SportsNet - July 2012
AFC North Preview: Weaknesses for Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers
The AFC North is arguably the NFL's toughest division. In 2011 all four teams ranked in the top 10 for total defense and the division sent three representatives to the AFC playoffs.
Here are the key weaknesses that may hold the rugged AFC North back during the 2012 NFL season:
Baltimore Ravens: Play calling on offense
Despite making it to the AFC Championship game, the Baltimore Ravens often find a way to confound themselves. That way usually involves some questionable play calling on offense.
Coordinator Cam Cameron seems determined to make quarterback Joe Flacco the focal point of the Ravens' attack. The problem is that this desire often comes at the expense of the unit's best player, running back Ray Rice.
In a Monday Night defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7, Rice had only eight carries. The disturbing pattern was repeated in a Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, where Rice was given just five carries.
These are both teams the Ravens should beat. Despite the investment in 2008 first-round pick, Flacco, the Ravens are still a running football team.
This past off-season, the New York Knicks will be remembered for letting Jeremy "Linsanity" Lin walk away and sign with the Houston Rockets, who cleverly devised a complicated deal to scare the "Big Dogs."
The Knicks may have lost Jeremy Lin to the Rockets, but they definitely made a ton of moves to make up for his loss.
Lin's replacement will be Raymond Felton. Felton was the best he's ever been during his seven-year career as a member of the Knicks. Before getting traded for Carmelo Anthony after 54 games, Felton averaged career highs in points per game (17.1) and assists per game (9.0). More importantly, he helped Amar'e Stoudemire play at an extremely high level during his first season as a member of the Knicks.
Along with Felton the Knicks have focused primarily on upgrading their bench, doing so at three different positions.
At point guard, Jason Kidd is unquestionably better than any of the Knicks' backups last year-Mike Bibby, Baron Davis and Toney Douglas-and his veteran leadership will be invaluable to the bench unit.
Despite the sun and fun of the summertime, it is one of the most stressful for Premier league fans. With no games to be played, there is nothing left to focus on but the endless transfer rumors. With the social media revolution, this time of year has become a special kind of hell. Now, instead of a reading a straightforward account of negotiations between a club and a player, the tale takes too many twists and turns to count as onlookers can read tweets and status updates by players, coaches, agents and analysts; each one saying something slightly different, giving each reader a unique perspective on the events. So, with no love for this season, but recognition of the importance it can play, this author will try to answer the question, "What makes a good transfer?"
The familiar feeling before a Gunners match was there again Tuesday. After weeks away from action, Arsenal was back on the pitch.
A relatively "weaker" Arsenal side strolled out against the Malaysia XI Tuesday, featuring goal keeper Vito Mannone (returning from loan) along with newly appointed captain Thomas Vermaelen and much criticized centre forward Marouane Chamakh.
The game started off well for the Gunners, who held of possession passed the ball around, and looked truly comfortable in possession. A few misplaced passes, however gave Malaysia the chance to get their foot in the door (the mistakes were understandable however, given the recent lack of game time, and the less than perfect quality of the pitch).
Penn State News: Why The Nittany Lions Football Program Can Rise From Near Death (Penalty) Experience
Jerry Sandudky's crimes left a stain upon the lily-white football program and matching jerseys that Joe Paterno built over the course of 50 years. The NCAA stepped in yesterday with sweeping penalties in hopes of forcing Penn State to clean up it's tarnished program.
Monday morning at 9 am, NCAA President Mark Emmert delivered what appeared to be the eulogy on Penn State's football program by saddling Penn State with a $60 million fine, a four-year ban on bowl games the loss of 20 scholarships per year over four years and five years' probation. A few hours later, the Big Ten threw dirt on the coffin by imposing sanctions of their own including a loss of bowl revenue over the next four years.
In 2002, former Florida president John Lombardi opined that SMU's death penalty taught the committee that the death penalty was equivalent to the nuclear bomb dropped on Japan during World War II. The effect was catastrophic on SMU and the community.