Sunday, August 30, 2009
It seems that quite a few people seem to have forgotten the "free speech zones" that came into being BIG TIME when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were in command in America.
At least with the Obama Administration, people are allowed to gather AT THE SITE where the event they are protesting is taking place and not a mile or so away from the scene of the action.
BIG DIFFERENCE between the two...
Wouldn't it be refreshing to see one of the talking heads in the "main stream" media observe this point on their show?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
One year ago today, August 28, 2008 in Denver, Colorado... HISTORY WAS MADE.
Barack Obama became the first African-American Presidential candidate when he accepted the nomination with his historic and moving speech before a packed, over flow crowd at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Remember the stirring speech delivered by then Presidential candidate Obama at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium?
The crowd roared with approval as he declared "This is our time!" at the peak of the speech just before the close of the events of the four-day convention.
The country was able to see Michelle Obama, the future first lady as it would turn out, give a speech in the opening night. The recently departed Senator Ted Kennedy gave an emotional speech the next day as it also would prove to be his last public speech.
Of course, Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a great talk the following evening and then the finale as Barack Obama gave the historic speech on a beautiful Thursday evening in Denver.
The irony of the splendid weather was that James Dobson (leader of Focus on the Family) called on people to pray for rain when Obama was delivering his speech.
The weather was beautiful as if the Almighty Creator Himself made sure the weather would not obstruct this moment in American history.
The following week, when the Republican National Convention took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the first day was basically canceled as a HURRICANE bore down on New Orleans for the second time in four years.
(Insert here-- "You're doing a heckuva job Brownie!")
What a difference a year makes...
As the hate mongers and closet racists come out and "protest" the Obama presidency just when this country we call (or at least for now still call) the UNITED STATES of AMERICA was beginning to come together after eight long years of the Bush & Cheney regime.
The way the corporations have dictated things over the past thirty or forty years in this country it's almost as if we have become (God forbid it should ever happen) the corporate states of America.
I shudder to think about it, but we have been heading that way it seems. The corporations had their way when Bush & Cheney wormed their way into the White House nine years ago in what was a black eye in American history, make no mistake about that.
Point is the American people were feeling good again as they chanted "Yes We Can! Yes We Can!" on that historic night. But the right was cringing and have been planning the demise of Obama/Biden ever since.
John McCain and the woman formerly known as the Governor of Alaska (we don't mention her name any more on this blog site) were blown out of the water on Election Night 2008 when history was made once again and we could all say President Barack Obama.
The smear campaign launched by the infamous GOP duo failed miserably as the American people took a page from President Obama's book and simply said "Enough!"
The same things are happening once again on the right as the corporations try to twist the facts and manipulate the people who "protest" Obama's political agendas.
The same things that happened late last summer and early fall when the smear campaign against Barack Obama took place is happening all over again at this very moment.
Only this time, the people are slower to react it seems to this onslaught on health care (and some future legislation as well I am sure) because the corporations and insurance industry giants, which thrived under Bush & Cheney, want to keep things going their way and will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to ensure they do not lose power over we the people.
Remember... power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
There are definitely things going on as we live and breathe on this day, August 28, 2009 that will continue to develop and dictate the future.
Looking back one year ago today, it definitely bears repeating...
What a difference a year makes.
Stay tuned people... because it is going to get ugly before it gets better.
Don't just stand idly by, make a difference and stand up to the corporations and insurance bullies in the same spirit of 2008 when we all made a difference and said "Fuck You!" to what was happening during the past eight years to the middle and lower income classes of this country.
Keep the spirit alive and as Ted Kennedy so eloquently said last year in Denver at the DNC, "Keep the dream alive!"
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
2008 RECORD: 8-8
(1st in AFC West)
HEAD COACH: Norv Turner
Key Additions: LB Kevin Burnett (FA/Cowboys)
Key Losses: DL Igor Olshansky (FA/Cowboys) OL Mike Goff (FA/Chiefs)
Offense: The Chargers have a lot of talent on offense.
LaDainian Tomlinson has been the main cog of the Chargers offense for most of this decade and last year his numbers dipped for the second straight season when he rushed for 1,110 yards (3.8 ypc average) and scored 11 touchdowns, which is a far cry from his MVP season in 2006 when he scored 31 TDs, an NFL record.
However, Tomlinson was not playing at 100 percent last year and for the second straight year was injured in the playoffs. Backing up Tomlinson is Darren Sproles, the all-purpose back who rushed for 330 yards (5.4 ypc average) and also caught 29 passes for 342 yards and five touchdowns.
The fullbacks are Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester and Michael Bennett is a third back in the mix with LT and Sproles after his contributions in the post-season.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is back for another season after leading the NFL in passing in 2008 with a 105.5 passer rating.
Rivers threw for 4,009 yards while tying for the league lead with 34 touchdown passes and threw just 11 interceptions. The only real knock on Rivers is his lack of mobility, but he was coming off of knee surgery following the 2007 playoffs. Billy Volek is a solid backup should he be needed to play.
The wide receivers are a good group including starters Vincent Jackson (59 catches for 1,098 yards and seven touchdowns) and Chris Chambers, who made 33 catches for 462 yards and five TDs. The Tight End is Antonio Gates, an All-Pro who is considered among the top at his position in the NFL. Gates led San Diego in '08 with 60 receptions for 704 yards and eight touchdowns.
Providing depth at wide receiver is Legedu Naanee, Malcolm Floyd (27 catches for 465 yards and four TDs), Buster Davis and Brandon Manumaleuna.
The offensive line is back with one new addition in rookie guard Louis Vasquez (Texas Tech), who joins fellow guard Kris Dielman and tackles Jeromey Clary and Marcus McNeill. The center is Nick Hardwick.
The Chargers were second in the NFL in scoring in 2008 with 439 points and also ranked seventh in passing with 241 yards per game. The running game fell off to 20th in '08, averaging just 108 yards per game.
Defense: Can one player make a difference?
Just ask San Diego Head Coach Norv Turner, who was without Shawne Merriman after the first game of the 2008 season.
Merriman, an All-Pro linebacker in the Chargers' 3-4 scheme, missed 15 games after a knee injury and is looking forward to leading the Chargers' defense once again in 2009.
Along with Merriman at outside linebacker is Shaun Phillips, who led San Diego with 7.5 sacks in '08. The inside linebackers are Tim Dobbins and Stephen Cooper.
Up front for the Chargers is nose tackle Jamal Williams. The Defensive Ends are Luis Castillo and Jacques Cesaire. Top draft pick Larry English (Northern Illinois) will be available to play outside linebacker or defensive end.
The secondary, which was one of the NFL's best in 2007, suffered last year as they were shredded by opposing passing attacks to the tune of 247 yards per game, which was 31st in the league.
After leading the NFL with 10 interceptions in '07, cornerback Antonio Cromartie had just two picks but was another Charger who was playing hurt all season long. The other corner is Quentin Jammer. The safeties are Eric Weddle and Clinton Hart. Antoine Cason and Cletis Gordon are valuable reserves in the secondary.
The Chargers run defense ranked 11th in the NFL by allowing 103 yards per game. San Diego intercepted 15 passes last season with Phillips leading the team with four picks. The Chargers recorded 28 sacks last season, which was 14 fewer than in '07.
With Merrimann back in the fold in '09, look for the sacks and interception totals to increase.
OUTLOOK: With the overflow of talent on this team, San Diego is widely regarded as a Super Bowl contender. This may be their season to prove it.
They have multiple players who are in their option years and Tomlinson also restructured his own contract in the off-season so the team would have more financial room after this season.
Between Pittsburgh, New England and the Chargers, the AFC should be a great conference to watch in 2009.
San Diego knows they can beat the Colts in the post-season, having done it two years in a row. The Patriots and Steelers have been the teams standing in their way the last three years in the playoffs.
For the Chargers, a team so deep at running back they actually had LT, Sproles and Michael Turner (now with Atlanta) at the same time, the time is now and they know it.
Tomlinson and Merimann are healthy and that is huge on both sides of the ball for obvious reasons. Along with a solid passing game led by Rivers, the Chargers will (or should) coast to the AFC West division title for the fourth consecutive season.
A 12-4 record is most likely to happen and this team, barring injuries to key players for the third straight year in the playoffs, could very well be Super Bowl bound this time.
Week 1- at Oakland (Sept. 14)
Week 2- vs. Baltimore (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Miami (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at Pittsburgh (Oct. 4)
Week 5- BYE WEEK
Week 6- vs. Denver (Oct. 19)
Week 7- at Kansas City (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Oakland (Nov. 1)
Week 9- at NY Giants (Nov. 8)
Week 10- vs. Philadelphia (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Denver (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Kansas City (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Cleveland (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Dallas (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Cincinnati (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Tennessee (Dec. 25)
Week 17- vs. Washington (Jan. 3)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
2008 RECORD: 5-11
(3rd in AFC West)
HEAD COACH: Tom Cable
Key Additions: QB Jeff Garcia (FA/Buccaneers) OL Khalif Barnes (FA/Jaguars) OL Samson Satele (trade/Dolphins) RB Lorenzo Neal (FA/Ravens) QB Bruce Gradkowski (FA/Browns) RB Gary Russell (FA/Steelers)
Key Losses: WR Ron Curry (FA/Lions) RB Justin Griffith (FA/Seahawks) WR Ashley Lelie (FA) DL Kalimba Edwards (FA)
Offense: The Raiders scored only 263 points in 2008, which was 29th in the NFL and improvement is a must as they prepare for 2009.
JaMarcus Russell is the starting quarterback after passing for 2,423 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2008. He also threw eight interceptions while rushing for an additional 127 yards. Oakland made Russell their number-one pick in the '07 NFL Draft, and need to see more production from him.
If he cannot cut it in '09, the Raiders have veteran QB Jeff Garcia, who signed as a free agent after playing with Tampa Bay. Garcia threw for 2,712 yards with 12 TDs and six picks a year ago with the Bucs.
The running back by committee appears ready to continue for Oakland once again this season as Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas split time in '08 and did a decent job for the Raiders, who finished in the top ten in the league in rushing last season.
Fargas led Oakland with 853 yards rushing while McFadden ran for 499 yards and scored four TDs. Michael Bush, another second year player like McFadden, had 421 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns. The fullbacks are Luke Lawton and Marcel Reese, along with free agents Gary Russell (with Pittsburgh in '08) and veteran Lorenzo Neal.
So there is a plethora of running back talent but, the real concern for the offense is the passing game.
The wide receivers are not everyday household names and that continues to be a problem for the Raiders. Tight End Zach Miller led the team with 56 receptions for 778 yards in '08. But he only had one TD reception all season. Javon Walker is on the team's physically unable to perform list and only had 15 catches last season.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, a rookie from Maryland, is being touted as a starter in '09. Chaz Schilens (15 catches, 226 yards and two TDs) is another wideout for Oakland who could be a starter. Also available are Louis Murphy and Sammie Parker.
The offensive line will have Samson Satele at center, Khalif Barnes and Mario Henderson at tackles and guards Rob Gallery and Cooper Carlisle.
Defense: Much like previous seasons, Oakland's defense is solid against the pass and very weak against the run.
In 2008, the Raiders allowed 160 yards per game on the ground, which was 31st in the NFL. The pass defense ranked 10th overall, giving up 201 yards per game. The Raiders finished 27th in total defense while allowing opponents 361 yards per game.
In the 4-3 Oakland employs on defense, the ends are Trevor Scott and Jay Richardson with Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren at the tackle positions. Scott led Oakland with five quarterback sacks in 2008.
The linebackers are Kirk Morrison in the middle and outside linebackers Tom Howard and Ricky Brown.
The secondary is a good one with Chris Johnson and Nnamdi Asomugha at cornerback and Michael Huff and Hiram Eugene as the safeties. Rookie Michael Mitchell (Ohio U.) was drafted in the second round and may step in to help the Raiders.
Oakland's defense recorded 32 sacks last year and had 16 interceptions. Johnson led the team with three picks.
OUTLOOK: The Raiders finished with a 5-11 record last season but only three of their losses were by seven points or less, meaning they were not in many of the games. That has to change if they want to have a chance in 2009.
If Russell struggles at all at quarterback, Head Coach Tom Cable will not hesitate to bring in Jeff Garcia, the veteran journeyman quarterback who helped guide the Eagles and Tampa Bay Bucs to the playoffs in recent years.
While the 39 year-old Garcia may not have the arm strength or leg speed of Russell, he does have certain intangibles at the position that has allowed him to stick around the NFL for ten-plus years.
There is a lot on Oakland's plate as 2009 season gets ready to start. The running back by committee has to continue to click without complaints from the players. The wide receiver corps has to have somebody step and become the "go to guy" for either Russell or Garcia.
The defense should be good enough to keep Oakland competitive but, there are too many holes that have to be filled with unproven players on the offense, especially at wide receiver.
Plus the team appears to have some sort of internal turmoil (after all it is the Oakland Raiders we are talking about) involving the coaching staff still lingering after last year's fiasco when owner Al Davis went on a tirade and fired Lane Kiffin four games into the season.
With a tough schedule and the talent-laden San Diego Chargers looming large in the AFC West, don't expect Oakland to make a whole lot of noise in 2009. They will do well just to avoid last place again this season.
The call is for the Raiders to finish 4-12 in '09 and look ahead to possible better days because these Raiders are not your father's Raiders.
Week 1- vs. San Diego (Sept. 14)
Week 2- at Kansas City (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Denver (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at Houston (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at NY Giants (Oct. 11)
Week 6- vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 18)
Week 7- vs. NY Jets (Oct. 25)
Week 8- at San Diego (Nov. 1)
Week 9- BYE WEEK
Week 10- vs. Kansas City (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Cincinnati (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at Dallas (Nov. 26)
Week 13- at Pittsburgh (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Washington (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at Denver (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Cleveland (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Baltimore (Jan. 3)
Saturday, August 22, 2009
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
2008 RECORD: 2-14
(4th in AFC West)
HEAD COACH: Todd Haley
Key Additions: QB Matt Cassel (trade/Patriots) LB Matt Vrabel (trade/Patriots) LB Corey Mays (FA/Bengals) WR Terrance Copper (FA/Ravens) LB Zach Thomas (FA/Cowboys)
Key Losses: TE Tony Gonzalez (trade/Falcons) QB Damon Huard (FA/49ers) LB Pat Thomas (FA/Bills) LB Donnie Edwards (FA) CB Patrick Surtain (FA)
Offense: The Chiefs will have a mixture of new faces and familiar faces on the offense in 2009.
Gone is perennial Pro-Bowl Tight End Tony Gonzalez, traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Back is running back Larry Johnson (874 yards, 4.5 ypc average and five touchdowns in '08) and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who made 86 catches for 1,022 yards and seven TDs last season.
Also in the fold for 2009 is quarterback Matt Cassel, who comes over from the New England Patriots after putting up respectable numbers while filling the shoes for injured Tom Brady.
Cassel was pressed into the starting role in '08 and threw for 3,693 yards with 21 TDs and 11 interceptions. Not too shabby after holding the clipboard on the sidelines for his first two seasons in the NFL.
Along with Cassel, Kansas City has Johnson at running back, Bowe at wide receiver and new starting Tight End Brad Cottam. The other wide receiver may be Mark Bradley, who had 30 catches a year ago for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Bobby Engram and Devard Darling are also competing for a starter's role at wide receiver.
The offensive line will have Rudy Niswanger at center. The guards are Brian Waters and Mike Goff. The tackles are Branden Albert and Damion McIntosh.
The Chiefs ranked 24th overall in the NFL in total offense in 2008, gaining 309 yards per game.
Defense: The Chiefs were awful on defense last year, allowing 393 yards per game, which was 31st in the league. The run defense allowed 159 yards per game and the Chiefs gave up an additional 234 yards per game through the air.
Up front, Glenn Dorsey is the nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme. The ends are Tyson Jackson and Alfonso Boone.
The linebackers are Derrick Johnson and Zach Thomas (free agent from Dallas) on the inside and veteran Mike Vrabel, along with Tamba Hali on the outside.
The secondary will have Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers at cornerback and Bernard Pollard at strong safety and Jarrad Page at free safety. Page led Kansas City with four interceptions in 2008.
The defense has got to be able to stop the run and get some pressure on the quarterback. The Chiefs recorded just ten sacks all of last season.
OUTLOOK: With a new Head Coach in Todd Haley, the Chiefs will have a new enthusiasm on the field. How that translates in the win-loss column remains to be seen.
The offense isn't too bad with Cassel coming in to team with Johnson, a former All-Pro rusher who seems to have lost his intensity during the last two seasons.
If the Chiefs can get Johnson going again and Cassel plays like he did for the Patriots a year ago, the Chiefs may spring some surprises in 2009.
The defense however, MUST improve if the Chiefs are going to contend at all in the AFC West. Kansas City finished 2-14 and in last place in their division. To be fair, seven of their 14 losses were by seven points or less, including two nail biting, one-point losses to reigning division champion San Diego.
The AFC West is one of the weaker divisions in the NFL, which means the Chiefs should avoid last place again. The again, they have to stop their opponents in order to have a chance. Kansas City will do well to finish near .500, but that's even asking a lot coming off the type of season they had last year.
The schedule is brutal and a 5-11 record is more likely with perhaps a third place finish in the AFC West.
Week 1- at Baltimore (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Oakland (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Philadelphia (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. NY Giants (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Dallas (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at Washington (Oct. 18)
Week 7- vs. San Diego (Oct. 25)
Week 8- BYE WEEK
Week 9- at Jacksonville (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at Oakland (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Pittsburgh (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at San Diego (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. Denver (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Buffalo (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Cleveland (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Cincinnati (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at Denver (Jan. 3)
Friday, August 21, 2009
2008 RECORD: 8-8
(2nd in AFC West)
HEAD COACH: Josh McDaniels
Key Additions: QB Kyle Orton (trade/Bears) WR Jabar Gafney (FA/Patriots) CB Brian Dawkins (FA/Eagles) RB J.J. Arrington (FA/Cardinals) DL Darrell Reid (FA/Colts) RB Correll Buckhalter (FA/Eagles) CB Andre Goodman (FA/Dolphins) RB LaMont Jordan (FA/Patriots) QB Chris Simms (FA/Titans) DL Matt McChesney (FA/Dolphins) LB Andra Davis (FA/Browns)
Key Losses: QB Jay Cutler (trade/Bears) QB Patrick Ramsey (FA/Redskins) OL Tom Nalen (retired) CB Dre' Bly (FA) DL Ebenezer Ekuban (FA) WR Darrell Jackson (FA) RB Tatum Bell (FA) RB Michael Pittman (FA) S Marlon McCree (FA) RB Selvin Young (FA)
Offense: The Denver Broncos made a lot of changes, especially at quarterback where Jay Cutler was dealt to the Chicago Bears in exchange for Kyle Orton (2,972 yards passing with 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2008), who will be the Broncos starting quarterback this season. Chris Simms is in Denver as well at quarterback.
The running back position has a wide variety of players vying for spots.
Top draft pick Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) is in the fold along with 2008 Broncos' leading rusher Peyton Hillis, who ran for 343 yards and scored five TDs. LaMont Jordan comes over from New England after going for 363 yards and four scores last season.
The wide receivers enjoyed huge success last year for Denver as Cutler put the ball up over 600 times during the season.
Brandon Marshall was the Broncos' leading receiver in '08 with 104 catches for 1,265 yards and six TDs. Eddie Royal, a rookie in '08, caught 91 passes for 980 yards and had five touchdowns. These two are slated to be the starters in 2009. Jabar Gafney (38 catches and two TDs) was signed from the New England Patriots to help provide depth. Brandon Stokley is also included after catching 49 passes for 528 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tight Ends include Tony Scheffler (40 catches for 645 yards and three TDs), Daniel Graham (32 grabs, 389 yards and four TDs) and rookie Richard Quinn, a second round pick from North Carolina.
The offensive line, a longtime staple of Denver's past successes, has Casey Weigmann at center with Ryan Clady and Chris Kuper at guards and Ryan Harris and Ben Hamilton at the tackle positions.
Defense: This side of the football was terrible in 2008 and probably cost Denver the AFC West title and ultimately, former Head Coach Mike Shanahan his job.
The Broncos ranked 29th in total defense by allowing 374 yards per game with 146 yards coming on the ground and 238 yards through the air. Denver also allowed 448 points (3oth in the NFL) while intercepting only six passes all season and recording just 26 sacks.
In addition, Denver lost its final three games to cough up the division title while allowing 112 points in the three losses.
The secondary will have Brian Dawkins at free safety after spending many years as an All-Pro with the Philadelphia Eagles. Joining Dawkins, who is a true leader on the field, will be Darcell McBath (strong safety), Champ Bailey and Josh Bell, who will be the cornerbacks.
The defensive line will see Marcus Thomas as nose tackle with Tim Crowder and Robert Ayers at Defensive End. Ayers is a first-round pick from Tennessee who will also play linebacker in 2009.
The linebackers in the Denver 3-4 defense are Boss Bailey, Dumas Dumervil (outside LB) and inside backers D.J. Williams and Andra Davis, who was signed away from the Cleveland Browns in the off-season.
OUTLOOK: It will definitely be an interesting season in Denver as new Head Coach Josh McDaniels takes over for Mike Shanahan, who was fired after a long run in the mile high city.
McDaniels has been touted a "boy genius" after helping New England to a 16-0 season in 2007 as the offensive coordinator as well as developing Matt Cassel at quarterback last year when Tom Brady went down with a knee injury in the first game of the season.
There are more problems and drama than a daytime soap opera in Denver as the season looms.
Brandon Marshall, last year's leading receiver and Cutler's favorite target as well, has been complaining non stop since Cutler was dealt after getting off to a rocky start with McDaniel after he was named Head Coach.
There is still a definite possibility that Marshall, along with Tight End Tony Scheffler, could be traded before the season starts.
With so many newcomers and a new system being implemented in Denver, many don't expect the Broncos to contend this season after nearly winning the AFC West last season.
The reality is the Broncos are not as good as they appeared early on in 2008, nor are they as bad as they were in the latter part of the 2008 season. They also have to cut down on the turnovers in 2009 after ranking 31st in the league with a -17 plus/minus turnover ratio.
Look for Denver, with a very tough schedule in '09, to finish 6-10 as they work out the kinks in the new system and McDaniel also makes adjustments as Head Coach after learning from one of the best in Bill Belichick. The Broncos, in the past, have been very good at rebounding after under going changes. Don't expect them to stay down too long.
Week 1- at Cincinnati (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Cleveland (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Oakland (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Dallas (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. New England (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at San Diego (Oct. 19)
Week 7- BYE WEEK
Week 8- at Baltimore (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Pittsburgh (Nov. 9)
Week 10- at Washington (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. San Diego (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. NY Giants (Nov. 26)
Week 13- at Kansas City (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Indianapolis (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Oakland (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Philadelphia (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Kansas City (Jan. 3)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
2008 RECORD: 4-12
(3rd in NFC West)
HEAD COACH: Jim Mora, Jr.
Key Additions: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (FA/Bengals) DL Colin Cole (FA/Packers) RB Justin Griffith (FA/Raiders) CB Ken Lucas (FA/Panthers)
Key Losses: RB Maurice Morris (FA/Lions) DL Rocky Bernard (FA/Giants) DL Howard Green (FA/Jets) WR Bobby Engram (FA/Chiefs) RB Leonard Weaver (FA/Eagles) TE Will Heller (FA/Lions) QB Charlie Frye (FA) WR Koren Robinson (FA) LB Julian Peterson (trade/Lions)
Offense: Injuries were a problem for Seattle in 2008 and Matt Hasselbeck will be back as the starting quarterback this season.
Hasselbeck threw for 1,216 yards and had five touchdown passes while throwing 10 interceptions in '08. Meanwhile, Seneca Wallace threw for 1,532 yards and had 11 TD passes with just three interceptions.
The running back spot has Julius Jones returning as the starting halfback after rumbling for 698 yards and two TDs last year. T.J. Duckett backs up and had 172 yards rushing with eight touchdowns in 2008. The fullback is Justin Griffith, who was signed as free agent from Oakland.
The wide receiving corps gets an upgrade in 2009 as T.J. Houshmandzadeh comes over from the Cincinnati Bengals after years of being the "other" wide receiver opposite Chad Ocho Cinco.
Houshmandzadeh caught 92 passes for 904 yards and had four touchdowns for the Bengals last season and will line up in '09 as the main target along with Nate Burleson, who is coming off an injury plagued season that saw him catch only five passes all season.
Deion Branch and rookie Deon Butler (Penn State) are the backups. The Tight End is John Carlson, who led the Seahawks with 55 receptions a year ago.
The offensive line has Walter Jones and Sean Locklear at the tackles and Mike Wahle and Rob Sims at guard. The center is Chris Spencer.
Seattle Head Coach Jim Mora, Jr. takes over for the retired Mike Holmgren and would like to see the offense score more often in 2009 as the Seahawks scored only 294 points last season, which ranked 25th in the NFL.
Defense: Seattle's defense slipped in 2008 after being ranked high in the NFC for a number of years.
The Seahawks allowed 378 yards per game in '08, which ranked 30th in the league and allowed 392 points.
The 4-3 defense will have Patrick Kerney and Lawrence Jackson at the ends and Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole (free agent signee from Green Bay) at the tackles.
The linebackers will be different as well as Julian Peterson is no longer in the fold after leaving as a free agent.
Lofa Tatupu is the middle linebacker with Aaron Curry and Leroy Hill at the outside LB spots. Curry is a rookie from Wake Forest who will get his feet wet right away this season. D.D. Lewis, Will Herring and David Hawthorne are the backups at linebacker.
The secondary features Marcus Trufant and Ken Lucas at cornerback with Deon Grant and Brian Russell at the safeties.
The Seahawks had only nine interceptions all season while registering 35 sacks. In fact, the Seahawks pass defense ranked last in the NFL in '08 by allowing 259 yards passing per game.
OUTLOOK: The Seahawks made a lot of changes after Holmgren retired from his position as Head Coach following a terrible 4-12 season.
Health will be a key for the Seahawks in 2009.
Hasselbeck has been an All-Pro in his career and if healthy, he has shown he can be among the top quarterbacks in the game. Remember, Seattle made the Super Bowl just four years ago and Hasselbeck was a main cog on that team.
Julius Jones is also coming off injuries last year and has been a 1,000 yard rusher in his career and with Houshmandzadeh leading the receivers, Seattle has a chance to be more of a legitimate threat offensively this season.
The defense must improve as well, especially against the pass.
Mora has been a Head Coach in the NFL before (with Atlanta) and he knows what it takes to turn a team around.
The Seahawks face a relatively tough schedule in 2009 while trying to regain their status as kings of the NFC West division. With so many new players coming into the mix, including learning a new system with a new coaching staff, Seattle will do well just to get to the .500 level once again.
Look for the Seahawks to finish 6-10 in '09 as they look to continue to improve for a better future in the Jim Mora, Jr. era.
Week 1- vs. St. Louis (Sept. 13)
Week 2- at San Francisco (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Chicago (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at Indianapolis (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Jacksonville (Oct. 11)
Week 6- vs. Arizona (Oct. 18)
Week 7- BYE WEEK
Week 8- at Dallas (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Detroit (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at Arizona (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Minnesota (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at St. Louis (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. San Francisco (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Houston (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Tampa Bay (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Green Bay (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Tennessee (Jan. 3)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
2008 RECORD: 7-9
(2nd in NFC West)
HEAD COACH: Mike Singletary
Key Additions: WR Brandon Jones (FA/Titans) QB Damon Huard (FA/Chiefs) RB Moran Norris (FA/Lions) OL Marvel Smith (FA/Steelers) LB Marques Harris (FA/Chargers) CB Dre' Bly (FA/Broncos)
Key Losses: LB Tully Banta-Cain (FA/Patriots) TE Bill Bajema (FA/Rams) QB J.T. O' Sullivan (FA/Bengals) WR Bryant Johnson (FA/Lions) RB DeShaun Foster (FA)
Offense: After going back and forth between two different quarterbacks last season, the 49ers settled with Shaun Hill and let J.T. O' Sullivan go through free agency.
Hill provided some stability and displayed confidence in his chance as QB when the 49ers finished strong by going 5-2 down the stretch. Hill threw for 2,046 yards and 13 touchdowns with eight interceptions. The back up quarterbacks are Alex Smith and Damon Huard.
Frank Gore, who has been an offensive juggernaut for San Francisco early in his career, is the top running back. Michael Robinson is the back up halfback/fullback. Moran Norris is the fullback. Rookie draft pick Glen Coffee (from Alabama) will also get his chance to play.
Gore rushed for 1,036 yards last season and scored six touchdowns while also catching 43 passes for 373 yards and two TDs.
Isaac Bruce, a 15-year veteran, is back at wide receiver and top draft choice Michael Crabtree (a holdout as pre-season began) is slated to be the other starting wide receiver. The Tight End is Vernon Davis, who contributed with 31 catches for 358 yards and two scores.
Bruce caught 61 passes to lead the team in '08 and had 835 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Arnaz Battle (24 catches for 318 yards), Josh Morgan (20 catches, 319 yards and three TDs) and newcomer Brandon Jones, who made 41 catches for 449 yards and one TD with Tennessee, are the other wide receivers in the fold.
The offensive line was simply awful at pass protection in 2008, allowing 55 quarterback sacks.
The center is Eric Heitmann. The guards are David Bass and Chilo Rachal and the tackles are Joe Staley and Marvel Smith, a free agent from Pittsburgh.
Defense: San Francisco's defense seemed to pick it up a notch last year after Head Coach Mike Singletary took over for Mike Nolan, who was fired seven games into the season.
The 49ers ranked 13th in the NFL in total defense (326 yards per game allowed) and also 13th in rushing. The pass defense was 20th in the league and intercepted only 12 passes while accumulating 30 sacks.
The defensive front will have Isaac Sopoaga at nose tackle and Ray McDonald and Justin Smith (seven QB sacks) at the end spots.
The linebackers in San Francisco's 3-4 defense will be Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson on the outside. Haralson led the 49ers with eight sacks in '08. The inside linebackers are Takeo Spikes and Patrick Willis.
Dre' Bly was signed away from Denver in the off-season and will start at cornerback while Nate Clements will be other cornerback. The safeties are Michael Lewis (strong safety) and Dashon Goldson.
OUTLOOK: After finishing the 2008 season on a 5-2 run down the stretch, the 49ers feel confident as the new season approaches.
Quarterback Shaun Hill clearly made a difference as the primary signal caller for the team once he was handed the playbook.
With Hill back again and Gore leading the way in the backfield, San Francisco should be decent on offense. The team needs to get Crabtree in the fold on offense. Along with veteran Isaac Bruce, this could be a good wide receiver tandem.
Better pass protection in 2009 is a must!
The defense is respectable and should continue to improve under Singletary and his coaching staff.
The key will be how the team starts in '09. After getting off to a 2-7 start last season, the 49ers were buried in the NFC West. A good start is pertinent to success in '09.
San Francisco may just well finish the same way as last year when they were 7-9 and second place in the NFC West. That is a more likely finish for the 49ers in 2009 than a division title.
Week 1- at Arizona (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Seattle (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Minnesota (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. St. Louis (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Atlanta (Oct. 11)
Week 6- BYE WEEK
Week 7- at Houston (Oct. 25)
Week 8- at Indianapolis (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Tennessee (Nov. 8)
Week 10- vs. Chicago (Nov. 12)
Week 11- at Green Bay (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Jacksonville (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Seattle (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Arizona (Dec. 14)
Week 15- at Philadelphia (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. Detroit (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at St. Louis (Jan. 3)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
ST. LOUIS RAMS
2008 RECORD: 2-14
(4th in NFC West)
HEAD COACH: Steve Spagnuolo
Key Additions: OL Jason Brown (FA/Ravens) RB Mike Karney (FA/Saints) S James Butler (FA/Giants) WR Laurent Robinson (trade/Falcons) QB Kyle Boller (FA)
Key Losses: WR Torry Holt (FA/Jaguars) OL Orlando Pace (FA/Bears) OL Nick Leckey (FA/Saints) WR Dante Hall (FA) RB Brian Leonard (trade/Lions) WR Dane Looker (FA) QB Trent Green (FA) WR Drew Bennett (FA) DL La'Roi Glover (FA) S Corey Chavous (FA)
Offense: The Rams, once known as the "greatest show on turf" have crashed hard since the glory days of Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Marshall Faulk, etc., and in 2009 they face many questions on offense.
Quarterback Marc Bulger is back after a bad 2008 campaign that saw him throw for 2,720 yards with just 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Ouch!
Bulger has been banged up the last couple of years and has injury problems as camp is continuing this summer. Kyle Boller (free agent) comes over to St. Louis to provide some experience and depth.
Steven Jackson had a bounce back year of sorts in '08 and rushed for 1,042 yards (4.1 ypc average) and seven touchdowns. Along with fullback Mike Karney and backups Kenneth Darby, Antonio Pittman, Samkon Gado and Joe Klopfenstein, Jackson will be the feature back once again in 2009.
Donnie Avery (53 catches, 674 yards and three TDs) and Keenan Burton will be the top wide receivers for St. Louis. Avery is the leader after Torry Holt departed for Jacksonville in the off-season. Burton will be relied upon more in '09 after catching 13 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown last season.
The Tight End will again be Randy McMichael and Bill Bajema backs up. The offensive line has Jason Brown at center, Rich Incognito and Jacob Bell at guards and tackles Alex Barron and Jason Smith.
The offense ranked 27th overall in the NFL last year (287 yards per game) and was 25th in rushing and 26th in passing while Rams' quarterbacks were sacked 45 times.
Defense: Not much to talk about on defense in '08 as the Rams ranked 28th in total defense, allowing 372 yards per game with 155 yards on the ground allowed. St. Louis allowed 465 points for the season, which was 31st in the NFL.
Leonard Little and Chris Long are the Defensive Ends and line up with tackles Adam Carriker and Clifton Ryan in the 4-3 scheme.
The linebackers will be Will Witherspoon and Chris Draft on the outside and rookie James Laurinitis (Ohio State) in the middle for the Rams.
The secondary sees James Butler and Oshiomogho Atogwe at safties and cornerbacks Tye Hill and Ron Bartell.
The Rams had 30 sacks in 2008 with Little getting six of those. However, the defense simply allowed too many yards on the ground and new Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was Defensive Coordinator for the New York Giants, will work hard to see improvement in that area.
OUTLOOK: The Rams suffered through a miserable season in 2008 and can really only go upward in '09, barring of course a winless campaign via Detroit Lions.
The offense has many question marks, with the exception of running back Steven Jackson and (if healthy) quarterback Marc Bulger.
There are a lot of new players picking up playing time in 2009 on offense and the Rams will have to learn on the fly as the season gets going.
The defense also has to improve if the Rams want to avoid the NFC West cellar again in '09.
Spagnuolo proved to be a great 'D' coordinator in New York and even won a Super Bowl ring two years ago with the Giants. Perhaps some of that mojo will rub off on the team in the new season.
Then again, perhaps not.
Look for St. Louis to improve as the season goes along and pull a surprise here and there in 2009. However, another last-place finish in the NFC West seems inevitable. The Rams will likely bring up the rear once again and finish at 4-12 in 2009.
Week 1- at Seattle (Sept. 13)
Week 2- at Washington (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Green Bay (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at San Francisco (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Minnesota (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at Jacksonville (Oct. 18)
Week 7- vs. Indianapolis (Oct. 25)
Week 8- at Detroit (Nov. 1)
Week 9- BYE WEEK
Week 10- vs. New Orleans (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Arizona (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Seattle (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Chicago (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at Tennessee (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Houston (Dec. 20)
Week 16- at Arizona (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. San Francisco (Jan. 3)
Monday, August 17, 2009
2008 RECORD: 9-7
(1st in NFC West)
HEAD COACH: Ken Whisenhunt
Key Additions: CB Bryant McFadden (FA/Steelers) RB Jason Wright (FA/Browns) RB Dan Kreider (FA/Rams)
Key Losses: RB Edgerrin James (FA) RB J.J. Arrington (FA/Broncos) CB Eric Green (FA/Dolphins) DE Antonio Smith (FA/Texans) RB Terrelle Smith (FA/Lions) LB Monty Beisel (FA/Chiefs) CB Roderick Hood (FA)
Offense: Kurt Warner returns after rediscovering his magic touch from the days in St. Louis and the "greatest show on turf".
Warner led the NFC in passing in 2008 and was third overall in the league posting a 96.9 QB rating after throwing for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns with just 14 interceptions.
His wide receivers include Larry Fitzgerald, who was healthy in 2008 and had a monster season, grabbing 96 catches for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns. Anquan Boldin made 89 catches for 1,038 yards and 11 TDs while Steve Breaston hauled in 77 passes for 1,006 yards and three touchdowns.
Having three 1,000-yard receivers in the same season on your team is a rare feat, but the Cardinals pulled it off last season and if healthy again in '09, they could do it again. The Tight Ends are Leonard Pope and Ben Patrick. Neither caught many passes last year and their primary function is to block.
The running backs include Tim Hightower and Chris "Beanie" Wells (top draft pick from Ohio State) and fullbacks Dan Kreider and Tim Castille.
Hightower takes over for the departed Edgerrin James after rushing for 399 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns last season. Wells will get his chance to show what he can do as well.
The offensive line is a good one with Lyle Sendlein at center, Reggie Wells and Deuce Lutui at guard and tackles Mike Gandy and Levi Brown.
Defense: The defense was average at best in 2008, with the exception of the playoff win against Carolina, when they intercepted six passes in the game.
The Cardinals finished 19th overall in the NFL, allowing 332 yards per game with 110 yards allowed on the ground and 222 through the air on a game-by-game basis.
Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt knows the defense has to step up and be more consistent if the Cardinals want to have the success they had in the post-season when they made their run.
Bryan Robinson and Bertrand Berry are the Defensive Ends and the Nose Tackle is Darnell Dockett in the Cardinals' 3-4 scheme.
The linebackers are Gerald Hayes and Karlos Dansby on the inside and the outside linebackers will be Chike Okeafor and Cody Brown.
The secondary has Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Bryant McFadden at the corners and Adrian Wilson and Antrel Rolle at safety.
The Cardinals picked off just 13 passes with Rodgers-Cromartie leading the team with four, including a 99-yard touchdown return of a pick. Meanwhile, McFadden comes over from Pittsburgh and will bring a winning attitude with him after the Super Bowl victory over the Cardinals.
The Cards gave up too many points in '08, as they allowed 426 total points which placed them 28th in the league.
OUTLOOK: If the Cardinals get better defense this season and Warner can work his magic again, watch out!
That will be the key for the team, consistency on defense and at quarterback.
Warner has shown a penchant for getting injured and he is 38 years old entering this season. If he does go down, Matt Leinart (who was the starter in season's past) will step in.
Fitzgerald, Boldin and Breaston will be the mainstays for the offense in 2009 as the air show will continue in the desert.
What needs to improve for Arizona is the running game, which ranked dead last in the NFL in '08 by averaging just 74 yards a game. If the Cardinals do not want to be predictable, that has to improve.
The best way to defense Arizona is simply to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback by blitzing often to throw Warner off his rhythm. That's why it is pertinent for the Cards to re-establish a running game to go with their air attack, which ranked number-two in the league.
Shootout type style teams rarely succeed in the NFL and Arizona really was that type of team last season. It took a near miracle run in the post-season to make the Super Bowl and somehow they solved the Steelers' defense in the final eight minutes of the game and nearly pulled off a huge upset.
That was then and this is now.
Look for Arizona to go 10-6 and make the playoffs again. Only this time other teams will be waiting for them and there will not be any surprises by the Birds come playoff time.
Week 1- vs. San Francisco (Sept. 13)
Week 2- at Jacksonville (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Indianapolis (Sept. 27)
Week 4- BYE WEEK
Week 5- vs. Houston (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at Seattle (Oct. 18)
Week 7- at NY Giants (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Carolina (Nov. 1)
Week 9- at Chicago (Nov. 8)
Week 10- vs. Seattle (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at St. Louis (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at Tennessee (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. Minnesota (Dec. 6)
Week 14- at San Francisco (Dec. 14)
Week 15- at Detroit (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. St. Louis (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Green Bay (Jan. 3)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
2008 RECORD: 13-3
(1st in AFC South)
HEAD COACH: Jeff Fisher
Key Additions: WR Nate Washington (FA/Steelers) QB Patrick Ramsey (FA/Broncos) CB Demarcus Faggins (FA/Texans) DL Jovan Haye (FA/Buccaneers)
Key Losses: DL Albert Haynesworth (FA/Redskins) WR Brandon Jones (FA/49ers) WR Justin McCareins (FA) OL Dan Loper (FA/Lions)
Offense: This is an area the Titans would like to see upgraded entering 2009 after finishing 21st in the NFL overall on offense, despite having the league's best record in 2008.
Quarterback Kerry Collins provides stability for the Titans following the meltdown of Vince Young early in the '08 season.
Collins threw sparingly, attempting only 415 passes while accumulating 2,676 yards and 12 touchdowns with just seven interceptions.
The running game is the top option for Tennessee and Head Coach Jeff Fisher has Chris Johnson and LenDale White returning in '09.
Johnson, a rookie last season, ran for 1,228 yards (4.9 ypc average) and scored nine touchdowns. Meanwhile, White rushed for 773 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. The fullbacks are Ahmard Hall and Quinton Ganther.
The wide receivers are Justin Gage, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and Lavelle Hawkins. The Tight End is Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife is the backup.
Scaife led Tennessee in receptions in 2008 with 58 catches for 561 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gage hauled in 34 for 651 yards (19.1 ypc average) and six TDs. Washington played with defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh last year and had 40 catches for 631 yards and three touchdowns.
The offensive line is a good one that opens the holes for Johnson and White and provides great protection as Titans quarterbacks were sacked just 12 times overall in '08.
Tennessee has Kevin Mawae at center, Michael Ross and David Stewart at tackles and guards Eugene Amano and Jake Scott.
Defense: This was the reason for the team's success in 2008 as they registered 44 sacks and had 20 interceptions that accounted for the Titans finishing second in the NFL with a +14 turnover ratio.
The Titans lost their sack leader, Albert Haynesworth (8.5 in 2008) to free agency but do still have Kyle Vanden Bosch at Right Defensive End. The Left DE is Jevon Kearse. The defensive tackles will be Tony Brown and Jovan Haye, who comes to Tennessee from Tampa Bay via free agency.
The linebacking corps is made up of Stephen Tulloch in the middle and outside backers Dave Thornton and Keith Bulluck, who led the team last season with 98 tackles.
The secondary is one of the best in the NFL and enforces a strict hands-off policy when it comes to enemy air attacks.
Cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan (five picks in '08) and Nick Harper are both solid and safeties Michael Griffin (seven interceptions last season) and Chris Hope (four INT) simply add to the excellence in Tennessee's defensive backfield.
The Titans defense ranked second in the league, allowing just 234 points in '08 and were seventh overall in total defense, giving up 294 yards per game.
OUTLOOK: If the Titans want to repeat as AFC South division champions, they need to continue the excellent defense they played last year.
Losing Haynesworth is a blow, but the addition of Haye will help up front and the secondary has a nasty reputation as a hard-hitting, ball hawk unit.
This team is well coached by Fisher and his staff and that always helps them prepare for each week. It plays with a lot of emotion and on a sad note, during the off-season, former Titans quarterback Steve McNair was murdered and perhaps the team will devote the 2009 season to their former leader's memory.
Offensively, the Titans just might go back with Young if he can clear his mind and forget the ghosts of personal problems that seemed to plague him early last season. Collins was a steady leader at QB in '08 however, the playoff loss to Baltimore exposed some glaring weaknesses with the team's offense.
The Titans have to open it up more on offense because a ground game only goes so far and in the NFL, a team has to keep it's opponents honest on defense. There isn't a lot of success for teams so one-dimensional on offense.
A league best 13-3 finish last year was for naught as the Titans saw their Super Bowl hopes dashed by Baltimore in the divisional round of the playoffs. Don't expect a similar win-loss record in '09 but the team just might go further in the post-season this time around which would mean at least one playoff win.
In the rugged AFC South, a 10-6 record is no shame, especially if the Titans do get a playoff win. Anything can happen in the post-season as Arizona proved that last year. The Titans should make progress in the post-season, just not quite enough to satisfy their fans.
Week 1- at Pittsburgh (Sept. 10)
Week 2- vs. Houston (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at NY Jets (Sept. 27)
Week 4- at Jacksonville (Oct. 4)
Week 5- vs. Indianapolis (Oct. 11)
Week 6- at New England (Oct. 18)
Week 7- BYE WEEK
Week 8- vs. Jacksonville (Nov. 1)
Week 9- at San Francisco (Nov. 8)
Week 10- vs. Buffalo (Nov. 15)
Week 11- at Houston (Nov. 23)
Week 12- vs. Arizona (Nov. 29)
Week 13- at Indianapolis (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. St. Louis (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Miami (Dec. 20)
Week 16- vs. San Diego (Dec. 25)
Week 17- at Seattle (Jan. 3)