2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Bill Cowher(retired)
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Whisenhunt(joined another team)
Defensive Coordinator: Dick LeBeau
Pro-Bowl: Alan Faneca(OG), Willie Parker(RB), Casey Hampton(DT) and Troy Polamalu(S)
Everybody knows what Ben Roethlisberger went through last off-season, with nearly losing his life in a motorcycle accident, then his emergency appendectomy. He was just wasn't the same this year and he struggled. Big Ben threw for 3,513 yards, 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Another big question coming into last season was the running game. The Steelers had relied on Jerome Bettis for short yardage and goal line attempts but with the "Bus" retiring before the start of the season, a lot of people had their doubts whether or not Willie Parker would be able to be an every down type of player. Well, Parker proved that he could, rushing for 1,494 yards and 13 touchdowns. Pittsburgh didn't necessarily have great depth at wide receiver and it showed, with Hines Ward, their leading receiver, had just 74 receptions for 975 yards and 6 touchdowns. Santonio Holmes did have a pretty good season, grabbing 49 receptions for 824 yards and 2 touchdowns. Overall their offense was very good, ranking in the top 10 in every major statical category but the amount of turnovers they had really hurt this team.
The Steeler's defense was in the top 10 once again this year. They were great against the run, but just average against the pass. James Farrior led them in tackles with 126. He also had 4 sacks and 1 interception. Troy Polamalu had a Pro-Bowl season with 76 tackles, led the team with 3 interceptions and 7 passes defended. Joey Porter didn't have a lot of tackles with just 55, but he led the team with 7 sacks and added 2 interceptions. If there is a weakness on the Steelers defense it would have to be the secondary. If you look at the stats, you'll notice that majority of their cornerbacks have tallied a lot of tackles, that is because they aren't great coverage corners therefore a lot of receptions are made on them. Ike Taylor led all corners with 69 tackles and also had a career high 2 interceptions, Bryant McFadden had 54 tackles and 3 interceptions, Tyrone Carter had 42 tackles and Deshea Townsend rounded it out with 41 tackles and 2 interceptions. They have talented corners, but they don't always play up to their potential and besides Taylor, their isn't really another playmaker.
Jeff Reed didn't have that good of a season hitting just 74.1% of his field goal attempts. He finished the season ranking 30th and i'm sure looks to improve that next season. Much like his counterpart, Chris Gardocki also ranked 30th in punting average with 41.3. I should mention that although he is at the bottom of the league, he is consistent with his averages, he has had an average of less than 42 in four of the last five years. Santonio Holmes did a great job this year retuning punts, with an average of 10.2 and 1 touchdown return, that was good enough to rank 10th. On the other hand, Najeh Davenport didn't do to well in his 21 kick returns, averaging just 21.5 ranking 32nd. I would just let Holmes do kick returns too or let Willie Reid do it, just my opinion of course.
As good as their defense is, they could definitely use some upgrades at some positions. Defensive End seems to be the position they would most like to use their 15th overall pick on. Other places they could look to upgrade defensively are Cornerback, Linebacker and maybe a safety to play opposite to Troy Polamalu. On the offensive side of the ball they could really use an upgrade on their offensive line. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 46 times last season, obviously that must change if the Steelers hope to return to the playoffs next season. They could look to get a short yardage guy like they had with Bettis and someone that can help rejuvenate their "gadget plays" which they were so good with when they had Antwan Randel El.
Positions that they must address during this year's draft.
1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Line
5. Running Back
The Steelers would love to upgrade the defensive end position in their great 3-4 defense. Aaron Smith and and Brett Keisel are fine but someone like Adam Carriker out of Nebraska would be a great improvement. The only other person I can see them taking instead of Carriker in the first round is Jarvis Moss out of Florida. But I personally might prefer Carriker just because of his his great size and he is extremely strong but Moss is faster and can play both the end and outside linebacker.
Their offensive line needs improvement, mostly the center position because of Justin Hartwig announcing he is retiring, they also could use some help at the right guard and right tackle spot. The Steeler's would love to get someone like Ryan Kalil(USC) in the second round. He is a center and is quickly rising up many draft boards because of how well he did at last week's combine. Some tackles that they could steal in the later rounds are Gabe Hall(TEX TH), Ken Shackleford(UGA) and Stephon Heyer out of Maryland.
Like I mentioned earlier, they have a good group of guys, but they are horribly inconsistent and besides Ike Taylor they really lack a ball hawk, someone that can force turnovers. They could go many different routes with cornerback, they could look to get someone in the second round if Kalil is gone(which he most likely will) or they can wait till the 3rd or 4th round to address this need. Someone I think has the potential to be one of the best, if not the best cornerback in this whole draft is Tarrell Brown(TEX). Guys like Fred Bennett(SCAR), David Irons(UGA) and Ryan Smith(FLA) could all help and could be had in the 2nd to 4th round.
They don't really have a glaring need here, because the guys that they have are still good, but they are all getting older and it could be a smart move for the Steelers to start building their future at Linebacker soon. Tim Shaw of Penn State is a rising prospect he was the fastest of all the outside linebackers and he has a chance to be very special. Quincy Black(UNM) is another guy who could be very good. H.B. Blades(PITT), Anthony Waters(CLEM) and Justin Warren(TEX A&M) are guys that could all flourish in Pitt's 3-4 as inside linebackers.
If they do decide to add depth at runningback they should go for a power guy that can punch it in from a yard out and someone who can pick up short first downs. Some guys that fit that mold are Tony Hunt out of Penn State, Nate Ilaoa from Hawaii and DeShawn Wynn out of Florida.
If it wasn't for Ben Roethlisberger's turnovers and the inability of the offensive line to protect him, the Steelers would have been in the Playoffs defending their title. But instead they were sitting at home. With minor adjustments in the draft I don't see why Pittsburgh won't be in the Playoffs once again.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
2006 season: 8-8
The Atlanta Braves held the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets scoreless in their exhibition game on Tuesday. Ryan Langerhans went deep in the third inning off of a 2-0 pitch to put the Braves ahead, which they didn't look back, the Braves added 3 runs in the 5th and 1 more in the the 6th inning to cruise to a 5-0 win.
Matt Harrison, one of Atlanta's top pitching prospects, gave up a single to Wally Crancer leading off the second but struck out three during his two-inning stint.
"It was a great experience to get out there and pitch in front of Bobby," the left-hander said, referring to Braves manager Bobby Cox. "I had some jitters in the first inning. After that, it was all right. I got more confident in the second inning."Also pitching for the Braves were Jose Ascaino and Kevin Barry who both went two innings. Barry was credited with the win. Jonathan Johnson, Anthony Lerew and Joey Devine all put in one inning of work.
The Braves next game is Wednesday versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1:05 pm ET.
Monday, February 26, 2007
It seems as though the Syracuse Orange have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a convincing win over #10 Georgetown Monday. Cuse defeated the Hoyas,72-58, to notch their 21st win of the season. Big East POTY candidate, Demetris Nichols(seen in the pic to my left, the one being held ever so closely) led the Orange once again in scoring with 22 points, he also had 4 steals and 3 rebounds.
It also was only the Orange's second win in six games against ranked teams, but this one halted an 11-game winning streak by the Big East's first-place team, and that spoke volumes.
"Two weeks ago, we didn't deserve to be in (the NCAA tournament)," Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after his 747th career victory, 13th all-time in Division I and one more than Phog Allen. "I'm proud of my kids. This game was the culmination. We knew five games ago we had to win and play well. The seniors deserve a lot of credit. This was our best game."
Now on to the picture above. While Paul Harris was attempting a free-throw with under a minute to go in the game, Demetris Nichols and Eric Devendorf were celebrating their victory with a hug, but then Devendorf grabbed Nichols head and went in for the kiss, but was apparently rejected(like me on prom night). Now this pic was on ESPN's homepage this evening with subtitles such as "Demetris: I think we just punched our ticket" and "Demetris Nichols and Eric Devendorf discuss 'Cuse's bubble status." I have decided to give a small list of headlines that better suit the picture.
5. "Does my breathe smell?...No, but was it completely necessary for you to be that close for me to check?"
4. "Stop, someone might be looking....I don't care anymore, let them look"
3. "Why can't you just practice on a pillow like everyone else?"
2. "Demetris, why don't you look at me anymore?"
1. "Olive Juice you too"
2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: John Fox
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Davidson
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Trgovac
Pro-Bowl: Steve Smith (WR), Julius Peppers (DE), Kris Jenkins (DT)
The Carolina Panthers offense was down this season. Jake Delhomme took a huge step back missing 3 games and only throwing for 2,805 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. A lot of people had the Panthers as the Super Bowl favorites but with a lack luster running game and and sub par passing game, not to mention injuries on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, the Panthers were just mediocre overall. Although the passing game wasn't very good, Steve Smith had a great season once again despite missing the first two games of the season. He caught 83 balls for 1,166 yards and 8 touchdowns. Keyshawn Johnson also didn't have that bad of a season with 70 receptions for 815 yards and 4 touchdowns. The running game at times was good but for the most part neither DeShaun Foster nor DeAngelo Williams distanced themselves as starters. Foster missed two games but received the bulk of the attempts, he rushed for 897 yards and 3 touchdowns. Williams had 501 yards and just 1 touchdown. Williams also had 33 receptions for 313 yards and 1 touchdown.
Carolina's defense this year was very good once again. They did have some trouble at times stopping the run, but overall they ranked in the top 10 in every major defensive category. Julius Peppers was great, and was in the running for defensive player of the year. Peppers had 57 tackles, 13 sacks and forced 3 fumbles while recovering 2. Although they were good overall they had a lot of problems at the linebacker position. Chris Draft rejuvenated his career with leading the Panthers in tackles, he had 107 tackles and 5.5 sacks but Draft isn't really a long-term fix. Also Thomas Davis had a good sophomore season getting 88 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Mike Minter was better than he was the past two years, but still hasn't gotten back to the type of player he was back in 03' and 04'. Minter had 83 tackles, 1 interception and 6 passes defended. Rookie corner back, Richard Marshall had a great season, getting 82 tackles and leading the team in both interceptions(3 and 1 touchdown) and passes defended(11).Kris Jenkins was finally able to do something he hasn't done in 2 years, play a whole season. Jenkins played in a total of 5 games the past two season but this year he played in all 16 and made 41 tackles along with 3 sacks.
John Kasay had by far the best season of his 16 year career. Kasay hit 89% of his field goals. Also having his best season was punter, Jason Baker had an average of 45.7, 31 punts inside the 20 and 12 touch backs. All of them were career highs for Baker. Now returning the ball was a different story. The Panthers couldn't find one set person to return kicks, they had a total of 8 different players returning kicks and punts this season. The best was probably rookie DeAngelo Williams who had 623 yards.
The Panthers hold the 14th overall pick in this years draft. Now there are a lot of different ways they Panthers could look to use the pick. The biggest need for the Panthers is by far the linebacker position, but the problem is their isn't anyone that they could take that early in the draft. They are going to need a safety to replace Shaun Williams and they also could really use some help at defensive tackle. I think Carolina could also look to get more weapons for their passing game. Possibly adding another receiver and an impact tight end. With Jake Delhomme having a less than spectacular season the Panthers could also look to get another back up, Chris Weinke isn't good enough to play European football much less in the NFL.
Positions that must be addressed during the draft.
3. Defensive Tackle
4. Tight End
5. Wide Receiver
Their biggest need is at linebacker, but they won't be able to address this need until at least the second round. Their isn't a linebacker this year that is a top 15 pick like last season, Lawrence Timmons was projected to be one, but he had a very bad combine that will surely drop him to the later 1st round or even the second round. Some guys they could go after in the second round are Buster Davis(FSU), David Harris(MICH) and Brandon Siler(FLA).
Safety is another need for Carolina, they will likely go for either LaRon Landry out of LSU or Reggie Nelson out of Florida with their first round pick. It depends which one is still their and if both are for some reason, I would select Landry if I was them. They also could get some good safeties in the later rounds if they decide to go another way, some guys they could choose are Aaron Rouse(VT), Brandon Meriweather(MIA), and Eric Weddle(UTAH), all of them are possible 2nd round picks.
If they don't choose a safety with the 14th overall pick then I expect them to choose a defensive tackle. The most obvious choice for them would be Amobi Okoye from Louisville. They also could look for someone to fill that whole in the later rounds, someone like Quinn Pitcock(OSU), Ray McDonald(FLA) who could play outside or inside and Brandon Mebane(CAL).
They haven't really had a play maker at tight end in quite some time and although tight end isn't necessarily deep this year, their are some people that have impressed me. I am really like Ben Patrick from Delaware, Michael Allan from Whitworth and Daniel Coats from B.Y.U. All of these guys could be steals in the late first day or early second day of the draft.
Besides Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson, there isn't much depth at Wide Receiver. Drew Carter isn't bad but they lack a fourth receiver. I like them to go after Brandon Myles(WVU), David Clowney(VT), Rhema McKnight(ND) or Steve Breaston(MICH). David Clowney had a great combine running a 4.36 in the forty and he could be rising up the draft boards to a 3rd to 4th round pick.
The Panthers have a great team and should return to the playoffs next year. If Delhomme can play better, they can get some consistency on offense then they could be another Super Bowl favorite like this year.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Now i'm not usually one to brag, but my Hokies have beaten Davey's Cane's 3 times this season. Twice in basketball and once in football. Led by Zabian "Ultra Super Secret Ninja" Dowdell's 20 points, Virginia Tech improved to 20-8 after they beat Miami, 73-57 Saturday night. This is the Hokies first 20 win season in 11 years(23-6 back in 1996) and it has clinched them a first round bye in the ACC Tournament.
Our terrific back court tandem, Dowdell and Jamon Gordon had Miami's Denis Clemente, who led the Cane's with 20 points of his own, admiring their play saying "I'm trying to learn from these people". It's ok Denis, I'm sure with lots of practice and praying, one day you'll be good enough to at least hold Dowdell's jock strap.
The Cane's bench did out score the Hokies bench, 18-2, but all VTech's starters were in double figures. Dowdell led the team with 20 points and 8 rebounds, he also chipped in with 4 assists and 3 steals. Gordon had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and also had 3 steals and our resident High-Flyer, Deron Washington had 12 points and a spot on Sportcenter's Top 10 with a very impressive dunk after a great dime from Dowdell.
Virgina Tech has two regular season games remaining, at #19 Virginia and then they get Clemson at home.
ZABIAN DOWDELL FOR ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Scott Linehan
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Olson
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Haslett
Pro-Bowl: Torry Holt(WR), Marc Bulger(QB) and Steven Jackson(RB)
The Ram's offense is led by one of the most explosive trio's in a long time. With the most underrated quarterback, Marc Bulger, the beast at running back, Steven Jackson and the best route runner in the game, Torry Holt. Jackson had a great season rushing for 1,528 yards and 13 touchdowns, he also caught 90 balls for 806 yards and 3 touchdowns. Marc Bulger had by far his best season of his career throwing for over 4300 yards, 24 touchdowns and just 8 interception. Holt had once again a very impressive season, grabbing 93 receptions for 1,188 yards and 10 touchdowns. Also Isaac Bruce had a very quite 1,000 receiving yard season. The only real problem with the Ram's offense was the offensive line, they couldn't stay healthy. They lost Pro-Bowler Orlando Pace and Andy McCollum. If the O-Line can stay healthy for the entire season the offense could be even more potent next year.
St. Louis had a very deceptive defense, overall they ranked around the middle due to their very good pass defense but they ranked 2nd to last in rush defense. Obviously their problems with the run continued in 2006, they gave up 145.4 per game. To go along with their horrible run defense, they allowed close to 24 points per game, ranking 28th. Individually Will Witherspoon had a nice season, leading the team with 113 tackles, he also had 3 sacks. Leonard Little tallied his second highest sack total of his career with 13 sacks. Cory Chavous wasn't bad in his first season with the Rams, making a career high, 86, 1 sack and 1 interception. Rookie, Victor Adeyanju showed some promise at defensive end, but I don't think his 34 tackles and 1 sack are going to be enough for him to stay as a starter.
In my opinion the Rams have the worst special teams in the NFL. They are horrible at kick return, they aren't good at returning kicks themselves. But they do have a very good veteran kicker in Jeff Wilkins. Wilkins hit 86% of his field goals. Matt Turk was right in the middle of the rankings, with a punt average of 43.5, he also had 26 punts inside the 20 yard line but he was really bad at getting touch backs, with only 5. Returning game was abysmal, with Willie Ponder, who is a good return man, only getting 605 yards and Shaun McDonald only getting 172 punt return yards.
Defense, defense, defense. They need help on their defensive line, both outside and inside. Ever since Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis left, they have struggled to fill the need in the interior. Also they could definitely use another pass rusher to compliment Leonard Little. But with those two positions aside another major need is an outside linebacker. Brandon Chillar was just not effective. The Rams might also look to pick up another receiver in the mid to late rounds because Kevin Curtis is going to be leaving for free-agency.
Positions that must be filled during the draft.
1. Outside Linebacker
2. Defensive Tackle
3. Defensive End
4. Wide Receiver
5. Running back(back up)
This position has been one of the biggest weakness for the Rams for many years. They could possibly use their 13th overall pick on Florida State's very talented OLB, Lawrence Timmons. If they decide to go with the defensive line with this pick then they will likely look to get a linebacker in say the 2nd or 3rd round. KaMichael Hall(GT), Tim Shaw(PSU) and Juwan Simpson(ALA) could all be viable picks in the 2nd or the 3rd rounds.
In a perfect world, the Rams are hoping that Amobi Okoye will still be available at 13. I don't think he will, but there is still a possibility. If he isn't there then they will take Timmons and use their 2nd round pick on a defensive tackle. Some guys to look at in the 2nd round are Quinn Pitcock(OSU), DeMarcus Tyler(NCST) and Brandon Mebane(CAL).
Other than Little, the Rams struggled to pressure the QB. Victor Adeyanju showed some promise but he only had 1 sack. Someone like Charles Johnson out of Auburn would be great, but he is projected to go within the first few picks of the 2nd round, meaning the Rams would have to either trade up or go a different route. Dan Bazuin out of Central Michigan has been one of the best pass rushers for the past two years and he could really help out with his good speed and quickness of the snap.
With Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald leaving for free-agency the Rams are going to need someone to fill the slot position and someone who can help with the return game. Chansi Stuckey of Clemson would be a great fit. He is extremely fast and is the top return man in this draft. Or they could get someone like David Clowney(VT) or Yamon Figurs(KSU) to help in both the receiving and return game.
Obviously they don't need someone who can start, but St.Louis has no depth at running back. Someone who could come in and give Steven Jackson a break every so often would do wonders to help the offense for the Rams. Also someone who could help in the return game at the same time would be ideal. I see someone like Garrett Wolfe(NIU), Danny Ware(UGA) or Ramonce Taylor(TEX CO) would all help fill that need.
The Rams are one of those "teetering" teams. They have all the talent in the world on offense to be a playoff contender but their defense really drags them down. They are the type of team that can easily win the division and just as easily come in last place.
It is very unlikely that a big name will be dealt but still moves could be done. Jason Kidd to the Lakers? Not likely. Vince Carter to the Magic/Clippers? Probably not. Kevin Garnett to anyone? Nope, not going to happen. Now Mike Bibby to Cleveland? Now there's a deal that could happen.
With that said two realatively small deals have been done so far. The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to trade Juan Dixon to the Toronto Raptors for Fred Jones.
POR- G Fred Jones
TOR- G Juan Dixon
The other deal was the Atlanta Hawks aquiring veteran Anthony Johnson for a 2nd round pick.
ATL- G Anthony Johnson
DAL- 2nd Round Draft Pick
More to come before the 3:00 PM ET.
Update: Sadly no other trades happened at the deadline. The Nets seemingly had a deal in place that would send Kidd to the Lakers but they nixed the deal just hours before the deadline. And my boy Vince is staying in New Jersey. That means i'm a Net fan...well at least till the offseason when the Nets are expected to do a sign-and-trade with him. Like I said before, where Vince goes...I go.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Indianapolis Colt's running back and
Super Bowl MVP, Dominic Rhodes was arrested after he was pulled over at 3 a.m. driving his GMC truck 81 mph in a 55-mph zone on Interstate 65 in Indianapolis' far northwest side, Indiana State Police spokesman 1st Sgt. Dave Bursten said.
"It was a normal, run-of-the-mill drunk driving arrest," Bursten said.
Police also said Rhodes was cooperative with the state troopers who arrested him. Rhodes was held overnight and released on his own recognizance after an initial hearing Tuesday afternoon.
This isn't the first time Rhodes has had a run in with the police, back in 2002, he pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery and domestic battery. Under an agreement with prosecutors in that case, Rhodes was charged with domestic battery but avoided prosecution. Instead, Rhodes was placed in a diversionary program and underwent mental health counseling. This doesn't really look good for Rhodes, who will become a free-agent at the end of the month, but then again, he'll probably be signed by the Bengals. I hear they could use some depth at running back.
When asked how he felt about Rhodes recent run in with the law, Chris Henry said the following.
Reporter: Chris, have you heard about Dominic Rhodes getting arrest for a DUI?
Henry: DUI? Thats it?
Reporter: Um, yes. But Chris that can be a serious offense.
Henry: Well did he at least hit someone or pull a Sean Taylor on them?
Come on man, you gotta come harder than that. Shit son, DUI, hahahaha. I was getting DUI's when I was 10.
Reporter: No, in fact it was said that he was very cooperative with the police.
Henry: WHAT? He cooperated?!?! Damn, homie isn't gonna get any street cred for this. I woulda shank that muthafucker.
Palmer: CHRIS!!! Don't say that...they're gonna put that shit in the papers now...you can't go around threating to shank cops.
Henry: So. I don't care what they write, I keep it straight gangsta all the time...*pulls out knife* Never leave home with out it...Hey take my picture.
Palmer: Ok, Chris, seriously, your not "gangsta", your from Belle Chasse.
Henry: That don't mean anything, whatever man I gotta go do some gangsta shit. CYA.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Talks are reportedly heating up between the New Jersey Nets and the Orlando Magic. The Nets are planning on getting rid of majority of their "good" players in Vince Carter and Jason Kidd. Playing with ESPN's nifty Trade Machine I have came up with a trade that would benefit both teams.
NJN get- F Grant Hill and G Keyon Dooling
ORL get- G/F Vince Carter and F Jason Collins
This trade would make total sense, Grant Hill has a $16M expiring contract and Keyon Dooling would basically be a through in with a small expiring contract. And for the Magic they would get a pure scorer that they don't have right now and Jason Collins is just someone who has a $5M contract that the Nets want nothing to do with. They want to add him with the potential trade that involves G Jason Kidd to the Lakers but the Lakers wouldn't be able to supply an expiring contract of that magnitude. And if the Nets do go ahead and trade Jason Kidd(which is likely) and Vince it would free up around $35M on next year's salary cap. If the Vince trade goes through I will then have to join Davey as an Orlando Magic fan, where ever Vince goes, I go. Jameer Nelson at the point, Vince at the two guard, Hedo Turkoglu at forward, Darko at the other foward and Dwight Howard at center....say it with me now....CHAMPIONSHIP!!!
The Chargers have replaced Marty Schottenheimer with Norv Turner. This will be Turner's third stint as a NFL Head Coach. Now one of the main reasons the Chargers said was behind the firing of Marty was his playoff success or lack there of, so what do they do? They hire someone who's only been in the playoffs once in which he went 1-1 and someone who's career record is just 52-82-1. Great move guys, yeah lets go with someone who has proven not to be a great coach instead of one of the many young coordinators with great upside. Yeah let's do that.
And don't be surprised if the Chargers have another great year, I mean they had what, 11 Pro-Bowlers this season, in which all are going return. I mean I could probably coach the Chargers to a playoff birth and I have what is known as a bit of an "literacy problem". Look, i'm sure Norv Turner is a great choice, he's a players coach, he installed the current offense that is run in San Diego, but I just kind of like the idea of someone like Ron Rivera of the Bears or Rex Ryan of the Ravens getting a chance to show their stuff so to speak.
Speaking of Ron Rivera, the Chicago Bears have decided to go another way, meaning they fired him. Sources are saying the negotiations between the Bears and Ron Rivera's representatives have broken off because of disagreements to an extension. So after having "great" interviews with 9 different teams for Head Coaching jobs, Rivera is expected to become unemployed. Hey Ron, when were standing in the unemployment line, can I get an autograph or something?
Update: ESPN is now reporting that the Chargers have signed Ron Rivera as their new Linebackers coach. WTF, looks like i'll be standing alone in that line.
The West routes the East, 153-132.
Kobe Bryant won the MVP for the second time in his career, he had an all around great game with 31 points, 6 assist, 5 rebounds and 6 steals. Amare Stoudamire also contributed with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. For the East is was all LeBron James, James had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Although he was snubbed at the Dunk Contest, Dwight Howard had the last laugh with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Kevin Harvick barely inched out Mark Martin to win the Daytona 500.
Harvick won by exactly two one-hundredths of a second for his first Daytona 500 win of his career. Now i'm not exactly a "fan" of Nascar but even I knew that most people would have preferred Martin winning. Marting is a four-time runner-up to the Nextel Cup crown, and was moments away from the biggest victory of his life, hoping to finally win NASCAR's premiere event in his 23rd try.
Mike Krzyzewski won his 700th career victory at Duke.
Coach K reached another milestone Sunday as his Blue Devils defeated Georgia Tech, 71-62. Duke was able to overcome poor play by both Josh McRoberts and David McClure thanks to Greg Paulus' 15 points and Jon Scheyer's 14 points. DeMarcus Nelson also added 13 points and the Blue Devils got their 20th win of the season.
#2 Ohio State is going to be the likely new #1 team after destroying Minnesota.
Greg Oden had his best game since late January with 19 points and 9 rebounds but he did go without a block for the first time in his Buckeye career. Othello Hunter(15 pts) and Ron Lewis(16 pts) were huge coming off the bench as Ohio State collected their 24th win and their 7th on the road. The Buckeyes also should move up to #1 for the 2nd time this season due to Florida's loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
The festivities kicked off Friday night with the Celebrity basketball game with huge stars such as Carrot Top, Jamie Kennedy, Chris Tucker and David Arquette to name a few. Ok, just give me a second, you see, i'm a little bit star struck...David Arquette...the same guy who was in such inspirational films such as "See Spot Run" and "Ready to Rumble". Anyway, the Western All-Stars defeated the Eastern All-Stars easily,40-21. Thanks to a 14 point effort from Access Hollywood's Tony Potts who was named MVP. An actual athlete was injured in the game, during the 3rd quarter, Saints Rookie running back, Reggie Bush, slightly sprained his ankle when he went for a block and rolled it when he landed. New Orleans, breathe easy, he is fine and he just needed to ice it for awhile.
Here's the full list of the "celebrities" that played.
David Arquette (“In Case of Emergency”)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile)
Nelly (Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist)
Taye Diggs (Rent, Chicago)
Jamie Kennedy (“Jamie Kennedy Experiment”)
Bobby Flay (“Throwdown with Bobby Flay”)--who??
LaDainian Tomlinson (NFL’s San Diego Chargers)
Carrot Top (comedian) --they use that term extremely lightly.
Chris Tucker (comedian)
Katie Smith (WNBA’s Detroit Shock)
Coach: Tim Legler, ESPN analyst
Asst. Coach – James Pickens Jr. (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
James Denton ("Desperate Housewives")
Reggie Bush (NFL’s New Orleans Saints)
Donald Faison (“Scrubs”)
Bow Wow (Roll Bounce)
Tony Potts (co-anchor of “Access Hollywood”)
Nick Cannon (Bobby)
Jonathan Silverman (“In Case of Emergency”)--again, I ask, who??
Tamika Catchings (WNBA’s Indiana Fever)
Coach: Greg Anthony, ESPN
Asst. Coach – Wayne Newton (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
Next up was the Rookie Challenge, the Rookies vs the Sophomores. The game much like years in the past, was filled with absolutely no defense whatsoever, quick shots and unrealistic scores. The Sophomores defeated the Rookies handily once again, 155-114. This score was among many records that were broken Friday night, along with the 155 points put up by the Sophomores, Chris Paul broke the record with his 17 assists, the 77 point first half the Sophomores had was a record,etc. The MVP was awarded to the Knicks, David Lee. Lee went 14/14 from the field, 30 pts overall and 11 rebounds.
Rookies: Rudy Gay, Marcus Williams, Paul Milsap, Adam Morrison, Randy Foye, Jorge Garbajosa, Jordan Farmar, Andrea Bargnani and Brandon Roy.
Sophomores: Andrew Bogut, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Monta Ellis, Andrew Bynum, Raymond Felton, Danny Granger, David Lee and Luther Head.
Coaches: Mike O'Koren(WAS) and Mike Lavaroni(PHX)
I must admit, I missed everything but the Slam Dunk contest, I lost track of time when I was watching my new dvd, season 1 of "Full House".
Saturday night had a full schedule, with the much anticipated race between Charles Barkley and 67 year old Dick Bavetta, the three point contest, the skills competition and the Slam Dunk contest. The shenanigans started off with the race between Chuck and Dick(sounds like we got a sitcom...) They had to run from one baseline to the other three and a half times. My money was on Bavetta, but Chuck did beat him, in fact he ran the last half of the race running backwards, until he came tumbling down and shook the entire West Coast.
After that thrilling race had ended it was time for the three-point contest in which the participants were Jason Kapono(MIA), Gilbert Arenas(WAS), Damon Jones(CLE), Dirk Nowitzki(DAL), Mike Miller(MEM) and Jason Terry(DAL). Jason Kapono tied a record when he had 24 points in the final round and was able to at last Gilbert Arenas and took home the trophy.
The Skills competition is by far my favorite of the events, and of course I missed it. Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade took home the PlayStation Skills Challenge title for the second straight year, posting a final-round time of 26.4, almost half the time it took Kobe Bryant. Here's a look at what Wade did to win.
And finally the 2007 Sprite Slam Dunk contest, this was just embarrassing, i'm sorry but Michael Jordan is a horrible judge. He wouldn't give a ten much less a nine on the most innovative dunk I have ever seen(coming from a life long Vince Carter fan) and yet he gave a ten to Gerald Green in the final round when all he did was do a "Carter one-handed Windmill" over a two foot table. That might sound like an impressive dunk, and it would have been, if he hadn't done the exact same thing the round before but instead of a 2 ft table he used 5'7" Nate Robinson to jump over. Dwight Howard was robbed, now i'm not saying he would have beaten Gerald Green in the finals who i'm not knocking, he is a great dunker but Howard's "sticker"dunk was amazing. D-Ho as a certain Magic Fan likes to call him, jumped up and did what appeared to be one handed dunk, but he then pointed at the backboard where a sticker of Howard's face was all the way at the top. Dwight Howard dunked the ball, stuck a sticker 12 ft 6 inches high(it was measured by teammate, Jameer Nelson) all in one jump and yet he didn't get a pefect score...in fact good ole' Michael Jordan gave it just an 8. Bullshit...that dunk was awesome.
Tonight is going to be the All-Star game which I will probably miss the a little bit, it's an all-new Family Guy tonight cuz, that's how I roll.
All in all, I think the All-Star game in Las Vegas was a success, I mean, no one was arrested, killed, extorted or bankrupt...well I don't know about that last one, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan are working overtime to achieve that one.
Friday, February 16, 2007
2006 season: 7-9
Head Coach: Dick Jauron
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Fairchild
Defensive Coordinator: Perry Fewell
Pro-Bowl: Aaron Schobel (DE) and Brian Moorman (P)
As a whole the Bills offense was pretty bad, they ranked in the bottom third in all categories and struggled mightily with injuries. Willis McGahee continued to be hampered by injuries and missed two games. Even with missing two games, he still failed to reach 1,000 yards for the first time since becoming a full-time starter. "Whatcha talkin bout" Willis McGahee gained 990 yards,6 touchdowns and for the second straight year, an average of just 3.8 yards per carry. There was some good news, J.P. Losman finally showed the Bills and their fans that he can indeed be a starter in the NFL. He passed for over 3,000 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He should improve more this off season which i'm sure will make alot of people happy in Buffalo. Lee Evans was great this season, he made 82 receptions for 1,292 yards and 8 touchdowns. But besides Evans, there really wasn't much depth, sure Peerless Price played decent in his return to Buffalo, but he only had 402 yards and 49 receptions, which in my opinion are #3 receiver numbers. That's really their problem, they have a great #1 receiver and a bunch of #3 and 4's. They could really use another receiver.
Buffalo was horrible against the run this year, ranking 28th while giving up 141 yards per game. On the other hand, they were very good at defending the pass, ranking 7th in the NFL. They gave up just 188.7 per game. The Bill's defensive backs all had great season starting with rookie, Donte Whitner. Whitner racked up 104 tackles, 1 interception and 4 passes defended. Then came Terrence McGee who had 76 tackles and 11 passes defended. At the other Safety position, rookie Ko Simpson had a great start to his career with 76 tackles as well, 1 sack, 2 interceptions and 2 passes defended. And finally the soon to be free agent, Nate Clements, who had 70 tackles, 3 interceptions and 1 touchdown. London Fletcher had a very impressive season, making 146 tackles, leading the team with 4 interceptions, 2 sacks and 1 touchdown. And I can't forget to mention the Pro-Bowler, Aaron Schobel, he had 53 tackles, 1 fumble recovery and he recorded 14 sacks.
The Bills had great special teams this season. Their long time kicker, Rian Lindell hit 92% of his field goals, a total of 23-25. And Pro-Bowler, Brian Moorman had an average of 43.6 per punt, but had 7 touchbacks and 33 punts inside the 2o yard line. Terrence McGee was amazing on kick returns, getting close to 1400 yards, and an average of over 26 per return. And Roscoe Parrish did a great job on punt returns, with over 364 yards, an average of 11.4 per return and 1 touchdown.
It looks like Nate Clements is content on test the free-agent market, so they Bills will likely take a corner back with their 12th overall pick. They may take Leon Hall, who is thought by many to be the best overall corner back in the draft this year. If for some reason, they decide to go another way, possibly defensive tackle help, they would love to take Amobi Okoye if he is available. They really would love to upgrade the right tackle position, which is currently being held by rookie Terrence Pennington. The Bills also need to find someone that can stop the run at middle linebacker, London Fletcher is an unrestricted free-agent this year, so they could look for a replacement. They might also look to add some depth at wide receiver or tight end.
Positions that must be attended to during the draft.
1. Corner back
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Defensive Tackle
4. Middle Linebacker
5. Tight End/Wide Receiver
With Nate Clements seemingly leaving for free agency I can assure you the Bills will be looking to get his replacement early in the first day. I think they will take their 12th overall pick and select Leon Hall out of Michigan. Hall is a big, strong CB, that has great understanding of the game and he can create turnovers.
They would like to upgrade their right tackle spot in this draft. They did put rookie Terrence Pennington there this year, but they weren't really that impressed. Doug Free(NIU), Ryan Harris(ND) and Brandon Frye(VT) could all be available in the 2nd or 3rd rounds.
One of the biggest problems with the Bill's defense, was their run defense or lack there of. They could look at getting a defensive tackle anywhere from the first round all the way to the fourth. That leaves them with a wide variety of players they could take. If they go for one in the first, then it will be Amobi Okoye out of Louisville if available, if they go to the second round, it could be someone like Quinn Pitcock(OSU), if they go the third round then it could be someone like Brandon Mebane(Cal) or if they decide to wait till the fourth round, they could still find someone like Marcus Thomas(FLA) or Jay Alford(PSU) still hanging around.
London Fletcher is an unrestricted free agent this year, and the Bills don't have anyone that replace him on their roster. A couple of players that could play very well in their system are H.B. Blades(PITT), Anthony Waters(CLEM), who missed the whole year last season due to a torn ACL and Justin Warren(TEX A&M) could all help fill that hole and help stop the run.
The reason I have a slash here, is because they have a need for both, but there might be too many receivers taken by the 4th or later rounds, which is probably where Buffalo would start to look at them. And Robert Royal who is currently their starter at tight end isn't really that great. So they could look at getting a tight end instead and looking at getting a veteran receiver in free agency, someone like Donte' Stallworth.
Alot of people have the Bills as a 9-10 win team, although I think they have a pretty good team, I don't see them winning 10 games or even 9. They will likely be at best 8-8 in my opinion.
It is official, I have absolutely no dignity left. I lost majority of it when I got beaten up by that 6'4" 280 pound "girl" a couple years ago(but that a story for another time).
Let me set the mood so to speak, I was sitting at home...alone...at my computer(big surprise there) anyways, i'm sitting there and I receive an email from my 7 year old cousin. It's been awhile since I had talked to her, so I thought "hey, I haven't talked with her in like forever, I bet she wants to tell me about how cool ponies and pixies and barbies are" or whatever the hell 7 year old girls like.
So I open the email and it's one of those damn screamers. It scared the shit out of me, now normally those things don't scare me, but I had the lights off, headphones on while reading my "How to be like Chuck" book when I open an email from a what I thought to be a nice normal 7 year old only turned out to be a very unhappy demon child with bad teeth that doesn't know the meaning of "inside voice". So of course I fall out of my chair screaming and beginning to cry hysterically until my roommate Chaz rushes in to see whats going on and he says and I quote "dude is their a woman crying in here" then he looks down at me and he can't hide the laughter because he realizes there is a rather large puddle of yellow liquid surrounding me. So there it is, just another subject that I can talk about with my psychiatrist.
So what does any self-respecting male do when their pride has been thrashed like mine do? Why they create a top 10 list of the ugliest basketball players of all-time...duh.
10. Scottie Pippen
9. Jake Tsakalidis
8. Shawn Bradley
7. Mengke Bateer
6. Calvin Booth
5. Keith Closs
4. Popeye Jones
3. Gheorghe Muresan
2. Tyrone Hill
1. Sam Cassell
Coach- Hubie Brown
Honorable mention: Roberto Duenas
There, I feel slightly better about myself, that is until some mentions how rich most of them are and they are all bigger, stronger and get more poon even though they have big ass ears like Popeye and a distorted face like Gheorghe and an alien face like Cassell and just a plain fucked up face like Tyrone, that's when I grab that bottle of Jack Daniels and drink till the pain stops.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
2006 season: 7-9
Head Coach: Mike Nolan
Offensive Coordinator: Norv Turner
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Manusky
Pro-Bowl: Frank Gore(RB)
The biggest downfall of San Francisco's offense was their passing game. But this year it wasn't so much the quarterback's fault like last year, but the lack of a #1 receiver. They did have a very strong running game this season with the emergence of Pro-Bowler Frank Gore. Although he had been banged up for majority of the season, Gore was still able to rush for close to 1,700 yards and he scored 8 touchdowns. He also showed that he is a weapon catching the ball, he led the team in catches with 61 and came in third in receiving yards with 485. Alex Smith bounced back from a horrible rookie season, he threw for 2,890 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. From the wide receiver standpoint, this was one of the weakest positions on the 49er's offense. Any time your leading receiver has just 61 catches and is a running back, you're going to have a bit of a problem. Antonio showed glimpses of being a number one option, but he missed 3 games and only caught 40 balls, he did lead the team with 733 yards tied for the team lead with 3 touchdowns. Rookie tight end, Vernon Davis missed 8 games with a broken leg, but still had 20 receptions for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns. With a full season he should really start to distance himself as a premiere tight end in the NFC.
San Francisco's definitely didn't have the type of defense that would scare opponents. They were below average stopping the run, ranking 19th, allowing over 120 ppg and their pass defense was the 6th worst in all of football. Biggest problem was the lack of a solid corner back and an impact nose tackle to go along with the 3-4 defense that they run. Linebacker, Brandon Moore led the team in tackles with 92, not only was it the team high, it was a career high for him. He also led the team with 6.5 sacks. The 49er's defense has alot of aging players like Bryant Young, Derek Smith and Walt Harris. Although all of those guys had good years, their time in the NFL could be winding down, so it would be wise for San Fran to look at getting replacements in the near future. Speaking of Harris, he tied for second in the NFL with 8 interceptions. From the safety position, Keith Lewis exploded on the scene, finally getting the chance to start, he recorded 76 tackles, 1 sack and 2 interceptions.
Joe Nedney was very good once again, hitting 83% of his field goals and kicked all of his extra points(29). Andy Lee had a great year punting the ball, with an average of 44.8 and 9 touch backs. He was ranked the seventh best punter in the NFL. Also having another great year was Maurice Hicks on kick returns. He had 1,428 yards for an average of 25.1. Brandon Williams took over punt return duties and he didn't do to well, averaging just 6.7 yards.
Like I said, they are desperately in need of #1 receiver, the best guy to fill that need is Dwayne Jarrett. He is big, strong, excellent route runner and in my opinion he has the best hands in the whole draft. The only knock against him is his speed, but his strengths will cover that one weakness, look for him to be a huge end zone threat. The niners could also go after Ted Ginn Jr. if they want to go with speed, someone that can stretch the field. If they decide to go the defensive route when it comes to their #11 pick, they could go for someone like Amobi Okoye who would help their interior line or they could go with Adam Carricker who can play defensive end and defensive tackle.
Positions that must be addressed during this year's draft.
1. Wide Receiver
2. Defensive Tackle
3. Corner Back
They have got to take Dwayne Jarrett(USC) or Ted Ginn Jr.(OSU) with the 11th pick. I would prefer Jarrett over Ginn, but both are going to be great. It's the biggest problem that their offense had. Without a number one receiver, it put alot of pressure on Gore to rush for 130 yards a game and alot of pressure on Alex Smith, with Jarrett it would lessen the work load for Gore, meaning he would be healthier and potentially have an even better season.
San Francisco runs a 3-4 defense, and running that defense means they have to have a big nose tackle that can stop the run. Marques Douglas had a great year, but he is very small when it comes to defensive tackles, he could even possibly think of a switch to the end position. In the best case scenario, the Niners would take DeMarcus Tyler in the second round, it is unlikely that he will slip to the 42nd pick, but you never know. If Tyler isn't there in the second round, they will probably go a different route, maybe defensive back.
Shawntae Spencer really impressed alot of people this year, as did Walt Harris but Harris is nearing the end of his career and besides the two of them, there isn't alot of depth at corner back. If Tyler isn't available in the second round, it is very likely they will take a corner back. Potential picks for them are Chris Houston(ARK), Marcus McCauley(FRESNO) or Tanard Jackson(SYR).
Because of the great play from Brandon Moore and rookie Manny Lawson they have more of a need at inside linebacker, than outside linebacker.
They don't really need someone that would need to step in immediately because Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich have a couple more years. They could look at getting Buster Davis(FSU), Brandon Siler(FLA) or H.B. Blades(PITT).
Tony Wragge only started 4 games at center this year, and niners allowed 35 sacks. They could add some depth on the line, starting with center. Dan Mozes(WVU), Enoka Lucas(ORE) or Dustin Fry(CLEM) could all be nice pick ups for the Bay area.
San Francisco is really one of the up and coming teams, after Gore and Smith showed that they could succeed as starters they really started to click, and with a couple more additions in the off season they could be looking at playoff aspirations very soon.
Some recent rumors have surfaced that say the Chicago Bulls are contemplating on trading either Ben Gordon or Luol Deng, P.J. Brown(he has an expiring contract), a first round pick and one of their 2006 1st round draft picks, Tyrus Thomas or Thabo Sefolosha to the Grizzles for Pau Gasol. Damn that is one long sentence. Anyways, this trade makes absolutely no sense for the Bulls. I mean why in the hell would they want to start giving away there great young players for a 20 and 10 guy who has never won a playoff game.
Gordon is a 20+ scorer with a couple rebounds and assist and a game winner every so often, Deng is averaging near 20 points as well plus 7 rebounds and although Thomas and Sefolosha are both averaging less than 4 points a game they are both extremely young and will develop into NBA starters in the near future.
Don't get me wrong, Pau Gasol is a good player but the Bulls are looking for a forward that can help them make the playoffs and contribute to playoff wins. Gasol has taken his Grizzles to the playoffs three times and they were swept all three times, at least Gordon and Deng have had some playoff success(Deng not so much, he broke his wrist) and Gordon led a certain team to a NCAA Championship. I'm sure if you think real hard you recall the team I am referring to. Seriously this deal is beyond stupid from the Bull's stand point. Talk about a one sided deal, this trade if it were to happen would make me look smart when I paid $1000 for pure cut Columbian baking powder. Let's just say, I had no intention of buying baking powder.(Paublo, you son of a bitch, I want my money back, that was so not what I paid for.)
On Tuesday night, Virginia Tech defeated North Carolina 81-80 in overtime. This win gave the Hokies 18 overall and more importantly two against conference rival UNC. Part time superstar and full time P-I-M-P, Zabian Dowdell scored a career high 33 points and after the game he did us all a favor and ripped off Howie Mandel's stupid soul patch.
The Tar Heel's big man, Tyler Hansbrough had a good game with 22 points and 8 boards but Dowdell and Deron Washington(who scored 12 and grabbed 14 rebounds) forced Wayne Ellington to throw up an awkward looking three after the buzzer had sound and preserved the victory and all but guarantee them themselves a top 10 seed in the NCAA tournament with yet another impressive road win against a Top-5 team.
"Something special brewing around the program," Dowdell said.
In case you missed it, Connecticut won again Wednesday raising their season total to 16 and brings them within 1 win from a .500 record in the Big East. The Huskies finally had a convincing win, beating Seton Hall, 67-55. Despite missing his first 8 shots, Jerome Dyson scored a career high 22 points and tied his season's best with 7 rebounds. Jeff Adrien found time in between satisfying a plethora of women that would make the likes of Wilt Chamberlain blush to score 12 points and 15 rebounds, that is his 14th double-double of the season and his seventh in the last eight games. Hasheem Thabeet didn't have a great offensive game with just 6 points, but he contributed with 9 rebounds and 7 blocks.
The Huskies next game is Saturday against their rival, Syracuse at 3:30 ET on ABC. We need this win bad, if we defeat Syracuse for a second time it could resurrect an at large bid for the NCAA tournament if we do well in the Big East tournament....aw they plot thickens.
*side note, I used the word plethora and didn't get beat up...I see that as a win. Yay me.
Monday, February 12, 2007
2006 Season: 7-9
Head Coach: Jim Mora Jr.(fired)
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Knapp(fired)
Defensive Coordinator: Ed Donatell(Fired)
Pro-Bowl: DeAngelo Hall(CB) and Alge Crumpler(TE)
Talk about an up and down offense. The Falcons ranked #1 in rush ypg with 183.7 and they ranked dead last in pass ypg with just 148.2. Michael Vick started the season great but he fizzled mid way through the season and seemingly killed any hope for the Falcons to make the playoffs. Even though he did post the worst completion percentage of his career as a starter, he still managed to have his best overall season. Vick threw for 2,474 yards, 20 tds and 13 ints, Vick also became the first quarterback to ever rush for 1,000 yards(1039). Warrick Dunn also rushed for 1,000 yards and chipped in with 4TDs. Jerious Norwood completed the Falcons triple threat, he rushed for over 600 yards and 2 TDs in his rookie season. One of the biggest weakness of Atlanta is their receiving core, although Alge Crumpler made it to the Pro-Bowl, he had just 56 receptions and an impressive 8 touchdowns, which both led the team. Michael Jenkins had a disappointing season with only catching 39 passes for just 436 yards and 7 tds. Obviously the biggest need is a WR that can actually catch the ball, I don't have the exact statistic if front of me, but i'm sure the Falcons led the NFL in dropped passes.
Atlanta's defense was much like the offense in a sense, they could stop the run, but couldn't defend the pass. This mostly was because of the lack of another corner back playing well to compliment DeAngelo Hall, who made the Pro-Bowl with 58 tackles and 4 interceptions. They had great play from their linebackers, Keith Brooking had 136 tackles 2.5 sacks, Demorrio Williams had 90 tackles and 1 sack and Michael Boley racked up 85 tackles and 3 sacks in his sophomore season. A big weakness in the secondary is safety. They have Lawyer Milloy, who had a great season making 98 tackles and 2 sacks but Milloy isn't getting any younger and he could retire in a year or two. So they desperately need a replacement for Chris Crocker who had a significantly worse season than his good 2005 season.
Atlanta was one of the many teams that had to go through multiple kickers before settling on one. It was till Morten Andersen came out of retirement that Falcons had a steady kicking game. Andersen hit 87% of his FG attempts, that was his best season since 1985. Punting the ball is a totally different story, Matt Koenen had an average of 42.1, that ranked 26th overall. Allen Rossum once again, took over both kick returns and punt returns. On kick returns he averaged 23.5 and surpassed 1,000 yards, that was good enough to rank him number 20 in the league, punt return wasn't as good, he averaged just 7.8 ypr.
Their biggest need lies on defense. They are likely to take a safety with the 10th overall pick, either LaRon Landry of LSU or Reggie Nelson of Florida. They would like to replace Chris Crocker and then work on a replacement for Lawyer Milloy most likely next off season. The Falcons would also like another defensive tackle. Besides Grady Jackson getting older and Jordan Babineaux the only really "depth" they have at DT, expect them to go after one in the 2nd round. Also, wide receiver remains an issue for Atlanta, expect them to address that need this year because of the great WR class this year. They also might look to add depth at their O-line.
Positions that must be addressed during the draft.
2. Defensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Offensive line
5. Corner Back
It's basically a coin flip between who Atlanta will take. It's out of LaRon Landry(LSU) and Reggie Nelson(FLA). Landry is the better of the two in my opinion, he is a great tackler that has great size and excellent instincts for the game. But he lacks in speed which may be the only reason the Falcons don't take him. Nelson is a great athlete with good speed and a nose for the ball. He is also a big hitter and is great against the run, but he doesn't have alot of experience at the D-1, he spent the first two years of his college career at a junior college.
Atlanta needs depth here and also someone that can start. I think the more talented DTs will have been long gone, but there is always one that slips into the second round. That guy could be Quinn Pitcock(OSU). I have mentioned him before as being extremely strong, good speed and a solid tackler, also great against the run. All things the Falcons are looking for. They could also be tempted to take someone like Ray McDonald, who is a defensive end, but is versatile enough to play well at defensive tackle.
They have plenty of speed at wide receiver, but what they don't have is someone with great hands. That should be their goal to get in the 3rd or later rounds, someone with great speed and soft hands. Dallas Baker(FLA), who is great in the red zone and has great hands. Another player that would be a perfect fit is Joel Filani out of Texas Tech. He caught 91 balls, 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Not a huge need here, they would just like to add depth in case of injury. They will probably end up taking at least two guys on the offensive line. Maybe Kasey Studdard(TEX), Ken Shackleford(UGA) or Stephon Heyer out of Maryland.
Again, not a big need here, more or less a 3rd or 4th type guy here. Maybe someone in the later rounds, possibly second day they would go after someone at corner. Kenny Scott(GT), John Talley(DUKE) and C.J.Wilson(BAY) would be good in the ATL.
The Falcons should be a playoff team, possibly a division winner. The NFC South is likely to be one of the most competitive so they will have a tough time, but they have a very talented team, hopefully Bobby Petrino can get them playing good football like they did at the beginning of the season. Also I should mention, Jerrious Norwood is going to be the starter in 2007, the Falcons loved the way he played this year.
This latest review comes courtesy of Davey. I had been asking him for a couple of days to write one, because it's his favorite team and I felt it would be better for him to write the review.
2006 season: 6-10
Head Coach: Nick Saban (Has since moved on to Alabama)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Mularkey
Defensive Coordinator: Dom Capers
Pro-Bowl: Jason Taylor (Defensive End), Zach Thomas (Linebacker)
Awards: Jason Taylor (Defensive Player of the Year)
The 2006 offensive unit was statistically one of the worst in Dolphins history. The team averaged 16.3 points-per-game, which was the lowest since 1967, the franchise's second year of existence.
At the start of the season, the offense was expected to do big things but as you know, a combination of injuries, sub-par play and bad play-calling led to a very disappointing season. Daunte Culpepper wasn't healthy enough to play and the fact that he was put into the line-up too soon, doomed the team from the get go. The offensive line was inconsistent and also had to deal with various injuries and guys like Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael just didn't play up to their standards. Sprinkle in Mike Mularkey's play-calling, and you get the
But with all the bad comes the good and there definitively was some good coming from this unit. Ronnie Brown missed 3 games due to injury but still managed to surpass 1000 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry while showing that he was well worth the 2nd overall pick in 2005.
In his absence, Sammie Morris also showed that he was capable of running the ball, and should Ricky Williams come back next year, the running game should be loaded.
Wes Welker also had a nice year, leading the team with 67 receptions and Marty Booker also had a decent year, leading the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Meanwhile, Vernon Carey also stepped up and started to show why he was a first round pick a few years ago and should be the foundation of this line for some years to come.
Miami is known for a hard-hitting, swarming defense and this season was no different. Dom Capers came in with his 3-4 schemes and players like Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor absolutely thrived. Thomas finished with 164 tackles and 3 sacks, while did just about everything possible in way to a dominant season and Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The defense as a unit finished 4th overall, allowing just 288 yards-per-game and 17.7 pp/g. In 2005, the unit finished ranked 17th overall, thus showing how well they performed in Capers' new schemes.
The defense does have it's question marks though. The fact remains that it's an aging unit and they need to get younger, especially on the defensive line. First round pick Jason Allen also didn't contribute as much as expected mostly because he held out and missed a big part of training camp. Hopefully Allen can work hard this off-season, get familiar with the defense and what is expected from him, and start showing why Miami used the 16th overall pick oh him.
Donnie Jones had himself a solid season, averaging 42.8 yards on his punts and getting 28 down inside the 20. Wes Welker was good returning kicks, getting 378 yards on punt returns and getting 1064 yards on kick-off returns, with an average of 22.2 yards.
Olindo Mare was less than stellar in the field-goal department this year. He was 26 out of 36 on his kicks while missing 3 in the 40-49 range and 5 in the 50+ range. Some of those misses came in key situations that really hurt the team and I for one am not that confident when I see Olindo line up for a kick anymore.
Miami will be picking 9th overall this year and most projections have them taking a defensive lineman but now some others are predicting that Brady Quinn will be the pick if he's available. I'm not a big Brady Quinn fan so I'm hoping that this scenario won't play itself out. But odds are that Quinn will already be off the board by then and that coach Cameron will have to figure out if he's going to go with Daunte Culpepper, Cleo Lemon or maybe a free-agent like Jeff Garcia.
Positions that must be filled with the draft
1. Defensive tackle
2. Offensive tackle
4. Defensive end
6. Wide Receiver
Keith Traylor, Jeff Zgonina and Vonnie Holiday aren't getting any younger, so getting a stud defensive tackle in the first round would be very nice. Michigan's Alan Branch will probably be gone by then, but Louisville's Amobi Okoye would be a great fit. Miami still has young guys like Fred Evans, Kevin Vickerson and Rod Wright on the depth chart, so they could have a nice core on the defensive line to build on.
Vernon Carey finally started playing like we expected him to, but Damion McIntosh was downright horrible on the other side of the line. If Miami doesn't take a DT in the first round, offensive tackle could be the other position they look at with their first pick. Wisconsin's Joe Thomas will probably be gone, but someone like Penn State's Levi Brown could be a good pick.
Zach Thomas and Channing Crowder are great, but next to those two, there isn't that much depth. Georgia's Tony Taylor and Florida's Earl Everett might be two guys that could fit nicely along with Thomas, Crowder and Derrick Pope.
Jason Taylor is as good as they come but Kevin Carter is old. I have high hopes for Matt Roth but another defensive end should be added. Some early projections have Miami taking Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson but if he's taken, Clemson's Gaines Adams could also be the pick here.
Will Allen has one starting corner spot locked up, but I'd rather see Travis Daniels as the nickel back and someone else come in and challenge Andre Goodman for the other starting spot. I hold on to the dream that Miami can somehow pick up Nate Clements in free agency but I don't see it happening. Daymeion Hughes could be someone to get, or Ryan Smith from Florida.
This all depends if Wes Welker gets resigned. With Welker on board, Miami has Chambers, Booker, Welker, Derek Hagan and also Marcus Vick who could compete for some playing time. If Welker leaves, then they could look for another receiver in later rounds.
The one big question for this team remains the quarterback position. Will Cam Cameron stick with Culpepper, will C-Pep be ready to go? Will he give Harrington a shot or maybe Cleo Lemon?. This will be the biggest factor that decides if the team will be successful in '07 or not.
The offensive line should only get better under Hudson Houck and if Ricky Williams comes back to help Ronnie Brown share the load at running back, the running game should also be beyond good. The fact that Cam Cameron will be handling the offense now should also improve things a whole lot.
There's a new, offensive minded coach in place, there's one of the league's best defenses and a good running game. With a quarterback that can run the show, this is a team that challenge for the AFC East crown. Without a quarterback, it's likely to be a disappointing repeat of last season.
2006 Season: 6-10
Head Coach: Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Sherman
Defensive Coordinator: Richard Smith
Pro-Bowl: Andre Johnson(WR)
The Texans ranked in the lower third in the league once again in all major categories. Their passing game ranked 27th this year only gaining 173.6 yards per game, and their running game was slightly better, ranking 21st, but they still only averaged 105 yards per game. Houston had some-what of a "running back by committee" before Ron Dayne emerged as the full-time starter late in the season. Dayne rushed for 612 yards and 5 touchdowns while just starting 6 games. The projected starter, rookie Wali Lundy was benched after just starting 8 games because he was very ineffective, just gaining 476 yards and 4 touchdowns. Their passing game was worse, David Carr threw for just 2,767 yards, 11 TDs and 12 interceptions. Their are alot of rumors surfacing that the Texans are ready to trade the former 1st overall pick before the draft. Really only two players can actually say they had a good season. The 1st was former Miami standout, Andre Johnson who had 103 receptions, 1147 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also was selected to his first pro-bowl. The 2nd player was rookie Owen Daniels. Daniels caught 34 balls for 352 yards. Nothing special, but he quickly emerged as a red-zone threat with 5 TDs.
Much like their offense, Houston's defense ranked in the bottom third in all major statistical categories. But they did have standouts, such as defensive rookie of the year, DeMeco Ryans. Ryans recorded 155 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception and 5 passes defended. Morlon Greenwood also surpassed the 100 tackle platue for the 3rd consecutive season. 1st overall pick, Mario Williams had a decent year. He certainly didn't have a season that the first player taken in the draft would have, but I won't get into that discussion. Williams had 47 tackles and came in second on the team with 4.5 sacks. He also pitched in with 1 fumble recovery. One of the biggest problems for their defense was the lack of interceptions, the Texans had just 11 as a team, but Dunta Robinson did tie for the team lead with 2. Yes, he led the team with just 2 INTs. Robinson aslo tallied 82 tackles. That is quite high for a cornerback, it means either he is great against the run or he can't cover guys too well, i'll let you decide.
Houston's special teams were bad in all facets of the game. Kris Brown had is 4th straight mediocre season hitting just 76% of his FGs, Chris Stanley was one of the worst punters this year with an average of 41.6 and Dexter Wynn was decent in the return game with a punt average of 11.6(but only 139 yards) and a kick return average of 22.3(just 670 yards).
The Texans could really use a playmaker at running back. The obvious choice to fill that need would be Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson. If he is still there at #8 then there is no doubt who they would take. They also need a safety. C.C. Brown is fine but the Texans need an upgrade there. Other positions, offensive line, preferably left tackle, also defensive tackle and cornerback should be looked at. Also a possibility is a quarterback change.
Positions that need to be addressed during the draft.
1. Running back
3. Offensive line
4. Defensive tackle
They really need a #1 back. With passing up on Reggie Bush last year the Texans have still failed to fill that need. Wali Lundy, Ron Dayne and Samkon Gado are not going to scare too many teams. If they decide to go another way with the 8th pick, they could look at getting Kenny Irons(AUB) who's stock is raising with an exceptional showing at the NCAA Skills Competition last week. Or they could look at Dwayne Wright(FRES) or Gary Russell(MIN).
If they don't go with Peterson in the first round for whatever reason, then they will most likely go after one of the talented safeties, either LaRon Landry(LSU) or Reggie Nelson(FLA). They could also look at getting Michael Griffin(TEX), Eric Weedle(UTAH) or Brandon Meriweather(MIA) in the second round.
One the biggest needs is left tackle. Everyone knows the importance of having a left tackle if your starting quarterback is right handed, but yet the Texans haven't been able to full fill that need. They could look at getting Levi Brown(PSU), Joe Staley(CMICH) or Arron Sears(TENN) would all help dramatically.
Houston has recently switch from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense, meaning they have elected to go with 2 DT's to hopefully slow down the other teams rushing attack. That is fine, if you have at least two DTs that can compete, which the Texans don't have. So they need to find a big body in the draft that can fill their need. Possible players for them to look at are Marcus Thomas(FLA), Jay Alford(PSU) or Derek Landri(ND).
It seems very likely that the Texans are willing to trade David Carr. But they would need a replacement, they could look at getting a short term player in free-agency such as Jeff Garcia or Matt Schaub(ATL is likely to re-sign him). But they could look at the draft as well. If Cleveland takes Adrian Peterson than Brady Quinn is going to drop, that would clear way for Houston to take Brady Quinn in the first round. If they decide not to take the fore mentioned Quinn then they will likely wait till the 2nd day to take a QB, if they take one at all. Possible 2nd day picks would be Luke Getsy(AKRON), Jared Zabransky(BOISE) and Drew Tate(IOWA).
I would be extremely surprised if the Texans are able to turn this franchise around any time soon, but if they are smart and take Peterson he could easily help them to a possible 7 to 8 win season.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Late in the 3rd quarter of the Pro-Bowl yesterday, The AFC lined up for a punt, well Bill's punter, Brian Moorman decided it was time to finally show everyone that punters are real athletes. And well, it worked out about as good as life has worked out for me.
I haven't seen a mormon get crushed like that since Ken Jennings lost on jeopardy. Haha, get it? He's mormon and he lost, and the punter's name is Moorman...I kill myself.
Posted by Jay at 5:29 PM
2006 season: 6-10
Head Coach: Brad Childress
Offensive Coordinator: Darrell Bevell
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Tomlin(Head Coach of Pittsburgh now)
Pro-Bowl: Steve Hutchinson(OG), Matt Birk(C), Kevin Williams(DT), Pat Williams(DT)
For many years, the Minnesota Vikings have been known for a high-powered passing offense with big play capabilities. That was not the case this year. With them trading Randy Moss a couple years ago and departing with their Pro-Bowl QB Daunte Culpepper, they were left with Brad Johnson starting at QB and a bunch of busts at WR. Johnson had a bad season only throwing for 2,750 yards and 15 interceptions to go with just 9 touchdowns. The starting job was handed to rookie, Tarvaris Jackson the final two games of the season and was able to throw for 475 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The Vikings have never been known to have a solid running game, that is until they picked up Chester Taylor in free-agency. Taylor ran for over 1200 yards, 6 touchdowns and caught 42 balls for 288 yards. Troy Williamson continued to play like the first round bust that he is, with only catching 37 balls for just 455 yards. The only other receiver worth mentioning was Travis Taylor, he had 57 receptions, 651 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Vikings have been know for their passing game, but this season with new head coach, Brad Childress, they went with a more conventional, run the ball and stop the run. That's just what their defense excelled at, stuffing the run. Minnesota ranked #1 in rushing yards allowed, with just 61.9. It was extremely hard for other teams to run through the Vikings huge defensive line, with pro-bowlers Kevin and Pat Williams. Kevin got 36 tackles with 5 sacks, although his numbers are good, they don't do enough justice for him. E.J. Henderson led the team with 109 tackles and was tied for 3rd with 3 sacks. Antoine Winfield also had a great year, he racked up 97 tackles, defended 10 passes and intercepted 4 passes. The only real problem they need help with is a true pass rusher and another possibly another outside linebacker.
Ryan Longwell hit 84% of his field goals, just missing 4.(2 from 50+ and 2 from 40-49) He also threw a touchdown against Carolina, that led to an overtime win. Chris Kluwe wasn't bad this year, with an average of 42.3 and 28 punts inside the 20. Mewelde Moore continued his superb punt returning ability with over 365 yards and 1 touchdown. Bethel Johnson took over the Kickoff returns, and he did ok. He had just over 1,000 yards and a nice average of 23.4.
The Vikings have a lot of needs, both offensively and defensively. On the offensive side of the ball, they aren't quite sure if they job of starting quarterback will go to Jackson or if they will attempt to sign Jeff Garcia in free-agency. Another possibility is the draft. Also they need to get a receiver...again. Williamson is just not adjusting to the NFL and Robinson, Taylor and McMullen are not #1 guys. Other needs on defense are simply a defensive end that can actually get the QB and sack him, also another cornerback that can force turnovers, something they didn't do alot this year. It might be a smart idea to look at an outside linebacker as well.
Positions that must be solved with the draft.
1. Defensive End
2. Wide Receiver
3. Outside Linebacker
5. Corner Back
One of the things the Vikings struggled with was defending the pass. Not really so much the fault of the defensive backs, but more so the defensive lines inability to pressure the quarterback. With the #7 pick expect them to draft whichever DE is left, either Jamaal Anderson or Gaines Adams.
I have their #1 weakness being DE, but I could easily be swayed into the direction of WR. Ever since trading Randy Moss, the Vikings have been fighting to find a number one option in the passing game. With no luck drafting Troy Williamson two years ago in the first round, they are still looking for one. They could opt to take Ted Ginn Jr. to replenish that vertical passing game that they have missed or they could be tempted to take Dwayne Jarrett who has good speed and can catch nearly anything thrown in his direction.
They don't have alot of depth at OLB and Ben Leber had just an ok season. I think Prescott Burgess(MICH) or KaMichael Hall(GT) would look very good in purple.
Like I mentioned, I don't think they're 100% sure on Jackson being ready to be a full time starter, they could be tempted to go after Jeff Garcia, but they also could be coaxed into looking at help in the draft. Potentials could be Chris Leak(FLA), Tyler Palko(PITT), Trent Edwards(STAN) or Jordan Palmer(UTEP).
Antoine Winfield had a great season, but besides him, they had no help at corner back. Due to injuries to Fred Smoot and Cedric Griffin. But even with those two, they lack a ball hawk, someone that is just great at intercepting the ball or forcing fumbles. They desperately need someone that can change the momentum on defense. If Daymeion Hughes is available in the 2nd round I would take him. He intercepted 8 balls last season and 15 overall in his 4 years at California. Ryan Smith out of Florida could also help in the later rounds. He also had 8 interceptions last season.
I feel the Vikings have a good team. If they can stay healthy and fix the small problems then they could contend in the NFC North. But the big question this season is QB play. If Jackson can handle it then they will be good if not and they have to go back to Brad Johnson, well then they may be in a lot of trouble.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
San Diego's kicker, Nate Kaeding drilled a 21-yard game winning field goal as time expired Saturday. This capped off yet another strong drive by MVP Carson Palmer who went 8/17 190 yds and 2 touchdowns.
Davey also made it well known that Miami had more players(Ray Lewis, Reggie Wayne, Frank Gore, Sean Taylor and Ed Redd) in the Pro-Bowl than Virginia Tech(just DeAngelo Hall). But what he doesn't realize, Michael Vick,Ernest Wilford, Jimmy Williams, Darryl Tapp and James Anderson were far to busy to partake in the game. You see they were busy saving orphans from burning buildings, while educating them on the importance of not doing drugs, staying in school and not blaming whitey.
Most of the damage for the NFC was done with their rushing game, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore and Tiki Barber all scored a rushing touchdown in the loss. This is supposed to be Barber's final game, he has said all season that he is planning on retiring after this season to persue other projects. Tony Romo took majority of the snaps at QB and went 11/19 for 156 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Oh and I should also mention that DeAngelo Hall was able to take a break from the massive orgy the Hokies received for their great deed and record 7 tackles, which led both the NFC and AFC.
The AFC went with more of a throwing attack. Like I mentioned earlier, Carson Palmer was named the MVP, but Reggie Wayne had a huge game as well. He caught 6 balls for 137 yards and 1 touchdown. "Ocho Cinco" aka Chad Johnson chipped in with 3 receptions 70 yards and 1 touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Adalius Thomas had 3 tackles and a 70 yard fumble recovery for a score. And Ed Reed intercepted two passes, 1 off of Tiki Barber and the other off of Tony Romo.
Quick recap....Miami-2( Big game from Wayne and Reed)...Virginia Tech- Eleventy billion points(for being awesome).
During the first quarter of the 2007 Pro-Bowl, Drew Brees dislocated his left elbow. This will make the second straight offseason that Bree's will be have an arm injury of some kind. Last season he had to have surgery on his torn right shoulder.
Drew Brees was voted the starting quarterback after leading the Saints to the NFC Championship game and throwing for 4,418 yards and 26 touchdowns. Brees was injured while throwing a fourth-down incompletion on the NFC's second drive at the NFL all-star game. The NFC starter went 2-of-7 for 23 yards in the scoreless first quarter.
According to ESPN's Andy Katz, Gonzaga players Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis have been suspended indefinitely from the team after their arrest Friday night for investigation of drug possession.
Police said they found marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms in their car. Both players were booked into Spokane County Jail for investigation of drug possession, The Associated Press reported.
Cheney Police Commander Rick Campbell said the amount of marijuana was only enough for a misdemeanor, but that possession of mushrooms is a felony.
Police also said they pulled the car over because its tail lights were not working. Campbell said officers smelled marijuana and searched the car, and the players were cooperative."It was close to midnight. They needed to have their lights on," Campbell said.
From a basketball perspective, this suspension couldn't have come at a worse time, the Bulldogs are currently tied with Santa Clara atop the WCC and fighting for a spot in the NCAA tournament. Heytvelt is the teams second leading scorer and their leading rebounder. Davis is going to be red shirted because he is set to have surgery to repair damaged ligaments in his shoulder.
With all the arrest of athletes these days, I have one thing to say about these two guys...Shit son, I wanna party with these guys.
History does repeat it self, in the case of Ethan Thomas and Brendan Haywood hating each other. Now there have been many cases of teammates disliking each other, but i'm quite sure that Kobe and Shaq never threw fisticuffs, Bill Romanowski and every single player that he played with threw down. Ok, excuse that last one, good ole' Billy had a habit of destroying careers one uppercut at a time.
Any who, Thomas and Haywood have an extensive history of throwing punches that has resulted in Haywood being suspended last season for 1 game and now this latest incident has Thomas being suspended for 2 games for "conduct detrimental to the team".
During practice yesterday, the two centers were tangled under the rim, when Haywood threw an elbow, Thomas felt it was intentional and then threw a punch at Haywood. The two traded blows until teammates were able to separate them.
Wizard's head coach Eddie Jordan and Brendan Haywood were both not available for comment, but Ethan Thomas was more than happy to give reporters his side of the story.
"I am trying to find my rhythm after missing a month with this ankle injury, trying to put together some decent games, feeling good to be a part of everything that the team is accomplishing, and this cat decides to hit me with a cheap shot during practice and I reacted. I could have turned the other cheek. I guess I didn't," Thomas told the Post.
"Why on earth would he throw an elbow at his own teammate? Save that for Tyson Chandler or Eddy Curry. Kwame Brown would be more than happy to trade blows with him," Thomas told the Times. "I know the difference between an accident and a cheap shot."
Ethan Thomas also said that Haywood wasn't happy with only playing 21 minutes of their loss to the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday.
"San Antonio just beat us by what seemed like a hundred but I guess all that matters to him is he didn't get the minutes he thinks he deserves, so he's mad, which results in a displacement of anger," Thomas told the Post. "What does he think, that throwing a cheap shot at me is going to keep him on the floor? Bottom line, I'm not putting up with any garbage from Brendan Todd Haywood, but at the same time, I do feel bad and upset with myself for allowing him to bait me."
Even though their is bad blood between the two, Thomas did mention that he hopes they can put this incident behind them.