Fantasy Football News

Friday, May 25, 2012

True or False: "Window of Opportunity Closing" in Dallas?

On Tuesday, during the owners meetings in Atlanta, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones claimed in an interview that he believes his team's window of opportunity (to win a Super Bowl) is closing.

He stated that his players are in the prime of their careers and will need to start winning soon.

Now, is it just me, or is that complete B.S.??

Has he lost his mind, or has he just lost all confidence in his team's ability?

I mean, yeah, sure, Dallas has struggled over the past several seasons, winning just one postseason game during the Tony Romo-era (1-4 in four postseasons since 2003) and posting a combined 14-18 record over the last two regular seasons.

But if anything, Mr. Jones should be excited about the coming season and have nothing but hope and positive vibes coming from the Dallas front office. Five of eight losses in 2011 were by six points or less, and had they posted a better division record (2-4) they could have easily found themselves atop the NFC East and in the postseason this past season.
Tony Romo was back to his elite form for a majority of the season in addition to a fantastic rookie performance from the third round pick DeMarco Murray before he went down with a season-ending injury in a Week 14 matchup with the Giants. With his 164 carries, the 24-year old Murray accumulated 897 rushing yards and two TDs, allowing the offense to be two-dimensional.

Romo, 32, and wideouts Miles Austin, 27, and Dez Bryant, 23 are in the prime of their careers right now. Well, technically Bryant's is just taking off, finishing his second professional season with a 928 yard-9 TD season in 2011. Tight end Jason Witten (79 receptions, 942 yards, 5 TD) continues to be one of the top receiving tight ends in the game.

On offense, Dallas will be just fine. I really don't see them having too much trouble keeping up with the offenses in the East, including defending champion New York Giants. As long as Romo limits his mistakes, we could see a high-flying/scoring offense in Dallas this season.

As for the defensive unit, the front office designated linebacker Anthony Spencer as the franchise player, locking him up for at least another season after his 51 tackle, 6.0 sack season. All Pro linebacker DeMarcus Ware completed his sixth consecutive double-digit sack season (19.5 in 16 games), further proving why he's the top pass rusher in the game.

When you add the highly underrated inside linebacker Sean Lee in to the mix, you get one of the most dangerous linebacking corps in the league. Lee, 25, led the team with 69 solo tackles and four interceptions this past season.

Jay Ratliff anchors a defensive line that ranked seventh against the run last season, allowing 4.1 yards per carry and under 100 yards a game.

It was the secondary that gave Dallas a hard time in its 2011 campaign, but the front office did what they could to address that issue so far this offseason. The aging, inconsistent cornerback Terence Newman was released on March 13 (later to be signed by Cincinnati) and will be replaced with sixth overall draft pick in April, Morris Claiborne, out of LSU.
Claiborne will make an immediate impact and hopefully assist a defense that ranked in the bottom half in forced turnovers last season.

In all, Dallas has plenty of youth on its roster to compete not just this season, but in the next 4-5 seasons. Why Jerry Jones felt the need to publicly announce his skepticism, and possibly add unneeded pressure to his squad, is beyond me.

If one thing's for certain, it's that there will be no shortage in drama (once again) for the Dallas Cowboys this season. Drama seems to follow Mr. Jones every where he goes. Personally, I think he secretly enjoys creating it.

Answer to the question: No, Jerry!
Note: I do not own any of the above images

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Putting An End to the Term "Tebowing"

We've all seen it–and if you haven't then you clearly haven't watched enough NFL games in your lifetime.

There are plenty of spiritual players around the league that made it a habit of taking a knee either before the game starts, or even to celebrate and say a few words to himself after a touchdown. Yet it seems that now any time a players sinks down to one knee he is simply "Tebowing."

As a life-long NFL follower, I would like to take this time to put an end to all of this talk. This has been going on long before Tim Tebow's days, even before his University of Florida playing days.

I am not questioning Mr. Tebow in any way, I would just like to get my point across: getting down on one knee and saying a prayer or two before, during or after a game is not just a Tebow thing. Just because a player doesn't make as big a deal out of religion as Tim does not mean he is not a religious person.

Prayer is a big part of the game, and always will be. It all starts in peewee and high school football when the coach will instruct all of the players to gather around in a circle, take a knee and holds hands while they say the Our Father or Hail Mary in the locker room prior to a game. If a player is badly injured on the field and is being taken out in an ambulance, more often than not both teams will gather around and pray while on the field.

I have watched Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger take a knee and say a few words to himself before games for at least a couple years now. I think the biggest difference is there aren't 10 cameras around him while he's doing it, unlike Tebow.

I have heard far too many fair-weather or casual fans say "oh, look! He's Tebowing" when a player takes a knee and it has started to bother me enough to force me to write this rant piece.

So please, I am begging you...next time you see a football player (of any level) taking a knee and saying a few words to himself, whether it be pre-game or during a TD celebration, please just let him pray in silence. No need to yell "HEY, he's TEBOWING!"

In fact, let's just do away with the term altogether. Maybe one day Tim will set records and win a Super Bowl, that way we can refer to "Tebowing" as the act of throwing touchdown passes. But who knows if we'll ever get to that point in time.

But for now, no more Tebowing.

Thank you,

An annoyed blogger
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Need proof? Here's plenty of hard evidence of the action below (I do not own any of the images)...






Thursday, May 17, 2012

Top Six Performances by a Rookie Running Back

With rookie minicamps taking place in the last couple of weekends, I thought it'd be fitting to do a couple of posts surrounding rookies. I've compiled a list of the top six most memorable single-season performances by a rookie running back in the past decades.

Here's what I came up with (listed in chronological order)..

Gale Sayers, Chicago Bears, 1965

Sayers, one of the most durable backs this league has ever seen, had a short-lived career (just seven seasons in Chicago). But there's no doubt he was productive coming out of the backfield for the Bears. In his rookie campaign, Sayers ran the ball just 166 times while splitting carries with Jon Arnett, but he accumulated 867 yards, giving him a 5.2 yards per carry average.

Sayers put the ball in the end zone a combined 22 times (14 rushing, six receiving, 1 KR, 1 PR). In 14 games, Gale compiled 1,374 yards from scrimmage. The yardage doesn't seem like much in today's standards for a running back, but given he had just 195 touches throughout the season.
George Rogers, New Orleans Saints, 1981

Selected first overall in the 1981 draft by New Orleans, the South Carolina alum wasted no time proving he could keep up with the big boys. In 16 games that year, Rogers posted nine 100+ yard games in addition to three multi-TD games on his way to a league-leading 1,674 yard season.

His 13 rushing touchdowns proved to be one of his two double-digit TD seasons, as he went on to play six more years with New Orleans and the Washington Redskins before stepping away from the game following the 1987 season due to lingering injuries.

Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams, 1983

Throughout his 12-year Hall of Fame career Dickerson won the rushing title four times, including his rookie season in L.A. In his second season he became just the second player to join the 2,000 yard club (there are six members now), but it all began with his 1,808/18 TD rookie campaign.

Rushing for an average of 113 yards/game in 16 games with nine 100-yard games, Dickerson quickly became the league's most dangerous runner.
Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions, 1989

Speaking of dangerous runners, next we have Barry Sanders being selected third overall in the 1989 draft, just six years later. Barry's rookie season wasn't quite as productive as Dickerson's 1,800 yards and 18 TDs, but he sure as hell did more with less. Dickerson also happened to lead the league in attempts (390), but Barry managed 1,470 yards and 14 TDs on the ground with just 280 carries, good enough for 5.3 yards/carry.

The most dangerous runner this league has ever seen didn't get much help from his Detroit offensive line, either. If you watched him play, he was always running for his life. The opposing defense would line up, knowing for certain that #20 was getting the ball, and they still couldn't stop him. His numbers weren't as dazzling as some of the other guys on this impressive list, but the results are just as good, if not better.

Clinton Portis, Denver Broncos, 2002

Now, I'm not gonna lie. Before I started my research for this list I didn't realize just how spectacular Portis' opening season was. With even less carries than Sanders, Portis (273 attempts) broke 1,500 yards with 15 TDs in Washington. His 5.5 yards per carry average tied his career-high (he also averaged 5.5 the following year in 2003).

Portis was not named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster that year, and started just 12 games, but considering he was drafted in the second round (51st overall) out of Miami, I don't think he was really expected to produce as much as he did. So kudos to you, Mr. Portis.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings, 2007

Of course you know I had to have at least two modern-day backs on this list, and Adrian Peterson A.K.A. "AP" A.K.A. "All Day" had to be the second one. This past season was the first time in his five-year career that he missed the 1,000 yard plateau, and that was simply because he played just 12 games. His rookie campaign wasn't a full season either, yet he made the most of his time on the football field.

On his 238 carries, Peterson amassed 1,341 yards and 12 TDs (5.6 YPC) and added a receiving touchdown in to the mix. In his very first game, a 24-3 victory over Atlanta on September 9, Peterson broke 100 yards–103 to be exact–and caught a touchdown pass. Later on that year? A 224 yard, 3 TD performance against Chicago and a record-setting 296 yards at home against the Chargers. To cap it all off, "All Day" put up four multi-TD games and led the league in yards per game as a rookie. If that isn't impressive, then I don't know what is.

Well, that just about wraps up my list of top six single-season rookie RB performances. Are there any other ones that you think I missed? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments section or you can send my an email at benheck77@yahoo.com.

Also be sure to check out my additional blog on Tumblr

I do not own any of the above images, no copyright infringement intended

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just a little humor to help you get through the work week...or for some, finals week.

Found on Tumblr.com

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Talking Never Stops

Yeah, it's the off-season. So what? That's not going to stop the trash-talking between rivals. At least not when Osi Umenyiora is around...

The defensive end for the defending champion New York Giants took a shot at Philadelphia Eagles running back Lesean McCoy early this morning via Twitter.

As NFC East counterparts, of course the Giants and Eagles rivalry is heated year in and year out. A guaranteed bloodbath every time the two squads share the field. But unlike many other rivalries in the National Football League, sometimes this one gets a little personal.

Umenyiora and running back McCoy have been known to exchange some words while on the playing field, but they aren't shy on Twitter either. Last offseason McCoy referred to Umenyiora as "overrated and soft" on his Twitter page.

This morning it was Umenyiora, 30, in the middle of a contract dispute with New York, who talked a little smack on his rival. Here's what his tweet read:

Happy Mother's day Lesean Mccoy! Enjoy your special day!!

Seems like a playful jab at McCoy, though knowing Umenyiora and his view on the Eagles I wouldn't doubt his sincerity in his tweet.

Normally I wouldn't even acknowledge an antic like this because it's meaningless, but I just found it very interesting and thought I'd point it out to my readers. Fans and news outlets seem to be making a huge deal out of the tweet, but I personally find this an entertaining way of messing with an opponent.

Come on, people. McCoy and Umenyiora are rivals and aren't very fond of each other. Aren't you glad he's tweeting playful trash-talk rather than violent threats? Not to mention McCoy was asking for it when he called Umenyoria soft.



In the words of New England's Chad Ochocino: "Child, please.."


McCoy has owned the G-Men defense (three 100-yard games and 3 TDs in three pro seasons), yeah. But at the same time Umenyiora has the stats (12.5 career sacks vs. Philly) and the rings (two SB wins w/ NY) to stack up against McCoy and his trash talk.

Neither party (McCoy and Umenyiora) have backed away from the smack talk, and this is just the latest chapter in the NYG/PHI showdown. It's almost as if this rivalry desperately needed something to fuel the fire...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Redskins Unleash Anniversary Uniforms

This season will be the 80th year of existence for the Washington Redskins, coming to existence back in 1932. So in celebration the Skins have decided to bring back the leather helmets from the Sammy Baugh era.

Well, okay, so maybe they wont actually be wearing leather helmets, but the team's new alternate uniforms for the upcoming regular season includes a helmet painted to look as if it's made of leather.

Two days ago outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo donned the new uniforms following the release and I gotta say, they look an awful lot like the Florida State Seminoles' unis. Take a look below:
Nike turned an old design and modernized it, allowing the Skins to celebrate 80 years of existence but still benefit from the modern equipment in today's game. The material is slick while the jerseys are thin and not bulky.

I thought that Nike overdid the NFL's newest uniforms for this season with too much design, but luckily they kept these alternate uniforms nice and simple.

Photo credit
Top photo: Redskins.com
Bottom photo: Washingtonpost.com

Friday, May 4, 2012

Junior Seau Video Tribute


One of the best tribute vids I’ve seen so far. It can almost bring tears to a grown man’s eyes thinking about the kind of man and player Seau was. The song adds a little extra emotion.
May he rest in paradise.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Legendary Inside Linebacker Junior Seau Found Dead at California Home; Apparent Suicide

Earlier this morning former San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots inside linebacker and legend Junior Seau was found dead at his California home. Police are investigating the case as a suicide after finding a handgun near his body and finding an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his chest.

It is unknown what his reason for taking his own life was, but one could assume it had to do with brain trauma from his playing days. It's tough to say without knowing additional information, but there seems to be a connection between suicides of former professional football players and brain damage.

Seau, 43, played 20 seasons in the National Football League and was the anchor of the San Diego Chargers' defense for 13 solid seasons, including the 1994 Chargers team that made a trip to the Super Bowl (lost to Steve Young's Niners).
Accumulating over 1,500 tackles and 56.5 sacks throughout his two decade-long career, Seau cemented himself as a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was named to 12 Pro Bowls and six First-Team All Pros (10 All Pro selections in total). He is also a member of the 1990s All-Decade Team and is in the Chargers' Hall of Fame.

But it's not what Seau accomplished on the field that has people from all over––not just family and friends––grieving today. Seau was a role model for all of the younger players in the league and was always doing everything he could to help the people around him.

He made everyone he met feel welcome and was one of the most friendliest and outgoing guys you could meet.

Unfortunately, I was never able to personally meet Seau but I was able to catch some interviews and statements from the police chief, Seau's mother and sister, and numerous players that shared the same locker room with him. All the players that have spoken out about Seau said the same thing: caring, friendly, etc. He would always go the extra mile to help those in need, and would put others before himself. True teammate.

Tedy Bruschi, Lorenzo Neal and Marcellus Wiley were among the player interviews I watched. It was Wiley's that caught my attention the most. Instant tear-jerker. He had trouble getting himself together because of how much Seau meant to him as a teammate and a person. The most remarkable part about that is the fact Wiley played with Seau for only two seasons and Wiley was still impacted greatly just by sharing the same locker room.

Hearing all of these stories on television really makes me wish I was able to meet Seau in person. I feel as though he would have changed my life outlook for the better.

Rest in Paradise, Junior. You're in a better place now. You'll be in Canton (Pro Football Hall of Fame) soon enough, where you will be immortalized with the rest of the NFL greats.

Photos found on Google, no copyright infringement intended

Vilma among three Saints Players Suspended for Bounty Participation

The National Football League has announced that New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma will be suspended for the entire 2012 season for his participation in the bounty scandal. Vilma, the heart and soul of the Saints defense, was among four players total to face a suspension.

Defensive end Will Smith, four games, defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with Packers), eight games, and linebacker Scott Fujita (now with Browns), three games, are the remaining players to be hit by the league with a suspension. They will have three days to appeal their respective suspensions, though I find it highly unlikely they will be able to overturn the ruling.

Following a thorough investigation, the league has discovered that Vilma was the ring leader and helped run the bounty program with then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

An entire season sounds like a lot, but if you ask me I believe it was warranted. If head coach Sean Payton gets a season, then there's no doubt Vilma should be penalized for assisting Williams and leading the NO defense in the program. Not to mention providing some money in the program.

Williams has been suspended by the league indefinitely already, so disciplining the players looks to be the final step in the suspension process.

Again, I do not expect any of the four to win the appeal, and unfortunately we will miss out on watching Vilma play until 2013.

Is it possible that we can finally put this behind us and focus on preparing for the 2012 season? I sure hope so..

Photo credit: detroitnews.com