•Bye: Tennessee, Minnesota, NY Giants, Seattle
Miami at Buffalo
Ryan Tannehill suffered last week against a surprisingly tough Tenn defense. Reggie Bush didn’t fair much better, but don’t expect the same from Buffalo, they’re terrible. I think Bush is still a MUST Start guy and Tannehill is a good spot-start fill in, especially in this one. Even though the Phins didn’t score, Hartline is still the #1 WR on this team, followed closely by Bess. I still think Bess is worth grabbing for a rainy day.
Fred Jackson had a great day, unfortunately he also suffered a concussion against the Patriots and will be out this week. For CJ Spiller owners, it should be a clear MUST start situation, although this defense is pretty salty. Other than Spiller, Fitzpatrick is worth a spot start at times, but I wouldn’t touch him here. The WR’s put up numbers, but which one and when? Scott Chandler is still a good start and especially good this week against a good Dolphin Defense.
Cleveland at Dallas
Cleveland is coming off a bye, but so what, this team is limited on playmakers and Dallas defense doesn’t exactly present them many opportunities to shine here either. Want to believe in Weeden, go for it. Think Trent Richardson can blow up the Dallas run defense, good luck. Richardson is a start assuming you don’t have more depth at RB, but I can’t see anybody else that looks safe to me on this team.
Dallas’ defense score three different ways, with punt, fumble and INT returns. They scored 23 points in one game. Funny, that unit had thrown up 35 points in ALL 8 games combined previous to this. I think they’re a decent play this week, but will likely come back to reality. Trent Richardson has 5 rushing TD’s, Dallas’ whole team only has 4 and only had 5 all of last year. While Garrett is going to get pounded about not pounding the run more, they can’t be expected to deliver on the run. They’re a pass-first team, face it. That’s not all bad this week, as Cleveland is 27th against the pass. Upgrade Austin, Bryant and of course Witten.
Arizona at Atlanta
Arizona doesn’t offer many weapons. Even the once high-flying Larry Fitzgerald seems to have been grounded recently with the Cards bad QB play. I can’t see that changing much against Atlanta, who finally took a loss last week. Cardinals kicker Jay Feely maybe? That’s the only guy I can actually consider here.
For Atlanta, coming off a loss is going to fuel this offensive fire…you’d think. Arizona has a good defense, though, will be interesting to see where Atlanta makes its points this week. Ariz is good enough against the pass that I rank the Ariz points gatherers this way this week: Turner, Ryan, Gonzalez, White, Julio. Not sure where to stick Bryant the kicker.
Green Bay at Detroit
Green Bay was on a bye, but before the bye they seemed to have found their stride again. Jennings will still be out it appears, but Jordy Nelson should be back, adjust accordingly. It’s tough to figure out which Packer will have a big day, but against Detroit, this could be a high scoring day. I think any GB WR is a good start.
Detroit actually has the number one rated passing offense in the NFL, bet you wouldn’t have guessed that though. Megatron hasn’t been himself, but he gave owners a normal performance last week, 24 points. I don’t know what to expect there. But I like Titus Young if you’re strapped at WR. Mikely LeShoure is downgraded due to GB run defense and most likely a pass against pass game. But don’t sleep on local guy Brandon Pettigrew, he’s quietly the second most targeted receiver on the team and I predict a big day this week from the TE.
Cincinnati at Kansas City
Cinnci pulls the upset over the Giants, how? Andy Dalton, that’s how! Oh and the most consistent WR in the game today, AJ Green. Dalton threw for 199 and 4 TD, Green had 87 and one of the TDs, nobody else had more than 50 yards. That’s the formula, forget BGEllis at RB, look only at Green and TE Jermaine Gresham going forward.
KC, what the heck? I can’t figure it out. One week they run Charles, one week they won’t, but one things’ for sure, they can’t put up enough points. I say AJ Green outscores the chiefs here. Charles is back on the must start and I suppose Bowe is as well…but don’t expect much.
Philadelphia at Washington
Vick is out, due to a “severe” concussion or Andy Reid trying to save his neck, whichever. That changes everything doesn’t it? McCoy is a huge upgrade given this situation, as is Jeremy Maclin assuming his back is ok to go. He had 12 targets against Dallas, expect plenty of scoring from Washington here so passing will be the order for Philly. Take a chance on Riley Cooper, he’s not bad just don’t expect another TD catch.
Washington comes off a bye week, and they stunk against Carolina the previous week. So, what gives? The Eagles defense, it gives and gives and gives. Alfred Morris is always a must start these days, RG3, duh…but RG3 spreads his passes too thin to trust any of his WR’s. If Moss is back from concussion, maybe you hope for a TD from him…otherwise, I’ll shop somewhere else for WR’s.
Tampa Bay at Carolina
Tampa Bay is Richie Cunningham these days, “I’ve found my thrill….” This is the TB offense we’ve expected, I think they’re the hottest team in the NFL right now and Carolina can’t slow them down. Obvious: Doug Martin, Freeman in spot starts, Vincent Jackson and yes, Mike Williams all good starts here.
Tampa Bay is the #1 rushing defense! I dare you to start Stewart, Williams or think Newton can run for much. So, the Panthers are in trouble is what I’m saying. I would look at Steve Smith, WR, since it seems obvious to me that Carolina will be trailing most of this game and having to chunk it. Who’s the backup Qb in Carolina anyway?
Jacksonville at Houston
MJD is the 4th highest scorer on this team with 56. Realize Doug Martin did that in one game, nearly. This offense is bad and doesn’t get any favors from the Texans tough defense. They can’t hang here, take the PUNTER, he’ll see lots of action.
Houston, obvious guys…Foster, Daniels, Schaub, Andre Johnson? He’s disappointed this season so far.
NY Jets at St. Louis
Jets lose to Seattle, ugly and Rams TIE 49ers…so? I like Shonn Greene here, Jets struggling to find offense again, they’ll go back to run game. Also like TE Dustin Keller this week and WR Jeremy Kerley.
Sam Bradford chunked it, Steven Jackson ran it and Danny Amendola caught it… Those three are the only options on this team other than the kicker. Jets are terrible stopping the run…uh oh!
New Orleans at Oakland
New Orleans isn’t the team I would have picked to beat Atlanta, but they did. They score in bunches and this could be a bigtime rout. Oakland can’t seem to stop anybody. Look three or four deep at WR for the Saints and feel good about it. Chris Ivory was a good pickup…last week. Might be rush on him this week, and not sure he delivers consistently. Alhtough, I do like him here.
Oakland, love the two WR’s, Heyward-Bey and Moore to keep lighting it up. Much as I hate Carson Palmer, he could be a good start this week in what has got to be a shootout, if Oakland can keep up. Marcel Reese got the start at RB, but this team still can’t deliver the goods on the ground. Probably not worth another look.
San Diego at Denver
Danario Alexander snuck up and became the Chargers #2 WR in a big loss to TB, who knew. Well, a few of you did. Great find. Still think Malcolm Floyd is the main threat, and of course Antonio Gates…finally. I think I can trust other QB’s more than Rivers at this point (Dalton comes to mind).
Peyton has done it long enough now, we know what he is. He spreads the ball around, but has made his favorite WR clear, Demariys Thomas, same as Tebow. McGahee might not be a good play this week against the #2 run defense in the league.
Indianapolis at New England
Holy Cow, Andrew Luck has been really good. This is a perfect matchup, against NE who doesn’t boast a very good pass defense. I like Luck, Wayne, and Donnie Avery even. Vick Ballard is a sit this week in most leagues. NE can stop the run.
Speaking of run, NE ran against Buffalo, again. Might see more of the same here, upgrade Ridley again. But he’s the only one. The rest are standard plays…Brady, Welker, Gronk…etc.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Baltimore offense hit their stride as predicted. Boldin didn’t do much, but still… I think they continue that, yep even against Pitt. I think they’re that good. I start Rice, Smith and Boldin here, which by default means I would start Flacco if I needed to. Oh, and Pitta might be worth a look too.
Pitt couldn’t put up much against KC, but Baltimore is very weak on defense now. I like Big Ben, and Mendenhall if he’s back. Mike Wallace is no brainer and remember Emanuel Sanders is in for injured Antonio Brown. Shootout potential!
Chicago at San Francisco
Lock down defenses!
Not sure what to think here. Bet San Fran bounces back though. Matt Forte is a must start, no matter what, but this is a week I’d have to think about it. Cutler and Marshall will HAVE TO deliver to keep the Bears in this NFC championship preview (assuming the bears stay healthy). Believe it or not, I trust Cutler more than Alex Smith, although both are coming off injuries. But if Cutler can’t go (concussion) it’s Jason Campbell and all bets are off.
San Fran lost Alex Smith to a concussion as well…so in comes Colin Kaepernick, who passed nicely and even ran nicely…the next phenom? Not in this game. Crabtree still top target, with Vernon Davis (winners) but keep an eye going forward on Randy Moss…yep. He and Kaepernick seemed to have something.
Bye: St. Louis, New England, NY Jets, San Francisco
Kansas City at San Diego
Kansas City can’t score. Six points a few weeks ago and now SIXTEEN, against the Raiders? Granted, this time was with Brady Quinn at QB, but even with Cassel back, they’re not very good. Be concerned if you’re a Jamaal Charles owner, four for five is great if you’re in baseball, not for an elite RB. I downgrade everyone on this team at this point, watch and see with Charles and Hillis.
San Diego has games where they scored 3 (Atlanta) and now lose 7-6 to Cleveland, 7-6? Really? I do think Philip Rivers and crew get it going against a KC defense that can’t get any pressure on the QB. Figure out the right WR for the Chargers and enjoy, but Matthews is the clear RB start.
SUNDAY EARLY GAMES
Denver at Cincinnati
Peyton is back and he’s making the whole team shine. Willis McGahee, Demarius Thomas, even Eric Decker had huge days thanks to Peyton. This week though, I say, expect the same thing. Cinci is average or below on defense…
For Cincinnati I think AJ Green even has a tough time this week. Wouldn’t you double him? I would. Benjarvus G-E is dropping like a hot rock and there aren’t many other options on this team. Good Luck!
Baltimore at Cleveland
Many people have written Baltimore off, like the guy who dropped Anquan Boldin in my league…thanks. I think they’ll struggle to win games, but should find their stride on offense from time to time. With Cleveland, stride is found. I think Flacco, Rice, Boldin and Smith all go off here. Big points just to stay in the game sometimes.
Cleveland unfortunately can’t go big, but they can try and slow things down and control the clock. I wasn’t sold on Richardson early, then there’s talk of sitting him and saving him…then he goes for 24-122 and a TD. Uh, yeah. He’s their main threat, but never sleep on their young WR’s, Josh Gordon and Greg Little. Could be great solutions during bye weeks. Baltimore is 24 against the pass and 30 against the run, go figure.
Arizona at Green Bay
Arizona plays good defense. Offensively they’re terrible. If I’m them, I trade Skelton and Kolb to Dallas for Romo and Bryant…I digress. Can’t start a QB for the Cards, because they can’t. Green Bay defense can be had, but I don’t think Ariz is the team to do it. Turnover city for the Cards and I’d sit them all if it were me. But if you love Larry Fitzgerald, enjoy the less than 10 pt day. You must be starting to expect that by now.
Green Bay versus a tough defense…hmmm Chicago and Seattle shut Rodgers down while SF and Houston couldn’t manage the same. I say Rodgers and the Pack continue to find their groove here. Check the news on which WR’s are healthy on this one.
Chicago at Tennessee
I’m starting to love Da Bears and my guy Jay Cutler. Things couldn’t line up any better for those guys this week. Tennessee is 28th in Run D and 29th in Pass D. Forte, check, Marshall, check and even Cutler this week.
Tennessee, well at least Chris Johnson is back right? Uh not this week. Chicago ranks #1 Numero Uno in run defense. He’s history. Still like Kendall Wright this week though, but this game is way blowout city.
Miami at Indianapolis
Tannehill is hurt, Moore back in for the Phins. Who was his favorite receiver….Well, obviously it was Brandon Marshall who is no longer there, but then it was Davone Bess. Mark my words…Bess is Best here! Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas may be in a timeshare at Rb, which just SUCKS but Indy can’t stop the run…I mean CAN’T. Tenn, Cleve, even the Jets had big days running against the Colts. I’d start both Miami backs.
Indy, hard to tell. Miami is good enough on the Run defense that you can’t start Carter or Ballard (flash in pan?), but the WR’s should be high value in a come-from-behind kind of game here. I like Reggie ALWAYS, and Donnie Avery could be a sneaky little matchup.
Carolina at Washington
Carolina can’t score. Not Cam, not Stewart, not Williams…which makes it hard to believe that Steve Smith will…but he will. Washington is dead freakin last in pass defense folks…shootout!
Washington runs the ball well, RG3 is a freak and Santana Moss would be my only WR consideration on this team.
Detroit at Jacksonville
Something just doesn’t seem right in Detroit does it? Yeah, can you say over-achievers last season? Jacksonville will help fix a lot of those problems because they’re terrible. Don’t get over excited about Titus Young Sr (is Jr in the NFL?), Megatron upgrade and I love me some Mikel LeShoure this week.
Rashaad Jennings is the new MJD, but that ship has already sailed as far as a pickup move. Other than that, it’s Josh Scobee, Kicker. That’s it!
Buffalo at Houston
Buffalo will play from behind most likely, so Fitzpatrick and the boys could be a good start, unless there are turnovers. Steve Johnson, Scott Chandler and Donald Jones all good target numbers. Downgrade Bills running backs though.
Houston will do whatever they want. Mostly run. Makes me uncertain about Andre Johnson though, which I hate. I think maybe, trade him…yep.
SUNDAY LATE GAMES
Minnesota at Seattle
Peterson continues to shock my pants off, but they’re still limited on offense. Seattle stops the run fifth best. Tough day for AD and crew. Big upgrade to Kyle Rudolph, TE this week.
Seattle, it’s all Lynch for Seattle. Minn is just average on defense and the Seahawks are just average on offense, except for the running game.
Tampa Bay at Oakland
Josh Freeman is back, I’m convinced. So convinced that I think I’ll pick him up to sub in for Brady this week…yep. Oakland pass defense is 20th, that’s not great. TB has found their groove. Vincent Jackson is THE GUY, but you can get good play out of old Mike Williams still.
Oakland won against KC but the offense still isn’t clicking. Heyward-Bey and Denarious Moore are both good targets here with TB ranking 31st in pass defense.
Pittsburgh at NY Giants
Pittsburg defense is the best against the pass in the league. Big Ben is solid, but his WR’s haven’t been. Heath Miller may be the best play here this week. NO Pitt RB!!!
Well, it’s Eli and the pass or it’s nothing. Great matchup for the week. The Giants can’t continue to get down and then comeback. But that’s the MO which kind of hurts Bradshaw’s prospects. Upgrade WR’s and Marty B for this week.
SUNDAY NIGHT GAME
Dallas at Atlanta
Dallas finally figures out how to score, but can’t do it when it counts. DeMarco Murray should be back and I think he’s a clear start. Not sure what to expect from the Cowboys passing game. Hunch: Dez doesn’t show up two weeks in a row, I’m going with Austin.
At this point, EVERY Atlanta offensive players is a clear MUST START guy. Julio, Roddy, Michael T, and Matty Ice. But wait, I thin Tony Gonzalez has the biggest day with Dallas middle backers out or banged up.
MONDAY NIGHT GAME
Philadelphia at New Orleans
Philly is terrible, but Vick still has potential. Looks like LeSean McCoy is the guy who will “get his” no matter what. Vick’s train wreck is becoming Andy Reid’s train wreck so there’s no way to know what to expect, but hang on… New Orleans defense is HORRIBLE. Vick saves his and his coaches job with this performance. Prepare for 35+!
Brees, Colston, etc….
Here’s my look at the slate of games scheduled for Week 7 in the NFL. Oh, and the bye weeks, but I bet you’ve already made arrangements for that. Good luck!
BYES: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego
Seattle at San Francisco
Seattle knocks off New England, SF can’t score a TD against NY Giants, which teams show up this week? By the numbers, both teams run the ball well…but shouldn’t be able to against each other’s defenses. Both have issues throwing, but there lies the opportunities. Fantasy wise, you have to stick with Gore, Vernon Davis and Marshawn Lynch…not sure there are more opportunities out there this week.
SUNDAY EARLY GAMES
Dallas at Carolina
Dallas loses a game they should have won, but they found their running game just in time. With Murray out, Felix is a solid play against Carolina who holds the 23rd best/worst run defense. Of course I love Dez, who stepped up last week and always Witten. For Carolina, things might be tough, timeshare at RB is useless and what can Cam do against the Dallas D? I say, find a replacement this week. Steve Smith always seems to get his though, so he’s safe.
Tennessee at Buffalo
Chris Johnson is back! Well, kind of. It’s hard to tell what he’s going to give you going forward, but this is not a bad matchup. Buffalo is the WORST run defense in the league at this point. If you could ever start CJ?K with confidence, it’s here. Also, Kenny Britt all of a sudden is back on the scene. I still upgrade Kendall Wright. Buffalo puts up huge numbers at times and then struggles at others. Fitzpatrick has put up less than 160 passing the last two weeks, but that’s against good defenses, which Tenn is NOT. I like CJ Spiller over Fred Jackson and Scott Chandler at TE and Steve Johnson at WR.
Washington at NY Giants
RG3 is the MAN!! Alfred Morris is still holding onto RB1 spot, solid. But when RG3 is in, no WR gets enough targets to be counted on. Will be interesting to see how NYG handles RG3. Downgrade Ahmad Bradshaw and Giants rushing, but big upgrade to everyone connected to Giants pass game. Washington is the WORST pass D in the league.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
NO slings it all over the place. Lance Moore is the 3rd or 4th best WR option on this team, but against a TB defense that is next-to-last, he might be worth a start here. TB bounced back last week and found their stride. Vincent Jackson is the #1 guy, but Mike Williams now had 5TD’s, that’s more than all of last season, I owned him then. Doug Martin is a solid start, but never going to be the big producer for you. Freeman could be a sneaky start in this one if you’re needing a QB, this is likely a scorefest because both are struggling defenses.
Baltimore at Houston
Baltimore struggles on defense, yep it’s true. If Dallas can pound the run, can you imagine what happens here. Flacco could be good due to being behind early, Torrey Smith and Boldin equal threats to me. Pitta is usually a solid performer, has slipped, but hard to tell how I feel about him here. I say he’s top 10 this week.Houston, who do you NOT love? Foster, Daniels, Schaub, Johnson…all should have good to great days here. Ben Tate might even deserve a start if he’s healthy.
Cleveland at Indianapolis
Trent Richardson banged up again, Montario Hardesty anybody? For a week or two, he could be GOLD. Indy run defense is near the bottom, and Cleveland doesn’t do a lot of things well on offense although, they’re coming around. I gave you Josh Gordon a couple of three weeks ago…you’re welcome. Indy is hard to figure, come back to beat Green Bay and then give it up in a huge way to the Jets. Vick Ballard still getting the start at RB, is a solid play. Reggie Wayne always solid, Luck could be ok against 30th pass defense…in a pinch.
Green Bay at St. Louis
Are they back? If so, this could be ugly. Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, wait, what about Greg Jennings? Unknown to this point, could change Jones’ standing. Also, Finley and young RB Alex Green promote to starters on bye weeks. IF, they can do it again. St Louis defense is pretty good…don’t expect it to be as big.Rams still try and run the ball, throw it a little. Have WR needs? Try Chris Givens…just a hunch. He’s VERY available!
Arizona at Minnesota
Larry Fitzgerald is back as a solid play, Kolb targeted him 12 times, that’s the formula for success for the Cardinals. Nobody else worth a look at WR or TE. But it’s William Powell who will tote the rock for the Cards, not LaRod, adjust accordingly if possible.Minnesota is the surprise of the season for me, they lost last week, but have been really good. Kyle Rudolph is THE hot TE if he’s available. And at WR, Michael Jenkins is starting to be a reliable target opposite Percy Harvin, who should be a weekly start guy.
SUNDAY LATE GAMES
NY Jets at New England
Jets found their thrill in Shonn Greene, surprisingly. Won’t see those numbers from him again, but it does guarantee him the job for a while longer. The two young WR’s are solid performers for the Jets against a Pat pass defense that is only 28th in the league. Run D is much better, calm expectations on Greene.NE has run the ball better than a lot of teams this season, a little surprising. But they’ve started to get back to Welker, Gronk and the passing game. NYJets run defense is suspect, so expect Pats to stick with the run as has been their early season formula. Don’t think they sling it this week as much.
Jacksonville at Oakland
J-ville has SIX TD’s total…SIX! In 5 weeks of play, 6 TDs. There are no real options here, they’re terrible. But there’s hope because they’re playing Oakland. Oakland is so unstable, but Darren McFadden finally has his breakout game against the 30th run defense and a team that can’t even score a TD. Denarius Moore is the leading WR for this team and a solid play.
SUNDAY NIGHT GAME
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Mendenhall is in and things are back to normal right? Nope, he got hurt and Redman became a pass catching phenom. Don’t know what to expect as both are banged up. Figure Mendenhall is good to go by Sunday night, but not terribly effective. Wallace is the WR threat here and Heath Miller gets the call for a big week. Benjarvus Green-Ellis has to be a downgrade this week against Steelers D…AJ Green is never a sit guy and probably upgraded this week as the Bengals play from behind most of this one. Jermaine Gresham has quietly put up solid games back to back to back.
MONDAY NIGHT GAME
Detroit at Chicago
Detroit, welcome to the sophomore slump. They’ve been terrible compared to last season, but still offer some opportunities. Javhid Best was ruled out again due to concussions suffered last year, that sounds scary. But it puts Mikel LeShoure solidly in the driver’s seat at RB. Megatron is always a must start, but Nate Burleson actually has more TD catches. I think he’s solid in a WR short week. Chicago, coming off a bye, their defense is their leading scorer…crazy huh? But the Cutler to Marshall connection is a strong one, especially with Alshon Jeffery out again. Forte is back healthy and how long do you really think he stays with one TD??? I think he breaks out this week. Want a flier? I’ll start Earl Bennett in for the injured Jeffery, to have a BIG week this week against the Lions.
NFL WEEK 4 PREVIEWS
Cleveland at Baltimore
Richardson is only play here, unless you’re looking to catch a magic kicker in Phil Dawson; Bal: Flacco has another big game, pass happy Bal goes off. Rice is always a play…how about Dennis Pitta, TE!
SUNDAY EARLY GAMES
Carolina at Atlanta
Cam bounce back? I don’t think so…think Atl D is pretty good. Love them all! Tony Gonzalez, Julio, Roddy, Michael Turner, Matt Ryan
New England at Buffalo
Talk about a team needing to get on track…NE struggle again? Hard to call that. Buffalo, you’ve got the Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller/Tashard Choice issue. Stevie Johnson is quietly one of the most solid WR’s.
Minnesota at Detroit
Minn…looked good against SF at home, but two weeks in a row? Percy and AD are only guys I can trust. Don’t overreact to Kyle Rudolph, he has 6 targets in 3 weeks. Det: Stafford out? LeShoure a sure start now, KSmith DROP!
San Diego at Kansas City
SD must bounce back! But who and how? Matthews is back, but how can you tell? KC: Uh, yeah…that Charles guy is pretty darn good. Aren’t you selling that McCluster stock yet? Should be!
Seattle at St. Louis
Have defense will travel! Seattle will shut down Rams runners…yes, even Steven! Passing likely to take a hit too, but I have a hunch on Amendola. Lynch is an ALWAYS start guy, Wilson, not so much. If you believe in Tate, go for it…but for my money, it’s Rice.
San Francisco at NY Jets
SF loses, but do you think THAT is who they are or the previous team? Doesn’t matter, Gore is always good, Davis is a MUST and there’s bound to be a WR that you can count on. Jets are home, but 9ers will make it tough for Shonn Greene, Stephen Hill status still unsure, think Jeremy Kerley is worth a look.
Tennessee at Houston
This is a money game…for Houston versus the OLD Houston. Tenn defense is one of the worst in the league, against pass: 30th, against run: 29th. This is a week to start Foster AND Tate and all other Texan offense. CJ2K would be on my bench if he were on my team, Hou is top 5 rushing defense and Tenn will be behind all day. Nate Washington had a nice day this week, but it’s one week and it’s done. Maybe Craig Stevens, TE. Look at his targets and Jared Cook is Questionable.
SUNDAY LATE GAMES
Miami at Arizona
Reggie Bush is probably out. Daniel Thomas has been banged up. Long term (next 3-6 weeks) I like picking up Thomas, can’t start him here though. I won’t like anyone from Miami against this Arizona defense. But I do like the Arizona defense (available in 80%+ leagues) against a struggling Miami offense with a rookie QB and without healthy running backs. Arizona won’t give you a good RB option, but maybe Fitzgerald is back? Jury is still out.
Cincinnati at Jacksonville
Run Fest! These teams rank 30th and 31st in run defense, so RB’s from respective teams should have a field day. Andy Dalton and AJ Green are hot, I like Dalton if you’re struggling at QB. I would pump L. Robinson, but the concussion sets him back. Long term I think Blackmon is good, not sure this week though. Don’t look at Cecil Shorts, WR…make him do it again.
Oakland at Denver
Oakland is just disappointing. Palmer can’t throw it to anybody and DMC seems to be missing something, maybe an O-line? Denarius Moore gets shut down in this game by Denver’s above average CB’s. Denarius Thomas gets a TON of targets, but converts very few. For my money, Eric Decker or Brandon Stokley are more stable options. Tamme is ok, but not outstanding yet. Last thought…Peyton is overrated…look how many guys outscore him each week…young guys too.
New Orleans at Green Bay
Holy Smokes, the schedule doesn’t do any favors for a team that’s 0-3. NO still throws up points, but they can’t stop anyone. A gun to my head would have me starting Pierre Thomas over the other two, but that’s desperation talking. Graham always a must start as is Brees, but you can never pick out a WR. GB struggled a couple of times already, but at home against the WORST run defense in the league, they’ll be solid. So, Cedric Benson is a must start as are whichever of the Packers WR’s you prefer.
Washington at Tampa Bay
RG3 puts up numbers, fantasy numbers. In fantasy we don’t care if he wins, we just want the stats. If we’re right about Shanahan, Alfred Morris has few weeks left as a starter, who’s next? 10 different Redskins were targeted with passes last week, how the heck do you pick one? Fred Davis always good. Tampa is just terrible; Think Martin, RB is a solid guy and I’ll always lean to Vincent Jackson over Mike Williams. Freeman has looked bad for two years now, not sure what the deal is. Tampa is on opposite sides, worst pass defense in league, best run defense…means NOTHING!
SUNDAY NIGHT GAME
NY Giants at Philadelphia
Giants throw up huge numbers. Which WR’s are in? Bennett is a MUST start at TE every week. Manning is a steal no matter where you drafted him. Supposedly Bradshaw is back this week…so that screws up the RB deal. Philly is a MESS! Can’t Vick snap out of this deal? Surely he will. I know I’m holding on for at least one more week. McCoy always a must start. I’ll go out on a limb with Celek, TE this week!
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Chicago at Dallas
I think these teams are SO similar. Forte is out for the Bears however, Bush looked good, but not great. Chicago is the 6th best defense, passing and rushing. Dallas 19 against the run, 2nd against the pass. Cutler can help a secondary out though. Chicago’s regulars get theres, must start Michael Bush, Brandon Marshall (twice as many targets as next WR). Dallas, does the offense finally get going? Not a good team to do so against…but I think Witten bounces back as does Dez Bryant. Although, Miles Austin has been the most consistent WR on this team. Kickers may rule the day here. Either teams kicker could be a GREAT play here.
Be sure and let me know BEFORE the games if you think I’m way off base. C’mon, anybody can tell me I missed it AFTER…
As heard on Tuesday’s show, here is what I think will happen, wait should happen…wait might happen this week in the NFL related to fantasy.
Chicago at Green Bay
Another tough Def for GB; Do you dare sit A Rodgers? Me neither. Jennings likely out, Jordy Nelson upgraded. Chicago, if you believe Michael Bush continues to steal TD’s from Forte, make that play. I do not!
EARLY SUNDAY GAMES
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Snore Fest~! B Green-Ellis is a strong play for Cinci; Cleveland literally has NOBODY that I would feel good about starting.
Minnesota at Indianapolis
Adrian Peterson, I was wrong…he’s the most reliable back in fantasy over the past 5 years. I like some Percy Harvin! For INDY, Reggie Wayne obviously, maybe Colby Fleener, but I think TE is deep enough to avoid him, Donald Brown? He’s a starter but not likely to have many leads, probably throw a lot!
New Orleans at Carolina
NO running backs have always been hard to figure, but it seemed to me that Pierre Thomas had the best day there last week in a game they trailed the whole day. It’s a bench him and watch deal, but I’ve always liked Pierre. Carolina only rushed 13 times as a TEAM. I don’t know what to make of that. But with Jonathan Stewart back, I can’t see which back would be the starter play.
Houston at Jacksonville
Andre Johnson is back, or at least for week one was pretty solid. Arian Foster still has starting job…for now. And Owen Daniels still a good play at TE in a deep field. MJD is a must start despite missing training camp, Gabbert NO WAY, but he seems to like Laurent Robinson as much as Romo did. He had 9 targets in Week 1. Watch it!
Oakland at Miami
I believe Darren McFadden is the best back in the league outside Peterson, but he can’t stay healthy. Until he’s hurt he is a MUST PLAY. Check the news on the Oak WR’s. Both starters were out hurt in week 1. I’m not sure it will matter with Carson Palmer chunking it. Miami; honestly, Reggie Bush may be the only play here. I would play the Oakland defense against Miami if needed. Defenses against rookie QB’s usually find success.
Arizona at New England
Kevin Kolb gets the start in Ariz, due to Skelton injury. Doesn’t impact your QB play at all. Can only help Fitzgerald right? I still think he’s a downgrade this season. Keep an eye on Beanie Wells in that RB spot. New England, I guess I start Steven Ridley until he burns me, but I bet he burns us this week. Don’t bench Welker, just don’t!
Tampa Bay at NY Giants
Eli bounces back! Both WR’s have big days, keep an eye on Marty B. Bradshaw is a downgrade for me. I think the rookie gets another shot and that’s a timeshare at RB for NY. Freeman may be the boat anchor in TB. Once a rising star…maybe not. Vincent Jackson is the play at WR, not Mike Williams. Doug Martin was decent, but not available to anybody. You took him, you must play him.
Baltimore at Philadelphia
Talk about a defense licking it’s chops! Vick throws 4 INTs against CLE, only manages 17 points. This is where the NFL won’t make sense. I think Vick levels out, McCoy still must start, but very average day. Baltimore, I love them all…especially Anquan Boldin and the TE, Dennis Pitta (9 targets, 13 pts in wk 1).
LATE SUNDAY GAMES
Detroit at San Francisco
Hmmm, Matt Stafford struggled. Was last season his new normal or did he play over his head? I think he struggles again and EVERYBODY is affected. It would probably be a mistake, but I would consider benching Megatron here…yep, probably a mistake…we’ll see. San Fran; Gore looked great, even in a crowded backfield. Crabtree is a nice pickup if available. I don’t expect Moss to keep it up, but who knows.
Washington at St Louis
Ok, I don’t think RG3 keeps that up all season, but I think he could be good again against the Rams. I also love Alfred Morris here. Morris starters life is uncertain, Shanahan has a tendency to change it up for no reason, but for now he’s the guy. St Louis is not very good still, but Steven Jackson is a must start and I think you take a hard look at Amendola this week.
Dallas at Seattle
I’ve never been so happy to own Dallas’ defense! Against Russell Wilson at QB they will eat his lunch. Lynch could even things out, but don’t think he will against the Cowboys D-line and linebackers, leaving a short rookie QB to take on two all-star caliber corners…pick city! Dallas has stars everywhere. Ogletree is probably already owned by now in your league, as is Romo, Witten, Bryant, Austin and Murray.
NY Jets at Pittsburgh
Mark Sanchez was a top 7 QB in week 1, can he do it again? Not likely against this D, but he’s better than you think. Stephen Hill is the best WR pickup on the waivers if you ask me. He’s a pure starter, as opposed to Ogletree who is only in in 3WR sets. I like the Jets offense and I still like Shonn Greene. Pittsburg, still struggling at RB, but passing should be their thing now anyway. Big Ben is always solid, WR’s are talented. Let’s see if Mike Wallace shakes off a little more rust this week.
Tennessee at San Diego
If you make a move to bench or trade Chris Johnson after one week, you deserve to watch him take his new team to the Fantasy Super/Shiva/Whatever Bowl. Don’t overreact! He’s a top 5 back! Not sure about the QB position for the Titans however, which should affect the WR’s. Still think Kendall Wright is a great Bench and watch player and Jared Cook is a top performer at TE. San Diego; What the Heck are you doing at RB? I can’t figure that out. I thought Ronnie Brown was THE play last week, but no… Till then it’s just pick a WR and Antonio Gates. Oh and of course, Phillip Rivers, but I assumed we all new that.
Denver at Atlanta
I should have asked this on the show, it’s a great question: Do you have more confidence in Peyton Manning or Matt Ryan doing it again? It’s that tough a question. I can’t believe Peyton is top 10 all year, but is this a drop off game or not? I can’t believe Ryan can do THAT again…period…so of the two, I think they’re both in the 10-15 ranked QB range this week. Denver running game could be a nice surprise, Demarius Thomas for sure. Atlanta’s WR’s we knew about, Tony Gonzalez we knew…but the lack of running game is weird from Atlanta. Granted, that many pass attempts limits your chances to run, but still…I’m looking to pick up Jacquizz Rodgers to bench and watch if he takes over from Michael Turner. Something’s not right here. But I do LOVE Matt Bryant, Kicker from Atlanta…I know…the ONLY kicker reference in the whole thing.
It will be fun to look back and see if any of this was right. Hey, I can be a lucky as the next guy. Don’t think fantasy football is luck? Really? So, you started CJ Spiller, Ogletree and Stephen Hill week 1? Yeah, me neither.
Three years ago, I happened to notice that in projections or my mock drafts I hadn’t seen any Houston running back go before round 4, the 40th pick or so. At that point, lots of running backs had been suggested or selected, but none from Houston. People had even taken some backup running backs, great handcuffs if you will, but nobody from Houston.
At that time, Houston hadn’t shown itself as a powerhouse running team necessarily, although I picked up some major contributions from Slight Steve Slaton in his rookie season. But surely, I thought, they were worth more than backup RB’s or WR’s.
I went directly to the Texans information, looking at their depth chart and news. Depth charts showed another rookie, Ben Tate as the projected starter, backed up by Steve Slaton and Arian Foster. However, news out of camp said that Tate had a knee injury and wasn’t going to start the season, and that Slaton had fallen out of favor with Head Coach Gary Kubiak.
All this to say, I started to think…Foster is going to be their starter, but we don’t know who he is or how good he will be. Longer story made short, I intended to draft him around that position, 40th and would have if the guy one pick ahead of me hadn’t taken him. The rest, as they say, is history. Foster is probably the overall #1 fantasy pick this season (although I don’t think he should be).
That was three years ago, what’s the point?
The point is, I bet your drafts are just like mine. Guys take names they know but NEVER look at a depth chart. I don’t know who the starting back will be for EVERY team, but one thing I always have is a depth chart. Here’s a great example from my most recent draft. Some guy drafted Jahvid Best, RB Detroit. Nobody said anything, as much trash as my league talks, we don’t kick a guy when he’s obviously screwed up. Any good fantasy player knows, Best was a good pick last season and a good player. Since then he’s had like 15 concussions and is likely not to play at all. (day after our draft he was put on the PUP list).
But the guys he didn’t know about, were sitting there on the depth charts screaming at him…I’m a #1!!! Maybe on a bad team, maybe he doesn’t even start the whole season…but how can you draft an unsure #2 when there are #1′s still out there?
Maybe the next unknown #1 is the next Arian Foster? He either will be or he won’t be…but if you happen to draft him, you’ll look like the Fantasy genius. Isn’t that worth it?
Stop taking #2′s (again with how that sounds) and take #1′s until they’re gone!
Ok, so that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but you know the idea. In theory, if you plan out your fantasy draft and know basically what position you will take whether you draft 1st, 4th or 9th you have an assumed advantage over your league mates. Not so fast my friend.
This will confirm my status as “too stat heavy” and a fantasy nerd (as if there were any doubts) but it was fun, I called it “show prep” and in the end, nobody got hurt.
Fantasy Draft Mock
I took the latest ESPN rankings of Average Draft Position. This would give you an idea of where most people are taking which players. It is supposed to give you an idea what to expect when you head into your draft. Usually they’re pretty close in my leagues, at the end of 10 rounds with 10 teams, my leagues will be pretty close to taking the top 100 players off the board, pretty closely to the order too.
So, applying the ADP to ten fictional teams and seeing what would come out. Some teams will take running backs first, some will have to take quarterbacks first, etc…
You come into a deal like this with assumptions, RB early and often is the way to go, QB first is a waste of a pick. But again, not so much.
To draft the players is one thing, but all you get from that is a good or bad feeling about your roster. To take it one step further, I went back and applied ESPN’s projected points for each player to give a quantifiable factor to the rosters. Keep in mind, ADP is based on what has been done in mock drafts, projected points are not subject to feelings, they’re just projections. Meaning, a guy taken a full round earlier could have and often did have a lower projection. Who’s right? Who knows, not the point in this particular post.
I’ve uploaded the pdf file of the results. I won’t make any assumptions except to note that the guy in the 10th position ended up not being very good. I doubt it had as much to do with his draft position, although that didn’t help as it had to do with the way the draft was done. That fictional team was forced to take the next highest player based on ADP each time. You would think at some point a real player would have taken a chance or gone for a particular position, but again…not the point.
Take a look at it, make your own assumptions…but whether it’s QB first or RB first, I can’t see that it makes too terrible much difference. But then, that’s no fun.
The lists are broken down into total roster points and into starters points. Because after all, it doesn’t matter how much the 4th RB on your bench scores…his points won’t count. You get a couple of different numbers that way too. The guy with the higher points per roster will have more options, maybe that’s good maybe not. The guy with the higher points for starters will be more limited, but should have fewer decisions each week and should be less likely to pick the wrong “hot” player.
One last thing. There’s a mistake. I put in one player twice, if you find the player, email me the name and teams and I’ll save you an ESPN T-shirt.
Against all odds and as surprising to the staff as to the listeners, East Texas’ first and only fantasy football talk show, GameTime, will be back starting Tuesday August 21 from 6pm-7pm on ESPN East Texas 92.1 FM.
We will feature all the good stuff that makes fantasy football fun: competition, stats, outsmarting your buddies and of course a little fun trash talk when needed.
Be sure and check out the facebook page: www.facebook.com/gametimeshow and the twitter handle: @gametimeshow for updates and for opportunities to interact with the show. Hopefully we can move away from straight call-in radio to completely interactive, including chat and heaven forbid there is even talk of video capabilities.
So, in the meantime, head to your league sites, do your mock drafts and convince me why the hell you wouldn’t just take Aaron Rodgers with the first overall pick? I think I will!
Fans root for Josh Hamilton to succeed, on the field and with his daily struggles. As most fans know, Hamilton is a recovering drug and alcohol addict. Last week, Josh Hamilton proved what most already knew, that he was human, that recovery is a process not a light-switch that is either on or off.
As the news hit, most fans felt compassion for Hamilton, who is clearly one of the teams most loved players. Part of the love that fans have for Hamilton may come from being able to identify with the slugger. Hamilton is not your typical super-star, he didn’t walk into a high-lifestyle without trouble. He had the physical tools to do so early on and was the number one overall pick in 1999, but didn’t get the chance to use those tools on the field until 2007 because of his addiction problems.
Most fans live that life, day in and day out, dealing with problems, struggles and even addictions. Everyday guy can relate to the struggle of not being what his parents, wife, kids, boss or whoever thinks he should be, but struggling just the same to get there.
What Josh Hamilton considered a “slip” last week, most of us would just consider a normal night out with a friend. Dinner, maybe a couple of drinks and that’s that. The difference comes only in the pressure of knowing when Hamilton slips, there is not a chance that it goes unnoticed. When the average guy slips, he can cover it or at least hope no one noticed.
What makes Hamilton unique is his willingness to come forward with his problem and with his struggle. Face it, most of us do all we can to appear as bullet-proof and perfect as possible, but Hamilton does not have that luxury even if he wanted to. And so, whether by choice or by necessity, Josh Hamilton lives a life that is a struggle in front of hundreds of thousands of judgmental eyes everyday.
The other thing that makes Hamilton unique is his willingness to talk about his recovery and his faith. “I cannot take a break from my recovery,” Hamilton said. “My recovery is Christ. My recovery is an everyday process. When I take that one day off, it leaves me open for a moment of weakness and it’s always been that way.
Some fans will take this opportunity to take a shot at the over-privileged athlete, who has shown once again not to be able to handle the life that talent can provide. There are plenty of examples for these people to look towards and wag their finger at. Others may even take this as a chance to lump Hamilton, Kurt Warner, Tim Tebow and other professing Christians in a group to show that these athletes are no better than the rest of us.
Unfortunately, these fans are right.
The super-star athlete is no better than the average fan, the average man. The super-star has access to more access to more vices than the average man possibly, but the expectations on the super-star should be no higher and certainly no lower than what is on the average man.
If sports fans lower their expectations of athletes, expect more and more of the same. However, be sure not to hold that super-star up to high either, remember at his root, he’s just another man, with exceptional athletic ability.
Sports are set in a glass house, for all to see the good and the bad. But sport, at its basis, reflects the society around it. Before we judge the super-star too quickly, think of the old Christian adage, “there but by the grace of God go I”.
Life isn’t easy, for normal people or for super-stars.
College football came to its grand crescendo last night with Alabama shutting out LSU 21-0 in the National Championship game. While the game was decisive enough that it should make Alabama the clear Champion, there seems to be more relief from fans that changes are promised to be coming soon.
Commissioners from all 11 major conferences, plus the Notre Dame Director of Athletics are meeting to discuss the possibility of changes to the current BCS system that most hope will bring a playoff of some form.
Currently, the BCS ranks the teams based on their strength of schedule along with some highly-technical mathematic formulas to sort out the best two teams and set up the National Championship game. Many have argued that this does not give a clear enough picture and allows for too much ambiguity, a system that takes in account too many factors or not enough factors or at least, not the correct factors.
Many assume a “plus-one” format would at least give some other teams a chance to “decide it on the field”. One proposed plus-one idea would seed the top four teams and have a playoff of sorts. This season that playoff would have had the top four teams in the final rankings (1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Oklahoma State & 4. Stanford) play each other to decide who would play in the National Championship matchup. Stanford would play LSU, Alabama would play OSU and the winner of each would play in the final. Simple right?
If that happened this season, LSU would have entered the playoff undefeated; the three other teams would have gone in with one loss. The question becomes, would the playoff actually settle all the disagreements about the title game? If the top two teams win, you would have had the same matchup, and some would be appeased because it was finally “settled on the field”, however, it’s not that simple. It never is.
What if, LSU loses to Stanford, a team that lost in the bowl game to OSU? Now you have Stanford, the #4 seed, playing #2 Alabama in the National Championship game and it’s all ok because it was “settled on the field”. In that scenario, one-loss Alabama would play one-loss Stanford, while one-loss and previous #1 LSU would be out. Does that seem settled? Not hardly.
Just for the sake of the argument, let’s consider that instead of Stanford at #4, Oregon does not lose a close game to USC and Oregon ends up #4. Same results, Oregon beats LSU and advances to take on #2 Alabama. You would then have two one-loss teams playing for the National Championship and another one-loss team, LSU out. The reason that particular situation would be tricky, LSU would have beaten both those teams. So, two one-loss teams playing for the title and the team that beat BOTH of those schools is eliminated because they had a bad game “when it counted”.
None of this even takes into account teams like Boise St, who also played the full season with only one loss or Houston, who suffered a loss late, but still only had one. These teams are not even considered, because the experts tell us they play too weak of a schedule to be considered one of the “big boys”.
As the conference heads gather in a room to decide the new rules the schools will play by, they would be wise to get input from all the voting sources. Specifically, they will need to address the AP writers.
Since December 2004, the AP poll has not been a determining factor in the BCS rankings. This happened when the AP writers demanded their poll be taken out of the BCS calculations following two consecutive controversial years.
By taking themselves out of the BCS, the AP gained for itself a renewed power. The power to buck the system, to vote their consciences and to throw rocks at a “mathematical” system that is imperfect.
College football fans view that abstention as a badge of honor, of doing what is right for College football, even though that is not hardly the case.
It is interesting to note, that following last night’s National Championship game, 55 of the 60 AP voters voted Alabama #1, four voted Oklahoma State #1 and one voted LSU #1. Really?
So, the big 12, heads of major conferences, meet to decide what to do next. How to fix the system that is apparently broken or simply to adjust the current system.
The BCS system is not perfect, but the adjusted system won’t be perfect either. What then?
Cowboys fans for the past month and longer have laid blame clearly and confidently on a couple of places, the General Manager, Jerry Jones and a young Head Coach who clearly can not handle dual roles of Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator.
Jerry Jones may not be the “talent evaluator” he believes he is, so the role of GM may be a wasted title for Jones to hold along with that of Owner. Hiring a GM to come in assuming that person can be the “talent evaluator” all fans long for is just as skewed a perspective.
Looking back at Cowboys’ drafts, there are certainly some picks that are questionable, some decisions that may not have been the wisest ones. However, good luck finding any team that can not say the same thing.
People still pull up Mike Ditka as Head Coach and “talent evaluator” in New Orleans as an example of a stupid decision. Remember, Ditka traded his entire draft for one sure bet, Ricky Williams. Clearly that was a bad decision right? Check into it, of the picks that Ditka gave up to those clearly wiser “talent evaluators”, how many of those picks made a significant impact. Profootballweekly.com assembled the list:
• 1999 (Round One, pick No. 12) — The Redskins dealt this pick to Chicago, which used it to select UCLA QB Cade McNown. In 15 career starts, McNown was 3-12 with 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He never played in the league after 2000.
• 1999 (Round Three, pick No. 71) — Chicago also was given this pick, which it used on D’Wayne Bates. Other than the 50-catch season he had for Minnesota in 2002, Bates was a bust.
• 1999 (Round Four, pick No. 107) — LB Nate Stimson didn’t leave much of an imprint on the Nation’s Capital — or anywhere, for that matter.
• 1999 (Round Five, pick No. 144) — With its final pick from the trade it made with Washington, Chicago grabbed LB Khari Samuel. One start, three seasons.
• 1999 (Round Six, pick No. 179) — Denver obtained the final two 1999 picks from Washington and used the first of which on TE Desmond Clark, who has collected more than 300 catches and 3,500 yards during his still-active career.
• 1999 (Round Seven, pick No. 218) — With its other pick, Denver grabbed Billy Miller, who caught 200 passes during his nine-year career, most of them coming after he left the Broncos.
• 2000 (Round One, pick No. 2) — The Redskins added Penn State’s LaVar Arrington, who gave the club three Pro Bowl seasons (2001-03) before his play began to rapidly decline. Arrington was a solid player but failed to meet the lofty expectations that come with being a top-five linebacker pick.
• 2000 (Round Three, pick No. 64) — Jamaican-born Lloyd Harrison spent three years in the NFL playing for three different clubs.
Would a similar move be wise, not likely, but that’s not the point. The point here is, be careful who you consider to be the dumb guy and who you consider to be the smart guy as far as “talent evaluation” goes.
Jones, when he has the correct people around him, does as good a job as anybody else in the league at evaluating draft eligible talent. Despite what the “experts” say, there are very few sure bets.
Atlanta presents a great example for Cowboy fans. The Falcons made the playoffs for the third time in four seasons after posting an impressive 10-6 record. Previous years had been marred with turnovers and inability to finish, this playoff birth will be marked with a clear flop after falling to the Giants 24-2.
Two whole points! And those were scored by the defense.
So, what should the Falcons do? News from Atlanta says, fire the General Manager, this one’s no good. Hire a new Offensive Coordinator, this one’s no good. Keep the Head Coach, we’re not sure about him yet. Keep the Defensive Coordinator, he didn’t do too poorly.
Adding in the two additional positions, General Manager and separate coordinator positions, obviously does not fix the problem, it only adds another culpable party to take the fall when the inevitable happens.
As always, presenting what is NOT the solution is fairly simple. Offering a solution, not as much.
For Cowboys fans, patience will be the first key.
No one is sure if Jason Garrett is the right Head Coach for America’s Team and no one will know or agree that he is unless he wins the coveted Super Bowl Title. Until you can be sure, he is NOT the guy, then have patience, and hope.
As well, fans hanging their confidence on Jerry Jones’ as head “talent evaluator” may not be the most comfortable position in the world, but with the right people in place and a little bit of luck…even dumb ole Jerry can find some players that will add talent to a roster that just is not as talented as previously sold.
Again, not suggesting Jones and Garrett go all “Ditka” and trade the draft away, this team has plenty of holes to fill.
But even with a GM and OC, Atlanta no more showed the way to success than the current plan.
Taking a look back at the four most recent NFL draft classes by the Dallas Cowboys, it’s not hard to see why this team struggles to maintain leads late in games. There is a shortage of talent, or at least depth of talent, particularly on the defensive side.
The jury is still out on the 2011 draft class, but what we do know is: Tyron Smith is a for sure starter in the league and a great pick. DeMarco Murray taken in the third round proved to be a great pick as well, before injury hit. Bruce Carter, a LB project taken in the second round, if it pays off in the next couple of years, that’s a pretty good pick. Arkin & Harris have seen little action. Harris would have been a steal as a WR/PR taken in the 6th round, if he had managed to gain any yards returning punts. Chapas is a third string FB and special teams player…7th rd pick. Nagy, also taken in the 7th, was seeing some playing time, but now resides on the IR.
Not a bad class, even with the jury still out. Six of the eight players made the roster, with three or so making significant contributions immediately.
2010 – This is the class that brought the Cowboys Dez Bryant, Sean Lee and Sean Lissemore. No really, that’s it. Out of six players taken in the 2010 draft, only these three remain on the squad, and Lissemore was a seventh round pick. Hold on, it gets better.
2009 – A huge draft class in 2009, the Cowboys used their 12 picks and netted four players that are still on the roster. In today’s NFL, this would have been those players third year, the year they really start to contribute to the team. Here are the players the Cowboys drafted that “stuck”: David Buehler (currently on IR as Dan Bailey takes his job), Stephen McGee (moved up to #2 with Jon Kitna ir), Victor Butler, makes contributions on the defense backing up Anthony Spencer and John Phillips, third string TE. Hmm, 4 out of 12 and NO starters in the whole bunch? Sounds like a Mike Ditka “I’ll trade my whole draft for Ricky Williams” deal may have been in order.
2008 – Dallas drafted six players in 2008, four of those made the roster. A fifth, Tashard Choice technically would be on the roster, except the Cowboys released him earlier in the year. Here’s the list, Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, both starters on opposite sides of the ball with some success. Martellus Bennett (currently the second string TE, but would be released if I had control for just 5 minutes) and Orlando Scandrick, who backs up Terence Newman at corner.
It would be too small a sample size and too soon to say that the 2011 draft was more successful than any of the previous three because of Jason Garrett’s influence as new Head Coach. However, another draft class and some free agent movement in 2012 will give Cowboy fans a good picture of what they have and what they can expect.
Most fans agree, Garrett and Jerry Jones need to spend their time evaluating available talent to help out a defense that has struggled at times this season. Another look back at the previous draft classes shows more explanation for limited success and depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Draft Year Offensive Players Defensive Players
2011 6 2
2010 2 4
2009 3/1 kicker 8*
2008 3 3
* Remember in 2009, only Buehler, McGee, Victor Butler and John Phillips remain on this team.
The team has concentrated on drafting heavily towards the defense in the past few years, but no successfully. Then in 2011, when fans recognize the need for significant defensive skill players, the teams goes largely after additional offensive talent.
It tells me one of a couple of explanations, the team did not realize the defense needed help as bad at this time last year, the team as a whole as not as good on either side of the ball as most fans thought, or the GM/Coach couldn’t resist the offensive picks that were in their face when their pick came around. Sure, there’s probably hundreds more possible explanations, but these are three very reasonable ones.
Looking forward Cowboys fans have to hope that their Owner/GM/Coach recognize the need for additional talent on the defensive side of the ball and draft accordingly. Not only to draft defensive players, but players who can come in and make an impact.
But for now, at least it explains, a little, why the team struggles in the fourth quarter. Expect it. The Cowboys don’t have the players to finish.
Well, it may be almost a year late in the presentation, but today I presented our very own Bill Coates with the “Gleiser Cup” for his performance in our inner-office fantasy league last year.
Bill won the whole thing last season despite only knowing a couple of his players, maybe that’s the secret.
At any rate, I had to hurry down to Tyler Trophy and get the traveling trophy in his hands just in time for him to hand it off to this year’s winner in about three weeks. Bill didn’t make the playoffs in our league this year and therefore will be unable to defend his title.
But doesn’t he look like a WINNER kissing the trophy?
Sorry, I don’t have a SIT list, but if you can START these guys, then SIT the others. Otherwise, email me with any questions about particular start/sit matchups and I will get you an answer ASAP.
And one more time let me say this: START YOUR STUDS! Don’t out-think the room here…
QB: Tony Romo, Dallas; Look for Romo and the Cowboys to have a big day against a weakened NYG secondary.
Feel good about Matthew Stafford, Det against Minnesota this week.
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Seattle. A couple of huge weeks and this week Seattle takes on StLouis. Worst run defense in NFL!
All your prime-timers have good matchups this week: Mendenhall, Pitt vs Cleve; Ray Rice, Bal vs Indy; MJD J-ville vs TB; Michael Turner, Atl vs Carolina and Shonn Greene, NYJ vs KC.
WR: I like Dez Bryant over Laurent Robinson this week for Dallas. Same TD catches (7), Austin may be back, Romo is finding Dez more and more.
Victor Cruz, NYG; Dallas secondary gives it up, Cruz catches TD’s.
Vincent Jackson, SD; He torched GB, and has been hot and cold since…but Buffalo presents too good an opportunity for you this week!
TE: Ok, you should have your TE, but if you’ve been day-trading em all season, it might be time to commit. Or, if you had mr recreational drugs Fred Davis, Wash.
Here’s a couple of guys that have a ton of catches, but haven’t managed too many TD’s this season so far:
Kellen Winslow, TB vs Jacksonville
Brandon Pettigrew, Det vs Minn
Aaron Hernandez, NE; doesn’t get the TD’s Gronkowski does, but is still solid…and who knows.
Ed Dickson, Bal; Still like Ed, so many targets.
D/ST: Best start this week:
Seattle hosting Stlouis is pretty dang solid. StL can’t get much going at all and are bound to turn it over.
Still like Denver against Chicago and young QB.
Miami hosting Philly; Vick is supposedly back, but not 100%. So a hurt vick or a healthy VY…either way, this defense exploits it!
Here’s how it works, follow the link below which will take you to the ESPN College Football Mania site.
Join the ESPNEastTexas92.1 group. Will probably have to search for it.
If you’re asked for the group password, it is: espneasttexas, brilliant, I know.
Once you’re in, it’s all on you now. Pick a winner in each bowl game. Rank the games you’re most confident about at the top to get the most points (35 for the top 1 for the least confident). Pick a score in the National Championship game to serve as a tie-breaker and save your picks.
Be sure and invite your buddies, friends, co-workers and family to play as well. We’ll probably find some prizes laying around the station somewhere, or maybe we’ll come up with something really cool…
Either way, there’ll be plenty of chances to compete and talk trash.
Gametime Podcast 11-29-11
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Some fans and journalists have said although they rooted for the US Team, they were glad Japan, amid all that countries struggles of late, were able to win. That Japan played well, survived and if the US had to lose, at least it was to a team with something to play for.
Other fans and journalists have not taken the most positive approach, saying that the US team simply choked, giving up leads two different times and then mailing in the penalty kick portion to basically hand Japan a win.
Honestly, I think there is a middle ground…but let’s face it, that’s not interesting, to be “in the middle”. So, let’s talk about what it is to “choke”.
NBA – The most recent and easiest comparison to a team that was highly favored but failed is the Miami Heat losing to an older, “less talented” Dallas Maverick team. Therefore, by current popular opinion, Dallas didn’t win the title, Miami just choked it away.
NFL – Green Bay got into the playoffs as the lowest seed in the NFC. Fact! They then beat favored Philadelphia, Division Champion Atlanta (in a rout by the way) and another Division Champion, the Chicago Bears. All those teams apparently CHOKED! If that weren’t enough, the Packers then faced off against arguably the most successful franchise in football history, the Pittsburgh Steelers, again, heavy favorites who apparently choked. Too many turnovers, a defense that had been a strength became porous, they simply choked right?MLB – San Francisco won the World Series last season after upsetting their way through the playoffs and even overcoming their underdog role against the American League Texas Rangers. Keep in mind, one betting service offered 22-to-1 odds on the Giants winning it all before the season. Umm, that’s a long shot. So, by current standards, teams who were higher bets like the New York Yankees (11-4), Boston Red Sox (11-2), LA Angels (14-1), Philadelphia Phillies (11-2), St Louis Cardinals (13-1) and LA Dodgers (12-1) all choked. Teams like LA Angels and Dodgers didn’t even make the playoffs…what a collapse right?
Surely by now you can cut the sarcasm with a butter knife. I just don’t buy it. I think the word choke has no place in sports, it’s overused to overemphasize a word that used to be harsh enough, lost/losing/losers. In every match or game there is a winner and thus a loser. Losing doesn’t make you a loser necessarily, but if you don’t win, by default you lost. That used to be bad, real bad. But today, it’s not enough when a favored team loses to say they lost. It doesn’t have enough punch, grab attention or fill out the headlines like CHOKE does.
Let’s face it, the women were favored to win. They should have! They had chances and failed to take advantage, but to say they choked is completing taking out the fact that sport is a competition with worthy adversaries. Not to over-credit Japan’s team, but they played tough and did what they had to do…outlast the American offensive attacks. They survived long enough, found just enough breaks to win the match. But what they didn’t do is stop playing, empty their nets and allow the American team to CHOKE.
Unfortunately, it’s just a term that some of us like to use to get more attention and bash a team that failed to live up to expectations. Expectations which are set by outsiders, media members even. Expectations which mean absolutely NOTHING! Afterall, if preseason rankings or being the “favorite” meant that much, some of those favorites might actually win.
So, if anybody choked I say it’s the people or systems who rank these teams. Because apparently, they can’t pick a winner to save their lives.
Sunday afternoon, the USA Women’s National team lost a heart breaker to Japan, 3-1 (2-2) on penalty kicks.
Penalty kicks? Yep, penalty kicks. If you follow soccer as much as I do (not much) you probably question the wording of “penalty kicks”. I mean, there is no actual penalty, but that’s what it’s called. Team USA is lined up 12-yards from the goal, Japan puts a goal-tender out there who is required to hold her position until the ball is contacted and basically a two-hour match is reduced to a shoot-out that is called penalty kicks.
This was a great soccer match, game, ugh..whatever they call them, as far as I could tell. The match remained scoreless until youngster Abby Morgan raced past defenders to score in the 69th minute.
The lead didn’t last long as Japan answered on a botched clear by the American team in the 80th minute, which forced soccer’s version of overtime.
Overtime, that’s where I want to focus this post. The teams played two 45-minute halves during regulation, then extra time (only in soccer). Remaining tied (1-1) after regulation, the teams played two 15-minute overtime periods. It’s important to understand, because there is no “golden goal” in soccer, the two extra periods would be played in their entirety. In other words, this is not the NFL’s version of overtime which is “sudden death”, first one to score wins.
The US team scored first in the overtime period, but again Japan answered to re-tie the game on an AMAZING corner kick goal. As the second 15-minute period expired, I think everyone was disappointed. A match they had been glued to was about to be decided artificially.
Even though, in this circumstance my favorite team, US Women, lost I’m still in favor of overtime that offers both teams a chance to score and come back. I’m not in favor of sudden death, at any point in the season, and I don’t like the NFL’s version of it, if I were.
You know your overtime rules are not right as a league if you have one set of rules for the regular season and a different set for the playoffs. It’s just a matter of which is worse.
For time (and most importantly TV’s) sake, a match must be decided as efficiently as possible, but you can’t tell me a two-hour (2-45 minute halves and two 15-minute periods) match should be decided by penalty kicks. It takes the tension and excitement and thrill right out of the match and calms things down…that’s NOT the way a World Cup match should end.
For the record, I think baseball and basketball do OT best, simply because they continue to play by normal rules. Hockey plays by two sets of rules, but I’m fine with a sudden death shootout there because the sport, much like basketball, is not as “possession driven” as football. Soccer, extra time is fine, although I don’t like “golden goals” there. However, I HATE penalty kicks as a solution. If nothing else, use corner kicks. Those are the most exciting part of the match anyway.
NFL, it’s sudden death during the regular season and then a one-year old adjustment that is literally seven pages long in the playoffs. Wow! Is it really that difficult?
Staying in football, college and high school overtime rules are just dreadful. It’s the equivalent to baseballs “international tie-breaker” which gives each team an artificial chance to score. Runner on second, two outs and batter up. If first team scores, second team must score to re-tie the game.
I’ll leave it on this….deciding the World Cup on penalty kicks would be equivalent to deciding the super bowl after a tie on a field goal kicking contest…which, although I think could be exciting is NOT the way to end the Super Bowl.
At some point, enough is enough…just decide the thing and let me move on….right?
Not to sound like an old fogy here, but back in my day we played little league or other sports and competed for a prize at the end. Truth of the matter is, most of us just wanted the snow cone that every player got after the game, but to some the competition actually mattered too.
Whether we played for the exercise, the pure thrill of the game or for imposing our skill and will on the opponent, we all understood there would be winners and there would be losers.
For the winners, they get the trophy, the recognition, possibly an all-star selection (although that’s another topic for another day) and the snow cone.
For the losers, condolences, “better luck next time”, “you almost had em”, and the snow cone.
This system works, I, and many other adults my age grew up under a system terribly similar to this. Simply, somebody wins and somebody loses. I dare say none of us were damaged from the experience. In fact, I think as kids we learned lessons that we didn’t even realize we were learning at the time which benefited us then and still does today.
• Not everyone wins.
• To win, you have to out-perform your competition.
• Just because you won once, doesn’t mean you will always win. Staying on top is hard.
• Winning is difficult but better than losing and therefore worth the extra effort.
Those lessons are real and will be learned sooner or later. I am not arguing that handing out trophies to all participants is somehow “damaging” kids. All I am saying is, what was wrong with the old system, the one with winners and losers? Was it so damaging to the psyche of kids that we needed this new, watered down, crackerjack system where everybody gets a prize just for showing up? I don’t think so!
Leagues or organizations who decide to change the rules so that everyone is a “winner” don’t realize that by doing so they make sure there are no winners. Kids who might otherwise be winners may chose the path of least resistance if you take away the possibility of recognition. In other words, if I don’t get a trophy for winning, why would I try so hard to win? Why would I practice more than the other kids? Why would I give it 110%? I’m just going to be rewarded with the same old trophy as every other kid who shows up.
Let the kids WIN! But be prepared for the awful results…there will be LOSERS, in little leagues just as in life.
Every summer parents sign their kids up for some good clean fun, the kind found only out at the old ballpark, little league. The parents intend to give their kid a chance to get outside, be a part of a team, exercise and to compete. All of these are good reasons to participate in little league or any organized sport or activity. Yet, each and every year between the time the well-intentioned parents sign the kids up and the end of the season, the parents lose their cool with a coach, another parent or the most-likely target an umpire.
It’s unimaginable really. You sign your kid up with the best intentions, and end up teaching little Johnny or Sally one of the worst lessons possible, the lack of respect for authority, perseverance in difficult circumstances and simple dignity.
Youthbaseballinsider.com conducted a poll last fall asking the question: Is it okay to argue with an umpire’s call that you don’t agree with. Here are the results:
49% No, never with children around.
41% Yes, they should get things right or learn how.
10% Yes, it shows support of my team.
Okay, the “glass half full” people will point out that the majority of people, 49% got it “right” by voting for the answer, no, never with children around. But, it is hard to ignore the fact that the most “incorrect” answer available, “Yes, they should get things right or learn how” is a very close second at 41%. Take a second and think about that. It’s not that the umpire should learn his or her profession (never mind that this is a side-gig at best for most little league umpires), the question is, is it okay to argue with the official?
So, with some embellishment take a look at what 41% of respondents actually answered, “yes, they should get things right, learn how but if they don’t that gives me the right to publicly argue with them.” Really? Under the guise of “for the kids”, this is the second place answer? Wow!
At my step-son’s little league game, recently some questionable calls were made that favored the other team. Let me say right here, I was not there and I’m speaking completely on hear-say. I have no idea what calls were made or missed, but really it doesn’t matter, what I want you to decide is…was the reaction correct. Many of the parents on our team were getting upset about the calls and letting the officials hear about it. However, one guy apparently decided the official was clearly biased and decided to take his complaints from outside the fence to a direct confrontation as he attempted to go onto the field to make his case. Again, you have to ask yourself, really?
Every parent wants the best for their kid, to win we assume usually is the best. After all, good guys win and well, frankly, losers lose. But, at what cost? If a kid could win by talking back to the umpire, would you encourage it? What if he needed to start a fight with the other team’s best player? Or purposely injure him? These all seem ridiculous right? Most all parents would tell our kids clearly that the contest is just not worth THAT.
And yet, in every little league every season parents lose control, yell at coaches, other parents and most certainly officials to the point that security or law enforcement is called in to control the scene, at the little league field.
Before this goes too far, I am not in favor of sports leagues who don’t keep score, have no losers and award everyone the same trophy. Listen, that’s no better just a different kind of wrong. At some point, we as a society lost the ability to teach lessons learned in competition. Lessons learned from losing and winning. Different lessons, but equally important in the development of our little leaguers and heck, our adults.
My challenge: just be nicer, put your kids sport in perspective and congratulate their effort win or lose.
Agree or don’t agree, I want to hear what you have to say. Find me on facebook or send me an email.
Here’s the link to the poll:
Weather warning sirens sounded at 5:11p.m. on Sunday May 22nd, twenty minutes later the town of Joplin, Missouri was hit by an EF5 tornado that stretched three quarters of a mile wide and destroyed a path 13.8 miles long through the city of just over 50,000.As news of the disaster spread, the death toll continued to climb to 141 confirmed dead and pictures of the devastation astonished. Joplin seemed almost completely leveled, in areas where the tornado touched down, with extensive damage to large businesses like Wal-Mart and Home Depot as well as one of the two hospitals in town, St. John’s Regional Medical Center.
Rescue teams began the process of digging out and accounting for the missing immediately with efforts culminating into a final sweep that occurred Wednesday, May 31. In just over a weeks time the number of unaccounted for had shrunken from a high of 232 to the most recent count of 10, with hopes of finding those final unaccounted for alive.
President Barak Obama visited Joplin on May 29, 2011, just one week after the devastating tornado. President Obama comforted people who had lost everything and attended a memorial service to remember those who lost their lives as well as observing a moment of silence at 5:41p.m. marking the time, just a week prior, when the tornado first hit.
Joplin, Missouri is approximately 400 miles just east of due North from Tyler, Texas. In Tyler, Cori and Ryan Moore watched the devastating reports coming from Joplin as they discussed their plans to take a family vacation further south to Galveston.Increasingly, Cori and Ryan found themselves torn. “How could we plan a trip to go and have fun and spend money while these people in Joplin were hurting?”
And so, Mrs. Moore did what most people do not. She put action to her convictions. With the help of her boss and business owner, Dr. Dennis Santo of Santo Chiropractic, Moore first set up a page on the business’ website and facebook giving patients and friends the chance to donate to support a trip to Joplin.
As Moore began to reach out through friends and especially facebook, she came across Mission Tyler Director, Travis White, who joined in the effort. White has led mission trips such as this into devastated areas previously, and offered a wealth of experience and connections.
From that point, the dream of trading in a vacation for a relief effort had taken shape. Donations of food items, water, clothes, toys and money came in to and through Moore and White, ready to be delivered to the hurting people of Joplin.“Here in our office we just try to love on our patients,” said Moore, “we figure people need love more than they need anything else and the people of Joplin are no different.”
Moore and White will not go alone, their efforts of reaching out to the people of Joplin spread and found like-minded people who also are willing to give up time and effort to help out any way they can. A volunteer team of over 30 people is set to leave Thursday evening
from Tyler’s First Baptist Church South Campus with the goal of sharing love with the people of Joplin, Missouri.
You can contact Cori Moore at email@example.com or find a list of supplies on her company website: www.santochiropractic.com and click on the Joplin relief effort.
Travis White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.missiontyler
Although the Joplin relief team members from Tyler were made up of all different types, the reaction by all 32 members of the team were almost identical. “This just doesn’t seem real,” different members of the team found themselves saying over and over again or “I can’t believe what I saw,” as the group from Tyler pitched in to help Joplin continue to recover.
Marshall Grace, a retired Goodyear worker and others had difficulty understanding how they could find complete destruction on one side of a street and seemingly no damage just across the same street. “Some places looked so bad and yet right across the street it was amazing that those houses and businesses didn’t seem to be bothered at all.”
The team from Tyler arrived in Joplin around 3:15 Friday morning and upon arrival were advised, by the National Guard, to find an alternate route to their destination as the “disaster area” had been shut down after dark for curfew. The group made their way to Carl’s Junction Baptist Church family life center and gym where they attempted to sleep as much as possible before an early 6:45 departure time.
Working on two hours sleep, the team took their assignments and moved out into the heart of Joplin to finally see the results of the damage first-hand.
For a while, things in the city looked no different than any other city that had suffered a strong thunderstorm and high winds. However, once you hit the swath where the actual tornado touched down, things looked drastically different.
Houses were damaged to various degrees, there were trees, but they didn’t look like normal trees. “It makes you think, how hard must the winds be blowing,” said 17-year old Logan Zedlitz, “I mean, the bark is blown right off the trees.”
The winds of the tornado are said to have been in excess of 200 mph two weeks ago Sunday when the tornado dropped in on Joplin, and was one of the worst tornadoes in American history.At one point, the team was asked, by the daughter of an elderly couple, to help clean up as the couple had no insurance, the team accepted the invitation and began to help the uninsured home owner clean up to reduce some of the financial burden.
Behind the damaged house, there was a stump pulled part way out of the ground by the high winds with exposed roots as much as a foot around. The limbs and tree had been cleared away, but the damage was still visible. A backyard that was once shaded by a huge oak tree was now exposed completely to the sun and elements.
The view from the back yard was very much the same, as workers could look out from the hilltop residence and see house after house with extensive damage. It was another instance that was shocking to so many of the workers who had prepared to see damage, but until they actually saw it first hand, had no idea really what to expect.
The team moved from the elderly couple’s home toward Joplin High School where again, they were shocked at what they observed. The High School looked to be damaged beyond repair. Debris littered the practice field next to the school. Sheet metal that had previously covered walkways and roofs on the high school were now bent and wrapped around trees across the street from the school.
The twenty foot fence that had formed the backstop for the baseball field was almost doubled over in half now, back towards the home stands where spectators likely had watched games just weeks prior.
Moving from the high school, the team next approached St. John’s Regional Hospital, which before the disaster hit, made plans to care for those hit hardest by the massive twister. However, the hospital itself was directly in the path and hit. The multiple-story building was supposedly hit so hard by the high winds that the building itself was moved off its foundation.Although shocked at what they were seeing, the team from Tyler did what it set out to do. Amid the destruction, piles of debris and at times even the smell of what hopefully was only dead animal flesh, the team helped to give a hand up to a hurting community and shared love with those they came in contact with. In all, the team worked to clear hundred of pounds of debris, made up of tree limbs, shingles, bricks and anything else the wind had decided to toss wildly that day. Specifically, the team helped families to move on, to put the devastation behind them and allow them to move forward.
When you think of heroes most of us conjure up ideas of comic book characters, Superman, Spiderman, Thor and maybe even The Green Lantern. But when tragedy hits, the people that come to help you out, those are the people that you consider heroic.
Most of the time, the people that help out in tragedies are loved ones or close friends, but sometimes not such close friends, just people with that extra dose of compassion, who wouldn’t think of being anywhere else or doing anything other than help.
When the Missouri town of Joplin was hit by a category EF-5 tornado on May 22 of this year, people all around the country saw the news and had compassion for the people enduring loss of life or home. Some of those people gathered goods to send to the people of Joplin and some of them took the goods and the trip to personally deliver the message of hope, love and compassion to the people.
On June 3 a group of 32 people from Tyler and the surrounding communities headed out to provide the people of Joplin some help, some relief, some compassion. Among that group were people of all types and of all backgrounds who shared in the fact that they were moved to action.
Cortney Thomas – mother of three, part-time hero!
Cortney Thomas of Martin’s Mill saw the news of the tornado in Joplin like most of America, and immediately her heart reached out for the people of Joplin. Thomas, like anyone who saw the damage felt terrible, but this was different, she wanted to do something to help these people.“I wanted to come do something, but didn’t know what, I just wanted to go help,” said Thomas about the initial feelings she shared with many of the crew that went to Joplin.
With children ages two, four and almost six, it’s not easy to just pick up and leave the state no matter how good the cause. Thomas is a stay-at-home mom, so her work never ends, constantly picking up after, cleaning and cooking.
However, Thomas talked it over with her husband got his blessing of sorts and contacted the group about going.
Once in Joplin, Thomas found herself at a loss for words when trying to describe the scene to her husband, “It’s just beyond words. There’s no way to make my husband, or anyone, understand what I’m seeing,” said Thomas.
From raising her children with love and compassion, Thomas found a way to use her gifts in Joplin, to help share love and compassion. She also came away with a new perspective, “being here helped me realize how things (houses, furnishings, etc) can be gone in minutes.”
Now back at home, Cortney Thomas, an everyday hero will go back to taking care of her three children, until someone else really needs her again and you can bet she will answer that call.
Amy Creed, Kelsey Tinnen, Jackie and Catherine Rodgers – Moms, daughters and heroes!
Thursday was the last day of school for many in Tyler, Texas. For Kelsey Tinnen and Catherine Rodgers, it was the day they planned to go help out tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri.
Tinnen and Rodgers’ mothers, Amy Creed and Jackie Rodgers saw the damage and destruction in Joplin, they even made an agreement among themselves to go up and try to help the week prior to school being out, but ended up not being able to make it happen. When they came across Travis White’s facebook message about going to Joplin, they were both as excited as most would be about a surprise shopping trip.
“You’re not going to believe it,” were Creed’s words to Jackie Rodgers when she found out about the group planning the relief trip, “you’re going to be so excited.” From there, they offered the opportunity to their daughters to accompany them on the trip and the daughters were all in.
Once in Joplin, the foursome experienced what most cannot describe, “devastation so vast,” said Rodgers, “I’m just in disbelief, today is the first time it really hit me that this is real.” Creed added, “It’s just overwhelming, you have to be here and see it to understand.”
The women shared this experience with their 13 and 14-year old daughters, who gave up their precious first summer vacation weekend to go work in the heat and destruction that is Joplin.
On the first day of work Kelsey and Catherine helped clean up logs. As the chain saw operators would cut the tree limbs, the two teenagers would drag the logs out so other members could take the limbs to the piles. It was hot, dirty, sweaty work but the girls stood in there and carried their weight and much more.
On day two the mothers and daughters were able to work together, as they were recruited to help out serving food to volunteers and victims at a local church. The foursome prepared hamburgers and hotdogs as well as packaging up chips and cookies. After lunch, they were able to go out and see a basement in one house where a family had sought shelter from the tornado and the conditions that likely saved their lives.
“Our girls got to see what a community does to help each other,” explained Creed, “people unite and they help each other.” “This is their first day of summer vacation,” said Rodgers, “and they chose to come here and help other people, without complaining.”
Sam Moser & Megan Madson – Nebraska has heroes too!
The four vehicles that left Tyler Thursday evening headed to Joplin, Missouri carried tons of supplies, tools and 32 East Texans who shared the goal of helping the people recover from the devastating tornado. The “Tyler Team”, however, was made up of 34 members, the final two came from Nebraska to join the team.
Megan Madson, a college student in Nebraska, went online the day after the tornado hit Joplin, Missouri looking for a group to join to offer help there. She found the group from Tyler, started by Cori Moore.
“She said exactly what they were doing,” said Madson, “and pointed me towards the website.” From there, Madson convinced her boyfriend, Sam Moser, that they should drive six hours to help.“This was totally Megan,” said Moser, “she came to me and she was like, ‘hey, I’m really feeling this,’ and I’m so thankful to her that she brought me along to do this. I didn’t know what to expect but the people that we met and hearing their stories, that was amazing. Just so glad to help and see how grateful they are.”
Moser proved especially valuable cleaning up debris once the team uncovered a snow shovel at one house, “we do this all the time in Nebraska,” said Moser as he took over the shovel and loaded debris into wheelbarrows to be carted away.
The couple were touched by the experience and by the people they helped, “Wayne, the older guy we helped,” says Moser, “he was great, so upbeat. But when he broke down into tears, it just got to me. Here’s a guy who was strong and probably seen a lot in his life, but knowing we were there to help him touched him and that in turn touched me.”
The couple came as two individuals, but once in Joplin were accepted not only by the group from Tyler, but by the Joplinites as well. “It was just great how this incident brought us all together as one,” said Madson, “the experience is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it.”
So, the heroes wrapped up their weekend of helping others and drove the six hours back to Nebraska, changed forever by the gratefulness they received for their unselfish deed.
Heroes in Joplin – A man with no home and a boy named “Ask”.
There were at least a couple of heroes that did not go on the trip from Tyler, but proved heroic none the less. While in Joplin, the team from Tyler was somewhat dependant on locals for guidance, shelter and even food.
Carl Junction is a suburb of Joplin, and the Carl Junction Christian Church is where the team stayed both nights of the trip. The ladies slept upstairs from the gym, while the men slept downstairs in the gym which also served as a cafeteria of sorts.
Members of the church offered up their services including fixing breakfast and desserts for the team as well as providing same-day laundry service for anyone who needed it.
At another church, the team received their advice on where to go and who to help. This church had been terribly damaged, with members inside, that Sunday evening. The members had transformed their parking lot into a supply circus, with a giant tent up and all kinds of supplies underneath the tent for disbursement to people who will need them. This church also provided the lunchtime meal, with members manning the grill all morning to prepare hot hamburgers and hotdogs as well as a cooler of ice cream which came in very handy in the warm conditions.
On day two, members of the Team Tyler helped out this crew to prepare the lunches. In doing so, they realized that the man cooking was not just a volunteer, he was a victim who had lost his home in the storm, yet there he was helping the volunteers.At the same location, many of the team members were greeted by a 12-year old kid, that called himself Ask. Turns out, his initials spelled the work Ask, but it also fit to describe his purpose. If any of the volunteers needed anything, this kid, had the answer or knew where to get whatever it was they needed. More than one of the volunteers mentioned, “if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that kid was running this operation.” As it turns out, Ask was also a victim of the storm who had lost his home, but instead of choosing to be a victim, chose to be a helper. You just had to ask!
Tragedies anywhere can bring out the best in people, or show you what people are really made of. There are a lot of people who went on the trip to Joplin, Missouri who would describe it as just “doing their part” or “helping a neighbor” who are really heroes. They are people you are glad you live next to, glad you work with or glad you go to church with even. They are people who you know will help you when you most need it and in today’s messed up world, that is pretty heroic.
When an EF-5 tornado hits any town, you can expect the damage that goes along with it, downed trees, power lines and damaged homes. On May 22nd that is exactly what happened in Joplin, a city of just over 50,000 in the southwestern corner of Missouri.
Storms formed over Kansas and rolled into Joplin giving its residents only 10 minutes advance warning to prepare them for what turned out to be one of the worst tornadoes in American History.
After visiting Joplin with a team from Tyler, I was both proud and confused at the same time at what I saw. The destruction was astounding and indescribable, but that was expected. Driving up and down the ravaged streets of Joplin, house after house displayed U.S. flags. Some hung from a makeshift pole saved from the storm, some from lumber hanging off the house and some from tree limbs or roots bent and twisted by the storm.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud American and proudly display a flag outside my home. When Veteran’s Day or Independence Day or any other holiday comes around I put my flag up for the day or for the entire weekend. It’s a way for me to show the veteran’s my respect or the pride that I have to live in this country, but I had a hard time understanding the flags all over the rubble of Joplin.
Think about it for a minute, you usually put your flag up in a prominent area, for all to see, out front even. None of us “proud Americans” would ever put a flag out by the road on a pile of limbs or lumber for the trash. Yet, house after house displayed the flag. Why?
I believe I realized what the answer is.
I believe the people of Joplin displayed ragged flags in odd locations because of the hope that those flags represented. Hope that in their country, people will help because it’s who they are. Hope that when the storm is over and the mess is cleaned up, they still live in a country where they can pick up the pieces that are left and start over.
“How often we fail to realize our good fortune in living in a country where happiness is more than a lack of tragedy.” ~Paul Sweeney
“If you take advantage of everything America has to offer, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.” ~Geraldine Ferraro
“I believe in America because we have great dreams – and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” ~Wendell L. Wilkie
“America has seen tough times before. We’ve always known how to get through them. And we’ve always believed our best days are ahead of us. I believe that still. But we must rise to the occasion, as we always have; change what must be changed; and make the future better than the past.” ~John McCain
I believe the people of Joplin understood and believed the same things about their hope in this country as the people quoted above. That in America your dreams do not end because of a natural or unnatural disaster.
I believe that given a fair chance the people of Joplin, MO can recover from this tragedy against all odds largely because of the spirit that lies within them. The American spirit lies within all Americans and is fueled by the opportunities and possibilities that the nation affords its members.
America is not nearly as much about the land or certainly the government as it is about the people, and specifically the spirit within those people. America is said to be a nation founded on a good idea. An idea to give people the freedoms in order to make a way for themselves.
Notice the distinction there, not that the government makes a way for the people or some organization funded by the government that makes a way for the people, but that the people, of themselves have the opportunity to make their own way, even in a devastating natural disaster such as in Joplin, MO.
A month from now, six months from now or a year from now we will have a better idea as to how the people of Joplin will respond in this tragedy. Some will have further opportunities to go to Joplin and see the recovery first-hand. Others will have the opportunity to go to Joplin and participate in the recovery and rebuilding process.
As bad as we, as Americans, feel like our government is or how our country has fallen, we still should recognize the opportunities afforded us just by our birthright as Americans. As well, if or when those opportunities are not afforded to Americans it likely will not be because some new government took them from the people, but because the people themselves failed to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities and in effect, gave those opportunities away.
Hopefully, the rest of the country can take a cue from the people of Joplin and realize as bad a tragedy as we may be in, fly the flag, as it represents the spirit within each of us, the spirit to overcome the adversity and take advantage of the opportunity.
As of 11P.M. East Texas time the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and the NFL Player Association will expire. The issues are pretty clear for the most part, and yet, the two parties have not been able to find enough common ground, even with a professional mediator, to be able to come to an agreement.
With the news of civil unrest in other countries, and the whole Charlie Sheen debacle, the expiration of the NFL CBA may fight nicely right in the middle. Important to our entertainment needs, not important to the overall society, but that’s not really my thing.
If you are a football fan, you should be worried. Not afraid, certainly not terrified, but worried.
Fact is, if the NFL owners and players can’t get this worked out the fans of the NFL will find something else to do on our Sunday afternoons, Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. It will be awkward at first I’m sure, but no doubt we will fill that time with something else.
As we come nearer to the deadline, I keep having to ask myself the same question: who’s side am I on? If magically I was randomly picked to decide the differences between the two parties what would I decide, who would I favor?
I’m not sure, I can see both sides and don’t really care who wins at this point as long as there’s football in 2011.
But that speaks more to the issue. There is not a clear cut right side and wrong side here. There are only going to be losers (the fans).
Listen in Thursday night on 92.1 KTBB-FM as Steven Sikes and I mix our opinions in with yours. We want to hear who you believe and trust and what you would do.