Monday, January 31, 2011

Panic! Dallas could be facing stripper shortage


Strip joints in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are scrambling to find an additional 10,000 girls for Super Bowl week in an effort to accommodate the demand that comes with hosting the NFL’s premiere game, per TMZ.com.
Apparently, the owners of the 60 strip clubs in the areas surrounding Cowboys Stadium recently realized that their current rosters weren’t deep enough to handle the estimated 300,000 visitors expected to descend upon the city.
According to FoxSports.com, the following advertisement was recently placed in an attempt to bring in some more talent:
“We Want You!! Ladies, are you coming to [Dallas-Fort Worth] for the big game week? Want a safe, clean club to make the big $$$ in?”
Define “clean.”

source:  National Football Post
author:  Joe Fortenbaugh

Polamalu, not Matthews, wins defensive player of the year award

Well, well, well.

As it turns out, the reports that Packers linebacker Clay Matthews won the Associated Press defensive player of the year award were incorrect.

Bob Glauber of Newsday and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune each posted on Twitter that Matthews won the award.

In reality, the award went to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.

To his credit, Glauber is owning the blunder. “My bad on the Clay Matthews mistake,” Glauber said on Twitter. “Got incorrect info. Bad Twitter moment. My apologies.”

Polamalu received 17 of 50 votes. Matthews got 15. Steelers linebacker James Harrison received eight, Bears defensive end Julius Peppers got six, Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher received two, Ravens safety Ed Reed got one, and Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata got one.

source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com
author: mike florio

Aaron Smith to get MRI Wednesday


Pittsburgh Steelers veteran defensive end Aaron Smith's status for the Super Bowl is about to be determined.
According to ESPN, he'll have a magnetic resonance imaging exam performed Wednesday to find out if he can play in the game.
Smith has been sidelined for the majority of the season after tearing his triceps against the Miami Dolphins and undergoing surgery to repair the damage.
The Steelers haven't placed Smith on injured reserve in hope that he might be able to play in this game. He has been limited in practice, but hasn't played since October.
Meanwhile, Steelers rookie Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey has a broken bone and a high-ankle sprain that could keep him out of the Super Bowl. He hasn't been officially ruled out.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said today that the team will be aggressive with Pouncey's treatment. Pouncey is on crutches and not expected to play, and teammate Chris Kemoeatu already ruled him out.

source:  The National Football Post
author:  Aaron Wilson

Teammates wouldn’t go to bat for Roethlisberger with Goodell

Ben Roethlisberger may win his third Super Bowl with the Steelers on Sunday — and perhaps his first with teammates who actually like him.



Peter King of Sports Illustrated writes in today’s Monday Morning Quarterback column that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told him he talked to two dozen Steelers while he was deciding how to punish Roethlisberger at the beginning of this season, and to a man, Roethlisberger’s teammates declined to say anything supportive of their quarterback.

“Not one, not a single player, went to his defense,” Goodell told King. “It wasn’t personal in a sense, but all kinds of stories like, ‘He won’t sign my jersey.’ ”

Goodell also told King he “doesn’t feel any connection” with Roethlisberger.

From all indications, however, Roethlisberger has made a concerted effort to change his ways since returning from his four-game suspension at the start of the 2010 season — and has started to earn the respect of teammates who, six months ago, weren’t prepared to speak to the commissioner on his behalf.

source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com
author: michael david smith

Packers watch video on how to not tackle Big Ben

AP)—Linebacker Desmond Bishop says the Packers began preparing for Ben Roethlisberger by watching video of how not to bring down the Steelers’ big quarterback.




The lowlight package put together by Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers featured other teams, but it also could have included the Packers as they work toward their matchup with Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.

“I’m sure it could have lasted longer,” Bishop said of the video. “A lot of guys are going for his pump fakes or not wrapping up fully when they have him.

“It’s just a mental or a subliminal note that when you get your opportunity to get him, you got to hit, you got to wrap up and bring all your technique and all your weight with you, because he’s definitely a big guy to bring down.”

That’s just the mental aspect, the Packers also remember the physical toll in last year’s matchup.

Green Bay sacked Roethlisberger five times, but missed several other opportunities as Big Ben threw for a career-best 503 yards and three touchdowns in a wild 37-36 victory.

“We had five sacks, but, man, we could have had him down 10 times. He’s tough to tackle,” defensive end Ryan Pickett(notes) said. “He’s a good quarterback. And he breaks more tackles than any running back I’ve seen.”

Ten times?

“I counted,” Capers said. “We had five sacks and a chance at five, a legitimate chance at five other sacks. But it was just basically him being Ben, you know, where we missed him or we hit him and came off of him.”

The timely video review was meant to remind the Packers that there are no easy ways to bring a 6-foot-5, 241-pound person to the ground.

That’s why Roethlisberger has been compared to a fullback, a running back and a lineman by the Packers defense this week. Then again, it’s unlikely players at those other positions would be able to absorb the contact Roethlisberger and zip a deep pass downfield seconds later.

“He has the arm to step up, roll to his right, and still make the 60-plus throw,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “One of our objectives is to make sure when we have the opportunity to get him on the ground.”

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacked Roethlisberger twice in last year’s game, only to watch the quarterback throw a 19-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace to win the game as time expired.

Players and coaches say there is a technique for tackling the Steelers quarterback—hit him between his chest and knees, then wrap up and hold on until he goes down or the whistle blows.

Bet on the whistle.

“You see quarterbacks who sometimes go down easily, and you can bring him down. But he’s one of those guys who will fight and gets out of a lot of sacks, and the sacks that he does give up, he’s still standing,” Matthews said. “We’ve got to stay alive, really get after him, and kind of collapse the pocket on him, and force him to not be able to complete those passes where he moves around and breaks tackles.”

Roethlisberger can also scramble or put his head down and run just enough to keep defenders off-balance.

His long gain is 31 yards this year, and he’s often the best bet in shortage yardage situations, gaining five first downs in the two playoff games.

“If you go back to his college tape, he had runs of 50, 60 yards in games. When you see a man of that dimension able to finish scramble runs, I don’t care what level and so on, I’ve always considered him a good athlete,” McCarthy said. “More importantly, he’s a big man. I don’t know exactly what he weighs but he is someone that we need to do a better job this time around learning off last year’s experience.”

And while no one is mistaking the Steelers’ quarterback as a dynamic scrambler like Michael Vick, the Packers say it is equally as hard to duplicate Roethlisberger in practice.

Packers cornerback Charles Woodson said they can’t fall for Roethlisberger’s pump fakes.

“You can’t just go full speed and reckless,” Woodson said. “You’ve got to kind of break down and be ready to move either way with the quarterback. Because it doesn’t take much for a quarterback to just step one foot forward or step one foot back, and you’ll miss him completely.

“So you’ve got to come with some sort of controlled aggression, once you get to the quarterback. And when you get your hands on him, you can’t let go. He’s got to go down.”

Easier said than done with Big Ben.

“Not many people have the answer to how you get him down. That’s why he’s been to, what, three Super Bowls the last six years? It’s tough,” Pickett said. “There’s no easy answers.”


source:sports.yahoo.com
author:colin fly

Maurkice Pouncey listed as “questionable” but really out


The Steelers have listed center Maurkice Pouncey as questionable for the Super Bowl, but there’s no question about it: Pouncey isn’t playing against the Packers.

That was made clear by teammate Chris Kemoeatu, and it was reiterated this morning by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who reported that Pouncey will not play in Super Bowl XLV because of a fracture and high ankle sprain.

As a rookie out of Florida, Pouncey started all 16 regular-season games and both playoff games for the Steelers. He deserves some consideration for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Without Pouncey, Doug Legursky will start against Green Bay, and his battle with Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji may be the most important individual matchup in the Super Bowl.


source: PFT.com
author: Michael David Smith

2010 Conference Championship Football ERA Game Results

Jan 23, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop (55) breaks up a pass intended for Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) during the second quarter of the 2011 NFC championship game at Soldier Field.
Photo:  Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE



Net Total
Off Total
Off Rushing
Off Drives
 Def Total
Def Rushing
Def Pressure
Pitt
1254.99
714.7
506.5
208.2
540.29
370.00
170.29
NYJ
-258.99
56.3
88.5
-32.2
-315.29
-370.00
54.71
GB
1145.14
621.55
402.25
219.3
523.585
233.75
289.835
Chi
39.56
151.45
207.75
-56.3
-111.89
-233.75
121.86


2010 Conference Championship Football ERA Composite Scores



Pitt 27
NYJ 11


GB 25
Chi 14















New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) is brought down by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
ASSOCIATED PRESS




Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flacco sounds off on firing of Zorn


Multiple league sources previously have told us that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco opposed the decision to fire quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn, and that Flacco spoke up for the one-and-done effort from the former Redskins head coach.
Now, Flacco has gone on the record to make his displeasure known.
“I’m not happy about it, and they know I’m not happy about it,” Flacco told Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times.
As we explained earlier today, the perception is that the Ravens fired the quarterbacks coach because they weren’t happy with the performance of the quarterback.
“I also feel like a little bit like I’m being attacked,” Flacco said.  “You fire the quarterback coach.  Usually when your fire a position coach, it’s because you’re not really happy with how that position did.  And when I look back on my season and our season as a team, I mean, we won 13 games.  I felt like I had a pretty good year and you’re firing the quarterback coach?  It’s kind of an attack on me, I feel like.
“You know, it is what it is.  It’s not that big of a deal for me to feel like it.  I’m not happy about it.  They know that I’m not happy about it.  It’s not news to them.  They know I’m not happy about it, and my feelings aren’t going to change.  I’m not going to be happy about it, for a long time.  This year will be what it is.  We’re going to be successful this year.  I would have just liked him to be a part of it.  He would have liked to be a part of it.  And I think it would have been good for him to be a part of it.”
The fact that Flacco feels that way is bad news for the Ravens.  The fact that Flacco would say so publicly is worse.
“I’m disappointed and they know I’m disappointed,” Flacco said.  “I don’t think it was a good decision, and they know that.  I expressed that throughout the whole time it was going on, I expressed how much I didn’t think it would be good for us.  My opinion isn’t going to change.
“I think Jim was a great coach, I think he was great for our team.  I think he was great for me.  That’s how I feel about it.”
The numbers don’t lie.  Flacco’s performance improved in 2010, with career highs in passing yardage, touchdowns, and passer rating.  He also had a career low in interceptions.
We generally believe that issues of this nature should be handled privately between player and team.  By taking it public, Flacco has revealed the existence of a rift between himself and the coaching staff.  It’s the last thing the Ravens need with a lockout looming, given that they’ll need Flacco to be ready and willing to organize and preside over player-conducted workouts.
And now we know why the Ravens moved quickly on Friday to issue a statement disputing a report that the feared Zorn would become insubordinate.  Apart from ensuring that they didn’t burn bridges with Zorn, the Ravens didn’t want to do anything else to tick off the best quarterback the franchise has ever had.

source:  PFT.com
author:  Mike Florio

Reggie Wayne: We realized this season that Peyton is not immortal


A year ago Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Reggie Wayne were preparing for the Super Bowl, but this year they have to settle for the Pro Bowl. And Wayne said the Colts’ struggles in 2010 helped him understand that Manning (who had a career-high 4,700 passing yards but also his most interceptions and lowest passer rating since 2002) isn’t perfect.
Asked today by Jay Glazer on NFL Network how he responded to Manning faced while throwing 11 interceptions during a three-game losing streak, Wayne said that was a stunning part of the season for him.
“It was a shock,” Wayne said. “The main thing we realized, he’s not immortal. He’s real. He’s not a machine. It goes to show you this game is so competitive, even the guys on top can hit a wall somewhere. As a team we just stuck behind him, kept pushing, told him, ‘Keep throwing,’ and hope he throw it to us. And it was good, everybody stuck together and we found a way out of that rut.”
At least, the Colts found a way out of that rut until they met the Jets in the playoffs, and the Colts lost while Wayne caught one pass for one yard.
“My number wasn’t called the way I wanted, but that’s the way it goes,” Wayne said of that loss to the Jets. “I was a little upset, basically, because we took an L — we lost — and you feel like you didn’t get your number called enough to help the team move on. It’s playoff time. You want to win, you don’t want to go home. It was tough for me — that was the first time I had been in that situation. But it is what it is. I’ve just got to keep playing ball, I guess.”
Wayne stressed that he’s excited about continuing to play ball, and that at age 32, he hopes to have many more years of playing with Manning. Even if the 2010 season didn’t go quite the way he wanted.

source:  PFT.com
author:  Michael David Smith

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tannenbaum expects Tomlinson to be back in New York


We mentioned earlier that Jets G.M.  Mike Tannenbaum doesn’t expect to re-sign any veterans before the start of the new league year.
With that out of the way, we wanted to mention three other key points Tannenbaum touched on before the Jets officially ceded the back page of the New York tabloids to Derek Jeter.
1. Tannenbaum expects LaDainian Tomlinson to be back, despite some reports that his status is in doubt.
“These things could change, but we do expect him back,” Tannenbaum said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.   “He did good things for us . . . I expect him to contribute for another year.”
2.  Linebacker David Harris is a top priority, as we mentioned early in the week.  It sounds like the team may use the franchise tag on him instead of signing him to a long-term deal.
“I wouldn’t eliminate either option,” Tannenbaum said.
3. Tannenbaum qualified his praise for cornerback Antonio Cromartie:
“By and large, he had a good year for us on the field. It wasn’t perfect, but he played well. I was glad he was a Jet. He did everything that we asked of him. I thought he got better. . . .  Based on his entire body of work and his year with us, he’s a guy we would like to keep.”
(That should prevent Cromartie from calling Tannenbaum an a–hole.)

source:  PFT.com
author:  Gregg Rosenthal

THE MOST IMPORTANT KNEE IN THE WORLD by Alan Huang-Editorial Columnist

 


Not one to shirk from making grandiosely ridiculous statements, I’d like to think that were Shakespeare alive in these days and times, in all of his infinite wit and wisdom in coining the phrase as the play, “Much Ado About Nothing”, he would savor the practical as well as impractical applications of his turn of phrase especially in light of the existence of Twitter. For those knowledgeable of this particularly virulent form of social media, clearly, at any given moment, a lot of “much” can be made about comparable amounts of “nothing”.

For the record, I’m not exactly what most people can refer to as, “Twitter-proficient”. Before last Sunday’s live-tweet with @MattTruebe, I have to admit that I wasn’t even very clear about that whole hash-tag thing. However, what was entertaining about Twitter was how it felt like I was taking a quick glimpse at the U.S. sports-watching populace’s collective subconscious, or rather, more specifically, it’s collective id. Kind of like watching Ron Artest give post-game interviews in that there are obviously no speed bumps between the brain and the mouth. This is especially true when it comes to trolling, malicious rumor-mongering, and snide sh*talking in general. Needless to say, plenty of all of the above was in ready supply for the Packers vs. Bears game. In what was already an ultra-hyped-up matchup of epic proportions, it really wasn’t the most entertaining of games – until Jay Cutler left the game with an unspecified (at that time) injury.

Naturally the Twitter-verse launched into overdrive. Sensing blood in the water, frenzied bloggers, including many actual NFL players, launched an onslaught of abuse, questioning his heart, questioning whether there was actually an injury, and above all else, questioning, WHO THE F*CK IS TODD COLLINS?? I’m not going to lie either, I initially questioned whether the injury was real as well. It didn’t help at all that Cutler’s relationship with fans and media was already shaky at best and that coupled with a reputation for inconsistency and seemingly not caring, only sprayed further lighter fluid into the conflagration.

                However, continuing my theme of not lying, as horrible as it may seem, I have to say this is the point of the game where I actually woke up and started enjoying it. Sure, much was made about nothing especially since the story kept on going long after the actual game was over (reference rumor that Cutler was using STAIRS at a Chicago steakhouse) But all of the sudden, Twitter was interesting. The game actually had dramatic elements. Maybe it’s a blogger/columnist thing about feeding off anger, chaos, and controversy. Even still, there’s an undeniable thrill that one feels watching usually unknown and unheralded third-string nobodies like Caleb Hanie almost lead the comeback of all comebacks and become the toast of the Internet (including a Wikipedia edit claiming that he would lead Chicago to the Super Bowl). I suppose its part of our national identity, to root for the scrappy underdog that comes out of nowhere to lead his team to victory. Pure Hollywood. Except, that’s what it was - pure Hollywood, not reality.  Naturally, the better team ended up winning, so ultimately, despite the hullabaloo about the knee, that’s what it was about – nothing.



Editorial Column by Alan Huang

Michael Irvin settles civil suit


Last year, in the days preceding a Super Bowl to be played in his hometown of Miami, Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin found himself on the wrong side of a lawsuit alleging sexual battery.  Now, with the Super Bowl soon to be played in the city where he became a Hall of Famer, Irvin reportedly has settled the case.
According to the Daily Business Review (via ESPNDallas.com), the claim against Irvin and a $100 million countersuit for defamation have been settled.
“The parties finally came to their senses,” attorney David P. Lister said.  “The settlement was just reached last night.”
The woman sued Irvin on February 4, 2010, alleging that a sexual assault occurred in July 2007 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.  The Broward State Attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges against Irvin.
Irvin’s lawyer had said that the claims are false, and that the lawsuit amounted to extortion.
Since the settlement is confidential, it’s unknown whether and to what extent Irvin paid the plaintiff to resolve the situation.  The fact that payment, if any, was made by Irvin doesn’t mean that he was guilty.  In many cases, it makes good business sense to pay to the plaintiff a portion of the money that otherwise would have been paid to the defendant’s lawyer.

source:  PFT.com
author:  Mike Florio

Friday, January 28, 2011

Zombo returns to practice for Packers

Packers linebacker Frank Zombo returned to practice Friday for the first time since December 17.
He was limited, but it sounds like Zombo has a good chance to be available for the Super Bowl.   Erik Walden (ankle) sat out of practice, but coach  Mike McCarthy anticipated he’d be ready to practice next Wednesday.
Walden is expected to keep his starting job over Zombo for the big game, which Zombo understands.
“He’s played great football,” Zombo told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.   “He’s helped the team win.”

Zombo and Walden are both officially listed as questionable on the initial injury report released Friday.   Linebacker Desmond Bishop (ankle),  tackle Chad Clifton (neck), linebacker A.J. Hawk (knee), wideout Greg Jennings (knee),  and center Jason Spitz (calf) are all listed as probable.
For the Steelers,  safety Will Allen (knee),  center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle),  and defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps) are listed as questionable.
Pouncey is expected to miss the Super Bowl.  Smith was limited in practice Friday.   Tackle Johnathan Scott (ribs) sat out practice Friday, but was listed as probable.  The rest of the Steelers should be ready to roll for the big game.

source:  PFT.com
author:  Gregg Rosenthal

Suit: Pair threatened to sell Berrian’s Blackberry

A California couple who found Bernard Berrian’s Blackberry last October allegedly threatened to sell its contents to the “highest bidder” unless the Vikings wide receiver paid them $30,000.



Attorneys for Berrian outlined the allegations in a lawsuit unsealed Thursday in federal court in Minnesota.

The complaint says Berrian left his Blackberry at an ATM in Las Vegas in October. On Jan. 4, Ron Jones and his girlfriend, Clarice Lankford, allegedly demanded $30,000, saying if Berrian didn’t pay, they’d sell the device to the highest bidder.

The lawsuit says they claimed to be negotiating with media outlets.

Jones said he had no comment when reached by The Associated Press. Lankford did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The Star Tribune reports the Blackberry has been returned.

Source: yahoo.com/sports
Author: The Associated Press

Police: Shot fired at former ‘Bama star McClain

Police say someone shot at a vehicle driven by former Alabama football star Rolando McClain while he was in his hometown of Decatur.



No one was hurt, and police said Friday they’re unsure whether the shooter realized the vehicle belonged to McClain, who now plays for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.

Police say McClain called authorities about 7 p.m. Thursday to report that someone in a group on a street corner had shot at his Chevy Tahoe while he was driving by. Officers found a slug stuck in the rear door of the SUV, but the bullet didn’t enter the passenger compartment. No one was arrested.

McClain grew up in Decatur and played linebacker on Alabama’s national championship team before turning pro.

Source: yahoo.com/sports
Author: The Associated Press

Report: Pouncey has broken bone in ankle

Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey is unlikely to play against the Packers in the Super Bowl because of a broken bone in his left ankle, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.



The team officially hasn't ruled him out of the game on Feb. 6, but the newspaper claims that multiple team sources and players say that they are preparing for Green Bay without Pouncey's services.

Pouncey was hurt on the opening drive of the Steelers' 24-19 win over the Jets in the AFC championship game. It was initially ruled a high ankle sprain, but further examination showed a broken bone. The rookie has been using crutches all week since the injury occurred.

With Pouncey likely out, the Steelers will start Doug Legursky at center vs. the Packers. Legursky, a second-year pro, started four games this season right guard and played in place of Pouncey for the final 3½ quarters last Sunday.

Source: yahoo.com/sports
Author: ProFootballWeekly.com

Ravens let go of Jim Zorn

After three tumultuous years, Jim Zorn is ready to get out of the Baltimore-Washington Metroplex.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Ravens “released” Zorn from his contract after one year as their quarterbacks coach. (That’s a nice way of saying he was fired.)

“It was not a fit on either side” according to Schefter.

Zorn, who jumped to the Ravens after two years as the head coach with the Redskins, is expected to draw interest elsewhere immediately. His history with Mike Holmgren could make Zorn a natural fit in Cleveland.

There were rumblings in Baltimore that Zorn and Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had difficulty co-existing. There seemed to be communication issues between Zorn, Cameron, and Joe Flacco.


source: profootballtalk.nbcsports.com
author: gregg rosenthal

Fisher not returning to Eagles


Before Jeff Fisher became head coach of the Houston Oilers back in 1994, he spent a few years in Philadelphia as the defensive-backs coach and then defensive coordinator. Now the team that became the Tennessee Titans has pushed him out after 14 years. The Philadelphia Eagles are coincidentally looking for a new defensive coordinator, which led to a rumor yesterday that Fisher would be re-joining the Birds.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that there is no truth to it and that Fisher won't be the next defensive coordinator for the Eagles.

The Inquirer notes that the only interview the team has done for the job so far has been New Orleans Saints assistant Dennis Allen, who is now the defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos. The paper notes that the Eagles are likely waiting to interview candidates from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers when the Super Bowl ends.

source: sports.yahoo.com
author: mark j. miller

Tatupu undergoes successful surgery on both knees

The Seattle Seahawks announced that linebacker Lofa Tatupu had successful surgery on both knees.


Team doctors Ed Khalfayan and Mike McAdam handled the procedure at Seattle Surgery Center.

Tatupu had been regularly taking practices off throughout the season to rest his ailing knees.

This is the second season the 28-year-old has needed surgery. His 2009 season was cut short after five games because of a torn left pectoral muscle. Tatupu had surgery to repair that issue in October 2009. David Hawthorne replaced Tatupu at middle linebacker after the 2009 injury.

Tatupu battled through some bumps and bruises to play his first full season in three years in 2010. He suffered a concussion in Seattle’s NFC wild-card playoff win over New Orleans. Along with playing with balky knees, Tatupu also battled through a hamstring injury during training camp.

The Seahawks also announced the signing of defensive tackle Jay Alford, safety James Brindley and wide receiver Chris Carter to futures contracts..

TWITTER WARS

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was engaged in a duel with Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

Not on the field. Via Twitter.

Cromartie has criticized the leadership of the players’ union.

“Somebody ask Cromartie if he knows what CBA stands for,” Hasselbeck posted on Twitter, referring to the collective bargaining agreement.

Hasselbeck deleted the post, but not before Cromartie heard about it.

“Hey Matt if u have something to (say) then say it be a man about it. Don’t erase it. I will smash ur face in,” Cromartie said on Twitter.

Hasselbeck responded via Twitter within an hour: “Sorry for the joke man. No hard feelings. DB’s & QB’s have a hard time getting along I guess sometimes. lol”

RAVENS FIRE ZORN

The Baltimore Ravens fired quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn and expanded offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s responsibilities with quarterbacks.

Zorn’s release came after a seven-hour meeting this week with Cameron and coach John Harbaugh in which Zorn was questioned about Joe Flacco’s development this season, a league source said.

Zorn played quarterback for the Seahawks from 1976-84 and was an assistant coach for Seattle from 1997-98 and 2001-07. He was head coach of the Washington Redskins from 2008-09.

FISHER FIRED, TOO

In a surprising move, the Tennessee Titans parted ways with Jeff Fisher, who just completed his 16th full season as the NFL’s longest-tenured coach.

The team said in a release that “Fisher will no longer be the head coach of the team.”

Fisher, 52, seemingly had just survived a battle with quarterback Vince Young when owner Bud Adams decided to either release Young or trade him on Jan. 5. The owner announced two days later that he would be keeping Fisher.

Fisher ranks third among active coaches in career wins with a record of 147-126, behind only Bill Belichick (176) and Mike Shanahan (160), and he is 20th all-time in coaching victories.

EXTRA POINTS

Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers reportedly was fined $10,000 by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Aaron Rodgers in the NFC championship game. … Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t thrilled with the way a couple of his injured players chose to express their disappointment about potentially being left out of the Super Bowl team photo, saying they made a “poor decision” when they complained about it in public, but the team will take the picture late next week so those players can be included. … Oakland hired former Raiders Pro Bowl guard Steve Wisniewski as assistant offensive line coach. … An autopsy confirmed that a body pulled from the Mississippi River was that of the brother of Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed. …

Denver’s Champ Bailey was named to his 10th Pro Bowl, a record for cornerbacks, replacing Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha. Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson was named to the NFC team. … The Broncos hired Keith Burns as assistant special teams coach and Sam Garnes as assistant secondary coach.

source: thenewstribune.com
author: eric d. williams

Nick Barnett wishes he kept his mouth shut


Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday that linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finley made a “poor decision” by complaining on Twitter about initially not being part of the team’s photo.
Barnett agrees with the sentiment.
“If I knew the trouble it would have stirred I would have kept my mouth shut!!!” Barnett wrote Thursday after finding out how his coach felt.
McCarthy said that he changed the photo date after talking to his team captains, not because of what Barnett said.  It’s worth noting McCarthy seemed more annoyed with his players than the media.
It’s a lesson that more than one NFL team has learned over the last two years: Twitter creates fires that the team often needs to put out.

source:  PFT.com
author:  Gregg Rosenthal

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Departure of Fisher raises eyebrows, questions


It’s rare but not unprecedented to see a surprise firing of a head coach in late January.  Two years ago, the Bucs and Broncos dumped Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan, respectively, long after Black Monday had ended.
But for the move to come after the team announced that the coach would return breaks new ground — and borders on the boundaries of bizarre.
“With what I am paying him, I am not going to let him go and pay him a lot of money,” owner Bud Adams told Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean earlier this month.  “I was thinking we could get him and Vince [Young] together, but it wasn’t going to work so I had to stick with Jeff and let Vince go.”
Apart from the most obvious question, the move raises plenty of issues for further consideration.


1.  Does this mean quarterback Vince Young will stay?
Adams’ past words suggest an either-or proposition.  ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Titans still plan to trade or release Young.  (They most likely won’t be able to trade him, given that he’s owed a hefty roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2011 league year.)  Given the abrupt reversal that has occurred regarding Fisher, we can’t rule out an eventual reversal regarding Young, too.
2.  Is Fisher being paid not to coach the team in 2011?
Adams made it clear he had no interest in paying Fisher not to coach.  So did Fisher give up his right to be paid in 2011 for the ability to make his exit?
Apparently, no.  FOXSports.com reports that Fisher will receive nearly $8 million to not coach the team in 2011, the final year of his contract.
Other reports indicate that Fisher was due to earn only $6.5 million for the final year of his contract.
3.  Who will coach the team now?
Over the weekend, Charley Casserly of CBS reported that offensive line coach Mike Munchak would be the best candidate to succeed Fisher after 2011.  There’s a chance that timetable has been accelerated.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean says the “early indications” point to Munchak.
Promoting Munchak would provide some continuity in an offseason in which, given the lockout, continuity would be critical.
But what about Eric Mangini, lurking in the weeds as a candidate for defensive coordinator?  Maybe he actually has been lurking for a spot one level higher on the organizational chart.
Regardless, the Titans will have to comply with the Rooney Rule.  So they’ll need to keep their cards close to the vest as to the identity of Fisher’s successor.
4.  What’s next for Fisher?
The media-friendly Fisher could land a job with ESPN or NFL Network.  Or he could roll up his sleeves and serve as defensive coordinator with a team that still hasn’t hired one, like the Eagles.
Or, possibly, his departure could be the first domino in a late-January chain reaction that sees another team pull a surprise switcheroo.
What if, for example, Peyton Manning were to include in his contract demands with the Colts an off-the-record request for a potential upgrade at the position of head coach?
Not many players could pull off such a power play.  Peyton Manning is one of the few who can.
That said, Fisher likely wouldn’t be an upgrade over Jim Caldwell.  Still, plenty of folks in the media seem to believe that Fisher is a top-shelf coach, despite earning only six playoff births in 16-plus NFL seasons and presiding over a team that widely is regarded as one of the dirtiest in the league.  If Peyton is among those who seem to be irrationally smitten with Fisher, the quarterback definitely is in the unique position to privately express his views, and to expect them to be adopted.
We know, we know.  It’s a crazy, kooky-talk suggestion.  But stranger things have happened.  Today.
5.  What made this happen now?

After everything that has occurred since the 2010 season ended, the true story regarding Fisher’s departure surely has details that will provide plenty of fodder for analysis and debate.
The notion that the 88-year-old Adams suddenly decided to pay Fisher $8 million to walk away has a Leon Hess feel to it. Adams apparently thinks he has developed a strategy for winning a Super Bowl that doesn’t include the guy who finagled only one appearance in the NFL title game in 16-plus years on the job.
Or maybe Adams realizes that, with only one more year together, Fisher likely wouldn’t do what he hadn’t previously done since getting the job in 1994.  So why not start his successor’s tenure one year sooner?

source:  ProFootballTalk.com
author:  Mike Florio
photo:  Streeter Lecka

Rambling Gambler: Pick Six Conf. Championship Recap

Ramblings and Gambling 
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By Erik Laurinovics, for The Football ERA 
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Oh, so close to going 2/2 this week. I knew I was going out on a limb with that Jets pick (and against the money), but they should have had that one. I also don't understand why they didn't go for two... One of my friends tried to explain it to me, but in my mind, there are 3 minutes left, you're down by 4 if you kick an extra point, 3 if you go for 2. Why wouldn't you? If you get it, you need a field goal, and if you don't get it, you need a TD. If you kick an extra point, you still need a TD. Clearly I wasn't too happy with the decision, as a successful conversion would have covered the spread. Just a little bit more bad luck before the season is over, I suppose.
I'm actually not going to post the Super Bowl pick today... that will be coming next week. Today, you only get my rantings here and the recap from last week. Hopefully that will be enough for you, but stay tuned next week for my Super Bowl winner. But before you go, here's some last week recap.

Conference Championship Recap


Losses


NY Jets +3.5 over PITTSBURGH: Well, the Jets certainly played a better second half, but they came up just short. LT getting stuffed on 4th and goal, along with not attempting the 2 point conversion after their final touchdown, killed the spread. The first half was inexplicably bad for the Jets and they proved the point by coming out and dominating the second half. No doubt they feel like they squandered a trip to the Super Bowl, but this team will be in good shape to contend next season, and I'm sure they'll be just as sexy a preseason pick as they were this year.

Wins


Green Bay -3.5 over CHICAGO: The score (21-14) makes this game seem much closer than it really was. Green Bay had a couple of key turnovers that cost them points, but it didn't even matter. The Packer defense shut the Bears down. Hanie threw the two TDs, but it really looked like the Packer defense became lackadaisical. Then magically, each time the Bears pulled within 7, they clamped down. The Steelers losing Maurkice Pouncey will be a big storyline heading into the Super Bowl, as it should be. The Green Bay defense is playing great right now in all facets of the defensive game, and you have to like their chances against a Pittsburgh o-line down three starters.

2010-11 Playoff Record: 5-5


Check back next week for my Super Bowl pick!

Jeff Fisher out as Titans coach


Jeff Fisher is out as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Thursday on Twitter. But the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach will leave the franchise with a pricey parting gift, FOXSports.com has learned.
NFL sources said Fisher will receive $8 million as part of his settlement to walk away from the Titans after 16 full seasons — the majority of what was due in the final year of his contract. Fisher was to receive $5.6 million in salary for 2011 with a $4 million bonus. The move is expected to be announced as a mutual parting of ways.
According to NFL sources, the decision to walk away from Tennessee was in Fisher’s best interest — allowing him to avoid a 2011 season as a lame duck coach without the full support of ownership.
Fisher, 52, was high on the wish lists of both the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos, two franchises that desperately wanted a high-profile head coach to salvage their team’s fortunes. Instead, he chose to remain with the Titans despite the tumultuous situation that developed throughout the 2010 season because of an ongoing rift between the head coach and volatile quarterback Vince Young.
 Source: Fox Sports        

Zack Follett: Matthew Stafford's a 'China Doll Right Now'

The Lions have invested a huge amount of their ever-brightening future on quarterback Matthew Stafford. But that didn't keep Detroit linebacker Zack Follett from pointedly mentioning Stafford's injury history during an interview on ESPN radio Tuesday.


"Stafford, good guy," Follett said, according to the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett. "He's a china doll right now. Anytime he gets hit, he goes down. But the kid is -- hopefully, it's just patiently waiting for him, because the kid is an awesome talent. He has a tremendous arm. The throws that he makes during practice when no one can touch him, he looks like an All-American quarterback, but put him in a game, and you hit his shoulder.


"So hopefully, say a couple prayers, keep him healthy next year, and the Lions can do some damage in the NFC."


Stafford played just three games in 2010 and missed six games in 2009 with a variety of ailments.


Ironically enough, Follett ended the season on injured reserve after suffering a neck injury in a Week 6 loss to the Giants.


He did play in the Lions' controversial Week 1 loss at Chicago -- infamously known for the Calvin Johnson non-touchdown in the game's closing seconds -- giving Follett his first look at Jay Cutler in a Bears uniform. Cutler, of course, has been under fire since Sunday for his own injury -- the Bears' QB left Chicago's NFC title-game loss to Green Bay with what was later revealed as an MCL sprain.


"I think the way he carries himself; we played him the first game of the season, he kind of has a swagger about him that, a little cockiness, that it kind of makes defensive players kind of chomp at the mouth," Follett said. "We're ready to get at him. Our coach, Gunther Cunningham, he wasn't a big fan of Cutler.


"It's a tough situation. The thing that's tough about it is, in the NFL, your job gets criticized so much. There's a lot of people who miss work because of a headache, and we miss work 'cause he has a messed-up knee. So you could look at it that way, but hey, that's our job. You're getting paid millions to do that. A lot of angry fans, burning his jersey. That was a little extreme."

Follett's quickly become a fan favorite in his two Detroit seasons because of his blue-collar attitude on the field -- not to mention off it, where Follett's been known to frolic with actual lions. But his comments about Stafford could put him in a tough situation inside the Detroit organization, which has worked tirelessly under Jim Schwartz to rid itself of any locker-room issues.


Follett did quickly offer an apology via Twitter:

"Thats my bad on the china doll comment, just referring to his injury.. have no room to talk I was more broken then anyone this yr," Follett (@ZakarianFollett) tweeted. "Matt's a baller, I see it everyday on the field, and have no doubt he's going to do work next season! "


source: nfl.fanhouse.com
author: chris burke

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sheriff: Found body likely brother of Ravens star

A body pulled from the Mississippi River has been tentatively identified as the brother of Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, authorities said Wednesday at a news conference attended by the NFL star.



St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said tattoos on the body recovered late Tuesday appear to match those belonging to 28-year-old Brian Reed, who jumped into the river after an encounter with a sheriff’s deputy. An autopsy was planned for Thursday.

Ed Reed said his brother was driving another brother’s car on Jan. 7 and was suffering “mental issues” that day. The family reported the car as being driven without authorization to “basically slow my brother down and just bring him in, bring him home,” Reed added.

“Unfortunately, he thought otherwise,” he said of his brother. “There was nothing illegal going on or anything like that.”

A deputy later spotted Brian Reed with the car, which had run out of gas. Champagne said the deputy had an “amicable” conversation with Reed and offered to help him get gas, but he declined. As the deputy started to leave, a call came over the radio that Reed was suspected of using the car without authorization.

When the deputy started to pat him down, Reed pulled away and started to “jog off,” Champagne said. The deputy followed Reed and saw him run over a levee but didn’t see him enter the water, about 30 miles northwest of New Orleans.

“For reasons that only Brian would know, he chose to go into the river,” Champagne said.

The family has said investigators found Brian Reed’s shoes and jacket, but there was no sign of him until earlier this week.

The body was first spotted Sunday, but search teams were impeded by river conditions. The current is swift as it winds toward the Gulf of Mexico, lodging debris against the levee and then pushing it back toward the channel. Boats searched the river, and sonar and divers were called in.

Champagne said the body was mired in a “jungle of debris” and for a time he was uncertain it could be recovered.

“We’re just hopeful the Reed family can have some peace now,” he said.

Brian Reed is survived by a 2-year-old son.

“He was a loving kid,” Ed Reed said. “He had a son who he cherished and loved. That was his reason for living.”

Ed Reed said he was grateful for support from his Ravens teammates while the team was still in the NFL playoffs. Baltimore was eliminated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.

“We are not immune from trials and tribulations that go on through life,” Reed said.

Source: yahoo.com/sports
Author: MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

Ochocinco again saying he’ll change name

Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is putting his unusual name back in the news.



Ochocinco suggested at the end of an interview with ESPN on Tuesday that he’s planning to change his name back to Johnson. He didn’t give a specific reason, other than saying he’s “done enough with the Ocho thing.”

He has talked about changing his name several times. Leading up to a game against the Jets during the 2009 season, he insisted that he would change his name back to Johnson if cornerback Darrelle Revis shut him down.

Ochocinco failed to catch a pass, but kept his name. He later said his comments were made in fun and he was never serious about a name change.

Source: yahoo.com/sports
Author: The Associated Press

Pouncey in hard cast, on crutches, not happy

Even though Ben Roethlisberger can escape about any backfield predicament, it's still beneficial for the Steelers to have as many healthy bodies on the offensive line as possible. Which makes, if you're a Pittsburgh fan, the news that Maurkice Pouncey is struggling with his ankle injury, a bit disturbing.



Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider (Steelers' Scout site) tweeted Wednesday that Pouncey was "on crutches in a cast."

Even less appealing for Pittsburgh fans -- Wexell noted that Pouncey "doesn't know when he's going to get off" the crutches and "didn't want to talk about" his injury.

The follow-up to that was that it "appeared to be a hard cast" and it "didn't look good."

In other words, either Pouncey is faking to trick the Packers into preparing not to face him or he's gotten a diagnosis that gives the impression he's unlikely to recover in time for the Super Bowl.

Either that or someone in the public relations department just informed him that because he has to use a cast and crutches, he'll also be required to answer approximately 11,435,786 questions about his injury over the next week and a half.

source: cbssports.com
author: will brinson

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vick signs first endorsement contract since arrest

Michael Vick is back pitching products.



Vick has signed his first endorsement contract since his release from prison. The Philadelphia Eagles’ Pro Bowl quarterback inked a two-year contract with Unequal Technologies, a provider of the football pads Vick wore most of last season.

The deal will be announced on Thursday.

“We’re real excited about it,” chief executive officer Rob Vito said Tuesday. “Michael is good people. He paid his dues. President Obama reached out to him. He deserves an opportunity. This is what makes America so great. He’s moved forward. He’s a whole other person.”

Vito said Vick is the company’s first corporate spokesman. Terms of his deal weren’t disclosed. But Vito said it’s a “sizable” contract.

“We believe it was worth it,” he said, “because of Michael Vick and how he can shed light on the technology of our products.”

Unequal Technologies makes several shock-blocking sports pads. When Vick returned after missing three games with a rib injury, he wore a vest designed by Unequal. He later wore shoulder pads and thigh pads made by the company.

“The Unequal technology is a part of my game now and I won’t play without my Unequal,” Vick says in a to-be-released statement. “Unequal’s protective power gives me a whole new level of confidence in my game. It makes me feel invincible.”

Vick was once the NFL’s highest-paid player and he endorsed many products during his six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. But Vick lost everything following his 2007 arrest on dogfighting charges, for which he served 18 months in federal prison.

He returned to the NFL in 2009 with the Eagles, and worked his way from a seldom-used third-string quarterback to the key cog on a division-winning team. He will start for the NFC in the Pro Bowl this weekend.

Vick appeared in a television commercial for a car dealership last month. However, he didn’t get paid for it. He was compensated by having use of a Nissan sport utility vehicle.

Source: yahoo.com/sports
Author: ROB MAADDI, AP Sports Writer