Column: NFL Week 4: Quick Six around the league
In the Week 4 NFL recap, I bring you six things-hence Quick Six-that I observed after covering the action throughout the entire league. Will the Texans ever reach their desired destination with Matt Schaub at quarterback? Is the Vikings offense revitalized with Matt Cassel in charge? Does Greg Schiano need to go? All that...and more. And Tebow.
1. Matt Schaub will never lead the Texans to the Promised Land.
What is becoming more of a given every Sunday: the Jaguars getting ran off the field, or Houston quarterback Matt Schaub tossing a devastating pick-six? Jacksonville has gotten their doors blown off all four weeks, while Schaub's streak of completions to the defense returned for touchdowns currently stands at three. In the latest illustration of what I like to call "The Schaub getting Stumped," I admit that there may be another culprit for the Texans. The situation: 2:51 left in the 4th quarter, Texans up seven, 3rd down and four at Seattle's 40-yard-line. The decision: totally ignoring Arian Foster, who had a monster day, and Ben Tate, arguably the best backup running back in football, and instead running a play-action bootleg in search of tight end Owen Daniels. Schaub's lollipop of a throw landed right in the hands of Richard Sherman (see Fact No. 2), and just like that, Houston's 20-3 lead evaporated. Now, I'm not sure if offensive coordinator Rick Dennison deserves heat for the questionable pass call, but in the end it all comes down to Schaub. He should never, ever, EVER be throwing that ball for a myriad of reasons. One: the Seahawks' secondary contains straight ball hawks, always trying to jump the route and come up with a deflection or a pick. Two: Houston's defense had Russell Wilson and company on lock all afternoon. Should Schaub have sailed the pigskin out-of-bounds or taken the sack, the "D" would've only needed one more stop to get to 3-1 on the season. After the Seahawks kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime, the reality is that Houston sits at 2-2. His talent suggests he's nothing more than a glorified game manager, but the Texans have called on Schaub's arm so much in 2013 (he leads the AFC in passing attempts) because they've been forced to play catch-up. Suddenly, a guy who isn't used to whipping it around gets sloppy-as evident by the interceptions. Similar to Alex Smith and Matt Cassel, Schaub has a ceiling. Unfortunately, so do the Texans, as long as he is under center.
2. Richard Sherman is a savior, a Drake enthusiast, and a must-follow on Twitter.
Hate on the Seahawks corner if you dare. Kind of like how Marshawn Lynch runs on skittles, Sherman is fueled by everyone who doubts him. And if you're hating on me for seemingly squeezing Sherman into every one of my columns, I'll put you on Sherman Island. The guy is a total stud, and represents a rare class of athletes who talk a ton of trash but are able to back it up. On Sunday, knowing full well that Seattle's offense wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders (Russell Wilson threw for only 123 yards), Sherman had to make something happen. That "something" was served to him on a silver platter courtesy of Schaub, and I can only imagine how big Sherman's eyes got when the ball was airborne-possibly even bigger than his mouth usually is. During the postgame, he could be found on Twitter, tweeting lyrics from Drake's new album. The one tweet that stood out to me was "The moment I stop having fun with it I'm done wit it." Watching Sherman for one series, you get the inkling he may never be done with it. The field is his frat house-he talks, laughs, talks some more, and even tangos with girls (he danced with the cheerleaders following an interception of Colin Kaepernick in Week 2). He also has the honor to play for who I'd imagine is the coolest, most chill coach in the NFL in Pete Carroll. While life is good for Sherman at the moment, Seattle has to start waking up earlier for 1 p.m. kickoffs on the road. They were still in sleep mode for the first half on Sunday, and in Week 1 they narrowly defeated Carolina on the East Coast. Between their grogginess away from CenturyLink Field and the fact that their home field advantage is borderline unfair, the Seahawks really need to secure a top seed in the NFC for the postseason.
3. There's a brand new bakery opening in New York.
I don't believe I've ever devoted a portion of my column to hype up an eatery, so I figured this was as good a time as ever. Did you hear about the upscale bakery in New York City? It's been running smoothly for about a month now and has already attracted a solid following. It's called "E+G's," or "Eli's and Geno's," the owners of the joint. Ask for the turnovers-I've heard they're out of this world. You can't go wrong with the apple turnovers, especially in the metropolis known as "The Big Apple." But the special turnovers, the ones created right in front of you by Eli and Geno, are the real treat. Cherry, fumble, blueberry, interception and my personal favorite: run-out-the-back-of-the-end zone. If "E+G's" is closed for some reason, it's most likely because Manning and Smith are out producing more turnovers. They each have coughed the ball up on 11 occurrences already this year-the Jets and Giants lead their respective conference in total giveaways. But hey, at least Geno's squad has two wins.
4. The question "Why Not Tebow?" needs to be addressed by Jacksonville's front office.
In the event that you were tuned into Mariano Rivera's final innings or mentally preparing yourself for the Breaking Bad finale, you nearly missed history in Jacksonville. For the first time in 2013, Jaguars fans were almost able to utter the word "touchdown" at their home stadium. Instead of the touchdown coming in the form of the incompetent Blaine Gabbert or the ill-fated Maurice Jones Drew, however, it was an airplane. Not just any plane-a plane trailed by a banner with the message urging the front office to take a shot on quarterback Tim Tebow. Seriously, why not Tebow? At the least, it'll draw a few more butts to fill the seats. Tebow may be as useless as Aaron Hernandez at this point, yes, but that's not to say it wouldn't be an exciting experiment. I think the Jaguars should try, and I have a few sad numbers to back that up: in two home games this season, Jacksonville has been outscored by 60. Also, in two starts this year (both at home, coincidentally), Gabbert has as many interceptions (5) as his team has points. Those stats are gruesome enough that even Tebow himself probably couldn't replicate them. It's worth a shot to see.
5. The Vikings shouldn't have too much Pondering to do.
I hope you're enjoying the play on words, maybe even as much as Vikings receiver Greg Jennings enjoyed Matt Cassel at quarterback. With starter Christian Ponder hurt, Cassel took the reigns and guided Minnesota to their first win, a 34-27 victory over Pittsburgh in London. Cassel had 248 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jennings, and he didn't have a single turnover. While I'm not buying that he's a major upgrade over Ponder (both are below-average QBs in the NFL), I think the Vikings have to play the hot hand and go with Cassel for the foreseeable future. After all, that offense is predicated on league MVP Adrian Peterson, who ran all over the Steelers for 140 yards and 2 TDs. On a team that features a questionable defense and has anything but an explosive passing attack, it's crucial that turnovers are far and few between. Ponder, meanwhile is averaging over two turnovers per week. Go with Cassel, and hope that Samantha Ponder can help her husband land a job at ESPN with her. Hmm, I wonder if she could start for the Vikings?
6. Tampa doesn't have to dig deep to figure out why they're winless.
It's obvious that the Buccaneers have some searching to do, but it's more along the lines of soul-searching-they shouldn't have to go to Google for answers for why they're 0-4. In my Week 1 column, I predicted Josh Freeman would soon lose his job as Tampa's starting quarterback. Now, it's head coach Greg Schiano that is destined to get the axe. Schiano is dirty, stubborn and ineffective-that the Bucs have a bye Week 5, he may have coached his final game. Besides Schiano, Tampa's offense is atrocious. Freeman stunk, so rookie Mike Glennon got his first career start Sunday in a 13-10 loss to Arizona. Glennon threw a dagger of a pick deep in his own territory in the 4th quarter, which led to a Larry Fitzgerald score on the next play. In total, Glennon had three turnovers, actually doing a perfect Josh Freeman impersonation in the process. Running back Doug Martin needed 27 carries to reach-wait for it-45 yards. The Bucs rank 31st out of 32 NFL teams in total offense as well as passing yards per game (174). If I were a big shot in the organization, I would 1) fire Schiano immediately, 2) evaluate Glennon the rest of the year to see if he could potentially be in future plans and 3) schedule a game with the Jaguars around playoff time-someone's got to win, right?
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