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1. I can’t stand the argument that Peyton Manning’s arm strength is visibly different than before. No. You can’t see it. It’s in your head and your predisposition to see what you want to see is the only reason you think that Manning’s arm is significantly weaker than it was before his neck surgeries last year. The speed guns have shown during the game that Manning is throwing one or maybe two miles per hour slower than two years ago. Unless those throws are being made side by side so that you can see which ball arrives first, then the human eye can’t tell which ball is going faster.
People love bringing this up to hate on manning. But as he proved last night, it doesn’t matter how strong your arm is, all that matters is how smart your quarterback is. Just ask the Dallas Cowboys.
Last night Manning led the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football history, recovering from a 24-0 deficit to win 35-24. The two halves couldn’t have been more different. Manning looked frustrated and the San Diego defense looked strong in the first half. Former Texas Longhorn Quentin Jammer returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown.
But down 24-0, did anyone really think that the game was over? Not if you know Peyton Manning. He and the Denver defense stepped up to absolutely dominate the Chargers in the 2nd half. Former Texas A&M Aggie Von Miller was held in check most of the game, but he did have a sack and helped pressure the quarterback in a way that the Chargers defense did not.
The Broncos are in that huge cluster of teams at 3-3, but look at the teams they’ve lost to: Patriots, Texans, and Falcons. It’s still early and Denver has lots of time to improve. They’re just a little bit short of being a top tier team, but looking at their schedule the rest of the way, they could be in that group again soon. I picked Denver to be one of the last four AFC teams standing going into the division round of the playoffs. And right now, would you bet against Peyton Manning to make that happen?
Photo courtesy Howard Smith/US Presswire
2. I can’t tell you what a huge fan of Juan Castillo I am. Castillo grew up in a similar way to some of my family members. He was raised in Port Isabel, Texas close to South Padre Island. He went to college in south Texas and even played for the San Antonio Gunslingers in the USFL before returning to south Texas to coach. Then he was given a rare opportunity to join the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff where he worked his way all the way up to defensive coordinator last year… until today.
Today, the Philadelphia Eagles fired Castillo and replaced him with former Dallas Cowboys assistant Todd Bowles… and I’m trying to figure out why. People are saying that this move needed to be made, but I’m not seeing it.
Philadelphia ranked in the middle of the pack in most defensive categories in the league with the exception of third down efficiency where the Philly D is one of the best in the NFL, and penalty yards where they’re among the worst. People are blaming the defense for 4th quarter “meltdowns” but they’re counting the 16-14 loss to Pittsburgh in that group where the offense couldn’t move the ball and Philly allowed two field goals as one. Against the Lions, Detroit scored 17 in the 4th but Michael Vick threw an interception and the Eagles offense had a three-and-out that could have closed out the game but led to the game-tying field goal. In overtime of that game, the offense was backed up to their own goal line and punted away giving the Lions the ball at midfield.
The Eagles defense is giving up less than 21 points per game. They held the Steelers to 16 points in a loss and held both the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens to a combined 40 points for wins in each game. Michael Vick is playing terribly on offense and the Eagles offense has given away 17 turnovers this season, 2nd worst in the league.
In what world is the Eagles defense under Juan Castillo responsible for their 3-3 record and their struggles? Almost none. Andy Reid is trying to save his job, but it won’t work. Castillo will likely join another team soon while Andy will be waiting for the phone to ring at this time next season.
Photo courtesy Jeff Gross/Getty Images
3. The Dallas Cowboys destroyed the Baltimore Ravens on the ground this past Sunday. Dallas totaled 227 yards rushing, 5.4 yards per carry, and dominated time of possession holding the ball for more than 40 minutes! DeMarco Murray was a big part of that. In his first truly great game though, he had to leave with an injury.
According to Jerry Jones, Murray has ligament damage in his left foot but no broken bones. Murray will miss Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and is listed as week to week, but hopefully he’s back in time for their week 8 matchup against the New York Giants. In their previous game against the Giants, Murray ran for over 130 yards in a Cowboys victory. Felix Jones should be fine in his absence as long as the line keeps playing well. Jones ran well when called upon last season and is only in trouble if Murray can’t return because Jones just doesn’t have the stamina to carry the load for a significant part of the season.
If they could start off 2-0 in the division with a sweep of the Giants, it would be huge for their season and could turn it around… but only if they can beat the Panthers on Sunday. Being 3-4 after another Giants win isn’t going to do much for them.
4. The Dallas Mavericks made a lot of solid moves after missing out on Deron Williams this offseason. Among the reasons I liked the moves is that hopefully guys like Delonte West, who are basically just taking up a space on the roster, don’t see much more playing time because he wasn’t very helpful last season when they were having trouble offensively.
Now he’s getting into more trouble off the court. We don’t know exactly what happened. All we know is that West was suspended by head coach Rick Carlisle for conduct detrimental to the team. He’ll only miss a day or two with the team, and this early in the preseason that really doesn’t matter. Carlisle is just trying to send a message, maybe more to West than the rest of the team. But hopefully West gets it because he’s already got plenty of strikes against him.
5. The Mavs are only going to be competitive if Dirk Nowitzki is healthy, of course. And right now, he’s just not. He might not be all season. Last year, Dirk Nowitzki had right knee problems to the point where he actually took some time off to work out and rehab the knee so that he wouldn’t have any problems with it the rest of the season. It seemed to work as he showed significant improvement physically, but his knee is swelling again. It’s why he missed last night’s preseason game.
Now, Dirk may need surgery if he can’t find a way to keep the swelling down. If he were to have surgery, Dirk would have it next week and he’d need four to six weeks to recover. Worst case scenario is that he wouldn’t return until December. But given how well Nowitzki was able to work through his physical problems when he had time off last season, it’s more likely that Dirk would recover closer to four weeks than six weeks.
6. Finally, some great news from NBC today: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are going to host the Golden Globe Awards on January 13th. We honestly can’t think of a time when those two haven’t been funny on TV and they really shine at award shows. Look at Tina Fey and Steve Carell presenting at last year’s Golden Globes.
Amy Poehler didn’t win an Emmy this past year for her brilliant work on Parks and Recreation but she still managed to pull off a hilarious stunt with Veep winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
I’m hesitant to say how they’ll do compared to the hilarious Ricky Gervais, but we do know that it’ll be different and it should be great. They’ll have high expectations going in, but these two have had high expectations for their careers since they left Saturday Night Live and they’ve delivered every time. So there’s little worry that any fans should have about their first foray into hosting an awards show.