Tag Archives: 2012
New York Jets media spent months, from the time the time Tim Tebow was acquired by trade in April 2012 to the time Mark Sanchez edged him out for the starting job that August, dissecting the team’s quarterback situation ad nauseum.
That story became a beat of its own. There were daily updates, annoyed quotations from Rex Ryan and clichés galore from the two combatants about how they were competing but also friends.
It seems like a lot of wasted energy now.
Sanchez was released on Friday night. Coincidentally, the Jets’ third quarterback that same year, Greg McElroy, announced he was retiring from playing the game at age 25. Tebow now has been out of the league for seven months.
Tebow remains in the news, both with his new ESPN gig and with ripples that he still might have an eye on playing again — somewhere, for someone. McElroy might have a bright future in coaching. But Sanchez almost certainly will be gainfully employed at some point.
The St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers all have been mentioned as potential landing spots for the former first-round pick. His career has some life to it, even though the past few seasons have been fairly miserable to watch unfold.
But it is stunning that the Jets’ three quarterbacks that season all are out of the game currently. No shock that they had a rough season, but perhaps we don’t appreciate Ryan’s coaching ability enough. He guided that team to a 6-10 record and in a quasi-playoff hunt in early December as crazy as that now seems.
McElroy even started a late game that season over Tebow. They had a miserable draft and made some questionable free-agent signings. The defense was over the hill. Things were crumbling around him, the media was on fire over the whole thing, and yet Ryan managed to keep the team fairly … gulp, competitive.
Makes you think that this Geno Smith-Michael Vick pairing might not be so awful in comparison. On second thought, let’s wait on that thought.
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Search warrant request confirms Aaron Hernandez investigated as possible gunman in 2012 double murder
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, being held on charges of first-degree murder in the June 2013 shooting of former semipro football player Odin Lloyd, is also being investigated as the possible gunman in a 2012 double murder.
According to the Associated Press, a search warrant request confirms for the first time that Hernandez is a suspect in that crime, which happened outside a Boston nightclub. Hernandez’s possible involvement in that case had been previously reported by outlets through unnamed law enforcement sources.
Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtad were killed on July 16, 2012 when someone in an SUV opened fire into their car.
According to the Associated Press’ report, an affidavit and search warrant application released by Superior Court in Bristol, Conn., “says there is probable cause to believe that Hernandez was driving the vehicle used in the shooting and ‘may have been the shooter.’”
Hernandez was seen in the same nightclub as the victims that night, authorities have said. No charges have been filed in that case yet.
The affidavit was filed when police wanted to search an SUV they believe was involved in the shooting and was found at Hernandez’s uncle’s home in Bristol, according to the AP. Authorities found that SUV while investigating Lloyd’s death.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in Lloyd’s death and is awaiting trial.
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Raider Zahos has gone through all the NFL’s Sound FX videos and has put together the best sounds of the 2012-2013 NFL Season. The result is just as good as Bad Lip Reading’s Bad Lip Reading Of The NFL.
Remember the significance of 3-6? That was the record the Washington Redskins had last season when they began their assault on the NFL, en route to an unexpected division title.
Given that no other team seems ready or willing to run away with the NFC East race this season, you can’t dismiss the possibility of history repeating itself.
But if it does, it will take a bigger improvement than a year ago.
Yes, there have been signs of late that things have been getting better in Redskinsville. Following the goal-line stand against the San Diego Chargers, and after a fairly dominant offensive first half against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, there were plenty of indications that the Redskins had awakened from their early-season slumbers.
But the second-half meltdown at Minnesota came with stunningly bad offensive execution — from converting 9-of-11 third downs in the first half, to 0-for-5 after halftime — and pass protection. Robert Griffin III was under fire most of the game, but he had nowhere to hide in the second half, taking four sacks after avoiding any in the first half.
The Redskins’ defense still hasn’t shown it can stop anybody. Forget subtle improvements — this unit is allowing 31.9 points per game (that number was 27.6 through nine games a year ago) and is even on the turnover margin (after being plus-7 through nine games in 2012).
Giving up yards is one thing. But the Redskins’ defensive success last season was about coming up with the key turnover — it finished the season plus-17 — and clamping down in the red zone. Those things are not happening this season nearly often enough.
Check out the poor gap control and integrity on this Adrian Peterson run:
Even to a player as great as Peterson, that’s unacceptable. Worse still, the Redskins allowed injury-prone second-string tight end John Carlson to run freely to the end zone, as the front gets sucked into the play-action fake and the secondary leaves a gaping hole and cannot tackle properly.
Can these problems be fixed in time for the final seven games that includes four divisional contests and three games against teams currently in the playoff mix? It’s in the realm of possibilities, but we just have no evidence to suggest that it will. Teams that do those things don’t blow 13-point second-half leads and allow beat-up 1-7 teams to run off 20 straight points; and taking the point further, the Redskins have yet to string two good games together.
The records are the same from a year ago, and many of the players know what it takes to get white hot down the stretch. But the task seems even more daunting this time around, given what we’ve seen to this point.
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The 2012 NFL draft will end up being one of the most interesting the sport has seen.
There was a lot of star power at the top, with some very good starting quarterbacks being selected … including Russell Wilson in the third round. Needless to say, Wilson wouldn’t fall that far if teams got the chance to do that draft over.
But where would Wilson go, if there was a do-over for just the quarterbacks from that class? Where would Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III rank? Don’t forget the 2012 class had promising quarterbacks like Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins (fourth round) and Brock Osweiler (second round). Also, current Houston starter Case Keenum was an undrafted free agent. (The draft also had Brandon Weeden selected in the first round … that wouldn’t happen again either.)
A couple of former coaches, Brian Billick and Steve Mariucci, debated the 2012 quarterback class on NFL Network. And Tannehill, the ninth overall pick who has been pretty solid for the Dolphins, wasn’t even among the four quarterbacks the coaches selected. A player who is still a backup went ahead of him.
So if the 2012 quarterback draft is redone today, what’s your order?
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With two Eli Manning interceptions in the first five minutes of Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants have tied surpassed their 2012 total of turnovers with 21.
Through five-plus games, people.
What started as a concern through this 0-5 start for the Giants now has reached epidemic status. Even former Giant and current Atlanta Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora (who still has a picture of himself in a Giants uni on his Twitter page) can’t believe what he’s seeing.
Manning threw the first interception on a pass aimed at Rueben Randle that Bears cornerback Zach Bowman (starting for injured Charles Tillman) saw coming the whole time. Same on pick No. 2, except it was the other side to Tim Jennings. On both plays, the Bears were in zone coverage — eyes peeled on Manning — and Eli apparently stared right back as he delivered them a pair of gift INTs.
I mean this is ridiculous. C’mon
— Osi Umenyiora (@OsiUmenyiora) October 11, 2013
One reason why the Giants were thought to be contenders was that they were a disciplined team with a veteran quarterback who made mostly good decisions.
Throw that out the window. Now we’re at the point of wanting to give Manning the Matt Schaub-like head exam.
The NFL season is approaching and Shutdown Corner is previewing all 32 teams, counting down our power rankings with one team a day until No. 1 is unveiled on Aug. 4, when the preseason kicks off with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton. Go to our Facebook page after you read the preview for all airing of grievances; we’ll have a daily discussion there to go with each preview.
There are a few ways to look at the Indianapolis Colts.
One angle is it’s a young, up-and-coming team that can build off a shocking 11-5 season. Another is to wonder how hard the regression stick is going to hit them.
Many statistics indicate the Colts’ 2012 record was a lot better than it probably should have been. Indianapolis had a minus-30 point differential, and teams with that point differential should win about 7.2 games, based on Pythagorean expectation. They ranked 25th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. Football Outsiders’ “estimated wins,” based on a variety of statistics, said the Colts played like a team that should have won 6.2 games.
Nobody is taking the great, close 2012 wins away from the Colts or dismissing their inspiring story. But, in trying to assess them for 2013, it’s pretty obvious they were a bit lucky last year.
However, the mitigating factor in all of that luck is Andrew Luck. It’s pretty easy to imagine last year’s No. 1 overall pick taking a huge leap this year and being a top five or six quarterback in the NFL. He’s special. That might keep the Colts marching forward.
Is the roster better, worse or about the same?: Better, but only because last year’s roster wasn’t very good from top to bottom. The Colts added players like defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois (his $ 22 million deal was a head scratcher, given he’s a career backup) and Aubrayo Franklin, safety LaRon Landry, offensive linemen Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas. At very least, the depth is better.
Best offseason acquisition: Running back Ahmad Bradshaw isn’t in his prime anymore, but he’s not bad either. He had four 100-yard games last year, including a 200-yard effort against Cleveland. In his final game with the Giants, he rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries. He averaged a respectable 4.6 yards per carry last season. Luck threw the ball 627 times last season, which is probably a little more than the Colts wanted. With Bradshaw coming in, maybe the Colts won’t have to ask Luck to do so much.
Biggest hole on the roster: The entire defense has to get better if the Colts want to get back to the playoffs. Indianapolis allowed 6.0 yards per play last season, tied for second worst in the league. The front seven just wasn’t strong enough, allowing an unacceptable 5.1 yards per carry. The defensive line additions might help. Somehow, the Colts need to be tougher on defense.
Position in flux: At outside linebacker, Robert Mathis will start at one spot. Last season he made the switch from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker, and took to the move relatively well. The other spot is murkier. The team signed former Packer Erik Walden, who was last seen looking like he was stuck in cement as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran by him in the playoffs. Walden got a shocking four-year, $ 16 million deal from Indianapolis. Despite that investment, the team would obviously like Bjoern Werner to play a big role since they took the Florida State product in the first round. Werner is also transitioning from end to outside linebacker, but he was a great college pass rusher and if he makes the transition to the NFL quickly enough, he could push for a lot of playing time.
Player you might not have heard of yet, but will soon: Darrius Heyward-Bey isn’t a new name to anyone, of course, but he might have slipped off your radar. He’s known as the player the Raiders laughably reached for with the seventh pick of the 2009 draft. Given that burden and mostly terrible quarterback play, he never lived up to his draft status. The Colts signed Heyward-Bey to a relatively small one-year contract with a $ 1.5 million signing bonus. It’s a pretty good gamble. Heyward-Bey still has the skill set that earned a first-round grade a few years ago, he’s just 26 and his 2011 season wasn’t bad (975 yards with a 15.2-yard average). And going from mediocre Carson Palmer to a quarterback like Luck could do wonders. There have been weirder NFL stories than a former top 10 pick getting with a great quarterback and turning his career around.
Stat fact: Luck will be great and did some great things last year, but he still has some work to do. He finished 19th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA among quarterbacks and his 76.5 rating ranked 26th. Those numbers are misleading, as Luck didn’t have a great supporting cast and he was running an offense that wasn’t like the West Coast system he was used to at Stanford (new coordinator Pep Hamilton will bring most of those Stanford elements to Indianapolis this season). But it’s worth noting that he’s not a finished product yet.
This team’s best-case scenario for the 2013 season: It all revolves around Luck. If he becomes the star everyone assumes he will be, that will cover up a lot of the Colts’ deficiencies. It’s hard to see Indianapolis winning the AFC South, but in a league that revolves around quarterback play, Luck could carry the Colts to another surprising season.
And here’s the nightmare scenario: There’s a decent probability the Colts play much like they did last year and the record reflects it this time. Many would view a 7-9 or 8-8 season as a big step back after 11-5 last year, but it would simply be understandable regression. The defense still isn’t very good, and another 18-interception season by Luck might not be so easy to overcome again.
The player who could swing this team’s season one way or another: Safety LaRon Landry has had some good seasons, but his career has been up and down. He is a strong tackler for a Colts defense that desperately needs some toughness against the run. If the former sixth overall pick of the draft is healthy and puts together a good season playing in the box, he can help turn around one of the Colts’ biggest weaknesses.
The Shutdown Countdown previews you might have missed
32. Oakland Raiders
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Arizona Cardinals
29. Buffalo Bills
28. Cleveland Browns
27. Tennessee Titans
26. Kansas City Chiefs
25. New York Jets
24. San Diego Chargers
23. Philadelphia Eagles
22. Miami Dolphins
21. St. Louis Rams
20. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18. Dallas Cowboys
17. Detroit Lions
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Baltimore Ravens may have lost the two most important players in franchise history in Ray Lewis and Ed Reed this offseason, but that certainly wasn’t bringing anyone down on Friday. Just about everyone on the team that won Super Bowl XLVII received the ultimate tangible reward relating to such a victory — Super Bowl rings. Lewis, who retired after the win, and Reed, who signed with the Houston Texans, attended the ceremony at the team’s headquarters in Owings Mills, Md.
“I always told them I wanted them to really feel what the confetti felt like,” Lewis said. “Now to be here, to have something that symbolizes it, it’s the ultimate because now it connects us forever. It took me 12 years to get back and get another ring. I want them to cherish what this moment feels like right now while we’re world champs.”
Lewis was the lone player who was able to wear the two rings the franchise has earned — this new one, and the one the 2000 team won with a 34-7 thrashing of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. For the younger guys, it was the first ring, and the experience was surreal.
“To have it so close, it finally hit me, what exactly we accomplished together,” defensive end Terrell Suggs said after the rings were presented. “It didn’t take a year. It took me 11 years to get it. It took Coach [John] Harbaugh [from] when he got here in 2008. It finally paid off, all that blood given. There’s not a word that describes what I’m feeling and all the emotions. The journey was long, but it was worth it. I will tell you this — I damn sure want to feel like this again.”
Lewis and quarterback Joe Flacco, who put up an MVP performance in the Ravens’ 34-31 win over the San Francisco 49ers, had input on the design of the ring. Designed by Jostens, the ring has 40 round-cut diamonds outlining the Ravens’ logo, and the franchise’s two Lombardi trophies. Inside the ring, one will find one of Harbaugh’s mottos — “The team, the team, the team” — and the scores of the Ravens’ playoff wins.
“It’s kind of un-wearable,” Flacco said with a smile. “When I see people for the first time, I’m sure they’re going to have some interest in seeing it or at least I’m going to have some interest in showing it off to them. So, I’m definitely going to bring it a couple of places. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m going to wear it, but it’s pretty special.”
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti ensured that John and David Modell, sons of the late former team owner Art Modell, were present for the ceremony and received rings. However, receiver Anquan Boldin and safety Bernard Pollard did not attend. Boldin was traded to the 49ers in the offseason, and Pollard signed with the Tennessee Titans, Those were two moves in a post-Super Bowl roster shake-up that also saw star outside linebacker Paul Kruger sign with the Cleveland Browns.
“It really symbolizes that this is the last time we’re all going to be together as a team, and it’s definitely a special moment,” receiver Torrey Smith said. ” I didn’t cry or anything, but I can see how women feel when they get a ring. It has a lot of different meanings. There will never be another season like this. We can win the Super Bowl every year while I’m in the league, and there will be nothing like this one.”
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul undergoes back surgery, played through epidural shots in 2012
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is undergoing back surgery Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
According to Schefter, the procedure is being performed by Dr. Robert Watkins, the same back surgeon who will operate on New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski later this month. Pierre-Paul reportedly played through his back injury last season, receiving “multiple epidural” shots to get through the season.
After coming off the bench as a rookie, Pierre-Paul, 24, has been a full-time starter the last two seasons, posting 23 sacks in his last 32 games. Pierre-Paul had a career-high 16.5 sacks during a breakout season in 2011, after which he was voted first-team All-Pro and named to his first Pro Bowl. Pierre-Paul returned to the Pro Bowl in 2012 after posting 6.5 sacks and returning his first career interception for a touchdown.
By undergoing back surgery this late in the offseason, Pierre-Paul will likely miss training camp and the preseason, though Schefter adds that Pierre-Paul is expected to be ready for September. The Giants can be expected to guard against not having Pierre-Paul for the Sept. 8 prime time season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys by placing the 2010 first-round pick out of South Florida on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp.
If Pierre-Paul is not ready for the start of the season, linebacker/defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka would get the start opposite Justin Tuck. Kiwanuka has been working at defensive end during the OTAs while 2013 third-round pick Damontre Moore learns the same hybrid linebacker/defensive end role that Kiwanuka has filled the last few seasons.
On March 4, one month and one day after the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII and quarterback Joe Flacco put forth an MVP performance in the biggest game of his life, the team rewarded the player with a six-year, $ 120.6 million contract that guaranteed him $ 52 million. The new contract ostensibly puts Flacco in Baltimore through the 2018 season, though a series of huge annual base salaries from 2016 through 2018 ($ 18 million/$ 20.6 million/$ 20 million) scream “restructure.” It seemed that everything was good between team and player, but the recent public opinion given by Joe Linta, Flacco’s agent, took some of the shine off the story.
Linta told USA Today’s Jim Corbett that in the interest of avoiding a $ 1 million charge in the final year of a contract offered before the 2012 season started, the Ravens walked away from securing Flacco’s services for less than they eventually did.
“I’ve never in my life seen a dumber move,” Linta said. “I guess people can say, ‘Well, Joe was dumb, too.’ It could have been [dumb], God forbid, if he got hurt. But $ 1 million to [team owner] Steve Bisciotti six years from now? That’s like 100 bucks for you or me today.”
Linta later tried a little damage control, but the appearance was not good. Especially when Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were re-doing their contracts to improve the salary cap situations for their teams.
And as WNST radio man Nestor Aparicio wrote in his recent book, “Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story,” it was Bisciotti who tried one last-ditch shot at a new contract for Flacco after Flacco and Linta turned down the original deal, which would have given Flacco an annual $ 1 million bonus if the Ravens won a Super Bowl during the contract, and a $ 2 million annual bonus if the Ravens won two Super Bowls. Bisciotti said that he had not talked to Flacco at all about his contract, but now, the stakes were higher, and he decided to intervene with a head-to-head in his office at the team’s Owings Mills, Md. facility:
“There are two things here that I don’t understand,” Bisciotti said to Flacco. “I don’t understand why you’re walking away from this deal? As maligned as you are in the press and as little faith as so many pundits have in you, we’re offering you a $ 90 million deal and you can go wave that in their face and say, ‘F**k you guys! See, the Ravens DO believe in me!’”
Flacco was nonplussed. “I really don’t care about my critics,” he bluntly told the Ravens owner.
Bisciotti was exasperated. “I don’t understand it. Joe, don’t you think you’d play better with a clear head and having this contract behind you?” he continued. “You won’t have to answer questions from anybody, and you can just focus on playing and winning the Super Bowl.”
Flacco said it again. “Steve, I appreciate the offer, but I really don’t care about the media, critics, any of it. I’ve gotta trust my agent, and he doesn’t want any incentives in contracts. And I’ve gotta leave it to him.”
Bisciotti reasoned that until they won a Super Bowl together neither one would get that ultimate respect they desired. “I’m offering you a better deal than the one you’re asking me for if you’re planning on winning the Super Bowl,” he said.
Flacco wasn’t upset or emotional, as is his custom. He simply smiled and said he was going to play out the year. Bisciotti said, “Well, I tried,” as he shook Flacco’s hand. “Then go out and put a few rings on my desk and get what you think you deserve.”
That Flacco put one ring on Bisciotti’s desk made the new deal and a new history with Flacco possible, Linta’s granstanding aside. But what if Flacco hadn’t helped the Ravens through the postseason, playing his best football when needed? Flacco said that he was willing to live with the risk if he got hurt, or didn’t play as well as expected.
“I was actually glad that he called me up to talk about it because it was a cool conversation to have,” Flacco said. “Even though we weren’t agreeing it was a great conversation. It’s one of those talks that grows a relationship, I think. Hey, I tried to throw him a bone and save him some money.”
It worked out for Flacco in the end, but one wonders if Linta would be defending charges regarding his own “dumb moves” had things gone differently.
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