Friday, September 25, 2009

Green” Zone troubles continue to haunt Big Blue-By Dr. Bill Chachkes Football Reporters Online


“Green” Zone troubles continue to haunt Big Blue-By Dr. Bill Chachkes Football Reporters Online
(Photo: Coach Tom Coughlin must continue to search for answers for the Giants lack of scoring Touchdowns inside the 20-By A.F. Chachkes for F.R.O.

It’s been an Issue since the last year or two of the Jim Fassel era. Every other team knows about It. The Giants have issues scoring 6 points from inside the 20yard line. Why?

They have so many players that can produce offensively that It’s sickening. They should be averaging over 35 points per game instead of 27. QB Eli Manning still has quality Receivers and Tight Ends to catch the ball. No one really misses Jeremy Shockey anymore either since Kevin Boss came into his own. So then why can’t Big Blue get more love inside the 20? With Steve Smith and Mario Manningham emerging as legitimate downfield threats, and the depth behind them beginning to contribute as well, we have to begin to look at the play calling.

If Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride and QB coach Chris Palmer (who have both been coaching a very long time) have to know that they need better scoring production. Every other NFL defense knows Brandon Jacobs is coming on second and short and third and short situations. Like the playoff game last year, when Brandon Jacobs was pyle-driven to the ground on several short yardage situations, the entire free world knew when he was running between the Guards Sunday night.

If Eli would be allowed to freelance a few more play fakes every game the defenses would have to run a little less “8 men in the box” alignments and keep a few more defensive backs In the game on the short yardage situations. This would open up the corner routes and the crossing routes from the 25 yard line and in, and at least give the Giants a few more chances to score six instead of three points.

You can argue with me all you want that the Giants receivers are not that skilled yet, but Manningham looks like “White Shoes” Johnson when he “tight-ropes” up the side lines, and Smith runs a better down and in then Bobby Johnson ever did. Ok so Toomer and Burress were taller then most Receivers and Burress created mismatches everywhere he ran to on the field. But it was Toomer’s leadership ability that New York misses the most right now. But, the lack of a veteran presence in the Receiver corps has not stopped their growth as players. So again, why are the Giants only averaging 26 points per game?

I have come to the conclusion that It Is less an Issue with the players then it is with the play calling. Until the Giants diversify their Offensive Game plan to use all of their skill players equally, they will “telegraph” their every move to the opposing defenses, and you will see lots of scoring left on the field.

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE Top Five NFL Performances Week 2 by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online

FRO's FAVORITE FIVE
Top Five NFL Performances
Week 2
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online

#5: MAGIC TRICK NUMBER ONE

The NFL can be a funny league. In their season opener, the Oakland Raiders likely should have won but let a game get away against San Diego. A week later, the Raiders probably should have been blown out in Kansas City, yet found a way to win late, despite being thoroughly dominated by the Chiefs. Consider some statistics… First Downs: 25-11, Chiefs; Rushing Yards: 173-67, Chiefs; Passing Yards: 236-99, Chiefs; Total Yards: 409-166, Chiefs; Time Of Possession: 38:39 to 21:21, Chiefs. Now, consider: Raiders’ quarterback Jamarcus Russell finished 7 of 24 for just 109 yards, only 4.5 yards per attempt, with a 46.0 passer rating. For more than 58 minutes, the Raiders scored just 6 points on a couple of field goals, and Russell was 3 for 17, for 42 yards on the afternoon. At this point, any reasonable football follower would be saying, “Come on, now, the Chiefs won easily, right?” Nope. In some sort of football wizardry, the Raiders managed to be within 10-6 when they got the ball at their own 31 yard-line with 2:30 to play. Despite three Raider penalties from that point, Russell went 4 for 7, for 67 yards, engineering a 9-play, 69-yard drive capped by a Darren McFadden 5-yard touchdown run with 1:07 left in the game, to give Oakland a most improbable 13-10 victory.

#4: A RELENTLESS ANTWAN ODOM

Entering the season, Cincinnati defensive end Antwan Odom recorded 15.5 career sacks in four years with the Tennessee Titans and one season with the Bengals. In 60 minutes against Green Bay, Odom had nearly one-third as many sacks, dominating the Green Bay Packers’ porous pass protection for a team record-tying five sacks in the Bengals’ 31-24 victory at Green Bay. Odom took advantage of Packers’ starting left tackle Chad Clifton’s injury. Odom had four of his five sacks after Clifton left the game. How good was Odom’s day? Well, consider that Odom, who leads the NFL with 7.0 total sacks, had more sacks on Sunday than any other player in the league has over the first two weeks combined.

#3a: CHRIS JOHNSON’S RUNNING AND RECEIVING and…

Since two different running backs had outstanding games on Sunday, it was hard to pick just one without giving both their due. And, since this is technically FRO’s Favorite FIVE, let’s just divide the third best performance into a 3a and a 3b, starting first with Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson. Although it came in a Titans’ 34-31 loss to Houston, Johnson had a fantastic day as a dual threat, not only rushing for 197 yards on just 16 carries, for a 12.3 yards per carry average, but also catching 9 passes for 87 yards, finishing the day with 284 total yards. Okay, cue the special infomercial music… But wait, there’s more! Johnson also scored on three long touchdowns: Johnson’s 57-yard touchdown run gave the Titans a 7-0 first quarter lead; his 69-yard touchdown reception, also in the opening quarter, put Tennessee up 14-7; and his 91-yard touchdown burst up the middle of the field, gave Tennessee a 31-24 with 9:53 left in the third quarter. All worthy of perhaps the top spot on this list, except for the fact that there wasn’t much more after that. Those were Tennessee’s last points of the day as the Texans pretty much shut Johnson and the Titans’ offense down over almost the final 25 minutes of the game. Still, Johnson did more than enough over the first 35 minutes to be one of FRO’s top performances of the day.

#3b: FRANK GORE JUST RUNNING WILD

Now for the other great rushing act on Sunday… When a running back runs for 159 yards in the NFL, he had a good day. When he does that on just two carries, taking one for a 79-yard first-quarter touchdown run to give his team a 10-0 lead, and another on the first play of the third quarter for an 80-yard touchdown to put his team up 20-10, and then he adds another 48 yards throughout the game, to finish with 207 yards on just 16 rushes, that’s an amazing day. That was 49ers’ running back Frank Gore’s day in first place San Francisco’s 23-10 victory over Seattle. Fueled mostly both those two big touchdown runs, Gore finished the game with an extremely efficient 12.9 yards per carry.

#2: MAGIC TRICK NUMBER TWO

Whereas the Raiders’ magic trick was almost in spite of themselves, the Indianapolis Colts pulled off an opposite, yet even more amazing feat, making the most of the very limited time they had the ball. What odds would you give a team trying to win on the road on Monday Night Football if you knew that team would be given the ball for the equivalent of just one quarter to the home team’s three quarters with the ball? Well, maybe those odds would be better if you knew the road team was led on offense by Peyton Manning. The Miami Dolphins used their wildcat (actually, more of a slow, methodical pacing kitten) offense to run 84 plays to the Indianapolis Colts’ 35, while rushing for 239 yards and controlling the clock for 45:07 to the Colts’ mere 14:53. Holding the ball for two quarters less, while running 49 fewer plays? No problem for Manning and the Colts, who scored two fourth quarter touchdowns, to beat Miami 27-23, in an historic game in a few different ways. For Manning, it was the 37th time in his career that he led a comeback win in the fourth quarter or overtime. It was also his 119th career victory, moving him past the great Johnny Unitas and setting the franchise record for most wins by a Colts’ quarterback. But, perhaps most significant, and what makes the Colts’ win FRO’s second best moment in Week 2, was that the Colts possessed the ball for the least amount of time for a winning team since the NFL began keeping time of possession statistics in 1977. A football magic trick indeed.

#1: KURT WARNER’S NEAR-PERFECT DAY

We’ve seen many times how good Kurt Warner can be, but never as close to perfect as was in Jacksonville, in the Cardinals’ easy 31-17 victory on Sunday. Helping Arizona to a 31-3 third-quarter lead, Warner connected on his first 15 passes, en route to setting an NFL record for accuracy in a single game, completing 92.3 percent (24 of 26) of his throws for 243 yards, while throwing for two touchdowns and avoiding any interceptions or sacks. Warner didn’t complete a pass for more than 22 yards, but he spread the ball around to nine different receivers, six of those, for at least 13 yards apiece. Yet another way the former arena league star has etched his name into the NFL history books.
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JETS FACE A TRAP GAME AS THE DESPERATE TITANS COME TO TOWN by TJ Rosenthal-Contributing Writer(Ny Jets Coverage) Football Reporters Online

JETS FACE A TRAP GAME AS THE DESPERATE TITANS COME TO TOWN
by TJ Rosenthal-Contributing Writer(Ny Jets Coverage) Football Reporters Online



Few would've thought the biggest goal of the Jets in week 3 would be to avoid a let down. This for a club with a rookie Quarterback and a Defense whose star LB Calvin Pace is out until week 5 due to violating league policy. Yet avoiding a let down is exactly what the Jets must do this Sunday at home against the desperate 0-2 Tennessee Titans. Surprising wins at Houston and over hated rivals the New England Patriots have the Jets residing all alone in the AFC East Penthouse.

The Jets own the only defense in the NFL after two weeks that has not let up a touchdown yet. QB Mark Sanchez has shown in a small two game body of work, that he can make some big throws and not wilt under blitz packages and mope after mistakes. The Jets receivers corps led by TE Dustin Keller, and WR's Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, the biggest  Jet question mark going into opening day, has done a solid job holding onto throws and making the most of their opportunities.

 This has allowed the Jet running game of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington the chance to get going, which the duo have done, albeit after two slow starts in the first halves of both games. The story of this team can be summed up in one word though: Attitude. It's a word that past Jet teams could rarely be described as owning. The 69 Jets had it. The Sack Exchange Jets of 1981 had it. The 1998 Bill Parcells had it. Other than that? Hmmm... Rest assured however, the 2009 version, led by brash head coach Rex Ryan has plenty of it. 

The Jets so far this season have talked the talk and walked the walk. Even the recent controversy regarding tampering with unsigned 49ers WR Michael Crabtree has left us with yet another chest thumping Ryan quote. The son of former defensive guru and loudmouth himself, Buddy Ryan, called San Fran's charges that the Jets were up to no good,"ridiculous" adding that he "wished we were playing them." The fearlessness of the Ryan is permeating down to the players. They get the message.

 The Jets are 2-0 and in sole possession of first place in the AFC East today through a combo of Ryan's swagger, a punishing attacking defense led up front by LB Bard Scott, David Harris and run stopping king NG Kris Jenkins, and the  poise of the young Sanchez. Whether the club is ready to handle championship style consistency in taking on a hungry Titans squad remains to be seen. For this very reason, Sunday is a big early test for Gang Green.

Tennessee has had a rough start in '09. They first  lost a tough road game in OT, 13-10 to the World champion Steelers then fell to Houston 34-31 in week 2 despite RB Chris Johnsons' 197 yd 2TD performance.  Starting 0-2 for the franchise that was 13-3 and held home field advantage in 2008 (before a shocking playoff loss to the Rex Ryan led defense of the Ravens 13-10 in the divisional playoffs), was not part of the plan for coach Jeff Fisher; a well respected head coach who currently owns the longest tenure in one place in the NFL ( Fisher was head coach when the Titans were still the Houston Oilers back in 1994). For the Titans, week 3 is as close to a must win as there can be this early. Starting out 0-3 is a hole that is often to deep to dig out of.


Three keys to the game:

Jets NG Kris Jenkins vs Titans C Kevin Mawae

The former Jets center during the Bill Parcells era is the key to the Titans ground game. A ground game that saw Chris Johnson break a 91 yard TD run on his way to 197 yard performance against the Texans. Jenkins is a killer and is playing at a high level for such an early point in the season. If Johnson and bruiser Lendale White want to excel on Sunday, Mawae better be able to move Jenkins. If not , Titan QB Kerry Collins may be faced with the unenviable position of having to pick up third and longs against the free for all Ryan will surely be sending his way.


Jets pass protection against Titans pass rush:

The Titans have still not adjusted to the free agent loss of defensive line stud Albert Haynesworth. Yet the pass rush led by Kyle Vanden Bosch and veteran Javon Kearse can still cause havoc. The pass rush needs to be kept away from Sanchez by the gelling O line of D'Brickshaw Ferguson, Damien Moore, Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca. this in order to to allow Sanchez him time to find a receiving corps that has been a pleasant surprise. CB Cortland Finnegan is a tough physical shut down CB who makes plays on the ball so expect the Jets to stay away from his side if at all possible as well.


Rex Ryan vs complacency:

Championship teams win the TRAP games: games that occur after big, tough, emotional wins. Rex Ryan has a tough task in keeping the energy high for a franchise that historically, can't enjoy prosperity. So many times under so many coaches , the Jets have taken their foot off the gas at the wrong time. As desperate as the Titans are, if Johnson can be contained, it could be a field day for the Jets defense on Collins. He's a solid veteran quarterback with an improved receivers corps in speedy Nate Washington Rutgers rookie Kenny Britt, to go along with Justin Gage, but Collins is no Tom Brady. Pressure that produced hurries and inaccurate throws from Tom Terrific last week,  will turn into sacks and turnovers this wee.k As long as the Jets can stay motivated like they have been these past two weeks. Sunday is a Trap game for the undefeated Jets, one of the early surprise teams in the NFL in 2009.

Under A New Direction, Are The Jets About To Soar? By Jon Wagner-Sr. Writer at Large-Football Reporters Online


Under A New Direction, Are The Jets About To Soar? By Jon Wagner-Sr. Writer at Large-Football Reporters Online
(Photo-Jets Superfan Captain Jet HAs Plenty to be happy about these days-Photo by A.F. Chachkes for F.R.O.

New York Jets fans have waited patiently for a long time –- through the past 40 seasons to be exact –- for a chance at another Super Bowl title, ever since Broadway Joe and his Jets fulfilled Joe Namath’s guaranteed upset of the powerhouse Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Since then, the Jets at times, after failing to produce a single winning season throughout the 1970’s, have had some flashes of success: four playoff appearances in the 1980’s, a couple more in the 1990’s, and four more in a span of six years, between 2001 and 2006. There were also the division championships in 1998 and 2002, and the Jets’ last appearance in a conference championship game in 1998.

Over that time, the Jets, a few times, thought they had the leadership they needed to eventually produce more championships. There was the attempt of pairing Bruce Coslet with Boomer Esiason after the two shared success together in Cincinnati. The Bill Parcells and Vinny Testeverde era then gave some hope, as did the Chad Pennington seasons which followed. And finally, there was the Eric Mangini and Brett Favre union, which through eleven games last season, had Jet fans talking realistically about an NFL championship –- that is, until it all fell apart over the Jets’ final five games of the 2008 season, leading to the Jets going in yet another direction with both their head coach and quarterback.

And still, no other Super Bowls for the Jets since that famed game in 1969.

So, it’s with trepidation that only two games into the Jets’ latest head coach/quarterback era, that Jet fans are ready to say that the leadership of current head coach Rex Ryan and Jets’ quarterback Mark Sanchez will become the magic combination that ultimately produces what Jets fans have been seeking for the past four decades.

After all, when things looked good for a short while under Mangini, both Jet fans and the media alike tagged the Bill Belichick disciple with the “Man-genius” moniker. It wasn’t long before that label gave way to much less flattering names.

However, just one preseason and two regular season wins into 2009, there already appears to be a real future for the Jets. It may not be this year, or even next, but it seems as though the Jets are finally in good hands.

The NFL is a quarterback’s league and a head coach’s league, particularly when that head coach understands how to win with defense first.

Sure, there have been previous Super Bowl winners that had good, but not dominant defenses, and yes, there have been others that have won with only a mediocre quarterback. And, of course, it takes many different facets of a roster working together to be a champion in the NFL.

But, for the most part, championship-grade success in the NFL has been predicated on solid leadership at perhaps the two most key areas: the head coach and his quarterback.

Just ask the combination which has stood in the Jets’ way for years in the AFC East, the aforementioned Belichick and his field leader, Tom Brady –- which is why their loss on Sunday to the Jets’ with Ryan and Sanchez now at the helm, the first time New England lost to the Jets at the Meadowlands since 2000, could be symbolic of the future of the AFC East.

Sanchez hasn’t been spectacular by any stretch in his extremely young career thus far, but he’s already proven to be an adequate NFL starter with a lot of poise, a great work ethic, and perhaps a lot of talent and upside as well.
Ryan meanwhile, seems to really get it. In his short time in New York and as an NFL head coach, he’s already changed the culture of Jetville and ingratiated himself to the New York media and to long suffering Jet fans. That’s no easy task in your first full season, let alone just two weeks into that season. Most of all, Ryan has brought what wins, to New York –- tough, aggressive, hard-nosed, yet smart and efficient play, from his coordinator days with the Ravens in… ironically, Baltimore (given the city of the team the Jets beat for their only other Super Bowl title).

No one has a crystal ball. For the sake of Jets’ fans and the Jets’ franchise, it won’t take another 40 years before Jets capture that second championship, though we never know.

One thing though, already seems apparent. With the new Ryan-Sanchez era underway, Jet fans may be envisioning as bright a future for their team as they have since the last time the Jets won what their fans have been waiting for ever since.

Seymour Leads a New and Improved RaidersTeam By The Gambler [J.Gamble] Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online

Seymour Leads a New and Improved RaidersTeam
 
By The Gambler [J.Gamble] Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online
 
It’s hard to move on. It’s even harder when that move is from the Whitehouse to the Crazy House. Just ask former Pats Defensive Lineman Richard Seymour. On Sept. 6, Seymour, who spent the first eight years of his career with New England, was traded to what has been NFL abyss the past decade – The Oakland Raiders.
 
The move took Seymour by surprise. Sort of like those blindside hits he delivered on opposing quarterbacks as a Five-time Pro Bowler and key cog in The Patriots three Super Bowls. He never knew anything but winning. Loyalty.  Humble effectiveness. On-field leadership. All of the qualities it was reported the Raiders are lacking. Seymour must of felt like a friend of mine Sean Harris, an American citizen, who was recently taken from his fiancĂ©’ and daughter and illegally deported to Jamaica. Scared. Disgusted. Angry. Discarded like a sub-human.
“I didn't understand what was going on, Seymour said at a press conference at the Raiders headquarters. “ So it's like when something happens, you have to step back and realize what situation you're in."
 It’s understandable that he balked at the notion of going to Oakland. He probably even contemplated retirement for a moment. Seymour never expected his potential Hall of Fame football career with The Pats would end with him being pushed out the door foot-to-butt for a 2011 first –rounder.  Seymour claims personal family issues and a “procedural” issue with an NLPA grievance filed on his behalf, delayed his reporting to the Raiders. He says he called Al Davis and Tom Cable and told them he wanted to wear the silver and black.
 
Reports insist, however, that he was very unhappy with the trade. And who blames him? Geesh.  Talk about culture shock.
 
Oakland had to send a threatening letter insisting that he report within five days or risk being placed on the reserve/left squad list, which would stop Seymour from playing for any team in 2009, and consequently prevent him from achieving free agency until he played out his contract in 2010.
 
Then, all of  a sudden the wisdom of 1,000 sages hit Seymour, and he reported. Not really, but this is what happened. Once he came too and picked himself off of the floor, Seymour’s wife reminded him that there are still bills to be paid around here. Second, Seymour has always been a warrior and a leader.  He also loves the game of football. He realized there are worst things he could be doing than getting paid millions to pound quarterbacks heads into the dirt. Instead of letting the hard-feelings fester, Seymour is using his championship experience and locker room leadership to give Oakland the winning edge it has lacked.
 
“I’m aware of the [negative] things they say about the organization, "said Seymour, in a local radio interview, “I haven’t seen that.”
 
Tom Brady provided Seymour with a front-row view of  perfection at the QB position.  Seymour says new QB JaMarcus Russell has star-potential as well. “He has the qualities to be a leader,” said Seymour. “ He has an abundance of talent. But we know talent doesn’t get it done in this league.”
 
Seymour’s positive attitude resulted in two sacks and six tackles, nearly leading the Raiders to an opening-season win against the Chargers. Even in defeat, it was evident Seymour’s presence electrified a Raider defense that held LaDanian Tomlinson to 55 yards rushing and knocked him out of the game.
 
Since its Super Bowl run in 2002, Oakland has had the worst run defense in the NFL, allowing 141.7 yards per game on the ground and 122 touchdowns rushing TD’s.
 
Seymour has altered those startlingly poor numbers with his boisterous play and subtle leadership. In Game 2 Oakland rode the back of its defense again, defeating Kansas City 13-10.  
 
This week Oakland looks forward to a big division game against Denver [2-0]. Oddly enough, people are giving the Raiders a shot in this game. Seymour and the gradual maturation of Russell are the reasons.
 
Seymour is the veteran leader who knows what it takes to win. Russell’s the young super-talented signal caller, looking for a coming-out-party location. The combo my equal signature victory for a down-trodden Oakland franchise, looking for a come up.
 
“The team has to be committed to winning and improving,” said Seymour. “ [If we do that ]… this is a team to be reckoned with.”
 
 
 

Is Kurt Warner Done? Hardly! By J.P. Fox-Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online

Is Kurt Warner Done? Hardly! By J.P. Fox-Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online

When Kurt Warner led the Arizona Cardinals to the playoffs with a 9-7 record last season, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth declared them the worst playoff team in the history of the NFL. The team had the 19th best defense in the NFL and they also held the title as the worst rush offense in the league, so who could really blame him? But, as we all know the story of Kurt Warner already, having him on your side certainly doesn’t hurt your chances in big games. Warner showed that all throughout the 2009 playoffs, leading Arizona to their first Super Bowl berth in franchise history. In doing so, he put the Arizona Cardinals on the map in the football world, and gave Cardinals fans the hope that they have deserved all throughout the teams history.

                The Cardinals had three 1,000 yard receivers last season in Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston. And to aid the worst rush offense in the NFL, the team added Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells in the draft to a Tim Hightower-featured backfield and rid themselves of the aging Edgerrin James. But the whole offense will be dictated by the play of Kurt Warner. Warner put up huge numbers at the age of 37 and the team excelled in the playoffs as Warner capped the improbable playoff run by throwing four touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles en route to the Super Bowl. Even though he couldn’t lead the Cardinals to a Super Bowl victory, Warner is the franchise right now. No matter how old he is, the team will go as he goes.

As a free agent after the Super Bowl, Warner proved his loyalty to the franchise that gave him another shot by accepting less money from Arizona than from the San Francisco 49ers. Shortly after signing the two year contract extension, Warner had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, something that bothered him at the end of last season. But with his hip now repaired, Warner is poised to lead the Cardinals back to the playoffs and even back to another Super Bowl.  Already having 3 Super Bowl appearances on his resume helps Warner in his Hall of Fame bid, and adding a fourth is certainly not out of reach. He proved he can lead an “average” team to his third.

Kicking off the season at home against the 49ers, Warner couldn’t lead Arizona to a win. He could only manage a 67.2 passer rating against a weak 49er defense. Warner also walked off the field holding the thumb on his throwing hand. Warner has been slowed by numerous injuries in his career but has always rebounded positively from them. And if his week two performance in Jacksonville is any indication of the near future, Warner doesn’t look like he is ready to slow down any time soon. With a 92.3% completion percentage, he broke the NFL’s single game record for that category, going 24 of 26. He focused on short to intermediate routes and was extremely accurate in doing so. It looked like the Kurt Warner that all football fans have been used to.

The Cardinals have the 27th most difficult schedule out of all NFL teams, which makes it very possible to win plenty of games, having only 5 of 16 games against playoff teams. Ridding themselves of Edgerrin James and adding the younger Beanie Wells should help the Arizona running game, which will take a lot of pressure off of Warner. Having the threesome of wide receivers that Arizona has only sets up Warner for success. If the defense can hold up and play decently, the running game can improve on last year’s statistics and the passing game can stay as lethal as last season, I believe that the Cardinals can win their division for a second straight season and make another run at a NFC title. But again, it all depends on Kurt Warner’s health and how productive he can be with all of the weapons he has. If he stays healthy and can stay on the field for a full 16 game season, something he’s done only 3 times in his career, the Cardinals will have a chance to make it back to back seasons in the playoffs for the first time since the 1974-1975 teams.

FRO's Results Rankings 2009 NFL Season Week2 By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large-Football Reporters Online

FRO's Results Rankings
2009 NFL Season Week2
By Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer At-Large-Football Reporters Online

While there are many power rankings out there based as much on hype, expectations, and sometimes unrealized projections, at Football Reporters Online, we 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 doesn’t tell you much. Instead, here are FRO's Results Rankings:

Week 2

#1 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2-0 Last Week: #5
The Saints proved that it wasn’t just the level of competition (against Detroit) last week, as they throttled what is supposed to be a good defense in Philly. Drew Brees has thrown for 669 yards, 9 TD’s, and only 2 picks, while New Orleans’ 93 points is second only to the 1968 Oakland Raiders’ 95 points over the first two weeks of an NFL season.

#2 NEW YORK JETS 2-0 Last Week: #2
Opening on the road against a likely playoff contender, and playing against another team which still figures to be a Super Bowl contender, the Jets are the NFL’s only defense to not surrender a touchdown, while starting with a pair of impressive conference wins on the strength of an attacking defensive scheme which Rex Ryan brought over from Baltimore.

#3 NEW YORK GIANTS 2-0 Last Week: #9
The Giants continue to struggle in the red zone (or green zone, if you Tom Coughlin), but in spoiling the Dallas Palace debut, Eli Manning proved once again that he’s at his best in two-minute drills, and he may have found the numbers 1 and 2 options he was seeking in Mario Manningham and Steve Smith. Big Blue is sitting in good position heading to Tampa after already posting a couple of NFC East wins, one of them, on the road.

#4 BALTIMORE RAVENS 2-0 Last Week: #10
After a generally unimpressive win against the Chiefs at home (despite rolling up a franchise record 501 yards), the Ravens looked good in holding off a late “Charge” in San Diego to go 2-0. It says something about your team when you can travel out to the west coast, Phillip Rivers passes for a career-high 436 yards to your quarterback’s 190, and you can still win a fairly high-scoring game, 31-26. Baltimore may be more versatile in finding different ways to win, than their preseason blueprint for success originally suggested.

#5 MINNESOTA VIKINGS 2-0 Last Week: #6
The Vikings can thank the schedule maker for two easy road wins (at Cleveland, and at Detroit) to get out of the way before they unveil their Favre era at the dome they call home for the first time (in a game that counts). Still, Minnesota took care of business and won fairly easily for the second straight week, scoring 27 straight points in Detroit after spotting the Lions a 10-0 lead.

#6 ATLANTA FALCONS 2-0 Last Week: #7
The Falcons have taken advantage of beating up on a pair of 0-2 teams (Miami and Carolina) at home. Week 2 was already a little tougher than Week 1, but so far, Matt Ryan has picked up where he left off last year (in fact, he’s been a little better). Michael Turner got going against Carolina and future hall of famer Tony Gonzalez has already been a factor for Atlanta.

#7 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 2-0 Last Week: #11
Staking an early claim as perhaps the team to supplant Arizona as the new team to beat in the AFC West, the Niners’ formula of tough, solid defense, and either QB Shaun Hill or RB Frank Gore making enough big plays, had them earning two wins against the only other real contenders in the division, including one on the defending AFC West champions’ home field.

#8 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 2-0 Last Week: #17
Garcon… oh, Garcon? Could you please serve Peyton a 48-yard touchdown catch and give him his 37th game-winning comeback (in the fourth quarter or overtime), making him the Colts’ all-time winningest quarterback? Thank you, Garcon. Peyton should be giving you a big tip for that one. Indianapolis thus far, has been the protype of the fine line that is the NFL. If not for that late Peyton Manning-to-Pierre Garcon hookup, and a failed Jaguars two-point conversion a week earlier, the Colts might be looking at 0-2 instead of 2-0.

#9 DENVER BRONCOS 2-0 Last Week: #18
Really? The Denver Broncos at number 9? Like it says above, this list is based on results, not on November or December projections. Until they prove us wrong, it’s hard to knock the Broncos’ 2-0 start. Is Cleveland bad? Sure. Did Denver get a huge lucky play in the final seconds against Cincinnati? Absolutely. But, 2-0 is 2-0, and the Broncos are one of only nine undefeated NFL teams remaining (already, after just two weeks!), allowing a league-low 13 points. At this point, the Broncos might be wishing they can play all of their games against teams from the state of Ohio.

#10 DALLAS COWBOYS 1-1 Last Week: #8
Against the Giants, Tony Romo once again, proved he’s still far too mistake prone in big games before the Cowboys can be considered serious contenders in the NFC. Dallas now has it’s shiny new football museum to play in, but it may house mediocrity this year. On the plus side, any time you allow 450 yards off offense and still win by 13 (as Dallas did at Tampa Bay), or come within a last-second kick of beating an NFC Super Bowl contender (in the Giants) despite losing a turnover battle 4-0, it suggests there’s enough to your team to overcome your problems and win enough games later in the season to be in the playoff hunt.

#11 PITTSBURGH STEELERS 1-1 Last Week: #4
A pair of makeable fourth-quarter left hooks by the usually reliable Jeff Reed prevented the defending champs from starting 2-0 in Chicago, but the Steelers’ bigger issue is that they’re still having problems getting RB Willie Parker going. Until they do, they will sometimes struggle to score points –- of which they have only 27 in eight quarters and a few minutes of overtime thus far.

#12 BUFFALO BILLS 1-1 Last Week: #15
Buffalo should really be a surprising 2-0, but they couldn’t finish what they built for nearly a whole game in New England. However, the Bills got their first win, looking strong in a relatively easy bounceback win over winless Tampa Bay, behind RB Fred Jackson’s 163 yards on 28 carries.

#13 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS 1-1 Last Week: #16
Doesn’t it seem that the Chargers play close games every week, every year? They could easily be either 2-0 or 0-2 so far this season, so 1-1 is probably about right. The Chargers stole a game in Oakland despite being outplayed by the Raiders. On the flip side, they were in good position to rally past the Ravens late, but came up short thanks in part to a terrible play call. You run for 53 yards on 20 carries all day, your quarterback has a career-high 436 yards, and down 5, 4th-and-2, from your opponents’ 15 yard-line, in the final minute, you decide to run the ball up the middle only to get stuffed for a game-ending 5-yard loss by Ray Lewis? Really? Throw the ball there and you might be up closer to where the Ravens are, and they’re the ones down near number 13 on this list.

#14 CHICAGO BEARS 1-1 Last Week: #21
The Bears could easily be 2-0 with a tough schedule (at Green Bay, vs. Pittsburgh) so far. Cutler was solid against the Steelers (especially on a final game-winning drive) and this time, he avoided the mistakes (no picks against Pittsburgh) that he was prone to in Green Bay (4 INT’s). The Bears got a break with Reed’s two missed field goals, but they capitalized, and you can’t fault them for that. Good win after a gut-wrenching loss to the Cheeseheads.

#15 ARIZONA CARDINALS 1-1 Last Week: #22
Okay, so the Jaguars are bad, but a nice bounceback rout in Jacksonville, traveling to the east coast, after letting the opener get away at home, in the desert. Warner was nearly perfect against the Jags, setting an NFL record for accuracy against the hapless Jags.

#16 CINCINNATI BENGALS 1-1 Last Week: #27
Now, that was more like it. After a bad offensive performance against Denver, the Bengals scored as they were expected to this season, posting 31 on the Packers. Meanwhile, their defense repeatedly introduced Aaron Rodgers’ to the Green Bay turf.

#17 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 1-1 Last Week: #1
No McNabb, no excuse. Donovan doesn’t play defense. The Eagles were ranked at the top of this list after their defensive dominance in Carolina. As good as the ‘D’ was there, that’s how bad it performed against New Orleans. Hence, the drop from the top spot all the way to a middle-of-the-pack number 17 ranking.

#18 HOUSTON TEXANS 1-1 Last Week: #30
Like several other 1-1 teams mentioned above, the Texans are another team to turn it around nicely after a horrid Week 1 effort. Houston was a trendy preaseason playoff pick this year, but an 0-2 start would have dealt a decent blow to that prediction. Not to worry… for now. After getting nothing against the Jets at home, Houston lit it up for 420 yards in Tennessee, getting Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson on track. The problem is, they also allowed 449 yards to the Titans, 240 on the ground –- something they’ll have to fix soon to stay a legit playoff contender.

#19 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 1-1 Last Week: #3
The Seahawks quickly learned the difference between a joke divisional game at home against the Rams and a real AFC West game at first place San Francisco. Of course, losing QB Matt Hasselbeck to a fractured rib before halftime in Frisco, didn’t help.

#20 GREEN BAY PACKERS 1-1 Last Week: #12
High preseason hopes for the Packers and Aaron Rodgers have quickly given way to concern for a Green Bay team which is fortunate to not be 0-2. Rodgers, the Packers’ offensive line (10 sacks allowed), and their defense have all been less than impressive at different points over the first two weeks.

#21 TENNESSEE TITANS 0-2 Last Week: #13
The Titans, preseason Super Bowl challengers, suddenly face a must-win Week 3 situation against the resurgent Jets after opening with a pair of heartbreaking three-point losses. The Titans are doing some things right (especially RB Chris Johnson), but they couldn’t score much in Pittsburgh when their defense played well, and then, when they got the offense going, they couldn’t stop Houston from scoring. If the Titans can’t put it all together soon, Tennessee may quickly see very high expectations turn into a season of disappointment.

#22 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 1-1 Last Week: #14
With a healthy Tom Brady back, the Patriots were supposed to be storming out of the gate. Not so fast. They’re lucky they’re not 0-2 both overall and within their own division. Only a late Buffalo collapse (you cold say, even just one Bill’s fumble) saved New England from that, before Brady and the Pats’ were then bashed and bullied by the Jets’ aggressive defense, in managing just three field goals at the Meadowlands, the first time in 37 games that New England failed to score a touchdown.

#23 WASHINGTON REDSKINS 1-1 Last Week: #24
Raise your hand if you’re breathing a huge sigh of relief after taking the Redskins in your knockout pool (official disclaimer: FRO does not officially condone gambling of any kind). When you win and you only go from number 24 to 23, you must have not been all that impressive. Bingo. After losing to the Giants, Washington evened their record, but in ugly fashion, failing to put the ball in the end zone in a weak 9-7 victory over a Rams team that got crushed by a team from a different Washington (as in the state, not D.C.) a week earlier.

#24 MIAMI DOLPHINS 0-2 Last Week: #29
How can you posses the ball for three quarters to your opponent’s one quarter and still lose at home on Monday Night Football? Ahh, the overhyped Wildcat. Successful? Yes, to a point. But, as Miami showed, when you’re not explosive, the wildcat can lead to very long, methodical, time-consuming drives that yield little on the scoreboard. The Dolphins were much better than they were in Atlanta, but the end result was the same.

#25 OAKLAND RAIDERS 1-1 Last Week: #20
Being far more impressive in a loss to San Diego than they were in a win in Kansas City, the Raiders actually go down 5 spots after their first victory. Somehow, after choking away a game they should have won at home against the Chargers, the Raiders managed to win a different divisional game on the road, in Kansas City, that they had no business winning. Oakland was thoroughly dominated by the Chiefs until Jamarcus Russell, who had been awful, put it together on one last drive to eek out a 13-10 win and get to 1-1.

#26 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 0-2 Last Week: #23
The Chiefs hung in nicely in Baltimore without Matt Cassel, before ultimately losing by a couple of touchdowns, but how do you outgain a team 409-166 at home and lose 13-10? Somehow, a strong game produced an awful results, and the Chiefs deserve to be 0-2, and due to a strange scheduling quirk, that could become 0-6 if they’re not careful. Kansas City suddenly join the NFC East for the next month, playing a Philadelphia, hosting the Giants and Cowboys back-to-back, before traveling to Washington.

#27 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS 0-2 Last Week: #19
The Jaguars are only ranked up here instead of down near the bottom because they pushed the Colts to the brink in a 14-12 loss in Week 1. It has nothing to due with their poor game against the Cardinals in which they fell behind by four touchdowns and looked lost dealing with Kurt Warner, who picked them apart with the precision of some type of quarterback surgeon.

#28 ST.LOUS RAMS 0-2 Last Week: #32
The Rams climb out of the cellar with a much better effort in the nation’s capitol than they gave in Seattle, but a league-low seven (you know it’s low when it’s still grammatically correct to spell it out) points in two games is downright embarrassing. Marc Bulger is averaging just 4.9 yards per pass attempt. Ouch.

#29 CAROLINA PANTHERS 0-2 Last Week: #31
The Panthers are very much in the Titans’ boat, though they’ve looked worse so far, in getting there. Like Tennessee, Carolina was a popular pick to be a playoff contender to perhaps go far, before starting 0-2. And, like Tennessee (at, the Panthers also face a must-win Week 3 game on the road. It’s going to be tough to get that first victory with the Cowboys seeking their inaugural win at the Dallas Palace on Monday Night Football. Jake Delhomme took much better care of the football in Atlanta than he did against the Eagles, but the Panthers have allowed an alarming 66 points, be it due to their defense not performing up to expectations, or the offense giving opponents a short field.

#30 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 0-2 Last Week: #25
34-21 loss to Dallas, 33-20 loss at Buffalo. See a pattern? Maybe a 32-19 loss to the Giants? The Bucs allowed 462 yards to the Cowboys and 438 yards to the Bills. That’s 450 per game, second only to Houston’s 455.5 yards allowed per game. Tampa Bay just doesn’t have the firepower offensively to keep up with numbers like that, so if they don’t start stopping the opposition at least a little bit, it’s going to be a long year.

#31 DETROIT LIONS 0-2 Last Week: #26
After getting smoked by Drew Brees and the Saints, the Lions looked good for about 25 minutes and had a surprising 10-0 lead on the Vikings before it all fell apart as Minnesota scored the next 27 points. Detroit has allowed a league-high 72 points. That’s not exactly the way you want to compliment your offense and your number one pick and quarterback as he learns on the job.

#32 CLEVELAND BROWNS 0-2 Last Week: #28
Other than a meaningless touchdown with 28 seconds left against Minnesota, the Browns offense has not been able to get the ball in the end zone. Their defense has kept them in both of their games by halftime, but both of those losses turned into second-half blowouts. Overall, the Browns, as a whole, have showed the least of any team over the season’s opening two weeks.

AFC South Week 2 By Rafael Garcia Sr. Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online Southeast Reg


                                                     AFC South Week 2
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
 
Houston 34 Tennessee 31
 
As the teams prepared for this game each knew that this would be a pivotal game. Yes it’s early but this was a divisional game and the team that won this one would take a big step forward and the loser a step back. Each team was trying to avoid going into a 0-2 hole and it was the Texans that came out the victor. It started well for the Titans as running back Chris Johnson scored twice in the first quarter. The first score was a beauty as the Titans were facing third and 19 and wondering what play to call. They decided on a draw and Johnson took it to the house showing his blazing speed. The next one was a thing of confusion, beauty and pure speed. Johnson was split wide left and noticed that no one was wide enough on defense. Kerry Collins noticed the same thing too and called a quick count snap. He got the ball to Johnson and with nobody near him he was off to the races. It was 14-7 and the Titans looked well on their way to a rout. No sooner than the second quarter started they were at it again. At the 12-minute mark Collins hit wide receiver Nate Washington from 8 yards out and it was 21-7 Tennessee. This is what the Texans were trying to avoid all week long. They talked about keeping their mistakes to a minimum and here they were in a hole helped out by their own mistakes. There was still time though and they had to decide if they were going to stand toe-to-toe with Tennessee or give in early. They chose to stand and fight and a great game ensued from there. Now it was Tennessee’s turn to make the mistakes that would eventually cost them the game. On their next drive Houston would close the gap. Titan cornerback Nick Harper and free safety Michael Griffin bit on the run and were burned by WR Andre Johnson’s 72-yard scoring catch. Just over a minute later QB Matt Schaub hit Jacoby Jones from 29 yards to tie the game. A field goal followed and the Texans had just scored 17 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game. Rob Bironas finished off the first half scoring tying the game with two seconds left in the half. So now the Texans had showed the Titans they could play with them. That they could push and shove back and not be intimidated by their long time foes. The third quarter would provide more drama when Chris Johnson took a handoff from the Titan nine and went left. Before you knew it he was in the open field and there was nobody that was going to catch him. 91 yards later he had scored his third touchdown of the game and it put his team up once again. Still Houston would not give in as they drove 65 yards on 11 plays to tie the game at 31-31. Now the stage was set for a dramatic finish between these two divisional teams.  After two punts by each team Houston got the ball with just over seven minutes left and moved the ball 63 yards on nine plays to take a 34-31 lead. There was still time left for Tennessee to tie or win the game. So with less than two minutes left Collins took the snap and felt the pressure coming. He took a step into the pocket to avoid Amobi Okoye’s rush and then inexplicably dropped the football. Defensive lineman Jeff Zgonina picked up the fumble and sealed the win for Houston. The Titans had their chance and gave it away but it was not the only reason they lost. The defense could not get the job done on this day. They allowed Schaub too much time to hit his receivers. He finished 25-39 for 357 yards and a career high four touchdown passes. Andre Johnson had 10 catches for 149 yards and two scores. This game showed that the Titans are adjusting to life without Albert Haynesworth. They do not have that run stopper and the secondary was unusually soft. They have plenty of work to do and going into a 0-2 hole in their division puts them seriously behind the eight ball. As for Houston, well it was a win but they cannot rest here. They must learn from their own mistakes as well. They allowed Johnson to run wild on them as he had 16 carries for 197 yards and added nine catches for 87 yards more. Kerry Collins was 21-33 for 216 yards and two touchdowns but his fumble late cost his team a chance for the win.
 
Arizona 31 Jacksonville 17
 
Last week the Jags had trouble playing a team within their division and this week they were at home and made it a record day for Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner. He was 24-26 for 243 yards and two touchdowns, had a passer rating of 131.2 and completed a single-season record 92.3 % of his passes. The pass rush never showed up for the Jags and Warner took full advantage. He completed passes to nine different receivers and got help from Jacksonville when they had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown. On top of that Arizona was able to run as well averaging over four yards a carry. Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew had 13 carries for 66 yards and four catches for another 17. That will not get the job done when you give your star player only 17 touches for the game.  So the Jags start off 0-2 and will look for answers as they face Houston and Tennessee the next two weeks. Warner was able to throw right and left as well as short or long. He had no turnovers and was never sacked. The Cardinals had a 24-3 lead at the half and stretched it to four touchdowns later. As for the Jags, well let’s just say, they were awful. Quarterback David Garrard was in desperation mode most of the game. He was sacked four times and fumbled three other times. His line gave him little or no protection and players were blaming each other after the game. They must take responsibility one by one and as a whole. It will take so much more for them as coach Jack Del Rio find his hold on the job weakening. It’s early but time will not wait for the things this team needs to do to compete.
 
Indianapolis 27 Miami 23
Someone please explain to me how you lose a game in which you control the ball? A game you dominated for most of the night? The Miami Dolphins found a way to give a game away on Monday night. Everything was working to perfection starting with the Wildcat. Running back Ronnie Brown had a huge game as he found hole after hole to gain 136 yards on 24 carries to go with two scores. Quarterback Chad Pennington hit receivers to complement the running game. The Dolphins kept Peyton Manning and the Colts offense off the field for most of the game and yet they managed to win. If that was not enough Miami had the ball for just over 45 minutes and still could not win. One thing for sure this game shows that Manning still has what it takes to move his football team even with new weapons at his disposal. He showed that he could make the most of his opportunity even when his time on the field is limited. He turned two short passes into touchdowns with some heads up route running by TE Dallas Clark and wide receiver Pierre Garcon. The defense was on the field most of the game but when they needed to make a stop they made it. Manning finished 14-23 for 303 yards with two touchdowns, as he made the most of the few chances his offense got. So the Colts are 2-0 when they could be 0-2 with a few twists and turns. Either way they proved that their man behind center could still move an offense at will and it will take much more to knock Indy of its high horse.

NFC South Week 2 By Rafael Garcia Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online Southeast Region


                                    NFC South Week 2
 
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Southeast Region
 
 Atlanta 28 Carolina 20
This was another one of those divisional games that would set the tone for the rest of the season. Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme had to regain his confidence and the Falcons were trying to start 2-0 for just the seventh time in team history. Falcon QB Matt Ryan got his team off to a good start and took his team into the locker room with a 21-13 lead at the half. He showed that he is maturing with each game and is starting to take control of the offense as opposed to managing it. He finished 21-27 for 220 yards three touchdowns and one pick. At one point he was so in the zone he completed 13 consecutive passes. It was also the first time in his young career that he threw for three scores in the first half. The Panthers were determined to stop running back Michael Turner but he still managed to get 105 yards on 28 carries. Meanwhile Delhomme got his groove back as he went 25-41 for 308 yards and one touchdown. His big mistake came with just over two minutes left in the game. Chris Houston intercepted his pass that was intended for Steve Smith and then with one last chance his hail mary was knocked away with time running out. So now the Falcons take their show to New England and a chance to put the Pats at 1-2. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Ryan who played his college ball at Boston College.
 
New Orleans 48 Philadelphia 22
Well so much for containing Saints quarterback Drew Brees. After throwing for six touchdowns last week Brees came back with another three. It resulted in another 40-point game for the Saints and another big win. He finished 25-34 for 311 yards with a pick. Brees showed that at this point he is the most prolific passer in the game right now. It was as if he could do whatever he wanted when he wanted to. He hit receivers across the middle and hit them long. The game was close enough in the first half as the Saints held a 17-13 lead. In the third quarter things opened up for the Saints when Ellis Hobbs fumbled the kickoff and Chris Reis recovered it at the Eagle 22. Two plays later it was 24-13 New Orleans. Scott Shanie picked off Philly quarterback Kevin Kolb on the next possession and that led to another score. Now it was 31 -13 just like that and the air was taken out of the Eagles. The questions about backup Kolb were answered for at least one Sunday as he went 31-51 for 391 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. With McNabb out again head coach Andy Reid will once again turn to Kolb to start next week. So the Saints take their highflying act to Buffalo next week and they do not look like they will be slowed down. Brees is hitting receivers on short passes and they are turning them into big gains. He is hitting his long passes with receivers in stride. The running game is working as well. Now the defense needs to step it up as they have shown that they can give up the big play too. If the “D” can pick it up this Saints team could go deep into the playoffs this year.
 
Buffalo 33 Tampa Bay 20
When the two teams took the field Sunday they looked evenly matched. By the end of the first quarter the Bucs appeared to be overmatched in this one. They allowed Bills running back Fred Jackson to scorch them for 163 yards on 28 carries as their front seven were consistently shoved back by the Bills offensive line. They let them get into a rhythm that produced 220 yards passing and 218 rushing. A balance they cannot allow if they wish to compete with the rest of the NFC South. Yet there was some good production by some in a losing effort. Quarterback Byron Leftwich wasn’t too bad in going 26-50 for 296 yards and three touchdowns. He did make mistakes as well throwing an interception to Donte Whitner who ran it back 76 yards for the score. He was forced to play catch up all day after his team fell behind 17-0 after just one quarter. The running game, that was so successful thus far, produced little to nothing. Cadillac Williams was held to nine yards and the team as a whole managed just 57 in a game dictated by the passing game. The defense gave up 438 yards of offense to Buffalo as Trent Edwards went down field more often than usual. With the game still in hand the Bucs let Terrell Owens get open for a 43-yard touchdown that sealed the win for Buffalo. Now the Bucs fall to 0-2 and find themselves in hole early in the year. Their defense must make their adjustments and Williams must get the running game in gear. Leftwich needs to look down the field a little more and not rely on the short pass as much.  Being in the same division as New Orleans and Atlanta does not give them a lot time to fix things. Next week they have the huge task of trying to stop the New York Giants run machine. A 0-3 hole looks likely if they cannot right this ship during the week.

Naomi Sims, first black supermodel, died of breast cancer at 61; opened doors

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Wow, what a year for the passing of people who formed our modern culture. From Michael Jackson and Farrah Faucett to Naomi Sims, the World's first black supermodel. She passed away of complications due to breast cancer last month at just 61 years old.




By being the first black supermodel, Naomi Sims ironically opened up modeling and the fashion industry for a wider range of women regardless of race. Today fashion and modeling are so much a part of our mainstream culture that BARE Magazine has achieved much success as a college-run fashion magazine at UC Berkeley.



Naomi Sims is the focus of this blog and of a renewed push for breast cancer fundraising and awareness.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 but thanks to a then-new drug called Femara, she's still doing very well. On October 1st, she turns 75 years old.

Michelle Malkin sends crazy right-wingnuts to attack Zennie

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As I predicted conservative blogger Michelle Malkin played right on cue and sent her band of readers, some of them (not all of them) crazy right-wingnuts, to my first blog post to write all kinds of really ridiculous stuff. 

And I've received some really nutty emails as well.  At least some of them got my name - Zennie Abraham - right, even as they've made every other mistake in the book and issued insults and lies too.  One person wrote that I worked for Elihu Harris and I'm currently his economic advisor and he's the Mayor of Oakland.  Wow, that' was so ten years ago. 

Really. 




I love Michelle, awesome blogger business person, I just happen to hold that she's too conservative to see the light of reality, that's all.

As I said, it seems ok if it's a white Republican POTUS and the kids are worshiping a carboard cutout, but if it's a President Obama song and the kids were celebrating Black History Month, as was the case in New Jersey, she's got a real problem.

Michelle,  great you are, but what do you have against Black History Month? 

Baucus' Finance Committee delays "public option" vote

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus of Montana, has delayed the vote on the "public option" until next week. Possibly in part because the Congressional Budget Office has notified Congress that tethering a public option to Medicare reimbursement rates would save the government $110 billion as reported earlier here. That more savings than even the original "public option" proposals by leveraging a system that's already in place.

Or maybe it was partly a reaction to the reprehensible, fear-mongering mailer from Humana to senior citizens on Medicare. Whatever the causes, as the bills stand now, people can not opt out but are stuck with what their employer offers, an obvious nod to big insurance companies which threatens portability while protecting their profits. There are lots of ways to improve the bill, and fiscally responsible ways to reform health care and health care payment systems in the USA.

You now have more time to get those emails sent and be heard.
Senate Finance Committee
Democrats
Republicans
MAX BAUCUS, MT
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV
KENT CONRAD, ND
JEFF BINGAMAN, NM
JOHN F. KERRY, MA
BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR
RON WYDEN, OR
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY
DEBBIE STABENOW, MI
MARIA CANTWELL, WA
BILL NELSON, FL
ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ
THOMAS CARPER, DE
CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA
ORRIN G. HATCH, UT
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME
JON KYL, AZ
JIM BUNNING, KY
MIKE CRAPO, ID
PAT ROBERTS, KS
JOHN ENSIGN, NV
MIKE ENZI, WY
JOHN CORNYN, TX
It's clear there's no "perfect" system, and there's big money riding on keeping things "as is," but despite the money-hungry spin from fast-talking pundits playing free and loose with the facts, despite the 6-to-1 ratio of health care lobbyists to members of congress, and despite the rampant misinformation campaigns, one thing has become obvious to even the most casual observers:

There is lots of room for improvement in the current scheme.

We've got to concentrate on finding a fairer way to distribute the costs while controlling the expenses. The good news is: the benefit of any and every improvement will flow to you, and me, and our community - no matter if you think of community as the neighborhood, the city, the country, or the planet. And now you have just a little more time to make that point with the members of the committee.

Do it now...

...then Digg this post!

Ellen DeGeneres tweets makes UC Berkeley place to be - but for a sexy strip down?

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Yesterday's giant UC Berkeley student, worker, and teacher walkout protesting the planned tuition increase and the privatization of Cal was aided on Wednesday by the tweets of the always interesting Ellen DeGeneres of The Ellen Show, who's Twitter account has over 3 million followers (I'm one of them)

(Hey, it's Follow Friday! Follow me on Twitter!)

Ellen DeGeneres started with this:

Are you in Berkeley, California? Are you near Berkeley? Can you get to Berkeley by tomorrow? Then keep following my Tweets. 6:41 PM Sep 22nd from web

Then...

Tweet to UC Berkeley: Students, faculty, honored guests, keep studying my Tweets. There's gonna be a test today.11:30 AM Sep 23rd from web

And then...

People of Berkeley: Go to Sather Gate NOW. First 10 to whisper MUFFIN to Aaron get a Samsung Jack phone & are in the running 4 a huge prize.

Finally...

Followers in Berkeley, Californian the games over for today. Thanks for playing and keep watching my TWEETS.6:46 PM Sep 23rd from web

And today...

You saw my tweets to the UC Berkeley students yesterday -- today find out what I made them do! They had to bare it all. http://su.pr/2N2oUP

The person who stripped down in the ASUC Store got a prize.



Video:



Ok. Once again, Ellen's shown the power of Twitter, but in the process managed to give the impression that students were just hanging out with nothing better to do. In the video that appeared on the show there's no mention of the issue that was to take place the next day.

Plus, there's no tweet from Ellen expressing support for the protesters or the students - many of whom are followers of Ellen on Twitter - who are being squeezed by the cost to get an education.

What did Nicholette get for being in the buff in the ASUC? A $1,000 and a trip to see The Ellen Show. Man, for all that Ellen could have made a bigger statement by paying for her semester at Berkeley!

Samsung may not have wanted to get involved in a political statement as the sponsor of this tweet stunt, but given that students need money to buy their products, Samsung missed the boat here. Moreover, Ellen DeGeneres has enough juice to have talked them into something more productive than was done Wednesday.

Like what? Well she could have driven followers to the UC Student Walkout website for them to "get educated" on the issue and how it impacts students.

Tom Hayes: The profit motive is great, but...

There was a time when the concept of community was strictly geographic - in practical terms, what happened to people who directly affected your chance of survival was what mattered. Money and technology have profound ramifications for how we see communities and how they function.

We're all utterly interconnected.

Here's an overview, with excerpts, of the recent article, "Communities of Interest" describing the debate over health care insurance reform from a moral and community perspective at the Actualizers blogsite:

In the richest, most technologically advanced nation in the world, the United States of America, we are debating the merit of extending health care coverage to tens of millions of our closest friends and neighbors by making it affordable. Tens of millions of American citizens have no health care insurance.

Yet, rather than examine the successes in other countries and adopting their best practices, big business interests in this debate are spending millions of dollars every day (collected from health care premiums) to influence the men and women in Congress, who are sorely outnumbered by the lobbyists. It's a travesty - a sham - that makes a mockery of the alleged reliance on free markets to insure efficiency and improvement of goods and services.

One way or another, we pay.  One way, with only some of us insured, we not only pay for the costs of treating the uninsured, including potentially their bankruptcies, we also pay 8-digit salaries and bonuses to CEOs and lobbyists who profit from rising costs that have outstripped inflation for three decades.  Those costs do get spread across the area where the insurers do business, of course.
There's certainly no "perfect" system, and there's big money riding on keeping things "as is,"  but one thing has become obvious to even the most casual observer:
There's lots of room for improvement in the current scheme, for finding a fairer way to distribute the costs while controlling the expenses, and the benefit of improvement will flow to you, and me, and our community - no matter if you think of community as the neighborhood, the city, the country, or the planet.
The "profit motive" is great. It brings consumers choices for fair trade coffee, and tea parties, and "out-of-season" blueberries, and Blackberries™, and a veritable plethora of choices for our transportation, wardrobes, and more. It also brings the cost of MRIs down in Japan, by orders of magnitude when compared to what we pay in the USA - why is that? Because we've let the system of paying for health care mimic a competitive market, and fallen for the eristic rhetoric that preserves the profits of these gargantuan companies, sometimes operating as virtual monopolies. In practice it's not possible for a consumer to make a real, let alone well-informed choice, about health care costs or insurance.

The Congressional Budget Office has notified Congress that tethering a public option to Medicare reimbursement rates would save the government $110 billion! That's more than even a "public option" in which the government has to negotiate rates with doctors and other health care providers, which the GOP seems so opposed to. There are LOTS of ways to improve the bottom line -- but the bottom line is:
It's time to get the profit motive out of health care insurance.

Michelle Malkin's silly, baseless, "Obama Dear Leader" witch hunt

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UPDATE: Malkin sends crazy right-wingnuts to attack Zennie

Michelle Malkin's being silly and I'm gonna have a lot of fun!




The idea that conservatives - or those who choose to follow what I call a "couch potato conservative" line as if they were Star Trek's "The Borg Collective" - have been mean, biased, misguided, and silly in the Age of Obama is proven every day in ways large and small.

Michelle Malkin, who brands herself a conservative blogger, has just shown a new way to present conservative silliness: picking on little school kids and teachers who make up songs about President Obama.

Man, this is about as bad as the birthers, and I've said a bunch about them...



Poor Michelle got herself in a fit because a teacher at B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington Township, NJ had her students make up a song about President Obama.

I mean, Michelle got really upset about the matter. Why? It's not like the town is Republican; it's over 50 percent Democrat and the way the GOP's going that 46 percent claiming to be for them is going to shrink for sure.

Plus, from what I've seen the kids didn't go off and complain. And Michelle's right about someone saying "Hey you're reacting because its kids of color so you're being a bit racist there" because she is being just that. Really. She is. So stating it was a good idea even if it doesn't soften the intellectual blow that's coming.

Why do I make that claim?

First, why in God's name would Malkin link to every conservative flack on the block about this matter, and uh, second, forget that in 2006 school kids were instructed to make up a song praising FEMA and its work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and then sing it directly to Laura Bush!

I'm serious! Stop laughing. Check the link above.

So these kids - none of color by the way - were brainwashed to think the government did a great job in "restoring" Louisiana after Katrina when it point of fact almost 1/16th of America was socially and economically devistated and FEMA did nothing to provide meaningful relief in a timely fashion.

Yet, Michelle Malkin's whining about a harmless song about President Obama, who took over an American Economy wrecked by George W. Bush, including a Louisiana that's a shadow of its former self in the wake of Katrina.

And speaking, er, writing of President Bush, what about the "Jesus Camp" where kids were worshiping a cardboard cutout of good old Number 43? Ah, didn't see it? I've got it right here for ya:



Now I'd bet Michelle would say, "Aww, that's so cute!" Why? Because the kids are white and its George Bush? Yeah, right. And so there's the racial problem - she can ignore singing if its done by white school kids praising a white Republican President, but if the subject's America's first black President, she gets really mad.

Oh, brother.

Michelle, please. Come, on. Will ya? You've got no choice here; no cherry picking. Either accept them all, or denounce them all.

I told you I was going to have fun!