It hasn't been a particularly good week for Miami Dolphins quarterback A.J. Feeley.
Threw two interceptions Sunday in his team's 16-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Got reamed out on national TV by one of his teammates, cornerback Sam Madison. Had to have his chin stitched up after the Dolphins' sieve of an offensive line let the Bengals' pass rush use him for a punching bag.
Picks up the newspaper two days after the game to read some quotes from a couple of anonymous teammates calling for his benching. And, oh yeah, former Dolphins coach and current FOX Sports studio analyst Jimmy Johnson took a timeout from grouper fishing to rip his old organization for even trading for Feeley from the Philadelphia Eagles in the first place.
At press time, Heather Mitts still hadn't left him and his dog still hadn't run away.
It's a time like this when being the third-string quarterback on a Super Bowl contender seems very appealing.
"Emotions fly," Feeley said. "People get excited about the game. That's just the way it goes. You kind of let it go in one ear and out the other. You've got to look at film and see the whole situation."
What the film shows is that the Dolphins' offense is really, really bad. The line is one of the worst in the league. The Dolphins' Ricky Williams-less running game is a last-in-the-NFL joke, and they have scored just 20 points in two games.
Feeley has played well at times since replacing Jay Fiedler midway through their Week 1 loss to the Tennessee Titans. He's completed 60 percent of his attempts and almost rallied them to a come-from-behind win Sunday after trailing, 13-3. But throwing three interceptions in six quarters, including two that were returned for touchdowns, isn't a good way to win South Florida friends or keep your starting job.
"There's going to be (pass-rush) pressure," he said. "It's my job to secure the ball and make the right decisions with it. It's on me. You can't (throw two interceptions against the Bengals) and expect to win games."
The whining continues up in the Meadowlands. Last week, several New York Giants players, including defensive leader Michael Strahan, were upset when Coach Tom Coughlin fined them for not being early enough for a team meeting. Earlier in the week, tight end Jeremy Shockey and running back Ron Dayne both griped about the way they're being used in the offense. Shockey said his so-so numbers in the first two games - seven catches for 75 yards and no touchdowns - are directly related to his cumbersome responsibilities in Coughlin's offensive system. He's being kept in as a blocker in passing situations much more than he was in Jim Fassel's system. Fassel used Shockey more as a hybrid wide receiver.
"I'm not having as much fun," Shockey said.
Thursday, Shockey retreated, saying, "It's not (Coughlin), it's just me."
Dayne is miffed that, despite shedding 30 pounds in the offseason and having a very good preseason, his primary role still is as an up-the-middle, short-yardage runner. . . .
If Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plays well enough during the six weeks that Tommy Maddox will be sidelined with his elbow injury, expect him to keep the starting job even after Maddox returns. Until Maddox gets back, second-year man Brian St. Pierre will serve as Roethlisberger's backup. Coach Bill Cowher attempted to coax Neil O'Donnell out of retirement to serve as Roethlisberger's backup. O'Donnell said thanks but no thanks. . . .
The Eagles are having the good fortune of going up against a lot of wounded secondaries. Last Monday, the Minnesota Vikings were without two of their top three corners. Sunday, the Detroit Lions will be missing two of their top three cover guys. And a week later, the Chicago Bears will be without one of their starting corners, Jerry Azumah, who is recovering from neck surgery. . . .
Kellen Winslow's broken leg could end up costing him millions in lost incentives. He needed to meet just one of 10 performance bonuses this season to trigger $5,367,500 in future roster bonuses. But he's going to be out for at least eight to 10 weeks.
No one is more amazed by Brett Favre's streak of 191 consecutive starts than Favre himself. "I think back to when I first started school in the first grade and how long it seemed to take to go from first through 12th and the transformation that every young kid goes through until graduation," the Packers quarterback said. "You just think about how long it seems to take. Here I am in my 14th year and going on 13 without missing basically a day of school. When I think about that, I'm amazed at that probably more than anything." . . .
Dallas Cowboys Coach Bill Parcells is dumbfounded by the criticism Vikings coach Mike Tice has received for not using an instant-replay challenge on Terrell Owens' questionable, fourth-quarter touchdown catch Monday night. "I don't see how anybody in their right mind can question why he wouldn't challenge the play," Parcells said. "He obviously didn't see it. He didn't have the information available to him. That's why he didn't challenge it. No one could tell him what happened. You say, 'Well, how didn't he know that?' Well, there are a lot of times you don't know it. You're just standing down there, relying on somebody else to tell you... what are you going to do? You can't challenge everything."
It's a Numbers Game
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 17 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league. That streak will be tested Sunday by the Titans' Chris Brown, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his first two NFL starts. . . .
Favre and the Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning are the NFL's two winningest quarterbacks over the last five years. Both have won 52 regular season games since the start of the 1999 season. The Titans' Steve McNair is third with 50 wins and Donovan McNabb is fourth with 45. . . .
Michael Vick became the sixth quarterback in history to notch at least three 100-yard rushing games with his 12-carry, 109-yard effort last week against the St. Louis Rams. The other five: Billy Kilmer (4), McNabb (3), Bobby Douglass (3), Tobin Rote (3) and Randall Cunningham (3). . . .
Bill Parcells has won 11 of 17 head-to-head coaching battles against Joe Gibbs. The Cowboys visit the Washington Redskins on Monday night.