Tag Archive | "dallas cowboys"

Randy Moss: has baggage …. will travel

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Randy Moss: has baggage …. will travel

Posted on 02 November 2010 by Rex Snider

Just go ahead and admit it …..

As soon as you’re convinced Bill Belichick has finally outsmarted himself and pulled the trigger on a dumb deal, he figuratively fools all of us and snookers another sucker.

Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of the very public divorce between Randy Moss and the New England Patriots. It’s offically been 27 days, so my conflicted memory still recalls the morning the news broke, quite vividly.

While the deal was not an earth-shattering shocker, it did fuel reaction from a lot of sideline critics. As the football world learned Bill Belichick dealt his sole deep threat receiver to the Minnesota Vikings, a collective bewildering day of sports talk commenced.

Randy Moss was returning HOME, to the team and city where his Hall Of Fame career began. And, all seemed right in Minneapolis ….

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and wide receiver Randy Moss slap hands after a completion against the New England Patriots in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Foxborough, Massachusetts October 31, 2010.    REUTERS/Adam Hunger   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Brett Favre was being teamed with a guy who could catch those Sportscenter-highlighted touchdowns.

Brad Childress was acquiring the player who could validate all the effort devoted to kissing Favre’s ass for an entire offseason.

And, poor Bill Belichick was selling on the “short” …. while walking away with just a measly 3rd round pick in next April’s NFL draft.

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Where will the Ravens be in January?

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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 …..
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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 …..

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Do you think Jason Garrett ever regrets his decision?

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Do you think Jason Garrett ever regrets his decision?

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Over the past couple years, I’ve occasionally pondered the plight of Jason Garrett. You remember him, right?

He’s the genius, Princeton-grad who spent a few years as a backup quarterback in the NFL, before trading his helmet for a headset and clipboard, in a coaching capacity.

He’s also the guy who made a potentially career-defining blunder in rejecting an offer to become the Baltimore Ravens head coach, nearly 3 years ago.

On the heels of Brian Billick’s departure, the Ravens had settled on Jason Garrett as “their guy.” And, with Garrett’s arrival for an entire day’s worth of talks, while his wife “supposedly” looked at houses, many of us simply assumed he would become the team’s new leader on the sidelines.
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He said all the right things …..

“I had a really productive day today. I’m going to continue through this process I’m in right now and at some point we’ll make some decisions on both sides.”

Of course, Jason Garrett left town without a deal. The Ravens reportedly offered him the head coaching position, but he ultimately ended up rejecting their overtures.

And, the rest is history.

Think about it, how does a guy who has never been a head coach turn down an opportunity to lead one of the most solid organizations in the National Football League?

It’s a precious and prestegious job; only 32 of them exist.

Of course, in Jason Garrett’s situation, we know what happened …..

This guy stepped in and _ucked it up.
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I guess we will never really know what Jerry Jones said to Jason Garrett. Did he promise a raise in salary and the eventual head coaching position of the Dallas Cowboys? Well, Garrett did become the NFL’s highest paid assistant coach, at $3 million, per season. However, the prospective head coaching situation is unknown.

At this point, I doubt any of us could really care any less.

The Ravens, coached by the “other guy”, have made two consecutive appearances in the postseason and they’re currently sitting at 4-1, as they prepare for this week’s trip to New England.

Not bad, huh?

Meanwhile, the Cowboys, a preseason pick by many so-called insiders as a Super Bowl favorite, are heading to Minnesota. They’re set for a showdown with Brett Favre and the Vikings. The winner of this game eases some fear, while achieving a 2-3 record. The loser, on the other hand, will be on the brink of early season distaster.

I suppose Jason Garrett never really imagined he’d be in this very spot when he declined the invitation to lead the likes of Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata and Ed Reed, huh? And, he certainly didn’t know Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Michael Oher would be part of the mix.

Such is life in the NFL.

Poor Wade Phillips has been rumored as a candidate for the firing squad more often than any head coach, since Garrett’s plane departed BWI, on a cold January night. Still, Phillips exists on the Cowboys sideline.

And, so does Jason Garrett …..
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These days, Garrett is not viewed as that high profiled offensive guru. The Cowboys are underachieving on offense and they’re counted among the most disappointing teams, thus far, in 2010. In fact, they’re just 21-15 since the day Jason Garrett turned down the Ravens job.

Phillips is still rumored to be on his way out the door. Yet, names like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy are surfacing as the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Personally, I don’t see any of those guys taking the job.

They seem to be in different phases of life, and they surely dictate more control than a guy like Wade Phillips demands.

But, Jerry Jones can be awfully persuasive.

Just ask Jason Garrett.

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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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Did We Fall Asleep On The Steelers ???

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Did We Fall Asleep On The Steelers ???

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Rex Snider

As I look back to the early days of August and the outpouring of attention during Ravens Training Camp, I can recall the high expectations from anyone wearing a hint of purple.

Nearly every fan and local media observer predicted BIG things for “John Harbaugh & Company” as the preseason, and eventual regular season approached. And, our optimistic forecasts may very well come true.

After all, the Ravens have only played two games and we still await the first snap on the home turf. An enormous amount of football is lying ahead, and the remainder of the season will undoubtedly present a collection of peaks and pitfalls along the way.

Some teams start hot and others start cold. That’s the nature of competition in the National Football League. Nobody really believes in the quick starts by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears, right? I’ll also assume we’re not ready to bury the Dallas Cowboys or Minnesota Vikings, either.

As I look back just one season, I can distinctly recall an undefeated Denver Broncos squad rolling into M&T Bank Stadium, for a Week #8 matchup against the Ravens.

The Broncos didn’t return to Denver with that previously unblemished record.

In fact, they missed the playoffs.

That’s a prime example of how fortunes can change throughout the course of 17 weeks.

Falling into a blanketed belief in the home team’s preseason hype is an easy trap for all us whom merit a stake connected to the franchise. And, when nationally syndicated media jump on board, the temptations are even stronger.

At the same time, many of us predicted doom and gloom for the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. I’ll admit to it. And, if you’re being honest, you probably did the very same thing.

We reasoned a decent opportunity of the Steelers losing most, if not all of their games during Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension. After all, Roethlisberger defines the riches of the Steelers, right? He’s a winner; he’s a Super Bowl conquering quarterback.

Of course, we piled up the dissent on a competitive Steelers season with mitigating factors, like the tumultuous exit of the Raven killer, Santonio Holmes and a season ending injury to Willie Colon.

But, I think we might’ve really overlooked or discounted the return of one very important player …..
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As much as haters wanna chalk up the Steelers successes over the last few years to Ben Roethlisberger, an argument exists to suggest Troy Polamalu is every bit as important to that team.

What did the Steelers do without him, last year? They lost.

In 2009, Troy Polamalu played in 5 games. During that stretch, the Steelers were 4-1, while surrendering an average of 13.5 points, per game. In the 11 games without him, they were 5-6, while yielding an average of 23 points, per game.

Veteran defensive end, Aaron Smith, figures into the downfall of the 2009 Steelers season, as well. He missed much of the same action as Polamalu. And, Pittsburgh’s defense is much more dynamic with him in the lineup.

But, he’s not the heartbeat of the Steelers defense.

That unit revolves around Troy Polamalu. In some very distinct ways, Polamalu parallels the importance of Ray Lewis to the Ravens defense. While their personalities and mannerisms are quite different, they each command the team’s respective side of the ball.

Ray Lewis makes players better. So does Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers are 2-0, due to a dominant defensive effort. They haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in 8 regulation quarters to start the season. But, they’re winning and that’s all that really matters.

They’re headed to Tampa for a Sunday showdown with the undefeated Bucs. Yes, this is the point where you start chuckling at that game. Barring an upset of phenomenal proportions, the Steelers will carry an undefeated record into their final week of Roethlisberger’s suspension – and a divisional contest against the Ravens.

I’m not looking beyond this week’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns, but the Ravens must beat the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger on the field, next week. No excuses, they must do it.

That said, I’m suspecting Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin and the remainder of the offense will be mindful of a reality many fans and media overlooked back in August …..

Troy Polamalu is every bit as important as Ben Roethlisberger.

After the Steelers’ surprising 2-0 start, I think it’s fair to say everybody forgot about the reality of Polamalu’s presence. Umm …. make that everybody, except Peter King. He was on it (prediction). He didn’t fall for the “Wicked Witch Is Dead” euphoria that many of us celebrated when considering the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger and overall prospects of the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Peter King wasn’t sleeping on them. And, I hope everyone else falls in line. The Pittsburgh Steelers remain ENEMY #1. And, Troy Polamalu is the primary reason we forgot about it. Then again, he’s made a career off quarterbacks forgetting about him.

How fitting, huh?

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Ravens Waive S Ken Hamlin To Make Room For Return of CB Cary Williams

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Ravens Waive S Ken Hamlin To Make Room For Return of CB Cary Williams

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Ken Hamlin

With a roster move expected Tuesday with the return of corner back Cary Williams, the Ravens announced that they have waived safety Ken Hamlin.

Hamlin, who was signed by the Ravens in June to provide insurance for the safety Ed Reed if he were to be placed on PUP, had a one-year contract in place and was vying for a starting job in case the Ravens had concerns about Tom Zbikowski starting in Reed’s place.

Hamlin was active in both games this year and posted one tackle on special teams during the Ravens 15-10 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.

It was a hard decision for the Ravens to make as a team, said Coach John Harbaugh in a press release.

“We have to do something, but it’s not going to be something we’re going to be happy about doing,” Harbaugh said. “And it will be something that we’ll have to take a view to Sunday on and also a view to the long term on, because we want to hold on to all the good players that we have.”

“Every guy we have right now is a very good player.”

Hamlin, an eighth-year veteran and former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks out of Arkansas, was once the one of the highest paid safeties in the league after signing a six year, 38 million dollar deal with the Cowboys in 2007.

He made his only Pro Bowl in that 2007 season.

Hamlin struggled at times in the preseason, and with fellow safety Haruki Nakamura also coming back healthy from a leg injury, the Ravens felt like they no longer needed Hamlin’s services.

And with corner back Cary Williams returning from his two game suspension laid down by the NFL for violating the NFL’s conduct policy, the Ravens had to make a move to keep the roster at the legal 53-man limit.

The Ravens made moves yesterday on their practice squad, releasing tackle Devin Tyler and DB David Pender from their developmental squad. This morning, the Ravens then added former Oklahoma State tackle Brady Bond to the practice squad.

This left one spot on the practice squad, and with Williams returning, the Ravens could have been trying to leave a spot open to try and send a player from the 53-man roster down on the practice squad.

The expected move would have been to send DT Lamar Divens to the practice squad, but the Ravens would have to expose him to waivers first before trying to send him down.

But with the talent the Ravens have at defensive tackle, Divens would have likely been picked up by an opposing team, and they felt like Hamlin-a player who was available to all 32 NFL teams in June-was more expendable.

The Ravens secondary, which ranks second in the NFL, is now even more crowded at corner, but the Ravens with this move felt like they had enough support behind the starters at safety in Dawan Landry and Tom Zbikowski, and Williams was worth keeping on the team.

He will step in to provide depth behind starters Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington, and Harbaugh said having too many corners is a problem he wants to have.

“I’ve heard coaches say you can’t have too many corner backs, and it’s probably true. The thing it’s going to give us – and you throw the safeties in the mix… but those guys really give us a lot of flexibility with our packages.”

“So, we’re going to be able to put a lot of defensive backs on the field and run different pressure packages and different coverage packages that are going to be tough for people to identify. So, that will be a plus for us,” Harbaugh said in his press conference on Monday.

Williams grabbed two interceptions in the preseason and showed a lot of promise on special teams as well since the Ravens signed Williams off the Titans practice squad toward the end of the season last year.

Harbaugh said Williams has already been hard at work since he has been allowed to return to the facility and they will work on getting him on the same pace with the rest of the team.

“I think he was out there today, and we’ll get him into meetings and get him back on track,” Harbaugh said. “He went through all the training camp and the whole offseason, so I don’t think it will be too much, but it was good to see his face sitting in the room there.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Baltimore Ravens! For all your Baltimore Ravens news, keep listening because We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Week 3 Coach Speak

Posted on 22 September 2010 by Brian Billick

This week on the show I host on FOXSports.com, Coach Speak, I talk with Eagles head coach Andy Reid about his two quarterbacks, Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, I give my best “never say never” moments of the NFL’s Week 2 schedule, we get a tutorial from Jets’ defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman on how cornerbacks use press coverage techniques, Chargers’ tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski tells us about San Diego’s two-TE formation, I give my thoughts about not panicking when you have an 0-2 start like the Cowboys and Vikings have right now and I talk to Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh about one of his favorite subjects this week — too much protection for the quarterback.

Make sure you catch my on-air visits each week talking about the NFL on WNST during the football season. Here is Week 3′s Coach Speak …

Video: Coach Speak: Week 3

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Where does sportsmanship end and gamesmanship begin?

Posted on 18 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

We all know what happened last night; Alex Rodriguez hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth inning off of Koji Uehara to give New York a 4-3 win over the O’s. The fact is that superstars like ARod make those plays when they need to, so that doesn’t tick me off per se. However what does frost me is the fact that Koji appeared to have ARod struck out on a called strike three, however home plate umpire Ted Barrett inexplicably called ball two. Bad calls happen, although it seems that they generally benefit players of ARod’s stature. My real problem is with what ARod did after that; he looked towards the Yankee dugout with a grin on his face. In other words, he knew darned well that he got a gift.

After hitting what’s being touted as the biggest home run since Bobby Thompson’s shot heard ’round the world, ARod proceeded to round the bases pretty slowly. In all seriousness, I think Cal’s lap around the ballpark after breaking the record in 1996 might have been quicker. Especially against a team that’s playing for nothing but pride, taking your sweet time to round the bases and show them up is a bush league thing to do. And let us not forget that ARod’s already had one run-in with this kind of thing this season, when he ran across the mound in Oakland (drawing the ire of Dallas Braden).

This is all part of a growing trend that I’m seeing in sports and it’s not a good thing. People such as myself might as well be speaking Japanese when we talk about unwritten rules in games. (In fact, it’s all Greek to me!) Nowadays we hear so many players, coaches, fans, and commentators talk about how if you win the game who cares what the unwritten rules are. I see that as misguided. In my opinion this really started in college football when the current BCS system came into play. The UPI rankings are no longer about just winning, but also by what margin you win. If the #1 team wins 14-13 and the #2 team wins 35-3, the #2 team will probably be the new #1. I see this as incredibly misguided and wrong, because it effectively encourages teams to run up the score. In baseball the rule has generally been that if you’re up after the sixth inning by five or more, you don’t steal or try to manufacture runs. Nowadays you see teams like the Boston Red Sox who would argue that you never know when a team’s going to come back, so why shouldn’t they try to score. Bill Belichek has routinely said that it’s not his job to stop his offense, it’s the other team’s defense’s job. It almost seems that winning isn’t good enough anymore, you have to punish the other team for having the nerve to step onto the field with you.

Ultimately, I do put winning above sportsmanship in a sense. However once the game’s won, I see no reason to rub salt in the wound unless it’s done as an act of retribution. As an example, if the Orioles have a sizable lead against the Yankees in tonight’s game (in the wake of ARod’s antics last night), I’d have no problem with throwing down a bunt to move a runner over. I remember in 1987 when the NFL players were on strike, and basically the entire Dallas Cowboy team crossed the picket lines. They beat a Philadelphia Eagle team full of scrubs, and did so by a wide margin. Philadelphia head coach Buddy Ryan felt that the Cowboys unnecessarily piled on the score at the end, so when the two teams met again in Philly (after the strike had ended), Ryan returned the favor. There were only about thirty seconds left and Philly had the ball first and goal at the one (up by two TD’s). Buddy Ryan called timeout to run one more play to rub it in. I was never a Buddy Ryan fan, but I have no problem with someone returning the favor if they were shown up. In other word, if ARod gets plunked tonight, I wouldn’t see an issue with that.

Ultimately, you have to have a respect for your opponents and the game when you play a sport. I don’t see running up the score or showing up your opponent as having respect for the game. Call me old school or a mastedon if you want, but that’s just how I see things.

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Blog & Tackle: Week 1 NFL scoring struggles

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Blog & Tackle: Week 1 NFL scoring struggles

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Chris Pika

If you thought the amount of scoring in the NFL’s Week 1 games was less than usual, you were right in a big way. A total of 21 teams scored less than 20 points in the 16 games — that number was the highest total of Week 1 sub-20-point team scoring since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, according to research through Pro-Football-Reference.com.

The 2010 teams under 20 points? Minnesota 9, New Orleans 14, Cleveland 14, Tampa Bay 17, Miami 15, Buffalo 16, Denver 17, Atlanta 9, Pittsburgh 15, Oakland 13, Carolina 18, Detroit 14, Chicago 19, Arizona 17, St. Louis 13, San Francisco 6, Dallas 7, Washington 13, Baltimore 10, New York Jets 9 and San Diego 14. The league, as a whole, averaged just 18.3 points per team in Week 1.

Here are the year-by-year teams scoring 19 points or less in Week 1 from 1970-2009 (via Pro-Football-Reference.com.

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata during the second half in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 13, 2010. The Ravens won the game 10-9. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The 21 teams was a far cry from last season’s Week 1 total of only 14 teams. In the decade of the 2000s, 153 teams scored under the 20-point mark in Week 1, an average of 15.3 per season. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams and eight divisions in 2002 for 16 opening weekend games, the average was 15.25 per season from 2002-09.

There are a lot of factors at play in why this was the case in this particular opening weekend. Better defenses, weather issues and injuries to key players certainly played a part. But one other factor might also be in play.

The last time most clubs play their starters for an appreciable time in the preseason is Week 3. Most clubs hold out starters or play them very little (one or two series) in the final week in order to look at players fighting for the final spots during the remainder of the game.

It’s almost a bye week for the starters on both sides of the ball, since they will not face live competition for two weeks until the regular season starts. So, when the starters get back on the field in Week 1 of the regular season, the timing is off when it needs to be at its sharpest.

Here are the year-by-year totals of Week 1 teams at or under 19 points in the decade of the 2000s.

Total Teams Scoring 19 Points or Less in Week 1 (2000-09)
2009: 14
2008: 17
2007: 18
2006: 19
2005: 15
2004: 15
2003: 14
2002: 10
2001: 15
2000: 16

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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My Super Bowl Pick …..

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My Super Bowl Pick …..

Posted on 10 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Over the past couple days, I’ve predicted the respective finishes in the AFC/NFC divisions. Today, it’s time to paint my picture of Super Bowl 45. Admittedly, it will be tough to pick against the Ravens making a trip to Dallas, in early February. After all, they’re a consensus favorite among MANY notable sports personalities.

What do predictions yield the Ravens? NOTHING …..

Predictions are quite simply as worthless as the time it takes to express them. But, it’s still fun to forecast the prospective future of the upcoming National Football League season.

As I review my AFC picks, I’m considering the division winners, which include the Dolphins, Ravens, Colts and Chargers. My wildcards are the Patriots and Texans. I foresee the Ravens and Dolphins meeting for the AFC crown and I’ll predict a big hometown win at M&T Bank Stadium on a chilly, overcast January day.

When I look back at my NFC selections, I can choose from the Cowboys, Packers, Saints and 49ers, as division champs. The wildcards are the Falcons and Vikings. While it will be an exciting season in the NFC, I’m picking the Saints to represent their conference, once again. I believe they’ll hand the 49ers a pretty sound beating on the same field where the 2010 season began, last night.

So, my prediction for Super Bowl 45 is …..
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And, my pick?

Ravens 27

Saints 20

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