Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee Titans’

Now that's what I call bling !
Now that’s what I call bling !

It was with that sense of Santa Claus coming down the chimney bearing gifts aplenty that I just about managed to stay awake for the opening kickoff of the 2009 NFL season.

 
Bearing in mind that it was getting past 1.30am here in England when the Tennessee Titans Rob Bironas made the opening boot I like to think I did my bit for the international support of the NFL.
 
Everything was going well watching the game, a real defensive slugfest, when John Madden’s replacement, former Bengals wideout Cris Collinsworth muttered the immortal phrase
 
‘I spoke to Coach Fisher and he said he has not come to Pittsburgh to kiss the Steelers rings’.
 
Call me depraved but the image that phrase conjured up in my mind was only appropriate at around 2.30am in the morning after having eaten a box of Ritz crackers.
 
Wait a second I did have that thought around 2.30am this morning, and yes I has just eaten the majority of the contents of a box of Ritz crackers.
 
To cap the game off Willie was pretty limp, with a pathetic 19 yards on 13 carries.
 
Above all was the first game of the 2009 NFL season worth the months of non-football agony – Hell yeah.
 
NFLFANINENGLAND’s observations from the kickoff 2009 NFL game
  • Kenny Britt the Titans rookie WR looked particularly hot – his 4 catches for 85 yards were an outstanding debut for a newbie, in a position that is notoriously tough for first year players to have a big impact on
  • The Titans defensive line looks like it can still do the business getting pressure on opponents qb’s after the loss of Albert Haynesworth to the Redskins. 4 sacks by the defensive line was very respectable.
  • Hopefully Superbowl MVP WR Santonio Holmes doesn’t catch Burress disease by gunning down one of his own limbs. His 9 catches for 131 yards and a score made him the biggest fantasy stud of the day (my god more innuendo)

Thank goodness we have NFL football back. Here in England we have no live MNF, but as for the weekend we have three live games to look forward to. I can’t wait.

What on earth will Trapasso do for an encore???
What on earth will Trapasso do for an encore???

Forget that OAP in purple, move over Chad ‘whatever your surname is this week’, take a walk to the sidelines golden-boy Brady, the 2009 NFL Pre Season is all about one man.

Yes he is a rookie, but I’m not talking about Donald Brown, Shady McCoy, Mark ‘pretty boy’ Sanchez, or even the cord-fed farm boy Matthew Stafford.

The true superstar of this early preview of the 2009 NFL season is Tennessee Titans undrafted free agent punter Albert Joseph Trapasso known to the world as A.J. Trapasso.

Not content with making headlines in Week 1 of the pre-season for scoring the FIRST touchdown of the year in the Hall of Fame game (on a perfectly executed fake punt run), Trapasso decided to make the highlight reel AGAIN in week 2.

To outdo himself the former Ohio State Buckeye decided to mess up the scoreboard at the new but traditionally named Cowboys Stadium.

His skyrocket punt had to be done 0ver after he lofted the pigskin into the base of the giant scoreboard, falling to earth with snow, and fragments of moonrock dust. See below.

Trapasso was signed as a rookie free agent by the Titans on April 30 2009, after booting the ball for four years for the Buckeyes. With vet punter Craig Hentrich injured and Tennessee cutting Josh Miller earlier in the week Mr Trapasso could become the Cinderella figure of the 2009 NFL season.

On closer inspection Trapasso’s run in Week 1 (preseason) was no coincidence – the Columbus Ohio native was an outstanding high school running back at Pickerington (Ohio) High School. 3,754 yards and 50 touchdowns in High School is a set of stats to be very proud of. Trapasso was also a two time all state High School selection.

I doubt Ill write a post about a punter for another year, but with the A.J. Trapasso book still being written I cannot wait to see what is on the next page…..

Go A.J – you are my new rookie punting hero !

McNair in the Superbowl - how he should be remembered
McNair in the Superbowl – how he should be remembered

I spent the last week on holiday in Cyprus, floating in a swimming pool listening to a whole raft of NFL pod-casts, some good, some poor and some that ITunes should have simply blocked from being uploaded.

In that time I did not access the Internet, and the only English speaking tv channels in the hotel were Sky News and BBC News.

Neither found the death of Steve McNair to be worthy of any sort of coverage, so when I switched my laptop on last night to discover McNair had been shot in the head and body I was taken aback.

McNair was the dictionary definition of a warhorse, a player who had guts, guile, great feet and above all the ability to lead a team.

One co-NFL MVP award, three Pro Bowl appearances, one All-Pro nod, an AFC Championship ring and a start in Superbowl XXXIV does not really go anywhere near justifying Steve McNair the NFL quarterback.

He earned every one of his 31, 304 regular season passing yards and deserved credit for every blade of grass and yard of AstroTurf he ran over to gain 3,590 regular season rushing yards (an incredible 5.4 yards a carry career average).

McNair was a warrior who finished 20th All Time in the NFL for pass completions and 12th All Time for career low interception percentage.

Having been drafted 3rd overall by the Houston Oilers in 1995, only Kerry Collins has surpassed him in passing yards for the Class of ’95, he did however out rush TWO 1995 first round running backs in his career (Ki-Jana Carter selected number 1 overall and Rashaan Salaam selected 21 overall) – this from a QUARTERBACK.

The gruesome nature of McNair’s death is something that I nor any Oilers, Titans or Ravens fan will want to dwell on for long I am sure.

Instead it is best to remember Steve as #9 a warrior, a gladiator who stood toe to toe with foes for 11 NFL seasons, never backing down a challenge, always ready to scramble that extra yard for a first down and always willing to inspire his team mates to move down the field for a score.

Time famously ran out for McNair in Superbowl XXXIV when his pass to Kevin Dyson failed to reach the endzone, now time has permanently run out for Steve McNair.

I’m sure the big man upstairs has room for a quarterback like Steve McNair on his roster.

R.I.P Steve McNair – a true NFL warhorse.

 

 

Hmm so this is how Dan gets his money back !!!!!

Hmm so this is how Dan gets his money back !!!!!

That’s the Queen that sits on the throne at Buckingham Palace and not the deceased rock star who continues to rock NFL stadiums during time outs.

Well the answer is ………both have two birthdays.

Every year it seems Mr Snyder manages to have his own little private party with NFL studs when the free agency period commences. 

 2009 has been no exception, as the Washington Redskins signed THE best FA available in the form of Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth, and in the same day re-signed Cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

Within about 24 hours the Redskins have sent an email to all their fans to pre-order Haynesworth shirts (see above).

To recoup the $100 million that it has cost to get Haynesworth from Tennessee thats gonna mean the sale of a military aircraft hanger full of shirts.

The Redskins needed to upgrade their defensive line, and Haynesworth is a stunning way to start. Now they need some defensive ends to go with Big Al. Washington’s pass rush has not dominated since Charles Mann and Dexter Manley were together almost 20 years ago.

Judging from Al’s opening Redskins press conference he was very impressed by the Redskins history, and he felt very happy with the three Vince Lombard trophies standing in front of him as he spoke to reporters.

Lets just remember one thing – the Redskins have not been to a Superbowl for a long time. Can Big Al make the difference? Not by himself, but he will certainly give a big boost to the team both via ticket sales and by locker room leadership.

NFL FAN IN ENGLAND FREE AGENCY RATING (A to E)

Player – Albert Haynesworth

Position – Defensive Tackle

How badly will his old team miss him – A – He was the biggest name on the team

How influential will he be with his new team – B – He will start but he will not repeat his 2008 form

Will he get a Pro Bowl berth in 2009 – No – He now has the cash and will be gameplanned around but he will make the Redskins D line stronger and if he can get 5 sacks it will make a huge difference.

My upset special McNabb to lead the Eagles to an NFC Championship

My upset special McNabb to lead the Eagles to an NFC Championship

I went 3 out of 4 in the Wild Card weekend and even got an exact score (Falcons 24) so I have a bit of pressure on for the divisional playoff round.

There are usually less upsets this round than in the Wild Card week but I have a feeling that the home teams will take a bit of a battering this Sat and Sun, so here goes, time to put my money where my mouth is……..

Sat., Jan. 10, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Baltimore (11-5, 1-0) at Tennessee (13-3)
Kevin Mawae is out and that is huge.  The veteran Titans C is the rock that has led the way for Lendale ‘who ate all the pies’ White and Chris Johnson to dominate 13 teams this season. No one needs to read here how good the Ravens defense is – but people do need to finally pay respect to Baltimore WR Derek Mason who has shown that he is one of the most reliable wideouts in the entire NFL. Can Ed ‘ball magnet’ Reed get another INT – most likely !
Key 1) Baltimore getting a big run early as opposed to a big run late
Key 2) Albert Haynesworth pressuring rookie Joe Flacco
Key 3) Joe Flacco staying the hell away from Cortland Finnegan
Key 4) Kerry Collins not being forced to pass if Titans go down
Prediction – Baltimore 23-17 Tennessee – Game MVP – LeRon McClain (2tds)
Sun., Jan. 11, 4:45 p.m. ET, CBS
San Diego (8-8, 1-0) at Pittsburgh (12-4)
The Chargers are living the dream, and after using the pocket rocket Darren Sproles to kill the Colts. This time around the Sprolesmeister will have been on the Steelers radar. The Steelers D line is a lightyear above the Colts D line so Rivers will be forced to pass the Chargers up and down the field. Big Ben Roethlisberger has shown that he can guide a team through the playoffs, and I have a feeling that Pitt WR Nate Washington will come up with a huge catch that turns the game. I don’t expect a quality 1st half, but the Steelers have enough class to hang in there.
Key 1) Hines Ward getting 4 catches in the first half
Key 2) Can LT be any sort of factor in the game?
Key 3) Big Ben not fumbling the ball
Key 4) Santonio Holmes drawing double teams to free up Nate Washington
Prediction – San Diego 10-20 Pittsburgh – MVP Ben Roethlisberger (1 td and 250 yards passing)
Sat., Jan. 10, 8:15 p.m. ET, FOX
Arizona (9-7, 1-0) at Carolina (12-4)
Wouldn’t it be fun to see the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship against a former NFC East division foe? Well I really want to write this will be a Cardinals win, but I just can’t. The hype given to Edgarrin James last week was nonsense. He got 73 rushing yards in a Wild Card game – so freaking what. If he got 173 then I would be saing wow. The Panthers have the all round quality to win this without going into 5th gear, but I am sure they will make a bit of a meal of it and Jake Delhomme will get intercepted at least once. Look to DeAngelo Williams to show his class on a national stage but Jonathan Stewart to get the fanatsy tds.
Key 1) Cardinals DBs not getting called for pass inteference in the first half
Key 2) Jake Delhomme sticking to the plan and not trying to be a hero early on
Key 3) Steve Breaston showing up and getting some 1st quarter catches
Key 4) Panthers safeties not being exposed by the long ball
Prediction – Arizona 21-28 Carolina – MVP DeAngelo Williams (120 all purpose yards)
Sun., Jan. 11, 1 p.m. ET, FOX
Philadelphia (9-6-1, 1-0) at N.Y. Giants (12-4)
There has to be one upset special each week and I’ll call it here. I do not think the New York Giants are a dynasty and despite their good record they will finally sucumb to a Donovan McNabb led team that will win a nailbiter. Brian Westbrook will get more involved early in this game, and Eli Manning will make a huge mistake in the 2nd quarter that will turn the momentum. Giants pressure will again be relentless, but the Eagles will gameplan against it, using short passing to neautralise the agression on Kiwanuka and Tuck. Expect it to be close, but expect the Eagles to leave Giants stadium with their playoff dreams intact.
Key 1) The Eagles run d adapting to the difering styles of Brandon Jacbs and Derrick Ward
Key 2) McNabb finding TEs and RBs for short passes to set up a big ol bomb
Key 3) DeSean Jackson getting one big return
Key 4) Kevin Boss living up to his name
Prediction – Philadelphia 31-30 NY Giants – MVP Donovan Mc Nabb (3 tds 240 yards passing)
What do you all think?
The oft debated Pro Bowl - voting is open - ALREADY !

The oft debated Pro Bowl - voting is open - ALREADY !

With 11 weeks of the 2008 NFL Regular Season still to play for the NFL powers that be have decided that it is time for fans to start voting in the annual popularity contest, oopps, I mean Pro Bowl.

Maybe it’s just me but I think voting for people to be playing in Honolulu on February 8 2009 in late October 2008 is a bit premature.

Lets face it over half the players will be voted in on reputation alone, especially positions that garnish little fantasy football interest such as offensive and defensive linemen.

People going to vote are going to click on the likes of Jeff Saturday and Olin Kreutz because they recognise their names from previous Pro Bowls.

Who knows the Arizona Cardinals could have the best C in the NFL, but unless you live in the desert it is unlikey you can name him. Just for fun the Cardinals starting C is viewable on THIS LINK – did you honestly know who it was? Thought not.

Another reason I am cynical about opening the voting in Week 7 is that there is a helluva lot of football still to be played, and this means heroes (of week 1 through 6) becoming zeros and vice versa.

A few examples spring to mind following this rash of starting quarterbacks being hit by the injury bug. Lets first look at the Bengals. QB Carson Palmer is likely done for the year, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is now stepping in. Despite a 0-6 start the theory goes that Fitzpatrick could go 10-6 and lead Cincy to a playoff berth.

This would go un-noticed on the Pro Bowl radar as the likes of Peyton Manning will be a shoe in, with people likely voting for him already, despite a start that has been far from perfection.

Likewise the undefeated Tennessee Titans could throw up a horror show and end up 5-11, but the likes of DT Albert Haynesworth or even dare I say it Kerry Collins could be getting fitted for a hula skirt.

I have a few suggestions to make  Pro Bowl voting a bit more sensible and a bit fairer to teams, players and fans;

  • Before NFL fans are able to vote they should apply to the NFL via an online form. In that form they state the NFL team they support. Then when the online form is opened you CANNOT vote for players on the team you support.
  • Then when you have collated the results for the fans you weight it so that the results from all 32 teams are given equal billing. That way the fans of each team are not penalised for the amount of fans they have, the % who have computers, or the teams that have fair-weather fans (did anyone say Patriots fans post the arrival of Tom Brady?)

What do you think? Please vote below and also give an opinion…….

Chris Cooley will need more than 1 catch a game to lift the Redskins - picture by Lawrence Vos

Chris Cooley will need more than 1 catch a game to lift the Redskins - picture by Lawrence Vos

Ok I missed my prediction on the Giants v Redskins game, but I did stay up until 4.00am in England to watch the game, and then leave for work 4 hours later.

I noticed quite disturbingly that the Giants managed 0 receptions to their tight end Kevin Boss, and apart from one endzonelook in the 1st quarter Boss managed to do a big fat not a lot. Redskins TE Chris Cooley was right up there with Boss in terms of a non-descript game, with just one catch.

Someone needs to get that ‘rabbit in front of the headlights on a freeway’ look shaken from Jason Campbell’s face, and until that happens I think that the Redskins are pretty much doomed to mediocrity for the 17th consecutive season.

Anyway………on to my NFL 2008 Season Week 1 Predictions and thoughts

Seattle at Buffalo

The Bills are best described by many as a dark horse for a wild-card spot, but I don’t think that will be the case, I would more likely describe them as a grey donkey, nice to pat on the head but seriously lacking the ability to run with the thoroughbreds like New England and San Diego. Seattle are missing Previous Superbowl MVP Deion Branch and wily veteran Bobby Engram, instead relying on young wideouts.

Prediction – Seattle to win 27-17

LV – wrong 0-1

Detroit at Atlanta

U-G-L-Y you ain’t got no alibi you ugly – not exactly a showcase for the NFL’s finest here in Georgia. Rookie 1st round pick Matt Ryan makes his Falcon debut, handing off to new Atlanta tailback (and lifetime backup) Michael Turner. The Lions will be licking their lips with DeAngelo Hall gone and Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams revving up for a spectacular season. Kevin Smith the new Lions RB will be one to watch and he may break 100 on the ground in his debut.

Prediction – Detroit to win 31-14

LV wrong 0-2

Cincinnati at Baltimore

Its Ocho Cinco time baby ! Despite looking like he went 12 rounds with that mutant 7ft Russian heavyweight boxer Bengals QB Carson Palmer should find himself with an opportunity for an upset. With the Ravens going to another rookie QB Joe Flacco to start the season I have a feeling Baltimore will come out of the gate a little slowly. Willis McGahee is banged up and the Ravens D may have lost that mystique by the end of this one.

Prediction – Cincinnati to win 21-20

LV wrong 0-3

St. Louis at Philadelphia

All signs point to Rocky town for this one, with Donovan McNabb once again able to find his TE LJ Smith in the red-zone. Brian Westbrook if he stays healthy should be in line for an NFL MVP award, and rookie DeSean Jackson the former Cal wideout should provide a spark. The Rams have Steven Jackson back in uniform and Marc Bulgerback at QB but the Rams D will still be vulnerable, even with #2 pick Chris Long at DE.

Prediction – Philadelphia to win 38-9

LV correct – 1-3 – Note got Philly score exactly right !

Houston at Pittsburgh

Houston showed signs of becoming respectable in 07, and with the welcome return of Andre Johnson at WR it could be the Texans first winning season. Pittsburgh added another talented running back in the draft – Rashard Mendenhall as a rocket propelled backup, but there are offensive line question marks. This will be a chance for Big Ben Roethlisberger to show why he gets paid the big bucks, Texans will make it a fight though.

Prediction – Pittsburgh to win 19-17

LV correct 2-3

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Both teams will see anything but an AFC Championship appearance a failure, and both will be looking to establish the run before launching any rockets in the sky. Vince Young the Titans QB is only a few steps away from being a top 10 performer. David Garrard needs to prove he can go 16 games and keep his INTs low for a second season. Jacksonville’s running game to settle this one in an old fashioned slugfest.

Prediction – Jacksonville to win 20-17

LV wrong 2-4

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

The evergreen Jeff Garcia comes to Louisiana with a chip on his shoulder after a first round playoff exit earlier in the year. The Buccs will unfortunately be the ones on the tailgate bbq after they get grilled by Drew Brees and the Saints who will unleash Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister and a big ol dollop of Marques Colston along with relishing the thought of seeing Jeremy Shockey in Black and Gold.

Prediction – New Orleans to win 24-17

LV correct 3-4 – Note got New Orleans score exactly right!

Kansas City at New England

Hmmmm lets spare the analysis on this one. Bill Bellicheck will have the Pats so hungry they may end up spying on the hot dog and candy floss stalls in the pre game warm ups. Look for KC to give a bit more fight than many experts say but for the Pats to win in style. Even Sammy Morris should get 50 yards and a score.

Prediction – New England to win 24-14

LV correct 4-4

N.Y. Jets at Miami

Can anyone get through an opening week blog without mentioning the F word ? and I’m not talking Gordon Ramsay swearing in the kitchens of Florida. Look for Chad Pennington to get the headlines in this encounter, and he gets the Dolphins back to basics, ball control, accurate passing and some leadership at the QB position. The Jets will have the attention of the world at the kickoff, but the respect for Pennington will be the abiding memory at the end.

Prediction – Miami to win 17-13

LV wrong 4-5 – Note Pennington did earn some respect in the game

Arizona at San Francisco

Looks like Matt Leinhart is not the saviour after all as Kurt Warner gets the start and the Cardinals again look to have a good season and a playoff place. Look for Arizona rookie RB Tim Hightower to get on the scoresheet and for the 49ers to look bloody awful. Face it if any of the other 31 NFL teams announced that JT OSullivan was their starting quarterback the first thing you would do is laugh. JT has done an amazing job to get the gig in Frisco, but any sensible coach will get Frank Gore 25-30 touches as a priority.

Prediction – Arizona to win 33-13

LV correct 5-5 Note I did predict Tim Hightower to score !

Carolina at San Diego

Carolina welcome back Jake Delhomme from an injury lost 2007, and despite Steve Smith missing out the Panthersshould be able to compete wih a solid running game. The win however belongs to the San Diego Chargers who will want to be all business in the first half of the season. Rivers will throw no more than about 20 passes as the Chargers look to chew up the clock with LT, Sproles and even Jacob Hester getting some carries.

Prediction – San Diego to win 23-20

LV wrong 5-6

Dallas at Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns bandwagon is still pretty full after Derek Anderson inspired his team to prominence. The 2008 season will not have the fairytale ending to it in my estimation though, as Dallas will pour vodka in the punch and drop dog food in the trifle and escape from Ohio with a big W. Everyone is talking about the strength of Marion Barber, but the Cowboys masterstroke is the drafting of RB Felix Jones who has more speed than Keaunu Reeves holding a bag of bowling balls after falling out of an aeroplane.

Prediction – Dallas to win 24-19 

LV correct 6-6

Chicago at Indianapolis

The only positive the Chicago Bears can get from this game is to reminisce that the last time they met was in the Superbowl. Indy will dominate this game from their first possession, which I will bet will result in a touchdown. Marvin Harrison will be wanting to show there is life in the old dog still, and Dominic Rhodes will be back in his favourite colours of blue and white. If Chicago muster 21 points ill call that an upset by itself.

Prediction – Indianapolis to win 28-13

LV wrong – 6-7

Minnesota at Green Bay

Two quarterbacks with big question marks over their heads – Aaron Rodgers in his first start and Tavaris Jackson looking to show that he truly belongs in this league after an up and down 2007. Can either live up to their expectations ? I don’t think either will be the biggest factor of the game as it will be up to Ryan Grant and Adrian Peterson to show who is the top young running back. AP to win this particular battle.

Prediction – Minnesota to win 16-10

LV wrong 6-8

Denver at Oakland

The Raiders are trying to build a team of young and spirited world beaters, but I can’t see them winning against a Broncos team that  every year show they know how to do the most important thing – run the football. With Brandon Marshall out week 1 that will give the Raiders some relief, but the Broncos have the offensive line intelligence and the shutdown cornerbacks to leave California with a victory.

Prediction – Denver to win 29-23

LV right 7-8 (Overall score 7 right 8 wrong)

Bet you all have opinions – come back on Tuesday to see how I go ! Feel free to add your thoughts……