Gus Frerotte gets a road start against Kyle Boller.
Cleo Lemon takes on Derek Anderson.
Kurt Warner seeks to stave off an upset bid by David Carr (and/or Matt Moore & Vinny Testaverde.)
Tavaris Jackson and the Vikings look to knock off Brian Griese and the Bears.
David Garrard v. Matt Schaub?
Byron Leftwich, Jeff Garcia, Daunte Culpepper, Kellen Clemons?
Do quarterbacks even matter any more? Are there just so few that the true studs like Romo, Brady and Manning totally separate the contenders from the rest of the league? Roethlisberger, Favre and Campbell might be enough to win your division.
October 12, 2007
Gus Frerotte gets a road start against Kyle Boller.
Following Florida State's 24-21 loss to up-and-coming-but-still-not-overly-talented Wake Forest last night, it seems like a good time to take note of just how far FSU has fallen since joining the ACC in 1992.
Ok, maybe recruiting isn't THAT hard. God I love Jenn Sterger.
A couple other links from blogonia.
- The Legend of Cecilio Guante went a step further, and found out how little D-Backs tickets were going for last night. You literally could not give tickets away to see Brandon Webb lose to Jeff Francis.
- The Nation of Islam Sportsblog has another enlightened interview with a major Negro sportswriter/broadcaster. This time he brings us the wisdom of Stephen A. Smith.
- We're suckers for anything Tale of the Tape or Nick Bakay-related. Kissing Suzy Kolber has a nice Tom Brady/Tony Romo comparison.
- Mr. Irrelevant has some nice video from Comcast SportsNet of Carlos Rodgers and Fred Smoot enjoying a rare post-game where neither had just been burned.
Contributed by J-Red at 10/12/2007 03:36:00 PM
So I know that rumors of such a commercial existing have abounded, but the moment that I had been waiting for finally happened. Coors Light did a press conference commercial with Denny Green ranting about "they are who we thought they were!!!" Now the lead-in questions are slightly a stretch, but the commercial is still fantastic.
And for the record, I am not a Coors Light drinker. If it's gotta be light beer, I'm a Miller Lite guy.
Contributed by Jeremy at 10/12/2007 09:12:00 AM
Though the official attendance was 48,142, when the first pitch was thrown, there were thousands of empty seats, an embarrassment for a championship series game. Most of the seats were eventually filled, but that didn't mean the scalpers were having much success.
It's one thing to win a Ben MacDonald-sized handful of division titles and get complacent, as the Braves did, but it's another to assume that just because LuGon overcame Byung Young-Kim back in 2001 the Diamondbacks are locks to win every postseason to which they're invited.
Perhaps Monday Night Football starting at 5:30p has made the West Coast complacent. If I'm not mistaken, Arizona observes Pacific Time from "spring ahead" to "fall back" (or, in other words, they are a Mountain Time state that doesn't observe daylight savings, so Pacific Time catches up to them from spring to fall). Unfortunately, we don't fall back until November 4 because of legislation signed last year by President Bush. If D-Back fans are waiting that long to actually show up on time, they had better hope Game 5 (Oct. 29) goes many innings. Games 6 and 7 will be in the AL park, since the AL continued its All-Star Game domination.
On a related note, Game 6 of the World Series is Halloween, a Wednesday. Good work Bud Selig. Parents say kids can't stay up to watch the games these days, and they'll either have the choice of the game starting at 5:05p (Arizona), 6:05p (Colorado), 7:05p or 8:05p (Boston, Cleveland) ON FUCKING HALLOWEEN. Brilliant! I'm sure America's Youth won't have anything else on their minds or in their stomachs.
October 11, 2007
"I like my Ravens uniforms like I like my crime: black on black."
blahblahblahb Chris McAllister in one of his rare not-fucking-up moments.
Contributed by J-Red at 10/11/2007 05:59:00 PM
In my continuing series on obscure football rules, I bring to you two nuances of punting that most people do not seem to understand.
If you watch any football, you've seen players commit the foul of illegal touching many times each game. The officials do not throw any flags, though they do signify that foul by touching both hands to the tops of their shoulders. You don't think of it as illegal touching, because we call it "downing" a punt.
However, illegal touching has one fantastic effect. Once a player on the punting team touches a punted ball that has not made contact with a return team player, no matter what happens afterwards, the return team can always elect to have the ball at the spot of illegal touching. If the punting team touches and controls the ball, the official takes an "official timeout", and awards the return team the ball at the spot of the touching.
It's the other circumstance that every special teams player in the league should know by heart. If the punting team touches the ball and does not control it, there is absolutely no reason why the nearest player should not attempt to pick up the ball and run with it. Throw laterals willy-nilly down the field. Make every attempt to score. This should be done any time the punt is shanked and hits a punt team player in the back, or any time a player non-chalantly touches a ball and walks away from it. After the result of the play, the return team can elect to either take the ball at the spot of illegal touching, or decline the foul and take the result of the return.
It is important to note, however, that illegal touching does not offset ANY other foul. If a team throws a forwards lateral, flagrantly grabs a face mask, and/or spikes the ball in celebration, those fouls will be assessed.
In 2000, Ravens SS Corey Harris picked up a touched but not downed punt and returned it all the way to the other 20. The punt team had started to leave the field after one player touched the ball and stood around looking at it.
Amazingly, Jerry Markbreit addressed this too in the Chicago Tribune.
Fair Catch Kick
The holy grail for true football rules nerds, the Fair Catch Kick is so obscure that Chan Gailey (corrected, not Dave Campo surprisingly) admitted not knowing about it when provided with a perfect opportunity to use it in a Monday Night game some years back.
Here is the rule:
After a fair catch, the receiving team has the option to put the ball in play by a snap or a fair catch kick (field goal attempt), with fair catch kick lines established ten yards apart. All general rules apply as for a field goal attempt from scrimmage. The clock starts when the ball is kicked. (No tee permitted.)
Read that again. After a fair catch, the return team can elect business as usual (run normal plays from the line of scrimmage) or to attempt an uncontested field goal with a ten yard buffer zone.
Normally, fair catches are not made in field goal range. However, the rule applies even if there is no time remaining when the fair catch is made. Plus, since the kick is not contested, a fair catch made at mid-field presents the opportunity for an unblockable (as low a trajectory as you want, so long as the players ten yards away can't get a hand on it) 60-yard field goal attempt. Also, the kicker may take as many steps as he wants approaching the ball to strike it. It is conceivable that a 70+ yard field goal could be made in this manner by a strong kicker.
It would be advisable to attempt a fair catch kick with very little time left in the half or game, or even with a moderate amount of time left (:20 or so), no time outs, and a desperate need for three points. Don't forget also that fair catches can be made on kickoffs, though that is why onsides kicks are typically bounced off the ground.
Remember, however, that a fair catch free kick is a free kick, and is thus returnable by the opposing team. In addition, a fair catch free kick out of bounds gives the ball to the return team 30 yards from the kick spot (as on a kickoff). Hank Stram, according to Wikipedia, expressly declined to attempt a long fair catch free kick at the end of regulation in the tied Chiefs-Dolphins longest game ever played (ended in 2nd OT on a Kellen Winslow, Sr., TD if I remember correctly) in the playoffs because he was scared Mercury Morris would run it back for a TD. If you didn't love Hank Stram before reading that, you had better love him now.
blahblahblahblah Matriculate the ball on your own time Mercury
Jerry Markbreit is aware of two Fair Catch Free Kicks attempted in the NFL, and both were unsuccessful. Wikipedia has a list of all attempts, including an incredible 74-yard attempt by Mark Moseley of the Skins against the Giants in the era before the two-point conversion.
There is no fair catch free kick option in college. There is, apparently, in high school football under standard rules. In fact, high school rules allow the use of a tee, whereas NFL rules require the ball be drop kicked or held by a teammate. A tee is thought to add 5-10 yards to kicking distance (much like in golf).
Amongst the humans, Brien and Jeremy have tied for the lead (by win/tie percentage). This week offers quite a few sucker bets. Check back Tuesday to see who among us is a sucker.
Tempting as it is to just pick against Russell for the rest of the season, we're back to my picks this week.
Houston (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE - Even though the Texans have dropped off a bit in the past few weeks, I still like them. There's no way they should be getting almost a touchdown against a mediocre Jags team (even on the road).
GREEN BAY (-3) over Washington - I'm still not sold on the Redskins this year.
St. Louis (+9.5) over BALTIMORE - The Ravens only scored 9 points total last week, and now they're giving 9.5? They also haven't won a game by more than a touchdown all year, with a lot of games ending up closer than they should have been.
I found a new handicapping tool this week, courtesy of the Sports Guy's links. Sportsbook.com has a page showing the amount bet on each side for every NFL game each week. This lets you pick out the WTF lines and go the other direction. This week there are two clear cases where we need to go against the pack.
ATLANTA (+3) over NY Giants - A home underdog on Monday night, and 93% of the money is going to the away team? WTF? Exactly. Take the Falcons. It's not like either team is any good.
DALLAS (+5) over New England - I'm a little upset that Sheridan still has the 5 line, since covers.com shows every online sportsbook with a line between 5.5 and 7. If you're betting this game, you should get a much better line than this. Sportsbook.com says 95% of gamblers are taking the Patriots in this game. That's a huge red flag. The Cowboys had their shit-the-bed game last week, probably because they were looking ahead to this week.
Bonus pick: if the Cowboys are losing at halftime, take them in the halftime line, no matter what it is. They've been a second half team all year.
Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (12-9-4) and (14-7-4)
Posted last week in this space: "Sounds like it's about time for the wheels to come crashing off, and this slate of football games is just the right medicine for that." Yup. I went 1-3-1 last week. This week's slate of games isn't any easier. Sad when I'm getting my ass beat by the equivalent of flipping a coin That being said...
New York Giants (-3) over ATLANTA - I'm amazed the Giants are only favored by this small amount given the fact that they've played relatively good football thus far into the season.
Arizona (-4) over CAROLINA - David Carr is proving that even with Steve Smith and offensive weapons, he's just not a very good NFL QB.
New England (-5) over DALLAS - Neither team has really played anybody yet but the Pats have whipped up on their nobodies way more than the Cowboys have.
Oakland (+10) over SAN DIEGO - I think the Chargers win, but I don't have enough faith in them to see them covering this kind of spread, even at home, even after last week's game, even against the Raiders.
Washington (+3) over GREEN BAY - I ducked the Skins game last week, but I'm drinking the Kool Aid this week, even at Lambeau... 'Skins secondary shuts down Pack passing and Pack have no rushing game to speak of. Road dog to win straight up.
Magic 8 Ball Picks:
ATLANTA (+3) over Giants - "Yes." [Atlanta will beat the spread]
CAROLINA (+4) over Arizona - "Yes." [Carolina will beat the spread]
New England (-5) over DALLAS - "My answer is no." [Dallas will not beat the spread]
SAN DIEGO (-10) over Oakland - "My signs point to yes." [San Diego will beat the spread]
GREEN BAY (-3) over Washington - "Yes" [Green Bay will beat the spread]
Note that the Magic 8 Ball disagreed with me on four picks which means I'm totally screwed. And I'm going to have the ball inspected for getting three of the same answer this week.
It looks like I picked a slate of surprise teams, or at least picked against disappointing teams. I'm sure I'll regret this decision.
CLEVELAND (-4.5) over Miami – Cleveland isn't good, and they'll be without Jamal. That's ok. I think Cleveland needs to air it out a bit anyway.
Washington (+3) over GREEN BAY – I still think the Redskins might be very good. If they can hold on to the picks, they should control this game pretty well.
ARIZONA (-4) over Carolina – Kurt Warner is back baby. Hide your bibles.
SEATTLE (-6.5) over New Orleans – I'm ready for the Saints' jazz funeral. I'll be in the second line, because the bandwagon is getting lonely.
Houston (+6.5) over JACKSONVILLE – I just don't like anything about Jacksonville, especially not to beat any team with good linebackers by a touchdown.
Hopefully this week the seesaw takes me back up. Otherwise, I'll remain in the cellar.
Cincinnati (-3) over KANSAS CITY - Are you kidding? This appears to be a WTF lock, but given my record with those, don't bet the farm.
CLEVELAND (-4.5) over Miami - In spite of the good record by backups making their first start this year, Lemon just doesn't inspire confidence.
CHICAGO (-5.5) over Minnesota - The Bears D is getting healthy and the offense is figuring things out. What's Minny got?
St. Louis (+9.5) over BALTIMORE - Doesn't anyone actually watch the Ravens games? They won 9-7 against a crippled SF team last week, and the Rams have a lot more offense. The Rams pull it together enough to keep it close and maybe win, even though their entire offense is hurt.
New England (-5) over DALLAS - The best of the AFC is much better than the best of the NFC.
RECAP AND STANDINGS
Magic 8 (14-7-4) - .640
Brien (14-11-0) - .560
Jeremy (12-9-4) - .560
J-Red (11-13-1) - .460
Russell (9-15-1) - .380
Magic 8 - ATL, CAR, GB, NE, SD
Brien - ATL, DAL, GB, HOU, STL
Jeremy - ARI, NE, NYG, OAK, WAS
J-Red - ARI, CLE, HOU, SEA, WAS
Russell - CHI, CIN, CLE, NE, STL
(Italics indicate disagreement between human pickers. There were no three-picker consensuses.)
October 10, 2007
I am proud to present my nominee for the official mascot of ECB. He has a great name, and more than a little talent.
The quarterback of a team which has only punted 8 times through 6 games, he has rushed for 100 yards in 4 of his team's 6 games this year, averaging 5.6 ypc, with at least one TD in every game. His first name translates to Untamed Waters from the Hawaiian. When necessary, he can pass as well, 9-12 for 166 yds and 2 TD in his last game. The junior QB has a better passer rating than the Alabama starting QB, in spite of all the hits he takes at 5'11" 194 lbs. He is on track for a 1,000 yd, 15 TD rushing season, in spite of 6 other players on the team having over 100 yds rushing this year. His team has not scored less than 24 points in any game this year, and has scored 38 (in regulation) against the 9th ranked defense in the country. His record is 12-4 as a starter in spite of lesser talent. Isn't the option a beautiful thing? (I might be slightly biased in this pick for a couple reasons.)
A future Marine, my nominee is Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada (pronunciation: Kye-poe No-uh Kah-he-Ah-koo en-Ha-dah).
If the mascot must be a battering ram, I nominate the Navy fullback Kettani. As a reminder, J-Red's nominee was Jehuu Caulcrick.
After even more upsets, I'm not embarrassed to be at .500 for the season. This is another tough week, with few games between two good opponents.
Wisconsin (+7) over PENN ST: Old dogs never learn new tricks. In this case, I'm the old dog. Wisconsin hasn't covered all year, I still think they're better than an overrated PSU squad. They should win this game.
Illinois (+3.5) over IOWA: A little scary to jump on the bandwagon here, but the best rushing attack in the Big 10 should do okay against a struggling, young Iowa team.
Boston College (-13) over ND: Notre Dame's offense still SUCKS and BC won't turn the ball over 7 times, or even 4.
CALIFORNIA (-13.5) over Oregon State: Cal makes a statement that they deserve the ranking against the Beavers, who can't hold onto the ball.
Lsu (-9.5) over KENTUCKY: Kentucky's line will be pushed so far off the ball, they won't know which way is up.
Texas A&M (+8.5) over TEXAS TECH: This game is always close and high-scoring as neither D can stop the other offense. (O/U is 70 for an A&M game).
Central Florida (+12) over USF: This is somewhat of a rivalry game, and don't forget that UCF lost to Texas by 3.
And finally the local pick,
MIAMI (-2.5) over Georgia Tech: Miami will win the battle up front, stuffing Choice, and squelching Tech's feeble imitation of an offense.
Last week: 4-6
Contributed by Russell at 10/10/2007 03:08:00 PM
October 9, 2007
As you can see, Brien's "pick against Russell" policy was the way to go this week. He instructed me in advance to pick against Russell on his behalf, no matter what Russell picked. Likewise, Magic 8 Ball was wise to steer clear of Jeremy this week. J-Red did well straight up, but didn't account for VY shitting the bed in Atlanta (and only winning by 7) and the Ravens being forced to play 4 rookies on offense for three quarters of the game (and, at times, five) due to OL injuries.
Russell (1-4-0) - DAL, NO, SF, SEA, TB
Jeremy (1-3-1) - ARI, BAL, GB, KC, NYG
Magic 8 (4-0-1) - CHI, JAX, NYG, SF, STL
J-Red (2-3-0) - BAL, IND, NYJ, PIT, TEN
Brien (4-1-0) - BAL, BUF, CAR, IND, PIT
Magic 8 (14-7-4) - .640
Brien (14-11-0) - .560
Jeremy (12-9-4) - .560
J-Red (11-13-1) - .460
Russell (9-15-1) - .380
October 7, 2007
Alright, so I got taken by this spirit by a conversation at work last week. So below are the three venues I'd love to see a game in each major sport and the three venues I'd loathe seeing a game in each major sport. I have never been to a game played by any of the home teams at any of these venues, so some stadiums/arenas are not included where I've already visited. Your comments and your lists are welcome...
1) Wrigley Field - Take the El to an afternoon game in May with a few postgame brews at Murphy's Bleachers. Niiiiiice.
2) Fenway Park - Yeah, yeah, yeah... cliche. But man, just walking around the outside of the stadium in 2004 gave me goosebumps. Too bad the stadium was closed for a ballpark tour due to a John Kerry fundraiser (yeah... that worked out well).
3) Yankee Stadium - This narrowly beat out PacBell Park and plus I'd have to watch the game surrounded by Yankee fans. But this stadium has insane history and only one more season.
1) Tropicana Field - Join the bandwagon
2) Dolphins Stadium - Named for the football team. Rain delays and rainforest humidity. Enough said.
3) McAfee Coliseum - Another football stadium that also happens to host A's games.
NFL Loves (VERY tough to pick only three):
1) Lambeau Field - History, rabid rans, great tailgates, a place where it still is all about the football.
2) Texas Stadium - I hate the fucking Cowboys. But a Monday night game against my Skins, I would die to have the chance to see. Plus, I've heard out of all the Skins NFC East opponents, their fanbase is the tamest on visiting NFC East fans.
3) Qwest Field - This place narrowly beat out the Cardinals' stadium, but I've had numerous friends who have been here and say that not only is the architecture really amazing, but it is disturbingly loud, even louder than RCA Dome.
1) Giants Stadium - Hell off Exit 16W housing two mediocre teams.
2) Qualcomm Stadium - Great weather, but a concrete bowl of a stadium with way-too-mellow Chargers fans.
3) Jacksonville Stadium - Tame fans, constantly underachieving team, no great rivalries.
1) Staples Center (Lakers game) - It'd be fun to get a nosebleed seat, grab some binoculars, and play spot the celebrity.
2) Madison Square Garden - Mediocre team, sexual harrasser of a coach, but an arena that I've never made it to that I need to at some point before I die.
3) Conseco Fieldhouse - Pacers fans love their basketball and from what I've read, they tried to do the whole throwback thing with Conseco... integrating Hoosiers with modern-day-NBA... and they did it well.
1) Charlotte Bobcats Arena - Nothing to see here. Really... nothing.
2) Philips Arena - An interesting arena architecturally, but not really a fun and spirited venue when I could probably sit in the upper deck and hear the Hawks players talking to each other on the court... 15000 empty seats tend to amplify sound.
3) The Pyramid - Repeat... NBA basketball doesn't belong in Memphis, Tennessee.
1) HSBC Arena - Sabres fans are insane and if it's the dead of winter and it's Buffalo, hockey feels right.
2) Rexall Place - In the middle of Edmonton, hockey belongs in this arena that seats a very large fraction of the total population of Edmonton, Alberta, and is filled every single game.
3) XCel Energy Center - Alright, so the Wild fail the mascot test of being a "singular" mascot, but if you've ever watched a Wild game on TV, you know that these fans follow every move of the puck and scream and yell every second of every game.
1) Bank Atlantic Center - This is literally in the middle of the parking lot for Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida, and for every explanation for HSBC Arena, reverse it and you have Panthers fans and the Panthers' arena.
2) Nassau Coliseum - Another arena that just sits in a vast suburban wasteland off the Long Island Expressway and should be torn down for the same reason the Capital Centre was torn down.
3) RBC Center - Simply because the Hurricanes co-occupy the place with the fucking NC State Wolfpack. Also, do any Carolinians actually understand hockey?
NCAA Football Loves:
1) Ohio Stadium - Ben will be all over me for this one, but I've already seen a game in the Big House, and I think even he would admit that Ohio State fans are fun to watch a game with.
2) Memorial Stadium - Cornhusker fans paint this stadium red and crazy. Count me in.
3) Husky Stadium - You can take a boat to it, and on a bright sunny fall day with views out over the water, one of the most picturesque stadiums in college football.
I gotta add that a close 4 and 5 are Lane Stadium (Va Tech) and Camp Randall Stadium (Wisconsin)
NCAA Football Loathes:
1, 2, 3) Any NCAA football team that shares it's home field with an NFL team
NCAA Basketball Loves:
1) Cameron Indoor Stadium - I admit it. I feel dirty.
2) Assembly Hall - Hoosier mania.
3) Rupp Arena - Ashley Judd.
NCAA Basketball Loathes:
1) Verizon Center - You're playing in an NBA arena and therefore have zero school spirit, not to mention that half the people there rooting for Georgetown are bandwagon whores.
2) Continental Airlines Arena - Are you kidding me? You're in the Meadowlands watching Seton Hall. You're surrounded by people who got rejected by Rutgers. Enjoy.
3) Crisler Arena - Save your money and go to a Michigan hockey game at Yost.
According to Thursday's Baltimore Sun, the Terps will be playing Navy in 2010 and 2014 at M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens Stadium for those of you not familiar with Bodymore, Murderland)
I'm thrilled by this, especially in light of stories earlier last week that seemed to portray this series as being a lost cause. The game in 2005 was a fantastic, down-to-the-wire game. Now in retrospect, if we had lost, it would have been a really nasty start to the season, akin to the Northern Illinois loss. But the stadium was packed, and the sight of the Midshipmen marching in formation to the game brought something out of the Maryland student section that you don't normally see: class and respect. And normally I'm a big proponent of hooliganism and nastiness in the Terp student section, but I was really proud of the Terps for showing what they did... standing and applauding. Not exactly how Rutgers treated the Middies a few weeks ago.
But this is a game that should happen in a stadium where it should be taking place. Maryland and Navy are the only two 1-A football schools in the state. This should be a rivalry game. Baltimore is 26 miles up I-95 from College Park and about 30 miles up I-97 from Annapolis. The perfect location. M&T Stadium is a gorgeous stadium, and I'd pick that venue to watch a football game 100 times over FedEx Field (the ugliest thing to happen to the NFL since the Vet). Some will say that the Terps have everything to lose and nothing to gain from this matchup. However, those fans though who truly appreciate sports for the rivalries and the meaningfulness of games will grasp the importance of this game being played on a semi-regular basis.
And speaking of the Terps, way to hold on for that win against Georgia Tech. They did everything they possibly could to lose the game and you don't want it coming down to one of the best kickers in the conference since Janikowski. It was especially ironic watching the Georgia Tech guy miss the kick since I was sitting one seat over from Dan Ennis and Nick Novak. This Terp team is really going to miss Andrew Crummey on the offensive line. Fortunately they have two weeks to plug somebody in there and hope on the other side of the ball that Costa or Erin Henderson can recover and get healthy. I do think however that yesterday should have ended and quarterback controversy that may have existed. Chris Turner looked fantastic and when Ralph Friedgen actually didn't coach gunshy and allowed Turner to try to make plays, he was by-and-large good. He had the one stupid play that directly led to 7 points, but he was making throws up the field with pinpoint accuracy on third and fourth reads that Steffy never would have made. I like Steffy as a guy, he represents the university well, but I want the best QB out on the field, and at this point it's Chris Turner.
In two weeks we have J-Red's favorite ACC coach Al Groh coming into Byrd for Homecoming. J-Red actually talked screamed so much shit at Al Groh our senior year that Groh slipped to our level, came over to where we were standing, and pitifully attempted to talk smack to us by reminding us that he had been an NFL coach. J-Red reminded him in a very loud voice fortified by a few cans of Schlitz that his "ass had been fired as an NFL coach." Ahh... memories. Did I mention Terp students' class earlier in this post?
The Redskins are better than the Ravens at this point in the season. Joe Gibbs got his head out of his ass today, and remembered that he has a 280 pound fullback who can catch. I suspect 3rd or 4th and 1 will not be a problem for the rest of the season. In addition, the Skins were getting pressure with a four man rush. If you get pressure with a four man rush, you will almost always win (see Ravens, 2000). Granted, the Lions have allowed more sacks than any team since the 2002 Texans, but the Skins' D appears to have bounced back from a very disappointing 2006. I can't say enough about what a great signing Keenan McCardell was this past week. Talk about a guy who should never be sitting on his couch. McCardell has been incredible EVERYWHERE he's been the past decade, including Jacksonville (AFC Championship Game), Tampa Bay (Super Bowl) and San Diego (AFC Championship Game). He's like Ricky Proehl and Joe Jurevicius. Every time he surfaces somewhere you just go "How the hell was he a free agent again?" And yeah, Jason Campbell is much better than I thought he'd be. He didn't make a single bad decision today that I saw.
bblahblahblah Mike Sellers celebrates the NFL's inability to detect HGH
The Ravens, on the other hand, cannot score. McNair and Boller are virtually equal at this point, and that is not a good thing. McGahee allows them to move the ball very well down the field, but he can't punch it in inside the 20, because opposing defenses know he's the only threat. The defense is still very good, but susceptible at the corners. That's not good when you're mainly kicking field goals. Throw in a couple turnovers, and they're buried. Injuries, too, are crushing the Ravens. At one point, the Ravens offense featured FIVE rookies: OT Jared Gaither, LG Ben Grubbs, RT Marshall Yanda, WR Yamon Figurs and FB LeRon McClain. Add in new addition Willis McGahee and backups C Chris Chester and TE Quinn Sypniewski, and you might not be surprised to see them struggle. Ed Reed may lead the team in touchdowns at the end of the year if they can't find a way to gel, and soon.