Martz Minus Three Best Players
The Rams went into Washington last week minus their three best players--Bulger, running back Marshall Faulk and cornerback Aeneas Williams--and they will most likely be without all three again in Philadelphia Sunday.
Although, as the coaches say, all teams have injuries, these are three particularly hard losses for Martz. Faulk and Williams are the heart and soul of their respective units. And Bulger's injury denied the Rams any thought of him entering in a relief role to continue the winning ways that led them back to 5-5 after an 0-5 start.
The Rams did have their MVP quarterback in Washington. But after his long injury layoff, Warner wasn't as sharp as he wanted to be.
In next Sunday's game, the Eagles will also again be without their great player, quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was a candidate for NFL MVP when he went down two weeks ago. The Eagles, though, don't have much to beat in the NFC East. In a 16-14 game last Sunday, the New York Giants (Philadelphia's foremost rival) couldn't even get past the expansion Houston Texans.
Vick Belongs on National Television
FOR MICHAEL VICK, the Atlanta quarterback who is showing the football world that there's a new way to play the NFL game, the next challenge will come Sunday in Minneapolis. Though the Vikings can't win for losing on the road, they're tough indoors at home, where, when Vick has the ball, the noise level will be more than he ever dreamed of.
Which is a reminder that it's about time for the Fox network to show the country what Vick is. On Sundays in Los Angeles, the Channel 11 people keep putting on the same old teams, which usually isn't a bad idea. But it would be a better idea to occasionally present Vick to those viewers who still rely on network TV.
Speaking as a jury of one, I've never seen a football player who could do what Vick does routinely--throw long and straight if that's open or sprint like a running back if a run is preferable.
Even so, escapability is probably Vick's long suit. In a pocket-passing situation, he's so fast and quick that, if he puts his mind to it, he might never be sacked or hit. His option to escape a hit--by darting out of bounds on a run, or sprinting out of danger when the pocket breaks down--will always be there once he learns to take it.
What Vick does is hard to imagine because nobody else has ever done it.
Five Guesses on Week 13's Big Games
Denver to win by three points at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It's not true that the Chargers are slumping. This is just another in a series of hard-to-win games.
St. Louis by three at old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. The Eagles were playing erratically even before they lost McNabb.
San Francisco by two at Candlestick's 3Com Park over Seattle. Is this three losers for me with two to go? Is quarterback Matt Hasselbeck the Seattle answer after all?
Tampa Bay by five at the Louisiana Superdome over New Orleans. The Saints have the talent to give me four for four.
Oakland by a touchdown on Monday night at Network Associates Coliseum over the New York Jets. It won't be easy for the Jets' Pennington to pass this test.