Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On March 3rd, Philadelphia and Buffalo agreed on a trade for LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso. McCoy, arguably the better player remains glued to a contract worth over 25 million over the next three years. Alonso still on his rookie contract is good for less than a tenth of that in the next two seasons.

McCoy’s a great running back. He really is. But going out and spending 7-9 million a year on a running back is like buying a ten dollar bottle of water. Sure it’s nice water. But you could buy water that hydrates just as well for pennies on the dollar elsewhere. Buffalo just sold the farm to buy a 26 year old running back. Now they’re committed to getting tackles and guards that can run block for him. When instead they should focus on solving the quarterback problem and mining the most gold out of the NFL draft.

Philadelphia on the other hand just freed up a ton of cap space. They can now cut DeMeco Ryans (a good but now unnecessary) linebacker and can pick up a talented running back on the cheap in free agency or in the draft. Or both. Their offense doesn’t need a power runner like McCoy to operate. It needs a fleet-footed passer and talented pass-catchers. The Eagles machine should still roll smoothly with tons of money to spend on free agency.

The Eagles won the battle but the outcome of the war of the offseason is to be determined. It’s hard to say what Chip Kelly’s game plan is. In two seasons he’s willingly thrown to the wind the Eagles’ two most exciting players. DeSean Jackson’s attention grabbing play hasn’t been replaced by Riley Cooper or Jeremy Maclin. And now the team cannot lean on a top-shelf runner when their QB struggles, which Foles and Sanchez both did last season. Whatever Coach Kelly’s got up his sleeve, he’s going to look awful silly after bleeding two of the team’s most electric players if the Eagles don’t take the NFL by storm this season.

NFC West Preview/Rant (7/24)

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

The NFC West could field four teams with winning seasons in 2014. The Super Bowl Seahawks being the most highly touted in the division, San Francisco, Arizona, and St. Louis also played spectacular throughout last season. Seattle reaffirmed their emphasis on defense and running offense through the draft, but may see some underrated aspects of their team suffer.

Seattle’s receiving corps is already much weaker this off-season than it was in February. Sure-handed and equally underappreciated Golden Tate will be missed on an offense that thrives on ball control. The retirement of Sidney Rice leaves the Super Bowl champs thin in the receiving corps. ‘Hawks fans will see a significant dropoff in the receiving talent between Percy Harvin and the rest of the group. Amidst Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and rookie burner Paul Richardson (all promising but unfulfilled talents) someone will have to surface as a reliable pair of hands for Wilson to turn to when Harvin is lost in double coverage. 

On the flipside, the Cardinals passing attack is about to take flight after drafting John Brown, a speedy wide receiver out of Pittsburg State (KS). With The Larry Fitzgerald, an established 1,000 yard wideout in Michael Floyd and the arrival of John Brown, the Cardinals could be easily go three or four wide regularly this season and put defenses like Seattle’s elite secondary to the test. The addition of quick-footed Ted Ginn Jr. and rookie standout TE Troy Niklas will give Carson Palmer the best receiving corps since Chad Johnson, T.J. Whosyourmama, and Chris Henry who combined for 3,055 yards receiving and 25 touchdowns in 2006. 

The fearsome foursome is back for the St. Louis Rams as Robert Quinn and Chris Long lock up the bookends and Michael Brockers, Kendall Langford and rookie wunderkind Aaron Donald will each compete for two interior spots on the defensive line.The Rams aggressive front seven will make their young secondary’s job a little easier with the constant pressure on opposing QB’s. Their offensive line and oft-injured QB will hold St. Louis back from taking the next step in a tight NFC. Still, St. Louis will be a dangerous team to face in the wild card round for an unprepared Atlanta or Dallas who might wander into the playoffs. Watch the Rams to continue to upset stiff competition in 2014. 

All the pieces are in place for San Francisco to win a championship, but Kaepernick needs to prove he will play up to his $61 million dollar-guaranteed contract by pushing through elite NFL defenses. The defense is stacked at linebacker and very solid in the secondary and defensive line. Their offensive line is among the best in the league and their backfield is very deep with a deceptively talented receiving corps now featuring Bills export Stevie Johnson and undersized rookie Bruce Ellington. The only unsure factor remaining is Kaepernick’s big-game play. The NFL has seen him dominate second-rate defenses. But can he show true QB prowess against elite defenses? That’s what $61 million dollar QB’s get paid to do. And that’s what’s missing for the Harbaugh-Kaepnernick experiment to become a success.

I try not to spend much time asking ‘what if’ questions. There can’t be anything done about what if questions. I can’t go back and change something if I worry about it enough. All that aside, what if Donald Sterling had paid off V. Stiviano and the tape of his generally racist comment had never leaked? Mr. Sterling was on pace to win a second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP for “donating money to minority charities and giving Clippers tickets to inner-city kids.” Soon after the tape reveal, Sterling was discovered to have prostate cancer. A piece of information that could have been used by his PR team (assuming he’s got a PR team) to dress him up as a “cancer stricken old guy who fights racism.” 

Many close to Sterling apparently knew him or thought of him as a racist individual but receiving a second lifetime achievement award from the NAACP may have quieted those critics. Without the leak of the audiotape. Instead of ESPN rolling tape of the Clippers being an awful team for decades and detailing how Sterling committed housing discrimination against minority families, they may have chosen to put together a video of the Clippers’ recent rise to relevance in the NBA, Sterling receiving his second NAACP award, and some gosh awful interview of canned questions designed to make him look personable. And then the cancer reveal for the cherry on top to elicit pity from the audience. 

Let me be clear, cancer is an awful thing and I don’t believe Donald Sterling deserves to have it for doing, saying racist things or even being racist. I think he deserves to be at the wrong end of racism so he can understand what he’s done over the years, and perhaps even attempt to begin to at least consider righting his wrongs. Not as a PR move, but because he wants (in this fictional universe I’ve imagined up) to become a better person and for other people to be happy.

Because of Stiviano’s (apparent) extorting methods, the whole world gets to see a picture that only those close to Sterling saw in the past. He’s un-apologetically racist. The success of the team has nothing to do with it. If the Clippers had won seven championships during his time as owner or zero, racism is still racism. Running video of the Clippers being a bad team while explaining that Sterling is a bad person misses the mark. There are racist people who are brilliant at their jobs. Sterling’s extremely wealthy, he didn’t get to where he is by accident. 

Don’t trust everything you see on television (please) and don’t vilify villains for being bad at their job, vilify them for being inhumane.

 

 

 

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/naacp-big-resigns-award-planned-donald-sterling-article-1.1776598#ixzz312skfztx

In June of 2013, I predicted six players would breakout this season. Two QBs, two rookies, and two pass catchers. I will now proceed to grade my own predictions with the benefit of hindsight of the 2013 season.

1. Kansas City Chiefs Tight End, Tony Moeaki

Moeaki was “considered one of the top tight end prospects for the 2010 NFL Draft” coming out of Iowa. His play in Kansas was continually cut short due to injury. This August he got injured yet again. In October, Moeaki became a free agent and joined the Bills. He played in two games in Buffalo and registered no catches or carries on the season.

Moeaki certainly does have potential. But he’ll never live up to it if he keeps getting injured. If the Bills decide to part ways with Scott Chandler (another former Hawkeye) they could promote Moeaki to the starting position and give him a chance to develop a rapport with E.J. Manuel. Ultimately, Moeaki was either injured or irrelevant for the 2013 season.

Final Grade: F

2. Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver, Emmanuel Sanders

I was correct in identifying that the departure of former receiver Mike Wallace would allow a new Pittsburgh receiver to step in and become the new number one target for Roethlisberger. Many NFL analysts correctly predicted that Antonio Brown would be that player. Brown finished the season second overall in receiving yards besting even the dominant Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green for total receiving yards (to be fair Johnson missed two games due to injury). This was a swing and a miss for me as Brown’s season exploded whereas Sanders’ season was indeed a career best, but by no means a breakout campaign.

Sanders played in all sixteen games this season catching sixty-seven passes for 740 yards and six scores. He played the best season of his career but watched as teammate Antonio Brown became the breakout receiving star in Pittsburgh.

Final Grade: C

3. Miami Dolphins QB, Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill had a slew of new receiving options for the 2013 season. Dolphins ownership brought in Dustin Keller (immediately lost to injury), WR Brandon Gibson, and former Steeler Mike Wallace to allow Tannehill plenty of talent in the receiving corps to make the passing offense a more viable option for Miami. Tannehill finished the season with twenty five total scores and seventeen interceptions. Acceptable improvement on a fairly rocky rookie campaign where he turned the ball over (17) more than he scored (14).

Tannehill has definitely stepped up his game from the 2012 season, but will need to continue to improve in order to have a true “breakout” season.

Final Grade: C+/B-

4. San Diego Chargers QB, Philip Rivers

Many NFL pundits predicted Mike McCoy would “fix” Philip Rivers of the turnover problems that plagued his game for the past three seasons, and he seems to have done just that. Part of the problem of Rivers’ turnovers could be blamed on TE Antonio Gates’ frequent injuries. Gates had his first sixteen game season since 2009. Part could be blamed on the loss of number one wideout Vincent Jackson to Tampa Bay after 2011. It could be the lack of stability in the run game transitioning from one of the NFL’s greatest running backs in LaDainian Tomlinson to the occasionally underwhelming Ryan Mathews. Regardless, all has been forgiven as Rivers finished in the top three QB in total QBR and kept turnovers relatively low with eleven interceptions to thirty-two touchdowns. Rivers has returned to pre-2011 form and stands as one of the league’s top Passers.

Final Grade: A

5. San Francisco 49ers FS, Eric Reid

San Francisco moved up in the first round to grab Reid in order to recuperate from the loss of pro bowler Dashon Goldson to Tampa Bay. Reid started all sixteen games for San Francisco and was actually San Francisco’s only representative in the Pro Bowl this season. Reid finished the season with 77 total tackles and 4 interceptions. Considering how quickly Reid earned a starting spot, his opportunistic play, and his entry into the Pro Bowl, Reid’s quickly become one of the league’s top safeties.

Final Grade: A

6. Houston Texans WR, DeAndre Hopkins

Houston management drafted DeAndre Hopkins to give Andre Johnson the opportunity to play without being double-covered every game. Hopkins’ rookie season suffered because of Houston’s catastrophically poor Quarterback play. Matt Schaub seemingly fell apart at the seams with pick-six after pick-six and returned to the bench as Case Keenum started in his absence without much more success. Hopkins finished second among rookie in receiving yards with 802 yards and averaged an impressive 15.4 yards per reception. While not as impressive a campaign as San Diego’s Keenan Allen, Hopkins still put up a strong showing considering Houston’s plummet down the power charts and their dire QB situation.

Final Grade: B

Miscellaneous:

– Christmas morning of the NFL season arrives in 3 1/2 months. The combine is less than a month away.

– Team Rice overcame Team Sanders 22-21 in a hard fought Pro Bowl match on a Mike Tolbert two point conversion play. The “unconferencing” of the Pro Bowl seems to have salvaged the game for future seasons as it was a competitive defensive contest this season.

– The Michael Crabtree/Richard Sherman fiasco is overblown media hype of back and forth between wide receiver and defensive back that happens in every NFL game. Sherman’s unhinging on Erin Andrews has brought the event to the forefront of the Pro Football media world. Richard Sherman is not a thug. He’s a pro football player who lost his temper on national television. Though he should not have behaved like that in front of Ms. Andrews. Although Sherman seemingly meant to be a good sport about the whole thing, on Mike and Mike in the morning Pittsburgh Safety Ryan Clark correctly pointed out that Sherman’s post-game congratulation to Crabtree could be seen as condescending or insulting because of how the game ended, thus resulting in Crabtree grabbing Sherman’s helmet and likely saying something out of anger. That doesn’t justify what Crabtree does, but it does contextualize it a little better. Crabtree’s a good receiver, but Sherman is an elite corner.

– The Super Bowl looms six days away and I can’t remember being less excited for the outcome. I picture it like Hitler and Stalin in the boxing ring. I’m delighted to see one lose, but not so the other wins. Manning’s worked hard enough and humbly enough that a second championship doesn’t seem unearned. Seattle’s been a dominant team all season and could get away with the trophy if the weather’s too cold/unfriendly for the passing game to play a role. Enjoy the game and may the best team win.

NFC West

Fact 1: The entire NFC West ranked in the top ten for toughest schedules in 2013. – http://www.theredzone.org/Features/NFLStrengthofSchedule.aspx

Fact 2: The NFC West is 42-22 this season. The best in the NFL for any division. The AFC West (contributing half of the AFC teams in the playoffs) posted a 37-27 record.

So what? This means not only did the NFC West put up the most wins, they did it against the toughest competition.

Other Stuff

Vincent Jackson and Torrey Smith are the only receivers among the top 40 to catch less than half of the passes thrown to them. – nfl.com

The New England Patriots are the only team in the AFC East with a positive point differential at +106. Miami, Buffalo, and New York finished at -18, -49, and -97 respectively. – nfl.com

Demaryius Thomas lead the top 40 receivers in YAC with 718. – http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/yards-after-the-catch/2013/

Thirteen running backs ended the season with 1,000 rushing yards. This is the lowest total in at least the past 15 seasons, probably the lowest since the season was expanded to 16 games. The metric marks the rapidly shrinking value of the bellcow tailback, as offenses look to score primarily through the air more than ever.

Really important facts (not really)

The leading white-guy rusher (that’s racist!) was the unconquerable Alex Smith with 76 runs for 431 yards and a touchdown.

Jeff Fisher leads the league in facial hair superiority with the best mustache in the NFL.

Tony Romo will still somehow get blamed for Dallas’ loss to Philadelphia even though he didn’t play and finished 12th in the nation with a QBR of 59.5, ahead of the widely praised Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Andy Dalton.

Mike Wallace was the second leading receiver in Miami, behind Brian Hartline, and the leading mistake in the offseason. Wallace’s $60 million four year contract with $30 million guaranteed resulted in a 930 yard, five touchdown season. All things considered, not a terrible performance, but dramatically below what his contract suggests.

Nick Foles outplayed his peers this season as Vick remained on the sidelines after recovering from his injury. He scored a higher total QBR than Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and the struggling Robert Griffin III. Foles was a second round pick from Arizona that caught flack for lack of mobility, inaccuracy on the deep ball, and attracted the undesirable title of “game manager” by some critics. Now Foles “manages” the second highest scoring offense in the league.

NFL 2013 quiz

Posted: January 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

1. Which quarterback led the league in total QBR?

  • A) Nick Foles
  • B) Russell Wilson
  • C) Peyton Manning
  • D) Josh McCown

 

2. Which of these players totalled the most yards from scrimmage?

  • A) LeSean McCoy
  • B) Jamaal Charles
  • C) Knowshon Moreno
  • D) Calvin Johnson

 

3. Which player led the league in sacks?

  • A) J.J. Watt
  • B) Robert Quinn
  • C) Mario Williams
  • D) Robert Mathis

 

4. Which NFL team swept their division?

  • A) Indianapolis Colts
  • B) Denver Broncos
  • C) New England Patriots
  • D) Seattle Seahawks

 

5. Which team finished second in total yards rushing?

  • A) New England
  • B) Kansas City
  • C) Buffalo
  • D) Seattle

 

6. Which team led the league in turnover ratio?

  • A) Carolina
  • B) Kansas City
  • C) Seattle
  • D) San Francisco

 

7. How many ‘new’ (first season with the team as HC) head coaches posted winning records?

  • A) Three
  • B) Four
  • C) One
  • D) Two

 

8. Which University sent the most players to the draft April 2013?

  • A) Alabama
  • B) Florida State
  • C) Miami
  • D) Georgia

 

9. How many Denver Broncos not named Peyton Manning scored double digit touchdowns?

  • A) Two
  • B) Three
  • C) Five
  • D) Four

 

10. Who recorded the most receiving yards this season?

  • A) A.J. Green
  • B) Calvin Johnson
  • C) Josh Gordon
  • D) Jimmy Graham

 

Answers:

  1. D
  2. A
  3. D
  4. A
  5. C
  6. C
  7. B
  8. B
  9. C
  10. C

 

2014 NFL Mock draft (12/17/2013)

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Houston – Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville QB

Houston will draft a quarterback in 2014. Keenum and Schaub have thoroughly demonstrated their incompetence at the position to warrant Houston’s pulling the trigger. Teddy Bridgewater is the consensus number one quarterback eligible for the draft. The only question that remains regards whether or not Bridgewater wants to stay in school one more year, or be the 1st overall pick of the draft.

St. Louis (through Washington) – Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR

St. Louis is one of the most enigmatic clubs in the NFL. The defense is rich with talent. The offense has some promising pieces, but needs a kickstart. Unless Jeff Fisher wants to take Derek Carr or Johnny Manziel, they need a player that will bring a spark to their offense. Like Tavon Austin was supposed to. They have the running back position seemingly locked up with impressive Vanderbilt rookie Zac Stacy. Sammy Watkins will have every opportunity to emerge as a true number one for Bradford to throw to. Austin Pettis, Chris Givens, and Lance Kendricks have been exciting in flashes, but Fisher needs an offense with a true go to guy.

Jacksonville – Derek Carr, Fresno State QB

A franchise cannot be built around Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne. Derek Carr has shown the production of a true franchise QB. Carr threw for 48 touchdowns and led the Bulldogs to a 11-1 record, with their only loss coming late in the season against San Jose State led by David Fales, another Senior high production passer. Carr threw for over 4,800 yards, completed 70% of his passes with 48 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. At 6’ 3” and 213, Carr has acceptable size at his position. Cecil Shorts, Marcedes Lewis and young Justin Blackmon have been waiting for an arm like Derek Carr’s to open up the offense.  

Oakland – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M QB

Johnny Manziel’s second time around at Texas A&M is in some ways more impressive than his rookie, Heisman winning season. Manziel brings a fiercely competitive and youthful zeal with him, something the Raiders need badly. Raiders’ QB Matt McGloin has shown promise, but a chance to take a flyer on a talent like Manziel’s can’t be ignored. Oakland has lots of holes to fill, the most glaring one at QB. Manziel is a threat on the ground, but also possesses a strong arm and a penchant for making something out of nothing. Oakland will need a QB with brilliant play in a suddenly competitive AFC West.

Cleveland – Brett Hundley, UCLA QB

Cleveland may elect to skip on a quarterback here and lean on Brian Hoyer while waiting for Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston next season. If they don’t, Brett Hundley has progressed as a passer at UCLA and looks immediately ready to help drive a franchise towards success. Cleveland has young weapons in the passing game including the mind blowing Josh Gordon and USC tight end Jordan Cameron. Cleveland has a need at running back with a swing and a miss at Trent Richardson, but they need to take a quarterback while they can.

Atlanta – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina DE

The first team that doesn’t need a quarterback or an offensive player will take possibly the most talented player in the draft. Atlanta sorely needs a boost on a defense that is all around terrible. Atlanta, like Cleveland needs a running back as well. But the opportunity to take a weapon like Clowney is too great to pass on. Clowney’s down junior season has been well documented, but barring a disastrous NFL combine, Clowney will not last past the first ten teams. Clowney has monstrous physical talent, drawing comparisons to Julius Peppers in his college years.

Tampa Bay – Anthony Barr, UCLA OLB

Anthony Barr has developed into a consistent and effective pass rusher in his time at UCLA. Tampa may actually have greater need for a wide receiver at this spot, but any receiver outside of Sammy Watkins seems like too much of a reach for Tampa at number six overall. The Buccaneers have found success in a dominating defense, and Barr will help continue that tradition by getting after the quarterback in a division with three of the most talented passers in football.  

Minnesota – Khalil Mack, Buffalo OLB

The well of top tier quarterbacks is beginning to run dry at this point, and Minnesota has learned not to reach for a quarterback simply because they need one. If Tajh Boyd, David Fales, or Aaron Murray are available in the second round, they might be wise to pick one of them up.

Minnesota cannot stop anyone from scoring. With a division with Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford, and the offense-happy Marc Trestman-led Bears, getting a pass rusher is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. Khalil Mack’s most convincing stat line might be Buffalo’s opening game against Ohio State. Mack recorded 2.5 sacks against Ohio State’s elusive Braxton Miller and intercepted him for a 45 yard touchdown. Mack’s emergence at Buffalo shows he’s ready for the pros.

Tennessee – CJ Mosley, Alabama ILB

Yet again, Tennessee faces the quarterback dilemma. Do they keep Jake Locker? Tennessee may wait until round two or try to draw Jay Cutler out of Chicago with promises of ridiculously fast wide receivers. Assuming the Titans want to give Locker one more shot to keep his job with a 16 game performance, C.J. Mosley will help Tennessee defend against the run. The Titans sit at #23 against the run in the NFL. Mosley will bring elite talent from Alabama to help Tennessee stop the run and in the middle of the field. Mosley is a value pick on a defense that needs help against the run.

Buffalo – HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama FS

Buffalo actually has a borderline star-studded defense. Unfortunately for them one of their brightest stars, Jairus Byrd, wants out of Buffalo. If Byrd flies the coop (he he) Buffalo will need at least an adequate defensive back to step up in his place. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is the top rated safety out of College. In his 2012 season, Clinton-Dix totalled five interceptions, one forced fumble and nine passes defended. Clinton-Dix should be just as ready as any to step in and play DB in the National Football League.