What have we learned from the first 2 weeks of the NFL?

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National Football League

National Football League

The 2-0 teams:

The Bills are 2-0 but had to pull a miracle to win vs.  Oakland.  They are not as good as they  looked last week vs. KC because the Chiefs are TERRIBLE.  They face the Pats this week.

The Pats are showing more urgency than in the last few  years.  They are a threat for the Super Bowl.

The Jets are 2-0 but do not look like a top team.  I still don’t trust QB Sanchez in a big  game.  We will know more when they play
the Pats.

The Texans are also 2-0 but have yet to beat anyone.  They will win the division but then choke as  usual but this time in the playoffs rather than against the Colts.

Washington struggled to win at home vs. the Cards.  They have Grossman at QB and are Wine and  fools’ gold.   The Skins are a mess and
HC Shannahan has made the mess worse rather than fixed it.

The Pack is 2-0 but gave up 23 points to CR.  The pass D is a problem and might cost them  big in the playoffs.   Unless the pass D
gets better, this team will not win a 2nd consecutive title.

The Lions look like the real deal at 2-0.  They have outscored their opponent by 52 points  and the D is outstanding.  There is one
caution.  IF QB Bradford can stay healthy  they will be a playoff team

0 – 2 TEAMS:

Over the last 10 years, only 12% of the teams that started  out 0-2 made the playoffs.  Those are not  good odds.

The Dolphins are 0-2 and face a must win at Cleveland this  week.  The coaching staff is hanging on  by a single stand of a spider web.  They
have to win to keep their jobs.  They  will not do either.

The Colts are 0-2 and that was a bad loss for them at home  last week vs. the Browns.   Worse yet,  they face the Steelers at home this week and go to play the Bucs next.  They will be 0-4 and looking for a shot at  the top draft choice (QB Luck) in the 2012 draft.  It is clear that Payton is the brains behind  the O and HC Caldwell should be gone along with the GM for the mess they have  made of this team.

The KC Chiefs are a mess as well.  When OC Weis left so did any semblance of  offense.  HC Haley pushed Weis out and  now we see that the former is not capable of handling the job.  QB Cassel has been miserable and RB Charles is  out for the season with an injury.  Haley
will be gone when this team takes the field next year.  The only scrap of good news is that the team  will play other inept organizations  like
the Vikes and Colts in weeks 4 and 5.

The Vikes are looking for a QB and did not find one that  works in McNabb.   In recent years they could depend on wins  against division foes like the Bears and the Lions.  But the Lions have gotten a lot better and  the Bears are fighting for their coach’s job this year.  The Vikes will have a top 5 choice in 2012.

The Seahawks are also 0-2 and depending on a college coach  to bail them out of this mess.  He won’t  and the team continues to spiral downward out of control.  Any judge of talent that thought that QB  Jackson could be an NFL starter should lose his job.

Two teams that are not in as bad shape as those above are  the Rams and the Panthers.

The Rams have had some critical injuries but have turned the  ball over too often to beat NFC East teams the Eagles and Giants.  They will likely win the NFC West but are a  couple of players from being competitive against the best teams in the  conference.

The Panthers are breaking in a new coach and new QB.  QB Newton is far from a quality NFL starter  but has shown some good things.  The team  has some very solid players including one of the best centers in the league in  Kalil, a solid RB in Williams  and star  WR in Smith.  They have added some good  defensive rookies and is turning the team around.  They are in a tough division but will be  better as the season wears on.

That is what I think.
Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of  several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color
on radio for
college football  and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He  has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear  his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/  or http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.
You can be part of the show by calling  our Herbalife Hotline at 216-539-0607.

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My Fearless League Predictions

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It is time again for my fearless attempt (note:  no dart boards were injured during this exercise) to predict the outcome of the 2011 NFL Season.  I know that some of you will doubt my crystal ball but it seldom fails me (except when it needs repair which happens around this time every year).

AFC East

  1. Pats –
    This team has struggled in the playoffs but always has a great regular
    season.  This year it will get to the AFC
    Championship game.
  2. Jets – I wonder how good the O will be because I
    am not sold on QB Sanchez.
  3. Dolphins – This team is without a QB and it will
    show.  Daboll is the OC which is good
    news for the TE’s.
  4. Bills – This team is going to be in the running
    for the 1st pick QB Luck.  But
    will they be willing to pay enough to sign him if they get the 1st
    pick.

AFC North

  1. Steelers – They have a D older than the “over
    the hill gang” of Redskin fame and the window to winning is closing because of
    it.
  2. Ravens – They just can’t seem to find a way beat
    the Steelers and they will not this year.
  3. Browns – They can be 8-8 or better IF they can
    keep QB McCoy healthy.  Otherwise 3-13.
  4. Bengals – This team is in serious trouble with a
    new QB and questions about their D.

AFC South

  1. Texans – The team has a great running game to go
    with an outstanding passing attack.  The
    only question is their D.  Williams as
    OLB?
  2. Colts – The latest on QB Manning is that he will
    be out for a couple of months.  They
    could end up with a top 5 draft pick in 2012 without him.
  3. Titans – RB Johnson is the key.  The O line has to give him just a step and he
    can go all the way.  The D and passing
    attacks keep them from contending.
  4. Jags – Look for this team to be the first choice
    to move to LA.  The city is in a
    financial hole and the team is bereft of talent.

AFC West

  1. Chargers – This team can not possibly get off to
    as bad a start as they have for the last couple of years.  Any improvement in their start will vault
    them into the playoffs.
  2. Chiefs – QB Cassel is hurt and the running game
    alone can not make up for a porous D.
  3. Raiders – I am the only one they did not call to
    play QB.  Key losses cannot be overcome.
  4. Broncos – This team has a long way to go to
    become competitive.

 

NFC East

  1. Eagles – The team has gone all out to win this
    year.  QB Vick will not have as good a
    year as 2010 but the D is better and this is the year.  If not, HC Reid is gone.
  2. Giants – QB Manning is not as good as most think
    and that again prevents them from getting far in the post season.
  3. Cowboys – Owner Jones is still looking for a HC
    that can win.  The problem is JJ is the
    GM and this team is not that good.
  4. Redskins – Another team without a QB.  McNabb was not the answer.  If HC Shanahan doesn’t find the answer soon
    he will be gone as well.

 

NFC North

  1. Packers – Despite a flurry of injuries last year
    the team made the playoffs and won it all.
    Those wounded players are back and the team is better than last year.
  2. Lions – No one is going to want to face the D
    front this season.  If QB Stafford stays
    healthy this team can get into the playoffs.
  3. Bears – HC Smith will likely be replaced if they
    slip below the Lions.  Bye Lovie.
  4. Vikings – The window is now closed on this team
    contending.

 

NFC South

  1. Saints – They will lose game 1 vs the Pack but
    still win the division.  Sproles will
    help this team.
  2. Falcons – Their time will come next year but
    they still have some issues on D.
  3. Bucs – This is the best 3rd place
    team in the league.  They will challenge
    the Falcons next season.
  4. Panthers – They had the top pick and I am not
    sure they used it wisely.  While QB Newton
    will improve this year will he ever be willing to pay the price to become a top
    QB?

 

NFC West

  1. Rams – The D is much better and the O behind QB
    Bradford will flourish.
  2. Cardinals – QB Kolb will make this team better
    but not enough to overtake the Rams.
  3. 49ers – QB Smith is a white flag indicating this
    team might be looking to bring Stanford QB Luck to the team next year.
  4. Seahawks – This is a bad team without a QB.  Jackson couldn’t make it in MN with the best
    RB in the league so how will he do here?
    It won’t be pretty.

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is a senior writer for http://NFLDraftDog.comand edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ or http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.

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New Years Resolutions Certain Sports people SHOULD be making.

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LeBron James
Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

s

Indians GM Chris Antonetti – “I will not overpay a baseball has been. I will not overpay a baseball has been. I will not overpay a baseball has been.”

Indians Owner Paul Dolan – “The next time I have 2 potential Cy Young candidates to trade, I will get more than a couple of ‘never wases’ and a bag of practice balls.”

Browns HC Mangini – “I will find the best real estate agent in Cleveland. And I will begin looking today!”

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts – “I will never buy another baseball team as long as I live.”

Cam Newton’s father Cecil – “Next time I try to shake down a college for money to let my son play, I’ll require a non-disclosure notice be signed first.”

NCAA Chief Rules Enforcer Julie Roe Lach – “Consistency? Consistency? We don’t need no stinkin’ consistency!”

NFL Investigator Favre Case – “I will not ask Favre for an autograph at the interview. I will not ask Favre for an autograph at the interview.”

Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen – “Before hiring a Head Coach, I will remember to ask the applicant for a resume and I will read it prior to issuing an job offer.”

Dallas Cowboy Owner Jerry Jones – “I will not rest until I find a high profile head coach that will accept the job and not object to my meddling in daily operations of the team.”

Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell – “Next time we go 14-0, I won’t play only backups for the final 2 games.”

LeBron James – “Next time before I sign with a team I will consult the Oracle of Delphi and a marketing consultant as well. I will not go on ESPN and take an hour to announce my decision.”

Tiger Woods – “Next time before I get married I will consult the Oracle of Delphi, a lawyer to write a prenuptial agreement and a driving instructor as well.”

Mark Parker CEO Nike – “Next time before I sign a huge contract with an athlete I will consult the Oracle of Delphi, a marketing consultant, and a physiologist as well.”

Redskin DT Albert Haynesworth – “Next time before I sign a huge contract with a team, I will make sure they play a 4-3 and that will be in the contract.”

Redskin QB Donovan McNabb – “Next time before I sign a contract extension with a team I will make sure that I’m not in the middle of a spitting contest between the coach and owner.”

Redskins Owner Daniel M. Snyder – “Next time before I sign a huge contract with an athlete and a new coach, I will make sure that both will play well with others.”

If you have any more please add them to the comments section.

HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for coming to our site.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. He edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/. Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his draft analysis on Tuesdays on http://www.cleveland.com/dsn/index.ssf/2010/11/dsn_video_live_stream.html

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  • McNabb Asks To Be Released From Redskins Contract (roysrants.wordpress.com)
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The only things that are certain are death, taxes and NFL Coaching changes.

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General William R. Looney III, Air Education a...
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The teams that have already fired the HC:

Cowboys – The Boys will most likely stay with Interim Head Coach (IHC) Garrett. The team has played much better under Garrett than under Phillips. However, owner Jones would love to get a big name guy but none of them will take the job because of Jones history of interference with the day to day operations of the team.

Vikings – IHC Frazier is 50/50 to keep his job in 2011. The team has not improved much after the change but Frazier has had a lot of issues to work through. While the team is talented, it is older and the window on the Vikes getting to a Super Bowl is closing fast.

Broncos – IHC Studesville is not likely to be the 2011 HC. He has been a RB coach for most of his career. Because of the debacle that Owner Bowlen caused by hiring the badly over matched McDaniels, the Broncos need a name brand with HC experience. He is not likely to get the “big 2” (Gruden and Cowher) and will probably have to settle with someone like Kubiak.

The teams that will have coaching changes:

Panthers – HC Fox’s contract expires at the end of the year and he has been told it will not be extended. However Fox has a good enough rep that he will get another HC job very soon. The Panthers are a fairly attractive team with the 1st pick (IF Stanford QB Luck comes out) and some quality pieces. But it is several years away from contending.

49ers – HC Singletary got the job as an IHC but the team never came around for him. Frankly most of the problem is lack of talent. QB Alex Smith, a former 1st overall pick, has been a large part of the lack of production. High draft picks have failed to produce on both the O and D lines. But except for QB, this team has some great players like RB Gore, WR Crabtree and LB Willis.

Texans – This team under HC Kubiak has been the pick for the last 4 years to unseat the Colts in the AFC South. It has not happened. After a couple of 8-8 seasons, the wheels came off this year. The team has a solid O but the D is filled with high picks that have not developed. It is attractive because it is young and has some talent. It is also in a division that is rebuilding with the Colts window closing and the Titans and Panthers getting new coaches this year.

Titans – HC Fisher’s contract expires and there will be a new HC here next year. The problem has been more a difference of opinion between the Owner Adams and Fisher. Adams wants QB Young to be the guy but Young and the HC do not get along at all. Fisher will be hired by another team immediately if he is not extended by the Titans.

Bengals – HC Lewis is history. The Bengals won the Division by sweeping the games within it. This year they have won only 3 games. Lewis will get a job elsewhere as a DC but not as a HC. Mike Brown is going to have a real problem bring in a top prospect because of the history of this franchise. In addition, the entire team is going to be blown up particularly on O. It is a L O N G way from being competitive.

Browns – HC Mangini will be history at the end of the season unless Pres. Holmgren can’t get a name brand. The team has regressed this year despite having gotten a steal at QB with McCoy in the 3rd round. The most likely to replace him is Holmgren as HC or Gruden if the team can sign him.

Teams that will possibly fire their coaches:

Chargers – HC Turner will have to not only make the playoffs but get past the 1st round or 2 to keep his job. The team has always started slowly under Turner and this year has stumbled late in the season.

Raiders – The team is improved at 7-7 but HC Cable may still get the boot if for no other reason than Al Davis is still running the operation. Anything is possible

Dolphins – The team has regressed under HC Sparano this year. The players are not preforming up to their draft projections. QB Henne is seen now as a bust as was QB Beck, WR Ginn and other first and second round picks by GM Ireland. The recent losses combined with the mention of Miami by Cowher as a job he was interested in has destabilized the Dolphin situation. At this point I estimate there is only a 50% chance there will be changes in Miami. However, it is one to watch.

Redskins – There are serious problems between the Owner Snyder and HC Shanahan. Snyder brought QB McNabb in and the coach benched him. Snyder gave him an extension then the HC told him he would not play the rest of the year. The same thing happened with DT Haynesworth. Snyder traded for him, the coach refused to play him. The Owner gave him a huge roster bonus but he seldom got on the field. Battles between a coach and the owner always end one way–the HC gets canned. It may not happen this year but this is a situation to watch.

Giants – HC Coughlin is not on the hot seat yet but after the D allowed the comeback against the hated Eagles, the seat did get a little warmer. Another factor is former Steeler Coach Cowher saying that job would be one he would seriously consider. If the Giants don’t make the playoffs, Coughlin’s seat will get a lot warmer.

Chiefs – There are rumors of a possible change in KC not despite the team’s turnaround but because of it. Last year this same team under HC Haley went 4-12. This year with 2 quality coordinators, the team is 9-5. I hear that ownership is wondering if Haley was ready. Another problem seems to be the difference between 2 coordinators coming from the Belichick tree and HC Haley being a Parcells guy. I am hearing that the coordinators feel like they are carrying an unprepared HC.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org.

Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear my league news and draft analysis on Tuesdays on http://www.cleveland.com/dsn/index.ssf/2010/11/dsn_video_live_stream.html

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  • Published: Aug 12th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The injury bug bites the Eagles tail feathers.

The injury bug bites the Eagles tail feathers.

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t

Head coach Andy Reid is not known for running a particularly physical training camp. Even so, this year injuries have take down some starters critical to the success of the team in 09. MLB Stewart Bradley is one of the best young IB in the league but blew out a knee and was put on IR ending his season. Starting G Todd Herremans (foot) will miss the entire preseason because of a stress reaction in a bone in his foot. Others missing time include starters on the O line T Shawn Andrews (back) and G Stacy Andrews (knee). Starting WR Hank Baskett (knee) has been diagnosed with a hyperextension of the right knee. He is listed as day-to-day. And the star RB Brian Westbrook is recovering from foot surgery and will sit out the preseason. The injury list represents the best and most experienced starters on the team. That is not a good sign for 09.

The offense revolves around two guys—QB Donovan McNabb and RB Westbrook. McNabb has been criticized, benched, and yet has always come back to lead a team with very limited receiving options in the past. This year his corps of receivers looks a lot better. McNabb has the ability to carry the team on his back when he needs to. He is among the most productive QBs in the league. But he will be 33 before the season ends. That makes finding the next Eagle starter a timely issue. The team picked Kevin Kolb with their first pick in 07 (second round). He may be the guy but we haven’t seen enough of him to tell. We won’t see him this year either unless McNabb goes down.

Westbrook has been as much as 70% of the offense in previous seasons. Last year he was limited by nagging injuries and hits the magic 30 age for running back before the season starts. At just 203 pounds he can’t be expected to take the punishment of 250-270 carries a year for much longer. LeSean McCoy and Lorenzo Booker are his backups. Rookie McCoy looks like a capable replacement but so did Booker who proved to be less than advertised. FB Leonard Weaver is a solid blocker but not much of an offensive threat.

The starting WR are DeSean Jackson, who has sparkled in camp this year, and Kevin Curtis. Curtis had a great year going until he went down with an injury. Reid has rookie 1st round pick Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Hank Baskett in reserve. Both Avant and Baskett have experience and Maclin has the tools but will have to develop into a more consistent route runner. TE Brent Celek filled in nicely for the injured L.J. Smith last year and starts in 09.

The O line will be much improved IF the walking wounded return to play. LT Jason Peters was all pro last year despite not earning it. He wanted to be rewarded for a below average season with an above average increase and the Bills traded him. LG Herremans, RG Stacy Andrews (knee in 08), RT Shawn Andrews (back) are all fighting injuries. If healthy, this group is solid. C Jamaal Jackson needs to improve run blocking. The prime members of the bench are Max Jean-Gilles and Winston Justice. They are just adequate.

The D will have to get over a lot more than injuries. Sean McDermott will replace the long time and much loved Jim Johnson as D coordinator. Expect McDermott to keep the same system with no changes this season.

The team ranked 4th in run D last year. The D line did fine again the run but need to generate a lot more pass rush in 09. The base rotation includes starters Es Victor Abiamiri and Trent Cole and Ts Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley. Trevor Laws, Darren Howard, Chris Clemons, Juqua Parker who started last year at E are the reserves in the rotation. Out of necessity, the Eagles have always blitzed a lot. They would like to reduce the blitzes if the D line generates more pressure.

SLB Chris Gocong and WLB Akeem Jordan are set but the question is who will replace Bradley? Omar Gaither who lost the WLB spot to Jordan last season is the best bet. He has played there before.

The corners are solid with Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown. Samuel is an all pro and plays like it. Brown is fine but the team traded for Ellis Hobbs to provide a little extra incentive. The loss of team leader Brian Dawkins to free agency is going to hurt. He was the emotional leader as well as a coach on the field. Quintin Demps will get the first shot but the team also signed UFA Sean Jones from the Browns. Joselio Hanson and Jack Ikegwuonu play the nickel and dime spots and have experience.

OVERALL: The Eagles will be one of the most improved teams in the league if they can overcome the losses on D. With the new line and receivers, they should score a lot of points. If the D can do as well as it did last year, the team will make the playoffs and should make it to the NFC Championship game as well.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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