By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Rumor Monger
1. Tebowmania is back!
There the headline was on NFL.com Sunday night, Tim Tebow’s handsome picture in a box, good treatment down the left side, guaranteed to be seen by all: Tebow to the Rams?
Across the country, 11-year-olds, drunks and others blind to the tricks of internet speculation excitedly told their families: Wow! Tim Tebow signed with the Rams!
Well, not really.
The story, which was a sources-told-someone-else type of deal, said that Sam Bradford would likely be out for significant time, and there had been “internal talks.” Oh, and the internal talks concluded, according to the story-about-the-story, that a Tebow signing was highly unlikely.
But why let the facts get in the way of a good headline?
Actually, it’d be a pretty good move for the Rams, who have been failing miserably for a half-decade throwing it 40 times a game and getting Bradford killed. Why not go with a Tebow system, add a yard-a-carry to the average, maybe excite the fans a little? He did do it in Denver, right?
Instead, they’ll probably turn to Kellen Clemens, who gives them just about zero chance to make the playoffs at 3-4.
Sounds like a blast. Let us know when the World Series starts.
2. The battle for the No. 6 spot in the AFC is going to be fun.
The top 5 teams in the AFC are more or less a lock: Denver, KC, Indianapolis, New England and Cincinnati are going to be there unless the bottom falls out.
And then there are eight: San Diego, the Jets, Miami, Tennessee, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, all within 1.5 games of each other.
If you figure 10 wins is going to be what it takes, you would probably vote Buffalo and Cleveland off the island first on quarterback play. Pittsburgh is 2-4, but maybe the best all-around team of the bunch. The Ravens look terrible, but are certainly capable. The Dolphins and Jets are pretty flawed, but capable. Tennessee has a lot of pieces, but they’re 3-4 and haven’t been consistent for a half-decade. San Diego has the offense, but the schedule and defense aren’t in their favor.
All eight teams are between +24 in point differential (San Diego) and -28 (the Jets), none of the eight teams have put any type of run together. Set the Chargers as a mild favorite, followed by Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and enjoy the race to see who loses to New England or Indy or Cincy in January.
3. Finally, they’re just giving Jamaal Charles the damn ball!
It was the damndest thing, the last six years of watching Kansas City Chiefs football. They knew what they had in Jamaal Charles in his rookie year of 2008, but Herm Edwards just kept feeding the ball to Larry Johnson en route to a No. 26 offensive rank. In 2009, Charles stepped in with a Johnson injury and was brilliant, but still only had 230 touches for the season.
Then, in 2010, instead of letting Charles run wild, they let Thomas Jones run it 245 times (for a 3.7 YPC), and Charles carry 230 times (for a 6.4 YPC). Charles was hurt in 2011, but came back in 2012 ready to cut loose.
While the Chiefs managed two wins and the worst offense in the league, Romeo Crennel gave him 320 touches – but inexplicably had games where he barely used Charles at all.
Then Andy Reid took over, and said “Hey, let’s give this guy 25 touches a game no matter f---ing what!”
- Week 1: 19 touches
- Week 2: 24
- Week 3: 27
- Week 4: 23
- Week 5: 27
- Week 6: 27
- Week 7: 24
The result: Charles’ YPC average is down to 4.19, but the Chiefs’ winning percentage is up to 1.000. It can’t be a coincidence that Charles’ first consistent use has translated to the Chiefs first consistent run since the days of Dick Vermeil.
And the scary part is that there are surely a couple of 225-yard games on the horizon – right now he hasn’t topped 172 total yards from scrimmage in any game. He only has one run of 20+ yards; last year he had 11, and six of 40+.
4. The 49ers’ 31-17 win at Tennessee was right to the blueprint.
There are a million different ways to win in the NFL. But the way the 49ers did it at the Titans Sunday seemed like it was just how Jim Harbaugh drew it up during breaks from filming that ad that runs every nine minutes.
The checklist had all of the boxes knocked out:
- Defense/special teams score (third week in a row).
- Colin Kaepernick efficient through the air (no INTs, 9.5 YPA) and on the ground (68 yards).
- Defense great until garbage time.
- Time of possession dominance (35:46 to 24:14).
End result: double digit road win, 5-2 record, primed for the second half.
Check, check and check. Now, if they can just knock Seattle out of that home-field advantage track, they’ll have a better-than-fair shot at returning to the promised land.
5. More news and notes …
That was a hell of a first game for Case Keenum, and what a nail in the coffin for Matt Schaub in Houston. With Schaub due big bucks and Keenum having another few weeks to either earn trust or send more scouts to see Johnny Manziel, the No. 8 era is over in Houston …
Quick: who’s the NFL’s leader in receiving yards? If you said Torrey Smith, you probably have him on your fantasy team – and you’re right. …
Speaking of receiving yards, Andre Johnson has 584 of them – and no touchdowns. Why one of the best receivers of his era is so bad in the red zone despite size and strength is a real mystery. …
The Bucs are a pretty decent team for 0-6. No one’s running against them, and the defense has been pretty solid overall – adding Darrelle Revis will do that. But the offense has completely pooped the sofabed, and rookie Mike Glennon has been no better than Josh Freeman. With Doug Martin injured (and going nowhere anyway), the Bucs are done. …
It’ll be interesting to see how Freeman does Monday night vs. the Giants. While he has been awful the last 10 months, he hadn’t strung together three straight clunkers once during his early years for Tampa. It won’t be a shock to see him spark the Vikings offense … unfortunately, the defense is probably going to be so bad that it won’t matter. …