Crushing: On Matt Barkley

 

With the draft, comes a new batch of NFL players. From coeds to pros literally overnight, these rookies are thrust into the national spotlight without so much as a pair of sunglasses. Some are blinded by the light. While others seem born to bask in the glow…

Hellooooo, Matt Barkley.

Eagles QB Matt Barkley (Photo: NFL)

Eagles QB Matt Barkley
(Photo: NFL)

Barkley is a true California boy. Raised in Irvine and Newport Beach, (with golden hair and skin to match) Barkley shocked the football world when he announced his decision in 2011 to return to the University of Southern California for his senior year. Diploma in hand, he graduated this spring and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft, the 98th pick overall.

As far back as high school, Barkley was considered a future number one draft pick. Speculation is that a less than stellar senior year and late season shoulder injury caused his stock to fall.

He did show progress in one area though. The golden boy…is now a man. And he’s going to need every bit of his manhood to compete for the starting position in training camp. Barkley currently shares roster space with Eagles quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles.

(Photo: Philly.com)

(Photo: Philly.com)

A decorated high school and college player, Barkley won every award imaginable, among them…Gatorade Player of the Year, the Joe Montana Award, and the Wuerffel Trophy. And he didn’t achieve that without a competitive edge.

So, don’t let the golden boy image fool you. You may get lost in those sparkly eyes, but when the lights come on…Matt Barkley will be ready to shine!

The future is bright.

And so is his smile.

XO

Monday Bloody Monday

Former NFL Coaches: Crennel (Chiefs), Reid (Eagles), Shurmur (Browns)

Former NFL Coaches: Crennel (Chiefs), Reid (Eagles), Shurmur (Browns)

We knew it was coming. We knew heads would roll. But who knew Black Monday would be this bloody?

By New Year’s Eve day, seven NFL head coaches and five general managers were unemployed. Dozens of coordinators and assistants followed. A post-regular-season house cleaning like we’ve never seen. More head coaches lost their jobs Monday than in the previous three seasons combined.

Some teams chose to start over completely, removing both the general manager and head coach. The Arizona Cardinals did so with Coach Ken Whisenhunt and General Manager Rod Graves. The Cleveland Browns with Coach Pat Shurmur and Manager Tom Heckert. And the Chargers followed suit with Coach Norv Turner and Manager A.J. Smith.

New Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan chose to fire General Manager Gene Smith. And the New York Jets turned General Manager Mike Tannenbaum loose after a season that proved to be interesting, yet disappointing. No word yet on Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s future. In fact, we’re still waiting for his end of the season press conference.

Four other teams chose to part ways with their coaches: The Buffalo Bills with Chan Gailey, the Kansas City Chiefs with Romeo Crennel, the Eagles with Andy Reid, and the only real surprise…the Chicago Bears with Lovie Smith.

Smith’s firing created a backlash in the Bears locker room as well as the national sports media. Because…well, everybody loves Lovie. Both Tony Dungy (a close friend of Smith’s) and former Bears Coach Mike Ditka referred to the decision as “ridiculous.” Bears star Wide Receiver Devin Hester is reportedly so distraught by the news that he is pondering retirement.

One person who won’t be retiring…Lovie Smith. He is a hot commodity in the now busy market for NFL head coach shopping season.

So, what happens now? Does a game of musical coaches ensue…cut your guy and pick up the one to your right? It’s already started, with Andy Reid reportedly interviewing with the Chiefs today and Cardinals tomorrow.

And the bloodshed may not be over.

In the meantime, we’re still waiting…

Rex?

XO

 

Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 10: Livin On A Prayer…

Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck and Offensive Tackle Anthony Castonzo

Whooah…we’re half way there…

Give or take a week.  Or two.

Yes, I was inspired by the music coming from Soldier Field during Sunday Night Football.  And, it just happens to be my personal anthem.  Lucas Oil Stadium (or whoever controls the music at our pad)…take note.

We gotta hold on to what we got…

The Atlanta Falcons that it is.  Trying to hold on to their unbeaten record, the only one left in the NFL this season.  The Falcons played the Saints, who Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith is 2-7 against.  The Falcons fall to 8-1.  The 1972 Dolphins pop the champagne.  And then there were none…

It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not…

Or so it would seem between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.  Or…does it?  Tony Romo is living up to his nickname, Mr. November (no he was not in Playgirl), as he rallies his team to beat the Michael Vick-less Eagles (who left with a concussion in the second quarter).  And there doesn’t look to be a looming quarterback controversy with rookie Nick Foles at the helm.

Also helping the Cowboys, the Giants lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.  If Eli Manning’s arm was tired, it’s rested now.  He’s had two games in a row with no touchdowns.  You know what does look tired?  The Giants offensive line, which allowed four sacks on Manning.  And the Giants defense, which was holier than Tim Tebow.

We’ve got each other and that’s a lot…
For love…we’ll give it a shot…

That would be the Indianapolis Colts.  United by love for their sick coach, Chuck Pagano, the players shaved their heads for him this week.  Then went down to defeat their division rivals, the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Colts, at 6-3, have a two game lead over the other AFC teams in the hunt for a wildcard playoff spot.  Yes, the Colts are the darlings of the NFL…and were also the darlings of the refs on Thursday night.  Still…the Colts are quickly becoming the team that no one wants to play.  Because, they are just that…a team.  And my team, so I may be a little biased.

We’ve got to hold on ready or not…

And the San Diego Chargers were not.  Ready.  At.  All.  For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  But, they were cleared of any wrong doing in the Stickygate scandal.  So there’s that…

You live for the fight when that’s all that you’ve got…

Only the New York Jets don’t appear to have any fight left in them.  Or if they do, it is on the bench…praying.  The Jets were beat by the Seattle Seahawks 28-7.  Even Seahawks Wide Receiver Golden Tate had a chance to throw…and he did.  For a touchdown to Sidney Rice.

A few side notes…

The NFL may want to look into this concussion thing, *insert sarcasm* as three starting quarterbacks went out with them on Sunday: Jay Cutler (Bears), Alex Smith (49ers), and Michel Vick (Eagles).  Two of which had something to lose…

And for the first time since 2008, we had a tie game in the NFL.  And just like last time…one of the players was not aware of the rules.  *Insert Donovan McNabb joke.*

Do they not cover this at rookie camp?  Brush up on it during training camp?  If I’m an NFL coach (and I don’t aspire to be), the first thing I do when my team goes into overtime is…REMIND THEM OF HOW IT WORKS!  And maybe have a pop quiz on the NFL Rule Book.  Sorry.  Didn’t mean to yell…

So, here we are.  At the turning point of the season.  Some things are becoming more obvious…others, more puzzling.  The one thing we can be sure of…a wild ride from here.

Take my hand…we’ll make it, I swear…

XO

This post brought to you by Bon Jovi.

Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 9: Decisions…decisions…

Happy Election Day, America!  Make sure you vote today.  Or…don’t complain about the result.

I’m sure the exit polls are already coming in.  A winner cannot be predicted in the NFL season thus far…but we’re starting to be able to project the losers.

Week nine kicked off on Thursday night with a must win game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers.  The Chiefs came out on the losing end of that battle 13-31, which puts them at 1-7.  I’ll just let Twitter take it from there…


Sunday night…another primetime game, another must win game.  But this time, only for one team…the Dallas Cowboys.  Tony Romo’s first pass to the end zone was a throw I could have made.  But he missed it, badly.  Amazingly, it wasn’t intercepted.  Romo leads the league with 13 interceptions this season, yet he had none against the Atlanta Falcons.  Still, the Cowboys fell 13-19.  And that makes the Falcons 8-0 and the Cowboys 3-5.

Which raises some questions…what does the future look like for the Dallas Cowboys?  For Head Coach Jason Garrett?  For Tony Romo?  And you think you have decisions to make today?  How would you like to be Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones?  Who was, by the way…locked out of the locker room after the game.  The locker room he built and he owns.


Things are getting a little bizarro in Jerryville.  Just goes to show…you can buy a team, you can buy a stadium, you can even buy an election…but you can’t buy respect.

At least he stuck around for the end of the game.  Tennessee Titans Owner Bud Adams was reportedly so disgusted with his team’s performance against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, that he left during the third quarter and flew home.  The Titans lost to the Bears 20-51.

“In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans.”

-Tennessee Titans Owner Bud Adams to The Tennessean

And that brings us to the Monday Night Football game of Election Eve.  And, you guessed it…a must win game between the struggling Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints.  You know a game is boring when Michael Vick’s brother’s tweets are a highlight.


The other highlight…the halftime interviews with the presidential candidates.  For anyone…who after all the ads, debates, phone calls, and mailings…hasn’t yet made up their mind.  What I really wish Chris Berman would have asked is, “Mr. President, how would you fix the Eagles?”  They lost to the Saints 13-28.  Along with the economy, healthcare, and social security, the Philadelphia Eagles may be a problem that will take longer than four years to fix.

Whatever your team, whoever your candidate…last night and today are what America is all about.  In the end, politics may divide us, but football unites us.

So choose wisely, America. Your future depends on it.

And that goes double for the Chiefs.

XO

And a happy Election Day birthday to my sister, Jennifer!  Congratulations are also in order…as she reclaimed her spot atop the Pigskin ‘N Pearls fantasy league with her team, Don’t Play Like Shiht Zus.  She may shiht when she sees who’s right behind her though…with Doug Martin.

Michael Vick needed a friend…so he got a dog

You know what they tell politicians…if you need a friend in Washington, get a dog.  Well, the same can be said for athletes in Philadelphia.  Apparently, Michael Vick needed a friend…

Yes, it’s true.  The Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback who served 21 months in federal prison for running Bad Newz Kennels, is once again a dog owner.

But he didn’t necessarily intend to share the news.  Michael Vick tweeted the above photo last week (courtesy of Crossing Broad) with the caption: “We workin.”  What raised eyebrows was the open box of Milk Bones on the table.  Vick removed the photo and replaced it with one sans dog biscuits.

Initially, he refused to discuss the issue with reporters at practice, saying it was a family matter.  But Thursday afternoon, Vick posted the following statement on his Facebook page:

“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet. As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”

Michael Vick says he is a changed man.  He has spent the time since his release working with the Humane Society of the United States to end dogfighting and educate the public on the unspeakable cruelty associated with it.  Nothing legally prevents him or his family from owning a dog since his probation was lifted in July.  He has spoken recently about his desire to own a dog again.

Vick didn’t confirm it was a dog his family owns.  But in the unlikely scenario that their “pet” is a cat with a fondness for Milk Bones, we can all but assume so.  Should Michael Vick be allowed to own a dog?  Should his children have to pay for their father’s crimes?

As a dog owner, all I know is this…dogs make you a better person.  There is no more forgiving creature on the planet.  Michael Vick can learn something from man’s best friend.

And so can we.

XO