Friday, November 25, 2011
Like a turkey head barely missing the cut last Thursday, it is time once again for POINTLESS PONDERING. That giblet of babble that leaks out of an ear like diarrhea after the brain flushes it like undercooked poultry.
OK, this may not be a purely sports rant. More a sports entertainment topic, which is the category World Wrestling Entertainment prefers to be in.
Did you cave in last week and buy the latest WWE pay-per-view gig that was titled "Survivors Series"? The big headline was the return of former WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a 39 year old actor who had spent most of the last seven years in Hollywood.
He returned to pair up with the WWE's top star of these days, John Cena, who has also been attempting to make a name for himself in Hollywood the last several years. The two biggest stars in the WWE the last 13 or so years were supposed to be a tag team that would wrestle together.
What the fans got instead was a wallet lifting exercise that was almost criminal. The entire PPV, with possibly the exception of two matches, was uninspired drudgery. When the big match that involved the two stars finally got underway, most of the crowd in Madison Square Garden was half asleep. One could only imagine the impact it had on those who had the luxury of sitting on their couches at home watching this snoozefest.
The "Rock/ Cena" match was pretty boring and bad, but that has been the direction of professional for quite awhile. Vince McMahon, the owner of the WWE, had long ago phased out staple wrestling moves like the pile driver and replaced it with scantily clothed models who are more interested in the application of make up than a wrestling move.
In the old days, it was territorial wrestling. Each territory of the United States had their own wrestling promotion, so competition to push each other to be at their best was common. McMahon has bought up most of those competitions, so the WWE has become a fat cat that is lazy and uninspired.
There are no ECW's or WCW's anymore, though TNT has sort of attempted to find a niche by basically using a ton of old and familiar faces. Many at the age of qualifying for AARP, but this company seems content with basically emulating the WWE in many ways.
The WWE's biggest event annually is called WrestleMania, which will be held in April of 2012 and is the WWE's version of the Super Bowl. Cena will square off against Johnson in a match for bragging rights on who is the biggest WWE superstar since Hulk Hogan first left the promotion in the summer of 1993.
If the last WWE PPV was any indication, save yourself the $50 or so that it will cost to watch a couple of guys carefully grappling each other so no marks are left on their bodies. Two guys who will not break a sweat so their head shots remain in tact so that they can audition for another movie.
Maybe the WWE needs to call itself entertainment instead of sports entertainment, because professional wrestling certainly isn't what is used to be. It is a shame because men like Lou Thesz, Bruno Samartino and Andre the Giant spilled a ton of body fluids on the mat so the sport could have a future.
Professional wrestling may soon experience a steep decline in popularity, something it has done several times since it originated in the 19th century. McMahon's vision of half naked models prancing around in the ring slapping themselves may need to be replaced with a new angle, real wrestling, which is actually an old angle.
Regurgitating story lines is something professional wrestling is adept at and has done for decades. Wih the popularity of MMA and other extreme sports increasing, getting rid of the soap opera fantasy for the sake of reality would force the big stars of future WrestleMania events to actually earn their adoration.
If you smell what I am cooking and can see me and the direction I am headed.
Everyone has jumped on Joe Paterno and Penn State the past month. This story, of former Nittany Lion player and coach Jerry Sandusky's child molestation charges, has been brewing for quite awhile. It began decades ago and the school paper has been talking about it for well over a year before the mainstream media swooped in like vultures to feed on the remains.
Paterno was at the university for 61 years, holding the position of head coach for 49 seasons. He has the most wins ever by a Division 1A in NCAA history and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. His face is alongside Bear Bryant, Alonzo Stagg, Pop Warner, John Gagliardi, Robert Neyland and Eddie Robinson on the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches.
Paterno was forced out of his job a few weeks ago over Sandusky's transgressions, but this may just be the beginning of change within that rarefied standard where coaches like Paterno occupy. Another, Jim Boeheim, may soon follow Paterno to the unemployment line.
Boeheim has been coaching basketball at Syracuse University since 1969. He has been the head coach since 1976, and even played guard for the school in the early sixties. He has piled up 861 wins, the fifth most ever in NCAA Division 1A history, and won a national championship in 2003.
When he was hired in 1976, he named Rick Pitino and Bernie Fine as his assistants. Pitino lasted two seasons before venturing off on his own successful career as a head coach, which also includes a national championship title.
Fine, who met Boeheom as a student-manager on the Orangeman's basketball team in the earlie 1960s, has been there ever since. Now he has found himself in the same hot water Sandusky is in.
Years after the allegations were first murmered, a long running investigation found itself to search Fine's home yesterday. Given ample time to destroy evidence, it would be shocking if the 66 year old Fine left detectives anything to find. What has been shocking is the response of the school and media.
Paterno was fired in a swift move, but Boeheim seems safe with his job. Both head coaches not only share success in sports, but have also been accused of knowing their assistant coaches had a habit of spending a lot of time with underage boys.
Critics had called for Paterno's ouster for years. Not because of Sandusky or anything of that ilk, but because they felt the game has passed him by and his age was a deterrent to success for Penn State. But Paterno just kept winning, which made the critics look stupid. When the Sandusky offenses were revealed, the critics reappeared and pounced on this story with glee.
Boeheim has never faced that type of backlash. He is 17 years younger than Paterno, so he appears to have time to try and match Paterno's two national titles. Since the allegations against Fine happened over 10 years ago, it appears there will be no charges filed in events that purportedly occurred for nearly 20 years.
Syracuse has put Fine on administrative leave, but has not fired him or Boeheim. Boeheim has told many reporters the charges are false and driven by greed for cash.
Yet it is interesting how Penn State went on a firing spree as soon as reports surfaced, while Syracuse has chosen to do nothing for now. Maybe the reason is Sandusky's guilt seems more obvious than Fine's, but the proof hasn't really been shown for either as of yet.
Jumping the gun with assumption is something the public has been known to do when led by the media like cattle to the hamburger hut. It has cost one legacy immortality, but it seems strange how there appears to be a process to pick and choose who is to blame.
Yooooo! Dis is 7thStoneFromTheSun, Thirds cousin. Yo! My procrastinashuns las weak was OK. I went 10-3, so I am now 97-61 overall.
Lets get too it.
Minnesota Vikings @ Atlanta Falcons
OK, AP is hurt and da Falcons knead dis to stay close to da Saints. Easy pick.
Falcons 28 Vikings 17
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals
I don't tink dis yeers battle of Ohio will be close.
Bengals 27 Browns 13
Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts
Da Colts HAVE to win one. Don't they? Still, I'm rolling with Cam.
Panthers 27 Colts 24
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
IF da Jags had held onto David Garrard, I'd say it'd be close.
Texans 31 Jaguars 13
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Both teems knead dis in order to have playoff hopes, but I tink da Bills are done.
Jets 23 Bills 9
Arizona Cardinals @ Saint Louis Rams
Dis iz a battle for last place in da NFL South.
Cardinals 27 Rams 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Tennessee Titans
Too of da most incunsistunt teems in da NFL battle, but I'm taking da Bucs run game hear.
Buccaneers 23 Titans 17
Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders
Both teems are starting quarterbacks dey didn't expect two play dis yeer. Both knead to run too win, but da Bears defense can stop da run while da Raiders defense can't.
I tink Matt Forte will run wild while Caleb Hanie doesn't hurt Chicago. I tink Carson Palmer plays well, but havin no runnin game will hurt.
Bears 26 Raiders 24
Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks
Da Skins loosing streek cuntinews.
Seahawks 28 Redskins 21
New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles
Da Igglez gave Mike Vick $100 million, but Vince Young is da better quarterback. Tom Brady keeps da Pats in it, but I tink da Igglez have one las gasp of hangin on two playoff hopes befour reality sets in and ends dere 2011 seasun.
Eagles 34 Patiots 31
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers
If Tim Teblow wins dis, da Bolts better fire Norv Turner in da locker room after da game.
Chargers 34 Broncos 16
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Maybe Kyle Orton will get a few snaps in dis blow out.
Steelers 34 Chiefs 10
New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints
Game of the Week
OK, deez teems is similar. Both can pass da ball. Da Saints lead da NFL in yards passing per game while da Giants rank fifth. Both rank 20th in points alloud per contest.
But da Saints rank second in ponts scored per game, while New York is ranked 16th. New Orleans is 13th in yards rushing per game, while da Jints are ranked second to last.
Da Giants knead to win two stay in furst place in da NFC East with da Dallas Cowboys, while a Saints loss could put them into a tie with da Falcons if Atlanta wins dis weak.
New York has made a nice 2011 NFL story, considerung dey wa killed by inurys in da secundairy befour da seasun even began. But I tink Drew Brees will expose dat weekness hear.
Saints 34 Giants 24
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. San Francisco 49ers
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Chicago Bears
7. Houston Texans
8. New England Patriots
9. New York Giants
10. Atlanta Falcons
11. Dallas Cowboys
12. Oakland Raiders
13. Cincinnati Bengals
14. Detroit Lions
15. New York Jets
16. Philadelphia Eagles
17. Buffalo Bills
18. Tennessee Titans
19. San Diego Chargers
20. Denver Broncos
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. Arizona Cardinals
24. Kansas City Chiefs
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
26. Miami Dolphins
27. Carolina Panthers
28. Minnesota Vikings
29. Washington Redskins
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Saint Louis Rams
32. Indianapolis Colts
OK, I got two go sit on da porcerlin trone and push out sum of dis Thanksgiving dinner cuz I ate to much. As dey say in Ol' Messico = A.M.F.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The NFL has been called the "Not For Long" game for decades, and this fact has accelerated since free agency was introduced. Rosters of teams are frequently encountering some amount of personnel turnover, no matter how much success was had in the previous season.
The one position a franchise seeks stability at most is the quarterback position. This player handles the football on most plays, and many are expected to be amongst the most important leaders of their teams. The quarterback also typically enjoys one of the largest salaries on the payroll once he becomes a starter.
The annual draft brings a plethora of collegiate athletes who want to be the next Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or Tom Brady. A type of leader who wins many titles on their way to gridiron immortality by being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The 2012 season should be no different than others in the NFL, meaning there will be quite a few teams trying to find their next franchise quarterback. Then there are others who would like to strengthen the position by bolster the bench in case an injury occurs to their incumbent starter.
Here is a peek at a few of those teams that will most likely look to improve their roster at such a key position.
The Colts are well in the lead for the right to select Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, considering the team has failed to win a single game so far this season. The team might might miss future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning immeasurably this year, but Manning will be 36 next year.
Not only does Manning's age make the selection of Luck even more important, the fact that the veteran is struggling to heal from a neck injury has his future in doubt. But the Colts would like to get a few more years from Manning, considering they had signed him to a huge contract extension before the season began.
If Manning returns at a starters level, it helps Indianapolis. Not only would they have their fiery leader back, Luck could sit and learn from one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history.
If Manning's neck injury prevents a full return, Luck is skilled enough to step in right away and play at an NFL level. Luck has quite a few similarities to Manning.
Both are not only students of the game, but they are both the sons of former NFL quarterbacks. They have basically lived and breathed the gridiron since the day they were born.
Rarely does a team have the ability to transition from a Hall of Famer to a possible future great. The Green Bay Packers are experiencing this now, and the Colts would surely love to follow in their footsteps and hoist a Super Bowl trophy with their young quarterback one day.
It seems a certainty Miami will use their 2012 draft pick on a quarterback. The only question will be if they go with Matt Moore another year at starter, as they develop the rookie, or throw the kid to the wolves immediately.
The Dolphins will most likely have a new head coach next year, as well as waive Chad Henne. Henne, who had started 31 out of 34 games before being hurt early this year, appears to be better served to find newer surroundings. Moore, who has started since, has been serviceable at best.
Perhaps the Dolphins fans are tiring of a franchise that is seemingly rebuilding each season the past decade, but the team is still looking for the next Bob Griese or Dan Marino. They will eye talents like Matt Barkely, Landry Jones, and possibly Robert Griffin. If Miami continues to struggle in 2011, many experts feel Barkely will be the selection very early in the 2012 draft.
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan knew they were gambling with the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback this year. On a team full of holes and looking to rebuild, Allen concentrated on filling the roster with a very sound draft.
With a season shortened by a strike, the Washington brass may not have felt comfortable trying to develop a rookie quarterback in such a short amount of time. Training camp is crucial for a young player to learn his organization from top to bottom.
After watching the current Redskins quarterbacks stumble and bumble around so far, many expect the team to finally draft a quarterback in Shanahan's third season. Some think the team also didn't do so in 2011 because there were no quarterbacks they were in love with.
It is possible Washington replaces both of their current quarterbacks via free agency and the draft in 2012. Possibly grabbing a veteran to man the helm as the kid develops, setting up a view of progress in the two last years of Shanahan's contract the following year.
After a fast start, the Redskins are on a dreadful losing streak currently. If this continues, the team will sit pretty high up in the draft order. Other teams with lesser records, the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, are expected to also draft a quarterback in 2012.
If, as expected, Andrew Luck and Matt Barkely are off the board by the time Washington picks, the team will be left with Landry Jones and Robert Griffin. Griffin is more athletic, the type of quarterback Shanahan has had success with in the past. Landry is experienced and precise.
Both have accurate guns and many collegiate starts under their belts, so the Redskins would win big drafting either player. This draft may be the time for Shanahan and Allen to put their Redskins legacies on the line by finally grabbing their franchise quarterback.
Colt McCoy is the starter, and the young player is on a struggling team that is desperately trying to get good talent around him while learning a new offensive system under a new head coach. All three Browns quarterbacks on the 2011 roster are small, standing about six-foot tall each.
Seneca Wallace is the veteran that serves as the top reserve. He is mostly known for his legs than arm. Thaddeus Lewis is a raw prospect in his second season with the team.
Cleveland could take a flier on Ryan Tannehill as early as the third round. After spending his first two years of college at wide receiver, the 6'4" Tannehill has ocassionally displayed a skill set that will impress teams. He is extremely raw, but very athletic and a hard worker.
With McCoy entrenched as the starter, Cleveland can afford to spend a few years developing this intriguing project. Tannehill is the type who could greatly award a coach's patience down the road.
Kevin Kolb has not played well since the Cardinals traded a lot to get him this season. His backup, second-year pro John Skelton, has played better. Journeyman Richard Bartel is third on the depth chart, while the young Max Hall is spending 2011 on the injured reserve.
It is unlikely the Cards dump Kolb, but owner Bill Bidwell is known for his frugality and Kolb becomes a free agent at the end of the year. This factor could have Arizona to go with Skelton next year.
If that happens, Arizona may not be comfortable with Hall and Bartel as the main reserves. The team could look at an experienced player like Chandler Harnish in the later rounds, or even look at local hero Nick Foles early on.
Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel hasn't impressed everyone since the Chiefs traded for him in 2009 and handed him a contract worth $61 million over six years. Even if he continues to start, the reserves behind Cassel are from from impressive.
Journeyman Tyler Palko, who has 35 passing yards since turning pro in 2007, is the top backup. Rookie Ricky Stanzi, drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, sits on the bottom of the depth chart.
Cassel is now hurt, so Palko will get his audition. The Chiefs erratic 2011 season could take a turn for the worse now, which could force them to think about bringing more quarterbacks into training camp next year.
Gettin a veteran free agent seems most logical, but there could be an interest in getting a solid player like Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden later in the draft if Palko plays poorly. Weeden is the 2011 version of Chris Wienke, meaning he is going to be a 28 year old rookie, so his age could cause his draft stock to drop down into the later rounds.
Tavaris Jackson is starting now, but his play has been inconsistent. Charlie Whitehurst, his reserve, has been horrible whenever he has played. Josh Portis is an athletic and raw rookie prospect Seattle has kept on the roster this year.
Pete Carroll is still rebuilding his team, turning over personnel at a rapid rate. Yet he hasn't gone after a quarterback in the draft he wanted to start. This could be the year he uses a first round draft pick for the position.
Seattle is struggling right now, but so are 10 other teams with records the same or worse than the Seahawks 3-6 mark. There are no guarantees that Seattle would get to Matt Barkley, who was recruited to play at USC by Carroll just a few years ago.
The only other quarterbacks considered a first round talent after Luck and Barkely is Landry Jones and Robert Griffin. Both are big with strong arms that have excellent accuracy. While Seattle could gamble with Jackson in 2012, now may the time for Carroll to get his quarterback of the future.
Oakland has basically mortgaged their future into Carson Palmer at quarterback, but the backup quarterback position could be an issue in 2012. Jason Campbell, who began the season as the starter until an injury to him prompted the Raiders to trade for Palmer, may want out to find a starting job elsewhere next season.
Kyle Boller probably won't be on the team next year, considering how poorly he played when Campbell went down. Oakland used a supplemental draft choice on Terrelle Pryor, a project who is most likely years away from being ready to contribute.
Getting a free agent veteran to carry a clipboard is most likely the direction the Raiders will go next year if Campbell leaves the team. Al Davis has passed away, but his legacy lives on. There is a chance the team might grab a kid after the draft to see if they can develop a competent reserve for Palmer in the years ahead.
It seems almost a certainty that Kyle Orton will leave the Broncos at the end of the year. Reserve Brady Quinn seems destined to remain a bench player for however long he stays in the NFL.
Tim Tebow can't throw or read defenses, but he can win games. Some critics are not sold that Broncos president John Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback, is sold on Tebow a the future at the key position. Tebow could alleviate any purported issues by continuing to win.
If they keep Tebow, they still need to get a backup besides Quinn. That may require Denver selecting a quarterback in the mid-rounds of the 2012 draft. If the Broncos rather jettison Tebow or bench him, they will have the conundrum of using a first round pick on either a signal caller or continue building the defense.
Kellen Moore is a lefty like Tebow, and he also has the most wins by a starting quarterback in NCAA history. A gritty and cerebral type, he could provide a decent backup on a team. He could go anywhere from the third round on.
If Denver decides to go in a different direction than Tebow, an athletic type like Robert Griffin III could interest Elway. Nick Foles could be there in the second round, because he may take longer to develop, while Griffin appears destined for the first.
Matt Schaub is the starter, but he is often battling injuries. Houston has had a history of picking up discarded first round flops to back him up, ranging from Rex Grossman to Matt Leinart.
T.J. Yates was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, so the Texans may eschew from grabbing another project to develop. Schaub is hurt again, this time for the rest of the year, so Leinart will become the starter.
If Leinart fails, Houston might look into the free agency market to get a better veteran on the bench. But a failure could also bring a change at the head coaching slot, so a new administration may decide to go with young players.
Dominique Davis is an interesting project who might last until the later rounds of the 2012 draft. Unlike the three current Texans quarterbacks, Davis is athletic.
New York Jets
Mark Sanchez, as erratic as he is, should hold the staring job once again in 2012. But getting some youth in the backup slot may not be a bad idea.
Sanchez's top reserve is 41 year old Mark Brunell, whose NFL career should be nearing an end this year. The Jets have journeyman Kevin O'Connell, who has 28 career passing yards since being drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft.
It isn't a bad idea to consider drafting a quarterback in the later rounds. Case Keenum, who has the most passing touchdowns in NCAA history, should be there.
The future is now with rookie Blaine Gabbert, who has been struggling mightily as he tried to go for the spread offense, which he played in college, to the pro set in Jacksonville. His only backup is journeyman Luke McCown.
McCown began the season as the starter, but quickly lost it after horrendous play. The Jags are not molding anyone on the practice squad, so they need to consider upgrading the backup job through the draft.
Since they used their 2011 first round pick on Gabbert, Jacksonville could wait late in the draft in 2012 before grabbing a quarterback. Ryan Lindley is just one of a few to consider, despite the fact he has struggled in his senior season.
New York Giants
Eli Manning has the starters job unquestionably. David Carr, the first overall draft choice of 2002, has been his backup in three of the last four years. Yet Carr will be 33 years old before the 2012 season starts.
Rookie Ryan Perrilloux sits on the practice squad, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to get another youngster in camp to see if Manning could groom them into a serviceable player down the road. Yet the Jints may not want to waste a draft pick, opting to look in the free agents pool.
E.J. Manuel is a huge kid who could go undrafted, as could people like Jacory Harris The Giants wasted draft picks in the recent past on guys like Andre Woodson and Rhett Bomar and got nothing in return, so they could stand pat with Carr and Perrilloux.
Green Bay Packers
Rumors of backup Matt Flynn departing at seasons end began awhile ago. He has been called the next Matt Cassel, even if he has less NFL experience than Cassel did when he switched teams in 2009.
Flynn has been a reserve since 2008, thrown 86 career passes, and lost the only game he has started. Yet there are rumblings his services will be sought after when he becomes a free agent at the end of this year.
If that happens, the Packers could opt to go with Graham Harrell. A journeyman on their practice squad, there is a chance he will hold the honor of backing up star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson could look at this position in the later rounds, where interesting projects like Dan Persa or Jarrett Lee will sit. Lee is from LSU like Flynn and the pairs collegiate careers parallel each other somewhat.
Yoooooooooo! Dis iz 7thStoneFromTheSun wunce again. Yo? I took a beeting las weak, going 7-8 . I iz now 87-58 overall. Lets gets two it.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers
Da Pack GOT to lose one, don't dey? Tampa Bay is on da brink of losing playoff dreems, so dey knead dis. Yet I tink Aaron Rodgers is da Buc's Freddy Krueger.
Packers 30 Buccaneers 20
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
A great rivalry, but dese too teems ain't goin nowhere dis yeer. Da Skins are at rock bottom, so da em while dey iz down dere.
Cowboys 31 Redskins 16
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Cleveland Browns
A massive battle of 3-6 teems. Wake me when it's over.
Jaguars 17 Browns 14
Cincinnatti Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
Game of the Week
I love dis game. I love defense. It is as close as yous iz gunna get two old skool football in dis NFL.
Da Ravens rank third in both points and yards allowed in da NFL. Cincy ranks fifth best in both categories themselves. So dere ain't gunna be a ton of points scored, even if both teems didn't have da incunsistent offenses dey currently got.
Ravens 16 Bengals 13
Carolina Panthers @ Detroit Lions
Detroit kneads two keep winning cuz da Pack is undefeewted and da Bears are tied with dem in second place. Da Lions got to shut down Panthers rookie superstar Cam Newton.
Lions 27 Panthers 20
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Wif da Jets sucking, da Bills playoff hopes iz still alive. Dis iz a must win hear.
Bills 34 Dolphins 17
Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings
Da Raiders was gunna actually begin play in Minnesota in 1960 for da AFL, but da NFL stopped it by creatin da Vikings. Since den, da Raiders have won nine of 13 matchups, witch includes a Super Bowl win in 1977. Oakland keeps dat theme goin, though AP will keep it close.
Raiders 27 Vikings 24
Seattle Seahawks @ Saint Louis Rams
A battle for da best draft pik cuz neither teem is goin nowhere dis yeer.
Seahawks 24 Rams 20
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Da Niners iz running away wif da NFC West. It cuntinues.
49ers 23 Cardinals 14
Tennesee Titans @ Atlanta Falcons
A battle of 5-4 teems teetering on the edge of the playoff race. Da Falcons have been a disappointmint, while da Titans have played better den expected. Still? I'm goin will Atlanta hear.
Falcons 31 Titans 16
San Diego Chargers @ Chicago Bears
Da Bears iz hot, winning four straight. Da Bolts got a loser head coach. See where I'm heading?
Bears 26 Chargers 24
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Da Igglez have showed no heart dis yeer, while a injured Jints squad has pretty much wn da NFC East allreddy by playin wif heart. It's a wrap.
Giants 23 Eagles 21
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
Da Chiefs are on a yo-yo ride two nowhere dis seesun. Da Pat's sit on top of da AFC East despite having a terribul defense. I tink it stays dat way.
Patriots 37 Chiefs 17
1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Giants
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Chicago Bears
7. Houston Texans
8. New England Patriots
9. Detroit Lions
10. Cincinnati Bengals
11. Baltimore Ravens
12. Atlanta Falcons
13. Dallas Cowboyss
14. Oakland Raiders
15. Buffalo Bills
16. Tennessee Titans
17. New York Jets
18. San Diego Chargers
19. Philadelphia Eagles
20. Denver Broncos
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. Kansas City Chiefs
24. Arizona Cardinals
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
26. Carolina Panthers
27. Minnesota Vikings
28. Washington Redskins
29. Saint Louis Rams
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Indianapolis Colts
OK, I iz on my way two dis turkey farm so I can get a Thanksgiving dinner reddy. I got dis hunny cummin over for a taste and yous knows I iz all about stuffing da bird. Capeesh? As dey say in Ol' Messico = A.M.F.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Making predictions of an upcoming NFL season is basically akin to swinging a stick at a pinata blindfolded, yet without knowing if such a target truly exists. The reason of an educated guess can be leaned upon, yet there is no real science because too many unknown factors lurk in shadows set aside annually by the enemies of success.
Even with a 2011 season hurriedly smashed together after a players strike that killed much of the preseason, the league has gone on collecting the offerings of fans as this circus barks town to town. The actual play on the field may have degenerated some, but much of this stems from rules that were set out without much clear thought instilled.
As the NFL hits the midpoint of the 2011 season, there are already reasons to rejoice about the game. Some surprises have been peppered in with the unexpected and relied upon. As the pretend awards are passed out, on their way to the real ones in a few months, we look back at preseason predictions and compare them with the reality of here and now.
MVP : Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
I picked Rodgers to win this award a few months ago, and he has played as expected. His team, which relies on him heavily, is undefeated and showing they could be better than the Packers squad that won it all last year. I still think he walks away with the NFL MVP Award when he season ends, and Rodgers has done nothing to show why he won't yet.
Matt Forte, Frank Gore, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning are worth noting for their efforts so far.
Offensive Player of the Year : Fred Jackson, Halfback, Buffalo Bills
My preseason selection, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, has done nothing but show why I selected him. Yet Jackson is the biggest reason the Bills are in first place in the AFC East. He leads the NFL in rushing yards and is just 47 yards away from leading the league in total yards from scrimmage.
Jackson already had the respect of the league for his versatility, and it appears he is headed to his first Pro Bowl season. If he holds up this year, since the Bills rely on him so heavily, Buffalo could make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Rice, Forte, LeSean McCoy, Wes Welker, Calvin Johnson, and Steve Smith are all certainly capable of winning this award when the season ends.
Defensive Player of the Year : Jared Allen, Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings
The player I picked to win this award, Ndamukong Suh, has been average for most of this season. Allen has been awesome all season. He is tied with the most fumbles forced, fumbles recovered, and passes defended amongst all defensive linemen.
He leads everyone with 12.5 sacks and is fourth in tackles amongst defensive linemen. Allen has also found time to intercept a pass. While the Vikings have struggled this season, it could be a lot worse if Allen wasn't having the season he currently is. Minnesota has been mostly competitive because he keeps caving in offensive lines off the edge.
Nick Barnett, Kameron Chancellor, Darrelle Revis, Charles Woodson, and Jason Pierre-Paul are just a few players who could be considered for this award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year : Cameron Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
My selection, Daniel Thomas, has struggled with his health all year and is fourth amongst all rookies in rushing yards. Newton is third so far.
But it isn't just his legs that makes him special. Despite being the first draft selection of 2011, pundits expected him to struggle from the spread offense, that he played in college, to the pro style offense. Newton has had a few rookie struggles, but he has mostly stood out for his struggling Panthers.
He has performed so well that Carolina hardly runs the football this year despite giving halfback DeAngelo Williams just 75 carries so far after making him one of the highest paid halfbacks in the game before the season started.
Newton has already set team records, by throwing for 432 yards in one game and 854 yards in two consecutive games. His 422 yards passing in his debut is the most in NFL history, and the 854 yards thrown in his first two games is also a NFL record.
Not only is Newton the first rookie in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards in first career start, as well as the first rookie in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards in first two career starts, he is just the sixth quarterback ever to throw for over 400 yards in consecutive games.
He is the only player in NFL history with at least five rushing touchdowns and five passing touchdowns in his first five games, and he is one rushing touchdown away from having for most rushing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback.
Andy Dalton, who is having an excellent season so far as the starting quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, is the only rookie in the discussion with Newton. Dalton has done well, but the surprising Bengals sit on top of the AFC North right now because of their defense.
Newton's team is not winning much yet, but the future appears bright for this 6'5" 248 lbs monster who already has the respect of opponents. He has a better quarterback rating than Dalton, as well as over 900 more passing yards. He is already the leader of a rebuilding Panthers franchise, and one day could be the best quarterback in the league.
Defensive Rookie of the Year : Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals
My pick, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans, is playing very well and is certainly in the running. So are players like Mason Foster, Ryan Kerrigan, Von Miller, Akeem Ayers, Marcell Dareus, Phil Taylor, and Brooks Reed.
Peterson leads all NFL rookies in solo tackles, interceptions, passes defended, and is third in total tackles. But what separates him is the work he does on special teams. He is already the best punt returner in the league.
He leads in the NFL with three touchdowns off of punt returns, punt return yards, and a whopping 21.8 average off of 19 returns. Peterson is already within reach of several NFL records.
His three touchdowns is tied with Devin Hester as the second most by a rookie in NFL history and one away from the record Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen set in 1951. He is just 242 yards away from the record Louis Lipps set in 1984 for the most punt return yards ever by a rookie. He is also within reach of the 23 yards per return average Herb Rich set on 12 returns in 1950.
His 99-yard punt return is the second longest ever in NFL history. It happened in overtime against the Saint Louis Rams, and was the first overtime by a rookie off a punt return since Tamarick Vanover did it in 1995.
If Peterson keeps up even half of this pace, as many suspect he will, there should be an easy task for the voters on who is the 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Comeback Player of the Year : Ben Tate, Houston Texans
I picked Tate and he is already fulfilling expectations. He already has 623 rushing yards despite being basically a reserve with limited touches. He is averaging a very impressive 5.7 yards per carry as well.
This award generally goes to players who, like Tate, are coming back from a previous year ruined by injuries. It also can go to an improved player who had previously struggled. Men like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Alex Green are in the running based on those facts.
Arian Foster is the star of the Texans. Not only is he the 2010 rushing yards leader, he leads the team in rushing yards , attempts, and touchdowns this season. Yet he has a lead of just 33 yards over Tate despite 45 more attempts and having started every game but two for Houston in 2011.
It will be curious to see how much longer the Texans keep this duo in tact beyond 2011. Tate has just one start this year, a number he undoubtedly would like to change down the road. Houston has the most rushing attempts and second most running yards by a team so far this year, which is a big reason the Texans sit on top of the AFC South right now.
Tate seems a cinch to join Foster as a pair off 1,000-yard rushers for the Texans this year. He has shown no residual effects from the broken leg he suffered during a 2010 exhibition game either. He has given no reason why he shouldn't win the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Coach of the Year : Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers
There really is no doubt who is leading here. Harbaugh is leading one if the NFC's better teams with a good defense and rushing attack. Yet Harbaugh also has had a tremendous positive influence on quarterback Alex Smith, who has performed well despite having his top two wide receivers struggling to stay healthy this year.
My selection, Steve Spagnuolo, has seen his team play poorly. The Niners are already running away with the NFC West title, and their rookie head coach is a huge reason why. If Harbaugh keeps it going, he may pass his younger brother John in accolades. He and John Harbaugh, a successful head coach with the Baltimore Ravens, are the first pair of brothers to be NFL head coaches.
Yoooooooooo! Dis iz 7thStoneFromTheSun, 3rd's cuzin, once again! Yo? I did crappy las weak, going 8-6. I iz now 80-50 overall, so lets get dis partee started. Capeesh?
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Game of the Week
Da winner gets two sit alone on top of da NFC South, even if Atlanta has played one less game so far. Both teems have average defenses, but da explosive Saints offense has looked better than the more balanced Falsons offense so far.
Matt Ryan has been inconsistent with Atlanta all yeer, but da defense has looked better in each of da las three weaks. Drew Brees has been mostly awesone for New Orleans all seasun, but da inconsistent Saints defense can get exposed by a good running teem.
If Michael "Burner" Turner gets off, Atlanta wins. If not, look for Brees to make da difference.
Atlanta 30 Saints 28
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
I really iz flippin a coin on hear. Cam Newton mite prove me wrong.
Titans 27 Panthers 24
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
OK, da Bungles have had a nice ride against da lesser teems. Now reality sets on.
Steelers 24 Bengals 20
Saint Louis Rams @ Cleveland Browns
YO! I rather have a labotomy den watch dis crap.
Rams 28 Browns 20
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
I tink da Bills fun ride is over. I don't tink much of da Cowboys, but I can sea dem winning hear.
Cowboys 27 Bills 24
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
How many times in da Jags history have dey gone into Indianapolis expecting two win?
Jaguars 23 Colts 21
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Tim Teblow ran a win las weak, but da Chiefs will not allow dis.
Chiefs 31 Broncos 16
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins
If da Skins lose hear, pack it up until 2012. John Beck gets his first win ever, at the expense of his former team.
Redskins 20 Dolphins 17
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Kevin Kolb prolly won't play hear two get back at da Eagles for trading him. But Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will.
Eagles 31 Cardinals 20
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Houston kneads dis, and da Bucs are wildly inconsistent. Dat Houston runbning game pulls it out.
Texans 28 Buccaneers 17
Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
Da Ravens tend two play down too competition and dey are goin to have a let down after a big win las weak. I tink it will be a close one hear.
Ravens 27 Seahawks 24
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Da Bears are cummin off a big win las Monday, but da Lions know how two play dere division rivals.Det beet Chicago by 11 just over a month ago and sweep dis series to try to stay within reach of da Packers.
Lions 26 Bears 24
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
I see a old school battle hear, where defense rules most of da game. I like da Niners defense much more den da Jints, but I tink Eli Manning is just a bit better den Alex Smith.
Giants 17 49ers 16
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Dese are too flaewed teems dat we all expected more from. Flip a coin hear, da winner gets to sit on top of da AFC East. I'm going with the better defense.
Jets 23 Patriots 21
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Da Pack just has two loose once. Right? Dis iz a game they very well could, but I tink dey isn't reddy yet.
Packers 34 Vikings 23
1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Detroit Lions
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New York Giants
7. Houston Texans
8. New York Jets
9. New Orleans Saints
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Chicago Bears
12. Cinncinatti Bengals
13. New England Patriots
14. Buffalo Bills
15. Philadephia Eagles
16. Dallas Cowboys
17. Tennessee Titans
18. Kansas City Chiefs
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. San Diego Chargers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Oakland Raiders
23. Carolina Panthers
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
25. Minnesota Vikings
26. Washington Redskins
27. Arizona Cardinals
28. Saint Louis Rams
29. Denver Broncos
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Indianapolis Colts
OK, dat iz dat. Now iz da time two go find a few honeys too hang out with, because yous knows dat I iz all about da honey. As dey say in Ol' Messico = A.M.F.
Friday, November 4, 2011
The Chicago Bears had one of their best second round draft picks ever in 2008, which is quite a statement for a franchise with the illustrious history the Bears have. The team has selected Pro Bowl players like Rich Petitbon and Rick Casares in that round, as well as Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebackers Bill George and Mike Singletary. Future Hall of Fame candidate Devin Hester was also a second round selection by Chicago.
Matt Forte` was selected that year. Chicago took the halfback, despite the fact he had suffered a knee injury in his junior season at Tulane University. He exploded onto the scene as a senior, rushing for over 2,100 yards and scoring 23 times.
He was put to work right away, leading the team in rushing and receiving with career best marks of 1,231 rushing yards and 63 receptions. He also led the team with a career high mark of 12 touchdowns and 1,715 total yards.
He had broken Hall of Famer Gale Sayers team record for all purpose yards by a rookie, and the 123 yards he ran for in his first game is also a team record. Despite leading all NFL rookies in total yards and receptions, he somehow received just one for NFL Rookie of the Year.
Forte` did suffer a sophomore slump of sorts in 2009, scoring a career low four times. Despite handling the ball 64 less times, he fumbled six times as opposed to the one fumble he had as a rookie. Forte` still led the team in yards rushing and from scrimmage, as well as being just three catches away from leading the team in receiving.
He rebounded last year to run for 1,069 yards and score nine times. Though he handled the ball 27 times less than the year before, Forte` still tied for the team lead in receptions and led the team with 1,616 yards from scrimmage. It helped the Bears reach the NFC Championship Game before their season ended.
Forte` had gained 160 total yards in that game, leading all players. He led all players with 10 receptions as well. In the three years he had spent with the team, Forte` has shown remarkable durability by not missing a contest yet in his career.
His importance to the Bears franchise has been on display once again in 2011. He currently leads the league with 1,071 yards from scrimmage, and he is also averaging a career best 5.4 catches per game and 11 yards per reception. Forte' is also averaging a career best 5.4 yards per carry on 124 attempts, which has enabled him to average a career high 96 yards rushing per game after seven contests.
Yet the running back is frustrated with the way the team is treating him. Forte` makes just $600,000 annually, a far cry from what the highest paid running backs make in the league. Adrian Peterson, of the Minnesota Vikings, is currently making over $13.7 million annually.
The Bears typically like to hash out contract issues during the off-season, but a backlash on how they have dragged their heels on the Forte` situation grows daily as the running back continues to stand out. Forte` has seen his teammates tell the media he deserves a raise in pay, and Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, considered the leader of the team, recently said Forte` in the leagues most valuable player right now.
Fans have also started a campaign, hoping to get the attention of Bears general manager Jerry Angelo. Angelo reportedly offered Forte` a contract with about $14 million guaranteed before the 2011 season started, but it is a far cry from the $36 million Peterson has guaranteed. Chris Johnson, of the Tennessee Titans, has $30 million in guarantees, and the Carolina Panthers DeAngelo Williams has over $21 million in guarantees.
Not only is Forte` having a better season than any of those backs so far, he is arguably more important to the success of his team than Johnson or Williams are to theirs. Johnson has been struggling horribly so far in 2011, and Williams hardly touches the football on the Panthers pass-happy offense.
Forte` recently was found lamenting his situation to the Chicago media. He realizes the Bears can place a franchise tag on him in 2012, which would bump his salary up to possibly $8 million that year. The running believes that is no solution to the problem, and would not remain silent in his mission if the Bears decided to go that route. All he seeks is fairness, because the average career of an NFL running back is so fleeting.
‘‘The running back position is the most physically demanding on the field,’’ Forte told reporters. ‘‘Everyone acknowledges that. So to continue to give me the touches I’ve had since my rookie year but not award me a long-term contract sends the message that you’re OK grinding me into a pulp.’’
Another reason the Bears should resolve this issue quickly is because they are so reliant upon him. Their quarterback, Jay Cutler, is wildly inconsistent and extremely prone to tossing a bundle of interceptions. The Bears blocking and receiving corps are far from special as well, so the team often rides Forte's back down the field to get scoring opportunities.
Very few backs have shown they can stand up to this type of pressure over a long stretch of time. Many great running backs have succumbed to injuries after taking a tremendous beating over a few seasons. The Bears have seen this in their own ranks after watching men like Sayers, Casares, and Neal Anderson.
Few backs have lasted long carrying an entire team on their backs. Hall of Famers Walter Payton and O.J. Simpson come to mind immediately, but even Canton is full of backs whose careers were cut short due to a mountain of touches in a short span. Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson and Steve Van Buren are other examples.
The NFC North is called the "Black and Blue Division" because most contests have been decided in the trenches. Great running backs in that division have come and gone after battling those wars. The list of great running backs, whose careers were shortened, is long.
Men like Chuck Foreman, Billy Sims, John Brockington, and many more have torn up the NFL before their bodies broke down due to the wear and tear at the position. Forte` seems to understand this, as well as the fact his NFL career can end on any given play.
The Bears are run by the daughter of Hall of Famer, and founding member of the NFL, George Halas. Halas, nicknamed "Papa Bear", was known for his stinginess during his lifetime. Hall of Famer George Blanda once said Halas would make Blanda buy his own kicking shoes and even took back his signing bonus after Chicago had drafted him.
There is no proof Virginia Halas McCaskey runs the team the same way, but it certainly can be assumed she learned how to run the franchise from her dad. While her own children are also involved in the running of the team, the 88-year old McCaskey has recently been engaged in discussions about selling the team.
Angelo reports to team president Ted Phillips. Phillips, named to his position in 1999, has been with the team 27 years after previously working as an accountant. It may be the good old bottom line of dollars and cents that has kept the team from bumping up Forte's salary. But if McCaskey is set to sell the team, Phillips may want to enable the increase before new ownership takes over.
The counterpoint that Forte` has handled the ball less each season is no longer a discussion. The running back is averaging 23.1 touches per game, slightly less than the career best 23.7 touches per game he averaged as a rookie.
Forte` has averaged 20.8 touches per game, which is better than the 18.8 touches Williams has averaged in his career. The Panthers running back is averaging barely 10 touches per game this season despite having signed a huge contract during the off-season.
Johnson has averaged 22.1 touches per game, but it has been curtailed to 19 this year as his struggles continue following a hold out to get his new contract. Peterson averages 21.8 touches per game in his career, but the four-time Pro Bowler came into 2011 with 12 more fumbles than Forte`. Peterson's career high of 24 touches per game was back in 2008.
The onus is on the Bears management right now, and it would make sense for them to make their best player happy immediately. They may choose to continue the stingy ways of the deceased Papa Bear, but that would just show the game has passed them by much like it did Halas while he was alive.
Chicago currently has a 4-3 record in the 2011 season, which is only good enough for third place in their division. The Green Bay Packers are undefeated, and the Detroit Lions are 6-2. The Bears are about to face a Philadelphia Eagles team that is starting to play well.
If the Bears want to win ans stay within reach of the Packers and Lions, they must win this game Monday night. The best plan of attack is the same plan the Bears have used all season, which is give the ball to Forte` frequently. The weakness of the Eagles defense is stopping the run, so again Chicago will have to ride Forte's back for any hope of victory.
But these hopes are being placed on a unhappy man tired of being used at such a reduced rate, his salary is on par with reserves who hardly get on the field at all. The perfect strategy would be to pay Forte` now before Monday, so his happiness has a chance to shine on the gridiron.
This example was seen last week with the Buffalo Bills, who had just extended the contract of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a few days earlier. Fitzpatrick, who has not achieved nearly as much as Forte`, then went on the field and carved up the Washington Redskins to a 23-0 victory.
If McCaskey, Phillips, and Angelo continue to ignore the obvious fact they are basically using Forte` as a piece of cheap meat, dreams of even repeating the successes of 2010 will be more unlikely with each snap of the football the rest of the way in 2011.