Tag Archives: Kellen Winslow Jr.

Rants, Raves and Notes – Talkin’ some football

Ryan Jacobs

α: When Roger Goodell came into the league, many people (like me), were curious as to how this man was going to run, arguably, the best structured professional sporting league in the world. Goodell had many issues to deal with from the moment that he took the reins from Paul Tagliabue. One of the more prominent issues he needed to address was player misconduct. Well, Goodell came riding in on an iron horse and smashed the league back into order under his moral and ethically guided system of rules. (Editor’s note: What is an iron horse?) He sent Michael Vick to trial, suspended Pacman Jones for an entire season, and Chris Henry for half a year. I thought the guy had some balls. Coming into this league and making so many statements impressed me and others across the land. It seemed like the league had found a young king to lead their organization into a new era.

Things have changed a little bit since Goodell’s first year though. Nowadays, players are getting fined the equivalent of an Acura for simply questioning calls made by officials. The latest of these came when Randy Moss was fined 20 grand for claiming that some of the calls made by the officials during their week 9 loss to the Colts were “iffy”. In comparison to some of the things muttered by Moss in the past, this was child’s play (and probably shouldn’t have made headlines). I couldn’t fucking believe it! I mean, get real, man! 20 G’s for that? You’re off your flippin’ rocker! (Editor’s note: Now, let’s not go throwing stones…) Fortunately, the fine was later rescinded by league officials who actually have a fucking brain in their skulls, but the message was clear: The NFL League Office no longer recognizes the First Amendment of the United States Constitution….you know, the one about free speech and all, especially when the comment is made in defense of your team. Unbelievable. (Editor’s note: I plead the fiff!)

I mean, if you cannot make critical statements against blown calls, then you’re saying that referees are perfect. And if you’ve been paying attention to the NFL this year, you know there have been a slew of poor calls that have screwed many teams; and think, we just only passed the halfway mark in the season. I know it must be tough for refs, what with all of the hell they take for bad calls (Editor’s note: And those silly uniforms). But this is how I see it: you’re making good money officiating football games and you know you’re gonna be under heat for some of the calls that you and your crew make. If you aren’t ready to step up to the damn plate, then don’t even bother driving to the stadium, because it’s a war zone out there. (Editor’s note: Wait, who called Kellen Winslow, Jr?)

β: The…Eagles…are…killing…me; soooo painful watching them play. They hang around in games just long enough to make you think they might win, only to let you down. The thing about this team is that they don’t have swagger. They seem like they’re hungry, and I applaud them for that, but they just don’t have the mentality and tenacity to make them a Superbowl-caliber team. Losing to the Giants may have slid the cover over the coffin; now we’re all just waiting for another team to come along and put the nails in. My friend The Pundit would argue that all 4 of the Eagles’ losses came by a combined 19 points, and all were very tight contests. However, I see a team that can’t win the close ones; a team that doesn’t have what it takes to get them over the top when they need it most. (Editor’s note: Like that friend you have that is always talking to a girl by the end of the night, but can never close). And this is the regular season, people – while everyone is considering whether or not it’s feasible to consider a playoff run, we don’t even have the intensity to win in our division yet, let alone the postseason.

The Pundit would argue that we could right this ship and get hot, and he could be onto something there. I’ve seen mediocre Eagles teams of the past collect themselves at the halfway mark and make a playoff run. But for whatever reason, I don’t feel it with this team, though I’d be lying if I said I totally felt it with those other teams. I feel like this Eagles team is writing the final words in a long chapter while getting ready to turn the page and start a new saga. There’s no doubt that this team needs some youth and some fresh faces in key positions. With all else said, I think our window of opportunity closed last season and I think it’s time to move on to the Kolb era. (Editor’s note: Or, the Kolb error. Who knows?)

I never thought I’d find myself saying that, as I love and respect Donovan McNabb more than I feel a lot of people do. A lot of people love to take turns shitting on McNabb (Editor’s note: Now playing for the Cleveland Steamers, number 5…), which I have often disagreed with. McNabb has been the best quarterback this city has ever seen and it will be like breaking up with a serious girlfriend when he goes. And even though he is still playing well, he’s going to get run out of town sooner than later. Sorry buddy, it’s been good having you. But if this season ends in disappointment (and with 2 first round picks), I see the Eagles making significant personnel changes (which might mean you too, Dawkins…sniff, sniff).

γ: So Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States of America. Like the young people around me, I am glad that change is “coming to Washington”. I liked Obama even more when he said that it’s about time to change college football to a playoff system. Bravo, Mr. President Elect! Bravo! And here’s a guy who has the power to do such a thing. I’m not saying he would even challenge such a thing, as the billions of dollars raked in by the greedy fucks in charge of the BCS is enough to keep most people away. But if the president decides to do something, I’d be behind him. (Editor’s note: Oh, I think it’s more likely that he’d be behind you, Jacobs…Oh, SNAP!)

So I ask you, dear readers, would it be just as bad if President Obama set the dogs loose on the BCS? I don’t think he should waste his time worrying about College Football, though I would like to see the BCS revoked. Arash Markazi has a great article about Obama and the whole college football playoff situation posted under his “For the Record” column in the Fannation section of SI.com.

δ: It’s been circulating that Al Davis stripped the Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp of his play calling duties this week. While I can’t say the Raiders are good at doing anything, Davis is just causing more damage to, quite possibly, the NFL’s worst run organization. As one source said, “Knapp just happened to be the next in line scapegoat”. Keep in mind that Davis previously relegated play calling to Knapp even before the Lane Kiffin debacle began. The Raiders need help from everything from player personnel to coaching to the food they serve at the training facility cafeteria. (Editor’s note: Al Davis is a huge fan of baby food). But my vote goes to banishing Al Davis from the Raiders as the most important factor to turning things around in Oakland.

ε: USC has outscored its opponents 339-60 en route to an 8-1 record. Their defense has allowed more than 10 points only once: their loss at Oregon State when they gave up 28. USC is allowing an NCAA low 206.4 yard and 6.7 points per game. They blanked 3 of their opponents, and their average points allowed per game has steadily decreased as the season has wore on. Now, I’m not one to hype up USC, and I usually end up arguing with The Pundit over the validity of their defense, (Editor’s note: If I may attempt to rephrase his argument, I believe The Pundit often claims that USC’s defense is so good this year because the Pac-10 is sooooo bad), but USC looks scary right now. Everybody is giving Florida way more credit in the “one-loss contender” argument, especially because they play in the SEC. But USC is beating up on its weak conference the way it should be if it wants to be allowed back into the national title race. They are a good football team.

ζ: The Wildcat Formation. It’s the new rage in the NFL and it’s caught the eye of every coach and coordinator. The idea of getting one of your fastest and shiftiest playmakers behind center to run a zone-option read play is the new big thing. (Editor’s note: The Wildcat is the new black). After I saw the ‘Iggles do it with DeSean Jackson (and it led to a touchdown) against the Giants, I knew something was up. Could it be that coaches are taking something from the college game? Nahhhhhh, couldn’t be. I mean, to say that you dipped into college football playbooks would simply be barbaric, right? (Editor’s note: Andy Reid like DeSean Jackson. Andy get him ball anyway he can. Andy hungry now. Andy want food. Lots of food.). The coaches would be ashamed if people knew they had dropped to a lower level of football for inspiration. I personally think it’s great; just another way to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. I think it’s time that NFL coaches start taking chances on plays college football teams are more likely to risk.

I’m Ryan Jacobs, and I approve this posting.

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NFL Preview Part One: The AFC West

For the next 8 days, I’ll be doing an overview of each team, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, question marks and their fantasy outlook. On day 9, I’ll offer a full prediction for the upcoming season, including each team’s record, playoff predictions and the Superbowl champ.

Denver Broncos

Strengths: Their offense should produce, though not having Brandon Marshall early (suspended for at least 2 games Actual Editor’s note: only suspended for one, first game back will be without pay) will hurt. All indications are that Jay Cutler is primed for a big year. They’ll run the ball well, even if Andre Hall somehow ends up as their starter by year’s end. The secondary is solid, and Champ Bailey is arguably the best corner in football. D.J. Williams is a stud at LB.

Weaknesses: Basically, the defensive line. They gave up 142.6 rushing yards per game last year, 3rd worst in the league. The only real bright spot was Elvis Dumervil, who posted 12.5 sacks. Can recently added DT Dewayne Robertson (Jets) shore up the middle? Will anybody on this unit step up? If the defense can’t get stops and get off the field, the offense, which is expected to be solid, will suffer.

The question marks: The offensive and defensive lines. Can the O-line protect Cutler? Can the D-line stop anybody’s running attack and generate a pass rush?

Fantasy Forecast: He may be out for two one week, but Brandon Marshall is worth keeping in your back pocket. Keep your eye on the R situation, and work the waiver wire. My money says Selvin Young won’t be the only guy getting significant carries this season. Tony Scheffler may surprise you. As for Mr. Cutler – take him as your second QB, and see what he does. Don’t bother with their defense.

Overview: The Broncos are a tough call. They’ve got solid players at key positions: Champ Baily and Dre’ Bly at corner, D.J. Williams at LB, Brandon Marshall when he returns at WR, Jay Cutler (if he’s ready to explode as being predicted) at QB. They always run the ball well, and expect Cutler to spread the ball around a bit better than last year (Marshall led the team with 102 catches, and Scheffler was next with 49). But can the defense, and specifically, the D-line, step up? I don’t think so, and it will be their Achilles heel all season long. Their schedule before their bye in week 8 is absolutely brutal, with games against San Diego (week 2), New Orleans (week 3), Tampa Bay (week 5), Jacksonville (week 6) and New England (week 7). If they can start the season at 4-3 or better, they may have a shot for one of the wildcards.

Kansas City Chiefs

Strengths: Um, I’ll list them individually. Larry Johnson (if he can get any sort of blocking), Tony Gonzalez (if Brodie Croyle can get the ball to him), Dwayne Bowe has a lot of potential, Glenn Dorsey is going to be a beast, and all indications are that Derrick Johnson is primed for a break-out year. Their overall linebacking corps (Johnson, Donnie Edwards, Demorrio Williams, Napolean Harris, Pat Thomas) is solid.

Weaknesses: (Editor’s note: The Pundit just took a deep breath, as though this may take a while). Is Brodie Croyle really the long-term solution for this team at QB? Because it’s doubtful he’s a short term fix. After Gonzalez and Bowe, I’m not sure who he’ll throw to. The offensive line will likely struggle to get a push in the running game, even with the addition of rookie Branden Albert. Doesn’t help that LJ has probably lost a step anyway. Losing Jared Allen (Vikings) will significantly hurt their pass rush, unless Tamba Hali can have a career year. Their secondary is suspect. They should be stout against the run, unless Glenn Dorsey is a bust (Editor’s note: Highly doubtful). They are very young, and as excited as Herm Edwards is pretending to be about that, they will lose games due to mental mistakes. They are still forming their identity – not a formula for success.

The question marks: Brodie Croyle and the pass rush. Croyle is a gigantic, enormous, monumental, colassal, gargantuan (Editor’s note: He’ll keep going unless I stop him) question mark. If he comes out and manages the game well, occasionally connecting with Bowe for big plays, he may be able to keep the defense off-balance. Doubtful, though. If the D can’t generate a pass rush, it doesn’t matter how they defend the run: their secondary simply isn’t good enough to cover for extended periods of time. No pass rush = a long season for Chiefs fans.

Fantasy forecast: Obviously, Larry Johnson will be a guy taken in the top two rounds. Which I think may be a bit high, but he’ll get his touches. Tony Gonzalez will be a top five TE. Dwayne Bowe has Greg Jennings break-out potential, if Croyle cooperates, of course.

Overview: This team will struggle. When the question marks on your offense are the quarterback and the offensive line, you won’t strike fear in the hearts of many defenses. Their own defense will probably appear to overachieve, given the mediocrity of their offense, but will most likely get picked apart by solid passing attacks. Their youth and inexperience will plague them in close games. They will very likely have another top ten pick in next year’s draft, if not top five.

Oakland Raiders

Strengths: Solid defensively, with an excellent secondary bolstered by the offseason additions of DeAngelo Hall (Falcons) and Gibril Wilson (Giants). Very good core of running backs, with Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. TE Zach Miller showing promise, quickly becoming a favorite target of JaMarcus Russell.

Weaknesses: Pretty much their entire passing attack. The offensive line is better at blocking for the run, and has a few serious question marks of its own. The receiving group is thin after a season ending injury to Drew Carter. Russell is still developing at the QB position.

The question marks: JaMarcus Russell and Tommy Kelly. If Russell can competently manage the offense, and minimalize his mistakes, the Raiders may be able to replicate the Vikings offense of last year and beat teams on the ground. Can Tommy Kelly improve his play and improve a defense that allowed 145.9 rushing yards per game, second worst in the NFL? If he does (and early indications are that he is), along with the rest of the front seven, this will be a defense to be reckoned with.

Fantasy forecast: McFadden and Fargas are both worth owning. I don’t trust Javon Walker, but Ronald Curry could be a sleeper. Avoid Russell. Keep an eye on Zach Miller and their defense – each could become viable options down the line.

Overview: They have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. Darren McFadden could be a star, and Justin Fargas is darn good insurance if he isn’t. If the Raiders can improve their run defense, create turnovers, control the clock and wear down defenses with their run game, they will surprise people (Editor’s note: Oh, is that all?). I believe the key for their season is the development of JaMarcus Russell – if he can make just enough throws to keep the defense off-balance, their running attack (6th in the NFL last year) will do the rest. But if he’s throwing picks, and keeping the D out on the field, they don’t stand a chance. They don’t have a terribly difficult schedule – I project them as a middle of the road team that could hover around the .500 mark.

San Diego Chargers

Strengths: Their entire defense, basically. They led the NFL in turnovers last year with 48, and they shouldn’t regress much from that. Quentin Jammer and Antonio Cromartie make up one of the best cornerback pairs in football. Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo are excellent run-stuffers. Their linebackers get constant pressure on the quarterback, led by a guy you may have heard of named Shawne Merriman. Right, their defense is good. Oh, they also have this pretty good running back named LaDainian Tomlinson, i.e. the best running back in the NFL. The offensive line is steady. Antonio Gates, when healthy, is an impossible mismatch for defenses. The Chargers, on paper, are very, very good.

Weaknesses: Shawne Merriman’s knee ligaments. The potential that Antonio Gates is not 100 percent healthy. The wide receivers, though really I’m nitpicking, because Chris Chambers has now had a full training camp to get acclimated with Philip Rivers, and Vincent Jackson showed marked improvement in the second half of the season last year. Oh, wait, I’ve got one – Norv Turner. Yeah, Norv Turner. And the nice weather, because maybe instead of practicing, they’d rather be enjoying the weather. Or something like that.

The question marks: Philip Rivers and Shawne Merriman. Their offense will always be most effective when LT has the ball, but an efficient passing attack could make them almost indefensible. A big year for Rivers and this team is Superbowl bound; a mediocre one, and a brief playoff visit is likely. Then, there’s Mr. Merriman and his knee. Merriman at 75 percent is still a better option than a lot of OLB’s out there, and that’s assuming that he won’t play at a higher level than that. He may, but I don’t know if he lasts the season. If he doesn’t, the defense will not only lose effectiveness, but swagger as well. They are talented enough across the board to survive without him, but he makes them special.

Fantasy forecast: If you had the first overall pick, and you didn’t select LaDainian Tomlinson, you’re an idiot. (Editor’s note: Easy there, Pun). Antonio Gates is in the top tier of tight ends along with Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Kellen Winslow, Jr. and Tony Gonzalez. The defense should be one of the first ones of the board, if not the first. Their receivers could be late round steals.

Overview: They should be very, very good. But, I predicted them to win the Superbowl last year, and though they didn’t accomplish that, they at least made the AFC Championship game. Expect them to better last season ‘s dismal 1-3 start, and remain steady throughout the year. In my mind, they are one of four legitimate Superbowl contenders in the AFC.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for the AFC South.

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