Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans Saints’

NFL Football 2012: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Monday, October 29th, 2012


The Good: Eight weeks in to the NFL season and we are starting to see the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. We’re down to one undefeated team, the Atlanta Falcons at 7-0. Interestingly though, they are rarely the team mentioned as the best in the NFL. The one loss Houston Texans tend to get more credit, along with the one loss Chicago Bears, and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. After a slow start, it looks like New England Patriots are getting their act together. They have three losses on the season, but appear poised to dominate their division.

The Bad: First up on this list is the Detroit Lions. A young, brash team coming off a playoff berth is in last place in the NFC North. The Lions are 3-4 and have been outscored by their opponents so far. Three games out of first and facing a tough schedule makes me think that this Lions team won’t see the postseason this year. We can’t get through the bad without mentioning Philadelphia either. The Eagles are a mess, with controversy around the QB, head coach, and the defense. With Michael Vick and Andy Reid fighting for their jobs, most of the country has already given up on them. Finally, I have to mention the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez isn’t getting it done, but the team is wary of putting in the backup, Tim Tebow, to try and lead a turnaround. Under .500 and in danger of not making the playoffs, this team needs a face lift.

The Ugly: Let’s start with the New Orleans Saints. Sure, there was plenty of controversy surrounding the team this year, and they don’t really have a head coach. However, they still have Drew Brees, and the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. I thought that would be motivation enough to contend for the division title and try to become the first team to make the Super Bowl a true home game. Unfortunately, they are 2-5, and their defense looks anything but super. Next on the list is the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton is having a rough season, and the team is only 1-6. They won 6 games last year, and in the offseason, Ryan Kalil took out a full page ad in the newspaper guaranteeing a super bowl for this team. Nice try Ryan, but you tricked yourself and your fans into thinking your team could get it done this year. Instead, they are among the lowest scoring and most disappointing teams in the NFL.

Good thing there are still 9 weeks left before the regular season ends. Every team still has a chance to change their fortune.

NFL Week 4: Playoff odds and replacement refs

Thursday, September 27th, 2012


Five. That’s the number of teams since 1990 that have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. It’s been 21 years with only 5 success stories. Not good for fans of the New Orleans Saints or Cleveland Browns. Saints fans have to be extremely disappointed with the start to their season, especially considering that the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. So the trend may continue that no team has both played in the Super Bowl and acted as the host city in the same year. I guess Sean Payton really was earning his paycheck! Good news for fans is that those are the only two teams without a win this season, so fans of the other 30 teams have been able to celebrate at least one notch in the “W” column.

Parity. The flip side of this coin is that there are only 3 teams that remain undefeated. 75% of teams who started the season 3-0 have gone on to make the playoffs. Fans of the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, and Houston Texans have to be pleased with those odds. We’re only three weeks into the season, so no one is eliminated yet, but the numbers don’t lie. There are 27 teams with 1 or 2 wins, which supports the notion that parity is alive and well in the NFL.

On a separate note, it’s good to see the referees and the league have settled their differences. As a die hard fan, I would watch the NFL regardless of who the refs the game, but living in a household with a Packer fan has been borderline unbearable this week…

NFL season kickoff

Thursday, September 13th, 2012


All of the predictions and preseason statistics are out the window now that the ball is in the air and the NFL season is underway. One of the major story lines of the preseason was the use of the replacement refs. I’ll be the first to admit I like seeing Ed “Hercules” Hochuli calling games, but realistically, the refs shouldn’t be a part of the outcome. In boxing, the saying goes “the ref did a great job if you didn’t notice him in the ring.” I feel much the same about football. With the exception of giving the Seattle Seahawks an extra time out last Sunday, I really didn’t notice the replacement refs too much. So that’s a plus for the NFL, but could be troublesome for the referees who are looking for leverage in their negotiations.

So that just leaves me with football to recap. After one week, teams that won shouldn’t get carried away and think Super Bowl, but teams that lost shouldn’t go out and burn their new Nike NFL jersey either. There is plenty of optimism for fans of the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and the Atlanta Falcons. Those teams won convincingly and have fans excited for the season. The next bunch of teams got the victory, but the jury is stil out. Those teams include the Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccanneers, and the Denver Broncos just to name a few. Of the losers, fans of the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and New Orleans Saints have to be scratching their heads. What went so wrong that they started off 0-1? What if they lose this weekend and start the season 0-2? Since 1990, teams that start the season 0-2 make the playoffs less than 14% of the time. That’s a massive mountain to climb, which means that there are a number of teams that will be essentially playing for their season this weekend.

Best of luck to every team this weekend. I just want to see good football (and a Bears win). Regardless of who you cheer for, we’ll keep you up to date on what’s going on this season, as well as offer you the best selection of fashionable fan gear around. If you don’t believe me, click here to shop your NFL team and see for yourself.

Lockout Fallout

Monday, September 26th, 2011
Kenny Britt rides off after suffering a season ending injury. (Jae S. Lee / AP)

Kenny Britt rides off after suffering a season ending injury. (Jae S. Lee / AP)

This guest post is by Marmaone of Mar’s View from the Stands.

Here we are football fans, we asked for it and we got it. The NFL Lockout ended in late July and the season started on time. But two weeks in and all I can really think about is the rash of players not actually playing. Now to be fair, injuries are a part of the game. Every year teams find themselves in a state of readjustment due to a low hit on a QB, cracked ribs, ankle strain, the list goes on; but something about this young 2011 season has me thinking – how much did the lockout affect all these early injuries?

Keep in mind that during the lockout players weren’t allowed to have contact with their coaches, trainers or facilities. While these guys are big boys and I’m sure work out hard, many times a week – this is a team game that employs these personnel for a reason. Teams need structure, OTA’s, practices to gel as a unit, to build on field chemistry, to learn the playbook, to AVOID injury – and for months, they received none of that.

Before the season even started Peyton Manning had surgery, which we’ve since learned will end his season and Arian Foster sat out Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury that has plagued him since preseason. The NY Giants started their season without a majority of their defensive starters. Kickers and punters haven’t been exempt from the injury bug either with the Saints K Garrett Hartley hurt in a preseason game and out for an extended period of time. I could go on and on with a list of the NFL’s version of a MASH unit though I’m sure you get the point.

Only time will tell if teams are able to overcome and minimize the injuries. One can only wonder at this point if the lockout did in fact have a direct cause and effect to the number of injuries but the evidence is certainly building a strong case.

Pigskin: It’s what’s for dinner

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

So I watching a recent episode of Friday Night Lights (shame on you if you’ve never seen it) and viewed a scene in which the wily Buddy Garrity talked his way into announcing East Dillon football games on an exclusively Spanish-speaking radio station. The owner of the station hardly understood a word. But “football” needed no translation. Mention of “futbol Americano” (or soccer’s ugly namesake of a cousin) upset the station owner as he threw his hands in disgust and turned away.

Apparently, this man’s been sleeping under a rock.

What has transpired in football circles recently – college and pro – borders on the absurd. In the NCAAs, we saw one of the decade’s greatest fly north to the NFL, another weasel his way west and insensitive, humiliating and criminal behavior including physical abuse and locking people in closets, allegedly. And I’m just talking about head coaches!

In the NFL, fortunately, the excitement has taken place between the goal posts. The playoffs have offered great entertainment: teams combining for 96 points, defensive linemen with a passion for spearing things, and Rex Ryan.

But let’s start in the amateur ranks, where the transgressions of several head coaches have been…well…amateur. Players accused Kansas’ Mark Mangino for making disparaging and humiliating remarks on the field. Down at South Florida, school officials concluded a report claiming Jim Leavitt grabbed a player by the throat, slapped him in the face and lied about it, was true. And at Texas Tech, receiver Craig James said that, after complaining about a possible concussion, Mike Leach forced him in – of all places – an electrical closet.

Sound doctoral advice. No?

Needless to say, all three men are currently on the unemployment line.

And then there’s USC.

A fantasy land for college football since Pete Carroll took over in 2000…until allegations involving recruiting infractions and Reggie Bush reached the surface. Next, headlines alleged running back Joe McKnight’s girlfriend received a vehicle as a gift. And just like that, Pete Carroll had had enough. Shortly after a disappointing 9-4 season, the long-sought after coach was wooed back to the NFL by the Seattle Seahawks. Must have been the weather.

But the drama was only beginning at “The Coliseum.” USC: a soap-opera for men.

The cliffhanger this time? Hiring Lane Kiffin. Yes, that Lane Kiffin. The same wunderkind fired after one season with the Oakland Raiders. The same loud-mouthed, baby-faced nuisance while at Tennessee. And now, just one year into his “tenure” at Rocky Top, he leaves recruits and Urban Meyer behind for a return to LA.

…and gets replaced at Tennessee by Derek Dooley. Come again?

Meanwhile, in the big boy league, stakes are high. We’re a Sunday away from learning the Superbowl matchup.

Vikings or Saints? Colts or Jets?

I can’t wait until Sunday to watch the final installment of a tremendous franchise, titled: Three Men and a Rookie. Starring two of the industry’s all-time greatest, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, an up-and-comer in Drew Brees, and, making his debut, Mark Sanchez – something tells me this chapter could be the best.
Give the rookie credit. He’s playing behind a spectacular defense, led by Deion…I mean, Darrelle Revis, a fantastic rushing attack and one heck of a coach – at the podium, at least. But as improbable as it seemed, Rex Ryan’s drawn-out post-season schedule – including a Superbowl parade through Times Square – is turning more and more probable each day.

Unfortunately, this week the Jets run into Indy’s relentless pass rush, led by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, and Manning, the human audible. The Colts broke protocol last week and won a playoff game after resting their starters to end the season. It doesn’t really matter where Manning’s throwing the ball – I think he could even find me on a post route – but the veterans (Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark) and the newbies (Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie) are getting the job done.

Meanwhile, in the NFC, some things never change. As much as I can’t stand no. 4 after embarrassing my Cowboys last weekend, it’s hard not to be impressed with Favre’s four touchdown performance – especially touchdown no. 4 (but I won’t get into that). If Jared Allen and the defensive line replicate last week’s performance, there is no way Brees will elude collapsing pockets – or mullets.

One thing the Saints do have on their side – New Orleans. The only place louder than the Metrodome may be the Superdome, and there’s no doubt the Saints’ passionate fans – who have waited years for this moment – will let Minnesota hear it.

My prediction? Colts 20, Jets 10. Saints 27, Vikings 24.

And for you naysayers…Time to pat myself on the back for calling, while 6-3, that the Denver Broncos would finish 8-8. They did. I also predicted the purple-hot Vikings would lose late in the season to the Arizona Cardinals. They did. Fortunately, many of my other predictions haven’t made this blog.

Clearly, when it comes to making news – good or bad – football of the American variety leads the class. You could argue there’s been too much excitement recently.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Pro Bowl…

Little Things and The Playoffs

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Little Things from the NFL’s 2009 Season:

88 players in the NFL had at least one carry of 25 yards or more, including New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford. Not among the 88: Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook and Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai.

Eight RB’s finished with at least 1250 rushing yards, including the St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson, who was 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards despite being on a 1-15 team.

Two Carolina Panthers RB’s, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rushed for at least 1100 yards.

Jerome Harrison of the Cleveland Browns averaged 143 yards rushing in the four games in which he carried the ball more than 16 times, including 286 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15.

Adrian Peterson finished 5th in the league in rushing yards with 1383, despite only topping 100 yards in a game three times during the season.

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans topped 2000 yards rushing on the year; he is only the 6th RB in NFL history to do so.

Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt on the season. Jamaal Charles averaged 5.9.

LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson both averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.

Reggie Wayne caught 100 passes on the year. 73 of them were for first downs.

The Top 21 players in the NFL in receiving yards include three tight ends: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten. All 21 had at least 11 receptions of 20 yards or more, except Wes Welker, who led the league in catches, 123, and was second in yards, 1348. He had eight plays for more than 20 yards.

The Blind Side book/movie subject Michael Oher, rookie RT for the Baltimore Ravens, had the fewest yards receiving in the NFL in 2009 with -8.

Oakland Raiders rookie WR Darius Heyward-Bey, 7th pick overall, played in 11 games, caught 9 passes for 124 yards and scored one TD.

San Francisco 49ers rookie WR Michael Crabtree, 10th pick overall, held out until after Week 5, then played in 11 games, caught 48 passes for 625 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Austin Collie, 4th round pick of the Colts, and Percy Harvin, 1st round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, led all rookie WR’s in receptions with 60. Harvin and New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks led rookies in receiving yards with 790.

Ten QB’s threw for over 4000 yards this season. Seven of them are in the playoffs. Kurt Warner, the 8th playoff QB, threw for 3753 yards.

41 QB’s completed at least one pass of more than 45 yards. Kurt Warner did not.

155 players in the NFL caught a pass of at least 35 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did not.

14 QB’s threw at least 500 passes. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler led them (and all other QB’s) in interceptions with 26. Peyton Manning was 2nd with 16. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers had the fewest at 7.

Jon Ryan, punter of the Seattle Seahawks, completed the longest pass by a non-QB, 42 yards. He finished the year with a 118.8 QB rating.

The Cleveland Browns won four games in a row after going 1-11 in their first twelve.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost five games in a row after winning five in a row.

The Denver Broncos won six in a row to start the year and lost four in a row to end the year to finish 8-8.

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints started the season 14-0 and 13-0, respectively. The Colts lost their last two and the Saints lost their last three.

The San Diego Chargers started the year 2-3 and then won their last 11.

The Tennessee Titans went 0-6 to start the year. They went 8-2 after that to finish 8-8.

BLACK MONDAY

Coaches are cleaning out their lockers today. So far Jim Zorn, who was for all intent and purposes relieved of his duties with the Washington Redskins somewhere around Week 6 or so, and the remainder of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff and have been told their services are no longer needed, wanted, or welcomed.

There is talk that Wade Phillips needs to win a playoff game to keep his job. Apparently an 11-5 season, the third playoff seed, a home playoff game, and a shutout to win the division in the season’s last game is not enough in Dallas to feel any sense of job security.

The expectations are different for Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. In Houston, Gary Kubiak will retain his position after the organizations first winning season, going 9-7 and being a loss by either the Ravens or Jets on the season’s final day away from making the playoffs. Plus Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson led the league in yards at their respective positions.

The Carolina Panthers are keeping John Fox around… maybe? Because in Carolina, a winning season every other year is good enough. I think it is probably safe to say though that the John Fox-Jake Delhomme duo has reached its end. Delhomme threw for 8 TD’s and was picked off 18 times on the season, while backup Matt Moore started the last five games for the Panthers and threw for 8 TD’s and only 1 interception.

There are a lot of rumors flying around about Raheem Morris losing his job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was horrible, but Morris is a first year coach brought in to turn around a terrible team. You have to give the guy more than a year or two to do his job – unless of course you have Bill Cowher, his chin, and his mustache on the radar.

Maybe one case where it makes sense to fire a first year coach is in Oakland, where ironically nothing makes sense. Tom Cable allegedly hit a co-worker. That behavior is generally frowned upon. And Al Davis is Al Davis, so he may bring in a shuffleboard buddy of his who won a fantasy football league last season to coach the team.

PLAYOFFS

The Dallas Cowboys threw a donut at the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East. With a win, the Eagles would have had a first round bye and a home playoff game. With the loss, they’ll travel to Dallas and play the Cowboys again this weekend. Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson and Tony Romo to Miles Austin are two of the more dangerous big play QB to WR combos in the league.

And speaking dangerous QB to WR combos, Chad Ochocinco/Johnson would like me to mention his and Carson Palmer’s names right now, but if I’m playing the Cincinnati Bengals I’m more concerned about Cedric Benson. Maybe the New York Jets backed into a playoff spot and maybe they didn’t, but Mark Sanchez is in the post-season and will do a very nice job of handing the ball off until he is absolutely required to throw it. Thomas Jones, get ready to see nine guys in the box against Cincinnati this weekend. Jets fans can mail cards to the Colts and Bengals thanking them for mailing it in in Weeks 16 and 17.

Following Philly/Dallas and New York/Cincy, the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers will square off in the third rematch of a Week 17 game this weekend. The Packers rolled over the Cardinals who had nothing to play for and did most of the rolling over all by themselves. There are some health concerns for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Anquan Boldin, and Charles Woodson going into this game.

Baltimore travels to New England to play the Wes Welker-less Patriots. Welker tore up most of the _CL’s in his knee on Sunday. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and company will look to put to rest Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the Pats. Should that happen, the media will surely spark up the “Has Belichick lost it?” debate. For that reason alone, I’ll root for the Pats.

Brett Favre may or may not be on a tractor in Kiln, Mississippi this week. The Vikings can thank the Cowboys for beating the Eagles and getting them a first round bye. Favre loved Sidney Rice this season to the tune of 1312 yards and 8 TD’s. I don’t know what that tune sounds like, but it works for the Minnesota offense.

The New Orleans Saints are also waiting around for somebody to play football against. Drew Brees and his band of guys who can run fast and catch the ball will not have won in nearly a month when they take the field next.

The Colts are planning a really intense bye week in Indy. Somewhere Jim Caldwell is sitting with no expression on his face. The San Diego Chargers are taking it easy in a sunnier place where Philip Rivers can frolic on the beach and wait around for somebody to fly west to play a game.

THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in OT at Fenway Park in the NHL’s 2010 Winter Classic. Check out all our Winter Classic gear in this week’s items of the week!