Friday, February 22, 2008

News & Notes

- Dolphins release Zack Thomas ( Saints/Pats interested)
- Falcons release Alge Crumpler ( Seattle interested )
- Panthers release Dan Morgan, Deshaun Foster
- Arizona released Terrence Holt
- Giants release rookie Craig Dahl ( but the rest of the draft class is beast)

- Titans franchise tag Albert Haynesworth
- Cowboys franchise tag Ken Hamlin ( so Flozel "hotel" Adams will be a FA)
- Seattle franchise tags Marcus Trufant
- Packers franchise tag Corey Williams
- Raiders franchise tag Asomugha

- Patriots did NOT Franchise tag Randy Moss or Asante Samuel
- Cleveland Browns resign Jamal Lewis
- NY Giants bring back Lawrence Tynes

- Parcells will run the struggiling Miami Dolphins
- Dom Capers to coach in New England
- Kevin Gilbride brought back in NY
- Coughlin will get an extension in NY

- Troy Williamson wants out of Minnesota
- Chad Johnson in trade rumors with Washington
- Deangelo Hall in trade rumors with the Giants for the 31st pick
- Keshaun Johnson might come out of retirement to be a Dolphin
(notice the rumors are mostly of unhappy WR's and DB's)

Projected Cap Room
Miami Dolphins 44 M
Jacksonville 42 M
Buffalo 39.4 M
Titans 39.2 M
Saints 39.2 M

Teams over the cap

I was watching the Senior Bowl and a couple things stuck out to me.
- I love Mike Mayock in the booth calling the game. His in depth scouting/analysis might not be for the casual fan, but I really appreciate a guy who really knows the game calling the game without the mindless cliches.
- Mike Nolan said that one of the advantages of coaching the college allstar game is "seeing who does what he is supposed to do". That sounds like a reasonable thing to say, but then you consider it is coming from a power hungry arrogant Mike Nolan and it REALLY makes sense. I don't like Mike Nolan and he truly is one of the poorer head coaches in the league.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Washington Redskins hire Jim Zorn.
( doesn't he look like the middle brady bunch boy in that pic) --------->
The 54 year old quarterbacks coach gets inked to a 5 year 15 million dollar deal. I would argue that the chances of him finishing that deal are slim to none. This will be Dan Snyder's 6th head coach in 10 years! SIX coaches in 10 years, do the math on his life expectancy! You want your head coach to be a staple and be there for years. Assuming your team didn't win the Super Bowl, you want your team to build on what it did the previous year. It is very difficult to do that when you change coaches every other year. In fact, the Redskins are up to their 92nd coach under FAN Snyder.
I don't like how people call Zorn a "young" coach. He physically looks young and he wasn't even an offensive coordinator but the guy is still 54. He isn't old, but when you have coaches in their early to mid thirties you can't call the 54 year old guy "young". It is a relative concept. The 60 year old coaches are considered " old" so 54 can't be "young".
It reminds me of the concept of Joey Porter vs Adalis Thomas.
Joey Porter and Adalis Thomas are the same age, but people consider Joey Porter " old" where as nobody mentions Thomas' age. If anything people say that Thomas is " in his prime". The reason why this happens is because Joey Porter has had a house hold name for years. People remember him sacking quarterbacks in the Steelers uniform and kicking dirt for years. People " learned" about Adalias Thomas last year before he became a free agent. People started hearing that he could play all 11 positions on defense and how this guy Adalias was a special player for the Ravens. People confuse " when they heard about him" with " how long he existed". Joey Porter has been "around " longer in football chat and is therefore "older" to casual fans.
Zorn has the same thing. People don't know about him, so he must be "new". Throw in the fact that he has a baby face and they call him " young".
First mistake
- In his press conference Zorn said that he wanted to win games for the "Marron, yellow and black". Now correct me if I am wrong, but I thought everybody knew the Redskins were Burgundy and Gold". I guess everybody didn't know that, including the coach of the team. How do you mess that up?
It cracks me up that Dan Snyder gave a rare interview and said he spoke with 10 guys, and that Zorn was their 1st choice and the only guy that was given an offer. Really? Is that why you hired him on as an offensive coordinator first? That makes no sense. He was only hired a few days AFTER Steve Spagnolou was interviewed for 10 hours and then brought in the following day.
What they should have done.
- The logical thing would have been to promote Greg Williams from within. Really, Al Saunders OR Greg Williams could have taken over for a team that made the playoffs and kept things relatively in tact. I think Williams is a little bit of a hot head and the defense is the strength of the team and that HE should have been promoted to HC.
- If you promote Williams, you have a decent chance of keeping Al Saunders
- If you promote Al Saunders, I think Williams is hot headed enough to leave.
I would have only gone to a 3rd candidate if you are damn sure that guy ( say Bill Cower) is a better alternative to what you had. Both coordinators are decent and had a decent chance to build on what they had already created in Washington. Marcus Washington and the defense in particular liked their defensive coordinator, and now he is gone.
Coaching changes are KILLER to the teams. It involved new schemes, new ideas, and often new players. It isn't always a BAD thing to rip up a team, but it generally isn't a good idea to rip up a PLAYOFF team.
Good Luck Jim Zorn, you are going to need it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Giants are Champions of the world!

What an amazing game! I was as shocked as everyone else. I had people emailing me and harassing me about NOT winning all of those NFL futures, but here is the part where I disclose that I am a New York Giants fan.

The reason why I have been pretty secretive about my NFL alliegence is because I do NOT want to be accused of being biased in my handicapping ( I did a good job because I had a couple people email me and taunt me that the Giatns won). In the Super Bowl I had a win/win situation. If the Patriots won, I won a pot of gold, if the Giants won, my team would pull off one of the top upsets in NFL history. My wallet is a little bit empty, but I am so proud of the Giants.

Here are some notes I had during the game...

- Brandon Jacobs cracked Brandon Merriweather early on in the first quarter which set the tone of a physical Giants team.

- The Giants opened the game with a 9:59 second drive which was the longest drive in Super Bowl history. They scored 3 points and shortened the game 2/3rds of one quarter making it a just over 3 quarter game. That is a good thing for the underdog.

- That bud light " wine and cheese party" commercial got a crack out of me, but overall I thought the commericals were cheesy. How many singing animal punch lines are those marketers going to deliver? The under armour "movie" was kind of cool, but the comedy commercials were a waste of 2.7 million bucks.

- Antoinio Pierce is so unathletic and cannot cover tight ends. On 3rd and 10 at the goalline, the Pats went right after him with a toss in the endzone to Ben Watson. It was actually a pretty key play that resulted in PI and a 7-3 lead for the Patriots.

- The Giants were flagged for that delay of game and I disagree with the call. The Refs usually give a fraction of a second lee way and they called it exactly when the clock hit zero ( and Eli snapped it). I think the fact that they were so quick to call it is because they were " ready" to call it. The reason why they were " ready" is because it looked like there was no way Eli would get the play off on time when he was audibiling with 2 seconds left. I disagree with the call and believe that perception took over and the Refs gave the Pats a favorable call. However Amani Toomer did push off a little bit later and these calls tend to pretty much even out.

- I counted 5 dropped passes by the Giants and the Steve Smith one resulted in an INT. That sort of stuff was happening to Eli all season as the Giants led the league in dropped balls. I counted them from Boss, Plax, S.Smith ( led to the INT), S. Smith #2, Burress #2. Five dropped balls and an INT might sound bad, but for Eli it was pretty normal to get that kind of effort.

- I thought that Joe Buck was extra critical of Eli. He harped on Eli for the delay of game ( that shouldn't have been). He kept talking about the interception ( which wasn't his fault) and even started the next series with " Eli Manning, FRESH of throwing an interception". The guy honestly gets off by being as negative as possible to Eli and that is uneccesary. He is supposed to call an unbiased game but every time Eli made a mistake, he goes out of his way to point it out over and over, where as when Brady makes mistakes... he doesn't.

- The Amad Bradshaw play was crazy, but the call was right. Just because a Patriot lands on the ball belly down, doesn't mean he has possession. Bradshaw grabbed the ball from the guy twice his size because the Patriot never really had it anyway.

- There was a really cool play where Kwika Mitchell lined up right in the A gap like he was going to blitz. When the ball was snapped he turned his head and back like he was dropping into coverage and then quickly changed direction and blitzed in untouched. The initial fake forced the Patriots interior O-Lineman to commit elesewhere and by the time they commited, Mitchell was on a B line to Tom Brady.

- Another key play was the Justin Tuck forced fumble at the end of the first half. The Patriots were up 7-3 and looked like they were going to march downfield and take a 14-3 or 10-3 lead into halftime. Brady didn't really have a chance to throw the ball deep downfield because he didn't have the time to do so. One of the reasons was because Justin Tuck and Osi were getting in there VERY fast. If Tuck doesn't hit the ball out of Brady's arm, he just might get that deep pass off and take a commanding 14-3 lead. Football is a game of inches, and the Giants earned those inches in that play.

- Bellicheck challenges Chase Blackburn as a 12th man on the field. I'd agree that the call was right, but it was sort of a cheap thing to challenge. All of a sudden the Patriots challenge that Chase Blackburns foot didn't get out of bounds before the snap. YES, technically it was a penalty, but he was obviously out of the play. By the book it was a penalty, but by the rule of law Blackburn having that foot in bounds didn't matter. With those big stakes I can't blame Bellicheck for the challenge, but it was a rather cheap thing.

- Lost in this game was a great pass defense by Asante Samuel. Eli Manning threw the deep ball over the middle to Plax, and Samuel reach forward and made a legal and pefect play on the ball to prevent the touchdown.

- Wes Welker made a phenomanal 16 yard catch and had a great game. As great a game as he had ( 11 catches), the Patriots probably needed to throw even more short passes to him to help negate that pass rush.

- The Kevin Boss 45 yard play was pretty key too. In a suprise defensive and field position battle, that 45 yard play was pretty nice.

The obvious play of the game was the " Catch 42" play where Manning avoids a sack from virtually the whole Pats D-Line, and then throws a ball that is perfectly caught by Tyree, where he pinned the ball against his helmet. That play goes down in history and so do the Giants.

MVP- I know that people want to reward the Giants pass rush, but of course 4 guys are going to be more valued than one quarterback. If Eli didn't lead the Giants to touchdown drives on the final 2 possesions, the Giants wouldn't have won. Eli Manning WAS the MVP.

Anti MVP - Josh Mcdaniels. The pass rush was ferocious, but the Pats didn't make enough adjustments. The pass rush forced the Pats into not being able to run 4 WR sets, but I am suprised they didn't throw even MORE short passes to say Welker. They worked fine in the 2nd to last drive. The Giants LB core is not very good in coverage, and the Pats had an opportunity to exploit that. They also could have used more max protects and went long to Randy on the other weak link, James Butler. Butler wasn't torched because Brady didn't have the time to go deep. It wasn't that Brady was screwing up as much as they were fundamentally attacking the Giants in the wrong way. I blame Josh Mcdaniels for that. Maybe at 31 years old HE CHOKED.

The Refs - Bitter Patriots fans want to complain about Amani Toomer pushing off, and the fumble recovery, but the Patriots didn't lose the game because of those calls, and there is pushing off and holding on pretty much every play in the NFL. Those same Patriots fans weren't complaining when Randy Moss was pushing off on route to his record breaking season.

The doubters - A lot of people had the Giants in the 6-10 range, and even some decent people predicted the Giants to implode and be the worst team in the NFL. Tiki Barber called Eli Mannings leadership " comical" before the season. Whoops, he won MVP and Tiki won nothing in the booth.

Isn't it funny how people said that Tiki Barber was the whole team and that they were screwed without him? The Giants won the Super Bowl without him. It reminded me of how a lot of people said that Peyton Manning would be screwed without Edge James and that he was REALLY the guy that made the Colts offense work. They argued that taking away James 1500 yards off offense would bring the Colts offense down... Whoops. They won the Super Bowl without him! Running backs are rather fungible, and especially when they play in a "smart offense" dominated by a throwing threat quarterback. Peyton ( and ELi) make their backs better by the audibles they call. Not just changing a pass play to a run play, but changing the direction of the play from the strong side to the weak side all so often. The value of a QB is so much tied to his ability to throw, but the ability to manage the run game is far too underrated for QB's. The Mannings have an impact on their run games, and help MAKE them so good.

The Run - The Giants beat division leading Tampa, 13-3 Dallas, 13-3 Green Bay with -1 degree weather, and 18-0 New England all on the road. In fact, the Giants went 11-1 on the road, and the one game they lost was in week 1 and Eli didn't even finish that game due to a cheap shot injury play. People always wanted to talk about how "average" the team is, but that was the most impressive run in NFL history. The Giants showed what they could really do without shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalties, dropped balls, and bonehead plays.

The Giants lost 6 games, but the only team they played and did not defeat this year was the Minnesota Vikings.

The Giants also beat the #1, #2, and #3 offenses in the NFL. Look at how those games ended. Pro Bowl Romo threw a pick in the endzone that ended the game. Brett Favre threw a pick in OT to end the game, and Brady " Mr. Cool" was rattled all game and couldn't drive the troops downfield for one last FG.

I blame a lot of that on Mcdaniels. They had 3 timeouts and 30 seconds. A few 15 yard passes and timeouts and they right there to attempt the FG, send it into OT,and win the game there. They fact that they were trying to STILL go long boggles my mind. Brady got hammered on 2nd down by Jay Alford and the Giants win.

Hyperbole - When the Patriots won in 2001, we had to hear how they are a "team, and unselfish, have good morals, fight for loose balls and are clutch". Now I am hearing a lot of those same arguments for the Giants. If the Giants would have lost, Eli Manning would have got dumped on. Tom Brady didn't exactly have a great game ( it wasn't his fault), but we didn't hear how he was unclutch this year etc. I just hate how the media tries to explain everything in the most simple terms. " The Giants just played harder". It isn't always like that.

The Future - Something to look forward to. The Giants are the 3rd youngest team in the NFL, and they were even playing without Pro Bowl tight end Jermey Shockey, and another stud pass rusher in Mathias Kiwinuka. Congradulations Giants!

Sunday, February 03, 2008


It is Super Sunday! The day that all of your winning NFL futures can finally redeem themselves.
Congradulations to the New York Giants that proved all of the doubters wrong. Before the season started people had them in last place, where I had them a healthy 10-6 playoff team. People dogged Eli Manning to death, but here he is in the Super Bowl.
My Plays
( futures)
Pats SB, 2.5 units to win 30 ( 12/1)
Pats SB, 11 units to win 110 ( 10/1)
Pats -12, 5 units to win 5 units
- I added a 5 unit against the spread play on the Patriots to bump my potential winnings to 145 units. It probably isn't the smartest thing in the world to have even more money riding on this game, but I really feel that the Patriots win and cover. That spread was 14 points before all the hoopla about Bradys foot. The Giants did only lose by 3 earlier in the year, but they played almost a flawless game and still lost. If the Patriots play better or the Giants play worse this game has a higher win margin. The flat surface and better weather are more friendly to the passing game and I expect the Pats to look strong and put the cherry on top of this magnificent season.
All of those hedges I had against my pats futures don't matter anymore. The big game is here. In fact, I believe that 12 point spread is too low and that the Patriots will cover. Brady should have 4 touchdowns and I would lean to the over in this game as well. I don't see how the Pats score less than 35 points, and in fact I give them 41. They could score even higher but they should have the lead and be working on the clock.
Patriots 41
Giants 17
MVP: None other than Mr. Tom Brady

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