Don Shula couldn’t have helped Miami this past Thursday as they once again looked unprepared and overmatched against an opponent. A Dolphin turnaround was a bit premature seeing that they blew out Houston and Tennessee. In the next four weeks Miami has three tough road games in Buffalo, Philly and the Jets sandwiched around a home game against Dallas with most likely a healthy Tony Romo. They could lose all four even with improved play, but if they could split those games, their next four are easier and could have a wildcard chance to be determined by their final game at home against the Patriots.
Why is nobody talking about Denver going undefeated? They just had a convincing win over Green Bay and their only real remaining threats to lose are a home game against the Pats, a road game against Pittsburgh and a home game against Cincy? Very doable especially with this dominant D. It is probable that the winner of the Pats-Denver game goes undefeated barring injuries.
As for Carolina, I think there is a real chance Indy pulls off an upset tonight, but if not, they host a disgruntled Green Bay team. There run comes to an end either this week or next.
Holy Atlanta Falcons Batman. Have you ever seen a less impressive 6-2 team. In their last four games, Atlanta has lost to the Saints and now the Bucs and have barely beaten the Titans and Redskins. A softball against the Niners this next week should help, but the Falcons ship seems to be taking on water.
I would be remiss if I didn’t convey the statistical ineptitude that is taking place with St. Louis Ram QB Nick Foles. He is on pace to become the first quarterback since 2004 to play in 16 games, throw for less than 3000 yards and rush for less than 100 yards. If you guessed Drew Bledsoe as the suspect in 2004, you get a big pat-on-the-back. He also will be the 10th QB to accomplish this in the last 40 years. Meanwhile, Todd Gurley is one-man wrecking crew and his dominance is that much more impressive because he is a rookie and because defenses stack the box and essentially ignore Foles and he is still dominating.
Another huge win for Cincy this week in Pittsburgh despite the return of Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers, who fell to 4-4 have now lost star running back Le’veon Bell for the rest of the year which can be overcome if D’Angelo Williams stays healthy which is rare.
Looks like the Pats exposed the Jets as the doormat Raiders humiliated the Jets 34-20. Jets personnel can point to losing Ryan Fitzpatrick early in the game, but Fitzpatrick isn’t part of that allegedly dominant Jets secondary that let Jim Plunkett, I mean Derek Carr throw four touchdowns. Tom Brady could have easily thrown for over 400 yards the previous week if there weren’t so many drops. Not sure if Revis and Cromartie have lost a step, but this Jets defense isn’t very good right now. But I am looking forward to seeing Bryce Petty behind center this Sunday.
Thank goodness the deflated footballs are a thing of the past. No more Patriots advantages. See the Patriots were supposed to have many more turnovers this year now that they have to deflate the balls properly. Well that sure is playing out. Last year, the Pats had 13 fumbles and only lost four, this year at the almost halfway point, they have five fumbles and have lost two. So the fumble advantage seems to be a fantasy, but the interception stats will prove out. Last year Brady had nine and this year so far he has one. The Pats are 1-0 against NFL bug locker room sweeps also.
One more Patriots note. When I looked at the contract situations of Seattle, Denver, Green Bay and New England, the Packers and Seahawks have essentially tied up all their core players until 2018 or longer. The Broncos have Emmanuel Sanders as a free agent in 2017, but the Patriots have huge contract issues looming. After next season, Chandler Jones, Donta Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich and Sebastian Vollmer are all free agents. Can’t wait to see how those negotiations go especially when Jones, Hightower and Collins are all in their prime.
Lastly, I want to blast some huge problem children and NFL troublemakers. I am not talking about Greg Hardy for trying to fight his whole team on the sideline last week, as he really isn’t a bad guy. I am not even talking about Prince Shembo of the Falcons who killed his ex-girlfriend’s dog in self-defense and at Notre Dame allegedly assaulted a nearby student. And I am definitely not talking about the 31 players arrested so far this season including six instances of domestic violence, five DUI’s (Deweys as my nine-year old calls them) and three guns/weapons charges. These guys are getting a bad rap.
I am here to point out the real degenerates in the league that are permanently effecting the reputation and bottom line in the NFL. Brace yourself for what I am about to tell you as the following players have been fined for these heinous crimes:
Brandon Marshall – Jets receiver – AKA “Green Cleated Maniac”. See Marshall was wearing green cleats to support and draw attention to Mental Health Awareness Month. Do not pass go, Do not collect $200 and Go directly to jail.
D’Angelo Williams – Steelers running back AKA “Cancerous Behavior Man”. See Williams’ mother died from breast cancer and to pay homage to her, he wrote in pink letters on his eye black “Find the Cure”. This prompted a long conversation with my children to explain the consequences of such detrimental behavior. And what’s worse is that he did this during the sham of NFL Pinktober for Breast Cancer Awareness.
William Gay – another Steelers bad seed – AKA “Domestic Violence Hater”. See Gay wanted to recognize Domestic Violence Month because his mother was killed in an act of domestic violence. What is annoying about his insensitivity is that not only is domestic violence a non-issue but it is an affront to the NFL. I mean since it happens so often in the NFL it would be better to brush it under the rug and avoid any attention for it.
This is a blessing in disguise. Can you imagine what would happen if the NFL let players run amok with the code of conduct policy for uniformity, no pun attended.
Here are some sample ideas for written designations players could wear if other NFL players want to follow the lead of these hooligans.
Alzheimers Disease – “Forget Me Not”
Attention Deficit Disorder – “Don’t Lose Your Focus”
It’s good to be back. Sorry for the long lay-off between blogs.
Let me start by congratulating Rex Ryan and his stout defense for holding the Patriots to 40 points today. Outstanding work. Ryan had two choices this week when getting his team prepared for the Patriots. Choice #1 was to talk trash and antagonize the Patriots while emboldening New England’s us against the world mentality. Choice #2 is to take the momentum from the impressive victory over the Colts and tell his team we’re on to New England.
But Ryan of course elected for choice #1 which is the mentality that eventually led to his failure in New York. The bluster and bravado just couldn’t be backed up and players stopped buying into it. Then to add insult to injury, after the game the Bills are already predicting a playoff matchup. YAWN!
A word of advice to Buffalo. Stop, watch and learn how the Patriots win. It’s called actions speak louder than words.
A few nuggets of note from the game today:
The four anchors of the Bills defensive line make up 28% of the salary cap for Buffalo and the aggregate contracts exceed 250 million dollars. The combined cap hit of the three rookies that manned the interior today was 1.5 million dollars. The Pats O-line has been phenomenal so far and yes Brady gets rid of the ball exceptionally quick, but he has had real good protection.
Dion Lewis had 138 yards of total offense. A number that exceeds that of any Bills player today. Perhaps Rex knows who he is now. But Dion, how about you stop trying to emulate Steven Ridley in the area of ball possession.
Tom Brady targeted Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman a whopping 32 times among his 59 pass attempts.
Belichick going for it on fourth down twice while throwing the deep ball with big leads would seem to indicate an agenda of trying to win by 100 points?
The Miami Dolphins are nothing short of an embarrassment to start the season. They barely escaped Washington last week only because the Redskins kept blowing the multiple opportunities Miami tried to hand them and this week they lost to Jacksonville who has Marquise Lee and T.J. Yeldon (playing in his second NFL game) as their only real weapons. Miami had two cupcakes to open the season and have come out looking completely unprepared. Today it was the defense and last week was the offense. Joe Philbin needs to go and it is mind-boggling he still has job.
The SI jinx has struck again. SI was among many prognosticators that picked the Baltimore Ravens to win the Superbowl and after losing a tough game to Denver last week, the Ravens made Derek Carr look like Jim Plunkett this week. The loss of Terell Suggs will hurt but more important, 0-2 teams in the NFL have a 12% success rate of making the playoffs. With that said, the Ravens schedule this year is very easy although a 2-0 Cincy team is looming.
Teams that are featured on the HBO special Hard Knocks haven’t fared well and the Texans are continuing that recent trend. An 0-2 start is one thing, but what was supposed to be a vaunted defense has given up 51 points to KC and Carolina who aren’t exactly Green Bay and Pittsburgh. J.J. Watt can’t do it by himself.
The Chiefs loss to Denver this past Thursday was nothing short of egregious. Manning came into the game 13-1 against KC lifetime and the Chiefs had them on the ropes before Chiefs Coach Andy Reid did his best Pete Carroll impersonation and ran a run play deep in his own territory with 21 seconds left. Losing to a rival and the favorite to win the division at home will be a tough loss for the Chiefs to come back from.
Troy Aikman said that the Eagles performance against the Cowboys this evening was one of the all-time worst in NFL history. WOW! I mean that’s pretty bad coming from someone who led his team to an 0-11 record his rookie year with nine touchdowns and 18 picks. Nevertheless, the Eagles and their new running back DeMarco Murray look lost. Murray has 11 yards on 21 carries through two games so I am guessing the Cowboys O-line had nothing to do with his success.
And by the way, Sam Bradford might be better off injured at this rate. The Eagles QB has two touchdowns and four picks while being wildly inconsistent so far. For all the talk of how great Bradford could and would be if he stayed healthy, in his career he has 61 TD’s, 42 picks and 12 fumbles lost. Almost a 1-1 touchdown to turnover ratio.
Speaking of uninspiring quarterbacks, Jay Cutler might be the worst in the history of football. Every time I see another pick six thrown like today and you see that droopy look on his face, you wonder how bad Jimmy Clausen really is to not even get a shot.
How about Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. An actual road win even against the defensively challenged New York Giants. Did Rashad Jennings think this week he was also not supposed to go in the end zone. And in other Giants news, sounds like JPP gave the Giants the finger.
Wither the New Orleans Saints who are feeling the effects of no Jimmy Graham, an aging Marques Colston and a horrible offensive line. The Saints just lost to a Tampa Bay team that lost at home by 28 points to a Tennessee team that lost to Cleveland today by 14.
But the Miami Dolphins award this week for the most unacceptable loss goes to the St. Louis Rams. How do you beat the Seattle Seahawks in an emotional potential season-defining win the week before and then lay an egg against the Redskins the following week while not ever being in the game.
Lastly, by taking two of three from the first place Toronto Blue Jays, the Sox pulled within seven of the second wildcard spot with 14 games left. If they go 14-0 in the remaining games and….
Aretha Franklin knew what she was talking about. The definition of respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Theoretically, we all strive to show people respect, however, just how to show that respect seems to be a moving target. For some, financial gain or promotion, others it’s a pat on the back or being acknowledged for your hard work, dedication or success in any variety of ways. But the professional athlete is a whole different animal. Their definition of respect changes frequently and is very often defined by sports agents, insecurity or a posse that easily influences the athlete’s thought process.
Pablo Sandoval says he didn’t feel respected by the San Francisco Giants and hence signed a deal with the Boston Red Sox. Sandoval said the Giants disrespected his agent but declined going into detail. The Giants were not only willing to match the Red Sox offer this offseason, they were willing to exceed 100 million. Sandoval went on to say “If you want me around, you make the effort to push and get me back”. Sandoval played seven years and won three rings for the Giants and was a fan favorite. He has gone out of his way to bash the Giants and says he will only miss manager Bruce Bochy and Hunter Pence. What else could the Giants have done to show Sandoval respect? No one knows for sure, but athletes often behave like little children because in many cases they are pampered growing up and never fully mature. If Sandoval truly felt disrespected, go to the Giants, communicate the problem and resolve it instead of taking the easy way out and disparaging your former employer and making yourself look petulant in the process.
The AFC East teams have been perennial whipping boys for the Patriots, but I believe the Miami Dolphins are much closer to catching the Patriots than people give them credit for. Adding Ndamakong Suh will give them a toughness and attitude they have sorely lacked and the defensive front for Miami could be the best in football. Ryan Tannehill has been in the league four years and threw for 27 TD’s and 12 picks last season and continues to show signs of improvement. The Jets will be dominant on defense perhaps among the top three units in the league and if offensive coordinator Chan Gailey can work his magic with Ryan Fitzpatrick like he did in Buffalo, things could get interesting. I pick Buffalo for last. As of now, the Patriots look to have the worst defense in the division this year and that should be alarming to everyone because defense wins.
What the heck are the Kansas City Chiefs doing signing receiver Jeremy Maclin as a free agent? No Chiefs receiver has caught a touchdown since 2013 and Alex Smith can’t throw the ball consistently past eight yards anyway. Maclin might stretch the field but Jamaal Charles might have to tip the ball forward for Maclin to catch it.
Why is it DeMarco Murray was only great because the Cowboys had a great offensive line? I don’t remember hearing people saying that when Emmitt Smith played behind a ridiculously good offensive line. As a matter of fact, I would argue that Emmitt Smith has probably been the biggest beneficiary of any running back in the last 25-30 years by putting up amazing stats because of a great O-line. I think the Cowboys are going to very much regret him moving to the Eagles. I’m not thinking Lance Dunbar or Joseph Randle are winning the rushing title any time soon.
Amazing what is happening with the Boston Celtics right now. They are 7-3 in the last 10 and realistically should be 9-1. In two of those losses to Golden State and Orlando, they blew 20 plus point leads and the only other loss was in Cleveland who has the best record in the NBA since Jan. 15 at 21-5. The Celtics starting five for those of you wondering are Tyler Zeller (acquired for nothing by Boston so the Cavs could get cap room to acquire LeBron James), Evan Turner, the second pick in the 2010 draft who was happily discarded by Philly and Indiana, Brandon Bass, who has been a backup on good teams and desperate starter on bad ones and the guards are Avery Bradley and rookie Marcus Smart. Not only is Avery Bradley the highest paid player in that group at a mere seven million, but the total salaries of the Celtics starters is slightly over 22 million which is cumulatively less than Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson????? And Carmelo Anthony. Coach Brad Stevens had his first winning month in February since taking over by going 7-4 and has every player on this team contributing in one way or another and playing hard. The coaching acumen and motivational skills that Stevens is starting to show are exactly what GM Danny Ainge had envisioned when he lured him from Butler.
The Celtics remaining schedule has 19 games left including two games against Cleveland and Toronto and games against the Clippers, Spurs and Thunder. The other 12 games are very winnable. By the way, prior to trading Rajon Rondo the Celtics were 9-14 and are 18-22 since. Dallas was 19-8 and is 22-17 since.
Montreal, Tampa Bay, NY Rangers, Nashville, Anaheim, and St. Louis all have between 89 and 91 points right now to lead the NHL. There is no clear cut favorite this year heading into the playoffs and the two most consistent playoff performers (LA Kings and Chicago) are lurking. The Kings though would not make it as of now despite their most recent push.
Don’t look now but early reports on Alex Rodriguez look promising.