Thursday, May 06, 2010

Lawrence Taylor arrested: was Taylor set-up?

A 16-year-old runaway girl who was forced into prostitution and her pimp, a a 36-year-old parolee named Rasheed Davis, have claimed that NFL Legend and Dancing with The Stars star Lawrence Taylor raped and assaulted the girl in a suburban Suffern, NY hotel room.

It's sad news for a man who this blogger had just seen at the 2010 NFL Draft, when NFL Legend and 49ers Wide Receiver Jerry Rice joked to me that he'd "better go because LT is coming." LT wizzed by announcing that his golf game was "just fine."

That was two weeks ago.

Now, Lawrence Taylor isn't acting like he's in Dancing with The Stars or on the golf course; he's playing defense again. Defending himself in what reads to be a fishy story.

Reportedly, Taylor paid $300 to be with the girl Wednesday night. In turn, she was staying with Rasheed Davis, who was sending her out for paid sex. Prostitution. The girl reportedly said that she was beat up by Davis and then made to go to Taylor's hotel against her will.

On CNN's Larry King Live, Lawrence Taylor's wife planned to appear to publicly express her support for him. But, perhaps because she was advised not to do so, she cancelled almost at the last minute.

Through his lawyer, Lawrence Taylor claims he never had sex with the girl or "anyone" or assaulted her. He's vigorously fighting the charge. The best word for L.T. is if he's able to say he never even saw the girl or called a prostitute. He hasn't said that, which is a flag for concern.

Bail was set at $75,000. L.T. paid the bail and walked free today.

It just shows that anyone who has a name has to be careful who they keep in their orbit. The main question is did Taylor know or have any contact with these people at his hotel? I hope for his sake, he didn't. His lawyer says the case will be dismissed. I hope so.

It's OK to be a snob. There are people out there who are so screwed up they live for the downfall of others and that could have been what Rasheed Davis was trying to do - extort Taylor.

Rasheed Davis is in jail now, booked for being a pimp and for assault. The girl ran away from home and allowed herself to be in the company of Davis, a very bad man.

Stay tuned.

Jamarcus Russell: Oakland Raiders release poorly coached quarterback

JaMarcus Rusell
The Jamarcus Russell era may be over before it started. The Oakland Raiders released the poorly-coached young quarterback today, saving $6.45 million in base salary, making it easier to afford the $4.5 million hit from signing Jason Campbell away from the Washington Redskins.

But in releasing Russell, the Raiders gave up on what some are calling the biggest draft bust in history. That tag, however, is very unintelligent because Russell just came to the league in 2007. Let's look back.

In 2007, the Raiders Drafted Jamarcus Russell and before they selected him there was a big splash about his size and talent. The choice for the Oakland Raiders was between Russell and then-Notre Dame Quarterback Brady Quinn, who's stock had risen after a very good performance at the NFL Combine. At the 2007 NFL Draft Luncheon at Chelsea Piers, Russell said he'd heard "nothing" from the Raiders. The word around the NFL Draft was that the Raiders were set to take Quinn.

To everyone's surprise, the Raiders took JaMarcus Russell. I felt then and now that Russell was the better choice. JaMarcus has the rare combination of size and speed. He's the best talent to run a short passing game designed around his abilities.

Note, short passing game.

The Raiders under Lane Kiffin inserted Russell into an offense not designed for him and at that incredibly inept in it's function. On one particularly memorable play, the Kiffin-led Raiders asked Russell to call a weakside bootleg out of I-Formation against the Denver Broncos and while the Broncos had an obvious blitz called to that weakside.

Russell was slammed to the turf, and walked off the field with a "why did you do that to me?" look. The Offensive Coordinator? Greg Knapp.

Then the Raiders fired Lane Kiffin in a series of exchanges worthy of a TV movie, and Al Davis asked Tom Cable to take over and took Knapp's play calling duties away from him. Then in 2009, Ted Tollner and Paul Hackett were brought in to be Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach, respectively. But the Raiders, impatient with JaMarcus Russell, adopted the habit of pulling him from games in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, who faired only slightly better than Russell.

Then, this year, the Raiders hired Hue Jackson and brought in Jason Campbell. But with that, Russell was still participating in minicamps before being released, which means the action may very well be a cost-cutting move and not an effort to get rid of Russell.

But that does not cloud the fact that JaMarcus Russell has been the victim of poor and inconsistent coaching. Poor in the lack of a system of thinking about the passing game and a way of coaching it. Inconsistent because four men in three years have been responsible for the Raiders passing game, rather than just one, and if you count the head coaches, that's six men in three years. That's an outrage.

Yes, we've all heard the stories about Russell's alleged lack of interest in the game. People have called him lazy. And after blog post after blog post, even this space was fed up with what was coming out about J-Russ and his love for his "bling" and lashed out.

I got after Russell about being too caught up in earrings and minks; now I'm getting after the Oakland Raiders Organization for being just plain inept in how it handled Russell. This is what the Raiders should have done:

1) Sat down and on a clean sheet of paper developed a whole new offense specifically designed for Russell, then expanded that system. If I had done it, this is how that offense would have looked:

A) Philosophy - It's important to have an overarching idea of why we do, what we do. In this case, our view is that we use the offense to stretch the defense in such a way as to create holes to both run through and pass into. We will emphasize three, four and five-receiver sets, shifts and motion. We will use the pass to set up the run, not the other way around.

B) Formation Design - We will employ the most unusual sets ever in football: receiver clusters, "assymetric" formations where four receivers are on one side of the ball, and standard formations but with receiver in the backfield. We will use the shotgun most of the time.

C) Play Design - We will employ the "timed" way of passing that was developed by the late coach Bill Walsh, where steps, footwork and ball placement are at the center of how we teach the passing game. Our offense will consist of both running and passing plays out of the shotgun, but we will use standard formations more often in the red zone. 
The play calling language will be based on the standard terms used in the Bill Walsh / West Coast Offense, but using the passing number concept because it's easy to remember. Formations will be called by color names: red and green being the standard split back set; black and white being the standard shotgun sets. Running back hole numbers will be left is odd, right is even.

D) Passing Game design - The passing system will have up to three receivers in order of first, second, and third. Most of the time the receiver patterns will be grouped in a way such that the quarterback only has to read one side of the field, and not the whole field. Often, the primary receiver will run a deep pattern and the second receiver will be the one that goes behind or is caused to be open by the deep receiver. Many of our plays will be quick passes: one-step or three-steps if the quarterback is under center 
We will employ play-action off receiver reverses and that will be a primary part of our offense. The quarterback will run roll-out, sprint, and bootleg passes in addition to drop back passes.

Our intent is to design plays where the receiver is obviously open. This will call for a large number of plays of very unusual design, some will say we're a "trick play team" - so be it. We will not use the Wildcat, because it's not a logical part of our philosophy, but we will not rule out developing something that may look like it, but be more in tune with our passing-oriented system. Translation: receivers and running backs will throw.
E) Running Game Design - The running backs will be used to exploit holes created by our formations, shifts and motion.  We're not a "smash mouth" team; we emphasize speed in our running attack.  Quick pitches (seldom seen in the NFL), off-tackle runs, dives to take advantage of defenses where there's no middle linebacker, reverses using receivers, quarterback runs, and draw plays will be our standards. 
F) Performance Expectations - Our objective is to complete 65 percent of our passes, throw for 350 to 450 yards a game, and rush 20 times for 120 yards.  But we will use the pass to control the clock and lengthen the game if we're behind. We will expect but not allow or coach for one interception a game and actually have an offensive and defensive contingency plan for the turnover. We will work to score at minimum 24 points a game.

I could have written more and expanded this into a book, but you can see where I'm headed. What I described is a full offensive system. You know why we're doing what we're doing and what we're trying to accomplish on offense.

I'll bet the Oakland Raiders have had nothing like this. If they did, JaMarcus Russell would have been a more engaged and more successful quarterback. No one would be calling him an NFL Draft bust.

Stay tuned.

The mayor won't cut NYPD post by Suzannah B. Troy

The mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, a man  many consider the developer's mayor, not the peoples', has come to his senses, in the dollar and sense nightmare of an economic meltdown and massive lay-offs and cuts to come and the NYPD are no longer on the chopping block.

Could you imagine if there was an APP on your phone to report suspicious packages, vehicles, etc. like the MTA ad campaign that the hero t-shirt vendor, Viet Nam Vet, Lance Orton actually quoted and followed to the T.  It would be faster than 911 and you can send photos or in the case of the car parked in time square even run you phone over the registration code in the window like traffic ticketing police do.  There is an APP for everything on state of the art phones these days, why not one for fighting terror attacks? 

That is good to hear but the bottom line is the NYPD is the smallest it has ever been in NYC's history policing the largest NYC population ever so we don't need cuts but we also need more NYPD and high tech equipment with the tech- training to accompany preventing further terrorist attacks here in NYC.

Last night Notify NYC, the text messaging program I signed up for reported, "Due to police activity the RFK/Tri-Boro Bridge is closed in both directions.  This morning I read in The New York Daily News that the police where investigating an abandoned u-haul.  Drivers reported seeing a man flee.  The Bomb Squad responded and X-rayed the u-haul and it was empty.

The NY Daily News has more background information on the Time Square Bomber and like the WTC bombers he had his share of disappointments and anger over U.S. policies in the middle east but as I recall the bombers that carried out suicide missions were upper middle to wealthy and had problems with women and spent their last night in a strip club.  Shahzad the Time Square Bomber never intended to blow himself up and it is clear he did not come from poverty but also comfort.  He is married and has a young daughter and The Daily News says they are possible in protective custody.