Friday, January 23, 2009

State of the Dallas Cowboys...

according to a fan.
There are obviously pages I could fill up with anger, embarrassment, confusion, encouragement, and yes...hope, about the 'Boys. But I'll just comment on a some headlines. I'll make this a recurring post where I comment on some headlines. These two are fresh on my mind.

Win and in? Eagles 44-Cowboys 6
In one of the most ball-busting games to watch, the Cowboys gave up 44 points, 6 turnovers, and the opportunity to enter the post season in Week 17. After losing the game in the fourth quarter to the Steelers and Ravens the weeks before, they were still in charge of their playoffs chances with a win. For some genetic reason, they cracked in another postseason environment. What did I learn? Tony Romo's aloof attitude in the post game interview answered questions about the type of competitor and leader he is. I learned that this team can't win in December and in the playoffs. And that we need dramatic change.

Roy Williams trade
Cowboys gave up a first and a third-round pick for him. Steep for a guy that didn't add a new dimension to the team. Rookie WRs taken in the second round outplayed Roy! The reasoning for the trade? "Having two star receivers will create problems for defenses...T.O. won't be double covered and can get the ball more...blah blah." At the end of the seasnon we hear about how he needs to be in the system longer, and how him and Romo need to develop consistency over a summer, and how it is difficult to make an impact at WR halfways through the year. Well then why did you get him?! Isn't he a free agent soon? Get him early in the summer! He played like crap anyway. He threw Romo under the bus on an interception saying it was a bad pass or whatever. I say, if Troy Aikman comments that he ran a shitty route, than Roy Williams ran a shitty route. Williams basically set the receivers they were developing back. The receivers that everyone were excited about because of their raw athleticism and speed. Isn't that what the Cowboys keep saying they need? Speed? Roy is about as fast as Warren Sapp and runs bad routes. And now, we probably won't draft a receiver with better upside this year. Damn, and I wanted Juaquin Iglesias or Percy Harvin.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Draft Fantasy (Rod's picks)

Yesterday David Estrada made a post in which he selected some of his favorite prospects going into the 2009 NFL Draft and where he would like to see them, not where they will end up, but where he would LIKE to see them. So now I'm gonna rip him off and do exactly the same thing, here it goes!

Mark Sanchez: Dallas Cowboys
Let's face it, Tony Romo sucks. The Cowboys need a quarterback that can be the face of the franchise like Troy Aikman once was. Who better than pretty boy Mark Sanchez himself? He's got some talent too, and best of all He's Mexican! Finally America's team can have a QB which is America's Race...that's right. I said it. Seriously though, Sanchez has started less than 30 games at QB which is why I think he'll still be around in the second round. But if he WERE to go in the first round, which he just might based on his workouts I don't see him getting past San Francisco.

Graham Harrell: St. Louis Rams
That's right! The greatest show on turf returns!!!! Atleast...this would be the first step in that process, now I'm not saying the Rams should pick him up in the first round which they won't because they need a lineman, but Harrell should be available in the second day and with him back there slinging all day and Steven Jackson running this could be the beginning of something awesome. He might also be picked up by the Chiefs and he would be a good fit there as well. Harrell to Dwayne Bowe sounds even better than Harrell to Donnie Avery.

Matthew Stafford: Minnesota Vikings
I know I know he'll probably go first overall...but I'd like to see him in Minnesota. He'd REALLY benefit from having that running game there, and with the defense remaining as good as it was. Stafford could have immediate impact with the Vikings and the NFC north could be relevant again! Also I really think this guy would look good in purple...and yeah, I just want him with the Vikings. Still him throwing to Calvin "Megatron" Johnson would be a good consolation prize.

Michael Crabtree: Atlanta Falcons
I have to agree with David on this one, Crabs has that star potential that Atlanta needs. Plus by getting Crabs you provide Matt Ryan with a target for years to come, and when you couple him with Roddy White and Michael Turner...there's a pretty scary offense right there. With Crabs in Atlanta soon fans will start saying "What's a Michael Vick?"Plus Crabs looks good in Red White and Black, I think that should continue. Second choice, Washington Redskins....nice, imagine him lining up opposite Santana Moss and Washington's finally got an air attack! now all they need is a decent QB.

Jeremy Maclin: Baltimore Ravens
Mr. Versatility himself, you know alot has been said about Chase Daniel but his numbers wouldn't be anywhere close to where they were if he didn't have Maclin to throw to. Which is why I want to see him in Purple and Black, Baltimore NEEDS to have offensive weapons they need it. Now it seems they found their Quarterback, but now who is he gonna throw to? Mark Clayton Another good fit for MacDaddy Maclin would be the Jets, he could learn under Coles for a couple of years and develop into the #1 target in no time.

James Laurinaitis: New Orleans Saints
The Saints need some defenders, they also need someone who can be a presence in the D. Put Laurinaitis at weakside linebacker and BAM they're one step closer to achieving that. Also Laurinaitis is a good guy, he's a good leader and hard worker and he could provide the saints with that cover athlete that the defense needs. I could also see him at Denver though, that'd be pretty cool and the Broncos could really use him or anyone at that position for that matter.

Rey Maualuga: San Diego Chargers
Say it with me now...Junior Seau part two: this time it's personal. Honestly, this guy needs to stay in California and what better place than in San Diego? He is without a doubt the nastiest ILB in the draft now imagine him lining up next to Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips??? SCARY. I seriously don't want to see this guy anywhere else, but he'll likely not get past the Browns or Broncos in round one. Also...check him out doing what most have only dreamt of to ESPN's Erin Andrews..

Brian Orakpo: Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals have no pass rush. Absolutely none. This guy can fix that, or at the very least HELP. Now imagine this behemoth trading in his burnt orange for a much more awesome shade of orange, and black. I get chills just thinking of him walking into the Jungle as a sea of fans roar "OSACKPO!!!!" Seriously, Cincy needs him but I don't see him getting past the Chiefs which would also be a good fit...and would have him playing in the same defense as Glenn Dorsey which would be pretty scary. Ah well if he doesn't go with the Bengals...hopefully Aaron Curry will.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Draft Fantasy

Alright, this game matches up some NFL prospects I particularly like with teams I'd like to see them in. My game, I make up the rules, so I can picture a player with an established starter if I want.

Matthew Stafford Well, it's hard to picture him with anyone but the Lions since QB is their need, and he is basically the consensus #1 player at that position. Not sure he'll excel there, but let's just picture him with the Chicago Bears. That's right. This team needs a quarterback, not to mention a receiver. But look at what a good QB does to a team that is known for it's defense. Case and point, the Ravens. You match Stafford and the got the missing piece to that puzzle. Not a lot of flash, but effective.

Graham Harrell Sweet...Now here's a guy that can air it out. Scary thing is, I see him going to the Philadelphia Eagles if they let McNabb go. They run that pass happy offense. He's a good looking chap...who knows, maybe they'll embrace him there. But I just see him going to a team that throws a lot. Another good fit might be Kansas City with their new head coach McDaniels. Remember he was the offensive coordinator to the Patriots team that basically ran the shotgun offense and flung it around. Closest NFL system to what he ran in Texas Tech. Even sweeter thing is this might be the best and most likely matchup I came with.

Percy "Oh Mercy" Harvin Here you're talking about the most dynamic of the bunch. I think. I don't want to see him returning kicks or punts, this guy is needs to be on all offensive plays. Screw Darren McFadden, I want to see this guy with the Raiders. This team has no identity, and since they aren't a passing team, this guy can add that dimension with plenty of YAC (yards after catch). Since all Russell can do is dump the ball off or hit the flats. I think he'll bring more excitement than DMC.

Rey Maualuga This guy needs to go to a team that needs some defensive energy. This guy brings enthusiasm, and fear that you might see in maybe...Ray Lewis. I also see him in Oakland. That team needs an identity, PLEASE! As much as his services could be used in Denver, where there defense was just terrible, it's hard too see his style and personality flying anywhere but in California.

Knowshon Moreno This guy can have the greatest impact off the bat probably of all the rookies. Picture this scenario: You hear reports about the San Diego Chargers shopping L.T. around. His best years are behind him. Who's going to be the starter?? 3 ft nothing Darren Sproles? This is where Knowshon should go. It would be a smooth transition, and something the club would appreciate. A fresh set of legs, and a runner with similar characteristics that made L.T. a household name. With obviously a better vertical....

"Beanie" Wells He's in the Brandon Jacobs mold. Big, physical. Except this cat can run. There's a team that sticks out for me right now, of where I want to see him. Arizona Cardinals. Think about it. they've really excelled, and exceeded expectations in the playoffs. Currently one win away from the Super Bowl. What's been the key? A balanced offense. Edgerrin James already came out and said he doesn't want to be there next year. You bring Wells in and this won't be a one year thing. They can stay on top of that division for a while.

Michael Crabtree Greatest college receiver, or most accomplished of all time. He reminds me of Marques Colston, in size and how they play. Not flashy but clearly no. 1 threats for opposing teams. Seattle is probably the team that would draft a wide receiver first but I want to see him wearing the red, white and black. No, I don't want him coming back to college (being a Texas fan and all). I want him to go to Atlanta. They have Roddy White, but the team, and I dare say the city and its fans need a marquee and household name in their lineup. Someone to do NIKE commercials. They really embraced Vick for that, and I think Crabtree could do the same.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14, 2009 Link Dump

Larry Fitzgerald is a "renaissance man"

A pretty interesting article on, in my opinion, the best receiver in the NFL.

Kurt Warner suffers against the Eagles

Jim Johnson apparently has Kurt's number...

East-West Shrine game practice report

Chase Daniel apparently can't hit the deep out throws.

Michael Crabtree Officially declares for NFL Draft

Did anyone NOT see this coming? Will he get picked up by the Seahawks?

Texas vs. The Nation Roster

Drew Willy out of Buffalo (Nation) and David Johnson out of Tulsa (Texas) should tear it up!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2008 Season Final AP Poll Standings

At the end of the year here's who the Associated Press considers to be the top teams in the country for the 2008 season.

1 Florida (48)
2 Utah (16)
3 USC (1)
4 Texas
5 Oklahoma
6 Alabama
8 Penn State
9 Ohio State
10 Oregon
11 Boise State
12 Texas Tech
13 Georgia
14 Mississippi
15 Virginia Tech
16 Oklahoma State
17 Cincinnati
18 Oregon State
19 Missouri
20 Iowa
21 Florida State
22 Georgia Tech
23 West Virginia
24 Michigan State
25 Brigham Young

Ok so now on to the useless analysis!!

Of the twenty five teams 8 of them did not have more than 10 wins: Ole Miss(9-4), Oklahoma St.(9-4), Oregon St.(9-4), Iowa(9-4), Florida St. (9-4), Georgia Tech(9-4), West Virginia (9-4), Michigan St. (9-4).

4 teams had only one loss: Florida (13-1), USC(12-1), Texas(12-1), and Boise St. (12-1)

One team has NO losses: Utah(13-0)

Here's how the conferences did:
Big 12: 5 (3 South, 2 North)
SEC: 4
Big 10: 4
Pac 10: 3
Mountain West: 3
ACC: 3 (1 Atlantic, 2 Coastal)
Big East: 2
WAC: 1
(No teams from CUSA, or Sunbelt, and no Independents)

Guy who placed USC as #1: Lee Corso.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Neutralize Ed Reed?

It's no secret that Ed Reed is one of the best safeties in the game and he has the potential to be a game breaker in any game that's played which is why I have chosen to respond to Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson article entitled "Five Ways to Neutralize Ed Reed"

1. Use his aggression against him. Obviously Ed Reed is an extremely aggressive player who breaks on the ball instantaneously and covers a ridiculous amount of ground. However, if your quarterback is very adept at manipulating coverage and looking off the safety or is very good with ball fakes and selling play action, there is a chance that Reed will bite and attack with passion in the wrong direction. However, he is a top-notch student of the game and will bait quarterbacks.

2. Have a true superstar wide receiver on your side. The Ravens' cornerback play is improved from a year ago, but a truly elite wideout will often force Baltimore to roll Reed over the top of that respective playmaker. This gives you a better chance because it makes it easier to throw away from him. The problem is that not all teams have players like Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss or Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.

3. Feature the tight end. Game-changing tight ends are also few and far between, but if you can run your passing game through a playmaker like Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez or Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, then Reed can be taken out of the equation in deep pursuit or matched up against a much bigger man. Reed is adept at handling opposing tight ends in man coverage, but the quarterback at least knows where he is and how to throw away from the star safety.

4. Run at him. While the Ravens prefer to use the strong safety as the extra man in the box to stop the run, Reed does get that duty on occasion. When he becomes the extra defender in the box, the best way to neutralize him is to run right at him. While he is a very tough run defender, he doesn't have great size to take on much bigger blockers and he can be swallowed up at the point of attack. However, running away from Reed allows him to use his terrific pursuit skills to track your ball-carrier down from behind.

5. Run him off. If Reed is in the deep middle of the field, it is wise to line up your best or fastest receiver close to the formation in the slot. Then, have him run as deep as possible to take Reed out of the play and open up the middle of the field. This will let your quarterback be more comfortable attacking the intermediate zones without having to worry about Reed.

Hm...Interesting. Well let's break it down by point.

1. Use his aggression against him: Ok well according to the article this might work if your QB is very adept at manipulating coverage or at selling play action. The problem here is that Ed Reed plays for the Ravens and the Raven's blitzing schemes don't really allow the quarterback much time to be back there "manipulating coverage." Overall though...this MIGHT work...if the QBs line gives him enough time, and the QB is indeed that good.

2. Have a true superstar wide receiver on your side: As the article states not many teams have this, and even the ones who do can't afford to have that player be completely eliminated from their game plans. The Ravens also shut down elite receivers such as T.O., Andre Johnson, Plaxico Burress, and Braylon Edwards this looking at the playoffs I think the only team who can afford to do this is maybe the Cardinals considering Boldin and Fitzgerald are both beasts and Breaston isn't too bad either.

Feature the tight end: Textbook. Feature the tight end and bring down the Safety then you can throw away from him. Again though, not many teams can afford to do this. However playing with the Ravens I would trust the LBs to be able to cover the tight end, so this might not work at all, as evidenced when the Ravens faced Witten and Kellen Winslow this year.

4. Run at him: This COULD work if the Ravens used Ed Reed as the extra man in the box more often, but it doesn't really happen.

5. Run him off: Once again...Textbook. This definitely works when you're playing a top safety. But your QB needs to have enough time for it to work and your slot receiver has to be enough of a threat to work.

So in summary, teams playing the Ravens have a huge obstacle to overcome in Ed Reed. All the strategies above seem good but they all remove one weapon from the offense. Furthermore the whole Ravens D is very very good so this might not work.

Original Article Source: ESPN