A World Without Cutler-Face

Cutler's Thumb Derails Bears Juggernaut?

After the Bears pushed aside the flailing Chargers I was going to lead off the post with an anxious eye toward Christmas Day.  Bears @ Packers.  Game of the century.  Packers could be sitting on 14-0, Bears could be riding a 9 game winning streak of their own.  Forget about presents, we’ve got the best football game of the season.  But, Cutler’s hurt.  He broke his thumb, and the Bears will be ushering in the Caleb Hanie era.  I know what you’re thinking.  What about Todd Collins? Well, he’s no longer on the depth chart.  The 3-hole is being occupied by Nathan Enderle.  Who?  The pride of Idaho.  This feels like a case for Jeff Garcia.

The question is, are the Bears really done?  They’ve won plenty of games this year without Cutler being stellar, but with Cutler in there, there’s the threat he could make a throw or two.  Is this going to be one of Cutler’s hot games?  And, now you’ve got to wonder if Hanie can be good enough to allow the Bears to continue to do what they do, which is pound you into dust with Matt Forte and their defense.  You look at the next four games for Chicago, (Oakland, KC, Denver, Seattle) and think that Hanie could probably keep them competitive, but it’s further down the road you’ve got to look to see the real impact of losing Cutler and his gun-slanging potential.

The other question this raises for me is, why is the NFL’s trade deadline so early in the season?  I know NFL teams haven’t really figured out how to wheel and deal like they do in MLB, but this seems like a classic case where a struggling team could ship off a QB and have a nice little win-win.  Now, this isn’t a good example, because I’m sure now that Donovan McNabb is worse than Caleb Hanie, but I don’t feel like skimming through every roster.  But, say, the Vikings were still starting McNabb and he was playing decent.  They could just package him off to Chicago and go with Ponder.  Or, the Titans could trade Hasselbald.  That kind of thing.  The season is just past halfway done, and the Bears are stuck with what they’ve got, or sweet-talking David Garrard.

***

College Football BCS intermission.  So, I’m no college football junkie, but from what I gather, everyone lost this week.  Except the holy SEC trio of LSU, Alabama and Arkansas.  Does anyone really think Arkansas is the 3rd best team in the country?  Honestly, no one has any idea who the 3rd best team is.  The national high school rankings are probably more accurate.  So, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Clemson all go down.  Oklahoma or Oklahoma St. is going to lose at least one more time, and the way I’m looking at it, an all-SEC title game looks inevitable.  The funny thing is, #2 Alabama who already lost to LSU, has a much easier path to the title game than the #1 Tigers.  They basically have to beat Auburn, and they’re in.  LSU and Arkansas have each other and then the SEC title game.  Is there any way OK State or another team could climb back up to #2?  I’m not a big fan of conference games for the national title.  Even if they are the two best teams.  Shouldn’t a conference decide its champion?  Isn’t that the point?  If we know that LSU already beat Alabama, why not have them play someone else?  If ‘Bama wins the rematch, what does that prove?  It’s so unbelievably messed up.

***

Brief Eagles Intermission.  I heard a comedian say once that you could hit a cat in the head with a tennis ball 100 times and it’d be funny every single time.  That’s kind of how I feel about Eli Manning fumbling on a late drive against the Eagles.  Sure, he wasn’t going for a slide this time around, but the result was the same.  The Eagles are still a mess, and still well behind NY, but some measure of relief for Eagles fans that the Giants don’t pull off the sweep.  The Eagles continue a maddening year.  Their next loss will officially bury them, but before that they play the type of defense that if they could have played in half their losses this year, they’d be 7-3–at worst.  And yet, if they were 7-3, it’d be a soft record, because they can lose to any team out there.  They’ll probably prove that against New England and if not, surely the following Thursday in Seattle.   Expectations are a funny thing, aren’t they?  Vince Young was 90% horrific, but one good drive and everyone will be loving him this morning.

***

Five Fantasy Eye Pokes, Frustrating Blow-Ups, Etc:

1. Eli Manning.  Manning shredded the Eagles earlier in the year and there was no reason to think he would fare any different this time around, but the Eagles got a ton of pressure, the Giants had some key early drops and the rest was history.  Luckily, I traded Eli on Friday.  Someone else’s problem.

2. Kevin Smith.  Did anyone know Kevin Smith was still in the league?  I really thought the equipment manager was Mo Morris’ back-up at this point.  There was Smith out of the darkness for a buck forty and two scores.  Meanwhile Megatron goes mostly quiet on a 49-point day.

3.  Shonn Greene.  Every.  Single.  Week.

4.  James Starks.  How can the best offense in the league not have a viable RB option in fantasy?  I have Starks.  Was so thrilled with myself when I drafted him late and Grant started the season as terribly as predicted.  But, the Packers refuse to let him in the end zone.  Two, that’s TWO (2), fullbacks got TD runs yesterday.  Starks?  Nothing.

5.  Torrey Smith.  Ok, everyone go pick him up (again).  Start him because you’re desperate.  And, watch him trend back to zero.  Maybe not.  The guy is fast.  But, I’m just bitter because I’ve already picked him up and cut him this year.

***

Arbitrary, But Definitive Top-10:

  1. Green Bay 10-0, eked out Bay of Pigs.
  2. San Francisco 9-1, 5 game division lead. Lulz.
  3. Baltimore 7-3, Need an AFC team.
  4. Chicago 7-3, In Memory of Cutler’s healthy thumb.
  5. Pittsburgh 7-3, Standard Bye-Week Bump.
  6. New Orleans 7-3, a soft 7-3, says me.
  7. Houston 7-3, In Memory of Schaub’s healthy foot.
  8. New England 6-3, Assuming they take care of Palko
  9. Oakland 6-4, Carson Palmer: Winner.
  10. Cincinnati 6-4, Still feisty, screw Dallas.
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13 thoughts on “A World Without Cutler-Face

  1. hahhhahahahahahahahhaa. i dunno, i mean, i know the take home was funny in that first paragraph, and the fact that i could not follow the quarterback chain of command, alone is funny…but huh? how are there 4 back-ups on one team?

    and E Manning, yeah, I mean, he is the king of that puppy dog, i didn’t do it, i’m a victim, woe is me look…i kind of suspect the team is losing because he is winning dollars every time he gets caught on the side lines with that look. like that red giants cap has a deal with him, “make the puppy face” and we’ll make ya deal sweeter than on field supremacy.

    i dunno? just a theory.
    just a theory (more digestable than looking at the mess of love fest on the eagles side lines last night)…ever hear the saying too little too late? yeah, love hurts like that.

    Q

  2. Oklahoma and OK State play each other in a couple weeks. I don’t know the Big 12 tiebreakers, but they could play each other again in the Big 12 Championship.

    Arkansas is pretty good, but very lucky to only have one loss. They were getting drilled by Texas A&M earlier. They were down by about 20 and somehow won. Defense kinda sucks but they can put up points in a hurry.

    I say if LSU beats them and wins the SEC Championship you just cancel the BCS Championship game and give the title to LSU because at the time of playing their opponents, they have wins over the #2, #3 (twice, assuming they beat Arkansas), #16, #17, #20 and #25. Georgia is who they play in the SEC Chapionship and they’re #13.

    How much more do they have tp prove in a system that does not value a playoff at the end of the season and rewards teams for a strong regular season.

    It would suck to see them play ‘Bama again. You can’t put Boise State in there because they didn’t even win the Mountain West. What about Houston? End the speculation about what would happen if they played an SEC school.

    Sucks Stanford can’t do anything. The PAC 12 is so messed up that Oregon will play UCLA for the conference championship.

    Can you imagine if Notre Dame didn’t screw the pooch against South Florida and held onto their lead against Michigan? They’d have one loss with a trip to Stanford looming. Notre Dame and LSU for the national championship would be the pick. But just like everyone else, Notre Dame messed things up.

  3. Good point about LSU. They should just cancel the thing if they win their last two games. It’s funny that everyone beats their chest about the importance of the regular season in college football, but then they wipe that all clean for the bowl game.

    There is no Big 12 Championship game this year, right? Don’t you need divisions and 12 teams to do that?

    Anyway, whatever the most embarrassing scenario is for the BCS, that’s what I’m rooting for.

  4. Everyone better hope lSU doesn’t blow it against Georgia. If clemson hadn’t laid down and died they’d probably be in the mix right now for a shot since they still have to place (assuming UVA doesn’t shock them) VA Tech.

    The Giants running game/o-line is just atrocious. Deplorable.

    Watched Tiger close out the President’s cup. I couldn’t decide if those guys were all faking it or actually were happy for him and he was one of the guys. If you think about it, wouldn’t all this lead to Tiger being closer to other golfers? Now he’s a single guy, he has no one to answer to, nothing to hide, so he can just run through hood rats with all the other young bucks on tour. Right?

    • Virginia wll shock Va Tech. Skinny line smells funny. The Cavaliers +5? They won’t need the points cause they get it done OUTRIGHT.

  5. Thanks for clearing that up. I think we can all sense your tone, anyway, BK.

    Saw the US win the Presidents Cup, always nice to get a W. It was a bit intriguing to have it on at night, but golf just isn’t an evening sport. I want that to be there Sunday afternoon.

    I think the guys on the team like Tiger. I think they mostly always have. People assume everyone is going to shun him because of what happened, and that’s just not how things work. These guys on tour don’t really care what he did, well at least the large majority don’t. Half that team probably wanted to be Tiger at some point, so I think it was all pretty genuine–minus the trolling for hood rats.

    Did you see him yucking it up with Phil and Amy on day 1? Total love fest.

    If the guys like him any more now it’s probably because he’s like a worst case scenario. Hey honey, at least i’m not out there doing what Tiger did.

  6. I still hate phil. Has anyone ever smiled more while blowing up and losing tournaments?

    Its weird to me how golfers can all remove the bad blood so easily. Like Norman talked all that sh*t….and then he was hanging out with Couples like nothing happened. I get that they’re all “friends”, but can we get a little fire during the competition at least? I don’t need shots of norman and couples giggling like school girls while there’s a mini-run going on by the Int’l squad, nor Phil making jokey-jokes with adam scott while he smoothly fires another driver into the brush.

  7. That’s definitely a problem with the Prez Cup. Too buddy/buddy. You wouldn’t have seen Phil laughing if he was getting throttled in the Ryder Cup–even if the US was out in front.

    As far as Fred and Norman go, it tells me that the build-up was all prearranged. It was like, hey Fred, I’m going to rip you in the media for picking Tiger–It’ll be good for ratings.

    Tiger did take a tiny shot at Norman after, but there could have been more junk talking. I think we say that about golf all the time.

  8. Yeah, i heard tiger drop in the little line in his interview immediately after. I did want to see him close it out with a putt on the prior hole, but i won’t be too picky about it. And, his celebrations weren’t nearly as awkward as they had been with Williams, so there’s a positive.

    I was thinking about this while i was watching, curious your thoughts. Do you think his winning and his improvements are related to him simplifying and maybe realizing he’s going to have to grind out a few wins? He used to be able to do seemingly impossible things, you hear announcers talk about the typical “tiger shot” where he hooks a 250 yard 3 wood around a tree and drops it on a dime and i wonder if as he got older his body couldn’t do it anymore. He was tying to run away and hide at every tournament like he used to, instead of just trying to win by a stroke or whatever. Maybe he realized he’s going to have to be a little less bold, a little more of a grinder and it took time to get used to that thought process? So instead of trying to eagle every hole and out drive everyone and show how much better he is than all these guys, he had to step back and just take his shots when he can and be a little more “normal”?

  9. I don’t think he was going for too much. He was struggling because he couldn’t hit fairways and on the rare occasions when he did, he didn’t make enough putts.

    I think we’ve all underestimated the health of his leg in all this. The people that watch him constantly say he’s looking better on that leg than he has in a long time. Saying things like, I can’t remember the last time he hopped out of a deep bunker and didn’t gingerly step out of it..things like that.

    He decided to change his swing (I guess to help the leg even more?) and he couldn’t practice it seemed like. Lack of results on the course eroded the confidence.

    If you wanted to get really bold, you could probably make the argument that his personal life had nothing to do with his decline on the course.

    I think he’s clearly in the best form we’ve seen him in since 2009, but I don’t think he’ll ever putt well enough again to consistently dominate the Tour. I’d be shocked if he didn’t next year, though.

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