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Dolphins Fan

What Lamar Miller’s Injury means for the Dolphin run game posted by Dolphins Fan

If you thought the Miami Dolphins were in dire straits at the running back position when they lost Knowshon Moreno with a season ending injury, things got even worse when Lamar Miller left the San Diego game with an injury.

This is a make or break moment for the Dolphins as they will have to dig deep into their roster for production on the ground.

Miami has struggled this year but the one lone bright spot has been their run game, averaging almost 130 yards a game. It was a constant, and a point of stability for an otherwise struggling offense. Moreno and Miller work a great one, two duo.

Miller was having a breakout season, setting a career high in rushing touchdowns when he got his third in Week 6 against the Packers. He averaged more than five yards per carry in three of the first four games and ran for a career-best 108 yards on 15 carries in Week 3 against the Chiefs. 

The fourth round pick was on pace for 200 carries and more than 1,000 yards, both of which would be career highs. But now with both of these work horses out, the odds of maintaining that level of production is quite unlikely.

 So now the offense falls on the arm of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t been electric but now he will to step up. If there was ever a moment to solidify oneself as the framchise quarterback for this team, the quarterback to build a team around for years and years to come, this is that moment.

If Tannehill can navigate the rest of this season relatively unscathed, he will get amazing on the job training in shouldering an entire offense. He will build the confidence of his teammates that

Continue reading "What Lamar Miller’s Injury means ..."


Packers Fan

What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay posted by Packers Fan

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett should suit up and be full go for Sunday’s showdown with inter-division rivals, the Chicago Bears. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Packers’ secondary was very much exposed last week when the Saints racked up 44 points with 311 yards through the air. Drew Brees completed 84% of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s clear Burnett’s veteran experience on the back end of the defense with communication and getting these younger corners lined up accordingly, is essential to the Packers success defensively.

Through seven games, the fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech notched 59 tackles, 49 of them solo tackles; but more importantly was the elimination of coverage break downs that lead to big play passes that can be so devastating to a team’s morale. And Brees crushed the Packers morale as he had two deep balls, each over 40 yards, that led to touchdowns.

Even with Burnett back, the others in the secondary will need to play extra efficient as the Bears have 3 very tall, very athletic receivers in Marshall, Jeffrey, and the tight end Bennett. When these two teams faced off in week 4, the Packers were able to limit the 3 playmakers to under 200 yards receiving, combined.

The Packers Safety echoed that sentiment saying it takes a group effort to corral all three.

"Those guys are very athletic," he said. "They have big playmaking ability and they’re led by Jay Cutler so we have to be sound in our technique and be accountable to one another and trust the defense, and allow us to make plays.”

Continue reading "What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay"

Bears Fan

Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson to suit up against Green Bay posted by Bears Fan

For the first time in three months, Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson practiced as the Bears get ready to take on inter-divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Wilson fractured his clavicle at practice on Aug. 4 and has been on the injured reserve list ever since. Now that Wilson is back at practice, the Bears have 3 weeks to decide whether to activate him to their roster or keep him on the injured reserve.

The answer is clear cut as the Bears need all the help they can on offense. They rank 19th in scoring and their offense is limited to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears need that #3 receiver to add depth and complexity to their passing game, and allow another option for Cutler to go to.

The Packers, best believe, will be ready for the Bears as they get their seasoned safety, Morgan Burnett, back. They were exposed last week against the Saints but now with a veteran in the defensive secondary, the Packers coverage will be tightened up.

The only negative side to activating Wilson is the possibility of pushing him too hard, too fast, and risk causing a more serious injury that will keep him out indefinitely. While this is a valid concern, one could argue that is the case with every player in the NFL. The game has gotten so fast, the players so big and strong, that injuries, season ending injuries, are becoming more and more commonplace. So to err on the side of caution is valid but when a player feels good to go, they should be allowed to suit and help the team do what it needs to do, win games.

They need to make a decision quickly to keep Wilson on their roster if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Continue reading "Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson ..."


Packers Fan

How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers? posted by Packers Fan

The Green Bay Packers were 8-7-1 last year, figuring in the latest tied game and only the 19th  time since 1974. They won the NFC North despite their quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined in the first half of the year. This season, the Packers are expected to contend anew for the Super Bowl.

Rodgers had led the Packers to a good start last year with a 5-2 record. But he broke his collarbone in a game against the Bears. He was out for weeks and returned to beat Chicago in a rematch. Yet he was not a 100 percent and failed to help the Packers in preventing a loss to the 49ers.

This year, Packers fans hope that Rodgers would be back to 100%.  The front office surprisingly failed to re-sign Evan Dietrich-Smith even with Rodgers’ pleas. It remains to be seen whether  rookie Corey Linsley will be able to fill in Smith’s shoes, but all signs point he won’t be enough.

The offense will get a boost with the return of Bryan Bulaga who tore his ACL last year. He’ll be the right tackle across sophomore David Bakhtiari, who performed creditably in his rookie season. Bakhtiari surrendered eight sacks last year, but four came in the first month of the season.

The big news for the Packers in the off-season was the acquisition of Julius Peppers from Chicago. But there will be questions on how Peppers will perform this year, as he is now 34 and is slowing down.

The Packers also picked Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the number 21 pick. Dix =is expected to start next to talented safety Morgan Burnett.  They will also benefit from the return of Casey Hayward who missed all but three games last season.

Continue reading "How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers?"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

It was an eventful and unpredictable NFL Draft, even after the craziness that ensued in round one Thursday night. Friday night showcased rounds two and three, while Sunday wrapped up the draft with rounds four through seven. Let’s run through the major storylines that came out of the 2013 NFL Draft!

*Pardon for the delay. This is what happens when life throws the draft, C2E2, and the impetus to change jobs all in one weekend.

 

-After slipping through the first round despite several reported landing spots, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o became a San Diego Charger. The Chargers traded picks 45 and 110 to the Cardinals for pick number 38, allowing them to move up for Te’o. At that point in the draft, the drama-laden linebacker had great value. The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme, but he can still be a valuable inside presence for them.

 

-On the very next pick after Te’o was selected, the New York Jets saw a “franchise” quarterback fall right into their laps at number 39 overall with Geno Smith. Smith increases the QB count on the Jets roster all the way up to six, which includes Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard. Yeah… someone’s gonna get cut. The obvious cut is Tebow. But then who? Do you cut the veteran Garrard, whom you just brought in? Or do you take the massive cap hit and release Sanchez? Or are you giving up on the idea that McElroy can be anything? The drama is ratcheted up in New York, and I’m gonna love every minute of it.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

The 2013 Divisional Round is completed! The best weekend in football lived up to the hype, with crazy finishes (double overtimes) and historic performances. Let’s not put off this any longer. It’s time for The Final Drive!

(12-6) Baltimore Ravens 38

(13-4) Denver Broncos 35

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession, this game got crazy… fast. Trindon Holliday took that punt return back 90 yards for the first score. A 59-yard pass to a streaking Torrey Smith (who was torching Champ Bailey deep most of the day) from Joe Flacco tied the game up. On Denver’s ensuing drive, a pass from Peyton Manning tipped off the hands of Eric Decker into the arms of Corey Graham, who boomeranged it to make the score 14-7 Ravens. Manning took the ball right back and marched his team 74 yards in 11 plays, ending with a pinpoint pass to old friend Brandon Stokley on the side of the endzone. 14-14. Were you still breathing at this point? A score from both teams in the second quarter kept the game tied at 21 going into halftime. And the drama did not subside in the start of a crazy NFL weekend.

Denver Head Coach John Fox will (and should) catch a lot of flak for not even attempting to try to get in field goal range with two timeouts and 20-plus seconds left on the clock. (As we would see later in the weekend, that’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.) Fox got extremely conservative in the offensive play-calling, leaning on the run too often when he had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time on the field. (Though doesn’t Peyton have full authority to change those calls at the line? Hm.) Not going for a third down conversion late in the fourth allowed the Ravens to get the ball back with just enough time to make something happen. And they certainly did.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

Alright everyone, it’s my favorite football weekend of the entire season! At this point we have the eight best teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, including the two greatest QB’s of our era in the AFC and a crazy Saturday night rematch in the NFC. I have stumbled out of the gates with my picks, currently standing at 1-3 after the wild card round. I owe that to every favorite covering last week and my apparently desperate need to pick against almost all of them. This week shall be different! I hope. Let’s get to The Opening Drive of the Divisional Round! (As always, point spreads are obtained from VegasInsider.com.)

 

(11-6) Baltimore Ravens at

(13-3) Denver Broncos

4:30 PM ET, CBS

This is the first of two AFC rematches that were completely one-sided in the first go-rounds. The Broncos slapped around the Ravens 34-17 in week 15, part of their 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and claim the one seed. In that game, Peyton Manning had very pedestrian numbers, but was bolstered by ground game that featured 45 carries, the most of any Manning team in his career. Their 163 yards pounded a then-short-staffed Raven defense. This game will be different, in that Baltimore is much healthier now. Ray Lewis is back, as is linebacker Danel Ellerbee. Still, the Raven corners are average at best, so they’re not going to be able to contain Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

Wild Card weekend in the NFL is a wrap! Note that this late posting is a testament to the dangers of kitties. (When you’re allergic to them.) There were bad offenses, great defenses, and ugly injuries to be found in the four match-ups, so let’s get through all the stories in The Final Drive!

(13-4) Houston Texans 19

(10-7) Cincinnati Bengals 13

The first half was a show of ugly offense, with three field goals by the Texans and only a pick-six by the Bengals to account for all the points on the board. Houston suffered because of failed third down conversions and a drop from Andre Johnson at the goal line, forcing them to settle for kicks. Andy Dalton threw a costly interception, but it was essentially wiped away as Leon Hall picked a Schaub pass and ran it back 21 yards to take a momentary lead. But the Bengal offense didn’t score at all in the first half. They barely improved.

In a trending theme of Saturday passing statistics, Cincinnati had -6 net yards passing at halftime. That prompted a “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” from Mike Mayock at halftime. (You have no idea how much Microsoft Word just hated that sentence.) When the Texans came out in the third quarter and mounted a touchdown drive, it practically was an insurmountable lead. The Bengals had no chance.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, (while they were only down six), the Bengals were closing in on the redzone when they had to burn a timeout (play-calling disaster). On the ensuing play, they lost five yards due to a false start penalty. Then they went for it on fourth down (and failed), meaning the six point lead held.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

It’s that time of year. The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and with it come the unmitigated disasters that are my picks against the spread. (Which means I’m not picking winners or losers, but I’m predicting if a team will win by or keep it closer than the designated spread. Odds are grabbed from VegasInsider.com.) We’ve got some stellar match-ups as well, so without any further BS, it’s time to start the playoffs with this Wild Card edition of The Opening Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals at

(12-4) Houston Texans

4:30 PM ET, NBC

In typical playoff fashion, the Wild Card round starts with what is most likely to be the most lackluster match-up of the weekend. This solid Bengals team (that apparently no one outside of Cincinnati believes in) heads to Houston to face a Texan squad that was in near free-fall the last month of the season. It’s not exactly thrilling drama (even though it is a rematch of last year’s playoff game), but this I think game is going to very tight. The Bengals can’t explode offensively and the Texans haven’t been lighting up the scoreboards lately. They’d prefer to get Arian Foster going anyway, which means a slower paced game, full of that exciting clock management stuff. Cincy has a shot at getting passes completed on the outside if A.J. Green can handle the one-on-one match-up with corner Jonathan Joseph. I believe he can, so Andy Dalton has to be able to find him consistently in order to free up the running game and the underneath passes to tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

You know the rivalry. It’s the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears in a December game. It’s been 13 weeks since these teams met on the first Thursday nighter of the season, and each have had ups and downs in that time, especially the Bears, who now are fighting for their playoff lives.

 

(9-4) Green Bay Packers at

(8-5) Chicago Bears 

The Offense

The Bear offensive line doesn’t need this news, but Clay Matthews will be back on the field. The man who terrorized J’Marcus Webb in the first match-up will be on the outside again, giving the Packers their pass rush back. Like always, Webb will need help if they’re going to keep Matthews off the stat sheet. But Mike Tice should know how to offset this disadvantage: run the ball. Give Matt Forte and Michael Bush (who will be limited if he plays with a rib injury) about 30-35 carries and get the front seven off Jay Cutler’s case. This way Cutler can get freed up for play-action throws to Marshall, which are less likely to be into triple-coverage or be sat on by an opportunistic defense (that is missing defensive back Charles Woodson).   

Brandon Marshall made news this week by daring the Packers to give him single coverage. Let me tell you something Brandon: it won’t happen. Once. You’re the best/only consistent passing option on this offense, so you’re getting bracket coverage on every play. What would be nice is if the other Bear receivers could beat single coverage on the outside. Alshon Jeffery is the most likely option, but he’s still reaching for his potential. And is anyone really going to count on Devin Hester? I’m not.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green ..."

Green Bay Packers News

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Blind Patriots season-ticket holder gets the game better than anyone (Shutdown Corner)

Randy Pierce is not be able to see the New England Patriots play right in front of him, even though he has a front row seat and season tickets. Pierce is totally blind, the result of a debilitating neurological disease. Yet, ironically, he may have a better idea of what is happening on the field than anyone else around him, despite the fact that he can't see the field just feet away from him. Being blind doesn't stop Pierce from rabidly following his Patriots and it won't stop him this Monday as he attempts to become the first totally blind person to run the Boston Marathon. Blind for nearly 27 years, Pierce has one of the best views at Gillette Stadium, something that would seem to be wasted on someone who has zero vision in either of his eyes. But Pierce's senses are honed so tightly onto the team he loves that he knows and understands all the nuances of the game and his Patriots. With an ear bud in one ear giving him the home team's radio broadcast and a buddy to one side chiming in with details (his dog guide Autumn sits on the other side in the aisle, diligently watching the game), Pierce knows exactly what is going on. That was the case in the playoffs this past year against the Baltimore Ravens when the Patriots lined up running back Shane Vereen as an ineligible receiver, a move that caused Ravens coach John Harbaugh to argue so much he got a personal foul penalty. The NFL changed the rules on that type of formation this offseason. During the game, Pierce was the one explaining to everyone around him the strategy in play. He has been a season-ticket holder since shortly after he graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1988, which was about the time that he began to lose his vision. Within the next year, he suddenly lost all of the sight in his right eye and about 50 percent in his left eye, leaving him with tunnel vision. Pierce had some vision but he was declared legally blind. There was no immediate diagnosis; the doctors were befuddled. Eventually after a myriad of tests he would be told that he had a mitochondrial disease that was first beginning to affect his eyesight and might in fact create other issues throughout his body. He went through a time of adjustment, he says, but he credits football and in particular his Patriots for helping him along. Pierce calls them “my Patriots” - a term that might sound pretentious coming off the lips of an average fan. But in many ways, they are his team. He's the unofficial mayor of the Patriots Way, a constant presence at team functions and a friend to players and management. And he's always in the front row cheering the action on just feet away from him, action he hasn't actually seen for 15 years. After his original diagnosis in 1989, over the next 11 years Pierce went through seven episodes that each took a little more of that narrow vision left in his left eye. Eventual by the seventh episode he was totally blind. “ It was the last of it. I lost all of the light perception and every bit of usable vision from then when I was legally blind. That's a rarity, I ask now, 'Am I illegally blind?' I sort of put a little bit of humor into it. It was striking,” Pierce told Yahoo Sports. “ It's funny, the last football play I ever saw in my life it's something that will stick. I wish I could tell you it was a pro-Patriot moment as a fan. [In 2000] the [New York] Jets and the Patriots played Monday night football that week. I was in Oregon to get trained for my dog guide. We had a lead and Wayne Chrebet of the Jets makes this diving catch, a phenomenal catch. He rotates his body and clips the pylon and scores the touchdown to put them ahead. That was the last play I ever saw in my life. “ At least it was a phenomenal play.” If the blindness wasn't tough enough to deal with, two years after becoming totally blind he suffered a concussion - “as a blind guy it's pretty easy to hit my head” - and he was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. He struggled to walk and the doctors learned that the mitochondrial disease was now not just affecting his eyes but also his nervous system. An MRI revealed that his balance center was affected. In 2003 he was put into a wheelchair because when he stood up he would keel over. Then in 2013, he lost the use of 50 percent of the nerves in his peripheral nervous system, meaning that he has what is essentially a short-circuit in his hands and feet. More fallout from this mitochondrial disease. “ We have no idea what nervous system it can or will strike although I imagine we believe the odds are high that it will again since it has been an ongoing challenge for me over the years so we have to be on the watch for it,” Pierce said. “ But not the kind of watch that it is dismal, woe is me. Just to be aware and know what could happen.” The one constant through all of this for Pierce has been his Patriots. He loves Sunday with the team, sitting on the edge of his front row seat and desperately waiting for the next big play. Even as a blind man, he always had a clear vision for how he wanted to support his team. The team was always in focus in his heart even if no longer in his line of vision. Ask him about a play from this year and Pierce can describe it with ease as if he saw it with his own eyes. In 1996 Pierce programmed a website for the team, using a screen reader to create the template. He wrote game previews and reviews back in the early days of the internet, providing insight and details while beginning to register some impressive hit numbers for the site. "Zip's Patriot Page" – "Zip" is Pierce's nickname - began to register a couple thousand hits a day as his team went through the playoffs and finally into a Super Bowl showdown with the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots would lose the game but Pierce emerged as a big winner with a following that was growing by the day to read his Patriots content. It was a large following that also proved to be loyal. In 2001, the web community for his site very quietly organized a push to have Pierce be named the Joseph R. Mastrangelo Memorial Trophy recipient as the organization's fan of the year. To this day, it remains the largest ever number of write-ins received by the Patriots nominating any one fan. He had no idea that the fans were rallying to support but the Patriots were impressed. “ To be honest, I didn't even know they had a fan award of the team. I got a phone call telling me that I was the fan of the year and it was just the start that year of our push to get into the playoffs,” Pierce said. “ Obviously as that advanced, that's where the  Visa Hall of Fans at the Hall of Fame began . They bring me to the Super Bowl with the team as the ultimate fan.” And from there, a friendship with former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was growing and developing. Pierce remains a constant around the team's facility, invited to nearly all events. He even met President George W. Bush in 2002 along with the rest of the team. He's no longer in a wheelchair and he's back to being active. He was always “a reasonable athlete” in his own words and he didn't want being blind to hold him back. “ The only thing that limits me is my willingness to believe and my willingness to work hard. And that was true even before I went blind. Obviously we all have some physical limitations,” Pierce said. “ Once I started putting myself into it – I love hardworking overachievers – why am I not going to be one? So I started finding out what can I do? What can't I do? In the instance of the wheelchair, I lost the ability to walk. What a gift it is for all of us, any of us to walk. And you never appreciate something until you lose it.” After six surgeries he was able to, as he puts it, “earn his way out of the chair.” He began hiking with his dog guide Quinn and gradually, the walks became longer. Then faster. Then he slowly and cautiously started running with Quinn. Pretty soon, he was passing joggers on the path. And 33 competitive races later, Pierce started a program to help others who are visually challenged to also be able to run. He also completed a "Tough Mudder" recently, showcasing his athleticism as well as his sheer guts. Pierce is also one of the "Heroes of Summer" an effort created by Oberto Beef Jerky. He is one of four individuals who Oberto picked who best personifies the “you get out what you put in” refrain, allowing him to showcase his inspirational story. And on Monday, he will set out to be the first totally blind person to run and finish the Boston Marathon. Quinn, the dog guide who who led him into running, is no longer with him, the victim of cancer last January. Now with Autumn, he will run this race in Quinn's honor. This year he will be running the marathon to support  2020 Vision Quest, a charity to support the blind . He is the current president on the board of directors. This will be his fourth marathon, all run in the past year. Making it even more remarkable is that he never ran a marathon before, not even when he had full sight. He hopes to run at a pace of 8:45 per mile, something he says would be his “comfortable pace.” Fitting that the marathon is run every year on Patriots' Day in Boston, because Pierce can't wait to be back at Gillette Stadium this fall, cheering on his defending Super Bowl champions. He will be there, he promises, front and center in his Patriots jersey, just feet from the field. Autumn will be on one side and he'll be surrounded by friends. He chuckles when asked about his front row seats. Even he sees the irony in him having such a great seat location. “ I got asked that a lot. Down in front, 'Why does the blind guy have front row seats?' Football is fantastically suited for being blind more so that other sports. Because you have these breaks in action, the personnel grouping – the things you learn – that give you insight into what is coming. Then the formation gives you some insight,” Pierce said. “ Then you get four seconds of burst action that is very easy to get on the radio. “ And I'm using my understanding of the team and the players to put it all together as we're going along. And it's ironic because I'm getting multiple bits of information from radio, fans around me. And I've got people asking me all the time 'Randy, what just happened out there?' They're asking the blind guy what just happened.” [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Carolina hold off Green Bay rally

Brett Favre shines but cannot prevent the Green Bay Packers suffering their worst NFL start in 17 years. [read full article]

From BBC Sport


Panthers sign Packers free agent WR Boykin to 1-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent wide receiver Jarrett Boykin from the Green Bay Packers to a one-year contract. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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