Posted on: March 4, 2010 8:40 pm

Old and slow will go

The names kept rolling out.

Charles Grant. Jamal Williams. Lito Sheppard. Leveranues Coles.

All were part of the NFL purge Thursday as teams readied for the open of free agency. All were released by their teams.

What did they all have in common? It was the years on their resumes.

Getting old is a bitch. Getting old in the NFL is a financial disaster.

You go from starter one day -- like all of the above -- to out of a job a few months later.

And if any of them thinks they will be cashing in on big-money deals, they should think again.

That time has come and gone.

The NFL is a young man's league. If you're 30 or older, you're hanging on, unless you're a quarterback.
The older crowd might get lucky and land a one-year deal. And they might actually help a team. But any chance of a multi-year mega-contract likely has passed them by.

Thursday once again reminded us why we can never be hard on a player who wants to be paid when he's in his prime.

That prime doesn't last for long.




Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: March 2, 2010 2:48 pm

The 40 isn't all that

It's not how fast you run on a track, but how fast you play on the football field.
NFL teams should live by that. The fans and media need to understand it better.
I was reminded of it again this week when the 40 times for the defensive backs at the combine were posted.
Florida corner Joe Haden was timed in the 4.5 range. USC safety Taylor Mays was in the 4.4 range, and some said it was even faster than that.
Have you seen those two play?
Haden plays fast, a lock-down cover corner. Mays plays slow, a slow-to-react safety.
So you tell me, which one is the better NFL prospect?
I don't want to hear this talk of how the 40 times will vault Mays and drop Haden. It won't happen. At least it shouldn't happen.
If it does, NFL teams are just being dumb.
It's the way they play. Not the way they run.
Haden plays fast and Mays doesn't.
Don't let the track time influence the football decision.

Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: February 28, 2010 4:43 pm

OT change? Why?

I would love to put to rest this talk about changing the NFL overtime rules? Unfortunately, we can't.

The NFL is considering a new plan that could change the rules in the playoffs. Right now it's the first team to score wins, regardless if both teams get a possession or not.

Under the new proposal, each team would get the ball unless the first team scored a touchdown. If not, it becomes first team to score.

Why mess with what they have? Games aren't decided by coin flips, like some would make you think. There are two units on the field, an offense and a defense. If defense can win championships, why can't it win in overtime?

Stop the other team, get the ball, and win the game. Simple.

Don't change the rule. It's makes no sense.


Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: October 19, 2009 6:19 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2009 4:29 pm

Monday Musings: Washington mess

---Is it Jason Campbell or the Redskins? I say it's the latter. I've documented here many times how they put him in obvious passing situations too many times and then ask him to make a play. Is he great? No. Can he be solid if he's given a chance? I say yes. But the Redskins lack creativity on offense, which is why the play-calling duties are being taken away from coach Jim Zorn and being given to Shem Lewis, who joined the team two weeks ago. Zorn's job will soon be taken from him as well, but don't the Redskins need to find out if Campbell can do better with a better person calling plays? What does playing Todd Collins do? Give Campbell the rest of the season, and if he flops then you make a change. Or the new coach will anyway.

---The Titans have to sit down Kerry Collins. Their season is done. Why not find out if Vince Young can be the long-term answer? If he can't, then you draft one next season. Playing Collins makes no sense. He isn't very good right now and he isn't the long-term answer. Play Young. He couldn't do any worse than what Collins did against the Patriots Sunday in the 59-0 loss. He was 2-of-12 for minus-7 yards. Yes, they had a pass play that went for a 22-yard loss.

---Despite their victory over the Lions Sunday, the Packers are still having problems protecting Aaron Rodgers. He was dumped five times by the Lions, which is the average per game that he is getting sacked. Chad Clifton returned to play left tackle, but he left again with an injury. The line has been a trauma unit all season long. One has to wonder what Rodgers would be like if he had a good group playing in front of them.

---The loss of corner Brian Williams for the season with a torn ACL will show up on the field for the Atlanta Falcons. Williams, who signed with the Falcons after being one of the Jaguars' final cuts, had played well in his five games. He is a physical corner, which Chris Houston is not. The Falcons will likely make Houston and Brent Grimes the starters, with Chevis Jackson in as the nickel corner.

---I have to offer an apology to Hines Ward. I can admit I was wrong. I was wrong about Ward. I thought he'd have an off year. I thought he was about done. He is tied for the league lead in catches with 41 and has a league-best 599 yards. His 14.6 average is eye opening to me. I was wrong. I can admit it. So quit killing me about it, Steelers fans.

---Question: Who's the NFL's best receiver right now from Central Florida? Is it Brandon Marshall? Nope. It's Jacksonville's Mike Sims-Walker. In four starts, he has 28 catches for a 14.2 average. In his past two games, he has 16 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns. I'm not saying he's better than Marshall, but he is playing better. The only knock on him is his missing last week's game with Seattle when he was suspended for the game by coach Jack Del Rio. Why? He missed curfew for a reported dalliance with a female. Sims-Walker has star power. Don't believe any foolish talk that the Jaguars might trade him. They wouldn't dare.

----The loss of Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins for the season will impact the Jets defense in a big way. When he's on the field, Jenkins is as dominant as any nose in the NFL. In the Jets 3-4 scheme, he will be missed. He suffered a torn ACL against Buffalo. The concern besides his absence is conditioning. Jenkins has a tendency to get really heavy and the inactivity could lead to him ballooning up. That could impact next season.

---How does Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka miss that 44-yard game-winner against the Vikings? Think the Ravens wish they had Matt Stover now?

---The NFL had no choice but to suspend Carolina Panthers special teams player Dante Wesley for a game after he launched himself and hit Tampa Bay return man Clifton Smith during Sunday's game. It was a dirty hit that had to face a severe penalty. That's the type of hit that can kill a man.

---I can hear it now: Eagles fans ripping Andy Reid for throwing it too much. The Eagles threw it 46 times against the Raiders and ran it 14 times, although the Raiders struggle to stop the run. Let the season play out -- and then rip him. He's too good a coach to critique one game.

---Maurice Jones-Drew talked the talk and then walked the walk against the Rams. He ran for 133 yards on 33 carries and scored three times. Jones-Drew ripped the team's effort after their loss to the Seahawks and complained about not getting the ball. The rant worked. He did fumble inside the Red Zone, which the Rams recovered.


Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: September 14, 2009 6:00 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2009 6:00 pm

Monday Musings


---The Colts will feel the sting of losing receiver Anthony Gonzalez for up to six weeks with a knee injury. Gonzalez spent a lot of time this offseason working with Peyton Manning on timing. Now he's down. That will force Pierre Garcon into the lineup. Garcon is fast, but he is raw. Austin Collie, a rookie from BYU, will remain in the slot. Look for more Dallas Clark. As for bringing back Marvin Harrison. That's not happening. He wasn't very good last season and he's a bad influence in the locker room. Why bother? They won't.

---Is the Wildcat dead? The Dolphins did little with it against the Falcons, the Browns botched a scoring opportunity running it with Josh Cribbs twice in the first half and the Jaguars ran it on a 2-point play with Maurice Jones-Drew, who didn't get in. It's fading away like Members Only Jackets.

----When Dallas Cowboys linebacker DaMarcus Ware got his bell rung Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it happened when he was dropping into coverage. Not to nitpick, but why is that guy ever dropping into coverage. He should be going forward all the time. That's just me.

---You think the Atlanta Falcons are happy they have linebacker Mike Peterson. He had a huge hit on Anthony Fasano to force a fumble and also had an interception. Peterson was made expendable in Jacksonville in part because they thought he had slowed down. He might have a little, but Peterson can still play. He showed that Sunday.

---Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris froze up at the end of the first half Sunday. The Bucs led 7-6 with just under two minutes left when they took over at their own 14. The Cowboys had one timeout. The Bucs should have run three times and gone to the half. So what happened? They threw a pass for minus-1, Byron Leftwich ran out of bounds trying to throw and they ran it on third down. Dallas gets the ball back with 1:02 and ends up with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Miles Austin for a 13-7 lead. Tampa Bay should have led 7-6 at the half.

---Tampa Bay's safeties are major problems. Everybody piled on Sabby Piscitelli for his poor play -- deserved by the way -- but team insiders say Jermaine Phillips was just as bad against the Cowboys. They miss Tanard Jackson, who is suspended for the first four games for violating the league's substance-abuse program in the worst way.

---One of the priceless moments of the weekend came when Kyle Orton took a sack to push the Broncos out of field-goal range in the fourth quarter with a chance to go up 9-0. Coach Josh McDaniels lit him up, and rightfully so. That's a terrible decision that no quarterback should make. Of course he was bailed out with the miracle play at the end.

---I picked Jaguars corner Derek Cox to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He's off to a good start. He had a pick and a fumble recovery against the Colts and was physical in the run game.

---I loved the call on third-and-1 by Packers coach Mike McCarthy to go for the big play and the touchdown. The Bears sold out for the run and he had single-high safety and man coverage on Greg Jennings. Why not take a shot? That's what makes good coaches. They aren't afraid to take shots. McCarthy won with that decision. Loved it.

---Good to see the Ravens will let Joe Flacco go. That was a concern after watching him play up-tempo this summer. I talked to some of their personnel people at the Ravens-Panthers preseason game and I asked if that would continue. They weren't sure, but coach John Harbaugh deserves credit for making that happen against the Chiefs.

----Matt Stafford had a rough go in his first start, but starting him is the right thing to do. What will the Lions gain from playing Daunte Culpepper? This Lions team isn't going anywhere, so the experience is invaluable.

---I sure hope the Eagles play Kevin Kolb and not Jeff Garcia if Donovan McNabb can't play. Why? You have to develop him and Garcia can't throw the ball down the field anymore.


Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: September 6, 2009 5:54 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2009 8:53 pm

Take that, Seymour

Can one move mean a man is both smart and vindictive?

The Richard Seymour trade says both about New England Patriots mastermind Bill Belichick.

The move is smart because Belichick stole a 2011 first-round pick from Oakland Raiders for Seymour. That pick, barring a drastic change in the Raiders, will be a top-15 pick -- bare minimum.

They get that for a 29-year-old defensive tackle who is entering the final year of his contract.

Good move.

Bad move for Seymour. And that's where the vindictive side comes into play. Seymour was one of the few players who would stand up to Belichick. He didn't hang on his every word. When Seymour wanted to stay home in South Carolina with his wife and kids and work out, Belichick balked.

Seymour stayed.

Now he's shipping him to one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Take that.

It also shows the Patriots way, which is no loyalty. Nor should there be. There never is on the team's side, so why should a player ever feel loyal? He shouldn't. The team will send you to Siberia, uh, Oakland, in a minute.

If you're in decline, you're done.

Seymour helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls. He helped earn Belichick a lot of money.

That mattered none on Sunday. Nor should it.

But couldn't Belichick have traded him to a team that had a chance?

This trade was a smart move, Bill -- as usual. But I bet Belichick's a little happy sending Seymour off to Oakland.



Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: September 2, 2009 6:02 pm

Preaseason Fakes

I give you three names that tell us why the NFL preseason is meaningless.

They are Quinn Gray, Marcus Mason and Mkristo Bruce.

Gray led the NFL in passing yards during the 2008 preseason. Mason led in rushing and Bruce in sacks.

Two of the three are no longer in the NFL and Mason is a longshot with the Washington Redskins.

The preseason simply doesn't matter when it comes to results.

We keep hearing how this team has looked good and this player has looked good, but in the end it's so hard to get a gauge on who is really any good and who is truly bad.

Are they Packers as good as they've looked? Not a chance. Are the Raiders as bad as they've looked? I would say no.

It's the preseason.

The Detroit Lions went 4-0 in the 2008 preseason and didn't win a game in the regular season.

It doesn't matter.

Cletis Gordon tied for the NFL lead in interceptions during the 2008 preseason. He's been cut twice this summer.

So before you take real stock in what's happened this summer, just remember what the past preseason results and stats have taught us, which, as it always is, little.




Category: NFL
Tags: NFL
Posted on: March 23, 2009 10:12 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2009 1:32 am

Making it safe

DANA POINT, Calif. -- There will be a few tweaks to the NFL game this year, but the biggest concern the league's competition commitee has is with player safety.

Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, co-chair of the competition committee with Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, said several areas will be made points of emphasis this season to help guard the players' health.

The horse-collar tackle, which is a 15-year penalty, will be watched closer. Defenseless receivers can not be hit with a shoulder or a forearm to the head by the tackler. That joins helmet-to-helmet contact as now being subject to a penalty. And defenders cannot be blocked high to the head after a turnover anymore, much like Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward did to Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers last season.

The committee also wants to make it illegal for a defender to go low on a quarterback with force. That's what I call the Tom Brady rule. Kansas City safety Bernard Pollard went low, and Brady was lost for the season. That would now be subject to a 15-yard penalty. A player can go low by grasping, but not using force.

Two other changes will come with replay. The incomplete-fumble call, otherwise known as the "Ed Hochuli call," would now be subject to review. In the past, it was reviewable, but not if the official blew the play dead. It would be now if it is determined that the defense recovered the football. In the past, it was dead as soon as the referee ruled it over.

 The other involves whether a kickoff goes out of bounds and is recovered by the kicking team. That situation came up in the Philadelphia-Arizona playoff game. The Cardinals recovered the kick, but the play was blown dead because the ruling was the ball went out of bound. It never did. Now that could be a reviewable play.





Category: NFL
Tags: 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