Tag:Randall Cobb
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:37 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 1

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 1 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman Brady Revis Ginn Jackson
Prisco Brady Urlacher Ginn Gailey
Judge Brady Ngata Ginn Harbaugh
Brinson Brady Urlacher Cobb Harbaugh
Katzowitz Newton Haden Ginn Jackson
Wilson Rodgers Suggs Trufant Gailey
Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and goodness, was it a week. We saw Cam Newton break the rookie record for passing yards in a debut and, not to be outdone, Tom Brady show up on Monday night and eviscerate the Miami Dolphins for the fifth-highest passing yardage total (512) in NFL history.

Oddly, that was only the second time Brady's been over 400 yards in his career. But it was just good enough to land Brady our inaugural Eye on Offense Award. Though there are compelling arguments made for other players -- Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton -- you'll see his unreal performance on Monday night was just too much for our panel to pass up.

Scoring on defense isn't a must, but it helps too, and despite a hefty effort by Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata in throttling the Ravens, Brian Urlacher's 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown give him the nod on defense.

Meanwhile in the special teams category, Ted Ginn mopped up the competition with his back-to-back returns in less than five minutes. We had a three-way tie for the inaugural Eye on Coaching award and while we almost ruled out the Raiders and Bills because they're the Raiders and Bills for strength of schedule purposes, we give Chan Gailey the sympathy nod here since as our boss puts it "he'll never win again."

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Tom Brady Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
He throws for over 500 yards. He wears UGG boots. He dances. No better choice. Brady makes the ordinary receiver look like Jerry Rice. The two tight ends for the Patriots both looked like Kellen Winslow.
Tom BradyTom Brady, QB, Patriots
First, I hear Vontae Davis tell us that Miami has the best pair of starting cornerbacks in the business. Then, I watch Brady shred the Dolphins' defense for 517 yards and four touchdowns in a lopsided game that, frankly, could've been worse. Yeah, I know, Miami's cornerbacks were suffering from the heat all night and ran in and out of the lineup. But I wouldn't blame them if they didn't want to be anywhere near that field -- not when Brady's torching an entire unit. Marvelous, marvelous performance, but typical Tom Terrific. Nobody does it better.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Tom Brady Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
I watched his 517-yard passing performance with my own two eyes. It was sensational. His ability to find open receivers and put the ball into tight spots was amazing. He hit 10 different receivers. Brady also threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, changing the play at the line of scrimmage. I've seen him do some amazing things, but this was by far the best.
Tom BradyTom Brady, QB, Patriots
Of all the record-breaking performances we saw this weekend, it wasn't close as to which was the most impressive -- Brady disemboweled the Dolphins defense on Monday night and while it's one thing to watch a quarterback rack up yardage by chunking the ball deep, it's an entirely different thing to watch someone conduct their offense the way Brady did Monday. Two 100-yard receivers and four guys with six catches or more? Yikes.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Cam NewtonCam Newton, QB, Panthers
Obviously, he didn't accumulate as many big numbers in Week 1 as Tom Brady, and in fact, the Panthers didn't even win their game. But Newton's pro debut was better than impressive. It was outstanding. And sort of surprising. With his 422-yard performance, he shattered Peyton Manning's record for a pro debut (302 passing yards), and he destroyed Otto Graham's 346-yard total in 1950 when Graham was making his NFL debut (he previously had played in another pro league). So, obviously, Newton is much better than Manning and Graham. Ultimately, we don't know if Newton will be Carolina's savior, but we do know this: he was damn fun to watch in his first game.
Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
It's not a particularly sexy pick after what we saw Aaron Rodgers do the the league's best defenses during the postseason in January and February, but after a four-month lockout in which the Packers admitted that they weren't holding player-organized workouts (and Rodgers was pimping auto insurance), he looked every bit the Super Bowl MVP when he stepped on the field against the Saints last Thursday. If Tom Brady was prolific, Rodgers was clinical. He completed 77 percent of his attempts for 312 yards, including three touchdowns. He also knows how to rock a 'stache, something Brady could never pull off.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Darrelle RevisDarrelle Revis, Jets
He gets crucial interceptions. Sure, Tony Romo gift-wrapped it but after giving up some big plays early to Dez Bryant it was Revis who clamped down on Bryant in the second half and shut down the Cowboys' biggest weapon. By the second half Revis looked like the best defensive player in the NFL. That's because he is.
Haloti Ngata Haloti Ngata, DT, Ravens
People ask how the Ravens could have unraveled mighty, mighty Pittsburgh, and I tell them to rewind the videotape to the Steelers' first two series of the second half. On the first, Ngata blows up running back Rashard Mendenhall, forces a fumble and recovers it. On the second, he deflects a pass at the line of scrimmage that Ray Lewis intercepts. The guy's a load. Pittsburgh committed seven turnovers, and Ngata was a primary reason why. The Steelers had no answer for him.
Prisco Brinson
Brian UrlacherBrian Urlacher, Bears
He was all over the field for the Bears and scored a touchdown on a fumble return. But his best play was an interception of Matt Ryan. He was locked in man coverage with the back and ran stride-for-stride with him and made a great pick of the football. Urlacher was overrated at times in his career. But now that he understands the game better, he's much improved over the guy who used to get mostly with amazing physical skills.
Brian UrlacherBrian Urlacher, Bears
Who would have thought the 33-year-old Urlacher could look so young at the start of his 12th season? He made an interception that was the definition of acrobatic. His recovery of a Julius Peppers-forced fumble ended up in the end zone. He also piled up 10 total tackles and continued to show that he's the motor that drives the very vanilla-painted car that is Lovie Smith's Cover-2 defense.
Katzowitz Wilson
Joe Haden Joe Haden, Browns
His performance was lost in the shuffle because the entire Browns defense was caught sleeping when the Bengals quick-snapped in the fourth quarter and Bruce Gradkowski threw the easiest 41-yard game-winning touchdown pass to A.J. Green you'll ever see. But Haden clearly frustrated 2011 No. 4 pick Green for much of the day. With that kind of performance, Haden will draw the opposing team's top receiver every week, and in Week 1 at least, it looks like he can handle it.
Terrell Suggs Terrell Suggs, Ravens
This could go to any number of Ravens defenders but Tuggs racked up three sacks and two forced fumbles and made the Steelers offensive line look like, well, the Steelers offensive line. Suggs has now sacked Ben Roethlisberger 15.5 times in his career, more than anybody else, The only thing he didn't do Sunday was score a two-point conversion.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Ted GinnTed Ginn, WR, 49ers
That noise you heard on Sunday was Dolphins fans puking. Ginn has been a lousy wide receiver but as a kick returner has long showed promise. This might be the year he becomes a star as a returner.
Ted Ginn Ted Ginn, WR, 49ers
He returned a kickoff for a touchdown. He returned a punt for a touchdown. Yet Seattle kept giving him chances.Someone please explain the logic of giving Ginn four opportunities to return kickoffs. I'm serious. The Seahawks had no touchbacks, and someone tell them the NFL just moved kickoffs to the 35. It's OK to drill the back of the end zone. Instead, the Seahawks kept feeding Ginn, daring him to beat them, and, well, he did. When San Francisco acquired him it was as a return specialist first and pass receiver second. Now I can see why.
Prisco Brinson
Ted GinnTed Ginn, WR, 49ers
Ginn Jr. is playing for a new contract. He's off to a good start. He returned both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in the 49ers victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Just when it appeared the Seahawks were making a game of it, he ripped of the 102-yard the kickoff return and then followed it up with a 55-yard punt return for a score. Wow.
Randall CobbRandall Cobb, WR, Packers
Cobb might face a fate worse than being struck down by lightning if he takes any more kicks out from the back of the end zone, but for one night, he was the difference maker for the Packers as they topped the Saints in part because of his 108-yard touchdown return. It might not count for this purpose that he scored on a pass, but it doesn't hurt either.
Katzowitz Wilson
Ted Ginn Ted Ginn, WR, 49ers
My favorite part of Ginn's performance for the 49ers on Sunday -- you know, he scored on a 102-yard kickoff return and a 55-yard punt return in the span of less than a minute -- was the Twitter reaction immediately following, proclaiming that Ginn had fulfilled his entire two-year productivity quota in a single afternoon. And even if Ginn doesn't do much for the 49ers for the rest of the season, we honor his standout performance in helping lead San Francisco past the Seahawks on Sunday. 
Isaiah Trufant Isaiah Trufant, DB, Jets
A former Arena League and UFL player, Trufant was signed to the Jets practice squad last season and elevated to the 53-man roster just before the Cowboys game. Sunday night, he was in the right place at the right time, scooping up a Mat McBriar blocked punt (courtesy of Joe McKnight) and scoring a touchdown with five minutes in the game. The play tied the score, 24-24, and moments later, Tony Romo's ill-advised interception pretty much sealed Dallas' fate.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Hue JacksonHue Jackson, Raiders
He got the Raiders their first season-opening win in almost a decade. When the Raiders win, the terrorists lose. I'm wondering if Jackson is getting more autonomy than other recent Raiders coaches because the team's game plan looked, well, sensible.
Cliff Lee John  Harbaugh, Ravens
Talk about issues. He had an offensive line that hadn't played together. He had inexperienced wide receivers. He had cornerbacks who seemed vulnerable. And he had a quarterback who never, ever, ever beat Ben Roethlisberger. So he draws defending AFC champion Pittsburgh in the season opener and doens't just win; he wins in a 35-7 laugher. Unbelievable. The pre-game edge had to belong to the more experienced club, the team that made fewer off-season changes, and that team was Pittsburgh. Logic told us that Baltimore was an unsettled club that would only improve as the season progressed. But tell me: How do you improve on this?
Prisco Brinson
Chan GaileyChan Gailey, Bills
The Bills passed on taking a quarterback in the first round of the April draft because Gailey believed in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now we know why. He threw four touchdown passes as the Bills blew out the Chiefs 41-7. The defense also did a nice job shutting down the Chiefs offense. Gailey has this good-old-boy demeanor about him, but the man knows offensive football. He has his team ready to play against the Chiefs and pulled off what many considered to be an upset.
John HarbaughJohn Harbaugh, Ravens
The most impressive thing about the Ravens manhandling the Steelers was the game plan they had from the start -- and that falls on Harbaugh. They attacked on offense in an unexpected, high-powered manner and the defense just swarmed. Hell, they even had a built-in fake extra point play ready in case they needed it ... or in case they wanted to embarrass their arch-rivals on national television.
Katzowitz Wilson
Cliff Lee Hue Jackson, Raiders
In making his head coaching debut, Jackson had his team ready to play vs. the Broncos and coached a smart game, using much of the same gameplan Oakland formulated to beat Denver last season, to lead Oakland to the 23-20 road win. It was the first season-opening win for the Raiders in eight years, and at this rate with Jackson in command, Oakland might run the entire AFC West table again. 
Chan Gailey Chan Gailey, Bills
If anyone's due some recognition, it's Gailey. After suffering through a four-win season a year ago, the Bills showed up ready to play against the Chiefs in Week 1. Kansas City did not and they got rolled 41-7. Whether the Bills can keep this going remains to be seen, but for now we  salute you, Chan.



Posted on: September 12, 2011 10:14 am
Edited on: September 12, 2011 6:30 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 1

Posted by Will Brinson



Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 1 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.



It's rather unfair to the rest of the NFL to expect a legitimate follow-up to the Thursday night spectacular that was New Orleans and Green Bay. To the extent that folks wanted drama, the most spine-tingling moments came before the action on Sunday, as the NFL and the nation honored the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

Fantastic job all around by the NFL and the various broadcast partners and the players and Reebok and everyone involved for really making Sunday a touching tribute to one of America's greatest tragedies. Can you really imagine what would have happened if there hadn't been football on the anniversary because of the lockout?

Obviously the nation would have moved on -- it's just sports. But the public relations hit would have been 100-percent inverse of the boost the league received on Sunday.

Not that it matters. There was football. And it was good and there were lots of stories. Many of whom we'll break down below. In the words of Jay-Z, "let's rock."

1. Yes We Cam
What did you expect from Cam Newton in his first start as an NFL player?

Because, no offense, but it doesn't really matter -- Newton set the world on fire en route to throwing for 422 yards and two touchdowns, plus rushing for another score.

Carolina still lost to Arizona in a close game, but that's not really important, as they're not a Super Bowl contender right now. What's important is that they appear to have finally gotten their franchise quarterback. And that makes one guy -- Steve Smith -- pretty happy.

"He was everything everybody didn't expect him to be," Smith said after the game. "He was on point, he made some great runs, he made some great reads, made some fantastic throws. He made some throws out there that honestly as a receiver it made it easy to catch them."

In case you missed it, Smith wanted out of Carolina all of last year while catching (or, if you prefer not catching) passes from Jimmy Clausen but after the Panthers drafted Newton, Smith eventually got back on board with staying in Carolina over the long(ish) haul.

It worked out pretty well for him on Sunday, because he caught eight passes for a 178 yards, numbers which should have the same effect on Smith as Newton's totals have on fans: obscuring the win-loss column.

As we noted on Sunday, Newton's 422 yards was the highest passing yardage total by a rookie, in their season opener, in NFL history. It's tied for the highest total for a rookie in any game, with Matthew Stafford's 422 in 2009 against the Browns.

And perhaps most crazy of all, it's the fifth-highest season opener total in NFL history. Not rookie history -- NFL history. Damn impressive stuff is what it was -- maybe Bo Jackson was right after all.

Newton, by the way, is already 11th on the Panthers all-time passing yards list.

2. Most Valuable Peyton

In a brutal twist of irony, while Kerry Collins was starting his first game as a Colt, stinking up the joint and causing Colts fans to start researching Stanford's schedule in 2011, he somehow managed to pass Joe Montana for the 10th-most passing yards in NFL history. That Collins did so was the lone bright spot for a Colts team that got absolutely drubbed by the Texans in the first game without Peyton Manning at the helm since 1998.

Sunday was just the second time since Indy drafted Manning that they trailed 17-0 after the first quarter, and the 34-0 halftime deficit for Indy was the largest in franchise history.

Look, everyone knows that Peyton is really good. And everyone knows that Peyton meant more to this team over the past few years than anyone could possibly imagine, and that the Colts wouldn't have won as many games as they have without him.

But is it possible to give someone an MVP award when they don't even play for an entire season simply based on how poorly their team plays without him? Of course not. If it was, though, Manning would warrant consideration in 2011 just based off what we saw in Week 1.

As for the long-term issue of Manning's health, it's really hard to imagine that the Colts would even consider trying to bring him back in 2011. There's a very good chance that by the time we get halfway through his aggressive rehab schedule the Colts are 0-4.

At that point, the season's over for all reasonable intents and purposes. By Week 8, when Peyton might be ready? Yeah, there's a good chance Indy's done then. And if they are, there's little-to-no sense in bringing him back at the risk of busting up his career to try and ruin a good shot at landing Andrew Luck.

3. The Steelers are terrible
Just kidding. But I really wanted to make sure we make at least one absolutely incorrect knee-jerk decision in this column. The Ravens might have been favored by a field goal against the Steelers on Sunday, but the consensus amongst all the experts was that the Steelers are a significantly better team, though because of the rivalry factor things would come down to a field goal in a close, bloody game.

Whoops on all counts.

Well, except the blood -- Pittsburgh strolled into M&T Bank Stadium and got absolutely stuck in the face by their rival and then spent all afternoon trying to figure out how to make the gushing stop, only it never did.

Ben Roethlisberger threw three picks and fumbled twice and the Steelers committed a whopping eight turnovers as they generally looked like a boxer against the ropes getting continually pummeled.

"That playoff taste, now it's over," Rice said. "Now we’ve got that burden off our shoulders, boom! We’re one up on them right now.”

The two biggest concerns for the Ravens coming into this season were the offensive line and the secondary.

The Ravens were mocked for their desperation in signing Bryant McKinnie shortly before the season began, mostly because McKinnie was reportedly clocking in around 400 pounds. (As reported Sunday, he's now making more money for weighing less. So that's nice.)

But he was a tremendous difference for Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, as he provided stability at the left tackle position and made some key blocks. He wasn't perfect, of course, but that's OK.

Especially because the most important benefit he provides Ravens is the ability to slot their offensive lineman in correct positions. If he's motivated, he could be a difference maker.

4. Falcons get mauled
Mea culpa time I guess: the Bears probably won't finish in last place in the NFC North. Ha. Yeah, I predicted that. They still could, and as long as that offensive line is as porous as it was against the Falcons, I'll stick by that prediction.

After all, New Orleans and Green Bay -- Chicago's next two opponents -- are not only good but they're not shy about blitzing heavily. That could mean plenty of Cutler getting tattooed six-and-a-half steps into his drops. If that.

And if Caleb Hanie has to play, the Bears will struggle mightily. But they'll have their defense which, well, yeah, per usual it's the reason the Bears are dominating.

"We still have to play up to the defense's level," Cutler said. "They're still carrying us."

Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, in particular, were beasts on Sunday. Peppers picked up two sacks, recovered a fumble and forced another fumble that Urlacher scooped and took the house. And Urlacher himself looked particularly spry, picking up an impressively athletic interception.

I'd still argue that the Bears have the makings of the third-best team in their division, but they are the defending champs and for some reason they will just not go away. Which should mean one or two angry comments from Bears fans every week. Sigh.

5. Living the dream
Many a writer ruthlessly mocked the Eagles this offseason for hogging the headlines, particularly when backup quarterback Vince Young decided to refer to Philly's squad as "The Dream Team."

It's still a stretch and I remain adamant that the metaphor is largely irrelevant for the game of football. (Case: in point, Philly's linebacking corps wouldn't exactly be starting for most other NFL teams.)

But my goodness -- the Eagles are just as explosive as last season, aren't they? LeSean McCoy is so sneakily fast for an every-down back that you don't realize it until re-watching him take the ball around the corner, past a defender and into the end zone.

The defensive line will swarm opposing quarterbacks and obviously the combo of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson gives the Eagles the ability to score from anywhere. Seeing how Andy Reid operates in a close game going forward will be interesting though -- I saw some chatter about the Eagles running the ball immediately after Vick would get touched.

That pretty clearly, um, is a tell. And even if it's not something the Eagles are going to do every single series, it's something they have think about doing, because exposing Vick to multiple shots in back-to-back instances during games simply won't work if the Eagles want to dominate the way Vince Young expects them to.



6. These are your brother's Cowboys
They are not your father's Cowboys. And they're not even your uncle's Cowboys. These Cowboys like to score frequently and play quite well for about three and a half quarters.

And then things get tight and they choke.

The most disturbing thing about the way that Tony Romo handed the game to the Jets -- a pass intended for a gimpy Dez Bryant that Jessica Simpson could have intercepted, much less Darrelle Revis -- in typical, um, Tony Romo fashion.

As my man Mike Freeman wrote, it's precisely the kind of late-game debacling that causes people to think that Romo can't win big games or even close little games for the Cowboys.

"We win that football game if I don't do what I did," Romo said afterwards.

You simply can't fumble on the one-yard line (when a score would all but guarantee you victory) and then proceed to gift wrap a turnover for the other team when there's less than a minute remaining on the clock and the score is tied.

Going into what eventually turned out to be the final drive, Jason Garrett and Romo need to be on the same page regarding a few things. One, nothing stupid. Two, if you're going to force a pass, then you need to force the pass deep so the Jets don't get a free field goal. And three, nothing stupid.

Look, I get that the Jets used a defense designed to confuse Romo into thinking Dez was in single coverage and therefore force a ball his way. But he has lots of weapons. In fact, I was in the middle of writing how good I felt about my pick of Dallas to the Super Bowl because of their creative defense (Rob Ryan did outstanding work last night with limited manpower) and a high-octane offense so stocked with weapons that Kim Jong-Il is jealous.

All they need is Romo to put it together and stop being the stereotype that people put on him. He was doing all that until the Cowboys got in a position to put a tough road game against another Super Bowl contender on ice and he absolutely melted down.

7. Detroit hope city
Matthew Stafford's been getting pumped up all offseason long -- that he exploded in the preseason didn't help matters much, and that he was overdrafted by most fantasy football players helps even less.

So there were some funny moments in his eventual breakout on Sunday. First there was the early interception -- a pick-six by Aqib Talib -- against Tampa that made everyone realize that there were a lot of eggs in a basket. And no one really knew what the basket was built out of, except that it was probably the most fragile type of straw a man can find.

Then Stafford started going off ... except after his first touchdown pass he began cramping up. (Lots of cramping Sunday in case you didn't notice.) The world collectively held its breath as Stafford was examined on the sideline because, my goodness, it's early to be injured even if you're Stafford.

Instead, the former Georgia standout and No. 1-overall draft pick returned to the game and kept slinging teeters to Calvin Johnson, eventually finishing with 305 yards and three touchdown passes in Detroits 27-20 win over Tampa Bay.

Let's not get out of hand and start giving the Lions a playoff berth quite yet -- they certainly have problems, most notably in the secondary -- but there's reason to be excited for football in Detroit.

As long as Stafford can stay healthy anyway.

8. Rex Grossman is ... not bad?

I know, it's weird, but it might be true. Grossman appeared to be pretty darn competent most of Sunday. He threw for 305 yards on two touchdowns and backed up Mike Shanahan's seemingly inexplicable to name him the starter during the preseason.

It's not that John Beck is such a logical choice, it's just that, well, he's Rex Grossman. It seems to make no sense.

"Any typical kickoff weekend, your emotions are high," Grossman said after the game. "Being it's Sept. 11, 10th anniversary, Colin Powell's in the locker room giving you the pregame speech, and then coming out and the fans are chanting 'U-S-A.' I was overwhelmed. It was a fun day. It's a day I'll never forget."

Let's not get too high on Grossman just quite yet, because the Giants were basically trotting out a practice squad of players on defense after their starting lineup was ravaged by a ridiculous run of injuries during the preseason.

Maybe he is the answer at quarterback and maybe the Redskins could win the NFC East and maybe the Shanahans really are able to turn contaminated water into a Colt 45.

But we've seen Grossman light teams up -- like he did while tossing four touchdowns and 322 yards against Dallas in Week 14 of last year -- and immediately follow it up by laying an absolutely egg. Let's reserve judgment until we see his body of work over the span of a few weeks.

9. Go West, Young Man
We already covered Newton and his impressive rookie performance, but he wasn't the only rookie to have a big impact in Week 1.

Ryan Kerrigan returned an interception for a touchdown to help push the Redskins over the Giants, J.J. Watt terrorized the Colts defensive line, Patrick Peterson returned a punt for a touchdown that proved to be the difference maker against Carolina, A.J. Green caught the go-ahead touchdown pass for the Bengals, Randall Cobb trended on Twitter Thursday night thanks to his holy return, Tyron Smith was big on the line for the Cowboys, and Andy Dalton started out white hot … until Phil Taylor knocked him out of the game.

So yeah, very impressive week -- thus far anyway -- from an impressive group of young NFL players, especially given the shortened time frame they're working on.

10. Injured Rams
Not a great day for Steve Spagnuolo, huh? The Rams were seen by many, including yours truly, as a team on the rise in 2011. They play in a terrible division, they have anchors on both sides of the line, they have a franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford and they easily could have been a playoff team in 2010.

But a number of injuries during Week 1 are a quick reminder of how fragile success is in the NFL.

Steven Jackson pulled his quad which has "lingering" stamped all over it, Danny Amendola dislocated his elbow and could likely be done for the year and most terrifyingly, Bradford hurt his finger.

We don't know precisely what will happen to Bradford, but there was discussion of "nerve damage," which is scary as hell. Bradford downplayed the injury after the game.

"I don't see any way I'm not going to be on the field, to be honest with you," Bradford said.

Well, here's one way: if you're at risk for a bigger injury, the franchise won't let you near the Big Apple, even it's for a matchup against the would-be hapless New York Giants.

Put an APB out for:
Charlie Weis. Because from what I saw of the Chiefs offense on Sunday, they might be missing the guy who turned Matt Cassel into a Pro Bowler, Jamaal Charles into the best running back in the NFL last year, and Dwayne Bowe into a touchdown monster. We've touched on the fact that the Chiefs had a REALLY easy schedule in 2010. That's fine. But the offense has too many weapons to be scoring seven points against the Bills and not consider "If we did X last year and we're doing Z this year and Y isn't there anymore, gee what could be the difference?"

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday ...
... Anyone ever notice that Rex and Rob Ryan really look like George and Oscar Bluth?
... 49ers punter Andy Lee posted the third-highest average for punts in one game, smoking his 59.6 yards per punt.
... How does Joe Torre -- the Yankees coach during 9/11 -- not let baseball players wear NYPD and NYFD hats?
********

Worth 1,000 Words




Hot Seat Tracker

I'm hoping to have my fancy mathematical formula to track who's most likely to get canned up and running by next week, but in the meantime, we can break down coaches in trouble pretty simply. (That's mainly because of all the first-year head coaches -- it's pretty unlikely we see a lot firings between now and next season.)
  • Tom Coughlin -- Coughlin's got a plethora of injuries to fall back on, so maybe he can buy some more time. But the way the Giants lost to the Redskins Sunday, it's hard to imagine New Yorkers won't continue the annual tradition of calling for Coughlin's head.
  • Todd Haley -- What's worse: showing up for work without wearing pants or getting beat by the Bills 41-7 at home? Gotta be the latter.
  • Jack Del Rio -- Yeah, he won, but we need people to add to this list. Plus, he beat the Titans.
  • Jim Caldwell -- The "Manning Factor" for his job will be fascinating to watch this season.
MVP Watch
Peyton! No, but seriously, in the way-too-early glance at the MVP race, I'll go ahead and throw Philip Rivers out there, since he's fourth in passing yardage right now and the Chargers are 1-0. Also: Michael Vick.

And Ryan Fitzpatrick.

What? It's Week 1.

Posted on: September 9, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Tramon Williams only has a shoulder bruise

Posted by Will Brinson

There wasn't much from Thursday night's 42-34 victory over New Orleans that should make the Packers unhappy. But a potential injury to Tramon Williams -- the cornerback was helped off the field, holding his arm and grimacing painfully -- would certainly take some luster off the win.

Good news, then, for Green Bay, as it appears that Williams only suffered a bruised shoulder.

"It was positive from what we thought. Tramon's a Pro Bowl-caliber football player," McCarthy said, per Bill Huber of Packer Report. "He allows us to play certain ways."

You really can't classify how important the development of Williams as an elite cornerback in 2010 was. Not only did he make some huge plays, but when the Packers line up in Dom Capers' funky defensive formations, Williams being able to lock down opposing wide receivers so Charles Woodson can do his roving thing is absolutely crucial.

More on Saints at Packers

Also, Williams is just, you know, really good. A step back for him in 2011 and/or an injury would be a serious problem. Fortunately the Packers avoided it. In other Packers news, Randall Cobb apparently got really, really, really lucky last night.

Not only did he run the wrong route on his touchdown reception, but he definitely did not have Mike McCarthy's permission to take the ball out of the end zone when he returned it for a touchdown.

"I just trust in God, he told me to bring it out," Cobb said. "I'm NOT supposed to bring that out. I'm NOT. Some things are just illogical and some other things are just the power of God."

Far be it from me to question the power of the Big Guy but, um, Randall, dude, you should probably slow your roll on letting your higher power dictate what you do on the football field. Otherwise you're gonna end up on the bench faster than Aaron Rodgers can hit your back shoulder.

In fact, Cobb would absolutely be in the doghouse today were it not for the broken tackle on the 25-yard-line that allowed him to spin out and take off for the end zone.

"Thank God you can't hear what we say on those headsets," McCarthy said. "Because I wasn't cheering for him until he spun out of that tackle on the 25."

So, yeah, while it's awesome that the Big Guy got Cobb into the end zone, he needs to remember that even "He" doesn't have control over the Packers depth chart.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: May 3, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 7:38 pm
 

NFC North draft truths revealed

Posted by Andy Benoit

One of the best things about the draft is that from it we can find out what teams really think about their current players. Excluding examples of teams filling obvious needs, here are some of the more revealing draft picks from 2011, with a quick blurb of what the team was really saying by making this pick.

Chicago Bears

1st round, Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Come on, it’s obvious: our offensive tackles stink and former first-round pick Chris Williams will be at guard for the long haul.
 
3rd round, Chris Conte, FS, California
What can we say? For some reason we’ve never totally trusted Danieal Manning.
 
5th round, Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho
Decent play off the bench in the NFC Championship isn’t enough to completely sell us on Caleb Hanie. We at least want some options at backup quarterback for now.
 C. Ponder (US Presswire)
Detroit Lions

2nd round, Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
If he pans out, Jahvid Best will become like Jamaal Charles, not Chris Johnson. (i.e. he needs someone to share the load.)
 
Green Bay Packers

2nd Round, Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
We want to sign RFA James Jones long-term but have a feeling he’ll ask for too much money. And even if we can sign Jones, Donald Driver is closer to the end than you think.

Minnesota Vikings

1st round, Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
We like this quarterback (and no team picking in the twenties would trade with us).
 
2nd round, Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Visanthe Shiancoe is a nice player, but ultimately we consider him part of the “Favre era”.

Check back throughout the week for other division’s Draft Truths Revealed. To see all Draft Truths Revealed, click the “Draft Truths” tag.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 10:57 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 12:05 am
 

NFL Draft day 2: Winners and losers

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- Well, the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft are under wraps. The lights are off at Radio City Music Hall, the boos and screams have subsided, and now we make knee-jerk reactions about who did well and who did poorly on Friday.



WINNERS

Ryan Mallett: Unbelievably, while in the middle of living out a Tom Petty song, Mallett caught a miracle branch extended by Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and now finds himself in the only situation in the NFL that could really get people excited about his potential.

Washington Redskins: Dan Snyder must have been hogtied before this draft started, because the ‘Skins actually traded down during the second day of the draft. Four fifth- AND seventh-rounders won’t win you a Super Bowl tomorrow but it’ll help strengthen a roster.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos took advantage of San Francisco’s desperate hankering to nab Colin Kaepernick, moved back and picked up a bunch of draft picks. Then they got a guy who will be one of the biggest steals of the draft in Nate Irving, added Rahim Moore at safety and picked up Orlando Franklin to help the line.

Buffalo Bills: They drafted defense in the first round. And then they drafted defense in the second round. And then they drafted defense in the third round. There’s really no reason to stop until the seventh ends.
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Cincinnati Bengals: They called Carson Palmer’s bluff for the second-straight day, and they did so in a way that could be teachable for some other first-round reachers, like the Titans and the Vikings: let the arguably-indistinguishable quarterbacks like Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder and Jake Locker fall.

Cleveland Browns: They’re stacked with picks for the next two years and they’re making great selections all over the place. Greg Little gives Colt McCoy a weapon and Jabaal Sheard can slot into their new 4-3 as an end.

Houston Texans: They jump back on the good side during the second day after grabbing a linebacker who can help out in the 3-4 shift in Brooks Reed and then trading back up to into the second to grab the talented Brandon Harris from Miami.

Randall Cobb: Cobb had to hang around for the entire second round in New York City, but it was worth it, since he went to the Packers (he actually said he would have waited ‘til the seventh to end up there). Just a case of Ted Thompson looking far enough ahead. Again.

New England Patriots: I don’t know why Colin Cowherd is stealing my line about the Patriots owning every single first-rounder in the 2030, but it might not matter if it actually happens -- Pats already have two first- and second-rounders in next year’s draft.

Sam Bradford: The Rams went defense in the first round when Julio Jones and A.J. Green didn’t fall, but went out and got their franchise QB some nice weapons with great hands in TE Lance Kendricks and WR Austin Pettis.

LOSERS

The NFL: It was the second day of the draft and in the middle of the league trotting out veterans -- both of the league and the military -- and a score of fans to announce draft picks and huge new NFL players, the Court of Appeals ruled that the lockout was back on. It just felt dirty.

Ryan Mallett: He plummeted in the draft, falling all the way to the middle of the third round. And it looked like he was going to fall out of the third, with no one really expressing interest in the Arkansas quarterback. Then Belichick came calling.

Carolina Panthers: Said it before the round started, but it remains to be repeated, because they had no second-rounder. Hard to win on Friday without one of those. On the bright side, they took their medicine and used their two third-rounders on defensive tackles.



Da’Quan Bowers: Don’t get me wrong -- I like his spot in Tampa, and they’ve got a shot to hit an absolute home run with him late in the second round. But there’s no denying his health cost him a big old pile of money.

Atlanta Falcons: The Browns, using a pick obtained in the first-day trade for Julio Jones, grabbed Greg Little one pick after Torrey Smith went. Neither’s better -- or even close to better -- than Jones, but is Jones five draft picks-worth better than either of them? I’m not sure about that.

Marion Barber: The Cowboys drafted DeMarco Murray and it looks like Barber’s book is just about closed in Dallas.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Sssshhhhh. Do NOT tell Jacksonville, but they actually were horrible on defense in 2010. Actually, no, wait, tell them, because they’re only drafting offense for some reason.

Detroit Lions: I actually like the guys they got in the second day -- Titus Young and Mike LeShoure will help make the offense more potent -- but who’s going to protect Matt Stafford? If Jim Schwartz thinks the guys he’s got can do the job, they’ll be fine. But if not, 2011, meet 2010 and 2009.

Derek Jeter: Not football-related, but a certain sportswriter who was monitoring the Yankees game during the draft tells me he’s “terrible.” What? It was a theme!

Marvin Austin: The big fella out of Carolina was taken by the Giants, which would be fine, if the Giants didn’t play in New York City. The guy who single-handedly unearthed an agent and academic scandal at Carolina (still ongoing!) via his own Twitter account doesn’t need the bright lights of the Big Apple.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 10:22 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 12:31 am
 

Cobb waited an awfully long time in green room

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Kentucky WR Randall Cobb, in a best-case scenario, actually thought he had a chance to sneak into the first round of the NFL draft. So, there he sat in the green room, and he didn’t hear his name called during Thursday’s first 32 picks.

Cobb Surely, he must have thought, I’ll go early in the second round, so I won’t have to sit here too long. Then, the Cardinals took Ryan Williams and Williams left the green room, and the Broncos took Rahim Moore and Morris left as well. And there was Cobb all by himself.

And he waited some more.

Maybe he thought he was cursed, especially when you hear about the dream he had recently. Somehow, someway, Brett Favre had returned to Green Bay, and, in a very matter of fact manner, told Cobb nobody would draft him.

“It scared the mess out of me,” Cobb said, after the Packers had taken him in the second round with the No. 64 pick. “I woke up in a sweat.”

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And until the Packers selected him, he was living a nightmare.

“As the draft kept going, it was a concern,” Cobb said. “But I always had faith.”

That faith was rewarded when the Super Bowl champs took him and made him a very happy (and relieved) wide receiver.

“I would have waited until the seventh round if I could go to the Packers,” Cobb said. “It was well worth the wait.”

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