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

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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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Cowboys,Falcons,Raiders,Redskins,Ravens,Broncos,Lions,Browns,Packers,Russell,Romo,Campbell,Flacco,Orton,Stafford,Smith,Sims

Vegas projects the Browns to win 7 games(???)

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According to the over/under wins list put out by the odds makers in Vegas, the Browns are going to win 7 games but the Bengals are going to win only 6. These numbers look off to me.

The Browns are going to have a new QB, offensive and defensive system, key players on both sides of the ball. They traded their best receiver away and are shopping their only other starting pass catcher on EBAY without a minimum. And their other starting WR is suspended indefinitely by the Commissioner. They also have a new younger version of what they hope is Bill Belichick II in New England and not Bill Belichick I, the guy that they fired in Cleveland.

The Bengals have a quality experienced QB, the same O and D systems, and a coach that reportedly the players love to play for but is on the hot seat unless they win. My gut tells me that the Bengals are a lot closer to winning 7 or 8 games than the Browns are.

WR Braylon Edwards will have a lot of company when he runs patterns because he is the only deep threat the Browns have. Rookie WR Mohamed Massaquoi has speed but questionable hands. There should be real race to see who drops more passes. After Massaquoi drops more than his share, look for OSU rookie Brian Robiskie or vet Mike Furrey to get into the starting lineup. UFA Robert Royal figures to start at TE by default. He may be the only TE healthy enough to play.

The current depth chart shows turnstile UFA John St. Clair starting at RT. He has gotten QB broken everyplace he has played. Just like last year, the Browns may need 4 or 5 QBs this season if he starts.

The D line still lacks any help for pro bowl NT Shaun Rogers to stop the run. In the AFC North, if you can’t stop the run, you will be on the field a L O N G time. The linebacking corps is anything but settled. It will be a week to week game of who did you sack recently? The backfield looks less strong than it did last year as SS Jones was allowed to leave. Look for ex Jet SS Abram Elam to start. The corner opposite Eric Wright is up for grabs. Don’t look for any great improvement there. Without much of a pass rush, whoever plays will have to cover the opposition long enough to establish voting rights in Ohio on every play.

The best chances for a Browns win will be against Detroit, Kansas City, and Oakland. The rest of their games will be toss ups or worse. For entertainment purposes only BET THE UNDER.

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Browns,Bengals,Jets,Belichick,Edwards,Vegas,Over/under

Saturday Niblets for 6/6/09

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Today is the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. My Dad was the first American on Omaha Red beach 2 hours before the invasion. Today, we salute all those that risked or gave their lives to help free Europe from Hitler.

Best Email of the last 2 weeks: from James on “The Cavs are a 1972 Comet with a Ferrari engine.” too bad Lebron and the Cavs failed to reach the championships… was rooting for them! I just do not know what will happen of the team if Kobe comes in… the dynamics of team will likely change, but if they get past that they’d get a huge chance in grabbing the title next year…

James: The chances of Kobe coming are very slim. But you are exactly correct in that the team is going to have to have a rebuild this off season to become a championship caliber team in time to win a title for LeBron next season. Thanks for your comment.

Updates on previous columns:

Mangenious and his Magical Bus trip

The NFLPA is investigating the Magical Bus trip of 10 hours each way to the football camp outside of Hartford Conn. that Eric Mangini forced on the 19 Browns rookies. Of course Mangini flew to Hartford and was planning to fly back until someone smarter than him suggested how bad that would look. Let’s hope the league fines Mangenious a couple of hundred thousand dollars and gives it to those that took the bus.

LeBron is LeGone

Lebron James was fined $25,000 by the NBA for failing to speak to the media after the loss to the Magic in game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals. Initially, the league announced that he would not be fined. In an interview on ESPN Radio, Comm. Stern the day after that announcement was made, Stern said he was looking into the issue.

What do you do with a young benched starting QB?

Titans coach Jeff Fisher told the press that “eventually” Vince Young will be the starting QB. Fisher told the press that Young has been spending time in the weight room.

My Advice: Vince, get out of the weight room and camp in the film room. The problem is your understanding of the playbook and reading coverage not your arm strength.

Niblets fresh off the cob:

The NFLPA reaches a settlement with retired players

Retired NFL players had filed suit against the NFLPA to get a part of the money flow of the various marketing deals that the NFLPA gets. According to ex-Packer and Hall of Fame DB Herb Adderley who filed the suit, the settlement gives retired players 26.25 million dollars. This is only one issue between current and retired players.

Exec. Dir. DeMaurice Smith told a meeting of active and retired players that benefits for retired players would be reduced by 80% if the NFL Owners lock the players out after 2011. This will be one more potential suit for Adderley to file against the NFLPA.

The Lakers win game 1 by 25.

The Lakers looked good Thursday night against the Magic. According to several sources, the Lakers are much more focused in the finals because of their loss last year to the Celtics. We will see. If they play the way they did against the Nuggets, the Lakers will lose again. Magic C Dwight Howard is not going to score just 12 points often. Neither returning all star PG Jameer Nelson or Rafer Alston played particularly well. Nelson, coming off an injury, should get better with more practice to shake off the rust.

The NHL series is all tied up.

After Pittsburgh won the first two games at home, many pundants wrote that the series was over. Not so fast. The Red Wings looked tired and slow compared to the younger Penguins. The scheduling of back to back games has helped the Pens. But to win, the Pens are going to have to win game 5 at Detroit. I don’t believe that they can win a game 7 in hostile territory against a seasoned team like the Wings.

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 .

Technorati Tags: D-Day,LeBron,James,Kobe,Bryant,Young,Titans,Fisher,NFLPA,Smith,Adderley,Lakers,Cavs,Magic,Pittsburgh,Detroit,NHL,NBA,NFL,NFL Draft,NBA Draft,Alston,Nelson,Howard

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]

Technorati Tags: nfl,nfl draft,Political Correctness,NCAA,college football,officials,Martz,NBC Sports.com,Favre,retirement,Hall of Fame,Warner,Vikings,Cardinals,Russell,Raiders,Harvin,Florida football,Jackson,Vick,Blank,Falcons,Lions,Atlanta,Detroit

Is Sam Bradford making a mistake by staying at Oklahoma?

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Fryingpan Sports

Is Sam Bradford making a mistake by staying at Oklahoma?

t By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: nfl Draft,NFL,COLLEGE FOOTBALL,Oklahoma,Bradford,Smith,Bengals,Lions,Chiefs,Oregon,Raiders,Russell,Young,TItans,USC,Leinart,Cardinals,Arizona,Tennessee,Kansas City,Detroit,Tebow,Florida

In a previous article I wrote that Tim Tebow made a great decision by staying at Florida. He was going to be a 2nd or 3rd round choice this year but could work his way into the first round with a strong senior year. However, I believe that Oklahoma QB Bradford is making a mistake by staying.

I am reminded of QB Matt Leinart of USC. He would have been the first overall pick had he come out as a junior. But he stayed in school for his senior year and fell to the 10th pick overall in the 2006 draft. Alex Smith from Utah was the first pick of the 49ers. That decision cost Leinart 3.5 million dollars over the first 3 years of his contract.

There is only one first round QB in the 2009 draft—Matt Stafford of Georgia. While USC’s QB Mark Sanchez will probably be drafted in the first round, at this point I don’t see him as a 1st round talent. QB Akili Smith from Oregon started only one year in the Pac-10 and look how well that turned out for the Bengals.

With no less than 14 teams needing either starting or backup QBs, the need will never be greater and the supply seldom lower. [You can see the list on NFLDraftDog.com in my column about the Browns.] In my opinion, Bradford would have been either the first pick by Detroit or the third pick by Kansas City. Bradford would have taken over the top QB ranking at the combine.

Bradford has better accuracy than Stafford but slightly less arm strength. I’m not big on arm strength. Both Vince Young of Tennessee and JaMarcus Russell of Oakland have great arm strength but couldn’t hit snow if they were passing from the North Pole. The NFL has seen dozens of strong armed QBs crash and burn over the last few years. Joe Montana had average arm strength but it got stronger from lifting so many championship trophies.

Bradford is more of a pocket passer than Stafford and has a little more experience throwing after taking snaps from under center than Stafford. That should translate into less trouble mastering the 3, 5, and 7 step drops so critical to developing accuracy in the NFL. Bradford processes information quickly and is accurate. He completed 68% of his passes with 50 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Stafford is very inconsistent. Even though he has the better team in all but a hand full of games Georgia played, he still often throws interceptions in critical points in the game. He is not nearly as accurate as Bradford completing 61% of his throws but having only 25 TDs and 10 interceptions.

The risk is that Bradford’s stock will drop in his senior year. He loses WRs Juaquin Iglesias and Manuel Johnson, and probably Jr. TE Jermaine Gresham. While he will still have some good targets, chances are they will not as good or as consistent as those three. They should all be drafted in the first 3 rounds. He will also be missing at least two of his interior linemen Duke Robinson and Brandon Walker as well as his best tackle Phil Loadholt.

Given all the talent the Sooners will lose, it would make more sense to come out now. He will be running for his life whichever bad NFL team he goes to in 2010 and may have to run from less than optimum pass protection next year at Oklahoma. He might as well get paid to do it.

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 NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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