Sunday, September 21, 2014

Knee Jerk Reactions

Alright folks, after a brief hiatus the SportsTank is BACK!  As you can imagine, some thoughts have accumalated within the Tank that I would like to share.

First, I want to put your mind at ease that I will not be talking about the off field turmoil that has soiled the super power that is the NFL.  My passion lies in the action on the field, court, course, and diamond; NOT off it.  While the recent turn of events are unfortunate and inexcuseable; I am going to leave it up to those that matter to handle the situation accordingly and put things in place to help prevent these types of things from happening in the future. 

As fans, we need sports to help relieve stress, escape from reality, and live vicariously through those that are far better athletes than you or I could ever be.  The stories and sports talk shows should be focused and debating the play on the field not the personal lives of those who play the game.

...........And, thats all I have to say about that!

What I would like to talk about is the NFL season which has gotten underway.  On the field there are some interesting things happening that I think are worth sharing.

Allow me to toot my own horn, grab my soapbox, and scream from the mountain tops that Russell Wilson has proven to be everything I thought he would be, and more.  Further, RGIII has proven to be everything I knew he would be - or in this case - WOULDN'T be. 

After two full seasons in the NFL Russell Wilson has accumulated a Pro Bowl along with a Lombardi Trophy; while RGIII has simply accumulated major endorsements and a fat bank account.  Ironically enough, his fat wallet truly has nothing to do with his play during his time in the NFL, but rather his play prior to his arrival.

Everyone jumped on his bandwagon early due to the marketing and media storm that surrounded him as Russell Wilson soared under the radar.  RGIII came out in his first season looking somewhat like the man the majority thought he was as he took his team to the playoffs in season one.  Unfortunately, he ended up with a blown out knee and a loss in his first playoff game as a pro.  Injuries continued to follow and now he has dislocated his ankle and will be out at least another 6 weeks.

The lesson here: the kid is not an NFL QB! 

His arm is strong and he can sling the ball, but his body cant hold up to the rigors of the NFL.  His replacement, however, has proven otherwise and as a Cowboys fan that worries me.  I feel that with Kirk Cousins at the helm this team could wind up returning to  playoff form.  He actually  looks like an NFL QB and has a better winning percentage as a starter than the heralded RGIII.

What can we expect in the future? Perhaps a career in commercials with Brian Bosworth, Matt Leinhart, and Heath Shuler..."I wanna go back to college..." 

My best guess would be that with the superior marketing and his huge bank account he will be opening up a car dealership, insurance brokerage, or strip club with his fellow over-hyped, superbly marketed, equally colossal letdown - Johnny Manziel. 

Notice I didn't refer to him as trademarked Johnny "Football" because, well, simply put, he is not a NFL QB!

Sound familiar?

Manziel and Griffin are the most hyped and least successful QBs in recent memory.  These two will be out of the NFL and looking for other work inside of 3 years.  Perhaps they can join Tim Tebow on the SEC network as an analyst.  Maybe their college minds are more valuable than their NFL body of work.  

Now that I have gone ahead and discussed those in the NFL that don't belong; lets discuss a guy who has been in & out of the NFL with personal issues and has rightfully made it back to the NFL.  Not to mention, in the first two weeks of the season has looked absolutely freaking GREAT!  His name is Rolondo McClain - ROLL TIDE!

Rolondo was on the JeMarcus Russell "bust" train when he was cut from the Raiders, retired from the NFL, un-retired, retired again, then came out of retirement for a second time only to be picked up by the lowly Dallas Cowboys.

He will prove to be the diamond in the rough that is the inability of Jerry Jones to make wise personnel decisions.

Rolondo, even though he has not worked himself back into football shape (i.e. see his current groin injury) has been a headliner of this seemingly improved defense.  He leads the team in tackles, interceptions, and sacks after just two games.  Anyone who watches the Cowboys can tell you he is in on almost every defensive play and covers lots of ground as a MLB.  Jason Garrett talks incessantly about "next man up" and it is safe to say McClain has gone above and beyond in stepping up for the seemingly irreplaceable, oft hurt linebacker, Sean Lee.

As an Alabama fan, and someone who feels the Cowboys season will turn out worse than it has in the last decade (i.e. under .500), I finally have a small glimmer of optimism with 55 in the middle of our defense.

In addition, I would like to put it on record that I think the Buffalo Bills are the biggest surprise of 2014/15 NFL season.  This team is riding the wave of Jim Kelly and has proven to be "Kelly Strong" after starting the season 2-0.

I know winning the first two games of the year doesnt mean much, but they beat a very good Chicago Bears team on the road and followed that up with an early divisional win against the Dolphins.  This team lost thier top young linebacker in Kiko Alonso, but the rookie and former Louisville Cardinal, Preston Brown, has stepped up quite nicely in his absence...say that again, Jason Garrett; "NEXT MAN UP!"

Rookie wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, has recorded his first 100 yard game in week two and I think this is something that will become the norm.  If, and thats a big IF, EJ Manual can stay healthy; I am a BILLiever! 

With that strong run game, mediocre division, and young defense I think this team can surprise a lot of people.  I am not putting them in the Super Bowl, but I am making them my darkhorse pick of the season to make the playoffs.

A few other quick thoughts regarding the NFL season - going forward I would like to affectionately refer to these thoughts as the "Nine Astonishing Notions."

1.  Anthony Barr will be defensive rookie of the year
2.  Sammy Watkins will be the offensive rookie of the year
3.  The Saints are going to turnaround thier 0-2 season to win NFC South
4.  Tom Couglin and Jason Garrett both have sub .500 seasons and join RGIII and Johnny Manziel in the unemployment line
5. Andy Dalton finally wins a playoff game
6.  Jadaveon Clowney joins Tony Mandarich as the biggest bust in NFL history due to inury
7.  Rolondo McClain wins comeback player of the year
8.  Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson never play in the NFL again.
9.  The Seahawks beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl 29-24


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Midway Report

The Dallas Cowboys need help.

I just found an ad on Craigslist that reads: Coach Wanted!
  1. Must be an order taker and willing to wipe owners eyeglasses clean when they get foggy. 
  2. Must be willing to carry the label of "Coach" but know that most personnel decisions will be made by the incredibly egotistical owner. 
  3. Must be willing to constantly have the owner look over your shoulder and be micro-managed on a daily basis. 
  4. Please be aware that press conferences will be held side-by-side with the owner and you will always be required to speak with eloquence and great ambiguity while answering questions in a positive light no matter how gloomy things may actually be; all while never actually providing a solution to any problems. 
  5. This job requires that you "talk the talk" FIRST while "walking the walk" is optional and experience is NOT necessary.
Watching the Cowboys each week gives me both a heart attack and a broken remote control by the end of each game.

The majority of people want to put the blame on Tony Romo; I on the other hand, choose to put the majority of the blame on Jason Garrett.

Ben Rogers of put it best when describing Jason Garrett; "He's cold, robotic and calculated in an industry that is fueled by passion, testosterone and emotion."

WOW! Talk about the hitting the nail on the head!

Jason Garrett belongs in a boardroom holding ridiculous needless corporate meetings that only waste time and solve nothing. His demeanor and overall lack of head coaching experience make him a very ineffective head choke - uh um, I mean, head coach. 

He cant manage the clock.  He cant manage to call effective plays that lead to touchdowns once inside the 20 yard line.  He cant manage to keep a roster of healthy players.  He cant get a run game established on a consistent basis.  He cant seem to put his team in position to win and he cant manage to get his team to play with a sense of urgency while limiting mistakes, dropped passes, or penalties.

I recently came to the realization that watching the Cowboys is eerily similar to watching a monkey bone a football.

Yes, its true that Romo has 15 total turnovers second in the league only to the Chiefs Matt Cassel who has 16.  Truth be told, the majority of Romo's turnovers are a result of his receivers (mostly Dez Bryant) making stupid idiotic ridiculous mistakes, or Romo is just pressing in an effort to help his team come from behind to win. 

When playing from behind or tied for the lead he has 13 interceptions this year.  When the Cowboys have the lead he has ZERO interceptions.

The Cowboys could very well be undefeated or have only one loss if they had a tough mentality and a winning attitude about them.  The apparent lackthereof is directly attributed to the head coach.

So far, the opponents they have faced have a 61% winning percentage ranking 3rd in the league only behind the Broncos and Jets whose opponents have a 63% and 62% winning percentage respectively.

The good news: their remaining opponents have a 46% winning percentage and that number INCLUDES the Falcons in week 9 who have a 7-0 record. 

The weak remaining strength of schedule may help them get back on the winning side of things as long as they can avoid injury at key positions and eliminate their usual boneheaded mistakes that you typically find plaguing a JV football team as opposed to a professional team. 

Staying healthy and playing "sharper" while omitting untimely penalties, huge mental lapses, and dropped passes could play a huge role in them becoming a wild card team. 

This season may very well come down to them and Washington playing each other in week 17 for a chance to go to the playoffs.

The offseason needs to be spent trying to figure out how to add depth to this roster.  Somehow they keep bringing in guys who just cant stay healthy and there isn't much talent sitting behind the starters.

In other league news:

The Falcons are doing great - their record says so.  Amazingly they are doing well while ranking 27th in the league in rushing yards.  That's a testament to "Matty Ice" and his high-flying receiver corp.

The Eagles are playing terribly - their apparent mid-season QB controversy, -9 turnover ratio, and current 3 game losing streak says so.

The Falcons, Giants, Bears, and 49ers are the cream of the NFC crop with a definite drop-off between this group and the next best team.  The AFC seems to be headed up by the Patriots; followed by, well, the rest of the Conference.  The Texans and Ravens have the best records in the AFC at 6-1 and 5-2 respectively, but with major injuries for both teams at key positions on defense its tough to say either team CAN'T be beaten.  The Broncos are the clear-cut leader in the AFC West with a 4-3 record.  As the season wears on, Peyton Manning seems to be finding his stride.  Being down 24-0 at halftime to division rival San Diego on Monday night in week 6, only to come back and win 35-24, sure says a lot about Peyton Manning.

The Bears are my current favorite to win the NFC because they can throw, run, play defense, and last I checked Devin Hester is still a key cog of their special teams.  The Falcons look great, but haven't played anyone good; which is evident by their opponents combined record of 18-32.  That combined record includes one team with a winning record through 8 weeks (Broncos at 4-3).

Ultimately, I think the playoffs look something like this:

Bears, Giants, 49ers, Falcons are your division winners in the NFC.  The wildcard will come down to Green Bay, Seattle, Dallas, and Washington fighting to make the playoffs right up to the final week of the season. 

(Before anyone crucifies me; Dallas being in the playoff picture is 90% my heart and 10% my head talking.  My head tells me they have a soft remaining schedule and my heart is holding out hope).

Patriots, Steelers, Houston, Denver are the division winners in the AFC with Baltimore and Miami holding down the wild cards.  San Diego may get it together towards the last quarter of the year to overtake the Dolphins for the final wild card spot.

In the end, the Bears will face the Patriots in the Super Bowl:

Bears 33 Patriots 27

Robert Griffin III is doing great thanks in large part to his coach and the ability of said coach to put him in a position to do well.  Andrew Luck is playing admirably while leading all rookies in passing yards (2235) with so very little around him in comparison to RGIII.  Russell Wilson is showing that he has what it takes to be a franchise QB in a very tough NFC West with two 4th quarter comebacks so far this year (It would have been three 4th quarter comebacks if Braylon Edwards could catch at the end of the Cardinals game week 1).  Brandon Weeden is doing better than most people thought and Ryan Tannehill is sitting in the same boat as his team is a miraculous 4-3.  The record doesn't say much considering their opponents year-to-date are playing slightly below .500 football and they play in a division with the Patriots and two very lackluster teams in the Bills and the woeful Jets.

Doug Martin looks like he could be Ray Rice 2.0; however, after losing right guard Carl Nicks to a toe injury his abilities will really be tested going forward.  Sixth rounder Alfred Morris is running all over, through, and around opposing defenses while leading all rookie rushers and ranked third overall in the NFL in rushing yards (717).  In addition, very much in the mold of Ray Rice, this Redskin tailback is proving he can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

Unfortunately, the top RB taken in the draft, Trent Richardson, is ranked 4th among rookie rushers behind the two aforementioned running backs and rookie QB RGIII.  Its important to keep in mind that he is playing for a team whose receiving corps consists of the backup waterboy, a former Browns cheerleader who has only one arm, and former homeless man with the "golden voice" Ted Williams; while Brandon "Benjamin Button" Weeden quarterbacks this squad.  This sounds like the second coming of Steven Jackson - a workhorse back who will spend his entire career playing on a terrible team.

RGIII's college teammate at Baylor - Kendall Wright - is leading all rookies in receptions with 40 while ranking third in receiving yards (327) behind only his former teammate in college Josh Gordon with 379 yards and alone in second among rookies is Chris Givens of the Rams with 331 yards.

Its been a great start to the NFL season after having endured a few weeks of Scab referees and some controversial games as a result.  The league seems to be running on all cylinders at this point with some exciting new talent playing on both sides of the ball and even more exciting games week to week.

I cant wait to see what the second half will bring!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Be REFspectful….Not Another REF Story

I felt compelled to write a little something after this weekend of football.

I know you are thinking the constrain is coming from the utter debacle caused by the refs on Monday night between the Packers and the Seahawks, but you would be wrong.  Although, much like the rest of the NFL Nation, I was sickened by the end of the game, but I don't want to go on and on about it because, well, every other person on the planet is still talking about it on TV, radio, and around the water cooler.

The source of my intrigue actually comes from the football GAMES themselves; excluding the Footlocker employees disguised as referees.

With that said, it should be pointed out that although these refs are completely ruining the outcome of the games; they are actually good for the game. 

I know, I know, I can hear you already; "GOOD?  Are you crazy?" 

Well, simply put; even bad publicity is good publicity and despite the fact it's likely someone is going to get terribly hurt or teams are winning that should be losing, we all continue to talk about it and that is good for business.  The fans are threatening to stop watching football games, but that's not going to happen. Get real!  How could you possibly quit watching this sport we all waited 7 months to watch?  We are only three weeks into it and it has been a GREAT three weeks of football.  The best first three weeks I can remember.

The Thursday night games help to make the NFL weekend last juuuust a little longer. My wife isn't so happy about that, but I'm smiling ear to ear. Thanks to Time Warner Cable for finally adding the NFL Network to their lineup. You're the last major cable provider to do so. Welcome to 2012.

With three overtime games during the early match ups in week 3 and wrapping the day up with a last second kick by the Ravens to beat the former AFC Champion 31-30; you can't deny this was an edge-of-your-seat kind of Sunday.  We haven't seen anybody lose part of their ear in sports since the famed Tyson/Holyfield bout.  This past weekend had Matt Schaub lose an ear after a viscous blow by Joe Mays of Denver.  This was both gruesome and cool at the same time.  And, of course, let's not forget Monday and the "Inaccurate Reception."  We are still talking about Monday's game and its Wednesday already with the start of week 4 tomorrow night. 

The Saints have no wins in three games and no coach to help them win ANY games this season.  Good luck with "dat."  The Cardinals are undefeated having beaten a division rival, last years AFC Super Bowl representative, and the Eagles; who are the early favorite to win the NFC East - arguably one of the toughest divisions in football.  The Falcons look like the team to beat in the NFC so far.  At the same time the Texans are flying high at 3-0 in the AFC all while accruing the biggest point differential in the league at +46 (Not coincidentally, the Falcons also are +46).  Ten of the sixteen games in week 3 were decided by seven points or less.

Can't deny that excitement.

Kevin Kolb was benched in place of John Skelton to start the season only to replace Skelton after an injury and now Kolb has the third best passer rating in the NFL.  The much ballyhooed RGIII has had somewhat of an impressive start to his NFL career (although I am still not sold).  My favorite rookie QB, Russell Wilson, has led his team to a 2-1 start while throwing only one interception and quarterbacked his team to arguably one of the most famous fourth quarter comebacks in NFL history.  As a side note, his team could be 3-0 with TWO fourth quarter comebacks if Braylon Edwards could catch.  That would have put the Seahawks in first place and THEY would be 3-0 instead of Arizona. 

But, you can't talk about would'a, should'a, could'a.  Regardless, Russell Wilson STILL looks great in the first three weeks of his career and the sky is the limit for this kid.  Can't wait to see him grow in this league.

Andrew Luck has done pretty well in his first three games as well while ranking in the top 10 in the league in total passing yards with 846.  Of the rookie quarterbacks, I think it is safe to say that Luck doesn't quite have all the necessary weapons around him to make his job easy just yet, but he has still done admirably while only having one less win than last years squad season total only three weeks into the season.

Bottom line: the refs are bad, but the football is GREAT.  The ref situation will get worked out and then we can focus on how great these games have been.  There is still more than 75% of the season to be played and its promises to be a tremendous season in many different ways. 

Will RGIII continue to dazzle?  Will Andrew Luck more than double the Colts win total last season?  Will Russell Wilson continue to lead his stout team on fourth quarter comebacks on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year?  Will someone let the Cowboys offense know the season started 3 weeks ago and will they decide to show up before the season is a total loss?  Can Matt Ryan and Julio Jones finally lead their team to their first Conference Championship since 1998?  Will Houston finally get off the snide and make a deep playoff run?

All this and more in the 2012/2013 season.  Sit down, buckle up and hang on cause its bound to be one hell of a ride!



Friday, September 21, 2012

What Good is a Ferrari GTO If You Cant Drive It?

I never thought that watching a NY Giants vs. Carolina Panthers game would actually shed so much light on the Dallas Cowboys.

After watching Eli and his Band of Backups completely annihilate the Panthers after a short week; I came to the realization that the problem with the Dallas Cowboys over the last decade is not with the product on the field, but the men standing on the sidelines and sitting in the box.

While watching Martellus Bennett rope in his 6th catch last night and score his 3rd touchdown of the year in as many games; I began to wonder why Dallas just released this man in the open market without getting something in return.  The guy is only 25 years old and clearly has loads of gas left in the tank.  He was a second round draft choice (#61 overall) for the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 and during his tenure with the Cowboys he had 85 catches and four total touchdowns with zero touchdowns in his final three years with the team.  Thus far, in his first 3 games with the Giants, he already has 15 catches (10 of those for first downs), 185yds receiving, and three touchdowns.

At 6'6" 265lbs., and a two sport athlete in college, this guy undeniably has some athletic ability.  He actually has the very same build as last years top fantasy tight end Rob Gronkowski. 

A two sport athlete in college certainly tells me there is some sheer athleticism that comes with this kid.  In addition to Marty B; Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez, and Todd Heap - all top tight ends in the NFL - played basketball in college also.  There seems to be a trend to tight ends who have also played basketball in college and go on to play in the NFL.  Clearly, Jimmy Graham certainly wont be getting released anytime soon, Todd Heap is a solid player and 10+ year NFL veteran, while Tony Gonzalez will in arguably be a first ballot Hall of Famer. 

The point here is this: Why did the Cowboys "brass" let Martellus go without anything in trade?  Further, why did they let him go, PERIOD?

More and more teams are incorporating the two tight end set in the NFL.  Maybe that's because the Patriots had so much success with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez playing on the field together that more teams want to emulate their success with their own versions of the two tight end set.  The use of this formation helps to neutralize the eight-man fronts against the run; not to mention the problems it creates in the passing game.  In addition, with these bigger tight ends, once you put these guys in motion and split them out wide it will inevitably create match up problems against the opposing teams secondary.

Why didn't Dallas do this with the future Hall of Famer Jason Witten and the 6'6" Martellus Bennett?  Dallas used Marty B primarily as a blocking tight end, but after watching his first three games this year it is clear he can catch, run routes, AND block.  What were they doing making him stay home to block?!

Did Bennett become dispensable because of the supposed "bond" between Jason Witten and Tony Romo?  Terrell Owens whined about their relationship and the hurt it put on his stat sheet.  Then Martellus Bennett was released and he proclaimed much of the same thing stating that Tony Romo seemingly played favorites.  Bennett eluded to the fact that Eli Manning looks for the open guy despite who you are or what your number is; thereby, essentially saying that Romo didn't throw him the ball because he doesn't wear #82.

This is where solid coaching comes into play.  It seems like the coaches and owner are stuck on the guys they pay big money to and they seem to forget about the other lesser paid guys on the roster.  I don't care how much you get paid, if you are on the roster you have a role in helping the team.  Let the players have a chance to help.  There is 11 guys on the field - USE ALL OF THEM!

The Cowboys just got their head handed to them in Seattle week 2 and coaches and players are pointing to lack of focus, lack of mental toughness, and lack of physicality. 

These things can all be attributed to lack of coaching.  We are talking about professional athletes here.  These guys eat, breathe, and sleep football but when it comes game time they puke all over themselves and cite lack of focus, lack of mental toughness, and lack of physicality?  Really?!

Why isn't the coaching staff preparing them better?  Why has the culture in Dallas been "flying high and mighty" one week; only to not show up to play the game the following week?  This is not an anomaly but a trend within the franchise.  They can seemingly sign stud players, but if the guys calling the shots don't know what to do with that talent then what good is that talent on this level?  You can go out and buy a Ferrari GTO with a manual transmission, but if you don't know how to drive a stick then what good is that car?  Truth is, it only looks pretty but it has no real function.

The Cowboys had Martellus Bennett - a former two sport athlete in college - whom they spent a 2nd round draft pick on and they primarily used him as a blocking tight end? SERIOUSLY?  Do these coaches Glenlivet on the job? The same guy goes to a division rival and after three weeks he already has 3 TD's on his stat sheet and is tied for 5th in the league in receptions.  Oddly enough, Jason Witten has more drops - FOUR - then Bennett has touchdowns - THREE!  That's both disappointing and embarrassing.

It comes down to coaches and general managers knowing how to put together a roster, and more so, knowing how to get the best out of each player each and every week.

Do you think Jason Garrett would have gone on the road to play an NFC team on a short week with a depleted offensive roster only to win 36-7 much like Tom Coughlin just did?  NO WAY! 

Jason Garrett can't even go on the road complete with a full offensive arsenal and win a game while coming off a HUGE win the week before AND 10 days rest. 

The fans, media, and arm-chair QBs alike all want to put the blame on Tony Romo.  They want to put the blame on lack of mental focus.  They want to blame lack of physicality.  No, no, no!  The blame falls on poor preparation and poor game planning. 

The inability to keep your team focused falls squarely on the coach and his counterparts who traverse the sidelines with him every Sunday.

You can't question the talent that has been on this roster over the last decade.  You can't deny that each offseason for at least the last 3-4 years prognosticators all clamor and profess their love of the Cowboys and the potential the team has for the upcoming season.  These things seem to be a constant.  The other constant is the fact that for the last 3-4 years the Cowboys fall short of the ultimate goal and high expectations.

Truth be told, the Cowboys are mediocre and its not due to lack of talent, but lack of knowing what to do with that talent.  They will continue to be mediocre until we get a game changing type coach on the sideline and a GM who can keep his butt in the box and his pen to the signature line on the paychecks each week.

For now the Dallas Cowboys are a Ferrari GTO, but the person behind the wheel is a 90 year old blind grandmother who hasn't driven a car in over 25 years.  Until we put a 25 year old high end executive behind the wheel with experience driving a manual transmission the Ferrari GTO will only look pretty sitting in the driveway and the rubber will never meet the road.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Cold Hard Truth

 I dont care if the Cowboys are 1-1 along with more than half the league. I DO care that they look like the same "inconsistent" Cowboys that they have been for the past 10 years. Win one week. Lose the next. They had 10 days to prepare for Seattle and their rookie QB. STILL the same ol mental lapses, key dropped passes, fumbles, and just plain ol poor execution got the best of them. AGAIN. Sound familiar?

This is not an anomoly, but a trend. Year after year it is the very same thing. We, as fans, hope and pray for the best each offseason only to get the same product on the field year in and year out. I was a fan when they were 1-15 and I will remain a fan for the rest of my life. However, I am tired of nothing changing. I am tired of the same preseason high hopes only to produce the same "inconsistent" product come gameday. This team needs to look themselves in the mirror and ask why they are playing football and learn to come out week in and week out with greater CONSISTENT effort and limited mental mistakes.

Lets look at the Seattle game: Romo threw 40 balls and only one TD. He was barely over 50% completion while DeMarco Murray ran for 44 yards and we only scored seven points on offense. Now, some may argue that we couldn't get a run game going because we started out in the hole 10-0 pretty quick. Well, that is exactly my point. Good teams dont do that and good teams can overcome those mishaps. Good teams are able to overcome a deficit and have enough gas left in the tank to finish in the fourth quarter. Good teams are on the other end of things where they capitalize on the mistakes thier foe makes. Unfortunately, it always seems that we are the ones being capitalized on; not the ones doing the capitalization. Thus, we are sitting around come playoff time counting down the days until the preseason begins. In addition, where the heck is Felix Jones? Can someone tell him football season began and we need him. PLEASE! Felix Jones seems to be the epitome of what is wrong with this team. Here is a guy who we all had high hopes for and at least I expected him to be a franchise back who we could rely on to make big plays. Well, I was wrong. Dead wrong! The next thing I know, he fails his conditioning test this year and then he is completely absent for the first two games of the year while starting us off in Seattle with an opening kickoff fumble. REALLY?!?! C'MON, MAN! Another mark of inconsistency is Witten and Austin each had 10 targets but they only had five catches and four catches respectively. Look, I understand Seattle has a decent team and we were playing in one of the tougest venues in the NFL; however, Austin and Witten need to be consistent in their play and catching half of the balls thrown your direction is not acceptable. We look to these guys to move the ball on offense not stymie the offense. Dez Bryant; 3 catches on 7 targets? This wont work for us. Seattle may be improved but they cant be THAT good, can they? We had 10 days to prepare for them. We have to learn to win games and act like we have "been there before" not come out the week after a win with a proverbial hangover. That doesnt cut it in the NFL. Ten total drives and not one of them could get us inside the redzone? Unacceptable.

Bottom line is this: we committed two turnovers to Seattles NONE. We cant continue on this same path and expect to win games. The schedule makers made it tough on us this year and this coming week will prove to be no simple task. Although our secondary is inarguably greatly improved (Thank the good Lord!) but there are still the little things we need to improve on. These are the very same "little things" that we have been consistently lacking for seemingly the last decade. The mental makeup of this team MUST improve. I'm tired of all the lockerroom talk and not consistently showing up on the field when it really counts.

Please dont mistake this rant as my proclamation that the "sky is falling." Being 1-1 is not cause for panic. YET. But, bear in mind that the Eagles are 2-0, the Eagles beat the Holy Mother Mary out of us TWICE last year, and we cant fall too far behind them if we want to make the playoffs. I am simply stating that it only took two games into the season to show how inconsistent we can be while coming off a HUGE win in the Meadowlands. Disappointing! We have all seen this before, folks. We know how this story ends. This is not how we make it to the playoffs and if someone doesnt quickly right this ship, produce some consistent offensive,defensive, & special teams plays, and come out ON TOP of the turnover battle; then we will be the very same mediocre 8-8 team that we have been since the late 90's.

I am convinced that the upcoming Bucs game will be a great gauge of how we can expect this season to finish. If we come out strong, score some points against an improved Buccaneer team, and do the "little things" right; I think we can expect a playoff season. If we look like we did last week; unprepared, unfocused, and full of mental lapses then we might as well start talking about the 2013 draft and devising ways to impeach Mr. Jerry Jones.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Does the 2012 NFL Season Have in Store?

Another season is upon us and that means it's time to lay down some general assessments.

Of course, I must start by voicing my opinion on the beloved Dallas Cowboys.  When I think of the Cowboys the first word that comes to mind is "injuries."  Injuries are always a worry in the NFL, but this year has not started off well for the Cowboys on the injury front.  Heading into tomorrow nights opener against the Giants there are already 14 people listed on the injury report. 

Its week 1, people!!!!!!!

Most notably, Jason Witten with a busted spleen and now Jay Ratliff has a high ankle sprain.  Terrific!  Of course, Miles Austin is listed on the injury report - Miles listed on the injury report is the same as an Al-Qaeda member being listed on the FBI's Most Wanted List; there will never come a day when they are not listed on there.  I feel strongly that Dez Bryant will have a breakout year and I just pray he doesn't get the Miles Austin Disease where he blows up the stat sheet through two weeks only to spend the rest of the season hanging out in the training room.  Not sure if Miles' hamstrings are actually made of wet noodles or if he truly has real muscle in those legs.  I am sick and tired of his injuries.  I think the guy has some talent on the field but once he steps foot on the field his next step tends to be into the training room.  He is not worth the trouble nor the band aids at this point and I think the Cowboy should trade him away and get a high pick so they can take a REAL wide receiver like Marquis Lee or Robert Woods in next years draft.

I am tired of the injuries they are having to endure at key positions since the OTA's have started. I am not sure why they are struggling with them, but if this carries over to the regular season we are screwed. Any fan that doesn't have some type of concern about the injuries is delusional, drunk, or both.  I realize that this is football and with football comes injuries, I get that.  However, they moved up in the draft to pick a guy who was wearing a cast for the first 2/3 of the off season only to then get hurt again.

I just wonder if the decision makers for the Cowboys ever look at doctors reports before they draft someone, or maybe they just use "the force."  Last year they drafted someone coming off ACL surgery who they knew would never be ready to take the field before mid-season - they drafted him anyway.  IN THE SECOND ROUND!!!!  They drafted a running back who had a HUGE tendency to get hurt in college, he comes on the scene in the NFL with guns blazing - GREAT - then he breaks his leg after about 6 games.  NOT great.

I am not going to go on and on about their apparent inability to draft guys who can stay on the field, but it is reason for concern.  BIG CONCERN!  The Cowboys have an early bye week which means that come December, this team may be struggling to have enough gas left in their tank to finish the season.  What else is new?!?!

Poor Tony Romo will have to unfairly bear the brunt of that cross.  Not the coaching staff nor the hodge-podge offensive line.  Tony Romo is the very VERY least of the Cowboys problems and anyone who wants to point the finger at him either doesn't watch the Cowboys play, EVER, or they simply just don't know Jack about the game.

Heading into the season the issues lie with the offensive line along with the apparent propensity for injuries they have on both sides of the ball.  I'm hoping Jason Garrett has taught himself how to call offensive plays inside the red zone this off season.  Otherwise, that will be YET another issue for them as they struggle to keep up with high-powered offenses in the NFL while kicking fg's.  The defense has been shored up.  I feel incredibly confident that the defense will finally be a strong point for them again.  I haven't seen a good defense in Dallas since Wade Phillips left.  Brandon Carr makes that secondary VERY good and hopefully, Morris Claiborn, aka, "Pick 6" will turn out to be everything they hoped for; although, I have my doubts.

I think the Cowboys can open up the season 4-0 if they can stay healthy at key positions.  If the Cowboys are at their best, I feel strongly they can end up at 10-6 this year and make the playoffs as a wild card.  Unfortunately, the Eagles are going to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  They have tons of talent on offense and defense, they are specifically designed to beat the Cowboys (see the 2011 season), and they have so much to play for this year with the death of Andy Reid's son.

I laugh at the people who are anointing RGIII as the second coming of Christ in Washington.  Hopefully, he has great financial advisers by his side that are banking all of his endorsement money.  I said it before and I will say it again, Kirk Cousins is the best QB in Washington and RGIII will be at your local Subway in three years asking what kind of bread you want with your $5 footlong.  I'm not hating on you, RGIII, I am only speaking the truth based on what I have seen of you in college.  You are simply not an NFL QB and your body has ZERO chance of holding up in this league with your style of play.  Can you say, Mike Vick 2.0?  The difference between RGIII and Mick Vick is that RGIII wont last nearly as long in the NFL.  Not to mention, RGIII loves his dog.

To HELL with the Giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is all I have to say about them.

Trent Richardson has a chance to become Adrian Peterson 2.0. Best of luck to you, Trent. I think you will have a tremendous career in the NFL even if you DO have two bad knees right now.

I am glad to see that Russell Wilson finally got his due and he is going to prove me right by showing the world he was the best QB in this draft.  Go Russell!!!  I believe in you!  As a side note, the Seahawks may actually win that division.  Ugh, maybe not.  After all, they are Seattle and nobody cares so what difference does it make?

John Skelton won the QB job in Arizona...I called that one, too.  Best of luck, John.  You have a chance to be one of the good ones.  Don't blow it!

The Bears win the NFC "Norris" Division.  Sorry, Packers fans.

Tim Tebow will start for the Jets by week 7 and lead them to an 8-2 record under his leadership.  Sanchez is a horrible QB and will likely be wearing a headset in the McDonald's drive-thru asking if you want to super-size your order next year.

The Dolphins will be [are] the laughing stock of the NFL this year and the Bills will be better, but their coach is horrible so they wont amount to much.  That leaves the Patriots in the AFC East and ultimately they will be leading the charge to the Super Bowl in the AFC this year.  They are the "Patriots" and as long as Tom Brady and Belichick are running the ship they will always be a force to be reckoned with.

My final thought: PAY THE REFEREES!  PLEASE!  These scab refs are an embarrassment.  The game cannot go on with these fools patrolling the field.  They are a joke.  Guys are going to get hurt with them calling the game and the Cowboys don't need anymore help in that category.  Games will be won or lost based on calls these guys make, or more accurately; calls they miss.  It's going to cheapen the game we have all waited 8 months to watch and the fans deserve to watch the best product possible. I cannot say that any more emphatically.  Whatever the issue is here, you need to get it squared away so we can watch some real football.  These former lingerie football and JV football refs are a sorry excuse for a referee.  They should be working with RGIII and Mark Sanchez on how to run a local fast food franchise.  They are WAY over their head in the NFL and if Roger Goodell knows whats good for him he will do whatever it takes to make it right.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cause I said so....

One last thought of the day.

First, I should make it clear that I am not a fan of the NBA since Jordan left the Bulls with his 6 rings in tow.  I just cant sit around and watch these overpaid whiners play basketball.  I have to know when it became legal to take 3 - and sometimes even 4 steps - without it being called a travel violation and if I played defense the way these guys play defense I would have been kicked off my junior varsity basketball team.  Its pretty pathetic.

With that being said, I think this years Finals is intriguing.  You have one of the greatest NON-clutch players in the history of the game going against one of the best up-and-coming players we have seen since, well, the aforementioned NON-clutch player.

Its @KingJames vs. @KDTrey5.  The King vs. the Kid.  The 3 time MVP vs the 3 time league scoring champ.  There are many side stories, but none as big as the team's two marquee players in search of their first ring.

I have said it before and I will say it again: 5 guys should be able to beat 3 guys on the hardwood.

I love to see young teams dominate.  Its fun.  Its why I watch sports.  I love to be able to watch the "next great thing." 

The Thunder are young, hungry, driven, and they do it rather quietly in a town that isn't known for its professional sports franchises, but rather their college football team.  They show up to press conferences with backpacks and retro glasses without lenses.  They show up to work without pouting, whining, crying, complaining, or holding out.  They don't shout their glory from mountains high or hold ticker tape parades BEFORE they ever get a chance to hoist a trophy.  They are just a team who does what they are paid to do.  They work together.  They practice hard and play harder.  They are young and unafraid.  They conquered a very experienced team with the NBA's best record and longest win streak in the Western Conf. Finals.  They win on the road and they are undefeated at home during the playoffs.  They pass the ball and they play defense.  Their coach looks more like a financial planner than an NBA coach.

OKC is an unbelievable college basketball team with NBA bank accounts and Bentleys.  They have an underrated coach who knows how to make adjustments and motivate his team.  They play the game the way it should be played and they do it with great energy in an aptly named building, Chesapeake Energy Arena.  They play with something the NBA is missing - HEART.

I will root wildly for the Thunder to quell the Heat.  I like the Thunder in 7 and I thought I would shout it from my chair upon the World Wide Web.