Friday, August 28, 2009

Public Enemy No. 4

The biggest of the Michael Vick plotlines have now played out, with his return to live action Thursday night with the Philadelphia Eagles. But the Brett Favre storylines are just getting started.

And none is bigger than this one: How did this man, this icon, this exemplar of modern NFL manhood next to whom everybody else seemed puny and weak – how could Brett Favre turn America against him so swiftly and so completely?

Because he has lost more cache in a shorter time than almost any superstar you can think of. At this time last year, people were screaming from the rooftops that anybody who didn’t open their arms to Brett’s return from his tragically-forced retirement from Green Bay was a fool, a hater, a bitter, jealous hack.

(Continue to The Steele Drum)

New Eagle Lands Without Big To-Do

The headline: “New Eagle Has Landed,” words that had nothing to do Thursday night with a moon landing.

The words referred to a much-anticipated event, one that, while significant in its own way, could never measure up to a more historic occasion decades ago.

The new Eagle was Michael Vick, a convicted felon who was trying to resurrect an NFL career that unraveled like a spool of thread because of Vick’s fascination with fighting – and then lying about -- pit bulls.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

A Mixed Bag for Dolphins

The Dolphins won their third straight preseason game, 10-6 over Tampa Bay Thursday night, but it was far from a complete effort. For the second time in three games, the defense was strong, holding an opponent to under 10 points.

In fact, Miami limited the Bucs to 288 yards of total offense, and despite not forcing a single turnover, the Dolphins managed to keep Tampa Bay out of the end zone.

Of course, the Bucs were not fielding their top unit, with wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton both out. And Tampa Bay's offense isn't expected to light up the league in 2009.

(Continue to Dolphins Watch)

Leftwich 'Annointed' By Fox Crew

You can declared the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback competition over.

We have a winner, as far as the Fox NFL broadcast crew is concerned.

The Tampa Bay-Miami preseason game brought the "first team" to town Thursday night for a wet, thunder and lightning-infested contest that left Joe Buck and Troy Aikman with too much dead time on their hands in the broadcast booth.

The 10-6 snoozer of a win by Miami, did little to decide the starting quarterback for the Bucs.

(Continue to Buccaneer Bow Shots)

Sanchez, Manning Square Off

Never has a game that has meant so little meant so much for the quarterbacks in Saturday’s preseason game between the Giants and Jets.
The third preseason game is always the most critical of NFL schedule, because it is when the starters get the most reps. The final preseason game is almost pointless, because teams rarely let starters play more than one or two series for a fear of injuries.

So it is that tomorrow’s 8 p.m. contest is important not only for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, but also Giants quarterback Eli Manning. There is much more at stake for Sanchez, the highly-heralded rookie from USC who was anointed the starter earlier this week by coach Rex Ryan. But Manning will also be under pressure to perform, if for no other reason than to show he’s still the top quarterback in town.

(Continue to New York Minute)

NFC East Team-By-Team Picks

Yesterday I broke down the most valuable players on each AFC West team based upon their average draft position. It was brought to my attention that I did not list the players' positions, so I went ahead and edited yesterday's post to include that information. I appreciate the feedback. Please keep it coming. With that said, let's get to today's divisional breakdown. Here are my value picks out of the NFC East.

Marion Barber, RB, Dallas Cowboys: It must be the threat of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice that's causing Marion Barber to slip late into the late 2nd round/early 3rd round territory. While it's becoming a grim reality that running back committees have decreased the value of many running backs, I feel that Barber is a guy that can flourish in such a system. A smash mouth runner that punishes opposing defenders, Barber needs a backup that can spell him throughout games, keeping him fresh so that he can continue to hand out blows well into the fourth quarter. Sure, this means he's a stretch to rush for over 1,000 yards, but he's never done that.

(Continue to Inside Fantasy Sports)

Wizards (Bullets) Return to China

The Washington Wizards are going to China -- again!

The team announced that some former and current players, including NBA Hall of Famer Wes Unseld, Romanian giant Gheorghe Muresan and contemporary stars Caron Butler and Randy Foye, will be making the 10-day journey Sept. 5 for a series of clinics and other goodwill activities in Beijing and Shanghai, promoting USA balling to a hoop-crazy populace.

The peg for the trip: the franchise is following up on a historic tour 30 years ago – as the Washington Bullets (nee Baltimore Bullets) – the first NBA team to visit the communist nation following the renewing of diplomatic relationships with the United States.

(Continue to DMA 7-22 Sports)

Bowden's Take on Heisman Hype

It's as much a part of college football today as tailgating and trash talking. I'm talking about that mailbox-stuffing tradition of schools sending out piles of promotional material hyping their favorite Heisman Trophy candidate.

One of my personal favorites arrived in the mail last year: a pair of plastic binoculars that showed Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel making big play after big play when you looked into the lens.

(Continue to Seminoles Sports Center)
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