Most Fun Players To Watch

Any time you make a list like this, it’s always subjective. What I think is fun to watch might not be what you think is fun. I’ve also included both pro and college players on the list. As most of the college football I watch is Ohio State, they, of course, are all Buckeyes. Like I said, this list is subjective.

10. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

When drafted in the 3rd round in 2001, not a lot was expected from Smith, who many thought was too short to play WR. In fact, during his first 2 seasons, he was mostly used as a returner. After returning 5 kicks (2 kickoffs, 3 punts) for touchdowns during that time, the Panthers realized how big of a weapon he could be and began to increase his role in the offense. In his first season starting, he caught 88 passes for 1110 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also plays a lot taller than he actually is. Smith routinely makes catches that someone his size should never be able to make.

9. AJ Hawk, LB, Ohio State Buckeyes

While AJ has been a decent pro, he’s not as good now as he was in college. At Ohio State, he dominated games. In the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, he won the game’s Defensive MVP award, sacking Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn twice, also stopping him on another play from converting a crucial fourth down attempt.

8. Randall Cunningham, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Cunningham was the first truly mobile quarterback the NFL ever saw. He made plays with his feet that no quarterback before him could even attempt. Plus, he made it look easy. He was also pretty good when throwing the ball, a true dual-threat.

7. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes

Troy hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do in the pros, but he was awesome as a Buckeye. Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, was another dual-threat QB, throwing for 54 touchdowns in his two-and-a-half years as the Buckeye’s QB, while rushing for 14 more. He cemented his status as a Buckeye legend on November 18, 2006 in the #1 Buckeyes 42-39 victory over the #2 Michigan Wolverines. He threw for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns.

6. Eddie George, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes/Tennessee Titans

George is one of the greatest running backs in college football history. He also had a stellar NFL career until he made the mistake of going on the Madden cover and falling victim to the curse. He’s also victim to his own running style. He ran over defenders, causing each carry to take a toll on his body, but watching him run people over was something great.

5. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Yes, Manning has had some great receivers (Harrison, Wayne), but he also has made decent receivers look awesome (Garcon, Collie, Stokely). Some people claim that he chokes in the playoffs, but if the Colts had a defense that was above average, he would have more than one Super Bowl ring. In my opinion, he’s the best QB to ever play the game.

4. Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay Packers

With all of his, “I’m retiring, just kidding, I’m coming back” nonsense, and the fact that he played like crap in 2 of his final 3 seasons, it’s sometimes hard to remember how much fun it was to watch him play. He was fearless on the football field, yet he played the game as if he was a child in his backyard. His ability to improvise when a play broke down was truly exciting to behold, and the smile on his face when he turned a sure 5 yard loss into a 10 yard gain made you forget that he was being paid to play the game.

3. Cris Carter, WR, Minnesota Vikings

During his career, it was said about Carter that he only caught touchdowns. Carter caught almost everything thrown his way, including balls that nobody thought it was possible to catch. When he retired, he had 1101 receptions with 130 touchdowns, both second only to Jerry Rice. The fact that he’s not in the Hall of Fame right now is a travesty.

2. Lawrence Taylor, LB, New York Giants

Lawrence Taylor, in my opinion anyways, is the best linebacker to ever play the game. He revolutionized the position. Linebackers today owe their careers to him. Taylor dominated games. He was probably the first defender that offenses had to game plan specifically against. Of course, I’d recommend not watching his sack of Joe Thiesmann, because it’s kind of gross.

1. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions

You never knew what you were going to see when you watched Barry run. He made ordinary runs look extraordinary, and turned bad plays into great ones. Had he not abruptly retired when he did, it would be him that holds the all-time rushing record, not Emmitt Smith. Emmitt is nowhere near as good a back as Barry was.

Midseason Review: Carolina Panthers

Record: 2-6

This could easily be 4-4 or better. With the exception of the Atlanta game, where they lost by 14, all of their losses have been by a touchdown or less. The game that sticks out the most in this regard is the last one they played, against the Vikings. All their kicker had to do was make a 31 yard field goal, which would have sent the game into overtime. He botched it.

Offense:

The offense has looked very good, for the most part, all season. Cam Newton has been phenominal. I said before the draft that I didn’t think he was going to be a very good quarterback in the NFL. Then, during the preseason, he played like crap and I was preparing for a very long season. The first two games of the season, however, he goes into beast mode, eclipsing 400 yards passing in each. Granted, we’re only halfway through the season, but it looks like Cam is going to prove me wrong. I hope he does. The Panthers need him to keep playing like he has been, only with fewer turnovers.

Steve Smith has been benifitting the most from Cam’s play. He already has as many receptions, more yards and more touchdowns than he did all of last season. While the Panthers still don’t have another big threat at WR, the additions of Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen at TE have been huge for Smith and Cam. Combined, the duo has 53 receptions, 651 yards, and 5 touchdowns, meaning that the defense can’t always focus on Steve, giving him opportunites to get open.

The running game has been somewhat dissappointing. While DeAngelo Williams (4.8 ypc) and Jonathan Stewart (4.6 ypc) have been good, they really haven’t been as explosive as they have been in past years. I know some of that has to do with Cam being able to run the ball, but I was expecting more from this duo.

Defense/ Special Teams:

The Panther’s defense and special teams has been it’s downfall all year. When you lose a leader like Jon Beason to injury, like they did after only a week, it’s hard to recover from, but with Rivera’s defensive knowledge, he should still be able to coach this group up better than he has. Maybe this week’s bye will help with that. They need to be able to stop the run consistantly now to turn those close losses into good wins.

Our kick/punt returners have been horrible this year (KR: 21 ypr/ PR: 5.5 ypr). Either put someone else on the team back there that can give us better field position, or pick up someone off the waiver wire who can.

Overall:

This team looks a lot better than the one they put on the field last year, but there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Week 8 Thoughts

* While he might be able to pull one out against the winless Dolphins, against a good team like the Lions, Tim Tebow looked lost. He was 18 for 39 passing with one interception and 3 fumbles. Be careful what you wish for Denver fans, cause you just got it.

* The Panthers are pissing me off. They should’ve been able to beat the Vikings. Cam put up good numbers again, and didn’t throw a pick, but he lost 2 fumbles. Also, our kicker missed an easy 31 yard field goal attempt that would have sent the game into overtime.

* Both the Giants and Ravens looked like crap in the first half of their games against teams they should have owned. They were able to pull out wins, Ravens over the Cardinals and Giants over the Dolphins, but the games should never have been that close. The Dolphins will probably be firing their head coach within the next few weeks, if not sooner.

* Congrats to the Rams for getting their first win of the season by shocking the New Orleans Saints. Steven Jackson looked like a beast.

* The Colts got killed again. Pack for Indy, Andrew Luck.

* DeMarcus Ware had 4 sacks, but those were the only 4 plays that the Cowboys were able to stop the Eagles, who scored on their first 6 possessions and ended up winning 34-7.

* Buffalo looked good again as they shut out the Redskins 23-0. The Bills also gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a 6 year extension during the week. I bet the Redskins are wishing they had a quarterback right about now.

* The fuckin Patriots lost,which is always great. Fuck the Patriots.

* With the exception of his 2 interception throws, which were both horrible, Andy Dalton and the Bengals looked good, beating the Seahawks 34-12. If it’s not there, Andy, don’t try to force it to Green. He’s a beast, but even he can’t protect you from every bad throw.

NFL Week 2 Review

Green Bay vs Carolina: Once again Cam Newton went over 400 yards in a loss, this time going down 30 – 23 to the Packers. I must admit that I thought the Panthers would get stomped in this game. I figured Newton would have multiple interceptions (he threw 3), but I thought he’d throw less than 200 yards. He proved me wrong again. I just hope the next time he proves me wrong it comes during a win. Honestly, I think Newton’s season will end up like Vick’s did last year. He started off on fire, but once teams started getting film on him, he cooled down at the end of the season.

Washington is 2-0. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

The Steelers rebounded from their opening week spanking to shut out the Seahawks. Granted, the Seahawks blow, but a win is a win.

Detroit destroyed Kansas City. The Lions have looked really good so far this season. The Chiefs have looked horrible. Kansas City has been outscored 89-10 in their 2 games this season.

Buffalo came back and scored in the final minute to beat Oakland 38-35 in a shootout. The Bills offense has been good. If they can get their defense on track, they can contend this year.

The Texans could only muster 230 passing yards against the defense (Miami) that gave up 500 to the Patriots. Houston’s passing game is as good as New England’s so what’s up with that?

Indianapolis’ offense looked better, but they still lost to the Browns. Their defense still looks like crap, though.

NFL Week 1 Review

Since it’s impossible to watch every game during the week (unless that’s your job), most of what I’m about to say is based on stats and highlights. I’m not going to go over every game, just certain things that caught my attention.

Green Bay vs New Orleans: The Packers still look like the champions. They played a pretty good game in all phases. I’ve heard some people claim that their defense looked weak, but most defenses don’t look all that good against Drew Brees and the Saints offense. The scary part? As good as Aaron Rodgers is playing, he looks like he’s getting better every game.

Pittsburgh vs Baltimore: The Ravens made the Steelers look bad. Very bad. The Ravens defense, which is getting older but is still pretty good, forced 7 turnovers. Big Ben threw 3 interceptions and lost 2 fumbles. The question now is “Are the Ravens really that good, or did Ben just have a really bad game?”

Atlanta vs Chicago: I did watch half of this game (I was flipping back and forth between this and the Bengals game), and while Cutler did have some good numbers, it was only because of his receivers that he did. The touchdown pass to Forte is a good example. Forte caught the ball maybe 5 yards from the line of scrimmage and did the rest of the work on his way to a 56 yard touchdown, aided by one of the worst tackle attempts I’ve ever seen. During the offseason, Atlanta tried to upgrade its defense, but apparently it wasn’t nearly enough because they looked terrible. Chicago’s offense isn’t nearly as good as the Falcons made them look.

Indianapolis vs. Houston: The only thing that can be said about this game is the Colts are completely screwed until Manning comes back.

Buffalo vs Kansas City: KC’s offense looked like crap and Buffalo’s looked awesome. This was an outcome that nobody saw coming. There might have been people out there that picked the Bills to win, but nobody thought that they’d put a 34 point butt-kicking on them. I hope Buffalo can keep this up all year, if only so they beat the Patriots and Jets.

Carolina vs Arizona: Cam Newton put up huge numbers in this game. That only happened for, what I believe, two reasons. One, the Cardinals stacked the box to stop the run. Two, their defense isn’t all that good anyways, and they traded away their best secondary player to get Kevin Kolb. I’m predicting that those numbers will go down big time next week as the Panthers are playing the Packers.

That’s all I can think of right now. What stood out to you in Week 1 of the NFL season?

Thoughts on the game

My brother and I went to the Panthers/Bengals game last night. I know it’s only a preseason game, but I saw a few things that troubled me about how the Panthers played.

1. Cam Newton sucks. Sure, he made a few plays with his feet, but his throwing was atrocious. I’m not saying that he will never become a good starting quarterback in the NFL (although I don’t think he will), but he’s nowhere near ready right now. I would rather see Clausen or Derek Anderson start at this point. Cam needs to sit on the bench for at least a few games. Start Clausen for those games, if he plays like he did last year, bench him and put Cam in. I have a feeling that if they start Cam game one, he’ll just be a more mobile version of Jamarcus Russell.

2. The Panthers defense needs some work. Our corners were constantly getting burned. They said Gamble left the game due to a thumb injury. It wouldn’t surprise me if they took him out because he was playing like crap. Also, the defensive line was getting pushed around whenever the Bengals ran the ball. I know that the defensive tackles are both rookies and they need some experience, but if they’re going to be the starters, they need to grow up quickly.

3. The running game looked pretty weak, as well. Preseason is when you’re supposed to work out the kinks in the system, and I know they took DeAngelo Williams out after the first quarter to make sure he didn’t get injured, but they were using the wrong backs on the wrong plays even before they took him out. They were pounding Williams up the middle, which is what they should have Stewart doing. They had Stewart running sweeps, which is what Williams should be doing. This is Rivera’s first year, but come on. Anyone who has ever seen a Panthers game should know that.

4. People in Cincinnati are crazy. Before we even get into the game, some guy in front of the stadium, holding a sign that said he was homeless, went nuts and started kicking a garbage can. On our way back to the car, after the game was over, some weird bitch was walking around with a puppet. Dumbass people…

Panthers Offseason Moves

This has been a very busy week for all NFL GMs. I’m just going to focus on what the Panthers have done so far.

1. Resignings- I’m pretty happy with the people that they’ve kept. DeAngelo Williams, while expensive, is the most explosive back that they have and is the best receiver they have out of the backfield. After Peppers left, nobody expected defensive end Charles Johnson to have the kind of season he had, posting 11.5 sacks. I’m not sure that they should’ve given that kind of money to someone for having just one good year, but if they didn’t pay him that, somebody else would have.

Giving Jon Beason a contract extension was a must. He’s been the best player on their defense since his rookie year in 2007. Thomas Davis, if he can stay healthy (which is a big if), can have as big an impact on the defense as Beason.

2. Signings- Before the lockout, they signed Jeremy Shockey. That will be either a very good decision or a very bad one. I don’t think there will be any middle ground in that move. I hope he can go back to being at least 75% of what he was in New York. If he can, that will be great, because he spent much of his time with the Saints injured.

I don’t get them signing QB Derek Anderson. I know they wanted to bring in a QB with some experience to teach Claussen and Newton, but, with the exception of one year, Anderson hasn’t done anything except suck. If they wanted to teach them to suck, they could’ve kept Matt Moore or brought back Jake Delhomo (although, if they brought back Delhomo, I’d mutiny).

3. Cuts- The only cut I have a problem with is K John Kasay. It’s not that he’s a good kicker anymore, he’s not. He blew an easy one last year at the buzzer that cost the team a win against the Browns. It’s just a sentimental thing. He’s been their kicker since the franchise formed in 1995 and was the last remaining original Panther until a few days ago.

4. Trade- I really like the trade they made with the Bears. They gave up next year’s third round pick to get TE Greg Olsen. Olsen has been a beast for the Bears, but his numbers dropped last year and I think I know why. Tight ends don’t do very well in the Mike Martz system. If either of the young QBs can get the passing game going, I’d bet that Olsen would be the reason for it.

That’s all I have for now. I might update this if any moves happen that I feel like writing about.