Week Five Monday 10-pack

Since I’m sticking around for Monday night’s game between the Vikings and the Jets, there was no reason to get up and rush out to catch the train home.  So I actually got almost a good night’s sleep, after writing most of the 10-pack and letting it stew while I sawed a stack of logs.

The log-sawing is over, the 10-pack is done, and there’s actually a little news that has been incorporated into this week’s collection of story lines.

So read on.  It’s Monday morning, and you’re just sitting there doing nothing anyway.

1.  League needs to better educate players on sexual harassment.

More than any one game, the question of whether and to what extent Vikings quarterback Brett Favre will face discipline for his interactions with former Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger dominated the NFL weekend.

You’ve heard by now the reports.  Yes, the league will pursue the matter.  Yes, Favre could be in some trouble, especially if evidence of a pattern of misconduct emerges.  The league has no choice in this regard because, unlike the behavior of other men who has been disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy, Favre’s behavior created potential liability for the Jets and the league.

For the same reasons the NFL and the Jets moved quickly and decisively in the Ines Sainz case, the NFL and the Jets must move quickly and decisively in this case.  Even if Sterger won’t be making any claims (and by all appearances and accounts she won’t be), the league and the Jets need to be thinking about the next case — the one in which a $50 million lawsuit will be filed.  To win that next case, the league and the Jets need to be able to show that they properly addressed all past cases of potential sexual harassment.

In this regard, “sexual harassment” means many possible things.  The days of the boss chasing his secretary around the desk and threatening to fire her if she didn’t agree to sleep with him have given way to notions of a “hostile work environment,” a much more vague and fact-specific analysis that encompasses conduct like repeated, unwanted advances and the transmission of lewd and objectively offensive messages or pictures.

Many employers provide annual training to employees regarding the types of sexual harassment, the situations in which it may arise, the procedures for reporting possible sexual harassment, and the process for investigations claims of sexual harassment.  We’ve learned over the weekend that neither the league nor the Jets have provided sexual harassment training to players — a surprising disclosure given the fact that many view the locker room as the wild west without the guns.  (Or, perhaps, without as many guns.)

Moving forward, it’s a safe bet that players will be getting sexual harassment training.  Until then, players need to realize that there’s a fundamental difference between the women they encounter in the workplace and the women they encounter in a nightclub.

Though the lack of training won’t supply Favre with the “Was that wrong?  Should I not have done that?” defense, plenty of guys aren’t smart enough to figure out on their own what they should and shouldn’t do — and some of them will be more likely to respect the rules if someone else tells them what the rules are.

2.  Labor pains could be ending.

Many believe that the ongoing labor unrest will linger into 2011, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming if at all between March and September.  However, recent developments suggest that the impasse could be resolved sooner than later.

The NFL Players Association initially attempted to deal with the situation by persuading the NFL that the current labor deal is a good one for the teams.  The union has since decided to that the wall won’t be coming down, no matter how many times they bang their head against it.

Plan B entails trying to place as much pressure as possible on the league to come to the table and engage in meaningful dialogue.  The process began with an attack on the league’s broadcast contracts, which purport to continue to pay the NFL in the event of a work stoppage.  The process will continue within the next month with the filing of a collusion case arising from the absence of activity in the 2010 free agency market.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the collusion case is coming, and we’ve confirmed that, indeed, it is.

The union’s thinking is that, eventually, the NFL will realize that the potential consequences outweigh the benefits of dragging out the labor fight.  And the union believes that the strategy is working.

Whether that’s the case remains to be seen, especially with the next round of ownership meetings scheduled for Tuesday in Chicago.  But the possibility that the strategy will force the league to the bargaining table should be regarded as good news by those of us who simply want the games to be played.

3.  Farewell, Carson.

With each passing week, it’s becoming more and more clear that Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer no longer merits the inclusion of the term “franchise” in his official title.  On Sunday, Palmer’s three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown and another of which set up the game-winning field goal, sent the Bengals to 2-3.

Next year, Palmer has a base salary of $11.5 million.  At this point, we’d be shocked if the Bengals pay it.

These are, after all, the Bengals.  The notoriously frugal Bengals.  And these Bengals know that they’re not getting their money’s worth from Palmer.

Barring a quick and decisive turnaround, it could be over for Palmer in Cincinnati.  The question then becomes whether someone else will want to bring him in as the starter.

4.  Farewell, Coach Fox?

The Panthers limp into their bye week at 0-5.  For a team thinking about making an in-season coaching change, it’s the best time to rip off the Band-Aid and move on.

In Fox’s case, his contract lasts only through the end of the year, and it’s widely believed there will be no new deal.  If owner Jerry Richardson doesn’t want Fox to stay, why delay the inevitable?

If nothing else, the Panthers could find out whether defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson, or assistant head coach/running backs coach Jim Skipper would be a viable candidate to carry the job into 2011.

Though there are no indications (for now) that a change is coming, we wouldn’t be shocked if one of the headlines that emerges at a time when Brett Favre desperately is hoping for a new headline to emerge involves the Panthers doing now what they most likely will do at the end of the season.

5.  Do-or-die bowl could be looming.

The Dallas Cowboys hope to finish their season with an appearance in the final game of the postseason.  Next Sunday, the Cowboys could facing their final chance to stay alive for a shot at the postseason.

If the Vikings lose to the Jets on Monday night, Dallas and Minnesota will meet next week in a battle of 1-3 teams.  The winner stays alive; the loser is for all intents and purposes (or, as I used to think the saying went, for all intensive purposes) done.

As we said when the Cowboys limped to an 0-2 start, owner Jerry Jones eventually could face an unprecedented (for him) brand of desperation, given that he very much wants to play in the Super Bowl his new stadium will host.  With the NFC as wide open as it ever has been, that sense of desperation could get Jones to do something rash.

At this point, we’ll cue those who insist that, because Jones never has fired a coach during the season, he never will.  But he’s never faced a situation like this, either.  And the idea of watching an NFC team other than the Cowboys playing in the biggest game on the biggest stage in the biggest stadium, Jones could do anything.

6.  Thanks, Tiki.

In years past, we’d force a big word into a blurb and include in parentheses a thank you message to Tiki Barber, who previously had a bad habit of gratuitously (thanks, Tiki) cramming 10-dollar words into everyday communications.

For now, the Giants need to whip out a “thanks, Tiki” for Barber’s
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/09/30/tiki-barber-tom-coughlins-control-slipping-away/”>verbal assault against the team for which he once played.  Barber’s blasting of coach Tom Coughlin has been followed by two big wins against the previously 3-0 Bears and the previously 3-1 Texans.

The last time Tiki trashed the Giants, they responded by eventually winning the Super Bowl.

So there may be a few more thank yous for Tiki in the pipeline, if the Giants can continue to move in the right direction.

7.  Niners still aren’t dead, yet.

In 1992, the Chargers responded from an 0-4 start to make the playoffs.  In 2009, the Titans made a serious run at the postseason after starting 0-6.

The 49ers have fallen to 0-5 after a narrow loss to the Eagles.  But the Niners remain in the NFC West, where anything can happen in the next 12 weeks.

San Fran’s final drive against the Eagles looked promising until quarterback Alex Smith didn’t put enough air under a screen pass to Frank Gore that would have put the team in position to force overtime if not win in regulation.  Before that moment, Smith woke up and played well, digging the Niners out of a deep hole.

If Smith and San Fran can build on that spark, all hope is not lost.  With the Raiders, Panthers, and Broncos coming up before the bye and the Rams and Bucs after it, the Niners could scratch and claw back to .500.

Then again, it seems like we say that every week.  Sooner or later, the 49ers have do something out of character and win a game.

8.  NFC remains wide open.

In two months, the NFC may be no more settled than it is right now.  With the exception of the Panthers, every team has hope — and every team could still be alive.

Sure, it may be hard for the bottom-dwellers like the Lions (1-4) and the 49ers (0-5) to climb into contention, but that leaves 13 of 16 teams who could be jockeying for six playoff spots in December.

With no team in the NFC approaching dominance in any form or degree (the Lions came closest this week with a 38-point win over the Rams), the records could eventually smooth out, with more and more teams congregating at or near .500.

Though it makes it harder for those of us who are expected to identify and tout excellence to actually identify and tout excellence, it makes for an exciting season, a memorable scrum for playoffs spots, and a possibly unforgettable postseason.

9.  AFC West remains wide open.

The Chiefs, who came off as being a little too desperate in their nothing-to-lose effort to beat the Colts, can’t be all that upset with Week Five.  They played well at Indy, and the Chargers and Broncos lost.

The Raiders finagled a possibly temporary boost of adrenaline, thanks to the franchise’s first win over San Diego since the year after the last time the Raiders were any good.  Until they can string together multiple strong performances, the Raiders can’t be taken seriously.

Still, the four AFC West teams are bunched together tightly.  With the Chiefs at 3-1 and the next three at 2-3, any of them can get hot and take the division and the guaranteed home playoff game that goes along with it.

For the Chargers, the good news comes next week, when left tackle Marcus McNeill returns just in time for a trip to St. Louis, where the Rams have played well enough this year to win more games than they won in all of 2009.

Bottom line?  Any of the four teams can win the division.  Of course, given the quality of the teams in the other three divisions, the AFC West champion may have a short stay in the playoffs.

10.  Marino’s record seems destined to fall.

In many NFL seasons, a quarterback emerges on a pace to challenge the single-season passing yardage record set by Dan Marino in his second NFL season.  In the end, no one has topped 5,084 yards.

Two years ago, Drew Brees of the Saints came dangerously close, finishing with 5,069 yards.  But one else ever has thrown for 5,000 or more yards.

This year, three quarterbacks remain on track to break the record.  Three.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, with 1,609 yards, is on pace to throw for 5,149.  Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton’s 1,733 yards projects to 5,545.  And Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who leads the way with 1,759, will finish with 5,628 on his current pace.

Though it’s too early to assume that Rivers will continue for the next 11 games that which he has done in the first five, the fact that he’s on track to break the record by 544 yards gives him a buffer of more than 10 percent after nearly 33 percent of the season has been played.

The fact that three men are on pace to break the record significantly increases the chances that one of them will.

34 responses to “Week Five Monday 10-pack

  1. Would you stop with the San Francisco winning crap. Go back to cutting and pasting real stories from other sites and quit offering garbage analasys.
    You are a lawyer, not a sports professional.

  2. Favre needs to be told to not take pictures of “that” and then send them to other women, who aren’t your wife? Yeah, I don’t agree with that

  3. Favre needs suspended. At least a couple of games if the accusations turn out to be true. I expect consistency from Goodell and the NFL. NOT hypocrisy.
    The Bungles are a joke. Losing to Tampa? Carson Palmer is horrible. And, why would they continue passing near the end of the game when their running game was having success? Terrible coaching.
    The Cowboys will never win a thing with Jerry Jones around.

  4. Kravons 6 Pack.
    1. Saints wins have come against 3 teams that have combined for 1 win in 5 weeks.
    2. Packers wins are against teams who are combined 4-11.
    3. Eagles same thing, 4-11.
    AFC lovers:
    4. Jets 5-8
    5. Ravens 9-9
    6. Steelers 10-4
    You are welcome.

  5. anymore with sexual harrisment you are GUILTY until proven innocent, crazy as this world has been, this might be the only scenario that this happens is when your talking sexual harrasment. but to see the video and pics of favres peter does not bode well for him to get his innocence back. this will be the end of the line for him , by the time the appeal happens the season will be over.. heres an idea put a suspension on his induction to canton, he has to wait 5 years, make him wait 5 years 3 months!!!!

  6. I think everyone is forgetting something about the Bengals, specifically Mike Brown. He is incredibly cheap, yes. However, if there is one guy in the organization that he’s loyal to, it’s Carson Palmer. Carson could play like this for the rest of the year and still start next year. When players leave Cincinnati they typically go via Free Agency. He’ll cut a guy like Laverneaus Coles after a year if he’s only been there a season. But in the case of Palmer, who has been the face of the franchise since 04 he won’t be so quick to let go.
    Remember, this is the Bengals organization we’re talking about. General common sense doesn’t apply and when you think you have their screwed up way of doing things figured out they do something unexpected. That means I could be wrong. Trying to predict Mike Brown’s strategy is like trying to apply physics to a game of chance.

  7. “players need to realize that there’s a fundamental difference between the women they encounter in the workplace and the women they encounter in a nightclub.”
    uhm, you have to buy one drinks?
    / is this a trick question?

  8. Here again I think you are wrong on Palmer, his protection has been poor at best for the last 2 or 3 seasons. Last year he had no one to throw to, this year TO and Chad have combined for the league lead in drops. How many pics hit the intended receivers hands before being picked yesterday, my count was 2. Palmer is loved by Lewis, Bratkowski and the Brown family. Bottom line who do they replace him with? Marvin will probably end up signing a new deal, because after going 7-9 he won’t have any suitors for a HC job, and the status quo will continue in Cincinnati.

  9. I expect the Bengals and Cowboys fans to be silent this week as their teams each face must win games next week.
    100% accurate about the Reds

  10. Carson Palmer will be given every opportunity to it around… and until another QB arrives in Cincy that would be able to challenge Palmer and keep the Bengals competitive, don’t count out Palmer yet.

  11. As a 30 year Bengals fan who continued up until now to drink the Kool-Aid year after year after year I believe I am finally done with this team. After supposedly giving Palmer many new “weapons” so that the offense would be on par with the defense, the team struggles to score in the Red Zone week after week and cannot put away bad teams. I read this column at work and laugh at the barbs that go back and forth between Bengals fans and the hated Ravens and Steeler fans. When we win we brag and when we lose we fire off rapist and murderer comments rather than acknowledging the fact that our team does indeed implode. But you know what? Their organizations are solid and produce solid winners year after year while we produce excuses from Palmer and Marvin apologists. After 30 years I have to just accept that this organization will never change due to our ownership. I am tired of, after only the 5th game of the season, looking forward to next year and the next new “stud” that we are going to draft. We inevitably will turn him into another Stepford wife like we have Palmer. Guy was a stud but we’ve “Bengalized” him and he is a shell of what he could have been. During this bye week we could fire the OC or fire Marvin or bench Palmer but unfortunately the guys that replace them will have the same glazed-over stare that makes them produce the sub-par performance we’ve come to expect for the last 20 years. It is finally time for me to give in and find another team to root for. Sorry state of affairs. And the Reds lost too, but at least they got to the dance.

  12. What news? You mean the one the Washingotn Post reported over the weekend? Today’s Monday…..it was Reported 2 days ago…..

  13. KYLE ORTON? He’s played real well this year. I remember watching this guy with the bears throw 3-5 int’s a game. He is making his average receivers look great (killing it in fantasy football for me). Also to come out and put up 300 yds against the ravens and not get picked off is great. If they could only find a way to win more (defense stop people) they could take that division. Personally the Tebow pick looks stupid and could of used it on the D.

  14. @ Ravenator
    I guess you thought my post made me some kind of homer? I dont get it.
    You must be really angry to tell someone, albeit incorrectly, to kill themselves.
    The Ravens just beat the Broncos, that should make your Monday a little more cheerful.

  15. @kravon
    I guarantee that the Bengals will not lose next week. Just look at who they play. Better yet, there is no way Carson will throw an interception.

  16. Oh Mr. Florio you are so very wrong. You’re making the understandable mistake of trying to think logically with regards to Carson Palmer. This is Mike Brown, logic doesn’t apply.
    The palpable sense of despair that can be felt around greater Cincinnati this morning is because we KNOW Mike Brown will indeed pay Carson and he will be our starting quarterback for the next several years and the the Bengals have just climbed into another big g–d— hole we ain’t coming out of until Mike Brown is gone.

  17. @ sorrybengalsfan
    I agree. Bengals should be happy they arent 1-4 right now. The win over the Panthers was pathetic and any other team in the league would have found a way to win that game.

  18. Stop with S.F. still being alive! They are dead! 3 games behind the Cards and Cards have T.B, Seattle, S.F, Rams, Denver and Dallas at home and Carolina, K.C. and Vikes away and all winable so that means whiners need to win 9 or 10 games! No way!
    Marvin Lewis will be fired after Nov 8th loss to Pitt!

  19. I agree with most up there. I would like to comment on the passing stats. This happens every year for one thing. Then the stats tend to come back to earth the start of bad weather. I have to admit not to this degree of yardage, but if the rule changes on P.I are what it takes to break Dan’s record then so be it. How many of these quarterbacks would make it in the 80’s, early 90’s? Playing against defenses that were great, team ready, and structurally sound. Its cool to see of course, but the records don’t mean anything anymore. To have a good season as a QB you have to have a rating of above 90.0. This used to be a great season!

  20. Hey Florio, where’s your Titans-Cowboys recap? Please keep picking against the Titans, as you have every week. That is all.

  21. Where is the sexual harassment? Did Jen tell him no and he kept on coming at her? This is nothing more then a married athlete trying to pick up on a hot girl. wow, never saw that happen before.

  22. Wisconsin_Myself is right. Asking someone out is NOT harrasment. If they continue to do so after a clear ‘not interested’ is given, then it can be. We don’t know if it was a ‘sorry, but I am busy that night’ or a ‘no. I am married.’ response.
    Let the process determine what happened and sexual harrasment is very serious and is more than unwanted advances. For it to be workplace determined she also needs to have been pursued, unwantingly by someone in a power position to her or feel that she was pressured. Otherwise it is just a person asking out another because they find them attractive.

  23. RE: 3. Farewell, Carson. – Been saying that since he came back from the Surgery…not getting Tommy John was the dumbest decision he could’ve made.
    Sure, its easy for me to say it given how bad he’s played in the past 1 1/4th of a season, but look at his #’s compared to his career averages…it wasn’t the Kimo hit, it was that elbow injury.
    Less velocity, less accuracy, more INT’s and he can’t hit those 10-15 yard sideline outs like he used to.

  24. Palmer isn’t going anywhere, and he shouldn’t. Mike Brown has been in this situation before. In 1991 Boomer Esiason was supposed to be washed up because of his shoulder. They drafted the horrible David Klingler. Boomer went to the Pro Bowl in 1993. Coaching is the reason this team is struggling. You keep talking about his elbow, but is that something that comes and goes? He threw for 371 a week ago. Yes Palmer played like crap yesterday, but it was dumb decisions. Not an injury. Kurt Warner thumb was the reason he was struggling in New York. It turned out ok. Palmer was having a bad game yesterday, so they should have ran it on 3rd and 1.

  25. Anyone in a corporate environment that sends pics of their little friend to a co worker will have security at their desk in 30 minutes. While the NFL plays by different rules there are plenty of people licking their chops for a shot at that first $50 million lawsuit.
    League will come down hard just to help keep thy first lawsuit reasonable and show they dis take some initiative to avoid future incidents.

  26. Manning should break the record, their defense is bad and running game is worse, but Rivers will still throw more than Manning. Chargers have shown signs of a running game against bad teams and the Chargers have an easy enough of a schedule to allow Rivers to constantly throw.
    Denver has the best defense of the three so won’t be playing catch up or from behind as much as the other two, but Orton does light up the defense regardless of how good they are. I’d still say he is the longest shot.

  27. “This year, three quarterbacks remain on track to break [Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage] record. Three.
    “Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, with 1,609 yards, is on pace to throw for 5,149. Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton’s 1,733 yards projects to 5,545. And Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who leads the way with 1,759, will finish with 5,628 on his current pace.”

    Tony Romo is on pace to throw for 5,384 yards through four games, as well.

  28. Brett Favre is a 41 year old married man with children. He shouldn’t need any training on sexual harassment.

  29. Carson Palmer is no longer an “elite” or “franchise” QB no one is arguing that point…the question is how “un-elite” is he? Do you give up on him without letting him play out the year and seeing if he needs Tommy John surgery?
    You have to first make an assessment of his play for the whole season and then determine is he a 10-15 starting caliber QB? Is he 15-20? If you don’t want him, how do you upgrade the position? Draft? Trade?
    Contrary to popular opinion, the Bengals are not losing these games solely because of Palmer…he did not lose the game against the Bucs–it was a total team effort…horrible coaching decision to pass the ball 3rd and 13 with 2.07 remaining; Chad Ocho Opps Oh lets the game turning pass hit him in the hands for an INT. It was TO look at ME-O that turned a 1st and 10 at the Buc 45 into a 1st and 2o with a Offensive PI call that preceeded the INT.
    The simple fact is he has been “Bungalized” like most every fine player we have had.

  30. The Cowboys will never win a thing with Jerry Jones around.
    Ummmmm, got some bad news for you. Jerry Jones has a couple of superbowl rings. They were one of the worst teams in the league until he bought them.

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