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February 2010

Duke Of the Dash: JMU’s NFL Prospects at The 2010 Combine

Published on: 28th February, 2010

Duke Of the Dash: JMU's NFL Prospects at The 2010 Combine  | read this item

The NFL Combine has started again, and you have your usual participants: Florida, LSU, Texas, Virginia Tech, etc. Basically, the I-A (I’m sorry “Football Bowl Subdivision”) schools and a few stand-outs from the “Football Championship Subdivision” (I-AA) schools. Among those are two outstanding Dukes: DL Arthur Moats and OL Dorian Brooks. 

Brooks had his day, and placed as a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle, posting a time of 4.66, just +0.15 behind the leader, Arizona State’s Shawn Lauvao. 

Not bad.

Dorian also posted one of the better 40-yard dash times. Brooks ran a 5.16, +0.31 behind the leader, Maryland’s Bruce Campbell. Really not bad for a guy who’s 6’2″, 306 lbs.

The comments on Brooks were that he had quick feet and good form. Hopefully that impressed some of the scouts at the combine. I know I was impressed, and it’s not just because I am an incredible homer who will root for the home team beyond rational reasoning. 

I liked Brooks’ speed. He may not jump high or far or bench press 300+ pounds, but with speedy defensive ends in the league, a fast O-linemen can only help. 

In fact, if I had Bill Belichick’s ear, I’d suggest the Patriots take him. Their line is good, but it is aging, and Brooks will be a late round pick at best. That’s the kind of discount talent the Patriots like to pick, and if their most recent high-round drafts are any indication, they need a little help in that department.

With several porous lines in the league, Brooks has a shot at being drafted.

Monday, Arthur Moats takes the field to participate in DE drills. He will be sure to impress, and maybe up the status of JMU’s football program, small as it is. 

 

In other news, the Home Stands (not the student section) at Bridgeforth have been completely demolished, and construction is on schedule despite the recent flurry of snow-storms attempting to spit in the face of Global Warming. It marks a final end to the small-school, small-team mentality and a movement upwards and onwards. 

Of course, they’ll need better prospects. And they’ll probably need to upgrade the coaching staff. Hopefully, the stadium will be like that nice, new kitchen, that looks so good, the dining room, living room, and bathrooms all have to be updated to match. 

For now, let’s go Dukes, and to all I-AA athletes: please kick the collective butts of the I-A guys. 

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

Move Over Allen Iverson, Julius Peppers May be the New “Answer” in Philly

Published on: 28th February, 2010

Move Over Allen Iverson, Julius Peppers May be the New "Answer" in Philly  | read this item

 

Depth is certainly not an issue when it comes to defensive ends in the 2010 NFL Draft.

The only issue is there may be more questions instead of options.

And with uncertainties abound, the Philadelphia Eagles may be forced to sign Julius Peppers as early as Friday, March 5, the first day of free agency in the NFL.

It may sound like a quick decision, but the Eagles displayed that type of efficiency when the markets opened up in March 2004. That was the year they signed highly sought-after defensive end, Jevon Kearse, on day one of free agency.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid may be targeting defensive ends Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Jason Pierre Paul and Brandon Graham through the draft. All are highly regarded and all can make an impact in their rookie season.

The only problem is that a slew of teams including the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins and New York Giants may be seeking an impact defensive end.

With so many teams in the same boat as the Eagles, Reid may not have the opportunity to draft the defensive end he truly wants.

And even if a player like Graham falls to them, they have to question if he fits the mold of a defensive end or if he is better suited to play outside linebacker.

Perhaps Dunlap will drop to the Eagles due to his December DUI arrest. But if that’s why he falls, then are the Eagles willing to take a risk on a player with character issues?

Drafting a defensive end that can make an impact next year becomes such a crap shoot that the Eagles may be forced to pony up the money and sign Peppers, who according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, has the “the Eagles on his short list of teams.”

Ignore the fact that Peppers indicated he has the Eagles on his list and instead focus on the brevity of his list.

A short list of teams most likely means that Peppers is not going to be on the market by the time the draft rolls around. This really makes things even more confusing for Reid, because now he can’t wait to see how things unfold Thursday, April 22, the first day of the draft, to make a decision.

So, what is Reid to do? Does he play defensive-end roulett or does he double down and go for Peppers?

Both options are a gamble. The risks of the draft are all listed above. The risks for Peppers include his age, contract and the haunting reminder of Kearse being a free-agent bust.

Reid now must answer all of these questions and fin figure out the best way to compliment Pro Bowl defensive end, Trent Cole.

His answer may just be Julius Peppers.

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

A Championship Draft: How Bama’s Best Will do at the Combines

Published on: 28th February, 2010

A Championship Draft: How Bama's Best Will do at the Combines  | read this item

The Alabama Crimson Tide put on an impressive show of athleticism during the 2009 season. Now some of the athletes that helped make Alabama’s dream season come true, are leaving to pursue their own dreams of playing in the NFL. We will take a look at all 10 athletes, and what they must do to improve their own stock in the combines.

Begin Slideshow

NFL Draft: What About Me? Top 10 Undrafted Players of the Decade

Published on: 28th February, 2010

NFL Draft: What About Me? Top 10 Undrafted Players of the Decade  | read this item

Every player in the NFL wants the spotlight.

For some players, the premature spotlight of a first round selection will become bittersweet when they are tagged with the shunned label of “bust”.

Others will go unnoticed, however, and will have to hope for a phone call as an undrafted free agent. Good things often come to those who wait, and some rookie free agents will be rewarded for their patience. These players can’t wait to make an impact, and prove the other 31 teams exactly why they belong in the NFL.

Teams who are fortunate enough to find a diamond in the rough may be rewarded for their attention to detail. Several players have gone undrafted, and went on to make a big impact for their franchise.

These players are few and far between, but here’s a list of the top 10 undrafted free agents from the decade 2000-2010.

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Draft Preview: A Look at 10 Players That Might Interest the Bears

Published on: 28th February, 2010

Draft Preview: A Look at 10 Players That Might Interest the Bears  | read this item

The 2010 Scouting Combine has come and gone and NFL teams have a little bit better idea of which players they might want to draft in April. The Bears don’t have as many draft picks as other teams do (thanks to the Jay Cutler and Gaines Adams trade) so they will have to be very frugal with what they do in this draft. Let’s take a look at ten players that the Bears might be interested in for the 2010 NFL Draft.

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2010 Winter Olympics: It’s Raining Gold, Hallelujah!

Published on: 28th February, 2010

2010 Winter Olympics: It's Raining Gold, Hallelujah!  | read this item

And on the final day of these Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Hockey Gods looked down on the city, the clouds parted and the sun shone. In the gold medal hockey game between Canada and the US, in overtime, Sid the Kid scored the winner and all of Canada in one huge collective jump, screamed, hugged, high-fived, cried, and enjoyed the win in unison.

That was the start of the celebration, and the masses took to every street that they could, and displayed the Canadian pride that has been a symbol at these Games. This Winter Olympic has been a coming out party for Canada and they were not shy about showing what they were made of.

The IOC officials had for days dubbed the 2000 Australian Summer Olympics as the most celebrated they had ever witnessed. That was until they arrived in Vancouver. Three days ago they officially declared that the 2010 Winter Olympics had surpassed Sidney.

These Winter Olympics in Vancouver were a mixture of Mardi gras, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup final, Grey Cup, and World Cup of Soccer rolled all into one. It may have started out slow but it caught momentum like a snowball rolling down a mountain that turns into an Avalanche of celebration.

For the first time in the Winter Olympics, the host country won more Gold Medals (14) than ever before. What a fitting ending to the Gold that help break the previous mark.

History has been set over and over again at these games, such as the first Gold on Canadian soil which was Alex Bilodeau’s. The following is the list of Canada’s Gold Medalist.

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NFL Combine 2010 Results: Five Losers of Sunday

Published on: 28th February, 2010

NFL Combine 2010 Results: Five Losers of Sunday  | read this item

The conclusion of the second day of drills at the combine had many happy faces, but still left many questioning their draft status.

Despite adding or putting on weight, many players still had to prove their athletic abilities on the field.

Some had to prove that they were just not a product of a system, while others needed to show that they could play with the “big boys” at the next level.

These are five of the more disappointing prospects of the day. Some came in with very high expectations, and others might have blown their chances of even being drafted.

Enjoy!

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If I Were The 49ers GM/Coach, This Is How I Would Draft…

Published on: 28th February, 2010

If I Were The 49ers GM/Coach, This Is How I Would Draft...  | read this item

There has been a lot of talk about who the 49ers should take with the 13th and 17th selections in the upcoming draft. Some have said that the Niners should go with a right tackle like Trent Williams and then a returner/backup running back like C.J. Spiller.

Either way, people have the Niners taking only one lineman in the first round in a lot of mock drafts as well as blogs I’ve seen.

Not many have said that the Niners need to go after two offensive lineman. However, I believe that they can, and should get two lineman with their first two picks—a right tackle and right guard, respectively.

In my mind, the 49ers need to address their biggest weakness through finding two legitimate starters to play on that right side next season. In 2009, it was well documented that the Niners had a revolving door at right tackle, after the Marvel Smith experiment didn’t pan out.

Also, Chilo Rachal struggled mightly at right guard in his sophomore campaign. I realize that Rachal only played part of 2008, but he really had a rough go of it this past season against athletic interior lineman.

As far as 2010 goes, I personally wouldn’t feel confident going with Rachal as my starting right guard. The Niners can try to address that issue in the second round, or through free agency, but I think that’s taking a bit of a gamble when you consider the aforementioned Marvel Smith experiment.

1st Round, Picks 13 & 17

Trent Williams’ name keeps coming up as the guy to take when we draft at 13.

However, Bruce Campbell looked good at the combine in all his workouts. Regardless, the biggest need is at RT and so you take the best one you can at that point.

As for the best RG available at 17, there are a few guys that would look great in red and gold. One of them is Mike Iupati, who even though had a bad overall game at the Senior Bowl, still projects as the best guard.

Although Vladimir Ducasse and Jon Asomoah can be had in the 2nd and maybe even the 3rd round, the Niners need to make a statement that they care about solidifying that line by taking the best player at a position that they need to really improve upon.

2nd Round, Pick 49

In my estimation, the Niners need four new impact players to really feel confident that they can make the playoffs this upcoming season, as well as maybe win a game or two while they’re there. To do that, they need to find a way to get another second round pick.

I can see some teams possibly wanting the Niners third and fourth round picks in exchange for their second rounder, or maybe even ask for next year’s first rounder. Whatever the deal may be, the Niners should take it.

With their first pick in the second round, the Niners should go after the ball-hawking safety that fans have been clamoring for. It’s possible that Taylor Mays falls well into the second round—his coverage skills have been questioned.

Nevertheless, if a guy like that falls in your lap at #49, you really have to consider taking him. The only reason not to, would be to go for a guy like Chad Jones from LSU, or Nate Allen from South Florida, who has excellent speed and coverage ability.

2nd Round, (TRADE*), Mid-late spot

I only have one name in mind that would make an impact in his first year, if used correctly, and that is Toby Gerhart. Probably the most underrated player in the entire draft. Most mocks have him falling to the third round, and some even beyond that. Mark my words, this guy will be a playmaker.

The 49ers would be smart to upgrade the backfield, which few have mentioned, but which needs upgrading. Coffee was no more than an okay pick last year, but with this selection, the Niners would have not thunder and lightning, rather thunder and more thunder.

Gore has been sidelined from time to time because he has been the bell cow for the entirety of his career with the Niners. Now the Niners would be able to give Gerhart 8-10 carries a game which would be a tremendous help to Gore, and his longevity, not to mention another guy capable of breaking tackles and taking it in for seven.

5th Round-7th Round(assuming the 3rd & 4th round picks were traded)

For rounds 5-7, I would start looking at building for the future and addressing secondary team needs. One of those needs includes a KR/PR, and a guy that looks to fit the mold at this point in the draft is Antonio Brown out of Central Michigan. He’s not a very big guy (5’10”, 179 lbs.), but he runs a sub 4.4 40, and has return ability.

Another area of need is at linebacker. With Takeo Spikes getting older, and the Niners only having Scott McKillop to fall back on, it might be a good idea to add a little more depth there as well. The Niners could also go with a corner, or a defensive end here.

Some prospects include: Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor; Devin Ross, CB, Arizona; Corey Peters, DE, Kentucky

Lastly, the Niners should also probably think about addressing their next place kicker. It’s something no one seems to be talking about, but it should be noted that Joe Nedney is 36 already, and the Niners have a compensatory pick at their disposal.

Brett Swenson from Michigan State is a good kicker. He is very accurate, and can boot it from 50 yards and beyond. If the Niners are going to be talking about playoffs, then they better have someone that can win the close games for them.

 

 

 

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Offseason Moves Guaranteed To Bring the Jets a Super Bowl Victory

Published on: 28th February, 2010

Offseason Moves Guaranteed To Bring the Jets a Super Bowl Victory  | read this item

The Jets put together an impressive postseason run that ended one game away from the Super Bowl.  But now they must gear up for the offseason to make a few moves that will get them to that ever-elusive second Super Bowl.

First and foremost, releasing Thomas Jones is a great idea.  It gives you some room to move as far as the cap is concerned and on top of that the Jets don’t really need this guy anymore.  Not with the speed of Leon Washington and the hard running style of Shonn Greene.

However, that is only the beginning of what needs to happen if the Jets expect to win the Super Bowl next year.

First, they need to get Braylon Edwards some stick-em.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this guy and I am excited to have him on the team, as he provides a great deep threat.  The only thing missing is his hands.  His bonehead drops are far too reminiscent of wide outs like Clifford Franklin from The Replacements and the kid from The Little Giants who only catches toilet paper.

Next, considering we have a brand new stadium, I think it would be a good idea to invest in setting up some sort of hot dog vendor on the sideline so we can keep Mark Sanchez’s blood sugar up.  After all, sometimes the difference between winning and losing comes in the form of a couple of Hebrew Nationals.

As far as coaching goes, I love what Rex Ryan brings to the team.  The problem is he doesn’t just bring it to the team, he brings it to the world.  Don’t get me wrong, I would be thrilled to go out and have a few drinks with this guy and listen to him talk trash.  But I think for the duration of the 2010-11 season we should keep him as far away from MMA fights as possible…especially if they happen to be in Miami.  Seriously, that was about as safe as taking Al Sharpton to a clan meeting.

My next recommendation may seem apparent, but it never hurts to state the obvious.  Stay away from free agents that have more than three strikes.  Leave those acquisitions to the Bengals and the Cowboys.  As you can see by looking at recent history, those moves don’t win you Super Bowls.

Another idea that might not hurt would be to stop wearing those vomit-colored throwbacks.  Seriously, what exactly are we trying to prove with them?!  I know this has nothing to do with football, but I think it would be a good morale builder to not wear the ugliest throwbacks the NFL has ever seen.  Honestly, you could find a better looking uniform in Lady Gaga’s lost luggage.

But on a more serious note, this team is strong and barring injuries, should be extremely competitive next year.  So if it ain’t broken don’t fix it.  Keep guys like Kerry Rhodes!  Now that you have some cash from releasing T.J. do what you have to do to keep this man in green and white!

At the end of the day, if Sanchez continues to grow and perform like he did towards the end of this past season, there is no reason why we can’t beat anybody, which leads me to my last point.

Brian Schottenheimer needs to stop being such a pansy with the play-calling.  When your QB is playing solid let the guy throw more than 11 passes in a game.  I know that the running game was the staple of our offense but it won’t work to its potential unless you open up the run via the passing game.

So there you have it.  Put all those changes in place and I have no doubts that we will be hoisting up a Lombardi trophy within the next few seasons!  Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com

Team USA: What America Stands For

Published on: 28th February, 2010

Team USA: What America Stands For  | read this item

The Men’s USA Hockey team fell short in their quest for Gold losing 3-2 in overtime.

There was no Miracle On Ice or Squaw Valley.

However, this team has NO REASON to hang their heads.

No one gave them a shot at a medal. No one gave them a shot to beat Canada in their first matchup.

But that’s what America is all about.

No one gives us a chance, but we always rise to the occasion.

We always rally around each other.

We always bounce back.

Team USA trailed 2-0 going into the second period and cut the lead to one. U.S. Goalie Ryan Miller was all world in this tournament and he kept his team in it yet again.

The Americans continued to attack and pressure the talented Canadian team. Team Canada netminder, Roberto Luongo, looked shaky and let up rebound after rebound.

The clock worked against the Americans as they trailed by one with less than two minutes left. They could have mailed it in. They could have conceded to the country that invented the sport.

However, Americans don’t quit or give up, they persevere.

And persevere they did.

Zach Parise scored the tying goal with about 25 seconds left on the clock and the United States forced overtime.

However in overtime, “Sid the Kid,” arguably the best hockey player on the planet, beat Miller to secure gold for Team Canada.

Team USA’s dreams of gold were dashed in the blink of an eye.  But the citizens of this country embraced them with open arms.

You made us proud to be Americans.

You made us realize that ice hockey is the best game on the planet.

People who don’t even like hockey, rooted on their country and their brothers on skates.

It wasn’t just men playing a kids game, it was our fellow Americans defying the odds and not listening to the doubters.

Most of the U.S. players had tears in their eyes during the medal ceremony. They were disappointed and may felt they let everyone down.

Gentlemen when you put on those jerseys, you were playing for the name on the front and not the one on their back.

Herb Brooks would have been proud of you.

Our country is proud of you and we will never forget your fight and fire!

You made us cheer and you made the world take notice.

You encapsulated what America stands for. Hard work and the undying will to overcome.

Thank You.

Check out Joe’s site at Boston Sports Then And Now.

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