Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Did Lawrence Taylor use a performance enhancing drug?

January 14, 2010

Ever see a guy on crack? It’s…scary. Ever have a guy on crack running after you at full speed trying to drag you to the ground? Also…scary.

I watched part of Mark McGuire’s interview with Bob Costas the other night and while I felt a tiny bit bad for his family – the bottom line is, Mark McGuire cheated. He and the other steroid users put a substance into their bodies that enabled them to do things they likely couldn’t have done without it. They cheated.

But after watching for just a few minutes, Bob Costas’ out of control sports knowledge made my mind wander. It wandered until it stumbled upon a question I’ve considered before: did Lawrence Taylor use a performance enhancing drug during his playing days? I think he did. The only real difference between what McGuire did and what Lawrence Taylor did was that they used different performance enhancing drugs. McGuire used steroids and Taylor used cocaine (and eventually crack). Generally, cocaine is not considered a “performance enhancing” drug but for a linebacker in the NFL, I sure think it ought to be.

Lawrence Taylor revolutionized the position of outside linebacker. He was absolutely brutish, reckless, relentless…and he was everywhere. He was incredibly effective. He was easily one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history if not THE greatest. When I was a kid I watched a few Giant games on TV (like the Joe Theisman leg-snap game) -  and I remember the cameras would focus in at times on Taylor’s eyes. Now that I’m older, I realize that his weren’t the eyes of a man feeding off of natural adrenaline but instead the eyes of a guy who was likely hopped up on cocaine.

If there is one position in all sports where a guy could benefit from the use of cocaine or crack, it would be linebacker in the NFL. Taylor was busted twice for using cocaine and crack DURING the season. I can’t claim to know for sure if Taylor was high during games, but considering he was busted more than once, he admitted to using the urine of teammates for drug tests and considering that he played the wild style of football he did, I would say it’s quite likely. So why hasn’t more been made of the possibility that the cocaine/crack use enhanced his play? That it helped him maintain his trademark frenzied style of play? Does he deserve an asterisk or two next to some of his amazing stats? Should he even be in the Hall of Fame?

What do you think?

Rex Ryan – classless jerk

January 12, 2010

Rex Ryan is an assclown. The following comments are from Ryan who was pissed Darrelle Revis didn’t win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Jerk.:

“A number that I think is interesting is eight.  No, that’s not the amount of touchdown passes Green Bay gave up against Arizona.  That’s the amount of touchdown passes we gave up all season.  The biggest reason for that is Darrelle Revis.”

And then this:

“I wasn’t going to comment on it,” said Ryan. “You know what I would like? I would like to congratulate the people who voted for Darrelle Revis, those guys obviously really know the game.”

As I’ve said before, in a gracious, classy way – Revis had an incredible season and deserved to be a part of this discussion. No question. But no single defensive player changed games this year more than Charles Woodson. He was the best defensive player in the NFL and deserves this award. Meanwhile, Rex Ryan deserves to lose by 30 this weekend.

Packers vs Cardinals Preview

January 10, 2010
  • Aaron Rodgers is a fantastic 3rd down QB. So it’s not a stretch to say he’s likely quite comfortable at this point handling blitzes – and our RB, TEs and O-Linemen are good at picking up blitzes. But Rodgers and co better be ready for blitzes Sunday. AZ will be bringing them from all over the place – if they don’t, I’ll be shocked. AZ had some very good defensive games this year and usually, the defense was at its best when blitzing effectively. D-Coordinator Billy Davis is a rising talent. So I hope McCarthy has some quick slants, screens, emergency dump off passes and even some deep-against-single-coverage-quicker passes drawn up just in case.
  • The Packers must remember that AZ is a really, really good team. AZ essentially made the playoffs weeks ago. So they have been coasting into the postseason for a while now. They will be ready to play.
  • Speaking of pressure, pressure on Warner will be huge. BUT, and this is a big but (like a Rex Ryan type butt), the best situation would be to not have to blitz constantly to get that pressure. I’m hoping a fair amount of pressure can come from the 3 down linemen and a LB or two coming at Warner. And importantly, Warner is slow, very slow. So, Matthews alone could cause him fits if he is able to flush him from the pocket or even fluster him slightly making Warner throw it away. But big-time blitzing just to blitz (like the Eagles did in the first half against the Cowboys tonight – or like Bob Slowik did a few years ago when the Pack played Indy in Indy) is not the answer. Carefully drawn up blitzes that are tough to recognize will be needed because Warner is a savvy old vet.
  • The injury to Anquan Boldin is big. I know they managed to win last year without him for a stretch in the playoffs, but his absence in this game will be big in particular as he Pack isn’t particularly deep at CB.
  • The Pack cannot let Beanie Wells get rolling. Hightower will have his 2-3 yard carries here and there and shouldn’t hurt us. But if Wells starts getting into the game, we need to watch out. He is a really good RB who at his best can run right through just about anyone. One way to upset his momentum though, is with a timely strip. Make him fumble and he’s not the same guy.
  • The Cards defense gave up 4.5 yards per carry this season to RBs. That’s not good. Ryan Grant, who seems to be a different player in the second half of a season, could have a huge game. For some reason, I can see him breaking a few long ones in this game.
  • We have some playmakers who need to get the ball in big games – Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley all need their fair share of targets. At the same time, both DRC (Rogers-Comrartie) and Bryant McFadden are quality corners who will likely draw Jennings/Driver – so it is not only possible but likely that the Pack will look to take advantage of the match-ups Finley/Jones/Nelson are likely to draw.
  • Last Sunday, Tramon Williams came to play. He had a nice hit and a few pass break-ups – and overall he seemed fired up. If he plays at a high level, we could frustrate Warner. Same with Jarrett Bush…yes, Jarrett that Bush. He’s been more active lately in positive ways. There are plenty of negative things still said about him (and mostly justifiable), but at some point, I wonder if he’s going to be picked on until he makes someone pay. I know many of you are rolling your eyes at my apparent crack use, but I keep going back to the offseason when there were apparently several teams who wanted him badly – and were willing to pay for him. Maybe this will be the big game where he shows people he’s better than his reputation.
  • Atari Bigby asserted himself in the second half of the season. Not only has he added the stabilizing presence friend Mike predicted he’d add when he returned to health earlier this year (9-3 in games Bigby played this year), but he’s made a few fairly athletic plays in recent weeks reminding me a bit of the guy we all thought he’d develop into after the 2007 playoff run. So, while Woodson gets tons of deserved attention, Collins plays great/makes Pro Bowls and people seem to spend a lot of time wondering how Tramon will play – it seems not many are talking about Bigby and the potential that he could be a factor in this game. One way to to render the AZ WRs less effective of course, would be a couple monster hits from Bigby. Just ask the 2007 Seahawk WRs.
  • Packers 37, Cardinals 24.

Wild Card Playoff Preview

January 8, 2010
  • Balt at NE – Balt is a team that gets up for games inspired by their intense coach John Harbaugh. (Anyone, by the way, see McGahee’s tremendous stiff arm in last week’s game – throwing the defender to the ground like a rag doll?). Balt has some talent in Rice, McGahee, Mason, sometimes Flacco, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Ngata, Suggs, Todd Heap – but NE hasn’t lost at home this year. I don’t like how the Pats have been playing, Brady looks off to me. And the injury to Welker is big (though last week, seemed like Julian Edelman filled in just fine with 12 receptions). This is a game where I think Balt is the better overall team but because the game is in NE and Belichick is coaching, I think NE wins. While I think NE will pull this one off, can’t shake the thought that they will get absolutely destroyed in their next game – by 20 or more. NE 27, Balt 23.
  • Phil @ Dal – may be the hardest game to predict all year. Can’t figure out why Phil was so bad last week. Thinking about the playoffs before the Week 17 games, I was pretty sure Phil would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Now I’m not so sure. I think Phil will win this game because I believe there is a huge difference in coaching talent between Phillips and Reid (Reid being way better). And, as important as last week’s game was, this is far more important – so I expect Reid to get his players to play for him the right way. I do think Romo will be in for some surprises this week – and may have a tough time. Also, watch to see what happens if Dal’s game plan isn’t working – seems Phillips isn’t great at adapting during the game. Phil 34, Dal 24
  • NYJ @ Cincy – it’s rare that I just plain root against a team, but in this game, I really want the Jets to lose. Rex Ryan and his cocky Super Bowl statements are too much. While I fight myself a bit with Ryan because I like guys who don’t give thoughtless/drivelish responses to media questions – this guy just seems to operate with a hubris on par (pun intended) with Tiger Woods. I also think so much attention has been directed toward the NYJ because of their loudmouth coach, that it will ultimately help Cincy. Cincy didn’t show up last week because they had no reason to. No, they didn’t look good, but I took nothing from that game. Cincy is a good team with a surprisingly solid defense. And as much as Rex Ryan thinks his D is so great and his run game is so great, I’d like to see what happens if Cincy shuts down that run game by putting 9 guys in the box. (This would be smart of Cincy to do for much of the game because Mark Sanchez isn’t that good yet and Cincy’s underrated corners can handle the NYJ’s WRs no problem.) Cincy 31, NYJ 21.
  • Packers @ Cards – I’m working on a separate post previewing this huge game.

From the hot seat to Coach of the Year?

January 5, 2010

Charlie Casserly, in an article yesterday at cbssports.com, talks about Mike McCarthy as one of his 6 candidates for Coach of the Year. Interesting that at 4-4 earlier this year, a number of local and national folks were wondering if McCarthy would be replaced at the end of this year (myself included). Now, people are talking about him as a Coach of the Year candidate. As Casserly points out, while McCarthy working with a young team and bringing in Capers were two definite positives for him, I think the major reason he should be in the discussion is that he helped to turn the season around. I know there were other factors in the season’s turnaround, but the coaching in the second half by both McCarthy and Capers improved. And I do think that McCarthy should be getting more credit than he has been for the development of Aaron Rodgers. The two work very well together. To have a second year starter in the conversation for league MVP is impressive.

(Keep in mind though that Casserly’s list includes Wade Phillips and Jack Del Rio, neither of whom should be on there and does not include Norv Turner, who should probably win it).

I would not give this award to McCarthy. I would lean toward Norv Turner and maybe Marvin Lewis. (Interesting I write this because after last season, I would have supported the firing of both Turner and Lewis.) I’d say Jim Caldwell, Sean Payton should also be considered candidates.

2009 Pro Bowl rosters

December 29, 2009

Read here for the full list.

  • 3 Packers made it: Rodgers, Collins and Woodson. I’d have to say that’s probably fair.
  • I do think Clay Matthews could easily replace  OLB Brian Orakpo from the Redskins, who made it. Matthews had 10 sacks, Orakpo had 11. Matthews had 51 total tackles, Orakpo 48. Matthews had 3 forced fumbles, Orakpo 1. Matthews had 1 TD, Orakpo (and interestingly, almost every other top flight LB) had zero. While I’m not sure either Matthews or Orakpo should have made it, I do know that Matthews had better stats than Brian Orakpo.
  • Interesting that nobody from Cincy’s division winning team made it. I would have thought one of their two quality CBs would have.
  • Ryan Pickett has had a very solid year, but his injuries and his competition probably kept him out of the discussion.
  • Finley will make it next year.
  • It’s hard to see London Fletcher miss the Pro Bowl again after a top notch season for a crappy team (Wash, MLB), but the fact is Jonathan Vilma (who made it) had a quality all-around year too. (And Patrick Willis was his usual dominant self.)
  • While few would consider this a serious point, I actually think Packers’ right guard Josh Sitton has played so well that suggesting he should have at least been in the conversation isn’t ridiculous. Not only has Sitton held his own assignment-wise (from what I’ve been able to tell), but he’s had to deal with incompetence at times from coworkers on the O-line – probably making his job that much harder. I wouldn’t be surprised if his name starts coming up in the next year or so as a big-time guard.

Packer playoff scenarios

December 21, 2009

From what I’ve been able to figure, our playoff picture is not too complicated. Ok, as I study this, it is a bit complicated. Remember that Philly has already clinched a playoff spot, though it’s possible they could lose the division title yet to Dallas. But Philly beat the NYG 2x this year, so they own the head-to-head tiebreaker against NYG:

  • Packers are in and clinch the #5 seed if we win our last 2 games no matter what other teams do.
  • Packers are in if we win 1 of our final two games and the Giants lose 1 of their final 3 games.
  • Packers are in if we win 1 of our final two games and Dallas loses 1 of its final two games.

How can the Packers still be elimintated?

  • Packers could be out if we lose both of the last two games, Dallas wins at least one of their last two games and the NYG win at least 2 of their final 3 games. (In this case, the Packers would lose a common game tiebreaker to the NYG – thanks in large part to the embarrassing TB loss).
  • Packers could be out if we lose one of the last two games, Dallas wins both of their remaining games and the NYG win all 3 of their remaining games. Again, we’d lose the tiebreaker to the NYG.

Interesting MVP poll at Foxsports

December 17, 2009

Readers were given 5 MVP candidates to choose from and here’s the breakdown:

  1. Drew Brees – 23%
  2. Brett Favre – 22%
  3. Peyton Manning – 21%
  4. Chris Johnson – 18%
  5. Charles Woodson – 16%

Now, so far, only 2300 or so people have voted. I know Woodson is ranked #5, but he’s within a few percentage points of the top. While he definitely deserves to be in this discussion and we’ve posted several times in the past stating the same, it’s nice to see other fans on a national level apparently think so too. Imagine if he would have caught those two other bad Cutler passes last week. If he keeps playing this well, I actually think the fact that he was one of few defensive players to win the Heisman (some say he was really the ONLY true defensive player to win it), might make MVP voters think twice about voting against him. He’s the rare guy who is talented enough to set new precedents. It’s already unusual enough that a cornerback is part of this discussion – think about that historically.

Looking for books to buy for Christmas?

December 15, 2009

We feel badly that we haven’t mentioned these two books before now. But please Packergeek readers, if you have the chance, pick up one or both of these books.

Recent Packergeeks commenter Phil Hanrahan (welcome to the family Phil) has written the book entitled Life after Favre. I have not read the book but I have read some excerpts and it is well-written. I do plan to read it. Check it out.

And, as many of you know, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn has written The Ultimate Super Bowl Book. Reviews have been good and it would make for a timely gift with the Super Bowl around the corner.

Playoff scenarios

December 15, 2009

Thanks to Dave in Tucson for pointing this out. Read here from cbssports for the latest playoff scenarios. A Packer win (at Pitt) and a Dallas loss (at NO) would clinch a spot for the Pack this week. This could be a tough game for the Packers as Pitt will no doubt be hungry and playing with fire after being embarrassed by the Cleve. It will be a great game to ready us for the playoffs and I hope we match their intensity.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.