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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Patrick Marleau

9/2011 WR Rankings

September 24th 2011 13:50
1. Larry Fitzgerald
2. Andre Johnson
3. Calvin Johnson
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Steve Smith CAR
6. Roddy White
7. Greg Jennings
8. Brandon Marshall
9. Kenny Britt
10. Mike Wallace
11. Miles Austin
12. Santonio Holmes
13. Marques Colston
14. Jeremy Maclin
15. DeSean Jackson
16. Vincent Jackson
17. Anquan Boldin
18. Mike Williams TB
19. Steve Smith PHI
20. Hakeem Nicks
21. Lance Moore
22. Sidney Rice
23. Santana Moss
24. Brandon Lloyd
25. Dwayne Bowe
26. Braylon Edwards
27. Johnny Knox
28. Dez Bryant

29. Wes Welker
30. Austin Collie
31. Mario Manningham
32. Steve Johnson
33. Earl Bennett
34. AJ Green
35. Percy Harvin
36. Jordy Nelson
37. Malcolm Floyd
38. Pierre Garcon
39. Nate Washington
40. Davone Bess
41. Hines Ward
42. Robert Meachem
43. Mike Thomas
44. Donald Driver
45. Lee Evans
46. Julio Jones
47. James Jones
48. Antonio Brown
49. Jordan Shipley
50. Derrick Mason
Musgrave must use him more

Week 3 Picks

Bengals over 49ers
Panthers over Jaguars
Lions over Vikings
Titans over Broncos
Browns over Dolphins
Eagles over Giants
Saints over Texans
Patriots over Bills
Ravens over Rams
Jets over Raiders
Chargers over Chiefs
Packers over Bears

Cardinals over Seahawks
Falcons over Bucs
Steelers over Colts
Redskins over Cowboys (To make this more interesting)

9/2011 Team Scope: Cincinnati Bengals

September 1st 2011 15:01
The Cincinnati Bengals are a mess, and they're only going to win a couple of games this season. What I say is now well-known fact, but I must say it anyway to properly start this team preview. Soon, I will break down their roster, and you will see why they are such a mess.

Andy Dalton looks like a solid West Coast quarterback, but the personnel around him aren't suited for the type of offense that Dalton is. While new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is bringing in the WCO, receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson are vertical threats. Green's enormous talent is being wasted in this system, but there really is no other way. The benefactor will be slot receiver Jordan Shipley, who will continue his solid play from last year. I think 70 catches are more than just a possibility.

Jay Gruden is also a fan of the running game, and Cedric Benson will obviously be the biggest factor offensively. Benson is a punishing, workhose back who trades efficiency for durability. If there was a prototypical back to combat the running defenses that they will face in their division, Benson is the one. His backup, Bernard Scott, has really struggled recently with consistency, or lack thereof, and injuries. He's much better than he has been lately and is a more than capable backup. Scott won't get very many carries thanks to Benson's workhose mentality, but he should be a quality change-of-pace back.

The Bengals are an incompetent organization overall, and their management of the offensive line has been especially terrible in recent years. They had Evan Mathis last season, one of the better guards in the league, and they had him riding the bench in favor of the absolutely awful Nate Livings. The Bengals traded Mathis to the Eagles this offseason for basically nothing (another win for Philly). Interestingly enough, they signed former Eagles guard Max Jean-Gilles to be a backup to Livings. And Jean-Gilles is, of course, a very poor player.

The good thing for Bengals fans is that the team has treated Andrew Whitworth very well. They have given him another extension, and he put on quite a show last year. He is one of the best and most underrated players in the game, and he was actually a legit MVP candidate- even though he was an offensive lineman.

Right guard Bobbie Williams is a player who has been underrated for his entire career. Even though his run blocking ability has deteriorated due to age, his pass blocking is still among the best in the NFL. Williams is still an average run blocker, and he is slightly better than the legendary Brian Waters in pass protection. Williams has never been to a Pro Bowl despite his high-level of play. It certainly is a shame that one of the best guards in the league has never been given any fan recognition.

I have absolutely no idea as to why Robert Geathers gets playing time. He is one of the worst defensive ends in the league, and he puts absolutely no strain on the opposing quarterback. May I suggest giving Carlos Dunlap every snap he can get? The UF standout is the Bengals only legit end. Domata Peko needs to get back on track, but the defensive tackle next to him- Geno Atkins- is extremely underrated and is a great interior pass rusher.

The Bengals have five capable linebackers. Manny Lawson was a great signing, and he is a top edge-rusher. The newly signed Thomas Howard is a solid starter, and another former Raiders- Brandon Johnson- is a decent player who is mostly used in sub-packages. Rey Maualuga is the team's best linebacker, and Keith Rivers is solid- but struggles with his health and is a tad overrated.

The loss of Jonathan Joseph means that the Bengals no longer have one of the best cornerback duos in the game. Leon Hall is still with the team, however, and he is a better coverage corner than Joseph. Although his former teammate is a proficient tackler, Hall makes up for that with his speed. The new man opposite of him, Nate Clements also from Frisco, is a decent veteran who can make plays in run support. He is slightly below average in coverage though. The Bengals made a nice trade with the Seahawks by trading a bad defensive tackle for the speedy Kelly Jennings. He will be a more than average third corner.

I don't exactly have high hopes for the team's safeties, because Chris Crocker is their only start-able safety. He's solid, but the guys around him like Reggie Nelson and Gibril Wilson are marginal players.

The Bengals have a severe lack of talent on their roster, and I think their absolute ceiling is six games. I highly doubt that they even win that many, and I think a three to four win season for Cincy is a closer prediction to what their record will be. But contrary to what Bill Parcells said, you aren't what you're record says you are.
Remember this beast in college?

Arizona Cardinals A minus Patrick Peterson is the third best prospect in the draft, and the Cards got a bargain with Sam Acho in the fourth round. Ryan Williams and Robert Housler were also nice additions.

Atlanta Falcons C plus The trade to get Julio Jones was steep, but it was a solid move in my opinion. The addition of Akeem Dent was pretty good, but I wish the Falcons didn't trade up to get Jacquizz Rodgers.

Baltimore Ravens- C plus The Ravens filled in positions of need with Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith. Tandon Doss and Jah Reid were also solid additions.

Buffalo Bills- C I really loved the addition of Marcell Dareus, my highest rated prospect, but the only other decent addition besides him was Aaron Williams. Even Williams wasn't really that big of an add.

Carolina Panthers- D My favorite team struck out in this year's draft. The Cam Newton pick was too risky, but that wasn't the reason why they got a D. They got Kealoha Pilares when there were quite a few better receivers on the board, and Brandon Hogan and Terrell McClain were the only good moves. Sione Fua was a decent addition, but he really isn't going to be a big enough factor for the Panthers.

Chicago Bears- C plus The Bears got a bunch of solid players in this year's draft.

Cincinnati Bengals- C plus While I love A.J. Green and think Andy Dalton is a solid QB, there were really no other good picks made by the Bengals.

Cleveland Browns A I loved what the Browns did in this draft. They hoarded picks in the Julio Jones trade, and they really beefed up their defensive line with the additions of Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard. Greg Little is a talented receiving prospect.

Dallas Cowboys- B minus I thought the Cowboys did a solid job in the draft. DeMarco Murray should spell the end of Marion Barber's run in Dallas. Bruce Carter will provide linebacker depth and will be a solid player after his return from a knee injury. Tyron Smith has a lot of upside, and the Cowboys won't have to play the horrible Marc Colombo anymore.

Denver Broncos- A The Broncos filled out their positions of need and have a top pass-rushing duo with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. The problem is that both of them have almost the same strengths and weaknesses. I wish they drafted Marcell Dareus, and the Broncos didn't even add anybody to help out their horrible D-Line. Rahim Moore brings some much-needed safety help, but he may have to move to corner. The picks of Julius Thomas and Virgil Green allow the Broncos to finally have two playable tight ends. Orlando Franklin and Nate Irving were solid choices.
No More Carson

2011 First Round Draft Notes

April 29th 2011 15:07
I can't say that I'm happy, but I'll have to give Cam Newton a chance. I didn't want the Panthers to take him at number one, but I don't want him to bust now that he's "the guy" for my favorite team. I wish the Panthers took a Marcell Dareus or A.J. Green and give Clausen and Moore another shot. After all, it is rare that a QB does well after just one year. It takes time. Smart teams like the Bucs wait three years for their QB, and the Bucs were rewarded when Josh Freeman had the year he had last season.

Newton is one of my least favorite players already, but I can't deny his athleticism. I just wish he had better footwork and was a better person. Jake Locker deserved to be picked at number eight by the Titans. He was high on their board, fits their system well, and he wasn't a reach. There are plenty of unintelligent people that dropped Locker from the first choice over Sam Bradford the year before, to somebody values in the late teens. And why? Well, that's because suddenly mystifying accuracy problems arose. This happens when those said unintelligent "experts" read stats- meaningless in college football- like completion percentage and don't watch what actually happened. Locker's receivers were terrible, and he was almost always under pressure due to an incompetent line.

Christian Ponder was a reach at 12, but the Vikings couldn't risk waiting too long. They made a smart choice because if you think that QB can be the guy, then by all means take him. Bill Musgrave wants to instill a WCO, and Ponder is the most accurate QB in the draft and best suited for the West Coast Offense. Ponder is an early second round talent and would have been most likely off the board by the time the Vikings would pick again.

I don't like the Saints' idea to trade up to the first round to select Mark Ingram. You should never do that for a running back. The Patriots accepted the basically free second round choice, and they own the top pick in the second round thanks to another horrible draft-day trade by Carolina the year before. That pick is a highly coveted one, but the Pats should keep the first of their three second round choices to select Da'Quan Bowers. He's far too talented to pass up on, and he is a first-round talent. The Pats could use a pass rusher like Bowers.

The Falcons did a nice job in trading up to get Julio Jones at number six. They knew that they desperately needed a playmaking receiver, and the choices after Jones were all developmental projects. It wasn't a reach because a lot of teams near that pick also looked like they really wanted one of only two top receiving prospects. The other guys are all boom-or-bust players or sleepers. The Falcons got their man.

Von Miller will be a good pass rusher in this league, but he is awfully similar to a great pass rusher the Broncos already have; Elvis Dumervil. I would have taken Marcell Dareus in that spot, because the Broncos start the poor Kevin Vickerson at defensive tackle. The Bills gladly picked up Dareus, and he will form a great defensive line duo with Kyle Williams.

I thought Aldon Smith was taken too high. Smith has a lot of upside, but the 49ers would have been better off drafting Robert Quinn and then re-signing Manny Lawson. Quinn and Fairley took big drops, and the teams that took them pounced on both top prospects on the D-Line. While the Rams and Lions are set on the line and have needs elsewhere, they took the best guys available and acquired two elite prospects outside of the top ten.

Prince Amukamara also took a huge plunge, and the Giants finally have a coverage corner. Terrell Thomas is solid, but he's a physical corner that mainly stops the run. Thomas isn't really a coverage player. Aaron Ross and Corey Webster are poor corners, so Amukamara will greatly boost a secondary that just couldn't cover. I love his instincts.
No. 1 Pick

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