What is “Elite”?

If you didn’t watch the Buccaneers/Panthers game yesterday, sorry dude.

You missed one of the all-time classics in Bucs history.

I asked back at the beginning of the season, Who is Josh Freeman?

Honestly, I still don’t know. But I think we have a better idea.

Josh Freeman is the kid (I say “Kid” because he is six months younger than Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill) that looked like absolute crap for 3 1/2 quarters of uninspired football yesterday. Right up until he decided to go all comeback kid (a la his rookie year) and lead the Bucs on three late scoring drives including a beautifully managed 80 yard TD drive with 53 seconds to go with no time-outs remaining down by 8.

When Doug Martin’s TD run was ruled a fumble (there is no way on earth he wasn’t across the goal line) and the Panthers drove the field and scored to go up 11 with six minutes left, I assumed (wrongly) that the game was over.

Josh Freeman took over. Where he had looked lost earlier in the game, he was decisive. Where he looked inaccurate for three and a half quarters, he was on the money. The TD he threw to Vincent Jackson with 11 seconds to go in the game was a freaking thing of beauty.

That isn’t even counting the bullet he threw to Jackson for the game-tying 2pt conversion, or the nugget he laid in to Dallas Clark to win it in OT.

I am still not sure we know exactly who Josh Freeman is. There is clearly good Josh, and bad Josh. Bad Josh throws balls into coverage, or out of bounds where no receiver on earth can make a play. Good Josh was also present. He was the guy who led the Bucs back from an 11 pt deficit with no time outs and no room for error.

In my post about Who is Josh Freeman, I pointed out some of the QBs that were taken before him in the ’09 draft (Sanchez and Stafford). At this point, Josh Freeman is a better QB than both. It got me thinking, who isn’t Josh Freeman better than? And is he Elite, is he average, or is he somewhere in between?

Here are the top 10 QBs according to ESPN.com:

1 Aaron Rodgers, QB 107.3
2 Peyton Manning, QB 106.2
3 Alex Smith, QB 104.1
4 Tom Brady, QB 102.6
5 Robert Griffin III, QB 101.0
6 Ben Roethlisberger, QB 100.0
7 Drew Brees, QB 99.8
8 Matt Schaub, QB 96.8
9 Matt Ryan, QB 94.8
10 Josh Freeman, QB 94.6

I would say that on the list above, Aaron Rogers, Payton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Rothlisberger, Drew Brees and Matt Schaub are “better” than Josh Freeman.That puts Freeman ahead of the like so Eli Manning (#22), Jay Cutler (#24) and Tony Romo (#16).

Matt Ryan threw 5, count the 5 INTs yesterday. Is he Elite? What the hell is Elite?

That’s it.

Does that make Josh Freeman Elite? He is clearly better than average. I would say honestly that he is just on the outside looking in of the “Elite QB” discussion.

But, I think more importantly, it needs to be noted that “Elite QB” status is a flexible thing. It was pretty clear over the course of the last month of season and into the playoffs last year that Eli Manning was among the best, if not the best QB in the league. Not so much this year. Especially over the course of the last month. A lot goes into the productivity of an NFL QB and it is clearly not a concrete list of top 5 guys.

I drafted Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rogers in each of my three fantasy football leagues. Although each has been good, and is clearly in the top 10 of NFL QBs this year, none of my fantasy teams are undefeated. The team I own Brady in started the year 0-6 due to some bad luck, bad choices by me, and poor performance by Mr. Brady and the other players occupying the roster of the Muscle Hamsters.

My point is (do I have a point?) that Josh Freeman, although not necessarily “Elite” is very damn close to it. And more importantly for the Buccaneers this year and going forward, he is clearly getting better.

At the very least, for about 15 minutes Sunday afternoon, Josh Freeman was the best QB on the field in Carolina. The stupid look on Cam Newton’s face as the Bucs went ahead was freakin’ priceless.  Have I shared how strongly I dislike the whole “Cam Newton” thing?

Guess what guys, the effing read option doesn’t work, even when you have Superman running it.

The Muscle Hamster Strikes Again

How does Buccaneer’s running back Doug Martin follow up his coming out performance against the Vikings on Thursday Night Football?

How about 25 carries for 251 Yards and 4 TDs?

The Buccaneers have one of the most potent offenses in the league over the last month. Josh Freeman has thrown 11 TDs and 1 INT in his last four games, Doug Martin is the spark that has ignited the Bucs offense, and all of this has happened with the Bucs losing 3/5ths of their starting O-Line to injuries.

Unreal.

I asked Who is Josh Freeman? He is the guy who hands the ball of to Doug Martin, who then runs the ball into the end zone.

The Buccaneers are 4-4 and are in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC. Lets take a minute to remember that this is the same team who lost on crappy calls to the Giants and Cowboys. And lost on the last play of the game to the Redskins and Saints. I know, coulda, shoulda, woulda, but this team is a handful  of plays away from being in the same conversation with Atlanta Falcons, who they have two games against still on the schedule, so I guess we will see how good they really are.

I don’t think the Bucs are going to go 12-4, but I do think 10-6 is a very real possibility. The problem is going to be the losses to the Saints, Cowboys, and Redskins may all cost them in tiebreakers.

But for today, lets focus on Doug Martin, the man who has single handedly brought my Fantasy team out of the depths of awfulness.

Junior Seau

I started writing this last week, but had a hard time getting the picture to upload.

He was my first favorite player.

In fourth grade I was supposed to do a writing assignment about I don’t know what, and instead I copied Sports Illustrated article THIS word for word instead.

As hard as it was to catch Chargers games when I was in Elementary school living in Western New York, I did my best to be a San Diego Chargers fan.

As I grew up and hit middle school, my fan allegiance changed from the Chargers to the Buccaneers and I never looked back. Mike Alstott became my favorite player when I was in 9th grade and I became a Buccaneers fan in 1997.

I think when the truth comes out, we will find that concussions played a major role in Seau’s depression. I think the NFL is going to be in some serious hot water.

I read an article in SI a few years ago about what the NFL was doing to obstruct research and litigation into the impact that repeated concussions was having. I cannot find it now, but they refer to it in the video clip below.

At the end of the day, this is a sad story and for me is a little personally heart-breaking.

 

 

 

 

 

NFL Draft Round 1- Mark Barron and Doug Martin

As I stated yesterday, I was hoping the Bucs would come out of the first round with Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson. My worst fear was that the Bucs would stay put at #5 and be left with neither.

When the Browns traded up from 4 to 3 to pick Richardson, I thought things were looking bleak for the Buccaneers. Little I did I know, GM Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano had a plan all along.

Instead of moving up to pick Claiborne or Richardson, they moved back and selected Alabama Strong Saftey Mark Barron. I never really considered Barron for the Buccaneers, because sitting at pick 5, I didn’t think it was a good value. When the Bucs moved back to 7 and took him, I was surprised, but thrilled.

When I watch football, certain players jump off the screen. I can clearly remember watching Alabama’s drubbing of Penn State this year, and thinking that Mark Barron was a stud. The guy was all over the field making plays. He is big, strong, fast and really smart. Playing in a pro-style defense at Alabama under head coach Nick Saban, I have no doubt he can come in and start day one.

I went to sleep with about 5 picks to go in the first round and woke up surprised to see that the Buccaneers jumped back into the end of round one to grab Boise State running back Doug Martin. From everything I have read, he is a very complete back, out of a Ray Rice mold. As this was also a major need for Tampa (hence the interest in Richardson) I am fine with it. I would love to see the Bucs do some more wheeling and dealing and move into the top of round two to grab Nebraska LB Lavonte David. He is a stud and could eventually be a long-awaited replacement for my Mr. Derrick Brooks

Some of my other thoughts about round 1

  • The Browns gave up too much to move up one pick, but no one will care in a year when Trent Richardson is among the top 5 backs in the league
  • There was not enough excitement about picks 1 and 2. These guys are both going to be great players. But because we knew where they were going ahead of time, it killed the drama and excitement. All anyone cared about was pick 3 and beyond.
  • Something about Morris Claiborne worries me. He just has a look in his eye that screams that his score on the Wonderlic was not a mistake
  • Miami will regret the Tannehill pick. Mark my words.
  • Buffalo getting my son, Stephon Gilmore is cool. Danielle and I have planned for a long time that if/when we have a son, his name is going to be Stephon Gilmore. And damn is the young man good-looking.
  • One of the reasons I love watching sporting events with Danielle is that she doesn’t have any knowledge of most things ahead of time, so her reaction is based on nothing but what she sees, which is really refreshing. I usually know most of these guys back stories, and have a ton of accumulated knowledge that shapes my opinion. So when Seattle selected Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick and they showed his face, her immediate response was, and I quote: “He looks like a damn criminal.” As it turns out, that is exactly what he is. Terrible pick, terrible value. They could have gotten this guy at any point last night or tonight. If they loved him so much, move back and get him later. Rule #1 of drafting, don’t take a guy in the first round when you can get him in the 3rd. It’s just stupid. Pete Carroll always strikes me as thinking he knows more than everyone else.
  • Rex Ryan, when you draft a guy in the first round, and Mel Kiper spends five minutes questioning his effort and attitude, you probably took the wrong guy.
  • It turns out that the Browns had no intention of drafting Brandon Weeden with pick 22, but when Kendall Wright was taken at 20, on a whim they decided to scrap their entire plan (that being Colt McCoy at QB) and took Weeden. I think Weeden is going to be OK (maybe not much of an upgrade over McCoy) but in 15 minutes, the Browns front office made choices that will impact their team for a long, long time.
  • This is a great opportunity for the Bills to trade for McCoy, whom I thought they should have drafted when they had the chance three years ago.
  • The Steelers never blow anyone away with their picks, but they are always good picks. DeCastro is going to be a monster.
  • Did Jon Gruden ever see a team take a guy and have a negative thing to say about it? For a guy who scowles so much, you think he would be bubbling with negativity.
  • Speaking of Jon Gruden, is there anything worse for a Jon Gruden hating Buccaneers fan than having to listen to him discuss what is wrong with the Buccaneers, when so much of what he is talking about was his fault? I watch the draft to see Mel Kiper break down players, but when you stick Gruden on the set, in the middle of the table and allow him to talk non-stop for four hours, it becomes almost unwatchable for me. I know the picks were coming in fast, but Mel is the guy whose opinion I care about, not Chucky.
  • I am very excited about tonight.

RIP-B.C.S.

I have written about this BEFORE, and BEFORE, and BEFORE and BEFORE

But I think it bears repeating, I hate the BCS. I hate that someday I will have to explain to my children that we used to select the national champion of college football by letting computers rank teams and arbitrarily throwing the “top” two together, often leaving out of the mix other, equally or more deserving teams. I hate the excuses BCS people offer for why they think this system is the best they can do. I hate that they fail to see the reason and benefits of a playoff. I hate literally everything about it.

All of this is coming from someone who buys into the nostalgia of the bowls. I love the Rose Bowl, I love watching the sun set over Pasadena during the game. But the BCS needs to go.

It looks like that FINALLY may be happening. Change is a slow process, especially when there are entrenched interests who want nothing more than to protect their cash-cow. A four-team playoff is not perfect, but it is absolutely a step in the right direction. Ultimately, I would love to see an 8, or even 16 team playoff.

For now, baby steps.

NFL Draft!!

There was a time in my life when Draft Day was literally a holiday for me.

Some things have changed in my life, priorities and what not, thankfully, the NFL has complied with my needs and adjusted the schedule.

Instead of having to Waste spend an entire Saturday following every pick, I can now get my parenting and home owning responsibilities out of the way during the day and watch the draft at night. Thank you NFL.

Now, as far as the picks go, is there any way that Suh falls to the Bucs at pick #3? Probably not, but I can hope can’t I?

The Bucs can really do no wrong with this pick, short of picking Jimmy Freaking Clausen. If they land Suh, I am thrilled, if they draft Gerald McCoy, I am happy, if they pick Eric Berry, I am still happy.

Although I have grown up a bit and don’t quite follow all of this as closely as I might have once upon a time, I will be watching tonight, and tomorrow night, and Saturday.

Lets Go Bucs

It looks like there could be a few Penn State guys going in the first round or two, which is awesome. Jered Odrick is an awesome, solid player who will make an awesome 3-4 D end. Or a 4-3 1 technique.

Call me a Tim Tebow hater, but there is absolutely no reason for this young man’s name to be called at any point either tonight or tomorrow night. He is going to be a marginal NFL player, at any position. I don’t want to hear about how much he has won at the College level, the guy has been surrounded by the best college talent in the country for four years. Remember that Percy Harvin guy?

If anyone falls through the first round, god I hope it is Jimmy Clausen. I have never hated a player the way I hate this kid.

Paris Hilton has paid more dues than Lane Kiffin.


Laughed out loud reading this…

If you, like me, thought Pete Carroll leaving in the fashion that he did, and what it will mean for the program he left behind was low class.

Wait until you hear what Lane effing Kiffin has done to Tennessee

Once again, man am I glad I cheer for This Guy…


Adding…

You know how I feel about ESPN. Surprisingly, they have come down pretty hard on this. You can read Pat Forde linked above as well as This, This and This

Good for you, ESPN for not pulling any punches on this one. I read that the scene in the UT locker room when Kiffin announced to his former players that he was leaving for greener pastures was borderline violent. So UT players have been arrested for armed robbery this year, they have acted like idiots under Kiffin, and when they have the chance to actually exhibit violent behavior in a way that I would condone, cooler heads prevailed. I would have loved it if Lane had to show up for his USC press conference with a black eye from one of his players.

Face it Lane, you had it coming.

Adding More…

If the above interestes you at all…check This out

Adding More, More…

My student teaching hand book tells me to review my personal website and edit the content to make it professional. Most of the content on here is nothing I wouldn’t say at work or to co-workers. And NONE of it is any worse than what is uttered by my students on a daily basis. That being said, I was mostly kidding when I said the students would have been justified in punching Lane Kiffin in the face.

I will try to be more conscious of this going forward. I would hate to stop writing here completely for the duration of my student teaching, and if I am hired to teach in the future. And I don’t want to go back and edit what I have said in the past.

This is going to require some deep thinking on my part.