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Goodbye Mr. Warner

On January 29th, Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, announced his retirement. As he retires he is still one of the elite QBs of the NFL. The last three seasons he has thrown for  over 3000 yards, 25 TDs, and less than 18 INTs. He led the Cardinals to the Divisional Playoffs this year and to the Super Bowl last year. He capably led his team to a 2nd half comeback in the Wildcard game against the Packers on January 10th.


As a fan, I’m sad to see him go. His tale of becoming a Super Bowl QB through NFL Europe, Arena Football, and  the practice squad is a great underdog story. He’s always put his family, his faith, and his charitable work first. He’s an all-around good guy, and it stinks to see another one of the good guys leave the NFL.

I feel he deserves the Hall of Fame, and I hope the fact that he had a few down years doesn’t hurt his chances. He wasn’t always given a fair shake throughout his career. He was pushed out of St. Louis for Marc Bulger and was basically keeping the seat warm for Eli Manning in New York. He would have been in the same predicament in Arizona, except that Matt Leinart performed so terribly. Looking back on the four careers from these players, which has had the best career? To me its obvious.

Let’s take a look at Warner’s Hall of Fame Qualifications:

-3 Super Bowl Appearances, 1 Win

-1 Super Bowl MVP

-2 MVP Seasons

-4 Pro Bowls

-2nd All-Time in Career Passing Yards/Gm

-2nd All-Time in Career Completion %

-6th All-Time in Career QB Rating

There are many more accolades and stats we could layer into this argument. But let me just say, Mr. Warner you will be missed. You will be missed not only as an exciting NFL QB, but as player to root for, and as one of the true good guys in the NFL.


What Shanahan puts in his new contract

Currently Mike Shanahan and Dan Snyder are working out the details of a contract to put Shanahan in charge of the 2010 Washington Redskins.  We all know that past free agent acquisitions and coaches have come here to get as much money as possible.  Thankfully, we have an owner who is able and willing to make sure top talent and creative minds are attracted to come to D.C.

However, beyond the “max” deal, what could Shanahan be looking for in his new contract?  Let’s use the Jim Zorn experiment as a guideline, shall we?

1. Clear delineation of authority and power with regards to player discipline. Numerous reports have surfaced lately about discipline issues with players going to other sources when there were team issues.  Circumventing the head coach is an issue of rebellion and insubordination – even if they were “tight” with Vinny Cerrato or Dan Snyder.  If Shanahan wants a successful stint in D.C., he must lay down the law and operate under clear methods of communication between players and the coaching staff.

2. Authority to hire and fire staff as he sees fit.  Jim Zorn walked into this head coaching position with little if any authority to bring in “his guys”. Shanahan will be assumed to have this authority, as most head coaches would think they’d have.  However, if there is ever an issue he wants to be able to point to the contract (as it is rumored Cerrato did with Zorn) and point out his power.  For example, let’s say some time down the road Bruce Allen thinks there is another person better suited for the offensive line coaching position than Kyle Shanahan wants.  Papa Shanahan can go to his contract, make the decision and mediate between the two options.

3. Playcalling Operations. This almost goes without saying after the whole Sherm Lewis situation that Zorn went through this year.  Would Dan Snyder dare try and make a power move towards Shanahan?  Probably not.  I can’t even think of Bruce Allen concocting such a plan, but better safe than sorry.

4. Roster and draft procedure. Bruce Allen and Shanahan will likely operate as a team for making player personnel decisions.  But as we know during the Cerrato era, things can be a little unclear when decisions are made.  It’s always better have things spelled out.  There’d be nothing worse than for this new staff than confusion over who is calling the shots on the players that Shanahan will be coaching.

These are the vital issues not only to Shanahan’s contract with Snyder but also if there is going to be success in this organization struggling for a new way of doing business.


2009 NFL Season Predictions – AFC (Mark)

These are my predictions for the AFC standings this year.  I have less to say analysis wise about this conference so I will simply explain the reasoning for my division winners.

AFC East

1. New England Patriots

2. Miami Dolphins

3. New York Jets

4. Buffalo Bills

Last season the Patriots managed an 11-5 record and Tom Brady only played for part of one game. This year Brady is back and the offense instantly goes from great to one of the Top 3 in the league.  The Patriots picked up Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden at cornerback and improved their passing defense.  The Patriots play a tough schedule but with Head Coach Bill Belichick, Brady at QB, and a solid defense the Pats will be competing for home field advantage in the playoffs.

AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans

2. Indianapolis Colts

3. Houston Texans

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Tennessee Titans went 13 and 3 last year.  Most of their starters return this year and they are playing an average schedule.  Their big loss was on defense as star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth left to go to the Redskins.  They still have Javon Kearse and Kyle Van Vanden Bosch to bring the pressure up front. The defense may not be quite as fearsome as it was but it will still be great. Kerry Collins is a veteran quarterback who can easily manage a team with a great defense and a strong running game to wins.

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Cleveland Browns

4. Cincinnati Bengals

The Super Bowl champion Steelers return nearly all of their starters.  They have one of the best defenses in the NFL.  With Rashard Mendenhall returning from injury the running game gets better and more varied.  Ben Roethlisberger is no Peyton Manning, but he knows how to get the job done.  The Steelers could be even better than they were last year.

AFC West

1. Denver Broncos

2.  San Diego Chargers

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. Oakland Raiders

This  division is the toughest to predict because none of the teams are really that much better than the others.  I think the Broncos are going to be able to take it however.  New Head Coach Josh McDaniels and new quarterback Kyle Orton will exceed expectations.  Solid defenders Brian Dawkins, Andra Davis, Renaldo Hill, and Andre’ Goodman were brought in to reinvigorate the defense.

Playoff Seeds

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. New England Patriots

3.  Tennessee Titans

4. Denver Broncos

5. Indianapolis Colts

6.  Baltimore Ravens


Pink Slips

I’m driving down to Ashburn Park today to fire a few people.

Let’s start at the top :

VP of Player Management Vinny Cerrato

Head Coach Jim Zorn

Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache

Offensive Line Coach Joe Bugel

And now the players:

The entire Offensive Line

Kicker Shaun Suisham

All WRs not named Santana Moss

TE Fred Davis

DEs Demetric Evans and Chris Wilson

All DTs not named Cornelius Griffin

All LBs not named Marcus Washington and London Fletcher

SS Mike Green

CBs Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot.

But seriously what is with this team? It looked like they gave up before the game even started! Stupid penalties are being made constantly. The Skins look like a poorly, poorly coached team these last 7 games. We need a drastic change if  we ever expect to get to the next level.

Let’s be honest all year the ‘Skins have come out and started slow. They never seem to come out of the gate with the needed amount of energy. This reflects back on the coaching staff.

Now I’m going to start a new season in Madden and see how these changes do.