Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NFL Preseason Update: Plutoizing, etc.

What's been perhaps the most interesting aspect of the NFL preseason? Listening to Tony Kornheiser's commentary. Who else is going to use the term "Plutoized" in their commentary? (For the record, he said something along the lines of: "The Bengals had been so bad for so long that they could have been Plutoized from the league.") Classic. He might want to lay off on the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern references, though.

Well, it's a good thing the Bengals weren't Plutoized from the league after all. They looked absolutely fantastic Monday night. Based on his performance, you'd never know that Carson Palmer suffered a career-threatening injury at the end of last season. The team looked like a well-oiled machine.

Granted, they were playing the Packers, who looked more like the guys from Necessary Roughness than an NFL team. Brett Favre's performance calls into question his decision not to retire before this season. But let's be fair. The team has many more problems than Favre. In fact, Favre would have looked somewhat better had his receivers actually held onto the ball. Or at least looked like they were trying to catch the ball, which in many cases they didn't. The team also can't block (last year's miserable o-line does not appear to have improved), and they most certainly can't tackle. I don't know what the Packers organization is paying the defensive unit for, but it's most certainly not tackling. I can think of at least two Bengals touchdowns where it looked like the Packers were trying not to tackle.

Of course, the problem is that everyone wants to see Favre go out on a high note. We're just going to have to accept that, unfortunately, he's not.

But onto better teams...

Yesterday Adam Gold announced that he thought either Carolina or Tampa Bay would be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. He acknowledged that most people didn't agree with him about Tampa Bay. Don't worry, Adam. Sports Illustrated has one-upped you and announced their Super Bowl teams: the Panthers (no shock there) and the Dolphins (!?).

Yes, I mentioned in a previous post that the Dolphins should be a much better team than in recent years, especially since they acquired a quarterback who can get the job done. But the Super Bowl? That's a bold pick, SI.

I don't even know what I'd do if the Panthers and the Dolphins played in the Superbowl. It would be the childhood team vs. the team that presently gets my allegiance. I think I would just sit in front of the TV in utter confusion. I'm personally hoping SI is wrong so I can avoid the whole thing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

William & Mary players in NFL training camp!

A former co-worker of mine sent me this rundown of William & Mary players currently in the NFL, or at least in NFL training camp. The grand total: 6 players. Yes, he's a W&M alum. Enjoy:

As for W&M players, get a good look now, because I don't think most of them will be employed come September. To wit:

DB Billy Parker, Carolina: had a great year in the AFL last season...this is his second camp (after Miami last year)...haven't heard any news on him at all, and he's at the bottom of the depth chart on the Carolina web site...could stick since he can play both positions, but I haven't heard any news on him.

OT Adam O'Connor, Carolina: undrafted free agent, played DT in college...big guy (6'8"), but again I haven't heard anything on him from camp...the only things I've read about the offensive line is that it looks really thin, so he's probably not impressing...then again, as a defensive line convert, he's going to be a project...if he showed anything at all in camp, he'll be on the practice squad.

QB Lang Campbell, Cleveland: was in the Browns camp last year, too...I thought he had a chance to be drafted last year after a spectacular senior season for the Tribe, but alas no...remember how good he looked against you guys two years ago?...he played two weeks ago and looked good against the Eagles scrubs, but didn't play Friday night, which has me wondering if his last chance for the NFL has come and gone, especially as the Browns website has a new article about two other schlubs competing for #2 behind Charlie Frye...who knows, maybe he'll make the practice squad or get signed by another team.

WR Dominique Thompson, St Louis: played two games for the Rams last year, and was on their practice squad the rest of the season, so I don't know if he's got any eligibility for that left...could make what is a very deep WR unit...then again, I haven't heard any news, so I don't know how he's doing.

WR Rich Musinski, New England: has been kicking around the camp grind for a couple of years an item in Patriots Football Weekly recently along the lines of "great hands but too small and slow to separate from dbacks," which probably means sayanora for little Richie...but he plays hard and Belichick likes these project guys to come out of nowhere and make the team, plus the Pats are really thin at WR, so who knows? He does keep playing in the pre-season, and caught a TD Saturday.

FS Darren Sharper, Minnesota: loved him when he played for my favorite team (Green Bay), but hate him now that he plays for my brother's fave...still can't tackle, but has a nose for the ball (9 picks last year, 45 career)...another all-pro season likely.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My first real prediction for the season is...

...that Peyton Manning will get injured. I'm making this prediction because Al Michaels just said that Manning is indestructible. Damn those jinxes!

The NFL is back!

Oh man...I know I haven't posted anything to this blog in so long! Don't worry, with classes starting up again on Wednesday, I'll be posting on here all the time in order to procrastinate from doing work. I've also discovered that 850 & 620 The Blog have linked to this blog (thanks, guys!), so I have added incentive to keep it updated. And finally, I have two other writers posting to this site, and they have classes starting up this week, too. So...this blog will be jam packed with sporting goodness, at least until exams end in December.


The NFL is back! I've been counting the days since last season ended. I'm pleased with the Panthers' performance in their first two games, and after years of badmouthing Keyshawn Johnson, I have to admit that he seems like a good addition to the team. As long as he doesn't cause any distractions, I'm fine with Keyshawn.

Aside from the Panthers, here are the teams I'm looking forward to watching this season:

1) The Dolphins. I'll start by disclosing that my family is from Miami, and I've therefore always been a Miami fan. But at some point in my life, I got bored with watching their mediocrity year after year, especially when I could watch the Panthers instead. The last straw was when my dad, brother, and I sat in the cold and watched the Dolphins squeak out a 10-7 snoozer of a win against the Browns in 2004. Yes, that game was played in Miami. Yes, it was cold. Anyway, since the Dolphins finally realized that Dan Marino retired years ago, they went out and found themselves a decent quarterback. I'm eager to see if Daunte Culpepper can take the Dolphins to the next level. Granted, they no longer have Ricky Williams. It'll be interesting to see if they can compensate for that "loss," too.

2) The Colts. I don't think I have to give much more of an explanation on this one. It's always interesting to watch Peyton Manning. They will be a little bit less interesting to watch because they no longer have David Thornton.

3) The Chargers. Drew Brees is out. Philip Rivers is in. I have to admit I'm excited to see what the former Wolfpack quarterback can do. I hope it's been worth the wait. Speaking of Drew Brees...

4) The Saints. They have Drew Brees. They have Reggie Bush. They don't have Aaron Brooks. This combination should be a recipe for improvement.

5) The Titans. They have Vince Young. Ah, and they also now have David Thornton. I usually have little reason to be excited about the Titans, so these players are key for me. In fact, the last time I really payed attention to the Titans was when Samari Rolle played for them, and that's really only because I like his name. Not a great reason to be interested in a football team.

6) The Texans. They make my list only because because of Mario Williams, another former Wolfpack player. As long as he stays healthy, I'm sure he'll have a great career. I don't think he'll ever get the credit he deserves, though. Too bad defensive ends typically aren't as exciting to watch as running backs.

7) The Steelers. Can Willie Parker have another spectacular season? Can the Steelers succesfully defend their title? Will the commentators spend at least half of each Steelers game talking about Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident? Tune in to find out!

Note that the Cowboys did not make this list. I'm sure I don't have to watch any Cowboys games in order to get the latest T.O. updates. Sheesh.

Since the football preseason is underway, the Sporting News Radio Network has been full of commentary about the NFL. Last Tuesday, Dave Smith went on a tirade about how boring the NFL is and how college football is so much better. And I do mean a tirade. I think he talked about it for an hour. Well, fine. That's his opnion. I do have a few rebuttals in the NFL's defense, however:

1) Dave Smith is based in Los Angeles. L.A. and the NFL don't mix. But there's great college football to be had there. I smell bias. It's the same thing as when I argue that college basketball is better than the NBA. I live in Chapel Hill. I've never lived more than an hour away from Chapel Hill. Of course I'm going to argue that college basketball is better than the NBA.

2) Dave Smith argues that college football is more exciting because every regular season game is like a playoff game. He then turns around and admits that the NFL has a better playoff system, and that college football should scrap the BCS and implement a playoff system. Now, a playoff system wouldn't mean that 6-5 teams could win the National Championship, but it probably does mean that, say, Miami could lose to both Florida State and Florida in the regular season and still win it all. Every regular season game a playoff game, eh?

3) Dave Smith argues that the NFL's clock management/field position game is boring. Sure, it's not the most exciting thing to watch, but I've also seen it in the college game. Maybe I'm watching the wrong college teams. The Triangle isn't exactly a football hotbed.

4) Dave Smith argues that throwing a 3-yard pass on 3rd and 7 is stupid. I can't argue with that one. It is stupid. It drives me crazy. I don't think that's a problem with the NFL, though. I think it's a problem with individual coaches. Some of them don't make the best calls. It's also not a bone-headed play that's confined to the NFL. I've seen college teams run the same stupid play. Again, maybe I'm watching the wrong college teams.