The race is on in the NFL...no, not the playoffs, the number one draft pick.
OAKLAND RAIDERS - 0-10
Oakland is trying to get out of the competition sitting at 0-10 but they played against division rival Kansas City after I posted this and if they were ever going to upset a good team, the over-confident, full-of-holes Chiefs team would be a great win. WIth three games to prepare and coming off an emotional win over the Super Bowl Champs last week, the Chiefs are dysfunctional enough to blow it against the scrappy Raiders on the road.
Otherwise the Raiders have St. Louis, San Francisco, the Chiefs in KC, Buffalo, and then in Denver. Denver could be a week seventeen snoozefest as the Broncos could shut-down their starters if they have a playoff seed locked up. Oakland has made the right moves running with rookie quarterback Derek Carr and bringing in former Packers wide receiver James Jones. Moving on from the wash-out veteran running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden will help as well.
On defense, the team has not been horrible, as veteran Justin Tuck has helped and rookie Khalil Mack is already one of the best linebackers in football. The secondary needs some talent, but this team is too talented to be 0-10. They should have won in week one versus the Jets, week three versus New England, week six versus San Diego, and were competitive against the Browns in week eight, the Seahawks in week nine, and against the Chargers last week.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - 1-9
The Jags were supposed to take a step forward in 2014. Whoops. Personally, I expected to see more improvement on defense. Veteran defensive end Chris Clemons came over from Seattle and has been a flop. From a star Super Bowl performance to getting blown off the line of scrimmage on a regular basis. Sen’Derrick Marks has improved and veteran Red Bryan (another former Seahawk) has helped. The lack of pressure up front exposes the secondary, which just has not been good enough.
On offense, they just plain lack playmakers. The emergence of running back Denard Robinson makes up for the washout of Toby Gerhart. Former Broncos guard Zane Beadles has helped on the o-line and Luke Joeckel is slowly rounding into a professional tackle. Rookie guard Brandon Linder has impressed as well. Blake Bortles may be the answer, but the team has to live with his struggles. The goal in the draft needs to be an impact wide receiver as Robinson, Hurns, Shorts, and Lee are a collection of #2 and #3 receivers without a number one (Justin Blackmon’s immaturity and idiocy continue to haunt the Jags) .
NEW YORK JETS - 2-8
The Jets are a team stuck in a bad spot. The general manager, John Idzik, wants nothing more than to dump grandstanding, loud-mouth, self-promoting head coach Red Ryan--in fact, he wanted him gone before last season and after last season and was overruled by owner Woody Johnson. Johnson LOVES Sexy Rexy...Idzik, who was a key player in building Seattle into a championship team, wants to bring in his own head coach and run the team his way. The Jets were 6-8 last year and won two meaningless games at the end of the season against two teams that had given up already (Cleveland and Miami) and Woody decided 8-8 was good enough for Rex.
The Jets have been horrible. They eked out a win in week one against Oakland and inexplicably caught an overconfident Steelers team last week. They’ve benched quarterback of the future Geno Smith for Michael Vick and traded for perpetual headache Percy Harvin. Having already signed free agent wide receiver Eric Decker and drafted athletic tight end Jace Amaro to add to breakout running back Chris Ivory, the Jets cannot blame the offense for everything now.
Of course the defense is not what it once was. The secondary went from the best in the NFL in 2011 with Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis to simply the most dreadful. The Jets have two studs on defense with defensive tackles Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson and a lot of duds and “Rex’s Guys”. First round draft pick Dee Milliner is Ras-I Dowling (Patriots fans will appreciate the comparison) and former first round draft pick Quinton Coples (picked by the Jets instead of Syracuse product Chandler Jones--who has become a beast in rival New England) has taken a big step backwards.
The Jets are still a mess. Rex is gone. Time to blow it up and start over. This team SHOULD be gunning for the number one pick instead of the coach and general manager trying to out-maneuver each other.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - 2-8
The Bucs are rebuilding and making no bones about it. New head coach Lovie Smith is trying to bring a new attitude and new look to a franchise that missed the mark on the last rebuilding effort. Four of their last six games are against potential playoff teams with Cincinnati, Detroit, Green Bay, and the Saints to play.
Tampa is coming off a big win over Washington (sorry Giants and Washington fans, three wins are too many for the number one pick) with quarterback Josh McCown taking advantage of rookie wide receiver Mike Evans and his explosive talent. Vincent Jackson is a decent possession receiver at this point of his career. If Doug Martin was ever healthy again, the running game could be a big complementary piece for Evans and the passing game. Whether McCown (or Mike Glennon) is the answer at quarterback is yet to be seen (I say neither are!).
Lovie Smith has old friend Leslie Frazier installing the defense and there have been hiccups. The roster needs to churn some still as there are players who do not fit and the Bucs need a lot of work to do still. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is a stud in any defense. Free agent import Michael Johnson has been a disappointment. Third-year linebacker Lavonte David is a potential star. Alterraun Verner has proven to be a good fit for the defense but safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron have been disappointments.
The Bucs have a tough road to the top pick, but should have some competitive games against some good teams to test their roster and make hard decisions.
TENNESEE TITANS - 2-8
The Titans opened the season with an impressive victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Sorry, that is about it for highlights. They beat the Jaguars in week six (barely). They were competitive a few times (Washington, Cleveland, against the Steelers last week), but this team is clearly rebuilding. They have a solid coach in Ken Whisenhunt and a very good defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
The Titans have the Eagles, Texans, Giants, Jets, Jags, and Colts to play. There are probably too many winnable games there to end up with the top pick, and the offense showed some life Monday night against the Steelers. Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is a better option than “Clipboard Jesus” Charlie Whitehurst and Jake Locker just cannot stay healthy. Rookie running back Bishop Sankey looks like a keeper as the second-round draft pick has continued to show slow and steady improvement.
On defense, defensive end Jurrell Casey is a building block for the future. Ropati Pitoitua is an unknown, but productive lineman as well. Beyond Derrick Morgan the team needs an influx of talent. Strange how the Titans had no use for Akeem Ayers who has been a valuable addition for New England. In the secondary, Michael Griffin has yet to take the next step but cornerback Jason McCourty is solid. Second-year cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson has improved steadily after a delayed start as a rookie last year.
The Titans are on the right track. They should improve steadily this year and next and could go on a nice little run to end this season and build confidence for the future.
Do I want to talk about Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the representative scumbags of the NFL? No, the child abuser and wife beater are no news I want to talk about other than one small point: Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome is either a man of virtue and honor or wants to get fired in Baltimore. How many team executives directly contradict their owner who signs their paycheck, their team President who is their direct supervisor, and NFL Czar Commissioner Roger Goodell?
No one, that’s who. Newsome has continually stood by his statement that he was not lied to and was told by Rice that he had struck his then fiancee. In today’s NFL, it is nice to see one league member able to not spit out the company line as written out for him by the league and speak the truth. Maybe the Ravens will reward Newsome for telling the truth by letting him go (it’s what owners usually do when their employees don’t play CYA--cover your ass--as instructed), but remember Ravens: Ozzie Newsome got his start in the NFL from who? Yup, then Cleveland Browns head coach Bill Belichick. Let him go and guess where he likely ends up!
The Ravens have completely rebuilt their defense over the past two years after future Hall-of-Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed retired. Baltimore missed the playoffs last season and are 5-4 this season not because of their defense. Last year the defense folded and an 8-6 record and first place turned into 8-8 and on the outside, but let’s face it: $20 million dollars for Joe Flacco has been an anchor for the offense. Flacco had more interceptions than touchdowns last year and his consistent inconsistencies have hampered the offense to date. His lack of accuracy on the short and intermediate routes have killed the Ravens offensive drives all season.
Of course, the Ravens defense lost a key player as cornerback Jimmy Smith is out for the year after it was determined he needs foot surgery. Originally not thought to be too serious, he is done for the year. Smith is easily the best player in the Ravens secondary, so the loss is huge. Lardarius Webb and Dominique Franks just do not have the cover skills and big play ability of Smith.
Speaking of General Managers, amazingly, despite being set-up to fail by his General Manager John Idzik, Jets head coach Rex Ryan is still somehow in charge in New York despitee a 1-8 start. The only Jets win has been against the Raiders in week one. That could cost them come draft time.
The Jets put up some valiant efforts against Chicago, Detroit, Denver, and New England losing close games before they quit on the season in week 8 against the Bills. The team lost its heart when they lost a heartbreaker to New England 27-25 in week seven. The Patriots gave them the game playing with no energy, enthusiasm or interest. Somehow, the Jets--in what is their Super Bowl--blew the game. The Jets did not show up last week in Kansas City, but in their defense it is tough to garner enthusiasm when Michael Vick is your starter.
It is a question of WHEN Ryan is fired now, not IF. That said, why keep him around? He’s worn out his welcome. His defense has been decimated. The Jets went from the best secondary in football with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie a few years ago to a collection of street free agents.
The offense gave up on quarterback Mark Sanchez who is now in position to put Philadelphia back in the playoffs after a stellar relief performance for the Eagles last week looking better than starter Nick Foles running the Chip Kelly offense. He certainly looked better than Geno Smith and Michael Vick in New York, that is for sure.
OK, all done here for the week. I have a long weekend so I will be sure to raise a glass to salute my pal here on Thursday, Old Harry, on his retirement from the rat race. Salut!
And be sure to check out the always entertaining StorminNorman over here next door ----->
It was a crazy busy Sunday night at work, and I had to buy the guys a drink...And I needed one myself...And suddenly it was a few more...I got home, ate some leftover pot roast and passed out in the chair...The dog enjoyed some scraps!
He definitely enjoyed them more then he enjoyed his Halloween costume...
Look at his face in this next one with Molly and Little Beeze...
He looks pissed!
So, the media/news these days is driven by what is going "viral"...What is trending on Twitter...What the big YouTube video is...And this past week, this video got all kinds of heat...
The Internet, and the so-called "news media" were shocked at men still "Cat-call" women...WHY? Seriously, how the fuck is this shocking? Men are pigs...I'm a man, and I'm a pig...I can be honest about it...Most of us can...But seriously, watch the video...
OK, homeless guys said shit...That's what they do...I live in Cleveland, I've seen homeless bums and pan-handlers...They talk, to anyone, about anything, and nothing...Now you throw a chick with tight pants and a tight top into the mix...Holy-fucking-game-on!
Yeah, I said it...I'm calling them on this shit...She's not a 10...But she isn't wearing baggy pants, and an oversized hoodie like she does at home, while stuffing ice cream in her face after her latest breakup...She painted on some jeans, and got a nice, tit-snugging shirt on...The chance of "cat-calls" just multiplied by 10...
Next, I'd like to see the whole fucking ten hours she did this...Did she really say nothing the whole time? Clearly this was edited to give us an example of the elite scumbags...Were there any nice guys that didn't stare at her ass, but looked in her eyes and tried to have a chat...Maybe spit some real game...Offer to take her to lunch, or meet for coffee some time...Probably were a couple good guys...She's probably fucking one of them now...
Do, I have any facts to back up my claims...No more then this bullshit video does, by insinuating that all guys are one step away from being a rapist...As a matter of fact, most of the comments made to her, were not offensive at all..."Have a nice evening"...."Hi Beautiful"..."How you doing?" "How you doing today?"...One guy even said, "Smile!" Heaven for-fucking-bid...And you know what, when guys say "DAMN!" it's fucking compliment...Be happy some one gives a shit enough to look at you, let alone, inform you that they are attracted to you...Be happy, some guys let you know you're fuckable!
I'm sorry folks, but our media has made some bullshit into a story, again...And while I'm here...That bitch, Brittnay Maynard, that the felt the need to tell the world she was going to have herself wacked (yes I know that's not the technical term) because she was dying...Why do we care? Assholes kill themselves every day, and no one gives a fuck...So she was sick, and dying...We all are, just at different rates of speed...But she had to have her "Look at me" moment before she died, because that's what our society has become...If some one would have given her a TV show, she'd still be alive and would want us all to watch her bite it during sweeps week...You know what, Glad she did herself in...One less needy gash on this Earth...
I also found it amusing the number hugely religious people I know who were all about this chick, "Dying with Dignity"...Yeah, I though suicide was a sin fuck-sticks!?!
I feel I have come across as a woman hater today...I'm not...I love you ladies...I just hate bitches!
And while I'm sitting here on the unpopular side of things, all in with offending people...I would also like to defend Chris Rock for his Monologue on Saturday Night Live this past weekend...Chris Rock hit some touchy buttons making jokes about the Freedom Tower, and the Boston Marathon bombing, and tied it all in with how commercialized this country is...People seemed to hear Boston Bombing, and didn't really bother to listen to where he was going...
Dude said some smart shit, and some funny shit...Pull your panties out of you crack, and grow up people...
I always revert back to the late, great Patrice O'Neal when it comes to "funny" and you can joke about anything....
The Patriots and Broncos have the big game this weekend as Brady-Manning XVI takes place in Foxboro, MA. The weather seems to be cooperating for the Patriots with cold weather, rain/sleet/snow(?) possible, and high winds. If there is one enemy of Peyton Manning, it is the weather. He is a dome quarterback through and through from all his time in Indianapolis (Denver is usually pretty nice weather--my buddy from Colorado keeps posting pictures of him golfing in short-sleeves this past week!). Also, the Broncos’ top running back--Ronnie Hillman--who has revitalized the offense the past few weeks, has been limited with a shoulder injury. With bad weather and 350 pounds of Vince Wilfork ready to land on him, it may not be a great week for the newest weapon in Denver.
Believe it or not, the universe revolves around more than Manning and Brady. Let’s get in the the NFL Notes:
Under the radar player of the season has been rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley in Baltimore. The Ravens are winning regularly (if unspectacularly) but Mosley has been a starter since week one and has been a superstar in the making. For a franchise with a legacy for defense and the retirements of stalwarts Stabbing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, Mosley has had a rookies season vaulting himself into the “Next Great Defensive Player” talk in the NFL. Interceptions? Tackles? Big Plays? He has been right there for all and being a big part of the revitalized Ravens defense in 2014.
Another week into the Rex Ryan watch in New York as the embattled coach had to deal with GM John Idzik’s bizarre post-game press conference and now a whining running back Chris Johnson who has been unable to grasp the starting job away from Chris Ivory. Of course, how often does a team go get a washed-up diva running back with knee issues and have that back lead them to the playoffs? (Oh right, never!).
The Jets play the Chiefs this weekend and start (speaking of washed up players in the NFL) Michael Vick over Geno Smith. Smith, you may recall, had such a vote of confidence just two weeks ago after the Jets narrowly lost to New England. Amazing how much worse he played with a defense that had not played 4 games in 18 days against him.
Of course, the Jets have Percy Harvin added to their offense after a season and a half of injuries and ineffectiveness drove the Seahawks to unload him. This despite the fact they had a gaping hole in their offense after losing Golden Tate to the Lions as a free agent in the offseason.
RGIII--on the heels of the Washington Franchise’s biggest win of the season--is ready to jump in at quarterback rather than risk his backup getting more attention. Isn’t that what it really is that is going on here? They have one game and the bye week. Any logical team decision would be to have the oft-injured Griffin take the extra week to get to 100% and then let him play. But just like in 2013, the quarterback is the one making the decision, not the team.
Forget this week. They just beat Dallas with Colt McCoy at quarterback. They get a pass this week. They paid the price having Griffin rush back early to start 2013. Why risk it again?
Glad to see the Seattle Seahawks adding Walter Jones to their Ring of Honor on Sunday with his number already retired. He played on some bad Seahawks teams, but he was a dominant left tackle and as a 2014 Hall-of-Fame inductee he should be getting more attention. Grading offensive linemen is difficult, but with sites like FootballOutsiders.com and ProFootballFocus.com grading and scouting all the players and positions each week, it gives the fan a chance to see how the players in the trenches and off-camera really stack up.
Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith had some insane comments this week as he talked about the Buccaneers to date. He stated in a press conference that he will turn the Bucs around like the Bears.
Umm, the Bears had talent.
He then went all New York Jets GM John Idzik and made a comment about how they are only two games out of first place. YIKES. The Saints and Panthers have underperformed, but that is delusion at its best. He should be thinking of how to nudge ahead of Oakland and the rest of the fellow bad teams and get the first pick and get a top quarterback, not talk about first place. This team is terrible, he’ll be lucky to win three games.
Try to keep the fans interested, sure I understand it. But try not to fling so much bull****, Lovie.
Last year the Carolina Panthers had one of the best left tackles in football with Jordan Gross. Gross surprisingly retired and the Panthers scrambled by having to move right tackle Byron Bell to the left side. That weakened both sides of the line. Add that to their complete turnover at wide receiver and it is no surprise the team has struggled so far in 2014. Now with Gross stinking up the joint and backup Garry Williams on injured reserve they turned to the north. Straight outta Canada we see David Foucault--a hockey player as a youngster and CFL project--called upon to step in and start next to undrafted rookie free agent guard Andrew Norwell to protect Cam Newton. Newton had best plan on being active on Sunday!
I’m a busy bee and have been reduced to my old “Lurker” status here as I check in for a quick read. Like the great Steve Miller sings, “Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future”
So the New England Patriots are playing their division rival New York Jets in a monsoon on Thursday night so I will have this posted and ready to go before 8:30PM. A lot of fun storylines with talk of Darrelle Revis playing some wide receiver? Practice squad running back Jonas Gray stepping into the New England backfield? Jets tight end Jace Amaro finally putting together a good game last week.
STORY OF THE WEEK:
The best storyline is the the Bill Parcells book set to be released in a few weeks and news of the advance copy having plenty of juicy details about the divorce of Parcells-Belichick. Since the divorce--don’t forget--Parcells won nothing while Belichick won three Super Bowls and went to five.
That said, going back twenty years to what football in New England was pre-Parcells and Drew Bledsoe is almost comical. Whenever the team found the smallest measure of success, they found a way to ruin it in spectacular fashion. The Lisa Olsen Scandal. The Cocaine Scandal post getting Super Bowl shuffled in 1986. General Manager Pat Sullivan getting his ass kicked by Matt Millen and Howie Long after he taunted them after the Patriots upset the Raiders in the playoffs in ‘86. Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour failure nearly bankrupting the team owners. The debacle of drafting quarterback Tony Eason over Dan Marino. Steve Grogan, John Hannah, and Steve Nelson playing so many years for so many bad teams. Trading away the draft picks that became Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Cortez Kennedy. Head coach Chuck Fairbanks bailing on the team. Roughing the passer against Oakland in 1976. This list goes on and on and on and on and on. I am sure the Northeast Gabbers can add about 20 more without taxing their brains.
The Patriots owe a debt of gratitude to Parcells for sure, but kudos to Belichick for getting out from “Big Bill’s” shadow. Belichick has hinted at how he hated being linked to Parcells when he saw him as a defensive assistant coach who got the lucky break of taking on the Giants top position. Belichick always visibly reacted whenever a reporter made the mistake of referring to him as a Parcells protegee. Belichick really is a part of the Joe Collier coaching tree as Collier was the long-time defensive coach in Denver and where the “Orange Crush” 3-4 defense took root. Parcells was a Ray Perkins acolyte and Belichick was more established in his defensive philosophy prior to landing in New York. To lump Belichick into the Parcells family tree is really a stretch when you look at the differing styles and philosophies.
That said, I am really looking forward to Parcells’ book and gleaning a little more information about his ending in New England. Should be a fun read.
I’ve been keeping my eyes on the AFC East as always as I write primarily about the Patriots, but in watching Buffalo the demise of C.J. Spiller has been eye-opening. While the benching of 2013 first-round draft pick quarterback E.J. Manuel has been the top story, the declining touches for Spiller has been shocking. He’s hit 15 carries just twice this season and against New England had just six carries after just ten against Detroit the week prior.
The offensive line in Buffalo is atrocious and Fred Jackson’s quick-decision running style is more conducive to toughing out yards after contact. Center Eric Wood is adequate and left tackle Cordy Glenn is excellent, but right tackle Seantrel Henderson and guards Erik Pears and Cyril Richardson are dreadful and not NFL starting quality.
Now, backup running back and former Philadelphia Eagle Bryce Brown is healthy at last and Spiller looks like the odd man out. Spiller is still effective in the return and passing game, and I believe the game tape does not lie: the problem is his poor blocking offensive line.
The Boston Hollywood Sports Guy returned to Grantland/ESPN this week as his three week suspension for criticizing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Three weeks later and my life was no poorer not reading his “mailbag” or not listening to his podcast as I haven’t tuned in to that since probably 2007 a few weeks after it came out. Simmons reportedly was furious about the suspension but didn’t go on a public diatribe or anything.
On one hand, Simmons is the godfather to us all. Blogs were not even really a “thing” back in the nineties. Simmons actually is a good writer who was a bartender after not being able to break into the Boston sports reporting scene. Simmons started writing on AOL Digital City (ahh, the heady 90s go-go Internet days!) and had his own website: BostonSportsGuy.com. By 2001 he was onto the big time at ESPN. After a hiatus to join the Jimmy Kimmel show in Hollywood, he was back and soon had his site Grantland.com.
In the pre-ESPN days, I adored Simmons and his unique style of writing. Without him, would TSN have blogs? Would I have started my BostonSportPage.com blog in 2005? Would we be sitting around the Gab loving and sharing sports? Probably not. That said, he went from “Must Read” to “ehhh, whatever” in the past few years. It is hard to maintain momentum and there are a ton of imitators who have come and gone.
I was ecstatic to see Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll come out against the seven inactive players on game day. Currently, the NFL has a 53 man roster that receives full pay and counts against the salary. Randomly, the league has the team only be able to play 46 of the 53. They’re paying them but not playing them? Why?
Since I never heard a rational reason and having more healthy players able to contribute can limit teams using starters on special teams (Rob Gronkowski’s broken forearm in 2012 blocking on an extra point?) is a good thing, what the heck is the league doing? It seems ludicrous for teams to have to pay these players a full salary and sit them? Make it 46 players or keep it 53, but LET THEM PLAY.
Wow, got on a few tangents there. OK, folks, time for me to watch some Thursday Night Football. P.S. Kudos to IHM filling in superbly for the great O.H. here on Thursday. Be sure to swing by next door to check in with the always interesting, informative, and opinioned StorminNorman as well --->.