Tag:The Daily Shoutout
Posted on: August 22, 2011 8:04 am

The Daily Shoutout: the Plax effect

OPENING HIT: First, there is a ban on Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg jokes. They're old. Get new material people.

Second, I told you Burress was going to be good. Yes, it's only the preseason and sure what he did on Sunday night was against the Bengals who constantly shoot themselves in the paw (dammit!). But Burress still caught a touchdown pass. He didn't look slow. Or rusty. Or like a guy who spent years away from the sport and I hate to say it but I told you so.

Think back to Mike Vick. He emerged from prison and played freaking quarterback at a high level. If he can play quarterback after a stint in the hoosegow, Burress could play wide receiver.

Burress is a tremendous athlete; always has been. It was only a matter of shaking off the rust and he was able to do that in a matter of weeks. A few more weeks from now it'll be like Burress never left the NFL.

The bigger question is can Burress stay out of trouble? Can he make the meetings on time? Will he work hard constantly? Will he put the effort into getting even better? If he does those things Burress could end up being one of the top five wide receivers in the sport this season. Maybe top three. Yes, I said top three. Just as long as he doesn't shoot...


FAN VIOLENCE: More ridiculousness and violence and stupidity at stadiums. There will always be violent idiots and there's only so much a team or league can do to slow some of this foolishness. The one thing leagues can do: massively increase security presence at games. It's not enough. I've covered games where fights break out and a security guard or police officer fails to show up or arrives far too late. I'd estimate security officials need to be doubled at most games. Do that and limit alcohol sales and this stuff would almost cease to exist.

THE Titans: So far, at least, they're calling Chris Johnson's bluff. There was a time I was certain Johnson's holdout would end once the season started. Now I'm not so sure. I'm told but someone close to Johnson that the runner has saved significant amounts of money. He isn't hurting. And it seems the Titans are willing to wait him out for a longer time than originally believed. So this one might take a bit.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:42 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 7:33 am

The Daily Shoutout: time to panic in Philly?

OPENING HIT: Of course it's not time to panic in Philadelphia. Right. Right?

Panic? No way. Concern over Mike Vick's three interceptions? Definitely. Here's why.

It's the first game and the Eagles have been together for a handful of practices but around the league there was always the thought that this year teams would figure out Vick. To some degree, that's what happened to Vick pre-dog fighting days. Vick remains one of the greatest offensive weapons in the history of the sport but his firepower was limited because of a) his lack of preparation and laziness in terms of study b) teams put faster spies on Vick to shadow him and c) he didn't improve his accuracy.

Last season, Vick studied hard, Andy Reid made Vick hard to decipher, Vick was still extremely athletic and Vick was as accurate as he's ever been. It was the perfect storm of Vickness.

The thought in football was that it would be extremely difficult for that storm to be repeated this year.

Now, the Steelers are great. They're a Super Bowl team. They do that to quarterbacks all the time but Vick looked, well, decoded. What some coaches have been saying since the end of last season -- that teams would slow Vick this year -- looked realistic.

So, no, it's not time to panic.

Mild concern?

Kenny Britt: Likely no decision on his punishment on Friday or over the weekend but it's probable there will be some form of discipline. Which opens up another Pandora's box -- that term has been used a lot lately with the NFL -- in terms of punishing a player while he was locked out.

Packers: I wanted to end with this quote from a GM: "The Packers have the best chance to repeat of any defending champion in recent memory." Totally agree. The team won a Super Bowl with a banged up roster. Imagine what this team can do with a healthy one?
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 18, 2011 7:23 am

The Daily Shoutout: Is Suh dirty?

OPENING HIT: I asked quarterback Andy Dalton, the most recent victim of Ndamukong Suh's quarterback wrecking extravaganza, if he thought Suh was dirty.

"I can't answer that. I don't know," said Dalton. "I thought what he did with me was a little over the top. I can tell you some of my teammates weren't happy about it." A number of Cincinnati offensive linemen jumped in Suh's face after Suh threw Dalton to the ground. Dalton later laughed with me: "It was good to see those guys get my back. Suh is a big guy."

Suh was fined $20,000 for the hit which while not a lot of money to Suh -- the equivalent of a cup of coffee for him -- it's a large fine for a preseason offense. There's no question the NFL was sending a message to Suh: watch yourself.

The question has been asked is Suh dirty? Well, what we think is irrelevant. What is definitely clear is with that fine the NFL was saying hell, yes, Suh is dirty. And that's what's important. The league has targeted Suh.

He's been fined three times in less than a year for beating the DNA out of quarterbacks. That's a lot. Once, okay. Twice, borderline. Three times? Eye opening.

In fairness to Suh his problem is that he is such a strong, athletic freak some of his hits look worse than they are. I'm beginning to think of him as the defensive line equivalent of Randy Moss. That's how freaky his ability is. In a few years he might end up being the best defensive player in football at a position where it's hard to do that.

But along the way Suh had better watch his back. He's being targeted by the league office.

Cam Newton: Will start on Friday. If he plays well, he's the starter.

LAWSUIT COMING? Some of the current players named by Miami Hurricane super-snitch Nevin Shapiro, I'm told, are considering suing him for defamation. That would be an incredibly dumb thing to do. First, my guess is Shapiro has very little funds to get. Second, any players that sue would have to give depositions. In fact, almost everyone involved in the program at that time would likely be forced to testify. Even if one-third of what Shapiro says is accurate that's still a lot of wrongdoing and those depositions would become public. It'd be only a matter of time and if there was a trial everything would be there for all to see. It'd be a huge mess. This will, if it already hasn't, be explained to the players considering suing and they likely won't in the end.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 15, 2011 6:11 am

The Daily Shoutout: Cam Newton

OPENING HIT: Remember when many fans and media said Cam Newton was going to be an arrogant toad in the NFL? He made some immature statements about being an iconic-entertaining-Academy-award-w
inning thespian. Sure, that was dumb. But have you seen and heard Newton lately?

He was interviewed following his first preseason game and when asked to evaluate his performance said: "I can do better." Teammates, I'm told, love him. He's been professional, hard working and, yes, a leader. These are tough days for the Cam Newton haters.

Now, it's early. Many quarterbacks look solid after one preseason game of playing against future UPS drivers. But if you're a Carolina fan, despite Newton's early career hour, this is still encouraging. Mainly because Newton hasn't resembled what so many thought he'd be--even this early.

Newton will need to improve accuracy (as do lots of young throwers) but considering he basically had two weeks of practice and outplayed Jimmy Clausen (who threw a pick six) his game against the Giants wasn't bad at all.

What Newton brings most now is confidence and the Panthers are a team that needs a massive injection of that.

ONLY SOMETHING THAT INTERESTS ME: At one point two different television networks were both claiming they broke news on a free agent wide receiver.

Osi Umenyiora: Just hurry up and sign. Or don't. Or do. Just do one or the other. Thanks.

LAST WORD: What are the Patriots doing? I'll be exploring this in the next few days but these are strange times in New England.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 12, 2011 8:03 am
Edited on: August 12, 2011 8:31 am

The Daily Shoutout: Tim Tebow

OPENING HIT: The Dallas Cowboys played the Denver Tebows on Thursday night and during the game Cowboys announcers pretty much destroyed Tebow focusing on -- of all things -- his lack of accuracy during warmups. It was pretty funny, actually. Now, I don't think Tebow is an NFL quarterback, but to rip him for his throws during freaking warmups is pretty insane. The Tebow bashing has reached DefCon levels when that happens.

But again, he's not a pro quarterback, and based on what I've seen, he won't be anything more than a backup, if that. It's easy to see why and it leads to a difficult truth and problem: Tebow was extremely ill-served by his college offense and coach.

The offense Urban Meyer runs is great for college but horrible if you're a QB with NFL aspirations. In the NFL, coaches laugh at the spread/gun/motor/victory/Samauri whatever the hell they're called offenses. But the problem is, Meyer wins with it. The system works in the SEC; it just doesn't work in the AFC.

That's the quandry. In the NFL it's all about the dropback throw. But Meyer's offense doesn't do that (often). So by running that offense, Meyer does Tebow and other Gator quarterbacks a disservice, but Meyer can't think about that, because he wins national championships with that offense. He has to think about the team.

But you can see the weaknesses in Tebow's game and they are directly related to Meyer's offense. The Meyer offense doesn't require many dropback throws or throwing accuracy--two things that are mandatory in the NFL. So Tebow spent years in an offense that is almost the polar opposite of what the pros do. So of course he's going to struggle in the NFL for a long time.

What was Meyer supposed to do to help Tebow prepare for the pros? Not much Meyer could do in terms of the Gator offense. Meyer has to think about the team, not one guy. But tebow's struggles show the problem of running a gimmick college offense then trying to move up to the big boys.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR Hines Ward? The Steelers signed Jerricho Cotchery. On the surface, not an NFL shattering move but basically Cotchery and Hines Ward are the same style of receiver. (Sure, Ward is a Hall of Famer, to me, but you get the point.) Both work out of the slot, both a possession type players, and neither plays with great speed. In many ways, they're the same guy.

Would the Steelers ever dump Ward? No. At least, I don't think they would. Yet this is interesting because isn't Cotchery going to seriously cut into Ward's production? This will be an interesting situation to watch.

THE LAST WORD: It was only crappy preseason but damn it was good to have football back.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2011 7:21 am

The Daily Shoutout

OPENING HIT: In some ways this is typical Ricky Williams. Sometimes, he's a good guy. Sometimes, he just does and says really dumb stuff.

I met Williams his rookie season in New Orleans not long after Mike Ditka traded his entire draft, some tube socks and leftover pasta for Williams. It was the worst trade in NFL history and it's likely nothing will come close to its horrific level of incompetency. Ditka was eventually fired a casualty of his own work but I'd argue Williams was the biggest casualty. The pressure on Williams to live up to that trade was immense and ate his innards alive. He's basically spent the remainder of his NFL career in the shadow of that trade.

Now Williams is in Baltimore. It's actually a solid signing for the Ravens and Williams. It's a place Williams can finish his career and the Ravens have a terrific backup. Williams is a knucklehead but he can still play. Just as long as he doesn't talk too much.

SPEAKING OF TAMPERING: The Lions sure do like to flirt with players not on their team. My guess is the league will investigate them again based solely on the words of Williams. They can launch an investigation based on what Williams said and the league probably will. And the Lions might get busted yet again.

TERRELLE PRYOR: One NFL general manager speaking about the Ohio State quarterback who should soon become eligible for the supplemental NFL Draft: "He's a taller version of Tim Tebow with the same accuracy problems." Other than that, he's fine.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 3, 2011 8:18 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 8:32 am

The Daily Shoutout: CBA deadline is Thursday

OPENING HIT: The NFL and players are scheduled to have the final details of the CBA worked out by Thursday. That was the deadline. Well, um, that's just one day away. How about we pick up the pace fellas?

I'm told there's nothing to worry about. One player rep guaranteed the CBA would be finalized soon and scoffed at the Thursday deadline saying it could be moved back. One of the things the two sides have been doing is working on HGH testing. Once that is wrapped up the CBA will be finalized.

If they don't meet the Thursday deadline my guess is they'll just work beyond it. But there's nothing to worry about.

I hope.

RETIRED PLAYERS: This is extremely interesting if true.

LAST WORD: At the end of Baltimore Ravens practice, two ice cream trucks pulled onto the field. Ravens players went insane. It reminded me of the famous Eddie Murphy ice cream truck skit (which I would link but the language is very NSFW). At first, the players thought it was a prank and were weary but then the two trucks were swarmed and soon players were walking away with various types of ice cream.

The idea belonged to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who put the deal together in just a few hours, thinking it would be a nice change for camp. Have to say that in over 20 years of covering camps I had never seen that before. It was typical Bisciotti who is maybe the most underrated owner in sports. He spends money, is smart and takes care of his players. Plus, he gets them ice cream.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 2, 2011 7:11 am

The Daily Shoutout

OPENING HIT: There is almost a sense of anger across football when it comes to Randy Moss. Fury, actually, because of what could have been been. He did this. And this. And all of these. If only he could have done that all of the time. That's the frustration. He's a definite Hall of Famer, no question. He's probably the second best receiver in NFL history to Jerry Rice. His numbers and physical talent proves that. But he was also Manny Ramirez. He left so much talent on the field and at times was just flat out lazy. That was always the frustration of Moss and always will be.


I'll be at Ravens camp on Tuesday.

I'm hearing Vincent Jackson from the Chargers, one of the named plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the NFL, and once extremely angry with Chargers management, is behaving like a true professional. The situation was once extremely vememous but tensions are easing.

THE LAST WORD: We end with one of the top five best sports lines ever. It comes from Moss when once asked how he'd pay a $10,000 fine for simulating pulling his pants down after scoring a touchdown. His reponse? "Straight cash, homey."

Category: NFL
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