Tag Archive | "Buffalo Bills"

Maryland WR Torrey Smith on going pro: “Playing in the NFL was never really a goal of mine”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Maryland WR Torrey Smith on going pro: “Playing in the NFL was never really a goal of mine”

Posted on 06 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Torrey Smith

University of Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith announced his decision to go pro following Maryland’s 51-20 victory over East Carolina in the Military Bowl, and wihile his decision to take his skills to the NFL was kind of pushed under the rug because of the coaching change at Maryland, Smith said it doesn’t bother him and he is ready to move on to the next challenge in his football career.

Plus, Smith left behind a pretty good resume playing football not just at Maryland but in the ACC as a whole.

Smith-a three-time first or second-team All-ACC selection-joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Wednesday to discuss his path to the NFL, leaving Maryland after this his junior year.

Smith-who initally in his Terp career solely made his impact as kick returner-put together two great seasons as wideout for Ralph Friedgen’s offense. He excelled this year in Maryland’s 8-4 season at receiver, grabbing 67 passes for 1,055 yards and a school-record 12 TDs.

He increased his production from his 2009 season, when he grabbed 61 balls for 824 yards and five scores. He also had 51 returns for 1,309 yards( a record that he not only set before but then broke) and two scores, and all together his all-purpose yards were  second in the conference only to Clemson’s C.J. Spiller.

Leading the Terps in catches and receiving yards, his total all-purpose yards had him sixth-best in the nation in that category in 2009.

He developed quite a rapport with  quarterback Danny O’Brien in 2010, and that was most notable in Maryland’s 38-31 victory over N.C. State, where he had 14 catches for 224 yards receiving and a school-record four TDs.

That game could be described as the game that put Smith on the map and had the NFL scouts salavating. Some opposing coaches and scouts have said that Smith could be better than his former teammate, Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was drafed seventh-overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2009 NFL Draft.

He received enough support after the N.C. State victory and Maryland’s bowl game that his NFL Draft status was in good shape, so Smith jumped the gun and made the decision to go pro, signing with super agent Drew Rosenhaus.

“Anything could change,” Smith noted. “But if it was bad, trust me, I’d be back at College Park.”

Smith did say though that playing in the NFL was never a reasonable goal or expectation for him when he first suited up for the Terps. When he came to Maryland, he was there to get his education and football was to to be a supplement to he getting a degree.

“To be honest, playing in the NFL was never really a goal of mine,” he said to Nelson. “When I played as a young kid playing football and basketball in my front yard, you think about it, but it really wasn’t anything I was focused on.”

“And the scholarship to get my degree was the biggest thing, but it really wasn’t till this spring that Coach Friedgen said I had a great chance to play at the next level, and that gave me the confidence.”

It was at that point that his determination took over this season on the football field.

“I’m a person who likes to set goals and I like to reach them. And they told me I had a great shot if I worked hard.”

He also set records that will be hard for others to break down the road for future ACC and Maryland recruits.

He finished his Maryland career as their all-purpose yardage leader, surpassing the 4,960 yard mark set by running back LaMont Jordan. His four TDs in the NC State game were a school record, as were his 12 touchdowns this season. He is also only the second Maryland wide receiver to surpass the 1,000 yard mark in a season.

He also surpassed North Carolina wide receiver Brandon Tate as the conference’s all-time return yardage leader.

And he has had more support behind him than the current Maryland coaching staff.

Former Terps in the NFL right now-guys like Vernon Davis(49ers), Darrius Heyward-Bey(Raiders), and Shawne Merriman(Bills) have been mentoring Smith as well, and Smith said that was the great thing about the football program at College Park. It’s a community that stretches far beyond the Baltimore-Washington area.

“Everyone kind of sticks together around College Park,” Smith explained. “And it gets even better when you’re outside of it.”

So with his decision, many Maryland fans are wondering, especially with the chance that there may not be NFL football next year, when is the next time we’ll see Torrey Smith catching passes on the football field?

“Being that I’m a junior, the next time you guys will see me is at the Combine, because underclassmen can’t go to any of the all-star games,” Smith admitted. “So right now, I’m going to be down here in Miami preparing for the Combine.”

Sometimes leaving as an underclassmen to the NFL can sometimes be seen as selfish and in a negative light in some fans’ eyes, but Maryland fans should respect his decision ultimately based on the fact that he put together three good years at the varsity level for the Terps, he got his diploma, and he said he will still be around supporting Randy Edsall’s Maryland team.

“I’ve definitely been following what’s been going on with the program,” Smith replied. “Just because I’m gone, I’m still a Terp. And those boys look up to me. I love them to death, so definitely I like to know what’s going on.”

And he expects the same out of Randy Edsall as he did with his coach, Ralph Friedgen.

“Everyone’s supportive of the new coach. They all seem to like him. All I know is he inherited a good team and they should expect great things from the Terps next year.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Terps and all your Baltimore sports teams! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Comments Off

Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman-in town for coat drive-hopes his career and Maryland can be turned back on

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman-in town for coat drive-hopes his career and Maryland can be turned back on

Posted on 06 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Shawne Merriman

Former Maryland linebacker Shawne Meriman was present Tuesday night’s Terps basketball game, a 95-40 victory over Colgate, for his annual coat drive, but before that time he also spent a few minutes with Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to reflect on his alma mater’s recent coaching change with the firing of Ralph Friedgen and the hiring of former UConn coach Randy Edsall.

“You know, I’m excited because it’s a step in the right direction,” Merriman said. “I went to a couple of good bowl games when I was in school and there is a lot of talent in the Maryland-D.C area. It’s really important that we embrace a coach who can keep that talent here. So hopefully, we made a step in the right direction.”

Shawne Merriman spent three seasons in College Park as hybrid defensive-end/linebacker in Ralph Friedgen’s defense. The Upper Marlboro native out of Frederick Douglas High School made an immediate impact with the Terps his freshman year in 2003, when he thrived as a situational pass rusher, earning five sacks-third best on the team.

His biggest year and what put Merriman on the map was his performance on the field in 2004, when he became a full-time starter for Maryland, earning 85 tackles and 8.5 sacks. That, along with his exceptional physical skills and his reputation as a “gym rat” earned him the 12th pick in the 2005 Draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Ultimately, he said that the University of Maryland was a big part of his success in eventually getting to the NFL, and while some may disagree with the departure of his former coach in Friedgen, Merriman said the true spirit of Maryland football will live on in Coach Edsall.

“Just from the teams I played with, there are seven or eight guys who are starting defense or offense on some team right now,” Merriman said. “It’s a bunch of talent that comes out of the school. It’s about time we got recognized for it, so as long as we keep the Terps pride, all will be good.”

Merriman’s success at the college level immediately picked right off at the NFL level for the Chargers, as Merriman earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2005 with ten sacks to his credit.

His next year became his ultimate performance of his playing ability, as he sacked the opposing quarterback 17 times while missing four games. He missed out on the Defensive Player of the Year Award to the Dolphins’ Jason Taylor and was behind Broncos CB Champ Bailey, but he did earned his first-ever Pro Bowl selection on top of being named an All-Pro for the only time in his career.

But it was in that same year in 2006 that Merriman tested positive for steroids, which ultimately led to a rule or principle known solely as “The Merriman Rule” where a player found to have used steroids during a season is not eligible for postseason awards or Pro Bowl status.

Those four games he missed that year? A suspension handed down by the NFL Office.

In 2007, he fought through numerous double-teams to register his third straight 10+ sack season, but that is where the Merriman-once known as “Lights Out“-began to flicker off.

He began to suffer greatly from injuries to his shoulder, knees, and feet and he missed significant time due to the injuries.

Over the last three seasons from 2008-2010, he has appeared in only 17 total games while registering only four total sacks.

And off the field trouble began to crop up yet again for Merriman, as a domestic abuse charge against his reality star friend, Tila Tequila, caught Merriman in another negative light.

It was all those things adding up: the steroid allegations, the lack of production on the field, not being ON the field, and the unwanted media attention that convinced the Chargers to wash their hands of him earlier this season, placing him on waivers.

At the time, talks of Merriman to the Ravens came swirling up. The Ravens at the time were in the need of help in the pass rushing department and many Ravens fans wanted to bring Merriman to home.

Too bad Buffalo swooped in, signing him to a two-year deal.

And while he didn’t suit up in a single game for the Bills, he does love the new start he is getting the AFC East with the Bills, and hopes that he can re-start the “Lights Out” routine with Buffalo by changing the lightbulb, so to speak.

“I’m happy with the team that claimed me, and I’m happy to be with the Buffalo Bills and go out there and do what I need to do and get us back to being a hell of a team like I know we can.”

Continue to follow WNST for the best sports coverage in town! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Comments Off

The “BREAKOUT Athletes” of 2010 …..

Tags: , , , ,

The “BREAKOUT Athletes” of 2010 …..

Posted on 23 December 2010 by Rex Snider

While I enjoy compiling these annual lists and rankings of performers, I also sense a bit of relief when making the transition from the BAD lists, to the GOOD lists. Fortunately for me, today marks the beginning of the positively-spirited rankings …..

We will begin with the BREAKOUT ATHLETES of 2010. Admittedly, this was a tough group to determine, as I was forced to eliminate names such as Danny Woodhead, Maurkice Pouncey, Jason Heyward, Jacoby Ford, Brandon Jennings and Rory McIlroy.

In developing this list, I employed some distinguishable criteria:

A) Athletes must be professional; no college or amateurs

B) BREAKOUT = reaching a lofty status never realized in prior seasons. For example, I would say Joey Votto is not a BREAKOUT athlete, because his 2009 statistics were similar to the 2010 numbers.

So, without further delay, here is my list of the BREAKOUT ATHLETES of 2010 …..
.

10) Ryan Fitzpatrick – I will be the first to admit this guy was nowhere near the radar on my prospective quarterbacks for the 2010 Fantasy Football rankings. But, Fitzpatrick emerged as a legitimate NFL arm, this season.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills stands on the sidelines during the game against the New York Jets on October 18, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bills defeated the Jets 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The “Amish Rifleman” has delivered 23 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, for nearly 3000 yards, in his first full season in a starting role. Fitzpatrick is one of those players who inspires the journeymen, as he’s finally realizing success and opportunity in his 6th NFL season.

I realize the Bills have a bad record, but they’ve played much better than the overall record reveals, and Fitzpatrick has undoubtedly been the driving force behind a team that hasn’t quit.
.

9) Stephen Curry – this former NCAA single season scoring leader emerged onto the NBA scene during the 2009-2010 season and paid immediate dividends on the Golden State Warriors investment of the 7th overall pick, in the ’09 Draft.

Jan. 03, 2010: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Dallas defeated Golden State 110-101.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Curry is quickly becoming one of the NBA’s youngest stars. He finished 2nd in “Rookie Of The Year” voting, while averaging 17.5 points per game in the ’09/10 season. And, he’s capitalizing on his early success by averaging 20.5 points per game, in the early stages of this ’10/11 season.

His younger brother, Seth, plays for the Duke Blue Devils, which means he’s already disliked by Terps fans.
.

#8) Jose Bautista – I could’ve nabbed Bautista from the waiver wire many times during the 2010 Fantasy Baseball season. But, as the games slipped by and the homeruns mounted, I simply reasoned this “hot streak” would eventually come to an end.

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista stretches before play against the Colorado Rockies during an interleague game at Coors Field on June 13, 2010 in Denver.     UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

Well, it didn’t. Jose Bautista finished off his 2010 season with 54 homers, 35 doubles and 124 RBI. These gaudy numbers easily dwarfed any prior season statistics for the Blue Jays slugger. Can he do it, again, in 2011? We shall see …..

I’m betting NO …. but, he’s proven me wrong before !!!!
.

7) Neftali Feliz – along with Elvis Andrus, Feliz has helped Rangers fans to forget about a guy named Mark Teixeira. Both players arrived in exchange for the former Texas slugger, in 2007.

July 23, 2010 - Arlington, TEXAS, UNITED STATES - epa02259290 Texas Rangers closing pitcher Neftali Feliz against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ninth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas, USA, 23 July 2010.

At 22, Feliz used the 2010 campaign to firmly establish himself as a premier closer, in Major League Baseball. The heralded rookie saved 40 games, while striking out 71 and walking 18, in just 69 innings.

I’ve got a distinct feeling we might be witnessing the next version of Mariano Rivera …..
.

6) Peyton Hillis – I can imagine Ravens fans will remember Hillis’ breakout game for a long time, huh? In the 2010 home opener, Ray Lewis and company witnessed a bulldozing Hillis as he rushed for 144 yards with a perceived ease.

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Peyton Hillis  of the Cleveland Browns celebrates their victory over the New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Was it an aberration? Nah …. Hillis has seized his opportunity as Cleveland’s premier running back, while rushing for 1100 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first full season as a starter.

It’s hard to believe the Broncos traded him for Brady Quinn – which is probably just another factor leading to Josh McDaniels’ firing, in Denver.

Top 5 – Next Page

Comments Off

Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blog & Tackle: NFL one-liners through Week 13

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL season has reached the three-quarter mark, and like any good game on Sundays, it’s usually the fourth quarter that decides success or failure.

It’s a chance to take stock of each conference after 13 weeks and 12 games with one-liners on each of the teams. Below are some stats, observations and conjecture as we look ahead to the final four weeks.

First, here is a look at the AFC by divisions. Records are through Week 13:

AFC East

New England Patriots (10-2): Patriots have won last four, including huge win over the Jets to solidfy their claim as AFC’s best team behind conference-best (+110) scoring differential; road to AFC title will go through Gillette Stadium and coach Bill Belichick.

New York Jets (9-3): Despite 3-1 stretch, Jets went from potentially being in line to host AFC title game to very vulnerable after shredding of New York’s vaunted D by the Patriots.

Miami Dolphins (6-6): Dolphins continue to confound with 5-1 road mark, but 1-5 home record — that will be main reason they will not make playoffs as well as offensive woes (-23 point differential).

Buffalo Bills (2-10): Bills finally saw results after 0-8 start with two straight victories, but close loss to Steelers and blowout defeat to Vikings has slowed Buffalo’s progress.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3): Steelers have grabbed choke-hold of AFC North after winning the war in Baltimore last week behind QB Ben Roethlisberger and stout defense; now Pittsburgh could host AFC Divisional Playoff at always-tough Heinz Field.

Baltimore Ravens (8-4): Only home loss of season so far to Steelers was costly as Ravens may have three straight playoff games on the road instead of one or two home games; predicted high-production offense has gone cold at bad times.

Cleveland Browns (5-7): Cleveland continues to be a “tough out” thanks to solid running game behind RB Peyton Hillis; if they get QB (and maybe head coach) situation settled in offseason, could be 2011 team to watch in AFC.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-10): The wheels have completely come off the cart for one of the preseason favorites to win the division — nine-game losing streak may spell the end of the Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5): Jaguars, after 3-1 stretch, find themselves on top in the division, despite worst point differential among all division leaders (-43) — only question is can they hold off slumping Colts?

Indianapolis Colts (6-6): Colts’ injuries have finally taken a toll; forget Peyton Manning for a moment, being in position of having to pass so much has allowed opponents to tee off in crucial situations — but Indy can still catch Jaguars for division title.

Houston Texans (5-7): Lack of strong starts have doomed Texans, 1-5 in their last six games — last chance for Houston (and maybe coach Gary Kubiak’s job) comes with Monday night visit by Ravens in Week 14.

Tennessee Titans (5-7): When you didn’t think anybody else could surpass Minnesota as NFL’s best soap opera, here comes the Titans; normally unflappable coach Jeff Fisher has had to deal with Vince Young, Randy Moss and owner Bud Adams in recent weeks.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4): Chiefs seem to have control of the division after a three-game win streak and perfect 6-0 home mark; can they hold off the Raiders and Chargers over the final four weeks?

Oakland Raiders (6-6): Progress has been slowed by 3-2 mark in last five games, but 4-0 division record could be factor if they get help before Week 17 showdown at traditional rival Chiefs.

San Diego Chargers (6-6): Amazing how one loss changes things after blowout defeat by Raiders last week that stopped four-game win streak; season on the line vs. Chiefs this week.

Denver Broncos (3-9): A three-game losing streak coupled with Spygate-like scandal in London finally cost Josh McDaniels his coaching job; Eric Studesville gets his audition but the supporting cast is not there.

And now for the NFC by divisions:

NFC East

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Matt Ryan  of the Atlanta Falcons converses with quarterback Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens after the Falcons 26-21 win at Georgia Dome on November 11, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4): The Eagles are tied for the division lead, but arguably have the NFC East’s toughest schedule left with two games vs. Dallas and one each against the Giants and Vikings — for what was originally expected to be a transition year, a lot is still on the table.

New York Giants (8-4): Giants are playing as well as any team in NFC right now, but head coach Tom Coughlin’s team must navigate Minnesota, Philadelphia and Green Bay the next three weeks to stay in the division and Wild Card mix.

Washington Redskins (5-7): The Redskins season has become a trainwreck as head coach Mike Shanahan has had to deal with several distractions, including DT Albert Haynesworth’s suspension for conduct detrimental; the Skins defense should be suspended as well, allowing the fifth-most points in the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys (4-8): The Cowboys have gotten off the deck to become a team no one wants to face down the stretch; Dallas could play spoiler in the NFC East and help Jason Garrett remove the interim coaching tag.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (9-3): The Bears have won five straight to hold the division lead by one game thanks to resurgent play by QB Jay Cutler and LB Brian Urlacher; Chicago has murderous final four weeks capped by Week 17 visit to Packers.

Green Bay Packers (8-4): Despite injuries, Packers are firmly in the playoff mix, but key Week 12 loss at Atlanta looms large as well as final three games against New England, Giants and Chicago — win those and Green Bay will have earned its postseason ticket.

Minnesota Vikings (5-7): A change in head coach to well-respected assistant Leslie Frazier has helped the mood in Minnesota, but the final four weeks will be all about Brett Favre’s literal limp to the finish of his career (I think).

Detroit Lions (2-10): Some of the strides made early in the season by the Lions have been erased by the current five-game losing streak; coach Jim Schwartz is still looking for consistent winning formula.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (10-2): The hottest team in the NFC with six straight wins, the Falcons may do something no Atlanta NFL team ever has — host the NFC Championship Game in January; but they have to get through Week 16 Monday Night game vs. Saints.

New Orleans Saints (9-3): The defending Super Bowl champions are playing like it for first time all season with a current five-game win streak as the Saints try to go stride-for-stride with the Falcons; back-to-back road contests at Baltimore and Atlanta in Weeks 15-16 are New Orleans’ key games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5): The air has finally come out of the Buccaneers’ balloon with two straight losses, but Tampa Bay is just one game out of a Wild Card spot with favorable matchups in the next three weeks before Week 17 at Saints.

Carolina Panthers (1-11): The Panthers just want the season to be over, and the housecleaning will begin soon after starting with head coach John Fox; Panthers are a NFC-worst minus-153 in point differential.

NFC West

St. Louis Rams (6-6): The Rams have quietly put themselves in position to make the playoffs out of a weak NFC West, but don’t mistake St. Louis as a weak team — QB Sam Bradford is one of the league’s feel-good stories of 2010, and division could come down to Week 17 tilt at Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks (6-6): The Seahawks are in position to capture the NFC West, but head coach Pete Carroll’s squad still has worst point differential among NFC teams with a winning record (-49); Week 17 vs. St. Louis could be the decider.

San Francisco 49ers (4-8): San Francisco not officially dead in NFC West race, but last gasp could come this Sunday vs. Seattle; if they win, they still have games vs. St. Louis and Arizona — teams they have already beaten in 2010.

Arizona Cardinals (3-9): Cardinals have gone south for the winter as they have lost seven straight and hold NFC’s second-worst point difference (-138), but have three winnable games in final four weeks.

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.

Comments Off

Tampa Bay lived up to their reputation …..

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tampa Bay lived up to their reputation …..

Posted on 29 November 2010 by Rex Snider

For the last week, I’ve been standing beside the one consistent trait that really describes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers success in this 2010 season.

And we know exactly what it is …..

THEY BEAT BAD TEAMS & THEY LOSE TO GOOD TEAMS

Yesterday, was just the latest example of the Bucs’ predictability …..

But, if we’re being completely honest, Tampa Bay was never closer than a touchdown away from tying the game, after the first few minutes of the 2nd quarter.

They played “catch up” nearly all day.

That’s exactly how they played against the Steelers and Saints, earlier this year. And, if you want to mention the closely fought game, in Atlanta, just remember they’re a divisional rival.

I’m not beating up on the Buccaneers; they’re a young, opportunistic team. Raheem Morris has them subscribing to an obvious TEAM-FIRST mentality and they’re thriving on his enthusiastic approach.

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 28: Carnell Williams  and Earnest Graham  of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers huddle with teammates before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Buccaneers 17-10. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

That said, they win the games against bad opponents, while losing against the better ones.

That’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But, let’s also give due credit to the team that stood on the opposite side of the field, during yesterday’s game …..

I don’t wanna hear “the Bucs beat themselves.” If you want to see an example of a team beating itself, simply watch the highlights from Buffalo, yesterday.

The Ravens did not necessarily dominate the Buccaneers, but they absolutely played a much cleaner, efficient game. Penalties and moving the ball when it mattered most, were crucial to the final result.

Aside from 3rd down frustrations and an ill-timed Joe Flacco interception, the Ravens performed a rather methodic dissection of a lesser talented and disciplined team.

The Bucs never really had an answer for Derrick Mason and clear communication breakdowns existed on big plays to Todd Heap and TJ Houshmandzadeh. Once again, such liabilities are indicative young, inexperienced franchises.

Could things have gone differently? Was the game ever really in question? Nah …..

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Blog & Tackle: NFL labor wars

Posted on 20 November 2010 by Chris Pika

In this version of “Stories you may have missed…”, I take a look at six pieces written in the last week that you should file away until the labor negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA begin in earnest sometime after the start of 2011.

There will be a lot of posturing between now and then, but some of the key issues are starting to get attention in interesting ways.

First up, the 18-game schedule proposed by the league, and counterproposed by the NFLPA late October. There has been a lot of discussion on this point because of the amount of injuries that occur over the course of the current 16-game schedule, and how much or little offseason workouts or bye weeks the new agreement will have.

FOXSports.com’s Alex Marvez broke down the breakdowns on each NFL roster at midseason, and with the recent emphasis on player safety rules, adding to the amount of regular-season games is getting a lot of backlash from players and the media.

In “Injuries are becoming more common“, Marvez writes:

“But as it stands now, a 16-game docket seems rough enough. Dating back to the offseason, NFL teams have already placed 34 more players on injured reserve through 10 weeks (311) than at this point last year (277). The final numbers will assuredly be the highest since the NFL began playing with 32 teams in 2002.”

Of the five teams Marvez lists as “On Life Support”, three are playoff contenders: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and San Diego. All five clubs in his “Intensive Care” section – Baltimore, Green Bay, Miami, New York Giants and St. Louis – are in the playoff mix.

One of the senior writers who covers the NFL, Clark Judge of CBSSports.com, says that current and former players should be involved in how discipline for hits on the field should be judged.

In his “Simple fix for NFL’s tough hits problem: Listen to players“, Judge writes:

“Look, I don’t care whether you agree with players’ complaints or not, but you can’t deny there are a lot of people out there who don’t understand what passes for good, clean, aggressive tackling anymore. So make them understand.

How? I thought you’d never ask. Assemble a panel that includes more than just members of the NFL officiating and operations offices. In essence, do what Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu suggests and include current and former players in the review process. Then maybe, just maybe, we start getting somewhere.

First of all, you’d have players join league officials in formulating a clear and consistent message. Second, you’d make a conciliatory gesture that could have repercussions in current and upcoming labor talks. I mean, if more players believed they were being heard by the NFL then maybe more players would be receptive to what the league had to say.”

Earlier this week, the NFL Players Association held a conference call with labor/union/issue bloggers to discuss the state of the negotiations between the league and the players’ association.

George Atallah, the NFLPA’s assistant executive director and NFLPA President Kevin Mawae made the presentation.

The full transcript, available, on NFLLockout.com (a site put together by the NFLPA), goes over the recent talking points. Atallah, in his opening remarks said this:

“We consider things like health and safety, employee work place issues, financial transparency, all of the things that come up in everyday conversations in businesses across America are the same conversations that we’re having on a daily basis. It’s gotten to the point now where we’re 107 days away from the expiration of the CBA and while we continue to talk with the league about the possible fair deals, and things of that nature, we still believe a lockout is coming, unfortunately. It’s gotten to the point now where we as a union, as players, and as fans, frankly, need to do everything we can to prevent it.”

Mawae, on the impact of a lockout on the community at large in NFL cites, said:

“What I’ve found out is our players are heavily involved and they’re very educated on our issues. I think that’s been one of our key initiatives over the last four years is to get our players up-to-date and educated on everything that’s happening in collective bargaining. They’ve done that. Some of the biggest concerns are the fact that we won’t play, that we won’t have a job, that our players won’t have a job next year when it’s time to kick-off to 2011 season. Another concern is what does it do to all the personnel that make an NFL game happen? That includes the stadium workers, the police officers that provide support and security, concession workers and the community as a whole, not just a national but in every NFL city. Those are real concerns for the players.”

As a point of emphasis, the league has their own web site where the NFL’s views on the state of the negotiations are posted: www.NFLLabor.com.

One of the NFL owners, the Dolphins’ Stephen Ross, was a featured speaker at this week’s Sports Business Journal’s Sports Media & Technology conference in New York. His remarks at the event made news in the labor wars, and might give some insight into how some of his fellow owners feel about where the game is going.

A blog on the South Florida Sun Sentinel by Sarah Talalay, “Dolphins owner talks NFL expansion, labor and the Super Bowl” gave some insight into Ross’ remarks, especially on expansion into Los Angeles or the move of a current NFL team into that market or internationally:

“On expansion: Ross said he believe there needs to be a team in Los Angeles, and perhaps two to make the economics a stadium there work.

“I think it’s important to the NFL to have a team in Los Angeles, you have the second largest media market in the country,” Ross said. “The question is how you pay for a stadium. There’s no money available for the stadium and the cost will be over $1 billion.”

Beyond LA, Ross suggests Toronto as a market to potentially land the Buffalo Bills.”

Ross also made several remarks about the proposed 18-game schedule that caught the attention of the NFLPA. From Talalay’s story, “Dolphins’ Ross still believes team can make playoffs“, this nugget:

“The additional games, the studies show will not really increase injuries,” Ross said. “We’re still playing 20 games, we’re eliminating two preseason games and adding two regular-season games, which is really what helps with the revenues, and make the fans a lot happier and those games will be a lot more meaningful. But in terms of the players, they’re still playing 20 games.”

And almost immediately, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith pointed out that Ross had lost two quarterbacks in the same game last week due to injury. The league defended Ross in statements from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, repeated in this post from NFLLabor.com.

“‘Mr. Ross made basic factual points that have been made repeatedly — that we are not proposing to add to the current 20-game season and that the overall injury rate per game remains consistent,’ said Aiello. ‘DeMaurice Smith knows very well that the health and safety issues of converting to the proposed 18-2 season are being addressed with the union in a comprehensive way encompassing the year-found football calendar …”

As the regular season stretches into the final six weeks, there will be more reporting on these subjects. What you have read above will all play into a final agreement, whenever that is reached. And depending on who you believe, that agreement could come quickly, or NFL fans could miss on several weeks of the 2011 season.

Stay tuned …

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.

Comments Off

Losing to good teams on the road ensures your postseason plight …..

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Losing to good teams on the road ensures your postseason plight …..

Posted on 15 November 2010 by Rex Snider

If you’re a casual listener of my show, you probably know about my opinion regarding the intersection of LOSSES and EXCUSES.

I’m blunt about it whenever the discussion comes up.

It’s a belief that was drilled into my head when I was very young.  It’s a belief that I’ve taught my one and only child.  And, it’s a belief I’ll take to my grave …..

EXCUSES ARE FOR LOSERS

Offering a dismissive, half-hearted reason for losing is nothing less than acknowledging that failure is acceptable.  It also guarantees you’ll get more of it – unless you change something.

To be very honest, it insults an intelligent mind when winnable contests in New England and Atlanta are summed up with the customary “the Ravens lost to a very good team on the road” defense.

Call that line exactly what it is ….. an EXCUSE.

I didn’t buy it after the loss against New England and I’m certainly not buying it after last Thursday’s loss, in Atlanta.

Do you wanna guess how many 4th quarter comebacks Tom Brady has engineered this season?  The answer is ONE.  And, we know all about that game, huh?

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens stripes the ball from Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

I get the aura of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  I know their careers very well, and I pay attention to that team.  But, I also know many football fans assume Brady pulls out last minute heroics every week, and that’s just not true.

In fact, Tom Brady has thrown only ONE game-impacting, 4th quarter touchdown, this season.  Once again, we know all about that game, right?

As for last Thursday’s loss in Atlanta, the Ravens defense orchestrated Matt Ryan’s elevation from budding star to full blown ROCK STAR, in just 80 seconds.

I’m pretty sure Ryan is being bestowed with the Congressional Medal of Honor on the front steps of the United States Capital, later this week.

But, here’s another meaningless stat for the excuse makers and believers …..

Do you know how many two-minute drives have been capped off with a winning touchdown in Matt Ryan’s season?  You are correct …. ONE FREAKIN’ GAME.

Of course, I think Tom Brady is approaching a legendary career.  And, I think Matt Ryan is one of the bright, young stars in the NFL.  But, I also think many fans and observers believe these quarterbacks are leading their teams to dramatic, come from behind wins, on a consistent basis – and, that’s simply not true.

But, they’ve made hay against the Ravens defense, recently.

Comments Off

Where will the Ravens be in January?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where will the Ravens be in January?

Posted on 28 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Fast forward yourself a couple months to the week following Christmas. You will most likely be experiencing the typical holiday happenings – your kids are complaining about the things Santa did NOT leave under the tree …. your wife is counting down the days until school returns from the seasonal break …. and you’re simply trying to survive such an ordeal.

Oh yeah, and you’re also digesting the Ravens latest win, against the Cleveland Browns, in the final road game of the regular season. It will probably be a little tougher than most of us originally imagined, but beating the Browns will be a mandatory formality.

And, as certain as many parents are looking ahead to the second half of the school year, many of us are looking ahead to some pretty exciting circumstances …..

College football’s biggest bowl games are approaching …..

New Years festivities are being planned …..

Rex Snider is watching his new HAIR as it’s starting to grow …..
.

.
And, the Ravens will be readying for the ultimate arrival of the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale’ …..

Now, bring yourself back to this 28th day of October …..

Comments Off

Be careful with this bye-week Ravens…the next few weeks are going to be rough

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Be careful with this bye-week Ravens…the next few weeks are going to be rough

Posted on 27 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

John Harbaugh

John Harbaugh, since taking over the coaching job here in Baltimore two and a half seasons ago, has certainly not ever taken his foot off the gas when it comes to his team’s preparation going into an NFL game.

Gone are the days of “Camp Cream-Puff” in training camp-which has been replaced by two-a-days and hours of just hitting the snot out of each other, and the same goes for their weekly practices.

The Ravens players over the last two-plus seasons may not have like Harbaugh’s approach at times when it comes to practice, but the preparation has set the team up for success, as the team has finished 25-14 under Harbaugh in his first two+ years in the regular season and has won playoff games in each of those seasons.

And the Ravens have set themselves up in good position going into the bye, as they are in second-place in the AFC North with a 5-2 record after beating the winless Buffalo Bills on Sunday 37-34 in overtime.

“As far as the game, we’re very pleased with the victory,” Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference. “That’s the mark of a good football team. Sometimes you don’t play your best but you find a way to win the football game.”

The Ravens will host the Miami Dolphins November 7th at home, who currently stand at 3-3, third-best in the AFC East.

What is ironic about the Dolphins is that they are 0-3 at home, while they are 3-0 on the road.

Chad Henne

The players were present at the facility Monday and Tuesday of this week, but Harbaugh still understood the need to keep his players’ bodies fresh.

“We’re not practicing this week,” Harbaugh told the media. “So, it’s not like we would have practiced less than we’re practicing. We set up the week with what really was in mind the fact of what we’ve done the first seven weeks of the season and how hard our guys have worked.”

Comments Off

36 Second Question

Tags: , , ,

36 Second Question

Posted on 25 October 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

I’ll start by saying that I don’t think the sky is falling. Life in the NFL (for my money) is a week to week proposition, and although there’s plenty to be concerned about, I haven’t seen anything from this team that leads me to believe that they can’t or won’t be a force when the time comes.

The biggest concern that I have from yesterday’s game and one that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere specifically is the following, and I’m not sure on whom the onus for this falls, Flacco, Cameron, Harbaugh or every man on the sideline are all arguable.

Anyway, after Fitzpatrick completes to Evans to pull Buffalo to within 3 at 34-31, the Ravens get the kickoff and begin their drive with 5:40 (340 seconds) on the clock.
- First play, incomplete pass to Heap clock stops at 5:36 (I can live with that I like the aggressiveness)
- Second play, play fake and 35 yard completion to Mason clock rolling, first down
- Third play (and most inexplicable) clock rolling Ravens snap with 17 seconds left on the play clock at 4:54 – 17 seconds!!!!! – Rice runs, short gain, clock rolling
- Fourth Play, another Rice run another short gain but snapped at 4:15 with 8 seconds left on the play clock – clock still rolling
- Fifth play, snapped at 3:39 with 11 seconds left on the play clock – incomplete pass, clock stops

Ravens punt with the clock stopped at 3:33 on a drive that could have, and some might say should have, ended the game. Forget the play calls themselves, the 36 seconds that they left on the clock represent more than 10% of the total time remaining in the game when the drive began in the first place.

For their part, the Bills helped the Ravens effort while using nearly all of their play clock with the game clock rolling in what turned out to be the tying drive. But considering that the game was ultimately tied with less than 10 seconds remaining it certainly could have been the difference between OT or not.

While I appreciate the efficiency of the offense in getting their plays in quickly, I have to wonder what they were thinking there…if anything.

Here’s Where I’m Playing Right Now.

 

 

Gridiron Challenge at ESPN is a salary cap football game that allows you to change your entire lineup from week to week if you deem it necessary. Join my group.

 

  

 

 

ESPN’s Streak for the Cash is the safest way to gamble on the web. Compile the longest monthly winning streak for a chance at $25,000. Join My Group.

Comments Off