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Rice’s Light Suspension is Deeper Than Football

In Football Stuff on July 26, 2014 at 5:51 am

Ray Rice

This week it was announced that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will serve only a 2 game suspension for domestic violence. In February, Rice was involved in an incident in an elevator that left his then fiancée Janay Palmer unconscious in Atlantic City. Rice and Palmer are now married and the league is now dealing with his violation of the personal conduct policy. According to police reports Rice punched is wife to be in the elevator which knocked her out. The lenient sentence handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a mirror of how we as society tend to look at violence against women.

Rice Press conf

Since Roger Goodell has been in charge of the country’s most popular sport he has been known to drop the hammer down on rules violators. The two cases involving women as victims it seems that the league’s sheriff has a soft spot. When Ben Rothelisberger got his 6 game suspension reduced to 4 games for violating the league’s conduct policy. That was when Big Ben was accused of rape in Georgia but the charges went away because of some suspicious evidence handling. Now player who have been caught smoking marijuana have served equal or greater suspensions. While Rice was getting 2 games for swinging on his wife, the Eagles Lane Johnson was suspended or 4 games a day before for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

So is Roger telling us that smoking some weed or getting a DUI is doing greater damage to the league than spousal abuse? Maybe even that consider that last week Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer hit with a 3 game ban for making homophobic remarks. I am not saying that these offenses should not be punished but there are definitely not equal to violating the safety of another human being. After doing a little reading it appears that Goodell is following the guidelines that have already been set by our society. In the larger world there are many young men and women serving time for having a little marijuana while domestic abusers are getting slaps on the wrist.

This topic of Rice’s suspension has sparked some debate in the sports talk world. While a lot fans, columnist and radio show host do feel that the punishment was too relaxed there are others who think it might be a bit much. What I have noticed that there is a large number of men and women who have a fractured view of how people should treat each other. We are raising a society of people who do not value one another and especially is cruel to women. ESPN host Stephen A. Smith is making headlines because he did a little victim blaming in this incident. To infer that a woman provoked a man to hit her is not an uncommon opinion. Smith’s ill-advised words sting a little more coming from a national platform but this is not a view that is alone on.

There are a lot of men going out of their way to defend the actions of a woman beater. It almost makes you have to look at those men and wonder about them. One of the keys is that their brethren who do not share those views have to be more vocal in denouncing that ideology that woman somehow brings these situations on themselves. These same men must also correct women when they hear them speaking that same ignorance. It is a sign that we are passing a dangerous sense of behavior down to the next generation. That flawed way of thinking will create silent victims who will not feel that they have a safe place to speak against their attackers. They will grow up feeling that they did something wrong.

The reality is that no one should ever feel the right to put their hands on you. Right now unfortunately we are dealing with a state of entitlement where somebody feels like they have the right abuse someone else’s body. We have to do better and think about how we want our daughters, sisters and mothers treated. The conversation around this lately is showing that as a society that we are not taking these things seriously.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

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The Falcons Hard Knock Life

In Atlanta Area Stuff, Football Stuff on June 18, 2014 at 4:34 am

Falcons Training

Fans of NFL Hard Knocks series on HBO finally found out who the crew was going to follow this season. For better or for worse the Atlanta Falcons will be followed by HBO cameras all the way to the end of training camp. I am not sure if the organization volunteered or the NFL realized that somebody had to do the series this year. Due to the level of distraction associated with the show a lot teams have opted not to participate. The Falcons are coming off their first losing season in five years and I am sure that has some fans worried.

The teams that have traditionally been on the Hard Knocks program have not done exceptionally well during that season. That all being said there is nothing that has proved that cameras have caused the problems that plagued the underachieving teams of the past. There have been teams that have had good seasons like the 2010 Jets and last year’s Cincinnati Bengals team both made the playoffs and were competitive. That being said no team has made it to the SuperBowl while doing Hard Knocks.

The NFL tries to navigate an interesting dynamic of trying to give fans all access but at the same time teams maintaining their competitive edge. I could see why some teams would be apprehensive in bringing in extra distractions to a camp where they are trying to get younger players acclimated to the NFL. The organizations will also want to avoid any controversy that can come from cameras catching something that the American public may not be ready to see. As we learned with the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito incident last year football culture differs vastly from how we interact in polite society.

The Falcons are in interesting choice for this show. What makes me think that the team will be able to handle the pressure of the extra coverage also is not generally what television producers think make good programming. The organization has strong level headed leadership and Head Coach Mike Smith is not the colorful personality that will provide a lot of one liners. The club’s quarterback situation is stable and there won’t be a lot of high profile position battles. Their rookies will not even bring that much drama. Their first round draft pick is an offensive lineman who kind of already knows the NFL culture. The Falcons wins and losses this year will only be a result of the hard knocks that they deliver or fail to deliver to their opponents.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Don’t Mess With The Playoffs

In Football Stuff on May 21, 2014 at 3:37 am

Playing Football

This week at the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta the heads of the franchises decided to hold off the vote to expand the playoff. They instead will take up this discussion at the fall meetings. It’s an idea that is gaining popularity and one that Commissioner Roger Goodell is heavily trying to make happen. They would like to take the current format of 12 teams and expand it to 14. That would provide an extra playoff game in each conference and give another team a shot at the postseason.

This makes sense from a business side if we are looking strictly at the bottom line. One more playoff game would provide extra revenue for league and maybe would allow them to squeeze a few more dollars out of their current TV contracts. That being said as a fan I would hope that they leave what is the best playoff in professional sports as is. The current format lets 12 teams in and leaves 20 teams sitting outside wanting to get better. Unlike the NBA or NHL where over half the teams make it to the postseason.

The NFL is the king of all professional sports but this maybe one of the first steps in flirting with over exposure. One step was the insistence on having a Thursday night game that has turned out to be a less than stellar representation of the product. The playoffs did not need an extra team and the AFC would have had to push a 2nd team with an 8-8 record into the playoffs if these rules would have been in effect at the end of last season.

More than likely the owners will vote to expand the playoff because they all think that there is one more chance for them to get their team in. This would be the first expansion of the playoffs since 1990 and some people in the NFL feel its overdue. Owners are salivating at the idea a possible extra home game of revenue. I just hope that is the last playoff expansion for a while.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

KLS NFL Mock Draft Part 3 Picks 21-32

In Football Stuff on May 2, 2014 at 1:33 am

Draft Day 3

We have reached the third portion of the 1st Round of the draft. This is about the time some of the guys who were supposed to go in the top 10 will get close ups from ESPN asking them how they are feeling. These are also the teams who for the most did okay last season and want to make that jump to the Superbowl or in the Seahawks case march to the repeat.

21. Green Bay Packers – CJ Mosely (Alabama) LB
One of the leaders of Alabama’s tough defense, Mosely will be a nice get this late in the draft. An athletic guy who can make plays will go right alongside Clay Matthews. With the free agent acquisition of Julius Peppers and already having BJ Raji in the fold the Packers defense will be pretty tough to deal with in the front 7.
Other Possibilities: Ryan Shazier LB, Jimmie Ward S

22. Philadelphia Eagles – Marqise Lee (USC) WR

Marqise Lee USC

Pac 12 coaches love drafting players they couldn’t stop in college. Marqise Lee fits that bill to come to Chip Kelly’s Eagles. With the recently departed DeSean Jackson there is room a playmaker on the outside. With the high speed offensive that returns Jeremy Macklin, Riley Cooper and LeSean McCoy would only be bolstered with the addition of Lee.
Other Possibilities: Brandon Cooks WR, Cody Latimer WR

23. Kansas City Chiefs – Xavier Su’a-Filo (UCLA) OG
Chiefs coach Andy Reid will be looking for ways to improve on last year. One thing he will do is make sure that he solidifies his offensive line. Su’a-Filo fits the bill as a day 1 NFL starter at guard. They have a spot open spot at right guard and could also use an upgrade at the left guard spot.
Other Possibilities: Brandon Cooks WR

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) LB
We know Marvin Lewis loves linebackers and is looking to bolster an already strong defense. The Bengals will not even have to leave the state because Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier will be there for them. The hard hitting linebacker will be a nice fit for the Bengals.
Other Possibilities: Jason Verrett CB

25. San Diego Chargers – Louis Nix (Notre Dame) DT

Louis Nix ND

Nix is a large frame 340 pound defensive tackle, who will clog up the middle in the Chargers 3-4 scheme. The Chargers are looking to make a move in a division that two playoff teams above them. Dix will be a solid disruptive option.
Other Possibilities: Bradley Roby CB, Kelvin Benjamin WR

26. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Roby (Ohio State) CB
With 4.39 speeds in the 40, Roby provides elite speed that makes him ready to jump right in the NFL. The Browns already have one star corner in Joe Haden, so the pick here would give the Browns a dynamic duo.
Other Possibilities: Derek Carr QB

27. New Orleans Saints – Dee Ford (Auburn) DE
The Saints are in a division with some pretty good quarterbacks. Dee Ford is an athletic end that will provide pressure for Rob Ryan’s defense. His versatility maybe he will switch to outside linebacker in Ryan’s scheme.
Other Possibilities: Kony Ealy DE

28. Carolina Panthers – Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt) WR

Jordan Matthews Vandy

Cam Newton needs a new number 1 target now that Steve Smith is on to Baltimore. Jordan Matthews can be that top receiver for the future. At 6’3 he has nice NFL size and will be a nice visible target. He has had over 1300 yards receiving in his last 2 years and Vanderbilt and did not shrink against top tier SEC competition.
Other Possibilities: Kelvin Benjamin WR

29. New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota) DT
Hageman seems like he will fit in a three technique lineman in the Patriots scheme. With Vince Wilfork getting older and coming off a major injury Hageman will move right into the rotation and maybe the heir apparent in New England.
Other Possibilities: Jason Verrett CB, Cody Latimer WR

30. San Francisco 49ers – Kony Ealy (Missouri) DE
Not only the 49ers love standout defensive players but a need may have presented itself. With Aldon Smith in and out of trouble they will need a solid answer for pass rush. Also at 30th pick Ealy is too good to pass up.
Other Possibilities: Stephon Tuitt DT, Cody Latimer WR

31. Denver Broncos – Joel Bitonio (Nevada) OG
This season it’s time to do one thing in Denver and that’s win the Superbowl. Elway opened up the bank in free agency adding DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. Now he has to make sure that Peyton Manning stays upright and there are some holes for those running backs. Clady should be healthy at tackle so they will need a guard. Joel Bitonio looks like he can start in this league and the Broncos hope he can be a piece to the championship puzzle.
Other Possbiliites: Teddy Bridgewater QB, Kelvin Benjamin WR

32. Seattle Seahawks – Cody Latimer (Wisconsin) WR
The Superbowl champs are reloading this offseason. Already resigning pass rusher Michael Bennett and most of their team intact for this season they are playing with house money. Losing Golden Tate the Seahawks will look at Cody Latimer from Wisconsin. At 6’3 he would make a nice target on the outside along with Sidney Rice to put pressure on opposing defenses.
Other Possibilities: Kelvin Benjamin WR, Jace Amaro TE

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

KLS Mock Draft Continues with Picks 11-20

In Football Stuff on April 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

NFL draft 2014 part 2

The Kind of Like Sports Mock draft continues with first round picks 11-20. As you may notice my mock does not include any trades. It is just me assessing team needs and players that I think would be good fits. Anticipating the trades would drive me crazy and 9 times out of 10 I would be dead wrong anyway.

11. Tennessee Titans – Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State) CB

Darqueze Dennard

The Titans maybe thinking quarterback but they more than likely are going to stick with Jake Locker for another year. Picking at this point they will be looking for a day one starter. Enter Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard who is probably the top corner in the draft. Good at man to man coverage guy who is physical would be a good fit for Tennessee.
Other Possibilities: Justin Gilbert CB, Teddy Bridgewater QB

12. New York Giants – Taylor Lewan (Michigan) OT

Taylor Lewan

The New York Giants need a solid left tackle to protect Eli Manning and somebody to help reignite that power running game. Michigan’s Taylor Lewan could fit that mold. He may not be available this late in the first round but hopefully for the Giants the ball bounces their way.
Other Possibilites: Aaron Donald DT, Anthony Barr LB\DE

13. St Louis Rams – Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma St) CB
After adding some strength to the offensive line the Rams will look at their defense. The front line is one of the best in the league with Robert Quinn and Kris Long. St Louis will look at the back end of their defense and take corner Justin Gilbert. He is a speedy guy who can also help in the return game.
Other Possibilities: Calvin Pryor S, Aaron Donald DT

14. Chicago Bears – Calvin Pryor (Louisville) S
The Bears like to win with defense. They are pretty solid on the offensive side of the ball with two tall standout receivers and they have locked up their quarterback in Cutler. Calvin Pryor will give them so toughness on the backend of that defense. Known for his hard hitting Pryor will be a nice fit in Chicago.
Other Possibilities: CJ Mosely LB, Aaron Donald DT

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Anthony Barr (UCLA) LB

Anthony Barr

No other mock draft will have Barr going this low in the first round. I think that the football Gods will shine on Pittsburgh and give them the kind of pass rushing linebacker that fits their mold. Even though they picked up Jarvis Jones last year they still need to get younger on that defense. James Harrison and Lamar Woodley are both gone so Barr would be nice to help fit into that gap.
Other Possbilities: Aaron Donald DT, Bradley Roby CB

16. Dallas Cowboys – Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh) DT
The Cowboys will be picking up a steal with defensive tackle Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh. He will be a disruptive force on a line that lost DeMarcus Ware. He is an athletic guy who could start right away and go alongside Henry Melton.
Other Possibilities: Zack Martin OG/OT, Timmy Jernigan

17. Baltimore Ravens – Odell Beckham Jr (LSU) WR

Odell Beckham Jr

With 120 million dollars invested in Joe Flacco the Ravens need weapons around him. Last year they realized they really missed Boldin. They picked up Steve Smith in free agency but he will probably not be the number 1 receiver and is not the long term plan. Enter LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. He is a versatile receiver who can play any of the outside spots and help in the return game.
Other Possibilities: Zack Martin OG/OT, CJ Mosely, LB

18. New York Jets – Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech) CB
The Jets have loaded up on offensive talent during the offseason. Acquiring the likes of Chris Johnson, Eric Decker and Michael Vick should be nice additions. The Jets are at the point they just need to pick the best player available. One spot they need to fill is the vacancy left by the departure Antonio Cromartie. Rex Ryan generally likes to select defensive players in the earlier rounds. Kyle Fuller seems like the likely pick here for the Jets.
Other Possibilities: CJ Mosely LB, Bradley Roby CB, Marqise Lee WR

19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin (Notre Dame) OG\OT
The Miami Dolphins barely missed the playoffs last year. They spent a lot of money the previous year in free agency. They think they have their franchise quarterback and now they have to protect him. They lost two starters last year thanks to “BullyGate” so now they will look at the versatile Zack Martin from Notre Dame. The top guard in the draft and also can play a little tackle will be helpful for the Dolphins.
Other Possibilities: Ra’Shede Hageman DT, Xavier Su’a-Filo

20. Arizona Cardinals – Derek Carr (Fresno State) QB
The Cardinals actually have a solid team all the way around. The one thing they do need is a quarterback. Carson Palmer was solid last year but is not the future. Working with head coach Bruce Arians would be a good opportunity for the young Carr to develop and doesn’t have immediate pressure to start.
Other Possibilites: CJ Mosely LB, Kony Ealy DE

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

The KLS NFL Mock Draft Picks 1-10

In Football Stuff on April 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

NFL Draft 2014

In the year round world that is the NFL no offseason event generates more excitement than the annual draft. Professional football has the most popular draft in all of sports. Since it was pushed back this year it has given the experts out there more time to send out dozens and dozens of mock drafts. What team will pick who is the major topic of discussion in almost every NFL city? So I decided to have some fun with this concept and put together my own mock draft.

Now let me put this disclaimer in right now. This is by no way meant to be an opinion of an expert but just a guy watches a lot football and likes to share his ideas with people. Don’t bet any money or wager any kind of services based on me just talking. I am just a guy played a little football in his lifetime and have a pretty cable package so I can watch a lot of games. I haven’t broken down any film or attended any pro days; I just watched the ESPN highlights like the rest of you. So that being said here is the Kind of Like Sports 1st ever Mock Draft.

1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) DE

Clowney

The Texans are an unlikely number 1 pick team. They actually have talent on both sides of the ball and just had a really disappointing season. They really need a quarterback but not sure if there is a game changer in this year’s draft. Clowney is touted as a once in a life time game changer. He was the number 1 college prospect coming out of high school and actually has kept that momentum now to the NFL draft. He could be a bust just like anybody else drafted but the potential is too high. Clowney on the other side of J.J Watt could be instant dynamic pass rush duo. Both could take a lot of pressure of each other and give the opposing offensive coordinator nightmares. The Texans adding to an already stout defense would be a smart move.
Other Possibilities: Trade Down with Atlanta, Blake Bortles QB

2. St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews (Texas A&M) OT
The Rams could also be in the market for a QB but not sure if management ready to give up on Bradford. One problem with Bradford is injuries. You can help that with a money offensive lineman. Jake Matthews can be either an insurance policy if Jake Long doesn’t return to form or can play the other side to have a serious solid offensive line. Having two picks in the top half of the 1st round the Rams have options.
Other Possibilities: Greg Robinson OT, Sammy Watkins WR

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles (Central Florida) QB
We could make a case for almost any position as one of need for the Jags. They loaded up on the defensive line in free agency and now it’s time to make a move that will energize the fan base. The Blaine Gabbert experiment is over and it’s time to move on at the quarterback position. From a physical standpoint Bortles maybe the best option as a signal caller. He is from Central Florida and may help pull in some fans. They have signed Chad Henne for 2 years so there is no rush for Bortles to start right way.
Other Possibilities: Sammy Watkins WR, Teddy Bridgewater QB

4. Cleveland Browns – Greg Robinson (Auburn) OT
The Browns are expected to play it a little safe and get a solid tackle that can hold down the line. In a division known for putting pressure on quarterbacks they may want strengthen that front. The Browns are also in the market for a quarterback but may look to get that later on in the draft for a value. They also may be looking for a little offensive explosiveness to go along with Josh Gordon.
Other Possibilities: Sammy Watkins WR, Johnny Manziel QB

5. Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins (Clemson) WR

Sammy Watkins

In the mold of the late Al Davis the Raiders are going for some excitement. Sammy Watkins will definitely bring that to Oakland. Oakland has loaded up the defense in free agency and they seem to believe that Matt Schaub is the answer at quarterback and going as far to trade Terrell Pryor. So one thing that Schaub will need a speedy target to throw to. Watkins also provides an option in the return game.
Other Possibilities: Taylor Lewan OT, Mike Evans WR

6. Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack (Buffalo) OLB
Falcon’s fans want to wipe away the disappointment of last season’s horrible 4-12 season. They need major help on upfront on both sides of the ball. They have hired new line coaches for both units and brought in free agents to help out. The answer here is Khalil Mack from Buffalo. Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan likes to use multiple fronts and wants to employ his 3-4 philosophy. Mack will be the pass rusher that Atlanta has not had since John Abraham. Mack also may be able to some defensive end like other college outside linebackers like Von Miller.
Other Possibilities: Taylor Lewan OT, Trade Up for Clowney, Eric Ebron TE

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans (Texas A&M) WR
In the transition year for the Tampa Bay Bucs they will also look to make a splash in the draft. They will big receiver Mike Evans from Texas A&M with Vincent Jackson to give new quarterback Josh McCown a dynamic duo. The Buc’s are already not deep at this position and Evans can be a day 1 starter.
Other Possibilities: Eric Ebron TE

8. Minnesota Vikings – Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) QB
The former Heisman Trophy winner paired up with Adrian Peterson is an interesting concept. Manziel’s running ability may keep defenses honest when loading up trying to go after Peterson. He will also bring some flair to Minnesota. The Vikings need a QB and this seems like a logical fit.
Other Possibilities: Teddy Bridgewater QB, Eric Ebron TE

9. Buffalo Bills – Eric Ebron (North Carolina) TE
EJ Manuel looked really good as the Bills starter last season when he was healthy. Now it’s time to invest in last year’s first round pick with giving him some weapons. Nothing helps a young quarterback like a solid tight end. Buffalo could also look at offensive line but Coach Marrone strikes me as a guy who will go for the skill position.
Other Possibilities: Taylor Lewan OT, Anthony Barr LB/DE

10. Detroit Lions – Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix (Alabama) S
The Lions need major help on the backend of their defense. A corner or a safety would be a good fit for Detroit. Clinton-Dix appears to be the best safety available in the draft. Most draft analyst think this is a reach but also agree this is what the Lions will do. That being said by all accounts Clinton-Dix is seen as a day 1 starter in the NFL.
Other Possibilities: Anthony Barr LB/DE, Darqueze Dennard CB

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

So When Does Belichick Apologize?

In Football Stuff on January 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Bill Belichick

This week Richard Sherman apologized for his post game outburst during his interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews. Still it appears to be a hot topic in the world of sports reporting. To me it wasn’t that big of a deal and I didn’t have an issue with Sherman. The person I had the biggest problem with after Sunday’s championship games Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s assertion that Broncos wide receiver intentionally tried to take out Aqib Talib of the Patriots. I felt that was a pretty low for a coach to make that kind of accusation against a player.

Pick plays or “rub routes” are not that uncommon in football and are used more often by the Broncos and weird enough the Patriots. There was no call by the officials on the field and the play did not appear malicious. But according to Belichick “I think it was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open….” and he followed up with “I’ll let the league handle discipline on that play. … That’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen.” Well the league officials made their ruling and decided that there was no ill intent on the play.

There is a history between Welker and Belichick as Welker was a Patriot for six seasons prior to playing in Denver this year. His departure from New England was due some problems with negotiating his new contract. In a lot football fans minds it appeared to be sour grapes after a game against one of his former standout players. Maybe Bill was just being a sore loser or maybe he legitimately thought that Welker was being dirty. With almost a week gone by and a chance for the league to rule and him to see the tape, it’s time for Belichick to be classy and apologize to his former player.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow On Twitter @Kholtjr

The Lions Go With Caldwell

In Football Stuff, Michigan Sports on January 15, 2014 at 5:13 am

Jim Caldwell

The Detroit Lions will introduce their 26th head coach. Former Colts head coach and Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell will try to do what no man has done in 56 years and make the Lions a winner. The Lions apparently missed on former Cardinals head man Ken Whisenhunt. Caldwell beat out freshly booted Gary Kubiak (Texans) and Mike Munchak (Titans) to take over Detroit. Not sure if this head coach will work out for the Lions but at least he has a resume that makes you believe he can fix some of the problems with the team. That being said I do have my concerns.

Caldwell has the kind of background that the team says that they were looking for. He is a former head coach who is offensive minded. His Colts teams had two winning seasons before being fired for a 2-14 season. That last losing season most will give him a pass for due to his star quarterback not playing the entire season. The team also had plenty of injuries throughout the team and who has won in the NFL with Curtis Painter under center? The belief is that he could a good tutor for Matthew Stafford. Caldwell is a long time quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. The fact that a big part of his resume is that he coached Peyton Manning and not sure how much credit a coach gets for his development.

Caldwell does get a lot of credit for pushing the 2012 Ravens offense to the Superbowl after taking it over at the end of that season. His mentoring of a young Joe Flacco is believed to be the difference in their season. In 2013 Caldwell was not able to follow up on the success. Baltimore finished 26th in total offense this season. They were 30th in rushing and 18th in passing offense. That can largely be attributed to the offseason fire sale that the organization went through. Ray Rice was never 100% and Flacco really didn’t have a lot receiving options.

It appears that any of Caldwell’s shortcomings in the NFL come with extenuating circumstances. He is spoken extremely high of by former players and coaches that he has worked with. One of the major issues with the Lions last season was discipline. Being a disciple of Tony Dungy, Caldwell definitely get this team in line. Hopefully he can push Detroit in the right direction with some wins in the playoffs.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr

Tide Rolling With Kiffin

In Football Stuff on January 12, 2014 at 12:42 am

Lane Kiffin Coach

The idea of Lane Kiffin being the next offensive coordinator at Alabama seems crazy to some people. To me it seems like a good idea. Nick Saban appears to respect Lane’s ideas for running an offense. Maybe that visit a few weeks ago was more than just Saban asking young Kiffin about some ideas. Now after listening a lot of sports talk radio here in Atlanta I see a lot people don’t see this as a good hire. I on the other hand think this is a pretty good pick.

Most people who call this a disaster hire are probably speaking out of feeling and emotion and not looking at this analytically. Sure Kiffin was not successful as the head coach of the Trojans. Being a good coordinator and being a good head coach are two completely different animals. Guys like Norv Turner and Wade Phillips have sucked as the men in charge but are sought after coordinators. They are actually so good at being coordinators people keep giving them head coaching jobs. Not to mention the USC program is dealing with NCAA sanctions that forced scholarship limits on them making it a harder program to run then it used to be.

Now maybe you want to point at his other stops before coming home to USC, cool I will take those on. The thing about Oakland was he just took a job that he was not ready for, too much too soon. To fair to Kiffin name a successful Raiders coach since Jon Gruden. Now his tenure at Tennessee was short and it he ruffled some feathers in the SEC. That maybe while people in Atlanta call in to hate him every chance they get. That being said they were a solid program for the season he was there but he wanted to be at his dream job. Not worried about the off field talking too much with Nick Saban being in charge at Alabama.

The last job that Lane Kiffin excelled at was being the offensive coordinator at USC. During his tenure of 2005-2006 the Trojans were one of the most prolific offenses in all of college football. Now of course I am waiting for the first detractor to say “well he was loaded with talent”. Yes and doesn’t that sound like Saban’s Alabama teams. Under Kiffin USC averaged 49.1 points per game and had a 3,000 yard passer and two 1,000 yard rushers in the same season. The team was 23-3 while Lane was calling the plays in southern California. That being said I am sure the experience at being at a big time program like USC he won’t be overwhelmed by the pressure at Alabama. Nick Saban is a smart man with 3 of the last 5 National Championships, I am pretty sure he has thought this through.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on twitter @Kholtjr

Into The Playoffs

In Football Stuff on December 27, 2013 at 6:58 am

Eagles vs Cowboys

The NFL playoffs do not officially start until next weekend but this Sunday the playoffs start early with 2 win or go home games. The Cowboys versus the Eagles and the Bears versus the Packers will determine division champions and who goes to the official postseason.

Eagles vs Cowboys: This game is interesting as the status of star Cowboys quarterback is still up in the air. If he does not play back-up Kyle Orton will have to take the reins for Dallas. The Cowboys even signed Jon Kitna to back-up Orton if an emergency happens. I guess Jeff George and Jeff Garcia were busy. Philadelphia is on a roll playing some really good offense with Nick Foles under center. That bodes well for them going against one of the worst defenses in the league. That being said not only are we fighting for the playoffs but these are division rivals. So anything can happen.

Bears vs Packers: The NFC North Championship and a trip to the playoffs will on the line in Chicago on Sunday. The Bears will try to defeat the Packers for the second time this season on their home field. The Pack will not be an easy out as their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be back after missing 7 weeks with a collarbone injury. He may not be 100% but even if he is at 75 that will be way better than Matt Flynn. The Packers will have to go into this game without All Pro linebacker Clay Matthews. In their 188th meeting and the playoffs on the line Green Bay will head down to Soldier Field to lay it all on the line.

There are also a few teams that still have a chance to punch their ticket with a win and some help from some other teams.

Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals are the most interesting team on the brink of getting in. This team could possibly win 11 games and not make the playoffs. The Cardinals are the most intriguing because this team could either not make the postseason or possibly make a run at the Superbowl. The odds are stacked against them. To get in they have to defeat the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints have to lose to a struggling Tampa Bay team.

The AFC is even more interesting with 4 teams fighting for the final spot. Right now the 8-7 Miami Dolphins hold the spot. All they have to do is win their game and all their problems are solved. For the other teams it is a little more complicated.

Ravens

Baltimore: The defending Superbowl Champs could be on the outside looking in this year. For them to get into the tournament this season they have to knock off division rival Cincinnati. Unfortunately for them the Bengals are looking to improve the playoff seating so they will not be laying down this week. Also with beating the Bengals they then have to hope that the Dolphins can’t get by the Jets.

San Diego: Phillip Rivers and the Chargers are hoping that the Geno Smith works some magic against Miami also. The Chargers also need the Raven to lose too in order for them to have a shot at the postseason. Not to mention the bolts have to handle their own business the Kansas City Chiefs. Now it may be possible that the Andy Reid may rest some of his players since it seems like the Chiefs are kind of already locked in that 5 spot in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh: After starting the season 0-4, Mike Tomlin has the Steelers still alive here in the final week of season. At 7-8 they will need the most help to continue their season beyond this weekend. First they have to take care of themselves and beat the Cleveland Browns. That will not be an easy task as they have been playing teams tough this season and Josh Gordon is emerging as one of the best receivers in the league. Then if that happens then the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers have to lose on Sunday. Not likely but in this wacky NFL season its worth seeing if it can happen.

This NFL season has been kind of wild and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Written By
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr