The theme of this week’s blog post is Nobody Knows Nothin’ Bout Nothin’. We’re now nine weeks into the NFL season. Let’s try to sum up what we’ve learned. For starters, the Jets
stink. We know that because of their 49 to 9 Week 8 drubbing at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. They followed that up by knocking off the Saints. Incidentally, the Jets only win on odd numbered weeks. Go figure. The Browns stink. It took them all of three weeks to go from first to last in the AFC North. They just beat the Defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens, something Cleveland has failed to do in over five years. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles stinks. Last time we saw him, Week 7 against the Cowboys, He threw for just 80 yards and looked for all the world like he’d never seen a football before. He faced the Raiders on Sunday, had a perfect quarterback rating and tossed an NFL record tying 7 touchdown passes. He threw more touchdown passes than incomplete passes, and more touchdown passes than the entire Raiders team has thrown all season long. It’s crazy. There’s just no telling who’s good from week to week. The Chiefs had to come from behind to beat the Bills. The Seahawks needed overtime to defeat the pitiable Bucs. The Texans, along with their third string quarterback and five-game losing streak, very nearly toppled the Colts. And remember Pittsburgh’s old Steel Curtain? It now appears to be made of whipped cream. Against the Patriots on Sunday, a team that’s struggled offensively all season long, the Steelers allowed a franchise worst 55 points and 610 total yards. What the hell is going on here?
The afore mentioned pitiable Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in their first full season under the iron fisted tutelage of first-time head coach Greg Schiano. In today’s NFL, the key to success is overbearing, incomprehensible discipline; at least that’s what Schiano thinks. All of his meeting rooms are climate controlled and must be set to a precise temperature. For the players, it’s both feet on the floor, no slouching, no talking out of turn and you better not chew gum unless you’ve got enough for everyone and even if you’ve got enough for everyone YOU BETTER NOT CHEW GUM! It’s Schiano’s way of the highway. In the case of now former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, that highway led all the way to Minnesota. Several players have complained about Schiano’s heavy-handed approach. And yes, some of his rules may seem silly and pointless, if not completely asinine. But hey, you can’t argue with results. The Buccaneers have a perfect record this season. They haven’t won a single game. Schiano still insists his system is working. In his defense, the Bucs have looked better of late. On the other hand, they’re 0 – 8. Discipline is important but there comes a time when you have to step back. Perhaps Schiano could draw inspiration from Monty Python’s Sergeant Major marching up and down the square.
Of course, it’s unfair to blame Greg Schinao for all the Bucs’ failures. It may really be something in the water. Heading into Week 10, there are still two winless teams in the NFL and they both reside in Florida. In fact, no Florida football team won a game during the entire month of October. Yes, the Dolphins did pull off a big win Halloween night. For the record, though, the game went into overtime and didn’t actually end until November.
Hazing, indoctrination if you will, is nothing new to the NFL. Players are often made to carry pads, run errands, pay fines for imagined infractions, and even pick up an exorbitant dinner tab. That stuff is normally reserved for rookies and it’s been going on for decades. Right or wrong, it’s part of the culture. What’s not part of the culture is to threaten a teammate, make racial slurs, and then attempt to shake him down for thousands of dollars. That, according to numerous reports, is the type of thing that’s been happening to Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin who, days before the Dolphins’ big Week 9 win over the AFC North leading Bengals, excused himself from team activities citing, among other things, concerns for his safety. Veteran guard Richie Incognito has since been banned indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team,” while the Dolphins and the NFL look into allegations of bullying, intimidation and even extortion. Incognito insists such claims are false and he wants his name cleared. Based on the number of incriminating texts, voicemails and reports from multiple team sources, It doesn’t appear likely that will happen anytime soon. It also doesn’t look like this was an isolated incident. It’s unclear if or when Martin will return to the Dolphins. Incognito’s days in Miami may be done.