Archive for the ‘football’ category

Rex of the East Coast

February 4, 2008

Eli Manning v.s. Rex Grossman

He is no longer. Like my counterpart, HHY, I too feel for quarterbacks like young Eli Manning and Rex Grossman for the scrutiny and criticism they go through trying to lead there teams through an NFL season. Both Eli and Rex exhibited similar traits – huge games one week with people comparing them to Hall of Famers, then horrendous games the next with people wishing they never uttered the word “Hall of Fame” in the same sentence.

Eli just shook that monkey off his back last night. And, as with all stories that feature monkeys, you liked every damn minute of it. Superbowl XLII, not to be confused with what some people call my massive head , was one of the greatest football games I have ever seen in my life. I’ll admit – I went into the game wanting to see the Patriots pull it off. I wanted to see the perfect season and not just to shut the Dolphin’s up. It felt like basketball in Chicago during 90’s all over again. The Bulls were the most dominant team I’ve ever watched and I can remember how exciting it was to experience that. That is a sports story that I can relive with my kids, just like how my dad shares his Bears stories with me each year. And to say that I watched the Patriots win all 18 games and then take Superbowl XLII into the records books would have been fun.

But then the Giants win. And honestly, I’m not a Patriots fan. Now I can tell my kids how the New York Giants beat the unbeatable team during their “perfect” season (which will now forever be put in quotes on this blog). Underdogs, going into the playoffs as a wild card team. First NFC wild card team to win the Superbowl. With the line being 12 points against them. Rolling off two TD’s in the second half and rattling Brady so much with their D-line attack that even he’s still trying to figure it out.

So I guess what I’m trying to get to is this: Why the hell are the Giants so lucky with their “Rex of the East Coast” and we lost so badly last year with the Real Rex? And if he actually comes back as our starter next year then he better have been taking notes last night. That and he needs an O-line. And a defense that played like the G-Men did.

I know. Wishful thinking. At least I have a great underdog story to tell to my kids. 

its not all bad

December 26, 2007

The 2007 Chicago Bears season, whether it finished 6-10 or 7-9, will be remembered as a colossal failure. Maybe the most colossal in the team’s history. Coming off a runner-up finish in 2006, the Bears were–at the very least–supposed to make the playoffs and have a chance to defend its 2006 conference title. Instead, by Thanksgiving, it was apparent that this team was not only not making the playoffs, but it was just plain bad.

In previous pieces I’ve written about the Bears I feel are culpable in this lost season. While the national media focuses on Rex Grossman, the smart Bears fan realizes that the Bears’ running game and offensive line were the key to this season’s offensive failures. Cedric Benson didn’t have many holes to run through, but when he did, he looked as if he was just waiting to get tackled. The offensive line went from a team strength to its biggest weakness, as many as four of the five slots may have to be replaced next year. While recently Bernard Berrian has made some big plays, lets not forget that he couldn’t catch a fucking cold in the first half of the season. And if Muhsin Muhammed is on this team next year, I’m going to set myself on fire. Defensively, Brian Urlacher suffered though a bad back and didn’t really play well until late in the year. On the flip side, Lance Briggs started out on fire but has vanished recently. Perhaps Lance is taking it easy, knowing he is just weeks away from free agency. And then there’s the secondary.

Wow. I mean, even the Redskins have to be amazed at how bad Adam Archuleta was. When the Bears signed him, I wasn’t a huge fan of the deal, but I had no idea the guy couldn’t cover or tackle anyone. And thats not a fan’s overstatement……he simply does not belong in the NFL anymore. Daneal Manning went from a talented rookie to one of the worst tacklers on the team. And finally, injuries to key personnel ruined any limited chance of the Bears making a playoff run.

But, like the title here infers, it wasn’t all bad. Here are some bright spots from the 2007 season:

  • Charles Tillman: In his fifth year, Peanut has proven to be the big, physical corner the Bears need in the cover two defense. He has 72 tackles and two interceptions, and has forced four fumbles and blocked two punts. While others get the recognition and Pro Bowl nominations, Tillman has consistently been the best player on the defense (and perhaps the special teams) all year. Hopefully, with the return of a healthy Nathan Vasher in 2008, the Bears defense will be closer to itself.
  • Tommie Harris: Harris is basically playing on one leg. Also, he’s been playing alongside 5 or 6 different defensive tackles this year, and has been constantly double-teamed. Other players might have packed it in this year, especially when it became obvious that this team sucked ass. But Harris has 7 sacks and 32 tackles, and is constantly in the opposing team’s backfield. If 100 percent in 2008, the Bears defensive line will be much improved.
  • Adewale Ogunleye: Ogunleye had not played up to his reputation prior to this season. After putting up a league high 15 sacks in 2003 for Miami and getting traded to Chicago, Ogunleye has had a grand total of 21 sacks in three seasons. However, in 2007, Ogunleye has been the team’s most consistent playmaker on either side of the ball. 56 tackles, 9 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 4 fumbles recovered later, and Ogunleye has almost been able to make up for the other defensive end’s–Mark Anderson–horrid season.
  • Devin Hester: I’ve written a few love letters to the guy on this page before, and we all know how good he is. I’ve been able to be present for two of his touchdowns, and for another two that were called back. There hasn’t been anything in Chicago sports, since Michael retired, more exciting to see in person than Hester. I just hope the geniuses on the coaching staff and in management don’t get too cute in the offseason and decide to keep running these little reverses and bubble screens for number 23. Every time they run one of these piece of shit plays I expect some 290-pound lineman to pursue down the line and shred Hester’s knee.

So, yeah, thats about it. Brendon Ayanbadejo had another great year on special teams. I like the work of Greg Olsen and think he will be a really dangerous weapon in 2008. And unlike many others, I think Ron Turner has done an adequate job of calling plays considering he has no offensive line, quarterback, receivers, or running game. Other than that…….when does baseball start?

HHY’s Week 11 picks

November 14, 2007

I’m putting these up a day early since I’ll be away from a computer for most of the remainder of the week. However, Friday’s hot chick will be put up tomorrow.

After two straight sub-.500 weeks, I’m looking to make mad moves this week. Nothing less than 10 covers.

Season: 69-65-10

Arizona (+3) over Cincinnati
Green Bay (-9.5) over Carolina
Cleveland (-2.5) over Baltimore
Indianapolis (-14.5) over Kansas City
Philadelphia (-10) over Miami
New Orleans (pk) over Houston
Oakland (+5.5) over Minnesota
San Diego (+3) over Jacksonville
Tampa Bay (-3) over Atlanta
Detroit (+3) over NY Giants
Pittsburgh (-9.5) over NY Jets
Washington (+11.5) over Dallas
St. Louis (-2.5) over San Francisco
Seattle (-6) over Chicago
New England (-15.5) over Buffalo
Tennessee (+2.5) over Denver

hhy week 9 picks

November 1, 2007

Season: 58-49-9, Last Week: 9-4

Kansas City (-1) over Green Bay
Denver (+3.5) over Detroit
Atlanta (-3) over San Francisco
Washington (-3.5) over NY Jets
Carolina (+4) over Tennessee
Jacksonville (+3.5) over New Orleans
San Diego (-7) over Minnesota
Buffalo (-1) over Cincinnati
Tampa Bay (-4) over Arizona
Oakland (-3) over Houston
New England (-5) over Indianapolis
Cleveland (-1) over Seattle
Dallas (-3) over Philadelphia
Baltimore (+9.5) over Pittsburgh

Thats a lot of favorites……ugh. Look out for a 3-11 week.

Purple Jesus, Dreamboat, and the rest of week 6

October 15, 2007

Minnesota 34, Chicago 31–Best performance by an opposing player I’ve ever seen. Purple Jesus went off. 224 yards rushing and 3 scores, and he added a 55 yard kick return to set up Ryan Longwell’s game winning 55 yard field goal at the gun. The time when us Bears fans could rely on the defense to make plays and keep us in games no matter what is over, and the tackling of the secondary–especially Daneal Manning and Brandon McGowan–was absolutely dreadful for the second straight week. On the bright side, Devin Hester continued his dominance with an 89-yard punt return and a 81-yard touchdown reception with just over two minutes left. There have been better Bears, but Hester is by far the most exciting player to wear the uniform in my lifetime. People talk about the great Gale Sayers, and while Sayers was a better overall football player, I can’t imagine that he’s more exciting that Hester.

Cleveland 41, Miami 31–Derek Anderson is the truth, son! This situation reminds me of the Bengals a few years ago. Remember, they drafted Carson Palmer but decided to let Jon Kitna start that first year? And Kitna responded with a huge season? Well, Anderson is Jon Kitna and Brady Quinn is Carson Palmer. Anyway, the Browns seem to really have something on the offensive side of the ball, with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow becoming Pro Bowl-level targets in the passing game. For the Fish, Cleo Lemon threw for 256 yards and 2 scores but it wasn’t enough as Miami fell to 0-6.

Green Bay 17, Washington 14–So I click on ESPN.com to read the box score for this game, and the Web site provides a link with one line which summarizes the game. For example, the Bears-Vikings game was something along the lines of ‘Peterson explodes as Vikings upset Bears.’ Well, the link for this game is ‘Favre leads Green Bay to 5-1.’ So what did Brett Favre do, you ask? 19-for-37, 188 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions. The winning touchdown was scored by the Packer defense, a 57 yard fumble return by Charles Woodson. This is a perfect example of why non-Packer fans are fucking sick of the Favre love. He played a shitty game, the defense made a huge play to win an important game, and the media lazily puts up ‘Favre leads Green Bay to 5-1.’ Give me a fucking break.

Kansas City 27, Cincinnati 20–Apparently the Cheifs aren’t that shitty. Either that, or the Bengals are really bad. It could be both. The 2007 Heartless Pig Award might go to the Bengals defense, which week after week gets torched. Larry Johnson, previously left for dead after 5 horrid weeks, had 119 yards and a score and ensured that his fantasy owners will now keep him in the lineup for the rest of the year, thinking he is back. Marvin Lewis should go ahead and sell his home and scour for defensive coordinator positions, cuz this ship has sailed.

Philadelphia 16, NY Jets 9–Hey, Mangenious…..any time you want to get Chad Pennington the fuck out of there, Jets fans will appreciate it. The New Yorkers got 130 yards from Thomas Jones and still couldn’t score a touchdown. Meanwhile, Kevin Curtis and Wes Welker are battling for the title of Best White Receiver of the Year. Previous winners include Steve Largent, Don Beebe, and Tom Waddle.

Tampa Bay 13, Tennessee 10–I’ll tell you kids something–look at Jeff Garcia’s numbers for this season. 1188 yards passing with a 66.7 completion percentage. % touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 103.6 passer rating. Tony Romo is getting all the publicity, but Garcia is the best quarterback in the NFC right now. He might not be a fantasy superstar, but he’s getting the job done very effectively for a team which will probably win its division. If you’re Dallas or Green Bay, do you want to play the Bucs in the divisional round of the playoffs, with Garcia running around like a jackass, throwing off balance and that defense playing like it is? I wouldn’t. Meanwhile, the Titans truly suck, and if Vince Young is ever injured seriously, they’ll lose about 75 percent of their games.

Jacksonville 37, Houston 17–Wasn’t it cool at the beginning of the year, when the Texans were 2-0 and everyone was talking about them being the sleeper of 2007? Yeah, not so much. The Texans can’t stop the run, and when you’re playing Jacksonville, that’s not good. 244 yards rushing, not good. David Garrard is doing in the AFC what Jeff Garcia is in the NFC: quietly putting together a stellar, if unspectacular, season. 1069 yards passing, 66.2 completions percentage, 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 104.7 rating. Meanwhile, Byron Leftwich really likes the new chicken fries from Burger King.

Baltimore 22, St. Louis 3–Lordy, are the Rams horrid. Every week, I write something small about the Ram game because I want to leave the true dissection of the team to our resident Rams fan, everyones on steroids. But it doesn’t seem as if he’s very interested in this garbage. So I’m gonna lay something out for the kids in the Lou: sit Bulger and Jackson for the rest of the season. Why bring them back now? So they can play hurt and the Rams can finish 5-11, 4-12? Please. Sit em, play some kids, finish one or two games worse than that, and get a top 5 pick. As for the Ravens, they are really boring and I hate writing about them. They had 5 interceptions on defense, and I’m guessing Willis McGahee did something.

Carolina 25, Arizona 10–Elway. Montana. Unitas. Marino. Favre. Manning. Brady. Make room, gentlemen. Vinny’s back. Testaverde blew the fuck up against the Cardinals, throwing for 206 yards and a score to lead the Panthers to a big victory on the road. It would be really awesome if Vinny was the starter for the rest of the year. Why not? What, Carolina should be anxious to throw David Carr back in there? Please, he blows. On the other side, Tim Rattay rallied the Cardinals after Kurt Warner hyperextended his elbow. Rallied them to 159 yards and 3 interceptions. After the game, Rattay looked at the stat sheet, saw he got monster-fucked by a 44 year old dude who wasn’t even in the league last week, and hung himself.

New England 48, Dallas 27–I didn’t even know these two teams were playing this week. You would think that two 5-0 teams matching up would of had more of a build up. Anyway, the Patriots will probably go 16-0 if they stay healthy. Since the Pats and Cowboys will probably represent their conferences in the Super Bowl, we already know that New England will blow out the Cowboys in February. So, on October 15, the season is over. Fuck you, Dreamboat.

San Diego 28, Oakland 14–LT got the ball. He ran for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wow. Look what happens when you give the best player the fucking ball. Thanks Norv; you owe me 500 dollars. (Suicide pool pot that I lost when picking SD a few weeks back).

New Orleans 28, Seattle 17–This was one of the worst coached games I have ever seen. Mike Holmgren should be fired after this season. The Seahawk playcalling was horrible. In the 4th quarter, here are some of the calls Holgren made: 4th and 3, called timeout and then ran a draw–with the fullback–and gained 1 yard; team scored to make it 28-17, kicked an onsides kick with over 7 minutes left in the game–kick failed; with under 2 minutes left, facing a 4th and 9 on the Saints’ 20, decided to go for it instead of kicking the field goal to cut it to 8 and then trying an onsides kick. You need 3 anyway, Mike…..why not get it now instead of trying a 4th and 9? Fucking moron. Go comb your walrus mustache.

Week 5 Roundup. (And fuck Norv Turner).

October 8, 2007

Yeah, that’s what the fuck I’m talking about. An absolutely horrible week of boring ass games was capped off with the mighty Bears slapping the Packers around Lambeau. (What, a 7-point win when you force 5 turnovers and the other team commits 12 penalites isn’t a slap? Fuck you.)

The only thing that could of made this weekend any better was if the Cubs got shut down by Livan Hernandez. Oh, that happened? Oops.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of the stellar rather crappy Week 5 NFL games.

Tennessee 20, Atlanta 13–This would have been a great matchup of running QBs if the dog murderer hadn’t gotten caught. Damn the man. Anyway, the Titans turned the ball over 5 times and that still wasn’t enough for the Falcons to pull out the road win. With the score tied at 13 late in the third quarter, Titan Pacman Jones Vincent Fuller intercepted a Joey Harrington pass and ran 76 yards for a touchdown. Tennessee would have been my suicide pool pick had that fucking asswipe Norv Turner not shit the bed in week 4. Seriously, I’m thinking of renaming this blog ‘Fuck Norv Turner.’ Dot com. Or org. I don’t know.

Jacksonville 17, Kansas City 7–So week one, Tennessee runs for almost 300 runs on Jacksonville. Now, in week 5, with Larry Johnson, the Chiefs run for 10 yards. 10 fucking yards? How bad is the Chief offensive line. Folks, if you play fantasy football, and you have LJ: trade him for whatever you can get now. Or wait until he has a somewhat decent game. Because that team just sucks. I cannot believe they beat the Chargers last week. THATS how bad of a coach Norv Turner is. Seriously, fuck Norv Turner.

Arizona 34, St. Louis 31–A lot of talk around the blogosphere about the Cardinals being the team to beat in the NFC West. Folks, the Rams offense is absolutely atrocious and it scored 31 on these guys. Brian Leonard went over 100 yards. That dude didn’t even start for Rutgers at halfback last year. Rutgers. The Cardinals will be lucky to win 8 games. But that might be good enough to make the playoffs.

New England 34, Cleveland 17–I know this is going to sound stupid, but after this game I have more respect for the Browns than I did going in. I’m not saying they are going to challenge Pittsburgh in the AFC North, but they almost covered the spread. That’s more than we can say for the other Patriot opponents this year. There must be something wrong with Tom Brady because he had 16 incompletions. What a suckbag. (He also had 3 touchdowns and almost 300 yards passing).

Carolina 16, New Orleans 13–The Saints are really, really bad. Marques Colston is having a really bad sophomore campaign. Reggie Bush is a solid weapon, but without someone to spell him while running between the tackles, he’s just not going to be as effective. Also, Drew Brees is really pressing. He had another 2 picks, including one to ex-Bear Chris Harris. Although they won the game, the Panthers had a rough day as Jake Delhomme is feared out for the season. So, basically, the Bucs won the NFC South because David Carr is just gross.

NY Giants 35, NY Jets 24–This might be one of the most entertaining games of the day, as the Giants came back from a ten-point third quarter deficit to blow out the Jets. Plaxico Burress is an absolute monster, with the talent to really dominate if he would stay interested throughout the season. The Giants also may have found something in the backfield, as the one-two punch of Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward looked great. But what really came across in this game was that Chad Pennington is no longer an NFL quarterback. He’s a solid backup, thats all. Chad had five interceptions in the last two weeks, and each was an absolutely horrible throw. Pennington has bad arm strength, so he has to make concise, smart passes. If he’s not doing so, he’s a weak armed Rex Grossman.

Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 0–The Seahawks avenged their Super Bowl XL loss by thrashing the Steeler defense to the tune of 144 total yards and just over 19 minutes of possession in the shutout loss. Willie Parker and the basket shitter combined for 160 yards rushing and Ben Roethlisberger had a very smart, efficient day (18-for-22, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions).

Washington 34, Detroit 3–Seriously, this Lions team beat the Bears? They scored 34 in the 4th quarter last week? Christ, the Bears suck. Anyway, Mark Sellers put on a damn highlight show by catching a touchdown pass and absolutely obliterating Lions safety Kenoy Kennedy on another reception. Jason Campbell is rounding into a solid quarterback, and with his improved play and a strong defense, the Redskins definitely look like the Cowboys’ only real competition in the division.

Houston 22, Miami 19–Dude, Kris Brown is a fucking beast. He went 5-for-5, including a game-winning 57 yarder to win the game. Tell me who should be player of the week other than Kris? I mean, ECUM’s favorite basket shitter only had 2 touchdowns. I am naming Kris Brown ECUM’s favorite kicker, from this day forward. This motherfucker scored 16 points by himself! Yeah, Kris! Get some!

Indianapolis 33, Tampa Bay 14–This is how good the AFC is. The Colts didn’t have their starting running back or wide receiver. They were playing the best team in the NFC South. And they won by 19. Christ. I think the New England-Indianapolis game in a few weeks might be the best sporting event in the history of the world. Anything less than a 48-45 OT game will be a letdown. Anyway, the dude thats always in those commercials had 253 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, and Kenton Keith came in for my fantasy starter Joseph Addai and put up 158 total yards and 2 scores. Kenton Keith: 27 fantasy points.

San Diego 41, Denver 3–The Broncos are dead, folks. Think about it: Denver has been good or great almost every year since John Elway was playing. Since the mid-80s, I can’t think of a really bad Broncos team. This might be it. Sure, the Chargers were playing for their season. But 41-3 at Invesco? Wow. Norv did manage to hold LT scoreless again, and guys who had the number one pick in their fantasy drafts will continue to convert to voodoo just to stick pins in a miniature Norv in order to get LT some fucking red zone touches.

Baltimore 9, San Francisco 7–No one wants to read about this game. What a shitfest.

Chicago 27, Green Bay 20–Hey, I’ll take it. But I haven’t seen a team just give away a game like the Packers did yesterday. They had five turnovers. 12 penalties. The Packers playcalling was absolutely horrible. The Bears scored to make it 20-17, and on the ensuing possession the Packers run three times in the middle of the line and punt. Also, why didn’t the Packers just run that little slant about 44 times? The Bears couldn’t stop it unless Tillman stripped the ball. And that two-minute drill was really bad. Me thinks Mike McCarthy sucks as a coach. And the Bears still only won by a score. But again, it doesn’t count less than a 45 point win, so fuck it. Lets take on the Vikes next week, get back to .500, and cruise into the Philly game.

Week 5 predictions from HHY

October 4, 2007

Fresh off my best week of the year, I am ready to throw down here in Week 5.

29-27-6 overall, 5-7 best bets

Arizona (-3) over St. Louis
Tennessee (-8.5) over Atlanta
Carolina (+3) over New Orleans
New England (-16.5) over Cleveland
Detroit (+3.5) over Washington
Jacksonville (-1) over Kansas City
Miami (+5.5) over Houston
NY Jets (+3.5) over NY Giants
Pittsburgh (-6) over Seattle
Tampa Bay (+10) over Indianapolis
Baltimore (-3) over San Francisco
San Diego (+1) over Denver
Green Bay (-3.5) over Chicago
Buffalo (+10) over Dallas

Best Bets: 1. Baltimore, 2. Arizona, 3. New England

the real problem with the chicago bears offense

October 3, 2007

Yeah, it turns out it wasn’t Rex after all. Who would have thunk it? (Oh, yeah, me).

But I wasn’t the only one that saw past Rex’s horrible passes and into deeper reasons for the Bears offensive ineptitude. The receivers drop passes and outside of Bernard Berrian, don’t get open frequently. The offensive line seems half as effective as they were in 2006, both in the passing game and in the running game.

But the real issue is Cedric Benson. The guy is not an every down, load-bearing back.

Sure, like I said earlier, the offensive line isn’t opening the same holes. But it can’t be doing that much worse than in 2006. And I’m not buying into the idea that many meathead Bears fans believe, that with Thomas Jones the offense would be cruising along. Check Jones’ stats with the Jets. He’s not exactly tearing it up.

But if a guy is going to be a focal point of an offense, a 300-carry, 1200-yard plus running back, shouldn’t he be the a top ten or top fifteen back? I think so. And yet, if the Bears had their choice, I bet there are a ton of running backs in the league they would start ahead of Benson for the remainder of this season.

In fact, lets go with that premise: How many active running backs would I, hardawayhatesyou, rather have as the Bears’ premier back for the remaining twelve games on the schedule?

  • Dallas: 2; Marion Barber is a definite and Julius Jones is a strong back who has proven he can be a number one back.
  • Philadelphia: 1; Brian Westbrook is an absolute yes–sure he might break down on his first carry, but if he’s healthy he is a beast.
  • NY Giants: None; You could make an argument for both Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, but neither have proven to me that they can be an every-down NFL back.
  • Washington: 2; While Clinton Portis has not shown the same burst in DC as he did in Denver, he’s definitely better than Benson. Ladell Betts went over 1000 yards last year and is a strong runner.
  • Minnesota: 2; Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor are both better than Benson.
  • Detroit: None; Like the Giants, Detroit has two backs–Tatum Bell and Kevin Jones–who one could argue are better than Benson, but I’m not ready to go there. Jones would be a definite yes if I thought he could last more than six games.
  • Green Bay: None; Maybe in a year or two Brandon Jackson will be a stud, but I’d take my chances with Benson at this moment. I’ll take their quarterback, though.
  • Seattle: 1; Shaun Alexander is a definite yes.
  • San Francisco: 1; Frank Gore, despite his recent struggles, is clearly a better option.
  • St. Louis: 1; Steven Jackson, see the Gore comments.
  • Arizona: 2; Here is where I might lose some people. Edgerrin James is easily better, but I’m also gonna throw Marcel Shipp as a better option than Benson. Shipp had over 800 yards on 188 and 224 carries, respectively, in 2002 and 2003. He also had 103 receptions in his first three seasons. So yes, I’d rather have Marcel Shipp than Cedric Benson. Wow.
  • Tampa Bay: 1; And its not Carnell Williams. I’m going to go with Earnest Graham, a guy who is just recently getting a chance. He runs hard and finishes his runs with a fervor I have never seen out of Benson.
  • Carolina: None; DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams are the two backs in Carolina, and while both might be better, I wouldn’t necessarily want both ahead of Benson. Foster can impress, but he is really injury-prone.
  • New Orleans: 1; Reggie Bush isn’t an every down NFL runner, but I’d take him ahead of Benson. And this number would be 2 if Deuce McAlister hadn’t just blown out his knee.
  • Atlanta: 1; Warrick Dunn has proven he can carry the load successfully. Jerious Norwood might pass Benson by the end of the season, as well.
  • Indianapolis: 1; Joseph Addai is a monster.
  • Tennessee: None; Although Vince Young might be a better running back than anyone on the Bears roster.
  • Jacksonville: 2; Maurice Jones-Drew has not played well in 2007, but I saw enough out of him last year to know that he’s better than Benson. And yes, I’m going to say I’d rather go to bat with Fred Taylor. Taylor is about as injury-prone as it gets, but when healthy, he might be one of the ten most talented and hard-working backs in the NFL.
  • Houston: None; No, Ahman Green is not better than Cedric Benson. Its close, though.
  • Cincinnati: 1; Rudi Johnson, no question, and Kenny Watson–if ever given an opportunity–could prove to be an adequate dual threat out of the backfield.
  • Cleveland: None; I am not a Jamal Lewis fan. Unless I can get the 2003 version.
  • Baltimore: 1; Willis McGahee is not a picture of health, but he’s clearly a better player than Cedric.
  • Pittsburgh: 1; Willie Parker, absolutely. And I’m tempted to add Najeh Davenport here, partly because he is a tough runner and partly because he once took a dump in a girl’s laundry basket.
  • New England: 1; I love Laurence Maroney, although he seems pretty injury-prone. Sammy Morris may be a solid back, but I’m not ready to say he’s a better option than Benson.
  • Miami: 1; Ronnie Brown’s resurgence this year has me flabbergasted.
  • NY Jets: None; This is interesting. I have to divulge that I agreed with the decision the Bears made in trading Jones and allowing Benson to be the number one guy. Jones, while hard-working and a leader, isn’t fast and doesn’t break enough tackles to be considered a better option than Benson.
  • Buffalo: 1; Marshawn Lynch has already proven to be what Benson should be, and he’s only been in the league for a month. Damn.
  • San Diego: 2; I’m not even going to argue about one of these; and yes, I think Michael Turner, while having never had more than 25 carries in an NFL game, has shown enough that I would want him to be the Bears running back in the last twelve games of the season.
  • Denver: 1; Travis Henry is better, although its hard to tell how good Bronco backs are because almost everyone can rush for 1200 yards there.
  • Kansas City: 1; LJ is better, no question.
  • Oakland: None; I’ll believe the Lamont Jordan renassiance when he carries the load for a full season with either sucking or blowing out a knee. Although I like the idea of Justin Fargas, Huggy Bear’s son, being an NFL star.

So there you have it. A total of 28 running backs in the league are better options than Cedric Benson. Six teams have two backs on their current roster who I would rather see taking the bulk of Bear carries for the remainder of 2007. And only nine squads have the same issues at running back as Chicago does. Of those nine teams, only Detroit, Green Bay, and Tennessee have winning records. Detroit won’t have one by the end of the year; the Packers and Titans have superhuman quarterbacks to even things out.

So there ya go. The answer is not actually Brian Griese, or someone else behind center; its the guy behind the guy.

sports musings going into the weekend

September 28, 2007
  • The Cubs will probably clinch their division this weekend. As a White Sox fan, this has been a pretty shitty year, but I still don’t wish any ill will towards the Cubs. Some of their fans do bother me, but as a whole, I think they should get to see their team win a title before they die. As a lifelong Chicagoan, it would be pretty cool to see what would happen around here if the Cubs won. I have a feeling it would be like when the Bears won the Super Bowl, multiplied by about 100. I think part of the reason it wouldn’t bother me as much is because of 2005. Its almost as if we, as Sox supporters, won the race. The Sox won the title first, and no matter what, nothing can take that away. But that doesn’t mean a possible title should be any less special for their fans; it just means a Cubs title before 2005 would be sickening to most Sox fans. Now, it would be fun to see. However, unlike last year’s Cardinals, I don’t see any way this Cubs team wins three playoff series and the championship.

I’ve never felt worse for a pro athlete than I do for Rex Grossman. He has been absolutely killed by fans and media. I wonder if he almost is glad he’s not the starter anymore. The best thing for him would be to sit on the sideline for the rest of the year, sign a free agent contract with someone next year, and start over with a clean slate. As a Rex backer, I had to admit while watching the Chiefs game that the time had come to make a move. Unfortunately, a quarterback change might not be enough to overcome a banged-up defense, pourous offensive line, and drop-happy receivers.

  • I’ve been playing Madden 08 a lot lately. (Only about four people will relate to what I am about to write about, but I don’t care). When I play, I just play on franchise mode. For those who aren’t familiar, franchise mode is when you guide a team through season after season. Well, I have to play on the highest level, All-Madden. If I play on any other level, its way too easy. The problem is that the All-Madden level, in its efforts to make the game difficult, ruins all realism. For example, in 95 percent of the games you play against the computer, they make things happen to make the game close. I was playing the AFC Championship a week or so ago, and although I dominated the game thouroughly, I lost because the opposing team brought back 3 interceptions and 2 kicks for touchdowns. I lost 38-35. I mean, come on. A few days ago, I was playing the Rams and video Torry Holt caught a 5-yard pass over the middle, trucked 3 linebackers and linemen, and outran my entire defense for an 80-yard score. Look, I respect Torry Holt, but he’s not running over people. That kind of stuff happens all the time. These are games where the computer refuses to let you win, no matter what. Those games, which Bill Simmons calls the ‘No Freakin Way’ games, are when ridiculous things happen throughout the game (like 5 returns for TDs) so that you cannot have an undefeated season (which is a near impossibility on All-Madden mode). For instance, I was playing some team a little while ago and I had a two-point conversion to tie the game with like 30 seconds left. I called a play, but the computer defense had it scoped out perfectly. So I called an audible, making the tight end run an out route. He was wide open in the end zone to tie the game. Drops it. And you laugh, but why play the game if the computer is going to dramatically alter things just to make games close, ya know? At some point, no matter how good you are, it doesn’t matter because the computer is going to cheat you. Fuck him.

week 3 recap

September 24, 2007

Green Bay 31, San Diego 24–Brett Favre is playing like he’s ten years younger and the Packers are off to a 3-0 start. Down 21-17 with under five minutes left, the Packers drove down the field, setting up a 4th-and-inches from just outside the goal line. For some reason, they spread it out to a 5-receiver shotugn formation, and Favre’s pass was incomplete. But Brett took the Packers’ coaching staff off the hook with a great final two minutes, throwing a perfect slant to Greg Jennings which he took the distance to give the Pack the lead. Nick Barnett then picked off a pass on the ensuing Charger possession and returned it inside the San Diego five to set up the clinching score by Brandon Jackson. With the superb play of Favre and a tough defense, the Packers have proven themselves the team to beat in the NFC North so far.

Kansas City 13, Minnesota 10–I really don’t have much to say about this game. Adrian Peterson looks like the real deal. But until the Vikes get a passing game, they’re not going to score a lot of points. On the other side, Dwayne Bowe has been impressive in his first few NFL games, and he caught a game-winning touchdown pass with under ten minutes remaining.

New England 38, Buffalo 7–The Patriots continue their early dominance and Dick Jauron inches closer to unemployment. Randy Moss has five touchdowns in three games, and the Patriot defense, playing without standout safety Rodney Harrison, looks outstanding. Its very early, and a lot of things can happnen, but at this point New England is easily the best team in football.

NY Jets 31, Miami 28–A matchup of 0-2 teams netted a pretty high-scoring game, as the Jets held on to beat the fish. The score made it look closer than it actually was, as New York led 31-13 with 9 minutes left. The Dolphins outgained the Jets 424 to 259, but a Leon Washington 98 yard kick return was key to the New York win. Trent Green (318 yards) and Ronnie Brown (211 total yards, 3 TD) led Miami, but the inability to stop the Jets running game killed any chance for a road victory.

Philadelphia 56, Detroit 21–Racists everywhere ridiculed Donovan McNabb after this game for not scoring 60 points. In reality, McNabb threw for 381 yards–322 to Kevin Curtis and Brian Westbrook. The score was 42-21 at halftime, and seemingly over. The Lions defense will look to rebound next week against an atrocious Bears offense.

Pittsburgh 37, San Francisco 16–The Steelers look like a top 3 NFL team right now, as Willie Parker ran for 133 yards in the win. Pittsburgh has only given up 26 points in 3 games thus far, and Ben Roethlisberger is playing extremely well to this point. The Niners got nothing from Alex Smith or Frank Gore, and a little shine from their 2-0 start was taken away after this loss.

Tampa Bay 24, St. Louis 3–The Rams are in real trouble as they got spanked by the Bucs down in Florida. Marc Bulger had his worst game in a long time, throwing for under 120 yards. Steven Jackson went over 100 yards for the first time this year, but a lack of a passing game hurt the Lou. For the Bucs, Earnest Graham scored two times to lead a strong rushing attack which picked up 182 yards. Some dude named Ruud had 11 tackles and a pick for Tampa, and Jeff Garcia celebrated by watching ‘Steel Magnolias’ and having a good cry.

Baltimore 26, Arizona 23–The ravens continue to prove to be one of the worst good teams in NFL history. They always have quarterback issues, a somewhat solid running game, bad receivers and a good defense. They’re really boring to watch, yet they’re in the playoffs all the time. They’re like the AFC Chicago Bears. Anyway, Kurt Warner put down the clipboard and led the Cardinals back from a 23-6 defecit to tie the game, but a last second Matt Stover field goal won it for Baltimore.

Indianapolis 30, Houston 24–This is almost a moral victory for the Texans, who without their best player, Andre Johnson, played the defending champs very close but were unable to pull off the win at home. Peyton Manning had a ho-hum 20 for 29 day, throwing for 279 yards. But he only had one touchdown. What a scrub. Special shout out to Colts corner Marlin Jackson, who had 15 tackles. 15 tackles for a corner? Who was keeping the stats, Marlin’s momma? Anyway, the Texans look much improved but the Colts have to feel good at 3-0, including two road division wins.

Jacksonville 23, Denver 14–I’m beginning to think Mike Shanahan is a really overrated coach. Yes, he has two titles. But he also had the best quarterback, best running back, best offensive line, great receivers, perhaps the best tight end and an underrated defense on those teams. Remember, this dude traded Clinton Portis because anyone could be a star runner in his system, and he then drafted Maurice Clarett in the third round. Now, the Broncos are two last second field goals away from being 0-3. The Jags dominated time of possession by holding the ball for almost 39 minutes, beating Denver at their own game.

Oakland 26, Cleveland 24–So last week, the Broncos called a late timeout just before the Raiders attempted a game winner, making them try the same kick twice. On the second attempt, they missed the field goal and the Broncos went on to win. Sunday, the Browns lined up for a game winning field goal and made it, but the Raiders called timeout just before the kick, forcing the Browns to kick again. On their second attempt, the Raiders blocked it and held on for the win. (That make sense?). Anyway, look for whoever is playing the Browns next week to get the same crap pulled on them en route to a Cleveland late victory.

Seattle 24, Cincinnati 21–These are, like, the same team. Good offenses, soft defenses. But Seattle was at home, so they won by 3. Ya know how they say if two teams are even, the home field advatage is worth three points. Here you go. Look at this game, and the Jets-Miami game. And the Kansas City-Minnesota game. Anyway, Nate Burleson caught a late touchdown and the Seahawks are 2-1.

Carolina 27, Atlanta 20–Joey Harrington blew the fuck up, son. It didnt matter. Carolina continues to be consistently inconsistent, if that makes sense. Steve Smith gets one catch, yet they score 27 points. Whatever.

NY Giants 24, Washington 17–The Giants came back from a 17-3 defecit to win their first game of the year. Plaxico Burress made a spectacular catch and run to give New York their 7 point lead, which would eventually be the difference. But Joe Gibbs might be more of a difference maker in this game than Burress. With little time left, the Redskins faced a 3rd and goal on the Giants 2. Gibbs then took over the playcalling duties from offensive coordinator Al Saunders and called two running plays for Ladell Betts, both of which were stuffed to give the Giants the win. With a mobile quarterback like Jason Campbell, to not call at least one playaction or run/pass option play in those last two is just insane. I understand you’re Joe Gibbs and you run the ball, but a stretch play on the goalline is not the call to make down 7 on 4th down. On the bright side for Washington, Campbell looks like he’s really maturing into a solid NFL signal caller.

Dallas 34, Chicago 10–Holy Christ. 3-3 at halftime. 10-10 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. From then on, it got real dirty. And not dirty in the Christina Aguilera, sexy slut kind of way. I mean ugly. I’ve been a Rex defender for the last year-plus; but he’s playing worse now that he did late last year and even in the Super Bowl. I think you have to make a change. But the real problem here is that changing the quarterback is not going to save this offense. The front line has been brutal for three games. Olin Kruetz has proven to be really overrated. Guys just run through him and he’s good for one personal foul a game, at least. Cedric Benson sucks. I was really wrong about this guy. I thought trading Thomas Jones was a solid move. Benson showed flashes of greatness last year and I thought he deserved a chance to carry the load, but so far this year, when he has gotten the touches, he’s looked shaky. He has also fumbled in key situations twice already this year. Bernard Berrian is dropping the ball. Muhsin Muhammed is the most overpaid player in the NFL. Seriously, he’s worthless. He gets open like 3 times a game, and out of those three times he drops the ball at least once. Ron Turner is having a horrid first three games. the Bears are down 20-10 last night with 10 minutes left. They need a nice, sustained drive which gets at least 3 points. You have a quarterback who has shaky confidence. Do you run the ball on first down? No. Do you throw a screen, hitch, or slant to give Rex the optimum chance of completing a pass? No. you run a two-receiver route, with one guy running a flag route twenty yards downfield. The guy is triple-covered, and it gets picked off and returned for a touchdown.

So, to recap, other than the quarterback, running back, wide receivers, playcalling and offensive line, the Bears offense is looking really good. The Cowboys offense, on the flip side, is beastly. Tony Romo is running around making plays, and John Madden says Romo reminds him of Favre. Since Favre might be retiring soon, Madden needs a quarterback who’s balls he’s gonna caress during every game. looks like the EIU product is the leader in the clubhouse. Marion barber is an absolute killer. He might be best running back not getting the majority of his team’s carries in NFL history. Seriously, he just trucks people. And TO was open all day, just manhandling the Bears secondary.