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NFC North


NFL Suspensions: Meet Vikings Jerome Simpson AKA The Luckiest Man in the World


Forget the most interesting man in the world, meet the luckiest one.


I know that Jerome Simpson is going to have a ballerific season. After all, he’s the luckiest man in the world.

Just a few months ago we all thought that Simpson was going up the creek without a paddle after over 2 pounds of marijuana was delivered to his doorstep and another pound was found inside once authorities searched his home. Suddenly G-Dep’s “Special Delivery“makes sense. Funny, cause G-Dep is in prison now…but not Simpson.

For such a dumb and blatantly obvious crime, Simpson didn’t get much in the way of penalties. 15 days in jail, 200 hours of community service and a fine of $7500.

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AZ Gov Jan Brewer does the impossible: Finds two black male fans

Ravens Michael Oher and Vikings Jamarca Sanford are apparently fans of the Governor of Arizona as they were VERY upset at me for tweeting negatively about her. In fairness, I did try to find something nice to say about the woman who has been actively promoting racism in her State. I just happened to come up short. Kudos to Governor Brewer for not putting her finger in their faces or attempt to ask them for their birth certificates. I'm sure that took tremendous restraint on her part. She is a national hero.


Sun Times: Matt Forte Is More “Gimmick Than Go-To”

Obviously Chicago Bears’ running back Matt Forte is still dangling under the infamous franchise tag with no long term deal worked out yet. In the meantime, the team has signed RB Michael Bush from the Raiders leaving Forte justifiably feeling disrespected. Well, justifiably to some…not Joe Cowley from the Sun Times who may have written one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read this off season.

He argues that Forte should basically chill out since he isn’t all that anyway:

But here’s a little reminder to Forte. He wants to be treated like an elite back, but he’s more gimmick than go-to. In two of his four seasons, he wasn’t even a 1,000-yard back. He has averaged just over seven touchdowns a season, and that includes all the dump passes and screens he has gotten over the years.

When you think grind it out at the end of a game, you don’t exactly think Forte.

He’s no Adrian Peterson; he’s not even Chris Johnson.

He’s a versatile back who has taken advantage of an offense lacking a real receiver that has had to turn to him out of the backfield.

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Is It Possible Matt Forte’s Injury Could Work In His Favor?

So Matt Forte aka 50% of the bears offense aka overworked and underpaid aka the reason running backs hold out aka aka aka … has sprained his MCL.

First let’s take a moment to thank de lawwd (or whomever you praise) that Forte didn’t tear his ACL or MCL. That’s a potential death knell for an RB who wants a big contract.

But this is a sprain and he shall recover. The bad part (or good part?) is that he has to be out at least 2 weeks and justifiably 4. Of course, the Bears are pushing for him to come back before the end of the season. But if he doesn’t,  I can see this working in Forte’s favor. Hear me out.

If Forte sits out the rest of the season and the Bears don’t make the playoffs, Forte doesn’t have to play anymore for the rest of the year and can focus on free agency. Some might say that Forte needs to continue to play to keep his contract hopes up. I disagree. If Forte is out from now until spring training he will be viewed as refreshed. No one in their right mind is going to forget this man was 50% of his team’s offense, handled himself like a professional at all times, and never avoided contact despite having reason to do so.

The rumors were that the Bears offered or at least floated 14 million guaranteed and that wasn’t enough for Forte. I don’t know how true this is…but he can probably get at least 14 million guaranteed in free agency so turning down the first 14 million is not likely to hurt him if this pans out the way it can. Of course all of this is moot if the Bears make the playoffs and go deep into the post season. But there’s a good chance that won’t happen if Cutler misses the rest of the regular season.

The flipside of this is that Forte comes back from injury and isn’t as good OR he’s just as good but is seen as worn down from a season with entirely too heavy a load. Can’t win for trying sometimes. There are so many scenarios good and bad…of course I think we all hope that Forte can come back, do well and get the contract he deserves without a whole bunch of other machinations.

Either way, I don’t think Forte should rush back if you know what I’m saying. *wink wink - rib jab*




Secret Weapons: Jordy Nelson’s Teammates Think He Is Underestimated Because He’s White

All my real life brothas throw your hands up!! Whoa...wait a minute now Jordy.

Ran across this article on Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson and how he and his teammates think that opposing defenders don’t take him as seriously cause he’s white.

There’s a joke in the receivers meeting room that Nelson benefits by being the only white receiver on the team because perhaps opposing defensive backs don’t take him seriously.

“Honestly, I think it is (a factor),” Nelson said. “As receivers, we’ve talked about. I know (cornerbacks coach) Joe Whitt tells me all the time, when all the rookies come in, he gives them the heads up, ‘Don’t let him fool ya.’ That’s fine with me.”

Said Jennings: “He uses that to his advantage. Don’t put this out there because that’s our secret. But no, seriously, he has taken full advantage of every position that he’s been in whether it be special teams with the kick return game, now being the No. 2 … however you want to put it, he’s taken full advantage of it. It’s not because he didn’t put the time in. It’s not because he’s the white guy. A lot of it has to do with the fact that guys look at him say, ‘OK, yeah, he’s the white guy, he can’t be that good.’ Well, he is that good. He’s proven to be that good, and it’s because of the work and the time that he’s put on not only on the field but in his preparation off the field.”

I can see there being some truth here though I think Wes Welker has pretty much blown whatever cover white receivers had completely to pieces at this point. Anyway, cute little secret weapon inside joke on the Packers team. Use what you got.



Bears GM Says Team Did Everything Possible to Improve Offensive Line

Chicago Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler

Is Bears QB Jay Cutler thinking about the time he spends lying down in public?

I had to read Chicago  Bears General Manager**Jerry Angelo’s quote a few times to make sure I was seeing the right thing. Angelo said that during the offensive they did everything possible to improve their line. And of the Bears last loss he said:

“We like our eight linemen. That’s not an issue. Injuries happen, and then you have to adjust accordingly. Everything bad that happened on Sunday wasn’t all because of poor offensive line play. Believe me when I tell you that. It was a collective failure. The defense and special teams share part of that as well. So let’s not beat up on the offensive line.”

Lets mince some words here.

1. Just because you believe you did everything you could to improve an offensive line is a separate issue from whether or not the line is good

2. Football is definitely a team game but given how many sacks (not even counting hits or knockdowns) the Bears are allowing Cutler to suffer, you can see where there’d be a domino effect of bad performances.

3. The article mentions they want to try to protect Cutler by balancing the offense between passing and handoffs. But, if so, why isn’t Matt Forte’s contract situation worked out? He was responsible for a high percentage of their offense. And it bears pointing out that RBs have to work with the same O lines that QBs have to work with. Yes a line can be terrible at pass protection and better at run blocking and vice versa, but if Cutler’s sacks are up but Forte’s numbers are down, again that points to issues with the line.

4. If Angelo and others are hinting at Cutler holding the ball too long, I’m not so sure I’m buying that. Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick are known  to hold the ball a little extra time because Ben likes to shake defenders and Vick likes to run away from them. Cutler really has no tangible  incentive to hold the ball longeer, and if he did I think that it’s something he would have solved after last year’s sack totals. I’m sure, at this point, he’d rather throw a ball away on consecutive downs  than absorb this many blows.

The saga continues I guess.


**Updated. Original post referred to Angelo as owner.


With New Contract Vikings Adrian Peterson Could Make $9227 per rushing yard

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson

Running Back Adrian Peterson's contract guarantees him a cool 36 million

I love when Darren Rovell and his folks over at Sportsbiz get the calculators out. Last time, I posted their interesting numbers on the Brett Favre texting scandal. But this time, they did it for Adrian Peterson, who, with his new deal is set to make “$9227 per rushing yard based on historical averages.” Pretty astounding numbers. Peterson beats out Chris Johnson by a smidge in terms of guaranteed money and salary per season.

A little perspective: Adrian had about 8 million dollars left on his current deal. His new deal piggybacks (oo I hate that phrase) on the last deal.

Peterson’s contract extension with the Vikings includes $36 million in guaranteed money and as much as $100 million over the next seven years if he plays that long with Minnesota.

Peterson has begun the final year of his rookie deal on a $10.72 million salary and was in prime position for a big payday.

After setting the NFL’s single-game rushing record with 296 yards against San Diego in 2007, Peterson has been picked for the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons.

Lots of people complaining about big money to a running back, especially given the fact that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has been BEGGING for a new stadium and crying poor about it. But let’s remember, the odds of Peterson playing for 7 more years (for ANY team) aren’t very high. He’d be 33 years old on the last year of his deal. For his sake, I hope he has a career with as much longevity as someone like LaDainian Tomlinson, who is currently 32 and still going fairly strong, but those types of careers at that position aren’t common.




NFL Kickoff: Green Bay Packers Still Rare Combo of Fundamentals and Excitement

Greenbay Packers Cornerback Charles Woodson

Packers Cornerback Charles Woodson needs his ass beat!

The NFL welcomed us fans back in style with a better opening game than they could have EVER hoped for. It was a high-scoring, low-penalty, uppercutting (whaaat?!?!) kind of game that was so uptempo I felt my heart rate going up despite at least 10 boring ass’d touchbacks.

This ain’t ESPN or your local newspaper so I’m not gonna recap the game. But I’ll give a few of my observations:

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are two of the best QBs in the league. This is a Captain Obvious sort of thing. But Rodgers breezed through plays and made everything from footwork to back shoulder throws look effortless. Brees threaded the needle on some pretty impressive passes and I don’t remember even one interception.  I had no idea that the Saints were in some sort of contract dispute with Brees but they might want to go ahead and empty their wallets right away. As the Packers D threw Brees myriad looks they actually showed him on the sidelines flipping through pages tryin to figure out his next move. In a game like this one, a lesser QB would’ve cracked. In this instance I can guess that Brees was quite a help to Saints Coach Sean Payton who seemed to be struggling with play calling.

Example: pass play on 4th an inches.

Looks at rookie power runner Mark Ingram.

Now at the kicker.

Now back at Mark Ingram.

Now back at the kicker.

Now back at Mark Ingram.

Sadly, Sean Payton didn’t look at either of them :(

This was one of those games that felt a lot more one-sided than it was simply because one team made it look effortless (Packers) and the other team made it look tiresome (Saints).

The Saints D is change you probably can’t believe in. Coming into the season there were certain supposedly good defenses that I was skeptical about. The Saints D is one of them (along with the Ravens and pre-infirmary Giants). Roman Harper is bearing the brunt of the criticism just like most defensive backs do cause hey, who really sees when a linebacker or defensive end messes up. I’m not saying Harper is playing on an elite level, but the reality is the Packers offense was doing whatever they felt when they wanted to.  Blown coverages aren’t just the result of one failing secondary player.

Ultimately the defense needs to gel, and the Saints front and secondary weren’t on the same page. And worse, they seemed content to settle for stopping the gain after passes were caught. And against a team like the Packers that simply won’t do. Now if we want to talk about the secondary, I will say Rodgers looked completely bored by the Saints pass rush. Harper did manage to sack him with 6 minutes left in the game but umm…yeah so…mmhmm yeah.

Long story short: The Saints were competitive with an elite team so there’s no need to put Roman Harper’s car on blocks…yet.

The Packers are that rare combo of fundamentally sound and exciting. The thing I hate most about the Packers is that they’re impossible to hate. Fundamental football teams are always more interesting than fundamental basketball teams (think New England Patriots vs. San Antonio Spurs) but the Packers don’t just give flashes of brilliance they produce eye-popping plays all game. If they continue on like this, they will breeze through the season. Remember, last year they had about 16 players on IR by mid-season. They come into this season pretty healthy and not at all rusty by the looks of it.

I will tell you what IS rusty though, that Lambeau Leap. I can do without it. It’s one thing when there’s a few scores in a game, but when you have a college basketball scoring numbers every time a scorer Lambeau leaps I wanna leap through my screen and helmet to helmet hit him. And I’m an actual dirty player not a media-exaggerated one like Ndamukong Suh.

If Ingram’s knee holds up the Saints will have a bright run game. Saints took a bit of a chance drafting an RB who already had knee surgery before he ever played a down in the NFL. But Ingram, though semi-misused in this game, had a great showing tonight and he’s looks as though he will add a lot to the team. Darren Sproles is the teeniest little running back my eyes ever did see, but boy was he something else last night.  A lot of talk on twitter about Reggie Bush (perhaps he’s the only Saints player some Saints fans knew? I’m sure they can name all the Falcons RBs though… No shots!) but Sproles game is come-pleat-lee different.

To say that Sproles gives them a more consistent run option is like saying it’s been raining in DC all week. Okay, and? Bush isn’t just a running back. When healthy he’s a playmaker that gives you more than one option out of the slot. Maybe Sproles will be a playmaker too, he certainly showed some potential, but comparing grapefruits to watermelons has never been my thing. But  I guess when you’re main motivation is to make jokes, mock and slander, those comparisons come in handy. woop dee do! Besides, at 5’6 Sproles has an advantage: it’s hard to tackle somebody you can’t even see from your vantage point.

Charles Woods needs his ass beat. So during the game Packers cornerback Charles Woodson, who says he’s the most complete player in the league (no disrespect, but I can only guess he gets his information from Fox News), uppercut one of the Saints players and managed to get away with it. Now Woodson’s weight is listed at 200lbs. I would guess him at slightly less. At any rate, in high school the security cameras allegedly caught me pushing a 200+lbs dude down the steps after he made a snide comment about my side ponytail, may he rest in peace (I didn’t kill him, he died years later). So there’s no reason Woodson should have still be standing after what he did. Who dat dem gonna uppercut dem saints. Woodson I guess.

Bottom line: I hate the Saints and I want to hate the Packers. One more Lambeau Leap or win over the Falcons and I’m sure I will accomplish my goal.

If remembered anything wrong, cuss me out/correct me in the comments section.  I’m not rewatching any games cause, again, I ain’t your local reporter. I’m your neighborhood blogger. Get into me!



10 Players Have Already Torn Achilles Tendons; Plus 400lb Bryant McKinnie Looks For Work

I soooo did not want to write this post. I can’t even type the phrase “torn achilles” without grimacing. It just sounds so damn painful! Anyway, I wondered if it was common to have 10 players to injure their achilles in two just two weeks of camp, and it looks like this hasn’t happened in the past. Judy Battista at the New York Times took on the subject in her column yesterday.

But so far, the unintended winners of the lockout are orthopedic surgeons. With training camps open for less than two weeks, unofficial counts have 10 players with Achilles’ tendon tears, season-ending injuries that Monday claimed their latest victim, Mikel Leshoure, a rookie running back for Detroit.

The number is notable because nine players are thought to have torn their Achilles’ tendons in all of the 2010 preseason. According to figures compiled by Football Outsiders, a Web site that tracks every game of the season, nine players were on injured reserve with Achilles’ tendon injuries in the first week of the season last year.

WOW, so before the pre-season even begins, more players have injured their achilles in training camp than would typically injure them in the pre-season. Battista quotes a doctor who says that not training enough during the lock out could be contributing to the problem.

I hope that players’ muscle memories can hurry and catch up, because if 10 more players injure their achilles tendons it’s gonna be some trouble!

Speaking of not working out enough, Bryant Mckinnie was cut by the Minnesota Vikings for being out of shape. Yes, I know you knew that. But what you probably didn’t know is that his weight was reportedly 400lbs and his cholesterol level was a soaring 400. Just so you know, anything headed into the 200s is considered high. And sure offensive tackles like McKinnie are big but 400lbs? Even at 6’8 400 is pushing the envelope.

Still, McKinnie is looking for work.

From Jason La Canfora:

Rosenhaus’ (Mckinnie’s agent) email to NFL teams reads as follows: “Free agent Bryant McKinnie would be willing to sign a one year contract for $2,500,000 plus reasonable incentives. Please let me know if you have an interest.”

Don’t all jump at once!

McKinnie has been one of those guys who’s ALWAYS questioned about his behavior. I defended him in this blog post when the innanets blew up about him supposedly spending 100K on a bar tab. Some of the other things he’s done have been borderline indefensible. But as I always say, character issues in the NFL are of no consequence as much as we like to pretend we care. What matters is winning, and guys can’t perform when they’re out of shape.

The Jacksonville Jaguars  also released a player, Vince Manuwai, for being out of shape. But it looks like most of the guys across the league came to training camp in good condition. Or, good enough, at least given the circumstances.

That reminds me, I hear New England Patriot Albert Haynesworth is lookin good like I knew that he would! And that’s all that matters, really.





NFL Quarterback Crisis: My Biggest Gripe With A World Where Rex Grossman Has Options

Tavaris Jackson had a few chances in Minnesota and didn't deliver. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thinks a stable situation will turn his play around.

I feel like I’ve gone on too much about the dearth of talent at the QB position in the NFL. But since there has been a bunch of movement at the QB spot over the two weeks, I suppose it’s appropriate to discuss it really briefly again.

Redskins QB Rex Grossman turned down a longer term offer with the Redskins preferring to sign a one year contract and keep his options open. On one hand, given Grossman’s previous performances, this could serve as a prime example of the audacity of NOPE. But, since the current NFL will now boasts Snap-starved Tavaris Jackson at the helm for the Seahawks and a very unproven Kevin Kolb taking 30 million + to take over the Arizona Cardinals, Grossman’s comment almost seems acceptable.


Middling QBs are having the best year ever! And rookies that have to start right away might be having the worst. I’ll be interested to see how football commentators assess Andy Dalton and Cam Newton as they lead the disastrous Bengals and win-deficient Panthers from day 1. Both rookies will have it tough.

As for Rex Grossman, he is still going to have to “compete” for the starting spot in Washington with some dude named John Beck who I was going to research but lost interest half way through. In fact, I don’t plan to mention the Redskins much at all this year. As I’ve been told, “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”

The main thing that is disappointing to me about bad quarterbacking is the impact it has on receivers. I’m rooting for Kolb to be good because I want Larry Fitzgerald to be good. I’m rooting for Tavaris Jackson to succeed because I want Sidney Rice to succeed. And so on. This is one thing to keep in mind as you build fantasy teams…who’s getting your guy the ball? Anyway, a great receiver on a team with a bad QB makes me feel like I’m being cheated out of something great.

All the more reason for the NFL to think about how it can better nurture and preserve QB talent.

A little bit on good cap management

Everyone was wondering how the Philadelphia Eagles could sign so a many high value players and remain under the salary cap. Peter King sums it up.

Understand this principle to start: The Eagles were not in bad cap shape to begin with. When free agency opened they were at $99 million in commitments to veterans and draft choices. (More about those later.) They had shed big veteran salaries over the last couple of years — including quarterback Donovan McNabb’s — and by opening day 2010 had the third-youngest 53-man roster in football. Young means salary manageable.

As of Sunday morning, the Eagles’ projected roster (there’s some guesswork here, but it’s close) consisted of 35 players with cap numbers of $1.5 million or less. And only six players — quarterback Mike Vick ($16.1 million cap number), cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha ($10 million), cornerback Asante Samuel ($9.34 million), tackle Jason Peters ($6.54 million), and defensive ends Jason Babin ($5.3 million) and Trent Cole ($5 million) — had cap figures of $5 million or more.

King goes on to say:

Not including Asomugha, the eight free agent signings and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who came from Arizona in the Kevin Kolb trade, have zero dollars promised to them for 2012 and beyond. There are years remaining on contracts, yes. But guarantees, no.

Point is, this is the kind of cap situation that can absorb Vick at $16.1 million this year, and Asomugha at $10 million this year and $11 million next year. And the kind of cap that can accommodate a very good player like Cullen Jenkins, the best rush defensive tackle on the market, who never saw the market develop for him the way he thought it would.

Jenkins thought his first-choice team, Philadelphia, wouldn’t sign him after giving Asomugha a four-year, $48-million contract. The Eagles convinced Jenkins they still wanted him badly, but just couldn’t pay him what they’d been discussing pre-Nnamdi. After a night to think about it, Jenkins decided he’d rather play where he wanted for $4 million than to go to a Cincinnati-type team for more money. Jenkins figures he’ll still have another payday if he outperforms this contract in the first year or two. The reputation of the Eagles helped — as did some players’ desire to play on Vick’s team.

One more thing about the Eagles’ cap. It’s not the league’s number of $120.38 million per team. It is actually $125.58 million. That includes $2.2 million in what the league calls “reallocation credits” from the last capped year, 2009, when the Eagles didn’t spend to the cap, and the $3 million every team can borrow from a future cap year to support veteran player costs this season.

Love that King mentions guys wanting to play with Vick, and if you haven’t checked my Vick bromance post, you should.



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