National Football League

Page 82 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jun 19, 2009
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Amsterhammer said:
:D :D :D

On such a high! I've been saying all season what a monster Alf Morris is. How to get to sleep now.....?
Try to get some sleep....Seattle's defense is coming.
 
Here is what I saw and liked, and didn't like, today:

After playing hot of late, the Packers defense looked like they did last year, and early this year. They can probably beat Minn at home, and then what? Dallas loss to Washington was painful, even for a non-Cowboy fan. You could really see the hurt in Romo. He's had some real tough games, but that has to be one of the most agonizing ever for the guy. AP had an incredible game and season. What a disaster of a year for Philly. An ugly end to an ugly year. Vick had nothing, and their defense pathetic. Liked the way Indy took it to Houston, who were flat as month old beer. SF and Seattle were casual about winning out, but NE and Denver put their foot to the gas. The Jets loss to Buffalo was fitting. It was nice to see Terrell Pryor get his first start for the Raiders against the Chargers. They lost, but he played okay, saying he couldn't wait until next season (wonder what Palmer thinks of that?). The Chiefs get the #1 pick in the draft (Geno Smith? He's no Luck or RGIII, but has the tools). Jax follows, then Oakland. Still think Landry Jones may be the QB steal of the draft, as long as he's not expected to perform from week 1 (see: Ryan Tannehill).

Norv will be fired, probably Black Monday. GM AJ Smith too for SD. Andy Reid will be allowed the dignity to resign. Romeo Crennel is gone in KC, probably Pioli too. The entire Browns office and staff will likely be gone with the ownership change. Curious if the Jets have the balls to axe Rex, or just other staff. Ron Rivera may be gone in Carolina (but shouldn't be). NFL GMs will be clamoring to get Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly to the NFL, but he won't hint a single thing until after the Fiesta Bowl. Then pick and choose where he wants to go (Carolina is my guess, if there's an opening).

As to the playoffs, here's an initial guess:

NFC

I like Seattle's chances going into Washington. Too much defense, and their own offensive firepower. But it will be close.

I like GB over Minn in Lambeau, as I said.

Thus Sea would go to Atlanta, and the way both teams are playing, I'll stick with the Seahawks.

SF would host GB. Justin Smith said he could play next week if they didn't get the bye, so he'll be ready for certain in two weeks.

This sets up an SF-Sea rematch in SF. What fun that would be, huh?

AFC

I like Baltimore at home over Indy. Just more tools, and Ray Lewis will be back for the Ravens (and Suggs more healthy).

I'll take the Bengals over the Texans, who have all but collapsed. But this isn't a lock to me. There may be just enough gas in the Texans tank to win at home, and Cincy is good, but not great.

This means Cincy goes to Den, where the Broncos who have been beating up on weak teams, will be tested, but pull one out.

Baltimore gets a rematch with the Patriots, who simply have a better team. Especially with Gronk back, who played sporadically today.

I'll take New England over Denver, no question.

If that means NE versus SF. I guess I'll pick the 49ers, due to a combination of better defense, and bad karma still lingering towards the Pats.

Again, those were initial guesses. I'll make more educated ones later in the week.

Bleacher Report has their predictions. They like Denver over SF.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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I'll leave Alpe to elaborate further on the astonishing number of dismissals on this Black Monday.

I've got just over an hour to go, so I'll wish my fellow NFL fans a happy and healthy 2013!
 
The Monday Morning Massacre, as I like to call it, has created a lot of job opportunities in the NFL. A lot of these firings were good calls, IMO, but I think Chicago made a big mistake terminating Lovie Smith. The Bears went 10-6, despite losing Cutler for a couple of key games, and missed the playoffs only because of an arbitrary tie-breaker. Smith has a SB appearance in his resume, and I don’t see how anyone can call a 10-6 season a major disappointment, even though they were 7-1 at one point. If the Bears could be certain of finding a better coach, the firing could maybe make sense, but I see this move as mostly frustration at not making the playoffs, which is understandable but not necessarily the rational thing to do. Had the Vikings lost, which easily could have happened given a ball or two bouncing the other way, the Bears would have made the playoffs, and Smith’s job no doubt would have been safe. A decision on whether to keep a head coach should not hang on chances like that.

Where will Chip Kelly go? I agree with Alpe that Carolina is likely his first choice, as Newton is the ideal QB to run his system. I could see them possibly developing one of the great coach-QB relationships, like Walsh-Montana or Bellichick-Brady. But Rivera has not been canned yet, and there is a good chance he won’t be. The Eagles will almost certainly pursue Kelly, and if decides to go there, I assume he would want to keep Vick, who also fits well with his system. If any coach can revive Vick’s career, it would be Kelly.

But how about a team like Arizona that is also looking for a QB? In that case, Kelly could pick his own guy. Unfortunately, the current crop of draftable college QBs is much weaker than last year’s. And though there are good NFL QBs likely to be available for trading—Alex Smith heads the list—they are not in ultra-mobile mode that Kelly wants to run his system.

So here is a wild-a— suggestion. Suppose Kelly takes the job in Arizona (or less likely, another team looking for a QB, KC), and his former Oregon star Darron Thomas gives him a call. Thomas wasn’t drafted last year by anyone, but would love a shot in the NFL. He of course knows Kelly’s system better than any other QB out there. I’m not saying Kelly would offer him the starting job, but he would be a cheap backup who could help teach the rest of the team Kelly’s system, and maybe be allowed to compete for the starting position. Normally you want as your backup a QB that you see as eventually developing as a starter, but we have seen with GB, Indy and now SF that philosophy frequently leads to QB controversies. There might be something to be said for a guy who isn’t good enough to challenge the starter, but is good enough to step in and run the system when needed. Backup QB is one of the least-desired jobs in the NFl, but it beats flipping burgers. If Thomas didn’t pan out, he could always become an assistant coach.

Some comments on the playoffs:

Seattle @ Washington. I don’t think this will be close. Seattle’s defense is far better than Washington’s. I think their offenses are pretty close, though that is mostly based on the entire season; in recent weeks, Seattle’s offense has definitely been better. Both have very good RBs and mobile QBs. The RBs are pretty much a wash, though Lynch obviously has far more experience. RGIII can do a little more than Russell Wilson, but I don’t think at this point in their careers the edge is very large. Also, as I pointed out in an earlier post, both Washington and Seattle are rushing-oriented, by current NFL standards—passing accounts for only a little more than half their offense. Neither team throws the ball all that much.So any passing edge Washington might have over Seattle translates into a much smaller edge in total offense.

The bottom line, for me, is that even if Seattle were to revert to early season form, when their offense struggled, their defense is good enough to win a game like this. I see them prevailing by something like 31-17.

Denver. Much has been made of the fact that the Broncos haven’t beaten any very good teams, except the Ravens (who have had a Jekyl-Hyde season, in any case). When they have played good, playoff caliber teams—Atlanta, Houston, NE—they have lost. But all these losses occurred early in the season, when Manning was still trying to get the rest of the offense on the same page. To hear him talk, it will be years before he has the same chemistry with his Bronco teammates that he had with those at Indy. But they are clearly much more in synch now than they were early in the season. This is not the same team that it was two months ago.

I don’t think one should dismiss the Broncos just because almost all the teams they have played recently have been weak. One sign of a great team, IMO, is they win the games they should win, and Denver has done this in spades. It’s called consistency, and if you think it’s easy to do that, look at the Giants, or the Packers, or the 49ers, or the Patriots, Falcons, Texans, etc. Also consider that going into the playoffs last year, NE had not beaten a team with a winning record. When they finally played one—Denver (barely), then Baltimore—they rose to the occasion.

The one area of concern I have for Denver is Manning, obviously their most important player. As discussed here before, his playoff resume is spotty. He has played very well in the postseason sometimes, but has played very poorly many other times. I think he has much to prove this year. Despite all he’s done this year, all the expectations he has exceeded, if the Broncos are one-and-done it will be considered a humiliating finish to their season.

San Francisco. Justin Smith has said he could have played next week. But how could he be so sure of his condition next week when he couldn’t play this week? I have little doubt that he will be starting in the Niners’s first postseason game, but will he be 100%? And will he not be vulnerable to re-injuring his triceps?

If the Packers beat the Vikings, as I think will be the case, the 49ers will get a great test of how much Smith has recovered. Right now, I don’t think there is a more potent offense in the NFL than GB’s. After a slow start, Rodgers has been putting up the same unbelievable numbers he put up most of last year, and he finishes the season with the best QB rating in the NFL. The Packer’s defense is clearly their problem. Two hundred rushing yards is a lot even for AP, and Ponder looked like Brady against them. The Niners should have no trouble scoring against the Packers. But if Smith is not close to 100%, meaning that other Smith won’t be going sack-crazy, Rodgers could really hurt them.

New England. Want to know why this team is a playoff contender year after year? It all starts with the coach. He’s 60 now, but unlike a lot of much younger coaches, he changes with the times. NE led the NFL this year in snaps (plays) per game, at 74. That is considerably more than the low 60s that has been the traditional NFL average, and not that much lower than the average of 82 of Chip Kelly’s high-octane, no-time-to-catch-your-breath Oregon offense (Jeff Fisher, not exactly a radical among NFL coaches, once surmised that if Oregon played in the NFL, defenses would not be able to stop them). NE has embraced the notion of the no-huddle offense, and this is surely a major reason why they keep leading the league in scoring. They hold the record for most points in a season, and were on a pace to break that record this year until a couple of games ago. All this from a guy who built his rep as a defensive wizard.

Weird thought of the week: Suppose Minnesota had gone into that game with GB locked into the 6th seed, so that the outcome of the game was meaningless to them. Or suppose they had been eliminated from the playoffs before that game. Would their coach have passed on the chance to win the game with a FG, and just given the ball to Peterson for the final play? If he scores, they win the game and he gets the rushing record. If, as most likely would be the case, he doesn't score, the game goes into OT, and he almost certainly breaks the record then. Wonder how Tricky D!ck would have felt if his record was broken in OT.
 
I've heard that Arizona has already inquired about Andy Reid. Is that possible? Would he want to be reunited with Kevin Kolb? I thought KK would do better than he has but thought Andy was one to get rid of him from Philly.
Whatever, it will be interesting and I hope we see some new faces instead of just the same old retreads getting HC jobs

Happy New Year all
 
I think for the most part you will, and I'll be surprised if Andy Reid lands in Arizona, but you never know. There will definitely be teams interested in him because of his track record. But he may want to take a season off, or just retire. Arizona may want to promote DC Ray Horton, and try to hire a top OC (Norv?) to run the offense.

Merckx index said:
...I think Chicago made a big mistake terminating Lovie Smith. The Bears went 10-6, despite losing Cutler for a couple of key games, and missed the playoffs only because of an arbitrary tie-breaker.
Plus, defensive leader Brian Urlacher missed several games late in the season. I agree with you, bad firing. I talked with Brock once about the hiring/firing that goes on in the NFL (and college) and why Norv Turner wasn't canned last year, or the year before and he said it's because they didn't have anyone lined up they knew they could get who was better. So, either the Bears are pretty sure they have a replacement in mind, or they definitely made a knee-jerk, emotional decision. Smith could very well land somewhere else as a HC.

Two other AC's I see potentially getting HC jobs are Kyle Shanehan, maybe taking Kirk Cousins with him wherever he goes, or Denver OC Mike McCoy, who gets a lot of praise for juggling so many players, and winning. Seattle's coaching staff could get raided as well.

Just as I mentioned Norv could easily end up an OC somewhere, Ken Wisenhunt should be able to get a DC job anywhere, if he'll stop down to that.

Chip Kelly is obviously the hot college choice right now, and I too would like to see him in Carolina. He could go to Arizona, and find a new QB there, he could also go to Kansas City and draft Geno Smith. But right now NFL.com says Cleveland immediately wants him, and the Browns do have new ownership, a new GM, and a lot of young talent. But they still have holes to fill.

Steve Sarkisian at U of Washington is another offensive mind who was interviewed for Oakland's job last year, and could easily wind up somewhere on a rebuilding team in the NFL. Maybe Arizona, maybe Philly, maybe Cleveland.

So here is a wild-a— suggestion. Suppose Kelly takes the job in Arizona (or less likely, another team looking for a QB, KC), and his former Oregon star Darron Thomas gives him a call.
Not likely. I wrote about Thomas before, after the draft. You may recall I lived in Oregon forever, and followed the Ducks a lot. Thomas left for the NFL because his starting QB job was in jeopardy. He could have had a weaker senior season than his junior season. He also thought because he put up good numbers he could be the next Cam Newton. When Darron was at Oregon his numbers were inflated because he was throwing to a lot of wide open receivers. I don't see him as an NFL QB. Not even a backup. The other problem is that he's maybe not the shiniest apple on the tree. He made several bone headed mistakes off the field that hurt his stock as well. At best, I see Chip taking him as a 3rd string, or possibly a practice squad QB for his new NFL team. That's possible.

Jeff Fisher, not exactly a radical among NFL coaches, once surmised that if Oregon played in the NFL, defenses would not be able to stop them).
I don't buy it. Well, mostly don't buy it. They would however score some. As Brock told me the NFL play is so much faster, and the line match-ups the NFL players would beat the college players every play. The defensive linemen and linebackers would be in the backfield every play very quickly, and plug every hole very quickly. He said if the worst NFL team played the best college team the game would still be one of those 56-3 games, with the NFL team coasting in the second half even. So maybe the Ducks would score more, as they are so fast, and the NFL guys would tire. But the Ducks could not stop the NFL offense, at all, and would still lose by something like 56-23. Brock also said don't bring up the old 70's NFL vs. College games. Those were often all-stars and the NFL guys played them like they were the pro-bowl. No blitzing, trying to not get hurt, etc.

Will comment on playoff stuff later. Generally agree with you Merckx.
 
May 18, 2009
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Who is Brock?

Anyway, that Seattle bandwagon is getting pretty big. No thanks, I'll walk.

Wash over Seattle
GB over Minn
Houston over Cincy
Balt over Indy
 
Jun 15, 2009
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First of all, happy new year to everybody. :)

Since we are all in the playoff prediction business now, i´ll give my two and a half cents too. But later.

My predictions will be heavily influenced by passing efficiency. That should be no surprise to anybody here.:cool:
But this year i will favour offensive pass effieciency much higher than defensive passing effieciency, because ...

... 1.) Good (pass) offenses tend to prevail over good (pass) defenses. That is a historical fact.
One reason might be that defenses become (statistical) better (than they really are) once good teams built big leads. That is because defenses who need to defend the pass only, get more sacks and interceptions (once opposing teams go to the desperation mode, throwing more risky passes) late in games.
Another fact which underlines this, is that defense performance has a higher variance from season to season than offense performance when looking at the same team.

OTOH, there is no big difference in passing effieciency on 3rd downs compared to 1st & 2nd downs* (Link: http://www.advancednflstats.com/2010/12/epa-by-pass-depth-and-down.html). Actually 3rd down passing is better than on 1st/2nd downs, even though the D knows what´s coming on 3rd downs: You guys can control that fact very easily; Guess a whole game the coming play. Only if it will be a pass or run. If you are good, you´ll guess it right in 60% of times on 1st/2nd, but you´ll hit the nail easily in 85+% on 3rd downs.**

2.) Even though teams with better defenses (& offenses of course) than the NFL-Avg. qualify for the playoffs, and the weather is worse in january, all statistical measurements show improved (pass) offense effieciency compared to the regular season (like Y/PP, PPG, Yds/G, less Int´s).
And since most, if not all, SB´s are played in good conditions (either dome stadiums, and/or perfect weather), scoring and effieciency is skyrocketing in SB´s over the long run.

(* On "normal" situations; score is within 10 points, and only 1st & 3rd Qtrs.)
(** That reminds me of my old thinking; Why not pass on every down (if you have a quality team), until your lead is comfortable enough to run down the clock, if you know te opp. D can´t stop you? Martz tried it in the 1999-SB and 2000/01 RS. He came close to perfection..., so did Favre and PManning in some RS-Games, and Belicheat in 2007 of course.)
 
Jun 22, 2009
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ChrisE said:
Who is Brock?

Anyway, that Seattle bandwagon is getting pretty big. No thanks, I'll walk.

Wash over Seattle
GB over Minn
Houston over Cincy
Balt over Indy
I'm speechless. These are my picks too, though I'm in two minds about Cincy.

Certainly, any analysis of the relative strengths of the Hawks and Skins would seem to favor the Hawks, but hell, we're on a roll, Fedex will be rocking, and I'm not about to abandon my team, even if my pick represents more hope than expectation.;)

I think the Packers will produce the traditional Lambeau winter performance and take care of business this time, and I think that the mere sight of 'Colts' playing in Balmer will unleash extra Ravens power and determination. The return of Ray Lewis may also be a factor.
 
Ok, I’ll bite.

Those fired:
- Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert.
- Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey.
- San Diego Chargers coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith. (long overdue)
- Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves.
- Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.
- New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.
- Jacksonville Jaguars GM Gene Smith.
- Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.
- Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert - New owner Haslam, or new GM Banner who replaced Holmgren, apparently had an agenda which did not include Holmgren’s men. Either Haslam or Banner wanted to put their stamp on the organization. (LINK1).

To summarize from that link… the list of possible coaches to take over for Shurmur includes some of college football's top names. Haslam may want to make a big splash and land either Alabama's Nick Saban or Oregon's Chip Kelly, who both still have bowl games ahead. Penn State's Bill O'Brien is also believed to be on the Browns' short list. There is also reported interest in several NFL assistants including Indianapolis' Bruce Arians, New England's Josh McDaniels, Denver's Mike McCoy, Washington's Kyle Shanahan and Cincinnati's Jay Gruden.

And then, there is the possibility that a carousel of coaches may take place, such as some highly sought fired coaches (e.g. Ken Wisenhunt, Andy Reid, and Lovie Smith). Or even the return of retired ex-NFL coaches like Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden.

All of those possibly replacements are likely to be considered by any GM/owner seeking a new HC for their team, which is part of what makes finding the right guy for their organization a tough job. There will be a lot of demand for the mostly highly sought after coaches. The GMs that lose out in the bidding war for the best coaches may be worse off than they were before the firings. That is one of the reasons I think it is foolish that some GM/owners are not more patient with their staff. The norm in the NFL seems to be to give a coach 2-3 years chance and then fire them if they do not get results. Oakland is a good example of a poor way to run an organization. Teams that do that run the risk of, not just setting the program back (e.g. because the core players to be retained will have to learn new systems), but damaging the attitude of the players to the point they will not put out a REAL effort. Those players may LOOK like they are putting out effort by going through the motions, but are they really giving all they have. That was one of Bill Parcells pet peeves: “Are you giving me a really good effort, or are you just going through the motions”.

Ok, I got off on a tangent (rabbit trail), so back on topic.

Bills coach Chan Gailey – This is one of these guys who have been hit by impatient management. TBH, I was a bit surprised they let Chan go after just 3 seasons because some of the games they lost were close. But winning is everything and there are those who say some of the decisions Chan made could not be defended, such as the limited use of CJ Spiller, the bad signing of Mario Williams, the porous defense. (LINK2)

Chargers coach Norv Turner - Long overdue after 6 seasons, period.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum – This was curious. GM Tannenbaum was known as “Dealing Mike” for his history of trades, many of which were great for the Jets, such as the trade for Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers. Good thing the Jets had Cromartie this season after Reevis went down to injury. But I have a feeling the deal for Tebow did him in. In fact, I suspect Rex Ryan was not in full agreement with bringing Tebow in, despite his comments otherwise when Tebow came on board. The Jets gave no reason for the firing, saying:
“… it was an organizational decision.” (LINK3)

THE BIGGEST FIRING MISTAKES:
- Eagles coach Andy Reid. 14 seasons with the Eagles.
- Bears coach Lovie Smith. 9 seasons with the Bears.

Andy Reid – 14 seasons. Great results. Better person. Ok, the Vick experiment did not work out and the “dream team” did not work out. But this team was hurt with injuries this year that cost them dearly. This is one coach who will be in high demand.

Lovie Smith – This firing caught me totally off guard. I have to agree with you guys here, that there is no making good sense of this. There will be some Bears players not happy with this decision. Ditka calls the firing of Smith ridiculous and you can read his reasons in this link. (LINK4). Smith, like Reid, will be in high demand. Ok, they missed the playoffs. But they had a winning season at 10-6. They were also decimated by injuries.

When you have quality coaches like Reid and Smith I would rather the team do with them like the Steelers organization did with Bill Cowher, who after 7-9 and 6-10 losing seasons in 1998-1999, was given a contract extension and led them back to the playoffs. In 2003 after another losing 6-10 season the Steelers gave Cowher another contract extension, and what did they do? Won another super bowl in 2005. That is loyalty, which is part of what Ditka complained about in the firing of Lovie. Had the Steelers not shown that kind of loyalty to Cowher, they probably would not have won another super bowl in 2005. They likely would have spent a good number of those years retooling personnel and relearning systems.
 
May 18, 2009
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Amsterhammer said:
I'm speechless. These are my picks too, though I'm in two minds about Cincy.

Certainly, any analysis of the relative strengths of the Hawks and Skins would seem to favor the Hawks, but hell, we're on a roll, Fedex will be rocking, and I'm not about to abandon my team, even if my pick represents more hope than expectation.;)

I think the Packers will produce the traditional Lambeau winter performance and take care of business this time, and I think that the mere sight of 'Colts' playing in Balmer will unleash extra Ravens power and determination. The return of Ray Lewis may also be a factor.
I am iffy about Houston as well as I noted upthread. It wouldn't surprise me to see them get blown out. That is what I am actually hoping for....the best talk show host in town yesterday was saying Kubiak's job should be evaluated if they get blown out by Cincy after this collapse at the end of the season. Should and could are two entirely different words. McNair would probably give him an extension and raise.
 
I'll be surprised if Josh McDaniels goes anywhere. He was too emotional and too much of a loose cannon in Denver. Has he matured enough? He has a family now, so maybe. But he also recently planted that family in the Boston area. I'm still thinking that in 3-5 years Belicheck (and Brady) will call it quits, and McDaniels will be the logical choice to take over.

Andy Reid will get picked up, IF he wants to. I do wonder if he won't take a year or two off.

Lovie Smith could have a job within days. There have already been Bears players very vocal about his firing, and this could come back to haunt the team. And this is why I respect the Steelers so much. They just had a "bad" year, 8-8, but considering how beat up they were. But there is no possible way the Rooney family would fire Mike Tomlin. It's not even part of any discussion. The Steelers nurture their coaches, work with them, they don't fire them. Three coaches in 40+ years, all of them with rings.

Best teams to go to right now I think would be Chicago and San Diego. Lots of talent, and established QB's in place. I'd say KC if you're going to build, as they have a lot of talent and the #1 pick.

The one coach who should have been fired however was Rex Ryan. What a disaster of a team the Jets are.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I'll be surprised if Josh McDaniels goes anywhere. He was too emotional and too much of a loose cannon in Denver. Has he matured enough? He has a family now, so maybe. But he also recently planted that family in the Boston area. I'm still thinking that in 3-5 years Belicheck (and Brady) will call it quits, and McDaniels will be the logical choice to take over.

Andy Reid will get picked up, IF he wants to. I do wonder if he won't take a year or two off.

Lovie Smith could have a job within days. There have already been Bears players very vocal about his firing, and this could come back to haunt the team. And this is why I respect the Steelers so much. They just had a "bad" year, 8-8, but considering how beat up they were. But there is no possible way the Rooney family would fire Mike Tomlin. It's not even part of any discussion. The Steelers nurture their coaches, work with them, they don't fire them. Three coaches in 40+ years, all of them with rings.

Best teams to go to right now I think would be Chicago and San Diego. Lots of talent, and established QB's in place. I'd say KC if you're going to build, as they have a lot of talent and the #1 pick.

The one coach who should have been fired however was Rex Ryan. What a disaster of a team the Jets are.
I agree with almost all of that. The only part I don't understand yet is whether Rex should have been ousted. As I mentioned earlier, I was curious about the Tannenbaum firing. That begged some questions, like 1) who had the power, Rex or Tanne? 2) Was Rex in full agreement bringing in Tebow, or is that something that was forced on Rex by Tanne? (If forced on Rex, then that would explain some of Rex's decisions on who to start at QB, and would also explain why Rex is not keeping Tebow.)

Otherwise, I think Rex can turn this around for the Jets. After all, Sanchez did okay his first 2 years in the league. They have to build up some positions around Sanchez and improve the defense. And if McElroy can't do it, they need to bring in some legit QB competition for Sanchez.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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My Playoff-Rankings for 2012:

AFC;

1. DEN
They are dominating the passing game on both sides of the ball (especially on offense), finishing No. 1 in each case. That led to an +2.2 Y/PP-Differential. AFIR, only about 25 teams in NFL history were that good (or better).
So, even if Peyton gets playoff nervous, his usual "B-Performances" in there shall be enough to reach the SB.
2. NE
If DEN doesn´t make it, the other Big-Game-Underperforming-QB* (Brady) should lead his team to the SB. One of them should get through...
Tom Brady led NE to the 3rd consecutive 500+ Pts season. Only Warner´s Rams accomplished that feat before. Those Rams won 1 SB, lost one; so it´s time for the Pats to win one too... Ok, that says nothing. But it sounds good. And i love it when explosive inovating offenses prevail.
Plus, NE has Belichick. His Patriots constantly win more games than the talent should allow them. Again, like last year, the Pass-D is non-existent (outside of getting the desperation Int´s), finishing 27th in the NFL.
3. HOU
My long time favourite to reach the SB as the AFC entrant. And i still think they have a great chance to get there. Only their late season "collapse" made me to downgrade them.
The Texans finished 3rd in the AFC in Y/PP-Differential (behind DEN & PIT), doing very good on both sides of the ball...
DEN, NE and HOU are close. The rest of the AFC playoff teams are just pretenders who´d need a NYG-2007-like-luck to get to the SB. I say; Impossible. So no need for much words on them:
4. CIN ... 6th best Pass-D in the NFL ...
5. BAL ... as usual good at stopping the run (NFL-8th), but that´s about it ...
6. IND ... the Broncos of last year. That is no playoff caliber team. Below-Avg.-Pass-O (18th), below-Avg.-Pass-D (21st), non-existing at running the ball (26th) and stopping it (31st).
Their game plan to win football games is written on the backside of the starting Quarterbacks game shirt. ;)
But the so called "clutch" performance is (over the long run) a non-repeatable "skill"...

(* the story on Brady in my next post)

A look back at last year:
I didn´t know i had the NYG that high (actually i am shocked :D). Good that i looked at Y/PP before making my picks. I am ok: Had NE at No. 2 and NYG at No. 3 (no one outside of Brian Burke ranked them that high) in their conferences.
OTOH, i really $ucked at the PIT/DEN-Prediction. But who didn´t? Anyway the Tebow-Mania fluke is history.

FoxxyBrown1111 said:
Thank you that this is enough for you to fit the bet. It was a tight race...

Here is my yearly complete Playoff preview (after the short version of yesterday)

AFC:

1. PIT
+ finished 1st as usual in Pass-D (4,87 Y/PP allowed). Performed better than the famous Bears in 84,85 and 86;
finished 1st in the killer Stat of them all: Y/PP-Difference (6,98 on Offense = 9th and as said 4,87 = 1st in Defense; that makes it + 2,11)
- Scoring-Offense. They simply score to less points (21st in the NFL)
I still hope they won´t win the SB. If happening, expect wins like 20-10, 16-13, 10-7 and 17-10. After all the old song of "Defense wins championships" will appear and the criminal once again will be hailed as "Big Ben". Oh no!

2. NE
+ Pass-O (7,89 Y/PP = 2nd in NFL)
- The D (7,14 Y/PP = 29th). Thus, Brady has to be great in every game. I still hope they make it. Scores like 38-35, 35-27 and 44-41 will come. That would be great. Pats go Pats!

3. HOU
+ Besides all the injuries they are very good, b/c the Pass-D (2nd in Y/PP at 5,21) keeps the games close for Yates or even Delhomme. They´ll go far.
- The injuries...

4. BAL
+ 3rd best Pass D (5,39 Y/PP). As usual it´s the D that brings them in the playoffs.
- It seems BAL has the same problem as CHI: They can´t draft QB´s. Flacco isn´t the deal. I love his arm strenght, but after that it´s all inconsistent year after year (19th in NFL in Y/PP w/a 5,93 Y/PP).

5. CIN
+ 4th best Pass D (5,8 Y/PP)
- Pass-O (17th w/a 5,96 Y/PP)

6. DEN
+ ---
- They are the Seahawks of 2011. This team don´t belong into the playoffs. They get out-scored, out-passed and depend on pure luck when winning. I hope for one more win like this (vs. PIT), but it´s unrealstic to think it will happen.... I got caught in the Tebow-Hype and made one of the stupidest bets of all time (not here at cycnews, but in "my" NFL-Sports-Bar after too many beers).


NFC:

1. NO
+ 3rd best Pass O (7,79 Y/PP). Peyton is the coach of the year. He preaches balance to please the mainstream, but every year he rightfully goes pass wacky. That´s smart. A nice by-product: Surprsingly finished 4th (!!) in rushing offense (4,94 Y/R). It´s the pass that sets up the run (if you wan´t to win. May Norv the Smurf will find out when he is 80). Not the other way around.
I rank NO over GB, b/c they at least field a average Pass D (16th w/a 6,31 Y/PP allowed), thus allow to have Brees one average game. Something Brady and Rodgers can´t afford to have. But history shows that every great QB has some so so days...
- as mentioned the D has some weak spots

2. GB
+ Best Pass O (8,3 Y/PP). They seem unstoppable. I hope they meet NO for the greatest ever NFC Championship-Game... BTW, that was my prediction after i saw those teams in Week one, as everyone might remember (i am not sure if i posted it here, but made that bold prediction in the Bar at least. I couldn´t believe this clubs were putting on the greatest precise passing show i ever saw between two teams)
- Pass D (30th w/a 7,2 Y/PP). They can´t stop anybody. All the Int´s hide this weakness. But turnovers are random or come late when teams play the desperation mode. So you can´t count on them in tight games. Thus, GB is in big time trouble. Every SB-Winner needed at least a average Pass D (if fielding a good Pass O) or Pass O (if fielding a good Pass D).

3. NYG
+ 4th best (!!) Pass O (7,67 Y/PP) in spite of little Sister ;) is playing at QB. I saw them a couple of times. It seems the OL gives the QB 10 seconds to find the open receiver. I just wonder if a good QB would be under center. They could put up numbers like GB, NO and NE.
- Pass D (20th at 6,41 Y/PP) and the QB... They´ll need the same luck as in 2007 to win the SB.

4. DET
+ Good in Pass O (12th) and Pass D (8th), thus being 8th in Y/PP-Difference (+ 0,92)
- 30th in run defense (5,0 Y/R). OTOH, it don´t really matter... The problem is, they are very good, but not great in at least one aspect of the game. OK maybe the coach is great in his Ditka-Like-Behavior (BTW, click on this once in a life time interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW5va8T5qCw

and a close 2nd:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEYUFJcbmeI&feature=related )

5. ATL
+ They win games, besides not being very good. The same as in 2010. That must have something to do with the coach. He´s great. He has guts (just remember his 4th down call vs. NO. That showed the players once more his winning attitude. Since then they went 5-2 !), something Norv don´t possess.
- as said, they are an just average talented team

6. SF
+ They somehow managed to win 13 games. One might think that has something to do with the best NFL-Run-D (3,5 Y/R allowed). OTOH, history shows that a effiecient Run O or Run D is irrelevant for professional championship caliber football. If all, may the Pass D (9th w/a 5,95 Y/PP) helped them more than their Run D. I don´t know. I haven´t seen them playing...
- Pass O (20th in the NFL w/a 5,92 Y/PP, thus the worst of all playoff teams. I don´t count the Broncos with a non winning record as a true playoff team). Actually the 49ers are the only playoff team w/a negativ Y/PP Differential. Only three such teams won a SB:
the lucky 2007-Giants, the tuck rule cheaters (aka NE Patriots of 2001) and the dull 2000-Ravens . That´s it, only 3 of 45 champions. So it´s likely the 49ers will be a one and done team. They are like the 2010 Falcons. Sorry for all SF-Fans. Their record hides some true weaknesses....


As every year, the efficiency numbers show where the success comes from:
Y/PP-Difference is number one. On average all playoff teams (inclusive the Broncos!) ranked 9,4. The perfect average would be 6,5 (count 1+2+3+4...+12 divided by 12). It just shows how tight success is correlated with a combination of a good Pass O and a good Pass D or being so great on one side of the (passing) ball that it can hide the weakness on the other side (see GB and NE).

2. Y/PP-Offense (average rank is 11,4)
3. Y/PP-Defense (13,5)
4. Y/R-Defense (15,9)
5. Y/R-Difference (16,6 and thus worse than the average NFL-Rank, which is 16,5)
6. Y/R-Offense (16,9)

My picks for the weekend:
CIN 13, HOU 21
DET 24, NO 38
ATL 20, NYG 24
PIT 20, DEN 10

AFC-Final: PIT over HOU
NFC-Final: NO over GB

SB: NO over PIT

MVP: Brees

Enjoy the post season, Cheers,

Martz fired as OC :eek:
 
FoxxyBrown1111 said:
Indy...Their game plan to win football games is written on the backside of the starting Quarterbacks game shirt. ;).

Now that's funny. :D

In player updates, both Randall Cobb and Charles Woodson sat out the Packers last few games, and both say they will play this coming weekend. Woodson has been badly missed, so we'll see how he performs and if he can really bring the Packers back around to the defense they seemed to have early in the season.

Falcons end John Abraham and CB Dunta Robinson were both hurt last week against TB, and both say they will play in two weeks after their bye.

I agree Denver may make it to the big game. But it's going to be on their stellar defense as much as Manning, who has a history of mediocrity in the playoffs. Though he did win a SB, his stats weren't that great. I just think NE has more firepower, and Belicheck his number, and a much better coach than Fox. Good coaches are undervalued in my eyes. More that the 1 of 11 theory.

As to Tebow, I actually think if he were to get traded, now, to a running based team that really wanted him and was well coached, and he put in a lot of work in the off season, he could make it in the NFL. The whole Tebow Mania overhyped the guy, but he actually had a few games in Denver where he showed improvement, and yes, plenty of luck. But the Jets just completely wasted him.

Speaking of the Jets. Looks like the Jets may only have one QB from last year returning: Sanchez. Tebow is gone, and I'm betting McElroy gets a top 2nd string job elsewhere.

More talk that Andy Reid is going to Arizona, with the confident statement "I'll fix Kevin Kolb". But also Mike McCoy may be interviewing there. Picture him, with Alex Smith from SF both going to Arizona. Add receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Robers and Michael Floyd to the mix, and a defense that played well. I like this better than Andy Reid going there to "fix" Kolb. The Cardinals did however interview DC Ray Flood for the HC job. I still think Andy should take a year off, a la Jeff Fisher.

Bruce Arians should get an interview somewhere, maybe San Diego.

Both Cleveland and Philly want Chip Kelly. Considering that Chip coached Oregon against Arizona and saw Nick Foles 4 times, it would be interesting. Philly also talking to Mike Nolan, who bombed as HC in SF. But has done well as a coordinator since. Foles was starting to flourish under Reid, so if he's going to be the hope for the Eagles in the future, they need a good offensive minded coach, soon.

Lovie Smith talking to Buffalo, and maybe San Diego.

Nick Saben is saying "no thanks" to the NFL.

Mike Holmgren is open to coaching again (is he too old?)

Wade Phillips should never be allowed to coach again.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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RAY LEWIS TO RETIRE

Sniff. Let's hope the Ravens get more than one more game so we can all enjoy this true legend just a little longer. I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for Ray, and I think that all fans will miss him.

Riveted on first round HOF.
 
Just saw that. Best linebacker in my lifetime (I don't remember Dick Butkis, and think Ray was better than LT only because Ray is like a DC on the field). Instant HOF lock, obviously. Lewis future is entirely up to him. He could easily wind up as a coach, and the only team I could see that being for is Baltimore (as he played there his entire career). Steve Bisciotti is one of the best owners in sports and will make certain Ray is taken care of in whatever capacity needed. But Ray could do more than that. He's such a huge icon, he even goes to colleges and high schools already talking and inspiring people, so he may step away from the NFL a bit. But as a player, he was as good as it gets. His number will be retired and never again worn by a Raven. He will likely forever be a brand of not only the team, but the city as well.

Since someone is going to bring it up, I don't think his blemish from the 2000 Superbowl, being associated with and protecting the wrong people will hurt him. Not only was he acquitted of the most serious charges, he completely turned his life around as a person since then. His charitable work and giving has been huge, especially in the Baltimore area.
 

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