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Week 17 Monday 10-pack

Green Bay Packers quarterback Flynn hands off the ball against the Detroit Lions during the second half of their NFL football game in Green Bay Reuters

It’s the first Monday of the year, and it’s the last Monday 10-pack of the year.

I miss the days when football season ended before December 31.

As a setup goes, that’s all I got.  Let’s get on to the 10 takes from a 32-team season-ending Sunday.

1.  Packers should strongly consider franchising Flynn.

In 2008, after the first annual Brett Favre retirement, the Packers drafted two quarterbacks.  The gesture was interpreted by some (i.e., by us) as a bolting of the door behind Favre and the blocking of it with large pieces of furniture.

Brian Brohm, who entered the 2007 college football season as one of the top prospects, slid to the Packers in round two, pick 56.  LSU’s Matt Flynn was an afterthought, with pick number 209 in round seven.  Four seasons later, Brohm is long gone — and Flynn showed on Sunday that he’ll be the hottest commodity in the 2012 free-agent market.

If he gets there.

Like Matt Cassel of the Patriots in 2009, the Packers should think about slapping the franchise tag on Flynn, in order to trade him to a quarterback-needy team.  With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III the best options in the draft, teams like the Redskins and Dolphins and Browns and maybe the Seahawks will be clamoring for a proven commodity like Flynn.

The risk, of course, is that Flynn would sign the franchise tag but no serious offers would come for his services, given that the starting point for a long-term deal would be the one-year guaranteed salary of $14.5 million or so in 2012.  If that would happen, the Packers would be stuck with a backup earning roughly $6.5 million more next year than starter Aaron Rodgers, who is due to earn a base salary of $8 million next season.

The other side of the coin is that Flynn will walk away with plenty of coins in his pockets — and zero compensation to the team that transformed him from a seventh-round pick into a guy who’ll be the most coveted quarterback not named Luck or Griffin.

2.  Rex should be on the hot seat.

Though it’s too early to fire Jets coach Rex Ryan, who has two appearances in the AFC title game in three seasons as a head coach, he deserves the pressure that goes along with the accountability for guaranteeing a Super Bowl win (and, even more importantly in New York, a win over the Giants) and failing to deliver.  Only so many times can a head coach protect his players and assistants by saying “put the blame on me” until someone decides to put the blame on him.

Yes, his players seem to still believe.  More importantly, the owner seems to still believe.  But the players and the owner may believe a little less in 2012 — especially if Rex emerges from a disappointing 2011 season (in light of the expectations fueled by Ryan) as brash and bold as ever.

Beyond the boundaries of his team, Rex has become a caricature.  (Some would say he already was one.)  If that sense ever makes its way into the locker room, and eventually it should, it’ll be time to move on.

Apart from all the words, it’s one specific action that could, as a practical matter, put Rex in a position to be coaching for his job in 2012.  The misguided decision to make receiver Santonio Holmes a captain, given that Holmes spent much of the year not acting like a captain, could come back to haunt Ryan.

Arguably, it already is.  And now Rex has a mess on his hands, especially since a guy who spent much of Sunday acting like he didn’t want to be with the Jets signed a long-term, big-money deal before the season.

3.  Steelers fleeced Jets on Holmes.

Speaking of Santonio, Steelers fans didn’t care much for the abrupt decision to trade Holmes to New York for a fifth-round pick in 2010.  With a four-game suspension for violation of the substance-abuse policy coming on the heels of Ben Roethlisberger’s misadventures in Milledgeville, it was perceived that the Steelers’ decision was driven less by football strategy and more by public relations sensitivities.

But the Steelers were looking ahead.  With Holmes due to miss the first four games of the 2010 season and one wake-n-bake away from a one-year suspension, the Steelers opted to unload a potential headache — especially since the Steelers knew they’d never tie their hands by giving Holmes a huge contract.

And so the Steelers didn’t simply get a fifth-round pick.  The Steelers also received the peace of mind that comes from dumping a wideout who would have been a major pain in the butt for the balance of 2010, and who simply no longer factored into their plans.

Meanwhile, the Steelers traded that fifth-round pick to the Cardinals for cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick.  And with that sixth-round pick the Steelers found their 2011 MVP in round six of the same draft.  Receiver Antonio Brown has become almost everything Holmes was as a player, without creating any of the headaches or other issues that go hand in hand with having Holmes on the team.

Advantage Steelers.

4.  Texans-Bengals game could be the key to the AFC playoffs.

I’ve been concerned throughout much of the 2011 season that, once the Texans get to the postseason, a lack of playoff experience would keep them from being successful.  But their first opponent is the Bengals, a team with young players having no playoff experience and, by all appearances, no players having any positive playoff experiences.

So the Texans, who beat the Bengals last month after trailing 16-3 at the half and 19-10 after three quarters, will have a very good shot at holding off the No. 6 seed.  Taking a broader look at the AFC field, the outcome of that game could have a huge bearing on the determination of the eventual conference champion.

If Houston holds serve at home, it will be time for a return to Baltimore, where the Ravens’ eight regular-season wins included a trouncing of the Texans.  The Steelers, after most likely beating Denver, will head to New England.

Though Baltimore would have to face one of those two potent teams (either Pittsburgh at home, where the Ravens won 35-7 in Week One or the Patriots in New England, where the Ravens won in the playoffs two years ago, 33-14), the Ravens wouldn’t have to play both of them.  Which, for the Ravens, is nice.

If, in contrast, the Bengals upset the Texans, Cincinnati would head to Foxboro — and Pittsburgh would return to Baltimore with a burst of momentum and a shot at becoming the latest wild-card winner to catch a division rival flat-footed after a bye week and knock them out of the playoffs.  If Baltimore manages to beat the Steelers for a third time this year, the reward would be a trip to New England.

The converse is true for the Pats.  A win by the Bengals keeps New England from having to play both Pittsburgh and Baltimore.  If Houston wins, the Patriots would have to face a Steelers team that gave New England one of its three 2011 losses before inviting the Ravens back to town.

One way or the other, the outcome of Saturday’s game will make the path to Indy considerably easier for New England or Baltimore, by sending the Steelers to one place or the other.

5.  Crossroads for Daniel Snyder.

The Redskins became the property of Daniel Snyder in 1999.  In the 13 seasons since then, Snyder has employed (excluding interim hires) six head coaches.  Other than Snyder’s boyhood hero, Joe Gibbs, no coach has made it more than two seasons on the job.

Mike Shanahan has just completed his second season on the job.  Recently, Shanahan has been subtly justifying his two losing seasons by explaining that much work needed to be done to improve the bad team he inherited.  And while there’s no indication that Shanahan will be fired, there likewise was no indication that the end was coming three years ago for Shanahan in Denver.

The bigger question for Snyder is whether he’s willing to stay the course not only now but after the 2012 season.  If Shanahan and G.M. Bruce Allen position themselves to land Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the draft, it would be foolish to give Shanahan only one year to work with the new quarterback.

And so Snyder needs to realize that, by deciding to keep Shanahan now, Snyder essentially is deciding to keep Shanahan for 2013 — and possibly for 2014.

6.  Another Manning/Leaf dilemma coming?

Speaking (twice now) of Luck and Griffin, what once was a one-man show at the top of the draft quickly has become another Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf conundrum.  On Sunday’s Football Night In America, former Colts coach Tony Dungy explained that Colts vice chairman Bill Polian has shown a willingness to go against conventional wisdom in the draft, taking Edgerrin James in 1999 over Ricky Williams and Dwight Freeney over Albert Haynesworth in 2002.

Dungy even said he’d personally lean toward Griffin, the Heisman winner and architect of a 67-point explosion in Baylor’s bowl win.

Luck still has one more chance to create some separation, when Stanford takes on Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.  Despite the obsession over measurables and the things a guy can do when not wearing pads, scouts seem to be influenced heavily by performances on the big stage.

What Luck does with it could ultimately determine whether Luck and Griffin will become another Manning and Leaf dilemma, which despite being a no-brainer in hindsight was a much closer call in 1998.

7.  Pay the Cruz.

Giants receiver Victor Cruz has made, in two seasons, the unlikely climb from undrafted free agent to superstar.  Nearly as shrewd as the Giants’ decision to give him a chance was their decision to sign him to a three-year contract.

And so Cruz remains contractually obligated to show up for mandatory offseason workouts and training camp in 2012, despite being slated to earn a paltry $490,000.

But the Giants need to send a message to the locker room that stellar play will be rewarded.  While they could force Cruz to continue to prove himself — and to bear the injury risk — for the final year of his rookie deal and a season as a restricted free agent, the best move would be to find a way to pay him a fair salary that reflects not only his skills and abilities but also the contributions he made during a season that seemed destined for failure again.

In each of the last two games, a long-yardage catch-and-run from Cruz gave the Giants the upper hand.  It’s only right to put a lot more money in the guy’s pockets.

8.  Broncos should get Quinn ready to play Sunday.

Tebowmania landed with a thud 15 days ago, with the Patriots providing the rest of the league with the blueprint for turning the page on the NFL’s flavor of the month.

As a result, Tim Tebow has played worse than poorly the last two weeks, with as many turnovers against the Bills and Chiefs (six) as Tebow had in his 10 prior games combined.

Enter the Steelers, who have made crafted their legacy over the past two decades by methodically building a lead and then gradually choking off the opposing offense.

As a result, if the Broncos want to have a realistic shot at advancing, it may be prudent to be ready to pull off a Rocky-style switch to southpaw, by switching from the southpaw to Brady Quinn.

This isn’t a long-term indictment of Tebow.  It’s a recognition of the fact that, at least for now, he has bumped up against his ceiling.  The goal on Sunday is to win one game, and it could be that the only way to do that will be to know when to flip the switch from the unconventional quarterback to the guy whose abilities would defy the Steelers’ preparation.

9.  MJD deserves high praise.

Every year, there’s a sense that Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has reached the limit of his abilities, and that a regression is coming.  Every year, he simply continues to play at a high level.

This year, on a team with no passing offense to draw safeties away from the box, Jones-Drew piled up 1,606 rushing yards, more than 240 yards better than Ray Rice, who finished at No. 2.  Jones-Drew added 374 receiving yards, which gives him 1,980 yards from scrimmage.

At a time when former USC tailback Reggie Bush is still trying to become the best running back in the game, the former UCLA running back who entered the league in the same draft as an afterthought to Bush is what Bush has always wanted to be.  Unfortunately for Jones-Drew, the Jaguars may not be able to develop a decent passing game before the window closes on his prime.

10.  Packers defense is even worse than the Patriots.

All year, the media has harped on the Patriots’ porous defense, barely noticing the Swiss cheese sieve in Green Bay.

At the end of the season, the numbers don’t lie.  The Patriots gave up 411.1 yards per game, and the Packers gave up 411.6.

The Packers also finished with a worse pass defense, giving up 299.8 yards per game.  The Pats surrendered, on average, 293.9.  That’s 34.1 yards per game more than the third-worst pass defense, the Saints.

Fittingly, the three worst pass defenses are complemented by the three best pass offenses.

And so, if the top two seeds make it to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl (or if the Saints get there instead of the Packers), it could be time to reduce the field from 100 yards to 50, put up nets at either end, and just call the game what it will be — arena football.

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74 Responses to “Week 17 Monday 10-pack”
  1. ahs2 says: Jan 2, 2012 9:53 AM

    Franchising a back up QB after one great game against the worst Lions D performance since 2008 is not smart, especially for the Pack Mgmt! If Rogers were at the end, I could definitely see it, but he has lots of miles left on him.

    No, Flynn is going to Cassel/Schaub outta GB. Credit GB for their ability to spot/draft/groom QBs'; they’re better off drafting another in anticipation of Flynn flyin’!

  2. gb4ever0811 says: Jan 2, 2012 9:57 AM

    The Packers also had more takeaways than the Patriots defense and baring the garbage time 41 points given up yesterday, the Packers allowed fewer points. Yards don’t tell the whole story, there. Yards mean less than points allowed. Green Bay’s defense is better than the Patriots defense. That being said, if these two teams meet in the Super Bowl, though, the final score may be 59-52.

  3. gman41 says: Jan 2, 2012 9:59 AM

    I think you need to slow down on Flynn. I see another Scott mitchell situation. He had 1 huge game, against the Lions secondary which gets toasted by any average QB.

  4. xxwhodatxx says: Jan 2, 2012 10:00 AM

    So Flynn has an amazing game and everyone jumps the gun and immediately concludes he’s the next franchise QB for some needy team. There is a reason he’s the back up. Just like there was a reason Kolb was a back up, come on guys.

  5. klunge says: Jan 2, 2012 10:00 AM

    Agreed on Cruz, he is awesome. If the rest of my fantasy squad had performed like him I’d have run away with it this year.
    And I love that he beat the Jets at their own game: talked trash, but actually backed it up on the field.

  6. rugdog100 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:01 AM

    I agree with the last paragraph. The NFL has become the Arena League.

  7. tennis22drew says: Jan 2, 2012 10:03 AM

    Hang in there MJD! It took a while for my 49ers but Gore is finally going to the playoffs.

  8. tampajoey says: Jan 2, 2012 10:03 AM

    Even if the Packers do put the Franchise tag on Matt Flynn and end up paying him $14.5 million dollars, $6.5 million more than Aaron Rodgers’ $8 million next season the Packers can just sell some more worthless stock to their stupid fans to pay for a $14.5 million backup QB.

  9. blitzburgh43 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:04 AM

    Holmes was also a known to be a major locker room PIA. He won the superbowl…just ask him. He was developing a rather large helium head and he took it with him to NY.

    Antonio Brown…all’s well that ends well. In the Rooney’s we trust. Aben.

  10. phillyphever says: Jan 2, 2012 10:08 AM

    Bold prediction: Bengals will beat the Texans AND the Patriots and make it to the AFC title game against Baltimore. Also, SF hosts the NFC title game against the Falcons.

  11. motastic85 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:08 AM

    I am not a Steelers fan, first and for most. But i hate it when people say that the Santonio trade was all advantage Steelers. Dont you think the Steelers really missed Holmes last year when they needed that clutch play on the last drive, even just a catch for a drive saving first down, and all their receivers had butter on there fingers? Santonio was the SuperBowl MVP for a reason and it will be proven again this year, that the Steelers are still 1 playmaker away from another Ring.

  12. truthserum4u says: Jan 2, 2012 10:09 AM

    Flynn is no more of a proven commodity than Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassell, Rob Johnson & Scott Mitchell were before they cashed in and didn’t deliver the goods. They all looked like a franchise QB for a few games as well. Once teams get some game tape and game plan against him, things may turn out more like the aforementioned QBs. Buyer beware!

  13. journeyfan99 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:09 AM

    So, you said regarding Rex Ryan:. “Only so many times can a head coach protect his players and assistants by saying “put the blame on me” until someone decides to put the blame on him. Andy Reid has been using that line for 13 years now, so long now that even the PLAYERS believe it. There are no repurcussions for their disinterest, because they know it won’t be their fault. And of course, the Philly fans would be foolish for wanting to change a coach that consistently wins. But wins WHAT? Is the goal to win games or THE game??

  14. wryphotography says: Jan 2, 2012 10:09 AM

    Keep discounting the Texans. They did not get trounced by the Ravens, the game was close until late in the 4th quarter. And its not like Flacco has been a mile of consistency in the regular season or the playoffs.

  15. droopyyydog1 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:10 AM

    I hope the Packers do franchise Flynn because it will make it easier for the Dolphins to get their QB of the future. While the Packers will do this to ensure some sort of compensation they sure don’t want Flynn signing that tender so there is some leverage to keep the compensation reasonable. If the Dolphins need to trade up in the draft I don’t see them getting the QB of the future because they have never shown a willingness to gamble in the draft.

  16. east96st says: Jan 2, 2012 10:20 AM

    I would love to see the Giants give Cruz a well deserved raise. However, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I believe they are only $100,000 under the cap. Part of the problems the Giants have gone through this season is that were OVER the cap when the new CBA was finalized and had to shed some veterans and backups in order to get under.

  17. ripcityhawkhead says: Jan 2, 2012 10:21 AM

    I don’t see anybody going crazy over Flynn like last year when people were going crazy over Kevin Kolb. The draft is too QB heavy to reach for a backup with less experience than Kolb.

  18. antibenapalooza says: Jan 2, 2012 10:21 AM

    So now we know incompetent on-duty officers and corrupt off-duty officers can turn attempted rape into just misadventures.

  19. edukator4 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:23 AM

    as long as the ravens have purple sanchez they wont be superbowl bound

  20. ripcityhawkhead says: Jan 2, 2012 10:25 AM

    With all the people going crazy over Flynn, Seattle should try and step in and sign Matt Moore. Fins are gonna let a top 12 QB (in passer rating) for nothing.

  21. djteknision1200 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:26 AM

    How does playing 2 regular season games make Flynn a proven commodity?

  22. southpaw2k says: Jan 2, 2012 10:26 AM

    My playoff predictions from a couple weeks ago stand a real chance at coming true. The Patriots will once again be one-and-done in the playoffs after the Texans and Steelers win this weekend. The Steelers will go into Gillette Stadium and take out the Pats, and then travel to Baltimore for the AFC Championship Game for another colossal match up.

  23. firethorn1001 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:27 AM

    ‘There is a reason he’s the back up’
    ——————————————————
    Ya. Aaron Rodgers.

    That is a pretty big reason.

  24. sterilizecromartie says: Jan 2, 2012 10:27 AM

    truthserum is absolutely right. These backup QBs who come in and flash for a few games here and there find out things are much different once you are an every week starter. That being said, I am confident some team will bite on Flynn as a starter next year. The way the draft order looks now, Indy and Cleveland will be taking Luck and Griffin. Washington may bite on Landry Jones, but does Shanny really want to spend another few years developing a young guy out of college before he is ready to compete? He may look at Flynn as a “win right now” type of guy. I see Flynn as a Redskin next year.

  25. cincinnati222 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:27 AM

    Rex Ryan has taken his team to the post season each year he has been in. Deep into the post season. He doesn’t get there one year- but has the chance to at the end of the year and he should be on the hot seat? Put him here in Cincinnati and have him have the same success and he’d be a damn coaching God. Put him in most places and the same would hold true. This man shouldn’t be on the hot seat. Thats ridiculous.

  26. jessethegreat says: Jan 2, 2012 10:30 AM

    Even if Flynn leaves in free agency, Packers will get a compensation pick. Highest that can be is a 3rd rounder, but if you told Thompson 4 years ago that he’d turn his 7th round investment of Flynn into a 3rd round pick he would be quite happy.

  27. erniecohen says: Jan 2, 2012 10:32 AM

    What happens if they franchise Flynn and he just signs the tender?

  28. realitypolice says: Jan 2, 2012 10:33 AM

    ahs2 says:
    Jan 2, 2012 9:53 AM
    Franchising a back up QB after one great game against the worst Lions D performance since 2008 is not smart, especially for the Pack Mgmt! If Rogers were at the end, I could definitely see it, but he has lots of miles left on him.

    No, Flynn is going to Cassel/Schaub outta GB. Credit GB for their ability to spot/draft/groom QBs’; they’re better off drafting another in anticipation of Flynn flying’!
    =========================

    WOW.

    Talk about completely missing the point. The point of franchising Flynn is so you can trade him before he walks away for nothing.

    You know, like the Pats did with Matt Cassel.

    Both Cassel AND Schaub were in fact traded, and did not “fly” away.

    Other than that, your post was right on the money.

  29. Henry says: Jan 2, 2012 10:35 AM

    “baring the garbage time 41 points given up yesterday”
    This is bull! You say that yards don’t matter, it’s points allowed, but then you take away some of the points that the Packers allowed to make them seem like a better defense?
    The stats are what they are, dude. The Pack gave up more points than the Patriots, plane and simple.

  30. twohundredok says: Jan 2, 2012 10:35 AM

    Take it from a Browns fan – the way to beat the Steelers is NOT by starting Brady Quinn…

  31. hushbrother says: Jan 2, 2012 10:37 AM

    The Patriots actually have the best defense in the league. It’s called having their offense on the field. The Pats’ offense does the best job of preventing the other team from scoring than anyone. They rarely commit turnovers, so the opposing defense almost never scores against them, they control the clock, and heck, even Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater make some plays in the backfield.

  32. blackqbwhiterb says: Jan 2, 2012 10:38 AM

    In regards to Danny Snyder and Mike Shanahan- I think he’d be a damn fool to cut Shanahan off at this point- The 1st year, I thought they made some stupid moves, ie McNabb, but last offseason they finally got their act together and handled the off season the right way for the 1st time in 20 or so years. Trouble is, they need to do it for a few years in a row to really see the results. Patience- this team needed a lot of players, got a bunch, and still needs several more. But at least now they’ve begun building in the right way for long term success.

  33. jbaxt says: Jan 2, 2012 10:48 AM

    Oakland gave a 1st and 2nd round pick for their backup QB. Surely there are other teams in the league dumb enough to do the same… Right, smarter than every other coach in the league, Hue?

  34. Stiller43 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:49 AM

    Re: homes trade

    If im correct, the trade was:

    Holmes to jets for a 5th rounder.

    Steelers trade that pick for starting (last year) cb bryant mcfadden AND. A 6th rounder.

    Steelers use that 6th rounder for a. brown.

    So holmes went for a starting cb and pro bowler a. brown…yeah, not bad.

  35. mackie66 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:49 AM

    Tebow claims to be a Christian and the entire sports media goes nuts, including PFT. Tebow is not at fault in Denver sir. He has NO WR or TEs to throw to, they cant get open, he has one RB to hand off to and every NFL team on planet earth knows what the boy is trying to do. You “in the knows” at PFT should, maybe take an NFL 101 course, so next season, you might know a little bit about what you type about. Flooro your not good enough to carry T-bows jock.

  36. joe6606 says: Jan 2, 2012 10:52 AM

    “I am not a Steelers fan, first and for most. But i hate it when people say that the Santonio trade was all advantage Steelers. Dont you think the Steelers really missed Holmes last year when they needed that clutch play on the last drive, even just a catch for a drive saving first down, and all their receivers had butter on there fingers? ”

    —————————————————–
    I am a Steelers fan and I completely agree. If we had Holmes last year, we win the SB, hands down. Whatever you want to complain about him, he is inarguably clutch when the game is on the line.

    It was obvious, that even if he hadnt been suspended for drugs, we weren’t going to resign him for the $$ he wanted. The smarter move would have been to keep him for the rest of the year and then let him walk in FA. We still would have drafted Brown knowing we would need to replace Holmes.

    Hated the knee jerk dumping of him then, and still am bitter now.

  37. kyleortonsarm says: Jan 2, 2012 10:53 AM

    Well I guess Denver was a total afterthought. You only talked about where and when the ItsOkayToBeatOnWomenburg Steelers would play like you’re assuming they’re a shoe in. New Orleans was a shoe in last year and guess how that worked out for them.

  38. jimmysee says: Jan 2, 2012 10:58 AM

    The Packers DO have a QB right behind Flynn — Graham Harrell — who will have the benefit of the Mike McCarthy QB school this off-season, and will see a lot of work in exhibition games in 2012.

    I expect the Packers will also draft a QB in April.

  39. rarson says: Jan 2, 2012 11:00 AM

    The difference between Cassel and Flynn is that Cassel actually played a full season. Calling Flynn a “proven commodity” after one game against a suspect defense is idiotic. Just look at Cassel, he looks like a backup again (no doubt thanks to the different coaching staffs).

  40. Wisconsin77 says: Jan 2, 2012 11:05 AM

    I take issue with number 10, when you factor all the take always it far from the worst defense in the league, as a matter of fact, it is near the top. But hey, if you just want to isolate and look at one statistic on defense to make the claim of the “worst d” then you are dumber than I thought.

  41. paul621 says: Jan 2, 2012 11:05 AM

    In light of the fact that there’s actually debate about who to draft first, can we please stop crowning a #1 pick so early? This year was “Suck for Luck,” before that it was the Reggie Bush sweepstakes, and he didn’t even end up #1. I would for the Colts to suck for Luck and end up taking Griffin.

  42. dienavinjohnson says: Jan 2, 2012 11:11 AM

    Why is it that NFL offenses are ranked by points scored but defenses are ranked by yardage allowed? The reason the Packers, Saints, and Patriots give up so much yardage is that, quite often, their high-powered offenses have given them a big lead and the other teams take advantage of their prevent defenses. (By the way, based on those 3 team’ combined records, the much-maligned prevent defense works far more often than not.)

    The New York Jets rank 5th in the NFL in yards allowed, but have given up 364 points compared to the Patriots 31st ranked defense in yards, but 342 points allowed. In the more important defensive category of points allowed the Packers are ranked 19th, the Saints are ranked 13th, and the Patriots are ranked 15th in the NFL.

    Combine a top three point scoring offense with a middle of the pack points allowed defense and you end up with a combined record of 41-7. These teams’ defenses are all good enough to win a Super Bowl.

  43. larry321 says: Jan 2, 2012 11:30 AM

    The Jets defense didn’t give up yardage because the offense was always turning the ball over in its own territory, hence the constant 30 yard scoring drives

  44. hard2getausername says: Jan 2, 2012 11:35 AM

    Using yardage as the standard for how good a defense is has always bothered me. Packers give up the 14th most points per game. They’re the 14th worst defense in the league in my book. You call defense differently when you’re playing with a big lead in the 4th quarter.

  45. whyalwaysthehate says: Jan 2, 2012 11:39 AM

    Brady Quinn has webbed hands.

  46. 1historian says: Jan 2, 2012 11:47 AM

    Tebow was the flavor of the month for 6 games, then the Pats showed how to stop him, and he’s been stinking up the place for the last 3 weeks. Quinn is nothing special, but it’s NOT a bad idea to consider starting him – Tebow is in WAY over his head. His passing is pathetic.

    In their last 3 games the Pats’ have gotten behind, made defensive adjustments on the fly and then won the game. Yesterday they gave up 21 points in the 1st quarter and none for the next 3. Admittedly not a good habit to get into with the playoffs here but still – they showed they could do it. (Admittedly against inferior teams.)

    Flynn started for the Pack last year against the Patriots and almost beat them.

  47. footballhistorian says: Jan 2, 2012 11:52 AM

    Now this is why I keep coming back to this web-site…”With Holmes due to miss the first four games of the 2010 season and one wake-n-bake away from a one-year suspension, the Steelers opted to unload a potential headache — especially since the Steelers knew they’d never tie their hands by giving Holmes a huge contract.”
    One wake-n-bake? That’s gold Jerry, GOLD. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0qm0KUPeD8

  48. irishstout says: Jan 2, 2012 12:01 PM

    tampajoey says:Jan 2, 2012 10:03 AM

    Even if the Packers do put the Franchise tag on Matt Flynn and end up paying him $14.5 million dollars, $6.5 million more than Aaron Rodgers’ $8 million next season the Packers can just sell some more worthless stock to their stupid fans to pay for a $14.5 million backup QB.

    ______________________________

    Actually, no, they can’t. This is why people who gripe about the Packers “printing money” don’t know what they are talking about.

    According to both team and league rules, the Packers can only sell stock to make capital improvements (read: improve Lambeau Field) and they must have a specific project they are paying for, like the current seating expansion and renovation. They cannot apply the proceeds from a stock sale to personnel salaries, equipment, or like costs.

    Wealthy owners can write their team a big check to cover personnel acquisitions if they want. Without an owner, the Packers don’t have that advantage (so they actually have to be, you know, financially sustainable on that front). And rather than turn to wealthy investors who might insist on renaming the stadium, the team can turn to its fans and keep the stadium with a historic football name rather than the name of some idiotic company that thinks renaming a historic field would be good advertising.

  49. thetooloftools says: Jan 2, 2012 12:06 PM

    “The Steelers also received the peace of mind that comes from dumping a wideout who would have been a major pain in the butt for the balance of 2010, and who simply no longer factored into their plans”.

    The same thing happened with Plexco Burris… just change the year !

  50. manzoa says: Jan 2, 2012 12:11 PM

    Lotta yucks this time of year…RG3 instead of Luck….RLMAO….RG3 is listed at 6’2″…that means he’s probably 6′. Now Brees and Vick…who have 1 ring between them…are both 6′ or under and you would have to say they have been sucessful NFL QBs with the arena league rules. But I am certain the smart money is on the real deal, the 6’4″ Luck who had few weapons at Stanford but played against real competition and can make EVERY NFL throw accurately…sorry Baylor’s schedule is soft as Charmin and RG3 did not exactly light up Washington whose defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed. My guess is that RG3 is this draft’s Reggie Bush…the guy Colin Cowturd gave a yellow jacket to before he took one NFL snap.

  51. rarson says: Jan 2, 2012 12:17 PM

    @dienavinjohnson

    “The reason the Packers, Saints, and Patriots give up so much yardage is that, quite often, their high-powered offenses have given them a big lead and the other teams take advantage of their prevent defenses.”

    That’s not even true. Patriots have trailed for 3 straight weeks. They were down 13-7 versus Denver, 17-0 versus Miami, and 21-0 versus the Bills. Green Bay has been making a habit of struggling early, too. Detroit’s game was a quarterback shootout.

  52. Deb says: Jan 2, 2012 12:42 PM

    Steelers fleeced Jets on Holmes. Haha! My favorite Fl*rio line of the new year. I was all for that deal because Tone wasn’t worth the headache he decided to cause at the worst possible moment. Who announces to the world that he’s going to violate the substance abuse policy?? It was the last year of his contract, and Steelers don’t pay what he’d have demanded to wideouts. Better to get rid of a headache early than let it hang around only to lose it at season’s end anyway. My only disappointment was that Bryant wasn’t more useful. But look what we got in Antonio Brown!!

    Yes … I hope the Broncs play Quinn, too. Tebow doesn’t have the QB skills but he’s one tough guy and unpredictable. It would be easier to game-plan for Quinn.

  53. rarson says: Jan 2, 2012 12:42 PM

    @irishstout

    “And rather than turn to wealthy investors who might insist on renaming the stadium, the team can turn to its fans and keep the stadium with a historic football name rather than the name of some idiotic company that thinks renaming a historic field would be good advertising.”

    You do realize that your team is named after a meat-packing company, right?

  54. orcheon says: Jan 2, 2012 12:49 PM

    yards allowed is a very poor measurement of defense in this era, a better measurement is a combination of points allowed and turnovers created

  55. hodag54501 says: Jan 2, 2012 1:06 PM

    Regarding franchising Flynn: not going to happen. It’s been pretty much hashed over the Packers are going to tag tight end J. Finley.
    They will let Flynn get his financial reward. They’ve been working with Graham Harrell for a couple of seasons now. I suspect they’re comfortable with him, though I wouldn’t put it out of the question to see Ted Thompson grab a QB in the low rounds, like he did with Flynn.
    Do you pay Flynn millions to carry a clipboard for another year, or do you pay millions to bolster a weak defense? I think footballers know the answer…

  56. raqaiw says: Jan 2, 2012 1:21 PM

    wryphotography says: Jan 2, 2012 10:09 AM

    Keep discounting the Texans. They did not get trounced by the Ravens, the game was close until late in the 4th quarter. And its not like Flacco has been a mile of consistency in the regular season or the playoffs.

    _____________________________________
    You did get trounced by the Ravens, they doubled you up 29-14 WITH your starting QB. Foster only had 49 yards rushing in that game. Also, Flacco is still more consistent than Yates, especially at home. But you should be alot more concerned with the Bengals bub.

  57. packersweep says: Jan 2, 2012 1:26 PM

    joe6606 says:
    Jan 2, 2012 10:52 AM

    If we had Holmes last year, we win the SB, hands down.

    ————————————————-

    Why, did he play defense? Here it is almost a year later and Pittsburgh fans are still If`n.

  58. scomibord says: Jan 2, 2012 1:49 PM

    PACKER FANS ARE SCARED, FLOODING NEW ORLEANS MESSAGE BOARDS, TRYING TO CONVINCE THE SAINTS FANS THAT WE HAVE NO CHANCE. I CAN SMELL THE FEAR FROM THEM, SMELLS LIKE CHEESE. THEY ARE PLEADING THEIR CASE FOR RODGERS MVP. HOW CAN YOU GIVE A PLAYER THE MVP, WHEN HIS BACKUP CAN COME IN AND PLAY BETTER THAN THE STARTER, DID MATT FLYNN NOT RE-WRITE THE PACKERS RECORD BOOKS YESTERDAY? I WILL HAVE TO ADD MIKE MCCARTHY TO MY X-MAS CARD LIST NEXT YEAR FOR MAKING THE DECISION TO PLAY FLYNN INSTEAD OF RODGERS YESTERDAY

  59. greenandgoldgirl says: Jan 2, 2012 2:43 PM

    The Packers defense is not the worst in the league, the yardage stat is not as important as this writer makes it out to be. The defense has been averaging 2+ takeaways per game and there is no reason to believe that trend won’t continue during the playoffs. Yesterday most of the defense was rested or rotating in and out so they will be fresh for the playoffs. These guys know how to step up on the big stage.

    Aaron Rodgers’ great year should not be down graded because the Packers have a good back up QB (as opposed to the Colts and others). Aaron’s performance actually gave Mike McCarthy the luxury of being able to rest players for the playoffs. And Saints fans should be thanking their lucky stars that the Packers are interested in winning Super Bowls not breaking records. Had Rodgers played yesterday and in the two games he was pulled early, Drew Brees would be eating Aaron’s dust in the record books. Aaron is just entering his prime, his best games are still ahead of him. Scary, yes?

  60. jimmysee says: Jan 2, 2012 2:54 PM

    Franchising Flynn is not in the cards. It’s not the way Ted Thompson thinks or works.

    Flynn is not in the picture next year — he will not be a Packer.

    The franchise tag will be used on a player who is in the picture — probably Jermichael Finley, maybe Scott Wells.

    The Packers have never played those sorts of games.

    Tagging Flynn would result in his earning way more than Rodgers next year. A trade would be uncertain with that level of salary attached.

    Team harmony and no drama are important.

    Flynn did his job for the last four years — he is entitled to step away, move on, and make his own best deal.

    (Hope it is not with the Bears or Vikes! — Miami or the ‘Skins would be good landing spots)

  61. outlawshark says: Jan 2, 2012 4:02 PM

    About Matt Flynn. He was the QB for the National Championship LSU team his senior year (2007). He was the MVP in that Championship game. He has a proven winner’s mentality. He was drafted by Green Bay, then spent 4 years developing in the best QB training program in the country, learning behind the best QB in the country. He had 2 opportunities to start – both against playoff opponents – and played lights out. Would you rather take a chance on an unproven college QB, or an NFL-ready QB that has played well when given the chance? Flynn deserves a shot, he’s already better than a lot of starting QBs. My prediction is a tag-n-trade with Seattle, they’ve always had an open trade channel with Green Bay.

  62. cmizzad says: Jan 2, 2012 4:29 PM

    scomibord says: Jan 2, 2012 1:49 PM

    PACKER FANS ARE SCARED, FLOODING NEW ORLEANS MESSAGE BOARDS, TRYING TO CONVINCE THE SAINTS FANS THAT WE HAVE NO CHANCE. I CAN SMELL THE FEAR FROM THEM, SMELLS LIKE CHEESE. THEY ARE PLEADING THEIR CASE FOR RODGERS MVP. HOW CAN YOU GIVE A PLAYER THE MVP, WHEN HIS BACKUP CAN COME IN AND PLAY BETTER THAN THE STARTER, DID MATT FLYNN NOT RE-WRITE THE PACKERS RECORD BOOKS YESTERDAY? I WILL HAVE TO ADD MIKE MCCARTHY TO MY X-MAS CARD LIST NEXT YEAR FOR MAKING THE DECISION TO PLAY FLYNN INSTEAD OF RODGERS YESTERDAY

    —————————————————

    I can assure you Packer fans and the team are not scared of the Saints. And if I were a Saints fan, I’d be more concerned about the Lions and 49ers first.
    Especially the 49ers. Take the Saints out of the dome, and they scare no one.

    And if Brees wins the MVP, that will be ok too. Because I can assure you, Brees winning the MVP makes the probability of the Saints winning in Lambeau drop to about 0%. You don’t want to motivate Rodgers anymore than he already will be.

    Got it, MR. CAPS LOCK?

  63. childressrulz says: Jan 2, 2012 4:51 PM

    ripcityhawkhead says: Jan 2, 2012 10:21 AM

    I don’t see anybody going crazy over Flynn like last year when people were going crazy over Kevin Kolb. The draft is too QB heavy to reach for a backup with less experience than Kolb.
    ****************************
    I think Flynn is a little better than Kolb. I really don’t care what you think. Someone will give up a first rounder for him.

  64. childressrulz says: Jan 2, 2012 4:55 PM

    jimmysee says: Jan 2, 2012 2:54 PM

    Franchising Flynn is not in the cards. It’s not the way Ted Thompson thinks or works.

    Flynn is not in the picture next year — he will not be a Packer.

    The franchise tag will be used on a player who is in the picture — probably Jermichael Finley, maybe Scott Wells.
    __________
    I don’t think you know what you are talking about. Thompson does what is best for the Packers not the players. That is his job and he is brutally efficient at it. If they don’t want to trade for a QB that has been tagged I recommend getting something in the works under the table ASAP.

  65. ac540 says: Jan 2, 2012 5:30 PM

    What exactly do the Pats or Ravens have to worry about in playing the Steelers with Lame Woodley, Blown Knee Mendenhall and Ben “I walk like Fred Sanford” Roethlisberger? Because they were good in the 70’s? Because they “travel well?” The way they manhandled the lowly Browns, Colts, and Chiefs? The only thing either of those two teams have to be concerned about is a cheap shot from that hack Ward or dirty Harrison hurting one of their players for the next game.

  66. phatnate says: Jan 2, 2012 6:07 PM

    Firing Rex Ryan because he has failed to deliver on his Super Bowl promises is the lamest thing I have heard. It wasn’t the point of the promises in the first place, it was to give his team the confidence to make it there. I don’t get why the media continually gets their panties all bunched up every time some says they are going to win a game. That’s the whole object of why they play the ganes in the first place. To win…

  67. Lee Rudnicki says: Jan 2, 2012 8:02 PM

    Not sure how you can reasonably suggest the sudden benching of Tim Tebow in a playoff game.

    Tebow got the Broncos there with his unusual if not downright wacky collection of talent, confidence and passion, and Tim deserves the chance to see it through to the end.

    Besides, what if you benched him and the Broncos lost that first game anyway? Can you imagine the questions and uproar? It would never end.

    For better or worse, the Broncos got behind Tebow and he won enough games to get them into the next round. It makes no sense to change course now.

    Besides, he might even “accidentally” win the Broncos a few playoff games if not the whole thing. Stranger things have happened.

  68. truthserum4u says: Jan 2, 2012 11:29 PM

    @ manzoa

    Go look at some pictures of the Heiman award; you’ll see Griffin is a couple of inches shorter than Luck. You can see hes’ taller than 6′ when he hugs the past award winners as well. Unless he has lifts in his shoes.

    Luck played against “real competition”?? You obviously don’t watch Pac-12 football. The best teams Luck faced (USC & Oregon) are known as offensive teams with mediocre defenses at best. Baylor played some tough defenses in Texas & Oklahoma that Stanford never saw.

  69. truthserum4u says: Jan 2, 2012 11:56 PM

    jimmysee says:Jan 2, 2012 2:54 PM

    Tagging Flynn would result in his earning way more than Rodgers next year. A trade would be uncertain with that level of salary attached.
    ————————

    Exactly!! Tagging him is a real risk if you can’t get someone to bite.

    outlawshark says:Jan 2, 2012 4:02 PM

    Matt Flynn had 2 opportunities to start – both against playoff opponents – and played lights out. .. .he’s already better than a lot of starting QBs.
    ——————

    He played against teams that weren’t preparing for him and didn’t have game tape. History is filled with QBs who played a couple of good games and failed once under the spotlight. You have no clue if he’s better than any starting QB at this point.

    childressrulz says:Jan 2, 2012 4:51 PM

    I think Flynn is a little better than Kolb. I really don’t care what you think. Someone will give up a first rounder for him.
    ——————

    Kolb, Schaub & Cassell didn’t fetch a first round pick and they had more than a couple of games to go on. Most teams needing a QB are picking in the top half of the draft. No one is giving up that high of a pick for Flynn. Maybe a third round and another mid-rounder.

    I thought past performance was a factor in the formula for compensation picks. If that’s the case GB won’t be receiving a 3rd rounder for Flynn either.

  70. londonfletcher says: Jan 3, 2012 1:09 PM

    Dear Ted Leonsis,
    Please buy the Redskins from Danny boy, at any cost.

    Signed,
    Real DC Fans.

  71. dikshuttle says: Jan 3, 2012 2:04 PM

    Well, it’s not like Leonsis has had championship success, but I hate Snyder like poison.

    Now he’s abusing the facilities in attempts to get a new stadium in town? Get rid of that owner, and maybe the new one will get a stadium. Though with this state of squad, I doubt it.

  72. n2un says: Jan 3, 2012 6:01 PM

    I like the idea of the Broncos quick hooking Tebow and playing Brady Quinn against the Steelers. The Broncos need to generate some offense this week to be competitive. As for the “Browns Fan” comment about Quinn earlier, consider the source. Imagine a Clowns fan claiming to be an authority on anything.

  73. staffordsyear says: Jan 4, 2012 6:46 AM

    Staffords year.

  74. londonfletcher says: Jan 5, 2012 1:15 PM

    “Well, it’s not like Leonsis has had championship success, but I hate Snyder like poison”

    At least the Caps are a playoff contender every season. That’s more than I can say for my bottom of the barrel skins.

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