PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 1st January, 2010 []

Posted: 31 Dec 2009 04:55 PM PST

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by Camille Lemmens

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 31st December, 2009 []

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 04:23 PM PST

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by Camille Lemmens

Bangkok Restaurant in Bophud on Koh Samui, Thailand []

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 06:33 PM PST

Review of Bangkok Restaurant in Bophud on tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by long term local expat Camille lemmens
NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

Eagles WR Jackson Gets Some Inspiration from Cowboys Locker Room

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 06:02 PM PST

Sunday's game with Dallas is going to be a match up where both teams are forced to play their hearts out. There is too much at stake for both teams not to give it their best effort. The Eagles are a hot football team winning six games in a row. Dallas is happy that they have won two games in December (cool huh?). I keep hearing ESPN analysts saying that Dallas is playing some of the best football right now and maybe they are. However, I don't think they've played well enough to start opening their mouths. Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins has done just that. He was asked about covering DeSean Jackson this weekend and said the following:

"We're just playing the deep balls. The main thing is they try to catch you off-guard. It's yet to happen to us, and we're not planning on it to happen. I guess he runs past a lot of guys, and it's not going to happen this week. It's not going to happen to us, period."

Well if this doesn't fire up DeSean Jackson, I sure as hell don't know what will. Thank you Mike Jenkins. You know Jackson is the type of guy that loves this kind of attention and seems to shine when the pressure is really on. He found the end zone last week but failed to really make the big play he's known for. A lot of teams have been providing safety help over the top on him but some how he tends to always get behind everyone. Jackson reads secondaries very well and always seems to find holes to get himself open, and after he gets the ball in his hands we all know what he's capable of. Does DeSean get another 50+ yard touchdown on Sunday? I like his odds.

Bengals Put LB Maualuga to IR; Hill called up

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 05:43 PM PST


After fracturing his ankle in Sunday's division-clinching victory over Kansas City, there was some fleeting hope that LB Rey Maualuga would be able to return to the field at some point in the playoffs.  The fracture was considered a pretty straight-forward injury that would not require surgery.

Those hopes have been dashed.

Today the Bengals placed the rookie second round pick on season ending injured reserve.  Maualuga finishes with 63 combined tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and 3 forced fumbles.  His intensity and playmaking ability will be missed during the playoff run.

Last year's starter, Rashad Jeanty, will take his place in the line-up.  Jeanty filled in for the final 3 quarters last week, and finished with one tackle.  He had 96 tackles and 2 forced fumbles last season as part of the first team defense.

The Bengals promoted TE Darius Hill from the practice squad to take Maualuga's active roster spot, and signed rookie TE Carson Butler to Hill's spot.  Butler, 22, was an undrafted rookie in 2009 out of Michigan.  He signed with Detroit and was one of the final players cut from the Lions roster at the end of the preseason.  He was most recently with the 49ers, where he spent a week on their practice squad from 10/28/09 to 11/03/09.

Steelers LB Woodley Says the Pats and Bengals will ‘Lay Down’ Sunday

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 02:38 PM PST

There’s plenty of talk in the Steeler locker room about how the Pats and Bengals are going to play Sunday, and one linebacker says that there’s no doubt that the two teams that the Steelers need to win Sunday are going to do quite the opposite.

"All of them lay down," LB LaMarr Woodley said today. "No one wants to see Pittsburgh in it. That's just how it is. Everybody knows we're a dangerous team once we get into the playoffs, no matter how we played the whole year. Once we get into the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers is a playoff team."

Maybe that is true, but LaMarr and company should remember this – you beat one of the following teams – the 6-9 Bears, 3-12 Chiefs, 5-10 Raiders or 4-11 Browns, you wouldn’t need teams to win this weekend so you could be in the postseason.

Nevertheless, Woodley took the time to make sure those in the locker room that would listen know that the Steelers are still a dangerous team.

"Cincinnati is probably going to go into New York and lay down for the Jets and not play them hard just because they're not going to want to see Pittsburgh in it," Woodley said. "We definitely wouldn't lay down because it's a pride thing with us, going out there winning ballgames and shutting teams down.”

If the Steelers would shut teams down when they had their chances, they wouldn’t need others to do it for them now.

Is the Turning of a Decade Mean Good Things to Come For the Browns?

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 02:18 PM PST

With the Starting of a new decade in a couple days, there a lot of top 10 list for many NFL teams, but for Browns fans can we make that list up for this team, or have a all decade team,it would be more agony then anything else.

Instead here a some things I would like to see in the next decade. The Browns start winning on there home openers something they were only able to do once since they have came back. I have heard that Browns next year are going to unveil there Championship banners with all the All-time greats at the Stadium the day of the home opener what better way to start the season to with all the greats there to get a win and start the Holmgren era off right.

Also Michael Stanley Band playing Born and Raised on the Cleveland Browns as some added pregame festivities. The Stadium would be rocking (it will be regardless) but if this team ends a season on a four game winning streak it gives hope that this team his headed in the right direction.

How about regaining the overall record against Pittsburgh, All you hear from Steeler fans is how they are so much better then the Browns and how great Big Jen is. It took the Browns to be horrible for ten years for the Steelers to take the series over at 60-56.

The Cleveland Browns are THE CLEVELAND BROWNS remember that means something and hopefully this next decade we can get that feeling back out. How great was it to beat Pittsburgh in the Stadium under the lights? It was the best moment in the stadium this year and could go down as the best yet other the the Run William Run game.

The Browns have had some bad luck and with that comes some bad years but maybe Holmgren can turn this around. It looks like Mangini has us headed in the right direction and with some help with Holmgren we can do this in this decade.

How about beating AFC North teams on a regular basis, The Ravens Defense is getting old, I think the verdict is still out on the Ravens offense and overall as a team they are going to have many question marks in the coming future, the Browns are rebuilding at the perfect time to win multiple division championships if they do this right.

The Bengals are the Bengals and Carson Palmers health is always going to be in question. He is either going to be healthy and the Bengals are going to be good or not healthy and they are going to stink. Ocho Cinco is head case and you never know what you are going to get with him of if he is going to demand a trade anytime soon.

Is Cedric Benson and Larry Johnson the future running back duo in the AFC North, I don’t think so it worked this year and maybe next year also but after that I highly doubit it. The Squeelers are showing there age this year with Hines “CryBaby” Ward numbers down and calling out his quarterback. Worthlessburger has already has had at least six concussions in his life and also a Rape Trial coming in this next decade.

Troy Polamalu hasn’t been healthy for two straight seasons and they Squeelers tying up most of there money in Worlessburger and Polamalu this team has won two Super Bowls but could that be it for this era. Mike Tomlin is getting questioned for many of his coaching decisions and the Steelers look like they are running on fumes with this Cower built team. With all this going on in the AFC North the Browns need to get this right because this could be a special decade for us Browns fans.

How about a FLEX game, one Sunday late in the Season the Browns will be fighting for a home playoff game, AFC North Crown, Home field Advantage, or even an undefeated season. Wouldn’t it be nice to be thinking all year you are having a day game and then the week before you find out your CLEVELAND BROWNS are playing on Sunday night football in front of all the nation in a meaningful game.

I am looking forward to that night in Cleveland, when the Orange Helmets come out of the tunnel under the lights in front of a sold out Browns Stadium.

How about HOME PLAYOFF GAMES in this next decade, what would the new Stadium be like after all these years having a home playoff game. I bet you it will be the most intimidating place in the NFL if you are the opposing team coming into are Stadium are first playoff game.

I hope its Pittsburgh when it happens. I also hope there are Squeelers fans in the Stadium and they all leave half way through the game to put on there Browns jerseys those front running fans. The place is going to be rocking and rolling and it is going to be a glorious sight to see and hopefully you will be there when that day comes..

How about a HOME AFC Championship Game in this next decade, the Browns at home in a AFC Championship game would be the greatest thing to hit Cleveland since 64. This day is going to come and Cleveland is going to be the greatest place on earth that day when the Browns win the AFC Championship Home game. Another game that I hope its against Pittsburgh to see all those Squeeler fans put those urine colored towels between there legs leaving the Stadium.

Last but not least and you know what it is HOW ABOUT A SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the Arizona Cardinals can go the Super bowl the Cleveland Browns can make it to one and win one. We have Mike Holmgren and the two teams that he has been with have gone to the Super bowl, now he is on his third team lets hope we get the same results.

Despite the Setbacks, It’s All Good for the Pats

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 07:51 AM PST

As the year winds down, the Pats are – happily – bringing it up. They played superbly against the Jags on Sunday: Brady nearly perfect, Moss present and accounted for, Welker impossible to catch, the D coming up Big, and on and on: lots of presents under the Christmas tree. Best of all, they played like they were having fun. Ever fulsome, Coach Belichick summed it up: "Yep. We were pretty good."

Clinching the division title – the sixth in seven years – was just one of the goodies in Santa's bag. Nothing is ever so delicious as when it's sprinkled with a dash of schadenfreude (the guilty – or not so guilty – pleasure we take in others' misfortunes).

Indeed, I am speaking about the Saints and the Colts and the premature termination to two nearly perfect seasons. Even though it might have served the Pats in 2007 to lose a game or two and thus relieve the pressure (I think Patriots Nation would gladly have traded an 18-0 run for one more Super Bowl win), that record still comes with bragging rights and I, for one, am glad that we don't have to share the podium with those two.

This coming Sunday the Pats fly to Houston where two things are at stake. In order of importance, clinching No. 3 seed (less) and keeping healthy (immense). It'll be interesting to see what transpires: if the Pats take it easy and rest a bunch of starters, or build on their apparent peaking at just the right time. It might also be worthwhile to quiet the critics who continue to whine that the team has won only two away games all season (and that includes London).

For the Texans, who can smell the postseason for the first time in their history, it's do or die: they can clinch a wild card if they beat the Pats and then get some help – they still need two of the following teams to lose: the Jets to Cincinnati, Baltimore to Oakland, and/or Denver to Kansas City. Since the Pats-Texans game is the only early game of those four, the Texans, if victorious, will likely find themselves huddled around the locker room television into Sunday evening and maybe even on Monday, shouting, "Go Raiders! Go Bengals! Go Chiefs!" That has to stick in the craw.

But that's their problem, not ours. We've earned the right to avoid that particular humiliation. Till the playoffs begin, we simply need to stay uninjured and stay sharp, keep building on the spirit of fun and camaraderie that has blossomed over the last few weeks, and to keep eyes on the prize. If we do that, we can step boldly onto the playoff field and maybe, just maybe, fortune will smile.

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

Find Out More About Finding Saltwater Fishing Gear

Posted: 30 Dec 2009 03:24 AM PST

For anglers fortunate enough to live close to the coast, getting out on the saltwater and hooking a massive one—whether going after  bonefish, redfish, snapper, or sea bass—is one of the best thrills possible. However, as many women have pointed out, fishing can be the male equivalent of scrapbooking: you can spend as much cash and time wanting for “just the proper” lures,  hooks, rod, reel, or you-name-it as you can spend time actually putting the line in the water! Admittedly, the explore for the elusive  “perfect setup” may be a very real part of the pleasure of fishing, however why spend oodles of effort and time trolling the aisles at your  local retailers for saltwater fishing gear when you could be trolling the estuaries and lagoons, or surf-casting for jack or  roosterfish?

What Do I Need?

If you are a true saltwater novice, you need to grasp that saltwater fishing gear is usually heavier than freshwater equipment and  is also created of materials that resist the corrosion so prevalent in environments that combine moist air and high saline content.  Even saltwater fly fishing gear is heavier than the tackle favored by the fellows angling for rainbows in those high mountain  streams. Also, rods vary depending on the kind of saltwater fishing: surfcasting rods are different than a boat rod you’d use to  bottom fish from a pontoon or pier; Deepwater trolling rods are vastly different than saltwater flyfishing rods. And, like any  alternative sort of fishing, you need to decide on your line based on what you are going after: for ladyfish and other smaller inshore  species, you don’t need twenty-pound test line! In fact, if you know what you are doing, you’ll be able to catch a lot of fish on smaller line.

Take Care of Your Stuff

As implied by its need for corrosion resistance, your saltwater fishing gear should be frequently cleaned and maintained for  maximum life and smallest amount of down time. Each time you utilize your saltwater fishing gear, you ought to straight away clean everything with  soapy water and a soft brush—nothing else can take away dried salt. Clean all the eyes on the rod, and suspend everything vertically to  dry. Use sparing amounts of a good quality reel lubricant to keep the reel in top operating condition and to prolong its life. But  be careful not to use an excessive amount of lubricant-fish hate the scent of oil!

Spend Your Cash Wisely

Usually, spending the most money on a rod doesn’t invariably ensure obtaining the top deal. With reels, on the other hand, the  higher investment can pay real dividends, since more expensive reels usually are made with real bearings instead of  plastic shims. Bearings will last longer and provide smoother operation throughout the lifetime of the equipment, whereas the less  expensively made reels can begin to wear and drag sooner.

Lathams Discount Fishing Tackle Store



NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

2010 NFL AFC-NFC Pro Bowl Rosters

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 09:00 PM PST


Rosters for 2010 Pro Bowl, to be played Jan. 31 in Miami (asterisk denotes starter):

AFC Offense

Quarterbacks — *Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Tom Brady, New England; Philip Rivers, San Diego

Running Backs — *Chris Johnson, Tennessee; *Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville; Ray Rice, Baltimore

Fullback — *Le’Ron McClain, Baltimore

Wide Receivers — *Andre Johnson, Houston; *Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis; Brandon Marshall, Denver; Wes Welker, New England

Tight Ends — *Dallas Clark, Indianapolis; Antonio Gates, San Diego

Centers — *Nick Mangold, N.Y. Jets; Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis

Guards — *Alan Faneca, N.Y. Jets; *Logan Mankins, New England; Kris Dielman, San Diego

Tackles — *Ryan Clady, Denver; *Jake Long, Miami; Joe Thomas, Cleveland

AFC Defense

Ends — *Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis; *Robert Mathis, Indianapolis; Mario Williams, Houston

Interior Linemen — *Haloti Ngata, Baltimore; *Vince Wilfork, New England; Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh

Inside-Middle Linebackers — *Ray Lewis, Baltimore; DeMeco Ryans, Houston

Outside Linebackers — *Elvis Dumervil, Denver; *James Harrison, Pittsburgh; Brian Cushing, Houston

Cornerbacks — *Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland; *Darrelle Revis, N.Y. Jets; Champ Bailey, Denver

Strong Safety — *Brian Dawkins, Denver

Free Safeties — *Ed Reed, Baltimore; Jairus Byrd, Buffalo

AFC Specialists

PunterShane Lechler, Oakland

Kick Return Specialist — Joshua Cribbs, Cleveland

PlacekickerNate Kaeding, San Diego

Special TeamerKassim Osgood, San Diego

NFC Offense

Quarterbacks — *Drew Brees, New Orleans; Brett Favre, Minnesota; Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Running Backs — *Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Steven Jackson, St. Louis; DeAngelo Williams, Carolina

Fullback — *Leonard Weaver, Philadelphia

Wide Receivers — *Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; *DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia; Miles Austin, Dallas; Sidney Rice, Minnesota

Tight Ends — *Vernon Davis, San Francisco; Jason Witten, Dallas

Centers — *Andre Gurode, Dallas; Shaun O’Hara, New York Giants

Guards — *Jahri Evans, New Orleans; *Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota; Leonard Davis, Dallas

Tackles — *Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota; *Jason Peters, Philadelphia; Jon Stinchcomb, New Orleans

NFC Defense

Ends — *Jared Allen, Minnesota; *Julius Peppers, Carolina; Trent Cole, Philadelphia

Interior Linemen — *Darnell Dockett, Arizona; *Kevin Williams, Minnesota; Jay Ratliff, Dallas

Inside-Middle Linebackers — *Patrick Willis, San Francisco; Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans

Outside Linebackers — *Lance Briggs, Chicago; *DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; Brian Orakpo, Washington

Cornerbacks — *Asante Samuel, Philadelphia; *Charles Woodson, Green Bay; Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona

Strong Safety — *Adrian Wilson, Arizona

Free Safeties — *Darren Sharper, New Orleans; Nick Collins, Green Bay

NFC Specialists

PunterAndy Lee, San Francisco

Kick Return Specialist — DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia

PlacekickerDavid Akers, Philadelphia

Special TeamerHeath Farwell, Minnesota

At the End of the Day – The Colts were Wrong and the Fans Were Screwed

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 03:34 PM PST

Two years ago, the New England Patriots were two and a half minutes away from the NFL’s first ever 19-0 season. This year, the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts were both three games away. Now, the hopes of a team going undefeated have faded yet again, this time with an even worse taste in the mouth of fans.

Colts fans have been irate for the past two days since the team basically decided that the long term health of their team was more important that a record. GM Bill Polian and coach Jim Caldwell decided to sit QB Peyton Manning and a number of other starters, and much to the anger of the Colt fans, the team fell for the first time in 2009.

The Colts have sat players in the past, but at the same time, it’s never come at a point where the team was undefeated with just two games left in the season. It has always come after the team had lost at least one game. Now fans are demanding a refund for having to watch preseason players play in a late-December game.

That’s the risk you take when you buy a ticket.

There’s always a chance that the best players may not play, but yes, fans today do have a reason to be upset with the Colts and their GM and coach deciding to take away history before it was decided like it should have been. History doesn’t come every day, and players like Manning and others can be hurt any day, any play.

The Colts fans deserved better, and it was a shame to see what could have been history taken out of their hands. Sure it will all be forgotten if the Colts raise the Lombardi Trophy on the first Sunday of February. But if they don’t, then isn’t it about time that teams realize that sitting players isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

Eagles Center Jamaal Jackson Done for the Year with Torn ACL

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 08:52 AM PST

The Eagles have lost center Jamaal Jackson for the year after he tore his ACL in yesterday's game against the Denver Broncos. This is a tough loss for the Eagles as Jackson has been one of the constants on this offensive line all year. The offensive line has seen many moves and changes since the beginning of the year, but Jackson has always been there to anchor the middle. Nick Cole will take over for Jackson and is a very capable player; however, you hate to see Jackson go down this late in the season.

Jackson is very upset with the injury and has requested that Todd Herremans to go out there and get him a Super Bowl ring. You know it has to kill a guy to play this deep into the season and then not be able to play anymore. However, it is nice to see that Jackson is still upbeat and wants nothing but the best for the team.

Eagles center Jamaal Jackson

What Happened to the 2009 Giants?

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 07:46 AM PST

It's very easy for me to vent about the horrid performance by the G-Men Sunday. There's a lot of anger, a lot of frustration. And there are a lot of questions. Here are some Thoughts, Giants Panthers style (or, as I said in the title, what happened to the 2009 Giants?)

-There is no excuse for the lack of effort on Sunday. No excuse. This was the biggest game of the year. And the Giants come out like it's a pickup game after Thanksgiving dinner. They come out with no fire. They come out with no passion. The Panthers, on the other hand, had nothing to play for.

Yet, they come out like it's the Super Bowl. I can't explain why the Giants didn't come to play. I don't know if they can. But, they didn't. And, it's been that way for the whole year. Think back to the first Eagles game. The Cardinals game. The Saints game. The Broncos game. We thought this team could be a Super Bowl team. We had high expectations for the team. And you saw, when there is consistent effort, the Giants look awesome. Think of the Redskins game. But, the effort is there. The fire isn't there. And, no team can be successful without a strong effort.

-CAN SOMEONE TACKLE! Jonathan Stewart must've broken at least 50 tackles. Players are going for the ball, not the player. It's an awful display of football.

-Too many mistakes. Manningham fumbles. Hedgecock holding. That first drive seemed to be all the Giants had. And, mistakes screwed it up.

-Look, I don't know what will fix the Giants. Yeah, they need some talent on defense. They need some help on the interior O-Line (I'm talking about you, Rich Seubert). They desperately need secondary depth. That can be had. But, where does the leadership come from? I always think back to the playoff game last year against Philly. You see Brian Dawkins going absolutley nuts, firing the team up. Giants don't have anyone like that. Did you watch the Cowboys game last night? Keith Brooking looked like he was going to have a stroke. The Giants need that. They need an infusion of passion, an infusion of pride, an infusion of determination. That's what they need. The talent part can be fixed. The formation stuff, that can be fixed. The passion can't be fixed. They have to get someone who can provide that. Is that person out there? I don't know. But, the GIants have to find it somewhere.

-What the hell happened to the Giants? They were 5-0, and looked unbeatable. Sure, they were playing the Bucs and Raiders. But, they were dominating them, and that's what good teams do. But, then, the Saints cream them. The Eagles beat up on them. They lose to the Chargers.

They get embarrassed in Denver. This team, in my opinion, is an average team. They can beat up on the bad teams, but they can't beat the good ones. They were lucky to rack up wins against the cupcakes. But, when it meant something, this team didn't show up. Every Giants fan should be angry. Every Giants fan should be upset. Every Giants fan should demand changes. Giants fans were expecting a great team this year. They didn't get it. It's a shame.

Vikings Let a Golden Opportunity Slip Away in Setback to Bears

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 07:05 AM PST

First off, let me say that in eight days the season starts anew and that a three or four game winning streak is all they will need to put together a Championship run.

That being said, there are plenty of issues that have come about in the last four weeks that need to be addressed in order for such a post-season run to become reality.

The loss tonight brings to mind two basic themes:  consistency and missed opportunities.


  • Brett Favre was 26 of 40 for 321 yards and 2 touchdowns with no picks.  His game started out pretty pedestrian, throwing multiple errant passes and losing a fumble when he should have had a little more awareness.  He also tried to throw a pass to right guard Anthony Herrera which resulted in a 10 yard intentional grounding penalty.  His fourth quarter heroics seemingly willed the Vikings to a potential victory, but he was also lucky to not have multiple throws picked off.  Consistency is key.
  • The offensive line was frustrating today with their inconsistency.  At times they were opening big holes for the running backs and fiercely protecting Favre.  On other occasions they looked completely overmatched by the Bears hodge-podge defense.
  • Adrian Peterson was having one of his best weeks this year before his overtime and game-losing fumble.  He had 94 yards and 2 touchdowns on 24 rushing attempts, as well as 3 catches for 43 yards.  His fumble, however, is just another example of an inconsistency that this team needs to tighten up.
  • Bernard Berrian led the team with 58 receiving yards, but dropped a potential touchdown pass in the open field.
  • Special Teams was all over the map in this game.  They gave up a giant return that set up a touchdown for the Bears and they allowed an extra point to be blocked that would have been the difference in the game.  On the other hand, Percy Harvin provided some fun returns and Jamarca Sanford had a superb hit on punt coverage.
  • Cedric Griffin had the lone interception for the Vikings on a very heads up play and also made a number of solid tackles, but he was also burned on multiple passes including two touchdowns.
  • It is nice to have Antoine Winfield back but his performance tonight was incredibly spotty… and that's being nice.  He got burned on the game-losing touchdown, which was just the last of many poor plays for 'Toine.
  • Ben Leber was all over the field making tackles and had a pair of defended passes which continued what has been a stellar season for him.  The negative aspect here is that Leber's two defended passes each could have very easily been intercepted.  This falls under the category of missed opportunities.
  • Jared Allen also missed opportunities tonight, as he faced a single blocker almost all evening.  He registered two tackles and no sacks despite the favorable matchup.  Also, where is the rest of the defensive line at?
  • Jasper Brinkley had a better game this week, and registered 6 tackles.  His coverage skills leave a lot to be desired, however.
  • The play-calling was improved over last week, but there was still plenty of head-scratchers.  Unwillingness to blitz on defense and stubborness on offense may very well end up being this team's downfall.

So there you have it.  The Vikes have lost control of the #2 seed due to nothing more than inconsistencies and missed opportunities across the board.

Falcons, Dolphins Provide Bills with Blueprint for Quick Turnaround

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 06:57 AM PST

With one final game left for the Buffalo Bills in a disappointing 2009 campaign, the focus now shifts to one of the most important offseasons in Bills history. The first step came back in November with the firing off Dick Jauron after the team's pathetic 42-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

There are sure to be many, many more steps along the path to rebuilding. If you're feeling a sense of hopelessness about this team, you're probably not alone. It's unknown how long a complete turnaround could take (let's hope it's somewhat faster than evolution), but a few teams have shown the Bills that it can happen rather quickly and unexpectedly if done properly.

Take for instance the Bills opponent last Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were a complete mess in 2007, on the field and in the public eye. The franchise quarterback, Michael Vick, was embroiled in dog fighting allegations and was later sentenced to 23 months in prison. Head coach Bobby Petrino resigned a day after his team was blown out by New Orleans 34-14 on Monday Night Football and shockingly was introduced as the head football coach at Arkansas that same day. Petrino didn't even bother to tell his players face to face that he was resigning; he left a note in each locker of his players telling them he was leaving.

So the star quarterback went to jail, the head coach went running back to college football and the Falcons were left with a public relations disaster to clean up. There was no face of the franchise. There were more questions than the Falcons had answers for. But in the offseason, Atlanta underwent a tremendous makeover. The Falcons found a new general manager in Thomas Dimitroff, who was responsible for spearheading the overhaul. His tasks were simple: find a new head coach, find a new quarterback and make the Falcons relevant again following their disastrous 4-12 mark in 2007.

Dimitroff hired Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Smith took the Falcons from the outhouse to the penthouse in just one year, producing an 11-5 mark in 2008. Smith was named AP NFL Coach of the Year, taking the Falcons on a seven-win swing from 2007. What's more impressive about Smith is he didn't the luxury of a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. He did it with a rookie quarterback and first time starting running back.

Atlanta drafted quarterback Matt Ryan third overall in the draft in 2008 and become the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Ryan was the first quarterback since Peyton Manning in 1998 to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. Ryan threw for 3, 440 yards and 17 touchdowns, while finding instant chemistry with receiver Roddy White. White enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2008, posting career marks in receptions (88), receiving yards (1,382) and touchdowns (7).

Former San Diego running back Michael Turner was brought into the fold by Dimitroff. Turner, who served as LaDainian Tomlinson's backup, was thrust out of Tomlinson's shadow and into the starting role in the Falcons backfield. Turner finished second in the league in rushing with 1,699 yards. He had a franchise-best 17 touchdowns, earning his first Pro Bowl trip and finishing second in the MVP voting.

Miami was a bigger train wreck than Atlanta. The Dolphins went 1-15 in 2007, playing some of their worst football in franchise history under coach Cam Cameron. Miami was in need of a thorough house cleaning, basically starting over from scratch. What would follow in the wake of going 1-15 was improbable and remarkable. The Dolphins hired Bill Parcells as their executive vice president of football operations. Parcells hired former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Tony Sparano and drafted Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long with the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Parcells also signed former Jets castoff quarterback Chad Pennington.

The Dolphins went 11-5 and were AFC East champions in 2008, a year removed from a one win season and the first pick in the draft. Long quickly established himself as one of the premier young tackles in football. Pennington revitalized his career throwing 19 touchdowns. The Dolphins unleashed the Wildcat formation. Joey Porter, who was signed from Pittsburgh, led the NFL with 16 ½ sacks. It all led to the Dolphins winning their first division title since 2000.

Sparano proved he wasn't just a puppet with Parcells pulling all the strings behind the scenes. He brought back passion, discipline, accountability and respectability to South Beach in just one short season. Miami became just the second team in NFL history to improve their previous season's win total by 10 games. A little luck goes a long way, too. Miami reaped the benefits of New England losing Tom Brady to a season ending knee injury the first game of the season.

Both Atlanta and Miami made the playoffs in 2008. Both teams lost on Wild Card Weekend; the Falcons lost to Arizona and Miami lost to Baltimore. That's hardly the issue here. To go from desperate and depressing seasons one year to division titles and playoff berths the next is truly astonishing. These two teams have established successful blueprints on how to go from rags to riches. Understand that for every Atlanta or Miami there's an antithesis, like Cleveland or Detroit. They haven't figured it out yet despite numerous attempts to right their respective ships.

It may seem improbable, but it's far from impossible. With the right direction, the right hirings and the right personnel, the dark clouds can be pushed away.

Some Observations on the Steelers Heading Into Week 17

Posted: 29 Dec 2009 06:53 AM PST

Remember those five weeks of losing? Yeah, they still sting, but it’s amazing that heading into week 17 with a five game losing streak still on their resume, that the Steelers have any chance whatsoever to play in the postseason. To me, too much has to happen for this team to make the postseason, as teams like the Jets, Texans and Ravens will play all out, while the teams they are playing very well may not.

With that said, it’s going to be tough to have to write the final chapter on the 2009 season Sunday night. On one hand, I would like to see the team take care of business in Miami and end the year on a three-game win streak and see what happens. Then again, a loss means a .500 season, and that would mean a higher draft pick.

I like you know that a lot has to be done this offseason. More than likely gone are Casey Hampton, Willie Parker, Ryan Clark and from the rumblings going around, the team may cut ties with kicker Jeff Reed, who seems to like to get in a little too much trouble off the field.

With that said, here are some rather obvious things that need to happen as we enter the final week of the season:

1. The 2010 Draft is Critical – The Steelers need desperate help on special teams, which means that they will have to draft players that can step in right away and help on special teams. Too often this season they have put themselves behind the 8-ball with poor tackling and allowing big returns on special teams. This unit must improve as quickly as possible.

2. Troy needs to get back to 100 percent – Even if the team sneaks into the playoffs, I would sit Polamalu for the wild card game the following week. We have seen in the games missed this season just how important Polamalu is, and I think it would be dumb frankly to rush him back. Mind you that I write this before Mike Tomlin says today if Polamalu is expected to play this week, but I think rushing him back at this point would be a bad mistake.

3. Could we Finally Make a Free Agent Splash – Here’s two ways of thinking on this: 1. It’s going to likely be an uncapped year, which means that you can open the pocket books, and 2. the team could have new money coming in with the investors on board, so maybe this could be a year where they do get a player or two they would not normally get. The Steelers will never be a top 10 team in spending, but it would be nice to see what would happen if at least once they spent over what they usually do. Plus, think of it like this – where would the 09 team be if they would have not lost out on CB Bryant McFadden?

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