State of The Rcok

State of The Rcok
NFL News and Commentary

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NFL Media Day

Richard Sherman Showed who is really is today. Praising his teammates and directing the spotlight to them . He was articulate and Hard not to Like. 

Marshawn Lynch. The Polar Opposite of Sherman - Stole the Show in mind. This guy is Man. He will let his Play do the talking.  It doesn't take more than the 6 minutes he spent on the podium to explain that. He is excited about the game. He was simply raised to walk not talk. He also sounds like a guy you don't want to offend in a bar downtown. The message I got was -Just stay out of his way. Not a Bad message to send to the Broncos 23rd Rush Defense. 

Fines for Not Boasting. 
The Idea than any player should be fined for not talking to the media is insane. I love social media. But media participation should always be voluntary. It should not be a prerequisite in a job interview. I Run 6 blogs - but I do not have "friends" on Facebook or want anyone knowing what isle I'm on in WalMart through 4Square. Just let em Play and Reward modesty - don't penalize it. 

Peyton Manning. Is not my favorite QB, Montana is. But there is no better spokesperson than Peyton. I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of him after he retires. 

Wes Welker, whom I do like, was the black sheep today. Sherman apologized for taking a shot at another player (Crabtree) today.  Earlier during the Broncos media session - Welker took pot shots at Sherman. "He should focus on the field and not do so many interviews." Referring to Sherman; " I'll take him one on one in the slot any day."  


A lot has been said about the inexperience of Seattle. No one on the team - including the Coach, has ever been in a SuperBowl. The Buzz is about the ability of these young players to handle the Media Frenzy and spotlight that comes with the Big Game. Not their ability to play the game.

If you saw the interviews today - None of the Hawks seemed the least bit nervous. Including Russell Wilson, the man with this game squarely on his shoulders. He is going against a Legend. Wilson talked about his hair. Hard to tell if He - or his S curls were more relaxed. 

One Factor that everyone may be missing is Social Media. Times have changed. 30 years ago we had 5 TV Channels. You could not go on your computer and type something a thousand or a million people might read. Cell phones were only a reality in reruns of Star Trek. 10 Years ago we did not have Computers in our pockets connected to the entire world.

These young athletes have a million people waiting to hear what they have to Tweet every morning. This is a Big Game, but this new breed of young athlete may be much less effected by a so-called Media Frenzy than their Predecessors.

-Rick Jansen

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who is Richard Sherman?

With Justin Beiber Drag Racing Drunk and New Jersey's Governor Looking more like a Mob Boss than a Presidential Hopeful - Richard Sherman still tops the charts as the man everyone loves to hate.

So who is Richard Sherman? If you take Chris Rocks Face and Sense of Humor, Add Whoopi Goldberg's hair and throw in a Little Hulk Hogan Attitude, you have a pretty good facsimile.
Oh yeah, throw in Ronnie Lott's Football Talent and Deon Sanders speed.  Sherman is straight out of Compton. The empasis here should be "Out" of Compton. He graduated from Stanford with a degree in Communications. His favorite class was sign language and he is active in charity.

After Scaring the Crap out of Erin Andrews in a Post game interview - realizing he had, and giving her a hug would have been the gentlemanly thing to do. But, his anger was not directed at her. Also, unlike Hogan -he didn't attempt to body slam the reporter. He had just made a play that secured his teams advance into the Super Bowl. Just prior to the interview, he attempted to shake the hand of Crabtree and was pushed away. That was something no one saw. Can't blame Crabtree either. He had just lost the chance to go to the Big Game. As is common in the NFL -the two were smack talking throughout the game. That spilled over into the interview. That's all. I don't think Seattle has a "Stand Your Ground Law"- So no shots were fired. But let's be honest - angry black men scare white people. Hulk Hogan was White. Sherman is a shade or two darker. I have blonde hair and lived in South Central for two years. Trust me - you have nothing to fear - unless you play for Denver. As much as the No Fun League wants us to think differently - this is Entertainment after all. We will all enjoy it a lot more if we take it a little less seriously. 

 In an Era where stricter rules have made it nearly impossible to play defense - the aforementioned Ronnie Lott would be fined, not praised for his terrific hits. I am all for player safety. I have no idea how you protect players and still preserve the type of game we have come to expect. I always thought it was the Defenders job to hit the Receiver as hard and violently as possible. This tends to remove the ball from their person and discourage them from returning to your area. These days - all that does is cost your team 15 yards and remove 10 or 20k from your bank account.

So I am only slightly mixed on the Sherman Issue. I Love and respect women, and never like seeing a Lady upset or scared. But he did apologize for his outburst. I bet he probably sent her some flowers too. At least I hope so.

Having said all of that - I am impressed and surprised that anyone is even able to play defense these days. I love that fact that any team is doing it well enough to have swagger and top the headlines. It has become the main storyline of this Super Bowl. No one is talking about Wilson or Lynch. So, he is actually doing this team a favor by taking the Media pressure off his teammates. What the Media should be talking about is the Match up between Demaryious Thomas and Richard Sherman. That alone will be worth the price of admission. It will also determine the outcome of the biggest sporting event of the year. 

Here is a Link to NFL Turning Point for a closer look at Sherman in and outside the sidelines: Video

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Path to the SuperBowl NFC

SeaHawks @ Home -3 vs 49ers

Chance of Rain 9% / Fog
Temp: 43
Wind 2 Mph
Advantage: Equal
Both teams accustomed to these conditions.

Home Field:
SF is Great on the Road 6-2. 
SEA Crowd Noise could pose a Significant problem for Kaepernick and the Off Line.
Especially if Ticket Gate has even a small impact on attendance. 

SEA Injuries:
Percy Harvin deserves tremendous praise for his performance last week. He is an Impact player. It was cruel watching him come back - only to be knocked out of the game twice with injuries. However, Seattle went 12-2 without him and should spread the ball around better in his absence. Look for Kearse to play a major role in this weeks game.
Advantage / Disadvantage
Non Factor

SF Injuries:
The Back up for Carlos Rodgers has better Stats than he does. 
Advantage / Disadvantage  
Non Factor 


Off Line:
SEA 19th Off Line vs SF 5th Def Line
SF 3rd Off Line vs SEA 24th Def Line

SEA 16th Pass Off vs SF 6th Pass Def
SF 20th Pass Off vs SEA #1 Pass Def - (Featuring Richard Sherman)

Pass Defense: 
SEA had 0 Interceptions in their Last Game. (Richard Sherman Still a Factor)
SF had 2. 

Wilson Sacked 3 Times Last Game.
Seattle Defense - 1 Sack Last Game.
Kaepernick Sacked Twice Last Game
SF Defense 5 Sacks (Brooks 2.5 - force to be reckoned with.)

SEA 19th Rush Off vs SF #1 Rush Def. Lynch 140 yds, 2 TDs, Long 31
SF #2 Rush Off vs SEA 6th Rush Def. Gore 84 yds, 0 TDs 39 Long. 
SeaHawks (Lynch the Hotter RB Right Now)

T/O Ratio:
SEA +18
SF +10

Projected Red Zone
SEA 38%
SF 41%
Equally Bad

Summary- One Word - VERTICAL
As you can See above - SF Matches up nicely against Seattle. The Main advantage for the SeaHawks is Home Field and a Better Running Back. The Crowd Noise will challenge Kaepernick - who is already prone to mistakes and has a tendency to loft the ball. I expect Richard Sherman to play a much bigger part in this weeks game. Last week Kaepernick reenacted Joe Montana's Rolling backward pass to Clarke - 3 plays in a row. None of his attempts had the same result.

If the SF Pass Rush gets to Wilson, it will be a Long Day for him. The SF Pass Defense will make him pay for any mistakes. Wilson threw for just 103 yds last week. When he scrambles in the pocket the Hawks Lose.  

As you can see - this game could easily go either way. Both Offensive coordinators have lost games for their teams.

Here is the Key to this Game! 
Whichever QB stays Vertical and releases quickly will win. If they Run, they will need to commit quickly and head up field. Scrambling in the backfield or rolling deep to throw is suicide. Neither if these defenses will give either QB time for plays to develop down-field. Each QB will need to throw to position - releasing quickly.  The winning Offensive Coordinator will need a mix of Run, Slants, Screens and vertical boots. 

SF has a good Rush Def. Seattle will need to give Lynch enough Reps to get in the groove. The team that abandons run first - Loses. 

Wilson has done a slightly better job of this recently. Kaepennick Struggled horribly vs the 26th Green Bay Defense. I believe the crowd noise and Richard Sherman will get to him.

Seahawks by 6?

Path to the Superbowl AFC

Tomorrow we will have the pleasure of watching two of the best Match ups of the year. There is no great disparity between any of these teams. Each game could go either way. You have all the stats. Lets take a closer look at these Match Ups. 

Broncos @ Home -5 vs Patriots

Chance of Rain 0% 
Temp: 59
Wind 7 Mph
Advantage: Manning, 
Brady great in cold weather. Manning at Home and no Cold weather to slow him down. 

NE Injuries:
Players that practice - even limited - usually play.  Both Wide Receivers Thompkins and Dobson did practice on a Limited basis this week. These two are the main deep threats for the Patriots. If they both are able to perform effectively - This is a huge advantage for the Patriots. 
I say this because Belichck will focus on establishing the Run game. This will set up easy deep strikes for Brady.

Advantage / Disadvantage
Unknown. If Thompkins and Dobson perform - Major advantage. If not - Minor Disadvantage as Pats will focus on Run and short pass game effectively with Amendola and Eddlemen.  
Side note: The Loss of both Gronkowski and Hernandez are the only reason any of this is even an issue. In retrospect, imagine if they were both starting tomorrow. The line would be a Whole lot Different. We'll see if Belechick, famous for trading out talent - can get to the Superbowl without them.

DEN Injuries:
Non Factor 


Off Line:
DEN 4th Off Line vs NE 21st  Def Line*
*But - DEN Rush Off 17th vs NE Rush Def 11th. (Wash) 
Advantage / Disadvantage

DEN #1 Pass Off vs NE 12th Pass Def
NE 7th Pass Off vs DEN 17th Pass Def
Advantage / Disadvantage

Pass Defense: 
DEN had 0 Interceptions in their Last Game
NE had 4.  Dennard Had 2.

Advantage / Disadvantage

Manning Sacked 0 Times Last Game (Product of 4th Off Line.)
Denver Defense - 4 Sacks
Brady Sacked 2 Times Last Game
Patriot Defense 3 Sacks Last Game 
Advantage / Disadvantage

NE 5th Rush Off vs DEN 23rd Rush Def. Blount 166 yds, 4 TDs, Long 73
DEN 17th Rush Off vs NE 11th Rush Def. Moreno 82yds, 1 TD Long 14. 
Advantage / Disadvantage

T/O Ratio:
NE +10
DEN -1 
Advantage / Disadvantage

Projected Red Zone
NE 70%
DEN 45%
Advantage / Disadvantage

As you can see - the Only Major Advantages for Denver are Good Protection for Manning in Good Weather and a Strong Pass Rush. In my Opinion - that Pass Rush is the Key to Victory for the Broncos. Brady does not like Pressure.  However, Belichick will Minimize that strength by Focusing on the Run. Red Zone Stats can be Deceiving. Last week Denver's Red Zone % was 75%. But they choked inside the 30 -3 times - at Home!  Maybe if his Busines Partner - Papa John - treated his employes a little better - they might have better Karma. LOL

New England, on the Other hand, Has the Greatest Advantage. Running Blount down their Throats. This will Open up the Pass game for Brady (with or without Questionable WRs) and Keep Manning on the Bench.  Moreno Does not afford Manning that same Luxury.  If Thompkins and Dobsons are healthy - This will get lopsided in Favor of the Patriots. The System called NE +5. I took Patriots Moneyline.

Patriots by 7

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Black Monday WhiteWash

A Year after World War II ended, a few Japaneses soldiers on remote islands - were still fighting the War. Not their fault. They had no way of knowing. That is, however,  the same level of detachment from reality that permeated the discourse regarding Black Monday. 

Black Monday is the day many teams announce coaching changes. This years decisions and excuses induce a Lewis Black Lip Whinny - prior to any response. 

Houston Texans
Let's start with the first team out of the gate. The Houston Texans. They fired Kubiak early - to get a head start on interviews. Interim ne'er do well Wade Phillips - stuck his thumb in the dam until the season ended for an 0-4 finish. BTW, I will never forgive Phillips for benching Flutie for Tackling Dummy Rob Johnson in Buffalo.

Bill O'Brien has been named the new Head Coach of the Texans. He rose from offensive assistant, to QB coach and eventually offensive coordinator with the Patriots. He was terminated sometime after a shouting match with Tom Brady. He then took over for Joe Paterno at Penn state. He went 6-2 and 4-4. O'Brien is known for pruning QBs for the NFL, like Thaddeus Lewis. 

Fix What's Broken! 
My first thought was Great! A QB coach will recognize Case Keenum as having earned the starting position in Houston. This would allow the Texans to use the #1 Draft Pick on something they actually need. Linemen. Houston has the 23rd Offensive Line. That is why they allowed close to 3 sacks per game and were 28th in Rushing. They need Offensive Linemen! Not a Hotshot QB from the draft - most of whom look great in college and choke in the Pros. I'm not saying use the #1 draft choice to pick 1 linemen. Trade and parlay that Pick into a couple good linemen and then pick another in lower rounds. If they do that - they will be right back in the playoffs next year. 

The Bath Water - Not the Baby 
The Texans have skill players. Foster in the backfield - with Tate and Dennis Johnson in tow. 
Andre Johnson at Wide Receiver - showing no signs of slowing down - despite an inept offense. The Defensive Line is Ranked 3rd with stars like Watt and Cushing - who just need a few less 3 and outs to catch their breath. But if you've been listening to NFL Network - they act like the Texans need to clean house and are relying on the Draft to re-build. Not good news for Texans fans - unless they just want to buy NFL Gear for their grandchildren. "Here Johnny, I bought this Texan's Hat before we had flying cars, should be worth something now."

The Texans only had 3)-Problems. 1)-Idiots Running the show, 2)-A Perennial Loser in Schaub at QB and 3)-A Weak Offensive Line. Case Keenum solved the 2nd problem. He came in and rejuvenated the team. The #1 Draft Choice allows them to trade for the offensive line personnel needed. But if O'Brien Takes a QB instead - he becomes problem number 1) again.

Schuab led the league in interceptions when they threw Keenum in the ring vs the Chiefs at home in Arrowhead Stadium. Keenum Threw for 7 TDs, 0 INTs and averaged 274 yards over 3 games vs 3 of the Best Teams in the league. KC, IND and ARI. He did not make Rookie mistakes by giving up the ball or taking Sacks. He was leading the league and was poised for a comeback vs OAK when the coaches blindsided him. He had just driven the team 91 yards and threw a TD Pass - when they sat him for Schaub. His numbers fell after that. You can't mess with a kids head that way.

Like I said, I was excited they hired a QB coach. However, O'Brien and the press have all thrown Keenum under the bus as part of the problem. Great idea, you have a kid who proved himself in the worst conditions in the NFL - Go empty your Piggy bank on an untested draft choice. The Texans will likely waste the pick on a QB and stay in the cellar for years. Don't be surprised if you see an Exodus of Stars - parting with this Sea of Stupidity.  Watt, Johnson, Cushing and especially Keenum - deserve much better.

As far as O'Brien is concerned, He needs to wake up and realize he already has one of the best QBs in the NFL. If not, all I can say about him is - this is what it would look like if Chris Kattan and Patton Oswalt had a Baby:

Bill O'Brien

See Future Blogs for Other Team Coaching Changes