Phil Simms goes around the league to discuss the 2010 Week 4 Football contests.
1) On game clock management. Plenty of NFL head coaches still make bad decisions at the end of the game, and this year is no different.
2) Michael Vick. Yes, surprised by the resurgence. Usually when they lose their legs, it is a downward spiral. Impressed with the tremendous return of his play. But he does caution that Jacksonville handed it to the Eagles and Vick on a silver platter. He implied that we will need to see how Vick does against stiffer competition before completely anointing his return to the NFL.
3) Saints offense. Just like everyone has prepared for the overloaded Jets blitzes in the offseason, they are also adjusting to the Saints' offensive schemes.
4) Roethlisberger. During training camp, they kept him sharp. He will come back and there may be a small dropoff, but don't expect it to be significant or long-lasting. When he rejoins the team it will be a smooth transition.
5) Blitzing. Simms expected a lot of blitzing this season but it has not turned out that way. Teams like the Steelers, Ravens and Bears (vs Packers, notably) have been using less blitz, more bend and don't break.
6) SF and CAR are failing because the plan was for them to play tough defense and win close low-scoring games. They are giving up too many plays, so without enough offense they are beached whales.
7) Ray Rice. "Nothing wrong with Ray Rice." His weaker performance says more about playing the Bengals and Jets tough defenses than Rice's abilities. Baltimore still needs to run the ball.
8) Ravens defense. Francesa points out that without Ed Reed, you can pass on the Ravens. Simms counters and says that they are a more conservative defense than in past years. Without Rex Ryan as the defensive coordinator, they are still defensively sound, albeit a less aggressive.
A quick note about Francesa. I disagree with him on plenty of topics. Even earlier in the broadcast when he stepped up in favor of the 18 game season, as usual, I was in disagreement. But when he spoke about the Giants-Bears matchup, he struck a chord with everything we have been saying about this game all week. He said that he did not care if Coughlin had to dress himself (for Kiwanuka, O'Hara et al not playing), that the Giants had little choice but to get it done tonight. That the Bears are not a great team, pointing out similarly to this blog that the Bears have not shattered their three opponents and could easily be 1-2 or 0-3 in slightly different circumstances. THE GIANTS MUST EXECUTE CONSISTENTLY TONIGHT. They must finish drives, because as noted in (5) above, it is not about getting a few first downs vs the Bears. It is about not getting the penalties and mishaps that end drives. Francesa also pointed out that they have to make sure that Peppers does not become a big factor. Gilbride, are you listening? That means scheming all week in practice with screens, 3 step drops, (delayed) draws to Bradshaw off tackle, and chips from the FB/TE/RB. Slow him down. It is up to you to put your players in a position to succeed!