Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Playing in the NFL Twilight Zone

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When the replacement refs were officiating in the pre-season, I realized the 2012 NFL season was doomed if they continued into the regular season. Jokingly, I commented "Great, get ready for a Vikings/Cincy Super Bowl". I seriously did not mean it.

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I have seen almost every game have completely wrong calls. And several games were won/lost because  of calls. When it was announced that retired officials would be monitoring the games to try and reduce wrong and missed calls, I was only half relieved. Apparently, this idea still did not work.

The Saints have lost two games due to the calls of the refs. Putting that aside to prove that actually this isn't a "The NFL is against the Saints" post, I saw 3 games this week alone that were called wrong. The Detroit/Tennessee game on Sunday for instance. A penalty was called on Lions linebacker, Tulloch, and the refs re-set the ball from the wrong 44 yard line! This error resulted in Tennessee kicking the winning field goal because they were moved closer than they were supposed to be. The New England/Baltimore game on Sunday Night Football is questionable. Depending on the angle of the camera, the field goal may/may not have been good. The ultimate screw up was in the Monday Night Football game between Green Bay and Seattle. Nevermind the fact that Tate pushed off of a Green Bay defender that should have been called offensive pass interference and ended the game, it was obvious that the ball was intercepted in the end zone. In any case, no way should Seattle have won this game. This is just a few of the messed up calls that refs allowed to happen this week.

This is all in addition to the messed up flags/calls I saw in the previous weeks. I mean extra time outs, 5th downs, and more. When will this madness end?

I kind of feel bad for the replacement refs. They were thrown into a situation totally unprepared. They had no idea how to officiate in the NFL. But Goodell and the owners were all about saving that dollar. They were also intimidated and taken advantage of by players and coaches. There were several times I saw a player do something that they know is wrong, its just they wanted to see if they could get away with it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.

Personally, I don't think any team should settle for their current record. I think the league should wipe everyone down to 0-0 and start over having only 13 games this season. If they won or lost based on their playing performance alone, then yes they should've had that win/loss. However, if officiating changed the game, why should teams be punished for Goodell's screw up?



Sources:

Replacement officials' errors spark controversy in Week 3

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 4: LSU @ Auburn {NCAAF}

I was containing my excitement on the success of LSU becoming 3-0 in the weeks prior to this. They were playing teams that they should beat with ease. Plus the first 3 games were home games. I knew the first away game would be a test no matter the opponent. I, however, was not ready for this close, nail-biter of a game with Auburn University. I always would be a liar if I said that I didn't feel the slightest bit scared that LSU may even lose this game. I waffled back and forth trying to figure out if LSU was playing worse than the previous weeks or if they were "show-boating" assuming this would just be an easy win. I hope this game isn't showing that our defense has to be a step ahead of our offense to get wins. I am giving LSU the benefit of the doubt since this was Mettenberger's first away game and first SEC conference game. The real test of how LSU performs this season will be on October 6th when we play Florida away. Until then I will accept the ugly 4-0 record. Mettenberger did have two fumbles recovered by Auburn. This was the game of the punter....
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week 2 Surprises {NFL}

There were some big surprises in the outcomes of game in Week 2.


  • Saints @ Panthers: While I hate that my beloved boys in Black and Gold lost to the Panthers, I'm not quite sure why suddenly people are claiming its a surprise. After Cam Newton's stellar performance last season, every one was saying that Carolina would be a team to watch this season. So, while I hate the loss, it wasn't that much of a surprise according to the standards set forth.
  • Chiefs @ Bills: According to the pre-season polls, Kansas City was going to be the team to beat in the AFC West. But, the "non-contender" Bills beat them 35-17. Mark me down as surprised. I figured Kansas City would at least win.
  • Cardinals @ Patriots: This was a real surprise although if the Patriots had made the field goal, they would've won. I never would have picked Arizona over New England. 
  • Redskins @ Rams: I was secretly hoping against all hope that the Rams would pull this win off. My hope was based on emotion and wanting the Redskins to lose as revenge for Week 1. And I must admit that James Laurinaitis is one of my favorite players even though he has never played on my team. I barely got my wish, but I got it. And it was a shock for others who assumed that RG3 was going to carry his winning momentum into Week 2.
  • Cowboys @ Seahawks: I think this was another one that no one saw coming. After Dallas' big win over the Giants last week, every one was ready to peg them as an undefeated team this year. But, Seattle owned the Cowboys this week.
  • Denver @ Atlanta: I'm not going to say the outcome was a surprise because deep down I knew the Falcons would win. What surprised me was the fact that it was not consistently a close game throughout. I expected more from Peyton.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Saints go 0-2: Weeks 1 & 2 {2012}

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I would be lying if I said I was not ashamed of the Saints right now. I love them, I do. I am still a Who Dat and I still have faith that they will make something of this season, but their playing the last 2 weeks should leave any fan concerned. I just didn't have it in me to blog after Week #1 so I am doing 2 weeks in one here. 

Week #1: Redskins @ Saints 
Week #1 (September 9th) we faced the Redskins at home. Maybe the fact that we went undefeated in the Dome last year lowered my pre-game anxiety. But, then the game started. I had my Saints gear on. I was ready to see my boys whip the Redskins tail and show all the doubters that we had overcome the adversity. These are the things I saw in Game 1 that contributed to our loss:
  • Offensive Line - Where was Brees' protection? We were letting the defenders pressure him all day. I wish we hadn't let our O-Line get broken up because we had the best in the league. Protection for Brees is a must! 
  • Offense Out of Sync - I'm not sure why, but the offense had been out of sync the entire game. Brees didn't seem like Brees when he was passing. There were many critical dropped passes. There was the Colston fumble. There was 2 interceptions thrown by Brees. This offense just wasn't OUR offense. 
  • Defense - Primarily the secondary. Injuries at Corner didn't help us at all. I feel our secondary has been weak for a couple years now. I knew we were facing a season without Vilma (which we may still lose him depending on Goodell's next punishment), but I felt the additions of Lofton, Hawthorne and Chamberlain (he ended up on IR) were good moves. These are veteran guys in the league who would have no problem learning our defense. And, as for tackling; has anyone bothered teaching our defense this? When I see a good tackle, 99% of the time its Jenkins. I catch myself yelling at the TV all the time to either just prevent the reception or stop forward progress! Make that the priority. Then worry about forcing a fumble, stripping, interceptions. Our defense can't keep letting these teams get downs; they need to be stopping them. I am really hoping Spagnuolo is still working out kinks and our defense is still getting used to his defense. I don't like soft defenses. 
  • Coaching - As much as I hate to admit it, I am beginning to believe Coach Payton has a bigger influence in this team than originally believed. But, Brees is a strong leader, he should be able to lead this offense almost as well as Payton. 
  • Replacement Refs - No one else seems to notice this, but it is a major contributor especially to this game. The final score was 40 - 32. However, in case no one noticed, the pass interference call on Roman Harper was wrong. It should not have been called. Now, here's why this botched call affected this game. That play was on 4th down. Harper was clean on his block; should have been incomplete pass not a flag for pass interference. Therefore, Washington never would have had the chance to get the touchdown on the next play because ball would have gone to Saints on downs. So, because of this botched call, we'll never know what the final score would have been. They could have still won. Or the Saints could have won despite all the other problems they were having. 
One highlight was the blocked punt which resulted in a Roby touchdown. 

Grades: Offense: D Defense: D Special Teams: B Coaching: D {And can I please give the Refs a grade??? D}
Yes, I was harsh. But, I have to be honest.


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Photo Courtesy of Nola.com

Week #2: Saints @ Panthers
The way the Saints started out in this game, I was excited. It was looking like the Saints offense I love had re-emerged. As time went on, I realized I was wrong. Here's my take on what contributed to this loss:
  • Offensive Line - Again, we need to protect Drew! We need to get the pressure off him. He makes irrational decisions when under pressure. So, this O-line needs to step it up and protect him as well as he has been in the past. 
  • Offense - While our offense played a little better this week, there were some critical mistakes. Drew's interceptions was one. Both Moore and Graham had dropped passes that could have been touchdowns. 
  • Defense - This is an area I felt has needed work for 2 years now. And it still does. Hopefully soon I'll see the great improvements in defense we need.
I can't really blame this loss on refs. Sure, there were missed calls, but nothing that would have critically altered the game. But, even with the regular refs, we still had missed holding calls and pass interference calls. 

Grades: Offense: C+ Defense: D Special Teams: B Coaching: C {Refs: B}

Now, we are 0-2 for the first time since 2007. Its a crappy way to start the season, especially one in which we have a major chip on our shoulders. But, even through the adversity, we will somehow come together, because....
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