Tag Archives: RG3

NFL Week 1 Observations. The Better Late Than Never Edition.

Overreactions.

That basic sums up week 1 in the NFL. The teams that lost Sunday looked inept and hope, to quote the great Jim Mora “that they can even win a game.” The teams that won meanwhile, are on top of their divisions and are very much going to win the Super Bowl. That’s how it feels anyway. That’s because with just 16 games in a season and a media that has 24 hours to fill, hyperbole is necessity. The media needs it like Miley Cyrus and attention, and boy does she need attention. But I digress.

Peyton Manning? I Heard He’s Really Good.

It appears that you heard correctly bold subtitle thing. It also appears as though you haven’t been living under a rock. Last Thursday, in the season opener that featured Manning’s Broncos and the defending champion Ravens, Peyton Manning gave a master class in quarterbacking. He got out to a bit of a shaky start and then proceeded to toss an NFL record 7 touchdown passes, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Joe Kapp with the Vikings back in 1969. The last time someone did without throwing an interception, like Manning did that night, was Y.A. Tittle in 1962. I think the interesting thing here is that Manning appeared to know this off the top of his head. That’s some real student of the game stuff right there.

Also The Ravens Are Full Of Holes, And It Shows.

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens start the season on the ropes. I promise you, this is not an overreaction. Joe Flacco seemed to have chemistry with exactly none of his receivers, except maybe Dallas Clark but his hands appeared to be made of bricks, and Joe never found his rhythm. Jacoby Jones who is not only an important part of the offense but special teams as well, was taken out by one of his own players in what can only be described as sheer ineptitude. Jacoby sprained his knee and will be out 2-3 weeks. Baltimore could really use Anquan Boldin at receiver right now but, unfortunately he’s too busy being awesome in San Francisco. Where the Ravens traded him for reasons no one can begin to fathom. Add to that a nonsensical limit to Ray Rice’s touches (adequately screwing over my fantasy team) and I’ll be the first person to tell you I haven’t the foggiest idea what the Ravens are doing.

The defense has holes. They’ve got more holes than swiss cheese, a sieve and Miley Cyrus’s personality put together (zing!). They don’t look bad so much as they looked lost and inept. They made a star out of Julius Thomas who no one had ever heard of, even I presume, Julius Thomas. The NBC analysts Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels were at a  loss with anything to actually say about the guy, except that he played basketball. Which, to be fair, is more than any of us knew. Especially the Raven’s defense.

The Bills, Cardinals And Raiders Will Be Better Than Everyone Thought.

Everyone believed that the Patriots beat the Bills simply by arriving in Buffalo. Instead Tom Brady & co. won but with way more effort than anyone imagined. It was a nail biter that ended with Tom Brady driving his team down the field to set up the go ahead field goal. But the Bills gave their fans something to be optimistic about this decade. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel looked sharp throwing for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both looked shifty and hard to hit, both of them using their combined 30 carries to pick up 108 yards.

The Cardinals look like a for real NFL offense for the first time in years. Literally years. Larry Fitzgerald proves that he can be a dynamic player if there is a halfway competent quarterback passing him the ball. Enter Carson Palmer, our friendly neighborhood halfway decent quarterback. He looked impressive throwing for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns, hitting 8 different receivers along the way. Rashard Mendenhall added a bit of a running game and all of a sudden the Cardinals look like they can give any team in the league a run for their money.

Terrelle Pryor a.k.a. Al Davis’ last draft pick proved that the old man could still smell talent. Pryor had a decent outing Sunday. He threw a couple of interceptions but, he passed for 217 yards and a touchdown. Pryor made plays with his feet, specifically he made 112 yards worth of plays with his feet. He kept the Raiders offense on track and gave them a chance to win late. Unfortunately, Andrew Luck is Captain Clutch and stole a victory late for the Colts. Apparently Pryor cried after the game, but honestly, he’s got nothing to cry about he gave the Raiders a chance to win. The Raiders. I would’ve have been shocked if they won more than two games this season. Now, I’d be shocked if they didn’t.

The Philadelphia Eagles Look Fast On Field, Chip Kelly Says They’re “Too Slow.”

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to break a lot of records this season, and they’re all going to be for the most plays run. Under rookie head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles have adopted a frantic playing style. The Washington Redskins thought they were prepared for this. The were in fact, not prepared for this. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (the poor guy) was studying college film in an attempt to prepare for Kelly’s blazing offensive production. It seemed for naught. The Redskins hung in there early but once the Eagles got in the end zone, it seemed like they couldn’t stop scoring. Lesean McCoy and Michael Vick worked together like partners in crime. Two really fast partners in crime, shredding the Redskins tired defense for 24 first half points, while running 53 plays (which is a disturbingly high number of plays). After the game Chip Kelly said to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala with a straight face, “I felt like it was slow, to be honest with you.”

Michael Vick said he felt like he played an entire half of football in one quarter. That’s because you did Mike. That’s because you did.

RG3 Looked Like A Rust Bucket For Most Of The Game.

To say Robert Griffin III looked rusty, would be the understatement of the century. He looked like the tin man, if the tin man decided to take frequent baths in the ocean. Griffin was the definition of rust for three quarters of this game. His actions appeared stiff and unsure. His timing with his receivers was off. Passes hilariously overthrown and comically under thrown. He looked like a shell of himself. The only thing about this game that gave Skins any hope for this season was the fourth quarter. Robert was able to find a rhythm and when he did find it, the Eagles seemed unable to stop him. So that’s good.

Packers Try To Stop Kaepernick From Rushing, Ironically Get Picked Apart In The Air.

Well, it’s not like the Packers didn’t succeed in a manner of speaking. Colin Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Pack, their defense failed in every other sense of the word. The 49ers quarterback took whatever yardage he wanted from the Packers defense, which turned out to be 412 yards and 3 touchdowns. Clay Matthews got his hit on Colin Kaepernick but may have cost his team the game. There were offsetting penalties, and the officials mistakenly awarded the 49ers another 3rd down instead of the fourth down they were supposed to get. Some people might blame the officials for this. I blame Clay Matthews. His hit on Kaep as he was running out of bounds was stupid, unnecessary and a tad dirty. If he doesn’t to that there isn’t even a mistake for the officials to make.

Anquan Boldin formerly of Ravens fame proved that the Ravens made a mistake in trading him to the 49ers. Joe Flacco’s former favorite target became Colin Kaepernick’s favorite tartget, grabbing 13 passes for a grand total of 208 yards and a touchdown. Boldin had a monstrous difference in the game because when the Packers broke out of their zone a bit to guard him, he still burned them.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense put up a very good fight. Rodgers had 333 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with one interception, but the punch that Eddie Lacy was supposed to add to the running game, never came, and Rodgers was up a creek with Jordy Nelson and no paddle. Amazingly, it was almost good enough as the Packers fell 34-28.

Tony Romo’s Has An Offensive Line?

Why, yes he does. In fact, they were quite good. They looked like a cohesive unit for the first time in about 15 years (I’m exaggerating but only mildly). No longer do opposing defensive linemen look like the Juggernaut running through paper maché. They have to actually work  to get to Tony Romo. This provides Romo with more time to look down field than he’s ever had in his life. If you thought he was good before (Romo haters, not one word) wait until you see him have time. The Giants have a pretty good secondary and they couldn’t stop Tony at all. He was slinging the ball all over the yard as he and the Cowboys staved off a late game comeback by the Giants.

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An Open Letter To RGIII: Please Stop Talking.

I need to preface this by stating that I’m a Redskins fan. I have been since 1999, which is more than half of my life at this point. I should also mention that because of this fact, I really like Robert Griffin III. He’s the best player on my favorite team. So that makes sense. What I’m about to say, given my fandom, will not. You don’t bash the guy who gave your favorite team it’s first divisional title in 13 years (which is my entire time as a Redskins fan). However, I don’t feel like I would be doing my job if I ignored this.

(redskins.com)

Dear Robert,

Shut up. Please. I understand that you have recovered from your knee injury faster than anyone could have anticipated. Which is great for all of us because we get to see one of the league’s exciting young players back in action. That’s great. What’s not great though is the incessant whining that the coaches aren’t letting you do enough, sooner.

We get it. You’re an uber-competitor, with the will to win and we all applaud that…sort of. What you fail to understand is that the coaching staff is under a lot of pressure to get this right. So going to the media and telling them that you want to move from 7 on 7 team drills to the full 11 on 11, is neither the time nor the place. When you do things like that, you put them in a bit of a catch-22. If they start you and (God forbid) something bad happens they get blamed, if they don’t and something bad happens they get blamed. This is why you do not air your dirty laundry to the media.

The coaching staff will be extra careful in bringing you along because you’re the franchise. In the city of Washington, that’s everything. The Redskins are everything. Your knees are the most important knees in that entire city. Yes, even more important than President Obama’s knees.

While one would think that you are best qualified to speak on the subject of your own knee, I respectfully disagree. If memory serves correctly, the last time we listened to you say you were ready to play, you were collapsed in a depressing heap at FedEx Field with Redskins fans the world over holding their collective breaths. Present company included. We already look forward to seeing you week 1 against the Eagles. It is going to be the first of 16 games that I will watch all year in which my heart is firmly planted in my throat.

So, what’s the rush? Let the coaches do their job. Don’t add any more pressure than there has to be. I think that’s what everybody wants.

-Keon R., Sports Cloud

P.S.- Have a good season and keep beating the Cowboys. That never gets old.

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A Tale Of Two Cities: Examining Derrick Rose and Robert Griffin III

In two different cities, two young leaders of two burgeoning franchises, playing two different sports suffered two separate ACL injuries. These young men, both possessing the most important knees in their respective cities have one more thing in common. A single question that haunts them, and their fan bases.

When do I return?

The Season Derrick Rose, the Bulls point guard, is known for his quickness and devastating crossover. He tasked himself with carrying the offensive load of his team in his fourth season. He also became a solid defender as well. In the 2011-12 NBA season, Rose led his Bulls to the league’s best record and the number 1 seed in the eastern conference. That season, Rose 21.8 points per game and 7.9 assists per game. While not career highs, these are extremely impressive numbers all the same.

The Injury When the playoffs began, the Bulls faced the surging Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia was inconsistent all season but, had won four out of their last five games heading into the post season. Still, the Bulls were heavy favorites going into the matchup with the upstart eighth seed 76ers. Then it, happened.

With 1:22 left in the game, Derrick Rose jumped off his left in the lane as he attacked the basket. This is a routine move for Rose but, this time, he didn’t finish the play. Lacking elevation, he fell to the ground and crumpled in a heap. He attempted to stand but simply could not. Rose had torn his ACL.

The Return Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls in the 2012-13 season, are playing playoff caliber basketball. Not quite at the level that they were a season ago, when they were considered championship contenders. With a current record of 39-31, the Bulls sans Rose are more than capable of holding their own. They displayed their mettle when they ended the Miami Heat’s historic winning streak at 27. The Heat with the best player in basketball, playing the best basketball of his career are all but a shoe in to return to the finals. The kicker? They did it without the team’s second best player, Joakim Noah.

There are obvious downsides to Derrick Rose missing games. Prior to the injury, Derrick Rose was the focal point of the offense. Since then, his Bulls have had to find ways to win in his absence. There will definitely be chemistry issues when he returns. However, by not playing, Derrick Rose and the Bulls staff are hoping to  prevent further injury. This is a great decision. It hurts the Bulls now, but if Derrick Rose is the player that everyone believes he can be, and reaches the heights that fans believe that he can reach, Chicago has everything to gain.

Which brings us to Robert Griffin III.

The Season Fresh off of his Heisman winning season at the University of Baylor, the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft was ready to take the league by storm. He did exactly that. Griffin passed for 3,200 yards and completed 65.6% of his passes. He threw 20 touchdowns and accounted for 7 touchdowns on the ground. He threw 5 interceptions, all season. The Redskins began the season an underwhelming 3-6 but, won 7 straight games to win the NFC East title for the first time since 1999 and make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

The Injury The week 15 matchup between the Redskins and eventual Superbowl champion Baltimore Ravens marks the beginning of a two part tale. In order to get a first down Robert rolled out of the pocket and scrambled upfield. As he attempted to get down he was hit by Raven’s tackle, Haloti Ngata. The weight of the 330 lb Ngata hit the leg of Griffin causing his knee to bend momentarily in the opposite direction.

Griffin led the Redskins down the field twice in the first quarter of the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Twice they scored but, on the second drive, Robert’s knee buckled in an attempt to elude defenders. It is at this point that Robert Griffin III should not have been in the game. Whether the coach, staff or player is at fault is the question that still needs to be answered.

The Seahawks rallied and climbed back into the game. The Redskins were deep in their own territory with 6:15 to go in the 4th quarter, and they needed a drive to hold off the Seahawks. The ball was snapped low and as Griffin reached to pick it up, his knee gave out. The Seahawks recovered the ball and scored.

The Return Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who is overseeing the recovery of Griffin had only great things to say about his recovery so far.

He wants his recovery to be fairly private, but I can tell you he’s way ahead of schedule. His recovery has been unbelievable so far.

– Dr. James Andrews

This statement and the an interesting Adidas ad almost make it seem like Robert is trying to come back for week 1 of next. This is not smart. When a team trades two first round picks and a second round pick to take a guy, they expect to build around that guy for the next ten years. Robert is that guy. He’s got to be smart and learn from Derrick Rose. Comeback 100%. If that’s week 1, which is unlikely, then it’s week 1. If it’s week 7 then so be it. However, if  Griffin needs to miss the whole season, he needs to accept that that’s just how it’s got to be. Everyone is wondering if he, and the Redskins will make the same mistake twice. If the Redskins make the wrong decision and set him back, then it won’t matter if he’s superhuman or not.

Two young players, two big decisions, and two very bright futures on the line.

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What We Learned: NFL Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books. There are lots of things to look at this week; the five rookies that started, the return of some prominent running backs, and more. Let’s jump in it!

The Giants Need Receivers and The Cowboys Have a Secondary.

Tony Romo and Kevin Ogletree after their victory over the Giants last Wednesday.

The Dallas Cowboys helped kickoff the NFL season last Wednesday with a 24-17 drubbing of the New York Giants. Tony Romo looked electric, as threw the ball all over the yard. Romo offset his one interception by throwing 309 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dez Bryant ran rampant, showing the elite playmaking ability that Dalas was looking for when they drafted him. Kevin Ogletree stepped up in a big way with 8 receptions for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns.

I don’t know if the Cowboys secondary is permanently cured of the knuckle headed play that has plagued it in the past but, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has the Cowboys disrupting Eli’s rhythm all night. The pass rush played a part of course gathering 3 sacks and making Eli Manning uncomfortable.

The Giants struggled offensively. It’s pretty clear that losing Mario Manningham to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason has hurt them. They tried running the ball, which they were worst in the league last season in doing, and they failed miserably at it. They were unable to stretch the field. Both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks received special attention from the Dallas defense. Nicks was pretty much shut down with 4 receptions for just 38 yards. Victor Cruz had opportunities but dropped a number of passes. While this isn’t a sign of things to come, the Giants need a third option to emerge for Eli or they’ll be in a lot of trouble.

Quarterback Nightmares

What do Michael Vick, Brandon Weeden, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andrew Luck, and Ryan Tannehill have in common? A metric crap ton of interceptions between them. All of these quarterbacks threw three interceptions on Sunday. Noteworthy: 3 of the 5 rookies starting at quarterback are here. 

Michael Vick and Brandon Weeden were apparently playing to see who could throw the most interceptions. They both tied at 4, I suppose. However what’s interesting about the Eagles is that Michael Vick threw the ball 56 times. 56 times! What kind of game plan is that? This simply adds another chapter the play calling blunders in the book that is Andy Reid. Does Andy Reid know who LeSean McCoy is? Apparently not because McCoy  had just 20 carries.  When you ask a quarterback to throw that many passes some of them are going to get taken away.

Brandon Weeden looked about as lost and confused as a man can get. Beginning with him getting trapped under the American Flag at the start of the game and continuing into the game.

Weeden had some good plays but he threw no touchdowns to go along with is 4 picks and he overthrew a number of open receivers  including what would have been a touchdown to Alex Smith who was wide open in the end zone.

Matthew Stafford was able to help the Lions escape with a victory after throwing 3 interceptions. He threw all of the interceptions in the first half. Then became captain clutch in the waning moments of the game to help his team top the Rams 27-23.

Adrian Peterson looks glorious in his return, Blaine Gabbert looks good.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had 84 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries as the Vikings beat the Jaguars in overtime 26-23. Peterson looked like the same dominant player he was when he left. He tore his ACL only 8 months ago. That’s pretty impressive stuff. He was making all of the sharp moves and cuts as always. Furthermore, he was able to take some pretty big hits and keep rolling like we know him to do so well.

Last season, I called for the Jaguars to start Gabbert. Almost as soon as the Gabbert era began, I ate those words. They were very bad tasting words and I can honestly say that Gabbert was the worst quarterback in the league last season. He looked terrified in the pocket and inaccurate out of it. He got his season off to a good start, despite the loss; by completing 26 of 39 passes and throwing for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Shock! 

The Jets shocked the media, and not me,  by scoring points this Sunday. Lots of them. 48 points to be specific. In this age of overanalysis, the media saw the Jets unable to score points of any kind in the preseason and assumed it would carry over to the regular season. That’s not how this works. Mark Sanchez looked golden and Stephen Hill looked great as well, as the Jets steam rolled the revamped Bills offense.

The Redskins shocked the media, and me, by scoring 40 points on the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. Led by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III who threw 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, on 19 of 26 passing. Griffin had a perfect quarterback rating at halftime and ended with the best quarterback rating in the league by the end of week 1, with a rating of 139.9. The rookie running back Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic contributed another 2 touchdowns. The defense was tenacious and harassed Drew Brees all day long. On a side note: Griffin handles press conferences like veteran. 

The Oakland Raiders had a ton of penalties. Just kidding. The Raiders are still as undisciplined as they always have been and racked up the penalties, including two offsides penalties by Tommy Kelly which kept San Diego’s drives alive, in a 22-14 loss to the Chargers, shocking absolutely no one. Even the media.

I can tell already, this is going to be a great season. This is going to be a great season.

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NFL Story Lines I’m Tired Of Already.

Football, America’s favorite sport is returning and with its return come a number of story lines. Each team has their own contributions to the great web of NFL stories. Due to the existence of 24 hour sports networks and the internet some stories tend to be over covered. A lot of times there isn’t anyway to know what will happen to the players involved so “coverage” becomes a lot of repetitive annoying questions and speculation. Here are some of the stories that have received so much coverage that they’ve become annoying.

Peyton Manning Is A Bronco. 

Peyton Manning proved his value to the NFL the year he didn’t wear a uniform. The Indianapolis Colts without Manning were easily the worst the worst thing to happen to football all year. Manning’s multiple neck surgeries, move to a new team, and association with anybody that ever met and/or talked to Tim Tebow makes him the subject of much speculation. While this is a very intriguing story its been being reported on for months. Furthermore, maddeningly enough ESPN spent the whole week at Broncos camp.

Commonly Asked Questions In This Story Line: How is Peyton’s neck? Can he take a hit? Are the Broncos Superbowl contenders? Will Manning be Better than Tebow?

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. 

Griffin is surrounded by hype and hoopla wherever he goes. There’s no hope of escaping any of that. However, that fateful day in February when the Redskins moved up in the draft to take Griffin, has joined RG3 and Andrew Luck together at the hip for the rest of their careers. Quarterbacks drafted first and second in the draft always are. This story is tired and played out. It’s been covered since February. The two quarterbacks have been compared and scrutinized; by their numbers, by their big plays, and even by their catches. I say we just let the guys play and let history write itself.

Commonly Asked Questions In This Story Line: Who will be the better pro? Do the Redskins improve more or the Colts? Will Luck and Griffin have a Magic Johnson and Larry Bird style rivalry? Why is Andrew Luck not in a million commercials? Should we call RG3, Bob Griffin?

Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and the Jets and stuff.

Tim Tebow has the ability to make any thing he touches turn into a media circus. It’s not his fault really but it is bothersome. Now that Tim has brought the circus to New York two things have happened. The already high scrutiny on Mark Sanchez is now through the roof  and there’s an unofficial clock on how long he has his job. I think the silliest thing about wondering how long Sanchez will have his job is that he’d have to lose it to Tebow, who though a winner, is simply not a good quarterback. If Sanchez is inconsistent, Tebow has defined the word. Just in case you’re wondering, no I don’t think Mark will lose his job to Tim Tebow.

Commonly Asked Questions In This Story Line: Which week will Tebow take over the starting QB job from Sanchez? Is a two quarterback system effective? How often will Tebow be used in the wildcat? Tebow in the redzone? Is Rex Ryan out of his mind?

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