• Author:
  • Published: Jan 4th, 2018
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Is Jackson still the Browns head coach because GM Dorsey wants a scapegoat?

Is Jackson still the Browns head coach because GM Dorsey wants a scapegoat?

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Image result for John Dorsey GM Browns pictures

GM John Dorsey

NOTE:  On NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discussed the news of the day and analysis of week 17 on fryingpansports.com/radio-show.

Many in the media and a lot of Browns fans are wondering why Jackson is the head coach with a 1-31 record in the last 2 years.

There is no chance of a trade to the Bengals.  Teams this year have fired coaches with much better records than Jackson’s.  So that is still a HUGE question.

Could the answer be that Dorsey wants a scapegoat if the Browns are not significantly better next season?  As a LONG time Browns fan, I hope that is not the case.  But it is worth thinking about.

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 http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. 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 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/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/..  

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

  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 25th, 2013
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Browns/Colts live thoughts

Browns/Colts live thoughts

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Browns2

 

KO-9 allowed the Colts to take the ball to the 40.

Kruger with a nice play v the run

Kruger gets the sack on a 5 step drop by Luck

Wayne beats McFadden.  The blitz didn’t get there.

Haden missed a tackle on the end around

RB Ballard blows through for 13 yards.

Jackson beats Ballard to the edge for a 5 yard loss

Winn stops Luck for a 2 yard gain

Luck breaks contain against the blitz for 6 yards.  Kruger did not hold his contain.

That was not a good job on D.

32 y FG GOOD IN 3 CL coming to bat

Richardson with a great move to get the 1st

Greco makes a great block to turn the DE Richardson gets 13

Weeden hangs a ball for Cameron high but JC comes down with it.  Great blitz pickup by TRich

Holding call on Thomas was weak

Obi1 gets a nice catch on a circle pass for 5

The Colt blitz forces Weeden to throw short.  Cameron double catches but the Browns punt.

Short punt gets the ball down to the Colt 12.

=

Rubin just missed a sack but Luck was able to compete for a 1st  at the 34

Jackson stops the run wide for no gain

Blitz with 6 fails again but the pass goes incomplete Skrine covering Wayne

Richardson gets only a yard on a sweep left

Little with a nice catch vs tight cover and gets the 1st 

Good throw by Weeden.

The first deep throw is incomplete

On 3rd and 8 Cameron missed the pass.

29 yard punt.  THAT is not good enough.

=

Bey gets away from Jackson and gets a 1st

Luck with all day to throw gets 14 more to Wayne

Winn and Taylor take down Brown for 2 yard gain

Luck runs up the middle as the pocket breaks down.  No pressure up the gut.  The Browns did not stay in their lanes on the pass rush.

Wayne uncovered by Skrine and gets 15.

Luck runs for 6.  Pass coverage was good in a zone

Pass to Bey good to the CL 3.

Browns call TO 8:13 left.  Not looking good on O or D

TD pass to FB Havilli.

IN 10 CL 0.

Bad choice by Bademosi to bring the kick out ends up at the 15.

Weeden gets Gordon for 15.

Pressure from a 7 man blitz forces Weeden to throw it away

TRich through a small hole for 3.

Good throw to Little but he lost the ball.  Colts ball after a 15 yard foul on Schwarts.

=

Haden with nice coverage on Wayne Incomplete

McFadden knocks the ball down

Wayne gets the 1st vs Skrine

Taylor and Rubin stuff the run.

Skrine got the hand on the ball to Wayne Incomplete

Wayne takes a head shot and gets the catch at the 7

Ball on the 4 after a penalty

Kruger forces a bad pass and Gipson comes up with a pick at the 2.  Great play on both ends

TRich gets 2 on his own.

Weeden throw into triple coverage is incomplete.  He is staring down his receiver causing the triple coverage.

Weeden throw Inc Browns punt from their 4.

Great punt 65 yards.

=

Great throw by Luck gets the 1st .  Ward missed the tackle that would have held them short of the 1st

Skrine knocks the ball away from Wayne

Browns get to Luck pass Incomplete

Browns force an incompetion and the Colts punt

1:39 Browns ball on the 20 with 2 TOs

Weeden gets OK protection but throws the ball away

Weeden runs for 5

With the clock running he throws into triple coverage again because he stared down his guy.

=

Good punt coverage No return 50 yard punt 55 sec left

Ballard runs for 7 TO 39 sec left

Fake the Blitz and Luck passes for the 1st He read it while Weeden does not.

Home town timer 38 seconds left 2 nd down.  No way that play took just a second.

Long pass Inc with pressure by Kruger 33 seconds left

Run fails to get the 1st

Punt downed at the Browns 4

Half time Ind 10 CL 0

 

 

Long pass inc  Little has to knock the ball down or it would have been picked.

Gordon drops a 3rd down pass.  Browns go 3 and out.

Bad coverage gives the Colts the ball on the Browns 48

=

Brown breaks tackles for 22 yard run

Nobody covers the FB and he gets the ball into the 15

Brown eating the Browns lunch for another 8 yard run

Carter with a nice tackle for loss of 1

Hilton is WIDE open and catches an 8 yard TD pass

IND 17 CL 0

The Colts put in their 2nd d

Catch by Gordon gets the Browns to 3rd and 2.  First short yard to gain in this game.

Good catch by Cooper for the 1st

Marecic CAUGHT THE BALL!  After he realized he had not been touched he got up and ran

TO Browns.  Not organized blow a TO.

Under pressure Weeden misses Little Holding on Indy

Jackson drops a pass in the flat

Ogbonnaya gets 3

Cooper gets open and gets the 1st on a 9 yard gain

Pressure again Weeden misses a wide open TE Davis

Blitz again and Weeden missed Cooper.  Weeden does not handle pressure well.

Blitz on 3rd and it almost gets picked on a throw to Cooper

50 Yard FG GOOD Ind 17 CL 3

=

Auguste stops the run.  If he missed it would have been a BIG gain.

Another great play by Auguste on a TFL

Slaughter hits the receiver just as the ball gets there. Pass INC

Bad punt by Colts gives the ball to the Browns at the 50.

Campbell complete to Davis for 6.

Smelley with a nice block on Jackson’s run for 3.

Davis was wide open but Campbell missed him badly.  He got hit after the play.

On 4th and 1 Jackson is tackled for a loss

=

CB Kena almost picks the pass from Hasselbeck

Auguste loses the WR and it goes for a 28 yard gain.

Sanford gets the back for a 3 yard loss

RB Williams is tackled for no gain

Auguste is caught for interference at the Browns 12

Fort catches FB Hughes for no gain.

Adams gets a tackle on Williams for 3

WR Whalen is open in the endzone but cannot catch the ball.

IN 20 CL 3 1:15 left 3rd quarter

Nice 6 yard run by Cook

15 yard run by Cook is called back Holding on Hauptman

Smelley with a nice catch runs for 6 more yards and gets the 1st.

END OF THE 3RD Q

Campbell gets sacked by Rayford

Pass for 2 yards on 3rd and 6.

The Browns punt almost gets blocked but Lanning gets it out.

=

The Browns get confused by a rollout pass in the flat that goes for 12

JM Johnson gets a TFL

Whalen gets open against Auguste again and gets the 1st

Meggett gets a 1st on a 15 yard run

Browns TO 10:13 left

Hasselbeck is hit and fumbled but the Colts got it back.

Auguste gets Whalen on a short pass.  Colt WR Palmer hurt on the play.

Browns ball on their own 9

Campbell misses TE Gronk

Edwards bobbles the 3 yard pass from Campbell and drops it.

RB Cook catches the pass and jukes for a 1st

LB Harvey breaks through again and grounding is called on Campbell

Nice throw to WR Edwards for 18.  3rd and 2

WR Roberson gets the 1st catching between 2 defenders

Rayford sacks Campbell but offsetting penalties negates it.

Croom makes a great catch for the 1st

Campbell throws behind the receiver on a crossing route.  Lucky is was not picked

Roberson makes a nice catch to the Colt 13.  Campbell got hit by the blitz but threw a nice pass.

OT Butler who got called on the hold jumps off side

Campbell gets buried and hurt by a blitz.  The entire line blew the assignment.

44 YARD FG GOOD IN 20 CL 6

Roberson gets the onside kick.  Great play

Hoyer’s first pass is picked by former Brown Asante for a TD.

IN 27 CL 6

Roberson was open but dropped a pass right in his hands.  Nice throw by Hoyer

Gilkey with a false start.

Two short competions force a Browns punt

=

Kerwin Williams stops selling paint and runs for 25 yards

Harnish is in at QB

 

Final IN 27 CL 6

Brandon Weeden

Brandon Weeden (Photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost)

 

Overall thoughts

1st team Offense:

The game started with the Colts providing pressure on Weeden.  After that he was staring down the receivers way too often.  That tends to draw a crowd of DBs.  The throws into coverage become double and triple teams when DBs read the QB’s eyes.  He was obviously bothered by the pressure.  That was a knock on him coming out in the draft.  He stopped looking down the field and if his first option was not open he went to the check down or threw it away.

 

Weeden was not reading the defense well.  The Colts faked a lot of blitzes but came infrequently.  On the first drive they faked but rushed 3 and got a hit on Weeden.  It looked like he was afraid to throw deep.  At the start of the 2nd quarter he was 5 for 5 but all were very short throws.  I was wondering who gave Pat Shurmur the mike to Weeden’s head set and let the former coach call plays.  Weeden has always had trouble against the zone D.  Tonight was no different.  He will really struggle playing against the Steeler’s zone blitz schemes.

 

Weeden’s accuracy had been outstanding in the first two preseason games.  It was not tonight.  It is impossible to win when you miss wide open receivers.  The inability to make yardage on first and second down led the team back to third and long again way too often.  One drive was stopped by the failure to make 1 yard on two attempts.  That is due to the inability of the line to drive the D line back.

 

The receivers did not help Weeden or the other QBs at all.  While there were some nice catches too often the receivers were dropping the ball.  Little’s fumble stopped what looked like a nice drive mid way through the 2nd quarter when the score was just 10-0.  That error was compounded by a personal foul on Schwartz.

 

Oniel Cousins got the first chance to play RG but he is not a starting quality OL.  The pressure up the middle by the Colts was a result of C Mack trying to help Cousins in pass protection.  Cousins is better blocking the run than the pass.  He shows he has the feet to pull and is fairly accurate getting his block on the edge.  Cousins is alert to players rushing the passer but does not anchor well enough to blunt the attack.

 

The coaching staff did not trust the replacement RGs and ran to the left most of the game.  The rest of the O line did not play well either.  There were a lot of penalties and neither starting tackle played well.  The Colts got pressure with a 3 man rush.  That cannot happen.  Schwartz struggled all game long against the pass rushers of the Colts.  A lot of pressure was coming off the right side of the line.  Thomas had a holding penalty.

 

Both TRich and Cook ran very hard.  But again they were hit too often at or behind the line.  Jackson looked like he had cement cleats on running for 8 yards on 5 carries.  Cook is not likely to make the team but there is no quality depth behind TRich.  Hardesty is too fragile and Jackson is too old.

 

Coaching staff showed a few new wrinkles like the 231 formation with 2 RBs 3 TEs and 1 wide out.  The run formation allowed Gordon to get open and get an 18 yard pass.  But there was way too many check downs.  The O looked a lot like last year’s disaster.

 

It looked like the team in general and Weeden in particular got nervous once the game started to go downhill.  The Colts jumped out to a 17-0 lead and the game was over.   The Browns never made a charge to threaten the Colts.  That is unacceptable.  To be a factor in the AFC North, the team must have the guts to fight back from a deficit.  The Colts did a good job taking field position away from the Browns.  But that too is no excuse.

 

1st team defense:

The D made some good plays but there were too many missed tackles.  Ward missed a chance to prevent a touchdown by missing the receiver.  The lack of experience at the CB and FS positions have haunted the team for years.  Injuries have added to the need for those positions to get experienced depth.  The team gave up a ton of long plays last year because it did not have a true center fielder to stop them.

 

FS Gipson had a great interception on the 3 yard line after the Little fumble.  But he is more of a strong safety than a free safety and is just beginning to understand coverages and techniques.

 

Kruger had an outstanding game.  He was getting pressure however against a bad offensive line.  He did get pressure on Luck with regularity.  Groves played well but was up against a replacement LT once Castonzo went down.  The D line in general played well.  NT Taylor and DE’s Winn and Rubin absorbed blockers but the backers did not take advantage of it.  Way too many plays made serious yardage when the Browns backers lost outside contain.  We also did not see the good pass coverage of the inside backers we had seen in previous games.

 

The DBs struggled to cover Wayne who regularly ran open through the defensive backfield.  He is a shifty older player.  However it is hard to understand how the pass coverage made WR Heyward-Bey look like an all pro.  He is a bust from the Raiders but looked like a super star tonight.

 

Injuries have taken a toll on the D backfield.  It looked way too inconsistent to even think this team could contend in the AFC North this year.  The team needs much better corner play opposite Haden and have to find a FS that is able to play center field.  Unless they do the D will give up a ton of passing yardage.

 

Special teams did OK for the most part.  P Lanning was inconsistent.  K Shayne Graham was solid.  The question with him is can he make long field goals in the winds of December when they really count?

 

The bottom line:

The failure to move the ball on offense had more to do with bad execution than the Colts D.  The Colts are not a great D.  If the Browns struggle to move the ball on them, how will they fare against the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals each of whom have a much better 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 edits http://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

He also edits .  

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

 

Sports Buffet for 06/03/10

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SptsBuf

NFL

The Browns have announced that Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown and WR Paul Warfield will no longer serve as an advisers to owner Randy Lerner. Given the history of the Browns since the team returned in 1999, the leadership of the team needs all the advice they can get. Both will be missed.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s biggest test of the suspension is not now going back with the team and participating in the OTAs. The biggest test will be how he completes what the league has asked him to do to reduce the suspension from 6 games to 4. The other half of that test will be how he behaves or misbehaves during the time from the end of the last preseason game until he gets reinstated by the league. Under NFL rules he can have no contact with the team at all during that time except for medical staff as prescribed by the terms of the suspension. If he has another incident like the ones that got him suspended in the past, there could be games added to his “unpaid leave.”

The talk around Dolphin land at their OTA last weekend was all about the passing game. QB Chad Henne has developed nicely after replacing Chad Pennington in 09. The one thing that he needs to improve on in 2010 is his TD to Int ratio. In 09 he threw 12 TDs but 14 picks. He looked even better in the OTAs. However, a lot of “want to be” guys look good in shorts.

Eagle CB Marlin Jackson is out for the season after rupturing an Achilles tendon in the team’s OTA. The team signed Jackson from the Colts to start despite his ending the 09 season on the IR.

Packer CB Al Harris is behind schedule on his recovery from knee surgery that ended his 09 season. He was expected to participate in the OTA last week but is still on the sideline.

Ram S Oshiomogho Atogwe did not sign his tender with the team. On June 1 the Rams could have increased their offer to 7M to keep their exclusive rights for him. They did not. Atogwe is now an unrestricted free agent but the Rams are still hoping they can come to a long term contract with him. He has a history of being a ball hawk. The only question is how much in this economy is he worth. The Packers and Vikings are teams that might be interested.

Lion RB Kevin Smith is not ready to participate in OTAs and will likely start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Players on that list do not count against the roster limits but only qualify if they are hurt away from football or from an injury in the previous season. Players that are on the PUP on the final cutdown day may not be activated until after week 6.

NBA

Game 1 of the Finals goes tonight. The 2-3-2 format puts the stress most on the Celtics. To win the title, in my opinion, they must win one of the first 2 games. The latest on injuries indicates that Celtics PG Rondo will play and is 85-90% while C Perkins is OK. For the Lakers C Bynum is as good as he can be expected to be with his knee problem. He had more than 70 ccs of liquid taken out of the knee on Monday.

MLB

Tampa Bay continues to lead the AL East by 2.5 games over the Yankees. The secret has been a 21-6 record on the road. As long as the pitching holds up, the Rays could be in the race for the duration.

The Twins have built a 3.5 game lead in the AL Central over the Tigers. The Twinkies have been helped by the Tigers going 3-7 over the last 10.

The Rangers lead the AL West but both the As and Angels are coming on. The Rangers were 4-6 over the last 10 while both their pursuers were 6-4.

The two best races in MLB are in the NL. The Central and West divisions are both tight. The Reds and Cards have been trading leads in the Central for a couple of weeks. Last night the Cards beat Cincy 4-1 to climb back into a tie. The Padres have the best mark in the NL with a 32-21 record but only lead the Dodgers by 1 game in the West.

The Tigers traded former All Star P Dontrelle Willis to the Diamondbacks for P Billy Buckner and cash. The Tigers will pay all but the prorated remaining part a minimum veteran contract for Willis in 2010. Despite being a big dollar FA signing in 2008, he has only be able to start 22 games for the Tigers. In 2010 he had a 4.98 ERA and was 1-2 for Detroit.

NHL

The Flyers got back into the finals series with a 4-3 OT win yesterday. The key for Philly will be to win game 4 at home then take game 5 at Chicago. Otherwise, they could be in trouble. The Black Hawks are a lot deeper than the Flyers. As the series goes on, that should give them a real advantage.

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 .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NBA,NHL,MLB,NBA Finals,NHL Finals,Browns,Eagles,Rams,Lions,UFA,Atogwe,Brown,Roethlisberger,Steelers,Dolphins,Colts,Jackson,Packers,Vikings,Celtics,Lakers,Bynum,Rondo,Perkins,Rays,Twins,Rangers,Tigers,Angels,As,Reds,Cardinals,trades,Willis,Diamondbacks,Black Hawks,Flyers

Who SHOULD the Browns draft?

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Browns

The first round of the Draft is Thursday so it is time for my “fearless” predictions of what the Browns won’t do in the draft.

Round 1: No. 7 overall There has been some talk about the Browns trading with the 49ers for their 13th & 17th picks. The value of this pick is 1500. The 13+17 equal 2100. To do the deal the Browns would have to give their 2nd pick (#38 520) and their last pick in the 3rd (#92 132). They would likely get an early 5th round back as part of the deal. In short, I doubt this deal gets made.

Another rumor is that they would trade up to 5 and give the Chiefs 7 and #72 in the third round. I don’t like this deal because I don’t see that much difference between Berry and Thomas. I would take Thomas and save the 3rd round choice.

S Earl Thomas Texas The Browns need a FS badly. It is looking like KC will take Berry or Thomas at 5 and if they pass on him the Seahawks might grab one or the other at 6. If Berry is there, they would take him. However on many draft boards, Thomas has moved over Berry. I prefer Berry as a player by the thinnest of margins due to his greater experience. But Thomas at FS is a better fit for the Browns and has a higher up side. He has better cover skills, is a more consistent tackler and can be as good a center fielder. They will not pick him but they should.

Round 2: No. 38 overall DT/3-4 DE Brian Price UCLA There is a better than average chance that Rogers will be the guest of the Federal Government in 2010. The team needs another NT badly. Price is 4th on my DT list but is not quite big enough yet to be a NT but he will grow into it. He is young and athletic enough to play DE in the 3-4 as well. He is a trouble maker for the O with a great motor and quickness to get into the backfield. He forces fumbles and interceptions. Watch him vs USC.

Backup plan: Cam Thomas DT North Carolina Thomas has the size and the athleticism. I question his motor but that is not unusual for big men. He can rush the passer and is a rock in the middle of the line against the run.

Backup plan: DT Lamarr Houston Texas He is rising as more people watch tape. He can be disruptive but is not as consistent as Price. If you can get into his head he has everything to become a very good pro.

Backup plan: NT Terrence Cody Alabama Cody is the last resort because he looks disinterested despite his physical abilities. I am concerned about Cody’s dedication to football but if anyone can handle him it is DC Ryan. There is a real risk of him eating his way out of the league.

Round 3: No. 71 overall QB Dan LeFevour Central Michigan The team needs a QB that can throw the ball through the winds of Cleveland in December and hopefully someday in January. Almost every mock has them taking McCoy in the 2nd round. I believe NT is a much more pressing need than QB. Lefevour has above average arm strength and size. They might be able to wait to pick 85 to take him but to be sure they need to take him here.

Backup plan: QB Tony Pike Cincinnati I like Pike almost as much as LeFevour but Pike is a little less constant.

Backup plan: ILB Navorro Bowman Penn State Bowman is rising fast. He is a solid run stopper in the mold of Dan Connor from PS now with the Panthers.

Round 3: No. 85 overall CHANGE: WR Carlton Mitchell South Florida This is a tough pick because it is just below the end of the second level of players. If they could trade this pick for a 2nd next year that would be a good move. However, if not Mitchell has deep speed and can stretch the field. He has great instincts and has fallen a little in 09 because he lost his Senior QB at USF to injury.  He needs work on running patterns but which WR doesn’t.

Backup plan: TE Anthony McCoy USC McCoy is the best available here that also fits a need. McCoy is a good receiver and willing blocker. He is one of the top combo TEs in the draft.

Round 3: No. 92 overall LB Jason Worilds Virginia Tech Worilds is a DE that will transition to OB in the 3-4. He has the speed to attack the QB and enough quicks to cover when needed. He is solid against the run and has the instincts to attack it. He could play IB or OB.

Backup plan: Javier Arenas CB Alabama Arenas is rising again. Originally he was the guy and Jackson was the “other” corner for the Tide. But his speed in the 40 drove his draft potential down. He got a lot of action because Bama was ahead so often and has good instincts. His 4.6 40 has pushed him into the 3rd round.

Round 5: No. 134 overall SS Larry Asante Nebraska Asante is a solid player against both the run and the pass. If the Browns pick FS Thomas, Asante could be the perfect compliment at SS. He is a great special teams player with the kind of up side that suggests that he could step in to start in 2011. The team has only 1 S on the roster with any experience.

Backup plan: Riley Cooper WR Florida Coop is not fast but gets open and catches everything.

Backup plan: Greg Hardy DE Mississippi He led the SEC in sacks in 08 and is big enough and quick enough to play DE in the 3-4. He needs to work on lower body strength and use his hands better. He has a history of injury which is why he may be available in the 5th.

Round 5: No. 146 overall OT Ed Wang Virginia Tech Wang his a value here but should still be on the board. He is a RT that can drive block with the best of them but is needs to improve his technique on pass protection. He has good awareness and the ability to get to the second level blocking. He can play G as well as RT. He is a natural knee bender with real pop at the point of attack.

Backup plan: Eric Olsen C/G Notre Dame Olsen is a perfect backup interior lineman. He is technically sound with the feet to pull from either G or C and block on the edge. He is also a knee bender and uses leverage effectively.

Round 5: No. 160 overall WR Armanti Edwards Appalachian State The former AS quarterback is the guy that let the upset Michigan in 07 as a Soph. He understands routes and runs a 4.41 40. He is an outstanding smart athlete and the team can use all of those they can get.

Backup plan: Andrew Quarless TE Penn State He has decent speed and great upside. If the team hasn’t gotten a TE he would be a great value here.

Backup plan: ILB Phillip Dillard Nebraska Phillips is one of the top IB prospects but is lower ranked due to a history of injury. He is a downhill player with good instincts and had 11 tackles for loss in a tough Nebraska D.

Round 6: No. 177 overall LB O’Brien Schofield Wisconsin Schofield probably won’t be able to play in 2010 due to a knee injury in the Senior Bowl practices but he has outstanding instincts and a non-stop motor. He is quick enough to blitz and is a knee bender. He could become an all pro in the future. At the EW Shrine game he was outstanding at OB after just a couple of practices at the position. If he was healthy he would have been a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.

Backup plan: OB Arthur Moats James Madison Moats is another transition with a great motor but very green. At this point, teams are looking for a player with one above average skill. Moats’ skill is the ability to rush the passer but he is a year or 2 away.

Backup plan: A.J. Edds OB Iowa or OB Kavell Conner Clemson Both of these guys
are run stuffers with enough speed to rush the QB.

Round 6: No. 186 overall OB Keenan Clayton Oklahoma Clayton is listed by almost every expert as undraftable. But when you watch him play he is outstanding. He can cover the TE down the field with quick hands to knock the ball away but then stuff the run after taking out the blockers. He has great instincts. Take a look at the OU Texas game and you will see what I do.

Priority Undrafted Rookies:

Jacob Hickman C Nebraska He is not a great athlete but at C he doesn’t have to be. He is a very hard worker with above average technique and a mean streak. He gets to the LB and runs hard to get blocks down field on runs.

Brandon Minor RB Michigan He is a tough guy that can move the pile up the gut. He has outstanding vision and balance even when hit.

Cordarrow Thompson DT Virginia Tech He is athletic with a good motor. He is not as instinctive but gets through double teams to put pressure on the QB and collapse the pocket.

Jevan Snead QB Mississippi I am not sure he will be undrafted but if he is he deserves a look. He had a very bad 09 but coming into that year he was considered one of the top 3 QBs. He had an outstanding 08 and is much better than he showed in 09.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State He is a rotational player that can make some plays in both the pass and the run. He can play DE in the 3-4 as well. I believe in football or basketball, you never have enough good big guys. If the coaching staff can keep him focused and his motor going, he can help a team.

Donovan Waren CB Michigan He is able to cover man to man effectively. He has decent speed and fluid hips. He handles multiple moves effectively without losing contact with the receiver. He has quick hands and is effective at knocking the ball away. He plays his best in big games.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What Did We Learn from the Championship games?

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nfl

NFC GAME Saints 31 Vikings 28 Overtime

Vikings

The turnovers killed the Vikes. They lost 3 of 6 fumbles and 2 picks. They totally outplayed the Saints on offense but gave Brees and Co. too many short fields. Even so, QB Favre brought them back to tie the Saints. The game was determined by the turnovers, the lack of protection for Favre, and the toss of the overtime coin flip.

Favre can not be blamed for what happens to the Vikes. The team never would have been in the game with Jackson or any other QB on the roster. Favre got the team there by pulling out so many wins during the season and giving the team the belief that the QB could win a game not just lose one. Now the question is what will Favre decide about coming back?

He had a great season with the fewest picks of his career. He looked like anything but a 40 year old QB and I think he really enjoyed playing with this team. I would guess that he will take his time in making up his mind about coming back. It will probably take until the 3rd game of preseason for him to decide. That way he avoids 2 a day practices and training camp.

The one thing that will help him make his decision is better protection. Favre stood in against a Saint pass rush that the Vike line was unprepared to handle. But despite the punishment, Favre was effective.

The Vikes’ running game was more effective than normal. It averaged 4.6 per carry. The O converted 58% of their 3rd downs and out gained the passing yards of the Saints 310 to 189.

The Viking D line did a nice job given the great field position the O gave up. They held the Saints to 68 yards rushing. They also caused 3 fumbles. They did miss a couple of picks that might have turned the game around.

Saints

Paul Brown once said “I’d rather be lucky than good. Good teams lose.” The Saints got lucky winning the flip of the overtime coin. But it took a good kick return and great drive to get into position to kick the game winning field goal. QB Brees’ numbers are not impressive but he did what he had to do. He was able to take advantage of the gifts the Vikes gave him.

The O line did a very good job. It allowed only 1 sack by a top D. They were not able to get the running game working however. The ground game only averaged 3 yards a carry.

The Saints D played well and created some of the turnovers that determined the outcome of the game. The one thing that the D was able to do was put pressure on Favre all game long. They beat him and therefore the O of the Vikes into submission.

The Bottom line: The Saints got VERY lucky. They won’t have the luck or the crowd when they play the Colts in Miami.

AFC GAME Colts 30 Jets 17

Jets

I have to admit I was wrong about QB Sanchez. He played as well as possibly could have been expected of any young QB let alone a rookie. He was 17-30 for 257 and 2 TDs but one pick. With the Colt safeties playing up to stop the run, Sanchez used a pump fake to help WR Edwards get open and threw a perfect pass for the first TD of the game. For once in the last couple of years, Edwards actually caught the ball and scored. Sanchez led the Jets to a 17-6 lead with less than 2 minutes left in the first half. That is when the wheels fell off the Jet and it crashed on the runway.

The running game of the Jets was nonexistent. It averaged only 3 yards per carry. The speed of the Colts D was too much for the O and they were not able to get the big runs that had helped get the team to the AFC Championship game. The team was also not able to make the 2nd half adjustments to move the ball.

The Jets D gave up a score with less than a minute left in the 1st half. That was a killer. The D couldn’t figure out how to stop Manning in that drive or the entire second half. When they played zone, Manning would look the safety off and hit the open receivers. When the Jets played man, Manning used double moves to get his guys open. The other problem was the lack of pressure on Manning. They were so focused on stopping the pass, they gave up 101 yards rushing and 4.2 per carry.

Colts

The Manning passing game is a thing of beauty. Manning cut up the pass D of the Jets like it was a rare steak. He was sacked twice but had the pass D totally confused. The O line did fairly well holding off the Jet pass rush. Manning showed why he is the best QB in the game right now. He has had his best season this year given the fact that he was working with a lot of rookie receivers.

The Colts D did the one thing they needed to do–shut down the Jet running game. The Jets ran the ball 29 times for only 86 yards. The Jet O line could not get to the LBs to open up the running lanes. The Colts D line played much better than they have in previous games. They bottled up the O line and the LBs cut off the outside run.

The bottom line: The Colts with Manning at QB will be a really tough Super Bowl competitor.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

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 is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What to look for in the Sunday Divisional round games.

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nfl

Cowboys @ Vikings

Cowboys

Prior to this season the Boys folded in December. When JJ issued his threat to blow up the team and the coaching staff this season unless the Boys got into the playoffs and did well, the team got the message. This team has played a lot better than they did in previous seasons but I am not on the Boy bandwagon yet.

The O has been solid but the last two games were played against an Eagle D that seemed to give up after being in a position to win the NFC East. In the upset win over the Saints, QB Romo had a QB rating of 104. In the two games against the Eagles he had ratings of 86.1 and 106. That is a great improvement over last year when he finished the year with ratings of 44.9, 66.2 and 55.8 in the 3 losses. The improved Romo is the key to difference in this years team. The Boys will need as much passing as he can generate because they will not be able to get much on the ground against the Vikes.

RB Jones ran for 148 yards but that is misleading. Take out the two long runs and he had a 4 yard average. That is VERY average. Starter Barber is probable but is coming off a knee and won’t be close to 100%.

The other key to the turnaround is the play of the O line. The line had been living on an undeserved rep. In the latter part of the season they started to play up to that rep. They will have to against an outstanding D line of the Vikes.

The Cowboy D has also had the habit of playing up or down to the competition. The key will be pressure on QB Favre. If they can pressure him, they will have a chance. The pass D ranked 20th giving up over 200 yards per game. Balanced offenses give them problems. The Vikes can be very balanced when they chose to be.

Vikings

The Vikes tend to throw too much on O. That habit tends to get them in trouble. QB Favre can light up the scoreboard but can also throw enough picks to kill the team’s playoff hopes. The Vikes ended the season just 2-3 in December including an embarrassing loss to the Panthers. Favre had a passer rating of 73.7 in that loss. The team ranked 8th in passing.

The running game is solid with the leagues best back Peterson. But he has 1 100 yard game in the last half of the season. The O line had not been opening holes for the running game and Peterson has gotten beaten up. Peterson has to get over 100 yards for the Vikes to win. That is going to require the O line to play at a higher level. G Hutchinson is probable for the game. He would help the O line a great deal.

The Viking D is solid as well. It ranks 2nd against the run but 19th against the pass. The key to the Vikes winning the game is shutting down the Boys running game and forcing Romo into mistakes. Given enough pressure, he will make errors.

This is a very hard game to call but I think the Vikes have just enough to beat the Boys. The Cowboys will not be able to run and will not be able to keep up with Favre and the Vikes.

Jets @ Chargers

Jets

The Jets beat a Bengals team that was inexperienced in the playoffs. That is not the case with the Chargers. The game will depend on how hot Jet QB Sanchez can get. The Jets took advantage of an easy schedule and even then needed gifts from both the Bengals and the Colts to get into the playoffs. The O has the top ranked running game. That is a good thing because in the last 3 weeks of the season, Sanchez had passer ratings of 49.7, 78, and 60.2 and threw just 1 TD with 9 picks. That is not going to scare experienced playoff teams. RB Thomas is their top guy but he had only 3 100 yard games in the last half of the season. He is 31 and they hope it is not an indication that he is showing his age.

The Jets are going to have to be able to throw better than that to win.

The Jet D ranked 1st in scoring D, passing D and yards. They are 8th against the run. They have been playing very well under Coach Ryan. However, they have not beaten an O like they will against the Chargers.

Chargers

QB Rivers has had an outstanding season. He has a passer rating of 104. The running game is ranked 31st which caused Rivers to throw a lot. The passing game is ranked 5th. He has a solid group of receivers WRs Jackson and Floyd and TE Gates. The running game has Tomlinson but he is a shadow of what he was a few years ago. Neither he nor RB Sproles has gotten the running going. The Chargers used the franchise tag on Sproles. That was a mistake because he will never be able to be a starting RB. The O line came together after recovering from early season injuries. It still can not run block.

The Charger D is middle of the road in terms of yards but ranks 11th in scoring D. NT Scott is their 3rd guy in that spot but has come on nicely. The loss of All Pro NT Williams has reduced the ability to stop the run and the team ranks 20th in that department. They are 11th against the pass and have a pair of pro bowl LB in Merriman and Phillips. They have not played up to their rep this season. The D backfield is led by CB Cromartie. The D can play at a very high level but is inconsistent.

Given all that, the Chargers should be able to score on the Jets through the air. I am not sure that QB Sanchez can keep up with Rivers. The Chargers win.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

26-7.

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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