Review of the 2011 NFL Draft

I was reading an article on entitled 10 Players Drafted Before JJ Watt.  My 1st thought when I saw the article was that, “I know at least 10 teams that are sick that they didn’t pick this dude over who ever they selected.”  But then I actually looked at who was drafted before him and I had to rethink that sentiment.  There are some bonafide NFL proven studs on that list with only a few teams that wish they had a do over pick.  They would probably take anybody over the guys that they picked up.  Here are the players that went before the best Defensive player in the league in that top heavy draft.

1.Cam Newton(Panthers)- Cam is my favorite NFL quarterback to watch these days.  He’s underrated in my book and I don’t think anyone with good sense should question if he was worth the #1 pick.  If the Panthers decide to get him a receiving core they will have a legitimate shot at a super bowl real soon.

2.Von Miller(Broncos)- This dude is just flat out unstoppable.  The only thing that can stop him his a failed drug test or concussion.  He’s fun to watch man, that is unless you’re the opposing offensive coordinator.

3.(Bills)- Not that familiar with this dude but he has been a pro-bowler and from what I read, he’s a wrecker on the Bills D-Line.

4.A.J. Green(Bengals)- This kid is a big time big play receiver.  He has to stay out of his own way and get some consistent play out of the Red Rifle Andy Dalton to remain a top receiver as far as his numbers go though.

5.Patrick Peterson(Cardinals)- My favorite DB in the league.  I personally think he’s better than Richard Sherman since he’s more of a threat to take it to the house every time he picks one off.  His return skills are well documented on stat sheets and nfl films.  Someone in the Sabol family will be talking about his career in a couple of decades.

6.Julio Jones(Falcons)- This young man gets it done.  Before Roddy White got allergic to the injury bug bite, they made life much easier for Matty Ice in the ATL.  Jones moves the chains and beats safeties deep.  He an awesome red zone target as well.

7.Aldon Smith(49ers)- Aldon is his own worst enemy.  I don’t know him personally, so I don’t know what he’s going through and I reserve judgement on his behavior.  Outside of his personal problems, the dude is a player.  He can get to the QB like few others in the league with the exception of his draft mates Watt and Miller.

8.Jake Locker(Titans)- The jury is out on Jake. Or have they just decided to go home?  He can’t stay healthy long enough to make an impact or get any continuity with his team.  He may be done in Nashville since they drafted Mettenberger.

9.Tyron Smith(Cowboys)-Don’t know much about him either; could be because he’s an O-Lineman and you never hear their names unless they do something wrong or maybe it’s just because he plays for the Cowboys and I don’t do the Cowboys.  Either way, he’s a staple on that STRONG offensive line that Scary Jerry Jones put together over there in the Big D.  They move boys around indeed; very physical and dominant.  He’s also a pro bowler.

10.Blaine Gabbert(Jaguars)- All I have to say about him is that he’s a back up now for another team and Blake Bortles has his old parking spot.  He’s the classic example that college success doesn’t necessarily transfer over to the NFL.

Then there’s JJ.  Or as I like to call him, The Minotaur! Glad he landed in our proverbial lap.  Glad no other team had a crystal ball or a medium to foresee what was to be.  This dude big bad and destructive and disruptive.

The top portion of this draft, as you can see will possibly go down as one of the best in NFL history with only a couple of hick ups along the way.
12 has spoken. JJ Watt’s new Nick Name is The Minotaur

The Sheriff Just Gets It Done

First of all I, as a football fan, feel fortunate to have been around to see the Great Peyton Manning do his thing.  Although much of his success has come against  my beloved Texans as a division foe Indianapolis Colt You have to respect the skills.  So even though he’ll probably never see this article I still have to send a big shout out to #18 for being consistently top shelf.

When I saw the pass that became the record breaker FLY out of Manning’s hand and into the sure hands of Demaryius Thomas I didn’t think much of it besides “hell of a catch” and “he(Manning) did it”.  It wasn’t until I watched one of the 1500 replays that I saw the magic trick of all magic tricks.  The “pig skin” was turned into a wobbling duck and back into “pig skin” once Thomas reeled it in.  Yep, Peyton Manning threw a duck.  He’s been throwing ducks for 6 for nearly 20 years.  The ducks have only gotten bigger since his neck surgeries.

This is not a dig on Manning, it’s a revelation.  I just think of how many athletes and entertainers  are more concerned about looking good than being great.  One of my favorite QBs, Warren Moon, never won a title but had the prettiest spiral in the game.  My point is that the only thing that matters is getting the Ws and titles and I’m sure Mr Moon would trade some of those spirals in for a super bowl ring.

Rocky Marciano had a brutish style in the ring but he “Beat Joe Louis’s Ass” like Eddy Murphy’s old Jewish character said in that famous Coming To America barber shop scene.  He retired as the undefeated Heavyweight champion because he just flat out got it done in the ring.  Manning never had the speed of Michael Vick, the big arm of Jay Cutler, the elusiveness of , Randall Cunningham,  or the girth of Tim Tebow but not one of those QBs belong in the same breath as #18.

No one is known for being more of a film junkie and student of the game than Peyton and that was the knock on David Carr.  People that were close to the situation say that football just didnt matter to him enough.  He didn’t put in the time that was required to be a step ahead of the defenses that he faced.  One would be hard pressed to find many games that Manning was not prepared for.  Like The Money Team screams “Hard Work. Dedication!” is what makes one great, or at least really good if they are not naturally gifted athletes like Floyd Mayweather.

Congrats to Peyton Manning once again for Breaking Brett Favre’s touchdown record tonight and I’ll keep watching him throw ducks all the way to the hall of fame.

12 says Quack Quack

Up and Comers

My son plays for the freshman football team at McNeil High School in Round Rock ISD.  When I go to his games I like to check the future superstars of Texas High School ball and beyond.  So far, I’ve seen two young men that stand out from the pack and should be making plenty of noise on the varsity landscape for the three next years.

1.Dana Jackson RB/WR Hendrickson High School Pflugerville, ISD

I have one word for this young man….Explosive!  He’s small, but he’s just flat out faster than everybody on the field.  McNeil sent the opening kick off his direction and he muffed it.  You know when a returner is ready to run before he catches the ball? The crowd began to scream at the McNeil kickoff coverage team “the balls loose; he dropped it; get him get him; etc. Before I knew it the little guy scooped the ball off of the ground and sprinted to the right sideline.  From my angle I was thinking, “this little dude looks kind of fast”, but then he turned up field and the entire stadium knew how fast he was.  70 yards and a gang of high fives later Hendrickson had 6 points on the board.  It looked like Jackson was running on one of those conveyor belts at the airport and everyone else was walking in the same direction.  I see a young Percy Harvin type player when I watch him do his thing.  Not only is he fast, but he has Tomlinson like vision in traffic.  On a hand-off he exploded through the whole, made a cut and exploded out of the cut, saw a cutback lane and exploded again.  Did I mention that he was explosive?  I was very impressed with not only his athleticism, but also his running back skills.  It’s more than about being fast just ask Emmitt Smith.  Patience, vision, quickness, and toughness are all important and for a freshman Dana Jackson possesses some of those intangibles already.  Being fast as a conman’s tongue can’t hurt either.  Overall he ended up with 5 touchdowns in a winning effort that night. I believe that he could have had more but the coach liked to spread the ball around and kept it out of Jackson’s hands.  Look out for this exciting running back if you like to see big plays in the near future.

2.Cameron Thomas WR Westwood High Round Rock ISD

All I can say about this stud is that he doesn’t belong on the freshman squad.  Physically he’s ready for the varsity level, but emotionally he’d rather play with his classmates right now.  His father told me that the coaches want him to play varsity, but he’s not ready to stop playing with his classmates yet.  Young Mr. Thomas is taller than his offensive linemen and faster than the fastest db on his squad.  He runs really well with the ball in his hands and gets plenty of YAC (Yards After Catch) on his way to the end zone.  Of course he won’t be as dominant on the varsity squad since there’s an obvious upgrade in size, speed,strength and overall football IQ but I believe that he would still be a productive receiver on that level.  Westwood’s colors are burnt orange, black, and white trim so when I seen this guy out there dominating dbs that were smaller and slower than him I immediately thought of Dez Bryant who did the same thing at Oklahoma St and now in the NFL.

Just a couple of potential future stars to keep an eye on in Texas high school football.  There are so many things that go into the development of a great gridiron athlete like talent, attitude, work ethic, coaching, support system, health, and potential injuries so there’s no way to tell if any one of these touchdown machines will play on Sundays in a few years but the journey will be fun to watch.

12 will be in the bleachers watchin’ em ball

When Is It Not Cool To Celebrate

Welcome to the corner store fam. I wanted to touch on a subject that comes up quite often in realm of competitive sports; celebration in the midst of a seemingly losing effort. I often hear people criticizing those that choose to celebrate when they do something good while at the time they are down by a considerable margin. This is not exclusive to professional sports. I’ve sat at many domino tables and got on my opponent for celebrating a win after consecutive loses and I’ve also been on the other side of the critique. In most people’s view, there’s a time when it’s cool to celebrate and a time to take your whoopin’ like you have some class.

While the Houston Texans defense was3 getting ran off of their home field by the Houston Native Andrew Luck and company, All-World Defensive End J.J. Watt drew the attention of a local sports-talk show host after celebrating in his traditional fashion for Swatt-ing down a Luck pass. In The Loop host(Sports Radio 610 Houston) was semi-critical of Watt’s antics, I think, when he sent these two tweets during Thursday night’s game….

game tweets

Not sure if Wright was passive-aggressively telling #99 that he shouldn’t be celebrating while getting beat down or was he just looking for the opinion of his 35,000 twitter followers since he posed his tweets in the form of a question. Either way, I hear this kind of stuff all of the time. DJ Swearinger, the Texans 2nd year strong safety, is often pointed out for slapping his helmet, rolling his hands like The Big Tymers on their Get Your Roll On video, or striking a pose after making a play. To Swag, as Swearinger is sometimes called, it doesn’t matter how many missed assignments or tackles he has on his unofficial stat sheet or how long of a losing streak the team is going through, he’s going to let you know he’s there.

Not sure of when the celebrations should be shut down but the Texans were down 24-0 in the 1st quarter and by no means is a game over in the 1st quarter. By the end of the game my hometown team made a competitive affair out of what seemed to be an unavoidable blowout. I don’t think that would have been possible if the Texans had turned off the competitive fire that they visibly show after causing their opponents a hiccup just because non-football playing onlookers find it in bad taste. I don’t believe that the Buffalo Bills could have overcome a 32 point deficit in ’93 against my beloved Oilers if they had decided that they would play without the passion that got them to the NFL in the first place.

I agree that sometimes celebrating is tacky if a team obviously over matched and the game is unmistakably out of reach, but we have to get out of this cliche driven mindset and allow professional players to be human beings. They are not robots and it takes a certain amount of emotion to get certain players going. Rasheed Wallace was penalized over and over again for his emotional outbursts but that same fire is what fueled his drive and why he was considered one of the better power forwards of his generation. Swag said it best when being interviewed by Lance Zierlein of Sports 790’s The Proper Gentlemen of Sports. Energy is infectious and one fired up individual can ignite a whole team to lay it all out. So JJ and Swag need to keep bringing the Juice to the locker room, game field, and neighborhood corner store.

Like Larry in Stafford…
12’ll Holla