05 Oct 2004, 09:25am by P. Ryan Wilson
Well, apparently it's pretty easy to beat up on Ray Lewis. All you need is an all-world running back, an all-world offensive line, a quarterback that doesn't make mistakes, and the ability to keep the Ravens on the field for 40 minutes. It's hard to even fault the Baltimore defense in this game. They were on the field for 78 plays -- almost twice as many as their offense, and other than a flea-flicker in the first half, Boller and company looked pretty mediocre.
04 Oct 2004, 02:31pm by Aaron Schatz
Here's today's ESPN Page 2 Snap Judgment, featuring quarterback ratings and comments by yours truly. The other writers ooh and ah over Peyton Manning, but actually Manning didn't have such a great day yesterday. Sure, there is a major difference in the defenses, but who expected that Byron Leftwich would outpass Manning by 100 yards -- and that the Colts would win anyway? Now featuring some additional commentary on how Terrell Owens really has made the difference for Donovan McNabb this season.
04 Oct 2004, 11:22am by Al Bogdan
Peter King tells us how good his life is and brags about how his daughter is friends with Ken Starr's niece. There are some football notes in there as well and a pretty good joke about the Nets.
04 Oct 2004, 09:10am by P. Ryan Wilson
In Terry Bradshaw's weekly column, he writes that the Pats, Steelers, and Cards were all impressive Sunday, while Carson Palmer, the Titans, and the Chiefs -- even though they haven't played yet -- were disappointments. Bradshaw also makes the point that "more and more coaches challenge calls they shouldn't and that many of them don't know the rules." I'm guessing he was watching the Redskins game...again.
01 Oct 2004, 12:29pm by Michael David Smith
More on the Joey Harrington controversy, but this time Curt Sylvester of the Detroit Free Press morphs it into a ranking of the toughest guys in recent league history. A certain Detroit Lions GM makes the list. Please use the comments to discuss notable omissions, but I must say this: Anyone who writes about football for a living and thinks Jim McMahon is tougher than Ray Lewis ought to consider a new line of work.
01 Oct 2004, 10:45am by Michael David Smith
Pat Tillman was Jake Plummer's teammate at Arizona State and with the Cardinals, and Plummer wanted to honor Tillman by keeping the No. 40 decal on his helmet for the entire season, instead of taking it off after one game as the league mandated. But after being threatened with a $30,000 fine, Plummer has decided to take the sticker off his helmet. Here's my question: What does the league think it's accomplishing?
01 Oct 2004, 08:30am by Russell Levine
SI's Dr. Z is back with a pretty coherent look at the generally abysmal offensive line play that is being seeing around the league. The article goes beyond the most frequently given reason -- the proliferation of free agency and accompanying lack of continuity -- to offer other explanations. Any Dr. Z article that doesn't mention the Flaming Redhead stands a better chance of being a worthwhile read, and this one passes the test.
30 Sep 2004, 03:40pm by Aaron Schatz
This article from the new Patriots blog Cold Hard Football Facts argues that Drew Bledsoe is not a great quarterback who is now in decline. According to writer Kerry Byrne, he was never a great quarterback to begin with. You know, as I was researching my TNR article on Byron Leftwich, I came across a few comparisons of Leftwich to Bledsoe, physically (in the words of Butch from the Cape: "He's tall, he's got a strong arm"). But mentally, I mean, Leftwich's sense of what's going on around him is miles ahead of Bledsoe.
30 Sep 2004, 10:13am by Aaron Schatz
In my latest piece for The New Republic, I discuss how Byron Leftwich is dispelling a racial myth by playing mediocre football. He's the first African-American quarterback to follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady and Trent Dilfer as a "game manager" -- well-regarded for intelligence and leadership instead of flashy plays and dazzling stats.
30 Sep 2004, 09:03am by P. Ryan Wilson
In his weekly NFL.com column, Troy Aikman comes out against instant replay -- at least in its current form. He says, "If we're going to have instant replay, it needs to be done right. There are just too many inconsistencies." If anyone watched the Monday night game, they can see where Aikman's coming from. One of his suggestions is to either make pass interference reviewable or just go back to the college rule and make it a 15-yard penalty. Of course, if we start reviewing every play, Sunday games won't finish until Tuesday afternoon.
Our season finale of catch radius focuses on the growing size of Josh McCown's talented receiving duos, including breakout stud Alshon Jeffery. Also: Anquan Boldin's incredible year.