TGI Friday’s NFL Weekend Preview: Indianapolis Colts vs Philadelphia Eagles

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Why Should I Watch?

There aren’t many quarterbacks in the NFL who are more exciting to watch than Peyton Manning.  Michael Vick is one of the few.  Vick electrified the Eagles when he started filling in for the injured Kevin Kolb.  He was then forced to miss time with his own injuries, but he returns to action on Sunday to face the Colts.  We’re now right around the halfway point of the 2010 season, when we can really start to get a feel for who the real contenders are.  Philadelphia and Indianapolis are two of them.

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Jake Plummer: Mike Shanahan is Still Searching for John Elway

It appears there’s at least one guy out there who feels Donovan McNabb’s pain.  Much has been made over Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman with the game on the line last weekend.  While Shanahan has denied it, several reports indicate the Redskins coach is unhappy with McNabb’s conditioning and his lack of effort during practice.

According to former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, that’s just Mike being Mike.  Plummer said he thinks Shanahan’s expectations tend to be too high, especially for his quarterbacks.  Out of Bounds passed along Plummer’s thoughts on the McNabb situation:

It just seemed like every game I could have completed these four more passes or these five more shots here and it would have been perfect. And that just wasn’t my personality… But Shanahan wanted perfection and he wore a lot of us down there.”

“I think Shanahan is still searching for John Elway,” Plummer said. “Somehow, someway, he thinks there’s going to be another guy like John Elway.”

“He coached a team to almost perfection (with Elway) so he wanted that again, he wanted that every time we went out there. It’s just not realistic.”

Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds like Shanahan’s mentality is consistent with that of all the great coaches in sports.  Does Bill Belichick ever truly seem satisfied?  How about Bill Parcells?  Mike Ditka doesn’t seem like the positive reinforcement type, does he?  You get the point.  Some guys need a pat on the back to keep them going and some coaches aren’t going to give it to them.  If that’s what McNabb is looking for, his stay in D.C. will likely be a short one.

Charlie Whitehurst to Start for Seahawks, Matt Hasselbeck Out with Concussion

If you can picture me rubbing my hands together with eyes wide open and saliva dripping down the sides of my mouth, it’s because I’m getting excited for this matchup between the Giants and Seahawks with Charlie Whitehurst as the starting quarterback. The Seahawks announced Thursday afternoon that Matt Hasselbeck would miss the game to recover from his concussion and that fifth-year backup Whitehurst would make his first career start.

Charlie Whitehurst was drafted in the third round by the Chargers in 2006 out of Clemson and he’s only thrown two career passes. He has seen plenty of action in the preseason however, which I’m sure has you excited. In five preseasons, Whitehurst has nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions as well as a few fumbles.

In what appeared to be one of the worst trades of the off-season, the Seahawks gave the Chargers a third-round pick for Charlie to become their backup and they signed him to a two-year $10 million deal. Now it’s time for Seattle and Charlie to prove he was worth it. Wise thinkers will want to see something out of Whitehurst before they believe he can perform well against a brutalizing defense like the Giants. That’s not a good draw for one’s first career start.

Drew Brees Reportedly Playing with Torn Meniscus and Knee Fracture (NO Denies)

We’ve been wondering where the Saints offense has been for most of the season. Drew Brees hasn’t been the same machine he was last year and New Orleans’ offense is putting up the Arena numbers we’re used to seeing from them. In some senses Brees was so good last year it would have been hard for him to replicate the performance, but he hasn’t even been coming close. Part of the problem is that running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush have both been hurt most of the year, taking away some of the Saints’ key weapons. Another issue that seems to make a lot more sense is that the knee injury Drew Brees sustained earlier in the season is much worse than the team let on.

I kind of believed that was the case to begin with because teams constantly hide their players’ injuries. It happened with Tom Brady last year and it’s likely the same thing is going on with Brees. After getting hurt against the Falcons, he began wearing a brace on his knee. Brees hasn’t had the same accuracy since then, throwing nine interceptions to give him 11 for the season. Now, Pro Football Talk has passed along a report from WIST radio in New Orleans that Brees has been playing with a torn meniscus and fracture in his knee. That seems to make a lot of sense and I think most people would believe that Brees is playing with a busted knee. It’s just another example of how beat up these players are and the types of injuries they play through each week. Oh yeah, and Doc Brown is still taking the Saints this week in his picks.

UPDATE: Just as I was about to hit publish, Saints reporter Jeff Duncan said Sean Payton completely denied the report. He denied it for the same reason nobody reported it or talked about it before — they don’t want it being public.

Randy Moss Claimed By Titans, Report Says He’s Willing to Sit If He’s Unhappy

It looks like 22 NFL teams said “no, thank you” to Randy Moss, as he’s been claimed by the Tennessee Titans who were No. 23 on the waiver claim list.  Although Pro Football Talk is reporting that Moss is expected to report to the team, a source has told the Boston Herald that Moss is “willing to sit out the season” if he’s unhappy with the team that claims him.

According to the Herald’s source, Moss wants a ring.  Either his desires have shifted over the past month from wanting a long term contract to just wanting a ring, or he didn’t believe the Patriots gave him a chance to win a Super Bowl.  Maybe with him on their roster, they wouldn’t have.  Who knows.  In any event, the interesting part starts now.

Will Moss report to the Titans?  My guess is yes.  He’s still seeking one last lucrative contract, and he’s not going to get it if he sits out the remainder of 2010.  Will he give the Titans all he’s got?  That remains to be seen.  Again, he’d be wise to put forth a strong effort to try and prove he can still be highly productive.  However, after all the nonsense he’s pulled already this year, I doubt any team is going to invest multiple years and a lot of money in him after this season.  It’s sure to be an adventure, as usual.

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 9

1. New England Patriots (6-1, +2)

I don’t think many people expected the Patriots to be 6-1 after their first seven games when the schedules came out. They definitely didn’t think they’d have the best record in the NFL three games after trading Randy Moss. They’re set up nicely for a first round playoff bye as the schedule gets easier from here.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2, –)

Pittsburgh ran into a fired up Saints team at the Louisiana Dome. I still think they’re the most dangerous team in football, and they’ll only get better as Roethlisberger gets more comfortable without having Santonio Holmes to throw to. Their defense is equally as good as the Jets’ but their offense is a lot better.

3. New York Jets (5-2, -2)

With a 9-0 loss to Green Bay, the Jets proved there’s only so much a great defense can do. We know the Jets can stop teams from scoring, but if they’re going to make a deep run again this year they’ll have to find ways to score points. Santonio Holmes should help as he gets more comfortable with the offense.

4. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, –)

The Ravens had an extra week off to think about how they almost lost to the lowly Bills. They have a big one at home against the Dolphins this Sunday. Baltimore will be well rested but Miami will be bringing plenty of confidence after their win in Cincinnati

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T.O. Hates on Donovan McNabb on His Show, Sides with Mike Shanahan

I said it before and I’ll say it again: under no circumstance would I put Rex Grossman into a ballgame over Donovan McNabb thinking Sexy Rexy gives my team a better shot at winning. The only way I’d make that move were if the object of the game were to commit turnovers and score the least amount of points. If that’s the case, then Rex is your guy. But it’s not, so Mike Shanahan makes no sense in his thinking. He’s mentioned conditioning issues and practice habits as the latest reasons why he pulled McNabb late in the game against Detroit. Whatever his deal is, his actions haven’t made a lot of sense.

That’s no problem however for Terrell Owens, who pounced on his opportunity to criticize McNabb on his T.Ocho Show on Versus:

“Well, I don’t really want to start anything but I did play in the Super Bowl and there were rumors where he couldn’t get our two-minute offense going at the end of the game. I’m just saying.”

“This is a situation where Mike Shanahan he sees these two quarterbacks on an everyday basis. We’re talking about training camp, minicamps, OTAs, things of that nature,” Owens said. “He’s had a chance to observe. And you know we have these one-minute, two-minute and four-minute situations going into ballgames. So obviously this is a part of their package where he felt Rex Grossman gave his team the best chance to win at this stage of the game.”

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