Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kiss The Rings

After T.O. spend the better part of this week attacking Rodney Harrison for his past steroid use after Harrison called T.O. a clown after his game on Sunday, I kind of expected this kind of response.
"When it comes down to it, I'm a champion. He'll never have that on his resume. He'll never be a champion. He'll look at his stats and say I was a great football player, but I was never a champion."

"You always have to stand up and be accountable for your actions. As a football player you have to be accountable. Regardless of whether you had 10 catches or zero catches."

"I'm not jealous. I'm very happy. I don't need the attention. I don't need anyone catering to my ego."

"I'm just a guy with my opinion. If you don't want to hear it, go out and play better."

Now no matter what T.O. says after this, trust me Rodney Harrison has just ethered him. As an athlete there is nothing that tears at you more than not winning it all in your career. And especially in TO's case when he was on at least two teams that had the talent to win it all but he still couldn't get it done.

On a side note, I see folks saying stuff like Rodney Harrison is wrong because he is supposed to be impartial. Let me take the opportunity to call bullshit on all that. ABC/ESPN did not hire Rodney Harrison to be impartial, they hired Rodney Harrison to be Rodney Harrison. Not only was Harrison a Pro Bowl player during his career and a champion multiple times, he also was very outspoken and didn't hold his tongue. They could get any journalist around the country if they just wanted somebody to come in with some dry commentary. What they want from Rodney Harrison is exactly what he is giving them, his biased opinion based on his years of playing ball, and if you don't like it I am sure there are a lot of other broadcasts you can watch.

It is what it is.

Man Up Raheem

I happened to be checking out Pro Football Talk and there was a story there about Byron Leftwich keeping his captain status. I figured that was a good look and I wanted to read the story. Well the post actually had two parts. The first part did indeed talk about Leftwich continuing to hold the title of captain. But in the second part it seems that Coach Raheem Morris took a shot at Coach Tony Dungy.

Morris also addressed the general struggles that the team has faced through three games, using some questionable reasoning.

"[W]hen [Tony] Dungy was here, they were starting slow every year," Morris said. "They would be 0-3, 0-1 or 0-4 and they would run off six or seven wins, take their team to the playoffs, go 9-7, and lose to the Eagles. That was just the nature of the beast around here."
Ugh. If our eyes aren't deceiving us, Morris seems to be saying that it's OK for the 2009 Bucs to be 0-3 because the Buccaneers under Dungy typically dug a hole and then crawled out of it, only to peter out in the first round of the playoffs.

That's not how we remember it. Because that's not how it went.

In 1997, the Bucs started off 5-0, finished 10-6, won a playoff game over the Lions, and lost in the divisional round to the Packers.

In 1999, the Bucs started 2-1, went 11-5, won the NFC Central, and nearly beat the supposedly unbeatable Rams for a berth in Super Bowl XXXIV.

In 2000, the Bucs started 3-0, a far cry from 0-2.

In 2001, the Bucs started 2-1, finished 9-7, and lost to the Eagles in the playoffs.

Indeed, the only year the Bucs went 9-7 and lost to the Eagles in the playoffs was 2001, Dungy's last year with the team.

The bigger problem is that Morris seems to think that the 2009 Bucs are simply going to wake up from an 0-3 nightmare and reel off a bunch of wins simply because he incorrectly recalls that losing early and winning late was the modis operandi during a completely different era in the franchise's existence.

Now being as that I was a part of every one of the six years that Coach Dungy coached here in Tampa, I feel more than qualified to speak on this. And what Raheem Morris said was damned disrespectful not only to Coach Dungy, but to all of the guys who helped to set a new standard of excellence with the Buccaneers during those years. Instead of focusing on his own shortcomings he seems to feel like if he convinces everyone that Tampa's teams just always start slow then they will give him a pass. Well not only is he wrong on his history but really who the hell wants to explain away their failure by implying its "just how things are done down here"?

I have to wonder why Morris was so willing to take an erroneous shot at Coach Dungy in the first place. He hasn't coached this team since 2001, so why, if Raheem wanted to take a shot, didn't he do so at Coach Gruden whose tenure at least might have been relevant to the conversation. Indeed in 2002, the year the Bucs won the Superbowl, Gruden's Bucs DID start off the season slow then went on a late season run which they carried over into the playoffs. I will leave it up to people smarter than me to figure out the man's logic.

Here is what I do know however, Coach Dungy is owed a public apology from Coach Morris for what he said and to a certain extent so are those of us who turned the Bucs from a laughingstock to a powerhouse during Coach Dungy's tenure. I hear that Coach Morris is big on accountability, how he handles his own erroneous statement will say a lot about whether he practices what he preaches.

Cheers For Chad Johnson Errrr Ochocinco

And, of course, Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco sees this as an opportunity to push the individuality envelope. He has indicated, Twitter style, that he plans to wear pink shoes and gloves for the entire month of October, and to supplement them with a pink chin strap and a pink mouthpiece.

He also says that he'll match any fines imposed with a donation, most likely to breast cancer research groups.

I don't know for sure whether or not this move by Chad Johnson is purely about raising money for and awareness of breast cancer research or whether its about his need for attention, but knowing the stigma that men face for wearing pink especially in a sport like football I still believe he deserves some accolades for taking it over the top. As someone who has lost their mother to breast cancer I know how important it is to get the word out. And if him going all out with the pink helps to do that then I for one am all for it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Turns out twitter has claimed its first victim.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — David Clowney might think twice before tweeting from now on.

The New York Jets' speedy wide receiver was benched by an angry coach Rex Ryan for the team's game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday after Clowney complained on Twitter about a lack of playing time.

"I was upset with him, yep," Ryan said Monday. "For a couple of reasons. One of them is you'll hear things if a guy's unhappy or whatever. I'm not a big Twitter guy, but you hear different things. To me, this is about our team and understanding this is about our team. No individual is bigger than the team."

A few hours after the Jets beat New England 16-9 last Sunday, Clowney tweeted: "1 play in the 1st Half, 4 plays in the 2nd half ... A bit disappointed about my playing time but very happy and satisfied about the win."

Clowney added in a subsequent tweet that, "My team always comes first so I'ma just keep grinding."

Honestly I don't see anything wrong with what the guy tweeted. If I have a guy on my team who is happy riding the bench then we are going to have a problem. In both tweets he said regardless of his dissappointment he was happy with the win though. In fact I think his answer was about pitch perfect when it comes down to it. He didn't blame anyone for his playing time. He didn't say the coaches don't like him or he "deserved" more playing time. He just said he would have liked to have played more. I will bet you dollars to donuts that Coach Ryan didn't even read what the kid tweeted and just assumed he came with some TO mess. This was overkill if you ask me and what you are going to end up seeing is that sooner or later if this continues the NFLPA will have to step in and file a grievance. There is no team policy that you can't twitter and if there isn't guys have a right to free speech. Benching a guy hurts his reputation and his ability to make plays which is how NFL players get paid in their next contract.

I can't remember a time that a guy was benched because of such innocuous comments in any interview on TV or in print so its obvious that this is largely just a shot at those players using twitter in general. If the NFL wants to ban twittering altogether then they should do that, or at least attempt to. But bullying a guy trying to make an example is a buncha bullshit if you ask me.

A Glimpse Into The Future

I know people are wondering what starting Josh Johnson will mean for the Bucs' prospects this weekend in Washington. Now I can't say that he will definitely lead them to victory because this will be uncharted territory for him and it is after all only his second year. But the kid brings some above average athleticism with him when he straps it on this weekend and the fact that he can run as well as through should help him greatly when all else fails.

Here is a clip from a preseason game where Johnson took it to the house. But I don't want you to focus on the level of competiton because obviously he is going against the backups for the Tennessee Titans, many of whom probably didn't even make the team. But let the clip play all the way through then go back and replay it and watch it while keeping an eye on the youtube seconds counter. Notice how fast he gets from about the 49 yard line to the endzone even after he takes his foot off the gas right at the end.

That, my friends, was an impressive run no matter what the level of competition. Expect to see that kind of athleticism on display come 1pm Sunday afternoon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Josh Johnson Is Your New Starting Quarterback

The Bucs pulled the trigger today and replaced starting quarterback Byron Leftwich with second year pro Josh Johnson. Although Leftwich put up decent numbers in the first two games I don't think this move is that much of a surprise to anybody who was paying attention. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that I questioned the Bucs naming Leftwich the starter over Luke McCown in the first place. The same factor that I pointed to then is the same reason the Bucs are pointing to now in making the change, Leftwich's lack of mobility. The NFL just isn't a league where you can have a statue at quarterback anymore. By making this move this early in the season its almost a tacit acknowledgement that they picked the wrong guy.

But here is the deal, by giving Josh Johnson the opportunity to start the Bucs might end up putting themselves in a very tough position.

See I am a fan of Johnson's. I am not ready to annoint the kid a Pro Bowler or anything, but I do think he is extremely talented and had he gone to a bigger school would have been an early round selection. His stats in college were absolutely gaudy, 113 touchdown passes and over 11,500 yards of total offense for his career. He has a big time arm as he showed yesterday and he can make all the throws. But on top of that this guy is fast and lightning quick. The Bucs have a pretty good offensive line as it is, but if the pocket breaks down he can make big things happen with his feet. And maybe best of all, he makes quick decisions with the ball in his hands.

So after saying all these nice things about Johnson you might be wondering what's the problem, well the Bucs almost need for Johnson to only be average at best. The reason for that is because the Bucs drafted they guy who they describe as their quarterback of the future, Josh Freeman, in the first round this year. It will be mighty inconvenient for them should Johnson get in there and set the world on fire. And honestly I am not so sure he won't.

You see we have a lot of talent on offense whether people realize it or not. Aside from Sean Mahan our offensive line is outstanding and so are our running backs. Also Antonio Bryant, our best and most explosive receiver, is finally getting back healthy after a knee injury in the preseason. He along with Michael Clayton give us a very athletic tandem and if yesterday is any indication Johnson already has a pretty good rapport with one of the back up wide receivers, Sammie Stroughter. And you can't forget about our tight ends, especially now that Kellen Winslow Jr seems to be getting open with a lot more frequency.

Josh Johnson has been named quarterback at a time when he will have a lot of talent around him and when we have the inept Redskins up next on the schedule. If Johnson can have a good game and lead us to a victory or at least keep it close then he has a good shot at keeping the starting job at least until the off week. That means he will have the opportunity to play against the Eagles, the Panthers, and the Patriots.

Now just imagine for a moment that Johnson plays well over the next four games. How hard will it be for the Bucs to justify pulling him if he is putting us in a position to win? As a second year player he could be really good for a really long time, but what happens with the first round pick? Will the Bucs really be able to resist calls to put Freeman in considering the amount of money they invested in him this year? We already know that Head Coach Raheem Morris keeps referring to Johnson as his long term backup quarterback ala "Jason Garrett", but what if Johnson himself has other ideas?

The problem of course is that if Johnson is playing well and gets yanked in favor of Freeman who then goes out and stinks up the joint then it will be seen, probably rightly so, as the coaching staff and ownership giving up on this season. How many people are going to line up to pay good money to come out and see a team that has no chance to win? How many people are going to support a team that is $30 million under the salary cap but won't invest in any new talent? If Josh Johnson plays the way I think he is capable of playing he could affect a lot about what the Bucs are going to do for the future.

Now this will all be a moot point if Johnson ends up laying an egg, but I just have a feeling in my gut that he won't. This kids seems to exude that "it" factor that nobody can quantify but you know it when you see it. I don't know if his play will translate in to wins for us, he can't play defense too after all, but I do think you are going to see a different kind of swagger from out offense with him in the game. I for one am excited after being pretty negative after the game yesterday. I didn't really think there would be much of a reason to be hopeful for this season after that debacle yesterday but now I am willing to keep an open mind and give the Bucs the benefit of the doubt. I don't know how far Johnson can lead us but I am willing to tune in to find out. My advice to you would be to find a way to get over the first three games and do the same.

Bucs Film Review: New York Giants Week 3

I want to start off this review with some general thoughts about the game. It was obvious that the Giants were a better, more talented team than we were yesterday. But I don't believe they were or are THAT much better than we are. I will give the team praise for not giving up even after the game was out of hand. But a few things are really bothering me that were exposed to a greater extent yesterday than they had been to date.

My biggest beef right now is with the defense. For one it does not appear that the linebackers and secondary have a really good grasp of their run fits. In my opinion this is a direct result of trying to have our defensive tackles two gap instead of playing one gap defense. Not only that, but for some reason which ever defensive tackle is playing in the A gap are playing a G technique, head up on the guard, instead of a shaded technique on the shoulder of the center. Not only is that giving the opposing team's center a direct line up to your linebackers, its also creating a situation where that A gap is getting too wide for one player to hold down. Now in my experience you play a G technique mostly when an offense has you spread out and by formation takes your linebacker out of the box. But the Giants were going with two TE formations so there didn't seem to be a need for this.

Another thing that is bothering me is that our blitzes seem to be poorly designed. Several times in the last two games we have blitzed Rhonde Barber off the edge without sending the defensive end to his side inside the nearest blocker. Basically that means you end up with two guys outside the end man on the line of scrimmage which both leaves us vulnerable to a run inside and keeps either guy from being able to come down the line of scrimmage and make a play. Its one thing for us not to be able to generate any pass rush from our 4 man front, but our blitzes may actually be even worse when it comes down to it. We rarely get any pressure on the quarterback and we leave our corners on an island and susceptible to the deep ball.

Then there was the hand full of times on third down when our defensive line lined up with three guys on the right side of the center and one guy on the left. What he hell was that all about? I believe in moving people around, but anybody with even a little football knowledge knows that most teams do their rollouts and half rolls to our left an their right. By putting three players on the right side of the center we were practically inviting the Giants to rollout on us which they did and only didn't get a big play because of illegal motion. And also it invites them to run a draw which they did and got good yardage. I just don't get what that was supposed to accomplish anyway.

On offense we simply did not try to run the ball nearly enough. I know that we didn't have all that much success running the ball early, but at home and with a good team like the Giants you have to just keep pounding it up in there. You end up shortening the game by running the clock and you wear down the opposing team's defense in the heat and humidity down here if you make them keep defending the run. Instead we started trying to throw the ball a lot which put a lot of pressure on our offensive line to block some of the better pass rushers in the league. And that's not even to mention all of the blitzing the Giants were doing. And sure enough after our defense got a rare three and out in the first half, the offense comes out and on the first play of the drive Byron Leftwich gets hit as he is throwing the ball and the Giants pick it off.

Now here is the position breakdown.


Offensive Line: Sean Mahan is just not a good football player. The drop off since Jeff Faine got hurt has been tremendous. Yesterday on successive plays he was involved with double teaming a Giants defensive lineman that ended up making the play. I can't even decide if he is worse at run blocking or pass Boldblocking because he seems to be less than average at both. The rest of the guys held their own for the most part. I did think Donald Penn got called for a bogus hold on Osi Umenyura. But all in all I thought they played winning football.

Tight Ends: Kellen Winslow caught a few passes but he also dropped a couple. Considering the fact that he isn't doing much blocking right now that is simply unacceptable. If all or most of what he does involves catching the ball then he needs to be catching the ball dammit. Jerammy Stevens on the other hand didn't block well nor catch well yesterday and at times appeared to be lazy. He also looked lost at least twice when he stayed in to try to block a blitz and ended up getting turned around both times.

Running Backs: I thought our running backs tried to run hard but they just didn't get enough opportunities. I thought Derrick Ward was going to have a nice day after he started the game running the ball well. Cadillac Williams also had a few nice runs. Both backs also caught the ball well out of the backfield although they didn't end up with many receiving yards.

Wide Receivers: Not a lot of opportunites for this group. Sammie Stroughter had a couple of encouraging catches at the end of the game but Michael Clayton and Antonio Bryant both dropped balls that they could have and should have hauled in.

Quarterbacks: Byron Leftwich had one of the worst games ever for a Buccaneer quarterback. Now if you think about that for a second you will realize just how bad he had to play to reach such a dubious distinction. See as I stated when the Bucs made the decison to go with Leftwich, he has to have time to thrive as a quarterback. Most of that time would come from the running game going well and thus play action pass being effective. But when the running game either isn't working or isn't being called much like it was yesterday, then he is basically a sitting duck. The reason is that he doesn't make quick decisions nor quick throws usually, instead he likes to hold on to the ball until the deeper routes down the field come open.

Well if you do that enough time as a drop back passer you are going to get knocked down by the opposing team's pass rush. And sure enough even when the offensive line had decent protection early, Leftwich would hold the ball just long enough to still take a hit. One of those times led to an interception as I mentioned earlier. But many other times he missed opportunites to just hit guys on underneath routes. By constantly looking for the big play, Leftwich left a bunch of good plays out there on the field yesterday. His lack of mobility, which I also decried previously, was also on full display yesterday. Several times the Giants pass rush was undisciplined and left lanes for Leftwich to run. But because of his lack of mobility he was never able to take advantage.

Enter Josh Johnson. I was impressed with Johnson in the preseason and dissappointed that the Bucs didn't give him more time. Yesterday the brought him in the game in the fourth quarter and you could immediately see a difference on offense. He was able to move around the pocket and avoid the rush and when need be take off and make something happen with his legs. He also had some mustard on his throws and was generally on target the whole drive. In fact it appeared that a few of the wide receivers had trouble making catches because his passes had so much zip on them. He hooked up twice with Sammie Stroughter and they seemed to have a bit of chemistry between them. He also threw a ball that Michael Clayton should have hauled in for a touchdown. He didn't get the team in the endzone but he did march them down into the redzone and in fact mere yards away from the goalline. And he looked damn good doing.

With the Buc's decision to start Johnson the next game against the Washington Redskins I will have much more to say about him in another post shortly.


Defensive Line: The Bucs need to sit Gaines Adams in favor of Greg White. Notice I said "need to". This league is driven by quarterbacks and people who can sack them. Greg White gives us the best opportunity to get constant pressure on the quarterback on any given down. Until we get that our secondary will continue to get picked apart. Not only that but Gaines should not be in on third down anymore either at left end either. Jimmy Wilkerson is our best pass rushing left end by far, and right now he isn't getting a damned thing done as a defensive tackle on third downs. I would much rather have he and Greg coming off the corners and putting someone else in to rush inside. As it stands for he most part we have one guy getting pressure (Greg) and three other guys stuck on one on one blocks on most third downs. That is simply not acceptable and it shouldn't have ever been acceptable. The only reason in my opinion that the Bucs keep putting Gaines at left end on third down to rush anyway is to hide the fact that Greg is just better at pass rushing than he is. But its time out for worrying about hurt feelings. If the Bucs want to win games they will make these moves right now.

For what they are being asked to do I would say that Ryan Simms, Chris Hovan and Roy Miller played pretty good inside. The problem is they are being asked to play 3-4 techniques in a 4-3. How can they be expected to get a pass rush on early downs if they are also coached to run right into the middle of the guards and two gap them on every play?

That's a rhetorical question of course.

Besides that, how are the linebackers supposed to know which gap they have when both defensive tackles are two gapping?

Again another rhetorical question.

But both of those are questions that somebody needs to be asking Defensive Coordinator Jim Bates and if he can't come up with a good answer people need to make a note of it. Nothing about his scheme so far gives me any indication that it would work no matter who the Bucs had playing in it.

Linebackers: I thought both Geno Hayes and Quincy Black played decent, but I am a little dissapointed in Barrett Ruud. For as much talent as the guy obviously has he doesn't seem to be coming downhill on running plays. There was such a contrast watching the Giants linebackers on run plays and then turning around and watching Ruud. Don't get me wrong, he made some really good tackles on Brandon Jacobs yesterday and that is no small feat at all. But because he was running laterally rather than down hill he was making contact 3 yards past the line of scrimmage rather than behind or at the line of scrimmage.

Again it was apparent that several times during the game that the linebackers didn't know where to fit against the run. And if you ask me that is a very bad reflection on the guys coaching the defense.

Secondary: I know this group is much maligned but they actually played reasonably well yesterday. Aqib Talib was all over Steve Smith most of the day but he just wasn't able to make any big plays. Ronde mad several plays in the run game on blitzes and also had decent coverage most of the day. On the one touchdown that he seemed to give up its not clear to me what the coverage was. After watching it several times that if Ronde was playing the coverage the way he had been coached to then he was set up for failure. But unfortunately I have no way of knowing if it was the defense or if Ronde had a bust. Sabby Piscetelli was hit or miss again. He missed several tackles again but he also had some big plays like his tackle on 3rd and one behind the line of scrimmage to force the Giants to attempt a field goal (which they missed) near the end of the first half. I thought Will Allen had a decent game starting in place of the injured and out for the year Jermaine Phillips. If there is one reason to still feel optomistic, its that Tanard Jackson will be back after this next game. Lord knows we need him.

Well that is it for this week. See you again next week for the Redskins game.

Breaking News: Josh Johnson New Starter For The Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that they are benching Byron Leftwich in favor of second year player, Josh Johnson. I will have a LOT more to say about this in a bit...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Redskins Logo


Live Blogging The Bucs Vs Giants Week 3

FTL: Your Questions Answered, 2nd Edition

Over on twitter this evening there seemed to be a misunderstanding about what constitutes a prevent defense. Since this is a topic that will come up frequently at the end of close games I felt the need to explain the concept of a prevent defense and when it should be employed and when it shouldn't.

The basic premise of a prevent defense is that Team A has the lead and are on defense against Team B with the clock running down either at the end of the first half or the end of the game. The basic tenants of a prevent defense is that you only rush 3 or fewer defenders at the quarterback and your secondary along with your linebackers take much deeper drops than they normally would in zone defense. The mission of a prevent defense is, as is implied in the name, to prevent a team from being able to move down the field and score in just a few plays in just a little bit of time. The thought is that you keep everything in front of you and come up and make the tackle in bounds so the clock continues to run.

Now when, if ever, should a prevent defense be employed? Generally if a team is 50 yards or more away from the goalline and Team A is up by more than a touchdown, with 45 seconds or less to go, and Team B has one or no timeouts, then that is the time to use a prevent defense. It may also be employed if there are 30 seconds or less before the end of the first half.

In each of those situations the easiest thing for an offense to do is complete one or two long passes to get in the endzone and win the game. The hardest thing for them to do is to complete 3 or more passes with the clock running down and getting everyone lined up and on the same page without an offensive player jumping and still overcoming all that to get into the endzone.

Now the problem comes in when a Team A tries to employ a prevent defense when Team B has more than a minute on the clock and or has 2 or more timeouts. Inherently when you play a prevent defense you allow Team B to complete passes underneath without much if any hassle because everyone is dropping back deep and the likelyhood of pressuring Team B's quarterback with just a three man rush are very low. Therefore if they have more than a minute they will have the ability to complete 2 or 3 passes and be threatening your redzone, especially if they have more than one time out.

For that reason, when a team goes to a prevent defense outside of the proscribed instances when its called for they are basically seen as playing not to loose and many times will end up getting beat. I know for myself that is a pet peeve of mine when I see teams using a three man rush with lots of time left on the clock. The truth is even with 8 people dropping back in coverage Team B's wide receivers will eventually get open if they have enough time, and by virtue of the fact that three men will have a hard time getting to the quarterback, they will have all the time in the world. Hell I am a proponent of blitzing at least once if a team has more than a minute on the clock just to make the quarterback make a play under duress. Make that guy make a quick decision with the game on the line or, in the case of right before the half, with the clock ticking down. Pressure busts pipes as the saying goes...

Now here is one takeaway I want to leave you with. Just because Team A is playing zone defense at the end of the game does NOT mean they are in prevent defense. It would be idiotic (in my opinion) to try to play man to man every play in a two minute situation. If there is no deep safety help then you are almost asking for a disaster and one will surely come. All it would take is one person in the secondary getting beat and the next thing you know Team B has scored on one play on an easy throw and catch by the quarterback and receiver and somebody might be looking for a job.

So there is nothing wrong with playing zone in a two minute situation as long as its regular zone drops with a four man rush or more. Now the thing to remember is that even in say a regular cover 2, there will be routes that are open. But the mission is not to keep Team B from preventing ANY passes, its to make sure that if they do complete them that they are short and Team A can tackle the wide receiver in bounds.

Of course Team B is coached too and they are allowed to make plays that they aren't technically supposed to be able to. Football will always be a game that is decided by one on one battles inside the game. But its wrong to suggest that a team employing a four man rush and zone coverage as going into a prevent defense. Even though my personal preference is to blitz at least once, even if a team only rushes four its still not justified to call it prevent. And I can promise you that more times than naught rushing four or more and playing coverage works to keep Team B out of the endzone in those situations.

Now if you got confused at any point in this explanation just remember two things.

Team A is the team that has the lead and is on defense with the game on the line.

Team B is the team that is down and has to score at the end of the game or the end of a half.

Then go back and reread it again. If there are any other additional questions about this specific game time situation feel free to ask and I will make sure to answer your questions.

Hope this was helpful.

Football Karma

A quick explanation of football karma. When you make stupid decisions on a football field then football karma makes you pay for it. If you get a penalty on defense on 3rd down when you had the other guys stopped, usually that means the other team will drive down and score. If you try to get greedy and run up the score on a team, usually one of your better players will get hurt. And if you do not use the clock wisely whether its not running the ball late in the 4th quarter when you have a lead or its taking a time out when your opponent doesn't have any left and the clock is winding down then in general you will lose. This is not a scientific thing of course but its the way the ball tends to bounce on any level of football. Please keep this in mind when you see your team make a stupid play/decision that affects the out come of the game

*Explanations of rules "What Will Make You Laugh, Will Make You Cry" and "Right Back At You" to come soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sometimes You Eat The Bear....

...Sometimes the bear eats you!

On a day of upsets in college football, don't make the mistake of labeling this game one.

USF went into Doak and laid the SMACKDOWN on Florida State. They were the better team and they should be given their props for that!

A Lil Old School To Start Off The Day

This was my ish.

Rakim "Mahogany":

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hot Off The Presses: Week 3

After a dismal week 2, I am back with my NFL picks for week 3.


Redskins at Detroit: Redskins. I know the cute pick this week is for Detroit to get their first win in over a year but its not going to happen. In all honesty it probably hurts Detroit's chances that the Redskins almost lost to the Rams last week on the road. They won't be able to catch them slipping this week and the Redskins simply have more talent than the Lions. Besides.....its still the Lions.

Packers at Rams: Packers. Duh.

49ers at Vikings: Vikings. I swear this is a hard pick because while Adrian Peterson is running like a man possessed, the 49ers' defense is balling this year too. But I have to give the edge to the home team here especially with a west coast team coming to the east to play a 1 o'clock game so the Vikings get the nod.

Falcons at Patriots: Patriots. The Patriots are at home and after getting beat up pretty good last week by the Jets they will be looking to rebound. I just have a hunch that the Patriots will play more of their 3-4 package this week and that will help them shore up the defense against the run. The Falcons are not a big blitz team which means Brady should have more time to find his weapons down the field. I also think having Wes Welker back will make their offense a lot more potent.

Titans at Jets: Jets. The Jets made me a believer last week and the Titans gave me more reasons to be skeptical. Its obviously not the Titans' offense that is the problem but their defense in the first two games has looked hapless at times. I am beginning to believe that Chuck Cecil is just in over his head. On the flip side the Jets' defense shouldn't be as explosive against a Titans offense that great at picking up 3-4 blitzing style defenses. But they will make life a living hell for Kerry Collins should he find himself in 3rd and long situations. I don't think the score board will reflect it but I think the Titans are in for an asswhupping this weekend.

Chiefs at Eagles: Eagles. The Eagles unleash Mike Vick on the rest of the league this week and I don't think he will dissappoint. The Chiefs aren't looking good at all right now and they picked the wrong week to have the Eagles on the schedule. Still smarting from the beat down the Saints put on them, I look for the Eagles to bounce back in a major way on Sunday.

Giants at Bucs: Giants. I can't find a game on the Bucs schedule for the rest of the year that I feel comfortable picking them to win. This might get really ugly really fast.

Browns at Ravens: Ravens. Duh.

Jaguars at Texans: Texans. I think their success last week against the Titans may have awakened the beast in the Texans. If they can get this win over the Jags they will set themselves up nicely in their division to start the season off. The Jags need new blood, and I am not talking about the players here.

Saints at Buffalo: Saints. I don't think the Bills have enough bullets in their gun to keep up with the Saints in a blowout.

Bears at Seahawks: Bears. I am actually a little worried about this pick because honestly I think the Seahawks might be more dangerous with Seneca Wallace as the quarterback. But in the end I think the Bears will pull it out.

Steelers at Bengals: Steelers. I like the Bengals this year but they aren't ready to beat the Steelers right now.

Broncos at Raiders: Broncos. I don't think anybody will enjoy watching this game but I think the Broncos will pull it out at the end. If the Raiders' receivers ever start catching the ball though its going to be hell for their opponents.

Dolphins at Chargers: Chargers. San Diego is at home and they have big receivers for the Dolphins to contend with and I don't think the Dolphins are going to be completely over that heartbreaking loss to the Colts.

Colts at Cardinals: Colts. Peyton Manning. Enough said.

Panthers at Dallas: Dallas. Tony Romo will have a big day after listening to his haters all week.

Hopefully this week is much better than last.

Vol Film Review: Florida Gators

Yes I know I am extra late on this one but it has taken me some time to calm down since Saturday. I was one of the few people who gave Tennessee any kind of chance and a just about predicted the final score last week so in quite a few ways I could feel good about that. But I am a Volunteer through and through and the truth is we had every opportunity to win that game regardless of what anybody else had to say. Here are my observations on offense and defense.


Once again we showed the nation that we can run the ball on anybody. And once again, at key times during the game, we went away from our bread and butter. Montario Hardesty is a down hill hard nosed runner with speed and generally if we can get him going north and south he has success. Our offensive line at time created gaping holes in the Gators defense, and by the end of the game it was apparent that we had physically whipped them up front.

The problem of course is that we still have Jonathan Crompton at quarterback and we have an offensive coordinator/head coach who both has no confidence in him at all, AND keeps calling passing plays that don't have a high probability of success.

In the first half we were running up and down the field on Florida, then we get the ball with first and goal at the 5. After running for 2 yards on first down making it 2nd and goal from the 3. Instead of trying to punch it in and make a statement, Lane Kiffin just couldn't help himself. He calls two passes in a row and neiher one of them is particularly creative. And neither pass is an easy throw or catch. So of course at a time when we are down 10 to 3 instead of getting the ball into the endzone running the ball as we had all the way down the field, we have to settle for a field goal after having first and goal inside the 5 which is the quickest way to lose a game.

Still however we are very much in the game at the half being down only 13-6 and getting the ball first to start the second half. What is most important to me is that we keep this first drive of the half going and pick up a few first downs even if we don't score. The reason being is that we were wearing down the Florida defense in the first half and if they had to go through a long drive to start the 3rd quarter then its likely that they would be done in the 4th quarter.

Instead, Kiffin comes out calling passes again and predictibly Johnathan Crompton throws a pick. Now the announcer tried to make light of the pick as if it was just the same as a punt, but that is unqualified horse shit. When you are on defense you have an expectation of the order of how things should go. When a quarterback throws a pick on third down, its almost like you have been cheated out of one more down of rest. Now that is not to make an excuse for the defense because you still have to go out and hit the offense in the mouth even on sudden change. But I am just being real here, Crompton thrown that pick had to be deflating for a defense that had played reasonably well in the first half.

Now while I am talking about the offense, let me take the time out to address something Urban Meyer said the other day. He said that once the Gators were up on Tennessee 23-6 and we were still running the ball then that showed him that Kiffin wasn't playing to win. Now it should be obvious by now that I am not the biggest Lane Kiffin fan in the world, but facts are facts. When Florida went up 23-6, the very next drive Kiffin called 2 passes out of three plays. It just so happens that we suck at passing right now and we ended up having to punt the ball. But there is no way in hell Meyer could makethe case that Kiffin just gave up on the game. And honestly I lost some respect for the guy because he couldn't just admit that Tennessee got off in his teams' ass and gave them all they could handle.

I also take issue with the rhetoric of the commentators for the game. Time and time again they kept saying how Tennessee needed to pass more or they wouldn't have a chance at winning the game. Funny thing about that though, see we through the ball EXACTLY the same number of times that Florida did. AND Florida actually ran the ball 12 more times than we did. So does that mean Florida should have thrown the ball more or that they weren't really trying to win?

Please don't take someone's word as gold just because they have a job on TV, that's all I'm saying.

But I digress.

The truth is of course that because we run the ball a lot better than we throw it at this point that our best option is and will be for the forseable future is to hand the ball off. And once we got back to that in the fourth quarter, Hardesty went back to tearing through the Gator defense like tissue paper. And eventually he got our last touchdown pulling us with in 10 points at 23 to 13.

It is at this point that I feel the need to point out that I am not anti passing the ball. Hell I am a fan of some of the most prolific offenses ever. One of the thrills of my life was playing the high powered "Greatest Show on Turf" of the St Louis Rams in the NFC Championship game of 1999. (It was even more of a joy to all but shut them down) But you have to go with what your strength is and right now we have a physical offensive line and a stable of running backs to go along with a quarterback who no one, including himself, has any confidence in.

And even when we do throw the ball, what the hell is wrong with going with the easy pass routes? Where are our 10 yard outs? Where are our crossing routes? Where are our quick slants? Where are our screen passes?

If there is one thing I can't stand, its a supposed "guru" who so complicates an offense that it can't even perform basic plays in the passing game.

Montario Hardesty had 20 carries for 96 yards, I feel like with more carries he wins the game for us. Bryce Brown while a great talent is still running like a high school back, always trying to take the ball outside when the cut back is wide open. I also don't think we are using David Oku nearly enough as he is a back who has a lot more wiggle and probably can exploit some of the huge holes our offensive line creates even better than Hardesty or Brown even if its only on spot duty.


I liked a lot of what I saw on defense, obviously, but there were also things that left me scratching my head. Holding the Gators offense to 23 points, especially considering how many times they made it deep into our territory, was a major feat, as was getting Tim Tebow on the ground for a couple of sacks. We had a great big play in the fourth quarter forcing Tebow to fumble which was returned across the 50 yard line to set up a Tennesse touchdown. More than anything else what was most encouraging was the fact that the defense didn't give up at all even when it looked like the game was out of reach.

Now here are the things I didn't like. For whatever reason Monte Kiffin decided to run some 3-4 fronts against Florida on early downs. Now I like the 3-4 defense, especially for its blitz packages on 3rd down. But its not what you would call a great defense to play against an option team, especially if you don't have some absolute monsters at linebacker. Now physically we actually matched up pretty well against Florida, but the problem is that because we aren't primarily a 3-4 team our adjustments to the Gator formations was off. In a 3-4 defense the outside linebackers, which for us are just the normal defensive ends, have to adjust when there are two or more wide recievers to their side. In a 4-3 one of the outside backers is the one who makes that adjustment. Against Florida when we lined up in a 3-4 and they came out with two wide receivers on a side one of our middle linebackers would adjust as if we were playing a 4-3 leaving us vulnerable up the middle.

This is how Florida was able to use formations to open up their option running game whenever they saw us in that look.

We also were just bad when it came to tackling Tebow. The play that probably won the game for the Gators was when we had him dead to rights for a sack and he ends up shaking off one tackle and avoiding another to pick up the first down in the third quarter on the drive that eventually put them up 23-6. I am not saying that it is easy to bring Tebow down because we all know that isn't the case. But what I am talking about is the angles that we took to get to him and not wrapping up on contact. With better tackling this game would have looked quite differently in my opinion.

Another gripe I have is with Monte blitzing on 3rd and extra long. Right now our four man rush is outstanding and we harrassed Tebow all day with just four guys. I could see blitzing Tebow on 3rd and medium or short to try tog et the ball out of his hands quickly. But on 3rd and 16 we have to let our defensive line do their job and play coverage at times. Had we done that then there is no way Tebow would have been able to complete that pass to his tight end on a screen for a big first down in the first half. And the sad thing is he almost pulled it off again in the second half as well.

These are major issues but nothing that isn't fixable and its hard for me to really bash the defense when they played lights out for most of the game.

Now just as a quick note on special teams, WHO THE HELL THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO KICK OFF TO BRANDON JAMES?! Seriously, whoever that coach is should be running stadium stairs this week. (Staring at Lane Kiffin)

To sum it all up, we have a lot of talent on this team and more than enough to overcome our deficiencies at quarterback. But we are going to need a little better coaching to put guys in the best positions to win in order for us to make it through this season with a respectable record. If not, if we don't start making some adjustments particularly on offense, this is going to be one hell of a long season.

Im just sayin.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There Go Dat Man

Ray Lewis destroying Darren Sproles in the backfield to preseve the Raven's road win over the Chargers.

One of the most unappreciated aspects of this tackle is low Ray Lou got in order to form tackle Sproles, one of the more elusive backs in the league right now.

Week 2 Picks Revisited

Man did I take it on the chin this week. I thought I had some great upsets picked but its obvious I was looking for something that wasn't there. I went 8-8 but I don't think I will make that same mistake again.


Panthers at Falcons: Falcons. After a very bad week last week for Panther QB Jake Delhomme it doesn't get much better Sunday against the Falcons. John Abraham will be harrassing him all game as will the rest of his defensive line mates. The Panthers defense will also be on their hills trying to contain Falcons running back Michael Turner. I can see the Panthers performing better on offense this week, but not well enough to pull one out against the Falcons in their house.


Vikings at Detroit: Vikings. Duh


Bengals at Packers: Packers. This one will be closer than folks think but the Bengals just don't have enough to keep up at this point.

It was in fact closer than people thought. So close that the Bengals beat the Packers at home. SMDH. Loss

Texans at Titans: Titans. After rewatching the Titans/Steelers game I am convinced that the Titans are for real this year. And the Texans are going to end up being the one to pay for the Titans loss last week.

I can't read the Titans right now because their defense is so hit or miss. They have more than enough talent but I think Chuck Cecil just isn't making the adjustments nor being aggressive enough with the pieces he has. It is a shame too because the Titans, specifically Chris Johnson, put on a damn show running the ball. But then they had to sit on the sideline and watch Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson put on a show throwing and catching the ball. Loss

Raiders at Chiefs: Raiders. I think the Raiders may come out really confident after almost knocking the Chargers off on Monday night. Combine that with the fact that I now detest Todd Haley because of how he tried to come in and "lay down the law" and thats how I picked the Raiders in a game that could truly go either way.


Patriots at Jets: Patriots. Look for Brady to go up top to Moss at least twice and for this one to get ugly early and often. The Patriots D will still be shaky but the Jets simply won't be able to out score the Pats.

Two things. The Patriots need to go back to their base 3-4 defense because they don't look comfortable in a 4-3 and evidently they don't have many pressure packages out of a 4-3 either because by my count they didn't blitz at all in the first half and only maybe 5 times in the second half mostly out of desparation. The other thing is Brady is going to have to take more shots down the field to Moss and Galloway or teams will not respect him anymore. I know he threw the one pick when he tried to go deep to Moss but that wasn't a pass that really had a shot of working. In fact it looked very much like a clearout route by Moss because he stemmed outside instead of inside. If he doesn't start making teams pay big time for blitzing him then he will see variations of what the Jets did to him for the rest of the year. Loss

Saints at Eagles: Eagles. Check here for analysis.

I was wrong, the Saints are a juggernaut on offense right now. Not sure who can be their kryptonite but if I had to guess that it will be injuries if anything stops them this year. Loss

Rams at Redskins: Deadskins. Self explanatory.

Win, barely. The Deadskins should be ashamed.

Cardinals at Jaguars: Cardinals. I think the Jaguars are a good team but I think Jack Del Rio is going through some kind of mid life meltdown right now. Combine that with the fact that I think Warner will get off the bus chunking the ball down the field and I think the Cardinals steal one in Jacksonville.


Seahawks at 49ers: 49ers. Its a new day in the bay and the 49ers' defense ain't playing no games. It will be close but I expect 49ers to pull it out in the end.


Bucs at Bills: Bucs. Check here for analysis.

Loss and I don't know if the Bucs have a game on their schedule right now that I would be comfortable picking them to win the rest of the season.

Steelers at Bears: Bears. Check here for analysis.


Browns at Broncos: Broncos. Browns have to go cross country to that thin air. Plus they lost the coin flip lol. This game could also go either way.


Ravens at Chargers: Chargers. I love the Ravens' defense and I love their running game. But I think the combination of a east coast to west coast road trip and the big Chargers receivers as well as Shawne Merriman coming after Joe Flacco all add up to equal a win for the home team.

Loss. I should know better than to bet against Ray Lou

Giants at Cowboys: Cowboys. No this isn't a homer pick. I think the Cowboys have the advanatage of being at home. I think they also have more weapons on offense than the Giants can match up with. I also think the Giants will have their hands full blocking Jay Ratliff this week and for once the Giants will face a defense with linebackers that are big enough to take on Brandon Jacobs and win the majority of those battles. I think Martellius Bennett in particular will have a big game as Romo gets more comfortable throwing him the ball.

Loss. The Cowboys have a lot to fix, particularly on defense but it is all fixable.

Monday Night Football

Colts at Dolphins: Dolphins. Yeah I know this won't be a popular pick but the Dolphins are at home, their running game will be kryptonite to the Colts' defense, Peyton Manning traditionally has had a hard time with 3-4 defenses, and they are missing one of their weapons in Anthony Gonzales. For those reasons, give me the Dolphins at home for upset of the weekend.

So close man. But close only counts in horseshoes. Loss

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Huge Loss For The Bucs

I was worried about this in the preseason.

Jermaine Phillips' season is over.

The longtime Bucs safety was placed on injured reserve today after further examination of a broken left thumb he suffered in Sunday's game.

This is Phillips' third broken bone in the past two seasons. And his lengthy injury history -- almost all of it broken bones in his arms and hands -- dates to 2004.

The Bucs today also released safety Steve Cargile, who was added over the weekend for depth. It's expected they will make a move to address to loss of Phillips as they now have two open roster spots.

Because Jermaine Phillips has been hurt so much in his career I never liked the idea of moving him to linebacker instead of going out and bringing one in. Besides that the Bucs made the move without knowing for sure if Sabby Piscetelli was up to taking over his role. And with the 4 game suspension of Tanard Jackson the dominoes all started falling down.

Now I have actually been pleasantly surprised by Geno Hayes' play so far (as long as he can get to the stadium on time from now on) but he is really not the kind of playmaker you need playing that position. And now, with Flip out, who can anyone point to as a playmaker on our defense? Ronde for sure can still bring it but having a cornerback who makes most of his big plays when lined up on the slot receiver as the only identifiable play maker on your team is a recipe for disaster in the NFL. And if anybody seriously believes that the Glazers are doing all they can to win when we are $30 million dollars under the salary cap and no playmakers on defense then I have some swampland down the road to sell you.

Bad days are ahead my friends.

Deep Thought

If the University of Miami can get by Virginia Tech this weekend, they might end up in the National Championship...

That's Some Willie Beamen Type Ish

Evidently the Minnesota Vikings don't give a damn about Tavaris Jackson's career.

In the second quarter of the Vikings' 27-13 victory over Detroit on Sunday, Jackson was the up man for a punt by Chris Kluwe. The look came as a surprise to many. So what did Jackson think about it?

"Do I really have to cover a punt?" he said Monday when asked about his debut on special teams. "I guess the more you can do."

Jackson wasn't completely surprised because he had been taking part in special teams practices to prepare for the possibility of being used as the player who stands between long snapper Cullen Loeffler and Kluwe. The formation had three players stacked to the far left and three more to the far right. The ball was snapped to Kluwe but Jackson acted as if he was going to get it and then faked a pass to wide receiver Darius Reynaud, who was set up to the left.

As the punt left Kluwe's foot, Jackson ran down the field to cover. All the while he was watching his back. "Knowing that I'm a quarterback, I know they'll probably try to take a shot at me," he said. "It was different. A lot different."

Now I hear a lot of TV sports commentators talking about the risks to NFL quarterbacks when their team runs the Wildcat formation. Mind you in that scenario the quarterback is just flexed out wide and usually has next to nothing to do with the play. It not like the Miami Dolphins have asked Chad Pennington to stalk block the strong safety. And still these pundits bemoan the risk of injury.

Well I wonder what the hell they have to say about a team sending their second string quarterback in to run down and cover a punt.

Keep in mind here that Jackson started and won quite a few games last year and that its highly likely that he will start again in this league. That is if he doesn't separate his shoulder trying to tackle a return man because, in the immortal words of the fictional character Willie Beamon in "Any Given Sunday", a coach thought he had quick feet. I can't imagine Matt Leinart being asked to cover a punt and right now Jackson has the more promising career.

I can't imagine what they said to convince Jackson to go in and run down on punt team but I hope for the sake of good reason that his agent intervenes. The more I think about it the more I feel like this was a major sign of disrespect from the Vikings. And he doesn't have to be their crash dummy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bucs Film Review: Buffalo Bills Week 2

Rather than go position by position I am just going to do offense and defense because I have quite a bit to say but only a few players that need to be mentioned by name.


I thought the offense actually played relatively well. Sean Mahan was the weakest link on the offensive line but he didn't make too many obvious mistakes and for the most part the pass protection held up and the run blocking was better than average. Byron Leftwich showed the best and the worst part of his game. When he stood tall in the pocket and threw the ball down the field he looked outstanding. But when he got pressure on him then he got exposed as he did when he threw the pick six. Leftwich ended up with just under 300 yards passing and 3 touchdowns which isn't bad at all on the road in a hostile environment. We only had 57 net yards rushing but because we were down early the team only ran the ball 19 times. I thought Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham looked good running but Caddy's timing seemed to be a little off. If one person stood out on offense it was Kellen Winslow Jr who had 7 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

The most encouraging thing to me was that the offense fought its collective ass off all the way up till the last seconds of the game. Even when the game was all but over they were all still giving maximum effort. Which brings me to the...


Frankly the defense should be embarrassed about their effort yesterday. In football when a player doesn't run their hardest to get to a play or you see a change of speed on film, that is what is known as a "loaf". There were so many loafs watching the tape of the game that I couldn't even count them all.

Now I hate to pick on the guy because I feel he has gotten a bad rap since he has been here, but yesterday was an all around terrible game for Gaines Adams. It is one thing not to get any sacks, but I did not see him get even one good rush all game. Not only that, he had at least two penalties and should have had a third. Then at the end of the game when we desperately needed the ball back I didn't see any sense of urgency from him. Now Greg White wasn't perfect either but there is just a big gap between the two of them right now when it comes to pass rush. With Greg at least you see him getting into a move and turning the corner or countering and coming underneath. The majority of times with Gaines all you see him do is run into the guy and then go side to side.

At some point the defensive coaches are going to have to address this because everybody on defense sees the same film. And if one guy is obviously outperforming the other but doesn't get to start then the coaches will start to lose credibility.

Jimmy Wilkerson actually had a pretty good game yesterday and had a sack and several other really good rushes. Which reminds me again that because the Bucs just HAVE to have Gaines in on third down then Wilkerson has to move inside where he is much less effective. I can promise you this much, the rest of the teams the Bucs face this year would much rather have Gaines and Greg in at end than Jimmy and Greg, that's for sure.

This isn't hate because I happen to like Gaines as a person and I still think he has a lot of potential. But this in the NFL and you have to frikkin perform when your number is called and right now he just isn't getting it done.

I thought Ronde had an outstanding game other than the long touchdown he gave up to Lee Evans which brings me to another topic. Our scheme absolutely sucks. I had my reservations when I saw it in the preseason and my impression has only gotten worse. First of all when you are a coordinator, whether offensive or defensive, you play to your players' strengths and you design the defense or the offense in such a way as to show case their skills. Now on a handful of blitzes with Ronde this has been the case, but for the most part the rest of the time its like Jim Bates is tryingn to put a bunch of square pegs in some round holes.

The Bucs ran the same blitz in the first game and the second game where the defensive end loops inside and the slot corner/nickelback blitzes off the edge. I have yet to see this blitz work or even come close to working. Not only that, but yesterday it was apparent that someway somehow the Bills always, and I do mean ALWAYS knew when we were blitzing. And each and every time their adjustment was to go over the top because we kept playing our corners up in bump and run. The reality is we were damned lucky to only get hit on two long bombs.

Not only that but its rare to see our defensive line do any stunts on early downs. The reason this is a major problem is because it gives the offense stationary targets. Even if we only do a handful of line stunts a game the result is that now the offensive line can't step off as confidently in the run game and may hesitate coming off the ball. It also helps to get defensive linemen into a pass rush game versus play action pass.

Needless to say I haven't been impressed with Bates so far this year. But we shall see if it gets any better from here on out.

One of the major problems we had yesterday is something we have to get fixed immediately and that is piss poor tackling. I don't know what in the hell was going on but it seemed like guys just took turns not wrapping up or just totally wiffing on the Bills' running back Fred Jackson. There is no reason earth that this guy should get 160+ yards on our defense. Most of it came on yards after contact too.

Now I am always going to ride with the Bucs because I have blood sweat and tears invested in that team. But I will be damned if I hold my tongue when they put that kind of product out on the field. We put in too many long hours and too much effort into building the brand up to respectability to have it ruined by some guys who don't seem to have that much pride. Now to be sure I am not talking about every guy on defense, but the ones I AM talking about surely know who they are.

Get this shit together Bucs and lets get a win next week!

Tune Out The Tony Romo Haters

Lets imagine for a moment an alternate universe. In this universe the Dallas Cowboys defense stops the New York Giants offense on either 3rd and 6 or 3rd and 4 on the final drive of the game to preserve a 31-30 point win over the New York Giants. What do you think the headlines would be today?

Well consider this. On the previous drive the Cowboys got the ball with seven minutes and change left on their own 30 yard line down 6 points. And they proceeded to go 70 yards down the field and score a touchdown.

Now to be sure the bulk of the yardage was eaten up by the running backs, specifically Marion Barber. And the culmination of the drive was a Felix Jones run in to the endzone, not a pass from Tony Romo. However Romo did hit Witten on a crucial 3rd and 8 for the first down plus about 4 yards.

So I ask again, what would the headlines be had he defense held on to the one point lead?

I imagine what the headlines WOULDN'T say is what they are saying today. Namely that Romo is basically a loser who "can't win the big one". Now I have problems with Tony Romo of my own, and by no means did he play a great game, but to use this loss as some kind of litmus test on his ability to win or lose is ridiculous if you ask me.

Here is what you will hear all day long. That Romo has to protect the ball and that he can't turn it over 3 times. Now being a defensive minded guy I largely agree with that sentiment. I think which ever team wins the turn over ratio generally will win the game. And for that reason a major emphasis has to be placed on not carelessly turning it over.

But here is the truth, while Tony Romo threw three interceptions last night, he really only made one bad decision. The ball he threw up for Sam Hurd in the fourth quarter that was picked off by the Giants' safety Kenny Phillips was definitely a poor decision. Even if he didn't see the safety (which I don't believe for a second) the underneath defender already had him played relatively well. Not only that but there appeared to be receivers running underneath routes who were open and available. What made it even worse is that at the time the Cowboys were nursing a 4 point lead. It wasn't the kind of play that we "needed" at the time. And of course the fact that the Giants ended up driving it all the way down to score a touchdown just pours salt in the wound.

As for the other two picks, Romo made the right read both times but ended up making physical errors. On the pick six in the first half he threw to Roy Williams on an in route but the ball sailed on him and went right into the hands of Giants cornerback, Bruce Johnson. But it still was the correct place to go with the ball because Williams was open. On the fourth quarter pick, I mean seriously that was just a freak incident. You could watch football for years and years and never see a play like that happen. Again in that situation he went to the right guy, Jason Witten, who had the favorable match up but he threw the ball just behind him and he couldn't hang on to it. The ball hits his foot and goes right up into Kenny Phillips' hands who was trailing him on the play. It was such a freak play that even the refs initially got it wrong and had to go to a replay.

But the reality is, if anything, these two plays illustrate the fact that Tony Romo IS a winner. You want to know what happened after he threw the pick six right before the end of the first half? He didn't sulk, he didn't go in the tank. Instead he lead the team all the way down with 40 seconds left from his own 35 to the Giants 45 for a field goal. What did he do after the freak interception off of Witten's foot? He led the touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that I alluded to earlier.

Does that sound like a loser to you? Does that sound like a guy who "can't win a big game"?

Now in full disclosure I have been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys practically my whole life. But this has nothing to do with being a homer for the team. You want to hear me criticize them? Ask me about the sorry exhibition of tackling from our secondary last night. Ask me about Felix Jones fumbling a kickoff return when Miles Austin should be the return man anyway. Ask me about the fact that we only had one guy last night getting consistent pressure on the quarterback. Ask me about the blitzes that we kept calling that had no shot of getting pressure on the quarterback. Ask me about why our corners kept allowing the Giants receivers inside versus the blitz. And last but not least, ask me about Bobby Carpenter because I have a lot to say about that weak link.

But when it comes to football I watch from a different lens from most. I go by the available evidence to form my opinions, not some hack talking non stop on the Tee Vee. And having played and coached the game I see things that the average fan doesn't. That's why I decided to watch the game again this morning, so that I wouldn't get caught up in emotion in my analysis and instead I would rely on what the tape showed me. What you are reading in this post is about reality versus the perception you will hear all day on places like ESPN.

Fact: The Cowboys scored 31 points last night against a very good New York Giant defense.

Fact: Of those 31 points Romo accounted directly for 14 of them with a passing and a rushing touchdown.

Fact: He gave the Cowboys the lead in the third quarter and again in the fourth quarter.

Again he did not have a great game, but he for damn sure wasn't Jake Delhomme either. The pundits today who are throwing him under the bus are just repeating what is generated in Cowboys hating echo chamber.

In fact watching the game again this morning I find more problems with the Cowboys defense than their offense. Turnovers aside they still allowed Eli Manning to throw for over 300 yards and the Giants had two receivers with 10 catches and over 130 yards a piece. For the second week in a row the Cowboys also didn't get any sacks. I am beginning to believe that the loss of Greg Ellis, who just so happened to have two sacks yesterday for the Raiders, was bigger than most people imagined.

All in all though I don't see a reason to panic at all. Aside from Marion Barber's injury just about everything else is correctable. And just to reiterate, the Giants aren't exactly the Lions anyway. And even with all of the mistakes we made last night on both offense and defense there was still a lot to like. The offensive line didn't give up a sack and our backs racked up 251 yards on the ground. Our defense held the much feared Giants running game to less than 100 net yards on the ground. And as many yards as our defense gave up to Manning in the air, we held them to four field goals instead of giving up touchdowns when they got close to the red area.

So while there are valid things to complain about with last night's game, saying Tony Romo is a loser isn't one of them, and the sky is definitely not falling.

See you next week for the Carolina Panthers game.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Live Blogging The Bucs Vs Bills Week 2


Rather than talk about this cakewalk of a fight I figure I would post the youtube of UFC's Dana White sounding like an oracle describing why nobody should have paid to see it. Oh and just for shits and giggles, click here to read about the 4 exciting knockouts that happened pretty much at the same time on the UFC card.......which cost $10 less...

Saturday, September 19, 2009


John Witherspoon is a damned fool lol.

Live Blogging The Vols/Gators Game

Against my better judgement I am going to live blog this game. Let the shit talking begin!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hot Off The Presses

After going 12-4 in week one, it is now time to release my picks for week two in the NFL.


Panthers at Falcons: Falcons. After a very bad week last week for Panther QB Jake Delhomme it doesn't get much better Sunday against the Falcons. John Abraham will be harrassing him all game as will the rest of his defensive line mates. The Panthers defense will also be on their hills trying to contain Falcons running back Michael Turner. I can see the Panthers performing better on offense this week, but not well enough to pull one out against the Falcons in their house.

Vikings at Detroit: Vikings. Duh

Bengals at Packers: Packers. This one will be closer than folks think but the Bengals just don't have enough to keep up at this point.

Texans at Titans: Titans. After rewatching the Titans/Steelers game I am convinced that the Titans are for real this year. And the Texans are going to end up being the one to pay for the Titans loss last week.

Raiders at Chiefs: Raiders. I think the Raiders may come out really confident after almost knocking the Chargers off on Monday night. Combine that with the fact that I now detest Todd Haley because of how he tried to come in and "lay down the law" and thats how I picked the Raiders in a game that could truly go either way.

Patriots at Jets: Patriots. Look for Brady to go up top to Moss at least twice and for this one to get ugly early and often. The Patriots D will still be shaky but the Jets simply won't be able to out score the Pats.

Saints at Eagles: Eagles. Check here for analysis.

Rams at Redskins: Deadskins. Self explanatory.

Cardinals at Jaguars: Cardinals. I think the Jaguars are a good team but I think Jack Del Rio is going through some kind of mid life meltdown right now. Combine that with the fact that I think Warner will get off the bus chunking the ball down the field and I think the Cardinals steal one in Jacksonville.

Seahawks at 49ers: 49ers. Its a new day in the bay and the 49ers' defense ain't playing no games. It will be close but I expect 49ers to pull it out in the end.

Bucs at Bills: Bucs. Check here for analysis.

Steelers at Bears: Bears. Check here for analysis.

Browns at Broncos: Broncos. Browns have to go cross country to that thin air. Plus they lost the coin flip lol. This game could also go either way.

Ravens at Chargers: Chargers. I love the Ravens' defense and I love their running game. But I think the combination of a east coast to west coast road trip and the big Chargers receivers as well as Shawne Merriman coming after Joe Flacco all add up to equal a win for the home team.

Giants at Cowboys: Cowboys. No this isn't a homer pick. I think the Cowboys have the advanatage of being at home. I think they also have more weapons on offense than the Giants can match up with. I also think the Giants will have their hands full blocking Jay Ratliff this week and for once the Giants will face a defense with linebackers that are big enough to take on Brandon Jacobs and win the majority of those battles. I think Martellius Bennett in particular will have a big game as Romo gets more comfortable throwing him the ball.

Monday Night Football

Colts at Dolphins: Dolphins. Yeah I know this won't be a popular pick but the Dolphins are at home, their running game will be kryptonite to the Colts' defense, Peyton Manning traditionally has had a hard time with 3-4 defenses, and they are missing one of their weapons in Anthony Gonzalas. For those reasons, give me the Dolphins at home for upset of the weekend.

My (Kinda) Upset Specials Of The Week

Ok so the two games I am going to pick as upset specials aren't necessarily huge surprises, but I feel comfortable in saying that most people are not betting on the teams I am picking to win.

The first game is the Pittsburgh/Chicago game. I am going with the Bears for several reasons. First of all they are the home team and that has been one of the greatest predictors of success in the NFL from time immortal. Also I believe that one of the areas where the Steelers are vulnerable on defense is on covering the tight end. That might be even moreso now that Troy Palomalu is out of the line up. Combine that with the fact that the Bears are probably going to try to feature Greg Olsen after not looking for him Sunday night. That combination to me spells trouble for the Steelers.

Besides that, I wasn't really all that impressed with the Steeler's run defense against the Titans. Now the case can be made that the Bears aren't as good of a running team as the Titans but I still think Matt Forte will have opportunities to gash the Steelers. And again Palomalu being out certainly will contribute to that.

On defense I think that the Titans played the Steelers really well for the most part in the first half last week but they were gun shy about blitzing in the second half. Having watched the game again I have no idea as to why that was because in the first half the Titans blitzed by my count 4 times and had a positive outcome all 4 times. The Bears will have no such proclivities against bringing pressure and their front four will also be coming after Ben Roethlisberger in 4 man rushes as well. I think Adewale Ogunleye will have another big day but I also expect Alex Brown and Mark Anderson to be in Big Ben's face all night too. And when they bring pressure look for Danieal Manning to come from his safety position and try to melt Big Ben's face.

The truth is after watching the Steelers/Titans game again it was apparent to me that the Titans should have won. They were moving the ball all over the field on the Steelers and they missed on two opportunities for field goals in the second half. Now I think the Bears will have all the tools necessary to go out and beat them on Sunday. The only X factor is how Jay Cutler bounces back from his shitty game against the Packers. If he can protect the ball and just take what the defense gives him, the Bears will grind this one out to victory.

The second game is the New Orleans/Philly game. I know a lot of people are high on New Orleans right now and with Donovan McNabb nursing a cracked rib there will be a temptation to go with the Saints to win the game. But I for one am going to have to roll with the Eagles. Again the Eagles are the home team and I don't have to revisit that. I also realize that the Saints have a high powered offense and I don't necessarily think the Eagles will totally shut it down, but you can't over look the Eagles' defensive effort from last week. 5 sacks, 5 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles are just ridiculous.

Not only that but also the Eagles had a great day running the ball also with Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy. In point of fact Donovan only threw for 79 yards before getting hurt although he did throw 2 touchdowns.

And last, but not least, Dexter Jackson is on fire right now. He had a long kickoff return for a touchdown on Sunday and if the Saints looked shaky in any phase of their game against Detroit, it was on special teams.

I still think that the Saints will put points on the board,but I don't think it will be over 21 points and it won't be enough to win the game this week.

These are all just my opinions and predictions, not to be used for gambling purposes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To The White Meat

I was checking out "The Ultimate Fighter" last night so I could watch my boy Marcus Jones do his thing. Unfortunately he didn't get to fight last night or maybe I should say it was fortunately. Because the guy on his team that did fight got his ass tore out the frame. And I mean he got his head busted wide open so bad that the doctor at the very end says (maybe jokingly maybe not) that he could see his skull. And that ladies and gentlemen is why I am NOT a UFC fighter!

(h/t Josh Sanchez)

The Bucs Will Beat The Bills This Sunday

I just kind of had an epiphany. Because the Bucs lost this weekend and gave up quite a few big plays the going conventional wisdom is that they don't have a chance in Buffalo this weekend, especially after the Bills took the Patriots to the brink on Monday. But as they say in boxing, styles make fights and this is one time when I think the matchup favors the Bucs.

First of all I think the Bucs will be able to run the ball at will against the Bills. After going away from the run probably more than they should have against the Cowboys I have a strong suspicion that the Bucs will commit even more to it against the Bills. I also believe after watching Ben Watson burn the Bills for two touchdowns that the Bucs will be favored in that matchup too with Kellen Winslow and Jerramy Stevens threatening the seams. I also don't happen to believe that the Bills pass rush is on the same level as the Cowboys so the offensive line should have an easier time keeping Byron Leftwich clean which they did a pretty good job of this past Sunday.

On defense I think that we will play much better and that we have some guys who can take advantage of the Bills' young and inexperienced offensive line. Not only that but I think they will be much much better against the run than were the Patriots. I don't know that they will be able to contain TO as well as the Patriots did, but I do like Aqib Talib matching up with him for the most part. I also think that because our defense is in tip top condition and we don't have the really big defensive tackles, I don't think the no huddle offense will be a problem at all for them either.

I also expect our special teams to play a lot better, particularly kicker Mike Nugent and return man Clifton Smith. It has to be pointed out that if Nugent doesn't have one kicked blocked and doesn't miss another right before the end of the half then you are talking about a totally different ball game in the second half. If the Bucs execute on special teams this week I expect them to be into the game all the way until the end, pulling it out by a field goal.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.