Friday, January 20, 2012

Dolphins

The Dolphins made a great hire today in former Packer offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. Philbin was high on a lot of lists around the league and I think he will have a good run in Miami. I personally believe Philbin will have more success in Miami than Jeff Fisher will have in St. Louis. I guarantee it will be on the minds of Dolphins fans going forward. The big question is whether or not Matt Flynn follows Philbin to Miami. Smart money says yes. This is a nice bonus for the Dolphins, I think Flynn is actually under-rated at this point. There are worse quarterbacks than Flynn making more money than he will get in free agency, and he will be worth his paycheck. One thing that has not been mentioned a lot is that Philbin will be trying to bring familiar faces from the Green Bay coaching staff with him. Watch for others to make the move from Wisconsin to Florida. The Dolphins will also be switching to a West Coast offense and I think this suits Dolphins personnel just fine. This will benefit Brandon Marshall, especially if Flynn is on board. Miami took their time and did their research and I believe they ended up better off in the end. Congratulations to Joe Philbin and the Dolphins.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Taking It To The House Mock Draft

The NFL playoffs are not quite over and the draft order has not even been fully determined yet. Perfect time for my first NFL Mock Draft of the offseason. Let me know what you think about your teams selection and who you would prefer if you don't agree with my choice. Thanks for the feedback.

1. Colts- Andrew Luck QB Stanford

The Colts have many needs but quarterback is the top one and Luck is the best player in this draft. I believe the Colts are in need of a day one starter and they are fortunate that Luck is just that. This one is not only a no-brainer, it is a foregone conclusion.

2. Browns- Robert Griffin III QB Baylor

The Browns have the ammo to move up and make this happen. Griffin reminds me of a young Randall Cunningham, long motion and extremely athletic. He is far more accurate at this point in his career than a lot of people are giving him credit for. I love his potential, so will the Cleveland fans.  

3. Vikings- Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State

The Vikings have to be tempted to select Kalil here, but this draft is deep at tackle and Blackmon is too good to pass up. Ponder gets a target like he has never had at any stage in his career and Vikings fans get their best wide receiver since Randy Moss and Cris Carter were wearing purple.

4. Rams- Matt Kalil OT USC

Kalil is a true NFL left tackle prospect, and a very good one. The Rams move down two spots and pick up a first round pick from the Browns in the move. They also land the top pass blocker in the draft and fill a huge need. Rodger Saffold and Jason Smith are not good enough to keep Sam Bradford healthy. 

5. Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne CB LSU

The Bucs have several needs but the need for a top corner becomes more glaring every year. Ronde Barber can not play forever and Aqib Talib can not be counted on. This one also seems like a lock to me.

6. Redskins- Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama

The NFL has turned into a passing league. Slowing down these video game like numbers is impossible without strong secondary play. Kirkpatrick can play with the physical receivers he will see at the next level and be an early contributor for the Redskins defense.

7. Jaguars-Jonathan Martin OT Stanford

Jacksonville is apparently committed to Blaine Gabbert for at least another season. Jaguars fans have to be overjoyed by that. Martin will do his part in helping Gabbert take a step forward this season, or at least help keep him standing. This is a good pick for the Jaguars as they need as many young pieces to build around as possible. They may be competing for the number one pick next year, but getting Martin now means they wont have to spend it on a tackle.

8. Panthers- Quinton Coples DE North Carolina

The Panthers offense is in good hands. If you watched Carolina last season you saw one of the best rookie quarterback seasons ever and one of the worst defenses in the entire league. Coples fits what Rivera wants to do on defense and improves the pass rush up front.

9. Dolphins- Melvin Ingram OLB South Carolina

Ingram projects best at 3-4 OLB in the pros. He has the potential to be a dominant edge rusher and is also strong against the run. Will need work in pass defense but he will spend the majority of his time chasing quarterbacks. Gives the Dolphins the pass rush needed opposite Cameron Wake.

10. Bills- Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama

The Bills stick with the Alabama theme two years in a row. They will be glad they did. Upshaw has incredible instincts and displays above average rush skills off the edge. A very versatile defender with the size to put his hand on the ground and the athleticism to stand up and drop back in coverage. Will start immediately for the Bills defense.

11. Chiefs- Riley Reiff OT Iowa

The Chiefs finally address the right tackle position, a glaring hole in Kansas City for a decade now. Reiff displays all the skills of an elite NFL blocker. Size, strength, athleticism and an above average work ethic. One of the safer prospects in this draft and can start immediately for the Chiefs.

12. Seahawks- Devon Still DT Penn State

Still will be moving up draft boards over the next few months. He is a big, physical player who can control the middle of the field. With coaching and work on his technique, Still projects as the type of defensive tackle that will require a double team on most plays. Already possesses excellent pass rush moves for a defensive tackle.

13. Cardinals- Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame

Arizona invested a lot in Kevin Kolb, now they will give him every opportunity to succeed. Michael Floyd will help Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona currently has nobody who can take coverage away from Fitzgerald. Floyd is a physical wide receiver who excels at going after the jump ball. Gifted with excellent ball skills and above average hands. He is exactly what the Cardinals offense needs.

14. Cowboys- Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama

Jenkins has some character issues that will follow him for a while, but when has character been an issue for Dallas? Jenkins is a top prospect, considered the number one cornerback at Florida when he played with Joe Haden. Jenkins was dismissed from the Gators for marijuana possession and enrolled at North Alabama. Jenkins has the size and ability to match up with the more physical NFL wide receivers. Dallas needs secondary help in a big way and will once again overlook any off-field issues for a first round talent.

15.Eagles- Luke Kuechly LB Boston College

The Eagles obviously have some talent in the secondary and on the defensive line, they need an injection of talent in the linebacker corps. Kuechly is just that, the guy screams intangibles, he will be a leader on the field and in the locker room. He possesses above average instinct and field awareness. Luke will be the Eagles coach on the field for the defense shortly after arriving in Philadelphia. Tackling machine.

16. Jets- Trent Richardson RB Alabama

Richardson was a man among boys in the SEC this season, rushing for over 1600 yards at 5.9 YPC and scoring 21 rushing touchdowns. Tomlinson will be leaving New York, and  Greene is not an every down back, so the Jets have a need here. They are fortunate to have a legitimate top 5 talent fall to them and fill a big hole in their offense. They were not "Ground and Pound" last year and they can not rely on Sanchez to carry the offense going forward. 

17. Bengals- Kendall Wright WR Baylor

Wright is considered by many to be the most explosive wide receiver in the draft. The Bengals could go cornerback or running back here as well, they have several good options available. I think they lean towards the wide receiver position due to the recent legal trouble of Jerome Simpson. Simpson may not be available this season, or for a few after that. Andy Dalton will get another weapon here and the offense will take another step forward next season.

18. Chargers- Cordy Glenn T Georgia

Glenn has the ability to play inside at guard or outside at tackle. I believe he projects best at right tackle in the NFL. The Chargers need help all over the offensive line so the versatility is a plus here. Glenn is capable of starting as a rookie on the right side and immediately improves the run blocking.

19. Bears- Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State

The Bears have an obvious need at wide receiver but I don't see them reaching here with Floyd and Wright off the board. Cox is the perfect fit for the Bears defense. He is an athletic interior lineman with excellent quickness. Cox will be able to contribute in the defensive line rotation as a rookie and will make some plays in the back field for Chicago.

20. Titans- Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois

Tennessee is still looking to improve it's pass rush from the defensive end position. They also have free agents at this position so it is a priority. Mercilus is definitely a boom or bust type pick, but he does have tremendous potential. Has a chance to turn into an excellent pass rusher at the next level.

21. Bengals- David Wilson RB Virginia Tech

Cedric Benson is still capable but he's not getting any younger, he is also a free agent. The Bengals hit a home run with Dalton at quarterback and are going to surround him with weapons. Wilson provides Cincinnati with an every down back if Benson leaves. The Virginia Tech standout is a legitimate home run threat every time he touches the ball. If he gets outside on a defense, he is gone. He is also a capable pass blocker and receiver out of the back field.

22. Rams- Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina

Providing Sam Bradford with a number one wide receiver is a must for the Rams. Jeffery is not a burner, but he is a huge target with above average hands. Jeffery is capable of beating defensive backs in jump ball situations and would be an immediate threat in the red zone for St. Louis. Due to his lack of overall speed he will still be available, but Jeffery very well could be the second best receiver out of this draft. 

23. Lions- Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska

The Lions are surprisingly stocked at a lot of positions and also surprisingly thin at cornerback. They have some young talent in the secondary, but it is obviously the weak link of the defense and probably the team. Dennard is an extremely competitive player who does not make mistakes. The fundamentals and intelligence make up for his lack of size. Dennard could compete for a starting spot or contribute in the nickel as a rookie. 

24. Steelers- Zach Brown OLB North Carolina

Pittsburgh needs to get younger and faster on defense. Brown is an extremely athletic player who could step in and be the next great Steelers rush linebacker. He fits perfectly into their 3-4 defense. Some experts project him as high as top ten, an excellent value for Pittsburgh this late in the first. 

25. Broncos- Lamar Miller RB Miami

The Broncos are planning on opening 2012 with Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback. This means the run heavy offense will be returning, and rumor has it Knowshon Moreno will not be. McGahee had a good season but John Fox does not want to rely on the aging running back getting 25 carries a game. Miller has exceptional vision and cutback ability. He can split carries with McGahee but expect Miller to be the dominant runner by the middle of the season.

26. Texans- Mark Barron SS Alabama

The Texans are building an outstanding defensive unit in Houston. Barron will be a nice addition to an already strong group. The young safety has an extremely high football IQ. He is the type of player who will know where he is supposed to be on the field at all times, as well as the other ten guys on defense. Barron can make plays as well as call them for the defense, another coach on the field type player who is not afraid to put a hit on a ball carrier.

27. Patriots- Dontari Poe DT Memphis

 The Patriots have needs in the secondary but I don't see them passing on Poe. Poe is a massive defensive tackle who can control the middle of the line of scrimmage. His game is a power game and he has plenty of it, extremely strong individual who uses his strength well against opposing lineman. Will split time with Vince Wilfork and take over for him eventually.

28. Packers-  Jerel Worthy DT Michigan State

The Packers will no doubt go defense in the first round. Worthy would be the best available defender here and that's exactly what Green Bay needs. He projects as a defensive end in the Green Bay 3-4. Worthy can occupy double teams and will shut down the run anywhere near him.

29. Giants- Dont'a Hightower LB Alabama

The Giants need to improve their depth and talent at linebacker. Hightower is an extremely strong run defender with above average NFL size. Hightower has room for improvement against the pass but he immediately improves the Giants run defense.

30. Ravens- Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona State

Burfict is a ferocious hitter, brings an intimidating presence to the middle of the defense. Ray Lewis can not play forever and Vontaze could learn from the future Hall of Famer until Lewis decides he's had enough. Burfict excels at fighting through blockers to find the ball carrier. Very physical defender.

31. 49ers- Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers

The 49ers have a sever lack of quality depth at the wide receiver position. This is very much a need pick but not at all a reach at this point in the draft. Sanu is not the fastest wide receiver but he is deceptively quick in and out of his routes and catches everything near him.

32. Patriots- Andre Branch OLB Clemson

The Patriots are once again sitting in good position here. The second of New England's first rounders will be used to help upgrade the pass rush. The rich get richer here. Branch is a pick with good upside and not much risk. He will be a good player even if he never reaches his great pass rush potential. Solid all around defender, also extremely versatile.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Around The League

Jared Allen was named NFC defensive player of the year today. Allen had a league leading, career high and Vikings franchise record 22 sacks this season. Allen is still one of my favorite players in the league. I hated watching him leave Kansas City, especially since it was over drama with Carl Peterson. Can you imagine Jared Allen and Tamba Hali coming off the edges for the Chiefs defense? I realize this trade brought Jamaal Charles and Branden Albert, two of my favorite current Chiefs, I just can't help but think of a defense that still featured the Mullett. Congratulations on an outstanding season Jared.


A twitter report from actor Rob Lowe went viral very fast today. Lowe quoted his "people" as saying Manning was done in the NFL. Lowe is an avid Colts fan and has not backed down from his statements despite Manning's agent and father claiming they are not true. I've personally said for a while now that I think Manning is done but this is the first time it has made a lot of noise. I apparently don't have the same pull as Rob Lowe. Despite all that, I still believe that Rob is right on the money. Manning is not getting healthy the way he or anybody with knowledge of the situation has expected. He has a staggering amount of money due to him next season on his current contract, reportedly over 36 million dollars. Add in the fact that Manning is not getting any younger and the Colts are obviously starting over everywhere else in the organization, and you can see he is done in Indianapolis. My gut tells me Manning doesn't pull a Favre here, I don't see him playing for another team. I think playing his career for one team and sustaining the legacy he has built actually means something to Manning. Not to mention, he has plenty of money in the bank and is too smart to risk a serious injury to continue playing football. The end is close enough for Manning and he has nothing left to prove. Good job breaking that one Rob.

Ed Reed criticized teammate Joe Flacco after last weekend's playoff game. Reed said Flacco was rattled by the Texans defense and had to play better this weekend in order to beat the Patriots. Reed also stated that it didn't seem like Flacco had a hold on the offense and needed to get the ball out quicker. I've read a lot of people getting on Reed for making these statements, if nothing else than for the questionable timing of them. I have no problem with what Reed said or the fact that he said it in the playoffs. Ed Reed is not going to be playing much longer and wants this ring more than the rest of us can know. Calling out Flacco just shows that Reed knows how valuable this opportunity is and he knows Flacco needs to step up in order for the Ravens to take advantage of it. The problem for Reed and the rest of the Ravens veterans, is that Flacco just isn't very good. He is Matt Cassel with a better arm. He is not even Trent Dilfer with Jamal Lewis and an outstanding Baltimore defense. Joe Flacco is not one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL, he is the worst quarterback left in the playoffs and I realize Alex Smith is still playing. Alex Smith can at least manage a game and showed last week he can step up when it counts. The Ravens defense is aging to say the least, but they are still one of the absolute best units in the NFL. Baltimore has Ray Rice and an above average offensive line. Flacco has the tools around him and there are reasons many will not give him the credit he has been crying about in the media recently. Show us on the field Joe.

The Colts finally let Jim Caldwell out of his misery and released him from his contract as head coach. Though the 2-14 season was not entirely on Caldwell, he did show some game management issues last season. The Colts are wiping the slate clean in Indianapolis and this is just one of many moves to come. Caldwell should have no problem getting a job as a coordinator if he chooses to coach this season.


I think San Francisco is on the verge of doing good things for a while and they will start with a win this weekend against Eli and the Giants. When the Saints came to San Francisco last weekend they were playing the best offensive football in the NFL. Drew Brees was fresh off of setting the single season yardage record and making defenses look absolutely silly. At that point he was outplaying presumed league MVP Aaron Rodgers. With the weapons at his disposal and the way the offense was clicking, the Saints were actually favored on the road in the playoffs. The 49ers defense didn't care about any of that. The San Francisco defensive effort was one of the best I've seen in a while. The Saints offense had their moments, they are too good not to, but the 49ers defense was relentless and did it's job on every play. They are very well coached, in my opinion, Jim Harbaugh is already one of the best in the league. Eli and the Giants had a good run but I don't think they travel across the country and handle the 49ers like they did the Packers.

Tom Brady is going to make the Ravens defense look very old this weekend. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are still not 100 percent, and even if they were, their best football is behind them. I respect the warrior in both of these guys, all time greats in my opinion, but the facts are the facts. They are going to be more than up for this game and will undoubtedly leave everything on the field, but they wont stop Tom Brady. He and Gronkowski are on a ridiculous tear and not even the Baltimore defense will be able to match up with them. The New England defense isn't the greatest but they can handle this Baltimore offense. Ray Rice is a phenomenal player but he is a one man show for the Ravens. Anquan Boldin can be as tough as he wants to be but he has lost a step and is having trouble getting open, even with single coverage. Patriots win easier than most expect and take a step towards that next ring.

Dez Bryant is a knucklehead. Bryant was detained by police after a supposed fight at a Miami night club. The alleged fight has been rumored to involve the Cowboys wide receiver and members of Lil Wayne's entourage. Really. Bryant is showing why he dropped so far in the draft, despite having top 5 talent. He is also proving all the people who doubted him correct with his behavior. Hopefully the extremely talented wide receiver can get it together and reach his immense potential.

I just want to add, I still believe Matt Cassel is a backup quarterback, and am starting to believe Tim Tebow could be the best fullback in the NFL. Ridiculously early Mock Draft coming soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Playoff Picks

Congratulations to the Houston Texans for making it this far. That is all. Great season for Houston, and if Matt Schaub were healthy I think they could beat Baltimore, but he's not. T.J. Yates has performed well but he is not going to beat the Ravens defense. Ravens 31-Texans 17.

In the other AFC game this weekend I'm picking the Patriots to beat the Broncos. Tom Brady knows that he can not let this Tebow character come into his house and walk out with a playoff victory. The Broncos will be able to move the ball on New England but will not have enough defense to slow down the Patriots offense. Patriots 41-Broncos 13.

On the NFC side I'm going to be one of the few people that picks San Francisco this weekend. I love Drew Brees and what they are doing right now but the 49er defense doesn't care about all that. This will be an excellent football game showcasing two completely different styles of football. I'm going with the superior defense in the playoffs. The Saints are a different team outside of the dome and have NEVER won a playoff game on the road. I don't see it happening now. 49ers 24- Saints 21.

The Packers and Giants should be an interesting game, a lot of talking heads are picking New York. I'm sticking with Rodgers and the Packers. Too much talent for the Giants to slow down on the Packer offense. New York's cornerbacks wont be able to match up with Green Bays wide receivers and Aaron Rodgers isn't going to be waiting for the Giants pass rush to disrupt things. I expect Green Bay to control the pace of this game and the Packers to move on. Packers 34-Giants 21.

Scott Pioli

Am I the only Chiefs fan who is seriously starting to question the direction Pioli has our team going? I was thrilled when we signed the guy, I even sold out on the Tyson Jackson pick and the ridiculous Matt Cassel contract. I gave him every benefit of the doubt. Now I'm not so sure. Seems like every fan with a keyboard can see that Matt Cassel is not the answer at quarterback, yet Pioli seems to love the guy. Either that or his ego will not allow him to admit a huge and costly mistake. The talent on the Chiefs roster is overall very nice, but most of it was already there when Pioli took over. Brandon Albert, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Glenn Dorsey...you get my point. Tyson Jackson is definitely not going to turn into Richard Seymour and Matt Cassel is a backup at best. I'll give him credit for Eric Berry, but to me that was a no brainer pick. The guy has Hall of Fame potential and is an incredible person on top of it. Also, I like Romeo, but are we really keeping him because he is the best option for the Chiefs or because he is the best option for Scott Pioli? I'm not saying we need to replace him at this point, but the honeymoon is long over. Chiefs fans deserve, and should expect, some results on the field. If things don't improve soon in Chiefs Nation, I have to believe I wont be the only one questioning these things.

Around the League

Jeff Fisher took his time choosing the Rams over the Dolphins but finally did so today. I actually enjoyed reading about something other than Tim Tebow so I didn't mind all the Fisher talk, but why did everybody care about this so much? Fisher has 6 winning seasons in 17 tries, not exactly John Madden numbers. If I were the Rams or Dolphins I would have changed my mind on the guy a long time ago. Matter of fact, I think whoever ends up coaching the Dolphins will be there longer and have more success than Fisher does in St. Louis. I'd be willing to bet on it.

Peyton Manning will be released by the Colts. The writing is on the wall, between his health and his contract the Colts have more than enough reason to press on without Manning. Like it or not Colts fans, in the next two months Manning will be a former Colt.

Also, if anybody cares, Jim Caldwell will be the former coach by that point. 

Hey anonymous Jets, if you're going to call out your quarterback to the press, put your name behind your statements. Own it.

Not sure how serious the Bucs are about Marty Schottenheimer but I'd be glad to see him back in the NFL. Say what you want about Marty in the playoffs, but wouldn't getting there be a step in the right direction for the Bucs? Schottenheimer is exactly what that young team needs.

Gregg Williams leaving New Orleans to join Fisher in St Louis should be bigger news than Fisher choosing a team. Williams is a defensive genius and the Saints defense will miss him greatly. Does a lot with what he has. This will be a good coaching add for the Rams if/when it goes down.

The Kansas City Chiefs will win the AFC West next season.