NFL Draft

The 2010 NFL Draft takes place today at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  It offers a chance for teams to retool their rosters with the addition of college footballs best players.  The Washington Redskins have the 4th overall pick this year after a disappointing 4-12 season.  With a front office overhaul and the help of new coach Mike Shanahan and new general manager Bruce Allen the ‘Skins are expected to wheel and deal, with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, quarterback Jason Campbell, and linebacker Rocky McIntosh on the trading block, to add the four alloted selections they currently have.

David’s Mock Draft:
1. St. Louis Rams – QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)
2. Detroit Lions – DT Ndamakah Suh (Nebraska)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma)
4. Washington Redskins – OT Russell Okung (Oklahoma State)
5. Kansas City Chiefs – OT Trent Williams (Oklahoma)
6. Seattle Seahawks – OT Bryan Bulaga (Iowa)
7. Cleveland Browns – S Eric Berry (Tennessee)
8. Oakland Raiders – OT Bruce Campbell (Maryland)
9. Buffalo Bills – QB Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame)
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – LB Rolando McClain (Alabama)
11. Denver Broncos – WR Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State)
12. Miami Dolphins – LB Sergio Kindle (Texas)
13. San Francisco 49ers – CB Joe Haden (Florida)
14. Seattle Seahawks – RB C.J. Spiller (Clemson)
15. New York Giants – DT Dan Williams (Tennessee)
16. Tennessee Titans – LB Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech)
17. San Francisco 49ers – OG Mike Iupati (Idaho)
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – WR Demaryius Thomas (Georgia Tech)
19. Atlanta Falcons – LB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri)
20. Houston Texans – S Earl Thomas (Texas)
21. Cincinnati Bengals – TE Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma)
22. New England Patriots – DE/LB Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida)
23. Green Bay Packers – S Taylor Mays (Southern Cal)
24. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State)
25. Baltimore Ravens – DT Jared Odrick (Penn State)
26. Arizona Cardinals – DE Brandon Graham (Michigan)
27. Dallas Cowboys – OT Anthony Davis (Rutgers)
28. San Diego Chargers – RB Ryan Matthews (Fresno State)
29. New York Jets – DE Everson Griffin (Southern Cal)
30. Minnesota Vikings – CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers)
31. Indianapolis Colts – C Maurkice Pouncey (Florida)
32. New Orleans Saints – DE Jerry Hughes (Texas Christian)

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Redskins Roster Overhaul Begins

As NFL free agency begins, one would expect the Washington Redskins to be making a lot of headlines this offseason.  The team has a new general manager in Bruce Allen, a new head coach in Mike Shanahan, and perhaps a new philosophy for a team known for signing past-their-prime talents to huge mega-contracts.

The first headlines came Thursday when the Redskins made room on their roster by releasing wide reciever Antwaan Randle El, cornerback Fred Smoot, defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, kick returner Rock Cartwright, guard Randy Thomas, quarterback Todd Collins, and running back Ladell Betts.

Offensive tackle Chris Samuels retired this offseason, leaving Derrick Dockery the only offensive lineman left on the roster among last years opening day starters.

With no salary cap this year, owner Dan Snyder should open up the purse strings this offseason, as he usually does.  It being an uncapped year, he has no ceiling to worry about as far as player salaries go.  The team has already signed Artis Hicks, an offensive guard from the Minnesota Vikings.  Hicks is 31 years old and began his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Super Bowl XLIV

The 2009 football season concluded at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida yesterday after Super Bowl XLIV, in which the New Orleans Saints became NFL Champions for the first time since their inception in 1967.  They defeated the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 and quarterback Drew Brees was the game MVP.  Brees tied a Super Bowl record set by Tom Brady in Super Bowl XXXVIII with 32 completions.  Brees also had 2 touchdowns and 288 yards passing.

Other stars of the day were Colts quarterback Peyton Manning who had 31 completions for 333 yards and a touchdown, however, he threw the interception, by Tracy Porter, that sealed the win for the Saints in the 4th quarter.  The leading rusher was Indianapolis’ Joseph Addai, who ran for 77 yards on 13 carries.  It was a day for passing, however, as Addai, Dallas Clark (Colts), Marques Colston (Saints), and Deverey Henderson (Saints) all came away with 7 receptions each.  Dwight Freeney, who was under speculation for two weeks as to whether he would play due to an ankle spain in the AFC Championship, had the only sack of the night.  Indy’s Gary Brackett had 12 tackles.  Also, the Saints Garrett Hartley became the first kicker with 3 field goals over 40 yards in a Super Bowl game.

The story of the day seemed to be New Orleans willingness to take risks and leave it all on the field, with both success and failure.  Their 4th and goal attempt from the Colts 1 yard line came up short, but their onside kick immediately after halftime proved to be genius as it caught the Colts special teams off guard and leaning away in anticipation of a long kick.

The halftime show was performed by The Who and accented by a brilliant light show.  They played a medley of their hits, including “Pinball Wizard”, “Who Are You”, “Baba O’Riley”, “See Me Feel Me”, and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

The Colts were favored by Las Vegas by 4 points and the over/under was set at 57.

A 30 second commercial during this years Super Bowl cost $2.5 to 2.8 million.

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Super Bowl XLIV

This year’s NFL Super Bowl will be played February 7 at SunLife Stadium in Miami, Florida.  Super Bowl XLIV will be played between the Indianapolis Colts, representing the AFC, and the New Orleans Saints, representing the NFC.

It will be broadcast on CBS, with announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms and a halftime performance by The Who.

Here are some players to look out for:

The Colts finished the regular season 14-2 after resting their starters after clinching homefield advantage.  Led by league MVP Peyton Manning, the Colts are playing in their second NFL championship game in four years.

Peyton finished the season with 4,500 passing yards, 33 touchdown passes, and a 99.9 passer rating.  His top two targets are wide receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark, who both finished the season with 100 receptions and 10 touchdowns.  Recievers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie are also factors in the passing game.  Joseph Addai led the team in rushing yards behind an offensive line anchored by center Jeff Saturday.

Defensively the Colts are led by Pro Bowl defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.  Safety Antoine Bethea also made the Pro Bowl roster with 70 tackles and 4 interceptions.

Jim Caldwell has guided the Colts to the championship in his first year as head coach.

The Saints also finished their season as a number one seed in the playoffs after finished at 13-3.  This is the first NFL championship game in the franchises 43 year history.  This team began to turn around after Hurricane Katrina ripped through coastal Louisiana and devastated the area in 2005.

That offseason they picked up quarterback Drew Brees, who led the league with a 109.6 passer rating and completing an NFL record 70.6% of his passes.  His main receiver was Marques Colston who had plenty of help from other recieving weapons such as Deverey Henderson, Robert Meachem, Jeremy Shockey, and playmaker Reggie Bush.  The running game was led by Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell.  The offensive line got three Pro Bowl nods thanks to great seasons by Jahri Evans, Jonathan Goodwin, and Jon Stinchcomb.

Defensive end Will Smith led the team with 13 sacks while Jonathan Vilma had a team-high 87 tackles.  The secondary was led by 12 year veteran Darren Sharper.  Rising star Tracy Porter also contributed at cornerback.

The Saints are led by head coach Sean Payton.

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NFL Pro Bowl Selections

12 teams have earned the right to compete in the football tournament known as the NFL playoffs.  That, however, is for a later blog.  Today we look back at.

The NFL announced the players voted to be the best in the league over the past 17 weeks that comprised the regular season.  These players will compete in the NFL Pro Bowl, professional football’s all-star game, on January 31 at Dolphin Stadium:

AFC Offense: QB Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts), Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers), Tom Brady (New England Patriots).  RB Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans), Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars), Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens).  FB La’Ron McClain (Baltimore Ravens).  WR Andre Johnson (Houston Texans), Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts), Brandon Marshall (Denver Broncos), Wes Welker (New England Patriots).  TE Dallas Clark (Indianapolis Colts), Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers).  OT Jake Long (Miami Dolphins), Ryan Clady (Denver Broncos), Joe Thomas (Cleveland Browns).  OG Logan Mankins (New England Patriots), Alan Faneca (New York Jets), Kris Dielman (San Diego Chargers).  C Nick Mangold (New York Jets), Jeff Saturday (Indianapolis Colts).

AFC Defense: DE Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis Colts), Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts), Mario Williams (Houston Texans).  DT Haloti Ngata (Baltimore Ravens), Vince Wilfork (New England Patriots), Casey Hampton (Pittsburgh Steelers).  OLB  Elvis Dumerville (Denver Broncos), James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steelers), Brian Cushing (Houston Texans).  ILB Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens), DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans).  CB Darrelle Revis (New York Jets), Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland Raiders), Champ Bailey (Denver Broncos).  FS Ed Reed (Baltimore Ravens), Jarius Byrd (Buffalo Bills).  SS Brian Dawkins (Denver Broncos).

AFC Special Teams: K Nate Kaeding (San Diego Chargers).  P Shane Lechler (Oakland Raiders).  KR Joshua Cribbs (Cleveland Browns).  ST Kassim Osgood (San Diego Chargers).

NFC Offense: QB Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Brett Favre (Minnesota Vikings), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers).  RB Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings), Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams), DeAngelo Williams (Carolina Panthers).  FB Leonard Weaver (Philadelphia Eagles).  WR Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles), Miles Austin (Dallas Cowboys), Sidney Rice (Minnesota Vikings).  TE Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers), Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys).  OT Jason Peters (Philadelphia Eagles), Bryant McKinnie (Minnesota Vikings), Jon Stinchcomb (New Orleans Saints).  OG Steve Hutchinson (Minnesota Vikings), Jahri Evans (New Orleans Saints), Leonard Davis (Dallas Cowboys).  C Andre Gurode (Dallas Cowboys), Shaun O’Hara (New York Giants).

NFC Defense: DE Jared Allen (Minnesota Vikings), Julius Peppers (Carolina Panthers), Trent Cole (Philadelphia Eagles).  DT Kevin Williams (Minnesota Vikings), Darnell Dockett (Arizona Cardinals), Jay Ratliff (Dallas Cowboys).  OLB DeMarcus Ware (Dallas Cowboys), Lance Briggs (Chicago Bears), Brian Orakpo (Washington Redskins).  ILB Patrick Willis (San Francisco 49ers), Jonathan Vilma (New Orleans Saints).  CB Charles Woodson (Green Bay Packers), Asante Samuel (Philadelphia Eagles), Dominique Rogers-Cromartie (Arizona Cardinals).  FS Darren Sharper (New Orleans Saints), Nick Collins (Green Bay Packers).  SS Adrian Wilson (Arizona Cardinals).

NFC Special Teams: K David Akers (Philadelphia Eagles).  P Andy Lee (San Francisco 49ers).  KR Percy Harvin (Minnesota Vikings).  ST Heath Farwell (Minnesota Vikings).

The Pro Bowl will be shown at 8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.

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Cerrato Out; Allen In

Things are changing for the Washington Redskins, and the way things have been going lately (i.e. since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999) that’s a very good thing, at least if you’re a football fan.

Snyders’ longtime second-hand man and Executive VP of Football Operations, Vinny Cerrato, resigned December 17.  Cerrato has taken a lot of heat from the D.C. media for overspending in free agency on over-the-hill free agents that were once great NFL players such as Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Irving Fryer, Jeff George, and Mark Carrier.  He was also blamed for shortcomings in the NFL draft, with depleted picks (from trading up or signing restricted free agents) and neglecting the trenches (Chris Samuels and Derrick Dockery are the only standout offensive lineman drafted, in 2000 and 2003 respectively).

While the Redskins have produced off the field (they are currently the second highest grossing team in the NFL) they have had a pretty bad decade on it.  Now, however, the Redskins hope to have a fruitful football future with their latest addition, General Manager Bruce Allen.  Bruce is the son of the Washington Redskins Hall of Fame coach George Allen.  He has NFL managerial experience with the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Although for much of his career Allen has worked with former coach and current Monday Night Football commentator Jon Gruden, his appointment has been linked in the media with the potential hiring in a new head coach in Mike Shanahan, two time Super Bowl winner and former coach of the Denver Broncos.

Washington Redskins hire General Manager Bruce Allen

By: David

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2010 FIFA World Cup

Yesterday the final six nations qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa this summer. The World Cup, an international soccer tournament, occurs every four years and is the world’s biggest sporting event. Here is the list of 32 nations that qualified for the 19th World Cup finals (current FIFA World Ranking in parenthesis):

Asia [AFC]: Australia (24), Japan (40), Korea DPR (91), Korea Republic (48)

Africa [CAF]: Algeria (29), Cameroon (14), Ghana (38), Ivory Coast (19), Nigeria (32), South Africa (85)

North, Central America and Caribbean [CONCACAF]: Honduras (35), Mexico (18), USA (11)

South America [CONMEBOL]: Argentina (6), Brazil (1), Chile (17), Paraguay (21), Uruguay (25)

Oceana [OFC]: New Zealand (83)

Europe [UEFA]: Denmark (27), England (7), France (9), Germany (5), Greece (16), Italy (4), Netherlands (3), Portugal (10), Serbia (20), Slovakia (33), Slovenia (49), Spain (2), Switzerland (13)

Notable Nations That Did Not Qualify: Croatia (8), Russia (12), Czech Republic (15), Ukraine (22), Bulgaria (23), Israel (26), Egypt (28), Columbia, (30/T), Northern Ireland (30/T).

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