|ESPN.com: Page 2||[Print without images]|
Here are a few Monday morning observations from Week 5 in the NFL:
• Did you see the roughing penalty Chad Ochocinco drew on Ray Lewis that kept the Bengals' last-second, game-winning drive alive? Anyone still think there isn't a method to Chad's madness?
• At this point, if you can run fast, live in Nashville and have Sundays free, there's a good chance Jeff Fisher might sign you to play cornerback.
• Dick Jauron is 3-12 (1-7 at home) since signing his three-year contract extension.
• Dig those Swiss guard unis in Denver.
• When I heard the players union might have a problem with Rush Limbaugh owning part of the Rams, I thought back to a conversation I had with a player this summer who told me the biggest problem in the NFL is that the owners and coaches are all stuck in the 1950s.
• This happens every season: Every game seems to feature a ball carrier leaping valiantly over a would-be tackler -- until, that is, someone gets seriously injured with the maneuver. In Monday film sessions all across the league, coaches and trainers are screaming at guys to stay on their feet and not make the game even more dangerous than it already is.
• You know there's a problem with the OT rules in the NFL when Tom Brady, who was 7-0 in overtime, doesn't even get a chance to touch the ball against Denver. That's why the NFL has to switch to the Fleming Solution: To win the game in OT, you have to score at least six points.
• Celebratory fist-pump-off: Carson Palmer versus Josh McDaniels? Gotta go with Palmer: McDaniels seemed to lose steam and break his wrists into a kind of NASCAR driver-slap-flight-thingie after fist-pump No. 4. Plus, I gotta say it: March to the logo at midfield, shake hands with the opposing coach and then go do whatever you want. But shake hands first.
• The NFL is so full of copycats that I bet 75 percent of the head coaches will soon be wearing knit hats with cute little fluffy tassels on top like the one Bill Belichick had on in Denver.
• I can't believe that after Fred Taylor hurt his ankle, the "Fragile Fred" remarks are starting up again. Is there a dumber, less-informed nickname in sports? The guy has played for 12 years in a league that destroys most running backs in half that time. He ranks in the top 15 all time in yards rushing and has the third highest yards per carry among that group. He's played in 104 of his last 116 games. That's fragile?
• The only thing dumber? Comments about how traveling across the country hurts a team's performance. Please. It's not as if these guys are flying middle-seat with a two-hour layover in Denver (where the only thing open is the Krystal burger stand) and, when they land, having to deal with the travel industry's DMV style of customer service. They pull up to a private hangar; jump on a private plane with catering and huge seats; watch movies and game film for a few hours; and then, when they touch down, walk 10 feet to a bus that ships them to the front door of their first-class hotel.
• Kyle Orton has not gone through some major transformation as a passer; the biggest change is that he's no longer being asked to make throws that he's not capable of. Bill Belichick's strategy of putting players in the best possible position to succeed each week is why guys love playing for him -- and now, Josh McDaniels.
• It's just bad form to start high-stepping way too early (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) only to have to snap back into a frightened trot to make the end zone when tacklers begin to catch up.
• There isn't a more telling sign about the current state of the Cowboys than the we-just-won-the-lottery type of celebration that occurred after they beat a winless Kansas City team.
• I'll say this about the Rams. Down 31-3 in the fourth quarter against the Vikes, at least they didn't kick a field goal. They might be winless but at least we haven't had to enforce the Rams Rules on this year's team. Yet.
• If T.J. Houshmandzadeh goes off like that again at home, the PA guy in Seattle should play U2's "Get On Your Housh."
• Remind me again: What was the point of Michael Crabtree's holdout?
• Rams-Jags in Jacksonville in Week 6. Maybe they'll let whoever shows up just watch from the sidelines.
• Instead of legislating the protection of the quarterback with this endless stream of flags, why not allow a formation change in which one lineman is allowed to be off the line of scrimmage, standing up, three yards deep, as kind of an all-time QB bodyguard?
David Fleming is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and the author of the memoir "Noah's Rainbow" and "Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship." And his work will be featured in the 2009 Best American Sports Writing anthology. The Flem File appears every Wednesday during the NFL season with updates on Mondays and Fridays.