I am almost afraid to write this, challenging perhaps one of the most knowledgeable X's and O's guys around, but, I can't get it out my head. So, here you go Railbird Central - I think your fence is busted.
I just got done reading your post-game notes and I must say I am sorely disappointed in your assessment of A.J. Hawk's performance this afternoon. Now that I think of it, I'm kinda bummed about the whole post. It isn't making any sense to me.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm strictly a well read fan. Be that as it may, I did watch the same game as everyone else and you have me really confused if not feeling a little twilight-zone-ish. I also admit I am not a replay freak like those fine upstanding boys at that wholesome site CheeseheadTV either, so I got one shot to watch the game and that's all I get.
Regardless, I can't let it go. Call me crazy.
You start by saying, and I quote:
"Hawk is a step slow as it is, and now as a middle linebacker, he's going to have to cover running backs coming out of the backfield in pass coverage more often than he had a weakside linebacker.
The Bears exploited Hawk when Forte had six receptions for 60 yards on the day."
Like I said I only get one shot at the game, but that is not the case at all. Firstly, I agree Hawk is still a step slow right now, and argue he isn't even close to healthy. But today, he certainly showed more presence than Barnett had all season.
Secondly, using the word exploited is a little strong isn't it?. Forte only had forty not sixty yards receiving today and eighteen of those yards came on one play when Collins anticipated Forte would stay in on protection. So technically, Hawk got exploited for no more than twenty-two yards. Need I mention his KEY blanket coverage on a third down play when he completely took the inside away from an obviously targeted Forte.
Playing an unfamiliar spot, wearing the headset for the first time, and leading the defense in tackles he wasn't flashy - but seriously?
Next you add:
"Give credit to oft-injured defensive tackle Justin Harrell for playing through the pain. After suffering through a knee sprain earlier in the week and being listed as questionable, Harrell gutted it out and showed some mettle for perhaps the first time in his professional career."
I guess I really didn't notice anything that warranted lauding on the part of Justin Harrell. If "mettle" means actually playing a full game with an injury and not getting hurt then yes, three cheers for Harrell. Al Harris has a busted spleen and didn't miss a game in almost ten years. Justin Harrell just figured out he could map-quest directions to work and finally made it. Collective sigh of relief would be far more appropriate than credit.
"On Fox's broadcast, Troy Aikman mentioned that Donald Driver has been playing through un-reported nagging health problems. Aikman specifically mentioned turf toe. Driver at one point limped off the sideline and it was possible that he aggravated this here-to-fore unknown health impairment."
Shortly after Aikman reported the turf-toe injury on Driver (which was news to me as well) he then came back and clearly stated that Donald had hit his knee and was ready to go full speed again.
I'm sorry man, that fence must have been crowded today.