The San Francisco 49ers pulled the old Head Coach Mike switch last night as they fired Mike Nolan and brought in Mike Singletary. Nolan was 18-37 as the Niners head coach which is far from impressive, but as I pointed out last week his teams always played hard and I have the feeling he will get snatched up quick to be someone's defensive coordinator. It's hard to see how this move will make the 49ers any better this year, but Singletary does get the softball lobbed his way in his first game with a home game against the Seahawks this Sunday. Prepare for countless references about Mike Singletary's eyes, in fact, here is one:
Continue on after the break for the rest of the week's observations.
Sharing is Caring in Carolina
The big story(around here anyway) in Carolina's 30-7 win on Sunday is the return of Julius Peppers to the form of two years ago on Sunday. Who knows what brought on the change but the key is for it to remain there for the season. If Peppers plays like that the Panthers defense improves by leaps and bounds. The most telling play came on a 4th down goal-line stop where Peppers blew by Jeremy Shockey and closed on Deuce McCalister while keeping him from getting the first down. Julius had some sacks coming into this game, but his motor appeared only able to take him to the QB if the path was there, now he looks hungry and that has Panther fans excited. Losing Reggie Bush hurts the Saints no doubt and they can't use flying to London as an excuse they need to win next Sunday or they will most likely miss the playoffs. The sharing from the Panthers involves their two RB system featuring DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart: the pair have performed well so far together (766 yards and 7 TDs combined) and even have a celebration dance worked out between each other. It involves putting your arms in the air and waiving them around as if there were no repercussions. More sharing was observed by a writer in Charlotte who saw Steve Smith and Ken Lucas playing dominoes together, even after their altercation in pre-season. Winning solves everything, doesn't it?
Granted it was against KC but the Titans are on fire. Their two-headed running attack of LenDale White and Chris Johnson torched the Chiefs in the 34-10 win, just look at the most telling numbers from that game. Albert Haynesworth is an absolute menace on the line right now. If the Titans beat Indianapolis on Monday Night they have a chance to be up 4 games over the Colts.
The Colts are back....to not being back
After they drubbed the Ravens last week, everyone including yours truly thought that Indy had finally found their footing. But the Colts regressed as Manning had 2 pick-sixes in the 34-14 loss. It was a huge swing game for the Packers who now sit tied with Chicago at 4-3 atop the NFC North. The Colts have not been getting enough on the ground and with Addai hobbled, it does not look good for Indy. Also not looking good are their next 3 games: at Tennessee, New England, and at Pittsburgh.
The Chargers also limp into London
Much like the Saints the Chargers were looking to move forward this past week following a big win the previous week but they fell flat against Buffalo. The Bills won the game 23-14 and although it was not the most artistic victory, the Bills are a non-art history major 5-1 and sitting alone in first of the AFC East. LT's lack of production is hurting the Chargers in the converse way the solid play of Marshawn Lynch has helped the Bills. San Diego is being told they have traveled a lot of miles in the past two weeks and it is a crutch for them to struggle against the Saints, but no matter how convenient it is to blame the travel or Ed Hochuli, it is up to the Chargers and Norv to get some consistent wekk-to-week play.
Cowboys get Ram-med
One thing that was true of Dallas last year was that they played brilliantly when hitting on all cylinders but once adversity arose, superstars did not become leaders. The same appears to be happening this year. Jerry Jones can grit his teeth all he wants but the ability of the Cowboys to get back to winning does not lie with him. The Cowboys were literally run over by Stephen Jackson and the Rams 34-14. The players are upset, as is the coach, and most certainly the fans, but the question is, what are they going to do about it? If the Cowboys can remedy the problem, it will yield large dividends for them come playoff time. Meanwhile, Jim Haslett has apparently lifted a huge weight off the Rams' shoulders. And just because it is the most awesome thing ever, Ram It!
Last night before the game it was discussed how Jake Cutler had told the Sporting News that he "no contest" had a better arm than Elway. Then Michelle Tafoya said she interviewed him before their Monday Night beatdown by the Patriots 41-7 and asked him if he wanted to revise his statement and even offered him to call it a tie. Cutler refused and then on the first play from scrimmage banged his finger on a defender's helmet. The win was a huge setback for the Broncos who had Champ Bailey, their all-universe CB(no hyperbole intended, the dude is freaking sick as a player), pull up lame with a groin injury. The Broncos still do hold the lead in the AFC West, but they have not been playing well lately. The Patriots themselves did not get through their big win unscathed: before the game they placed Maroney on IR, CB Ellis Hobbs was gimpy, and Rodney Harrison was carted off. This may very well be the last time we see Harrison on the football field depending on the nature of the injury[*ed. note: it's a torn quad, Harrison is done for the year and probably for good.*]. The Patriots defensive backfield has already been decimated by injury and it appears it will get even worse. Perhaps Troy Brown could un-retire and pay corner again. Matt Cassel still gets sacked way too easily, but you could see Josh McDaniels tailoring more of the offense to Cassel instead of assuming he could run the exact playbook of Brady. The Patriots needed the win and they got it in impressive fashion but now, like so many other NFL teams trying to find themselves, they must keep it up. As much crap that is thrown Randy Moss's way, he was in the game the whole time and it looks like(for now) he is taking the positive road to help the team but just like the Patriots win it must be asked if it will continue?