From the "Drunken Moose Studios," here we go...
NFL Power Poll
After an entertaining Monday Night Football doubleheader — that included ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski saying a dirty word that rhymes with sit — here's the 5-at-10's top 5, bottom 5 after Week 1 in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers defense stops New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (28) short of the goal line on the last play of the fourth quarter. The Packers won 42-34. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
1) Green Bay: Defending champs looked awesome in Week 1's best game.
2) New England: At this pace Tom Brady will pass for 8,172 yards. And, if does not get a hair cut soon, at this pace he'll look Cousin It from the Adams Family by Thanksgiving.
3) Baltimore: Ravens forced seven Pittsburgh turnovers and crushed the rival Steelers.
4) Philadelphia: Dream Team handled its business, rushing for 239 yards and generating 16 plays for 10-or-more yards in road win over Rams.
5) Chicago: The Bears punched Atlanta in the face in a 30-12 win that was not as close as the final score would indicate.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gets tackled by Chicago Bears defenders Julius Peppers. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
28) Atlanta: Granted the Falcons will not be among the dregs for long, but that was a disappointing performance that was filled with the triple crown of miscues — turnovers (3), penalties (9) and missed tackles (too many to count). Now Phily comes to town for what was already a huge game that is now more significant for the Falcons.
29) Tennessee: Luke McCown wins his first start since college as Jacksonville holds Chris Johnson to 24 yards on nine carries after his lengthy holdout in the preseason. We'll just leave it at that.
30) Cleveland: Hey Oso, Bengals WR A.J. Green scored a TD in his game, that's something for Georgia fans to smile about, right? Granted it was against the Browns, who were caught still in the defensive huddle. Read that again. The Cleveland Browns were caught with the quick-pitch offensive. Maybe next week, NFL commish Roger Goodell will let the Browns have a defensive coach on the field like they do in pee-wee football. And then everyone can get a trophy and go for pizza afterward. YAY!
31) Kansas City: The 41-7 thumping at Buffalo was gross. Losing Eric Berry to a season-ending ACL injury was even more painful.
32) Indianapolis: The 34-7 beatdown at Texas was bad. Being 3-point underdogs to the Browns this week is worse. The fact that Colts officials were in Durham, N.C. scouting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck — who figures to be the slam dunk No. 1 overall choice — is the worst possible news for Colts fans.
Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones tumbles to the ground after colliding with Florida Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)
Braves running in place
The Atlanta Braves dropped a 5-4 tough-luck loss in 12 innings to Florida on Monday. The Braves have lost four straight and nine of 12, but with 14 games left, they still lead St. Louis by 4½ games in the wild-card race. Scary times indeed compared to where they were five days ago, and it would be even tighter had the Pirates not topped the Cards last night.
The actual baseball — pitching, catching, running, hitting — has not been anything of meltdown proportions during the Braves' recent slide. Sure, there were bad pitches or bad at-bats that were costly, but that happens all the time, and in a season as long as baseball's that's especially true.
No, the thing of concern heading to the finish is whether this collection of young players or guys that haven't been in a postseason chase can deliver when everything is on the line? Even the experienced Brian McCann failed Monday, striking out with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth. Pressure magnifies moments and amplifies the magnitude.
Other than Chipper Jones, who in the line-up has the postseason battle scars that come from experiencing October success?
Hold on Braves fans, the next two weeks could be fun. Or infuriating.
Cincinnati kicker Tony Miliano has his field goal attempt blocked by Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter (11). (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Vols head to Gainesville, Part Tuesday
We'll have more everyday in advance of the Vols' trip to Florida this weekend. The magnitude of this game falls somewhere to between huge and over-the-top for UT. Here are today's UT stories in the TFP from ace Patrick Brown (Vols defenders see gators as mystery) and (Derek Dooley praises Tauren Poole's game) and ace columnist Mark Wiedmer (Vols realize SEC is best of big boys).
The 5-at-10 took our show on the road to Knoxville on Monday for Derek Dooley's weekly meeting with the media-types. Here's what we noticed:
— Former Ooltewah High star and UT sophomore Jacques Smith is a big dude who looks like a future NFL defensive end. That however will make him just another guy Saturday afternoon in the Swamp. Between Smith and teammates Corey Miller and Martez Jackson among others and Florida super studs Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd and William Green, let's just say that there will be more than one NFL scout in attendance Saturday.
— Dooley seemed genuinely concerned about Florida's return game. And understandably so. That said, we'd be remiss here if we did not mention one of our favorite stories about Derek's father and renowned poor-mouther Vince Dooley. During the height of his legendary tenure at Georgia, Dooley, who was from the old-school of talking up his opponents and talking down his team, went on and on about that week's opponent's ability to return punts. We forget who the Bulldogs were playing, but it could have been Dalton State Community College, because it didn't matter to Vince Dooley he was going to to find something to be worried about. So he goes on and on and on about how their punt return game is the best in the country and could be a game-changer. Well, Georgia wins something like 56-7, but the opponent's one TD was a punt return for a score and the Dooley's first words in the postgame news conference were, "See, I tried to tell you guys they had a great punt-return team."
— While he is certainly old-school in a lot of ways, Derek Dooley is not completely bound by the old-school techniques. First there's the orange pants, and you know what we're talking about. Second, Dooley was quite insightful in how he treats his standout receiver duo of Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers. Dooley said: "It’s hard to really be good consistently without getting some scars — having some bad moments, some screw-ups. That’s what always concerns you. What I don’t want to do is put my own scars on them and it kind of breaks their spirit." And as well as those dudes are playing, they fall under the "If it's not broken, don't fix it," category.
Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski after he tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal against the Denver Broncos. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
This and that
— It's strange how quickly the changing of the guard can be in tennis. Didn't it seem like the Federer-Nadal run just started? Now the tennis world belongs to Novak Djokovic, who won three Grand Slams this year in arguably the best season in men's tennis in the modern era.
— Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 63-yard field goal in the Raiders' win in the nightcap of the MNF doubleheader. Hey, that's great, especially since the Raiders won 23-20, but it's still hard to believe that the Raiders took Janikowski with a FIRST-ROUND pick in 2000. Yes, a kicker. The 5-at-10 loves the draft — you know this — so we went and looked at the 2000 Draft. Janikowski went No. 17 followed by Chad Pennington and Shaun Alexander. The Titans took some linebacker named Keith Bullocks (he turned out OK) 13 picks after Janikowski.
— Shhhh. Be very quiet. There are reports that Texas and Oklahoma officials met over the weekend about the possible future of the Big 12. Texas wants to stay the Big 12; Oklahoma is reportedly intrigued by the Pac-12. Question for the rest of the Big 12: Do you really think your conference has a future if the meeting to decide whether there will be a Big 12 has an invite list of two? Seriously, at this point Texas is King Longshanks and Oklahoma is William the Bruce, and the rest of the Big 12 is fighting for scraps from their table. Baylor, Kansas, Iowa State and Co. don't need lawyers; they are in SERIOUS need for William Wallace. (Side question: Is there any way to blame Craig James for this?)
Florida quarterback Rex Grossman is sacked by Tennessee's John Henderson. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
There are a several huge, Huge, HUGE road games this week in college football.
Auburn goes to Clemson. UT goes to Florida. Ole Miss goes to Vandy (hey, don't laugh a Vandy win would mean the 'Dores start 3-0 for the first time since 2005 and only the second time since Reagan's first administration; and it would mean another ugly loss for Houston Nutt and the Rebel Black Bears). Nationally, Oklahoma goes to FSU in a matchup of top-five teams.
Today's question is multi-tiered:
What do you think is the...
— Best game this weekend?
— Toughest road place to play? (Show your Gold Vandy.)
— Biggest upset this weekend?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...