I wasn't always a fan of Jared Allen because he doesn't pass rush "pretty." I mean he just mauls guys all game, bull rushes of all kinds, long arm moves, no shake and bake, no finesse moves. Just ARRRGGGHHHHHHHH moves that don't seem to take all that much skill to perform. Over time, I've come to appreciate the method to his madness, the subtle way that he uses his hands to get off all those power moves, the slight adjustments he makes so that he is always on an edge while pass rushing, even if it isn't much of one. And, of course, I also admired his hustle.
Jared Allen *would* get after it for all four quarters, and you had better know where he was at all times. That one play where you decide to take it a lil easy? BLAAAAAAMMMM!! He's knocked you and your quarterback on y'all's asses and is now somehow in possession of the football. Hard not to love a guy who *gave* that kind of effort.
So my question today is: did Jared Allen retire in the offseason and just not tell anybody? I know it was reported that he signed with the Bears. I actually did see a dude on film in a Bears uniform with his number playing against the Bills on Sunday, but that guy couldn't have been Allen. Because that guy was chiiiiiiillin damn near the whole game. I'm talking might as well have had a cup of lemonade and a fan on the sideline kinda chillin all game.
Yeah, he would do his lil shitty hand move every once in a while, but mostly what I saw from that dude in the Bears uniform wearing Jared Allen's number was a lot of jogging and looking around for somebody else to make a play. What the hell, bruh?!
Ok, if the plan was to bring Allen in strictly for pass rushing purposes, then just keep him on the sideline except for third downs. Still, that was an awful lot of money to pay for a guy to just be a pass rush "specialist."
The Bears have quite a few problems on defense. For instance, it appears that none of the linebackers or safeties know where in the hell they are supposed to fit against basic-ass running schemes from play to play, and, yes, I'm including Lance Briggs in that.
But, there is one thing the Bears can fix in a damn hurry: the lack of effort they had against the Bills. Make Willie Young, who had a pretty damn good game, the starter. Then, tell the guy doing a terrible impersonation of Jared Allen that when the real deal shows up we'll see what he can do, but for now just have a seat until it's third-and-long.
Of course they won't do it because it will make them and Allen look bad, but they should. It wouldn't fix everything wrong with that defense, but it would damn sure help more than you can imagine.
Hoss Of The Week: Dolphins defensive end Cam Wake
Wake was a one-man wrecking shop Sunday against the Patriots. He helped to seal the game with his fourth-quarter sack of Tom Brady that forced a fumble. That play was textbook, with an outside rush where he turned his hips toward the quarterback, swatted down the right tackle's hands and then ripped through his arms to get a clean win before swiping at the ball in Brady's hand. Big-time players make big-time plays in crunch time, and Cam came through for his team last weekend.
Honorable mention: Bills defensive tackle. Kyle Williams with the fat guy interception of Jay Cutler on a play late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 17 and the Bears already in field goal range. Definitely a huge play in a game that saw the Bills win with a field goal in overtime.
Meritocracy My Ass
The Seahawks and Vikings have playmakers who don't fit the traditional mold of wide receivers, and they find creative ways to get them the ball. Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson were allowed to run speed sweeps on offense last weekend to great success. It allowed them to get out in space and use their athletic ability to make something happen with the ball in their hands.
How did the Rams try to get their young playmaker Tavon Austin the ball?
By lining his little ass up in the backfield and trying to have him run a Power O between the tackles. For those unfamiliar, a Power O run involves pulling linemen, blocking fullbacks with lots and lots of contact on the ball carrier. For that reason, it's usually reserved for bigger running backs who can take a pounding and still get tough yards up the middle.
Austin is listed at 5'8 and 176 pounds. What in the entire f***?!
And yet, Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer still has a job ...
Taylor Lewan earns his reputation
Titans first-round pick offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was inserted into the lineup near the end of their blowout win over the Chiefs on Sunday. Presumably this was to "steal" some game reps for him so that if and when they decide to turn to him full-time, he will already have some understanding of how the speed of the game picks up in the regular season. What does he do with his bonus reps?
Oh, on his third play of the game, he gets a blatant 15-yard face mask penalty on a Chiefs defensive lineman because the play before, that same defensive lineman had put Lewan on his back. There is less than three minutes left in the game, his team was up 16 points and all anyone wants to do at that point is keep the clock running and go home with a win. Evidently for Lewan, settling a personal score mattered a little more to him than all that. If I was a defensive player and we had to go back on the field after that, I would have called him everything but a child of God when he jogged his selfish ass off the field.
Lewan has already earned a reputation as somewhat of a head case and you have to figure that if he keeps pulling dumb shit like this, his coaches will never trust him enough to put him in for a whole game. I hope at some point he gets it together because he has all the tools to be a dominating left tackle in the NFL.
Titans corner Jason McCourty was the bane of Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith's existence on Sunday. McCourty not only intercepted Smith twice on long passes, including one in the end zone, he also put a hit on Donnie Avery at the end of the game to break up another pass that safety Michael Griffin intercepted to effectively ended the game.
I wasn't sold on the Titans at all heading into the season, but I have to say they actually looked like the better team against the Chiefs, not like a team that just caught a few breaks. If McCourty can continue to play at that high of a level, I just might become a believer sooner than later.
Bengals playing with fire
Does Hue Jackson secretly hate Andy Dalton or something? I mean, if he does I ain't mad at him, Dalton can definitely drive you crazy at times with his maddening inconsistency. Still, that is no reason for Jackson to keep throwing Dalton in harm's way with all those QB runs he had him doing against the Ravens (!) on Sunday.
I get that in theory, a read-option play could go to the running back or the quarterback. The Bengals ran a damn triple option with Dalton, and there is no need for that kinda shit. Dalton may be inconsistent, but the Bengals don't have a backup quarterback who can hold his jock strap so they might want to consider handing the ball off to Gio Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill, running backs who are paid to take big hits on the regular, rather than continuing to take chances with Dalton playing around in traffic.
They keep that ish up and sooner or later *football* is gonna happen and their season will be effectively over when/if Dalton goes down.
The Vikings are coming
The Rams have gotten a lot of press this offseason about the awesome defensive line they've assembled and rightfully so. Right defensive end Robert Quinn was damn near the Defensive Player of the Year last season and his best years are probably still ahead of him. Left defensive end Chris Long has come home with 33 sacks over the last three seasons. Defensive tackle Michael Brockers was a first-round pick in 2012 and is getting better every year, with 5.5 sacks last season. This spring the Rams selected defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is projected to be an absolute monster as a pass rusher inside. On paper, they looked to be one of the most devastating pass-rushing fronts the league has ever seen.
And plenty of people said so.
I'm not saying that the Vikings' defensive line felt disrespected because nobody was paying them that kind of attention. What I am saying is that I've never met an NFL player who didn't read every sports section he could get his hands on. I'm sure they might exist, but I personally have never met them. So those Vikings guys at the very least knew that one defensive line was getting a lot of pub going into their game last week, and it damn sure wasn't them.
Whether it motivated them or not, I can promise you people are going to be talking about the Vikings after they pass rushed the living shit out of the Rams Sunday.
It was truly a group effort. Every guy got involved in harassing Rams quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Austin Davis. Tom Johnson got a hit on Hill's arm to force a fumble that the Rams recovered. Free agent signee Linval Joseph, who was grazed by a stray bullet in August, swam the guard, ripped the center and ran right through the fullback's block to get Davis on the ground for a sack. First-round pick sometimes linebacker, sometimes defensive end Anthony Barr got great pressure on Davis with a rip move from left defensive end to force an incompletion on third-and-11. Oh, and Everson Griffen, who was a tone-setter all game, came home with two sacks in a row in the fourth quarter as kind of a kick in the ass on the Rams' way out of the door.
That vaunted Rams D-line? Yeah ... they didn't have any sacks on Sunday.
It's just one game so no need to overreact, but the Vikings showed for at least one game that their defensive line is no joke.
Sweet feet Steelers
Lookit, I'm sure by now the Internet has run out of memes about Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown kicking Browns punter Spencer Lanning (inadvertently, I think) in the face. Yeah, many of them were funny. I was particularly tickled by the "This Is Spartaaaa" photoshop passed around on Twitter. However, don't let the jokes obscure the fact that Brown got busy big time against that Browns defense as well as special teams.
On the second play of the game, Brown caught a screen pass, made at least three Browns miss and gained 41 yards to get the Steelers in position to eventually kick a field goal on the opening drive. That punt return where he went all Bobby Boucher? He made five guys miss and gained 36 yards before the penalty.
The crazy thing is that as elusive as Brown is, he may not have the best feet on the team anymore.
Running back Le'Veon Bell looked like he could make a defender miss in a damn phone booth on Sunday. The guy had almost 200 all-purpose yards on 27 touches and just about every single time he had the rock in his hands he looked electric, explosive and very friggin elusive. The 38-yard touchdown in the second quarter is something to behold as he makes damn near the whole Browns secondary miss, but I was just as impressed with the little 9-yard catch he had in the third quarter. First, he made outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo miss on the jam as he went out on the route. Then, he avoided to run back outside toward the sideline, caught the ball, shook off Mingo's tackle attempt, made inside linebacker Karlos Dansby miss, made cornerback K'Waun Williams miss before Mingo could get back off the ground to finally make the tackle. He did all this from basically the area between the numbers and the sideline. Just crazy!
The more the Steelers can find ways to get those two guys the ball in space, the more opposing defenders will be missing their jock straps.
Gotta Stay Turnt Up
As much as some folks will want to blame the Jaguars' embarrassing loss on their starting quarterback Chad Henne, I'm actually going to stick up for him a little bit. No, he didn't play great in the second half of the game that saw his team go from a 17-0 lead at halftime to losing 34-17, but you have to go back and look at why the Jaguars were leading in the first place.
Their defensive line was kicking the crap out of the Eagles' offensive line. Nick Foles had help losing all those fumbles, you know. The truth is 14 of those 17 first-half points came off turnovers forced by the Jaguars' defensive line. That's also at least part of why the Eagles hadn't scored any points in the first half either. Credit where it's due: the Jaguars' secondary and specifically Alan Ball also forced a turnover with an interception in the second quarter. The defense overall was really humming.
So what happened to the defense? No turnovers in the second half. Hell, no sacks either. Did the Jaguars, of all teams, decide the game was won at halftime?! If the Eagles don't score after halftime, they don't win. Simple as that.
To be fair, the Jaguars' special teams did squander one of the turnovers, Ball's interception, by having their field goal get blocked right after having already missed an earlier long field goal attempt. Still, six more points would've just had the Jaguars losing by 11 instead of 17. Nope, this is on the defense in my book.
I'm not joking either. If you are a defensive player in Jacksonville, this had damn sure better be your mindset as well. Look around, your offense isn't getting any better with Henne at quarterback. He is who he is. It is going to be on that defense to put together two halves like it played the first one if the Jags want to win games this year. It ain't fair, but neither is life. So until they decide to make the change to Blake Bortles, the Jaguars simply can't afford to be anything less than dominant on defense.
It is what it is.
That's a clown play, bro
Bucs quarterback Josh McCown had three silly ass plays on Sunday. Two of them resulted in interceptions, while the third, thankfully for them, ended up being a short completion. Rewatching the game, the shame of it all is that McCown played pretty well, minus those three plays. No way to know for sure, but without those turnovers, both of which led to points, the Bucs may well have beaten the Panthers on Sunday.
One thing you cannot do as an NFL quarterback is make silly ass plays. It's one thing to make a bad read and throw an interception or to fumble because you held on to the ball a little too long and backside pressure got to you. It's something altogether different when you are falling down under pressure and just throw the ball up for grabs in a crowd. Or if you drop the snap on a wide receiver screen and fumble while trying to regain possession to still complete the screen when everybody in the stadium knows what is coming.
I cussed, loudly, when after those two disastrous plays, McCown again made a very questionable decision to try to complete a pass with a Panthers defender dragging him to the ground. Those kinds of plays do NOT make you into a hero but a laughingstock. They are also the kind that get your ass sent to the bench with quickness.
I can only hope for the Bucs' sake that McCown has gotten that kind of shit out of his system or it's going to be a looooong year for them.
Give Antone Smith the ball
Last season, Falcons running back Antone Smith had five carries for ... 145 yards and two touchdowns to go along with two catches for 10 yards. On Sunday against the Saints, Smith only had two carries for 7 yards to go with one catch for ... 54 yards and a touchdown.
What the hell does he have to do to get more touches, even in a stacked offense like Atlanta's?! You have a guy who is a certified home run hitter and he can't get more than three touches in the game? Seriously, feel free to keep limiting his touches, but it might be the dumbest thing I've seen in recent memory ... and that's saying something.