Monday Morning Left Guard
October 3, 2011, 3:42 pm
By Bernard Bokenyi
It was a rather interesting day in the NFL for week 4. Come from behind victories, two teams remain unbeaten and plenty of storylines to go around. So let’s get down to business.
Sunday night’s game between The Jets and Baltimore was one of the strangest I have seen in some time. When you have four defensive scores and a special teams touchdown, it makes me wonder how bad the quarterback play is. I have never been a big believer that Mark Sanchez is the reason the Jets have won playoff games in recent years, but I am puzzled about Joe Flacco. I have to chalk it up to just a bad night for Flacco. He can’t afford to have that type of game again. He has a defense that swarms to the ball and is a championship caliber unit. The Ravens and Patriots are the leaders in the AFC right now. Baltimore needs to find a way to get home field advantage this season in the playoffs. Playing on the road in recent years in January has shown to be a tough task.
Titans quarterback Matt Haselbeck is having a solid year, and is flying under the radar
somewhat. He lost his top receiver in Kenny Britt last week and all he does is goes out and throws for 220 yards with three touchdown passes. I know a lot of Seahawks fans are using the “why did they give up on him line”, but that doesn’t matter. Tennessee has much better personal and coaching. Hasselbeck looked very pedestrian the last few season in Seattle and now he is playing at a Pro Bowl level. I never saw this coming. When they drafted Jake Locker, I felt it was a rebuilding year for sure. Now yes it is early, but I think the Titans could be in the mix for the playoffs, especially with the AFC South up for grabs due to Peyton Manning being out.
Atlanta gave up a lot to draft Julio Jones in the draft. I was alright with the move, since a top notch wide receiver is considered one of the last pieces you add. But this Falcons team was lucky to escape Seattle with a win. They play in a division with two good teams and an up and coming Panthers team to boot. I think there is a lot of talent on the Falcons roster, but they need to clean things up quickly. This week won’t be any easier for them as they host Green Bay on Sunday night. If Atlanta misses the playoffs, I have to believe a coaching change would be in order.
The St. Louis Rams are taking steps back this year. Their defense is pretty solid as linebacker James Laurinaitas is developing nicely. However they are not clicking at all on offense. Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels was supposed to bring his vaunted offense to the Gateway city, but I have been unimpressed so far. In a division with no clear cut leader, St. Louis should be able to step it up. Running back Stephen Jackson is hitting his limit for high productivity and the Rams just may not be able to put it together while he is in St. Louis.
The last time the Philadelphia Eagles made a coaching change was 1999. In today’s NFL, that is unheard of. Andy Reid has continually had his squad in the playoffs, but it is looking like a different story so far this year. Losing at home to a suspect 49ers team is the kind of loss that can cost you a trip to the playoffs. Philadelphia fans are among the most passionate in the country. Andy Reid just may find himself on the hot seat before the end of the season. That offensive line is causing way too many issues. I have never been, or ever will be a Mike Vick fan, but he is good enough to get you to the playoffs. I still think the Eagles will play ball in January, but I wonder if Andy Reid’s time has come. While he has a great winning record, he still has not won a Super Bowl. That is the bottom line when it comes to the NFL. Winning the Super Bowl is the standard and Eagles fans just may call for a change.
We are watching the development of an elite level quarterback in the NFL right now. What Aaron Rodgers is doing is truly a joy to watch. The Packers offense was filthy on Sunday at home against Denver. Rodgers timing with his receivers is amazing. Greg Jennings is a stud and veteran Donald Driver is still making great plays. I normally don’t like seeing teams throw the ball as much as Green Bay does, but it is working for them. I feel Green Bay needs to find a new running back in the draft next year, but Aaron Rodgers is filthy good right now. He just may be the best in the league. Brady is still great and Breese is no slouch, but Rodgers is at a level of his own right now. Packers fans are being spoiled at levels we have never seen. When Steve Young finally got his chance with San Francisco, some of his best years where behind him. Rodgers though is just hitting his peak and he seems to be getting better. Imagine how good he will be when the Packers get a young back? Green Bay has done a great job in assembling this roster and it shows. Memo to all teams, you win through the draft. Follow the Packers lead. Other teams like Pittsburgh and New England have done this as well and it pays dividends.