Posts tagged ‘NFL’

The NFL Super Bowl Picture: Would The League Have It Any Other Way?

The NFL playoff picture looked so boring at the start of Saturday and it pretty much stayed that way. Saturday included wins by the Saints, which many expected, and the Colts, which even more expected. Followed by Sunday in which we saw wins from Minnesota, which many expected, and New York, which very few expected. A breakdown of sorts, shall we….

Who Dat Saints – They started the season so hot and created a media buzz that could choke a whale, on the brink of an undefeated year. The Cowboys barge into the Dome and put a hole in the sails. They go on to lose a few more and the country writes off the New Orleans Aints. Why? As if the Saints lost everything they had prior to the Dallas loss? Although the Cardinals were more than a touchdown underdog against the Saints, we all knew the easy money was on the Saints. The Cardinals were unpredictable, up-and-down, and coming off a draining win against the hungry (but not hungry enough) Packers. Not to mention, the New Orleans Saints have very quietly become America’s new favorite team. Ever met a person that said they hated the Saints? Can anyone really say that? They have the support of America behind them and no one would down the Super Bowl if the Saints were involved. And just to help their case, the Saints defense is playing well and their offense is prolific.

Indianapolis Colts – Whether you like him or not, people like Peyton! He’s easily the best quarterback in the league and perhaps the most intelligent passer we’ve seen. Are the Colts necessarily flashy? I would argue no. However, audiences enjoy the happy feet of Peyton Manning and his last-second audibles, which leave defenses simply, well….defenseless. The Colts’ defense is faster than most people give them credit for and the coaching staff for this team could be the brightest in the playoffs. Would the country really not tune into a Super Bowl that included Peyton Manning? Doubtful.

Minnesooota Vikings – I think we all saw this coming. Even before Brett Favre took the field in purple, everyone claimed that the Vikings were just one decent quarterback away from making a Super Bowl run. Soooo, they get a better-than-decent quarterback and land ol’ ageless! Brett has been nothing but spectacular this season, aside from the off-season distracting crap, and he has really made everyone on the Minnesota team better. Take Sidney Rice for example. This kid was about three hairs short of being labled a “bust”, if not labled so already, and suddenly he becomes a Hall of Famer’s favorite target. The Minnesota defense may be a little overrated but they showed otherwise against the Cowgirls and their sissified offensive line. This team controls their own destiny. Picture this: Brett Favre, age 40, leads Vikings in Super Bowl. Whether you’re a football fan or not…is anyone gonna miss the ‘Wrangler Guy’ in the Super Bowl? No way.

New York J-E-T-S – And finally we have the New York, underdog, never-had-a-shot, rookie coach-havin’, rookie quarterback-havin’, no good, stinkin’ Jets. Who’d-uh-thunk-it? The San Diego Chargers were apparently built to win the Super Bowl and the time was now. But then they realized that their head coach was Norv Turner…and that guy couldn’t win a tee-ball game. The New York Jets were told all year that they “couldn’t” and they were told all season that Mark “Sanchise” couldn’t get it done. And now look! The Jets built themselves on the classic football frame – defense and running the football. Now the Jets are in the AFC title game and looking to make history. Would anyone miss the playoffs with an underdog like the New York Jets in the Super Bowl? Um, yes. Although the Jets retain a strong and very supportive fandom, they wouldn’t draw the largest crowd.

So here we sit. Who will be playing in the Super Bowl? I’m no prophet but I predict two scenarios ( not hard to determine if you think about it )…

Indianapolis Colts v. Minnesota Vikings – This one makes the most sense for me. Two Hall of Fame quarterbacks going head-to-head in America’s largest sporting event; who’d miss this? Football people like Peyton and Brett, or at least have respect for their game. And non-football people know Brett and Peyton for their Wrangler and Visa ads, respectively. And did we mention Brett Favre was 40? Every middle-aged man in America will be watching this game and rootin’ for the ol’ guy, even if this is their first ever football game! Rogaine might as well go ahead and buy the largest advertising spot if Brett and the Vikes make it to the Bowl. And can us football fans really make a case that Peyton Manning doesn’t deserve a second Super Bowl ring? This is the best match-up for the audience and the NFL’s pockets.

Indianapolis Colts v. New Orleans Saints – It’s hard for the league to go wrong this year. Even if Minnesota and the original Viking himself, Brett Favre, don’t make it – America’s favorite team will. We all love the Saints! And wow, what a story! A natural disaster literally leaves the historic city of New Orleans in ruins and the fight to rebuild is a long and hard process. The New Orleans Saints have never been so talented and have never given so much to their city. And now, when all their chips were down, the New Orleans Saints make the biggest rebound in history (all statistics aside) and make it to the Super Bowl to represent everyone who is not a Colts fan! And taking on the Saints is the future Hall of Famer that some may call “the best player to ever play the game”. Needless to say, everyone will be watching except maybe a few less uninterested females due to the non-appearence of Brett Favre.

And that’s pretty much it. The league has allowed the underdog Jets to stay in it this long just to make sure that audiences tune in to see if they can “really pull it off”. But in the end, the NFL won’t allow a small-market underdog make it to the Super Bowl over the likes of Peyton Manning and the Colts. The New Yorks Jets are a great story, don’t get me wrong, and they have been absolutely sensational thus far. but the league will have no more. Unfortunately the Super Bowl picture can be too sweet and the NFL’s pockets can be too heavily stuffed.

And with that being said – would the League have it any other way?

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January 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

It’s Official: Shanahan Is The Man In D.C.

The Washington Redskins and Mike Shanahan agreed to terms this evening, a five-year deal worth a reported $7 million a year for the former Denver Broncos and two-time Super Bowl winning coach. Shanahan was hired as the head coach and Executive VP of Football Operations, the latter title being currently occupied by the newly hired Bruce Allen. Shanahan and Allen will work together to help build the organization but Shanahan will ultimately have the final say in all football matters (hoping this isnt a duplicate of what we had before: a “yes” man for owneer Dan Snyder).

It has also be reported that Mike Shanahan’s son, Kyle Shanahan, will become the new offensive coordinator in Washington. Kyle Shanahan was the former offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans.

Let the games begin!

January 5, 2010 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

Commonly Known ‘Black Monday’ Brings End To Zorn’s Regime In Washington

The Monday following the final Sunday of games in the NFL’s regular season is commonly known as “Black Monday”, mainly because it involves a large dish-out of executive firings, coaching dismissals, and team overhauls. And that was just the case in Washington, D.C. this morning.

The Washington Redskins arrived home this morning around 2:15 am after dropping a close game to the playoff-bound San Diego Chargers in California. Just hours after the team landed, head coach Jim Zorn, executive VP Bill Allen, and owner Daniel Snyder had a meeting at around 4:15 am. And by 4:45 am, sources say FORMER head coach Jim Zorn was being escorted from Redskins park by security officials.

And just like that, the Zorn regime in the nation’s capital has ended, going 12-20 in two seasons. Sources are also reporting that absolutely no one from the current coaching staff at any position will remain with the team for next season and the heavy speculation is that former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has already signed the papers to become the next head coach in Washington. His rumored right hand men are Mike Zimmer, the current defensive coordinator in Cincy, and Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son and current offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans.

This is where things get interesting…

January 4, 2010 at 9:21 am Leave a comment

Rumor Mill: Shanahan Signing the Papers in DC?

Rumors are surfacing that Mike Shanahan is the next coach in line for the Washington Redskins. Although ex-Bucs coach Jon Gruden would seem like the sure-fire candidate for the Skins’ job, it seems as though his MNF contract has him staying put, leaving Shanahan as the “next best available”.

Mike Shanahan is a proven winner in the league but him taking orders from an executive doesn’t seem like a job he’d like to have. Shanahan has always been his own general manager and he has said he wants a coaching job with general manager duties included.

Only rumors at this point. Stay tuned.

December 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm Leave a comment

Cerrato Out In Washington, Bruce Allen Named New V.P.

And the holidays just got a little better for Redskins fans as Vinny Cerrato resigned today from the Washington Redskins organization.

Recent reports have surfaced claiming the Redskins are introducing Bruce Allen as the new general manager of the team. Allen served as Senior Executive from 1996 – 2003 for the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and happens to be the son of the legendary Skins’ coach George Allen. Which can only lead one to believe who the new head coach of the Redskins might be….Jon Gruden, the head coach under Bruce Allen in Oakland and Tampa Bay. Although Gruden just signed a hefty contract with the Monday Night Football crew, I’m sure Dan Snyder’s money is a just a bit heftier.

Although many Redskins fans would have liked to have seen Mike Holmgren settle in the Nation’s Capital, all we really wanted for Christmas was for Vinny to see the door. Aren’t the holidays just grand when your dreams come true?

Hail to the Redskins.

December 17, 2009 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Clausen Will Enter NFL Draft: A Quick Analysis of the 2010 ‘Potential’ QB Class

With the early departure of Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen announced today, the NFL Draft analysis can begin. With that said, my first bold statement of the NFL Draft is that I believe the quarterback class in 2010 will be a lot deeper than most people expect. At first glance, the QB Class may look a bit too cluttered with spread offense gun-slingers. But I would argue that, with the number of teams that may opt for a quarterback at some point in the draft, we’ll be hearing about these kids for longer than expected. 

Taking a quick look at NFL teams that may have a QB in mind (somewhere within the seven rounds), I come up with about a dozen, give or take. Does Denver stick with Kyle Orton? Sure he’s been decent but does McDaniels want his guy? Does Minnesota look into the future? Brett Favre can’t play forever (right?) and Tavaris Jackson isn’t the long-term answer. San Francisco has had a pleasant surprise in Alex Smith but I’m sure they’ll take a gander. Washington’s quarterback situation is always the topic of discussion, with a majority saying Campbell is at least second string in 2010. Jacksonville needs fans in seats, Garrard isn’t cutting it. Seattle has made up their mind about Hasselbeck, it was a good run. Miami drafted Chad Henne but they may take a late project. Buffalo needs another guy not named Trent Edwards. Cleveland drafted Brady Quinn and he may actually win over Mangini by the end of the season. St. Louis is on the desperate list, Bulger is about to fall apart (literally). Jake Delhomme never cut it for me in Carolina, and John Fox will look to move on in 2010. And finally…Oakland. Gradkowski has worked wonders since Russell was benched but it’s time to ‘officially’ give up on JaMarcus and his horrible attitude. Hopefully for the Raiders, an uncapped year will allow them to cut his fat ass along with his fat contract. So there you have it, about a dozen teams that may look towards a quarterback at some point in the draft. 

Now let’s take a look at the QB prospects. Although the talent level drops off drastically about a quarter through the list, that doesn’t mean the late-round guys can’t turn out okay (see: Tom Brady). Here’s a quick list of my QB prospects in somewhat of a personal Big Board rating: 

  1. Jimmy Clausen (ND)  6’3  217 – He’s played in a pro-style offense and he’s been through the up’s and the down’s of a very popular team. He’s played well, progressed even better, and knows what its like to play away from home.
  2. Jake Locker (WAS)  6’3  223 – Good talent at a bad school, Locker knows the game and is pretty athletic. His arm strength is decent but seems like a good decision-maker.
  3. Sam Bradford (OU)  6’4  214 – Other than the injuries and durability as a result, Bradford is a HUGE talent. His accuracy is second to none and he has good decision making. His athleticism is often overlooked because of how little he leaves the pocket.
  4. Ryan Mallet (ARK)  6’6  250 – Michigan transfer that can throw up numbers in bunches. He has lead feet but has tremendous upside. He would be a project but one worth taking on.
  5. Tony Pike (CIN)  6’6  225 – If you didn’t know Pike before this year, you do now. Pike is smart and very accurate. And impressively enough, the guy can move around for his size. The hype may be surrounding him but I think he could turn out.
  6. Jevan Snead (OM)  6’3  215 – One of the most overrated teams in the nation, Ole Miss got a lot of attention because of Snead. He has good arm strength and his upside was going to get him a lot. But after a crappy season in ’09, Snead’s stock has dropped off. Remember this kid couldn’t beat out McCoy at Texas.
  7. Colt McCoy (UT)  6’3  215 – Not another Vince Young. McCoy can put the pass on a dime but may need help with his ability to read a defense. His leadership is impressive and he’s had great college experience. I would say he’s a sure fire West Coast guy.
  8. Tim Tebow  (FL)  6’3  235 – He wants to play QB but it may not happen. His arm strength isn’t anything special and his decision-making won’t work in the NFL. Jacksonville may be his only hope in the first-round.
  9. Christian Ponder (FSU)  6’3  220 – Not a big fan of this guy in college but he has a very accurate pass and he understands the game. Ponder could succeed in this league as long as he doesn’t have to throw the long ball.
  10. Pat Devlin (UD)  6’4  220 – Originally a QB at Penn State, Devlin has a cannon for an arm and is hoping to follow in a certain one’s footsteps.
  11. Jarrett Brown (WVU)  6’4  220 – Big guy, extremely athletic, and able to make the pass. His upside and potential is scary but can he ever learn to read a defense?
  12. Jonathan Crompton (UT)  6’4  224 – The guy got better, I’ll give him that. He has the intangibles to succeed in the NFL but a team will have to take on a project.
  13. Zac Robinson (OSU)  6’3  210 – If anyone falls victim to the ‘spread-only quarterback’, it’s this guy.
  14. Bill Stull (PITT)  6’3  215 – Played well for a former-NFL coach but his decision-making under pressure is what keeps him down.
  15. Sean Canfield (OSU)  6’4  215 – He got better over the year and people got to find out who the Beaver is.
  16. Max Hall (BYU)  6’1  201 – His accuracy shouldn’t be an issue but his size and decision-making are.
  17. Tim Hiller (WMU)  6’5  228 – I actually like Hiller at a higher spot but his lack of competition and weak arm make him a tough shot. Hiller has a great read on defenses and makes decent decisions but he has cement feet and not a great deep-ball. He could prosper in a short-pass oriented offense.  

Where these guys actually end up will have to wait for my annual Mock Draft. A quick breakdown of the running backs will follow soon.

December 7, 2009 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

Redskins’ Skid Continues, Zorn’s Seat Gets Warmer

Redskins Fan

Players are outraged, coming to blows in the locker room. Coaches are on the hot seat, as close to being terminated as you can get. And the fans are fed up, wearing paper bags to cover their faces at games. The only solution for a team in this kind of state is to win. So what do the Redskins do? They lose to the winless Kansas City Chiefs while scoring just six points. And in fact, the team is doing even worse than the embarassing loss indicates…

The Washington Redskins played like normal in the first half, like a flat soda sitting uncapped for days. The offense had no “go” and the defense looked, at the very least, decent. Rather than giving the kicker a shot for a 53-yard field goal before the half, Zorn elects for Campbell to give it a heave to the endzone. The ball is intercepted and the half ends, Redskins lead 3-0. When the teams take the field to begin the second half, 105-year-old backup quarterback Todd Collins is suddenly the starter as Campbell sits on the sidelines with a beanie and coat on. What gives?

Perhaps it was the blocking by the offensive line, or lack thereof, that caused Campbell to be benched? We all know that Collins is much more mobile when the pocket begins to collapse, which it so often does. Or maybe Campbell was benched because of the lack of depth on the offensive line as a result of piss poor drafting by the front office? Because we all know that the quarterback makes the selections in April and he always want non-catching receivers. Or maybe Campbell warmed the bench in the second half because he had just 89 yards in the first half? Then again, he does call all of the offensive plays from the no-huddle. Whatever the reason may be, Jim Zorn and the coaching staff has made it that much harder on themselves. Not only did Todd Collins produce the same amount of points as Campbell in the same amount of time but with more urgency, but Campbell has to feel like the lowest man on the team right now. How does Jason Campbell tie his cleats next Sunday with confidence? Or does Campbell even start next week? See what I mean? Creating a quarterback controversy at this juncture makes no sense and it takes away from the little amount of identity that your team once had.

Peter King has reported that a meeting was held between Jim Zorn, Dan Snyder, and Vinny Cerratto following the miserable home loss on Sunday. The result? Cerratto relieved Zorn of all play-calling duties. It actually makes sense, finally Cerratto does something intelligent. But why did it take this long? After you performed a rush-hire to make Zorn the head coach and offensive coordinator after a botched head coach hiring job; now you make the change?

Please remember that the current situation in the nation’s capital is NOT Jason Campbell’s fault, nor is it Jim Zorn’s fault. Whether you like Campbell or not, he can’t make his line stay healthy and at least block a little bit. And whether or not you like Zorn, he is working with what he was given because he has absolutely no say in what takes the field on Sundays. Jim Zorn was a lonely quarterback coach in Seattle and was making the modest and humbling jump to become an offensive coordinator. That same lonely quarterback coach was in no way prepared for the OC duties as well as the head coaching duties for one of the league’s most poopular teams. Zorn has a lot of sh*t on his plate and he’s taking the heat for it. Fair? Hardly. But until the Snyder/Cerratto regime gets the hell out of D.C., that same plate will remain full no matter who sits down to it.

Welcome aboard the “FIRE DAN SNYDER” bandwagon.

October 19, 2009 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

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