Sunday, November 17, 2013

Da South Is BACK

Who  cares that it's been almost 2 years since my last contribution to the DSouth Blog. Who cares that a Super Bowl, and a BCS National Championship has been played. I am back and I have some stuff on my mind to release, especially given some of the current happenings in the NFL - hello Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. I've been sitting on this long enough  and now it's time to get some stuff off of my chest.

Lets start with my NFL Top 10.

Looking at the NFL for 10 weeks we definitely have some very good clarity of who is doing what: who has developed as the Alpha Dog and who may be a pretender.

One question about the season is whether a the league is so competitive that there is a log jam in the middle of the pack or is there just some bad football going on. For example, the NFC East. This division was hailed to be the SEC of the NFL - 4 teams who were all good and going to contend for a playoff spot. The only thing that has transpired in all the things said regarding the NFC East is that all the teams are still in the playoff hunt, but only because the football played in that division has been awful. Every QB in that division has been like a train wreck.

 Eli came out the gate floundering with 3 picks against Dallas in a prime time Sunday night game and to this date has thrown 11 TD's and 16 interceptions

Romo, is well, Romo - inconsistent and still making mistakes in crunch time (I say this despite the fact that I own him in my Fantasy league in which I am in first place).

Robert Griffin III has been a disappointment. Some of it due to coming back too early after an injury and due also to the fact that, in my opinion, he just isn't as good as people think. It is a well known fact that it takes D-Coordinators a year to figure something out and it seems like some teams have figured out how to defend guys like Griffin and Kaepernick, just as they did with Cam Newton last year. This isn't college where you may know how to defend a team like Oregon, but you just don't have the athletes to match up to the speed of the offense. This is the NFL and, more than likely, everybody can run. As a side note, I was watching how those DE's from Carolina played and defended against Kaepernick on Sunday and you begin to realize how special the NFL is with respects to size and speed.

Michael Vick started off hot and it looked like he and the Eagles offense were on it's way to setting every offensive statistical record the NFL has. Well, those smart D-Coordinators figured it out and they played some teams with some very good defenders and they struggled a little. They have picked up their offensive play recently with Nick Foles but their offense just doesn't scare anyone like it did after that first week.

I would like to believe that the league, in general, is so competitive that there are a bunch of 5-5 and 4-6 temas because everyone is just beating the crap out of each other and the NFL motto of, "Any Given Sunday' has never been more accurate. But in the end, there has been some Gawd-Awful teams, some extremely bad QB'ing and just awful fundamentals.

In the end, there are just a few Alpha's playing and when you really narrow it down, maybe only 1. With this said, here is Uncle B's NFL top 10

1. Seattle Seahawks 9-1 - The true Alpha. A very aggressive D, a good QB on the rise, and the most ugliest running back ever, This is a team that can travel and play with anyone and under any circumstances. But the thing about this team, is how much fun they have while playing. Pete Carroll really has this team believing that they are the team to beat. All of their wins will not be pretty but in the end, they will force their will on their opposition. Heaven forbid that the NFC runs through Seattle - You can pencil them in to represent the NFC in February.

2. Denver 8-1. I was mocked by my buddy Brien after I choose Peyton "the Sheriff' Manning in the first round of our Fantasy draft. Well guess who is laughing now? Peyton is surrounded by a plethora of skilled talent on offense and they can ring up points at will. The problem is that skill positions alone will not make for a championship. Denver's O-Line must improve. Whenever Denver faces a defense with a good pass rusher(s) they struggle offensively - check the Indy game. This weeks game against KC will see how well this line has progressed since their loss to Indy where Peyton was hurried and harassed regularly.

3. Kansas City 9-0. The only undefeated team left in the NFL, but I place them 3rd. Why? Two words: Alex Smith. I think Smith is a serviceable QB, but I just do not trust him. The KC defense can be menacing and they have good special teams but for some reason Alex Smith in the pilots seat doesn't sit well with me. Obviously, we will have a clearer view of KC after this weeks game. The thing to watch is whether Andy Reid reverts back to being the throw first, run later coach he has exhibited in big games, or will he lean on that running game to balance out a weak passing game.

4. New Orleans 7-2. 40 First downs? WTF. That's insane, but that is what Drew Brees is capable of - IN THE CONFINES OF THE SUPER DOME. The Saints are much improved on defense and carry a very different type of swagger in to games now, BUT, can we trust this defense to make stops, especially against the run, in a tight game, on the road, when the offense is struggling,. in the playoffs? That the first issue with the Saints. The second is, will Sean Payton try to force Brees to win a playoff game when the offensive rythem is off? The two losses this year came when the Saints could not score 35 points and go up and down the field at will and could not get a running game going when needed. Sunday night was a huge step in the right direction.

5. New England 7-2. Though they beat the Saints in Foxborough, I am still not a believer in this years Patriots. The only thing I do know about the Pats, is that they have, in my mind, one of the greatest coaches ever and they will get progressively better as the year goes on. How much better i don't know.

6. San Francisco 6-3. the 49ers three losses have come against some of the NFL's so-called elite ( Seattle (Alpha), Indy and Carolina) which they shouldn't be ashamed of. The problem is that two of those losses have come at home. And in those three losses, the 49ers offense has scored just 19 points TOTAL. That's 6 points a game. This is a team who wants to put the game in their QB's hand more, but what they must realize is that the thing that made Kaepernick a star was the running game. They must get back to their hard nosed running game with Frank Gore to get themselves back on track - nothing like the New Orleans Saints defense to jumpstart your rushing attack.

7. Detroit 6-3. This is the point we start getting to the average good teams and where best to start than Detroit. Obviously having Mega-Tron as your star will always make your offense deadly, and Matthew Stafford is leading the NFL's 3rd ranked passing offense. By throwing in a healthy Reggie Bush, this offense can be as explosive as any. Obviously the issue isn't with the offense, but with their horrific 27th ranked pass defense which has been torched all year. In order to compete with the top 5, they will definitely have to tighten this up.

8. Cincinnati 6-4. I'm a Marvin Lewis fan and want to see him succeed. The Bengals have one of the best defenses in the NFL (7th vs the Pass & 9th vs the run). They even boast on of the best up & coming QB's in andy Dalton and maybe the 2nd best NFL receiver in A.J Green. So what's the issue? They do not close temas out. They have lost the last two games in overtime and almost lost another against the lowly Bills in overtime. That's three overtime games which tell me either they are not finishing teams out or playing lax at the beginning of a game and playing catch up. They have lost four games by a total of 19 points. Though they are not elite, they could easily be 8-2 with some momentum, instead of 6-4 heading in to a division game against the Browns who physically beat them down earlier this year.

9. Carolina 6-3. After a 1-3 start, the Panthers have reeled off 5 straight wins while scoring 30 plus points in all but one of them. They went on the road, and physically beat the 49ers. In addition, during this streak, they have given up only 11 points a game. Obviously the Panthers go as Cam Newton goes and he has been very good during this winning streak by completing 67% of his passes while tossing 7 TD's and 3 picks. If Newton can keep his mistakes to a minimum the Panthers will definitely be a handful to deal with.

10. Indianapolis 6-3. I can live with a good team taking an L. No team can win every game. I can even stand a good team taking an L to a lesser opponent. Those things happen. But the way they showed up, or didn't show up, against the Rams, at home, in a game that would keep them in prime position to get that #2 seed in the AFC and a bye, was disturbing.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Let the dawgs loose Gregg

Since the news broke last Friday about the Saints and the 'so-called' bounty program, I've just been sitting back, gathering thoughts and listening what both former players and those who have very little understanding of the workings of professional sports - WHICH IS MOST OF THE MEDIA. I've listened to call-in shows and watched media do interviews on the street with fans. Now it's time for me to say a few words on the issue.

First of all, let me be transparent: I am a Saints fan and also have played football on a high level. I am in my 40's so my perspective is going to be a little different from this soft world we live in. Now, with that said, I will try to be as unbiased as possible in my thoughts regarding this issue.

First let me get this out the way, I hate the word bounty. Sounds very sinister and governmental. In addition, if you want to look at the true meaning of the word, it can mean to kill. That's pretty brutal and cold hearted.  I will talk a little more about the nature of football....or what it used to be shortly. For now, I will call it a 'Pain Program'. I will venture to say that 100% of this pain money was not for the intention to severely injure, or end another players career. Even the Oakland Raiders of the 70's and 80's didn't look to take another player out for their career. As much as people would like to believe that Jack Tatum intended to paralyze Darryl Stingley on that infamous hit few people have actually seen, the hit was legal and within the rules. Also, let me make this clear, IT WAS JACK TATUM'S JOB TO MAKE A RECEIVER PAY FOR COMING ACROSS THE MIDDLE TO CATCH A PASS.

In fact, as the story goes., Al Davis drafted Tatum for that specific reason. Al was said to be disgusted by teams in his division running and completing 20-25 yard deep in routes. Well, Jack put an end to that real quick. You ran that route at your own risk against the Raiders. Were there instances of the Raiders playing dirty? Yes!. The NFL even changed the rules due to a lot of the their style of play in order to penalize dirty play.

 A clean hit paralyzed Stingly. It's the cost of playing

What was not changed was that Football, AT EVERY LEVEL, is about ENFORCING YOUR WILL on another player until you totally break their will. Hitting them extremely hard until either they are too soft physically to play anymore or they stay in the game, but are too mentally weak and they hide from the physical nature of the game. That's football in its simplest form, from Pop Warner to the NFL.

Pop Warner ally drill. Players learn early to inflict pain
 You want your opponent to leave the field both physically and mentally humiliated. Remember the old line from Denzel in Remember the Titans when he yelled, 'make sure they always remember the night they played the Titans'. What do you think he was talking about? He even went as far to say that the opposing team better not get another first down. In order for that to happen, a team must be in a total 'fly around the football', disregard for their own bodies and most of all, disregard for the other team mentality. That means to physically abuse the other team. And if someone gets carted off in the process, IT'S PART OF THE GAME.

This is never good to see, but what are the odds of it hapenning

We were taught to tackle by running trough the ball carrier and we were taught to block by running through a defender. As a running back, we were taught to run through the tackler. If you are not in full speed mode in football you will get hurt, BUT also, you WILL hurt somebody in the process. As an ex free safety I looked up to Ronnie Lott and Dennis Smith as the guys who I wanted to emulate. They hit you hard so that you felt it and hit you hard enough, that your wind is just squirting out of you like air out of a balloon when squeezed. That flush hit. Heck yeah baby.

Needless to say, with the desire to knock the crap out of people comes joy. Let me take the media out of the situation and keep it to the players. When you get a big lick on a guy and he is laid flat out you look forward to seeing that in the film room the next day. The coach or player who has the clicker, keeps hitting rewind about 10 times before you watch the next play. Your teammates, who you are really playing for (sorry fans and media, players don't give a crap about you), jump up on the sidelines and congratulate you when you get that big hit. Some teams used to give out the big hit of the week award as long as it was clean. You would get a gift card to a restaurant or to a spa so that your wife./girlfriend could go. It's just how it works.


As a true player, you don't mind playing against good players but there are a few types of guys who get 'special attention' on the football field:

1. The prima donna QB. Always a target to get his butt spanked and abused when given a chance. With the rules basically placing the red, no-touch jersey on the QB,  if you can get to them, you try to drive them in to the ground with extreme force. And heaven forbid he throws a pic......oh my.

Definitely going after him with bad intentions

2. Scat-back running back. Think  of the Reggie Bush, pretty boy type. The back who is quick and fast and always seems to sneak out of bounce before you can get a good lick on them. Hey, it's not their fault they are quick, but he will definitely be a target  on the field.

3. The prima donna wide out. The Chad Johnson's and Terrell Owens' of the NFL are always targets to be  'taken out' or in players term, 'to shut them up'. League rules have now given these types of guys freedom to catch passes AND not be hit, that when a defender gets a chance to hit them, defenseless or not, they will run trough them when possible.

Players want to lay the wood to these two ladies

You don't think players want to be the one standing over Hines
 4. Any dirty player. How long have people been trying to take out Hines Ward. As we saw this year against Baltimore, someone has been waiting to give him the same medicine he's been dishing out. They knocked Hines silly in that game and every player on Baltimore's sideline cheered at the hit. It was vicious and legal.

The type of players mentioned above, will get talked about a lot leading up to a game by the opposition. No player wants to be embarrassed on the field and these guys know, especially now that every thing is reported in the media, what other players do. If a receiver likes to do the salsa after touchdowns, other players know it and they do not want to be the team that he does it on. What do you think the team talks about during the week? Dancing with him? And football isn't the only sport. You don't think there were pain contracts on MJ when he came in to the NBA? Ask him about the so-called Jordan Rules that the Detroit Pistons used back in the 80's and 90's. Do you think that it was a pure defensive strategy? All Chuck Daley probably said was, every time he goes to the basket make him pay. Is this monetary pay? Think again my friend. This was about inflicting Jordan with enough pain that he would become a jump shot player. If they break his nose or blacken his eye in the process.....oh well.

No 'bounty' here


I hate these idiots using the play for pay statement. It's the NFL, THEY ALREADY PLAY TO GET PAID. And they get paid well. Do you think $2,000 is going to make a difference to these guys. That's literally pocket cash to these guys. Even an undrafted rookie makes a minimum of $375,000. Do you think even he is driven by an extra couple of grand. Maybe start upping that to $10-20,000 and guys start really caring, but how big a game would that have to be for that type of money to be offered for a play. And trust me, that play would have to change the complexity of the entire game. An example of that is the hit Kurt Warner took when he played the Saint's during the playoffs during the 2009 season. That changed the game and yes, I hope some cash was dolled out. It was legal as heck and as much as I like Warner and respect him as a man of God, he shouldn't have thrown the pic, and most of all, he knows the rule with defenders after an interception which is to look for the QB or a dude like T.O to hopefully get a good hit on.

These guys don't get off on the money, it's the fact that they did what it took to get it: that's the high. What's the difference in that example and a manager going to a sales force and telling them if you guys hit this number we all will take off tomorrow, or if a sales guy brings in X amount of dollars, you get two days of 'free' vacation. No difference in my book shorty.

So as you can tell, I can care less that friendly bets or rewards were made for big hits and hitting a guy so hard that they leave the game. It happens with interceptions, fumbles, sacks, etc. It's done on every team,  and in every league that has a level of physicallity. What worries me is that the league is now suddenly all stunned and alarmed. Are you kidding me? Really? You had no idea that any of this was going on? It's just another way players feed off the fact that this is a physical game and it is feast or famine. As a football player from birth you learn certain rules: Keep your head on a swivel, don't stand around piles, play till the whistle is blown. There are many unwritten rules or laws that you must abide by in the NFL because if you don't, you will be taken out eventually. In addition, as a player, you know that if given the opportunity to get a big hit on you by the opposition, its lights out baby. Nothing personal. Just Business.

The league is definitely changing and not for the good. Yes, the protection of players will always be important but the commissioner has done a bad job of keeping the game of football what it stands for: FORCING YOUR WILL. What's next to destroy this game I don't know but it feels that we are heading towards flag football in the future.

Now that you know where I stand, I will give you the biggest disappointment, in my mind, of this whole Saint's issue: SOMEBODY RATTED.

That's the dude, not Gregg Williams, Sean Payton or any players, who should have his butt whipped. This person is not a whistle blower who uncovers something illegal like a embezzlement, or lying to a consumer, or child labor. This is a bitter dude who should have kept his mouth shut. Yes, NFL is a male fraternity and one of it's main rule is, 'what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room'. You don't go home running your mouth to your wife or girlfriends or especially the media about anything that happened in the locker room. I've seen an instance where a brother got his butt kicked for that transgression. Thats one of the things about the new breed of NFL players, or this whole generation in general, that is really bad, which is the need to let everyone know everything. Not everything needs to be shared with the public and this Pain Program was was one of them.

More disgusting is individuals like Coy Wire who feel the need to get their last 5 minutes of fame by plastering his face all over the national media telling his story. Also, others, like Steve Young, have chimed in about their total shock and disgust at the report. Pretty well expected from a QB. What I do like is how Brett Favre, a target of the so-called bounty, and Michael Vick, who both said they are ok with being targeted and that they know it's just part of the game.

Lastly, the media should be taken behind the woodshed for their coverage of the investigation and how they are comparing it to the spying that the Patriots did. Really? That conversation is for a different time.

Here is what I do know: Football, until they get out the flags and take off the pads, will always be a man's game and a game of physicality. Big men run full speed at each other. Some of them, like my old friend Howard Ballard, could separate the nastiness of the game from doing a job. But for others, its a game of busting somebody up. As long as there are Southern brothers playing, it always will be that type of game - you know I had to sneak that in.