Toughness vs. Foolishness
When it comes to sports, the line between toughness and foolishness is not only hard to see, sometimes it doesn’t exist at all. Take the most recent and talked about case of Tony Romo and his cracked ribs combined with punctured lung coming out for more football and leading his team to victory. There is no doubt that we would call his performance tough, gutsy, even heroic – but would anyone care to call it foolish?
Sure, any time we walk out the door, we put ourselves at increased risk. Car accidents and freak occurrences pepper the local news and if you think that something crazy could never happen to you, it might be time to evaluate those thoughts. Athletes, and football players in specific, are at increased risk for serious injury every time they step onto the field. We have seen players paralyzed due to hard hits, dirty or legal. We have seen players collapse and die at practices and training camp because they pushed their bodies too hard. But would we ever call an athlete foolish for putting themselves in a position of increased risk?
This is why the line is so difficult to define. Some of you may recall the NFC championship game last year, where Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears took himself out of the game against the Green Bay Packers because he had a knee injury – an injury that many fans and members of the press felt could have been played through. We called Jay Cutler every horrible, derogatory name in the books because he chose the safe route when his team needed him most. Well a week 2 game against the San Francisco 49ers would hardly qualify for a dire situation, but yet Tony Romo chose to come out of the locker room and head back onto the field for his Dallas Cowboys. Hindsight might show that it was foolish move – certainly his decision to play in this upcoming week could fall into question as well, but is there a definitive answer to this conundrum?
Romo’s career has been defined by two things – injuries and an inability to perform well in the clutch. He missed most of last season with a fractured collarbone and when he finally returns from that injury, poor decision making in the 4th quarter of their week 1 game against the New York Jets cost his team the game. Do you think he felt he had something to prove as he sat on the trainer’s table with cracked ribs and a punctured lung? Of course he did because he knew the fans, the media and possibly his teammates would start talking about the same old Tony Romo. The guy who is always hurt and the guy who is always losing close games. Romo likely saw a chance to change that and crossed the thin, vaporous line that stands between toughness and foolishness. It’s not a decision that we would want to see him (or any other NFL Player) make again in the future. There is a lot more to life than football, even though we obsess over it on a daily basis here in our offices and over in yours too.
The Opening Drive
Matchup of the Week
Our best matchup of Week 3 is the game between the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints (Second week in a row that New Orleans plays in our top billing). Houston is looking to put to rest any fears that they are not the team who will come in and take over the AFC South with Peyton on the shelf. The Saints, on the other hand, need to start separating themselves from the pack in a surprisingly weak NFC South. The Texans have a much improved passing defense from the atrocity we saw last year, but they will be tested by Brees & the Saints this week.
All Sports Talk’s Game of the Week
|Houston Texans||New Orleans Saints|
|152.5 (5th)||212 (23rd)||99.5 (17th)||330 (5th)|
Opp Rushing Yds/Game
Opp Passing Yds/Game
Opp Rushing Yds/Game
Opp Passing Yds/Game
|180.5 (17th)||162 (1st)||81.5 (7th)||241 (18th)|
Recipe of the Week
This week’s recipe comes to us courtesy of the Oprah Winfrey Show (I know). These are an excellent game day option, take just a few minutes to prep and bake, and they really aren’t that expensive to do either.
For the Fantasy Football Freaks
Now that we have a couple weeks of fantasy data, we can separate the true stars from the flashes in the pan that always pop up in the first week.
Fantasy Matchups We Love
- Rob Gronkowski vs. Buffalo Bills – Tight ends aren’t going to make regular appearances on our list, but we just can’t ignore a guy who scored two touchdowns last week. Furthermore, the TE he splits time and receptions with is possibly shelved for the next week or two. That means a lot more targets for Rob in the New England Patriots offense. Just make sure to get Rob and not his brother Dan. Or hell, pick them both up, why not?
- Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles are in the bottom 5 of the league in rushing defense, and Bradshaw has emerged as the no-doubt number 1 running back on this New York Giants football team. He will get a lot more carries than Brandon Jacobs and rumor has it that he will see more time in goal-line type packages from within the 10. Could be a big week for him on the ground.
- Josh Freeman vs. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons have struggled stopping the pass this year, and if the second half of their game last week is any indicator, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense appears to be hitting stride. Josh Freeman is a big part of that, so look to get him on your roster if you have questions at the QB position.
Fantasy Matchups we Despise
- Any New Orleans Saints WR vs. Houston Texans – The Texans, granted, haven’t played an offense of the caliber that the Saints will bring, but the numbers don’t lie – they are the number 1 passing defense in the league. Furthermore, Brees loves to spread the ball around, which means that there is no definitive number 1 target. Any Saints WR you play this week will be a big gamble and one we don’t advise you to take.
- Stephen “Action” Jackson vs. Baltimore Ravens – It is always a risk to play anyone going up against the Ravens, but the St. Louis Rams running back is an extra concern this week. With his injury status still up in the air, you might want to find another player to fill his spot this week. Even if he comes back, he won’t be putting up his typical numbers.
- Eli Manning vs. Philadelphia Eagles – Any defense that can face Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan in consecutive weeks and give up just 361 yards passing combined is a good defense. Eli Manning is INT prone and sack prone which is a deadly combo going up against one of the league’s premier pass rushing teams.
Email Question of the Week
This week’s email question comes to us courtesy of Jessica from El Cajon, California. She asks:
Who do you think is the most overrated player in the NFL and why?
Whenever a player asks for a big salary increase or a lengthy contract extension, they immediately get some extra scrutiny thrown their way. One of the biggest stories this offseason, in terms of contract extension talks, was Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. He said that not only did he want to get paid like he was the best running back in the league, he wanted to get paid as if he were one of the best players in the league. Woah buddy – as soon as you ask for that kind of money you are making yourself a prime target for discussions which involve the word “overrated.” So to answer your question, Jessica, Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans is the most overrated player in the NFL. Why? Well let’s see exactly what the Titans have received so far in return for their 6 year, $56 million dollar contract with Johnson. 77 rushing yards and 0 touchdowns. Zero, Zilch, Nada – he hasn’t even amassed enough yards to take him from one goalline to the other. He wanted to get paid more than a top running back, and right now he is barely in the top 20. Overrated.
This Week in Science
If you thought that nothing moved faster than the speed of light, think again. Scientists in Europe have been using the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator to send neutrons and other sub-atomic particles hurtling close to the speed of light. Well it seems that a few of those particles are showing up a fraction of a second ahead of the light rays – a claim that is turning the scientific community on it’s head. Much of what modern physics is based on is that nothing can ever go faster than the speed of light – that’s kind of the cap. If these recent findings turn out to be true, it could change everything we know (ok, everything all the smart people know) about our physical universe.
Of course, such claims must be corroborated by independent scientists, before any legitimate theories can be claimed. There is no timetable for just when a second opinion on the subject will be heard, but for now, you can read more about the team’s findings here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15017484
Start of the 2nd Half
Poll of the Week
As the league continues to go pass-crazy and quarterbacks throw up ridiculous numbers every week, there is some stir that Dan Marino’s single season passing record could be in jeopardy. Marino threw for an impressive 5,048 passing yards in the 1984 season, a record that has hardly been sniffed for the past 27 years. Our question to you. Will Dan Marino’s record fall this year?
Bizarro Game of the Week
If you ever needed a reason to get NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTV, it’s this week’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans. The ONLY reason to actually keep the game on this channel is to see if Tim Tebow gets his first start of the year. Other than that, prepare yourself for a Sunday afternoon of poorly coached, poorly played football.
Video of the Week
This week’s video is brought to you by Matt no longer in Cleveland. I was unsure how much attention this got when I saw it live, but it basically boiled down to this….A New York Giant’s player threw the football at some poor fan’s face. Watch.
The 2 Minute Drill
Fun NFL Fact
I have to give some credit to www.footballbabble.com for this next tidbit.
- In 1932, six of the Chicago Bears’ games ended in a tie.
Ok, we aren’t exactly sold on this one right now, but a game to keep an eye on will be the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. The Raiders actually played well in the first half before melting down in the second. In fact, I think that they played well enough in the first half to beat just about any football team out there – especially a team like the Jets who isn’t exactly a threat to score quickly and repeatedly.
Buy or Sell
- Buy or Sell the Houston Texans doing what it takes to make the playoffs for the first time. — I’m going to have to buy this one – regardless of whether Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were contenders this year. The Texans were a decent defense away from making the playoffs last year and they finally have it. Book your Texans playoff plans now.
- Buy or Sell Cam Newton as a legitimate NFL quarterback. — Right now I’m buying it. He has gone up against two very different teams in terms of defensive strategy and has performed better than expected against both. The INT’s versus the Green Bay Packers showed us that he still has some learning to do, but the skill sets are there. One thing is for sure – he’s no Jamarcus Russell
- Buy or Sell Tim Tebow getting in at quarterback for the Denver Broncos this week. — I’m selling this one. Even though it would seem that coach John Fox would have a mutiny on his hands if he lets Orton stay in any longer, there is no doubt that Orton is the more developed of the two quarterbacks. Combine that with the chance at a very winnable game this week against the Titans and I think that Orton should remain in the game for all 4 quarters.
Just some closing notes, don’t forget to check out the completely revamped NFL section on our site. We have updated it with a complete list of NFL Teams, a page with division and conference standings, and links to team profiles for all 32 NFL teams. Included in these profiles are some basic facts about the team, current team schedules & records, latest headlines & video highlights, fan images, and team statistical leaders.