Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Michael Vick in Black and White

Many people wonder why African Americans frequently play the race card when it comes to justice in America. Take Falcon quarterback, Michael Vick, until his confession more blacks believed he was innocent. Why? Many blacks are confronted by the stark racial injustice in the judicial system. For example, blacks are convicted and imprisoned at a rate of 4-1 for many of the same crimes committed by whites males. African American males, furthermore, are only six percent of the population; nevertheless, they comprise forty percent of the prison population. No wonder blacks cry foul whenever a prominent African American is incarcerated. They are not just carping about Vick, but the larger picture of racial injustice in America. The demonizing of Vick on the talk radio and television circuit stands in stark contrast to Columbine. Many whites, particularly females, blamed the parents, bullies, and the school for the tragedy...no one dare to place the blame at the feet of cold blooded killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. The same attitude prevailed when the Menendez brothers confessed to slaying their parents. Once again, it was the boy's father, not Lyle Menendez, who was excoriated for their son's heinous behavior. Finally, blacks couldn't ignore the obvious implication when a white male was arrested 23 times before gunning down an unsuspecting Tampa sheriff. He was conducting a drunk driving sting. The notion in this society of white males being the victims while blacks are the perpetrators have tipped the scales of justice into trash can full of doubt and bewilderment. Quarterback, Michael Vick, must be held accountable for breaking the law, but African Americans have every right to complain about a justice system that only wants to judge them by the color of their skin.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Are Rams Ready To Explode?

The Rams opening season game against the Carolina Panthers could spur either team to a playoff berth. For example, the Rams will follow that meeting with showdowns against Arizona, also Tampa Bay. Conceivably, St. Louis could be 3-0 heading into a clash against the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams, furthermore, can depend on a healthy right tackle Orlando Pace while the left side will be manned by Alex Barron. With quarterback, Marc Bulger, wide receivers, Issac Bruce, also, Drew Bennett, the Rams will score plenty of points. More importantly, the recent acquisition of punt returner, Dante Hall, could potentially give the Rams consistent field position. During their last six games, the Rams scored 165 points, and that's certainly going to give defensive coordinators nightmares. St. Louis' defense, however, feel asleep last year by ranking 31st against the run and 22nd against the pass...not good news for a team facing Steve Smith and the Carolina Panthers on opening day. In the mediocre NFC, this match up rates as the game of the week, but bettors can expect the Panthers to prevail on the road.

Rating the Rams
Offensive Line (A)
Special Teams (B+)
Defense (C)
Projected Finish 10-6

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gruden: happy trails

Who would have anticipated four years ago coach, Tony Dungy, celebrating a Super Bowl win also a best selling novel while his replacement in Tampa begrudgingly awaits a pink slip. When John Gruden hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy in 2003, Dungy must have been thinking about the scripture that says, "Those who are first now will be last then, and those who are last now will be first then." For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the words are prophetic. Last year, they finish at the bottom of the NFC South, and things aren't looking up this season. On defense, middle linebacker, Derrick Brooks, is at the tail end of a stellar career, unfortunately he's playing like it. Defensive end, Simeon Rice, was unceremoniously released while other aging veterans simmered over their fate. Rice, meanwhile, was let go despite the Bucs registering a paltry 25 sacks. Consider, Carolina's, Julius Peppers, had 13. A new defensive line consisting of Kevin Carter, Patrick Chukuwaruh, and first round draft pick, Gaines Adams hardly inspires fear. Adams, furthermore, has been manhandled in practice by the Bucs' honeycomb offensive line. In the secondary, cornerback, Brian Kelly, returns from an injury also teammate Ronde Barber is savvy but he's also 33-years old and contemplating retirement. Furthermore, defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffen, is believed to be fed up with Gruden blaming the defense for the team's decline. On offense, Gruden signed quarterback, Jeff Garcia, to figure out Gruden's complicated playbook. Unfortunately, Garcia will face the same fate former signal callers Chris Simms also Brad Johnson confronted: no pass protection. The line consist of second year tackle, Jeremy Trueblood, Davin Joseph, John Wade, rookie, Aaron Sears, and Luke Petitgrew. Trueblood lacks quick feet, consequently defenders run around him. Joseph is solid, but Wade is creaky with bad knees; Sears is a rookie who battled weight problems at Tennessee and many feel he's better suited at tackle. What does that tell you? As for Petitgrew, he's battling chronic back problems, so the Bucs probably would have been better off signing someone off the street. If Garcia survives the season behind this bunch, he should say five Hail Marys and take communion. At running back, Cadillac Williams, is in a west coast offense, yet he has trouble catching the ball. Another first round pick flanker, Michael Clayton, is backing up a sixth round choice, Maurice Stovall. Gruden's poor draft choices and mediocre free agent signings have the Buccaneers with little hope for success this season, or the future. Another 4-11 year, and He'll probably be cut loose. By then, Tony Dungy may need an offensive coordinator.

Bucs projected record

Monday, August 06, 2007

Chow Time in Carolina

The Panthers will pin their hopes this season on three critical changes. First of the all, Carolina's new offensive coordinator is Jeff Davidson. He's revitalizing the Panther's stagnant running game with a zone blocking scheme for running back, DeAngelo Williams. Zone blocks require an offensive lineman to block an area rather than a player. The technique was very successful for Davidson in Denver where the Broncos guzzled up huge chunks of yardage. Williams was familiar with the system at the University of Memphis. Besides a new coach, the Panthers want to re-sign dominant defensive end, Julius Peppers, but he wants to become the highest paid defender in the league. It's believed, Peppers wants to exceed the Colts, Dwight Freeny, with a contract neighboring, 72-million over six years. Lastly, the Panthers need another extraordinary season from receiver, Steve Smith. This year, he will have some help from gangly flanker, Dwanye Jarrett, another good Panther draft choice from USC. A healthy Steve Smith makes everybody's job easier, consequently quarterback, Jake Delhome, should rebound from last year's struggles; however, Smith must return to his old form, otherwise the Panthers will labor to improve on last year's 8-8 season. Another concern is the strong safety position. Hard hitting and intelligent, Mike Minter, says he will retire this season, meanwhile Carolina signed former Bear strong saftey, Chris Harris. The defense will need the taciturn, Kris Jenkins, to play like a Tasmanian devil, but the Panthers think his excessive weight, 375 lbs, will doom him to another sub par performance. Jenkins was left off the team's bonding trip: an outing where the players took turns racing NASCAR stock cars. Jenkins was also angry over persistent trade rumors involving him. The Panthers will need to win their opening game in St. Louis to remain in Pro Football Weekly's power rankings: Carolina is seeded 13Th.
With the downfall of Atlanta, the Panthers should secure the wild card by finishing the year 11-5. That would keep coach, John Fox, employed for another season.

Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers