NFL Week 17 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 31, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 17 in the National Football League!

– Tampa Bay closes out the 2012 regular season with a nice win against a not-so-competitive Atlanta Falcons team in Week 17. I’ve said it all season long and it’s only fitting that I say it again, Tampa is a good team and one that people should look out for in 2013. Really like what they accomplished this season, would’ve loved to seen them compete for a playoff spot in the final weeks.

– Not the way Atlanta wanted to end the regular season I’m sure but now they can look towards the playoffs and hope that the defensive injuries they suffered on Sunday aren’t that bad. Not sure what to think of this Falcons team heading into the playoffs but I’ll tell you this much, they don’t look like a #1 seed team.

– Buffalo has the right pieces as we saw in their win against the Jets in Week 17 but they need to fix some of their weaknesses (quarterback & head coach) before they can be competitive in the AFC East next season. Tough year for a team many people liked as a “sneaky pick” in the AFC.

– Perfect way to end the Jets regular season and if you thought their regular season was a circus act, wait till the offseason takes place. I believe it was Terrell Owens who once said: “get your popcorn ready.” I know I will.

– Sure Baltimore “mailed it in” during the Week 17 game but I really liked what I saw from the Bengals. Cincinnati kept their momentum going for the playoffs and I hope it helps them in postseason play this season. Amazing that a 6th seed could be the favorite over the 3rd seed in the playoffs but it may be possible for the Bengals.

– While I understand you want to rest your starters and save them for the playoffs, not sure if I agree with treating it like a preseason game in Week 17 especially for the Ravens. Baltimore has been so inconsistent lately that they needed to keep that good momentum going from their big win against the Giants in Week 16 and they didn’t, could hurt them versus Indianapolis next week.

– All season long I said the Bears were the best “smoke and mirrors” team in the NFL. Their record showed they were an “elite” team but when they played against “elite” teams they would be outclassed. Sure they got 10 wins and sure they won games when it counted at the end but they won’t be seeing any games past Week 17. I really wonder how this team will look in 2013.

– The Detroit Lions should’ve never been a 4 win team this season and a top 5 draft pick franchise going into the 2013 NFL Draft. Detroit is a better caliber team then they possessed all season long and if Jim Schwartz can’t get it done with this talent then it’s time to let him go. It will be a very interesting offseason for this franchise heading into 2013.

– Tennessee beat Jacksonville in Week 17 and there defense scored 4 times on Sunday. Good way to end this horrible season for the Titans and I wonder what there direction will be heading into 2013. Will CJ2K be back? I think he should.

– Congrats Jacksonville, prepare yourselves for “TebowMania!”

– The best story of the 2012 NFL season was Chuck Pagano beating cancer and the Indianapolis Colts making it into the playoffs. This team clearly got motivated by their cancer battling head coach and rallied behind his spirit to play another game past Week 17. Indianapolis can be that “very dangerous Football team” starting next week.

– This is not the way you should be entering the playoffs. Houston entered Week 17 with the #1 seed and walked out as the #3 seed. Instead of having home-field advantage and having a week off, they now will be stumbling against the Bengals in the Wild Card round (again). I wonder if this team will ever be able to put it together when it matters the most.

– Extremely strong way for the Panthers to finish their season as they won 5 of their last 6 games, including 4 straight games and finished the season 7-9. It appeared that Cam Newton was a “late bloomer” this season as it took him some time to get back to the way he played his rookie season. Carolina is once again a team to look out for in 2013.

– Overall this is a very disappointing season for the New Orleans Saints. They entered the year with a ton of controversy due in-part to “bountygate,” but were still considered by many as a NFC “elite” team. Instead New Orleans struggled all season long, finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. It was a very tough season for the NOLA.

– The most disappointing team in the 2012 NFL season may be the defending Super Bowl Champion, New York Football Giants. New York gets huge victories over San Francisco & Green Bay, was at one point 6-2 on the season and then finished the year 3-5 to miss the playoffs. The Giants looked like an “elite” team at multiple points in the season even to the extent that they were considered the best team in the NFL and now they will be watching the playoffs from home. They should be very thankful they share the same city with the New York Jets!

– What is there to say about the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles season that hasn’t already been said before? Tough year and it’s time to move on from this current era. How this franchise handles this offseason could be very telling for seasons to come in Philadelphia. Since the “dream team” moniker was self-given to them, the Eagles have gone 12-20 in both seasons, pretty sure that’s a nightmare Vince Young.

– Steelers get the win in Week 17 and mercifully end their 2012 regular season. This isn’t what Pittsburgh was hoping for and now there will be many offseason questions to deal with. Similar to their in-state rival Philadelphia Eagles, there will be a lot of changes this offseason that will dictate the future of this franchise for years to come.

– Cleveland has a lot to work on for sometime and I hope the next person to run this franchise can get them onto some winning ways. There is definitely talent to build on in Cleveland; it just comes down to what this franchise does to put around some potentially young franchise players.

– If you’ve read this blog throughout the season then you know I’ve been very leery of the Denver Broncos. Their lack of schedule strength bothered me when it comes to them playing in the playoffs but I’m starting to turn the corner on it not affecting them after all. The Broncos could very well be the AFC representation in Super Bowl 47 right now. A lot is “clicking” at the right time for Denver.

– Congrats to Kansas City on winning the #1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Now the real question is whether or not they draft Geno Smith to be their quarterback. Personally I think that could be a huge mistake but they have plenty of time to think that over now.

– At one point it looked like the Patriots would have to play in the Wild Card round as the three seed but now they can sit at home next week and rest up for the Divisional Round. A well rested Patriots team is of course, a very dangerous playoff team. It almost seems like it’s too good to be true that we could get Denver (Peyton) vs. New England (Brady) in the AFC Championship Game again.

– I’m sure this isn’t the way Miami wanted to end their season but I do think this team is headed into the right direction right now. A couple moves in the offseason could have them competing for Wild Card playoff spots next year.

– Thanks for the memories Norv Turner. I will miss writing about you and wondering if you will be fired…every…regular…season. I have been doing these blogs for Camel Clutch Blog now for (I believe to be) 4 seasons, so that tells you how I long I’ve speculated Norv would be let go.

– The Raiders have taken steps forward the last couple years and now they have taken, yet again, dramatic steps back. I don’t know when this franchise can be turned around because right now it really looks bleak.

– Congrats to the San Francisco 49ers on winning the NFC West and getting the #2 seed in the NFC. In my opinion this team is the #1 seed in the NFC and I really like their chances to make Super Bowl 47 this season. When you have a really good defense and an offense that keeps getting better, good things will happen.

– Dear Arizona Cardinals, you know what to do during the offseason. Go get yourself a quarterback, you know, a real quarterback or you will have a very upset franchise wide receiver named Larry Fitzgerald. Sincerely yours, common sense.

– The Seahawks get the victory but I’m not sure it’s the way they wanted to head into the playoffs. Seattle struggled for most of this game and didn’t look as dominant as they have been in recent weeks. The Seahawks will still be a tough team to beat come playoff time but I wonder if they are losing their “luster” a bit, it’s something to definitely keep an eye on next week versus Washington in the Wild Card round.

– The St. Louis Rams really ended this 2012 regular season very strong. They were competitive against really good teams in their division, San Francisco & Seattle (even getting a big win against the 49ers this year) and they are improving heading into 2013. The defense is young and very talented but their offense seems to be lacking at the moment. I really hope Sam Bradford can be “the guy” for this St. Louis team in 2013 because I really like what I am seeing from the Rams right now.

– What a miracle season for the Minnesota Vikings in 2012. Nobody and I mean NOBODY saw this team as a playoff team, let alone a playoff contender this year. If you were like me you probably saw them as the last-place team in the NFC North. Well now they take on Green Bay in the Wild Card round and have nothing to lose because they weren’t “supposed to be there.” Oh and dear NFL, don’t forget to give Adrian Peterson the NFL MVP award this season!

– I’m sure this isn’t the way Green Bay wanted to end their season but not getting a first-round bye may be what this team needs. In 2010 they had no first-round bye and won the Super Bowl. In 2011 they had a first-round bye and got crushed in the divisional round. The Packers will be healthy against the Vikings, know what they need to do to stop Minnesota and will thankfully be home in a playoff game. I still like the Packers as a “quiet” pick right now in the NFC.

– Add Washington to the list of Indianapolis and Minnesota as surprise teams making the playoffs in 2012. Weeks ago this team was “left for dead” by their own head coach and now they are the 2012 NFC East division champions. No telling what this team can do come playoff time because like the Vikings, they “weren’t supposed to be here.” It’s the playoffs and as we have learned the last two seasons, anyone can win the Super Bowl.

– It almost seems fitting that Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys end their season like this. I really wonder how this team will look on Week 1 in 2013. A lot of major changes could be coming the way of this Dallas Cowboys franchise.

– Many thanks to you the reader and of course Eric Gargiulo for allowing me to blog after every week throughout the 2012 NFL regular season. It’s a job I have enjoyed here since 2009 and am glad to have another regular season under my belt. Stay tuned for my Wild Card predictions blog later this week and my Wild Card round thoughts blog a week from today!

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFL Week 16 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 24, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 16 in the National Football League!

– Congrats to the Falcons on clinching the #1 seed in the NFC and having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Personally, I believe while it’s a tremendous feat, they may be the weakest #1 seed in the NFL playoffs in some time. Their passing offense is great but their run game and defense can be shaky depending on the week. Let’s see if the ATL can make me eat my words yet again this season.

– Congrats to Calvin Johnson on breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record! Can we now say that the “Madden Curse” is done?

– Quietly, the Green Bay Packers are continuing to emerge in the NFC. While it is the Titans, they kept the momentum going throughout this one. Things are getting interesting for the Pack…

– At least the Titans put 7 points on the board and weren’t shut out…right?

– New Orleans gets to play spoiler against Dallas and can at least have a .500 record should they win next week. Nice to see the Saints giving it a shot and being competitive with nothing left to play for.

– What are the Cowboys doing!? They need to win these games and they are going through the same problem they always have this time of the year. Next week will be very interesting as the Cowboys will play for the NFC East division crown in Week 17 for the 2nd straight season.

– Congrats to the Indianapolis Colts on clinching a playoff berth this week. Better yet, Chuck Pagano will be returning to this playoff team very soon. Great story this year in the National Football League, I love that Chuck Pagano and the Colts are proving anyone can beat the odds.

– One more loss and the Chiefs clinch the #1 overall pick!

– Well at least Miami has a chance at a .500 season next week; they could be a sneaky pick in the NFC East next season.

– Buffalo needs to fire Chan Gailey at the end of the season.

– San Diego beats the New York Jets in Week 16; this is monumental because it could be Norv Turner’s last win as the Chargers head coach.

– So Tim Tebow gets flack for telling the coaching staff to not put him in the “Wildcat formation” after he was passed over for the 3rd string quarterback and people are complaining? Tebow has been a good solider for this Jets team all season long and when we look back on his tenure with this team the Jets could’ve really affected his NFL playing career based off of the way they handled him. He gets brought along basically to sell seats and not play, yet people have a problem with him removing himself from the “wildcat!?” C’mon man.

– Big win for the Redskins and they keep on rolling. It’s all on the line in Week 17 for them as they take on Dallas for the NFC East crown. The playoffs begin (and could end) next week for the ‘Skins.

– Fitting way for Andy Reid’s potentially last home game as the head coach of the Eagles to end like that.

– How about the Cincinnati Bengals this season? They force Roethlisberger to make a crucial interception in the final minute of the game, make a huge offensive play to set up the field goal and win it. That was a franchise achieving moment for the Bengals and their fans to knock out their rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

– I wonder if we could see any changes in the offseason to this Steelers team. They are getting older, the window is getting smaller and the coaches may not be gelling. Interesting times for this Steelers franchise and it could’ve been prevented had they won today.

– St. Louis is quietly ending their season very strong right now. This is another team that could enter 2013 as a surprise team in the NFC West. With the exception of Sam Bradford (the jury is still out on him), I like what is going in St. Louis.

– Tough to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to end their season like this. Really had high hopes for them at the midway point of the season.

– Carolina beats Oakland and this Panthers team continues to play well at the wrong point in the season. At least someone is probably keeping their job in Carolina, for now.

– Want to know how bad the Raiders are? Matt Leinart was the backup after Carson Palmer got hurt. How come they just didn’t bring Terrelle Pryor in to see what they got?

– A win-is-a-win but New England cannot be playing like this with less then two weeks to go until the playoffs. They played shaky against San Francisco last week and lost. They played shaky this week and almost lost. Hopefully it’s just a bad stretch for the Patriots so they can get it out of their system now and not in the Playoffs.

– If Jacksonville beat New England with Chad Henne as the Quarterback in Week 16 would that have saved him from the (rumored) incoming “TebowMania” next season?

– Minnesota needed this win and they got it. The Vikings are stepping up at the right time and didn’t need Adrian Peterson to pile on the rushing yards to do it. They win next week and they are in, it’s that simple.

– Houston is playing extremely sloppy at the wrong point in the season. It amazes me that they still have a chance at a First-Round bye next week.

– Denver is the only consistent team in the AFC right now and it’s coming at the right time with the playoffs nearing. I just hope that the Broncos weak schedule doesn’t come back to haunt them like it did for New England last season.

– Who saw the Cleveland Browns having 5 wins this season? They have a chance at 6 next week and amongst Browns fans that would be overachieving.

– Well they may have been struggling lately but they got a crucial win in Week 16 against Arizona. Lovie’s job as head coach is safe for at least this week; if they fail to beat Detroit in Week 17 or make the playoffs then it could be franchise-changing times in Chicago.

– Arizona really needs a quarterback and I don’t think Alex Smith or Mark Sanchez is the answer.

– All of us left the Ravens for “dead” and got proven wrong in Week 16. This is the type of win a team needs at this point in the season when they have been struggling and the Ravens got it. I still am not a huge believer in their playoffs chances but the win was really encouraging.

– I cannot believe there is a large probability that the Giants don’t make the playoffs this season. At times they have played like the best team in the league and in recent weeks they have been extremely inconsistent. The defending Super Bowl Champions need A LOT of things to happen next week, including for them to defeat Philadelphia of course, for them to make the playoffs.

– The Seattle Seahawks are proving to the NFL that they may just be the team to beat come January. What a huge win for the Seahawks against one of the best teams in the league, the San Francisco 49ers. This team is gaining momentum at the right time and we all know what that means come playoff time…

– Injuries and inconsistency in the last 6 quarters could be coming to haunt the Niners at the wrong time in the season. The fact that they may not have a first-round bye in the playoffs is extremely surprising and it’s possible that this team could be underachieving. Hopefully that changes once January hits.

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFL Week 14 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 11, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 14 in the National Football League!

– Nice win for the Broncos on Thursday Night as they continue to play like the hottest team in the NFL. Only issue is their schedule is extremely weak, I wonder how much it will affect them come playoff time.

– Why don’t the Raiders just start Terrelle Pryor already? What do you have to lose at this point?

– I really have enjoyed how this St. Louis Rams team has played these last couple of weeks. If they can continue to finish this season strong they will become a nice threat in the NFC West next season. Only concern I continue to have with this team is whether or not Sam Bradford is the true answer at quarterback.

– Heartbreaking loss for the Bills in Week 14. I would assume the loss all but finishes any potential playoff hopes they had in 2012.

– Dallas has inserted themselves back into the NFC East with a big win against Cincinnati in Week 14. The Cowboys played a really good game against a really good team in the Bengals and they aren’t even the “media darlings” right now as Washington continues to get all the hype!

– Tough loss for the Bengals but they are thankfully still in the AFC Playoff race after the Steelers lose in Week 14. I really like this team’s chances when you have a decent QB with a big-time receiver. Cincy’s defense is also very underrated, don’t count this team out after a tough loss to Dallas.

– The Cleveland Browns have won three straight games and no it’s not the preseason.

– Where should this Chiefs team rebuild during the offseason? They nearly have a guaranteed top-3 pick in next year’s draft but I don’t think this is the QB class to draft someone in the 1st round.

– How about the Indianapolis Colts getting 9 wins this season!? Could they pull a 2009 New York Jets in the playoffs and do well while being led by a rookie QB? I’m starting to really like them as a sneaky playoff pick.

– If the Titans can give Jake Locker some solid weapons in the offseason this could be a surprising borderline playoff team in 2013. Despite some inconsistent troubles this team is definitely building in the right direction.

– Don’t count out the Minnesota Vikings just yet! Huge win for them against the Chicago Bears with their season on the line. The Bears were banged up but a-win-is-a-win and this will certainly help Minnesota’s confidence.

– The Chicago Bears are in trouble and making these final three games very interesting. Tough breaks like losing kicker Robbie Gould before the game begins is something you just cannot control. Lovie Smith could be looking for a job in the offseason should this continue.

– Nick Foles became a hero for the Eagles on Sunday vs. Tampa Bay and is doing what he can to end this season on a good note. I’m sure many Eagles fans weren’t happy with the win as the thought of Andy Reid staying another year could make their heads explode.

– A loss like this one for Tampa Bay could all but end any chance they have at making the playoffs this season. After being one of the hottest teams in the league a month ago they have had a rough stretch these last couple of weeks. Hopefully this young team uses it as a learning lesson.

– My sports fan intuition tells me that Washington will win the NFC East. Call me crazy but when you win games like the way Washington did versus Baltimore it becomes one of those “mean’t to be” situations.

– Baltimore cannot enter the AFC Playoffs playing the way they have in recent weeks. They have a huge game versus Denver in Week 15 and need a HUGE win to get back on track. If they can’t get the win then it could be leading to an early playoff exit this year.

– If Carolina needed a game to make it feel like their 2012 season wasn’t a complete “wash” then it was this game. Cam Newton looked like…well, let’s be honest…Cam Newton. It’ll be intriguing to see how they build off this big win for the rest of the season.

– Atlanta just cannot lose games like this if they want to avoid “can Atlanta finally get it done in the playoffs” discussions! Mind-boggling loss for a team that has looked really good in recent weeks. I wonder how much of Matt Ryan telling Carolina to “get off their field” in Week 4 helped motivate this loss.

– What’s more shocking: the Jets aren’t completely out of AFC Playoff discussions or that Mark Sanchez lasted the entire game as the QB?

– Jacksonville is a really bad team but I believe this would’ve been a completely different outcome had Cecil Shorts been healthy. Chad Henne did not have his deep threat available today on offense and the Jets secondary is pretty horrible.

– So is San Diego doing what they can to keep Norv Turner employed or are the Steelers just that bad? Talk about an outcome nobody saw coming.

– Pittsburgh does not deserve to be in the playoffs and at the end of the season I don’t think they will have that #6 spot. Shocking loss for a Steelers team that I thought was really starting to turn the corner after that big win versus Baltimore in Week 13. I believe the Bengals are a better team right now then the Pittsburgh Steelers when looking at potential #6 seed teams.

– San Francisco reestablishes itself as a top NFC team after a nice win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. I still think they are the best all-around team in the NFC but they are starting to show signs of being human.

– Miami has had a decent season thus far but they still have a lot to work on. I believe head coach Joe Philbin can turn this team around once he starts to get the right kind of guys in his offensive system. Look for Miami to continue focusing on some more WR threats for Ryan Tannehill heading into 2013.

– Talk about momentum. These are the type of games you want to play with just three games to go and you fighting for a playoff spot. Seattle could surprise us all as a strong playoff team should they make it this year.

– If you are Larry Fitzgerald there is no way you want to play for this team until they get you a decent Quarterback, right?

– New York continues to hold onto their slim lead in the NFC East after a dominating win against New Orleans in Week 14. The Giants are a baffling team lately as they play extremely well every other week it seems. They have a Week 15 matchup against Atlanta in what can give us a playoff glimpse into what both these teams can possess come January.

– What an embarrassing loss for the New Orleans Saints. Weeks ago it appeared they were making a miracle run at the playoffs and then once they got to .500 it all crumbled to pieces. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the NOLA.

– Big win for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night as they can now clinch the NFC North with a victory over Chicago in Week 15. This team is starting to really put it together since their loss to New York back in Week 12. The running game is improving, the offensive line is getting better and the Packers are starting to get healthy…watch out.

– Detroit hasn’t beaten the Packers in Lambeau since 1991 and this is the 3rd straight game where the Lions had a lead of 10 points or more & lost. I really think there needs to be a coaching change in Detroit at the end of the season; this team should be playing much better then this.

– I hope Patriots fans have booked a trip to New Orleans right now. The Pats are looking like the most complete team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL right now. I cannot wait to watch them play San Francisco in Week 15.

– What happened to Houston!? They had a chance to make a very bold statement in the AFC and let the opportunity slip through their fingers. Horrible performance and hopefully this is a wake-up call for the Texans.

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFL Week 13 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 04, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 13 in the National Football League!

– Great win for the Atlanta Falcons in primetime as they improve to 11-1 on the season. I have been very critical of the Falcons ability against good teams all season and they proved in back-to-back weeks they can pull it off. Now they just need to show up come playoff time…

– Say what you will about the New Orleans Saints but they gave it a pretty valiant effort these last couple of weeks. It will take a miracle for them to be playoff bound in 2012 as they get their 7th loss of the season here in Week 13. I wonder if the “Sean Payton magic” will be able to get this team back where they typically are in 2013, obviously if Payton returns.

– I’m sure many Buffalo Bills fans wondered where this team has been all season long and the funny thing about this Bills team is that they can’t be counted out completely just yet. They are 5-7 on the year and just sit outside the 6th seed in the AFC. Certainly that tells you how weak the AFC truly is this season.

– After two weeks of “Jaguar-Mania” they finally came back to Earth. Sorry Jacksonville, Chad Henne is decent but not your savior. I’m sure Alex Smith will be looking for a job next season…or will he.

– Seattle has been a pretty nice surprise all season long in the NFC. They pick up their 7th win on the season and get another hard fought win against a pretty good team in Chicago. Not a bad year when you beat Green Bay (technically), New England and Chicago in one season.

– I’ve been preaching this belief off-and-on the last couple of weeks: the Chicago Bears aren’t as good as their record shows. Believe me when I say that because they have trouble against good NFL teams. They need to turn that belief around before playoff time gets here.

– Green Bay looked like they were still hung over from the knockout punch they received last week from the Giants in the 1st half and then had shades of the Packers we have been used to the last couple of seasons in the 2nd half. It could be a good sign for Aaron Rodgers and company.

– How is Adrian Peterson not the NFL MVP favorite right now? I know Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have had good seasons but would the Vikings be where they are right now without him? 21 carries for 210 yards, enough said.

– The Colts are having a miracle season right now and if you don’t believe me watch Andrew Luck’s game-winning pass in Detroit. Indianapolis has been the best story in the NFL all season long, amazing stuff.

– Hello, can anyone hear me yet? Fire Jim Schwartz at the end of the season! He literally coached the Detroit Lions out of a win…AGAIN!

– Sure Houston plays in an easy division but they still need to get the easy wins as well. The Texans did just that and got their 11th win of the season. Home-field advantage is getting closer to their grasps.

– I may be in the minority on this one but I really enjoy what I see out of Jake Locker on a weekly basis. I really hope Tennessee continues to believe in the kid, he is definitely poised to potentially surprise his critics with his pla.

– Tough weekend for the Kansas City Chiefs, my thoughts & prayers go out to them, the families involved and of course the 3-month old who was left behind in this selfish tragedy. I know a win won’t completely heal this situation but I hope it was able to take their minds off of it for a little bit.

– The more I watch this team play the more I realize that Ron Rivera just isn’t the right fit there. The Panthers need a coach who will know how to properly utilize Cam Newton, imagine Chip Kelly of Oregon coaching this team next year…

– Whatever the St. Louis Rams do the rest of the NFL needs to follow because they have the ingredient on how to beat the 49ers. Watch both of these games!

– San Francisco loses but that doesn’t change my belief in Colin Kaepernick as the starter for this team. The 49ers still have the best chance in winning when he is on the field.

– New England is the best team in the AFC but suffer from a tough schedule and it’s going to be tougher in the coming weeks as they take on Houston in Week 14 & San Francisco in Week 15. These next two games will be very telling in regards to the Patriots chances come playoff time.

– Seriously Dolphins? You have a chance to make things interesting in the AFC playoff standings and you lose yet again when it matters the most? Granted its New England but c’mon make the AFC interesting!

– The Jets get a win in a historical snoozer. Bench Mark Sanchez, start Tim Tebow (if he’s healthy) and just have Greg McElroy ready to go if Tebow isn’t cutting it. You brought Tebow in there for a reason now just start him at QB!

– How does Larry Fitzgerald wake up every Sunday morning knowing that he is playing for this team and that these Quarterback’s are throwing to him?

– Believe me when I tell you this, the AFC may be a weak conference but the Denver Broncos are going to make the playoff seeds very interesting amongst the division leaders. This could get very fun, very quickly.

– Sadly it’s starting to look like maybe that “glimmer” on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season is starting to wear off. Has been a fun year and I hope they can piece back together for the final weeks of the season.

– Back-to-back wins for the Cleveland Browns…it’s been a while since we could say that.

– Oakland is just plain awful. I’m starting to really wonder if the Raiders will just give Terrelle Pryor a shot to see what he’s got as a NFL QB. What do you have to lose at this point?

– Quietly the Cincinnati Bengals continue to make noise in the NFL as they have won their last 4 games. They sit just outside the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC playoff standings and are a dangerous team with just 4 games to go.

– 4-8 season = Fire Norv Turner. I wonder if San Diego would consider looking a potential replacement for Phillip Rivers cause I’m not sure if he is the right fit for the Chargers anymore either.

– Wow how lucky was the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13? Great win for them and their playoff chances stay alive. I wonder if we will see a “Big Ben” return next week with the season starting to dwindle down.

– Tough loss for Baltimore as their inconsistency once again rears its ugly head. This team would be so good if they could just get it together. The loss now puts Baltimore as the #3 seed in the AFC and no longer facing a first-round bye, in-fact if the season ended today they would play Pittsburgh again.

– Good win for Dallas on Sunday Night, they still looked inconsistent against a weak Philadelphia Eagles team but a win is a win and they stay alive in the NFC Playoff picture.

– Philadelphia didn’t look terrible in their loss to Dallas on Sunday Night. In fact they looked pretty encouraging as the Eagles were able to make plays offensively, something they needed to see badly with a rookie QB and RB starting for them against the Cowboys. It’s still too little, too late but at least they continue to try and play spoiler in the NFC East.

– Huge win for Washington and now things have gotten very interesting in the NFC East. I have this strange feeling that the Giants may not be the NFC East representative when it’s all said and done.

– The Giants had their chance to capitalize on wins in back-to-back weeks and separate themselves from the NFC East. They failed to do so and now have created yet another typical end of the season for the Eli Manning led New York Giants. This is going to get fun with 4 games to go.

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFl 2012-13 Season: Getting Close To The Stretch Drive

November 29, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Before I get started, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I apologize for my absence from this blog. I had recent gall bladder surgery, and I am happy to report that it went well. My recovery is going very well. I think I am ready to write a bit more, and I want to thank my editor, and blog owner, Eric Gargiulo for being such a wonderful, and understanding editor.

Now that I am back, I am ready to comment on where the 2012-13 season is after about three-fourths of the season has now past. This is a somewhat sad time for me. It signals the impending end of the regular season. I also have to realize that the playoffs will make January go by quickly, and after the Super Bowl, no more NFL till training camps in August. Waiting six months will be agony.

This point of the season is also when the experts start talking playoff scenarios. That is the fun part. Many scenarios are a little confusing, but some are pretty simple. It makes every game from Week 13 (which starts Thursday, 11/29/12 with Saints at Atlanta on NFL Network) on more important.

Let’s discuss some of the good, the bad and the ugly at this point in the NFL Season. If this were a horse race, the teams are going around the clubhouse turn. During the last 5 games, teams fighting for playoff position will be set down for the drive, and others will be just positioning for the April Draft.

The Good:

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s Season Coming Off A Fourth Neck Surgery:

I admit that I was never the biggest fan of Peyton, but since my beloved WWE Superstar Edge was forced to retire due to his own neck issues, how can I not root for Peyton to do well? He has uplifted the Broncos to be an overall better team. His playing the QB position has been awesome.

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s Leading the NFL in Rushing Coming Off an ACL Tear:

Much like Peyton Manning, people were wondering when Adrian Peterson tore his ACL in November of 2011, if Peterson would be the same RB as he was. Well, Peterson did more than answer the bell. He is leading the NFL in rushing. Peterson is awesome, to say the least. If Manning and Peterson could somehow share the Comeback Player of the Year Award, that would be sweet.

Tom Brady and The Patriots Force Themselves Into The Conversation As One of The Top Teams In The AFC:

The so called “World Wide Leader,” ESPN, and their talking heads were all over themselves pushing the Texans, and the Ravens as the best teams in the AFC. By their records, those teams should have been pushed, even though the Ravens got away with a few lucky breaks in a few of their wins (Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers).

One team, the defending AFC Champion Patriots were sort of forgotten, and were dismissed due to their close losses early in the season. Lately though, the Patriots have dismantled the Colts, Rams, and ESPN favorite, the Jets, and put the Patriots right back in the discussion of one of the best teams in the AFC.

The Indianapolis Colts Supporting Their Head Coach, Chuck Pagano:

As someone who lost her father to cancer, (RIP) I know all too well how the disease destroys families. This story of the Indianapolis Colts , from top management leaving the light on in Coach Pagano’s office, to the players and cheerleaders shaving their heads is very touching. It is a great story of love, support, and dedication. The team’s record of 7-4, and being on the verge of a playoff spot is nothing short of miraculous.

The Rise Of Young Quarterbacks:

The NFL is seeing an array of young QBs taking over the NFL. From the dynamic Robert Griffin III, to the Colts rookie sensation, Andrew Luck, to the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick, fans are being treated to the next generation of QBs. I think it is great, as one day, the “old guard” will be retiring, and the NFL will need new blood.

The Bad

The Number of Players Being Caught With PEDs:

This is really a shame. I mean, why do players need to take drugs to enhance their performance? Recently, Patriots DE Jermaine Cunningham, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, and his teammate, fellow CB Brandon Browner were nailed with four week suspensions for PEDs. Don’t these guys realize that when they take these drugs, and get caught, that they HURT THEIR TEAM? It really makes me mad.

The NFL’s Hypocrisy On Player Safety:

This item could be a blog of it’s own. Anyway, in their match up against the Ravens at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders was hit in the head/neck area by Ravens S Ed Reed. The referee, at least, felt the hit was in the neck/head area, and threw the flag for the 15 yard penalty. Reed was suspended one game for being a repeat offender over the past three years. ESPN and others had a hissy fit, and Ed Reed appealed. The suspension was overturned, and Reed got a slap on the wrist with a 50,000 dollar fine.

The hypocrisy is that the NFL ruled Reed a “repeat offender.” Well, why then did they reverse their decision? It could not have been because ESPN’s talking heads lost their marbles over the fact that Reed would have lost 430,000 dollars of his salary? It couldn’t have been that Ed Reed is one of the network’s “Golden Children?” “Mike and Mike’s” Mike Greenberg gave the excuse that Reed could not tackle due to the torn labrum. Well, what in the heck is Reed doing playing then?

My point is, if Reed was deemed a “repeat offender,” then he should have been punished like one. The NFL backed down because he was Ed Reed. I shudder to think what would have happened if this had been one of the Steelers, particularly James Harrison. If a suspension was given to Harrison as a repeat offender, one should have been given to Reed also. The heck with what a bunch of crybabies at ESPN say.

The Ugly:

Happy Trails To You:

This is more geared to coaches/GMs that I am SPECULATING that may be fired after the season is over. I mean, from watching them after all these weeks, it appears to me that the respective team owners MAY want to make some changes.

The Carolina Panthers:

When I saw earlier this season that the Panthers fired their GM, I had a feeling that Coach Ron Rivera may be on borrowed time. I had heard that in previous interviews for other teams in the past, he had not interviewed well. However, he was given a shot here. I think, IF he is fired, the team needs an offensive coach to help out Cam Newton. The team may want someone to smooth out Newton’s attitude also. Cam is not used to losing, and his poor attitude needs to be straightened out.

The Dallas Cowboys:

That goofy petition to President Obama aside, I do agree with the sentiment of the group that Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones needs to step aside as GM, and let someone else “buy the groceries,” as former Cowboy coach Bill Parcells once said. I am sort of on the fence as to whether Jason Garrett keeps his head coaching job. The Dallas Cowboys have been overrated, in my opinion, for years. They haven’t done anything in over 15 years. I know Jones loves his team, but he can’t interfere in everything.

The Kansas City Chiefs:

This is another disaster area. I don’t know what the Chiefs will do. There are people not happy with Scott Pioli, the current GM. I am sure Head Coach Romeo Crennel will be gone at the end of the season. I am sure KC will be drafting a QB. I would dump Pioli also.

The New York Jets:

Wow. What to do with this dumpster fire. Owner Woody Johnson keeps insisting that the team is “not a circus.” I don’t think it is either, because that would be an insult to circuses. Circuses are well organized, and fun to watch. This team is unorganized, and not fun at all to watch. I mean, this team is the “butt” of all jokes.

Seriously, this team has been so bad this year. I admit that a couple of their big weapons, CB Darrelle Revis, and WR Santonio Holmes wound up on IR, and their bringing in QB Tim Tebow has not worked out as hoped, but something is really wrong.

I don’t see Rex Ryan being fired. I would not fire him. After all, his first two years, the Jets DID go from being an OK team to being one game away from the Super Bowl. Last year, and this year has not gone well, but Ryan has not forgotten how to coach. Of course, this is the same team who fired Eric Mangini who had the Jets at 9-7.

I WOULD fire GM Mike Tannenbaum. He’s the one who largely put the team together.
However, what the Jets do is another thing altogether.

The Philadelphia Eagles:

I had a very sad feeling that this year was not going to be a good year for the Eagles, and especially for Head Coach Andy Reid when Reid’s son Garrett died at the team’s training camp on August 6th of this year. I know that people grieve differently, and some people throw themselves into work, but I just think losing his son had to weigh on him as he coached. Owner Jeffery Lurie’s edict of the team needing to make the playoffs didn’t help the situation, in my opinion.

However, as the injuries to star players like Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, etc piled up, and the defense not being what it should, leading to Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s firing, and his replacement Todd Bowles’ failure to make the defense better, it does look like Andy Reid will be coaching his last year with the team.

What will happen with star QB Michael Vick, I don’t know. As for Reid, if he wants to coach next year, trust me, he won’t be unemployed for very long.

Well, that is my review at the three quarter pole, so to speak. The 32 teams are rounding the far turn. When they hit the stretch, we will have to see who winds up with the Lombardi in February. Like the Kentucky Derby, it is a long stretch, from now (Week 13) until February 2, 2013, but like in horse racing, anything can happen.

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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NFL Week 12 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

November 27, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 12 in the National Football League!

– Good win for Houston on Thanksgiving as they need to have these kinds of wins to make them look like a formable contender in the AFC. Houston’s lack-of defense lately is probably a concern right now but not a growing one unless this current trend continues. Obviously if the Texans want to be successful this season it will come from their D.

– Detroit gets their 7th loss of the season and is all but done for the 2012 season as it’s an extremely disappointing season when you look at what they were able to accomplish last season and how talented their roster is. They need to give Stafford another wide receiver option heading into 2013 because this offense is looking completely different without Nate Burleson, clearly their #2 WR target.

– Robert Griffin III put on a Thanksgiving show that I’m sure we will be talking about for sometime. The Redskins are becoming a serious threat in the NFC East at this point in the season and may surprise some teams. Despite the below .500 record don’t count out Washington just yet.

– This was your typical “Tony Romo era” Cowboys loss. Dallas needed this win to put some major pressure on the New York Giants in the NFC East and they failed to do so. The Cowboys are a very frustrating team to watch as they are so inconsistent on a weekly basis.

– New England is the most complete AFC team at the moment right now. They looked good on both sides of the ball (clearly) and I wonder if it will continue on against good AFC opponents, something the Jets are most definitely not.

– The 2012 New York Jets are horrible. That game will go down in the ages as one of the worst Thanksgiving performances of All-Time!

– Chicago gets the win over Minnesota in pretty convincing fashion. It was also a good sign for the Bears as Jay Cutler looked pretty good in his first game back from his concussion two weeks ago.

– Minnesota needed this win as they are staying neck-and-neck with teams like Tampa Bay & New Orleans for the final Wild Card playoff spots. Vikings are the team on the “outside looking in” when it comes to being competitive though.

– I’ll say it again: Cincinnati is quietly becoming an AFC Playoff contender yet again. Watch out for the Bengals.

– So if you were the Raiders front office would you draft a QB or RB in the 2013 NFL Draft?

– That may be the last win this season for the Browns but it will be considered a successful season by the Cleveland faithful because they beat the Steelers. Week 12 was Cleveland’s Super Bowl win.

– Ya think Pittsburgh misses “Big Ben” yet? Ouch.

– Indianapolis has 7 wins this season and it’s Week 12. Who would’ve thought that to be possible going into this season? Really enjoy watching this Colts team.

– Buffalo, you disappoint me. Please fire Chan Gailey at the end of this season!

– Based on their schedule, the Denver Broncos may have a very good chance at being a #1 or #2 seed in the AFC at the moment. Tough win for the Broncos as the Chiefs did not play like a “bye week” this past Sunday.

– At least Kansas City gave it a good shot…

– Good win for the Dolphins as the #6 seed in the AFC side of the playoffs is basically wide-open at the moment. A 5-6 team like Miami is still in the running with just 5 games to go but I wouldn’t hold my breath that Miami can be that team right now.

– Seattle needed this win as the Wild Card spots are very tight in the heavily competitive NFC playoffs. If the Seahawks want a shot to play in January they need to win games over teams like Miami as they can’t go up against division rivals in the NFC West, such as the 49ers, and think they can still be playoff-bound.

– Atlanta gets that must needed “statement win” over the Tampa Bay Bucs. For the entire season I have felt like the Falcons weren’t looking like a 10-1 team because they didn’t get that “battle tested” victory. While that is no longer the case after Week 12, I still don’t feel like they are strong #1 seed in the NFC yet.

– Tough loss for Tampa who is a borderline NFC playoff team at the moment. How this team responds to the tough loss will be very interesting to watch for the rest of this season.

– How is Chad Henne breathing new life into this Jacksonville offense!? Nice win for the Jaguars as they have played really well the last two weeks.

– The Titans aren’t “lighting the world on-fire” but they certainly should be beating teams like the Jaguars.

– 4th and 29 saved the Ravens first-round bye hopes in Week 12. I still believe the Ravens need to be more consistent when they are on the road especially if they want to catch Houston for home field advantage.

– How did San Diego let that game slip through their grasps? I just don’t know how or why Norv Turner is still coaching this team, extremely disappointing season for the Chargers and it was all summed up in that loss to Baltimore.

– To me the San Francisco 49ers are the best team in the NFL right now and despite that moniker they have a Quarterback controversy on their hands! This is comparable to the “Twilight teams” as people are either on “Team Colin” or “Team Alex.” Personally I am a “Team Colin” guy but feel extremely bad for Alex Smith.

– I’m very interested to see how this loss will affect the Saints momentum for the rest of this season. It’s a veteran team so you’d have to figure they can shake off this loss but when you start 0-4 on the year you never know.

– Nice to see the Rams bounce back after the loss to the Jets in Week 11. I’ve said it many times this season in the blog but I really like what is going in St. Louis. Not sure if Sam Bradford will ever take the step up to be a franchise QB but they are building something good in St. Louis.

– If you are Larry Fitzgerald do you allow this QB situation to happen again for ANOTHER season? Arizona needs to do whatever they can to draft a top QB in the 2013 NFL Draft or make a play for someone (*cough* Kaepernick or Smith *cough*) in the off-season before they lose their franchise WR.

– Great bounce back win for the Giants as there has been much concern lately regarding this team’s performance. Don’t think that will be the case anymore as this is what the Giants needed…a bye week.

– Tough beat down of a loss for the Packers on Sunday Night. Clearly they could not contain the Giants pass rush all game long and how they handle Minnesota in Week 13 will be under a microscope. I wonder how well this team will play once they are completely healthy because they are looking out of rhythm yet again.

– Carolina becomes relevant again for at least one week and Cam Newton won’t emotionally meltdown after a loss during the post-game news conference. Consider that a successful week for the Panthers…for now.

– Just fire Andy Reid already…this is getting embarrassing for the Philadelphia Eagles!

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at

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NFL Week 11 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

November 20, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 11 in the National Football League!

– Buffalo looked really good against Miami on Thursday Night, you got to feel bad for the Bills because had they played this way most of the season then they could’ve lived up to their potential.

– How disappointing has this Dolphins team been the last 3 weeks? One minute they look like a potential playoff team and the next they are backing out of any playoff possibilities. There has to be a big concern when it comes to Reggie Bush right now, I really don’t understand what has happened to him these last couple of weeks.

– Not sure if we learned anything about Atlanta this week being that they barely beat the Arizona Cardinals coming off of a loss. Atlanta is no doubt going to be a playoff team but how far they advance is up in the air right now.

– I really enjoyed Arizona at the start of the season and was really hoping they could give a team like San Francisco a run for their money in the NFC West but as we all know now, we were sadly mistaken.

– Once again the Cincinnati Bengals are quietly impressing people and moving up the standings in the AFC North. While I like what I see as of late they are still far away from making it back to the playoffs for the 2nd season in a row.

– I wonder who the Kansas City Chiefs will draft with one of their top 3 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft? And more importantly who will be their head coach to make those picks?

– Similar to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dallas Cowboys have quietly become one of the hottest teams in the league in recent weeks. I’m starting to get the feeling that we could see another Week 17 where the NFC East could be decided between the Giants and Cowboys.

– Cleveland gave it a great shot, but once again they have a tough time closing out the lead against a NFC East team this season. I still like this team’s growth heading into 2013 and beyond.

– Green Bay gets a much needed tough win against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. It wasn’t the greatest game the Packers have played this season but a win is a win and they head into Week 12 with a chance to really tighten things up in the NFC North.

– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know how the Lions can bring Jim Schwartz back next season. This team is too good to be playing this bad, especially when the offense had their chances and never got in rhythm against Green Bay. If this continues on into 2013 then people will be questioning whether or not Matthew Stafford is “the guy” in Detroit as well.

– Houston still proves they are the best team in the AFC but they need to be blowing out teams like Jacksonville and not playing catch up all day into Overtime. It was a win for the Texans but not the prettiest of wins.

– Jacksonville is still horrible but I think they are onto something with Chad Henne actually starting at QB. Even if Gabbert is hurt the Jaguars need to start Henne from here on out.

– Of course the Jets win this week after everyone write’s them off! It may just be a Week 11 win to all of us but to the Jets organization it may have just save Rex Ryan’s job heading into 2013.

– Some weeks I like what the Rams are doing and then they have a week like this against the lowly New York Jets. Not sure what to think of this team right now, they could be a surprise team in 2013 if they get things together. Hopefully this young team is learning from these losses.

– RG III gets the “Captain” nod heading into this week and he lives up to that honor by going 14/15 for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns while running on 12 attempts for 84 yards. You read that right.

– Andy Reid doesn’t make it till the end of the season now, right? If Philly keeps having games like this I can’t see this franchise keeping Reid as the head coach. It clearly looks like this Eagles team has just given up on the 2012 season.

– Who has been my favorite team to watch the last 4-5 weeks? If you’ve been reading these blogs or listening to The Bower Show then you know it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This team is going to be a major “underdog threat” if they make the playoffs.

– The Carolina Panthers are the NFC version of the New York Jets thanks to what we presume is a locker room filled with issues right now. Thankfully Cam Newton doesn’t have a backup QB who is as popular/gets a lot of press like Tim Tebow does. Could the Jets trade Tebow to Carolina in the offseason? (I’m kidding, or am I?)

– Don’t look now but here comes the New Orleans Saints. I believe if this team can get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers then there is no stopping them from making a playoff spot. Who would’ve thought you’d say that with 6 games to go this season?

– You would’ve figured that after all these years of losing the Raiders organization would be in better shape then they are but they are not. While Carson Palmer may be playing really well I wonder if it’s worth giving Terrelle Pryor a shot to just see how he can play as a starting QB. What do you have to lose at this point?

– No shock here: Denver gets the win over AFC West rival San Diego. While it’s a victory for the Broncos I would’ve liked to seen a little bit more overall dominance. For whatever reason it seems like this team loses steam come the 4th quarter, may be something to keep your eye on as the season wraps up.

– Unlike Andy Reid I still believe Norv Turner finishes the season out with the Chargers. What’s the point of firing him now after you keep him on after last season’s debacle? Also it appears this team hasn’t given up on Norv Turner yet, while Andy Reid’s Eagles certainly have.

– The New England Patriots reminded us all why they are still the New England Patriots in Week 11. Dear Bill and Tom, thanks for the reminder!

– Welcome to the NFL rookie! How’d that butt whoopin’ taste? Sure looks like we may have to pump our brakes on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts after that tough Week 11 loss now doesn’t?

– Baltimore’s victory over Pittsburgh was the stereotypical Ravens game during the “Joe Flacco era.” The Ravens come off a huge victory against Oakland and then follow it up by barely beating an injury depleted Steelers squad. This type of game is what constantly holds this team and Joe Flacco back from ever being those “Super Bowl contenders” so many fans/analysts believe they can be.

– There aren’t high hopes in Pittsburgh right now without “Big Ben” at QB. But what we saw Sunday Night is that despite their injuries the Steelers will give it everything they got to win the game. I wouldn’t be so quick to count this team out of the playoffs just yet.

– The San Francisco 49ers are the most complete team in the NFL, hands down. This is the team to beat in the NFL right now.

– Week-after-week I bash the Chicago Bears for not getting that “statement” or “battle tested” win. They had a huge opportunity to get that win against the 49ers and failed to do so in Week 11. I don’t believe this team to be “for real” until proven otherwise and I believe them to be nothing more then a “Super Bowl contender” at the present moment.

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So Phialdelphia Eagles Fans, Who Replaces Andy Reid?

November 09, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s jump right into it and state the very obvious fact: The city of Philadelphia has fallen out of love with long time Eagles head coach Andy Reid. It doesn’t take a genius to know that if you endorse Reid, you will get the similar response of endorsing the wrong Presidential candidate (Thank God that’s over!), and be shunned by friends and family just as fast. You can bring up his past accomplishments all that you want, but in the end we still have no Super Bowl, we have a team that is falling apart, and a scheme that is quite predictable. Michael Jackson’s song “Man In The Mirror” may say it best: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”. Let’s jump right into it and state the very obvious fact: Perhaps the best way for Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles to make their football worlds better is to part ways and start new.

The numbers are there to make us like Reid as a whole. The man has won 6 division titles, has appeared in 5 NFC Championship games, winning one of them, and making an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX, which was a 3 point loss to the New England Patriots. 11 of his 14 seasons as Eagles coach has ended in either winning season or at least .500. He turned Donovan McNabb, the guy we all booed on draft day into one of, if not the best QB in Eagles history. He took a dead team that finished 3-13 and turned them into an elite NFL team, yes that is elite team. He was the guy that rolled the dice on a guy like Brian Westbrook, and made him one of the most loved players in the history of the city. He brought us Terrell Owens, Asante Samuel and other players many found unlovable, and made them Philly favorites, even despite Owens quick departure. 129 wins to just 86 losses and 1 tie is a nice record, very nice, but just not enough anymore, right Philly?

In 1999 when Reid was named the new coach, the response was very much of “who?”, “what?” and “why?”. No one knew much of Andy Reid, except that he came from a fine pedigree of coaches out of Mike Holmgren’s successful Green Bay Packers pool. He was dubbed “the guy that taught Brett Favre” which was some serious praise. He told us to take our lumps with Doug Pederson at QB and soon enough McNabb would lead the way. The mystery that soon became the football smarts of Reid made him that much more loveable. A guy we knew little about saving our football face, and building a terrific ball club, doing much of the same that Eagles hero Dick Vermeil did, if not better. He brought us a West Coast system, a staff that built a defense known for relentless pursuit of the QB and game changing plays, much like The Gang Green units produced by former coach Buddy Ryan in the 80’s and early 90’s. He turned out some talented coaching names such as Ron Rivera, Brad Childress, John Harbaugh, Steve Spagnuolo, Leslie Frazier and Pat Shurmur. He did it right for a long time, but it soon turned into second guessing, an overdose of passing against running, and poor decisions on assistant coaches. It has fallen apart in front of our eyes, and not so much to the fault of Reid, as to his players that also seemed to have lost faith. The time for change appears to be now.

So let’s walk into the shoes of Eagles GM Howard Roseman and owner Jeffrey Laurie. You now have to make a huge decision for the 2013 season. Unless Reid finds a way to make this 3-5 football team into a Super Bowl winner, it is pretty clear that he won’t be back. It is time to find a new guy that your city will embrace, and can handle the rigors of trying to make this city happy. Every down is like the last play of the season, and every game is an event like no other. The coach you bring in needs to have a pure love for a city, a team and a dream. A guy that talks little and fires up just as little won’t last long. The next guy can’t be a no name guy, the fans want a star! Like the single guy who finally commits to a girlfriend, you want that “wow factor”, you want to stop everyone in their tracks with the choice you have made. In other words, this won’t be easy at all.

I have taken the time to find a list of potential replacements, a wish list if you will. Some of this is purely off of my knowledge of the game, and some comes from the talks I have with other fans. There are a few names on this list that may make some cringe, some that will make you excited, and some that will bring a “oh yeah, him” response. Remember I am trying here. I want a good guy as much as the next. I always liked Andy Reid, so this list for me is pretty tough. Do we get offense or defense for a theme? Do the Eagles get a guy from within? A guy who has been away from the game? This is the hardcore game we are going to play. Heck, for now let’s all pray for the big turn around, and be a winner. If not, well here is the list of some candidates. Chime in at will!

The List Of Potentials (In no order whatsoever):

Perry Fewell, Defensive Coordinator, New York Giants: Let’s get clever and say its “Fewell for the fire”, nah that’s pretty lame. However Fewell has a Super Bowl ring, and has one of the best front 4 defenses in the league right now. He would come from a division rival who can share some secrets about the Giants, and bring some of that winner’s mentality to Philly. Although the Eagles have fared well against the G-Men, it is not due to a lack of his ability. He had a brief run as Buffalo Bills interim coach and finished 3-4. He is a player’s coach, and brings defensive sense to a team that has been led by offense for so long. He seems a good choice, but will the Giants let him walk that freely, especially to Philly?

Jack Del Rio, Defensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos: A hard-nosed player in his day turned quality NFL coach, Del Rio is doing a nice job with Denver’s defense this year. Was formerly the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2011, and finished with a record of 69-73, including a 1-2 playoff record. His smarts is on defense. In 2000 he was the linebacker coach for the Baltimore Ravens, who many say had the best defense of all time. He then took that to Carolina, where in his time there he had the league’s number 2 overall defense. In his time in Jacksonville, he turned them from the 23rd ranked defense up to as high as number 3. His situation was similar to Reid, in which it kind of ran its course and a change was needed. He has stayed very close to the game, is a tough guy and can be a good motivator. His name may not be the sexiest on the market, but he is a good guy for this job.

Jon Gruden, ESPN Monday Night Football Analyst: This is the hot name, and with very good reason. Gruden has been a guy that has always changed momentum and made winners out of teams. A career record of 95-81, plus a 5-4 playoff record and a Super Bowl win speaks for itself. We now see him as the lovable, superlative-slinging guy on Monday Night Football, but with that we also get to hear just how much he knows about the game, and how much fire comes from his belly. Some big factors here include a brand new contract he just singed with the network, and if he really wants to walk away from his cushy job to go back to the hard days of NFL coaching. He knows the city, as he was an assistant here some years ago, and Philly would take to him in an instant. He brings a winning attitude, plenty of press, and a similar scheme to what Reid used, which is less of a transformation.

Chip Kelly, Head Coach, Oregon Ducks: The first mystery name to come at you here, and the first college coach who I bring up. Kelly has been masterful at Oregon with a current record of 43-6, including 1-2 in Bowl Games. In 2010 Kelly was named the AP, Sporting News and Eddie Robinson Award Coach Of The Year, and his innovative style of offense and game “mathematics” have many considering him the new face of football. In 2011, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered him a head coach position, but he declined stating he had “unfinished business” at Oregon. This shows that the NFL has his eye on him, now to bring him here! His style was compared to that of baseballs Billy Beane and his “moneyball” technique of playing percentages over basic assumed logic. He goes for it on 4th down, loves the 2-point conversion, will fake punts and use some razzle-dazzle. He will keep it exciting here for sure, and being a Pac-10 coach he has knowledge of Nick Foles, who may very well be the Eagles next starting QB. He sounds like a real good choice, but we have seen college coaches implode before.

Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator, Indianapolis Colts: A strange thing happened on his way to riding off into the sunset. After 4 years of being the offensive guy in Pittsburgh, Arians was let go, only to find himself being offered the same job with the Indianapolis Colts, where he once served as the QB coach for Peyton Manning. He was steadily going along until being thrust into the interim head coaching job when coach Chuck Pagano was found to have leukemia. What are the results? He has produced a 3-1 record, bringing rookie QB Andrew Luck along nicely, and bringing a new spirit to this team. His head coaching back ground was not stellar, as he spent several years as the head man at Temple University, which so happens to be in Philadelphia, so he does know the city. He has family throughout Pennsylvania, so the move here won’t be hard for him, and he has always had a creative flare for offense. Come 2013 he will find himself an active candidate, so don’t hate on this name quite yet.

Brian Kelly, Head Coach, Notre Dame: Here is a lusty name for you. Kelly has come a long way since starting his head coaching career in 1991. He has always moved up the ladder to get better jobs as a tribute to his success. For his career he has a sparkling record of 196-66-2, including a 3-2 Bowl record and 25-10 at his current job with Notre Dame. He has brought back prominence to a once dying team, and currently has them ranked number 4 in the country, and has been winning big games. A former NFL Linebacker as well, he knows how to lower the boom and bring fire to his players. The notion is that he would bring a slower paced, smash mouth style game, but hey it works in Pittsburgh. I find it very hard to think that Kelly will walk away, but if he does this is an excellent NFL starter job for him.

Mike Nolan, Defensive Coordinator, Atlanta Falcons: A guy who has been around the block at a pretty young age, Nolan does know defense. Sure, his only other head coaching stint was a rough one in San Francisco, but he would inherit a lot more talent here. Sometimes guys like this just need to step back, learn more of a leadership role, then come back to try again. I can’t see Philly being the place of such open arms for that try, but they will get a good football guy here. In Atlanta he currently has a nice defense and an undefeated team, so that speaks well of what he brings. Just this, if he would be the new coach in Philly, he may want to lose that “suit” idea.

Frank Bush, Linebackers Coach, Tennessee Titans: You may fire when ready readers! However, sometimes you need a dark horse, and a guy who is given a big chance to make things happen. Bush was a linebacker coach for the Denver Broncos during 2 Super Bowl wins, and has since been doing work in Houston, Baltimore and now the Titans. He may not be a football genius, but is a no nonsense kind of guy, much the way he was as a linebacker for the old Houston Oilers. Another factor is this: We really don’t know who will be with this team next year, and it may be very much a rebuilding process, in which Bush can either be a surprising hero, or a fall guy who can still land an NFL coaching job somewhere. There are many guys out there that could be much worse, so I say Bush gets at least a thought.

Wilbert Montgomery, Running Back Coach, Baltimore Ravens: Another call me crazy pick, but one of substance. Philly loves to bring back familiar names, from Mo Cheeks to Larry Bowa, so why not a try for Wilbert? He worked in St. Louis and prepped a few guys named Marshall Faulk, and Steven Jackson, perhaps you have heard of them? He is a student of Dick Vermeil as well, another plus for Philly fans. In his current position with Baltimore he is teaching the ropes to the very successful Ray Rice, so his track record of making premier backs speaks for itself. He could bring back some old time Eagles ball here, get some familiar names to join in and maybe even make this a fun team. Heck at least we won’t be asking “why don’t we run the ball”. Long shot, very long, but he deserves a shout out here.

Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys: You want fire and passion, well this is your guy. You want to stick it to our arch rivals well this is again your guy. It may be fun to have Buddy’s son here to try and bring some of that snarl that his dad had when he head coached, but does he have what it takes? His brother Rex had a nice start in New York, but is slowly losing his mojo, and some fear Rob will have that same fallout. He has never been an NFL head guy, but has been around a few defenses. He appears to be a guy that can be a leader, but if we also remember his dad was brutal in making key decisions, especially with his offense. Ryan will get a look, but I don’t see him being liked very much here in Philly, just a hunch of course.

Bill Cowher, CBS Football Analyst: Another year and another mention for “The Chin”. Yes any modern day football fan will know his angry face, and his fired up temper, but is he still in touch? I know full well, as we all do that he has a fantastic reputation and a great career with a record of 149-90, plus a 12-9 post season record and a Super Bowl win in 2005 with the Steelers. He built that franchise into a power house before turning it over to Mike Tomlin in 2007. In my opinion he has earned his right to take it easy like Mike Ditka and Jimmy Johnson, and not try and tarnish a nice career. If you remember when Ditka tried a comeback his days in New Orleans were not very pretty. I know Philly wants this guy and would love him, but getting him to come out of the booth could be a tough sell.

Sean Payton, Head Coach, New Orleans Saints (Suspended): The NFL threw a nice little wrench in the works here when they voided Payton’s renewed contract extension. Sure they now will allow the team to try and work a new deal, but is this still his passion? Sure he has a nice comfortable dome to work in, and a super star offense, but maybe it is time for a change. He has learned quick and has a terrific 62-34 record including a Super Bowl win. Some say he is the smartest offensive mind in the game today. He was in Philly in 1998 and 1999 as a QB coach before becoming an assistant for the Giants and the Cowboys, so the NFC East is nothing new to him. Basically to have any shot at him, Reid would need to be let go right now, and the negotiations would have to start today. Not even sure if we can speak to him, and really not to sure he wants this as his next stop, but he would make a good coach here.

Les Miles, Head Coach, LSU: If arrogance was money, Miles would be the wealthiest man alive. Heck he knows he’s a good leader, and his smug smirk will tell you that all of its own. He may very well be yet another college guy that just can’t cut it in the NFL, or he may be just as smart as he will tell you he is. Being nicknamed “The Mad Hatter” means others see his cunning, and that just might be the flavor that the Eagles need. He has a good career record of 110-41, and won the 2007 National Championship. His southern style and attitude may not be to the big city liking, but his winning sure can be looked at. To me he is not a Bobby Petrino, Steve Spurrier or even a Nick Saban. I think if he got his chance he would be aggressive with it and may make a good run.

Brad Childress, Offensive Coordinator, Cleveland Browns: Not far removed from days here in Philly, Childress has a decent track record, in fact it is better than many people think. Sure he crashed in his final year as the Vikings head coach, but he brought that team along nicely with a 39-35 record that included back to back Division titles in 2008 and 2009 before losing the NFC Championship game to the Saints and posting a 12-4 record. It got messy when he started to deal with an aged Brett Favre, and started to lose his teams trust after becoming very outspoken. He is a good overall football guy, and that is showing in Cleveland, where he is working well with a rookie at both QB and RB, and you have to say they have improved greatly on offense. Heck if Romeo Crennel can get a second crack why not Childress? I would take him on.

Matt Patricia, Defensive Coordinator, New England Patriots: Yes, here is my ultimate dark horse and “who the heck” candidate. Here is a guy that fits the mold rather nicely, wearing his big shaggy beard and mustache, long hair, and the looks for most of the Philly faithful in the stands already. Patricia looks like a “sock you in the face” type guy, and would bring a very new flavor to Philly. Despite being just 38 years old, he has spent 8 years with the Patriots and Bill Belichick has had him in many realms, from assistant offensive coach, to O-line, to linebacker coach to the head of the defense, and at each stop he has improved the structure. For years it was thought the Pats didn’t have the defense to win again, but with this guy taking the lead it looks much better. They average less than 4 yards allowed per rush, which is one of the best numbers in the league. He would need to find a very sharp offensive mind to bring along, which should be easy enough. I will throw out a comparison name that you all may love: Pittsburgh Steelers head guy Mike Tomlin. He is very much the same breed, young, sharp, hard-nosed and ready to rock. I like this guy, and I think the team would too. Just worth a mention.

Brian Billick, NFL Analyst Fox Sports: Another guy with a bit of arrogance but a good football guy as a whole. As an assistant with the Minnesota Vikings he led one of the best offenses of all time, then took his act to Baltimore, where he became head coach, posted an 85-67 total record and won the Super Bowl in 2000, and he did it with defense. Billick may not be a total Philly guy, but he will have the patience to bring in a new scheme and can teach plenty to young QBs like Nick Foles, if the Eagles choose to part with Michael Vick. He is another guy that would have to be lured out of the booth, but I clearly see him giving it one more shot.

Jim Mora Jr., Head Coach, UCLA: Before you click off of this page, hear me out. If the Eagles decide that their future still lies with Michael Vick at QB, then why not bring back his former coach? These 2 guys did have a decent run together, including an improbable trip to the 2004 NFC Championship game, in which they lost oddly enough to the same Eagles. Mora has always been a fiery guy, but seen as some to be lost. However he does have a good nose for defense and came back strong in leading UCLA to a current 7-2 record. As a pro coach he is 31-33 with a 1-1 playoff record, totally not dooms day. He could work his way back into the pros, with or without Vick it could still be good in Philly. Not one of the top options, but a name to think of anyway.

Jay Gruden, Offensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals: Why not “Little Chucky”? Sure he turned down a few jobs last year, but this is a job that will have a decent team waiting for him. He has done great things for the offense in Cincy, and has groomed QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green into 2 excellent NFL pros. Sure he is under the shadow of brother Jon but at least there will be someone to teach him all about Philly. He is also served as head coach in smaller football leagues, so being the head guy is not that much of a stretch. A nice vertical passing game could be very much the spark to jump this Eagles team in 2013.

Mike Holmgren, Out of football: To doom this guy clearly on arrogance and a ” I just don’t like this guy ” mentality is truly a bad option. Yes his plans to be a football executive bombed in Cleveland, but he does have a nice track record as a head coach. A career record of 161-111 with a Super Bowl win and 12 playoff appearances looks pretty good to me, and he was the guy that taught Andy Reid. Yes if Reid did a good job for years, why not try his teacher? Holmgren loves stuff to be done his way, so it makes me wonder how he would fit in with a hands-on team of owners and executives like the group in Philly. Well he has been mentioned in Dallas, and you don’t get more hands on than Jerry Jones. Many think Holmgren would like one more go around, and he has gotten 2 different teams to Super Bowls. It may just take a year or 2 for his methods to kick in, are you patient enough? Well he is a good name in this situation.

Yes, 20 very strong candidates for my Eagles to consider, but with that a list of the guys I would not like. No history just a list.

Todd Haley: His character kind of stinks

Josh McDaniels: See Todd Haley

Rod Marinelli: Great D coach, but really, 0-16?

Dick LeBeau: See Rod Marinelli

Jerry Gray: A hot name, despite a brutal Bills defense that cost a fortune.

Jason Garrett: ?, please!

Mike McCoy: Not that I don’t want him, but good luck prying him away from Peyton Manning

Cam Cameron: Failed because well, he’s not a leader

Mike Singletary: Can’t win with them, can’t coach them, does he mean players or himself?

Bill Parcells: If any human says Parcells, they should be shot!

I welcome any and all feedback here everyone. I know this is always a hot topic so I expect many comments and choices. Not giving up on 2012 yet, but it’s nice to have a plan in place at least.

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Now That LeBron Won, Who’s Now Under Pressure To Win A Ring?

July 02, 2012 By: Category: NBA, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

LeBron-James“Under pressure. pushing down on me. pressing down on you. no man ask for.”

For those of you who are fans of rock music, or specifically the legendary band QUEEN, the above quote is from their song, “Under Pressure,” which features the great David Bowie. The song is from the band’s “Hot Space” album. The lyric definitely applied to a one 3 time MVP LeBron James of the Miami Heat, the superstar NBA player who finally got his first NBA Championship ring after 9 years in the league. Throughout his career, he’s had to live up to very high expectations, and has been lauded as the “Chosen One,” and has been highly praised, since being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In 2010, when he was a free agent, he was the talk of that year’s off season. ESPN went overboard with the story of where he would go. On July 8,2010, LeBron James finally made up his mind, and on a now infamous special called “The Decision,” he announced he would “take his talents to South Beach.” He would join former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh (also a free agent), and Miami Heat member Dwayne Wade as a member of the Miami Heat. With permission of the NBA, as both Bosh and James were not signed yet, the Heat had a celebration for the fans where LeBron said the infamous words, “Not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7…” That year, the team made it to the NBA Finals, but despite leading 2 games to 1 over the Dallas Mavericks, they eventually loss, to the delight of many, as the “Big Three,” became the target of hate, particularly LeBron.

This year, despite the season being shortened due to the NBA lockout, the Heat broke through, and won the second Title for the team. It was Chris Bosh’s first, and Dwayne Wade’s second. The team had to deal with Bosh’s abdominal injury, which caused him to miss several playoff games, and a hobbled Dwayne Wade, but LeBron James did step up in the playoffs, and won his first ring, despite what ESPN “First Take’s” Skip Bayless says. James became the MVP of the Finals as well.

As far as the hate, I think now that James has won, people need to lay off, even though I know there are people who never will. That is their issue. Did James handle leaving Cleveland right? No. He admits that. He even admits it was immature to have the celebration, and brag about how many titles he was going to win. It is called growing up. He has won his ring. Time to let the hate go.

Now that LeBron James has won HIS ring, I would like to examine some individuals in the sports world who are as QUEEN and David Bowie would say, “under pressure” to win THEIR first ring.

So, here we go.

Dallas Cowboy QB Tony Romo

Tony Romo is one of the most controversial QBs in the NFL. I say that because when the discussion of elite QBs come up, the experts get into a real debate when Romo’s name comes up. There are some that really love Romo, and others that are not that sold on him. NFL fans are very divided on him as well. Of course, you have former Cowboys such as Roger Staubach, and Troy Aikman singing his praises. Former QB Brett Farve said recently that “Romo is a lot like me.” So, there are those who like the guy.

Romo can put up great statistics. He has a career passer rating of 95.6 which is second of all time in NFL history. He has a good team under him. Romo can move in the pocket, and make some moves out of the pocket. He is not as mobile as Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger, but he has some mobility. My problem with him is he is 1-3 in the playoffs. The Dallas Cowboys have not even SEEN a Super Bowl since February, 1996. Romo also has to eliminate the one thing, at least in my mind, that keeps him out of being an elite QB. There have been plenty of games where the Cowboys appear to have the game in hand, and Romo will, at the most inopportune time, throw the dumb interception. Cowboy fans reading this must know what I mean. Get a tape of that Lions game of 2011, if you know what I mean. He also will fumble the ball too. He has to eliminate that garbage. He has to be more of a leader, especially down the stretch in late December if he wants to lead the team deep into the playoffs.

The San Diego Chargers

Yes, I know the Chargers have been to the Super Bowl, but that was in late January of 1995, and they got demolished by the San Fransisco 49ers. All I have heard on ESPN for years was how “classy” San Diego was, and how they were the “class” of the league. At that point, they became a very good team when they got Marty Schottenheimer as head coach, and the now retired Ladanian Tomlinson, and the brash, but good Philip Rivers at QB. They had Vincent Jackson at that point, who is now a Buccaneer. They still have Antonio Gates, who is battered, and bruised due to foot issues, but he is still good when healthy.

After a 14-2 season, in 2006, and a bye, they lost to the Patriots, Schottenheimer got fired thanks to GM A.J Smith. Smith hired Norv Turner. Well, in recent years, the Chargers have missed the playoffs twice, and have gotten knocked out of the playoffs. They only reached the AFC Championship game once in the 2007/08 season against the Patriots. Rivers played valiantly with a torn ACL, while “Mr. Classy” Ladanian Tomlinson who attempted to play with an injured MCL, played maybe one series, and sat on the sidelines with his helmet on, looking like Darth Vader.

Well, the Chargers are really under the gun. For years, all we hear is how talented they are. I have heard Rivers run his mouth. As ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption’s” Mike Wilbon had once said of the Chargers, “So much talent. Too much mouth.” I think the window may be closing on this team, and since a good portion of them like to run their mouths, it is time to put up, or shut up.

Eagles Coach Andy Reid

If ANY head coach is under pressure to win a Super Bowl ring, I can’t think of any other except Andy Reid. The Philadelphia Eagles fanbase has called for his head for years when he finishes the season without the Lombardi Trophy, even when he has a good season. From watching the way he coaches, and from watching the decisions he makes on the field, I can understand why the Eagle fanbase gets upset. He calls conservative plays when he should go for it, and things like that.

The strange thing about Andy Reid is that he seems to survive everything. Even seasons where other coaches would have been fired, he somehow hangs on to his job. Anyway, his record as head coach is 126-81-1 W-L, and 10-9 W-L in playoffs, but the big albatross on him is zero Super Bowl titles. Last year, he had to juggle a whole bunch of new players that former backup QB Vince Young called, “The Dream Team,” and now that there is a full off season, there will be pressure to bring home that Lombardi, or he will be on the hot seat again.

Source: “Under Pressure” by Queen, featuring David Bowie. From the Album “Hot Space.”

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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2012 NFL Draft: Philadelphia Eagles Preview & Predictions

April 25, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Andy ReidLet’s go back one year shall we? Remember the off-season of 2011 Eagles fans? Big free agent signings mixed in with the already present talent, being labeled by new comer QB Vince Young as the “Dream Team”, and plenty of fans prepping themselves for Super Bowl dreams and parades, yes before the first snap of the season.

What that all quickly turned into was a team with lost identity, poor fundamental skills, and a team that could not hold a late lead. What we all got in the end was an 8-8 team that missed the playoffs and was seen as the league’s biggest letdown. Young played some at QB, and he was average at best. Kevin Kolb was gone, DeSean Jackson was threatening to leave and we were all in total denial mode as fans. Who didn’t want to see Andy Reid fired (besides me of course)? How was all of this possible? Sad but true, but in the beauty of sports, one season passes and another comes our way.

So this pre-season the Philadelphia Eagles took a new approach. They signed many of the key players to new deals, made a nice trade to bring in a quality MLB in DeMeco Ryans from Houston, and have come in with a humble attitude. They are working on clearing cap space with a dealing of CB Asante Samuel, which will save them over 9 million dollars, while also working last years trade acquisition CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie to take his place and play his comfortable position. Doing thins smart, and looking hard to fix what seemed to be broken last year, and give the fans of Philly what they want.

So here is Draft Day 2012, a time to add some nice new pieces to the puzzle, and fill the holes that hurt the Eagles in 2011. We all know this team has some needs. This team could use more linebackers, a good safety, some defensive line bulk, and some depth on the offensive line. At the same time they could always use some great talent, perhaps some size at WR, or even a QB of the future? Whatever the case, the Eagles have a chance to gain and have 3 of the first 51 picks to do so. So Eagles fans here are some guys I’d like to see them draft, or at least consider. I welcome all my fellow Philly fans to read and comment as to who you may like, or dislike on this list. Come Thursday, April 26th 2012, we will all see it go down!

First Round Possible picks: 15th pick overall

Mark Barron, Strong Safety, Alabama: 6′ 1″, 213 pounds.

The Eagles have faith in free safety Nate Allen, but need to add an all-around athlete in the back to assist. Barron is a good cover safety who has terrific ball-hawking skills. Barron can cover the run well, and pursues the ball carrier better than any safety in the draft. He can avoid blocks and finds his way into tight spaces. He has good speed and open field ability as well. Barron has big game experience from his days in Alabama which is key for the Eagles as this would be a guy they would put right to work from day 1. The Cowboys pick one spot ahead and are believed to love Barron, so the Eagles may have to move to get him, or if he falls here, in my opinion, is the best possible player for them.

Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU: 6′ 6″, 322 pounds.

The Eagles seem to love to add lineman on both sides of the ball via the draft, and if they choose the defense, this beast will serve them well. Brockers is strong and quick for his size and pursues the football with excellent precision. Although he did not have big sack numbers in 2011, he is said to have great push and swim moves to break free from blockers and be a force on either the rush or the pass. Brockers has a great passion and plays hard and fierce. For a big guy he gets low and has great leverage which breaks things open. He will need some work to fine tune his skill, but this can be the missing piece of this team’s front 4 for sure. With Mike Patterson still a question mark, this pick becomes essential.

Luke Keuchly, Linebacker, Boston College: 6′ 3″, 242 pounds.

The time has come for this team to true up its linebacking, something that Andy Reid felt in the past to be easy, but the results have never been there. They did make the nice trade to bring in Ryans, and now they can really give it a boost with Keuchly, a tackling machine with excellent pursuit and side to side speed. Luke is a great team player and leader and fierce from the linebacking position. He played more of an inside role in college, but can close in on runners and is decent enough on the pass to play outside in the NFL. He can get stood up by superior offensive lineman, but as a whole, he is a guy that adds fire to a defensive unit. There is some good LBs to be had this year, but this guy could be the best of them. His stock goes up and down, so it is hard to imagine where he will land.

Whitney Mercilus, Linebacker, Illinois: 6′ 4″, 261 pounds.

Yes, by now many Eagles fans are saying “who?” and thinking I have lost my mind, but this guy is a quality athlete, and a pure outside linebacker. Last season he racked up 16 sacks, which is a great stat being as the Eagles love to blitz from all over the field. He plays all out with a high motor and great speed, and has the strength to break through to get to the QB. He is not a great run-stopper, but does cover plenty of ground with long arms and wide body. He explodes at the snap of the ball, although not with sleek technique, but raw force. His arms and body are always moving and he always looks to make a play. This is a guy, who if he pans out, would have Eagles fans leaping out of their seats. He’s an on-field cheerleader and fires up fans and teammates. At 15 he may be a reach, so it remains to be seen if the Eagles will look his way.

Dont’a Hightower, Linebacker, Alabama: 6′ 2″, 265 pounds.

With the Eagles being uncertain of a want for LB or DE, they may want to consider Hightower, who can be both. Unlike Brandon Graham who they drafted a few years ago, this guy has killer instincts and plays ferocious. He can play both the run and the pass and gets after the QB when turned loose. The knock is that his footwork is sloppy, so some wonder if he can handle being an outside linebacker in the NFL. If he can learn to pass cover, he can be a beast of a hitter at LB, and we can sure use that.

Second Round Possible picks: 46th and 51st pick overall

Mike Adams, Tackle, Ohio State: 6′ 7″, 323 pounds.

The loss of Jason Peters this off-season will be tough, and despite making some moves to fill his spots, the Eagles could always use more help up front and this is a great guy to land in the second round. A quality blocker for both the run and the pass, Adams uses long arms and strength to clear out defenders of all sizes. He is an all out blocker who plays it til the whistle on every down. He is tough as any tackle in this draft and a guy who could start every down in a year or 2. He also lead blocks well in the screen pass attack, something the Eagles love to do. His size is huge and he is sleek for it. Not too many knocks on Adams, so you’d have to be happy to land this guy.

Harrison Smith, Safety, Notre Dame: 6′ 2″, 213 pounds.

If the Eagles can’t get, or choose to pass on Mark Barron, then this is the move they have to make in this round. Smith has the fire, leadership and all out motor of a Brian Dawkins, with the power and pop of a Troy Polumalu. He is ferocious, plays all out and can change a game with a powerful pop. He plays both the run and pass very well, and has quality instincts. He is a guy that can be a rally guy for fans and teammates on the field and a good guy off. His only knock is open field tackles, but for the rest he is a total package. A player like this in the second round can be quite a steal, as he may be one of the best overall football players in this draft.

Stephen Hill, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech: 6′ 4″, 215 pounds:

What? A receiver after what we just paid DeSean Jackson, and we still have Jeremy Maclin? In my opinion, absolutely if you can get Hill with one of these picks. Explosive speed, great size and excellent hands, as well as good filed awareness make him the guy the Eagles could use to really open up opposing defenses. He is more of an end zone, big body threat than anyone on the current roster, and is a good morale guy too. I have told anyone that will listen that this guy may be the second best WR in this draft, and a great asset to a team that has skilled players to teach him the ropes. If he is still around, he is a guy I love here.

Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Cornerback, Alabama: 6′ 2″, 186 pounds.

It would be hard to imagine him falling this late, but if he does, Kirkpatrick is a guy ideal for Philly and the defense. He has good size and jumping skill to challenge bigger receivers in the league, and is a crowd friendly, rah-rah guy on the field. He will need to add a tad more bulk in the gym, but can be a force with great arm span, and good coverage skills. Philly will likely trade Asante’ Samuel, and they will have a need for a guy that can cover the slot and crossing patterns, something Kirkpatrick does very well. Also to his credit, he is a quality tackler. He may not be a pressing need, but in the category of best player available he would be that guy with either pick by far.

Peter Konz, Center, Wisconsin: 6′ 5″, 314 pounds.

He is a big, hulking guy that can anchor an offensive line with great instincts and fierce play. He blocks both in the run and the pass really well, and recognizes blitzes very well. Despite his size he has terrific mobility and is very athletic, something they could use in protection of the always moving Michael Vick. He has excellent body frame so he is not bulky and won’t get caught out of place often. His durability has been a concern, but he did manage to start 30 games for a very good Wisconsin squad. Again a position they may not be desperate at, but this is a chance to improve if Konz slips down to 51.

Other picks to be considered:

Zack Brown, Linebacker

Brandon Weeden, Quarterback

David Wilson, Running Back

LaVonte David, Linebacker

Jared Crick, Defensive End

Trumain Johnson, Cornerback

Okay Eagles fans, here is hoping to make a big splash in this draft. Let’s hope that Andy and the brass get us what we need to have a big 2012!

Thoughts? Comments? Feel free to respond here, and thanks as always for reading!

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