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The End Zone - Week 8


Alan
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The End Zone

The week 8 edition of The End Zone is gracing your computer screens once again, and this week I continue the new Position Profile with the offensive line, along with a Tale of Two Mannings, game feature and a round up of the week’s results. A preview of week 9 is also included, however no Jets Talkin’ this week as they are taking some time off with the bye week. So let’s get things started with the new Position Profile.

 

The Position Profile

After discussing the Quarterback last week, I asked myself who is the most important player on the field next to the QB? Well although the receivers and running backs come close, it’s the offensive line that makes the difference between a play succeeding and failing. The offensive line (OL) is normally made up of 5 players, one centre, two guards and two tackles, all in a row in front of the QB at the line of scrimmage. We will begin with the Centre, who is as the name suggests based in the centre of the OL. The guy at centre is the man who puts the ball into play, snapping the ball from the line of scrimmage into the QB’s hands. He must snap the ball at the correct call from the QB, and provide a smooth passage for the ball to get to him. If the centre snaps the ball too early or too late then the whole play goes wrong and it’s another down wasted. Both the offensive and defensive lines on the field rely on the centre, as they can only move once he snaps the ball, if they move before then a False Start penalty is called on the offending team. Once the ball is snapped, then the centre is responsible for blocking his assigned man and stopping the defender from getting to the QB.

 

The Guards are the guys situated on either side of the Centre, and their job is mainly to block. Once the ball gets snapped they have a responsibility to stop the opposing defenders from getting through to the Quarterback. They also pull back to cover if another offensive lineman lets through a defender. The other guys on the OL are the Tackles, and these are the strongest positions on the line. They have to power their blocks with quick steps and manoeuvrability, and they are in charge of outside protection. Effectively no-one should be able to get past the Tackles, and they are covering everyone who the guard and centre isn’t. Sometimes they are joined by Tight Ends on the line, but those are not an actual part of the OL and will be covered in a future issue.

 

The offensive line is a limited position really, with 3 different types of player lining up to block or snap the ball. It sounds simple, but each player has a different part to play as part of that line, and they have to do different things on each play. Without them, the QB would be open for the sack, so they do need to always be doing their job properly in order for a play to work.

 

Week 8 Round Up

Chicago (4-3) got the week under way with a 19-13 victory over Detroit (3-4), with Dallas (5-3) demolishing Arizona (2-5) 34-13 and Cincinnati (6-2) continuing their good form with a 21-14 victory over Green Bay (1-6). The Panthers (5-2) came away with a 38-13 victory over the Vikings (2-5), who lost QB Culpepper for the season with a knee injury. Oakland (3-4) overturned Tennessee (2-6) by 34 points to 25, St Louis (4-4) scraped a 24-21 victory against Jacksonville and the Giants (5-2) outclassed the Redskins (4-3) in a 36-0 shutout. Houston (1-6) held on for their first victory of the season with a 19-16 scoreline against Cleveland (2-5), San Diego (4-4) evened up their record with a 28-20 victory over Kansas City (4-3) whilst the Saints (2-6) lost again in a 21-6 encounter with Miami (3-4). The Smith-less 49ers (2-5) won only their second game of the season with a 15-10 win against the Buccaneers (5-2), Denver (6-2) put in a superb performance to beat Philadelphia (4-3) by 49 points to 21, and to finish the day New England (4-3) won a 21-16 encounter with Buffalo. The Monday night game saw a tough Baltimore (2-5) team narrowly miss out in a 20-19 game against Pittsburgh.

 

Game Feature

 

So far this season the New York Giants have been flying high, coming into this weekend with a 4-2 record and one of the highest scoring offences in the league so far. Sunday they took on division rival the Washington Redskins, who had surprised a few people including myself as to how well they had done so far.

The game began with Tiki Barber gaining 57 yards on the opening play, putting the Giants straight into scoring range. However after a sack to Eli Manning they had to settle for a 39 yard field goal. Washington didn’t start that well though, as Brunell failed to complete two passes and the team were forced to punt. Eli Manning then threw 5 of 8 for 59 yards on New York’s next possession, moving nearly 80 yards overall in 6 minutes. However it was from the Washington 11 that Eli attempted to hit Burress in the end zone and was intercepted by Clark. After what had been an extremely well put together drive the Redskins had been able to catch a break. The luck didn’t last though as the Skins were hit with a 10-yard offensive holding penalty on their second play. They were unable to overcome it and were forced to punt on a 3 and out for the second consecutive drive. Aided by a 15 yard unnecessary roughness call the Giants moved to the Washington 31 from where Jay Feely was able to hit a 50 yard field goal.

 

Washington began their drive as the game moved into the second quarter, but for the third time in a row the Redskins were forced to punt after a three and out. Again Barber was the main factor behind the Giants drive, this time gaining 61 yards before Jacobs ran in a 2 yard touchdown, making the score 13-0 with 12 minutes remaining in the half. At last Washington were able to gain a first down on a drive; however that was all they managed as only 14 yards were gained in total before a punt was forced. After a promising start of a 20-yard completion to Burress, the Giants were held up by the Skins defence and were left to attempt a 51 yard field goal. Feely managed to hit the left upright but the ball didn’t go through and Washington regained possession. Three and outs then followed for both teams, before the Redskins lost a fumble at their own 27 to hand over possession with 5 minutes remaining. Barber rushed for another 9 yards as he helped set up Feely for a 33 yard field goal, putting the Giants ahead 16-0. Washington were falling fast as Brunell had his third pass of the following drive intercepted, on which New York capitalised to score a 39 yard field goal as the half ended.

 

The Redskins were being outclassed, and things went from bad to worse as they opened up the third quarter. Their attempt to return the kickoff failed as Betts fumbled and allowed the Giants to recover the football. Manning then looked to his Tight End as Shockey grabbed a 10 yard pass in the end zone for the touchdown, making it 26-0 in New York’s favour. The Washington offence again faltered, and fell to a three and out, but they did have a chance to recover a fumble on the punt return. New York were too quick though and managed to keep possession. They fell to a three and out on their next two drives, whilst the Redskins followed suit in-between. On Washington’s next drive they managed to gain 12 yards over 6 plays before Brunell was hit with a 13 yard intentional grounding penalty, forcing a punt yet again. The Giants were scoring fairly regularly now, and they continued that trend with a 44 yard field goal to make it 29-0, piling on the embarrassment for Washington. Of course it had to get worse for the Redskins, and it did as on the first play of their following drive the ball was fumbled and turned over yet again. Barber rushed for 11 yards on the drive, including a 4 yard burst into the end zone for the touchdown, putting New York even further ahead with a little over a quarter still to play.

 

Washington’s possession saw them gain 34 yards before the game moved into the final period, and then they were able to move to the New York 5 with a 4th and 5 situation. The pass from Ramsey fell incomplete, and although the play was challenged it was upheld, forcing the ball to be turned back over to the Giants on downs. Ward took over rushing duties for Barber, and managed to gain 26 yards as the Giants ran down 7 minutes of the clock before being forced to punt from their own 34. Washington needed something, anything to put some points on the board, however they were unable to recover from a 10 yard loss caused by a sack, and were forced to turn the ball over on downs. With 2:17 remaining in the game, the Giants simply ran the ball four times and used up most of the clock, turning the ball over on downs with just 22 seconds left. The Redskins didn’t even attempt a final play, kneeling down to run out the clock.

 

A dominating performance by the Giants to give them top spot in the NFC East along with their first shut-out of the season. New York have an offence that is on fire as of late with Eli maturing and Barber rushing for over 200 yards in the game, and the playoffs will not be too far off. Washington couldn’t get going against New York, their offence failed to move effectively and their defence was sloppy. Maybe now my predictions made before the season will come to fruition.

 

A Tale of Two Mannings

Anyone who is remotely familiar with the NFL over recent seasons will have heard of Peyton Manning, the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Last season he broke Dan Marino’s record for touchdown passes in a season by throwing 49 over the year. However that’s just the recent part of the story, Peyton attended the University of Tennessee and was the star quarterback there, making 45 starts and setting 33 school records. So it was only fitting that in the 1998 NFL Draft he was selected first overall by the Indianapolis Colts. He struck up a superb partnership with receiver Marvin Harrison who was drafted just two years earlier, and now they are the most productive QB-WR team in NFL history with over 85 touchdowns and over 9,560 yards as a duo. Of course, that milestone took some time to reach, and it all began in the 1998 season as Manning started all 16 games and threw for 3,739 yards and 26 touchdowns. His rookie status still showed through though as he threw 28 interceptions, but since his rookie season Peyton has never thrown as many, breaking the 20 mark just once more in his career so far with 23 in 2001. At least 26 touchdowns were thrown every season by Manning, with the largest being last season’s record-breaking 49. Before this week’s games Peyton has thrown for 30,993 yards and 227 touchdowns, playing and starting in 119 consecutive regular season games.

 

That’s enough about Peyton, as there is another Quarterback called Manning who has begun to tear up the league this season. Originally drafted 1st overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, he was promptly traded to the New York Giants for quarterback Philip Rivers (whom the Giants had taken with the 4th pick) and three draft picks. Eli took a while to get going though, as the start of the season saw veteran Kurt Warner as the starting QB. Eli got 9 passes off in the opening game of the season against the Chargers after coming off the bench, and then didn’t play in the next 8 games. His big break came against the Atlanta Falcons as he started the game and completed 17 of 37 passes for 162 yards. And from there he didn’t look back, growing in confidence as he started every other game in the season. However Manning was not the polished QB that his brother had been in his first season, and doubters were beginning to appear. Some offseason training and practice improved his abilities and Eli came straight into this season as the New York Giants starting quarterback. This year Eli and the Giants were one of the top teams when it came to yards over the first 5 weeks, with Manning throwing 194 passes and completing 103 for 1,414 yards and 12 touchdowns. Coming into this week the Giants were at 4-2 on the year and looking like a huge improvement on last years team. Eli has settled in to his role as the leader of the Giants team, and seems to have found a favourite receiver in summer-signee Plaxico Burress.

 

The big question that every Giants fan wants to know the answer to is whether Eli can match the success of his older brother. Obviously we don’t know that yet, and it will always be tough as Peyton is one of the most talented quarterbacks to grace the league in years. This year has been outstanding already for Peyton and the Colts as they came into this week 7-0 and although they have had an easy schedule they must be favourites for a Superbowl spot. The Giants are doing well over in the NFC East as they are level with Philadelphia and Washington. Eli needs to keep up the high-powered offence and the Giants will be looking towards a playoff spot.

 

Week 9 Preview

Atlanta come off their bye week to travel to Miami in week 9, whilst Carolina take on Tampa Bay and the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Baltimore Ravens. Minnesota host Detroit, Jacksonville host Houston, Oakland travel to Kansas City and the Jets come off their bye week to take on the Chargers. Tennessee face off against Cleveland, New Orleans host Chicago, the Niners take on the Giants and the Seahawks take on the Cardinals. The Sunday games finish off with Pittsburgh taking on Green Bay and Philadelphia facing off against Washington. Monday Night Football will see the Indianapolis Colts return from their bye week looking to preserve their unbeaten record as they take on the New England Patriots. Bye weeks are taken by Buffalo, Dallas, Denver and St. Louis.

 

Wrap Up

Can the league get any closer? The NFC East has just one game separating the top from bottom, whilst except for the Colts the AFC is looking tense as we reach the halfway point of the season. I hope you enjoyed the Position Profile, I think it’s a good little addition really. Jets Talkin’ returns next week as does this wonderful newsletter. The pass has been thrown; will you catch it next week, in The End Zone?

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G-Men baby! Eli nothing but hot fire this year! The addition of Placico Burress has helped him greatly, it's hard to miss a 6'6'' guy in the endzone. And because of Plaxico defenses cant afford to double cover Amani Tomer or Jeremy Shockey like they used too.

 

In the steroids thread a couple of months ago I told Fill the Giants would become the best team in the NFC, in the great words of Mortal Kombat; it has begun!

 

The defense is stingy, the offense is fire, and the NFC is in need for a conquerer. The Giants will go to a super bowl within the next three years(if not this year) and win one. The Giants will be the lead team in the NFC.

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Steelers/Packers next week! Another easy win then :D.

Like the game against Baltimore was an easy win eh? Green Bay have struggled so far this season, but it will only take one game to switch things around and get their attitudes in the right place. The injured/not injured Big Ben may not be at his best and the Steelers may struggle. Although i am only saying that because i dislike the team, Ben is great though.

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I dislike Eli. I believe the reason he was traded to the Giants was purely because he didn't want to play for the Chargers, which to me is pathetic.

 

Steelers/Packers next week! Another easy win then :D.

That was indeed the only reason. But, John Elway threatened to play for the Yankees if the Baltimore Colts drafted him. Well, fact is, Eli made a right choice. He is going to become the next Derek Jeter in New York.

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Antonio Gates, peeps. Next big name in the game. Three TDs this week and a huge yardage haul from the TE slot - Steve Smith at Carolina as well, another Huge Yardage haul.

 

Plus Alan failed to mention his absolute whuppin' in the Fantasy League. Damn near 90 point loss.

 

Woo~~~!

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