Saturday, February 28, 2009

Steve Sarkisian and NFL Playoffs - Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A friend of mine grew up with former NFL TE Cam Cleeland who played at UW and who used to come back to UW in the offseason or off weeks to work out at the weight room. I guess several alums who were in the NFL used to do this relatively frequently. When Willingham took over he put the kibosh on that. I don’t know why that surprised me because it seems like something Ty would do. I guess he didn’t like the idea of anyone who is not directly involved with the team to be anywhere near his team. Yeah, because it’s a great idea to show your current players that once you’re no longer part of the team you’ll be banished. Also, why would you want your players to talk to successful people? What good can come of that? I’m so glad they fired him and I am truly happy that they have a guy like Sarkisian taking the reigns.

I like him for several reasons:
  • I liked him as a player even if he played for BYU, he’s the same age as me (which makes me an absolute failure, by the way) and I remember him playing really well for them.
    He’s called plays for a number of years now, has run an offense, has recruited, and has produced several successful players
  • I like his offensive system, I think the pro-style will be great for recruiting (because players, mostly QBs, will want to play for a guy who can prepare them for the NFL)
    He’ll also be great for Locker because, as I’ve said before, I don’t think that Locker would have progressed one bit as an NFL prospect if he remained in the running/spread “offense” that UW “ran.”
  • I think he has a great personality and I like his openness about everything
  • I know that I wanted a defensive guy, but I’ll take an up-and-coming coach who is energetic and who has great qualifications over a seasoned/retreat head coach or defensive coordinator
  • He is not Mike Leach. I did NOT want Mike Leach here. I think that his offense is really fun to watch, but people at UW would hate that style. They are programmed to think that it is still 1990-91 and those teams were tough and ran the ball extremely well… that’s what people equate with success and only a coach that brings that will truly be accepted by the blue hairs and those unsophisticated UW fans.
  • I think that he’ll re-integrate the alums and fan base and those factions are dying for it because they’ve been shut out under Ty’s regime.

NFL Playoffs
Even though Seattle will be sitting out this postseason, I am still very interested in the games this weekend. I love the NFL playoffs because it’s the only single elimination tournament of all the major pro sports. The finality is riveting, I think. Here are my thoughts on the games:

Atlanta at Arizona
Atlanta is an amazing story. That team was terrible last year. I thought that Michael Turner was good in San Diego, but when a dude goes from second string to starter it’s a crapshoot and I just figured that he wouldn’t do well in Atlanta because the team sucks so bad. So he went out and ran for 1,699 yards and 17 TDs, so I guess I was right. I didn’t think that Matt Ryan would do anything special and clearly he hasn’t since he lead his team to the playoffs and will get legitimate MVP votes.

Arizona is unimpressive to me, with the notable exceptions of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Those two dudes are absurdly talented WRs. They’re huge and they catch everything. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Matt Leinart. If he can’t be successful throwing to quite possibly two of the top 10 WRs in the league, then he’s horrible. Kurt Warner is still decent (and far better than Leinart) and it’s possible that their passing does enough to overcome any other deficiencies that they might have. Here’s my guess. I want Atlanta to win, so that means Arizona will and I’ll be upset about it, even though I couldn’t care less about Atlanta and am ambivalent at best regarding my feelings for Arizona.

Prediction: Arizona 38 Atlanta 24

Philly at Minnesota
I really don’t care about this game or either of these teams. Neither one will advance beyond this game. I do think that Adrian Peterson is awesome though and it’s cool to see him do well. He runs like he’s in a video game and has a break tackle rating of 99, which he probably does (I don’t have Madden). I do think that Philly has a very good defense and I’m guessing that they will hold Peterson to something like 25 carries and 87 yards, which means that Philly will win, despite the rampant inconsistency of their offense.

Prediction: Philly 24 Minnesota 13

Indy at San Diego
Peyton Manning is incredible. I have been a Peyton fan since his days at Tennessee. I’ve been a Volunteer fan since ’89. Those were the Carl Pickens, Dale Carter, and Heath Schuler halcyon days. I lived in Okinawa from ’84-’89 so I don’t have any attachment to the Huskies during that time. When I got here, one of the first games that I saw was a Tennessee game and I’d never seen their unis, endzone, offense, or cheerleaders and I was smitten. So I obviously paid attention to them during the Peyton Manning years (I believe Todd Helton was a QB w/Peyton and laid a vicious block on someone in a game that I saw) and was bummed that Danny Wuerfell peed all over Tennessee for all of Peyton’s years and really bummed that Charles Woodson beat Peyton out for the Heisman… what an atrocity.

Anyway, I thought that Peyton would never get a chance to win big and was convinced that it wouldn’t happen in the NFL… until he led them to the Super Bowl over the Bears. This is a long way of saying that I think that he’s going to light up San Diego. Phillip Rivers is a good QB even if he throws like his elbow is sewed to his ribcage, but I don’t think they’ll beat Indy.

Prediction: Indy 35 San Diego 27

Baltimore at Miami
Miami is another unbelievable story. They were perilously close to 0-16 last year and looked every bit as bad as their record. I must admit, I was pulling for them to do well mostly because I think that karmically, it seemed that Chad Pennington needed to do well at the expense of the NY Jets because they bounced him in favor of Favre. It couldn’t have worked out better.

As for Baltimore, I think that they are pretty damn good. Their offense is a lot better than what it used to be and their defense is just as strong as it always has been. I kind of like their chances to go relatively deep in the playoffs.

Prediction: Baltimore 23 Miami 13

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