Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bowl of Anxiety: Bears at Vikings

Brian Urlacher
If there's a player I fear on the Bears, it is Urlacher. He always seems to have big games against the Vikes: interceptions, sacks, everything possible to devestate the Vikings. Granted, that's mainly a period during which the Vikings were an offensive juggernaut and didn't have a hard-hitting, tough-minded, committed-to-the-run, gut-out-victory-by-any-means-possible attitude. Based on Brad Childress's demeanor and the Vikings' performance through two weeks, those days are past. Still, Urlacher can be a dominating presence.

Ever since this moment, Charles Tillman has earned the nickname "Nemesis" from me. He's a player that usually stands out to me, ESPECIALLY against the Vikings. For Charles Tillman, I would like to give the words of Wes Mantooth: "From deep down in my stomach, with every inch of me, I pure, straight hate you. But goddammit, do I respect you!"

Troy Williamson
Troy Williamson has a shoulder issue. With respect to Chester Taylor, who has been churning out tough yards and making the Vikings a more physical team, Williamson is, to my mind, the only dynamic player on the Vikings' offense. The Bears, who got burned a lot by Randy Moss early in his career, really found ways to control him later in his Viking tenure. But still, a speedy WR is something you have to account for, and Williamson is the one player on the offense who is a real big-play threat. I think he'll play and be fine.

Randy Moss
Others like to make fun of the Raiders; I'm just sad. Moss was (and I believe still IS), a singular talent, a dominating offensive football player capable of taking over a game. Is the Raider o-line and qb situation so bad that he can do nothing (sort of like the Spergeon Wynn games)? Or is he not mentally tough enough to rise above the crappiness and try to elevate his team? Or is he not that good right now?

sans-ESPN: how many of us are there?
One thing that intrigues me during this football season, and which has resulted in a bit of discussion at Football Outsiders, is how many die-hard football fans are currently without ESPN in their homes? According to David Barron, 83% of U.S. households get ESPN. How many of the remaining 17% of U.S. household contain serious football fans? Among my friends of serious football fans, I know of four households (including my own) which have chosen to go without ESPN for at least part of the past two years, mainly for financial reasons. Most people assume that it's a matter of choice, or that everybody they know gets ESPN, but that's just not the case.


  1. Its hard for any WR to find success in Oakland right now because the QB has no time at all to get the ball to any of them. Especially Moss on deep routes that take time to develop.

  2. i have no espn. we could afford the monetary cost, but not the extra time it would cause me to waste...boy do i miss NFL Primetime, though....

    as for R. Moss: one of the all-time most physically gifted players in NFL history. he is up there with b. sanders, d. sanders, vick, and young john elway in terms of pure ability. you could argue that with a career playing alongside QB's like montana and young, he would have broken a lot of receiving records. but, i never saw jerry rice take a play off b/c he wasn't primary receiver. i've also read that moss doesn't run very crisp routes.

    my guess is that he isn't the cause of any of the problems in oakland, but that he isn't helping the team past the trouble. he still has the ability--even with two pulled hamstrings--but not the will to make himself great. this is all just my theory of course.

  3. I agree with you, Grumbler: he's not a cause of Oakland's problems, but he doesn't have the mental mindset to rise above them.

  4. Anonymous5:55 AM

    Here is the thing about Moss - and in this applies to Duante much more so.

    He spent his entire career playing a game - the same game that we all played in the backyards growing up.

    He had no idea that in the NFL - they do not play a game anymore - its an office environment where you are do this specific tasks.

    Its along the same lines of "he takes plays off..."

    I used to laugh when I would hear people say that ... while silently praying that he would keep spreading the word...then when Sunday comes along - yeppers - there was Moss, jogging down the sideline. One play. two plays .. three plays of just jogging- bam - gone - and a Cornerback that was lulled to sleep by Moss "taking plays off" left holding nothing but his own jockstrap thinking "oh shit"

    ... on a side note - you ever notice that the only group of fans that to this day still stand up for and defend Moss are Vikings fans?

    You would think that the others would sooner or later realize - hey - they must know something we don't... cause obviously - we do.