What did we learn from the weekend?

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FOOTBALL

College Football

USC @ Washington I don’t think the Trojans are going to want to play Ohio State again any time soon. Every time they do they lose the next game on the road. Washington is better but USC lost the game Washington didn’t win it.

Florida State @ BYU I was wrong about BYU. Florida State is a young team that hasn’t figured out how to win consistently but is always dangerous because of their speed. They jumped out on BYU and never looked back. That eliminates BYU from the national championship discussion.

Tennessee @ Florida The Vols have one of the great D coordinators in the history of college football—Wayne Kiffin, the father of head coach Lane Kiffin. WK did an outstanding job of keeping the Florida O under control despite a lack of O from Tennessee. It will take LK a while to get the guys he needs for O but the D will keep them in a lot of games.

Texas Tech @ Texas The TTk system is good but it really helps to have a great QB and top WRs. TTk stayed with Texas for awhile but don’t have the depth this year to compete.

# 19 Nebraska @ # 13 Virginia Tech While all the experts picked VT to cover, I thought Nebraska would cover and possibly win. They came very close and should have held on.

#23 Georgia @ Arkansas Georgia is over rated and as predicted came back in the 4th quarter to win. But they are not as good as most thought they were.

The Pros

CL @ DV The Tan’s right tackle is the worst blocker I have ever seen start in the league. I have 2 for Mangini. 1st, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING SIGNING AND STARTING RT ST. Clair? Second, how do you like your rookie C Mack that can neither block nor snap the ball in the shotgun formation? Check out my complete analysis of the 1st through the 3rd quarter on tomorrow. I didn’t watch the 4th quarter because I just couldn’t take any more.

NO @ PH QB Kolb wasn’t quite as bad as he has been before but still threw picks that cost the Eagles any chance of a win. Look for the Eagles to start him again with the same result—another loss.

NE @ NJ Coach Rex Ryan’s D did a job on the Pats. The Pats are not as good on D as they were with Seymour. On O the Pats are not better. Part of the problem is the lack of WR Welker. He is out with a bad knee. But for the first time ever, I saw QB Brady not stepping into a throw when the pressure got around him. That is not like Brady at all. This was the first time he had a lot of pressure since coming back from his injury. He may get over it. If the Pats are going to be champions, he is going to have to ignore the rush.

The Jets are looking good on O and the D has played nothing short of outstanding football. I will have more on this tomorrow.

SD @ BA On Saturday the Charger NT Williams was put on IR. That hurt the D against the run in the game against the Ravens. The two headed monster of Rice and McGahee ran right up the gut against them. The Chargers just can’t score TDs. They kicked field goals regularly from inside the red zone. Unless that changes, the Chargers won’t go far in the playoffs.

CR @ AT Delhomme didn’t look bad but Atlanta is just a better team. The QB had just one turnover.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What to watch for in the games this weekend.

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football

College Football:

Georgia Tech v. Clemson  This game was interesting on a couple of levels.  First, GT is going to be a nightmare to defend.  They have the Navy option game working like a fine tuned race car.  But Clemson in previous years would have folded up like a 78 Ford Fairmont after the opponent put 21 points on the board.  But this Clemson team fought back and made a game of it.  These two should be fun to watch going forward.

USC @ Ohio State Forget what the experts are saying. This game will depend on 2 things—the OSU O and D lines. Can OSU drive USC off the ball to run and give Pryor time to throw? Can OSU’s D stop the run and put pressure on the USC QB? The answer to both is no and OSU will lose the game by 14.

Notre Dame @ Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez’s system will work but he does not have the players on O or D to make it effective. ND finally has some key parts in place. ND wins by 10.

South Carolina @ Georgia Last year all the experts had Georgia at the top of the rankings. They had injuries and failed to live up to the hype. This year very few are talking about them. Look for them to be better than they were last year even without Stafford at QB. Georgia wins by 10.

North Carolina @ Connecticut NC is ranked in the top 20 but UConn gets no love. UC lost a lot to the draft this spring but is a program on the rise. UConn wins at home in a upset.

Syracuse @ Penn State New QB Greg Paulus had the Orange moving last week with the exception of the fumble on the first drive. That won’t continue and PS wins by 30.

Pro Football:

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh The Steelers won despite the fact that they can not run the ball. The problem is in the O line and won’t be solved this season. Despite having all the other parts, the lack of the ability to run will come back to bite the Steelers.

Miami @ Atlanta Last year Miami improved a great deal. This year they are better but they won’t win as many. ATL wins.

Philadelphia @ Carolina The Eagles show their power against a good Carolina D. Eagles win.

Washington @ New York The experts pick the Giants to go all the way. They won’t because of their lack of WRs. The Giants win but closer than it should be.

Chicago @ Green Bay The Pack is lucky to catch the Bears early. GB wins this one but they won’t at the return engagement at Soldier Field.

Minnesota @ Cleveland Mangini’s trick to keep the name of the starting QB secret works in a big way and the Browns…Just kidding. This game is over at half time. It’s going to be a L O N G season in Brownie land.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 8th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Tuesday Morning QB: What we learned from the NFL Preseason.

Tuesday Morning QB: What we learned from the NFL Preseason.

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The 4th preseason game was a preview of the 09 Lions and the UFL.

There were a lot of players in the last preseason game that will end up cut by their current teams. Several of those were picked up by the Lions on waivers. Some of the most notable included Yamon Figurs (WR), Kevin Hobbs (CB), Copeland Bryan (DE), Marcus McCauley (CB), and Cletis Gordon (CB). McCauley (Mn) has started in the league and may start for the Lions.

The UFL has been scouring the cut lists to get players. Expect them to sign as many “name brand” NFL players as possible. Teams have also been stocking their practice squads with young players (2 full years playing credit or less). Any team can sign a player to its 53 man roster from another teams practice squad.

Quarterback starters are named except in Cleveland.

The Jets named rookie Mark Sanchez the starter. Sanchez is not ready to start. He has the same problems that all rookie QBs. See the detail of these issues below.

Tampa Bay has picked vet Byron Leftwitch as their starter. Leftwitch won the job as a seat warmer for QB of the future rookie Josh Freeman. That seat won’t be warm for a while. If the Bucs fall out of the playoff chase, Freeman may take over. However, he is much further away from be ready to start than Sanchez. The Bucs traded Josh McCown.

The Lions are going to start rookie Matthew Stafford. Stafford is going to have a very rough season unless the O line comes together.

Then there is the Browns. Coach Mangini has not announced which QB will start. Everyone assumes it will be Quinn. If he is hoping that keeping the starter a secret will give him a competitive advantage in game 1. Based on how the Vikes D and the Browns O looked, whatever advantage that might be is not going to be nearly enough.

Why do so many rookie QBs that start end up failing?

There are 3 areas that even the best rookie QB has to get experience in before he can be successful. First, the speed of the NFL game is many times that of college. Patterns develop faster. The rush gets to the QB faster. The DBs close on receivers faster. A QB has to adjust to that and the adjustment takes time.

Second, the defensive players are all better and smarter than the best college player that they ever faced. They bait rookies into interceptions and hide coverages much better than college D ever could.

Third, the complexity of the O and D playbooks in the NFL. A typical college playbook is 100-150 pages. The average NFL playbook is closer to 1000. A college QB has never faced the combinations of man/zone coverages, zone blitzes, and rotating zones that he will in the NFL.

Why did Matt Ryan (AT), Ben Roethlisberger (PT) and Joe Flacco (BA) succeed when so many others failed?

All three of those above had a couple of things in common. The most important was a great running game. They were not asked to win games. Rather they were asked to keep the chains moving and not lose the game. All three had solid O lines. You don’t get a good running game without a good O line. The other thing each had was an above average D. Pittsburgh and Baltimore had outstanding Ds. Atlanta’s D was better than most think.

In the case of most of the failures, the teams had none of those qualities. When you ask a rookie to be the QB, he will not succeed without some of those factors around him.

College Football snippets.

Ohio State has to play better on the O and D lines than they did against Navy if they want to win vs. USC.

The Buckeyes were unable to run up the gut against a lighter D line. They were also unable to protect the passer effectively. The Midshipmen were able to run the ball at will against what was supposed to be a great OSU D. If they play the same way against USC, it is going to be a very long game.

BYU makes a statement to be included in the BCS.

Those that didn’t watch the Oklahoma BYU game may have thought that the upset by BYU was due to the injury to QB Sam Bradford. That is not the case. Even when Bradford was in the game, the BYU team was putting pressure on him, stopping the run, and moving the ball against the Sooner D. The way BYU played indicates they are a very solid team. Even if they go undefeated, they will lose out to a 1 loss SEC or BIG-12 team for consideration for the national championship game.

Bradford’s injury shows the danger for a top junior player skipping the draft.

Had Bradford been part of the 08 draft, he would have been the #1 pick. Upside is that he and his family would be set for life financially. Downside is he would have to play for the 0-16 Lions. I wrote that Bradford was making a mistake by not going into the draft. He had nothing left to prove to NFL scouts. Now that he is hurt and his team has a loss in non league competition, the chances for the Sooners making the national championship game are reduced by half. The news about the injury is promising and we all hope he gets back to action soon.

Virginia Tech is not ready to compete for the NCG.

The game vs. Alabama was a must win for VT to have any claim on a spot in the big game.

Talk of Rutgers being a national power is at best premature.

A above average Cincinnati team spanked Rutgers. So much for preseason rankings. Does anyone remember Georgia being #1 in the preseason polls of 08?

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 5th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on NFL 2009 in a nutshell.

NFL 2009 in a nutshell.

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nfl

AFC East

Patriots will win the division easily if they can stay healthy. If QB Brady is hurt, all bets are off and the Pats will be 2nd and out of the playoffs. The D backfield is still a problem.

Dolphins take a step back due to a harder schedule and teams pointing for that game. They will not make the playoffs but will be a better team with a worse record than in 08.

Jets will improve. The team has some key players. They will not have the kind of start they had last year but this is a good team.

Bills are a good team in a very good division. The O line is a problem and the D is coming but a year away from being really good.

AFC North

Steelers win the division but are pressed all year by the Ravens. The O line is the only soft spot on the team. If they get Roethlisberger hurt, the team will fall like Skylab. The D is still top notch.

Ravens will make the playoffs and get to the divisional round. The development of the O line will determine if they can get past that point or not. They have everything else.

Bengals will look much improved and improve their record because of the easier schedule. The D is under rated. With a healthy Palmer and Benson running the ball the O will be good. The question here is the O line.

Browns are in for another long season. Quinn will be better by 2010 but the poor running game, soft spots on the O line and ex-Jets on the D will prevent much progress on the win/loss record.

AFC South

Titans win the AFCS because they have fewer holes than the Colts. A great running game and D and a passing O that is OK is enough.

Colts fall a little due to problems on D. They will make the playoffs but not advance beyond the 2nd round.

Jaguars will battle the Texans all year for the 3rd spot in the division. Toss a coin to pick one. The team is not as good on O or D and the lack of production from the QB will keep them out of the playoffs.

Texans go as far as their D carries them. Lots of 1st round picks but not much production on D. The running game is solid but I have doubts if QB Schaub can stay healthy all year.

AFC West

Chargers win the division by default. They are very solid on D and very good passing game keep them in it as the worst division winner from the worst division in the league.

Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders Who cares? They won’t win 8 games between them. Denver will be 2nd with KC third and Oakland 55th. The best hit among these three might have been the one that broke the jaw of the Raiders assistant coach.

NFC East

Eagles win the division because everyone else is worse. They should have a little better O and an improved O line to go with a solid D.

Giants could really fall due to a total lack of NFL quality WRs. The running game can’t make up for 3rd rate wideouts and they will miss RB Ward. Manning will be glad he got his money early.

Cowboys will have to beat out the Giants for 2nd to get a playoff spot. Even if they do make it to the playoffs thanks to their coach, they will fail again in the big show. TO was not the problem. Wade Phillips is.

Redskins will be taking a QB in the 2010 draft. Campbell is not the answer now and will never be. The running game with Portis will face 47 guys on the D line. O line also need repair. This is going to be a long year for the Skins.

NFC North

Vikings will win because of a great running game and outstanding D. Favre does just enough to keep them in it. They will win in the playoffs and could get to the Super bowl if they can stay fairly healthy.

Bears take a major step forward due to QB Cutler. The D is still very solid and the running game will improve because they can pass the ball this year. They could upset the Vikes but will make the playoffs either way.

Packers will struggle on D because of the change from 4-3 to 3-4. Rogers is fine but the running game is a question as the O line gets old fast.

Lions might end up last in the Ivy League. They are not very good but no one will notice because the stadium will be empty most of the time.

NFC South

Falcons and the Saints will battle for the title. QB Ryan is really good. The running game will propel the team over NO. The D is better than people think.

Saints have as good a passing game as there is in the NFL. The D and inconsistent running game will keep them behind Atlanta.

Panthers are slipping on both O and D. The QB is a problem and the D has fallen off a little. They will be in the playoff race but fall short. The only thing that can get them in is the running game.

Buccaneers have fallen and can’t get up. The team is not good and QB Freeman is a long way from being ready to help much. Leftwich is just OK and the running game is suspect. The D is slipping also.

NFC West

Cardinals should win the West if Warner is healthy all year. The O is solid. The O line and D will determine if they get into the playoffs and how far they go.

49ers will take a step up. QB Hill is the best choice. The D is really coming on and RB Gore is as good as any. The WRs are better even without Crabtree.

Seahawks will challenge the 49ers for 2nd but fall short due to D. QB Hasselbeck looks good but not much running game and less ability to stop the run.

Rams are improving but no where close to competitive yet. RB Jackson and QB Bulger are good but injuries are already hitting the O line. LB Laurinaitis and DE Long are a good start building the D.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 17th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Rap up of the Preseason 1 NFL games

Rap up of the Preseason 1 NFL games

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nfl

This will become a regular Monday column. I will comment on some of the key games of the week. Let me know what you think of it.

Cleveland at Green Bay—Ugly is as ugly does.

Cleveland: The Browns looked bad. The Browns need a pass rush and the ex-Jets don’t have the ability to generate it. Look for DE Williams to get traded. He is not a fit in the 3-4. By the way, Mangenus said that QB Ratliff was a guy he really liked in the trade down from the 4th pick in the draft. Coach, just what was it you saw?

Green Bay: Packer fans shouldn’t get too giddy about the win because they were playing only part of the Browns D without NT Rogers. The Pack O looks very sharp. Bret Who?

Dallas at Oakland—QB Russell looks better

Oakland: JaMarcus Russell looks a lot better. He still is not starter quality but seems to have been working on his mechanics. The running game looks sharp and deep. On D the pass D is fine but they will have to find a way to stop the run.

Dallas: The Dallas O looks confused and shaky. The 1st team O line struggled against Oakland. Romo still has not convinced me he is all pro quality. TO may have been a distraction in the locker room but the WR corps is not nearly as talented as it was before he was released. The D looks OK. DE Igor Olshansky needs to step up his production. S Gerald Sensabaugh may be better in pass coverage than Williams was but does not support the run as well.

Washington at Baltimore—Is it soup yet? Yes, Campbell Soup.

Washington: Jason Campbell is still the QB because the team couldn’t get anyone else they liked better. He is still as inconsistent as always. His mechanics are a little better but still not solid. The other big question is the O line. RT Stephon Heyer held his own against a good Ravine D line but the running game struggled. It was not totally because Clinton Portis was out. The line had a tough time running against the Ravines D. The D didn’t have new addition DT Albert Haynesworth and it showed. They struggled against the running game.

Baltimore: Joe Flacco is great between the 20s. It is in the red zone that he struggles. Having WR Derrick Mason back helps a lot. Don’t forget him in your Fantasy Draft.  RB Willis McGahee looked good. Competition from Ray Rice has inspired him. C Matt Birk provides leadership for a young line. The O line is not yet ready to deal with multiple blitzes. They had better get ready before they play the Steelers. The D looks ready now. It is good to see SS Dawan Landry back from injury.

Denver at San Francisco—Opps, we got the wrong QB!

Denver: QB Orton looked HORRIBLE! He will get better. QB Sims was better but played against the reserves. We will see how he does against some starters. The D is worse. The team looks like it has no idea what the 3-4 is let alone how it is supposed to work. Any change in system will take some time. That time has not come yet for the Broncos.

San Francisco: The team isn’t sure who the QB should be. Smith looked good but it was against Denver. Hill wasn’t in long enough to tell much. Huard would have been better last year in KC with decent protection.

Atlanta at Detroit—Matthew Stafford looks like the real deal.

Detroit: Stafford looked good. He made good reads and accurate throws. The running game is going to be a problem. I am not a fan of Kevin Smith. Rookie Aaron Brown (TCU) could be a find. The D looked a little better but Atlanta wasn’t showing much. The Lions held the Falcons to under 250 net yards. Besides, the Lions won the game!

Atlanta: The Falcon’s O is ready to go. RB Turner looks perfect. Rookie of the year QB Ryan is middle of the season sharp. The Falcon starters are fine but the team does not have enough depth to keep the O going a full season. The D looked totally off. The D gave up over 400 yards to the Lions. That is a bad sign.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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Saturday's nibblets around the net for 02/15/09.

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday’s nibblets around the net.

By Bill Smith

BEST COMMENT OF THE WEEK–

Ted Payne posted this:

Well let’s be honest – guys like him are SCARED. They are legitimately scared of bloggers.

I mean each team can have a hometown blogger, bloggers that are dedicated to one team even. How can traditional journalists compete with that? Bloggers might not have the access of these top ESPN guys, but they can watch one team day in and day out, Albom can NOT do that.

Sports reporters are scared that one day, they won’t have a job, because people will turn to their local bloggers.

Ted, you are exactly right. The new media including the Internet bloggers scare them to death. Thanks for the support and I hope you become a regular reader. We will try to post the best comment each week.

Political Correctness run a muck.

Our old pinhead friends at the NCAA rules committee are thinking about making the touchdown celebration a “live ball” penalty rather than a “dead ball” foul. The difference is that a live ball foul is stepped off from the previous spot and takes the score off the board! I don’t have a problem with a penalty if a player throws the ball at an opponent. But we are talking about 19-22 year old kids that love the game they play.

The first thing that the official will say is that the player is calling attention to himself when he celebrates alone. But then when he celebrates with his team mates, the pinhead zebras say that the celebration was premeditated and organized. That isn’t allowed either.

My Advice: Let the kids have fun and forget the live ball foul. While you’re at it, forget the the dead ball penalty as well.

T1

Mike Martz can’t find a job.

Martz complained to Tom E. Curran, of NBCSports.com that he is being kept from getting a new job as O Coordinator by people saying negative things about him. “”People are determined to keep me out of the league. It’s been going on for three years and at this point, I can’t fight it. I just can’t fight it. Three years of people putting it out there that I’m a high-maintenance lunatic.”

My Advice: Mikey, let it go. Maybe it is the quarterbacks that you almost got killed with your 5 receivers in the pattern style offense that are keeping you down. No one trusts you with their franchise QB. Change your offense and maybe you’ll get work.

t2

Bret Favre retired—again.

This time I think we have seen the last of Favre. He was a great player and we respect that. He struggled in the last half of the season with the Jets and is physically done.

My Advice: Bret go back on your plantation and we will see you again in 5 years and hand you the yellow jacket and your bust in the Hall of Fame. But we don’t want to hear about you or see you until then. Frankly, you exhausted us with your “will he stay or will he retire” dance routine over the last few years. Enjoy your retirement because you deserve it. Just leave us alone.

t3

Kurt Warner says he will keep an open mind about where to play next year.

Warner had decided that if he gets a contract he likes he will play next year. He also has told many outlets that he and his family like Arizona. However, he said that he will keep an open mind if the Cardinals don’t come up with a reasonable offer.

My Advice: Kurt, I am not a Viking fan but there you would have a D that is ready to win now and an O line that will give you a lot better protection than you get now. Plus they play 9 games a year inside.

t4

QB JaMarcus Russell has minor surgery on his ankle.

Russell has hinted that his accuracy problems were partially due to his bad ankle that prevented him from pushing off properly. Dah!

My Advice: JR, while you’re sitting down waiting for the ankle to heal, watch some tape. You need to make better decisions. Then go throw a couple of hundred passes a day until you can throw the ball into a coffee can from 25 yards. Your problem is not your ankle, it is your head and your footwork.

t6

Percy Harvin, Florida is not a first round pick in my book.

Harvin is small and fast. But he doesn’t really have a position on the team other than spot 3rd down receiver and special teams player. He can maybe play the slot for a 3 wide team but that is about it. It is hard for a team to be successful drafting a player in the first round that is on the field less than full time. Just ask the Saints with Reggie Bush, or the Cowboys with Felix Jones.

My Advice: Harvin is compared incorrectly to last year sensation tiny DeSean Jackson. The difference is that Jackson was a polished receiver running disciplined routes and had very soft hands. Harvin is an athlete. He has not had enough experience at routes and will take a lot of coaching to even determine if he can be a slot receiver. He is a late 2nd or 3rd round value.

t7

The Falcons want to trade Michael Vick.

The Falcons Owner and CEO Arthur Blank told a news conference that he wanted to trade the rights to QB Michael Vick if and when Vick is reinstated by the NFL. There are a couple of problems with that. First, he will be 29 this year when he is released from prison to a half way house. There is a good chance that he will have to spend a couple of years suspension after he gets out of jail. So he will be 31 or 32 and will not have played for 5 years.

There is also the issue of his contract. It is huge. No team is going to take the PR hit of Vick on their team, pay the price of the current contract and give the Falcons a draft choice for the pleasure of having demonstrations outside the stadium by PETA every game day.

My Advice: Art, call the Lions and offer Vick and a draft choice for a couple of used footballs. They will take the deal because they could use a few PETA people paying admission so they can carry signs inside the stadium. That will insure some paying customers anyway.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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