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A Glimpse at the 2010 NFL Season according to a so-called expert by Lloyd Vance

September 7, 2010 1 comment

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance believes that the 2010 NFL season will be a big year for the Baltimore Ravens and their on-the-field leader Ray Lewis

Once again it is time for me to get out my crystal ball and see if I can prognosticate the upcoming NFL season. However as all of my friends can attest, I have never been totally right or wrong in my predictions.

I can already tell you now that I have never gotten the Super Bowl match-up or champion completely right. Because in the NFL, nothing has ever been won on paper and you always need to remember former NFL Commissioner Bert Bell’s famous line, “On Any Given Sunday”.  Our usual game keys of injuries, luck, preparation and pure want-to will all be huge factors as to who ends up playing at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Super Bowl Sunday (February 6, 2011).

And please tell me who could have predicted in the 2009 NFL Season that the hard-luck New Orleans Saints would finally shake off their long history of failed seasons to win the Super Bowl.  Maybe this is my year to be the envy of my doubters (Big V, I am specifically talking to you).  However you know I will have to eat some crow later this NFL season for some of these predictions.

Of course, my NFL tea-leaf reading is all in good fun, so with the season ready to kickoff –Thursday September 9th with the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings in a 2009 NFC Championship Game rematch…. We can rejoice and say “Hallelujah” as the 2010 NFL Season is finally here.

NFC  

NFC South

New Orleans Saints       11-5

Atlanta Falcons               10-6

Carolina Panthers            5-11

Tampa Bay Buccaneers    3-13

NFC North

Green Bay Packers      11-5

Minnesota Vikings     9-7

Chicago Bears            6-10

Detroit Lions             5-11

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys         12-4

Washington Redskins 10-6

Philadelphia Eagles      8-8

New York Giants          7-9

NFC West

SF 49ers                     10-6

Arizona Cardinals      9-7

Seattle Seahawks       5-11

St. Louis Rams           3-13

AFC

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts     13-3

Houston Texans         11-5

Tennessee Titans       8-8

Jacksonville Jaguars  3-13 

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens       12-4

Cincinnati Bengals     10-6

Pittsburgh Steelers    9-7

Cleveland Browns      4-12

AFC East

New England Patriots 11-5

New York Jets              9-7

Miami Dolphins          7-9

Buffalo Bills                 2-14

AFC West

Denver Broncos            10-6

San Diego Chargers      8-8

Oakland Raiders           8-8

Kansas City Chiefs       4-12

Playoffs

NFC

Division Champions: Dallas Cowboys (Bye), New Orleans Saints (Bye), Green Bay Packers, SF 49ers

NFC Wild Cards: Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins 

NFC Wild Card Round: Green Bay Packers over Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons over SF 49ers

NFC Divisional Round: Dallas Cowboys over Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers over New Orleans Saints

NFC Championship: Dallas Cowboys over Green Bay Packers

AFC

Division Champions: Indianapolis Colts (Bye), Baltimore Ravens (Bye), New England Patriots, Denver Broncos

AFC Wild Cards: Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals

AFC Wild Card Round: Cincinnati Bengals over New England Patriots, Houston Texans over Denver Broncos

AFC Divisional Round:  Cincinnati Bengals over Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens over Houston Texans

AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens over Cincinnati Bengals 

Super Bowl XLV: Baltimore Ravens over Dallas Cowboys

Awards

NFL Coach of the Year: Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Offensive MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

NFL Defensive MVP:  OLB DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year:  RB Ryan Matthews, San Diego Chargers

 **Also keep an eye on Detroit Lions RB Jahvid Best, Cincinnati Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham, and Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: DT Ndamukong Suh, Detoit Lions

** Also keep an eye on Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, and Oakland Raiders ILB Rolando McClain

NFL Comeback Player of the Year: WR Mike Williams, Seattle Seahawks

** Also keep an eye on Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler, Cincinnati Bengals Cornerback/Kick Returner Adam “Pacman” Jones and New England Patriots WR Wes Welker

Co-NFL Breakout Players:   RB Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders and WR Johnny Knox, Chicago Bears

First Pick of the 2011 NFL Draft: University of Washington QB Jake Locker by the Buffalo Bills

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Ravens trade for Anquan Boldin by Lloyd Vance

The Baltimore Ravens may have finally solved their pass catching woes by trading for former Cardinals  receiver Anquan Boldin

Everyone thought some of the teams “supposedly” trapped in the NFL‘s Final 8 Plan during the league’s first foray into uncapped waters would have some difficulty acquiring help with the free agency restrictions imposed on this group.  As the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement wanted to make sure that the rich didn’t get richer, i.e. no George Steinbrenner type owner was going to “buy” all of the available talent on the market – a restriction example is that Final 8 teams can only sign one high-priced unrestricted free agent. 

So going into Friday’s anticipated free agent spending frenzy, everyone figured that the Dallas C owboys, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, and Baltimore Ravens would have to wait until the NFL Draft in April to fix glaring holes on their team. 

The Final Eight Plan restrictions definitely did have an effect on some of the Final 8 teams such as the Cowboys and their deep-pocketed Jerry Jones, who has been surprising quiet so far this off-season.  However even in an uncapped year, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and his staff were determined to improve upon an offense that contributed only 21 receiving touchdowns.  After a season where quarterback Joe Flacco had difficulty finding receivers that could consistently get open and catch the ball, more playmakers were needed at the receiver position. 

To further explain the Ravens lack of production from their receiving corps, other than veteran Derrick Mason’s 73 catches for 1073 yards and 7 TDs, no Baltimore receiver had over 40 catches.  Often Flacco had to check-down to the teams leading pass catcher running back Ray Rice (78 receptions for 702 yards, and 1 TD), because other route runners had difficulty getting off the line of scrimmage and securing catches in traffic.  The deep ball, once a staple with speedy receiver Qadry Ismail when the Ravens won the Super Bowl, also fell by the wayside with Mason and Rice having the only catches over 60 yards in 2009.

Knowing that another year where teams could pin their ears back and attack Flacco due to a lack of respect for the Ravens’ receivers, Newsome creatively went to work.  First the Ravens decided that speedy receiver Donte’ Stallworth’s second chance in the NFL should come in purple.  Then Baltimore probably made one of the most important deals in free agency’s first weekend.  With everyone talking about the Chicago Bears big splash of signing DE Julius Peppers and RB Chester Taylor, some forgot to check out what was happening in the Charm City.

The Ravens instantly put themselves back in the mix at the top of the AFC North division by trading for disgruntled former Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin (6’1, 217).  The Ravens shipped Arizona 3rd- and 4th-round picks in this year’s draft for the former Pro Bowl receiver and a 5th-round selection.  When I first looked at this deal, I immediately thought the Ravens pulled a fast one on the Cardinals, but Arizona wanted more time for younger receivers Early Doucet and Steve Breaston.  Even with the emergence of those two aforementioned receivers, the Cardinals still are going to miss the former 2003 offensive rookie of the year.  

Boldin — averaged 83 catches and six touchdowns in a career — brings a tough physical veteran receiver to the Ravens that has game-breaking run after the catch ability.  And by all indications, he could be the missing piece for a Ravens team that hung around for a while with the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts.

The Ravens’ new No. 1 target is a three-time Pro Bowl player, who dearly wanted out of a bad contract situation with the Cardinals and now, by all indications, has a new lease on life.  And did I also mention that the Ravens only minutes after completing the trade, gave the former Florida State star a new four-year, $28 million contract, which includes $25 million dollars in “new money”, and $10 million in guarantees.

After the trade an enthusiastic Boldin (career numbers: 586 catches for 7520 yards, 12.8 ypc, and 44 TDs) said via the Ravens’ website, “I’m a piece of the puzzle for [the Ravens, I believe I can help them, maybe get them to another level. I think I’ll fit in with them. It’s going to be a lot of fun being a Raven.”   Boldin added, “I’m definitely excited. For me, I’ve been hoping for this for a year since I first heard that the Ravens might be interested in me. I even talked with Ray [Lewis] about it a year ago.”

Look for the former second-round pick in 2003 to immediately be moved all around head coach John Harbaugh’s offense and to be a difference maker in extending the career of tight end Todd Heap and helping out in the redzone.  “The Ravens just got better,” Harbaugh said. “Anquan is a significant addition for us. He fits the personality of our team with the hard-nosed, physical way he plays. We love the way he competes. Our fans will enjoy watching him compete, and his teammates will be excited to have him with us.”

So now Boldin (29) gets out of the lengthy shadow of former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald and expectations for the Ravens offense have been heightened.  But now you have to wonder if stout veteran Derrick Mason – an unrestricted free agent – has played his last game in Baltimore.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

2009 NFL Season – Week 17 Rankings by Lloyd Vance

Backup QB Troy Smith and the Baltimore Ravens need a win in Week 17 to secure an AFC playoff spot

The last week of the 2009 NFL regular season will either be a happy or forgettable event for some NFL teams as the New Year rolls in.  Though 10 of the NFL’s 12 coveted playoff berths have been claimed, there are several Week 17 storylines around the two remaining berths plus  the “Who” and the “Where” pieces of the playoff puzzle left to be decided. 

The NFC playoff picture is pretty clear as all six playoff spots have been claimed (New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers) with the Saints as the No. 1 seed, but the other five seeds need to be sorted out.  The AFC side of the ledger is a bit more complicated, though the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers have clinched the top two seeds, because there are 7 teams vying for the conference’s last two wildcard spots.

In looking at the current NFL standings one last time before the “real” games start, here’s the breakdown: The “Elite” – Colts (14-1), Saints (13-2), Chargers (12-3), Eagles (11-4), Vikings (11-4), and Cardinals (10-5); “In the Playoffs or on the Cusp” — Bengals (10-5),  Packers (10-5) Cowboys (10-5), Patriots (10-5), Ravens (8-7), and Jets (8-7); “Help Needed” teams that need help from others in their conference just to get in the playoffs  — Texans (8-7), Steelers (8-7), Broncos (8-7), Jaguars (7-8) and Dolphins (7-8); and lastly the “Finishing Out the String” teams (See you at the 2010 NFL Draft) – Giants (8-7), Falcons (8-7), Titans (7-8), Niners (7-8), Panthers (7-8), Bears (6-9), Seahawks (5-10), Bills (5-10), Raiders (5-10), Browns (4-11), Redskins (4-11), Chiefs (3-12), Buccaneers (3-12), Lions (2-13), and Rams (1-13)

Now on to the rankings for this week.

1.  Colts (14-1) – The champagne corks were flying for the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the Colts chose to “rest” key players in the second half of a disappointing loss to the “thankful” NY Jets.  I will debate the point all day that the Colts’ management was wrong to rest players, but GM Bill Polian’s crew has stuck to their “Non-Perfection” stance and we will see how the playoffs turnout.  Expect to see more of backup QB Curtis Painter and company as the Colts close out the regular season against the host Buffalo Bills.

2.  Chargers (12-3) – The Chargers won their 10th game in a row as they thumped the host Tennessee Titans on Christmas Day.  Don’t expect to see head coach Norv Turner to take his foot off the gas when San Diego hosts the Redskins in Week 17 as the Chargers want to go into the playoffs “hot”.

3.  Saints (13-2) – Ought…Oh, the formerly “perfect” Saints appear to be leaking oil as they head to the playoffs.  Though the Saints wrapped up the NFC’s number one seed, they did not look good as they squandered a 17-point lead in a disappointing home overtime loss to the scrappy Tampa Bay Bucs.  Even though the Saints shouldn’t have much to play for against the host Carolina Panthers, expect a strong effort from QB Drew Brees and company.

4.  Eagles (11-4) – Don’t look now, but outside of the San Diego Chargers, the Birds are the hottest team in the NFL.  In another tough close victory, the Eagles put aside Brian Dawkins homecoming to pull-out a win over the reeling Denver Broncos.  Somewhere former Eagles head coaches Dick Vermeil and Buddy Ryan are smiling as it will be Philly vs. Dallas for the NFC East division in Week 17.

5.  Cardinals (10-5) – As the playoffs approach, the Cards are getting better and have a running game.  The 2008 NFL runner-ups looked good in pulling out a tougher than expected NFC West division win over the St. Louis Rams.  With playoff seeding on the line, the Cardinals will host the Green Bay Packers and these two could possibly meet next week in the 1st round of the playoffs.

6.  Vikings (11-4) – I don’t care what anyone says, the Vikings are not on the right page at the wrong time of the season.  QB Brett Favre and company continued to limp into the playoffs as they lost in overtime to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.  With a shot at still claiming the NFC’s #2 seed, if the Eagles lose, expect the Vikings to get back on track by thumping the Giants.

7.  Patriots (10-5) – The Pats showed their veteran pedigree as they won their 3rd straight game with a drubbing of the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars.  You know Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would like nothing more than putting an end to the Houston Texans’ playoff hopes, so expect to see QB Tom Brady and WR Randy Moss in Week 17.

8. Cowboys (10-5) – The ‘Boys continued to answer the bell in December 2009 as they shutout the crawling home Washington Redskins.  In a signature game, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips and QB Tony Romo have a chance to wash away a long history of end of season woes by beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17 and claiming the NFC East crown.

9.  Bengals (10-5) — The veteran group of head coach Marvin Lewis, QB Carson Palmer, and — dare I say it – Chad Ochocinco willed the Bengals to a win over the Chiefs to claim the AFC North.  With not much to play for by their late Sunday Night Football start, expect the Bengals to “rest” against the NY Jets who they quite possibly will see in the first round of the playoffs.

10. Packers (10-5) – Led by Pro Bowl CB Charles Woodson, the dangerous Packers destroyed the reeling Seattle Seahawks to claim one of the NFC’s wildcard spots.  Expect the Packers to go for a “momentum” win against the Cardinals in Week 17.

11.  Ravens (8-7) – The Ravens lost a tough road game to the Pittsburgh Steelers (dropped passes, touchdowns negate by penalties, and not enough pressure on Big Ben), but they still are in the driver’s seat in the AFC Wildcard race.  Expect to see Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to pull out all of the stops as Baltimore needs to get a win over the host Oakland Raiders to fulfill their playoff hopes.

12.  Steelers (8-7) – You have to wonder how bad the Steelers as kicking themselves for their 5-game losing streak that included losses to the Chiefs and Raiders.  The Steelers kept their flickering playoff hopes alive by winning a thrilling game over the Ravens.  The first order of business for the playoffs is for the Steelers to beat the host Miami Dolphins then hope for some help.

13.  Texans (8-7) – You know the upstart Texans would like nothing more than to end their 8-8 streak and sneak into the playoffs for the first time.  In Week 16, the Texans went on a mission to South Florida and kept their playoff hopes alive while sending the Dolphins closer to next year.  It will be “Put Up or Shut Up” time when the Texans host New England in Week 17, but Houston still will need some help for their first playoffs.

14.  Falcons (8-7) – Too bad QB Matt Ryan was hurt for some earlier crucial games as the Falcons are playing some of the best football in the NFL.  Mike Smith’s team continued their end of season run by thumping the hap-hazard Buffalo Bills.  In a pride game that will mean a winning season, expect Ryan and the Falcons to go all out in Week 17 versus the surging host Tampa Bay Bucs.

15. Jets (8-7) – I know the J-E-T-S are very close to securing one of the AFC’s wildcard berths, but they have a lot of work to do.  After Peyton and his crew handed the Colts’ backups a 5-point lead, it didn’t take long for Rex Ryan’s team to secure Jim Caldwell’s gift victory.  The Jets may get their second “gift” win in a row, on the way to the playoffs, when they face the Bengals who may also be resting players.

16. Giants (8-7) – The G-Men never showed up in a terrible loss to the Carolina Panthers in the Meadowlands’ last game.   It is player evaluation time for GM Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin as the G-Men travel to Minnesota in Week 17.

17.  Broncos (8-7) – Not even the return of former Eagles veteran safety Brian Dawkins could spur the reeling Broncos to a win in Philly.  Hard to believe after their hot start, the Broncos and energetic head coach Josh McDaniels are on the brink of missing the playoffs.  In order to keep their flagging playoffs hopes alive, the Broncos must first win at home against the Chiefs.

18.  49ers (7-8) – Mike Singlegtary’s team is getting better, but 2010 maybe their season.  The Niners hammered the ready-for-the-draft Detroit Lions. Looking to build something for next year, expect the Niners to try like crazy for (8-8) as they face the 1-win Rams in Week 17.

19.  Panthers (7-8) – Panthers head coach John Fox got the okay to return in 2010, but does he? Too bad Fox took so long to insert QB Matt Moore as the starter, because the youngster looked good again this time in a win over the Giants.  The Panthers will continue to play “spoiler” when they host the suddenly stumbling New Orleans Saints.

20. Titans (7-8) – Not even Santa could wrap-up a win for V.Y and the Titans against the red-hot Chargers on Christmas Day.  With visions of V.Y producing again in 2010, the Titans will look to finish (8-8) when they face the Seattle Seahawks.

21.  Dolphins (7-8) – Week 16’s “Desperation Bowl” against the Houston Texans did not produce a good result for Miami.  The Dolphins will be looking to finish .500 and keep their flickering playoff hopes alive when they face the Steelers in Week 17.

22.  Jaguars (7-8) – The Jags have limped home after being in the AFC Wildcard driver’s seat at (7-5) after 13 weeks.  The  New England Patriots showed no mercy as they pounded the Jags in a deflating loss.  With their playoff hopes on life support, the Jags will try to get a win in Cleveland against the red-hot Browns.

23.  Bears (6-9) – The real “Monsters of the Midway” showed up as the Bears looked like a new team in producing a Monday Night Football overtime win against the Vikings.  Maybe QB Jay Cutler can pull another win out of his magic hat as the Bears face the Detroit Lions in Week 17.

24.  Browns (4-11) – You have to believe that the Browns are really starting to impress new football czar Mike Holmgren as they dominated the Oakland Raiders.  The Browns will try to save head coach Eric Mangini’s job as they host the playoff-hopeful Jacksonville Jaguars.

25.  Raiders (5-10) – Oakland put-up a fight, but the surging Cleveland Browns were too much for them.  Could the Raiders play the role of spoiler for the second year in a row?  The Raiders host the Ravens, who just need to get a win to make the playoffs.

26.  Bills (5-10) – It looks like the Perry Fewell head coaching experiment is about to end as the Falcons bludgeoned the Bills in Week 16.  It will be interesting to see how the Colts’ JV team does in a meaningless Week 17 game in Buffalo.

27.  Seahawks (5-10) – The Hawks’ didn’t even bother to show up at Lambeau in a horrible loss to the playoff hungry Packers.  Expect to see plenty of young players when the Seahawks host the Titans in Week 17.

28.  Redskins (4-11) – After the Redskins were shutout by the Cowboys, new GM Bruce Allen probably cannot wait for Black Monday to fire “Dead Man Walking” head coach Jim Zorn.  Look for the ‘Skins to mail-it-in when they travel across the country to play the red-hot San Diego Chargers.

29.  Buccaneers (3-12) – Head coach Raheem Morris’ team responded to the challenge of facing the host 13-win Saints by beating them in overtime. The Bucs will look to keep fighting and learning when they host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 17.

30.  Chiefs (3-12) – The Bengals pulled out a tough home win over KC to win the AFC North.  With not much else to play for other than stats, the Chiefs travel to Denver for an old-time AFL battle with the Broncos.

31.  Lions (2-13) – The Niners showed no mercy in  thumping the Lions.  In a game that will only have draft slotting implications, the Lions will host the Chicago Bears.

32.  Rams (1-14) – The Cards piled-up more offensive stats in a quality win over the Rams.  It is “Just Lose, Baby” time for the Rams against the Niners so they can claim the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft – more than likely Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

The NFL needs to stop protecting Patriots QB Tom Brady by Lloyd Vance

ngata

The Ravens defenders including Big DT Haloti Ngata were rightfully perturbed over some “iffy” roughing the passer calls that benefited Pats’ QB Tom Brady

Let’s think way back to Week 1 of the 2008 NFL Season. Kansas City Chiefs safety Benard Pollard lunged at “Captain America” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and knocked the NFL’s biggest prize out for the season with a knee injury. As we all know, the hit didn’t end the Patriots season as everyone seemed to predict. The Patriots picked themselves up and posted an 11-5 season without Tom Terrific. However NFL owners in their infinite wisdom decided at the NFL Owner’s Meetings last spring that more needed to be done to protect the NFL’s greatest commodities, “Golden Boy” quarterbacks.

Thus “The Brady Rule” was born, where defenders who are knocked to the ground can no longer lunge into quarterbacks if the play is still going on. Of course the owners didn’t bother to ask defensive players or the quarterbacks themselves about needing such a rule. As soon as the rule was on the books, you knew there would be a game situation that highlighted the ambiguity (at the referees discretion) and overall ridiculousness of the ‘Brady Rule’. It had to be fate as the Patriots-Ravens game this past Sunday was the model for the misinterpretation of the rule that basically makes NFL quarterbacks into China dolls and of course Tom Brady was the “victim”.

In the Patriots 27-21 win over the Ravens, the NFL officiating crew led by referee Ron Winter called two ridiculous personal fouls against the Ravens that of course extended Patriots’ scoring drives. The first came on a crucial third-and-9 play in the first quarter and the ball at the Baltimore 37. Ravens DT Haloti Ngata was hit with a “roughing the passer” on a play where he was clearly trying to deflect Brady’s pass as it was being thrown. Ngata’s left arm as it was coming down barely grazed Brady’s facemask and of course Tommy “the actor” – BTW: Did you see his work on HBO’s Entourage earlier this season — went down like he was hit by a Mike Tyson haymaker.

The second instance of roughing the passer against the Ravens was the most agregious and occurred with 5:16 left in the first half and the ball at the Baltimore’s 43-yard line. On a second-and-11 play, Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs beat his man and applied pressure to Brady as he threw a pass. Suggs fighting through a block went low, but clearly tried to avoid contact with Brady’s knees. But Winter’s crew threw the flag citing the “Brady Rule”. Brady even motioned to an official to throw the flag even though Suggs was nowhere near his knee.

The two calls amplified the NFL’s continuing “sissy-fication” of the game and further fueled the debate that the league cares more about their million-dollar passers than any other position.   After the game, the Ravens players could not hold their tongues. “Without totally going off the wall here, it is embarrassing to the game,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “Brady is good enough to make his own plays, let him make the play. When you have two great teams that are going at it, let them go at it. Both of their touchdown drives had personal fouls that kept drives alive. Did that win or lose the game? No, but it got them 14 points.”

I could not agree more with the Ravens as the NFL that I grew up watching in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s was a league where a quarterback put his shoulder pads and helmet on like everyone else, so he was rightfully fair game. In a paradox, retired passers that I have talked to cannot believe the level of  “compassion” that today’s quarterbacks are afforded. Recently on HBO’s Joe Buck Show, Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway said that it irked him that quarterback are treated with kid gloves today and that he could have probably played another couple years under these rules.

As former Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan used to say, “They should just put flags on the quarterbacks and get it over with”. C’mon let the defensive guys play hard…can anyone tell me if the same kind of measures are taken on chop blocks and zone blocking knee diving blocks. I also saw where during this same weekend that a different set of NFL officials did nothing when Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell suffered the exact hit used to write the “Brady Rule” in his team’s loss to the Texans. Maybe there are two NFL rulebooks, one for Brady and one for everyone else.

Have fun explaining away these two calls head of officiating Mike Pereira! On NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Brady’s former teammate Rodney Harrison jokingly told Brady, “Take off the skirt and put on a pair of pants”.

Ravens’ Kruger sets the record straight by Lloyd Vance

kruger

Ravens rookie Paul Kruger set the record straight regarding his willingness to play special teams

After Baltimore Ravens rookie DE/OLB Paul Kruger allegedly caused a minor stir  after an appearance on the Sports Journey Radio Network with Lake Lewis earlier this week, the former Utah standout  wanted to set the record straight.  Kruger talking via the Baltimore Sun  wanted  to end any speculation by saying, he is eager to play special teams for the Ravens and that he never refused to do it.

Kruger, who has been inactive for the Ravens first three games, said “I’ve been practicing with special teams since Day One”.  The 2009 2nd round pick added, “The biggest thing I want people to understand is, I’m 100 percent willing and excited to be on any special teams, at any position on the field that I can”.

Kruger finished his comments by saying, “The notion that I have refused to play is just ridiculous. The coaches wouldn’t allow that in the first place.”  To me the “rumor” that Kruger was trying to dictate how he was going to be played is preposterous.  To show just how eager this rookie is to get on the field, Kruger even volunteered to play as a tight end in the wake of Ravens’ free agent signee LJ Smith slowly coming back from injury.

Unfortunately nothing came of Kruger volunteering to play tight end, but I think it is only a matter of time before the Ravens get the high-motor defensive end on the field.  Ravens energetic head coach John Harbaugh said of his eager rookie, “At some point in time, he’s going to be really important to us”.

In 2008 while playing for Utah, Kruger earned All-American honorable mention and first-team All-Mountain West Conference accolades. He overcame a preseason off the field incident to start all year at right defensive end while posting 61 tackles and leading the team with 7.5 sacks and 16.5 stops for losses.