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September 2009

The Curse of the Consecutive Thursday Night Game

Published on: 30th September, 2009

The Curse of the Consecutive Thursday Night Game  | read this item

 

Before the 2009 season began, I picked up on a trend from the prior year involving ACC teams which played consecutive Thursday night games. Upon looking at my team’s 2009 schedule, I was concerned and for a good reason. Apparently, as Georgia Tech lost to Miami. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the trend I’m referring to.

Simply put, ACC teams which play two consecutive Thursday night games tend to win the first (typically played at home) and lose the second (typically played away).

Let’s have a look at the 2008 season.


Virginia Tech

Thursday, November 6th 2008: Maryland at Virginia Tech. VT wins.

Thursday, November 13th 2008: Virginia Tech at Miami: VT loses.

Miami

Thursday, November 13th 2008: Virginia Tech at Miami. Miami wins.

Thursday, November 20th 2008: Miami at Georgia Tech. Miami loses.

I know this isn’t really enough games to be a statistical trend but it was enough for me to pick up on.

If I were a Coach or athletic director I would avoid scheduling consecutive Thursday night games like the plague. However, I would welcome with open arms catching other teams on the back end of their consecutive Thursday night stretch.

Now let’s take a look at the 2009 season.

Georgia Tech

Thursday, September 10th 2009: Clemson at Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech wins.

Thursday, September 17th, 2009: Georgia Tech at Miami. Georgia Tech loses.

North Carolina

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009: Florida State at North Carolina: Winner TBD (Prediction UNC Wins)

Thursday, October 29th, 2009: North Carolina at Virginia Tech: Winner TBD (Prediction VT wins).

Virginia Tech

Thursday, October 29th, 2009: North Carolina at Virginia Tech: Winner TBD (Prediction VT wins).

Thursday, November 5th, 2009: Virginia Tech at East Carolina: Winner TBD (Prediction ECU wins). Upset Alert!

So the curse basically predicts that UNC will beat FSU, VT will beat UNC, and ECU will beat VT.

However, this trend thus far has only applied to ACC teams playing each other. So throwing ECU into the mix is an unknown.

Also of note, both UNC and VT get a bye week prior to their consecutive Thursday night games. Will this be a factor?

Has this trend shown up in other conferences that play consecutive Thursday night games? 

So fans of UNC and VT, enjoy your home win that first Thursday night, but beware of the curse of the second consecutive Thursday night game.

FSU fans, sorry for your luck.

And ECU fans, you would be wise not to miss this year’s game against VT. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Chicago Bears Offense Coming Together In Pieces

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Chicago Bears Offense Coming Together In Pieces  | read this item
The Bears’ offense is coming together piece by piece.
It’s just that the pieces aren’t fitting together in the order many thought they would.
“I know it is going to take some time and I knew it wasn’t going to be the first week, and it’s hard to make everything gel the way you want it to in the first few weeks,” offensive coordinator Ron Turner said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “It’s going to take some time and as long as we get a little bit better each week, which I think we’re doing, it will fall into place and it will come.”
The Bears always have counted on their running game first and then their passes. So far this season the running game has struggled to a 2.8 yards-per-carry pace.
Meanwhile, quarterback Jay Cutler has taken the passing attack on a torrid pace after a nightmare first half at Green Bay.
Since he threw three first-half interceptions in the opener against Green Bay, Cutler is 57-of-79 for 633 yards with two interceptions and six touchdowns for a 110.4 passer rating. His completion percentage of .721 is the best in the NFL the last 10 quarters of ball.
“It’s really early in the season,” Cutler said. “Offensively, we’re doing some good things, we’re doing some bad things.
“We just need to keep going in the right direction. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Bears acquired Cutler thinking the quarterback makes the receivers, not the other way around.
“That is what great quarterbacks do, they elevate the play of those around them,” Turner said. “I think he is doing that because they all believe if they do their job, he can do that  he can make something happen, he can do something special.”
It’s for this reason the Bears didn’t sign a big name receiver and haven’t brought anyone in—contrary to false rumors that surfaced this week saying the team had interest in Marvin Harrison and that a car with the license plates “Indy88” had turned up at Halas Hall.
“They’re playing really well,” Cutler said about Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox. “We never doubted them. There was no chance of us bringing anybody else in.
“We knew we were going to go with this crew. We felt good about it and they’re playing really well right now. I’m proud of them.”
Although the Knox has a 68-yard catch on a bomb, Hester a 36-yard TD catch against the Packers on a go route and Bennett a 31-yard catch the last game, most of the bigger gains have come after short passes.
“They’ve done a great job of that—Devin, Earl and Johnny,” Cutler said. “I try to get the ball in their hands as quickly as possible and let them do their thing.
“They’ve done a great job of breaking tackles and making people miss, but they know when to get down. So they’re not out their sacrificing their bodies.”
The offense hasn’t started fast in any of the games even though Cutler’s statistics have been good in the last 2 ½ games.
They’ve been outscored 17-0 in first quarters, 30-16 in the first half and and outscored opponents 41-24 in the second half.
“Well, we went to Green Bay, really didn’t have a good feel for what they were going to do defensively, didn’t have a lot on film on them,” Cutler said. “Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh, a great defense. In Seattle, it’s the loudest stadium I’ve ever been in, so it’s hard for us to start fast. We had a couple shots early that we just missed. Would have got us on the board early. We just need to keep fighting.
“The good thing about it is we are making plays in the fourth quarter and we are finishing strong.”
The only thing which hasn’t clicked at all has been the running game. They think it’s coming, although Matt Forte’s slight knee injury casts some doubt on this at this point. He was involved in only part of Wednesday’s practice.
And Turner admitted he didn’t make things better last Sunday himself with a mistake. He called inside running plays when diminuitive running back Garrett Wolfe was on the field.
“They were called and the third one, short yardage, honestly he shouldn’t have been in there,” Turner said. “We get in a short yardage situation and that’s usually Matt and AP (Adrian Peterson) in there running that. That was an error on our part, my part, (it) should have had one of those guys in there.”
The longest runs produced by the running game have been 11 yards by Forte and 15 by Peterson, but coach Lovie Smith wouldn’t be surprised if the running game starts to pop
“It’s improving,” he said.  “We got some production from it (against Seattle), we still need to take another step with it, but we’re still committed to it by the number of rushes that we have.”
In this piece-by-piece approach to offense, the rushes are there, the next piece is the yardage.
If that happens, the faster starts could follow.

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

Matt Prater To Be Honored As AFC Special Teams Player Of The Month

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Matt Prater To Be Honored As AFC Special Teams Player Of The Month  | read this item

On Wednesday, the Denver Broncos announced that kicker Matt Prater will be named the AFC special teams player of the month after his fantastic start to the 2009 season.

Broncos fans remember the Prater from early last season who seemed well on his way to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl only to self-destruct as the season wore on.

Prater has arguably the strongest leg I have ever seen, one that has earned him this special honor after he made seven of his nine field goal attempts, including three from 40 yards or beyond.  He also leads the AFC with seven touchbacks, touchback percentage (46.7 percent), and 13 kickoffs that have reached the end zone. 

He has also helped the Broncos lead the AFC in opponents’ starting field position with an average spot on the 20.6 yard line.

In their 3-0 start, the Broncos’ special teams play has been an area that often goes overlooked, mainly because their defense is overshadowing everything else right now, but the defense might not be what it is today if not for the play of Prater and the Broncos’ special teams unit, coached by Mike Priefer.

Prater was a player many Bronco fans thought to be on the bubble after his finish to last season, but this award is an excellent confidence booster for Prater and Denver’s fan base.

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

Arkansas & Texas A&M Go Back To The Future To Renew a Rivalry

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Arkansas & Texas A&M Go Back To The Future To Renew a Rivalry  | read this item

The Arkansas Razorbacks and Texas A&M Aggies first met on the gridiron way back in 1903 when the fledgling Arkansas football program was only nine years into its existence.

The UA team was still known as the Cardinals as this was six years before Hugo Bezdek’s “we played like a wild bunch of Razorback Hogs” speech following a landmark victory over LSU in 1909. 

Some Hog fans say there are no “traditional rivalries” for the Hogs in the SEC. Tell that to people in eastern Arkansas or down around LA, Lower Arkansas to some.

Southern Arkansas was once home to Paul “Bear’ Bryant, Barry Switzer, former LSU coach Charley McClendon, Tommy Tuberville, Bill Clinton, former U.S. Senator David Pryor, singer Glen Campbell (he of celebrity mug shot fame) and others who have to listen to LSU fans on a daily basis.

But back to old rivalries. On Oct. 3, the Hogs and Texas A&M renewed an old rivalry from the Southwest Conference when the teams meet for the first time since 1991. Just to give you an idea, some of the current players were barely born then, and UA freshman Knile Davis of Missouri City,Texas may not have been born at that time.

The Hogs lead the all-time series 38-24-3. When the Hogs left the SWC for the greener pastures of the Southeastern Conference, the Hogs led all of the former members of the SWC in the all-time series except Texas.

The Aggies got the last laugh in that 1991 game when then head coach Jack Crowe (I’m still trying to forget the Crowe era) tried to secretly put in the wishbone offense due to injuries at quarterback.

It was perhaps the worst kept secret in Arkansas history other than the news that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Springdale are expecting another child. Another couple and they could field a starting football team.

Here is my list of the most memorable Arkansas-Texas A&M football games in the history of this rivalry.

I wasn’t even a gleam in my Dad’s eye when the Hogs beat then first year A&M head coach Bear Bryant in his first season in College Station, so that game is not included in the festivities.

I was in diapers when the Bear returned the favor, beating the Hogs 7-6 on the way to the national championship in 1957, so again, I will include only the games I can recall.

The first and perhaps most meaningful was the game in Little Rock in December, 1975 when the 2nd ranked Aggies entered the game heavy favorites after having thrashed the Texas Longhorns earlier.

The Southwest Conference title was on the line and the Hogs throttled the Ags 31-6, the same score as another famous game a couple of years later. The game propelled the Hogs into the Cotton Bowl, then still a major bowl, where UA trounced Georgia 31-10 in Frank Broyles’ last bowl game before retirement a year later.

In 1977, the Hogs struggled to a 26-20 win over the Aggies in College Station under first year head coach Lou Holtz, bringing an Orange Bowl bid. When fans pelted the field with oranges a week later after a win over future New England and Indianapolis head coach Ron Meyer and SMU, Holtz quipped “thank goodness we aren’t playing in the Gator Bowl”.

In 1981 at Kyle Field, which I thought was the toughest venue in the SWC, what with the fans being much more raucous than the more wine and cheese crowd at Austin, Billy Ray Smith, Jr, who spent several years with the San Diego Chargers, preserved a 10-7 Arkansas victory with a sack of the Aggie quarterback in the final moments of the game.

In 1986, the Hogs clinched another Orange Bowl berth with a 14-10 victory over the Aggies. That Orange Bowl was against the same team, Oklahoma, that awaited the Hogs after the 1977 season, but alas, with a much different result.

In 1988, after then Aggie coach Jackie Sherrill proclaimed before the game that the SWC title went through College Station, the Hogs won a cliffhanger 25-20 on a late interception. The win clinched the Hogs’ first SWC championship and the Cotton Bowl berth that went with it since Broyles’ last hurrah in 1975.

A year later, in 1989, Ken Hatfield and the Hogs were going for the team’s first back-to-back SWC championships in football since 1964-65. Playing at Kyle Field, again, always a tough place to come out with a victory for visiting teams, the Hogs hung on 23-22 after taking an intentional safety to avoid punting from their own end zone late in the contest.

Those were the six most memorable Arkansas-Texas A&M games in my recollection. When I think of the Hogs-Aggies, the games were usually close, low-scoring contests in which defense decided the outcome.

To give you some idea, in the highest scoring game in the Arkansas-Texas A&M series, a total of 59 points were scored. Arkansas and Georgia combined for 48 points in a recent first half.

When I think of Texas A&M football, I think of mainly running backs and linebackers. For awhile there, the Aggies rivaled Penn State for producing NFL ‘backers. There were great players at other positions such as defensive backs Lester Hayes, Pat Thomas and many others, but the linebackers were the heart of the A&M defense in their heyday.

Texas A&M was always a defensive and special teams oriented team back in the day, kind of like Virginia Tech. Contrast that with the Ags #1 ranked offense in 2009.

With Ryan Mallett and the Hogs having many offensive weapons, much to A&M and former Arkansas defensive coordinator Joe Kines’ dismay, there should be a lot of points scored Saturday.

In a sort of Dennis Franchione tour, the Hogs go from Tuscaloosa to Texas A&M, and in both cases an ugly videotape was involved. The Aggies and Crimson Tide’s histories are intertwined with Bear Bryant having gone to Alabama from A&M, then former Aggie head man Gene Stallings went to ‘Bama after a number of years in the NFL.

Former A&M boss Jackie Sherrill played for Bryant at Alabama, then Franchione made his ill-fated trek from Tuscaloosa to College Station.

There is much history from Alabama to Texas A&M and if the Arkansas Razorbacks hope to change recent history and go to a bowl game following the 2009 regular season, a win over the Aggies in the Jones-Dome is a must.

I know, Dallas Cowboys Stadium is the official name for the state of the art palace in Arlington, TX and UA alum Jerry Jones is largely responsible for this ten year series that is set to begin.

Hopefully, the Hogs are up to the task at hand and will thrill a large contingent of Hog fans Saturday as a long time series goes back to the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Washington And Steve Sarkisian At The Crossroads For 2009

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Washington And Steve Sarkisian At The Crossroads For 2009  | read this item

For those of you lucky enough (or unlucky for how bad the broadcast was) to see the Washington-Stanford game last Saturday, you got to see Washington lay its first egg of the season.

Coming off the win against USC, it is easy to imagine the optimism that existed in the hearts of Washington players, fans, and coaches. They can downplay it all they want, it existed.

The game proved that Stanford can be a legitimate contender in the Pac-10; that the Washington Huskies still have a long road ahead of them.

This week’s game against Notre Dame I think will show us the real 2009 Washington Huskies. 

A lot of people seem to think that the Huskies played out of their skins for the USC and LSU games, and that Stanford showed them stalling on the intensity.

I disagree.

Sarkisian is the first to admit that there were tons of mistakes in that game, and that he didn’t prepare the team well enough for the game.

This is all barring the fact that Stanford capitalized on one of the glaring weaknesses on this team, defending the power run.

The Stanford game was obviously the worst performance of Sarkisian’s short tenure, with the previous weeks performance against USC the best.

The 2009 Huskies exist somewhere between those two polls.

They won’t be world-beaters every week, but neither are they going to fold as easily as they did against Stanford. 

Sarkisian and his staff are good motivators, and I think the players aren’t playing for a lame duck coach like they were last year.

That being said, this Saturday’s game is going to show whether the Huskies can pick themselves up from defeat or not. This was something the Willingham staff struggled to do.

Notre Dame has won their last two games and lost the Michigan game by a score or less, so they are going to be a competitive team.

Plus they are just Notre Dame.

So, if the Huskies win, as unlikely as that may seem after the last performance, it could be the makings of a Pete Carroll like team. Win the big games, choke in the small games.

If Notre Dame wins, the performance the Huskies put up will be judged for its merit. How well they play will determine how long of a road it’s going to be for the Huskies, and how successful 2009 will be.

A big loss could send the Huskies into a faster downward spiral, a competitive loss could keep the player’s spirits up going forward.

The future is wide open at this point.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

UCF Football’s Big Five: The Impact They’re Making on the NFL

Published on: 30th September, 2009

UCF Football's Big Five: The Impact They're Making on the NFL  | read this item

From Shawn Jefferson to Daunte Culpepper, electrifying Knights football players have made their way to the NFL. Some were successful, others weren’t; some are long gone, but many still play on pro turf today.

There are a few UCF players that I call the “Big Five” right now—players that are of recent (and often dear) memory to Knights fans, and that are making an impact on their respective teams. Here are the present members of UCF’s Big Five…

Begin Slideshow

Cincinnati Bengals: Is Andre Caldwell The Reason For Chris Henry’s Slow Start?

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Cincinnati Bengals: Is Andre Caldwell The Reason For Chris Henry's Slow Start?  | read this item

After being suspended 14 games the previous three seasons, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry appeared to be a changed player during the team’s offseason workouts.

Instead of being labeled as a player who struggles to stay out of trouble with the law, Henry seemed to have learned his lessons from his previous arrests and suspensions. He understood how privileged he was to receive the opportunity to be part of the NFL and seemed to be more focused on changing his career around as a player.

In fact, his offseason work ethic was so impressive; many analysts were predicting a breakout season for Henry this season.

The Bengals are well aware of the type of potential Henry has in 2009 and the type of numbers he is capable of recording—and his past supports it. In his second season with the team, he hauled in 36 receptions for 605 yards and nine touchdowns as the team’s third option at wide receiver.

Henry’s hard work during the offseason seemed to pay off during preseason as he led all Bengals receivers with 14 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns. With these type of numbers, he appeared to be on track to that breakout season everyone expected him to have.

Unfortunately, Henry has yet to live up to the hype surrounding him in the offseason. In three games against the Broncos, Packers, and Steelers, Henry has just three catches for 42 yards and one touchdown.

When trying to make sense of the reasoning behind Henry’s slow start, the only explanation that comes to mind is the number of weapons Palmer has at the wide receiver position. 

One of the reasons why the Bengals were considered a potential sleeper team in 2009 was because of their depth at wide receiver.

Between five-time Pro Bowler Chad Ochocinco, former Pro Bowler Laveranues Coles, and a potential breakout season from Henry, the Bengals had every reason to believe they would have one of the top offenses in the NFL and make a push for the playoffs this season. 

By playing alongside Ochocinco and Coles, Henry knew he would be considered the third option for Palmer to throw to. However, there was another player that Henry and the Bengals may not have expected to perform as well as he has thus far.

What they didn’t expect is the quick emergence of second-year wide receiver Andre Caldwell, which may be part of the reason why Henry’s numbers are down. However, this may not be the worst thing in the world for the Bengals. If anything, they should be excited for the potential of another threat for Palmer to throw to on offense.

Through the first three games, Caldwell has already surpassed most statistics from his rookie season.

He’s tied with Ochocinco for most receptions (14) and caught the game-winning four-yard touchdown from Palmer with 14 seconds left to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. He is also second behind Ochocinco with seven receptions for a first down.

One of the reasons behind Caldwell’s early success is the approach he took in the offseason to improve as a wide receiver. Last February, Caldwell flew out to California with Jerome Simpson to perform workouts with Palmer in hopes of filling the void left by T.J. Houshmandzadeh at the slot position.

So far, Caldwell’s offseason workouts with Palmer appear to be paying off for the Bengals, who look to improve their 2-1 record against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Caldwell’s impressive performance through three games may be part of the reason why Henry’s numbers are down. However, it’s still early enough in the season for Henry to improve his game and find a way out of this three-game slump—even if Caldwell continues to put up impressive numbers.

Think about it; if Caldwell continues to perform well throughout the season, opposing defenders may focus more on stopping him, Ochocinco, and Coles—which could work to Henry’s advantage.

If opposing defenders spend more time covering other Bengals receivers, Henry may find himself open down the field more often—which could result in more receptions his way.

Henry’s numbers may be disappointing so far, but the Bengals and their fans need to be patient and give him more time. The most important fact of the situation is the team is still finding ways to win games and is off to an impressive start with big wins against the Steelers and Packers.

Give it time before making a decision on whether or not Henry’s offseason hype was for nothing. If his numbers are still down after a few more games, then it might be time for the Bengals and the city of Cincinnati to hit the panic button.

 

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Mike Wallace is The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Best No. 3 Option at WR

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Mike Wallace is The Pittsburgh Steelers' Best No. 3 Option at WR   | read this item

After a slow 1-2 start and an even slower start for the Steelers’ offense, many are beginning to question Pittsburgh’s ability to make an actual run at defending their title in 2009.

Some blame Big Ben. Others want to blame the defense. And yet, others want to blame the coaches. In my opinion, there is really only one reason that the Steelers are 1-2 right now instead of 2-1.

Limas Sweed.

Now I know it seems a bit harsh to put all of the blame on one player for a loss, but I feel that his drop in the end zone last week at Cincinnati kept us from winning the game.

The pass from Ben was absolutely perfect and the defenders were a good three to four yards away from Sweed, giving him plenty of room to catch the ball.

But as he hit the ground, or rather fell to the ground, the ball flew out of Sweed’s grasp and out of the back of the end zone. That score would have given us the win, a record of 2-1 going into Week Four, and much less panic in the Pittsburgh fan base.

How many chances are we going to give Limas?

It’s generally not a good thing when people remember your drops more than you actually catching the football. He’s only recorded 7 catches for 69 yards and 0 scores in 13 career games.

Hell, Mike Wallace bested that last week at Cincinnati.

In that game he caught 7 passes for 102 yards. And despite Wallace having not yet scored his first career TD, he has made a rather large impact on the team so far.

He has 12 catches on the season for 147 yards, but there are two big plays in particular that have really stood out for me.

Of course there is the one just last week for a 51 yard completion from Big Ben where he flat out blew by the guy covering him and caught it down the sideline. A little bit more awareness from him could have lead to a touchdown on that play.

The other one was in Week One. In overtime he caught the big pass from Roethlisberger that gave the Steelers good enough field position for Jeff Reed to kick (and make) a relatively easy field goal.

Coming up when it matters most is key and Limas Sweed has not done that at all.

He’s also the fastest guy on the team. An obvious deep threat that will most likely be used more with Ben’s increasing pass attempts per game.

If the Steelers are going to turn things around, they are going to have to get Mike Wallace involved as much as they can, and use Limas Sweed, preferably, as little as they can.

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Will Pennington Return To The NFL After Another Shoulder Surgery?

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Will Pennington Return To The NFL After Another Shoulder Surgery?  | read this item

When Chad Pennington dislocated his shoulder in Miami’s loss to San Diego this past Sunday, many were thinking, “Will Pennington be able to come back and play in the NFL?” Let’s examine Pennington’s injury history, what he currently is suffering from, and whether it is feasible to expect another comeback from this tough NFL quarterback.

Pennington has twice suffered tears in his rotator cuff — a group of four shoulder muscles that are responsible for shoulder stability and strength. Each time he had the rotator cuff repaired, he was able to return after a period of rehabilitation. In fact, his inspirational play during the 2006 season, earned the Jets a playoff appearance, and Pennington the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

Pennington’s injury this time is somewhat different. The shoulder is a ball (humerus) and socket (glenoid) joint. A shoulder dislocation is when the upper arm bone (humerus) comes out of the shoulder joint (glenoid) and needs to be returned to the joint (reduced).

This entity is frequently confused by the lay press with a shoulder separation. This occurs when the clavicle is “separated” from the acromio-clavicular joint — a less serious injury. In a shoulder separation, the athlete rests for a few weeks and the area scars down, allowing return within a few weeks of the injury.

Shoulder dislocations are more serious. In order for the humerus to be dislocated from the glenoid, the soft tissue that holds the shoulder together must be damaged or torn. This soft tissue is composed of the inner labrum and the surrounding capsule. Both of these are usually damaged in a dislocation. In fact there may be boney deformities as well, affecting the humerus and the glenoid. These boney changes occur when the bones impact each other during the dislocation and reduction. This often causes boney changes which make the chances of a recurrent dislocation greater.

News reports indicate that Pennington damaged his capsule, and undoubtedly Dr. Andrews will fix this during the surgery. He may also repair any lesser damage done to the rotator cuff or the labrum — both a distinct possibility given his previous injuries.

Provided the surgery goes smoothly, Pennington will then undergo an arduous rehabilitation period beginning with early passive mobilization, and then gradual strengthening of the shoulder. In the first 6 weeks post-op, he will regain some shoulder strength, and at about the two month mark he may slowly begin a structured “throwing” schedule. This gradual increase in shoulder strength will take four to six months, at the end of which time he could begin throwing in simulated game situations.

A reasonable goal for Pennington would be a return to near full shoulder strength by the beginning of NFL training camp in 2010. Some of the things that could thwart this goal are as follows: He may not want to go through another grueling rehabilitation program or may not be able to successfully gain all his strength back as a result of the damaged tissue, and the inability of the surgery to satisfactorily repair the shoulder. His age may also play a factor in that as an athlete gets over 30 years of age, his capacity to rehab and return to his previous level of functioning are not as good as if he were in his twenties.

Ironically, many of the same things that Pennington is fighting against — age and multiple surgeries — may ultimately give him the best chance for recovery. 

When an athlete dislocates his throwing shoulder, we as physicians are concerned about the very real threat of recurrent dislocation. Younger athletes are actually more prone to recurrent dislocation, as the tissue holding the shoulder joint together is more flexible in the late teens and twenties. As an athlete approaches 40 years old, much of this connective tissue becomes stiffer and less pliable, making the chances of recurrent dislocation less common.

Finally, Pennington has gone through 2 previous rehabilitation programs, where he has successfully come back to play at a high level. He knows what awaits him, and realizes what he must do in order to regain his previous form. If he is willing to repeat the long hours of rehabilitation and strength training, he will certainly have an excellent chance of return to the NFL.

The fact that Pennington is the NFL’s all time leader in completion percentage will also help get him back on the field. Because his game is predicated on short, accurate throws, rather than deeper passes, Pennington has the added advantage of being able to return to competition without having as much arm strength as other quarterbacks. 

At the very least, Pennington will be able to become a serviceable backup in the league next year. Furthermore, if he lands in the right system, he may yet again become a starting NFL quarterback.

 

David Webner, MD

Co-Director, Sports Medicine Fellowship

Crozer-Keystone Health System

Suburban Philadelphia

 

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Nostradamas Reveals This Week’s Football Winners

Published on: 30th September, 2009

Nostradamas Reveals This Week's Football Winners  | read this item

So I’m sitting here and I’m wondering, what is up with this college football season?

Injuries.

Upsets.

Boise State in the top 5.

It’s like no other season in the history of college football.

Oh, wait, it’s not. Come to think of it, injuries and upsets have been happening fairly regularly.

Injuries?

Ever hear of Tony Pike, the underrated offensive leader of Cincinnati? You may not have EVER known his name if injuries hadn’t sidelined the two QB’s he was backing up at the start of last season.

Dennis Dixon’s late season injury may have cost a very good Oregon team a shot at the BCS championship game not that long ago.

Upsets? Just a few fairly recent ones off the top of my head.

Appalachian State taking down Michigan in Ann Arbor. Stanford crushing USC’s title hopes as over 40 point underdogs. Navy ends the streak of futility against Notre Dame.

I could name more of both but, hey, who’s got the time? Wife, kids, life, this doesn’t exactly leave much time for “thorough” research.

Okay, maybe Boise State this high, this early is a pretty infrequent occurrence but I believe they have finished a season in the top five before.

Cincinnati is now in the top ten.

South Florida got up to number two in the polls a few seasons back. And it just beat Florida State.

My point is everything has not gone crazy.

You dead Uncle Pervy is not suddenly shivering ’cause hell has not frozen over.

There’s a simple explanation for what is happening this season.

I know, you’re thinking here is the part where I start talking about parity in the college game.

About how the NCAA’s Title IX legislation has leveled the playing field and allowed the little brothers of football to close the gap in talent.

That the elite football factories can no longer stockpile players like they once did.

Maybe it’s because the players are larger, stronger and faster than they have ever been.

A 250 pound linebacker running at full speed is going to leave a mark if he tackles you.

Injuries happen because this is a contact sport.

None of this logically explains why this is happening.

In fact, there is only one logical, indisputable reason why these things continue to happen.

That’s right. Global Warming.

Or is it Global Cooling now that solar activity has gone into a low cycle and temperatures are dropping?

Heck, I don’t know what it’s called now, but it is definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt the reason everything has gone “whack”. I think.

Since I don’t have any actual facts to support this claim, I think I’ll call up Al Gore for his take. He has a slide show and everything. 

I’ll let you know what he has to say on the subject.

And while I’m thinking about it, what’s up with the new anti-contact rules? I know it’s not exactly on subject but my mind wanders.

It seems like they are aiming to put pink panties on the players with all the new rules.

Horse collar? Leading with the head? Hitting a defenseless player? Coming out of the game if you’re bleeding?

Is this still football or has it now turned into a play date with another school?

When I played (okay, it was the stone age), these things were encouraged.

You horse collared someone? “Hey, good job! Way to grab ‘hold and bring him down!”

Hitting someone in the head or smacking a receiver as the ball goes by? “Way to punish ‘em!”

You’re bleeding? “Rub some dirt on it!”

The bone is sticking out? “All right, sit on the bench a minute. We’ll tape it up AND rub some dirt on it!”

I’m just saying, it’s still football. Let ‘em play!

Anyway, what was I doing? Oh yeah, I promised some predictions didn’t I?

Okay, here goes.

I, Nostradamus, being the worlds leading psychotic that I am, hereby reveal exactly how this weekend’s games will play out.

Most of the better teams will win. Some won’t.

At least one highly rated team will lose and everybody will say “Wow”.

Some players will get injured. Most won’t.

A highly regarded player may get hurt, in which case someone will say they should have gone pro last year.

And Boise State will still be ranked too high.

 

 

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