Posted on: September 5, 2012 6:08 am
For fans of the NFL, the offseason can be particularly brutal. Once the stadium lights are shut off and the cameras have gone, we mourn the end of a season, feeling the first symptoms of withdrawal. We commence the countdown of months, days and hours until the first kickoff of the next season. In the process, we satiate our need by watching replays of the games from the past, build our warboards for the draft and above all, realize we no longer have an excuse not the clean out the garage. We might follow players on Twitter and Facebook just to keep that connection. Read and re-read reports from the Combine, the draft and training camp.
In less than twenty-four hours, the party in Arlington, Texas will begin. Opening day of the 2012 NFL season will be ushered in with the trumpets from heaven and a chorus of angels in the splendor that is known as Cowboy Stadium. With the first kickoff, flashes of light will erupt, as if the very stars from the galaxy came down to bear witness. And fans, in jubilant proclamation will shout out, "it's here, it's finally here."
Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit, but you have to admit, Mariah Carey has one heck of a voice.
NFL 2012 will be a bittersweet season for me. As a Steelers fan, I will miss the smile of Hines Ward as he gets up from a play. And to no longer hear James Farrior name be mentioned and missing Aaron Smith on the line. Time marches on though and with that positives advance. Which diamond in the rough will shine this year? What play will leave me pondering? Of course, my ponderings aren't limited to just the Steelers.
The New York Giants come into this season defending their crown and are the team to beat this year. The watch is on to see how long they can go before they are defeated and who will be the team to do it this year. My recommendation is lose a game early, get it over and done with and get rid of that one distraction. Giants seem to do better when they're the underdog, the team that might not be perfect to garner the attention of the media. The David against the Goliath in a division where their nemesis have been perceived as trying to by championships. They quietly got the work done last season. Can they do it again this season though?
And on the other side of the coin, you have the Dallas Cowboys, who are faced with their own distractions. There's no doubt that quarterback Tony Romo is frustrated with the questions about the window of opportunity closing. And of course there will be the attention paid to wide receiver Dez Bryant, unfortunately more for what he's doing off the field than on it. Have the Cowboys front office done enough to beef up their defense to help the team get over that hurdle?
Focus has been on the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason, mostly due to the hold out of Maurice Jones-Drew. It's not likely that the attention will lift anytime soon as we watch to see how last season's top rusher will perform. If his numbers drop, chances are great that analysts will point to the hold out as the reason. Still, in a way, I'm pulling for the Jags to have a decent season. I like coach Mike Mularkey. I believe, given time, he can acquire the talent to get the team to the playoffs. But it's easier to pull the trigger than it is to have patience to grow a team.
One wonders what the direction of the Oakland Raiders will be now that Al Davis is no longer with us. It was always believed that the late owner was holding the team back with his hands-on approach in ownership. I'd like to see Terrelle Pryor get his shot and do well. Pryor made his name as the number one prospect coming out of Jeannette High School. I like to see kids that graduated from the same school I went to, make good. Pryor is no exception. Still, one can't argue that the Raiders have no talent. It's just a matter of finding the right magic to make it work.
If there is any team that is facing distractions this season, it will definitely be the Saints. No one will argue that they, as a team will be under a microscope with both the press and the fans, watching to see how they rebound from the scandal and if "bountygate" was the reason for their past success. They have two options, shoot everyone the bird and come out with a "we'll show you" attitude or succumb to the pressure. I'll say it's the former. Quarterback Drew Brees is nothing but a passionate and consumate leader who has the ability to rally his troops in the face of adversity.
One thing I do know, that as with each season it will be electrifying and disappointing on the road to the playoffs. The days of manicured nails and quiet Sunday afternoons are now gone until February. And if one is disappointed that the window of opportunity to clean out the garage has gone, well, there's always the bye.
Posted on: October 6, 2008 5:09 am
Edited on: October 6, 2008 6:23 am
They said they were screwed. That when they lost Rashard Mendenhall and Carey Davis during the Baltimore Ravens game in week four, that they lost their running game and the Steelers were going to struggle. The demise of the Pittsburgh Steelers was overly exaggerated.
Somehow this season, games have been classic. The Browns, the Ravens game, classic Steelers rival games. Steelers were going into Jacksonville and face the Jaguars. The team that seemed to hold their number, the team they lost twice to in 07, once in the playoffs.
The Steelers went in banged up against a defense whose pass coverage was suspect. Would there be a running game for the Steelers, given that Willie Parker was out, given they lost their backups. There were questions about Najeh Davenport and Gary Russell. We said don’t worry. Homer faith? Perhaps. However, Mewelde Moore did better in receiving against a run stingy Ravens defense.
So it started, already the Jags were up by a touchdown due to an interception to Rashean Mathis. If Ben had a nemesis, it would be Mathis. However, the Steelers answered back. It would end up being a game that would keep people on the edge of their seats, till the final seconds.
Steelers defense did what we expected a Steelers defense to do, played great, especially in preventing an accurate David Garrard from getting down the field to get a touchdown, in the last minute of the game, protecting their lead. Lamar Woodley would end up being the defensive stud this game with six tackles and 2 solo sacks. Aaron Smith would have the spotlight in the last seconds, batting down a Garrard pass that ended the game.
On the oline, is it too early to think that replacing Kendall Simmons with Stapleton may have been an answer to the weak right side? Of course there was help with Ben Roethlisberger being able to roll out of the box and extend plays with his feet. Yeah he was sacked three times, (the Jags found their pass rush) and at one point, for a moment, we thought he’d end up out of the game, however, he came out played without a hitch. Arians had him play to what worked for him in the past. Think the OC is finally learning?
In the end, Ben would throw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, and Moore would run for 99 yds. The Steelers would not only answer how they would get passed a team that in the past few years had their number, but also how well they would do without Parker and Mendenhall – just fine.
Posted on: September 3, 2008 5:48 pm
Okay, so this can be addictive. I can understand why Judge Clark and Pete Prisco do this, despite all the garbage they get from the readers. But, in truth, it's fun. Of course, I think I can get away with it because I don't get paid.
So I've projected the New England Patriots to be the division leader of the AFC East. I know, a no-brainer there right? So as I go through the AFC South, I know, I'll have another no-brainer in chosing the Indianapolis Colts as the AFC South's division leader.
Well onto my projection for the AFC South.
#4 - Houston Texans - Although I see them progressing to having a winning season (though they're first lost will come in their season opener), I still see the Texans sitting at last place in the AFC South. Only because this is one tough division and the Tennessee Titans will have just a tad better season.
#3 - Tennessee Titans - Vince Young has yet to convince me with his accuracy. Having been playing for a few years, teams are going to be able to stop a running quarterback and his aerial attack is questionable. Sorry, before I see the Titans advancing up in the division, Young is going to have to convince me he can throw the ball better.
#2 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Jags are going to be neck and neck with the Colts, and seriously, I see the division going based on a tie breaker, which the Colts will hold. Garrard shows he will be as consistent as he was last year and has some young weapons to throw to and the beefing up of their defense makes this call a difficult one. I do see the Jaguars once again holding a wild card slot.
#1 - Indianapolis Colts - No, I didn't say this because my husband is a Colts fan. Trust me, in this household during football season, gloves are off and the fun begins. I see the Colts taking the division with a tie breaker against the Jaguars. Despite Peyton Mannings injury and lack of practice time, it's not going to take anytime for him to get back into the swing. Even with Jeff Saturday being down for the first few weeks of the season, Manning has the capability of the quick release to make up for the missing center. Given a healthy Wide Receiver corp and the duo of Joseph Addai and Dominick Rhodes, the offense will be fine. Colts have also a beefed up defense and a healthy Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney and Marlin Jackson.
AFC South Division Champions - Indianapolis Colts
Posted on: January 25, 2008 2:38 pm
Okay, honestly, I'm not experiencing any hormonal effects here this week, since it may seem that I've climbed on my soapbox. It's just the nervous energy being emitted lately has got me tense. Some people have, in the past, thought I was empathic. I scoffed at that idea (and then ran to www.m-w.com to find out what that meant). Okay, so it doesn't mean pathetic, which at times I can be. Trust me, you haven't seen me when I'm sick.
- Empathy: 2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this
I'm thinking of how I just now made my dear grandmother (a retired english teacher), smile from her grave by learning a new word and passing it on. It could be possible that I'm empathic. If that's so, my Patriot fan friends may want to think of taking up yoga, meditation or valium to stay calm, just so ya'll quit affecting my ulcer. (Just teasing).
It's going to be a long two weeks for those of us addicted to football. Many of us have already resorted to watching old games and perusing information on past superbowls. We'll try to keep ourselves busy, ignoring the mild shakes and withdrawals. I suspect many of us come week two will be seeing pink elephants and suffering serious DTs.
It's going to be a long two weeks for sports analysts too. Having already gone through analyzing the stats, they're looking at other areas to report on. Pete Prisco has introduced us to the possible drama that may unfold between Tom Brady and the paparrazi. See Brittany, looks like you may not be the only one with those dread photographers following you all over. I'm waiting for Clark Judge to come back and tell us about how Eli Manning was caught at a late night stop through a Wendy's drive through. Sorry guys, I know there's only so many things you can write about and the different angles until it comes time to start reaching. I wish all analysts luck for the next two weeks.
Steelers lost another casuality from the pro-bowl. Troy Polamalu has bowed at due to an injury with his knee. Guess it's the wisest thing, especially since he's been there before, why aggravate the injury? But geesh, how many more injuries are going to come up for the Steelers. Tyrone Carter dropping after the Denver game, Aaron Smith going on IR, Willie Parker in the Rams game. It was reported that Hines Ward had knee surgery and now Polamalu with his knee strain.
Looking around the NFL and seeing the number of injuries being nursed, to include the surgery on Philip Rivers knee, I' m going to try to convince my daughter that sports medicine is the way to go once she looks into med school.
Okay I've heard of rats abandoning the ship when it's sinking, but not crawling back onto it. Though Gamecock fans may not be too happy with the current game of duck, duck, goose, I think it's funny that Brian VanGorder decided to go back to the Falcons as their DC after being hired by Spurrier. Yes Steve, I'm sure you're neck was red for awhile. Of course, news in the NCAA corrider does report that Ellis Johnson will be replacing VanGorder. Can't blame VanGorder though, he is probably the best one that would know the strengths of the Atlanta Defense. It will be interesting to see what Mike Smith will do with that team.
With Mike Smith leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars to become headcoach for the Atlanta Falcons, one has to wonder how that change is going to effect the Jaguars next year. I'm sure Del Rio will find a capable replacement.
Anyway here's hoping for a good weekend...oh wait, there is no football. Okay here's hoping we all survive the withdrawals that will accompany this weekend due to no games.