Archive for the ‘Player perspective’ Category

The downside of playing football at this point in the year is that only one team will finish their season on a win. Many, many games have been concluded with wins and losses and a smattering of ties. While the lucky 12 teams get wired and excited for the playoffs, everyone else goes home with a feeling akin to being punched in the stomach and having your lunch stolen. For the next eight months. Nobody can do anything about it because they’re not invited to the party.

Or can they?

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It’s not often the No. 1 defense and offense square off against each other in such dramatic fashion, as the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots did on Sunday night. With both teams aggressively pursuing a high seed in the playoffs and dreams of a first-round bye, it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest we may have witnessed a Super Bowl preview. This game came at a crucial time in the year for both teams, and with the right mindset, it will help both them tremendously while¬† moving forward into the playoffs. Don’t kid yourself: the loss hurts, but the 49ers may have done the Patriots a favor that could come back to haunt them.

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Brandon Jacobs’ recent outbursts on social media have played out like a painful rerun of episodes starring NFL divas in their own tragic sitcoms. It’s completely possible Jacobs has a legitimate gripe, but it’s obvious he chose to handle it the worst way. Ask yourself what would happen if you announced to everyone at work the equivalent of what Jacobs announced on social media. Now you know why the New York Giants decided to let him walk away in the offseason despite his role in two Super Bowls and a team record 50 rushing touchdowns.

San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis had plenty of public outbursts under the previous 49ers’ regime led by Mike Singletary, who didn’t hesitate to discipline him for it. Since then he’s been a model teammate and significant contributor with Alex Smith at quarterback. And now with Colin Kaepernick under center Davis has largely vanished over San Francisco’s last three games, totaling three catches for 19 yards and zero touchdowns. I doubt Davis runs a 4.3 second 40-yard dash so he can run block all day, but he’s kept quiet about it. It’s a little something called professionalism. Ask Vernon about it, Brandon, he learned the hard way.

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My heart goes out to the Kansas City Chiefs organization and everyone affected by the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide. With time passing and a locker room of individuals to support each other, the Chiefs will move forward with their season, but more importantly their lives. I talked about the tragic Torrey Smith situation earlier this year, and certainly this echoes many of the same feelings. The Chiefs’ situation is different for many reasons, one of the more significant being the league and the team had to decide whether or not to go ahead with their game against the Panthers this past Sunday. It’s an uncomfortable position to be in, and it creates a mixed bag of emotions on both sides when two realities collide in such tragic manner.

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Contrary to what most football media will tell you, the San Francisco 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh don’t have a quarterback controversy. You know why Harbaugh isn’t worried about his QBs? Because San Francisco has a great defense, and a winning record, and two healthy quarterbacks.

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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh raised a few eyebrows last week when he ran a fake field goal in the third quarter with a 41-17 lead over the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders were lined up in a total overload/block formation on the right side. Was Harbaugh supposed to let them block his field goal? What if the block was returned for a touchdown? What if a Raider runs into kicker Justin Tucker and injures him before scooping the block and returning it for a touchdown the other way? That’s a potential 14-point swing and a lost starter. If you think the Raiders would feel bad for doing so, you must be new to football.

Actually, if I’m the Oakland fans I thank Harbaugh for exposing us in a game already out of reach as every scout from every team watching the game tape probably saw the same alignment and planned to burn the Raiders a few games down the line, most likely when Oakland has to block a field goal that actually effects the outcome of the game.

If you expect the opposing offense to play into your defensive strength, quite frankly, you’re an idiot. You’d have better luck asking them to share their orange wedges with you at halftime. Just because the Raiders didn’t cover, didn’t tackle, and outright didn’t defend in the first half doesn’t excuse them from doing so in the second half. Don’t blame Harbaugh, blame the Raiders coaches for a terrible strategy most high school teams would expose. Hate being burned by a fake field goal when you’re losing by 24? Play a balanced defense.

The issue came up again this past Sunday when New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski broke his forearm, an injury which occurred on an exta-point attempt with the Patriots up 35 points. The misinformed outrage demands to know what Gronk was doing in a game with the Patriots clearly more than comfortably ahead. It was another example of Bill Bellichick running up the score and feeding his ego, right? Not even close, actually.

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When November turns the corner and fall heads for winter, weather wreaks havoc on football and changes the feel of a game. Men turn into football players in the rain, and boys turn into sugar cubes and melt. If there’s on thing I know about bad weather it’s that not all fields are created equal, and not everyone feels the same about getting dirty.

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