The NFL is a wonderful place full of action and excitement. I started this blog 3 years ago with little knowledge of the sport as a whole and basically using this blog to teach myself more about a sport I was falling in love with.
I am a UK based NFL fan so most of my Monday's at work are me basically trying to keep my eyes open and as much as I would love to watch Monday night football I tend to crash before the pre game stuff. I have been to ALL but one of the International series games (I missed the first one because I didnt like the sport at that point). I havent blogged about the NFL in 2 years and that is because I didnt feel I could write about something I dont know but I actually feel like I know enough to blog about it.
So lets start with the shock of the season The Arizona Cardinals. Who saw them being the team with the best record in the NFL??? I for one thought they were a nothing team. An average Running Back a less than average Quarterback. OK OK I get that Palmer is a former Number 1 pick in the draft and his stats suggest he isnt a bad QB but he is not a top 15 QB in the league I think even he will agree to that.
The Cardinals have a really strong defense and they have had some really goo displays this year. Id normally say that a good offense wins you matches and a defense will win you championships and I believe this to be fact but lets face it the Cardinals are SCREAMING 1 and done in the play offs if they make it. They remind me a lot of the Chiefs last year. I think the Head Coach of the Cardinals is going somewhere though. You may remember that Bruce Arians was the stand in Head Coach of the Colts during the #chuckstrong times of Chuck Pagano's struggles with Cancer and did a cracking job in his time in charge of the colts. He is now doing a great job with much lesser a team with the Cardinals.
Now i'm a Steelers fan myself and I have to say that i'm actually surpirsed by Ben Roethlisberger this season. I Love Ben and you dont win 2 superbowls and guide a team to another without being one hell of a QB but at 32 I was thinking "how long has Ben got left". The guy has probably taken more hits and sacks than any QB in the history of the game. He hasnt played 16 games in a season for years and its always because he held on to the ball to long and would take massive hits. You have to remember as well that the AFC North is possible the hardest hitting division in the NFL. The ravens, Browns and bengels are all really hard hitting teams because they wouldnt compete with the other teams in the division if they were not (thats why the Browns have sucked so much in the last 8 or 9 years and dont anymore). I was starting to think at the start of the year that the offense this year would be better Without Ben in it and The Steelers would be better off Righting this season off and getting a good pick next year and using that Pick to bring in a brand new QB and maybe trading Ben to someone like the Cardinals for a first round pick. When The Browns destroyed The Steelers earlier this year I thought that an 8-8 record this year was achievable but maybe unlikely. Then The Colts game happened and Ben and the offense shut me up and made me question my knowledge of the game. But every QB in the league is able to perform out of their skin for 1 game. He repeated it against the Ravens and everyone in the league paid attention to the Steelers again. Is it just Ben? no the combo of Brown and Bryant is exciting all Steelers fans and if Ben has an off game then they are able to put the ball in Bell's hands and he should be able to grind out a TD or 2 himself. After years of watching a defense heavy Steeler team to now be a offense heavy team is taking a little time to get used to. I don't actually expect the Steelers to win the superbowl this year but it would be nice to get the Tebow Playoff demon off our backs and have a new memory of play off football.
The last thing I am going to write about today is the game I will be going to tomorrow at Wembley Stadium tomorrow. The Jacksonville Jaguars host the Dallas Cowboys. Having been to the previous 10 games London has hosted I can tell you that the Cowboys are a well supported team Here in the UK but they are also hated by most other fans. I have spoken to a few people about the atmosphere at the UK games before and the feedback Ive had is that it "sounds neutral" and being there myself I actually agree with that the Lions @ Falcons game was a perfect example of that. I think all the actual neutrals do try to support the home team (except the people who support rival teams maybe) as we appreciate the fact that they clearly annoyed their own fans to give us a game. But we have had some really bad teams hosting and its hard to keep supporting a team like the St Louis Rams when they are 45-7 down and they scored first so you're seeing a team lose 45 unanswered points its hard to keep focus on shouting if a team is on 3rd down. The Falcons game was different. We were all invested in the Falcons win we made plenty of noise on 3rd downs but as soon as the Lions won it with seconds to go Everybody cheered except the falcons fans. I think there would have been as big a cheer if he had have missed. I DIDNT cheer. I wanted the falcons to win so when they didnt I felt for them. I get the feeling that This game will NOT be the same. The Jags committed 3 years to us. They suck but we love an underdog in the UK. and we have embraced the Jags as our own. The Mascot last year was class and they really did put on a good show. I hope for the same this Sunday but Not only that but you can hear the hatred for "AMERICA'S TEAM" whenever the Cowboys play at the same time as the UK game. We get the scored and Redzone updates in the Stadium and Whenever the Cowboys are on the reaction is huge. The boo's when they are winning are sometimes louder than a 3rd down the cheering when they are losing are louder than a TD or Turnover. This weekend may be the first true Home game in London. I for one don't hate the cowboys but boy and I going to Boo them this weekend. No doubt the Cowboys will win but they are on the rocks a little of late and would be nice to see the Jags get a win under their belts.
Sunday, 9 September 2012
New England have kicked off their campaign by extending the NFL record for the longest run of wins on the opening day of football (9). Tom Brady finished the game 23 of 31 for 236 yards, which proved enough to pick up the 34-13 win.
Both defensive rookies had a huge impact on the game, especially on one drive from the Titans, which saw Chandler Jones strip sack Jake Locker and Dont'a Hightower picked up the ball to run the ball in for a 6yd touchdown. One moment in the game saw Tom Brady take a hit to the face from the Blind side and left him requiring attention on the sideline, but it wasn't enough to stop him from taking the reigns and leading New England to a good start to their season.
Friday, 7 September 2012
A very dominant performance from a team who most dont even have making the palyoffs, The Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo kick off the season opener with a win against Eli Manning's Giants in their own back yard.
With reports that the Cowboys were going to be without some of thier big names, Step up Jason Whitten who on the night could only put together 20yds, but hispresence was felt by the fans and players. Romo with an equal performance to that of his championship win over the Eagles firmly stamps his authority on a division that is wide open this year.
As for Eli manning and the Giants, a win was certainly on the cards. The two time superbowl champion will be kicking himself after a great start to the match, but he was never a match for Tony Romo's near perfect performance. A solid defense over the last 12 months seemed to be getting weaker as the night went on, and with the loss of Mario Manningham to the 49ers you have to wonder if the Giants can get anywhere near there performance last season. Dissapiontment for Victor Cruz who himself dropped three seemingly easy catches over the course of the night, i dont ever remember seeing him drop one over the last 12 months, but with only one interception and three TD passes Romo stood out as the leader and dragged his team to a 24 -17 win.
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
So the Draft happened and let me firstly apologues for the long delay in my blog about this. Im not going to excuse it I just haven’t had the time……..thats a lie, I’ve had the time but I haven’t been arsed.
So firstly who are the winners of the draft? Well I think the big winners were New England. They were able to pick up the 2 players they wanted at the beginning of the draft at 21 and 25. well done. I don’t know if that was planning that they wouldn’t be able to get a Claiborne (a cornerback from LSU who was picked up by Dallas at number 6) who would be a brilliant fit and picking players they guessed would be there or not but, Chandler Jones (Defensive End from Syracuse) and Dont’a Hightower (Linebacker from Alabama) make one of the worst Defensive teams in the league a lot stronger. Chandler Jones isn’t Suh but is a very good player. Well Done New England.
I must say I was surprised by the amount of trading picks was going on. If you don’t know St Louis Rams were given the 2nd pick at the end of the year. By the time they took their first pick they ended up with no 14.
This is because firstly Washington swapped with them and picked up RG3 who will change the entire franchise in just a few years. Then Dallas swapped St Louis their number 14 pick for Rams number 6 pick. Dallas picked up Claiborne (description above) and this gives the cowboys a secondary (HA HA who would have thought it). Does this make Dallas a contender…… well maybe? They were 1 game away from being in the play-offs at the expense of Superbowl winning New York Giants. They may have been able to take that momentum to the play-offs and follow the Giants lead and win the Super…… no I cant even finish that sentence. They would have been smashed by Green Bay and even if they fluked their way through them I doubt they would have been able to get passed 49ers and Pats to win the bowl. Wow Giants did really well huh?
The Draft has made some teams highly competitive who looked like they would be getting the number 1 pick next season. The Jags now have 2 good players. Blackmon and Jones-Drew. So if they cant get through the defence by running through them they can try and pass it to Blackmon (Wide receiver from Oklahoma picked number 3 overall). All they need now is someone to throw the actual ball. Lol. Cleveland are better. They got rid of Willis and bring in Trent Richardson (Running Back from Alabama picked number 3) who is going to be a hell of a running back as well as picking up a Quarter Back from Oklahoma called Brandon Weeden who is 28 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How did this guy only just get drafted. His career will be over in 5 years. What kind of investment is that. Your rookie season should be your 5th. I looked up how it is that Weeden is only getting drafted now and its because he used to play professional baseball for a few MLB teams before injuring his arm and rethinking his career and changing to Football. It would appear to be an ok call but I wonder if he may have stayed in the MLB if he knew that he would get drafted to Cleveland. It would be like “I wanna be a football player” “you will get picked up by Cleveland” “um…… i think ill play Canadian baseball”.
so who were the losers of the Draft. Well the Saints had all their picks removed because of the Bountygate so they must get the biggest loser award. But I must say I wasn’t impressed with Cardinals choice. Im sure Flloyd will do quite well. Im sure that he will get quite a few catches this season because Fitz will be double covered and they will have someone else to throw the ball to so I understand that but Fitz has been double covered for years and people still couldn’t stop them. Cardinals biggest problem is their D and they didn’t improve this when they could have. They could have got Dre Kirkpatrick (Cornerback picked by Bengals) and that would have improved their D no end. But they choose to pick up another Wide receiver. I don’t see their season changing. All well and good having 2 good WR’s but when you have Klob throwing the ball your not gong to win the superbowl. You’re not even going to get in the play-offs.
Finally I would like to cover the Saints bounty gate. For those who don’t know the saints D were told that they would get extra bonuses if they were to “take out” the other teams Quarter back. This is a major rule break. So the head Coach Sean Payton has been banned for the season, Gregg Williams the Defensive Co-ordinator who has since joined the Rams is banned indefinitely (don’t expect this ban to any thing other than lifetime) and 4 players were banned from anything from 16 games to 4 games. Star linebacker Jonathan Velma was the player banned for 16 games and he is appealing that.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Payton Manning is a Bronco. Well who saw that coming. What the hell happened to TEBOWMANIA??????? I understand where Denver are coming from they have got rid of the unsteady unreliable quarterback and brought in Mr Consistency so its probably going to work out. I would like to point out that Denver are a play off team for sure now. I cant see San Diego or Oakland competing with Manning’s Broncos. But where does this leave Tim Tebow. Well a few teams still need a QB and you would have to think they are in the running for him. If im Tebow I would rather go to a team that has an amazing Running back because they could do so many play action plays ect. The choices for Tebow would be Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars or the unlikely Buffalo Bills (I know New England have been rumoured but he would have to be a running back and he didn’t seem to happy to do that behind Orton in Denver so why would he choose to do that in Boston).
I think there is a problem in Miami. They must have known that Manning was looking towards San Fran and Denver over them and I know they are looking at Smith but I think that Smith will have an rather stay in niner town. Ive just seen they have signed David Gerrard on a 1 year deal. The former Jag is not a bad choice. He is a pro bowler in his last season in the league and should be good enough for team that may well end up last in the NFL next season and get the number 1 pick. They wont do anything next season.
Matt Flynn has found home in Seattle. Im not sure about this one. The guy should be a pretty good player but for the seahawks? Im not sure. I think they paid a lot of money to a guy who has only had 2 career starts even if he does hold green bay records that Farve and Rodgers haven’t been able to get yet. He will be ok there but I can see them getting into the play-offs.
In other news with Brandon Lloyd joining New England Patriots that surely means that the Rams with use the trade with Redskins to bring in Justin Blackmon the most impressive Wide Receiver the draft this year. That is unless Vikings choose him but I think they will look at making sure that Ponder is covered correctly that might help him not suck this upcoming season. Lol. But having a touch of class in the WR role might help that aswell.
Friday, 9 March 2012
So the only thing going on in the NFL at the moment seems to be Payton Manning Leaving the Colts after 14 years with them. But was it not clear he was leaving months ago? This it the team that saw their QB had a problem with his neck so made sure they won the Andrew Luck Derby. They could have got a QB in to spend a year there and win them a few games if they wanted. The Colts have also let Reggie Wayne go so it would surprise me to see the Manning-Wayne partnership rock up somewhere else.
For what its worth I think Manning will choose to play for the Chiefs. It’s a path that the great Montana took when his time in San Fran was over and they are a team in desperate need for a leader and that is Manning’s main asset. Orton signed for KC last season but seems his future lies elsewhere and Klob looked a star at Philly but didn’t at KC maybe he could do with a season behind Manning to learn more about the game.
Another option for Payton would be Miami who looked at one point to be leading the race for Matt Flynn. But how do you choose between the 26 year old Flynn who looks a brilliant prospect but has only played a few games in the NFL or the 36 year old 4 time League MVP Payton Manning. The safer bet for a play-off run next season is Manning but in 5 years time Flynn will still be playing but Manning is unlikely to be still playing and how is Mannings neck. I know Flynn’s neck hasn’t had major surgery on it so its in a better state than Payton's. If im Miami I would build threw Flynn. The New Head Coach of Miami is the old Green bay offensive co-ordination so with Flynn being Rodgers understudy at GB it makes sense for Flynn to go to Miami but Payton might be interested. Miami has a history of Quarterbacks such as Marino but Manning could put his stamp on a Miami crowd desperate for something, ANYTHING to cheer for. I saw them cheer a 2nd down last year (true story). Plus who in their right mind could turn down Miami? Its bloody lovely.
Then you have New York Jets. The Jets do this with everybody. When Manning is retiring you watch them move for the next big old guy like Big Ben or Phil Rivers. If im Payton the challenge of taking over the city that his younger brother Eli is in (Eli plays for Giants and Payton could play for Jets) would be enough for me to sign for the Jets. They are an ok team with a shocking Quarterback but what happens to Sanchez? Redskins anybody????? Payton isn’t going to an NFC team but there is nothing to say Sanchez wont but maybe the seahawks would be a better fit for Mark Sanchez who wouldn’t have the pressure that comes with the big teams like Redskins or Jets. Plus I expect Redskins to pick up RG3 in the draft.
A lot of teams need quaterbacks this season and for the 1st time in a long time there seems to be enough to go around. Sure someone is going to have to field someone like Sanchez or Palmer but there will be quite a lot of teams that wouldn’t compete usually but their new QB has changed things.
At this time I would like to thank Hines Ward for his time with the Steelers. As a Steelers fan I have enjoyed some of his best performances. He is a steeler through and through and im sad to see him go on the clubs terms and not on his own. with the salary cap the way it is it favours the vets and the amount of vets that the Steelers have we cant pay them all. Ward was a casualty of that but im sure he will be ok. I wouldn’t have a problem seeing the guy turn up in a Rams or any non threatening team next season. He has a few more catches in his career yet. The question is can he take the hits still. The hit in the Broncos game was heavy.
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Got to say I haven’t seen much of Andrew Luck and what I have seen impressed with but the real steal of this years NFL Draft will be whoever trades up to get RG3 or Robert Griffin III to use his real name.
He is fighting to show what he can do and is the one that is trying to fight the “he cant read the play” tag he has been given. The reason that Luck will go to the colts as the number 1 pick is purely on name. In my view everybody says he is the next Payton Manning and the Colts liked having Payton for all those years. But RG3 have a different way of playing. They say he is a athlete playing Quarter Back but he is using the combine to prove what he is saying and that is he is a Quarter Back that is an athlete. He may not break records like Cam Newton but I think he will be a star.
The people that say he cant read an offence only assume he cant read an offence because he hasn’t have to do it in the collage. Baylor’s offensive Co-ordinator calls all the plays that they run but does that mean he hasn’t been watching defensive play or that he doesn’t watch tape. Im sure the lad has watched and learnt just as much as Luck he just hasn’t had to put it into play. I think this lad is a star in the making and he should turn out being a Vick or Newton but it may take a little while for him to being put up the kind of numbers Newton put up in his rookie season but well worth trading up for.
Im a little torn about the Ram’s trading their number 2 pick because im seeing the Rams play the Pats in London this year and I would have loved to have seen Justin Blackmon (they wouldn’t have gone for RG3 because they have Sam Bradford who they are paying a huge amount of money to and he hasn’t reached his promise yet) but this trade will probably take RG3 away from Cleveland Brown’s hands and that means we don’t have to play the guy twice every year until the guy retires. So who will trade up. There is only a few that I think will trade up. Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns (yeah I know I said they wouldn’t get him but they could swap their number 4 pick and their 2nd round pick for the Ram’s number 2 pick and get RG3).
I know that Miami need a QB as do Jacksonville jags, Arizona Cardinals and maybe even Seattle Seahawks but I think they will fancy their chances on getting free agents Payton Manning or Matt Flynn. Payton might take his Talents to New York (Jets) as I expect Flynn to take his talents to South Beach (Miami). But Cleveland and Washington need a top young QB and both have good picks to offer St Louis and the Rams are only going to take the best deal. I think he will go to Washington if I was to guess as they seem to make offer anything to bring players in. I think the Browns will take another rubbish year and build by bringing in the running game of Trent Richardson in the Draft. This could give them a new dimension anyway but they NEED a QB more than most.