Saturday, September 19, 2009

Michael Crabtree | Crabtree called "idiot" by ex-Patriot Rodney Harrison

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(Note: Michael Crabtree says that Deon Sanders is one of his mentors in my video above from this year's NFL Draft in New York. )

The latest opinion to come in regarding former Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree's decision to delay signing as the 10th pick in the NFL Draft with the San Francisco 49ers has the impact of a Rodney Harrison hit.

Crabtree should watch out for old #37

That should be no surprise as the comment comes from Rodney Harrison himself. It was reported just an hour ago before this blog that Harrison delivered the verbal hit while being interviewed on ESPN Radio in Philadelphia according to USA Today.

Harrison said:

"He's the biggest idiot I've ever see in the National Football League. I would have to put Ryan Leaf (Harrison's former teammate) and him as the two biggest idiots that ever played in the NFL... How coud you turn down close to $20 million guaranteed?"

Then Harrison basically teed-off on Crabtree on the former New England Patriot's Twitter page:

# I saw so many guys like a Ronnie Lott and such who never made this type of money and you're holding out for more then $20mil guaranteed?about 4 hours ago from web

# @Zach_Poole Then he should beat up his agent, because if he's not promising you that he will get you that #20mil next year, you're a fool.about 4 hours ago from web in reply to Zach_Poole

# If you want more money, play the rookie contract, and then get more money... prove you deserve it. You haven't done anything in the NFL yet.about 4 hours ago from web

# i don't know where gets his advices from but how can you turn down close to $20 million guaranteed?and you get it before even playing in NFLabout 4 hours ago from web

When I talked to Crabtree at the NFL Draft he told me that Deon Sanders was one of the people who mentors him. I wonder what PrimeTime's telling him to do now?

Stay tuned.

FRO's Results Rankings 2009 NFL Season Week 1 By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large Football Reporters Online

FRO's Results Rankings
2009 NFL Season
Week 1
By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large

While there are many power rankings out there based as much on hype, expectations, and sometimes unrealized projections, we here at FRO, prefer to rank NFL teams on what's actually happened, taking into account only how teams have performed on the field and who they’ve played. At FRO, you won’t find yet another power ranking that means little. Instead, here are FRO's Week 1 Results Rankings. Check back each week for new rankings!

Not much offensively, but the Eagles' defense ended their game in Carolina by halftime.

Mark Sanchez had a solid debut, and Rex Ryan's relentless defense suffocated the Texans in Houston for four quarters.

The Rams provided a weak test, but when you win by 28 and you post a shutout in Week 1, you get a high ranking.

The running game and red zone offense struggled, but the defense and Big Ben were clutch against a good Titans team.

Too many points allowed to a team like Detroit, especially at home, but Brees and the Saints' offense were stellar.

A slow start in Cleveland, but Adrian Peterson and the Vikes' defense both eventually kicked it into high gear.

The Falcons' defense came to play, forcing Miami into several costly miscues.

Similar to the Vikings' win in Cleveland, a sluggish first half was followed up a much better second half in Tampa.

It should have been easier after leading the Skins 17-0, but the Giants were good enough on both sides of the ball.

The Ravens let the Chiefs, especially without Cassel, hang around for too long… until Joe Flacco finished a big day.

The 49ers served early notice that they intend to compete for the AFC West crown by opening with a win in the desert.

Aaron Rodgers was held in check until he threw a 50-yd game-winner, and the Pack harassed Jay Cutler into 4 picks and 2 sacks.

A failed, but valiant effort by the Titans in a tough place like Steeltown has them ranked higher than others who won.

Only a Bills' fumble and late heroics by Tom Brady and Ben Watson kept the Pats from being ranked shockingly low.

The Bills battled the Pats well for about 55 minutes, before giving away a big AFC East tilt that they should have won.

The Chargers were unimpressive in victory, but they did show good resolve late, to avoid an upset in Oakland.

As they often have to against the Jags, the Colts had to tough out a win, aided by a stopped two-pt. conversion.

Great defense slowed Cincinnati's passing game, but the Broncs still needed a heads-up miracle by Stokley to win.

As they often do, a nice job giving the Colts fits, but the offensively challenged Jags could lose a lot of those.

The Raiders know how the Bills feel this week after nearly getting the upset… until Darrin Sproles scored with :18 left.

Staying with the theme, the Bears had a big divisional game won… until Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings spoiled it.

Another perfect AFC West record was not in the cards. A home loss to Frisco a bad way to open defense of an NFC title.

Great job to hang in against a tough Baltimore team without Matt Cassel, but still, a two-touchdown loss in the end.

The Redskins made it a game late, but a 17-point hole and 4 turnovers too much to overcome at The Meadowlands.

In it for a half, the Bucs exposed the Cowboys’ D for 450 yds, but they were torched for 462 yds as Dallas pulled away.

The Lions’ offense (27 pts) kept them alive in New Orleans for 3 quarters, but allowing 45 points and 515 yards? Ouch.

Though Cincinnati took a late and lost on a fluke play, Palmer and Ochocinco HAVE to score more than just 7 points.

Allowing 225 rushing yards (180 of them to the NFL’s best back) and just 268 yards of total offense spelled doom.

Too many mistakes with the football meant a lot of trouble early and often for the Fish in Atlanta.

The Texans failed to make stops on key plays, and both O and D lines were physically dominated by the Jets all game.

Against the Eagles, Jake Delhome opened 2009 as mistake-prone as he ended 2008, in that playoff loss to Arizona.

The Rams were outgained by 199 yards, lost by the largest margin, and were the only team that failed to score.

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE Top Five NFL Performers From Week 1 by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online

Top Five NFL Performers From Week 1
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online

It was tough to pick the top five for Week 1 as the opening week in the 2009 NFL regular season was a very eventful one with lots of good action. So, before we get to top five, here are a few well-deserved honorable mentions (okay, some of those are not "performers" as the above heading suggests but they were some fun Week 1 moments, and worth noting (in reverse order, saving the best for last):

Seattle Seahawks' Defense:
Okay, so they were at home, where the Seahawks are always more Jekyll than the Hyde they turn into on the road seemingly every year. And, the Rams figure to be one of the NFL's worst teams this season. Still, Seattle won 28-0, and any shutout in the NFL is worth some attention, especially when a team records 3 sacks and holds its opponent to just 247 yards of total offense, as the Seahawks did against the Rams.

Atlanta Falcons' Defense:
The Falcons were impressive, forcing and recovering 3 fumbles, while intercepting QB Chad Pennington once, and holding the Dolphins scoreless until 3:22 remained in an easy 19-7 win.
Denver Broncos' Upset Helped By A Solid Defense And An Alert Brandon Stokley:
Although the Bengals were able to amass respectable totals of 86 yards rushing and 221 yards passing, the Broncos defense bent but didn't break for most of Denver's game in Cincinnati. The general consensus says Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco will have a big year, but the Broncos were able to keep them off of the scoreboard until a Cedric Benson 1-yard plunge gave the Bengals a 7-6 lead with just 38 seconds left In the game. Two plays later though, Denver pulled off one of the biggest upsets of Week 1 when WR Brandon Stokley caught a deflected ball intended for Brandon Marshall, and raced up the left sideline for an 87-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left in the game, his only catch of the game, and an incredible finish to a Broncos' 12-7 upset win in Cincinnati.

Philadelphia Eagles' Defense:
In a 38-10 rout (after trailing 7-0), the Eagles made Jake Delhomme look like he was playing last year's NFC Divisional playoff game against Arizona, over again. The Eagles had 5 sacks, forced 6 turnovers (2 fumbles and 4 INT's of Delhomme, who was limited to just 7 completions in 17 attempts, for 73 yards,
Throwback Uniforms:
Although the "Silver & White" doesn't look right in front of Raider Nation in Oakland, the throwback versions of the white jerseys with the old Raider helmets against the classic Charger powder blues look awesome, as did the old Bills uniforms (consider this a public plea to make those permanent in place of those ugly semi-pro-looking modern Bills uniforms), and most of all (although, I do like the new Pats uniforms), the old school white helmets with the Patriot snapping the football, and the Steve Groaganesque red jerseys and white pants were a great site!

Adrian Peterson:
The Vikings had an easy time with the hapless Browns, winning 34-20, paced by the NFL's best rusher, who finished the day with 180 yards on 25 carries, and 3 touchdowns, including a spectacular 64-yard scamper up the left sideline, on which he broke five tackles. If not for all of the great performances listed below, which barely edged Peterson out, his big game against the Browns would have made our top five this week. We're sure he'll have plenty more chances to make the top five as the season wears on.

Nationally Televised Night Games:
After what we saw in Week 1, maybe the rest of the NFL schedule should be moved to a nationally televised night slot. There wasn't a single non-thrilling game among the four night games, so much so, that two of the four night games played featured players who made this week's Top 5 list… Thursday night, the Steelers rallied to tie the Titans and win in overtime; Sunday night, the Packers rally to win on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings with just 1:24 left; as if those two weren't exciting enough, Monday Night Football had an outstanding doubleheader with the Patriots simply stealing what should have been a big Buffalo upset in the final minutes, and a seesaw battle that had three lead changes in the final 7:22, with the Chargers scoring the game-winning touchdown with just 18 seconds left.

#5 Tom Brady

It was supposed to be a triumphant return for Brady after missing just about all of the 2008 season with a bad knee injury. For over 55 minutes, it didn't look that way. The Buffalo Bills, which hadn't beat New England in 11 straight meetings, not since ironically, the 2003 regular season opener, came in as 11-point underdogs. However, instead of trailing by 11 points, the Bills led by that same amount, 24-13, after a Trent Edwards 22-yard touchdown pass with just 5:38 left in the game. That's when lightning struck twice, just 76 seconds apart. Brady completed 9 of 11 passes, leading the Patriots 81 yards in 3:26, hitting TE Ben Watson with a perfect strike on an 18-yard touchdown pass, to pull New England to within 24-19, with 2:06 remaining. After Brady and the Pats missed a two-point conversion, they needed help, and they got it, just 10 seconds later, when Pats' kicker Steven Gotkowski recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. two-point conversion, they needed help, and they got it, just 10 seconds later, when Pats' kicker Steven Gotkowski recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. You can't give a veteran quarterback the caliber of Brady a break like that. After two short completions, like Sherlock Holmes, the heady Brady went right back to Watson, who made a very grab after being turned around by a Brady pass, for the game-winning touchdown. The Patriots grab after being turned around by a Brady pass, for the game-winning touchdown. The Patriots were up 25-24 with 50 seconds left. That completed Brady's night with 39 completions (the second most, by just one, in the 40-year history of Monday Night Football) in 53 attempts, with 2 TD's, and a pick (returned for a TD), and it effectively finished the game for the Buffalo, whose losing streak against New England reached 12 consecutive games.

#4 Ben Roethlisberger

As he did in Super Bowl XLII, Big Ben came up big in the clutch and simply refused to lose down the stretch. Roethlisberger was an impressive 33 of 43 for 363 yards, but what gets him the number 4 spot on this list was his 16 of 18 in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Trailing 10-7, Roethlisberger engineered a 56-yard drive to the Tennessee 14-yard line, to set up a game-tying field goal with 2:57 left in regulation. After the Steelers got the ball back quickly, Roethlisberger then completed four straight passes, and would have put Pittsburgh in position to win, if not for a Hines Ward fumble at the Tennessee 4-yard line. But, on Pittsburgh's first possession of overtime, Roethlisberger went 5-for-7, taking the Steelers, from their own 22 to the Titans' 15 yard-line, to set up a game-winning 33-yard FG.

#3 The Philadelphia Eagles’ Defense

In a 38-10 rout (after trailing 7-0), the Eagles made Carolina QB Jake Delhomme look like he was playing last year's NFC Divisional playoff game against Arizona, over again. The Philadelphia defense had 5 sacks, forced 7 turnovers (2 fumbles and 5 INT's, 4 of those picks against Delhomme, who was limited to just 7 completions in 17 attempts, for 73 yards), and allowed less total yards (169 total; 86 rushing, 83 passing) than Peterson alone rushed for in Cleveland. The Eagles turned all of those Panther mistakes into 24 points in a dominating performance under new defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, taking over for the late legend, Jim Johnson.

#2 Drew Brees

Dan Marino, be worried that your all-time single-season passing record may fall this year, one season after Drew Brees came within a completion or two of shattering that mark last December. Brees picked up in his 2009 season opener where he left off in 2008. Granted, it was against the Lions at home, but the Saints’ signal caller was unstoppable in New Orleans’ 45-27 rout of Detroit. Brees was nearly flawless in New Orleans’ spread offense, connecting with eight different receivers, completing 26 of 34 passes for 358 yards, and six (yes, SIX!) touchdowns, tying a Saints’ club record, while finishing the game with a 137.0 quarterback rating. But, But, don’t worry Dan, it’s not like all of the Saints games this year are against teams like the Lions. Brees still needs 4,727 yards for the record, and he can’t possibly average the 315.133 yards per game he would need for the rest the regular season. Or, can he? We think he can (look out our Brees Watch, profiling Brees' repeat chase of Marino's record, right here at FRO).

#1 The New York Jets’ Defense

The Rex Ryan era debuted in Houston with an auspicious beginning, with the New York Jets’ defense dominating one of the more dangerous offenses (at least on paper) in the NFL, in an easy 24-7 road win. All of the Texans’ big offensive weapons were taken out of their usual games by Ryan’s relentless and punishing Gang Green defense, which kept attacking. Matt Schaub? He was constantly blitzed by the Jets’ 3-4 scheme with five-man pressures, into just 18 completions in 33 attempts, for 166 yards, no touchdowns, while being picked once. His favorite target, Andre Johnson, harassed often by corner back Darrelle Revis, was found just 4 times for 35 yards, none longer than 17 yards, which happened to be the exact grand total that Steve Slaton rushed for on 9 carries, for a Houston ground game that was limited to only 38 yards on 13 rushes all day. The Texans ran just 48 plays (to the Jets' 73), managed only 11 first downs, and held the ball for just 21:14 (to New York’s 38:46). The most important statistic, however: no points offensively for the Texans. The only Houston score came on a harmless fourth-quarter interception and fumble return for a touchdown. For at least one week, Ryan’s new team delivered on new its head coach’s promise to bring what Ryan learned and taught in Baltimore, to change the culture in Jetville. The result was a stifling defensive performances that earned the Jets' defense the first-ever number one spot on FRO's Favorite Five.

AFC South Week 1 Recap-By Rafael Garcia Football Reporters Online

                                                                                                  AFC South Week 1
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer
Southeast Region
Pittsburgh 13 Tennessee 10
The last time these two teams met was December 08 when the Titans beat up on the Steelers. There was the incident with the terrible towel that was stomped on by Keith Bullock and LenDale White. There has been bad blood brewing between these two opponents since last year. So they found themselves playing again last night and picked up right where they left off. This was a battle between two defensive heavyweights. The Titans had every chance to have a good lead going into the locker room at the half. Instead they missed a field goal and had another try blocked. They also blew a few scoring opportunities as drives stalled in Steeler territory.  Still it was tied 7-7 at the half on the arms of the quarterbacks. Ben Rothlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for a 34 yard score and then Justin Gage roped in a Kerry Collins 14 yarder to tie it. The teams matched scores again in the fourth quarter when each made a field goal and the stage was set for a fantastic finish. Late in the game Michael Griffin stripped the ball from Hines Ward deep in Tennessee territory. It gave the titans new life and forced overtime. Up to this point in the game it was a defensive battle as expected with neither team being able to force the issue. Still there were too many mistakes that had Titan fans saying their team gave it away again. Just like late last year they found them turning the ball over and trying not to make mistakes. They managed just 14 yards on four punt returns. They added 59 yards on three kickoff returns. That will not win you many games in the NFL. Now they have to see if they can find someone to fill a hole they need to fill badly. The passing defense was nothing to scream about as well. Rothlisberger torched them for 363 yards on 33 of 43 passing. They could not stop him when it mattered most in the overtime. You just felt it was over when the Steelers won the toss. The run defense was another story. They held Pittsburgh to 36 yards on 25 carries with Willie Parker accounting for 19 on 13 carries. On offense Kerry Collins had a good day. He was 22-35 for 244 yards and the touchdown pass to Gage. He does not have his full complement of receivers yet as injuries still nag some. Nate Washington was not at full speed so rookie Kenny Britt started. Britt impressed his coaches as he caught four passes for 87 yards including a nice 57 yarder. This year will be different for Collins, as he will be looked at more to make a play. The Titans running game did not make the splash they hoped it would. Chris Johnson had 57 yards on 15 carries and LenDale White went 8 for 28. The Steeler defense never allowed them to set any kind of tone with the run. Of course you could look at this game another way. The fact that they were able to move the ball on the Steelers and missed scoring chances can be looked at positively. At least they feel they can play with anyone but know they cannot make mistakes like the ones that beat them Thursday night. 
Indianapolis 14 Jacksonville 12
When you start the season off playing a game in your division it is important to get the win early. This helps set the tone for the rest of your season because you basically have a two game edge on that team. With that in mind the Jags and Colts got it on Sunday to see who could get that edge. Well it would appear at first glance that the Indy defense has been improved. They allowed the Jags just 228 total yards and held Maurice Jones-Drew to less than five yards a carry when he has been getting more than six as of late. They came up with two huge defensive stands in the fourth quarter to preserve the win. Rookie corner Derek Cox picked off a Peyton Manning pass, recovered Joseph Addai’s fumble but gave up a touchdown to Reggie Wayne. Not too bad for your first NFL game. Wayne had himself a game as well catching 10 passes for 162 yards and the touchdown. Manning was his usual great self going 28-31 for 301 yards with the strike to Wayne and the pick to Cox. Jags quarterback David Garrard was 14-28 for just 122 yards and had a shot to lead his team to a win. He got the ball back with two minutes left and then imploded when he went four and out. Again the Indianapolis defense just put too much pressure on him. So on this day the Colts saw what their defense could look like in 2009. If they can keep it up and get players like Bob Sanders back healthy things look promising for the Colts. As for the Jags, well they have to muster more on offense and not let mistakes beat them. The Colts also lost receiver Anthony Gonzalez when he started a cross route and fell to the ground untouched. The status of his injury is yet unknown at this time. That would be a big blow to Indy.
New York Jets 24 Houston 7
We can call this game a tale of two seasons. For the Jets it was the coming out party for quarterback Mark Sanchez. On the other side of the ball the Texans were looking for a breakout season after going 8-8 last year. Well it had to go wrong for one of these teams and that was Houston. They played flat and nothing like the team wanted to start the year. Running back Steve Slayton was held to 17 yards on nine carries and was never a factor. Houston was held to 38 yards rushing total and quarterback Matt Shaub could not make up for that. He went 18-33 but managed just 166 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. The Texans had only 183 yards of offense against a strong Jets defense. Three turnovers and two sacks added to their woes, as they could not mount a threat all day. The defensive unit that is supposed to be the backbone of the team was shattered on opening day. Joe Namath was there and gave Sanchez a pregame pep talk that obviously worked. The rookie finished 18-1 for 272 yards and a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey. Houston’s defense allowed Sanchez to roll out, complete passes when hit or on third down. They were out gained 462-183 and wide receiver Andre Johnson was held to 35 yards on four catches. With the offense stalled and the defense soft the Texans find themselves playing from behind yet again. They must get back on track quickly, not only because they are expected to, but also because another bad year may be the last for head coach Gary Kubiak.

NFC South Week 1 Rec By Rafael Garcia Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online S.E. Region

                                             NFC South Week 1 Recap
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
This is a division that finds itself with a few good teams. The New Orleans Saints look to get that swagger back and take it to a division title. The Atlanta Falcons want to repeat and the Carolina Panther and Tampa Bay Bucs want to have a say too. So 2009 starts off and the race is on to the finish line.
New Orleans 45 Detroit 27
Well so much for easing your offense into the start of the season. Saints quarterback Drew Brees had another plan when he threw and threw the ball into the end zone. When it was all said and done he was 26-34 for 358 yards and six touchdowns. It was an air assault like none we have seen in some time. Still at the end of the game all Brees could talk about were the passes that could have been caught. Thinking about the mistakes that his team made like giving up 27 points to the Lions with a rookie quarterback. As for Brees he completed passes to eight different receivers, five of them caught a touchdown. Jeremy Shockey finally got his first two scores as a Saint so now that burden is off of him. Running back Mike Bell had his best day as a pro rushing for 143 on 28 carries. He even got a standing ovation when he left the game in the fourth from the appreciative crowd. The defense was not the only issue they will take up this week, Reggie Bush fumbled twice losing one and Bell also lost one too. All in all it was a fantastic offensive game for New Orleans and they cannot miss a step as they face the Eagles in Philly next week. Detroit rookie quarterback Matt Stafford made his NFL debut going 16 of 37 for 205 yards and three interceptions. Safety Darren Sharper got two of those for the Saints and linebacker Scott Shanie the other. He was forced into many throws to avoid getting sacked or because he had no one to throw to. The lions made there share of mistakes that coming from a losing environment. It will take time but Stafford has the tools to succeed in this league.
Atlanta 19 Miami 7
This was a meeting between two teams that had a surprising season last year. The Falcons were coming off the Michael Vick drama and selected Matt Ryan as their franchise quarterback. The Dolphins were a year removed from a 1-15 season and went 11-5 and won the AFC East. The Falcons defense was a bit in question as they lost five starters from a year ago. Their preseason showing did not do much in the way of confidence. With that in mind they came in and got four turnovers and flat out put the stop on the Dolphins offense. They allowed only 176 yards passing to Chad Pennington even though he was 21 for 29 passing. Miami running back Ronnie Brown was held to 43 yards and Ricky Williams managed just 39. They tried a new form of the Wildcat with rookie Pat White and he failed twice. Once was no gain on a run attempt and the other was an overthrown ball to Ted Guinn Jr. after he had beaten coverage. The Falcons got the most of several players, TE Tony Gonzalez caught 20-yard touchdown pass that made him the 21st player in history to 11,000 yards receiving. Linebacker Mike Peterson picked off a Pennington pass and set up the touchdown by Gonzalez. Another star was first year Falcon Brian Williams who was just signed. He picked up a loose ball and ran it 53 yards to set up a filed goal. So much help for the Falcons, but they will need that kind of play from their defense if they have a hope to challenge for the division.
Dallas 34 Tampa Bay 21
The Raheem Morris era began in Tampa and things did not go as planned. They had Cadillac Williams in the backfield again after undergoing two knee surgeries. He had a good game with 97 yards on just 13 carries and his back mate Derrick Ward added 62 on 12 carries. Unfortunately the Bucs had to turn to the passing game as the Cowboy QB Tony Romo and his number on receiver Roy Williams put on a show. Romo went 16 of 27 for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Williams had three catches for 86 yards and Patrick Crayton caught four for 135 yards. Tampa stayed in it for a while on the strength of quarterback Byron Leftwich who was awarded the starting job this year. He shined going 25-41 for 276 yards and one touchdown. He was very impressive in the fourth quarter as he led his team on an 11 play 84-yard drive that ended with Ward’s one yard score. The Bucs defense allowed nearly 500 yards of offense to the Cowboys and will have to go to Buffalo next week to face Lee Evans and Terrell Owens. They will have to make adjustments quick to avoid going 0-2 to start the year. 
Philadelphia 38 Carolina 10
When we last saw Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme he was busy throwing five picks and committed a fumble in last year’s embarrassment against the Arizona Cardinals. He put that nightmare behind him and proceeded with a fresh 2009. Well he picked up right where he left off by throwing four more picks while going 7-17 for a mere 73 yards. This is not what the Panthers were looking for in their quarterback. He is the big question mark on this team and if he does not get back to performing on a high level the Panthers will have to make a decision. For now he is the starter but for how long remains to be seen. His two game total for turnovers is at 11 dating back to that playoff game. The Carolina offense was miserable all day and continued when Josh McCown came in to replace Delhomme. He later left with injuries to his foot and knee. Third stringer Matt Moore came in and threw an interception of his own and the Panthers tied a team record with seven turnovers. It was no day at the office for the defense either as the Eagles blew the game open with a 28 point second quarter. They scored on a fumble return, an 85-yard punt return, two touchdown passes and a field goal. Talk about scoring in many ways. For the Eagles Donovan McNabb got injured on a 15-yard touchdown run when he broke a rib. His status is up in the air for next week and if he can’t go backup Kevin Kolb is ready for now. The Panthers now find themselves in troubled early. Running back DeAngelo Williams could not get off either getting just 37 yards on the ground and 11 of those came on a run for the first score of the game.  So now its back to the drawing board for the Panthers and the must get on the same page quick or this season will be lost quickly. For Delhomme keeps the job and coach John Fox will make the decision based on the next few performances. Lets hope for the team Delhomme gets is right soon

The return of the War of the Mannings

The return of the War of the Mannings
By The Gambler [J.Gamble] Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online
                   It’s the matchup everyone wants to see. If NFL big wigs, media, fans and Vegas vultures have their way, Peyton Manning will be meeting little brother Eli this season in the Super Bowl. Surely to be celebrated with flare and one of the largest watched Super Bowls in history, it would be an event that transcends sports. Historical. Unprecedented. Brothers from the royal quarterback family going head to head in an NFL Civil War. Both QB’s are already proven champions, so it is not far-fetched. Still, the chance of them meeting for all the marbles is hardly inevitable. In fact, the window of opportunity is closing. I’ll boldly say, it won’t ever happen.
Can’t blame the Manning’s for the unlikelihood of this classic meeting.  NFL parity, free agency and unexpected injuries have made predicting games a crapshoot. Father Time is the main culprit in this case. The brothers are two winding roads moving in opposite directions.
Peyton Manning is moving past his prime. He is still an assassin. He is still an MVP threat. He just isn’t as spectacular as he used to be. And it’s not like he will get better. Is that even possible ? Manning has taken a beating. Over a decade of holding firm in the pocket and enduring hits to the legs and ribs, has got to be taking its toll. Add left knee surgery, preceded by 160 consecutive starts, include the extra grind of intense playoff games, and what you have is a deteriorating legend. His body decline leads. The performance dip will follow.
Before you choke on your Colts skully, I know the 301yards Peyton passed for in a Game 1 victory over division-rival Jacksonville didn’t show much deterioration. Peyton has been the prototype quarterback. A gritty gunslinger who amasses chunks of real estate via airmail. In his prime [1999-2006], Peyton’s execution of the Indianapolis offense likened a video game. Last season, his team started 3-4. He put them on his back and swept the rest of the regular season. It was a respectable end to a season in which the Colts failed to win the AFC South for the first time since 2002.
But Peyton will be 34, and is in his 12th NFL season. Not many QB’s perform at an All-Pro level this late in their careers. In speaking with some of the league’s defensive players, one was bold enough to say that Peyton has lost a step and “a little zip off his passes.” If Manning is regressing, then so are the Colts.
The football fan in me says anything is possible. Eli Manning and David Tyree taught us that. An honest evaluation suggests the Colts are rife with question marks at key positions and will also need some help from the football Gods to end up in the Super Bowl. They still give me that Arena League feel.
Is the Colts defense good enough to stifle a  Pittsburgh, San Diego or New England squad ? Indianapolis spent all off season trying to bolster its defense. The D came through in Week 1 against a weak Jacksonville team, executing two fourth-quarter stops and holding the Jaguars to 12 points. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-drew still managed to rush for 97 yards on 21 carries. So the jury is still out.
Receiver is also a question mark. Will Anthony Gonzales [out with a bum knee] be able to fill Marvin Harrison’s huge shoes and be playoff -clutch ?
Your ideal Super Bowl squad is not a team that’s pass-happy, weak in the red zone, suspect defensively with an average ground attack, like Indianapolis .  
Brother Eli, on the other hand, has a new $97 million dollar contract, a vicious defense and multi-faceted offense.  Peyton has a new head coach in Jim Caldwell and new defensive coordinator, Larry Coyer. Eli has stability at the helm with Tom Coughlin and the brightest young GM in the game in Jerry Reese. It seems Peyton’s glory days are behind him and Eli is entering his prime.
In the past, Peyton’s had moments as a passer, Eli will never have. Especially with Eli playing his whole career in windy Giants Stadium and Peyton enjoying the luxuries of a weather-controlled dome. Nine Pro bowls. Mucho NFL  passing records, including most seasons with 4,000 passing yards [9]. In 2009, Peyton was listed by Sporting News as the No. 1 NFL Player. Big bro still gets big respect. What he doesn’t get is the satisfaction of being the top QB of the league’s top team. That was years ago. He was better then. So was the team around him.
Eli carries the reputation of being a winner who lacks big bro’s pocket savvy and golden arm. He has steadily improved each season as a passer. This season he’s adapted the no-huddle offense that Peyton made legendary, into his repertoire. Eli is proving he can sling it too, but his deeper value lies in his cool demeanor and penchant for clutch performances.
The Giants are a popular pick to return to their second Super Bowl in three seasons. They are positioned to contend for the next five years. Eli has the more complete team right now, but The G-Men are far from Super Bowl shoo-ins. New York needs to avoid another late season collapse and get consistent play from unproven receivers. Defensively they are elite. The ground game is money.
The Colts need an Adrian Peterson-type in the backfield, and further upgrades on D. Peyton can’t be expected to perform at the same level as his skills erode. The results could be disastrous and embarrassing. An aging Brett Favre looked bad last season, as he tried to split hairs with his passes, resulting in costly picks down the stretch for a playoff contending Jets team.
Imagine Peyton, who once described himself in a Sprint ad as “a six-foot-five, 230-pound quarterback…with a laser rocket arm”, at 38, trying to outsling younger QB’s and throw into double coverage. Can you say pick party ?
The NFL has seen some incredible upsets over the years. We’ve already seen how quickly the outcome of a game can change already this season with miraculous last second wins by the Broncos, Patriots and Chargers. They survived potential early-season upsets. The Colts will have to pull a few along the way. The Giants will have to avoid them. If not this season, maybe Peyton will catch lightening in a bottle a la John Elway and end his career with two improbable Super Bowl trips. And maybe the stars align so correctly that brother Eli tags along. You can hope for it. I’m saying don’t count on it.

FOR THE JETS AND PATS, THE HATRED RUNS DEEP by TJ Rosenthal For Football Reporters Online

by TJ Rosenthal For Football Reporters Online

 Rex Ryan didn't come here to kiss Bill Belicheck's rings. Respect is one thing, laying down is another. Tom Brady, after hearing Ryan's comment that the Jets will treat Sunday's game like a Super Bowl, answered "the Super Bowl..that's played in February." It's Jets Patriots time again. One of the NFL's most heated rivalries returns to center stage as the battle for sole possession of 1st in the AFC East comes to the Meadowlands in September.

To understand the nature of the rivaly let's take a look back: The intensity of Jets Pats, dating back to the AFL days, where both franchises came from, became vitriolic after legendary coach Bill Parcells left the Super Bowl Patriots in 1996. Wanting total control and not getting it from Pats owner Robert Kraft, then Jet owner Leon Hess offered it to Parcells. With it the  hapless 4-28 Rich Kotite era, ended. "I'm 80 years old, I want results now, " was the famous line Hess regarding the Parcells coup.

The Patriots however, were furious about the nature of Parcells' departure. Parcells, had he chosen to step down, was not contractually allowed to coach anywhere else. To circumvent this,  the Jets hired then Pats defensive coordinator Belicheck as coach and Parcells was hired in an "advisory role." This charade continued only brielfy until commissioner Paul Tagliabue helped broker a deal which led to New England obtaining a 1st round pick for their troubles in exchange for Parcells being left free to coach.  

Parcells turned the Jets around, taking them to the AFC championship game in 1999, only three years removed from his arrival.  When he stepped down that offseason to move into the front office and give the head job to Belicheck , the story took another turn. Belicheck resigned during the press conference, at the podium. This came as both a shock and an embarrassment to fans, Parcells and the Jets organization. The reason being that for Belicheck, he didn't want Parcells natural hunger for a potential return to coaching hanging over him. 

Belicheck then reunited with Kraft and the Pats. Now it was the Jet brass and faithful who were left feeling jilted. During this time , his second head coaching stint (Belicheck coached Cleveland in the early 90's), he has become a legend, winning four Super Bowls. Recently however, and thanks of course to the Jets, his resume has become controversial. 

Eric Mangini,  a former top assistant to Belicheck, left New England in 2006, to take the Jet job after Herm Edwards went to Kansas City. "Mangenius," (his nickname after taking  the Jets to a 10-6 season in his first year) was locked out of the Foxboro facilities immediately after taking the Jets job: Anywhere but the Jets, the Pats must have thought to themselves. Then Mangini went on to claim after the 2007 opener, a blowout loss at home to the Pats, that Belicheck and the Pats were using cameras to steal signals from the opposing sidelines. In what has come to be known as "Spy Gate", the Pats were fined 250,000 and forfeited their 1st round pick in 2008 by comissioner Roger Goodell. the Spy Gate incident has only furthered the hatred between these two clubs.

Fast forward to this week:

The 2009 Jets, fresh off of an inspiring 24-7 win at Houston in the opener, have come to already mirror the cocky tough swagger of their rookie coach Rex Ryan. Fast aggressive defensive schemes coupled with quick decision making by rookie QB Mark Sanchez has the Jets excited and confident about the future.

 The Pats, also coming off of a win, albeit a miraculous one that saw them erase a 2 TD deficit in the closing minutes against the Bills on Monday night, come to the Meadowlands looking to regain their championship form. Brady's throws against Buffalo were inaccurate for most of the night. His mobility is in question. The Pats defense formerly comprised of cerebral stars like Mike Vrabel and Ted Bruschi, ball hawking CB Asanti Samuel, the vicious hitting FS Rodney Harrison, and all pro pass rusher Richard Seymour, are all gone. Add 2nd year rising star LB Jerrrod Mayo to the list after an injury that will keep him out 6-8 weeks, and you here's what you have: A perenially tough defense coached  by a defensive mastermind,  with now unproven talent. A far cry from the gelled disciplined crew that hoisted four Vince Lombardi trophies in the air this decade.

So as both teams, with their "Hatfields and the McCoy's" history, march through the tunnel on Sunday, here will be the three keys to victory.

1-Pressure: Who will win the battle of pressure? There will be tons on Sunday coming from both sides. Expect the Pats to offset the Jets and Ryan's blitz packages with dump offs to RB Kevin Faulk and slants to Wes Welker. 

Expect the Jets to do the same with screens to  speedy RB Leon Washington and slants to Chansi Stuckey (64 yds 1 TD against Houston) . In addition, the Jets will look to highlight the loss of Mayo by using TE Dustin Keller (4-94 yards against Houston) in the middle of the field. The team that handles pressure better and can get to the opposing teams' QB will of course have the edge.

2-Ryan vs Belicheck. We've all heard the bravado  coming from the mouth of rookie head coach Rex Ryan. It's rubbed off on the team already. The Jets have  a swagger and a personality not seen here in a decade. How that translates into sound game planning for the Pats is another story. Ryan will be tested early in the game and often. Few make better halftime adjustments than Belicheck as well. The Pats HC is one of the best game day coaches of all time. Ryan doesn't have to match him, but he HAS to live up to his words and maintain the aggression he talks about.

3-Sanchez vs Brady. The rookie with the Broadway Joe intangibles: The looks, the flair, the leadership, the skills. This an assessment of the "San-chize" after just one NFL game under his belt. 

The future hall of famer Brady with his super model wife Gisele and the 4 Super Bowl rings. The matchup can't get anymore more Hollywood than this. As with Ryan,  Sanchez doesn't have to outplay Brady but he has to show that he belongs on the same field as him.

 If it's tied late, the edge will go to the experience and late game abilities of Brady. Ryan has to devise schemes that force Brady to throw on the run, where the rust and effects of coming off of a knee surgery could give the Jet secondary some chances to make some big game changing  plays.

Drew Brees Watch-By Jon Wagner for Football Reporters Online

Brees-ing Past Marino's Mark?

FRO's 2009 Drew Brees Watch-By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at large-Football Reporters Online

One year after passing for the second most yards (5,069) in an NFL season, only 15 yards behind Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards in 1984, New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees is again poised to take aim at Marino's record. FRO follows Brees' prusuit of Marino each week, throughout the season:

Average Passing Yards Brees Needs In Remaining Games To Pass Marino: 315.067

Week Day, Date Opponent Result Score COMP ATT TD INT Yards Yards Remaining
1 Sun, Sep 13 vs Detroit Won 45-27 26 34 6 1 358 4,726
2 Sun, Sep 20 at Philadelphia
3 Sun, Sep 27 at Buffalo
4 Sun, Oct 4 vs NY Jets
5 Bye
6 Sun, Oct 18 vs NY Giants
7 Sun, Oct 25 at Miami
8 Mon, Nov 2 vs Atlanta
9 Sun, Nov 8 vs Carolina
10 Sun, Nov 15 at St. Louis
11 Sun, Nov 22 at Tampa Bay
12 Mon, Nov 30 vs New England
13 Sun, Dec 6 at Washington
14 Sun, Dec 13 at Atlanta
15 Sat, Dec 19 vs Dallas
16 Sun, Dec 27 vs Tampa Bay
17 Sun, Jan 3 at Carolina