was drafted the following year, he decided to hedge his bets with Pittsburgh, where he'd at least spell Parker for a few snaps every game.
It seemed as if Parker's injury may have eliminated the home run threat because of his uncanny speed, but Moore has averaged just over 5.2 yards a carry in limited duty. In his two starts against Jacksonville and Cincinnati, he's run for 99 and 120 yards, respectively and kicked up his per-carry average to 5.9. His pass catching ability makes him all the more valuable as the Steelers await Parker's return. Since "Fast Willie" has built up a significant injury history, it wouldn't be a surprise if head coach Mike Tomlin has both backs share the load, even as they push for a playoff spot.
Signing Moore for three years is probably one of the Steelers' best decisions so far in 2008.

4th Quarter: Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland - Because anyone or anything that can bring the smiles to the Raiders, if only for a day after downing the Jets in overtime, deserves all the props in the world. Also, because he actually got within ten yards of the goal post with this recently, he should be given the key to the city. I'd say he deserves to kick back a few beers, but he should stay away from the booze.

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