According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, the Commissioner will render his final decision on the Favre/Sterger saga within the next 48 hours. It is said to include a fine of an undisclosed dollar amount at this point and no suspension. Obviously, with Favre finally at the end of the road in his illustrious career, what good would a suspension really do anyway?
The fine is reported to be no more than $50,000 and likely less than that. With no suspension looming, it clears Favre to play in perhaps his final ever game this week against the Lions, if in fact he passes his concussion tests.
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It has been a whirlwind week for all those involved in the Ohio State football program, especially the 5 players at the center of the controversy for NCAA violations. The players were found guilty of selling and trading items received from the University in exchange for cash and tattoos in 2009. In a blatant money grab, the NCAA suspended them for 5 games to begin the 2011 season but is allowing them to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl.
Jim Tressel has left the decision on whether or not these players will suit up for the Sugar Bowl up to the seniors who will vote on the matter. Today at 3:30 PM, all 5 players addressed the media and offered their public apologies. The only real news from the event was Devier Posey’s promise to return for his senior season despite the suspensions.
Ohio State will appeal the suspension as they believe the punishment is far too harsh. Some people in Columbus are already speculating that the suspensions will be reduced from 5 games to 2 or 3 games by the beginning of the next season.
As the local media ratchets up their annual campaign to fire the Cleveland Browns Head Coach, and especially a local radio station which seems to have an inappropriate vendetta against Eric Mangini, I am going to make a case for why he should remain in place as the Browns Head Coach. Most fans have to rely on the professionalism and integrity of the media and assume what they see, hear, and read is accurate. Unfortunately, most media is incredibly biased and the truth takes a backseat to whatever agenda is on the forefront.
Honestly, if you listed to the local media in Cleveland, you would wonder why in the hell Mangini wasn’t fired last season. In fact, one local radio station did everything to lead listeners to believe that Mangini was assuredly going to be fired at the end of last season. But there are some realities that the local media will choose to ignore in order to push their agenda and vendetta.
So as a part of my case for Mangini, I’m going to debunk many of the media’s “platform arguments” that get repeated on nearly a daily basis.
One of the things I hear nearly every single day is that Mangini cannot be retained because he has an archaic and antiquated offensive philosophy that is in direct conflict with Mike Holmgren’s core beliefs. What people tend to forget, however, is that if a team that is severely deficient as far talent goes, tries to air it out like the Patriots or Saints, they will get blown out of the water on a weekly basis. Many will even point to Mangini’s idol, Bill Belichick and say that even the Hoody isn’t afraid to open up the offense and air it out. But did Belichick air it out before Tom Brady was Tom Brady? Did the Patriots have a high flying offense when they were in the building stages of their dynasty? Or even as they won 3 Super Bowls? No. Actually, the Patriots won their 3 Super Bowls based on running the football and playing stingy defense.
The Browns simply don’t have that much talent and while Colt McCoy has been promising, he’s not Tom Brady. Do you think the Browns could even stay close in a game with Jake Delhomme throwing 50 times? I don’t. For all the talk about this archaic & antiquated offensive system not being able to win in the NFL, one only needs to look to last season. Look at Mangini’s previous team, the New York Jets. Did they air it out 40 times a game? Did they even have an average passing game? Nope… but they played incredible defense and they ran the ball like crazy all the way to the AFC Championship game. People forget, but the Cincinnati Bengals swept the division and went to the playoffs last season because of an incredible running attack and great defense. Not because of Carson Palmer or Chad Ochocinco.
One of the biggest complaints last season was not just that the Browns lost, but the way in which they lost. The chief complaint was that they were not competitive and games were decided by halftime. Fast forward to this year, and the media has the same complaint. Not that the Browns are losing, but the WAY in which they are losing. Except this time, they’re complaining that they are losing close games. Nowhere is it even mentioned that they were so concerned with not being competitive last year and the Browns having a chance to win nearly every game at the end is completely ignored. That is revisionist history and is a key indicator for a vendetta.
But if the Browns threw it all across the yard without having the proper personnel and foundation in place, they would assuredly lose by 20 points a game. Instead, they played smart football that best fits the personnel that is currently in place and they were able to come extremely close to getting a few more wins against the likes of the New York Jets who are a playoff team.
Is Mangini or the coaching staff perfect? Of course not. Should they have performed better against some of the weaker teams like Buffalo and Cincinnati? Yes, but I don’t think people realize just how shallow this roster is. Ask any NFL coach how he would do if he lost his top 2 QB’s and had to rely on a 3rd string, rookie QB who wasn’t slated to play all season for a large part of the year. Ask a coach how he would do with an aging, injured, Jake Delhomme for the majority of the rest of the games. Ask a coach how he would do with literally one productive running back for an entire NFL season. Ask a coach how he would do without a #1 or even a #2 NFL WR on the roster for the entire season. Ask a coach how he would do with no true edge rushers or interior presence on defense.
People think Mangini refuses to move the ball through the air because he’s philosophically opposed to it. That is a flat out lie and people who say that are uninformed, stupid, or driving an agenda. Just look at how the Steelers and Ravens have evolved as their personnel has changed. Both were built on a power running game and great defense and both have evolved into efficient and dangerous aerial attacks. Why? Not a coaching change (yes, both had coaching changes, but the shift in paradigm began long before in Pittsburgh and after in Baltimore)… But personnel.
As the teams gained confidence in their young QB’s and surrounded them with weapons, the passing games evolved. It’s not rocket science, but the local media in Cleveland will lead you to believe that everything is static. That because Mangini believes that the best chance to win with the roster he has right now is to control the ball and keep the game close that it means that will always be the plan and that he is philosophically opposed to an aggressive, attacking offense. That’s asinine and completely false.
I don’t think people realize just how messed up this roster was when Mangini took it over from Romeo Crennel. For Romeo’s entire stint, the defensive roster was stuck half way between a 4-3 defense and half way between a 3-4 defense. Despite Romeo’s wishes, Phil Savage insisted on acquiring players best suited for a 4-3 defense. Mangini is STILL trying to solidify the identity of the roster on both sides of the ball as most of the offensive players from the previous regime aren’t even on the roster any longer.
The media will also gladly point to the disaster of a draft that was lead by Mangini in 2009. Yes, it was a complete disaster. They tend to forget, however, that they also agree that a coach should not have responsibilities over both the football team and the 53 man roster. Recent history shows us that even the best football minds simply cannot juggle the two responsibilities at the same time. So if we agree that Mangini should not have been put in charge of the entire draft that season to begin with, then it’s irrelevant. Was it awful? Yes! But it never should have happened and it will never happen again going forward so it shouldn’t be relevant in the analysis. Period.
The media has also pointed out several times that Browns fans shouldn’t be patient with the team or Mangini as there are other examples of quick turnarounds in the NFL. Yes there are, but none that are apples to apples. People want to point to Kansas City or St. Louis this season and wonder why it needs to take the Browns 3 seasons to improve. Well, if you take 2 seconds and use your brain, think about the divisions that these teams all play in. Do you think it’s easier to improve in the AFC & NFC West or in the AFC North against Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati? The roster situations are also not equal in most examples as this again demonstrates that most people don’t realize how bad the Browns roster is from top to bottom. Sure, there are tons of bright spots, but the holes that do exist are huge and it’s amazing to me how well Eric Mangini has done in covering them up when you think about it.
There are other deficiencies in the coaching staff, sure. But most can be attributed the coaches trying to cover up for the holes in the roster. Last week the local media went crazy about the Browns clock management to end the first half. Mangini made it clear that he was trying to minimize the time remaining for the Ravens because he doesn’t trust his defense. The media will lead you to believe that this is how Mangini will always operate, regardless of talent.
No, Mangini made this decision because of the holes on the defenses. That was the best decision to keep his team in the game. Period. To even suggest, let alone state as fact that he is philosophically fixed toward these types of conservative decisions is disingenuous and incorrect. Mangini is charged with making the best decisions that give his team a chance to win. Look at the roster. Bill Belichick would coach this exact team much, much differently than he coaches his current Patriots roster. That’s just a fact and unfortunately, it’s a fact that most fans won’t realize because of the media agenda. If you don’t think Mangini would coach the team differently as he gets more talent, you’re probably not looking at it objectively.
If you have a personal dislike for Mangini, which many people do, that’s fine. But please don’t fall into the trap that the local media has set for 2 years now. Is Mangini perfect? Absolutely not. But he’s a damn good coach and he has tried to the right thing by building this team with a solid structure and foundation instead of mortgaging the team’s future in an attempt to win right away. In the long-term, the team will be better off on the course Mangini has set us on and I honestly hope he gets a chance to see it through. The Browns have had a new Head Coach literally every other year since their return to the NFL in 1999. Just look at the Steelers to see what stability, patience, and longevity can do for a franchise.
Is it possible that Mike Holmgren moves on Eric Mangini? Sure. But it won’t be because he doesn’t think Mangini will allow an effective offensive game. It won’t be because he thinks Mangini is too conservative. If there is a guy that Holmgren has a relationship with (i.e., Jon Gruden) and thinks that he just cannot pass up the chance to lock him up, then he might make a move and I can’t blame him for that. But I can guarantee you that he’s not going to make a change because he thinks Mangini will coach the team exactly the same way no matter what roster he has to work with. Eric Mangini is a good football coach and he’s an incredibly intelligent man. If given the requisite time, he will continue to build this team the right way alongside Mike Holmgren.
The St. Louis Rams enjoyed incredible success at the beginning of the 2000′s but for the last 5 years they have been one of the worst teams in the NFL. For years, the only bright spot on the team was Steven Jackson and watching him defy all odds in producing incredible numbers with little talent around him. Two decisions have been instrumental in turning the franchise around.
The first, was the hiring of then Giants Defensive Coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo. After leading the Giants defense to an incredible post-season run and an amazing finale where they knocked off Tom Brady and the Patriots on their way to perfection, ”Spags” was one of the hottest coaching commodities in the league. The Rams wisely snatched him up.
Despite a horrendous 2009 campaign which guaranteed the Rams the #1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, it facilitated the next critical decision for the team. The drafting of Sam Bradford from Oklahoma. Bradford was the clear #1 pick with the NFL attributes, but there were some legitimate concerns which made the selection by the Rams difficult, brave, and genius.
Bradford entered the draft playing in one of the “spread offenses” that cause scouts to treat players like lepers. Obviously, every player is different, but the over-riding thought (and myth) is that QB’s coming from anything but a “Pro Style” offense will struggle to pick up the NFL game and most never will. This is true in many cases, but certainly not all.
Tim Tebow, for instance literally had trouble taking snaps from under center and dropping back. These are fundamentals that pro scouts take for granted such as breathing or blinking. These things are typically so innate and natural for QB’s that it’s an afterthought. But with the explosion of the spread systems in college, Tebow and many other QB’s have literally only taken a handful of snaps from under center.
Bradford didn’t struggle quite as much, but the concerns were still there as the timing, footwork, and reads are vastly different in an NFL system. Bradford had also been tagged as “injury prone” as he entered the draft. During his final season at Oklahoma, Bradford was knocked out of a game with a shoulder injury against BYU. He attempted to return a few weeks later, but the very first hit he sustained knocked him out for the remainder of the season. Season-ending shoulder surgery for a QB who already had questions about his arm strength was a huge question mark for teams going into the draft.
Obviously the Rams were able to handle those questions about his shoulder and arm strength through the scouting process and were comfortable enough in selecting him #1 overall and handing him $50M in guaranteed money. It’s certainly too early to tell what Bradford will end up, but at this point, the Rams look like geniuses.
While Bradford’s numbers haven’t been off the charts, he has played incredibly well when judging him with the “eye test”. The kid looks poised, tough, smart, and in complete control of the offense. Yes, he has an incredible running back to help him out, but he has very limited weapons outside the numbers. This kid will be a force to be dealt with once they’re able to supplement that offense with some more weapons.
So with all that being said, the Rams are poised to go from a 1-15 season to finishing this season at 8-8 and earning their first playoff berth since 2005. If the Rams win this week against division rival Seattle, they will secure the division crown and host a playoff game. I know, the playoffs should be re-seeded so that an 8-8 team doesn’t host a 10-6 team because of the divisions they play in. But, hey… after a 1-15 season, did anyone see the Rams hosting a playoff game this season?
Yes, the division is the weakest in the NFL and in recent NFL history, but that should not discount what the Rams have been able to do in such a short amount of time. The Rams have drafted well and are positioned to compete in the division for many, many years. With just another good draft or two and some free agent acquisitions, this team could make some serious noise going forward.
For anyone who had the unfortunate experience of watching the Cleveland Browns play the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, there was at least one interesting thing that didn’t include Ed reed catching on fire. Despite only a 20-10 score, the Ravens had control of the game from the onset and the Browns were, again, inept offensively with the exception of a Trick Play.
Watching the game, I was finally woken from dozing off several times by this crazy bastard in a bright orange, spandex suit. Mind you, it was freezing cold and extremely windy in Cleveland yesterday so I would be willing to wager (or at least hope) that this guy at least had a few Christmas Ales and/or shots of some sort.
Charles Barkley is honestly one of the most clever, entertaining, and forthright people in sports today. Given the shallow pool, that’s not saying all that much, but Chuck is truly the best. He is good for a great soundbite or quote nearly every time he does an interview. The latest was this morning on the Dan Patrick radio show in which Chuck weighed in on the Rex Ryan foot fetish story.
For anyone in a coma for the last week, Deadspin.com released several videos of a woman resembling Michelle Ryan, Rex’s wife partaking in foot fetish videos. The person shooting the video also sounded exactly like Rex. He has since confirmed what we all knew by saying that it was his wife and he was the voice in the videos. Hey, more power to him. At least he’s making videos with his own wife and isn’t running around with porn stars or anything.
When Barkley was asked about whether or not he would joke around with his coach if he were a player it he added this:
“Well if I was on that team, the next meeting I would have every player and every coach come in without shoes on, something like that. Dan that is the best thing about playing sports is the time you make fun of each other. Everybody comes in without their shoes on, something like that.”
As always… you gotta love Chuck!
In what will likely be John Fox‘s final season with the Carolina Panthers, they have been… well… a disaster. They enter the final week of the season at 2-13 and as of yesterday they locked up the #1 overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. That is about the only good news coming from this team this season as they have been consistently the worst team in the NFL. The Panthers’ only two wins came against two of the other weakest teams in the NFL this season, the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Panthers selected Jimmy Clausen in the 2nd round last season hoping to find the long-term solution to their QB position. They entered the season very high on Matt Moore who had a strong finish to the 2009 campaign but he looked putrid in 2010. This forced Clausen into action earlier than the team would have preferred, but I think it was a blessing in disguise. Is the book completely closed on Clausen? Of course not. But he hasn’t shown much of anything to lead you to believe that he can be a QB in this league. At the very least, the Panthers got an in depth look at their rookie QB so they can see what they have and move forward from there. Much better than not seeing him play, thinking you have a future QB on the bench and then passing on a stud QB in the draft this season.
Which leads me to Andrew Luck, the standout QB from Stanford who is assumed to be the #1 overall pick this year’s draft. Really, in my opinion, the only way that he wouldn’t have been the #1 pick is if a team that just recently drafted a franchise QB was in that #1 spot like St. Louis or Detroit. But with the Panthers slotted in the #1 spot this season, I can’t foresee them passing on the young QB.
It’s possible they could trade down, but it’s highly unlikely given recent history. The #1 spot is so expensive and unless the new CBA significantly restricts the rookie wage scale to such a degree that the top picks aren’t so financially crippling to organizations, I doubt there will be any takers. Plus, the Panthers desperately need Luck more than any other position, in my opinion. They aren’t a horrible team across the board as they have talent on both sides of the ball. But they definitely need a franchise QB and I think a new voice in the locker room will go a long way to improve the team even though John Fox is an excellent coach.
Floyd Mayweather has had his share of run ins lately and he was actually just released from jail following allegations of assault. Money May is having a rough time as he recently tried to drive into his gated community and was stopped by the security guard. The guard required ID to allow him to enter and Floyd apparently didn’t have any on him. I can understand his frustrations as if I were him and some guard was trying to keep me from getting to my house I would probably flip out myself.
Mayweather went so far as to accuse the guard’s actions as being racially motivated. Apparently he lives in the same development as the Maloufs who own the Sacramento Kings and various casinos in Las Vegas. Mayweather insinuated that the guard wouldn’t stop the Maloufs if it were them without ID.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing anything about Floyd Mayweather that doesn’t involve setting a date for a blockbuster fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Here is the video…..
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In a tulmutuous season in which we’ve already seen Mike Singletary, Josh McDaniels, Brad Childress, and Wade Phillips receive pink slips, NFL owners are not quite finished making coaching changes. Each of the previous firings are potential landing spots for some of the high profile free agent coaches out there as there is no guarantee that the interim head coaches will be retained. In fact, despite the impending lockout, it sounds less likely that any of the interim coaches will remain with their team with the possible exception of Leslie Frazier.
So who are the next coaches to get the axe?
Fox has had a long and successful run with the Carolina Panthers and he took his team to a Super Bowl which they had a great chance of winning. But since that time, they have been largely disappointing after several years of being projected as possible Super Bowl contenders. The Panthers have been the worst team in the NFL this season and have secured the #1 overall pick in the 2011 Draft. It is a near certainty that Fox will be on his way out in Carolina. But that is not to say that he’s not a good coach. I would think he will land a coordinator position for a year or two and then get back to a head coaching position. The other possibility is to take a year or two off and then put himself in for consideration for head coaching jobs.
Marvin Lewis has had a mediocre stretch with the Cincinnati Bengals and for those familiar with the team, it’s not all his fault. He is the popular whipping boy for angry fans, but the ownership plays a huge role in this franchise’s failures. I believe Marvin Lewis is a much better coach than his first tenure will show and I think he’ll be successful elsewhere. But the sad reality is that the team has underperformed over the past several years and they were absolutely putrid this season. Even last season as they swept the division, they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs and were beaten handily.
Obviously I can’t say for certain that Norv Turner will be out in San Diego, but after yet another year of an embarrassingly slow start to the season, it finally caught up to the talented Chargers. Sure, they have had their share of injuries and roster issues, but in the middle of the season they showed us just how dangerous they could be even with the injuries. After falling to the lowly Bengals yesterday, the Chargers were eliminated from the playoffs and that could be the last straw for Turner. This is an incredibly talented team and although A.J. Smith is as much to blame as Norv, A.J. isn’t going anywhere.
The Texans went from an expansion team that was fighting and making progress towards the next step in the franchise’s development to a team that is significantly underperforming in a heartbeat. The team is loaded with talent on the offensive side of the ball and has a great foundation on defense with Mario Williams and Brian Cushing. After a great start, the Texans have fallen completely apart and the consensus is that there is far too much talent on this team to get these results. Add Bill Cowher’s alleged interest in the job, and I find it unlikely that Kubiak will return next season.
Eric Mangini has had a rough start to his tenure in Cleveland as he began last season at 1-11 before winning 4 straight games to end the season and potentially salvage his job. This season, the Browns have shown tremendous progress, but they are still not an elite team as far as talent goes. Mangini has been subject to a media vendetta locally, but I don’t believe he has done as awful of a job as some would lead you to believe. I believe he is a good coach and he’s building a strong foundation for long-term success. The reality is, the Browns aren’t that good, yet. But with another strong draft with the assistance of Mike Holmgren, they could make some noise in the AFC North.
The issue for Mangini though, is Mike Holmgren is allegedly itching to get back on the sidelines. So he needs to fight off Holmgren from coming down to the sideline as well as long-time colleague of Holmgren, Jon Gruden. Gruden coached under Holmgren and they share similar philosophies and styles. Gruden has been rumored to be interested in the Browns position should it become available, but nothing has been confirmed. If you listen to local media, it’s a certainty that Mangini will be fired. But keep in mind, they said the same thing this time last year. It’s certainly possible, and given the Browns struggles down the stretch, it’s probably leaning in between possible and likely towards likely.
Fisher is the longest tenured coach in the NFL right now and he has had an incredibly successful run in Tennessee. But with a disaster of a season and an apparent falling out with Vince Young, Fisher could be in trouble with the Titans and I’m not sure that’s a bad thing for him. Owner Bud Adams has a sometimes illogical propensity for Vince Young. So much so that it could actually create enough conflict to cause Adams to let Fisher go. Add that to an awful season, and you have a recipe for a coaching change. Sometimes when a coach is with a team for this long, the team and the coach can both benefit from a change in scenery. I think Fisher would be snatched up almost immediately by one of the teams with an opening if this were to occur.
Possible but Doubtful:
Tom Coughlin won a Super Bowl just a few years ago and the Giants are still fighting for a playoff spot, but they have struggled and are on the brink of complete disaster to end the season. Last week they lost to the rival Eagles despite holding a 21 point advantage midway through the 4th quarter. This week, they were destroyed by the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have lead to two previous Head Coaches’ firings following a blowout defeat to the hands of the Packers. Now this won’t happen during the season, if at all, but add the alleged interest of one Bill Cowher and there is a small possibility that the Giants will make a change.