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NFL Unfiltered Week 7: Eagles in turmoil, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and more!

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Each week, the NFL features thrilling hits, breath-taking touchdowns and exciting finishes. But is the growth of the game due to our willingness to forget? 

 

The Cleveland Browns are 1-6 and despite playing a bit better, they are likely to have another very high draft pick in 2013. They have only had one winning season since 2002 and they’re relying on two rookies to change the fate of the franchise.  Yet many scribes and fans will label 2012 a disappointment, as if they were supposed to make the playoffs. Frankly, it’s a logic we don’t apply to other aspects of life, and we certainly don’t apply it to other sports. 

 

We know Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins isn’t going to change and fans don’t pretend he will.  They cheer andAndrew Bynum photo: Bryan Anderson/AP boo his performance appropriately but he never surprises. 

 

When the NBA begins next week, the media will remember who and what the Sixers are. There won’t be any misconceptions about their place in the league. Instead of trying to convince us Nick Young is an All-Star, they’ll provide realistic analysis of his skills.    

 

If a stock showed zero growth and even less potential most of the last decade, would we find it shocking if the trend continued?  More importantly, would we spend countless hours following it?  If an automobile manufacturer produced unreliable vehicles for several years, would we look forward to the launch of its next new car?  

 

Anywhere you choose to look, there is an example of a team or player that is producing similarly to recent history. But it’s as if we believe pro football isn’t as enjoyable unless we fool ourselves. How else do you explain Eagles’ fans?  They have filled Lincoln Financial Field for 14 seasons without the joy of celebrating a Super Bowl championship.  But somehow Andy Reid’s play calling and decision making still invoke feelings of incredulity.   

 

Sometimes the propaganda is so powerful it’s virtually impossible to accept reality.  That’s why Joe Flacco looks like he’s underachieving.  He isn’t really, it’s just his head coach (John Harbaugh) told us he was ready to take the next step and Flacco himself claimed he was an elite quarterback. We all knew better, but the NFL’s marketing machine is just too intoxicating.    

 

Still, the skill and athleticism of its players are just too good to miss.  But it’s our willingness to forget or conveniently ignore reality that is the true lifeblood of the NFL.  

 

WEEK SEVEN OBSERVATIONS

What the pundits can’t or won’t say

 

-During Thursday night’s pregame show, Michael Irvin suggested Marshawn Lynch might have a strong game because of prayer and bible study as he passed the stadium. I have no issue with prayer or bible study, but that’s not the kind of analysis I’m looking for minutes before kickoff.

 

-The Seahawks’ cornerbacks are too big and too slow to be effective, unless they’re allowed to clutch and grab.

 

-There is something disingenuous about Pete Carroll.  Every time I see him interviewed he sounds like he’s trying to sell me something.  

 

-As much as I enjoy Robert Griffin III’s play, it’s still okay for Mike and Kyle Shanahan to actually coach during games. Don’t simply ask him to beat three defenders all the time. He doesn’t wear a cape.  

 

-I ask again, is there anything remotely brilliant about Mike Shanahan beyond the fact he called plays for two quarterbacks who were already good before he arrived?

 

-I’ll be surprised if Ahmad Bradshaw is playing quality football two months from now.  His role in the Giants’ offense is too large.  

 Eli Manning Lombardi Trophy

-Eli Manning isn’t a great quarterback, but there is nobody better with the outcome in the balance.

 

-They’ll say the Ravens miss Ray Lewis’ leadership, but the truth is the team hasn’t played well since opening day and they miss cornerback Lardarius Webb much more.  

 

-Besides Lewis, the main reason it’s easy to run on the Ravens is the play of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He seems comfortable being blocked these days.   

 

-Thru the first 7 games in 2011, the Ravens scored 185 points. Thru the first 7 games this season, they’ve scored 174. The unleashing of Flacco continues.

 

-It’s funny watching teams use extra offensive lineman and tight ends yet still struggle to run the football.

 

-If Chan Gailey, Pat Shurmur and Ron Rivera quit today, do you think anyone would notice?

 

-Is Jeffrey Lurie as confused by Juan Castillo’s firing as I am?  Juan Castillo- the Eag;es new defensive coordinator?  Photo: BusinessInsider.com

 

-Ben Roethlisberger can beat defenses in more ways than any other quarterback in the league.  And it isn’t even close.  

 

-NFL coaches should borrow strategy from their NBA brethren and call more plays for whoever has the hot hand.  

 

-Patriots fans are not spoiled as Tom Brady suggests. It’s just that he and his teammates aren’t as good as they once were. Has any other player gone from lovable underdog to smarmy, elitist champion like Brady?  

 

-Cam Newton has his issues, but Jaguars’ owner Jerry Richardson and Rivera aren’t doing him any favors.  

 

-While Griffin III, Newton and Michael Vick are asked to perform like super heroes, Andrew Luck is handing the ball off 25 times a game.  

 

-I like Charles Woodson’s game, so I hope this latest injury forces him to wear adult sized shoulder pads when he returns.

 

-Jim Schwartz has better players than his Lions’ predecessors, but he isn’t a better coach than any of them. And that includes Dick Jauron and Marty Mornhinweg.  

 

Top 4 this week (rankings disclaimer: my top four will always feature two AFC teams and two NFC teams).

  

Atlanta Falcons

Houston Texans

New York Giants

Minnesota Vikings

 
Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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