Friday, September 29, 2006

Terrell Owens: Truth or Consequences

The whole Terrell Owens suicide story stinks to high heaven, and his denials of a suicide attempt are not convincing me.

Over at the Dallas Morning News website, there is a revealing interview with Terrell's trainer, James Primm.

While Primm does try to confirm Terrell's story, he also gives some insightful comments which might lead one to see how Owens might have tried suicide:
"Primm said Owens underwent two traumatic events Monday involving his 7-year-old son and his fiancée, a woman he has dated for three years.

Owens' son, from a previous relationship, celebrated his birthday Monday, Primm said. Owens was distraught, he said, about not being able to be see the boy, who lives in California.

"He wanted to get together with the boy," Primm said. "But the boy could not come here, and Terrell could not go there."

Then hours later, a woman whom Primm described as Owens' fiancée broke off the relationship. Primm declined to give the woman's last name but said she and Owens had been dating for three years. She also lives in California.

"That's been coming on forever," Primm said of the breakup. "She's not a bad girl. She's cool, she's fine. He said, 'Can I take a break from the engagement?' And she said, 'No, let's just put a stop to it.' And that was a complete surprise to Terrell."

For you amateur psychologists out there, here is the meat of the story:
"...Primm says that [he and Terrell] have forged a father-son-like bond that Owens seems to need. Growing up in abject poverty in rural Alabama, Owens was raised by his mother and grandmother and, according to Primm, has long been in need of a dominant male figure in his life.

...Owens "doesn't have many friends," said the trainer, who contends that the public and news media have long misperceived a man he considers "a gentle soul" and a "caring, highly sensitive" individual with a fragile psyche.

"He's a good person," Primm said. "A very good person."

The other side of this is Kim Etheredge, Terrell's publicist, who first found him during the incident in question. During Terrell's press conference Wednesday, Etheridge denied it was a suicide attempt (although everything she told the EMT's the previous night would lead one to believe it was), and added, "Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive," a reference to Terrell's contract with the Cowboys. So the only reason Terrell has to live is his money? Or perhaps that is the only reason Etheredge sees for him to live, especially since he is her only client.

I don't know if Etheredge is exemplary of the rest of Terrell's entourage. If so, you have a man who is "highly sensitive" with a "fragile psyche", and is surrounded by people who love him strictly for his money. That has "Mike Tyson" written all over it.

Even if Etheredge is not exemplary of the rest of the people in Terrell's life, you have to wonder why she was there for him and others weren't. It may just be a coincidence. Or it may be that she carries a high status with him, in which case I feel sorry for him.

When you consider how many people stand to lose a lot of money if Terrell Owens doesn't play football, including Etheredge and Drew Rosenhaus, T.O.'s infamous agent, and you consider that a suicide attempt could cause the Cowboys to cut strings with T.O., then you can imagine how Etheredge went from trying to save T.O.'s life to denying it was a suicide attempt within the span of 24 hours.

The conspiracy theory goes like this: Etheredge comes upon what she thinks is a suicide attempt by T.O. Etheredge knows she has to save her "cash cow", otherwise she goes back to being a nobody with nothing. Ok, she saves him. Then she realizes how a suicide attempt could impact her client's career, and the spin begins.

Normally, I don't go in for conspiracy theories. But something has always struck me wrong about Terrell Owens. People don't become complete jerks for no reason. Terrell Owens strikes me as someone who is looking for love, but doesn't know how.

Terrell Owens has trouble with women because he had no fatherly role model from which to draw experience. Because of that, he mishandled the relationship with his fiancée, and lost her. Then he took it much harder than anyone expected.

Until Terrell Owens faces the truth about himself and his own inability to give love, he will continue to pay the consequences for his inability to get love.

But this is all speculation on my part. I could be wrong, and T.O. may be the completely selfish jerk he seems to be.

UPDATE: Apparently, T.O. is not as close to his trainer, James Primm, as Mr. Primm would have you believe. At least not anymore, according to a Dallas Morning News report today:
"James "Buddy" Primm, Terrell Owens' personal trainer, said Thursday that the Cowboys wide receiver had relieved him of his services and was no longer speaking to him.

In a telephone conversation with The Dallas Morning News, Mr. Owens acknowledged as much and said Mr. Primm "had no business" discussing details of his private life with the news media.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jeremy Shockey was right

Robert George brought up an interesting point to me: Have you noticed how the New York Giants offense doesn't seem to move until they go into a two minute/no-huddle offense, when the coaching staff has the LEAST impact on what they do?

As I pointed out earlier in September, I don't think Eli Manning will ever be a great quarterback as long as Kevin Gilbride is his quarterback coach. The only decent quarterbacks Gilbride has ever coached were Mark Brunell and Warren Moon, and both of them were well-coached before Gilbride ever got his hands on them.

Perhaps we should look at John Hufnagel, the offensive coordinator? According to the Giants website, Hufnagel is responsible for "devising game plans and calling plays".

Hufnagel spent most of the 90's coaching in the CFL, where he got to coach Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia. Impressive resume fact, but it was the CFL. So what has he done in the NFL to warrant becoming an offensive coordinator?

Hufnagel has extensive experience as a quarterback coach. His first job as a quarterback coach was in 1999-2000, where he got to develop Tim Couch, who is currently...not playing.

In 2001, Hufnagel got to coach Peyton Manning, who had already been in the NFL for three years prior. After that, Hufnagel left for Jacksonville in 2002, where he coached Mark Brunell. Hufnagel moved on again in 2003, to the Patriots, where he got to coach Tom Brady, who had already won one Super Bowl by then.

I have to give Hufnagel credit. He has worked with some pretty good quarterbacks...who were already pretty good by the time he got there.

Of course, I am curious why Hufnagel seems to have a problem keeping his job? Before coming to the Giants, he had four consecutive quarterback coaching jobs with four different teams within five years. Why is this guy qualified to be an offensive coordinator?

Based on the Giants offensive performance the last two weeks, I feel confident saying Hufnagel is NOT qualified. I also think Jeremy Shockey's initial impression of Sunday's game against Seattle was right on the money: "We got outplayed, and outcoached."

Especially the "outcoached" part.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Terrell Owens: Suicide?

Associated Press writer Jaime Aron is reporting that Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens' hospitalization for an "adverse reaction" to pain medication may have actually been a suicide attempt by the controversial player:

"Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens reportedly tried to kill himself by overdosing on pain medication, even putting two more pills into his mouth after a friend intervened.

A Dallas police report released Wednesday morning said Owens told his friend "that he was depressed." Details of the report were first released by WFAA-TV.

The friend, who is not identified in the report, "noticed that (his) prescription pain medication was empty and observed (Owens) putting two pills in his mouth," the police report said.

The friend attempted to pry them out with her fingers, then was told by Owens that before this incident he'd taken only five of the 40 pain pills in the bottle he'd emptied. Owens was asked by rescue workers "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, `Yes.'"

Week 4 Fantasy Football Predictions

After my pitiful week 3 results, it is time to climb back on the horse.

QB: Marc Bulger should get the wheels on the Rams passing game as Detroit comes to St. Louis.

For our no-brainer of the week, Donovon McNabb looks super sweet against Green Bay's lousy pass defense on Monday night.

RB: Ronnie Brown should look like Earl Campbell against Houston.

Speaking of great Texas running backs, how about Julius Jones against Tennessee this week? Maybe Jones isn't great, but he should look like it this week.

WR: Chris Chambers should get more than a few looks from Daunte Culpepper against the woeful Texans.

Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce should be able to break into the end zone against Detroit's gasless secondary.

Do I need to tell you Donte' Stallworth will score big against Green Bay?

TE: Speaking of Green Bay, how about L.J. Smith? Against the Pack, L.J. looks like a nice play this week.

This may sound like a no-brainer pick, but Tony Gonzalez doesn't set the NFL on fire any more (12 catches, 88 yards, 1 td after two games this year). However, he should be able to burn the 49ers.

K: Buffalo's Rian Lindell has quietly gone 6/6 this year. Expect Minnesota's bend-but-don't-break defense to give Lindell a few more opportunities.

The Eagles should put up a ton of points against the Packers, including field goals. David Akers should shine.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: The Lions will sleep among the Lambs this week. At least the Lions offense will, which should allow the Rams to notch a nice defensive performance.

Da Bears at home against the Shaun Alexander-less Seahawks? This could get ugly.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Week 3 Fantasy Football Results

Ok, I admit it: I stunk it up with last week's predictions.

Here is the damage:

WR Roy Williams: 7 catches, 138 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
K Matt Stover: 3 field goals (including a 52-yarder)
Ravens DEF/ST: 7 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovered, 14 points allowed

QB Byron Leftwich: 107 passing yards, 1 pass touchdown, 2 interceptions, 14 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
QB Daunte Culpepper: 168 passing yards, 5 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
RB Ronnie Brown: 90 rushing yards, 10 receiving yards
RB Steven Jackson: 62 rushing yards, 59 receiving yards

WR Chris Chambers: 4 catches, 39 receiving yards, 39 rushing yards
WR Santana Moss: 6 catches, 50 receiving yards, 2 rushing yards
WR Donald Driver: 3 catches, 20 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, -1 rushing yard
TE Chris Cooley: 4 catches, 18 receiving yards
TE Vernon Davis: big goose egg
K Stephen Gostkowski: 1 extra point
Patriots DEF/ST: 17 points allowed
Panthers DEF/ST: 1 interception, 1 sack, 24 points allowed

Monday, September 25, 2006

Quarterback intangibles

In my post "The best quarterback of all time", I received a lot of positive feedback from a lot of you, and I truly appreciate it.

I got one comment, from my buddy Myrhaf, which deserves a full response:
"But seriously, I'm sure your statistical analysis is sound. However, I wonder how you measure intangibles, such as will to win, work ethic, intelligence, etc. Do those traits show up in statistics? What if a great quarterback is on a bad team? And what about charisma, fame and overall impact on the game, as in the case of Joe Namath, who became a cultural icon? Should that be a factored in? Broadway Joe probably got more women to watch football on Sunday than anyone else in history. Isn't that important? Is there a difference between importance to the game and greatness as a quarterback?"

A great quarterback's intangibles will show up statistically IF the rest of his team is good enough. Football is a team sport. Unlike golf or tennis, greatness at any football position has to be viewed within the context of the team. Objectively viewing quarterbacking greatness can only be accomplished through statistics, including but not limited to championships. It is there that we view the meeting of ability with opportunity.

Consider "will to win". No matter how much a quarterback wants to win, he cannot do it if his receivers drop his passes, the running back fumbles a lot, and his team's defense is a sieve. On the other hand, a quarterback who is surrounded by a great team, but is otherwise not very capable, may not win despite his desire.

How about "work ethic"? Ask Billy Volek how important work ethic is. He went from being named the Titans starting quarterback in the preseason, to being demoted to second string, to being traded in the same year. From what I hear, it was all because he took the starting job for granted. In the modern era, quarterbacks HAVE to have a good work ethic. We could say Peyton Manning has a better work ethic than Tom Brady, but does that mean Brady is a slacker? No.

"Intelligence" is one of the odder intangibles. Clearly a certain amount of intelligence is required to even be able to play quarterback in the NFL. Beyond that, what does greater intelligence gain a quarterback? Consider the following two Wonderlic scores (which measures intelligence): Dan Marino - 16, Ryan Leaf - 27. Or how about Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach? I think Staubach would have given up a few brain cells to have won the two Super Bowls he lost to Bradshaw.

The "great quarterback/bad team" (otherwise known as "The Archie Manning Dilemna") is the hardest part to quantify. How much does a bad team detract from a great quarterback's statistics?

Imagine if you were the world's best accountant, but you were working for the world's worst company. While your work would be perfect, you would continue to receive no recognition, all because the company was awful. But you stay there year after year, doing perfect work, but accomplishing little in your career. Whose fault is that?

At some point, a quarterback has to realize a team will not help him win. Sometimes, your decision about where to work can be every bit as important as how well you work. In Manning's defense, the free agency rules of the 70's made it a lot tougher to change teams. But Manning never tried until he was already past his prime.

"Charisma, fame, and overall impact on the game". This is the style-over-substance factor. But this also comes into direct conflict with the "great quarterback/bad team" factor. Joe Namath clearly had more charisma, fame, and overall impact on the game than Archie Manning. Ironically, they both played 13 seasons, with almost the same number of pass attempts (Manning had 3,642, while Namath had 3,762). Statistically, theie career numbers are very close (Manning's numbers are first):

Completion percentage: 55.2% vs. 50.1%
Average gain per attempt: 6.57 vs. 7.35
Touchdown percentage: 3.4% vs. 4.6%
Interception percentage: 4.75% vs. 5.85%
Super Bowl championships: 0 vs. 1
Average rush yards per carry: 5.7 vs. 2.0
Passer rating: 67.1 vs. 65.5

At the very least, the statistics prove that Manning belongs in the same class as Namath.

But what about that Super Bowl? The "guaranty"? The first AFL victory over the NFL in a championship game? Namath's importance in the history of the NFL is unquestionable. But by any objective measure, he cannot be named the best quarterback in NFL history. He was immobile and threw too many interceptions. By today's NFL standards, he would be lucky to make a team. Don't believe me? Consider Ryan Leaf, who is considered a failure by modern standards. Leaf's career interception percentage of 5.5% is better than Namath's.

Looking back at Namath's career, the Jets won IN SPITE OF Namath, NOT BECAUSE OF Namath. Even if you look at that one Super Bowl, what did Namath do? Heck, running back Matt Snell, with 30 carries for 121 yards and the Jets only touchdown, deserves more credit for the win than Joe Namath does. All Namath did was NOT throw an interception.

While Namath has become part of football folklore, I would actually give the Chiefs credit for sealing the AFL legitimacy argument. Their victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV gave the AFL two wins out of the first four Super Bowls.

Namath is proof that importance to the game and greatness as a quarterback are two very different things. Namath is proof that historical importance is subjective.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The best quarterback of all time

I have been asked to rate the best quarterbacks of all time. Who am I to say no?

I will resist the urge to include those guys who are still playing. Although I will include references to current players where they are comparable or even better than the ones I list.


The first quality all rookie quarterbacks must learn is game management. By this I mean the ability to avoid mistakes. Bad game managers today include the likes of Brett Favre and Daunte Culpepper. While these two are capable of big plays, they both try to do too much, effectively hurting their teams more than helping them.

On the barest levels, good game managers include Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. Unfortunately for those two, that is ALL they are. But as they have proven, you have to be at LEAST a good game manager if you want to win a Super Bowl.

I am tempted to give the best game manager of all time to Sammy Baugh. To this day, he still holds the NFL record for most seasons leading the league with the lowest percentage of passes intercepted, with five seasons. There are five players tied with three seasons behind him. None of those five players are playing today.

But, if you look at Baugh's career as a whole, he threw more interceptions in 9 out of the 16 seasons he played.

For consistency over the entirety of his career, I have to give it to Neil O'Donnell. As soon as you clean your drink off your monitor, I will continue.

Believe it or not, O'Donnell holds the NFL record for lowest percentage of interceptions in his career (2.11). In his 13 year career, O'Donnell only had two seasons where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and he only played in 6 games both of those years.

O'Donnell did manage to lead the Steelers to the Super Bowl in 1995, where they lost to the Cowboys 27-17.


In order to throw a lot of touchdowns, you have to be able to throw the ball in the red zone. You won't make a career out of only lobbing 70 yard bombs. You also have to be able to toss the little two yard pass to the tackle eligible in the end zone.

Of the current quarterbacks, Peyton Manning seems most ready to break some career records, having already obtained a few NFL records (most TD passes in a season with 49, most TD passes in his rookie season with 26, most consecutive games with 4 or more TD passes with 5).

Unfortunately for Manning, he still has a long way to go to catch Dan Marino's career touchdown pass record of 420. As of last year, Manning only had 244 TD passes.

While Marino may lead on quantity of touchdown passes over a career, we have to consider the pass-happy nature of the NFL during Marino's career. Even with Marino's prolific touchdown numbers, there is another quarterback who still holds a lot of significant touchdown records from a less pass-happy era: Johnny Unitas.

Consider Unitas's touchdown records. He is tied for most seasons leading the league in td passes with 4 seasons (tied with Len Dawson, Steve Young, and Brett Favre) but only Unitas's 4 seasons were consecutive (from 1957 to 1960). In football's version of Joe Dimaggio's famed hitting streak, Unitas holds the record for most consecutive games with a td pass, 47 (next closest is Brett Favre with 36).

In addition, Unitas is third on the list of career games with 4 or more td passes (17). Only Marino (21) and Favre (19) are ahead of him.

A quick release is not necessary to be a great quarterback, but it seems the great ones tend to have quicker releases than most quarterbacks.

The first quarterback to have an exceptionally quick release was Joe Namath, but the quickest of all time belongs to Dan Marino.

Of today's quarterbacks, the one who impresses me the most is Vince Young. If you watch him closely, you can see that his release is comparable to Marino's release. I won't say Young will be another Marino, but his release should help him to have a good career.


By itself, arm strength is nice, but it won't win games.

Early in his career, Doug Williams had the strongest arm I have ever seen. Unfortunately, when he threw little passes into the flat, the ball would bounce off the receiver because it was uncatchable.

For arm strength to be effective, it has to be combined with touch on shorter passes.

In this category, average gain per pass attempted tells us the quarterback is using his arm strength to its ultimate advantage.

Unfortunately, the two quarterbacks who rate the highest in this are from VERY different eras: Sid Luckman and Steve Young.

Luckman is second all time to Otto Graham in average gain (8.42 to 8.63). I don't include Graham because he only played 6 years in the NFL, whereas Luckman played 12 years.

In addition, Luckman holds the following records: led the league in average gain 7 times, and had the most consecutive seasons leading the league in average gain (5). Luckman also had the second highest single season average gain, with 10.86 in 1943.

While Luckman's records are impressive, I have to give equal consideration to someone I have actually seen play. In the modern era, Steve Young used his arm strength the best.

Young stands firmly in second to Luckman's NFL records for average gain. Young's greatest asset was his ability to stretch the 49ers West Coast Offense with his arm strength. Even though Young was not known for his arm strength, this is deceptive since he was nearly as accurate on deeper passes as he was on shorter passes.

Joe Montana may get the kudos for the success of the West Coast Offense, but Steve Young took it to another level, all because Young could stretch the field with a greater arm strength than Montana possessed.

Of today's quarterbacks, Kurt Warner is the best in average gain, as he is already third on the all time list with 8.21. We will see if he can maintain or improve on that before he retires. At the peak of Warner's career, he was certainly comparable to Steve Young.


Accuracy is another of those areas where it is difficult to compare quarterbacks from the modern era, where short passes are more frequently thrown, with those from previous eras.

If you look at the record for highest career completion percentage, you will see three current quarterbacks (Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger, and Daunte Culpepper). But will they still be there when they retire? Perhaps Warner, but I would not bet on the other two.

For modern era quarterbacks, I would have to name Steve Young as the most accurate. having led the NFL in completion percentage 5 times, with 4 of them coming in consecutive years.

However, Len Dawson was the most accurate of the old era quarterbacks, having led the NFL in completion percentage a whopping 8 times, with 6 of them coming in consecutive years.

In a team sport, the championship stands out as the ultimate test of how much a quarterback is helping his team.

This is the biggest no-brainer of all the quarterback categories. Bart Starr stands above everyone with 5 NFL championships and the first 2 Super Bowl victories to his credit.

Currently, Tom Brady, with 3 Super Bowl victories under his belt, looks the most ready to challenge Starr's record.

Should running ability be considered when looking at great quarterbacks? Currently, I would say no. But after watching what Mike Vick did to the Buccaneers last weekend, I cannot say this will always be true.

Take college football for example. A great running quarterback can lead a team to a national championship (like Vince Young did at Texas). Could this happen in the NFL? History would say no.

But history also used to say that a team without a running game could not win a championship. Enter the 1981 49ers to prove that wrong.

Will Mike Vick redefine the quarterback position? Perhaps, but his talent is freakish.

Vick is clearly the best running quarterback of all time. However, for the sake of choosing a retired quarterback, I would have to name Randall Cunningham the best I ever saw, at least until Vick retires.

What I have shown to this point are the best quarterbacks in every facet of the quarterbacking position. But the ultimate test of a quarterback is the guy who can use the quarterback position to carry the rest of his team to victory. The best quarterbacks I have seen, in no particular order: Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Ken Stabler, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Fran Tarkenton, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Johnny Unitas.

Of those, Steve Young stands out from the rest in most of the categories of quarterbacking excellence.

GAME MANAGEMENT: Young's career 2.5% interception percentage compares favorably with Neil O'Donnell's 2.1%.

TOUCHDOWNS: Young is tied with Unitas for seasons leading the league in td passes (4) and is second behind Unitas with 3 consecutive seasons leading the NFL.

RELEASE: Compared to Marino, this is Young's weak suit. However, Young's release was more than adequate.

ARM STRENGTH/AVERAGE GAIN: Young was the best of the modern era.

ACCURACY: Again, Young was the best of the modern era.

CHAMPIONSHIPS: With only one Super Bowl win to his credit (although Young was named the MVP), Young is pretty weak in this category. Still, there are plenty of great quarterbacks who would gladly switch places with Young (such as Fran Tarkenton and Dan Marino).

RUSHING: With 4,239 career rushing yards, 5.9 rushing average, and 43 rushing touchdowns, Young compares favorably to Randall Cunningham's 4,928 rushing yards, 6.4 rushing average, and only 35 rushing touchdowns.

Any mention of Steve Young as the greatest quarterback of all time will naturally draw the comparison to Joe Montana. Let us look at the career numbers (Young's numbers are shown first below. NFL career records are marked with an asterisk):

Completion Percentage: 64.3% vs. 63.2%
Average Gain per Attempt: 7.98 vs. 7.52
Touchdown Percentage: 5.6% vs. 5.1%
Interception Percentage: 2.5789% vs. 2.5783%
Super Bowl Championships: 1 vs. 4*
Average Rushing Yards per Carry: 5.9 vs. 3.7
Passer Rating: 96.8* vs. 92.3

When you consider Young's numbers are a little skewed by spending two horrendous years at Tampa Bay during the start of his career, Young's numbers are even more impressive.

One other thing to consider: If the 49ers had a better defense during the 90's, who knows how many Super Bowls Young might have won?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jurgenson vs. Kilmer

Sonny Jurgenson vs. Billy Kilmer is one of the great football barroom arguments of all time, often inspiring seemingly political partisanship in Washington, where they played for the Redskins back in the 1970's.

Based on pure passing ability, Jurgenson wins hands down. Vince Lombardi said of him, "Jurgensen is a great quarterback. He hangs in there under adverse conditions. He may be the best the league has ever seen. He is the best I have seen."

In passing statistics, Jurgenson had 2,433 pass completions for 32,224 yards and 255 touchdowns and 189 interceptions. Kilmer had a pedestrian 1,585 completions for 20,495 yards and 152 touchdowns and 146 interceptions.

In post-career honors, Jurgenson wins again, since he is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Washington Hall of Stars, and the Eagles Honor Roll. Kilmer only made it to the Washington Hall of Stars.

Argument over, right? Not quite.

In rushing stats, Jurgenson had 493 yards and 15 touchdowns over his 18 year career. Over Kilmer's 16 seasons, he rushed for 1509 yards and 21 touchdowns. But that is not a fair comparison, since Kilmer started out as a running back for San Francisco, where he had 987 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first two years. By the time Kilmer got to D.C., his legs were shot.

How about Super Bowls? The Redskins made one appearance during the Jurgenson-Kilmer years. Jurgenson got hurt early in the 1972 season. Kilmer led the Skins to Super Bowl VII, where the Skins lost to the Dolphins to complete Miami's "perfect season".

Sorry Kilmer, but losing a Super Bowl does NOT make you a better quarterback than Sonny Jurgenson.

Week 3 Fantasy Football Predictions

For you fantasy footballers out there, don't forget this coming weekend is the first of the bye weeks, with Dallas, Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego taking a hiatus.

One intriguing coincidence I noticed was the two teams at the bottom of the NFL passing rankings both played against Indianapolis so far (the Giants and the Texans). I guess we can expect to see Jacksonville joining them shortly?

As for rushing, the two teams at the bottom of the NFL rankings (the Panthers and the Buccaneers) both played against Atlanta. Next up: New Orleans.

QB: While piling up tremendous passing numbers of their own, Indianapolis seems to give up a lot at garbage time, allowing both Eli Manning and David Carr to pull out decent games at the end. Expect Byron Leftwich to have a little more success earlier to add to whatever he gets in garbage time.

Is this Daunte Culpepper's coming out week? If he is going to, this week against Tennessee is a good place to start. The Titans have made both Chad Pennington and Phil Rivers look good so far.

RB: Speaking of the Titans, their run defense is just as bad as their pass defense. Hello Ronnie Brown.

For my no-brainer pick of the week, the Rams Steven Jackson should get 2 touchdowns against Arizona's defense.

WR: If Roy Williams is going to ever look like a number one receiver, this week against Green Bay is a great place to start.

A few others to look for good games from this week: Chris Chambers, Santana Moss, and Donald Driver.

TE: Chris Cooley of the Redskins should do well against the Texans.

Look for Vernon Davis of the 49ers to get a touchdown and 4-5 catches this week against the Eagles.

K: I will be the first to admit, my kicker predictions have been crap so far this year. So take these with a grain of salt. And a shot of tequila.

The Broncos have been displaying a lot of "bend, don't break" defense this year, so the Patriots rookie Stephen Gostkowski should have a decent game at home against Shanahan's boys.

Pssst! Want a really good waiver wire pickup? If he is available in your league, get the Ravens Matt Stover. He is going to have a good year, and this week will be no exception against the hapless Brownies.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: I can imagine Dean Pees, the Patriots defensive coordinator, was salivating when he was watching the game film from the Broncos first two games. Especially the parts with Jake Plummer passing. Take the Patriots defense this week and enjoy the Sunday Night game.

You also have to love the Panthers against the Buccaneers. The way Gruden is completely ruining Chris Simms is sad to watch, but I am sure the Panthers won't mind.

One more no-brainer this week: take the Ravens against the Browns. Poor Charlie Frye.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fantasy football results for week 2

Here are the results from my week 2 fantasy football predictions:

QB Peyton Manning: 400 passing yards, 3 touchdowns
QB David Carr: 219 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 10 rushing yards
RB Chester Taylor: 113 rushing yards, 15 receiving yards
WR Marvin Harrison: 7 catches, 127 yards
WR Reggie Wayne: 6 catches, 135 yards
WR Andre Johnson: 4 catches, 56 yards, 1 touchdown
K Shayne Graham: 2 field goals, 4 extra points
Ravens DEF/ST: 3 fumbles recovered, 3 interceptions, 6 sacks, 1 safety, 6 points allowed

RB Shaun Alexander: 89 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
TE Antonio Gates: 4 catches, 55 yards
TE Todd Heap: 5 catches, 17 yards, 1 touchdown

WR Eric Moulds: 4 catches, 59 yards
TE Daniel Wilcox: no stats
K Lawrence Tynes: 2 field goals
Saints DEF/ST: 1 fumble recovered, 1 interception, 2 sacks, 27 points allowed

You may wonder why I put Alexander, Gates, and Heap in the "Ties" category. Simply put, they underperformed. Those numbers might be good for anyone else, but 89 yards and a touchdown from a top 3 running back? Not good enough. Same for the tight end numbers.

Andre Johnson just managed to squeak into the "Winners" column with that touchdown. Minus that, he joins Moulds in the "Losers".

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back to the future: The Atlanta Falcons innovative offense

I watched the Atlanta Falcons dismantle the Buccaneers yesterday and something occurred to me: This Falcon offense is actually innovative.

While no one will call the option offense innovative, since it has been used extensively on the college level for decades, no one has been able to bring it to the pro level, due to defensive players being too fast. Until the Falcons did it this year.

I take back everything I ever said about Jim Mora and Michael Vick. Credit Mora for trying it, and Vick for executing it.

But there is a catch to this: ONLY Michael Vick could pull this off. It would take an extremely athletic (Read: FAST) quarterback to run an option offense at the pro level.

But there are questions to be resolved: Can Vick stay healthy all year? What happens when they play against a good 3-4 defense, like when they play against the Steelers on October 22nd? How will this new offense do in the playoffs, assuming they make it?

Stay tuned for the answers to these questions. In the meantime, enjoy the show.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Western backlash against Islam

"A common Atlantic policy backed by moderate Arab states must become a top priority, no matter how pessimistic previous experience with such projects leaves one...

The debate sparked by the Iraq war over American rashness vs. European escapism is dwarfed by what the world now faces.

Both sides of the Atlantic should put their best minds together on how to deal with the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the background of a nuclear-armed Middle East.
" - Henry Kissinger, from Yahoo News

Add the above from Kissinger to what Pope Benedict said on Tuesday, quoting a Byzantine Emperor Manual II Paleologos:
"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Benedict also brought up the inherent difference between Christianity and Islam, as summarized by Jeff Israely in Time Magazine:
"[Pope Benedict's] discourse Tuesday sought to delineate what he sees as a fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he sees implicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality of violence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?""

What of the Left's view on the subject of Christianity vs. Islam?
"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." - Rosie O'Donnell

I wonder whether Rosie means "radical Christianity", or just Christianity? Either way, her point falls flat. How many news stories do you read or see about Christians blowing themselves up, or setting IED's, or blowing up trains, or flying airplanes into buildings? Compared with radical Muslims, radical Christians are downright boring.

As for regular Christians, I can see what scares Rosie. Christianity is generally opposed to homosexuality, abortion, and a whole list of liberal causes. Unfortunately, Rosie conveniently forgets that Islam is opposed to the same list.

The penalties in Islam for violating their beliefs are far stricter than anything Christianity requires. A homosexual Christian? God will forgive you. A homosexual Muslim? I hope you enjoy that noose around your neck.

If it comes down to a war between Western Civilization and Islam, I wonder which side Rosie will be on?

That is the burden of the West: Our self-centered, moonbat Left.

While great minds like Kissinger and Pope Benedict define the problem of radical Islam, and offer potential solutions, we have morons like Rosie giving us Pogo-isms ("I have seen the enemy and he is us."). If we are truly the enemy in a war of cultures, then we need to revisit our beliefs, which are frequently philosophical descendents of Christian beliefs (whether we as individuals are Christian or not).

What alternative does that leave Western Civilization? We either move farther Left or farther Right. Since I doubt Rosie meant farther Right, that means we should move into moonbat territory.

But if you ask the moonbats if they are willing to die for their beliefs, the answer is generally "no". Against a belief like radical Islam, where it is considered honorable for a mother to turn her children into suicide bombers, what chance does liberalism stand?

On the bright side, because liberals generally do not carry the conviction of their beliefs, they are easily ignored. While they squeal a lot, we as a society do not have to listen to them as long as we stand in a majority against them.

Which leaves us with the issue of defining the problem. As Pope Benedict has presented it, the problem is getting Islam to recognize the value of reason within a theological context. The only way to do that is through education, but how do we educate a billion Muslims? There is no easy way to accomplish this without a tremendous loss of life on both sides of this cultural war.

Kissinger gives us the start of a blueprint to accomplish this daunting task. The U.S. and Europe need to align themselves with moderate Arab states against the radical factions of Islam. But what actions do we take?

First, we have to draw a hard line against ANYTHING nuclear in the Islamic nations. This is where we meet our first problem: Europe refuses to draw hard lines. Until European backs are pressed against the wall, expect Europe to do nothing, except talk. Until Europe is willing to back up their words with actions, Europe is useless.

One thing has me curious: Why did Kissinger not suggest China in this scenario? While China is not a part of Western Civilization, and they certainly have nothing to gain by threatening one of their major sources of oil (Iran), we still ignore them regarding anything having to do with Islam. I wonder if we could not somehow make it worth their while. Considering we are one of their best trading partners, in addition to China having a ton of money invested in the U.S., I find it hard to believe we are without any kind of diplomatic leverage. However, I will defer to Dr. Kissinger on this point, as his expertise on China is far more significant than my puny knowledge on it.

But that leaves us without even being able to take the first step in Kissinger's plan. So what happens next? Nothing, until Iran gets a nuke. Maybe then Europe might honor the threat.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fantasy football tips for Week 2

QB: Peyton Manning serves as the no-brainer pick of the week. While you should start him anyway, you have to feel good going against the woeful Houston Texans, especially considering what Donovan McNabb did to them last week (314 yards and 3 td's).

On the flip side, I also like David Carr against the Colts. The Giants pulled a lot of boneheaded blunders that lost them the game against the Colts last week. If the Texans can keep the blunders to a minimum, expect a fun game of pinball between these two offenses.

RB: If Shaun Alexander cannot run on the Cardinals, he should retire. The Cards made Frank Gore look like Marshall Faulk last week.

Was the Panther defense last week that bad, or was the Falcon running game that good? We will find out this week when Chester Taylor of the Vikings gets a crack at the Panthers. With LB Dan Morgan out for the Panthers, Taylor looks like an even better play.

WR: Along with the Manning no-brainer above, I have to also include Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Throw in Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds for the full Colts-Texans list of receivers to play.

TE: Repeat after me: Antonio Gates, Antonio Gates, Antonio Gates...

Seriously, Gates should put up some better numbers against the woeful Titans this week.

The Todd Heap/Daniel Wilcox two-headed tight end monster in Baltimore should have a walk-through over the Raiders this week.

K: Considering what Jeff Wilkins of the Rams did to the Broncos last week, you have to like Lawrence Tynes of the Chiefs this week. As long as Jake Plummer is playing QB for the Broncos, their opponents should have plenty of oppurtunities in field goal range.

Shayne Graham of the Bengals should also have a solid week against the Browns.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS: You have to love the Saints defense/special teams this week for two reasons. First, they get to feast at the Brett Favre buffet. Second, Reggie Bush returning punts.

Do I even need to suggest taking the Ravens against the Raiders? Jerry Porter should be laughing it up again this week.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fantasy football review: Week 1 predictions

Time to toot my own horn. My week 1 predictions were not too bad. Ok, they were great:

*QB Kurt Warner: 301 passing yards, 3 touchdowns
QB Chad Pennington: 319 passing yards, 2 touchdowns
*RB Tatum Bell: 103 rushing yards
*RB Mike Bell: 58 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
RB LaDainian Tomlinson: 131 rushing yards, 18 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
RB Frank Gore: 87 rushing yards, 83 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
*WR Anquan Boldin: 4 catches, 62 yards, 1 touchdown
*WR Larry Fitzgerald: 9 catches, 133 yards
WR Laveranues Coles: 8 catches, 153 yards
WR Jerricho Cotchery: 6 catches, 65 yards, 1 touchdown
*TE Antonio Gates: 2 catches, 26 yards, 1 touchdown
TE Dallas Clark: 3 catches, 39 yards, 1 touchdown
*Bears Defense/Special Teams: 0 points allowed, 1 fumble recovered, 2 interceptions, 3 sacks, 1 punt return touchdown

*K Jason Hanson: 2 field goals

RB Shaun Alexander: 51 rushing yards, 1 receiving yard
WR Chad Johnson: 5 catches, 48 yards
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh: did not play
K Phil Dawson: 2 extra points
Broncos Defense/Special Teams: 18 points allowed, 3 sacks

My first picks, highlighted by an "*", were clearly better than my second and third picks. I may have to limit myself going forward.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

NFL vs. 9/11: NFL wins!

From an AP story, as reported on
"The movie ["The Path to 9/11"] was beaten soundly in the ratings by the regular-season debut of NBC's "Sunday Night Football," matching Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts against younger brother Eli of the New York Giants. The National Football League game had an estimated 20.7 million viewers, while "The Path to 9/11" had 13 million, according to Nielsen Media Research."

I am glad to see I was not the only one tired of all the 9/11 hype.

Monday, September 11, 2006

No 9/11 here

This may annoy some people, and I am sorry. But I truly do not feel like talking about 9/11 today.

I am NOT saying it is too early to discuss 9/11. I went to see "United 93" earlier this year because I think enough time has passed.

But just because today happens to be a nicely numbered anniversary of the event, does not mean I have to talk about it, or have to WANT to talk about it.

If you folks want to go along with the Media-created event that is the 5th anniversary of 9/11, go crazy with it. Just don't expect me to join you.

Ten things from the opening NFL Sunday

1. I was over at my dad's house to see the games on NFL Sunday Ticket. They have a new "Superfan" package, which was free this weekend. I happened to watch the new "Redzone Channel"(RZC), which is included in "Superfan".

For the 1:00 games, RZC was PERFECT! It takes you to whatever game is having something interesting happen. It is a football junkie's dream come true! When Vince Young played his first series, I saw it. When teams were in the red zone, I saw it.

But then the 4:00 games happened. RZC was too caught up in the Jacksonville-Dallas game. Truth be told, the Arizona-San Francisco game was a LOT more fun to watch.

The lesson learned is that RZC is great when the NFL has a lot of games on, but not so good with fewer games.

2. Speaking of Arizona-San Francisco, that was the game of the day. Tons of offense with just a smattering of defense for dramatic effect.

Even though the 49ers lost, running back Frank Gore is one to watch. He looks a lot like Charlie Garner. The 49ers will be competitive this year just because of Gore.

Kurt Warner is back. He has not looked this good since his days with the Rams. He is a perfect fit for this offense. If he stays healthy, there is no quarterback controversy here. Matt Leinart will be holding the clipboard the rest of the year.

3. On the subject of quarterback controversies, hey Jake Plummer! You hear that sound? That is the growing chorus of Denver fans calling for Jay Cutler! Get used to it. You will be hearing it for the rest of the year.

Seriously, Denver-St. Louis was the second best game of the day (I am not counting the Indianapolis-N.Y. Giants game last night because I did not stay up and watch it, although it looked good from the highlights I saw).

The Broncos should have won it, except for Plummer, who kept giving the ball away. In Plummer's defense, his lone fumble could be partially blamed on having rookie running back Mike Bell try and pass block Rams defensive end Leonard Little. In a "Welcome to the NFL, rookie", Little flattened Bell on his way to Plummer. I wonder what genius thought of that pass blocking scheme? Hello, Mike Shanahan.

4. I think the ghost of Jerome Bettis has possessed Rams running back Steven Jackson. I am sure a few Bronco defenders were having nightmares about Jackson last night. It looked painful trying to tackle him.

5. Saints running back Reggie Bush looks like the second coming of Lenny Moore. Too bad Drew Brees is nowhere close to looking like Johnny Unitas.

That said, it is almost sinful for the Saints to be blessed with two running backs like Bush and Deuce McAllister. The last time the Saints had two running backs of this caliber was in the early 80's when they had George Rogers and Earl Campbell. But I would take Bush and McAllister over Rogers and Campbell any time.

6. QB Vince Young probably pulled off the fastest play-action pass I have ever seen. Unfortunately, that is NOT the purpose of a play-action pass. You have to SELL it. On the bright side for the Titans, the Jet defender did commit a pass interference in the end zone on that play.

Regardless, I still love Young's rocket release. The only other quarterback I ever saw with that fast a release was Dan Marino. It may take a few years for Young to reach Marino's level of competence, but when he does...

7. Speaking of releases, does any quarterback in the NFL have a slower release than Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich? You could eat a sandwich by the time he releases the ball. One of the announcers in the Jaguars game yesterday compared Leftwich's throwing motion to a "windmill". Quite appropriate.

8. Was the Seahawks-Lions game as dull as it looked? From what little I saw of it, it looked like an excuse for a Sunday afternoon nap.

9. Who would have thought the Texans would single-handedly outscore the Buccaneers and the Packers combined? (10-0)

10. Get well soon Trent Green! When a defensive lineman plays basketball with your head, a concussion is the safest injury you can have. Count your lucky stars! (pun intended)

Friday, September 08, 2006

When the Media ignores the news, part 2

Yesterday, I posted about the Media ignoring the big news out of Iraq that the Iraqi government will take control of its military.

Today, I noticed that Mike Gallagher over at also posted on that very same thing yesterday. Gallagher called it the normal Left bias of the Media, whereas I at least gave them credit for stupidity. When even Fox News downplays the story, you have to question whether it is bias.

Regardless of what is causing the problem, it is clear that something is wrong with the Media.

The Gilbride of Frankenstein

I just read something disturbing. Kevin Gilbride is the Quarterbacks Coach for the New York Giants.

This man still has a job in professional football? The only offensive coach to ever be slugged by a defensive coach (Buddy Ryan) on the same team? Because his offense was so wretched?

Worse yet, you are going to entrust young quarterback Eli Manning to him?

For you Giant fans who think Eli is going to be the second coming of Peyton, forget it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

When the Media ignores the news

I was over at when I saw an important news story: "Iraq to take control of military in 'gigantic' step":
"Iraq will take control of its armed forces command on Thursday, a major step on its painful path toward independence and an essential move before international troops can eventually withdraw."

This is a monstrously huge story, and welcome news to those on the Right who want Iraq to succeed, and those on the Left who want the U.S. out of Iraq. This should be front page news. So where is the Media on this?

The big stories on "Bush: 'Terrorists
Are Still Active'14 suspects to be transferred from secret CIA prisons", "A Major League No-No/Florida Marlins rookie pitcher Anibal Sanchez throws first no-hitter in Major League Baseball in two years", and "TiVo Football Fantasy/Digital video recorder maker introduces first interactive television service for fantasy football players". Fox News did not ignore the Iraq story completely. It is over in their "Latest News Headlines" section, underneath a story "Explosions Kill 18 in Iraq".

How about The big story is "Blair to unveil departure date". You won't even find the story on the front page, if it is on at all. I could not find it.

The truly insulting part about's coverage was the fact they had a news alert at the top of the page: "Police in Los Angeles say Paris Hilton has been arrested in Hollywood for investigation of driving under the influence, according to The Associated Press." This is more important than Iraq taking over its own military? CNN should be ashamed of itself. They promote tabloid trash while important news gets ignored?

CBS News? Aside from having one of the most annoyingly busy website layouts, I could not find the story there either. Their big story was Katie Couric interviewing President Bush. The CBS News motto should be "All Katie, all the time".

At least ABC News had the Iraq story listed at the top of its "Top Headlines" section.

Ironically,'s front news web page had the story buried at the bottom of the "World News" stories, near the bottom of its long scroll down page.

This Iraq story is where we leave the realm of bias, and enter the territory of inept website editing priorities, with the exception of CNN and CBS, who completely missed the story. Although it is clear that CNN and CBS are showing some kind of weird bias against the story, although I hesitate to call it a liberal bias. Could it just be plain simple ignorance? Or maybe they just dropped the ball on this story?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fantasy football plays of the week

For you fantasy footballers out there, here are my recommended plays for the first week of the NFL season.

QB: Gotta love Kurt Warner of the Cardinals going up against last years worst pass defense, the 49ers. Opposing teams averaged 276 passing yards per game against the lowly 49ers last year.

Another good option is Chad Pennington of the Jets going up against the Titans, who gave up 33 passing touchdowns last year.

RB: The two Bells of Denver should toll for the Rams this week. Considering Mike Shanahan won't name a clear starter for the Broncos, this is a high-risk/high reward play. However, as bad as the Rams are against the run (giving up 136 yards per game last year, plus 22 touchdowns), it is possible both Mike and Tatum could have a big day against the lowly Rams.

If I have to tell you to start LaDainian Tomlinson against the Raiders this week (or against whomever the Chargers play against ANY week), you need some major fantasy football therapy. The same goes for Shaun Alexander against the Lions.

If you are looking for hidden gold, how about Frank Gore of the 49ers against the Cardinals? The Cards gave up 22 rushing touchdowns last year.

WR: Look for the Cardinals wideouts, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, to have big days against the 49ers.

Of course, Laveranues Coles of the Jets should have a big day against the Titans, but watch what Jerricho Cotchery does. Cotchery may surprise a few people this week.

No one should ever ignore the two Bengals wide receivers, Chad Johnson and T.J. "Who's your mama" Houshmandzadeh, but they are particularly nice this week against the Chiefs, who gave up 229 passing yards per game and 25 touchdowns last year. Considering Herm Edwards is installing a new Cover Two defense in K.C., expect some growing pains for the Chiefs defense.

TE: Antonio Gates starts EVERY week. Over any other tight end in the NFL. Period. Do not question this, and you will enjoy a prosperous fantasy football season.

For the best of the rest, try Dallas Clark of the Colts against the Giants. The Giants will be blitzing to stop Peyton Manning, which will leave their underbelly exposed for Clark.

K: For kickers, always look for a team which will move the ball between the 20's, but get stopped in or near the red zone. For that, I like Jason Hanson of the Lions this week. The Seahawks should be able to keep the Lions from the endzone.

On the other hand, Phil Dawson of the Browns is a solid choice against the Saints, who give up all kinds of points in bunches.

DEFENSES: For defenses, the best barometer is how often the opposing offense turns the ball over. Most leagues give you points for turnovers, but turnovers also create oppurtunities for defensive touchdowns.

The best defense this week? Da Bears. As the first stop on Brett Favre's Farewell Tour, they should benefit richly from a quarterback who has not realized he has gotten too old.

Denver's defense is not a bad play against the Rams this week either. While I cannot be sure whether the Rams offense will play as sloppy as they did last year, the Broncos defense should cause a few turnovers regardless.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

R.I.P. Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin (1962-2006)

The death of Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin is one of those stories I always expected to see, but I am still surprised anyway. Irwin was the living embodiment of the old joke about second marriages: the triumph of hope over experience.

Watching Irwin on tv was like watching a bad soap opera, eliciting the response, "I can't believe he is doing that!" But he did. Over and over again. Corraling crocodiles, staring down lions, sitting on a rock situated right over a rattlesnake nest, and so forth. How many times can one man tempt fate? Now we know.

We can praise Irwin for giving wildlife preservation a higher profile, which he certainly did, but was it worth his life? I would say no, but he would probably have said yes. He had a love for animals that bordered on the psychotic.

But that was why I watched Irwin. I watched him with the hope that nothing would happen to him, and then amazement that nothing DID happen to him. Time and again, he proved the triumph of the will over even Mother Nature. He showed us the superiority of mankind over all living creatures. And he did it with love and respect for all living creatures.

Unfortunately, experience caught up with Irwin. All he did was swim too close to a stingray, which lifted its tail to fend him off. I don't know whether the stingray was going for Irwin's heart, but it got him there.

In the end, Irwin gave his heart for that which he loved so dearly. May we all die so honorably.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ramblin' Wreck runs into the Fightin' Irish

Not often will you see the top two individual college prospects meeting each other this early in the college football season. So I could not resist watching QB Brady Quinn and Notre Dame going up against WR Calvin Johnson and Georgia Tech.

It was a great game to watch, even though Notre Dame won 14-10 (sorry, I am NOT a Notre Dame fan). Georgia Tech came out on fire, going up 10-0, before Notre Dame came back to win. Tech made a run at the end, but it came up short.

Notre Dame is number 2 in the country? That must be a joke. If Notre Dame is the second best team in the nation, this must be a bad year for college football.

Even with Georgia Tech playing above their heads, the number two team should beat these guys easily. Georgia Tech is too small to play with a great team. Tech also doesn't have much endurance, as they started looking burned out by the second quarter. The fact that Notre Dame could only muster two touchdowns against Tech is a testament to just how overrated Notre Dame is.


QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame: For all of Quinn's hype, I was not impressed. When Georgia Tech got pressure on him, he looked bad. When they didn't get pressure on him, he looked good. Even when he looked good, there were too many times his receivers made him look bad. The jury is still out on Quinn.

I must give one kudo to Quinn though: The play where he ran it in for a touchdown at the end of the first half. If the Irish ran the ball from the five yard line and didn't score, the clock would have run out in the half. Notre Dame came out in a spread offense, and Tech took the bait with four linemen in the box. My first thought was, if there is a hole, Quinn should run. He did, and scored.

I don't know if that was a called play, or Quinn's improvisation, but it was gutsy and brilliant at the same time.

WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech: I can imagine how NFL teams must be salivating over Johnson. Picture Terrell Owens playing at the college level NOW. That is how dominant Johnson is.

At 6'4", 230 pounds, he looks like a man among boys.

During the game, the idiot announcers suggested Georgia Tech should throw to him in double coverage. Unfortunately, Johnson's quarterback is not anywhere near Johnson's talent level.

QB Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech: When I watch Reggie Ball, I think "running back". I know a lot of college quarterbacks end up playing wide receiver in the pros, but I can more easily picture Ball playing as a third down running back. At 5'11", 195 pounds, he is a good size for it.

Ball was why Tech was not throwing to Johnson in double coverage. Sure, Johnson is extremely talented at going after the ball. The problem is Reggie Ball has a scattershot arm.

LB Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech: Wheeler was the main reason Quinn had so much trouble last night. Wheeler was making plays all over the place, including in Quinn's face.

Wheeler is a little too small to play linebacker in the NFL (6'2", 225 pounds). Unless he adds some bulk to stay at linebacker, he might make an outstanding safety. He is still a little raw now, as I saw him over-pursue on quite a few plays. But Wheeler has a good motor and a pretty good nose for the ball.

NFL DRAFT PROJECTION: At this point, I would call Calvin Johnson the first pick in the draft. This kid could play in the NFL now. He may be the best wide receiver I have EVER seen in a college game.

Brady Quinn's draft stock has fallen. For now, call him the second pick in the first round, although the rest of the season will be more telling.

If Philip Wheeler keeps playing like this, he could easily be a first round pick. At worst, I see him as a third round pick.

Reggie Ball will probably drop to the end of the draft, if he gets drafted at all.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The New York Giant Jet Bills

Bill Barker at Ragged Thots proposed an intriguing question when I shot down his idea of the Hew York teams doing very well this year (with the possible exception of the Giants):
" about if we COMBINE the rosters of the Jets, Giants, and Bills... "create" the best possible team out of that mix."

This is not without historical precedent, since the Steelers and the Eagles combined teams back during World War II. Since I love speculative football arguments, who would start on the combined roster?

QUARTERBACKS: Eli Manning would have to be the starting QB. If Manning gets hurt, this team may be in trouble. Chad Pennington might be the best backup. Pennington's arm is still as strong as a wet noodle. J.P. Losman is just a little under-cooked.

RUNNING BACKS: The real strength of the team. Willis McGahee can start, with Tiki Barber as our third down back. We can use Barber to spell McGahee and keep him fresh. We can also bring in Brandon Jacobs in the short yardage situations. Jim Finn would make a good fullback for our team, although I would be tempted to go with a three wideout offense on most plays. With Kevan Barlow as our fourth back (which is where he really should be on any team), we have a corps of running backs with which any coach would be delighted.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No "great" receivers here, but a lot of good ones. Laveranues Coles is the best of the bunch with his hands and speed. Plaxico Burress makes a great number two receiver (sorry Giant fans). With Lee Evans at number three, this team will create some major matchup problems for a lot of secondaries. With Amani Toomer and Josh Reed as our fourth and fifth receivers, this could be the best overall receiving corps in the NFL. Eli Manning would salivate at the possibility of playing with this group. Heck, PEYTON Manning would!

TIGHT ENDS: Jeremy Shockey. That is where the excitement ends at this position. Robert Royal and Chris Baker are primarily blocking tight ends.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Offensive lines tend to work better as units, so let's take the Giants line, which is clearly the best of these three teams. Although we would bring in Jets rookie OLT D'Brickashaw Ferguson as a backup/potential starter (if he can do well enough).

DEFENSIVE LINE: Any defensive coordinator would give his left nut for our defensive ends: Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora at the ends, with Kimo von Oelhoffen to rotate in as a backup. We are a little soft at the tackle position, with Dewayne Robertson as the only tackle of note. We WILL be playing a 3-4 defense.

LINEBACKERS: So many choices for only four positions. We start with Jonathan Vilma at the LILB position. Vilma is clearly the best of a solid group. With London Fletcher at the RILB spot, not many teams will be running up the middle on us. With Takeo Spikes and Carlos Emmons as our outside linebackers, this is the best linebacking corps in the NFL since the old Giants teams. AND we can use LaVar Arrington as a third down pass-rushing LB. AND we can rotate Antonio Pierce with our other inside linebackers, keeping them all fresh. Offensive coordinators: Be VERY afraid.

CORNERBACKS: Our secondary is not perfect, but it is close. With Nate Clements and Sam Madison as our starting corners, opposing receivers will have fits. I would put Terrence McGee in as the nickel corner, although Andre Dyson could easily play it too. If we are playing against a team that likes to run, I might use McGee as a starting corner because he plays the run from the corner spot better than most corners.

SAFETIES: This is a weak spot on this team. I would try rookie Donte Whitner at the strong safety first. If he falters, that leaves us with Gibril Wilson or Kerry Rhodes, who are both ok, but nothing special.

Our free safeties are a little better, with Troy Vincent, Erik Coleman, and Will Demps from which to choose. I would probably go with Coleman as the starter on running downs and replace him with Vincent on passing downs.

KICKER: Tough choice here, but I would lean towards Jay Feely for his kickoff depth. Otherwise, all three kickers are fairly even.

PUNTER: Another tough choice. Jeff Feagles is the pick due to his ability to pin teams down inside their 20. Brian Moorman and Ben Graham are both strong options though.

KICK/PUNT RETURNS: We have the best return man in the NFL in Terrence McGee. With Chad Morton backing him up, no problems here.

COACHING: Bill Barker suggested we bring back Bill Parcells, but I figured let's stick with who we have to be realistic to the speculation. Plus, we will probably want a coach who will be here longer than a year.

I would lean towards Eric Mangini as my head coach. His experience under Bill Belichick should serve him well.

Tom Coughlin would be my offensive coordinator with Dick Jauron handling the defense.

SUMMARY: Ok, so we would blow the salary cap out of the water, but this is for fun, right?

While I don't think this team would go undefeated, a 15-1 record would be a reasonable expectation, with a Super Bowl win guaranteed. Unfortunately, if Manning gets hurt, this team will still make the playoffs, but no Super Bowl.