Friday, July 31, 2009
2008 RECORD: 9-7
(2nd in NFC North)
HEAD COACH: Lovie Smith
Key Additions: QB Jay Cutler (trade/Broncos) OT Orlando Pace (FA/ Rams) OT Frank Omiyale (FA/Panthers) TE Michael Gaines (FA/Lions) QB Brett Basanez (FA)
Key Losses: QB Kyle Orton (trade/Broncos) QB Rex Grossman (FA/Texans) OT John St. Clair (FA/Browns) OT John Tait (retired) WR Brandon Lloyd (FA) WR Marty Booker (FA) S Mike Brown (FA)
Offense: Just one name matters here... JAY CUTLER!
The Bears made a huge move trading for Cutler with the Broncos and they are banking on the fourth year quarterback to pay big dividends NOW.
Cutler finished sixth in the AFC in passing a year ago (86.0 rating) when he threw for 4,526 yards with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He really had a breakthrough year for Denver in '08 and the Bears need him to continue his personal success.
The only problem might be a lack of wide receivers to throw to. The Bears have kick returner extraordinaire Devin Hester in the mix at wideout along with Rashied Davis (35 catches and two TDs), Earl Bennett and Juaquin Iglesias. The Tight Ends are Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark (41 catches for 367 yards and a touchdown).
Olsen (54 catches for 574 yards and five TDs) and Hester (51 grabs for 665 yards and three TDs) both did respectable a year ago while running back Matt Forte led the team with 63 catches and four scores.
Forte, a rookie last season, not only caught 63 balls but also rushed for 1,238 yards and scored eight touchdowns on the ground and 12 overall.
Jason McKie is the fullback and the Bears also have Kevin Jones, Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe available in the backfield.
The Offensive Line will have Olin Kreutz at center, Frank Omiyale and Roberto Garza at guard and Orlando Pace (left tackle) and Chris Williams protecting Cutler and opening the lanes for Forte to run through.
Defense: The defense slipped to 21st overall in the NFL a year ago and the Bears know that has to improve in 2009.
The Bears had the fifth best run defense in 2008, allowing just 93.5 yards per game. But the pass defense was another story. Chicago allowed a woeful 241 yards per game and ranked 30th overall against opposing quarterbacks. They had just 28 sacks but did intercept 22 passes, which ranked tied for third in the NFL.
Up front, the Bears will feature Tommie Harris and Anthony Adams at the tackle positions and Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown at defensive end.
The linebackers are Brian Urlacher in the middle and Lance Briggs and Nick Roach on the outside. Hunter Hillenmeyer and Marcus Freeman are also ready to step up in '09.
Corey Graham, Nathan Vasher, Zack Bowman, Trumaine McBride and Charles Tillman are the cornerbacks. Tillman will begin the 2009 season it appears, on the injured list.
The safeties are Kevin Payne and Josh Bullocks with Craig Steltz and Glenn Earl ready to play as well.
One thing for sure, the secondary has to be better in 2009 for the team to improve and get back to the playoffs.
OUTLOOK: For the Bears to contend and possibly win the NFC North and a post-season playoff berth, they need better defense overall (especially against the pass) than they had in 2008. The offense, led by Cutler, also needs to step up and show the NFL they mean business.
Playing in the "black and blue" division known as the NFC North, the Bears have to battle the Vikings and Packers for the division crown and also be somewhat cautious with the Lions, a team that nearly beat them in Chicago last November.
If Cutler puts up similar numbers to a year ago, watch out. If not, and that's a real possibility with the untested receivers he has compared to Denver, the Bears will have to battle for everything they can get on offense.
Cutler's rifle arm will open up the offense and keep opponents honest on defense. Most teams simply line up "eight in the box" when playing the Bears, but with a QB of Cutler's ability, that won't be the case in '09.
Bears' fans will be wowed by Cutler's abilities and they also may get frustrated as well when he throws inopportune picks, which has been his short coming early in his career.
Forte was a great rookie running back last season and barring injury, should continue with more of the same.
The defense will also need to improve against the pass and get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season for things to go the Bears' way.
The playoffs are a possibility as the team schedule really is favorable for the Bears. A division title depends on the head-to-head games against Minnesota and Green Bay.
A 10-6 finish is not out of the question, which would get the Bears into the playoffs.
Week 1- at Green Bay (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Pittsburgh (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Seattle (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Detroit (Oct. 4)
Week 5- BYE WEEK
Week 6- at Atlanta (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at Cincinnati (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Cleveland (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Arizona (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at San Francisco (Nov. 12)
Week 11- vs. Philadelphia (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at Minnesota (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. St. Louis (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Green Bay (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at Baltimore (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. Minnesota (Dec. 28)
Week 17- at Detroit (Jan. 3)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
NEW YORK JETS
2008 RECORD: 9-7
(3rd in AFC East)
HEAD COACH: Rex Ryan
Key Additions: LB Bart Scott (FA/Ravens) CB Lito Sheppard (trade/Eagles) LB Larry Izzo (FA/Patriots)
Key Losses: QB Brett Favre (retired) TE Chris Baker (FA/Patriots) CB Hank Poteat (FA/Browns) WR Laveraneus Coles (FA/Bengals) PK Mike Nugent (FA/Buccaneers) CB Ty Law (FA)
Offense: Thomas Jones, the AFC's leading rusher from a year ago, returns after rumbling for 1,312 yards and a 4.5 average with 13 touchdowns to lead the way for the Jets in 2009.
Jones, along with Leon Washington (448 yards, 5.9 ypc average and six TDs) spearhead the New York attack on the ground. Fullback Tony Richardson still is an excellent blocker and gets his occasional carries as well.
The quarterback will likely be top draft pick Mark Sanchez from USC. The rookie had better be ready for the glare that comes with playing in New York City. Kellen Clemens will be the backup and is always ready to step in and take the snaps when needed.
The wide receivers are led by Jerricho Cotchery (71 catches in '08 with five TDs) and second year man Chansi Stuckey (32 catches and three TDs). Washington (47 grabs and two TDs) is a apt receiver out of the backfield and the Tight End will be Dustin Keller, who caught 48 passes as a rookie to go with his 11.1 yards per catch average and three touchdowns.
The Offensive Line is anchored by center Nick Mangold and the tackles are Damien Woody and D'Brickashaw Ferguson while the guards will be Alan Faneca and Brandon Moore. The Jets also have Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner, Stan Daniels and rookie Matt Slauson as backups.
Defense: The Jets ranked in middle of the pack (16th in total defense) last season. They were seventh against the run and 29th against the pass. Obviously, they are working on the paltry secondary as training camp begins in 2009.
The secondary was terrible last season, allowing an average of 235 yards per game while intercepting just 14 passes all season. The defense did register 41 sacks a year ago, so that just compounds the problems for the secondary.
Lito Sheppard (right cornerback) has been brought over from the Philadelphia Eagles and is known for his ball hawking abilities. The left corner will be Darrelle Revis with Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard playing the safety positions.
The Jets play primarily the 3-4 defense, and Head Coach Rex Ryan would like to see the pressure on the quarterback continue in 2009. The defensive front will have Kris Jenkins at Nose tackle with Shaun Ellis and Kenyon Coleman at the ends.
The linebackers will be Calvin Pace (strong side LB), Bryan Thomas (weak side LB) and inside linebackers Bart Scott (with Baltimore in 2008) and David Harris. Larry Izzo comes over from the Patriots and is a solid backup.
OUTLOOK: J-E-T-S ... Jets! Jets! Jets!
The New York (or if you will) the New Look Jets will be revamped in many ways as the 2009 season kicks off.
Eric Mangini is out as Head Coach and is now in Cleveland while Rex Ryan, coming over from Baltimore as their Defensive Coordinator, is the new Head Coach.
Rookie Mark Sanchez, drafted with the first pick out of USC, is being touted as the starting quarterback after an up and down season from future Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre, who retired following the 2008 season. Favre also announced recently he is STAYING RETIRED this time around.
The secondary definitely needs to improve in 2009 if the Jets are going to compete for a playoff spot. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine has his work cut out there.
The AFC East was up for grabs last year and the Jets dropped it after bolting to a 8-3 start before collapsing down the stretch and finishing 9-7 and out of the playoffs.
The offense is solid at running back and wide receiver as well as up front on the O-line. The quarterback position will be the big question mark in 2009. If Sanchez can work through the rookie mistakes that are bound to happen, the Jets may be okay this season. If not...
The defense was solid against the run last year and will be relied on again to stuff opposing running backs. How much the secondary can improve will say much about the Jets' chances for the upcoming season.
The likelihood for 2009, with so many changes from last year, is a 7-9 finish and a good attitude toward the future as the new regime gets started.
Week 1-at Houston (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. New England (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Tennessee (Sept.27)
Week 4- at New Orleans (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at Miami (Oct. 12)
Week 6- vs. Buffalo (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at Oakland (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Miami (Nov. 1)
Week 9- BYE WEEK
Week 10- vs. Jacksonville (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at New England (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Carolina (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Buffalo (Dec. 3)
Week 14- at Tampa Bay (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Atlanta (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Indianapolis (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Cincinnati (Jan. 3)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
2008 RECORD: 11-5
(2nd in AFC East)
HEAD COACH: Bill Belichick
Key Additions: RB Fred Taylor (FA/Jaguars) TE Chris Baker (FA/Jets) WR Greg Lewis (trade/Eagles) CB Shawn Springs (FA/Redskins) WR Joey Galloway (FA/Buccaneers) TE Alex Smith (trade/Buccaneers)
Key Losses: QB Matt Cassel (trade/Chiefs) LB Mike Vrabel (trade/Chiefs) RB LaMont Jordan (FA/Broncos) FB Heath Evans (FA/Saints) WR Jabar Gafney (FA/Broncos) LB Larry Izzo (FA/Jets) LB Rosevelt Colvin (FA) S Rodney Harrison (FA) LB Junior Seau (FA) CB Ellis Hobbs (trade/Eagles)
Offense: He's baaaaack!
Quarterback Tom Brady missed (in reality) the entire 2008 season after suffering a severe knee injury in the season opener. Brady has been banged up the last two seasons going back to the post-season of 2007-08 however, never under estimate the heart of a champion.
Brady is the leader of the Patriots and even though Matt Cassel (traded to Kansas City in off-season) did a decent job last year, there is no question the Patriots are a completely different team with Brady taking the snaps.
He will have a bevy of wide receivers to choose from in Randy Moss (69 catches in '08 with 11 touchdowns), Wes Welker (111 catches for a 10.5 average and three touchdowns) and the newly acquired Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis.
Galloway was hurt last year and had just 13 catches and Lewis (with Philadelphia) made 19 catches in limited playing time. Benjamin Watson (Tight End) made 22 grabs and had two TDs as well. Alex Smith and Chris Baker provide depth at this position.
The running game will again feature Laurence Maroney (injured most of last season as well) as the starting halfback. Maroney had only 28 touches last year and managed just 93 yards, but has shown good stuff when healthy. Fred Taylor, a veteran pickup from Jacksonville, may still have something to prove after a stellar performance for the Jaguars.
Taylor gained 556 yards on 143 carries in 2008 and the Patriots probably are hoping that he can resemble his former self (Jags' all-time leading rushing leader) much the same way Corey Dillon did when he was picked up from Cincinnati several years ago. Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk will also provide added depth for New England's running game.
The Offensive Line, and it still is a good one, features center Dan Koppen, guards Logan Mankins and Stephen Neal and tackles Matt Light and Nick Kaczur. They must do a better job protecting Brady than they did pass blocking for Cassel a year ago, when they allowed 48 sacks for the season.
Defense: The Patriots drafted three defensive players with all of their second round picks in the 2009 NFL Draft. That says something because the defense is starting to get old.
New England finished 10th overall on defense while allowing 107 yards rushing per game and 201 yards through the air. In addition, the Patriots intercepted the ball just 14 times and had 31 sacks.
The secondary has undergone major changes in recent seasons after losing Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Rodney Harrison, etc. But New England, led by Head Coach Bill Belichick, knows how to make the adjustments and not miss a beat.
Safeties will be James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather and the cornerbacks will be Jonathan Wilhite and Leigh Bodden.
The Defensive Line will see Vince Wilfork at Nose Tackle and the Ends will be Richard Seymour (eight sacks to lead the team in '08) and Ty Warren. Jarvis Green played well last season when give the chance and rookie Ron Brace can fill in at tackle as well.
The linebacking unit will have 14-year veteran Tedy Bruschi and Jerod Mayo at Inside LB and Pierre Woods (weak side) and Adelius Thomas (strong side LB) rounding out the 3-4 defense the team employs.
OUTLOOK: The Patriots are used to winning and they do not take lightly coming in second place in their own division.
Having Brady back is huge, but should he go down again for any extended length of time, the team will be in real trouble because they do not have an experienced quarterback waiting in the wings. Cassel was tagged the franchise player and then shipped to Kansas City along with LB Mike Vrabel.
New England has a penchant for making the moves to change the roster and still keep the winning formula in place. They have again made numerous roster changes, but the mainstays of Brady, Moss, Welker, Maroney, Faulk, Bruschi, the O-Line, and of course Bill Belichick keep the Patriots in the thick of things year after year.
This season should be no exception as the Patriots look to regain the AFC East crown with a 13-3 record and go deep into the playoffs. Another Super Bowl appearance hinges on the health of Brady.
Week 1- vs. Buffalo (Sept. 14)
Week 2-at NY Jets (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Atlanta (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Baltimore (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at Denver (Oct. 11)
Week 6- vs. Tennessee (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at Tampa Bay (Oct. 25)
Week 8- BYE WEEK
Week 9- vs. Miami (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at Indianapolis (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. NY Jets (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at New Orleans (Nov. 30)
Week 13- at Miami (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Carolina (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at Buffalo (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. Jacksonville (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at Houston (Jan. 3)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It's not only Senate Republicans stalling and attempting to kill Health Care Reform in this country, there are also "Blue Dog" Democrats (a.k.a. BLUE CROSS Democrats) and of course Chuck Grassley (Republican Senator from Iowa) and the dubious Max Baucus, a Democratic Senator from Montana.
They are the ones responsible for continuing the following in this country regarding Health Care...
2008 RECORD: 11-5
(1st in AFC East)
HEAD COACH: Tony Sparano
Key Additions: S Gibril Wilson (FA/Raiders) OL Jake Grove (FA/Raiders) CB Eric Green (FA/Cardinals) LB Jason Taylor (FA/Redskins)
Key Losses: CB Renaldo Hill (FA/Broncos) CB Andre Goodman (FA/Broncos) QB John Beck (FA/Ravens) DE Vonnie Holliday (FA)
Offense: Chad Pennington sure made the Jets look foolish for giving up on him as he led the Dolphins offense a year ago while Miami turned around from a 1-15 season in 2007 to go 11-5 last season.
Pennington racked up 19 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions while throwing for 3,653 yards and compiled a 97.4 passer rating, which was good for second in the NFL.
Ronnie Brown (916 yards rushing and 10 TDs) and Rickey Williams (659 yards and four TDs) combined to give the Dolphins a solid running game in 2008. That helped to keep the pressure off Pennington.
The wide receivers are many featuring leading receiver from a year ago Ted Ginn, Jr. (56 catches for 790 yards and two touchdowns), Greg Camarillo (55 grabs and two scores) and Davone Bess (54 catches for 554 yards and a touchdown). Tight End Anthony Fasano, who came over from Dallas, caught 34 passes (13.4 ypc average) and scored seven touchdowns. He became a favorite target in the red zone for Pennington.
And let us not forget the"Wildcat" offense, which had wild success a year ago and the Dolphins also added QB Pat White (West Virginia) to the mix with their second-round pick. White may be a perfect fit for the gimmick offense as he ran a lot of option-type plays while in college.
The offensive line was solid and features center Jake Grove (free agent signee from Oakland), guards Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas and tackles Vernon Carey and Jake Long.
Long was last season's top draft pick and had a solid rookie year, securing a spot on the Pro Bowl team as a backup at left tackle.
Defense: The Miami defense ranked in the middle of the pack a year ago (15th overall) and did much better against the run as opposed to the pass.
The Dolphins were lit up a few times through the air in 2008, allowing 228 yards per game by their opponents. The defense allowed 101 yards per game on the ground, which was good for 10th place overall in the league.
Miami plays the 3-4 defense, featuring Jason Ferguson at NT and Kendall Langford and Phillips Merling at the End positions.
The linebacking corps is led by none other than Joey Porter (weakside LB). Porter led the way for Miami with 17.5 QB sacks a year ago. As a unit, the Dolphins totaled 40 sacks. Not too bad Joey.
Jason Taylor, after spending a year in Washington, returns to Miami and will play the strong side LB spot. The inside LBs will be Akin Ayodele and Channing Crowder.
In the secondary, the Dolphins took some chances and intercepted 18 passes while giving up some big plays as well. The unit needs to step it up a bit in 2009 after ranking 25th against the pass last year.
The starting corners will likely be Will Allen and rookie Vontae Davis (1st Rd. pick from Illinois) and the safeties will be Yeremiah Bell and Gibril Wilson, who comes over as a free agent from the Raiders. Eric Green and Jason Allen will back up at cornerback while Courtney Bryan and Tyrone Culver add depth as well in the secondary.
OUTLOOK: The Dolphins stunned the entire league in 2008 by going 11-5 and winning the AFC East after going 1-15 in 2007. Wow!
But that was last year and now they have a first place schedule to deal with. It won't be easy, but second-year Head Coach Tony Sparano knows how to win and showed it big time least season.
Pennington enjoyed a great season and did not have the injuries either that seemed to plague him with the Jets.
Porter was a mad man for the defense evidenced by his sack total, which was second overall in the NFL.
The team also ranked number one in turnover differential, enjoying a +17 in this category.
For the Dolphins to enjoy the same success in 2009, that needs to continue. They will not be taken lightly and sneak up on people this year, like they did a year ago. Also, Baltimore exposed how to stop the vaunted "Wildcat" offense last season. The gadget offense seemed to stun some opposing defenses when first introduced.
Bottom line is that Miami will not be taken lightly in 2009 and they face one real tough opponent in their division... New England, which has QB Tom Brady returning from a serious knee injury.
Look for Miami, with the surprise factor now out in the open and a much tougher schedule this year, to finish 8-8, which will get them second place in the AFC East.
Week 1- at Atlanta (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Indianapolis (Sept. 21)
Week 3- at San Diego (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Buffalo (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. NY Jets (Oct. 12)
Week 6- BYE WEEK
Week 7- vs. New Orleans (Oct. 25)
Week 8- at NY Jets (Nov. 1)
Week 9- at New England (Nov. 8)
Week 10- vs. Tampa Bay (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Carolina (Nov. 19)
Week 12- at Buffalo (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. New England (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Jacksonville (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at Tennessee (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. Houston (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Pittsburgh (Jan. 3)
Rae at Weather Vane presented me with The Superior Scribbler Award.
Thank you very much for this Award and honor.
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Thank you again Rae and congratulations to all recipients of the Superior Scribbler Award.
Monday, July 27, 2009
2008 RECORD: 7-9
(4th in AFC East)
HEAD COACH: Dick Jauron
Key Additions: WR Terrell Owens (FA/Cowboys) QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (FA/Bengals) CB Drayton Florence (FA/Jaguars) RB Dominic Rhodes (FA/Colts)
Key Losses: TE Robert Royal (FA/Browns) QB J.P. Losman (FA)
Offense: The Bills made the boldest move perhaps in the off-season by grabbing Terrell Owens from the Cowboys roster via free agency.
T.O. will line up with Lee Evans and Josh Reed to give quarterback Trent Edwards a compelling trio of wide receivers this season.
Edwards took over the play calling from the departed J.P. Losman and threw for 2,699 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the backup quarterback in 2009.
Marshawn Lynch rushed for 1,031 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry and scored eight TDs. Fred Jackson provides good backup at running back and piled up 571 yards last year while scoring three TDs and averaging 4.4 yards per carry. In addition to Jackson, Dominic Rhodes comes over from Indianapolis to add depth here. Rhodes ran for 302 yards (6.7 yards per carry avg.) and scored three touchdowns in limited action in 2008.
The O-Line will feature Geoff Hangartner at center with Andy Levitre and Eric Wood at guard and Langston Walker and Brad Butler at the tackles.
But the focus for Buffalo this season will be on T.O. and company as the Bills passing attack receives a much needed upgrade.
Owens grabbed 69 catches with Dallas in '08 and scored 10 TDs while averaging 15.2 yards per catch. Evans had 63 catches for 1,017 yards (16.1 YPC average) with three TDs and Josh Reed, the possession receiver, made 56 catches for 597 yards.
Defense: The Bills ranked in the middle of the pack (14th in NFL) in total defense while allowing 326 yards per game. The run defense was weak, ranking 22nd in the league and allowing 122 yards per game on the ground.
The pass defense fared better, allowing 204 yards per game to finish 13th overall. But the Bills had just 24 sacks and 10 picks for the entire season.
They use primarly a 4-3 defense and will feature Kyle Williams and Marcus Stoud at DT and Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel at the ends. First round draft pick Aaron Maybin (Penn State) will get a chance to spell the starters.
The linebackers will be Kawika Mitchell, Keith Ellison and Paul Posluszny. This is a talented group of linebackers and the strength of this defense. Should anyone get hurt or need to be spelled, the team has above average backups in Alvin Bowen and John DiGiorgio.
The secondary will look to improve on the interception total in 2009 while featuring Terrence McGee and Leodis McKelvin at cornerback and Bryan Scott and Donte Whitner at safety. Drayton Florence came over from Jacksonville and will provide some depth in the secondary along with rookie Jarius Byrd and Ashton Youboty.
OUTLOOK: The Bills did not live up to expectations a year ago and Head Coach Dick Jauron could find himself on the hot seat if the team struggles again this season.
After getting off to a 5-1 start in 2008, the Bills stumbled home with a losing record for the fourth consecutive season. Add T.O. and all the drama that goes with his talent into the mix and it could be a recipe for another tough season.
However, Owens does inspire those around him to play better as his resume will show in his 13 seasons in the NFL. A lot of what happens for the Bills will depend on Edwards as he enters his second full season lining up behind center. He showed some bright moments a year ago while also showing tendencies that Jauron would not like to see repeated.
Pass protection is a must up front as Edwards will have a talented group of receivers to throw the ball to. Lynch must step up as well for the Bills to provide added punch.
If the team can stay healthy and the defense improves against the run, the Bills should be competitive. If not, well then expect more of the same in '09.
The Bills play in the rugged AFC East, where Miami shocked the NFL by improving by 10 games from the year prior to win the division and the Patriots have a man named Brady returning after missing virtually all of last season with a knee injury.
The Bills may be able to avoid the basement again as the Jets seem to be going through changes after Brett Favre retired again. The call here is for Buffalo to finish at 6-10 this season.
Week 1- at New England (Sept. 14)
Week 2- vs. Tampa Bay (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. New Orleans (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at Miami (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Cleveland (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at NY Jets (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at Carolina (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Houston (Nov. 1)
Week 9- BYE WEEK
Week 10- at Tennessee (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Jacksonville (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Miami (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. NY Jets (Dec. 3)
Week 14- at Kansas City (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. New England (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Atlanta (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Indianapolis (Jan. 3)
Sunday, July 26, 2009
2008 RECORD: 8-8
(4th in NFC East)
HEAD COACH: Jim Zorn
Key Additions: DT Albert Haynesworth (FA/Titans) DE Renaldo Wynn (FA/Giants) WR Roydell Williams (FA)
Key Losses: DE Jason Taylor (FA/Dolphins) DE Ryan Boschetti (FA/Raiders) OL Justin Geisinger (FA/Panthers)
Offense: Quarterback Jason Campbell is an adequate fit for what the Redskins do. Campbell threw for 3,245 yards in 2008 and had 13 TD passes with just six interceptions, but the team needs the production to rise to compete in the NFC East.
Running back Clinton Portis is the mainstay on offense for Washington, evidenced by his numbers last year when he carried 342 times for 1,487 yards and nine TDs. Ladell Betts (206 yards rushing in limited playing time) is a decent backup and Campbell also ran for 258 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Tight End Chris Cooley led the 'Skins in '08 with 83 catches for 849 yards, but had just one score. Santana Moss grabbed 79 passes for 1,044 yards and six TDs while Antwaan Randle-El had 53 catches and four touchdowns. The team needs a legitimate deep threat however, evidenced by the fact Moss led the team with a 13.2 yards per catch average.
The offensive line features center Casey Rabach, guards Derrick Dockery and Randy Thomas and tackles Chris Samuels and Stephon Heyer.
Defense: The team was fourth in total defense last season, allowing 289 yards per game with only 95 yards rushing per game allowed. The sack total was just 24 (which ranked 28th overall) and the Redskins compiled just 13 picks all season long as a result of the lack of pressure up front on opposing quarterbacks.
Enter Albert Haynesworth (free agent signee from Tennessee Titans) on the Defensive Line to help out in 2009.
The team can stop the run effectively, but they tend to get lit up through the air and that's where Haynesworth will help. Along with fellow DT Cornelius Griffith and defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Andre Carter, the Redskins should continue to shine up front against the run. Haynesworth had 8.5 sacks with Tennessee and that should help the pass rush in D.C. in '09.
The linebackers are London Fletcher, a cagey veteran who still has a lot of fire in him. Rocky McIntosh and Brian Orakpo also will start for the Redskins.
Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall are the cornerbacks and the safeites will be Chris Horton and LaRon Landry. Veteran Fred Smoot is always ready to step in should anyone falter.
OUTLOOK: The Redskins know they are in a strong division and to be competitive they must open the offense up and score more. Six of the teams eight wins in '08 saw them score 20 points or better. On the other hand, they had just one loss in eight total where they scored more than 20 points.
They also must improve in the "Red Zone" as they scored touchdowns just 48% of the time they were inside the opponents 20-yard line.
The defense is pretty solid against the run and Haynesworth (barring injury of course) will help bolster the defensive front four.
They need to shore up the secondary some as they allowed more than 200 yards per game last season and didn't get many takeaways either. Pressure on opposing quarterbacks in crucial in the NFL. If Washington can step it up in this area, they may surprise some people in '09.
Special teams are a concern as well for the team as kicker Shaun Suisham struggled last year with field goal accuracy, especially from beyond 40 yards. The Redskins also allowed two punt returns for touchdowns last year.
Look for the Redskins to take a step backwards and finish 6-10 in 2009.
Week 1- at NY Giants (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. St. Louis (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Detroit (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Tampa Bay (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at Carolina (Oct. 11)
Week 6- vs. Kansas City (Oct. 18)
Week 7- vs. Philadelphia (Oct.26)
Week 8- BYE WEEK
Week 9- at Atlanta (Nov. 8)
Week 10- vs. Denver (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Dallas (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at Philadelphia (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. New Orleans (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Oakland (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. NY Giants (Dec. 21)
Week 16- vs. Dallas (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at San Diego (Jan. 3)
Saturday, July 25, 2009
2008 RECORD: 9-6-1
(2nd in NFC East)
HEAD COACH: Andy Reid
Key Additions: OT Stacy Andrews (FA/Bengals) S Sean Jones (FA/Browns) FB Leonard Weaver (FA/Seahawks) CB Ellis Hobbs (trade/Patriots)
Key Losses: WR Greg Lewis (trade/Patriots) CB Lito Sheppard (trade/Jets) S Brian Dawkins (FA/Broncos) RB Correll Buckhalter TE L.J. Smith (FA/Ravens) OT Jon Runyan (FA)
Offense: When people think of the Eagles offense, two names come to mind and with good reason. Quarterback Donovan McNabb and running back Brian Westbrook spearhead the Eagles' offense. In 2008, McNabb threw for 23 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions and had 3,916 yards through the air. Westbrook led the Eagles with 936 yards rushing and scored 14 TDs (nine running and five receiving) and also grabbed 54 passes out of the backfield.
The pair combined for nearly two-thirds of the total offense last year, so the Eagles would like to see other options open up for the team in 2009.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson led the team in '08 with 62 catches for 912 yards and scored two touchdowns. He will be joined by Kevin Curtis, Hank Baskett and Jason Avant. Rookie wideout Jeremy Maclin (Missouri) will also help the depth in the receiving corps. The Tight Ends are Brent Celek and Matt Schobel. Westbrook's backup will be second round draft pick (from Pitt) LeSean McCoy.
The offensive line underwent major off-season changes as veteran Jon Runyan left for free agency as did Tra Thomas. The team picked up tackles Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters and they will start along side guards Todd Herremans ans Shawn Andrews. The center is Jamaal Jackson.
Defense: This is the strength of the team and the Eagles proved that by finishing in the top five in defense in all categories in 2008.
They were third in the NFL in total defense, allowing only 274 yards per game (92 yards rushing per game good for fourth overall and 182 yards allowed against the pass to finish third) and allowed 289 points during the regular season to finish fourth in that category.
There are some shakeups here as well as Brian Dawkins, the heart and soul of the secondary, left for Denver via free agency. The cornerbacks will be Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel, who played a big role for the team after coming over from New England a year ago.
The safeties will be Quintin Mikell and Quintin Demps and Sean Jones will spell them while Ellis Hobbs and Joselio Hanson are the backups at the corners.
The linebackers include Akeem Jordan, Stewart Bradley and Chris Gocong.
The Eagles have an aggressive defense and they had 48 sacks a year ago while intercepting 15 passes. Even with the loss of Dawkins and Lito Sheppard, the secondary will be formidable while enforcing a hands-off policy against their opponents passing game.
OUTLOOK: The Eagles are poised to make a run deep into the post-season once again in 2009 and barring major injuries, they should do so.
The offense is solid and as the line has time to get accustomed to one another as a unit, it will only benefit McNabb and company. Look for the team to score points and for the defense to keep opponents at bay on a consistent basis.
After falling to upstart Arizona a year ago in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles are looking to take the next step and get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in five years.
There are high expectations for this team as they proved they can beat the New York Giants a year ago, doing so twice, including a dominant performance on the road in the playoffs.
The Eagles should win the NFC East this year with a 11-5 record and go deep in the playoffs again. The Super Bowl is a real possibility for the Eagles. Don't be surprised if they make it there this season.
Week 1- at Carolina (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. New Orleans (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Kansas City (Sept. 27)
Week 4- BYE WEEK
Week 5- vs. Tampa Bay (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at Oakland (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at Washington (Oct. 26)
Week 8- vs. NY Giants (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Dallas (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at San Diego (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Chicago (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Washington (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Atlanta (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at NY Giants (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. San Francisco (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. Denver (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at Dallas (Jan. 3)
Friday, July 24, 2009
NEW YORK GIANTS
2008 Record: 12-4
(1st in NFC East)
HEAD COACH: Tom Coughlin
Key Additions: LB Michael Boley (FA/Falcons) DE Chris Canty (FA/Cowboys) LB Kelvin Smith (FA)
Key Losses: WR Plaxico Burress (FA) RB Derrick Ward (FA/Buccaneers) DE Renaldo Wynn (FA/Redskins) WR Amani Toomer (FA) CB R.W. McQuarters (FA) RB Reuben Droughns (FA) CB Sam Madison (FA)
Offense: The Giants approach to offense is run the ball, run the ball, run the ball... and run some more.
Running back Brandon Jacobs (1,089 yards rushing in '08 with 5.0 avg. and 15 TDs) combined with Derrick Ward to help the team pound the ball last year. But Ward has left and that means Jacobs will carry more of the load along with Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for 355 yards while averaging 5.3 yards per carry in limited action last year.
Quarterback Eli Manning is back again after riding high in 2007 when the Giants were winning the Super Bowl.
Manning threw for 3,238 yards a year ago while passing for 21 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Not bad numbers for the "other" Manning. Of course, he does have a Super Bowl ring as well and that counts for something in the NFL.
He has shown he can win and after the team lost to the Eagles in the Divisional round of the 2008 playoffs, Manning took it hard and knows the team can bounce back in '09.
His targets at wide receiver will be Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith, along with Tight End Kevin Boss. Rookie Hakeem Nicks (1st Rd. pick from North Carolina) and Mario Manningham will be the backups.
Manning's favorite target (Plaxico Burress) is gone after being suspended for the last part of the season after legal problems last December. Amani Toomer, who bolted New York City for free agency, is also gone. So Manning will have to distribute the ball all over the field. He can also dish it to backs Bradshaw, Jacobs and fullback Madison Hedgecock.
The Giants led the league in rushing with 157 yards per game a year ago and that is always a plus for a ball control team that is the signature of Head Coach Tom Coughlin.
The Offensive Line will feature Shaun O' Hara at center, guards Rich Seubert and Chris Snee and tackles David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie.
Defense: This is the strength of the team as the Giants were fifth in total defense in 2008 while also finishing fifth in the NFL in points allowed.
However, turnovers and sacks were down from the Super Bowl winning season of 2007. The team had 42 sacks last year, down from 53 two years ago. Osi Umenyiora (Defensive End) missed the season with a knee injury and of course Michael Strahan retired following the championship season. Ouch!
Umenyiora is back and will line up with tackles Justin Tuck (12 sacks in '08), Chris Canty (free agent from Dallas) and End Mathias Kiwanuka to form a formidable front four.
The linebackers are Antonio Pierce, Danny Clark and Michael Boley. The front seven can stop the run as well as rush the passer and for New York to succeed in 2009, that will have to be the case for the defense.
The secondary, which got lit up at times last year down the stretch, includes safeties C.C. Brown and Ken Phillips and corners Aaron Ross and Corey Webster. The Giants thrived on takeaways in '07 and need to get back to that type of defense again after picking off just 17 passes a year ago.
OUTLOOK: The New York Giants can run the football and play defense, meaning they can control the clock. Sprinkle in Manning and the receivers doing their part and the recipe for success is there.
However, the Giants play in the rugged NFC East and it will not be easy to go 12-4 again. As long as they do their thing on offense and the defense keeps opposing teams out of the end zone consistently, the Giants will be a strong team.
They cannot have the injuries on either side of the ball (especially not on defense) again this year. Coughlin got the monkey off his back when the team won it all and last year did not have to put up with the added pressure from the New York media.
But only one thing matters in the city that never sleeps... and that is success on the football field. Anything short of a Super Bowl title will be a disappointment in the Big Apple in '09.
Disappointment it is then for the Giants as they go 11-5, but fall short of the Super Bowl once again this season.
Week 1- vs. Washington (Sept. 13)
Week 2- at Dallas (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Tampa Bay (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at Kansas City (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Oakland (Oct.11)
Week 6- at New Orleans (Oct. 18)
Week 7- vs. Arizona (Oct.25)
Week 8- at Philadelphia (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. San Diego (Nov. 8)
Week 10- BYE WEEK
Week 11- vs. Atlanta (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at Denver (Nov. 26)
Week 13- vs. Dallas (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Philadelphia (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at Washington (Dec. 21)
Week 16- vs. Carolina (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at Minnesota (Jan. 3)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
As a former sports reporter, the blog site heftyinfo has a passion for sports, especially Pro Football.
Beginning today with this post, the NFL's 32 teams will be previewed in the coming weeks.
Today we will begin with the NFC East Division and the Dallas Cowboys will kick things off.
DALLAS COWBOYS 2008 Record: 9-7 (3rd in NFC East)
HEAD COACH: Wade Phillips
Key Additions: QB Jon Kitna (trade/Lions) LB Keith Brookings (FA/Falcons) DL Igor Olshansky (FA/Chargers)
Key Losses: WR Terrell Owens (FA/Bills) S Roy Williams (FA/Bengals) DB Pacman Jones (FA) QB Brad Johnson (FA)
Offense: The Cowboys return starting quarterback Tony Romo (3,448 passing yards and 26 TDs with 14 INT in '08) for the new season. Romo has yet to win a playoff game and Dallas did not make the playoffs last year. So Romo really has to prove something. Jon Kitna will be the backup for Head Coach Wade Phillips' team.
At running back Marion Barber III (885 yards rushing with a meager 3.7 ypc average in '08 and only seven TDs) has to show more this year and will have adequate backup help from Felix Jones (8.9 yards per carry last year) and surprising Tashard Choice, who ran for 472 yards and a 5.1 ypc average in limited action.
The wide receiver corps no longer have T.O. (Terrell Owens) to kick around. Owens shuffled off to Buffalo in the off-season and the Cowboys said good riddance for all practical purposes.
Tight End Jason Witten, one of the best in the NFL, led the team with 81 catches a year ago and averaged 11.2 yards per grab while scoring four touchdowns. Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Austin Miles and Sam Hurd will be the primary wideouts for the Pokes. Romo will definitely have his share of targets to throw to in 2009.
The offensive line is solid and provides Romo with decent pass protection while opening holes for the bevy of backs the Cowboys will feature.
Andre Gurode (center) anchors the line while Flozell Adams and Marc Columbo will play tackle. The guards are Kyle Fosier and Leonard Davis.
Defense: Dallas ranked 8th in total defense a year ago while allowing 294 yards per game. The run defense gave up 106.6 yards per game and the pass defense was impressive, allowing just 188 yards per game and ranking 5th in the league overall. The Cowboys defense also led the entire NFL with 59 sacks a year ago. The secondary lagged in turnovers with just 8 interceptions all season long.
The Cowboys primarily feature the 3-4 defense and Jay Ratliff is the nose man and will be flanked by Olshansky and Marcus Spears. The linebacking corps consists of DeMarcus Ware, Keith Brooking (newcomer from Atlanta), Bradie Jame and Greg Ellis. Ware recorded an impressive 20 sacks last season for the Cowboys.
The secondary has some changes as well with Williams and Jones gone. Terrence Newman and Mike Jenkins will be the corners and the safeties are Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh.
OUTLOOK: The Cowboys missed the playoffs a year ago and owner Jerry Jones freaked out and sent Owens and Jones packing. That should be a benefit really, to the Cowboys as the baggage of those two plus Tank Johnson (also gone via free agency) should make things less hectic off the field for the team.
Romo hopefully will have a clear head sans the drama of his ex-girlfriend (for now) Jessica Simpson. The fourth year starter has plenty of ammo to work with, especially at running back. Dallas has a great TE in Witten and a lot of choices at wide receiver. So there are no more excuses for Romo and company not to get it done in Big D. The team is playing in a new stadium this season, so that should provide some extra incentive as well.
However, playing in football's best division will make it tough for Dallas once again. Look for the team to finish 9-7 again and miss the playoffs again.
Week 1- at Tampa Bay (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. NY Giants (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Carolina (Sept. 28)
Week 4- at Denver (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at Kansas City (Oct. 11)
Week 6- BYE WEEK
Week 7- vs. Atlanta (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Seattle (Nov. 1)
Week 9- at Philadelphia (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at Green Bay (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Washington (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Oakland (Nov. 26)
Week 13- at NY Giants (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. San Diego (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at New Orleans (Dec. 19)
Week 16- at Washington (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Philadelphia (Jan. 3)
Monday, July 20, 2009
By Christopher J. Petherick
(Note: This story was originally posted in the American Free Press)
During a hearing on Capitol Hill in early July, a top official at the Federal Reserve warned Congress to stay out of the bankers' business and not force the privately owned and operated central bank to submit to a public audit.
On July 9 The Financial Times reported on Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul's (pictured at right) landmark "Audit the Fed" legislation (H.R. 1207), which would remove any remaining proscriptions on federal authorities investigating the Federal Reserve Bank, which serves not only as the U.S. central bank but is increasingly acting as the top banker to the world. So far Paul's bill has picked up 261 co-sponsors, well over half the membership in the House.
Since the collapse of economies around the world in the summer of 2008- brought about by Wall Street greed- the Fed, through its various funding arms, has had the printing presses running day and night, churning out dollars. The Fed publicly claims that its balance sheet stands at just under $2 trillion, largely composed of loans to private banks, mortgage holdings and Treasury bills (U.S. taxpayer debt). But some honest economists believe the Fed is not telling the whole truth about its assets and liabilities, fudging the facts to keep U.S. taxpayers in the dark about the state of the central bank.
But the truth is few know just how much money is even in circulation today.
For the past three years, the Fed has only been reporting two out of three monetary aggregates. The first is M1, the narrowest measure of money supply, which includes currency held by consumers and private corporations, money held in checking accounts and travelers checks. The second is M2, the figure most commonly cited to describe the country's money supply. This includes M1 plus any savings that are in relatively liquid holdings like money market mutual funds. The third, which is no longer released to the public, is called M3. It is made up of M2 plus large liquid assets including some money market funds and certificates of deposit held by massive financial corporations and other large institutions.
In 2006, the Fed announced it would stop publishing statistics for M3, which is considered the broadest accounting of the country's money supply. The Fed claimed M3 did not provide any additional information on currency trends beyond what was contained in M2. But the reality is, M3 gives Americans the best of the dollar's value by revealing how much money is out there.
In the past year, the M1 has risen by an incredible 16.3 percent to $1.669 trillion. M2's growth has been less dramatic at 8.7 percent, for a total of $8.369 trillion. But the growth of M3- which the fed no longer discloses- over the past few years is especially troubling, according to figures compiled by economist John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics. Williams pieces together government reports to provide readers with what he contends is a more accurate accounting of key statistics for the country. Williams reports that M3's growth in 2009 was 18 percent. That means in the past decade M3 has more than doubled in from $5 trillion in 2000 to $14.5 trillion.
The dramatic growth of currency in circulation in the past few years lends ammunition to those seeking a full and open accounting of the practices of the central bank. That could explain why the Fed has been going on the offensive, using fear-mongering to scare legislators into backpedaling on these landmark measures in the House and Senate that would open up the Fed to public scrutiny.
At the hearing on July 9 before the House Financial Services Subcommittee, Donald Kohn, the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress that any interference in the affairs of bankers would "negatively affect markets." Said Kohn: "[E]rosion of the Federal Reserve's monetary independence would lead to higher long-term interest rates as investors begin to fear future inflation."
Translation: Our current system of debt would likely collapse should the world learn the truth about our money- and just how bad off the banking system really is.
The next day, in an interview with Reuter's, Rep. Ron Paul said: "The dollar is worth four cents [compared to] what it was worth in 1913 when the Fed was established... That tells you they're not very good at protecting the value of our money. They're the counterfeiters of the world, protected by this secrecy. That has to end."
Christopher Petherick is a journalist and publisher based in Maryland. For more information, see his website at www.brandywinehouse.us