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  • You’ve Just been ‘Vick’-ed: Why Michael Vick Should be Philly’s Starter

    September 21, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    All the off-season hype of Donovan McNabb’s bitter departure from Philly, his arrival in D.C., and the beginning of the Kevin Kolb era is now over. In fact, it abruptly ended when Kolb struggled to get anything going during the Eagles’ week one matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Of course, he ended up being knocked out of the game early on after suffering a concussion.


    Kolb went 5 for 10 for 24 yards as the Eagles trailed 13-3 at the half.

    Vick stepped in after the break and led the first team offense to a 17-point second half, including 10 unanswered in the final quarter of play. If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers lighting up Philadelphia’s defense for two third quarter scoring drives, Vick’s comeback bid would have been successful.

    Vick stole the show with 175 passing yards and a late touchdown toss to Jeremy Maclin, and his 103 rushing yards on just 11 attempts.
    Despite falling short of a victory, Vick’s performance prompted Andy Reid to start him against Detroit the following week with Kolb recovering from his concussion. Again, Philadelphia’s defense allowed quite a few points–32 to be exact. But, Vick kept up with Detroit’s backup quarterback, Shaun Hill, leading the team to a 21-17 halftime lead.

    The Eagles scored two second half touchdowns thanks to LeSean McCoy’s pair of rushing touchdowns (4-yarder in third, 46-yarder in fourth). Vick finished the game with yet another stellar statline in his first start at QB since 2006: 21/34, 284 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 7 carries, 37 yards.

    Known for his speed and ability to escape the rush, Vick made an impact in both faucets of the offense, both through the air and on the ground.

    When the Eagles signed Vick to a contract last season, he knew he was going to be on the bench quite a bit and only relieve McNabb every couple of series when Reid implemented the wild cat offense. And he gladly took that role, knowing it was what he had to do to make a breakthrough back in to the league after serving his time in jail.

    But personally, I think he has done enough to make up for his mistake. He seems to be much more mature now, after serving his time and I really think it’s time he gets what he has earned, and that’s a shot to be a starting NFL quarterback again.

    He has proved that he still has the ability to make an impact at the pro level, and it doesn’t seem fair that he’s just getting demoted back down just because Kolb, who hasn’t really shown that he’s ready for this responsibility, has been sitting behind McNabb for a couple of years.

    Andy Reid should be doing what is best for his team, and at this point it looks like Vick is what’s best for this offense. Reid has been on a short leash for a while now, and if Kolb struggles in his return, Reid’s hot seat will be on the verge of melting away. Reid’s job in Philly is certainly on the line this season.

    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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  • Saints Squeeze out a Win in San Fran: Reaction to Monday Night’s Game

    September 21, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary couldn’t catch a break in his team’s home opener in San Francisco Monday night, falling to the favored Saints after New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley drilled a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

    Quarterback Alex Smith was responsible for two of the team’s four turnovers, but there’s no way the Niners would’ve even been in the game if it wasn’t for some stellar play from the former first overall draft pick. Smith led the offense 82 yards down the field in eight plays, the drive totaled just :53. Smith went 4/5 for 51 yards, not to mention he ran 12 yards or a first down on two separate occasions.
    Frank Gore, topping off a magnificent game as well (20 carries, 112 yards, 1 TD; 7 receptions, 56 yards, 1 TD), capped off the scoring drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.

    With the game 22-20 with under a minute and a half to play, the Niners were forced to attempt the two-point conversion. Alex hit tight end Vernon Davis at the goal line and it was called no good after the officials claimed the ball never broke the plane, but an official review reversed the call.
    Smith stole the spotlight late in the game only to have his thunder snatched right back from his grasp.
    Defending champion Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints offense drove 54 yards on seven plays to put Hartley in field goal range which, as we have already figured out, abruptly ended any chance of Smith winning the game in overtime.
    Despite dominating nearly every faucet of the game on the offensive side of the ball, San Francisco’s four turnovers took away precious scoring opportunities and ultimately costed the team the game. Let’s see if Singletary can get his team together and bounce back next week at Arrowhead Stadium against the undefeated Chiefs after an 0-2 start.
    Photo Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

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  • Week 1 Picks

    September 12, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    It’s back, the NFL is back in action today. Here are my week one picks.

    Thursday September 9, 2010
    Saints over Vikings
    Yes, I picked this game before it was played three days ago. Tough to pick against the defending champs.
    Sunday September 12, 2010
    Browns over Bucs
    Jake the Snake makes his Cleveland debut in winning fashion.
    Dolphins over Bills
    Chad Henne hooks up with Miami’s newest member for a couple of touchdowns in the win.
    Bengals over Pats
    Brady is stellar on home openers, but Palmer and Cincy’s D will have a great game.
    Colts over Texans
    Andre Johnson will have a big game, but Manning’s day will be even bigger.
    Jaguars over Broncos
    Injuries have destroyed Denver’s defense this offseason, and with MJD playing today Jacksonville’s offense will put up 30.
    Steelers over Falcons
    Dixon showed last year against the Ravens that he can handle a little pressure.
    Titans over Raiders
    Campbell’s Oakland debut, but no way the defense will manage to tame Chris Johnson.
    Giants over Panthers
    Eli and his brother both have huge games to open the season.
    Lions over Bears
    Chicago has several offseason acquisitions to show off, but Stafford and rookie DT Ndamukong Suh will lead Detroit to a slim victory.
    Cardinals over Rams
    Derek Anderson will be debuting for Arizona, and the one-time Pro Bowler should have an easier time under pressure than St. Louis’ rookie signal caller Sam Bradford.
    Packers over Eagles
    Arguably one of the best games of the week. Rodgers v.s. Kolb, Kolb v.s. Woodson. I expect the Packers to pick off Kolb a couple of times in this Green Bay victory.
    49ers over Seahawks
    Pete Carroll’s return to the NFL may prove disastrous early on. Singletary’s Niners will roll over the Hawks.
    Cowboys over Skins
    Another debut for a QB, this one of a veteran switching teams. Dallas will blitz McNabb all day and Romo will hit Miles Austin and rookie Dez Bryant for a couple of touchdowns.
    Monday September 13, 2010
    Ravens over Jets
    Baltimore’s defense will give Mark Sanchez a tough time and Joe Flacco’s new weapons shouldn’t have much trouble getting open with only one Revis on the field.
    Chargers over Chiefs
    What I’m most excited about in this one is probably watching Shawne Merriman in action after his new contract this offseason.
    Enjoy the games!

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  • NFL Kick-off 2010: Last-Second Season Preview

    September 9, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints will battle it out tonight in the NFC Championship game rematch at the Superdome. What does this mean? Football is back, baby!

    I kinda almost ran out of time to do my full preview so here it is. My last-second preview (literally!).

    Who will come out on top of each division:

    AFC North

    Baltimore*
    Pittsburgh
    Cincinnati
    Cleveland

    Outlook: With the additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on the offensive side of the ball there’s no way Joe Flacco doesn’t have a stellar season under center. The only thing holding Baltimore back from making a Super Bowl trip is the devastating injuries to Ed Reed and Domonique Foxworth in the secondary.

    AFC East

    New York*
    New England#
    Miami
    Buffalo

    Outlook: Many people think the Jets are going to let everyone down, although it’s not likely. I mean, the talent is most certainly there and the defense is back to top-tier with the return of shutdown corner Darrelle Revis. Sanchez is only maturing with time and L.T. is anchoring the backfield. Arguably the best defense in the league+a more than capable offense=victories.

    AFC South

    Indianapolis*
    Houston#
    Tennessee
    Jacksonville

    Outlook: There’s an unwritten rule in the NFL that you can’t bet against Peyton Manning, and I don’t think it’s right to break that rule. Past the Indianapolis Mannings, I believe Houston will make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a wild card berth and Chris Johnson will break 1,800 yards with 15 touchdowns for Tennessee’s 9-7 team.

    AFC West

    San Diego*
    Oakland
    Denver
    Kansas City

    Yes, you read that correctly. Oakland will be a second-place team thanks to the several injuries the Broncos have suffered during training camp/preseason and the sputtering in rebuilding that Kansas City has suffered. Philip Rivers’ Chargers, despite not having Vincent Jackson to throw to, will once again take the division crown.

    NFC North

    Green Bay*
    Minnesota#
    Chicago
    Detroit

    Outlook: It’s time for Aaron Rodgers to finally claim his spot among the elite. Rodgers right arm will be the main reason why Green Bay takes the division, but the Packers also have a stellar defense and a great duo of receivers to throw to. Minnesota will take a wild card spot but there’s no way Favre and the Vikes are able to repeat last year’s performance, especially without Sidney Rice for the first six weeks of play.

    NFC East

    Dallas*
    New York
    Philadelphia
    Washington

    Outlook: Could this finally be Romo’s year? I think it may be. With the addition of rookie Dez Bryant and last year’s resurgent Miles Austin looking as strong as ever, Romo’s offense could produce even better results on it’s way to a division title. McNabb and Shanahan aren’t going to magically turn the Skins around on their own, Eli will fall just short of taking the G-Men back to the playoffs and Kevin Kolb will struggle in his first full season at the helm.

    NFC South

    New Orleans*
    Atlanta#
    Carolina
    Tampa Bay

    Outlook: Another one of those unwritten rules: it’s not a very good idea going against the defending champions…or Drew Brees for that matter. It wont be quite as easy for the Saints this season because everyone will be bringing their A game to New Orleans, but that shouldn’t stop them from taking the division away from Atlanta.

    NFC West

    Seattle*
    San Francisco
    Arizona
    St. Louis

    Outlook: So many people want to try and say San Francisco will be the breakout team and take the NFC West this season, but they really don’t have a definite starting quarterback as of right now. It could be Alex Smith, it could be David Carr, it could be newly signed former Heisman winner Troy Smith. Heck, it could even be former Ball State quarterback Nate Davis, who was cut two days ago but later returned to the team’s practice squad. I’ll take the veteran Seattle Seahawks, who made some huge improvements via the draft and free agency, to capture the West instead.

    Playoff Picture:

    AFC

    1. Colts
    2. Ravens
    3. Jets
    4. Chargers
    5. Patriots
    6. Texans

    NFC

    1. Packers
    2. Saints
    3. Cowboys
    4. Seahawks
    5. Vikings
    6. Falcons

    Wild Card Round:

    Jets defeat Texans
    Patriots defeat Chargers

    Cowboys defeat Falcons
    Vikings defeat Seahawks

    Divisional Round:

    Colts defeat Patriots
    Jets defeat Ravens

    Packers defeat Vikings
    Cowboys defeat Saints

    Conference Championship:

    Colts defeat Jets
    Cowboys defeat Packers

    Super Bowl:

    Cowboys defeat Colts
    *Tony Romo finally proves he can win, leading Dallas to its first Super Bowl appearance/victory since the ‘Boys beat the Steelers in the 1995 Super Bowl.

    SB MVP: Miles Austin

    Regular season awards:
    MVP: Chris Johnson
    Offensive POY: Chris Johnson
    Defensive POY: Demarcus Ware
    Comeback POY: Jay Cutler
    Offensive ROY: Dez Bryant
    Defensive ROY: Ndamukong Suh
    Coach of the Year: Gary Kubiak
    Breakout POY(s): Tashard Choice and Felix Jones

    Ten BOLD Predictions for the season (in no particular order):

    1. This year is finally Favre final season (Lets pray it is).
    2. Sam Bradford throws more picks than TDs.
    3. Adrian Peterson limits his fumbles and breaks even more tackles than last season.
    4. Tim Tebow makes 6-7 starts at quarterback.
    5. Mark Sanchez throws 20 touchdown passes…and 15 or less interceptions.
    6. Michael Crabtree has a career year in San Fran
    7. Big Ben gets sacked 40-plus times despite missing the first four games due to suspension.
    8. Michael Turner’s numbers continue to decrease in Atlanta.
    9. Jake Delhomme revives career in Cleveland.
    10. Despite losing starting job to Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs finishes season with double digit TD totals.

    Now that you know who is going to win the Super Bowl I guess there’s really no point in you watching this season, but enjoy it anyways, ’cause there may not be a 2011.

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  • Twelve Injuries With the Most Impact on How the Season Unfolds

    September 6, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    The one thing coaches fear the most during training camp and preseason is having their star player go down with a major injury. The burden is almost inevitable, though, and the injury bug is bound to hit a couple teams each year.


    Here is a list of 12 of the biggest injuries of the offseason and how it will impact their respected teams.

    Wes Welker, New England Patriots

    Obviously this was an injury suffered last season rather than during the preseason, but it just so happens to be one of the most-watched injuries of the preseason. As of three days ago Welker was saying he “doesn’t feel the same” though he still plans on playing week one.

    I mean, if Welker himself is saying he isn’t 100 percent, then there’s no way he’s gonna be able to go out there and catch 10 passes for 150 yards and a score. This will certainly be an interesting situation in New England.

    Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins

    Head coach Mike Shanahan is now saying that he expects McNabb to be able to start the season opener, but that doesn’t mean we’re just going to forget the fact that McNabb isn’t feeling his normal self.

    Yes, it’s true, we’re used to seeing a hurting McNabb. But there’s no question it will leave a mark on this Skins offense this season and, personally, I don’t think the Redskins have much on offense without McNabb under center. Keep an eye out in D.C.

    Montario Hardesty, Cleveland Browns

    Hardesty, the Browns first round pick this season, has had his season end before it even began. Despite Hardesty’s blown out knee, Cleveland’s GM Tom Heckert has decided to stand by his pick and believes he will make a full recovery.

    I wonder how much of an affect this will have on Cleveland’s rebuilding process.

    Elvis Dumervil, Denver Broncos

    Denver’s top defensive player, and last year’s sack leader with 17, is out for the season with a chest injury. It’s not only the Dumervil injury that will hurt Denver, but it’s the injury to his replacement, Jarvis Moss, who could miss some time as well. Not to mention Lendale White, on the offensive side of the ball, who is expected to miss the entire season with an ankle injury.

    Let’s face it, Denver is in trouble this season and it all starts with the devastating Dumervil injury.

    Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Ok, I admit it, this injury will have more of an impact on the first four weeks of the season rather than the entire season, but that’s still a pretty solid impact. Getting off to a great start as opposed to a terrible start could play a role in the playoff hunt at the end of the season.

    When Leftwich went down with a knee injury and it was announced that he could miss two to four weeks, the Steelers search for their starting quarterback for the first four weeks of the season (while Big Ben serves his suspension) abruptly ended, and Dixon was practically handed the starting role. Or so it seemed.

    Although Dixon has earned the right to start, and appears to be the guy for head coach Mike Tomlin, veteran quarterback Charlie Batch has yet to be ruled out of the chase. The Leftwich injury surely shook up this QB battle.

    Malcolm Kelly, Washington Redskins

    The large, 6’4” third year receiver landed on the injured reserve after re-aggravating his left hamstring last week. Kelly, one of the few weapons in the Skins’ arsenal, was poised to break out this season with McNabb coming in to take over for Jason Campbell.

    I was expecting Kelly to get quite a few looks in the red zone considering his size, but McNabb may have to rely on the unproven Devin Thomas a bit more now.

    Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills

    There’s no question that the Bills’ backfield has taken some hits this preseason. Lynch finally returned to action in the team’s preseason finale after suffering a sprained ankle in the opener, but Jackson is supposed to be taking it easy for the first few weeks of the regular season after injuring his hand.

    Whether they both play week one or not, they are not going to be themselves from the start, which isn’t exactly good news considering they will be traveling to Lambeau the second week of the season. Looks like rookie C.J. Spiller will have to step up.

    Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders

    After showing some signs of brightness throughout his first two NFL seasons in Oakland, Bush will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after suffering a broken thumb. Surgery is expected and it may be a lingering issue in the future.

    Looks like if Al Davis doesn’t want Darren McFadden to assume a heavier workload, then he will have to go out and sign a veteran via the free-agent wire.

    Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens

    Still battling numerous injuries, Ballhawk Reed was placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and will miss six weeks, possibly more. Much like Pittsburgh and Polamalu, the Baltimore Ravens’ defense is no where near the same without Reed in the lineup.

    With Domonique Foxworth out for the season with a torn ACL and Fabian Washington struggling to hold the corner spot, Baltimore’s secondary will be taking some beatings without Reed.

    Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings

    After news came out that Sidney Rice was undergoing hip surgery and will miss at least the first six weeks of the regular season, Minnesota’s front office went out and signed two other receiversGreg Camarillo and deep threat Javon Walker. Walker was cut less than two weeks later.

    Rice, Favre’s favorite target in 2009, will be greatly missed in the Vikes’ offense and may even end up missing more than just the six games.

    Donte’ Stallworth, Baltimore Ravens

    Stallworth suffered a broken foot in Baltimore’s preseason matchup with the Giants and will miss about two months of play. Stallworth wasn’t one of the top targets in Baltimore’s arsenal of receivers, but the injury was enough to persuade Baltimore to go out and sign veteran T.J. Houshmandzadeh after he was released by the Seahawks.

    One door closes, another one opens.

    Ben Tate, Houston Texans

    Just like Montario Hardesty in Cleveland, rookie running back Ben Tate’s opening season ends before it even begins. In a preseason matchup with the Cardinals Tate broke his ankle after just two carries. Tate was carted off the field and it was later announced he will go on the IR and will undergo ankle surgery.

    Between this major injury and the ailing Steve Slaton, who had a disappointing campaign last season, Houston went out and signed Derrick Ward for insurance to Arian Foster.

    Other Injuries to Watch out For:

    Troy Polamalu: The chances of his knee injury carrying over to 2010 is highly unlikely after watching him in August, but anything can happen so watch out for it just in case.

    Percy Harvin: Harvin’s migraines aren’t supposed to force him to miss much playing time, but considering he collapsed while watching practice because of them, it sounds much more serious than originally said.

    Brian Urlacher: Urlacher’s calf injury isn’t supposed to be serious, either. Meaning he probably wont be sidelined by it, unless of course he re-aggravates it while in action. Urlacher, 32, missed all but one game last season from an unrelated injury but at the linebacker position this injury probably wont go away anytime soon.

    Brett Favre: Favre’s surgically repaired ankle is what forced him to wait so long to make a decision. Who knows if it will make it through all 16 regular season games.

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  • Quarterbacks Making Headlines: 15 Questions Surrounding QBs

    September 5, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    By far the most important position on the field, quarterbacks receive a lot of heat for messing up, but also get a lot of credit when their respected teams starts winning games.

    This year it seems as though most storylines surround the franchise’s signal caller.

    Here’s my take on the headlines involving franchise quarterbacks:

    Can Brett Favre Take Minnesota to the Big Dance in his Final Season?

    Obviously we all know that Brett Favre has, in fact, returned to the Vikes for his 20th season in the league, and that this will more than likely be his final season. But, what we don’t know is how his ankle will hold up.

    The one thing that was keeping Favre from making his decision earlier looks to be his bum ankle that he has had surgery on. With loss of Sidney Rice, Minnesota’s go-to guy in ’09, for at least the first six weeks of the season, Favre’s numbers could see a dip from last year’s career-highs.

    There’s no way Favre plays better than he did last season, meaning no, I don’t think he will be able to even win the division much less represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

    Will Tim Tebow Start any Games in Denver this Season?

    After watching his impressive preseason, Tebow very well may have jumped ahead of Brady Quinn on the Broncos’ depth chart. Tebow has shown me that, with a little more hard work off the field, Tebow can be a starter in the NFL. I mean, he can’t do any worse than what JaMarcus Russell and Matt Leinart have done in their careers, can he?

    Tebow has nothing to lose and a whole lot of potential. Personally, I’m rather tired of all these people hating on the guy.

    How Much Maturity will Mark Sanchez Show in New York?

    New York will be looking to pass a little more often with the loss of the team’s leading rusher last season, Thomas Jones. Second year running back Shonn Greene will still be adjusting to carrying the load, and who knows how much Ladainian Tomlinson will be able to handle at his delicate age.

    All things point to a pass-more-often New York offense with Sanchez (20 INTs last season) at the helm. He’s looked solid at points during the preseason, but I don’t see him throwing 25 TDs and anything less than 15 INTs this season. At this point, I believe the Jets’ stellar defense is the only thing keeping them in championship contention.

    Can Dixon hold Down Job until Big Ben Returns?

    The good news in Pittsburgh on this wonderful afternoon is that Big Ben’s suspension was reduced by Roger Goodell from six games to four games. But, the bad news came yesterday when Byron Leftwich hurt his knee in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.

    Today Leftwich was diagnosed with a sprained MCL and he will be out for two to four weeks. Leftwich’s injury basically confirms that Dennis Dixon will be the starter for the first four games, which includes a matchup with Pittsburgh’s arch rival, the Baltimore Ravens.

    Dixon’s lone start as an NFL quarterback was against the Ravens, at prime time on Monday night. Considering the amount of pressure he had on him to step up, Dixon played a solid game in the team’s 20-17 overtime loss. Dixon stood tall in the pocket, taking hits after many of his passing attempts. Dixon completed less than half of his passes and threw an interception, but his upside showed too as he ran for 27 yards and a touchdown, and threw another one.

    There’s still a chance that veteran Charlie Batch becomes the starter instead, but all things would lead me to believe that Dixon will be given the role.

    How Much will the Addition of Boldin Help Joe Flacco?

    Former first round pick Joe Flacco, entering his third NFL season, has improved after each offseason and this season shouldn’t be any different. Especially with his team’s latest additions. Bringing in YAC-master Anquan Boldin should be the most beneficial acquisition. With Ray Rice and Derek Mason already to Flacco’s disposal, Boldin’s 586 receptions and 44 career touchdown catches could be enough for Flacco to set career highs in basically every major statistical category.

    With the defense being Baltimore’s biggest weakness now, expect head coach Jim Harbaugh to go to the air a bit more this season, giving Boldin and rejuvenated tight end Todd Heap plenty of targets. Since Big Ben will miss the first four games of the season, Flacco may take over the spotlight among AFC North quarterbacks this year.

    Can McNabb Return Washington to the Playoffs?

    I know what you’re thinking: why is this even a question? Well, the truth is I came up with this question before the rumors about McNabb possibly missing the season opener began to spread around the ‘net. Without McNabb, the Redskins offense has nothing. Even after releasing Willie Parker the backfield is just overcrowded with over-the-hill vets, and the only legit receiving threat on the roster very well may be tight end Chris Cooley.

    Even with McNabb, after looking at the rest of Washington’s offensive depth chart I really don’t see him doing much. You can’t forget that Washington is in the NFC East, meaning they would have to beat out the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles. Sorry, that’s just not gonna happen.

    Despite Lack of Weapons, How will Rookie Bradford Fare in St. Louis?

    If you’re a fantasy owner who has Steven Jackson on your team then I’m sure you’re loving the fact that Bradford will be the starter because, yes, that means Jackson will get the ball quite a bit in an attempt to keep the pressure off Bradford.

    Obviously Bradford isn’t going to step up here from day one and dominate the league, but I see him having a Stafford-like performance in his rookie campaign: not too great a team record, but solid performance. It was good that Bradford got hit quite a bit in the preseason, this will make it a little easier to adjust to the speed of the game, and his preseason numbers weren’t too bad either.

    Improvement for Jay Cutler in 2010?

    Cutler clearly isn’t the favorite in the windy city after leading the league with 26 interceptions last season, but since he was at the very bottom of the league in ’09, it really shouldn’t be too hard to make an improvement this season. A little help from his relatively unknown receiving corps would be a huge help, but all Cutler really needed improvement on this offseason was limiting the mental mistakes which caused him to throw so many interceptions.

    Adjusting to the new offense may be his biggest concern right now, though. If he can settle down quickly in this offense I think he will be ok. Cutler is my pick for comeback player of the year.

    Is Aaron Rodgers Earning a spot atop the List of Elite Quarterbacks?

    With two straight solid seasons of 4,000-plus yards and 28-plus TDs it’s tough to not include him with the guys such as Manning and Brees, but right now he may be stuck down there with the likes of Romo and Matt Schaub.

    He has a really good chance at taking this Packers team–which has a stellar D and solid run game to complement Rodgers’ game–all the way to the Super Bowl this season, but until he does so I think we will need to keep him off any list that includes Manning, Brady and Brees.

    Will Matthew Stafford’s Lions Improve this Season?

    The addition to this Lions team that will help Stafford the most would probably have to be rookie back Jahvid Best. Best has playmaking ability and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Nate Burleson at the receiving position was another solid addition that will aid Stafford’s second season.

    Stafford had a rough ending to the 2009 season (8 INTs in last three games played), but performances such as his five touchdown thrilling victory against the Cleveland Browns showed us that he has guts and is a great leader. After injuring his throwing shoulder on a pass with just seconds left in the game, Stafford went back out and threw the game-winning touchdown to give the Lions a one-point victory.

    Just like every other struggling rookie quarterback, Stafford will just need to get past the mental errors and limit his mistakes.

    Is Arizona Better off Without Leinart?

    It was confirmed today that the Arizona Cardinals ended the Matt Leinart era by releasing the longtime bench-warmer after he spoke out about his frustration earlier this week. He claimed to have ‘beaten out’ veteran Derek Anderson for the starting job.

    While his numbers didn’t look too bad, Leinart’s intangibles haven’t impressed many people. He has failed to prove himself as a leader and has struggled while under pressure. Lets face it, this guy is a bust and will never be nothing more than a clipboard holder in the NFL. Arizona’s best bet was to do exactly what they did: release Leinart and start Anderson. Kudos to you, Arizona!

    Jake Delhomme’s Redemption season?

    If I hadn’t already said that Jay Cutler is my pick to win the comeback player of the year award this season, Delhomme would’ve gotten the nod. So I guess you’ll have to be my runner up, Jake.

    Personally I am glad he got a fresh start, it was desperately needed. Cleveland may not exactly be the best place for a fresh start, but it will have to do. The season-ending injury to rookie RB Montario Hardesty wont have a positive effect on Cleveland’s offense, but Jerome Harrison may be enough to take a little pressure off Jake, allowing him to eliminate some of his mistakes. I’m not expecting a Pro Bowl performance or anything like that, but certainly a great improvement on his 2009 campaign which included just eight TD passes and 18 INTs.

    Matt Moore v.s. Jimmy Clausen: Who wins out?

    I’m giving the edge to the 26-year old Moore, who backed up Delhomme for the last several years. In just eight starts since 2007, Moore put up a record of 6-2 with 11 TD tosses. After Delhomme struggled to get anything going last season, Moore stepped in and threw for eight TDs and just two INTs in five starts. The team went 4-1 over that span as he threw for over a 1,000 yards and completed 61.6 percent of his passes.

    His late-season performance alone should be enough to give him the starting role this season. He has proven himself and the rookie Clausen has struggled during the preseason. Moore will be the opening day starter, mark my words.

    No Questions to be asked in New England, or is there?

    Interestingly enough, Brady struggled against the Ravens in the playoffs last season, losing a rare playoff game by blowout (33-14). Brady threw three INTs and just 154 yards in the game. This was the last game we’ve seen Brady play and it seemed to have worried some people.

    His regular season was stellar as always (4,398 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 96.2 rating), but he shines the brightest in the playoffs and he just didn’t show up that day. This is very minor in my eyes, but we have to realize that everyone is human and things are just going to be going downhill from here as he approaches his mid-30s. Questions surround New England’s receiving corps and the backfield has never been all that consistent either. I’m not worrying if I’m a Pats fan, but the end seems to be in sight in my opinion.

    Romo’s Year to take the ‘Boys all the Way?

    The weapons are all there. Stellar defense. Solid run game. Weapons in the passing game.

    If Romo is to win a Super Bowl, I think this would be the year. Romo ended Dallas’ playoff win drought, proving he has the potential to win when it matters most. That’s not a concern. Not in my eyes, anyways. With Miles Austin and rookie Dez Bryant leading the air attack and running back Tashard Choice poised to breakout, I really don’t see this team not winning in the playoffs.

    I’ll go ahead and say it here first, Dallas and Green Bay will be playing for the NFC Championship this January. I won’t say who will win until I come out with my last-second season preview in the next several days, but they will be the two fighting for a chance at the Super Bowl.

    Any other questions you would like answered? Just let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to come back to read my last-second NFL preview in the coming days.

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  • What We Learned on Monday: Still No News in Arizona

    August 24, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (1)

    The second week of the 2010 preseason was wrapped up on Monday night as the Tennessee Titans completely shut down the Arizona Cardinals, 24-10.

    Things were looking good on Jeff Fisher’s side of the field, with Vince Young, Chris Johnson & Co. looking good early on. Not to mention solid special teams play from everyone.
    But, on the other side of the field Arizona’s head coach Ken Whisenhunt was left scratching his head. One things is for sure after tonight’s matchup: Ken still has no idea who his quarterback will be come week one of the regular season.
    Both Matt Leinart–the favorite to win the job–and Derek Anderson put up acceptable statlines, but neither really grabbed anyone’s attention. Mistake-free football was played, but there were several relatively easy plays that should’ve been made, passes that should’ve been completed. Only they weren’t.
    Leinart looked shaky under Tennessee’s pressure, and although he threw for 105 yards, Anderson missed some open receivers as well.
    Let’s just say that this is anyone’s job for the taking, and we may not know the starter until a few days before the game. In my opinion, I think Leinart, in the end, will be given the starting job based simply on the fact that he’s been waiting his turn for four years.
    But, with limited receivers to his disposal and lack of accuracy under pressure, Derek Anderson will take over the starting role halfway through the season. The former Pro Bowl quarterback has a stronger throwing arm and has a much easier time shaking off defenders. Plus if I was Whisenhunt I would feel more comfortable having a proven winner (led Cleveland with a 10-6 record in ’07; fell just short of playoffs) under center, rather than a career-long benchwarmer.
    In reality, it really doesn’t look like we learned much after Monday’s game, did we? Well, other than the fact that Chris Johnson isn’t messing around, and will do everything he can to break 2,000 again this season.
    Photo credit: (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

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  • Haynesworth Saga: Shanahan Fires Back

    August 24, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    More drama in D.C., and yes, it also happens to involve the most expensive defensive tackle in league history: Albert ‘not-worth-the-money’ Haynesworth.

    Not only has Big Al complained about the Skins’ new 3-4 scheme, but now he has also been complaining after the Redskins “downplayed” Haynesworth’s apparent headaches this past week. We later found out he has been diagnosed with a condition which causes muscle deterioration.
    After missing several days of practice last week, head coach Mike Shanahan described it to the press as ‘headaches.’ But, again, it was later discovered to be much worse than that.
    I can certainly see why Haynesworth was so upset with Shanahan and the Washington staff, downplaying his condition the way they did, but they were unaware and, frankly, tired of his excuses. Personally, I’m happy that Shanahan finally lashed back and set Albert straight.
    Mike told Fanhouse.com that Haynesworth will not be playing without practicing again. He has gotten away with it in the past, but Shanahan is sending him a message by saying it “wont happen again under this regime.”
    Finally we get to see a coach publicly rip a player like this. This needed to happen, and it needed to happen to Haynesworth.
    Obviously this time Haynesworth has a legitimate argument against the Redskins, but this may have been the final straw. Especially after he publicly stated that he is going to sit out next offseason’s workouts, as well.
    If I’m Washington, I’m doing everything I can to get Haynesworth out of town. Perhaps Dan Snyder should just sell the team, that may turn this franchise around quicker than anything else.
    Photo credit: (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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  • Seattle’s Mike Williams Looking to Make a Case for Comeback Player of the Year in 2010

    August 15, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    An article written by Jim Trotter in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated on how former first round pick Mike Williams is attempting to turn around his disappointing NFL career in Seattle’s camp this season.

    The former Detroit Lion, Oakland Raider and Tennessee Titan has been out of the league since 2007 but signed with Seattle in April, which has reunited him with his college coach at USC, Pete Carroll.

    The 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft (Detroit Lions) has caught just 44 passes for 539 yards and two touchdowns in 30 career games (only seven starts).

    Williams, though he admitted he has been a bit rusty in camp thus far, made a great play on his lone catch in last night’s preseason game against his former team Tennessee. Williams turned a short catch in to a 51-yard touchdown.

    Just before Williams was released by Tennessee in 2007, he reportedly weighed 270 pounds but is now back down to 235-240 and looking better than ever.

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  • Recapping Thursday’s Action

    August 13, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (0)

    Last night there were six teams in action to kick off week one of the NFL preseason.

    To some fans preseason doesn’t mean anything and they may not enjoy it because they don’t know who most of the players are. But to me, preseason is much more than that.

    Not only does it mean the return of football, which also means we are that much closer to those lovely Sunday afternoons in the fall, but it also gives us fans a chance to spot out which teams have hidden talents on the bench. Which is always fun to do in my opinion.

    The stars are certainly still the focal point, but it’s nice to see those other guys get a chance.

    The most exciting of the three games was between the defending champion Saints and Tom Brady’s Patriots. New England and New Orleans both saw their backup quarterbacks have solid games. Patrick Ramsey (Saints) went 7/11 with 111 yards, the 24-year old Brian Hoyer (Patriots) went 8 of 13 for 106 yards. Neither threw any touchdown passes, but they did lead the team down the field a couple of times and stayed mistake-free, which is always something coaches love to see.

    Coming off a season in which he started just five games (only 14 starts in four NFL seasons with New England), Laurence Maroney ran the ball well, gaining 30 yards and two TDs on eight carries.

    Welker-esque Julian Edelman caught six passes for 90 yards while second-year receiver of the Saints, Adrian Arrington caught four passes which went for a total of 87 yards.

    All in all, a great game to watch especially for the preseason. Very little mistakes committed on both sides of the field. Zero turnovers and a total nine penalties. Can’t argue with that.

    The other two games (Panthers@Ravens, Raiders@Cowboys) didn’t quite matchup but it was hard-hitting football nevertheless.

    In Dallas, Tony Romo’s offense struggled throughout the game. Again, it’s only preseason, but it’s never good to see names such as Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice get gobbled up in the backfield by 2009’s 29th ranked rushing defense. The Barber/Jones/Choice trio combined for 21 yards and zero TDs on 10 attempts. The leading rusher? Romo’s backup Stephen McGee. Yes, a quarterback, who gained 15 yards on two scramble attempts.

    The kicking game looked good as the 23-year old David Buehler went three for three, scoring all nine of Dallas’ points.

    Kyle Boller’s 148 yards and one TD, journeyman RB Michael Bennett’s 68 yards on the ground and Oakland’s six sacks as a team led to a 17-9 victory over the ‘Boys.

    Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen looked solid in his Carolina Panthers debut, with the only dark spot coming on an interception thrown to Baltimore’s Tom Zbikowski. Flacco looked great, though newly acquired Ravens Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth didn’t have much of a chance to show off their skills, catching just one pass each. If Flacco’s 120 yards on just eight completions are any indication, though, I doubt Baltimore will have much trouble getting by with the passing game this season.

    Despite limited playing time from the first team defense, Baltimore sacked Carolina’s quarterbacks seven times and forced two turnovers.

    Six more teams (Bills@Redskins, Jaguars@Eagles, Chiefs@Falcons) will be facing off tonight as the rest of the 10 week one games will be played out from Saturday through Monday night.

    Stay tuned for more preseason recaps/thoughts.

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