Tuesday, August 31, 2010
One item the Lions may want to put on their 'fixxer upper' list is pre-game intros. Sure this is a basic part of the game from high school football on, but sometimes you have to start fixing things from the ground up. Just ask Louis Delmas who plowed over a poor unsuspecting kid who was out on the field to welcome the team with other area youth.
After the game Delmas spoke with the Detroit Free Press and addressed his pre-game altercation, and a potential groin injury he may have suffered. (no it was not from running over a kid)
“I don’t know if that was the adrenaline running through my veins or (it) being a game-day situation. I felt good, though.”
That was Delmas talking about the game and how his groin reacted.
Delmas on flattening the youngsters:
“Any kid that I hit, I’ll tell him I apologize and if they want me to sign something I’ll go ahead and sign. I’ll even give him a hug.”
One thing that is for certain that kid is now a Minnesota Vikings fan.
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PAC 10 Preview 2010
by Gridiron Goddess
The long, cold, dark days of the off-season are almost over. And what an off-season it’s been! NCAA Sanctions (ugh), coaching defections, quarterback scandals; a new commissioner and expansion have all been news stories this spring and summer.
USC won’t be playing in a bowl game for a couple of seasons, unless they successfully appeal the sanctions. Lane Kiffin may want to rethink his son’s name of Knox now that he is once again a son of Troy. Jeremiah Masoli is no longer quacking like a duck, having been dismissed from Oregon. New Pac-10 Commish Larry Scott has hit the ground running. For a few moments we were almost the Pac-16 with Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as a part of our conference of champions. In the end though, only Colorado lept at the chance to join the Left Coast’s Premiere Athletic Conference. Soon after Utah left the MWC, a conference they’d long since outgrown, to join the new Pac-12.
How the conference will be divided, where the championship game will take place, etc are all yet to be determined and the topic of interesting debates. Myself, I’m a fan of the North/South division with California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, AZ and ASU in one division and the Washingtons, Oregons, Utah and Colorado in the other division. This keeps traditional rivalries like the Civil War, Apple Cup, Cal-Stanford and USC-UCLA in place for yearly matchups. That seems the most logical to me, and yet, that is not the setup that has hit the rumor mill.
For the 2010 season we’re still the Pac-10, so let’s get on with it and pardon me if I can’t muster up my usual enthusiasm. I am sure you understand why. It’s been a rough spring and summer for USC fans. I am sick of all the speculation and talk about USC’s sanctions. I am ready to just PLAY already and see how it all shakes out.
This is a hard one to call folks. Of course USC has talent. And I do think the coaching staff will turn out to be insane. Forget what everyone says about Lane Kiffin. With Monte, Coach O and Kennedy Pola (who is Troy Polamalu’s uncle) – how can we go that wrong? Sure there are the sanctions. The loss of scholarships. The transfers and releases from letters of intents. The behavior issues (as of today Freshman safety Patrick Hall has been suspended indefinitely). USC is going to lack their trademark depth for a few years. And that is troubling, to say the least. Especially once injuries are factored in. In fact, Coach Kiffin now has the Trojans practicing NFL style – as in tackling is a scrimmage only event. As he said, the team just can’t risk injury like it could in past years. They are basically playing with an NFL roster rather than the larger roster an NCAA team is permitted to have.
Matt Barkley showed remarkable poise and leadership as a freshman last year and he’s back and a year older. That can only be good. He’s got the exceptionally seasoned Mitch Mustain behind him on the depth chart. Fullback Stanley Havili is back, a senior and will be a key factor in Barkley’s passing game. Havili is a fifth year senior and the most experienced member of the Trojan offense. Marc Tyler is getting the start at RB vs Hawaii.
In terms of the SC defense, the front seven are the experienced group, with the secondary being the less experienced players. Senior cornerback Shareece Wright will be joined by freshman cornerback Nickell Robey and sophomore safeties T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling. This is, per the usual, a gifted group. They just lack USC’s usual depth and they will have some growing pains. Whereas USC’s offense has struggled at times in the last two seasons; we’ve been able to rely on our defense when it counted. This year, it may be the offense we rely on while the defense gets its engines all firing in the right direction.
Oh and by the way, USC still hasn’t lost a game outside of the Pac-10 since 2002 and it won’t be happening this year either.
The key to the Trojans’ success in 2010 begins and ends with Matt Barkley. And this Trojan Alum happens to think if the success of our program is in Barkley’s hands, then we’re in good shape. A pal in Vegas told me the odds on USC are for a 10 win season. So come on Trojans, let’s give them an 11 or 12 or 13 win season just to show them what we’re made of. Pride. Heart. Spirit. Let’s show them that the USC Football team embodies all the qualities of an ideal Trojan: Faithful, Scholarly, Skillful. Courageous and Ambitious.
USC opens its 2010 season on Thursday, September 2nd @ Hawaii.
Will Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal (why the singular, Stanford?) take advantage of USC’s sanctions and Oregon’s QB issues and win the Pac-10? Not likely. But you can bet your ass Harbaugh’s big fat mouth is telling his players that they are the team to beat. And let’s face it, confidence and swagger do count. The loss of Toby Gerhardt makes their running game a bit of an unknown, but QB Andrew Luck looks to make a Heisman bid of his own this season. Luck is projected to be a potential #1 draft pick in 2011, and with Gerhardt gone we’ll get a chance to see him truly shine.
I personally believe that Stanford minus Gerhardt will have a tough time matching last season’s eight wins. But they won six Pac-10 games last season, you’re thinking. Yes they did. However, their defense is fairly atrocious. Stanford’s 2009 defense was ranked 110th against the pass last year – this year’s squad has LESS experience. And look around the Pac-10 – a lot of Stanford’s opponents have offenses that will only be more potent than last year in their experience under center. It’s hard to think that Stanford will be as successful this year as they were last year unless their defense has improved dramatically.
That said, if they haven’t improved – there should be a number of high scoring QB shootout style games vs Stanford in the Pac-10 this year and those are ALWAYS fun.
Stanford opens the season at UCLA on Saturday, September 4th.
The Ducks have not had the easiest of off-seasons. When the 2009 season ended (and who can forget the Halloween smack down of my beloved Trojans?!), they looked to be sitting on top of the Pac-10 pile for 2010 with phenom QB Jeremiah Masoli under center. Yeah, not so much. A few months later and things look mighty different up in Eugene. Masoli is now at Ole Miss.
All spring and summer speculation about who the Ducks staring QB would be swirled around the blogosphere. Would it be senior Nate Costa? That seemed to be the logical choice, since he was experienced. Would it be sophomore Darron Thomas – he would seem the best choice if Coach Kelly were trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle that Masoli (and before him Dennis Dixon) was.
The Ducks are a veteran team, returning 18 starters for 2010. Running back LaMichael James looks to be a major force for the Oregon offense and their experienced O-Line will keep the new QB well protected in the pocket. On defense, well the Ducks are not especially known for their defense though it is certainly serviceable and solid. With the insanely fast and powerful offenses the crew from Eugene has fielded in recent years – that’s what they’ve become known for.
The Ducks will be a contender in the Pac-10 and even with a new QB and all kinds of off-season drama, they are still the favored to repeat as Pac-10 champs.
Oregon opens its season at home against New Mexico on Saturday, September 4th.
OREGON STATE BEAVERS
Jacquizz Rodgers. Damn. He still sparks fear in the hearts of Trojans. Wily little motherfucker. Hell of a player. Oh wait, there’s more to Oregon State than Quizz Rodgers? Alright then.
Sophomore Ryan Katz takes over as QB for the Beavers and has a cannon of an arm. Then, of course, there are the Rodgers brothers. Jacquizz ran for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. Oh and he also had 78 catches for 522 yards and a touchdown as well. James, on the other hand, had 91 catches for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns. Oh, and James is a frightening return man. Frightening if you’re the team on defense, that is. The O-Line returns four starters and should provide good protection for their new QB.
Oregon State is another Pac-10 school known for its explosive offense who is just average on defense. Last season the Beavers defense ranked 84th against the pass. They ranked 105th in sacks. That’s not too scary.
Oregon State opens their season against TCU at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, September 4th.
Arizona under Mike Stoops has been quietly and gradually improving over the years. So much so, that The Wildcats could very well be a sleeper contender for Pac-10 champion in 2010. I would not be at all surprised if come January 2011, Arizona has turned in a 9 win season.
QB Nick Foles heads a Wildcat offense that returns much of last year’s squad. Foles took over the QB job during the 2009 season and went on to throw for 2,486 yards and 19 touchdowns while going 6-4 as the starter. All three of Arizona’s threatening running backs return for 2010. Nic Grisby is possibly the most talented of the group but missed much of last season due to injury. Combined with Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko, the ‘Cats are a threat with the run. The Wildcats receiving corps is depleted this year; but Juron Criner looks to be the breakout star of the group of WRs left in Tucson.
Arizona has had a stifling defense for a few years now. This year they come back with five of their starting front seven from a year ago lost to graduation and/or the NFL. Senior DE’s Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed are back for 2010 and are quite simply the best defensive ends in the entire Pac-10. Not many offensive lines can match the size and power in these two Arizona players. Arizona also lost half of a very strong and consistent secondary, but look to reload with Trevin Wade and Robert Golden.
Arizona has not been to the Rose Bowl in 31 years. You can bet your ass the Wildcats have their eyes trained on that particular prize this season.
Arizona opens their season at Toledo on Friday, September 3rd.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
While the Jets defense is one of the best units in the NFL, with or without Darrelle Revis, in will be the maturation of their offense that are key if the Jets want to make the trip to Dallas for the Super Bowl. Mark Sanchez is entering his second year in the NFl, and he cannot afford to suffer from a sophomore slump. I will be the first to admit that Mark Sanchez outperformed my expectations last season. However, while the Jets were able to rack up wins in 2009, Sanchez’s stats remained very pedestrian. Sanchez was bailed out many times last season by a dominate running that that led the NFL is yards and carries. For any rookie quarterback, a reliable running attack is their best weapon. In 2010, the Jets will again turn to their ground game to churn out yards and be the engine to their offense. The key to the Jets offense will be the L.T. Shonn Greene is a reliable back and he game on strong at the end of last year and in the playoffs, but it was Thomas Jones who carried the team during the regular season. Greene, cannot be the only reliable back in the Jets lineup. L.T. finds his form, but if the past three seasons in San Diego are indication, this may not be an easy search. If the Jets fail to establish a reliable running game, they will be forced to rely on Mark Sanchez to make big plays, something he has never done in his college or NFL career. Not too many Super Bowl contenders want to place their offensive hopes on a quarterback with a QB Rating hovering around 70.
On defense, you know what you are going to get with the Jets. They brought in Kris Jenkins to play tackle, and if his knee is healthy that gives them a massive anchor in the middle of the line that should create plenty of holes for the linebackers to run through. If nothing else the Jets are very thin on defense, and they cannot afford to suffer any injuries. Right now the Jets defensive unit is still a premier unit in the NFL. With Rex Ryan calling the shots, the Jets will apply crazy amounts of pressure to opposing quarterbacks via elaborate blitz schemes. If there are breakdowns in the secondary, the Jets are good enough to skip on the blitzes and play a base defense and still shut down the majority of offenses in the league.
New England Patriots: I’m willing to announce it, as a matter of fact, I will shout it from the rooftops, the Bill Belichick, “I’m a genius” era is over in New England. Don’t believe me? Then think about this for a moment, the Patriots have not won a playoff game since 2007. Tom Brady was able to bounce back last season after suffering a season ending knee injury the previous year. Now it will be Wes Welker’s turn to return from knee surgery. While Randy Moss is still the big name receiver on the Patriots roster, it’s Wes Welker who is arguably the most important. With the way Welker has looked in training camp, it’s hard to believe he hurt his knee in January. The Patriots say he will be ready to go come September, but I have plenty of reservations of how effective Welker will actually be once the regular season kicks off. One interesting storyline on the offensive side of the ball for the Patriots is 2010 is a contract year from Tom Brady. Typically players put up big numbers in contract years, I’d venture out to say Brady will be out to prove a point in 2010, and show the NFL he is still an elite quarterback.
Defensively while Bill Belichick may not be the guru he once was a few years ago, he is still one of the best defensive minds in the game today. The Patriots will use multiple sets, and formations to bring pressure and attack opposing teams. The Belichick system of defense is based on confusion. He will rush linebackers and drop linemen, and vice versa. While teams are becoming more adept to this style of pressure it can still be very useful, especially when facing a team with a young quarterback or rookie offensive linemen.
The Patriots are not the team they once were, nothing has been the same since 2007, but they are still very dangerous. New England did win the AFC East last year, and they will not give up that crown without a fight. If nothing else, many of the players remember the glory days of this organization and they are willing to do anything to regain that swagger they had just a few years ago.
Miami Dolphins: I really like the Dolphins, and placing them third in the AFC East may be a bit disingenuous to them. This is an organization that has come a long way in a very short amount of time, and if things go their way they could be ready for a breakout year. Let’s start at quarterback. The Chad Pennington noodle arm era is over and Chad Henne is ready to step in and be the fulltime starter. This is good news for the Dolphins. Henne is a very competent quarterback who is capable of managing the game, and throwing the ball down the field to make plays should the situation call for it. You can expect Miami to explore the Wildcat offense some more in 2010 as well. The Dolphins have a slew of running backs, all of whom are becoming experts at running the Wildcat. Pat White should be back after suffering a nasty injury last season, welcome to the NFL. While it is doubtful the Dolphins will call on White to be a primary playmaker, he can step in and make plays as well as run various positions from the Wildcat formation. Finally the biggest upgrade to the Dolphins offense is the addition of Brandon Marshal. The disruptive receiver is one of the best in the NFL. Bill Parcells is still calling the shots in Miami and he knows how to handle diva wideouts. If Marshal remains focused and shows why he is one of the most feared receivers in the league he will add a big play element to the Miami offense that has not been there in years.
Make no doubt about it; this is a Bill Parcells team. The Dolphins are loaded with talent, they are all hungry and they have a chip on their shoulder. Like any Parcells team there are a few characters who may spend a bit too much time engaging in bad behavior off the field, but that can be forgiven if they perform on the field. 2010 is the third year under Parcells in Miami and he has used his executive power to build a powerful team that has gelled over time. Now is as good as any for the Dolphins to make a run for it.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills are becoming all too familiar with this spot at the bottom of the AFC East. While having a decent draft talent wise (C.J. Spiller). They didn’t address the obvious need on their team, which is quarterback. Right now the Bills have three quarterbacks on the roster, and all them of them should be playing 2nd or 3rd string to a real quarterback on another team. Also hurting the Bills offense is a complete lack of continuity on the offensive line. Last season every starter spent some meaningful time on the injury list. It will take time before this unit can gel into a cohesive unit that can play at an NFL level. That’s a situation to be in considering the AFC East is full of blitz happy teams like New England and the Jets. As far as receivers go, the situation is not much better. Lee Evans has shown glimpses of promise throughout his career, but he has yet to string together an entire season worth of quality performances. Outside of Evans the Bills don’t have a legit second receiver so it will be up to him to create any downfield threat.
It’s a transition year for the Bills and that will be shown on the field. They have a new GM, a new coach and a new 3-4 scheme on defense. This means there is plenty of room for error on this team. The good news is the Bills have loyal and devoted fans who will not abandon their team in a time of need. That’s a good thing, because there is a good chance the Bills finish with the worst record in the NFL this season.
Friday, August 20, 2010
This is pretty horrific. Charles Barkley has long held the record for worse basketball player-turned-golfer, but at least he makes constant contact with the ball. Tyreke Evans takes bad to a whole new level.
Compare this horrible swing, with the originator of the bad swing, Sir Charles himself. I still don't know how he hasnt thrown his back doing this.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
New Orleans Saints: A great man once said, “To be the man you have to beat the man.” For the New Orleans Saints, that’s exactly the case. They are sitting atop the mountain, and until someone can knock them off they will remain there. The obvious thing to talk about when looking at the Saints is Drew Brees, and the high powered offense he leads. Brees has undergone an amazing transformation during his time in the NFL, from underrated, to one of the best in the game. You can expect with Sean Peyton calling the plays that Drew Brees will once again be lightning up NFL scoreboards, and torching opposing DB’s with his lethal passing. The key to success in 2010 will be the most overlooked part of the Saints offense, their running game. Last year New Orleans used a group of running backs to get this job done, and you can expect it to be more of the same in this year. Reggie Bush of course will gardener the headlines and make the electrifying plays, but the real treat this year will be when Bush mans up and starts taking carries between the tackles.
Gregg Williams was ran out of Washington by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and he has landed happily in the Big Easy, where he has built one of the most fierce defenses in the NFL. The Saints defense is all about applying pressure to the quarterback. The Saints attack and blitz, with wreck less abandon and inflict mental and psychological damage on opposing QB’s. The idea is to traumatize the opposing QB enough. And eventually he will make a mistake. Don’t think it works? Just look what the Saints defense did to two future Hall of Famers in Brett Favre and Kurt Warner in during last year’s post season. The Saints defense plays boarder line dirty in the way they attack a quarterback. They want to get their hands on a QB, and put him in the dirt as much as possible. This is a great tactic, and as long as opposing teams continue to grant the Saints access to their QB’s this defensive philosophy will work.
Atlanta Falcons: You can add the Atlanta Falcons to the list of sheik teams that NFL writers love to talk about. Matt Ryan had a bit of a sophomore slump last season, I use that term loosely, and in his third year he ready to emerge as an elite quarterback in the NFL. Helping Ryan out this season will be tailback Michael Turner who will return to the normal rotation after spending a good chunk of last season on the bench with injuries. There is no doubt, that a big reason behind Ryan’s drop in production was the result of not having his Pro-Bowl caliber running back behind him. While the Falcons will be happy to have Turner back in the mix of things, he is not the only weapon Matt Ryan has at his disposal. The Falcons have one of the great emerging receivers in the league in Roddy White, and they also have arguably the best tight end of all time in Tony Gonzalez. To sum things up, the Falcons have the offense to produce and you can put me on the record for stating the Atlanta Falcons will make the Wild Card this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs were the youngest team in the NFL last season, and while I'm not positive about it, I'm pretty sure Tampa Bay is close to that mark once again. Nonetheless, the Bucs got a chance to "blood" a lot of their young players last season. None more so than rookie quarterback Josh Freeman who was forced to leave for the NFL a year early after a coaching change at Kansas State. While showing plenty of rookie inexperience last year, it was Freeman who got the Bucs their first win on the 2009 season in an amazing come from behind win against Green Bay. Freeman would go on to lead the Bucs to three wins during his rookie campaign. Not Big Ben taking the Steelers to the Super Bowl, but impressive considering how bad Tampa Bay was during the early part of the season. Freeman showed glimpses of promise last season. There is no doubt he has the physical tools to be a playmaker in the NFL, the question is can he adapt to the speed of the game, learn how to read the complex defenses that will be thrown at him?
Raheem Morris had a rocky first year as a head coach. However, starting the season 0-8 will do that to you. As the season progressed it appeared that Morris was able to get a grasp on what was going on, and how to manage games. Morris is a defensive guy, and he drafted a powerhouse in Gerald McCoy in the first round of the 2010 draft. While I'll save the Warren Sapp compression till McCoy actually plays there is no doubt he will add a big impact to the Bucs defensive line and their pass rush. If Morris can get the Tampa Bay defense to playing like they did in the early part of the 2000's it's possible they can pick off a few extra wins, and with some help, maybe flirt with the .500 mark.
Carolina Panthers: It wasn't too long ago that the Panthers were perennial playoff participants, and Super Bowl contenders, but that was before Jake Delhomme fell off the tracks. After a disastrous year, Delhomme is out, and the Panthers are looking to usher in a new era at quarterback. The problem is they aren't exactly sure who will lead that era. Dallas Cowboy castaway Matt Moore stepped in late last season to replace Delhomme and picked up four wins for the club. However, that was not enough to give him the starting quarterback job outright. Thanks to a crashing draft stock, former Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen fell into Carolina's lap and the Panthers have themselves a good old fashion quarterback controversy.
While it's most likely that Matt Moore will start the season as the Panthers starting quarterback, one has to expect he will be on a short leash. Anytime there is a hotshot young quarterback standing on the sidelines, he instantly becomes the fan favorite as soon as the starter throws a pick. I never believe that a team that finds itself in this situation can be productive on the field. The starting QB is constantly looking over his shoulder wondering when he will get the ax. Once the young backup comes in, far too often they are not ready to step into the starting role and find themselves playing behind the 8-ball.
Adding to the Carolina Panthers problems for the 2010 season is a lame duck coach in John Fox. Ownership in Charlotte has let it be known they are not looking to renew the longtime coach’s contract. However, they were reluctant to let him go after last season. Now baring a Super Bowl appearance Fox will not be back for 2011.
In a nutshell the Carolina Panthers are a mess, which is a shame because there is still a lot of talent on that team. Deangelo Williams is entering a contract year and you can bet he will have another solid season. The same can be said for backfield running mate Jonathan Stewart. It's a shame that two of the league’s best running backs have to languish on such a tepid team; it must be what Steven Jackson feels like out in St. Louis.
However, just to show you how great of an athlete he is, Ingram is now going after Tiger Woods. Don't worry this has nothing to do with Tiger's off the course antics. This is strictly business. While hanging out with the ESPN the Magazine crew, Mark Ingram decided to show off some of his golfing skills, proving he is more than a one sport athlete.
Notice the swing on his drive from the tee. Not bad at all for a non golfer. Charles Barkley would kill for that.
Just incase you forgot, here is the original Nike Commercial that helped propel Tiger Woods into the spotlight. (man we miss that Tiger)
Monday, August 16, 2010
"We were basically thinking, 'How can we top that?'" 17-year-old Carson Stalnaker said. "What can we possibly do next?"
What could they do next? How about hitting a shot from the "Stratus Fear" a terror tower ride at an Alabama amusement park.
Because of the way the ride works, the Legendary Shots Crew were only able to attempt two shots per trip up. In the end, they hit their lone shot when the tower was only halfway into the air. That would not stop the kids from attempting the trick 25 more times from the top of the tower.
Imagine sitting on that thing for 25 plus trips in one day. I hope they skipped the caramel apples while at the park.
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Indianapolis Colts: The Colts are still the top of the AFC South and that’s not easy considering the AFC South has my vote for the toughest division in the NFL. Last year Peyton Manning nearly cemented his legacy with a second Super Bowl victory, instead he is still toiling away looking for another ring. If Peyton wants to change his fortunes in 2010 one has to think the Colts will improve their running game. It wasn’t long ago that Indianapolis showcased a well balanced offense, where the passing game was based off of play action, that was generated through a reliable ground game. Last season the Colts struggled to generate any consistent offense on the ground. As a result Peyton Manning lost a large chunk of his arsenal. That won’t get it done in 2010.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Colts aren't a stand out unit, but they are talented enough to get the job done. Dwight Freeney is still a stand out pass rusher in this NFL, despite losing a step as he's aged. Of course the same old story with Indianapolis is will Bob Sanders be healthy this year? Last year Sanders sat out the majority of the year thanks to an arm injury. He was limited to just two starts, during that time Sanders recorded 6 tackles and 2 interceptions. The bottom line is, when Sanders is in the game, the Colts defense is one of the best in the NFL.
Houston Texans: This is their year, and I mean it this time. I feel like every preseason I'm all amped up about the prospects of the Houston Texans, and in 2010 they will finally deliver and make the playoffs for the firs time in franchise history. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan may be gone, but the Texans offense is still potent and dangerous. Andre Johnson is the best receiver in the league that no one talks about. This year he finally breaks through and reaches Chad Ocho Cinco and Randy Moss notoriety levels. If Johnson is going to become a household name in 2010 he is going to do so from catching plenty of passes from Matt Schaub. 2009 Schaub made a name for himself amongst fantasy owners when he lit up the league with his passing talents. This year Schaub will turn those gaudy passing numbers into victories on the field.
In the past people have been high on the Texans, but they simply were not ready to take the next step and become a playoff contender. Last season, Houston had the talent to become a playoff team, but they were not mentally prepared. Every time Houston found themselves in a tight game, they came up short because they were unable to execute under pressure. These miscues come as a result of a team that's not used to being under the spotlight. In 2010 the Texans will lean on the experience of previous years to guide them through the tough times and into an AFC Wild Card game.
Tennessee Titians: It's practically a crime that Jeff Fisher has not been able to bring a Super Bowl to Tennessee, he truly is one of the great coaches of our time. This year alone Fisher has had to deal with a slew of off the field issues that include Vince Young getting into fights at a strip club, USC coach Lane Kiffen stealing his coaches, and his star tailback Chris Johnson threatening a hold out. Despite all of those distraction, the Titians have everyone in camp and on time.
Last season Chris Johnson lit the league on fire when he rushed for 2,000 yards. As a result many people are expecting Johnson to come through with another monster year, Johnson himself is predicting that he can break the all time single season record. This blogger, does not believe that is possible. Chris Johnson is a great back, but rushing for 2,000 yards on consecutive seasons is near impossible, especially for a small back. Johnson will have a good season if he can top the 1,500 yard mark.
The Titans are still a dangerous team, who will hover around the .500 mark, and cause plenty of problems for the rest of the AFC South. However, a run into the post season will be near impossible. The division is just too tough.
Jacksonville Jaguars: There's not a lot to say about the Jaguars. Yes Maurice Jones-Drew is a stud as a running back, but that's not enough to elevate this team. The glaring issue with the Jacksonville Jaguars is their quarterback. David Garrard is a serviceable quarterback, but his time as a starter in the NFL are long gone. He simply does not posses the tools to make the plays on a regular basis. As a result, the Jaguars are always playing with a half a deck on offense.
The good news for Jaguar fans is MJD is one of the best in the game, and he will get his 1,300-1,400 yards on the season. With stats like that, it should be enough to keep Jacksonville competitive in all of there games and give them a chance to win a few. Unfortunately for Jaguar fans, MJD alone is not enough to get the Jags above .500 or into the playoffs.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Baseball used to be this country's past time, but now it is football. And while college football is amazing with all of its pageantry, it is the NFL that is the king amongst American sports. With a new NFL season just around the corner, there is plenty to talk about and discuss. This is the first installment of our NFL preview series. Since Walker Sports is located in the Mid-Atlantic territory, we will kick things off by talking about the NFC East.
-Teams are listed by predicted finish.
Dallas Cowboys: The Dallas Cowboys are on everyone's radar going into this season, and there's plenty of reason for that. Last year, Dallas finally got over their 12 year playoff drought, and won a game in the Wild Card round against division rival Philadelphia. This season Tony Romo and company are looking to take the next step and play in the Super Bowl.
Tony Romo told Cowboy fans at a pre-season pep rally they were going to make the Super Bowl. If he wants to make good on that offer the Cowboys need to improve on their mental toughness. On the field Dallas has all the weapons. On offense Tony Romo has matured into the natural leader and on the field general. Surround Romo is a virtual Pro-Bowl list of talented running backs and receivers. One of the most interesting story lines coming out of Dallas this preseason is the competition between Felix Jones and Marion Barber. Jones has put on some muscle and is looking to take over as the primary back if he can prove durable enough. Marion Barber dropped a few pounds this off season and is looking faster and stronger than he ever has. Toss in the emergence of Tashard Choice and the Cowboys have three talented backs that can step in and be a feature player on any given down.
The Cowboys are also stacked at the wide out position. Roy Williams seems to have been motivated by the arrival of rookie Dez Bryant. Williams has looked sharper and faster during training camp than he ever has. Last year's breakout star Miles Austin is still cemented as the team's number one receiver, and now that he has dumped distraction Kim Kardashian, he is ready to play football. If Dez Bryant can overcome an early season ankle injury there is no doubt he will have an immediate impact and add a great deep threat.
On defense, the Cowboys finished the season ranked second and they have all the key players back. If the Cowboys want to improve on their mental toughness, they can look no further for help than Keith Brooking. The linebacker found a second life last year and became the emotional leader of the Cowboys. Brooking is a master of the 3-4 scheme and he is the ultimate pro, providing leadership for Ware and Spencer. If there is a question about the Cowboys it is in their secondary, and they continue to look for an answer at the safety position. Expect Wade Philips to dial up plenty of blitz packages, and rely on his front seven to create pressure, and protect a shaky secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles: Donovan McNabb is gone, and Kevin Kolb is calling the shots for the Eagles. There is no doubt the flow of the Eagles offense will be affected. However, the move is consistent with the youth movement Andy Reid has put in place. DeSean Jackson is the new play maker and the deep threat. LeSean McCoy has stepped in to become the new feature back and replace the departed Brian Westbrook. If all of these young players can mold the Eagles could become the sleeper team in a weak NFC.
On the defensive side of the ball, there is no doubt the Eagles suffered a setback with the lost of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. While Philadelphia still blitzes a lot, and they try to apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks, it was evident that the defense did not carry the same bite in 09 as they had in previous years. The dirty little secret about the Eagles success over the last decade was their defense. When the Eagles are able to dial up effective blitz packages, they can shut down anyone. But, when those blitz’s fail to generate pressure and knock a quarterback off their rhythm, they just serve to create matchup problems in the secondary that end up hurting the Eagles. For an example of what an ineffective Philadelphia defense looks like, look no further than their final two games of last year against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas was able to use their massive offensive line to create huge holes and they countered Philadelphia blitz’s by utilizing a wide variety of draw plays.
While I have the Eagles ranked second in the NFC East, I could easily see them falling behind the New York Giants, and maybe even the Washington Redskins. In the end, the 2010 Eagles are a 9-7 team if they can get everything to go their way.
New York Giants: It’s hard to believe that it was only three seasons ago that the Giants went on a miracle run and knocked off the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, and seemingly were on their way to creating their own dynasty. How quickly the winds of change blow within the NFL, altering team’s fortunes. The biggest difference in the Giants is their offense, and the disappearance of their rushing attack. When New York is at their best, they feature a two or three headed rushing attack that can punish a defense however they want. In 2009 that attack went silent and so did the Giants. Brandon Jacobs was the epitome of a NFL power back when he broke out in 2007 and 2008. However, it appears that after receiving a contract extension the big back has lost some of his direction. In 2009 Jacobs only ran for 835 yards, and averaged a puny 3.7 yards a carry. All of this while weighing in at a hefty 270-280 pounds. Compounding the ineffectiveness of Brandon Jacobs in 2009 was the drop of in production from speed back Ahmad Bradshaw. After averaging 5.3 yards a carry in 2008 Bradshaw appeared ready to step into spotlight for the Giants, this is why they released running back Derrick Ward, but Bradshaw regressed in 2009. He was only able to compile 778 yards on 163 carries. Not bad, but nearly the production you want from a guy who was expected to transform into a feature back.
The Giants must find a way to run the ball, and take some pressure off of Eli Manning. While proving to be a good and reliable quarterback, he is not Peyton. The Giants cannot afford to put Eli in positions where he has to throw the ball 40 or more times a game and hope to make something happen. This is especially the case when his go to receiver is Steve Smith (not of the Panthers).
The offense was not the only unit to fail the Giants in 2009; the defense can take plenty of blame for New York missing the playoffs as well. What was once the best defensive line in football injuries and pure lack of production has left the Giants defensive line in shambles. Justin Tuck must play better in 2010. When he is at his best, he is nothing short of controlled chaos on the defensive line. Along with Osi, Tuck has to increase his production in 2010. Right now the Giants are also banking on the emergence of second year rush linebacker Clint Sintim to provide that extra spark they may have been missing in 2009.
Much like the Eagles, the 2010 season can go in either direction for the Giants. There is no doubt they will split one or two of their series in the NFC East and then hope for the best with the remainder of the schedule. What is in their favor is the NFC is weak overall and if the Giants can hover around the 8-8 or 9-7 mark they will keep themselves in the Wild Card mix.
Washington Redskins: It’s the beginning of a new era in Washington DC, and if you’re a Redskins fan that is the news you’ve been waiting for over the last ten years. For the first time since Marty ball left the district, the Redskins have a head coach who knows what he is doing, and has a plan to build on (sorry Joe Gibbs). Mike Shanahan has taken over as the Redskins head coach, and he wasted no time in putting his mark on the organization. Out is former first round draft pick Jason Campbell, in is Pro-Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb. It’s pretty obvious that McNabb is an instant upgrade at quarterback. He is a grizzled veteran player who has seen just about everything there is to see in the NFL. He should also have a chip on his shoulder since the Eagles thought so little of him they traded him to a division rival. According to reports already emerging from Ashburn, the biggest obstacle for Donovan McNabb in 2010 will be adjusting to and learning the language of a new offense. Mike Shanahan has placed the over under at two years. Too bad, Donovan may not be around that long, but that is another story.
While the change on the offensive side of the ball is obvious in Washington, the changes on the defensive side of the ball could prove to be the game changer. Jim Haslet has stepped in as the new defensive coordinator for the Burgundy and Gold and he is bringing the 3-4 defense with him. This is a change in philosophy from the 4-3 that Washington has run forever. The interesting twist in all of this is Washington was a solid defensive team last season. They were simply left on the field too long because of an anemic offense. The advantage of the 3-4 is it should generate more pressure and in turn force more turnovers, something the Skins have lacked in recent years. The 3-4 also allows second year star Brian Orakpo to showcase his exceptional athletic ability by moving him to rush linebacker and allowing him to blitz up to 70% of the time.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Washington Redskins. One thing I do know is this is a better team than last year, simply because they will be more organized and they have leadership both on and off the field. That being said, there are a lot of moving pieces that the Burgundy and Gold are trying to fit together in a very short amount of time, and that does not always yield the best results. In addition, Mike Shanahan has employed some hard discipline tactics, see Albert Haynesworth, while that’s good for a new coach to establish himself, it can also create tension. The Redskins still have strong personalities in their locker room, many of whom are happy to fall in line during the pre-season, and when the team is winning. But if the team takes a nose dive, those same hard handed tactics could backfire.
The key thing to remember with the Redskins is they went 4-12 in 2009, a 7-9 season is a vast improvement and getting above .500 is damn near a miracle.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Welcome back everyone, we are ticking away the moments til the 2010 college football season kicks off, and as we continue our trip around the country we are happy to reach out to our friends on the West Coast. Please welcome back Gridiron Goddess and here esteemed staff of writers. Today they are looking at the SEC. The longtime standard of college football, the SEC has produced one powerhouse team after another, and the 2010 season is shaping up to be more of the same.
by Byron Earnheart aka ByronVolFan of the Gridiron Goddess’ Harem
It is time. I was watching the re-showing of “America’s Got Talent” last Sunday night (because my wife is 9 months pregnant and controls what we watch) and there it was…the announcement…the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game kicking off in 1 week. The most useless overhyped football game of all football games…and I nearly cried. It means my beloved sport…the new American pastime…is coming to recall us back from the brink of becoming a soccer-crazed nation. Yes, I got soccer fever for awhile, but it left me lagging like a Daniel Lincoln field goal. The game has abandoned Tiger Woods…LeBron has joined forces in Miami and will forever have any victory tainted by the fact he is on the NBA’s equivalent to the New York Yankees. What a terrible summer!
But, fear not, Gridiron Goddess fans…there is hope. She is a bright and shining star beckoning you to stay the course…the North Star in a turbulent sea. She is football…and she will make you laugh, cry, bleed, and laugh…all at once. This is especially true for us SEC fanatics. The time of monitoring spring practice and the idiots who post useless information on the whims of 18 year olds is over. It is time for football. It is time to be filled with pride when your team takes the field to defend the honor of your state against those infidels across the state line. It is a time for revenge or to taste the smarting sting of shameful defeat once more. But it is time…
So, allow me to set down my mint julep, light a cigar, recline in my rocking chair on the porch in my seersucker pants, and tell you what I think about everything about this upcoming year.
SEC Championship Game: Alabama over Florida. This year, it is these two teams at the top and everyone else clawing behind them. And I hate that. My Volunteer heart burns at this fact…but it is true. Alabama is still too good and Florida is too green. Alabama will have a tougher schedule as the West is much deadlier than the East…but the division titles are these two teams’ to lose. Don’t be surprised if Urban Meyer cries at the end of this game…partly from chest pains and partly because he realizes he probably should have redshirted Tim Tebow.
Now, in their predicted order of finish within the division, here are my thoughts on the rest of the league by division:
The best division in the league this year and possibly the country. Yeah, I said it.
1) Alabama: As stated before, it’s theirs to lose. 2 MONSTER RB’s returning and a VERY adequate and tested quarterback. On D, I always like stellar linebackers and ‘Bama is stacked there too. Yes, McClain is gone…but Hightower is a beast too. Very talented. Expect the name “Nick” to outpace “Bubba”, “Junior”, “Larry”, “Hank”, and “Garth” in baby names in the state of Alabama in 2011.
2) Arkansas: This is the year for them. If Petrino can get enough credibility to move on to his next mercenary position, this is the year for him to do it. Mallett is a stud. That’s all there is to it. Don’t be fooled by the Liberty Bowl performance. I was at that game…and cold doesn’t even begin to describe it. Nobody could have performed well in those conditions…and ECU isn’t that bad of a team. Their game, at home, against Bama is for the West…but don’t get too excited. Key losses in the D-line will hurt and I just don’t see the Hogs stopping Ingram and Co. But take heart, your “Woooo Pig Soey” (or however you spell that) will be just as ignorant at the Capital One Bowl or Cotton Bowl as it would be in the Sugar Bowl.
3) LSU: This is no reflection on my belief in LSU talent or coaching. As predicted, last year, Les Miles began to show his true ignorance. This is a team that has been living on borrowed time since Saban left. “Yeah, but they won a National Title”. Yes, they have the distinct privilege of being the first 2 loss national champion, violating every reasonable football strategy, and still winning. There is such a thing as “Reversion to the Mean” in football and when you tempt fate as much as the Miles has…it will bite you as it did last year. ..and last year could have been worse. LSU was beaten at Mississippi State and if not for a rookie mistake from Mullen with a QB who might be 5’8”, the Bulldogs would have been bowl bound and we might have been talking about the Malzahn era at LSU.
4) Mississippi State: See above. This is a team on the rise. Great young talent that’s gotten some good game experience and, arguably, one of the top 5 coaches in the SEC. Mullen did a great job with almost no talent last year and, if not for a freakish defensive play on a questionable offensive call, they would have beaten LSU and been in a bowl. “But, you attacked Miles’ coaching and praising Mullen’s”. Yes, because Miles has coached longer, won a title, and is at a “better” program. I’ll give Mullen one call…Miles has had years of stupidity to prove my point. Back to State…great QB talent in the hands of a great QB coach…mean defense coached by an up and coming DC. If you follow Southern football at all, you’ll admit that MTSU had a fairly good defense…well, that guy is at State which means exponentially better players playing in an aggressive style. Regardless, State will beat Ole Miss and, in any year, that’s all that really matters.
5) Auburn: This was the toughest call for me. For one, I didn’t really watch much of Auburn last year. They always seemed to be playing when a more interesting game was on. Yet, they managed to do MUCH better than anyone expected. I put them behind MS State only because I watched more of them than Auburn. Truthfully, 3-5 on this list could be put in any order you wish and will probably be close. I don’t know where the wins/losses will be, but, at first glance, Auburn should pull 7 games out this year.
6) Ole Miss: My, how the high and mighty have fallen. Masoli will not save this team. Name me the last great QB that Nutt ever produced? Matt Jones, right? Well, that’s an assumption in calling him a QB and not the precursor to a Wildcat formation. The amount of talent this team has lost is astounding. I’m sorry, but this will be a bitter year for the Rebels. I hope the warm embrace of their new mascot (Which I’m sure will be ridiculous…Admiral Ackbar was almost there!) will keep them warm along with their toddies. And the really sad thing is that they may start 5-0. However, it only gets easier when UL Lafayette comes to Oxford. 6-6…and that’s a stretch…but not a good SEC showing.
It’s Florida’s year…and the rest are there to keep Urban Meyer’s medication flowing. (That’s just wrong…I’m sorry)
1) Florida: Tebow is gone but this team is still stacked. The East is theirs to lose. Meyer, all health related jokes aside, is a heck of a coach and recruiter. Kermit the Frog could coach this team and still get it to Atlanta for the SEC game. Brantley will do just fine at QB and A.J. Jones will be great at LB. It will be a tougher road than in previous year, sure, but with the East as down as it is…
2) South Carolina: Man, this kills me. Robert Johnson…I mean Coach Spurrier…has got to be on the way out. What’s he done for the program? Yet (and this is sad) he has the best returning QB in the East in Garcia. However, losing a beast like Norwood at LB will be tough, an easy SEC East schedule should make up for that. Being 2nd in this division is like being 2nd in “Rock of Love”…you’re still nasty and horrible. (I’ve got to stop watching the reality TV my wife forces on me!)
3) Georgia: Drunk texting from the AD?! Nice! The only way it could be worse would be if their players held up a student while wearing their practice jerseys! Ha ha ha ha…um, wait a minute, that’s us. Anyway, what can I say…underperformed last year…but AJ Green, to me, is still a stud. He’ll get the touches and get yards. Moving to the 3-4 should be good for a fairly solid LB corp and Easley proved to be fair as the RB. Don’t get too excited…
4) Tennessee: I have been dreading this paragraph for months now. The incident with “he who shall remain nameless” has deeply set my beloved program back. Bravado is one thing…but making Spurrier’s deal with the devil look innocent is something else entirely. As Amy is a friend of mine and putting my thoughts and opinions on her website, that’s all I can say about that! Seriously, this will be one of the “rebuilding years”. We have the number one punter and kicker coming in, so that’s good. Seriously, there’s some talent on this team…but too much is untested and green. The D will be serviceable and if the offense can occasionally get some first downs, we should be fair. I have no idea how good Dooley will be. The Big Orange Kool-Aid is like Guinness…the further one gets from Knoxville, the worst it tastes. If I was hesitant about “he who shall remain nameless” until the first game, (And by and large, I was) then it will take a few games for Dooley. If you’re looking for some sort of quantitative analysis…we might make a bowl…we might not. That’s what I got for you there.
5) Kentucky: Another team on the rise…but just can’t find the apex. Randall Cobb is coming up on his 15th year in college football and should be good again. They’ll be like last year…good solid 7 win season but nothing flashy but exceeding expectations and keeping the boosters happy until Calipari can falsify some more SAT scores for his basketball team.
6.) Vanderbilt: Who cares? Really, I’m sorry. I know you lost your beloved coach who barely sniffed at .500 during his time there. You had Cutler. You beat Tennessee once. Good job. But when I read the returning starters list for the ‘Dores, it’s like reading a list of the Federal Reserve
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Continuing our look around the NCAA football landscape, we are back for part two of our Big 10 preview. Once again we have Oh No Romo, and the Gridiron Goddess hanging around and giving us the heads up on what's happening in Big 10 country.
Oh No Romo returns with part 2 of our Big Ten preview.
The Boilermakers started a new era under a man named Hope. Unfortunately, a 5-7 record doesn’t always bring unicorns and ice cream cones to West Lafayette.
If there is a silver lining for the Boilermakers it’s that five of those seven losses were by seven points or less. This includes a two-point loss to the eventual Pac-10 champs, Oregon. And they did score key wins over Ohio State, Michigan and Illinois.
Miami transfer Robert Marve will be at the starting helm for Purdue. There’s no doubt that pressure will be on him. Because we all have to realize that Curtis Painter is not walking through that door (which is probably a good thing).
Illinois Fighting Illini
Okay so we’re probably still living in the glory days of our Rose Bowl season of several years ago. But I see a lot of potential. Aww, who am I kidding! We’re due for a four-win season this year. Which raises the question of why Ron Zook is still on the sidelines in Champaigne?
For the record, I don’t know. I do know that all eyes will be on Nathan Scheelhaase. The redshirt freshmen will be starting at quarterback for the Illini this year. He’s got the speed obviously, but does he have the arm. If he doesn’t, Eddie McGee is waiting on the sidelines. I’m still undecided on whether that is good or not.
The Illini open the season against Missouri. If they lose to their “arch-rival” again, then it will not be a pretty season for me to watch Illini football.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
So who likes the idea of Minnesota football being played outdoors? Me, me! Football should be played outdoors in Minnesota (take the hint Minnesota Vikings). The Gophers biggest win at home last season was against Michigan State. But they fell short against Illinois and Wisconsin.
Could this be the year that it all comes together for Minnesota? It all depends on quarterback Adam Weber. The senior had a down year, last season, passing for 2500 yards with 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Weber attributes that to having shoulder surgery after his sophomore season.
Weber told the Star Tribune that he had lost some confidence during his junior season. Don’t worry though because Weber has said that he’s better this year and even took part in Manning Camp. This camp included Washington’s Jake Locker, Houston’s Case Keenum and Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor. There’s no word on if they gathered around a camp fire, ate s’mores and told scary benching stories. My guess is Peyton Manning told the Curtis Painter story.
(Gridiron Goddess: USC @ MN September 18th. You’re going DOWN Golden Gophers!)
I mentioned Illinois as being one of my favorites. Well Northwestern has always been a favorite of mine. I pick them over the Illini for football. That said, it was great to see Northwestern get to their first January Bowl Game since 1996, when they lost to a certain somebody’s USC team.
Despite losing to Auburn in the Outback Bowl, the Wildcats look great and are ready to make themselves a threat in the Big Ten. They’ve already been marketing themselves as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team.”
Pat Fitzgerald has done an excellent job as head coach of Northwestern. He’s done a lot for this program in a short period of time. I hope Fitzgerald stays for a long time and brings this program to heights that have never been reached before.
What do you say about an Indiana team that only won one Big Ten game last season? They beat Illinois, by the way. I’m trying to figure out what to say.
If this was 2008, I could talk about how Indiana had made it to their first bowl game in almost 15 years and how things might be on the up and up despite the death of Terry Hoeppner before the 2007 season.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. They did however lose three close conference games, in which they had the lead going into the fourth quarter. They lost to Northwestern on a last second field goal and to Michigan with a Tate Forcier touchdown late.
The third loss was to the Iowa Hawkeyes, who they had a 10-point lead over going into the fourth quarter. Maybe things can go their way this season and the Hoosiers can win those close games.
For the eyes, they will be focused on senior quarterback Ben Chappell, who is on the Unitas Golden Arm watchlist. Hopefully Indiana can get out of this rut that they’re stuck in, but who knows at this point and time.
Now you are probably wondering why Nebraska isn’t included in this. They aren’t in the conference yet. So you will just have to wait for the Big 12 preview.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
With every passing day, the college football season gets a little closer, and our excitement levels grow exponentially. To show how excited we are about the upcoming football season, we are expanding our efforts in providing college football previews. Today we are happy to invite in two friends of Walker Sports. Please welcome in Oh No Romo, and our good friends from Gridiron Goddess. Today they are are breaking down the Big 10. This conference could easily be the hotbed for the upcoming season.
Oh No Romo drops into Gridiron Goddess to share his Preview of the Big Ten for 2010.
Big Ten 2010: Eyes on the Bucks
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
With the season less than a month away, it seems as though Ohio State has its eyes on the prize for another run atop the Big Ten mountain. While they might have received from stiff competition from Iowa last season, hope springs around Columbus at the thought of another BCS berth.
If the Buckeyes hope to succeed, they will need to do so behind third year starter, Terrelle Pryor, who is on the Davey O’Brien watch list. Pryor’s performance in the Rose Bowl Game against Oregon left a strong impression. Will we see that Rose Bowl type of performance this season.
Currently, the Buckeyes are a consensus for the top five in numerous preseason polls, including No. 2 in the Sporting News top 100 poll. However, how much stock can be put into these preseason polls? The season will surely tell us.
Ohio State in fact opens up the season with their first four games at home, including a showdown with Miami on Sept. 11. The same Miami that is ready to spring back into prominence, led by their own star at quarterback, Jacory Harris.
They’ll face tough road tests against Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Stanzi’s. If all goes well, it could mean another Rose Bowl berth for those Noun Phrases.
Who can forget this wonderful little quote from the Orange Bowl, courtesy of Captain America, Ricky Stanzi, who also finds himself on the Davey O’Brien watchlist. Last season, Stanzi proved that he loves his country and guided the Hawkeyes to a Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech. I wish I could get him these pants.
Stanzi was among the leaders in interceptions in the conference, last season. If the senior wants to prove himself worth of the O’Brien trophy, he’ll need to step it up a notch.
However, it’s important to note that the Hawkeyes aren’t really known for their passing game. When I think Iowa football, I think defense. Rest assure Hawkeye fans, Iowa’s got the defense to get them to another 10-win season.
The Hawkeyes led the Big Ten last season in passing defense and were third behind Ohio State and Penn State for scoring defense. With Adrian Clayborne back for his senior season, opposing offenses will be watching out, as will the Lombardi Award people.
Homefield will surely factor in for the Hawkeyes, as they get Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State at home. With their defense still well intact, there’s no reason why the Hawkeyes couldn’t win nine games. (But they’ll still lose to Northwestern).
Penn State Nittany Lions
It’s not really a Penn State Preview unless we talk about Joe Paterno. Well, I think the clip should suffice. Despite finishing tied for second in the Big Ten last season, the Nittany Lions found themselves playing in the always popular Capital One Bowl.
The road isn’t much easier this year for Penn State though. The defending national champions, the University of Alabama, will host the Nittany Lions on September 11. Penn State will also have road games against Iowa and Ohio State.
The big question for Penn State will be who starts at quarterback. The choices are reportedly between Matthew McGloin and Kevin Newsome. Right now, odds favor Newsome, but that could change. With only underclassmen quarterbacks on the roster, Penn State has a decision to make on whom gets the chance to lead the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State Spartans
Why does Greg Jones have his own web site? Is this some Heisman ploy? I don’t know, but I know what to use for wallpaper when I get my new laptop.
It will be all on Jones to step it up for the defense this season. The All-American had nine sacks last season, fifth best in the Big Ten. He also led the Big Ten in tackles with 87.
So to sum up the preview for the Spartans in 2010, it’s all about Greg Jones Greg Jones Greg Jones Greg Jones Greg Jones and Greg Jones. I’m sure Mark D’Antonio wishes he could have 11 Greg Jones’ on defense
What can be said about the Badgers that hasn’t already been said? Well what has been said about the Badgers? I’m so confused!
That said, whatever happened to Brooks Bollinger? He had so much hope and then he lost his job to Brett Favre. Granted, it’s not like it was an epic training camp battle.
I didn’t know somebody stole Ron Dayne’s awards. I should really read more Wisconsin news. And who knew that they awarded NFL conference championship rings? I sure didn’t know that for sure.
I’m not really sure what to say about Michigan. I fear that head coach Rich Rodriguez will force me to work out an extra four hours on Sunday.
But enough of the design critique. The real question will be: Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson? Odds favor Forcier, but who knows. This is pretty much a do-or-die season for Rodriguez. The pressure is on him to make the right decision.
Apparently a popular magazine in Florida known as Axis, has caught wind of Walker Sports Daily Erin Andrews and our girls of each conference. However the folks over at Axis have taken things a step further. They managed to get former Playboy model Shanna Marie McLaughlin got insider access to the University of Central Florida's locker room, and that made for one hot photo shoot.
Check it out.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Seeing how Ocho Cinco is such a big soccer fan, you have to see this as Stala's version of calling out 85.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
With the news of Brett Favre retiring, and Albert Haynesworth failing fitness test in Washington DC, it's officially the NFL season is upon us, and with the new season means a new year of fantasy football. As many of you know when it comes to fantasy football we leave the talking to the experts. This year Walker Sports is happy to invite in a special guest blogger to give some honest opinions of a first time fantasy footballer. Please welcome back to Walker Sports Jenny Poole, from Found By a Friend who has plenty of advice for first time and and grizzled veterans alike.
Let’s be honest - when I joined my first fantasy football league in 2009, I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell of reaching the playoffs. I had been thrown into the mix with sports bloggers, aficionados, sports talk radio listeners - even an employee of the NFL. But by the end of the season, there, in the top five entering the playoffs, was my team’s name. In my very first fantasy football season, no less! Some folks might drink the haterade and call my experience beginners luck, and others might suggest that I received outside help to get my inaugural season on the right track. All I know is this: heading into my second season of fantasy football, I am officially on my own. But this time, I’m prepared to do a couple of things differently to get on top.
1. I will have a firm grasp on my league’s scoring rules. It was obvious enough that the league was head-to-head, but PPR? Say what? Must read and pay attention to the rules. (Especially since my league was not points-per-reception, as I found out too little too late).
2. I will create my own draft order. So... now you know the truth. My brother helped me with my draft order my first year in the league. But this year, I’m going to read the blogs, put together a color-coded spreadsheet by position, listed by round. For a small fee, I might be willing to organize your draft order, too.
3. I will avoid picking all of my important players from the same team. Especially if that team is da Bears: Forte seriously under-performed, Cutler was a bust. TGIF: Thank goodness I had Flacco.
4. I will find a cool team name. Some people have funny names, some people have names that only their frat brothers would find amusing, and some people have names that make it clear that they are someone’s older parent. I will strike a balance between all three.
5. I will keep an eye on the waiver wire. I will keep an eye on free agents. I will understand that when a marquee player gets hurt, someone has to step-in and fill their shoes and this person may be... on the waiver wire. Oh, and I certainly am not going to tell you who I’m interested in picking up. Not even you, boyfriend.
6. I will talk shmack, and find something smart-ass to say to anyone who tries to offer me a lame trade. I may be a woman in a man’s world, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I can easily Google the player you are offering me, and see what his standings are in the blogosphere if I don’t already know it myself. Nice try, kid.
7. I will watch my team’s injuries and bye-weeks, and plan accordingly.
8. I will keep my fan loyalties in-check, but allow myself a guilty-pleasure pick if it aligns with my overall draft rankings. I chose the Redskins defense last year, and have my eyes set on a couple of former ‘Hoos... and I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for those Bawlmer Ravens. But if they don’t align with my draft order, I will not indulge!
9. I will try to negotiate a trade... just because it’s my second season. Might as well.
10. I will understand the importance of my QB. Last year, I neglected my QB picks a bit because, well, that’s the advice I was given. I soon realized that if I’d picked up at least one higher-points-scoring QB, I could very well have ended up in the top slot. For my team, it meant the difference between goodness, and greatness.
11. I will remember to set my line-up on Wednesday. At a certain point, the NFL starts playing those tricky Thursday night games, then BAM! Someone inevitably forgets to secure their line-up for the upcoming games. That someone wasn’t me last year, but I'm sure I'll forget if I don't write it down now. Finally, I will initiate my first fantasy football wager: I bet Walker Sports that if I end up doing better than him in our fantasy league, I get to replace his “Daily Erin Andrews” with one “Daily Dhani Jones” post, devoted to NFL hotties. Let the games begin.