Determined Quarterback Joe Licata

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Joe Licata just received a huge opportunity by being signed by the Cincinnati Bengals. Licata has been noted by the ESPN television network to be one of the top eighty best prospective quarterbacks in the nation. He started off as a determined quarterback, that many didn’t think would make it into the draft at all, but Licata was strong in the belief that he was capable of excelling, and now he has his place on a team.

As a sophomore in college, this now known football player had to go through hip surgery during his time playing at the University of Buffalo. When the season came, Licata was determined to play, whether people thought he could or not. He played his season well, set records for the Bulls, and is as healthy as can be.

Licata has always wanted to remain home, where he went to college, and play with the Buffalo Bills. When he was not accepted, he was warmly welcomed by Cincinnati. Many disagree with the decision made by the Bills, but Licata is doing well right where he is. His strengths, such as his ability to anticipate, his consistent accuracy, and his intelligence and knowledge of the sport will keep him as a well-known and successful quarterback in the league. Joe Licata’s determination to be the best he can, and to never give up despite adversity will fare him well in the game, now, and in the future of his career.

  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 30th, 2014
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on It is time for the Browns to change QBs.

It is time for the Browns to change QBs.

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Note: On NNR tomorrow Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports & I discussed the Browns Bills game and the impact of the QB change in the 4th quarter. The podcast is on

As I have said for weeks, the Browns are not a playoff contender. I wish they were but this team has to win the games they are supposed to in order even to be a pretender. They are not. And with this roster, they are at least a great draft away from contending.

So what do the Browns do about the QB position? As anyone that reads FPS regularly knows, I am not a Johnny Manziel fan. I believe he was the wrong choice and was drafted too early. But it is clear after 12 games that Brian Hoyer is not the QB that will take the team to a championship. And make no mistake, it is the Super Bowl that is the target rather than just getting into the playoffs. If you wonder about that just ask the Bengals.

I am not convinced that what Johnny did in college will translate to the NFL. Having scouted the draft since 1955, I seriously doubt it. I would have preferred Russell Wilson, Teddy Bridgewater or even Zach Mettenberger. They each were much more ready for the NFL than Johnny.

But given where the Browns are now, the only choice that makes any sense is to play Johnny to see what he can do. If he plays well then the Browns have a QB that can start next year. That will be a total of 22 different starters at QB since 1999. But that is not an issue. The Browns need to give Johnny a 4 game tryout to see if he can do the job. If not then they need to draft a QB next year. While there are not many 1st round guys, there are a number of developmental QBs that will give them an option should Johnny fail in 15.

A lower round QB will be a good move because they need to shore up the O and D lines. Those positions should be a high priority. Those positions are consistently costing the team wins. Without an upgrade at RG and RT, the Browns will not contend. That is also true of the D line. They thought they were deep at that spot only to see injuries ravage it. They need younger more aggressive D line players.

The Bottom Line: One thing I learned early in life, there is no future in martyrdom. Starting Hoyer at this point in the season will only postpone the QB issue until the off season without ever giving Johnny a chance to prove he is or is not the future at the position. That would be a huge mistake. It would only cause the fan base continued despair in 2015.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK. Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend. My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports. Podcasts can be heard on Thanks for your support.

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 edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 9th, 2014
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on News, Notes & Rumors for 9/9/14

News, Notes & Rumors for 9/9/14

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The best news possible for Bills fans is that Sabers owner Terry Pegula has reached agreement to buy the team. Pegula will keep the team in Buffalo.

The NFL claims they never saw the elevator video of Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend out. I find that not believable. To think that the most powerful sports league in the country couldn’t get a video that TMZ had no problem finding is a lie of the worst kind. It is an attempt to cover up the most ludicrous miscarriage of justice in the history of the NFL. If Roger Goodell had any guts at all he would have changed the suspension when he realized how unfair it was. But he doesn’t and won’t any time soon.

A prosecutor said that the feelings of the victim are taken into consideration when deciding how to proceed with a domestic violence case. In this case it is clear that Janay Palmer wanted Rice to get the minimum punishment. That would explain the decision to place Rice in a diversionary program.

Flag-mania was not prevalent in week 1 of the season. It was good to see that the zebras finally figured out that the DB has as much right to the ball as the receiver. That is kind of a good thing. Hands to the face flags were called at a higher rate than last year however. That is a good thing as well.

Several teams suffered serious injuries. Texan OLB Jadeveon Clowney, the 1st pick overall this year, has a torn Mencius and will miss 4 to 6 weeks. The Chiefs lost OLB Derrick Thomas for the season with an Achilles injury. The Browns lost TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder) and RB Ben Tate (knee). The Bears lost 2 offensive linemen C Roberto Garza and G Matt Slauson. The Colts suspended DE Robert Mathis injured is Achilles working on his own and is lost for the season.


Falcons 37 Saints 34 – This was a giant win for the birds. The key to the game was the Saint D let the team down under the attack of QB Matt Ryan. Ryan threw for 448 yards. The Saint O built a 13-0 lead but the D could not hold it. The Saint D also allowed a late drive giving the Falcons the tie. It was a turnover in OT that setup the winning FG. The loss by the Saints hurts their chances of getting the #1 seed in the NFC. That will be critical if they expect to go get to the Super Bowl. The Saints are not going to go to Seattle and win the NFC title.

­Dolphins 33 Patriots 20 – This was a huge loss for the Pats because it exposed the O line issues. QB Tom Brady was sacked 4 times and pressured all day by DE Cameron Wake and the D line of the Fish. Brady also fumbled twice. The Fish converted 59% of their 3rd down attempts while the Pats converted just 29%. The Pats need the top AFC seed if they hope to get to the Super Bowl. But until they fix the O line and find a way to stop the run on defense, that is not likely to happen.

49ers 28 Cowboys 17 – Dallas could not give the ball away fast enough. They turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions. The 49ers had 21 points with only 4 offensive plays. The game was never close after that. The 49er D looked good but most of that was due to the charity of the Boys. Things will be a lot harder when the 9ers get into their division games.

Eagles 34 Jags 17 – Eagles QB Nick Foles turned the ball over 4 times which allowed the Jags to build a 17-0 half time lead. But the second half was a different story. The Eagle D has to start the game ready to play if this team expects to go deep into the playoffs. The Eagles are still the class of a very ordinary NFC East.

Steelers 30 Browns 27 – For my thoughts about this game check out “The Secret behind the Browns 24 point comeback” right here on Fryingpansports.


IF the NFL and NFLPA finalize a new drug policy several players that are currently suspended could get some relief from it. Browns WR Josh Gordon was tested slightly over the current NFL limit for weed in the system but the new higher limit could apply retroactively to his case. Bronco WR Wes Welker could also get a pass on his 4 game suspension.

Several teams are in serious trouble getting to the playoffs even after just 1 game.

The Ravens have a must win Thursday against the Steelers. Pittsburgh is already up a game in the division and if the Ratbirds go to 0-2 with 2 division losses, it will be very difficult for them to recover. The Ratbird O has struggled all preseason to get the TD rather than a field goal.

The Redskins O is also pathetic. While the Skins D has played OK, it will be the O that prevents them from getting to the post season.

The Bears’ loss at home was a huge failure. The fact that they lost to the Bills makes the loss twice as costly. To make the playoffs, the Bears have to win home games and win the games on the road against the teams they are supposed to beat.

The Johnny Manziel package was just a rumor. He did not appear in the game.

The officiating this week was weak. While there was no Fail-Mary there were a lot of calls that were head-scratchers. One surprise was the lack of calls for the arm bar by either a defender or receiver. The zebras got the word from Park Avenue that the preseason games were bogged down by all the flags. But they may have gone too far in the other direction.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE: Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday, Thursday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on or On Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, former NFL scout Kelron Sykes and I talk football with just a little Indians and Cavs thrown in. The archive is available on Please join us.

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 edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


  • Author:
  • Published: Oct 7th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns/Bills Live Game Notes

Browns/Bills Live Game Notes

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NOTE:  Tune in Monday Oct. 7 at 6 PM Eastern for a recap of the week 5 games by Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York paper and yours truly.  Hear it live on or the archives on


Little’s return did not give Hoyer any favors.  1st at their 8.

Gordon drops the ball WIDE open.  Perfect pass despite having Williams in his face.  Lauvao wiffed on Williams.  That would have been a TD.

Bad start 3 and out on their 10.


Great field position for the Bills after a great return of 26

PI on Haden against Johnson. 1st and Goal at the 1.  Both guys were holding the other.

TD by Jackson.

BF 7 CL 0 13:16 left 1st

Second stupid return by Little.  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

Little fumbled the ball but the Bills did not challenge

Nice out by Bess.  Perfect throw.

Great pass to Bess in the middle of the field.

Hoyer is down after a run for a 1st.  If he is out there goes the season.

Weeden in and back to form.  pass 10 yards over the head of the receiver

A short run and another Weeden airmail to nobody and the Browns kick


On the 1st down pass not any pressure by the D.

Nice pass by Manuel over the middle.  Got tipped by the intended WR and caught by the TE Chandler

Nice 5 yard run by Choice.

Skrine on Johnson prevents the catch

Manuel reads the blitz and is complete to Johnson for the 1st

Rubin with the sack loss of 9

Two missed tackles on Graham by Haden and Skrine.

Mingo with a huge hit on Graham forcing him to drop the 3rd down pass.

52 yard FG GOOD

BF 10 CL 0

With Weeden at QB 10 points are as good as 100.

Little benched on KO returns Rainey takes the TB

The O line is still rotten.  Weeden does complete a throw to Gordon

Lauvao pulls and runs right by LB Alanzo that tackled McGahee for a 5 yard loss.

The O line breaks down and Weeden is sacked.  Both Thomas and Greco went to the DT on a T E game and Williams gets the sack with no one on him.


Skrine with great coverage on Woods breaks up the pass.  Good pressure on Manuel.

Great blocking gives Jackson 10 yards.  Gipson missed the tackle.

Choice for 6 yards Haden on the tackle.  The O line is getting blocks on the second level.

Mingo chases down Manuel and forces the hurried throw

GREAT return by Benjamin 58 yards on the return

Cousins gives up a hit on Weeden because he was holding it too long.

Williams helmet to helmet on a pass to Bess.  1st down 12.5 Weeden is confused.

On that play Weeden hung Bess out to dry by throwing late and high.

Weeden is sacked.  Loss of 4 because he was confused by the play and coverage.

Weeden ran into the sack with his total lack of vision.

Sweep by Rainey is not blocked at all and he gets just 1 yard

3 yard pass to Cameron on 4th and 13.

30 yard FGA GOOD

BF 10 CL 3


Robertson gets Spiller for no gain.

Hughes with a good play to get Spiller for 2 yards

Manuel on a crossing pattern to Woods for the 1st.  Zone did not break down fast enough to prevent the completion.

Mingo gets Jackson for no gain.  Nice play by the rookie

Kruger knocks down the pass and forces the punt.  He dropped into the zone for the block.

Ogbonnaya drops the ball and is hurt on a 3 yard pass.

The O line can’t get any push on a run by McGahee for 2 yards.  He is not dancing he is looking for a hole.

Nice throw by Weeden and the O line picked up the blitz. 1st

Weeden late on the throw to the sideline and Roby almost picks it.

Weeden on time with a slant to Little for the 1st

Good throw by Weeden to Gordon to the 23.  Ball took a LONG time getting there

Good run by McGahee for 11.  Blocks by Mack and Greco.

TO Cleveland Weeden can’t get the guys lined up correctly.

McGahee with good vision gets to the 6.

Browns blow another TO because the personnel didn’t get in quickly enough

McGahee gets the first with Grey at FB

Cameron gets pulled down by Searcy 1st goal at the 1

McGahee blown up by DT Williams

He is nailed for a yard loss by Alonso

McGahee with good vision sees a crack and gets the ball in for the TD off right tackle

BF 10 CL 10  3:52 left 2nd Q


The Bills run at Mingo but not much there.

D Bryant and Kruger get to Manuel and the 3rd down pass is INC

Benjamin with a 79 yard TD return.  Great vision and speed.

CL 17 BF 10 2:20 left


Manuel zone read off Mingo but the run nets only a couple.

Personal Foul on RB Jackson takes the ball back to the 16.

Browns tackling on the runs by Jackson not crisp

Jackson gets tackled for loss by Taylor and Jackson

Browns almost block the punt.



Rubin stuffs Spiller for just a yard

Woods gets away from Haden and gets to the 46  Good throw by Manuel under pressure

Spiller takes it 54 yards for the TD.  Ward came inside and Spiller went outside with the TD

CL 17 BF 17

Lauvao gets pushed down by the D line and McGahee gets a 3 yard loss.

Olay block by LG Greco lets Williams run right by him for the sack.

Browns 3 and out with a loss of 10 yards on the possession.


BF 46 YL 11:47

Manuel to Woods with soft coverage by Skrine 1ST down

Bills O line getting a push against the Browns

Skrine with a great pass breakup on Woods

Choice runs vs. a blitz by the Browns for the 1st at the 29

The Bills OGs are getting to the second level against the Browns.

Skrine with a great tackle on Manuel on 2nd and 7

Manuel runs and is hurt on his right knee.  1st down by the run

Ward called for PI 1st goal on the 1

TD by Jackson Browns lose contain again.

BF 24 CL 17

Nice throw by Weeden but it was late.  Little was wide open early then DB caught up at the ball got there.  Protection was good.

Fade is inc.  Weeden has never been able to make that throw.  Greco with a 15 yard penalty to the 37 Face mask.

Another late but accurate throw by Weeden to Gordon but he double caught it in the endzone for the score.  Good read by Weeden.

CL 24 BF 24 5:35  3rd Q


Hughes and Kitchens get the tackle on Spiller for 1

Bad throw by Tuel INC

TE Chandler drops a perfect pass by Tuel.  3 and out by BF when Tuel could not stand up against the blitz.

Weeden misses a wide open Little did not see him

Thomas with a false start.  May have been a late snap by Mack.

Weeden has no pocket feel and gets the ball stripped by Hughes.  Thomas recovers after he let Hughes get to the QB.

Three and out for Browns.


Ward nails Spiller for no gain.

Flee flicker to Woods is almost picked but Woods knocks it out of Gipson’s hands

Armonty Bryant gets the sack on 3rd and long.  Mingo got an assist by forcing Tuel off his spot.

Bad punt and 69 yard return by Benjamin puts the Browns at the Bill’s 31

Des Bryant DE is taken the Cleveland Clinic

Gordon drops a bubble screen pass 2nd and 6

Great run by McGahee with good block by Greco to the BF 12

END of the 3rd quarter


Another great run by McGahee Lauvao with the block to spring him to the 2

Weeden on a QB sneak for the 1st at the 1

Run to the left side nailed at the 2

McGahee nailed at the 6

Fade to Cameron bad throw by Weeden.  Fron the 1 why not a QB sneak for the TD?

FG from the 6 just inside the left upright.

CL 27 BF 24 12:31 left


Robertson and Jackson get RB Jackson for no gain at the 19

Tuel completes a bad pass to 11 but Haden and Jackson keep it from getting to the 1st

The ball hit the ground but the Browns don’t challenge.

11:15 left Browns on their 33

Greco stuffed but McGahee gets 4

Weeden to Cameron for 13 Barnage blocked the blitz but could have been called for a hold.

Hughes gets Weeden because he held it forever.  He is still staring down the WR.

3-15 Ball behind Bess and nearly got picked.  Weeden was late again.


Punt rolls to the BF 7

Pass by Tuel gets his first down

Haden was step for step with Woods and knocks the ball away at the Browns 45

Nice return by Benjamin of 12 yards get the ball out to the 43.  The Browns just missed the block.


Holding on Mack 1st and 20 6:50 left

Lawson gets Rainey for a loss of 5 on the screen pass

Late play call but Weeden gets it off to Rainey for 7

3-18 Great pass Weeden to Gordon for 18.5 and the 1st

Little drags McKelvin for 5 more yards and a 15 yard gain.

Lauvao misses everyone on a pull block but McGahee gets 2

Weeden can’t make up his mind where to go with the ball and has to throw it away to avoid the sack.

Any time Weeden feels pressure he tends to panic.

44 y FGA GOOD drive took 4:41 off the clock

CL30 BF 24 2:19 left

Tuel pass caught but Hogan was out of bounds.

Screen pass good to the 32.

Short pass to Hogan.

Tuel’s pass is jumped by Ward and pick 44 yards for the TD.

The Browns were playing zone and Tuel stared down his receiver.

CL 37 BF 24 1:44 left


Taylor chases the receiver 12 yards for the tackle

A Bryant forces a throw away by Tuel


FINAL Cleveland 37 Buffalo 24


Offense:  QB Brandon Weeden did well considering he was coming off injury and the short week.  The most important statistic was 0 picks.  It is too bad that QB Brian Hoyer was hurt.  The biggest impact of the injury is that the team will not see enough of his play to tell if he could be a long term solution.  In my opinion he was not the long term answer.  The team will draft a QB in the early rounds.  Will Hoyer start next year until the rookie is ready?  Quite possibly and the hope will be that Hoyer or Weeden can keep the team competitive until the new guy is ready.

Yes, Weeden is still staring down the receivers and panicking under pressure.  But IF he continues to play like he did against the Bills Weeden will be OK.  For the Browns to have any chance to win Weeden cannot give the ball away.


The running game began to show some spark.  RB Willis McGahee runs hard and he looks more comfortable in the offense than he did last week.  RB Bobby Rainey has potential and I liked undrafted rookie Fozzy Whittaker as well.  He is raw as sushi but has speed and toughness.


It was great to see WR Greg Little catch the ball with his hands.  He has way too much physical ability to allow his career to be ruined by bad hands.  Even WR Davone Bess drops the occasional ball as we saw this week.  WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron did OK in this game but neither had their usual spectacular catch we have seen with Hoyer at QB.  Hoyer has more touch than Weeden will ever get.


The O line got RG Shawn Lauvao back but he is at best a quality reserve.  He was pushed around a lot by the Bills D line.  LG John Greco is not much better.  He was fooled over and over on the T E game and allowed pressure and sacks on the QB.  He seems to be a better run blocker than pass protector.  Neither guard anchors well against a bull rush.  Both also struggle to read the blitz or games by the D line.  RT Mitchell Schwartz has some nice blocks but is not a starting quality OT.  Next the serious OG issue, he looks better than he is.


Defense:  Other than the 54 yard TD run by RB C.J. Spiller, the Browns did a great job of keeping the Bills offense under control.   On that play SS T. J. Ward blitzed and FS Tashaun Gipson did not go to the middle of the field like he should.  The Browns D held the Bills to 5 third down conversions in 17 attempts.  When E. J. Manuel went out with an injury, the Bills were no longer a threat to score.  Undrafted rookie QB Jeff Tuel is not an NFL quality QB.  He completed only 8 of 20 throws for 80 yards.  The Browns D looked good but this was not much of a test.


Special Teams:  PR Travis Benjamin was electric with two great returns including the 79 yard TD run.  We have not seen anything like that in a long time.  Spencer Lanning did a great job punting and Billy Cundiff was 3 for 3 including his 44 yard field goal and did well in kickoffs.


Coaching:  The second half of the game was better for Weeden because of the adjustments made by the staff at half time.  They put back the long balls with which Weeden was much more comfortable.  In previous seasons we have seen coaching staffs that were either unable or unwilling to make half time adjustments.  It was great to see the staff realize that the playbook had to change when Hoyer went down.


The Bottom line:  Perhaps the biggest question now is what kind of QB should the Browns bring in be the 3rd guy?  Here is an out of the box suggestion:  Sign former Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson.  He is on the Raiders developmental squad but going into the 2012 college season was expected to be a first round pick.  I scouted him and felt that he was much better than any of the top QBs.  He suffered from the change of coaches just prior to the 2012 season and a very poor line and receiver corps.  He has an above average arm and almost single handedly kept the team in contention.


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 edits  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.   

He also edits .  

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.


  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 11th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on News, Notes & Rumors Week 1

News, Notes & Rumors Week 1

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The running game in week 1 was WAY down in part because lots of NFL teams have major O line issues.  The Seahawks struggled to score 12 points against the Panthers.  The Browns could not run or pass in a loss to the Dolphins.  The Steelers lose their C Maurkice Pouncey and score only 1 TD.  There was only one RB that got 100+ yards (Shane Vereen of the Pats). and he has a broken bone in his wrist.


Colin Kaepernick QB of the 49ers was outstanding against the Packers.  He was 27-39 412 yards with 3 TDs and no picks.  His new best friend is former Raven WR Anquan Boldin who caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a TD.  Despite only running for a total of 90 yards the Niners beat the Pack.   Jim Harbaugh is going to owe brother John a REALLY nice Christmas gift for the trade of Boldin.


While the Bills D played well, the Pats are clearly hurt by the loss of targets for Tom Brady.  Of course the two fumbles by RB Stevan Ridley did not help the O.  The same can be said for the Ravens losing Boldin and the Steelers losing Mike Wallace.


The Pats have put Vereen on the IR with designation to return list.  That means the earliest he will be back is week 8.


The Browns wideouts have shown their speed.  Unfortunately for the team it was in cars on the streets of Cleveland and not on the field.  Both Greg Little and Josh Gordon have been fined for speeding.





Bronco QB Payton Manning looks much better to me than he did at any time last year.  Even in the middle of the 2012 season the ball speed was down from his days in Indy.  As much as the 7 TDs were outstanding, his ability to hit very small openings between defenders this year is much better than any time last year.


There were two rookie QBs starting and Terrelle Pryor as a new starter for the Raiders.  Bills rookie starter EJ Manuel nearly beat the Pats with a passer rating of 105.  Geno Smith of the Jets had a rating of 80.6 but at least there were no butt-fumbles.  Pryor threw for 217 yards and ran for another 112 scoring a total of 3 TDs with 2 picks.  While none of the three got starter reps from the beginning of training camp, each did pretty well.  They will only get better with more experience.


Robert Griffin III did not look 100% to me.  I was not as concerned about his inaccuracy in the first quarter as I was about his mechanics.  Some of that was rust from not playing at all in the preseason.  But I wonder how healthy he is.  There were no QB runs and he looked a little clumsy getting out of the way of the rush.  That is something to watch.


Check out my analysis of the Eagles Offense posted yesterday.  I think you will find it interesting.




There are a couple of teams that are hoping that the Raiders, Jets and Bills fall in love with their new QBs.  The teams that want QBs from the 2014 draft don’t need those three teams joining in the bidding war to get the best candidates.


We saw more fights and jawing this week than in any week in recent memory.  The players are generally in a nasty mood and are taking it out on fellow union members.  If the NFL does not get control of this issue there is going to be trouble.


Don’t look for Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez to start any time soon.  His injury is worse than the team will admit and management wanted Smith to start day one anyway.  Management is not convinced Smith is the QB of the future but have seen more than enough of Sanchez.  The Jet fans agree.


The leash on Browns QB Brandon Weeden got a lot shorter this week due to his 3 picks and many misfires.  The management did not draft him and is not happy with his lack of development.  They will likely allow him to start the next 2 games at the Ravens and at the Vikings.  By the third game WR Josh Gordon will be back from suspension.  But unless he shows significant improvement he could be out week 4.  Backup Jason Campbell would likely replace him.


Local media is expressing doubts about the Browns personnel decisions.  The basic issue is that with injuries to the CB and RG spots the team failed to bring in any experienced help.  Instead they brought in undrafted rookies.  There are a couple of OGs available in free agency including Brandon Moore (Jets) and Deuce Lutui (Titans).  After week one a team can bring in a veteran player without having to guarantee his total salary.


Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin was fuming on the sidelines after seeing his team turn the ball over six times.


OSU is in trouble again but this time it is Oklahoma State University.  While the full scandal found originally by Sports Illustrated is not yet uncovered, it looks really bad.  The charges include payments to players, work done for them by tutors and even recruits getting a “happy ending” from their official hosts.


The zebras of the NFL did not have a good week.   While we never hear about penalties by the league against officials, there will be some this week.  Way too many of the officials seem to think the fans come to the game to see them.  Get a clue guys.  You are supposed to be the rule enforcers.  I have no issue with a judgment call being missed.  There is no excuse for not knowing the rules.


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


You can listen to the podcasts at and hear NNR Live with Samantha Bunten of NBC News and me Mondays at 6PM Eastern time on


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro football teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He also edits 

News, Notes and Rumors for Week 8 of the NFL Season

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Bill Smith


What have we learned so far this NFL Season?

The current leaders for a bye week in the playoffs in the AFC are the Steelers and the Bills.
The Steelers got the top spot after the win over the Pats Sunday.  They have a HUGE game this week with the
Ravens in Pittsburgh.  Beyond that they have an easy schedule the rest of the way.
They face the Browns and Bengals twice.   The only games that seem to be a challenge now are road games at the
Chiefs and the 49ers.

The Bills have a tougher schedule ahead of them.  But their win last week over the
Redskins is a good sign for the D.  They face the Jets twice and close with a game at the Pats.

The other playoff teams at this point of the season would be Texans (AFC South), Chargers (AFC West) and the wild cards Bengals and
Pats.  Despite being ranked 5th overall in the AFC, the Ravens would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today.

In the NFC things are just as surprising.

The top team is the Packers which will not surprise anyone.  But the 49ers are 2nd overall at 6-1.  The Giants and Saints
would be the other division winners and the wild cards would be the Lions and Bears.

While the 49ers have the toughest schedule they are also in the easiest division.  They will face the Steelers and Ravens from the AFC and the Giants out of the NFC East.  The 49ers will win their division easily.

The Lions have to face the Pack twice as well as the Saints and the Raiders.  The Lions will be a playoff team IF they can keep QB Stratford healthy.  Otherwise the WC will go to the Bears.  The Bears have already lost to the Pack once and face the resurgent Eagles, the Lions and the Pack once in their remaining games.

The Cowboys are again struggling at RB because they are using a light Felix Jones too much.   He is hurt again and they cut RB Choice before their game Sunday.

The Cards have discovered what most of us have known for a while—QB Kolb is not an NFL quality starter.  He has really struggled
in the last couple of games and they are considering going back to Skelton.



Teams that want Stanford QB Luck were rooting for the Rams to get the top pick.  That is the only team that would be inclined to trade either the pick or their current top pick QB Bradford.  The win by the Rams over the Saints hurt their chances of getting the pick.

Right now after week 8 of the season the Dolphins are leading the race to Luck.  They have not had a quality QB since Dan Marino retired and would love to “suck for Luck.”  The Colts are in 2nd but they will not get Luck even if they get the top pick.   To find out why check out my article WhyStanford QB Luck will not be a Colt in 2012 on the subject right here on

The Colts have kept QB Manning on the active roster.  However, he should not even think about coming back to the team this year.
The season is lost and the offensive line is … offensive.

The NFL Player Safety Committee will study the situation with Charger G Dielman who suffered a seizure after having a second
concussion Sunday.  It was a very scarysituation to see him stagger and fall to the ground after a hit.



Former HC Cowher denied rumors that the Dolphins had talked with him about becoming their HC.   Thank heavens for Caller ID.  He
avoided the call by seeing it was the Dolphins on the line.

The Saints loss to the Rams was a major upset but also indicates an issue with the team.  They have struggled to protect the QB and with their O so totally dependent on Brees passing, it puts doubt in the minds of many that the team is a serious contender for the title.  The
Rams won without their starting QB Bradford.

The Madden Curse strikes again.  This time it is RB Hillis that is the primary victim although the entire Browns’ group of RBs have also suffered from the Cover Curse.  Backup Hardesty is now down with a torn calf muscle and they are looking for anyone that can run the ball.

The chance of Hillis being on the Browns next year is said to be close to 0 but he may have to come back because no one else will
make him an offer.  He has said he does not want to be distracted by talking more about a new contract.  He will get very little interest unless he
gets back on the field and has a solid last half of the season.

The rumor is that the Texans are a dirty team.  HC Kubiak defended his team Monday in his news conference.  The truth is that Kubiak
started the rumor himself to make his team look tough.  Anyone that has seen this team over the last couple of years knows it is anything but tough in either their minds or physical play.  The D is doing better this year but the only reason the Texans may stumble into the playoffs is the
injury to Colt QB Manning.

Sometimes a big payday can make a player soft and he will fail to ever regain the performance that got him the check.  That is not the case with Titan RB Johnson.  While he has suffered from a lack of conditioning because of the lockout and his holdout, that is not the issue.  The fact is that the O line of the Titans has not opened holes like they it has in the past.  With a passing game that is among the worst in the league, teams are putting 30 guys in the box and making sure that Johnson cannot get outside.  RB Ringer is a better inside runner and will split time with Johnson.

If the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs, look for big changes in Big D.  Owner Jones is not patient and the coaching staff is not the only change that might be made.  QB Romo is going to have to become a consistent guy particularly in the 4th quarter.

Cowboy DC Rob Ryan is confident he will be a HC soon.  He indicated that his brother Rex got his chance already.  Rob, here is
some advice.  Not only do you have to have your own charges play better but unless Rex gets his act together he may
be an ex-head coach soon as well.



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 He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits .




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