Posted on: January 5, 2010 4:11 pm

The Grass Tripped Me!!

So Bill Bellichick is saying that the conditions of the playing field are to blame for Wes Welker's injury, and honestly I just have to shake my head.  It's a well known fact that I've never been a fan of Bellichick, but even so, I find it hard to imaginine this as anything more than a way to cover his bum about his star receiver blowing out his knee in a meaningless game.

To blame Welker's injury on the field conditions is ridiculous; it was a non-contact injury that could have happened in practice or even drills.  So all you grieving Pats fans need to lighten up on the Texans .  The field may have been bad, but I noticed that 105 other players had no problem with it.  I remember a game a few years ago between the Dolphins and the Steelers on what had to be the worst field conditions ever seen.  How many people suffered a knee injury?? Zero .   There will always be freak injuries; they're just a part of the game.

Bill, own up.

Posted on: July 4, 2009 10:52 pm

R.I.P. Steve McNair

You didn't have to be a Titans fan to love Steve McNair.  Back when my Steelers and the Titans (and even the Oilers) were in the same division, you could never call those games until the clock hit 0:00.  No matter how well the Steelers played, there was #9 out there keeping the Titans in the game, leading his team to victory more often than not.  I cheered for him despite the divisional rivalry--here was a true football player, no one could deny that.  I was heartbroken when the Titans so unceremoniously let him go, and cringed when he went to another division rival.  But through it all, I rooted for the Ravens in the playoffs because Steve deserved a ring.  Sadly it was not to be, but out of it all, I cheered for a player regardless of my personal team loyalties.  He brought that out in many people.

McNair was one of the toughest, most determined quarterbacks ever to grace the NFL.  I know it has been said many times, but there is a reason for it.  He never complained, and if he could play, you damn well better believe he was out there on the field giving it his all.  He brought the Titans to heights the franchise had never seen before, including their only Super Bowl birth (and one yard short of a title).  He brought stability and leadership to the quarterback position that had been lacking it since Dan Pastorini and Warren Moon.

He was always one of my favorite players, and I was devastated when I heard the news.  Steve--I will always remeber you, both for what you meant to the game of football and to me personally; rest in peace...
Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2009 4:35 pm

King Cassel?

So I'm seeing headlines like "The Matt Cassel Era" and all sorts of praise for him, and I honestly wonder why.  He was undrafted out of USC (which I realize means very little) where he never started a game (which should make you think).  He's been a career backup until this last season where he filled in for Tom Brady.  He played well, and should be given credit for that. 

However, what doesn't cease to amaze me is how all of a sudden he's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  His numbers last season were good for someone in his position, but at best just above average overall.  I'm always wary about one-hit wonders, especially QB's (see David Garrard, Derek Anderson).  You could (and should) ask yourself: self, was he a product of an excellent offensive system? was he a product of the easiest schedule in the NFL?  I remember when everyone was crying for Cassel to make the Pro Bowl after throwing for 400 yards and 3 TD's in 2 straight games against sub-par teams.  Then Pittsburgh happened.  The Steelers routed the Patriots for their worst loss in years, and what's more, Cassel threw 2 INT's and coughed up 2 fumbles.  Yes, I realize the Steelers defense was one of the best in recent years, but look at what Kurt Warner did in SBXLIII (and before you go off on your Larry Fitzgerald speach, I say to you: "Randy Moss"). 

What is happening to Cassel in the free-agent market (yes, he was traded, but for the purposes of this time frame, it is irrelevant) is very similar to Matt Schaub a few years back.  He was supposed to be the next Steve Young, playing behind then-unsuspended Michael Vick.  The Texans nab him, and, when healthy, he's solid and nothing more.

So I guess overall, to quote Denny Green "If you want to crown [him], then crown [his]"--I'll stop there...  I, however, want to see far more proof that he is who you think he is before I decide.  And don't think I'm hating on Cassel, I want him to succeed as much as any other fan of the game.  I just am stubborn and want to be convinced by more evidence.

Posted on: February 11, 2009 6:33 pm

Bye Bye Brett... ...Again...

I am shocked.  Not that Brett Favre retired.  But that it took him less than a month after the Super Bowl to decide.

Being a Steelers' fan in Milwaukee WI has it's perks, one of which is that it allows me to watch the Favre saga from an unbiased viewpoint.  Most everyone here is still mourning the departure of their resident demigod to the Jets from last year.  Still, this is at least the fourth year that he has contemplated retiring.  All four years, I said he should retire.  Not to protect the former records of my hero Dan Marino, but rather because the Green Bay Packers needed to move on and stop living in a three-time MVP's past.  And I was right, save two years ago (and he crumbled against the Giants in the NFC championship), he has been no more than mediocre: he threw 84INT's, good for tops in the league over that span and securing him the dubious record of most interceptions in a career.

But back to my point.  The Jets have saved themselves a headache, but more importantly, the Jets have saved themselves time.  Two years ago, Brett Favre waited so long to come back, that the Packers were handcuffed in free agency.  Last year, well, we all know about what happened last year.

And what happened last year should also make us wary of what just happened.  I hope, as I did last year, that this is for real.  No franchise deserves the circus that Brett broght to Green Bay when he decided to return.  I missed the beginning of the Hall of Fame game so I could see him disembark from his private jet (ironic, no?), only to have him leave for NY a week later.  He needs to walk away; one time through this fiasco is too much. 

Sure, the end of his career hasn't been what he would have hoped: his last pass as a member of the Packers was an interception in OT, ending their Super Bowl bid; his last throw for the Jets was ruled an illegal forward pass, and the one before it was also intercepted, ending their playoff hopes.  It's definitely not the John Elway storybook ending, but rather something more fitting of former Jets great Joe Namath, finishing his career on the Rams' bench.

Posted on: February 6, 2009 10:50 am

Is Talent Worth the Risk?

One of the biggest headlines this offseason will surely be whether Michael Vick will be allowed to return to the NFL, and if so, where will he go.  Now I'm well aware that this is not a novel revelation; I'm sure you've heard every sports writer in the world at least mention this, and I'm going to do the same.

For the sake of writing something interesting, I am going to assume that Roger Goodell allows Vick to play in the NFL.  If not, well, then you can stop reading here. 

So Vick comes back into the NFL, and I think it's safe to say the Falcons will let him go.  He caused that franchise so much agony, I'd be surprised if they even let him within 100 miles of the team.  Besides, Matt Ryan played well enough that there shouldn't be any questions about who is playing QB for them next season.  I would also imagine Vick will be released rather than traded, due to his large contract and the fact that the Falcons probably won't get anything worth while for him.

With Vick now a free agent, I'd imagine the prospects are pretty slim.  I had  always thought that if he were going to make a comeback, it would be with the Raiders, but if Al Davis thinks JaMarcus Russell is the man (but honestly, who knows what Davis thinks these days) he won't end up in Oakland.  I'm sure Vick's highlight-reel-appeal would make Jerry Jones' eyes glimmer, but he has Tony Romo, and I think he learned his lesson with the Adam "Pacman" Jones fiasco (I will call him Pacman until he proves that the name no longer applies).

Now that the two teams that seem to gravitate towards star-potential over character are eliminated, the pickings look slim.  Vick will be 29 at the start of the season, who knows how in-shape he will be, and frankly, a QB of his playing style will need to develop as a pocket passer once he starts to lose his speed (see Randall Cunningham).  And honestly, of the teams that would be in the market for a QB (a few are Kansas City, San Francisco, and Detroit), do you really see them taking (Con)Vick? The man whose negative publicity shamed the NFL for months?  I can't imagine most teams would be willing to sacrifice their PR for the gamble that starting Vick would be.  I mean, not to dwell on the past, but weren't we harshly ciritcizing his QB play before this whole incident?

This pretty much leaves Vick as a desparation sign, or a backup.  But can you really justify signing the former NFL's Richest Man as a backup?  Especially after the aforementioned issues?  I just don't see it happening.  To me, Vick is something Pacman should be--untouchable.  Even if this is the only blip on his resumeé (and it's a big one), no team should have to explain to their fans why Mr. I-Drown-Cute-Little-Puppies is the leader of their franchise.

Sorry Mike, but I think you're done...

Posted on: February 3, 2009 4:56 pm

Unsung Hero of Postseason, SBXLIII

So, two days after the big game, I'm sure if you think back on what transpired throughout this postseason, these names (from the SBXLIII participants) will come to mind pretty quickly, in no particular order:

Now if the Cardinals had won the Super Bowl, I'd be writing this about one Darnell Dockett, the anchor of the Cardinals' D-Line and truly an outstanding player.  However, they did not manage to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat, rather the opposite was achieved by that same defensive unit (and I ask you, where was Dockett on that last drive?).

So instead, my so-called 'unsung hero' is none other than Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley.  Even though he plays opposite DPOY James Harrison, Woodley still gets a fair amount of attention from the opposing offensive line.  Why?  He had 11.5 sacks, an INT, 2FF, and a DTD in only his first season as a starter (and, in my opinion, was a Pro Bowl snub).  But, as good as he was in the regular season, he was even better in the playoffs.  Woodly recorded an NFL-high 6.0 sacks and a FF in 3 games, tallying 2.0 in each game.  I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think this is the first time a player has recorded multiple sacks in 3 consecutive postseason games.  And even when he didn't make any sacks, he was usually applying at least as much pressure as the aforementioned Harrison.  Yet he's not mentioned among the postseason's top performers, and that's unfair.

So here you go LaMarr, I am giving you your well deserved praise: congratulations on a terrific postseason and enjoy that Lombardi trophy; you were an integral large part of that championship.

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