After seven or eight weeks, an online reader was kind enough to point out that there is already a column named Tuesday Morning Quarterback and it’s on ESPN.com no less. So it is with a sad heart that I must change my column name back to ‘The Silvey Lining’ which is what it originally was when I was the Sports editor here.
Just when you think you’re the only one in the world creative enough to have a football column come out on Tuesday, they rip your heart out and stomp on it.
OK, so I wasn’t that hurt, but I did want to avoid all the inevitable plagiarism concerns.
But speaking of changing names, one NFL player who might want to change his name to Roger Craig is Tennessee running back Chris Johnson.
Craig, a former 49ers running back was the first player in league history to have more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a single season.
On Sunday, Johnson had 132 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in a route of the Buffalo Bills.
In just nine games, Johnson already has more receiving yardage than he did all of last season.
Well past the halfway mark of the season, Johnson has got to be the offensive player of the year. But I would suggest that if the Titans manage to get anywhere near .500, even if it is Vince Young who is the visible difference, that Johnson should be considered as an MVP candidate even on a losing team.
He’s already over 1,000 yards rushing this year and he’s averaging more than six yards per carry on a team that until a few weeks ago had a very minimal passing threat. He’s running against eight or sometimes even nine men in the box, and he is still the best running back in the league.
Spotlight too bright on Cutler?
Jay Cutler should be used to the spotlight by now. After all, he thrust himself into the limelight faster than “balloon boy” after demanding to be traded during the offseason.
But when it comes to playing during primetime, he certainly doesn’t seem like he’s accustomed to the bright lights.
In the three games Chicago has played on either Sunday night or Thursday night football, Cutler is a combined 73 of 131 for 884 yards, three touchdowns and 11 interceptions (including a career-high five on Thursday in San Francisco) and the Bears are 0-3 in those games.
Now maybe two of those interceptions on Thursday were Devin Hester’s fault. The speedy defensive back turned wide receiver slipped on one route making it appear that Cutler had thrown a nice pass straight to a 49er defender and on another play, he refused to bowl over the referee who appeared to be playing bump and run coverage by stepping into Hester’s path while he was running the route. Instead, Hester slowed and tried to go around the referee, but Cutler threw it too far in front for the pick.
I guess when your number one receiver was a cornerback two years ago; you probably shouldn’t expect great things, regardless of who you have playing quarterback.
Cutler and the Bears will get another chance to redeem themselves this Sunday night when they host the Eagles in another primetime affair.
Orton actually the key to success
Since we’re talking about Jay Cutler, we might as well also talk about the person he will forever be linked to – Kyle Orton.
These guys are going to be compared forever, and while Cutler is putting up more yardage than any Bears quarterback in recent history, it’s starting to look like the Herschel Walker deal all over again.
Who knew that given some talented receivers and an amazing offensive line that Orton could be so dominating.
I was convinced that anyone could come in and play quarterback for the Denver Broncos – hell you or I could have done it – that is, until I saw Chris Simms yesterday.
Give the Redskins defense some credit, they have one of the better pass defenses in the NFL this year, but Orton was lighting them up in the first half. By halftime, Orton had two touchdown passes and had thrown for more yardage than the Redskins give up in a game.
The ultimate game manager, Orton even made some impressive deep throws that didn’t seem possible when he was with Chicago. It wasn’t like the Redskins were actually covering Brandon Marshall, so he didn’t really need to work it into a seam, but still.
Orton left with an ankle injury and that’s when the Chris Simms express rolled into the station. Unfortunately for Broncos fans, it never quite made it out of the station after the second half started.
Simms was 3 of 13 for 23 yards and an interception. Some of those throws were incomplete to wide open receivers, including a fourth and 10 play at the end of the game to keep the team alive.
But let’s give credit to the Redskins. They called a fake field goal two plays in a row on a 4th and 20 no less. After they lined up for it the first time, they realized they had just 10 men on the field and had to call a time out. So they came out again with a full compliment of players, faked it again and punter Hunter Smith threw a bomb across the field for a touchdown.
You have to wonder, did Jim Zorn call that play with the mindset that he’s going to be fired at the end of the season anyway, or did Sherman Lewis come up with that play while sitting in his Bingo parlor with a bunch of his friends?
Either way, it was just crazy enough to work.