Tagged with "nfl"
Musings From The Hoodwood 8-19 NFL Preview Pt.2
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood where the locals said a tough goodbye as we saw Princess Katie depart for Arizona. That’s the toughest part of my summer.

More of the NFL Preview Lets look to the South in order of predicted finish

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

2013: 11-5 Division Champs lost to New England in Divisional Round

Coach: Chuck Pagano 22-10 in 3 seasons in Indianapolis (23-12 overall)

Man on the Hot Seat: Trent Richardson is needing to assert himself as the team’s top running back with Ahmad Bradshaw pushing hard to take the

Fast Facts: The Colts have only missed the playoff once in the past 12 years

Pagano’s 22 wins are the most by a Colts Coach in his first two years since Tony Dungy

Hoosier Football: The Colts are the class of a very weak division, as long as Luck has his health, the Colts are the team to beat in the AFC South.

Tennessee Titans

2013: 7-9, Missed Playoffs

Coach: Ken Whisenhunt, 1st Season in Tennessee 49-53 overall in six seasons in Arizona

Man on the Hot Seat: Jake Locker has no more excuses, he is the starter and had better hit the ground running.

Fast Facts: The Titans five year playoff drought has matched their longest since they moved to the Volunteer state

Titan Talk: The Titans are a puzzle, no one can figure what structure their offense is supposed to be in. If they’re supposed to be a running team or develop a passing game under young Jake Locker. Ken Whisenhunt is a coach that can win, he made the moribund Cards fairly respectable but this team needs a direction and fast, if they start slow they could be watching the Colts gallop away fast

 

Houston Texans

2013: 2-14 Missed Playoffs (worst season since 2005)

Coach: Bill O’Brien 1st Season

Man on the Hot Seat: Ryan Fitzpatrick, the well-traveled vet has to fuel a turnaround of a team that has potential but fell hard under a bad season

Fast Facts: The Titans lost their last 14 straight games, the longest losing streak in Houston football history.

Lone Star Football: Bill O’Brien has to reconstruct a once up and coming franchise who just imploded badly last year and needs to get its collective mojo back, Matt Schaub got more or less run out on a rail and Ryan Fitzpatrick picks up the thread

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

2013: 4-12 Missed playoffs

Coach: Gus Bradley 2nd Season 4-12 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Chad Henne, how long he will he be able to keep the starting job with heir apparent

Fast Facts: The Jags are one of four teams to have never played in the Super Bowl

Life on the North Coast: I’m waiting for the Jags to LA talk to pop up again, with the Jags already headed to London again, the interest in this franchise has never been lower in its 20 year history and unlike the feline expansion cousin the Panthers they have yet to play for a Super Bowl and have no real franchise direction. Drafting local bred Blake Bortles is a nice step but will he spend his halcyon days in North Florida, SoCal or London?

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

2013: 11-5 Wild Card lost to Seattle in Wild Card Round

Coach: Sean Payton 73-39 in 6 seasons in New Orleans 79-43 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Pierre Thomas, given the Saints pass happy offense clicked right back on with Payton’s return. Thomas must do enough to keep defenses honest

Fast Facts: The Saints have won 10+ games in each of Payton’s last four seasons

Big Easy Gridironers: The Saints are a dangerous team, if Drew Brees stays relatively hale this team can easily be playing in Arizona come February, blessed with a solid receiver corps and the indispensable Jimmy Graham at TE the Saints offense can put the points up. Their defense may be the most underrated in the game, if this team stays healthy I could see a deep run

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013: 4-12 missed playoffs

Coach: Lovie Smith 1st season in Tampa;  84-66 overall in 9 seasons in Chicago

Man on the Hot Seat: Mike Glennon can he run the up-tempo offense that new coach Lovie Smith is implementing

Fast Fact: The Bucs play 3 late or prime time games in the season’s first 11 days then their remaining schedule is all 1p kickoffs

Bayfront Football: Lovie Smith takes over a team that was in full revolt after the disastrous reign of Greg Schiano and has plenty of young if unheralded talent at his disposal. Doug Martin looks to bounce back to his breakout status of 2012 after a poor 2013 that didn’t even have him lead the team in rushing, I like the Bucs to be a surprise team in the rugged NFC south

Carolina Panthers

2013: 12-4 Division Champs lost to San Francisco in Divisional Round

Coach: Ron Rivera 25-23 all in Carolina (25-24 overall)

Man on the Hot Seat: Cam Newton, after a solid season and getting the Panthers an unexpected division title he pressure is now on to keep the Panthers elite

Fast Facts: The Panthers 12 wins in 2013 matched a franchise high set in 1996 and matched in 2008

Marvin Lewis hold the team record for wins and losses

Big Cat Football: The Panthers took a massive leap in 2013 rolling to an unexpected division title by outdueling the Saints, but this scribe is still not really sold on the play of Cam Newton or the suspect running game. The defense is rock solid but I just see a team taking a step back here

Atlanta Falcons

2013: 4-12

Coach: Mike Smith 60-37 in 6 seasons in Atlanta, (61-40 overall)

Man on the Hot Seat: Steven Jackson came to the ATL in a hyped move but looked like a shell of his days in St. Louis if the Falcons want to be taken seriously he need to have a bounce back season

Fast Facts: The Falcons had a streak of 5 straight winning seasons, their longest in franchise history snapped with the 4-12 2013 campaign                                                                                                                                       

Mike Smith hold the team record for wins

Dirty South Pigskin: Injuries derailed the Falcons from the word go, and they never got on any kind of roll. A lack of a solid running game will hurt a good offense but the defense seems to have more questions than answers now. This is a deep and tough division and a team with that many questions on defense is in trouble from the jump and if Jackson is slow to comeback from a balk hamstring, you are asking too much from the redoubtable Matt Ryan.

Ill add more as the day goes. Until next post fellow sports fans…

 

 

 

FOOTBALL!
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Football FXFL NFL

Time has a great piece on why the Little League World Series is off to the greatest start ever

A rather unfortunate concomitant to the passing of Robin Williams is the fact that the Red Sox have not won on Ben Affleck’s birthday – August 15 - since the 1997 release of “Good Will Hunting.”   It just so happened this year was the 15th anniversary, but it just happened to be the same week his co-star committed suicide.   Just seems a little soon.   Of course, the odds really were against the Sox winning this year anyway.

With the Red Sox season in the tank, I couldn’t be any happier the NFL season is about to start.   

Now, never let it be said I’m wishing my summer away – I love summer – but with the Sox out of any kind of contention, the boy’s mind wanders to football.  I can watch any NFL game and be engaged.  I love the New England entry, but I actually care about what goes on elsewhere.  There’s only 16 games, so everything matters.  That seemingly arcane game now could be important later.

There’ll be an expansion of football this year as well – We all know Thursday and Sunday are NFL, and Saturdays are NCAA, and in some parts High School football takes up Friday nights – so where else can a football game fit in?

Wednesday.  For six Wednesdays in October and November a new developmental league will begin play – the Fall Experimental Football League, FXFL will have teams in six cities with the idea being to get the players some playing time that may get them some notice.  The first team to announce a logo and name is the Omaha Mammoths.  Now, I really have no idea how well this will go over, but I’m sure it will have more going for it than say the XFL – hard to know why they chose that unfortunate combination, just google FXFL and you’ll get a bunch of stuff on the doomed football  experiment.    He hate me. 

Maybe we should bring back “Mob Football.”  That would kick ass…because I’m not sure FXFL will.  Or we could all go skydiving.

In closing, I leave you with the World’s Funniest Joke – if only to pay a bit of a tribute to Robin.

 

Q-o-t-D 8/16/14 Tags: NFL Fanatasy Football

 

Are you ready for Fantasy Football Season?

 

I'm not!

Sports Friday with Hal: Back in Time 2009
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL NFL Draft Football 2009 NFL Draft

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday!

 

Yours truly is back to Pawtucket to check out the Boston Red Sox prospects tonight. Hope to have some pics up next week. Gonna be hard to top seeing Joey Votto in a rehab stint, though.

 

So I was reading about free agent outside linebacker/defensive end Larry English finally catching on with a new team as he signed on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The article mentioned him as part of the 2009 NFL Draft and how it was a mixed bag of a draft. It got me thinking about the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft and how now that it has been five years it is a great time to check back and see just how it really turned out.

2009 NFL DRAFT - ROUND ONE REVIEW

Pick Team Name Pos College/Univ Star/Solid/Bust Comments
1 DET Matthew Stafford QB Georgia Solid Stafford is tough to figure out here. He puts up some great numbers, but is he a top quarterback? He seems like he is knocking on the door each season and puts up some great numbers with Megatron for fantasy football, but the wins and playoff appearances do not follow. Whether fair or not, quarterbacks get measured by wins--especially in the postseason--and are not considered elite when they post guady numbers and double-digit losses.
2 STL Jason Smith T Baylor Bust From cornerstone left tackle with $33 million guaranteed  in St. Louis to all but out of the league. As big a bust as any in the draft, Smith is right up there. Aaron Curry, Aaron Maybin, or Larry English may have been busts, but Smith was the most highly paid!
3 KAN Tyson Jackson DE LSU Solid Jackson was allowed to leave Kansas City without much resistance. #3 overall picks usually are not shown the door. Jackson is borderline bust, but he has slowly improved. 
4 SEA Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest Bust Out of the league. 5.5 career sacks. Super bust. Historic bust. He could not even catch on in Oakland!
5 NYJ Mark Sanchez QB USC Bust Butt-Fumble. 'Nuff said. Some solid moments early in his career riding a strong defense, but Sanchez was never the Sanchise he was supposed to be.
6 CIN Andre Smith T Alabama Solid Smith was intended to be a cornerstone. Instead he is a solid right tackle. Not the best, not the worst. Drafted a bit high, but he has been solid.
7 OAK Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland Bust Oog. This pick is often used to sum up what was wrong with Oakland at the end of the Al Davis era: Just suck, Baby! 
8 JAX Eugene Monroe T Virginia Solid Monroe is a solid left tackle in the NFL.  Jacksonville traded him to Baltimore for draft picks where he was a shot in the arm for Baltimore filling the role Michael "the Blind Side" Oher was meant to fill after he was picked in the 2009 draft. Maybe it is bias for hms being stuck on a bad team so long, but Monroe is borderline star at the position.
9 GNB B.J. Raji DT Boston Col. Solid Raji looked like a star but he has fell off in a hurry. From penetrating nose tackle to big waste of space. He is teetering on bust. 
10 SFO Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech Star Crabtree is a tough player to figure. He started slow in San Francisco but by the second-half of 2011 and into 2012 was the number one receiver on a Super Bowl team. Last year he had an Achilles tendon tear that slowed him most of the season. He is ont he borderline of a star/solid player. Since he gets under Richard Sherman's skin, he gets the benefit of the doubt. 
11 BUF Aaron Maybin DE Penn St. Bust Maybin was a major flop in Buffalo. He landed in New York and had six sacks in 2011 and seemed on the comeback road. Nope. A down year led to a release, a year in the CFL, and now retirement. 
12 DEN Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia Solid Moreno rescued himself from bust status last year as he bounced back from two years of almost no production and topped 1,000 yards for the first time. Of course, Denver let him walk and the Georgia back is now in Miami. He is still a bit of a question mark, but he can change that positively or negatively in the next few years.
13 WAS Brian Orakpo LB Texas Star Orakpo is a sacking machine.  Other than an injury taking out almost all of 2012 he would be in the conversation for the best first-round pick in the 2009 draft. A three-time Pro Bowl player, Orakpo is a solid pick at #14 overall.
14 NOR Malcolm Jenkins DB Ohio St. Solid Jenkins is a solid starting free safety. He is far from a star. He is above bust, but not by much. He left New Orleans for Philadelphia this offseason, so maybe a change of scenery is what he needs . 
15 HOU Brian Cushing LB USC Solid Cushing is a borderline star, but he played only 12 of 32 games for Houston the past two years. When on the field, he is a playmaking tackling machine. A bounce-back couple of seasons and Cushing is back in the star category.
16 SDG Larry English LB Northern Illinois Bust English is the inspiration for this article. He was supposed to be what Clay Matthews has been. Instead, he flamed out in San Diego after multiple chances. 
17 TAM Josh Freeman QB Kansas St. Bust Josh Freeman is still unsigned and not in a training camp. That means he ranks outside the top 3000 players in football right now. That is insane.  A huge 2010 season led to optimism but he self-destructed and played his way out of Tampa Bay last year. Now he is on the outside looking in.
18 DEN Robert Ayers DE Tennessee Solid Ayers is borderline solid/bust. He is a run-stuffer, but a top twenty first round pick? He can look like a solid pass rusher than disappear for a month. He is inconsistent and really seems to be teetering on slipping to bust in a hurry.
19 PHI Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri Solid Maclin is the definition of solid. A number two receiver. 55 to 70 catches for 700-900 yards. Maclin missed all of last year so that is an issue, but he should bounce back. Definitely a solid pick.
20 DET Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma St. Solid How the heck do you rank Pettigrew? He is not in the Gronk-Graham group of tight ends but has topped 70 receptions and 700 yards twice. Is he elite? No. Solid? Sure, he was. But his star is showing tarnish the last two years.
21 CLE Alex Mack C California Star Mack probably challenges Clay Matthews as the best player in the draft. Centers do not always go in the first round but Mack has been superb since coming into the league and earned a big money contract this offseason. A great all-around blocker and great pick. 
22 MIN Percy Harvin WR Florida Solid Injuries, sure. But when he plays? WOW! He is a playmaker. The injuries and inconsistencies are all that keep the star label off him. 
23 BAL Michael Oher T Mississippi Solid Sure, he had a movie made about him, but his play has dropped off big time the past few years. He was up-and-down but looked like a future cornerstone left tackle by the end of 2010, but since then he has been steadily getting worse. 
24 ATL Peria Jerry DT Mississippi Bust Without Googling him, does anyone remember Peria Jerry? That's what I thought and why he's a bust. 
25 MIA Vontae Davis DB Illinois Solid Vontae Davis was a washout in Miami but seemingly turned his career around in Indianapolis. He may not be elite, but he has embraced the top role in the secondary in Indy and 4-years $39 million shows he has the respect of his team and could turn the corner to even better things.
26 GNB Clay Matthews LB USC Star Arguably the best draft pick in 2009, the Packers got a steal trading up to snag New England's top pick for a bunch of picks that turned into…nothing spectacular. Matthews is a legitimate star and a steal at #26 overall.
27 IND Donald Brown RB Connecticut Bust A first-round running back has significant expectations. Brown would be a value pick if he had been taken in the fourth or fifth round, but he has never been a regular starter and topped out at 645 yards in a season. 
28 BUF Eric Wood C Louisville Solid Wood was a solid guard for two seasons for Buffalo and then switched to center in 2011. Injuries have slowed him a bit, but he is solid in pass protection and a nasty run blocker. 
29 NYG Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina Solid Nicks left New York this offseason without much of a battle.  Four seasons over 750 yardsr eceiving including two over 1,000 yards makes Nicks a solid pick. At the end of the first round the Giants got good value on his rookie contract. Definitely a solid pick. 
30 TEN Kenny Britt WR Rutgers Bust On field talent was never an issue for Britt. It was the off field problems. Just a waste of talent.
31 ARI Beanie Wells RB Ohio St. Bust 2011. That was when Beanie topped 1,000 yards. He has not played in a year and a half now and his career is in jeopardy. That is a bust. 
32 PIT Evander Hood DE Missouri Bust The Ziggy man is not the dominant defensive tackle many thought he could be in Pittsburgh. Hood was solid as a rookie but quickly dipped to mediocre and has stayed at that level. Picks like Hood are why the Steel Curtain defense that was a title contender most of this decade has fallen off. 

 

OK, that's a wrap!  Have a great weekend!

OH Thursday with Shorty
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL season predictions

   

OH Thursday with Shorty

 

With the NFL pre season games and team joint practices well under way we visit the West today and then sum up Shorty’s season prognostication.

AFC WEST

Final standings from 2013

Denver                 13-3                        5-1

Kansas City       11-5                        2-4

San Diego           9-7                         4-2

Oakland                4-12                       1-5

Denver is loaded up for another run at the ring. This may be Peyton’s last best chance to get ring #2 and the Bronco’s are ready to ride him again. Manning set a few passing records last season with the most prolific offense in NFL history. His post season troubles looked like they were behind him until the SB and Seattle’s D shut them down.

Peyton should throw for another 45TD’s and 5000 yards and the Bronco’s should cruise to the AFC West title. The only thing that could derail them is an injury to Peyton.

Kansas City started fast and maintained momentum until the cold weather set in. The playoff loss to the Colts 44-43 showed that this team was just a pretender. They have a journeyman QB in Smith and the best RB, Charles, in the game. Keeping the run going late in each game as well as the season is a must, they need to finish.  Shorty sees the Chiefs taking a step back this season and missing the playoffs.

San Diego made a late run to the last wildcard spot in ’14 and wants to build on that. Rivers wants that ring and knows the clock is ticking.  

RB Danny Woodhead, TE’s Antonio Gates and Ladaris Green and WR’s Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal  should provide a respectable offense.  The addition of 1st round pick speedster CB Jason Verrett should help the secondary. The schedule finds the Chargers starting off with tough games vs Arizona and Seattle before getting a seemingly easy load of Buffalo, NY Jets, Jaguars and Raiders over the next 4 weeks. Another wildcard in not out of the question and an injury to Manning would put them in position to win the division

 

Oakland is Oakland…simple to say and easy to believe. Matt Shaub isn’t the answer, there really is no answer for this team which will again be the 4th best in the division. How many wins? Shorty is inclined to ask, will they win any? This team is definitely in the running for 1st overall pick in 2015 and they will most likely take the fastest guy at the combines

 

Denver                   13-3

San Diego               9-7

Kansas City            6-10

Oakland                 2-14

NFC WEST

Final standing 2013

Seattle                       13-3                  4-2

San Francisco             12-4                 5-1

Arizona                       10-6                 2-4

St Louis                       7-9                 1-5

 

Seattle will find defending their title an insurmountable problem. Teams in the NFL just don’t repeat. (NE in SB 38 & 39 was the most recent)

The Seahawks play in a tough division and are hated by all. They have the best loudmouth CB in the game in Richard Sherman. They led the NFL in overall penalties in 2014. The categories they were best at was unnecessary roughness on receivers and late hits. The NFL has instructed the zebras to re emphasize these infractions in particular…that doesn’t bode well for the Champs. They are a talented and deep team and should make the playoffs.

San Francisco is in a quandary. They have a brilliant young QB and a terrific run game.  The TE is one of the games best. Some high quality WR’s.They can light up the scoreboard on anyone.  The 49ers have a tough road ahead with a nightmare schedule. After opening the season on the road in Dallas they face:  Chicago,  @ Arizona, Philadelphia, Kansas City, @ St Louis, @ Denver,  bye,  St Louis, @ New Orleans,  @ Giants, Washington, Seattle, @ Oakland, @ Seattle,  San Diego and Arizona.

Arizona missed the playoffs at 10-6 the last team to manage that was the Bradyless, Matt Cassell led ’08 (11-5) NE Patriots. Arizona, led by the rejuvenated Carson Palmer could put a damper on Seattle’s and San Frans playoff hopes. The talented corps of receivers: Larry Fitzgerald, Ted Ginn and Michael Floyd are as good as any. RB Andre Ellington averaged 5.5 ypg This team went 6-2 over the second half last season with two 3 point losses to the Eagles and San Francisco as the only losses. Watch out for the Cardinals to surprise the powers that be. Arizona can play defense too, they are on the verge of being an NFL power.

 

StLouis would love to transfer to the NFC East for a season or two; they would be the best team. But fate has it that they play here in the West and have six games that will be tough to compete in let alone win.

Unfortunatly for the Rams the NFC West is home and it's a rough road to becoming respectable here...once again religated to a spoiler...too bad.

Shorty will piss you off with these  predictions:

Arizona         11-5

Seattle         10-6

San Fran     10-6

StLouis        5-11

 

AFC Playoffs

Division Winners

East                       New England            12-4

North                     Pittsburgh                   10-6

South                    Indianapolis                 11-5

West                      Denver                         13-3

 

Wildcard #1           Cincinnati                     9-7

Wildcard #2            San Diego                   9-7

 

Denver and New England get the byes

 

Indianapolis beats San Diego

Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati

 

New England beats Indianapolis

Pittsburgh beats Denver

 

NFC Playoffs

 

Division winners

East                        Philadelphia              11-5

North                      Green Bay                 11-5

South                     New Orleans               11-5

West                        Arizona                     11-5

 

Wildcard #1          Seattle                         10-6

Wildcard #2          San Francisco              10-6

 

Arizona and Green Bay get the byes

 

New Orleans beats San Francisco

Philadelphia beats Seattle

 

New Orleans beats Arizona

Green Bay beats Philadelphia

 

Shorty brings us to his  FINAL FOUR

Pittsburgh at New England

New Orleans at Green Bay

No big surprise here, these teams represent 7 of the last 13 SB winners.

The starting QB’s for those 7 winners are all still here for this one.

Who will win it all...

you just have to watch.

Shorty is heading back to the Tavern to take his rightful place at the end of the bar next to the pickle jar ready for some Fred Lites and some football

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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