Leftwich loses out in Jacksonville

Earlier this offseason I thought that the Jacksonville Jaguars had an honest chance to overtake the Indianapolis Colts in the division and make a Superbowl run. With Byron Leftwich at the helm and Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor running the ball, I really thought this team was gearing up for a huge year. Today they have instantly gone to the contender category.

Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio made a questionable decision today, one that I believe will eventually cost him his first NFL head coaching job. Del Rio decided to name David Garrard his backup QB and anounced that the team will entirely part ways with QB Byron Leftwich, a former first round pick out of Marshall.

Del Rio, per the NFL Network this afternoon:

“We are naming David Garrard as our starting quarterback and I think with that there will be the discussion on Byron and what that means for him. David has proven to be a playmaker for us. I feel like he’s earned this opportunity.

“I feel a real sense of conviction about this decision.

“Over the last five years Byron was given every opportunity to lead this football team. In February I named him as the returning starter. We’ve gone through the entire offseason…and during that time it became very apparent to me that David was the best choice for us.

“It’s my responsibility to do everything that’s in my power to select the best 53 players for this roster.

“We thank Byron for his effort…and wish him the very best but we plan on moving on.”

This is a brutal decision by a guy who I’d expect to do something like this. It reminds me in a small way of what Butch Davis did in Cleveland. Cut a first round proven talent in Tim Couch who let the door open due to injury to the flashy but inconsistent backup Kelly Holcomb. In the following preseason there is a stupid QB competition that shouldn’t even be taking place, and the backup looks better largely against second string defenses, and the team sells out on the once incumbent starter. Del Rio even went a step further than Butch Davis went in 2003 in Cleveland because he says they are going to get rid of Leftwich entirely. They have Quinn Gray as a backup now to David Garrard. That isn’t an insurance policy at all if you ask me.

Why not keep Leftwich around? How could Del Rio, a defensive head coach, be that sure that David Garrard is the man. It isn’t like Leftwich is the type to be a disruptive guy, he is known for being very well liked by his teammates. This just doesn’t make any sense and it is going to be the downfall and the same fate for Del Rio as it was for Butch Davis in Cleveland.

As the saying goes: ‘You miss on a player, someone gets fired. You miss on a decision with a quarterback? We all get fired.’

Weekend YouTube Video PumpUps

The last weekend without NFL football is among us. These videos are here for your viewing entertainment. Be in a good mood, be happy. Joyous times are approaching. It will not be long NFL fans.

Dire Straits. NFL. Walk of Life. Perfection.

Nothing to do with football, but the song I’ve been stuck on. Ozzy Osborne-Back on Earth:

One of the best sports pump-up songs of all time. I listened to it during wrestling season:

Old Eric Metcalf highlights from Texas:

1991 Houston Oilers:
Part one and Part two

Lawrence Taylor breaks Joe Theisman’s leg:

Ronnie Lott:

Random Thoughts on a friday

I just finished with a job interview in which I was basically taking a company’s equivalent to the Wonderlic test. I swear I kept waiting to hear the question ‘are you more like a dog or a cat’. I am now sitting in a parking lot waiting for my next interview so I will pound out some random thoughts from my BlackBerry. They are indeed amazing little machines aren’t they? If only you could check out YouTube clips from them, and please don’t mention the i-phone because that thing is a piece of shit and any business man that uses it is a hack and a bitch.

-My ESPN 16 team keeper league fantasy draft is tonight. Most guys would be disappointed with having that on tap for their friday night, not me. I am going to pick a leader and a solid core around him in which to build my dynasty for the next several years.

-The Browns looked pretty good last night. If they were ballsy enough to start The Mighty Quinn in the opener against the Steelers, they would beat them. Because they are starting Charlie Frye, I am only 75% sure they will win in Mike Tomlin’s debut.

-I have been too lazy to look up the stats, and I might risk sounding a little like Peter King here, but Eli Manning had a solid and consistent perseason. I expect him to become a big time QB like older brother this season. Signs are pointing to it.

-Jason Campbell had a nice ballgame last night returning from a minor knee sprain. If he is as good as I think he is, this team is going to surprise some people. Joe Gibbs isn’t going out like a loser. Watch out for them in my perseason picks this weekend. Campbell is going to have a big year.

-The Ohio State Buckeyes open up play tomorrow here in Columbus welcoming the YSU Penguins to the Horseshoe. I haven’t seen any OSU jerseys today. Thank God. I don’t think the Buckeyes will score more than 30.

-Vince Young got through the first hurdle of the Madden Curse. He survived the preseason without major injury. He will break it. I want him on my fantasy team, but I bet I will wait too long and miss out on him and I will have to settle for Manning-light or Rex Grossman.

More to come later today.

Cleveland 19, Chicago 9

A star is being born in Cleveland. Even though the Browns won 19-9 tonight in impressive fashion, the bigger story was another solid night of play from QB Brady Quinn. Quinn went 9 of 14 tonight for 64 yards.

Charlie Frye will be the starting QB for the Browns as they open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers in just 10 days, but with Brady again showing that he can play tonight at Soldier Field, it is just a matter of time until Brady will be named the starter should Frye falter at all.

The Browns got a huge spark tonight from Joshua Cribbs. This guy keeps this play up and he is going to end up being one of the most popular Cleveland Browns since the return of the squad. Tonight he make an electrifying 21 yard reception to help set up a Phil Dawson field goal for a 3-0 lead. After a botched kickoff by Danieal Manning of Chicago and a safety; Cribbs took a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown. This guy is versatile and electrifying and catching on quickly as a receivers. Travis Wilson might not have done enough to hold him off from taking the #3 wide receiver spot. This is the type of guy that you just want the ball in his hands.

The Browns defense played well, having 2 interceptions that I saw and Chicago running backs continually looked as though they were running into walls at the defensive line.

It’s officially Steeler week!

Gameday: Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears

Thank God we’ve arrived at preseason game 4 tonight. Finally the preseason comes to an end when the Browns travel to Chicago and legendary Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. There isn’t a ton to watch for in this one but I’ll do my best to take something from it. I really hate the fact that I’m hearing that Brady Quinn is going to get substantial playing time with the 3rd string offense (which also means the 3rd team offensive line). I say play this kid for 2 series, tops and get him back on the bench before he has a chance to get injured or hurt his confidence.

Romeo Crennel said that Charlie Frye will start, Derek Anderson will enter 2nd, and Brady Quinn will follow. I’m really hoping that we see more than we ever have out of 4th QB Ken Dorsey tonight, afterall, he deserves it.

The battle for the 3rd string running back continues. Chris Barclay, Jerome Harrison and Jason Wright will get an abundance of carries as starters like Jamal Lewis will probably only see a couple of series early on at most. This is the one thing about the 4th preseason game: you’ll see the fringe guys really playing their asses off. They’ll fight and do anything it takes to show something great caught on film, something that will help them make the team. There are a lot of fringe guys for the Browns this season. Barclay is one that I hope makes the cut but might not because the Browns seem as though they’re going to keep all 4 quarterbacks.

I also want to watch the play of the defensive line. I’m not so worried about them getting pressure on the quarterback, but rather I want to see them do a great job of stopping the run. They’re going to be pounded by Pittsburgh’s running game in the first game of the season and I want to see them show some resistance against a Chicago team that likes to run the ball.

Whenever Rex Grossman is involved in a game, it is interesting. Grossman will probably either look fabulous in his few series of work or lok like an absolutely catastrophe. There is no in between with this guy. Personally I hope he doesn’t shit the bed too badly, because I have him as my backup in fantasy football in one of my two leagues. If Eli Manning goes down, I’m riding him heavily.

It’s the 4th preseason game, and the best thing about it is that the preseason is overwith. We’re officially one week from the NFL regular season kicking off. Lets just get this one in the books without any injuries sustained and get ready for Shitsburgh.

Sports Illustrated stakes their claims

Today over on CNN/Sports Illustrated, Peter King has provided fans with his 2007 team previews. He has also ranked his top 500 NFL players, which had to take the Duke of Starbucks a nice amount of time to complete. King is known for his love for NFL Quarterbacks, and it is no surprise that the position dominated his personal top 20 players. Brady Quinn, without even playing an NFL snap is already ranked #361 on the list, further evidence that King doesn’t mind getting on his knees for a signal caller, even if it is one that is inexperienced.

SI also made their divisional and playoff predictions. While my own will be coming up this weekend, let’s take a look at what Sports Illustrated thinks will happen. I feel that they’re wrong more often than not, they fail to see the wrinkle in which the team comes out of nowhere to win big, and too many times they bank too heavily on last season’s performance by a team.

NFC East
Eagles 11-5
Cowboys 9-7*
Giants 6-10
Redskins 6-10

NFC North
Bears 11-5
Packers 6-10
Vikings 6-10
Lions 4-12

NFC South
Saints 12-4
Panthers 11-5*
Buccanears 5-11
Falcons 3-13

NFC West
Seahawks 9-7
Rams 9-7
49ers 8-8
Cardinals 7-9

AFC East
Patriots 12-4
Jets 9-7
Bills 8-8
Dolphins 5-11

AFC North
Bengals 10-6
Ravens 10-6*
Steelers 8-8
Browns 5-11

AFC South
Colts 12-4
Titans 8-8
Jaguars 8-8
Texans 6-10

AFC West
Chargers 11-5
Broncos 10-6*
Cheifs 7-9
Raiders 4-12

Wildcard Playoffs:
Chargers over Broncos
Bengals over Ravens
Bears over Cowboys
Panthers over Seahawks

Divisional Playoffs:
Colts over Bengals
Chargers over Patriots
Saints over Panthers
Eagles over Bears

Chargers over Colts
Saints over Eagles

Superbowl XLII:
Saints over Chargers


Now while I’ll say it’s hard to completely disagree with the picks that Sports Illustrated makes, I think you have to notice a few things that are questionable. The one thing that stounds out at me is the fact that they don’t project any team in the NFL at over 12 wins. They don’t like anyone in particular to be overly strong. While the fact that the AFC has so many great teams could make a case for that argument, I think the reason they did this was because they didn’t want to go out on a limb too much. They don’t want to look abundantly stupid in picking anything. There is always at least one team that breaks away and wins more than 12 games, and SI is missing out on that point.

You’ll see where my own picks differ and overlap that of the experts in a few days, but I have to say–5 wins for the Browns? Give me a break. That is a vastly improved team from last year’s 5 win team. They’ll be good for 7 at least.

The Bills & Chiefs are a bit stronger than I would predict them to be, while the Jaguars & Raiders are a bit weaker. The Chargers aren’t going to the Superbowl. At least SI didn’t blow their load for the Cowboys and Ravens completely like most in the media are doing at this point in the year.

I’m honestly just ready for football. No more predictions, prognostications, analyzing or thoughts; lets just snap the ball and play alredy.

A Sad Day to be a Tim Couch fan

I was there for all the losses. The horrible, gut-wrenching, rip your heart out of your chest losses. I was also there for the amazing comeback victories. I was there to see the type of heart that this guy had in his chest. That of a champion. He was my favorite athlete of all-time. He probably always will be. People often laugh when I say that, but my life paralleled that of Tim Couch.

He had so much talent, but struggled with ups and downs. It was clear he was his own worst enemy, due to the fact he struggled with his confidence on the field. When he was in a rhythm, he was unstoppable. He had those days, where you just knew no matter what the opposition wasn’t going to be able to beat him. He wasn’t a bust, he was so much better than so many give him credit for. If he was added as a rookie onto a team with even the talent of the 2007 Browns, the guy would have played in several AFC Championship Games and certainly a Superbowl or two. Wrong place, wrong time. We’ve all debated and heard that story though.

I remember as a college student, my sophmore year, before the world of sports blogging became what it is today. I wrote about Tim Couch after he came back against the Tennesee Titans and literally came back, he brought the Browns back after being dead for nearly 3 quarters to win the game in overtime. Couch was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. I wrote about it and it was published in Bernies Insiders Magazine that month, as well as the front page of the site.

I saw something in Tim that many fans did not. I saw his heart and determination. I saw his toughness physically, and his leadership qualities. He never bitched or complained about those terrible teams he was on. He came out and did his job. If it weren’t for Butch Davis running him right out of town in a classless act, Couch might still be in Cleveland today.

I’ve been planning on doing a post about Couch for a few days now. I’ve put it off because I didn’t know the words. I planned on doing this because he has come to the end of the line as an NFL player, with the Jacksonville Jaguars electing to release him after just one preseason appearance. It was the end of a run and a long road back for Couch, who’s done everything in his power to try and get back in the game he loved. Today, that story took a step that honestly breaks my heart as a football fan and even more as a guy who probably supported Tim Couch harder than anyone else on the face of the earth.

A story broke this afternoon that a source had notified Yahoo! Sports that Tim Couch was taking HGH and anabolic steroids in his comeback attempt. Couch confirmed that he took HGH for a second but said he never took anabolic steroids in any way.

I think back to the many winter nights when I’d stay up all night long because I was so excited to see #2 play the next morning. I literally couldn’t sleep. I think about the times I saw him pound the Bengals in Cincinnati to keep them out of the playoffs. I think about him taking the Browns to their only playoff berth since the team returned in 1999. I think about the magical comeback victories when he reminded me of Elway and Montana. I remember his United Way commercial: ‘Tim Couch, Field General’. I remember him in 2001 in Cleveland the first time I’d ever seen an NFL game live. That game was the most beautiful site that these eyes had ever seen. I was there also for his last 2 starts as a Cleveland Brown, in 2003 when he beat the Bengals in Cincinnati, and the swan song when me and my fraternity brother sat drunk in the Dawg Pound, heartbroken because we were watching Tim walk off the field as a Brown for the last time. It was against the Ravens. I sat and talked with the ‘Couch Potatoes’, Tim’s famous fans in the Dawg Pound. It was over.

I always have heard and thought that Tim Couch was a great guy off of the field. A clean cut, good old country boy from Kentucky, another similarity he shared with myself unknowingly. I’ve talked to a variety of sources about Couch and they’ve all said the same thing, that Tim Couch was just ‘good shit’.

I hear stuff like I heard today, and it pains me to even think it could be true. Do I believe it, not at all. I would never want to. Do I think it is possible? When I think about the logistics of my favorite athlete going from 210 pounds to 245 with 2% body fat, and when I think about his desire and love just to get back on the football field, unfortunately I do think it is possible.

When Steroids isn’t news. (Dejuiced)

I used to listen to this song the night before Browns games. It reminded me of Couch: