Tag:Jacksonville Jaguars
Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Report: Bucs GM Dominik wanted to cut Aqib Talib

By Will Brinson

Raheem Morris says he isn't worried about the temperature of his seat. (US Presswire)

It's coaching hot seat season right now, and the Buccaneers Rahee Morris finds himself squarely at the top of the list of coaches rumored to be flying in the danger zone. Though Morris won 10 games in 2010, the Bucs have struggled mightily this season, limping to seven-straight losses, including a 41-14 bloodbath in Jacksonville last week.

Not helping matters is the lack discipline surrounding the team and its young players (Brian Price, as an example, was sent off during a game recently). And not helping matters, according to Jason Cole at Yahoo Sports, is the fact that Morris talked the Bucs into keeping troubled cornerback Aqib Talib during the offseason.

"After getting arrested for the gun incident, Tampa Bay management was ready to cut ties with Talib once and for all, according to a team source," Cole wrote on Tuesday night. "General manager Mark Dominik didn’t care about Talib’s supreme talent, the distractions were no longer worth the drama, the source said."

Week 14 Recap

Cole writes that Morris has become "too close to the players" in his role as a coach, and quotes a current Bucs player who believes keeping a troubled albeit talented player like Talib sends the "wrong message."

Morris, for his part, isn't sweating the hot seat. Or at least isn't sweating the hot seat more than he does every other day he's at work.

"When you're coaching, you are always on the hot seat," Morris said Tuesday, per the St. Petersburg Times. "That's the mentality of what we do. We were on the hot seat when we were 10-6 and we didn't go to the playoffs. We could still get fired. I remember I got fired when I was 9-7 and I became the head coach that same year. So you're always in the hot seat."

Morris added, via our Bucs Rapid Reporter Scott Purks, that he'll only concern himself with criticism from the guys who sign his checks.

"The only criticism I'm worried about is from [Bucs owners] and [general manager Mark Dominik]," Morris said. "[The media's criticism] doesn't matter. We're not going into [Saturday's game against Dallas] to not get fired. We're going in to win."

Unfortunately for Morris, Cole's report about Dominik wanting to cut Talib and being talked out of it by his own coach is exactly the sort of thing to be concerned about.

If Dominik and the Glazer family believe Morris is too close to the players and unable to control the guys on his roster, a seven-game (or more) losing streak is exactly the sort of thing that'll put him on the chopping block come the end of the season.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 14

Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 14 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  Gronk   JPP  Prater Coughlin
Judge Sanchez   JPP  Prater  Kubiak
Prisco  Ryan   JPP Cloherty   Whiz
Brinson   MJD   JPP  Prater Coughlin
Katzowitz   Eli   JPP  Prater  Kubiak
Wilson   MJD  Suggs  Prater Coughlin
Week 14'ss over and we're getting close to the -- gulp -- end of the regular season in the NFL. Before we get too sad, let's hand out some awards.

On offense, there were a number of guys that warranted consideration, but eventually Maurice Jones-Drew's four touchdown game in Jacksonville's blowout win over the Buccaneers was just too much and he's our Eye on Offense Award winner.

The Eye on Defense Award wasn't quite as close as Jason Pierre-Paul's performance on Sunday night was dominant enough to nearly net him a sweep of the votes.

And since Tim Tebow isn't eligible for the Eye on Special Teams Award, we just had to give it to Matt Prater.

Meanwhile, Gary Kubiak's win over the Bengals to get the Texans into the playoffs was just enough to squeak by Tom Coughlin in the Eye on Coaching Award voting.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
Rob Gronkowski Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Gronkowski ran over, through, around, under and did I mention through half of the Washington defense. He humiliated the Redskins and in doing so set an NFL record for most touchdown catches in a season by a tight end. Not bad at all.
Mark SanchezMark Sanchez, QB, Jets
He's cheered. He's booed. He's cheered again. Finally, Jets' fans seem to have warmed up to the guy, and for good reason: Sanchez not only is playing well; he's winning. His two touchdown passes and two TD runs in a victory so lopsided it cost Kansas City's Todd Haley his job.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
Matt Ryan Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
He threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in rallying his team from being down 23-7 at the half against the Panthers. Ryan threw for 232 yards and three scores in the second half.
Maurice Jones-DrewMaurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
Mojo didn't just break the all-time record for touchdowns by a Jaguars player, he shattered it. With gusto -- Jones-Drew got in the end zone four times on Sunday against the Bucs, scoring twice on the ground and catching two teeters as well. He doesn't get nearly enough credit.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Eli ManningEli Manning, QB, Giants
Rob Ryan called Manning elite and unfortunately for Ryan Manning proved why Sunday. New York was down 12 points late but Manning threw for 400 yards and two TDs to lead the Giants to victory. Those who say Eli is more clutch than Peyton might be right and Ryan might agree.
Maurice Jones-Drew Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
MJD hasn't had much to smile about this season, but he went off on Bucs, Florida's worst NFL team. He had four touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 receiving) in Mel Tucker's first win as an NFL head coach.

Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Giants players are comparing him to LT which is a little much. Taylor is the second best defensive player of all time behind Deion Sanders (yeah, I said it). A little much, yes, but JPP is doing some special things. He singlehandedly obliterated the Cowboys with two sacks and a blocked kick.
Jason Pierre-Paul Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
He had two sacks, one forced fumble and blocked the game-tying field goal. Pierre-Paul's block not only saved the game; it might have saved the season for the Giants and a job for head coach Tom Coughlin.
Prisco Brinson
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
He had two sacks and blocked the potential tying field goal in the final seconds in the Giants 37-34 victory over the Cowboys Sunday night. He was all over the field with his relentless style of play. He's a Pro Bowl player this season.
Jason Pierre-PaulJason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
Pierre-Paul gets most of the credit for blocking the would-be game-tying field goal from Dan Bailey, but he owned the entire game against the Cowboys Sunday night, forcing a fumble and picking up two sacks against Dallas. An absolutely beasty performance.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jason Pierre-Paul Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants
A star was born Sunday when Pierre-Paul recorded eight tackles, two sacks and a blocked kick that might have saved the Giants. Without Osi Umenyiora in the game and with Justin Tuck not healthy, he was an absolute lifesaver for the Giants.
Terrell Suggs Terrell Suggs, DE, Ravens
Suggs terrorized poor Dan Orlovsky (who is now 0-9 as an NFL starter) all afternoon, registering three of the Ravens' four sacks and forcing three fumbles. Mr. T-Sizzle now has seven sacks in his last three games. 
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Matt PraterMatt Prater, K, Broncos
A 59-yarder to tie the Chicago Bears. A 51-yarder to win in overtime. He becomes only the second kicker in league history to connect on two 50-plus yard kicks to tie and then win a game. Mike Vanderjagt was the other.
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
First, he hits a 59-yard field goal to tie the game; then he nails a 51-yarder to win it in overtime. It marked the third straight week and fourth time in the last eight games that Prater won a game with a last-second field goal.
Prisco Brinson
Dan BaileyColin Cloherty, TE, Jaguars
He scooped up a fumbled punt by Preston Parker and returned it 9 yards for a touchdown. This tight end was recently signed and had considered getting on with another career before the Jaguars signed him off the street.
Matt PraterMatt Prater, K, Broncos
All the credit goes to you-know-who, but Prater deserves a ton of love for his kicking performance on Sunday. He nailed a 59-yard field goal to push the game to overtime, and hit a 51-yarder in OT to win. That doesn't even take into account his near-perfect onsides kick in regulation.
Katzowitz Wilson
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
Prater was the real hero in the Broncos stunning overtime win against the Bears. He matched a career-high with a 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation to force OT and  blasted a 51-yarder to win it. Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. But save a little credit for Prater, who has four game-winning kicks since Tebow took over.
Matt Prater Matt Prater, K, Broncos
Prater striped a 59-yarder to send the game to overtime and did it again in the extra period from 51-yards to give the Broncos the win. It might've been the best special teams performance of the season.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Tom CoughlinTom Coughlin, HC, Giants
Coughlin beat Jason Garrett like the Cowboys coach stole something from him. And he just happened to take control of the NFC East when it looked like the ship be sinking after four straight losses. Great, gutty win for a Giants team that desperately needed it.
Mike Munchak Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He's overcome losses of key players all season, so clinching the Texans' first-ever playoff spot with a win on the road and with a rookie third-string quarterback should be no big deal. But it is. Kubiak consistently beats the odds, and he just beat Cincinnati with T.J. Yates making the game-winning pass with two seconds left. Impressive.  
Prisco Brinson
Tom CoughlinKen Whisenhunt, HC, Cardinals
His team upset the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, even though starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was knocked out of the game with concussion problems. John Skelton came off the bench to lead the upset.
Mike MunchakGary Kubiak, HC, Texans
Houston clinched the franchise's first-ever playoff berth on Sunday and they did it by beating a second-straight playoff contender (Cincy, a week after Atlanta) without Arian Foster being productive. Kubiak refuses to let this team get derailed, even if it means T.J. Yates winning games.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Gary Kubiak, HC, Texans
He’s done a wonderful job saving his job with Houston’s first-ever playoff-clinching win. Plus, the decision to stick with T.J. Yates instead of trying to acquire Donovan McNabb (or any other QB for that matter) was a good one. The fact the Texans, even with three starting quarterbacks this season, continue to win is one reason Kubiak will stay employed.
Tom Coughlin Tom Coughlin, HC, Giants
I'm still unclear why Coughlin is on the hot seat but the Giants went into the Jerry Dome Sunday night and not only beat the Cowboys in a huge NFC East matchup, they overcame a late-fourth quarter 12-point deficit. Oh, and they now lead the division. Maybe Jason Garrett and/or Rob Ryan should replace Coughlin on said hot seat.

Posted on: December 12, 2011 2:27 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 2:35 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 14

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 14 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.


1. They're Not Saying 'Boooooo' ...

True story: Just over two years ago, T.J. Yates came on the jumbotron at the Dean Dome during a North Carolina game as the lead-in to a UNC football video, said "I'm T.J. Yates and I'm a Tar Heel," and Yates, who was in the crowd, was booed mercilessly by Tar Heel fans in attendance.

One surprisingly strong senior season and a slew of injuries to Houston quarterbacks later, Yates is the starting quarterback for the first Texans team to ever make the playoffs. He's no figurehead, either, as his play in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 20-19 victory in Cincinnati showed.

We think that logic and common football sense says a rookie quarterback can't take a team deep into the playoffs, but does it? This Texans team's success is predicated on running the ball and playing defense.

And that's not too far off what Mark Sanchez and Ben Roethlisberger leaned on as rookies. Both those guys went to the AFC Championship Game, as a rookie quarterback mind you.

Yates is different than those Sanchez or Roethlisberger because he's matured under tough circumstances, his expectations are lower, he didn't leave school early so he's more experienced and he's got good mentors surrounding him on the roster.

If Houston gets into a shootout with an opponent or finds themselves with a huge halftime deficit, they're probably in trouble. But if that happens, it's not on Yates anyway -- the defense and rushing attack probably already let them down.

Just remember that when it comes time to debate the viability of the Texans in the postseason that the rookie quarterback under center is about as viable as the stereotype that the Texans can't stop anyone on defense.

2. Where It's Due in Denver

It's about time, in this LOL-worthy Tim Tebow saga that hit another high with Denver's 13-10 overtime win over Chicago Sunday, to give credit where credit is due. No, not the defense. No, not the running game. No, not the super-human effort from kicker Matt Prater on Sunday. No, not John Fox or John Elway.

Let's give credit to ... Josh McDaniels.

Remember, McDaniels is the guy that drafted Tebow and blossoming receiver Demaryius Thomas. Both might have been reaches when they were taken (25th and 22nd overall, respectively) and both looked like absolutely horrid selections pretty recently. But McDaniels obviously knew something about these guys and his premonitions and talent evaluation is paying off for Denver now.

Look, there are guys that were taken after Tebow and Thomas that are better overall additions to a roster (Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty stand out), and the value McDaniels wasted at those spots is disappointing. Also, given the Rams struggles on offense this year, handing credit his way isn't exactly the chic thing to do.

But as we get further from his nightmare regime in Denver and more ensconced in Tebowmania, it at least warrants a tip of the cap to McD for his decision to select two guys who are starting to fulfill the expectations that come with their draft slot.

3. Cowboy Down

We spent the better part of the podcast (you can listen above, just by clicking play!) trying to figure out who to blame for Dallas' failings in their 37-34 loss to the Giants on Sunday night.

But since Rex Ryan egged on some defensive coverages, Tony Romo egged on a big third-down throw to Miles Austin and Jason Garrett egged on clock management, isn't it possible that it's a systematic issue across the team as a whole?

We assume that because there's a new coach running the show, with different coordinators in place and some new players, that things are different. But things just aren't.

Jerry Jones knows this -- with the Giants at the goal line and the clock ticking down, an NBC camera caught him screaming "Timeout, Jason!"

Give credit where credit is to due to Eli Manning and the Giants for clawing their way back into this game, because it was a pretty magnificent comeback, something Eli's becoming quite proficient at this season.

But these Cowboys just can't close. We've seen it over and over this season and at some point, the bossman's patience for a lack of execution is going to run out.

4. Start 'Em/Sit 'Em?

The Packers have, with their 46-16 obliteration of Oakland in Green Bay, now officially clinched a first-round bye. Thanks to the 49ers losing to the Cardinals on Sunday, Mike McCarthy's team is just one win or one San Francisco loss away from clinching homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

But Sunday's victory came at a price -- star wide receiver Greg Jennings is likely out for the remainder of the regular season. Aaron Rodgers said that "hopefully" the Packers can get Jennings back in time for the team's first playoff game, following their bye, which is approximately five weeks from now.

This begs the question: will McCarthy and Green Bay chase 16-0 with the same fervor as the Patriots?

Losing someone like Jennings is debilitating to their run at repeating as Super Bowl champions, but it's not a dealbreaker because of all the talent they have at the various skill positions. Losing Aaron Rodgers? That's a whole different story.

And what if someone like Charles Woodson or Tramon Williams or Clay Matthews was lost for the rest of the season playing in a meaningless game? Yeah, that would be bad.

There's no right answer that doesn't involve "winning the title" so it's unfair to judge whatever McCarthy and Ted Thompson decide to do. We don't know how things would play out in an alternate universe. But Jennings injury might be a bad sign for the chances at Green Bay running the table.\

5. Familiar Feeling

New England is streaking towards a likely No. 1 seed right now. And they have a  kerfluffle on the sidelines between Tom Brady and his offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien that everyone can talk about. And there's the whole "Can I draft Rob Gronkowski in the second round of my fantasy league next year?" debate that might be worth discussing when going over interesting things about this team. 

But I can't shake the fact that the Redskins piled up well over 500 yards passing between Rex Grossman and Brandon Banks (!) plus 120 rushing yards from Roy Helu and narrowly lost to the Pats 34-27.

Again: the Redskins did this. Back in 2009, New England got throttled by the Ravens in Foxborough, because Baltimore had a stout defense and Ray Rice went HAM on a Pats defense that couldn't shut him down.

This year? The Patriots defense, a season-long problem for the team, reminds a lot of that squad, in that they can't stop anyone who's physical and can play ball control. Or, really, they can't stop anyone -- only four teams have scored less than 20 points against the Pats, and one of those was quarterbacked by Tyler Palko.

There are a lot of good defensive teams headed to the playoffs in the AFC, with a lot of good running backs, and some pretty talented quarterbacks.

Brady and Belichick are great about covering up flaws on a roster, but when they run into a physical team in the playoffs, we might see a similar result from years past.

6. So You're Telling Me There's a Chance?

The 2011 NFL season wouldn't feel right if we didn't get a Lloyd Christmas-inspired false-hope run from the Eagles and Chargers, would it?

The Eagles are still alive after a 26-10 beat down of Miami, although making the playoffs at this point involves jumping a whopping five other teams, and is about as likely as the Eagles retaining Juan Castillo next season.

San Diego's path to the postseason should have been a little bit easier, because the Raiders lost and the Broncos were supposed to lose (see: Tim Tebow doing what Tim Tebow does). Now things are much murkier, as San Diego needs either the Jets -- a team they should have beaten -- to go 1-2 down the stretch, or the Broncos -- another team they should have beaten -- to lose. And the Bolts have to win

8-8 and 9-7, respectively, are doable based for the two teams, based on their schedules. But even that kind of effort might not be enough to save the jobs of certain people in certain positions for these teams.

7. Call It a Comeback, Kid

For the second time this season, four teams in a single week overcame 12-point (or more) deficits to win.

Why? Well, as it turns out, offensive points aren't the only exciting thing that's happened as a result of the offense-friendly rules the NFL installed over the past few years. Comebacks occur more frequently too.

And big comebacks as well -- Atlanta, Jacksonville, Houston and Arizona were all down by 12-plus points and mounted a comeback in Week 14 -- in Week 2, another four teams did it as well.

Limitations on members of the secondary, limitations on defensive players hitting quarterbacks and the middle of the field opening up because of defenseless receiver rules mean teams are able to sling the ball around more frequently.

Defenses simply can't clamp down on teams when they have a lead and if someone takes their foot off the gas (see: the Panthers vs. the Falcons on Sunday), a comeback is absolutely in the cards.

8. Taking Flight

Note to anyone who ends up in a December-only fantasy league: draft Shonn Greene. Dude gets unholy hot when the weather gets cold and he's doing it again this year, with four touchdowns and well over 200 yards the last two weeks, including a career-high 129 rushing yards in a blowout win against Kansas City Sunday.

Not coincidentally, it might be smart to not write off the Jets ever again. Somehow, someway, they manage to win enough games to sneak into the playoffs.

Rex Ryan's crew is doing it again, and even though this rendition of the Jets is clearly inferior to the previous two seasons, it's hard to count them out.

Twice in his two years as head coach, Ryan's used a formula to get to the AFC Championship Game despite fighting uphill to even get into the playoffs. And now he's doing it again.

The Jets last three opponents -- Buffalo, Washington and Kansas City -- are about as cream-puffy as it comes, but you only have to play the people on your schedule. So I'm really not sure why this wasn't as obvious an outcome as Greene being largely irrelevant for fantasy teams until now.

9. Get Your Mojo Running

Lost in some of the fantastic Week 14 action was the fact that the incredibly underrated Maurice Jones-Drew, the only elite skill-position player that the Jaguars have, set the franchise record for career touchdowns, surpassing the also incredibly underrated Fred Taylor.

"Mojo" did it on a day in which he went absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s, rushing for 85 yards and two touchdowns, and catching six passes for 51 receiving yards and a pair of scores through the air as well.

“Words can’t really explain how excited I am,” Jones-Drew said.

Jones-Drew's one of the prototypes for the modern NFL back -- small but powerful, quick, great hands and a secret workhorse. (Not to mention he's a stalwart in the community, and a good guy to boot.) Amid an often ugly offensive performance by Jacksonville on a weekly basis, MJD's been insanely consistent in 2011.

Dude deserves some love.

10. Great Expectations

It's fascinating to see that Raheem Morris and Steve Spagnuolo are two guys everyone agrees find themselves firmly on the hot seat. That's because last year, Morris and Spags were a combined one game away from both being in the playoffs last year.

Morris won 10 games with the surprising Buccaneers and even though Spagnuolo went 7-9, he had a shot at winning the putrid NFC West in the final week of the season.

The 17 total wins for the two teams has created a pretty terrible predicament for the coaches who nearly got them to the postseason though: both guys are looking like strong candidates to be fired after the 2011 season.

Tampa Bay lost its seventh-straight game in horrific fashion on Sunday when Blaine Gabbert and the Jags dropped a 41-14 bomb on the Bucs and the Rams are scheduled to start Tom Brandstater against the Seahawks. That will probably not end well.

The point of all this is that the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me lately business and Spags and Morris have lost lately. A lot.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's Action ...
... Packers have now scored 466 points on the season, the second-highest total in NFL history through 13 weeks, behind only the Pats 503 in 2007.
... Drew Brees and Johnny Unitas are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history with 40-straight games with passing touchdowns.
... Rob Gronkowski has the all-time record for touchdown receptions in a single season by a tight end with 15.
... Eli Manning's 400-yard passing performance was the 14th over the season, an NFL record.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF(S) O' THE WEEK

You can see video of KC kicker Ryan Succop executing the worst onsides kick in the history of football right here, but this GIF of the three-yard putt/kick is just mesmerizingly depressing.



And I'm double dipping this week again, as Jabar Gaffney's dive into the seats without being caught is just too much fun to ignore.


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Steve Spagnuolo -- Spags really, really needs a win on Monday night against the Seahawks.
  • Raheem Morris -- As noted above, this team won 10 games last year!
  • Todd Haley -- After righting the ship, the Chiefs are back to sinking. This may be related to "starting Tyler Palko" but still, Haley's the coach.
  • Jim Caldwell -- *stares blankly at Colts record*
  • Norv Turner -- Norv's fanning the hell out of his seat, but the Chargers might not have enough games left to make up for the bad start.

Award Worth Discussing of the Week

Aaron Rodgers has retired the MVP watch and the Colts are locked into Andrew Luck so I'm adjusting on the fly. Today's award worth discussing: Coach of the Year.

I find this race fascinating because you have four primary contenders, all with totally different situations.

There's Mike McCarthy of the Packers, who's threatening to run the table with a defending Super Bowl champ. Then there's Jim Harbaugh, who's made the a talented, underachieving 49ers team relevant again and quickly. They're the two favorites.

Then there's the underdogs: John Fox, who continues to win despite Tim Tebow flying under the radar in terms of media attention, and Gary Kubiak, who will not let a quarterback injury kill his season.

If McCarthy goes undefeated it's impossible not to give him the nod because, well, they didn't lose. But if the Packers falter at all, Harbaugh's sheen could fade enough down the stretch (a loss to Pittsburgh and struggles against Seattle and St. Louis maybe?) to let Fox and Kubes make a play for the award.

My vote, provided things play out the way they have so far, is for Fox, since he's winning with less in a way no one ever saw coming, well ahead of when people believed he'd win.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:39 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Archie Manning, MDS, MNF

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 13 is all wrapped up, and we break down the Chargers-Jaguars matchup.

We've got a special guest this week though, and Archie Manning joins the show to talk about the BCS matchup, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award (click to vote), the status of Peyton Manning's health, why Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin are more vulnerable to critcism than other people (and if they deserve it), how Eli's developed wide receivers this year, the Ole Miss coaching search, and how Peyton and Andrew Luck would work on the same team.

Then we break down whether or not Tim Tebow can be an MVP candidate and bring on our good friend Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk to discuss Tebow's candidacy, whether the Lions are a shinking ship, and much, much more.

Did we mention that you should 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, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:51 pm
 

Jaguars, Blaine Gabbert have a lot of work to do

Two quarterbacks going in different directions after Monday night's game. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The first game of the Mel Tucker era looked a lot like the previous 11 games that ended up costing Jack Del Rio his job: a banged-up Jaguars defense got absolutely no support from a non-existent Jaguars offense. On Monday night, Jacksonville made the Chargers look like the Super Bowl contender many of us pegged them for during the preseason. By the time it was over, San Diego's offense had generated 433 yards and won going away, 38-14.

The Jags, meanwhile, continue to search for an identity. Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert could be named "textbook" because he looks the part. He's a strapping 6-5, and mechanically is as sound a thrower as you'll see. At least in shorts and t-shirts.

Have him face a pass rush and it's a different story. Gabbert has looked like, well, a rookie this season. Against the Chargers he was 19 of 33 for 163 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Incidentally, the first half was his best 30 minutes of football this season, right up until the moment an ill-timed pick late in the second quarter led to a Chargers score. That proved to be the turning point in the game.

In the second half, Gabbert reverted to the form that has frustrated teammates and infuriated fans; he's redefined the term "Captain Checkdown." In fact, he's so mastered the art of the dump-off pass that we're promoting him to Colonel. Things got so bad that by the third quarter, with the Jaguars trailing by 17 points, Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden wondered where the organization would be if it had drafted Tim Tebow last year.

There was some speculation in the weeks and months leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft that owner Wayne Weaver would take Tebow. Mostly because the former Florida product was from the area and would sell tickets. Certainly, no one expected him to contribute -- much less start -- and that had a lot to do with Jacksonville's draft strategy. And it's hard to fault them for it.

But unless Weaver has a time machine, passing on Tebow doesn't matter now.

What does matter is that the Jags are a mess. Tucker may very well be the best man to replace Del Rio but the offensive philosophy has to change. Because the Jags' D could play like the 2000 Ravens and it wouldn't be enough to overcome the offense's shortcomings. Some of that is because of Gabberts' inexperience, but it doesn't help when Cam Newton and Andy Dalton are having success, and Christian Ponder is showing glimpses of potential.

As it stands, Jacksonville is 3-9 and there isn't much to be excited about. Maybe they should sign Brett Favre. (That's a joke. We think.)

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Posted on: December 5, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 7:50 pm
 

New Jags owner Khan is all about the mustache

New Jags owner Shahid Khan. (AP)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

There truly is something remarkable about mustaches. And in less than a week, new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has one of the all-time great mustaches in NFL history. And according to a recent New York Times story, it's Khan's calling card.

"He is described as a private person with a gregarious, salesman’s personality," the Times' Richard Sandomir wrote on November 30. "With long, wavy hair and a thick mustache that ends in waxed tips, Khan cuts a somewhat rakish figure."

Added Ron Guenther, the former athletic director at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Khan's alma mater: “That mustache didn’t come out of nowhere. That’s his signature.”

Well, we applaud and embrace it. And so too, it appears, do Jags fans. Details via the Florida Times-Union:
Jaguar fans don’t know a whole lot yet about Shahid Khan, the Illinois truck-parts magnate who has agreed to buy the team. But they do know he has an awesome mustache. … There are already T-shirts around town showing the mustache on the Jaguars logo, and several websites have popped up.
The Times-Union says that "Khan won’t be at tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Jaguars and the San Diego Chargers — he said last week that he’ll be in New York, prepping for an NFL Finance Committee meeting where his bid go buy the team will be considered, and that he’d rather leave the spotlight on outgoing owners Wayne and Delores Weaver."

And because you asked for it (okay, you didn't -- we were curious), here are how some other NFL luminaries would look with their very own Mr. Tickles. You're welcome.

From left to right: Roger Goodell, Norv Turner, Hines Ward, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady.

No homage to mustachioed gentlemen would be complete without a nod to those players and coaches who unwittingly made it possible for the rest of us to look less ridiculous. Again, you're welcome.

From left to right: Mike Ditka, Dave Wannstedt, Jake Plummer, Ryan Wendell (Getty Images)

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 9:54 am
 

SNL: NFL more powerful than President

Posted by Will Brinson

No one watches "Saturday Night Live" anymore these days, but that doesn't stop Mrs. Brinson from spending her Sunday mornings finding something other than football to watch. As a result, if there's anything sports-related on the previous night's show, I'm all up on it.

Like last night, when Fred Armison did the open as Barack Obama, breaking down the 12 most powerful things in America. The NFL checked in at No. 4.

How? Well, according to "SNL" you'd never see an NFL game interrupted for a Presidential broadcast ("even if the Cardinals were playing the Jaguars") and no one has a fantasy Congress league.

Both of these things are true, sadly.



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Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Fred Taylor: Jack Del Rio's 'not a head coach'

Taylor played for Coughlin and Del Rio in Jacksonville. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Jack Del Rio coached in Jacksonville for more than eight seasons. He went 68-71 and twice took the Jaguars to the playoffs. On Tuesday, after a 3-8 start, he was fired.

We joked on the Pick-6 Podcast that maybe Tom Coughlin should get the gig for 2012 (he was the Jags' first coach in 1995 and he led them to two AFC Championship games before he was canned in '02) and bring Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor back with him.

Jack Del Rio Fired

It's unlikely (especially since Coughlin is still employed by the Giants) but Taylor, who spent 11 seasons in Jacksonville -- five with Coughlin, the last six with Del Rio -- spoke recently about the differences between the two coaches.

"With Coughlin, if you came in, if you overstep, you're screwed," Taylor told ThePostGame.com's Eric Adelson. "With Jack, you never knew what you were getting. You don’t know if you’ll get a hard-ass one day, a buddy-buddy one day. You never really knew."

Hours after Del Rio was fired, Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew told reporters that Del Rio was "a players coach." Taylor agreed … to a point.

"He was able to take care of the players somewhat," he said. "After that, after the next five years, it was a lot of gray area, which later in my career I didn't buy into."

Adelson asked Taylor if Del Rio played favorites.

"Hell yeah," he said. "Why do you think I'm not there? … At the end of the day, [Del Rio]'s not a head coach. He's a great defensive coach. But he's not a head coach."

Taylor added that "there was a lot of gray area" on offense which went a long way in explaining the team's struggles to move the ball. It also shed some light on why Del Rio was in such a hurry to point out that he had no role in play-calling after a bizarre series ended the Jags-Browns game a few weeks ago.

Taylor spent the final two years of his NFL career with the Patriots where he was a part-time player on some pretty good teams.

"Ninety percent of my enjoyment in New England was due to Coach Belichick -- the respect he demanded," Taylor said. "If you were the vet or the first-year guy, he yelled at you the same, chewed you out the same. Same thing with Coach Coughlin."

Maybe it's a coincidence (it's not), but both those guys have Super Bowl titles and jobs.


The San Diego Chargers look to snap their losing streak as they travel to EverBank Field to square off against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night. Join Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan as they break down this upcoming game.

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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