Peyton Manning Disregards Criticism from Ron Jaworski

While many people are looking forward to the Monday Night Football game between the Colts and Texans to see if Arian Foster will set more franchise records against Indy’s defense, there’s another matchup about which I’m more excited. Seeing how ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski handles his commentary about Peyton Manning piques my interest.

A few weeks ago Jaws suggested in an interview that father time may have been catching up to Peyton. That was after the Chiefs’ defense had shut down Indy’s passing game and before Manning went for over 300 yards to beat the Redskins. After initially dismissing Jaws’ suggestion, I noticed Peyton lacked velocity on many of his throws against Washington though he had good stats.

The comments by Jaworski got back to Peyton for a response. The All-Pro shrugged off the comments and declined to get into things saying “I really have zero reaction.” Players take criticism of that nature personally and some hold it against broadcasters. Peyton will likely be out to prove to people — Jaws especially — that he is still an MVP quarterback and on top of his game.

What’s rare is to hear a game analyst like Jaworski be critical of a star player. Broadcast crews meet with teams and players prior to games in order to prepare for their telecast. To say the production meetings between Manning and Jaws were awkward is probably an understatement. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Jaworski address his critical comments at some point during the game or go all out in praise of Peyton as an apology. Getting into conflicts like this one is exactly what keeps television personalities from being critical in their analysis.

Randy Moss Reportedly Waived by Vikings but Unlikely to Return to Patriots

Talk about a shocker you never saw coming, NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi reports that the Minnesota Vikings have waived wide receiver Randy Moss. This surprise is only slightly less astonishing than New England’s decision to deal the playmaker four weeks ago. Minnesota coach Brad Childress reportedly informed his team that Moss would be waived after Moss did not return with the team to Minnesota from their road trip to Foxboro.

Moss had just one catch in Minnesota’s loss to the Patriots, being targeted only twice. After the loss, he called out his coaches for not using his inside information on the the Patriots more. Additionally, he said their head coach made a bad decision by going for it on 4th down at the one instead of kicking a field goal. To make matters worse, he also praised the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick after the game, all of which probably didn’t sit well with Chilly. Lastly, Moss was recently fined for not speaking to the media and he conducted his own Q&A session after the game where he asked himself the questions.

So why is a return to the Patriots unlikely? Whatever reason caused them to make the deal in the first place probably hasn’t changed in a span of four weeks. Also, and more importantly, the Patriots are 6-1 and have the best record in the league. That means they are 32nd in waivers so 31 other teams have a chance to put in a claim on him first. Many teams will be scared off by Moss’ attitude and problems that resulted in two teams dumping him this year. Still, there’s usually a team out there desperate enough for help to take the chance.

The Chiefs and Redskins are the two teams I think might be most interested Moss — Kansas City because Scott Pioli was in New England when they signed Moss, and Washington because they’re in the hunt in the NFC and don’t have receivers outside of Santana Moss. It will be interesting to see what transpires and we’ll know Moss’ next team in a matter of days.

Brett Favre Did Not Fake Hit to the Chin that Needed Stitches

We’ve been extremely critical of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre lately. When we’re not questioning how badly his arm is hurt, we’re pointing out that his ankle isn’t in as bad shape as it’s made out to be. The old man started against the Patriots Sunday despite speculation that his consecutive games streak might come to an end. It wasn’t the ankle or arm that knocked him out of a game though; it was a shot to the chin by Myron Pryor.

Favre looked nimble maneuvering around the pocket and went 22/32 for 259 yards but he left the game and was replaced by Tarvaris Jackson after getting drilled by Pryor. Number four needed eight stitches to close the gash and he looked so out of it I thought he had a broken jaw or possibly a concussion. Nevermind the questions, Favre says he’s going to play next weekend against the Cardinals.

Hey, we may have speculated about the drama queen dragging out his injuries but there’s no way around what happened on Sunday: he was leveled and still wants to be back next weekend. You don’t start 291 games in a row being a wussy.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Randy Moss Calls Out Vikings, Brad Childress for Bad Calls

As if the Vikings didn’t already have enough problems with a 2-5 record, now they have to suffer the embarrassment of Randy Moss pointing out their mistakes. The playmaking receiver, who was held to just one catch against the Patriots, conducted his own news conference with the media where he didn’t take any questions. He did talk about the game and brought up a few points that makes the coaching staff look bad. Moss says he wanted to help share information about his former team with his new one:

“I tried to prepare; tried to talk to the coaches and players about how this game was going to be played – a couple tendencies here and a couple tendencies there,” Moss said. “But the bad part about it, you have six days to prepare for a team and on the seventh day, that’s Sunday, meaning today, I guess they come over to me and say, ‘Dang Moss, you were right about a couple plays and a couple schemes that they were going to run.’”

On top of the blunder of not listening to Moss’ inside information, Brad Childress made a costly decision just before halftime. With the game tied at 7 and a minute left before the half, Childress decided to run Adrian Peterson on a 4th down at the one. Minnesota should have kicked the field goal to take the 10-7 lead but instead they went for it and were stuffed. Moss knew that was the wrong call, “I wish we could have had that three at the end of the half,” he said. “Maybe it could have been different, maybe not.”

Kicking for the lead was the right move in that situation. That was one of quite a few bad calls made by coaches over the weekend (Todd Haley going for a 4th and 2 instead of a field goal of around 39 yards, Norv Turner running plays 20 seconds before halftime, and Mike Shanahan benching Donovan McNabb) that could have cost teams. Every game that the Vikings lose makes them one stepper closer to firing Brad Childress.

Donovan McNabb Benched for Rex Grossman Late in Loss to Lions

For the second year in a row, the Detroit Lions beat the Washington Redskins. If you didn’t watch the game but saw the 37-25 final, it was much closer than that score suggests. The Skins had taken the lead 25-20 midway through the 4th quarter on a kickoff return for a touchdown by rookie Brandon Banks. They missed the two-point conversion but the defense forced a Detroit punt. Washington had the ball up 25-20 with 5:21 left and a chance to run off some time or add to their lead. Instead, Donovan McNabb threw an interception on 2nd and 10 giving Detroit the ball at the 37.

The Lions capitalized on the interception with Matt Stafford hitting Calvin Johnson for the pair’s third touchdown of the game giving them a 28-25 lead (they converted the two-pointer). With 3:18 left, Washington had the ball and couldn’t manage a first down. McNabb was sacked on 4th and 10 at his 20 giving the Lions great field position to go up 31-25.

The Redskins had 1:45 to try and drive for the game-tying score. Much to the surprise of everyone not named Mike Shanahan, the Redskins sent backup quarterback Rex Grossman out for the final drive. Grossman, who hadn’t thrown a pass all season, succumbed to the same pressure that got after McNabb. He was sacked on his first play, lost the ball, and Ndamukong Suh picked it up and returned it for a touchdown sealing the win.

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Jets Offense Stale in Loss to Packers

With the way the Jets have played defense under Rex Ryan, you have to assume New York has the edge in that phase of the game regardless of whom they play.  That was far from the case on Sunday when Mark Sanchez and company lost to the Green Bay Packers, 9-0.

Green Bay’s defense was dominant at the New Meadowlands on Sunday.  The Packers’ D was able to force three turnovers on a day when their offense scored no touchdowns, but protected the football.  Green Bay also benefited from a Jets offense that couldn’t do anything from the opening kickoff through the final whistle.

When New York tried throw it, the Packers defensive backs were there to make a play on the ball.  Mark Sanchez threw two interceptions and looked flustered for the better part of the game.  When Rex Ryan decided to go away from Sanchez and into the wildcat, Brad Smith lost a fumble.  Ryan even opted to try a fake punt early in the game deep in his own territory and came up short.  The Jets defense bailed the offense out by holding the Packers to a field goal, but it didn’t matter on a day when New York couldn’t put a point in the board.

Sunday’s game in New Jersey was a perfect example of how a defense can only take a team so far.  Nine points should never be enough to win a game, but New York’s offense allowed it to be.

Carson Palmer Throws Costly Late Game Interception Against Dolphins

The more Cincinnati Bengals games I watch, the more I realize Carson Palmer just isn’t what he used to be.  A former Pro Bowler and top-5 quarterback in the NFL, Palmer has had a lot of trouble protecting the football over the past few seasons.  More specifically, he has never appeared to be the same Carson since he tore his ACL during the playoffs back in 2006.

Palmer’s seventh interception of the 2010 season was a costly one.  The Bengals found themselves trailing the Dolphins 22-14 late in the game Sunday afternoon, but still had a chance to send the game to overtime.  They even got some help from Miami when a roughing the passer call put Cincinnati into Dolphins territory.  Just when it appeared the Bengals had a shot to drive the field and at least give themselves a chance to tie with a touchdown and a two-point conversion, Palmer threw the ball right into the hands of Miami defensive back Sean Smith.  It was the first pick of Smith’s career.

If you add in Terrell Owens’ lucky touchdown catch that should have been an interception, you get a tough day from the Bengals’ leader.  With Chad Ochocinco and T.O., Palmer has plenty of talent to throw to and just hasn’t been able to get it done.  The Bengals now find themselves in a hole with a 2-5 record, and for once we can say a lot of the blame rests on their quarterback’s shoulders.