Packers robbed by the Seahawks, not the refs

Replacement RefsBy now I am sure have seen or at least heard about how the game ended last night between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.  It is not even debatable at this point.  The ball was heaved up in the air, and M.D. Jennings  clearly made the interception.  Yes Golden Tate got his hands on the ball, but to rule it as simultaneous possession is garbage.  This call was and is still clear as to how it should have been ruled.  So I am not going to beat that dead horse.

What I do want to address is the issue of saying that the replacement officials cost the Packers the game.  I understand how important this play was in the game.  Just like all the other games that have had blown calls, the plays are important.  I would like to shift the focus instead to the rest of the game though.  This was a hard fought game, where quite honestly the Seahawks whipped the Packers for the whole first half.  Obviously the Packers rebounded and played better in the second half, but how can they say the refs cost them the game?  After watching the game, I didn’t see the refs account for a single one of the 8 times Aaron Rodgers was sacked in the first half.  Was it their fault that Golden Tate scorched Tramon Williams for a first half touchdown?  Was it the officials fault that the mighty packers offense was held to 12 points?  Who’s fault is it that the Seahawks were able to move the ball into range for the game-ending throw? Read more…

Doug Baldwin, left toothless on Sunday

Talk about a tough break for Doug Baldwin.

The Seattle Seahawks wide receiver did something that is commonplace in professional hockey but awful hard to find in the NFL. Baldwin suffered two broken teeth when he dove for a ball and landed face first near the end of the loss Sunday in Arizona.

Two teeth? Yes. With a helmet, facemask and mouthguard in place Baldwin still managed to bust two top teeth and he bit through his lip.

I bit through my lip,” Baldwin said, according to Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times. “All the way through it, broke both top teeth. When I roll over, you can see the blood on my shield on the inside of my helmet.” Read more…

Cardinals escape Seahawks’ late rally, no thanks to officials

Kevin Kolb

No one in Arizona had much use for Kevin Kolb during the preseason, but they’re loving him now. Kolb came off the bench when John Skelton was carted off with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals were trailing 16-13 at the time, but Kolb calmly led them down the field and hit Andre Roberts with a six-yard pass to make the score 20-16. It would hold up, but not without some drama.

Seattle drove the ball down inside the five thanks to two pass interference penalties on the Cardinals and a couple of nice plays by Russell Wilson. That’s when all hell threatened to break loose. The Seahawks called a timeout after a Marshawn Lynch run, which the officials granted even though it seemed to everyone else on the planet that they didn’t have any timeouts left. They had called two before Doug Baldwin was banged up while dropping what could have been the game-winning pass in the end zone.

The officials explained that the Seahawks had a timeout left because the clock stopped on the incompletion, which is an incorrect interpretation of the rules. When a player is injured in the last two minutes of the game, there is supposed to be a timeout charged to his team. That should have led to the referees ignoring their timeout requests, but it didn’t.

Luckily for the league, it became something of a moot point since the Cardinals held on the final three plays as Wilson fired incomplete three times to end the contest. The refs had a fine weekend overall, but it would have been a big story if the last game of the afternoon was decided in part by an officiating blunder. Read more…

Fantasy Football Week 1: Sleeper picks

2012 fantasy football

Russell Wilson could be on the verge of duplicating Cam Newton’s historical rookie season (seriously).

During the 2012 Fantasy Football season we will be bringing you rankings, predictions, weekly updates and of course, sleeper picks. I think we can all agree that everyone who plays fantasy football thinks that their team is the best team in their respective leagues, right now. Well, while I don’t want to take that feeling away from anyone I do want to let you know that it’s likely that even if your team is the best right now, it likely won’t remain that way unless you make some key additions.

The following is our fantasy football sleeper picks for week one of the NFL. While we are recommending these players for the first week of the season, you may want to consider adding these guys to your season roster(s) and use for the remainder of the season; either as potential starters or bye-week fill-ins.

All projected scores are based on ESPN’s standard scoring system and projections.

Quarterback: Russell Wilson, SEA

When Pete Carroll named Wilson the week one starter I think he immediately went on fantasy football players’ radars. However, Wilson is only owned in about 38.5 percent of ESPN leagues and I’ve seen his salary quite low on several weekly fantasy football sites.

If you’re a believer, unlike the ESPN “experts” who have him ranked as the 20th overall quarterback in week one, then don’t be shy and take a chance on the rookie.

ESPN: 9, ME: 15

Running Back: Jonathan Dwyer, PIT – 4

Currently ranked as the 39th back for week one, Dwyer is a true crapshoot. Isaac Redman, a sleeper in his own right, is a bit banged up still and while a solid option for the Steelers, I think Dwyer will get plenty of reps.

I suspect Dwyer will get the goal-line carries and even have the chance to rack up some nice yardage on the ground.

ESPN: 4, ME: 10

Read more…

NFC preseason power rankings

osi-umenyiora

Al Bello/Getty Images

As the end of the NFL preseason is quickly approaching, so to is the beginning of the 2012 NFL regular season. As there is one week left of preseason football, we are less than 10 days away from the start of the 2012 NFL season. I like to name this period “Week Zero”, as these power rankings are a basic opinion of how I believe the 2012 NFL season will pan out.

In the NFC specifically, there are a lot of teams to like, as picking the six best teams was harder than I imagined. In my opinion, the top 12 teams in these power rankings are all legitimate playoff contenders right now. For various reasons though, some teams are better now, while some teams may be better next year or the year afterward. Nevertheless, here are the Week Zero NFC Power Rankings.

16. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Vikings are young, but the question of Adrian Peterson’s health, Christian Ponder’s potential, and the defensive secondaries’ deficiencies gives the Vikings a whole heap of trouble in an NFC North division which features quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Rodgers.

Projection: 3-13

15. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The acquisitions of wide receiver Vincent Jackson and All-Pro offensive guard Carl Nicks were great, and new head coach Greg Schiano is installing discipline into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but only little progress will be made in 2012 as Schiano will need a couple of seasons to get the Buccaneers back on track.

Projection: 4-12  Read More…

 

NFC West: Game changers


Randy Moss Sings Autographs On The First Day Of Training CampJoin us as TTR Game Changers takes a tour through all 32 teams, identifying one player from every squad that I believe has a great chance of being a game changer in 2012.  To see the full series click here.

San Francisco 49ers – I am going to go out on a limb here, and call #84 our Game Changer for the 49ers in 2012.  I realize that this may be a pipe dream, but when properly motivated, Randy Moss has proven to be a dynamic playmaker. Yes he is 35 years old and it has been two seasons since his last productive season, but he is still Randy Moss.  All the reports out of San Francisco indicate the Moss is in excellent shape and that he can still stretch the field with his speed and acrobatic grabs.  Yes, I realize Alex Smith is still the quarterback out there, but I expect Randy Moss to have a very significant impact on a previously non-existent Niners’ passing attack.Seattle Seahawks –  I am probably in the minority here, but I actually think Pete Carroll is doing a better than expected job in Seattle.  I don’t understand some of the personnel decisions that the team has made, particularly regarding the quarterback situation, but overall this team is starting to become a solid group of physical football players.  So it may be some surprise that I would pick one of the smallest players on this team to be the most impactful player.  Yet I think Earl Thomas will continue to develop into an elite safety, showing the reason he was a first round draft choice.  Thomas is a ball-hawking safety with great range, but he is also a physical presence despite his smallish frame.  I expect Thomas to play at an All-Pro level in 2012 as a turnover generating catalyst in an under-rated Seahawks’ defense. Read more…

Rookie Russell Wilson fighting for Seahawks starting job

Russell Wilson

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Tarvaris Jackson may be frustrated by the Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback competition, butRussell Wilson is enjoying it.

Wilson, who is backing up Matt Flynn during the preseason while Jackson watches from the sideline, said on KJR in Seattle that he thinks he’s getting better as a quarterback — and getting closer to being a starting quarterback.

I definitely believe I’ve moved closer,” Wilson said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “You take one step at a time, one day at a time, one rep at a time and you just improve. You respect the process and that’s the biggest thing is just respecting the process and taking one day at a time and just learning as much as I can.   Read more…

T.O. is back, get your popcorn ready

20120807-165549.jpgTerrell Owens aka T.O., is one of the most dominant wide receivers to play the game.

Marred with controversy everywhere he plays, T.O. has consistently been a threat on the field.

At age 38 T.O. signed with the Seattle Seahawks, it marks his return to the NFL after a year absence.

After injuring his knee with his last team Cincinnati, T.O. couldn’t find an NFL team.

Was it because he was too old or was it because of his reputation of being a locker room distraction?

Clearly, it was the locker room distraction. T.O. should never be questioned for his work ethic.

At age 38 he ran a 4.45 40 yard dash. That’s faster than some WR’s who were drafted this year. Read more here…

2012 NFL teams with quarterback issues

Blaine Gabbert

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

On any given NFL roster, you will find a little over fifty players, and out of those fifty players, you can typically expect three quarterbacks. Assuming an NFL roster is precisely 52 strong, quarterbacks amount to roughly 6% of a roster. During this past offseason, NFL.com polled a bevy of current players to compile a list of the elite 100 players in the league today. On that list, there were 13 quarterbacks to be found. That’s 13%, which is more than double (I hope you could have done that math without my assistance). There is no more visible position in the modern National Football League than that of quarterback. More than ever, the league is particularly pass happy. Many commentators would agree that a team’s chances to win a Super Bowl are next to nil without an elite gunslinger under center. Of course, not every team has an elite QB to start. Some teams still don’t know is indeed going to start, even though the season is only weeks away.

Here are five of those teams.

Miami Dolphins
For 17 seasons, this Miami franchise was lucky enough to have one of the game’s all-time greats, Dan Marino, in the prime position. Those days are long gone, and right now the Dolphins are trying to decide between three solid, yet unspectacular quarterbacks. There are three competitors, all of whom represent a different time in the career spectrum. There’s recently acquired veteran David Garrard, who brings an above-average rushing game to the mix. Last year’s starter Matt Moore proved uneven; some games the ball constantly found its way to the end zone, other games it made its being fumbled to the ground. My bet is that rookie Ryan Tannehill, who has been spectacular in training camp and supremely dedicated, may not start week one, but he’ll end the season with the gig.  Read More…

Doug Baldwin raves about T.O.

Doug Baldwin

38-year-old receiver Terrell Owens has yet to officially arrive at Seahawks camp.  But that hasn’t stopped 23-year-old receiver Doug Baldwin from raving about his new teammate.

“Terrell Owens is an unbelievable talent,” Baldwin said, via Mike Sando of ESPN.com.  “They brought him in because that’s what Pete Carroll believes in is competition.  He’s going to come in immediately and compete for a job, and that’s what we’re all about here.”

Baldwin, who likely will be one of the starting receivers when the real games start, doesn’t sound interested in racing Owens.

“That’s faster than my pro day, and he’s 38 years old,” Baldwin said regarding the 4.45-second 40-yard dash Owens supposedly ran on Monday.

Yeah, I said “supposedly.”  Because the Seahawks had every reason to hit the button a little bit early in order to provide cover for an out-of-the-blue decision to sign a player that no one wanted. Read more here…

Seahawks interested in Braylon Edwards

Braylon+Edwards+Seattle+Seahawks+v+San+Francisco+1ToK_F4yFmEl

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about veteran wide receiver Braylon Edwards, but he’s back on the radar as camps open around the NFL.

Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that the Seattle Seahawks will have Edwards in for a workout. Edwards was released by the 49ers near the end of the 2011 season after he caught just 15 passes in nine games before being sidelined by a knee injury. There were rumors of interest from the Bengals and Jets over the course of the offseason, but they never amounted to much.

Edwards had a productive season as a deep threat for the Jets in 2010 and there will likely be some team that gives him a shot at recapturing that glory if he proves he’s healthy enough to get back on the field. That’s a big if, of course, but, as the Texans working out Roy Williams shows, teams are looking for help at wideout. Read more here…

An open letter to Michael Robinson

Michael RobinsonDear Michael Robinson,

Shut up.

I am listening to you on the Dan Patrick radio program as I type (hosted by Bonnie Bernstein today) and did you really use the words “Joe Paterno” and “integrity” in the same sentence?

Did you really say the Freeh report was “one-sided”?

Some would argue that what Jerry Sandusky did was one-sided.

The powers that be at Penn St. at the time when Sandusky was running vile apparently had enough concerns to consider an investigation. The honorable Mr. Paterno apparently vetoed those concerns.

I’m still listening to the interview and I repeat: Shut up.

You are making yourself and your Alma mater look worse than it currently does, if that’s even possible.

The sports talk radio universe and the sports blog universe and the sports universe in general are going to be playing sound-bites from your interview today for years to come. Probably even under oath somewhere.

You are “outraged” at the decisions that the NCAA made? The decisions came “too fast”?

How long ago was the first victim learning his particular facts?

You want the victims “to learn all of the facts”? I’m guessing they know most of the pertinent facts.

They know (more than you or me or anyone else) how long Sandusky was allowed to continue his predatory behavior through his charity and the apparently tacit wink-wink and let’s look the other way approach taken by the honorable Mr. Paterno and his place of employment.

All of the money and probation and scholarship restrictions and re-writing of the record books in the world aren’t going to help you to know any more, or them to know any less.

They know. You say you didn’t know, and I believe you. You didn’t know, and you don’t know.

Shut up.

Top NFC position battles in 2012

Matt FlynnPosition battles in the NFL can be one of the most interesting subplots in all of sports. Fans get to watch two or more of the most skilled football players in the world battle it out to claim a starting job, and the results – no matter who wins the battle – can be discussed by analysts for months or even years to come.

Every team in the NFL has at least one or two of these position battles every year, and 2012 is no exception to the rule. The 2012 NFC has a number of teams with position battles that could extend all the way out until September, with the potential that they won’t even be resolved by the time the regulars season kicks off.

One of the position battles that is going to keep most of the Pacific Northwest buzzing is the quarterback position for the Seattle Seahawks.   Read More…

NFC West Preview: Division belongs to the 49ers

After being mired in years of mediocrity and being laughed at for being one of the worst divisions in football, the NFC West finally snapped out of its funk in 2011. Well, one team did, anyway. The San Francisco 49ers shattered the mold and rose above the 8-8 expectations of NFC West teams, going 13-3 and making it to the NFC Championship before falling short to the NY Giants. The 2012 season will see the division’s four teams – the 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and St Louis Rams – face off against each other, as well as teams from the NFC North and AFC East.

With that said, there’s no mystery as to what the 2012 season will bring. The division belongs to San Francisco for the foreseeable future, and there’s really no need to explain beyond that. First-year head coach Jim Harbaugh immediately made his mark on San Francisco. Not only did he and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio turn the defense into one of the top-performing units in the NFL, but he also might have saved Alex Smith’s career. Smith was on the verge of being completely written off by fans and critics as a total bust, but put together a very solid campaign in 2011.

Not only is every core piece returning to the team, but the addition of Randy Moss is expected to bolster the offense even further. Whether Moss can play or not is irrelevant; he’s formed a close relationship with Michael Crabtree and should be able to help him improve his game. Crabtree has been an average receiver so far in his career. If he turns it around in 2012, the 49ers could be contending for a Super Bowl by the time the playoffs come around.

No one is going to be challenging the 49ers for the division crown, but one team in the NFC West that might make some noise is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals went 8-8 last year, although the team has become a shell of the squad that made the Super Bowl just three years ago. There are a few issues from last season that are going to have to be resolved in 2012. Read more here…

Clemens rejects Seahawks extension, to test free agency

Chris Clemons

Veteran defensive end Chris Clemons unexpectedly held out of the Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp.  Come 2013, he could be walking out of Seattle.

Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange reports that Clemons has decided not to sign an extension with the Seahawks, opting instead to become a free agent in 2013.

Per Pasquarelli, the team offered to convert his current deal, which pays a base salary of $4 million in 2012, into a three-year contract with $8 million in 2012, $4.5 million in 2013, and $5.5 million in 2014.  Clemons declined.

Clemons has opted not to participate in the team’s offseason program, giving up a $100,000 workout bonus and, due to his decision to boycott the mandatory minicamp, exposing himself to $63,000 in fines. Read more here…