Archive for the NFL Category

Matt Leinart: It wasn’t in the Cards

Posted in NCAA Football, NFL with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2010 by nathanelwell

Matt Leinart, supreme stud of the USC campus, and eternal back-up of the Arizona Cardinals, was released by Arizona on Saturday.  Not a shocker, as far as I’m concerned.  Leinart never seemed to sit well with Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt.  “I think that in the end we both agreed this was probably the best thing for him, to have a fresh start” said Whisenhunt.  Leinart’s history with the Cardinals has been a rocky one, to say the least.  His social life was often scrutinized more than his contributions to the NFL.  Beer bongs, playmates, parties, and a pregnancy were headlines instead of wins, touchdowns, and playoffs.  But to be fair to Leinart, several other NFL athletes have had over-publicized social lives only to excel on the football field.  So why don’t we look at Leinart’s career statistics in Arizona to see if the Cardinals were justified in releasing him.

Matt Leinart was selected 10th overall in the 2006 NFL draft.  At the time, this was considered a steal.  After a contract holdout, Leinart became the starter for the Cardinals over veteran Kurt Warner.  He ended the 2006 season with 2,547 yards and 11 touchdowns., but had a 4-7 record as the starter.  In 2007, Leinart’s season was cut short due to a broken collarbone.  He only started in 5 games, throwing for 647 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.  His career numbers are nothing to write home about – 3893 yards, 14 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 29 sacks.  For being in the league 4 years, these numbers are mediocre, for a QB drafted at the front end of the 1st round.  Steve Clarkson, who is considered a “private quarterback guru and friend” to Matt Leinart, said “when you enter the league with a certain perception, people will continue to believe that perception no matter what you do…its unfortunate.”  Or more simply put, “perception is reality”.

So where does Matt Leinart go to next?  The most media-tantalizing location would be Seattle, where Leinart would team up with rookie head coach Pete Carroll.  But before you USC fans quiver with anticipation, the Seahawks say they see no need for Leinart.  Another rumor was that the NY Giants may consider Leinart to be a back-up behind Eli Manning.  This rumor was quickly extinguished when the Giants picked up Sage Rosenfels from the Vikings.  What option is he left with?  I vote on a reality tv show.  Wasn’t it the fourth season that Leinart was the Bachelor?  Oh wait, nevermind.  That was Bob Guiney.

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Ryan vs. Schaub

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2010 by nathanelwell

I was driving to work yesterday and was listening to Atlanta sports radio.  The question at hand was if the Falcons would’ve been in a better position if they kept Matt Schaub instead of trading him away for a 2nd round pick back in 2007, thus leading the way for Matt Ryan to be drafted in 2008.  There are so many different alter-realities that would’ve been caused if Schaub stayed with the Falcons, but for the sake of simplicity, lets take each QB head to head based on statistics:

Matt Ryan

08            09          08-09

Matt Schaub

08            09           08-09

CMP/ATT

PCT

265/434

61.1

263/434

58.3

528/885

59.7

251/380

66.1

396/583

67.9

647/963

67.1

YDS

3440

2916

6356

3043

4770

7813

AVG

7.9

6.5

7.2

8.0

8.2

8.1

TD

16

22

38

15

29

44

INT

11

14

25

10

15

25

FUM

2

5

7

6

1

7

RAT

87.7

80.9

84.3

92.7

98.6

95.6

RUSH YDS/TD

104/1

49/1

113/2

68/2

57/0

125/2

Matt Ryan 08 Matt Ryan 09 Matt Ryan 08-9 Matt Schaub 08 Matt Schaub 09 Matt Schaub 08-9
CMP/ATT

PCT

265/434

61.1

263/434

58.3

528/885

59.7

251/380

66.1

396/583

67.9

647/963

67.1

YDS 3440 2916 6356 3043 4770 7813
AVG 7.9 6.5 7.2 8.0 8.2 8.1
TD 16 22 38 15 29 44
INT 11 14 25 10 15 25
FUM 2 5 7 6 1 7
RAT 87.7 80.9 84.3 92.7 98.6 95.6
RUSH YDS/TD 104/1 49/1 153/2 68/2 57/0 125/2

I’m starting to think choosing Schaub or Ryan is like choosing a Big Mac or a Whopper.  You could choose either and still be happy.  But what else does each bring to the table?  (not the sandwiches, the QBs).

Matt Schaub came into the NFL with a successful college career at UVA.  He broke 22 school records including yards passing (7502), touchdown passes (56), completions (716), attempts (1069), completion percentage (.670), 300 yard games (8), and 200 yard games (20).  Schaub had two top notch campaigns in the ’08 and ’09 NFL seasons for the Houston Texans.  He set the franchise record for passing yards at 379 yards.  In 2009, Schaub led the league in passing yards (4,770), completions (396), yards per game (298), and passing attempts (583).  Matt Schaub is part of arguably the best QB/WR tandem in the NFL, the other half being Andre Johnson.  In the 2008 season, Johnson led the league in receptions and receiving yards, only to duplicate the feat in 2009 with 1569 yards.  Only one other WR in the history of the NFL went two consecutive seasons leading receiving yards – none other than the great Jerry Rice.  On top of receiving yards, Johnson went 7 games with 10 receptions, only further solidifying one of the most successful QB/WR tandems in the NFL.

Matt Ryan shined at Boston College, where he led his team to 3 bowl victories, and an overall record of 25-7.  He threw for 200 yards 15 times and is 5th all time in school history for both passing yards and completions.  Matt Ryan was picked 3rd overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 NFL draft.  Ryan beat out Chris Redman for the starting QB position, becoming the first QB in Atlanta since 1975 to start the season opener.  He threw a touchdown on his very first past completion.  Ryan became the first rookie QB in Falcon history to throw over 3,000 passing yards in one season.  Along with Joe Flacco, Ryan was the first rookie QB to start all 16 regular season games and lead his team to the playoffs.  He was also named AP Rookie of the Year.  In 2009, Ryan fought turf toe for a significant part of the season, but still led the Falcons to a 9-7 record, which was the first time in franchise history that the team had consecutive winning seasons.    Matt Ryan fired many of his shots to WR Roddy White.  White was 4th in the league for receiving yards in 2008, finished the season with career and franchise highs in receiving yards.  This is receiving from a rookie QB.  In 2009, White was able to break the franchise record for most receiving yards in a game, with 210.  Under Matt Ryan, Roddy White gained the 2nd and 3rd years where he had more than 1,000 receiving yards for the season.

What do I conclude from all of these statistics and accomplishments? (1) Matt Schaub is a seasoned veteran who has reached the pinnacle of his career.  The Falcons may have gotten one more season out of him, but he probably is over the hill.  (2) In Ryan, you have a young QB that played like a veteran in his first NFL season.  (3) If I wanted a franchise QB who I knew would take the Falcons to the Superbowl, then I choose Matt Ryan.  If I want a QB to help with my fantasy league, then I’d probably pick Matt Schaub.  (4)  If I’m choosing between the Big Mac and the Whopper, I would choose neither.  I always go with Taco Bell!

ESPN Loves Brett Favre

Posted in NFL with tags , , on August 18, 2010 by nathanelwell

As I sit watching the latest episode of Man vs. Food, I couldn’t help but notice the headline on ESPN.com.  It is……brace yourselves……about Brett Favre.  If you haven’t heard, he is returning to the Minnesota Vikings because he feels that “I owe it to the Vikes” to return.  This is really no surprise.  It was just last month that multiple news outlets reported that Brett Favre was actually retiring, and by multiple news outlets I mean the dum dums at ESPN.   I’m not a journalist by any sense of the word.  But it does irritate me that ESPN has become so relative in its reporting.  a couple of weeks ago, ESPN stated that according to “multiple reports”, Favre was going to retire.  Now, it has been made public that Brett Favre IS coming back.  Again, I must reference the ingenious Onion article about Favre from 2008.  How is it that a satirical newspaper becomes more credible than ESPN?  Perhaps there should have been “The Decision” part 2, where Brett Favre stands on stage and ping pongs back and forth about his impending retirement next to the abrasive Jim Gray.  I think the big question is, what is sports journalism?  Is it beating a dead horse in the ground about Brett Favre, A-Rod, the Yankees, or the Patriots?  Or is it simply reporting the sports news, with balanced, RELIABLE, and verified stories?  I don’t know, but I am switching to Sports Illustrated.

Big Talkers

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by nathanelwell

rhodes

“Talk is cheap” according to Tom Brady, and I agree with him.  Whenever you get a group of 250 pound men on the field that are pumped up and ready to rumble, its a guarantee that there is going to be some trash talk ON the field.  But it becomes an issue when it happens BEFORE a game.  We all have heard the locker room clips on ESPN from an athlete who guarantees a win for the next game.  Either that, or they promise to knock the crap out of the opposing QB.  For example, Jon Kitna.  2007.  Radio Interview.  He said “I’ll keep to myself what I think we actually will win.  But its more than 10 games”.  OOPS!  The Lions ended the season with a 7-9 record.  And then there was the famous Hollywood Henderson quote at media day before Super Bowl XIII.  He said that Terry Bradshaw was so dumb that he couldn’t spell “cat” if he was spotted the “c” and the “a”.  Well, throwing over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, is that dumb?  Ouch.

Some fresh trash talk happened this week, when free safety Kerry Rhodes of the New York Jets said he wants to “embarass” the Patriots on Sunday.  “You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarass them.  Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarass them.  Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. ”  And then Rhodes went on to talk about the Jets approach to Tom Brady. “We will hit him more than six times, I promise you that… Any quarterback can be rattled”  When Brady was asked about the trash talk from Rhodes, he said “I think we follow the lead of our head coach.  I think because we feel a certain way, we dont necessarily need to tell everybody about it.  I mean, we’re confident.  We have as much confidence as most teams in this league”. Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets went one step further by saying the following during a New York radio interview: “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings. I came to win, lets put it that way. So we’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else”.   This is coming from a guy that has never coached a game in the NFL.

In my “humble” opinion, I think Rhodes and the Jets should shut up.  Not because they’re supposed to be classy, or because it is sportsmanlike, but because they need to save face, and avoid looking like idiots.  Don’t get me wrong, the NFL isn’t about being a gentleman or a diplomat.  Its about entertainment, intimidation, and adrenaline.  But when a player’s arrogance peeks out prior to a game, it opens the door for some major vulnerability, not only to himself but to the whole team.  The so called “bulletin board material” adds up, and then teams like the New England Patriots beat you 56-10.  I’m not saying the Patriots are going to whip the Jets by that much.  But the Jets better have eaten their Wheaties before Sunday’s match up!  I won’t be surprised if Tom Brady throws 5 or 6 touchdowns.  And lets not even talk about what their D-line will do to Mark Sanchez!

sack

Jay Cutler, or Jay “Choke”ler?

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , on September 14, 2009 by nathanelwell

Bears Packers Football

Dear Chicago Bears Management,

In 2006, I remember sitting in my living room and watching Rex Grossman throw 6 interceptions in a Monday Night game against the Arizona Cardinals.  Amazingly, the Bears still came back to win, because of their unstoppable defense and special teams.  Ultimately, they made it to the Super Bowl because of their defense and special teams, and lost because of their quarterback.  So now, in 2009, when I hear that Jay Cutler was going to become the Chicago Bears starting quarterback, I flipped a jig.  I quivered with anticipation for the opener against the Packers, because I knew it would be a powerful, unforgettable display of offensive ability complemented by a ferocious Bear’s defense that would ultimately pummel the Packers into the ground.  But…instead…your precious Cutler gives us…….FOUR INTERCEPTIONS??  Are you telling me, that you would let a pro-bowl caliber Quarterback walk into Lambeau and throw with a 43.2 rating, only 1 touchdown, and again…FOUR INTERCEPTIONS?  Did Cutler not realize that the Green Bay secondary is not his wide receivers?  I mean, the Bears WRs aren’t that good, but seriously.  And Matt Forte?  55 yards rushing?  Please.  I am almost ready to go back into hibernation for another year.  Make the bleeding stop!

Sincerely,

A concerned Bears fan.

Trouble with Tequila

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by nathanelwell

tila

All it takes is one “shot of love” with Tequila to get into a load of trouble.  Tila Tequila, that is.  By now, you’ve probably read the ridiculous drama that has been going on between San Diego Charger Shawne Merriman and MTV star Tila Tequila (Nguyen).  First of all, let me promise you that I haven’t changed my blog to focus on Hollywood Gossip (If you can even categorize Tequila with Hollywood).  I am writing this post to prove a point that some athletes continue to associate themselves with the riskiest (and most annoying) people.

A basic summary of the conflict is that Shawne Merriman was arrested after Tila Tequila claims that he choked and restrained her when she tried to leave his home.  Shawne claims that Tila was drunk, and was attempting to leave his house so that she could drive.   He said he was trying to act in her best interest to protect her from making a bad decision.  Since the incident, Tila has been persistently twittering about the situation, even going as far as saying that she is meeting with the San Diego District’s Attorney to discuss the matter.  The DA has since denied the claim and has said that there is no meeting scheduled with Tequila.

I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not in law enforcement, so I can’t make a solid argument, one way or another, as to who is guilty and who is not guilty.  But what I am going to say goes directly towards Merriman: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME WITH LOSERS!  Not only could it make you one, but it could also put your career and reputation at risk.  Some of you may be thinking, ‘Elwell, calling someone a loser is a little harsh, isn’t it?’  And my answer to you is, well….NO.  I guess I’m sick and tired of some professional athletes getting themselves caught up in this kind of trouble.  Whether its a strip club shooting, an ex-girlfriend murdering you in jealous rage, or potentially choking an MTV star, I wish that time would be invested in more useful ways.  Volunteer for a Boys and Girls Club.  Start your own business.  Watch a movie in the privacy of your own home.  Go sing lame karaoke with your friends.  Shave your eyebrows.

But don’t…….go ANYWHERE…….near……..Tequila!!!

pic

Favre-Fetched Return

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by nathanelwell

Favre

Not……AGAIN!  Folks, we have officially seen it all in sports.  Let me get this straight.  First, Brett Favre threw his supposed last pass at the end of the 2006 season against the Bears at Soldier Field.  Fighting back tears on the field, Favre said he wasn’t sure if that was his last game.  The off-season came and went, and Favre decided to come back for another season.  In 2007, Favre led the Packers to a 13-3 season, he threw for over 4,000 yards, and led the Packers to the NFC Championship, where they lost by 3 points.  After the 2007 season, Favre said he was retiring.  But then he tried to come back to the Packers for the 2008 season.  The Packers brass said, “not so fast” and essentially gave him the cold shoulder.  So Favre decides to play for the New York Jets.  After a disappointing finish to the 2008 season with the Jets (didn’t make the playoffs), Favre retired again.  And then he came back to try out with the Vikings for 2009.  And then he retired again.  And now he has signed a contract with the Vikings AGAIN!

From a statistical stand point, Favre has the entire deck of cards stacked against him.  He is 39.  He had major arm issues in the offseason.  No 39 year old QB has ever won a Super Bowl (that I can think of).  Beyond that, he will have to go play at Lambeau Field, where the cheeseheads will undoubtedly want to impale his head on a pole.  I don’t know what to make of this situation.  Actually I do.  I think Favre should stay retired.  He is risking becoming like Michael Jordan with the Wizards.  Like Harrison Ford in the 4th Indiana Jones installment.  And heaven forbid, like “that guy” who shows up at your high school prom, and you know he graduated like 3 years ago.  (what was he thinking?)  Packers fans must have let out a cheese-curdling scream today when they heard the news about Favre.

Honestly, I don’t know why there is all the hype about Favre.  But I can’t wait to see Urlacher sack him week 12 at the Metrodome!