The Super Bowl looks as far off as ever for Gonzalez, Romo’s O-line playing like sieves, and Jeff Tuel basically told by coaches he doesn’t have what it takes after only 20 pass attempts. Ryan Bradley tells us who he’s feeling sorry for in week 5’s NFL Diary.
I’m no stranger to being critical, perhaps even reveling in being critical of players and teams. Especially ones I don’t like or think are overrated. I have, so far this year, ripped repeatedly on several players and teams. This is the way of the sports fan, I suppose, but I thought this week I would try a different path. Welcome to your Week 5 roundup, aka the Week of Who I Feel Bad For.
I feel bad for Tony Gonzalez. The poor guy was all set to retire. To go out as near the top as he was bound to get. The guy is one of the best football players of all time. He deserved to go out, at the very least, on a team that made the playoffs. But his teammates convinced him to come back for one more year. They convinced him they would give him the Ray Lewis treatment and send him out with a Super Bowl ring.
Well, we’re five weeks into the season and the Falcons have looked sub-mediocre. They are 1-4, with one of the bottom five defenses in the league. Add a season-ending injury to Julio Jones and you’ve got a team poised for rebuilding after Gonzalez retires this offseason. Gonzalez didn’t deserve this, just like Matt Ryan didn’t deserve to be overpaid.
And then there’s Tony Romo. He knows and everyone else knows that the quarterback will always be saddled with the blame for all that goes wrong. It’s the way of the NFL. But let’s stop for a minute. The Cowboys defense (which was supposed to be so improved under Monte Kiffen) gave up 51 points and people want to blame Romo? “But that interception in a clutch moment! Again!” people will say.
You know why Romo ends up throwing interceptions at the ends of games? Because his defense has never been able to stop teams from coming back, and his O-Line can’t stand up for four quarters. The play before the interception? His O-Line let the defenders through like a revolving door. And they did the same thing the next play. Can you blame Romo for feeling like everything is up to him? He has a defense that can’t hold a team, and an O-Line who can’t stop a fly by the fourth quarter.
Lastly, I feel bad for Jeff Tuel, the unsigned rookie quarterback of the Bills. The Bills announced they will start Thad Lewis in week six, with EJ Manuel still out and Tuel having looked rough so far in relief. Who is Thad Lewis, you might ask? He’s a perennial practice squad QB who has failed to secure spots with St. Louis, Cleveland (twice), and the Lions. Has Tuel played well enough? No. Has Tuel played enough to really know if he can play well enough? No. He’s had 20 pass attempts. That’s nowhere near enough to evaluate a guy, and the Bills really think Thad Lewis is capable of being any better on short notice in a situation where it’s very clear he is a temporary fix?
There’s no reason to not let Tuel get the development time. The only thing I like about this situation is that the Bills have signed Dennis Dixon to their practice squad and I still think that guy deserves a shot at an NFL job.
Until next week, then, when I’m sure to update you on the continuing state of Eli Manning’s homage to Mark Sanchez, which, by the way, was on full display again in Week 5. Maybe I should include him in the list of players I feel sorry for.
Photo: Brian Blanco/AP