Tag:Daily Shoutout
Posted on: August 29, 2011 6:33 am

The Daily Shoutout: The Saints may roll

OPENING HIT: I know, I know--it was only against the Raiders. But you had to be impressed with the Saints on Sunday night in Oakland.

Particularly two aspects of the Saints. The first being the irrepressible Drew Brees who has to be part machine. A lockout, one of the leaders of the union in a bitter labor dispute, little off-season organized activities outside the few arranged -- by him -- he's freaking incredible. In three long drives against the Raiders he led the Saints to two touchdowns and a field goal. He looked incredible like he's been practicing non-stop for the past six months.

The other interesting aspect about this team? It's depth. The coach may be a jerk and a bully but he and that front office sure do know how to put together a total team. They have 418 running backs, all good, solid receiving staff, talent pretty much everywhere.

I hear you. I got it. It was the Raiders. But I'm still impressed with New Orleans

YOU KNOW WHY? Just because.

HAMSTRUNG: I don't blame Arian Foster for responding to a certain radio toad but there is definitely some legitimate concern regarding Foster's hamstring injury. They are among the most irritating and troubling injuries for skill position players. They can last for weeks and even large swaths of the season. I think Foster knows this and is frustrated by it which accounts for his Twitter outburst. The Texans are saying Foster is day-to-day but this could be something that lingers for some time.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 26, 2011 8:05 am

The Daily Shoutout: Stealing plays

OPENING HIT: For whatever reason, ESPN's cameras during games are allowed to go places on the field, and shoot things, other media aren't allowed to. One such incident happened during Thursday night's Baltimore-Washington game and it demonstrated how easy it is to steal plays.

Let me explain. ESPN's cameras were filming an exchange between one of Baltimore's players and its coaches. Cameras captured the entire card the offensive coach was holding. The card with the Ravens' plays.

They were there clear as day. The first six were easily visible. I paused TiVo, rewound, and copied them down. Here is an example of one: "Queen Slot Fly 60/70 sponge ('Zm Edge')."

One more: "Dual 60/70 Outside (A) TH #12"

HD television, man. It's incredible.

Again, ESPN showed the plays on national TV. I'm not violating any trusts. It was there for anyone with a TiVo to grab.

How would this information be useful to an opponent? Overall, it wouldn't be, unless the Ravens were stupid enough or lazy enough to use the same play calls in every game, and since the Baltimore coaching staff is smart, and not stupid or lazy, that wouldn't happen.

Stealing plays in the NFL is done but it's incredibly difficult and in many ways espionage in football is mostly overrated. This isn't baseball. Which is why I say one of the great sports scandals ever, Spygate, was vastly overblown. But that's another story.

Stealing plays in football is more about paranoia. Coaches fear the plays being nabbed but it actually rarely happens.

But it must be fun as hell to try. 

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:41 am

The Daily Shoutout: StubHub

OPENING HIT: So this is how I get myself into trouble. The site Profootballtalk.com ran a semi-mocking post about the mayor of Jacksonville pushing for fans to buy season tickets. The Jaguars again face blackouts, the site reported, if 5,000 season tickets aren't sold.

On Twitter, I wrote several sentences, agreeing with PFT, saying it's amateurish for a mayor of a major American city to play the role of StubHub. I think mayors have better things to do like, oh, fight crime and worry about Jacksonville's troubled real estate market.

Well, the reaction from the Jagnuts was swift. A mob formed. Some of the Twitter responses were passionate but reasonable. Others were vitriolic and belligerent. A super duper Jaguars fan/cheerleader named Alfie, a guy I normally like, sent more than a few boorish tweets, three of which included profanity (he argued two contained profanity since he used the same curse twice--interesting math there). He also kept calling me "boss." I wondered if he was confusing me with Kevin Boss.

I was called anti-Jacksonville even though I wrote this when I worked there. And this. Oh, and this.

Not to mention I once bought Jaguars season tickets.

I love the city. Nice people, beautiful beaches and the best radio talk-show host in the business.

Yet Jaguars fans are increasingly insecure about their team's ticket sale situation often deflecting the Jaguars' problems by blasting the city of Tampa and the Buccaneers for their ticket issues. So Jaguars fans hate it when people criticize their team's lack of ticket sales but then attack another team.

But back to the issue. Should a mayor spend even a second trying to boost ticket sales for an NFL team?

Foul-mouthed Alfie de Ville said I defended President Obama when he was ripped for filing out an NCAA bracket. Not an unfair counterpoint. Though I would argue Obama spending a half-hour once a year going on ESPN to talk about a stupid bracket is far less time consuming than a mayor commiting to selling tickets. I don't believe this is something the mayor will spend 10 minutes doing or pushing off to subordinates. He will spend more time on this than my Twitter critics want to admit.

Also, while there are exceptions, in general, politicians screw up sports.

There is an argument made that by helping to sell tickets and keep the Jaguars viable (and in the city) the mayor is protecting jobs. Not unfair yet consider this. There are economists -- and not a few -- that have long expressed serious doubts that an NFL team has a truly beneficial financial impact on a city.

My biggest problem with mayoral intervention is that it takes away from the responsibility of the Jaguars. It's the team's job to sell tickets. Not the mayor's. The team and NFL should combine to invest massive resources into ticket drives. I mean, big bucks. Cash money.

I always go back to this. Jaguars fans get saucy when anyone discusses their ticket situation (WHAT ABOUT TAMPA!!!!) and they are right sometimes Jacksonville is unfairly targeted by the media. That's true.

But Jaguars fans could shut everyone the hell up by buying tickets. Jaguars fans should be mad at one entity only: the people of Jacksonville. No one else.

Now excuse me while I put on my bulletproof vest.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 11, 2011 7:54 am

A special Daily Shoutout: Football is back

HELLO, NFL: Remember what it was like? When the owners and players were squabbling? The arguing. The ridiculous pettiness. The greed. Remember when you thought the NFL would never return? Remember how angry you were? The stupid editorials? How some of you said: I'm never coming back.

Remember, most of all, when you wanted all the principles to shut up, and for there just to be football? Remember?

Well, three words: football is back.

Football. Is. Back.

"It's just good to be playing football again," Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco told me recently. He was smiling like a little kid.

Now, it won't be pretty. This preseason is going to be really, really ugly. It will be some of the worst football we've seen in years. Even for preseason games. But at least we're not in 8th circuit court any longer. At least we're talking YAC instead of CBA. The knuckleheads came to their senses and as a result the 2011 season officially begins on Thursday.

Thank the football gods. It's back.

If only we could get the NBA idiots to pull their collective heads out of you-know-where.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 10, 2011 7:27 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 7:53 am

The Daily Shoutout

OPENING HIT: Some Los Angeles city councily thingy has approved a downtown NFL stadium dealy. Los Angeles and the NFL have been trying to re-activate a franchise in that city for decades now and I've never understood why. Los Angeles is a vastly overrated football town. In fact, it's a vastly overrated sports town that cares only about the Lakers and college football. The only bigger front-running fans are in Atlanta. Or maybe Miami. The NFL has done just fine without a team in Los Angeles. In fact, the NFL has seen its largest expansion ever without Los Angeles in the picture.

It's the political leaders of L.A. that want a team; not the average citizen. The pols and wealthy want a stadium and team so Los Angeles can host Super Bowls. That's it. There's no real fan groundswell or passion for the NFL. None. So now some team like the Chargers will relocate to the NFL and die a short time later. Because that's what NFL teams do in L.A. They die.

SHEER ARROGANCE: Rex Grossman says the Redskins can win the NFC East. I'd say something about Gator arrogance but I won't. I will say Grossman's statement illustrates why I've always believed he won't be a successful NFL quarterback (and so far he hasn't been). Besides a lack of talent Grossman has always underestimated how hard it is to be an NFL quarterback. He underestimates the defenses, the competition, the throws needed to be good. And now a guy who has never won anything in the NFL is guaranteeing his team will win what could be the nastiest division in the sport. Sheer arrogance. Grossman can't even guarantee he won't go 9 for 28 with two picks.

The Redskins will be lucky to win five or six games; 8-8 would be a Super Bowl.

THE LAST WORD: I'm told the league and players continue working towards an agreement for HGH testing but it's still not certain one will be reached. The players are still working through their trust issues with the league. If those can be solved, it'll get done.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:52 am

The Daily Shoutout: injuries

OPENING HIT: Since the NFL tracks everything from on-field statistics to the number of jock straps it hands out it likely has some idea what the answer is to this question: are training camp injuries higher this year because of the lockout?

No one outside of a few people within the sport know the answer for sure but anecdotally the answer seems to be yes. One team trainer told me that injuries on his team were up slightly and that they were mainly of the pulled hamstring variety. ESPN has reported that so far there've been eight Achilles tendon tears (I've heard the number is actually higher). Again, not proof, but it does seem the lockout might've had its predictable effect.

THE Patriots: What in the hell are they doing?

They're my early Super Bowl pick but I have to admit I'm now totally puzzled. I got signing Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco. But since New England has added Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter.

What always made the Patriots organization so formidable was that it built through the draft. Sure, Bill Belichick's dratf record isn't perfect (no one's is) but it's pretty damn good, and it has allowed the franchise (along with Tom Brady of course) to not only win multiple Super Bowls but stay competitive every year. It was Belichick's impressive team building that allowed New England to get 11 wins when Brady was lost for the season.

I know this likely isn't the case and it's more likely competitors stirring the pot but I continue to hear Belichick is gearing up for one last Super Bowl (or two) before leaving coaching and becoming a general manager (either with the Patriots or another team). Again, unlikely to happen, but some of these strange signings continue to make me wonder if the league gossip is true.

LAST WORD: Tiki Barber is drawing very little interest, I'm told. Most teams, it seems, aren't buying into his comeback. That could change if a bunch of teams lose running back to injuries but for now personnel men tell me there are a number of better free agent options.
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 27, 2011 7:18 am

The Daily Shoutout

COACHES COMPLAINING ABOUT NEW RULES BUT...Members of the NFL's competition committee has been receiving a steady stream of complaints from coaches over the new rules pertaining to training camp practices. Players won't be hitting as much or practicing as much. It will be a softer NFL. This is not sitting well with some coaches. They've been complaining to members of the committee and complaining vociferously. Now, complaints to the committee is not unusual. Coaches are worse than players. They complain about everything. But I'm told the complaints are slightly more numerous than normal. There is a lot of agitation in some circles of the coaching community.

But this is also interesting. Another segment of coaches, I'm told, privately likes the new rules but are afraid to say so publicly, fearing being labled as soft by other coaches or even some players. There's long been a certain segment of coaches who felt there was far too many practices and too much contact because todays players are so much bigger and faster than continually physically pushing them, year round is, as one coach told me, just plain stupid. But it's done because the culture of the sport demanded it was done.

So the hard core coaches are complaining and other coaches are secretly applauding.

One coach told a story that exemplified how ridiculously intense practices used to be. Not too long ago the Raiders had a 62 days of 90-plus play practices. Some assistants on the team thought it was simply asinine to push players like that but they kept their thoughts mostlty private thinking they'd be viewed as punks if they spoke up.

That type of attitude is mostly changing and the new rules will usher in a safer brand of football. But that old school mentality, as evidenced by coaches now complaining to the competition committee, won't go away easily.

See you Thursday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:09 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:18 am

The Daily Shoutout

GREED? Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe was one of the few people -- media, players -- with the guts to tell the truth. He went to Twitter to do it: "Sigh, and once again greed is the operative byword. Congrats [Drew] Brees, [Peyton] Manning, [Logan] Mankins, and [Vincent] Jackson for being ‘that guy’. #douchebags."

Kluwe didn't back down when asked later about his tweet. He was angry over Brees, Manning, Mankins and Jackson slowing progress on a new collective bargaining agreement with personal demands. “The thing is we’re so close to having a deal done and to kind of pull that at the last minute it feels kind of like blackmail," he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper. "We all out the owners when they do crap like that and it’s only fair to call out our own people when they do the same thing. I’m against hypocrisy wherever it’s at. Just finish the deal up so we can get the season going.”

Kluwe wasn't the only player angry over what Manning et al were doing, he was just one of the few willing to publicly express that anger. Members of the NFLPA executive committee, meeting in Washington as the story broke, were infuriated, one player told me. "They want blood," that person said.

That may explain why in the end it was leaked to the Boston Herald that any idea of the plaintiffs receiving special consideration has been now abandoned. It also explains why Brees, Manning and Jackson issued denials they were looking for special consideration after Yahoo! sports, the Boston Globe and myself reported they were. Profootballtalk.com broke some aspects of this story a few weeks ago. There was too much heat coming down on the players from both the outside and inside.

Brees said he never asked for anything special.

Manning said through his agent he didn't either.

Jackson said on Twitter he didn't.

And they're 100 percent correct. None of those players themselves asked for special considerations. Not one of them.

Their lawyers did.

That was the problem. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the league, to me, actually do deserve special compensation. They stuck their necks out.

The problem Kluwe and others had was twofold. First, while what the lawyers representing Manning, Brees, Mankins and Jackson were doing was within their rights, no CBA can be signed without all plaintiffs agreeing and it is accurate that the four men were basically slowing progress on a deal because lawyers representing them were seeking special considerations. That's a fact.

Second, how much money is enough? Certainly, owners have at times acted greedily during this lockout, no question, but what lawyers representing Brees and Manning were doing in particular -- seeking more compensation while slowing down the talks -- came off as greedy, too. The two men are millionaires many times over. They're set for life. Their demands were stopping a deal for the rest of the league many of whom aren't nearly as wealthy.

So here we are. A deal remains near. It'll get done.

But this was not the greatest moment for those four men. Not at all.

Or the lawyers representing them.
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com