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NFL Unfiltered Week 5: Steelers, Eagles, Roger Goodell, and more!

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As senior producer of NFL films, Greg Cosell studies tape for a living.  It is a job he has done for nearly thirty years.  He has seen the game evolve in various ways and has undoubtedly learned a few things along the way. But recently, he made an ill-advised statement about the San Francisco 49ers’ offense.

 

During Cosell’s segment with Bob Fitzgerald and Rod Brooks of San Francisco’s KNBR 950, they asked him to provide analysis on the 49ers’ successful use of backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick during their game against the New York Jets.  Cosell responded by saying, “The 49ers are trying to manufacture offense rather than executing offense and I don’t think manufacturing offense in today’s NFL wins Super Bowls.”   

 

Excuse me? 

 

In case you might have missed it, Kaepernick made several good runs in that game including a 7-yard touchdown. The Jets looked completely befuddled as he rolled through their secondary. 

 

Again, Cosell spends countless hours in a dark room every week so I am not questioning his commitment.  However, head coach Jim Harbaugh is now 18-5 (including Sunday’s 45-3 pasting of the hapless Buffalo Bills) and their offensive execution is often very good.

 

It isn’t sexy to many because they don’t have a cover boy quarterback and four wide receiver formations isn’t a principal of their offense. Instead, they prefer to wear on their opponents with runs from multiple formations using several personnel groupings. Still, even a casual observer can see Kaepernick’s plays are well executed.

 

Perhaps Cosell is stuck in a paradigm where quarterbacks must play and look like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady to achieve ultimate success. But at one time defensive lineman never dropped into coverage, every team consistently used a fullback and situational substitutions were virtually non-existent.

 

The point is professional football is in a constant state of flux and Cosell in all his infinite wisdom knows it. But why is it so difficult for him to believe a fearless, intelligent coach will one day win a Super Bowl using a quarterback whose skills differ from Johnny Unitas?  Vick photo: AP

 

Maybe Cosell knows the decisions made by players like Michael Vick and Cam Newton (both on and off the field) still scare the establishment. But it’s interesting to note Ben Roethlisberger is a champion, though he is often at his best “manufacturing” offense for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

I certainly do not profess to know where Greg Cosell’s heart is, but I’d love to have a conversation with him, because idiotic assertions like the one he made last week need clarification.

 

WEEK TWO OBSERVATIONS

What the pundits can’t or won’t say

  

-Quarterbacks that make risky throws are coachable, but quarterbacks that are careful cannot become gunslingers.

 

-The more I watch Kevin Kolb, the more I think Andy Reid knew he had a low ceiling.  

 

-The Vikings are improving, but cannot be taken too seriously until they win a game outside.  

 

-And while I’m on dome teams, the Falcons could finish 16-0 and I’d still think the Packers, Giants and 49ers are better teams.

 

-Yes, Danny Amendola plays as hard as his draft status suggests he should, but he’ll hurt himself every year trying to catch passes from the inaccurate Sam Bradford. 

 

-If Vick struggles against the Detroit Lions and the Eagles lose, it’s time to see if Nick Foles can play.  

 

-They’ve gotten old and haven’t drafted many impact defensive players.  Why are we surprised the Steelers are struggling?

 

-Either head coach Mike Tomlin has changed or his team has quit listening to him.  

 

-Remember the end of the Eagles/Steelers game the next time you hear someone say Tomlin is a great coach.  

 

-Forget the numbers, the 49ers defense is not as good as last year, and the Giants will prove it.

 

-I don’t mean to pick on the woeful Bills, but there is nothing even remotely interesting about them unless you play fantasy football.  

 

-There were three good tailbacks in the Seattle/Carolina game and none of them were used properly.  

 

-When it’s a petulant receiver football people quickly remind us punkish behavior hurts a team’s chances of winning.  Yet most of those same people now say Jay Cutler is just a fierce competitor.  

 

-Shannon Sharpe came as close to criticizing a former employer as any ex-player I have ever heard when he said Cutler’s act is the product of every coach he’s ever had. That must include Mike Shanahan.

 Roger Goodell photo: thevictoryformation.com

-This is more about the defenses Tom Brady is facing and less about the greatness of the Patriots offense.

 

-Unfortunately, we’re about 10 minutes away from talk that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is a genius, again.  

 

-Remember when Packers’ GM Ted Thompson seemed a little bit smarter than everyone else?  Judging by the offensive line he’s put together, his brilliance has been overstated.

 

-Peyton Manning’s play this season proves once and for all statistics are merely guidelines. For context, you must watch the game.  

 

-Phillip Rivers’ lack of respect for Norv Turner is obvious based on his attitude and play.  

 

-Commissioner Roger Goodell has a unique interpretation of the word “suspension.”

 

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

 

1. Houston Texans

2. Atlanta Falcons

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. 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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