Tag Archives: Marion Barber

The Pundit’s Power Rankings: Meetings in Vegas, Portis is pissed, and Harrell can just stay home

Unlike traditional Power Rankings, which attempt to rank teams on a week-to-week basis, the Pundit’s Power Rankings avoid such arbitrary silliness. Instead, The Pundit wishes only to rank the pertinence, scope, and conversational value of the top sports stories of the week. Extra points for any stories that lend themselves to relentless mockery and high-horse rhetoric. On to the Rankings!

1. The Winter Meetings

They say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. In baseball’s case, what happens in Vegas ends up in New York. The Yankees and the Mets were the biggest players during the Winter meetings, with the Yankees landing free agency’s biggest prize, CC Sabathia. Plus, it looks like they’re going to snag A.J. Burnett. (Editor’s note: Damn Yankees). The Mets added pitching as well, obtaining closer Francisco Rodriguez. Plus, they added one more putz to their roster- setup man J.J. Putz, that is. (Editor’s note: Wow, never saw that first-rate zinger coming). Or, as they’re saying in New York: J.J. Pootz. Hah. Still waiting to see where big-namers like Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira and Derek Lowe wind up. And the rest of the National League can breathe a bit easier, as for now, talks between the Cubs and Padres over Jake Peavy are dead. May they rest in peace, and never, ever come back to life. Stay tuned.

2. Clinton Portis vs. Jim Zorn?

Clinton Portis was unhappy about being on the bench in the second half of a loss against the Ravens this past week, and he exclaimed his anger on a local D.C. radio program, going so far as to sarcastically call Zorn a “genius.” Then, it leaked that many of the players weren’t happy with Zorn’s habit of talking to the media about the specific mistakes made by players during games, and apparentely, some of the playcalling. Fun stuff in Washington, especially for a team that has dropped four of their last five games. Though, maybe this type of thing shouldn’t surprise us from Portis anymore…

What in the hell...?

What in the hell...?

3. Heisman Ceremony minus Harrell

Coach Mike Leech was pissed that Harrell wasn’t invited to New York. Many members of the National Media were pissed that Harrell wasn’t invited to New York. Me? Eh, doesn’t bother me – for me, the contest was between the three guys they picked. Though Harrell put up some sick numbers: 4,747 passing yards, 41 passing TD’s, 6 rushing TD’s, 7 INT’s, a 71.5% completion percentage. Let’s be honest: if Texas Tech plays at least a competitive game against Oklahoma, he gets the invite. It’s all about the last impression you leave people, and unfortunetely for Mr. Harrell, his cost him dearly.

4. The Cowboys in disarray

Jerry Jones is calling out Marion Barber for not playing through his injury? TO thinks there is some sort of conspiracy going on between Tony Romo and Jason Witten to get Witten, and not TO, the ball? The Cowboys are the perfect example of why you can look lovely on paper, but if you have no chemistry, all the paper in the world can’t ensure a championship. Jerry Jones, shut your mouth, and let your players play. TO, just shut your mouth, period. Why wouldn’t Romo want to get you, one of the most talented recievers in football, the ball? You normally make him look good – accept the fact that sometimes, the defense will dictate who Romo throws the ball to. It’s common sense, isn’t it? I guess it’s just TO’s world, and we’re polluting it, apparently.

5. Jimmy V Week

“Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” – Jim Valvano

If you can watch the speech he gave at the 1993 ESPY’s and not get a little choked up, you are probably a robot. Jim Valvano was a great example of how sports can extend beyond the field and impact the lives of so many people. Wins and losses, they fade in time. Some things live on.

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Amen.

6. Injunction suspended for NFL players

Looks like the Vikings and Saints can breathe easy, as they will likely keep their players for the playoff push. This was a bigger story last week, and I still think it’s fishy that the judge who ruled on this presides in Minnesota, but whatever. I mean, is anybody all that scared of the Vikings or Saints, anyway?

Viiiiiiiiiictory!

Viiiiiiiiiictory!

7. Carmelo Anthony goes for 33 in one quarter

I mean, that’s just ridiculous. 33 in a quarter? Unheard of. Melo’s got game, son, for real for real. Let’s put that into perspective: not one Sixer has gone over 33 points in a single game this year! Which is probably as sad for the Sixers as it is impressive of Melo.

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From spectacular to despair – Quick hits from the Eagles game

– These are two very good football teams. (Editor’s note: That’s the kind of analysis that is going to take The Pundit straight to the top).

– Donovan was the man, but Donovan will also be the goat. Two critical mistakes that factored heavily in the Eagles losing: The fumbled exchange with Westbrook in the 4th quarter when the Eagles were already in field goal range, and the third down sack he took to DeMarcus Ware on the final drive that set up the 4th and 17 hook-and-hook-and-ladder bonanza. He was on point for most of the game, but those two plays really cost them.

– The receivers played pretty well, though there were too many drops, especially a Greg Lewis bobble out-of-bounds on the final drive.

– What was with all of the Dallas facemask penalties?

– Dallas’ offense has so many weapons, they look to have the most dangerous offense in the NFL this season.

– Hey Sean Considine! You see that guy, number 81. You know, the guy who just blazed by you? Yeah, he’s pretty good, might want to keep an eye on him next time. Just a thought.

– Brian Westbrook is a God amongst mortals. His touchdown slither at the goaline, where he kept himself up by sitting on one of the Cowboy’s helmets, was spectacular.

– Bad DeSean Jackson! Bad bad bad! You got lucky, but please, for the love of God, if you have to celebrate, make it into the endzone first, okay? Though it did make for some interesting conversation as to what the ruling on the field was going to be; I can’t remember ever seeing that before. Otherwise, nice game – you’re looking like a baller, son.

– Marion Barber is a man possessed late in the game. Felix Jones is pretty frightening every single friggin’ time he touches the ball. That’s a scary duo right there for the Cowboys.

– Both of these defenses are better than this game – these offenses are just really on point right now.

– Who do you put on a guy like Jason Witten? He is a giant mismatch conundrum for opposing defenses.

– Brian Dawkins has lost a step. Not so much in his blitzing or run support, but he got beaten a couple times in coverage. He was never incredible in pass coverage, but he looked a little slower than before out there.

– Quintin Mikell is very quietly becoming a very good football player.

– Hey, front four, you there? Need a bit more of a consistent pass rush, guys. Hard to beat Tony Romo off the blitz, especially when the Cowboys made their adjustments in the second half and started dinking and dunking the Birds behind the blitzers. (Editor’s note: But Coach Pundit, we tried hard, we really did…)

– Mike Tirico and Jaws are really good commentators. Tony Kornheiser? Ehhhhhh, not so much.

– Oh, how could I forget this: DAMN YOU, T.O.!

– The Steelers will be tough; they are a good football team. But the Eagles have shown that, when McNabb is clicking, that they can play with anyone. At least, after two weeks, that’s how it appears. Something definitely to be taken from this game, even though the loss, especially to the Cowboys, stings.

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Eagles Preview and more

This Eagles season, more than many in recent history, is chock full of questions. So many, in fact, that I decided to do my entire Eagles preview in question format. I could make a slew of blanket claims, hoping I got some of them right, guys don’t get injured, etc. Instead, I’m going to focus on the aspects of this team that are huge question marks. I’ll put the answer that would benefit the Eagles, but not necessarily my opinion, after the question. At the end, I’ll give my prediction based upon how many questions I think the Eagles will answer to their benefit. Everybody have their number two pencils ready? And…go!

1. Will Donovan McNabb stay healthy? (Huge Yes)

2. Will Brian Westbrook continue to be one of the best best weapons in football – for 16 games? (The Biggest Yes)

3. Can Tony Hunt become a reliable fullback? (Yes)

4. Will Lorenzo Booker and Correll Buckhalter be able to spell Westbrook? (Yes)

5. Will the receiving corps hold water until Kevin Curtis comes back? (Yes)

6. Will they drop too many passes again this year? (No)

7. Will DeSean Jackson be a big-play threat? (Yes)

8. Will L.J. Smith reestablish himself as a quality TE? (Yes)

9. Will the offensive line stay healthy? (Yes)

10. Will the offensive line protect McNabb? (Yes)

11. Will our offense be more productive in the red zone? (Yes)

12. Will Andy Reid commit more to the running game? (Yes)

13. Will the DT’s get a surge up the middle, stuffing the opposing team’s running game? (Yes)

14. Will one of the DE’s other then Trent Cole become a consistent pass rusher? (Yes)

15. Will we get a bit more production from Darren Howard? (Yes)

16. Will the young linebacking corps swarm to the ball, wreaking havoc on the opposing team’s running game? (Yes)

17. Will the young linebacking corps make too many mental mistakes? (No)

18. Will the three corner circus be effective? (Yes)

19. Will Asante Samuel live up to his huge contract? (Yes)

20. Will The Agent Fatale turn Lito Sheppard into a media whore, convincing him to go by an alternate moniker such as LS or Lito Dos Seis? (Nooooooooooooooooooooooo)

21. Is Brian Dawkins past his prime? (No)

22. Will Quentin Mikell be a liability? (No)

23. Will Jim Johnson draw up a wild array of blitz schemes that work? (Yes)

24. Will David Akers return to form? (Yes)

25. Can DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps consistently be dangerous return men? (Yes)

Quick note: A couple of these are huge, much more drastic than the others – namely, number 1 and 2. If McNabb or Westbrook get hurt, they won’t make the playoffs. So, the following scores are assuming that McNabb and Westbrook will stay healthy.

If the answers to 23-25 of these questions benefit the Eagles, they represent the NFC in the Superbowl.

If the answers to 20-22 of these questions benefit the Eagles, they win the NFC East

If the answers to 15-19 of these questions benefit the Eagles, they make the wildcard.

Any less and they miss the playoffs.

The Pundit’s Take: I have the Eagles positively answering 18 of these questions, putting them solidly in the wildcard. Questions I think they fail on: 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 14, 17. Again, if either McNabb or Westbrook gets hurt, all bets are off. And now, your full NFL season prediction.

NFC Playoff Teams

1. Dallas (Wins NFC East, and yes, I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate writing this)

2. Green Bay (Wins NFC North)

3. New Orleans (Wins NFC South)

4. Seattle (Wins NFC West)

5. Philadelphia

6. Minnesota

(Eagles beat Seahawks in first wildcard, and Minnesota beats New Orleans in a wild weekend. Dallas beats Minnesota, and the Eagles shock the Packers, at Lambeau, behind a classic performance from Mr. McNabb. And then, in the most tragic moment in Eagles history, the Cowboys beat the Eagles in the NFC Championship game, causing the city of Philadelphia to be the first area ever in American History to be put into a “State of Depression.” Nobody shows up to work for a week, mass looting ensues, and broken beer bottles littered on the street make it impossible to drive anywhere. God, I really, really hope that I’m wrong.)

AFC Playoff Teams

1. New England (AFC East champions, losing three in the regular season)

2. San Diego (AFC West champions)

3. Jacksonville (AFC South Champions)

4. Pittsburgh (AFC North Champions)

5. Indianapolis

6. Cleveland

(Jacksonville crushes the Browns, and the Colts beat the Steelers in a competitive game. Jacksonville’s defense and running game are just enough to propel them past the now Merriman-less Chargers, and the Colts squeak by the Patriots in another classic between the two, this one ending in overtime. Jacksonville relishes its opportunity to play at home, exorcising their Colts demons and winning to go to the Superbowl)

Superbowl prediction: Every year, I want to put the Eagles here. I really, really do. And every year, I pray the Cowboys don’t make it here. But this year, they will. And I think that they will beat the Jaguars. (Editor’s note: Feel free to find The Pundit and to kick the shit out of him). I’m sorry, I feel like a traitor, but I think Adam Jones is going to be a clutch addition, I think Tony Romo will be a more focused force, I think Marion Barber will have a big year. I just don’t see a ton of weaknesses on this team. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sit in a cold shower with my clothes on (Editor’s note: YES HE DESERVES TO DIE, AND I HOPE HE BURNS IN HELL!)

Oh, and please read this in case you’re not sure what just happened above. Focus on paragraph four. And ignore Sports Illustrated from now on, please.

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Fantasy Football Forecast

Alright, so as previously mentioned, I did not want to do a full fantasy preview earlier because I didn’t want anyone in the league I’m in to steal my genius (Editor’s note: The Pundit needs to get out more). But, I figured I should devote at least one post to the sensation that is fantasy football. Thus, I have devised a list of my top 25 players, and have come up with a collection of names to look over for waiver wire deals, steals and trades. Make sure to have at least three of my top 25 on your team, even if it means bamboozling (Editor’s note: Who said booze?) that guy in your league who has no idea of how to draft players and is excited that he got Drew Brees in the first round. Give him Marvin Harrison or something. (Editor’s note: Can Harrison’s new nickname be Colt .88 Special?)

1. LaDainian Tomlinson

2. Brian Westbrook

3. Joseph Addai

4. Tom Brady

5. Adrian Peterson

(Why Addai over Brady and Peterson? Why Peterson at 5? Simple: Addai is the safest pick of the three. It’s unlikely that Brady can repeat his legendary season of last year, especially because losing Dante Stallworth will hurt their passing attack. And you already know the fears with AD: defenses stacking the box and his injury history. Is Peterson worth the risk considering he was only 5.3 fantasy points better than Addai last year? The Colts traditionally field fantasy studs; I see no reason why Addai should regress this year.)

6. Steven Jackson

7. Marion Barber

8. Randy Moss

(Barber over Moss, and a slew of other running backs? I don’t think Moss will put up the ridiculous numbers of a year ago; meanwhile, Barber was already a stud, and now he’s getting all of the reps. Running backs are normally more consistent than receivers, and I think Barber is going to have a big year – I almost put him ahead of Jackson, but with TO and Witten around, he’ll lose some touches.)

9. Tony Romo

10. Peyton Manning

(Three QB’s in the top 10? And Romo ahead of Manning? Football is changing. The days of the 400 carry workhorse are temporarily over. Many teams are platooning backs now and relying more heavily on their passing attacks. Romo is the real deal, and with TO and Witten, he has excellent options. Meanwhile, Manning will still produce, but Marvin Harrison isn’t the guy he once was, and the Colts offense doesn’t conjure up the same degree of fear in defenses it once did.)

11. Terrell Owens

12. Clinton Portis

13. Ryan Grant (New QB in town means he may shoulder a heavy workload – and boy was he good when he became the starter last year, totaling 158.1 fantasy points despite only 10 starts.)

14. Marshawn Lynch (The rushing yards are there – 1115 yards last year. Expect him to score more than 7 total touchdowns this season, and hopefully do better than 18 receptions for 184 yards).

15. Braylon Edwards

16. Reggie Wayne

(Comparing these two is fun. Edwards finished last season with 224.9 fantasy points, while Wayne finished with 211. Edwards was a touchdown machine, scoring 16 – Wayne is a yardage machine, amassing 1510 last season. The main difference? Edwards should benefit from having a dangerous second receiver added to the mix in Stallworth, while Wayne will lose some touches due to the return of Marvin Harrison. Stallworth may steal a touchdown or two from Edwards, but he will also make it more difficult to double the electrifying Edwards, which could lead to a higher yardage output than last year.)

17. Willis McGahee

18. Maurice Jones-Drew

19. Larry Johnson

20. Frank Gore

21. Andre Johnson (This may seem a bit high for Mr. Johnson, but consider this: in only 9 games last year, Johnson posted 133.1 fantasy points. That’s an average of 14.8 points for game, meaning had he stayed healthy, Johnson likely would have been worth about 230 points last season. That would have been better than every receiver except for Mr. Moss. If he’s healthy, he’s a steal here – if not, he’ll still give you decent numbers when he’s on the field. 21 seemed like the right spot for him.)

22. T.J Houshmandzadeh

23. Drew Brees

24. Larry Fitzgerald

25. Marques Colston

Obviously, this list will be controversial, perhaps unorthodox, and certainly debatable. It is also pure gold (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s just arrogant). Again, be sure that you have at least three of these players on your team: QB-RB-WR, QB-RB-RB, or RB-RB-RB, which was how I went (Editor’s note: LT, Clinton Portis and Ryan Grant: not bad, Mr. Pundit). Now, on to my Golden Nuggets of Genius.

– Follow the Patriots carefully. Without Dante Stallworth, someone is going to step into the third receiver spot and get some looks. Conventional wisdom would suggest Jabar Gaffney, though don’t forget about Chad Jackson.

– I wouldn’t recommend drafting him, but if he gets a nice start, snag Aaron Rodgers quickly. The Packers offense thrived on short crossing patterns that allowed Greg Jennings and Donald Driver to gain yards after the catch. If he can manage the offense and avoid turnovers, Rodgers could be this year’s Derek Anderson.

– Be wary of drafting running backs from Denver and Tampa Bay, but seek them through the waiver wire later in the season. Mike Shanahan’s offense could move the ball with The Pundit at running back (Editor’s note: Speaking of fantasy…) and the Bucs added Warrick Dunn and Michael Bennett to their backfield this year. Remember, Earnest Graham started last year as a special teams player.

– Darren McFadden might not be this year’s Adrian Peterson, but he should be a solid player whom establishes himself as the Raiders’ guy. If one of your household name picks starts slow, try to dish him off for McFadden.

– I’m scared of Kurt Warner. I’m scared that if I don’t pick him up, he’ll have a big year. I’m scared if I do pick him up, he’ll be easy prey for defensive ends like he was in New York and will end up getting hurt. I’ll be watching closely.

– Someone has to catch the ball in Oakland. I say that someone will be Ronald Curry.

– Someone has to catch the ball in Miami. I say that someone will be Ted Ginn, Jr.

– Someone has to catch the ball in Chicago. I say that someone will be the other team’s defenders (Editor’s note: But don’t count out Greg Olsen).

– Devin Hester is a gamble pick – feel him out early in the season. He’ll likely be an inconsistent scorer, so if you’re going to play him, be sure to do your research on the opponent.

Alright, that’s enough fantasy for now. The real NFL preview is coming later in the week. Be sure to check the links in the morn.

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