Ramble On Sports

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Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Let’s give this another shot…

Posted by bdowd625 on August 28, 2011

It’s that time once again – fantasy football season! There’s no denying that my team sucked last year – and I mean reaaaaaally sucked – but with the second pick overall, I’m hoping to grab a few more studs this time around. So without further ado, here’s a running diary of my picks as they were taken in our league’s draft.

* Arian Foster – Will he play Week 1 after suffering a hamstring injury? Who knows. But I had Jonathan Stewart and Laurence Maroney starting together in the backfield at one point last season, so I don’t give a shit.

* Steven Jackson – Holy crap. Is that two quality running backs on my roster? I can’t believe it.

* Peyton Manning – I deliberated over this pick for a while, simply because of his neck issues. But the bottom line is Manning is still an excellent quarterback. He’s also very cognizant of NFL history, which makes me think there is no chance he sits out in Week 1 and has his consecutive starts streak snapped.

* Brandon Lloyd – He certainly wasn’t my first choice at wide receiver, but Kyle Orton always seems to rack up a good amount of touchdown passes, and Lloyd will be one of his primary targets.

* Kenny Britt – I hope all his legal problems get cleaned up in a hurry.

* Fred Jackson – I feel bad that this guy is still stuck up in western New York. He’s a good player who doesn’t get enough love because he’s on a shitty team.

* Pierre Garcon – A total panic pick. I was looking for a tight end and then the timer started buzzing so I freaked out and took Garcon. With Austin Collie one big hit away from retirement, though, Garcon might have another big year hooking up with Manning.

* Lance Moore – I’m not pleased with my wide receivers.

* Joe Flacco – I’m not even going to get into how I ended up with this guy, but he’s not a bad backup quarterback.

* Rob Gronkowski – Gronkowski’s not going to rack up a million catches, I know that. Let’s just see how many touchdowns he has at the end of the season, though.

* Eagles defense – The Jets were the top defense on the board, but I took those clowns last year and I hated rooting for them every week. Thus the Eagles.

* Steve Breaston – I needed another wide receiver, and the thought of Mark Sanchez consistently slinging the ball over Derrick Mason’s head was enough for me to take Breaston here.

* Jacoby Jones – I’m simply filling out my wide receiver core at this point.

* Mason Crosby – I had him last year, so why not?

* Todd Heap – Is anyone still paying attention at this point?

* Derrick Ward – Great.

* Kevin Walter – Goodnight, everyone.

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Five thoughts from Pats/Jets

Posted by bdowd625 on December 7, 2010

Well that was worth the incredibly long wait, wasn’t it? Thanks for showing up, Jets. It’s about time you faced a team that doesn’t suck ass for a living. All we heard leading up to this game was how New York added Santonio Holmes to an already dangerous offense and that Mark Sanchez has grown up in front of our eyes these last few weeks. Blah. Blah. Blah. The Jets are frauds and there’s nothing else to say. But since it’s the season of giving, here are five thoughts to chew on after New England’s 45-3 demolition of the Jets.

* I obviously loved hearing the New England fans chanting “OVER-RATED!” late in the fourth quarter, but I honestly think that was giving the Jets too much credit. Sanchez was brutal. Rex Ryan had no idea how to use his challenges/timeouts. And Steve Weatherford’s 12-yard punt had me crying I was laughing so hard. So much for being ready to play in the biggest game of the season.

* Danny Woodhead must be loving life right now. “You assholes want to cut me so David Clowney can make the team instead? Shove it.” Woodhead is a beast and it seems like he never comes off the field. That’s certainly fine by me because whenever he’s out there something good ends up happening.

*  Two years removed from knee surgery, Tom Brady is finally back to playing like his old self. Brady has now racked up 26 straight wins at home, a ridiculous feat to say the least. He’s been carving up opposing defenses like a delicious Thanksgiving turkey and that trend continued tonight against the feeble Jets. Everyone is calling Philip Rivers the MVP of the league, but Brady is quarterbacking a 10-2 team that looks to be picking up steam with each passing week. Rivers and his Chargers, meanwhile, just dropped their second game to lowly Oakland. Call me when San Diego gets into the playoffs.

* As my man BK and I were talking about earlier tonight, the New York media will spin this loss in some ridiculous fashion that lets the Jets off the hook. My guess is they’ll call the Pats insensitive for running up the score and say that this is the second coming of Spygate. No matter what, though, the New York Post will have an interesting headline for their sports section tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.

* LaDainian Tomlinson confirmed that he’s still one of the biggest douchebags in the NFL. After a first-down run in the first quarter, LT felt the need to thump his chest and make a fool of himself, drawing the ire of all the New England fans in attendance. The play summed up his career for the last couple of seasons – all bark and very, very little bite. And spare me this nonsense about how Tomlinson has been rejuvenated with the Jets. I’ve got three letters for you. HGH. Yup, I went there.

All in all, it was an outstanding win for the Patriots, and here’s hoping they keep the ball rolling next week in Chicago.

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Pats vs. Jets – Who ya got?

Posted by bdowd625 on December 6, 2010

I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve dropped the ball here at Ramble On over the last month or so. BK and I have been quite busy with our real jobs, so, as a result, the blog has suffered since the end of the World Series. We’ve come roaring back tonight, though, just in time for the Pats/Jets showdown, which promises to be a classic. Both squads come into the game with 9-2 records, and the winner will most likely grab the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.

Tom Brady is having one of the best seasons of his career, and I’m expecting another big-time performance out of him tonight. But Rex Ryan seems to think the Jets will emerge with a victory and I’m sure most New York fans feel the same way. Either way, we’re turning to our faithful followers to make the call in our daily poll question.

Enjoy the game, everyone!

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Five thoughts from Pats/Ravens

Posted by bdowd625 on October 17, 2010

What a game. What a win for the Patriots, who, at the moment, have to be in the discussion as one of the top teams in the NFL at 4-1. I needed a cigarette when it was finally over, but I suppose that’s better than Prozac. And now, it’s time for our weekly five thoughts from Pats/Ravens.

* The New England defense was OUTSTANDING in the fourth quarter and in overtime. Raise your hand if you thought the Pats had a chance to win in OT after losing the coin toss. If your hand is in the air, you have more faith than this guy. I didn’t think New England had a snowball’s chance in hell when the Ravens got the ball first, but the defense just kept making stops, and, after a bit of offensive futility, the Pats moved the ball into field-goal range for Stephen Gostkowski.

* Speaking of Gostkowski, I was pretty nervous when he lined up to take that game-winning kick. For the most part, he’s been money in the bank during his Patriots career, but he’s been a little shaky through the first four games of the season. He had no such issues today, though, blasting a 35-yarder for the win after the 2-minute warning served as our weekly version of “icing the kicker.”

* For all the good that Aaron Hernandez has done so far, he was BRUTAL down the stretch today. The fourth-rounder out of Florida had two inexcusable drops late in the game, miscues that stalled New England’s drives at crucial times. I know I told him to smoke up a few weeks ago, but maybe it’s time to curtail some of the marijuana use.

* If and when I have a kid someday, I’m going to name him (or her, for that matter) Danny Woodhead. Just imagine how inspired that kid would be to overcome insurmountable odds. Have a tough math test coming up that you didn’t study for? Little Danny Woodhead knows how to pull an A+ out of his/her ass. Last pick in dodgeball during recess? Little Danny is about to peg you right in the head to end the game. All joking aside, I love the guy. He’s a perfect fit for what this offense is trying to accomplish.

* And last but not least – welcome back, Deion Branch. One of Tom Brady’s favorite wideouts looked like he never missed a beat since heading to Seattle a few years back. Branch had several key catches for the Pats, including a big touchdown grab to cut New England’s deficit to 20-17. Here’s hoping Branch will bring back that old Patriot magic in the weeks to come.

Now all you Pats fans better go cheer for Denver against the Jets. J-E-T-S! SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!

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Belichick proves his genius yet again

Posted by Bill Koch on October 12, 2010

Can we all take a step back and realize that Bill Belichick is still playing chess while the rest of the NFL plays checkers?

He sent a wide receiver who wasn’t going to get his big contract, who was going to walk away at the end of the season no matter what and who was shut out in his last game with the New England Patriots out of town and got something valuable in return. He also just traded Laurence Maroney for Deion Branch, replacing that disgruntled wide receiver and keeping his star quarterback happy in the process.

Don’t believe me? Let’s break this down in excruciating detail for those of you who refuse to see the big picture.

Randy Moss had nine catches in four games with New England this year. He had zero catches while the Patriots rolled up 41 points on the Miami Dolphins and Tom Brady was still excellent in that game, going 19-for-24. Moss is well on the wrong side of 30, and you don’t get faster with age unless you play Major League Baseball and can use performance-enhancing drugs. He wants one final big contract to ride off into the sunset. He wasn’t going to get that contract in New England after he turned down Belichick’s offer to talk in training camp. He had one foot out the door, no matter how physically talented everyone thinks he still might be.

Let’s dismiss the talk about how much defensive attention that Moss draws, because it’s overstated at this point in his career. Perception becomes reality after a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Darrelle Revis shut him down 1-on-1 last season, and he did it twice. Brady threw one of his worst passes of this season in Moss’ direction during that Week 2 embarrassment somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey, an interception disguised as a jump ball that gave the New York Jets all the momentum. It wasn’t the first time that Brady, Daunte Culpepper, Randall Cunningham or any of Moss’ other former quarterbacks have made a poor decision with him in the lineup. It wasn’t going to be the last.

Turnovers kill teams in the NFL, and Brady turned it over a lot less when he was winning championships by using his tight ends, hitting receivers on quick passes to move the chains and avoiding the rush by delivering the ball efficiently. Now that Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker, Branch and Brandon Tate are in place and ready to roll, look for Brady’s former self to emerge. That’s a guy that we want quarterbacking our favorite team. Moss was never a part of that mix. He was a luxury item who had stopped going over the middle and had become a decoy. You can pay Tate a lot less money to have him run down the sideline and be a decoy.

We all know that Brady threw a hissy fit behind the scenes when he found out that Moss was gone. That’s what every quarterback does when it looks like his weaponry is being reduced. It’s not a coincidence that the first name out of Brady’s mouth was that of a former teammate, or that said former teammate – Branch – ended up in Foxboro less than 24 hours later.

Belichick knows that if Brady isn’t happy, he won’t be happy. His team won’t be happy. His fans and his owner won’t be happy. He decided to keep everybody happy, and all it cost him was the same fourth round pick that he just acquired for Maroney. Did Maroney ever make anybody happy in Foxboro? He has now, and he has Belichick to thank for it. That’s about as close to doing the impossible as you can get. Oh yeah – the Patriots still have their own fourth round pick in 2011 along with six other picks in the first three rounds.

Check mate.

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Patriots Branch out, acquire former wide receiver

Posted by bdowd625 on October 11, 2010

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news tonight that Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Deion Branch is heading back to New England for his second tour of duty with the Patriots. (Those of you who follow us here at Ramble On know we trust Schefter as much as our own mothers. Maybe even more so. Sorry, Mom.) In exchange for Branch, the Seahawks will receive a fourth-round draft choice, and since the Pats stockpile draft picks like I hoarded pogs back in sixth grade, they’re really not losing much.

We applaud the Patriots for getting back to their roots and re-acquiring a solid citizen like Branch. It doesn’t hurt that he’s still got some talent – Branch was the Super Bowl MVP back when the Pats edged Carolina during the 2003-04 season – and is, by all accounts, extremely close with quarterback Tom Brady. But let’s not get carried away here, people. This isn’t seven years ago. Branch – and Brady, for that matter – aren’t getting any younger. Branch, 31, has battled injury problems since heading to Seattle before the start of the 2006 campaign, playing in only 51 of a possible 68 regular-season games. He’s on pace for 52 catches this season, though, and he hasn’t hauled in that many passes since his first season with the Seahawks. (If you’re curious, Branch had 78 receptions and five TDs in his last season with Brady and the Pats.)

Don’t get us wrong – we welcome Branch back with open arms and hope this trade returns New England to its real glory days. We’re just not overly optimistic at this point. I guess we’ll get our first taste when New England returns to action following a bye during Week 5. First up for the new-look Pats? Baltimore. Bring. It. On.

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Random YouTube Video of the Day: A trip down memory lane

Posted by bdowd625 on October 7, 2010

As you all know by now, Randy Moss is no longer a member of the New England Patriots. Still, we felt the need to post this old video of one of Moss’ touchdown grabs against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The whole clip is good, but the real fun doesn’t start until about the 2:10 mark. I can’t do it justice by trying to explain it, so please just watch. We’ll certainly move on from Moss as Patriots fans, but moments like this one won’t soon be forgotten.

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Straight gone, homey?

Posted by Bill Koch on October 5, 2010

There won’t be anything boring about the New England Patriots’ bye week after the news that broke on Tuesday night.

Multiple reports indicate that the Patriots are working on a trade that would send Randy Moss back to where he started his career, as the wide receiver looks bound for Minnesota provided that he can work out a contract extension with the Vikings.

Moss’ contract is up at the end of this season and talks with the Patriots about an extension have either stalled or didn’t exist in the first place. He wasted no time addressing the situation this season with some ill-timed statements after New England’s season-opening 38-30 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Moss didn’t publicly demand a trade, dog it on the field or get into trouble anywhere, but he did make it clear that he understood the business decision the Patriots were prepared to make. As such, Moss was ready to make his own business decision and leave the team after fulfilling his contract obligations in 2010.

Spare us the outrage over this deal or the crying about New England being reluctant to spend any money. The Patriots have the league’s richest quarterback in Tom Brady, one of its best paid defensive linemen in Vince Wilfork and depth at virtually every position built through their old recipe of drafting and development. Moss was held without a catch for the first time in his New England career on Monday night, and the Patriots have rarely looked better than they did during their 41-14 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins.

Think the offense will suffer with Moss gone? Think again. This team won three Super Bowls with David Givens, Deion Branch, Troy Brown and David Patten as its primary receivers – none of those guys are within sniffing distance of the NFL Hall of Fame. New England is currently reloading with young studs like Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Tate. Wes Welker will still be here and remains the best slot receiver in all of football. That gives Brady plenty of targets, and he was excellent Monday in a 19-for-24 performance.

In addition, Moss is well on the wrong side of 30 and certainly won’t be worth the salary demand that he’ll make, even if there is no cap when the NFL returns after its suspected 2011 lockout. This Patriots regime under Bill Belichick is all about value, as evidenced by the fourth round pick that they just received for the human bust that is Laurence Maroney. Think they can con the Vikings into a second rounder in 2011? That would give New England two first round picks (its own and Oakland’s, which was stolen in the Richard Seymour deal and is getting better by the week) and three second round picks (its own, Minnesota’s for Moss and Carolina’s for the pick that turned into former Appalachian State quarterback and current wide receiver bust Armanti Edwards).

This is how the Patriots operate. Nobody is untouchable, not even Moss for all he’s done with the franchise since 2007. If he does leave, we’ll give you something to remember him by – Minnesota fans should know this clip quite well. They might be about to see it again live and in person.

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Five thoughts from Pats/Dolphins

Posted by bdowd625 on October 4, 2010

I’m not usually a big fan of the Patriots playing on Monday Night Football. The normal seven-day wait is long enough, and I have even more trouble controlling my nerves for that extra 24 hours. Moreover, I feel like every time they have a big game on national TV they shit the bed (i.e. last year’s debacle at New Orleans). I had nothing to worry about tonight, though, as the Pats’ special teamers exploded in the second half to help New England absolutely dismantle the Miami Dolphins. Here are five thoughts from tonight’s game:

*  Brandon Tate gave us a little taste of his ridiculous talent with his kickoff return against Cincinnati in Week 1, and Tate’s 103-yard touchdown return tonight proved it wasn’t a fluke. Tate likes to dance around for a while to throw off opposing defenders, then clicks the fast forward button on his remote control and flies down the sideline and into the end zone. You really can’t afford to blink when he has the ball in his hands.

*  How about Patrick Chung? A second-round selection out of Oregon in the 2009 NFL Draft, Chung is rapidly becoming New England’s best defensive back. You didn’t actually think Brandon Meriweather, the self-proclaimed “party-starter” was the Pats’ best safety, did you? Whatever the case, Chung seems to be in on every tackle, and his blocked punt tonight gave New England a short field to work with early in the second half. He also blocked a field goal and had an interception return for a touchdown, you say? Screw the party-starter. Chung for president.

*  Speaking of defensive players… Rob Ninkovich snagged not one but two interceptions after an entire career without one? Yes, please! The defense needed a couple of game-changing plays like that early on and Ninkovich was there to grab a pair of awful Chad Henne throws. It’s a damn good thing Henne made those bad decisions because Miami was moving the ball at will for the ENTIRE first half.

*  The legend of Danny Woodhead continues to grow. I really don’t have anything else to say about this. It’s just awesome to see short white guys play in the NFL and be successful.

*  On a personal note, I needed Tom Brady to have a 40-point night for my fantasy team to win. Brady looked exceptional when he actually had the ball in his hands, but for the most part, the Pats didn’t need him. Special teams and – surprise! – defense ruled the day and that’s certainly fine by me. I don’t care how they win, just that they win.

The Pats are now tied for first in the AFC East, bitches! Hopefully everyone who listens to sports radio will back off the ledge until they resume play in Week 6 following their bye. As always, thanks for reading. Now check out our poll question.

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Dez Bryant learns an expensive lesson

Posted by Bill Koch on September 29, 2010

Was it really worth it, Dez Bryant?

Was not carrying a set of shoulder pads really worth more than the average American citizen makes in a year?

Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie wide receiver, got stuck with a $55,000 tab earlier this week at a Dallas steakhouse after having dinner with his teammates. The bill came to fellow receiver Roy Williams, who calmly handed it to Bryant and made it clear that this was payback for Bryant not following tradition during training camp and carrying Williams’ shoulder pads into the locker room after practice.

I know what some of you might be thinking – how could you possibly spend that much money on dinner? Like this – take a group of hungry football players, slap 30-ounce filets with a la carte fixings in front of them, offer them appetizers, desserts and bottles of accompanying wine that can run thousands of dollars and add in a generous tip worthy of such a group of millionaires. That $50K gets racked up pretty quickly.

Yes, we think it’s pretty disgraceful that a group of people would spend money like this while so many people are struggling financially and our government continues to run our economy into the toilet. Let’s suspend our own personal biases (and credit card debts) for the sake of this issue. We love that Bryant finally got put in his place after acting like a spoiled child and refusing Williams in training camp. For those of you who think that carrying a set of shoulder pads is unfair or hazing, we simply say this – grow up. It’s not so bad. Much worse has been done to people in the name of acceptance into a group. Bryant found out just how much worse it could be on his most recent night out at dinner, and we don’t think it could have happened to a nicer guy.

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