Friday, December 21, 2012

AP Athlete of the Year

The Associated Press released their Athlete of the Year and the winner was Michael Phelps. Anyone who knows me knows I have been around the sport of swimming for most of my life and love watching it. With that said, naming Phelps the Athlete of the Year is a mistake.

This is a mistake for two reasons. Reading articles about Phelps winning this award, everyone is talking about his career. Winning 22 Olympic medals, 18 of those being gold is a ridiculous. With that said, this is the, "Athlete of the Year". Not the Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2012 in London, Phelps won six medals, four being gold. Still a great performance but not worthy of the award. Especially since two of the golds won were part of a relay.

The man who should have been given this honor would have been the first non-American since 1987 when Ben Johnson of Canada won it. That man is Lionel Messi of Argentina who plays for FC Barcelona.

Messi broke a 40 year old record this past year, scoring 90 goals in a calender year playing for Barcelona and Argentina. The previous record was held by West German, Gerd Muller when he scored 85 goals.

Playing in the Spanish La Liga, Messi netted 25 goals in only 16 games, helping Barca to 15 wins.

Messi was named the best footballer the past three years by FIFA. He is also one of three finalist this year and is on the odds on favorite to win his fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Can't spell overrated with T,E & O

Winning the Heisman Trophy is once in a lifetime moment (twice for Archie Griffin) but even being named a finalist is special. This past year there was one player that was named a finalist and given more coverage than almost any other player in college football.
Notre Dame's Manti T'eo was treated like he was the greatest football player to ever play defense. I'm not here to argue that he isn't good or anything like that. I respect his game and think he is a damn good defender. However, I don't believe T'eo did enough to be named a finalist.

T'eo has some good numbers, I don't think too many will argue that. The only problem is his numbers aren't great for defender and that's what they need to be to win the Heisman Trophy. Below are four other players who put up stats similar to T'eo and didn't get the coverage he did.

Players who I decided to compare against T'eo were: Jadeveon Clowney, Jarvis Jones, CJ Mosley and Bjoern Werner. These three, like T'eo were named First Team All-Americans.

Stats that I looked at were: solo tackles, assisted tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, breakups, passes defended, hits on quarterbacks, forced fumbles and fumbles recovered. I then took these numbers and ranked the players, first place getting 5 points and last place getting 1 points.

Player Rankings:
Jarvis Jones: 40
Manti T'eo 37
CJ Mosley: 33
Bjoern Werner: 33
Jadeveon Clowney: 32

My point with these stats is the players are closely grouped but for some reason players not named T'eo haven't received the coverage he has. If a defender is going to be named a finalist, he should be head and shoulders above the competition. Instead he isn't even first and the others aren't too far behind him.

Manti T'eo, Notre Dame LB

  • Solo Tackles: 52
  • Assisted Tackles: 51
  • Total Tackles: 103
  • Tackles for Loss: 5.5-19 yds
  • Sacks: 1.5-13yds
  • Interceptions: 7-35 yds
  • Breakups: 4
  • Passes Defended 11
  • Hits on QB: 4
  • Forced Fumbles: 0
  • Fumbles Recovered: 2-8 yds

Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina DE

  • Solo Tackles: 37
  • Assisted Tackles: 13
  • Total Tackles: 50
  • Tackles for Loss: 21.5-102
  • Sacks: 13-73
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Breakups: 2
  • Passes Defended: NA
  • Hits on QB: 5
  • Forced Fumbles: 2
  • Fumbles Recovered: 0

Jarvis Jones, Georgia LB
  • Solo Tackles: 47
  • Assisted Tackles: 30
  • Total Tackles: 77
  • Tackles for Loss: 22.5-117
  • Sacks: 12.5-88
  • Interceptions: 1-21
  • Breakups: 2
  • Passes Defended: NA
  • Hits on QB: 33
  • Forced Fumbles: 7
  • Fumbles Recovered: 2-0

CJ Mosley, Alabama LB
  • Solo Tackles: 38
  • Assisted Tackles: 61
  • Total Tackles: 99
  • Tackles for Loss: 7-46
  • Sacks: 4-34
  • Interceptions: 2-16
  • Breakups: 2
  • Passes Defended: 4
  • Hits on QB: 3
  • Forced Fumbles: 1
  • Fumbles Recovered: 1-0

Bjoern Werner, Florida State DE
  • Solo Tackles: 28
  • Assisted Tackles 12
  • Total Tackles: 40
  • Tackles for Loss: 18-134
  • Sacks: 13-117
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Breakups: 7
  • Passes Defended: 7
  • Hits on QB: 5
  • Forced Fumbles: 1
  • Fumbles Recovered: 1-9

Other reasons that some T'eo supporters used to say why he deserved the Heisman was his leadership, coming back for his senior season and getting Notre Dame back to where they are. All three are dumb reasons in my opinion.

All of these players are leaders for their team. Also, if you are going to use leader for your team for reason for winning the Heisman Trophy then send it to The Ohio State University. Nobody was more important to his team than Braxton Miller. I've heard some say T'eo being on the field is worth a few victories. I don't know how accurate this is because ND has some good players on defense that could have carried the weight.

Returning for your season is flat out dumb. That's like saying a freshman shouldn't win it because they will have more years to win it. Returning says something about his character but at no point should that count.

Helping Notre Dame become a contender is a slap in the face of player and coaches on the team now and players in the past. Even if this is true, at no point should this be a reason for winning the Heisman. You are punishing players like Jones Mosley because they are on a team that hasn't sucked over the past decade or so.

**All stats for players were taken from their schools website**

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Most Important Players in the NFC

I have started to go team by team and stating who is the most important player for each team. Who is the player each team can't survive if he is on the sideline? I decided this list would not include quarterbacks. Everyone knows without a quarterback its hard to win but the list with be mostly field by quarterbacks.
The AFC is complete and now it's time for the NFC.

NFC South

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ronde Barber
    • Ronde Barber like Ed Reed gets some bonus points for their level of play over so many years. Barber has been in the league for 16 years and is still a force.
    • All Barber does is fill up the stat sheet. His numbers read: 77 tackles, 1 sack, 7 tackles for loss, 12 passes defended, 4 interceptions for 160 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 forced fumble. Barber gets his nose in almost every play.
    • Barber also brings Tampa Bay a leader on the field that knows just about as much as a person can about the opposing teams. Barber entered the league in 1997 and only played in 1 game. The following year he started every regular season game and hasn't missed a start since. Add those 14 seasons with the 13 games this year and Barber has played in 237 consecutive games. 
  • New Orleans Saints: Jimmy Graham
    • Having an athletic tight end like Graham allows offenses to stretch the field and open up the playbook. Graham's numbers are down from last year but he is still dangerous.
    • Graham barely played any college football and has taken the NFL by storm.
    • He has been targeted 99 times with 64 receptions for 710 yards and 8 touchdowns. If he is able to get in the end zone 2 more times he will have back-to-back seasons with 10 or more touchdowns.
    • In 3 short years he has accumulated 194 receptions, 2,376 yards and 24 touchdowns. According to the Saints' website, the 24 touchdowns is the most by a tight end in the NFL since 2010.
    • Graham may not have the speed of receivers but if necessary, Drew Brees can throw it to him and have faith that it will be caught or incomplete.
    • Like I stated above, Graham is having a "down" season by last year's standards but don't think he will allow this to be the norm. Graham has been at the absolute bottom and he will never settle for okay.
  • Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly
    • I haven't had a rookie on this list...until now. Luke Kuechly is a dominate player in only his first year in the NFL.
    • Kuechly has 79 solo tackles, 130 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4 passes defended, 1 interception and recovered 3 fumbles. His 130 tackles not only is best on the Panters but also leads the league.
    • Kuechly was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week last week for his performance against the Falcons.
    • Kuechly has also made people forget the Panthers had one of their best players go down with an injury. The Panthers lost Jon Beason and Kuechly moved over to his spot with a seamless transistion.
  • Atlanta Falcons: William Moore
    • This one was a hard one but not like it was for the Chargers are one of the bad teams. This was because they are good and have a ton of weapons. I went with Moore because of his play and the need for defense with the Falcons. Atlanta can score but if they can't stop anyone they won't go far.
    • Moore is second on the team in tackles (75), passes defended (8) and interceptions (4). Moore's 75 tackles is a career best and his 8 passes defended and 4 interceptions is one back from his career best in those respective categories. 
    • Moore has also forced 2 fumbles, recovered 1 and 4 tackles for loss.
    • Moore missed last week's game against Carolina and they could have used him. Cam Newton threw for 287 yards and rushed 116. Moore is good stopping the run and the pass. If he would have been playing Newton's numbers may have been good but not as great.

NFC West

  • Seattle Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch
    • Marshawn Lynch came over to Seattle during the season in 2010, being traded from Buffalo. In 12 games he only rushed for 573 yards but has since made the trade worth it for Seattle.
    • Lynch has rushed for 1,266 yards this year and has reached the 1,000 mark for the second consecutive year. Lynch is second in the league in rushing this year with Adrian Peterson being the only person ahead of him.
    • One thing that makes Lynch so good is his determination to not go down. Coaches always tell their players to keep moving their legs and Lynch is the perfect example. At the very least he falls forward
    • According to, Lynch is 4th in the league with 762 yards after contact.
    • Lynch has the chance to go down as one of the best running backs in Seattle Seahawk's history with the pace he is on.
  • Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson
    • Patrick Peterson entered the NFL with high expectations and so far he has matched them. He has also become one of the most electric players in the league and is one play away from changing a game.
    • In 2011 Peterson had 64 tackles, 1 sacks, 2 interceptions and 13 passes defended. This year he has 40 tackles, 6 interceptions and 12 passes defended. Matching last year's total may not be done but that isn't all Peterson's fault.
    • Another stat not in Peterson's favor this year compared to last year is punt returns. Last year he had 4 punt returns, with one winning the game for the Cardinals. So far this year Peterson has had almost the same amount of punt returns but has yet to house one. Peterson hasn't reached paydirt yet but is still a threat every time he is back to return a punt.
    • While Arizona is bad of late the pass defense has still shown up. They are ranked 5th in the league, allowing 197 yards a game.
    • What kind of impact did Peterson have after only one year? He was ranked as the 55th best player in the NFL on
  • San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis
    • The 49ers are one of the best defenses in the league. They are 2nd in both passing and running, allowing 184 yards through the air and 90 yards on the ground.
    • The defense has stars all over the field but Willis is the heart and soul of this team.
    • Willis is one tackle away from reaching the century mark for the 5th time in his career. Last year was the only season he didn't reach 100 tackles but he only played in 13 games.
    • After last year's season, Willis was ranked as the 10th best player in the NFL.
    • What makes him so great is his work ethic. He has been through so much in his life, that failure won't happen in the NFL.
    • Like others on this list, what makes Willis so dominate is the combination of speed and power.
  • St. Louis Rams: James Laurinaitis
    • James Laurinaitis plays at two levels, fast and faster. He is a high motor player who doesn't take a play off and his numbers back it up.
    • Laurinaitis already has 119 tackles on the year and has a chance to beat last year's total of 142. He has been in the league for 4 years and every year he has had 114 tackles or more.
    • His play in the first three season earned him a sweet payday with the Rams. In September he signed a contract 5-year contract worth more than $40 million. The Rams investing this much in Laurinaitis is also due to him not missing a game. In his 4th season, he hasn't missed a game.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews
    • The Packers have found out this year how important Matthews is to the teams overall success. When Matthews is the in the game, offenses have to make sure they know where he is. 
    • Since Matthews has been out, Green Bay has only 7 sacks in 4 games. The bulk of the sack came in the first game Matthews missed against Detroit. The team got to Matthew Stafford 5 times, since then they only have 2 sacks.
    • Matthews played in 9 games this year and looked to be rebounding from last year's performance. In only 9 games Matthews already outdid 2010's numbers, sacking the quarterback 9 times. 
    • There are many times were Matthews puts pressure on the quarterback but doesn't get the sack. Even if he doesn't get to the quarterback is allows others a better chance to beat their man.
    • He is also able to get from sideline to sideline and make plays in coverage. If building a linebacker, Matthews might be the mold.
  • Detroit Lions: Calvin Johnson
    • Finally the non-stop drafting of wide receivers paid off for Matt Millen, to bad he is no longer there. Millen his the jackpot drafting Johnson who is know one of the best if not the best receiver in the game.
    • Johnson is trying to lead the country in receiving yards in back-to-back seasons. He has 1,546 yards on the season, which is more than 200 yards than second place. Last year he had the Johnson had 1,681 yards receiving, putting him in 7th on the all-time single season receiving yards list.
    • Brandon Marshall is the only receiver with more receptions and Reggie Wayne is the only person targeted more than Johnson.
    • On Johnson's next reception, it will break his previous career best. He will likely pass his previous best in reception yards also.
    • Johnson has all the tools needed to be a great player in the NFL. His speed and size also helps out Matthew Stafford. If Stafford is looking to get rid of the ball before getting sacked he can just throw it up to Johnson. Johnson has the ability to go up and get it or at the very least make sure it's not intercepted.
    • Johnson is also reliable, only missing 4 games in his career.
  • Chicago Bears: Brandon Marshall
    • Brandon Marshall has given the Bears something they haven't had in a long time. They finally have a receiver who is a threat. Marshall has 1,342 yards receiving this year, the first time the Bears have had this in a long time.
    • The last 1,000 yard receiver was in 2002 by Marty Booker who had 1,189 yards.
    • Marshall has set a single season career high this year in receiving yards and needs only 4 receptions to break that personal record.
    • Marshall also helps out the running game. In past years the Bears haven't had a receiver to stretch the field and keep defenses honest. With Marshall on the field defenses can't pack it in and not worry about the pass.
  • Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson
    • This may have been the easiest player to pick so far. Peterson tore his ACL less than a year ago and all he has done is set the league on fire. He has a chance to win Comeback Player of the Year and MVP.
    • If Peterson wins both awards it would be only the 3rd time since 1972 this happened. The other two times were in 1981 with Ken Anderson and 2010 with Michael Vick.
    • Peterson is running away with the league rushing title this year with 1,600 yards. Second in the league is Marshawn Lynch with 1,266 yards.
    • What makes Peterson so great is the combination of speed and power. 

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys: Demarcus Ware
    • The Cowboys have had plays come and go but there has been one player that shows up every week. Ware has been a dominating force from day one with the Cowboys. He has started every game since he was drafted by the Cowboys.
    • Where he shines the most is getting to the quarterback and has joined a short list this year.
    • Ware's numbers have been down this season but he has also playing on a defense who has faced numerous injuries
    • Ware was drafted by the Cowboys in 2005 and since then, there hasn't been a player with more sacks than Ware. The only season he has had less than 10 sacks was in his rookie season. Getting to the quarterback as often as Ware does has allowed him to force turnovers also. He has had at least 2 forced fumbles in every season. 
    • Ware has the speed to go after the quarterback but he has been known to drop back in coverage too. This allows the defense to draw up different plays. 
    • Durability is what also makes Ware so valuable for the Cowboys. Being a Cowboys fan I hope I don't jinx him but Ware has played hasn't missed a regular season game in his career.
    • Ware is also a 6-time Pro Bowler and 4-time First Team All-Pro
  • New York Giants: Victor Cruz
    • Cruz is only in his second year in the NFL but he has set the league on fire. The Giants are 9th in the league in passing and a lot of this is thanks to Cruz.
    • Cruz's role is to take the top off the defense and he does a good job at it.
    • Against the Saints, Cruz reached the 1,000 yards receiving mark for the second straight year. Last year he had 1,536 yards and has an outside chance to match it this year. 
    • Cruz will also beat his numbers from last year in targets, receptions and touchdowns. Last year he had 82 receptions, 131 targets and 9 touchdowns. In 13 games this year, Cruz has 76 receptions, 127 targets and 9 touchdowns.
  • Washington Redskins: Pierre Garcon
    • The Redskins are having a good year so far and it is being led by RG3 and Alfred Morris, both rookies. While they are putting up solid numbers, Garcon is the the glue for this team.
    • Garcon has only played in 7 games this year but the Redskins are 6-1 when he plays.
    • Garcon is in his first year with the Redskins like RG3 but they have the chemistry of seasoned vets. Garcon has been targeted 41 times in only 7 games, with 28 receptions. Santana Moss who has played in every game this year has only had the ball thrown to him 48 times.
    • Moss is tied for the league on the team with 8 receptions for more than 20 yards. He also leads the team in yards after contact.
  • Philadelphia Eagles: DeMeco Ryans
    • The Eagles have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball but some are injured and others haven't shown up. Ryans is one of the few that has shown up and is leading the team. The Eagles took a risk and traded after last year it has paid off.
    • In 2010 he only played 6 games because of an injury. Last year he played in every game for the  Texans but only had 64 total tackles. This season Ryans has 98 tackles and looks to be getting back to his old self. In his first 4 seasons in the NFL he had at least 112 tackles each season.
    • Ryans is also looking to set two records under the Andy Reid era. He is on pace to have the most solo tackles and tackles for loss since Andy Reid has been the Eagles' head coach (1999-present). Currently Ryans is sitting with 13 tackles for loss.

List of players and positions in both AFC and NFC
RB: (5) Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, CJ Spiller, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch
WR: (6) Reggie Wayne, AJ Gree, Pierre Garcon, Victor Cruz, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson
TE: (1) Jimmy Graham
OL: (2) Joe Thomas, Nick Mangold
DL: (2) JJ Watt, Vince Wilfork,
LB: (9) Von Miller, Derrick Johnson, Karlos Dansby, DeMeco Ryans, Demarcus Ware, Clay Matthews, James Laurinaitis, Patrick Willis, Luke Kuechly
CB: (1) Patrick Peterson
S: (5) Eric Weddle, Ryan Clark, Ed Reed, William Moore, Ronde Barber
K: (1) Sebastion Janikowski

Special Teams: 1

*All stats without a link attached with it were acquired from and*

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is Columbus doing?

After Ohio State went 12-0, Mayor Michael Coleman said they were going to rename a road in Columbus, "12-0 Row". I love what they did but I have one question for the people of Columbus. What happened to, "Champions Lane".
After the 2002 National Championship, OSU had a Lane Avenue renamed to honor them.
Is this the only road that can be renamed? 12-0 is great but 14-0 and a National Championship is even better.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lifeline for NFL teams

I have started to go team by team and stating who is the most important player for each team. Who is the player each team can't survive if he is on the sideline? I decided this list would not include quarterbacks. Everyone knows without a quarterback its hard to win but the list with be mostly field by quarterbacks.

AFC South

  • Houston Texas: JJ Watt
    • If you starting a defense Watt is at the top of the list of players you would want. In only his second year he has turned into a player offenses have to scheme against.
    • There isn't a better player in the league at knocking down passes than Watt. He is 6th in the league with 16 passes deflected and the five ahead of him are all defensive backs. The next player not a defensive back is Lance Briggs ranked 42nd with 8 passes deflected. Last year Watt ended the season with 19.
    • When teams are practicing for Houston the opposing team will have their quarterback practice by throwing over broom sticks or some object to replicate Watt's arms.
    • Watt is second in the NFL with 15.5 sacks and he is right behind the leader who has 17.5 sacks.
    • Watt has been shining this year without two defensive studs who went elsewhere. Mario Williams left for the Bills and DeMeco Ryans is playing for the Eagles. Watt has also kept the defense together after losing Brian Cushing who went down with a torn ACL. He is the focus of offenses and sees double teams every week and is still dominating games.
  • Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Wayne
    • Andrew Luck has had instant success in the NFL but he owes a big thank you to Reggie Wayne. He was a free agent last year and had the chance to leave. He decided to stay, big influence was Chuck Pagano and Luck has taken advantage of him.
    • No other receiver has been targeted more than Wayne this season with 162 throws..Wayne is on pace to set a career record for targets, needing 17 to tie his career best. In 2010 he had 111 and had more than 100 two other times.
    • Wayne is also third in the league in receptions and yards, with 94 receptions and 1,220 yards. The two players ahead of him in both categories are Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall.
    • Wayne is on track to play another season without missing a game. The only time he didn't play in every regular  season game was his rookie season in 2001.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew
    • The Jaguars have been bad this year but if they had MJD they would probably have a few more wins. Since MJD has been out, the Jags have lost 3 games by less than a touchdown
    • With the weapons the Jags have on the outside a solid running back could do wonders. Everyone knows what MJD can do if healthy and when he isn't worried about his contract.
    • This will be the first time in the last 3 seasons where MJD won't run for at least 1,000 yards. 
    • The demand for one running back to carry the rock has dropped but the Jags have shown they need MJD. They have given other running backs the ball with MJD being out and none of them have shown up.
  • Tennessee Titans: Chris Johnson
    • Johnson being the most important for the Titans is similar to MJD for the Jags. The Titans aren't a good team right now but they are even worse when Johnson doesn't show up.
    • Johnson can be Jekyll and Hyde at times but is still a good running back. For the 5th consecutive year he has rushed for more than 1,000 yards.
    • Johnson is also putting up these numbers without a solid quarterback. He has been in the league for 5 years and in 4 of those years a different quarterback has led the team in passing. The only quarterback to lead the team in passing for two years is Kerry Collins.

AFC West

  • Denver Broncos: Von Miller
    • What Peyton Manning is for the Broncos on offense, Miller is for the defense. 
    • In his first two seasons Miller has 27.5 sacks and has three more games left in this season. Currently he is third in the league with 16 sacks, which is only 1.5 sacks behind first place.
    • Miller also joined a selective group this year. Miller is only the 4th player to have double-digit sacks in their first two seasons. The other three are Reggie White, Dwight Freeney and Javon Kearse.
    • In his rookie season Miller forced 2 fumbles and already this year he has forced 6.
    • Miller is the leader of the defense and is being mentioned for Defensive Player of the Year. The defense goes as Miller goes.
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Derrick Johnson
    • Finding the most important player on a bad team isn't easy. I picked Johnson because even in a bad season his numbers are still there.
    • Johnson enters week 14 with 97 tackles and unless something crazy happens he will reach the century mark. This will be his third consecutive year doing so. In the previous two seasons he has finished with 121 and 131 tackles.
    • In a game earlier this year against the Chargers, San Diego was held to 50 yards rushing late in the game. Then Johnson leaves the game and the Chargers gain 55 yards on 11 runs.
  • Oakland Raiders: Sebastian Janikowski
    • On a team that is 3-10, I can only imagine how little scoring the Raiders would do without Janikowski. The best word to describe him is clutch
    • He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 2000 draft. Since then he has only missed 4 regular season games.
    • In his 13 year career, he has only missed 3 extra points.
    • Inside the 40-yard line Janikowski has only missed 12 field goals in his career.
    • There are only two other kickers (Phil Dawson & Jason Hanson) who have been in the league longer than Janikowski with only one team.
  • San Diego Chargers: Eric Weddle
    • Take away Weddle's rookie season, the least amount of tackles in a season is 82. In 2008 he finished the season with 127 tackles which is his career high.
    • He entered the league in 2007 and has only missed 4 games.
    • On a team that is as bad as the Chargers it is hard to shine individually. It's even harder at the position that Weddle plays at.
    • Every year Weddle has recorded at least one interception and in 2011 he finished tied for first in the league with 7.

AFC North

  • Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas
    • Take away the quarterback position there may not be a more important position other than the left tackle. He protects the quarterbacks blind side if said quarterback is right-handed. 
    • Thomas entered the league in 2007 and hasn't missed a start. According to The News-Herald and Pro Football Focus, Thomas has a 97.8 pass blocking efficiency rating.
    • Thomas has only given up 2 sacks this season, 8 hurries and 2 hits.
    • With Thomas' ability he doesn't need help on whoever is across from him, typically the opponents best defensive linemen. 
    • Thomas has been selected to the Pro-Bowl 5 times and first team All-Pro 3 times.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Clark
    • I know what the first thought might be. What about Troy Polamalu? This season Polamalu has played in only three games, yet the Steelers have the pass defense. They have only allowed 166 yards through the air and are ranked 5th against the run. Polamalu is one of the best but they are surviving without him.
    • In the 17 games the Steelers played last year, they gave up the most passing yards in the one game Clark didn't play in. Clark has Sickle Cell Anemia and is unable to play at high altitude. When they went to Denver for their playoff game last year Clark didn't dress. The Steelers gave up 316 yards through the air, which is the most in the past two seasons. The Steelers opened up this year with another game at Denver, again Clark didn't play. This time the defense gave up 240 yards through the air which is the second most this season.
    • Since 2008, Clark's numbers have improved every season. In 2008 he finished with 87 tackles, the next years he has had 89,90 and 100. Currently he has 80 tackles in only 11 games played.
    • Clark is also one interception and pass deflected from matching his previous career high in both categories.
  • Baltimore Ravens: Ed Reed
    • Ed Reed is a freak, that is the best way to describe him. He was drafted in 2002 by the Ravens and neither the franchise or Reed has looked back. There have been 172 regular season games since Reed entered the league and he has played in 256 of those games. He has gone to the Pro-Bowl 8 times and been named All-Pro 5 times. As he ages some claim he is losing a step and he might be but it is hard to notice.
    • Reed gives the Ravens the ability to do a lot of things other teams can't do on defense. A lot of it is pre-snap movement. He has the skills to show blitz and at the snap get back to his position. His speed allows him to move around but it is also because of the studying he does. Many of times Reed knows what play the opposing team is running.
    • The cliche goes, "defensive backs play defense because they can't catch." This isn't the case for Reed. His ability to find the ball is second to none in the league. Reed is 10th all-time in career interceptions with 61 and has the record for return yards from an interception.
    • When he gets the ball don't think he is going down, odds are he will take it to the house. He ranks 5th all-time in non-offensive touchdowns with 13. He is also looking to pitch it if he is going to be tackled or have a teammate pitch it to him if they are going down.
    • With his speed and power offensive players have to know where Reed is at all times.
    • I will leave you with one more video of Reed. Not only is he the most important Raven but in my opinion he is the best safety to play the game.
  • Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green
    • Green is only in his second season but there hasn't been a learning curve for him.
    • In his first season he finished with 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and 7 touchdowns. In only 12 games Green has passed last season's stats. He has 76 receptions for 1,107 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is tied for first with touchdowns and is 6th in reception yards.
    • The next best receiver on the Bengals roster this year is Andew Hawkins who has 39 receptions for 441 yards.
    • Green has almost been targeted the 5th most of any receiver, with 126.
    • The franchise record for reception yards in a single season is also possible for Green. The current record is held by Chad Johnson, in 2007 he finished with 1,440 yards. Green needs to average 83.25 yards per game and he will tie that record.

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills: CJ Spiller
    • Looking at the Bills they are a team in the middle of the pack, 5-7 on the season. Quarterback play is shaky and the defense hasn't been what people believed it was going to be. The one stabilizing player is Spiller.
    • In rushing yards Spiller is 10th in the league with 907 yards but looking closer you will see how important he is. He has only had 137, Frank Gore who is 9th in rushing has 199 carries for 972 yards. Everyone else has more than 200 carries. Spiller has less carries because the Bills also have Fred Jackson. The stat to look at is yards per carry
    • Spiller is second in the league with 6.6 ypc. The only player ahead of him is RG3 with 6.8 ypc.
    • Spiller is also a dynamic player in the passing game for the Bills. He is 4th on the team in receptions and yards with 33 catches for 339 yards. This puts him in the top-10 among running backs catching the ball.
  • Miami Dolphins: Karlos Dansby
    • Dansby joined the Dolphins in 2010 and has been worth every penny.
    • Currently he has 93 tackles on the season. In his first season, playing 14 games he had 95 tackles and last year playing the entire season he has 103 tackles.
    • The Dolphins have lost players either by trade or free agency and Dansby's numbers haven't dropped. 
    • The year before Dansby joined the Dolphins, the defense gave up 114 yards on the ground. In 2010 that number dropped to 100 ypg. Last year the defense held opponents to only 95 ypg and currently they are holding opponents to 97 ypg.
  • New England Patriots: Vince Wilfork
    • The Patriots on offense is almost a plug and play team. Outside of Tom Brady, they just insert and keep winning. On defense there has been moments of greatness and other times they have been dismal. 
    • I don't think anyone is going to say Wilfork's stats are amazing but at his position he isn't going to fill up the stat sheet.
    • Wilfork joined the Patriots in 2004 and hasn't left, playing at least 13 games in every season. 
    • Wilfork weights a solid 325 and is still playing more than 86% of the snaps on defense. A player of his size typically doesn't see the field as often as Wilfork does. 
  • New York Jets: Nick Mangold
    • The Jets are bad and at times laughable on offense. This team over the years has been carried by the defense. Most people would state Darrelle Revis is the best player cornerback and most important player for the Jets. Except without Revis the passing defense is still 4th in the country. With Antonio Cromartie and LaRon Landry the Jets have been able to survive without their shutdown corner and Revis Island.
    • The player the Jets need the most is Mangold. If he was to leave the offense that is having trouble right now would be a mess.
    • The past three seasons Mangold has been voted All-Pro and the past four seasons he has gone to the Pro Bowl. In 2010 he became the highest paid center in the game. 
    • In his first five seasons with the Jets he didn't miss a game, last year he played in 14 of 16 games.
    • Before the start of the 2011 season, Mangold averaged one sack in ever 10 games.
*All stats without a link attached with it were acquired from and*

Friday, November 23, 2012

NBA Picks 11-23

Past few days haven't been good to me on my NBA picks.
Here are my picks for Friday night:

Cleveland @ Orlando -4.5
Atlanta -3.5 @ Charlotte
Toronto +2 @ Detroit
Oklahoma City -3 @ Boston
LA Clippers -2.5 @ Brooklyn
New York -4 @ Houston
San Antonio -4.5 @ Indiana
LA Lakers +4.5 @ Memphis
New Orleans +5.5 @ Phoenix
Golden State +6.5 @ Denver
Sacramento @ Utah -9
Minnesota @ Portland -1.5

Free Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea

Players getting suspended in college athletics is becoming an almost weekly thing. Sometimes its a lengthy investigation by the NCAA, other times it is quick. There are times they get the punishment right and sometimes wrong.

Lately it seems like the NCAA just picks out the punishment randomly. 

On November 6th Indiana University found themselves in the cross hairs of the NCAA. Tom Crean and the men's basketball team was notified freshman Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were suspended for nine games.

According to a USA Today story, this ended a 18 month investigation that started in May of 2011. Mark Adams, Indiana Elite AAU coach helped out both Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea finacially.

Adams runs a foundation that helps foreign student-athletes make the move to America. Jurkin is originally from  South Sudan and moved to North Carolina. Mosquera-Perea moved to North Carlina like Jurkins but came from Columbia .

Adams and the A-HOPE Foundation helped out both athletes but everything they did was legal. Adams was their coach and the A-HOPE is a non-profit foundation. For Mosquera-Perea, Adams was in the process of becoming his legal guardian. 

For most people, there isn't a violation of any kind. There were two kids that came to America and had some support. 

The NCAA however said a violation happened.

The reason being, Adams under NCAA rules is a booster at IU. The NCAA said he gave $185 from 1986-1992. In the same USA Today article mentioned above, the largest donation at one time was $30. IU hasn't received a donation from Adams since 1992.

Here comes the the dumbest part of the whole story. According to an Indy Star story, Adams didn't even donate the money, his wife did. She did this so she could get a bumper sticker, so everyone would know where she went to school

To add to an already laughable story, both players weren't even born when the money was donated.

Indiana was upfront with the NCAA and even payed a fine. The amount they paid was decided on a scale by the NCAA. IU even said Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea would pay a fine, again decided by a NCAA scale.

The Hoosiers have been appealing but the nine game suspension still stands.

At UCLA the Bruins were also facing issues with one of their freshman, Shabbaz Muhammad. Muhammad had travel and housing paid for on three unofficial visits to two different schools.

Days later the suspension was lifted and Muhammad was cleared to play. He paid $1,600 which is believed to be the how much he accepted.

Then a story comes out in the LA Times about a boyfriend of a NCAA investigator was rumored to be overheard talking. The person claims the boyfriend said his girlfriend (investigator) had been talking in August about how Muhammad would never play a game in college.

While Muhammad on the surface didn't accept as much as Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea is makes no since while they are sitting out.

It is clear to even someone who hates the Hoosiers (me) these two kids should be playing. IU has two kids who had some help as they moved to America. They didn't get paid for their services or even have things provided for them.

The NCAA has a bone to pick with IU, Tom Crean, Adams or somebody. I can't come up with a reason why both of these players are still suspended or even should have in the first place.

Muhammad on the other hand should have been give a few games suspension. It was clear he received benefits and that is against the rules. If all he got was $1,600 then suspend for 5-10 games and then clear him.

The NCAA is understaffed as it is, wasting their time on investigations like IU is only going to make things harder. Do yourself a favor NCAA, clear Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea and look into real things.

*Information gathered from Indy Star, LA Times, ESPN, USA Today, and*