Runnin’ Up The Gut: NFL Football Week 3 Recap & Analysis

Welcome once again to “Runnin’ Up The Gut”, the column that goes straight up the gut with no-nonsense analysis and to-the-point questions posed by readers, as well as questions spawned by events of the week in the NFL.

Another week down in the record books, and of course, there are several stories that came out of Week 3 in the NFL season. This week’s edition of “Runnin’ Up The Gut” comes early, for I have to leave tomorrow and will be unavailable for the rest of the week.

The first question of the week: Is Brett Favre truly done?
I wanted to address this question for Week 1, but I didn’t get around to it…sorry. I believe the answer, unfortunately, is yes. I think this not because of his statistics in the past 3 weeks ( 2 TD, 6 INT, 597 yards, 61.9% accuracy, 60.4 QB rating, which for Favre, looks to be par for the course, minus the glaring lack of yards, but then again, he has Adrian Peterson…), but because of how tired he appears to be in the second half of his games. For example, in Week 1 against the Saints, at the second half of that game, he looked sluggish, and almost like his heart was not in the game. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning Favre’s passion or heart by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I AM questioning how much the veteran really has left in the tank. No athlete has a battery that goes on forever, not even Brett Favre. Is he one of the all-time greats? Absolutely. However, there’s a difference between being great and being a great. Favre may have felt like he had something left in him to be able to win one more Super Bowl…heck, he almost did it last year. Sometimes an athlete’s competitive spirit clouds his logic and I think that may have been the case for Favre. He willed himself to come back for one more season, but it seems that his body disagrees. Add that to his increasing number of interceptions (at this rate, he’ll wind up with a 10-30 TD to INT ratio), and it looks like Brett Favre is done. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, and it wouldn’t be the first time…

From my friend Chris, he has asked me to address the Detroit Lions and their draft maneuvering, with this question: How smart were the Lions to have traded up to get Jahvid Best?

Extremely. They traded with the Minnesota Vikings, knowing full well that Minnesota was in need of a cornerback, while also realizing that Jahvid Best was still on the board near the end of the first round of the draft. Best has the most upside of the entire 2010 rookie running back class, even more so than 12th overall pick Ryan Mathews. Why? One simple word: explosiveness. Mathews is a big, physical runner, who is more of a power back with his erect style and tendency to simply get out of the backfield without wanting to move around. Mathews also is more injury-prone than Best, as Mathews missed time due to injury every season he was at Fresno State.

Best is the total opposite of Mathews. Best is more patient than Mathews, and is not as injury prone. The only significant amount of time missed by Best during his time at California was the final four games of his senior year. Once Best sees an opening, he is explosive enough to capitalize AND get a big gain out of it, which makes defensive coordinators (at least, smart ones) have to factor him as a serious threat when developing their weekly game plan.

Best was the (no pun intended) best running back available at that point when the Lions traded up, and don’t think for one second that the Vikings wouldn’t have snagged Best if they could have. Can you imagine Adrian Peterson AND Jahvid Best? The Vikings would be running split backs CONSTANTLY!!! Who would you cover, Peterson or Best? In essence, the Lions not only helped themselves, but possibly the entire NFL by trading up for Best, so I think the move was pure genius. This is not the Lions fan in me talking, that’s me being honest…it was the best move the Lions could have made at that point.
The final question for this week regards a staggering statistic this week that stood out to me: in 2 games, those games being the Packers v. Bears and Giants v. Titans, there were 29 penalties assessed. The question is: Are officials starting to crack down on the way the game is played, or was this week a coincidence?

I believe the answer is, they are watching more closely for rule infractions, considering some of the off-field antics by players and the intensity which the players are starting to play. For example, Darrelle Revis has been closely watched, and we know of all the hype he has been receiving. I believe in this case, the NFL officials are looking at him under a microscope because of the stink he made about his contract, claiming he deserved to be paid more than any other cornerback in the NFL, or at the most a cornerback is paid. His holding and interference calls have increased, while his deflections have been far and few between; in fact, he only has ONE deflection so far. In Week 2, Brandon Jacobs threw his helmet into the crowd, which may have caused some attention to be paid to the Giants. What happened this past week? 11 penalties, 5 of which were personal fouls, and 3 of those being for unnecessary roughness. I believe the officials are monitoring things a lot more closely, yes…but at the same time, I feel that certain teams are monitored more closely than others, which is not right if it decides the outcome of a game. If one team can get away with something, the other should be able to as well, and conversely, if one team is penalized for one thing, the other team deserves the same scrutiny. Incidentally, after the Nick Collins incident on Monday night, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers are looked at more closely as well. This increased monitoring could be a good thing, or lead to a very ugly situation…time will tell. At this point though, I feel that the closer officiating has been excellent.

Other topics brought up to me for this week include Shonn Greene, Donovan McNabb vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Kansas City Chiefs, so I’ll also address these topics in short fashion:

Shonn Greene: He was touted as a top-5 running back at the beginning of the preseason, and as I wrote in my New York Jets preview, I disagreed. In 3 games, he has only produced 106 yards, 0 TD, and 2 fumbles, with 1 lost. I believe the Jets acquired LaDainian Tomlinson for a reason…

Donovan McNabb vs. the Philadelphia Eagles: Next week is an emotional homecoming for Donovan McNabb, as he faces his former team. Will it affect him? I believe it could help the Redskins move to 2-2, as they will come into Philadelphia upset over their Week 2 loss to St. Louis. On the other hand, it may hurt the ‘Skins and cause them to make crucial mistakes. Which is more likely? I’m not even going to attempt to make a guess, because I honestly don’t know. Either way, this game is one worth watching this week.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs, surprisingly, are 3-0. Of the three undefeated teams, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City, the Chiefs are the team that stands out as most shocking, with wins over San Diego and San Francisco. Are they the real deal? Ask me again after Week 6, after they play the Colts and Texans. Will they still be undefeated? Not likely, as one of those teams will be likely to beat them, but good showings may make them serious playoff threats.

That wraps up this week’s edition of “Runnin’ Up The Gut”. Feel free to send questions, emails, comments, hate mail, whatever. Until next week…enjoy the ride of Week 4, where I’ll be back here for another discussion!

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