Tag Archive | "San Diego Chargers"

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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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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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My NFL Predictions ….

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My NFL Predictions ….

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we’ve finally reached that point, right? The National Football League kicks off its season tomorrow night. So, the training camp perspectives can now be translated into your outlook for the AFC, NFC and ultimately, the Super Bowl winner.

It’s easy to sit back and forecast the Ravens to hoist the Lombardi Trophy into the Dallas night, on February 6th. That’s what our hearts say – regardless, of whatever cautionary measures our minds consider. You wanna pick the Ravens, because it feels good to do so …..

Of course, choosing Joe Flacco and company is a logical consideration, as well. This team identified vulnerabilities during the offseason, and they did their best to address current injury-related weaknesses over the past month. Overall, it appears to be a very stellar squad.

This Ravens team is much more lethal on the offensive side of the ball, specifically in the passing game. And, the defense appears to be primed for another strong campaign, even when considering the woes in the secondary. As for special teams play, management chose the leg that boots the ball deeper on kickoffs, and that makes me happy.

Am I picking the Ravens? You’re damned right I’m picking them. I’m rewarding my heart and my mind. And, like I said, it’s a logical proposition. As for my overall views, I’ll spend the next few days dishing on them. Today, I’m providing my picks for the AFC:

AFC EAST
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1) Miami Dolphins (11-5) – I’ve just got a feeling this team finally reaches its potential. Much of the hope will rest upon Ronnie Brown’s health and I’m suspecting he’ll finally stay on his feet for an entire season. Combined with Ricky Williams in the backfield and the addition of Brandon Marshall in the passing game, I think the Dolphins realize that next step.

If you recall, they were that one team NOBODY wanted to play for a substantial stretch of the 2009 season. That said, they started the season poorly and seemed to be climbing uphill through December. This year, it’s a different story. They’ll finish 11-5 and win the AFC East.

2) New England Patriots (10-6)

3) New York Jets (10-6)

4) Buffalo Bills (3-13)
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AFC NORTH
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1) Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – Yeah, I’m drinking the purple kool-aid and it’s for good reason; they’re a solid freakin’ team. When I attended the Ravens ’09 season ending press conference, during the first week of February, I distinctly recall Steve Bisciotti’s words. He said the organization was committed to building around Joe Flacco, and he obviously wasn’t kidding.

Here we stand a mere seven months later and Ozzie Newsome has added receivers Anquan Boldin, Donte’ Stallworth and TJ Houshmandzadeh, as well as rookie tight ends Ed Dickson and Vince Pitta as legitimate options for Flacco’s arm. The defense, while still primarily intact will continue to play at a level Ray Lewis demands of himself. They’ll be fine and this will be a very enjoyable season.

2) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)

3) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8)

4) Cleveland Browns (5-11)
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AFC SOUTH
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1) Indianapolis Colts (11-5) – I would like nothing more than to predict doom and gloom for the Colts. But, they’ve still got a superior passing game with Peyton Manning continuing to make good receivers look great. This will be the season of a new favorite target for Manning, as Pierre Garcon will supplant Reggie Wayne as his favorite deep target.

I realize everyone is smitten with the Houston Texans passing game, as well. But, Matt Schaub and his stable of receiving targets will not be enough to overtake the Colts.

2) Houston Texans (10-6)

3) Tennessee Titans (10-6)

4) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)
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AFC WEST
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1) San Diego Chargers (11-5) – Not a hard decision, huh? The Chargers, minus Vince Jackson and LaDanian Tomlinson are fairly intact as the unit that dominated the AFC WEST, last season. I think rookie Ryan Matthews is an upgrade over LT and the recently acquired Patrick Crayton should provide some support to the receiving corps.

Philip Rivers is really coming into his own as an elite NFL quarterback and in a similar fashion to Peyton Manning, his arm and intellect will make his targets look better than they would in a lesser system.

2) Kansas City Chiefs (8-8)

3) Oakland Raiders (7-9)

4) Denver Broncos (6-10)

Well, this is how I see the AFC shaping up. Tomorrow, I’ll give my predictions for the NFC and on Friday, I’ll post my postseason scenarios for both conferences, as well as pick my Super Bowl winner.

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Blog & Tackle: How TJH was used in 2009

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Blog & Tackle: How TJH was used in 2009

Posted on 07 September 2010 by Chris Pika

The Ravens acquisition of WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh yesterday gave the club a tough receiver who will help Baltimore in the short term by giving QB Joe Flacco another target in the expanding passing game.

What kind of numbers will the about-to-be 33-year-old TJH put up in 2010? It’s obviously hard to say as the Ravens will have to get him up to speed on offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s playbook and Flacco’s passing style. But, we can look back on how he was used in Seattle last season, thanks to STATS, Inc.

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 20: T.J. Houshmandzadeh #84 of the Seattle Seahawks straight arms Sabby Piscitelli #21 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their game on December 20, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 24-7. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Seahawks targeted him 61 times (31 receptions) on first down, 39 times (28 catches) on second, 31 times (18 receptions) on third and four times (two catches) on fourth down. Of all game situations of down and distance, he was thrown to the most on first down and between 8-10 yards to go — 58 targeted passes.

He averaged over 10 yards per catch, regardless of the down, and had six plays of 25 yards or more. Of his 79 catches, 52 resulted in first downs, a 65.8 percent rate.

After a two-touchdown day at Arizona in mid-November, he did not catch a touchdown the remainder of the season. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. He was targeted almost the same in each half of the season — 68 targets/41 receptions/417 yards in the first eight games; 67 targets/38 receptions/494 yards in the final eight games.

Seattle threw to him the most between the 40s (43 targets/29 receptions/311 yards) and also from their own 20 to their 39-yard line (40 targets/23 receptions/249 yards).

In the red zone, the Seahawks targeted him 19 times, and he caught just four passes for 19 yards and two scores. The four red zone catches were his lowest total since 2002.

Inside the opponent 10, he was targeted 10 times, and he made three receptions for six yards and one TD.

Where did Seattle throw him the ball, direction-wise? Mainly to the right side of the field with 36 targets to the right (23 catches), and 40 (21 catches) to the right sideline. He also caught as many balls behind the line of scrimmage (eight) as he did over the middle in 2009. But, interestingly, 13 of his 16 receptions caught on the left side of the field went for first downs, an 81.3 percent rate, while eight of his 11 catches to the left sideline moved the chains (72.7 percent).

The Seahawks looked for him the most in three-receiver sets (67 targets/34 catches/3 plays of 25+ yards/23 first downs) and in four-receiver sets (45 targets/31 receptions/2 25+ yard plays/17 first downs).

One oddity was that despite playing just four games on grass in 2009, TJH averaged more yards per catch (15.7 to 10.0), had more catches go for first downs by percentage (76.2 to 62.1) and had more 25+ yard pass plays (4 of 6) on the real stuff.

Finally in yards after catch, he averaged 3.6 per reception, which was 102nd in the NFL. Bookending him at 101 was Ravens TE Todd Heap (3.7) and former Baltimore WR Kelley Washington (3.6). TJH’s average was better than Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco (3.3), Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (3.2) and now-former Ravens (and current Rams) WR Mark Clayton (2.6).

TJH was tied for 56th in the league in total yards after catch (284) with New England’s Kevin Faulk and Denver’s Jabar Gaffney. His YAC total was better than four players with at least 1,000 yards receiving — Derrick Mason (273), Carolina’s Steve Smith (246), Ochocinco (239) and San Diego’s Vincent Jackson (228).

While not one of his best overall statistical seasons, Houshmandzadeh led the struggling 5-11 Seahawks in both receptions and receiving yards in 2009. While he won’t be counted on to lead the 2010 Ravens in those two categories, he can still be an important part of Baltimore’s passing game as someone opposing pass defenses shouldn’t forget about when checking on Anquan Boldin deep and Ray Rice coming out of the backfield.

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It’s Time For More Weekly Awards …..

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It’s Time For More Weekly Awards …..

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Rex Snider

Another week, another list. Enjoy …..

Man Of The Week
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Could it rightfully be anyone else? The “Earl Of Baltimore” celebrated his 80th birthday, last Saturday. I can luckily count myself among a generation that distinctly recalls the memory making experiences provided by the Weaver-led Orioles. And, I don’t take this for granted …..

We’ve practically raised our next generation into adulthood. Many of my friends’ kids are beyond their 18th birthday. Heck, some of my friends our GRANDPARENTS. I know hundreds of devout baseball fans who’ve never witnessed #4 sitting in the dugout. I did …. and I’m fortunate for it. Happy Birthday, Earl !!!!
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Narcissist Of The Week
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I’m thinking Jose Canseco could’ve won this award during an entire year’s worth of weeks over these past 20 years. In fact, this estimate might be a little conservative. Nobody loves Jose as much as Jose, right? Better yet, nobody shuns blame and culapbility like Jose …..

Last Sunday, this half of the BASH BROTHERS was evicted from a home he was renting in Los Angeles. He was two months behind in rent. Instead of raising the funds he OWED to his landlord, Canseco took to Twitter for an opportunity to bemoan his situation …. “I guess I’ll have to sleep in my car” …. “I had to give my dog away, because I can’t afford to keep it.” Yes, this is the point where I scratch my head …..

Who does he blame for this dysfunctional situation? Not himself. Not a chance of that happening. He blames Major League Baseball. Yeah, he tweeted about this too …. “Major League Baseball did this to me, they blackballed me.” Lets say they did BLACKBALL him; he still made more than $45 million playing the game. He’s earned an additional $10 million on his name, as it relates to baseball, over the last decade

Yet, he’s broke. And, somehow, it’s Major League Baseball’s fault? “I’m a great guy,” he tweeted. “I don’t deserve this,” he continued. I suspect Jose Canseco will leave this world penniless and lonely. I hope that doesn’t happen. I don’t wish loneliness on anyone. But, he’s betrayed his friends and the GAME that made him rich. Still, he thinks he’s blameless. He’ll go down loving himself for all the wrong reasons …..
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Nobody Of The Week
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http://ibenimages.blog.friendster.com/files/tiger_woods_3.jpg
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No, Tiger Woods is NOT this week’s Mister Nobody. But, his half-brother, Earl Woods Jr., is quite deserving of the honor. Earl is known to be a very reclusive, camera shy kinda dude. I couldn’t even find a photo of him for this blog. Earl is not fond of doing interviews, either.

But, that all changed this week.

Earl broke his silence over his brother’s personal problems. In an interview with the World Wide Leader, Earl dove straight into Tiger’s relationship with estranged wife, Elin. He further advised that he hasn’t spoken to Tiger in nearly a decade. Really? Well, how do you know anything about your brother’s marriage? Be a good brother, Earl, and SHUT UP. I’d suggest this is probably the toughest time in Tiger Woods’ life, regardless of his own culpability. Perhaps, it’s not a stretch to think another human being, who has the same blood flowing through his veins, could just support his brother, huh?
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Chick Of The Week
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Oh yeah, I’m rolling out an ALL TIME BEAUTY. Forget the buxom newcomers we usually feature in these entries – although, I’m HIGH on them, too. Today, we’re featuring my favorite actress, ever. And, yes, she’s my favorite for a variety of reasons. She is certainly Oscar-worthy, as she nailed the role of down and out prostitute “Sera,” in Leaving Las Vegas.

Hail the one and only ELISABETH SHUE

These days, she appears in movies, sparingly. Fortunately for me, she has a new movie premiering, this weekend. Shue stars in Piranha-3, which opens in theatres, today. I’m not a fan of these fish-horror flicks. But, I’ll toss out 9 bucks to see a rare glimpse of my favorite Hollywood-Crush, ever. Damn, she’s still HOT …..
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Player Of The Week
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Over these past couple years, I’ve seized opportunities to praise Josh Hamilton for overcoming challenges much greater than hitting a baseball. While self-inflicted, Hamilton has defeated great odds and found his way to sobriety. My law enforcement career, especially as an undercover narcotics investigator, afforded me a firsthand look at the world of heroin and cocaine addiction. Full blown addicts usually don’t recover from their personal hell.

Josh Hamilton did.

And, as we all know, he recaptured the talent that led him to being a #1 draft pick a decade ago. I’ll admit he really hasn’t a very productive week, but he’s still meriting MVP numbers, with a .353 batting average, 26 homers, 81 rbi and 37 doubles on the season. The guy doesn’t run from his past and he seizes opportunities to help others. You can find find Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards, thru Sunday.
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Father Of The Week
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Thanks to the good folks at HBO’s Hard Knocks, with cooperation from Rex Ryan Inc., we’re learning some interesting things about the New York Jets. The most compelling? Well, how about the fathering abilities of Antonio Cromartie? I don’t know about his parenting skills, but he’s a BABY MAKING MACHINE …..

On the most recent HK episode, Cromartie took a calculated stab at listing (and naming) his kids. Funny? At the moment, yes. But, in reality, no. Antonio Cromartie is 26 years old and he has fathered 8 children by 7 different mothers in 6 states. The oldest is 5 years old, and four of them were born in the same year – and they weren’t quadruplets, triplets or twins.

In acquiring Cromartie from the San Diego Chargers during the recent offseason, the Jets “fronted him” a cool FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS to reconcile delinquent child support payments. Reports have indicated the Chargers traded Cromartie, because his production was being affected by the personal issues. Is $500k going to cure it? Nope …. it just postpones the inevitable.
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Rockstar(s) Of The Week
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Hmmm …. this reunion with David Lee Roth must be working just fine, huh? Indeed, Van Halen is in the studio and recording an album due for release in March, 2011. Tidbits of information are leaking from VH camp, via Warner guru, Irving Azoff. The hot rumor is a couple longtime fans are lending some support. Their names? Stevie Wonder and Kenny Chesney; both of whom are very good friends with Eddie Van Halen. An interesting mix, I suppose.

According to Azoff, Van Halen will be hitting the road for a U.S. Tour in 2011, as well. I guess we shouldn’t hold our collective breath – the band has certainly divorced each other a couple times, and 2011 isn’t here, yet. Perhaps, they’ve just outgrown the ego driven challenges. Or, maybe, Ed and Dave have simply realized they’re a better fit while on the same stage. I wonder what the album will be titled? Van Halen IV …..
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Blogger Of The Week
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I think it’s a pretty fitting choice, huh? I blogged four times, this week !!!! And, I covered nearly every imaginable sports topic. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear my ego is resembling that “Rex Guy” up in New York.

Thank God for the SHAKEWEIGHT …. it’s gonna make me a star. And, perhaps, this blog will finally garner me a spot in Crabs & Beer …..

After all, Glenn Clark is a big supporter of FLEXING MIC MUSCLES. And, by my account, this photo portrays a MICROPHONE & MUSCLES, along with a pretty handsome mugg …..

Have a GREAT WEEKEND !!!!

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Best Of The Best: My Top 20 QB’s cont.

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Joe Giglio

10. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Beltway Joe is my guy. We often talk about young QB’s gaining experience by repetitions in pressure packed games. I don’t believe any 25 or under QB in the league right now has had the kind of on the job training as Flacco. He has already won 3 road playoff games in two seasons under center, and has been at least among the final four in the AFC both times. His completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns all rose from his rookie to sophomore campaigns, while his INT’s remained the same despite significantly more attempts. He might have the biggest arm in the league- I dare you do find me someone who throws the out pattern better than him. With Boldin, Stallworth, and a pair of young pass catching TE’s in Pitta and Dickson, Flacco has the weapons to lead Baltimore even deeper in the postseason.

9. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

Why only 9th after the season he had last year and the weapons on the Minnesota offense? Health and desperation. Brett Favre is tough as nails, but at some point all of these surgeries and injuries are going to cost him valuable regular season starts, which could cost Minnesota a trip to January. Also, I think Favre’s urgency to win another title erodes his decision making abilities in big spots. Letting the game come to him was never a strong suit of his, but I’m less and less convinced he can win a title every day.

8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Say what you want about his style, backwards hat, and too cool for school smile…Tony Romo can play. The back to back wins over Philadelphia in Week 17 and Wild Card weekend took away the biggest bullet that anti-Romo guys had in their arsenal. “He chokes in the big spot” was erased by his play down the stretch in wins over New Orleans and Washington, along with his picking apart of the Philly defense. He has show over the years an uncanny ability to slide within the pocket, doesn’t need a “true” #1 WR to put up big numbers, and has matured in his decision making when the game is on the line. If Dallas is to play a home Super Bowl, it is because, not in spite, of Tony Romo.

7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

It took a full season for Aaron and I to see eye to eye. I didn’t like the hype machine centered around him and the Packers big pre-season numbers, was embarrassed for him when he let Jared Allen abuse him on Monday Night Football, and was loving it when his INT to lose the game in Tampa put the Packers at 4-4. Things started to change after that. The yards, touchdowns, and wins started piling up week after week. His performance on Wild Card weekend in Arizona sealed it for me that this guy could play. Can Green Bay win a Super Bowl with that style playing in the cold, snow, and wind of Lambeau? I’ve always thought it was more conducive to dome and warm weather teams (St. Louis, New Orleans, Arizona), but Green Bay has a chance because Rodgers can go point for point with anyone if he gets time in the pocket.

6. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

I realize that the “numbers” are better on Phil’s resume than #5 or #4 on my list, but I’m beginning to wonder if all that regular season dominance will ever translate into a Super Bowl trip. There seems to be a new excuse every year in San Diego. Whether it be the incompetence of Norv Turner, injuries to Tomlinson and Gates, simply running into a better team like Pittsburgh or New England, or the hottest defense in NY…this team and QB can’t finish the job. I was convinced that Rivers would win the MVP last year and get San Diego to a Super Bowl, but the guy came up small in January. I know he is tough and plays through injures, but if he wants to be a Top 5 guy in the league and crack the Top 2 of the Class of ’04, he needs to play in the Big Game.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Can’t stand the guy, but respect the player. If it wasn’t for one great drive vs. Arizona a few years ago he would be so many spots down this list. But that drive did happen and Ben does have two rings on his fingers. If the Steelers can get through his four game suspension at 2-2, plenty of fans will peg them as a sleeper in the AFC. More interesting to me than the team is how the city responds to him when he returns. Not many two time Super Bowl winning stars get booed in their home stadium, but Pittsburgh and Ben might be the exception to the rule. The relationship in Pittsburgh might be irreparable, but if I need to win a title, there aren’t many guys I’d rather have.

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Look at the talent levels, production, off the field issues, and past performances in the biggest games and tell me why you would put anyone else in this spot. Eli is no longer Peyton’s younger brother or the QB that got hot for a Super Bowl run. Lost in the Giants wretched finish to 2009 was Manning’s ascension to the top of the rung of NFL stars. Over 4,000 yards behind an aging offensive line, non-existent running game, and a slew of neophyte receivers was quite impressive. He had to come out of his play action comfort zone and operate out of the shotgun more than ever because of the opponent lighting the scoreboard up on his porous defense. Eli is now not just the leader of the Giants, he’s the best player on the field for them.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

His Super Bowl victory launched him into the #1 or #2 spots for some fans in our poll, but it simply inducted him into the club on my list. He’s no longer a distant third after the untouchable 1-2 of Manning-Brady (or Brady-Manning for some). I now look at the Big Three on this list as 1-2-3. They are all elite, can all lead a team to a championship, and all give defensive coordinators nightmares. Brees ability to release the ball quickly and keep seemingly every single WR on his roster involved in the offense is superb. He revived a fan base, helped revive a city, and is carving out a plaque in Canton as each game passes.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Don’t sleep on Brady. 28 TDs and nearly 4,400 yards the first year back from major knee reconstruction surgery is incredible. The Patriots have become flawed in almost every area outside of Brady. The shine has come off the pretty car the Pats had become prior to their Super Bowl loss to the Giants. Last year’s playoff beat down in their building at the hands of Baltimore was a shock to the football community, but Brady and New England shouldn’t be counted out. If knee injuries truly take two years to come back to full strength, watch out for Brady in 2010. If I need to win a Super Bowl I still want a guy that has more than anyone else on this list.

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

The best I have ever seen. Over 4,000 yards in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Mark him down for 11-13 wins a season. I have never seen an athlete take over a game mentally they way Peyton does. He dissects defenses as if he is watching film of their previous games in his head as the play happens. I know his loss to Brees in the Super Bowl makes these Top 3 very close, but when I add in durability, making those around him better, smarts, will to win, work ethic, and consistency, there isn’t anyone better for my money. If I absolutely need to win, Peyton is my guy.

Agree with Flacco at 10? Who would you have put at #1? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/22/10)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/22/10)

Posted on 22 January 2010 by Jack McManus

9:24-

Lou in Phoenix calls in to talk about the Orioles. He believes that season ticket sales are much lower than expected and that is why the prices have been raised.

9:05-

Jim Larranaga head coach of the George Mason basketball now joins Drew. His Patriots team will face off against Towson tomorrow. He starts off by discussing how his team has performed well despite it being one of the youngest teams in the nation. He also states that the CAA is a very strong conference this season. He sees 4 very strong teams, with the Patriots still putting everything together. Drew mentions that Towson has not defeated George Mason in 15 tries. Larranaga is still concerned about the matchup becuase of Towson’s size and rebounding ability.

jim

8:53-

Randy Monroe is the next guest. He talks about his teams loss last night to New Hampshire. He explains that rough stretches during the season can be valuable learning experiences. Monroe wants to emphasize the importance of every possession during a basketball game. Drew asks if Monroe is surprised by his team’s struggles this season. He states that in some ways he is and in some ways he is not.

8:39-

Mike Florio from ProFootballTalk.com now comes on. He starts off by talk about the CBA negotiations. He explains that the owners and the players are better off not negotiating for a while because neither side will be willing to make their best offer until the 11th hour. Florio states that it will come down to a situation similar to an election between the players and the owners. He thinks that the lowest payroll will be around $70 million and the highest payroll will be around $160 million.

8:20-

Kyle Eckel, member of the New Orleans Saints and former Midshipman is next up. He explains that the city of New Orleans does a great job of supporting the team. New Orleans is still recovering from hurricane Katrina. He calls Sean Payton and “awesome” coach. Payton is involved with all parts of the team. He next talks about how the team has rebounded in the playoffs after a rough end to the season.

eckel

8:13-

Kevin in Lutherville calls in to talk about the Orioles’ ticket price increase. He thinks that instead of raising gameday ticket prices, the team should have rewarded those who buy tickets in advance. Drew points out that the team has done nothing to warrant a price increase. The only justification the Orioles give is that fact that their prices are still below average.

7:39-

After talking to Romeo Crennel who is coaching one of the East side in the East-West Shrine Game, Drew welcomes in Marty Schottenheimer who will coach the West side. He starts off by talking about the result of the Jets-Chargers game. His son Brian is the offensive coordinator for the Jets. On the topic of Mark Sanchez, Schottenheimer calls him a hard-worker with great potnential. Schottenheimer next talks about his squad for the upcoming Shrine Game. He believes it will be fun to watch these young players compete. He also explains that there is little left he wants to accomplish in his career.

schottenheimer

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/21/10)

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/21/10)

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Jack McManus

9:47-

Sean Salisbury is the next guest. Salisbury agrees with Drew that Harbaugh deserves a contract extenstion. Drew next tells Salisbury that he went 0-4 in picking games last weekend. Sailsbury talks about how badly the San Diego Chargers failed to live up to expectations. He states that although he knew the Jets would keep the game close, the final result shocked him. Salisbury next moves on to the topic of resting players at the end of the season. He would play his players all 16 games. If the team is good enough they will have a first round bye to rest.

john

9:43-

Jerry in Timonium calls in to give his opinion on John Harbaugh’s contract. He does not think the team should give the coach a contract extension yet. He explains that the team has regressed this season and Harbaugh inherited a very talented team. Jerry is also not happy with the hiring of Greg Mattison as defensive coordinator.

9:25-

Drew next takes his cheat shot. He calls out the lack of opinion in the local market. He explains that there are no longer articles in the paper that express an opinion. He would like to see articles that approved or disapproved of John Harbaugh after two seasons.

9:10-

Phil Stern makes an appearance. Drew informs him that he and Glenn will not be attending the game today because a large number of middle schoolers will be there. This is because they’re heckling may not be appropriate.

8:54-

Cheap Shots From the Bleachers is next up. Glenn kicks off the segment by taking a cheap shot at the Buffalo Bills hiring Chan Gailey as head coach. Glenn explains the problem is that the Bills are not allowed to talk to coaches who are still in the playoffs. He states that teams need a coach before the Senior Bowl. The NFL must change something so that teams can hire the best option as coach.

8:46-

Jay in Riderwood also wants to discuss horse racing. He and Drew talk about the different possibilities for owners and locations.

8:36-

Steve from Homeland calls in to talk about the money the Orioles have given Luke Scott. He explains that a number of power hitters who play below average defense can step into the lineup and put up Scott’s numbers.

8:31-

Steve in Pimlico is the next caller. He states that a project in the state of Maryland has never been done right. Drew also comments on the fact that it is very difficult to reach the state’s leaders about the issue of horse racing.

8:25-

Ed in Park Heights calls in and compliments the station on their music selection. He also wants to comment on the political impact on horse racing. He states that public leaders are too concerned with their own wants.

7:49-

Ross Pospisil next joins us. Pospisil is a Navy linebacker who just finished his senior season. He is currently preparing for the NFL by participating in the East-West Shrine Game. Pospisil talks about how good the experience has been for him. He also talks about his decision to go to Navy. He explains that he did not plan on going to a service academy until late in high school. The Army-Navy game holds very special significance for those who have ever played in it Pospisil explains.

7:40-

Bill Herrion, coach of the New Hampshire Wildcats joins Drew this morning. His team will face off against UMBC tonight. He talks about his team’s struggles away from home. He points out that when the Wildcats are the home team they are 6-1. He also mentions the strong defense the team plays. Despite this fact, New Hampshire has posted a modest record of 6-10 this season.

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Head Coach Wanted – No Experience Necessary

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Head Coach Wanted – No Experience Necessary

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

The NFL is a copycat league, there’s no denying that. Every off season, like clockwork, teams of little fortune try like mad to emulate the successful practices that they’ve seen implemented by other clubs. It’s a league of trends, and those left behind said trends are likely to find themselves out of contention and likewise out of favor with their fans.

One of the interesting new trends in the NFL of late has been the propensity of teams to look beyond the usual suspects in attempting to fill their head coaching positions. Perhaps in no small part due to the recent success of such upstart coaches as Mike Tomlin of the Steelers or the trio of rookie coaches in John Harbaugh, Mike Smith and Tony Sparano who all led their teams to playoff appearances in their rookie campaigns last season, teams have all seemingly begun to reach for the next young star in coaching.

 

After the early successes of Harbaugh, Smith and Sparano, the NFL reacted in kind. Eight head coaches were hired last off-season, and among them, only Mike Singletary who had coached a handful of games as the interim coach had previous NFL head coaching experience. What’s more, at the start of the 2009 season, only 3 of 32 NFL coaches even had rings as head coaches, Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Mike Tomlin.

 

It’s probably a good thing that Superbowl credentialed coaches like Brian Billick, Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher have settled nicely into the TV ranks, because based on current trends, it could be quite some time before the league could consider them attractive coaching candidates again. Guys like those are left hoping these days that the likes of Coughlin or Mike Shanahan can do big things in regard to reversing the current trend.

 

Look no further than Shanahan’s own situation to illustrate how far the plight of the recycled head coach has come. Do you really think that Washington was on Shanahan’s short list of attractive destinations before gauging the lack of perceived interest that the market seemingly had in him?

 

If this season had proven anything however, it may have proven that finding the next young rock star coach may be easier said than done. Of the 8 aforementioned head coaching positions filled last off-season, only Rex Ryan and Jim Caldwell saw their fortunes advance beyond the regular season. The rest of those teams are left to ponder whether their leap of faith was actually the right move.

 

In the playoffs however, a surprising, if not disturbing trend has arisen this season. In the 8 playoff games staged so far this season, all but one have been won by the teams with the least experienced coaches. Among the 3 coaches who went into 2009 with   Superbowl hardware, only one even qualified for the playoffs, and for his efforts, Belichick’s Patriots were rewarded with perhaps the playoffs’ most unceremonious ouster.

 

In the opening weekend, second year coach John Harbaugh watched his Ravens bounce the Patriots along with Bill Belichick, his 15 seasons of experience (10 in New England) and his three Superbowl rings right out of the playoffs. Additionally, Ken Whisenhunt, in his 3rd season saw his Cardinals eliminate the Packers led by Mike McCarthy in his 4th season at the helm. Rookie Jets’ coach Rex Ryan saw his team take out Marvin Lewis’ Bengals, in Lewis’ 7th season as head coach. And in the read between the lines match up, Andy Reid in his 11th season in charge of the Eagles lost to Wade Phillips, whose coaching career began 6 seasons before Reid’s, but Phillips only has 8 total seasons spread out over 3 cities of head coaching experience, and has only been in charge of the Cowboys since 2007.

 

The second round saw the only upset to the trend when 4th year coach Sean Payton saw his Saints eliminate Whisenhunt’s Cardinals. Otherwise, Brad Childress in his 4th season and the Vikings took out Phillips’ Cowboys, and a pair of rookies in Rex Ryan and Jim Caldwell beat out the oft-recycled Norv Turner and the grizzled second year vet in Harbaugh.

 

None of that likely gives us any indication of which way to go this weekend, as both championship games will feature head coaches of equal tenure. Childress and Payton, both in the head coaching ranks since 2006 will meet on the NFC side, while a couple of rookies in Caldwell and Ryan will duel it out for the AFC. And once the dust settles in 3 weeks, one thing will be for sure, there will be one more coach going into next season with that elusive Superbowl hardware, as a first timer is now guaranteed to win; it’s just matter of which first timer.

 

Experience is a funny thing. In a 16 game NFL season, every game is bound to pose a new quandary, we’ve seen evidence of that here in Baltimore over the last 2 seasons, as Harbaugh has found his way admirably, but has also endured a lot of lessons learned on the job. For years, we’ll be left to debate whether the Ravens’ success over the last two seasons happened as a result of the Harbaugh regime, or despite it. Hindsight will surely show that at least a few of the young coaches who saw success this season would fall into the latter category.

 

One thing that’s probably not debatable though, is that Harbaugh is surely a better coach today than he was two years ago. Heck, he’s probably a better coach today than he was on Saturday in Indy. Experience is what’s made him better, and what will continue to do so.

 

Why experience is no longer seemingly valued in the NFL is beyond me, but that seems to be the trend. It could make things very interesting going forward, as most of the veteran candidates for head coaching jobs will likely have to gravitate to college or coordinators’ jobs until their stocks rise again. If the NFL is a coordinators league anyway, the impact on the field could be interesting.

 

Once upon a time, experience made you rich; now, in the NFL at least, it just makes you undesirable. In this league though, everything is subject to change on a moment’s notice. Something tells me that there are a lot of former coaches secretly cheering for Coughlin and Shanahan.

 

 

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