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NFC East


Hurt Locker: Pacman Jones and Mathias Kiwanuka Have the Same Injury

Pacman Jones and Mathias Kiwanuka couldn’t be more different on the field and couldn’t have a more different history in the league. Jones, an aggressive Corner Back now signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, was suspended from the league a couple years back after he was accused of inciting an incident at a strip club that left 3 people shot and one paralyzed for life. He had some other difficulties and attitude problems before that but he appears to have straightened out his life for all intents and purposes, so I’ll just leave it there.

Kiwanuka, a finesse player known for being just as smart and humble as he is quick and productive is a defensive end for the Giants and arguably one of the best in the league. He’s versatile too as he started at linebacker and made a successful transition to defensive end when Giants superman (and HEART-THROB OO LA LA) Osi Umenyiora was out for an entire season due to a knee injury.

These differences make it all the more interesting that both Jones and Kiwanuka are currently out with the same injury: herniated discs in their necks. The prognosis on Jones so far has been more positive (at least publicly so) than Kiwanuka’s. Public statements by both the Giants organization and Kiwanuka himself—whether intentional or not—sound like the beginning of the end. Or maybe even the end of the end.

I’m interested to see how this plays out. I did a little research and apparently, though paralysis isn’t common as a result of this, general loss of movement in the limbs can be common. I guess you can assume the chances of movement loss increases with re-injury, and playing in the NFL would almost ensure additional injuries to their backs and necks even if not the same exact injury.

What will be telling is whether or not Jones and Kiwanuka’s futures are as divergent as their pasts.


Freddie Mitchell Says He was “Blackballed” Because of McNabb. Fail.

Boy stop

I’ve made no secrets that the Philadelphia Eagles are my team. (Full Disclosure: I have been both an Atlanta Falcons fan and a Philadelphia Eagles fan since I was 10). I was living in Philadelphia when Freddie Mitchell “played” for the Eagles so this makes his most recent comments all the more annoying.

He has stated that he believes he was blackballed due to comments he made about McNabb. I found this claim so ridiculous that I went back and reread it to ensure he wasn’t just announcing to the public that he has balls and they are, in fact, black.

Mitchell let the arrows fly in a conversation Wednesday morning, and dived unabashed into his feelings about McNabb in the quarterback’s lone Super Bowl appearance.

“I respect both Coach Reid and Coach Shanahan — they have two total different coaching theories,” Mitchell said. “I can only wonder what would have happened in the Super Bowl if Reid stepped up and said, ‘You know what? You’re playing like [expletive], you’re benched.’ I don’t know many coaches that have the balls to do that. He was playing like [expletive] and he should have been benched. … And don’t say he doesn’t have a record of this; he did the same thing in every single championship game.”

The backup, for the record, was Koy Detmer.

These are very interesting comments coming from Mitchell especially since McNabb has always spoken highly of Mr. “I-want-to-thank-my-hands-for-being-so-great” and the fact that Mitchell wasn’t even a starter for much of his time with the Eagles.

Always a class act, Terrell Owens decided to pile on McNabb as well.

Owens also referenced McNabb’s shortcomings in the Super Bowl on The T.Ocho ShowTuesday night.

“Well, I don’t really want to start anything, but I did play in the Super Bowl and there were rumors where he couldn’t get our two-minute offense going at the end of the game. I’m just saying,” said Owens.

Do I have to point out how many things are wrong with what he just said?



Week 8 Recap: Is Favre’s Play a Miracle? Is Shanahan mentally sound? Is Belichick in the Illumanati?

Back in Shakesperean times, women weren’t allowed to be in performances. Men played all the parts in the dramas. Today, we call that football. Football is an all male Young and The Restless with enough drama for everyone from the casual watcher to the maniacal fanatic.

Week 8 served up plenty to talk about, and it’s always interesting how story lines are covered by different news outlets.

To start, the Washington Post’s Redskins blog rounded up all the reactions from people around the league regarding Shanahan’s what-the-fuck decision to bench McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman with 2 minutes left on the game clock.

The reactions were mostly angry. Actually, I was surprised at how angry they were. The only  mild reaction was the best one in my opinion. Michael Irving said:

“It wasn’t just taking Donovan out. It was bringing Rex Grossman in. All of our eyes have seen enough of Rex Grossman.”


Michael Wilbon, Mike Ditka, Tony Kornheiser et al were more thorough in their statements, but Irvin’s sentiment was shared by all.

Unless you’ve been hiding inside Troy Polamalu’s luxurious locks the last 24 hours, you’ve probably heard that Randy Moss was unceremoniously waived by Vikings Coach Brad Childress. Not only was he waived, but he was the last to find out.

Jason Cole at Yahoo Sports didn’t like Childress’ decision one bit:

In announcing the team’s intentions to release Randy Moss(notes), Childress confirmed what many in the Vikings organization have believed about him for years: His management of people is questionable, his willingness to listen is nonexistent and his reaction to criticism is punitive.

This only confirms the growing tension that already existed in the Minnesota locker room before the season. Everyone in Minnesota knew back in training camp (and actually long before then), that Favre and Childress don’t get along. Favre doesn’t respect Childress, viewing him more as geeky impediment rather than a sophisticated football mind.

The difference with Favre is that Childress knows he needs Favre to have a real chance. Once Childress got Favre, there was no turning back. Make no mistake: Favre runs the show in that battle of alpha males.

When it came to Moss, Childress wasn’t going to let another player run roughshod over him. When Moss criticized the coaches Sunday after the loss to the Patriots, that was the tipping point.

I’m not fan of my-way-or-the-highway Coaches, I wrote about it when I gave my reaction to McNabb’s benching. So overall I don’t disagree with Cole. However, I don’t agree that “Childress knows he needs Favre to have a real chance.” I think it’s pretty clear the Vikings don’t have a chance with Favre. They’d probably be just as well to have Jackson QB with an experienced and prolific WR like Randy Moss to throw to.

I do agree that Favre is winning their battle, unfortunately there’s nothing to be won.

Who gets Moss? Guesses?

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter said various league sources indicated the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and the Bears could be possibly interested in making a claim for Moss.

The receiver will enter waiver process Tuesday, and there’s a good chance he could join a new team soon after he’s officially waived, considering his representatives — according to reports — have already been contacted by the Dolphins and Seahawks. The Buffalo Bills, by virtue of owning the worst record in the league, get first dibs on Moss, who will be awarded to the team with the worst record to put in a claim.

The fact that the Patriots are on that list just shows how odd the NFL can be sometimes. In terms of the list of interested teams, Moss might make a good choice for the Raiders and possibly the Seahawks, but Moss is gonna be a pain in the ass for any team that isn’t winning. Not sure how he’d be all that useful for the Dolphins. Unless he can gain 70 lbs in a week and get some blocking skills, the Skins should stay far away. And as far as I’m concerned the Jets need to work with what they’ve got.



NFLPA Uses Dez Bryant’s $54K Dinner to Teach Rookies a Lesson About Money

Dez Bryant: the Rookie Who Refused

With a lockout appearing more and more likely by the day, players need to be focused on what really counts—their own pockets. And no matter how disrespected a teammate may have felt by you refusing to carry pads rookie-initiation style, the way to mend fences can’t be spending over $54 thousand dollars on a dinner. Not in this economy. Not right before a lockout. And certainly not under the watch of NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith.

Inspired by Bryant’s astronomical dinner tab, the NFLPA has created a contest called “Rookies—Carry the Pads! What you can buy for $54,896 (Besides a Steak Dinner at Pappas Bros.)”

“The contest asks rookies to devise a plan for spending and or investing $54,896. The owner of the best response will win a reasonable $150 dinner for two.

The program also attempts to illustrate the enormity of the figure. Per the Palm Beach Postrookies have been given these six alternatives for $54,896:

1. Condo in Tampa/St. Pete, fully furnished

2. 4 years college tuition at University of Texas at Dallas for your child

3. Funding for a foundation that changes the lives of inner city youth

4. Five months lockout insurance

5. Something else…

6. $1 million (deposit $54,896 and invest it for 37 years at 8% return)”

I love this idea and the longer Smith is in his position the more impressed I am with this man. While the NFL is focused making player’s better citizens—which is important—the NFLPA is focused on giving players a more realistic view of their lives.

I think that the goal of fixing player behavior (which is perceived to be more out of control than it is) is a good one; however it can also be accomplished by teaching players more about life and reiterating to them how consequential and fleeting time in the NFL can be. We don’t need players faking happy go lucky and charitable, we need players that can find genuine happiness, and develop a drive to be responsibile in spite of what the professional athletic environment may inherently encourage its employees to do.

With this lockout looming, it’s become more and more clear that the owners have very little motivation to aggressively work to prevent it. News hit a couple weeks ago when the NFLPA debuted its NFLlockout site, that the lockout could potentially financially benefit owners even as it devastates parts of many local economies as well as wasting a year of playing time in a game where players’ careers are already limited by age. Every year counts to these guys. They know this. But they need to understand that every dime does too.


Shanahan Benches McNabb and I Bash, Question, and Second Guess

Shanahan's Signature Look

If you missed the Redskins/Lions game yesterday than you know that ‘skins coach Mike Shanahan decided to bench McNabb in the last 2 minutes of the game in favor of starting former Chicago Bears QB Rex Grossman. Grossman has a speckled past to say the least, and even if you think he’s an awesome QB most of us wouldn’t consider him to be preferable to McNabb.

After the game, Shanahan stated that he felt that Grossman gave them “the best chance to win” due to his knowledge of the 2-minute offense. (It’s important to note that McNabb stated that he was very comfortable with the 2 minute offense) When asked about whether or not the Skins’ offensive line was lacking, McNabb said “I wouldn’t say the offensive line let me down.”

Even casual fans should be able to tell you that the Skins haven’t had a good offensive line in at least 6 years. And RB Clinton Portis’ workhorse nature was many times the only thing between former Redskin QB Jason Campbell and death.

But that’s McNabb…classy to the end. Mind you, Grossman got into the game and was on the field for all of about 8 seconds (I should replay it and count) before things went terribly awry.

Brian Mitchell said of Shanahan’s decision to bench McNabb:

“You basically made your quarterback look like a scapegoat. You made your quarterback look like he was the guy that caused all the problems today, and that is definitely a problem.”

Already this season, Shanahan has had a public falling out with the team’s new highly paid defensive tackle (Albert Haynesworth), unceremoniously cut a WR (Devin Thomas) and now has benched one of the most talented QB’s to play the game. What’s next? A slap fight with Dan Snyder?

When Coaches make rash moves like benching a starter, it messes with team morale especially when there’s no clear reason for doing so. It further encourages a feeling that nobody’s job is safe-not that jobs in the NFL are ever safe-but benching without apparent warrant makes guys nervous about their own value and rightfully so.

I think Shanahan could stand to learn a lesson from Giants Coach Tom Coughlin. He tried the my-way-or-the-highway reactionary approach a few years back. It didn’t work. He came back the next season with a new attitude and the Giants have been contenders ever since.


D’Angelo Hall’s Birthday Bowl is Coming Up. Get Your Tickets DC Folks!

I love when players have bowling birthday parties for charity. It’s kind of fun to see the players relaxing amongst both friends and fans. Washington Redskins CB D’Angelo Hall’s birthday bowl is on November 14th at the always-expensive and even more crowded Lucky Strikes bowling lanes in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington DC.

Of course there’s the normal promise of a VIP option and attendance by other athletes and celebrities. Sometimes these parties meet expectations, sometimes they don’t.

The tickets are pricey. But hey, access isn’t free right?

Get tickets here.


Mike Shanahan Assured Devin Thomas He Wouldn’t Be Traded

Left: Arizona Cardinal (then NY Jet) Kerry Rhodes Right: Carolina Panther (then Washington Redskin) Devin Thomas. Middle: WHO THE HELL CARES

Dan Steinberg reports that mere weeks before Wide Receiver Devin Thomas was cut from the Washington Redskins, he’d been assured by Coach Mike Shanahan that trade rumors were just that-rumors. Then suddenly, Thomas was gone.

According to Steinberg, Thomas gave an interview to Redskins-focused Hail Magazine! in which he stated that he believes that he was cut due to his off field activities. For those who don’t know Thomas has done some modeling (peep the illustrious heat-inducing photo to the right) and also appeared in American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino’s latest music video.

He also was ratted out by a teammate via twitpic a day or so before the trade for sleeping during a team meeting.

Thomas alluded to the idea that you can’t say he doesn’t make plays on the field. Well, you can’t say he doesn’t, but you can’t exactly say he does either. This is the sort of dilemma I’ve had every time I’ve discussed former Washington Redskin Quarterback Jason Campbell who now plays for the Oakland Raiders.



Reactions From Players Regarding Concussions Disappointing

New England Patriot Brandon Meriweather, Atlanta Falcon Dunta Robinson, and Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison were fined for flagrant and helmet-to-helmet hits this week $50K, $50K, and $75k respectively. The NFL has now made it very clear they intend to crack down on egregiously violent hits-basically this means they’re going to enforce rules that are already in place.

USA Today posted reactions from players around the league. Most of the players are on the same page-they think that football is about heavy hitting and they don’t want to be fined for contact that is due to velocity rather than intention. While I understand their concern, the alternative is to allow these hits to continue to go unchecked which will breed (or possibly has already bred) an atmosphere where such hits are intentional or at the very least not avoided by players. Remember a few years ago when late hits seemed to be all the rage? Yeah.

You can read the various reactions, but the one that I thought encapsulated the general sentiment among players the best is this comment by Washington Redskins Strong Safety (and heavy hitter) Laron Landry:



Great News: More NFL Teams Are Subsidizing Player Security Costs

The Washington Post reports that the Jets, Giants, and Chargers are among the increasing number of NFL Teams covering part of the costs of security details for players. This is great news. Obviously, the NFL is concerned about some of the incidents that have happened with players from DUIs to altercations at night clubs. Still, no matter the reason, I’m glad they’re doing this.

For a long time it seemed as though the NFL didn’t really take seriously the threat that some players face when going out. People seemed confused about why players would be driven to carry guns or avoid employing security that might be intrusive. With security companies like Player Protect (run by a former football player) players’ actions in clubs or wherever else they go are confidential so not only is there a sense of physical security, there’s privacy as well.

It sounds as though some players are still skeptical about the service, but given the circumstances some find themselves in, I think it’s worth trying at least once. The reporter profiled Justin Tuck as one of the routine users of the service. i’m not surprised because he seems like a good guy and has had nary an incident that I know of. Good for him.

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