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The Schein Nine

Carson Palmer, Jeff Fisher, Ted Thompson expose painful truths

Honesty is always the best policy. And frankly, who has the energy to lie?

But sometimes the truth hurts.

And there's plenty of painful truth from Week 11. Let's take a look, Schein Nine style:

1) Messing with the extra point was messed up.

This isn't an overreaction. I'm not being a prisoner of the moment. I loathed the idea of moving the extra point back to the 15-yard line when it was first being discussed, and I railed against the change upon implementation. Nobody ever watched an NFL game and complained about (or was offended by) the extra point. A touchdown was worth six points, but really it was seven. Unless you wanted to go for two, which boosted the strategy and drama.

I hope the media elite who campaigned for this change for the sake of change enjoyed Sunday's action, when kickers set a new single-week record for futility by missing 12 extra-point attempts. That's not drama. That's not exciting. That's unfathomable, cringe-inducing, bad football. And if you are scoring at home (and you should be), that's 18 missed extra-point tries over the last two weeks.

The extra point used to be akin to a golfer at the range. It was about timing. Now, these extra points feel like field goals -- with pressure significantly increasing as the length of the kick does the same. That's not good. We just don't have enough ice-veined, deadeye kickers to make this work across the NFL. Who wants the euphoric thrill of a touchdown to be immediately curtailed by the sad trombone that is a missed extra-point attempt?

We officially have an extra-point problem. Sunday's kicking horror show did not improve the overall quality of the viewing experience -- it just served as an unnecessary annoyance.

2) Jeff Fisher's gotta go.

If I argued that the Rams giving up 14 points in the final five minutes to blow a game against the Dolphins meant Jeff Fisher should be forced to walk from Los Angeles to St. Louis and never come back, would that be too much?

Or just right?

Jared Goff ... Case Keenum ... Nick Foles ... St. Louis ... L.A. ... None of it matters, because there's one simple truth: Jeff Fisher isn't a winning coach. "Mr. 8-8" has yet to even reach that threshold in his four-plus seasons with the Rams -- and at 4-6, he's on pace to fall short once again.

Fisher actually pulled even with Tom Landry on Sunday, though in ignominious manner. The Rams coach and Cowboys icon are now tied for the second-most *losses* in NFL history (162). And Fisher is only three away from Dan Reeves for the No. 1 spot.

Fisher's game management and offense remain dreadful -- both shortcomings were painfully present on Sunday.

The L.A. fans have been fantastic in supporting the Rams' return, but this sad act won't fly in Hollywood. A change is needed at coach. Consistent mediocrity is not what this league is about.

3) Gus Bradley's not the biggest problem for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While Jeff Fisher hovers around .500 on an annual basis, that's wishful thinking for Gus Bradley, who's now 14-44 in his three-plus years in Jacksonville. So, yes, to address the obvious: Bradley will soon be the ex-coach of the Jaguars, a 2-8 group that has miserably underachieved after an offseason full of hype and hope.

But don't think for a second that a coaching change will cure all of the ills in Jacksonville. This franchise has a deeper issue that might not be so easy to fix -- a problem at the most important position in the game today.

Blake Bortles is terrible at football. His mechanics are out of whack -- like his confidence level. Every week, he makes mind-numbing decisions and serves up awful-looking picks. His passer rating (80.0) and yards per attempt (6.3) are both down from last season's figures (88.2, 7.3), while his interceptions (an NFL-high 13) are up.

So here's the big-picture question that must be considered: Who would be brave enough to hitch his wagon to Bortles? Which coaching candidate, while getting a talented overall roster put together by widely respected general manager Dave Caldwell, would take a chance on the underwhelming, underachieving Bortles? Josh McDaniels won't do it. Neither will David Shaw. Tom Coughlin? Mike Shanahan? Which up-and-coming coordinator would jump at this opportunity?

Bortles, who was the No. 3 overall pick just three years ago, makes a bad situation in Jacksonville worse.

4) The Baltimore Ravens' defense is overrated.

The billing heading into Sunday's Ravens-Cowboys tilt was the best offensive line and run game in the NFL against the top-ranked defense. But this turned out to be a case where the stats lied -- for Baltimore.

OK, so Ezekiel Elliott actually did fall short of the 100-yard mark (barely, with 97), but the Cowboys' offense still flexed its muscles in a double-digit win, especially as the game wore on. Dak Prescott shredded Baltimore, completing 75 percent of his passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns. Dallas racked up 417 total yards of offense, completed over 50 percent of its third-down attempts and didn't turn the ball over. After halftime, the Cowboys' vaunted O-line really imposed its will on the Ravens' front seven, as Zeke had 71 of his yards after the break and Dallas owned second-half time of possession.

You watch Dallas, you feel it. You see it. This is the team to beat in the NFC. Baltimore? Solid. Not spectacular. And this is not a special defense capable of carrying the Ravens, now tied with the Steelers for first place in the AFC North at 5-5, to the playoffs. And Pittsburgh's schedule is much easier than Baltimore's slate down the stretch of the season.

5) Blame Ted Thompson.

The Packers lost their fourth straight game on Sunday night -- a 42-24 defeat at Washington -- and fell to 4-6 on the season. This is the worst start to a Packers season in the Aaron Rodgers era, but anyone who's blaming the quarterback is out of line. This isn't on head coach Mike McCarthy, either.

Year after year, GM Ted Thompson has punted on free agency. Consequently, we never look at Green Bay before a season and rave about its overall roster talent and depth. Thompson's aversion to the open market of football talent significantly hurts Rodgers and McCarthy's ability to do their job.

Fire the coach, a Super Bowl winner with a career record of 108-61-1? Stop. If you're looking to apply blame, look no further than the person who's responsible for assembling this underwhelming roster.

6) My Arizona Cardinals are cooked.

Last week on my SiriusXM Radio show, "Schein On Sports," I called the Cardinals' visit to Minnesota an "elimination" game. I couldn't see the loser having enough time to turn things around and make a run.

Welp, that loser was Arizona. And as a result, I'll declare my Super Bowl pick defunct before Thanksgiving.

I picked the Cavs to win this past NBA title, and they did just that. Same deal with the Cubbies in my MLB predictions. And I thought this fantastic roster in Arizona would end another interminable title drought.

Not so much.

The Cardinals, now 4-5-1, just haven't been good enough or consistent enough. The special teams have been off all year. Bruce Arians' dice rolls just haven't paid out in 2016. And the offense has greatly underwhelmed. Of course, part of that has to do with the aging trigger man ...

7) Carson Palmer is not a quarterback you can win a title with.

Palmer has always been my one "yeah, but ..." with Arizona. Heck, I argued for Drew Stanton a few years ago. While the Cards' discouraging campaign isn't all on Palmer, it's clear that he's not a championship quarterback. That's been proven in playoff games. And this year, he looks done.

I think the two best places for Tony Romo in 2017 are Denver and, yes, Arizona.

Something has to change after this organizational setback of a season. This is a major drop-off from being on the field in January for Championship Sunday -- when, if you recall, Palmer deep-sixed Arizona with six turnovers.

8) Jay Cutler will never be a starting quarterback again after this season.

The Bears had a chance to win this one. They really did. Cutler's pick on the final drive -- with Chicago at midfield, trailing by six points -- was right out of central casting. Cutler threw into heavy coverage, and emerging Giants star Landon Collins snagged the ball -- and the game -- for Big Blue.

Cutler, who currently owns the second-lowest passer rating (78.1) of his mercurial career, is done in Chicago. And with the knack for chucking the ball to the other team -- in addition to his loser's lament -- Cutler can't be given the keys to the car anywhere else, either. He'll forever remain a tantalizing raw talent who never realized his full potential.

9) The Cincinnati Bengals gave Marvin Lewis one year too many.

After Bill Belichick, Lewis is the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL. Mike Brown has employed Lewis since 2003. To his credit, Lewis transformed this franchise from league laughingstock to annual playoff participant. He deserves praise for lifting the Bungles out of the gutter. But with an 0-7 playoff record, he just hasn't been able to raise Cincinnati to true contender status. And now -- with the Bengals at 3-6-1, having lost A.J. Greenand Giovani Bernard to injuries on Sunday -- it feels like the bottom's falling out. Actually, it felt like that last January, when Cincy suffered an unthinkable playoff meltdown.

Yes, I called for the coaching change in the wake of that debacle. It didn't happen, and now Cincinnati is one of the most disappointing teams of 2016.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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