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Mark Sanchez Completes 12 Passes, 4 to the Defense

Mark SanchezMark Sanchez and the Jets started off the year 3-0, with Sanchez looking like a polished, skilled quarterback. Because of the “poise” he displayed, he was crowned the “Sanchize” by the New York media. Of course that didn’t last much past September considering Sanchez had his first “let me remind you I’m a rookie” game in week four. Against the Saints, Sanchez had four turnovers including a fumble and interception returned for touchdowns. Mark had another clunker a month ago in a 16-13 loss to the Bills at the Meadowlands. Sanchez completed 15 passes in that one, unfortunately five went to the wrong team. He had an identical rate against the Patriots on Sunday, completing 12 passes — four to the defense. As if that wasn’t enough, Sanchez also fumbled. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that every time I looked up Sanchez was throwing a pick.

It doesn’t take an expert analyst to know that Sanchez needs to start throwing the ball away when nothing’s there instead of trying to force plays. He’s going through some serious growing pains and actually holding back a team that has a strong ground game, good offensive line, and solid defense. If there’s one thing Sanchez certainly isn’t short on it’s arm strength; the guy has a rocket and even chucked one around 70 yards on the final play of the game. Anyway, Sanchez now has 10 TDs against 16 interceptions on the season, not to mention three fumbles lost. While Pete Carroll’s words prior to Mark’s announcement appear to be prescient, it’s still Carroll who needed Sanchez much more than Sanchez needed USC. The Jets are the ones who have to deal with his development now.

Eric Wood Suffers Horrific Broken Leg

Let me caution you: this video is not for the easily disturbed. Up there in the same breath as Joe Theismann, Napoleon McCallum, and DeAndre Brown of Southern Miss, is this video of Eric Wood breaking his leg against the Jaguars Sunday. Let me warn you once again, don’t watch this if you can’t stomach gruesome injuries. I could only handle seeing it once.

What a crap way to end your rookie season if you’re Eric Wood. This guy was the second of two first-round picks by the Bills this year, taken 28th overall out of Louisville. He had started every game for the Bills this year but that won’t be happening next week. For the record, he did break his tibia and fibula as you could imagine. Yikes.

Terence Newman and Dave Campo Get Into Shoving Match on Sidelines

The Cowboys are no strangers to sidelines fights, but that was back when they had Terrell Owens on their team. Now, there’s no T.O. but there are still sideline issues. The FOX cameras caught CB Terence Newman in a shoving match with secondary coach, Dave Campo. Here’s the video of the testy twosome:

I’m not sure exactly what set the issue off but I’m guessing it had to do with Newman doing something different from what he was assigned. I’m sure we’ll find out more details after the game.

UPDATE:
Wade Phillips took a “nothing to see here” approach after the game

Justin Fargas Takes Underlying Swipe at JaMarcus Russell’s Lack of Passion?

JaMarcus RussellIt took 10 weeks before the Raiders finally decided it was time to bench JaMarcus Russell in favor of a new quarterback. If you saw last week’s game against the Chiefs, you’ll know it doesn’t matter who’s throwing passes for Oakland because the receivers can’t catch them anyways. Regardless, the Raiders have decided to go with Bruce Gradkowski as their starter on Sunday either as an attempt to jump-start their offense or light a fire under JaMarcus’ ass, or both. When asked about what Gradkowski offers the team, running back Justin Fargas seemed to take a subtle shot at Russell when describing Gradkowski’s strong points:

“A passion for the game. A love for the game that he shows in the way he plays, the way he calls plays. The way he works on details of plays with players, in between. He’s just uh, I think that’s the main thing I’m seeing with him. It’s just, he’s a get-after-it type of guy.”

“You want to make a play for your quarterback but when he shows that type of passion for the game, obviously guys are going to feed off it and try to give him that same effort.”

If you read between the lines of the comments it’s easy to see that he’s talking about something the players want to do for Bruce that they weren’t inspired to do by their previous quarterback. That’s constantly been a knock against Russell — he’s just not motivated and driven to succeed, that he lacks the passion to be great. While Fargas’ comment doesn’t excuse the receivers from dropping half of Russell’s passes last week, it’s undeniable that JaMarcus isn’t getting the most out of his teammates. Now if we’re talking about Darrius Heyward-Bey, the guy’s equal opportunity; he’ll drop a Gradkowski pass the same way he would a JaMarcus toss.

Anquan Boldin: Cardinals Are Better than Last Year’s Team but Miss Todd Haley

Anquan Boldin Todd HaleyCount me as one of the people who thought the Cardinals were going to have a dropoff following last year’s Super Bowl run. To begin with, since ’01, only one team has made it back to the playoffs after losing the Super Bowl the previous year. Making matters worse is that the Cardinals lost both their offensive and defensive coordinators, and there were concerns about Kurt Warner’s health following his offseason hip surgery. Despite starting the year 1-2 however, Arizona’s been on a roll winning 5 of 6 to seize first place of the NFC West at 6-3. Considering last year’s team went 9-7 in the regular season before getting hot in the playoffs, it’s not too surprising to hear Anquan Boldin tell the 2 Live Stews on Sporting News Radio that this year’s team is better than last year’s squad:

“We’re a better team than we were last year and offensively we’re a lot more balanced than we were last year. I think we’re running the ball effectively in the regular season — something that we did in the postseason but we didn’t really do in the regular season last year. I think that’s going to help us in the long run.”

While that comment wasn’t too surprising given the way the team has been playing, it was a mild surprise to hear Boldin admit that the team does miss former offensive coordinator Todd Haley who has moved on to become the head coach at Kansas City:
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Brady Quinn’s Cheap Shot Knocks Terrell Suggs Out for Weeks with a Knee Injury

Quarterbacks have been taking a lot of heat recently for going low with their blocks on running plays or interceptions, with good reason. Brett Favre was called out for chop blocking Eugene Wilson of the Texans earlier in the season on a reverse, Trent Green was lambasted for taking out Travis Johnson’s knees two years ago, and Mark Sanchez had to apologize for his dirty play last month following an interception. This week it’s Browns quarterback Brady Quinn getting called out for a dirty play. Following his second interception, he was semi-trying to make a tackle and dove into linebacker Terrell Suggs’ knees. The hit caused what’s being termed a “strained knee” for Suggs, and reports are saying he’ll miss several weeks of action. Here’s a video of the Brady Quinn cheap shot on Terrell Suggs, just skip ahead to the 1:50 mark to see the block:

While the play was not in the proper ethics of the game at least it helped Cleveland make a stop. Count Ray Lewis as one person who was livid with the cheap shot:

“Heck yeah it was a cheap shot. When you’re running down and you’re looking at the quarterback going at somebody’s knees who doesn’t even have the ball. I want to see if he gets the same fine I got or even higher. Now this man is out four or five weeks because of some baloney like that.”

Quinn says cheap-shotting Suggs at the knees was not his intent and that he was going for Chris Carr who made the interception, only to have Suggs pop into the picture at the last second. Looking at the video, that makes sense because there would be no reason to dive for Suggs (and Carr was right behind Suggs anyhow). I’m guessing something around a $15,000 fine will be coming for Brady. With him not reaching his bonuses this year, he could use that money.

WTF Was Belichick Thinking? Worst Decision Ever

Bill BelichickWhereas the Maurice Jones-Drew decision to kneel at the 1 was questionable, there’s no debate about the Patriots’ decision to try for a first down on 4th and 2 and their 29 with two minutes left. It was simply a horrendous, stupid call. The end result for the game explains every reason why it was a brutal call. I can’t imagine anyone having watched that game not wondering what the bleep the Pats were thinking when they decided to go for it in that situation. The bad decisions, as glaring as that one was, doesn’t even end with that call.

Despite rolling up 31 points on Indy and being up by just 10 with under eight minutes left, the Pats went conservative and decided it was time to switch up the gameplan and start running it out. They got a blessing in an interception at the 31 of the Colts and instead of going for the jugular, they played it conservatively and settled for the field goal to go up 34-21 with 4 minutes left. I’m still wondering why they didn’t try for a touchdown especially given the way they had moved the ball all game. Lastly, when Joseph Addai broke loose on a run with 1:20 left, they should have done what the Jets did and let him walk into the end zone. The guy who thought he was making a “game saving” tackle wound up making a win-preventing stop. You telling me Brady couldn’t have set the team up for a field goal with 1:15 on the clock? I would have taken my odds with that compared the Colts chances of scoring from a yard out with four tries.

Awful, awful, awful decision by Belichick. I cannot believe how a guy can be that smart so much of the time can make such a poor choice at such a critical moment. Unbelievable.