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Raiders, Seahawks in bad hands
Chris Johnson is both selfish and clueless.
The Seahawks offense is offensive and we know why.
And the Raiders are the Raiders.
And least we have the Ravens to believe in, right?
We are all over the insanity, SCHEIN 9 style.
1. The monologue
If you watched Cosmic Schein or saw our video rant on FOXSports.com last week, you know that I think it was a horrible, irresponsible mistake for the Raiders to give up potentially two first-round picks for Carson Palmer.
It was easy to predict disaster the first time Palmer put on a Raiders uniform.
Palmer is 32 and hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level in years. He was sitting on the couch at this time last week. He was terrible and turnover-happy last season. He lost the Tampa game by himself. I’ve always loved Palmer, but his days as the “human jugs machine” are clearly in the rearview mirror.
Or maybe it was clear to everyone but Raiders coach Hue Jackson, who has suddenly obtained a lot of power after the passing of Al Davis.
You cannot treat draft picks like Halloween candy and that’s exactly what the Raiders have done. It’s indefensible. I know Jason Campbell got hurt. This is not how you overreact. This is not about going for the jugular. The deal for a washed-up quarterback doesn’t increase the Raiders’ chances of making the playoffs. And it destroys your draft for the next few years. Jackson is trying to win and become entrenched. He’s acting irresponsibly and eschewing the future. Look at the Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Steelers or Saints. You build a consistent winner through the draft.
Now, I agreed with Jackson’s decision to start Kyle Boller on Sunday against Kansas City. Another reason the Palmer deal made no sense is that you have to respect the quarterback process. You need a rapport with your play caller, receivers and offensive line.
But if Palmer wasn’t ready to start, how the heck was he ready to come in and play at the half down 14-0? It was a total embarrassment. Boller tosses three picks to start, and Palmer comes in and looks just as inept, throwing three picks of his own. Look, it would have been stunning if Palmer came in and looked the part of savior. Either start him or don’t play him at all. Palmer was either ready to play in live game speed or he wasn’t. There was no middle ground.
We had his best friend T.J. Houshmandzadeh on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week. T.J. raved about the zip being back on the fastball, but described a typical Palmer workout in California to include the two friends and a couple of high school kids. Think about that. It’s a little different facing Brandon Flowers and the Chiefs. We interviewed his “retirement quarterback coach,” Ken O’Brien. He also talked about the improved velocity, but wondered about the adjustment to game speed, game planning and rapport with teammates. That’s logical, to everyone but Hue Jackson.
And now the Raiders are without picks throughout the 2013 draft. As one of the top heads of player personnel told me last week, “Why in the world would anyone take the Raiders general manager job? How can you be successful?” The answers are you wouldn’t, and you can’t be.
And I don’t believe Al Davis would’ve ever made this trade. He loved Jason Campbell. Heck, he liked the upside of Terrelle Pryor. And his former top executive Michael Lombardi said as much to us on the radio.
Are the Raiders better than the Chargers or Chiefs? Absolutely not. Even if they survive the average AFC West and make the playoffs and get bounced, is that a success? Not when you have an aging quarterback and no 2012 top pick. And the beat goes on in Oakland.
2. Amateur Hour
The Seahawks’ game in Cleveland was the single ugliest, most pathetic game I’ve seen in quite some time. And it really hit home an underrated topic in the NFL.
Pete Carroll has done a terrible job with the Seahawks.
Please don’t tell me he made the playoffs last year. The Seahawks went 7-9. They are totally inept this season at 2-4. You can give them credit for the stunning win at the Giants. But any good vibes evaporated after the pathetic, mind-numbing, grotesque display on the road in Cleveland.
And here’s the problem. Pete Carroll has full autonomy. While he has a general manager in John Schneider, who I like and respect a lot and was smartly plucked from the Green Bay tree, it is Carroll making the personnel decisions. And the head-scratchers and the futility start at quarterback. Carroll swapped second-round picks with the Chargers two years ago to acquire the legendary Charlie Whitehurst. At the time of the trade, Whitehurst had completed as many passes in the NFL as you have. Yet, Carroll thought it was not only a good idea to make a trade for Whitehurst, but Carroll gave San Diego’s third-string quarterback a two-year deal worth $8 million to back up Matt Hasselbeck. We killed the transaction when it was made. It was mocked universally by football people. It never made any sense.
And then it got worse.
With a short offseason and truncated training camp and no mini-camps or OTAs because of the lockout this year, continuity was the key for teams. It was why Jim Harbaugh brought back Alex Smith. Yet, Carroll shunned longtime Seahawks QB Hasselbeck. Now it would be one thing if you could do better than Hasselbeck. But Carroll handpicked Tarvaris Jackson, who drove the Minnesota Vikings nuts with his inconsistent play. We all saw how bad Jackson was. Did Carroll not watch any tape? Was he solely relying on the recommendation of new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell? Which executive watched the Vikings at any point and said to himself, “I really need to find a way to land BOTH Bevell and Jackson.” It’s backward. It’s illogical. It’s Seahawks football. Heck, the Vikings needed a stop-gap for a year to groom Christian Ponder and they didn’t even offer Jackson a deal.
Did I mention that Carroll gave Jackson the same contract as Whitehurst?
Two years. Two quarterbacks. Two identical, awful contracts.
Jackson was hurt for the Cleveland slop-fest and it was Whitehurst’s time to shine. Chuck Whitehurst was 12-for-30 with a pick and 97 yards. The Seahawks controlled the clock for a lowly 17:04. Cleveland had the ball for 42:56.
Look at the head coach and the direction in San Francisco. What a difference.
How Carroll was able to obtain full autonomy is a mystery.
3. Can’t make it up
Chris Johnson should be ashamed of himself. He selfishly held out of training camp and has been a total non-factor as a result. Johnson, as we said at the time, needed to follow the lead of Matt Forte and get into camp and play hard despite being disgruntled. Someone will pay you. Now, Johnson is struggling to get his legs beneath him, putting up a paltry 18 yards on 10 carries as Houston clubbed the Titans 41-7 in Tennessee.
According to those who watched practice on Friday and talked to Titans staff members, Johnson hasn’t been a good practice player this year since getting paid, with coaches wondering if he has what it takes. Johnson clearly isn’t hitting holes like last year.
But his wallet is full. Congrats, Chris. Congrats on ruining your 2011 season and derailing your early Hall of Fame career track. Congrats on hurting the Titans and their great fans. Well done.
4. Color me impressed
Tim Tebow was flat-out horrible for three-plus quarters, going 4-for-14 for 40 yards. He couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.
But the comeback, down 15-0 with 5:23 to go, was one for the ages. You can’t draw any conclusions, either positive or negative, from his first 2011 start, but my guy Tebow certainly has a knack, doesn’t he?
5. Backseat coaching
In the grand scheme, is it worth killing Tony Sparano for foolishly going for two with six seconds off the clock in the 4th? Actually, it is. It was a head-scratching move; it happened way too early and it bit him late. This is what happens when you have an offensive line coach masquerading as a head man.
6. I’m a genius/moron
As I wrote last week as our lead item, Jim Caldwell is totally overmatched as the Colts coach and should be let go at the end of the year. And Jeff Saturday backed it up postgame when he rightly dropped the very accurate “we got outcoached” bomb after the Colts 62-7 humiliation on Sunday night. Running the no-huddle with Curtis Painter on the road is bad coaching. It has nothing to do with Peyton Manning being hurt.
7. My guys
Matt Ryan: On a day where Ryan rolled his ankle after being stepped on by his own lineman, the Falcons quarterback showed his incredible toughness by coming back in the game and guiding the Falcons to a gigantic win in Detroit.
DeMarco Murray: I have no idea why Jason Garrett hasn’t been giving Murray more of an opportunity before Week 7. Murray gashed the pathetic Rams for 253 yards on the ground, including a 91-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter to demoralize St. Louis.
Ben Roethlisberger/Mike Wallace: Talking to the Steelers star receiver on Thursday on the SiriusXM Blitz, he described the incredible rapport he has with Roethlisberger. The combination certainly displayed it in the road win against Arizona. The pair hooked up for a 95-yard pass play, the longest in Steelers’ history.
Darrelle Revis: For the second straight week, Revis did his best Mariano Rivera impression, saving the game. With San Diego up 21-17 and 11:09 left in the game at the Jets 25, Revis picked off Philip Rivers and returned it 64 yards to the Chargers 19. Mark Sanchez then hit Plaxico Burress for Burress’ third touchdown of the game and the lead.
Drew Brees: He went 31-for-35 for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns. Wow. He had more touchdowns than incomplete passes. Amazing.
8. My goats
Joe Flacco: His performance on national television against a Jacksonville team that had one win coming into the Monday night game was putrid. This is why it is tough to take Baltimore seriously as a Super Bowl contender.
John Harbaugh: Why, why, did you try that onsides kick at the end of the game?!?!
Josh Freeman: I’m a huge Freeman fan, but he hasn’t played well this year at all. In fact, the third-year player has regressed. Freeman tossed four picks in the Bucs’ gruesome loss to the Bears in London. And forget the final score. This was a bloodbath. It wasn’t that competitive of a game.
Philip Rivers: His season of underachievement continued with two late interceptions, en route to San Diego blowing a lead.
Norv Turner: He abandoned the run in the second half when the Jets couldn’t stop it in the first. And the play calling sequence and clock management on the potential game winning drive was, well, vintage Norv.
9. 3 nuggets of wisdom
* Why is everyone up in arms about Lions players talking smack to Ryan when he got hurt? This just in – there are a lot of off-color, inappropriate things said during an NFL game.
* Dear Jerry Angelo, Pay Matt Forte. Sincerely, the city of Chicago.
* I just wrote all of this without mentioning the undefeated Packers. Just how Mike McCarthy wants it. I think the Packers are going undefeated this year. I’ll explain more in Friday’s Sizzle and Fizzle.