Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday Reflections on a Hectic Football Saturday

Who said the first weekend of college football carried no excitement? Whoever said that must be awfully forgetful of the form that we should expect from teams coming out of the gate. Since there is no real preseason in college football (no, the spring game does not count), the first week – for better or for worse – is littered with shoddy play and desire can sometimes overcome talent.

This was seen in Appalachian State’s 34-32 victory over Michigan. This game was so far off the radar that ESPN GamePlan did not even air it. It was aired on the Big Ten Network, which got great publicity, but it was with an unintended and undesired result. Whether this upset is the greatest in college football history will be determined by Michigan’s form.

How about DeSean Jackson’s punt return to break a 14-all tie and put California in the ascendancy for good? At the next level, he’s anywhere between Steve Smith and Peter Warrick. That must scare teams. Throughout the course of a football career, every player, no matter what their training regimen is, will suffer an injury. Hypothetically speaking, will Jackson have the same cutability [sic] which puts him all over SportsCenter highlights?

In the best game of the day that went severely under the radar, Colorado and Colorado State battled it out until the Buffaloes claimed the victory in overtime. Cody Hawkins has the tools to be a poor man’s Drew Brees. His accuracy is impeccable and demonstrates poise in the pocket. Nevertheless, remember that he was playing a porous Rams defense that allowed two touchdowns in ten plays in the game’s opening quarter.

Should Texas and Arkansas be alarmed by their lackluster performances in expected blowouts? Absolutely.

Here’s an even better one. Can’t we just enjoy the football until October and THEN worry about the rankings?

Moving from the college ranks to the pros, yesterday was the day when NFL teams had to cut their rosters down to 53 players, otherwise known as Cut Day.

Here is a list of what I consider the lowlights ranging from the surprising to the downright shocking:

First, not one high third-round pick, but TWO of them – defensive players, no less – were told au revoir by their respective organizations. In Oakland, Quentin Moses continued his fall from grace by not even making the team; however, he was quickly snapped up by Arizona, who released their own third-round pick in the form of Florida State linebacker Buster Davis. Ken Whisenhunt intimated that Davis was not the same player he saw on the game tape prior to the draft. So, to sum things up, Davis has been called a fraud by a NFL head coach just months after being drafted. Ouch.
Second, a host of aging safeties received their marching orders from management. A shortlist includes the likes of Donovin Darius, Omar Stoutmire, Will Demps, and Lamont Thompson to name a few. This begs the question. Do the Texans now regret trading Jason Babin to the Seahawks for Michael Boulware prior to the majority of cuts?

Other notes include:
- Kevin Jones will NOT be on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as earlier reported by multiple media outlets. This means he can practice prior to the Week 6, so he can get his timing down and try to regain his job.
- Richard Seymour IS on the PUP list for New England. This means Bill Belichick will focus his energies on concealing the health status of other Patriots players.
- Chris Simms remains in Tampa Bay for now. If they add Byron Leftwich, then they’ll have FIVE quarterbacks. Don’t worry, that’s a joke. Or is it?

By now, everyone knows that Rodney Harrison got busted by the league for using HGH. It’s one thing to cheat, but it’s another to admit cheating and then say the following:

"My purpose was never to gain a competitive edge. Rather, my use was solely for the purpose of accelerating the healing process of injuries I sustained while playing football.”

Acceleration of the healing process from injuries is the very essence of giving one’s self a competitive edge. Such a statement of arrogance presupposes that the general football consuming public is stupid, na├»ve, or a combination of both.

Furthermore, how is this situation that different from Barry Bonds on the wrong side of his 30s taking another performance-enhancing drug? It’s HGH abuse instead of steroids (allegedly, of course) and Bonds has higher star power. Both used the performance enhancer to overcome injuries, giving each an opportunity to compete rather than sitting on the sidelines longer or going into retirement.


Chris Clement said...

Harrison is both naieve and ignorant.

If he wasn't a Patriot, he'd be called out time and time again for his dirty hits, late hits, and overall lack of respect for his competitors.

He only seems to want to be a good sport when he wins.

He's never been a classy guy, so this HGH should come as no surprise.

His cockamamy explanation only further proves his detractor's points.

Sadly, the four-letter network and most outlets, which are extremely Boston-favorite, are going to pity him or allow him to make his mistake.

It's sad, but then again...Harrison is classless and a chump.


summy said...

I love the Pat-hating espoused by my colleagues on PHSports (note sarcasm). Actually, I think it's the fact that he does play for New England that is drawing so much haterade from people and other sources (such as PFT, which has similar commentary).

While I don't condone Harrison's use of HGH, I'm not blind enough to compare it to Bonds/McGuire/Palmeiro. Using growth hormones to actually improve your play is far different than using them to recover from injury. If the use of HGH stopped soon enough before Harrison took the field, then he's just the same hard-hitter than before, his play hasn't improved. Now, if he continued using them, that's a different story.

And, last I checked, he got a harsh 4-game suspension from the why the whining?

Stop hating just b/c he plays in New England.

Chris Clement said...

There is definitive New England hating, even in an unfair backlash from media and people like myself.

However, Harrison has gotten off quite lightly for many of his hits.

Why is it that diving at Trent Green's legs, all the way back when Trent was a Ram and Rodney was a Charger, didn't cost him half the time that it cost Trent (he went down for the season)?

I understand that's NFL procedure and not a comment on Harrison; but it does go to show how filthy and dirty a player he is.

I'll never waver on his inability to not make cheap, late hits. I've watched countless games with people -included Pay- and easily pointed out constant and consistent late and cheap hits (even if most are minor or on the pile) that Harrison makes.

And yet when Bobby Wade of Tennessee cuts him, cleanly, ESPN pines for him. They even did a ridiculous spoof on a clip promoting the money he donates to charity, matching every NFL fine he receives for "questionable hits" as he defines it.

Harrison wanted sympathy for cheating.

While I'm not going to sit here and compare him to Bonds/Palmiero/Big Mac, or anyone for that matter...he cheated and should be exposed.

Just as Shawn Merriman should've (props to Jason Taylor, for calling him out often for that).

As for Harrison, he's going to stir up sympathy because, much like Giambi, he's going to seem remorseful (even though he is admitting much more than Jason ever has).

Harrison cheated and I will forever have serious disdain for the man. However, it's not unwarranted and this isn't a surprise to me.

And please, let's not turn my hate for him into my hate for New England. It transcends that more than even I understand. As someone who's suffered horrific knee injuries, I know what dirty hits, to any part of the body, can do to someone.

So while I applaud Sum trying to seperate fact from opinion, I also will not waver on my calling out of Harrison for trying to feebily justify cheating (by taking HGH). He had to know it was wrong and I don't believe he simply wanted to be on the field as quick as he could. Like countless other stars caught up in this mess, he wanted to return the same or even better as he once was.

That is cheating.

That is no surprise to me when Rodney Harrison, not a New England Patriot, is involved.


Chris Clement said...

I said cheating far too much in that comment.

But I don't regret it.

Most will regret watching a Patriot game, especially their Week 1 opening victory (or so I fear), against my lowly Jets...when Harrison plays.

Of course, he'll miss that game.

For what, you ask?



Paymon said...

Separating fact from opinion? Give me a break.

Here's what Sum said:
"Using growth hormones to actually improve your play is far different than using them to recover from injury."

HGH is a PERFORMANCE-enhancer. By putting Harrison on the field in a position to perform, he is 'improving his play' because otherwise, he'd either be still recuperating or long retired.

Does HGH use end once the player is healed from an injury and back on the field? Is there empirical evidence leaning one way or the other?

summy said...

Thanks for your 2nd post there Clement, I actually enjoyed reading the word "cheating" 500 times, hahah. But, actually, I did like it since the talk centered more on Harrison the dirty player than Harrison the Patriot.

And Pay, while the two are related, they're not the same thing. As I said earlier, I don't condone his use of HGH, and I am glad the Commish is keeping his hard-line and suspended him. I just didn't like the comparison to Bonds.

Anonymous said...

Jackson is the most electrifying player in college football. He won't be another Peter Warrick because teams have learned their lesson on what misusing an enormous talent will result in. He's also better than Warrick was.

Chris Clement said...

In case you didn't know, Peter King of SI (here come the Art Monk supporters) ranked the Top 500 NFL players (current ones).

While I detest King, I admire the effort.

Oddly, he has Jets safety Kerry Rhodes as #29.

Don't get me wrong; I am still lamenting that Rhodes was dissed from the Pro Bowl squad last year (he was the second best safety in the entire AFC, behind only Ed Reed).

However, that was a stretch to have it at 29. Then again, I do consider him the fourth best safety in football. Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Adrian Wilson, and then Rhodes. Yep, I have him before Polamalu. Only because he's exposed a LOT. And while guys like Shaun Taylor and Roy Williams are called out time and time again for making key mistakes...Polamalu always gets off scott-free. Maybe it's the hair.

Back to Rhodes, he was dissed by none other than Pats coach Bill Belichick.

I won't begin to show my detestment for that creep. Yep, I said detestment.

And this isn't Pats hating, as I respect the HELL out of guys like Brady, Troy Brown, Richard Seymour, and Mike Vrabel (who also makes late hits at times though).

"Neither of those guys could make my team," Belichick told the magazine.

That was in reference to Rhodes and Peters, who both laughed off the comment.

This is the same arrogant guy who shoved a reporter, with his back to the Bill, as Belichick went to ruin Eric Mangini's moment when the Jets took out the Pats, in Foxboro no less, late last season.

When he offered a firm handshake and a few words after a playoff VICTORY...everyone said he was as classy as ever.


But remember: this isn't a target at you or the Patriot-way of living or playing football.

It's just a backlash against Harrison's ill-willed nature/personality, the fraud of Belichick's character (I'll never doubt he is one of the best coaches I've ever seen), and the sickening media affection towards them (anybody else remember them playing Nickleback's "Hero" everytime they went to a commercial during Bruschi 's return on Sunday Night Football?)

Although I appreciate Sum's take on me wanting to clarify my HATE for the CHEATER that is Harrison being based on who Harrison is (and pretends to be) and not simply because he's a Patriot.

However, I won't step back against my HATE for Harrison and Belichick.


Chris Clement said...

Sorry, the "Peters" in the rant above was Jason Peters, a Bills tackle.

I just hope and pray Belichick never ends up on TV after he retires.

Please don't do that to me.


Paymon said...

FYI, Belichick actually DID NOT say that quote about the Jets players. It's King speaking hypothetically as Belichick, I believe. PFT explains it quite well.

Maybe Polamalu gets a free pass because he was the MVP of that Super Bowl run. I do agree that he got exposed last year. I don't think Big Ben will force the defense into as many short-field situations as he did last season. This may help.

Chris Clement said...

Thanks for the update Pay.

Although I'll blame the half-dozen media outlets if he didn't say it. But it wouldn't surprise me either way honestly, especially with today's media. Rhodes handled it perfectly anyways. I assume Peters did as well.

Solid points on Polamalu. I agree with the Big Ben thing, although his mistakes are quite costly when they occur...he has to improve.

Polamalu's respect is exactly because of that run, but I'm interested to see how he does in Tomlin's system, even with just his attitude.

CBSSportsline is all over Tomlin, and the stability he should bring. Plenty of past Super Bowl champs have rebounded quite well the second-year after their title run.

We shall see how guys like Big Ben & Polamalu do with just that scenario this season.