South Shore Ave’s Four Down Journey

Week 4 is upon us ya’ll, so here’s my quick rundown leading up to Week 4… you know, just before you sit down on the couch for the next 11 hours watching every game under the sun & managing your multiple fantasy teams with your smartphones & laptops attached to you like a kidney…..

FIRST DOWN: Is Kansas City for real?

They could be actually. With Andy Reid & Alex Smith manning the two most important positions, it was a significant upgrade for a team that had to go through the Scott Pioli regime. He in turn had the excellent hires of Todd Haley (who by the end of his term, had players turning on him left and right); and Romeo Cronnel (who in one game last year, forgot to get touches to his best player Jamaal Charles & couldn’t explain why). There was also their run of QBs: Matt Cassel, Tyler Thigpen, Some backup QB with the last name Zlasko, Brady Quinn, etc. I mean, take a look at the lineup again. Can you imagine being a fan of this team? It’s no surprise they only won 2 games, but even with that they still sent 5 defensive players to the Pro Bowl. Which leads me to this: it’s on this side of the ball where they have made their greatest impact during their 3-0 start, not on offense. They’ve been averaging just over 11 points per game for the season. They kept Dallas in Week 2 to only 1 TD & made the fastest, most explosive offense in the league last week to turn over the ball to them 5 times. Thus far, they are a top 5 defense, & judging by their schedule, it may stay that way. Outside  of playing Denver twice, they have one of the easiest schedules in the league. I thought going into the season, they would win 8 games, but now, I can see that number going as high as 11. We all know Smith has a ceiling as a game manager, but he’s probably the best game manager in the league. This team has NO turnovers since the season started. He may not throw deep passes and get explosive plays (I feel sorry for you Dwayne Bowe) but he moves the chains & protects the football. Since 2011, he has gone 22-5-1 in games he has started. Between Smith & Reid, they provided stability that hasn’t been seen in Kansas City since Priest Holmes was running wild out of the backfield. For the past 10 years, watching the Chiefs has been like watching a girl who’s been dating nothing but thugs, drug dealers, drug users, & chronic fornicators who cheat on her relentlessly. Now she found a man with a good job, a good home, has a good head on his shoulders, has no outside kids as far as she knows, and who wants to have a family with her one day down the line. She finally has something stable, and right now, that’s all she needs. She doesn’t need to focus on getting married, but just enjoying the first positive relationship she’s had in years. Chiefs fans don’t need to worry about anything else other than the playoffs, which is where they seemed headed this season. We’ll talk about making the Super Bowl (marriage) later.

SECOND DOWN: Is New Orleans the best team in the NFC?

New Orleans you say? But what about Seattle??? Well for starters, I’m still slightly annoyed about  Week 2 drubbing the Seahawks dealt my 49ers in Seattle (just remember Seahawk fans, you come to our house Dec 8th), but I really believe now that the Saints will finish with the best record in the conference. Their defense has been more than getting it done. They have allowed 38 points in 3 games & is fourth overall in total defense. Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s 4-3 defense is getting everything out of its young defensive roster, particularly Cameron Jordan. According to Peter King on his MMQB website, Jordan has 17 QB disruptions (sacks, knockdowns & pressures) which is 3 more that J.J. Watt. It’s a small sample size, but it speaks to the 180-degree changes of mentality  it’s made on this side of the ball. It doesn’t need to be on Seattle’s defensive level, but if it can stay in the top 10 and still keep its explosive nature on offense (the Saints haven’t kicked it into 3rd gear yet & Jimmy Graham has already had a monster start to the year), they will be extremely hard to beat. The remaining playoff contenders on the schedule (Chicago, New England, San Fran, & Seattle) are slightly easier than what Seattle will go through (Houston & Indy the next 2 weeks, solid Tennessee team, then 5 more games vs. their division including the aforementioned San Fran game) so it sets them up to get home field advantage. However, they’re flying under the radar in comparison to Seattle & San Fran, & I’d never thought I’d see that happen to a team with Drew Brees on it.

THIRD DOWN: Upside Down & Round & Round…….

Kansas City is undefeated. So is Miami who’s tied with New England for the division lead. The Jets trail them by one game. Chicago has a 2-game lead on Green Bay, & until Thursday night, so did Seattle on the rest of the NFC West.. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Washington, & Giants are a combined 0-12. Pittsburgh and Minnesota play in London on Sunday so someone has to come back across the Atlantic a winner I guess. The teams I’m looking at that I’m not sure can bounce back from their start are both Washington & the New York Giants.  Robert Griffin III brought much hype to his team and had everyone thinking he will have another Adrian Peterson-type production coming off of knee surgery, but not only has that not happened, but the defense are giving up points & yards like it’s an album leak. They are 30th or worse in almost every major defensive category, they can’t stop the run (turning Joique Bell into a fantasy stud last week) or the pass, but the positive is that their offense sucks too. They can’t seem to get any momentum until the second half of games. The Read option is useless unless Griffin gets full confidence back in his legs, which I don’t think will happen until closer to midway point of the season. The good thing though, is that Mike Shanahan did the right thing this time and protected Griffin for the future. They mortgaged their first round picks for him, so they will continue to build around their talents. However, the same cannot be said about the Giants. With all the mistakes that the defense has made & the disastrous play of their O-Line (providing Carolina with 6 sacks in the first 17 mins of the game & only had 25 combined yards at halftime), here’s when I knew this may be a lost season. In preparing for the Panthers last week, Tom Coughlin’s brother passed away. Normally when an important person on the team loses someone close to them, the team usually rallies behind that person & will play hard for their grieving teammate or coach. In fact, I would have bet anything that they would have beat up the Panthers. So for them to get blown out the way they did tells me this team isn’t as tight-knit as years past for whatever reason. Now they head to Kansas City. If they get blown out again this week, Couglin’s job this time may be on shaky ground for fear that he may be getting tuned out.

FOURTH DOWN: Greg Schiano vs. Josh Freeman

Well, looks like Schiano won this round. By benching Freeman & starting the rookie Mike Glennon, it looks like the Freeman era is over before it got rolling. By all accounts, it looks like Freeman has lost the locker room by his lack of work ethics, being late to meetings, etc., which is a no-no if you’re supposed to be a QB and leader of an NFL team. So I’m in no way excusing Freeman for his transgressions, but Schiano shouldn’t get a pass either for how he’s handled this situation.  The reports of him fixing the captaincy process (which he’s denied), to throwing Freeman under the bus to the media for being late to the team photo shoot, to bum-rushing the V-formations last season that pissed off many teams alike.  He resembles a coach who should still be coaching in the NCAAs, not the men in this league. I can’t see him lasting longer than next season presuming he’s not canned before this one. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see that locker room supporting his style & ways while they continue to collect Ls.

PERSON TO WATCH: Leslie Frazier; Coach, Minnesota Vikings

There’s a few coaches on the hot seat for sure early this season, but don’t underestimate Frazier’s ground on the team. A defensive coach whose team can’t defend (they gave up 33 points to the Cleveland Browns for goodness sakes!), their QB Christian Ponder is inconsistent at best (kiss those endorsement deals goodbye Greg Jennings!), and teams are loading up on Adrian Peterson.  They made the playoffs just sneaking in on the back of Peterson, but I believe if not for his exploits, that team would have won 7 games at best and he’s be out of a job now. If they come back from London 0-4 which is a strong possibility, I wouldn’t be totally shocked if he’s at home on the couch watching Family Feud, and The Young & the Restless past the bye week. Even if that doesn’t happen, he’s not making it to next season if they win 5 games or less. (Note: Now it looks like Matt Cassell will start vs Pittsburgh. Yup, the smell of desperation has come. Get the pink slips ready.)

Sideline Notes

OK, can we put the “San Francisco is in trouble and their season is over” viewpoint to rest now??? They’ll be fine….. you wanna know what’s the most underrated factor of this whole Ravens party with Jacoby Jones getting his head busted open by a hostess/stripper Sweet Pea? The involvement of Bryan McKinnie. Seems like every time he’s involved with a big gathering after midnight, the police are eventually involved. If you remember the last time anything like this happened with his named attached, the words “party”, “boat”, “Lake Minnetoka”, “Cunnilingus”, & “Boat captain mortified beyond belief” were involved….. Also, if this situation doesn’t drum even more business and street credibility for Sweet Pea and the good wholesome people of the King of Diamonds establishment, I don’t know what will. Her request should go up anywhere between 50% to 175% I would think….. Why hasn’t Jacksonville traded for Josh Freeman yet? Like what they have behind center is any better??? Give up two 5th round picks & get this over with already….. Am I the only one who likes the Calvin & Johnson commercials?….. Looks like Drake put himself in the mega-superstar level now with his new album “Nothing Was The Same”. Where Kanye & Jay-Z missed out on in terms of capitalizing on the Best Album of the year title, it looks like Drake will clean up. Not 100% sure what his numbers will be once Soundscan calculates it up on Tuesday, but I’m expecting at least north of 600K sold for 1st week sales. He’s the best and the biggest artist that the Cash Money/Young Money team has on their roster. Lil’ Wayne included….. finally, Tim Lieweke has already started showing you the impact that he will have in Toronto as he has secured the NBA All Star Weekend. I think it’s waaaaay overdue, but in 2016, this city will be the Winterized version of Caribana weekend on HGH & the Clear. In the illustrious words of my friend Headley: “To all American groupies, get your passports ready”.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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