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Football thoughts – Week 18

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on January 7, 2021

College: My beloved Oklahoma Sooners (#6) wiped up the floor with the (#7) Florida Gators in the Cotton Bowl, 55-20. The Texas Aggies (#5) beat (#14) North Carolina handily in the Orange Bowl, 41-27. Meanwhile, Alabama cruised by Notre Dame and Ohio State embarrassed Clemson to set up the championship game.

These games brought into sharp relief how badly the playoff committee blew it this year. Notre Dame should never have been in the playoffs to begin with, and Ohio State, though it is a fine team, should have been disqualified from the Championship because they only played six games. The playoffs could have included OU and the Aggies instead. I’m thinking some of the committee members know it, too.

Texas fired head coach Tom Herman, which surprised me. I expected him to succeed at Texas, given his experience as a high school coach in the state, a potential advantage with recruiting, and his success at Houston (he actually beat OU there a few years ago).

Herman’s record wasn’t that bad, just not good enough for Texas. Herman had an excellent quarterback in Sam Elinger, so you would expect his record to be better. In fact, Texas was getting recruits, just not developing them adequately.

Texas immediately hired Steve Sarkisian off the Alabama staff. I guess if money is no object, you can do that kind of flipping. Sarkisian is an excellent coach, but a once-failed head coach.

NFL: In the comparison and contrast between Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns beat a resting Pittsburgh Steelers team to qualify for the playoffs. Before the game, some sports analyst opined if the Browns didn’t get in, they should part with Mayfield. What a moron. I would replace almost every player on the team before Mayfield, starting with an offensive line that can’t protect him and a defense that can’t break up a pass.

Regarding Kyler Murray, the Cardinals lost their game with the Rams, but Murray went out with a sprained ankle in the first quarter after scoring a touchdown and giving the Cardinals the lead, so no comparisons are possible.

Clearly, the Cardinals need more protection for Murray and a whole lot more defense. Sadly, the Cardinals coach hasn’t a clue about defense. Never has had, never will have. And, based on body language, Murray has little confidence in his defense and no confidence in his coach.

The Dallas Cowboys, my erstwhile favorite team, did it again, stinking up the place with a loss to the New York Giants to eliminate themselves from the playoffs. Bad coaching, inept defense, under performance and poor play. Never has an NFL team paid so much for players giving such little effort.

But the most interesting game in the NFC Least was between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. Washington won and will represent the East with a losing record, 7-9.

It’s a mystery what Eagles’ head coach Doug Peterson was thinking, given his decisions. The only plausible explanation is that he was trying to lose the game to gain a higher draft choice. The only other possible explanation is that he is a bad coach and it’s inexplicable how he ever won a Superbowl a few years ago. Either way, he should have been fired on the spot.

Peterson wisely started Jalen Hurts at quarterback over Carson Wentz, who is struggling, and Hurts had them in position to kick a short, easy field goal that would have tied the game with eight minutes to go, but instead Peterson went for it on fourth and about 10 yards, an exceptionally low percentage decision, which failed, predictably.

Worse, Peterson then benched Hurts for a third string backup quarterback of whom I had never even heard, who immediately blew up. Hurts was not happy, nor was anyone else in Philly.

The irony in Peterson’s blunder is that he may have solved the Eagles’ quarterback dilemma inadvertently. Philadelphia must decide who to keep at QB next year: Carson Wentz, who seems to be a bust now, but who has an enormous contract that will make him hard to trade and disastrous if they have to swallow it, and Hurts, who is a good player at a fraction of the cost and who would be a welcome starter on most NFL teams.

Peterson may have made this decision academic by benching Hurts. If I were Hurts now, I would insist on being traded out of that chicken outfit and stick Philadelphia with Wentz. It would serve Peterson right to be left with a struggling Wentz and his albatross of a contract.

I’m a believer in the importance of timing a peak for the playoffs. A few NFL teams seem to be peaking at the right time: Baltimore, Green Bay and Buffalo in particular. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Superbowl between two of these teams.

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