The Designed Rush column covers all NFL action through Sunday each week. Of course, with the exception of Week 17 and the postseason, there's this pesky thing called Monday Night Football. Which means there are possibly significant developments and story lines left uncovered. Solution: The Designed Rush Redux, which will gather up the most interesting tidbits from Monday's action, as well as the continued fallout from Sunday.
Disconnected Observations From Monday Night Football:
- The Packers were the most penalized team in the NFL in 2009, so the idea that Green Bay would be capable of setting a franchise record for penalties in a single game on Monday night isn't the biggest shock in the world. After averaging nearly seven and a half penalties per game last season, the Packers looked to be doing somewhat better through two weeks, having been flagged only twice against the Eagles in Week 1, then a slightly more distressing six times against Buffalo the following week. Fixing the issue is obviously more complex than stressing that the team be more focused, but unless the Packers find a way to stop killing themselves, the team could find itself throwing away more significant games than this one later in the season.
- Almost as bad was the decision at the beginning of the fourth quarter to punt the ball to Devin Hester again after he nearly took one to the house earlier in the second half. Tim Masthay's first punt to Hester in the third quarter was about as prime a set-up for a big return as you can get: a 35-yard line drive in the middle of the field. I will grant that the Packers' hand was more than a little forced in the fourth given that the team was punting out of their own end zone. And with a booming 56-yarder, it was definitely a better effort out of Masthay. But perhaps a directional kick of some sort might have been a better move. I know, it's an easy thing to write with hindsight, but really, what was the likelihood that Hester was going to have, if not at least a touchdown, a pretty significant run back?
- While it's foolish to suggest that Hester should go back to being solely a full-time return specialist, the thought of him returning to kickoff duties is an intriguing one. That might be easier to pull of if the other Bears receiver named Devin -- that being Aromashodu -- weren't having such obvious problems with Chicago's coaching staff. Aromashodu was the most targeted Bears receiver in Week 1, but, despite being healthy, he played only one snap the following week against Dallas and wasn't permitted to dress Monday night against Green Bay. Should the Bears explore reducing Hester's receiving workload even slightly, something would have to be resolved with Aromashodu's situation.
- Based solely on the Calvin Johnson overturned winner touchdown in Week 1 and the host of breaks the team got Monday night, it's hard to argue that anyone is getting by more on sheer luck than the Bears right now. Some will interpret that as a knock, and, yeah, it kind of is. But fans of any team will always take that kind of good fortune. If that's not all, the Bears round out the first half of their season with these next five games: at the Giants, at Carolina, Seattle, Washington, then a trip to Toronto to take on the Bills. There's not really a game in that stretch that Chicago should lose. Unless they've maxed out all their good juju in three weeks, the Bears should be well positioned for a second half playoff run.
- With Brandon Jackson unable to outplay John Kuhn in the Packers backfield, Green Bay really needs to explore the possibility of signing or dealing for another back. And all the fantasy owners who rushed to get Jackson on waivers two weeks ago have to deal with relegating their new prize to the bench for the foreseeable future.
NFL Player Tweet Of The Night
Rock a bye baby on the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock? What's the rest trying to rock my daughter to sleep
Possibly not the most football relevant request ever, but the concept of a player needing to crowdsource lullaby lyrics beats platitudes about hard work and having Tuesday off. And if NFL players drolly engaging in the mundane world of domesticity is your kind of thing, surely you'd also enjoy Quentin Groves complaining how he was missing the game because his wife was forcing him to shop at Wal-Mart. NFL players, they're just as miserable as us!
A Delicious Bundle Of Gripes
- Yes, I know the Packers and the Bears have a storied rivalry. They've played each other now 180 times, which is more than any other two teams in NFL history. Can we please come to the realization that, because Chicago and Green Bay play twice per season, barring the possibility of one of the teams being wiped from the Earth, THAT IS NEVER GOING TO CHANGE, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO CONSTANTLY REPEAT IT EVERY YEAR!
- WHOA WHOA WHOA! Forget everything I said about penalties and bad bounces. The real reason the Bears won last night is because George Halas punched some drunk guy almost 50 years ago. Thanks, Stu Scott!
- There are a couple of noteworthy things going on on this play:
1. Jay Cutler actually picked up big yards without the benefit of a pass interference penalty.
2. Devin Hester not only made a downfield block, but blew up A.J. Hawk in the process.
3. Ron Jaworski weirdly gushed over Cutler's ability to "rotate the spheroid."
Wait, scratch that last one. That's regular Jaws robot talk.
- Jermichael Finley is now "The Big Cheese." Be sure to update your version of Jon Gruden's Nicknaming Guide For The Obtuse Gentleman.
- As I said yesterday, it's only a matter of time before someone earnestly and stupidly puts out the suggestion that Charlie Batch should start the rest of the season for the Steelers. While I had wrongly assumed one of the Internet's trust trolls would be the first to float the idea, Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser yesterday on PTI beat them to the punch. To paraphrase Wilbon: Am I surprised? No.