Turning Over a New Leaf

November 14, 2001
Turning Over a New Leaf
By Ric Sweeney

I don’t really have much to say this week. I spent most of my Sunday watching Michael Vick and Ryan Leaf set the quarterback position back about 238 years, which is nice.

Leaf looked predictably awful, but in his defense, he was handicapped by offensive coordinator Jack Reily’s awful, unimaginative game plan. How inept is Riley? Let’s put it this way: I doubt he could get Nate Newton stoned if you spotted him the bong, 213 pounds of weed and Whataburger takeout.

As for Vick, that smell you’re picking up is his unmistakable Steve McNair scent. I know he’s young, and has room to grow, and that this was his first NFL start, but all the telltale signs are already in place. The week began with the Falcons’ “simplifying” their game plan — never a good sign. During the game itself, Vick’s throws were impressive-looking bullets that nonetheless left fans wondering if assistant coaches were supposed to be his intended targets; not to mention the seemingly innate ability to generate zero offense, despite an effective running game and a decent offensive line — vintage Steve McNair. I mean, when former Channel 2 weatherman Doug Johnson has to save the day…

Reason #7,167 why the Texans don’t need to force a QB into their plans next year. And now onto the questions…

1) When evaluating Bob McNair as an owner, is using “Well, at least he’s not Jerry Jones” kind of like the 400 points you get on the SAT just for signing your name?

2) Is anyone else bothered slightly that Cincinnati’s Neil Rackers kicks balls for a living? Anyone? Bueller?

3) If Paul Tagliabue ever talks contraction in the NFL, don’t you think he’d be wise to start with Andy Reid’s pants?

Len Pasquarelli

4) Biggest first half surprise: Tom Brady’s performance in New England? The Bears’ 6-2 start? The fact that ESPN NFL writer Len Pasquarelli didn’t have a heart attack?

5) I wonder who’s blown more leads the past two weeks: the Jaguars or porn star Sylvia Saint?

6) Considering how immature Terrell Owens has acted in his feud with head coach Steve Mariucci, is it any wonder Michael Jackson’s starting to find him attractive?

7) I wonder if the Vikings remembered to include a return address on their season?

8) The Jets are 6-3?

9) Who looked more uncomfortable last week: Steelers’ coach Bill Cowher while K Kris Brown lined up a potential game winner or the NBC employee who has to open Tom Brokaw’s mail?

10) Am I the only one who spent the entire second quarter of the Panther-Ram game trying to figure out Marshall Faulk’s rushing pace for the afternoon after his monsterous first quarter? (For the record: 572 rushing yards on 24 carries — how cool would that’ve been?)

11) When did Keyshawn Johnson retire? He didn’t? Are you sure?

12) Doesn’t Shaun Alexander’s 266-yard performance last weekend against the supposedly best team in the AFC perfectly encapsulate the 21st century NFL? Anybody remember the Steel Curtain giving up 266 yards over three weekends, let alone in one game? The Texans will win five game next year, I guarantee it.

13) Are the Ravens having to pay rent at Aldelphia Colesium?

14) Did anybody notice on Monday night, when the Titans offensive unit ran onto the field for pregame introductions, they actually stopped halfway out of the tunnel and began lining up for a field goal?

15) Which is San Diego’s toughest remaining opponent: at Oakland this weekend or Earth’s gravitational pull?

16) What’s the over/under on when the Cowboys will sign Eddie Kennison? A day? Two days?

17) What’s the next step down on the broadcasting hierarchy from working this weekend’s Arizona-Detroit game? Gay porn?

18) How often do you think Drew Bledsoe was greeted with, “And you are…?” this week at Patriots’ camp?

19) Chad Hutchison, eh? I’m listening…

20) And lastly, because I’m taking next week off, who do we have to thank for getting both Dallas and Detroit on Thanksgiving Day? Jack Kervorkian?

Yes, Ric Sweeney is really going to take next week off. Try not to let it dampen your holiday, though.