Monday, November 07, 2005

Who’s the Tough Guy Now Vinny?
By Ben Valentine

So, Brooks Bollinger CAN play.

Too bad we didn’t get a chance to find that out until the Jets were behind the eight ball. Oh well, you have to walk before you can run.

The good news is that barring some inexplicable bout of poor decision making this week by Herman Edwards, the Vinny Testaverde era in Jetland is done. Finished. There’s no way Bollinger should be the backup for this team after his performance today. The former Badger did what Vinny had yet to do, throw a TD pass. In fact his two in the fourth quarter tied him with Chad Pennington for the team lead. I think that shows what a sorry state of affairs it’s been at the Medowlands this year.

What is frustrating is that Bollinger did everything I had said he could do for this Jets team today. When allowed to actually handle the offense and play to his own strengths, Bollinger was able to get outside the pocket, avoid the rush and make plays. He made some very good throws, even on the deep ball. The throw he made to Justin McCariens in the back of the end zone which the wide out failed to bring in was one of the better throws you’re going to see. And no play summed up what Bollinger could bring to the table better than early on in the fourth quarter, when two Charger defenders broke through the line. Bollinger scrambled away, rolled out right, drew the defensive back up and fired a pass to Doug Jolley. He turned a seven yard loss into a twelve yard gain. Vinny would have been sacked and probably fumbled.

Sadly we can only be left to wonder what was. I’ve been saying Vinny cost the Jets the games against Buffalo and Atlanta. Today just makes that assertion seem more likely.

I don’t know if Bollinger is the answer at QB. His height is undoubtedly a liability when he’s kept in the pocket. Too many balls get knocked down. Herm has to play to Brooks’ strength and get him outside to be effective, something he failed to do when the Jets had the ball at the three yard line with the chance to win the game. But if today is any indication, Bollinger might just be serviceable enough to get by for the Jets. Honestly, the Jets would be better served getting a top running back and rebuilding their line than going for another QB. I wouldn’t mind seeing Pennington, Fiedler and Bollinger battle it out for the job next year.

But one thing is certain. Number sixteen’s time is over.

Now I can start picking the Jets again in the weekly picks.

- Speaking of QBs who should have retired already, Kurt Warner stinks. How Josh Mexico isn’t starting at this point boggles my mind. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Dennis Green’s coaching ability; the guy always put a winner on the field in Minnesota. But this situation has been poorly handled. McCown isn’t a great QB now and hey, he might never be. However, he has tools that Warner no longer possesses at this point, like say, the ability to move. As with the Jets, the Cardinals line is beat up and porous. A mobile QB is the order of the day. And while you can question McCown’s decision making, Warner threw three picks today folks. That doesn’t say much to his abilities. Why do I care so much about the Cardinals? Well I picked them to win the division and that pick looks miserable right now. I’m looking for someone to blame and Kurt Warner is my scapegoat. Plus McCown is a lot of fun to use in Madden 06’. He’s a less cheap version of Mike Vick. In any case, as has been stated before; Dennis Green has yet to win a game as Cardinals coach that Josh McCown has not started. Wise up Dennis and name McCown your starter. Let the kid grow and find out what you’ve got, cause right now all you have is an old man and a bad team.

- Dick Vermeil deserves credit for going for it all today. Earlier on in the day I had criticized Marty Shottenheimer for not going for a fourth and goal against the Jets from a foot away up by eight early on in the fourth. My reasoning; a field goal puts you up by two scores yes, but if you score a TD you go up by 15 and force the Jets to get two TDs. If you fail, you force an inexperienced QB to go 99 yards to get into a position to tie. Marty kicked the FG and the Chargers should have lost the game when the Jets drove on them late. A bad non-call in the endzone is the only that saved them. Vermeil however went for the win against the Raiders today, running on the goaline with no time outs and five seconds left, despite being down by only three. He saw it as his best chance to win and took it. Again, kudos for a coach who had the guts to go for it all.

- However, on a down note, the Chiefs would have lost the game had it not been for a questionable “tripping” call. A Raider DT was called for tripping Trent Green, even though the defender was being held and pulled to the ground. The penalty, if any, should have been on the Chiefs. Instead of a sack, which would have put the Chiefs in a 3rd and long, and down a time out, the Chiefs got a 1st and 10 and the stoppage of play.

- The Giants didn’t impress me at all today. A team that had any type of offense whatsoever would have beaten them. This team has to prove it can win on the road. Sadly, one has to think back to that game against New Orleans. With as poor as the Giants have played away from home, I think any team that finishes behind them has a legitimate beef with the NFL. I mean suppose the Bucs and Giants finished tied or the Bucs finish a game behind. Is that fair the Giants got a ninth home game? Ridiculous.

- It was called back due to holding (along with everything else positive the Niners did today) but Brandon Lloyd’s second quarter one handed leaping grab is one of the best catches you’ll ever see. I don’t know how a guy who has such great hands can be such a mediocre player.

- I hate the way the Steelers play football. I just do.

- Finally, has it occurred to people the Eagles might not make the playoffs? So much for what we all know. After all, they were the one “lock” in football for anything. Even the Patriots had more doubters. Now with T.O. running his mouth and his way off this team, McNabb hurt, a non-existent running game and a defense that a college back could run through, they look lost. And that’s with all the luck they’ve had this year. (I don’t care what anyone says; when you win a game on a blocked FG returned for a TD, you’re lucky).

Hey I’m all smiles tonight. I haven’t felt this good since Rick Mirer was replaced by Ray Lucas back in 99’. Seems sort of similar doesn’t it?


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