Friday, October 28, 2011

Worth Every Loss

The NFL is a quarterback driven league, no profound statement there. With the exceptions of Tom Brady in New England and Drew Brees in New Orleans, the top five quarterbacks in this league are former first round draft selections. Aaron Rodgers (24th overall), Philip Rivers (4th overall), Ben Roethlisberger (11th overall), Peyton Manning (1st overall), and Michael Vick (1st overall). Yes, there are the outliers; see Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell. For the most part however, an NFL team finds their franchise signal caller in the first round. Why am I writing this? Because, current Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck is bar none going to be a star in the NFL. Worth all the praise, worth all the hype, he's got professional football scouts on both coasts licking their proverbial chops for the opportunity to be on their sideline come next fall. At 6'4", 235 lbs., he's got all the size. With over sixty touchdowns against just fifteen interceptions, he's got the accuracy. With twenty-seven wins to just five losses in three years in Palo Alto, he can win. The only question remaining is, who needs him most?

The Miami Dolphins

Obviously, the 'Fins have got to be the first team in line for Luck. An 0-6 record this season, a head coach in the midst of his third straight losing season, and a quarterback Chad Henne, out for the season with shoulder surgery. The Dolphins have been running on empty at the quarterback position since the retirement of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. Only Jay Fiedler and Chad Pennington have made it sixteen games without injury as the Dolphins have turned to everyone from Daunte Culpepper to Cleo Lemon to fill their void since 1999. In 2005, the Dolphins selected Auburn running back Ronnie Brown #2 overall with future Super Bowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the board and journeyman quarterback Gus Frerotte getting fifteen starts later that season. In 2008, the Dolphins selected Michigan tackle Jake Long #1 overall with future Falcons franchise field general Matt Ryan on the board. Now is the time for change, with a new head coaching staff on board next season, Luck would be the perfect guy to headline a 'new look' Miami Dolphins.

The St. Louis Rams

It's only his third season in St. Louis, but Steve Spagnuolo should be taking bigger strides as a head coach rather than jumping out 0-6. A year which started out with the Rams being contenders in the NFC West has quickly turned sour. In his second season, quarterback Sam Bradford has been asked to throw the ball between 30-46 times in each of his five starts before suffering an ankle injury. If the Rams continue to struggle, and Bradford continues to take his time returning from injury, would anyone be shocked to see St. Louis make a move on Spagnuolo at seasons end? Eagles backup Kevin Kolb was worth a second-round pick and a starting corner back this past off season. In recent weeks we saw the Oakland Raiders send possibly two first-round selections to Cincinnati in exchange for a quarterback who was 85% retired. What would Bradford cost? If Seattle, Cleveland, or possibly Denver became interested in Bradford, could St. Louis under a new regime see themselves land a talent like Luck and potentially future draft picks to improve their offense and defense? The Rams have scored the fewest amount of points in the league (56) through six weeks, despite adding offensive wunderkinds Josh McDaniels. As good as things felt in St. Louis last season, improving to 7-9 from 1-15 in 2009, they've drastically turned on the Rams and Andrew Luck could be the way out.

The Indianapolis Colts

As previously mentioned, what have the Dolphins done since Marino retired? How about the 49ers since Young and Montana? The Broncos since Elway? This is the Colts opportunity forgo any semblance of the mediocrity these other teams have mired in for the past decade plus. I agree with most people, Andrew Luck most likely could jump in from day one and be effective, but he won't do that in Indianapolis, at least not for a year. Forget about what an intelligent kid like Luck could learn from their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, focus on what an opportunity for Indianapolis this could be. Here is a kid who went back to college, after his coach went to the next level, why? To win a championship at that level. Haven't you seen that same drive in Manning? Peyton isn't going to say a word if the Colts select Luck, you don't think one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game is secure enough to understand the business side of this? If you're Colts owner Jim Irsay, you've had to put in some calls to your scouting department to determine if it was worth it. In Manning's absence the Colts have gone an mind numbing 0-7, they've been the laughing stock of the league, and truth be told, that has got to be a taste of things to come. If Irsay is thinking longterm with this thing, he'd take Luck and never look back.

As these three teams continue to fall and lose week after week, there is in fact a silver lining awaiting them.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Savior; In South Florida

Why the outrage? Why the venom? For newly anointed Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, he's done nothing but fight an uphill battle since draft night 2010, but why?

The Broncos 1st round selection that night (25th overall), was ridiculed from that moment on. The driving force behind the pick in the spring of 2010 was former head coach Josh McDaniels. The brash, young, and outspoken former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, McDaniels had a belief that Tebow's talents could translate to the next level. A 2x-NCAA BCS National Championship quarterback, a Heisman Trophy winner, and a player more driven than nearly anyone we've ever seen play the collegiate position, somehow that wasn't enough for him to earn the respect of the NFL viewing public. However, was it Tebow's fault that McDaniels felt that strongly about him? Was it Tebow's doing that made the Broncos acquire the likes of Brady Quinn for future Cleveland Browns 1,100 yard rusher and Madden cover boy, running back Peyton Hillis? Was it Tebow's doing that the Browns went out and acquired both he and Quinn when they had veteran signal caller Kyle Orton already under center? After the 2010 season, which saw the Broncos finish 4-12, McDaniels was out. Leaving a mess behind him, a mess which included Tebow. Without an offensive mind like McDaniels on his sideline, the young quarterback would now be under the direction of former Carolina Panthers coach Jon Fox and a man who values defense above all.

About John Fox, the man does not trust Tim Tebow, and that is going to take time. We laugh at how poorly the Tebow led offense played for the first 55 minutes in Sunday's win against Miami, but that isn't all on Tebow. Fox rarely let Tebow play and do what he does best, create. Furthermore, trading Tebow's potential best target, receiver Brandon Lloyd, just days before Tebow starts his first game of the season, that isn't exactly a show of confidence. Since Tebow has gone under center, at the clamoring of the Broncos fans I'll add, Fox has done nothing but use caution when discussing Tebow. After his win on Sunday, Fox replied "I'm sure he'd say the same, but I liked the last five minutes much more than first fifty-five," and then "Tim's a work in progress, we've said that from the beginning." Correct me if I'm wrong, but when Fox was in Carolina did he ever use such bland, holding back lines to discuss the likes of Jake Delhomme? A player who tossed 78-interceptions during his years in Carolina, which an average of 13 INT's per season. I'm not so sure John Fox should have gotten a second chance so quickly, and I don't believe he's the man to determine the best quarterback on a roster. It would seem to me that the organization's philosophy is, and dictated by Fox to the media, we can't back Tebow just yet, otherwise there is no 'get out of jail free' card if they end up with the number one overall pick and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is looking them right in the face. John Fox isn't doing a great job hiding that poker face.

So, that being said . . .give the kid a break! If he's going to fail, let him fail. If he's going to win, let him go out and win for you. For a franchise that has been superstar starved since Elway and Terrell Davis, and don't get me started on Cutler and Marshall, why are they so resistant to Tebow? There are franchises out there who are moving every part of their franchise to help someone succeed. The Chargers got rid of Drew Brees when they saw something in Phil Rivers. The Eagles cleared out their cabinet in two years to back Vick. If you don't like those, look at what the 49ers are doing, how many chances has Alex Smith gotten? My parting words to the Broncos, build on the Von Miller draft, play defense, and let Tebow go out and win!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Too High On Baton Rouge!

We're getting after it with college football this week, for a new Episode of The RightNow Podcast, follow that link! LSU gets high, South Carolina suffers a major blow, Wisconsin gets their first road test, looking to prove something special, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are not sneaking up on anyone!

Get After It!

It's possible that I was too high on the 'Bayou Bengals, it's possible. No one loves Les Miles and LSU more than I do . . .okay, so I'm sure that there are 100,000 strong that pack Louisiana State's Tiger Stadium every Saturday that are bigger fans of Miles than I, either way I enjoy watching LSU play. That being said, I find it very hard to believe a team with multiple off-the-field issues is going to remain untouched in college football's toughest conference. With Tyrann Mathieu, LSU's elite defensive back, and Spencer Ware, their leading rusher, both sidelined due to an off-the-field issue, I think I'm out on LSU. I know they're just playing the 20th ranked AUBURN TIGERS this weekend, and I'm aware that they headlined the first BCS Rankings out earlier this week, but I've had their November 5th date with the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa circled on my calender for eight weeks now. It is far to close to that date for the Tigers to be sorting out discipline. Roll Tide.

I'd really be depressed if I was Steve Spurrier, I'm talking like remarkably depressed. It was one thing when Spurrier's hand was forced and beleaguered quarterback Stephen Garcia was dismissed earlier this month, but to lose Heisman candidate and Gamecocks star running back Marcus Lattimore for the remainder of the season? Well, that's just harsh. The #14 ranked Gamecocks will stumble into an off week before hitting the road to Knoxville and Fayetteville. As high as we were on South Carolina out of the gate, recent events have turned on things in Columbia, S.C. and doesn't look good.

You've yet to see Wisconsin play outside of Camp Randall, right? So, why shouldn't undefeated Oklahoma State and undefeated Boise pull down top five bids in week one of the BCS Rankings over the Badgers? National Championship bids are not won without playing in-conference on the road, and that is just what Wisconsin is going to do in the next two weeks. This week in East Lansing, Russell Wilson and his Wisconsin Badgers are going to run head first into Michigan State coming off their biggest win to date, a 28-14 victory over Michigan. Next week, the Badgers head to Columbus, Ohio and meet the Buckeyes who just dropped Illinois in Champaign. We'll talk about trumping Boise and Oklahoma State once that road test is over.

Speaking about Oklahoma State, How 'Bout Them Cowboys?!? Now I don't know what to think of Mike Gundy & Co. right now. I love watching them play and I'm worried that if I don't get in front of a television by 12:30 tomorrow, the Cowboys will have already run Mizzou off their own field after a noon kickoff. With quarterback Brandon Weeden in the midst of a terrific season, completing 72% of his passes and putting up big game after big game, Oklahoma State has arrived. With wins in College Station and Austin, the Cowboys have shown they can go on the road and win. They've displayed a dynamic passing game, a solid rushing attack, and most importantly a defense that steps up in huge situations. Our question on Oklahoma State remains the same, LSU, Oklahoma, and Alabama have been to the top of the mountain before, do Gundy, Weeden, and All-American receiver Justin Blackmon know what to do when they're the favorites?

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

BCS Rollout

On the eve of the release of the first BCS Standings, what an exciting Saturday in college pigskin we've had. You'll find out who lands where on Sunday evening, but let's recap today . . .

Let's Get After It!

Say what you will about the ACC and the (8)Clemson Tigers, but have you seen their freshman receiver Sammy Watkins? On Saturday night in College Park with the Tigers down by 18 to the Maryland Terrapins, it was going to take a special player to keep them from the brink yet again. That player was Sammy Watkins. The first-year standout from Fort Meyers, FL hauled in eight passes from quarterback Tajh Boyd en route to a night in which he recorded over 345 total yards. With two touchdown catches and another returned kick for a touchdown, it was Watkins who would spark the Tigers night with an epic comeback victory. Clemson improves to 7-0 with three of their final five on the road. From what took place in Maryland on Saturday, these are not the same Tigers.

The pride played well, and continued their dominance. Between (1)LSU, (2)Alabama, and (3)Oklahoma, the Associated Press top three, there was no change in their play this Saturday. The 'Bayou Bengals churned out another 30+ point victory beating Tennessee 38-7 on the road. Alabama handled their business in Oxford, Mississippi blowing the doors off Ole' Miss to the tune of a 52-7 victory on the back of running back Trent Richardson who chalked up 183 yards to go along with his four touchdowns. As for the Sooners, after entering the half with just a ten point lead over Big XII rival Kansas, they came out scoring twenty unanswered in the second half to notch their third straight victory of thirty points or more. While we know the Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet on November 5th, the BCS Rankings should show that these three programs control their own destiny. Win out and two of them will meet for the BCS National Championship.

They've got to continue, and hope for some help. Between (6)Oklahoma State, (4)Wisconsin, and (7)Stanford, they might not be able to get to the College Football Big Dance on their own. For Oklahoma State, we could make the argument that they have the best offense in the country, at least this side of Eugene anyway. With Texas looking to shutdown their electric passing game led by receiver Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys went to the ground and rushed for 140 yards in a 38-26 victory over the Longhorns. For OSU, it comes down to their final game of the season against Oklahoma, and even an in-state victory may not be enough to help them trump the Big 10 conference champion. Which brings us to Wisconsin and Russell Wilson. After using Indiana as a tune-up, a 59-7 whipping, the Badgers will lead their rough and tumble offense into a three week stretch against Michigan State in East Lansing, Ohio State in Columbus, and then back at home at Camp Randall against Purdue. Come out untouched, and they'll still have to wait for a Sooner breakdown to advance. With an Oklahoma loss, Wisconsin could be looking at a National Championship bid. And how about our PAC-12 darlings, the Cardinal, led by Heisman front runner, Stanford's Andrew Luck? Stanford is not benefiting on a week-to-week basis with the PAC-12 going out of conference and getting served up. However, after their blowout win in Pullman, WA last night Stanford has improved to 6-0 on the season with big games against Southern Cal, Oregon, and Notre Dame remaining. Again, Stanford is going to need some losses from a couple in front of them, both Oklahoma State and Wisconsin would have a better resume if they were to win out in my opinion.

(5) Boise State never gets dull. In their first appearance in The Mountain West, the Broncos asserted themselves very clearly. Truth be told, I love Boise State but they aren't playing for the same thing as everyone else. When it comes to Boise, they'll win out, they've got their signature win against Georgia on a neutral field, they'll post numerous routs, even that won't be enough. I hate to agree with Lou Holtz, but it matters who you play and till Boise agrees to join the Big East, or any other conference with an auto-bid and more than one tough test during the season, they don't deserve a shot at what Oklahoma, LSU, and 'Bama do. Sorry Kellen Moore. Beating Colorado State 63-13 is very nice, but it doesn't matter, not even a little bit.

Team Game Balls

I'm going to attempt to do this every week from here on out. Most media outlets, and yes that is what we are calling ourselves here at LynchyRightNow, give out helmet stickers, but we're big time.

1st Game Ball - Michigan State's defense. The Spartans held the Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson to just 9 of 24 passing. They came up big when they had to and played Michigan tougher than they had been played all season long. Sidenote: State's new-look uniforms are legit, love the gold helmets. Good look for a Michigan State program that is going to see themselves certified in this weeks BCS Rankings.

2nd Game Ball - Anyone else catch Oregon head coach Chip Kelly pop-off on Gameday yesterday? Insulted by the notion from The Worldwide Leader's Kirk Herbstreit, that he supplants running backs who can throw under center, Kelly proved himself last night against a very hungry and capable Arizona State program. Rolling into Autzen Stadium with more gusto than any team I've seen in recent years, the Sun Devils tried to take advantage of the Ducks when quarterback Darron Thomas went down. NOT SO FAST. Insert Bryan Bennett, the Ducks freshman quarterback from Encino, CA. Bennett stamped out sixty-five yards running the ball and put his signature on an Oregon 41-27 victory. They do it their way.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

G-E-A-U-X Bengals!

Can you hear that?!? It's the roar from Baton Rouge growing louder and louder as the 'Bayou Bengals rip through college football. With wins in Starkville, Morgantown, and a thirty-point beat down of the Gators this weekend, the Tigers are leaving zero doubt.

It started in Dallas, TX at the Cowboys Classic against a high-powered Oregon Ducks team returning back from a BCS National Championship Game appearance a season ago and returning their dynamic rushing attack of LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner. Four quarters into their 2011 campaign, defensive coordinator John Chavis and the Tigers defense had held the pair to just under three yards a carry while forcing four turnovers. Despite 21-year old senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson under investigation for an off-the-field incident, amongst other Tigers players, LSU wouldn't lose focus. A 40-27 win over Oregon was exactly what head coach Les Miles had hoped for in his teams opener. They brought speed, power, and a backfield in Michael Ford and Spencer Ware which combined for well over 150-yards rushing while finding the endzone three times.

Since that night, the Tigers haven't looked back. A defense led by superstar defensive back Tyrann Mathieu who is forcing turnovers all of the field in every way possible and establishing a defense which is allowing just twelve-and-a-half points per game, good for eighth overall in the country. They've held a Mississippi State team who is averaging nearly 30-points per game to just six points in their September 15th meeting, in Mississippi. They've gone into West Virginia and forced four turnovers and held the Mountaineers to zero points in both the first and final quarters en route to a 47-21 road victory on September 24th, West Virginia's only loss. Then, this past week against a banged up Florida Gators team coming into 'Red Stick,' the Gators flat out got their doors blown off. The Gators were just two of eleven on third downs against the LSU defense. Twice the Tigers intercepted rookie Gator quarterback Jacoby Brissett, one from Mathieu and again from senior Brandon Taylor. That Tiger rushing attack we saw displayed in week one came out with another strong performance racking up 238 yards on the ground including a 100-yard, two touchdown performance from Spencer Ware. After a 41-11 route, Gators 1st-year head coach Will Muschamp must have been scratching his head all week long.

Looking ahead, over the next three weeks the Tigers get no rest. To Knoxville against conference foe Tennessee, who on a sidenote get the Tigers and the #2 ranked Crimson Tide in back-to-back weeks. Then LSU will welcome in War Eagle and the Auburn Tigers. All leading up to a road trip in Tuscaloosa on November 5th against 'Bama, the virtual national championship game as both LSU and Alabama have played second fiddle to no team out of the gate. As the road gets tougher and LSU becomes more and more viable to win the National Championship, they're just getting better and faster. Jordan Jefferson, formally suspended, is working his way back into the offense. Spencer Ware is adding another speed weapon in that LSU backfield, already racking up over 400 yards and five touchdowns. Be on the look out for LSU, these Tigers don't make appointments.

LynchyRightNow Heisman Watch: In our opinion, it begins and ends with Stanford's Andrew Luck. All due respect to the other candidates in play, Baylor's Robert Griffin III, Boise's Kellen Moore, and Oklahoma's Landry Jones, but the Heisman should be going to Andrew Luck. I'll attempt to ignore that Luck is the most hyped quarterback since Peyton Manning, as he should be. Stanford is 5-0 this season including 3-0 in the PAC-12, in large part due to Luck. In each of The Tree's first five games, Luck has thrown for at least two touchdowns or more, giving him fourteen on the season. His numbers would be so much more impressive had his Stanford team not been able to rest him in blowout victories, they'll just get better. Continue to follow everything coming out of Palo Alto surrounding Andrew Luck this season, it's going to be exciting.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cancelled: Tired of Primetime

Deion Sanders needs to shut the f*ck up! Is that out in front enough for you? I can only take so much from this man, and today it ends. On the heels of todays outburst about current Cowboy signal caller, the beleaguered Tony Romo, I've had it. Let's get a few things clear when it comes to 'Primetime':

(1) Tony Romo is more of a Cowboy than you'll ever be, ring or no ring. Oh no?!? In Cowboy lore we don't give a damn who the corners are, and we've got the only corner to win Super Bowl MVP honors. Since taking over the position on October 15th, 2006 Romo has put up with more scrutiny whether the fault of his own or not, than any Cowboy in the past twenty-five years. Over the past six seasons and into this year Romo has provided stability at a position in North Texas that was mired in the days of Quincy Carter, Drew Henson, and a more than past his prime Drew Bledsoe. What were you to the Cowboys Deion? A hired hand? You played on a loaded defense and opposite an offensive side of the ball which was arguably more explosive than any other in NFL history. They won two Super Bowls before you came on board my friend and you're going to be the voice of what can win in this league and what can't?!? Of who can get it done and who can't?!? Romo's name is going to go down in Cowboy history with the likes of Staubach and Aikman, mark my words. We care about quarterbacks in football Deion, not the opinion of an ego-maniacal corner who couldn't tackle.

(2) Shouldn't you be hawking DirectTV somewhere? Why should we take you seriously?! You don't take yourself seriously, not as a journalist that's for sure. If Aikman, a Cowboy quarterback, wants to put anything out there then fine, but you?! What do you know about having the team on your shoulders?! Your reality television, self-promoting Hall of Fame induction speech, DirectTV ads, go on we can name hundreds of the laughable ways you attempt to keep yourself relevant. But I've got one way you haven't tried yet, watching film. Any reason you didn't take Rob Ryan to task for refusing to double Calvin Johnson all day on Sunday? How about Jason Garrett for abandoning the running game in the second half? Your a clown Deion, just like Chris Cooley, Washington Redskins tight end, who like you decide the only way someone will give you a microphone is if you tee off on something you know next to nothing about, something that any twelve-year old in front of the television could have regurgitated from the media.

This guy is a joke, he's a fraud, he's a character playing a part on a cable television show. You want to ride the Romo-coaster all season long because you need to talk about him that much, go right ahead, but know at least one person thinks you're a complete fool and when he remembers The Dynasty in Dallas during the mid-90's, 'Primetime' doesn't enter the discussion till somewhere after Aikman, Smith, Irvin, Johnston, Novacek, Harper, Haley, Norton Jr., Bates, Brown, Maryland, Stepnoski, Newton, Woodson, Lett, and Tolbert.