Tuesday, September 29, 2009
But in a juncture, when it seems Tony Romo isn’t beleaguered with paparazzi snapping endless snapshots of him and ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson vacationing at a pool party a week before a pivotal playoff game, he might have a better possibility at avoiding a late collapse and advance to the playoffs.
In likelihood, he might presumably have better luck, attaining the big one that he has yet to win. Without an egotistic and psychotic Terrell Owens yelling loudly in his ear for not getting enough touches, there shouldn't be any diversity or rebellious chemistry sabotaging a spacious locker room inside a new colossal stadium, in which owner Jerry Jones nearly invested most of his payroll in.
Simply, Romo is expected to guide the Cowboys away from long-suffering failures, which has done nothing but deflowered mystique and expectations. After all, he’s one of the lovable and scrutinized figures in our country, portrayed more as a celebrity than an actual quarterback.
It’s the most-scrutinized position inside the Cowboys organization, and if the ‘Boys expect to be ‘Boys, they’ll need more consistency from the enigmatic superstar who wears the star logo on his helmet.
He has been granted privileges to guide the Cowboys, and reach expectations instead of underachieving on the big stage. No excuses, his focus level should be at an all-time high, and his gusto should be more instrumental. He, indeed, played with all essential components Monday night, responding to all the critics who have bashed him for underperforming early in the season.
Shockingly, most of the criticism came from former legends that largely had a decisive impact on the Cowboys glorious seasons formerly. Tony Dorsett, Emmitt Smith, and Troy Aikman all took blows at Romo, admitting that he hasn’t done much in the toughest role in the NFL.
Tonight, the flaws weren’t easily discovered or deficiencies weren’t much of a problem. Deemed as one of the top quarterbacks in the league, Romo was well deserving of those remarks responding to all negative bias said this week.
Although it wasn’t a breakout game, finishing the night with no touchdowns, the key point skeptics were watching to point out was Romo’s consistency and smart plays.
From my perspective, he was flawless and played well in the best game yet. As many anticipated, he stayed focus and managed the game, enough to minimized boos from disgruntled fans and increased cheers. For the first time, the Cowboys won at their $1.15 billion stadium after a last-second loss in the home-opener turned disappointing and now is erased out of their minds.
But not all props belong to Romo. Credit the defense for coming up huge, when a convincing Terrence Newman returned an interception to Carolina’s 27 with 5:07 left to secure a 21-7 victory in front of 90,588 fans that were tense until things officially came to a close.
The masses can debate that the Cowboys prevailed off the Panthers miscues, when Jake Delhomme made a few bad tosses and defaulted in another dreadful game, leading the league with seven interceptions.
Romo, of course, was more consistent with making less throws, but was still harassed and pressured. The Panthers defenders never allowed Romo many advantages to escape the pocket with his nifty footwork, and he wasn’t permitted enough time to make perfect throws on each possession.
With more completions and hand-offs, Romo didn’t throw ill-advised passes or committed any interceptions. Unlike before, he was more patient and relaxed, painfully avoiding overthrows and lofting it into traffic. But mostly, he relied on the Cowboys unstoppable and pugnacious running game.
More serious than in previous letdowns, Romo played with more sense rather than inanely surrendering or giving away one. They could’ve easily seen a 0-3 deficit to start the season, of which Romo would’ve had to take in more heat. But now, he is sighing relief and relinquished jitters that encouraged him to increase productivity.
In Week Three, I think fans weren’t concerned with Romo completing touchdown passes. They were more concerned with his consistency, as he managed holding on to a comfortable lead. Romo finished with more suitable results, and was 22 of 33 for 235 yards, finding reliable tight end Jason Witten, who had nine catches for 77 yards.
Goodness, all the weapons Romo had. He was surrounded with a sturdy rushing attack, such as Felix Jones rushing for 94 yards on eight carries before leaving with a strained left knee in the third quarter. But Tashard Choice ran faster than anyone else on this giving night.
Without an ailing Marion Barber, who is nursing a bruised thigh, Romo handed the ball to a stellar and hasty Choice. He was solid finishing the night with 82 yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown and caught four passes off Romo’s intelligent reaction to disbelievers. But the key play came when Newman stepped in front and cut off a pass intended to Steve Smith and raced to the end zone diving in.
Even though he’s merely a celebrity bust in most people’s minds, the Cowboys are still convincing—if Romo can manage to accumulate victories and doesn’t derail in the playoffs. Even if he doesn’t loft it deep, he has strong depth to relay on, which is helpful for forcing opposing defenses to focus strongly on an indomitable ground game.
The remaining unanswered questions—can the Cowboys win in December? And can Romo win his first playoff game—are queries that should last until the month’s approaches. Around then, games are meaningful, and Romo’s consistency is counted on.
His resume displays he can’t win big games—sudden death games specifically—which usually results in mindless gaffes. He’s 5-10 lifetime in December and January combined, failing to capitalize in critical moments and relapses in bad timing.
With a strong running game, Romo prevailed, too. If it continues, expect ‘Boys to be ‘Boys.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
On a rainy night, in Happy Valley, it happened to be Whiteout night when a feverish Penn State crowd was spirited, wearing white ponchos, energized about avenging the stunning loss a year ago. Earning publicly immediately following last season’s letdown, a Penn State-Iowa rematch was highly-regarded and must-see TV hijacking Saturday night prime-time.
In the aftermath of a bitter taste, anticipating to redeem any melancholy and putting smiles back on fans was crestfallen still with reminders of the nightmarish shock, which stained the Nittany Lions title fortunes. The devastating failure earned them a meeting in the Rose Bowl game for a traditional Pac-10 vs. Big Ten showdown, where they were beaten by the fierce USC Trojans.
Turns out a 24-23 upset a year ago in Iowa City came back, likely inhibiting chances of possessing a gleaming crystal ball after been victimized, not only by Iowa, but the BCS. All it takes is one huge mental lapse to costly blow indications of dominating the conference.
Now with Michigan starting to establish into ultimately a valuable and successful program that has excelled under guru and practice addict Rich Rodriguez, the Nittany Lions might have it tough reaching a climax.
And with Jim Tressel and Ohio State managing to salvage lopsided victories after a demoralizing defeat to USC, it remains impenetrable on if they could recover from another season of anguish.
Saturday night wasn’t a typical victory party, but resemblance and continuous heartbreaks of last season. For the second consecutive season, Iowa seized gratifications and managed to overpower the Nittany Lions in hostile settings.
Late in the fourth quarter, the rabid crowd’s loudest minimized as they suddenly were distraught and hopeless. Early on, the fiery crowd was long past last year’s failures, and was ready for a delightful turnaround releasing all illusions.
But all of us failed to realize the Hawkeyes weren’t intimidated or awful. Rather now, the Hawkeyes matches well against No. 5 Penn State and was more physical and masterful defensively. Sure, they had the game marked on the calendar, prepared for a dramatic rematch sustaining noticeably. Throbbing and suffocating Joe Paterno’s gifted kids definitely wasn’t a fluke.
However, overlooking the Hawkeyes is an understatement. For beating up JoePa and company, credit the exceptional defensive unit. Clearly, Iowa’s defenders delivered the brutal contact and pressure to counteract with a high-powered offense.
For much of the night, it was sloppy, slick and damp as the Lions were bruised and pushed at home. Not much was allowed from a patient and fierce defense, hindering Penn State's capabilities for advancing the ball with top-notch agility and well-designed offensive schemes.
Advantages came whenever the Hawkeyes forced turnovers. In the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions saw good fortune and retribution endeavor vanish. Suddenly, things broke down offensively as they were denied and allowed fewer yards and less rushes in the final quarter.
Playing in the elements is tough, which they were very clumsy and committed three turnovers that the Hawkeyes converted into 16 points and saddened the crowd as the final results displayed a 21-10 victory on the scoreboard.
Given respect to Iowa is the proper suggestion. They’ve automatically attained credibility and enough regard, with a statement win that came on the road and against a ranked opponent. There’s not much to ask when pulling off a miracle to beat Northern Iowa, or even stopping Penn State’s dynamic quarterback Daryll Clark.
Aren’t those good enough victories to get recognition?
Kirk Ferentz had Iowa fundamentally prepared to stun fans wearing white. In a decent tenured, Ferentz is the most underrated coach in the Big Ten. A few years ago, he could’ve taken on a new challenge on the next level, if he had accepted offers to coach in the NFL. But he rebuffed interest when Houston tried bringing in his inspirational impact.
Paterno, 81, has coached the Nittany Lions for decades, guiding successful classes to bowl games and triumph. His sanity is coaching, which is why he still doesn’t mind taken blows to the leg and sitting above in the press box if necessary.
But the more Paterno ages, the more it becomes stressful. He couldn’t care less and has made it clear that he won’t retire until his body refuses to endure road trips or standing on the sideline calling plays and inspiring players. Maybe if the Nittany Lions suffers another meltdown on offense he’ll retire, though it doesn’t seem rational when he’s deeply committed.
Meanwhile, on this particular night, Paterno witnessed a clumsy letdown. That’s enough to force an elderly coach to depart on a strong note. He watched Iowa execute defensively, harassing a high-powered offense as if they were a substandard offensive unit that belonged on a JV high school team.
He watched Iowa’s defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Broderick Binns powerfully rush a speedy Clark, who was sacked multiple times. As tough as Binns is, he was a factor to the Hawkeyes second straight year of bragging rights. He smothered and rushed right tackle DeOn’tae Pannell, enough to force a safety and change dynamics of the game.
But most of all, he might have spoiled Penn State title privileges. After inheriting nearly 147 yards of offense on the first two possessions, the Nittany Lions never remained stabled, dropping minus-six yards for the rest of the half. The offensive line is inexperience, with flaws that could actually hurt down the stretch.
Silly errors gradually changed the complexion when Clark tossed an interception on their possession, allowing the Hawkeyes to return the ball 38 yards. Then, Iowa’s tailback Adam Robinson capitalized on a 13-yard rushing touchdown, which summarized another disappointing night where fans were out on a bone-chilling night anticipating revenge.
Now JoePa and company are victimized. From here, the Nittany Lions hopeful season is determined by a computer system. In other words, I assumed they had to finish out the season unbeaten.
But sure, with a slate of upsets across the nation today, in likelihood, anything is possible. You never know exactly. The Nittany Lions could climb back into the top five rankings. Of course, losing to an unranked Iowa won’t be easy regaining control of a ranking within the top five.
Before, it only took a victory as they controlled the leverage. But now, the computers have the leverage, which means BCS debacles are back rattling our brains and making us fuss. Fans stood and sadly wiped myriads of smiles off the faces in Happy Valley.
Instead of Penn State vs. opponent, it’s Penn State vs. BCS.
Truthfully, Iowa is the scariest Big Ten team of them all.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Matt Leinart was once the man. He was, no doubt, the best quarterback in College Football when he was playing with the USC Trojans. Along with his stellar running backs in LenDale White and Reggie Bush he was part of one of the most explosive offenses around.
When he came into the National Football League, nobody expected him to go to the Arizona Cardinals. Most predictions had him going to the New York Jets. Instead, the Jets ended up with a very successful left tackle in D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and the Cardinals got what they believed was their franchise QB.
His rookie year for Arizona wasn't bad, either, as he tallied 2,547 passing yards, eleven touchdowns, and twelve interceptions, to go along with a 74.0 quarterback rating.
In fact, his passing stats were comparable to Vince Young's 2006-07 Rookie season, who won the Rookie of the Year honors that year. Some people even questioned Vince Young winning the award over Leinart.
The next season, in his sophmore year, Cardinals fans were in high hopes Leinart would entertain them like he had the Trojans fans back in California.
Unfortunately, those fans would meet only with disappointment in the 2007-08 season. Leinart only played in five games for the team, and was sidelined for the remainder of the season after posting a paltry 647 passing yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions through those first five contests, with a QB Rating of only 61.9.
Where his rookie stats had fans filled with hope, his sophmore numbers had fans blurting out the words "bust" when his name was mentioned.
It got worse.
In the 2008-09 season, Leinart lost the starting quarterback job to veteran Kurt Warner for good. The Cards made the right choice starting Kurt, who was a star in the Arena Football League (and with the Rams), as Arizona had a
The Cardinals lost the Super Bowl in a close game to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their
Of note? That year, Leinart had 264 yards, one touchdown and an interception, along with a 80.2 quarterback rating (a career high).
This is precisely why for the 2009-10 season, Leinart will remain the backup QB.
So far this season, Matt has only 22 passing yards with a 59.0 QB Rating. So, it begs the question; considering how talented and hyped he was coming out of college, is Matt Leinart a "letdown" as a pro?
To me, it's pretty clear he is. To me, he is a complete disappointment to the franchise, and frankly I don't know if he can lead the Cards.
Leinart was picked ahead of many good and great players who were taken in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
Players like Jay Cutler, Haloti Ngata, Antonio Cromartie, Tamba Hali, Manny Lawson, Laurence Maroney, Davin and Jonathan Joseph, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai, Nick Mangold, Marcedes Lewis, and Mathias Kiwanuka.
All those players mentioned have had, by far, much more success than Leinart.
Entering his fourth season as an NFL quarterback, Leinart's stats, 3,480 career passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions, with a QB Rating of 71.6, are actually rather deceiving, not showing how big a disappointment he's been.
Take away his rookie year, and Leinart looks like an Akili Smith.
When Kurt Warner retires, I don't think the Cards will look to Leinart to lead the franchise. He hasn't shown anything in his time with the National Football League.
Heck, maybe bringing Chris Leak from the Canadian Football League would be a whole lot better!
I really wouldn't be surprised if Arizona drafted another quarterback next year. I don't think they'll have such a bad record they'll be able to pick up someone like Sam Bradford, however, perhaps Tim Tebow will be an option.
An even better proposition would be waiting a couple of years and possibly picking up Robert Griffin, who could be a standout.
Matt Leinart hasn't lived up to his potential. One of the issues from ESPN the Mag from about a month ago predicted NFL's quarterbacks' stats and said that Leinart will probably retire in his late-20's or early-30's with 18 touchdowns and 25 interceptions, something along those lines.
His future isn't looking good, and when Kurt Warner retires, he'll have to make a move. He has a second-chance, but if he doesn't take advantage of it, someone else will and it'll all be over.
Wasted talent is rising, it's up to Matt to fix it.
It involved a mysterious list that has taunted the game of baseball, leaving a beloved sport in limbo as fans tried figuring out the next con artist.
But now, fans are in the midst of figuring out an unpredictable pennant race between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. It’s no brainteaser in the final week or day of the regular season, which normally comprises of the true meaning of baseball.
It’s not a tight, tense or laborious race in the AL Central, a division that has earned buzz and much publicity. You can predict a winner before the final week of the regular season. And if you can’t predict a legitimate winner, well just watch an uninterested and over-hyped contest startle us without a wondrous finish.
Thus far, the Tigers consist of deadly fangs, worthy of attacking and disappointing teams if they advance in postseason play. With breathing room, it makes sense believing the Tigers are favorites to clinch the division title.
Although the Twins know there’s much at stake, keeping up the pace isn’t enough to make it intense or elusive. It might seem like anyone’s race, but the Tigers have the edge by controlling its destiny.
Face it baseball is a game of momentum and optimism. The only way things can collapse in Detroit and besmirch a magical number, will be unraveling shockingly by losing the remaining games. They haven’t been able to put away the Twins, with their lackluster performance in the last few weeks.
But it’s not difficult declaring the Tigers divisional champs, though the last few weeks have been shaky, erratic and left us guessing. Still, the Tigers clearly have the necessary tools to oust the Twins.
Although Detroit has a talented unit presenting enough specifics, such as capabilities, questions remain if they can employ capacity when winning is meaningful. Of late, the Tigers have played like a team with depth, winning four consecutive games, forcing the Twins to tally a win each night.
Needing a fair amount of wins to stay alive is a solicitous task, and pivotal for reaching the postseason. And it’s vital the Twins notch as many victories before the season comes to a close.
But a team losing nine of 12 games isn’t dazzling. Before the four-game win streak came into play, it was more painful, witnessing talented stars frail when steep investments were contrived for building a postseason contender.
When it comes to a team spending aggressively to assemble the proper ingredients for advancing to the next level, you’d like to imagine growth and successive prevalence, and imagine the Tigers thriving and contending with teams, such as the Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
After getting rid of the underperformers, the Tigers were inevitably considered as a top-notch threat in the American League, and superior enough to advance into the World Series.
As it seemed difficult suggesting when the Twins were hitting better remarkably with catching sensation Joe Mauer, who won the batting title a few years ago, the Tigers pitching is flawless and could pose trouble for opposing teams in October.
But the Twins uniquely have a rare breed in Mauer. Dominating the batting column very seldom happens for catchers, but considering that Mauer is a singular individual many haven’t seen until he fostered into stardom, gifted power is bounded to happen in a league that now develops unforeseen players reaching a peak before reaching their prime.
Mauer is obviously one of the great sluggers in the game, and you can argue that the MVP nominations should be bestowed to the most lovable catcher in the game. He’s the greatest icon in Minnesota, where he grew up and thrives as a primary superstar.
Many living in the town imitates his stylish features by wearing fake sideburns, endorsing his abilities to hit sharply and better than .500. That includes his teammates Justin Morneau, a home run expert, Michael Cuddyer, a cannon-arm thrower and respectable hitter, and Jason Kubel, who deposit shots into the stands.
That tests wills, forcing the Tigers to strive more. That means they’ll likely play with diligence, even if the final game is needed to determine faith. It requires more work, after clearly putting themselves in a tough situation, against a team that hasn’t been bothered with mediocrity. It requires huge contributes from a productive pitching rotation, which has been a cornerstone riding a .500 win percentage and first place standings.
This season alone, the Tigers are efficient when Justin Verlander, 26, throws heaters, when Rick Porcello intimidates opponents with his wicked four-seam fastball or when Edwin Jackson starts games.
If they managed, without mismanaging or collapsing, the Tigers powerful rotation might be a hassle for most teams. In recent memory, cogent pitching rotations are imperative for making an urgent statement leading up to the fall classic.
Meanwhile, Verlander’s near-perfect outing could signify and valid the identity of the Tigers. Being the ace, he’s a centerpiece to their postseason success. But he was long overdue, having to fix and make minor adjustments with his pitching mechanics and command.
Thursday night, Verlander recovered from two substandard starts. Entering the game 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA in his last three starts, he was expected to redeem himself from poor quality starts.
And he, indeed, pitched well striking out 11 in seven innings, improving and extending his dominance against the futile Cleveland Indians, who doesn’t have enough firepower to contend in a blown out of portion, lopsided battle between the Twins and Tigers.
Perhaps the difference between an uncontested pennant chase, has to be the Tigers well-rounded dynamics, while the Twins are hanging on, courtesy of power hitting by a conscious batting lineup.
Sure, there’s Carlos Guillein, whose heroics and steadfast discipline when batting, bolstered the Tigers. But it has been relatively disappointing contributes from Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez.
At perfect timing, Cabrera is starting to gain power, which was missing throughout a struggling season. A two-run homer the other night is a way to reestablish assurance and rhythm with 10 games remaining. The magic number currently stands at eight, which makes it harder on the Twins.
As long as the Tigers continue winning most of the remaining games, they’ll clinch a berth and the divisional title. They’ll celebrate as a team, pop the champagne corks and embrace a divisional crown, entering the postseason with a sense of urgency and confidence.
Part of the urgency and successful win streaks are made possible by the savvy manager Jim Leyland, who has excelled mightily in the managerial role. He prepares his team for moments as gratifying as this one, and over the years, he has been fortunate to manage gifted pitchers. So he, indeed, knows what is at stake, and understands what the Tigers must accomplish in the upcoming weeks.
As for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire, now might be a perfect time to wave goodbye. The Tiger fangs are too much to handle.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Somehow, the Bears managed, escaping from a tense afternoon at Solider Field. And somehow they managed to survive in an uptight finish against the defending champs. Yes, the Bears outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers, notching a desperation 17-14 comeback victory. That’s a sigh of relief for them, having entered the season with high expectations after acquiring Jay Cutler, the proclaimed franchise quarterback.
It could’ve turned into an unpleasant afternoon, as disappointed fans would’ve left with doubt in their minds. Of course, fans were worried and felt uncomfortable watching them in the final quarter. They could have easily fallen to 0-2, a poor start that would have dictated the rest of their season.
But a dramatic comeback against the Steelers is enough to restore confidence for a franchise that was forlorn and seemed incapable a week ago. It seemed the Bears were done as Cutler had the worst game of his career. He threw four interceptions, and was confused, harassed, and belittled in a bitter loss at Green Bay.
Maybe a win over a potent team was needed, saving a potential season from wasting and blowing off with the gusty winds. In fact, a win this decisive favored Cutler and saved probability of him emerging into the next franchise quarterback in Chicago.
For weeks now, fans and media have dwelled on the fact that he’ll be the next to quarterback the Bears. For months now, fans have welcomed a disgruntled Cutler, defending and praising the Pro-Bowl quarterback.
His egotistic mindset cut an irreparable relationship short in Denver, when disputes with first year head coach Josh McDaniels failed and unfolded a grotesque separation all because of ego conflict.
So now, he has migrated to Chicago, where he’s quickly emerging as an icon. His jersey is a top-seller, and he’s likable, as most citizens are elated finally to have a precise quarterback. A long-suffering town feels Cutler’s presence is an unequivocal indication of multiple titles.
For a long time, the town has painfully suffered and long-awaited to embrace someone of Jim McMahon’s caliber. The mid 1980s was the last time lively fans have seen a championship-type quarterback who has shown his ability legitimately.
So the calm and thrilled fans waited to see him have a breakout game and win his first game in a Bears’ uniform. Fortunately, it came in his home debut, in front of thousands who wore a Cutler jersey. They were the same devotees who refused to surrender, allowing Cutler a chance for redemption in a notable homecoming.
He can finally sigh, capping his first victory and redeeming himself after a devastating collapse in the season opener, which led to more doubtful queries him being a cure for the long years of quarterback debacles.
Failures and different faces at the same position over the years have hindered success over the years, which is why now the average native in Chicago is exhilarated, having a reliable and more durable gunslinger.
But Sunday, fans were more pleased with the Bears managing its first win, discarding all the dismal scenes in Green Bay. To highlight this fearful and elusive contest, it came down to field goals.
The powerful foot of Robbie Gould, who’s as good as gold, not only dictated the season, but dictated the game. This saved Cutler getting belittled and doubted. More seriously, it gave the Bears life. So Gould, again, bailed out the team like he used to before Cutler even arrived.
Managing to stay composed, Gould calmly booted a game-winning field goal, outlasting Pittsburgh’s veteran kicker Jeff Reed in a kicker’s duel. Over on the sideline, Reed watched, upset with himself after missing two costly field goal attempts. That’s unusual for Reed, whose 82.8 percent career conversion rate automatically makes him the 10th accurate kicker in the league. Well, not on this particular afternoon.
If he wouldn’t had hooked his kicks too wide, the Steelers would have avoided an upset. They even would have still intimidated most with their natural ability to pull off a stunning win at the end. But on this occasion, the conversations were on how well Cutler performed, bouncing back from a sub-par week. In this game, he led a fourth-quarter rally and never turned over the ball.
He had excellent ball security, and went 9-for-10 in the fourth quarter for 92 yards. It was a solid performance, unlike last week and has giving the city a notion that he can renew quarterback heroics.
Against one of the league’s powerful defenses, Cutler wisely was careful with the ball and avoid defensive end James Harrison. Minus explosive safety Troy Polamalu, who abuses opposing quarterbacks with his speed wasn’t a factor, making times easier. Cutler finished 27-of-38 for 236 yards for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Just a week ago, Cutler was criticized for his maturity level and arrogance. He was bashed by former coaching greats Jim Mora and Mike Martz for his rudeness at a press conference after the Bears first loss. Even irate Denver is still lambasting him for departing in such an awful way.
He was even criticized by the well-respected and former coach Tony Dungy, who said he wasn’t mature enough to establish as a leader. But willing to give him a chance was Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo. Instead the Bears were amazed with his talent more than personality, realizing his powerful arm and accurate downfield passes.
Being without their top defensive star Brian Urlacher for the rest of the season after he badly dislocated his wrist, more productivity from the offense is needed. So for the fans, it’s more of the joy to finally have a more potent passer and leader on offense.
There’s hope for the Bears after all.
After lasts nights historic defeat of the Cowboys expect to never hear that again.
Two wide recievers emerged as great targets for Eli, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham had 10 catches each combining for 284 yards.
Smith ran perfect routes and would have had an even bigger night if it werent for Eli missing him on a few wide open plays.
He found ways to get open and caught everything within reach.
On one play early in the fourth quarter he ran an excellent route and shook a defender so hard he fell on the floor leaving Smith open for a 22 yard touchdown strike over the middle.
Mario Manningham stayed mostly to the outside and seems to be Eli's deep threat. He breaks tackles with ease and makes huge plays.
After the Giants were hurt by a bad call that would not allow Kenny Phillips interception for a touchdown count, Manningham treated our anger with a nice dose of highlight reel material. He dove and caught a ball in the end zone, when he landed the ball popped out but he stayed cool and performed an amazing juggling catch.
Instead of everyone talking about the Giants lack of a number 1 reciever they should be talking about the fact that we have 2 number 1 recievers.
I expect these two to become one of the best recieving duo's in the league, as Chris Collinsworth said in the booth last night, "Steve Smith might not be known as the "other" Steve Smith for much longer." Lets hope that he's right.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Common sense, though, informed us that Tennessee’s first-year coach Lane Kiffin was facing a rigid challenge, particularly after upsetting, downgrading, and claiming the defending champs were not on his radar.
Kiffin spoke too lowly of the Gators, forgetting they’re a team with tremendous experience and prominent players who are worthy of advancing to the pro level. For years now, Florida and Tennessee has clashed in bloody wars, but none of them have been quite this fierce or hostile.
The difference in this intriguing matchup is that the Gators were seeking to fiercely bite the Volunteers for revenge in Kiffin’s meeting with the archrivals. In previous seasons, they’ve brutally humiliated, pulverized, and Gator Chomped the kids from Rocky Top, making them long suffer agony and painful failures.
Long-term suffering has reduced spirit in Tennessee, as titles have exhilarated devoted fans at the Swamp, where they embrace the vigorous and energetic powerhouse of the Southern Eastern Conference. But Kiffin, apparently, didn’t think before he made regrettable remarks, inspiring a successful coach and hard-fighting champs.
Remember early in the year at his introduction speech, when he impetuously pronounced the coming end to a four-game losing streak against Florida? Remember when he boldly spoke without reflecting back on their noteworthy season, and saying he honestly sensed he could guide the Vols to a stunning and memorable win for the ages?
Remember when he failed to react in a classy manner, and said he was “looking forward to...singing ‘Rocky Top’ all night after we beat Florida next year. It will be a blast”? He never got enough from being judgmental and outspoken about an athletic team with much experience.
And he added to the silly comments when he informed fans Meyer violated rules by phoning prospect Nukes Richardson, while he was officially visiting Tennessee. That was a huge blunder that Kiffin regrets now, changing his words in a press conference a few days ago, but it was much too late for cleaning up insulting statements.
At Gainesville, fans were motivated for a Saturday matinee and a bitter rivalry that continues developing bad blood. After all, the Gators have fangs and smack talk just propels a powerful team to attack an undefined team.
But in the near future, the Vols might have enough talent for contending against Florida. One thing Kiffin does well is recruit talented classes, but has yet to prove that he can recruit and guide a skillful team within a power conference, or even defeat his archenemy Meyer.
In the biggest game of Kiffin’s coaching career, he paid the consequence, he suffered a loss and he walked off helpless after the Florida’s stingy defense and efficient offense silenced and thwarted the Vols.
There were no joyful celebrations, nor were there any upsets in a hostile environment after a resentful Tim Tebow exposed abnormal characteristics in his personality earlier this week. Can you believe Tebow harshly criticized the Vols? Well, believe it.
Since we are accustomed to Tebow’s generous and religious beliefs, it was a rarity hearing trash talk from the humble senior quarterback. But on a shaky afternoon, he backed up his dirty talk, and as usual, played with tremendous sportsmanship while respecting his archrivals.
Even though, there’s some animosity between two unsettled coaches, Meyer and Kiffin exchanged brief handshakes after Florida coasted to a 23-13 victory.
As a result, the Gators are favorites to win another national title, returning the Heisman quarterback and practically an entire defense. Still, a multitude of the populace is convinced winning glorious titles are over, and that an unknown team will claim possession of the crystal ball. Teams are finally making it clear by challenging the Gators that they're no longer intimidated or invincible.
As most anticipated a Gator Chomping demolition, the Gators beat the Vols by 10. With plenty of games remaining, the Gators are anything but flawless. Instead they’re looking vulnerable and have plenty of deficiencies worth rectifying if they’re expecting to win another national title.
Give Tennessee’s defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin credit for throwing unknown schemes at Tebow, which forced him to commit two critical turnovers as the Vols took advantage, scoring 10 points.
A rare fourth-quarter fumble by Tennessee’s explosive tailback, Montario Hardesty, led to a touchdown. The Vols threw an interception to Dennis Rogan, paying for rushing the pass to avoid a sack.
But it’s enough to make us wonder, if the Gators will defend its title or if some unexpected school upset them later in the season.
Most of all, the Gators are benefiting from Brandon James, who’s arguably the fastest kick-returner in the conference. He returned three kickoffs for a staggering 97 yards.
But more so, their strong and experienced defensive corps presented misery for the third straight year.
Their potent defense harassed Tennessee's quarterback, Jonathan Crompton, who can probably use a few hours in a warm spa. Being pressured, he was limited and forced a devastating pass in the fourth quarter for an interception caught by Florida’s Ahmad Black, smearing an improbable miracle.
After a lackluster performance, Meyers might prefer retooling the offense and making vital adjustments for upcoming games. Receiver Deonte Thompson missed the game with a hamstring injury and running back Jeff Demps played with a 101-degree fever.
Additionally, the Gators are attempting a repeat without Percy Harvin, and his absence has changed Florida’s offensive complexion and chances of retaining a title.
But now the top-ranked Gators have thrown out the hype, ousted their rivals and bitterly extended its streak to 13 consecutive wins over the Vols. In a case of "the lesser of two evils", the stronger stumbling offense survived a bloody afternoon. And it appeared Florida’s talent was too much to handle in the final quarter.
Meanwhile, the Gators don’t chomp as well as they used to, and they don’t attack as well either. One year makes a difference, as they aren’t nearly as powerful. As for the Kiff, next time he might think before he speaks. And if he has nothing nice to say, then he might not say anything.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
In an astonishing game, Michael Jordan was known as the Air Jordan, scoring 43 points and led the Chicago Bulls to a remarkable defeat.
Back in 97, he led and amazingly ousted the Utah Jazz, and played with flu-like symptoms. Throughout the 90’s he made unforeseen reverse layups, dunks, and even stuck out his tongue publicizing an unmatchable description.
This past week, was a well-deserving tribute for a highly regarded legend, whose dignity for the game was inspirational, whose boldness for the game was arousing, and whose passion for the game was idolized.
At least you can take something positive away from the past week. At the Hall of Fame introduction speech, Jordan’s humorous comments happened before a laughable audience, whom were celebrating a huge moment in MJ’s lifetime. On the special night, he was introduced into the Hall of Fame, and revealed another side many have never witnessed.
Through much of the speech, he publicized his hilarious psyche. For the first time, you saw a less timid and cocky Jordan. You saw a more playful Jordan, who made each memorable moment a comical moment. It was a night to share our appreciation, by honoring one of the world’s greatest athletes and arguably the game’s idealistic legend.
Forever in our lifetimes, Jordan is remembered for his dramatic dunks, scoring competence, and more significantly guiding the Chicago Bulls to six titles. How many players can say they actually accomplished such triumph? Not many!
Although he retired from the league, Air Jordan will forever live on as NBA’s fascinating legend, which awed and captivated us with overwhelming dominance in the 1990’s era.
By thanking all the people who have been good to him, during his playing days, Jordan emotionally gave a positive speech. He never left anyone out, and never said anything negative. He emotionally was teary eyed at one point during the speech, making the proud audience joyfully shed tears.
It was clearly a night for MJ on Friday. Spending time inside a packed Springfield Symphony Hall, Jordan received a largely standing ovation and proud accolades, unlike any other player who has been introduced into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The same players who were assassinated, beaten down and demoralized in the playoffs were in attendance to share gratifying exaltation with the tongue buffoon, the man with the stylish shoes, the flying acrobat, and last but not least the man with six rings.
To witness it all, Isiah Thomas, George Gervin, John Starks and Magic Johnson, attended Jordan’s touching and memorable speech. Even he reunited with some of his old friends and antagonist, dating back to the high school and college years. Coach Buzz Peterson of Wilmington, N.C. was there showing support, after cutting Jordan in high school.
From villains to allies, merely everyone from the NBA world was accounted for, like his rival Jerry Krause, including several other coaches. That’s what happens whenever a legend is deeply admired by peers, teammates, legends, coaches and fans. Across the world, Jordan is applauded globally and nationally.
His image was contiguous enough, making it difficult to dislike or ignore him. And also his reputation is extremely intact, allowing us to praise and appreciate all the unforeseen styles that he brought over the years. Back in his era, he was the best entertainer and clutch performer, but now he’s the greatest legend that no player will ever replace.
As much as you’ve probably tried, it’s hard to hate Jordan. But as much as he has imprinted amazing vitalities on the game of which no other player has uniquely done, it’s easy to love and embrace him.
Monday, September 14, 2009
He’s the franchise quarterback locals fell in love with, and started celebrating when he arrived, as if they had finished a season unbeaten. But he’s now the franchise quarterback who failed to outlast arguably an intriguing matchup with Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.
He pummeled the Bears. He humiliated those creatures.
Clearly, Cutler was doomed in a primetime game, where he was given a chance to prove to the world that he’s a franchise player, and a cure for the Bears’ quarterback weaknesses.
Since Cutler didn’t excel and played the worst game of his career on Sunday night, while throwing a career-high four interceptions, memories of substandard quarterbacks and flashbacks of regular-season doom and frailty haunted the Bears faithful.
If he continues to make mental lapses, history will repeat itself, which spells trouble for Lovie Smith and the Bears. Yes, another season of misery and suffering if Cutler doesn’t flourish into a franchise quarterback in the next few weeks.
Yet, in a hostile environment, his inconsistency reminded us of Rex Grossman or Chad Hutchinson, whose decision-making and passing deficiency was emphatically horrid and brutal and drove him out of the league.
Throughout the game, Cutler forced foolish passes just like Hutchinson used to, while Aaron Rodgers dazzled, allowing Cheeseheads to dismiss all anger and unnecessary buzz on Brett Favre’s annoying comeback.
Rodgers stole the spotlight and dominated in an enticing matchup, earning loyalty and building faith as Green Bay’s top citizen. In a few more seasons, we can utter that Rodgers could practically run for mayor.
Just as Packers enthusiast attached themselves to a wishy-washy Favre, they’ll now pamper the young quarterback who’s developing into a leader, icon and legend. But in Chicago, a potential icon and legend is still growing, though he has earned fan’s support in a town that’s confident misfortunes are removed.
Although the wind blew in a worthy quarterback, Cutler still need much developing to emerge into a steady and reliable savior, or else he’ll be classified as a bust, like underperformers in the past. Coming off a Pro Bowl season in Denver, fans in Chicago anticipated him to duplicate and install a winning mindset.
But considering he’s a hero for fixing quarterback woes, Cutler has more pressure. And considering that Rodgers receives loyalty and outplayed Cutler in a season debut, he’ll corral less pressure.
As advertised, a duel between Rodgers and Cutler turned to the Packers favor. And, also as advertised, Rodgers is the better quarterback for the time being. Fans witnessed a mobile and strong-throwing quarterback complete accurate and downfield passes without committing any blunders.
His readiness showed. His poise showed. His athletic ability showed.
There wasn’t a point in the game when Rodgers was intimidated or nervous. He made urgent plays and continuous throws, proving he’s an essential piece to their future obligations. Loaded with go-to receivers, Rodgers will find life less complicated and tedious. On this giving night, Rogers happened to connect with Jennings on a 50-yard touchdown pass with 1:11 remaining.
That gave a struggling Cutler plenty of time to move the ball down the field, but unfortunately errant throws, ended a bloody rivalry. Cutler walked off with bumps and bruises, in a game that ruined his debut and gave us reason to believe he’s not ready to perform within a tougher division.
Instead of responding to Rodgers's sensational game-winning touchdown, Cutler faltered with 1:06 remaining, when he was given a chance to redeem a poor outing and outlast Rodgers and his new rivals.
But he botched the biggest play yet this season by designing a regrettable throw that went directly into the arms of all-purpose safety Al Harris. As a result, the Packers salvaged a 21-15 victory and smeared Cutler’s night.
After a horrible pass to the middle of no return in the second quarter, the awful delivery was picked off by Packers Tramon Williams and returned 67 yards to the Bears one-yard line. Another terrifying toss that was caught by safety Nick Collins in the second quarter indicated ghastly results. Bad throws summarized the type of performance Cutler had, as smart decision making described the type of performance Rodgers had, a more steady and consistent one.
On this night, Rodgers owned the spotlight, and Cutler was overshadowed.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The band marched in, firing up the crowd’s intensity level as the feverish population in Columbus, OH desired revenge, knowing that the night's opponent, USC, had pummeled the Buckeyes a year ago.
On a nerve-racking night, the Trojans were faced with unfamiliar surroundings as Ohio State fans waited and roared, sensing redemption for humiliating losses in big games. It's now a different Trojan Man as quarterback, making it more difficult for the visitors to embarrass and demoralize the Buckeyes in an encore.
Coach Pete Carroll bestowed starting obligations upon the inexperienced and teenage quarterback Matt Barkley, asking him to thrive on the grandest stage in a national title atmosphere.
The youngster excelled on a memorable night, perhaps even emerging into Heisman spotlight and stardom instantly, considering Barkley's poise and compose mindset to propel the Trojans to an epic finish.
I'm sure none of us believed a 19-year old freshman could orchestrate an instant classic 86-yard drive, for the greatest comeback in ages in the final minutes of Saturday night's 18-15 victory.
Barkley survived a challenging test in a much-maligned territory, including a matchup against a speedy quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, a who could arguably be compared to Michael Vick.
When Carroll named Barkley as the starting quarterback, the large population and local media were hesitant and reluctant to hear a true freshman named as the Trojans starter when an experience Aaron Corp had studied the offense and prepared himself, mentally and physically, for ushering a high-powered offense.
Our instincts should tell us a mastermind recruiter knows when a quarterback is ready to flourish and rise on a national stage. Carroll knows a star quarterback when he studies or mentors one. And obviously, he's confident the true freshman is poised and unflappable enough for handling big games.
Barkley survived a rigid test with a sore throwing shoulder and a pounding tackle by Ohio State's pestering defensive tackle Nathan Williams. The Buckeyes harassing defensive unit seemingly rushed and pressured the kid on each play, yet Barkley remained calm and continued to defy intangibly.
Barkley proved to a doubtful world that he's worthy of guiding the Trojans to a glorious national title. In the biggest game of his life, he prevailed and defined a true identity.
At the right time, he increased intensity by converting on crucial third-down plays. At crunch time, he was savvy enough, giving full control for the speedy tailback, Joe McKnight, who gained huge yardage and made much-needed catches, setting up Barkley's memorable night.
In fact, McKnight eased pressure as Barkley was poised and played as if he was a fifth-year senior, smearing Pryor and highly respected coach Jim Tressel's vital contest on their home soil.
Barkley, indeed, might have ruined Ohio State's preseason goal of reaching a BCS title game, Pryor's promising year and Tressel's reputation for winning huge games, all at the same time.
After a week of criticism for wearing a Vick tribute eye-black, Pryor came close, and earned redemption of sorts after an emotional week. Early on, he was dangerous and explosive in open field, and was unstoppable as USC's defense was inadequate.
But he wasn't perfect on a few plays, committing mental lapses as he threw an early interception, which led to USC's first touchdown. He made errors with the ball, and benefited by rushing rather than passing.
A game of momentum suddenly turned into USC's favor in the closing minutes. With the tides shifting, the game suddenly became agonizing for Pryor and the Buckeyes. And more importantly, the contest identified Barkley's poise and gifted abilities as a youngster emerging into a primary star in USC's future of winning national titles.
The breathtaking finish gave the Trojans continued the distinction of pummeling Big 10 opponents for the 10th consecutive time. But most of all, Barkley lasted and cleared doubt.
He's the man, a Trojan Man in a promising journey.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Apparently, Las Vegas doesn’t agree with Columbus. The game originally opened up as USC a -3 point favorite on an early line two months ago raising a few eye-brows that such a young team would be favored in Columbus. The combination of the occurrences from last week in each of their games made the opening line on Monday -7 where it has stayed all week.
USC reloads every year and they showed it last week with Freshman QB Matt Barkley leading the charge with 56 points against San Jose State. The greatest stat of the week involves USC and Pete Carroll in their last nine games against the Big 10 that has seen the Trojans win and cover all nine. In all nine instances, USC won by double digits.
On a positive note for Ohio State, their 12th man, the Fans - all 106,000 of them get to rattle a freshman QB. No matter what Barkley says to shrug off the daunting task of calling plays in front of what is arguably the most hostile crowd in College Football, he’ll still be affected. He may have all the tools and make up to make him great down the road, but not in his first road game as a collegian, and not there.
This is only the third time the Buckeyes have been a home dog under Jim Tressel’s watch and overall, Tressel is 55-8 at home. With the spread being relevant this week getting +7, only two times has a Tressel team been beaten by double-digits (11 and 12) at home.
There lots of reasons why USC should be favored, but I’ll base my choice of Ohio State winning the game on my faith in the crowd to do their job and create easy opportunities for Buckeye scores by letting the Freshman have it. He's bound to have a few mistakes and in agame like this, sometimes taht's all it takes is a few turnovers on your side of the field.
This game is under the lights which means most of the older alumni and supporters stay home because night games bring out the freakiest of freaks in Columbus. They‘d rather not get caught up I the drunken craze that goes on before and after a big night game in Columbus, so they give them away to younger friends of the family .
Another positive is that the Columbus Fire Department is already on alert with extra staffing for the anticipated Columbus ritual of burning couches in the streets. Yes, that’s couches, as in what most of us sit in to watch TV.
After big wins in games of this magnitude, the entire city goes nuts and they pull couches off their porches, and sometimes bring out from inside their homes, and set them on fire in the streets.
Needless to say, there haven’t been many big wins the last few years for the Buckeyes that have excited Buckeye Nation to get the ritual started again, but if Firemen are standing by for a burn-fest, that’s a good enough sign for me.
Ohio State 24, USC 16
Friday, September 11, 2009
The skilled Washington Capitals winger is referring to the NHL's proposal to suspend players for going to play for their respective countries in the 2014 Olympics, which will be in Sochi, Russia in order to discourage NHL players from interrupting their seasons with the NHL to go to the Olympics.
One reason many owners and NHL executives are concerned about their players and the possibility of injuries that affect their playing status when they return to the League. The risk of injury in the Olympics is possible and it has occurred before.
The most recent and crucial injury suffered in the Olympics by an NHL player was former goaltender Dominik Hasek when he was with the Senators. Of course, as NHL followers know, Hasek never really recovered from that injury and the goaltending duties were eventually handed to Ray Emery, while Hasek left the team and retired.
However, major injuries from the Olympics are not common, and players often come back and after a game or two get back to regular season action. As for Alex Ovechkin, tough as he is, he would probably come back to the Capitals first game back.
The other concern is the break that the NHL takes in the middle of the season. Games are stopped for about two weeks in February for the Winter Olympics and teams are concerned about the mindset of teams after that break. Also of course, there is the concern over time lost in gaining money from games.
But if players, especially at the caliber and celebrity status of Alex Ovechkin, want to play for their country, and make statements like Ovechkin did, it would not be wise for the NHL to go through with suspending players for wanting to represent their country of origin. Considering the next Olympics take place in Russia, and the number of players that are originally from there, it would be a BAD look for the NHL to do that.
If the NHL were to seriously suspend or discourage players in any way for wanting to win their country a medal in 2014, I see it happening like this: Alex Ovechkin could very well go ahead and play in the Olympics. The NHL will suspend him, along with a couple of other players. What happens then is that not only do fans get angry, but players get angry. It's also a possibility that other leagues will take note, and all those international players the NHL get will transfer to those leagues for more personal freedom.
Therefore, the NHL needs to be smart about this one. Do they really want to lose fans and players over a couple of weeks in the season? The NHL already suffers from poor decisions made by executives and the commissioner Gary Bettman. They do not like to focus on the correct way to make business. But if they want to remain a league, they will have to refrain from suspending players for being patriotic. You don't want Ovie to ruin you. The loss from suspension is greater than the gain.
Note to NHL: get it together.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
But I now find myself praying for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With years of futility, the Pirates are the one franchise that has encountered disappointment, hopelessness, and dispirited fans. In the Steel City, your enthusiastic sports fanatics merely wear French Mustard yellow and dark night black, representing the latest Super Bowl champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fittingly, Pittsburgh is a football town and hockey town, not a baseball town and probably won’t be until 20 years from now. In recent memory, it’s difficult to remember the Pirates having a successful season.
You can only recall them compiling more losses than victories, which propelled unsettled fans to turn a new direction. Ever since then, PNC Park has been an empty ballpark, an environment where the players only entertain themselves and struggle to preserve victories.
Sorry, the Pirates are Major League’Baseball's most pathetic team. It’s obvious, when half of its fan base has turned away, and a dozen of former players are currently playing with different clubs. Since salvaging a winning season during the 1992 season with Barry Bonds, the Pirates have unraveled as the forgotten team in the majors. The most wins they’ve accumulated since the 1992 season are 79 in 1997.
It’s staggering for a team, which use to be dominant and consisted of great athletes. If the Pirates are ambitious about removing ineptitude and restoring back into NL threats, in likelihood they’ll need assistance from an unstable economy. But unfortunately, the Pirates have to patiently wait before improving into contenders.
Until then, they have a long time before flourishing and enthralling fans as if they were glimpsing at Ben Roethlisberger hurl a phenomenal pass to Santonio Holmes, or Sidney Crosby firing a powerful slapshot into the net.
During our fragile times, economic downturns and financial issues have impaired eminence, including the small-market franchise. Teams with limited finances are usually less fortunate and have the lowest payroll, particularly when times are horrendous.
In other words, if the league can manage to develop a more stable salary cap, maybe the Pirates winning a pennant is more rational in years to come. It will enable executives to rebuild an assuring culture, and actually hold on to players instead of dealing their potential players.
Rumor has it, the Pirates aren’t enthusiastic to win. Their payroll has drastically declined from $57 million to $23 million, which is perplexing after starting off the season fairly good enough to upgrade. It’s hard to tell if they care to win, or are more concerned with saving money, but whichever way the masses visualize the bewildered state of a futile organization, the Pirates will have to renovate and remodel through a healthier economy.
Otherwise, this team will always be identified as pathetic idiots, fans will always express unhappiness and they’ll suffer for at least two more decades. Over the years, the Pirates haven’t being able to keep their cohesive core intact, trading Aramis Ramirez, Jason Bay, and Xavier Nady.
I guess a team’s reputation follows after selling half of its promising future to other major league teams. Instantly, they traded some of their marquee players, like former batting champ Freddy Sanchez to San Francisco, Jack Wilson to Seattle, and Nate McLouth, who was considered a cornerstone for developing in the future.
For the most part, general manager Neal Huntington and owner Bob Nutting swear fans were content, once rooster changes were made. If anything, foolish moves should’ve made a distraught population worst and convinced them that a World Series title isn’t anywhere near. Of course, for years, fans have implored the franchise to rebuild. But that’s not rebuilding when you sale a dozen of your promising players.
Although the Pirates still have emerging rookies, such as outfielder Andrew McCutchen and a sensational Garrett Jones, the missing pieces are veterans who can be a powerful advisers. For 17 straight seasons, the substandard Pirates have suffered losing seasons, and counting, if management fails to install new attributes.
For now, all that’s left is to pray that the Pirates overcome pathetic losses.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We live in a time when Twitter formulates, not only poor English, but also makes us concerned about players getting involved with point-shaving, unlawful betting, and faulty relationships, misdeeds that can impair a livelihood.
That’s sort of like San Diego Chargers’ defensive leader Shawne Merriman, who’s experiencing a bright career that’s now inhibited until further specifics are presented.
Until then, the Chargers top defensive star is faced with battery charges for choking and restraining Tila "Tequila" Nguyen, the wild and adventurous girl who posed for Playboy.The alleged incident occurred as Nguyen tried to leave his home near San Diego on Sunday night.
It started from her recent love letters posted on Merriman’s Twitter page, which is becoming a nagging element for most NFL players. The beautiful letters to Merriman were signs of immeasurable exposure and bad timing as the season looms. The four million friends on her MySpace were signs of developing allegations to ignite an exaggerated media frenzy, putting a favorable season aside.
By now, the Chargers are accustomed to some of Merriman’s slip ups. He was suspended for four games three years ago, after testing positive for using steroids. So, it’s alright to figure that general manager A.J. Smith and teammates would distance themselves from all the uncertainty.
I had predicted the Chargers to effortlessly dominate the AFC West, having arguably a lethal rushing attack with an agile LaDainian Tomlinson and a speedy Darren Sproles. But more impressively, the leader defensively is Merriman, an integral part for stopping the rush. He’s healthier and creates trouble, with his powerful ability to outrun the block and rush, frustrating the opposing offense.
Just from hearing this flustering story, makes us speculate more about allegations of women accusing sports stars of domestic violence. And it tells us players haven’t learned to be more careful with individuals they select to associate with, through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or even at nightclubs.
For more than a decade, players have endured painful confrontations in relationships, but most of all, there were indications for avoiding unlawful pitfalls. This is happening too much in the sports world, and it’s happening to marquee stars that are perceived as role models.
After a while, this drains us, hearing the same issues repeat themselves. I’m personally drained by our mischievous sports world, as players fail to dismiss weed, DUIs, syringes, pills, and now insidious women who tells us a different story.
And this issue occurs commonly in the NFL. The most reckless and bravest quarterback in the league Ben Roethlisberger denies that he sexually assaulted a woman, working at the suite that he stayed in. And now, Merriman believes he’ll clear his name quickly, as many feel they’re invincible because of fame.
Just recently, Michael Vick was release from federal custody for killing dogs and bankrolling a dogfighting ring. No player is invincible—even Merriman. If the Nguyen battery charges are true, Merriman could serve a suspension and pay the consequences.
His attorney, Todd Macaluso, said that Nguyen was intoxicated and that Merriman was trying to prevent her from driving drunk.
Who really knows?
But I do know enough to say that she is trouble, and isn’t any good for Merriman. Now, the San Diego County Sheriff Department is involved, meaning they have control, since she called 911 to report that she was been restrained. Later in the wee hours, police responded to the disturbance call to create a messy situation as the start of the regular season remains one week away.
At a time when the Chargers could be this year’s miracle team and shock us all by advancing to the Super Bowl, they took a few steps backwards, waiting for pending information.
Let’s not ensure they’ll win it all. But we can ensure Merriman is someone other players could learn from to avoid domestic violence in the near future.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
The Broncos shot the rumors down, but it seemed that they would be willing to trade Marshall if Jets Linebacker David Harris was in the deal. They would also want a draft pick.
The Jets it seems were unwilling to part ways with Harris, a very good defender who as recently as 2007 was their leading Tackler.
I thought to myself if the Broncos are willing to trade Marshall for defensive help then why wouldnt the Giants try and work something out.
We have more than enough Defensive, our WR's are our only weak point. If we can acquire Marshall then we would instantly become the NFC favorite. We would have it all a top defense, a great ground game and a strong passing game.
We could offer a couple of guys, Barry Cofield and Rocky Bernard are two backup D-Linemen that we could offer and even though it is great to have the depth that we have I think it is better to be strong on every front.
We could offer a linebacker, Bryan Kehl or Danny Clark comes to mind. I figure if the Broncos are willing to accept Harris then they would be willing to accept one of the Linemen and one of the Line Backers plus a draft pick.
We would still have great defensive depth but we would now have a great group of recievers. Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon would be a great set of targets for Eli.
In my mind this would make us clear cut favorites to go to the Superbowl
Saturday, September 5, 2009
A new billboard facing the Notre Dame campus isn’t anything close to staring directly at Touchdown Jesus.
It’s more than an insult to coach Charlie Weis, who has taken more scrutiny and insults as the billboard sends a ruthless message on the past two seasons. It reads that he hasn’t measured up to standards. And if he fails to accomplish enough victories this season, assumptions will be to fire the arrogant and ill-mannered Weis.
A famous tradition hasn’t lived up to its values, at a prestigious school where Touchdown Jesus stands and where the spirited band braces tradition with unique lyrics.
The Irish have high expectations each season, but with inferior records of 3-9 and 7-6 in the past two seasons under Weis isn’t acceptable, nor a primary standard at Notre Dame, where demands are undeniable and where skepticism is inexcusable. In two seasons, he has mustered history from a negative standpoint, as Notre Dame suffered from unfamiliar indignities by digesting the most loses in 120-year history of Irish football.
With a 29-21 record, Weis remains the scapegoat for struggles. But he can earn back credibility and possibly remain coaching, if he can clinch another BCS berth. That’s all the Irish cares about, another title to renew idealism among one of the most respected programs in the country.
Weis is face with tremendous pressure this season, and is held liable if the Irish stumble with a fairly light schedule. The rabid fans in South Bend are spirited, weary of excuses and barren recruiting, like persuading Jimmy Clausen to commit and start as the virtuous leader by taken the snaps and heaving passes.
From logical perspectives, Weis’ status is determined by Clausen’s productivity. If he has a dreadful year, it decides Weis’ future and will even disintegrate his coaching qualities.
A solution for positive results was a solid performance from his skittish and lovable quarterback, Clausen. Another solution was an impressive victory in the season-opener to make a vital statement, against an inferior Nevada. It was easily considered to be an upset alert, as many anticipated the Irish to stumble.
Entering the game, there was tremendous pressure on Weis to lead his team to victory, along with his top quarterback. An entire week heralded Weis’ long-term future with the Irish, and heralded the very little success in a brief period of Notre Dame’s shaky tradition with Weis managing, but none of that was much of a worry on Saturday in South Bend.
Bringing back memories of the Hawaii Bowl, Clausen was a fighting Irish. He airborne passes, he scrambled inside the pocket, he brought time and he tortured Nevada with his vigorous throwing arm to give the spirited fans belief that they’ll earn a BCS berth. In a pivotal game, Weis wore a smile as Clausen alleviated tension, and inspired elated fans to cheer during frenzies in the entire game, en route to a breezy 35-0 shutout over Nevada.
It’s definitely a way to maintain momentum in a schedule that favors the Irish. It’s apparently a way for Weis to aloof from worrying constantly about his job security and focus strictly on winning a national title. In the season-opener, Clausen played with Heisman potential and was serious, poise and greatly dominant. If they’re expected to have a superb year and reach a pinnacle, Clausen has to have a phenomenal year. Finishing with four touchdowns magnifies momentum and illustrates the type of season he’s expected to have.
It was never really a competitive contest. From the start, it was Clausen’s cannon arm and urgency to complete 10 of 11 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, with a career-long 70-yard pass. And this is a confident quarterback that Weis recruited, and trusted to restore a winning tradition. Giving Weis credit could be a bit too early, but on this day, he can earn some for preparing his team to have the ambition and determination. With a faulty BCS system every win counts, particularly for Weis, a scrutinized coach who can’t afford to have a collapsing year.
With Weis’ recruiting, the Irish are solid and equipped with receivers. That makes life easier for Clausen, able to rely on Michael Floyd, who made sensational catches and most of the highlight reels. Throughout the season, he’ll be a primary target, after catching two touchdown passes for 70 and 88 yards.
It was enough for a swinging party among fans and teammates, in a victory that was extraordinary and meaningful to relive tradition. At least for the week, Weis can wear a smile and not think about coaching next season. For now, he can think about a BCS berth and a longer future with Notre Dame.
Clausen was a brilliant recruit after all.
Let’s hope it last for at least the rest of the season.
Now that it seems that Michael Crabtree is the only first-round draft pick to not have a deal signed. Now, things are getting worse for him.
Crabtree says he is willing to skip this year’s NFL season and re-enter the NFL Draft in 2010 unless if he gets a good deal signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Crabtree had received a five-year $20M deal but he passed it.
I think that is just outrageous what decision he just made. Crabtree may never have a second-chance at that kind of money. The 49ers are willing to go without him and it seems they will not give him a deal higher than what they gave him already.
It seems Crabtree will just make zero dollars this year besides getting $20M more. Besides, with the quarterbacks the Niners already have, Crabtree will not play that big of a role coming into this year. That means being paid $20M is a real smart deal.
If I were Crabtree, I’d take the money. Crabtree, we know you deserve more money but you just have to deal with what you got already. You can’t just dilly-dally away. It’s not smart what you are doing.
I really do believe Crabtree is not going to sign with the Niners, period. I think San-Fran can make a better investment if they could trade him. How about a team like, say, the Tennessee Titans. It actually will work for both teams.
The 49ers can trade troubled Mike to the Titans for quarterback Vince Young. But how can a trade be possible the Niners haven’t even signed Crabtree. It can be one of those sign-and-trade deals. I think the Titans have the money to pay Crabtree and I think they’ll be willing to do this trade.
Vince Young would be a great fit for the Niners, I guess. Well, not a great fit, but better than where they stand with Shaun Hill. With Young not that happy in Tennessee because Kerry Collins stealing his place, don’t you think he would be much more happier to stay with the Niners and probably be their franchise-QB?
I suppose it could all work out. It would be the right thing to do. Trust me, the Niners can’t succeed with Alex Smith nor Shaun Hill. The best they have is just go for Young. As Rookie of the Year a couple of years ago, Young is the right choice for this team.
He has the speed, the arm, and athleticism. He is has some negatives on him in which he can improve on soon. Young can also have some solid targets to throw to like Isaac Bruce, who still has some left in the tank. Josh Morgan is a sleeper for fantasy football fans and showed signs of awe last year.
Vernon Davis will also be out there to help Young as well. And with the a solid running game alongside with the one-two punch of Frank Gore and Glen Coffee, I think San Francisco has a team.
The Titans will also be benefited from this cause as well. With Kerry Collins as the quarterback, he has some nice targets to heave to; guys like Bo Scaife, Alge Crumpler, draft-pick Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Justin Gage, and Crabtree himself. The Titans would have great targets and have a great running game in Chris Johnson and LenDale White.
The Titans look to bang on the door in the AFC South with Michael Crabtree. It assuredly looks like both teams will definitely account from this if this trade were to occur. I think the Niners should indubitably be convinced of attempting this. It can work.
This will be the second time the series has visited in Atlanta with the first coming in early March where Kurt Busch thoroughly dominated in what still is his only win of the season.
The practice sessions for the March’s Atlanta race were run in the traditional sense with a Friday practice, then qualifying, and two Saturday practices. This time around, there was no practice on Friday with all activity taking place on Saturday prior to Sunday night’s race in what Atlanta Motor Speedway is calling an experiment.
Saturday’s events began with an hour and half practice session with most teams running in race trim. In the Final practice session, teams mixed up the session with both race trim and qualifying trim for another hour and a half. In the unusual format, their qualifying session will be the final time in their car before the actual race.
The qualifying being so late, with no practice afterwards, could make things difficult early on in the race for the teams that had good practice runs because no matter how precise the notes were for a good set-up, it still takes some tinkering to get perfect from race trim to qualifying trim.
With no practice following qualifying, the tinkering will have to come during the race. Needless to say, there definitely is some added pressure on the crews this week.
Another major factor the crews have to deal with is the track’s temperature change from practice to race day conditions which will drastically change because the start time for Sunday’s race is just before 8 pm. The likely result will be more grip, which the drivers will like, but it’s still an unknown which means there will be a lot of guessing in the set-up early on.
At the very end of the final practice session, Juan Pablo Montoya reeled off the fastest lap of 180.105 mph while in qualifying trim driving his favorite car, the one that nearly won at Indy and finished second at Pocono. Nearly every driver used the final moments of final practice to make their qualifying trim runs.
Prior to the late switch for qualifying trim, Ryan Newman had been fastest while in race trim and did so very early. As the heat slicked up the track, all the times for the final practice were much slower than the first session.
During the first session, Jimmie Johnson ran 41 laps with a top speed of 182.807 mph while in race trim using a brand new chassis made special for this race. Just about every team that matters used the first session somewhat in the same fashion like they normally use happy hour for. They ran lots of laps and used the cooler conditions as more of a simulator for what they may see on race day.
Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-5 fastest laps following Johnson in the first session.
Martin had some trouble the last time they visited Atlanta despite sitting on the pole, but was very fast during both sessions Saturday while in both race and qualifying trim. The car he’s using this week is the same one that won at Darlington and Chicagoland.
Kurt Busch had a real good morning session, but struggled in the afternoon practice saying his car had no grip. He’s bringing the same chassis that he won with in March’s Atlanta race and it’s likely the cooler conditions will get Busch’s car right on race day.
Jeff Gordon had a great first practice with the third fastest average speeds among all drivers to run at least 30 laps. The high banked 1.5-mile tracks have been his best all around combined runs this season capturing a second in Atlanta and a win at Texas.
The second fastest average times in the first practice belonged to Montoya, while the best average speed among those running at least 30 laps belonged to Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Junior brought a brand new chassis and his average times finally make him look like he’s driving a Hendrick car. In the final session, he finished with the 11th fastest time.
Based on how good he looks lap after lap in the longer runs, Junior might have his best opportunity to win a race this season. Should he win, it might be the most fireworks Atlanta has seen since General Sherman marched through there 145 years ago.
First Practice - Top 5 Speeds (more relevant practice)
1. Jimmie Johnson 182.807 mph - AVG 41 laps @ 173.00
2. Mark Martin 182.507 mph - AVG 55 laps @ 172.319
3. Denny Hamlin 181.729 mph - AVG 40 laps @ 172.707
4. Tony Stewart 181.699 mph - AVG 50 laps @ 170.780
5. Kurt Busch 181.639 mph - AVG 39 laps @ 171.954
Final Practice - Top 5 Speeds
1. Ryan Newman 179.866 mph - AVG 25 laps @ 173.041
2. Mark Martin 179.802 mph - AVG 7 laps @ 178.513
3. Brian Vickers 179.330 mph - AVG 41 laps @ 171.983
4. Clint Bowyer 179.278 mph - AVG 12 laps @ 175.955
5. Jeff Gordon 179.272 mph - AVG 20 laps @ 173.010
Top 10 Rated drivers for Sunday night’s Atlanta race heavily based on Saturday’s first practice session, mixed in with the final session, chassis selections, current state of team, and 1.5-mile performances in 2009.
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Mark Martin
3. Kurt Busch
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Juan Pablo Montoya
6. Carl Edwards
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr
9. Brian Vickers
10. Ryan Newman
Marc Buoniconti looked to be man of the game but something went wrong when his Citadel team faced Tennessee State back in 1985. A collide with Herman Jacobs which resulted in a painful outcome, a very painful outcome indeed:
"But this has always stopped him: On Oct. 26, 1985, in the first quarter of a game between The Citadel and East Tennessee State at the Mini-Dome in Johnson City, Tenn., Citadel linebacker Marc Buoniconti hurtled headfirst at the Buccaneers' upended tailback, his helmet colliding with Herman Jacobs's lower back. Buoniconti rolled over, his neck dislocated at the third and fourth cervical vertebrae, his spinal cord hacked as if by a dull hatchet. Soon after Mull heard the news that the 19-year-old Buoniconti had become a quadriplegic, a strange sensation washed through him, one he would feel for decades."
Many scary things can happen in football. And it not just happens in just college and professional football, no way, it goes way younger than that back in those peewee football days.
Football injuries really have made bad things happen to athletes for many years since the sport became the favorite in the nation. Sometimes, it just doesn't matter if you are wearing the most protective gear possible, you can die, be crippled, be injured for quite some time, and so much more.
I really hate it when this stuff happens, it just makes things really sad in sports. But I am going to talk about a topic that many of us just have to make a discussion about. Can playing football ruin your life? Let's find out.
Each year, there are more than 250,000 brain injuries dealed with athletes playing football. Ten percent of college and 20 percent of high school football players have gotten received with these brain injuries while 63 percent sustain traumatic brain ones as well. These facts were found from this source.
Now according to PhysOrg.com, the starting of a football game receives 16 percent of injuries, 54 percent during the middle of the game, and 30 percent accounted at the end of the game or into overtimne.
"Not only does the time in competition affect injuries but also the phase of play," says Dawn Comstock, PhD, principal investigator in CIRP at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "During kickoff and punting, a greater proportion of severe injuries occurred compared to all other phases of play. Thirty-three percent of injuries occurring during kickoff and punt were severe and 20 percent were concussions.
"Although more injuries occurred in the middle of the field, injury severity and diagnosis varied little by field location.Overall, severe injuries accounted for 20 percent of all injuries, with 44 percent of severe injuries being fractures."
Things can really get severe. PhysOrg.com also included in another article that high school football, along with wrestling, results with the highest rate of severe injuries.
"Twenty-nine percent of severe injuries occurred to the knee, making it the most commonly injured body site," explained Christy Collins, CIRP research associate at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "The ankle accounted for 12 percent followed by shoulder at 11 percent."
"Severe Injuries negatively affect athletes' health and often place an increased burden on the health care system," Comstock said. "Future research is needed to develop effective interventions to decrease the incidence and severity of high school sports injuries."
It was September 9, 2007. Denver Broncos kick returner Domenik Hixon returned the ball while Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everrett was going for a tackle. Everett was reported to have suffered from a neck injury in which he had to be transported to a hospital on an ambulance.
It was probably one of the most frightening things I have witnessed on public television:
More scary outcomes have happened in football, even somewhat crazy like a baby getting injured during a football game, which was quite surprising. I don't know if quite many of you remember "The Hit" between Reggie Brown of Georgia and Junior Rosegreen. But man, what a hit it was.
Brown was lucky to not end up like Everett but it did look like a severe hit. Many more horror-movie-like outcomes have happened like the Reggie Bush hit against the Philadelphia Eagles. Many other scary hits have happened like Cedric Killings hit against the Colts on September 23, 2007 when his Texans lost, 30-24.
Killings had suffered from a huge hit on special teams from Roy Hall. He wasn't moving but was better after he was released from the hospital. He also could have ended up like Everett and Buoniconti.
Here is what ESPN said about the hit:
"And defensive tackle Cedric Killings was taken off the field on a stretcher after a headfirst collision with Indianapolis receiver Roy Hall. The 310-pound Killings, playing special teams, hit Hall on a block as Jerome Mathis was returning a kickoff in the second quarter. The Texans said Killings suffered a neck injury and coach Gary Kubiak said he was moving his arms and legs and talking on the field. Killings was taken to a hospital."
Youth football injuries have occurred as well. But some don't even happen from tackle football. Some injuries can even occur from flag or even just normal football those little kids used to play at recess.
About a year ago, I had a friend suffer from a football injury at recess. He planted his foot in the grass on the kickoff and somehow, his knee got popped out. He would have to sit on a wheelchair and use crutches for about eight months.
Crazy things have happened in football. Football injuries really have taken a big part in some athletes' lives. There are some things I have learned from football. And there is one thing that may keep even myself from playing it:
It can probably ruin your life.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Terrell Owens stopped crying and has evolved into an integral superstar in Buffalo, grabbing attention at a local airport when he arrived. And Chad Ocho Cinco is seemingly content in stabilizing Cincinnati.
With unity spreading around most teams, the Mile High City is amid turbulence and surrounded by an unhinged soap opera that has lasted longer than the Days of Our Lives. When a disgruntled Brandon Marshall indicated misery at practice, times became rocky and a ruckus developed.
The Denver Broncos punished arguably their best player with a suspension for his conduct detrimental to the team. Assuming rookie coach Josh McDaniels wants to dismiss any player that plagues fortune in his first season, their primary option is to trade Marshall.
Getting rid of a dispirited player prevents slight problems from escalating into serious problems. The Broncos situation is just like a dreadful marriage, among a couple, which will never work out if one individual in the relationship is dissatisfied.
That is exactly what McDaniels, the coaching staff and executives are experiencing in Denver, a propitious receiver who isn’t satisfied. Because of Marshall’s frustration, insisting that he was upset with the team’s misdiagnosis of a hip injury that required offseason surgery, it has produced enough tension to finally wave good-riddance.
There’s no question Marshall is an elite receiver who had 206 receptions the past two seasons, but his off-the-field misconduct is unnecessary, at a time when Denver is still rebuilding and adapting to newly acquired Kyle Orton.
Having an egregious attitude and unlawful troubles off the field, is why Denver refused to give Marshall a new contract. Ever since he asked for a long-term deal, his emotions abruptly reversed into a self-centered and arrogant receiver, who still hasn’t realized it’s about the team and not the individual.
If the Broncos trade their top diva, it won’t benefit them this season. Instead it revokes disastrous nuisance from making a season in limbo more fragile than anticipated. But dealing him isn’t easy, and is seemingly inevitable. Because his reputation comprises of distasteful humor, Marshall’s marketability is devalued from most team’s standpoints.
He’s the problem-child in the league. He’s the disappointed one. He’s the newest laughingstock.
And with problems like that, he’s obviously a risk. But there’s one team amenable to take on the dispirited receiver, optimistic they can uplift his mentality. So were the New York Jets tampering with Marshall?
After collapsing a year ago, the Jets weren’t efficient in moving the ball down the field. And with a mobile quarterback as proficient as Mark Sanchez, a speedy receiver blends to construct a lethal quarterback and receiver tandem in the tough AFC East division.
It wouldn’t be difficult to ensure that the Jets would compile more than 31.5 percent of receiving yards. Following reports from ESPN’s insider Adam Schefter, the Jets are interested in the troubled wideout, but unsure if they are willing to deal Harris.
For a moment, there were talks Marshall could reunite with former quarterback Jay Cutler in Chicago. The Bears are another team without a prolific receiver, and the Windy City seems like a perfect location to once again play alongside Cutler. Since Marshall was his favorite target, he’s familiar with his style and approach, and can quickly foster into a primary receiver and regain stardom.
Whichever team is willing to take on the indecisive Marshall, it is obvious the Broncos must trade him and it’s evident that he has no intentions in repairing a fractured relationship. Bearing with ongoing issues involving Marshall is enough to implode solidity and divide a team. And it even looks bad on McDaniels, if he fails to resolve the matter after trading off a dreary Cutler.
Holding on to a troubled player who walked as the rest of his teammates ran in pre-practice warm-ups, kicked the ball skyward, and knocked down passes instead of catching them are good explanations in trading away Marshall. He’s now the equivalent to an old Moss, Ochio Cinco and T.O., a superstar who continues to infamously wreck his reputation.
But something has to be done, with McDaniels and the Broncos controlling the leverage. That’s when you wave and say good-riddance.