Coffee Cup Quarterback (Monday Edition) | Preseason Week 3: The One With the Starters

Ahhh…week three of the NFL preseason.  When the starters actually play and our teams begin to look less like it’s the preseason and more like the regular season.  For some teams, that was good news.  For others…not so much.

The New York Jets were featured on Sunday Night Football hosting the Carolina Panthers.  Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was in regular season form.  He ran, he threw, he impressed.  And his team went on to beat the Jets 17-12.  No, the Jets don’t have a touchdown yet.  That was four field goals for them.  They have Mark Sanchez, they have Tim Tebow.  Before the season started, we couldn’t stop talking about this duo and what they could do.  And now that it’s started, we can’t stop talking about what they can’t do.  There were visions of hope.  After a thoroughly unsuccessful half by Sanchez (who was booed for letting the clock run down to end it), it was Tebow Time.  Tebow did what Tebow does, which is run and throw to the other team.  At one point, NBC Host Cris Collinsworth was dissecting the mechanics of his unconventional left-handed throw and Tebow broke out for a huge run and first down.  The timing was nothing short of divine.  This is what Tebow can do.  A few plays later…perfectly thrown ball…to a Carolina Panther.  This is also what Tebow can do.

Note to self: take Jets kicker in fantasy draft.  Tebow was eventually booed as well.  Yes, Jets fans booed both of their quarterbacks in one game and it’s only the preseason.  Tough crowd.

And to back up my theory that Twitter has no better use than for in-game football commentary, take this.  For me, the tweet of the night, maybe of the entire preseason:

Michele Tafoya asked Sanchez about the Jets’ lack of a touchdown and he pointed out that there is still a fourth preseason game to be played.  When pressed, he responded, “Looks like we’re saving all our touchdowns for the regular season.”  When they count.  Good plan.

And then we had the battle of the draft picks.  Number one, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on number two, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field.  There was hype.  There was a t-shirt…

In the end, it was just another preseason game.  Both quarterbacks highlighted their strengths.  Luck threw a lot and ran a little, RGIII threw a little and ran a lot.  Both had moments of brilliance.  Both had rookie mistakes.  The Redskins beat the Colts 30-17.  The most impressive drives came from (wait for it)…Rex Grossman.  Yes, Wrecks Grossman.  The guy who has never really been able to establish himself as solid starting material (at least for long), was brilliant.  Grossman finished 8 of 8 for 130 yards, 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.  Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to the Jets!

Other highlights for week three of the preseason:

We said hello to: Russell Wilson as starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning’s first touchdowns (a pair) for the Denver Broncos, and Cornerback Vontae Davis as a Colt, traded to Indy by the Miami Dolphins.

We said goodbye to: Terrell Owens as a Seattle Seahawk (and possibly as an NFL player), Pro Bowl Kicker Billy Cundiff as a Baltimore Raven (the team chose to move on with Rookie Justin Tucker), and many of the players who will be released by our teams as the rosters are reduced to 75 players.

Lest you forget, the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.”

One thing we do hope is not for long…the replacement refs.  There is confusion, discussion, and an on field meeting with practically every call.  The games are being dragged out, and there have been mistakes.  Plenty of them.  But it is the preseason.  And the games don’t count.  Yet.  The players, coaches, even the fans have been fairly patient thus far.  That will end once those calls result in a “W” or an “L” in a team’s record.  We need better than this for the regular season.  And really, by the start of it.

So, let’s hope week four of the preseason brings renewed talks between the NFL and the official officials.

And…a Jets touchdown.


Worst. Week. Ever.

In the last week, former Dolphins Wide Receiver Chad Johnson was arrested for domestic battery, fired from three jobs (the Dolphins, Hard Knocks, and Ev and Ocho) and is now being divorced by his wife, Reality Star Evelyn Lozada.

Tuesday night’s episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks documented the former Ochocinco’s final days in Dolphins training camp, up to and including his termination by Head Coach Joe Philbin.

A humble, apologetic, and slipper-clad Johnson was filmed while meeting with Philbin the day after his arrest.  The coach basically tells him he and the team aren’t a good fit for each other, thanks him for his time, and sends him on his way.  In the meantime, staff is seen packing up his locker.

At one point, Johnson is practically pleading for his job, saying he’s never been in trouble before (which we now know is not completely true).  But it’s too little, too late.  And Johnson’s off-the-field issues were only compounded by the fact that he wasn’t exactly stellar on the field either.  The only pass that came his way during Saturday’s first preseason game went right through his hands.

So if Philbin was looking for a reason to keep him, Johnson didn’t give him one.  If anything, he made it way too easy for the coach to say “so long,” and “next…”  But that’s the NFL.

Hard Knocks, baby…hard knocks.  Especially if you’re Chad Johnson this week.

Guilty or not, if you didn’t watch that episode and feel a little sorry for Chad, you’re missing a sensitivity chip.  Or something.  (Thank you, Jennifer Aniston.)

I want to personally thank Mr. Johnson, (formerly Ochocinco, formerly Johnson) for the fantastic story lines he created for me over these last several months.  He is truly a sports writer’s dream.

And so, I leave you with this:

Dear Chad,

In episode one of Hard Knocks you said that if not for football, your backup plan was porn. Let’s please not go there.

But may you find peace, happiness, and success wherever life brings you next.

And if Ocho’s Johnson is that place…well then, so be it.

We’re pulling for you anyway.



Oh, Chad.  The drama, the name changing, the never-ending attention seeking…but the one thing we could always say was that you were never in trouble.  Ever.  You just weren’t one of those guys.

…And now you are.

The trouble started in the Miami Dolphin wide receiver’s car on the way home from dinner Saturday night. As reported, Chad Johnson’s wife, Basketball Wives star Evelyn (Lozada) found a receipt for a box of condoms in his car.  A heated argument ensued, as it would in any marriage when someone is buying condoms their partner is unaware of.

And here’s where it goes real bad…at some point during the argument Chad allegedly head butts Evelyn.  Yes, head butts.  The thing two-year-olds are known for doing when they don’t get their way.  Evelyn was taken to the hospital with a laceration to her forehead and Chad was hauled off to jail.

Someone else who probably woke up with a headache this morning, Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin.  The team released the following statement Saturday night via Twitter:

Statement from team on Chad Johnson arrest: “We are aware of the situation & are in the process of gathering all the relevent information.”

The Miami Dolphins training camp is featured in HBO’s Hard Knocks series this season.  On last Tuesday’s premier, Johnson is reprimanded for dropping multiple f-bombs during a press conference.  Philbin tells him that kind of behavior could threaten his position on the team.  Johnson reacted by swearing off the media and then updated his Facebook and Twitter avatars with this photo (which has since been changed):

Tuesday’s episode wraps up with Johnson leaving the training facility to enjoy a day off.  He casually calls out, “I promise I’m getting arrested on my day off.”  Johnson has made many a bold promise during his career.  But this one he chooses to deliver on?  Seriously disappointing.  I’m sure Philbin was also disappointed to see the profanity laced police report.

It’s safe to say this wasn’t the exposure the Dolphins were seeking when they signed on to do Hard Knocks.  We thought Ryan Tannehill’s holdout, battle for starting quarterback, even his wife, Lauren would steal the show.  Little did we know the skirmish we would all be talking about would involve the newlywed couple, leaving Evelyn Johnson with a goose egg on her forehead and Chad with his marriage and career hanging in the balance.

Hard Knocks just got harder.


Hard Knocks Miami Dolphins: The One With the Spa Party

Last night was the long-awaited debut of HBO’s Hard Knocks series featuring the Miami Dolphins at training camp.  Much of the show centered around new Head Coach Joe Philbin laying his groundwork and expectations for the season.  He comes off as focused and straight, but more teacher than coach.  He actually seems a little apprehensive during his corrective talks with Vontae Davis and Chad Johnson.  Vontae for taking potty breaks during practice and Johnson for dropping excessive F-bombs during a press conference.  It will be interesting to see how his style plays out on and off the field.

Here are some highlights:

It took HBO producers approximately ten minutes to feature rookie Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his wife, Lauren, now a celebrity in her own right (for looking the part).  In the few minutes she was on, we learned that she is beautiful, sweet, and a proud dog mom.  Judging by the Twitter feed, this was the highlight of the show.  Debate ensued as to whether she is all she has been made out to be appearance wise.  Guess viewers have a few more weeks to make up their minds on that.

I always wondered what players did during their downtime at camp.  Now we know…they have spa parties and color each other’s hair!  That is, if you can call what they did coloring.  It was more bleaching out patterns and shapes, but regardless it looked like they were having a great time at it.  I think I see a post football career in beauty for some of those players!

And then there was Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco, formerly Johnson) being well, Chad Johnson.  He is determined as always and seems humbled by his experience with the Patriots last season.  He says he doesn’t regret it because he learned so much playing for Bill Belichick.  When asked what he learned most he responded, “To shut the f*** up.  For a year.”  Apparently he didn’t learn it well enough, because a few scenes later he has a “talking to” by Coach Philbin for dropping the f-bomb approximately seven times in a row during a press conference.  Philbin tells him he is representing the team and that occasional use of said obscenity may be useful, but that excessive use is just ineffective.  Alrighty then.  The message behind the message, what Belichick said.  Shut the f*** up.

Another motivating factor for Johnson, his new bride Evelyn, who is apparently his biggest fan and his biggest critic.  Johnson claims he got the Heisman in the bedroom last year due to his unproductive play.  One of his motivating factors this season is avoiding a return to “cobweb mode.”  On the other hand, Johnson tells the media if he doesn’t make the roster, his plan B is…porn.  I’m pulling for success on and off the field.  Now shut the f*** up.

Then there is hard-working Rookie Tight End Les Brown.  He hasn’t played football since high school, instead playing college basketball.  He earns his way to camp on speed, but spends much of it on the turf.  As in, on his butt on the ground.  It’s easy to see where this is going and as the Twitterverse speculates, he’s more likely to spend his career wearing a UPS uniform.  I would have had a much harder time with that before his girlfriend walked up at the end of practice and he greeted her with, “You look hot.  As usez.”

Tune in next week to see… if Les Brown can come up with a better pickup line, if Lauren Tannehill really is all that, if Vontae Davis can control his bladder, if Chad Johnson can shut the f*** up, and if the guy who doesn’t wear deodorant still smells like roses, as he claims.

Hard Knocks, indeed.


Name Game

Here we go again.  The NFL player formerly known as Chad Ochocinco is officially Chad Johnson once again.  Johnson filed paperwork in Broward County court yesterday to return to his legal given name, after using Ochocinco (his number 85 in spanish) for the last four years.  It didn’t come as a complete surprise either.  Though he did take some by surprise.  George Atallah of the NFL Players Association tweeted the following yesterday:

Johnson was married July 4th to reality TV star Evelyn Lozada and had stated that he may change his name back so his new bride doesn’t have to take Evelyn Ochocinco as her legal name.  And who says chivalry is dead?  The more likely scenario…she flat out refused.  And who could blame her?

Johnson has returned home to Miami, where he will play for the Dolphins this season in a Johnson 85 jersey.  He was released by the New England Patriots earlier this year after an overall unproductive season.  Prior to playing for the Patriots, Johnson was a six-time Pro Bowl player for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Truth be told, he was a lot more productive as Chad Johnson.  Although he claims he made the change for love, Johnson told ESPN yesterday, “I’m refocused and locked in. Time to get back to the old me.”  And the old name, apparently.  Johnson changed the name on his Twitter account, but has kept the handle @Ochocinco.

I think for now I’ll just call him Chad.