Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

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With the season in the books, NFL free agent rumors are all ready swirling in. Team _____ has interest in player _____ will be blowing up websites for weeks to come. With that being said, he are a few upcoming free agents, flying under the radar, that could prove huge dividends.

Andre Brown- Heres a player whose used to being on the free agent market. The 27-year-old running back has been on five teams since joining the league in 2009. Most notable, Brown had a fairly good year this season with New York Giants. After returning from a broken leg in week 10, the NC State product ran for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns. At 6’0 230 lbs, Brown can provide very good value as a change of pace back for teams in desperate need of a bruiser in the backfield. The Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns should all have this big back on their radar.

Dexter McCluster- With high profile names like Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin up for grabs, many wont even realize that the former Chief playmaker is on the market. Despite this, teams in need of a fast, dynamic, and explosive player like McCluster should covet his value. The 2013 Pro Bowler provides those qualities not only at wide receiver, but also in the backfield and the return game. In addition to Kansas City, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers should all take a look at the playmaker.

Jared Allen- He finally made it out. After years of trade rumors, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is free to play where he pleases. Luckily, plenty of teams are in need of pass rushers.  Despite a subpar 2013 season, Allen has notably been an absolute monster on the defensive line. In the 2011 season, Allen recorded 22 sacks, recovered 4 fumbles, and had an overall 46 tackles. Look for the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots will definitely be taking a look.

These are just some of the tons of sleeper free agents on the market. Who do you guys think is being undervalued? Let us know in the comments!

darth

Now this is something to get angry about.

After getting sent packing by the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had some strong, yet cowardly words for one of his former receivers. Regarding a hit by Broncos receiver Wes Welker on Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, Belichick said, “It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I’ll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

These comments were not only incorrect, but also classless.

Lets start with the actual play. With fellow Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas running a slant route, Welker tried to help him, while running his route, by setting a pick on Aqib Talib. The pass was incomplete, but Talib was hurt on the play. Talib was diagnosed with a knee injury and did not return to the game.

Should Welker have drawn an offensive pass interference on the play, absolutely. He set an illegal pick on the Patriots cornerback and should have been flagged for it. With that being said, the play was not malicious. Welker started off running his route, saw an opportunity to help his team and took it.

Now lets get to Belichick. The notorious bad sport didn’t disappoint. Calling out your ex player for something he clearly didn’t do is just embarrassing. The head coach’s antics got even more laughable when not one of his teammates took his side. Patriots defensive backs Steven Gregory put it perfectly saying, “He matches up against what we consider the top receiver week in and week out. He’s a leader, he’s a competitive guy, a guy that’s going to go out and give you everything he’s got, so you never want to lose a guy like that. But at the same time, other guys have to step up like we’ve done all year.”

Why couldn’t Belichick say that? Its one thing if you’re a player and your caught in the heat of the moment, but a coach, on the next day should not make those remarks. When your players are being more mature than you, its time to take a look in the mirror.

Lastly, lets review the logic (or lack there of) involved in Belichicks accusations. Wes Welker clocks in at about 5’8 180lbs. Aqib Talib is roughly 6’1 215 lbs. Why would Denver send one of their best receivers to attempt to hurt another player? If they really wanted to injure Talib, they would have sent someone like Joel Dreessen, the 6’4 240 lbs tight end out to deliver the hit. Furthermore, Welker missed a few games toward the end of the season due to a concussion. Why would he or the team place the small receiver in harms way? Additionally, the former Patriots took the brunt of the hit. The slot receiver was knocked hard to the ground after the collision with the Pats corner. Logically, there would be no reason to send Welker at Talib.

With all of this being said, the worst part of this whole allegation was the fact that the Patriots ran the exact same play. In the first quarter, Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui set an illegal pick against a Denver defensive back for a receiver running a slant route. New England drew a 10-yard offensive pass interference on the play, but does that really matter? Belichick seemed to have selective amnesia regarding this play. The only difference between the two plays was that Hoomanawanui is 265lbs, while Welker is 180 lbs.

Everyone knows why these comments were made. Belichick didn’t like Welker in New England. After signing with Denver, Bradys former favorite target said, “It was just kind of hard, one of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him.” Its one thing for a player to make comments like these, but a coach needs to take the high road. After the game, Welker called the victory “bittersweet”, since he had to defeat his former team to get there. Clearly the words of a cold-blooded killer.

Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, and the rest of the New England Patriots organization deserved better.

sherma

While the game was a classic in its own right, this years NFC championship game will be remembered for its postgame antics. After assisting in the game winning interception, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman had some words for 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. In the now infamous postgame interview with Fox Erin Andrews, Sherman called San Francisco’s top receiver “a sorry receiver” and exclaimed “Don’t you ever talk about me!”

Sherman has been attacked with criticism for this and other interviews. The Pro Bowl corner has been labeled a “classes” as well as a “thug”. These are absolutely ridiculous labels to place on a player who just made the game clinching play.

Lets start off with the fact that the Seahawks and 49ers hate each other. This isn’t a mutual respect, but we want to win type of hatred. This is a “I want to see you suffer” type of hatred. Everyone knows this. In the week building up to this game, multiple players (on both teams) made comments above their dislike for one another. 49ers middle linebacker Patrick Willis said, “ There’s no question there’s a lot of hostility between us.”

Even the Head Coaches dislike each other. After the then Jim Harbaugh led Stanford Cardinals beat Pete Carrols USC Trojans in 2009, the coaches had words for each other during the postgame handshake. With hostility floating, Harbaugh mocked Carrol by saying, “what’s your deal?”

Lets not forget that this game was personal for the former Stanford Cardinal.

First there was the fact that he had this ongoing rivalry with Michael Crabtree. The two had words for each other during Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s charity softball game last year. According to Sherman, “Crabtree said something to me, and I told him I’d make him pay for it on the field.” I don’t know about everyone else, but that sure does sound professional to me. Instead of going back at Crabtree over Twitter or Facebook, he went out and used it as fuel to win football games.

The rivalry doesn’t end there. San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh used to coach Sherman at Stanford.  Since then, Harbaugh and Sherman have thrown shots at each other threw the media. Notably, responding to a question about Harbaughs complaints about the lack of flags thrown against the Seattle secondary, Sherman noted “Sometimes, man, when the bully gets bullied, that’s how that happens.”

Now lets get to the incident at hand. You just made the play of the game to clinch the NFC championship game against your bitter rivals. You just realized your going to the Super Bowl. You wouldn’t be excited? Richard Sherman took all of his energy, all of his excitement, and just let it out. He didn’t curse, he didn’t say anything inappropriate, he let the reporter ask her question in its entirety and responded.

As far as his claims that he is the best corner in the game, he is. This season, Sherman recorded 8 interceptions (league high) and 16 pass defended. Furthermore, in 18 games, Sherman only allowed two receivers to go for over 100 yards against him. In this game, the all-pro corner held Crabtree to four catches for 52 yards. With numbers like these, he has the right to boast.

What did you expect? Richard Sherman, in just his 4th year in the NFL, is going to his 1st Super Bowl. Forgive him if he was a little excited that all his hard work paid off.

 

By: Gary Younger

A Farewell To Dan Dierdorf

Posted: January 17, 2014 in NFL, Uncategorized
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While we were watching the future of the NFL on the field last Saturday night, the end of an era was taking place in the broadcast booth. The AFC divisional matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots signified the last game for CBS commentator Dan Dierdorf. With a new era in his life beginning, lets take a look back at the great career of Dan Dierdorf.

Dierdorf began his career in football when the Michigan Wolverine was drafted 43rd overall by the St. Louis Cardinals. In his 13-year career, the Offensive Lineman made six Pro Bowls, five First-team All Pro selections, and three Offensive Lineman of the year awards. Dierdorf also held an impressive stat of not giving up a single sack in over two years.

When he finally decided to hang it up, Dierdorf became a pioneer in the broadcast booth. The St. Louis Cardinal became one of the first offensive linemen to ever work in broadcasting. Early in his career, Dierdorf would go back and forth between play by play and color analyst. This would take place for three years until the opportunity of a lifetime cam knocking.

In 1987, Dierdorf would join Al Michaels and Frank Gifford in the booth, calling Monday Night Football. He would work 12 fantastic years before moving back to CBS. His most memorable game in 1994 when Dierdorf called a game between the Joe Montana led Kansas City Chiefs and John Elway’s Denver Broncos. In his final season, Montana led a game winning drive, besting Elway 31-28.

While he shined brightest in football, his greatness wasn’t only prevalent in football. Dierfdorf was also the boxing commentator for ABC and was a Olympic correspondent.

All of his hard work was culminated in 2008, when the man, born in Canton Ohio, was awarded the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television award.

CBS gave Dierdorf a beautiful send off towards the end of the playoff game last week. Now that his career is over, the hall of famer will be having major back surgery. In regards to the surgery, Dierdorf said “I’ve had back problems for a long time, but my family and friends have been saying, ‘You are worse than you were a year ago,’’’ he said. “It’s time to get this done.’’ He will be missed in the booth and we wish him a quick and full recovery.

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks

 

The New Orleans Saints are coming into Seattle with something to prove. Most analysts, including Al six members of ESPNS “Sunday NFL Countdown” picked the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the New Orleans Saints last Saturday night. The Saints went into Lincoln Financial Field and defeated the Eagles by a score of 26-24 on a last second field goal. Now, those same Saints are going to be walking into Seattle to face the Seahawks and the 12th man. Does New Orleans have what it takes to beat the Seahawks? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

The Saints ended the year with the number two passing game in the league.  Unfortunately for New Orleans, Seattle has the best secondary in the league. With Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas leading the charge, the Seahawks gave up a mere 172 passing yards a game. With a lack of a running game, Drew Brees is going to be forced throw the ball plenty. That may be a recipe for disaster for New Orleans. Aside from week 17, Brees has been struggling as of late. In the first half of the wild card matchup against the Eagles, Brees threw another two costly interceptions against the leagues worst pass defense.

Another problem for the Saints is a man named Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, who just got his $50,000 fine reversed, will be a man on a mission. Last time he played Lynch played the Saints in the playoffs, “Beast Mode” pulled off one of the most famous runs in NFL history. Lynch will be looking to repeat destiny on Saturday and may just get his wish.

Lastly, the Seahawks will have Percy Harvin back for this game. At 100%, Harvin is a game changer that a lot of people seem to be ignoring. With his ability to play X, Z, and slot, the former Florida Gator should not be forgotten. Seattle has been saving him for the playoffs and it may just be time for him to lets loose.

Do the Saints have a chance? Their playing on the road, outside, against the best defense in the NFL. The chances are slim to none. They may keep it close, but Seattle will be moving on to the NFC championship game.

Final Score Seattle 34 New Orleans 21

frtr

Now that we are approaching the playoffs, its about the time where players are having there fantasy seasons evaluated. Instead of going player by player, the team here at The Fifth Quarter decided to make things a little more interesting. We present

                                                        The Fantasy Awards.

Rookie of The Year

1.    Giovani Bernard- The 2nd round pick out of Notre Dame has flourished in the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Despite splitting carries with Benjarvus Green Ellis, He was top 10 in fantasy points for RB’s going into the Bengals bye week. He has been even more valuable in PPR leagues. Even though he cooled off a bit toward the end of the year, Bernard will definitely be a RB2 going into next year.

2.    Eddie Lacy- Even with the injury problems and handcuff back James Starks, Eddie Lacy has put up fantastic numbers this year. Since returning from a concussion, he has put up double-digit fantasy points in all but 2 games. The Alabama bruiser will be a top 10 pick next year without hesitation.

3.    Julius Thomas- As if the Denver Broncos didn’t have enough weapons, they draft a 6’7 former basketball player to play TE. Thomas is 2nd in points among TE only trailing Jimmy Graham. He has become an elite fantasy option and will stay this way as long as Peyton Manning is at QB.

                                                Injury Replacement of The Year

1.    Fred Jackson- Fantasy owners enraged by CJ Spiller (more on him later) have at least found a silver lining in the whole situation. Fred Jackson took the role of feature back and has cherished every minute. He has rushed for 896 YDs, rushed for 9 TDS and added 387 YDs in the passing game. He finished a top 11 running back this year, but don’t expect similar numbers next year.

2.    Harry Douglas- Ever since fantasy owners suffered the heartbreaking loss of Julio Jones, many wondered if anyone would be able to replace him. In walks Harry Douglas. Douglas has been extremely impressive in his four games as a starting WR for the Atlanta Falcons. Douglas has put up 42 points in those four games. He isn’t a viable starter going forward, but he provided some good value for this year.

3.    Keenan Allen- When 6’5 receiver Malcolm Floyd suffered his season ending injury in week 3, people once again wondered who would be the fill in. Initially it seemed it would be journeyman Eddie Royal. However, after a few weeks, it was clear the 2nd round pick out of Cal was going to be the guy. Since week 4, Allen has put up 1,046 receiving yards and 8 TD. His value is based on the play of QB Phillip Rivers, but he should be a safe pick in next years draft.

Waiver Wire Pick Up of The Year

1.    Julius Thomas– Up for his second nomination, Thomas has been a gods send for fantasy owners. In a particularly week year for TEs, Thomas has proven to be a true gem for whoever was lucky enough to get him. With Peyton throwing to him, Orange Julius had 788 Rec Yards and 12 TDs. Thomas value will be put into question when a new QB steps in, but until then count on him as a top 3 TE fantasy.

2.    Zac Stacy- While he hasn’t proven himself entirely yet, all signs point up for the rookie 5th round pick out of Vanderbilt. Since his first carry in week 5, Stacy has put his foot on the gas and hasn’t let up. He ran for 973 yards with 7 touchdowns and has added an extra 100 yards and a touchdown through the air. Stacy ended the year in RB1 conversation and could be a first round pick come next year.

3.    Nick Foles- After Foles suffered a concussion against Dallas in week 7, a lot of people threw Nick Foles to the waiver wire and continued playing their every week quarterback. That move could have very easily cost many people a championship. The Eagles signal caller was electrifying in his return, scoring over 20 points in six straight weeks.  In the exhilarating Chip Kelly offense, Foles will easily be a top five quarterback next year.

 

Bust Of The Year (Injury Related)

1.     C.J. Spiller- Oh what could have been. Had Spiller sat out a couple of weeks and let his ankle heal, he could have ended being worthy of his first round pick status (e.g. Roddy White). Instead Spiller insisted on playing and killed his value in the process. Despite a bit of resurgence towards the end of the season, Spiller only finished with 927 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Spiller will fall to the third or fourth round next year, but he will have tremendous upside.

2.     Steven Jackson- Coming into the season, many thought that long time Rams running back would have a rejuvenation year in a much better Atlanta Offense. They weren’t totally wrong. Jackson had a nice stretch to end the year with three straight double-digit games. The problem is a little stretch isn’t acceptable for someone you spent a second round pick on. Jackson suffered a thigh injury in week 2 and was held out for six weeks. When he came back he just couldn’t put it together. S-Jax finished the year with 543 yards and 6 touchdowns. Not the production expected from a RB2

3.     David Wilson. The hype was endless. The New York Giants speed back started off as the biggest sleeper of the year and ended up being ranked as high as 14 on pre draft rankings. Out of the gate, he looked like a disaster, scoring negative two points against the Cowboys. He finally showed a little promise four and scored his first touchdown in week five. However, the excitement was shortlived. Wilson left the same game with a neck injury and was later ruled out for the game with a neck injury. Low and behold it was much worse. Wilson was ruled out for the year and his entire career may be over. Wilson has vowed to play again but there is serious doubt behind that. As far as fantasy, he shouldn’t even be in your thought process going forward.

Bust Of The Year

1.             Ray (Fried) Rice- The wheels just fell off the bus this year. The number six ranked player (according to Yahoo) was just miserable this entire year. With a lack of a passing game, opposing defenses focused on Rice and absolutely destroyed him and his handcuff back Bernard Pierce. Rice finished the year with 660 yards and 4 touchdowns. If the Ravens don’t improve in the passing game and on the offensive line, Rice should be no more than a flex player come next year.

2.             Hakeem Nicks- Now no one expected Nicks to be an MVP for your team, but he was expected to be a solid WR2 and a possible difference maker. Instead, Nicks fell into complete oblivion. With a dysfunctional offense and contract issues Nicks pretty much fell behind Ruben Randle in terms of targets. He wasn’t playing with his all and frustrations with his coach showed when he was randomly benched in week 12. Nicks put up a total of three games with over 100 yards and scored no touchdowns all year. Being on a new team may help him, but don’t trust Nicks immediately as anything more than a WR3

3.             Trent Richardson- Seems like he was too busy making sextapes to learn the Colts playbook. After being traded after week 2 from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts, growing pains were expected, as he had to learn a whole new offensive system. However, no one expected growing pains like these. In 14 games with the Colts, the 2012 number three overall pick ran for 468 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 fumbles. This was just simply unacceptable. Richardson ended up being benched at the end of the year for backup Donald Brown. Richardsons season high rushing yards was 64. This is just insane for a player ranked 10th overall. With Donald Brown likely leaving in free agency and having the whole offseason to learn the playbook properly, all hope isn’t lost for the Alabama bruiser. In terms of next years draft though, he shouldn’t be any higher than a 10th round pick.

Most Valuable Player

1.                      Peyton Manning- With questions coming into the season about his health, Manning silenced all critics with one of the greatest seasons ever. Finishing with an overall number one ranking, Peyton threw for 5,477 (a new record) and 55 touchdowns (also a new record). In terms of fantasy, Manning scored 419 points in standard leagues, which is 50 points better than second place finisher Drew Brees. The Broncos captain also had five games of over 30 points, which is the most by any quarterback this year. It is undeniable that Peyton had one of the greatest seasons ever on the field and the computer.

2.                      Jamaal Charles- What a breakout year. The already established star running back catapulted himself into superstardom this year with his incredible season. The Kansas City running back ended the year with 1,287 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. Charles wasn’t done as he added 693 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. The former Texas back stamped his season off with an exclamation point game that destroyed all projections. In a 56-31 thrashing of the Raiders, Charles rushed the ball 8 times for 20 yards and 1 touchdown. That seems like an ok fantasy day, until you look at the rest of the box score. Charles added 8 receptions for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns for a grand total of 51 fantasy points. As long as Andy Reid is the head coach, expect Charles to be a top 3 overall pick every year.

3.                      LeSean McCoy- the same that was said about Jamaal Charles, can be said about Shady McCoy. Putting on absolute clinic, McCoy led the league in rushing with 1,607 yards and added 9 touchdowns. Furthermore, McCoy also benefited from the passing game, adding 539 yards on 53 receptions and 2 touchdowns.  Additionally, when the quarterback wasn’t Matt Barkley, Shady never scored under 10 points in a game. The former Pitt running back proved that he wasn’t going to let his bad 2012 season deter him from greatness. Expect just that going into further seasons.

We will announce the winner of each category in the coming weeks. Disagree with our picks? Feel someone was left out? Let us know in the comments!

 

New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense ended the year on a strong note. They went into the Superdome in a “win and your in” game and obliterated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-17. The game was highlighted by Drew Brees masterful performance against a fairly formidable Tampa secondary. Brees threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, while adding another one threw the ground. This was just another day at the office for Brees. The Saints captain threw for over 5,000 yards this season with 39 touchdowns. On a national scale, New Orleans was only second to Denver with 307.4 yards per game. This bodes very well for the Saints as the Eagles have allowed the single most passing yards to opposing teams in the NFL. 

            With all that being stated, New Orleans will have a ton of problems on Saturday night in Philadelphia. For starters, the Eagles are 7-1 ever since Nick Foles officially took over the starting role for Chip Kellys offense. Foles numbers have been scary good. Foles has thrown for almost 3,000 yards this year, but that’s not where he has shined the most. This year, the former Arizona Wildcat threw 27 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. With a mix of speed and possession reivers expect the Saints pass defense to have their hands full. 

            The problems only get worse for New Orleans. The Saints come into this game with the 19th ranked rush defense in the league. That’s not a terrifyingly bad number, but it does leave them towards the bottom of the NFL in that category. The real problem is the fact that the Eagles have the number one rushing offense in the league. Lesean McCoy led the NFL in rushing this year with a career high 1,609 yards from scrimmage with nine touchdowns. He also added 539 yards in reception yards with another two scores.  McCoy has been an absolute monster this year. With his ability to use his feet and turn on the speed in any weather, he has the ability to change the entire game in one play. His best game came in week 14 against the Detroit Lions. Despite beyond terrible conditions due to snow, McCoy put up 217 yards on the ground and added two scores.

            Speaking of snow, that will be bigger than any challenge the Eagles will be able to bring. With a blizzard hitting the east coast, the conditions will be less then ideal for a dome team like New Orleans. The Saints have struggled mightily away from the Superdome recently, losing for out of their last five on the road. In a week 15 game in Edward James Dome, against a middle of the road St Louis Rams defense, New Orleans came up completely flat. While Brees did throw for 392 yards, he committed three costly turnovers, including two red zone interceptions. The fact is this team is just not as good on the road.

            No matter who wins this game should be a shootout. With that being said, the Eagles should win this game.  With the expected temperature for the game forecasted to be about 18 degrees Fahrenheit, the Saints aren’t going to know what him them. New Orleans may keep it close, but at the end of the day, Philadelphia should end up in Seattle next week.

Final Score- Philadelphia 28 New Orleans 17