After a 7-9 record in 2006 expectations were high for the San Francisco 49'ers in 2007. Instead the team suffered their 5th consecutive losing season and an offense that produced the 32nd ranked scoring and passing offense in the league. This led to a 5-11 season and nearly cost 49'ers head coach Mike Nolan his job. Oddsmakers have set the 49'ers season win total at 6 games.
When you handicap season win totals you must, I mean must look at the schedule.
A game you can circle for the 49'ers is their September 21st home date against Detroit. Mike Martz would like nothing better than to stick it up Lion coach Rod Marinelli for being the fall guy for Detroit in 2007 with his firing after last season. San Francisco must play the AFC East and get New England and the NY Jets at home and must travel to Miami and a tough trip to Buffalo in late November. The 49'ers are scheduled against the tough NFC East and that means road trips to Dallas and the NY Giants and home dates with Washington and Philadelphia. Also mixed in is a road game at the New Orleans Saints who will be an improved team. The 2008 schedule is a difficult one for the 49'ers.
Quarterback Alex Smith begins his 4th NFL season with his 4th different offensive coordinator and system. Former St Louis Rams head coach and 2007 Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz will run the Rams offense. Quarterbacks have improved under Martz such as Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger and even Jon Kitna last season. Martz is saying the right things about running back Frank Gore being the centerpiece of the offense. But last season Martz abandoned the run much to the disgust of his head coach Rod Marinelli which contributed to a 7-9 season and Martz' firing. Head coach Mike Nolan is a defensive minded coach and coupled with Martz offensive pass heavy system it just might create a volatile situation in the Bay area. Defensive minded coaches like their offenses to run the ball and control the clock but Martz is all about the big play. Nolan is facing a dilemma if his offensive coordinator chooses to abandon the run. Nolan could be handcuffed here because he is fighting for his job. Now Isaac Bruce comes over from the Rams to play wide receiver but he is 35 years old. Arnez Battle and Bryant Johnson really don't put much fear into opposing defenses. Jason Hill has good speed behind Bruce but was mired with injuries last season. This unit lacks a playmaker.
Last season the 49'ers defense were on the field more than any other defensive unit in 2007. This season it could be more of the same with a Mike Martz quick scoring offense this season. When you have a Mike Martz offensive system your defense is going to be on the field quickly and you are going to need to be able to rotate players in out and out. Some of your starters are going to miss series to rest. Simply you need depth on defense. Fortunately the strength of this 49'ers team is their defense. Linebackers Patrick Willis was outstanding earning Defensive Rookie of the year last season. His battery mate Manny Lawson is coming off a torn ACL and we will see if he can still effectively chase down defenders against the run. The Niners lost 2 starters from last years defensive line and filled them with rookie first round pick Kentwan Balmer out of North Carolina and free agent Justin Smith from the Bengals. How well they develop backups will be the difference between a good or bad year for the defense. Based on the direction of this franchise over the past several seasons expect the worst.
And now to my Selection:
This is by far the weakest group of offensive talent Mike Martz has ever worked with. Unfortunately for 49'ers head coach Mike Nolan time isn't on his side. He needs to win now to keep his job and just barely survived the 2007 season. The 49'ers did little in the off season to give the offense the weapons to succeed and just a system change will not be enough in 2008. Poor Alex Smith. The guy has got to be totally confused entering his 4th year in the league under a 4th different offense. This is a franchise in chaos as they are breaking in a sixth offensive co-coordinator in 6 years. The schedule is brutal as well this season.
Play San Francisco UNDER 6 wins for the 2008 season.
Selection: UNDER 6 wins in 2008 Regular Season.
Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receiver Dwayne Bowe talks to Yardbarker the day before heading to training camp.
Turner Gill and Junior wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt talk about last weeks big play and next weeks matchup.
Ball State wide receiver Dante Love injury against Indiana. Ball State Cardinals Indiana Hoosiers Memorial Stadium Bloomington football Dante Love Basketball Action Sports Talk rugby Hockey Extreme Will Ferrell
Sean Salisbury gives us his take on the Dallas Cowboys' acquisition of wide receiver Roy Williams and what impact the former Lion will have on his new team.
Go to: http://www.opensports.com/ for more great videos.
Celebrate the New Year early with Philadelphia Eagles rookie Wide Receiver Desean Jackson.
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The University of Florida vs the University of Oklahoma in the BCS National Chmapionship game played in Dolphin Stadium, FedEx Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida, on January 8, 2009.
You could tell all week that Urban Meyer was being careful.
The master motivator knew he didn't need to do too much to get his team ready to play in the national title game. These Gators were already peeved at the Sooners. They knew what was on the line.
Meyer waited until late in the week to start the process. You don't want to play the game on Tuesday when it's scheduled for Thursday.
And then on game day, he turned to the guy he calls "my right hand man."
"The last couple of days were real intense," Meyer said Friday morning. "I had Coach Strong address the team. I'm very cautious about who I let talk to our team. Those guys were ready to play. The good thing is, guys listen.
"The discussion we had before we got on the bus was this is not good fortune, how the ball bounced your way and the stars aligned. This has been a work in process for many years. You might not get a chance to play with guys like this again. Make it count. And they certainly did."
They listened and they read. They kept hearing about Oklahoma's offense and took it personally.
"SportsCenter got us fired up," cornerback Joe Haden said. "Everybody talking about how many points they were going to score. We like to play teams like this.
"And then, USA Today. They gave the advantage to their offensive and defensive lines. Coach Meyer told us that was a toughness thing."
And in the end, the tougher team won.
It started early, when Major Wright clocked Oklahoma wide receiver Manny Johnson on a deep route just over a minute into the game.
"That set the tone for us," Wright said. "Everybody fed off it."
How did these guys get so tough? Some of it goes back to their quarterback, the toughest player in sports. A lot of it goes to their strength coach Mickey Marotti, who pushed them so hard during the offseason.
But in the end, it's up to every player individually to man up.
Man up, Ahmad Black.
"I saw the ball in the air and when the ball is in the air it's my ball," he said of his huge fourth-quarter interception when he ripped the ball away from Joaquin Inglesias. "I guess he wasn't strong enough."
Man up, Brandon Spikes.
"I felt like we should have held them to three points," he said. "I'm not surprised at all."
Man up, Timmy Tebow.
"They were doing a good job of getting to me and trying to get some licks but I felt my body was able to withstand it," he said.
Nobody manned up more than Percy Harvin. He came back from a hairline fracture in his ankle and a setback Tuesday in practice. Even when Oklahoma defender Nic Harris twisted the ankle after a tackle, Harvin kept coming.
"Everybody wondered about how tough we were," he said. "I think we answered that question. We were the tougher team, and that's why we're national champions."
Motivated, tough teams are tough to beat. When they are well-coached and disciplined and faster than a scared rabbit, they are champions. They get up on that wall.
The way this thing is going, they may run out of room there. Championships are starting to roll in like waves crashing on the beach.
"Every once in awhile, when I'm having a bad day, I'll walk in and stare at that wall," Meyer said. "It's got to be one of the great walls in college football."
It gets a lot better today when another year is unveiled.
This one shouldn't be shiny and new. Put 2008 up there with some dirt and mud and grass and maybe a little of that garnet paint Tebow picked up in Tallahassee. It should be chipped and scuffed and scratched, maybe even spit on.
This one was earned the hard way.
The tough way.
Which in itself is amazing considering the lack of toughness on last year's team.
"We weren't too good," Haden said. "If you told me after the Michigan game we'd be here, I'd have told you we had to come a long way. But we came a long way."
All the way to the wall.
http://nflbiz.blogspot.com - After three years, 3857 yards and 38 touchdowns, the Dallas Cowboys released wide receiver Terrell Owens. Rhis was a mistake as Owens is an exceptionally talented athlete who has no off-field problems and years left in him. Distributed by Tubemogul.
I had to take some time to check emails and write this blog after attending the NFL Play 60 Program in Central Park, which was a great time. I was able to get a number of interviews with several of the college football players bound for the NFL who've been invited to New York for the Draft: Georgia Quarterback Matt Stafford, Kansas State Quarterback Josh Freeman, Texas Tech Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree, Ole Miss Offensive Tackle Michael Oher (who came from homelessness to the NFL) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. You will see each of them in video uploads today and Saturday. Distributed by Tubemogul.
I'm in New York for the NFL Draft and its related events, one of them was held Friday, and called NFL Play 60 in Central Park. This fun affair served as the backdrop for media interviews with the nine top college football players invited by the league to attend the draft. Given that many of the reporters, bloggers, and columnists were not experiencing their first rodeo, as the saying goes, one would think the questions would be good ones. Well, not at all. In fact some of the most seasoned writers asked the stupidest questions and Georgia Quarterback Matt Stafford and Texas Tech Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree had to deal with them. Distributed by Tubemogul.
http://nflbiz.blogspot.com - The Oakland Raiders picked University of Maryland'Darrius Heyward-Bey even though he was rated by many behind Texas Tech Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree. Even in cyberspace, Crabtree's a better rated pass catcher.
On Madden Football, Michael Crabtree is rated ahead of Darrius Heyward-Bey 84 to 79, but Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken ahead of Crabtree. For the Raiders, Draftniks here in NYC think it was a question of speed. Heyward-Bey runs a 4.3 40 yard dash versus Crabtree's 4.5 time, but Crabtree's a gamer.
Still his underclassman status and his recent injury have caused Crabtree to be down-graded by some. But not so far that the San Francisco 49ers took him as the 10th pick. A number of people here at the Draft are questioning the Raiders decision. Here's a video example of a conversation featuring our Bill Chachkes and Dewie from Yardbarker: Distributed by Tubemogul.
Escape techniques are techniques that are used by a player to evade a player while advancing up the field. Escape techniques are primarily used by defensive players to evade the blocks of the offense, but these drills also apply to wide receivers trying to evade a Jam technique from a defensive player. Players use a series of these escape technique drills daily to create muscle memory in their arms while doing these drills with a partner.
Cortez Gent a senior wide receiver for Florida Atlantic University, has been named to the 2009 College Football Performance Awards Watch List.
Gent holds the FAU all-time touchdown reception record at 18 heading into his final campaign. The Chiefland, FL native scored nine in both 2007 and 2008 leading the Owls to back-to-back bowl championships.
Gent is joined on the wide receiver list by Dez Bryant - Oklahoma State, Dezmon Briscoe - Kansas, Aldrick Robinson - SMU, Naaman Roosevelt - Buffalo, Kris Adams - UTEP, DeAndre Brown - Southern Miss, Jordan Shipley - Texas, Mardy Gilyard - Cincinnati, Golden Tate - Notre Dame, Kerry Meier - Kansas, Tyron Carrier - Houston, Damian Williams - USC, Emmanuel Sanders - SMU, and Dion Morton - Colorado State.
The goal of the College Football Performance Awards is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. CFPA recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. Prominent sports ethicist and former football coach Gordon Marino writes, "Brad Smith's (CFPA) system endeavors to level the playing field for evaluating gridiron performance and as such may transform the individual trophy quest from a PR battle to the legitimate question of which athletes did the most for their teams- BCS or not."
For more information on the watch list, contact Executive Director, Brad Smith at 570-854-1252 or visit the official website of the College Football Performance Awards (http://www.collegefootballperformance.com).
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