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Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

Dangling Chad

The Bears cut QB Chad Hutchinson today after he failed to beat out rookie Kyle Orton for the starting job. Hutchinson started the last 5 games for Chicago last season, compiling a woeful 1-4 record. After Rex Grossman broke his ankle, Hutchinson was initially thought to be the leading candidate to replace him, but Orton, a fourth round pick out of Purdue, got the nod instead.

This is one more example of why mediocre players bounce around the league. Teams want players who can produce wins now, or youngsters the coaches believe can develop. The Bears already knew what Hutchinson could do - and couldn't do - so why keep him around?

 

Priceless

Two former high-profile WRs were cut today, Peter Warrick of the Bengals and Peerless Price in Atlanta.

Price reminds me of Alvin Harper, who was Dallas's #2 receiver behind Michael Irvin in the early 1990's. In his fourth season in 1994, Harper caught 33 passes for 821 yards and 8 TDs while leading the league with 24.9 yards per reception. Tampa Bay signed him as a free agent, but he was a major disappointment, with 46 catches for 633 yards (13.8 avg) in 1995 and just 19 catches the following season.

Peerless Price took advantage of Eric Moulds in Buffalo and had a breakout season in 2002 with 94 catches for 1252 yards. But since being traded to Atlanta, his numbers have been trending down:

Yr Tm No Yds Avg TDs
2000 Buf 52 762 14.7 3
2001 Buf 55 895 16.3 7
2002 Buf 94 1252 13.3 9
2003 Atl 64 838 13.1 3
2004 Atl 45 575 12.8 3

After drafting Roddy White in the first round to add to TE Alge Crumpler, the Falcons felt they could get better value by sticking with the younger guys.

Sunday, August 28, 2005 

Spoiled Cheese

The Patriots looked impressive against the Packers Friday night, but you have to wonder how good Green Bay can be this season with that defense. Tom Brady had a steady, but not spectacular game (12 for 21) as the absence of left tackle Matt Light definitely had an impact. But if the Packers didn't pressure Brady, it exposed the holes in their secondary. Second-year TE Ben Watson caught 6 of Brady's passes and looked great - I just hope he can stay healthy this season.

Brett Favre had a typical Favre game with some good plays and some interceptions that leave you scratching your head. It reminds me of Dan Marino near the end of his career. Favre is still dangerous, but over the long haul I wonder if his talent and intangibles make up for his mistakes.

 

Cool Sites

Thanks to Baseball Musings I found a new baseball blog by Eric Orns that looks interesting. It's actually two blogs in one: Baseball Esoterica is the main page, but what's cool is his "historic boxscore" blog at Esoteric Boxscore. He uses the vast RetroSheet database to highlight interesting games, such as cases where a team "hit for the cycle" - on only 4 hits.

Check it out. Maybe I should think about a football version...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 

Mystery

The death of San Francisco offensive lineman Thomas Herrion earlier this week is another reminder of how tough the game of football can be. While many are speculating that his weight (310) was a factor, the autopsy results have been inconclusive so far:

The Denver coroner's office performed an autopsy, but said no cause of death could be determined until toxicology tests were performed. The tests usually take about three to six weeks.

I wonder if those results will change the wave of emotion among his teammates and friends.

Friday, August 19, 2005 

Saints and Sinners

The Patriots had an uneven performance against the Saints last night, losing 37-27 on two late TDs in the final 2 minutes. Tom Brady's first pass was intercepted, but he played well, as did Doug Flutie, who threw New England's only TD pass of the evening. Only a Matt Light holding penalty prevented the Patriots from scoring TDs on their first two drives after the Brady pick. On special teams, rookie Ellis Hobbs was impressive with some great kickoff returns.

But on defense, there's a lot of room for improvement. To be fair, when both teams were playing their starters in the first quarter, the Patriots had the upper hand. But Deuce McAllister had a big game, and started to shred the Patriots defense late in that quarter and especially in the second. At that point, the Saints had their starting offensive line on the field while the Patriots started slipping in reserves like Tully Banta-Cain. In the offseason, Chad Brown was a much bigger name than Monty Beisel, but Beisel seems more comfortable so far as the two linebackers try to replace Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson. It will be interesting to see how a healthy Ty Warren on the line and Mike Vrabel at LB impacts the run defense in particular.

Thursday, August 18, 2005 

T.O. be continued

Terrell Owens certainly has a good agent. While I hate to encourage you to visit his website, the latest "open letter to his fans" is hilarious. A few choice nuggets:

Terrell Owens would like to publicly thank his fans for their continued, and unwavering support.

Uh, I guess he didn't see some of those signs the other night...

Despite all the rumors and innuendo Terrell has shown up to work on time, and from the moment he arrived he has given his all, picking up right where he left off in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Terrell, this gung-ho approach led to the aggravation of a nagging groin injury. Realizing that this could have been perceived as a negotiating ploy, Terrell has done everything possible to accelerate his rehab.

Silly me, I thought Owens held out. But wait, it gets better:

In fact Terrell has gone out of his way to diffuse the tension by keeping to himself in all non-practice related affairs. During practice and work related situations he has been and will be attentive and responsive; Terrell only asks what every other worker in America asks for, respect and dignity.

... and of course, millions of dollars. I must not be respected at all at work, since my paycheck is a bit smaller than that.

Terrell will return to camp and continue to display the work ethic, and on-the-field dedication that has made him one of the world’s most elite athletes. For you the fan, and your continued support in the most difficult of times, Terrell plans to reward you with a season for the ages. Where small men succumb, great men overcome!

First of all, Terrell is returning to camp to get his money - a lot of money. And calling him a "great man" is a bit of a stretch. Guess that's what agents are for. This certainly isn't the end of this story. He may behave for a while, but he'll be snapping at someone on the sidelines eventually if he becomes dissastisfied with his number of catches. Good luck Andy Reid.

 

Tynes that Bind

Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes is in trouble after a bar fight.

Trying to make light of a grave situation, Lawrence Tynes’ Chiefs teammates have taken to calling him "Killer."

When the joking subsided, those familiar with Tynes, a second-year place-kicker, say the felony substantial battery and misdemeanor battery charges filed against him for his role in a bar fight are out of character.

Police painted a different picture of Tynes for his part in an incident at Boomer’s, a River Falls night club, early Sunday morning. According to the police report, Tynes punched in the face first one bar customer and later a bar bouncer, the latter receiving a broken nose. Police said Tynes was agitated and tried to re-enter the bar after being escorted out.

While nothing has been settled in court yet, this is certainly not the kind of story the NFL needs.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 

Let the Games begin

The Patriots opened up the preseason with a 23-13 win in Cincinnati last night. 15 players didn't even make the trip, including defensive linemen Richard Seymour and Ty Warren, second-year running back Cedric Cobbs, wide receiver P.K. Sam, or tight end Ben Watson. Add in the fact that neither Tom Brady nor Doug Flutie played in the game, and there were a lot of fresh faces in those Patriots uniforms last night.

The backup QB battle was the focus on the offensive side of the ball. Rohan Davey started, then Matt Cassel relieved him late in the first half for an extended two-minute drill. Davey is a four-year veteran with NFL Europe (MVP) experience, but Cassel outplayed him last night. Obviously, Davey played against better defensive talent, as the Bengals had pulled most of their regulars by the time Cassel entered the game. But Davey also had Corey Dillion for a few carries, and the top Patriots receivers, while Cassel was handing off to Patrick Pass and throwing to Jason Anderson.

Davey just doesn't seem as polished as Cassel. Cassel nearly had two passes intercepted on his first drive, but he kept firing, and threw the only New England TD pass of the night. One of the knocks on Cassel is that he tends to fold under pressure, which is why he's always been a better practice player. He did scramble a lot last night, though with backup offensive linemen in the game it is hard to tell how good the protection really was. Both QBs overthrew some short passes, so accuracy is an issue for both.

This competition could go down to the wire.

Sunday, August 07, 2005 

Down and Out

Philadelphia hasn't exactly had a quiet training camp. First, Terrell Owens holds out, comes back, and suffers a groin injury. Then DE Jerome McDougle gets shot. Now WR Todd Pinkston is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles' tendon in his right ankle.

Pinkston led the NFC in yards per catch last season (18.8) but has largely been a disapointment in his five year career. The Eagles spent a high second round pick (35) on WR Reggie Brown of Georgia in order to a) provide some insurance in case Owens became a distraction, and b) push Pinkston. For now, veteran Greg Lewis is expected to start, but Brown figures to get plenty of playing time if he performs well in the preseason.

Saturday, August 06, 2005 

Ice Chips

I apologize for the light blogging recently. Lots of "real world" stuff getting in the way...

I find it ironic that the Boston Bruins are being criticized for their salary cap management by the same media members who praise the Patriots' approach. The Bruins have been traditionally tight-fisted when it comes to paying their players, but they seem to be acquiring good character players at reasonable prices while attempting to keep their stars (Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov) by paying them a high salary - but not top dollar. That's basically been the Patriots philosophy. The NHL owners have seen what happens to NFL teams that spend their way into salary cap problems, and they'd be smart to be frugal.

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