Tag:Rolando McClain
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:58 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 15: Max meets Aldon

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

Max Starks - Steelers

To be fair to Max, the Steelers cut him during the summer, something about him being out of shape. And then, a month into the season, after it was abundantly clear that Jonathan Scott wasn't a capable NFL starting left tackle, Pittsburgh re-signed Starks, promptly inserted him into the lineup, and the offensive line immediately improved.

And given how well the Steelers had been playing in the two and a half months since Starks returned to the team, it's hard to quibble with one performance. But hey, that's what we do here.

Rookie Aldon Smith, a situational pass rusher at this stage of his career, treated Starks like a 350-pound rag doll Monday night. Any shortcomings along the offensive line are usually mitigated by Ben Roethlisberger's mobility in the pocket, but the Steelers quarterback was playing on bum ankle that so hobble him that we're pretty sure Tommy Maddox could've beat him in a foot race.


Aldon Smith puts on a clinic as he takes down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger on 2.5 sacks Monday night, setting the 49ers' rookie record at 13 with two games left in the season.

Starks held his own in the first half, primarily because the close score meant that Pittsburgh's rushing attack was still part of the game plan. But after the 49ers went up 13-3 in the second half it was, as they say, on like Donkey Kong. To paraphrase Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football, if the game had gone on much longer, Smith would've earned a trip to Canton on that singular performance. (The only thing missing: the wind spring sack dance.)

A healthy Big Ben and a soft schedule over the final two weeks (Rams, at Browns) should mean more consistent play throughout the offense. Also not hurting: getting Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey back. He missed the 49ers game with a high-ankle sprain of his own.

Cary Williams, Jimmy Smith - Ravens

Heading into the season, the Ravens secondary -- particularly cornerback -- was thought to be a liability. Former practice-squad player Cary Williams has started 14 games this season and for the most part he's been solid. Against the Chargers, he spent the evening chasing after whichever target Philip Rivers just found wide open streaking across the field.

And you could argue Jimmy Smith's night was worse. Chargers head coach Norv Turner identified the rookie first-round pick as a target and Norv was true to his word. Rivers ended the night completing 74 percent of his throws for 270 yards and a touchdown. More than that: he wasn't touched all game. That's right, the team with more offensive line issues than the Steelers, and who were working on their third left tackle of the season, kept Rivers clean against one of the NFL's most ferocious pass rushes.

Put differently: Baltimore's shortcomings don't all fall to Williams and Smith. The front seven didn't do their job and if we really want to point fingers, Joe Flacco played like, well, crap. The lesson: don't take Tim Tebow's name in vain. Nothing good will come of it.

Stanford Routt, Rolando McClain, Raiders

Obviously, this honor should go to head coach Hue Jackson for his inexplicable decision to not triple and quadruple-team Calvin Johnson during the last drive of Sunday's game, one that proved to be the difference. (But this is 'Coach Killers.' Presumably, Jackson's into self-preservation even if his coaching decisions scream otherwise.) Instead, Jackson blamed execution not play-calling for Johnson getting open, even though one play call had linebacker Rolando McClain responsible for covering Johnson 40 yards down the field.

“Yeah, that’s called the Tampa-2," Jackson said. "That’s what the middle linebacker does — he runs right down the middle of the field. They made the play and we didn’t.”

We don't know much about football strategizing, but that seems like a recipe for losing.

Oakland likes to play a lot of man-to-man and cornerback Stanford Routt was burdened with covering Johnson for most of the game. He had a costly pass interference penalty that gave Detroit the ball at the Raiders six-yard line with 48 seconds to go. Wondering how that ended? Yep, a Matthew Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The goal post was the closet object in coverage on the play.


See how Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson led the Lions on a seven-play, 98-yard drive to defeat the Raiders in Oakland.

“It isn’t a scheme issue. The ball’s laying up in the air. You gotta go make that play. Their guy made it and we didn’t. So they won the game." Jackson said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore.

Well, it is a scheme issue when the scheme doesn't have anyone in Johnson's vicinity.

Santonio Holmes - Jets

You have to wonder what goes through a player's mind when he makes the conscious decision to do something stupid. The Bills' Stevie Johnson had to know that as soon as he went to the ground during his "I shot myself in the leg" homage to Plaxico Burress touchdown dance in Week 12 that he was going to get a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty.

On Sunday, with the Jets trailing 28-9, Holmes finally held onto the ball long enough to get into the end zone (he already had a fumble and caused an interception by misplaying a Mark Sanchez pass).

Hand the ball to the official, head to the sidelines and try to figure out how get back in this game.

That should've been the thought that ran through Holmes' mind. Nope. Instead, he put the ball on the ground, stepped on it, and pretended to fly. Like an eagle. Um, yeah, using the ball as a prop? That's a 15-yard penalty.


Good news: Holmes scores. Bad news: he gets a stupid celebration penalty.

In the scheme of things it didn't matter; the Eagles blew the doors off the Jets and 15 yards here or there wasn't going to be the difference. But the penalty is symptomatic of something larger: Rex Ryan's inability to control his locker room. Holmes is a six-year veteran and a team captain. He's also one of New York's best players. But there's a chance he will be one of New York's best players sitting on the couch in January.

Ryan, for his part, nailed the role of the enabling parent.

“He apologized for that to me but I’ll say this about Santonio and every other player on this team: They have my 100 percent support and we’re in this thing together. … Are we perfect? No. None of us are perfect, but I'm just saying that you wish that thing never happened," Ryan said. "I don't think it will happen again, but again, I have his back, he has mine and this whole team is that way. We just have to come out and fight for each other, we know it was a mistake and we'll learn from it."

In two weeks, the Jets might have plenty of time to replay all the mistakes from the past season.

Marc Mariani - Titans

We were all set to blame Chris Johnson for the Titans' loss to the Colts, but pointing the finger at one of the league's worst running backs has become unoriginal 15 weeks into the season. And while Mariani had very little to do with Tennessee getting steamrolled by an 0-13 team, this play perfectly embodies the Titans' Sunday afternoon experience at Lucas Oil Stadium.

With the Colts leading 17-6, Mariani, Tennessee's return man, misplayed a kickoff in the end zone. No big deal -- it happens all the time … except that Mariani accidentally drop-kicked the ball out of bounds at about the six-inch line.

“I botched my responsibility,” Mariani said. “Their kicker (Pat McAfee) line-drived that one and I was trying to make a play, but it was all over the place and took an unbelievable bounce.”

The miscue proved to be harmless; the Titans gained a few first downs before eventually punting.

As for the real culprits Sunday, take your pick: Johnson (15 rushes, 55 yards); Matt Hasselbeck (a pick-six -- including the first interception by a Colts cornerback all season -- and another pick in the Colts end zone); Jared Cook (huge fumble in Indy territory); and the entire Titans defense for getting Donald Brown'd in the fourth quarter with Indy leading just 20-13. And perhaps more embarrassingly, giving Dan Orlovsky his first career victory. (Orolovsky had been 0-7 with the 2008 Lions and 0-2 with the Colts in 2011.)


Tennessee goes tackling-optional on Brown's 80-yard TD run.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 9:08 am
 

Hue Jackson thought McClain could cover Johnson

In a shocking development, linebackers can't cover Johnson. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Raiders had no business losing to the Lions Sunday. And yet they did, in a manner befitting a team that probably doesn't deserve to make the playoffs. During the final, fateful drive, one in which Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford played pitch and catch with Calvin Johnson, Oakland's defense consisted of some variation of "Let's single-cover Megatron and hope for the best!"

We thought Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan made it clear earlier this season that such strategies will fail spectacularly.

Jackson was asked about the defense's coverage philosophy in Sunday's loss to the Lions and he seemed to think it had more to do with execution than play-call. Even though the execution included linebacker Rolando McClain trying to cover one of the league's premier wide receivers.

“It isn’t a scheme issue. The ball’s laying up in the air. You gotta go make that play. Their guy made it and we didn’t. So they won the game." Jackson said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore.

As mentioned, "their guy" was Calvin Johnson. And the Raiders guy was a linebacker. There isn't a linebacker on the planet who can stay with Johnson, especially on "balls laying up in the air."

Here's the play in question.

PFT.com's Gregg Rosenthal asks a question that must've crossed McClain's mind as he was helplessly getting outrun by Johnson: the linebacker is supposed to stay with Megatron 40 yards down the field?

“Yeah, that’s called the Tampa-2," Jackson said. "That’s what the middle linebacker does — he runs right down the middle of the field. They made the play and we didn’t.”

Most teams game-plan to get these sorts of matchups. Apparently, the Raiders were happy to oblige.

We mentioned it on the Week 15 recap podcast, but is there any chance that Jackson's job could be in danger? We suspect no since he'll presumably have a say in hiring the general manager, but he's now on the hook for Carson Palmer (who hasn't worked out) and some questionable in-game decisions that will keep the Raiders out of the postseason.


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Posted on: December 4, 2011 3:30 pm
 

Raiders investigating McClain before disciplining

Posted by Will Brinson



The Raiders are taking plenty of heat for having Rolando McClain active for Sunday's game, and understandably so -- less than 72 hours ago, the linebacker was arrested on four misdemeanors. 

But according to CBS Sports' Charley Casserly on The NFL Today McClain will be disciplined by Oakland, but not until they find out the full details of what happened. Additionally, Casserly reports McClain didn't fire the gun during the incident in question.

"Multiple sources told me McClain denies shooting the gun," Casserly said. "From the Raiders point of view, they are absolutely going to discipline him, but they want to wait until they find out all of the facts in the case before they decide what the appropriate discipline will be."

"From the league's point of view, they are investigating it and no plans for discipline at this time."


This is a pretty smart move by both the league and the Raiders -- there's simply no reason to punish McClain for something he didn't do. Determining his punishment is simply a matter of determining his culpability. 

There's still a case to be made (as CBS Sports Bill Cowher did on the show) that McClain shouldn't be playing today, though.

It remains to be seen if the Raiders will hold him out of the starting lineup.

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Rolando McClain to play after mid-week arrest?

McClain, arrested Wednesday, could play in Miami Sunday. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m. ET: According to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore, McClain is dressed and could start. "LB Rolando McClain was on the field with the first-team defense in pregame drills. McClain was arrested Thursday on four misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident with a gun. There was some question whether he’d be active."

Despite an ankle injury, Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain has been busy this week and for all the wrong reasons. On Wednesday, McClain, in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama, was arrested and charged with assault and discharging a gun.

The alleged victim told police that McClain stood over him, put a gun to his head, and as the victim begged for his life, McClain allegedly fired a shot next to the victim’s ear.

McClain's prior injury plus the mid-week off-field incident may not be enough to keep him out of the lineup Sunday when the Raiders face the the Dolphins in Miami. A league source tells ProFootballTalk.com that McClain could play.

"Fueling that belief is the reality that the Raiders’ preliminary investigation has uncovered information that contradicts the allegations against McClain," PFT.com's Mike Florio wrote Sunday morning. "Although Jackson has expressed frustration with McClain and indicated that McClain was 'remorseful' when the player and the coach met on Saturday, those feelings relate to the fact that McClain allowed himself to be in a situation that gave rise to the allegations. With the team determining that, for now, the allegations are not substantiated, the team may not be inclined to take action against McClain."

The Raiders currently hold a tenuous one-game lead over the Broncos in the AFC West, and that almost certainly has some bearing on Jackson's decision. If Oakland were, say, 2-9, there would be less incentive to get McClain on the field.

But it's not like the Raiders are the only team to face such decisions; it happens almost every week. Ultimately, the league will get involved and they have a history of punishing players even when the U.S. legal system does not.

Because that's how Roger Goodell rolls.

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 5:52 pm
 

Victim: McClain put gun to my head, fired shot

McClainPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain reportedly was at home in Decatur, Ala., because he was set to attend his grandfather’s funeral. Apparently, he was involved in some scary extracurricular activities.

He was arrested after an incident where gunshots were fired Wednesday night, and though a victim at the scene refused medical help, he then drove himself to the hospital to be treated. McClain has been charged with assault and discharging a gun.

But the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times bring us news that is rather shocking: the alleged victim told police that McClain stood over him and put a gun to the victim’s head. As the victim begged McClain for his life, McClain allegedly fired a shot next to the victim’s ear.

Currently, McClain was held on a $2,000 bond in Decatur but has since been released. He’s been charged with four misdemeanors (discharging firearm, third degree assault, menacing and reckless endangerment.), and according to the Times, yes, even firing a gun next to someone’s ear is considered a misdemeanor.

Before McClain was arrested, coach Hue Jackson said the organization was comfortable with the information the team received about the incident and that he expected McClain to play this Sunday, but since then, there's been no word from the team.

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Posted on: December 1, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Shots fired, Raiders LB Rolando McClain arrested

If McClain must return home to Decatur, AL, we'd suggest he not leave the house. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATE: Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain has been arrested in connection with an altercation Wednesdy night in Decatur, Alabama, WAFF 48 reports. Lt. John Crouch of the Decatur Police Department told CSNBayArea.com that, “I can tell you that Rolando McClain is under arrest. He’s been charged with third degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in city limits. He is still in custody.”

Some free advice for Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain: stay out of Alabama. The team's former first-round pick out of the University of Alabama was at the scene of a reported shooting Wednesday night in his hometown of Decatur.

According to the Huntsville Times, police received a report of gunshots at 10:20 p.m. and arrived to find one person injured. The victim refused treatment, but drove to Decatur General Hospital, where he was treated and released. Lt. John Crouch said that McClain was present when the fight took place.

It's the second time this year McClain has been present when gunshots were fired. Both incidents took place in Decatur.

In January, someone fired shots at McClain's Chevy Tahoe. The Raiders linebacker told police that he thought it came from a group standing on a street corner as he drove past. McClain wasn't hurt (which is more than we can say for Josh Freeman who injured his thumb over Halloween at the firing range) but officers found a slug near the vehicle's rear hatch.

The Raiders told CSNBayArea.com that "We are aware of the incident. At this time, we have no further comment."

McClain has started 25 of a possible 27 games since joining the NFL in 2010, including 10 starts in 2011. He has 57 tackles and two sacks this season.


The Oakland Raiders have won their last three straight and look to continue this week as they take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game. Watch the game at 1 PM ET on CBS.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Film Room: Raiders vs. Chiefs preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Imagine you get sick. You call your girlfriend to tell her that you’re sorry but you’re not going to be able to go with her to the ski resort this weekend. She says that’s no problem, she’ll just go with one of her friends. But when she scrolls through her contacts, she realizes she doesn’t have any friends nearby who are good skiers.

So, she calls to tell you to get well soon and also that she’s going to the ski resort with that guy her cousin knows from the gym. Oh, and the guy and her are moving in together after the trip but can the two of you still be friends? You can’t help but realize that if you’d never gotten sick, your girlfriend would not have started thinking about someone else.

If you can imagine this, then you can imagine how Jason Campbell is probably feeling right now. Let’s examine Jason Campbell’s Carson Palmer’s 4-2 Raiders as they head into their matchup against a Chiefs club that has won two straight coming off its bye but has been rocked by injuries and turmoil.


[Raiders vs. Chiefs PreGame]

1. The Decision
Forty-three million over four years, along with a first-and either first-or-second-round pick in exchange for a quarterback who became inconsistent after a slew of injuries and failed to manage the oversized personalities infiltrating his locker room and huddle in Cincinnati? That’s a steep price – probably too steep, in fact.

But you can understand the Raiders’ logic in going for a potential franchise quarterback. Like the skiing girlfriend, they’re attracted to strong-armed prototypes and are looking for a ring.

The Raiders knew they couldn’t get that ring with Campbell. Caretaking quarterbacks don’t cut it in today’s NFL. Campbell has always been too methodical in his reads and mechanics. He locks onto receivers, which limits what Hue Jackson can do with his gameplans. Campbell is athletic but seems to forget it whenever defenders flash in his face. In short, he has always been exactly what he’ll be when his collarbone heels: a quality backup.
That said, when a team goes all-in like the Raiders have here, they’d better be set in virtually all areas around the quarterback.

So how set are the rest of the Raiders?

2. Pass offense
It’s difficult to gauge Oakland’s passing attack because it has been tailored to hide Campbell’s limitations. But a safe assumption is that with Palmer aboard (whenever he does play), it will become downfield oriented. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore might be the fastest receiving trio in the league. Also, tight end Kevin Boss is not fast, but he’s effective stretching the seams.

Still, speed isn’t everything. The Raiders wideouts all remain raw. Heyward-Bey’s elevated reception total has been partly a function of facing favorable off-coverage. His hands are improved but still not naturally soft. As for Ford, durability and route running can be hit or miss. And Moore? He has done next to nothing since his breakout game at Buffalo.

Still, we’ve seen that (when healthy) these guys can give the Raiders firepower. And because Darren McFadden and fullback Marcel Reese are such dynamic weapons out of the backfield, Hue Jackson can comfortably sacrifice an extra receiver in the formation in order to employ a sixth offensive lineman.

Doing this makes for a better play-action game (a run-oriented team throwing out of a run formation) and also ameliorates right tackle Khalif Barnes’ weakness in pass protection.

3. Run offense
McFadden has blossomed into a legitimate top-five running back. The difference between now and two years ago is he’s staying healthy and has figured out how to get to the perimeter early in the run. That’s important because being such a stiff-hipped, straight-line runner, McFadden doesn’t have the type of agility and lateral burst needed to elude defenders at the line of scrimmage or second level. But he has uncanny speed and acceleration, which, when turned on full blast, make him hard to tackle cleanly.

The Raiders blockers have helped ignite Oakland’s explosive outside run game. Rookie guard Stefan Wisniewski has good movement skills (particularly in short areas) and center Samson Satele has been getting out in front with much greater consistency.

The Raiders also spend a lot of time in six-offensive linemen sets, with the nimble Khalif Barnes serving essentially as a 325-pound blocking tight end. Factor in Michael Bush’s between-the-tackles power and you have the making of a potent, sustainable rushing attack.

4. Defense
When the Raiders don’t surrender big plays they’re tough to trade blows with for four quarters. The defensive line is enormous and athletic, particularly inside where Richard Seymour (future Hall of Famer?) and Tommy Kelly present thundering power augmented by uncommon initial quickness.
The key to creating big plays against Oakland is isolating their linebackers.

Middle linebacker Rolando McClain plays slow (both mentally and physically) and can be exploited. Aaron Curry has only been in town one week, but if his track record from Seattle means anything, he too can be exploited, mainly in space outside the numbers or when forced to cover receivers horizontally. It’s surprising that Curry was handed Quinton Groves' job right away (Groves had been up and down but was getting more comfortable).

The secondary does indeed miss Nnamdi Asomugha, but any secondary would miss Nnamdi Asomugha. Stanford Routt has been adequate on the left side, and the versatile Michael Huff is having the best season of his career. Anytime a team plays predominant man coverage (like the Raiders do), the defensive backs are vulnerable. A pass-rush can help relieve this. The Raiders have great interior rushers but could stand to use a little more speed on the edges.

5. Kansas City’s chances
The question is whether the Chiefs can find some sort of run game without Jamaal Charles. So far, the answer has been no. Don’t expect that to change Sunday; Oakland’s defensive tackles should feast on Kansas City’s struggling interior line.

In the air, teams have been attacking the Raiders defense with play action and rollouts. Matt Cassel has the mobility and arm to make throws on the move (he did so frequently against the Vikings) but that’s usually by circumstance, not design. This is a shotgun passing offense, with success hinging on whether Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston can separate from Stanford Routt and DeMarcus Van Dyke (or Chris Johnson or Chimdi Chekwa, should either return from their hamstring injuries).

On the other side of the ball, Tamba Hali is one of the most disruptive players in all the land. He plays with perfect leverage and physically strong quickness in all cardinal directions. The Raiders don’t have anyone who can block him. Hali can’t do it alone, though, which is why Justin Houston needs to play with more decisiveness (tough to ask of a rookie sometimes). Kansas City’s secondary misses Eric Berry but has two physical corners (Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers) who can compensate, especially against raw wideouts.

Key matchup to watch: Darren McFadden against Derrick Johnson. Speed on speed.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 7 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Report: Pat Dye was agent to be cuffed (UPDATED)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED (2:40 p.m.):
Liz Mullen from the Sports Business Journal spoke with Dye, and he claimed “I have done nothing wrong or illegal.”

According to Dye, the incident occurred at the players hotel Thursday night, not at the stadium Friday. He said he was invited to the hotel by Under Armour to finalize a seven-figure deal for his client, former Alabama WR Julio Jones, and he was led through security by Under Armour personnel and was issued Under Armour credentials.

Apparently, he spent less than 15 minutes in the hotel and did not have contact with any players, but when he left the hotel, he was arrested.

Mullen tweeted that she’d have more in the SBJ, and I hope so, because I’m not sure I understand Dye’s story at all.

----------

News broke late Saturday night from the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson when he reported that at least one player-agent was handcuffed and led out of Lucas Oil Field Stadium when he (or they) was found to have illegitimate passes to watch the workouts.

Now, Sports By Brooks has reported their names. According to the website, the offender was Pat Dye Jr., who was handcuffed, detained and led away from the stadium, while his partner, Jimmy Sexton, escaped arrest.

The two broke the rules and obtained their passes from Under Armour, and apparently, the person who gave them those passes was sent home immediately.

Sports by Brooks was unable to reach either agent for comment, and the NFL declined comment.

More from the blog posting:

Sexton’s NFL client list includes Tim Tebow, Ravens left tackle Michael Oher, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, Browns running back Peyton Hillis, and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.  Sexton’s coaching clients include Bill Parcells, Tony Sparano, Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin, Steve Spurrier, Houston Nutt and Tommy Tuberville.

Dye, Jr., who is the son of former Auburn football coach Pat Dye, represents Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, Jets linebacker Calvin Pace, Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain, and Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

The Sexton/Dye firm also represents DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones and Sam Acho in this year’s NFL draft class.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com