Commentary From the Edge: Week 5
Kevin Ratterree
October 2, 2012

The replacement refs finally held the league’s arm behind their back and made them cry “contract” last week, and there was a brief adjustment period for several teams. The Chiefs Eric Berry was flagged twice in the Chargers first offensive drive using receiver’s jerseys as a ski rope while they drug him down the field. Sorry Eric, the party’s over.

And things did go smoother. Law and order restored. However, all was not well. The Packers fans gave a rousing ovation to Jeff Triplette’s crew as they made their way onto the field, but their love was not reciprocated. Marques Colston pushed his defender to the ground before catching a critical touchdown pass. The replay showed two officials looking right at the play with unobstructed views. Everybody in the stadium saw it, but the “ten grand a game gang” somehow missed it. God bless those blind bastards, they’re worth every penny I tell you.

And as horrific as that non-call was, failing to credit Darren Sproles with a fumble was possibly worse. When is a fumble not a fumble, or an interception not an interception? When the game is on the line for the Packers. Makes you wonder if the Packers ownership were the ones to push the idea of killing the officials pension. Hey, I’m just thinking out loud here!

As I suspected, the return of the real refs did coincide with the revenge of the stud quarterbacks. Brees, Brady, Rodgers, and Cam Newton all posted their highest fantasy point totals of the season. And I think you can draw a direct line between the return of law and order in the trenches and in coverage, and the rebound of the “elite” quarterback numbers.

So for this week I don’t feel like a total amateur mega-dweeb for drafting Brady in the first round. It’s nice to take a holiday from self-loathing once in a while. Uh, wait a minute. Brady got 35 points and I still lost? Never mind, I’m still a mega-dweeb.

I have to admit, my perception of 49ers head coach has been hovering around the douchy side since his “better luck next time little fella” backslap and shove off of Jim Schwartz after the win at Detroit last year. But nobody can argue with his results as a head coach.

The sequestering of his team in Youngstown Ohio, rather than flying across the country two times last week was a winning strategy. He even brought in Jim Brown to tell the team they weren‘t squat, couldn’t hold his jockstrap, and they should quit being a bunch of weenies and get out there and start kicking some ass. (Okay, I don’t know exactly what he said, but I’d wager this is pretty much the gist of it)

In any case I expect this “extended road trip” in a location devoid of temptations and distractions technique will be copied in the league going forward.

It’s not always about having the best team. Its about getting the best out of the team you have. (Did Vince Lombardi say that? If he didn‘t he should have) Anybody that thought the 49ers were going away this year were proven wrong on Sunday.

I thought it was pretty tasty the way the 49ers sprung Kaepernick on the Jets and schooled them on how an auxiliary quarterback should be used when he ran in the first touchdown of the game.

You may have noticed I like to let the bile flow in this column. And if you haven't, screw you for not paying attention.  But from time to time I feel an unnatural urge to focus on the positive. In that spirit, let me just for a moment give thanks to the Red Zone channel on DirecTV. Other than HD, it is quite simply the best innovation in television history. Every Sunday I’m like an oyster’ed up gridiron gigolo in an orgy of nonstop NFL action. I focus on certain games at intervals through the day, but for the most part red zone does a far better job with the remote than I could ever hope to. They don’t miss much, and when they do, they get right on it.

Think about it. It is basically the only program on television where a commercial is only seen by happenstance. Commercial comes on, they turn the channel for you. Sometimes show promos slip in there in between plays but for the most part, the Red Zone is an ad man’s worst enemy, and every commercial weary rabid fan’s best friend.

After a good pair of games to start the season, Brandon LaFell off the face of the earth. I’ll let you guess which two weeks I started him.

A terrible thing has been happening on my fantasy teams. No, it’s not just Chris Johnson. This week it was Dennis Pitta and Brandon Lafell. Goose eggs. It’s always great when you start a player, and you have low expectations for him, and then he manages to still disappoint you, while the guy you left on the bench goes off. That’s quality team management right there.

I think someone once said, “It’s not about having the best team, it’s about getting the best out of the team you have.” Sage advice indeed.

USEFUL INFORMATION ALERT: Julio Jones is at it again. Crap games at home, big games on the road. That’s the same pattern he followed last year. I can’t really explain it, but it seems to be pretty damn reliable. Plan accordingly if you have stones enough to bench him on the trend.

You might consider stashing TY Hilton if you have a roster spot available. With the loss of Collie, and Donnie Avery’s propensity for injury, Hilton may be pressed into heavy service earlier than the Colts anticipated. I think the kid is going to be a player despite his diminutive stature, and have devoted a roster spot for him in dynasty, for whatever that is worth.

Another of my dynasty projects will likely be hot property on waivers this week, Andre Roberts. My hopes for Roberts were dashed a bit when the Cardinals QB situation went south, and then the team drafted Michael Floyd (whom I also drafted). But Roberts is coming along, and holding off Floyd so far. As a result of his outburst on Sunday, Roberts has surpassed Larry Fitzgerald’s numbers and is a top 12 receiver in PPR leagues. Widely disregarded up until this point, Roberts has forced his way onto the fantasy radar. Floyd may eventually grab that WR2 spot, but Roberts doesn‘t look poised to relinquish it in the near term.

And now back to your regularly scheduled waste of time.

When I railed against the screaming CeeLo Thursday Night Football theme song a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea how ubiquitous it was actually going to be. If you watch “the network” for any length of time, you are going to be assaulted by the screaming Michelin man. I think it’s safe to say that by season’s end we’ll all be ready to “hey ho, let’s go” jam some knitting needles in our ears.

Yes CeeLo, I do love football. But I love it a little less every time I hear you shriek the question.

I loved the decision to put Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football, but his weekly gushing over average players is getting downright embarrassing sometimes. Not only that, but he is a sailor hat and a corncob pipe away from being Popeye. Ack, ack ack ack ack ack.

Speaking of Monday Night Football, all I needed was a reasonable night from Miles Austin and the Bears defense to not get something ridiculous like 5 turnovers and 2 touchdowns. So anyway, the upshot is I’ve packed up my tent and moved it to the “Romo Sucks” camp where I spent the night roasting weenies in effigy and feeding them to wolverines in a drunken stupor.

Misery Index

10b) Seahawks: The NFL standings may not show you in your proper place, but we deal in vigilante justice here in the Misery Index. You’ll always be 1-3 to us. Well, until you are 1-4 anyway.

10a) Jets:  Hey, remember all those clandestine practices the Jets held back in August where they were cooking up some diabolical Tim Tebow wildcat recipes? Well they haven’t materialized, and Tebow’s first pass of the season resulted in the receiver being blown up and fumbling the ball. And now that Holmes is down there are no remaining skill players on the roster. The situation looks dire, and panic may now push the inevitable change at QB. While the QB is one of the lesser problems on this team (behind management, coaching, personnel, and injuries) the cries for the “savior” will no doubt be heard. Tebow is perceived to have a closer relationship with God than Sanchez, and God has been known to sacrifice his chosen ones for the sins of others, so I guess it would make sense.

10) Dolphins: Really? 400+ for Tannehill and you let Kolb beat you with one decent pass after spending half the game on his back? They were who we thought they were, and you let them off the hook?

9) Titans: Yeah, I still had Chris Johnson on the bench last week. I’ll probably start him in the next game. And he’ll get 5 fantasy points while the guy I bench him for will go off. So let me just say this in advance. Screw you CJ.

8) Jaguars: I can’t decide which is more pathetic, 212 yards of total offense or…..well, yeah that is the most pathetic. Never mind.

7) Lions: We may have been a tiny bit concerned when you barely beat the Rams in week one. We didn’t bat an eye when you fell to the 49ers. But getting punked by the Titans and Vikings on consecutive weeks? Sorry guys, you’re the new NFC North doormats. You are the new Vikings, or the same old Lions. Take your pick.

6) Buccaneers: Finally, a dignified ending in a loss. I half expected Coach Schiano to order his team to gang-tackle Billy Cundiff after he made his game winning field goal. Nice restraint there coach.

5) Panthers: When you hold the lead and pin your opponents inside their one yard line with :59 left on the clock with no time outs, it’s time to raise your cups and toast a victory. Nope. “Put that coffee down. Coffee is for closers.”

4) Chiefs: On Sunday Arrowhead stadium was like a wooded area next to the fairway. Lots of lost balls.

3) Raiders: Al Davis would be proud of the way his legacy is being preserved here.  Way to keep the tradition alive fellas.
2) Browns: We learned all we needed to know about this organization when they shifted directions early in the draft and decided to hand the franchise to a 28 year old rookie quarterback. But then you don’t really get to this position through careful consideration and planning, so…on with the suck!

1) Saints: Don’t you guys know that you should never look a gift zebra in the mouth?

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