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The GBU presents; The Quarter Pole, a review of the 1st 4 weeks in the NFL

LC October 6, 2011 0

 

DISCUSS ON FORUMS: http://www.digitalsportscene.com/forum/nfl-ncaa-football/19414-gbu-presents%3B-quarter-pole-review-1st-4-weeks.html

Hello sports fans and welcome to the Quarter Pole edition of the GBU. With the first 4 weeks in the books it is a chance to grade each team up to this point and state the obvious; IE: the Rams stink out loud. This season certainly has had some surprises, good or bad depending on which team you root for. If you’re a Skins fan you are pleasantly surprised while Dallas fans are being checked into mental hospitals and put on BP meds by the thousands. Steelers fans are calling for heads to roll meanwhile in Orchard park the good ole days of the run and shoot don’t seem that far away anymore. Let us not forget that one of the only two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL is the Detroit Lions.

Who would have thought that the number one overall defense would belong to the Bengals and that the Raiders would have the best rushing attack with Carolina a top three passing team? The Packers look unstoppable, the Vikings look lost and the so called Philly Dream Team can’t buy a win.

We have had back to back 20 point comebacks by the Lions, no not against them, this time they did it to other teams and one of them was Dallas. Tom Brady lost a shoot out to a qb name Fitzpatrick from Harvard and Matt Hasselbeck is actually making plays for the team he is on for a change. The NFC West is still bad, but the 9ers seem to have a chance to be sure the winner of that division is at least 8-8 for a change. The Colts without Manning are basically the Browns and the Browns, well they are the team that loves to disappoint with a 1 step forward and 2 steps back approach.

This week the format will be different as we will forgo the Good, Bad and Ugly sections. We will go by divisions, east to west and grade each team with a GBU grade and a fan grade from the threads we posted this week. We kick if off with the Bills leading the AFC East…

AFC East

A division easily won by the Pats for years, the Jets has been spoiling the party as of late. This year the Bills have invited themselves to the party, weather or not anyone asked them. Miami is on the outside looking in as usual but at least they signed Reggie Bush to get that offense going…

1. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

GBU Grade: A
Fan Grade: B+

The Bills sit at 3-1 with their lone loss coming against the Bungles, not the Pats. Ryan Fitzpatrick is proving that the Ivy League can produce more than just lawyers with a 63.4 completion percentage and 9 td’s to just 3 int’s through 4 games. It is too early to claim the Bills are a contender for the AFC title let alone the Super Bowl, but they are in the mix for their division. A 27th ranked defense heading into the cold weather could be bad news but for now they hold the number 1 spot in the AFC East. The GBU gave them an A because they normally are already preparing for the draft by now. The fans I spoke to say the downgrade was for coming out flat against the Bungles following the win against New England.

2. New England Patriots (3-1)
GBU Grade: C+
Fan Grade: B-

The Pats once again have the most formidable offense in the NFL, but their defense…. not so much. Ranked 32nd overall the only way they can win is to put up points in droves. We at the GBU lowered our grade to a C+ for the defense being so bad. Yawkey Way, who posts at Virtual Sports Daily, had this to say:

The offense has been as expected. Tom Brady is well, Tom Brady. But he’s already showing a propensity to zero in on Wes Welker which could very well lead to issues against stronger defenses. The problem with the team is that so far, they lack in other areas. Outside of Oakland they haven’t been able to run the ball and the defense is setting New England football back 10 years.

3. New York Jets (2-2)

GBU Grade: C
Fan Grade: C

Despite having the best secondary on the field and a top 10 defense the Jets are 27th against the run and believe me I am not the only who has this info. Mark Sanchez is supposed to be coming into is own this year but he seems to be the only who hasn’t heard the news. With a sub 60% completion rate and just one more TD than INT’s he isn’t exactly lighting things up. To be fair injuries on the offensive line have limited the ground game but it is not like they don’t have weapons outside to use. With New England and a hot Bills team yet to play they better get something figured out quickly.

Here is what Mogriffjr had to say about his team:

I’m not really concerned about Sanchez, but the playcalling does him no favors. It’s just so out of wack now that something needs to be done ASAP. What’s our identity on offense? Nothing. We can’t control offense flow passing right now, nor running…something needs to be done.

4. Miami Dolphins (0-4)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: F

There really isn’t much to say here is there? The Phins added Reggie Bush to help jump start their offense and it has helped them get outscored 104-69 in the first 4 games. Chad Henne is now hurt, though it is not like him being healthy would make much a difference. There was a reason this team had to invent a new offense to win games people… they suck. All the fans who wrote in about them had one thing in common… they all knew how to spell f*&^.

 

NFC East

 

This division has been touted as the best in football for years with the possibility, at least on paper, for 3 of the 4 teams to make the playoffs. Too bad this year the one team normally left out of that discussion are the ones leading the pack. Philly pulled a Dallas and loaded up on talent, Dallas pulled a New York and has an overrated QB and the Giants are just kinda cruising along.

1. Washington Redskins (3-1)

GBU Grade: A
Fan Grade: A?

If you are wondering why the ? is in the fan grade, it is due to overwhelming fear of Washington fans that Rex Grossman is about 3 seconds away from being his old self. With squeaked out wins against the Rams and Cardinals and a close loss to the Cowboys their fears may not be unfounded. For now the Hogs lead the pack, and all that matters in the end is if you won, not if you won pretty.

2. The New York Football Giants (3-1)

GBU Grade: B
Fan Grade: B-

This team just makes me wanna pull my hair out, and I am already bald and not a fan. Eli Manning still does the hang dog routine when he makes a mistake and why this team doesn’t use a single wing and run down people’s throats until Jacobs and Bradshaw can’t walk is beyond me. EmpireWF at VSD had this to add:

Consistency and health are the keys. If they could play more consistent ball throughout the games, it wouldn’t be so close. They were awful to open up the season in D.C., but they took advantage of a porous Rams team. They simply outplayed Philly on both sides of the ball and came from behind ON THE ROAD when down two scores late in the 4th. All things considered, I think most fans would have pegged them for 3-1 at this point…swapping the WAS and PHI games.

3. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

BGU Grade: B/F
Fan Grade: B-/F

I can’t figure this team out, and neither can their fans. One day Romo is the toughest man on the planet and the next day he is bad day Favre. I have always criticized this team for, well for anything I can I actually hate them like a cat hates water, not running the ball. With a hurt quarter back, a back up you obviously don’t trust and a 20 point lead why not use that big bruising line you have and run it? Oh that’s right you got rid of the Barbarion… nice. Here is one of the few fans that will still talk to me had to say:

Quote Originally Posted by kmanharris View Post
We look unbeatable at times, then Romo throws a pick (or 3) and we look like utter [crap]. Still 2-2 and in a VERY winnable division… lucky for me, I’ll be dead from a heart attack before December.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: D-
With expectations so high no one could have lived up to them totally, but this is a shock to even the biggest Philly/Vick hater. That line cannot protect Mike Vick, though it doesn’t help he doesn’t know how to throw the ball away or just get down and the defense has so many stars at skill positions but the trenches are filled with space eaters. The Cowboys tried to buy a team a few years ago and got blown out of their own house in the final game at Cowboys Stadium. When we fail to learn from it, history repeats itself.

Quote Originally Posted by shag773 View Post
You can sign all the players you want. But if you can’t tackle, block, cover, or take care of the football, you’re in trouble. It’s times like these when teams look to their quarterback to lead them through and meet those high expectations. He has a great opportunity to prove his critics wrong.

 

The AFC North

 

This has been known for years as a one of the toughest divisions in all of the NFL mostly due to the bruising defenses of the Ravens and Steelers. The only bruising going on this year is of Big Ben doing his best David Carr impression. The Bungles are a surprise, mostly because without Palmer we all assumed they would be 0-4 and begging him to come back. The Browns always have some expectations, though not from anyone who is really a Cleveland fan. Baltimore looks lean and mean, but even they stumbled when no one thought they would.

1. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

GBU Grade: B+
Fan Grade: A-

The season began with a dismantling of the Steelers only to be followed up by a loss to a Matt Hasselbeck lead Titans team. A blow out of the Rams and a convincing victory over the Jets set the ship right again, but if this team had a let down after a big win so early in the year can they go the distance? Flacco is getting the ball down field more this year, but his old mechanics can pop up at anytime. For now they look beastly, as long as they don’t have to play the Titans again that is…

2. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)

GBU Grade: C
Fan Grade: A

I was sure the Bengals would be the Bungles all year, but with a quality win against Buffalo they get a high grade even though it doesn’t mean much. The fans all sent in A’s and high B’s and explained it like this: We all expected them to be so bad that a .500 record out of the gate has made them worth watching for at least the next 2 weeks. Usually by now Paul Brown Stadium looks like whatever team is visiting home field. So we will take what we can get (paraphrased from multiple responses).

3. Cleveland Browns (2-2)

GBU Grade: C
Fan Grade: F

I was easy on this team, but their fans didn’t see it that way. I will just cut to Maynard, VSD’s local angry man, for the explanation of the grade:

at 2-2 you might think thats pretty solid for a team that nobody is expecting anything from. But that 2-2 could easily be 0-4. getting smashed by the titans and losing to a pathetic bengals team accounts for the 2 losses. But the 2 wins against a manning-less colts team and a lucky comeback win over a real bad miami team doesnt equal a happy 2-2.

the coaching is down right horrendous. We lost to the bengals due to bad coaching. The got burned because they were not set on dee and nobody thought, hey lets call timeout. And dont forget the 8 flags (7 accepted) called in the 1st quarter of that game. Say what you will about Mangini, but he would never have allowed that to happen.[SIC]

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: D-

I can’t even begin to say all the things that are messed up with my team. I have been screaming for Arians’ head since he took over from Wisenhunt and now is no different. The o-line can’t block and he still calls 7 step drops and outside runs. The defense is great, but even a young D, which this one is not, will get tired playing 85% of the game. Fellow Steelers fan Shayn had this to say:

The o-line isn’t a problem anymore; it’s a huge [flippin’] liability. It’s costing games. Big Ben has taken 14 sacks in 4 games, 7 turnovers he’s caused because he’s been hit a [ton]. Mendenhall is averaging 2.8 ypc and he’s not getting good run lanes. Thank God for Mike Wallace or else we would have no offense. Wallace is the only guy fast enough to get open because our o-line can’t stop the pass rush from running free.

 

NFC North

 

If I told you one of the teams in the NFC North would be 0-4 and 2 teams would be 4-0 would anyone really have said the Lions would be in the latter? The defending Super Bowl Champs live here, but they will have a tough time even getting out of their division let alone repeating this year.

1. Detroit Lions (4-0)

GBU Grade: A+
Fan Grade: B+

This ain’t your father’s Lions people. Not one but two 20 point comebacks in back to back weeks, one of them against the Dallas Cowboys in their house no less. This is not what Detroit does, they blow the leads not overcome the deficit. Still, Lions fans aren’t ready to jump for joy and claim that Ford Field house’s a champion…

Quote Originally Posted by mgoblue2290
Despite being 4-0 their is plenty of room for improvement for our team. Like not getting down by so many points. It is nice to know that this team does not quit and never believes that we’re out of it, but it isn’t a good sign that we start so slowly.[SIC]

1. Green Bay Packers (4-0)

GBU Grade: A
Fan Grade: A-

Even when the Packers start slow Aaron Rodgers stays Joe Montana cool and the next thing you know it’s a 14 point swing in the cheese head’s direction. This team looks like the real deal to me. Let’s see what the fans had to say:

Quote Originally Posted by MvP
The offense has been damn near unstoppable at this point, though. Rodgers makes playing quarterback look so easy; it’s really been special to watch. The Starks/Grant combo has been great: when one isn’t playing too well, the other steps up and has a big game. Cobb has been the playmaking threat we needed and then some. Barring any injuries, I really can’t think of a team that can stop this offense right now.I think A- is the best grade. The defense is not playing up to its potential and for that, I can’t justify giving GB the perfect score.

3. Chicago Bears (2-2)

GBU Grade: C
Fan Grade: C

Mike Martz is the only person who likes to run the ball less than Andy Reid and his mustache. Even with Marion Barber being added to the team it still hasn’t swayed him and his pass happy deep drop attack. Maybe when Jay Cutler finally can’t get up he will see the error of his ways, but until then… bombs away! Saluki over at VSD had this to add:

Quote Originally Posted by Saluki View Post
2-2 in a pretty average start to the season.Offense looked good in our two wins, but in our two losses, coincidentally when Martz decided not to run the ball, we looked terrible. Defense has done well when the offense hasn’t left them backed up on the wrong side of the 50, which has happened too much this season. It’ll be good to have Chris Harris back to sure up that safety position too, these last two games they’ve really missed him, that combination of Major Wright and Craig Steltz just not cutting it.

4. Minnesota Vikings (0-4)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

I can’t see the logic that the Vikings used this off-season… Get rid of the QB who has at least played with your team and bring a veteran on his way out and draft a QB in the first round. To make matters worse the new head coach, a dude named Leslie, consistently takes the ball out of the hands of the best running back in the game. What I wanna know is how bad Christian Ponder is if Donovan McNabb is still starting? I couldn’t find a Vikings fan that could type coherently to quote.

 

AFC West

 

To say the teams in this division under-perform would be like saying Chris Berman is a little annoying. The Chargers are known for their slow starts, though not so much this year. Oakland and Kansas City have been fighting for the number one pick for most of this century and Denver hasn’t been good since the great horse-faced one was playing QB. Things are looking up for 2 of these teams… can you guess which two still suck?

1. San Diego Chargers (3-1)

GBU Grade: B
Fan Grade: B+

Usually we have the Bolts at 1-3 or 0-4 and everyone calling out for the firing of Norv Turner. Then sometime in week 7 or 8 this team wakes up and makes the playoffs. One can only hope, unless you hate this team, that with such a positive start the team will not be a mirrors reflection of itself. The fans seem to remain grounded. Here is what one of them had to say:

Quote Originally Posted by GoChargers
Best start to a season since 2006, but we’ve lost to the only playoff caliber team we have played. I want to see us knock over the Jets or Packers (or both) before I get excited.

2. Oakland Raiders (2-2)

GBU Grade: C
Fan Grade: B-

A .500 start for a team that up until last year average less than 5 wins per season is nothing to be sad at. They had a chance in the Buffalo game and even though the Pats cleaned their clock, Oakland did run all over a Rex Ryan defense. Truraider, a friend of mine from back in the RFCU days had this to say:

I can’t say I am happy, but I can’t say I am mad either. The running game looks good and maybe that alone can get us to at least 8-8. Other than Al Davis finally kicking the bucket I think that is the best I can hope for from this team.

3. Denver Broncos (1-3)

GBU Grade: D
Fan Grade: D

Even if Tim Tebow was on the field as the starter I don’t think it would make a difference. Shannahan left the defense is shambles and McDaniels didn’t do much to help it before he was sent packing. This team is a work in progress and with their best pass rusher fighting injury yet again and Kyle Orton as their qb it looks like it will be a long road. I wanted to get a comment from glenwillet over at VSD, but he was too butt hurt at the record of his team to send in a response.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: H, for Herm Edwards…

If it wasn’t for the Vikings being the worst team in football the Chiefs would be oh-fer still. To be fair Jamal Charles going out for the season hasn’t been easy on the team, but is that really all the offense Todd Haley had? You know it is bad when I get 12 replies and they all want Herm to come back so at least the Chiefs will have a legitimate reason to suck.

NFC West

Commonly referred to as the NFC Worst due to 8-8 or even 7-9 teams winning this division many people have even suggested a rethinking of the playoff system to exclude the winner from the dance. Oddly enough in the past 10 years two teams from this division have played in the super bowl, though they both lost to the same team, that does speak to at least the teams in this division to play well in the post season.

1. San Fransico 49ers (3-1)

GBU Grade: A
Fan Grade: B+

With their only loss coming on an overtime field goal by Dallas (not to mention Tony Romo’s gutsy/insane preformance) the 9ers have been finding ways to win. Tedd Ginn carried them over the Seahawks in week one and a huge confidence builder in the form of a come from behind win against the Eagles last week. This team is young and has the pieces to be good, not great but good. Villian had this to add:

Quote Originally Posted by Villain
They’re 3-1 and could (probably should) be 4-0. They’ve exceeded my higher-than-usual expectations as far as victories go (I really thought they’d be 3-1 with a loss to the Eagles and not the Cowboys). There’s still a lot of work to be done – especially on the offensive side of the ball. Defense, namely Patrick Willis, has been great. Special teams won at least one game – Teddy G in Week 1 comes to mind. I’d like to see better passing numbers from Smith and I’d also like Frank Gore to live up to his reputation and possibly establish himself as one of the best rushing threats in the game.

2. Seattle Seahawks (1-3)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: F

What is there to really say? They let Hasselbeck go for Tavaris Jackson. Is anyone really shocked that Pete Carroll is failing yet again in the NFL? I mean come on man; you can pay them legally now for crying out loud!

3. Arizona Cardinals (1-3)

GBU Grade: C
Fan Grade: D+

Hooray! You beat the Panthers, but let up 400+ yards passing to a rookie in the process and followed it up with 3 close losses to the Sins, Hawks and Giants. it is not like this team doesn’t have promise, they just need to learn how to win without Warner at the helm.

4. St. Louis Rams (0-4)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: F

Poor decisions by management in the off-season and an injury to Steve Jackson have fans breaking out the paper bags. Coach Spagnuolo play calling is stale and the calls for his removal only grow with every loss. Just when it seemed the Rams were headed back up they have fallen further than they were they started from.

AFC South
With Peyton Manning basically out for the season with a neck injury this division is up for grabs… sort of. The Jaguars can’t get started, the Texans look good, but no one is ready to believe they can do this given their history. The Titans would be the de-facto winner you would think, but with CJ having held out for all of training camp and Matt Hasselbeck at QB you never can tell…

1. Houston Texans (3-1)

GBU Grade: B+
Fan Grade: B

With the domination of the Steelers in week 4 the Texans ended the first quarter with a positive record, but injuries to Ben Tate and Andre Johnson could make the party short lived. This team’s switch to a 34 defense under Wade Phillips is starting to pay off. Depending on how long AJ and Tate are out and/or if anyone can step up and fill their roles will determine how far this team can go.

2. Tennessee Titans (3-1)

GBU Grade: A
Fan Grade: B+

After looking like pure hell against Jacksonville they got a quality win against Ravens team coming off a beat down of its rival. The other two wins are a close one against a 1-3 Denver team and a 31-13 crushing of the Browns, a team they should be able to beat like that in their sleep. Hasselbeck seems to be reborn in Titan blue and if CJ can get going this will be a team no one wants to see late in the year. The GBU’s good friend Woy had this to add:

Quote Originally Posted by Woy View Post
The passing offense has been nothing short of amazing, thanks in part to a rejuvenated Matt Hasselbeck, who has looked incredible in Chris Palmer’s new offense. Kenny Britt will be missed for the remainder of the season, but Nate Washington has been solid as a #2 guy and young pups Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins have stepped up. The running game has struggled with an ineffective Chris Johnson coming back from holding out, but the interior line has been worse than last year when PFF gave them the worst grade in run blocking.This isn’t a Jeff Fisher coached Titans squad anymore, but a glaring negative that carried over from the Fisher era is the amount of bonehead defensive penalties. This extremely young team should be a factor in the AFC playoff race for the entire season.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)

GBU Grade: D
Fan Grade: D

The Jags rolled out with a win against division rivals the Titans and then proceeded to implode against the Jets. That game lead to the dawn of the Blaine Gabbert ear and to no surprise the rookie has struggled. I am not sure what anyone really expected when they cut their incumbent starter 3 days before the season starter, but I am willing to bet 1-3 isn’t that far off. Here is what the fans had to add:

Quote Originally Posted by Obst
Such a poor offense, two different quarterbacks, no WR’s, a shaky offensive line and horrible play calling. Just so frustrating to watch this year so far, our highest scoring game was 16 points. Only reason this team gets the D grade is because of the defense keeping them in games (besides the Jets, but I blame Luke McCown’s 4 INT’s for that) and they squeezed out a win against the 3-1 Titans.

4. Indianapolis Colts (0-4)

GBU Grade: F
Fan Grade: I

I gave this team, who I have always said would suck like a two dollar hooker without Peyton Manning, and F for even thinking that bringing in Kerry Collins was a good idea. They said during the Steelers game that he was being ‘evaluated’ for a concussion, something they maybe should have done before they signed him. Freeney and Mathis continue to cause mayhem and if Peyton can coach up Painter there is hope that 0-16 is not a possibility. Based Pand could only muster this in response to the GBU’s question:

Colts

I – Incomplete

NFC South
The NFC South has the unique identity as the division where the winner one year becomes the last place team the following year and the last place team wins. To be honest I don’t see anyone taking the last spot from Carolina this year despite Cam Newton’s amazing arm. The Bucs are on the way up, the dirty birds can decide what to do and the Saints without Reggie Bush are of course right in the mix.

1. New Orleans Saints (3-1)

GBU Grade: B+
Fan Grade: B

Evere since Drew Brees was signed this team has been in the mix and this year is no different. What New Orleans lacks in defense, and they do lack, they make up for in a high powered offense. Their passing game ranks 2nd only to Tom Brady and the Pats and their one loss came against probably the only team besides New England that could hang in a shoot out in the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. I don’t see this team getting very far without some sort of adjustment to the defense, unless they can just score 45 every game that is.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)

GBU Grade: B
Fan Grade: C+

After Chucky was sent off to the MNF booth the Bucs got young and then struggled. With Josh Freeman and his ability to extend plays they now have a qb to build an offense around. Add in LeGarrette Blount and what we have here is a recipe for success. Slow starts against the Colts and Vikings aren’t a great sign, but they did win those games and that is what counts.

BigBucs had this to add:

[Our] young defensive draft picks finally starting to pay off with the Buccaneers generating 10 sacks through the 1st 4 games. Rookie DE Adrian Clayborn is looking like a stud through the 1st quarter of the season and 2nd year DT Gerald McCoy is finallly starting to emerge from the shadow of Suh with how dominant he has been these past 2 weeks.

3. Atlanta Falcons (2-2)

GBU Grade: D
Fan Grade: C-

This is a team with such high expectations that they sold their future and current drafts picks to add what they considered the only missing piece; a wide reciever. I guess the issues on defense have escaped the management team over the last few years. Matty Ice isn’t looking too bad with a 62.2% completion rate but with a 21st ranked defense 6 touchdowns are not gonna get it done. I sure hope they can sign free agents on defense becasue it is not like they can build through the draft.

4. Carolina Panthers (1-3)

GBU Grade: A/D/F
Fan Grade: C+

I know you are wondering what in blue blazes the GBU is thinking giving the Panthers three different grades. Well all ourselves to explain ourselves… or something…

The A is for Cam Newton. He is the real deal and if he can learn not to throw the ball so high all the time he will be playing at a high level quickly.

The D is for the rest of team that can’t block, can’t tackle and is just out there slugging along.

The F is for the coaches who won’t use the run to help Cam. Why when you’re still in the game would you try to shoot it out with the Green Bay Packers? This is the kind of thing that Ron Rivera will be known for I am afraid.

Ok people, that is all for this week. Tune in next week when we will hear Big Ben say; “Who do I have to rape to get some protection out there?!?!?!”

Until then be good or be good at it. Send all death threats, love letters and paternity suits to gbu_central@yahoo.com. As always please remember this is only my opinion and that and $11.32 will get you a 3 piece chicken and shrimp dinner from the local grease shack.

 

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