Monday, August 31, 2009
Hence, the New England Patriots have been sending coaches and front office personnel to seemingly every other team in the league. I guess these teams hope that somehow the Bill Belichick magic will arrive with the new hires.
Well, it hasn't.
The high profile assistant coaches that have left the Patriots haven't brought any kind of Patriot magic to the new teams.
Romeo Crennel? Only one season where he even sniffed the playoffs in Cleveland and has been fired.
Eric Mangini? The Man-Genius had a sparkling debut with the Jets and then proceeded to slowly lose his grip. He was fired and has replaced Crennel in Cleveland. (Side note: Does Cleveland EVER learn it's lesson? I mean Bill Belichick himself failed with the Browns before hitting it big in New England. The Patriot way clearly doesn't work at the Mistake by the Lake.)
Charlie Weiss? The super offensive brain was supposed to turn Notre Dame back into a champ. Still waiting on that one.
That doesn't stop other teams from trying to bottle up that New England magic. This year, two AFC West teams are rolling the dice that they can turn into the Patriots west.
Kansas City took the front office route, hiring Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli to be the Chiefs general manager. Pioli wasted no time in imposing his diktat. He hired his own staff and traded for Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and backup quarterback Matt Cassel. The point was clear: Kansas City was going to become New England.
Meanwhile, Denver hired Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who, at 32 years old, was younger than some of the Broncos players. McDaniels was to create a new atmosphere for a team that had spent over a decade with the same head coach.
So far, so bad. The Chiefs have an offensive line looks like a pile of swiss cheese and in the Chiefs last pre-season game, that sieve of a line got Cassel hurt as he tried to avoid what seemed like 12 different defenders coming at him. So now Kansas City has a franchise quarterback with a sprained knee and seemingly no way of actually playing offense. The Chiefs now just fired offensive coordinator Chan Gaily two weeks before the season, so times are desperate in the heartland.
The Cheifs, however, are a glowing star next to what has become of the Denver Broncos. Within months of arriving, new head coach Josh McDaniels managed to piss off Jay Cutler, his star quarterback, to the point where Cutler forced probably the biggest quarterback trade of the modern era.
Meanwhile, as All-Pro crybaby Cutler left town for Chicago, the Broncos got Not-Pro Kyle Orton in return. If the pre-season is any indication, Orton can't seem to actually throw the ball more than ten yards down the field. Last night he injured his finger...AGAINST CHICAGO. So the Bears come to Denver, beat the Broncos in front of a crazy Denver crowd just desperate for victory over their former quarterback and also injure the Broncos starting quarterback. Backup quarterback Chris Simms is also hurt, so now there are no known players able to take snaps for Denver.
Not that it matters because All-Pro receiver Brandon Marshall was suspended for the entire pre-season because he's a jerk. He's not happy with his money situation and his way of dealing with it is to stand around during practice and punt balls away from the staff and act surly all day. He deserved his suspension, but that doesn't help the Broncos on the field.
Two teams that tried to incorporate the Patriot way. Two teams that now have no quarterback for the near future and no offense. Apparently the Patriot way needs to come with instructions because no one knows how to do it outside of New England.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Then there are those of you (I'm looking at my northeastern peeps here) who have difficulty caring one bit about college football. Call you when these guys get to the NFL.
Most of you are in between. You follow your alma mater/state school passionately, but if you live in Nashville, you really don't care what happens in the big west coast game unless it affects your team.
Well, I say enjoy it. College football has just as many storylines as the NFL and while the NCAA is not nearly as clean in picking a champion as the pros are, that makes the arguments that much more interesting. Florida loses a game and suddenly five other teams have a claim to be number one.
CBS Sportsline writer Dennis Dodd came out with a basic list of storylines to follow in college football this year. Most of them will be obvious to college football fans: Who can beat Florida, who will win the Texas/OU game, will Lane Kiffin EVER shut up, the sainthood of Tim Tebow, etc.
He does have a fun list of the all-name team this year. Check out these gems:
QB: Ju-Ju Clayton, Virginia Tech
RB-LeGarrette Blount, Oregon
RB: Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
WR: Dane Sanzenbacher, Ohio State
WR: Kito Poblah, Central Michigan
OL: Caleb Schlauderaff, Utah
OL: Sampson Genus, South Florida
OL: Selvish Capers, West Virginia
OL: Pontus Bondeson, Duke
OL: Omoregie Uzzi, Georgia Tech
TE: Michael Hoomanawanui, Illinois
DL: Cordarrow Thompson, Virginia Tech
DL: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
DL: Oscar Ponce de Leon, Tulane
DL: Jerzy Siewierski, UCLA
LB: Quillie Odom, Virginia Tech
LB: Ovid Goulbourne, West Virginia
LB: Bear Woods, Troy
DB: Ochuko Jenije, Florida State
DB: Guesly Dervil, West Virginia
DB: Knowledge Timmons, Penn State
DB: Boubacar Cissoko, Michigan
K: San San Te, Rutgers
P: Kase Whitehead, Marshall
R: Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State
1. Florida (2/1)
2. Texas (13/2)
3. Oklahoma (9/2)
4. USC (6/1)
5. Alabama (16/1)
6. Ohio State (10/1)
7. Virginia Tech (17/1)
8. Penn State (40/1)
9. LSU (20/1)
10. Mississippi (35/1)
11. Oklahoma State (45/1)
12. California (50/1)
13. Georgia (50/1)
14. Oregon (35/1)
15. Georgia Tech (50/1)
16. Boise State (100/1)
17. TCU (N/A)
18. Utah (75/1)
19. Florida State (20/1)
20. North Carolina (65/1)
21. Iowa (70/1)
22. Nebraska (45/1)
23. Notre Dame (25/1)
24. Brigham Young (N/A)
25. Oregon State (150/1)
Give me Texas or Alabama and the points. No good reason, just because I don't want to pick Florida and for some reason Ohio State has better odds to win than Alabama because it's in a crappy Big 10 conference which just seems wrong. Now go start tailgating so you can be sauced by gametime.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
But at least she doesn't live in Virginia.
The Richmond Times Dispatch has reported that Robin Starr, CEO of Richmond SPCA left her 16 year old dog in a car for four hours. You can probably guess the ending to this story. Dead dog.
Starr has a communication breakdown with her husband and didn't realize the deaf and blind dog was in the car when she went to work. It's a horrible mistake for any dog owner, but multiply that by a thousand when you're the head of an animal loving organization like the SPCA.
This story is also big because the accident happened during the week when dog destroying Michael Vick makes his comeback debut for the Philadelphia Eagles. Where is Michael Vick from? Newport News, Virginia which is about a two hour drive from Richmond.
The only responsible conclusion I can come to is that Virginians hate puppies.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Fantasy Football is all about luck, luck with weather, luck with injuries, luck with the playoffs. So you might as well have some fun.
The following is a list of a few receivers who might be fun to follow this year no matter where they are ranked on your pre-season fantasy list:
1. Calvin Johnson- His nickname is Megatron. He's the 34th wide receiver drafted by the Detroit Lions this decade and yet has managed to make fans into believers. He was the best player on an 0-16 joke last year and while the Lions might be better, they will definitely be behind a lot this year, so he'll see a lot of balls. Did I mention he has one of the coolest nicknames in the league?
2. Steve Smith- He was suspended for three games last year because he punched out a teammate. He epitomizes the Napoleon complex, but still manages to snatch the ball away from defenders who are bigger than him. If he gets the ball in the open field, it's like watching a jack-rabbit run through a herd of elephants. He's fun, plus you never know when he might go all Sugar Ray Leonard on someone again.
3. Anquan Boldin- I call him ornery Anquan because he just looks pissed off all of the time. Boldin can be summed up with one play: he runs deep and the quarterback overthrows him by a mile. The defensive player is running right with him and as the ball goes out of play, Boldin slams into the defender, sending him tumbling across the ground. Why? Because Anquan was pissed that the defender was running with him, so he belted him. He's fun.
4. Terrell Owens- Owens drives away most owners because he's just a ego-maniacal jerk who as attempted to destroy three teams already. Yet he's fun to watch and you can make your own side bets as to when Owens will go after Bills quarterback Trent Edwards. Will he make it through the season, or will Owens blow his top in late October when Edwards misses him with a potential game-winning touchdown pass? It's the train wreck theory in action.
5. Braylon Edwards- Don't draft him if you're serious about winning your league. But if you just want to have some fun while watching football, you can create a drinking game based on how many footballs Edwards drops. You'll be drunk by halftime.
6. Deseaon Jackson- He's talented, yet stupid. Last year he dropped the football before he actually scored igniting a firestorm about how to properly play the game without being a showboat. He's good for another crazy play this year.
7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh- Former Bengal now plays in Seattle and he already stated during a live interview that he wanted to start a fight with a defender during a pre-season game. That's the kind of stuff that will make it's way around the NFL and be the basis for a future brawl.
8. Chad Ochocinco- Stuffy play by play men will have to call him by Ochocinco this year because he legally changed his name. That's wonderful.
These are just some of the receivers you could take in your fantasy draft, but they could all be great one week and then leave you to die the next, so try to grab a few who you can enjoy watching fail.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Then there are others like my girlfriend who's sole goal in a fantasy draft is to get her favorite kicker and to get someone she finds cute/funny/fat. She refuses to draft Baltimore Ravens because they are thugs and she would pass on Randy Moss even if he was guaranteed to get 27 touchdowns next season.
I'm beginning to think she's got the better way because fantasy football is often about luck. Luck with injuries, luck with weather, luck with not losing in the playoffs. So you might as well draft a team you're interested in following throughout the season. After all, what fun is fantasy football if you don't like to watch the players you drafted?
Here's a list of running backs who might be interesting to watch this season:
1. Adrian Peterson- He's the top pick of most drafts, so your chances of getting him are nil, but just check this video out:
That's a freakin marble statue running at you. The mere sight of Peterson makes defensive players truckle and go hide under a bench somewhere. I don't care if it sounds gay, that man is a beast. Too bad he went to Oklahoma in college which requires me to hate him.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew- There is so very little not to like about MJD. He has three names, he's only 5'6" and just over 200 pounds, yet he levels blitzing linebackers that are twice his size. He wears number 32 because he wasn't drafted in the first round, so he wants to remind himself that every one of the 32 NFL teams passed him over at least once. His nickname is Pocket Hercules.
If that isn't enough, here's a story for you: one time while he was playing a game at UCLA, Maurice's grandfather had a heart attack while watching the game. MJD's coach broke the news to him on the sideline during the game and Jones Drew ran right back to the locker room and went to the hospital. I don't know about you, but I get images of Forrest Gump running straight out of an exit in full uniform when he finds out his mama is sick. You really should draft Jones Drew if you can.
3. LaDanian Tomlinson- He was the NFL MVP two years ago when he set an NFL record for touchdowns scored. Then he had an injury-filled season last year (which was still a good year by most standards, just not his). Now fantasy people treat him like a lepor because he's 30 years old and running back lose their mojo quickly. He swears last year was a fluke and he's put to prove people wrong. Will he? You can find out through the season.
If that's not good enough, how about his giving spirit: every time he has a home game, Tomlinson donates tickets so that 21 under-privledged kids can attend the game (his jersey number is 21). That's not all though, after the game, Tomlinson take them out for dinner and a night on the town and at the end of the night, each kid gets a goody bag full of school supplies for the year. Still not convinced? How about the fact that he and his wife get up every Thanksgiving to hand out food to the poor? He's a decent human, grab him.
4. Marion Barber III- Marion the Barbarian or MB3 is the NFL man of mystery. He's on the high-profile Dallas Cowboys, yet he respectfully declines all interviews. When he is interviewed, he answers with a simple "yes sir" or "no sir". To calm down, he quietly plays the piano. Well. Yet behind closed doors, he's one of the biggest practical jokers on the team (according to sources on the inside.) He's known to sneak behind the microphone in the equipment room and make outlandish announcements or make any assortment of sarcastic comments during film sessions. You'll never hear about it from him though because unlike every other player on the Cowboys, Barber isn't constantly looking for a television camera.
5. Darren McFadden- No wonderous story surrounding this guy, but he's super talented and he's on the Raiders which means there is always a potential for him to punch a teammate or coach. Or maybe he'll be punched by the coach. Either way, it should interesting to follow him because at least once you'll read news about the Raiders that makes your jaw drop.
6. Lendale White- Fatty Mcbutterpants lost tons of weight this off-season simply by giving up his tequila habit. We'll see if lasts the season away from the sauce.
So there are some running backs you might be interested in taking this year. May you grab players that you at least enjoy because you're team is just an injury or two away from sucking.
Monday, August 24, 2009
So I give you the SportsPants preview: a way to at least draft players in interesting situations that you can enjoy as you follow them this year. These are players who you can watch this season for other reasons than just being good.
1. Drew Brees- He's the top ranked signal caller, but that's not the reason he's on my list. See, Brees just lost his mom recently. Not only that, she was five alarm crazy mom. No doubt that questions about this relationship will pop up from time to time and if Brees has a bad game, he very well could punch the person asking them. He will also throw for six trillion yards, so he's a good pick.
2. Kurt Warner- You know his story. He was a stockboy in Iowa and then he was suddenly the NFL MVP. Then he sucked. Then he was good. He's an NFL star who married a divorced mother with kids who was so poor, she was on food stamps (I hear JaMarcus Russell was trying to steal those food stamps because he was hungry.) He's 150 years old and playing as well as any quarterback in the league, plus he's actually a decent human being. His arm might fall off at some point, but then Matt Leinart replaces him and he's another fun story.
3. Aaron Rodgers- The man who replaced Flip Flop Favre had a great season last year and also managed to grow a great porno mustache. Now Flip Flop has signed with division rival Minnesota so Rodgers will be constantly compared to grandpa Favre. Hmmm.
4. Donovan McNabb- You know my feelings on the trials of McNabb. He's been under constant scruitiny since he arrived in Philly and now the great dog killer is backing him up. Hilarity ensues.
5. Carson Palmer- Will he be killed behind that ridiculous Bengals offensive line? On second thought, maybe you shouldn't draft him.
6. Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel- New quarterbacks are always fun to watch because they are trying to figure out new teammates throughout the season. Also, Kyle Orton sucks. But he has a good offense around him. So does that make him good or does he make the Broncos bad?
Your fantasy football season is only an injury or two away from being a total bust, so sit back and enjoy your players.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Casserly was the general manager of the Houston Texans when he made what was considered one of the all-time draft choice blunders in recent NFL history. He passed on Heisman Trophy winning superback Reggie Bush and Texas legend Vince Young in order to take some dude named Mario Williams with the first pick of the NFL draft.
Casserly told us that Williams, a 6'6" athletic defensive end, was a better fit for the NFL and would be more helpful to Texans in the long run since the team had to play Peyton Manning twice a year. He might as well have been talking to an angry mob.
Houston fans booed the pick. Writers used the pick as an example of idiot franchises picking a guy who was big and fast over players that could actually play the game of football. Did Casserly not see Bush launch himself into the endzone from five yards out? Did he not watch Young will his Texas team to an upset win over Bush's USC team in the championship game? C'mon, Charlie!
The fallout after the draft actually drove Casserly to leave the Texans organization a month later. Maybe he deserved to go for some terrible decisions, but not for his most widely criticized one.
After you vet the careers of Williams, Bush, and Young, you see that Casserly was dead on about that draft. Bush is a platoon back in New Orleans who is garunteed to miss several games a year due to injury and to make the papers about a small pile of infractions he was a part of while at USC.
Young, meanwhile, insists that he will be in the NFL Hall of Fame at some point. It's nice to know he still believes in himself, but I'm pretty sure you have to start at quarterback for your team before the Hall of Fame will consider you. He's stuck on the bench.
Williams? He made the Pro-Bowl last year while starting all 16 games. He has double digit sacks over the past two seasons and if Houston ever got a secondary, he'd probably be part of a pretty good defense.
Casserly works for the NFL Network these days and though he doesn't talk about the draft publicly, he must smile every time he sees his man Williams notch another sack as the Houston faithful cheer. He told you so.
Friday, August 21, 2009
According to these restrictions, SEC fans are not allowed to “produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the event.” The reason behind these restrictions are to prevent people interfering with a deal the SEC has made with a new digital network called XOS Technologies.
My first reaction to this news was to stultify this rule and claim that the conference is basically killing a fly with a flamethrower. I mean, have you seen the youtube videos fans upload from football games? They're awful. Blurred video, random sound. None of them would take away from a proper re-broadcast of the game.
These personal broadcast restrictions are like the ones imposed on aliens in the movie District 9. Except for the slums. And weaponry. And threats of genocide. (Don't worry, I'll stop before I give too much away.) Okay, these restrictions are nothing like those in District 9, but they are restrictions, which I generally hate.
The more I think about it though, I believe the SEC is simply making a preemptive move for the inevitable advances in technology. Some smart phones might become as powerful as a good video camera. This is when these media restrictions will come into effect. You can't walk into a movie theater with a video camera to make bootleg copies. You shouldn't do it in a football game either.
The key to this rule is how it's enforced this year. If you see security guards removing fans by the bus load for simply tweeting about how cool the game is, then SEC officials have clearly lost their minds and there will be issues. But my feeling is this rule is just a precedent for the future when personal media devices become advanced enough to rival professional equipment. After all, nothing is more important to SEC fans than their beloved football teams.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
First, third year free safety Tanard Jackson gets busted for abusing substances. Now, ESPN is reporting that young cornerback Aqib Talib has been arrested on battery charges for punching a cab driver in the head. This isn't even the first time Talib has been involved with idiot violent behavior. During a brawl during practice, Talib swing his helmet at a teammate, but hit an innocent bystander instead. Oops. He even got into a fight with a teammate at the NFL rookie symposium. That's a good impression to make.
So the Bucs now have a free safety that will miss four games because of substance abuse and they have a bona fide idiot at defensive back.
I will not perorate any further on this subject, but I will as the following question: Is this why you released aging All-Pro linebacker Derrick Brooks for? So the defense can devolve into this nonsense?
Somewhere the Bucs pirate is crying from under his eye-patch as he slowly lowers the cannon on his ship while the sail slowly flaps in the Florida breeze. Sad.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Yes, Favre signed with the Vikings. No, most NFL fans are not happy about it. Affirmative, I'm done with the furbelow that is a Brett Favre press conference where he flips and flops about whether he should grace a team with his presence again.
The worst thing about this whole Farve second comeback is the death of an ideal for so many NFL fans. It's like the storyline where a kid finds out his hero is a self-centered jerk; the "say it ain't so, Joe" moment.
Favre likes to spin his decision as the dilemma of a competitor who just couldn't stand to watch others play the game he loves without him. I'm sure Favre still thinks he can play and maybe he can, but there are too many facts involved for me to give the old man any benefit of the doubt.
-First of all, his change of heart comes amazingly towards the end of training camp. Favre doesn't like camp, no player does. It's physical work on the field and hard studying off the field. Yet, camps are needed so that the constant revolving roster of players can get on the same page before the games count. I guess Favre just figures everyone will somehow make it work.
-Favre is getting well paid. It's not like he's coming back for the love of the game, he's getting a truckload of garunteed money to suit up.
-Favre still wants to get back at Green Bay for not taking him back. Seems like a nice classic case of revenge until you look at the facts:
Favre retired on his own.
The Packers moved on and gave the offense over to Aaron Rodgers who had been waiting patiently for years.
Favre later decided he wanted to come back, but the Packers were already moving forward with the new quarterback and didn't need to crush Rodgers by flirting with a half-assed Favre comeback.
Favre then demanded to be released so he could go to the Vikings and make the Packers pay. Green Bay traded Favre to the New York Jets to get him away from the whole situation while still allowing him to play.
Favre then retired a second time so the Jets would release him.
Favre now has signed with the Vikings which is what he wanted to do in the first place just because the Packers wouldn't completely stop moving forward with operations the minute he got cold feet about his own retirement.
It's hard to feel any love for a man who is so selfish, he somehow has created a rivalry between himself and the team he played with forever simply because he couldn't hijack its future based on his own whims.
Now Packer fans have to sit and watch their legendary quarterback come back in a rival uniform. They'll boo him. And they should.
Meanwhile, the Vikings fans now have a team with two shattered quarterbacks who basically have been shown how little the organization thinks of their abilities and a nation of football fans that now don't like their team due to one person.
As for me, I won't be wearing any purple when the Vikings and Packers meet this season, but I might be wearing some cheese on my head. Probably not though, because that would be gross and my dog wouldn't leave me alone.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
This leads to the question of the day: does new Broncos coach Josh McDaniels wish he had a do over when it comes to trading away Cutler? McDaniels will naturally never admit a mistake and he'll let us all know that it's only the pre-season; Orton has plenty of time to get ready for the games that count. But you wonder if secretly, McDaniels is sweating just a little. After all, his job rides on making this giant Cutler trade work out for the Broncos somehow.
Remember, the Bears weren't the only team interested in Cutler. McDaniels had a chance to get Jason Campbell from the Redskins, but he chose Orton instead. McDaniels also could have grabbed Mark Sanchez in this year's NFL Draft. Sanchez had a pres-season great debut with the Jets.
It didn't happen though and the Broncos are stuck with Orton. If he ends up turning it around and being a solid quarterback, he and McDaniels can look back on this pre-season game and laugh. If he continues to struggle, the Broncos are in for a long season and McDaniels may find himself fighting for his coaching life before he even gets a chance to acclimate to the thin mountain air.
Friday, August 14, 2009
In reality, the Eagles just kicked Donovan McNabb in the crotch yet again. He is under contract for two more years. He'll be 34 when the current deal ends. Michael Vick is under contract for two more years. He'll be 31 when his deal is up.
Two men enter, one man will leave.
It's perfect for the Eagles. They get to try out an athletic stud for two years. If he's lost a step and can't play at a high level anymore, they can dump him after a year and go back to business as usual. If Vick still has that rocket arm and the unbelievable celerity when he leaves the pocket, the Eagles will have a new quarterback.
So now McNabb, the quarterback that was booed mercilessly by Eagles fans when he was selected in the draft, a man who has been unceremoniously benched, a franchise quarterback who survived a barrage of insults by Terrell Owens, a Pro-Bowler who's had more ups and downs with his team than a manic depressive, now has two years to fend off a man who was once regarded as the ultimate weapon in the league.
I know the NFL isn't about job security, but this is ridiculous.
Sure McNabb has been to five NFC Championship games and has only won once, he's erratic with his passes sometimes, he can make some bad decisions, but he's a borderline top five NFL quarterback. Who's better? Peyton Manning and Tom Brady obviously, maybe Ben Toothlessburger, but who else?
Drew Brees? Didn't even make the playoffs last year.
Phillip Rivers? Never been to the big game and was the quarterback of a great Chargers team that was upset in the playoffs by New England a few years ago.
Eli Manning? Suffers from dumb face and has as many ups and downs as McNabb
Tony Romo? Please. Win a playoff game first.
Jay Cutler? Whiny little punk. No playoffs.
Kurt Warner? Talk about ups and downs...plus he could break in half this year.
Every one of those other quarterbacks are the unquestioned leader of their teams. Meanwhile, McNabb has been thrown to the wolves over and over again. The team used a high draft pick on Kevin Kolb to be the quarterback of the future. Now they signed Vick. Does that sound like the actions of a team set at quarterback?
McNabb has his faults for sure, but doesn't he deserve just a little love? Hello? Anyone?