Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A sad article.

This is a very sad story. Written by ESPN's Bill Simmons, it chronicles the funeral of, and events leading to the death of, Jamiel Shaw. Shaw was a standout high school running back in California. He was being scouted by D-1A schools like Stanford and Rutgers. He had a bright future ahead of him.

With his mother soon to return from her second tour in Iraq, Shaw lived in Los Angeles with his father. At the age of 17, he was shot twice by gang members, less than a block from his house.

While the gang violence in America pales in comparison to that found in Brasil, or other nations, I still find it reprehensible, and inexcusable. There is no need for it. When it results in the death of a promising young man, like it has here, it becomes all the more tragic. A few days ago, Pedro Espinoza was arrested, and arraigned on Capital Murder charges in response for his alleged role in the shooting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brett Favre in the virtual world.

Props to FootballOutsiders for finding this.

IGN is celebrating the retirement of Brett Favre by looking at his various video game incarnations. This kind of put into perspective the impact that sports gaming is beginning to have. It's actually a pretty good read.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Favre Rides Off Into the Sunset...

Well, after decidedly more than 7-10 days, Favre decided to hang it up. After breaking all the passing records previously held by Dan Marino, and leading his beloved Green Bay Packers to the NFC championship game, Favre will retire. He made it official in a press conference that you could feel the emotion.

The quote that gets me is when he says, "I know I can play, but I just don't know if I want to..."
Well, if that's how you feel, tank you for the memories.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Prospect Rankings: RB

Here's my rankings for the running backs in the upcoming draft. A big suprise here too.

1) Jonathon Stewart

Jonathon Stewart is a physical freak. Built very low to the ground, at 5'11" and 230 lbs, Stewart has the advantage in nearly every physical confrontation he'll find on the field. Blocking and breaking tackles are all about leverage, and Stewart has that in spades. He bench presses in excess of 400 lbs, at a position where most of the top teir prospects are barely breaking 300. And his phenominal strength and bulk in his legs allow him to power through any defender in the NFL. Rushed for over 1,700 yards in one of the toughest conferences in FBS football, and did it at a 6.2 YPC clip to boot. Excellent ball security too, despite playing in an offense that deals with a lot of uncertainty at the handoff. PAC 10 fans are happy to see him go.

On the downside, Stewart, while extremely fast, isn't quite as fast as speedsters like Jamaal Charles. His ability as a reciever is also limited. The big red flag on Stewart is his durability, he's dealt with a lot of little ticky tack injuries over his three years in Eugene.

This is the pick that's gonna have some readers up in arms. Everyone loves McFadden, and I do too, but running back is a position where raw talent rules, and no one has more raw talent than Mr. Stewart. Think Larry Johnson, before Herm Edwards ran him into the ground.

2) Darren McFadden

McFadden is a tall, lean running back. At 6'2", 215 he's reminicent of Eric Dickerson, with the same upright flowing stride that lends itself to breaking long runs once he's broken past the second level of a defense. This is supported by his extremely fast 4.33 40 that he put down at the NFL combine. McFadden is also very versitile, famously taking snaps out of Arkansas' "Wildcat" formation. He has some experience returning kicks, and has proven himself capable of handling a full 300+ carry load for a season.

McFadden has had limited opportunaty as a reciever at Arkansas, due to the instability at QB for the duration of his stay. He also lacks lower body bulk, which can translate into reduced running power at the next level. He carries the ball a little looser than he should, and has had some problems with fumbles because of it. In addition, there are some off the field incidents that Goodell just loves to crack down on. Two seperate incidents outside of nightclubs, one ending in his being handcuffed, the other ending in him requiring surgery on his toe, don't look very good.

McFadden is the instant impact runner in this years draft. While I feel that Stewart is more talented, McFadden is much more polished at this point. If he gets the starting job from day one, which is likely, he's my early pick for ORoY.

3) Rashard Mendenhall

Mendenhall is very similar in his skillset to Stewart. He's compact, 5'11", 225. He's fast, 4.37 40. And he's strong, 26 reps of 225 lbs on the bench press. He, like Stewart, posseses optimal power between the tackles, while retaining breakaway speed on the edge. He has soft hands, making him a prime target coming out of the backfield. He's also very studious of the game, which helps limit the potential of his being a bust.

Mendenhall was never asked to block very much. He's a straight line runner. Like Stewart, and unlike McFadden, Mendenhall didn't play at a high level for multiple seasons, he had his breakout year, and now wants to get paid.

Mendenhall was built for the current Denver Broncos. He's the one cut runner that Shannahan drools over. However, unlike the previous great RB in Denver, Clinton Portis, Mendenhall has the power to break through weak holes opened by a young line. He'd be a good choice for most teams that want to compete while rebuilding their line. He's remenicent of a pre suspension Ricky Williams. Let's hope he lacks the off the field issues that took down Ricky.

4) Jamaal Charles

Jamaal Charles is an average sized back, with mediocre blocking skills, and hands that are just OK. He does have one thing going for him though... he runs with face melting velocity. He doesn't do anything else particularly well, but he can hit a hole and vanish with impressive alacrity. Defenses can forget pursuit angles with this guy, because if the first guy misses, no one else will catch him.

On the downside, he really doesn't have anything else going for him besides his speed. He doesn't do anything particularly bad, but he doesn't knock you dead with anything else either. His ball security is an issue.

Think Willie Parker, only bigger and faster. If you've got a decent set of blockers who can pick up linebackers and safeties, then Charles is going to be a huge asset. The Vikings would love him if they didn't have Purple Jesus already.

5) Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson is very similar to Jamaal Charles, only a hair smaller at 5'11", 195, and a hair faster. Johnson posseses the same track start speed that Charles does, and is also a slightly better reciever, and has better lateral burst.

However, with decreased size comes decreased strength, leverage, and other physical characteristics. While Charles has limited pop at the point of impact. He also has some durability issues, having had neck surgery, and the dreaded "Turf Toe".

If Jamaal Charles is Willie Parker, Chris Johnson is Jerious Norwood. The ECU standout will make a very effective 3rd down back, and if he could put on ten more pounds without compromising his speed, he'll be an effective starter.

The Guy You've Never Heard Of...
Yvenson Bernard: The 5'9", 205 lb Oregon State standout is everything that a team wants in a third down back. While lacking the physical gifts to be a full time starter, Bernard is an excellent reciever, good blocker, and excellent short yardage back. He runs like a cockroach, in a good way. Ever see a roach slip through a crack the size of a quarter? That's all the room the O line needs to give Bernard for him to squeeze through and pick up those tough yards. Look for him to go on the second day, and make a team very happy.

But What About?
Felix Jones: his times at the combine were nothing exceptional, and combined with his limited exposure in college, it's iffy that he'll be able to carry the load. He's a solid third round pick though.
Mike Hart: he ran a 4.7 40. That's fullback speed, not running back speed. And it's not like he has fullback size. Second day pick.
Steve Slaton: I actually like Slaton as a running back. But not as much as my top 5. another solid third rounder. He made a huge mistake coming out early.
Ray Rice: Ran faster than I anticipated. He might have pushed his stock into the second round.

Teams likely to take a running back.
New York Jets
Kansas City
Tampa Bay
Green Bay

Monday, February 4, 2008


Well, that was definitely one of the better Super Bowls I've ever seen. Eli Manning stepped up big time. He made it look like he was back at Ole Miss. Brady looked like his ankle was definetly bothering him, he fluttered a lot of his passes, but got lucky on some of those passes that went out of bounds. The Giants D-Line took advantage of the weak Patriots O-Line. The Patriots D-line got embassarased by the Giants O-line, and when they actually got past the line, Eli made them look like children. Randy Moss didn't show up at all, nor did Lawrence Maroney.

I'm not going to lie and say I called this one, I'm shocked with the Giant's game as well. However, I can appreciate the game the Giants played. Good D-line play is very enjoyable for me to watch, although most people don't appreciate it all the time.

Mercury Morris got his ass saved by the Giants. He still looks like an idiot, but now he doesn't have to deal with the brutal teasing he would have gotten.

The guy who does come off like a complete douche is Bill Bellichick. He didn't go for the field goal that would have tied it. He called some very questionable defenses. He didn't run the ball as much as he should have. And it appears Randy Moss rubbed off on him with his 1 second left dissapearing act.

David Tyree had the best Super Bowl Catch I've ever seen, move over Lynn Swann.

The important thing now is... Everyone's Undefeated. Bring on the Off-Season.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Favre to make his decision soon...

Brett Lorenzo Favre's legend was born with his first pass attempt with the Packers. On September 13th, 1992, Farve came in after Don Majikowski was sidelined against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Favre dropped back, looked downfield, and threw a bullet pass... which was promptly batted away by defensive end Ray Seals. In typical Favre-ian fashion, Brett grabbed the ball out of midair. Thus Brett Favre's first completion was to... Brett Favre.

Favre snatched that ball out of midair and ran with it. Though he didn't make it far on that play, he was tackled for a seven yard loss, Farve's momentum seems to have carried over into a career that has been replete with magical moments, from his first start, against the Bengals, which saw him take Kitrick Taylor, whom had no TD catches in his career, and hit him on a 35 yard frozen rope which snatched victory away from the 2-0 Bengals, and gave the Packers their first win of the season. That TD was the only one that Taylor ever caught, but it was just one of 442 that Brett Favre has thrown for the Green Bay Packers as he rewrote the record books, first those of the Packers, and recently those of the entire NFL.

Favre's magical run has taken him through 257 games, 22 playoff games, 4 Conference Championships, and 2 Super Bowls. It has seen him earn 9 Pro Bowl appearances, 7 division titles, 3 MVPs, 2 conference championships, and an NFL title. Brett Favre has set 6 career QB records thus far.

Of those records, by far the most impressive is his 237 straight games started. In a sport that will destroy a man's body like no other, Favre has been the constant fixture, an Ironman every bit as worthy of the title as Lou Gehrig or Cal Ripkin. Favre's ability to come back, despite all obstacles placed in his path speaks well of his love for the game, and that is what I like best about him. When Favre scores a TD, he's not one to "act like he's been there before" as Tom Landry once demanded of his players. Whenever he puts the ball in the endzone, he celebrates with the passion of a player who's scoring for the first time, and because of that joy, he's scored more than anyone else.
I'm bringing up Favre's beginnings, because he's about to make his decision about his future. Favre has gone on the record as saying that he will make his decision weather or not to retire within 7-10 days. I would love to see Favre sprint out onto the field next season. But if he decides to move on to the next phase of his life, I'd just like to wish him luck. And say Thank You.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Goodwin's Cowboy...

I found this on and found it to be hilarious. Doubly so if you're a fan of a team in the NFC East.