Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman announced moments ago that Garrett Reid, the eldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead at training camp on Sunday morning.
The personal struggles of Andy Reid’s sons has been well documented over the years but a cause of death isn’t certain at this time. A member of the coroner’s office said that an investigation is ongoing.
Lehigh University Chief of Police Edward Shupp confirmed that Garrett Reid’s body was found in his dorm room at training camp, following a 911 call placed at 7:20 a.m. ET. Shupp added that at this point there is no evidence of foul play.
Deepest condolences to Coach Reid, his family, the players, the coaches, and all members of the Eagles organization.
The 2012 NFL Draft is finally finished and now all the experts are breaking down the big winners and losers, but what teams made the biggest improvements with all their off-season moves? Here is a breakdown of the top teams this off-season and what moves they made to make their fans excited about the 2012-13 season.
On the Rise
Buffalo Bills – Chan Gailey’s bunch is certainly worth mentioning as a team on the rise. The Bills made some impressive roster moves since the end of last year. The team added pass rush specialist Mario Williams during free agency and followed that up with a terrific draft. Corner Stephon Gilmore will solidify the Bills secondary and adding offensive lineman Cordy Glenn in round two was a terrific move as he can play either guard position and will give Buffalo some much-needed depth on their line.
Dallas Cowboys – The ‘Boys have been a trendy pick for the past several years and fans constantly hear how the their team is set to become contenders for a Super Bowl title, but they haven’t been able to avoid a late season swoon. However, after the moves the team made this off-season, 2013 could become their year to get over the hump. Dallas has terrific talent on offense, but defensively they have suffered with their lack of pass defense, but with free agent corner Brandon Carr now on the roster and the team trading up in the draft to take Morris Claiborne, Dallas is set in the secondary and it allows the ‘Boys’ to pay their blitz style defense with great effectiveness.
Philadelphia Eagles – The “dream team” entered the 2011-12 season as a favorite to win the Super Bowl as the Eagles added several talented free agents, but the defense didn’t play well and the team chemistry was missing in the first half of the season and it cost the team a shot at the playoffs. This year the team has added tackling machine DeMarco Ryan at linebacker and with the draft choices of Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, and Vinny Curry this team has added depth and talent all across their defensive roster and will enter the season looking to overtake the New York Giants as the best team in the NFC East.
Combining youth and veteran players doesn’t always mix, but these three NFL teams have added the pieces necessary to become winners. Improvements might be slow, but with moves like these this off-season, it won’t be long before fans of these teams have reason to cheer.
Cincinnati Bengals - While most teams hope to add depth and a couple starters from a draft, the Cincinnati Bengals could have added the best group of youngsters in 2012 with their selections. The Bengals made huge strides last year and did so with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green, but the players they added over this past weekend could surpass the class of 2011.
The front office added talent all across their roster and it started in round one with the picks of corner Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama and guard Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin. Both players will jump into the starting rotation and give the Bengals more talent then they currently have on their roster.
San Francisco 49ers - As I said in my post a few days ago, the 49ers were one of the biggest surprises in the NFL last season and I expected a lot from them in the draft. For me, I feel they left something to be desired with their selections. Frankly, I feel like they reached early for some guys that probably would have been available in later rounds. Just some odd picks. A.J. Jenkins is a good football player, but better than Alshon Jefferey, Rueben Randle and a host of other wide receivers? I don’t think so. LaMichael James is a peculiar pick too. Not bad value, but not great either so why take a player who plays a position of absolute strength if it’s only moderate value? I like the Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson picks. Just some odd ball picks early for me.
Jacksonville Jaguars - You can’t draft a punter in the third round and not be held accountable. I don’t even hate the move as much as everyone else because the way I see it if he’s a really good punter then you got a guy who can play the position the next 15 years–and no other 3rd round pick will give you that longevity. Still I find it hard to believe that he would have been drafted by anyone else in the third, and probably even the fourth round. This is the very definition of a reach–getting a guy you could not get if you waited. I also don’t love Justin Blackmon or the Andre Branch fit. None of the day three picks excite me.
Seattle Seahawks - I will probably be battled on this, but I didn’t like what the Seahawks did here. We’ll see. Pete Carroll has done a solid job despite going against the grain before. Still right now Bruce Irvin is Aaron Maybin coming out of college. Can the Seahawks get him to be more? I like the Jaye Howard and Winston guy picks, the rest I would have gone a different direction.
What They’re Saying
As for the other teams in the draft, here’s what the experts are saying:
CBS Sports Draft Grades
The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone (in just over 3 hours), teams are now settling in and getting ready for the second and third rounds, which will take place tonight. Outside of the first two spots occupied by Andrew Luck and RG III, the first round was highlighted by a flurry of activity with teams wheeling and dealing to jockey for positioning to get the player(s) they coveted. In fact, the wheeling and dealing began roughly 45 minutes prior to Andrew Luck being announced as the first pick. The Cleveland Browns — who started the night with 13 picks — traded the fourth pick over all and their fourth-, fifth- and seventh-rounders to take over the Minnesota Vikings’ third overall pick (detailed below). Apparently concerned that another team was going to try to get in front of them, the Browns made the move to select Alabama running back Trent Richardson. That was the first of a record 19 trades, the most since 1970, including two out-of-character moves up by the New England Patriots, which they used to shore up their defense.
The trades were made easier and more appealing by the rookie wage system that went into place when the new collective bargaining agreement was agreed to last summer. That system reduced the price tag of the top picks by about half from what they were paid before the new deal, reversing the trend of just two years ago, when the price of the top few picks was so prohibitive that nobody wanted them.
Here’s a breakdown of each one of the trades made in round 1 on Thursday night:
- Cleveland gives up a 4th, 5th and 7th round pick to Minnesota to move up from 1.4 to 1.3 - Minnesota made a killing! They got 3 picks for a player they clearly were not going to draft by simply threatening Cleveland with the idea that they could make a deal with someone else to jump up and get Trent Richardson. Minnesota gets the player they were going to take at 3 anyhow at 4 and now add 3 more picks. Nice move for them. Cleveland better hope Richardson is the real deal and is another Adrian Peterson-like performer o else they got fleeced on this one, big time.
- Jacksonville gives 4th rounder to Tampa Bay move up from 1.7 to 1.5 - Huge move for Jacksonville! They got what they see as the best offensive playmaker in the receiving game and they only had to give up a 4th rounder to do it!
- Dallas gives up a 2nd rounder to St. Louis move up from 1.14 to 1.6 -Bold trade by Dallas. They saw that Tampa Bay moved back to #7 and they immediately trade up in front of them to nab Morris Claiborne. Getting the best CB in the draft is worth giving up their 2nd rounder. As for the Rams, they have turned the #2 pick into the #14 pick and 2 second rounders this year and 2 first rounders next year. Awesome job by a team with lots of needs!
- Philadelphia gives up a 4th and 6th round pick to move up from 1.15 to 1.12 – Seattle does well to get a 4th and 6th rounder to only move down 3 spots. Good move for them. But the Eagles get arguably a top-8 player in this draft in Fletcher Cox and only have to give up two late round picks to move up to get him. That is the definition of a great trade!
- New England gives up a 3rd round pick to move up from 1.27 to 1.21 – We are so used to seeing New England move down and get better picks or future picks, that I am surprised to see them move up for once. They know what they are doing. And only giving up a 3rd rounder to end up with Chandler Jones is a hell of a move. Being the anti-Boston fan I hate them!…..but damn they are smart and good at what they do during the draft.
- New England gives up a 4th rounder to move up from 1.31 to 1.25 – And the rich just keep getting richer. After one heck of a move to get Jones they land Hightower for simply a 4th rounder to move up. I am sick. Nice job New England.
- Minnesota gives up a 4th rounder to move up from 2.03 to 1.29 – The trade itself was fair for both sides. But I did not like the selection for Minnesota. Baltimore does a nice job to fall back only 6 or so picks and get a player that is the same caliber of what they would have picked at 29 while adding another 4th rounder.
- Tampa Bay gives up a 4th rounder to move up from 2.05 to 1.3 1- Nice job by Tampa. They moved back and still got Barron then used the pick Jacksonville gave them to move up in order to move up here and select the second best RB in the draft. Hell of a job working the board by TB.
Now that I’ve taken a look at the trades from round 1, it’s time for the winners and losers despite it being way to early to make any such determination but what the hell? Let’s do it anyway!
Minnesota Vikings – Able to trade down one spot, still get the player they wanted.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers are great at evaluating players and the really good ones tend to fall in their laps. This year was no different when they grabbed David DeCastro at #24
San Francisco 49ers – The surprise team of 2011 surprised everyone with the selection of WR A.J. Jenkins at #30. Jenkins is a very good receiver who might start at the next level. The question here is whether his value justified the selection.
What can we expect when rounds 2 and 3 get started tonight at 7:00PM? More trades? We’ll all have to tune in and find out. I’ll be back tomorrow to give my winners and losers just as I did today.
We’re already one game into the Week 13 schedule in the NFL. On Thursday night, the Seattle Seahawks handed a 31-14 beat down to the reeling Philadelphia Eagles. For me, I’ve always looked at Week 13 as the point in the season where the hot seat really heats up. Of course, playoff clinching scenarios come in to play and for teams on the fringe it’s make or break time.
The hot seat heats up a little earlier for some coaches, but this is the time of year when speculation really heats up as to which coaches will be looking for work at seasons end. Coaching changes usually come in bunches and once the first one goes, it usually begins a domino effect. Well, the first domino has fallen in Jacksonville and Jack Del Rio is no longer employed.
This season, there are quite a few head coaches whose seat is getting warm and toasty right about now. Here are eight that should start polishing their resume.
1. Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings
Everyone expected the Vikings to struggle this year, but no one expected them to be this bad. Frazier is the one who lobbied to bring in Donovan McNabb and we all know how that experiment turned out. Minnesota is tied for the second worst record in football at 2-9 and could very well match the 1984 3-13 record. The defensive staff, which was retained from the Brad Childress era, will likely be tweaked. There are dead men walking in Winter Park, Minnesota, and Frazier could very well be one of them.
2. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This year, the Bucs have been pretty good (see: upset of New Orleans in Tampa) or horrifyingly bad (see: blowouts against Houston and San Francisco). If you’re the Glazers and see a team cart-wheeling to the Earth in a fireball, crashing in front of an ocean of empty seats, in a market where the sports dollar is stretched thin, you may feel compelled to act. Morris is under contract through 2012 but given the way the Buccaneers have been blown out this season, that contract may very well be shortened.
3) Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
A funny thing happened in San Diego. In years past, the Chargers started slow and finished strong. This year, they started 4-1 and there were high hopes in Southern Cal. Turner’s five-year stint with the Chargers has been an example of the law of diminishing returns, given that San Diego won two playoff games and made the AFC title game in his first season of 2007, then won just one postseason game in 2008, none in 2009 and didn’t even make the 12-team playoff field in 2010. His career coaching record now stands at 103-112-1, including his previous stops in Washington and Oakland. Not good…
4. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams
Spags may be liked and respected by his players and around the league, but it’s the bottom line that’s about to do him in. St. Louis is 10-33 in his 43-game tenure, and even if the Rams rally to a season-ending five-game winning streak, which doesn’t seem likely, Spagnuolo would still have won less than one-third of his games after taking over from the Scott Linehan-Jim Haslett regime in St. Louis. Expectations became sky high with last year’s 7-9 record and the hiring of Josh McDaniels, who was expected to take QB Sam Bradford’s game to the next level.
5. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
Reid must rue the day this past offseason when Vince Young referred to the Eagles as the “Dream Team”, because the dream has quickly turned into a nightmare. Reid may be the dean of head coaches in terms of continuous service and he may have won more than 60% of his games, but in this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, the Eagles have won just one of their past nine games at home, including last year’s first-round loss to Green Bay, and look almost assured of the franchise’s first losing record since 2005, the infamous Terrell Owens insubordination season.
6. Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have played much better since their disastrous 0-7 start but the weight of expectations may be a little too heavy. Like the Wildcat offence that those 2008 Dolphins made famous, Miami flashed and then largely crashed and burned after that early success. The Dolphins (3-8) are headed for their third consecutive losing season. They still haven’t been able to get their quarterback issues fixed, and have lost home games at an alarming rate the past two seasons.
Sparano likely won’t have any problem getting his next assistant coaching job in the NFL. But his tenure as the boss in Miami has not gone well at all, and it would probably have been better for him if Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had been able to land his successor last offseason, when Ross embarrassed himself and the organization by going across the country in the failed pursuit of Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh.
7. Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts
Caldwell may be a nice guy, but he learned one lesson and he learned it fast. Without Peyton Manning, this team is bad. A lot of it has to do with the Colts brass, which was content to see the immediate results and failed/refused to address life after Peyton. As a result, the team that won the Super Bowl in 2009 may also be the next team to go 0 for the season.
Colts owner Jim Irsay is a patient man, and he might give Caldwell a free pass for this lost season. But he might also decide that Caldwell and his staff showed very little skill in making the best of a bad situation this year, and that a change must be made to at least assign some accountability for the Colts’ epic failure.
8. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
If NFL seasons were only eight games long, Coughlin would be in the Hall of Fame by now. New York is 47-17 in the first half of the season from 2004. But Monday night’s brutal 49-24 loss at New Orleans was New York’s third straight defeat, which in a market like New York where losing is not an option, is enough to stir the masses.
Coughlin’s Giants are 24-35 in the season’s second half, and with games still remaining against Green Bay, Dallas (two) and the Jets, a 7-9 or 8-8 finish is very possible in New York. That should result in Coughlin, 65, not being asked back for 2012, the final season of his current contract. New York memorably went on that Super Bowl run in 2007 under Coughlin, but they haven’t won a playoff game since upsetting those 18-0 Patriots, and this would be the Giants’ third consecutive non-playoff season.
There are a lot of grumblings coming from Philadelphia these days (I know, whats new) and all of them probably have to do with the Philadelphia Eagles being in the throws of a miserable season. Next to nothing has gone as planned for the pre-season darlings who were inexplicably dubbed a ‘dream team’ before they had won a single game. That may have been the beginning of the end.
Sure, the Eagles have more then their fair share of injuries but what team doesn’t at this point in the season? I get it. Michael Vick has been out with broken ribs. Jeremy Maclin has been out with a bad shoulder. However, that is the exact reason why the Eagles went out and got Vince Young. Granted, he hasn’t been sharp. The guy has sat on the pine all year but he’s more than capable, especially with all of the weapons around him. Jeremy Maclin brings a lot to the table. The Eagles went out and signed ex-Giants wideout Steve Smith (yes he’s coming off an injury) but the guy is dynamic. Riley Cooper, the Eagles spent a high draft pick and took Cooper out of the University of Florida. Unlike the rest of the guys I mentioned, Cooper doesn’t have the track record to speak of but still, he’s no slouch.
My point is, the Eagles have too much talent to be as bad as they’ve been so far this year. After last nights 31-14 beat down at the hands of Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks, the Eagles find themselves at 3-8 in last place in the NFC East, licking their wounds and wondering what could have been.
Back in August, I wrote an article asking a simple question: Can the Philadelphia Eagles survive their own hype? It doesn’t appear they could.
All of the things I’ve mentioned that have gone wrong for the Eagles this year are things that happen to all teams around the NFL and can’t be avoided. However, one problem that has plagued the Eagles all season that can and should be addressed is one player.
DeSean Jackson walks off the field dejected during a 34-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
DeSean Jackson has been an issue all by himself. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a dynamic, playmaking, game changer when he’s on the field and his head is on straight but thats not all that often. Worst of all, he’s in a contract year and he certainly isn’t doing himself any favors. One week after dropping a few passes and shying away from some hits over the middle, Jackson’s performance in the first half of Thursday’s game won’t quiet down his critics.
Last night, on one particular deep route, Jackson didn’t even bother to turn around to help Vince Young out. Later, cameras showed Young trying to talk to Jackson on the bench while Jackson stared off in the distance.
The sideline reporter on NFL Network’s telecast even mentioned how Jackson has sat by himself all night not talking with anyone. Call me crazy, but that isn’t exactly showcasing yourself to potential suitors unless those potential suitors are looking for a guy with a ridiculous amount of talent but a poor, self-centered attitude.
DeSean Jackson may have lost interest, but I haven’t. I’m actually enjoying watching the Eagles self destruct. Alright, not really. For more on DeSean Jackson and his actions, check out this read by the people over at Bleeding Green Nation. Those guys detail Jackson’s mistakes and antics over the last month and how they’ve directly affected the Eagles. They ask the question and discuss wether or not Jackson should be demoted by the Eagles.
Everyone knows there are few guarantees in life. Except for the whole death-and-taxes thing.
When it comes to sports, the NFL in particular, such certainties are even more rare. I mean, teams routinely rise from worst-to-first in a one-year span and injuries and other uncontrollable variables can destroy the plans of even the seemingly most bulletproof of expected contenders. Raise your hand if you foresaw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning four more games than the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 last August.
With that premise in mind, it may be best not to get too sucked in over the incessant buildup of the Philadelphia Eagles, this season’s designated trendy choice to achieve Super Bowl glory, even as difficult as may be to downplay the enviable ensemble of talent the team has collected during its recent spending splurge.
There’s no debating the job head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman did during the belated and frenzied signing period. The duo was able to stealthily move and land the biggest prize on this year’s free-agent market — cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha — and brought in two other quality pieces to an overhauled defense with the signings of linemen Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin. And that doesn’t include the addition of proven corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, part of an admirable haul the Eagles were able to obtain in exchange for disposable second-string quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Philadelphia was even able to lure brand-name performers to fill in backup roles, snaring Titans castoff Vince Young and former No. 2 overall pick Ronnie Brown to provide strong depth at quarterback and running back, respectively.
Clear winners of this year’s offseason, now the Eagles’ challenge may be withstanding the challenge of sky-high presumptions, a hefty burden that has befallen other supposed championship-caliber clubs in the not-so-distant past. The Cowboys crumbled under those same conditions last season. The Vikings came close before ultimately failing as consensus NFC favorites the previous year. Dallas was expected to run the conference table in 2008, but fell prey to a toxic combination of injuries and infighting.
With an organization renowned for its stablility and a superior coach in Reid, Philadelphia does appear better equipped to prepare for those pitfalls that did in those predecessors, and with the exception of the mercurial Young, none of the newcomers are potential chemistry-killers like the ones that had a hand in the Cowboys’ 2008 demise. Still, to say the Eagles will have an easy path in a well-stocked NFC that houses the last two Super Bowl winners is as preposterous as it is premature.
A side effect of Philadelphia’s all-in mentality is that it’s caused some of its chief competition to up the ante as well.
New Orleans’ offseason moves didn’t produce nearly the amount of punch, save for the team’s shipment of an unhappy Reggie Bush to Miami. However, ex- Charger Darren Sproles is as good — if not better — a replacement for the high-profile running back, while a defense that was one of the league’s stingiest against the pass last season got tougher to run on as well after adding 670 pounds of bulk along the interior line in the form of beefy tackles Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers.
Atlanta was able to solve one of its most glaring needs by signing former Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards, giving the defending NFC South champs an established pass-rushing complement to sack-master John Abraham, while successfully retaining the core group of a team that won a conference-best 13 games in 2010, two more than the Saints and three greater than the Eagles.
And in case anyone forgot, there’s also the Green Bay Packers to deal with.
The reigning world champs were customary silent in free agency, but remember that last season’s historic run was made without the services of several injured players, including such prominent ones as emerging star tight end Jermichael Finley and dependable running back Ryan Grant. An already formidable offense would become even more dangerous if those two can reclaim their form, and the Pack shouldn’t lack the motivation needed to combat the dreaded Super Bowl hangover after having to witness Philly’s deluge of press clippings.
With an abundance of skilled playmakers on offense and a defense that should be an upgrade on last year’s disappointing unit following the influx of new faces, there’s no question the Eagles possess the goods to make a serious run at an elusive Lombardi Trophy and reclaim their lost standing as the toast of a city that’s been bleeding Phillies red for the last few years. But just like the other upper-echelon inhabitants of the NFC, and the rest of the league as well, there will be ifs.
If a defense that may have a rookie (Casey Matthews) calling signals at the pivotal middle linebacker position and an unproven new coordinator (Juan Castillo) running the show can make considerable progress. If valuable wide receiver Jeremy Maclin isn’t slowed down by a mysterious illness that’s kept him out of camp thus far. If disgruntled wideout DeSean Jackson and cornerback Asante Samuel, possibly relegated to a reduced role with the additions of Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie, don’t become needless distractions.
And what if Michael Vick, who hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2006, sustains a serious injury that keeps him out for a significant amount of time? While Young’s an excellent insurance policy, will he show the aptitude, leadership and most importantly — the maturity — to win games in January and February if need be?
While the 2011 NFL season is anything but a lock to start on time (if at all), fans all over the U.S. sat by their computers and/or televisions with anticipation Tuesday, waiting for the clock to strike 7 p.m. eastern time. And, in a move that largely means nothing, the league satisfied their fans by offering up the complete schedule for the upcoming 2011 season.
So, while the times, dates and names written on the schedules may as well be scribbled in crayon for all intents and purposes, given the current labor situation with the league and all, if only for a moment, fans can now sit back and pretend all is well with America’s actual pastime.
Among the points of interest on the schedule:
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Chicago Bears in London on October 23 for Week 7 action. Also, the Washington Redskins will travel to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills in a Week 8 game on October 30.
- The traditional Thanksgiving games will feature a tripleheader. Most noteworthy of all, we can look forward to a coaching battle between Harbough brothers as the Baltimore Ravens takes on the San Francisco 49ers.
- The Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys is also scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.
- Michael Vick will come back to Atlanta for the first time as the starting QB of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2.
- The New York Jets host the New York Giants on Christmas Eve. Extra cops have already been scheduled to work the extra shift.
- The Detroit Lions earn their first Monday Night Football slot in a decade.
- Jay Cutler returns to Denver with his Chicago Bears team on December 11 – unless he get the sniffles on December 10 and deems himself too ill to make the trip.
Or — people who earn more in one year than most fans earn in a lifetime — will continue to fight over money and none of this will happen.
On Sunday, a heated rivalry was confirmed when the Baltimore Ravens smothered the Kansas City Chiefs 30-7 at Arrowhead Stadium, paving the way for a meeting with their despised division foe from Pittsburgh, the Steelers.
Whenever these two teams get together, you can be sure there will be plenty of blood oozing on the field. Saturday at Heinz Field will be no exception.
For slightly more than a half, the Chiefs went toe to toe with the favoured Ravens, actually building a 7-3 lead on a brilliant 41-yard scamper by by the speedy Jamaal Charles that sent the raucous throng of 72,190 shoehorned into Arrowhead Stadium into a frenzy.
But Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco answered back with an outstanding 11-play, 80-yard drive at the end of the half that culminated with a nine-yard scoring strike to Ray Rice, putting the Ravens up 10-7 heading into the intermission.
The Ravens would never trail the rest of the way.
The turning point, however, came early in the third quarter with a call that will be second guessed in these parts for the entire offseason.
Facing a fourth-and-a-half-yard situation at the Ravens 34, the Chiefs opted to go for the first down instead of trying for the tying field goal. That’s not an issue. Instead of just plunging up the gut, however, the Chiefs curiously pitched the ball wide to Charles, who was stuffed for a four-yard loss.
Why try such a risky play call against such a lightning-quick defence like the Ravens have instead of trying to grind out six inches? Only the Chiefs coaching staff knows for sure.
In any event, the Ravens reeled off the next 20 points, earning themselves a trip to Heinz Field on Saturday. Steelers versus Ravens next weekend. Yes please!
Aaron Rodgers did his thing through the air but in a surprising twist, the Green Bay Packers also discovered a running game to complement Rodgers’ right arm as they bounced Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon in the final game of wild-card weekend.
James Starks, a rookie running back who played three season at Buffalo University, was the surprise of the afternoon as he rumbled for 123 yards on 23 carries to set a rookie rushing post-season record for Green Bay. On the season, Starks had just 29 rushes for 101 yards but given the opportunity Sunday, he literally ran with it.
With the win, Green Bay advances to play the Falcons next Saturday night in Atlanta.Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in notching the first playoff victory of his career.
Vick, meanwhile, has his storybook season of redemption come to a close as the Eagles offence sputtered most of the afternoon and played the majority of the first half without breakaway receiver DeSean Jackson who suffered an injury to his left knee. The Eagles cause wasn’t helped any by two field goal misses, from 41 and 34 yards, by the usually reliable veteran David Akers. The Eagles made a game of it in the final quarter when they drove 75 yards on 13 plays with Vick plunging over from inside the one on fourth down with 4:08 to play to make it it 21-16 Green Bay. They went for the two-point convert but it was ruled no good as tight end Brent Celek stepped out of the end zone just prior to making the catch. After being assessed a five-yard penalty the Eagles got a second shot from the seven and it was also no good as Vick threw the ball away to avoid being sacked. The result meant the Eagles needed a touchdown to win it instead of a field goal to tie and they got their chance as the Packers were forced to punt following the two-minute warning.
The Eagles took over at their own 34 with 1:45 to play and moved down to the Packers 27.
But on third and 10, Vick tried for the home run but his throw into the end zone to Riley Cooper was short and it was picked off by Tramon Williams with 33 second left to seal Green Bay’s win.
Next Saturday night it’ll be Green Bay traveling to Atlanta to take on the Falcons, the NFC number one seed.
The 2011 NFL Playoff Schedule has been released by the NFL along with FOX, NBC and CBS. Every year there are usually some teams that seems to get the short end of the stick as far as scheduling goes, but this year it doesn’t seem as though that has happened to anyone. Here is the NFL Playoff Schedule & TV Schedule for Wild Card Weekend:
Saturday, January 8th
- New Orleans Saints AT Seattle Seahawks – 4:30 PM ET on NBC
This is one of the more interesting games, simply because the (11-5) New Orleans Saints will have to travel to play the (7-9) Seattle Seahawks. This game looks be be heavily one sided in favor last year’s Super Bowl Champion Saints. However, with the game being played in Seattle, anything can happen.
- New York Jets AT Indianapolis Colts – 8:00 PM ET on NBC
This is another game in which the team with the better record (NY Jets) will have to play on the road. The Jets, who are (11-5) on the season will travel to Indianapolis to play the (10-6) Colts. This game could go either way. The Jets were (6-2) on the road during the regular season, while the Colts were (6-2) at home.
Sunday, January 9th
- Baltimore Ravens AT Kansas City Chiefs – 1:00 PM ET on CBS
Once again, a game in which the team with the better record will have to travel. The Ravens who were (12-4) during the regular season, and barely missed winning their division, will have to travel to Kansas City to play the (10-6) Chiefs. This game may actually favor the Chiefs who are (7-1) at home, while the Ravens were only (5-3) on the road.
- Green Bay Packers AT Philadelphia Eagles – 4:30 PM ET on FOX
Green Bay will travel to Philadelphia to face an Eagles team coming off 2 consecutive losses. While the Packers had to fight hard up until the 4th quarter of the regular season, the Eagles got to rest their starters in their final game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers defeated the Eagles 27-20 in week 1 of the regular season. However that was a game which was started by QB Kevin Kolb, who went down with an injury. Philadelphia was only (4-4) at home this season, while the Packers were (3-5) on the road. Expect a high scoring game that slightly favors the Packers.
- New Orleans Saints AT Seattle Seahawks – New Orleans 34 – Seattle 17
- New York Jets AT Indianapolis Colts – Indianapolis 28 – New York Jets 21
- Baltimore Ravens AT Kansas City Chiefs – Baltimore 17 – Kansas City 14
- Green Bay Packers AT Philadelphia Eagles – Green Bay 30 Philadelphia 24 –
Do you guys agree or disagree? I’ll be back next week before the divisional round to give my thoughts.
According to the Chinese calendar, 2010 was the “Year of the Tiger.” According to the American calendar, it was anything but.
In fact, 2010 was a rough year for a lot of athletes, not just Tiger Woods. Both Ben Roethlisberger and Brett Favre were involved in sexually-charged controversies of their own, and Favre followed up one of his most impressive seasons in 2009 with one of his worst in 2010 – likely his final NFL season.
But 2010 might be remembered most for the players who overcame their demons.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick literally went from the doghouse to the penthouse in Philadelphia, rising from a backup to Donovan McNabb and then Kevin Kolb, to an MVP candidate.
And LeBron James, who was crucified in 2010 for his “Decision” to go from Cleveland to Miami, is putting together another MVP season of his own.
Which player will wind up with the MVP and potentially capture their first ring remains to be seen in 2011, but they certainly headlined the list of top stories in 2010.
Here’s a closer look at the top stories of 2010, as told by yours truly:
1. LeBron James takes his talents to South Beach
“This fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.” –LeBron James–
It was that quote that started it all. The LeBron James hate parade has marched across the country since ‘The Decision’ aired on ESPN in July. Clevelanders, NBA fans, and people who have never watched a basketball game in their lives united under one massive banner to smite down the man that has become a national symbol of narcissism.
The viral vendetta against LeBron is unprecedented in scope and size for the sports world. Even the most hated professional athletes haven’t felt the web’s wrath like this fallen icon. The Tiger Woods sex scandal drew anger from fans, instantly sparked thousands of jokes and sent some of his sponsors sprinting away, but he wasn’t demonized throughout online media. Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring set his image on fire, outraged fans and animal rights activists, and inspired countless Halloween costumes, but his recent comeback on the Philadelphia Eagles hasn’t been marred by a nation-wide campaign against him.
Sure, LeBron quit, and he left his city to rot. But others have done the same and it didn’t incite national hatred.
2. Michael Vick goes from the doghouse to the penthouse
It was basically a fact heading into Week 15 that the top two candidates for the MVP are New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick.
Almost everybody had Brady first and Vick second. (A few threw in guys like Philip Rivers or Matt Ryan.)
And almost everybody agreed that Brady had the MVP race all but wrapped up, myself included. A debate is really not necessary because Tom Brady should indeed be the MVP.
3. Tiger Woods’ fall from grace
What seemed unthinkable until El Tigre was a gray haired overweight golfer on the Senior Tour has happened 15 years too soon – he has lost his #1 World Ranking.
The fall of Tiger Woods is complete.
4. New Orleans Saints win first Super Bowl, Moore of the same this season
Last season, a dynamic offense and a bend but don’t break defense led the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl championship, but this season a stingy defense is keeping the Saints in contention as the offense is struggling for an identity while missing their top two running threats in Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush.
5. Lakers win 16th championship
Champions should never, ever be counted out. Ever!
But the Lakers didn’t look good from the get-go. The offense was miserable almost the entire night, but enough guys stepped up to hit big shots after big shots. Who would’ve thought that the Lakers would rely on the shooting of Ron Artest on a Game 7 to keep them in the game? Who would’ve thought that Kobe Bryant would shoot just 25% on the biggest game of his entire career? Who would’ve thought that Pau Gasol’s toughness down the stretch would be a key cog in the Lakers’ 16th championship banner?
But above all, who would’ve thought that the Lakers’ on-and-off again defense will be the one that will save them all?
6. Cam Newton overcomes controversy, wins Heisman and BCS?
Cam Newton, the top offensive player in college football, not only gives opposing defensive coordinators a case of the willies, but also causes Heisman voters to shake in fear of placing his name on a ballot.
But this has nothing to do with whether or not Auburn‘s phenom quarterback is worthy of the award based on his performance on the field.
7. San Francisco Giants win first World Series
Celebrating with Cody Ross near the on-deck circle as the ball curved over the wall, Andres Torres said to his fellow San Francisco Giant, “He told me he was going to do it.” And it should come to no one’s surprise that Edgar Renteria did. The 35-year old Columbian shortstop who won the World Series for the Florida Marlins thirteen years ago as a baby-faced 21-year old delivered again in what might have been the final at-bat of his career.
8. Roy Halladay tosses no-hitters, wins Cy Young
In July, you probably read a stat-filled column by Philadelphian Jayson Stark with a title very similar to that one.
But you can expect national columns about “Old Hoss Halladay” Consider yourself warned.
9. Brett Favre’s rollercoaster ride of a season
You may have noticed that I have remained relatively quiet on the whole Brett Favre streak-ending saga up until now. That wasn’t unintentional. We figure you can find your fill of Favre news pretty much everywhere else on TV and the web. In fact, you probably can’t really escape it right now.
But during the Vikings-Giants game, with the NFL’s ironman watching from the sidelines in street clothes for the first time since the Clinton administration, we couldn’t help but notice something.
With all due respect for what he’s accomplished over the course of his career, Brett just looks old. With his hand purpled and his face and body showing the wear and tear of 297 starts, for the first time ever, the guy actually looks his age. It’s painfully clear – surprisingly, even to Favre himself – that it’s time to hang ‘em up.
10. Lady Huskies win streak ends at 90
Top-ranked Connecticut’s record 90-game winning streak in women’s basketball ended Thursday night when Stanford outplayed the Huskies from the start in a 71-59 victory. What the lady Huskies were able to accomplish was unprecedented and deserves every accolade given to them. Unfortunately for them, it’s a big deal when they lose. After winning 90 straight games, their first loss warrants being a top story of 2010.
Happy New Year to everyone. Please be safe. Thank you for your continued support and I can promise you that great things are in store for the blog in 2011. It’s very hard to believe that it has been almost a year for this blog. I couldn’t have imagined it would’ve gone this well. Thank you to everyone for reading and who believed in me enough to launch this blog. I couldn’t have done it without you!