Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Antigua, SAP FC and Richie Richardson

File:SAP FC.png

I recently came back from a vacation in Antigua with my wife which was sort of a postponed honeymoon (plus I was recently laid off so I have lots of free time now).  For those of you that don't know where Antigua is it is a small (108 sq miles) island in the Caribbean next to Guadeloupe and St Kitts and Nevis (wiki link here).  By far the most popular sport on the island is cricket of which I am also a big fan and some famous players have come from the island (more on that later).

We were staying at the Jolly Beach Resort which is on the west side and one day we were browsing around the shops and saw a flyer for a band that featured two famous cricket players Curtley Ambrose and Richie Richardson.  For those of you that don't know cricket I can assure you that these guys terrorised opponents in the 90s.  Curtley Ambrose (wiki link here) was a big mean mother of a fast bowler and Richie (wiki link here) was the captain of the West Indies cricket team in the 90s.  We decided to go and check out the band.  A couple of nights previous my wife and I met a young guy who worked at on the restaurants at the resort.  He gave us a couple of drinks before the bar opened and we chatted with him for a while.   I was at the bar and this guy came up to me yelling my name - it was Alvin the guy from the bar.  I bought him a couple of drinks and I asked if he knew Richie Richardson who was playing in the band.  He said just go up to him 'he's cool as shit'.  Long story short I got my photo with him and had a bit of a chat with him.  Here's a couple of funny comments he made:
'You guys really ripped us (Australia) up back in the day'
'Hey man sorry I was just doing my job' - RR
'Where's Curtley?' - I said this as he wasn't playing in the band that night
'He dissapeared' - RR

The night went on and we had more drink and my friend Alvin bought my wife and I a couple of drinks.  Now if you have been to Antigua (or many other Caribbean islands) and spent any time away from your resort you can see that there is quite a lot of poverty on the island.  I felt bad that he bought us drinks so I was wondering how to give him the money back without offending him.  I saw he was wearing a soccer shirt that I didn't recognize so I asked him where he got the shirt.  He said that it was the shirt of his local team.
'Do you want this shirt?'
'I tell you what I'll buy it off you' - I thought this would be a good way to give him some money
I slipped him $40.
'Do not let anyone where this shirt not even your future son, I was wearing this shirt the day we won the title in 2008!'

I didn't think much of the shirt until I got back (except when I got it back to the room and it stunk so bad of sweat and body odor that my wife made me wash it in the sink with shampoo).  I decided to do some research to see if Alvin was telling the truth and to find out if (a) it was a real team; and (b) did they really win the title in 2008.  A quick google search did come up with an SAP football team in Antigua and they did win the title in 2008-09 (wiki link here).  So now I have another team to support and I will be following them and the Antigua team in the future.  Look for more blog posts on SAP and the Antigua and Barbuda FA in the future.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WTF has happened to Chelsea?

OK I have been away on vacation and kind of out of the loop this month but it's not hard to notice what has been going on in the EPL lately.  WTF has happened to Chelsea?  Everything seemed to being going along just fine coming into November, top of the table.  The a loss to Liverpool on November 7.  No panic get back to it.  A win at Fulham is followed by a bad loss to Sunderland at home none the less. Hang on what's going on here. Then another loss to Birmingham and panic stations.  Just when you wouldn't have thought it could get worse along comes December.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the late equaliser against Everton, that win was in the bag.  The draw against Tottenham was painful. I was on vacation in Antigua and when we went to lunch I noticed that the game was on in a common room and some Chelsea supporters were watching.  I stopped for 10 mins to watch when the game was 1-0 to Tottenham.  Then I went to lunch and when I came back I saw the equaliser by Drogba.  The penalty miss by Drogba was super painful though, I wonder how many penalties he missed last year?

Then I'm back from vacation and all excited that the Chelsea-Arsenal game is on ESPN here in the States.  Arsenal scores the first three goals within 60 mins and the game is over.  Chelsea now has no wins in the last 6 games.  They have slipped to 5th and are 7pts behind Manchester United (thanks to their draw with Birmingham City today).  Meanwhile Manchester United continues on their merry way and still has not lost a game (but has 7 draws).  It's probably lucky for Chelsea that their game against Man U was cancelled. Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal and surprisingly Blackpool have all shown good form in the last 6 games with at least 10pts each (Chelsea has 3!!!!).

Let me explain my EPL allegiences first

I am a big fan of the EPL.  I have to admit I haven't been a life time fan of soccer though.  I grew up in Brisbane Australia at a time when kids thought that soccer was for girls and most boys played rugby.  So I played rugby and ignored soccer.  I played rugby league until I was about 19 and suffered some bad injuries. Then I gave up playing and focused on my university studies. At university I met a bunch of guys that were fans of soccer and I played in an indoor league with them and we had a couple of German exchange students with us who were really good and they helped us win the D grade title!  Then I started watching international soccer, mostly the EPL and the Serie A which were shown in Australia at the time every Saturday.  My room mate and I thought it was the perfect Saturday afternoon activity while we worked off our hang overs!

In 1995 I moved to Sheffield in England to work at the University. At the time local team Sheffield Wednesday was in the premier league so I followed them closely while I was there from 1995-1997.  When I left I followed them as well even through their tough years of relegation to Division 2.  While I was in England I often went to London on the weekends to visit friends and I was very fond of the Chelsea area.  So I began to follow Chelsea as well in 1996 and even closer when I left England for the States and Wednesday was demoted so I never got to see them.  Around that time Chelsea started to become quite successful so I got to see them more on TV in the States.  Then of course when they were sold in 2003 to Abramovich they became the very sucessful team they are today.

Just thought I would explain myself as I will refer to these teams more than others in this blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What should Lebron James have done?

In Lebron James latest Nike ad he ask repeatedly questions regarding what should he do in reference to aspects of his life? What do you think he should have done? Has he spoiled his legacy? Should he have stayed in Cleveland? Is going to Miami a good move?

Kitna just as good as Romo?

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna (R) passes the ball as he is pressured by New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (L) during the second half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas October 25, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

News all over the NFL world is that Tony Romo suffered a broken collarbone during the game and was replaced by veteran Jon Kitna.  I actually thought Kitna did OK considering the situation but he was being booed by Cowboy's fans at one stage which was pretty harsh.

The Dallas newspapers this morning are full of doom and gloom this morning (check the link for some comments).

But apparently not everyone is so pessimistic.  Roy Williams made the following quote:
“Tony is our starter, but Jon is just as good. We are going to work this week in practice so we can get the timing down with the receivers. But I have complete faith in him"

OK this is a little extreme I think but got to applaud the effort.  Also during the telecast of the game last Jaws said he was excited for Jon Kitna.  Not so sure that too many Cowboys fans would agree.  A tough season just got a whole lot tougher for them.

Should people be offended by Derek Dooley's comments?

Read this story today about Derek Dooley, Tennessee Footbal Coach who was comparing his team to the Germans in WW2.

Check out these quotes:
"Right now we're like the Germans in World War II .Here comes the boats, they're coming. You have the binoculars, and it's like, 'Oh, my God, the invasion is coming"

"I don't want the German people to get upset at me,I'm not attacking them, but that's what happened. You had one group, they weren't worried about what the plan was and orders and all that."

"You had the other group, and they go 'Wait a minute, they told us the invasion was way further north,' where we had the empty tanks and we were hiding Patton out. 'We weren't ready for this now what do we do?' 'We better wait until Rommel tells us what to do"

Quite a history lesson druing a press conference.  These quotes are just stupid but I'm not sure to me they are that offensive.  But many people in this country are very senstive when it comes to comparing sports to the military.  Obviously there are no similarities.

Last night's NHL scores

Sometimes I just want the scores, goals and simple standings rather than wading through sites and dealing with flash etc.   So I will post them with links to the match details.  Keeping it simple.

FINAL - Flyers 1 (Goal : Ville Leino) Blue Jackets 2 (Goals : Kyle Wilson, Derick Brassard
full match details here

FINAL OT - Coyotes 2 (Goals : Kyle Turris, Derek Morris) Canadiens 3 (Goals : Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn)
full match details here

FINAL SO - Kings 3 (Goals: Jarret Stoll,  Anze Kopitar)  Wild 2 (Goals :John Madden, Nick Schultz)
full match details here

Eastern Conference standings
Montreal            8 -5-2-1-11
Tampa Bay        8- 5-2-1-11
Pittsburgh           9 -5-3-1-11
Washington        8 -5-3-0-10
NY Islanders      8 -4 2-2-10
NY Rangers       7-4-2-1-9
Toronto              7-4-2-1-9
Boston                6-4-2-0-8
Carolina              7-4-3-0-8
Atlanta                8-3-4-1-7
Philadelphia         8-3-4-1-7
Buffalo                9-3-5-1-7
Florida                6-3-3-0-6
Ottawa               8-2-5-1-5
New Jersey        9-2-6-1-5

Vote for best hockey fight

Bissonette (Coyotes) v Harrison (Huuricanes) WATCH

Lucic (Bruins) v Prust (Rangers)  WATCH

Avery (Rangers) v Stuart (Bruins) WATCH

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hockey fight! Lucic v Prust

Hockey fight! Avery v Stuart

Watch gutless Avery punch Stuart when he is on the ground.

Hockey fight! Bissonette v Harrison

This is a great hockey fight Bissonette (Phoenix) v Harrison (Carolina). Goes on for ages, Bissonette loses his helmet.

Favre's playing streak must be in danger

Latest news is that Favre has two fractures in his ankle and is in a walking boot.  Added to the fact that he has severe elbow tendonitis his 291 game continuous playing streak must be in danger.  What a tough year for Favre.  Bet he wishes he was still retired.

Just read that he won't need surgery.

49ers make Matt Moore look good

Very surprising this week was Matt Moore's effort against the 49ers leading the Panthers to a 23-20 victory.  It was Moore's first game in three weeks and his numbers were quite impressive (28/41, 308 yds, 2 TDs, 1 Int).  He started the first 2 games and was horrible then Jimmy Clausen took over and wasn't much better.  I definitely didn't see this coming, I thought that this would have been a disastrous game for the Panthers.  But Moore performed quite admirably and spread the ball around to 6 different receivers.  Should also be noted that San Fran's pass coverage is not too bad as well (12th ranked in NFL).

I got to think that this was partly due to a poor performance by the San Fran secondary as much as Moore's passing ability.  Therefore some of the blame must lie with poor preparation or some pathetic coaching or both.

Vick named the starting QB for eagles

Well it looks like Kevin Kolb's run as starter has ended for now as Michael Vick has been named the starting QB for the Eagles game against the Colts on November 7.  He had a ordinary game against the Titans, was intercepted 2 times and threw one TD.  I still seem to think that he should remain the starting QB but the Eagles obviously has a short rope for him.  The constant shuffling of the QB can't be good for the team.  As I've said before Kolb is the future of that team.

Check out my previous post on why I thought Kolb deserved the job:

Much of the blame for the Bears' loss has to lie with Cutler this time

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 24: Jay Cutler  of the Chicago Bears sits on the bench with teammates at the end of a game against the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field on October 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Redskins defeated the Bears 17-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Last week I wrote a post asking whether Cutler could stay on his feet this weekend (check the link here).   Well as it turned out it may have been better if he wasn't on his feet and didn't throw the ball.  Cutler was intercepted 4 times - ALL BY THE SAME GUY (DeAngelo Hall who tied an NFL record).  The Bears lost narrowly to the Redskins (14-17) but Cutler's performance was so woeful it was really quite painful.  You would think that he would throw away from DeAngelo Hall wouldn't you?  But no the arrogance of Cutler persisted.

To top it off check out this quote from Cutler after the game (taken from Chicago tribune story):
I've played against (Hall) before.  There's no reason to shy away from him. That's hard for me to say throwing four picks to the guy but I still think if we had to play him tomorrow I'd go after him every time."

How arrogant can you be?  Maybe all the beatings Cutler has taken this year has affected his brain.

Was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on 4th down a good one?

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks up the field in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on October 17, 2010. The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 in overtime. UPI/Matthew Healey Photo via Newscom

A familiar situation arose in the Patriots - San Diego game that Patriots fans remember with mixed emotions.  With 2 minutes to go and the Patriots facing a 4th and 1 on the 49 yard line Bill Belicheck decides to go for it.  I immediately remembered last years' playoff game against Indy when Bill went for it in a similar situation.  The result was they didn't get the first down and then Peyton marched down the field and the Colts scored the winning TD.

This time the Patriots also missed the conversion, the Chargers got the ball in good field position.  A crucial penalty on 4th and 2 made it 4th and 7 so they attempted the field goal but missed (which would have tied the game).

Of course the result was different this time round but one can't help but make comparisons to the Colts game.  If the Patriots lost to the Chargers I'm sure that the outcry would be just as loud that it was the wrong call.  Even today many fans are saying that it is a stupid call and that Bill should have called the punt team onto the field.  The main factor to consider here is that San Diego still had THREE timeouts left (Indy only had one timeout left but they also had P Manning).  So even if the Patriots had converted then they probably would need another first down to seal the victory.

A great website is Advanced NFL stats which calculates the probability of success based on historical game data.  A highly recommended site for those that want to analyze games in a rational and scientific manner.  They calculated the probability of San Diego winning if New England punted or if they went for the first down and the probabilities are very similar.  So statistically it was the right decision or borderline.  Then I guess it comes down to whether you think your offense or defense can win you the game.  Of course you would think that with the ball in Brady's hands you have a good chance of winning right?

So the bottom line is that there is statistical evidence that going for it was justified.  I'm sure that if the same situation comes up again Bill will do the same thing. 

Click here for the full article on Advanced NFL Stats, definitely worth a read.

Keyshawn Johnson calls Tony Romo an average QB

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Tony Romo  of the Dallas Cowboys walks off the field following the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field on October 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Cowboys 24-21. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Recently on ESPN Steve Young, Keyshwan Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Herm Edwards were analyzing the problems that the Cowboys have.  During the conversation Keyshawn Johnson called Tony Romo an average QB who doesn't step up in the 4th quarter. Trent Dilfer defends Romo.  I don't think anyone can say that Romo is an average QB, mainly because there are so many bad QBs in the NFL.  It is surprising that a team with so much talent is in such a bad situation.  Part of the problem is obviously penalties and lack of discipline (they are the 3rd most penalised team).  Much of that must lie with the management and the coach.  Wade Phillips seems to be a bit of a cream puff and he doesn't seem to have control of his team.  And I used to think Jessica Simpson was the problem......

I was surprised Steve Young didn't relate back to the 49ers when he used to play which is his normal MO.

For a transcript of part of the conversation check out the link:

Allen Iverson is going to play in Turkey

Big news in the world of sports is that Allen Iverson is close to deal with Turkish basketball club Besiktas.  I find it hard to believe that no NBA club picked him up.  I guess he has worn people out with his antics but I still feel that he can contribute to some NBA team.  He has to be desparate for money right?

In memory of Iverson I have posted this classic video of him.  Check it out.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

English Premier League games today

West Bromich Albion v Fulham
Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wolves
Wigan v Bolton
Sunderland v Aston Villa
Birmingham v Blackpool

Here I am going to list all my comments through the day on the matches as I follow them - check back and we will see how I view the day as it unfolds!

* Chelsea v Wolves :  Drogba back baby go Blues !
* Almond, Clarke, Baptiste out for Blackpool
* Ramirez, Lampard, Alex, Benyaoun out for Chelsea
* Fulham already scored from OG (Carson)
* Richardson, Reid, Cambell, Meyler out for Sunderland today
* Alex Baptiste and Billy Clarke out for Blackpool
* Wolves without defender  Ronald Zubar today
*  West Bromich have tied Fulham 1-1 from a goal by Youssuf Mulumbu!!!
* Goal Florent Malouda for Chelsea!!!!
* Chelsea lead and it's Malouda who makes it 1-0! Nice move from the Blues, Anelka on the left edge of the box slips in a cute pass for Zhirkov who squares for the Frenchman to tap home to make it Chelsea 1-0 Wolves.
* Sunderland score after an own goal (Richard Dunn)
* Assist Steed Malbranque Sunderland
* Assist Yury Zhirkov Chelsea
* Yellow Card Richard Stearman Wolves
* Drogba is sent scampering down the left flank but is sent tumbling by a rash challenge by Spearman. The book is out and it's a yellow card for the Wolves defender.
* Seems to have calmed down now in EPL after 2 OG already!!!
* Birmingham score Liam Ridgewell goal Nikola Zigic assist they lead 1-0 v Blackpool
* WBA scores!!! Marc-Antoine Fortune goal Jerome Thomas assist they lead Fulham now 2-1
* Wolves under a lot of pressure, expect Chelsea to bust out in the 2nd half

West Bromich Albion 2-1 Fulham
Chelsea 1-0 Wolverhampton Wolves
Wigan 0-0 Bolton
Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa
Birmingham 1-0 Blackpool

* Goal scorers today :  Florent Malouda (Chelsea),  Marc-Antoine Fortune (WBA),  Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham), Youssuf Mulumbu (WBA)
* 2 OG so far today most were scoed early

* substitution for Aston Villa Petrov off Sidwell on
* change for Wolves  Stephen Hunt on for Van Damme
* Wolves start the 2nd half strong v Chelsea
* Drogba should have scored there maybe a little rusty?
* Chance for Malouda! The ball falls kindly to the Frenchman in the box after good work by Essien and he looks odds on to grab his second of the afternoon but his shot hits Essien and is deflected wide!

* Birmingham scores!!! Nikola Zigic goal they lead 2-0 v Blackpool
* Then Nikola Zigic get a yellow!!

* Goal Hugo Rodallega! Wigan take the lead v Bolton 1-0! Assist  Franco Matías Di Santo
* Bolton equalise through a goal by Johan Elmander! Now 1-1 v Wigan
* Damn I just dropped Elmander from my Fanatsy Team!

* Malouda off Kalou on hoping for a spark for Chelsea
* Bosingway replaced by Ferriera after his first start in 13 months
* Salomon Kalou scores!!! What a substitution for Chelsea they lead Wolves 2-0!!!
*  Assist Michael Essien for Chelsea
*  Yury Zhirkov off Joshua McEachran on for Chelsea
* Chelsea fans can breathe easier now (that includes me!!)

* Lovely goal by the Blues. Kalou starts and finishes the move, finding Drogba who passes to Essien and the midfielder then sends a brilliant ball through to Kalou to slot past Hahnemann at his near post (from

Early games are over here are the final scores - not any surprises here

West Bromich Albion 2-1 Fulham
Chelsea 2-0 Wolverhampton Wolves
Wigan 1-1 Bolton
Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa
Birmingham 2-0 Blackpool

I'll be watching : Tottenham v Everton - English Premier League, ESPN2

Who to look out for:
Gareth Bale :  Tottenham and Welsh left winger scored a hat trick against Inter Milan during the week afte his side was down 4-0 (wiki)

Rafael Van der Vaart :  Dutch and Tottenham midefielder (wiki)

Peter Crouch :  English and Tottenham striker, tallest man on the field!  (wiki)

Tim Howard :  US and Everton goalkeeper (wiki)

Tim Cahill :  Aussie midfielder and the focus of Everton's offense, Everton's most dangerous player and they rely heavily on him (wiki)

Louis Saha :  Enigmatic French and Everton striker, look to make an impact off the bench (wiki)

Live commnetary match information:

Today's lineups :


01 Gomes
02 Hutton
03 Bale
04 Kaboul
13 Gallas
32 Assou-Ekotto
07 Lennon
11 Van der Vaart
12 Palacios
14 Modric
15 Crouch
23 Cudicini, 19 Bassong, 08 Jenas, 21 Kranjcar, 30 Cordeiro Sandro, 09 Pavlyuchenko, 10 Keane

24 Howard
03 Baines
05 Heitinga
06 Jagielka
15 Distin
18 Neville
23 Coleman
07 Bilyaletdinov
17 Cahill
20 Pienaar
22 Yakubu

01 Mucha, 02 Hibbert, 34 Shane Duffy, 08 Saha, 16 Beckford, 19 Magaye Gueye, 37 Baxter

Friday, October 22, 2010

Steve Smith is a risky proposition this week

Steve Smith suffered an ankle injury on October 3 v Saints and hasn't played since.  This week he is listed as questionable but did practice Friday.  Added to the fact that Carolina's QB situation is a disaster I would hesitate to start him.  Matt Moore is now starting in place of Clausen so I have no confidence in that situation.  This week the Panthers are playing San Fran who have a pretty decent pass rush (10th in the league).  Carolina have a decent pass block (4th ranked in NFL) so if their O-line is on their game then they could help Moore out.  But still risky.

Which QB will put in the best performance this week?

Here is a collection of posts I made this week on various QBs.  Take a look at my analysis and decide who you think will play well this week.

Kevin Kolb (Eagles)

Joe Flacco (Ravens)

Colt McCoy (Browns)

Jay Cutler (Bears)

Roddy White is doing some serious trash talking

Roddy White has been mouthing off before the Facons game aginst the Bengals this weekend.  Here are some quotes.

“Chad Ochocinco, T.O., Pacman and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals are coming to the Dome. We gonna send them home nice and quietly – tell ‘em leave quietly … this is my city – ATL."

“I’m gonna get working on the DBs they have – I don’t even know these guys names – but hey, I’m gonna go at them … and we’re going to have a successful Sunday."

” … This is not really a big game for us. It’s just the next game on the schedule. Unfortunately it’s against the Bengals and they think they’re good. I don’t even know their record – I think they’re like 2-4 … which is not really good."

“They do a lot of talking before the season started and now we’re gonna shatter their dreams, hearts and desires on Sunday.”

There is also a video check out this link:

Can Cutler stay on his feet this weekend?

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is sacked for a six yard loss by Seattle Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field in Chicago on October 17, 2010. The Seahawks won 23-20.   UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

The Bears have not been able to protect Cutler this year.  He has been getting killed and has been sacked a league high 23 times and under all sorts of pressure.  This week they play the Redskins and the obvious key is whether Cutler's team can provide any sort of protection for him.  Cutler has been getting beat up and the Bears need him to stay upright if they want to win.  They can't use Collins, he had one of the worst games you will ever see a QB play when he filled in.

I got to think that Cutler may be in for another tough time this week.  The Redskins are ranked 11th in the NFL in sacks.  Their pass rush is ranked 20th, not great but the Bears can't stop anyone.  They have 14 sacks, 17 QB hits and 69 QB pressures.  For comparison the top ranked pass rush team the Seahawks have 19 sacks, 20 QB hits and 97 QB pressures.  When the Bears played the Seahawks they crushed them on defense with 7 sacks, 3 QB hits and 17 QB pressures. I am expecting Cutler to be under quite a bit of distress this weekend.  The results may not be good for Bears fans.

Some interesting fantasy NFL football plays this week

I'm going to try to make this a weekly post.  Every Friday I make a few fantasy picks.  Now I'm not going to pick Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson, Adrain Peterson or anything obvious.  I'm going to look for players that may be a little under the radar (at least in my mind) and maybe a little controversial.  Maybe they work out maybe not we will see but I'm going to give it a shot.

Colt McCoy (QB Browns) - Browns have come out and announced him as the starter with their starter and backup out.  I was quite impressed with his effort last week (read my analysis here) and that  was against a fearsome Steelers defense.  This week the Browns are playing New Orleans and while I am not sure that they will win I think McCoy could have a solid game.  New Orleans are ranked last in pass rush and the Browns have been doing a good jon protecting their QBs so McCoy should have plenty of time.  The Browns may also have to play from behind so McCoy may have to throw a lot.  New Orleans is ranked 7th in least amount of passing yards but I don't always pay attention to that ranking.

Marshawn Lynch (RB Seahawks) - Made his debut against the Bears last week after being traded to Seahawks.  Debut wasn't outstanding but not bad (17 Att, 44 yds, TD) and he was splitting carries with Justin Forsett (10 carries).  Chicago has one of the best run defenses in the league (4th according to PFF, 3rd in YPG) so that is actually not a bad effort.  I expect him to be more involved this week against a porous Arizona run defense who are ranked last in the league (according to PFF) and 29th in YPG. 

Jeremy Maclin (WR Eagles)- The best thing that happened to Maclin was Kolb taking over a starting QB.  He was targetted 14 times in the last 2 weeks with Kolb as QB compared to 13 times in 3 games with Vick as QB.  Now Kolb has been in control for a few weeks I expect the synergy with Maclin to develop further.  Added to the fact that Desean Jackson is out I expect Kolb to be looking his way a lot against the Titans (check out my analysis if Kolb this week here).

Danny Woodhead (RB Patriots) -  This is a bit of a trick pick.  He is listed as a WR and RB in yahoo fantasy football and I am actually playing him as a WR this week.  The Patriots use him in so many ways so we have to look at all aspects of the Chargers defense to see how he matches up.  Firstly the Chragers run defense is a little suspect (23rd rank pass rush, 14 rank run defense in PFF but 6th in least YPG rushing).  When I see a descrepency in the rankings like that there are usually questions marks.  The Patriots are the 4th ranked team for rush block so you got to think they have an advatage there.  They also use Woodhead very effectively in the passing game and the Chargers are ranked 12th in pass coverage.  But they will use him in 3rd down situations.  Then there is the fact that they have Tom Brady who can find a weakness in any defense.

Monday I will go through these picks and see how I shaped up.  Good or bad.

Sasha Vujacic is engaged to marry Maria Sharapova

File photos of Los Angeles Lakers Sasha Vujacic in San Antonio dated May 27, 2008 and Maria Sharapova during the U.S Open tennis tournament in New York dated August 31, 2010. Vujacic is engaged to marry Sharapova after the Slovenian told reporters before an exhibition game on October 21 that the Russian former tennis world number one had accepted his proposal. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Shannon Stapleton/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS BASKETBALL SOCIETY)

File photos of Los Angeles Lakers Sasha Vujacic in San Antonio dated May 27, 2008 and Maria Sharapova during the U.S Open tennis tournament in New York dated August 31, 2010. Vujacic is engaged to marry Sharapova after the Slovenian told reporters before an exhibition game on October 21 that the Russian former tennis world number one had accepted his proposal. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Shannon Stapleton/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT TENNIS BASKETBALL SOCIETY)

They are going to have some seriously tall kids!!!

Bruins v Capitals opening night

What a great night for the Bruins on opening night.  A 4-1 win and Thomas played great in goal.  Really looking forward to the season, my first as a season ticket holder.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kolb deserves his job

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb (top) throws a pass under pressure from the Atlanta Falcons' Kroy Biermann (C) and Mike Peterson (53) during the second quarter of NFL football action in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

It's official I am on the Kevin Kolb bandwagon.  I like the guy.  I think he has handled the whole situation in Philly very well.  Last season McNabb was kicked out and he was knighted the future QB.  Then he is concussed in the first game and Vick has a couple of brilliant games until he is hurt.  Then Kolb comes back and has performed admirably.  He has showed a lot of character on and of the field.

Last week I wrote a post about how Kevin Kolb had a good game v San Fran steering them to a win (link here).  In that post I mentioned that he would be tested against Falcons defense that had the 5th best pass rush in the league.

Well Kolb came out and had one the of the best games of the week by a QB (23/29, 3 TDs, 1 INT).  This week is another tough test against the 5th best pass rushing teams the Titans.  But that's what I said last week.

Have coaches figured out Flacco?

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Joe Flacco  of the Baltimore Ravens throws a pass behind LaMarr Woodley  of the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Baltimore won the game 17-14. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

I read this article on the Ravens blog in the Baltimore Sun which is about how coaches may have figured out Flacco.  Basically the theory is that if you take away Flacco's first read (mostly Boldin I would assume) he can't go through his progressions fast enough and ends up dumping off to Ray Rice.

In the most recent game against the Pats Ray Rice and Derek Mason were both targeted 10 times and Mason had 100 yards.  Boldin did was targeted 5 times, had 4 rec and 63 yards.  Based on these numbers alone it does seem that Rice got an unusually large number of targets.  If you look at the previous games the first 4 weeks Boldin was always the most targeted receiver.  In week 5 Mason was the most targeted but Rice under up with the most receptions (only 4).  So perhaps there could be a trend there.

If you look at Baltimore's pass defense this year you could say they have been virtually impenetrable.  They have only given up 3 sacks once (v Patriots) have not given up more than 5 QB hits or 8 QB pressures in a game (Chargers once gave up 34 QB pressures in one game).  So Flacco has had all the time in the world.  One thing that is a little strange is why hasn't Housmanzadeh had more catches?  Maybe he is always the 2nd or 3rd read and Flacco can't get it to him in time?

It will be interesting in the next couple of weeks to see who gets the ball amongst the Ravens' WRs.

Colt McCoy survived the Steleers and should have easier time this week

Before the Steelers game I feared for Colt McCoy's life (see post here).  Turns out he only got one of his WRs Massquoi killed by James Harrison).  He was making his NFL debut aginst possibly the best defense in the league with a bunch of LBs wanting to take his head off.

Turns out he did quite a commendable job. His numbers aren't bad:
32 Att, 23 Comp, 283 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs, QB rating 83.2

We've certaintly seen worse.  He also perfomed quite well under pressure (8 Att, 6 Comp, 63 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs, QB rating 137).  Pittsburgh had an ordinary day in terms of pass rush (15th ranking) and the Browns O-line did quite a commendable job (3 sacks, 2 additonal sacks were Colts fault, 2 QB hits, 6 QB pressures).  The effort by the O-line is even more commendable considering they are ranked 20th for pass protection.

This week he has been named the starter against New Orleans.  Based on his effort last week he probably deserves it.  New Orleans are currently ranked last in pass rush so he should have some time this week to show us what he can do.  Now that he has his first game under his belt.

Only Jay Cutler is getting sacked more than Phillip Rivers

I while ago I wrote a post on how the top 3 QBs in the NFL weren't getting any protection from their own teams.  Well that trend is so bad for San Diego I wanted to expand here.

San Diego are currently 2-4 (they play the Patriots this week) and if it wasn't for some amazing play from Rivers it could be much worse.  After week 6 his numbers are as follows:
Att 220, Comp 137, 2008 yds, 12 TDs, 5 Int, QB rating 100.7 (from

Quite impressive numbers which have been helped by the fact that his team has been down a lot and he has been forced to throw plenty.

However his team is also ranked last by PFF for pass blocking so he has been constantly under pressure.  Only Jay Cutler has been sacked more times (Rivers 18, Cutler 23).  But if you look at some other stats Rivers has been pressured a lot more (note stats are only for first 5 games).

                            QB sacks         QB hits        QB  pressures
Chargers                 13                    9                     79
Bears                      16                   13                    47

Just what the Cowboys need : a Jerry Jones pep talk

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones walks on the field before a football game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

This reminds me of a CEO saying to his company there will be no layoffs and then he lays off people. A cannot believe that Wade Phillips is still the coach there. A team so loaded with talent is so undidciplined has to be the fault of the management. And it all starts with the owner in my opinion. How many owners do you know are on the sidelines yelling at people. It's a frat house situation in Dallas. I was amazed though that they weren't the most penalized team in the NFL though (both Detroit and Oakland are worse). See any link between penalized teams and crazy owners (Oakland and Dallas)?

Jerry Jones gives Cowboys much-needed pep talk Dallas Cowboys News Sports News News for Dallas, Texas Dallas Morning News

Carmelo may be traded to the Knicks now?

Oct 14, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony (15) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Nuggets defeated the Clippers 100-95.  Photo via Newscom

On September 28 I wrote a post about Carmelo Anthony (link here) and how he didn't care about Denver and wanted out, preferably to go to New York.  This was pretty common knowledge sincce he is from Brooklyn, his wife is a TV star, and he obviously wants to play for a big market team.  He wants to get back some of the limelight that Lebron has stole from him.  A number of trades fell through and he turned up at the Nuggets training camp and has apparantly been training the house down and been a good soldier.

Now I see report on the Huffington Post site that the Knicks are working for a trade and that Anthony hasn't yet signed his contract with the Nuggets.  He just can't give it up and he is screwing that franchise. He wants the spotlight back.  The Knicks are desparate after their disastrous off season.

Here's the report in the Huffington Post

Dallas Clark out indefinately with injury

Apparantly the buzz is the Colts TE is out indefinately with a hand/wrist injury.  He should have a second/third opinion by Thursday and there is mention of surgery.

Will post more when I find out something else.

UPDATE :  Reports are coming out now that Dallas Clark's season is over!!!1

Feel good story coming soon - Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson making a comeback

NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: Gold Medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson launches the Refuel America Program and unveils the newest Milk Mustache ads at the 92nd Street Y on August 11, 2010 in New York City. Gold medalists Chris Bosh, Apolo Anton Ohno and Shawn Johnson teamed up today to announce a new campaign highlighting the importance of refueling with lowfat chocolate milk during the two-hour recovery window after exercise. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Refuel America)

America's sweetheart from the Beijing Olympics is making a comeback and plans to compete at the 2012 Olympics at the age of 20 (is that old for a gymnast?).  She recently appeared on BBC World News America (see link for the video) and described her intentions.  The BBC is describing it as an 'impossible' comeback.  Since the Olympics she has had a kneee injury from skiiing and won Dancing With The Stars (little unfair right?).  Ican't see how you can do both of these?  Anyway I am sure that this may get a 'little' media coverage as the Olympics get closer.  Wish her the best she seems like a sweet girl.

Gus Johnson is fired by the Knicks as radio announcer

Fo those of you that haven't heard him call a game here are a couple of videos of his work. Lets say he gets quite 'animated'. I wouldn't worry about him getting a job though he does college games and tons of other stuff, one of th reasons he got fired.

This video has an added bonus of seeing Adam Morrison with that ridiculous stache.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

There's a Pay James Harrison's Bogus Fine group on Facebook

One thing is for certain - Steelers fans are (1) crazy and (2) dedicated.  I saw this article where a facebook group was started for people to help pay for James Harrisons' fine for his hit on the weekend.  Now we all know he doesn't need help paying the fine ($75).  There's even photos of people sending $1 bills with letter on the facebook page.

Zimmer: Still not a big fan of Petrino

So apparently Bengals defensive coordinator is not a fan of ex-Falcons coach Petrino. How do I know? Here are some quotes from Bengals blog (full story below)

“I was never even there. As far as I am concerned. I never even was there. When a coach quits in the middle of the year and ruins a bunch of people’s families and doesn’t’ have enough guts to at least finish out the year. I am not a part of that.”

“He is a coward. Put that in quotes. He ruined a bunch of people’s lives, a bunch of people’s families, kids, because he didn’t have enough nuts to stay there and finish the job. That’s the truth.”

“No, most people in football have enough courage about them and enough fight to stick through something and not quit halfway through the year. It is cowardly"

“He’s a gutless b—–d. Quote that. I don’t give a s—.”

“How about this, gutless MF. You can use that.”

Zimmer: Still not a big fan of Petrino Bengals Blog

Dope cheat blames penis pill

GATESHEAD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31:  La Shawn Merritt of USA in action on his way to victory in the Men's 400 metres during the Aviva British Grand Prix held at Gateshead International Stadium on August 31, 2009 in Gateshead, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

American 400m champion LaShawn Merrit was suspended for testing postive for the anabolic steroid DHEA.  Gets even better - he claimed that it was due to over the counter penis enlargement products.  OK that's still not too bad but he was tested positve 3 TIMES!!!!!  Once maybe you can understand but three times!!  Was he addicted or something?  Really is amazing the excuses that athletes will come up with.  Reminds me of the recent story of the cyclist Contador who blamed contaminated meat for his positive drug test.  I wrote a blog post about that recently and at least that had some scientific truth. 

I got the story for Fox sports Australia.
Dope cheat blames penis pill Other Sports Fox Sports

Important role of muscle carnosine in rowing performance

Carnosine is a dipeptide that is present in human skeletal muscle.  This study showed that by supplementing the diet of rowers with alanine (close derivative of carnosine) that levels of carnosine can be increased which lead to increased rowing performance.

No effect of acute ingestion of Thai ginseng on sprint and endurance exercise performance in humans

An old tribal remedy from the Hmong Hill tribe in Thailand suggested that ingestion of Thai ginseng can help with physical exercise and work.  The following study shows that this may not be the case.

No effect of acute ingestion of Thai ginseng (Kaempferia parviflora) on sprint and endurance exercise performance in humans - Journal of Sports Sciences

Why you should jog between between run intervals

This study provides evidence that recovery should be active rather than passive to assist in the clearing of lactic acid.  Put in simpler terms you should jog between sprints rather than sit down!

Blood lactate clearance during active recovery after an intense running bout depends on the intensity of the active recovery - Journal of Sports Sciences

Exercise, music, and the brain: Is there a central pattern generator?

This article provides some scientific evidence that choosing the right music can enhance exercise performance.
Exercise, music, and the brain: Is there a central pattern generator? - Journal of Sports Sciences

Left handed college pitchers may be more at risk for injury

This study shows that left handed college pitchers may be more at risk for injury than right handed ptichers through the measurement of biomechanical parameters.

Interesting fact :  left handed people make up 10% of the population while left handed pitchers make up 30% of the pitching staffs in Major League and Division I college baseball.  Not surprising but interesting stat.  That's why I tell me wife if our son is left handed to put a ball in hand straight away!

Here the abstract to the study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine

NBA bans shoes that increase players' vertical leap

I can't figure out if this is totally serious or not?

NBA bans shoes that increase players' vertical leap - NBA -

Colts punter Pat McAfee arrested after drunken dip in canal

This has got to be my fav story so far today.

Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfeee was arrested for public intoxication after he reportedly took a pre-dawn swim in a canal in a nightlife district.

OK not too ridiculous right? We've all had the urge to have a little late night dip. The best part is when the police questioned why his shirt was wet:

"Officers asked McAfee if he had been swimming in the canal and he said "I am not sure," according to a police report. They asked him how he got wet and he said it had been raining, then told officers that his shirt was "in the water."

The story gets better you got to check the link.

Colts punter Pat McAfee arrested after drunken dip in canal - NFL -

Gruden linked to Browns job?

This makes a lot of sense for the Browns. Why would Gruden want to go there though? Is he that desparate to get back to coaching? Surely there must be other teams he would rather coach. For myself I want him to stay as a commenatator, he is one of the best around (at least one of the most enetertaining although he is up everyone's ass).

Gruden linked to Browns job? - NFL - Rumors - FanNation

Alex Smith does a 'decent job' - is it good enough?

Oct 17, 2010; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Raiders 17-9. Photo via Newscom

Alex Smith is improving lately but when is it enough with him?  One thing is for sure he was damn lucky they won on the weekend otherwise he would have surely been hooked.  Surely they can't go with David Carr that can't be any future for the 49ers.  Maybe they need Steve Young to come in and coach him up - that guy never shuts up about himself.

Here's a good story in the Chronicle by Scott Ostler on Alex Smith

Why is Barry Bonds throwing out the first pitch?

Former San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds greets the fans as he prepares to throw out the first pitch at the NLCS at AT&T Park in San Francisco Park on October 19, 2010. The Giants defeated the Phillies 3-0.  UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom

Barry Bonds threw out the first pitch at the NLCS at AT&T Park in San Francisco.  Why are they allowing this steroid cheater on the field?  I find this quite depicable.

BTW San Fran won 3-0 v Phillies

Dodgers' fans talk a good game, but MCourt knows they can't stay away

Frank McCourt is in big trouble with the upcoming divorces settlement and many Dodgers fans wish he would sell the team. Ticket prices are rising but what are the fans going to do stop going to the game? Maybe he knows that and is taking advantage of the situation but that wouldn't be the first time now would it? Read this story in the LA times with some interviews with fans.

Dodgers' fans talk a good game, but he knows they won't stay away -

Bangladesh cricket players showered with gifts

Bangladesh players have been showered with gifts including new cars and plots of land in the smartest part of the capital Dhaka after the team's home series victory over New Zealand.

This is great new for the sport of cricket which needs some sucess from smaller countries who love the game of cricket.

Bangladesh showered with gifts Fox Sports

Difficulty of Cowboys' schedule adds to already daunting challenge

Cowboys area a dismal 1-4 and they have the toughest schedule ahead of them in the NFC

Rafter appointed as Australian Davis Cup captain

One of my favoraite tennis players of all time has been appinted Aussie David Cup captain - great move. Hopefully he can get us back to the elite group.

Rafter appointed as Australian Davis Cup captain

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Which QB has performed best so far under pressure?

An interesting exercise I just run was to calculate the average QB rating for a few top QBs for plays when they have been pressured (all the stats are from   Now I know that this doesn't take into account how much they have been pressured (for example Rivers has been pressured over 80 times this year) and maybe I will do some more calculations in the near future.  None the less I think it is interesting to compare.  I have ranked them below in order of pressured QB rating with their non pressured QB rating next to this number.

                              QB rating (pressured)    QB rating (non pressured)
Manning                             86.2                              110
Romo                                 79.8                             102.1
Brady                                 79.5                             109.2
Rodgers                              68.6                              97.7
Rivers                                 67.9                              105.0
Brees                                  67.3                             103.7

From this table we can see that Manning seems to be way ahead for performing under pressure but quite surprising is that Romo is second.  Also there seems to be a big difference between Rivers' pressured and non pressured ratings which may be a factor of how many times he has been pressured.  In the near future I may do some more calculations to take these into account.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Despite a porous run defense Houston still beats Kansas City

Houston beat Kansas City 35-31 despite a poor effort by their defense particularly their run defense.  Matt Cassel threw 3 TDS and 0 INT, Thomas Jone (100 yds, 1 TD) and Jamaal Charles (93 yds) both ran through Houston but they still lost.  Houston's run defense was poor all round with the PFF guys scoring them team a -15.5.

Brady exploited Ravens only weakness on defense

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and center Dan Koppen gesture in the fourth quarter of their NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Foxborough, Massachusetts October 17, 2010.    REUTERS/Adam Hunger   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

On Friday I wrote a post on how Brady can beat the Ravens by exploiting their only weakness on defense (here is the link to my post).  The Ravens were in the top 3 or better in most defensive categries according to PFF except pass rush.  Therefore I predicted that if the Pats O-line could hold off the Ravens pass rush then perhaps Brady could win the game.

Well the O-line did do its job allowing only 3 sacks, 2 QB hits and 3 QB pressures all game and Brady was able to spread the ball around quite effectively.  In fact Brady numbers on paper are not super :  42 Att, 27 Comp, 292 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs, QB rating 72.7.   But he wasn't helped by 7 dropped paases either.  But the bottom line is that he got plenty of protection and managed to get the Patriots in position to win the game in OT.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I fear for Colt McCoy's safety this week

CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 2: Colt McCoy  of the Cleveland Browns warms up before the preseason game against the Chicago Bears on September 2, 2010 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bears 13-10. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Browns are down to their last QB and rookie Colt McCoy's number has been called up.  I'm sure that making your NFL debut as a QB must be quite nerve racking but he is also facing a Steelers D that is breathing fire lately.

Even more daunting for McCoy will be the fact that the Steelers are loaded with superstar pass rushers who will be in his face all day.  Guys like Polmalu, Farrior, Woodley and Harrison have been terrorising QBs all year.  Added to the fact that the Browns are the 7th last ranked team for pass blocking it could be a painful day for McCoy.

Brady needs protection this week more than ever against the Ravens

This week the Pats will be up against the Ravens on Sunday.  It will also be my first game at Foxboro this year so I am particularly fired up for the game.  The Ravens much publisized defense has been crushing teams this year.  Just one look at their NFL ranking is quite daunting.

Passing : rank 2, 156.6 yds/game, opp QB rating 78.7 (ranked 12)
Rushing : rank 10, 10.1.2 yds/game
Overall defense : rank 3, 257.8 YPG

Pretty daunting right?  Let's break it down with the stats from the PFF guys.

Overall : rank 4
Run defense : rank 1
Pass rush : rank 23
Pass coverage : rank 1

From these stats the most glaring is obviously pass rush where they are ranked 23 compared to top 4 or first in all the others.  Interestingly the Pats are ranked 13th in the NFL in YPG (122.2 yds) but they are obviously going to have a tough time against the Ravens #1 ranked run defense.  Now we all know that New England has Tom Brady (I really hope he cuts his hair) and that passing should be their strength.  They are ranked 15th in the NFL (222 YPG) and 11th in toal offense.  So they have a pretty balanced offense this year which is in the top half or better. 

Now if we look at New England's pass block ranks from PFF they are ranked around 18th.  If you look through all their 4 games their O-line has played solid in general, no major break down in pass rush at the least. You would think that if the O-line plays to their capablity that they can hold the Ravens and give Brady some time to pass.  Now we know that Baltimore is also ranked first in pass coverage so Brady and all his receivers will have to be on their game as well.  But this seems to be a chink in Baltimore's defense that can be exploited.

Shaun Hill and the Lions O-line have been doing a great job lately

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Shaun Hill  of the Detroit Lions hands the ball off to Maurice Morris  during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 26, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Lions 24-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Shaun Hill had a big week last week for the Lions against the Rams leading them to a 44-6 win.  Let's look at his passing numbers.

Att 30, Comp 21, 227 yds, 3TDs, 0 INTs, QB rating 125.3, PFF rating 4.5

These are good numbers and his performance played a major role in the Lions getting their first win.  He was helped by a good team effort, 146 yards after the catch and only one dropped pass from his receivers.  His O-line and pass blocking team also did a great job by limiting the Rams to 0 sacks, 0 QB hits and only 5 QB pressures all day!!!! (see my other post on San Diego where they had 34 pressures in one game!!!).

As you would expect the Rams pass rush rating was pretty dismal (-6 from the PFF guys).  What's even more surprising is that the Rams have been crushing teams in the pass rush this year including the Seahawks (7.8 rating), Redskins (8.5) and the Raiders (7.9) in the last three weeks.  In fact the Rams are ranked 11th for pass rush by Pro Football Focus which makes the Lions effort even more surprising.  They are ranked 22nd for pass yards per game (may be due their ordinary pass coverage) but 15th in lowest opp QB rating (80).  In all the Rams are a pretty good pass defense team.

Even more surprising is the Lions effort the week before against Green Bay.  Now they did lose that game by only 2 points remember (26-28).  Shaun Hill also had decent numbers in that game (won't post them here unless someone asks for them).  The Packers pass rush had been steamrolling teams in the first three weeks including the Bears, Bills and Eagles for a total of 13 sacks, 12 QB hits and 40 QB pressures.  Clay Mathews was leading the charge.  Then they play Detroit and are shut down for 3 sacks, 2 QB hits and 4 QB pressures.  The Detroit O-line and pass block team had another big game with a 9.3 rating by PFF.  The very next week the Packers were back to business with another huge pass rushing game v the Redskins (although they lost they manages 5 sacks, 8 QB hits and 20 QB pressures).

A big test for the Detroit O-line will be this week against the NY giants who have been steamrolling teams lately with their pass rush.  If the Lions can hold up to them this week then they are the real deal.

(NOTE:  I get a lot of my stats from Pro Football Focus check them out)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Arian Foster's rushing success is largely due to his team's blocking

The top 3 running backs in the NFL after week 5 based on rushing yards are:
1.  Arian Foster (Texans), 564 yds, 112 yds/game
2. Chris Johnson (Titans), 485 yds, 97 yds/game
3. Adrian Peterson (Vikings), 480 yds, 120 yds/game

Should be noted that Peterson was on a bye one week so his average is based on 4 games.

Now is you look at the average run defense ranking for the teams that each of their respective teams have played against:

                            Avg Run Def Rank (       PFF Rating rank
Texans                          16.7                                       19.2
Titans                            15.6                                       10.4
Vikings                          18.2                                       17.7

From these numbers I would say that the Texans and Vikings have played against slightly worse run defenses than the Titans.  Now let's look at their own team's run blocking rank according to the PFF guys.

                      Run block team rank
Texans                      2
Titans                      28
Vikings                   24

Here we see a huge difference!!  The Texans have one the best run blocking teams in the league compared to the Titans and Vikings who are in the bottom eight.  Therefore Foster is being helped a great deal by his own team's blocking.

The top 3 QBs in the NFL according to passing yards have not been helped by their own teams

As of today the top 3 QBs in the NFL according to passing yards are :
1. Philip Rivers (SD), 1759 yds
2. Kyle Orton (Denver), 1733 yds
3. Peyton Manning (Indy), 1609 yds

I'm not going to go into all the other stats but it can be safe to say those guys are at the top in most passing categories.  I also understand that passing yards does not always correlate to wins and those guys are putting up big numbers when they have been behind.  That is a whole diferent discussion which can be dealt with later.

A point I do want to bring up is that each of those guys have put up those numbers despite the fact that their respective teams are ranked in the bottom 10 in the NFL for pass blocking (based on PFF rankings).  Therefore they are getting very little help from their O-line, TEs etc but are still getting it done.  Let's have a look at the actual numbers.

Colts with Manning as QB :  5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 49 QB pressures, 14 dropped passes!!!
Broncos with Orton as QB : 9 sacks, 15 QB hits, 59 QB pressures, 8 dropped passes!!!!
Chargers with Rivers as QB : 11 sacks, 11 QB hits, 80 QB presssures, 6 dropped passes!!!

Some of these stats are quite astounding.  I looked through the tape of Manning's 14 dropped passes and 2 of them were in the RZ.  San Diego are ranked dead last for pass block (by PFF) and no wonder the QB has been pressured 80 times (including 35 times in one game v Seahawks week 3).

Why is David Garrard up for Fed Air player of the week 5?

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 03: Quarterback David Garrard  of the Jacksonville Jaguars rolls out against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field on October 3, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

A quick scan through the QB numbers shows that David Garrard had one the best games in week 5.  Let's take a quick run through the numbers first.

Att 20, Comp 16, Yards 178, 3 TDs, 1 INT, QB rating 122.5.

The PFF guys gave him a rating of 5 (max that week was 6).  He had only one dropped pass, sacked once and hurried only 5 times.  His teams pass block was OK (PFF rating 1.7).  So he had good numbers at first glance, was not really pressured a lot and had OK pass blocking from his own team. 

Now let's look at the opposing defense.  Two words : BUFFALO BILLS!!!!  They have been dismal this year and they actually had a decent pass defense game in this one.  The PFF guys rank them 2nd last in pass rush, 5th last in pass coverage.  They are the worst in the NFL for opposing QB rating.  They had been lit up the previous 3 weeks by Rodgers, Brady and Sanchez.

You would expect David Garrard to have a good game against the Bills.  In fact he should have had a better game.  I'm sorry but I can't rate his performance highly against such a bad defensive team.

Kevin Kolb's game last week vs San Fran should not be overlooked

Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb (4) runs for 19 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on October 10, 2010. The Eagles defeated the 49ers 27-24  UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom

On the whole Kevin Kolb put in a good performance against San Fran last week and steered the Eagles to a win.  OK so San Fran's turnovers probably cost them the game but Kolb did a good job under the circumstances to make sure that Phily won.  I would even go as far to say it was one of the better performances by a QB on a winning side this week (there weren't that many in my opinion).  Let me make my case.

If you look at his numbers for aimed passes (does not include thrown away, hurried etc) then they are as follows:
28 Att, 21 Comp, 253 yards, 1TD, 0 INT, QB rating 114.1

Pretty good numbers, quite solid.  I love the guys at Pro Football Focus (that's where I get a lot of my stats get the premium subscription!!) and they gave him a rating of 3 (best that week was 6 for Rivers and Romo).  If you look at the YAC for all receivers the total is 118yds, not a lot, so not much work done by receivers after they caught the pass.  I like to look at an adjusted QB rating (I call the DJQB rating, if anyone knows a real name let me know) just to look at the yards minus the YAC.  Therefore the DJQB rating is 96.6, also not bad.  He was also good in the RZ with 4/4, 27yds, 1TD, 0 INT for a rating of 134.3.

Of his receiver Jermy Maclin had a good game with 6 catches for 95 yards.  Brent Celek caught a TD pass but also dropped 2 passes which certainly didn't help Kolb's numbers. One drop was on 4th and 1 which hurt the Eagles. The other "drop" was to Celek who dropped it on the San Fran 15 yard line on 3rd down which would have really hurt SF.

Let's now look at his team's pass blocking.  Looking at the PFF ratings, Philly had a team rating pass block rating of -2, which was made better after they took out LT King Dunlap (-4.1) who played 32 of the 36 pass plays.  So Kolb's pass blocking was quite pathetic, not completely dismal but pathetic and didn't help his cause.  This is shown by the fact that he was sacked 3 times and hurried 11 times so he was under a lot of pressure.

As mentioned above by the number of hurries San Fran had a good pass rush throughout the game, the PFF guys rated the team a 6.8.  On the season San Fran is ranked 17th in pass rush and 8th last in pass coverage.  They are 21st in YPG (227.6) and 5th worst in avg opp QB rating (97.2).  Kolb actually passed better when under pressure (rating 147.2) or when blitzed (104.7) than with no pressure (85).  San Fran blitzed a lot actually 28 of 36 pass plays.

So while Kolb numbers aren't outstanding they are solid and Philly did end up winning.  His team's pass blocking was not great, he was under pressure all game, was being constantly blitzed and performed well under pressure.   I would have to rate his game quite highly considering all these factors.  I also think that in the near future if he gets better pass blocking against a weaker defense he may put up big numbers.  This week he is playing Atlanta which has the 9th lowest opp QB rating in the league (72.5).  According to the PFF guys they are also the 5th best pass rush team.  Kolb could have his hands full if his O-line doesn't step it up.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Same old story from Brett Favre on Monday night - Jets v Vikings

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre reacts after throwing his 500th career touchdown pass to Randy Moss in the third quarter against the New York Jets in week 5 of the NFL season at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 11, 2010.   UPI /John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

Last night was Monday night football, Brett Favre's Vikings against the Jets.  All the story lines throughout the week from Brett's photography to Randy Moss trade to the cocky Jets.  Have to say there were no real surprises though.  The first half was dead boring.  Maybe the pouring rain had a lot to do with it but both sides passing games were pretty woeful.  Brett looked old and slow and Sanchez looked young and slow.  Vikings should have been happy with the score at half time.  Then in the second half the old gunslinger came to life.  Throwing like a kid again (I know corny and all these cliques have been used before) throwing a great ball the Randy and a couple to Harvin to get the Vikes back in the game.  Then just like old times at the end of the game Brett throws a inception which is returned for a TD.  Sound familiar?

I got to say I am starting to feel a little sorry for Favre.  At the start of the season I was pretty pissed off that he came back.  I know this time his team mates begged him back but I also was mad that he came back the other 2 times as well.  I couldn't blame Green Bay for wanting to get younger, they had a stud in Rodgers who will likely play well for them for the next 10 years.  They hung on to him as long as possible but he just wouldn't leave.  Then he went to New York, OK that's fine.  He wanted to play again and he wore down throughout the season and finished poorly and the Jets didn't make the playoffs largely due to his infamous interceptions in key moments.  But then to come back again with Minnesota just to rub it in Green Bay's noses and then again.  And now with this latest scandal which may or may no be true (time will tell).  Whether it's true or not its out there and the damage has been done.  I still think the Jets 'leaked' that story.  He could get suspended and his most cherished record the playing streak is in danger.  Added to the fact that his elbow tendinitis is getting worse than ever (according to Favre himself), it's going to be a very long season for the old man.  Tavaris Jackson better get ready.  Wonder how Randy will feel about the QB situation then.