Friday, November 19, 2010
Final Word: NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 11:
Williams fallout: Despite his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence, Tampa Bay receiver Mike Williams will play at San Francisco. Coach Raheem Morris isn’t happy that the rookie put himself in a situation like this. Morris is a players’ coach, but also can be very firm. I’m guessing Morris and Williams already had a lengthy conversation and Morris made it clear to Williams that the player “owes one’’ to the coach and his teammates and that things like this won’t be tolerated in the future.
Reggie Bush is poised to finally return from the leg injury that has sidelined him for weeks.
Bush’s return: All indications are that New Orleans running back Reggie Bush will make his return from a broken leg when the Saints play the Seahawks. Although there’s no question a healthy Bush would provide a boost for the offense down the stretch, I wouldn’t count on seeing too much of him right away. With a quick turnaround for the Thanksgiving game at Dallas, I think the New Orleans coaches will limit how much time Bush spends on the field.
Balance of power: You can make an argument that the New Orleans defense is playing better overall than it has at any point since Sean Payton took over. I’d even say the defense has carried this team somewhat this season. But the mini-slump (and that’s a relative phrase) that has slowed Drew Brees and this offense for much of the season can’t go on forever. Brees is too good not to explode at some point, and I think that’s going to happen soon.
Trap game: Coming off an emotional win against Baltimore and looking ahead to a big game next week with Green Bay, Sunday’s game with St. Louis looks like a classic trap for the Falcons. Much has been made of how the Falcons win at home and struggle on the road. There’s some truth to that. But it should be noted that going into St. Louis is not anything like going into Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Because the Baltimore game was on a Thursday night, coach Mike Smith has had extra time to talk to his team, and you can bet he’s warned them not to fall into this trap.
Wildcat time: I’ve scoffed all year at Carolina fans' repeated suggestions that rookie receiver Armanti Edwards should get some time at quarterback in the Wildcat package. But I’m changing my thinking now. With Brian St. Pierre starting at quarterback and just about all the running backs hurt, what do the Panthers have to lose by putting Edwards back there for at least a few plays? But, then again, as long as John Fox is coaching the Panthers, I doubt we’ll see anything that even borders on creative.