Tag:Madden 12
Posted on: November 2, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Hillis: 'No excuse' for missing charity event

Posted by Will Brinson

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote in his 10-Point Stance Wednesday that Browns running Peyton Hillis missed a Boys and Girls Club event in Cleveland, and pointed out that "there are privately some hesitations" with the Browns about Hillis.

Freeman also wrote that Hillis' absence at the charity event might be "some sort of misunderstanding more than a blow off." According to Hillis on Wednesday, that's exactly the case.

Via our Browns Rapid Reporter Marty Gitlin, Hillis apologized for missing the event and called it a "miscommunication" with his management team, not him simply skipping the event.

"If I had known the full depths of it I would not have missed it," Hillis said. "Still, I'm truly sorry and there's no excuse."

The worst part of Hillis absence is the timing of the whole thing. Hillis was considered after last season's breakout the ultimate Cleveland star athlete, mixing a blue-collar attitude and work ethic en route to re-establishing a dominant, power rushing attack for the Browns.

But he's struggled mightily this season, topping out at 97 yards on the ground in Week 2, and averaging just 3.5 yards per carry in four games.

Rumors have run rampant about Hillis' unhappiness with his contract status, and there've been questions as to whether or not Hillis could have played when he was sick/hurt.

At this point, the only thing Hillis can really do in order to make it up to the city of Cleveland is get on the field and start producing again, although a charitable donation to the Boys and Girls Club probably wouldn't hurt either.

On the bright side, at least he's living up to the annual Madden Curse expectations.

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:07 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 6 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

1. What's Your Deal?
By now, you've undoubtedly seen the little melee that erupted between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz following San Francisco's 25-19 victory in Detroit.

NFL VP of Communications Greg Aiello confirmed to CBS Sports following the game that the NFL will look into the near-fight that went down, and I'd be pretty shocked if both coaches didn't get hit with some kind of fine. Though Harbaugh didn't do much that was noticeable on the video, he did admit following the game that he probably incited Schwartz' anger.

Schwartz, of course, chased Harbaugh down the field and had to be repeatedly pushed back from the crowd. No matter what Harbaugh did, it's hard to fathom that Schwartz behavior is remotely acceptable in the eyes of the league. And though Schwartz might have looked like the aggressor, the blame has to lie with Harbaugh on this one.

Looking ahead, this might not be a rivalry that dies quickly. Niners offensive lineman Anthony Davis, on his newly verified Twitter account, had a little trash talk of his own after the game.

"They talked s*** to us all week," Davis tweeted following the game. "We said nothin ... Came and kicked that a** ... its f***** football f*** classy.. Save classy for Mortons lol"

Steakhouse humor aside, it's worth mentioning Cliff Avril of the Lions saw Davis' tweet and pointed out that it was "real professional" -- Davis responded by pointing out that he "pancacked [Avril] on a passing play ... sooo uh just be quiet go home play with your kids."

So this shouldn't evolve into anything unpleasant in the near future at all!

What's fascinating about this whole thing is how people are defending both sides. Some folks think that Schwartz is an unhinged lunatic. Some think Harbaugh is an arrogant jerk. (Our own Mike Freeman noted on Twitter that Harbaugh's not making himself any friends around the league with his attitude.)

For me, it's hard to blame Schwartz for his reaction, given the way that Harbaugh behaved following San Francisco's victory:



Whatever, here's hoping they meet again in the playoffs. In the meantime, my top-five list for coaches I would pick for a steel-cage death match:

1. Jack Del Rio
2. Ron Rivera
3. Mike Tomlin
4. Jim Schwartz
5. Raheem Morris

Leave your picks in the comments.

2. Speaking of Coaches ...
You'll notice Sean Payton didn't make my top five. And he might not have even if he was healthy, but he certainly wouldn't be up there after the incident that took place on Sunday, when tight end Jimmy Graham came crashing into the sideline and blew up Payton's knee.

The Saints coach suffered a broken tibia and tore his the MCL in his left knee, which means he'll be knocked out of shape for quite a while.

"It's just one of those things, the play kind of got up on me quicker," Payton said Sunday. "I think the second part of the tackle seemed maybe all of a sudden. I mean, every once in a while you feel like you get pinned with the play and that's what happened."

Of course, Payton wasn't the only coach who was injured on Sunday in this game (think about that; seriously) -- Jimmy Lake, the Bucs defensive backs coach, tore his patellar tendon celebrating an interception celebrating, as Ryan says in the podcast above, Martin Gramatica style.

What I'm wondering is if Payton's injury might derail the Saints offense a little bit. Maybe that's a stretch, and he'll certainly have his hands all over the team's playcalling and management, but it doesn't sound like he'll be down on the field for a few weeks.

"I might have to be up in the press box for a few games," Payton said. "Because it’s a fracture, its different. If it’s the MCL you can have the brace, but the fracture on the outside means the weight-bearing part of it really changes."

Maybe it won't have any bearing -- with the Saints playing the Colts and Rams in the next two weeks, Drew Brees can probably manage the offense all by himself.

2. A Boy Named John
With Washington getting two weeks to prepare for the Eagles, and Philly looking very much like a punch-drunk boxer practically begging for a knockout shot, it stood to reason that the Redskins could take advantage of the Eagles porous defense and pick up a critical division win.

They didn't, and that's mainly because Rex Grossman turned into, well, Rex Grossman.

The 'Skins quarterback threw four interceptions -- three to Kurt Coleman -- and registered a couple of terrible interceptions that should have been picks. This led to him getting benched for backup John Beck.

“Well number one—we needed a spark," Mike Shanahan said afterwards. "John has been practicing very well the past couple of weeks and with four turnovers there we thought it was time to make a change and give John an opportunity to show us what he could do."

(Ed. Note: Week 6 review will be up early Monday.)

Beck, who's so fancy/awesome he dressed like a gas-station attendant for his post-game presser, isn't locked into the starting role yet, though, as Shanny refused to name next week's starter immediately following the game.

"I would never announce that right after a game," Shanahan said of his decision on who he'll start. "I would announce that later on in the week. We'll make a decision after looking at the film."

That's all fine and well, but who didn't see this coming? Because if the Redskins leading the NFC East after five weeks was the least likely thing in the entire world, then Grossman eventually imploding was on the opposite scale of predictability. And now this is quickly shaping up to be the second rendition of the Donovan McNabb-Grossman fiasco from last year.

On the bright side, it's less expensive?

"I want to play," Beck said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. "I want to be the quarterback. But I’m not the one that makes that decision, it’s coach, and they’ll make the best decision for the team ... What’s gonna happen next, I don’t know. But I’ll just do everything I can to be prepared if my number is called."

If it's me, I roll the dice with Beck, who seemed to at least provide a little spark to the team when he came on the field. It's not like he's been good this year, the Redskins defense has just kept Washington in games. And Grossman's now thrown three or more interceptions in seven of his 45 career starts. Which means 15 percent of the time that you put Grossman under center, there's a 15-percent chance he's going to hand the ball to the opposing defense multiple times.

3. Maybe Romo's Not the Only Choker?
For what feels like the fourth or fifth week this season, it's time to question Jason Garrett's playcalling for Dallas. With the game tied at 13 all and the Cowboys in the red zone, Garrett called a third-down shovel pass despite Dez Bryant sitting in single coverage.

The result was predictably predictable: the shovel pass didn't work and the Cowboys kicked a field goal to go up 16-13. Then, after forcing the Patriots to punt, Dallas ran three straight times (for negative-five yards) and the result was even more predictable: Dallas punted back to Tom Brady, giving him the ball down three points with 2:31 left on the clock.

If you've followed football at all for the last few years, you've probably already figured out what happened. Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does, which is carve up a defense en route to just another routine comeback/last-minute win.

By the time he hit Aaron Hernandez in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown, Dallas had just 22 seconds remaining on the clock to move the ball far enough down the field to get a shot at a Hail Mary, which Tony Romo threw out of bounds.

On that last drive, by the way, Romo completed two passes for 31 yards. Throw those passes on the previous series and we're talking about a signature win for the Cowboys, against the best team in the other conference at their place.

Instead, we're left to wonder why Garrett continually plays, as my colleague Pete Prisco wrote, not to lose, instead of utilizing the weapons he has on offense in the proper way. And by "we" I mean "me and Jerry Jones."

"You'll always second-guess whether or not we should have tried to run a little offense down there instead of running it three times," Jones said after the game, per our Pats Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard. "We went conservative rather than try to get some points and it bit us."

Jones said that doing so in a regular-season game was acceptable, but it's not the type of thing that he'd like to see in the playoffs. Of course, it's hard to imagine the Cowboys making the playoffs if they can't figure out how to turn trips to the red zone into more than three points a pop.

4. Bollers and Pryors OH MY
Many a pundit's willing to point out that the Oakland Raiders, while a half-game back of the Chargers, are the best AFC West team through the first six weeks of the season.

This isn't that far off. The Raiders are pretty good. But despite winning 24-17 over Cleveland on Sunday, Oakland suffered a seriously detrimental injury on Sunday, as quarterback Jason Campbell broke his collarbone and will likely miss the remainder of the season.

“I’m not going to let this football team blink," coach Hue Jackson said Sunday. "We’ll miss Jason for a little while. I have no idea how long it will take [for him to recover]. We’ll see as we go. I know obviously he won’t be here next week. We’ll continue to press forward and get better."

That's the optimistic point of view. The pessimistic? Kyle Boller, Terrelle Pryor and Shane Lechler are now the top-three quarterbacks on Oakland's depth chart. Yikes.

So Oakland has a couple of options going forward. One, roll with Boller. (Again, yikes.) Two, let Darren McFadden carry the ball 50 times a game. (Not terrible, but it could cause some long-term issues in terms of his health.) Three, go out and get another quarterback.

A couple of names spring to mind immediately: Kyle Orton, Donovan McNabb, David Garrard and Carson Palmer. Garrard makes sense because he's openly said he wants to play for a contender and the Raiders, at 4-2, certainly fit the bill.

Orton, McNabb and Palmer seem like longer shots as trade possibilities, but the Raiders have about 36 hours to make a deal, and it's reasonable that the Broncos, Vikings and Bengals would be interested in getting something back for guys that are either going to ride pine the rest of the year or won't bother showing up.

5. Don't Forget the Defense



In this, the year of ridiculously silly offensive outputs in the NFL, it's easy to just gawk at high-powered offensive teams and assume they will end up winning the most games and doing the most damage in the postseason.

But we need to recognize the Ravens for the dirty work they're doing on the defensive side of the ball, suppressed their league-leading points-allowed total to 71 Sunday after casually shut down Houston in a 29-14 victory. Baltimore held 2010 rushing champ Arian Foster to just 49 yards on 15 carries, and limited Matt Schaub to 220 yards and a touchdown in a dominant defensive performance that should make some people take notice.

Ryan and I debated this audio-style, but I think there's a legitimate argument that the Ravens are the best team in the AFC and can contend for the best team in the NFL. Clearly -- quite clearly -- the Packers are the cream of the crop at the moment.

But anyone in the NFL can score these days. Few teams can stop the opposition from scoring. With Haloti Ngata serving as the lynchpin for the defensive line and wrecking havoc on opponents' offensive lines, and with a secondary that's surprising this year, and with Ray Lewis playing rejuvenated ball, the Ravens can do that.

They're lacking in offensive consistency more so than a lot of other teams around the league -- Joe Flacco alternating between awesome and terrible this season is pretty terrifying if you're a Baltimore fan -- but Ray Rice is so good right now that he can carry the Ravens when Flacco's struggling.

And if Rice isn't up for the task, the defense isn't afraid to take over either. Which separates the Ravens from most everyone else in the league.

6. Madden Up to His Old Curses Again
What the hell is going on in Cleveland? Because, one, the Browns aren't winning, so that's a problem. And two, Peyton Hillis has some serious drama surrounding him these days.

We've detailed the drama before (numerous times, actually), but Sunday took things to a whole new level. For starters, Hillis rushed just six times for 14 yards and then left with a hamstring injury, pulling up lame after taking a second-quarter screen pass from Colt McCoy only to have it negated by an illegal shift penalty.

After halftime, Hillis returned and appeared to be out for the game. This is fine, if it's because of injury. Except Hillis returned to the game ... and didn't get any carries. He blocked for McCoy and was on the field, but didn't rush the ball at all.

The Browns weren't exactly ground heavy during the game -- Montario Hardesty only had 11 carries for a meager 35 yards -- and McCoy ended up throwing 45 times (his lowest passing-attempt total on the year is now 32, which is also a bit disconcerting), but to see Hillis hurt but maybe not hurt enough to sit out the rest of the game especially after a controversial injury earlier in the year, well, let's just say that something ain't stirring the Kool-Aid in Cleveland.

7. Ponder This
Sunday night, Christian Ponder got his first real action for the Vikings in their 39-10 blowout loss Sunday night. I mentioned this when writing about the substitution, but you can't pin everything that's going wrong on Donovan McNabb.

He's not the guy refusing to block defenders, and he's not the guy allowing other teams to score 20-plus points in the second halves of games. But it's understandable that some of the players on the team might be a little interested in seeing what Ponder, who at least looked more, um, energetic than McNabb, can do.

"I'm not a coach, but this team definitely could use a spark wherever that may come from," wide receiver Percy Harvin said.

Again, McNabb hasn't been that bad. But the Vikes are 1-5, going nowhere in (arguably) the toughest division in football and need to find out if Ponder's their guy for the long term.

Because at this rate, they'll have another pretty critical decision about some talented young quarterbacks at the top of the 2012 draft as well.

For the Bears part, lets give credit to Mike Martz and Lovie Smith for learning that if you actually give Jay Cutler help to block pass rushers, you can produce offensively.

Except they learned this last year, too. Remember how the Bears stunk and Cutler looked like a candidate for serious brain damage through the first few weeks in 2010? And then the Bears started running the ball more and protecting Cutler? Yeah, maybe next year they'll remember before they're a quarter of the season in.



8. Down South in ... Tampa Bay?
The Saints were supposed to blow out the LeGarrette Blount-less Buccaneers this weekend and the Panthers were supposed to upset the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. And then I was going to spend a large chunk of this column talking about the Panthers secretly being the second-best team in the NFC South.

Well, apparently no one else in the entire world got the same memo I did (thanks a lot for not forwarding the revised copy, you big jerks), because the Panthers got handily dismantled 31-17 in Atlanta and the Bucs straight up took care of business in route to grabbing the division lead with a 26-20 win over New Orleans.

If you missed it, lemme fill you on why the Panthers lost: their defense is terrible. It's not bad coaching and it's not to mean to the guys in the lineup, but the best way for Tiki Barber to revive his career would be to just try and get a tryout with whoever's playing the Panthers in the coming week, because there's a decent chance he could scamper for a buck fifty against that fishnet of a rushing defense.

They'll get better in the future and there's no reason to question Ron Rivera's capability as a defensive coach, but if you can run the ball, you can kill the Panthers. After Cam Newton threw a terrible pick to defensive lineman Corey Peters, the Falcons got the ball up a touchdown with six minutes left to play. Eight plays later -- seven of them running -- they were up 14 points.

Everyone knew they were going to run and there still wasn't any way for Carolina to stop it. New Orleans is a different deal, though, because Blount's absence meant the Bucs would struggle (in their wins thus far, he'd done well, and in their losses he hadn't; it's science!). Instead, Earnest Graham piled up 109 rushing yards on 17 carries, Josh Freeman got loose with Arrelious Benn and the Saints found themselves in a 20-10 halftime hole that they couldn't ever climb out of.

In short, a motivated Tampa Bay team showed up, created turnovers and completely flipped our perspective on the NFC South.

9. Bungle in the Jungle
The Ravens, as noted above, are the class of the AFC North. And the Steelers are coming off a second-straight win in which their defense prevailed and Rashard Mendenhall and the running game looked good.

But it would be silly to discount what the Bengals have done this year, moving to 4-2 after a 27-17 win over Indy, especially considering most of the offensive production is coming from a pair of rookies in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.

Dalton's not lighting up the statistical sheet, per se, as he's averaging just 218.5 passing yards per game, and he's only found the end zone seven times. But four of those have been to fellow rook Green, and -- I'm as surprised to be writing this as you are reading it -- Marvin Lewis was write about his offense getting an upgrade during the offseason.

And the Bengals are benefiting from a soft schedule; they could realistically be undefeated, considering that their two losses were by a combined seven points. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have the second-best defense in the league, allowing just 278.5 yards per game. That defense has

The schedule gets harder down the road -- multiple matchups with both Baltimore and Pittsburgh loom -- but there are four more games left where the Bengals will either be favored or basically a pick 'em. The idea that this team could win eight games as recently as September was, well, not there. The four they have now is probably what they'd have topped out in most preseason projections.

And now they're a reasonable contender for a Wild-Card berth if a few things go their way in the rest of their division matchups.

10. Things to Do In Denver on Your Bye
It's fascinating to me that a team like the Broncos could, somehow, manage to create a ton of noise about their team. On their bye week. Without really talking about Tim Tebow.

I mean, there was some Tebow talk this week, of course, but it wasn't out of control. Charley Casserly reported that the Broncos won't change their offense much for Tebow, and that's probably a good thing and/or not that surprising, since this is a John Fox offense.

Most of the noise centered around Denver's decision to start trying to ship every single talented veteran on the roster out of town. Brandon Lloyd wants gone, and it seems like he could be moved before Monday's practice (the team apparently doesn't think he can be on the same field as the coaching staff). Eddie Royal's on the block too and he's generating some interest; this makes sense since both player are rentals for the rest of the year.

Kyle Orton's situation is a little more interesting. He'll also be a free agent after this year, and one would think that he'd LOVE to get out of town since a) the coaches yanked him in Week 5 for Tebow despite acting like Tebow's worse than Brady Quinn, b) he'll be a free agent in the offseason and c) he's more reviled by the fans around Mile High than Carmelo Anthony during his "trade me to New York or else" run last year.

But the Broncos issued a statement on Sunday night denying rumors that Orton wanted a trade, so apparently he's content hanging around and playing -- ahem -- nursemaid to Tebow. Or he thinks the experiment will fail miserably and he'll be starting in a couple weeks anyway.

Regardless, Denver, you're 1-4. Spend the bye week getting better, not drawing attention to yourselves when you're not playing please.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Shane Lechler's first career pass attempt also produced his first career touchdown pass, when the Raiders faked a field goal in the third quarter against the Browns. Oddly enough, Lechler was the emergency quarterback, set to replace Kyle Boller who replaced the injured Jason Campbell.
... No one will talk about it because they won and because of Handshake Gate, but Jim Harbaugh threw a challenge flag on a scoring play. Huge gaffe, since those are all automatically reviewed. It cost him an unsportsmanlike conduct delay of game penalty.
... Drew Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to post four-straight games of 350 or more yards passing.
... Packers are now just the seventh defending Super Bowl champ to start the next season 6-0.

Worth 1,000 Words


 
Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Insane of the Week
"Little red light on the highway...big green light on the speedway...hey,hey,hey"

This one might seem meaningless ... unless you happen to be a Grateful Dead fan and recognize the lyrics to "West L.A. Fadeaway." In which case you, like me, are clearly one of the first people to realize that Irsay's moving the Colts to Los Angeles. Who didn't see that coming?

GIF O' THE WEEK

Big ups to @Jose3030 for pulling this clip of LeSean McCoy pulling an aggressive version of the Pillsbury doughboy poke on Eagles coach Andy Reid. There's so much that's perfect about it, from Reid's stomach jiggling to Reid's head snapping back to Reid being totally unprepared for the punch, to McCoy later tweeting an apology for doing it.



Hot Seat Tracker
  • Jack Del Rio -- He wasn't supposed to beat the Steelers, in Pittsburgh. And he didn't. But the Jaguars showed some life. Still hard to imagine he survives this season though.
  • Jim Caldwell -- In the words of the Talking Heads, stiiiiiiiiiiiiillllll waiiiiiiting ...
  • Tony Sparano -- He only lasts through 2012 if Steve Ross is waiting out Jon Gruden.
  • Steve Spagnuolo -- Another guy who wasn't supposed to win Sunday, and he's been ravaged by injuries. But man, how did we all think they'd win the division?
  • Jason Garrett -- Perhaps a bit early, but Jerry Jones is questioning his playcalling. That's never good.
  • Leslie Frazier -- He needs to go to Ponder now to keep his seat cool.
  • Ken Wisenhunt -- He's got the Cards practicing on their off day during their bye week. Might be feeling some pressure.
Chasing Andrew Luck
You'll notice a shifting of the odds this week -- we're no longer accepting wagers that return any money to you. Mainly because there are just too many crappy teams in the NFL right now.

Colts (-500): The Jaguars and Panthers sandwich their Week 11 bye, and besides a Week 17 date at Jacksonville, well, those are the only games that even remotely look winnable right now.
Dolphins (-350): Their schedule is also quite bleak. At least their fans are happy?
Rams (-250): Al Harris is one of their starting cornerbacks. This is not 2001.
Broncos (-225): They're doing everything in their power to deal away anyone with any talent. And this is different than the Josh McDaniels era how?
Vikings (-125): Minny still has Adrian Peterson? Guh that Bears game was depressing.

MVP Watch
Pretty clearly, there's only one choice: Aaron Rodgers. Guy's doing everything he did down the stretch in 2010 but now it's being spread out over the course of a regular season. If he keeps this up, the Packers will have as many losses as there are people who don't pencil his name in for the top MVP vote.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 10:12 am
 

Browns talking extension with Peyton Hillis?

Posted by Will Brinson

If one thing's become abundantly clear since the Browns fleeced the Broncos for Peyton Hillis (they gave Brady Quinn in return and got some draft picks as well!), it's that Hillis goes with Cleveland like potatoes and perogies.

So it kind of makes sense -- knowing that general manager Tom Heckert wants to lock in "players we like and want to be here" and knowning that they've shored up the left side of the offensive line for the future -- to hear that the Browns and Hillis are talking about a contract extension.

That's according to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, who reports that the "wheels have begun turning" in order to get Hillis more money than the four-year minimum of $455,000 he'll make in 2011.

Hillis has seen his Q-rating skyrocket over the last year, thanks to his explosive 2010 season when he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. That performance led to widespread love from fantasy football players and, eventually, a spot on the Madden 2012 cover.

The latter came about because of a grassroots campaign that was, as Hillis told me during the unveiling, absolutely overwhelming in terms of public support.

And now his success appears to be paying dividends, though the Browns and Hillis certainly aren't making a big, public fuss about getting the running back more money.

Which seems appropriate on all fronts.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: August 31, 2011 10:28 am
 

Podcast: Madden ratings, Arian Foster & Best WRs

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Tuesday is "Madden Day" around the world and to celebrate, Donny Moore, the ratings guru for EA Sports joins the podcast to talk about how EA will handle Peyton Manning's neck injury and Chris Johnson's holdout, whether Terrelle Pryor is worthy of a decent ranking, why Tim Tebow stinks so badly and how awesome Cam Newton will be in the new game. He also fills us in on who the sneakiest best teams to play with are.

Plus, the guys talk about Arian Foster's recent decision to tweet about fantasy football players harassing him over his injury, who has the best wide receiver corps in the NFL, Pryor playing quarterback for the Raiders in the final preseason game, and what the worst positions on each contender are.

Conversatin' starts … now (and while we have you, remember to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.


Posted on: May 10, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Hillis doesn't believe in curses

Hillis Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Ask Browns RB and Madden 12 coverboy Peyton Hillis about the supposed Madden Curse, and he’ll tell you exactly why he doesn’t believe in it.

“I don’t believe in curses,” Hillis said via the NY Times. “I could get hurt next year, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with the curse. I’m a Christian man and I don’t believe anything could be put in front of me that God can’t take away. I would love to prove everyone wrong and have an exceptional year and not get hurt.”

Honestly,* I don’t think a higher power can stop the momentum the Madden Curse has built during the past decade, beginning with Barry Sanders in 2000 (he retired before the season began), Daunte Culpepper in 2002 (he threw 23 interceptions that year), Michael Vick in 2004 (a broken fibula that year and, um, other off-field issues), Donovan McNabb in 2006 (he tore his ACL) and Brett Favre in 2009 (ask Jenn Sterger about this).

Hopefully, Hillis is an exception to the rule.

*And when I write “honestly,” I’m being completely sarcastic.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: May 7, 2011 10:31 pm
 

Madden 12 getting serious graphical upgrades

Posted by Will Brinson



As some of you may know, I'm a bit of a Madden junkie. I reviewed Madden 11 before it dropped last year, and look forward to doing so with Madden 12 this year again, especially after reading this post from Mike Young, Art Director of Madden 12 over at EA Sports' website about the "major graphical upgrades" they're putting in place for the newest rendition. 

For starters, pregame introductions are getting what appears to be a serious overhaul -- pregame is a facet that's been improved in recent years (Can you even remember what the "pregame" looked like five or six years ago? Guh.), it's still an area where the team at EA can find some improvement. They look to have done that this year, not only with the giant flags in the middle of the field (great graphical detail, woo America!, etc.) but with the team introductions as well.

As you can see below, the Bears look pretty sweet coming out of the tunnel.



Now, we just need them to figure out a way to have Ray Lewis do his dance in 3-D so we can get people really pumped up and scare the crap out of kids.

Speaking of scaring kids, the images of Michael Vick below (I kid, I kid) are pretty indicative of how EA's providing an upgrade for player detail and lighting within the game. They've moved to what's called "Linear Lighting," something that was used in NCAA 11 in order to achieve more realistic colors. In Madden 11, you're pretty clearly playing on a virtual world, even as real as the stadium, field, etc., look.



The improvement in player detail should be obvious, albeit subtle -- check the shadows, padding and creases on Vick's jersey, as well as the flak jacket that he's rocking in the right photos. In addition, Young points out that they've got a brand new "head and neck scaling system" in place that will make dudes like Brandon Jacobs and Darren Sproles -- people with weird body types -- not look as cartoonish as they might have in 11. 

One of the most dope things I've seen from this set of upgrades, though, is the 3-D grass that Madden 12 will have, in addition to the "flying turf" you'll see below.



Unlike previous years, you can actually, you know, see the grass a) standing up on the field when it the camera gets close and b) see turf flying. The latter is particularly sensical, because as we've seen from the aforementioned Soldier Field (except in real life), conditions aren't always perfect for football. 

So, yeah, very cool stuff all around. And, sure it may seem uber-nerdy -- and it is! -- but for those of us that play the game, it's a welcome bonus. Besides, it might be the only football we get in 2011!

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: April 28, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 6:23 pm
 

Hillis on Madden 12 cover: 'This is not about me'

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- For years, the player chosen to be on the cover of the Madden video game was cP. Hilliselebrated for their individual accolades. And Peyton Hillis, the man chosen for the Madden 12 cover which was shot (see: right) during an EA Sports event in Time Square, succeeded in 2010, but he's giving it all to the fans when it comes to his selection this year.

"It's just a blessing," Hillis said. "I feel like people see what I do to my body and what I do on the field and they appreciate that and they respect that. And all I can do is hope I can give back to them, whether it's Cleveland or Arkansas or my fans back in Denver, how many ever that is.

"And it's just a blessing that I can actually be here and do this right now for them."

Hillis also understands that the city of Cleveland hasn't exactly had the best run when it comes to sports-related success recently, and that a city who got firmly behind it's newest star is reveling in the success.

"Well, it's huge," Hillis said. "They really haven't had a winner in a while, ever since they left to go to Baltimore. In my mind, this is not about myself, this is not about me, this is about what can I give back to the team and community and hopefully that's a winner."

Hillis did admit that he's not an insanely avid Madden player (he buys the game every year, but "just because I'm in the NFL and I love beating my brother at it," which, coincidentally is the same reason I buy it every year).

But, he also said he was cool with the way that Madden portrayed him ... except he thinks they made him too skinny.
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"The thing about it is the [low speed rating] doesn't really hurt me," Hillis said. "I ran a 4.5 in college -- that's adequate speed at best.

But I look at the game, I look skinny and I know I'm definitely not skinny. So I'd like to that to be changed, but other than that, I think it's pretty good."

Not the toughest life for Hillis, huh? But the dude deserves it -- he's got a superb attitude, he cares about the fans and remains humble despite the fact that the worst thing in his life right now is that the virtual reincarnation of himself is too skinny.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:51 am
 

Peyton Hillis shocks world for Madden 12 cover

P. Hillis suprisingly has won the Madden 12 cover (Getty). Posted by Will Brinson

Peyton Hillis overcame lots of odds to become a star running back in the NFL. He might have overcome MORE odds to become the cover athlete of Madden 12, in a shocking result that was revealed on live television.

Michael Vick stormed his way to the finals, while Hillis and the fans of Cleveland Browns grass-rooted their way to the finals of the first-ever competition that featured fan voting.

Hillis took the league by storm in 2010, rushing for 1,177 yards and getting in the end zone a total of 13 times.

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Of course, this may not do wonders for Hillis' value in fantasy football -- or for the Browns! -- if you believe in the Madden curse. Regardless, though, it's a fantastic story for a guy who flew under the radar out of Arkansas (behind Felix Jones and Darren McFadden) and was traded out of Denver for Brady Quinn.

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