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Josh McDaniels Backs Kyle Orton on Titans ‘Dirty’ Talk

No, no, no.  Not that type of dirty talk, you pervs.  We’re talking about Josh McDaniels agreeing with his quarterback that the Tennessee Titans played dirty during the Broncos 26-20 victory over them on Sunday.  If you hadn’t already heard, Kyle Orton accused the Titans players of throwing cheap shots at his offensive lineman and called the game one of the “cheapest” he’d ever seen.

McDaniels indicated that the type of game he saw from Tennessee was the one he expected his team would be in for.  He also implied that their style of play is a product of the way their coach, Jeff Fisher, runs the team.

I was proud of our team because we knew that was the kind of game it was going to be,” McDaniels said. “You can put any tape you want to of Tennessee and there’s going to be 10 penalties. You either coach it or you allow it to happen. That’s how I look at that.

“Our guys did a great job of keeping their poise and composure and not getting drawn into a big unsportsman-like game because I know that’s what they were trying to entice us into doing.”

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Michael Crabtree Seemingly Takes a Shot at Alex Smith

The San Francisco 49ers had high expectations coming into the 2010 season, yet have started off the year 0-4.  They’ve lost two close games to quality opponents and gotten blown out in their other two losses.  They’ve somehow created a situation where the Rams could legitimately win the NFC West.  As we would all expect, there aren’t many happy campers to be found around the Niners organization these days.  One such unhappy cub scout is wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Desperately needing to make a change, the 49ers fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after their 31-10 shellacking at the hands of the Chiefs week three.  Many, including ourselves, believe that Alex Smith deserves a lot of the blame for the struggles the 49ers have had on offense this year.  Does Crabtree agree with that claim?  When he was speaking to reporters about new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson, that’s kind of the impression he gave.

Mike Johnson did his thing. He did what he was supposed to do.  He got everybody the ball. Only thing is, Mike Johnson can’t throw the ball. He can just call plays,” Crabtree said Monday, according to Lowell Cohn if the Santa Press Democrat.

It’s possible that this was Crabtree’s way of using the whole “the coaches can call the plays but we have to execute them” typical response, but he should have done it without throwing someone under the bus.  Instead of saying he “can’t throw the ball,” he should have added that Johnson also can’t catch it, run it, or block.  Unless he was intentionally taking a shot at his quarterback, of course.  If that’s the case, he chose his words quite wisely.

Can the St. Louis Rams Win the NFC West?

After watching the Rams beat the Redskins 30-16 last weekend, we recognized that rookie quarterback Sam Bradford gives his fans reason for hope. On Sunday, the Rams handled the Seahawks 20-3 for their first divisional win since week 11 of 2007. The back-to-back wins gives them their first winning streak since week 6 and 7 in 2008 (their only wins that season) and it ended a 10-game losing streak to Seattle. Now it may be time to raise the stakes: does Sam Bradford and the improved defense give Rams fans reasons to believe the team can win the NFC West? Sure does.

A big reason why the Rams are in contention to win the NFC West is the poor quality of teams in the division. Although Arizona is 2-2, the Cardinals barely won their two games and were blown out in their losses. They’ve changed from Derek Anderson to Max Hall twice during games because of pathetic quarterback play and they lack an offensive identity. If Sebastian Janikowski could kick, they’d be 1-3.

Seattle looked great in a 31-6 season-opening win over the 49ers, but they’ve been brutal on the road and only beat the Chargers at home because of two Leon Washington kickoffs returned for touchdowns. The Rams just got done dominating Seattle 20-3 and appear to be much better. That Seattle beat San Francisco 31-6 tells you all you need to know about the hopeless 0-4 Niners. Even a change at offensive coordinator couldn’t give them a boost.

You could knock the Rams by saying that they could win this division by default, but I’ll prop them up citing their solid defense and improved quarterback play. They haven’t allowed more than 17 points in a game and the defense seems to be getting better each week. Ditto for Sam Bradford — the rookie quarterback has thrown for 944 yards and six touchdowns in his first four games. He may be on pace for the most productive rookie season by a quarterback since Peyton Manning in 1998. At this point, they look like the best team in the NFC West.

Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

Jared Allen Forced to Change Calf Roping Sack Dance Celebration

The NFL is sometimes called the “No Fun League” because of all the limitations placed on celebrations. As someone who values team or individual, I generally don’t have a problem with this approach. HOWEVA, what the league is doing with Jared Allen seems somewhat unnecessary.

FOX NFL reporter Jay Glazer apparently reported on Sunday morning that the league will start penalizing Vikings defensive end Jared Allen 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct if he continues his calf roping celebration as is. The Star Tribune explains that the NFL doesn’t want players going to the ground for celebrations.

Allen only has one sack on the season through three games, so maybe he just was trying to avoid the entire situation. Perhaps he used the bye week to work on a new dance. First they take away the mullet, and now the sack dance. This just isn’t Jared Allen’s year. As long as he doesn’t change it to mimic an electronic device, I think we’ll be in good shape.

UPDATE: Allen says he’ll alter the dance.

Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates May be Best Aerial Combination in Football

When Vincent Jackson decided to hold out from the Chargers, most people figured quarterback Philip Rivers would rely more heavily on tight end Antonio Gates during the season. Even with that knowledge, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the duo would get off to such an incredible start.

Through four games, Philip Rivers is third in the NFL with 1,328 passing yards and second with nine touchdown passes. Tight end Antonio Gates has caught six of the nine touchdowns and leads all receivers and running backs in touchdowns scored. Gates is second amongst tight ends with 24 catches and first by far with 386 yards. He’s averaging nearly 100 yards receiving per game and 21 of his 24 catches have gone for first downs. Only one other player (Brandon Lloyd for Denver) has as many catches of 20 or more yards this year (they both have eight). Gates is dominating like few other tight ends have and is on pace for the best offensive season a tight end has ever had.

TOP QUARTERBACK-RECEIVER TANDEMS IN THE NFL

    > Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates: 24 rec, 386 yards, 6 TDs, 21 first downs
    > Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne: 33 rec, 456 yards, 2 TDs, 25 first downs
    > Matt Ryan to Roddy White: 32 rec, 362 yards, 2 TDs, 18 first downs
    > Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin: 27 rec, 355 yards, 3 TDs, 19 first downs

As much as A.J. Smith was ridiculed for being the “Lord of No Rings” after not signing Vincent Jackson, it sure looks like he knew what he was doing. Smith signed Gates to a six-year $39.8 million dollar contract in the off-season and Rivers to a seven-year $98.25 million extension last year. He’s not cheap, he just knows who his real MVPs are.

Jay Cutler Leaves with Concussion After Being Sacked Nine Times in First Half

Sunday night was not Jay Cutler’s game. The Bears quarterback was sacked nine times in the first half by the Giants. Niiiiiine times. Ed Rooney thinks that’s a lot. To put things into perspective, the Bears ran 27 offensive plays in the first half. Seven were runs and the remaining 20 were passes. Cutler was sacked nine out of the 20 times he went back to pass. That’s 45% of the time.

Some of the sacks were due to poor blocking, some to not having enough protection to counter a blitz, and some were due to Jay Cutler holding onto the ball too long. The last sack of the half — the one that knocked Cutler out — can probably be placed in the third category. Defensive back Aaron Ross got a hold of Cutler and brought him to the ground, with Cutler’s head getting jammed straight to the turf. Just imagine the picture below about two nanoseconds later.

After halftime, Todd Collins came out for Chicago because Cutler had suffered a concussion. Collins may have led the Redskins to a miracle playoff run in 2007 but I wouldn’t count on a repeat if I were a Bears fan. Cutler probably will miss week five’s game against Carolina and could wind up returning for a week six contest with the Seahawks and his team holding a 3-2 record.

The one consistency with Mike Martz teams is for all the stats they rack up, his quarterbacks generally throw the most interceptions in the league and take the most sacks. Sunday night’s debacle was costly for Chicago. I don’t believe I’ve seen a more one-sided performance by a pass rush since the Giants abused the Eagles’ line to the tune of 12 sacks back in 2007.

Photo Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Kyle Orton: Titans Are Cheap

Kyle Orton was his usual, efficient self in a 26-20 Broncos victory over the Titans on Sunday afternoon.  He completed 70 percent of his pass attempts and threw for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns.  While surely satisfied with the victory, it would appear that Orton didn’t consider Tennessee to be a respectable opponent.  After the game, the Broncos quarterback said there was some foul play going on during Sunday’s game.

I think they are cheap, and it was one of the cheapest games that I’ve ever seen out of some of those players,” Orton said. “When we’ve got (guard Chris) Kuper getting punched with his helmet off, it’s ridiculous.”

It doesn’t sound like it was Shaun Smith ball grabbing status, but clearly something was going on that had Orton fired up.  When I first read the comments, my initial reaction was, “call the whambulance.”  After giving it some thought, I have no problem with Orton coming to the defense of the guys that protect him on Sundays.  If you’re going to say something about dirty play, you might as well do it after a win.  At least we know he’s not trying to protest the outcome of the game.

It’s common knowledge that stuff like this goes on every week throughout the NFL, so it had to have been exceptionally bad to warrant a comment after a victory.