Thursday, October 14, 2010

Agents Paying College Players Haikus

Confessions of an Agent
Josh Luchs paid money
To bitches like Ryan Leaf
No return for him

In Response to Arguments that Student Athletes Need to Get Paid to Eat
College athletes cry
Because they can't get a job
They need to eat too

Fuck all those assholes
My school loan was a lot
You guys get one too

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 4 Rubdown AFC West

WK 3 W v. San Francisco 31-10, WK 4 BYE
Offense Rank 18th, Defense Rank 14th

The Chiefs are the last of the unbeatens in the NFL. Nobody would have predicted that after 4 weeks there would be only one undefeated team, and even fewer people would have predicted that team would be the Chiefs. Yes, fewer than nobody. But here we are.  KC has a young and exciting team, with a pair of electrifying talents in Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster on offense, and a stout young front seven which ranks fourth in the league in Y/A versus the run.  It's been a nice story so far, but things are about to get tougher with back to back road games at Indy and Houston, and 4 road games in the next 6 weeks.  Matt Cassel has been only slightly better than horrible, Dwayne Bowe has been invisible. If the Chiefs are going to succeed in this bruising month and a half stretch coming up, they are going to have to have a respectable passing game.

WK 3 L v. Indianapolis 13-27, WK 4 W at Tennessee 26-20
Offense Rank 4th, Defense Rank 16th

Kyle Orton is one of the elite QBs in the NFL.  Thru 4 weeks, he's throwing for over 350 yards per game, and that's insane. He's doing this with his running back out of the lineup, and a #1 receiver in Brandon Lloyd who has been released by just about every team in the NFL.  As good as Orton has been, the Broncos went into last week needing a win at Tennessee to avoid a disastrous 1-3 start. They got that win though, which was essential because the next two weeks have them traveling to Baltimore and hosting the Jets. Teams don't usually come back from 1-5 starts.  Sometimes the schedule maker just kicks you in the nuts, and I think that's been the case with the Broncos. They are a pretty good team, but the record doesn't show it, and probably won't show it until they can get some games against their weak division under their belts.
WK 3 L at Seattle 20-27, WK 4 W v. Arizona 41-10
Offense Rank 1st, Defense Rank 1st

How, you may ask, does a team that ranks 1st in the league in both offense and defense have a 2-2 record? Well, one loss was on opening night in a monsoon, and the Chargers looked well on their way to thumping the Chiefs that night until it started raining, after which point they looked hopeless. The other loss was a special teams meltdown in which they gave up 2 return TDs to Leon Washington in Seattle. Other than that, the Chargers have been dominant. Mike Tolbert has been a find in the running game, providing a bruising hammer that is opening things up for Antonio Gates, who is having a monster year with 6 receiving TDs already. The Chargers are notorious for horrible starts, and I'm sure they're disappointed with 2-2. The fact is though, they are still the best team in the division by a lot, and maybe the best team in the league, that has to show up in the record sooner or later. 

WK 3 L at Arizona 23-24, WK 4 L v. Houston 24-31
Offense Rank 9th, Defense Rank 11th
Darren McFadden is finally playing up to his potential, giving the Raiders a viable offense. The defense is horrible against the run though, ranking last in the league in Y/A against, and twice getting gashed for 200+ yards, including in last weeks loss at Houston.  They'll be blacked out in their home market for the 10th straight time this week, and here's what Marty Schottenheimer had to say about them on Sirius Radio this week:

The one constant you can count on in playing the Raiders is that they don’t finish. They don’t finish plays and they don’t finish games. I always told my players that if they kept playing hard against the Raiders, they would eventually fold. That is why I knew we would always win. That is still the perception around the league.”

Okay then!

Week 4 Rubdown - AFC South

WK 3 L v. Dallas 13-27, WK 4 W at Oakland 31-24
Offense Rank 2nd, Defense Rank 32nd

I realize this is the sexy pick to make a breakthru and get to the Super Bowl this year, but that's not going to happen with the worst defense in the league.  It's not surprising with this enigmatic team that even after 4 weeks, it's really not possible to tell how good they are. They beat Indy in Week 1, but that accomplishment has dulled a little now that we see how the Colts have struggled. The last 2 weeks have brought a thorough beating at home from the Cowboys, and an uninspiring win in Oakland.  Arian Foster has been the best running back in the league so far, and a revelation, helping offset Andre Johnson's slow start.  That defense though, has been torched for over 400 passing yards twice already, which is ridiculous given the talent on it. Mario Williams has 5 sacks already, and Brian Cushing will return from his bout with Cushing's Disease, which I believe is caused by steroid use, so maybe there's hope. They'll have a tough matchup with the Giants in Week 5, but win or lose, I still won't really know how good they are.

WK 3 L v. Philadelphia 3-28, WK 4 W v. Indianapolis 31-28
Offense Rank 24th, Defense Rank 30th

Here's a bit of a conundrum. Is Jack Del Rio a good coach because he's managed to be 2-2 with wins over pretty decent Denver and Indy teams despite having both an offense and defense that ranks among the worst in the league? Or is he a bad coach because this team is obviously awful despite its 2-2 record?   This seems like an 0-4 team in 2-2 clothing, but then again the Jags have always been a team with wildly fluctuating performances from one week to the next. The common theme seems to be that in their 2 wins, they have 0 turnovers, and in their two losses they have 7.  I guess they are to be commended for surviving the first quarter of the year despite being so bad, but I'm also thinking that the Bills get their first and possibly only win of the season against them this week.

WK3 W at NY Giants 29-10, WK 4 L v. Denver 20-26
Offense Rank 27th, Defense Rank 9th

Another historically schizo team, the Titans have looked a little more like the awful team that didn't get a win until November last year than the team that couldn't stop losing after November last year. If you'll remember that pretty game in the snow in Foxboro last year, the problem with the Titans early last year was pass defense. The last 2 weeks they've given up over 300 passing yards, so it seems to be a problem again, punctuated by defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil flicking off an official during last weeks loss to the Broncos.   The offense has struggled too. It's leaning heavily on Chris Johnson and he's fallen off a little, averaging under 4 yards a carry so far.  Vince Young hasn't been bad, but defenses are coming out with one thought in mind against the Titans, to contain Chris Johnson any way they can. So far VY hasn't made them pay, and if he doesn't both Johnson and the T's will continue to struggle.

WK 3 W at Denver 27-13, WK 4 L at Jacksonville 28-31
Offense Rank 3rd, Defense Rank 24th

Is this the year that Peyton Manning finally fails to carry a subpar supporting cast to the playoffs? Manning has never been better. He's putting up 300+ yards every game and making a star out of Austin Collie (although Reggie Wayne once again took center stage last weekend, catching 15 balls for almost 200 yards). So far it hasn't been enough though. The headset wearing water cooler that is Jim Caldwell actually came into play in last week's bad loss to Jacksonville, calling a stupid time out which helped leave enough time for Josh Scobee to nail a long distance field goal to win it as time expired.  Combine that with a vestigial running game, and a defense which is now down to a 3rd string safety after both Bob Sanders and his replacement Melvin Bullitt go out for the year, and it's going to be a struggle all year for the Colts, who face the unbeaten Chiefs this week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week 4 Rubdown - AFC North

Sorry I'm behind schedule with the rubdowns this week. Been at work till 8, 9 o clock all week. Will get caught up before Week 5.

WK 3 W at Tampa Bay 38-13, WK 4 L v. Baltimore 14-17
Offense Rank 29th, Defense Rank 5th

The Steelers have been in a situation much like I find myself in at work now. For months I've been dreading this past week of 2011 budget meetings. I survived it though, they went pretty well, and now I feel like I'm in the clear and it's smooth sailing for a while. Same thing with the Steelers. They spent the entire offseason bracing themselves for the Ben Roethlisberger Suspension. It's come and gone though, and thanks to some great play by Rashard Mendenhall and a resurgence of their defense, they've come thru it with a 3-1 record, best in their division, and have to feel like they are on top of the world as they enjoy their bye week and prepare to beat up on the Browns in week 6. And make no mistake, they will beat up on the Browns. The only thing the Browns have going for them on offense is a running game, and you can't run on the Steelers (1st in the league in Y/A against the run). Following that cakewalk though, they've got 3 consecutive road games at Miami, New Orleans, and Cincinnati. Ironically enough, their 3-1 start without Ben, could very easily be wiped out by a 1-3 run with him. Maybe. Probably not.


WK 3 W v. Cleveland 24-17, WK 4 W at Pittsburgh 17-14
Offense Rank 22nd, Defense Rank 2nd

For a team that's supposed to be on a rocket ship ride to the Super Bowl on a licorice whip this season, I'm not that impressed with the Ravens so far. The win over the Steelers was nice. The Charlie Batch Steelers are not the Ben Roethlisberger Steelers, but a win is a win especially when it's against the 1st place team in the division on the road. If you look at the Ravens entire body of work so far this season though, it's not so good. Thru 4 games they've only outscored opponents by a grand total of 6 points. The reason is sloppiness on offense. The Ravens have turned it over nine times this year, and forced only 2. Joe Flacco's thrown more INTs than TDs. He's been horrible so far this year, and if the Ravens are going to come anywhere close to their potential he's got to be a lot better. The other thing that has to happen is that Ray Rice has to get healthy. The banged up version of Rice is averaging 1.5 yards less than the healthy one did last year. The next two weeks bring a couple of tough games, home against Denver this week, then at New England in Week 6.

WK 3 W at Carolina 20-7, WK 4 L at Cleveland 20-23
Offense Rank 10th, Defense Rank 6th

The team that wins the AFC North is not going to lose to the Browns. That is a prediction I feel pretty confident in. There's 3 good teams in this division that will beat up on each other all year, so in order to accumulate the requisite number of wins to win the division, those teams are going to have to beat the weak sister Browns when they appear on the schedule. The Bengals didn't do that, and it is a huge blow to their prospects for 2010. Terrell Owens did provide proof he is still very much a viable NFL player with a 222 yard outburst in that game, but it wasn't enough to get a win over the Pumpkinheads. The Bengals have surprised me by not completely tanking this year, I thought they would. They are 2-2, but rank in the top 10 in both offense and defense, so they are better than I thought they were. They should get well with a win at home over Tampa this week, but still, in this division, a loss to the Browns is a mortal sin. Last year the Bengals won the division because they didn't lose to anyone in the AFC North all year. That's already out the window in 2010.

WK 3 L at Baltimore 17-24, WK 4 W v. Cincinnati 23-20
Offense Rank 21st, Defense Rank 22nd

Good to see the Browns get rewarded with a win this week. They haven't been all that bad since they stumbled up on the Ivan Drago of running backs, Peyton Hillis. He of the forehead like a drive in movie theatre has been a godsend for the Browns, fantasy owners astute enough to pick him up off the waiver wire, and young aspiring white running backs everywhere. The Browns MO lately has been hand it to him on almost every play, and chew up clock to keep an awful pass defense (222 yards to TO) off the field. It's working so far, as they played the Ravens close on the road in Week 3 and beat the Bengals last week. We'll see how long he can hold up, he's already nursing an injury this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Week 4 Rubdown - AFC East

1. NY JETS (3-1)

WK 3 W at Miami 31-23, WK 4 W at Buffalo 38-14
Offense Rank 13th, Defense Rank 13th

One thing you always know about the NFL, whatever you think about anything heading into the season will be totally wrong. The Jets were supposed to run roughshod to the Super Bowl on the back of their aggressive defense, which was supposed to make the 85 Bears Defense look like something you'd see in the nether regions of the WAC. The offense was supposed to be barely competent enough to avoid screwing the whole thing up. Now that we're one quatrain through the season, the Jets still look like a solid bet to make the Super Bowl, however the offense looks a lot better than expected, and the defense looks pretty ordinary. First the good, Mark Sanchez has surprised me by being one of the best QBs in the league so far this year. His passer rating is over 100, and ranks behind only Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Michael Vick. LaDanian Tomlinson is averaging a ridiculous 6.1 yards a carry, and Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller have been dangerous targets for Sanchez. And Santonio Holmes comes back this week to not only bolster their offense but put them over their quota of miscreants at the WR position.

The defense has been OK, but only just OK. Honestly, when you look at the personnel, other than Revis Island, who has been marooned on Hamstring Island recently, there's nothing here that makes you go wow or justifies all the hype this defense has received. Sure, the scheme is crazy with lots of unnecessary blitzing on 3rd and long, but who excites you here? Shaun Ellis? Bart Scott? Jason Taylor and his old balls? A scheme is nice but a defense isn't great unless it has great players. Not sure the Jets have that. What I am sure of though, is they've won 3 division games in a row, and that's a good start.

WK 3 W v. Buffalo 38-30, WK 4 W at Miami 41-14
Offense Rank 11th, Defense Rank 28th

I don't know how good the Patriots are, any team that gives up 30 points at home to the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Bills is under suspicion. I do know they are really exciting to watch though. The Patriots have been putting huge amounts of points up, with their Monday Night steamrolling of the Dolphins in Miami making the 3rd time in 4 games this year they have scored 38 points or more. In the big win over the Dolphins, they didn't even need any offense at all to win, they got 3 special teams and defensive touchdowns coming on a Brandon Tate kickoff return, a blocked field goal run back for a TD, and a Patrick Chung INT. New England's offense has expanded it's arsenal this year. While Randy Moss has been very quiet, and Wes Welker only slightly less so, players like Tate, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, and the 4 foot tall mogwai Danny Woodhead have made the Pats the most exciting team in the league so far. Again, that's something you wouldn't expect from the staid old team of the 00's, but that's why the NFL is the NFL.


WK 3 L v. NY Jets 23-31, WK 4 L v. New England 14-41
Offense Rank 13th, Defense Rank 6th

When you lose two in a row at home to the teams that you are fighting for divisional supremacy with, that's called being put in your place. I can sit here and analyze the Dolphins stats all day, and it's not going to change that in the last two weeks, they've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that at this point on the space-time continuum, they are just not good enough to win this division, or finish second. There's nothing to pin this on other than the fact they make too many mistakes. In the 2 huge losses, the Dolphins turned it over 5 times, and the Jets and Patriots turned it over 0 times. There's no glaring weakness on this team other than just screwing up too much. You can't give up three touchdowns to another team without their offense even needing to be on the field, like the Dolphins did last night. Chad Henne, Ronnie/Ricky, Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess, a solid no-name defense, the Dolphins have all those things going for them. But yet, here we are with 2 home games they had to have both in the L column, and trips to Green Bay, Cincinnati, and Baltimore sandwiched around a home game against Pittsburgh coming up in the next 4 weeks. All of a sudden things look pretty scary here.


WK 3 L at New England 30-38, WK 4 L v. NY Jets 14-38
Offense Rank 32nd, Defense Rank 27th

Not a whole lot to talk about here as the Bills are every bit as awful as expected, but let's duly note the release of Senator Trent Edwards, confirming that the correct choice in the JP Losman/Edwards QB controversy was "none of the above". Let's also duly note that the Eagles and Packers are reportedly sniffing around Marshawn Lynch to address the gaping holes those teams have at running back due to injuries to LeSean McCoy and Ryan Grant. Let's also duly note that the Bills have given up over 200 yards rushing 2 weeks in a row now, and the Jets had 2 100 yard rushers against them last week.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Week 3 Rubdown - NFC West

Leon's Getting Larrrrgerrr


L at Denver 14-31, W v. San Diego 27-20
Offense Rank 30th, Defense Rank 26th

The accepted wisdom is that a 1-15 team will win the NFC West this year. Well, the Seahawks have already won two games, so that shows how stupid everybody is. Seattle's lack of defeats hasn't been for lack of trying. They rank close to last in both offense and defense. However, they have had the good fortune to have already played the smoldering train wreck that is Mike Singletary's 49ers, and gotten not one but two Leon Washington kick returns for touchdowns in a week 3 win over the Chargers, who are off to their customary miserable start. This team is every bit as miserably bad as was feared heading into the season, and probably then some, but this is a historically bad division they play in, and they've already got 2 wins, so who knows. They've got another winnable game this in St. Louis, so Clappin' Pete Carroll and the Hawks could be off to a 3-1 start.

Flashing the Sign of the Douchebag Gang

WK 2 L at Atlanta 7-41, WK 3 W v. Oakland 24-23
Offense Rank 25th, Defense Rank 26th

Like the Seahawks, the Cardinals have shown considerable pluck despite having a severe lack of talent. As the old saying goes (I think it's an old saying), 90% of success is due to showing up. The Cardinals decided to show up against Oakland last week, despite all indications that they should not that came out of a 41-7 lambasting in Atlanta the week before. They showed up and stayed close, and Sebastian Janikowski blew a chip shot field goal as time expired to give the Cardinals the win. You see, bad things can happen to bad people. The Cardinals are surviving by the grace of the Pittsburgh Steeler running game that Ken Whisenhunt is using this year. They rank 2nd in the league in yards per rushing attempt after being largely incompetent at running the ball for the last 60 years. The Cards travel to San Diego this week, where they hope to keep the Bolts in their early season funk.

3. ST. LOUIS RAMS (1-2)
WK 2 L at Oakland 14-16, WK 3 W v. Washington 30-16
Offense Rank 24th, Defense Rank 24th

I'm going to go out on a limb right now and predict that the Rams win this divison. Sam Bradford is probably already the best QB in the NFC West, and name me another division where the best QB in it isn't on the division winning team. See, you can't. Steven Jackson suffered his annual injury last week, but maybe that's not a bad thing, maybe the Rams are just better off going full on aerial circus mode and letting Bradford wing it around the field to his menagerie of unknown WR's with funny names. The Rams played probably the best game anyone in this divison has, or will play all year in a 30-16 win over the Redskins last week, despite the Redskins having the great Donovan McNabb. They have a big game at home against Seattle this week, a great chance to prove me right and get some others on the bandwagon.

WK 2 L v. New Orleans 22-25, WK 3 L at Kansas City 10-31
Offense Rank 20th, Defense Rank 17th