SportsNet - July 2012
The NFC East has become an offense-first division in recent seasons, but its teams still have a proud defensive tradition and feature some of the finest defensive playmakers in the game.
Here are the top five defensive stars causing havoc in the NFC East:
5. London Fletcher, ILB, Washington Redskins
Ageless wonder London Fletcher continues to defy father time, to consistently deliver elite production from his inside linebacker position.
A stout force in the middle, Fletcher is an expert at reading the game and his intelligence and instincts compensate for his diminishing speed. The 37-year-old led the NFL in tackles in 2011 and is the cornerstone of the Washington Redskins' 3-4 scheme.
4. Trent Cole, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Criminally underrated defensive end Trent Cole is a dominant force for the Philadelphia Eagles. He has thrived in line coach Jim Washburn's wide-9 alignments.
It seems that yet again there is farce at the Olympics football tournament. Having already offended the North Korean football team by showing the wrong flag and then by stating that Joe Allen was English when he is Welsh is it really surprising that we now have London media driven hysteria over who sings the national anthem?
Welsh and particularly, Scottish players of both sexes have refused to sing the national anthem. They see it as the English national anthem, therefore they do not sing it. That should be their choice. However, at the moment, there seems to be an air of malevolence whenever anyone so much as criticises the Olympics. Take Mr Romneys innocent reply to a reporter about all the cock ups with the security firm G4s. All of a sudden we have Boris Johnson stirring up a fervent crowd of Londoners into a fury in some kind of perceived snub! All it needed was Alf Garnett to add a torrent of bigotted abuse to finish ot off!
After taking a season-long break from the National Football League, wide receiver Randy Moss is back with the San Francisco 49ers. But he's now 35 and in the twilight of his career. The bright side of that is that he's on one of the best teams in the league. The down side of that is that Alex Smith, who isn't exactly an elite quarterback, will be throwing to him. But realistically, we should expect Moss to be the dominant receiver he's still capable of being. What exeactly should we expect? How will he compare to other greats before him at similar points in their careers? Just keep this phrase in mind: Cash, homie. Cash.
All-Pro safety Ed Reed was present at the Baltimore Ravens' Under Armour Performance Center for the first day of training camp. Reed was a no call, no show for mandatory minicamp, and during the offseason, he repeatedly made public statements suggesting a dubious attitude towards returning to football this season.
Over his ten years in Baltimore, Reed has inspired awe in fans with his uncanny ability to make game changing defensive plays. At the same time he has elicited frustration, largely due to his annual talk of retirement and his tendency to publicly criticize team management. When cornerback Lardarius Webb received a six-year $50 million contract, Reed voiced his displeasure with his own contract and made it clear he felt disrespected by the Ravens brass.
Will the New York Jets be the NFL team that finally realizes that Tim Tebow possesses a running style that gives him a specific football skill that is superior to every other player in the sport? When most quarterbacks run with the football, they usually prefer a shifty style that allows them to avoid contact. Tebow, however, is different. His straight-ahead style is more like a fullback in that he attempts to run over opposing defenders.
This, combined with his ability to throw, makes him the most dangerous player in football in short-yardage situations. I became aware of this ability during the 2006 Florida-Florida State game, when Florida coach Urban Meyer inserted the true freshman Tebow into the game nearly every time the Gators needed a single yard. It worked numerous times on that day and played a big role in wearing down a strong Seminole defense in a 21-14 Gator victory. From the stands of Doak Campbell Stadium, I realized that Tebow would always have a place in the pros as a short-yardage specialist.