Staff writer Steve Fini looks back at five players who made the difference in Monday night’s loss.
Earl Bennett (WR/Chicago) – I stated in my player preview for this game that the problem for the Eagles secondary would be getting off the field on third down, and that Dane Sanzenbacher, the Bears slot receiver, would be the reason. Well, I wasn’t aware that Bennett was going to play like Jerry Rice, but I at least I had the right position. This isn’t the first time a no-name slot receiver has torched the Eagles this season. That is exactly what Bennett did and what the Eagles defense can’t stop. Playing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the slot is a mistake. I never liked that the Eagles got him in the first place, but he certainly was better in Arizona than he is now. The Bears’ ability to exploit DRC in the slot won them the game. href="http://insidetheiggles.com/files/2011/11/94875_Bears_Eagles_Football_large.jpg"> src="http://insidetheiggles.com/files/2011/11/94875_Bears_Eagles_Football_large.jpg" alt="" title="94875_Bears_Eagles_Football_large" width="300" height="250" class="alignright size-full wp-image-13977" />
Jay Cutler (QB/Bears) – While I don’t want to take anything away from Cutler, the Eagles made it easy on him. No sacks, basically no hits (except for that awful roughing the passer call), and no pressure. Sure Cutler made some big throws, but he only threw for a shade over 200 yards. The Eagles pass rush was just non-existent against a bad Chicago offensive line and gave Cutler all the time in the world to throw the ball. … [ href="http://insidetheiggles.com/2011/11/09/look-back-at-five-difference-makers-bears-eagles/">visit site to read more]
Well, this is going to be awkward.
As we all know, the Eagles decided that Ronnie Brown was a big sack of dong, so they elected to trade the former Miami standout to Detroit for Jerome Harrison and a 2013 seventh-round pick.
28-year old Ryan Grant broke his ankle in the season opener last year and it caused him to miss the rest of the season. Grant will try to make up for lost time in 2011 as he tries to regain his starting job at RB. Grant played in 1 game (1 start) for the Packers last year and he carried the ball 8 times for 45 yards (5.6 ypc). He has now played in 48 games (38 starts) in his first four years in the NFL and he has carried the ball 790 times for 3,457 yards (4.4 ypc) with 23 TD runs. He has also caught 73 passes for 458 yards (6.3 avg) with 1 TD grab so far in his NFL career.
25-year old James Starks is challenging Grant for the starting RB gig in 2011. He as incredible in the post-season as he helped the Packers get to and win the Super Bowl. During the regular season though, Starks was less than impressive. Starks played in 3 games (0 starts) for the Packers last year and he carried the ball 29 times for 101 yards (3.5 ypc). He also caught 2 passes for 15 yards (7.5 avg) last year for the Packers.
23-year old rookie Alex Green was a 3rd round pick out of Hawaii last April by the Packers. He is used to playing in a spread formation so he will likely fit right in on the pass happy Packers. He will have to work his way up the depth chart.
23-year old Dimitri Nance played in 12 games (0 starts) for the Packers in his rookie year in 2010, in which he carried the ball 36 times for 95 yards (2.6 ypc). Nance also caught 3 passes for 30 yards (10.0 avg) last year. Nance is going to have a hard time making the Packers’ roster in 2011.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE PACKERS RBS IN 2011: B
Throughout the NFL lockout, we’ve heard both the players and owners say that the lockout is all business.
In the conference call with Roger Goodell and season ticket holders in May, Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said, “We’re in a business dispute right now with the players. That’s all it is. It’s nothing personal. When it’s over, I know we’ll go back to the great relationship that we had before it started.”
Now that the lockout is (supposedly) close to ending, Hunt said on FOX Sports Radio this week that the two sides will need to “get back on the same page.”
“It was a stressful process,” he said. “The emotions I think at times on both sides were stressed. I think clearly there is going to be a little bit of time needed for the organizations and the players to get back on the same page.”
The good thing about the timing of the ending of the lockout is that we’ll have plenty of time to keep ourselves busy with free agency, training camp and the preseason.
Perhaps we’ll forget all about it being “purely a business decision.”
I love the Patriots. They take precedence over all other New England teams for me. However, I can still respect and understand how people can fall in love with the other teams. The Red Sox have their history and, while I struggle to watch baseball on television, I can appreciate the joy associated with sitting in the stands at Fenway. The Celtics are basketball royalty and are considered one of the greatest franchises of all time- I can definitely see why people love watching them play. The Patriots, the Red Sox, and the Celtics have all brought back championships to Boston and they will always be the hometown favorites. However, there’s another team that’s been making a comeback for a couple of years- a team that embodies everything Patriots’ fans love about sports.
The Bruins have been the “little brother” team of Boston for the past few decades- and definitely the whole time I’ve been alive. They’ve always been in the shadow of the Red Sox and the Patriots stepped into the spotlight at the turn of the century. Even the Celtics were able to reclaim some of their former glory in recent years. The Bruins have always been that, “oh, nothing else is on TV” team. They were perfectly mediocre. They made a couple post season runs and they burnt out a couple regular seasons. They had no real player that a New England fan could identify with as a true Boston sports hero.
The Patriots had Tedy Bruschi. Tom Brady. Troy Brown. Players that brought their lunch to work every day and made the Patriots the loveable underdogs. The Celtics had Paul Pierce- the Truth- the franchise player who, despite his threats to leave, helped bring the championship back home. The Red Sox had “The Idiots”, and had a scrappy team that overcame the hated Yankees to break the curse.
Those were teams and players that everyone could relate to as a fan. The Bruins? They had Jumbo Joe Thornton who, like Pierce, was unhappy with the direction the franchise was heading. However, unlike Piece, Thornton made his way off the team and into San Jose. The Bruins lacked a real cast of players that we could fall in love with as we decided, “Hey, let’s watch the Bruins.”
In the past couple years, the Bruins have quietly picked up some fan favorites- Big Zdeno Chara, the captain defenseman. Tim Thomas, while not necessarily new, has developed into the best goalie in the league. Meat and Potatoes and Poutine Milan Lucic, the throwback forward who brings back memories of the Bruins’ glory days. Recent pick-ups in young Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton have brought inspiration and passion to the Bruins’ squad.
The Bruins were losing the series 2-0 before their homestand this past week. In Game 3, a Vancouver Canuck took out Horton and ended his season with a concussion. After that hit, the Bruins have outscored the Canucks 12-1 and are now two wins away from winning the Stanley Cup finals. The team has rallied Horton’s injury and has given the city of Boston a reason to watch the team try and win the championship.
The Patriots need to find that identity. They’re a young team and they are still in a period of regrowth. The team has faltered in the playoffs of late and they seem to have gone down without a fight. Coach Bill Belichick took the time to support the Bruins in the playoffs- hopefully he can bring back that fight to the Patriots. The team needs to reinvent itself and become the team that New England fans love.
I see this being the year. This will be the year that the Patriots bring back the spark. The young players will step up as leaders on the team and they will not back down without a fight. Not in the AFC East. Not in the playoffs. This Patriots team will be back with an identity that everyone can support- one that everyone can rally behind. It might not be the exciting 2007 offense. It might not be the sturdy 2004 defense. Whatever happens, this Patriots team will be a team of its own.
Hopefully, there will be a season. Hopefully, this team will have the chance to show their fire. Hopefully, because this Patriots team will be a team to watch.
From The Ohio State Buckeyes Sports Information Department
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Eddie George, who won the sixth Heisman Trophy in Ohio State history in 1995, is a member of the 2011 College Football Hall of Fame Class, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today.
George and the …
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