Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Players, Guns, and Money

A thought on the Plaxico Burress situation before I move on to other things.

A lot of players have come out of the woodwork with reasons to have guns or not have guns. Miami's Joey Porter, in an ESPN interview uses two justifications on behalf of Burress that are just stupid.

One, and he's not the only player that has said this, he noted that people know their schedules and know when they're out of the house, so they need the firearm for home protection. If I know I'm not going to be home, how is carrying a gun going to help me protect the home that's getting broken into? It's not.

Two, he challenges people to not carry a gun if they've had to deal with someone carrying a gun - a mugger, an assault. He gives the "see what you would do in that situation" defense. Years ago I worked as a teacher in a school for the emotionally disturbed. I helped my principal take a hand gun off one of the students. To this day I don't carry a gun.

And let's face it, while Porter says that Burress didn't hurt anyone but himself, he misses the points, and there are two. Burress COULD have hurt someone else and is just lucky he didn't. The second point - it was unregistered, and as such, an illegal weapon.


Quick thoughts on the MVP...

More often than not, the MVP goes to a quarterback. I get it. Outside of the QB, only the center touches the ball on virtually every play. So, here are some of my thoughts on the players, including some dark horse candidates, who could be considered in a year that has no clear cut candidate...

Drew Brees - Brees leads the league with 4100 yards through 13 games and is on pace for 5046 yards passing for the season and 32 touchdowns. Number like that automatically demand consideration. Brees has kept the team's head above water.

Cons - While Brees has kept the team from slipping below .500, his gaudy numbers haven't helped the team in the standings. In fourth place in their own division, the Saints are on the outside looking in at the playoffs. To even make the post-season, the 7-6 Saints are currently behind the Buccanneers, Falcons, Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, and Bears for the two wild card slots in the NFC.

Kurt Warner - Warner's numbers are second only to Brees and he has led the historically woeful Cardinals to their first division title since the 1970's. Because of Warner's arm, the Cardinals are one of only four three teams that have already clinched a playoff spot. Warner is also having his best season since his years with The Greatest Show on Turf - a big part of the reason that Warner is demanding consideration for the award.

Cons - Warner has put up those numbers in one of the worst divisions in football, and the team has struggled against opponents with winning records (2-5 against teams with winning records, with the last one against the Romo-less Cowboys in early October).

Michael Turner - Admittedly, a dark horse candidate, but I like him for the award more than Adrian Peterson. The old black and blue division still isn't what it once was, but Turner has logged his 1200+ yards on the ground against defensive stalwarts like Carolina and Tampa. Without Turner in the backfield, Matt Ryan likely doesn't have the Rookie of the Year sort of season that he's been logging.

Cons - As good as the Falcons have been, Turner hasn't put the team over the top in regards to positioning Atlanta for the playoffs. Also, he just hasn't been garnering the attention for this award that he deserves, making it unlikely that he will turn up with a significant portion of the vote.

There are others out there that deserve consideration in a year like this, with no clear cut candidate. Arguments could be made for the likes of Peyton Manning and Bob Sanders, both of whom have kept the Colts in contention, in spite of injuries and a bad start to the season. Todd Collins for the Titans, who surely would not be where they are with Vince Young under center. Brandon Jacobs, whose running has made a legitimate championship quarterback of Eli Manning.

The list goes on, and while I don't believe that all of those mentioned here will garner consideration, I do believe that one of the ones mentioned here is the player who is most likely to win.
Chad Pennington - For all that the "Wildcat" offense has done for the team, the Dolphins aren't in position to wrest the AFC title from the Patriots without Pennington under center. Possible proof that Eric Mangini didn't know how to utilize him, the former Jet has out-performed his replacement in the Meadowlands, throwing for more yardage, and a higher rating. Sure, Brett Favre has thrown for eight more touchdowns, but he has also thrown nine more interceptions and been sacked four more times.

Cons - Pennington has to fight the perception that a fair percentage of those wins were built on a gimmick offense early in the season. Also, like Turner, he just hasn't entered the conversation.

Matt Cassel - Cassel got some love for the award from the pundits after his back-to-back 400 yard games. Cassel, like Pennington, has kept his team in the playoff hunt. While Pennington is doing it with a team that only won one game last season, Cassel is doing it with a team decimated by injury on both sides of the ball. In spite of filling in for an NFL MVP, not starting a game since high school, missing his starting tight end for two games, losing his starting half back for the season, and the second and third backs for a quarter of the season (and more), and missing the right side of the offensive line until the sixth game of the season, Cassel has kept the Patriots in contention for the AFC East crown.

Cons - Like Warner, the team has struggled at times, with four of the team's five losses coming against quality opponents. Cassel also leads the league in sacks and is in the top ten in total yards lost due to being sacked.

Wes Welker - Cassel's safety blanket, without Welker, Cassel is probably nowhere. Welker, in spite of having only one touchdown on the season, is the battery that makes the Patriots offense go this season. Welker is the human third-down conversion, with 47 of his 96 receptions converting for first downs. The king of the bubble screen, Welker is also tied for tenth in the league in yards after the catch with 6.8.

Cons - The fact that he has only one touchdown will be held against him, as will the fact that he plays opposite of Randy Moss. Also, when's the last time a slot receiver was even considered for the award.

No comments: