Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is Michael Vick More Bark Than Bite For The Philadelphia Eagles?

Michael Vick is the top dog of Philadelphia now, the leader of an Eagles pack looking for championship gold, and the alpha male people remembered him being back in 2005.

Vick's recent development as a quarterback can be attributed to maturity and also to finally getting the coaching he so desperately needed. When he was the first pick of the 2001 draft by the Atlanta Falcons, he joined a rapidly aging club entering their third season away from a Super Bowl loss.

Dan Reeves was the head coach of the team at the time, and is best remembered as the guy who helped develop Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway. Like Vick, Elway was also an extremely mobile player with an extremely strong throwing arm. Veteran Chris Chandler, a two-time Pro Bowler who had led the Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII, started 14 games that season as Vick learned.

Chandler joined the Chicago Bears in 2002, so Vick had the job. He threw for a career high 2,936 yards under Reeves, as well as having a two-to-one touchdown to interception ratio, as Atlanta made the playoffs. He also led the league with a 6.9 yards per carry average and piled up 777 yards and career best eight scores on the ground.

The future looked extremely bright for the 22-year old kid who just made his first Pro Bowl by electrifying the gridiron with a skill set never quite seen before in the history of the game. All that was missing from his arsenal was the obvious need for more experiences to learn from.

Then things got sidetracked.

He spent much of 2003 injured, only playing in five games. Atlanta fired Reeves at the end of the year and replaced him with the inexperienced Jim Mora Jr., the son of veteran coach Jim Mora Sr. The young Mora specialized as a defensive secondary coach before getting his first head job by Atlanta.

Being so inexperienced with limited offensive knowledge at 33-years old, Mora Jr. seemed to basically keep out of the local hero Vick's way and allow him to do as he pleased. It worked for awhile, as Atlanta won 22 of 33 games and Vick went to two more Pro Bowls before the bottom fell out. The Falcons lost nine of their final 14 games in 2006 despite Vick setting a NFL rushing record for quarterbacks with 1,039 yards and leading the league best 8.4 yards per carry.

Reports started to leak out about his behavior off the field since 2004. A truck carrying two men and marijuana was stopped by police. The truck belonged to Vick. Later that year members of his entourage were observed stealing an expensive watch at an airport.

In 2006, a woman talked about him carrying the alias "Ron Mexico" and giving her herpes. There was a huge run on Falcons jerseys with Vick's number and Mexico's name on the back of it, causing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell banned any further sale of that type of garment.

Later that year, he walked off the Falcons field following a defeat sticking both of middle fingers up in the air towards fans. It was one of his last acts as a member of the Falcons.

In the early part of 2007, a family members drug activity caused authorities to stumble over a dog fighting ring being held on property owned by Vick. After initially denying all charges, he admitted his role and was sentenced to three years in jail. After serving over a year, he was released.

Because of the loss of endorsements, living an expensive lifestyle, having to give moneys back to the Falcons and other, court costs, and many bad financial moves, he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He signed with the Eagles for $1.5 million and spent 2009 barely playing in an undefined role.

Upon his recent explosion in 2010, it appears he was doing more than holding a clipboard for Eagles legend Donovan McNabb. Head coach Andy Reid spent two years as a quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers, who had future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at the helm.

He had replaced Marty Mornhinweg, who held the job in 1996 and coaxed Farve to his only Super Bowl win. Mornhinweg then left Green Bay to be Hall of Famer Steve Young's quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers, as well as develop future four-time Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia. He left the Niners after Garcia had the best season of his career in 2000.

After a disastrous stay as head coach of the Detroit Lions, he reunited with Reid in 2003 in Philadelphia. Reid and Mornhinweg, with the help of second year quarterbacks coach James Urban, have obviously taught Vick the much needed intricacies of his position to make him more lethal by taking advantage of his entire skill set.

Vick freely admits his days in Atlanta were spent relying on natural abilities instead of trying to be the best he could. Had he had the work ethic of Peyton Manning, along with a semblance of the coaching he is receiving now, the possibility of him now being on his way to Canton could seem probable.

With Atlanta, he would take off running if his first passing option was covered. He was easily rattled in the pocket, looking for a seam to escape. Now he is hanging in the pocket and taking time to look over all of his options before thinking of running.

Fans of Vick like to point out he now has DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek to throw to in Philadelphia. as opposed to Brian Finneran, Peerless Price, Shawn Jefferson, and Alge Crumpler with the Falcons. Only Crumpler was a Pro Bowler, and with Finneran, were the only receivers there for each of Vick's Pro Bowl years. A young Roddy White and Michael Jenkins spent some time with him, and still start with Atlanta.

While an upgrade of talent around him certainly helps his recent success, so does the fact his starts in 2010 have come against two of the weaker teams in the NFL. His first real test against an upper echelon defense may not come until week 12 against the Bears, but fans look forward to his clash with the Washington Redskins next week.

McNabb, now a member of the Redskins, was traded a few months ago because the Eagles planned to go with Kevin Kolb at quarterback. Those plans changed in the opening game when Kolb was taken off the field with a concussion and replaced by Vick, who played very well and sparked the Eagles to making the game look closer than it actually was.

Two weeks after the Redskins, he will face the Falcons. Though the game will take place in Philadelphia, it is an opportunity for Vick to show the Atlanta fans and organization what exactly they are missing by having parted ways with him in 2007. Emotions may run high at this game, but Reid and Mornhinweg will try to put together a strategy that leads the team to the more important victory over retribution.

Though Vick is breaking new ground in some areas at just 30-years old, he most certainly reminds Eagles fans of one of their very own legends in some ways. A legend who was put in the teams Ring of Honor last season.

Randall Cunningham was the teams second round draft pick in 1985. Though not quite as fast as Vick, he was very athletic, elusive, and possessed just as strong of a throwing arm, if not stronger.

Like Vick, he was told to run if his first option was covered by a defensive oriented head coach. In 1990, his third and final Pro Bowl season with the Eagles, he ran for 942 yards. It is still the third most rushing yards in a season by a NFL quarterback, and he was when he was named PFWA NFL MVP, UPI NFC Player of the Year, and won the Bert Bell Award.

He did not leave Philadelphia because of legal trouble in 1995, but because of injuries. He found himself on the Minnesota Vikings two years later, then made the Pro Bowl in 1998 by throwing to fellow Pro Bowlers Randy Moss, Robert Smith, and Cris Carter. He enjoyed perhaps his finest season ever, winning 13 of 14 starts, and winning his third and last Bert Bell Award.

The Vikings scored 556 points that season, which was a record at the time. People marveled how Cunningham had settled into an effective pocket passer, no longer relying on just his legs. Part of that reason was his past injuries and due to the fact he was 35-years old.

Now Vick is enjoying his moment in a similar sun, yet he has the ability to stretch this ride out a lot longer than Cunningham was able to. With Reid at the helm, the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL, he knows stability is at his disposal for the first time since his collegiate days at Virginia Tech University under Frank Beamer.

Though he still owes people money, and some others feel more apologies for what he did to canines, the world is his oyster again. If he keeps learning and progressing, perhaps he can win more than happiness from repaying debt.

A football championship is something Philadelphia has sought since 1960, and something Michael Vick can attain to justify his struggle to be relevant again.

Week 4 Picks

Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns

Chad Ocho Cinco might hand out his OchocincO's to Cleveland after this one. Not just for the sugar and nutrition, but for the phone-sex number printed on the box.

Bengals 34 Browns 20

Seattle Seahawks @ Saint Louis Rams

A game only those teams fans will watch, yet they can take solace at the obvious improvements each have had.

Seahawks 24 Rams 21

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

The Lions defense is all banged up and three key offensive starters will not play. Guard Stephen Peterman may also sit out.

The Packers have to happy with this news, considering they embarrassed themselves last Monday with a huge amount of self-defeating penalties.

Packers 37 Lions 13

Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson might not be killing the NFL like last year, but he does have 401 rushing yards already. Denver's defensive strength is stopping the run, but they are only ranked tenth.

The Broncos passing game is tops in the league, but the Titans pass defense ranks fifth.

It will come down to whose strengths are greater than the others weaknesses, as well as whose weaknesses can compete best against the others strengths.

Titans 27 Broncos 24

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints

The Saints are upset dropping a game they should have won last week, as well as the fact their offense hasn't really been that sharp this season.

Expect Saints defensive coordinator Greg Williams to load up a complex blitz package to confuse rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen most of Sunday.

The Panthers defense is mediocre and the offense is worse. The running game, their strength, cannot get going because no one respects the passing game and crowds the line. The Saints rank 30th in run defense, so the plan of attack is evident.

Saints 24 Panthers 14

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The best rivalry in the NFL today normally is Game of the Week material, except Pittsburgh is missing their star quarterback. Even so, it is one of the weekends best games,

Defense will reign supreme, as bruises will be handed out easier than Halloween candy.

Though Baltimore's Ray Rice is dinged up, their offense is better than Pittsburgh's right now. Last possession wins?

Win or lose, kudos to the Steelers going into their bye as one of the NFL's best stories so far this year.

Ravens 13 Steelers 10

San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons

The 49ers are desperate. So desperate that they fired offensive guru Jimmy Raye, who got his first NFL job in 1977 with the 49ers, a man who has been an NFL offensive coordinator since 1983. He was replaced by a guy with no experience as an offensive coordinator, but who has been a NFL quarterbacks coach since 2000.

Too bad for them they face a Falcons team fresh off a big win against the previously undefeated defending champions. They love to run the ball, but have been moderately disappointing in the pass so far.

A mediocre 49ers defense will have their hands full.

Falcons 28 49ers 16

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills

The Jets have their swagger back, while the Bills already cut their opening day starting quarterback.

Jets 23 Bills 9

Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders

Oakland will have previously injured halfback Michael Bush toting the rock more, even though Darren McFadden has been excellent and is third in the NFL in rushing after consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

Houston ranks second in rushing defense, but are last in passing. Oakland pass defense ranks second, but the run defense is 24th.

Expect a heavy dose of Houston's Arian Foster, the leagues leading rusher, and Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski Sunday. The Raiders receivers are the x-factors.

Texans 26 Raiders 17

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Statistically, future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is off to the best start of his career so far. Is there anything more he can do?

Jacksonville is struggling with consistency, a prevalent theme the past few years.

Colts 34 Jaguars 20

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
Game of the Week

How weird will it be for Eagles fans watching Donovan McNabb scrambling for a touchdown wearing the Redskins burgundy and gold colors?

The former Philadelphia legend wants to show everyone what they are missing, but he has so far been suffering with the issue of no running game in Washington that he dealt with most of his Eagles career.

Philadelphia's pass defense ranks seventh, but their rush defense ranks just 23rd. The 28th ranked Redskin rushing offense needs to step up now. Especially since their defense gives up the most total yards per game.

Redskins 28 Eagles 27

Arizona Cardinals @ San Diego Chargers

Arizona, with the exception of running back Tim Hightower, has been pretty bad offensively so far this year. Hightower will have to carry the load against the ninth ranked run defense, because both of his backups are hurting.

They also will be missing wide receivers Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, and guard Alan Faneca is banged up.

Considering the Chargers rank first in offense and fourth in defense in the NFL, it is surprising they have just one victory.

Chargers 34 Cardinals 17

New York Giants @ Chicago Bears

According to ex-Giants star Tiki Barber, now working with the NBC network, many current players told him head coach Tom Coughlin's job is in jeopardy, Why any Giant would talk to a social pariah like Barber may be the bigger mystery.

The undefeated Bears strength is passing, while the Giants pass defense is the fourth best in the NFL. Their run defense ranks 26th, but Chicago's run attack is the third worst in the league.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning is the key player this game. He leads the ninth best pass attack against the 28th best pass defense. Chicago has the best run defense in the NFL, so Manning will need to be on his game.

Giants 27 Bears 24

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

A stout divisional battle. New England's defense has been mediocre at best so far. With newly acquired Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall breaking out last week, the Pats 25th ranked passing defense will have their hands full.

Miami's defense has been pretty average so far, giving the seventh ranked New England offense hope.

It may come down to who runs the ball best.

Dolphins 24 Patriots 23

Record 27 - 19

Power Rankings

1. Steelers
2. Saints
3. Packers
4. Patriots
5. Bengals
6. Bears
7. Ravens
8. Jets
9. Texans
10. Colts
11. Titans
12. Chargers
13. Falcons
14. Eagles
15. Dolphins
16. Cowboys
17. Chiefs
18. Broncos
19. Giants
20. Vikings
21. Buccaneers
22. Cardinals
23. Seahawks
24. Redskins
25. Raiders
26. Jaguars
27. 49ers
28. Lions
29. Browns
30. Bills
31. Rams
32. Panthers

R.I.P. Greg Giraldo And Thank You

Greg Giraldo 1965 - 2010

OK, I know I am a day late with this sad news.I needed some time because Greg was one of my favorite comics ever and he died much too soon for any of us.

He was not your typical comic. A Harvard man who fought his way there from Queens to Columbia University then Harvard to become a lawyer. The son of immigrant parents from Columbia, he quickly decided to become a comedian and stood out fast.

The running joke was that he was the best comic you would never see. At televised roasts, fellow comics praised him and then zinged him saying that moment was the extent of his fame.

He had his hands in a few pies besides stand-up. Paste the bottom link in your browser on a song called Underwear Goes Inside The Pants

Though he did a few pilots, he was too smart for TV. His IQ was off the charts, but fellow comics talk about his kindness and personality first and foremost.

A month away from his 45th birthday, he will live long in the hearts of those who knew him and got to see one of his sets.

To pull a CookCina and rip from his friend, comic Jim Norton, I can only say, " Richard Pryor, George Carlin, John Belushi, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Richard Jeni, Robert Schimmel, Bernie Mac, and Greg Giraldo are all dead and we are stuck with fucking Dane Cook! Life Sucks!"

Thanks for making mine happier Greg

Want to smile? Buy a CD of his :
Lazyboy TV (2004) Asylum Records
Good Day to Cross a River (2006) Comedy Central Records
Midlife Vices (2009) Comedy Central Records

Baltimore Orioles Need Experience And Brian Roberts In 2011

The Oriole Way

It had been missing in Baltimore since Peter Angelos bought the club in 1993. Angelos, named one of the five worst owners in all of sports by Sports Illustrated in 2009, quickly destroyed the team by trading away young players the team developed in exchange for old, expensive players nearing the end of their careers.

Things got so bad in Baltimore that even the old and expensive players decided to go elsewhere when they hit free agency. The Orioles then began a much too long run living in the basement of their division.

In 2007, Angelos hired Andy McPhail as the teams general manager and President of Baseball Operations. McPhail's father, Lee, was a general manager and club president of the Orioles from 1958 - 1965, and is one of the chief architects of the Oriole Way.

The Oriole Way is a simple philosophy of building your club through excellent drafts and a sound farm system. Lee McPhail, the oldest living Hall of Famer currently, came up with this as the farm system director of the New York Yankees from 1949 - 1958, as the Yankees won seven World Series in his time with them.

Baltimore began to show the promise of youth served in 2009, led by Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Felix Pie, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, and All-Star Nick Markakis. They also had two-time All-Star Brian Roberts signed to a contract until 2014.

With young hurlers Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, and Jake Arrieta expecting to help veterans like Kevin Millwood, Mike Gonzales, and Jeremy Guthrie this season, the Orioles expected to build off the promise left from the season before.

Things did not work that way, as injuries soon dismantled the team along with underachievement. Roberts was only able to suit up for 59 games while Millwood, the expected ace of the staff, and Gonzales, the expected closer, played well under expectations.

Now Buck Showalter is the manager, having been hired July 30th because the club felt like a shake up might light a fire under the roster.

The team has gone nine games above .500 since then, and Showalter, who owns a .516 winning percentage in 1,769 games, promises more changes in what may be his fourth and final managerial job.

As the Orioles head home to host the Detroit Tigers for the final four games of their 2010 season, let us review the current rosters chances of sticking with the club next season.


Brian Roberts : The Orioles really missed him in the leadoff spot this year. All of Baltimore hopes this doubles-hitting machine returns to full health next year.

Ty Wiggington : Wiggy got off to a fast start and made his first All-Star team. He tapered off as the year progressed and his contract has expired. He may return.

Julio Lugo : Once sought after in baseball, he doesn't field well and did not hit this year. Adios.

Robert Andino : A veteran utility player who doesn't hit much. A doubtful return.

Cesar Izturis : A veteran journeyman shortstop who won a Gold Glove in 2004 and was an All-Star the next year. He doesn't hit much and his contact has expired. He might not return.

Josh Bell : Baltimore got this 24-year old switch hitter from the Dodgers in 2009 for closer George Sherrill. The team is high on him, so next year will be a better gauge of his talents.

Brandon Snyder : Baltimore's first round pick in 2005, this 23-year old first baseman got only 17 at-bats over eight games this year. He will be given a chance to win the job in Spring training.


Matt Wieters : He has shown steady improvement since his debut in August, 2010. A face of the team.

Jake Fox : A utility player without much of a bat. Long shot to return, but his versatility makes it possible.

Craig Tatum : He is a defensive specialist who spells Weiters, and batted .273. He sticks unless they upgrade.


Adam Jones : A Gold Glove center fielder, he is one of the faces of the franchise.

Nick Markakis : The best player on the team, and a major cornerstone of the franchise.

Felix Pie : He frustrated the Chicago Cubs, who waited on him to put all five of his tools together consistently. Injured much of this year, he still shows flashes. Time may be running out on Pie, who will be 26 next year. If he doesn't pick it up, it may be his last as an Oriole.

Luke Scott : He is frequently mentioned as trade bait, but he is the teams best power source and led them with 27 homers. He should stay on.

Corey Patterson : A journeyman with good speed and an erratic bat. He was solid as an extra outfielder this year, so he has a chance to return.

Nolan Reimold : After a solid rookie year, he suffered a sophomore slump this season and spent most of it in the minors. Baltimore would love him to return to his 2009 form. We'll see.


Kevin Millwood : Had a frustrating season, losing 16 games. His ERA was well over five, but he ate up 190 innings and was a huge victim of non-run support. He might be better off at the end of the rotation as opposed to being on top like this year. He returns unless beaten out in Spring training.

Jeremy Guthrie : He probably works best as a third or fourth starter, but he led the team in innings pitched, wins, and had the best ERA (3.98) amongst starters. He returns.

Brad Bergesen : Only 25-years old, he led the team with two complete games. He returns.

Chris Tillman : His Triple-A success has yet to translate in the bigs. He needs to step it up.

David Hernandez : Found himself in the pen, going 8-8 with two saves and a 4.31 ERA. He likely returns.

Brian Matusz : Went 9-12 on 31 starts in his rookie year. Counted on as the future ace.

Jake Arrieta : Went 6-6 in 18 starts in his rookie season. Will get a good shot next year.

Alfredo Simon : Leads the club with 17 saves, but blew four and fell out of favor. Long shot to return.

Matt Albers : He leads the team with 61 appearances. He probably stays.

Mark Hendrickson : The veteran 6'9" journeyman is a soft tosser who can start or come out the pen. The former second round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers will be 37 next year, so his return is tenuous.

Jim Johnson : "Nails" does well in the set-up role, but was bad as a closer. He stays.

Michael Gonzales : He will be 33-years next season, and in the last year of a two-year $12 million contract. He gave Baltimore one of his career 55 saves this year, but he might stick one last year.

Troy Patton : They got him for Miguel Tejada in 2007, and the lefty appeared in one game this year. A long shot perhaps.

Pedro Viola : A lefty with two appearances and 1.1 innings of work after being claimed off waivers in April. A long shot at best.

Koji Uehara : He went from an oft-injured starter to closer. He blew just two save opportunities and converted 10. The soon-to-be 36-year old might find a spot in the bullpen.

Rick VandenHurk : They traded veteran lefty Will Olman for him and the veteran swingman has not been impressive in his seven game. A long shot who may stick to justify the deal made to get him.

Free Agents In 2011 For Baltimore To Look At And Consider :

Huston Street : He battled nagging injuries this year, but still has 20 saves right now. He also has 149 in his career and is only 27. He would help a lot.

Jorge De la Rosa : Another Colorado Rockies pitcher who battled injuries this season. Still only 30-years old, this lefty could help.

Joe Blanton : He eats innings and has AL experience. His price tag might be too high, so the four-years older and underrated Javier Vazquez could be an option.

Carl Crawford : He will be a hot commodity because he is 29, very fast, has a good bat and glove. May be out of the Orioles price range.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BOO! Why Donovan McNabb Will Cause Philadelphia Embarrassment

He was booed the moment he was drafted by Eagles fans, who wanted running back Ricky Williams. Williams also happened to be a minor league outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies at the time, playing four years of Class A ball.

As the second overall pick of the 1999 draft, he trails only Champ Bailey and Torry Holt in Pro Bowl appearances from that draft. Five quarterbacks were selected in the first 12 picks, and he is the only one still in the league.

The least intercepted quarterback ever, per pass attempt ratio, he is one of only six quarterbacks to have 25,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards in a career. He currently has the second best touchdown to interception ratio ever, and owns the third best winning percentage of active quarterbacks.

Besides holding the NFL record for consecutive completions in a game, he holds the Eagles franchise records in wins, passing yards, passing attempts, completions, and touchdowns, along with team single-season records in passing yards and completions.

Not only did he lead Philadelphia to a franchise best five NFC Championship games, he threw for 357 yards on 30 completions for three scores during the Eagles 24 - 21 loss in Super Bowl XXXIX despite being ill. Though McNabb denies the illness, eschewing people seeking excuses for him, it is the third most passing yards and completions in Super Bowl history.

It seemed he put the team on his shoulders every year, leading them beyond expectations. He never had a power running game, so he often had to throw the ball in short yardage situations. Despite all of his successes, he was booed quite often.

Philadelphia is a tough town to play in. Ask Mike Schmidt, perhaps the greatest third baseman in National League history. He spent many games with the Phillies being booed. Julius Erving played in front of sparse crowds while building a legend to where he is known as "Dr. J". McNabb being booed is more on par than aberration.

Now he is a member of the Washington Redskins, something he did not ask to be. He was traded a few months ago , not long after stating he wished to retire as an Eagle. He leads his new team onto his old stomping grounds this Sunday, and the question is what to expect.

The Redskins have been a rival of the Eagles since 1934. Though the Redskins lead the series 77 - 68 - 6, and well as having two more championship wins and having defeated Philadelphia in their only playoff game, the two franchises actually mirror themselves in a few ways.

Both saw success in the 1940's, then swooned for years. Though the Eagles won the 1960 championship, and the Redskins won three Super Bowls between 1982 to 1992, both teams have spent most years on the outside looking in when the leagues championships were decided.

To make things more intense, the Eagles and Redskins have played in the same division since 1933 along with the New York Giants. Gallons of blood has been spilled over the decades between players and fans of each franchise when they faced off.

While Eagles fans possibly may not lustily boo McNabb Sunday, they will hiss at the uniform he is wearing. While the media poses the question as to much of the booing will be directed at McNabb himself, there may be a few signs ignoring the rivalry and thanking the quarterback for being a legend for their team.

The thought that McNabb wants to prove Reid wrong for trading him is certainly feasible, but the Redskins defense will have to face a reinvigorated Michael Vick. Vick leads the NFL in yards per rushing attempt and is completing a career best 60.7 percent of his passes. Philadelphia has also rallied around him in his return to NFL relevancy.

Win or lose, Eagles fans will still go home with the memories McNabb made wearing their jersey. How they choose to honor and cherish those memories will certainly be shown Sunday in front of the rest of the world.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tampa Bay Rays Should Be Embarrassed By Their Embarrassment

This Longoria isn't the one married to a French basketball player while starring in a soap opera on television. That is Eva, not Evan the third baseman of the Tampa Bay Rays. One may be thrown off by the recent hissy fit the baseball Longoria had, and may be calling to cast this Longoria in "Desperate Housewives Of Florida".

After the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Rays in front of a sparse crowd of just over 12,000 paid attendance, Longoria cried to the media, hoping his tears would be wiped off by the paper they wrote on.

“We’re playing really good baseball, and it’s kind of like, ‘What else do we have to do to draw fans into this place?” he said. “It’s actually embarrassing for us.”

"It’s a tough situation,” Longoria continued. “We want to go out there and win every game. We come into a game like today where we have an opportunity to clinch a post-season berth, and there’s only eight teams that get an opportunity to do that. We feel like we should be out there and have a packed house. And it’s tough to see and it’s actually sometimes disheartening for us.

His tirade of tears continued, “We’re going to go out there and play the same, and we’ve pretty much been doing that from Day One here,” he said. “…but you would like to think that for a team in a playoff hunt, with the opportunity to clinch, that you could at least get 30,000 in here to cheer you on.

“Again, it’s disheartening and it’s something I’ve been wanting to say for a long time. It’s not a jab at the fans. It’s not a kick below the belt. But it’s something that we’d like to see, because obviously we want to bring a championship to Tampa Bay. And we’d like more than 12-to-15,000 to know about it.”

“Like I said, we’ve been playing great baseball all year, and since I’ve been here in ’06, the fans have wanted a good baseball team,” he said. “They’ve wanted to watch a contender. And for us to play good baseball for three years now, and to be in a spot to clinch again and go to the playoffs, I think we’re all confused as to why there’s only 15-to-20,000 in the building.”

We figured if we had a chance at the beginning of September, maybe the fans would come. Now it’s the end of September and it’s almost October and we’re still kind of looking up in the seats and going, ‘Where is everybody?’

“Again, we’ve still got some more time. So hopefully it starts to fill up. And if no other time, at least the post-season. It’s just tough to see and I feel like I was the right guy to be able to say that.”

His teammate, pitcher David Price, jumped on the Longoria bandwagon via Twitter. He tweeted, “Had a chance to clinch a post-season spot tonight with about 10,000 fans in the stands…embarrassing.”

What is the real embarrassment is spoiled brats in ivory towers who have no clue as to what is going on in their immediate communities.

First of all, the Rays play in Saint Petersburg, a city known for retired people. In case Longoria and Price have failed to notice, seniors have not gotten a cost of living raise in their SSI checks in over three years. It is hard to afford tickets when you need to decide between food, rent, and medicines first.

Perhaps the Rays want the elderly to live a stereotypical life of eating cat food so they can scrounge together enough pennies to buy a $17 ticket way out in right field while buying a juicy $10 hot dog that cost the team less than a penny to prepare.

Florida also is in hard financial times, holding an unemployment rate much higher than the national average. At last check, the Rays are not giving away free tickets or accepting food stamps and I.O.U.'s to pay for them.

If Evan Longoria decides to be the "right guy" again, perhaps he should start talking about things he has a clue about. Like hitting a fastball for example. Complaining to the poor that they are not feeding the rich enough just once again shows the gap between sports and reality.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Albert Haynesworth Is "No Slave" To Excellence

When Albert Haynesworth decides to open his mouth to the media, surreal hilarity ensues. Though he was given $21 million in April, he has tried to ostracize himself from the Washington Redskins since 2009.

The Redskins ran a base 4-3 defense last year, which is preferred by Haynesworth. He was only able to suit up for 12 games and contribute four sacks and 30 tackles. Not what Washington has hoped for from a man they envisioned entering his prime and coming off his second Pro Bowl season the year before.

Now in his ninth season, Washington needs to be concerned about a man who has played a full season only once in his career, his first when used primarily as a reserve. He has already missed one game, and played very little in the other as a reserve.

To say the Redskins aren't getting their moneys worth out of the $100 million contract he signed is a vast understatement. Haynesworth has shown no drive, dedication, nor pride to his craft. Instead he has chosen to bicker and seek excuses.

His stance as a pariah should shock no one, because it has been a prevalent theme of obtuse immaturity throughout his career since being a first round draft pick in 2002. Whether it was stomping on the faces of defenseless opponents or complaining about disrespect, it caused many teams to not show much interest in his free agency despite a strong 2008 season.

Haynesworth complained about the system defensive coordinator Greg Blatche ran last year, even though he defended a career high five passes in it. When the organization went through a massive transformation from the front offices to the coaching staff, he chose to stay away from joining his teammates to work out and learn the newly implanted system and show up late for training camp out of shape.

Blatche was replaced by Jim Haslett, a former player who has been a long time defensive coordinator and two-time head coach. He specializes in the 3-4 base defense, which is something Haynesworth said he wants no parts of. At his size, Washington feels he is best suited to play nose tackle.

Some of the best nose tackles in NFL history were not 6'6" like he is. Curley Culp, considered by many the greatest anyone has ever seen play the position, was four inches shorter and weighed 265 lbs. He was also a champion wrestles and had pride in trying to be the best he could be.

Like Haynesworth, Culp started his career in a 4-3 defense for just over six years and made two Pro Bowls. He then moved to nose tackle for the betterment of his team and went to four more Pro Bowls in the almost seven seasons with the Houston Oilers. He never griped, he just played the game to the best of his abilities.

Washington D.C. heard Haynesworth get on a local radio show proclaiming he had backbone and, ''I mean, I'm not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but that don't mean I'm for sale or a slave or whatever.''

His purported backbone is the same ilk of many of the modern athlete who feels entitled to not have to earn their keep, instead seeking a free ride. His backbone is green from the color of money to some and yellow to the rest who observe his constant fiascos.

He now claims to like the system Haslett has installed, but follows that up with how he was signed to play in a 4-3 and cannot be forced to do things he chooses not to be part of.

For a guy who would rather ''go to Wal-Mart and hang out.'' than play football to the best of his ability in order for his team to win a championship, it seems Haynesworth is content with earning his money in hypocritical double talk.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Devin Thomas' Time As A Washington Redskin May Be Ending

When Donovan McNabb tossed for 426 yards in the 30-27 loss to the Houston Texans, it represented the second most passing yards in a single game by the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

He misfired on just 10 of 38 passes, and spread the ball out to eight different receivers. One player noticeably missing from catching any balls was Devin Thomas. Instead, he returned three kickoffs for 66 yards.

When the Washington Redskins moved up in the 2008 draft in the second round to make him the 34th overall selection, they saw a raw receiver with a big upside. He was the first of four consecutive draft picks on offensive players in the first three rounds. Of those four, only Thomas and tight end Fred Davis are playing with the Redskins this season.

The drafting of Thomas was seen by some as a gamble that early, though others thought he might slip into the first round. It is highly unlikely he would have fallen to the third round. He came from Michigan State University where he did little his first two years with the team before setting a school record of 79 receptions as a junior.

He then decided to turn pro because the 2008 NFL Draft was not considered strong at top end wide receivers. Donny Avery was the first receiver drafted, one pick ahead of Thomas, and has been mostly injured thus far. DeSean Jackson, of the Philadelphia Eagles, was taken 15 picks behind Thomas and one behind Davis and made the Pro Bowl once already.

Jackson has easily been the best receiver of the 2008 draft, though players like Jordy Nelson, Eddie Royal, Earl Bennett, Early Doucet, Harry Douglas, Mario Manningham, Andre Caldwell, Josh Morgan, Pierre Garcon, and Chaz Schilens have all equaled or surpassed Thomas in production despite being drafted behind him that year.

What Devin Thomas is becoming for the Redskins is an enigma. Though you never hear reports of him shirking or taking it easy in drills, there are no reports of him being a hard worker who takes extra reps to improve either. Some think he relies on his natural speed too much to stick on the roster.

One criticism of Thomas has been his running of a pass route. With savvy veterans like Joey Galloway, Santana Moss, and McNabb, he should be showing improvement. Wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell caught 883 balls in 16 seasons as a wide receiver in the NFL with five teams, two of which saw him go to the Pro Bowl. He was noted as an excellent route runner as a player, so it is hopeful Thomas is glued to McCardell's hip picking his brain for as much information as possible.

After a poor rookie year that saw him average eight yards on 15 receptions, Thomas started in 10 of the 14 games he played last year. He showed steady improvement as he played, and had a career best seven catches for 100 yards and two scores in the 12th week of the season.

Instead of building on that, he has fallen deep on the depth chart at receiver. Moss and the soon-to-be 39 year old Galloway start, with Anthony Armstrong and Roydell Williams as their reserves. Williams is a fourth year journeyman, while Armstrong was the best story coming out of the Redskins camp by making the team at 27 years old after playing in the Intense Football League.

Though now the fifth receiver on the team, Thomas may be their fastest. Washington has him returning kickoffs right now, and he has averaged a very good 28.4 yards on five returns. Still, he faces competition there with the recent signing of experienced returner Chad Simpson. Simpson has 53 career returns at a 23.4 yards per return average, along with a 93-yard return for a touchdown.

If Simpson takes the return duties from Thomas, it may put Washington in a tough position on why they should keep him on the roster. He is in the third year of a four-year contract that pays 4.8 million. The team could use help on both sides in the trenches, so it is possible he in on the verge of being dismissed by the team.

Being the fifth receiver doesn't give one many chances to prove themselves in a game. The impressing comes from time on the practice field. If Thomas does not step up his game quickly, he may soon join the ultra-slow and injured Malcolm Kelly along with punter Durant Brooks as being viewed as wasted draft picks by the Redskins in 2008.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What 0-3 Will Do For The Boys In Silver And Blue

When Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones poured billions of dollars into his roster and a brand new stadium, he envisioned his team making history by becoming the first to host a Super Bowl on their home turf. Instead, he has a team that could be on the brink of not making the playoffs already in just the third week of the 2010 NFL season.

While it is easy to point at an inept offense that is ranked 26th in scoring, the defense hasn't been much better and is the 19th best by allowing 40 points already. They are minus 13 in scoring differential, also ranked 26th. Not a formula a team with postseason aspirations needs to start out the season.

One major part of the criticism is directed at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who pundits feel is castrating the team by throwing too much. Quarterback Tony Romo, whose 51 pass attempts last week in a loss to Chicago was the second most attempts of his career, went before the media recently lamenting the lack of rushing attempts so far.

Romo, who threw 47 balls in their first week loss to Washington, career high of 55 attempts last year against the New York Giants was also met with a loss. The three-time Pro Bowler is at his best, as are the Cowboys, when there is better offensive balance.

The media keeps piling up on Garrett. Darren Woodson, a former five-time Pro Bowl safety with Dallas, was heard on television telling Garrett to know his teams identity and to run the ball more before he finds himself run out of town.

Perhaps Jones waited too long to make this move, despite their 2009 success, because Garrett has a history of what is best described as "brain farts" in the most crucial moments. With more experienced and accoladed offensive minds out there after 2009, like Mike Martz of the Bears team that just beat Dallas, Jones probably should have pulled the trigiger to further teach the 30-year old Romo more on how to play quarterback.

Now the face a Houston team brimming with confidence and undefeated. Despite missing Preo Bowl and 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing at linebacker, they have given up only 102 total rushing yards so far. Their defensive weakness has been in the pass, allowing a whopping 822 yards so far.

It is very tempting to eschew the running game one more week and attempt to get into a shoot out with Houston before hosting the Tennessee Titans the following week. However, this strategy could backfire on them.

Not only is the red hot Matt Schaub the top rated quarterback in the NFL right now, he is near or at the top in most passing categories. The Dallas defense has just two sacks and fumble recoveries thus far, with no interceptions, so they have a huge task in front of them against the top scoring team in the league.

Though it is not inconceivable Dallas could make the playoffs after losing their first three games, it is highly unlikely with 2009 playoff teams like Philadelphia, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay, and the defending champion New Orleans Saints still ahead on their schedule.

One may not have enough eyes this Sunday in Houston if Dallas goes late into the fourth quarter behind. From Jones to the team to the coaches, the range of expressions ranging from worried, dismayed, and angry could certainly destroy all dreams that the Cowboys will be on their own field during Super Bowl XLV.

Tennessee Titans @ New York Giants

The Giants can't seem to get their running game going. To make things worse, their defense can't seem to stop opponents from running. Not a good formula with Chris Johnson coming into town hungry after a subpar game last week.

Titans 23 Giants 21

Cincinnati Bengals @ Carolina Panthers

The Bengals show they have enough weapons on offense to be unpredictable. Rookie tight end Jermaine Greshem might explode this week.

Bengals 31 Carolina 13

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No one saw the Bucs at 2-0. In fact, many thought they would only win two games all season. It was a nice run by a young team who may arrive ahead of schedule.

Steelers 24 Buccaneers 10

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots

Patriots fans are so relaxed about this game, they are talking about Tom Brady's hair.

Patriots 34 Bills 7

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore has played well defensively, but the offense has been a huge disappointment. Quarterback Joe Flacco is coming off perhaps the worst game of his young career.

Ravens 17 Browns 13

San Francisco 49ers @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Niners played much better the second week than the first. They are due for a win, but it may not be easy against the pesky Chiefs who are surprisingly undefeated right now.

49ers 27 Chiefs 17

Dallas Cowboys @ Houston Texans
Game of the Week

Dallas is about to hit panic mode. Houston used to be a gimme in the past, but this Texans team is tougher. Houston needs to run the ball, but the passing game is good enough to carry them to victory.

Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett needs to get back to running the ball if he wants his team to win.

Texans 30 Cowboys 28

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings

The good news here is that one of these teams will finally win a game this season. The Vikings season is pretty much on the line right here.

Vikings 31 Lions 23

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

Atlanta played a lot better last week, and they know this is a very important divisional confrontation. The Saints are looking like the best team to have a chance of repeating since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

Saints 38 Falcons 31

Washington Redskins @ Saint Louis Rams

Washington is one overtime field goal away from being unbeaten with virtually no running game, an erratic offensive line, and basically two pass catchers. If they cannot improve the offense this week against the lowly Rams, it will be a long season in the tough NFC East.

Redskins 28 Rams 24

Philadelphia Eagles @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Eagles head coach Andy Reid is a bit lucky the teams schedule is the way it is. He was forced to plug in Michael Vick at quarterback after an injury to starter Kevin Kolb on opening day. He then gave Vick his first start since 2006 against the lowly Lions. Now Philly faces an average Jaguars defense to build on that success.

Jacksonville will look to run the ball down the throats of the Eagles tiny defense, so it will be close if Maurice Jones-Drew runs wild.

Eagles 24 Jaguars 21

Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos

The Colts go as Peyton Manning goes. Their defense was tough against the Giants last week after being run over by the Texans the week before. Denver is unpredictable on offense, but their defense will have a tough time stopping Indianapolis if Manning is on his game.

Colts 34 Denver 24

Oakland Raiders @ Arizona Cardinals

Two teams looking for an indentity beyond mediocrity. Oakland slithered by the Rams last week for their first win, while the Cardinals, who beat the Rams in their first game, are near the bottom on both scoring offense and defense. The Raiders aren't much better in those categories.

Raiders 17 Cardinals 15

San Diego Chargers @ Seattle Seahawks

While San Diego exploded last week after a bad start to the season, Seattle came crashing back to Earth with a solid beating by Denver after blowing out San Francisco the week before.

Chargers 31 Seahawks 16

New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins

While the Jets last week looked like the team Rex Ryan had been spouting off about incessantly, they then get hit with the drama of top receiver Braylon Edwards arrest for DUI. Miami might be facing them at the right time.

Though the Dolphins offense scares nobody, their defense has allowed a league best 20 points so far. The Jets basically mirror them with a mediocre offense and good defense. The term "defensive struggle" appears likely in this battle.

Jets 13 Dolphins 10

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

Chicago's new offensive coordinator Mike Martz has quarterback Jay Cutler playing the way the Bears envisioned wen they traded away so much to attain his services. The fact Cutler does well without much of a running game speaks highly of his abilities.

Green Bay has shown why so many picked them to win the NFC North. This is the longest running rivalry in NFL history between two teams that have won 21 championships and inducted 47 people into the Hall of Fame between them. Greatness is expected.

Packers 27 Bears 24

Record 19 - 12

Power Rankings

1. Saints
2. Packers
3. Texans
4. Steelers
5. Patriots
6. Bengals
7. Ravens
8. Bears
9. Dolphins
10. Jets
11. Titans
12. Chargers
13. Colts
14. Falcons
15. Redskins
16. Eagles
17. Giants
18. Broncos
19. Cowboys
20. Chiefs
21. Buccaneers
22. Cardinals
23. Seahawks
24. Vikings
25. Raiders
26. Jaguars
27. 49ers
28. Lions
29. Bills
30. Browns
31. Panthers
32. Rams

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Now Is Keiland Williams Time To Shine For The Washington Redskins

He was an afterthought. Undrafted in 2010 after a collegiate career as mostly a reserve on the 2007 National Champion LSU Tigers. He had moments, but there were others considered the starts of the teams he played on.

Though born in Louisiana, he attended high school at Hargrave Academy in Chatham, Virginia where he became the schools first ever 1,000 yard rusher. He led LSU in rushing as a junior, but had his senior year cut short because of a broken ankle in early November. This injury caused his draft stock to slip where he eventually fell into the laps of the Redskins.

Washington had come into the 2010 season with a geriatric backfield that even the legendary George Allen would have been uncomfortable with. He was the Hall of Fame coach who was the architect of the "Over The Hill Gang".

Larry Johnson and Willie Parker were former Pro Bowl running backs whose best days were long behind them. The Redskins signed both to back up another former Pro Bowler in Clinton Portis, who also appears to have had his best moments in the NFL pass him by.

With a rebuilding offensive line, a new quarterback, a new head coach, coaching staff, and general manager joining the team, it was tenuous at best to think the formula of has-been running backs could last an entire season.

Parker never made the team out of training camp, and Johnson was so ineffective that Washington cut him after just two games. Suddenly, the undrafted Williams was thrust into the position of primary reserve halfback.

Williams had gained 67 yards on 19 carries in the 2010 preseason, second best on the team. His two rushing touchdowns led all Redskins. He impressed the coaches enough to make the final roster.

He has done well enough to where the team had more confidence in him over Johnson late in the Redskins 30-27 loss to the Houston Texans. Washington went to the air, and Williams replaced Portis on the field. He caught four passes for 15 yards in limited action, but the tone was set there that he had moved over Johnson on the depth chart.

Chad Simpson is a three year pro Washington signed to replace Johnson on the roster. He spent two years on the Indianapolis Colts, running for 147 yards, catching six balls, and scoring three times. The former product of nearby Morgan State University was primarily a kick returner, scoring once on 38 returns in 2008.

While he might immediately push Devin Thomas for return duties, he will need time to learn the Redskins offensive schemes to be much help. This is the time for Williams to get his opportunity to shine. A solid 226 lbs, he does his best work between the tackles when running the ball. Considering Portis has been ineffective, averaging a paltry 3.1 yards on 31 carries, a change in the backfield might be necessary.

Though Donovan McNabb was excellent last Sunday, the Redskins need a ground game that gets the opponents respect. They have been unable to do so this first two weeks. Perhaps Keiland Williams can continue bucking the odds and be that force Washington so desperately needs on the ground attack.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Minnesota Vikings Need To Pull The Trigger On 2010 Now

Not many NFL observers saw the Vikings go into the third week of the 2010 season win-less. With Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFC, many felt they would be undefeated at this time.

One of their main issues has been the lack of passing game to add balance to their offensive attack. This is not what Brett Favre signed up for after teammates showed up at his home begging him to play another season for a few extra million dollars.

Injuries to his favorite targets have helped Favre throw four interceptions and lose a fumble already, With an injury to Sidney Rice that will sideline the teams top receiver at least half of the season, he has been tossing to a depleted corps of mostly secondary receivers.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is leading the team with 10 receptions right now, and has been their best deep threat as well by averaging 16.2 yards per catch. He is also the only Viking to score a touchdown through the air thus far. Usually a third or fourth option in their passing attack, he has done a yeoman's job becoming the go-to guy.

Peterson came into the season knowing Chester Taylor would not be there to back him up for the first time since 2007. Taylor, who now plays for the Chicago Bears, was the Vikings third down back and was very effective. Peterson proclaimed his intentions to be a more versatile player this season, and is currently second on the team with eight catches.

The other receivers the Vikings expected to depend on this year, Bernard Berrian, Greg Camarillo, Percy Harvin, and Greg Lewis, have combined for just 13 receptions so far. This lack of production has helped Minnesota become the second worst scoring offense in the NFL so far.

Harvin has been dinged up, a theme of his career since college, so wide receiver Hank Baskett was recently signed because of his familiarity of head coach Brad Childress' offensive system. But that may not be enough options for the 41-year old Favre who has recently been showing his age, which Minnesota was hoping he would not do yet.

One way to help him would be to attain the services of Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who is in a tumultuous contract dispute with the San Diego Chargers. His agent claims another team is offering $9 million for one season, and most think the Vikings are that team.

Jackson has until 4 PM EDT to sign a contract in order to play in week five after he finishes serving out a league mandated suspension for a DUI arrest earlier this year. The Vikings once traded for a player named Jared Allen with a similar history, and it has worked out very well for them.

One thought against trading draft picks away for Jackson is it would add age to a team that averages 28.6 years already, the second oldest squad in the league. The Washington Redskins are currently the oldest, averaging 28.7 years.

The Vikings are obviously on the cusp of rebuilding in key positions. Farve and defensive tackle Pat Williams are playing in their last season, and key players like Steve Hutchinson, Antoine Winfield, Bryant McKinnie, Shiancoe, Kevin Williams, Ben Leber, E.J. Henderson, and Anthony Herrera are all over 30 years old right now.

Vikings fans have watched some great teams go to four Super Bowls in the franchises history. None won the game. This frustration has the thirst for championship gold hasten. Getting Jackson would be a gamble that certainly does not guarantee victory, but it would give them a much better chance to do so. It would also give Farve the consistent deep threat he would enjoy airing it out to with frequency.

Yet standing pat with the current roster is not a bad move either, thus saving draft picks and trying to stay competitive through the decade. They did give up a first round and two third round picks in 2008 for defensive end Allen, so it is possible they gamble again.

The clock on whether the Vikings believe the future is now or to build towards tomorrow will be answered shortly. Of course, they could try to get Jackson and be refuted by the Chargers. This would not serve San Diego well, because Jackson has clearly stated he has no problem sitting out the entire season.

Another season of frustration may await the Vikings yet again.

Donovan McNabb Brings The Redskins Shades Of Sonny

When the Washington Redskins acquired 11-year veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb on April, 4 2010 from the Philadelphia Eagles, for a second round draft pick and a conditional third or fourth-round pick in 2011, historians of both teams could not help but remember that last time the franchise made a similar deal.

If the Redskins had traded for McNabb just three days earlier, it would have been exactly 46 years to the day the Redskins traded starting quarterback Norm Snead and cornerback Claude Crabbe for Eagles starting quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and safety Jimmy Carr.

Jurgensen and Snead were Pro Bowl quarterbacks, though Jurgensen was the more experienced player. He had been drafted in the fourth round of the 1957 draft, earned a championship ring in 1960, and had set an NFL record for passing yards in 1961. Snead was the second overall pick in the 1961 season, and had just come off a year he led the NFL with 27 interceptions thrown.

Snead lasted seven years in Philadelphia, making the Pro Bowl once. Carr and Crabbe were both out of the league in a few seasons. Jurgensen, however, became a Hall of Famer as a member of the Redskins.

He became a Pro Bowler in his first year with them He hit his stride in 1966, leading the NFL in pass completions, attempts, yards, and passing yards per game. He repeated that the next season, while also leading the NFL in quarterback rating and touchdowns thrown as well as breaking his own passing yards record.

Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi is on record saying Jurgensen is the best quarterback he ever saw play. Sonny continues his legend currently in Washington D.C. as a long time celebrity and broadcaster of the teams radio network.

Jurgensen's first year saw him get revenge against the Eagles, winning both games. McNabb, whose first victory as a Redskin was against the rival Dallas Cowboys, will get his first shot at Philadelphia in 11 days. He is coming off a game where he threw for 426 yards, the second most of his career.

The only question left is exactly how much of an impact McNabb will have in Washington. His contract expires at seasons end, and no one knows yet if he will be more than a one year rental for the Redskins. Jurgensen went to four of his five Pro Bowls in Washington, while the six-time Pro Bowler McNabb looks to add to his total in his quest to join Jurgensen in Canton.

Time will tell if the Redskins come out ahead on the McNabb trade like they did with Jurgensen. It should also be noted McNabb is three years older and has taken a lot more hits than Jurgensen at the time of the trade, because the Hall of Famer spent his first four seasons as a backup.

One thing Jurgensen did bring the Redskins was victory. Team has struggled since 1945, failing to make the playoffs once. They reached the playoffs four times with him, including Super Bowl XII. He was a 38-year old reserve that year, but came off the bench for injured starter Billy Kilmer and won all four games he started.

While Washington has not struggled that long since McNabb's arrival, they had their worst record last season since 1994. The team was in disarray top to bottom within the organization, and change was desperately needed.

Washington hopes McNabb can bring that change. A change that reminds them more of Sonny Jurgensen. Change led by a Hall of Fame quarterback to frequent victory and respect that has long been forgotten.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Albert Haynesworth For Vincent Jackson Trade Appears Likely

Those who have been following the storyline of Albert Haynesworth in 2010 know he has fallen out of favor with the organization and especially head coach Mike Shanahan. The man who was signed to a $115 million contract, including $41 million guaranteed, found himself on the bench in the teams opening game victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Redskins second game against the Houston Texans found Haynesworth deactivated. Washington claims a foot injury is the reason, but it appears the defensive tackle has worn out his welcome with a malcontented attitude where he put himself ahead of the team and championship dreams.

Vincent Jackson is a tall, strong, fast wide receiver holding out on the San Diego Chargers for more money after making his first Pro Bowl team last season. The Chargers appear uninterested in fulfilling his wishes, and apparently have placed him on the trading block.

Rumors claim San Diego general manager A.J. Smith was seeking two first-round draft picks, which will most likely not happen.

The Minnesota Vikings would love to acquire Jackson's services to help out their running game and aging quarterback Brett Favre after losing Sidney Rice for much of the year because of injury. It is unknown if Minnesota is willing to mortgage so much for an aging team that is on the cusp of needing rebuilding.

San Diego has lost two key defensive linemen the past two years in Igor Olshansky and Jamal Williams. Olshansky signed a free agent contract with Dallas in 2009, and Williams was an aging three-time Pro Bowler released at the end of 2009. While San Diego got Cam Thomas late in the first round to play nose tackle, most of the rest of the defensive line is a mix of cast-offs and veterans.

Haynesworth would prefer to play in a 4-3 defense, but San Diego runs the 3-4 like the Redskins started to this year. He stated he would prefer playing defensive end over nose tackle, which was something the Redskins did not want to hear. He would represent an upgrade over current starting defensive end Jacques Casaire for the Bolts.

Jackson would immediately become the number-one receiver on Washington. Santana Moss holds that position now, but he is known for his frequent drops and would be best suited as a number-two receiver. With 38-year old Joey Galloway starting over the slow developing Devin Thomas, Jackson's arrival would be a huge boon for the team.

The only question to get this deal worked out in the end would be money. Washington would probably have to eat some more of Haynesworth's contract and pay Jackson as well. Owner Dan Snyder has never been shy about throwing around money to try and improve his team in the past.

With Haynesworth skulking on the sideline yet again, the Redskins do not need him to continue griping to the media as a way to get out of town. Washington should quickly acquiesce his wishes and try to improve the team with Jackson, who appears to want out of San Diego.

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen made a smart move a few months ago to make this move possible without hurting the defense. He shrewdly grabbed Adam Carriker by swapping draft picks with the Saint Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft. Carriker was the Rams first round draft pick in 2007, and was the 13th overall selection.

Carriker missed the 2009 season because of injury, but the 6'6" 296 player has the ability to play nose tackle or defensive end. He has played well so far this year for Washington, showing why he was drafted as highly as he once was.

The Redskins are fielding the oldest team in the NFL this season. It is obvious the message is to win now, something Bruce Allen learned from his Hall of Fame father, and Redskins legend, George Allen.

The Redskins average 28.7 years old on their 2010 roster, while the famous "Over The Hill Gang" roster of 1972 was actually younger by averaging 28.5. The 1972 team, coached by George Allen, made it all the way to Super Bowl VII before losing to the perfect Miami Dolphins.
The best way to win now is to get a locker room together in a single minded mission, something stressed by all winning teams. It is obvious Haynesworth and Jackson would be happier elsewhere, so a swap of the two could bring victory to everyone involved.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Take Me Out Coach I'm Not Ready to Play: The 5 Most Fragile NFL Players

Some NFL players cannot stay healthy no matter what.

These are the men who always seem to miss games each year and are generally standing on the sideline when their teams need them most.

Call them fragile or bitten with bad luck, or perhaps both.

Here are five players who are seen on the football field less than others :

Paul Posluszny, Linebacker, Buffalo Bills

When the Bills scooped him up in the second round of the 2007 draft, many felt they stole the two-time Chuck Bednarik Award and one-time Dick Butkus Award winner.

Posluszny got hurt early in his rookie year and appeared in just three games.

He played all 16 in 2008, recording 87 tackles and 23 assists.

He matched those numbers the next year but played in just 12 games.

Now, after just one game in 2010, he has hurt his knee and might miss up to three games.

Donovan McNabb, Quarterback, Washington Redskins

In 11 years as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, McNabb did not last a full 16 games in seven seasons.

Now a member of the Washington Redskins, many pundits feel he wont make it all year once again.

Kris Jenkins, Nose Tackle, New York Jets

Jenkins spent the first seven years of his career with the Carolina Panthers and appeared in three Pro Bowls.

He played a total of five games in 2004 and 2005 because of injury but played all 16 games the next two years.

He signed with the Jets in 2008 and made the Pro Bowl after 16 games.

Since then, he has played only seven games because of injury.

His career may be more snake-bitten than fragile.

Shawn Andrews, Guard, New York Giants

Andrews career got off to a rough start after the Philadelphia Eagles made him a first round pick in 2004.

He was named a starter then proceeded to break his leg on opening day and miss the rest of the year as the Eagles went on to lose in the Super Bowl.

Andrews missed just one regular season game the next three years and was named to the Pro Bowl in two of them.

He did hurt his neck in a 2006 playoff game and was rushed to a hospital, where he was found to be fine.

Andrews missed 17 days of training camp in 2008 citing depression.

He came back for the start of the regular season but hurt his back in the second game and missed the rest of the year.

He then missed the entire 2009 regular season after hurting his back again in training camp. The Eagles then released him.

The New York Giants recently gave him a six-year contract worth $32.5 million to be a backup behind incumbent starter Rich Seubert.

Bob Sanders, Safety, Indianapolis Colts

Since the Indianapolis Colts drafted him in the second round of the 2004 draft, Sanders has never played a full season.

He played a career high 15 in 2007 and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. He played 14 games in 2005.

Coincidentally, those are the only two years he made the Pro Bowl.

He has played a total of 19 games the other five years, including the current season.

Sanders injured his arm on opening day of 2010 and may miss another year because of injury.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Top 6 Worst Quarterbacks Of Week 1 In The NFL

Week 1 of the 2010 NFL season has completed.

This is the one week every fan has hope because their team is in first place until the game ends.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made his league promote the quarterback position to the level of Demigod.

Even with all of the rules that coddle and cajole the quarterback to success, not all do so.

Here are a few miserable performances in Week One.

Jake Delhomme, Cleveland Browns

When you are a rebuilding team in the best division in the NFL, there are very few games you are expected to have a great chance at winning.

Cleveland strolled into Tampa Bay and lost 17-14 to the lowly Buccaneers.

The Bucs are not expected to win many games, and their starting quarterback had an injured thumb on his throwing hand as well.

Delhomme helped them out by tossing two interceptions and gaining only 227 yards on 20 completed passes.

This is the kind of play that forced the Carolina Panthers to rid themselves of him. Delhomme should expect the “Dawg Pound” to call for Seneca Wallace very soon.

Matt Moore, Carolina Panthers

Moore had a horrible 2010 debut as the Panthers quarterback.

He spent his Sunday in the New Meadowlands Stadium running for his life virtually every time he wanted to pass.

The New York Giants played a horrible game, yet won easily by a 31-18 score.

Moore tossed three interceptions, and it should have been more in “performance,” as he went 14-33 for 142 yards, one touchdown, and four turnovers.

Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles

Kolb went into 2010 under intense scrutiny as the guy replacing Eagles legend Donovan McNabb. He did nothing to change the concern of the Eagles fans and put himself right into a new quarterback controversy with Michael Vick.

Philadelphia played flat with Kolb under center. They couldn’t block, catch, or run with him at the helm, and even lost two starters for the season.

He suffered a concussion himself, after completing just five of 10 passes for a paltry 24 yards.

When Vick came in, the team was inspired and put up 17 points in their 27-20 loss.

Of course it helped the Green Bay Packers had backed off some after building a 20-3 lead, but it was quite apparent that Philadelphia played with more heart under Vick.

Now Kolb will not be cleared to practice until Friday, perhaps giving Vick another golden opportunity to win the starter’s job.

Stay tuned.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

With all the bluster of the New York media and the Jets head coach Rex Ryan, the team’s fans cannot be too shocked at the performance of a guy who tossed away 20 balls in a run-oriented offense last year.

Sanchez, who was drafted fifth overall last year despite having only one full season of college football under his belt, tossed 10 completions for an abysmal 71 yards in their 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Jets fans can only hope he never again has any more games where he leads the team to six first downs and a 1-13 third down performance.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers had high hopes for Smith when they made him the first overall pick of the 2005 draft. He has struggled since that moment, yet the team recently named him captain as well.

He rewarded them by failing to get his team in the end zone in their 31-6 blowout loss to the rebuilding Seattle Seahawks. Though Seattle’s offense was far from impressive, Smith tossed two interceptions while getting just 225 yards on 26 completions.

Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

The media loves to spin this yarn on how Vikings players went to Favre’s house to beg him to play in 2010.

If this is true, it may have been a waste of time and money.

Others think the Hickocrite put himself ahead of the team again, eschewing training camp with his teammates.

The lack of preparation showed in the Vikings’ 14-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Not only did Favre throw for an unimpressive 171 yards on 15 completions, but he added to his all-time record for interceptions by one.

Perhaps Father Time has finally caught up on the soon-to-be 41 year old who was seen hobbling around in the loss.

Vikings fans can only hope Week 1 was an aberration, and Favre will play close to his 2009 form soon.

Week 2 Picks :

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tennessee Titans

Dennis Dixon wasn't great in his start last week, but the defense was. This unit realizes they need to carry the team right now.

Steelers 20 Titans 13

Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys

Dallas was horrible last week, a far cry from the team expected to win their division. If they do not beat a team that had no business defeating the Detroit Lions last week, they may as well go home now.

Cowboys 23 Bears 21

Buffalo Bills @ Green Bay Packers

Green Bay handled the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but lost star running back Ryan Grant for the year. We will see how they will look without him this week.

Packers 24 Bills 21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay outlasted Cleveland last week, even though their quarterback has an injured thumb on his throwing hand. Carolina's quarterback, Matt Moore, needs to play better than he did last week, and I expect him to.

Panthers 27 Buccaneers 17

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns

While Kansas City provided a nice surprise last week in their upset victory over the San Diego Chargers, the Browns frustrated a few by dropping their game to Tampa Bay. Though neither team will get to the playoffs this year, but it will be an interesting battle of rebuilding teams.

Chiefs 31 Browns 24

Miami Dolphins @ Minnesota Vikings

Both teams like to pound their opponents into the turf, so this will be a real smash mouth grind. Both have good running games, but less than stellar passing attacks. This could go into overtime.

Vikings 23 Dolphins 20

Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons

Arizona squeaked by the Saint Louis Rams last week, while the Falcons went toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh into overtime before losing. Though the Cardinals have a good defense, it isn't quite as good as the Steelers, so Atlanta should be more productive.

Falcons 34 Cardinals 21

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
Game of the Week

Terrell Owens and Chad Ocho Cinco's egos will be the downfall of Cincinnati this year. Both cry for the ball every play, but are obviously on the downsides of their careers. Owens seems to have a foot in his career's grave.

Tight end Jermaine Greshem and the running game are more dangerous weapons, but we won't see enough of it because of the two babbling divas. This was seen last week when the New England Patriots thrashed them.

Baltimore was amped up last week, so critics expect a let down in a short week to prepare. This is a veteran team, so their Super Bowl candidacy will broadcast their intentions this weekend. The great teams win these games.

Ravens 30 Bengals 28

Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions

While the Lions were robbed last week, the Eagles started their season flat footed. Both teams will be playing their backup quarterbacks this week. Philadelphia's Michael Vick is now getting the chance he once thought he'd never get again. He has a good chance of running and throwing for over 100 yards.

Eagles 34 Lions 17

Saint Louis Rams @ Oakland Raiders

While the Rams played fairly well in their loss last week, the Raiders played poorly. Oakland needs to bounce back this week.

Raiders 27 Rams 21

Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos

While the Seahawks surprised many in their blow out victory over the 49ers, the Broncos dropped a game some thought they would win. While neither team is looking very strong right now, this should be a game that goes to the wire.

Broncos 24 Seahawks 23

Houston Texans @ Washington Redskins

The Redskins benefited from poor play calling by the Dallas Cowboys last week. Their top two running backs averaged almost five yards a carry, but the team decided to throw too much. Houston will not make this same mistake, especially after Arian Foster had the second most productive ground game of any player in NFL history. Washington is expected to show more offensive punch than last week.

Texans 26 Redskins 21

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

While the Patriots proved themselves to be a serious Super Bowl contender last week, the Jets showed they are further away than they expected. New England will widen the gap further.

Patriots 27 Jets 13

Jacksonville Jaguars @ San Diego Chargers

The Chargers are coming off a crushing loss last Monday, and they need to rebound quickly. Jacksonville looked solid last week, and will try to build off that momentum.

Chargers 34 Jaguars 24

New York Giants @ Indianapolis Colts

Neither team was very impressive last week. While the Giants defense destroyed the Carolina Panthers, their offense made way too many mistakes. The Colts tiny defensive line might just what New York needs in this battle of the Manning brothers.

Giants 27 Colts 26

New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers

This is not how the Niners wanted to start this season. They got blown out by Seattle, a team most did not expect a lot of this year. Now they face the defending champions, who are coming off an impressive win and had a few extra days to prepare as well.

Saints 37 49ers 20

Monday, September 13, 2010

DeAngelo Hall Goes From Ostrasized Malcontent To Hero For The Washington Redskins

DeAngelo Hall has always been blessed with great football speed and high intelligence when it comes to playing the game of football. Perhaps it was this ability that led to him being coddled to the point he could do or say whatever he desired without fear of reprimand.

After a successful three year stint at Virginia Tech University, after a successful high school career in track and football in nearby Chesapeake, he decided to join the NFL after being named Second Team All-American as a junior. He had scored touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams for the Hokies in his NCAA career.

The Atlanta Falcons made him their first round draft choice in 2004 with the eighth overall selection. Though he played just ten games as a rookie, he found his way into the end zone off a 48 yard interception return, becoming the youngest player ever to have accomplished this feat. He quickly earned the respect of his foes for having that rare lock down ability few defensive backs posses.

He went to the Pro Bowl the next two seasons, scoring once in each season, and also won the 2005 NFL's "Fastest Man" race. He then began to complain openly about wanting a new contract. Feeling as if he were one of the top five cornerbacks in the league, he wanted to get paid like it. After scoring twice in 2007, he demanded to be traded from Atlanta.

Now perceived as a big mouth by some, some teams backed off his salary demands. The Oakland Raiders, however, did not. They offered him $70 million over seven years, with $25.5 million guaranteed. The Raiders also gave the Falcons second and fifth round draft picks for the privilege. Atlanta later traded those picks off to Washington and Dallas, who drafted wide receiver Devin Thomas and safety Michael Hamlin respectively.

Things continued to go poorly for Hall in Oakland. He was asked to play man to man defense more often, and did not rise to the challenge. He was expected to bookend All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha to give them a upper echelon duo, but things did not work that way to the point that Oakland asked him to take a pay cut and Hall refused. Even though he has three interceptions and half a quarterback sack after eight games, the Raiders decided to release him from the team.

Going from a top draft pick to Pro Bowler to unemployed in just five years seemed to bring Hall back to earth. When the Redskins came calling a week later, he jumped at the chance and picked off two balls in seven games, starting in four of them.

Washington was so impressed by Hall's work ethic, they offered the restricted free agent $55 million over six years, with $24 million guaranteed. Though he dealt with a few nagging injuries in 2009, he still started 12 games and swiped four balls. He benched veteran Fred Smoot, and made a nice tandem with Carlos Rogers.

He played well despite the woes the team was suffering. The team went 8-8 in 2008, ranking sixth in the league in points allowed. They dropped to 18th the next year, and won just four games. The Redskins cleaned house in the front offices, as well as their coaching staff.

Now Hall is being asked to play in a 3-4 defense for the first time in his pro career. To make things more difficult, the Redskins outside linebackers are basically defensive ends with very little pass coverage abilities. They will generally be rushing the passer every time the opponent drops back to throw, thus giving Hall no help underneath.

This did not seem to bother him much Monday night versus the Dallas Cowboys. Though 31 passes were completed against the defense, it was mostly of the dink and dunk variety that only gained 282 yards and one score. While Dallas was busy exposing the underneath weaknesses, the Redskins were keeping them out of the end zone.

Under the previous incompetent coaching regime, Washington had gone the equivalent of three games without scoring a touchdown again ts Dallas. Now in the Mike Shanahan era, they were about to finish the first half with more of the same. That is until Hall decided to alter this momentum.

Dallas had seemed so intent on getting the ball back from the Redskins a few plays earlier, when Washington had the ball. As Washington seemed intent on burning out the clock, Dallas would have none of it and decided to burn time outs with under a minute to go.

Now with the ball, Dallas was on their side of the field but still intent of battling through their struggles to score. As the clock was nearing zero, Tony Romo pitched the ball to running back Tashard Choice while scrambling. Instead of going down, Choice decided to take on a rapidly approaching Hall.

Though just 26-years old, Hall is in his seventh year as an NFL player and certainly a veteran. He set up Choice, popped him with a solid hit, then stripped the ball free from the Cowboys arms. Scooping up the now loose ball, Hall floated 32 yards into the end zone before flipping for joy, having stopped the touchdown-less streak and providing his team a lead that ultimately provided the winning margin.

It was the Redskins first win over Dallas since 2008, and is a moment the team can put in their history books next to other legendary moments when the greatest rivalry in the NFL for the last 40 years occurred.

Hew has 26 career interceptions, but just a few players have had more than him since 2005. Despite this production, he found his way off of two teams already. Now he is home, close to his family and friends in an arrangement that seems to fit well between player and franchise. At the very least, DeAngelo Hall has found his way into the teams lore by helping defeat their most hated rival.