LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 4

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0, +3)

There’s no question right now that this is the top defense in the NFL. We said before that if they could survive and go 2-2 in Roethlisberger’s absence they’d be okay. If they can beat the Ravens next week, no one in the AFC will be in better shape.

2. Indianapolis Colts (2-1, +3)

Their week one loss is looking more and more like a minor speed bump. Denver is one of the tougher places to play in the NFL and they controlled the game once again. Consider them back on track after the Texans caught them off guard.

3. New York Jets (2-1, +6)

Two huge wins in a row for the Jets as they were both against AFC East rivals and both without Revis for the most part. Whether Braylon Edwards should or should not have played, he helped the Jets earn a huge victory.

4. Atlanta Falcons (2-1, +8)

They knocked off the defending champs and looked damn good doing it. Matt Ryan looks like he’s recovered from the sophomore slump and Michael Turner appears to be healthy again. They’ve only lost to the Steelers, and you know how we feel about them.

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Charlie Weis Delayed Gall Bladder Surgery to Coach Chiefs

Coaches typically don’t get recognition for working through pain on Sundays but Charlie Weis may be an exception. The Kansas City Star tells us that Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis coached on Sunday despite knowing he needed emergency gall bladder surgery for an infection.

Weis apparently was ill beginning on Friday but delayed the surgery so he could coach on Sunday. His decision, however painful, paid off.

The Chiefs had their biggest offensive output of the season posting 31 points. Weis even got creative in the game, going for a reverse pass out of the single wing formation where quarterback Matt Cassel was lined up as the flanker. The result was a 45-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe that gave Kansas City a 17-3 lead.

Though we bashed Weis for having poor seasons at Notre Dame which resulted in his firing, it was the Irish’s defense that was the problem, not the offense. We always felt that he was much better suited as an offensive coordinator than a head coach and that appears to be the case.

Luckily the gall bladder infection does not appear to be a serious medical issue. Weis for some reason has been a magnet of health problems. He had a brush with death following a gastric bypass surgery gone wrong, this gall bladder problem, and of course there was the time he tore his ACL on the sidelines for Notre Dame. Now that he’s no longer on the Irish’s sidelines, he’s a lot more likable. We’re definitely wishing him the best.

PTI, Around the Horn Move to New HD Set for 3D TVs

Fans of ESPN’s afternoon talk shows Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn were in for a welcome surprise when they tuned in on Monday. Both shows had changed up their looks and layouts. The shows announced they’re now in HD, but you can tell it’s actually more than that. The graphics were fuzzy and seemed to be made specifically for 3D TVs.

ESPN is actually leading the way in the 3D TV movement, broadcasting certain sporting events in that manner. Even though I’ve never seen anything broadcast on a 3D TV, I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. In fact, most viewers had supportive comments on twitter, though hardly any of them seemed to realize the 3D association, focusing mostly on the HD aspect. Here are some of the reviews from people on twitter:

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High Schooler Marky Thompkins Hurdles an Upright Defender (Video)

It appears we’re in the midst of a freak athleticism epidemic across the nation, particularly with regard to football players hurdling defenders.  Looks like the hurdle is starting to become as common as the spin move.  A little over a week ago we showed you a Kentucky recruit leap clean over a defender who was standing on both feet waiting to make a tackle.  On Saturday, South Carolina running back Brian Maddox did the same and kicked the defender in the head in the process.

It’s instances like the Maddox hurdle that have led to the acrobatic maneuver being deemed an illegal one in many high school conferences.  While the play may not have stood, because rules prevent a runner from hurdling a player who has one or two feet on the ground under OHSAA regulations, East Liverpool High School’s Marky Thompkins hurdle video is still amazing to watch.  Check it out:

H/T to Deadspin for the video

Jimmy Raye Fired by 49ers Mostly Because of Alex Smith

The 49ers fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye on Monday morning, a day after the team stumbled to 0-3 with a 31-10 blowout loss in Kansas City. San Francisco has to be one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL. Many people thought they would win the NFC West because of the poor competition in the division, and some even felt they had a chance to advance in the postseason. Now with an 0-3 start.

The team’s offense has been a mess for the most part. They were destroyed 31-6 on the road by the Seahawks in their season opener. In week two, they scored 22 points in a close loss to the Saints on Monday Night Football. Sunday’s week three loss to the Chiefs was the tipping point as the offense was held without a touchdown until the final play of the game. They wound up with 10 points, but that was mostly cosmetics; the Chiefs essentially held them to a field goal.

Although I thought the defense would carry this team and the offense would do just enough for them to win eight games and the division, neither unit is playing well. The problems start with the offense’s inability to move the ball. Because they don’t get first downs and move the chains, they start off with poor field position and are forced to go long distances, while putting the defense at a disadvantage.

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49ers’ Anthony Davis Latest Victim of Shaun Smith Ball Grabbing

After last weekend’s NFL games, an interesting little story emerged when Browns center Alex Mack informed the public that Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith grabbed his package during a game.  Mack understandably retaliated and drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty from the officials after the play.

One week later, San Francisco 49ers tackle Anthony Davis drew the exact same penalty after retaliating when Smith pulled the exact same stunt and grabbed his genitals, according to Davis.  The penalty on Mack a week ago led to a missed field goal for the Browns.  The penalty to Davis on Sunday created a second-and-22 for the Niners after they had just converted a first down.

“He tried to feel me,” Davis said. “That’s weird, right?”

While the penalty may have been costly for San Francisco at the time, Niners coach Mike Singletary seemed understanding of the reaction from Davis. “I think he got hit inappropriately,” Singletary said. “After a while, there’s only so much you can take. He (Davis) was wrong for retaliating and he knows that.”

It’s obvious this little perverted tactic Smith has developed can help his team and be costly for the opposition, but it’s completely out of line.  You can’t expect a guy to allow someone to grab a handful of his man zone and not do anything about it.  The NFL should strongly consider looking into it and slapping Smith with a fine if they determine he’s made a habit of grabbing balls on the gridiron.

Rex Ryan Dumps Gatorade on Jason Taylor

We all knew that Rex Ryan wasn’t the most orthodox coach in football. From taunting Miami fans at an MMA event to challenging his players in a weight loss competition, Ryan does things unconventionally. I mean how often do you see a coach dumping gatorade on a player? Isn’t it supposed to work the other way around? Not for Ryan. He decided to celebrate Jason Taylor’s sack and win over his former team with a gatorade bath. Check out the Rex Ryan and Jason Taylor gatorade video:

Just like Nick Saban, they nailed Taylor in the head. I’m sure that’s the biggest hit he took all night.