Friday, November 10, 2006

NFL Negatives of the 1st Half of the Season

I just read this......Randy Hill lets it fly about the duds of the first half of the season.

Randy Hill / Special to Randy Hill celebrates the midway point of the NFL campaign by running through the worst storylines."

We've reached halftime and you're the coach.
For the sake of the drill, let's treat this interlude as halftime of the NFL season.
OK, so it's halftime, you're the coach and your immediate task is to impart the requisite wisdom for a second-half performance upgrade.
You'll start with a review of the first-half positives.
NFL Midseason Spectacular

No, wait. You're Vince Lombardi (right, before he passed away, smart guy). And Lombardi — based on everything you've read and heard — probably wouldn't begin his halftime lecture by emphasizing the positive.
Well, he might mention the results of Shawn Merriman's steroid test. That's a positive.

But it wouldn't take long before Vince began listing the biggest first-half disappointments. He'd have about 15 minutes, giving him time enough for about 25 issues.
If he'd been paying attention to the first eight weeks of this NFL campaign, he might zero in on the following:

The Arizona Cardinals. Yeah, they're historically rotten, but a new stadium and impressive skill-position talent goosed expectations in the desert.
Unfortunately, they've been disappointing enough for defensive end Bertrand Berry to advocate a closed-door meeting. But the "players only" designation caused more than half of the squad members to believe they weren't qualified to attend.

Back to the Cardinals. Turning down considerable loot to do naming-rights business with Pink Taco was a sound move from a public-relations standpoint. Too bad the name would seem to make sense.

Ben Roethlisberger. While some credit for his league-leading interception total goes to his awful physical fortune, Ben has been remarkably bad. If this bad play continues, securing a dinner date may force Roethlisberger to begin impersonating the joker who used the same motivation while impersonating Ben.

Terrell Owens. The first-year Dallas Cowboy used the ball as a pillow during last Sunday's loss at Washington. Too bad his hands haven't been that soft on third or fourth down.
Chad Johnson hasn't been able to back up the boasts this season. (Chris Gardner / Associated Press)

Chad Johnson. It's about time his Ocho Cinco alter ego is replaced by the more appropriate Ocho Stinko.
Let's stay with the Cincinnati Bengals, who can't blame bail or probation for the inability to achieve a breakout season.

The Miami Dolphins. Like Manuel Wright before last season, Nick Saban is giving Dolphins fans a reason to cry.

New Orleans Saints rookie Reggie Bush. I know he's a fine decoy and all-purpose threat, but Reggie has a lower per-rush average than Diet Pepsi machine. In last Sunday's victory at Tampa, Bush experienced more loss than Jared Fogle, his co-worker at Subway.

ESPN entertainer Tony Kornheiser. I expected Mr. Tony to be great instead of good on Monday Night Football. I also expected him to chatter just enough to make most of us forget Joe Theismann was in the booth.

Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. This has nothing to do with T.O. or Jerry Jones. It's the hair, Bill! Coaching legends never dye.

That alleged run defense of the Indy Colts. Their defensive front usually manages less penetration than a college radio station.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. It's been postulated that Belichick called off the smash-mouth dogs vs. Indy as a future-playoff gamesmanship issue. Here's an idea — run the ball and defeat the Colts in November, then end up with home-field advantage in January. Then run some more.

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. Why can't football coaches be more like baseball managers? When your starting pitcher is wild high, please consider going to the bullpen for the rest of that game.

Back to the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie Matt Leinart is summoned to run for his life as the starting quarterback and not one public peep out of Brenda Warner, Kurt's wife.

The Philadelphia Eagles. They seemed even less prepared to go into New Orleans than FEMA.
Kansas City Chiefs star Larry Johnson. One week after he was face-masked into a sore neck by Cardinals corner Antrel Rolle, the K.C. superback almost did the same while seizing the hair of Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu.

The Minnesota Vikings. This year's Vikes couldn't score on the San Francisco 49ers and may even have trouble scoring on a rented boat.

The Denver Broncos defense. They've been good enough to keep Jake Plummer in the lineup long enough to discover his confidence. Most of us wanted to watch Jay Cutler.

The Seattle Seahawks. These guys just won't conform to perfectly good curses and jinxes. They look poised to win the NFC West despite the Madden '07 Curse (Shaun Alexander), the Post-Super Bowl-Loser Curse (they're in first place) and the Chunky Soup Jinx (Matt Hasselbeck).
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. He's been just mediocre enough to inspire the will-he-retire talk to continue.

The Oakland Raiders. This is one of the rare times when comeuppance is too pathetic to seem funny. One more week of this and QB Andrew Walter will qualify as Ned Ryerson's stunt double if they ever make a sequel to Groundhog Day.

First-year commissioner Roger Goodell. His players still seem a little out of control. Let's see if John Walsh is hired as guest color commentator when the San Diego Chargers meet the Bengals in Cincinnati this Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Alternating great and average performances enables irritating parties on both sides of Great Vick Debate to continue believing they're right.
New York Giants players. If any of these guys had shown up five minutes early for the clue bus, they wouldn't have suggested Tom Coughlin was being out-coached.

All-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith. Just when we were about to forgive you for signing with Arizona ...

Randy Hill is a frequent contributor to

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