10 Best NFL coaches that have won Super bowl championships

While it is true that a great coach does not necessarily need to win a Super Bowl, there can be little better test of a coach’s ability to educate and instruct his players than the example of winning a championship. In order to prove how good of a coach you really are, winning a ring is necessary, or the very least incredibly important. Moreover, even if you fail at winning a ring, making it to the finals is nonetheless hugely significant and deserving of accolades. Thus, it is no surprise that the list of top ten coaches is dominated by those who have brought home a championship. The list goes as follows, in order of number one to number ten: Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Don Shula, George Halas, Chuck Noll, Bill Belichick, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, and John Madden.

1. Vince Lombardi

There can be little doubt that Vince Lombardi would top the list of the 10 best coaches of that have won Super bowl championships. Lombardi led the Green Bay Packers to eventually win five championships under his direction, including the first two ever championship bowls. Even more astounding, Lombardi’s team never had a single losing season—not in fifteen years of coaching.

Lombardi’s greatest success comes from his work with Green Bay Packers, though he did work with the New York Giants in the early 1950s. Despite winning the 1956 championship with the Giants, he decided to move onto the Packers in 1959, which had not had a winning seasons for over a decade. Within a single season, Lombardi led the Packers to a 7-5 season, only to win the Champion Game the next two years in a row. Only a few years later, the Packers would win three more years in a row, making Lombardi the single most successful coach in the history of the game. More victories would come in later years, and Lombardi would eventually step down and retire after the second Super Bowl resulted in yet another Packer victory. He would coach again in 1969 with the Washington Redskins, and died of cancer in 1970.

Lombardi’s legacy is simple. No other coach until him had experienced such a powerful string of victories with a team that had not performed well in well over a decade. Lombardi was able to use different and new recruiting tactics, efficient and unique training styles, and adapt his play style to match the forces arrayed against him. His incredible personal charisma, energy, and drive inspired those under him to greater heights, and he had a sense of magnetism that attracted followers and inspired confidence.

 

2. Bill Walsh

There are few pioneers of innovating strategies in football, and Bill Walsh is one of them. The man single-handedly created the classic “West Coast” style of offense that resulted in the San Francisco 49ers winning six Western titles and three Super Bowls. This incredible level of success, as well as Walsh’s unprecedented genius in designing very effective, aggressive plays that focused heavily on short passes and gains in that manner are sufficient to rank Walsh as number two on this list.

Walsh built his legacy on the ideology of Gillman, which favored a heavily offensive approach to football tactics that led to innovative plays, tactics, and overall styles that allowed the “West Coast offense” under Walsh to become not only a hallmark of effective football play, but also a decidedly impressive feat to observe. Walsh’s tactics required coordination and trust, and he fostered that in his dealings with his players. His overall record with the 49ers would end at 102-63-1, and a total of twelve professional titles.

3. Don Shula

Don Shula ranks as the third best football coach of all time. Shula set records with his Miami Dolphins team, and his impressive 33 years of coaching including time with the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. Over the course of his professional coaching career, Shula would win six championship bowls, and would be the first to win three in a row, besting Lombardi’s previous record. Shula worked with Walsh on innovating new passing tactics to make passing a more popular option in professional football. Indeed, Shula was so successful at this that he is still the all-time leader in overall victories, having won 347 games total.

Shula is most famous for his flawless season with the Miami Dolphins, who then went on to win back to back championships. Upon retiring in 1995, Shula would be brought into the Football Hall of Fame in 1997, and is considered one of the most successful coaches of all time.

4. George Halas

The Chicago Bears are a team that cannot be forgotten in the realm of professional football, and their Head Coach George Halas or “Papa Bear” succeeded in creating one of the most successful franchises in football history.

Halas is a man that built for himself a record that went unbeaten until Don Shula broke it in 1993. Halas won 324 total games in his career, a feat that went unbeaten for nearly 30 years until Shula shattered that with 347. Halas, though he never won a championship bowl, nonetheless won repeated NFL Championships, and maintains a record as one of the most successful coaches in history.

Starting with the Bears, Halas started winning championships in 1933 and did not stop for ten years, crushing competition left and right until World War II interrupted his coaching career. By the end of the war, Halas would return to coaching, and would end his career with six championship titles and a shockingly high win percentage that neared seventy percent.

5.Chuck Noll

By the time Chuck Noll took over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969, the team was in complete ruins. It had never won a title, and lacked any sort of cohesion and unified spirit. When Noll left, the Steelers had four Super Bowl rings and numerous other championship titles. In the end, Noll’s legacy is simple. He came, he formed a team built through the draft and that valued a strong defensive line, and kept winning. By the time he retired in 1991, the Steelers had long since established themselves as effectively invincible on the defense.

6.Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick took control of the New England Patriots for the greatest run in football history. Basing his strategy on defense and making sure nothing could break his defense, his Patriots would go one to win three Super Bowls within four years, an achievement unheard of in professional coaching. Currently gearing for the new season, Belichick stands as a living legend for professional football coaches.

7. Tom Landry

Tom Landry found his fame coaching the Dallas Cowboys, a team that he would lead on to win two championship bowls with. For his first title, his Cowboys would crush the Miami Dolphins 24-3, whereas the second game would see a Cowboys victory of 27-10 over the Denver Broncos. Landry is famous for his development of the “flex defense system” that catapulted the Cowboys to the top tier of competitive football play, and his 29 years at the same time is another NFL record.

8. Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs  led the Washington Redskins to a three-time victory of championship bowls. The Redskins are notorious for not doing when Gibbs is not the coach, a testament to his ability as a coach and a leader of men. His three Super Bowl victories and his 154 regular season victories put him in the top tier of American football coaches. Aside from his impressive coaching record, Gibbs is famous for starting the “classic Redskin” look; that is, the uniform of the team would always consist of burgundy uniforms over white pants whenever abroad.

9. Bill Parcells

Bill Parcells comes in ninth of the list of the top ten coaches of American football. Having won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and then another with the New England Patriots, Parcells is remarkable for his high percentage of wins regardless of time or situation. His teams rarely, if ever, have a losing season, and he has a total of 172 career wins. Parcells is famous for having a coached a younger Belichick during his early coaching years.

10. John Madden

John Madden could rank higher on this list, but he has won but a single Super Bowl total in his career. Despite that, Madden has clocked in a record winning percentage of 76.3% and, in ten years of coaching the Oakland Raiders, has never failed to maintain a winning season record. In 1976, Madden won the XI Super Bowl against the Minnesota Vikings, and eventually retired in 1978, following a Raiders failure to make the playoffs. Despite his inglorious end, Madden remains as one of the best coaches in football history, and would go on to lead a massive successful and prosperous career in broadcasting and marketing. His famous Madden football video games are a cultural icon, and Madden’s career in football will go in history as both highly successful and incredibly rewarding. Most impressive of all is his incredible win percentage, which to this day is jaw-dropping.

 

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Monday Rewind

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NFL

  • In the first Monday Night Football game of the 2011 season, the Houston Texans defeated the New York Jets 20-16.  While the Texans chose to hold out some of their stars like Arian Foster, Andre Johnson (dislocated finger), and Steve Slaton, the Jets were mostly at full strength, albeit for only the first quarter.  Mark Sanchez went 6/7 for 43 yards while Chris Ogbonnaya powered the Texans with two touchdowns.
  • Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora finally ended his holdout and returned to Monday’s afternoon practice at the the team’s indoor facility.  While this certainly doesn’t mark the end of this feud, it does appear to be a step in the right direction.
  • The Buffalo Bills finally cut ties with 2009 first-round draft pick Aaron Maybin, releasing him Monday.  Maybin was selected with the #11 overall pick in ’09 out of Penn State, but failed to register a sack or even a start in his two year stint with the team.
  • Daunte Culpepper continues to take steps towards a comeback as he worked out for the San Francisco 49ers Monday.  The 49ers are considering adding him as a backup to Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick.

MLB

  • New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett finally registered a win in August as the Yanks defeated the Royals 7-4.  Derek Jeter had 3 RBIs and Brett Gardner had 2 to lead the Yankees.
  • Minnesota Twins designated hitter Jim Thome entered the elite 600 Home Run Club last night as he hit a 3 run shot off the Detroit Tigers’ Daniel Schlereth.
  • The Detroit Tigers made a move to bolster their outfield yesterday as they acquired Delmon Young from the Minnesota Twins for a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later.
  • The Mets continue to get hit by the injury bug as they now have Jose Reyes, Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Johan Santana, Chris Young, and Taylor Buchholz on the disabled list.

NCAA Football

  • Texas A&M is contemplating whether to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) or remain in the Big 12.  The Big 12 is down to 10 teams after Nebraska left for the Big Ten and Colorado left for the PAC-12, so Texas A&M is weighing its’ options.
  • Missouri Tiger senior offensive tackle Elvis Fisher collapsed to the ground on Monday at practice while clutching his left knee.  Fisher has made 40 consecutive starts for Missouri and has been name All-Big 12 the past two seasons.
  • The NCAA continued its mass probe into potential college football violations when they showed up on the University of Miami campus Monday, looking into claims that more than a dozen current and former players received gifts and benefits from convicted Ponzi Scheme henchman Nevin Shapiro.  Shapiro claims that he allowed the players to use his yacht to have parties.

Thursday Rewind

 

NFL

  • The NFL Preseason kicked off last evening with four games being held Thursday night, five games begin held Saturday, five games taking place on Sunday, and 1 game being played Monday Evening.
  • JAC vs. NE (47-12) - The first game last night saw New England dismantle Jacksonville by a score of 47-12.  While Tom Brady sat out, back up Brian Hoyer and rookie Ryan Mallett filled in admirably, both passing for nearly 170 yards and 1 TD a piece.  The star of the game however was New England’s LSU rookie RB Steven Ridley who had 64 yards rushing and 2 TDs to go along with 7 receptions for 47 yards and 1 TD.  Patriots’ WR Taylor Price played well also as he hauled in 5 receptions for 105 yards and 1 TD
  • PHI vs. BAL (13-6) – Another game that saw the starting quarterbacks play a very limited amount of time, with Joe Flacco going 3-6 for 60 yards on his only drive, while Michael Vick was 4-6 for 74 yards and 1 TD.  While 4 of the 5 scores on the game were field goals as the Eagles won 13-6, the highlight of the game was Baltimore Ravens backup QB Tyrod Taylor, who is fighting for the #2 spot behind Joe Flacco, as he was 19/28 for 179 yards and also led the team in rushing with 6 rushes for 59 yards.
  • SEA vs. SD (24-17) – While the Seahawks would win 24-17, they exited the game with more questions than answers.  They played all three quarterbacks; Tavaris Jackson, who was supposed to be Matt Hasselbeck’s heir apparent but doesn’t seem to be ready yet, Charlie Whitehurst, who has the tools but lacks the experience, and Josh Portis, who is only a rookie but had the best passing efficiency.  Thomas Clayton and Leon Washington both rushed for TDs for Seattle, while Philip Rivers was his dependable self going 5/6 for 87 yards and 1 TD on his only drive.  Bryan Walters would return a 103 yard kick return for a touchdown to give the Chargers the lead before TE Anthony McCoy caught a TD pass and Thomas Clayton’s 25 yard run put the nail in the coffin.
  • DAL vs. DEN (24-23) -This game was much more than simply a preseason, warmup game.  There were several underlying stories including the battle at quarterback for the Denver Broncos and how effective the new-look Cowboys offense would be.  For the Broncos, Kyle Orton started the game and seems to be entrenched in the starting role.  While Orton would only lead one drive and was 2/6 for 37 yards, the real competition was for who would back him up.  Brady Quinn won round one last evening by going 8/14 for 120 yards with 1 TD.  Tebow performed well going 6/7 for 91 yards and 15 rushing yards, but he still has a way to go before becoming a starting quarterback at this level.  The man who stole the show however, was Dallas Cowboys’ backup quarterback Stephen McGee.  Not only was he 14/24 for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns, he also had 4 rushes for 25 yards.  For a Dallas offense that lost Roy Williams, Marion Barber, and Leonard Davis, they didn’t appear to miss a beat, and 6th round pick, Dwayne Harris, showed the team that they made the right decision by releasing Williams as he hauled in 5 passes for 127 yards and 2 TDs.
  • ARI vs OAK (24-18) – Between both teams, a total of 7 quarterbacks saw extended action, with newly acquired Kevin Kolb struggling a bit in his debut.  The other 3 Cardinals quarterbacks that played, John Skelton, Max Hall, and Richard Bartel, all tossed touchdowns, but don’t expect there to be a quarterback controversy in Phoenix.  The Raiders rotated Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, and Trent Edwards, while neither team truly established a running game.  While the game as a whole was pretty uneventful, the ending was exciting as Max Hall tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Williams as time expired to give the Cardinals the win.

 

Last Evening’s NFL Preseason Recap

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NFL Preseason action kicked off last evening as 8 teams were in action.  While the marquee names and starters were limited to little, if any action, the return of football was met with excitement by all fans following the lockout.  Here is a game-by-game review, as well as some story lines to keep an eye on moving forward.

New England Patriots 47 Jacksonville Jaguars 12

While Patriots’ starting quarterback Tom Brady watched the entire game from the sidelines, it gave rookie 3rd round draft pick Ryan Mallett, out of Arkansas, the opportunity for extended playing time.  While Brian Hoyer started at QB for the Pats, when Mallett was called on all he did was lead the Patriots to 4 second half touchdown drives.  One of the underlying themes of this game was the rivalry between Mallett and the Jaguars’ draft pick, rookie QB Blaine Gabbert.  Both were very highly rated coming out of college and while Mallett had the prototypical pocket passer size at 6’7” 240 lbs., there were also character concerns.  He was visibly disappointed on draft day when he was passed over by the Miami Dolphins in the first round and he ended up sliding all the way to the Patriots in the 3rd round, while Gabbert was selected at #10 overall by the Jaguars.  All things considered, the move may have turned out for the best, as Mallett will have time to develop behind one of the best quarterbacks of all-time in Tom Brady, while Gabbert will be thrown into the fire almost immediately.  While the 47-12 score was more indicative of the teams focusing on getting all their players on the field to evaluate who may make the final roster, Mallett showed glimpses of why teams may regret not selecting him earlier in the draft.  Overall, Gabbert was quite inconsistent in his professional debut.

Player of the Game: New England Patriots’ RB Steven Ridley: 64 yards rushing and 2 TDs, 7 receptions 47 yards 1 TD

Philadelphia Eagles 13 Baltimore Ravens 6

This was perhaps the most anticipated preseason game on opening weekend due to the complete overhaul the Eagles made to their roster.  In an effort to avoid reiterating that most teams don’t play their starters at all in most circumstances, fans were still excited to see the new look Eagles.  In Michael Vick’s brief cameo, he picked up exactly where he left off last season by throwing for 74 yards and a touchdown in his only series, before taking a seat on the bench for the remainder of the game.  Fans were excited to get to see Nnamdi Asomugha and Vince Young in Eagles uniforms, albeit it, for a very short period of time.  Also to keep an eye on was how Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco would pick up after last season and whether Ricky Williams would see action just days after signing to be Ray Rice’s understudy.  While Flacco would lead the Ravens 60 yards on the opening drive to a field goal, Ricky Williams remained inactive.  Both teams were not at full strength as the Eagles started Jason Avant and Riley Cooper at WR, as DeSean Jackson is just returning from a 12-day hold out and Jeremy Maclin is sidelined with an undisclosed injury.  On the opening drive Vick would connect with Avant on a 20-yard pass followed by a 42-yard pass to Riley Cooper over Ed Reed, which would lead to a touchdown pass from Vick to Brent Celek.  One of the big issues for the Eagles would be how they would manage to get Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Asante Samuel on the field at the same time.  While Asomugha only played two series, the 3 were on the field together with Samuel lining up at a safety spot.

 

Player of the Game: Baltimore Ravens QB Tyrod Taylor: 19/28 179 yards passing, 59 yards rushing

 

Seattle Seahawks 24 San Diego Chargers 17

The main focus heading into this game was whether Pete Caroll made the right move by trading for Tavaris Jackson to be his starting quarterback.  While his only other option, Charlie Whitehurst, is far from a Pro-Bowler, questions still remained whether this was the best possible decision.  If Jackson can somehow replicate Rivers’ performance, then the Seahawks will be in very good shape.  In his only series, Rivers completed 5 of 6 passes while leading an 89-yard scoring drive.  Jackson passed for only 13 yards in two mediocre (and I use that word lightly) series.  Jackson was bailed out by running back Thomas Clayton who broke out for a 25-yard touchdown run to break the tie.  The final score couldn’t be less indicative of how this game went as Rivers was nearly flawless tossing a 48-yard pass to Vincent Jackson and an 8 yard touchdown pass to Mike Tolbert.  Even special teams got into the action as Cornell graduate Bryan Walters returned a kickoff 103 yards for a TD.  While Seahawks running back Leon Washington did manage to run for a 1-yard touchdown rush, the team is optimistic that the offense will have a new dynamic when Sidney Rice and Mike Williams return, giving Tavaris Jackson two top-flight pass catchers.

 

Players of the Game: 

  • San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers 5/6 87 yards 1 TD on 1 drive
  • Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Clayton 16 rushing attempts for 62 yards and 1 TD

Dallas Cowboys 24 Denver Broncos 23

There were several headlines heading into this game that fans were focused on.  First and foremost was how much, if at all, would Tim Tebow play and does he have a legitimate chance to be the Broncos’ starting quarterback.  Broncos fans were also concerned about whether Knoshown Moreno would finally live up to the hype that made him a high first round draft pick.  Lastly, since trading Brandon Marshall to the Dolphins, the Broncos have not had a bonafide #1 receiver – Who is going to catch the ball?  Finally, the staff wanted to see what kind of impact Texas A&M LB and #3 overall pick Von Miller could make, as he was widely considered the best pass rusher in the entire draft.  The Cowboys had questions of their own like how would Tony Romo’s shoulder hold up, will the backfield be as effective without Marion Barber, and can our secondary rebound from a horrid performance last season.  Last evening’s game appears as though it went a long way in determining roster decisions for this upcoming season.  First and foremost, 3rd year QB out of Texas A&M Stephen McGee, Tony Romo’s understudy the past two years, broke out in a big way finishing 14-24 for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as 4 rushes for 25 yards.  It appears as though he is ready to unseat Jon Kitna for the backup role to Romo.  For the Broncos, it seems clear that Orton is the starting quarterback and that Tebow will be in a battle with Brady Quinn for the backup job.  The game actually ended on an exciting note as rookie Dwayne Harris caught a 13-yard pass from Stephen McGee with just over 5 minutes left.  The Cowboys had mishandled the previous extra point, so this touchdown brought the score to 23-22.  Rather than kick the extra point to tie up the game, the Cowboys went for a fake field goal and Stephen McGee hit backup TE Martin Rucker for a 2 point conversion to give the Cowboys a 24-23 victory

Players of the Game:

Dallas Cowboys QB Stephen McGee: 14/24 208 and 3 TDs, 4 rushes for 25 yards

Dallas Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris: 5 receptions 127 yards 2 TDs, with a long reception of 76 yards, 1 KR for 31 yards

Arizona Cardinals 24 Oakland Raiders 18

Kevin Kolb connected twice with the player likely to be his favorite target this year, Larry Fitzgerald, but he was unable to lead the Cards into the endzone  On the bright side, the Cardinals did get a chance to take a look at several of their young players, including a handful of quarterbacks such as Fordham product John Skelton, Max Hall, and Richard Bartel.  Skelton had the best numbers going 6/10 for 94 yards and 1 TD, but Bartel also threw a TD, as did Max hall who was 4-4 for 64 yards and 1 TD.  The Cardinals wide receiver position looks deep with Larry Fitgerald, 3rd year WR Isaiah Williams, who hauled in 3 passes for 50 yards and 1 TD, and new addition, former Pro-Bowl TE Todd Heap.  The Raiders look to have a quarterback controversy brewing as Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, and Trent Edwards all had their moments.  With Beanie Wells and most of Arizona’s other starters choosing not to play, there isn’t much to be encouraged by other than that all 3 of the team’s quarterbacks threw TD passes, including a 28-yarder from Max Hall to Isaiah Williams for the game winner.

Player of the Game:

Arizona Cardinals WR Isaiah Williams: 3 receptions 50 yards, 1 TD (game winner)

 

 

 

 

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Preseason Action Begins Tonight

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NFL PRESEASON BEGINS TONIGHT

In years past, most football fans considered the preseason a waste of time and an unnecessary opportunity for their favorite teams’ players to get injured in meaningless games.  However, due to the long lockout, shortened camp, and threat of possibly no football season this year, this preseason has been met with much more anticipation.  While the Hall Of Fame game (annually held on the night the new class is inducted) was cancelled, the NFL preseason officially kicks off tonight.  From a fans perspective, the outcome holds very little relevance, but from the coaching staff’s perspective, it gives them an opportunity to install new game plans, as well as take a long look at the players who will eventually fill out their roster.  The starting units play sparingly, but there are always a few players who dominate the preseason and end up making an impact come regular season.  This evening will feature two games and I’ve included a few key things to keep an eye on

The Jacksonville Jaguars vs. The New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • Will Tom Brady play and how will he bounce back from offseason surgery?
  • How will the offense gel with the addition of Chad Ochocinco?
  • What kind of impact will the veteran additions along the defensive line make, such as Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, and Andre Carter?

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Will they throw their #1 draft pick Blaine Gabbert into the fire at quarterback straight from the get go and how will he perform?
  • What kind of impact will newly signed former Raider tight end Zach Miller have?
  • Will we get to see Maurice Jones-Drew or will they try to keep him fresh for the season?

The Baltimore Ravens vs. The Philadelphia Eagles

Baltimore Ravens

  • Coming off of two spectacular seasons, how much will Joe Flacco play?
  • Will we get to see the newly signed Ricky Williams take some carries away from Ray Rice?
  • Will newly acquired Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach clear even more room for Ray Rice to help him eclipse his rushing totals from the past few seasons?

Philadelphia Eagles

  • With perhaps one of the all-time greatest runs in free agency, which player will make the most impact?
  • How will the Eagles utilize their 3 Pro Bowl CBs Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
  • How much gas does recently sign RB Ronnie Brown have left in the tank?
  • How will Michael Vick spread the ball around evenly to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Steve Smith (injured) to keep them all happy?

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Tavaris Jackson was brought in from Minnesota to be this team’s QB.  Does he have what it takes to be successful?
  • The team recently released leading tackler and defensive captain LB Lofa Tatupu; who will step up and take his place?
  • Do they have enough weapons on offense with Sidney Rice, Mike Williams, Leon Washington, and Marshawn Lynch to make a run at the playoffs?

San Diego Chargers

  • Can Philip Rivers continue to put up astronomical passing numbers the way he has in years past?
  • Will the tandem of Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews get it done at RB?
  • Who will step up and fill Shawn Merriman’s place on defense?

Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • Will Kyle Orton be able to hold onto the starting quarterback job?
  • How much playing time can we expect Tim Tebow to get?
  • Can Knowshon Moreno finally live up to the expectations that made him a high draft pick?
  • What kind of impact with #2 overall pick LB Von Miller have?

Dallas Cowboys

  • Can the offensive line keep Tony Romo off the ground?
  • How effective will the rushing attack be with Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, and DeMarco Miller now that Marion Barber has been released?
  • How will the #9 overall draft pick Tyron Smith hold up at RT, the position he was drafted to start at from Day 1?

Arizona Cardinals vs. Oakland Raiders

Arizona Cardinals

  • How will Kevin Kolb fare in his first appearance as the Cardinals’ starting QB?
  • How sorely will Pro Bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie be missed?
  • Is #5 overall pick Patrick Peterson as good as advertised?

Oakland Raiders

  • How different will this defense be without Nnamdi Asomugha?
  • Will CB Stanford Routt, rewarded with a mega contract, be an adequate replacement for Asomugha?
  • Can Darren McFadden improve on his breakout season from last year?

PTS NFL Preview: Dallas Cowboys

 

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Offseason

Coming off one of the most disappointing seasons in recent history, it was widely assumed that the Cowboys would be extremely active in free agency.  While the apple of their eye was CB Nnamdi Asomugha, they had several holes to fill including at OT, both S positions, and DL.  They kicked off free agency by re-signing their top free agent LT Doug Free to a multi-year contract.  Free filled in admirably last season after Flozell Adams’ release and looks to be their LT of the future.  They also re-signed Kyle Kosier to a 3-year deal to continue to man the slot at RG.  After Asomugha signed with the Eagles, the Cowboys began to overhaul their roster by cutting Marion Barber, Roy Williams, and Leonard Davis.  Ultimately they would re-sign Gerald Sensabaugh, last year’s starter at strong safety, and then sign Abe Elam to a one year contract to start opposite him at FS.  After losing DT/DE Stephen Bowen to the Washington Redskins, they solidified their defensive line by bringing back DE Kenyon Coleman, DE Marcus Spears, and DT/DE Jason Hatcher.

After what could best be described as a disappointing 2010 NFL Draft, it appears as though the Cowboys landed some future stars in the 2011 Draft.  With their first round pick, they took University of Southern California RT Tyron Smith at 9th overall.  Smith’s selection allowed the Cowboys to release Marc Colombo and it appears he will be the starter from Day 1.  They landed two of the draft’s better steals in the 2nd and 3rd rounds when they selected former UNC LB Bruce Carter at #40 overall (2nd rd) and DeMarco Murray at #71 (3rd rd).  Carter was a top 20 talent most expected to be gone in the first round, but between a knee injury and the NCAA investigation, his stock plummeted.  Regardless, he is a perfect fit from a physical perspective and can be either MLB or OLB with his ability to get to thr quarterback.  Most draft pundits were shocked when Murray was available in round 3 and while that is likely because of durability issues, the Oklahoma product actually owns most of the rushing records at the same school that produced All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson.  The Cowboys draft was solid from top to bottom and it wouldn’t be a shock if all of their final five picks not only made the team, but also saw significant playing tome.  Missouri State G David Arkin could challenge for the opening created by Leonard Davis’ release, Josh Thomas (CB, Buffalo) could see time in nickel and dime packages, East Carolina WR/KR Dwayne Harris played a huge role in the Boys’ release of Roy Williams and could see time returning kicks and in the slot immediately, Georgia FB Shaun Chapas should push Chris Gronkowski for playing time in the backfield as well on special teams, and Wisconsin C Bill Nagy should be a capable back up to Andre Gurode.

Offense

There is no mistaking that this is Tony Romo’s team and while Jon Kitna performed admirably in Romo’s absence, Dallas Super Bowl aspirations lie squarely on Romo’s right shoulder.  The skill players for Dallas will have a different look this year as former starting RB Marion Barber has since been released, which means former #1 draft Felix Jones is now the man in the backfield.  He will be spelled by Tashard Choice, who could start on most NFL teams, while DeMarco will also see time.  Chapas and Gronkowski will battle for playing time at fullback, although the Cowboys will likely use more two tight end sets that will feature All-Pro Jason Witten, last year’s leading receiver, and Martellus Bennet, an athletic 6’8” former basketball player.  At wide receiver the Cowboys are in very good shape with All-Pro Miles Austin and last year’s first round pick Dez Bryant, who really shined at times last year.  Kevin Ogletree will have the opportunity to nail down the slot receiver position, but don’t be surprised if Dallas brings in a veteran for competition.  The offensive line likely will require a bit of shuffling at Doug Free will start at LT, Montrae Holland at LG, Andre Gurode at C, Kosier at RG, and rookie Tyron Smith at RT.  Smith is a physical freak of nature who could be a bookend tackle for years to come once he adjusts to the speed of the game.

Defense

After last season’s debacle, the Cowboys fired Head Coach Wade Phillips and consequently brought in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s brother.  Ryan utilizes a similar 3-4 defense to that of Phillips, however it is much more aggressive.  In this scheme, the 3 down lineman are responsible for taking on block and holding up lineman, rather than penetrating and getting to the quarterback (although that’s always a plus).  Returning at NT is perhaps the 2nd best player at the position in the NFL, Jay Ratliff.  Behind Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata, Ratliff occupies blockers and collapses the pocket, no small feat when battling 300+lb centers and guards at the same time.  Marcus Spears returns at one DE slot, while returning starter Igor Olshansky starts opposite him;  Jason Hatcher and Kenyon Coleman will provide depth.  The linebackers are solid but aging with Keith Brooking and Bradie James on the inside, and All-Pro DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on the outside.  Rookie Bruce Carter and second year man Sean Lee should provide depth, and while Ware is always good for 10-15 sacks, this could be the year Spencer breaks out in a big way.  If there is one area of concern on the Dallas defense it is their secondary.  Effective but aging Terrence Newman starts at one corner, while Mike Jenkins holds down the other spot.  Both had down years last season, but were Pro Bowlers the year before.  Orlando Scandrick provides an All-Pro type nickel back.  Sensabaugh and Elam could stand to be upgraded at safety, but they will have to do the trick for now.

Special Teams

The team returns kicker David Buehler as a kickoff specialist and long field goal kicker.  His accuracy on shorter kicks has been inconsistent, so don’t be surprised if they bring in a veteran for competition.  They also return the game’s best punter in Mat McBriar.  Dez Bryant will be the primary punt returner this year after he had a PR TD last season, while Felix Jones and Bryan McCann, among others will battle for the kick returner position.

Wednesday Rewind

Wednesday Rewind

This morning we’ll take a quick look around the sports world to see what happened yesterday as the NFL prepare for camp and the pennant race starts to heat up in the MLB.

 

NFL

  • As we reported above, Steve Smith spurned the Giants and signed a two-year contract worth up to $4 milliion with the Eagles.  The 5’11” 195 lb. WR takes his 4.28 speed to Philly to give Pro Bowl QB and last season’s NFL Comeback Player of the Year Michael Vick, a receiving core headlined by Pro Bowlers DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Steve Smith, in addition to Jason Avant and TE Brent Celek, looking to bounce back from a poor season.
  • The NFL announced that the Supplemental Players Draft will take play August 17th.  While the league released the list yesterday, the headliner, former Ohio State QB, was omitted due to questions about his eligibility.  Prior also pushed back his showcase, which was expected to be attended by representatives from the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, and Dallas Cowboys.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers second round draft-pick DaQuan Bowers, once projected as the #1 overall pick, practiced yesterday on his surgically repaired knee.  He said his knee is back to 100% and if that is the case, the Bucs may have gotten one of the best steals in draft history should Bowers’ knee hold up, as he was considered the draft’s premier pass rusher.
  • Chargers offensive tackle Marcus McNeil injured his left knee in practice and is expected to miss about 2 weeks.

MLB

  • The New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by a score of 9-3.  The underlying story was the strong pitching performance by Ivan Nova, which may be enough to relegate Phil Hughes to the bullpen come postseason time.
  • The Mets dropped a 9-5 decision to the San Diego Padres as they were able to hit R.A. Dickey’s knuckle ball early and often.
  • The Boston Red Sox fell to the Minnesota Twins 5-2 after Jim Thome’s tie-breaking, RBI double
  • Atlanta Braves’ Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 31-games in a victory over the Florida Marlins.

NBA

  • The NBA announced Tom Sanders, Dennis Rodman, Chris Mullin, Herb Magee, Artis Gilmore, and Reece Tatum will comprise the Naismith Hall of Fame class that will be enshrined Friday.

 

 

 

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BREAKING NEWS: Former Giants WR Steve Smith signs with Eagles

 steve smith philadelphia eagles

 Ex-Giants WR heads down Turnpike to sign with Philadelphia Eagles

As if the Philadelphia Eagles hadn’t done enough in free agency to assemble the NFL’s version of the “Dream Team”, they added yet another key piece in former NY Giants wide receiver Steve Smith.  To date the Eagles have traded for Pro Bowl corner Dominique Rodgers- Cromartie in addition to signing free agency’s biggest prize Nnamdi Asomugha, DE/DT Cullen Jenkins, DE/OLB Jason Babin, OT Ryan Harris, QB Vince Young, RB Ronnie Brown, and others.  Just hours after meeting with the Giants, Smith accepted a one-year $4 million contract – with $2 million of if guaranteed.  Part of what confused the matter was that Smith, 26, is coming off of surgery in December to repair articular cartilage damage in his left knee.  Giants’ team officials did not expect him to be ready to be on the field until October at the earliest.  While there would have been significant risk to re-sign Smith, the reward may have outweighed it.  Smith had a record-setting Pro Bowl season in 2009 when he hauled in a franchise-record 107 passes, good for 1,220 yards.  Just last week New York offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride called Smith the best inside wide receiver in the entire NFL.  Not only is this yet another blow to a Giants roster who has now lost Smith, Kevin Boss (Oakland Raiders), Barry Cofield ( Washington Raiders), as well as the loss of Plaxico Burress to the New York Jets.  Eli Manning will have his work cut out for him this season as his diminished receiving  core ooooooonow features rising star Hakeem Nicks (who led the team in receiving last year), former Michigan Wolverine Mario Manningham, Devin Thomas (who is expected to miss time with a dislocated finger), Ramses Barden (who has yet to see the field in two seasons since being drafted due to a series of injuries), and last season’s preseason hero and Paterson-native Victor Cruz.  The tight end position is of even more concern since the loss of Kevin Boss, as the Giants will look to Travis Beckum and Bear Pascoe to fill the void left behind.

For the Eagles, this move just brings them one step closer to a Super Bowl as they now have Michael Vick (A weapon with his arm and his feet) throwing the ball to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, and Steve Smith.

WOW!

PTS NFL Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

 

 

 

Offseason

What is left to say about the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason?  After it was announced that they would not pursue any of their own free agents including including starting LB Stewart Bradley (signed with Arizona Cardinals), SS Quintin Mikell (signed a 4 year, $28 dollar deal with St. Louis), and K David Akers who signed with the San Francisco 49ers, many fans were perplexed as to how they planned on improving their team.  All they did was sign perhaps the most impressive free agent class in history.  Among their moves:

  • Landed the marquee free agent on the market, Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha to a 5-year $60 million deal
  • Traded Backup QB Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Pro-Bowl CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick
  • Signed Michael Vick to the franchise tag
  • Signed former Titans DE Jason Babin to a 5-years $28 million deal
  • Locked up former Packer DE/DT Cullen Jenkins to a 5-year $25 million contract
  • Inked former Denver Bronco OT Ryan Harris to a 1 year deal
  • Signed former Titan QB Vince Young to a 1-year deal to serve as Michael Vick’s backup
  • Added depth to the backfield by signing former Dolphin Ronnie Brown to a 1 year deal
  • They also added several other players including DTs Anthony Hargrove and Derek Landri, former Bengals OLB Rashad Jeanty, and WR Johnnie Lee Higgins

The Eagles enjoyed similar success in the 2011 NFL Draft as they stockpiled even more talent.  They grabbed OG Danny Watkins out of Baylor, who is expected to step in and start from Day 1.  In the next two rounds they added defensive depth by staying local and grabbing Temple Safety JaiquawnW Jarrett.  With the draft winding down, they selected a few players who may not only make the roster, but make significant impacts on special teams as well as offense or defense.  Among those picks are Oregon LB Casey Matthews, Pitt RB Dion Lewis, Ohio State LB Brian Rolle, UCONN LB Greg Lloyd, and USC FB Stanley Havili.

Offense

After years of this being Donovan McNabb’s Eagles, the tide has turned, and this team is officially Michael Vicks.  While the Eagles traded back up Kevin Kolb in the offseason, he has a more than capable backup in Vince Young.  Young is made from the same mold as Vick, with the ability to pass as well as make plays with his feet, so should Vick go down, the offense shouldn’t miss a beat.  At running back the Eagles return one of the best young rushers in the league in LeSean McCoy.  Equally adept as catching the ball out of the backfield, McCoy ran for over 1,000 yards last season and also led the team in receptions with 78.  Expect rookie Dion Lewis to spell him.  The wide receivers, provided DeSean Jackson ends his hold out, are perhaps the most dynamic in the league.  With Jackson on one side and Maclin on the other, the Eagles possess the speediest WR duo in the league.  Throw in Jason Avant and Brent Celek, a Pro Bowl up-and-coming tight end, and its easy to see why the Eagles offense is so dangerous.  The offensive line will be anchored by LT Jason Peters, RT Winston Justice, and rookie OG Danny Watkins.

Defense

The Eagles’ defensive line is definitely one of their strongest units as is evidenced by the way they harassed quarterbacks last season.  Jason Babin, Brandon Graham, and Trent Cole all return at DE to give Philly a destructive and deep rotation that has no dropoff.  Newly signed Cullen Jenkins will man one DT spot while Trevor Law looks in line to start opposite of him.  Derek Landri will provide depth, as will Mike Patterson provided his injury is nothing serious.

Special Teams

The punting and kicking jobs remain wide open with the release of Sav Rocca, but at the very least, the Eagles will be in good hands with DeSean Jackson returning kicks and punts.

 

 

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Tuesday Rewind

MLB

  • Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee struck out 10 in his return to the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Lee would also hit a home run, which was ultimately the decided run in Philly’s 2-1 victory
  • Former Yankee Bobby Abreu burned the Yanks with his 9th inning home run to give the Angels a 6-4 victory.
  • The Cleveland Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers in 14 innings last night, in perhaps one of the strangest finales in baseball history.  The Indians won by a walk off in the 14th inning, except it was a walk of hit-by-pitch
  • Despite injuries, David Wright and Angel Pagan led the New York Mets to a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres

NFL

  • In a strange twist of events, former Miami Dolphin linebacker Channing Crowder has announced his retirement.  Crowder has been a starter at LB for the Dolphins since being selected as their 2 round draft pick a few years back.
  • The latest the owner-player dispute came to a head yesterday when league officials announced that ALL players will be drug/steroid tested on game-days.  Additionally, the players are subject to an unlimited amount of these tests throughout the season, as well as up to 6 times in the offseason.
  • Presumed Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback David Garrard is out with an injury, meaning rookie first-round pick Blaine Gabbert with start this Thursday for the NFL Preseason Kickoff.
  • Side note..Titans RB Chris Johnson appears no where near ready to end his lockout.
  • As the NFL Supplemental Draft nears, the Dallas Cowboys announced that they would be sending team officials and trainers to work out former Ohio State Buckeye Terrell Pryor, who left the school a year early after his involvement in “tattoo-gate”.