PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

Camille's Samui Info blog: Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 1st November, 2010 []

Posted: 31 Oct 2010 05:57 PM PDT

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by long term resident Camille Lemmens
NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

Packers: Game Day Headlines

Posted: 31 Oct 2010 03:57 AM PDT

Senior writer jclombardi highlights game day headlines.

Packers vs Jets Preview: Teams: Packers (4-3) vs. Jets (5-1). Time: Noon CT, Sunday. Place: New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. TV coverage: FOX – WITI (Ch. 6) in Milwaukee and WMSN (Ch. 47) in Madison. Rankings: The Packers' 11th-ranked offense is No. 20 in rushing and No. 8 in passing. Their 18th-ranked defense is No. 23 against the run and No. 14 against the pass. The Jets' 17th-ranked offense is No. 2 in rushing and No. 27 in passing. Their 12th-ranked defense is No. 7 against the run and No. 22 against the pass. Injury report: Packers – DE Jenkins (calf), DE/NT Pickett (ankle), RB Nance (ankle) and RT Tauscher (shoulder) are questionable. LT Clifton (knee), S Collins (knee), WR Driver (quadriceps), G/T Newhouse (back) and CB Woodson (toe) are probable. Line: The Jets are favored by 6 ½ points.  FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: Shuffling the line–can the front seven be stout? RB LT’s revenge--how good is he at his age?  Best in the business–Jets offensive line. On the mark–how good is Jets QB Sanchez? Keeping up with Jones–can WR Jones had a break out game to help Packers? PREDICTION–A nice little run toward their Nov. 14 bye if Packers could beat one of the AFC's elite teams and then come home and take advantage of the downtrodden Cowboys. The problem is that the Jets are coming off a bye themselves and they're the one team the Packers couldn't afford to be facing with a decimated defensive line. The combination of a run-first offense and a great offensive line against a depleted defense spells trouble for the Packers..

Packers vs Jets previewKeys to the game–The Packers’ ability to contain RBs Greene and Tomlinson will determine their ability to stay within striking distance. Green Bay allows 4.7 yards per carry, and lost another defender in OLB Brad Jones this week. If the Jets have their way on the ground, they’ll control the clock and methodically wear the Packers down. Green Bay only gives a token nod to its ground game, although RB Jackson is a solid receiver out of the backfield. QB Aaron Rodgers has a difficult task between reading the Jets’ pre-snap movement and delivering accurate passes against a secondary finally healthy coming out of a bye week. Game plan–A depleted Packers front seven defense will be on the spot against the Jets’ run-heavy offense with rushing monsters Tomlinson and Green. QB Sanchez has been hard to fluster, so the Packers may not be as reliant with their pressure packages. QB Rodgers can expect exotic pass rushes from the Jets. Rodgers will have to be on with his hot reads when Ryan brings the pressure from all angles. The Jets have been susceptible to giving up big chunks of passing yards. Yet, cornerbacks Revis and Cromartie are as disruptive as they come in the passing lanes. Turnovers could be telling with the Jets’ boasting of a league-leading plus-10 in the takeaway-giveaway ratio and the Packers struggling at minus-1.

Packers vs Jets predictions: McGinn-in their last two games, the Jets were on the ropes against the Vikings at home and against the Broncos on the road. Mark Sanchez is holding them back. Injuries or not, the Packers can win with a tremendous three-phase performance, the kind that a Mike McCarthy-coached team almost never deliversSilverstein: In some ways, this game has a similar flavor to the 2002 victory at New England, when Mike Sherman won with Matt Bowen, Todd Franz and Bryant Westbrook in a patchwork secondary. The Jets are due a bad game and the Packers haven’t played a great one yet. This could be their day. Packers 24, Jets 21.  Nickel: If they can go 1-1 between the Jets and Dallas next week, the Packers will be 5-4 heading into their bye week, and the way the NFC is playing out so far, that’s not too bad. A loss here is not the end of the world. A win would make waves. Jets 31, Packers 24.

Packers slow start to season fits pattern of McCarthy era:  If the Green Bay Packers, a six-point underdog Sunday at the New York Jets, go down as the oddsmakers predict, they will be .500 or worse at the midway point of the season for the fourth time in Mike McCarthy's five seasons as head coach.  Whether or not there's hope for a second-half performance like last season probably depends on whether the Packers can avoid any more catastrophic injuries, if they haven't had too many already. McCarthy believes it can happen, but it must depend on Rodgers' ability to cut down on turnovers and the defense's ability to create turnovers like it did last season, when it led the league with 40. Rodgers has nine interceptions already this season after throwing just seven all of last season.

Commentary: The Packers sports spin about the final outcome of this big game should be amusing. The bet is that the dominant line is on the depleted front seven defensive line and so on.  It will probably go the way of, “If we are 5-4 going into the bye week….”  The final outcome will be a true measure of the Packer character under the McCarthy era and Rodgers era.  We shall see.

Sports Gab Network Columnist Russ Loede’s Week Eight NFL Picks

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 08:52 PM PDT

The return of Stafford makes the favored Lions a hot pick against Washington

Week 7 Results ATS: 4-10

Season Record ATS: 46-53-4

Week 7 Confidence Meter Points: 32 out of 105

Week 7 one-star games: 0-2, 0 for 11.  Two-star games: 0-4, 0 out of 29.  Three-star games: 1-0, 4/4.  Four-star games: 2-2, 14/27.  Five-star games: 1-2, 14/34

1-star game, 2 on the confidence meter: Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers  (-2.5) – My “Wish List” for this snooze fest: 1. Troy Smith to perform so well he is named the starting QB for the rest of the season.  2. Tim Tebow to replace Kyle Orton, and play so well he is named the starting QB for the rest of the season.  3. Mike Singletary to send Josh McDaniels to the turf before the game with a power slam.  Denver Broncos 20 San Francisco 49ers 23

1-star game, 1 on the confidence meter: Jacksonville Jaguars @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) – America’s Team will treat the home fans to a 2nd victory behind impressive play from DeMarcus Ware, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Felix Jones.  You can’t tell me the Cowboys will not win this game by at least a touchdown -they are so much more talented than the Jags.  Expect Dallas to come out like loose cannons playing with house money.  Nothing to lose.  Jacksonville Jaguars 13 Dallas Cowboys 27

4-star game, 4 on the confidence meter: Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions (-2.5) – Stafford’s return, importance to the Lions cannot be measured.  I think this will be the game the Lions turn around their season and threaten for the NFC North crown.  Donovan will be running for his life against the Detroit defensive front line.  Imagine if Stafford was healthy; the Lions would be in first place.  He’s that significant of a piece to the team’s master plan.  Washington Redskins 17 Detroit Lions 24

5-star game, 3 on the confidence meter: Green Bay Packers (+6) @ New York Jets – With the Giants on Bye, I will take this time, space to vouch for a Big Apple Super Bowl.  I’m all for a New York-New York showdown in Dallas come February.  Remember Yankees-Mets?  This would be great for the NFL and I think it’s a serious possibility.  As for Packers-Jets, I have a feeling Aaron Rodgers will have an MVP-like performance, but his team will fall up short in overtime.  Green Bay Packers 20 New York Jets 23

1-star game, 6 on the confidence meter, Upset of the Week: Carolina Panthers (+2) @ St. Louis Rams – Panthers are clearly, head and shoulders more talented than the Rams.  Matt Moore isn’t as bad as you think and I think the defense will pull this game out in the end.  Bradford is due for a rough outing.  I am really enamored by the Cats receiving corps.  Carolina Panthers 19 St. Louis Rams 16

4-star game, 12 on the confidence meter: Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5) – Miami is still hung over from last week’s frustrating loss, bad call.  Bengals showed signs of life in the 3rd quarter outscoring the Dirty Birds 22-0.  Cincy’s defense shows up big at home.  Miami Dolphins 18 Cincinnati Bengals 23

3-star game, 7 on the confidence meter: Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs (-7) – Chiefs win this game big because they are thinking bigger and better things.  I feel and I know they feel they can win the AFC West and be serious players in the Playoffs.  Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are both clicking on all cylinders.  I don’t see the Chiefs letting down against the Bills.  This game won’t be close.  Buffalo Bills 14 Kansas City Chiefs 31

4-star game, 13 on the confidence meter, Lock of the Week: Tennessee Titans (+4) @ San Diego Chargers – Titans are a Super Bowl contender, Chargers are a Top 10 pick contender in next April’s Draft.  I don’t care who’s under center for Jeff Fisher, this Tennessee club is playing with a mean streak like no other team in the NFL.  Philip Rivers better watch his blindside.  Tennessee Titans 23 San Diego Chargers 13

2-star game, 5 on the confidence meter: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) @ Arizona Cardinals – Tampa has more bite to their team than Arizona.  I will take Raheem Morris at his word.  More trust in Josh Freeman than I do Max Hall.  LeGarrette Blount could become the future RB for this Bucs squad.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 Arizona Cardinals 13

3-star game, 8 on the confidence meter: Seattle Seahawks @ Oakland Raiders (-2) – Darren McFadden for MVP.  Oakland’s defense has some swagger to them and Nnamdi will shut down Mike Williams.  Don’t have any faith in Seattle’s rushing attack.  Raiders notch another home win and make the AFC West more interesting.  Seattle Seahawks 17 Oakland Raiders 22

5-star game, 9 on the confidence meter: Minnesota Vikings (+5.5) @ New England Patriots – Patriots are winning all the close games, and will continue that trend this Sunday in Foxborough.  Tom Brady has not lost a regular season home game in a Patriots uni since Week 10 of 2006 against the Chad Pennington-lead New York Jets.  Randy Moss has been a non-factor so far in Minnesota, but Percy Harvin will create mismatch problems for Belichick’s secondary.  Brady outdoes Brett Favre, and New England’s ball control dink and dunk aerial attack will eat up a shaky Vikings secondary.  Where’s the pass rush from the front four?  M.I.A.  Minnesota Vikings 20 New England Patriots 24

5-star game, 11 on the confidence meter, Game of the Week: Pittsburgh Steelers @ New Orleans Saints (-1) – Drew Brees will pull of his best Rich Gannon impersonation. Look for at least 50+ attempts by Brees.  Chris Ivory, Lance Moore, and Robert Meachem will all exceed the century mark in receiving yards.  This game screams for the Saints to get back on track and for Pittsburgh to turn the ball over.  Superdome crowd will razzle Big Ben and Sean Payton’s genius offensive game plan will faze Dick LeBeau’s all-world defense.  The defending Super Bowl champs finally play to their title and play like world-beaters against Mike Tomlin’s troops.  Pittsburgh Steelers 21 New Orleans Saints 37

5-star game, 10 on the confidence meter: Houston Texans (+5.5) @ Indianapolis Colts – Mario Williams will try to impose his will on this game, and will get to the best QB in the NFL, but will be no match for his super-quick release.   How can you go against Peyton in prime time?  I cannot and will not be burned.  Too much of a revenge factor plus the home crowd for Colts.  Schaub to Johnson connection will be killer and Foster will run for more than 150+ yards.  I just want to see a shootout.  So if this happens, I’ll go with Manning at home despite the Texans edge in yards gained.  Big plays late do in Houston.  Indy cannot lose twice to Gary Kubiak’s bunch in one season.  Houston Texans 48 Indianapolis Colts 51

Rams WR Alexander out 2-4 weeks

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:45 PM PDT

Danario caught his first career NFL touchdown pass on this play in his first game as a Ram

Rams and former Missouri WR Danario Alexander will have another surgery on his troublesome left knee (this his 5th surgery on the knee). Alexander re-injured the knee in practice on Friday, but there is some concern that the knee was already injured before today's incident in practice.

At this point, the Rams need to place Danario on the IR and allow him to fully return to health before the Rams or Alexander and tempted to rush him back into game action. He probably pushed his knee too far in his one breakout game and is back under the surgeon's knife.

This is precisely the scenario that prevented Danario Alexander from getting his name called on draft day and the reason that every team but the Rams passed on picking him up after the draft.

Best of luck to Alexander in his recovery. His NFL career will only go as far as his 5 time surgically repaired knee will take him. The Rams need to be extra careful with him even more now that they signed him to a 4 year deal when he was moved up from the practice squad.

Cardinals turn to Wells over Hightower for Bucs on Sunday

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:40 PM PDT

Will “Beanie” respond to the call of starting RB against Tampa?

Beanie Wells will get his first career start this Sunday in place of the fumble stricken Tim Hightower. Here's the full coverage by Darren Urban.

Earlier in the week, coach Ken Whisenhunt said he wasn't making any announcements about his running back depth chart. That changed Friday, when he announced — not surprisingly — that Beanie Wells will get his first start Sunday against Tampa Bay, replacing Tim Hightower.

Whisenhunt declined to detail the reasons why, but after Hightower lost his third crucial fumble of the season in Seattle last week, Whisenhunt had said Hightower's playing time could be curtailed.

'Tim is still going to get carries and be involved in all aspects of the offense,' Whisenhunt said. 'He's not going to just be a third-down back. … But (Beanie starting) is the way we're going to go.'

Beanie was already getting most of the carries, but with the struggles of rookie quarterback Max Hall, it is assumed the Cards will be leaning heavier on the running game. Wells has made no secret of his desire to get a heavy workload in games.

Beanie's ascension to the starting job has been long anticipated since he was made the Cards' No. 1 draft pick in 2009. But he couldn't get past Hightower, who still supplies the Cards with solid ability catching the ball and pass blocking (and has averaged 5.7 yards a carry this season as well).

I think this is a good move for three reasons. First, Beanie will no doubt be bringing a little something extra to his first career start. Second, Hightower, when given the chance, will definitely try to force Whisenhunt's hand to give him back his starting job. Finally, it seems like a good idea to mix things up for the offense because things obviously haven't been going to well on that side of the ball lately. We'll find out if this moves helps soon enough.

NFL Gridiron Gab Week Eight Preview: Washington at Dallas

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:30 PM PDT

Stafford will be under center for the first time since Week 1 in Chicago

The Lions start the second leg of their season with the Washington Redskins at home in a game the Lions are favored in. Matthew Stafford is expected to start, DeAndre Levy is expected to play and Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best are expected to be as close to 100% as players get during the season. Despite the optimism, the game is blacked out locally.

The Redskins are coming off of a lackluster performance against the fast fading Bears. Lost in the headlines of DeAngelo Hall's record setting day were the teams multiple turnovers, stagnant offense and struggling defense. The Redskins are winning ugly while the Lions are losing pretty, the Lions look to change that on Sunday.

Lions' Advantages

* There's no ignoring the fact that Jay Cutler was being a punk when he made the following post game quotes in reference to DeAngelo Hall last week:

…there's no reason to shy away from him. That's hard to say after throwing four picks at a guy, but if we had to play him tomorrow, I'd go at him every time.

There is also no ignoring the fact that he's right. DeAngelo Hall can make some great plays, but he is generally regarded as an overrated player in league circles. LaRon Landry is playing the best football of his career and might be on the cusp of being an elite player. All things considered though, the Redskins' pass defense is awful this season and the Lions definitely have the ability to take advantage of that weakness. Stafford may be a little rusty on Sunday, but he doesn't have to be the next Marino to move the ball on the Skins. The biggest concern for the Lions passing attack should be taking care of the ball.

* The Lions' secondary had one of their best performances against a loaded New York Giants receiving corps, this week their task is far less daunting. The Redskins' only true downfield receiving threat is Santana Moss and their only short threat is Chris Cooley. Joey Galloway can still get deep, but he's not nearly the threat he once was. The Skins don't have a dynamic receiving group that can beat the Lions, but they do have a dynamic quarterback that makes his receivers better. Donovan McNabb does struggle with his accuracy on the short routes and he's still getting accustomed to an offense that heavily utilizes the tight end. McNabb is still finding himself in the new offense and his talent hasn't taken over yet. The Lions can focus on taking away the deep throws that McNabb favors and force him to beat them underneath.
* The Lions will have opportunities to run the ball against the Redskins on Sunday. The Skins are allowing opposing offenses to rush for 4.7 yards per carry and they are giving up 113 yards per game. They are still getting accustomed to the 3-4 defense which requires a vastly different approach to stopping the run than the 4-3. In addition to the growing pains of the 3-4, the Skins have a $100 pain in Albert Haynesworth. Since Washington wasn't able to unload him, they've been trying to work him into the game plan, but also keep him happy. The defensive line's focus in the 3-4 is to tie up blockers in the running game and allow the linebackers to flow to the football. As one of the team's appeasements, they are allowing him to abandon the traditional 3-4 run responsibilities and focus on blowing plays up in the backfield. This can be disruptive to the offense, but it also can leave gaping holes in the defense. All these factors should give the Lions an edge on the ground.

Lions' Disadvantages

* The Redskins are incorporating the zone blocking scheme that Mike Shanahan perfected in Denver, and they brought in a former Bronco to do it. Ryan Torain is a big physical running back that excels in the zone scheme, and he could cause the Lions problems on Sunday. As I've said for weeks, the Lions' defensive line has been dominant against the run, but the linebackers have been awful. The zone scheme preys on poor linebacker play because it forces linebackers to play tentatively and leaves them in open space. The running back gets the carry and there isn't a designated hole to run through. The line blocks the guy in their area, and the back finds the open space to run to. If the play side isn't open, the lineman on the backside of the play cut block the defense to open up cutback lanes for the back. If the linebackers are too aggressive in their pursuit, the runner can cut back and have a lot of room. If the linebackers flow to the play side too conservatively they can't fill their gaps in time to make the tackle. Compounding this issue is the offensive lineman diving at the defensive linemen's knees trying to get them on the ground. The linemen are slow to pursue because they are protecting their knees or they are on the ground. This leaves the linebackers in space to make tackles one on one and the Lions have not excelled in those situations.
* I discussed the weaknesses that Albert Haynesworth creates for his defense, but I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss the strengths. Haynesworth is a rare player that can dominate a game almost single handedly. He caused major issues for the Bears last week, but part of his success was due to Mike Martz being too stubborn to change his gameplan. Haynesworth is almost unblockable when he wants to be, so the Lions need to get him to mentally check out of the game. If they run away from his side, or run a lot of screens and use his aggressiveness against him they can prevent him from having the impact he is capable of. If not, they will have a tough time keeping him out of the backfield on passing and rushing plays.
* As I said earlier, Donovan McNabb throws a great deep ball, and Santana Moss is a heck of a deep threat. Just because you know the deep ball is coming and you gameplan for it doesn't mean you can stop it. Moss killed the Lions in 2008 and 2009, so you know he's capable of doing it again. The Lions' were burned by Moss in the past because his quarterback had all day to throw which allowed Moss time to run deep routes. The Lions' pass rush will be their best weapon against Moss and McNabb on Sunday.

Wild Card

Matthew Stafford is the wild card in this game. Is he rusty? Has he been shell shocked by the number of big injuries suffered in such a short amount of time? Is he back to the form he showed in preseason when he looked like a Pro Bowler? If Stafford is 100% mentally and physically he gives the offense a whole new dimension with his arm strength and improvisation. If not, the turnovers can pile up and the Lions have to rely on their underachieving running game and young defense to stay in the game.


I believe the Lions will come out of the bye week on an emotional high after getting healthy and playing well against a very tough schedule. They played a lot of good teams, mostly on the road and missing some key players. The team is excited and they have a huge chip on their shoulders to prove they are far better than their 1-5 record. The Skins are banged up on the offensive line and they are still trying to establish an identity. The Skins have played a tough schedule too, but they've been the beneficiary of teams like Green Bay and Chicago shooting themselves in the foot. I like the Lions in this game, as they have an opportunity to make a statement after coming up short so often in the first few weeks.

Could one of these Ex-Bears replace Lovie Smith in 2011?

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:21 PM PDT

Could former Bears QB Jim Harbaugh leave Saturdays, Stanford to coach Chicago on Sundays?

On Friday, Yahoo! Sports identified the 11 NFL head coaches on the hottest seats for the remainder of 2010. Not surprisingly, Lovie Smith's name appeared on the list. Here's what the article said about Chicago's most embattled coach…

If the current trend continues in Chicago, coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jerry Angelo will likely be jettisoned, creating a highly attractive situation for a proven coach with a hand-picked talent evaluator. It likely won't be that optimal, however, because the McCaskey family aims low and spends little.

Possible replacement: Look for the Bears to lust for ex-quarterback (and current Stanford coach) Jim Harbaugh but to end up with a coach whose wooing requires less heavy lifting, like Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Chargers defensive coordinator (and former Bears linebacker) Ron Rivera or Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

In case you were wondering, the article had Bill Cowher as the numero uno candidate in Carolina. He was also mentioned as a potential target of the Vikings should they part with Chilly.

With 10 other potential competitors in the market for a coach at season's end, it'll be interesting to see how far the McCaskeys will dig into their deep pocketbooks for a new coach.

Of course, all this talk will be for not when Lovie rights the ship and the Bears make the playoffs this year…right?

Rematch in Motor City: How much of a difference will a year make?

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:16 PM PDT

How much of a difference will Ryan Torain make for the Redskins this Sunday at Ford Field?

Redskins Gab columnist Keely Diven:

If there was ever a bad day to be a Redskin, September 27th 2009 was that day. Washington handed Detroit its first win in 20 games. With a loss to the worst team in football coming only three weeks into the season, the Redskins' hopes and expectations for themselves deflated. Logically, football fans know any team can win or lose any game; however, to Washington fans watching that day, the Redskins seemed to be on a mission to prove that they, not the Lions, were the worst team in football.

The '09 'Skins found themselves in a ditch with 13 games left to play and learned that criticism, like all other shit, flows downhill. Initial disbelief gave way to a slew of negativity that plagued the team for the rest of the season.  This week on his official blog Brian Orakpo wrote "The loss still stings today. Unfortunately, it caused our season to spin out of control after a cascade of criticism from the media and fans. We couldn't block out the devastating loss and my teammates stopped believing in each other."

The franchise devoted the offseason to airing out the stink of defeat that had permeated Redskins Park since that fateful day in Detroit. Notable casualties included head coach Jim Zorn, vice-president of football operations Vinny Cerrato, and starting quarterback Jason Campell. But 2010 is a new year with new leadership and a new squad. Snyder installed Bruce Allen at general manager, Mike Shanahan at head coach, and Donovan McNabb at quarterback.

The Redskins head into week 8 at Detroit with a 4-3 record (matching their 2009 win total) and every intention to keep winning. The 1-5 Lions once again find themselves with one of the league's worst records. These circumstances should be encouraging, but as any wise Redskins fan understands, they terrify me. Why? Because Washington has a long and embarrassing history of playing to their opponent's level (or just below) and overlooking weaker teams.

The result is that they play every game close. Just take a look at the four games this season that came down to the last play. The 'Skins are good enough to beat good teams and bad enough to be beaten by bad teams.

Sounds crazy, but in my mind, the Lions' losing record makes them more likely to win on Sunday. Especially because the team behind that record lost 3 games by less than a TD, demolished a Rams team that beat the Redskins, and could easily be 4-2 right now. With talented young players like Matt Stafford, Jahvid Best, and Ndamukong Suh, the 2010 Detroit Lions are fierce and desperate for another win. They're better than the Lions we lost to a year ago, much better.

If the 2010 Redskins want to prove that they're better than the 2009 Redskins, Detroit is the place to do it.

Questions for Eagles abound

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:09 PM PDT

Andy Reid has to dial up more run plays for LeSean McCoy

Since the Eagles are on the bye week, we have way too much time on our hands to evaluate this team. The Eagles have a respectable 4-3 record which could have easily been better.

When I looked at the schedule before the season started, I thought it was very clear that the second half of the schedule would be much more difficult then the first half. However, I'm not so sure now.

The Colts are always a scary team as Peyton Manning can make any receiver look great. However, they have a rash of injuries on offense. We won't see the Colts premier line-up, which is a great thing for the Eagles. The secondary had a melt down against the Titans. That doesn't bode well for the Eagles as the Colts love to throw the ball.

After the Colts game, the Eagles will have back to back division games against the Redskins and Giants. The Redskins have the same record as the Birds and took them down once already this year but are very mediocre. In two of the Redskins wins, they were won because of the defense.

The Giants are an interesting team. They have shown flashes of absolute domination, but have also had times where they haven't looked so hot. The Giants could easily be the cream of the crop in the NFC if they can pull some things together.

After the division games, the Eagles will take on the Bears who have not looked very good this season. They made a big splash in free agency during the off-season, but they still have a lot of holes and aren't getting very good play out of Jay Cutler.

I think the best team the Eagles will see in the second half of the season is the Texans who have a high powered offense and can run the ball very well. It'll be a short week for both teams as the game is on a Thursday, so both teams won't have the usual amount of time to prepare for one another.

The last four games of the season looked brutal early on but doesn't look so bad anymore. They have two games with the Cowboys who have an incredible amount of issues, and I think it's safe to say that they're the most disappointing team in the NFL this season. I'm sure that doesn't bother any Eagles fan though.

They also have to take on another team that has been a disappointment, the Vikings. Brett Favre isn't showing his typical magic and may not even play in that game.

The second half of the schedule is going to be very interesting. There are plenty of questions surrounding the Eagles and plenty of questions surrounding a lot of the teams they'll be playing.

Giants rookie DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Boom or Bust?

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:06 PM PDT

Pierre-Paul eyeing his prey, Cowboys QB Jon Kitna

The drafting of Jason Pierre Paul 15th overall for the NY Giants in the past draft was a lightning rod for NY Giants fans.

Jason Pierre Paul has all the measurables of an elite N.F.L. athlete.

At the combine, JPP measured in at 6?5" and 270 pounds with 34 3/4 inch long arms and hands that are 10 3/8 inches long.

Jason Pierre Paul also ran an unofficial 4.64 40 yard dash at the combine, he moves well for his size.

And who can forget the impressive array of back flips.

But many were concerned with his drafting because of the ominous "Boom or Bust" label, which stemmed from his lack of experience at a top major college program and the fact that he only registered 6 sacks in his Division 1 college career (he did have 16.5 tackles for loss though).

Terms that were most associated with Pierre Paul were "risky, raw, inexperienced, and potential"

But that didn't stop the Giants from drafting him 15th overall because as Couhglin and Reese both stated separately "he was the highest rated player on our board".

That was in April and now it is November (essentially) and with the news that Mathias Kiwanuka is out for the season Jason Pierre Paul is going to have to contribute the rest of the season.

What have we seen from him so far this season?

According to he has played in all 7 games this season and during that time he has registered a whopping 9 tackles and defensed one pass.

Based on his statistics he is 10th among defensive rookies in tackles (4th among Defensive Ends), and there are 12 defensive linemen rookies who have registered at least half a sack (Suh leads all rookie defensive linemen with 4.5). So on his statistics JPP has not shown much at all, but as usual the stats don't tell the whole story.

Jason Pierre Paul has been a force on Special teams, often beating all of his kick coverage teammatess down the field despite being much bigger then they are.

He's also drawing double teams on special teams.

As far as playing on the defensive line, Pierre Paul has shown versatility playing at both defensive end and defensive tackle.

I think he has been more impressive in the middle at defensive tackles where he is drawing double teams, at times, and more often then not collapsing the pocket and forcing the QB to move into the arms of another defender.

Jason Pierre Paul has shown a GREAT Bull Rush, he gets his hands engaged on the offensive linemen and shows pure strength and power I didn't think he had, moving the offensive linemen into the backfield.

Coming off the edge, he seems a bit hesitant perhaps because of his lack of technique. Now he's so athletic that he's still getting PRESSURE on the Quarterback, he just hasn't gotten his first sack.

The thing that has impressed me more than anything else though is that he seems to have some natural football instincts and an ability to think on the field as well, which was a big knock on him with people predicting wonderlic scores in the range of Vince Young or Mario Manningham (ie not good).

My thoughts on his progress

I am PRO Jerry Reese and think he is a brilliant drafter. I think his track record speaks to his abilities as a drafter (and I"m sure I'll post an article on this sometime in the near future) Even though people want to knock him and not think about some of his great finds (Kevin Boss 5th round, Bradshaw 7th round, Manningham 3rd round, Goff 4th round, Nicks in round 1)

but I was ANTI-Jason Pierre Paul pick, especially because the passed over a player like Derrick Morgan who I liked better. Or Bryan Bulaga or Dez Bryant (althoguh I recognized the flack Reese would have to take drafting Braynt as well as probably shipping Manningham out of town so I did not find it probable or realistic that the Giants would consider Braynt),  but in retrospect I think I should have just trusted Jerry Reese. Especially considering my three absolute favorite options (in that range) C.J. Spiller, Earl Thomas, and Joe Haden were already drafted.

I don't know what Pierre Paul will be in this league, but I think so far he has proven that if it turns out that he can' t rush the passer as a Defensive End in this league, that he has the versatility to step in and play an effective pocket collapsing defensive tackle.

But I'm curious to what other Giants fans have seen out of Jason Pierre Paul so far this season. What do you expect him to be in three years: is he a Boom or Bust prospect.

Before I saw him play at the N.F.L. level I would have said bust, but now, I think he has the ability and work ethic, and surprisingly the football instincts to be a Boom (though I realize that is still a ways away because he does still have some refinement like most rookies)


After I originally posted this I thought about why I like Jason Pierre Paul so much more now than did before the draft because I like the numbers to show me what I'm seeing, which they are not yet. And I realize that JPP might lead the rookies in a statistic called "Forced Sacks" (like he pushes the QB into another defensive player if this was a real stat and not a stat I just made up right now) and this is what it came down to for me:

Jason Pierre Paul is a first round rookie draft prospects who is guranteed to make more money then I'll ever make in my lifetime.

He's 6-5 and 270 pounds, but he is DYING To get down the field and blow someone up on Special Teams. What first round pick, let alone a defensive linemen wants on the field so to play the unglamorous position of Special team blocker and wedge buster?

Very Few.

I believe from what I've seen that Jason Pierre Paul Loves Football. I do, I really truly believe that he loves football. And with the Giants good coaching staff, his insane athletic ability (which is not debatable), and what appears to be a true desire to play football. I do not think he'll be a bust. Players of his ability bust because they are lazy and not dedicated. I don't think that's JPP. He needs refinement, but he doesn't need motivation which is the difference between him and players like Andre Smith (T drafted by the Bengals a couple of years ago), or Jamarcus Russell.

There are other players, like Aaron Maybin who may want to play football, but have their athletic abilities over estimated by teams (which I clearly think the Bills have done with him) who bust.

But players who are as talented as JPP, Andre Smith, Jamarcuss Russel (who has undeniable TALENT, but no heart) don't bust because they can't play in the N.F.L., they bust because they don't want to play in the N.F.L. And that's why guys like Antonio Pierece, James Harrison, David Diehl (debatable this year), Rich Suebert Can play in the N.F.L. because they WILL themselves to play that way, and if JPP is willing to Give it all mentally, like it appears he's done so far, I have faith that he'll be a good starter in the N.F.L.

NFL Gridiron Gab Week Eight Preview: Jacksonville at Dallas

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:00 PM PDT

You can’t fault the Cowboys for their end zone celebrations

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) vs. Dallas Cowboys (1-5)
Where: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
When: 1:00 pm EST
Media: CBS

With every passing week both these teams know they are running out of time. While the Jaguars have two more wins than the Cowboys, they have had their fair share of struggles so far this season. The Cowboys are looking to right their ship and it is going to be a lot harder with the loss of Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo.

The Jaguars have had some good games and some really bad games. At times they have looked like a team that many people underestimated and at others they have looked worse than we though they would be. The Jags have struggled in scoring, and stopping other teams from doing so. They are losing by an average of 24.8 pts/game and are having a hard time scoring points, only averaging 18.2 pts/game.

The Cowboys have been ugly this season. When they have played well they have shot themselves in the foot and when they have kept the mistakes to a minimum, they haven't had the strongest of efforts. Last weeks performance was not very good, though the score made the game look close it wasn't. The Boys need to win to keep the last sliver of hope alive for themselves. While the rest of the world and fan base now believes their season is pretty much over, Wade Phillips and crew continue to preach the "one game at a time" and "the season's not over" message.

The Jaguars

The Jags have struggled with injuries this season and will be getting QB David Garrard back from a concussion he suffered two weeks ago when they got embarrassed by the Titans (30-3) on Monday night. Garrard bring the Jags some mobility at the position. He has a good arm and will look to use that to stretch a Dallas defense that is having problems with the deep ball. The real stud of the Jaguars offense in tailback Maurice Jones-Drew (MJD). Jones-Drew is having another solid season, not spectacular, but solid. MJD is averaging only 3.8 yards/carry which is low for him. While he only has one rushing touchdown this season, he is a threat to go all the way any time he touches the ball. The other standout for the Jags offense is WR Mike Sims-Walker. Sims-Walker has had a disappointing season so far, but he is big and fast and presents the Cowboys a tough matchup. Dallas has struggled with physical receivers this year (Steve Smith NYG, Kenny Britt), so the Jaguars are going to look to exploit that. Look for the Jags to pound the ball with MJD and then look to play-action deep passes to the "lawfirm" Mike Sims-Walker.

The real struggle for the Jaguars has been on defense. The Jags are ranked 30th in overall defense, giving up a whopping 382.1 yards/game. The also cannot keep teams out of the end zone with 29.9 points/game allowed. The real problem is they cannot get to the quarterback. The Jags have only 12 sacks in 7 games this season. The Jaguars won't have to worry about any scrambling by the Cowboys with Jon Kitna taking the snaps, but Kitna does have a great arm and will test the secondary of the Jags if he has time to throw.

The Cowboys

Dallas had a pathetic offensive performance last week against the Giants. They had only 41 yards on 13 carries between Jones and Barber. The Boys also had a string of six straight three-and-outs. The Cowboys will need to get better offensive line play if they have any shot to win this game. Kitna was sacked three times last week and the Boys could not run the ball at all. While the Jags don't have a great defense like New York, it has not seemed to matter who the Cowboys have played this season, their offense has been limited. The Cowboys will want to establish a running game early to keep pressure off of Kitna. When QB Tony Romo went down last week, you could feel the air rush out of this team. Hopefully, a short week of work has gotten the team a little more inspired and hungry.

On defense the Cowboys need to get to Garrard. If he has time to throw the ball, he will pick apart the defense. If you can get pressure on him, he has proven that he will turn the ball over and make bad decisions. The Cowboys also need to be aware of his scrambling ability. Garrard does not do it often, but he can be an effective runner. The only way the Cowboys will have a chance to get to Garrard will be if they shut down the run game. While that was an emphasis last week, the Giants' Amhad Bradshaw ran wild over the Cowboys defense and gave the Giants great down and distance situations. If the Cowboys can force the Jags to be one dimensional they will have no problem winning the game, that of course is a big "if".

Things To Watch For:

1. WR Dez Bryant – When Kitna came into the game on Monday night, Bryant became his main target. Watch for Bryant to have another great game out of the slot for the Cowboys.

2. WR Mike Sims-Walker – While he has been quiet all year so far, the Cowboys seem to bring the best out of opposing wideouts. Sims-Walker could be in for a breakout game.

3. Special Teams – The Cowboys look like they have fixed their special teams problems, but another week of evidence would be nice.

4. Jon Kitna – The Cowboys can only win if he doesn't lose the game for them. Kitna has thrown a career 151 touchdowns to 154 interceptions. The Cowboys need him to protect the ball and get it into the hands of the guys that make plays.

Injury Report:

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Questionable: LB Eric Alexander (Calf), QB Todd Bouman (Finger), DE Jeremy Mincey (Hand)
Probable: QB Trent Edwards (Thumb), QB David Garrard (Concussion), C Justin Smiley (Foot)

Dallas Cowboys:

Out: DE Jason Hatcher (Groin), G Montrae Holland (Groin), G Kyle Kosier (Ankle), QB Tony Romo (Collarbone)
Questionable: CB Terrance Newman (Ribs)
Probable: WR Dez Bryant (Ankle), LB Bradie James (Knee)

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