Posted on: October 13, 2009 10:43 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2009 10:56 pm
 

Brady Quinn's House For Sale

If actions speak louder than words, someone needs to tell Brady Quinn to keep it down.

According to Waitingfornextyear.com , Quinn put his $630,000 Avon Lake home on the market - a telling sign of his future with the Cleveland Browns.

The move comes as no surprise.

Quinn's week three halftime benching in Baltimore all but signaled the end of his time with the Cleveland Browns.

I would not be surprised if Eric Mangini and George Kokinis decided to trade Quinn before next weeks' NFL trade deadline.

The Browns currently have three quarterbacks capable of running the offense: starter Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, and journeyman backup Brett Ratliff. Ratliff was one of the key pieces in the draft day deal with the Jets for the rights to Mark Sanchez.

Mangini has seen Ratliff progress in his system, so Mangini would likely feel comfortable leaving the backup duties to him.



Few teams appear in need of a project quarterback, but one team stands out more than the others: the Washington Redskins.

Jason Campbell is still the team's unquestioned starter, but there is a clear lack of depth behind him.

38-year-old backup Todd Collins would be next in line, but no one knows what to expect from Collins 2-3 years from now. The promising Colt Brennan is currently on injured reserve, and that leaves a big question mark behind Collins as the third quarterback.

With the Redskins wallowing in mediocrity and Jerry Jones' Cowboys making all the headlines, such a high-profile move has Daniel Snyder written all over it.

The move would re-energize the fanbase and send a strong message to Jason Campbell - play well or get benched.

The NFL trading deadline is a week away. There's still a week of football to be played, and much can happen between now and then.

We'll soon find out how the situation resolves itself.



Posted on: October 11, 2009 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2009 11:52 pm
 

Week 5: The Drought Has Ended


The Cleveland Browns have finally won a football game.

Sure it's been 327 days, 17 hours, 27 minutes, and 46 seconds since their last win, but a few lucky bounces sent the Browns home as winners for the first time in a long time.

And I'm not happy.

Why you ask?

Because the Cleveland Browns' 6-3 defeat of the Buffalo Bills was the worst display of offensive football I have ever seen.


To their credit, there were several factors that worked against the Browns and may have contributed to their horrendous performance today.

Swirling Buffalo winds were severe enough to impact the gameplan.

Cleveland started two rookie wide receivers who have one game of NFL experience between them.

Good teams find a way to win the ugly ones, and at least for today, the Cleveland Browns had the look of a good football team.

Eric Mangini and the Browns should celebrate this one, but not for too long.

A tough task awaits them next week as they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.



Ten from the Gentledawg


10. Buffalo handed the Browns their first win.


Let's get this out of the way now, the Buffalo Bills lost this game and the Cleveland Browns didn't win it. As inept as Cleveland's offense was, it took an equally inept effort by Trent Edwards and company to keep this game in reach. Buffalo couldn't run it. They couldn't throw it. Very few things went well for both teams and neither team deserved a win here. The most telling play of the game came on a muffed Zastudil punt by alleged special teams ace Roscoe Parrish. Blake Costanzo recovered the ball at the Buffalo 16 only to see his team drive a whole 11 yards and settle for the game-winning field goal. Yikes.

9. Brad Seely may not coach in Cleveland for very long.


Special teams and assistant head coach Brad Seely will be among the few candidates considered for a head coaching position in 2010. I can't say enough for what Seely has done with the Cleveland Browns' special teams unit. Although most of the credit goes to the players for executing, Seely has done an outstanding job of putting his players in the best position to succeed. Behind every blocked kick, long return, and covered kick is a scheme, and behind every scheme is Brad Seely. Seely has been around a few outstanding head coaches in his career, and I would not be surprised if he became one himself in the not-too distant future.

 

8. Dave Zastudil continues to impress.


In what is becoming a weekly tradition, Dave Zastudil is quietly establishing himself among the great punters in the AFC.  The Browns were unable to muster much of anything offensively. Zastudil's tremendous individual effort was a big reason the Browns were able to stay in the game and walk away with a win. I never thought a punter could single-handedly will a football team to victory, but that certainly seemed to be the case today.

7. Kamerion Wimbley has arrived.


Fans and media-types alike criticized Wimbley early on in his career, and Wimbley has responded to the challenge. Wimbley tackled Trent Edwards in the second quarter to record his fourth sack of the season. He is currently on pace to finish the year with 16. Despite the increase in production, nothing has changed in Kamerion Wimbley's game. He is still the freakishly strong athlete who overwhelms linemen with his speed and quickness. The difference lies is Rob Ryan's defensive schemes. Ryan's aggresive playcalling and unique blitz combinations have made all the difference in the world for Wimbley.

6. Jamal Lewis is back.


When the passing game struggles, the burden falls on the running game to get the job done. Jamal Lewis carried the football like it was 1999 and finished with 117 yards on 31 carries. The most impressive aspect of Lewis' game was his ability to generate yards after contact. Lewis kept those powerful legs churning and carried Buffalo defenders with him in his most impressive effort in years. The offensive line, tight ends, and fullback continued their excellent stretch of run blocking, and Lewis was able to take advantage.

5. The right side of the offensive line played well.


The right side of the offensive line was one of the bigger issues surrounding the Browns, and it seems that issue has been solved. Both Hank Fraley and Floyd Womack worked at right guard today, and both men combined to produce quite the performance. I was particularly impressed with Hank Fraley. Brian Daboll uses a trap-based running game where guards and tight ends are asked to do quite a bit of pulling. Fraley and the group did a nice job blocking up front, and Jamal Lewis found running room - even against 8-man fronts.

4. Brian Daboll's playcalling showed no faith in Derek Anderson.


Eric Mangini hinted that the Browns' ground-based strategy was based on the Buffalo weather, but I happen to believe otherwise. Daboll dialed up run after run, and only called pass plays in passing situations. Brian Daboll and Eric Mangini speak of maintaining a "schedule" in relation to down and distances. They believe that by gaining 3-4 yards per down is the optimum way to move the football. If Brian Daboll doesn't trust Derek Anderson and the passing game to pick up yardage early on first and second down, this football team will struggle for the rest of the year.

3. Steve Heiden should switch roles with Robert Royal.


Robert Royal dropped three passes today which came in critical situations down the field. For whatever reason, it is clear Royal is not comfortable catching the ball with his hands. In an offense which stresses balance and demands receiving ability from the tight end position, Eric Mangini would be best served to play Steve Heiden as the primary tight end. Royal is an excellent blocker but he has proven himself a liability in the passing game. Steve Heiden has worked with Derek Anderson for five years, and that chemistry could give Cleveland what they've been lacking from that position.

2. Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi are rookies.


For those who wondered why Robiskie and Massaquoi were not involved in the passing game early this season, you received your answer today. While both rookies have shown promise and potential, it was clear that they still need work in their development as professional players. Massaquoi is far from a polished receiver. In addition to several dropped passes, Massaquoi misread coverage on several accounts - one of which resulted in a Derek Anderson interception. It takes years of experience to understand the nuainces of offensive football, and these two clearly have a long way to go.

1. Don't throw on Eric Wright.


I think it's fair to say Eric Wright has established himself as one of the great cornerbacks in the league. Wright is a buding star. Coming out of college, Wright was said to possess first round talent. His stock fell due to concerns about his character, but the talent was always there. Wright has been able to stay out of trouble, and he has turned out to be everything the Browns could have hoped for and more. Wright did a good job blanketing Terrell Owens. His play was a big reason Owens was limited to 44 yards on four receptions. If Wright continues to perform at this level, he'll be high-stepping all the way to the Pro Bowl.


To the victor goes the spoils...

The Browns won today which means I get to hand out the first game ball of the regular season.



Congratulations, Dave Zastudil . He is without a doubt the player of the game.










Posted on: October 7, 2009 4:24 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2009 4:42 pm
 

Edwards Trade Good for Cleveland

So the Browns trade Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets for Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, a 2010 3rd round draft pick, and a 2010 5th round pick.

Who could have seen this coming?

In all seriousness, this was a great move for not only the Browns, but the Jets and Braylon Edwards himself.

We all know about the drops. We've seen the tantrums on the sidelines. The drunken off field incident with LeBron James' associate proved to be the final straw in the Braylon Edwards saga.

Braylon Edwards is a headcase.

Literally.

His first five years with the Browns have been filled with drama, discipline and dropped passes. He has alienated himself from the fans with "the Michigan comments" and never quite recovered after that. He has suffered from lapses in concentration which have lead to dropped passes and lackidasical route running.

More than anything, Braylon is not the kind of player Eric Mangini believes in.

Mangini said he wants to build this team with tough, selfless players to whom football is important. While no one can deny his toughness, the other two qualities don't seem to line up with the athlete we know to be Braylon Edwards.

Selfless? Hardly. Look no further than Edwards' Twitter page to see just how 'selfless' he really is.

On August 19th at 10:58am, Edwards tweeted: "Hey guys check out the story on my efforts off the field: http://bit.ly/3QISUc "

News flash Braylon: selfless players don't promote their good works in the community. They give back out of kindness without expecting to receive attention or accolades.

Going back to what Eric Mangini said about players, does anyone believe football comes first with Edwards?

I sure don't.

While it's entirely possible he enjoys playing the game, he likely sees football as an avenue toward bigger and better things. If he didn't, then why would he chat up former Ravens' free safety Will Demps about modeling during a game ?

Braylon Edwards might not be selfless, but the two players the Browns received from the Jets definitely fit the bill. Chansi Stuckey is a wide receiver drafted in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Nothing came easy for Chansi. He was not guaranteed millions before he took his first snap. He had to fight just to make the roster, and that gives Stuckey a greater appreciation of where he is and the opportunuty at his feet.

Similarly, Jason Trusnik had to work his way from undrafted obscurity to where he is now. By most accounts, Trusnik is an outstanding special teams player who genuinely enjoys the game of football. He has good size as a linebacker, and seems dedicated to his craft.

With the addition of two additional draft picks, you can't help but be pleased at what the Browns gained from the trade.

Braylon Edwards wanted to be a star and he'll get his chance in the biggest city of them all.



Thank you Braylon for your time in Cleveland.

I don't know what time your flight out of Cleveland leaves, but I hope you catch it.


Category: NFL
Posted on: October 6, 2009 4:08 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2009 4:12 pm
 

Saving The Sweet Science


For as long as I can remember, boxing has always been referred to as ‘the sweet science.’ Growing up as a child in the 1990s, I failed to see anything ‘sweet’ or ‘scientific’ about two fighters getting in the ring and beating each others’ brains in for thirty minutes. I have grown since then and gained a firm appreciation of what the sport has to offer. Boxing is a beautiful sport. It combines strength and technique with strategy and endurance.
 
It truly is a sweet science.

But I wonder, how long will this sweet science remain a national sport? Aside from hearing about the occasional bout, boxing is rarely covered by the mainstream media.

The American sports world has been overrun with trendy ‘pseudo-sports’ such as Mixed Martial Arts and professional wrestling.

These two entertainment industries have not only grown over the last ten years, but remain the two most popular fighting sports in this country. If trends continue over the next 20 years, boxing may be in danger of becoming obsolete.

In order to preserve one of the greatest sports the world has ever seen, radical changes must be made to not only boxers, but the industry itself.

The first and most concerning problem boxing faces is exposure.

Major boxing events are only seen by a slim majority on Pay-Per-View. It's kind of like that old question, "if a tree falls in the forest and no one heard it, did it make a sound?" The greatest fight in the world means nothing if no one saw it.

Boxing will never attract a new audience if the only ones watching the product already support it. Football, basketball, and baseball are easily accessible on network television to anyone interested enough to watch them. If boxing wants to establish itself among the top sports in the world, it needs to make its product easily accessible to the public.

Instead of hosting a Saturday night fight on HBO or PPV, move it to NBC on Friday. Make the fights easily accessible to a wider demographic and a bigger following will ensue.

Still along those lines, boxing needs to develop a consistent time span for fighting show times. In other words, there needs to be some sort of "boxing season" where weekly fights are shown on major networks once or twice every week. Increasing public exposure not only attracts a broader audience and network television ratings, but it would generate interest among new generations who have never experienced the joys the sport has to offer.


Even if boxing developed consistent viewing times, that alone would not be enough to save the sport.

To generate interest among viewers who are otherwise unfamiliar with the sport, boxing must incorporate itself as an international event.

America is a melting pot of cultures from around the world. Gathering the best boxers from different nations in a single federation would only attract a highly unique and diverse following. It would also play to the same nationalism which consistently makes the Olympics one of the most watched sporting events of all time. By adding and emphasizing nationality in fighters, boxing can draw upon feelings of pride and later passion from its audience.

After boxing has developed a proper venue and audience, the sport needs fighters capable of carrying the industry. 

One of my personal aversions to professional boxing stemmed from the overly-detailed and specific weight class restrictions. Every different boxing organizations classify fighters differently.

There are cruiserweights, flyweights, super flyweights, junior featherweights, and bantamweights – to name a few. Each organization has different terminology for their fighters, and that terminology is often confusing and contradictory.

To eliminate this problem, boxing come together and set a universally upheld standard for weight classes.

Each weight class in boxing has its own champion.

Each boxing organization has their own set of weight classes.

Since there are so many different weight classes and champions, a “title fight” means little to nothing. It’s simple economics. Having so many titles reduces the importance of each individual title and subsequently each individual title fight.

Boxing must find a way to standardize and consolidate weight classes. By narrowing weight classes to five or six from the AIBAs standard of 11, boxing would eliminate the problem of title overexposure. A wide range of fighters per class generates more intrigue and diversity within that specific weight class.

It is a shame professional boxing has fallen so far over the years. For boxing to take its place atop the American martial arts scene, it must make radical chances to how it is organized and advertised. If boxing can make such changes, then it one again will be the sweetest science the world has ever seen.


Category: Boxing
Tags: Boxing
 
Posted on: October 5, 2009 6:16 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2009 7:05 pm
 

Braylon Edwards: On The Block?

Braylon Edwards has been making a lot of noise lately.

Unfortunately for the Browns, none of it has been on the field.

After last night's altercation outside a downtown Cleveland night club, it seems Edwards' time in Cleveland has just about run out.

(For those who haven't read about the incident, you can do so here .)



Braylon Edwards' relationship with Eric Mangini began on shaky terms, to say the least.

Edwards often referred to Mangini's predecessor Romeo Crennel as "a fatherly figure" and he seemed visibly upset to see Crennel go. Despite the new regime change, it seemed the two men would be able to peacefully co-exist as superstar and head coach.

That, however, was short lived.

Just months after Eric Mangini took over as head coach, rumors surfaced that the Browns were interested in dealing Braylon Edwards.

Browns GM George Kokinis made it no secret that he had been involved in serious negotiations with the New York Giants involving Braylon Edwards. The talks heated up and were the topic of conversation all summer, but nothing came to fruition.

According to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "[The Giants] nor any other team [offered] a first-rounder for Edwards. The trade offers the Browns received were far more modest than that -- middle-round picks and so-so veterans."

Edwards downplayed the rumors and made it known he was interested in staying in Cleveland.
 
In the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, there was speculation the Browns were interested in drafting Michael Crabtree with the fifth overall draft pick.  That speculation came to end after reports surfaced Mangini was turned-away by Crabtree's diva attitude.

Edwards himself is no stranger to the 'diva' label.

Through his five year career in Cleveland, Edwards has been criticized for his tantrums on the sidelines.

In 2005, Edwards came under fire for an on-field conversation he had with former Ravens' safety Will Demps about the modeling industry.

In 2008, Edwards fired at Cleveland fans, saying his college career at Michigan has resulted in unfair treatment.

Edwards' string of diva-like behavior over the years certainly contrasts the blue-colar, football first approach Mangini demands of his players.

Such behavior may have influenced the Browns' decision-making in the NFL Draft. Cleveland selected wide receivers Brian Robiskie (36th overall) and Mohamed Massaquoi (50th overall) in the second round of the NFL Draft.

Using such high picks on wide receivers may be an indication that the Browns are planning for a future which may not include Braylon Edwards.

After the NFL Draft and through the beginnings of training camp, Edwards missed several days on the "non-football injury" list. At the time, Mangini did his best to downplay the absence of his star receiver.

"I think we'll keep evaluating it and as soon as they do he'll be out there," Mangini said.

"You want everybody to be out there at all times, but it's no different than the situation you deal with during the course of the season. You go in with the best plan and what you consider to be your best group of guys and that is what you're going to move forward to."

  Once Edwards arrived in camp, he drew Mangini's ire for what was referred to as internal business. Around the same time, Edwards reportedly suffered an injury later attributed to a pick-up basketball game. The injury separated Edwards from all official team activity, as he was alienated all through the early parts of training camp open to the media.

Edwards later rejoined the team and participated in all team activities throughout the offseason.

The most recent, and perhaps final incident concerning Braylon Edwards occurred yesterday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Edwards took offense to the way Jerome Harrison was treated by Cincinnati player. He was involved in a fight which resulted in offsetting personal foul penalties - something Mangini has stressed since his arrival in Cleveland.

Edwards finished the game with zero receptions for the first time in his professional career.


  With the trade deadline only weeks away, I fully expect the Browns to entertain offers for their star receiver. Braylon never seemed to fit in with the qualities Eric Mangini believes in, and this latest distraction may be the final straw.

A supreme talent like Braylon Edwards will certainly draw the attention of teams around the league.

The San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys would be great fits for Edwards.

The NFL trade deadline is October 16th.






Category: NFL
Posted on: October 4, 2009 6:43 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2009 7:19 pm
 

Week 4: 0-4 Never Felt So Good

Progress.

If there were one thing to take from this game, it's the progression of the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns gave it everything they had for five quarters of football, but it wasn’t enough. A late Shayne Graham field goal in overtime proved to be the difference, as the Bengals outlasted the Browns – 23-20.

Although they lost a close game in overtime, Cleveland has to feel good about the way they performed today. Coming off back-to-back blowout losses on the road, this team showed tremendous heart and played with passion from start to finish.
There was no quit in this football team.

In his first game since being named the starter, Derek Anderson came in and played very well against an aggressive Bengals defense.

Anderson made several plays and rejuvenated an offense which seemed dead in the hands of Brady Quinn. There were a few questionable decisions and off-throws, but Anderson managed the game and gave the Browns a good chance to walk away with a win.


Josh Cribbs continued to prove why he’s the most explosive return man in the NFL. With every punt or defensive return, I felt the Browns had a chance to score before the offense stepped on the field.

Jerome Harrison and Mohammed Massaquoi filled in admirably for their counterparts, and the defense looked as good as it has all season.

0-4 never felt so good.

If there were a such thing as a moral victory, today would be one. There are several mistakes which need to be corrected, but anyone you get the sense the Cleveland Browns are headed in the right direction. The pieces are in place.

Cleveland seemed like a different team today. If they give this kind of effort every Sunday, Mangini will turn this thing around in a hurry.




Ten from the Gentledawg


10. Mike Furrey is a playmaker…


…And not just as a slot wide receiver. With Mike Adams moving to corner, the Browns became thin at safety and Furrey was there to fill the void. Although not targeted exclusively, Furrey broke up a key pass late in the game which helped force a punt to keep the game close. Mangini demands flexibility from all of his players. Having a player able to play offense and defense creates depth and versatility – two areas that have killed the Browns since their return to the league.

9. Defensively, the Cleveland Browns played their first complete game of the season.


Rob Ryan’s defense stepped up big-time against a very potent offense. Carson Palmer did not record a single passing yard in the second and third quarters. That is outstanding. The Browns were fundamentally sound throughout the course of the game. Tackling for the most part was outstanding. Containment in the running game was much better than we’ve seen in the first few weeks. Ryan’s schemes, particularly the stunt blitzes, created pressure on Palmer. If the defense plays like this every week, they’ll be successful.

8. Braylon Edwards was completely shut down.


I’m not sure whether it was Jonnathan Joseph or the particular gameplan created by Mike Zimmer, but the Cincinnati Bengals completely shut down Braylon Edwards. The only time Edwards’ number was called came during the 15-yard personal foul where he was flagged for retaliating against a Cincinnati defender. Based on his actions and body language, I’m beginning to believe Edwards isn’t coming back next season. You can see it in his press conferences. Edwards is simply going through the motions, and this just may be his last season as a Cleveland Brown.

7.  Josh Cribbs is the most valuable player on this roster.


Any time he touches the ball, Josh Cribbs gives the Cleveland Browns a chance to score. Cribbs’ vision, strength, and agility  allowed the Browns were able to keep up with Cincinnati – even when the offense stalled out. The Browns seemed to have figured out the best way to maximize Cribbs’ talent. Daboll minimized Cribbs’ contributions on offense. This allowed Josh to play exclusively on special teams where he is more dangerous.


6. Mohamed Massaquoi looked very good stepping into the secondary receiver position.


The Bengals did everything to make sure Braylon Edwards would not beat them. Someone had to step up in Edwards’ absence, and Massaquoi was the guy. Mohamed played well beyond his years today. He made a few great receptions – including hauling in the 30-year bomb that sparked the offense. On the flip side, what happened to Brian Robiskie? Although listed as active for the game, Robiskie did not contribute in the game.

5. Eric Mangini’s lineup changes were for the better.

 
Mangini made several changes to his defense prior to the start of today’s game. Mike Adams and Derek Anderson moved into starting roles while Brandon McDonald and Corey Williams rotated in sub packages. Mangini needed to spark this once lifeless team early in the season, and those lineup changes did just that.


4. Mike Adams had an outstanding game.


Whether it was at cornerback or on special teams, Mike Adams played well all day. The Bengals made Adams the focal point of their offensive attack early. As the game went on, Mike Adams settled in and his play was a big reason Palmer and the Bengals struggled to move the ball. Adams’ skills as a former safety showed up in run support, and if he keeps this up he’ll start again next week.

3. The “Big Dawg” made a few big plays.


If Rogers doesn’t block that kick in the fourth quarter, this game is over. Rogers also blocked a field goal early in the first quarter. Shaun Rogers single-handedly changed the complexion of this game. Romeo Crennel called Shaun Rogers the most dominant defensive lineman he’s ever coached, and today’s game was a good example of why.

2. Jerome Harrison has emerged as a feature back.


He ran hard all day. He showed good hands out of the backfield. Although he lost a fumble, Jerome Harrison showed great balance and surprising power on all 29 of his carries.  With the way Harrison has carried the ball these past few weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if he remained the feature back – even when Jamal Lewis returns.

1.Derek Anderson played very well as the Browns starting quarterback.


Derek Anderson looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback. Anderson did a great job orchestrating this offense and moving the football team. Like many players on this team, it wasn’t all perfect. DA made some questionable decisions, but he didn’t force any throws and that kept the Browns in it. The Browns have a solid foundation to build upon for next week, and that starts with Derek Anderson.








Category: NFL
Posted on: September 29, 2009 2:26 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2009 11:55 pm
 

Week 3 Power Rankings: Birds of Prey

Ravens, by their very nature, are scavengers.

They are tough birds known for adapting to their environment and taking whatever is given to them. A common raven can feast on anything from maggots, to beetles, to garbage, or even small amphibians. Years of evolution have conditioned ravens to survive even in the harshest of environments.

Yes the raven is quite the specimen indeed.

Not to be outdone by their feathered counterparts, the Baltimore Ravens possess all of the characteristics that make them the most feared birds in the league.

Their stingy defense has devoured whatever opposition presented in front of them. Joe Flacco has spread his wings and dominated through the air – tailing only the Saints in offensive superiority. The Ravens migrate to New England this week in what figures to be a clash between AFC super powers.

On the flip side we have the Washington Redskins.

Shame on you, Washington.

Shame on you for losing to the Detroit Lions. I’ve speculated that the team to end Detroit’s streak will face serious heat from their fanbase, and the Washington faithful have proven that to be true.

Losing to the Lions on the road is downright pitiful. I can't tell whether the Lions are that good or the Redskins are that bad. There’s no way the first can be true, so I have come to the conclusion that Washington might just be…a bad football team.

I suppose Detroit deserves some credit too. Larry Foote and company really took it to the Washington offense.




1. (1) You know it’s going well when Drew Brees throws for a pedestrian 164 yards and the Saints cruise to a 20-point victory. On a side note, how good is that New Orleans’ offensive line? With some help from the underrated Pierre Thomas, they dominated the Buffalo defense to the tune of 5.8 yards per carry. This team is really something.


2. (3)   Holding an opponent scoreless in the National Football League is hard to do, but that’s exactly what the New York Giants did to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To give you an idea of how lopsided the game was, Amad Bradshaw – New York’s backup running back, single-handedly out gained the entire Tampa Bay offense in yards: 104 to 86. Big Blue begins their first of two bye weeks as they face Kansas City and Oakland in the upcoming weeks.
3. (6)   Now I know what you’re thinking – it was against the Browns. You’re absolutely right, but that doesn’t change the fact that Joe Flacco has been playing some very good football as of late. Flacco showed great touch and accuracy all day, and he looked like a quarterback ready to take the next step to greatness. Ray Lewis seems to have found the fountain of youth, as he is playing some of the best football of his career. The sky, of course, is the limit.

4. (4) Peyton Manning is the league MVP in the truest sense of the world. I couldn’t imagine this team going anywhere without him. It was nice to see that defense step up and actually stop someone. Holding the Cardinals to 10 points in Glendale is no easy task. Indianapolis is known for stellar play along the defensive line, but how about that secondary? Marlon Jackson and Antoine Bethea don’t get enough credit for the job they do back there.

5. (2) When it’s all said and done, the Steelers will be there in January. A few bad breaks have the Champs stumbling out of the gate, but as we’ve seen before, that should make them all the more dangerous. With their next three games coming against San Diego, Detroit, and Cleveland, Pittsburgh should find their way back toward the top of the AFC North.

6. (5)  So they can run the ball after all! New England doesn’t have that same glow of invincibility around them, but the Patriots are still one of the toughest teams in football. Bill Belichick is still the master of game planning. His Patriots successfully shut down Roddy White to the tune of 4 receptions for 24 yards. Matt Ryan was harassed with exotic coverages and Michael Turner found little room to run all day. I like their chances against Baltimore.

7. (8) Although the Jets had the better record and the home field advantage, I consider their week 3 win against the Tennessee Titans to be an upset. I thought Jeff Fisher has been coaching long enough to be able to take a rookie quarterback out of his game. Guess not. I hear they’re calling him “Mark Sanchize” out there in New York. I wonder how long it will take before these same New Yorkers start calling for his job?

8. (7) There’s no shame in losing to a future Hall of Fame quarterback and head coach. Despite the final score, the Falcons were able to keep the game close until New England pulled away late. While I won’t say the secondary was exposed, they struggled to keep Randy Moss in check all day. The Falcons are off this week, and that should give Mike Smith and crew some time to look over the mistakes they’ve made.

9. (11) Although they decisively handled the struggling Rams, I walked away from that game more concerned about the long-term success of the Green Bay Packers. It seems Green Bay’s biggest problem defensively is stopping the run. Steven Jackson ran wild to the tune of 117 yards. Opponents average a whopping 128.7 yards per game against the Pack – good for 23rd most allowed to running backs in the league. Their week 4 opponent: Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings.

10. (9) If there were such a thing as an unimpressive win, the Chargers certainly earned on at home against the Miami Dolphins. In their first game without former Pro Bowler Nick Hardwick, Darren Sproles scampered for 41 yards on 18 carries. There wasn’t much to stop with Miami, but San Diego contained the Dolphins’ rushing attack and did enough to walk away victorious. As Dr. Seuss reminds us, “a win is a win, no matter how small.”

11. (10) Brett Favre doesn’t have any gas left in the tank. He still runs on coal. After that dramatic win against the 49ers, it’s safe to say that Brett Favre has plenty of coal left in the tank. Heading into this one, I thought the 49ers would give us a good indication of how strong this team is, and they did. The Vikings are a good football team. I’m not sure whether Brett Favre is capable of winning football games outright. In the end, that will separate Minnesota from the elites.
12. (12) Just when I thought I had this team figured out, they go and do this to the Seattle Seahawks. With all due respect to Seneca Wallace, a backup quarterback should not put up nearly 300 yards through the air against a presumably dominant defense. Jay Cutler completed 77% of his passes, yet he still found a way to turn the ball over twice. You know, I’m starting to think that Cutler actually likes turnovers. He better kick the habit fast, because the ever dangerous Detroit Lions are coming to town…

13. (14) If you don’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles have the most astute front office in the league, look no further than their newest star: Brent Celek. Never mind they drafted him with the 162nd selection of the NFL Draft. The amazing thing here is they had enough confidence in Celek to let L.J. Smith leave via free agency. Kevin Kolb bounced back nicely from a rough start and has the Eagles looking like one of the better teams in football.

14. (17) Don’t look now, but the Cincinnati Bengals are back. This team looks balanced on offense and sharp on defense. I am certainly willing to buy what they are selling if not for one thing: they’re the Bengals. This weeks’ game against the Browns in Cleveland is a classic trap game. They seem to know how to run the football. They seem to know how to play aggressive defense. Do they know how to win consistently? Only time will tell.

15. (13) They let the Carolina Panthers hang around, and that is a dangerous thing to do in today’s NFL. Despite this, Tony Romo and the Cowboys did enough to properly christen Jerry World with it’s first win. The Cowboys really need to stop this little charade they’re playing with Wade Phillips as their head coach. This is Jason Garrett’s team and everybody knows it. I was impressed by how Garrett utilized personnel and handled Romo on the sidelines. One day he’ll make a great head coach…excuse me – he already IS a great head coach.

16. (16) It took a miraculous fourth quarter throw by the greatest quarterback of all-time to hand the 49ers their first loss. If they keep playing like this every week, they are bound to raise their fair share of eyebrows. It was tough sledding for Glen Coffee and company against The Great Wall of Williams, but hats off to the 49ers for trying. On a side note, Patrick Willis might be the best middle linebacker in the NFC.

17. People give Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez all the credit, but the Orton/McDaniels tandem in Denver has been equally impressive. Elvis Dummervil is looking like a special player in this league and he has to be considered the favorite for defensive player of the year. I don’t know if any player is doing much for their defense as he is. I want to see Kyle Orton make a big-time throw against a professional football team. Only then will I like their chances against the big boys of the AFC.

18. (18) I don’t believe a team has to run the football to be successful, but these Arizona Cardinals are the exception. It seems this team is most successful with they are willing to pound the ball on the ground 18-20 times per game. Kurt Warner is a good quarterback. The Cardinals need to minimize his attempts and play the version of Steeleresque football that Ken Whisenhunt made popular in 2008.

19. (15) I’ve been saying this for some time, but this team won’t go very far with Kerry Collins at quarterback. Although many of their loses have been close, they’re still loses and I put at least two of them on Collins. The receivers in Tennessee deserve some blame as well. Defensively, the Titans look good as ever. They’re going to need to be, they’ll have to win low-scoring affairs if they want to get back to .500.

20. (20) Just as I was about to break out the Chrisim and anoint Trent Edwards’ arrival to the NFL, they go out and flop against the Saints. For the life of me, I don’t understand how Terrell Owens goes the entire game without recording a reception. Even if it’s just on a quick slant or a screen, the Bills need to make a conscious effort to get this guy the football. Teams seem to be running around Marcus Stroud. That means those outside linebackers aren’t doing enough in run support.

21. (22) They lost to the Bears on a late Hester score, but they played well considering the injuries that have plagued this team. If anything, this team seems to be overachieving. It didn’t take Aaron Curry long to adjust to the speed of the NFL. He leads one of the most underrated pass rushes in the league. If they can rush the passer like that every week, this team may upset someone.

22. (29) The Jaguars finally show signs of life. Good for them. I had a hard time believing this team would stay at the bottom of  league for a long time. Their matchup against the Titans this Sunday is going to be very interesting. I don’t think there are two teams more evenly matched in the league. It should be a great game. This is unrelated, but thank you, Maurice Jones-Drew. You have single-handedly wrecked my fantasy football season.

23. (24) Add another team into the log-jam that is the AFC South. I thought this division would be competitive, but it seems no one cares to win consistently. Has this defense regressed? Heading into the regular season, I thought this would be the year Houston puts it all together on that side of the ball. Guess not. To this point, the Texans are still ranked dead last against the run. If the red flags aren’t out, they should be.
24. (26)  The Panthers did well for themselves as they kept up with a tough Dallas team on the road, but it wasn’t enough. Jake Delhomme is a turnover machine. Giving the ball away three times like he did in Dallas will never take the Panthers where they need to be. That defense wasn’t nearly as aggressive as they should have been. Without pressure, even mediocre passers will find a way to get the job done.
25. (21) The Miami Dolphins are in some deep water now Chad Pennington is out for the year. A sub-par passing attack somehow downgraded, as they’ll give Chad Henne a shot. With the success rookie quarterbacks have seemed to enjoy over the past few years, this isn’t necessarily a lost cause. Miami hosts division rivals in consecutive weeks, so they may finally get that elusive first win of the season.
26. (23) They’re playing down to their competition and that can not continue. God help Jim Zorn if the Redskins lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don’t get it. This was a team that on paper, appeared to get better in the offseason. There is certainly a lot of blame to go around, but I somehow doubt the majority falls on Jason Campbell. Sherman Smith, Steve Jackson, I’m pointing at you guys.
27. (30) Poor Rams. Their problems start and end in the trenches. Alex Barron looks great one week and terrible the next. Steve Spagnuolo has brought the West Coast offense to Saint Louis, but it has been largely ineffective through the first three weeks of the season. A West Coast system requires big, physical receivers on the outside with good hands and excellent body control. Laurent Robinson is one, but who is the other?
28. (28) Rome wasn’t built in one day and Kansas City won’t be either. The first element of building a successful 3-4 defense is stopping the run. Once you can do that, everything else will follow. The Chiefs haven’t gotten to that point yet, but once they do, things will slowly turn around. Matt Cassel is this franchise. There’s nothing wrong with that team, so I expect a breakout performance within the next few weeks.
29. (32) Congratulations, Detroit on finally winning a football game! Jim Schwartz still has a long way to go before restoring pride in this team, but winning certainly puts him on the right track. The next stop for these Lions? .500. If they can find a way to contain Jay Cutler in Chicago, they certainly have a chance. Cutler will do everything in his power to turn the ball over. The only question is whether these Lions are brave enough to win the football game.
30. (27) We’re really scrapping the bottom of the barrel with these last few teams. How long do they stick with JaMarcus Russell? He has shown flashes, but he is way too inconsistent at this stage in his development. This week’s loss to the Denver Broncos was ugly. They couldn’t pass or defend the pass. They couldn’t run or defend the run. In the spirit of competition, the Raiders should switch places with the Trojans of Southern California. The talent seems like a better fit.
31. (25) Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the same team that finished 9-7 the year before? The biggest mistake the Bucs made was switching defensive philosophies. They call it the Tampa 2 for a reason. Losing Derrick Brooks can’t affect this team that much, can it? With the quarterback position being what it is, I don’t know when they win a game this year.
32. (31) Eric Mangini needs to win a football game. This entire football team is in disarray. They have a good chance of upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals this week at home – especially now they’ve made the switch to Derek Anderson. There’s still plenty of football to be played, but it’s difficult to realistically project this team miraculously turning their season around.














Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:32 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2009 8:14 pm
 

The Dolphins Should Trade for Brady Quinn

Have you ever known two different people who you thought would be perfect for each other? The two parties involved made so much sense that you wonder why they didn't come together in the first place.

Such is the case with the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins.

A trade where the Browns send Quinn to the Dolphins would be a win-win scenario for all parties involved.

On one side, the Cleveland Browns are smack in the middle of another quarterback controversy.

Currently, the Browns have two young quarterbacks on the roster - neither of which they can fully support while the other remains with the team. Browns head coach Eric Mangini benched Quinn in Sunday's blowout loss to the Ravens - effectively shattering any trust either can have for the other.

For all intents and purposes, Brady Quinn's time in Cleveland is over.

Furthermore, the Browns still have former Pro Bowl quarterback Derek Anderson on the roster - who proved he could effectively orchestrate Brian Daboll's offense in limited action.

In Miami, the Dolphins received word today that Chad Pennington's 2009 season will likely come to an end .

Pennington's absence leaves Chad Henne to run the offense. Henne did little to impress last weekend against the Chargers - completing 10 of 19 passes for 92 yards. He threw one interception which was returned for a touchdown.

Coming off multiple shoulder surgeries, the 33-year-old Pennington cannot be relied upon to be the long-term answer in Miami.

Enter Brady Quinn.

Quinn's conservative approach to offensive football fits perfectly with what the Dolphins like to do. In their current run-heavy, wildcat-based offense, the Miami Dolphins do not need a quarterback to throw for 300 yards on Sunday. They need a quarterback to manage the offense, avoid turnovers, hand the ball off to Ronnie or Ricky, and convert short distances on 3rd down.

Quinn would be perfect for that.

The Dolphins are loaded with talent at every position.

In addition to boasting the league's most potent rushing attack, the Dolphins have a solid offensive line, a capable defense, and talented wide receivers in Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Camarillo .

They also have tight end Anthony Fasano - who should be more than a little familiar with Brady Quinn.

 With Quinn at the helm, Fasano finished his college career with 92 receptions for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns. He was the second most prolific receiving tight end in the school's history.

A potential trade of Brady Quinn to Miami would bring about the thrilling conclusion to a memorable 2007 Draft Day.

In 2007, the Cleveland Browns passed on Quinn with the 3rd overall pick of NFL Draft. Brady Quinn was rumored to fall no further than No. 9 - where the Miami Dolphins were projected to draft the Notre Dame standout. In a surprise move, the Dolphins passed on Quinn in favor of Cleveland native, Ted Ginn Jr.

The Browns would eventually strike a deal with Bill Parcells and the Dallas Cowboys - acquiring the 22nd overall draft pick and the rights to draft Brady Quinn.

One more trade with Parcells would be the best case scenario for all parties involved.

If that happened, it really would be a match made in heaven.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com