Archives for posts with tag: Johnny Manziel

So the Skins won in preseason.  Again.  Yes, that’s eight straight August triumphs for the Burgundy and Gold…as they force an incomplete pass on Cleveland’s potential game-winning two point conversion attempt to hold off the Browns 24-23.  Kudos to Cleveland for not kicking the extra point and potentially sending a Monday night preseason game into overtime.  The big question is in mid-August, what can you really put your finger on in the second of four dress rehearsals?  Outside of Johnny Manziel’s digital extension, that is. 

 

Johnny might not be able read…but he can certainly SIGN– and we’re not talking about autographs for cash.  Cleveland’s latest first round draft pick quarterback completed less than half of his passes–but did connect in his only attempt to hurl an obscene gesture at the Redskins bench.  Naturally just about every camera was on Mr. Manziel, so now in addition to bad decisions in the pocket the face of their franchise (who can’t start at his position) has that to answer for.  Which may be easier than answering why he’s not going to win the starting job from a journeyman.

 

RG3VER– the face of the franchise completes 6 of 8 passes for 112 yards…but his first drive ended with a fumble, the second ended with an interception in the red zone, and the third possession ended with an unsuccessful attempt at 4th and goal from the one.  Zero points over three chances against a Browns defense not scheming for you is less than ideal.

 

C & C Factory– after shining against New England in week one, the Cousins and Colt Combination looked a little shakier against the Browns– each tossing an interception.  Cousins’ INT could have easily been run back for a score as well… but he looked much better than Colt who needed a 30-yard touchdown strike to stay in the conversation.  The biggest backup disappointment?  No Rex Grossman on the field in Turnoverasaurus Rex’s return to Fed Ex.

 

For Alfred, it’s only August;  for Lache it’s August Only– Mr. Morris ran the ball 11 times for 29 yards… and got stuffed on 3rd and 4th down on the goal line in the 2nd quarter.  But it’s only August…and the man who’s gained over 2,800 yards over his first two seasons should be ready to go September 7th.  Lache Seastrunk once again led the team in rushing and is making a case for a spot on a roster here or elsewhere (if he doesn’t wind up on the Skins practice squad).

 

The Rare Rookie Receiver– while everybody was looking forward to and pleased with Desean Jackson’s play (2 receptions for 34 yards) but Ryan Grant was the wideout who stood out– tallying 4 catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.  Two other receivers made in-game cases for sticking– Rashad Ross made a 43-yard catch while Nick Williams caught a 30-yard touchdown pass.

 

Third and a Work in Progress– the team went 5-11 in moving the chains:  Robert Griffin III went 0-3, Kirk Cousins 3-5, Colt McCoy 2-3.  Play selection: 9 runs and 3 passes.  Distance breakdown:  3-4 on third and short (1-3 yards needed), 1-2 on third and 4-6, 1-5 on third and long (7+ yards).  Let’s see how they fare after a short work-week preparing for the Ravens.

 

Defensive Differences–  Ryan Kerrigan shined with 2 sacks…while Will Compton made his case with 6 stops (1 for loss) and Bashaud Breeland added something to his file over and above his marijuana bust by notching 5 tackles and 2 passes defensed.  Yes, the D gave up 23 points–but had held the Browns to 3 and out on five of their first six possessions.

 

Flying Flags– another night with a heavy laundry load…11 penalties for 100 yards is not ideal…even though the last four infractions were made by players on the roster bubble.  Five penalties were against the offense–including two false starts against Robert Griffin III.  Two holds came against lineman likely squeezed out (Maurice Hurt and Josh LeRibeus) of the regular rotation…and Andre Roberts’ pass interference was negated by a Browns defensive hold on the next play.  Defensive flags came against Perry Riley (facemask after 4 yard Browns gain), EJ Biggers (holding), Trent Murphy (roughing the passer after a 3-yard run), Chase Minnifield (defensive holding after 2 flags the previous week) and Rob Jackson (illegal use of the hands–led to a late Browns TD).  The costliest penalty?  While Jackson’s illegal use of the hands contributed to a Browns touchdown drive (turning a Cleveland 3rd & 12 at the Washington 43 into a 1st &  10 on the 38), Hurt’s hold pushed the team back from 1st and 10 at the 22 to 1st and 20 at the 12– and on the next play Colt McCoy threw a pick six.

 

Cobra Kai-Zach Attack Round II– minimal opportunities for separation this week:  Kai Forbath nailing the lone field goal attempt (from 26 yards out) and both kickers converting all of their extra point attempts.  On the kickoff front:  Zach Hocker was 3 for 3 in reaching the endzone while Forbath was 1/2 in getting the ball past the goal line.  A far cry from getting the bodybag…

College Football has its issues…but for all of the cupcake buffets we bear through with September’s buyout games, leagues named inappropriately (ten schools in the Big 12 and twelve schools in the Big 10), Johnny Manziel signing sprees and way too many bowl games involving undeserving teams there’s a Saturday after Thanksgiving like this year.  From Michigan staying with unbeaten Ohio State and going for two (despite not making it)…to Duke (?) wrapping up the ACC Coastal Division…to Georgia rallying back in a game that doesn’t mean anything but everything inside the Peach State…to Auburn’s gamewinning return of a missed Alabama field goal…to USC and UCLA both wearing their home colors at the Coliseum (as they should)…we almost forgot to take a breath.  Exhale, fans…because College Football saved its best song for the last track on the 2013 regular season album.  I can almost embrace the American Athletic Conference of America.  Almost.

Bracket Re-Rack– #1 Alabama’s improbable loss shakes up the field a tiny bit… while Clemson’s loss puts the Tigers out of the at-large field.  Fresno State despite no longer being unbeaten still leads the Mountain West, so the Bulldogs postseason isn’t blown in fantasy despite their BCS hopes going down the drain in reality.  And Oregon’s one point win over Oregon State costs the Ducks the last at-large berth…snappped up by Arizona State.

#1 Florida State–#16 Louisiana-Lafayette vs. #8 South Carolina–#9 Baylor

#4 Alabama–#13 Northern Illinois vs. #6 Oklahoma St. –#11 Arizona St.

#3 Auburn–#14 Fresno St. vs. #7 Stanford–#10 Michigan St.

#2 Ohio St.–#15 Marshall vs. #5 Missouri–#12 Central Florida

Alma Mater Update– Bowl Eligibility Baby!  The Orange hold off Boston College 34-31 to wrap up a 6-6 season… potentially sending SU to a third bowl in four years.  And that’s where things get tricky– at 6-6 (with a win over Wagner) will the Orange learn the subtle difference between “bowl eligible” and “bowl worthy”?  With 11 teams available and eight slots to fill (assuming Florida State beats Duke and advances to the National Championship Game)…there’s one interesting possibility.  Could the Carrier Dome be able to handle three Pinstripe Bowl Banners and contain itself?

Maryland clinches a winning season with a 41-21 thumping of NC State… ending its 51-year tenure in the ACC on a winning note.  I’m waiting to see which bowl (Military) the Terps go to (Annapolis) this December (it’s almost a given).  Terrapin Triumphs– CJ Brown regained his September form with 259 yards and 2 TD’s passing…while adding 138 yards and 3 scores rushing…the offense scored the first six times they touched the football…the defense generated in the first half 4 three and outs with a fifth driving losing 10 yards on 8 plays…Matt Robinson earns ACC LB of the Week by notching 17 tackles.  Terrapin Troubles–perhaps CJ can help Brandon Ross (18 carries for 31 yards) reclaim his September Swagger: after gaining 332 yards over the four non-conference games, Ross was held to 328 in 7 ACC affairs.  Takeaway– with a schedule that will regularly feature Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State it’s a good thing the Terps punched their postseason ticket this fall.

Virginia Tech made it a decade of dominance by defeating Virginia 16-6…the highlight being a scoreless second half in Charlottesville as the only time either team moved the ball more than 35 yards on a possession, they each got intercepted.  How poetic.  Actually, the highlight was Kippy and Buffy wrapping up another fun fall of tailgaiting with a delicious Horton Vineyards Vintage Port 2007.  “Big, full bodied, sweet, with refined texture and aromas of blackberry and cherry perfumes”…the perfect elixur for a 10-loss season.  Or at least the perfect compliment to Bergkäse on Captain’s Wafers.

Hokie Highlights– Trey Edmunds rumbled for 93 yards while JC Coleman added 57 on the ground… Demitri Knowles notched 4 catches for 101 yards… Kendall Fuller posted 8 tackles, half of a sack and a whole interception.  Eric Kristensen converted all 3 FG attempts and AJ Hughes averaged 44 yards per punt…BEAMER BALL!, indeed.  Hokie Humblings– 5 sacks allowed…and Logan Thomas was less than stellar in his final regular season game (13-29 with an INT).  Going 4-14 on third down isn’t awesome, either.  Takeaway– a 13-10 loss at home to Duke prevents this consistently uneven team from playing Florida State in the ACC Title game…a good motivation for next year.

Cavalier Congrats– needing 74 yards to reach 1000, Kevin Parks ran for 105 against the #1 defense in the ACC.  Eli Harold notched 3 sacks as the defense held VT to just one touchdown…and 97 total yards in the second half.  Cavalier Concerns– NINE penalties for 83 yards is not ideal.  In a day when passing stats resemble video games, UVa finishes under 50% again with neither David Watford or Greyson Lambert able to provide much spark.  Takeaway– Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco’s departures left the Cavaliers QB situation in a lurch, and after a 10-loss campaign with another solid recruiting class coming in there’s no way to go but up…right?

As the college football season kicks off the seamier side gets another day in the sun…as Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s signature saga wraps up as only a college football scandal can. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner feels the heavy hammer of the NCAA as the school benches him in Saturday’s season opener. For the first half. They’re playing RICE. Odds are he was only going to play one half anyway…again, this is RICE. Did they decide on one half because he only signed his first name? And does he use a bubble to dot the I?

Conference Calamity– the American Athletic Conference (of America) opened their existence with UConn losing to Towson 33-18. Ouch. So glad Syracuse left for the ACC.

Alma Mater Update– the Orange meet Penn State at Met Life Stadium as the Scott Shafer era begins. Will Schafer take the program to the next level or is this a five year period of realizing the school made the wrong hire? Some schools can reload after a hiring misfire…private schools in the northeast don’t have as much wiggle room. Today won’t mean everything in that eventual evaluation…but it’d be nice to kick off a new coaching regime by beating a former Eastern Independent foe. Wings at Sign of the Whale will have to wait as I’ll be in College Park for the Terps season opener…

Maryland entertains FIU– for whatever reason the Terps make things interesting Labor Day weekend– winning the last three season openers by a combined 12 points. CJ Brown is back after a year off…how soon can he shake the rust off? And can a team with a young nucleus (2 redshirt freshmen and 8 sophomores getting starts) respond to opening day jitters? Terps triumph 16-12.

Virginia hosts BYU– redshirt freshman David Watkins replaces last year’s two-headed monster at quarterback…but the Cavaliers try to catch up with an Cougars offense that put 40+ points on the board 5 times last year. A long afternoon for Kippy and Buffy in Charlottesville (as it’s only Labor Day Weekend, my Cavalier tailgating buddies won’t begin their wine and cheese run until next Saturday). Cavs come up short, 34-16.

Virginia Tech tangles with #1 Alabama– somebody had to do it. Someone had to begin the season by facing the two-time defending National Champ and preseason #1. The Hokies are coming off their first six loss season in 20 years… and have two true freshman in pressure positions: cornerback Kendall Fuller and left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin. That’s not ideal when facing the Crimson Tide…Hokies fall 37-14.

Georgetown tops Wagner, Howard loses at Eastern Michigan, James Madison gets by Central Connecticut State, William & Mary loses to West Virginia.

Last Season: 68-32. That’s better than LBJ v. Goldwater numbers…

The college football season begins at the end of the month…and although I know we all spent the offseason not at the pool reading and doing crosswords but completely focused on the minutiae that is football 24/7. For those who decided to either get a life or leave the country briefly…:

Alabama starts where they finished. Again. The two-time defending National Champs begin 2013 ranked #1. Bad omen? The Crimson Tide began 2011 #1…and that’s the only time in the last four years they didn’t go on to win the title. As serious as they are down there, I’m surprised Tide fans didn’t try to stuff the ballot box for other teams.

Johnny Manziel is in a heap of hurt. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has been a magnet of attention this past offseason…from living up the celebrity role like few college athletes can (his family is loaded) to allegedly signing autographs for cash. Partying at the University of Texas in Austin (an insult to Longhorn fans because they think they’re too good to hang out with Aggies…and an insult to Aggie fans because why would he want to hang with those snobs instead of his own kind?). Tweeting how he can’t wait to leave College Station. I’m surprised Manziel didn’t challenge the devil himself to a fiddling contest. All while the rest of the SEC lies in wait…

Introducing the American Athletic Conference (of America). The broken pieces of the Big East added a few schools from Conference USA–and like the Beatles album “Yesterday and Today” that didn’t really exist in the UK…a league is born. No butcher cover here–this is a conference I’m sure many will not care about. Two schools already have their bags packed for the ACC (Louisville) and Big Ten (Rutgers). I hope they use velcro on the league flag.

Speaking of changes, the ACC is “Now with 17% more!” as Syracuse and Pitt join the league this fall. The Orange caught fire after one of their favorite alums watched them rally past South Florida on Halloween weekend…and the Panthers still haven’t been the same since they ditched the Tony Dorsett/Dan Marino era royal blue jerseys with gold helmets and script “Pitt” as opposed to “PITT”. Just what ACC football needs…two schools that have won national titles but haven’t won 10 regular season games since the Reagan Administration. But don’t get that ACC Map tattoo just yet–the league adds Louisville (after the Cardinals load up on American Athletic Conference swag) while waving goodbye to founding member Maryland. And that’s not including the league allowing Notre Dame to stay married to its independence while treating the ACC like a cheap mistress for its “needs” in sports it doesn’t make a ton of cash in.

Maryland looks to turn the corner in Coach Randy Edsall’s third year…and after 2011’s surprise implosion and last fall’s injury riddled stagger, six wins and a bowl before the Terps go into the Big Ten would be beyond huge. Lightning rod Stefon Diggs returns to provide thrills and chills at Byrd Stadium…the only question being who will be his big play partner? Quarterback CJ Brown is back after missing 2012 with a torn ACL…while transfer Ricardo Young already is familiar with Coordinator Mike Locksley’s offense. The much maligned offensive line of last year (39 sacks allowed, 2.6 yards per carry) needs to gel better this fall…and the defense needs to make more big plays (4 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 28 sacks). The schedule plays in a manner that would lead one to believe November will be nail-biting as the Terrapins zero in on six wins.

Virginia couldn’t decide last year if Phillip Sims or Michael Rocco would own the quarterback job…and this year the Cavaliers won’t have that decision to make as Sims is at Division II Winston-Salem State and Rocco landed at Richmond. Instead-Coach Mike London’s hopes rest on a trio of redshirt freshmen. Door number one is David Watford…who completed 41% of 74 passes two years ago. Door number two is Greyson Lambert…who sounds like he wears an ascot underneath his uniform. Door number three is Matt Johns…whose grandfather Tom Schreiner played for Gettysburg. Maybe he was in Phi Gam with my Uncle Jeff.

Virginia Tech tries to bounce back from an uncharacteristic six loss season where special teams were a far cry from the BEAMER BALL! of old…Thursday Night turned from Hokie Heaven to Hokie Hell…the defense was gashed with numbing regularity and VT needed to beat Boston College in overtime and Virginia by a field goal to keep its bowl streak alive. Logan Thomas is back…and the offense has been spruced up accordingly. Alabama (yes, the #1 Crimson Tide) awaits August 31st.