Tag Archives: michael vick

Enjoy The NFL Season, Because I Won’t

It's going to be a long season for my Giants.

So football’s back… woo-hoo!!! But I don’t care really.

Yeah I’m bitter about my Giants I can’t lie, that’s what happens when you have your top defensive end act salty over not getting a new deal, you lose half of your team to injury in the preseason (its and exaggeration but losing 3 DB’s including your best one Terrell Thomas, your starting middle linebacker, his backup is not fun) and your division rival just bought half of the NFL including your best receiver. Also the fact that your GM just stood there and did nothing about any of this. Not that I’m salty or anything.

The Eagles offseason has put them ahead of the pack as the team to beat in the NFC and the NFL as well. Their acquisitions including Nmandi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ronnie Brown and Jason Babin help to strengthen a team that won 10 games last year and could have them in prime position to knock over the defending champion Packers.

What you may have forgotten about the Packers is that they won the title last year with a depleted unit as well. starting running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley as well as several others suffered season ending injuries early in season and jeopardized the Packers playoff chances. Aaron Rodgers suffered two concussion last year as well and misses a game due to his injury. Yet they overcame those injuries to steamroll their way to the playoffs and eventually a Super Bowl crown. Now with everyone back healthy how can they not be primed for a second straight run?

That last paragraph gives me hope for the Giants but not really. Especially when the team that we share a stadium with is getting all of the buzz in the city of New York. Whether its Rex Ryan’s mouth, Mark Sanchez on GQ, or obtaining Plaxico Buress the Jets have remained the talk of football in New York and with good reasoning. The Jets have made two straight AFC title games under Ryan and are on the cusp of finally making it to Super Bowl this year… that is if they can’t beat the Patriots.

Nmandi Asomugha was one of Philly's many big splashes.

The Patriots did some retooling themselves after their 28-21 loss to the Jets in the playoffs this past January. They rescued Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth from poor situations in Cincinnati and Washington and Bill Belichick is working them into his system and despite some early concerns about their inability to learn the schemes you know both will be ready and that the Patriots, and Tom Brady will be in line at the top of the heap of the AFC.

So who else has a shot at Super Bowl 46 this year? who’s going to be fun to watch? Who’s not worth our time and who is dead in the water?… well I think I just named the basis for my blog today now didn’t I?

AFC

DON’T EVEN BOTHER WATCHING

Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton and AJ Green could hook up to be a great combo in this league… just not this year. Dalton has targets in Green, Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Greshiam but the Bengals have no defense to speak of and little depth.

(Side Note: how does Marvin Lewis still have a job? the Bengals have perennially underachieved under him and have had a string of poor behavior from their players. Yet he’s still there without an inkling of heat underneath his seat. Maybe Mike Brown is cheap but he can’t be stupid. If Lewis doesn’t get it done this year or next he’s got to go… right?)

Jacksonville Jaguars: you get on this list for firing your QB 5 days before the opener. That and having no real receivers to speak of after Mike Sims-Walker left for St. Louis and very little on defense. Hi Jack Del Rio, welcome to the hot seat.

Buffalo Bills: name me three Buffalo Bills… don’t worry I’ll wait.

DEAD IN THE WATER

Miami Dolphins: Reggie Bush looks like a new man, Cameron Wake is a top 10 defensive end in the league and the tandem of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are one of the best in the league at defensive back. So why are they on this list? Chad Henne is their starting QB… no need to elaborate, let’s move on.

Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselback is a good replacement until Jake Locker is ready to take the reins and Chris Johnson is in the fold again after signing a huge extension. Yet in a division with the Colts and Texans who made strides to get better in terms of depth , the Titans have a ways to go to catch up.

TRENDING UP

Denver Broncos: I have and always will like Kyle Orton. He is a capable starting QB with enough sense to lead a team to the playoffs. John Fox has made a lot of smart decision this offseason when it came to figuring out a better defensive scheme to make that poor unit better but his best decision was make Orton the starter. Tim Tebow as much as the fans love him is nowhere near ready to be on the field as an NFL starter. Hell Brady Quinn looked better than him this preseason… BRADY QUINN! As much as the fans were calling for Tebow and that John Elway loves him they all need to wake the heck up. Tebow Is not a starting QB in the NFL right now, if you start him you hurt your teams chances at making the playoffs and the Broncos can become a player if their defense holds up.

This is not how the Colts envisioned seeing Peyton Manning.

Oakland Raiders: Yep you’re reading that right. Even with the loss of Asomuha on defense the Raiders have more than enough up front to be scary led by Richard Seymour. My biggest concern with them is if they can score enough points. They have a ton of speed with Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Darren McFadden but can it be utilized by any of their QB’s?

Cleveland Browns: they’re not ready to compete this year, but I have a feeling that Colt McCoy and Joe Haden will give teams fits on both ends of the ball. I know Cleveland is wary about expectations but 9-7 isn’t crazy to me.

THEY CAN GO EITHER WAY

Indianapolis Colts: this isn’t just because Peyton Manning will miss the time due to his neck injury it’s because I don’t trust their wide receivers to stay healthy, their secondary to be effective and their front 7 to be consistent. However, if Manning does come back slinging it like he does then none of this will matter.

Kansas City Chiefs: this team would be a contender if someone other than Matt Cassel was their QB. He’s not bad by any means but I think he inhibits them offensively. As for the defense… hey Glenn Dorsey… DO SOMETHING!!!

San Diego Chargers: they’re in good hands with Philip Rivers but consistency on offense worries me. Also can Shaun Phillips make enough plays on defense to make them forget about Shawne Merriman?

EITHER GET IT DONE OR BE DONE

Houston Texans: If they don’t breakthrough this year then it’ll never happen. Peyton’s injured, the Titans and Jags are rebuilding and the Texans stand on the cusp of a divisional title if they can actually man up in big games (hi, Matt Schaub). With Wade Phillips running the defense they should improve and actually be marginally good against the pass. But it really it comes down to this; we’ve been saying now for the last two seasons that this is the year for the Texans… I’m not saying it. Either get it done or start over.

THE ONLY FOUR THAT MATTER

Baltimore Ravens: the only thing that worries me about them is Joe Flacco. After last postseason in Pittsburgh Flacco looks frightened of the moment to me and that could be an issue going down the stretch. Does he have the fortitude to lead the Ravens in late game situations or is he just an average QB? This year we’ll find out.

New York jets: no excuse not to make it all the way this year. they have the experience, the players and the coaching, now they’ve got to get over the hump.

Pittsburgh Steelers: so, you think Dan Rooney is happy that this offseason is over? James Harrison, Hines Ward and Rashard Mendenhall gave him heartburn with their off the field issues and left a stain on the Steeler logo. Well now that it’s over and football is all that matters the focus is there and Mike Tomlin won’t let it slip. The league’s best defense can lead the Steelers back to the promise land and make everyone forget about a forgettable offseason.

New England Patriots: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after a postseason loss to a divisional rival and all offseason to think about it? yeah, get scared.

NFC

CHANGE THE CHANNEL

Washington Redskins: their starter is Rex Grossman, they have no one to run the ball, and they have no real secondary… Washington is counting the days until the Capitals are back.

Good luck with this Washington.

San Francisco 49ers: Alex Smith is still their QB…

THERE’S A CHANCE BUT NOT A GOOD ONE

New York Giants: no depth, no chance. Also… STOP TURNING THE DAMN BALL OVER ALL OF YOU!!!!!!

Carolina Panthers: very young, very raw, but very talented. Give them time to gel and check back next year or the year after.

Minnesota Vikings: Donovan McNabb’s number one receiver is Percy Harvin, Jared Allen is coming off of a poor season and needs a bounce back badly. Sounds like it’ll be a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson this year.

UMMM… I COULDN’T EVEN TELL YOU

Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo is in a make or break year for his career. If he can’t get to the playoffs this year and go deep then the Cowboys will look for a new QB to lead the team in 2012. The problem is does he have everything he needs to succeed around him. who’s the team’s number one running back? Can Dez Bryant step his game up and compliment Miles Austin on the outside? Can their secondary stop anybody? Will Jason Garrett strangle Mike Jenkins by year’s end? I would hate to be in Romo’s position right now.

Arizona Cardinals: Now we get to see what the big deal is with Kevin Kolb. If he’s all that he’s cracked up to be then the Cardinals will contend. If not then Ken Whisenhunt will be feeling a little fire under his seat.

Seattle Seahawks: all of these offseason moves to improve your offense and the best you can do at QB is Tavaris Jackson? Maybe they should’ve resigned Hasselback.

YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID… VERY AFRAID

Detroit Lions: if Matt Stafford can stay healthy… IF… then look out. This is everyone’s chic pick to be the breakout team in the NFL and it’s not hard to see why. The main reason is Ndamukong Suh who is becoming the best defensive player in the NFL leading a defensive line that once it gets Nick Fairley back will be one of the best in the game. However, it comes back to Stafford. He has shown in limited action that he can be a really good QB and can put lots of points on the board with Calvin Johnson. His health decides their season; if he’s healthy then they’re in the playoffs, if not… wait until next year.

St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford almost lead them to the playoffs throwing to Danny Amendola… the defense has been together for a solid three years under Steve Spagnuolo’s complicated scheme and is getting it down to a science… the other three teams in the division are trying to figure themselves out in all areas while the Rams are set in there’s… if they don’t win the NFC West then it’ll be a huge disappointment.

It's now or never for Houston.

(Side note 2: remember the 2009 NFL Draft where Aaron Curry was the next great NFL linebacker, Brian Cushing was a stud, Rey Maualuga was a huge playmaker in the making and James Laurinaitis had concerns that he wasn’t fast enough to be an effective NFL linebacker? Guess who has become the best young middle linebacker in the league? Yep the slow kid from Ohio State who won two Butkis Awards in college. You know I wonder if scouts actually watch college games sometimes.)

THE ENIGMA

Chicago Bears: Is the defense set? Yes. Is Jay Cutler mentally ready to lead this team after the controversy from the NFC title game? I don’t know. Cutler has always been mercurial and hasn’t seemed like the greatest leader in the world but it’ll tested more than ever this year. he has to have a strong year under center and make very few mistakes and do so without a clear cut number one receiver, no respectable tight end and an agitated Matt Forte. If he can keep it all in line then the memory of him on the sidelines while his team struggles for yardage in the biggest game of the year will be a memory.

THE FIGHT TO THE DEATH FOR THE PLAYOFFS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman, Josh Freeman, Josh Freeman… oh and LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams and a revamped defense looking to bring back the Warren Sapp days. Their out to prove that last year was not a fluke… and they will.

New Orleans Saints: they couldn’t get over the Super Bowl hangover until it was too late. Plus the fact that they lost to 7-9 Seattle in the playoffs still hurts. Expect them to come out lighting it up from day one with nothing but a Super Bowl on their minds.

Atlanta Falcons: Hi Matt Ryan, welcome to Alex Ovechkin’s world. You play for one of the best teams in the league and you have matched all of your hype except in one area… you can’t get it done in the playoffs. You’ve been twice and gotten beaten up both times. Last year you ran into a smoldering hot Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and you couldn’t keep up with them. Well guess what Matty Ice, now you have an issue. You’re in your 4th year in the league and are considered an elite QB, so guess what were all expecting you to do now? that’s right, win when it matters. You can win all of the regular season games that you want but if you can’t win the close ones or get to the playoffs and win there then we don’t care. Your mission is to win the NFC South and make a Super Bowl run and nothing less. If you can’t do that then you’ll be sitting next to Ovechkin having a beer and wondering what more do you have to do to make your team elite.

THE CHAMP

Green Bay Packers: Clay Matthews had 17 sacks last year, mostly on a broken leg… he’s healthy now… every QB in the league just got scared.

THE MIAMI HEAT

Philadelphia Eagles: Vince Young said that they were a super team and with the moves that they made how can you deny that claim? Young, Cromartie, Asomugha, Babin, Brown, Steve Smith and a cast of thousands joined the Eagles within the span of two weeks and expectations catapulted the Eagles to the top of the NFC class. Paper does not make a champion, but it does create some fun banter. Can this team finally gain short yardage with Brown and LeSean McCoy? Can the offensive line protect Michael Vick? With the new additions to the secondary will they be able to stop the pass? We won’t know until week 1 and even then we need more proof. The City of Philadelphia has been all about big name acquisitions this year with the Phillies getting Cliff Lee, the Flyers obtaining goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and now the Eagles with, well everyone. Can they make the title game? Sure. But they have to gel first and get all of their parts in order.

Yep we're still here.

Funny enough… I think that they will, but they won’t win. The Eagles vs. The Patriots sounds like a great matchup for Super Bowl 46 and The Patriots sound like a good winner. The Patriots have lost their swagger from previous years and it shows in their games versus the Jets, Steelers and other in previous years. They are still one of the top teams in the league but they needed to get kicked in the rear to get it together. The Jets provided them with that spark last year and it will carry over into this one.

Well I hope the Patriots enjoy their title run, the Jets enjoy contending, the Eagles enjoy the hype and the Packers enjoy their title defense. I won’t enjoy any of it thanks to the gloomy outlook that the Giants are facing this year. Oh well, it could be worse, I could pick the Bengals to win it all again.

AFC EAST- PATRIOTS

AFC NORTH- STEELERS

AFC SOUTH- TEXANS

AFC WEST- CHARGERS

AFC WILDCARDS- JETS, RAVENS

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP- STEELERS VS. PATRIOTS

NFC EAST- EAGLES

NFC NORTH- PACKERS

NFC SOUTH- SAINTS

NFC WEST- RAMS

NFC WILDCARDS- FALCONS, BUCS

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP- EAGLES VS. PACKERS

SUPER BOWL- PATRIOTS VS. EAGLES

MVP- DREW BREES

DPOY- NDAMUKONG SUH

OPOY- BREES

COACH OF THE YEAR- RAHEEM MORRIS

OROY- MARK INGRAM

DROY- PATRICK PETERSON


Forever The Villain

20110829-101121.jpg

Michael Vick is back on top.

Say what you want about Michael Vick… bring up his past, villify him, hate him, wish bad things on him all you want.

Just remember that he is human and that we all make mistakes. Cliche? Yes. However, for all of the stones that we toss at Vick we tend to forget that we have a skeleton or three in our closet.

When Vick signs his brand new 6 year/ $100 million deal you will hear cries from the public that he doesn’t deserve the money, that he’s still a criminal and that the Eagles should be ashamed of themselves for giving a dog killer that much money.

Vick will never be able to live down the humiliation that he caused himself and his family. His involvement in a illegal dog fighting ring will haunt him wherever he goes for the rest of his life…

It doesn’t mean however that it should prevent him from living his life.

One thing that has angered me to no end about the Vick issue is this constant banter from dog owners and animal rights activists that Vick should continue to be punished and shouldn’t live his life. Murderers are allowed back into society, pedophiles have kids, domestic violence criminals have girlfriends, yet because Vick committed a crime that has nothing to do with human life (though killing living things is still a heinous act) he all of a sudden can’t make a living.

Vick paid his debt to society. He lost everything. He paid a hefty price for his actions and seemingly has learned his lesson. He is a more focused individual with a better understanding of life and is trying his hardest not to make more bad decisions. Isn’t that what we want out of people who do bad things?

America is a nation that loves a hero, more than a hero it loves a villain, and more than a villain there is no better story than a reformed villain. Vick’s tale is a cautious one and one of great redeeming value. He rose above his bad actions and back to being one of the game’s most electrifying players.

Vick is tapping into the talent that made him a number one pick in the 2000 NFL draft. He was an MVP candidate last year and is the leading candidate this year as part of the NFL’s dream team.

He is becoming a role model and an example that you can change for the better in a atmosphere that is filled with so many cynics and bad influences.

We should be celebrating Vick’s return to the top, instead he is and will always be the bad guy.

Is race an issue? I hate to play the race card but would we feel the same about Vick if he were white? Would he be forgiven easier and welcomed back to society with ease? Who knows.

One thing is for sure, I am happy for Michael Vick. I’m happy that he has put his crimes behind and learned from them. I’m happy that he has taken his second chance in life and done something with it. I’m happy that he will be paid well for his services and can make a living for himself and be happy.

Vick has paid and atoned for his sins. Who am I or anyone for that matter to still think he has a price to pay?


The Notorious B.I.G.’s Legacy In Sports

Biggie Smalls was iller than you could've imagined.

If I wasn’t in the rap game

I’d probably have a key knee deep in the crack game

Because the streets is a short stop

Either you’re slingin crack rock or you got a wicked jumpshot

The Notorious B.I.G. died 14 years ago in a haze of bullets in downtown Los Angeles at the height of the media created East/ West coast hip-hop beef between himself and Tupac Shakur.

Before his death Biggie Smalls (one alias of his) left a legacy that still looms large in two fields of entertainment today, music and sports.

There’s long been the assertion that most rappers want to be athletes and vice versa. The link between rap and sports is connected by the fact that both genres share similarities in the fact that A, most of the well-known and popular rappers and athletes are African-American and B, that they shared similar upbringings before hitting the big time.

Allen Iverson, Michael Vick, Young Jeezy, Method Man, Baron Davis, Game, Nelly, Larry Hughes… the list goes on and on. Before all of these men started gaining million dollar income from albums and the field of play their families struggled in low income housing areas that were more havens for heathens the pop culture figures.

Michael Vick is one of the many popular athletes that have many similarities to Biggie and other rappers upbringings.

They all dreamed about getting out and making it big, you know “Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, when I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this 50 inch screen, money green leather sofa Got two rides, a limousine with a chauffeur.” Along the way to those successes they suffered the same type of ills and problems, lack of family structure (no father), living in the slums, feeling like they would never get out, then when they finally did no one understood them and always categorized them.

In a sense rappers and athletes are like kindred spirits. They’re the only ones that truly get each other. Its become a rarity these to not see a rapper shout out an athlete in song or the two aligning themselves to form some sort of bond whether its strictly business or an actual alliance amongst friends.

Think back to video footage of Edgerrin James and Trick Daddy hanging together in Miami on MTV, or the Jay-Z and LeBron James friendship or even Biggie himself with Shaquille O’Neal. The two genres of individuals have a level of comfort in one another that media, business moguls or other outsiders will never have.

Biggie more than any rapper brought this relationship to life. His lyrics personified each level of life that young black men from the ghetto were living in whether poor or when they got rich.

The lyric from the beginning of the article is from the first song off of his classic debut album Ready To Die and the song is titled “Things Done Changed.” It is a two bar description of what has become the do or die options of young black men from the ghettos of America in the last three decades, either ball on the court or stand on the block.

Ask Santonio Holmes who admitted to doing just that before he starred as a receiver at Ohio State University. Ask rapper Game born Jayceon Taylor) who said his life became consumed by drug dealing after a basketball scholarship to Washington State fell through (though Wazzu denies that claim.). For most people staring out of there project windows this was how we saw life fame on TV or in the crack game.

He also expressed the aggravation that we have felt as kids left without fathers (“Pop Duke left Mom Duke, The f***** took the back way.”). Athletes from James, Shaq, Prince Fielder and others didn’t have their biological father in their lives growing up to watch them become the athletes they are.

And of course “Mo Money, Mo Problems” has been the anthem for the last generation of young black men who discover success after a lifetime of hardship. Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Marshall and others have had run-ins with the law and have been under constant scrutiny due to their status of being young, rich black men in a professional market.

Think Carmelo doesnt know about Mo' Money Mo' Problems? Think again.

Biggie, as well as most rappers, resonates with athletes because he went through the same troubles as they have both in the slums and on top. He knew about life in the projects then going to the penthouse and all of the consequences that came with each move he made.

One of Biggie’s good friends was Shaquille O’Neal who grew up without his biological father in Newark, New Jersey and who was able to escape his environment to a better life of riches and fame in the NBA. Their bond came about thanks to a line on “Machine Gun Funk” off of Ready to Die. “I’m slammin’ niggas like Shaquille, s*** is real,” we’re Biggie’s words as he played himself and a criminal associate planning a caper.

That line started a relationship with Shaq that including a collaboration on Shaq’s third rap album Can’t Stop The Reign.

Shaq was like many athletes in the 90’s who tried to expand their name from the field to the microphone and be like their lyrical heroes and weave similar tales of their lifestyles. Cedric Ceballos, Deion Sanders, Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant and Iverson have all blessed the microphone in an effort to obtain a platinum plaque while emulating their favorite MC’s. While the results were mixed (mostly bad. That goes for you Roy Jones Jr. and Ron Artest.) the point was that due to their similar backgrounds athletes felt the need to pick up a microphone and show their skills, or lack of.

The same can be said for rappers trying to go pro. Master P gave it a go with tryout for the Raptors and Hornets and his son tried to ball on USC’s basketball team a few years ago.

Lets be thankful Allen Iverson's basketball career was longer than his rap career.

But more than anything the best way for both sides to come together is through the mutual respect of rappers shouting out their favorite ballers on record or the building of a relationship out of the studio and off of the field.

It’s always cool seeing Young Jeezy bring out LeBron at a concert or seeing David Ortiz snapping a flick with Dr. Dre because it’s out of respect for one another’s craft. Much like Biggie and Shaq, these friendship show the union of black men in similar scenarios coming together to show love and respect for one another. It’s an occurrence that is rarely seen in the actual environments where we once lived and serves as a teaching tool for kids in similar situations.

Beyond the relationship of athlete/rapper, Biggie showed all sides how to really live it up. Biggie’s visual displays of the spoils of his labor are what drove David Stern to adapt new rules as to how players dress when entering the NBA work environment.

When Biggie started rocking the Jesus piece, everyone followed. You still see the piece on the necks of James, Darnell Dockett and other athletes today. The Jesus piece is to black youth as the pinky ring was to the mob (though we still had to get a pinky ring thank you Henry Hill and Nicky Santoro.). When Biggie started sippin Cristal champagne, we all had to have it.

Biggie showed us the spoils of being young, black and famous. He pretty much bankrolled the designer Coogi and made Versace silk button ups a steady fashion accessory in hip-hop culture. Look at old photos of Jonathan Bender or JaMarcus Russell in one of those cable knitted multi-colored sweaters or think of the countless athletes in those free flowing shirts with some Versace glasses to match. How many dudes had to get something that resembled a Rolex after Big had one? I can’t afford one but I always have to have a nice looking watch on my arm

He was a trendsetter. Hell, his trends have lasted almost 20 years since he first jumped on the scene and are still seen in the NFL, NBA and MLB.

That’s why he lives on long past his death 14 years ago and through two or three different generations.

These two understand each other better than any of us ever will.

This morning on Twitter I saw Michael J. Smith, Chad Ochocinco, Jemele Hill and a bunch of my buddies in college posting random Biggie quotes from all of his songs. That’s a range of people from ages 20-40. When Biggie dies some of them were 6, I wasn’t in high school yet, others were starting their professional careers, yet we all know his lyrics word for word.

It’s funny that this year Biggie’s death anniversary fell on Ash Wednesday for me. It’s the beginning of Lent where we sacrifice something we love for a greater good and we mourn and repent for our sins. I mourned Biggie by listening to his entire catalog while fasting and posting a bunch of my favorite lyrics along the way. People would dispute that Biggie was nothing like Jesus and might’ve been a bigger heathen than most fallen martyr’s in entertainment.

But I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I knew of what Biggie spoke of. I knew people like Arizona Ron, Dark Skinned Jermaine and Sing from the 15th floor. I know about the dangers of life in those areas and what happens when you’re black and stumble upon some success in the real world. Everything with Biggie resonates with me from waking up “f***** up, pockets broke as hell,” to “talk s*** and get you neck slit quick,” to wanting a garage like cee-lo “4’s, 5’s and 6’s.”

Biggie was the good and bad in all of us where we are from. He was a great talent in a bad neighborhood with big aspirations and not enough people to understand. Like myself, Allen Iverson, Dez Bryant and others he didn’t care. His goal was make it, be great, look good and have fun doing it.

We all followed Biggie’s lead even to this day. We’ve forged similar relationship like he had with Shaq and that respect is still there.

I wish Big was here to see his influence, to see how many rappers follow his rhyme style, to see how many ballers follow his dress code and ways to live it up and to see how many people still spit his lyrics.

Biggie was influential in Hip-Hop’s uprising as well as the urban black athlete from his inception to way past his death. He made athletes aware of their surroundings and how similar they were in our upbringing. As we mourn/celebrate his legacy today I know that there other ways to make it out of the ghetto other than shooting hoops or selling crack. However, for the case of our generation, and for young black athletes, he let us know it was there and that not many of us were different from each other in who we were.

People like Iverson, Shaq, Randy Moss and others now knew someone understood them and that they could confide in people who had the same aspirations and goals as them. We should be thankful of Biggie for that. At least I am.


Who’s Under Center?

All that stuff I said about Kevin? Scratch that.

So, how’s your quarterback doing? For many of the teams in the National Football League—not so well.

By the end of Monday night’s 49ers-Saints game there are more than 6 controversies and 5 other questions at quarterback. On Sunday we found Kerry Collins, Bruce Gradkowski, and Luke McCown replace turnover prone QB’s, we saw Michael Vick take a strangle hold at the position over an injured Kevin Kolb, and we saw Brett Favre and Derek Anderson stink it up to the point where maybe it should be time for a change in both places (that sound you heard was Matt Leinart snickering in the background). As for Trent Edwards—eh.

In the case for Philadelphia and Vick the situation has led to a knee-jerk reaction by Andy Reid who said on Tuesday that Mike Vick is his starter. Granted he has played well by totaling almost 600 total yards in 6 quarters but he was sacked 6 times by the Lions defense… the Lions. They lost to a Super Bowl contender in Green Bay and still have to play Minnesota’s stout d-line and the Cowboys and Giants. For Reid to make such a quick decision when the plan was to develop Kevin Kolb and contend down the road will come back to haunt him, also IT’S TWO GAMES AND IT’S MICHAEL VICK!!! He’s barely a lifetime 50% passer. You ever taken statistics? You go with past trends over recent numbers because you’ve seen more of the former than the latter. Unfortunately Reid isn’t getting this memo and he’s about to find out the hard way.

For other scenario’s you have to wonder what the ramifications of replacing these quarterbacks will be. Bruce Gradkowski did do an excellent job after Jason Campbell was pulled, however it’s two games and it was the Rams. Now you have Campbell, who probably has lost trust in Cable, looking over his shoulder at a QB who isn’t a starting QB in this league. You’ve got to let him gel with his receivers (who honestly aren’t that good) and gain some trust in him. Then again, it is the Raiders, who love drama more than any other team in the league.

Then there’s Vince Young (speaking of constant drama). Young is on the hot seat, again, after getting run into the ground by the Pittsburgh Steelers defense and committing 3 turnovers and looking just plain bad. So now he’s involved in another carousel with Collins and at this point you have to wonder if maybe the Titans are close to just ending the Vince Young experiment and moving on and into the pool this draft for a new quarterback. The inconsistencies are becoming too much of a theme with Young and its year 5. Young had the job from the jump and aside from a few plays he hasn’t really had any big impact on Tennessee. This weekend at New York could be the breaking point for Vince. If he has another horrendous start and is benched for Collins, that’s it. He’s coming to the end of his rookie deal and with his poor performances popping up again it probably means that the Titans will not shell out another 4 years and X amount of dollars for a quarterback that has never lived up to the hype that he created in the 4th quarter at the Rose Bowl versus USC.

I miss college.

(side note: that 2006 Rose Bowl game, while still one of the greatest in college history, is becoming less and less relevant to the players involved years after it happened. It was a gluttony of overhyped talent that never panned out. Matt Leinart got booted out of Arizona in favor of Derek Anderson, Young has never transformed into the big play quarterback that he was billed as at Texas, Lendale White and Michael Huff are certified bums and Reggie Bush… I’ll spare him; he’s sort of having a bad week.)

So what about the other QB troubles in the league? Here’s my take on all of them:

BUFFALO

CONTROVERSY: Ryan Fitzpatrick takes over for Trent Edwards… somewhere in the world J.P. Losman is probably still wondering how he lost his job to Trent Edwards… he aint the only one.

CLEVELAND

SITUATION: Seneca Wallace or Jake Delhomme… Ryan Mallett.

TENNESSEE

CONTROVERSY: Vince Young still starting over Kerry Collins… I still hate Kerry Collins. I wouldn’t trust him to run a kwik-e-mart.

JACKSONVILLE

SITUATION: David Garrard over Luke McCown. Garrard will be the starter until the end of the season when the Jags jettison him for either Jake Locker or Mallett.

OAKLAND

CONTROVERSY: Jason Campbell vs. Bruce Gradkowski. Yet to be determined if Oakland is smart then they won’t even think about benching Campbell again for a career backup. Campbell was brought in there to be the guy and you can’t bench him twice in three weeks. On the bright side for Campbell its business as usual. Underachieving, looking lost in an offense, getting replaced by a lifetime backup, the usual.

PHILADELPHIA

CONTROVERSY: Vick over Kolb. If Andy Reid blows this then he’s getting fired at the end of the season. The Eagles could possibly lose three NFL quality quarterbacks in ten months. That’s got to be a record or something.

MINNESOTA

SITUATION: Favre… is it really inconceivable to think that Favre could be replaced by Tarvaris Jackson. Favre looks terrible. Two of three picks were absolutely horrendous throws and he has no faith in any receivers other than Visanthe Shaincoe. By the time Sidney Rice does come back from Knee surgery the Vikings might be done. The offense has lost so much mojo that even if they do turn into a heavy run based team they still won’t be an effective passing team which makes Favre useless. Not that he already wasn’t.

CAROLINA

CONTROVERSY: Jimmy Clausen over Matt Moore. It could be Casey Clausen and I would still start him over Matt Moore. Don’t be surprised if you walk into John Fox’s office this week and he’s updating his resume.

ARIZONA

Maybe there was a reason Cleveland let him go.

SITUATION: Derek Anderson with two inexperienced quarterbacks behind him. Going back to Sunday when watching the Cardinals offense I looked at Larry Fitzgerald at one point… he looks mad. Derek Anderson can’t find him and can’t throw a consistent pass. The Cardinals look lost on offense and has no identity. They are trying to keep that same high octane offense going that they had when Kurt Warner was around and its not plausible with a QB who can’t complete more than 52% of his passes. Don’t be surprised if every Cardinals player calls up Dancing With The Stars to vote Kurt Warner off and gets him back to Glendale… or kidnaps Leinart… who they never should’ve let go of in the first place. Good job Ken Whisenhunt.

COLLEGE BONUS: MIAMI

SITUATION: Jacory Harris or A.J. Highsmith. If Harris has another road stinker like he had against Ohio State, or North Carolina last year, or Virginia Tech last year, then he should stick to creating fashion trends like he did with his overalls and let Highsmith take the reins.