Archive for category Brian Westbrook

NFL Late Hits

I’ve been throwing out my thoughts on Monday mornings on Twitter and will probably continue to do so, but felt like a proper article makes a ton of sense.

With that in mind, welcome to NFL Late Hits, my new Monday article here at The Thundering Blurb. It won’t cover everything that happens in the NFL on a Sunday, just the stuff that for whatever reason sticks in my brain by day’s end.

Two huge plays yesterday have caused some chaos in the NFL media and Fantasy Football community – one was the 4-2 call to go for it by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, the other, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one to milk the clock in the Jets game.

Let’s start with the call by Belichick. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when it happened.

I did discover a new food allergy so, you know, win!

Instead, I went over the hightlites and looked over the game info at NFL.com. I can’t say I thought it was the best call, but I’m not sure it’s the worst ever.

Say what you will, but Belichick goes on fourth pretty often and it works out for him more than most coaches. I may be remembering wrong, but on NFLN last night, I believe Mariucci said it worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 78% of the time for him.

It’s not a bad percentage – on the other end of the field.

Look, Belichick has forgotten more about football in the time it took me to type this sentence out than I know now. So I’m sure he had all the facts, figures and percentages in his head when he made the call.

I just don’t know why you risk giving Peyton Manning the ball on your side of the field.

A great coach rolls the dice. Sometimes you hit the point, sometimes you crap out. Like The Hoodie said in his press conference, people will question you anyway.

I think it was a bad call. I also think the media shouldn’t be pulling their hair out over it.

Especially since, had the Pats made it, we would have had another round of ‘This is the kind of GENIUS which has made him so successful’.

A little perspective please.

Speaking of perspective – ok, so if you lost your Fantasy Matchup because Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee on the one yard line, you might want to skip a few paragraphs to where I chat about Brian Westbrook.

This was the right call. Could Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee have biffed the extra point kick? Sure. It happens less than 2% of the time, but like the man said ’so you’re saying there’s a chance?’.

Listen, when people say Fantasy Football is ruining enjoyment of the game, it’s because of reactions like this.

Scobee – shaky though he has been – wasn’t missing that kick. A short, high, kick is very hard to block. I know it cheeses you off not to get the 6 points but the Jags needed to milk the clock.

Whether reports are true that Head Coach Jack Del Rio called for a knee prior to the play or not, it was the right decision.

Seemingly overlooked in the ‘DAMMIT MJD YOU COST ME MY GAME’ shouting was the fact that Jones-Drew picked up the first down. That game was done. They could burn the clock all the way to the wire (which they did) and kick a ‘gimme’ field goal (which they also did).

It’s a no brainer. Sure, like Belichick’s call above if something bizarre had happened and the Jets had gotten the ball back and won, it would look foolish.

But the best way to finish a game and win is to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense’s hands. They did that. As much as I don’t love the thought of Mark Sanchez having to lead his team 80 yards to a win, all it would have taken was a missed tackle and the Jets could have walked away with a win.

Why take that chance? Keep the ball in your hands as long as you can. Milk the clock. Kick the field goal.

It’s maddeningly simple to me, as it was when Brian Westbrook did it previously.

Hell, MJD even apologized to you which he really didn’t need to. Of course he admitted he had himself and screwed himself too, but also pointed out that hey ‘you play to win the game’.

Side note: With players owning themselves and other players in leagues that often deal with pots of prize money, is the league going to come down on this as gambling?  I know the arguement has been Fantasy isn’t gambling, but you have to wonder if the NFL worries.

Things didn’t go all that well for the guy who last took a knee at the line either. Brian Wesbtrook suffered his second concussion in less than a month yesterday and you have to start thinking we’re seeing the end of him in the NFL.

Listen, I’m no doctor – in fact I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night – but twice in a month is bad. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s awful.

The more often you get them, the more easy it is to get them. More than one player can testify to that and with the recent discussion in the media and NFL circles about head injuries and their long term effects I cannot imagine the Eagles rushing him back out there.

Especially not with LeSean McCoy there. I mean, isn’t this what you picked him for?

Maybe not, if you run a grand total of 13 times.  The Eagles only threw to the backs a total of five times as well.

Sure, they were down and yes they moved the ball through the air effectively in the fourth quarter. Still, there was never a threat that they were running the ball – I wonder if the success moving the chains via air freight than on the ground says more about deficiencies in the Chargers secondary than the Eagles pass attack

Either way, one hopes the Eagles – and Westbrook himself – are very cautious this time out.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday Reports and Rumors

In front of a shaky blue screen image of Times Square (why NFLN?) Adam Shefter reported that Cadillac Williams is ACTIVE today though how many carries he gets is anyone’s guess.

So far Shefter (with and without blue screen) Shefter has said that along with Caddy, Brian Westbrook (ankle), Clinton Portis (ankle), and Brandon Jacobs (knee)are all going to play.

As said before, you may see a lot of Buckhalter in a bad matchup, Portis is a good start but may not have his full load of carries and Jacobs may also see less carries, though he still may be very potent against the Cards.

Early Sunday Rumors and Reports

Here are some of the stories to track for this morning….

FWIW this early but FoxSports.com’s John Czarnecki reports that Clinton Portis will start at Seattle Sunday. He’d be a good start but could get fewer carries than he has, assuming he actually plays….. FoxSports.com also believes Carnell Williams will be active Sunday. Would have limited impact even if he plays….. In Philly, TE Brent Celek might start ahead of LJ Smith – it doesn’t make Celek a play this week, but migth ruin Smith’s value….

Czarnecki also reports Brian Westbrook will start and ’see how far he will go’ which is in direct conflict of local reports that believe he is closer to 50% whether he will play or not. Against Baltimore, avoid him anyway…… A big question mark against Arizona is Giants WR Plaxico Burress who is fighting a hamstring injury. You can’t count Plax out, of course but his numbers haven’t warranted a sure fire start in some time….

More as it comes…..

Buckhalter to start against SF


Correll Buckhalter will start for the Eagles at running back against San Francisco. As I said on the Stampede today and have said for days, gettign Westbrook the rest he needs is paramount to this team’s long term success.

Thank God someone finally listened to me, right?

I think Buckhalter is a fair start against a 49rs D that cannot get off the field often enough. Getting a full load of carries with no fear of Westbrook edging in is good news for owners everywhere.

Last RB article coming, this was just more pressing…..

Westbrook Week 6 Status in doubt

Hey folks,

Thins morning on The Daily Stampede I mentioned Eagle RB Brian Westbrook’s chest injury and reported his ribs were fractured. According to philadelphiaeagles.com , it’s not even that pleasant. Apparently his ribs aren’t fractured – they’re broken and Coach Andy Reid seems to feel his Week 6 is now in doubt.

As much as I love Westbrook and what he can do for your fantasy lineup, I hope they rule him out early this week. The Eagles really need a win against San Fran in week 6 though, so I doubt we’ll be that lucky. They will do all they can to get one of their best weapons in the game.

We saw the offense was much better with Westy than without.

will keep you posted.

Sunday Morning NFL Update The First

Brian Westbrook - Active today, start him against a Redskin defense that just announced two more players inactive today (CB Shawn Springs, LB Marcus Washington).

Charles Tillman - will be playing today and that makes life a little more worrisome for Kitna owners.

Aaron Rodgers – will be playing. If you have another good matchup, I am still worried about him surviving the game, so consider using them instead. Earlier this week, sources said the Packers were concerned the injury would threaten his season.

Carson Palmer – he’s allegedly determined to play, but like Rodgers (only even moreso) he’s not a sure bet to finish the game. Worse, Dallas will make it a long day for the hapless Bengals. Unlike with Rodgers, there is no doubt – use someone else.

Willis McGahee - This week’s Official Thundering Blurb Mr. Glass is reportedly so bruised and banged up, he may not make it through the game according to John Clayton. Against that defense? Avoid unless you are in a huge bind, he’s a bad play.

More as the morning progresses….

Cowboys Camp and the news update

Hey folks,

Just returned from lovely Oxnard, California and Dallas Cowboy Training Camp. It was a short practice, as the ‘boys needed to both get into makeup for another edition of Hard Knocks and then head to San Diego for their Saturday night tilt with the Chargers.

And while one of those things is certainly true, the other probably is as well if you’ve seen HBO’s series yet.

In all seriousness though, the team looked loose and ready. Adam Jones (the man formerly known as Pacman) is still lining up against TO whenever he can, even when it’s a no contact drill. I think – and it’s early – but I think he finally gets what it takes to succeed in the league.

Anyway, I will be trying to get out at least once more in the last two practices next week, so we’ll see if there are any nuggets to pass along.

On to the news -
Philadelphia Eagles
Big news out of Philly and comforting too, for those of you who are already Westbrook owners. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News , the Eagles have signed Westbrook not so much to an extension as it is a reworking of his current contract with more money and years. Here’s what they say about the details, none of which is concerned:

Neither France nor the Eagles would disclose the terms of the deal, but a source close to the situation said there is $13 million in new money. The source said that $13 million in the first two seasons is guaranteed and that Westbrook will make $21 million over the next three seasons. The source said that there are escalators based on playoff appearances and individual performance that could increase Westbrook’s salary to $24 million.

All that means really is Westy is happy – and a happy Westy is a productive fantasy Westy, if he also remains a helthy Westy.

Great news for the Eagles though and while we may not see much of him tonight against Pittsburgh, you will see Lorenzo Booker and see if the hype I and Cecil have been building around his involvement start to pan out.

San Francisco 49rs
According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat , Alex Smith is running out of time and ‘may be too intelligent for his own good and isn’t exactly a fast learner.’ I have no idea how you can be too smart BUT not a quick learner, but point has been made. Smith has not run away with this job. Matt Barrows over at the 49rs blog at the Sac Bee says not too read too much into O’Sullivan’s start though as HC Mike Nolan has said it’s just a case of having not seen O’Sullivan play in a game before, whereas he knows what Smith and Hill do durign a game.

Not a ringing endorsement though. I still say the wide receivers will be ok plays, but the QB spot is way to risky for me in Fantasy leagues.

Tampa Bay Bucaneers
Well, here’s some insult to injury. Apparently a deal the Packers rejected from the Bucs involved Chris Simms. Is it me, or is Simms jst snakebit? Somebody fly him to Dallas, quick.

Denver Broncos
With Brandon Marshall on the pine for 2-3 weeks, Eddie Royal will line up opposite Darrell Jackson for the first few games. Whereas the depth chart made it look like Jackson was slipping behind the rookie yesterday, he has merely moved into Marshall’s posotion for the time being. They should both shift backwards when Marshall comes back, but if Jackson stumbles out of the gate and Royal continues to impress, the rookie could pull a Dwayne Bowe and end up as the #2.

New York Jets
It’s not all roses with the Jets, according to an article in Newsday. Here’s what they say:

One player said the locker room is hardly unanimous about the move to get Favre, telling Newsday that a significant portion of the team was not in favor of giving up on Chad Pennington. The players loyal to Pennington were upset to see the team simply toss him overboard after he’d given so much to the team during his time with the Jets.

It is, of course, more about Pennington than Favre and I think they will warm to it. But as has been pointed out by others, Laveraneus Coles was a big Chad guy and allegedly left the hotel in Cleveland when he heard the news. Yes, he came back, but let’s face it – he wasn’t happy.

Is this a warning sign for Fantasy Owners? I’m not sure – Coles is a professional and isn’t stupid. Favre can do things Chad couldn’t. But I understand the loyalty – I just doubt it will blind him to what Favre can bring to the table.

Hopefully he can react like Kellen Clemens who, when asked how he felt to go from QB battle to instant back-up, had this to say:

“What can I say? Now I’m backing up a future Hall of Famer,” Clemens said. “I’ll be able to further my education.”

Smart kid, that Clemens.

More later, maybe some thoughts on the Pitt/Philly game.

Thursday Camp News

A few things of note post-Favre trade….

Of course, Chad Pennington is to be released by 4pm EST. Could land in Chicago or a few other places. I hope he gets a good fresh start.

Denver rookie WR Eddie Royal was running opposite Brandon Marshall. With Marshall suspended a few games, Royal will see some action, and it looks as though he continues to impress and may get some chances even when Marshall is back.

The Cowboys expect to know about Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones’ suspension by the 30th. If he comes back, he will be a factor in the defense and knock Anthony Henry back a notch.

I mentioned on ‘The Blurb’ last night that Carolina receiver DJ Hackett’s biggest challenge is staying healthy – and the struggle continues as he has spent a lot of time on the injury bike in camp and fighting an ankle problem. Still like him as a sleeper, but am certainly hesitant to tout him as anything more.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to discuss increasing Jerious Norwood’s reps. As Michael Turner will be carrying a lot to keep the offense moving, it makes sense to have more carries for Norwood so he can spell Turner. Norwood is an electrifying player and will compliment Turner well.

At least one stud running back will avoid contract issues – Brian Westbrook and the Eagles should be coming to terms in the next few days.

Thats all for now – more later!