Monday, December 7, 2009

Really, Pittsburgh?

Really, Pittsburgh? The Raiders? Really? What's going on?

In Sunday's game against the Raiders the Steelers gave up the W and 21 points in the 4th quarter at Heinz Field extending the Steelers losing streak to four games which includes a loss to the sub-par Kansas City Chiefs a couple of weeks ago.

Now the Steelers are outside looking in at the AFC playoff hunt. They need to win the rest of their games AND other teams have to lose in order for the reigning champs to have a chance at making the post season. Maybe we will see Coach Tomlin at the Tuesday press conference doing his best impression of Jim Mora's "Playoffs?!?" presser. At least then Coors Light will have another good commercial down the road.

I know Polamalu has been hurt most of the season, but that's really no excuse. Yes, he is an impact player but at some point one of the other 10 regular defensive starters have to step up and fill his ball-hawking shoes. Tyrone Carter has played well while Polamalu has been out, but the defense lacks the big play ability it has with him in the secondary.

Other injuries have not helped the team either. Big Ben's concussion likely cost the Steelers a W against the Ravens a week ago though third stringer Dennis Dixon played as well as could be expected in his first NFL start. Defensive linemen Aaron Smith has been out and it looks like starters William Gay (concussion) and Hines Ward (hamstring) are questionable this week against the Cleveland Browns.

I want to see the Steelers get back on track as a fan, but the prospects of a repeat are very slim to none at this point. The AFC is a tough conference every year and 10-6 just isn't good enough these days. They should be able to pull out a win against the Browns this week and stop their skid, but I said that against the Chiefs and the Raiders - I guess that's why they play the game.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Braylon Gets His Wish - Headed Out of Cleveland

Former Cleveland Brown Braylon Edwards was traded on Wednesday to the New York Jets for Wideout Chansi Stuckey and Linebacker Jason Trusnik along with two draft picks in the third and fifth round. Depending on Braylon’s performance the third round pick could be bumped up to a second round pick if he has a phenomenal year and catches “X” number of balls.

The trade is great for both teams. The Jets get a legitimate young, established downfield threat and the Browns receive two prospects and draft picks to build up their team. It looks like Mangini did take some notes from Bilichick when he was in New England. Star players are just as expendable – if the compensation is right.

According to, the Jets are going to start Edwards on Monday Night Football this week against the Dolphins.

The Jets are looking like a playoff team right now and the addition of Edwards only makes their offense more legitimate. Their running game should open up for Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller and Jericho Cotchery should find more room to get open now that defenses have to worry about Braylon breaking off for a long touchdown reception.

Lookout Patriots – the Jets are gunning for you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ups and Downs - Week 4

Week 4 Ups

Brett Favre

Yeah, as you all probably know by now - I love me some Favre - almost enough to run out and buy some Wrangler jeans and a farm right now. Although after all the comments and puppy dog eyes he was making when he mentioned Favre I think John Gruden likes Favre waaay more than I do. Brett played a heck of a game against his old team and showed many of us he can still throw the rock at 40 years old. Favre's 271 yards and 3 TDs (and 0 Ints which is impressive for Brett) kept the Vikings a perfect 4-0 this season.

Rashard Mendenhall

I would just like to say I was on this guy's bandwagon at the beginning of the year and actually drafted him in a couple of fantasy leagues, so I'm not late to the party on this one. It looks like the tough love Coach Tomlin showed Mendenhall in week 3 really hit home when he ran all over the Chargers on Sunday night for 165 yards and 2 TDs. He needed to have a big game to remind the Steelers why they spent a first round pick on him two years ago. With a few more games like that - and Willie Parker not getting the tough yards and staying injured- he could find himself as the featured back in Pittsburgh.

Steve Smith

So, which Steve Smith is "the other" Steve Smith now? New York Giants' Steve Smith has been on fire so far this season which is the exact opposite of his namesake in Carolina. I figured Eli Manning would have to throw to someone, but I didn't know he would find a sole mate so early in the season. Granted some of the defenses he has torched haven't been the leagues best he should have plenty of practice catching the magic bean and scoring TDs by then. If this guy is still available in your fantasy league grab him while you can. You will thank yourself later.

Week 4 Downs

Tony Romo

Week 1 Tony Romo looked like a football god throwing all over the place against the Bucs...then reality set in and has apparently stuck for the last three weeks. Romo followed up a horrible week 2 with a mediocre week 3 and week 4 wasn't much better. With a 67.1 Qb rating, 0 TDs and 1 Int in week 4 there is much to be desired from Anthony Romo. Yeah, I'm just going to call him Anthony until he is cool enough, or makes his reads, to be Tony again. I think he misses TO more than he wants to admit.

Steven Jackson

Poor SJax. An incredible talent almost wasted on such a terrible team. It's tough enough to be a running back in the NFL and even harder when the opposing team knows you are the only legitimate offensive threat on the Rams' roster. He has been getting his carries, but not much for yards and he has 0 TDs on the season. It's not his fault he hasn't exploded yet. It's hard to break off a run with 9 guys on your back.

Roddy White

Ok, so I know he was on bye last week but I'm a little behind. Mr. White goes out last season, blows up, gets paid like the "#1" receiver he says he is in the off season, and then decides to take a vacation on the field every week. I wish that series of events summed up my last calendar year. Roddy White has 15 receptions and 119 yards and 1 TD through three games this season. By comparison, Mr. Smith mentioned above has had two games where he has more than 100 yards in a single game. It's time to find that 2008 swagger you had.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Fifth Down

I'm back! It's been a while since I wrote last and a lot has happened. Here are a few things to get caught up on in the Fifth Down.

Richard Seymour Traded to the Raiders

The Patriots traded Richard Seymour to the Oakland Raiders for a 2011 first round draft pick last week. The trade seemed to come out of nowhere as there were no rumors in the media about such a trade. The Patriots unload another large contract and since Seymour was due to be a free agent next year they have likely made a good financial decision. Since the Raiders aren't likely to have a winning record for a while with crazy Al Davis running the show the Patriots stand to make off like bandits with a top draft pick in 2011. I hate the Patriots almost as much as I hate Ohio State but I have to give it to them on this one. Touche Belichick, Touche.

Browns Coach Mum on starter at QB

This week Browns head coach Eric Mangini said he decided on his starting QB but did not want to reveal who it was for reasons of having a competitive edge for their opener against the Vikings. Man-genius is over thinking this one by a mile. Its not like Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn are completely different types of quarterbacks. Neither is a scrambler or a run first Michael Vick kind of qb - just your average stand in the pocket and throw the ball kinds of guys. The Vikings don't really care who you have in there Mangini. They are still coming at you with everything they have regardless of who your QB is. I hope Mangini chose wisely. The Browns aren't going to be able to move the ball on the ground against one of the leagues best run defenses.

Steelers / Titans - Where's the run game Pittsburgh?

What happened to smash mouth, we're going to run the ball and there is nothing you can do about it football, Pittsburgh? The Steelers were held to only 39 yards on the ground against the Tennessee Titans this past Thursday night. Neither "Fast" Willie Parker or "Hopefully I wont get my shoulder broken again" Rashard Mendenhall were able to push the pile for any significant gains on Thursday. Coupled with the lack of a run game and Big Ben taking a lot of hits it is becoming pretty apparent that the Steelers need to spend some money on some premier offensive linemen very soon. I know they won the Super Bowl with pretty much the same personnel on the line, but Ben can't win every game by himself.

Favre signs with Vikings

Probably the biggest story while I was away was that Fave finally made the decision to join the Minnesota Vikings. Favre signed a two year deal that instantly made him the starting quarterback over Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels who were competing for the starting job themselves. While most would say this isn't "fair" Favre is a legend and is still better than those two guys at age 39. Let's hope Old Man River can do what the Vikes think he can and lead them deep into the playoffs. With Adrian Peterson carrying the rock against defenses that cant stack the box anymore I think a deep playoff run is more than likely.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

He's Back ! Vick signs with Philly

The speculation of what team might sign Michael Vick is over. Tonight Vick signed a two year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles where he will back up Donovan McNabb for the time being.

The Eagles should be a good fit for Vick as they have a strong head coach that is willing to put in extra time with his players to keep them on the straight and narrow and a very strong fan base who should embrace the electrifying Vick as he gets back into playing shape.

Michael Vick will be eligible to play in the final two preseason games and will be fully reinstated by week six this season. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles fit him into their game plan this year.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Crabtree Continues Holdout

Michael Crabtree still isnt at 49'ers camp and it doesn't look like he will be there any time soon. Crabtree, the tenth pick in this year's draft, wants more money than Raider and seventh pick Darrius Heyward-Bey's 5 year, $38.25M ($23.5M guaranteed) because he was projected to be higher on the draft board than DHB in mock drafts.

That's crazy and absolutely rediculous. The notion he is willing to sit out the entire season this year to re-enter the draft next year is even more crazy. I seriously doubt a NFL franchise will want to take a wide receiver with a top five pick who hasn't played in a year. Sounds like he needs to play some more poker and learn how to bluff before he sits down with the big boys.

Michael Crabtree hasn't proven anything in the NFL and seems to think he is worth Larry Fitzgerald money right out of college. Sure, Crabtree was a great college receiver but that doesn't mean anything in the NFL. Ryan Leaf, Charles Rogers, and Peter Warrick , to name a few, were all great college players at their own positions but turned out to be busts in the NFL. Until Crabtree proves he is even worth a dollar he needs to get paid like the tenth pick in the draft should - not on how high you were projected to be drafted.

Historically rookie wide receivers don't fare well in their first year in the league. NFL cornerbacks are faster, stronger, and smarter than in college and his routes are going to have to be flawless in order to get open for a reception. It's hard to practice your route running if you aren't at practice. The longer he holds out the worse off he, and the 49ers, are going to be going into the season.

Crabtree needs to get his head out of the clouds and his butt into camp. He has a lot to prove before he has the clout to demand more money. I really hope the 49ers call his bluff and if he isnt bluffing he could prove to be the dumbest football player of all time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Retirement is for suckers! Mason back with Ravens

I guess retirement isn't what it used to be. For many athletes it means the end of a career, sometimes long and other times shortened by injuries, but meant you were done. These days it seems like a synonym for "vacation" in the sports world. A term that is used abruptly and seemingly without reason. Its almost like the athlete wakes up says to themselves "Ya know, I'm kinda tired. A little sore. Maybe I should retire. Yep, sounds good. Honey, let's go to the beach!!"

Derrick Mason became the most recent inductee into the Un-Retirement Cub and rejoined the Baltimore Ravens at training camp at McDaniels College on Saturday. The decision to come back ended his two week retirement.

It seems he made a rash and emotional decision to retire just a week or so after his good friend and former teammate Steve McNair was murdered. Other factors could have also played a role in his decison to retire also. The Ravens had not been very willing to rework his contract for the coming season and had hinted at holding out. Mason was quoted as saying he still has an "intense fire" to play and feels like he isn't finished yet. Hopefully he was able to get that beach trip out of his system. Sometimes you just have to get away I guess.

This comes as good news for the Ravens who were in desperate need of a number one receiver for the coming season. Mason's sudden retirement left a huge hole in the Ravens receiving corps. Ed Reed was probably the best receiver they had on the roster and he plays safety.

There were some talks about trying to trade for the Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall, who is unhappy with his situation in Denver, before Mason came out of retirement. The Ravens should still be pursuing some kind of trade considering Mason is 35 and will be out of gas in a couple of years and Marshall gives them a long term threat at the position.

Welcome back Derrick! I hope retirement was good to you and they don't take back your AARP card. You get pretty good discounts from what I hear.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Vick to 'Skins? Campbell can't be happy

I feel bad for Jason Campbell. First the whole Jay Cutler business, then the Redskins talked about drafting a quarterback and today the news is that Michael Vick is close to signing a deal with the team and compete for his job. This guy can't seem to catch a break.

According to ESPN, an anonymous Redskins coach is quoted as telling FOX 31 in Denver "There is definitely a number of us who would love to have him play here. I can tell you I would not mind at all."If that isn't a slap in the face for the former first round pick, I'm not sure what is.

Statistically Campbell is the better quarterback having posting a higher career completion percentage (59.7) and passer rating (80.4) than Michael Vick (53.8 and 75.7 respectively) and has shown improvement in his stats since he was drafted in 2005. Vick's stats are as choppy as a nervous chef on Hell's Kitchen trying not to get yelled at by Gordon Ramsay.

Yeah, Michael Vick is/was more exciting to watch than Jason Campbell but if you want a guy to throw the ball to your receivers then Campbell is your guy, not Vick. If you want your quarterback to run for 1,000 yards, then Vick if your guy. The Redskins need to make up their mind on Campbell. Is he your guy or not?

The Redskins need to pick a quarterback and get behind him. No matter who is under center if they don't feel supported by the head coach and the front office then they are not going to perform at a high level. The Redskins need to get behind Campbell and stay there if they want to win this season.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Favre Yet to Decide on Return

Will he or won't he? The now seemingly age old question of whether Brett Favre will return to the NFL for another season still remains to be answered.

Let me put this out there - I like Brett Favre (and I've never been a Packers fan). I don't really care if he robbed a bank, stole someone's identity, or threw a baby for a touchdown - I will still like Brett Favre. But if he decides not to come back this year I will be pretty dissapointed. Not because I really want him to come back to see him play one last year or that I think he adds that missing element to the Vikings to make them a real contender in the NFC, but because the Vikings have invested too much of their time and energy into Favre for him not to return this year.

If he decides not to return this year all the work he has put in, and his surgery, will be all for nothing. The Vikings trainers and coaches that visited Favre in Mississippi this summer that took time away from players that are actually on their roster to go tend to a guy they hope will join their team will be all for nothing.

If Favre decides not to come back this year it will be a selfish decision of a great quarterback. He owes at least one season to the Vikings after all their hard work getting him ready for the season and waiting on him to give a definite answer.

It may take a little while for those faithful Vikings fans to get used to their former Green and Gold wearing nemesis throwing the rock for their team, but they will come around. Favre will put fans in the seats and (a healthy Favre) will put points and wins in the box scores. The Vikings have everything to gain and everything to lose in one decision. Don't let them down Brett.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

LeBron Dunked On?

It seems that you can't really get anything by TMZ, they found a video of the dunk on LeBron James and let's just say that it didn't live up to the hype. The video isn't the best quality - it looks like a cell phone recording - but you can see Jordan Crawford dunking with all the authority that comes with an open lane, two handed dunk. As Crawford is in the air he is "challenged" by what appears to be LeBron but I would hardly classify that as getting dunked on. In the few seconds leading up to the dunk LeBron is half-heartedly playing defense.

I wanted to see Crawford dunk on LeBron like Vice Carter dunked on that French guy a few years ago in the Olympics. Now that was a posterization!

Check out the video and see for yourself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shaq to play football..and tennis..and baseball?

It looks like I have a new favorite show this year - "Shaq Vs". Debuting in August, Shaquille O'Neal will be the star of a show where he will compete against other top athletes in their respective sport. He came up with the idea for the show as a way to train for the upcoming basketball season.

Athletes that are lined up right now include Aquaman Michael Phelps, Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethilisberger, retired former world boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya, Tennis grunter Serena Williams, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujlos, and Olympic volleyball gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

A handicap will be established as part of the competition and Shaq is looking to defeat these other world class athletes at their own game.

Since Shaq completed the Sportscaster U program at Syracuse this past year, I would put my money on this being the first of many opportunities we will have to see Shaq as a TV personality. This will definitely be worth watching - I'm starting the countdown until the first episode.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Let Vick Play

Michael Vick was released from federal custody Monday after finishing up the house arrest portion of his 23 month sentence for dog fighting. Now Vick can officially petition the NFL for reinstatement, but should Commissioner Goodell let him back in the league?

I say let the man play. Vick has served his time and has a pretty complicated road ahead of him just to get back on the field. Vick is still on probation for the next three years and if he wants to leave his home in Virginia he must submit a request to his probation officer which can take a week or so to approve. Not exactly ideal when you have to travel for job interviews.

I understand that some teams may be wary of losing some sponsorship if Vick is signed, but I believe the benefits out weigh the risks. Vick will put fans in the stands especially after being gone for the last two years. I doubt he is in playing shape right now, but word Monday is that he hired Tom Shaw, a personal trainer to professional athletes, to help him get back on track physically.

The man spent two years in jail for running a dog fighting ring. Now I'm not saying he should be on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine for running an illegal and wrong operation, but rapists, murderers, and drug dealers have spent less time in jail than Michael Vick. When St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little was convicted on manslaughter charges in 1998 he only received 90 days in jail, four years probation, and was suspended 8 games by the NFL. More recently Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth, on a very similar manslaughter charge, was given 30 days in jail, which he basically bought his way out of more time given the large amount of money he will be giving to the family of the deceast, and a indefinate suspension by super-tough Commissioner Goodell.

Both Little and Stallworth killed a human and received a far less jail sentence than Michael Vick and we are still trying to villify Vick. He has more than earned a second chance according to the law and now its time he has a second chance with the fans.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who to Pass on in 09

It's almost that time of year again...when the Top 10 Plays on ESPN aren't the same old boring diving baseball catch or home run (Oh, how I hate baseball season) and we finally get to see some real highlights. Let's face it, any Little League kid can catch a ball and throw a guy out at first, but it takes a real athlete (yep, I just called out all baseball players that ever lived) to run over six guys on his way to a touchdown. A new football season calls for a new fantasy football season and if you plan on winning your league then you need to start getting ready now.

That being said, you will probably start reading a lot of projections and articles on who to pick up this year. Well, here is my two cents (for now). Here are a few players that I don't want anywhere near my roster this year. Picking up one of these guys could easily force you to scramble later on to find a replacement and when the waiver wire is looking pretty hopeless, so are your chances of bringing home your league trophy.


Tom Brady

Last year Tom Brady was a legit first round selection that was guaranteed to give you crazy fantasy points week in and week out - and then the ACL tear in the first game. So many first round selections down the tube along with fantasy league championships lost on that one play. Brady had a few setbacks with his surgery and rehab early last year, but apparently ended up recovering well - say the Patriots. Coach Bilicheck gives as many straight answers on the injury report as Mark McGwire does under oath. An ACL tear is no joke and even after months of rest and rehab he is not going to be 100% this year. Maybe a 80% Brady is good for you but not for me. Besides, he may be too broken hearted over those missing flower boxes or thinking about how hot his wife is to concentrate on the game. There are better options for your top QB this year.

Carson Palmer

Like Brady, Carson Palmer is coming off a major injury to begin the season, a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Kind of a big deal if you are the guy slinging the rock. Palmer chose to rehab the injury rather than taking the surgical route like Jake Delhomme did. The Bengals dont exactly have an all star offensive line either and its hard to throw a touchdown while laying on your back. Housh has departed for Seattle and Ochocinco isn't the same as Chad Johnson he used to be - literally actually. You don't want Palmer as your starter this year. Draft a QB earlier and make someone else pick him up.

Running Backs

Brian Westbrook

It doesnt seem like the Eagles have enough Ace bandages to keep West-breezy on the field. For the last few years we all seem to get lured back into the Westbrook trap - he looks and feels good in training camp says Andy Reid - and we know he could bust out with 200 total yards and a couple TDs in any game, so we draft him. He does well for a game or two and you think man, this guy is crazy good - then he gets hurt. In addition to injuries, the Eagles drafted LeSean McCoy who could steal some touches and signed Leonard Weaver at fullback who could steal some receptions from him. Oh, and he is hurt right now and might miss all of training camp. With all this going on he isn't worth your time.

Ryan Grant

I'm still not sold on Ryan Grant as a featured back. He is better suited for a platoon approach rather than shouldering the majority of the load himself. Given that Aaron Rodgers proved he does have the skills to replace Favre the Packers went back to passing a lot since Grant was only giving them just over 3 yards per carry. The only thing he has going for him is that there really isnt anyone to challenge him for his job so he will get carries. Let a die hard Packers fan make the mistake of drafting him and use your pick more wisely.

Wide Receivers

Terrell Owens

Getcha pop corn (or tissues) ready - its about to be another circus. Do you really think T.O. is going to get the ball more than he did in Dallas? That might be impossible. T.O.'s problem wasn't that he wasn't getting looks, he wasnt catching the ball. His hands seem to be turning into stone in his old age. With new QB and future scapegoat Trent Edwards he doesn't have the most experienced QB getting him the ball. Too many chances for off the field problems to effect on the field production. I would draft someone else.

Antonio Bryant

Antonio finally had a good year with the Buccaneers after jumping from team to team over the last few seasons. Putting up 1200 yards receiving and adding 7 tds that might have been good enough to add him to your draft "wish list" this year, but you should still be wary of Antonio. He isn't exactly Mr. Consistency and could easily fall back to earth this season. Really he didnt even turn it on until late last year, so even last year he was inconsistent. Oh, and we still don't know who the QB is going to be in Tampa Bay which doesnt provide a lot of time to build chemistry with Antonio. He is like a box of chocolates - and you know what that means... he shouldn't be trusted to be on your fantasy football team.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mason Retires - Leaves Void for Ravens

Today Baltimore Ravens Wide Receiver Derrick Mason retired after playing 12 seasons split with the Ravens and the Titans. Mason has been a very productive receiver over his career and was key in the Titans run to the Super Bowl in 2000. His departure leaves a huge void in the receiver corps.

This would most likely make Mark Clayton, a historically under performing receiver, their top option in the passing game. The Ravens could use another experienced receiver to replace Mason for this season, maybe two, until they can work out a long term solution. (Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall come to mind since they are not happy with their current teams)

Marvin Harrison is still available and would be a great acquisition for the Ravens.
He brings experience and leadership to an offense with a young quarterback and could provide instant production on the field. Though the Ravens still have tight end Todd Heap and added tight end L.J. Smith this off-season they still need some kind of deep threat to stretch the field. Marvin isn't quite as fast as he used to be, but he can get the job done.

Harrison really is the only number one type option available in free agency right now. The Ravens could take a chance on Plaxico Burress but no one is sure how much disipline Commissioner Goodell will hand down to Burress. The Ravens will have to move quickly to fill the void Mason's retirement has left in their offense and have few viable options right now. I think we will most likely see Harrison wearing a Ravens jersey this season.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Witness Protection - Nike takes Dunk Tape

WHAT?!! LeBron dunked on? Posterized? I'll believe it when I see it.

It seems that I will have to go on believing that LeBron was't posterized on a dunk at his Skills Academy by Xavier University's Jordan Crawford because a Nike rep confiscated the video tapes. I mean, if you don't see the tape, it never happened, right?

I guess it was embarassing for the MVP of the National Basketball League to get dunked on two-handed by a college kid from a Mid-Major, but I think LeBron and Nike have gotten themselves into a bigger mess than if the tape had made its way to YouTube or even SportsCenter.

Now not only did LeBron (allegedly, but for real) get dunked on, but now he looks like a baby for having the tape confiscated. Add this to his walking off the court ordeal during the NBA finals and it looks like King James might not be as mature as his basketball skills would have us believe.

This whole incident could have been easily laughed off afterwards in front of a news camera or two, or saying that this kid has some real skills but instead LeBron looks a little immature and Nike looks like the CIA for taking the tape. Too bad those Men in Black memory erasers aren't real, huh Nike?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who is your 1st pick in '09?

Over the past few years the top pick in your Fantasy Football draft was pretty easy. Most leagues fought over the top pick so they could pick LaDanian Tomlinson who has been regarded as the top running back in the league. Since the scoring in most standard fantasy football leagues (I play on ESPN and you should too) allow the running backs the greatest opportunity to score the most points, LT was an easy number 1 pick. Having LT meant that if the rest of your draft wasn't too bad you were almost guaranteed a spot in your playoff bracket.

Things have changed since then.

LT is coming off a year where he was injured for most of the year and will be 30 when the season starts, which has typically been the age when production begins to decline for running backs. I'm not saying LT is washed up, just that he might not be the clear cut #1 he has been in the past. This year the Chargers also gave a huge contract to Darren Sproles to keep him in San Diego so this could translate into fewer carries for LT. (Which is ridiculous given that LT is more than capable of being the featured back.) If the trend continues then this opens the door for the new class of running backs in this year's draft. So who is the clear cut number one pick this year?

Adrian Peterson?

"All Day" has been regarded as the heir to LT's Automatic 1st pick Throne since he exploded during his rookie season a few years ago. He is fast, powerful, and agile - the running back trifecta. Peterson can run around defenders or run through them. He will find the end zone one way or another. The down side to AP is that he has been prone to injuries through out his career and has ol' Chester Taylor waiting behind him on the depth chart to steal those goal line carries every now and then. Touchdown vultures like Taylor don't help the value of backs like Peterson. A 16 point day (100 yards, 1 TD) is pretty good but 22 (100 yards, 2TDs) is better. Peterson didnt do his fantasy owners many favors in the playoff weeks last year by putting up a couple of single digit performances during the most important part of the fantasy season.

Michael Turner?

The "Burner" had a break out year last year in Atlanta after spending the past few seasons in San Diego as LT's back up. Apparently he was paying attention while he was on the sidelines. I didnt think much of him as a fantasy threat last year and ended up paying for it (Im taking you down this year Foster!). I guess you could say I got Burned? Ok, bad pun and you can hate it if you want. Turner proved his worth in a Falcons offense that was headed into the season with a rookie QB Matt Ryan and a wide out who most thought had breakout potential in Roddy White. This year with a more mature and comfortable Ryan under center and the addition of Tony Gonzalez at tight end the passing game should be opened up a little more for Turner to run wild again this year.

Matt Forte?

Coming off a huge senior season at Tulane (2,000 + yards and 20+ TDs) this rookie wanted to show everyone he was bringing his A game to the NFL. Forte did not disappoint Bears fans (That was Rex Grossman's job and he was not going to let some rookie take it away from him) or fantasy football owners who took a chance and drafted him. The Bears weren't exactly loaded on offense but Forte broke out anyway. Forte rushed for 1200 yards and had 8 rushing TDs and added 400 yards receving along with 4 more receiving TDs. With the Bears offense gaining Jay Cutler in the offseason and Devin Hester being more comfortable at wide out could provide Forte to pick up where he left on last year.

Drew Brees?

Who said you HAD to pick a running back? Over the past few years Drew Brees has led a Saints passing attack that has become feared by secondaries all over the league. You know he is going to throw the ball, but no one can seem to stop it. And if you want a guy that gets a lot of reps and touches why not the only guy on the field that is gauranteed to touch the ball every offensive play? Brees has a beast in Marques Colston (who was hurt for a lot of last season) out at wide out and Reggie Bush catching passes out of the backfield. Lance Moore really came on toward the end of the season and proved he can be another reliable target for Brees. Ok, sure, Drew will throw a interception from time to time (Farve did it, why can't he?) but he will throw for over 300, sometimes even over, 400 yards a game and a couple of TDs. Most standard fantasy leagues award 1 point per every 25 yards and 4 points per passing TD. I'll leave the math up to you. The Saints passing attack has never been the weak point in their passing attack (unless you remember Aaron Brooks - that guy was terrible) and Brees looks poised to have another great season.

So, who is going to be your first pick? Take a second to vote on this week's poll. May you choose wisely if you are lucky enough to grab that piece of paper from that hat with the #1 pick on it. The first pick is easy, it's the rest of your picks that you have to worry about.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remembering McNair

Over the weekend former NFL Quarterback and League MVP Steve McNair was found shot to death, along with a young woman, in a downtown Nashville condo.

When interviewed McNair's teammates described a tough, loyal person who left everything on the field. Community members in Nashville, where McNair played for the Tennessee Titans, remember his dedication to the community through his charity work.

The recent news of his death and relationship with Sahel Kazemi, his 20 year old girlfriend, has shocked many of his fans. But why?

Steve McNair gained fans by the way he played football. He was a tough quarterback who played injured so often that it forced him to retire at the age of 36. His athletic prowess gained him fans and accolades, not what he did in his personal life. McNair was a football player, not a saint.

The news of his affair with a younger woman shouldnt come as a surprise. We had no idea what McNair did in his personal life, so how can we be shocked when we hear something like this? Sure, we expect our public figures, especially athletes, to be role models but they are often just as flawed as you and I.

Will the news of his affair change the way people view him? Absolutely. People will lose respect for him as a person but that opinion shouldn't tarnish what he accomplished on the football field. McNair was a good quarterback who led a Titans team to the Super Bowl in 2000 and shared the league MVP with Peyton Manning in 2003. Both are accomplishements that most players only dream of but McNair was able to acheive this high level of sucess.

Remember Steve McNair the same way you remembered him before he retired, as a football player.

Florida State Appeals NCAA Decision

Florida State Head Football Coach Bobby Bowden continues his fight against allegations that he knowingly played athletes who were not academically eligible. The penalty given by the NCAA would force Bowden and Florida State to forfeit fourteen total wins which would most likely prevent Bowden, who is near the end of his coaching career, from surpassing Joe Paterno, Head Football Coach at Penn State University, as the winningest football coach in NCAA history. Currently Bowden is only one win away from surpassing Joe Pa’s record, but Paterno continues to coach and adding wins to his record.

The majority of the cheating occurred in an online music history class where it is alleged that staffers helped students and even asking one athlete to take a test for another athlete. As part of the NCAA sanctions the University was stripped of scholarships in ten sports and was placed on probation for a four year period. Florida State is appealing the decision saying that forfeiting the games is too harsh.

I think this is a completely legit penalty. If players are not eligible and you put them in the game you shouldn't get the win. I’m sure it can be devastating to a team when a couple of key players can’t make the grades to stay on the field, but to continue to play them is a slap in the face to all the coaches that are doing the right thing and benching those players as they are required to do.

When it comes down to it there aren’t going to be many surprises when it comes to how well a player will do in their classes. Their academic record precedes them and coaches at all levels should be aware of any potential students who may struggle in class and get them the help they need to succeed in their studies.

As the head football coach you are going to be ultimately responsible for the actions of the entire team – players, coaches, etc. Just like with any business the person at the top has to answer for the mistakes of those below them. It is the responsibility of the person at the top to make sure that everyone under their supervision is doing the right things and not putting the team or university at risk.

Coach Bowden seems to think that since the incident was self reported then they should not have to forfeit the games. Just because you self report something does not mean you should be absolved from the consequences that may follow. If the cheating was self reported then that is admirable, but it does not give you a free pass to do whatever you want as long as you report it before the NCAA finds out.