Posts Tagged ‘Green Bay’

Should we go ahead and engrave this for the Dallas Cowboys?

I had planned on having this blog entry of my 9 part NFL blog series posted yesterday, but the job that pays the bills (oil & gas industry) has been killing me lately. Usually the day job doesn’t affect my blogging since I write my blogs in my head and then type them late at night. But this week I have been too mentally whipped to type anything after work.

By now you have most likely read part one of my NFL blog series that was about the AFC East. If you haven’t, please go and check it out. It’s worth the read even if you’re not a fan of any of the teams in the AFC East. Today I am going to stay with the east coast theme and discuss and analyze the NFC East.

NFC East

Historically this division has been known as the best division in football and as the most physical division in the football. Over the years the NFC East has had its fair share of up and down years while teams within the division were going through transitional periods. But two things that remained during those down years was a division that featured four teams that were extremely physical and really good on defense. Ex; 2010 Washington Redskins

In 2011 expect to see the NFC East uphold that moniker as the “best division in football” as well as “the most physical division in football.” The Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and the Washington Redskins are four teams that no one will want to see on their schedule in 2011.

(Note: If you click on the red colored team name, a link will take you to a web page that will show you strength of schedule etc.)

Fellow Houstonian Kevin Kolb doing a interview with Skoal in his jaw

Philadelphia Eagles – As we speak, Philly fan is still applauding or complaining about the Donovan McNabb trade and sitting around wondering if Kevin Kolb is ready to be the starting QB. Some are wondering as to how good the Eagles will be this year with the team going through a transition phase.

Don’t worry Philly fan, your Eagles won’t be great, but they won’t be 1-15 bad either. Oh yeah, and to answer the Kevin Kolb question, he is ready.

Trading Donovan McNabb was a smart move by Philly. McNabb is good but not great and I think he is a better fit in Mike Shanahan’s version of the west coast offense than he was in Andy’s. In addition to that, Kevin Kolb is ready to be the starter in Philly and will allow Andy Reid to run his offense properly. Over the past few years, Reid has gone away from the west coast offense to fit Donovan’s ability which wasn’t suited for Andy’s west coast offense.

If you watch game film, when Kolb was in at quarterback, the offense became more efficient and ran more like a west coast offense rather than a Air Coryell offense with elements of the west coast offense sprinkled in, which is what Philly’s offense had become with Donovan in at quarterback.

The transition from McNabb to Kolb should be reminiscent of when Green Bay went from Brett Favre to Aaron Rogers last year. Green Bay’s offense went to good and effective to efficient and explosive.

Speaking of transition, Andy Reid and the GM have done a great job of remaking this roster on the fly in just two years. A lot of people in Philly weren’t too happy about the Eagles draft strategy back in April, but there was a method to Andy Reid’s madness and his draft class this year was great.

Philly picked up a lot of quality players in this year’s draft and guys who will make that team even better than it was in years past. Charles Scott is a guy on the offensive side of the ball who I think will drastically improve their running game. Scott is a type of running back that Philly hasn’t had since Andy has been there.

Charles is a big, bruising, punishing one cut running back that will bring a physical style of running game that the Eagles have never had but have needed. Wide out Riley Cooper from the University of Florida will also be a great addition to that offense and gives Andy a big wide out to play in either the slot or on the outside like Ed Mc Cafferey did in San Francisco and in Denver.

Defensively the Eagles should be better than what they were over the past two years. In the draft they were able to get guys who will bolster up their defensive line as well as improve their pass rush. Brandon Graham is the blue chip stud in their draft class who will be an extremely productive player on defense and wreck havoc on opposing offenses.

At year’s end, I am looking for Philly to finish the year at 9-7 if things go right, or 6-10 if things get bad or they lose some close games due to the fact that they are a young team having to learn how to win.

Tough games against the Packers, Vikings, Texans, Forty-Niners, along with playing the Cowboys twice equates to the 9th toughest schedule in the league.

Donovan McNabb getting comfortable in Shanahan's Offense

Washington Redskins Daniel Snyder finally got tired of losing and decided to stop getting involved in football operations. So he got rid of Vinny Cerrato who was his puppet, and he went out and hired two guys to take over football operations and make the Redskins a winner.

One of those guys was Mike Shanahan who had been unemployed for the past year after getting fired in Denver. The other guy was Bruce Allen who is the son of Redskin great George Allen. Bruce was appointed as GM of the Redskins and is the first guy to be named GM since Snyder has owned the team.

Shanahan and Allen have brought in years of experience on how to run a football team the right way. Unlike Snyder, they don’t believe in running the team like a fantasy football team. As soon as free agency hit, Washington’s new philosophy on how to operate during the offseason was put into effect by not going after big name free agents as they had done in the past, and they cleaned house of dead weight players. This was because Mike and Bruce were running things, not Snyder.

Thanks to Snyder and Vinny Cerrato this team has major issues, but majority of the issues are on the offensive side of the ball. Somehow Snyder and Cerrato were able to get good players on the defensive side of the ball as well as coaches.

Mike is known as an offensive genius and his fingerprints will be all over this team. Offensively the Redskins will be a much better team than what they have been in a long time. To help improve the Redskins offense, Shanahan went and stole his son Kyle Shanahan from my Texans to become the offensive coordinator in Washington.

If you don’t know how good Kyle is, pull up Houston’s stats over the past four years. The kid knows offense and helped make Houston a top five team offensively every year. Not to mention he made Matt Schaub the top quarterback in the league last year statistically and Pro Bowl MVP.

Getting Donovan McNabb from Philly was a great move and one that will make the Redskins a really good team for a long time. McNabb’s mobility is perfect for what the Shanahan’s love to do on offense with the various bootlegs they like to run. Along with his mobility, his veteran leadership will help solidify that ball club immensely.

They have some questions at the wide out position, but the west coast offense isn’t based on how great your wide outs and running backs are. It’s an offense that focuses more on execution and timing. Plus Donovan is used to not having wide outs. But he does have several running backs to either hand off or throw to now. (Larry Johnson, Clinton Portis, Willie Parker)

Washington’s running game should be better with Portis, Johnson and Parker splitting time in the backfield and with Mike’s commitment to running the ball.

Over the past five years the Redskins have had a top ten defense while running a 4-3 defense. This year the Redskins are switching to a 3-4 defense. They don’t have all of the pieces to run that defense properly, but they have talent and like Green Bay last year who went through the same switch. Talent will be able to cover up for deficiencies in certain areas. If Albert Haynesworth gets with the program, this defense can be dominating up front.

Overall I think the Redskins will be a more competitive team and may also compete for a wildcard spot along with the Eagles. I see them either ending the season with a 9-7 or an 8-8 record.

The week 12 game against the Houston Texans should be a very interesting game to watch. The teacher Mike Shanahan will be going up against his pupil/former player in Gary Kubiak, and Rick Dennison while Kubiak and Dennison will be going up against their former teacher Mike Shanahan, and pupil Kyle Shanahan. To make a long story short, these two teams will know everything that each other will be doing before they do it.

Eli Manning saw too much of this last year

New York Giants – I must admit that out of all of the teams that I get bored writing about, the New York Giants are at the top of my list. Sorry Giants fans. Fact is, the Giants are and always will be a non flashy team with not anything that makes you clamor for news about them. They have even become back page news in their own city now.

Watching Giants games can be boring at times and could possibly cure someone of insomnia, especially last year. In 2010 the Giants offense was inconsistent at best. Whether it was through the air or on the ground, New York was pedestrian at times. Brandon Jacobs looked slow and wasn’t as effective as he had been in previous years. When Brandon wasn’t struggling to be effective, the offensive line and Eli Manning was.

The loss of Plaxico Burress seriously affected the Giants passing game last year and you could tell that Eli missed his go to guy. Eli, unlike his brother Peyton and a few others, doesn’t have the ability to make others around him better. He needs to be surrounded by good players to make him better. Hopefully New York’s young, talented group of wide outs will be much better than what they were last year and give Eli some help.

On defense, the Giants need to figure what they are going to do to stop teams from running the ball on them all day long like teams did last year. Their defensive tackles are just plain bad at stopping the run. They simply couldn’t hold up at the point of attack at all last year.

To make matters worse, their defensive leader, middle linebacker Antonio Pierce was released and they didn’t really find a good, proven replacement for him yet. In the NFL, if you don’t have good defensive tackles and a good middle linebacker, you can’t stop anyone from running on you.

New York did address the defensive tackle position by drafting Linval Joseph to help shore up their run defense, but you can’t expect a second round pick rookie to be the answer to a poor run defense.

Despite their issues on both sides of the ball, they will be a much better team than what they were last year. I don’t expect them to improve much defensively, but we will see what happens. There are surprises every year.

I see 10-6 with 8-8 being the worst possible scenario with Tom Coughlin being on the hot seat at the end of the year. Games against the Packers and Vikings could be ugly for the Giants.

Dez Bryant is focused on proving 31 other teams wrong

Dallas Cowboys – Last year I and many called the Dallas Cowboys one of the most complete teams in the NFL. In all three phases of the game, the Cowboys are solid and are in most cases, better than their competition.

Well, one of the most complete teams in football got better this offseason. The only thing that can stop the Cowboys from reaching the Super Bowl is their inability to put together a complete season. It seems like every season they start the season off fast, get into a funk for about four games, then finish the season well. That needs to be fixed or they will be watching the Super Bowl in Dallas this year and not playing in it.

If Wade Phillips can get his team to put together a complete season, I don’t see but maybe two other teams competing with them in the NFC to go to Super bowl XLV. Dallas should become the first team in NFL history to play in a home Super Bowl.

Whether it’s with the running game or the passing game, Dallas can hurt a team in many ways. I don’t need to bore you with mentioning the names of the three headed monster rushing attack that Dallas has. Nor do I need to talk about how much more explosive they will become with the addition of Dez Bryant to go along with Miles Austin, Jason Witten and a inspired to improve (thanks to Dez Bryant being drafted) Roy Williams. Some things in life should just be left unsaid.

All that needs to be pointed out is that if you are a defensive coordinator not on the Cowboys coaching staff, you have a serious situation on your hands come Sunday. Dallas just simply has a lot of weapons for Tony Romo to use to put points on the board.

With Wade Phillips calling the plays on defense, you can expect to see the dominating defense that Dallas displayed in the second half of the season last year. Their one weakness on the defense last year was the secondary. That won’t be much of a weakness this year.

Even though the Cowboys have the third toughest schedule in the league, I see them going 14-2 at best or 12-4 at worst. They have several tough games this year starting off with a game in week two against the in state rival Houston Texans. Games at Lambeau Field and in Minnesota in weeks 6 and 9 aren’t going to be cake walks either but will be great games. Then a rematch of last year’s Saints/Cowboys game in week 12 will be one not to miss if you’re a football fan.

September 9th can’t some soon enough folks, until then. I will see you guys on Sunday with part three. The AFC North is on deck.

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Ben Roethlisberger

Its 4:33am GMT and I am wide awake sitting on the couch watching looped episodes of Total Access on the NFL Network, drinking a rum and coke and typing this blog out on my blackberry. I may turn on DVR’rd episodes of America’s Game: Dallas Cowboys 92′ and 93′ that I have recorded. But first I am going to get the beginning of my blog out on electronic paper. Hopefully after I write this blog entry I can quote that lame ass line from Young Jeezy and say “This is the realest shit I ever wrote”!

This week has been somewhat of a slow week in sports but there were still a few noteworthy things to talk about. In Pittsburgh you had Ben Roethlisberger return to practice for the first time since the sexual assault scandal and his suspension; Four hundred and eighty three miles away from Pittsburgh, Tom Brady was treated as if he’s just another player by the New England Patriots front office during contract negotiations; Over in L.A. the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics began play in the 2010 NBA finals in which the Lakers took game one to a tune of 102 to 89; Then from the corner Lombardi Ave and S. Oneida in Green Bay, reports came out about a Green Bay Packers player being under investigation for sexual assault with alleged victims. (Yes victims)

Ben Roethlisberger:

I began and ended that last paragraph talking about NFL players who allegedly sexually assaulted women, and I will most likely do the same with this paragraph and the next one. Big Ben was granted to permission to practice with his team mates while still serving a 6 game suspension. From the looks of things, Ben is doing and saying all of the right things. He has come into camp looking extremely thinner than he did just seven weeks ago. I don’t know if he did the LenDale White diet or what, but he looks like the Big Ben pre motorcycle accidents and assaulting women in hotel rooms and restrooms. I hope he realizes that he dodged a major bullet in Milledgeville, Ga, and he is getting a second chance that some people don’t get in life after an allegation like he faced. I have been on record as saying that no matter what, as long as I am alive, I will never forgive him for what he was accused of. I don’t have a daughter or any kids as of now, but if it were my daughter that he assaulted like that. I would make damn sure that Ben wouldn’t be alive to take another snap in the NFL if you catch my drift. As mentioned earlier, he is doing and saying all of the right things. Let’s hope that his actions off the field mirror what his words are as of now.

Lambeau Field at the corner of Lombardi Ave. and S. Onieda

Trouble in Green Bay:

The trials and tribulations of Ben Roethlisberger haven’t been noticed by everyone as we now know that an unnamed Packer is under investigation for sexual assault. The unnamed Packer has admitted to having sexual contact with the alleged victims, but says it was consensual. The women say different though. They also say that there was more than one Packer involved. At least seven players were interviewed; six of them for now are not suspected of any criminal activates. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the unnamed player is someone who no one would really know. I am sure everyone who is a Packers fan will know him and know if he lives in Green Bay, DePere or Appleton during the season. Roger Goodell and league officials won’t jump in until the matter is resolved. Goodell did go on to say that “I am not going to wait for somebody to get thrown in jail to take action”. Sounds like he is just as pissed as I am about NFL players becoming p*$@#y burglars during their down time. Back in January Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Eric Foster allegedly sexually assaulted a female hotel employee the morning of the AFC Championship game. Sexual assaults are becoming a trend these days amongst NFL players and there is no excuse for it.

I am not saying the unnamed Packer is guilty of what he is being accused of. It’s just that these sexual assault cases are getting out of hand and are leading a bad example for kids who may look up to these players. Green Bay isn’t unfamiliar to these types of cases. Mark Chamura’s story is well documented as well as Gilbert Brown’s and a couple other Packers. The unnamed Packer could very well be telling the truth about the sexual contact being consensual. It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has come out and accused a player of sexual assault and later we discover it was consensual. I am willing to bet that even if the unnamed Packer is proven to be innocent, he will be cut from the team.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady not seeing or feeling the Love in New England:

It seems like if innocent women aren’t getting abused by NFL players these days. The actual players are getting abused or disrespected as Tom Brady is the latest victim. Brady is due to become a free agent at the end of the 2010 season and he has been or was in negotiations with the New England Patriots for a contract extension. Things began well with Brady’s agents (Don Yee and Steve Dubin) and the Pats front office agreeing to meet, but that where the positives ended. According to reports, there is a growing sense of disconnect between the two parties. In fact, contract talks have been nonexistent and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the Pats end to get a deal done.

The Patriots are one of several teams that are trimming back their payroll with the possibly of a new CBA coming soon. Tom Brady being a player rep also makes things interesting because he knows the logistics of the possible new CBA agreement that’s being negotiated. On the other hand he understands that the Patriots want him to sign a team friendly deal. Brady will turn 33 this year and this is possibly his last contract before retirement. He isn’t going to take a team friendly deal that easily. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network has reported that Tom Brady won’t sign a long-term contract until Peyton Manning signs his new deal.

My personal feeling is that Brady and the Patriots will get something worked out. He and Robert Kraft are really close and have always seemed to have a mutual understanding about things. Also, there isn’t a guarantee that under the potential new CBA agreement, that teams will be able to franchise a player. With the ability to “franchise” a player potentially not being a possibility next year, there is no way that Kraft will let his franchise quarterback and close friend become a free agent next year.

Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett

2010 NBA Finals:

Later today, the NBA finals will resume in Los Angeles with game two between the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics. In game one the Lakers did what they were suppose to do as defending champions on their home court. On the other hand, the Celtics added them in doing that by playing uncharacteristic basketball. As I mentioned on Friday after game one, I don’t see those uncharacteristic trends to continue from the Celtics. Look for the Celtics to turn game two into a slow, grind it out, defensive battle. Expect to see the Celtics front line impose their will against the Lakers front line. Andrew Bynum is and always will be the weak link in that front line with Pau Gasol being the second weak link at times. Kevin Garnett looked old and slow and was darn near nonexistent in game one. Unless we are witnessing a great player in Garnett hit the proverbial “its time to give this basketball thing up” wall. I’m willing to bet good money that he will redeem himself and be a force on both ends of the court in game two. Paul Pierce is the one player who may struggle throughout this series with Ron Artest guarding him at times. But look for Pierce to be able to contribute at key times for the Celtics during game two and throughout the series.

The Celtics back court of Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo should also be more of a factor in this game. Allen played well in game one when he wasn’t on the bench in foul trouble. I doubt Ray will get saddled with early fouls and be in foul trouble in game two. Ray Ray should do what he does best. Rajon played hesitant in game one and at times looked like his injuries were bothering him. Whether it was his injuries or the way the Lakers played him defensively that made him hesitant. Rondo is a gamer and he will be aggressive and more decisive with the ball than what he was on Thursday. If the Lakers give Rondo that wide open 15 foot jumper like they did on Thursday. I expect that Rondo will take that shot instead of dribbling the clock away like he did in game one.

The Celtics should win tonight by nine to even up the series at 1 – 1 with the next three games in Boston. If not, this series could be over in five games with L.A. winning back to back NBA Championships. Enjoy your Sunday and feel free to leave your comments and subscribe to this blog.