2018 NFL Week 10
Remember Kordell Stewart?
Some young people may not remember the name, but us old fogies do. He’s what you would call a cult classic quarterback. A guy who had some very flashy moments but his light seemingly didn’t burn bright for long.
The Steelers selected him in the second round of the 1995 draft. He was a rare pro for that time, because Stewart was known for his running and throwing ability coming out of college.
And while dual-threat quarterbacks are all the rage these days, the stodgy fools who made up the NFL’s coaching ranks pooped their pants when anyone would suggest that quarterbacks do anything but take five-step drops. Sure, Steve Young was a star back then, but people didn’t take him seriously until he stopped breaking off 70-yard runs and stayed in the pocket instead.
Run-pass option plays? Heavens, no! Coaches would get the vapors and need a fainting coach at the mere thought. Running college plays? That’s for women!
The Steelers made it all the way to the Super Bowl in Stewart’s season, but he wasn’t the one taking the snaps under center. No, instead the team had Neil O’Donnell.
Let me take a second to explain this guy. The most notable thing about him was that there was nothing special about him. He made a Pro Bowl once in 1992, but other than that, his biggest responsibility was to not make mistakes and allow the team’s strong running game and terrifying defense to handle most of the load.
And the team had some overall success. They were a regular in the playoffs and O’Donnell started 14 regular season games in 1995, completing 59 percent of his throws with 17 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions. Stats that Patrick Mahomes would put up in 7 games, with less interceptions, too.
And in Super Bowl XXX, O’Donnell made himself persona non grata in the Steel City, throwing three horrible interceptions to middling Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown, netting him the game’s MVP award and Dallas a third Super Bowl championship in the Aikman/Irvin/Smith era.
Stewart wasn’t even listed as a quarterback on the team’s roster. No, head coach Bill Cowher felt his skillset made him a better fit at wide receiver. However, Stewart was sprinkled into the offense on gimmick plays and over the course of the season, had a touchdown throwing, passing and running.
Long story short (too late), the Steelers eventually came to their senses, decided O’Donnell and his crazy eyes (google a photo of him) were not the way to go and handed the reins to their dynamic quarterback. And while they missed the playoffs a few times, he was able to reach the AFC Championship Game twice, the second time he lost to a team that had some jamoke named Tom Brady playing quarterback.
The Ravens should do the same. Now, hear me out. I’m not comparing Joe Flacco to Neil O’Donnell. Flacco has had far more success and has a Super Bowl ring. Yet, Baltimore is 4-5 and seemingly headed in the wrong direction. Head coach John Harbaugh has his back, saying his quarterback has “played well,” and I don’t doubt that.
However, the Ravens did spend a first-round pick on Lamar Jackson, who came out of college with even bigger bona fides than Kordell Stewart. And while the Ravens have used him in gimmick plays to some success, at some point, that’s not good enough.
Joe Flacco will definitely finish out the season and his contract won’t make it easy for the Ravens to just simply cut bait. But we all know what’s coming. The team eventually needs to find out what they have in Jackson.
I vote for sooner rather than later.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
NFL’S TOP 10
1) Patriots – You know what’s annoying? It seems every time the Patriots have a big game, it’s always at home. I’m sick of their stupid minutemen firing their guns after every touchdown, I’m sick of that ship horn that blows on every defensive third down. I’m sick of the happy faces in the crowd. I’m sick of Tom Brady walking off the field without a spot on his jersey. And now Josh Gordon is looking like his old self again. Ugh. Great team though.
2) Saints – What a win at home against the Rams. Brees was flawless and made a statement for the MVP award, Michael Thomas was epic and the team pulled together after L.A. made a second-half run to tie the game. And now they have Dez Bryant! Their schedule over the next four weeks is a bit tricky though. If they get through that stretch 4-0, look out.
3) Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes was great again, but against a team that had just fired their head coach. They’ve got a cakewalk this week against the Cardinals before facing the Rams in Mexico City.
4) Rams – Marcus Peters … yikes. Other than him though, there was a lot to like about this team’s Week 9 loss. They were down 35-14 before scoring 21 straight points to even the game up in the second half. And they were hampered by a fake punt that should have been ruled a first down and a bad interception thrown by Jared Goff that led to a touchdown just before halftime. They need to do something about their pass rush though.
5) Chargers – I don’t understand why this team can’t find a kicker who can avoid soiling himself on extra points. Besides that, this roster is impeccable. They put forth a truly impressive road performance in Seattle against a team that was red hot.
6) Panthers – They’re second in the league in rushing yards and riding a three-game winning streak. And yet, why does it seem like people are sleeping on them? Nobody will if they take care of the Steelers on Thursday night.
7) Steelers – Pittsburgh is starting to separate itself from the competition, having won four straight games, including last weeks over division rival Baltimore. Can you imagine if they get Le’Veon Bell back and work him into the fold along with James Conner? I’m excited, let’s make this happen.
8) Vikings – I seem to remember there being concerns about their defense. Those concerns may have been quieted after they sacked Matthew Stafford 10 times last Sunday. This squad is taking shape. Look out.
9) Texans – This team could easily be 3-6, but they’re not. Getting lucky breaks and the right bounces is how sports work sometimes. That could carry them right into the playoffs.
10) Bears – Do you know if the season ended today, this team would be the No. 3 seed in the NFC? Wow. And they’re staying afloat without having Khalil Mack in the lineup the past two games.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Le’Veon’s lameness: Sorry to revisit this guy again, but I’ve had it with his bucket of bullcrap. If he wants to stay away from the team, fine. But I’m done with his stupid statements on Twitter, and his dropping mysterious hints about leaving Miami. Either show up or piss off until you do. Nobody cares to play your game.
Uhhh, what? Sam Rutigliano was the Browns head coach from 1978 to 1984 and a big influence for fired Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley. He was interviewed on Cleveland radio this week and said Haley thought he would be named interim head coach after Hue Jackson was canned.
But check out this quote from Rutigliano: “I talked to him on the phone. When he was going to the office [Haley) thought he was going to take over. And he got fired … He said to me, ‘I had no idea. When I was going back to the office I thought possibly if they were going to let Hue Jackson go, that I would have the opportunity now to be the interim coach and then get the job eventually, and that’s why I came here.’ And then it went in the opposite direction.”
Wow. So, Todd Haley took the offensive coordinator job in Cleveland because he felt he’d get the head coach gig once Hue got fired? Dude … I understand that’s how the NFL works, but that’s a devious mind at work.
Great, dude: Injured Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is “confident” his shoulder is getting better. Right on, man. Too bad the rest of us have no confidence in your ability to be a franchise quarterback.
Get mean: The Colts are facing the Jaguars this week and Andrew Luck is up to his nice guy stuff again, saying, “Ramsey’s a stud. He’s physically very gifted.” Come on, man. Ramsey is the same guy who said Luck isn’t really that good before the season. At least return his serve.
Not good: Sam Darnold threw four interceptions in Week 9 and he might not play this week as he’s dealing with a foot strain. Some might feel he should take a week off and rest up, especially in light of his disastrous last performance. I say if there’s any way he can play, he should. He needs to rebound in the worst way to keep his confidence up.
What a surprise: Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee will reportedly miss 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury. Death, taxes and Sean Lee not in uniform on Sunday are the only constants in life.
Hurry up offense: Eagles coach Doug Pederson says the connection between QB Carson Wentz and newly acquired WR Golden Tate needs to happen fast. Relax! You’re playing the Cowboys on Sunday. You have nothing to worry about.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 10
Panthers at Steelers: This is the type of matchup that November football is all about. And on a Thursday night! I want to spew a bunch of clichés about the hard hits and the iron will of men. I can hear John Facenda’s voice off in the distance. Grab your popcorn.
Saints at Bengals: New Orleans is coming off an emotional win and now has to head to Cincinnati. I smell a trap game here, but then again, it is the Bengals.
Falcons at Bengals: Atlanta offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has been quietly having an outstanding season. This team is rolling and if they take apart the Browns defense, the Falcons will be a team nobody wants to face down the stretch.
Patriots at Titans: Oooh! Another Belichick protégé will face his former master. Mike Vrabel’s team looked great against the Cowboys on Monday night, but let’s see if he wilts at home against New England.
Jaguars at Colts: I’m rooting for Luck to shut Ramsey up. He might do so, but he won’t talk smack about it. That makes me sad.
Seahawks at Rams: Let’s see how L.A. responds to its first loss. Their first matchup against Seattle up north went down to the wire. Let’s see if the Rams can make a statement here and win by least a couple touchdowns.
Cowboys at Eagles: Man, Philly can really put Dallas in a hole with a win here. And let’s all not lie to ourselves. We want to see the Cowboys fall to 3-6. That doesn’t make us bad people.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.