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News: Gosselin: 0-1 teams have time on their side

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Rick Gosselin: 0-1 teams have time on their side

    09:27 PM CDT on Monday, September 13, 2004



    Rick Gosselin


    OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens returned to the practice field Monday. Why?

    The Ravens have been exposed as frauds. Baltimore was a preseason favorite to win the AFC North and a popular Super Bowl pick. But the Ravens were shocked in their season opener, losing to the Cleveland Browns, 20-3.

    Same with the Indianapolis Colts. They were a preseason pick to win the AFC South and another popular Super Bowl choice. But the Colts also lost their season opener to the defending champion New England Patriots, 27-24.

    Frauds.

    An off-season of hype convinced us that the Colts and Ravens were talented enough to win it all. But losses on opening day have now convinced us otherwise. These are flawed football teams – too flawed, obviously, to get where they hope to go. The Colts lack the defense and the Ravens the offensive playmakers to become champions.

    The Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Cowboys ... forget about them. Talented teams, opening-day losers. Flawed football teams. Frauds.

    The NFL has become a league of impatience. The owners are impatient. Coaches are impatient. Players are impatient. Fans are impatient. Radio sports talk feeds that impatience, as does the printed word of newspapers.

    With six days between games, every play and misplay is publicly scrutinized over and over again. Strengths are overblown, as are weaknesses. There is a rush to coronate or condemn on a weekly basis. So every team plays one-game seasons. Victory drives you to the heights, losses to the depths.

    Right now the Ravens are at those depths. But then so was New England one year ago. The Patriots failed to score a point in their 2003 season opener. Humiliated 31-0 at Buffalo, sports talk was alive with chatter that Patriots coach Bill Belichick had lost his team.

    But that turned out to be one of only two losses New England would suffer all season. The Patriots won their final 15 games en route to a Super Bowl championship.

    New England also lost its 2001 opener at Cincinnati. Back then the Bengals were known as the Bungles. Not exactly the way you want to start a season. The Patriots, in fact, lost their first two games and three of the first four. They also lost their starting quarterback.

    But flawed as they seemed that October, the Patriots managed to win 13 of their final 15 games on the way to their first Super Bowl championship.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also lost their season opener in 2002. So each of the last three Super Bowl champions dug themselves out of an 0-1 hole along the path to greatness.

    The Philadelphia Eagles have won three consecutive NFC East titles despite losing the season opener every year. In each of the last two years, the Eagles rallied from that opening-day setback to finish 12-4 and host the NFC title game.

    Remember, an NFL season lasts 17 weeks. The NFL didn't present the Lombardi Trophy to the Minnesota Vikings last weekend. Division champions and playoff berths are determined in December, not September. There is plenty of time to fix what needs to be fixed.

    The 2004 Colts and Cowboys must repair their pass defense. The Bengals and Chiefs must address their run defense. The Ravens must stabilize their quarterbacking.

    There may be panic in the streets and on the airwaves this week, but there's no panic inside NFL training facilities. The coaches are too talented at this level, as are the players, not to right what's wrong with any contender.

    Count Ravens coach Brian Billick among those who realize that fates can change dramatically in football from one week to the next. He cites as an example his friend Tyrone Willingham, the head coach at Notre Dame. They coached together with the Minnesota Vikings in the 1990s.

    "After their BYU game, it was, 'Oh my gosh. Unbelievable. It's time to shut down the school and turn it into a Baptist university,'" Billick said. "Then they went out the next week and beat Michigan. Hey, it's the same team."

    Billick still likes his team. So does Tony Dungy at Indianapolis and Dick Vermeil at Kansas City. Devastating losses come in the final game of a football season – not the first one.

    E-mail rgosselin@dallasnews.com

    IT'S JUST ONE GAME

    One game does not a season make. Here are the results from Week 1 of the 2003 season in which the winner did not qualify for the postseason but the loser did:

    at Buffalo 31 New England 0

    Tampa Bay 17 Philadelphia 0

    at NY Giants 23 St. Louis 13

    Minnesota 30 at Green Bay 25

    at Pittsburgh 34 Baltimore 15

    Atlanta 27 at Dallas 13
  2. Madzo

    Madzo The Gunshow

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    Great Article.
  3. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Well, add the Panthers to the list of "frauds".
  4. Smith22

    Smith22 Well-Known Member

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    Bad news for them, Steve Smith was injured, could be serious.....
  5. Rezz

    Rezz Mr. Blonde

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    Exactly. I guess the Panthers defense is terrible too, according to some of the kneejerks. Good article.
  6. Roughneck

    Roughneck Active Member

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    That did not look good at all. The second he was pulled down from behind you could tell that he was in an extreme amount of pain.
  7. groo

    groo Member

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    it's not the 0-1 that bothers me. It's the way we lost--absolutely blown out and never really contended after Min 1st TD.
  8. Smith22

    Smith22 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't go that far. The score went from 14-3 to 14-10. Then it was 21-10 and we answered right back to make it 21-17. The fumble by RA really hurt, along with a few other dumb plays (dixon PI, botched FG, etc.). It's sad that we dominated so well during the 1st quarter and came out with almost nothing to show for it.
  9. Smith22

    Smith22 Well-Known Member

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    Broken leg, most likely done for the year. OUCH!
  10. Roughneck

    Roughneck Active Member

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    Never really contended? We fired right back after Minnesota's 2nd TD and right back after their 3rd TD as well. If our Defense could have actually dug their feet in and stopped for a few series, we would have been right there at the end of the game.

    Besides that, while it sure as hell wasn't the prettiest game from a Cowboys stand point, please try to take it in the correct context:

    -We had to play in one of the loudest stadiums in the entire NFL on the First Sunday of the season

    -We played one of the Best Teams in the NFL (IMO the Best Team in the NFC) who matched up with us very well

    -Without our Starting Safety, our Starting Defensive Tackle, our Top Draft Pick, etc.

    Bottom Line, we got ripped up a little bit but it was by a Damn Good team in the First Week of the Season. Everybody needs to just step away from the ledge.
  11. Roughneck

    Roughneck Active Member

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    Damn, that really sucks for them.

    I hope he can return at 100% next season, I enjoy watching him play.

    :(

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