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Archive for September, 2008

Well Of Course They Did

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Cedric Benson

This makes absolute perfect sense coming from the Cincinnati Bengals: It was recently announced they were the winners of the Cedric Benson sweepstakes.

That’s right, the Bengals just signed Benson. In case you might have missed it, the Bengals have trying to distance themselves from perceived problem children — well, at least Marvin Lewis has — and despite whatever misunderstandings there might have been at the boating incident that got Benson released from the Chicago Bears, he still has an air of misbehaving around him.

But desperate times call for desperate measures and a quick look at the Bengals roster reveals their running back situation is indeed desperate.

The Benson signing comes on the heels of Chris Henry — Marvin Lewis’ favorite player — officially being eligible to play this Sunday against Dallas. Considering the timing, I wouldn’t expect to see Benson take the field against the Cowboys, but like we’ve established, these are desperate times for the Bengals.

Meanwhile, Mike Brown still hasn’t offered an extension to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and it’s doubtful he will, compounding the never-ending brilliance on display from the man in charge of the Bengals franchise.

Worst Team In The NFL – Week 4

Sheldon Brown

By now, it’s pretty obvious who currently has the worst team in the NFL even though there are four teams who haven’t won a game yet. While Cincinnati, Detroit and Houston aren’t very good — Houston is easily the best out of this bunch — they aren’t as bad as the St Louis Rams.

Detroit and Houston have serviceable offenses, much like the Bengals used to have. Now the Bengals are relying on an almost-respectable defense to keep their games close. The Rams have neither. They are the absolute worst in the NFL in both offense and defense, and in most cases, it’s by a wide margin.

More NFL foul play after the jump >>

So Long, Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin

In one of the most shocking announcements since Darth Vader told Luke Skywalker about his daddy, the Oakland Raiders have fired Lane Kiffin — according to sources gathered by Chris Mortensen, who looks like he actually beat Jay Glazer this time.

The details were about what you’d expect from Al Davis — Kiffin was told he was getting a phone call from Davis and would be fired, Kiffin isn’t allowed to speak to the players before he leaves, Davis was mad Kiffin showed interest in a college job and so on and so forth. What no one seems to be worried about, except the San Francisco Chronicle apparently, is the development of JaMarcus Russell.

The environment fostered by Davis isn’t exactly ideal for an up-and-coming quarterback who needs a stable franchise supporting him. Oakland is about the exact opposite:

The single biggest obstacle to the proper development of JaMarcus Russell is the current instability surrounding the Oakland Raiders. A player needs proper coaching to transition from the NCAA level to the NFL. As it stands, to describe the Raiders coaching situation as tenuous would be stretching it. It has the makings of a disaster that rivals the Hindenburg. The Raiders need to figure out what they are going to do, and allow this young team time to grow up together.

Now that Davis has taken care of his latest nemesis, perhaps he can give Russell the appropriate surroundings, complete with a coaching staff he trusts and smart, useful draft picks — and maybe I’ll be the overall top pick next season.

According to Mort, one of the following is expected to replace Kiffin: offensive line coach Tom Cable, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and Paul Hackett. There was no mention of James Lofton anywhere in the report.

Is The Terrell Owens Situation Escalating?

Terrell Owens

After watching Terrell Owens all these years, it’s still really hard to get a bead on how he really feels, unless, of course, he’s not happy with the way he’s being used. If TO isn’t happy, he’s not afraid to let everyone who will listen know how he feels, even if it’s a distraction to his team. After the Cowboys lost to the Redskins on Sunday, Owens let the media know he wasn’t being used correctly, even though close to 20 offensive plays went his way.

Apparently, Owens wasn’t satisfied complaining to the media and decided to voice his displeasure with Tony Romo, the same quarterback he cried for last season. Can you say “chemistry issues?” I thought you could.

The types of routes and throws are what concerns Owens, the sources said. The receiver, who the sources said was venting to Romo about his frustrations, has not liked how some of the throws were coming from the quarterback as far back as the season opener.

But Owens said Sunday he is still confident in Romo.

Is this the same kind of confidence Owens had in Donovan McNabb? Furthermore, how long will this “confidence” last if Romo doesn’t look TO’s way when Owens thinks he should? If the past is anything to go on, it wouldn’t be surprising if Dallas’ chemistry situation gets worse before it gets better.

Lastly, it’s nice to see TO stick by his “I love me some me” mantra. I wonder how long Dallas fans will share that sentiment — especially if Owens continues to put himself ahead of the team.

Bad News For the Houston Rockets

Tracy McGrady

With the NBA preseason beginning on Sunday, now is the time of year where NBA teams are feeling energized and confident. An offseason of recuperation does these things. The offseason is also a time most professional players recover from nagging injuries, either with surgery, rehab or both. Apparently, Tracy McGrady is immune to these therapeutic actions because it’s being reported McGrady is entering training camp with concerns about an arthritic shoulder and his surgically repaired left knee.

More on T-Mac’s injury woes after the jump >>

When 162 Games Aren’t Enough

Twins and White Sox

What do you do if 162 games aren’t enough to decide which team from the AL Central gets to go to the playoffs? Why, you have yourself a one-game playoff, and that’s just what we have tonight when the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox meet in the Windy City to see who gets the golden ticket. After playing the allotted amount of regular season games, the Twins and White Sox have the same record at 88-74.

Hence the need for the extra game, which takes place in Chicago with the first pitch scheduled for 7:30/6:30 Central. For the White Sox, Ozzie Guillen is sending John Danks and his 11-9/3.47 ERA to mound. Ron Gardenhire counters with Nick Blackburn, he of the 11-10/4.14 ERA record.

Based on that and the fact the White Sox have the home-field advantage, it’s hard not to like Chicago’s chances. They are also 7-2 versus the Twins at home. However, the last time these two teams met — admittedly in Minnesota — the Sox were swept. This should give the Twins a boost of confidence; although, their record at U.S. Cellular Field looms large.

The winner, as indicated, gets a trip the playoffs and will be facing the Tampa Bay Rays, a devil of a team.

An Open Letter To Larry Johnson

Larry Roc Johnson

Dear Larry,

Welcome back, son. It’s good to see you running like that. Forgive me if I wonder if you can keep it up, however. Nature of the game and all that.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing is to say it’s time to retire “the Roc,” OK? Now that Ramel Bradley has moved on from college basketball, you are the only prominent athlete to push that diamond up and now, it’s time to stop.

I know, I know. You are represented by the Team Roc clothing line, which essentially means the Iconix Brand has a hold of you as well. I don’t see you throwing up Iconix, but then again, this isn’t the easiest thing to do with your hands. Nevertheless, it’s time to move on and retire the Diamond Dallas Page Diamond Cutter the Roc.

Don’t get me wrong, loyalty to those who give you money isn’t a bad thing, but throwing the diamond up is kinda like the high-top fade — the fad has run its course. Maybe in ten or so years, you can do a Brandon Jennings and bring it back, but until then, please find another way of letting the world know you scored again.

Or perhaps you could, I don’t know, throw some kind of arrowhead hand sign into your repertoire — seeing how the Chiefs actually pay you more money than the clothing line you pimp. Just a thought.

Sincerely,

Your Friends at IntentionalFoul.com

As Expected, St Louis Rams Fire Linehan

Haslett for Linehan

Welcome back to the NFL head coaching ranks, Jim Haslett. Be sure to put yourself in a position where Steve Spurrier won’t be able to make fun of you anymore.

Haslett replaces Scott Linehan as the St Louis Rams head coach after Linehan was relieved of duty earlier this morning. Linehan’s firing comes after the Rams gave their third consecutive horrendous showing since opening the season with the Philadelphia beatdown. Not only are the Rams 0-4, they’ve looked like one of the worst NFL teams ever in the process.

So long, Scott after the jump >>