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Terrell Owens is back in the news once again. At least this time it’s not for doing sit-ups in his driveway, calling his quarterback a homo-sexual or another off the field stunt. After the news this week that Owens had ACL surgery in April, there are a couple questions being asked about the high profile wide-receiver.
The first of those questions is whether or not there is an NFL team that would be interested in signing the 37 year old. My response is “why not”. Last season in Cincinnati, Owens nearly had 1,000 yards receiving, along with nine touchdowns in 14 games. I’m not sure how anyone could complain about a number two receiver putting up that kind of stats. So obviously production wouldn’t be a down fall.
Maybe his age would turn people away. Personally, I believe T.O. is in better shape than over half of the receivers under 30 in the league. His training regimen is among the best and no one has ever complained about Owens showing up for anything out of shape. T.O. still has a good 3-4 years left in the tank.
Here’s the negative we all know, his ego. Although I do believe he has begun to realize the past couple years in Buffalo and Cincinnati that if he wants to continue his career he has to at least behave a little better than in the past.
At this point in his career Owens can still be a valuable threat. The question is, where?
Seattle could use a veteran like Owens, but I just can’t see Matt Hasselbeck and T.O. getting along. After applying a franchise tag to Vincent Jackson, it doesn’t look good for Malcom Floyd to stick around San Diego so they could be in the market and Owens could fit in well and really put up some big numbers. Another possibility could be the New York Jets who may be looking for possible replacements for either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes. The bottom line is that I guarantee we see Owens on the field at some point this season. There will be some team who needs a veteran or an injury replacement.
However, if this truly ends up being the end of T.O.’s career, is he hall-of-fame worthy? I see absolutely no reason why he isn’t.
Jerry Rice is the only player to have more touchdowns and reception yards than T.O. Over his 14-year career Owens has averaged 75 catches for 1,101 yards and 10.5 touchdowns. Only five players in NFL history have recorded more than three seasons with at least 75 receptions, 1,101 yards and 10 touchdowns. T.O. averaged that for a decade and a half.
If those stats don’t do it for you, this will. We all know the great hall-of-fame receiver Art Monk. These stats may shock you as much as they did me. T.O. has scored 88 more touchdowns than Monk, has three more seasons with at least 1,200 yards and twice as many Pro Bowls as Monk. Owens also reached double digits in touchdowns seven times; Monk never had more than 9 touchdowns. So if T.O. doesn’t belong, neither does Art Monk.
Really the only argument against Owens’ hall of fame quest is his ego and off the field problems. Wait! Straight from the Pro Football Hall of Fame mission statement; “To honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to professional football”. That says it right there. You should make the hall of fame based on what you do on the field, not off. T.O.’s on the field performance easily makes him a first ballot hall of famer. If he isn’t when he retires, the Hall of Fame better change its mission statement to include “players with good character”.
Brace yourself, because the Southeast Region could have the most upsets this year. Looking up and down this bracket and trying to decide who will move on can make a man’s head spin. Honestly, there really isn’t a clear-cut favorite to come out of this bracket. Chances are, if you pick most of the games right out of this region, you are going to be sitting pretty well. Let’s get started.
It really won’t matter who wins the play-in game, Pittsburgh will win by 20+. Pitt is the favorite to come out of this region in many brackets but it sounds like repeating history to me. They have had the #1 seed three out of the past four tournaments without a Final Four appearance.
Butler and Old Dominion is one game that I do not want to miss in the first round. Butler is a tough team, but asking them to repeat last years’ Final Four appearance is way too much. They get a very tough draw in the first round with an Old Dominion team that is on a roll, winning 13 of their last 14 games. Both teams rely on defense to be successful, but I give the nod to ODU on offense and they move on into the second round.
Analysts have claimed Pitt to be the weakest number one seed, and ODU will give them a run for their money. There is just something about this game that has upset written all over it. ODU definitely deserved a 6 or 7 seed and beat the likes of Xavier, Richmond, St. Johns, Clemson and George Mason in the regular season. However, I am still going to take Pitt to advance. But, if you want to take a salty upset, this is the one.
#5 Kansas State
#12 Utah State
Kansas State is a team I extremely like in this region. Jacob Pullen is a guy who has the tools to take a game over. They have had a roller-coaster season that included putting together a string of really great wins, and then tripping up against Colorado three times. Despite their 30-3 record, Utah State would still be classified as a Cinderella if they somehow pull off a win against K State. It won’t happen though. The Wildcats win by 10+.
Wisconsin fans have to be a tad nervous about drawing this Belmont team. Belmont is a very well-balanced team and won 12 straight games. The four loss Belmont team also boasts the nation’s second best three-point shooter in Rick Byrd. Wisconsin has won some big games, including a win over Ohio State earlier in the season. Playing the tougher schedule and having the nation’s best free throw percentage is going to give the Badgers the edge here.
A Wisconsin – K State match-up will be very intriguing. The Badgers definitely have the better D, but Pullen and the Wildcats have the better offensive attack. Kansas State will continue their run and beat Wisconsin pretty impressively.
#6 St. Johns
The St. Johns and Gonzaga match-up is another can’t miss game in the first round. These two teams also met in the 2000 NCAA Tournament when a then 10 seed Gonzaga, knocked off second seeded St. Johns. Gonzaga has a lengthy front line and could cause some problems for St. Johns as they rely a lot on penetrating to the basket. I like the Red Storm and their fast break offense to outpace the Zags and move on.
As everyone knows by now, BYU isn’t the same team without Brandon Davies. If the Cougars didn’t still have the nation’s leading scorer in Jimmer Fredette this could be a scary game for the BYU faithful. If this game does get close, BYU is an excellent free-throw shooting team and should be able to outlast Wofford, that is, if they even put up a fight.
I think BYU will be rooting for St. Johns to beat Gonzaga, just for the simple fact that without their main big man, it would be easier to get opportunities against a quick, fast paced team like St. Johns. The Red Storm are the kind of team I would like to see move on and upset BYU. This game will be close, but there’s no way Jimmer goes down this early.
#10 Michigan State
The UCLA, Michigan State match-up should be another dandy in the first round. Michigan State, regardless of their seed, is always a tough out in March. Although UCLA could be a real dark horse in the region if they can play to their full potential. This could be one of the best games of the first round and I think UCLA will come up with the win.
Florida has gotten a lot of flack from some, and praise from others. Do they truly deserve their #2 seed? Yes. The Gators won 11 games against top 50 teams and are 10-2 in their last dozen games. If you look up and down their schedule, they had a resume that doesn’t make their #2 seed seem that unreasonable. It will also help that Florida won’t have to travel real far for any of their regional games.
The Florida, UCLA match-up will have a lot of eyes on it, but I just don’t think this UCLA team is ready to take the next step and become an elite team in college basketball again. Florida is just overall a better team and shouldn’t have much of a problem with UCLA.
Sweet Sixteen Matchups
#5 Kansas State
This could be an epic game as both teams are more alike than one would think. Both average 73-74 points a game, both allow 61-61 points a game and Pitt has only lost one more game than K State over their past 12. Like I said earlier, I really think Kansas State has what it takes to make noise throughout the entire tournament. Pitt gets upset once again.
Florida drew a pretty lucky card in the bottom half of their bracket and without Davies I just don’t see how BYU can match-up against Florida. Jimmer will do all he can to keep this game close, and it might come down to the wire if Jackson Emery takes some of the load off Fredette. But Florida will just be too much to overcome.
Elite Eight Matchup
#5 Kansas State
I said right away I really like this K State team and I am going to ride them all the way to the Final Four. Pittsburgh, Kansas State and Wisconsin are better teams than Florida in my mind. Kansas State will be battle-tested. The Wildcats are also out looking for revenge from the 13 point loss to the Gators earlier in the year. I’m taking Kansas State to move on to the Final Four and get into the championship game.
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This is part one of a series analyzing each position on the field for the Dallas Cowboys.
The most storied and critiqued position in all of football is the quarterback. Chances are, if you are playing that position for the Dallas Cowboys everything you do, whether positive or negative, will be thrown under the microscope and magnified. There is a lot of pressure for anyone playing this position and a player can only improve with experience. The Cowboys saw not only their back-up, but their third-string quarterback take snaps this year and we saw some positives from both.
We will start things off with the starter, Tony Romo. Before being injured in week 7, Romo surely wasn’t on his way to one of his better seasons. Throwing 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions is anything but impressive. Many people blame it on play-calling as then Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had Romo attempting more than 40 passes three times out of those first six games. That means he was on pace to throw over 568 passes, a career high.
Going into the 2010 season the Cowboys organization had high hopes for Romo who had a career low in interceptions the year before. Nothing should change going into next season. Romo turns 31 in April, which means his window to become an elite quarterback and win a Super Bowl is may slowly be closing. Knowing the history of Jerry Jones, if you aren’t winning your job isn’t safe. This upcoming season will almost be a make or break year for Romo. He has had opportunities and Romo can only hope that with all the extra time off that he improves his mentality of the game and continues to cut down on mistakes and turnovers. Little does he know, there may be someone looking over his shoulder.
Jon Kitna had a great season as far as back-ups go, but he isn’t the one looking over Romo’s shoulder (we will get to that later). He did everything a back-up is supposed to and more at times. But there were also times where Kitna showed why he isn’t a starter. Through ten games he had 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He wasn’t explosive, but it was obvious he became comfortable in the offense as the season drew on and proved he is a reliable back-up. Kitna had four 300-plus yard passing games and was 4-5 as a starter. With his performance he definitely proved his worth in the league for a couple more years and is someone the Cowboys now know they can rely on if Romo happened to go down. The thing I really loved about Kitna was his fire during games. This guy hates to lose and appeared to take a leadership role on the team. This is something that Romo needs to look at. The Cowboys didn’t go 4-5 under Kitna because he is a great quarterback, but because he took command on the field and wasn’t afraid to get in the face of other players.
And here it comes, the two year player out of Texas A&M and the future of the Cowboys, Stephen McGee. Yeah, I said it. When Kitna got hurt at Arizona in week 16, the Cowboys turned to McGee to at least get the team in position to win the game. He did all that and more, throwing a pretty spectacular touchdown pass with under two minutes left. Although the Cowboys defense found a way to lose that game, McGee did it again the next week in Philadelphia, throwing for a game winning touchdown pass with under two minutes left to win his first career game in the NFL. That is pretty amazing considering he hadn’t attempted a pass in his two-year career with the Cowboys. Now saying he is the future of the team may be a stretch, but he has shown the organization that he is someone they might want to hold onto. Keeping him around under Romo and Kitna will only help his game. Playing in the last two games of the season gave the Cowboys a chance to evaluate him in game situations and he passed with flying colors.
The Cowboys need someone to come through in clutch situations at the quarterback position. Romo’s clutch moments have been a botched field-goal snap against Seattle in the 2006 playoffs, a game costing interception in the red zone against the Giants in the 2007 playoffs and the list goes on. McGee came in with his back against the wall and performed well enough to get the Cowboys in contention to win one game, and won another thanks to late game heroics. If groomed right, McGee could be the next one in line to take over the most prolific position in all of football.
Next post we’ll take a look at the Cowboys backfield….
As I write this article there is 59 days left until the regular season starts. With the forecast through next week calling for highs in the upper 30s and low 40s it can only mean one thing; spring is right around the corner. Now whose to say we won’t get another arctic blast and probably another blizzard. In South Dakota, I wouldn’t doubt it, but at least we are going to most of the snow melted within the next week so whatever falls after that won’t last long. That’s all for your weather report, lets talk football.
Pre-season games have been discussed but nothing has been finalized yet, it will be more of a wait and see type thing. As soon as basketball is over and the football field is cleared, let the games begin. With all the trash-talking going on its obvious hard feelings are beginning to form across the league. The only thing that will solve this is playing the game, which can’t seem to come soon enough.
A couple things I want to talk about before I get back to game-planning is scheduling and a rule that was left out. First off is scheduling. There will be a high-school spring baseball team playing in Emery with some games being on Sunday nights. Once that schedule comes out we will adjust ours. If possible we will move the games to a Saturday or Friday evening possibly. I have thought about playing in Ethan as well so that is a possibility. Just wanted to let the players know about that.
The other thing is a rule that I left out of the rule book. Hear me out before you start to tear it down. The league in Mitchell requires either A) a center to snap the ball back to the QB or B) the QB has to snap the ball off the ground on the line of scrimmage. I think this is a necessary rule for a couple of reasons. First off, we need to have a set line of scrimmage so the defense and the refs know where the line is. There will be a marker (Frisbee was used in the Mitchell league) on the line of scrimmage. Now if a team decides to use a center to snap the ball he by no means has to snap it through his legs. He can turn around and toss it back to him if he chooses. We need to have a snap so the defense and the refs know when the play starts. In all honesty, an offense could hurry up to the ball grab it and the receivers take off without the qb even saying hut. That will leave the defense and refs with a delayed 3-count to rush the QB. The main reason for this is so that as soon as the ball is lifted off the ground, the play starts. Any comments and suggestions in a POSITIVE manner are appreciated.
I will have an “Inside the EEFL” article up weekly to give an update of the league and a look at anything that is going on. If you have any suggestions or want me to talk about something in my series of articles please let me know.
“The Time Is Coming”
When you think of loudmouth owners the first name that comes to mind is Jerry Jones. From the conception of the EEFL it had appeared that Prime Time owner Andy Erickson would be to the EEFL what Jones is to the NFL. After recent comments made this morning by Highlight Reel owner Seth Wethor, there might be a new loudmouth in town.
In an email exchange with another owner this morning, Wethor declared and I quote “We (Highlight Reel) are gunna have the best D in the league. And prolly the best offense”. Many could take that quote as just a boost of confidence for his team, but Wethor later reiterated the statement making sure he got his point across. “I’m not being cocky, just telling the truth.”
One has to question the amount of confidence Wethor has in his team. By no means will this team be a basement dweller, but what many owners declare a downfall of his team, Wethor declares one of the strongest points. And that would be speed. Don’t get me wrong, they have some speed, but they may have the least amount in the league.
1st round draft pick Ben Erickson isn’t slow by any means, but every other team will have someone that is capable of covering him man-to-man. Jamon Harberts is more of a possession receiver that relies on finding holes in the coverage to get open rather than beating someone deep. Adrien Heiter and Austin Bunger pose no down the field threat whatsoever.
There will be trash-talking going back and forth between all teams in the league, but I have a feeling after Wethor’s latest comments, that the biggest rivalry may have just been spurred. “Your team (speaking of Prime Time) has no speed whatsoever. Kendall, and that’s it. Kyle is average. Ben on Kyle, Jamon on Kendall, Adrien and Bunger on Andy and Will. Me (Seth) playing safety. They won’t score 3 times. We will score 8.”
If those matchups are correct, any quarterback is going to drool over having Heiter and Bunger matched up on two of the biggest red-zone targets in the league in Andy and Will as they have an extreme height advantage over both. There will be many questions leading up to the league kickoff in 60 some days, but one thing that isn’t a question is that when these two teams meet feelings will be hurt, names will be called and blood will be shed. Prepare yourself; the rivalry begins in just 84 days.
Ravens vs Steelers:
This game, ultimately is going to come down to who can score touchdowns in the redzone and not have to settle for field goals. Both of these teams have stingy defenses led by stud line-backers Ray Lewis (in my opinion the best lb’er to ever play the game) and the cheap shot James Harrison. These teams are so much alike it is crazy. Both offenses aren’t really “spectacular”, but they make plays when they need to. I think Pittsburgh has the edge on the passing game, and Baltimore has the edge in the running game. Come playoff time, clock-management is huge. Baltimore’s run game is going to tire down the Steelers D. I am taking the Ravens, 20-17.
Packers vs Falcons:
I am not drinking the Atlanta style kool-aid. Yes, they have put together an impressive record in the regular-season. But I just don’t think Matt Ryan is ready to lead this team to the Super Bowl. On the other side, I think Aaron Rodgers is. I have been his biggest critic, mainly because Rodgers has been deemed a top 5 qb and hadn’t even won a playoff game up until last weekend. Green Bay’s rushing attack is starting to mature in the nick of time and I think if they can play the smash-mouth type of game Packer fans have come to love, Atlanta will be lying flat on their backs watching the NFC Championship game at home in a couple weeks. I got GB, 34-24.
Seattle vs Chicago:
Seattle won this match-up back in Week 6 by 3 points. They sacked Jay Cutler 6 times and held him to only 17 completions. Drew Brees was 6-for-6 on his first six play-action attempts on Sunday, throwing for 56 yards, a touchdown and five first downs. On his next eight attempts though, Brees went 5-for-8, picking up just 20 yards and one first down. All three incompletions were broken up by Seahawk defenders. The Seahawks finally started pressuring him and forcing him to make bad passes. Granted he didn’t throw an int, but Jay Cutler will. Here is another interesting fact. Matt Hasselbeck had a passer rating of 55.9 on play-action passes during the regular season, worst among postseason starting quarterbacks and third-worst overall (min. 50 attempts). Hasselbeck was 6-6 for 48 yards and two touchdowns when using the play-fake against the Saints on Saturday (139.6 rating). What does this all mean? A major upset in Chicago. I haven’t been sipping the Windy City kool-aid either, and from what I have heard from The Eric Pedigo Show host Eric Pedigo, neither are Chicago fans. Seattle wins this one and they are one step closer to trying on that glass slipper. Cinderella and Pete Carroll will sleep well Sunday night, as dreams of the NFC Championship game have become a reality. Seattle wins 24-20.
NY Jets vs New England Patriots:
This game has gotten ugly, and its still 4 days away. With all the trash talk, its time to shut up and play. The Jets have the demeanor of a high school team. Talking crap about the other teams plays is only putting up poster board material in New England. And Rex and his foot fettish are in for a rude awakening. I am not real excited for this game because in games like this Tom Brady is at his best. I look for the Pats to deflate the Jets, 40-24.