Posted on: December 11, 2009 2:46 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2009 3:01 pm
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Posted on: October 18, 2009 11:27 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2009 11:32 pm
The Cleveland Browns lost this game.
This time, there are no excuses. No complains. The Browns ran in to a stronger football team and they came up short on their own accord.
This was as pure of a loss as I have ever seen.
Unlike in weeks past, the Browns have no one to blame but themselves. There were no questionable field goals or muffed punts. No inexperienced quarterbacks or experimental receivers. The Browns’ best 53 played their best game against Pittsburgh, and the better team won.
Offensively, the Browns were unable to develop any rhythm in the passing game. Dropped balls and inaccurate passes seemed to be the call of the day, and such mistakes will not get the job done against the tough Pittsbugh football team. The score did not allow Cleveland to successfully run the ball late, but they may have found something with Cribbs in the wildcat. He averaged well over 7 yards per attempt from the formation.
Defensively, Cleveland could not find a way to get to Ben Roethlisberger. The pass rush was non-existent at times, and any time you give that kind of a quarterback that much time, bad things will happen.
Ten From The Gentledawg
10. Brandon McDonald is the weakest link in this secondary.
I have suspected this for some time and today’s performance confirmed my suspicions: Brandon McDonald is a very beatable cornerback. He did not have a good game today. McDonald seems to have lost confidence as he gave too much cushion on several of his assignments. He did not hold containment on a few outside runs and he was consistently beaten in zone coverage. Although the Browns played a very talented group of receivers today, I would have liked to see better play from McDonald.
9. League-wide officiating is at an all-time low.
Like virtually every NFL game played this year, a few questionable calls directly impacted the final score of the game. With athletes becoming faster and stronger, the margin of victory in this league has become slim. It’s up to the referees, umpires, and line judges to make sure they make the right call and I’m not sure that was done today. Over the past three weeks, we’ve seen: a missed field goal decide the outcome of a game, a phantom roughing the passer call, and a blown call on 4th and inches.
8. Derek Anderson's lack of pocket presence is concerning.
As a quarterback, Derek Anderson has the intelligence to run the offense and the arm strength to make all the throws. The one thing Anderson lacks which prevents him from becoming an elite quarterback is pocket mobility. To put it bluntly, Anderson is about as graceful as an ostrich. When plays break down and he is forced to improvise, Derek Anderson appears lost. I’m not asking him to be Michael Vick back there, but Anderson should have the vision and awareness to manipulate the pocket and keep plays alive with his legs.
7. Eric Mangini has brought about change in Cleveland.
There have been few positives to take from the beginning of the 2009 season. One thing the Cleveland Browns can pride themselves on is their disciplined play and outstanding game management. Questionable plays are being challenged. Timeouts are saved for crucial situations. Personnel has been shuffled in and out without any delay. These things may seem insignificant, but they are the foundation for a consistent and competitive football team.
6. Brian Daboll is settling in as the Browns' offensive coordinator.
There were several elements of this week’s game plan which indicate Brian Daboll is becoming more comfortable in his role as offensive coordinator. Daboll did a great job of getting the most out of his personnel. With Rex Hadnot and Floyd Womack both healthy and active, Daboll was able to move Hank Fraley and Eric Steinbach around to create favorable running and passing situations. Defending against Pittsburgh’s complex zone blitzing scheme is no easy task, and I thought Brian Daboll at least had the right schemes in place to help do so.
5. Tight end depth is a major issue for this team.
In addition to a nagging finger injury, Robert Royal came up lame with a leg injury during the third quarter of today’s game. Steve Heiden did not play due to bad knees and Greg Estandia has been a non-factor. For the Cleveland Browns to develop rhythm and consistency in the passing game, they will need to figure out a way to gain some sort of production from this position. With Tuesday’s trade deadline rapidly approaching, Kokinis may see it fit to improve the team by adding a tight end to the roster.
4. The Browns missed Kamerion Wimbley on defense.
Kamerion WImbley has been one of the reasons Cleveland has been the driving force behind what little pressure the Browns have generated thus far, and his presence was greatly missed against the Steelers. Jason Trusnik did not impress in his debut performance on defense. He was unable to win any of the one-on-one battles with offensive lineman – an absolute must for generating pressure. Wimbley is a key piece to Rob Ryan’s defense and the Browns will need him at his best to compete.
3.The Josh Cribbs contract situation baffles me.
It is rare to find a talent like Josh Cribbs. It’s even rarer to see that talent want to stay in Cleveland. Cribbs continues to prove he is worth every penny of any restructured deal he reaches with Browns management. According to Yahoo Sports, Cribbs’ base salary for the 2009 season is $645,000. If the Browns can afford to pay backup lineman Billy Yates $1,186,720, they should find a way to restructure a new deal for arguably their best skill position player on offense.
2. Mohamed Massaquoi is the new Braylon Edwards.
Take away the selfish disposition and the Hollywood aspirations, and Mohamed Massaquoi is a carbon copy of Braylon Edwards. On the field, Massaquoi is the inconsistent big-play receiver who struggles to make simple receptions. Over the past two games, Massaquoi has unofficially dropped six catchable passes. My biggest concern with Massaquoi is his effort level when plays break down. He seems to make halfhearted attempts to come back to the ball and his route running appears lackadaisical at times. He is still a rookie, but these problems must be addressed as soon as possible.
1. The Cleveland Browns are close to playing for next year.
Another L in the loss column means the Browns are one step closer to playing for next year. If this play continues then it may be time to take an extended look at some of the young talent on this roster. Young players like Coye Francies and David Veikune may deserve playing time if only to give them playing experience for the future. Eric Mangini will continue to play veterans, but if this goes on any longer, it may be time to start looking at 2010.
Posted on: September 29, 2009 2:26 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2009 11:55 pm
Ravens, by their very nature, are scavengers.
They are tough birds known for adapting to their environment and taking whatever is given to them. A common raven can feast on anything from maggots, to beetles, to garbage, or even small amphibians. Years of evolution have conditioned ravens to survive even in the harshest of environments.
Yes the raven is quite the specimen indeed.
Not to be outdone by their feathered counterparts, the Baltimore Ravens possess all of the characteristics that make them the most feared birds in the league.
Their stingy defense has devoured whatever opposition presented in front of them. Joe Flacco has spread his wings and dominated through the air – tailing only the Saints in offensive superiority. The Ravens migrate to New England this week in what figures to be a clash between AFC super powers.
On the flip side we have the Washington Redskins.
Shame on you, Washington.
Shame on you for losing to the Detroit Lions. I’ve speculated that the team to end Detroit’s streak will face serious heat from their fanbase, and the Washington faithful have proven that to be true.
Losing to the Lions on the road is downright pitiful. I can't tell whether the Lions are that good or the Redskins are that bad. There’s no way the first can be true, so I have come to the conclusion that Washington might just be…a bad football team.
I suppose Detroit deserves some credit too. Larry Foote and company really took it to the Washington offense.
1. (1) You know it’s going well when Drew Brees throws for a pedestrian 164 yards and the Saints cruise to a 20-point victory. On a side note, how good is that New Orleans’ offensive line? With some help from the underrated Pierre Thomas, they dominated the Buffalo defense to the tune of 5.8 yards per carry. This team is really something.
2. (3) Holding an opponent scoreless in the National Football League is hard to do, but that’s exactly what the New York Giants did to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To give you an idea of how lopsided the game was, Amad Bradshaw – New York’s backup running back, single-handedly out gained the entire Tampa Bay offense in yards: 104 to 86. Big Blue begins their first of two bye weeks as they face Kansas City and Oakland in the upcoming weeks.
3. (6) Now I know what you’re thinking – it was against the Browns. You’re absolutely right, but that doesn’t change the fact that Joe Flacco has been playing some very good football as of late. Flacco showed great touch and accuracy all day, and he looked like a quarterback ready to take the next step to greatness. Ray Lewis seems to have found the fountain of youth, as he is playing some of the best football of his career. The sky, of course, is the limit.
4. (4) Peyton Manning is the league MVP in the truest sense of the world. I couldn’t imagine this team going anywhere without him. It was nice to see that defense step up and actually stop someone. Holding the Cardinals to 10 points in Glendale is no easy task. Indianapolis is known for stellar play along the defensive line, but how about that secondary? Marlon Jackson and Antoine Bethea don’t get enough credit for the job they do back there.
5. (2) When it’s all said and done, the Steelers will be there in January. A few bad breaks have the Champs stumbling out of the gate, but as we’ve seen before, that should make them all the more dangerous. With their next three games coming against San Diego, Detroit, and Cleveland, Pittsburgh should find their way back toward the top of the AFC North.
6. (5) So they can run the ball after all! New England doesn’t have that same glow of invincibility around them, but the Patriots are still one of the toughest teams in football. Bill Belichick is still the master of game planning. His Patriots successfully shut down Roddy White to the tune of 4 receptions for 24 yards. Matt Ryan was harassed with exotic coverages and Michael Turner found little room to run all day. I like their chances against Baltimore.
7. (8) Although the Jets had the better record and the home field advantage, I consider their week 3 win against the Tennessee Titans to be an upset. I thought Jeff Fisher has been coaching long enough to be able to take a rookie quarterback out of his game. Guess not. I hear they’re calling him “Mark Sanchize” out there in New York. I wonder how long it will take before these same New Yorkers start calling for his job?
8. (7) There’s no shame in losing to a future Hall of Fame quarterback and head coach. Despite the final score, the Falcons were able to keep the game close until New England pulled away late. While I won’t say the secondary was exposed, they struggled to keep Randy Moss in check all day. The Falcons are off this week, and that should give Mike Smith and crew some time to look over the mistakes they’ve made.
9. (11) Although they decisively handled the struggling Rams, I walked away from that game more concerned about the long-term success of the Green Bay Packers. It seems Green Bay’s biggest problem defensively is stopping the run. Steven Jackson ran wild to the tune of 117 yards. Opponents average a whopping 128.7 yards per game against the Pack – good for 23rd most allowed to running backs in the league. Their week 4 opponent: Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings.
10. (9) If there were such a thing as an unimpressive win, the Chargers certainly earned on at home against the Miami Dolphins. In their first game without former Pro Bowler Nick Hardwick, Darren Sproles scampered for 41 yards on 18 carries. There wasn’t much to stop with Miami, but San Diego contained the Dolphins’ rushing attack and did enough to walk away victorious. As Dr. Seuss reminds us, “a win is a win, no matter how small.”
11. (10) Brett Favre doesn’t have any gas left in the tank. He still runs on coal. After that dramatic win against the 49ers, it’s safe to say that Brett Favre has plenty of coal left in the tank. Heading into this one, I thought the 49ers would give us a good indication of how strong this team is, and they did. The Vikings are a good football team. I’m not sure whether Brett Favre is capable of winning football games outright. In the end, that will separate Minnesota from the elites.
12. (12) Just when I thought I had this team figured out, they go and do this to the Seattle Seahawks. With all due respect to Seneca Wallace, a backup quarterback should not put up nearly 300 yards through the air against a presumably dominant defense. Jay Cutler completed 77% of his passes, yet he still found a way to turn the ball over twice. You know, I’m starting to think that Cutler actually likes turnovers. He better kick the habit fast, because the ever dangerous Detroit Lions are coming to town…
13. (14) If you don’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles have the most astute front office in the league, look no further than their newest star: Brent Celek. Never mind they drafted him with the 162nd selection of the NFL Draft. The amazing thing here is they had enough confidence in Celek to let L.J. Smith leave via free agency. Kevin Kolb bounced back nicely from a rough start and has the Eagles looking like one of the better teams in football.
14. (17) Don’t look now, but the Cincinnati Bengals are back. This team looks balanced on offense and sharp on defense. I am certainly willing to buy what they are selling if not for one thing: they’re the Bengals. This weeks’ game against the Browns in Cleveland is a classic trap game. They seem to know how to run the football. They seem to know how to play aggressive defense. Do they know how to win consistently? Only time will tell.
15. (13) They let the Carolina Panthers hang around, and that is a dangerous thing to do in today’s NFL. Despite this, Tony Romo and the Cowboys did enough to properly christen Jerry World with it’s first win. The Cowboys really need to stop this little charade they’re playing with Wade Phillips as their head coach. This is Jason Garrett’s team and everybody knows it. I was impressed by how Garrett utilized personnel and handled Romo on the sidelines. One day he’ll make a great head coach…excuse me – he already IS a great head coach.
16. (16) It took a miraculous fourth quarter throw by the greatest quarterback of all-time to hand the 49ers their first loss. If they keep playing like this every week, they are bound to raise their fair share of eyebrows. It was tough sledding for Glen Coffee and company against The Great Wall of Williams, but hats off to the 49ers for trying. On a side note, Patrick Willis might be the best middle linebacker in the NFC.
17. People give Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez all the credit, but the Orton/McDaniels tandem in Denver has been equally impressive. Elvis Dummervil is looking like a special player in this league and he has to be considered the favorite for defensive player of the year. I don’t know if any player is doing much for their defense as he is. I want to see Kyle Orton make a big-time throw against a professional football team. Only then will I like their chances against the big boys of the AFC.
18. (18) I don’t believe a team has to run the football to be successful, but these Arizona Cardinals are the exception. It seems this team is most successful with they are willing to pound the ball on the ground 18-20 times per game. Kurt Warner is a good quarterback. The Cardinals need to minimize his attempts and play the version of Steeleresque football that Ken Whisenhunt made popular in 2008.
19. (15) I’ve been saying this for some time, but this team won’t go very far with Kerry Collins at quarterback. Although many of their loses have been close, they’re still loses and I put at least two of them on Collins. The receivers in Tennessee deserve some blame as well. Defensively, the Titans look good as ever. They’re going to need to be, they’ll have to win low-scoring affairs if they want to get back to .500.
20. (20) Just as I was about to break out the Chrisim and anoint Trent Edwards’ arrival to the NFL, they go out and flop against the Saints. For the life of me, I don’t understand how Terrell Owens goes the entire game without recording a reception. Even if it’s just on a quick slant or a screen, the Bills need to make a conscious effort to get this guy the football. Teams seem to be running around Marcus Stroud. That means those outside linebackers aren’t doing enough in run support.
21. (22) They lost to the Bears on a late Hester score, but they played well considering the injuries that have plagued this team. If anything, this team seems to be overachieving. It didn’t take Aaron Curry long to adjust to the speed of the NFL. He leads one of the most underrated pass rushes in the league. If they can rush the passer like that every week, this team may upset someone.
22. (29) The Jaguars finally show signs of life. Good for them. I had a hard time believing this team would stay at the bottom of league for a long time. Their matchup against the Titans this Sunday is going to be very interesting. I don’t think there are two teams more evenly matched in the league. It should be a great game. This is unrelated, but thank you, Maurice Jones-Drew. You have single-handedly wrecked my fantasy football season.
23. (24) Add another team into the log-jam that is the AFC South. I thought this division would be competitive, but it seems no one cares to win consistently. Has this defense regressed? Heading into the regular season, I thought this would be the year Houston puts it all together on that side of the ball. Guess not. To this point, the Texans are still ranked dead last against the run. If the red flags aren’t out, they should be.
24. (26) The Panthers did well for themselves as they kept up with a tough Dallas team on the road, but it wasn’t enough. Jake Delhomme is a turnover machine. Giving the ball away three times like he did in Dallas will never take the Panthers where they need to be. That defense wasn’t nearly as aggressive as they should have been. Without pressure, even mediocre passers will find a way to get the job done.
25. (21) The Miami Dolphins are in some deep water now Chad Pennington is out for the year. A sub-par passing attack somehow downgraded, as they’ll give Chad Henne a shot. With the success rookie quarterbacks have seemed to enjoy over the past few years, this isn’t necessarily a lost cause. Miami hosts division rivals in consecutive weeks, so they may finally get that elusive first win of the season.
26. (23) They’re playing down to their competition and that can not continue. God help Jim Zorn if the Redskins lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don’t get it. This was a team that on paper, appeared to get better in the offseason. There is certainly a lot of blame to go around, but I somehow doubt the majority falls on Jason Campbell. Sherman Smith, Steve Jackson, I’m pointing at you guys.
27. (30) Poor Rams. Their problems start and end in the trenches. Alex Barron looks great one week and terrible the next. Steve Spagnuolo has brought the West Coast offense to Saint Louis, but it has been largely ineffective through the first three weeks of the season. A West Coast system requires big, physical receivers on the outside with good hands and excellent body control. Laurent Robinson is one, but who is the other?
28. (28) Rome wasn’t built in one day and Kansas City won’t be either. The first element of building a successful 3-4 defense is stopping the run. Once you can do that, everything else will follow. The Chiefs haven’t gotten to that point yet, but once they do, things will slowly turn around. Matt Cassel is this franchise. There’s nothing wrong with that team, so I expect a breakout performance within the next few weeks.
29. (32) Congratulations, Detroit on finally winning a football game! Jim Schwartz still has a long way to go before restoring pride in this team, but winning certainly puts him on the right track. The next stop for these Lions? .500. If they can find a way to contain Jay Cutler in Chicago, they certainly have a chance. Cutler will do everything in his power to turn the ball over. The only question is whether these Lions are brave enough to win the football game.
30. (27) We’re really scrapping the bottom of the barrel with these last few teams. How long do they stick with JaMarcus Russell? He has shown flashes, but he is way too inconsistent at this stage in his development. This week’s loss to the Denver Broncos was ugly. They couldn’t pass or defend the pass. They couldn’t run or defend the run. In the spirit of competition, the Raiders should switch places with the Trojans of Southern California. The talent seems like a better fit.
31. (25) Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the same team that finished 9-7 the year before? The biggest mistake the Bucs made was switching defensive philosophies. They call it the Tampa 2 for a reason. Losing Derrick Brooks can’t affect this team that much, can it? With the quarterback position being what it is, I don’t know when they win a game this year.
32. (31) Eric Mangini needs to win a football game. This entire football team is in disarray. They have a good chance of upsetting the Cincinnati Bengals this week at home – especially now they’ve made the switch to Derek Anderson. There’s still plenty of football to be played, but it’s difficult to realistically project this team miraculously turning their season around.
Tags: 49ers, Bears, Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, NFL, Packers, Panthers, Patriots, Power Rankings, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers, Texans, Titans, Vikings
Posted on: September 24, 2009 4:17 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2009 8:51 pm
I can think of only three things in the world that mean less than September power rankings: Cosmopolitan Magazine, the T.O. Show, and the Washington Nationals.
Despite this, I bravely forge along in my quest to rank all 32 NFL teams from strongest to...umm...the Detroit Lions.
Not surprisingly (at least to me) come the new bad boys of the NFL: the New Orleans Saints.
Can anyone even slow down that offense?
A heathy Pittsburgh team certainly has a chance. The Jets and Ravens do too, however I doubt either offense could keep up. Until a team proves they can put everything together, the Saints will take their place as the most dominant team in the NFL.
The bottom of the rankings is littered with the usual suspects with the exception of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
They just don't seem to have enough firepower on offense or defense to match up against anyone. The passing game is suspect with David Garrard at the helm. Maurice Jones-Drew is an explosive talent, but one 5'6" running back can only do so much to carry the load.
Jack Del Rio's squad better start winning games soon. There is no one left to blame but Del Rio himself, so he must produce results - and fast.
1. Sean Peyton has created a monster. Drew Brees and the high-flying Saints have one of the most potent offenses we’ve seen in years, and that lands them a top these rankings. Defensively, the Saints are better than many give them credit for. By the end of the season, Scott Shanle will become a household name. That defense should be able to hold up their end of the bargain, and that should mean a deep playoff run for New Orleans.
2. A three-point loss to the Bears on the road means nothing . Jeff Reed has kicked this team to Super Bowls before, and he’ll continue to do so in 2009. Pittsburgh may have lost Troy Polamalu, but they haven’t lost any aggressiveness or intensity. Just ask Greg Olsen. For this team to compete, Ben Roethlisberger will be asked to win the game with his arm. Cincinnati will be a good test.
3. Much like the Steelers, the Giants seem to be winning games backwards. Instead of running to set up the pass, New York seems to be throwing to set up the run. I’m not sure how long they can keep that up. After narrowly surviving two brutal division games, New York will fatten up on AFC West cupcakes before their week six showdown with the Greatest Show on Bourbon Street .
4. If last week’s bizarre win against the Dolphins has shown us anything, it’s that the Colts are exactly who we thought they were. This team isn’t built to stop the run. This team is built to score points, play from ahead, and rush the passer. Fortunately, there isn’t a dominant rushing team left in the AFC that Indianapolis can’t handle. On a side note, I hope they’ve reinforced the scoreboards in Glendale. Their Sunday afternoon matchup with the Cardinals smells like a shootout.
5. When we look back at the 2009 season at the end of the year, I have a feeling we’ll look back on last week’s Patriots/Jets slugfest as a season-defining moment for both teams. Bill Belichick was essentially humiliated and Tom Brady was heavily scrutinized. Both things spell trouble for the rest of the NFL. Despite this, a defense in transition may be this team’s Achilles Heel. Can they stop Atlanta this week? That should tell us how good this team really is.
6. Is it just me, or does this Baltimore Ravens team look eerily similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers team that won it all in 2007? They possess one of the leagues most feared defenses. They have a balanced, yet aggressive running game. They have a young quarterback able to make all the throws and manage the offense. Baltimore replaced some of the signature names of the past with internal talent, so we’ll see just how far that takes them.
7. Matt Ryan is a special player. With him at the helm, and Michael Turner in the backfield, the Falcons are poised to remain in the top ten throughout the entire regular season. One thing that concerns me about this team is the defense. They have yet to face an elite quarterback, and I have reason to believe that secondary will be exposed sooner rather than later.
8. Is it just me, or does this New York Jets team look eerily similar to the Baltimore Ravens team that lost the AFC Championship game in 2008? The Jets appear to be following the same formula that has worked so well with Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and so many others. Surround your young quarterback with talent, and slowly but surely assimilate him into the offense. Sanchez will eventually struggle. How much he does will determine how far this team will go in 2009.
9. It’s still early to raise any red flags, but what in the world is wrong with San Diego? The once super-Chargers limped out of Oakland victorious and lost a heartbreaker to Baltimore at home. This team should be winless. Losing Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick for 8 weeks will not help a rushing attack ranked 31st in the NFL. Letting DE Igor Olshansky walk was a rare mistake that will eventually cost this team down the road.
10. It’s hard to properly evaluate this team because they haven’t faced off against any playoff contenders so far. San Francisco is a good team and should shed some light on this Minnesota team. That defense may look good against Cleveland and Detroit, but I have a hard time buying them as legitimate. Through two games, Jared Allen has registered 5 tackles and 1 sack. Those statistics must be improved upon.
11. Few things surprise me in the NFL and the Packers’ week two loss to Cincinnati was one of them. Carson Palmer was able to move up and down the field against a talented Green Bay defense. Aaron Rogers has yet to turn the ball over, which is good. He also has yet to replicate the big-play ability shown in 2008, which is bad. By the time he figures it out, the Packers should find themselves back in the hunt for NFC North supremacy.
12. Will the real Jay Cutler please stand up? If he would stop Delhomming on us, we just may be able to figure out how good this team actually is. That defense looked impressive against the Steelers last week, and Rod Marinelli is a big reason why. Marinelli had his defensive linemen firing off the ball and wreaking havoc on a suspect Steelers line. I like the Bears against the Seahawks, but Cutler will have to settle down if the Bears want to be playing in January.
13. There is good news and bad news for the Dallas Cowboys. The bad news is Tony Romo is underachieving. DeMarcus Ware is underachieving. Roy E. Williams in underachieving. Marion Barber is injured and Flozell Adams might be the dirtiest player in the game. Wade Phillips may have already lost his team and the Giants spoiled the grand opening of Jerry World . But hey, at least Terrell Owens is gone!
14. Fred Taylor might have found a successor for his signature nickname in Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb has only played the full 16 games four times in his 11-year career. The Eagles are a different football team with McNabb under center, but that may be the least of their problems. The Eagles lost two Pro Bowlers in the secondary when Lito Sheppard and Brian Dawkins left this past offseason. So far, replacing those two seems easier said than done.
15. Let me be frank about one thing: Kerry Collins is not an elite quarterback. He’s barely even serviceable. The NFL is turning into a pass-first league, which means teams will need to throw in order to remain competitive. Mario and Luigi, or whatever they’re calling themselves nowadays, should be enough to overpower weaker opponents. It goes without saying, but the Titans are the best 0-2 football team in the league.
16. If there were ever a team to go Arizona Cardinals on the NFL, it’s this one. Shaun Hill is a savvy veteran a la Jeff Garcia and that defense has been pushing on great for a few seasons now. If Frank Gore’s injury becomes serious, Glen Coffee is your 2009 Rookie of the Year. That third-rated rushing defense should be put to the test when they face off against Adrian Peterson and company.
17. I challenge anyone to find a more inconsistent team than the Cincinnati Bengals. This team will look great one series and terrible the next. Their extreme inconsistency balances out and the result is an average football team. Penalties and mental errors still hurt, but Carson Palmer’s revitalized relationship with Chad Ochocinco helps. As the weeks go on, Bengals rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga looks more like a different Ray in the same division. As of today, he is your defensive rookie of the year.
18. The Cardinals are not a bad football team. They are ranked where they are because there are 17 NFL teams better than they are. Beenie Wells has survived through two games in the NFL season. For that, I congratulate him because that’s two more than I originally figured. Arizona needs this Sunday's win more than the Colts do in order to keep pace in their division. I say they’ll lose this one, but only by a narrow margin. 63-59 Colts.
19. It’s one thing to rebuild an entire offense, and it’s another to rebuild an entire defense. To do both at the same time with a first year head coach means one thing and one thing only: AFC wildcard contenders. As crazy as it may sound, the Broncos have a legitimate shot at postseason action. In addition to playing with a chip on his shoulder, Kyle Orton actually has wide receivers to catch the ball. This alone will make him better. The Raiders and Chiefs figure to help as well.
20. For those who haven’t seen this team, the 2009 Buffalo Bills are very fun to watch. Trent Edwards seems to have taken a giant step in establishing himself among the legitimate starters in this league. Defensively, the Bills have gotten by thanks in part to strong safety play from Donte Witner and Bryan Scott. They’ll need strong play from both players and then some, as they play host to the New Orleans Saints this week.
21. Monday Night’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts told us everything we need to know about the Miami Dolphins. They can run the ball effectively, but at the end of the day they can not throw the football. It seems newly acquired linebacker Jason Taylor left his dancing shoes at home, as he’s been quiet in his return to the swamplands. Dolphins’ cornerback Sean Smith will find his way to the Pro Bowl very soon. He’s one heck of a corner.
22. Until they move to the east coast, the Seattle Seahawks will continue to be looked over. A healthy Matt Hasselbeck should allow Seattle to move in the opposite direction of his hairline, provided T.J. Houshmandzadeh and company continue to catch the ball. Seneca Wallace has been in this system for quite some time, so he is expected to produce. Even if he does, this team has too many injuries to go anywhere any time soon.
23. This team should be good. They have enough talent to make the playoffs, but something simply isn’t right. Jason Campbell’s approval rating makes him the second most controversial figure in Washington. Albert Haynesworth may not have any sacks, but he has been a force in the middle of that defense. Once they put everything together, this team could push for top ten standing.
24. Houston has given up more yards on the ground than any other team. They are ranked dead last in total yards allowed and they average the fewer yards on the ground than any other team in the NFL. Most of that can be attributed to one Chris Johnson, but those statistics are disturbing nonetheless. Fortunately, the Jacksonville Jaguars are coming to town to ale their offensive woes.
25. The Buccaneers are a product of what I believe to be the most difficult schedule in the NFL. Their next five games: NYG, @WAS, @PHI, CAR, @NE. Wow. If it hasn’t begun already, the Josh Freeman clock should be ticking. On the bright side, Jeff Faine, Antonio Bryant, and Kellen Winslow should help this team adjust to losing. They’ve all had experience doing so in Cleveland.
26. Bump this team up seven slots if Jake Delhomme plays consistently from week to week. Bump them up four slots if Dwayne Jarrett lives up to even half of his potential. Bump them up seven more slots if Megan Fox decides to go on a date with me. Odds are none of these things will happen any time soon, so the Panthers will stay exactly where they are.
27. No one screams bust quite like JaMarcus Russell. It’s puzzling to think, but the Raiders actually have a fairly decent team around him. Michael Bush and Darren McFadden are solid. Zach Miller is a sure-handed tight end. That defense is surprisingly good. If a veteran quarterback provided stability to the position (*cough* Jeff Garcia *cough*), this would be an interesting team to watch every Sunday. Sadly they are not, and the Raiders will remain one of the more disappointing franchises in the NFL.
28. Much like the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs should be a better football team than they have shown to this point. Matt Cassel’s health has something to do with it, but there have been voices around that organization that believe Brodie Croyle is actually the better passer. With an innovative head coach like Todd Haley, this offense shouldn’t be down for long. Too bad I can’t say the same for the defense.
29. Jack Del Rio’s buns should begin to feel warmer as the season progresses. His defense was thoroughly trounced at the hands of Warner and the Cards, and that offense remains stuck in gear one. David Garrard is struggling and it won’t be too long before the fans turn their backs to the team. I thought a healthy Vince Manuwai would turn this team around, but that certainly doesn’t seem like the case.
30. Over the past few seasons, the Saint Louis Rams have put the misery in Missouri. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Rams Super Bowl run in 1999, and oh how things have changed. Torry Holt and Issac Bruce are replaced by Laurent Robinson and Doney Avery. Kevin Carter and Grant Winstrom give way to Gary Gibson and Chris Long. Steve Spagnuolo has worked miracles in the past, and he’ll certainly have his hands full with this team.
31. The Browns haven’t given Clevelanders much reason to be optimistic this season. Brady Quinn has struggled to move the ball down the field, and that is a big reason why the Browns are ranked dead last in several offensive categories. There is some talent on that defense, but they need to play four quarters of consistent football in order to be competitive.
32. With Daunte Culpepper, Detroit may have won 6 games. Starting Matt Stafford cuts that number in half. In fairness to the Lions, there is some talent on that roster. Ernie Sims, Julian Peterson, and Larry Foote form a semi-legitimate linebacker corps while Anthony Henry and Philip Buchannon receive chances to turn their respective careers around. Projected date of Detriot’s first win: November 22nd, 2009.
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Posted on: March 16, 2009 2:34 am
Edited on: March 30, 2009 12:44 pm
With the NFL Draft still a good 26 days away, what better time than the present to compile meaningless information and assemble a mock draft? I won't waste time with the details, but I've scoured the internet for rumors and combined that information with my own team analysis.
*Please note* As with the real NFL draft, teams are forced to adapt to what others in front of them have done. Selections were made accordingly.
31. Michael Johnson, DE/OLB Georgia Tech
So there it is. Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Feedback is appreciated.
Posted on: February 1, 2009 11:44 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2009 12:22 am
"A little integrity is better than any career." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take a moment to consider that statement by American-born philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Reaching the summit of any career or job pales in comparison to the core values of integrity and honesty. For Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison and Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes, these words mean absolutely nothing.
Harrison made arguably the defining play in Sunday's Super Bowl win over the Arizona Cardinals. On a would-be touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Anquan Boldin, Warner misjudged the Steelers linebacker which resulted in a 100-yard interception returned for a touchdown. The play came at the end of the half, and derailed a Cardinals team heading full steam into halftime with hopes of drawing the deficit to 3. Harrison's pivotal pick was arguably the most important play of the first half.
Look no further than Santonio Holmes' TD reception with 0:35 seconds left for the defining play of the second half. With former Steelers great and Hall of Fame receivier Lynn Swann looking on, Holmes showed the acrobatics of his counterpart, and came down with the go-ahead score which proved to be the difference in the game.
The Steelers could not have won the Super Bowl without Harrison and Holmes.
That brings me back to Emerson's statement about integrity.
Both men have none.
Last year, James Harrison was charged with assaulting a woman he claimed to be his girlfriend. After a heated argument, Harrison repeatedly threatened a woman named Beth Tibbot. Fearing for her personal safety, Beth locked herself in a bedroom and attempted to call 911. Harrison broke down the door, shattered her phone by thowing it to the ground, and then allegedly hit her across the face.
Around the same time, Santonio Holmes was charged with his second misdemeanor marijuana possession after being pulled over while driving. Police found lit cigars in his car which most likely indicated he used the drug while driving. Holmes' reckless actions endangered the lives of those on the road, and demonstrated severe irresponsibility.
So congratulations, Steelers fans. Your team won the Super Bowl on the efforts of a womanizer and a drug dealer.
A little integrity is better than a career's worth of accomplishments.
Unfortunately for you, those two players have none.
Posted on: September 12, 2008 10:39 pm
Rob Chudzinski Press Conference
[Interview from Clevelandbrowns.com]
Berea -- Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski addressed the media Friday afternoon in a press conference about the wide receiver position and Sunday night's showdown with Pittsburgh.
Chudzinski spoke on a number of topics, most notably Donte Stallworth's high quad sprain and the Brown's ability to function as a team in his absense.
"This is the NFL and injuries are a part of the game," Chudzinski said of the injury.
"Those are things that you need to be able to adapt to, improvise, and overcome."
With Donte Stallworth out and Joe Jurivicius on the PUP list, the Browns have turned to a pair of practice squad receivers in undrafted free agent Steve Sanders and 2007 seventh round selection Syndric Steptoe.
Chudzinski says the two have done a nice job to this point, and he knows that must continue for the team to be successful.
"Offensive football is about rhythm and continuity. We have the same expectations of [Sanders and Steptoe] as any other guys that would be in the huddle."
Chudzinski and the Browns have been preparing all week for the nationally televised home game against the Steelers.
When asked about the Steelers, Chudzinski had nothing but praise and respect for Pittsburgh's defensive unit.
"They're solid all the way across," Chudzinski said.
"You can't be one dimensional with them. If you can only do one thing, they're gonna stop it."
Despite being thin at the wide receiver position, Chudzinski said that if the Browns can execute their offense, they will be successful.
"They'll be ready to play [Sunday]," he said.
Posted on: September 9, 2008 9:16 pm
Why I Hate the Pittsburgh Steelers
In honor of Steelers Week, I've decided to give a little insight as to exactly why I absolutely hate the Steelers and everything they stand for. There are so many reasons, that boiling it down to ten is difficult, but I've done my best. Here we go...
Number 10 - The Jaw
This man...this man really gets me. That smug smile of his, the arrogant way he went about business, gah! Bill Cower is the embodiment of all things Steeler. You know once... just once did I want to see the Brownies put this guy in his place. Back in Cowher's day - all those Pittsburgh teams did was pound the ball. They won by being physical and for that - Steeler fans felt like they had a very dominating team. Of course they used that opportunity to condescend us Browns for not being as 'physical', which sadly happened to be true. Cowher would use that power running game to milk the clock - relishing in every moment of this slow methodical torture. Thank you Bill Cowher - the mental anguish you and your darn Steelers inflicted upon me as a child make me hate you that much more.
Number 9 - Double Yoi!
As an aspiring journalist, I have the utmost respect for the career and lasting legacy of Myron Cope. However as a Browns fan, the man's broken English and nonsensical remarks were some of the most annoying aspects of past Steelers football. What the heck does "double yoi" even mean?!? You couldn't understand what the man said - and his biased broadcasting style along with the homerish commentary polluted our radio stations bye week after bye week. Cope is a legend - though he chose the wrong team to support which landed him on here on my list.
Number 8 - "It's all in the family"
Back in the day - when I was a wee Brown, Papacheeks took me to see a Browns' game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The experience itself was awesome - seeing all the energized Browns in the stands cheering for the home team. Everybody looked so happy back then... until the game started. What I do remember about that particular game was that the Steelers completely dismantled us. Everyone went from smiles and cheers to frowns and boos. The team from Pittsburgh brought so much grief onto all those in the stadium that day that they had to be evil. How could one team bring so much sadness to our loyal and happy fans?
Number 7: Syringes behind the Curtain
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s cheated. That's not to say the Browns or any other team of that era didn't, but the Steelers cheated better than anyone else. I hate the Steelers because their beloved history and Super Bowl rings came during a time in NFL football where players used performance enhancement drugs. All of their glorified heroes and legends took it in the butt - yet we still hold Franco, Lambert, and Green in such high regard. (As reference - Otto Graham isn't even mentioned with other great QBs) Moreover, the Steelers boast their 5 Super Bowl victories, and are widely acclaimed for being one of the more reputable franchises in history. The Browns hold 8 League Championships, yet many still consider them "The Mistake by the Lake."
Number 6: "My steel rod will never bend."
Steely McBeam. Wow. Honestly, I never thought that a mascot could be more obnoxious than an organization - but I was wrong. Is this some kind of sick joke? What kind of twisted audience is Steely McBeam even appealing to? His protruding chin, cheesy smile, and that gimmick steel-worker costume make me hate this franchise even more. NFL teams do not need mascots - and McBeam proves that statement right in every single way.
Number 5: $108 Million Undeserved Dollars
Things came too easy for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Shortly after he was drafted, Big Ben "lead" Pittsburgh to the AFC Championship game. The year after, he "won" the Super Bowl and became the youngest quarterback ever to "lead" his team to the Super Bowl. The Steelers eventually rolled huge barrels of cash at the man - and declared him their franchise quarterback. As a Browns' fan, you have to understand my jealously here. Franchise quarterbacks are supposed to take years to find :( Making the transition or passing the touch isn't supposed to be as seamless as the Steelers made it. Ben's a good QB, but anyone the Browns use as comparison will never have the immediate success and accolades as Roethlisberger did.
Number 4: The Reason I Will Never Watch Fox Sports
Arguably the most hated Steeler of all-time, Terry Bradshaw is in a class of his own. Fortunately I never had the chance to watch any of his games on a first-hand basis - but from what I hear the man is pure steel evil. The most recent incarnation of this Bradshaw appears on the FOX Sports NFL pre-game show. This version of Terrible Terry provides enough for me to realize how big a jerk he must of been in his day. His game analysis is slanted, his mock hair piece - disgusting, and his honestly I find his homeristic commentary to a national audience sickening. The only good BADshaw has provided me with was that beautiful, marvelous, erotic, sensational, wonderful, glorious play in 1976 where Turkey Jones masterfully suplexed Bradshaw - drilling him head-first into solid ground.
Number 3: Steeler Fans
I say this with caution, because I have met some Steelers fans here on Sportsline that turn out to be decent people. On an individual basis, I suppose some of them are okay, but as a group - forgettaboutit. Pittsburgh Steelers fans' are the football equivalent to baseball's Boston Red Sox fans. They flood your stadium (wherever you are), talk trash the entire game, and then go back home only to do it again the next time the teams meet. There's something slightly different about Steeler fans though, which will be revealed on this list in a couple spots. Going back to the Steeler fans traveling well, it doesn't stop at football games. Even here, in the middle of Ohio, there are hundreds of people clad in the world's most obnoxious colors - walking around campus just to irritate the heavily Browns/Bengals crowd. Disgusting.
Number 2: Make it Stop! Make it Stop! Make it Stop!
Since the turn of the new millennium, the Steelers are 15-2 against the Browns - having won a series' record 9 games in a row. Go back 10 more years to 1990 and the Steelers are 25-7 against us. TWENTY-FIVE AND FREAKING SEVEN! This is madness! I can only take so much abuse and punishment for goodness sake! Browns fans can only live in the past for so long. A season or so ago, I remember Joey Porter coming out and saying that "Browns/Steelers isn't a rivalry anymore." Isn't a rivalry - are you kidding me?!? It's almost to the point where people are ashamed of being Browns' fans in context of Steelers. The last time the Browns made a statement in the rivalry was September 10th, 1989 - where the Browns won in Pittsburgh 51-0. I was two years old. This generation of Browns fans has nothing to hang our hats on - and as a result have lost some of the pride that made this competition what it is.
Number 1: The Terrible Towel
He ran ninety -three
Like a bat out of hell
And no one could see
How he rambled so well
"it was easy," said Andy
And he flashed a crooked smile
"I was snapped on the fanny
By the Terrible Towel!"
It is this crowned piece of trash that infuriates me more than anything else about the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whether it's at Cleveland Browns Stadium, Ketchup Field, or any other place in the NFL - this cheap gimmick is the flagship symbol of the entire Evil Empire. Wherever the Steelers go - so do Steelers fans, and Steelers fan travel with these "poo-poo rags" with them - stinking up any stadium with the misfortune of hosting them.
On a family vacation to Baltimore, we had the unfortunate experience of stopping in Pittsburgh. After navigating through that backwards city, we came across a shop that sold those terrible Towels. I bought one in hopes of burning it once the Browns beat the Steelers.
THAT WAS NEARLY 5 YEARS AGO!
I don't know what else to say. The bottom line is the Cleveland Browns need to end this humiliation at the hands of our arrogant rivals. Winning 10 games in a row is unprecedented, and would put a black mark on Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel's entire operation. It's about time to win a game. With the nation focusing on us, we need a strong showing from everyone just to save face.