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The gunslinger is finally putting his Colt 45 in his holster and riding off into the sunset.  After 17 record-breaking years, Brett Favre is finally calling it quits.  He didn’t exactly go out on top, but he was pretty darn close.  Being able to retire in a year in which he completed 66.5% of his passes for 4155 yards with 28 TDs to 15 INTs and a 95.7 rating as a 38 year old quarterback is nearly impressive as his collective work. 

It seemed every week he was shooting down another record.  Most TD Passes, Most Passing Yards, Most Passing Attempts, and Most Wins a Starting QB.  He was already the career leader completions heading into the year.  He finished second to Jim Marshall (270) with his 253 consecutive games played.

He won three MVPs and a Super Bowl ring.  He’s completed passes that no other quarterback in history even thought of attempting.  He seemed to have more fun this year than he has in the past.  Maybe he already knew this was going to be the end.  I won’t remember him for the interception he threw that propelled the Giants to the Super Bowl.  I’ll remember him for the snowball fight with Donald Driver, him running down the field to celebrate with his receivers, his improvisation to make seemingly impossible completions, and his passion for the game.

Now it’s time for Aaron Rodgers to follow the legend.  It’s not going to be an easy task, but we all have to give him a chance.  As a football fan I want to say “Thank You” to Favre for playing the game the way it was meant to be played.  Defensive Backs can sleep easier tonight.  I just hope somebody consoles John Madden.

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Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

Our second look at the NFL’s second season.  Click here for the first report.

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Bernard Berrian
The Vikings made a play on Berrian to fix their pathetic passing attack.  They overpaid for him (six years, $42 million), but they thought he was the best WR in the market.  Personally I would have went with Bryant Johnson, which would likely have been considerably less. 

Lance Briggs
Briggs signed a six-year, $36 million deal to stay with the Bears.  He has recorded 100+ tackles in each of the past four seasons.  He wasn’t quite as effective last year, but you can say that about most of the Bears defensive players.

Chris Clemons
Clemons had 8 sacks last year for Oakland, and Philly hopes he can continue to pressure the quarterback in Philly’s blitz happy defense.  He signed for five years and $18.5 million.

Keary Colbert
Colbert never panned out in Carolina, but Denver decided to give him a shot anyway.  In four years he has 109 catches for 1424 yards and 5 TDs.  Still, he was able to secure a three-year deal worth $7.2 million. 

Erik Coleman
Coleman had at least 100 tackles his first three years before getting half of that amount last year.  He signed a four-year, $10 million deal with Atlanta to try and bolster their secondary.   

Alge Crumpler
Crumpler took his good hands and attitude to Tennessee.  He wasn’t happy in Atlanta this year, and it showed.  He’ll get a chance to play with another electric QB in Vince Young.  Let’s hope he makes better decisions than Vick. 

Jeff Faine
Tampa signed Faine to a six-year, $37.5 million deal making him the highest paid Center in the league.  Not a bad gig if you can get it. 

Drayton Florence
Drayton signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Jacksonville to bolster their secondary.  He has had over 60 tackles the past two seasons and 10 INTs in his last four.  Seems to me he was overpaid. 

Randall Gay
Another New England cornerback to bolt.  He returned home by signing a four-year, $17 million deal with the Saints.  Gay has 85 career tackles and 5 INTs. 

Devery Henderson
The Saints brought Devery back for one more year with a $2 million deal.  He had 20 catches last year for 409 yards and 3 TDs.  This move makes sense, but does little to excite me. 

Von Hutchins
Von will also help to bolster Atlanta’s secondary.  Last year he had 95 tackles and an INT for Houston.  His deal was good for four years and $9 million.

Sammy Knight
The Giants turned to Sammy to replace departer Gibril Wilson at Safety.  He signed to a three-year, $5 million deal.  He has 42 career INTs (4 last year) and made 93 tackles last year. 

Bobby McCray
Bobby signed a five-year deal with New Orleans worth $20 million.  He had 3 sacks last year after recording 10 in 2006. 

Mewelde Moore
Mewelde adds another element to the Steelers’ backfield.  Fast Willie is the burner.  Najeh Davenport is the power back.  Mewelde is an elusive third down back.  He is shifty and has good hands.  He is also valuable in the return game.

Calvin Pace
The Jets continued their offseason overhaul by signing Calvin Pace to a six-year, $42 million deal.  He had 98 tackles and 6.5 sacks for Arizona last year. 

Jacques Reeves
Reeves doesn’t have to move far going from Dallas to Houston.  He had 61 tackles last year and should help Houston’s secondary.

Justin Smiley
After signing a five-year, $25 million deal with Miami, I don’t think he’s ever lived up to his surname like he is now.  He’ll strengthen Miami’s offensive line.

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Michael Turner
Turner signed a six-year deal worth $34.5 million.  He’ll get a chance to be the man in Atlanta.  Warrick Dunn was shown the door and Jerious Norwood will have to settle for third down duties.

Demorrio Williams
Kansas City signed the LB away from Atlanta.  He has 299 tackles over the past three seasons as well as 5 INTs.  In 2005 he had 128 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 picks.  He’ll be 28 this year. 

Damian Woody
The Jets just keep on spending.  They bolstered their offensive line by signing Woody to a five year deal worth $25.5 million.  Eric Mangini knows all about Woody from their time together in New England.

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NFL Free Agency Report

1 March 2008

Our first look at the free agent signings. 

Flozell Adams
Flozell re-upped with Dallas for six  years and $42 million.  I like this deal.  Tony Romo has enough to worry about with the girls he dates and their impact on his play.  At least he doesn’t have to worry about his blind side.

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Derek Anderson

DA has an unbelievable season last year.  The Browns made great strides.  They aren’t ready to turn the keys over to Brady Quinn just yet.  Locking him up with a multi-year deal just made sense.

Josh Brown
St. Louis quickly found a replacement for Jeff Wilkins.  Brown is a great kicker.  This is a good move for both Brown and the Rams.  They locked him up for five years.

Isaac Bruce
It will be weird seeing Bruce in another uniform.  Well, at least he’s returning to California.  He was there before the Rams left St. Louis.  I believe he still has something in the tank.  I’m just not sure the Niners are the best team to extract it.

Tedy Bruschi
This move made complete sense.  Brusch is an extension of Belichick on defense.   At his age no other team will get as much out of Tedy.

Andre Davis
Davis proved his worth when the other “Andre” went down with a knee injury.  He showed some game in the passing attack, but where he really proved his worth wa the return game.  Returning to Houston was a great move.

Alan Faneca
The Jets made a great play acquiring Faneca.  Shoring up an offensive line isn’t the most sexy way to improve your team.  It is probably the most effective though.

DeShaun Foster
I believe the writing was on the wall in Carolina.  DeShaun wasn’t going to be a starter.  It’s a lot easier to justify being a backup to Frank Gore than DeAngelo Williams. 

Tommy Kelly
With Warren Sapp retiring, bringing back Tommy Kelly made complete sense.  They sure paid a lot for his services, but that seems to be the nature of the beast in the NFL’s second season.

Cleo Lemon
This wasn’t a bad signing for Jacksonville, especialy if they can’t come to terms with Quinn Gray.  He did OK in Miami considering the circumstances.

Josh McCown
Not a bad signing for Miami.  If Beck isn’t ready, McCown has the tools to step into the starter role for the ‘Fins.

Kawika Mitchell
It seems whenever you win a Super Bowl all of your players and coaches are in high demand.  Everyone loves a winner.  Buffalo snatched up Kawika.  The Giants will be fine.

Muhsin Muhammad
Moose returns to Carolina.  Steve Smith can’t be happier.  At least he has a decent WR opposite of him.  Moose will be thrilled to get out of Chicago’s horrible passing attack.

Jerry Porter
This one makes me laugh.  Jerry Porter is overrated, soft, a complainer, and now overpaid.  Six years and $30 million for a disgrunted wideout?  Maybe they are hoping for a Moss-like return for freeing him from the Black Hole, which is really fitting for Oakland these days.

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Asante Samuel
The Eagles stole the headlines by getting Asante.  The cynic in me wonders if he’ll flop like Ty Law, Lawyer Malloy, David Givens, Deion Branch, and Willie McGinnest.  However, the realist in me feels that Philadelphia’s secondary just got a heck of a lot stronger.  They didn’t even have to pay him like Nate Clemens, which is impressive.

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Justin Smith

If I’m the NFL, I’m going to investigate whether or not San Francisco is printing money.  Last year they were spending like it was going out of style.  They made a big splash again this year.  Justin Smith had an off-year, but he’s still a pretty darn good DE.

Randy Starks
Parcels sure has been busy.  This time he got a young, promising DT from Tennessee.  He got a five-year, $21 million deal.  He better produce for the Tuna.

Thomas Tapeh
I guess the Vikings aren’t going to bring back Tony Richardson, which upsets me a little.  I enjoyed listening to him on the radio.  He’s just a great guy.  Anyway, the Vikes brought in a guy who Childress is comfortable with from his days with the Eagles, and who’s comfortable with Minnesota from his days as a Gopher.  Good, quiet signing. 

Dontarrious Thomas
Perhaps Thomas needs a change of scenery.  He never really made it with the Vikings.  I’m not sure what the Niners are going to get out of him, but he should help their special teams for starters.

Ernest Wilford
The Dolphins get a big receiver (6’4″) in Wilford.  He hasn’t really done to much to distinguish himself, but Jacksonville isn’t exactly a wide-open offense.  He gets to go to Miami.  Have fun with that.

Madieu Williams
Leslie Frazier knows about this guy from his time in Cincinnati.  I’m not sure how playing for Cincy’s porous secondary can net you $33 million over six years.  He’ll replace Dwight Smith, who signed with the Lions. 

Gibril Wilson
Here’s another guy who got plucked from the Super Bowl champs.  Don’t expect to make it back any time soon Gibril after signing with Oakland.  He’s racked up the tackles over the past three years (309).  I just wonder if six years $36 million was too much for him.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

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Friday Tidbits 2/29/08

29 February 2008

Today I present a special Bissextile Day version of the tidbits. 

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Once again Yao Ming will miss the rest of the year.  Stress fracture in his feet.  This is a problem that will likely plague him his entire career and force an early retirement.  Gerald Wallace got popped with an elbow and got a concussion.  He’ll miss a couple of weeks.  It was his 4th in four years, so he may want to consider hanging it up.  Jamal Crawford poured in 43 in a win over Toronto.  J.R. Smith matched him in a loss to Denver.  LeBron’s back-to-back triple-double streak was snapped.  He only had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists.  How selfish.  He scored his 10,000th point against Boston, who signed P.J. Brown.  J-Kidd won his first game with the Mavs.  Shaq matched him as Phoenix handed Boston its third straight loss.  Shaq only scored four, but he grabbed 14 boards.  New Jersey sent Jamaal Magloire packing.  Golden State’s Andris Biedrins had an appendectomy.  Michael Redd poured in 42 in a win over Denver.  Andrew Bogut added 20 rebounds.  Jason Kidd had 17 assists in a win over the Wolves.  The Heat finally won.  Minnesota did too.  Jaamal Magloire joined Dallas.  Too bad he didn’t wait a little longer or he’d have more valuable minutes for another Texas team.  Luke Ridnour dished out 15 assists in a loss to Golden State.  Caron Butler has a tear in his hip.  That doesn’t sound fun.  San Mitchell got cut by the Clippers.  He’s likely to reunite with KG soon.  The Lakers have won ten straight.

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Atlanta traded Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis to Pittsburgh for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick. Tampa traded Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas for Jussi Jokinen, Jeff Halpern, Mike Smith, and a draft pick.  Buffalo traded Brian Campbell and a draft pick to San Jose for Steve Bernier and a first round draft pick.  Columbus traded Adam Foote to Colorado for draft picks.  They also sent Sergei Federov to Washington for Ted Ruth.  Toronto sent Hal Gill to Pittsburgh for a couple of picks.  St. Louis sent Christian Backman to the Rangers for a draft pick.  Chicago traded Tuomo Ruutu to Carolina for Andrew Ladd.  Peter Forsberg re-joined Colorado.  Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne notched his 20th career hat trick.  Philly’s Mike Richard tore his hamstring.  He’ll be out for a while.  The New York Islanders signed Trent Hunter to a five-year deal and Mike Comrie to a one-year deal.  This week’s shutouts:  Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff vs. Detroit.  Columus’ Pascal Leclaire vs. Montreal.  NY Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist vs. Florida.  Phoenix’s Ilja Bryzgalov vs. St. Louis.  Toronto’s Vesa Toskala vs. Ottawa.  Boston’s Tim Thomas vs. Ottawa.  Chicago’s Patrick Lalime vs. Phoenix.  The Wild signed Nick Schultz to a six-year extension worth $21 million.  Dallas will be without D Sergei Zubov for a month after his foot surgery.  Tampa Bay traded Vaclav Prospal to Philly for Alexandre Picard and a draft pick.  St. Louis signed D Barret Jackman to a four-year deal.  Detroit signed W Darren McCarty to a one-year deal.  NY Rangers D Paul Mara had facial surgery and will miss a couple of weeks.  Minnesota acquired the thug Chris Simon from the Islanders for a draft pick.  Montreal traded G Cristobal Huet to Washington for a draft pick.  Tampa signed D Dan Boyle to a six-year $40 million deal.  Ottawa fired Coach John Paddock.  Replacing him is Bryan Murray.  Pittsburg D Rob Scuderi will miss a month following surgery on his finger.  Dallas’ Brad Richard have five assists in a win over Chicago.

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The Red Sox extended Terry Francona’s contract for three more years.  He could be managing Bartolo Colon next year, as Boston signed him to a minor league deal.  K-Rod lost his arbitration.  His consolation prize…$10 million.  Oh darn.  Oliver Perez won his.  He’ll get $6.5 million next year from the Mets.  New Phillies closer had knee surgery and will miss a month or more.  Shannon Stewart signed with Toronto.  Tampa’s Scott Kazmir felt some discomfort in his elbow.  Omar Vizquel will miss a month or so following knee surgery.  The FBI is going to probe Roger Clemens to see if he lied.  Scott Spiezo was cut by St. Louis after having six charges brought upon him for drunk driving in December.  Colorado signed Manny Corpas to a four-year deal worth $8 million.

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If anyone wants Derek Andrerson, it will cost them a 1st and 3rd rounder.  Tom Coughlin got a four-year $21 million extension for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.  Can you refresh my memory Tiki and Strahan what you thought about him last year?  Oakland and Kansas City lost again.  This time it was a coin flip to determine the 3rd-5th picks in the draft.  Atlanta won.  Oakland will go 4th and Kansas City 5th.  Dom Capers will join the Patriots as their seconday coach.  Plus he has a background in surreptitious videotaping.  Just kidding.  Had to take the shot.  Chicago will give Rex Grossman one more try.  Zach Thomas has signed with Dallas.  Bryant McKinnie was arrested again.  Des Clark signed a two-year deal with the Bears.  The Chargers signed LB Derek Smith.  The Lions cut CB Fernando Bryant.  The Vikings traded Troy Williamson to Jacksonville for a sixth round pick.  He dropped his keys twice on the way to his car.  New England cut Rosevelt Colvin.  Kansas City cut Eddie Kennison.  Kevin Faulk got busted with weed at a concert.  Washington parted ways with Brandon Lloyd.  Nice signing Mr. Snyder.  San Fran re-signed NT Isaac Sopoaga and LB Roderick Green.  Carolina is bringing back Mushin Muhammad.  David Carr is getting kicked to the curb.  Kansas City cut Ty Law.  Detroit signed S Dwight Smith to a two-year dea.  He’s good if he can keep his nose clean.  St. Louis’ Leonard Little restructured his deal to save the Rams money. He was killed someone with his vehicle.  Indianapolis cut Booger McFarland and Rob Morris.  Tennessee cut David Givens. The Bills cut the A-Train. Minnesota cut Kelly Holcomb.  Tampa cut Kevin Carter.  Philly cut Jevon Kearse.  Oakland broke the piggy bank by paying Tommy Kelly $50.5 million over seven years.  Tedy Bruschi will return to New England.  Flozell will be back in Dallas.  Andre Davis signed a four-year deal with Houston.  Isaac Bruce was cut by St. Louis.

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#2 Tennessee beat #1 Memphis 66-62.   Then they lost to #14 Vanderbilt.  Kelvin Sampson is out at Indiana.  He got $750K to leave.  Colorado kicked Xavier Silas off the team.  Villanova beat #13 UConn 67-65.  Oklahoma State upset #5 Kansas 61-60.  Nebraska beat #22 Texas A & M 65-59.  #18 Drake beat #8 Butler 71-64.  Baylor beat #25 Kansas State 92-86 despite Michael Beasley’s Big 12 record 44 points.  He only got 30 & 15 in a loss to #5 Texas.  Arizona knocked off #19 Washington State 65-55.  Missouri State beat #20 Drake 86-83.  Houston’s Robert McKiver had 52 points against Southern Miss.  #18 Louisville beat #17 Notre Dame 90-85.#9 Wisconsin beat #15 Michigan State 57-42.

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Oklahoma won 8 games last week.  OK, they didn’t actually win them, but they got their 8 wins put back on their record after they, gasp, got the NCAA to change its mind in the Rhett Bomar infractions case.  Virginia DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald left school.  Nick Saban isn’t happy with the misbehaviour of his team.  UConn coach Randy Edsall signed a five-year deal worth $7.5 million.  SMU suspended QB Justin Willis from spring practice.

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So Tiger won again.  This time it was the Accenture Match Play Championship. 

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Carl Edwards won the Auto Club 500.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.Images courtesy of Icon SMI

NFL Free Agents

28 February 2008

As soon as the clock strikes midnight tonight, the feeding frenzy that is the NFL free agency period kicks off.  Like all sports, you’ll see some marginal players bring in head scratching contracts, as well as minor tweaks that make all the difference in the world.  Brace yourself football fans.  The NFL’s second season is about to begin.

Quarterbacks
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Derek Anderson
– Coming off a year that surprised everybody but DA and his mother.  Nobody else thought he had it in him.  He’ll likely stay in Cleveland for a while.

Daunte Culpepper – He’s fallen quickly off of the map.  Nobody is going to give him a starting job.  I could see him replacing David Carr in Carolina or re-uniting with Mike Tice in Jacksonville should they not bring back Quinn Gray.

Quinn Gray - Quinn started slow in replacing David Garrard, but he warmed to the position.  Jacksonville will likely bring him back as an insurance policy.

Cleo Lemon - Cleo will likely be turned loose because that’s what the Tuna does.  He played well enough to get some looks as a backup.  The Vikings need to upgrade their quarterback position so perhaps he gets a look.

Josh McCown – With Culpepper likely shown the door, Oakland will probably want to keep McCown around in case JaMarcus isn’t ready.

Scrub QBs - Ken Dorsey, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jamie Martin.

Running Back
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Marion Barber
 - Barber has been a beast the past few years.  I don’t see any way Dallas doesn’t bring him back.  Period.

Chris Brown - Brown was decent at times last year.  I’d say he played well enough for Tennessee to bring him back to push LenDale.  Chris Henry is a pee test away from a year-long suspension so Chris Brown is a good insurance policy.

Julius Jones - While MB3 is a virtual lock to stay, JJ is a virtual lock to go.  It would be interesting to see him join his brother in New York.  Seattle is a possibility.  I’m not sure if Chicago would give the “kid brother” a shot, although they could use him.

Michael Turner - Burner Turner may finally get a look as a starting tailback.  Cedric Benson has been a bust so perhaps Turner can challenge for the gig.  Atlanta or Carolina could use him to compliment their speedy backs.  Shaun Alexander has lost a step so Seattle could be suitors.

Derrick Ward - Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw seemingly have the RB duties in check for the Super Bowl champs.    Ward showed his skills last year.  He’d be a nice backup to Edge in Arizona.  He is a restricted free agent so he very well could remain in New York. 

Scrub RBs – Vernand Morency, T.J. Duckett, Maurice Hicks, Mewelde Moore, Musa Smith, and LaBrandon Toefield.

Wide Receivers
Bernard Berrian - A lot of teams will be interested in Berrian.  The Eagles, Vikings, Titans, Niners, and Bucs could all use his big play ability.  He’d be a great compliment to Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City, but I’m leaning towards the Vikings for Berrian since they have a lot of cap room and have little talent in the passing game.

Andre Davis – Davis was a nice replacement for the Texans when Andre Johnson went down.  He also was very successful as a return man.  There will be a lot of interest in Davis to fill the 3rd or 4th receiver and return man roles.  I think Houston gets a leg up on the competition and brings him back.

D.J. Hackett - Hackett looked good at times last year, but an ankle injury cost him a chance to showcase his abilities.  Seattle is pretty stocked at WRs so bringing him back isn’t a certainty.  Perhaps he joins Zorn in Washington.

Devery Henderson - He’s not a sexy pickup by any means.  Unless New Orleans goes after one of the other free agent WRs, they likely just bring Devery back.

Bryant Johnson - Johnson could be the conosolation prize to those who miss out on Berrian.  He good size and plenty of talent.  He’d fit in nicely in Philly opposite of Reggie Brown. 

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Randy Moss -
Every NFL team could use a motivated Randy Moss.  Not many teams outside of New England would keep him motivated.  My guess is the Patriots and Moss work something out.

Scrub WRs - Drew Carter, Antonio Chatman, Keary Colbert, Terrance Copper, Justin Gage, Doug Gabriel, Az-Zahir Hakim, Samie Parker, David Patten, and Marcus Robinson.

Tight Ends
Alge Crumpler - Alge was cut by the Falcons so he’s looking for a new home.  He visited Tampa Bay and will meet with Tennessee.  He’d be a nice target for Vince Young. 

Scrub TEs - Eric Johnson, Marcus Pollard, Ben Troupe, Jermaine Wiggins, and Kris Wilson.

Offensive Lineman
Flozell Adams – I doubt the Cowboys will let their LT get away when they are so close.   Unless someone blows him away, Flozell will be back protecting Romo.

Alan Faneca - There will be plenty of interest in Guard Alan Faneca.  Seattle seems like a good choice.  There are rumors that a deal is in place with the Jets.

Jake Scott - Indianapolis does not have a good cap situation, meaning their starting RG will likely leave.  A good bet is Scott going to Pittsburgh to replace Faneca.

Defensive Linemen
Tommy Kelly -
If Warren Sapp weren’t retiring, I’d say it’s likely he’d be gone.  However, he’ll likely land in Oakland.  Denver could possibly approach him (although they prefer former Cleveland linemen).

Mike Rucker - Rucker isn’t the force he once was, but he still has value.  He wants to return to Carolina, and is willing to accept a reduced role.  That sort of flexibility leads me to believe he will, in fact, be a Panther one more year.

Scrub DLs – Jordan Carstens, Ebenezer Ekuban, Sam Rayburn, Justin Smith, Paul Spicer, Randy Starks, Renaldo Wynn

Linebackers
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Lance Briggs -
Briggs will have many suitors.  San Francisco and Washington are believed to be the front-runners. Chicago could surprise everyone and retain him.  Although they could use him, I don’t think the Patriots will be in the market for his services.

Tedy Bruschi - Come on.  You know and I know that Tedy isn’t going anywhere.  He’s a Patriots guy.

Scrub LBs - Boss Bailey, Danny Clark, Na’il Diggs, Kawika Mitchell, Mark Simoneau, and Demorrio Williams.

Defensive Backs
Randall Gay –
Gay could stick around in New England when Asante Samuel leaves.  The Jets were interested in him last year, and Mangini wouldn’t hesitate to take from Belichick.

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Asante Samuel
– As likely it is for Tedy Bruschi to stay in New England, it’s equally as likely for Asante to leave.  He’s a great cornerback, but wants to be one of the top, if not the top, paid defensive players in the league.  There is talk that Philadelphia is the frontrunner, with Dallas, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay in the mix.

Gibril Wilson - The Eagles and Broncos have expressed interest in Gibril.  At this point Philly is believed to be the front-runner.

Scrub DBs - William Bartee, Jay Bellamy, Chris Carr, Mike Doss, Drayton Florence, Dominique Foxworth, Tory James, Karl Paymah, B.J. Sams, Chad Scott, Omar Stoutmire, and Derrick Strait.

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

We already took a look back at the first round picks.  Now let’s take a look at the other rookies that made an impact last year.

OFFENSE 

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Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants, 7th Round
Bradshaw’s regular season numbers don’t tell the story.  He finished with 190 yards (8.3 ypc) and a score.  However, he made a name for himself in the playoffs rushing for 208 yards and a score in New York’s four road victories.

Trent Edwards, Buffalo Bills, 3rd Round
Trent took over the starting job for an injured/ineffective J.P. Losman.  He looked decent at times finishing with 1630 passing yards, 7 TDs, 8 INTs, a 56.1% completion percentage, and a 70.4 passer rating.  His best game was a 4 TD performance against Miami.

Brian Leonard, St. Louis Rams, 2nd Round
Leonard had 303 yards for the Rams in his rookie season.  He helped out in the passing game grabbing 30 passes for 183 yards.  The highlight of his season was his 102 yard effort (plus 33 receiving) in a loss to Arizona.

Brandon Jackson, Green Bay Packers, 2nd Round
Jackson had every opportunity to take the job and run with it, but injuries and a slow start allowed Ryan Grant to take the reins.  He finished with 267 yards rushing and 16 catches for 130 yards.  His best effort was the 113 yards he hung on Detroit in the season finale.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers, 3rd Round
Jones showed some big play ability catching 47 passes for 676 yards and a pair of TDs.  The highlight of his season was a 79 yard TD grab from Brett Farve in a win over Denver.  He had three catches for 107 yards that game. 

Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders, 2nd Round
Zach showed signs that he’s going to be a very capable TE in this league catching 44 passes for 444 yards and 3 TDs.  He ended the season on a high note with 8 receptions for 84 yards.
 
Kolby Smith, Kansas City Chiefs, 5th Round
Kolby filled in admirably after Larry Johnson went down with a foot injury.  He rushed for 387 yards (77.4 yards per game) and 2 TDs in Weeks 12-16.  His monster 150 yard, 2 TD game against Oakland endeared him to fantasy football owners (at least the ones who owned him).  He also added 22 catches for 148 yards.

Darius Walker, Houston Texans, Undrafted
Darius finished strong from Houston running for 264 yards in their final four games (66 yards per game).  His lone touchdown came against Jacksonville in Week 17.  


Selvin Young, Denver Broncos, Undrafted
Travis Henry’s inability to stay healthy opened the door for Selvin Young, an undrafted RB out of Texas.  Selvin responded with 729 yards (5.2 ypc) rushing and a score and 35 receptions for 231 yards.  His best game was a 156 yard effort against Kansas City.

DEFENSE
Gerald Alexander, Detroit Lions, 2nd Round 
Alexander had a solid season rookie season recording 81 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 INTs.  He had 15 tackles in a loss to San Diego.

Fred Bennett, Houston Texans, 4th Round
Bennett had 62 tackles and three INTs in his rookie season.  His three picks came in Weeks 9, 12 & 13 (with a bye in Week 10).  He had 11 tackles in a loss to Indianapolis. 

Tim Crowder, Denver Broncos, 2nd Round
After missing his first three games, Crowder went on to record 17 tackles and 4.5 sacks.  A pair of those sacks came in a win over Kansas City.

David Harris, New York Jets, 2nd Round
Harris was another great find for the Jets.  He tied for 8th in the league with 126 tackles.  He also added five sacks.  He had 41 tackles in back-to-back losses to Buffalo and Washington.

Chinedum Ndukwe, Cincinnati Bengals, 7th Round
Not quite this years Marques Coltson, but a solid 45 tackle, 2 sack, 3 INT season out of a 7th rounder.  Chinedum had ten tackles and two picks in a win over Cleveland.
 
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Brian Robison, Minnesota Vikings, 4th Round 
Robison had quite an impact for a 4th round pick.  He had 24 tackles and 4.5 sacks.  He opened the season with two sacks against Atlanta. 

Clifton Ryan, St. Louis Rams, 5th Round
Clifton had 30 tackles and two sacks in his rookie season.  His best game came against San Francisco when he had four tackles, including a pair of sacks.  He forced three fumbles on the year.

LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2nd Round
Woodley missed three games, but still managed to record 14 tackles and four sacks.  In Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to Jacksonville, he had three tackles and two sacks.
Images courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

Friday Tidbits 2/22/08

22 February 2008

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House Hunters NBA Edition
Sacramento traded Mike Bibby to Atlanta for Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright, and Shelden Williams.  The Jason Kidd deal got done finally after they drug Keith Van Horn off his couch.  Roy Tarpley, Rolando Blackman, and Popeye Jonesmust not have been available.  Dallas lost their first game with Kidd.  The sophomores beat the rookies for the sixth straight time.  Daniel Gibson drained 11 three-pointers en route to 33 points and the game’s MVP.  Houston will honor Hakeem Olajuwon with a monument later this year.  He’s also been nominated as a finalist in the Hall of Fame voting.  That should be a no-brainer.  Jason Kapono defended his title in the three-point shootout.  He tied the record (25) in the Finals.  Dwight Howard took the Slam Dunk Contest. His first and third dunks were amazing.  His Superman dunk was completely overrated in my opinion since he didn’t actualy dunk it.  The East beat the West in the All-Star Game.  LeBron James won his second All-Star MVP award.  He messed around and nearly got back-to-back triple-doubles (27 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists & 31, 14, 12) .  He got one against Houston, but his team lost.  KG returned.  He scored 4.  The Celtics lost.  They also lost his second game.  Chris Bosh poured in 40.  Luol Deng played.  Seattle traded Kurt Thomas to the Spurs for Brent Barry, Francisco Elson, and a draft pick. I guess they’re gearing up for Shaq and Gasol.  Seattle tried to throw in Xavier McDaniel…just kidding. Kobe dropped 41 in a win over Shaq’s Suns.  Mo Cheeks got a contract extension from the Sixers.  Cleveland, Seattle, and Chicago made a huge trade.  Cleveland get Ben Wallace Delonte West, Kevin McHale’s favorite player Joe Smith, and Wally Szczerbiak.  Chicago will get Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Cedric Simmons, and Shannon Brown.  Seattle gets Ira Newball, Adrian Griffin, and Donyell Marshall.  No word on whether Bill Cartwright, Craig Ehlo, or Jack Sikma were considered in this deal.  Houston traded Mike James and Bonzi Wells to New Orleans for Bobby Jackson, Adam Haluska, and a draft pick.  Minnesota traded slam dunk gury Gerald Green to Houston for Kirk Snyder and a 2nd round pick McHale will waste.  Tony Parker is back.  Daniel Gibson (ankle) will miss a month.  Manu scored 44 against the Wolves.  The Rockets have won ten straight.  The West has nine teams over .600.  Talk about loaded.  The East has three.

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Peter Forsberg will not return this year.  Not so fast.  Perhaps he will.  This week’s shutouts:  Montreal’s Carey Price vs. Philly.  Marty Turco vs. Detroit.  He also won his 200th game this week.  Detroit’s Chris Osgood vs. Colorado.  Phoenix’s Mikael Tellqvist vs. Los Angeles.  Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin vs. Minnesota.  NY Islanders’ Rick DiPietro vs. Tampa Bay.  Rod Brind’Amour tore his ACL, which will likely knock him out of action for the rest of the season.  The Rangers signed defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Dan Girardi.  Philly Forwards Joffrey Lupul (ankle) and Steve Downie (concussion) will miss some time.  Calgary draft pick Mickey Renaud collapsed and died in his home.  He was 19.  Sad.  Chicago signed D Brent Seabrook to a three-year deal.  Wayne Gretzky picked up his 100th win.  New York Islander D Andy Sutton will be out a while with a torn hamstring.  The Kings traded D Jaroslav Modry to Philly for a third round draft pick.   Nicklas Lindstrom will miss a few weeks with a knee injury.  Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek had a hat trick vs. Tampa Bay.  So did Los Angeles’ Alexander Frolov vs. St. Louis. 
 

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Cincinnati locked up Brandon Phillips with a four-year, $27 million deal.  He had a 30-30 season last year.  Erik Bedard signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Mariners.  They’ll sign him long-term. Chien-Ming Wang lost his arbitration case.  Felipe Lopez, Brian Fuentes, and Jose Valverde also lost.  Milwauke P Yovani Gallardo had knee surgery.  Trot Nixon is trying to catch on with Arizona.  Bret Boone took his steroid bat to Washington.  Speaking of cheaters, Andy Pettitte spoke.  Blah, blah, blah.  Sorry you used or sorry you got caught? Curt Schilling will rehab his shoulder as Boston requested. Hank Steinbrenner used the “well, he’s doing it too defense” as he suggests that the NFL’s steroid issue is worse than baseball’s.  It is probably true, but that defense is weak, especially for a team that has had Giambi, Sheffield, Clemens, Pettitte, and Knoblach, to name a few, be named in recent years.  Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons apologized for their PED use.  Miguel Tejada didn’t want to talk about it.  Texas signed 2B Ian Kinsler to a five-year $22 million deal.  Houston P Shawn Chacon signed a one-year deal.  Ryan Howard won his arbitration.  He’ll get $10 million next year.  By baseball terms that’s a bargain (Carlos Silva will average $12 million a season over the next four).  Josh Fogg signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati. Arizona signed GM Josh Byrnes to an eight-year deal .

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Keyshawn Johnson may make a comeback.  At least our ears will get a rest.  Atlana cut Byron Leftwich and Alge Crumpler.  Washington hired Sherman Smith as its Offensive Coordinator since they promoted their to head coach after two weeks on the job.  The Chiefs cut John Welbourn.  Start the offseason police blotter.  Buffalo WR Roscoe Parrish got nabbed driving drunk.  Cincy franchised G Stacy Andrews.  The Bears cut Moose loose and extended Alex Brown two years.  Billy Cundiff signed a two-year deal with Kansas City.  They’ll also franchise Jared Allen.  Baltimore will franchise Terrell Suggs.  There is a question as to whether it should be at LB or DE.  The Colts franchised Dallas Clark, but he turned around and signed a six-year deal with them.  As I suggested last week, New England offered Zach Thomas a contract.  The 49ers cut LB Derek Smith.  Pittsburgh signed DE Travis Kirschke to a two-year deal.  Tennessee franchised Albert Haynesworth.  Seattle franchised CB Marcus Trufant.  The Vikings cut Dwight Smith.  Jamal Lewis signed an extension with Cleveland.  Randy Moss didn’t get franchised.
 
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Michael Beasley had 40 points and 17 rebounds as #22 Kansas State smoked Missouri 100-63.  Cincinnati suspended F Alvin Mitchell for rule violations.  #25 Marquette routed #24 Pitt 72-54.  UAB pushed #1 Memphis to the limit, but lost 79-78.  My beloved Syracuse beat their top rival #8 Georgetwon 77-70.  Eric Gordon scored 28 as #12 Indiana beat #9 Michigan State 80-61.  Oklahoma State upset #16 Texas A&M 59-54.  Wake Forest beat #2 Duke (yeah) 86-73.  Miami also beat Duke 96-95 (I’m giddy).  #7 Texas blasted #22 Texas A&M 77-50.  Arkansas State coach Dickey Nutt resigned.  Coach K and Roy Williams have had a little war of words this week.  #14 Indiana beat #15 Purdue 77-68.  Bradley beat #18 Drake 72-71.  John Calipari won his 400th career game.  Nebraska beat #25 Kansas State 71-64.  It sounds like Kelvin Sampson will get canned from Indiana.
 
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USC WR Vidal Hazelton had surgery on his stomach muscles. Ouch.  He played like that last year.  That’s pretty tough.  UCLA QB Patrick Cowan had cartilage removed from his knee.  South Carolina WR Dion Lecorn was charged with drug possession.  Tennessee punter Britton Colquitt lost his scholarship and was suspended for the first five games next year.  LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux was suspended for violating team rules.  

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Ryan Newman won the Daytona 500.
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Phil Mickelson won the Northern Trust Open.  Tiger Woods rallied from a three hole deficit with five to play in the Accenture Match Play Championship agasint J.B. Holmes.  He’s pretty good.  He continued with a win over Arron Oberholser.  Phil was sent packing by Stuart Appleby.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.

Thanks again for supporting my blog. Be sure to check out My Friends’ blogs. They do amazing work.

One of my best friends made the move a few years ago from New York City to London.  He’s always been somewhat of an introvert, so I am equally impressed with both his decision to take a risk, and the way he’s successfully pulled it off.

With the globalization of sport (NBA European Division?, NFL games in London, Buffalo Bills move to Toronto?, etc.) many of us our offering up resistance to these changes.  Here to offer us his London perspective is my good friend “The King”. 

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Should the English Premier League Football be hit with a yellow card?
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

“I have one problem with American sports today that I need to vent and it’s now taking over even here in England.  Maybe you can take it up on your blog and bring some attention to it before it’s too late.   That is the  commercialization of sport.   For Christ sake, going to a college Football game now feels like an NFL experience in some places.   It’s all about money, tv rights, etc.  Have you heard about this ridiculous idea of English Premier League Football (soccer) now moving abroad and scheduling one league game a season for each team overseas?  This was direct response from the NFL having “successfully ” playing one game a year here in Europe and generating a bunch of revenue.  Dolphins  – Giants.  But it’s causing massive shockwaves here in a country where tradition is king.  Seems the American way is spreading over here to the owners and it’s not good.  Alas, how does this really effect American sports fans (your readers). Well, read the link I provided about NBA’s european expansion plans all for money.  Where does this quest for increased tv, ad, etc revenue stop for the love of the sport!  We are no longer seen as fans, we are customers! Will we care about games between the NY Knicks and the Singapore Slingers? Can a game between the Dallas Cowboys and London Dragons really help the game?  You think those are hypothetical?  Not if you actually see what is going on around the world right now as we speak it’s not.   Read this about the NBA’s planThis quest for money needs to stop at some point.  Teams need to realize that they play for fans, the fans don’t play for them.  Have a read about the English League and it may be a preminition of whats surely to come in the States if it hasn’t already.

First of all, I’d like to thank The King for his unique perspective.  I agree wholeheartedly that the commecialization of sports and the continual push for more revenue continues to separate the fan from the ownership.  They deal in numbers that ordinary fans can’t even begin to contemplate.  For example, if one of us blew the sort of money the Yankees did (even proportionate to our income) in signing Carl Pavano, we would likely be hurting for several years.  However, when you’re dealing with big business like the Yankees are, you can shrug it off and just sign Roger Clemens to a $28 million pro-rated one-year deal.  Everyone comes down on the players for their enormous contracts, but they rarely cast their stare on the management’s bankroll.  It seems like everything is for sale.  Candlestick Park and the Boston Garden are just a couple examples of the corporate greed.  Even we as fans are up for sale.  Do you think they care about us or the revenue we provide them?  How else can you justify taking away a home game from diehard fans.  When new stadiums are built, what is usually the most imporant thing?  Corporate suites.  They would rather wine and dine the corporate types than provide affordable seating to the fans who really support the team.  We hear over and over again that it’s a business.  Well, it wasn’t always that way.  You hear that it’s entertainment.  It wasn’t always that way.  It was once a sport. 

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL | Tagged: English Premier League Football, Soccer |

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If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?
Photo courtesy of Icon SMI 

As I suggested last week in my Friday Tidbits, the New England Patriots have offered Zach Thomas a contract.  In a text to The Miami Herald, Drew Rosenhaus wrote “‘We had a great visit in New England.  They offered him a contract and we will continue negotiations.”  Obviously nobody is surprised by this developement.  The Patriots motto is “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  With Junior Seau leaning towards retirement, Zach Thomas would be a nice stop-gap measure (assuming he’s healthy) until they can develop some young talent at linebacker.  That is what the Patriots ultimately need to do.  However, if he can squeeze a year or two of solid play out of Zach Thomas in the meantime at a discounted rate, Bill Belichick will do so.

Thomas missed 11 games last year, but he still recorded 52 tackles.  140-160 tackles are the norm for this All-Pro.  He could easily be plugged into the Patriots system (again, assuming he’s healthy) and shine.  It just depends on what kind of offers he’ll get from other teams.  The Patriots likely represent the best chance he has at winning a Super Bowl.  If the offers are close, I don’t see how he could go anywhere other than New England. 

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL |

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The Roger Clemens-Brian McNamee-Andy Pettitte circus has certainly got a lot of play in recent weeks, but there is a bigger picture.  Just how rampant was the steroid use for the Yankees.  Besides the aforementioned Clemens and Pettitte, Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton, Darren Holmes, Jason Grimsley, Dan Naulty, David Justice, Jose Canseco, Glenallen Hill, Rondell White, Kevin Brown, Matt Lawton, and Denny Neagle were named in the Mitchell report.  In all 20 current and former Yankees were named.  That’s quite a collection of cheaters.

It’s hard to compare MLB to the NFL, especially when you just know that steroid use in the NFL is far more severe than in baseball, but the Yankees are the equivalent of the Cincinnati Bengals.  Think about all of the arrests and suspensions “Sin”cinnati racked up.  They became a laughing stock of the league.  They helped bring about the new law of the land that Roger Goodell is trying to implement.  Yet the Yankees aren’t asked to bear that same cross.  Perhaps because they all came at once, or the fact that dozens of other players were named, or that no arrests were made, has aided the Yankees here.   It just puzzles me is all.

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Another thing that puzzles me is the way Shawn Merriman skated following his suspension.  Here is a past post from my Sporting News blog:  “When I read about “Lights Out” I got a strange feeling about him. It seemed unnatural the way he went at it full steam all the time. Who knows how long Merriman used steroids, but what gets me is the little reaction. Shawne Merrim*n is one of the best young defensive players in the NFL. In baseball terms, he’s like a David Wright or Ryan Howard. Can you imagine the hoopla that Wright or Howard would receive if they got caught using steroids and subsequently suspended a quarter of the season? The attention would be almost what MeO receives on a weekly basis. The Chargers are trying to keep up with Sinsinnati with arrests and suspension. Certainly Steve Foley, Terrence Kiel, and now Merrim*n are doing there part. I just ask, where’s the outrage? When Palmier* got busted, there was a heck of a lot more attention than this is getting. Why the double standard? Someone please enlighten me.”  Shawn Merriman made the Pro Bowl that year.  Do you think Howard or Wright would make the All-Star team if they were suspended for steroids?  Rodney Harrison, who is already a villian in this league, received little negative press following his HGH suspension.  What gives?  Heck, the league is tougher on their coaches (Wade Wilson) than their players.

To bring it full circle, I go back to baseball and my beloved Boston Red Sox.  I find it a little odd that George Mitchell, who has ties to the Red Sox, failed to find any matches to Red Sox players while they were in Boston.  Sure, Roger Clemens was mentioned, but it began while he was on the Blue Jays.  Same with Mo Vaughn (Mets).  The rest (Eric Gagne, Brendan Donnelly, Steve Woodard, Jose Canseco, Manny Alexander, Paxton Crawford, Jeremy Giambi, Josias Manzanillo, Chris Donnels, Mike Lansing, Kent Mercker, and Mike Stanton) were mainly relievers that they brought in from other organizations.  I’m not saying Boston is full of juicers, but I just find it a little odd that they didn’t find anyone.

You can ask a million questions about the steroids issue and never come away satisified with the answers.  All you get is tired.  That’s what I am when it comes to this issue.  Tired.  The good news is soon we’ll be able to talk about what we love about baseball….the game. 

Photos courtesy of Icon SMI

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NFL |

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