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NFC West


4 Reasons I’m Rooting for a Superbaugh…Harbowl…the Ravens and 49ers in the Super Bowl

If ever I wanted to see two QBs squash my doubts it is the Ravens Joe Flacco and the 49ers Alex Smith pictured above. Smith will face a solid Giants defense.

Neither the Eagles or the Falcons made it to the playoffs (No that’s not a typo. The Falcons showed up to the stadium but that’s about it). So what is a fan with no team in the playoffs left to do? You can sit back and enjoy the games without any pressure or you can ratchet up the experience by rooting for somebody…ANYBODY!

If you’re into the latter (and, I am!) I say the Ravens and 49ers are great teams to root for to make it into the Super bowl. I have 4 specific reasons I am rooting for each of the Harbaugh brothers to take their teams all the way.

The Ravens Are So Relatable 

We all have goals we want to accomplish in a certain time period. We have things we want to do before we’re dead and even before we turn 30 (which if you’re me feels like the same thing). To see Ed Reed accomplish his goal of winning of Super Bowl before retiring would be a treat. There are just some players who are so good you begin to feel like you traveled this journey with them. Ray Lewis is one of those players as well and although he has won a Super Bowl before, it was toward the beginning of his career and with a different crop of players. When you see this current group of Ravens together you buy into Lewis’ sales pitch that they’re brothers. You root for Ray Rice, you root for Terrell Suggs and you root for camaraderie, humility, and hard work. Seeing the Ravens in the Super Bowl would be a triumph of those principles.

The 49ers Have Had a Rough Road

Poor Alex Smith. Poor Vernon Davis. When you see two guys do well when many had previously described them as busts it just makes you a little warm and fuzzy. I’m still not completely confident in Smith-and neither is that offense which accounts for their kicker David Akers’ record-breaking season. But I do realize that he’s been through several coaches and several OCs and there’s still a lot of time left for Smith to grow into a more complete QB if this team remains stable. A Super Bowl visit or win by the 49ers would feed into every great storyline I love: players redeeming themselves, the difference coaching makes, and the importance of great defense. On coaching: Jim Harbaugh might not be able to shake a hand right but that man damn sure knows how to coach a team. On redemption: As a resident of DC, I appreciate that Carlos Rogers is playing like he never heard of the capital. Like he never lived here, never played on the disastrous Skins, never voted or anything otherwise related Washington. Speaking of DC, I’m also glad that now I can say Davis is good for something beyond keeping our club scene hopping with his brother Vontae.



Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll Pranks Raheem Brock By Having Him “Arrested”

Oh this is just so wrong. So wrong. And so wonderful.

I actually was at Temple University at the same time Seattle Seahawks Defensive End Raheem Brock was there. I remember him being one of the more mature players I came into contact with. So every time he gets into some trouble (most recently arrested after being asked to leave a bar and not paying the bar tab before going), I’m a little surprised.

Here known prankster Pete Carroll, his coach, pranks him by pretending to have him arrested. This looked so real. I’m glad Brock didn’t freak out.


Now 34 Years Old, Daunte Culpepper Will Try Out With the 49ers Today

If he can play half as good as he looks he will be back in the NFL in no time.

A few months ago I read that Daunte Culpepper was looking at a comeback. I just didn’t believe it. Although all the pics I’ve seen of Daunte looked as if he was in great shape, 34 is kind of long in the tooth to come back to the NFL. But according to, Culpepper has attracted the interest of a few teams, and the 49ers are having him tryout today.

I can’t tell by Jim Harbaugh’s statement if it’s a pity try out or not, but with the 49ers struggling with Alex Smith as QB, I suppose they have nothing to lose.

“We’re going to have Daunte in for a workout and kick the tires,” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Harbaugh said Saturday that the 49ers have no clear-cut starter at quarterback after veteran Alex Smith and rookie Colin Kaepernick both had shaky performances in San Francisco’s 24-3 loss to New Orleans in Friday’s preseason opener.

Culpepper, the No. 11 pick in the 1999 draft, hasn’t played in the NFL since an eight-game stint with Detroit in 2009. During an 11-year NFL career, mostly with the Minnesota Vikings, Culpepper has played in three Pro Bowls. He spent last season with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League.

NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reportsCulpepper has been contacted by several teams as he attempts a return to the NFL.

I always felt that Culpepper’s disappearance from the NFL was rather abrupt. He was one of my favorite guys to watch play back in the early-2000s. Then the infamous “boat incident” happened and multiple surgeries…and just like that he faded into oblivion.

At any rate, he can’t be much worse than some of the other backups around the league. Maybe he’ll land somewhere.


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.




How the Eagles Landed Nnamdi Asomugha: An EXCLUSIVE Peek Inside Asomugha’s PRIVATE Journal

Nnamdi Asomugha Shows up to Eagles Training Camp Sunday, July 31, 2011. He can't practice until Thursday, August 4th (new CBA rules)

First of all, I’m pretending to believe that Asomugha (Ass-sim-mah-wah) signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m not going to REALLY believe it until my Asomugha jersey arrives which I will be ordering promptly the minute they go on sale. I spent all of Friday morning tweeting about how the Eagles rarely take risks or make what I perceive to be “grand gestures” toward fans or toward winning. It bothered me that the Eagles weren’t even in the race for Asomugha.

I wasn’t lobbying for them to sign him necessarily, but just to be in the race. To say, we’ll look at any and all options. We want to win, and we’re willing to come up with a surprise or two. Hours later, the Eagles signed Asomugha to a 5 year deal 60 million dollar deal with 25 million dollars UP FRONT. No one deserves it more than he does. And no one deserves to be excited going in to a season more than us Philly fans. And if you say different, I really hope you can drive your car on blocks.

In addition to the Aso signing, the Eagles have signed almost everyone else who was free…Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Vince Young, Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie, Oprah, Stedman. Well, everyone except Desean Jackson who may or may not be ending his “holdout” soon depending on who’sreporting.

More on Desean later. For now, I know everyone is wondering how the Eagles slipped in and stole Aso from under the noses of the Jets, Cowboys, Texans and 49ers. Lucky for you, I got my hands on Aso’s journal. woot!

For those who don’t know much about Asomugha, all you need to know to enjoy his journal entries is that he’s perfect.

Nnamdi Asomugha Journal Pages from Thursday, July 28 and Friday, July 29, 2011.

5:00 am - Woke up and drank organic coffee and ate three boiled eggs and had a protein shake while reading the LA Times, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal from front to back. I feel smarter every day. God is so good.

6:00 am - Worked out in top secret location with top secret people doing top secret drills.

8:00 am - Called Jets Coach Rex Ryan and heard his ringback tone which I felt was completely inappropriate. I googled the lyrics…apparently the “song” was “Sex in Crazy Places” by some fellow by the name of “Gucci Mane.” Hung up without leaving a message.

8:45 am Received a video message from Jets Linebacker Bart Scott saying that he “couldn’t wait” to be roommates. Set a rule to send all emails from Bart to special folder (gmail trash bin).

9:00 am Called some kids I mentor to make sure they are doing well. And they are. I worry too much but can’t help it. God is so good.

9:15 am Received voice message from a team with which I was not familiar. They said they call themselves “the San Francisco 49ers.” Googled them on my limited edition Iphone. Couldn’t tell if they were really in the NFL or not. Wrote myself a note to ask my agent. Still forgot.

10:00 am Arrived at the airport with my agent to fly to Houston for a meeting with the Texans. I’ve heard good things.

11:15 am Must turn phone off now. I hope this flight is safe. God is so good.

3:00 pm Arrived at Houston Texans facility. Everything was going well until they suddenly brought out several bottles of moscato and plates of chicken tenders. Informed them that it’s tacky to serve dessert wine at lunch and that I do not partake in the consumption of fried foods. Weird moment of misunderstanding too: They thought I came for wine and chicken tenders. But I’d said I wanted to sign with a contender. Couldn’t wait to leave.

4:00 pm Tired. A lot on my mind. Heading back to the hotel to relax with some light reading. Probably Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.”


7:00 am Slept in this morning. Can’t believe I woke up so late. But I’m blessed to have the opportunity. God is so good.

8:00 am Turned on the TV but couldn’t bear to see myself on every channel. All this attention is so embarrassing. There is a famine in East Africa for God sakes. Took a moment to pray.

9:00 am Drove to Dallas and met Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who greeted me wearing a dashiki and later tried to put a cowboy hat on my head without asking. My agent told him that Black people don’t like to be touched to which he responded “I thought he was African!” Couldn’t wait to leave.

2:00 pm Received a text from my good friend Jets Cornerback Darrell Revis telling me he really hopes I sign with the Jets. What a great guy. Never figured him to be one to have a pet though. Seems he has a hamster or something. He was on his way to buy spinning wheels.

2:30 pm Received text message from my old boss Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis’ great great great great great great great great grand daughter letting me know that he died for the 7th time since 1983. I was sad as I always am when this happens to him. Can’t wait until he comes alive again. God is so good.

3:45 pm Heard from my agent that the Philadelphia Eagles swear up and down (which really isn’t respectful of God but anyway) that they want to win a Superbowl and might be willing to offer me money to play for them. Spoke to Eagles owner Joe Banner and heard the passion in his voice. They sent over an initial offer but something seemed amiss…** Contract must definitely be revised!

4:15 pm Received a phone call from the President Emeritus of my alma mater, The University of California Berkeley regarding Eagles Wide Receiver Desean Jackson. They were concerned about the impact his twitter account and general life behavior might have on the image of the university. They asked me to take him under my tutelage as he is a fellow alum and I happily obliged. It’s such an honor to help guide young men in the right direction, even when they are a mere 5 years younger than I.

5:45 pm Signed a reworked contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Can’t wait to start. GOD IS SO GOOD.

**A sneak peak at the first contract the Eagles sent Asomugha:



I’m such a fool. LOLLLLLL

If you missed Asomugha’s press conference for the Eagles yesterday, here ya go:





Darnell Dockett Live-Tweets Police Stop

I will admit that one of my biggest pet peeves is reporting on what took place on twitter. I try not to do that because it makes me feel like a troll. But I thought this was interesting.

I followed Arizona Cardinals LB Darnell Dockett on twitter for a little while and this man can really drive you nuts with his commentary. But to his credit, he is rarely, if ever, boring. Today he didn’t disappoint. Dockett was stopped driving his Escalade by two police officers who asked him if they could search his car. According to the tweets, when the policed requested the search, Dockett said some version of neaux, neaux, and HELL NEAUX.

I’m glad Dockett knows his rights. It’s not uncommon for black men in fancy vehicles to be pulled over. Unlike a lot of young black men, Dockett is better positioned to take a stand without fear of recourse.

Read his string of tweets below.




Kick Returners Complain About Kickoff Changes…And So Do I

Josh Cribbs still wants a chance to prove himself as a returner.

Placekickers just had their best week ever. Kick returners? Not so much.

Fans and players alike were looking for a break from the lockout talk and the NFL just gave it to them in the form of the latest rule changes. The NFL announced this week that kickoff will now take place at the 30 yard line instead of the 35 yard line. Touchbacks will remain at the 20 and coverage teams will get a 5 yard head start instead of a 10-15 yard head start.

What does this mean?

Less returns

Less injuries on returns

Less excitement

More touchbacks

Less excitement

Last season, with kickoffs taking place at the 30 yard line, there were 23 kickoff returns that resulted in a touchdown. The last time teams kicked off from the 35 yard line was 1993. That year there were four such returns.

I can’t boo loud enough!

Kickoff returns are one of my favorite parts of football. There’s just nothing like a an exciting return, especially to start a game. I’ve heard a lot of theories about why 26 teams would vote in favor of the rule change-everything from having to avoid paying returners to setting the stage for an 18 game season. All valid. But I think that the owners heard the phrase “prevent injuries” and knew they could go for it both for financial reasons as well as to appear sensitive to the safety issue-especially since they voted down increased protection for defenseless receivers at the same meeting (SIDE FUCKING EYE!).

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I support anything that keeps the fellas on the field safer. But I really hate when practices are eliminated through the backdoor. In this case, the NFL isn’t really reducing injuries through modification, they’re doing so through elimination.  If the NFL wants to get rid of kickoff returns they should just do it rather than pretending there’s still a real choice for coaches and players.

Even the reduced lead time for coverage isn’t going to help returners enough to prevent their inevitable drift into never never land. One day I will tell my grandchildren about the spectacular kickoff returns I’ve seen. By then I’ll probably also have to explain to them that there used to be punt returns, sacks, and tackles too.

I’m exaggerating…slightly.

But I really am uncomfortable with the way that the rule changes that happen every year send different messages about the game’s direction.  Perhaps as soon as we’re done discussing the CBA there should be a general conversation about the future of the game.If kick off returns are so dangerous, is it possible that they may eliminate punt returns next? PLEASE GOD NO! Hi Roger! Let’s chat about this. Call me.

Seriously though, some teams have invested in their special teams (the Browns being one example as well as the Bears who both voted against the rule) and if we’re going to talk about finances, it might be good for owners to talk about where the game is going before making rules that negate investments some of them have already made. Part of being a good business owner is planning. ZING!

On another note, it bothers me that the NFL refused to release any data on this issue. Football players are injured on any time play action takes place. I couldn’t begin to take a guess about whether kick off returners are being injured more often on returns than in other times they’re on the field.

The most notable return injuries last season weren’t a result of velocity rather awkward tackling and illegal hits such as what happened to Dez Bryant and Ellis Hobbs. Kick off return injuries are also more memorable than other types of injuries and without data, how do we know the NFL isn’t scapegoating?

That being said, many injuries on kickoff happen to other players-not the returners. And even without numbers you can assume that there’s a health benefit to the rule change (reduce contact, reduce injury, 2+2 = 4 and other complicated things of that nature).

Predictably, kickers around the league went to bed while visions of touchbacks danced in their heads.

Graham Gano:

“On kickoffs you do see a lot of big plays, a lot of big hits, and a lot of big touchdowns. I think it will affect that a whole lot. You’re gonna see guys who don’t have a strong leg putting it in the end zone, getting touchbacks, so that’s going to take away chances to get big returns. For us I think it’s going to help us out a lot.”

Jay Feely

“Personally, I’m very happy about it. I think all the veteran kickers are happy about it. I do think it will definitely take some excitement out of the game. It eliminates good returns from guys like LaRod (Stephens-Howling), Devin Hester, Leon Washington.”

Speaking of Hester and Washington, they had plenty to say, so did Josh Cribbs.

Devin Hester

“They’ve gone too far. They’re taking the whole fun out of the game,” Hester said. “The fans come out, especially in Chicago, to see returns. That’s one of our key assets to our team. Fans love our big returns. Not only do they kick it out of bounds when it’s time to punt the ball. But now they get this advantage on kickoffs where we felt we were guaranteed a kickoff return. Now you’re taking that away from our return game. The return game is out of the picture.”

Leon Washington

Oh they hating on me man. Come on now. You know I don’t like the rule. I’m sure sure Brad Smith and Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs and the rest of those guys you know doing a good job returning the balls don’t like the rule. I mean it’s a part of the game that is really exciting. I think fans look forward to it because it’s an instant momentum change. You gotta think about it. It’s the first play of the game or the first play after halftime after the opposing teams scores, so it’s one of those things. I think the NFL is trying to figure out how can they minimize the injuries on the kickoff and kickoff return unit. Also like you said there might be some greed involved. I’m sure teams will try to adjust to it. I was telling my dad the other day you know it looks like there’s going to be a bunch of 109-yard kickoff returns because I plan on coming out of the end zone if that takes place.”

Josh Cribbs

“It’ll be a tremendous amount of touchbacks…They’re already kicking away from Devin Hester, myself, other guys and this will just make it over the top, like no kickoff returns.

“I guess I just have to get my punt game up until they change that. I just can’t fathom that other alternatives were not taken. What it does do is take a lot of the excitement out of the game, decreases the opportunity for guys like myself coming out of college to have an opportunity to play football because scouts won’t recruit guys like that anymore because they won’t need them.”

Just so you know, the Eagles, Browns, Jaguars, Bengals, Raiders, and Bears were the only teams to vote against the rule change.


Enter to Win $50 Gas Card; Kerry Rhodes To Choose Winner


In honor of Player Perspective’s relaunch, I decided to do my very first give-away contest.

The prize is a $50 Exxon Mobile gift card.

To enter the contest you must answer the following question in the comments section below:

“Should more football contracts be guaranteed? Why or why not?”

Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes will read all the answers and choose a winner. Kerry will officially announce the winner on twitter Friday, March 18, 2011.




You must post your answer in the comments section of this post.

The answer must contain LESS THAN 150 words.

You can only post ONE comment/answer.

You must post your comment to disqus as EITHER a “guest” or login to disqus via Twitter so that we ensure we have contact info for you.

You will be contacted at the email or twitter address you use to comment.

Answers will not be accepted after Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 11:59pm.

Good luck!



After The Trade: Kerry Rhodes Adjusting Well in Arizona

Kerry Rhodes Steams Up Your Computer Screen

Arizona Central profiled Free Safety Kerry Rhodes’ adjustment to life in Arizona. If you’ve been watching the games, you know he’s been a great addition to the team. He already has 36 tackles (32 solo) an interception, and two recoveries that ended with him in the end zone. I think he could very well have a career season.

Last year there was a bit of drama. He was in a short twitter battle with Rodney Harrison (who later denied his involvement) and was briefly benched by Jets Coach Rex Ryan presumably for not having his head in the game, and then traded after it became clear things weren’t going to get better.

Sometimes it takes a change of scenery to make things better for a player, and I hope Rhodes and the Cards can establish a rhythm and achieve better than than their current .50 record.

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