Week 5 thoughts:
* Looking at Matt Schaub's contract, I think it's a better than even money bet that he is not a Texan come 2014. Schaub's salary, currently at $7.25 million, escalates to $10 mil, $12.5 mil, and $14.5 mil over the next three seasons, with an additional $1 mil in game bonuses on top of that, starting in 2014. His remaining cap hit for his signing bonus amounts to $10.5 mil, currently scheduled to prorate at $3.5 mil over each of the next 3 years. If they release Schaub in the offseason, they would either take the full $10.5 mil up front, or do $3.5 in 2014's cap and $7 in 2015 by releasing him after June 1st. That's not insignificant money, but given the size of his salary + game bonus figure, I expect the Texans to seriously consider biting that bullet.
* Despite what Gus Bradley says, I think it's likely that Blaine Gabbert has thrown his last pass as a Jaguar. For all his failings as a player, his biggest failing has been an inability to stay on the field. Literally every time he has flashed ability, he has immediately followed it with an injury that sidelined him for multiple weeks, preventing any sort of sustained development. We're only 6 weeks into the season and he's already been sidelined twice with injuries, and ones completely unrelated to previous injuries at that. He makes Leftwich look indestructible by comparison.
* As bad as the Jags are, they are just one of four winless teams. They do not have the first pick of the draft wrapped up by any means. It would be classic Jacksonville to blow this, much like 2011, where they won 2 of their last 4 under an interim coach, with one of those wins against Indianapolis, helping to push Indy down to get Andrew Luck while pushing the Jags out of QB selecting territory. (If not for those 2 wins, they would have tied Indianapolis in the standings and qualified for either the 2nd or 3rd pick, allowing themselves to either take one of Luck or RG3 outright, or put them close enough to be the team to trade with the Rams for the other top two pick).
* Some small comfort for us Jag fans: at least they would still destroy the Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, in the same article, we learn that the 2013 Jaguars are below the level of the 1995 expansion Jaguars. There's rebuilding, and then there's just letting all the talent on the team leave town.
* Frank Gore had a slow start to the season, but boy has he turned it on. I think the team's pick of Marcus Lattimore was genius, as Gore has more than enough gas in the tank to let the team bring Lattimore around slowly. That pick will likely pay off far more than it cost.
* The best QB in the state of New York right now is... Geno Smith?
* Speaking of the Jets, they brought back David Garrard. He'll be their inactive #3 QB, but great for Dave to get back inside an NFL locker room.
* And speaking of unlikely high performing QBs... Terrelle Pryor? Of course, let's not get carried away with what he did against a poor Chargers secondary, but I would not have expected him capable of that against any NFL secondary. It was enough for the team to cut ties with Matt Flynn completely.
* Josh Freeman lands in Minnesota, and it's almost a guarantee that we see him start games this year. We know this by the $2 mil the Vikings will pay him for the last 3/4 of the season, which makes him paid as much as Ponder and Cassel put together. Make no mistake, the Vikes are auditioning Freeman for the long-term role.
* What a disaster the season has been for Atlanta. A 1-4 start and now Julio Jones out for the year. Not what Tony Gonzalez came back for.
* 3 felony charges for Aldon Smith. What a promising career on the brink of total derailment.
* I think I'm going to buy a brick for the 49ers stadium. What should I have put on it?
Raiders @ Chiefs: For a team that was 2-14 last year, the Chiefs don't look so bad. And for a team in the middle of the biggest salary cap purge in recent memory, with over $50 mil in dead money, the Raiders don't look quite so awful either. Terrelle Pryor had a bit of a coming-out party in the wee hours of Sunday night against the Chargers, while the Chiefs have paired steady offense with absolutely stifling defense.
Steelers @ Jets: Murmurs about Ben Roethlisberger's long term viability in Pittsburgh have already begun. The Steelers are in must-win mode, to stave off a full-on season collapse. Geno Smith looked like a disaster after four weeks, only to put on an aerial show in week 5 in front of a Monday Night audience. Despite their struggles, the Jets sit at 3-2 and fully in the AFC East race.
Saints @ Patriots: Only the Broncos have a higher points for/against differential than the Saints, whose rebuilt defense has been firing on all cylinders since the start of the season. The Patriots have been slightly stingier than the Saints on defense, enough to earn a 4-1 record so far, but they have not been nearly as prolific on offense. But throwing a wildcard into the mix is the fact that GRONK looks set to make his return this week. Will it be enough to keep up with the Saints?
Redskins @ Cowboys: The early bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Skins and RG3. He claims to be entering this week healthy and rejuvenated. Likewise, Alfred Morris needed the week off to rest his bruised ribs, and he claims the injury is now "nothing serious". The Shanahan offense hasn't been on track yet this year, and they hope better health for 2 of their most key components will change that. They'll need it, as Romo and the Cowboys went toe-to-toe with the Manning Express last week, and for about 58 minutes, they were up to the challenge.
Jaguars @ Broncos: Who has the balls to make the upset pick?
Last Week's Results:
Jolly Bill: 4-1
Secret Asian Man: 2-3
Season to Date
Jolly Bill: 16-4
Secret Asian Man: 12-13
lostlobster : 3-2
Tempest Blayze: 2-3