Tag Archive | "Brett Favre"

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Flacco Takes Immeasurable Off-Field Step in Ravens Win Over Bills

Posted on 24 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Besides the extra tick that will go in the team’s W column, there won’t be much about the Baltimore Ravens’ 37-34 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

That’s not necessarily fair, either. The Ravens (5-2) did a number of good things, but those good things will ultimately be shadowed in the eyes of many by the fact that they had to overcome a large deficit and then use overtime heroics to get past a Bills (0-6) team that has won as many games in the NFL this year as the Baltimore Orioles.

QB Joe Flacco’s performance might not ultimately go down as one of the greatest games of his career. He was by no means bad whatsoever, finishing his day 16/31 for 250 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He looked a bit shaky early on, and was nearly intercepted by Bills CB Reggie Corner on a crucial drive before halftime, but he recovered and put together what was a solid if not spectacular overall game.

Of course, there’s no doubt there will be at least a handful of “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” who will spend the next two weeks obsessing over his faults.

What stood out for me about Flacco’s work Sunday wasn’t necessarily his statistical performance or the way he lead the team to an important 17 points in the span of 1:04 late in the 2nd quarter and early in the 3rd. It was instead something that didn’t happen on the field at all.

Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked post-game about the atmosphere in the Ravens’ locker room at halftime; where they were undoubtedly surprised to find themselves trailing 24-20 even after scoring ten points late in the half to make things close. Harbaugh had said the the locker room was more “determined” than “emotional”, but added “there were some things said, and that’s the way it is in football.”

There’s nothing surprising about football players and coaches saying something at halftime

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What does Tom Brady think of the Baltimore Ravens and Terrell Suggs?

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What does Tom Brady think of the Baltimore Ravens and Terrell Suggs?

Posted on 19 October 2010 by Rex Snider

By now, we pretty much know how Baltimore’s purple kool-aid drinking, smash-mouth football fans feel about Tom Brady ….

I’m assuming you respect his on-field achievements, especially as it regards his overall prowess as a championship winning quarterback, and a stat-logging machine.

Tom Brady has been recognized as the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player. He is the only quarterback in the game’s modern history to lead a team to an undefeated regular season record. And, he is the only quarterback to throw for 50 touchdowns in a single season.

Yet, more importantly, Tom Brady has been on the winning end of 102 of his 135 regular season contests. Yes, that’s a .755 winning percentage. Or, for those scoring on the 16-game measuring stick, he wins an average of 12 games per season. Not too shabby, huh?

Of course, the most impressive part of Brady’s resume’ is his postseason mark of 14 wins and 4 losses, accompanied by 28 touchdowns, 4100 passing yards and THREE OF THESE …..
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Hard to beat such accomplishments, huh?

Count ‘em, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb, Jay Cutler, Mike Vick and the CHOSEN ONE – Mark Sanchez, combined, have not won as many Super Bowls as Tom Brady.

Combine the achievements and distinctions with Brady’s character as a good citizen and unblemished ambassador of the game, which separates him from the likes of Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre, and the story of a guy who’s universally adored is a given reality, right?

Not so fast …..

While Tom Brady is everything specified, thus far, he’s also known for one disintegrating trait, which grows louder and LOUDER …..

That’s right, on top of being everything an American kid could hope for in life, Brady has also been hampered and psychologically scarred by an incident that paved and demolished his 2008 season.

If you’re just a casual football fan, chances are you still recall this image from the NFL’s “Opening Day,” just a couple years ago …..
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It’s only been a couple years, but I will always remember that season-ending injury for Tom Brady. I felt bad for the guy and I still do. As I mentioned earlier, he’s the perfect role model citizen and he’s a freakin’ winner. I also dig the fact that all 32 teams passed on him NUMEROUS TIMES in the NFL Draft.

But, in the couple years since returning from his debilitating injury, Brady has been earning a reputation that will likely stick a negitive stigma to his otherwise stellar reputation. In fact, this perception and belief people are developing can be a KILLER for a “man’s man.”

Tom Brady is being viewed as SOFT.

Tom Brady is being viewed as GUN SHY.

Tom Brady is being viewed as a SISSY.

There, I finally said it. After all the lathering of accolades I’ve smered on the guy, I’ve gotta be honest about the way many people are viewing Tom Brady, these days. It’s an impression I’ve resisted for more than year; that’s how much I really LIKE and RESPECT the guy.

But, with each passing game, I’m being swayed further and further to the side of the guys who question Brady’s mental and physical toughness …. or even his courage.

That’s a very damning thing to say or write …..

In last year’s October matchup, all of us distinctly recall Tom Brady lobbying officials for penalties against Ravens defenders for incidental contact and rather meaningless/harmless touches. At first, I perceived it to be gamemanship from Brady. I imagined that he would complain with a demonstrative vigor, but ultimately walk back to the huddle with a snicker, while knowing he was gonna get some yellow hankies thrown in his favor.

As last season dragged on, so did Tom Brady’s antics. And, he was getting louder about it.

Everyone was taking notice.

For me, the culmination of Brady’s complaining about contact really culminated in Sunday’s game. He was hit CLEAN upon releasing the ball on a completed pass, late in the 4th quarter. Yet, he still slammed his hand to the ground, while chewing the referee’s ass. He was looking for a penalty. And, yes, I saw Terrell Suggs’ hand graze the quarterback’s helmet.

Fortunately, the officials didn’t bite and a penalty was not assessed. Doing so could’ve killed the impending reality of overtime.

Is that how Tom Brady really wants to win?

Is that what he’s reduced to?

I’m not buying it. I don’t think it’s a competitive tool or gamesmanship. To be blunt, I think Tom Brady is legitimately concerned about getting hurt, again. And, while I can understand his plight, it’s also the professional path he’s chosen.

Getting slammed by Ray Lewis HURTS. Getting drilled by a Cliff Lee fastball HURTS. Hitting the wall in Jeff Gordon’s Chevrolet, at 180 mph, HURTS. I get it, I really do.

Evidently, Tom Brady really gets it …. and he doesn’t like it. Thus, we’re treated to his weekly antics …..
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Believe me, I see the business aspect tied to guys like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. They’re the marketing darlings or “cash cows” for NFL Properties. Thus, the league does everything possible (including rules changes) to ensure these guys stay on the field.

But, at some point, you’ve gotta play football, right? Heck, some folks think the game has already been watered down by the rules changes.

Still, Tom Brady complains – every single week.

I suppose he accomplishes what he wants. And, on Mondays, he denies everything.

Each Monday, Brady joins the Dennis & Callahan Show, on Boston’s WEEI Radio, for a phone conversation. During yesterday’s call, he downplayed his on-field complaining. In fact, he called all the Ravens hits “CLEAN.”

He also dished on his thoughts of Terrell Suggs and the predictability of the Ravens defense, inside the red zone. He said, “they’re either blitzing or putting 8 men in the end zone.”

He also said, “they do a lot of talking for a team that has beaten us once in 9 times, since I’ve been here.”

You can find the conversation HERE

While I still like Tom Brady and remain in awe of his career-defining accomplishments, I really would like to remember him as a guy who did things the right way and played with a physical/mental toughness demanded of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

Today, I’m not so certain I still believe in his heart and courage.

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Are they going to destroy all of our heros?

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Domenic Vadala

I liked Brett Favre for most of his career, and I still think he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks in history. However I soured on him in recent years when he forced us to go through this will he or won’t he play charade. Step up, make a decision, and stand behind it like a man. However now he has himself in some deeper water than just fence-sitting on whether or not he’s going to play. We all know what’s going on, so I’m not going to re-hash the entire story. But as the title suggests, are they really going to take down every hero we’ve ever had in America…?

…first off, who’s they? The media? The law? The government? Perhaps a bit everything mixed together. There’s no question that we now live in a different world than we did even a decade ago. IF Brett Favre did what he’s being acussed of doing, it was wrong. Not only was it inappropriate for an employee of the New York Jets to do what he did (to a fellow employee), but it was wrong more importantly by his wife. I firmly believe in the institution of marriage, and if I were lucky enough at this stage of my life to have someone with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my days, I can guarantee that I would never cheat on her. (As a single guy that struggles to meet women, I deeply resent people that find someone and then stray.) With that said, I don’t think that what Favre is acussed of doing is unlike things that have happened in any other professional locker room since the beginning of professional sports. Everytime an athlete such as Favre or Tiger Woods is found with his hand in the cookie jar, the powers-that-be seem to take an attitude of we got the dirty fool. We then seem to act as if the person involved is the worst human being on the planet; the hidden message is often that this guy is the only one to have done something like this. Again, are they going to destroy all of our heros?

We’d all be lying to ourselves if we thought that the athletes/celebrities that were caught doing this kind of thing were the only ones to have ever done it. However when someone is caught doing this, we also see media and in some cases the law working almost endlessly to “cover” the story. In some cases the translation of that is that they work endlessly to rip the person to shreds. Again, I have little to no sympathy for any person that cheats on his wife. However I also recognize that one spouse being unfaithful is a situation that should be handled by and between the couple and not in the media. I suppose that if you live in the public eye and you get caught doing something inappropriate you have to expect a certain amount of media scrutiny. However…are they really going to destroy all of our heros?

In my opinion this trend began in 1998-’99 when President Bill Clinton got caught with Monica Lewinsky. That situation seemingly changed all of the rules with regard to how this kind of thing was handled by the media, as well as the law. Without getting specific, enemies of one man (President Clinton) used technicalities in the law to turn cheating on your wife into a federal case. And the media played right along. Many other Presidents had done the exact same thing, but the media granted an executive priviledge so to speak, and never reported it. However once even the President’s sex life was fair game, that changed things for the rest of us as well. And again, if you’re in the group with Tiger Woods and Brett Favre and you live your life in the public eye, you can expect that you’ll have every part of your life scrutinized.

I don’t want to go overboard with this, because I also recognize that the media and the law have a job to do. And I’m not even saying that the law shouldn’t be involved when athletes/public figures screw up. If they do something that’s blatantly illegal, they need to be prosecuted. But we’re not talking about a crime in the case of Brett Favre. And incidentally, I’m not necessarily talking about “mainstream media” such as ESPN, MASN, CNN, CBS, etc. I’m talkng about outlets such as Deadspin, TMZ, etc; the modern day paparazzi. At the end of the day we end up with a “hero” like Brett Favre or Tiger Woods who’s been dragged through the mud to the point that we almost forget all of the good things that he’s done in his sports career. To use a more local example, people have almost ceased to remember what a great basketball player Gilbert Arenas can be due to his off-the-court problems. Furthermore, it’s almost as if his numerous charitable acts in the area were forgotten…because he brought a weapon into a locker room. (I’m not saying that what he did was right, but let’s be fair…)

Ultimately, any person (athletes or otherwise) that makes a mistake should have to attest for it. However I would say that you shouldn’t have to attest for it in an overwhelming manner and in public at that. Did Tiger Woods really need to come before TV cameras and appologize for cheating on his wife? The way I see things he owed a major appology to his wife (and obviously they’re now divorced), but not to the public. The same is true for Brett Favre, IF he did what he’s accused of doing. Cheater or not, Favre should still be considered one of the greatest QB’s of all time. He’s a guy that presumably made a mistake, and will have to attest to it with his wife. And that’s the only person with whom he should attest to it. However again, are they going to destroy all of our heros?

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because once again I get to name two new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” The first addition is the “new” addition to the list…”Grenade” by Bruno Mars…he played it on Saturday Night Live and it kicked a little ass…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kfkTJCv4j8[/youtube]

The “retro” version of TGSOATTW? It’s also Lesson 3 for “Boomer Sooner” as I prepare her for her first Dave Matthews Band show in November. It’s “#41″…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbb621s_GI[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. National Football Post’s Matt Bowen says Ravens, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers all playing better football than any NFC team

At this point, that’s probably true.

My hunch tells me that the only NFC teams that could end up being TRUE Super Bowl contenders would be the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.

The Saints don’t look like Super Bowl contenders right now, but that’s mostly because they can’t run the ball. They’ll get Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush back, and they should be able to run again. The Green Bay Packers can get back on that list should they figure out a way to run the ball-but I don’t see that happening if Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn are the primary backs.

The point is-those three aforementioned teams are the only teams that look like they can stand up next to the three premiere AFC teams-at least the three that have stood out thus far.

The good news for the Ravens is that as of right now-this season is shaping up to be a season about “balance.” In recent years, teams that have won have tended to have the most powerful offenses or simply the best quarterbacks.

Early on this year, the teams that have had the most success appear to be the teams that are the most balanced. If it remains that way, the Ravens should be in good shape.

Of course, we know damn well that things can change quickly in the NFL.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s John Eisenberg says 4-1 start doesn’t ‘guarantee’ anything for rest of season

Of course not. But if it guarantees that Jamie Edmondson takes more pictures in Ravens gear, than 4-1 was PLENTY WORTH IT! (Thanks SI with tip from Derek Arnold!)

jamieedmondson

3. Boston Globe’s Monique Walker says New England Patriots still remember AFC Wild Card playoff loss to Ravens last season

This was a topic I discussed yesterday during Ravens Reports on AM1570 WNST. There will almost definitely be some level of a “revenge” factor when it comes to the Patriots Sunday. Bill Belichick is a proud man. Tom Brady is a proud man. These are men who will CERTAINLY remember the embarrassing fashion in which they were dismissed at Gillette Stadium in January.

Does that mean that the Ravens will quickly run into a buzzsaw in Foxborough? Not necessarily. But do I think this Patriots team will look at this game with a bit more significance than other games? Sure.

Should I ask another question and follow it up with another quick answer? I think I’ve run the course.

4. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says John Harbaugh, Ravens concerned with Pats returner Brandon Tate

Before we move on from the on-field Ravens, a couple of things…

-Harbaugh apparently reiterated on his radio show last night that CB Josh Wilson’s hamstring injury is not a major concern. I say “apparently” because I didn’t listen to the show personally. How could I? The replay of “The Morning Reaction” was on WNST!

-The Ravens are back in action today at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. We’ll be out there all day with full coverage; so make sure you’re tuned into AM1570, following us on Twitter (@WNST) and checking back in at WNST.net throughout the day. We’re expected to hear from Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and others before practice.

-And this picture of Ray Rice-which has been passed around Facebook over the last 24 hours (add me by searching “Glenn Clark” and adding the best looking person you find) is kinda awesome…

rayrice

5. SI’s George Dohrmann says former Ravens OT Jonathan Ogden admitted accepting benefits from agent Josh Luchs while at UCLA

The funniest part of the story is Luchs saying that during an entire Janet Jackson concert, J.O. screamed “Janet!” at the stage. Of course, I might do the same thing if she was rocking out a little “All For You”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2KabvvLF7M[/youtube]

For the record, Luchs maintains that he did NOT pay or give benefits to either Ravens TE Todd Heap or LB Terrell Suggs while he was working with Gary Wichard and pursuing them at Arizona State.

Did you miss Josh Luchs with Drew Forrester and Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday morning on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Some other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Dabo Swinney (Clemson Football Coach)-who joined Drew Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” to preview the Tigers’ contest with the Terrapins Saturday
  • Craig Laughlin (Washington Capitals Color Analyst-Comcast SportsNet)-who joined Drew Wednesday to talk some Caps hockey
  • AJ Daulerio (Deadspin Editor)-who joined Drew Wednesday to discuss the Brett Favre/Jenn Sterger controversy
  • Ralph Cindrich (Long-time NFL agent)-who joined Drew Wednesday to offer his opinion on the Josh Luchs story
  • Jon Anik (host of ESPN’s “MMA Live”)-who joined Thyrl and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Marcellus Wiley (ESPN)-who went around the NFL with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Dan Wetzel (Yahoo! Sports)-who discussed his new book “Death to the BCS” with Thyrl Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault-so consider today planned. Again. Because I’m awesome like that. Again.

6. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Buck Showalter had surgery Tuesday in Texas, no decisions imminent for Orioles coaching staff

Impossible.

There’s no chance that human injuries could affect a superhuman like Buck Showalter enough that he required knee surgery. I refuse to believe it.

That being said, the handful of folks who are waiting for news about the Birds’ coaching staff will have to keep waiting. In the meantime, MASN passed along that the O’s are apparently interested in Seibu Lions SS Hiroyuki Nakajima.

And you didn’t think Andy MacPhail was going to make the moves necessary to win in 2011. I know you feel stupid now. Hiroyuki Nakajima, babe. What are the dates for the 2011 World Series???

7. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Clemson coach Dabo Swinney prepared to face Maryland QB’s Jamarr Robinson, Danny O’Brien Saturday in Death Valley

Swinney told Drew Forrester this morning that having to prepare for both QB’s makes Maryland particularly tough. Maybe so, but I generally don’t think the Terps can win big games if they try to split reps between two quarterbacks.

They might not do that. They might end up having one real “starter” and a package for the other QB. But it’s totally possible that Robinson and O’Brien could alternate series in James Franklin’s offense. I would prefer the former.

I mean, I would prefer having one REALLY GOOD QB, but sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps coach Ralph Friedgen has good recent history at Clemson’s Memorial Stadium

I keep being reminded of Maryland’s win at Clemson two years ago. Maryland probably wasn’t quite as good as their record indicated, but they were able to hang around just long enough to let something goofy happen to help them win. I don’t THINK the same thing will happen Saturday, but it certainly could.

You know what else could happen? Kayla Collins could call me. I don’t THINK it will happen-but it certainly could. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

smokingjacket

9. Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo expects FB Alexander Teich to be able to start Saturday vs. SMU

And with Vince Murray banged up, the Midshipmen could certainly use Teich on the field; as the Mustangs can score points.

They’ve scored at least 21 points in all six of their games, including 35 against Washington State and 42 against Rice. They’re VERY capable of scoring points in the June Jones offense.

The Mids however have scored 14 points or less in three of their five games thus far. It looks like they’ll need to score to win Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. It won’t be easy.

10. TowsonTigers.com says DT Yaky Ibia named semi-finalist for National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy

This is very cool. Cool enough that even Maggie Q should be interested. (Thanks Guyism!)

maggieq

And finally, I leave you with this…

I know everyone’s already seen it-but here’s the Grover/Sesame Street/Old Spice YouTube gem for the 5 or 6 of you that may have somehow missed…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkd5dJIVjgM[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Jets lesson in all of this? Don’t employ an amateur

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Drew Forrester

Brett Favre acted inappropriately.

We think he did, anyway.

Since no one is actually talking about what happened between Favre and Jenn Sterger, we don’t really know for sure what kind of relationship the two of them had when Favre played for the Jets in 2008.  It would *appear* that the quarterback went a tad overboard in his pursuit of Sterger, leaving her several voice mails (apparently) and texting her a picture of his manhood (apparently) in an attempt to woo her to his room for a “get-together”.

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

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Ravens catching a break in New England ???

Posted on 06 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Yes, I’m quite aware of the Baltimore Ravens schedule of regular season matchups, and this week features a visit from the Denver Broncos. It’s the second home game of the year and John Harbaugh’s squad is reasonably favored by 7 solid points.

I don’t look ahead ….. and I’m certainly not looking beyond Josh McDaniels’ very capable passing attack.

Heck, I would take Denver and the touchdown, if I gambled on football. That said, I still think the Ravens will win the game.

But, beyond this week, a very interesting matchup looms. Just one week from today, the Ravens and every individual who covers, follows and supports the team will be focusing on the New England Patriots.

While I know many observers are relying on last season’s playoff beatdown of Tom Brady as a means for justification in counting on a WIN in the upcoming trip to Foxboro, a proportionate number of us are little more cautious.

Regardless of what happened just 9 short months ago, things can and will change …..

Tom Brady is one of those ELITE quarterbacks we like discussing, when proposing the future aspirations of Joe Flacco. Brady possesses a methodical technique to spreading the ball around, while picking upon vulnerabilities of a defense.

Back in January, Brady’s options were far less numbered than usual. His new tight end options, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, were still in college. Newly acquired running back, Danny Woodhead, was part of Rex Ryan’s depth chart, in New York. And, Randy Moss was hobbled by injury – as the game against the Ravens clearly demonstrated.

Oh yeah, and this guy was done for the season.
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I’m not suggesting Wes Welker would’ve turned the table in that loss to the Ravens. John Harbaugh had his team prepared to play and they simply beat New England in every facet of the game.

However, in just 11 short days, the scene could appear differently ….. MUCH DIFFERENTLY.

And, it could end up benefiting the Ravens.

Last night, rumors regarding Randy Moss started circulating. Specifically, the information indicated Moss might be returning to the Minnesota Vikings, via trade.

This morning, the rumors are becoming more concrete and several sources (including the WORLD WIDE LEADER) are confirming a trade will be completed today. Of course, it hinges on Moss getting a contract extension – and more money.

Such a deal makes sense on many levels.

The Vikings desperately need to find a capable set of hands for the landing end of Brett Favre’s passes. And, a deep threat would be icing on the cake. Oh yeah, and Moss obviously knows the Vikings organization.

Perhaps, some mitigating reasons are at play, as well …..

I think many of us can envision a scenario where Favre packs up his Minny-circus for good, especially if the team is languishing below the .500 mark when November rolls around. And, given the underachieving play of the highly touted Green Bay Packers, the Vikings brass might sense an opportunity opening up.

Indeed, I can reasonably foresee a trade of Moss being beneficial for both organizations, especially if the Patriots yield some young defensive depth in return. Although, it would be a textbook Patriots move in simply collecting high draft picks in return.

Of all the reasons contemplated for predicting a trade of Randy Moss to the Vikings, the most daunting is undoubtedly tied to this mad scientist …..
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The entire football world knows Randy Moss is unhappy with his contract situation. It’s the same unprofessional load of crap that resulted in his ugly divorce from the Vikings, following the 2004 season.

Moss became a distraction for the Vikings. He undermined the mission of the team and his coach, Mike Tice.

The same situation appears to be blossoming, in New England. He’s getting louder and louder about his contractual bitterness. He didn’t catch a single pass in Monday’s victory against Miami, and he reportedly had “words” with Bill Belichick, yesterday.

That’s a bad move ….. unless, of course, the intent was to expedite a deal.

Regardless of how anyone feels about the New England Patriots, I think everyone with a CLUE realizes who really runs, controls and commands that organization. Bill Belichick is without a shadow of doubt, the H.M.F.I.C. of that team.

Nobody challenges his authority. And, if someone commits such an act, they’ll receive a departure ticket out of Logan Airport pretty quickly. Just ask Deion Branch or Adalius Thomas.

As I write this blog, many syndicated voices are flushing the collective 2010 competitive chances of the Patriots directly down the toilet …..

I’m not buying that bill of goods.

I’ve watched, too many times, as ELITE quarterbacks have introduced talented wideouts as overnight rockstars. Do you really think Austin Collie would be a top performer in Tennessee, Cleveland or Seattle? Would Marques Colston be a premier threat in Arizona, Carolina or Buffalo?

The key to the New England Patriots remains the same as it has for the last decade …..
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Tom Brady has ushered a far lesser talented receiving corps into a Super Bowl and won it. Just look at the 2004 edition of that team. (RIGHT HERE)

Without Randy Moss, it’s fair to say the New England Patriots cache’ of receivers is every bit as talented as the Indianapolis Colts’ crew. Is anyone counting them out?

This situation is simply reflective of what happens when a guy disrupts the environment of Bill Belichick’s team. Nothing more, nothing less …..

While I still respect the Patriots as a contender for the AFC crown, I’m pretty upbeat about the Ravens chances in next week’s trip to New England. And, if Randy Moss is no longer there, I’m even more optimistic about the Ravens chances.

While the Ravens are only 4 games into the regular season schedule, they’ve luckily avoided any ELITE quarterback/deep threat combinations. Indeed, the trip to New England serves as a formidable test for Greg Mattison’s secondary unit. With the reported, impending departure of Randy Moss, the gameplan will undoubtedly be a little simpler, right?

I’m certain the Moss situation is a distant consideration for John Harbaugh’s staff. That’s right, they’re squarely focused on Kyle Orton and the Denver Broncos. The Ravens will not be looking beyond this Sunday’s game.

But, when next Monday arrives, they might be really happy to see Randy Moss playing on Monday Night Football ….. for the Vikings.

And, wouldn’t you know it, that game is against the Patriots’ divisional rival; Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Indeed, that’s CLASSIC Belichick.

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Week 4 Coach Speak

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Brian Billick

After my broadcast partner, Thom Brennaman, and I called an exciting overtime game in New Orleans when the Falcons beat the Saints, I taped this week’s edition of CoachSpeak for FOXSports.com.

I talked to the winning coach of the Atlanta-New Orleans game (and my brother-in-law), the Falcons’ Mike Smith on why he went for it on fourth down so much against the Saints and how he plans to keep his team focused this week after such a big win. I also spoke to the losing coach, Sean Payton, about how last Monday night’s game at San Francisco did to his team’s schedule, and the adjustments coaches have to make in that situation.

In my Billick 101 segment, we get a look at the Vikings check system with quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson through the eyes of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. We also go on the field with Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, who shows us the keys to a proper QB-RB exchange on handoffs.

I take a look at the 49ers’ firing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye this week, what that might mean to head coach Mike Singletary down the line, and what new OC Mike Johnson needs to do to help turn around the 0-3 49ers fortunes.

Lastly, we check out the Never Say Never Moment of the Week, including Leon Washington’s two kickoff returns for TDs for the Seahawks.

Here is this week’s version of CoachSpeak:

Video: Coach Speak: Week 4

This Sunday, Thom, field reporter Charissa Thompson and I head to Green Bay this Sunday as the Packers try to bounce back after a tough loss at Chicago as they host Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions on FOX.

But before that, I will be on WNST several times to talk about what’s going on in the NFL. If you miss any of those appearances, please check out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen to all of the great interviews on WNST.

Talk to you next week …

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Week 4 Coach Speak

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Brian Billick

After my broadcast partner, Thom Brennaman, and I called an exciting overtime game in New Orleans when the Falcons beat the Saints, I taped this week’s edition of CoachSpeak for FOXSports.com.

I talked to the winning coach of the Atlanta-New Orleans game (and my brother-in-law), the Falcons’ Mike Smith on why he went for it on fourth down so much against the Saints and how he plans to keep his team focused this week after such a big win. I also spoke to the losing coach, Sean Payton, about how last Monday night’s game at San Francisco did to his team’s schedule, and the adjustments coaches have to make in that situation.

In my Billick 101 segment, we get a look at the Vikings check system with quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson through the eyes of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. We also go on the field with Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery, who shows us the keys to a proper QB-RB exchange on handoffs.

I take a look at the 49ers’ firing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye this week, what that might mean to head coach Mike Singletary down the line, and what new OC Mike Johnson needs to do to help turn around the 0-3 49ers fortunes.

Lastly, we check out the Never Say Never Moment of the Week, including Leon Washington’s two kickoff returns for TDs for the Seahawks.

Here is this week’s version of CoachSpeak:

Video: Coach Speak: Week 4

This Sunday, Thom, field reporter Charissa Thompson and I head to Green Bay this Sunday as the Packers try to bounce back after a tough loss at Chicago as they host Jim Schwartz and the Detroit Lions on FOX.

But before that, I will be on WNST several times to talk about what’s going on in the NFL. If you miss any of those appearances, please check out the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen to all of the great interviews on WNST.

Talk to you next week …

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GAME ONE IS OVER. NOW, BRING ON MONDAY NIGHT!

Posted on 10 September 2010 by Shawn Credle

14-9. Not exactly what you thought the opening game of the 2010 NFL Season would be. Opening game jitters? Too much pre-game hype? Too much Super Bowl and NFC Title Game recollection? Whatever the reason, both teams were sluggish out there. But, the matchup of the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints vs. the Minnesota Vikings was good enough to kickoff the season.

The first drive for the Saints was, without a doubt, their best drive of the game. For the other 3+ quarters of drives, both teams seemed out of sync. Neither team committed to the run, as both Brett Favre and Drew Brees went pass-happy. And that caused the game to run a little longer than most expected (well, at least it felt like a long game).

So, what did we learn:
-Drew Brees had trouble dealing with the 4-man rush the Vikings were throwing at him all game. Very surprising, given the numbers Brees & company have produced in the past.

-While he showed some signs of greatness, Brett Favre still needs to dust off the cobwebs, just a bit. Favre was trying to force-in some of those throws. Threading the needle basically. He needs time to sharpen those skills. That time could have been preseason.

-The kicking game…WHAT THE HELL? A missed extra point and two missed field goals. Baltimore fans know how important it is to have a good kicker. (Does Baltimore really have one now?)

-The only bright side to this may have been the fact that both defenses stepped up and played well. And for the Saints, a win is a win. The Saints, and their fans, will take it.

Which brings us to Monday night, and the battle of the big mouths. Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens vs. Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.

The Jets end this game with so much “swagger” that may cost them in the long run. However, Baltimore has a very tought start on the road this year.

And while we don’t know what’s going to happen, something tells me that we will not have a repeat of the last game.

Now, that the NFL season is underway, time to predict who will win the divisions.

AFC East: New York Jets
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: Oakland Raiders

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers

What are your thoughts as to which teams will win their divisions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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