Sunday, November 04, 2007

Weekend musings...

Welcome to the Animal Shelter...

Peter King had it right - the Patriots won yesterday in the fourth quarter on 13 key plays, twelve of them came from the Animal Shelter - Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, and Randy Moss - the other was a great catch-and-I-won't-be-denied-run by scatback Kevin Faulk.

Welker, Stallworth and Moss all made big plays, with Stallworth and Moss catching deep balls to set up touchdowns from Welker and Faulk. Why the "Animal Shelter?"

Stallworth generated almost no interest in the free-agent market, Moss was had for a fourth round draft pick, and Welker, Miami's leading receiver last year and an undrafted free-agent, was tendered the minimum offer from the 'Phins. Like the dogs at an animal shelter, these were the unwanted, and now they're the best receiving corps in football and an integral part of why the Pats are heading into their bye week at 9-0.

Those top three receivers are likely to account for more than 3,600 yards combined at the end of the season. Moss already has 924, Welker is at 651, and Stallworth is at 453. That translates into a season long pace of 1643 for Moss, Welker projects at 1157 and Stallworth at 805 (a total of 3605). That doesn't include another estimated 1300, to 1400 yards in receiving from the rest of the team.

While it's likely that the aerial show will experience some drop-off as the team begins to fight the elements in Foxboro, the idea of a 5,000 yard passing season is not completely out of the realm of possibility. With struggling teams like the Jets, 'Phins, and Eagles still on the schedule, don't be surprised to see a whole bunch of dismantlings a la the first eight games of the season.

What should bother the Colts when they watch film this week, after handed a loss by the Animal Shelter, is that this is what is going to show up on the film - Brady had an off day, throwing at times away from the open man and into coverage. They will see a game in which at least one of their touchdowns was aided and abetted by a phantom call by the referees. They will see a game in which they had to carry their "more physical" defenders off the field twice in the final minutes. They will see a Peyton Manning, circa 2004 instead of circa 2006.

Anyone else hearing strains of that classic "Welcome Back" by John Sebastion.

See you boys in the Razor in January.

Double Standards...

Isn't it time to drop the modifier "fighting" from the now 1-8 Fighting Irish?

Right about now I would like to hear about Ty Willingham filing a lawsuit against the Irish for his dismissal. To wit - in Willingham's three seasons, the Washington alum was fired with an aggregate record of 21-15, with only one losing record (5-7 in 2003). Willingham was dismissed after a 6-5 regular season. Currently, Charlie Weiss is presiding over a 1-8 regular season, putting his current record at 20-12 with three more losses likely on the schedule.

If they fired Willingham after a winning season just for missing a bowl game, not giving him an opportunity to develop the talent he recruited (does the name Brady Quinn mean anything to anybody?), why should Weiss get the same benefit of the doubt as he guides the team to what is likely to be a one win season?

As much as I hate seeing anyone play the card, personally, I have to believe that race played a part in this with Willingham being the only African-American head coach in the history of Notre Dame.


Dave said...

I don't know if it is race as much as Weis is an alum and Ty wasn't and therefore Weis gets a longer leash, but it sure doesn't look good.

You can make a convincing argument that Weis won those first two seasons with Ty's players and then, when he had to recruit...well, you see the result. And doesn't Ty look all the better for it.

I would bet that Weis' alum status gets him one more year.

Kevin Smith said...

You maybe right about the Alumni thing, but considering he was the Irish's first and only African-American head coach, they're treading a fine line hear, especially considering Weiss's record without Willingham's guys.