by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 01.21.2013)
When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was given a clipboard and forced to watch Colin Kaepernick after leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship game last year many questioned Coach Jim Harbaugh. By deciding to go with Kaepernick many believed Harbaugh broke the cardinal rule that a starter does not lose his job because of an injury.
Not one to give a hoot about public perception Harbaugh ignored the criticism refusing to reconsider his choice even after the 42-13 blow out against their division rival the Seattle Seahawks where Kaepernick looked both confused and overwhelmed.
Although Harbaugh had supreme confidence in his elite defense he knew that if he wanted to be in Super Bowl XLVII he would have to expand his ball control offense. With Kaepernick at the helm the 49ers offense began to finally make use of their play-making pass catchers Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. The transition to the spread offense took half the season to perfect but it was necessary if the 49ers truly wanted something more.
Blessed with elite athleticism and an ever improving arm Kaepernick saved his best performances for the playoffs: 496 yards passing, 202 yards rushing, and 6 total touchdowns. Many feared that inexperience would be his downfall but his play against some of the NFL’s top defenses says otherwise.
After the San Francisco 49ers lost to the sub .500 Saint Louis Rams many expected the Kaepernick experiment to end. Many thought that if the 49ers could not beat the lottery bound Rams what chance would they have against the arm of Aaron Rodgers or
the dynamic wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White in Atlanta. Three playoff games and one NFC Championship later Harbaugh can lean back in his seat and pose this question: Who’s the dummy now? As the San Francisco 49ers gears up for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans their match-up with the Baltimore Ravens promises to be one for the ages. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 01.14.2013)
Since his day as a Golden Hen at D-1AA Delaware playoff winning quarterback Joe Flacco has had his fair share of doubters. Despite possessing the look and arm strength a NFL quarterback many questioned how the meek mannered rookie from Audobon, New Jersey would mesh with a Raven locker room full of characters. Since Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome had made a career out of unearthing NFL draft gems expectations for the ‘Golden Hen” could not be any higher.
Five years and three AFC Championships later the silent assassin has led the Ravens within one game of reaching Superbowl XLVII in New Orleans. For nearly a decade the Ravens relied on their defense to set the tone while the offense often took a back seat. However, due to both age, father time, and necessity the Ravens offense has taken center stage. Blessed with an impressive collection of play-makers like veteran wide receiver Anquan Bolden, mighty-mite running back Ray Rice half-man half-gaze Torrey Smith the days of a game-managing offense are over.
Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense battled inconsistency throughout the regular season. Due to a four-game losing streak many critics questioned whether another early playoff exit was on the horizon. However, through injury and adversity the Ravens rallied around Ray Lewis who announced that he would retire at the end of the season.
Although Ray Lewis grabbed all the headlines the fate of the Ravens would ultimately rest on the arm of the one Raven who is scrutinized more than he is ever praised. A year after leading the Ravens within a dropped pass of the Super Bowl Flacco is at it again. In their AFC Championship re-match with the Patriots many have already presumed that the Patriots will win. However, such a presumption would be a huge mistake due to a resurgent Ravens offense and injuries the Patriots suffered in the Divisional Playoffs.
This will mark the third time that Flacco has the opportunity to come within a win of becoming a Super Bowl champion. Unlike his two previous attempts Flacco will enter this game pressure free with the limelight focusing on his teammate Ray Lewis and his opposing quarterback GQ coverboy Tom Brady. In his two previous outings Flacco has shown great command of the offense silencing critics who questioned his clutch-gene when he out-dueled Peyton Manning in a double overtime thriller.
Not one to root for happy ending at this point it appears that the Ravens may be a team of destiny. The Ravens have overcome a number of obstacles in their pursuit for a Super Bowl: the death of wide receiver Torrey Smiths brother, Terrell Suggs achilles injury, Ray Lewis torn pectoral and retirement, and the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in week 13. Led by Flacco and a team that is surging the best may be yet to come. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 01.17.2013)
After being turned down more times than a fat kid who wanted cake the Philadelphia Eagles finally found their next head coach, 15 interviews and 4 rejections later. In a sense of desperation the Eagles general manager begged Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to reconsider his offer, and 16 days after their first interview which lasted 8 hours Kelly agreed to become the next coach of the Eagles.
After winning the Fiesta Bowl in convincing fashion over the Kansas State Wildcats Kelly was at the top of every NFL owner’s wish list due to his explosive Oregon Duck offense that averaged one touchdown every 56 seconds. Elements of his spread offense has become the latest buzz in the NFL ranks due to the successful implementation and play of athletic quarterbacks like the Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III, the Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson, and the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick.
After his five-year stint in Eugene no one can blame Kelly for giving the NFL a shot, but the timing of his decisions makes one wonder why the sudden change of heart? When Kelly first pasted on the job it was the same weekend that Robert Griffin III tore his ACL and PCL in the Redskins first round loss to the Seattle Seahawks. After the injury criticism was rampant with about the longevity of the spread offense phenomena and punishment quarterbacks running this offense would take.
Coincidentally two weeks later when the other two stars of the spread offense had phenomenal post-season performances – Kaepernick (4 TDs, 263 yards passing & 181 yards rushing) and Wilson (3 TDs, 385 yards passing & 60 yards rushing) Kelly reconsidered the Eagles offer.
Another reason for his exit may be due to the pending NCAA investigation of theOregon football team of improper benefits to a Texas handler Willie Lyles who steered 5-star running back Lache Seastrunk and other talented Texas recruits to Eugene. This cloud of uncertainty and unavoidable penalties and sanctions on the horizon, guilt or knowledge of wrong-doing may have been the final straw.
In time his real motives for leaving the Oregon Ducks will be revealed: Is a multi-year Bowl ban with scholarship reductions on the horizon? As Kelly assumes the challenge of rejuvenating a once proud franchise he certainly will have a lot of talented playmakers at his disposal. Although he will be greeted with praise and possibly even a standing ovation; remember the same fan base that booed Santa Clause will not be patient. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
Road to the Super Bowl: Contenders will rise and pretenders will fall, who will be left standing #nflplayoffs
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 01.09.2013)
fter nearly six months of NFL games the playoffs has arrived and all that remains are the serious contenders for the NFL title. Although there may still be a few more poser among the six teams remaining, at the end of the weekend their true colors will shine bright as only four teams will inch closer to representing their conference and ultimately celebrating a NFL championship in the Big Easy.
Six out of the head coaches remaining in this single elimination tournament are entering unchartered waters as they each attempt to build a legacy similar to one time Super Bowl Champion Packer Head Coach or four-time Super Bowl winning Coach Belichick of the New England Patriots. Each of these franchises quarterbacks all have compelling stories: Peyton Manning’s (Denver Broncos) fused neck; Russell Wilson’s (Seattle Seahawks) small stature and 3rd draft selection; Colin Kaepernick (SF 49ers) youth and inexperience; Joe Flacco’s (Ravens) clutch gene missing an unaccounted for; Aaron Rodgers (GB Packers) will his arm hold up to three games of 60+ passes due to a deficient running game; Matt Schuab (Houston Texans) will he finally get the monkey off his back and shake off the bug of inconsistency; Matt Ryan (Falcons)will he finally win a game when it counts the most; and last but not least Tom Brady (NE Patriots) will he be forced into another shootout.
Although each of these quarterback will get their fare share of headlines this weekend do not be fooled by their golden boy looks and smiles because the outcomes of each of these games will ultimately won on the defensive side of the ball. The Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots bend but don’t break defenses have been serviceable during the regular season but they both know that the playoffs is a different beast all its own. Both former Super Bowl Champion teams will rely heavily on their secondary to produce turnovers. The Patriots corner back Aquib Talib will be left in man coverage against the Texans All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. Green Bay’s Charles Woodson will certainly test the youth and inexperience of 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.
The Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos each have a number of game breakers on the defensive side of the ball each team will certainly keep the offensive coordinator and the quarterback up the night before game day. The secondaries of the Seahawks and the 49ers play most games in man coverage which gives the defensive coordinator the luxury of blitzing at a high rate. The Broncos led by All-Pro linebacker Von Miller dominate the line of scrimmage giving opposing quarterbacks very little time in the pocket.
The Atlanta Falcons certainly have their fare share of talent on the defense including a stud at linebacker in Sean Witherspoon and free safety Will Moore in the secondary. Unlike their play-off peers the Falcons often gets overlooked but this weekend they will have an opportunity to cast their embarrassing loses to cellar dwellers into the sea of forgetfulness. As the epic battle of titans grows near tune be sure you have your pop corn ready, because this weekend its going down and it promises to be a good one Also be sure to join me Saturday 1030 EST for my NFL Playoff Primer for this weekend’s games. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark.
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 12.18.2012)
A year ago before his highly anticipated match up against crosstown rival the New England Patriot the ever enigmatic Jets head Coach referred to himself as a future Hall-of-Famer while also dawning a make shift Hall of Fame coat presuming that a bust of his image was a foregone conclusion. Not one to bite his tongue Rex Ryan finally appears to be at a lost for words as his Jets will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row with major changes and firing within the organization on the horizon. < Rex Ryan = ‘alligator mouth, hummingbird a-$ – ti’>
The dismal play of the offense is unacceptable, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez appears to have completely lost his confidence after throwing 3 interceptions in a game for the fourth time this season. After leading the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championships expectations for him to take the next step as an elite quarterback appeared to be virtual certainty. But the Jet front office failed to retain any of the play-makers who made those playoff runs possible (Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, Jerricho Cotchery). The front office’s decision to go in a more affordable direction would not have been a problem had they not drafted so horribly. From 2010-2012 the Jets have drafted twenty players which has only produced 2 starters, 11 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and 10 sacks combined this season (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyj/draft.htm).
Bad player evaluations has led to wasted draft selections, poor player development, and an aging defense has truly been a recipe for disaster. The future of the Jets franchise is unknown as the front office continues to make bonehead moves like signing Mark Sanchez to an extension guaranteeing him 8 million next year and who can forget the Tebow-bania that has now been reduced to a whimper with him being a permanent fixture on the sideline with clipboard in hand. An off-season filled with hype and shirtless runs in the rain are reasons why this once proud franchise has become the laughing-stock of the league. In order to change the fate of New York’s ‘other’ NFL team wholesale changes are in order. The lack of leadership and cohesiveness is so clear that a blind man can see it.
At this point it may be given that the general manager and the president of football operations may be sporting new NFL apparel next season. Although thehttp://www.firerexryan.com continues to gain steam the chances of him returning for another year may hinge on how the Jets finish the season. The Rex Ryan era has been anything short of boring from Superbowl predictions, to self-appointed Hall-of-Fame enshrinement, Rex Ryan has certainly ensured that the Jets were always relevant. Those antics are tolerable as long as you are collecting W’s but now those wins have now been replaced with embarrassing loses, in-game spats with players, and division amongst Jets players in the locker-room.
Although the future of the Jet franchise is unknown the downward trend guarantees that the Jets will be preparing for more than just the NFL draft once the regular season comes to an end. Have we seen the last of Rex as Jets head coach? Is Mark ‘I throw picks for fun’ Sanchez still the franchise quarterback? Have we seen the last of Tim Tebow in the Big Apple? No matter what happens the J-E-T-S jets jets jets off-season promises to be a compelling one. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 12.11.2012)
Parody in the NFL has become a widespread phenomenon that has infected the entire NFC. The only team that appears to be immune to its elixir are the New England Patriots who continue to widen the gap of dominance over their AFC counterparts. NFC division leaders New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and Atlanta Falcons have all been remarkably inconsistent all season suffering loses to unacceptable opponents and conference cellar dwellers.
The regular season is nearly over and no dominant team from the NFC has separated themselves from the packas a prohibitive favorite to represent the conference for the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Unlike the NFC teams the Patriots continue to stomp on the throat of their opponents and it would not be considered presumptuous for their fans to start booking flights and making hotel arrangements to Bourbon street for another shot at another Super Bowl.
As the playoff picture begins to become more clear fans and odds makers alike have no clue who will contend. At the start of the season the Green Bay Packers were projected to have the best chance to win another Superbowl.
Although the play of the Packers has been impressive at times, the Packers have failed to overcome the injury bug as well as produce a serviceable running game. Last week against the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants they were thoroughly dominated as the G-men defensive line made life for Aaron Rodgers a nightmare.
Led by Eli these same New York Giants have also been remarkably inconsistent recently ending a 4-game no touchdown pass drought. Despite holding onto a slim lead in the division over the resurgent Washington Redskins there chances of repeating and potentially missing the playoffs all seem like unsurprising outcomes. Their NFC Conference Championship foe the San Francisco 49ers are still breaking in quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has been both electrifying and riddled with mistakes all alike.
The Falcon continue to prove pundits right with two embarrassing loses to two teams with records below .500.Despite an 11-2 record has their ever been a team with such an impressive record that everyone presumes will make an early playoff exit like they have done in times past The last three Super Bowl winners were NFL wildcards which means teams like the dangerous Seattle Seahawks and the talented but inconsistent Chicago Bears may serve as more than just first round exits during the postseason.
As the season progresses the Patriots eventual crowning as AFC Champion seems like a certainty. However, history has shown us that the Super BowlChampion may come from the NFC for the fourth time in five years. Although the Patriot’s eventual foe has yet to be determined their challenger promises to be compelling none the less. Will the Giants and Falcons shake the bug of inconsistency? Will the 49ers led by their unproven quarterback prove pundits wrong and return to the site of their last Super Bowl run in 1990? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrkslpsprtz2 11.06.2012)
As the Dallas Cowboys continue to disappoint for yet another season news of suspended Coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints contract being voids has many in Dallas lost in the world of what-ifs. Although Dallas Cowboy owner and general manager Jerry Jones pledged his allegiance to Coach Garrett everyone knows he did not earn his billions by showing his hand.
There was a time when the Cowboys were regulars in the Super Bowl however it seems that the consistency of winning has been replaced with unforgettable fourth quarter blunders that have left the Cowboy faithful lost and weary. It has been nearly fifteen years since the Cowboys have made it past the second round. During that time the Dallas Cowboys have mastered the fourth quarter collapse with flawless precision, Romo’s fumbled field goal snap in the 2009 playoffs still hurts many of my friends to this very day.
Currently sitting at 4-5 how the team performs the remainder of the season will make for an entertaining off-season that will not be short of drama and suspense. Although quarterback Tony Romo has taken a lot of heat while at the helm talks regarding a contract extension still remain unresolved. No one will contest the inconsistency of his play but signing him to an extension almost seems like a foregone conclusion due to the lack of studs available via the draft or free agency.
Head Coach Jason Garrett despite his high football acumen his Cowboys continues to fail to meet expectations despite the potential and talent available to produce an explosive offense. Cowboy owner Jerry Jones made his billions by knowing when to drill for oil and when the time has come to drill elsewhere. At the two-year mark many believe that the time has come to move on.
On last Sunday it was reported that Coach Sean Payton’s contract with the New Orleans Saints was voided making him available as a free agent to the highest bidder. Due to Sean Payton’s history with the Cowboys and his family living in Dallas many have made the Cowboys a prohibitive favorite to win the bidding war for his services.
If Sean Payton returns to run the show in the Big Easy do not be surprised to hear Oregon Coach Chip Kellybecome an attractive commodity that’s offensive track record would certainly tickle the fancy of the billionaire oil man. Chip Kelly said no to the Buccaneers last year will he able to do the same to the Dallas Cowgirls Dallas Stadium and a impressive array of pieces on offense?
Despite their slow start, unlike Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins who has already conceded the season all is not lost in Dallas. The pieces to make a long playoff run are certainly there but how the season ends will make the Dallas Cowboys my top pick for Hard Knocks for the next off-season due to all of the drama that would certainly ensue. It is very possible that boisterous defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his defense will be the key that ultimately determines the future of the franchise, and the fate of their head coach. What will be the first domino to fall? Will Romo get an extension. Stay tuned to America’s team I know I will – A. Denmark
The Return of the NFL Refs: How a win for the referees = a win for the NFL’s $25 Billion Dollar Empire
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 09.30.2012)
After the Hail Mary debacle on Monday Night between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers the five month stalemate between the NFL and Referee’s Association was resolved in time for the Thursday Night game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, who had lost nine straight to the opposition.
The NFL referees returned to a standing ovation from NFL fans and hugs and slaps on the back from the Baltimore Raven and Cleveland Brown players. Many will believe that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell conceded due to player safety, threats of boycotts by players, pressure from picketing fans or the urging of our Commander-in-Chief,President Barack Obama.
This could not be further from the truth, the real reason the commissioner and his billionaire pals decided to finally give in was because it was a great business decision. Lets first be clear that with either referee officiating the games that the NFL was never at a threat of losing a cent of the $25 Billion Dollars that it collects annually. As with any top Fortune 500 company how one is viewed matters very little especially since companies such as the NFL are only fueled and driven by opportunities to increase capital gain.
The miscues from the Monday Night Football game sparked a media storm that the NFL only received on Super Bowl Sundays. Everyone from the avid fan to my nine-year old niece who does not even know what a touchdown is had an opinion regarding the referee’s blown call in Seattle. Every local new network around the country spewed their discontent with the replacement referees from Al Roker, the weather man on NBC’s Today Show to Bill O’Reilly on Fox New’s No Spin Zone. Others may mistakenly view such attention negatively but the NFL seized on this opportunity of being in the headlines and saw it as an opportunity to increase viewership and ultimately regain the $30 million dollars that they had agreed to in their negotiation with the NFL Referee’s Association.
In business one never passes on an opportunity to increase profits and the NFL is no different. Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young did not need his law degree from BYU to see that everything comes secondary to the opportunity to make few more million here or there. The game on Thursday Night posted record numbers nearly doubling what was initially projected with a total of 8 million viewers.
Tomorrow after you loosen your tie, take off your suit jacket or exchange your church blouse for a jersey consider how many more people will be tuning into the game, not out of interest but merely curiosity to see the return of the NFL referees. These new viewers are the true reason the NFL finally conceded. More viewers means new fans which of course causes higher ratings that ultimately results in more money.
While most who watch do so for the joy and love of the game NFL owner watch it for different reasons but since it takes $107 million to run a NFL franchise each year can you really blame them? As you waive your terrible towels or put on your favorite NFL team jerseys stay tuned to the madness that is the NFL…I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)
by (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 09.26.2012)
At the beginning of the season teams like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers graced the covers of endless magazines and were considered shoe-ins to play for the Lombardi Trophy. Fans in New Orleans believed that making Drew Brees the highest paid player in the NFL would ensure that the Saints would operate without a hitch and contend for another Super Bowl.
However in only a short time the NFL has dealt its fans one harsh reality, that an unpredictable season awaits and the popular picks to win it all may struggle to even make playoffs. Last season was truly an exceptional one but the record-breaking offensive outputs are unlikely to be repeated EVER again. After being victimized by these potent offenses defensive coordinators around the league have had an entire off-season to prepare for the rigors of a long NFL season.
So far this season the NFL’s so-called elite quarterbacks (Brees, Manning, Brady, and Rodgers) have all struggled to adapt to the new wrinkles defenses have installed to beat them. The New Orleans Saints sit at 0-3 and so far this season Drew Brees has made a number of game changing decisions like the safety or the costly interception which cost the Saints the game against perennial doormat the Kansas City Chiefs.
Not to be out done, the two other 19 million dollar men Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have become shadows of themselves, their play on the gridiron is not matching the names on the back of their jerseys. For the first time in his thirteen year career Peyton Manning admitted being lost and confused when he attempted to explain his three interceptions to a stunned media room. Tom Brady was also at a loss for words when asked to explain the plight of the New England Patriots who with a loss next week may fall below .500 for the first time in nearly seven years.
Last night there were many times when NFL MVP Aaron Rodger also looked lost against the Seattle Seahawks, failing to read defenses quickly enough resulting in a NFL record 8 sacks in the first half. After nearly five years of offensive dominance by these elite quarterbacks it appears a new generation of defensive masterminds have arisen and made these future Hall of Famers finally look human.
Although there are still many more games left to play the revival of elite defenses is no mirage and the chess match which will occur throughout the season will truly be one to marvel at. A $19 million dollar quarterback used to guarantee you of a playoff run, we shall see if these old guys will have any new tricks. Are we witnessing a new era or the careers of these elite quarterbacks in decline, in 17 weeks we will know for sure. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)
New Orleans Saints: No Coach. No Problem. No Brees No Chance #nfldecision2012
by (Anthony Denmark 05.24.2012)
For three years the New Orleans Saint fans have discarded their *Aints Paper Bags and grown accustomed to record-breaking offensive performances, NFC West Division Championships, and one of the best Super Bowl finishes ever. Since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy the New Orleans franchise has apparently reached its peak and the glory years now appear to be distant memories due to Bounty Gate, Jonathan Vilma and Head Coach Sean Payton’s 1-year suspension, and Drew Bree’s ongoing contract negotiations.
Although the Saints front office can do nothing about the 1-year suspensions their failure to sign Dree Brees to a long-term contract has already cost the team their All-Pro Guard Carl Nicks who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because the Saints had to use their franchise tag on Brees. During the offseason Brees also lost a weapon at wide receiver in Robert Meacham who signed with the San Diego Chargers.
Such a troubling offseason for the New Orleans Saints combined with a stalemate on contract negotiations with Drew Brees serve as indicators that the end is near. The Saint front office is playing with fire by not meeting Drew Bree’s demands, which has been reported to be only a difference of five million dollars.
Early this summer, everyone bared witness as Peyton Manning Mania took the entire league by storm, and it ended with the 37-year old quarterback with the fused neck signing with the Denver Broncos for 5 years, 96 million dollars. If this aging injury prone quarterback was able to fetch nearly 100 million dollars, imagine what a quarterback five years younger with no injury concerns combined with record-breaking production would fetch on the free agent market.
Two months ago I told my friends that Brees will be a free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season and they all laughed at me claiming that Bree would not holdout due to his loyalty to the city of New Orleans. However, Brees still remained unsigned and has grown frustrated with the progress of contract negotiations.
I predict that Brees will become a free agent at the end of the season and I believe that once more information about Bounty Gate is made public that Sean Payton will either be fired or his contract will not be extended after the 2013-14 season. If Payton is not fired I believe he will strongly consider coaching elsewhere, especially if Brees does not return after the 2012-13 season. Why commit long-term if Brees is not at the helm?
All arrows would then point to the Dallas Cowboys, who would certainly enter the bidding war if Drew Brees were available, because clutch championship pedigree is hard to find, sorry Romo. Drew Brees thrived in New Orleans with second-rate receivers, imagine how productive he would be with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten at his disposal. This scenario would become even more compelling because Sean Payton has publicly stated that the Dallas Cowboy head coaching job is his dream, I think you can connect the rest of the dots.
Saints front office, your time is running out and other franchises will start licking their chops ready to start the Drew Brees sweepstakes #nfldecision2013 – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)
Buyers Beware: NFL Prospects May Appear Better Than They Seem #nfldraft2012
by (Anthony Denmark 04.23.2012)
The draft is less than a week away and I now have a reason to turn on my television set again. Although there are other sports to watch true NFL fans understand that their is nothing like the euphoria you feel when your favorite team scores a game winning touchdown or when the defense makes a memorable goal line stand at the one yard line.
It has been nearly three months since Victor Cruz salsa danced his way to a Super Bowl and Tebowmania took the world by storm. With the season swiftly approaching several fans wonder who will be the next surprise or headliner to make noise this upcoming season. Although there are seven rounds in the NFL Draft jobs in your favorite teams’ front office are won and lost based on their ability to affectively evaluate talent, ignore bloated statistics, and ultimately strike gold in the first round and discover diamonds in the rough in the latter rounds.
Although the draft misses that teams make on quarterbacks are more widely publicized recent drafts suggest that investing in running backs, defensive linemen and wide receivers are far too risky and seldom yield consistent success.
In this upcoming NFL Draft 1 running back (Trent Richardson), 3 wide receivers (Blackmon, Floyd, and Wright), and 6 defensive lineman (Poe, Brockers, Coples, Ingram, Upshaw and Cox) are projected as locks to be selected in the first round. However, out of all of these athletes that have been glamorized by playing for premiere programs or who have posted impressive combine numbers I would only draft one of them in the first round. Why not you ask, because the production that you could get for trading the first round pick for a chance at Mike Wallace would yield far better results:
Buyers Beware Athlete May Appear Better than they seem —
- Trent Richardson – front office personnel must ask themselves if the wear and tear of the SEC has diminished the amount of years he can be productive in the NFL. He has already gone under the knife for his knee. Is one good year on 1.5 knees worth the investment of nearly 15 million dollars in guaranteed money?
- Justin Blackmon & Michael Floyd – although no one can question their production and dominance at the college level one could ask ‘if you act a fool in college what’s to stop you from acting the same way when you have millions dollars at your disposal?
- Kendall Wright – be weary of one year wonders, over a four-year career his production only began to eclipse with the development and improvement of his Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin. Last year he was only considered a 3rd developmental pick at best, and the only thing that changed between this year and last year was the play of his quarterback
- Dontari Poe – if you cannot even register a sack in Conference USA why should one assume that you will be productive in the NFL. Although considered a first round lock by many, his inability to not dominate his opposition or garner first team all conference honors in a non BCS league is a serious cause for concern
- Melvin Ingram & Courtney Upshaw – their production and sometimes dominance in the SEC is well documented but very rarely do undersized lineman contribute consistently in the NFL and only serve as situational pass rushers which does not warrant a first round selection. Elite undersized rushers like Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney and Terrell Suggs are rare breeds and several teams have wasted their first round selections in an effort to find a player with similar measurable
- Michael Brockers – although he possess impressive measurables his limited production does not warrant an investment of a first round selection, developmental picks are best selected in later rounds.
- Quinton Coples – despite his dominance at the Senior Bowl a player with a questionable motor and inconsistent play will certainly cause a position coach headaches and possibly a front office personnel their job.
Surprisingly through my process of elimination the safest potential first rounder to select amongst these players is the defensive tackle from Mississippi State Fletcher Cox. For three years under the tutelage of a well-respected d-line coach Cox has steadily improved as a tackle that clogs up the running game. It is rare to see an athlete with his impressive measurables who is versatile enough to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme without little drop off.
You’ve read it here first, FLETCHER COX WILL BE THE STEAL OF THE DRAFT which explains why his stock will continue to rise as draft day gets closer. However the secret is out mock drafts are now projecting him to go as high as the 6th pick in the NFL Draft. – A. Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)
Battle of Inches: Coach Sean Payton and the Bounty-Gate Scandal
by: (Troy Perry @troyperry07 03.31.2012)
Al Pacino’s infamous “Inches” speech from Any Given Sunday rings loud in today’s world of sports. Payton’s decision to knowingly allow his team to run a bounty program on opposing quarterbacks calls into question his leadership. Yes, I do place some blame on Defensive coach Greg Williams as the mastermind and enforcer of this program, but at the end of the day, the BUCK STOPS with the head coach. The person with final approval is who deserves principal blame. I’m not mad at the idiot in the meeting who raises his hands and says we should have Mike Tyson perform his rap song at the homecoming concert this year. It’s the SGA President who’s second’s that motion and allows this foolish idea to actually happen that everyone should blame. Leaaaaaa-deeeeer-SHIP!
See, Payton believed that this program was going to make his DBs play harder, nastier, giving them an edge, inches to be exact – inches to get to victory. The problem here is that Sean Payton was sending a hidden message in allowing this program to proceed: that message “It’s ok. It’s ok to steal this inch from my opponent.
Really!! And it’s not just Sean Payton we see scrapping for extra inches. There are others out there who tried to gain an illegal or immoral advantage. In every instance, the coach or CEO will have an asterisk next to his name when the history books are written. Bill Belichick and Spygate, asterisk. Paterno and the Sandusky scandal, asterisk. He didn’t want to lose what he considered to be a “good coach.” Jim, the “great coach with the high moral compass”, at Ohio State not reporting player violations because he didn’t want his players to sit, asterisk. Bonds, Sosa, McGuire all not only tried to get inches, but yards with their steroid use, asterisk. Wall St. CEO’s allowing their companies to sell bad mortgages to home buyers who couldn’t afford it then turning around and selling the mortgages as package to overseas investors. Guess who needed a bailout and have low approval numbers among the general public, asterisk.
In every case where coaches and corporate CEO’s have tried to gain an advantage and lost, they’ve tainted their image, but perhaps more important, they’ve tainted their legacy. Their miscalculation will result in history always remembering them with a BUT and an asterisk next to his name. Call me old fashion, but I still think you can win the right way. It’s like Ray Lewis says in this video “We get one chance in life to do whatever you gonna do. To lay your foundation and make whatever mark your’re gonna make. Whatever legacy you’re going to leave… because I’m pissed off for greatness. If you ain’t pissed off with greatness, you’re ok with being mediocre.”
You’re settling for mediocrity if you try to gain an inch the wrong way. Why taint your legacy and reputation, what you stood for, scratched and clawed for years to get, for just a few inches.
– Eatdrnkslpsprtz Guest Blogger Troy Perry (@troyperry07)
Demise of Coach Payton: The Offensive Genius who DOESNT GET IT
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 03.27.2012)
Just a week ago Commissioner Goodell suspended New Orleans Saints head coach for the entire year without pay for his role in Bounty-Gate 2009. Other members of his staff and Saints front office were also suspended, fined, and docked draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Everyone who played a role in paying players to injure their opposition quickly issued a public apology acknowledging their lack of professionalism and disrespect for the game that has given them so much.
Since these penalties were handed down each of the accused have tread softly, everyone except former Head Coach Sean Payton who is proving that even geniuses can be stupid. A coach who was not able to control his locker room or properly manage his staff is now trying to dictate the Saint franchise’s next move.
According to the guidelines of his suspension Payton is to not have any contact with Saints staff and front office representatives until the end of the 2012-2013 regular season. However the same offensive mastermind who broke numerous offensive records is now attempting to play the role of owner, general manager, and president of football operations.
Because of his poor choices the Saint franchise must now look for a new head coach and rumors suggest that Payton is trying force the franchise to hire his mentor, Coach Parcells to fill in on an interim basis during his suspension. Although many may praise this is a wonderful move, such a decision would be a huge mistake. It would be a travesty if Coach Parcells replaces him on an interim basis because it indicate who is control of the organization, and also make a mockery of the Rooney rules, which requires a minority be interviewed for every head coaching vacancy.
The time has come for the Saints organizations to wash their hands of Bounty-Gate and the first step in the franchise restoring order is firing Sean Payton permanently. Although Saints fans will never forget how Sean Payton helped the Saint franchise restore hope to a hopeless city, as with athletes who have passed their prime, the time has come to move on.
We often criticize owners such as Jerry Jones (owner of the Dallas Cowboys) and Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavericks) for being in the limelight and playing a critical role in decision-making, but never would anyone question if they controlled their franchise. Its evident that Sean Payton does not get it, its imperative that the Saint owners take back control, no one person is bigger than the franchise. In life, there is a time to talk and a time to be quiet. Each of those punished for their role in Bounty-gate have been silent, its unfortunate that Sean Payton did not know that it was best for him to do the same. He does not get it, and the list of excuses he has given during the owner meetings this week are indicators that his time as the Saints Head Coach MUST come to an end.
Au revoir, mon chere !!! – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)
Who Dat!?!?: Commissioner Goodell that’s who! Goodell < Hammurabi’s Code
by: (Anthony Denmark @eatdrnkslpsprtz 03.21.2012)
NFL Commissioner Goodell has often been criticized for not showing leniency toward players with his steep fines and suspensions that forced many players around the league to think before they leapt and pause before they spoke. In only a short span of time Roger Goodell has made it his mission to clean up the NFL image and protect the seal. After suspending Saints Head Coach Sean Payton for the year, and suspending former defensive coordinator indefinitely a message was sent to everyone in the league, from the players to the front office representatives.
Like the Under Armor Commercial, Commissioner Goodell has certainly ‘protected his house’ . Since taking over as the commissioner in 2006 the culture of the NFL has changed. Goodell believed that player safety and the integrity of the game needed to be preserved. As the amount of fines began to increase due to illegal hits and player misconduct a lot of players cried foul alleging that the punishments were too harsh or they criticized the appeals process.
But interestingly enough, the head coaches and coordinators stood silently choosing to not contest the suspensions or fines of their players. I don’t ever recall Coach Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers questioning the suspension and fines of Harrison or Coach Fisher of the Saint Louis Rams standing up for Cortlan Finnegan? Do you?
However, these coaches and coordinators are now crying foul as two of their own are suspended for jeopardizing the safety of players and compromising the integrity of the seal. I believe the decision by Roger Goodell is correct, no one is bigger than the seal and it important that coaches and NFL front offices be held to a higher standard. When others presumed that the commissioner would turn a blind eye or dish out a minimal punishment Roger stood pat.
In a country where we tout free will and freedom of expression, in the NFL there is one ruler and his power will neither be contested, questioned or overruled. Playing football in the NFL is a privilege not a right, and today everyone was given notice. [Roger Goodell > Hammurabi’s Code (eye for an eye tooth for a tooth)]
Denmark Prognosis – Williams is a great defensive mind that could do wonders at the college level as a head coach. However, I believe that his loyalty will be tested. Will he snitch? Will Williams name names in an effort to get an opportunity to coach in the NFL again? This was the first round of suspensions, current and former Saints players start saving your checks because a hefty fine awaits or worst you may have played your last down in the NFL (i.e. Vilma, Fujita, Porter, and Ellis). – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)
Tim Tebow: Where Art Thou??
This past season we were witnesses to Tebowmania everyone from the sisters in the chapel to the stay at home mom with three kids; all over the world everyone had an opinion about the young quarterback who wore his faith on his sleeve. As the victories continued to mount the Tebow following grew and became a hot topic on shows like the View, a skit on Saturday Night Live, and his likeness even made the front page of Newsweek Magazine. Tebow inspired millions with his play and made many doubters believers with his now legendary performance in the AFC Division Playoffs victory against my Pittsburgh Steelers.
However this week, we were each given a reality check, although Tebow inspired many with his exploits his inconsistent play and horrible mechanics led to the Denver Broncos front office questioning his long-term future with the franchise. Despite the wins, his poor footwork and dismal accuracy did not sit well with the Denver Broncos. Although Tebow led the Broncos to the AFC West Division title, winning in the NFL ‘the Tebow way’ simply was not enough.
With the Manning Sweepstakes now coming to an end another quarterback’s professional future now comes into question. What is Tim Tebow’s trade value? Where will he end up? After the Manning news conference and after he holds up the Broncos jersey with Elway and Coach John Fox, the questions about Tebow’s future landing spot will become the topic of widespread conversation.
Throughout his career Tim Tebow has overcome adversity, frequently making doubters believers but what happens next? The most high-profile third-string quarterback in history is without a home, and does not appear to have a landing spot where a starting quarterback job awaits him. Tim Tebow has been in the league for three years and has improved very little as a quarterback, in a time of instant gratification where coaches rarely finish out their contracts, no one can afford to wait for him to develop. Last year Cam Newton and Andy Dalton were pro bowlers in their first year and the bar has been set high and the expectation for young quarterback has changed, they are now expected to produce immediately.
Although it is unlikely that Tim Tebow will be jobless for long, the fate of his career will be dictated by the team that decides to take a flier on him. If he wishes to remain in the league long-term I am hopeful that he will decline any offer to go to any team in Florida and settle for a back up job with an organization with a solid quarterback coach.Tebow has a bright future, and in the weeks to come we will soon find out if that future will include a long career in the National Football League.
Best Landing Spots for Tebow in the World According to Denmark:
1. New England Patriots 2. Green Bay Packers 3. Buffalo Bills 4. Pittsburgh Steelers
Stay Tuned… – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)
Eli Manning, a man of few words, sent shock waves when he confidently proclaimed that he was an elite quarterback in the NFL. Radio pundits swiftly filled the radio waves dismissing Eli’s perception of himself alleging that a Super Bowl didn’t make you elite because quarterbacks like Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer were barely even average. Although every quarterback besides the two mentioned in the last twenty years have been inducted or are on track to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (http://mistupid.com/sports/superbowl.htm) scroll and see for yourself
This season Eli Manning evolved into Captain Elite displaying impressive poise in the pocket and elevating the talent of his wide receivers, Hicks who was on the verge of being considered a bust and the ‘Salsa Dancing’ Victor Cruz an undrafted hidden gem that barely made the 53-man roster.
Captain Elite let his game do his talking, each week putting up impressive numbers consistently outshining the quarterbacks that many pundits considered to be elite like Aaron ‘Discount Double Check” Roger who many believe will be awarded MVP this season. Unlike the future ‘hall of famer’, Rex Ryan, Eli has won two Super Bowl Championships in four years.
Captain Eli has become the most unlikely King of New York, a southerner who is no longer just the little brother of Peyton but an elite quarterback in his own right.
Eli Manning lead his team over the 49ers and outdueled Tom Brady on the big stage for a second time to hoist the Lombardi Trophy not only cementing his status as an elite quarterback but also securing his rightful place in the NFL Hall of Fame.
‘A true leader leads by his actions, not his words.’ – A.Denmark follow me @Eatdrnkslpsprtz