Tag Archives: A.J. Green

From Pretender to Contender, and Vice Versa

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Could Robert Griffin III (pictured above) help transform the Redskins from a pretender into a contender? Our very own Jeremy Powers thinks so.

By Jeremy Powers

The football season is upon us. Put a smile on your face.

Tonight, the Giants travel to the Jerry Jones Dome to revive the rivalry that received plenty of media attention as is typically the case this offseason.

I can’t wait to see which teams will take a step back and which teams will rise from the ruins and contend for a playoff birth. Let’s look at a recent example, shall we.

Last season, Tampa Bay stepped back from a ten-win season in 2010 to a 4-12 record and a last place finish in the NFC South. Ouch, talk about the opposite side of the spectrum. The Bucs were a pretender last season.

Cincinnati, who won four games in 2010—reached the playoffs with rookies leading the way on offense. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green made a formidable duo and the Bengals defense was stout all season long leading the team to a 9-7 record. The Bengals were a contender last season.

This season I expect some of the same parity that we see every season in the NFL. I see a few teams emerging as playoff contenders and some teams falling straight into the depths of their respective divisions.

Contender:

The Washington Redskins were 5-11 last season. Drafting Robert Griffin III is a huge upgrade at quarterback over Rex Grossman and John Beck that will result in two more wins minimum. Not to mention the addition of Pierre Garcon as a big-play threat. Washington’s defense is quite impressive on paper as well. Playing in a 3-4 base defense, the Redskins linebackers will lead them as veteran London Fletcher powers a group that also starts second-year guy Ryan Kerrigan, and All-Pro Brian Orakpo. I think the Redskins get to 8-8 this season, which puts them in the hunt for a wild card spot. Continue reading

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NFL Preview 2012-2013

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Rob Gronkowski (pictured above) and the New England Patriots will redeem themselves on February 3rd with their fourth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

By Josh Kramer

It has been 208 days since the New England Patriots and more specifically Wes Welker let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers. For those of you in need of a refresher, back on February 5th in the house that Peyton Manning built (Lucas Oil Stadium), the New York Giants once again shocked the New England Patriots in a very closely contested Super Bowl game.  That was then though and this is now.  America’s most popular sport is just five days away from its official kickoff.  Who is ready for some football?

AFC East Champion:  New England Patriots

I am sure you are all shocked at this pick.  New England has only won three straight divisional crowns and qualified for the playoffs eight of the past nine years.  People are already comparing this year’s squad to the greatest team to ever grace the gridiron, but fail to win the Lombardi Trophy (2007 Patriots).  With Brandon Lloyd added to the mix, it is hard to say these comparisons are all that far-fetched.  However, it should be noted that the defense has some flaws, and the offensive line will have its fair of struggles due to the absence of Matt Light (retirement), Brian Waters (possibly retirement), Logan Mankins (ACL tear), and Sebastian Vollmer (back injury).  Luckily for New England, the Jets appear to have taken a step backwards with the acquisition of “God” Tebow, and the Miami Dolphins appear to just be a horrible team (Hard Knocks has provided clear evidence of this).  Buffalo is improved, but does not have nearly the firepower to stick with New England throughout the duration of a grueling 17-week season. Continue reading

Food for Thought 8-7-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Terrell Owens (pictured above) last played in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. It appears he will be suiting up for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012.

By Josh Kramer

The three-headed quarterback controversy in Seattle is just a minor story compared to yesterday’s news.  It appears the “TO Show” will have another season after all. This time in Seattle.  Yes, the Seahawks have rolled the dice on the 38-year-old locker room killer that is Terrell Owens.

Owens last played in the NFL in 2010 with the Cincinnati Bengals.  Despite putting up solid numbers in Cincinnati, a torn ACL, a riddled past, and old age made him unappealing to NFL teams.  Not to mention Cincinnati went a pitiful 4 and 12 after making the playoffs the year before.  After playing in the Indoor Fooball League, Owens is ready for one final hoorah in the NFL.  The real question is why?

No, I am not asking why Owens is motivated to return to the NFL.  Those reasons are obvious (money).  I am asking why the Seattle Seahawks, a team coming off of a 7 and 9 season, a wild offseason that has included “Beast Mode” going into “DUI Mode,” and a major quarterback competition, is willing to put Owens on a roster with an inexperienced quarterback (all three competitors are fairly inexperienced in the NFL).

I am aware that Seattle finished 22nd in the NFL in passing yards during the 2011 season.  So there is definite room for improvement.  Also, do not forget that Seattle already brought in another troubled wide-receiver this off-season, in Braylon Edwards.  The star power is definitely lacking at the position.  But sometimes that is the best way to go with a young quarterback (See Andy Dalton and A.J. Green in Cincinnati).  A chemistry can form that has lasting power.  Pete Carroll was always a mastermind at managing big egos and star power while at USC.  He still has not proven the ability to do this since coming to Seattle in 2010.

The way I see it, fans in Seattle should be praying for three things in terms of their wide receivers:  Continued improvement from Doug Baldwin.  A healthy Sidney Rice.  Plus, Golden Tate finally living up to the hype he demonstrated in South Bend.  Also they should wish for a fourth thing:  A very low-key and subdued Owens (if that is possible).

There is a reason why the “T.O. Show” has already been cancelled by five NFL teams. Continue reading

Food for Thought 4-24-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. If I were running the show in Minnesota, I would take Justin Blackmon (pictured above) at number three on Thursday.

By Josh Kramer

Number three is for me.  The NFL Draft is just about here (finally).  After all of the analysis, sports science, and insane amounts of minutia, Thursday night, it all goes down.  253 players will learn much more about their future over the course of the three day extravaganza when their name is called.  We have a semblance of idea how the first fifteen minutes will play out.

“With the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select… Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford Cardinal.”

Followed by a huge smile and a very mild-mannered interview with Andrew Luck.

“With the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select…Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor Bears.”

RGIII will be all smiles and of course we will get to see his goofy socks during the interview.

Then what happens?

The ball is in Minnesota’s court.  They have been on the clock for months in essence.  Everyone has known for well over two months now that Luck and Griffin would be the top two picks.  But who will go at number three?  Many have proclaimed Matt Kalil, from USC, as the guy.  Others are saying Morris Claiborne from LSU.  Some are even saying Justin Blackmon, the young clone of TO, out of Oklahoma State.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Justin Blackmon is the Vikings man. Continue reading

How I got to know Doc

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. 2008 was not the best of years for Carson Palmer (pictured above) and the Cincinnati Bengals.

By Josh Kramer

Now I want you all to think back to the Bengal days before Big Red and A.J. Green arrived at Paul Brown Stadium and took the city of Cincinnati by storm. A time where flashiness seemed to outweigh heart, and the name on the back of the jersey seemed more important than the name on the front.  It is October 26, 2008.  Ryan Fitzpatrick (alumnus of the same fine academic institution as Jeremy Lin) was filling in for an injured Carson Palmer.  Cincinnati has just lost for the third straight week by 20+ points.  On this particular day, the Who Deys took one on the head at Reliant Stadium to those pesky Houston Texans (sound familiar?).  Cincinnati now finds themselves 0 for 8 on the year and in the midst of another lost season.  People in Cincinnati are already done with NFL football, and their focus has shifted to college football and the upcoming college hoops season.  Any city that is fortunate enough to have a professional football team shouldn’t be finished with America’s most popular sport by the end of October. It just isn’t right.  It is a major problem.

I reached out to Paul a little more than three years ago on a whim in regards to a school project.  My group was tasked with discussing a major problem in Cincinnati.  So naturally, as Cincinnati sports fans, we chose the Bengals as our problem. Continue reading

NFL Week 17 Predictions

Photo courtesy of Cincinnati.com. Can rookies Andy Dalton (left) and A.J. Green (right) lead Cincinnati to victory on Sunday which would result in a playoff berth?

By Josh Kramer

This is it folks.  After a very uncertain off-season, the 2011/2012 NFL season has lived up to all of the hype and more. Without question, it has been the “Year of the Quarterback,” defined by guys like Tebow, Rodgers, Brees, Newton, Brady, and more.  As is usually the case, there is still plenty to be determined in Week 17, with three playoff spots still available.  Plus the winner of the second annual “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge” must be determined.   Grab your popcorn, because the season finale will be fun.

As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”

The participants this season are as follows:

TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.

CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.

CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.

DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team.  After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.

After Week 16, here is the scoreboard.

CB-152

TSK-159

CV3-151

DC-148

Week 17 Slate: Continue reading

NFL Week 5 Predictions

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. All eyes will be centered on the AFC East tussle in New England between the Jets and Patriots. Who will prepare his team better to win this game, Belichick (right) or Ryan (left)?

By Josh Kramer

Week 4 ended up being the “Week of the comeback.”  This week appears to be the “Week of the primetime matchups.”  Talk about a great slate of games.  The Motor City is all smiles for the first time in a long time, as the Lions are one of only two remaining undefeated teams.  In addition, it appears to be a three team race in the “Andrew Luck sweepstakes,” as the three remaining winless teams battle it out (Minnesota, St. Louis, Indianapolis).  Lastly, bye weeks have finally begun.  And after an extremely physical battle against the Jets, I doubt the Ravens are complaining about getting this Sunday off.

As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”

The participants this season are as follows:

TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.

CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.

CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.

DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team.  After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.

After Week 4, here is the scoreboard.

CB-41

TSK-44

CV3-43

DC-40

Week 5 Slate: Continue reading