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.