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Raiders Did The Right Thing By Passing on Josh Freeman

I tweeted my brains out about rumors of the Raiders being interested in Josh Freeman. I should have been sharing my thoughts here on the web page that I PAY FOR and where people actually come to READ WHAT I WRITE. In a nutshell, what I said was that it takes patience to rebuild a team and if the Raiders sign Freeman it would signal to me that they don’t have that patience. Terrelle Pryor, or as I call him “Not Chris Brown” has been a stun gun since he earned the starting position. He’s breathed new life into a team that has been the butt of jokes and scorn for far too many seasons.

Terrelle Pryor earned his start. There’s no reason for the Raiders to be looking at side pieces.

Admittedly, I rooted for Pryor to start not knowing how well he could play, but looking at the Raiders other options I didn’t see why they wouldn’t take a chance. The NFL can be overly conservative sometimes reaching out for what appears to be the safest option and in the end the result is often garbage. This desire to protect and to limit risk is why Matt Flynn was signed off of a good performance in one garbage time game and collected 14 million dollars from the Seahawks and later the Raiders for doing not a damn thing. Well, actually he did do something, he lost a VERY winnable game against the Washington Redskins.

My point is, some QBs get the benefit of the doubt. Others don’t. Jason Campbell didn’t get it. Carson Palmer did…twice. And so on and so on. On the field is one thing, but in life must we ALWAYS punt on 4th down?

But back to rebuilding, the Raiders are in a similar situation to the Browns. Years of mismanagement of the organization have now led to an overhaul and new regimes taking over. The biggest challenge from a public perception standpoint is building trust with the fans. Being methodical and showing fans and media that there is a real desire to do what it takes to win. Sometimes that translates into spending ridiculous amounts of cash for past prime players just for the opportunity to win 8 or 9 games and compete in the first round of the playoffs. But what it should mean is making a sacrifice for a couple seasons as you straighten out your salary cap situation, evaluate your roster, and take a serious look at your options at Quarterback.

In Oakland, Reggie McKenzie seems like a man who is very serious about making the Raiders a respected organization again. Signing Josh Freeman would have been a silly move and rightfully put confidence in his leadership at risk. Let’s say the Raiders signed Freeman and he played terribly? Then the story is that McKenzie might have a new regime but it’s really just the  ”same old dysfunctional Raiders.” Remember, this is a GM who cleaned house in the truest sense of the word. This is not a time to revert back to old tactics. Not when your QB has the trust of his teammates. And not when they’re winning games while legitimately low on weaponry. Pryor is one of the real bright spots for the Raiders and it’d be a shame if everyone could see it except for the folks sitting the closest.

So kudos to the Raiders for staying on the path of patience. I think it will pay off in the end.



Jets QB Geno Smith Continues to Impress - Leads Jets Past Falcons on MNF

Jets QB Geno Smith gets a thumbs up from me so far.

If any QB had a right to have a chip on his shoulder, it’s Geno Smith. If any QB would have been forgiven for cracking under the pressure it’s Geno Smith. But instead, going into Week 6, Smith is as cool and poised as he was the night he was embarrassed on national television when he wasn’t drafted in the first round. And when that happened, if you remember, Smith went home, grabbed the second outfit that he brought with him to New York and returned to Radio City Music Hall shaking off the folks who had laughed at him the night before. We should have known then that the kid was something special.

This is not to say that Smith has played perfect games, but he’s been more than competent for a QB thrust into a dysfunctional team and media environment. With an impressive win over a Falcons team that is struggling on defense, Smith once again held his composure on a national stage. I’ve seen 3 of Smith’s games this season and each time he’s been better than the game before. It seems like a lifetime ago that certain draft scouts scoffed at his work ethic and leadership ability. When was the last time a QB made a point of apologizing to his defense and emphasizing how critical they’ve been to the team’s success?

I’m not jumping out the window on Smith or making any bold proclamations. But I’ve been impressed thus far and I want to be part of helping Smith’s story be told in real time. RG3 was such a dazzling and dynamic player with an amazing story in his rookie season last year. Colin Kaepernick’s run to the Superbowl after Alex Smith suffered a concussion was something to behold. But while all of that was happening, Andrew Luck was recharging the Colts and Ryan Tannehill was quietly exceeding expectations down in Miami. Some folks are still unaware of this as attention remains on RG3 and Kaepernick. Both QBs are struggling to live up to their potential and match the bar they set last year. Smith’s accomplishments would be easy to lose in the shuffle.

What I’ve seen of Smith so far is a guy who is patient in the pocket and lets the game come to him. If anything, he trusts the Jets haphazard O line more than he should. His blind spot is more like a gaping hole at the moment but that can be improved. He’s reasonably fast in his reads and is confident enough on the move that not being truly mobile isn’t the limitation that it could be. And while some QBs are staring receivers in the eye down field and missing the trees for the forest, Smith rarely loses sight of guy nearest to him. Those traits alone are something for Jets fans to celebrate. His poise alone gives him a real advantage over Mark Sanchez and I’ve never been one to rip Sanchez unnecessarily.

Coming up, I expect the Jets to roll over the Steelers. But the Bengals and Saints will be a real test for Smith. Can he withstand the pressure? Can he and the Oline jell enough to keep him on his feet? Will Rob Ryan’s mix of looks confuse the rookie? I’ll be watching to see.


Photos: Patriots’ Everyman Julian Edelman Gets Dapper for Photo Spread

Falcons have won 1 game. Eagles have won 2 games. Temple football hasn’t won yet. The Sixers are headed into a season that isn’t looking bright. I could use a bright spot. And lo and behold during a low moment some photos of Patriots WR/DB Julian Edelman come across my timeline that made me smile. Before I saw Edelman’s spread for John Varvatos I can’t say that I could have picked him out of a lineup. But now? Oh now I know what he looks like. Very nice Julian.



Head over to Varvatos’ site to see the full spread.

This season Edelman has been pushed into the most visible role he’s had since coming into the league. He’s had to step up with Wes Welker gone to Denver and Wes’ replacement Danny Amendola out due to injury. Not to mention Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots star TE, still sidelined due to after effects from surgeries performed on his arm. I can’t say that Edelman wows me as a receiver on a consistent basis but he does get the job done. Plus he’s versatile and willing to do whatever is necessary. Edelman has returned kicks, played defense and pretty much anything else the team needs him to do. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him making the gatorade on the sidelines to be quite honest.

The Patriots season got off to a rocky start with Tom Brady not playing well and screaming at receivers like Edelman, but true to form the team has been fighting and are currently 4-1.


SFGate Reporter: Colin Kaepernick is a jerk to the media (say what now??)

Okay…is Kap really dating Sanaa Lathan or is she getting pub for her new movie??? I’m suspicious! Either way she’s gorgeous and I want to see Best Man Holiday.

Women aren’t the only one writing San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick letters. Reporters are doing it too. An SF Gate reporter has penned an open letter to Kap saying that he’s a jerk to the media and that his coach Jim Harbaugh seems to be encouraging it.

It begins:

Dear Colin,

Stop acting like a jerk.

Your press conferences are an embarrassment. If you’re uncomfortable or shy, that’s one thing. That’s not how you come across. You sound dismissive, combative, and rude. There’s no excuse for rude.

The reporter than compares Kaepernick’s behavior to that of a 12 year old and goes on to say:

It’s your job: The NFL is a multi-billion-dollar business. Players are required to appear in public. Those press conferences aren’t going away just because you don’t like doing them. The league and the 49ers are selling tickets, jerseys and, frankly, you. This is how your salary is paid. You will have media availability after every single game. You’ll probably have one, and likely more than one, press conference during the week. Those are facts. Deal with it.

I think you get the picture.

I was a little surprised at this open letter just because thus far I hadn’t seen anyone complain about Kaepernick’s attitude. Usually, there’s at least some indication that there’s an issue before people head to the compose box and publish something this scathing. Like last year, with Cam Newton, there were grumbles first and then reporters really let him have it. But last I heard about Kaepernick and media is that they were all fawning over how thoughtful he was for ordering them pizzas on media day. Things sure do change fast. 

They’re changing fast for RG3 too who was recently bashed in ESPN magazine for being “inauthentic” and succumbing to over branding. The headline, as trolley as can be, accused RG3 of being “more commercial than competitor.” DC sports bog rightfully pointed out that ESPN is the main outlet that brought us the over sell of RG3 in the first place. As you can see, managing an image is a tough thing to do in a 24 hour media environment. One minute you’re chosen, next minute you’re told to have a seat.

But back to Kap, I think he’s a bit…full of himself and it often comes across douchey. But it doesn’t bother me at all. Of course, I don’t cover his team either.  Besides that, I think that the NFL has an OBSCENE amount of mandatory press conferences and interviews and some of the questions reporters ask are downright foolish. Quite frankly, even as a blogger who contributes to this problem, I have to admit there’s more writers and commentators than there is news. And that can make for a prickly relationship between media and players cause everyone has to publish SOMETHING even when there is NOTHING left to say.

It’s not that I mind the reporter addressing Kap’s behavior, but I thought his piece should have contained some examples of him 1. trying to correct the issue with the 49ers organization prior to writing about it and 2. being a victim of Kap’s jerky behavior. It’s hard to take a reporter’s side when they don’t lay out any kind of case. It’s not like Kap has hit any reporters with the Russell Westbrook “no more questions for you, bro.” That was embarrassing!

Also, the piece mentions Kaepernick and the whole “favoriting negative tweets” thing which to me took away from the reporter’s point. Kap was interviewed by NFL network after the 49ers beat the Rams and after gently handling 3 questions from the guys about the twitter thing he finally said he didn’t get why people were asking him and he thought it was silly. Maybe that came off rude to some people but sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the stupid stuff.  





Remaining in Denial About Broncos Von Miller

Here’s hoping Broncos LB Von Miller is a good kid who just stumbled for a bit.

When draft time comes around there’s always a few players that tug on my heart strings for some reason. I then mentally baby those guys in my head and look for them to do well, almost like an imaginary mom or aunt. For example, in last year’s draft Chance Warmarck, Desmond Trufant, Eric Reid and Shamarko Thomas caught my eye. From this season on I’ll be watching to see if they do well and rooting for them all the way.

A couple years back Von Miller was one of the guys that I developed an affinity for. A big reason for that was because I really couldn’t figure him out. He didn’t appear to be particularly charming or unapproachable for that matter. He was just sort of there in his own quietly assured way. He struck me as very matter-of-fact and here for the game and not much else beyond that. On the field he was full of energy and I liked the way he played with good body control and quick instincts. Off the field he seemed soft spoken, concise and confident but almost as though he was hiding himself behind dork glasses and fashionable clothes. I also kinda liked the fact that he looks like Cedric the Entertainer could be his Daddy. LOL!

I had no reason to believe that right before this season began things would start to fall apart for him off the field and that he would begin the season suspended for 6 games. A failed drug test, a DUI, then speeding and driving on a suspended license and failing to appear in court. Last week media reported Miller’s parents would move in with him to help him get his life together. I know to a lot of people that seems silly since Miller is a grown man. But truth be told, mid-20s is a tough time (well…it was for me!) and I’m glad Miller has his parents there to support him. Not just because he’s clearly fucking up, but also because athletes who make mistakes, even ones under 25 are treated like they’re the scum of the earth forever. Parents can put things into perspective. I saw those reports as a positive thing…

But…however…NOW media is reporting that Miller tried to corrupt the urine testing process by having one of the collectors switch samples. It’s possible that the collector also conspired with other players to help them beat drug tests as well. This is a story that probably is going to have some legs because the implications for it beyond Miller’s situation could be great. But on Miller specifically, the NFL can add more games to his suspension if they deem it necessary, and if this urine collector is a fraud then it’s not impossible that Miller misses the whole season.

For now, I’m staying in denial in case my denial comes true. For now, FOR NOW, Miller is a good kid who is making some mistakes. Who among us hasn’t smoked marijuana? I haven’t…but I’ve been thinking about trying it though and I support decriminalization! Who among us hasn’t had a DUI? Well I haven’t done that either but I did drive a few times in my 20s  when I knew I was over the legal limit and felt like a blessed fool after getting home safely cause that was really stupid. Who among us hasn’t failed a drug test? Well, not me cause I don’t do drugs and no employer has ever tested me for it either. But who among us hasn’t had a speeding ticket on a suspended license?? I have definitely had a reckless driving charge though my license was current. I’m probably not helping my point but still…

When you add it all up, I think there’s still hope Miller is just a young man who hit a few bumps in the road. And that’s my thinking FOR NOW.





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