Omaha! Omaha! – Week 4

. . . where we watch every game and occasionally audible the title along with the commentary.

I want winners – not elite players

Ryan Tannehill was considered a reach by most pundits because he isn’t a winner. He purportedly made key mistakes that cost his Texas A&M team in crunch time last year. No doubt, he was also responsible for Miami’s unlikely loss to the Cardinals. Sure, Tannehill stood tall and made laser throw after laser throw to Brian Hartline and Davone Bess in the hostile environment of the absurdly named University of Phoenix Stadium with the swarming Arizona defense closing in all around him. But, really, what’s more predictive? His general brilliance or the two huge turnovers at the end of regulation and early in OT? I, for one, would much rather have winners, guys like Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Now those two guys couldn’t manage a point against San Francisco, but, had they been capable of keeping the game close, there’s no doubt they would have magically won in the end.

Three plays from 1-3 and yet still underrated

With young defenses rising up and old quarterbacks largely struggling before their Week 4 breakouts, this season threatens to feature even more parity than usual. For all the talk about parity, in recent history there’s usually been a bigger gap between the Super Bowl champion and the team with the first pick than the latter and the team that won the BCS. The Dolphins and the Cardinals played on Sunday and put up another such testament. Arizona is now 4-0 against a brutal schedule. With Kevin Kolb and an overmatched offensive line, it’s impressive they’ve been in any of their four games much less undefeated. On the other hand, they’re three plays from being 1-3. The Dolphins are two plays from being 3-1, and since one of those plays overlaps, you’d only have to change four total plays for Arizona to be 1-3 and Miami 3-1. That would change the narrative about each franchise quite a bit, but it wouldn’t change the fact that both teams appear to be on the rise.

If only cheating were easier play-calling wouldn’t be such a headache

Every time I decide I’m wrong about Pete Carroll – that I should let go of his flight from USC with a complete and utter lack of dignity – the Seahawks put together an effort like the one on Sunday. Maybe someone should inform Carroll that the NFL cannot be coached as though you’re running college team with far superior talent. Counterintuitively, the Seahawks’ ultra-risk-averse strategy is one that puts you in position to lose to the St. Louis Rams. Free Russell Wilson!

When a no-brainer is just that

I suggest the Chiefs fire Romeo Crennel in favor of Brian Daboll, and then, the first time the Chiefs win a game they shouldn’t, announce that Daboll is the obvious choice to take over full time. The last time I saw a team as unprepared to play a game as Kansas City was on Sunday it was those very same Chiefs last year against Buffalo. Somehow the defensive coordinator that gave up a gazillion points to the Bills that day is now the head coach. I’ve been told the decision was a no-brainer. From now on, Scott Pioli will be known as the Scarecrow in this space.

There are only 16 total games but let’s go with the underwhelming veterans

Falling victim to small sample size narratives is the cause for a lot of terrible NFL decisions, but the opposite can also cause problems. The Giants received huge performances from Andre Brown and Ramses Barden against the Panthers and yet seemed unmoved. I wouldn’t bench a Ray Rice or Larry Fitzgerald for those guys but Ahmad Bradshaw and Domenik Hixon? Time will time, I guess, but Bradshaw has shown very little this year. He’s currently playing ahead of Brown and a first round pick who was almost the lone bright spot on Sunday night with his dynamic return prowess.

Tanking is a low-integrity, high-strategy proposition

Despite my rose colored glasses take on Cassel – I’m a Chiefs fan who’s been in the unfortunate position of rooting against my team most of the years since Vermeil’s departure so perhaps you can forgive me – Kansas City, Tampa, and New York entered the season with quarterbacks who’d pretty definitively proven their inability at the NFL level. Those three squads went 0-3 on Sunday to fall to a combined 4-8. (Footballguys daily email arrived in my inbox yesterday with the pronouncement that a hard-working Josh Freeman is on the verge of a breakout. Since physics dictate that everything not banned is compulsory, there’s some universe out there where Freeman will become a star. The odds are pretty heavily against it being this one.) While everybody will soon be out in Kansas City and New York, management in Tampa should be turning an eye toward Geno Smith.

Just because you’re a misogynist doesn’t make you manly

Sun Tzu could have written an epic on the Art of Game Management following a week in which head coaches seemed befuddled by even the most rudimentary decisions, but Jim Schwartz might win the Andy Reid Award for punting at the Minnesota 40 on 4th-and-1 in the second half trailing by 14. Schwartz supposedly doesn’t read books by women . . . possibly because they’re too soft or emotional? If that’s the case, he should stop channeling his feminine side during games. (I jest, of course. Neither guts nor good decision-making is gender-related, and for great books by women I recommend Margaret Atwood, Anne Patchett, and Barbara Kingsolver, just to name a few.) From now on we’ll refer to the Detroit braintrust as the Cowardly Lions (this column seems to be developing an unfortunate Oz theme). In case you don’t follow football, Detroit has Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and a defense that didn’t yield an offensive touchdown on Sunday. Is there a coaching staff outside of Kansas City that could currently have this group at 1-3?

7 thoughts on “Omaha! Omaha! – Week 4”

  1. Mind giving some trade advice? Would you part with Jimmy Graham/Donald Brown/Mike Williams (TB) for McGahee/Demaryius Thomas/Pettigrew? I proposed the trade.


    1. This is a fair and evenly balanced trade, so it’s sort of a matter of what players you prefer to root for. I think this swings a little bit your way in 2012, but a little the other way long term. (I think you’ve said this is a keeper league in the past.)

      As you know, I love Demaryius Thomas. (He was my 3rd round pick in the PFF Dynasty.) But I also really like Graham, and while McGahee is better than Brown for this season, I doubt he’ll have a starting role for anybody next year. Meanwhile, I still expect Brown to emerge as a capable starter.

      Pettigrew is just a terrible reality player, but he has quite a bit of fantasy value in PPR formats. I expect he’ll be de-emphasized in 2013. When Broyles and Leshoure are legitimately back to 100%, the structure of that offense should be quite different.

      I don’t like Mike Williams for fantasy, but he’s taken a big step forward again in reality. Having watched all of their snaps this year, I can attest to him having made some really nice plays. I’d like him a lot better if there were any chance Tampa was going to go with somebody besides Freeman next year. Josh always locks onto his first read; he just can’t run an NFL offense the way it needs to be run to generate fantasy value for secondary WRs.

  2. Thanks. I just think this makes my starting lineup better. It would read (post trade)- RG3, Foster, Mathews, Colston, Thomas, McGahee, Pettigrew.

    Yes, it is a dynasty league, but we can keep 2 players and we use the “minus 2” rule for round compensation (ie Jimmy Graham would cost me a 3rd rounder if I wanted to keep him next year. I kept him this year, but only cost me a 5th rounder since I drafted him in round 7).

    Not sure D. Brown is keeper material and I am hoping any of J. Baldwin, Hankerson, S. Hill is worthy of being kept and will cost me a late round pick. RG3 looks like my other keeper and will only cost me a 7th.

    So this move is more of a “win now” effort, and I liked McGahee and Pettigrew going into the season. McGahee is way better than Brown right? Just read some bad metrics on Brown. Thomas is way better than Williams and yes I am “losing” the Jimmy Graham/Pettigrew battle.

    Thanks for the input.

  3. Pulled the trigger on Jimmy Graham/Mike Williams (TB) for Pettigrew and Demaryius Thomas.

    May put in a bid for Alex Green. You like him? Not sure how many carries are there to go around though if Starks is healthy and playing. If worth it, who would you drop between Stephen Hill, J. Baldwin and Hankerson?

    I have Lamar Miller, David Wilson and J. Best on the bench as well.


    1. Good trade. Thomas is getting ready to explode. Both Graham and Pettigrew may be hurt, so that could be a wash.

      I really like Green – he’s almost certainly an upgrade on Cedric Benson and James Starks – but the Packers don’t seem to really care for him, and, sort of like the Lions, their offensive scheme just doesn’t create running lanes despite the elite passing game.

      I love Hill, Baldwin, and Hankerson, but all three play in passing games that are in deep disarray. I’d probably drop Baldwin. Hill may come back as the clear No. 1 in NY and Hankerson could have value if Washington realizes they drafted RG3 to throw the ball. Meanwhile, KC is one of the worst-coached teams in NFL history and could be going with Brady Quinn the rest of the way.

  4. Thanks.

    Problem now is I just lost my FLEX (D. Brown) for a few weeks. I like Green more long term, but would Ballard fill in better during Brown’s absence? The schedule favors Ballard next few weeks.

    1. Yeah, schedule favors Ballard and I’m skeptical of the timeframe on Brown; plus the only GB runner ever likely to score is John Kuhn.

      I really think one of your current guys – Miller, Wilson, Best – will end up as a better flex by Week 7. If Bush and D. Thomas continue to struggle with injuries, Miller has an excellent schedule weeks 8-11.

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