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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

The 3rd Tuesday Panic Button
September 23, 2008

No team has ever started 0–3 and won the Super Bowl (...and boy are you sick of hearing that statistic). Do you suppose there's a single 'oh–fer' coach out there who's really worrying about the Super Bowl or even the Playoffs? Right now, they just want to win that first game before their reserve parking space is reallocated.

Of the five teams presently sitting at 0–3, all have coaches whose long–term tenure was debatable even before the season started. They haven't made it easy on themselves. Kansas City, was so clearly in rebuild mode that nobody truly expected much, but starting three QBs in three weeks doesn't bode well for the weak progress necessary for Herm Edwards to be safe come season's end.

Across state, the St Louis Rams are about as bad as it gets right now. The Chiefs and Rams are quickly turning Missouri into the 'Please, Don't Show–Me' State at a combined 0–6 (thank goodness for Mizzou's Chase Daniel). Coach Scott Linehan was clearly on a hot seat, and right now it's more like a matter of when than if he goes, prompting a change from Marc Bulger to Trent Green at QB (...which solves their last–place rushing game and last–place defense how, exactly?).

With Detroit starting 0–3, it's hard to imagine coach Rod Marinelli surviving long, and with Lions Vice Chairman Bill Ford reportedly saying team president Matt Millen should go, owner William Clay Ford can hardly justify things carrying on the way they are. Now overseeing his fourth coach, Millen's team has won only 27% of their games during his 8–year tenure. Once again, they are living down to expectations.

You know that flatulent sound air makes when it leaks out of a balloon? That's the Cleveland Browns right now. This team was supposed to be a Cinderella story, but that orange helmet atop QB Derek Anderson appears to have turned into a pumpkin with a passer rating in the 40s. Their offense is hopelessly harmless at finding the endzone, with a high of 208 yards and 10 points. Coach Romeo Crennel had a 10 wins last season after 10 combined over the previous two, and his team is making 2007 look more like a fluke than a trend right now.

The Bengals? Wipe your feet on the tigerskin rug. This week they at least put up a fight against the Giants, but their former strength — Carson Palmer and his fleet of receivers — have looked sleepy at best. The list of the listless will shorten this week, as the Bengals take on the Browns. The prospect of Brady Quinn's first NFL start may give us reason to watch this battle of the B–teams on Sky (in case you're wondering, the red button game is San Francisco at New Orleans, which should at least be high–scoring).

For the rest of the winless, optimism is in short supply: KC plays unbeaten Denver, St Louis plays unbeaten Buffalo (another red button option for Rams masochists and Kevin Cadle only), while Detroit's NFL–worst run defense has two weeks to prepare for Chicago's Matt Forté. Speaking of whom...

Forté Yard Dash

So, in this year of numerous notable rookie running backs, who's in the lead for rushing yardage? Not Tennessee's Chris Johnson (276 yards); not Oakland's Darren McFadden (252 yards); not Dallas' Felix Jones (148 yards). It's Matt Forté of the Bears (304 yards), a workhorse I'm glad to have on my fantasy team.

Yes, folks, there's a fantasy football anecdote heading your way. Forgive me the rare indulgence, and believe me, I suffer fantasy football more than I enjoy it. I own just one team in order to experience the phenomenon, but I still find it a overwhelming distraction to my football perspective, and in many cases my enjoyment of Sundays.

This team of mine — Knute's Knightmares — began life a couple of seasons ago with a fifth overall pick that I used without any genuine enthusiasm on Shaun Alexander. That, of course, turned out to be a disaster. Alexander broke, my running game fell apart, and I managed only to win the 'best of the rest' bowl. Alexander left the Knightmares when I simply cut him late last season.

Come fantasy draft time this year, I was absent for new–parental reasons, resigned to the idea that automated drafting would fill my roster with somebody. It did: Shaun Alexander. Then Travis Henry. Neither of whom are (or even were at the time) on  NFL rosters. Thanks, Fleaflicker, nicely done. Why not just draft Red Grange as well? Do you know, they still have Doug Flutie as an available quarterback? (I'm not making it up!) With the third pick, it selected kicker Shayne Graham of the Bengals. I'm surprised it didn't take Otto Graham.

So, a massive rebuilding project ensued. You should have seen the vetoes when I proposed selling Carson Palmer and TJ Houshmanzadeh for part–timer Maurice Jones–Drew and some kid named Matt Forté. Still, not enough vetoes to stop the trade. TE John Carlson, WRs Anthony Gonzalez and DeSean Jackson, RBs LeRon McClain and Michael Bush, and K John Carney all arrived as free agents. My starting QB remains Tony Romo, acquired as a free agent during that first season.

Now, I wish I could tell you I'm 3–0 at this point, but alas I'm a better GM than I am coach, and usually bench the wrong guys each week, so 1–2 will have to do. But boy, am I glad I have Matt Forté and not Carson Palmer.

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