Rex Ryan is His Own Worst Enemy

“Belichick outcoached me”. “No question about it”. rex-ryan_672541033024This is how Rex Ryan responded to yet another friendly reminder from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady that the AFC East is the Patriot’s division. After a week of the usual  bravado and feeding the Buffalo fan base with optimism New England simply did what it does best. Defeat the Bills.

With a 40-32 loss on Sunday, the Patriots have won 20 of their last 22 meetings against the Bills will Ryan drops to 4-10 all-time against Belichick. What made the romp even more complete was how the Bills lost to the Patriots. Sure, there were the usual Ryan M.O. such as three turnovers, 14 penalties, and 140 penalty yards. However, what really popped the Ryan bravado was how the Patriots torched his defense.

In six years with the Jets it was clear that Rex Ryan could coach defense. When it came to coaching the whole team, that was a different story. Ryan failed to develop offensive players during his tenure with the Jets and despite having a top defensive unit every year, Ryan’s Jets lacked discipline and would have performance that made New York fans cover their eyes. Still, Ryan landed the job in Buffalo because of the potential he could have with that defense.

For Rex Ryan his defense is his baby. It’s clear that he can coach defense and with the personnel in Buffalo many thought Ryan would have one of the NFL’s premier units. However, after 40 points and 466 yards through the air it’s clear that Brady wasn’t rattled by Ryan’s defense. What was most troubling was that Rex Ryan’s defense wasn’t a Rex Ryan defense.

635783714054768877-JG-092015-Bills-26On 51% of his drop backs Ryan only rushed for after Brady. This number is alarming because Ryan loves to blitz. Ryan is known for utilizing different schemes and bringing pressure from all different directions but on sunday Ryan’s defense was too simple, and  Brady carved them up. Ryan has been successful when being aggressive and forcing Brady to throw the ball earlier. This time Brady had plenty of time in the pocket as Ryan failed to turn up the heat in the pocket.

Still Ryan did his usual song and dance in the post-game conference. Blamed the loss on himself, talked about what went wrong, how the team would improve, and of course add a bit of bravado at the end.

Even after the loss Ryan still jabbed the Patriots by saying “There not exactly the Boy Scouts of America”. Ryan’s a great entertainer, but when it comes to defeating Bill Belichick is still the maestro of the AFC.

Posted in Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Football, New England Patriots, NFL, Rex Ryan | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Randy Moss Wants to Play Again at 38?


Randy Moss said that he still has the itch to play in the NFL again. While broadcasting a preseason game Moss said that even though he has been retired for two seasons, he has been keeping in shape in case he wanted to return to the game.

Let’s face it, I’m still waiting for Terrell Owens, and Chad Johnson, or Ocho Cinco or whatever moniker he goes by today, announce that they are also considering a comeback. Is that Brett Favre I hear getting off the lawn mower in Louisiana? But I digress.

Back to Moss. The biggest question is where would he go? The only place I could see him possibly working is New England but with the Patriots signing Reggie Wayne to a contract this past week has seemingly shut that door for a return. If Wayne doesn’t work out, a reunion in Foxboro could be the only logical landing spot for Moss given his chemistry with Brady and that he deeply regrets leaving New England.

Still, New England will probably be out on Moss given his age and that they have now added Reggie Wayne. The only other team in the NFL that is desperate at wide receiver is the Carolina Panthers.

With the Wayne signing a Moss Brady reunion seems highly unlikely

With the Wayne signing a Moss Brady reunion seems highly unlikely

After Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL coupled with the lack of talent at the receiving position already on the team, if the Panthers want to repeat as NFC South Division Champions, they need to give Cam Newton more weapons.

Even if the Panthers do decide to give Moss a chance, the biggest question with Moss has never been with his talent or physical shape, but his heart. Could Randy Moss return to the NFL and make an impact, it is possible but at this point teams like Carolina who are desperate at receiver should explore younger options than hoping a veteran like Moss miraculously finds the fountain of youth.

There’s still time before the season begins, and even thous Moss believes he can still play in the NFL it will be interesting to see if any team gives him even a tryout at this point.

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Is the Sun Setting on Robert Griffin’s Career in Washington ?

For RG III, his run in Washington could be coming to an end.

For RG III, his run in Washington could be coming to an end.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. When the Washington Redskins traded up for Robert Griffin the Third in the 2012 draft, the once proud Washington franchise has their savior. For one season Griffin flashed a rocket arm and blistering speed propelling the Redskins into the playoffs. The Offensive rookie of the year looked poised to become a star in the NFL.

My how things have changed. Ever since leaving the field to an injury in the 2013 Wildcard game Griffin’s career has been marred by what could have been as the once promising star is facing the real possibility that his once promising career is going down in flames.

It’s been a plethora of issues of Griffin. From his health, relationship with the organization, and players raising major issues in Washington over the past few seasons the divorce between Griffin and Washington seems to be inevitable.

After suffering a concussion in the preseason game against the Detroit Lions, Robert Griffin’s health has become a major liability to an organization that has been buried in the NFC East by its more talented counterparts. With a lack of draft picks in recent years, thanks to the Griffin trade, the Redskins have a depleted roster and have constructed a poor offensive line that allowed Griffin to be beat up and eventually knocked out of the game against Detroit.

Griffin's latest injury coupled with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL does not bode well for his 2015 campaign

Griffin’s latest injury coupled with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL does not bode well for his 2015 campaign

At this point the best thing for both parties is to move on. Griffin has won only five games over the past two seasons for the Redskins, after winning nine his rookie year, and started only 20 games over the past two years. It’s just not working in D.C. and Washington has already fired on coach in Mike Shanahan during the Griffin regime and shouldn’t blow up the organization once again to try to make it “work” with RGIII.

Griffin hasn’t exactly made it easy for the Redskins. From spats with teammates to saying “I think I’m the best quarterback in the NFL” just days before the preseason game, Griffin has become a lightning rod and has made himself a bigger target. It’s one thing to be confident and make statements, but you have to back it up. So far, Griffin has not proven since his rookie season that he should be the quarterback and face of the Washington franchise. Not only has the off the field baggage hurt RG3’s chances in Washington, but more importunely his on the field play has.

Here’s the ugly truth, Griffin will probably never be the same player he was in his rookie season. His knee has already hindered his once great speed, and he’s already proven that he doesn’t have the body to survive being a running quarterback in this league. Coupled with bad throwing mechanics that Griffin has not refined it’s hard to imagine Griffin becoming an elite pocket passer.

Still the major problem with Griffin is health. Like Sam Bradford they have the talent to be great quarterbacks in the NFL, but not the durability. Part of being a successful player in the NFL is having the ability to stay on the field and protect your body. Griffin has not learned how to do that, and until he does it’s hard pressed to see him surviving through a sixteen game schedule.

Divorces are ugly and unless Griffin can drastically turn it around and stay healthy for the 2015 season, this will be his last year in the nation’s capital.

Posted in 2015 NFL Draft, NFL, NFL Preseason, RG3, RGIII, Robert Griffin, Washington Redskins | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michael Vick in Buffalo?

michael-vick-nfl-new-york-jets-kansas-city-chiefs-850x560“We will make the playoffs” has been what new Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan has boldly claimed this entire offseason. There’s good reason why Ryan is once again pounding his chest and spewing his usual bravado. The defensive mastermind takes over the best defensive unit statistically last season and a defense which led the NFL in sacks. With Ryan’s scheme and the Bills talent on defense Ryan should fill confident that he has a championship caliber defense.

However, Ryan forgets that you also need an offense and most specifically a quarterback. If this training camp has proven anything, the Bills have a major quarterback problem. Both Matt Cassel and E.J. Manuel have not shown good leadership and have not exactly done anything to prove they should be the starter. With Manuel’s career flirting with being a bust, the Bills need some stability at quarterback.

The answer to this problem could be Michael Vick. Why? Vick already has worked with Lesean McCoy already in Philadelphia and Ryan last year in New York. While his best playing days are behind Vick at the age of 35, he still could have some gas in the tank and would be a veteran presence in the huddle. His ability to run the read-option would also help McCoy in the running game by giving the explosive back more space to run.
Michael-VickBUF-copyLast season it was clear that Ryan wanted to start Vick in New York but was told by the former front office to play and try to develop Geno Smith. It was obvious that Ryan felt Vick gave his team the best chance to win and in limited time with New York last year Vick proved he had some football left.

Vick at this point in his career isn’t going to carry the Bills, but he would give them a veteran quarterback whose big arm would stretch the field with Sammy Watkins and improve the running game. He might not be the best option, but he would be the best option for Buffalo. Don’t be surprised if Vick is under center for the Bills week one, especially if their current quarterbacks continue to be incumbent throughout the preseason.

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Where Are They Now? Crash Davis: Bull Durham

Bull Durham dope AFWhat were your glory days? The days when everything in your life was perfect and your life’s dream was fulfilled. How does one measure these days of bliss? In weeks? Months? Hours? For one man it was days, 21 days to be exact.

For 21 days life was perfect for Crash Davis. For those three weeks Davis, whose lifelong passion was the game of baseball was in the major leagues. Playing on emerald green diamonds in front of 40,000 fans under the lights of prime time. Then, just as quickly as his dream was realized, it was over.

Crash Davis is a legend, just not the one you hear about. In the pantheon of baseball lore the names of the greats like Ruth, Gehrig, Mayes, Aaron, Robinson, and C.Y. Young have become to american society super natural beings such as the gods and ancient heroes of Greece. For Davis, he is not one of these iconic figures, but rather a man whose journey could be appropriately described as a greek tragedy.

For 12 years Davis was a minor league player, the baseball purgatory where players are either trying to find a way to the majors, and veterans are desperately trying to claw their way back. Still, Crash’s legacy among the baseball misfits is considered the greatest. Davis was in the record books with 432 career minor league home runs the most in minor league history. A record that stood until August 2015 when Mike Hessman, another career minor leaguer, launched his 433rd home run toppling Crash’s record which stood for almost thirty years.

Despite his offensive records and his immeasurable gift for helping players in the minors he helped make the jump into the show, Davis just couldn’t crack the big leagues again. “I was always the player to be named later” Davis told me. “I knew how things worked and that I was just a piece that helped to finish a trade. The kinda guy that would help move their prized horses through the system, but not a guy who would help them in the bigs”.

Now years after hanging up his shin guards and catcher’s mitt, he is one again in baseball’s purgatory. Now the manager Mobile BayBears, the Double A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Crash is nurturing the next generation of baseball players.  Once again he is a leader of a team, this time just not squatting behind the plate.

Davis has helped players move through the system as a player. Now he is doing it as a manager.

Davis has helped players move through the system as a player. Now he is doing it as a manager.

“It’s a challenge but I help the guys I can. It’s tough though. There are guys like me who have the all the smarts but not the talent to make it, and the players with all the talent in the world but can’t hold a thought in their head.

After all my years I found that the ones who have a bit a of both usually make it. Baseball is cruel though because you do see the guys that god gave a thunderbolt arm and who piss their talent away squeak through with talent, while guys like me are screwed because they’re not talented enough despite knowing the actual game. But that’s just how it’s always worked”.

When I asked what he thinks is the most important thing that Davis can influence the guys in he says it’s all about their communication with the media.

“At this point you can tweak or put the finishing touches on guys but they are what they are. I tell them to give simple cliche answers when interviewed or on social media. It’s boring but their attitude on the field is not what people want to hear”.

Me: “What attitude do you mean Crash”?

Davis: ” You gotta be cocky and arrogant. Even when you’re getting killed out their you gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”

Me: “You mean fear and ignorance”?

Davis: “No you hayseed. Arrogance. You gotta walk around like you’re the best goddamn player on the planet. You gotta fear that players and our own limitations, but when you step between those lines you let everyone know that your their best and you’re not intimidated by anyone”.

Like his playing career before Crash is helping countless minor leaguers get their chance to play under the bright lights of the major leagues. And like his playing days he is still waiting for the call that tells him he is back in the show. Still, when people talk about Crash Davis, or his name flows to the top of baseball conversation he won’t be known for what he could do as a major league manager.

Instead it’s his minor league odyssey. How he continued to take buses and live the grueling life of a minor league player even after he knew he had no chance to be back in the bigs. But for Crash it was never about the money, the fame, the glory, and even to play in the majors for a long time. Why did he play baseball? For the love of the game.



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Beyond Repair? Browns Already Looking to Move on From Johnny Manziel

Has Johnny Manziel become another mistake by the lake?

Has Johnny Manziel become another mistake by the lake?

Another day, another story about Johnny Manziel. After a fan was trash talking the Browns’ quarterback at a golf tournament  in Texas, Manziel reportedly threw a water bottle at the heckling fan in frustration. While I can actual see Manziel’s side of fans that cross the line and berate athletes, his handling of the situation proves the lack of maturity that continues to plague the young quarterback.

It appears that Cleveland, who traded up to select Manziel in the first round last year, is reportedly looking to move on from Johnny Football. It’s one thing to question if Maziel’s natural ability will translate to the field. Personally, I don’t think he will given his size, arm, and that his best success came ad libbing an offense at the college level. Best comparison would be Troy Smith from Ohio State with a higher celebrity status.

I can get why Maziel reacted the way he did with the fan over the weekend. Still, he should have the maturity to realize that he is already on thin ice with his off the field escapades and should either not go out to public events or bring a security detail with him. Still, even if Manziel can mature the bridge could have already been burned in Cleveland. Given the quarterback talent on the roster Johnny Football can he be the starter in Cleveland, but as a leader of men the question is has he lost his team?

Johnny has gone to rehab, but it remains to be seen if the party boy is truly gone.

Johnny has gone to rehab, but it remains to be seen if the party boy is truly gone.

Robert Griffin the III is the best example of a quarterback that has seemingly lost the faith of the players and coaches in an NFL organization. Thing is Griffin is a former Rookie of the Year and has been in the league for a couple of years. Manizel has only started two games in the pros and has made more headlines for his off the field antics then play on the field.

Look, I get it Johnny. You’re young and want a good time. But whether he likes it or not a quarterback is the CEO of an NFL franchise. Sorry Johnny, I don’t see many other star signal callers rolling dollar bills in vegas or throwing water  bottles at fans.

Can Manizel be saved? Of course. If he is willing to put in the work and be a mature adult he can be a successful quarterback in the NFL. I don’t see a star quarterback, but a serviceable starter is not out of the question. However, it may be best for Johnny and the Browns to part ways. There is just too much turmoil in the Cleveland organization to have a quarterback like Manziel. It’s like throwing gasoline of a dumpster fire.

Will the divorce come this season? Probably not. But don’t be surprised if the Browns decide to move on from Johnny Manziel sooner than later.

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