Cedric Benson

2010 NFL Pre-Season: Early Thoughts

It’s that time of year again.  The NFL season opens on Thursday with a highly anticipated rematch of the defending champion New Orleans Saints and the team that thoroughly dominated them in the NFC Championship Game, the Minnesota Vikings.  Darrelle Revis is on the roster and ready for a visit from Anquan Boldin.  And Anquan’s not coming alone.  He’s bringing a 10,000 pound offensive line, that “other” defense, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.  These are great bookends to the first week.

Anquan Boldin Discussing Exit Strategies

"Don't Leave Me Hanging on the Island!"

But before we get ahead of ourselves, I have a few takeaways from the pre-season.  Last pre-season, I was impressed by a few teams.  There was something about their intensity, passion and power that stood out.  The Jets were not on that list.  I did put a spotlight on the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals.  Not bad…those teams went 33-15.  That was much better than their combined 20-27-1 record in 2008.  I was also down on Denver.  When they started out 6-0, I was thinking — “Hmmm, might have missed on that one.”  When they finished 2-8, I felt better.

So, who do I think is the real deal this season? (more…)

A Look Back at the 2005 NFL Draft

Back in April, the NFL concluded the 2010 draft.  This year’s draft was punctuated by the prime time debut of Round 1 at New York City’s famed Radio City Music Hall.  The draft was extended over a three day period and received wide acclaim from fans and media, alike.

It is too early to say who the winners are for the 2010 draft.  Some draft picks never make it out of camp; some never fulfill the promise of their rookie contract.  Still others exceed the greatest expectations.  It has been widely stated that the average career of an NFL player is 4-5 years.  Given that, let’s take a look at the 2005 NFL Draft.

The Rules of the Game

There are as many ways to evaluate the success of a draft class as there are to evaluate players.  What matters most?  Years as a starter, Pro Bowl selections, All Pro selections, team wins, championships, value at selected position, value over next selection?  There are a lot of criteria to consider.

I’ll leave that final determination to you.  For my own purposes, I admit using a subjective mix of all of those criteria.   Here is a link for you to make your own decision.

Top Dog of the 2005 NFL Draft

1. Dallas Cowboys.   The Cowboys used two first round selections to grab DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears.  Ware has become a dominant defensive force in the league.  He has been selected to four Pro Bowls and been named All-Pro three times.  He is arguably the best player at his position in the entire NFL.  Ware, to the Cowboys credit, was taken just before Chargers LB Shawne Merriman.

DeMarcus Ware: 2005 Draft Cream of the Crop

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Troy Polamalu: Quintessential Anticipation

Week 10 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals

Troy Polamalu Knows What's Coming

On this play, Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu has anticipated the snap of the ball and diagnosed the play.  He is already across the line of scrimmage and bearing down on the ball.  Bengals QB Carson Palmer hasn’t even raised the ball to his waist.  The play is a power rush to the left side for Cedric Benson.

Benson doesn’t make it.

No wonder this team was 9-7.

2009 NFL Season: Week 6 Recap

There were some compelling story lines that emerged this week.  The Bengals took a not-so-surprising plunge back to earth after beating the Steelers and Ravens.  The Giants were undressed.  The “Sanchise” took it on the chin 5 times and the Jets found a new way to lose.  The Vikings showed just how tough they’re going to be down the stretch.  (It looks an awful lot like the Saints and Vikings are going to play for the NFC Championship.)  The Eagles did the unthinkable.  With all of these stories, perhaps nothing was more surprising that the rapid and complete demise of the once-proud Tennessee Titans.

Welker_v_Titans

AP Photo - Winslow Townson

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2009 NFL Season: Power Running 101

AP_2

Adrian Peterson Sends Julian Peterson Into Outer Space

Not everyone in this league runs hard.  Not everyone in this league tackles well.  And sometimes, we’re fortunate enough to see what happens when someone who does not tackle well runs into someone who actually does run hard.  Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (center of the picture – holding the ball in his left arm) runs very, very hard.   (more…)

2009 NFL Season: 5 Stats that Surprise

Every season is full of surprises.  Here are five that caught my eye.

1.  Ben Roethlisberger is leading the NFL in completion percentage at 71.6%.  That’s higher than Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner.  Roethlisberger has a 63% completion rate over his career.  The offensive line, which has been so maligned, must be doing something right.

SteelPocket

"I've Got All Day!!"

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2009 NFL Pre-Season: Early Thoughts

The NFL pre-season means absolutely nothing.  Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost every single game and were particularly ineffective on offense.  Pre-season means nothing.  Still…

Santonio Holmes - Super Bowl MVPSantonio Holmes – Super Bowl MVP

I can’t help thinking that some of what I’ve seen is instructive as a prelude to the 2009 season.  Here are some early thoughts: (more…)