Apparently the cold followed me though as it was a sweltering 12 degrees here in the NYC.
Good thing I'm about to head off to Vegas for a Footballguys End of the Year Celebration, huh?
A rolling Garda gathers no frost.
While I was traveling back from the Moose-infested north, the yearly bloodletting (or as some call it 'Black Monday') started up and the casualties had some....interesting names.
So let's start there.
NEPOTISM? MY SON AND COWORKER SAYS NONSENSE!
I can't be all that shocked the Polians were ousted in Indianapolis, given my ranting about a lack of planning to protect themselves against a Manning injury.
I am shocked at some of the surprise in the media and some of the, I guess outrage is the word.
Other than draft Manning, what has Bill or his kid done to warrant not taking the bullet here? Not draft a good running back? Not improve an aging offensive line? Not fix a defense?
I'm hearing a lot of frustration that the Polians deserved a bit more slack. That one season of Manning-injury destroyed football shouldn't cause them to get the shaft.
I say when that one year reveals a years-long amount of frittering away of resources, I'm amazed it took that long to jettison them.
Maybe this is playing to my audience but as I mentioned in a Bleacher Report piece I did on grading offenses the ability to plan ahead and have, I dunno, DEPTH has always impressed me about the Packers.
It's what good offenses—and good teams, good front offices—do.
The Polians didn't. That cost their team and cost them their jobs.
Rightfully so in my opinion.
ANDY REID IS NEO IN THE MATRIX
Once again, Reid manages to dodge a bullet in what was a debacle of a season for the Eagles.
I swear if I had time there would be a Matrix-y JPEG of Reid here but alas, I've a plane to catch.
Unlike Polian though, I don't know I blame Reid overmuch for what happened. Perhaps he deserves flak for naming Juan Castillo defensive coordinator (how does he have a job still, by the way?) but more than anything he was a victim of a front office gone mad with Free Agent fever.
That and DeSean Jackson is a tool. If Jackson had played with maybe 50% less sulk and 75% less quit, he might have a new contract and maybe the Eagles could be in the playoffs.
I can see the point of view that Reid could have reigned in Jackson, should have slapped Castillo for his defensive scheme and found a way to get Vick to learn how to hook slide. He's the head coach, the buck stops with him.
However he's done more with less in his time with Philly. I think another year to see if he can pull the team out of this tailspin is reasonable.
ODDS AND ENDS AND AJ SMITH
A few more 'Black Monday'ish notes.
A baffling bit of business is the continued presence of AJ Smith in San Diego's front office. I'm not sure what team's GM has done a more mediocre job than Smith, while scorching relationships in the process.
If he finds a way to retain Vincent Jackson, I'll eat my hat.
I sort of understand staying with Norv Turner. Philip Rivers loves him and he normally does a good job in the regular season. It's ironic they canned Marty Schottenheimer for not winning playoff games given Norv's playoff record.
Speaking of Schottenheimers—how is Brian Schottenheimer still working in NY you ask? Well, rumor has it that the Jets are trying to keep him looking good as a viable head coach candidate by not canning him.
Seems the theory is that they would take less of a financial hit if he left willingly rather than getting fired and the Jaguars are interested.
He's not the only reason the Jets offense sucked (more on that in a second) but he's seen a bevy of quarterbacks in his time and none of them have been much to look at.
Favre famously ignored a lot of his plays and I recall a lot of talk that then HC Eric Mangini tied his hands. When Rex Ryan came to town, we were supposed to see Schottenheimer JR in his full glory.
Finally, the Dolphins reportedly interviewed Jon Gruden about their head coaching vacancy. I whole-heartedly support this. Get THIS GUY out of the booth. Please.
Back to the Jets—
I OWE NAGLER A HAT TIP
Mark Sanchez is not a good quarterback and I am not sure he ever will be.
In my defense, I did say to Aaron way back in the early days of The Hard Count that this was a make or break year for Sanchize.
It's more broke than made.
Some of the issues come down to coaching. What is OC Brian Schottenheimer doing with his ultra-obvious playcalling? Why was offensive line depth allowed to be so thin for so long?
How do you ignore Santonio Holmes for a full month?
Ultimately though, much of this comes down to Sanchez. In the three years now that I have watched him closely, he has not improved one iota. He doesn't see the field. He doesn't read the defenses. His progressions are—as the kids say—wack. He stares down his receivers.
Maybe Schottenheimer is a poor offensive coordinator (I really believe that). Maybe also, some of his vanilla playcalling and lack of vertical game comes down to Sanchez being completely unable to execute.
I'm not sure what good keeping both will do and honestly, Sanchez is Ryan's guy while Schottenheimer was an odd holdover from the previous regime.
So it's unlikely Sanchez goes this off season. But the Jets need some competition and a legitimate quarterback to back Sanchez up in case he continues his descent into suckitude next season.
Nagler has been saying Sanchez was no good as long as I've known him. I'm not totally ready to throw the USC QB out with the bathwater but he's got no margin for error with me now.
He's got to learn how to play the position. If he can't make huge strides this off season and look like a competent quarterback when Week 1 kicks off the season, he has to go.
I have some significant doubts about the possibility of that happening.
That will do it for this week. I will try to post a Hard Count before I head to Vegas but I'm crunched for time so it may wait until next week.
Sorry about that, I hate missing my schedule but it's been a hectic few weeks.
Thanks for reading and I hope you've had a great holiday season.
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