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Joe Anello

Black Monday 2012: The Aftermath posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday was billed to be one of the worst/busiest in the NFL’s history, and it certainly lived up to that hype on the eve of the New Year. A whopping seven head coaches were fired on Monday, with a few fates to be possibly determined at a later date. Included in the dismissals were a number of general managers. Let’s wrap around the league!

Philadelphia Eagles fire HC Andy Reid

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made a difficult decision in letting go his franchise’s winningest head coach, but it was the right one. Reid’s message had been lost in the later of his 14 years on the job. He’s still a fantastic head coach, but it was time for everyone to move. Reid could land somewhere like Arizona, but we’ve already heard that San Diego won’t be interested. Philly sounds like its leaning towards a coach with legitimate experience that can come in and quickly turn things around. This firing was probably a year too late, to be fair.

Chicago Bears fire HC Lovie Smith

Check back for an in-depth analysis of this coaching move. 

San Diego Chargers fire GM A.J. Smith and HC Norv Turner

Speaking of firings a year too late, this pair of “winners” shouldn’t have been allowed to be on the San Diego staff for 2012. Turner’s already being mentioned as a possible OC for a number of openings, the most notable of which is in NY for the Jets. But he’s likely rebuffed them already, per the Jets’ usual. Smith was a volatile front office guy, something that should have gotten him canned years ago. He let most of this team’s “immense talent” fall by the wayside or leave via free agency.

Continue reading "Black Monday 2012: The Aftermath"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week 16 in the NFL season has arrived! With two weeks left in the season, I don’t need to tell you how important these games are for those teams still in the hunt. It’s time to get into all the storylines in The Opening Drive!

(12-2) Atlanta Falcons at

(4-10) Detroit Lions

Saturday night football has arrived! And it’s… relatively meaningless. The Falcons are very close to locking down their one seed (only need one win) and the Lions could be another embarrassing loss away from blowing things up. This could be an entertaining (but non-competitive) contest to open the week.

(6-8) New Orleans Saints at

(8-6) Dallas Cowboys

I’ve already seen a LOT of coverage for this game, which only features one possible playoff participant. The Cowboys can win the division if they win their final two games, and that starts with an interesting match-up against the Saints. Drew Brees won’t take it light on a Dallas secondary that has been hit-or-miss this year. But I think the Saint defense won’t play as well as it appeared to last week versus the Bucs.

(5-9) San Diego Chargers at

(6-8) New York Jets

Wait. There has to be a reason I put this game on the list. THE GREG MCELROY ERA HAS BEGUN! But honestly, I don’t know if any of the Jets’ quarterbacks will be on the roster next season. And the Chargers? They’re a train wreck. AND I LOVE IT.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

With Thanksgiving taking up time with travel, family, and friends, I decided to forgo the now-typical Thursday posting of The Opening Drive. But don’t worry, week 12 in the NFL still has a few games worth checking out this weekend!

(6-4) Seattle Seahawks at

(4-6) Miami Dolphins

Wait, am I liking Seattle on the road? That’s a switch. Miami’s been disappointing in its last few outings, so another loss essentially eliminates them from the postseason picture. If Seattle can pound on Miami’s front seven with Marshawn Lynch, Russell will likely see his receivers in single coverage on the outside against lesser corners. That’s a recipe for success.

(9-1) Atlanta Falcons at

(6-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game of the day. Tampa Bay’s offense has been nearly dominant as of late, and they’re matching up against an Atlanta defense that can’t halt the run with any regularity. Doug Martin could be in line for a ridiculously awesome fantasy stat line today. Get him in your starting line-up. I really like the Bucs are home here.

(8-2) Baltimore Ravens at

(4-6) San Diego Chargers

I appreciate everyone thinking the Ravens are weak enough that they could travel across the country to San Diego... after a Sunday night game… against the always physical Steelers… and lose. Wait, I may have just talked myself into taking the Chargers. Wait, I’m taking the Chargers? Screw that noise. They’re terrible.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 12, 2012"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 8, 2012 posted by Joe Anello

Week eight in the NFL brought disaster upon several supposed contenders and cleared up the divisional pictures.  A few days late or not, we can’t have a week go by without an edition of The Final Drive!

(3-4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36

(5-3) Minnesota Vikings 17

I guess the Vikings aren’t ready to be contenders just yet. Falling at home against a team on short rest and traveling for a Thursday night game? Thursday nights are built for the home team to get a win, but the Vikings failed to produce points. I put most of that on Christian Ponder, who honestly just looked terrible. Credit the Buccaneers for never taking their foot off the gas in this one, especially when there were several opportunities to lose the momentum.

(2-6) Cleveland Browns 7

(3-4) San Diego Chargers 6

Wow. San Diego only managed to put up two field goals against a team that has severe scoring issues. So yeah, I’d say Norv Turner’s job is in trouble. But where have I heard that before? Anyways, Cleveland really looks like a team that could be a legitimate contender in a few years if they stay on this track. Good for them.

(3-4) Detroit Lions 28

(4-4) Seattle Seahawks 24

Somehow Seattle’s defense took Calvin Johnson completely out of the game but let Titus Young and Brandon Pettigrew wreck them. The fact that those two pass-catchers stepped-up like they did gives more weight toward their possible development. Matthew Stafford had an outstanding game through the air, even managing to outshine Russell Wilson’s best game of the year. While the offensive signs should be encouraging for Seattle fans, the loss is still painful.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 8, 2012"


Joe Anello

Reid and Turner back for 2012: Really? posted by Joe Anello

Black Monday came and went, but the coaching news continued on Tuesday with releases in Chicago and major retentions in San Diego and Philly. Were they the right moves? Let’s break ‘em down!

 

San Diego Chargers retain General Manager A.J. Smith and Head Coach Norv Turner

OH COME ON!!! I was finally ready to break-up the Turner/Philips romance. However, you can chalk up this stay of execution to a few select reasons. First, key players (i.e. Rivers) probably bitched enough to convince management that it would cause chemistry issues to change coaches. Second, who were they going to get that was even marginally better? Turner’s still got swagger when it comes to his offense, so I’m not sure who was out there (that would come to San Diego) that would be a marked improvement. Maybe Cowher or Gruden if they got extraordinarily lucky, but I’m sure they were rejected outright on those fronts. Finally, it’s the AFC West. A couple plays would have made the difference in getting the Chargers to the playoffs, so they don’t need to improve much to get there next year.

Right Call?

Fudge no. I’m sure team President Dean Spanos thought it’d easier to improve with continuity than an overhaul. I don’t care. I still think both of these guys needed to be put down. I’m still shocked they have their jobs. You let me down Dean.

 

Continue reading "Reid and Turner back for 2012: Really?"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 17, 2011-12 posted by Joe Anello

The 2011 NFL regular season ended with a bang with some great finishes and superb drama on Sunday. Records were set by a back-up QB, a team captain was benched for “quitting” and a fat-handed QB lost missed out on the post-season. The Final Drive must begin!

(15-1) Green Bay Packers 45
(10-6) Detroit Lions 41

This makes me beyond furious. Mike McCarthy takes out his MVP quarterback and starts a fourth year back-up with one career start in Matt Flynn, and f*cking records are broken. Six touchdowns? 480 yards? Who wouldn’t want to be Matt Flynn right now? That guy is about to make BANK as a free agent. Blow me Green Bay. Take your awesome quarterback development and blow me.

 

(6-10) Miami Dolphins 19
(8-8) New York Jets 17
Mark Sanchez: 3 interceptions. Santonio Holmes: benched and called out as a whiny quitter by his teammates.  (Seriously. Worst team captain ever.) Bart Scott: flips off a photographer and refuses to talk to the media (For once). Finally seeing theses loathsome Jets miss the playoffs is SO satisfying to me. Take it Rex Ryan. Take it hard.

(8-8) Philadelphia Eagles 34
(5-11) Washington Redskins 10

I don’t give a crap about the result of this game. What I do care about is DeSean Jackson deciding to actually play like he means it and be remorseful for his completely idiotic actions this season in the last game of the year. I’d be surprised (not stunned though) if the Eagles kept Jackson around. Maybe franchise him and get him on a one-year deal, but you would have thought he’d have been on better behavior once he showed up to 2011.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 17, 2011-12"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 16, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

It was a Christmas Eve of meaningful NFL action as all the remaining playoff spots were nearly filled and draft orders are beginning to finalize. Miss any of the action? No need to worry, because the Final Drive starts right now!

(2-13) Indianapolis Colts 19
(10-5) Houston Texans 16

Indy… what are you doing??? After all the speculation, you could single-handedly win yourself out of a franchise quarterback. Knock it off. (Or play more scrubs.) To Houston, I say congratulations. You’re in the playoffs. Now get ready to go home before anyone else.

(6-9) Buffalo Bills 40
(8-7) Denver Broncos 14

This was about as disappointing a loss as you could find on Sunday. For a division-leader that could have locked up their playoff berth to lay down to a team that had nothing to play for is unacceptable. The Teebs magic was all used up apparently as Timmy tossed four interceptions, two of which were boomerangs. I wish I had been able to watch this one. It would have felt SO good.

(12-3) New England Patriots 27
(5-10) Miami Dolphins 24

It was looking awkward when the ‘Phins were up 17-0 at halftime, but Brady rallied and made sure his team clinched a first-round bye. I’m expecting the Patriots to take the number one seed in the AFC, but I don’t feel very confident about their postseason chances.

(8-7) New York Giants 29
(8-7) New York Jets 14

PFFT. I’m glad this turned out to be less of a game, because if it had been overly dramatic I wouldn’t stop hearing about it all week. And the rumors that the Jets aren’t completely sold on Sanchez for next year? Frosting on the cake baby. And this picture of Jacobs and Ryan jawing afterward? Weird.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 16, 2011"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

Christmas Eve or not, there’s no way I’d let a schedule of great NFL action slip past my nets! The playoff positioning is settling in, but there’s some unresolved business in the NFC East with two pivotal games on Saturday. There’s plenty to talk about in week 16, so let’s get right to it!


(7-7) Arizona Cardinals at
(8-6) Cincinnati Bengals

John Skelton gets another chance to prove how little publicity the Cardinals can garner, despite his Tebowian winning ways. They travel to Cincy to take on the Bengals, who are desperate to climb back into the playoffs after stumbling the past few weeks. (I mean, they didn’t exactly blow out St. Louis.)

(7-7) New York Giants at
(8-6) New York Jets

Can a game between a 7-7 and 8-6 team be any more unnecessarily hyped? I know there’s playoff hopes on the line and it’s between the two New York squads, but please, can we settle down slightly? The Jets defense has been utterly mediocre and Mark Sanchez has regressed. Give me Eli and the inconsistent Giants in this one.

(2-12) St. Louis Rams at
(10-4) Pittsburgh Steelers

This one would be almost not worth writing about except for Big Ben’s injury. Instead, the ancient Charlie Batch will get the start against the lowly Rams, a team that is now in the running for the first pick in April’s draft. I’m picking the Steeler defense in this match-up… because not much else excites me.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 16, 2011"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 15, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

I’m not sure what else you could have wanted from week 15 in the NFL. Two impressive streaks ended, the “Trap of the Week” proved to be true once again and one win never mattered as much as it did for Indianapolis. (And Candlestick Park was sans light… for a few second before auxiliary lighting come on. Not as much drama.) Many a-loser won on this day. Oddsmakers be damned! Get ready for The Final Drive!

(1-13) Indianapolis Colts 27
(7-7) Tennessee Titans 13

Oh Tennessee. How could you? You somehow managed to give their first lowly Colts a victory whilst in the midst of your own playoff hunt. For shame. While it’s nice to get a win (I’m sure), Jim Caldwell should still get effing fired.

(6-8) Kansas City Chiefs 19
(13-1) Green Bay Packers 14

Another streak brought to a necessary conclusion! Honestly, as much as we generally thought the Packers COULD do it, it’s probably better that they didn’t. Injuries to their offensive line killed them yesterday against the Chief pass rush, just one facet of a defense that made it difficult on Aaron Rodgers. Well done Romeo Crennel. Oh yeah, and the Chiefs can somehow still get into the playoffs.

(5-9) Washington Redskins 23
(7-7) New York Giants 10

BOOM! You got TRAPPED Eli! This was such an obvious upset to pick, even in a day that ended up with a metric ton of stunning results. How the Giants could come out and lay an egg like this when they had a chance to put some distance in front of the Cowboys is appalling. (And hilarious.)

(9-5) Detroit Lions 28
Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 15, 2011"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Week 15, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

  

Week 15??? Really? Time goes by so fast! With the playoff races tight and Tebow versus Brady on the schedule, week 15 has everything you want. Let’s set-up for The Opening Drive!

 

(4-9) Washington Redskins at
(7-6) New York Giants

We’re starting this week’s drive by diving right into the “Trap of the Week!” The Giants are coming off a huge win against the Cowboys, with whom they’re tussling for the division title. It would be fitting of this annually inconsistent team to lose a game late in the season that they absolutely should win.

(8-5) Detroit Lions at
(7-6) Oakland Raiders

I seriously have no idea what’s going on in this game. Two aggressive defensive lines, but two very different offenses will take the field. The Lions can’t run the ball to save their lives and the Raiders would prefer to simply pound you into the dust. Something has to give.

(10-3) New England Patriots at
(8-5) Denver Broncos

Speaking of something has to give… I will do anything to be able to see a beatdown of these Broncos. Tom Brady… I will do ANYTHING. Just have the Patriot PR person get in touch with me. Away from divine interference on the field, I simply don’t see the Broncos keeping pace offensively with the Patriots. Brady should have a two-touchdown lead going into the fourth quarter, which should be more than enough. If the Pats score more than 24, they should win.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Week 15, 2011"

San Diego Chargers News

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Rivers' 3 TD passes carry Chargers over Jags 33-14 (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports


Chargers running back Woodhead out for year (Yahoo Sports)

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NFL Winners and Losers: Aaron Rodgers and Packers have bad day (Shutdown Corner)

The one thing nobody ever dreamed to worry about this season was the Green Bay Packers offense, especially since quarterback Aaron Rodgers was fully healthy again. The Week 1 struggles at Seattle were understandable, because the Seahawks’defense is almost impossible to beat, especially at home. Sunday’s loss to the Lions is a little tougher to explain. Green Bay’s 19-7 loss was unlike practically any loss in the Aaron Rodgers era, or even back through the Brett Favre era. The Packers defense forced three turnovers and held the Lions’potent offense to a manageable 19 points. And Green Bay had just 223 yards. After a first-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Quarless, the Packers didn’t score again, even against a Lions defense that didn’t look too great in a 24-7 loss to Carolina the week before. Green Bay just couldn't move the ball. The seven points scored were the fewest for the Packers in any game Rodgers has started and finished. His 162 passing yards were the fewest since Nov. 9, 2008, at Minnesota, and he didn't have a pass longer than 18 yards. In the Packers' three games, they scored 16 points in a loss to Seattle, seven points in a loss at Detroit and had to pull off a big rally to beat the Jets after falling behind 21-3. There’s no reason to believe the Packers just can’t play offense anymore. Eddie Lacy is a good back, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are top receivers and Rodgers is one of the best players in the NFL. Green Bay doesn’t have a death sentence at 1-2 with two road losses, of course. But it's not the way a team that hopes to get a first-round bye and get to the Super Bowl wanted to start. And they'll need to look at some offensive issues, which hasn't really been the case in Green Bay for about, oh, 22 years. Here are the rest of the winners and losers for Week 3 in the NFL: WINNERS Kam Chancellor It’s so fitting that Kam Chancellor, the under-appreciated Pro Bowler in Seattle’s secondary, made one of the biggest plays of his career and a few minutes later it was totally overshadowed. Chancellor doesn't get widespread attention like Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas, which just speaks to how good those two are, because Chancellor is one of the best strong safeties in the NFL. But it was the lesser celebrated Chancellor who made the biggest play on Sunday to seal Seattle's exciting Super Bowl rematch win against Denver. With the Broncos driving late in the fourth quarter, trailing 17-12, Chancellor made a great interception, leaping and picking off Peyton Manning. It's unclear what Manning saw on the play, because intended receiver Wes Welker was covered very well. Chancellor was lurking underneath and picked off the reigning MVP. That interception set up a field goal, which set up a dramatic game-tying drive by Manning. Seattle won in overtime. Chancellor’s interception was an enormous play by a fantastic player even though it wasn’t the biggest highlight by the end of the game. He’s probably used to that. Dallas Cowboys When Dallas fell behind 21-0, thanks in large part to Tony Romo’s pick-six to Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, it would have been easy to pack it in. If you don’t respect what the Cowboys did the rest of the way, you don’t get how hard it is to win in the NFL. It doesn't matter that the Rams are down to quarterback Austin Davis, or that Rams tight end Jared Cook’s terrible end-zone drop was a very generous gift. The Cowboys’rally to win 34-31 is impressive. It matched the biggest comeback win in franchise history. Romo came alive, throwing for a pair of second-half touchdowns. That was important, because he hadn’t looked great in the first 10 quarters of the season as he returned from back surgery. The defense made some plays, including a pick-six by linebacker Bruce Carter in the fourth quarter and a game-sealing interception by cornerback Morris Claiborne, the former sixth overall pick who was beaten repeatedly before that play. All of a sudden, the Cowboys are 2-1 and look much better than most preseason predictions (including mine) figured. Bruce Arians Arians didn’t get a chance to run his own team until he was in his 60s. With the job he’s doing in Arizona, it’s baffling it took that long. Arians has the Cardinals off to a great start this season, and it’s not like he has had an easy road. The team lost some key defenders, including Daryl Washington to suspension, Darnell Dockett to injury and Karlos Dansby to free agency. Running back Jonathan Dwyer is done for the season because of an alleged domestic violence incident. And the last two games, the Cardinals have been without quarterback Carson Palmer. Despite it all, the Cardinals just keep winning. Even though Arizona fell behind early to the 49ers, the Cardinals rallied behind quarterback Drew Stanton and beat the 49ers 23-14 to improve to 3-0. Arians won the NFL coach of the year award in an unusual way in 2012, when he led the Colts while Chuck Pagano was battling leukemia. He should be in the running for his second such award in three seasons. He didn't get a head-coaching job until he was 60, but now he's one of the best in the business. Philadelphia Eagles The Eagles are, to say the least, are on a really weird path so far this season. Credit to Philadelphia for coming back and winning each of their first three games. But the Eagles might not want to do this high-wire act every single week. The Eagles fell behind to the Redskins, who got a great performance out of Kirk Cousins, but came back to win 37-34. It was fairly historic. The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to overcome at least a 10-point deficit and win each of their first three games. The Eagles also became the first team in NFL history to win each of its first three games despite giving up 17 first-half points in each game, according to CSN Philly. At least we know the Eagles have the mental toughness to come back and win if they fall behind. What we don’t know yet is if they’re capable of playing a good game from beginning to end. They might want to do that soon. Jaguars and Vikings fans For these two fan bases, the rest of your season just got a lot more interesting. While we don't like seeing injuries, Matt Cassel's foot injury should keep him out a while and it forces the Vikings to go with their best option at quarterback, rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater looked competent, with 12-of-20 for 150 yards in a hostile environment at New Orleans. Blake Bortles is by far Jacksonville's best quarterback, and the Jaguars finally gave up the ridiculous plan of sitting Bortles all season for Chad Henne. The third pick of this year's draft will start next week. If nothing else, both teams will be much more interesting to watch. LOSERS Joe Philbin The Dolphins have officially wasted that great Week 1 performance against the Patriots. First with a dud at Buffalo in Week 2, but that was understandable with the Bills’fans and players being so excited for an emotional home opener. Sunday’s dud is hard to overlook, and it'll bring about a lot of questions about Philbin's job security. The 0-2 Chiefs came in without Jamaal Charles and dominated the Dolphins. Miami's defense couldn’t stop Knile Davis (who, in fairness, is much better than your typical backup tailback) and the offense kept getting bogged down as quarterback Ryan Tannehill struggled again. Not only that, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald suggested the players might be starting to revolt. One source says Dolphins players are "beyond furious. Irate" at defensive adjustments and game plan. Not good. At all. —Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 22, 2014 After all that has happened in Miami, with the way the team has taken a big step back the last two weeks, Philbin probably needs to turn things around pretty fast. Dennis Pitta You have to feel for Pitta, the Ravens tight end. He suffered a horrible injury last year when he dislocated his hip. Then he suffered the same injury again on Sunday. Pitta wasn’t hit when he suffered the injury. He just caught a pass and lunged awkwardly as he went to the ground. According to many reports, including Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 , he dislocated his hip again. He’ll undergo more tests to see if there’s a fracture, as there was last year when he missed most of the season. It’s a sad situation for Pitta, for sure. It definitely put a damper on the Ravens’last-minute 23-21 win at Cleveland. Without Pitta last year, the Ravens struggled to sustain drives with their intermediate passing game. It looks like the Ravens might have to try to figure out their offense without Pitta going forward this season, too. Gabe Jackson and Denarius Moore The Raiders had a real chance to at least tie Sunday's game at New England late, which is amazing. They were 14-point underdogs. But there they were, apparently cutting New England's lead to 16-15 on Darren McFadden's 6-yard touchdown with about a minute to go. But wait. Guard Gabe Jackson was called for a holding. That took the touchdown off the board. No surprise, but according to ESPN's Bill Williamson , Raiders coach Dennis Allen and several players disagreed with the call. The next play, rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw over the middle to Denarius Moore. Moore let the ball go right through his hands, it bounced off defensive back Logan Ryan and into the hands of defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Ballgame. It won't be easy for the 0-3 Raiders to get wins this season. They had a chance to pull off an enormous upset on Sunday. It had to be a really long flight home for them all, especially Jackson and Moore. Chargers running game The San Diego Chargers got a complete 22-10 victory at Buffalo, one that puts them at 2-1 and made them look like a serious playoff contender. The problem is they're losing a key running back every week. Ryan Mathews went down with a knee injury last week. He'll be out a few weeks. The news isn't as good on Danny Woodhead, who suffered a high-ankle sprain with a fractured fibula, according to Fox Sports' Alex Marvez. That will likely end his season. The Chargers gave former Colts first-round pick Donald Brown a three-year, $10.5 million contract this offseason, but he didn't look very good at Buffalo with just 62 yards on 31 carries. And now the Chargers' depth at tailback is in really bad shape, at least until Mathews returns. So while the Chargers have a two-game winning streak, it has come at a price. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

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Chargers' Danny Woodhead carted off against Bills (Yahoo Sports)

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Former Titans kicker Bironas killed in car crash (Yahoo Sports)

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