Tag Archive: Ben Roethlisberger


By:  Raymond “Big Play” Miller

Follow Me @bprunsportsmenm

So while I was watching Peyton Manning, on Monday night, carve up Oakland’s D as if they were Florida International.  I took a look at his numbers so far this season 12tds, 0ints, almost 1,200 yds and a crazy QB rating and thought to myself “man how will Peyton blow it this time”.  If you think it sounds harsh tell me why?  Peyton has made defenses look softer than Charmin and made coverage look weaker than a Chad Pennington hail mary; yet, his playoff record leaves much to be desired at 9-11.  Big Ben and Eli have combined for 4 SB but yet are currently a combined 0-6, and both never seem to perform great in the regular season, which has to make Peyton just throw up sometimes.  So let’s see…  the Broncos go 13-3 or 14-2 and will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs right!  We already know that no starting QB has won a SB with two different teams.  So which scenario that we have seen before dooms Peyton this time:

1.  Weather: Peyton just can’t get a good grip on the ball, which makes him inaccurate, see the Ravens playoff game last year.

2.  Raheem Moore/Defensive Letdown: does what Raheem Moore does and reads a play, or reads a pass as well as Stevie Wonder reads books.

3.  Peyton blames someone: the O-Line on some communication issues (sorry Jeff Saturday), WR running poor or sloppy routes (sorry Reggie Wayne), Game plan was too conservative (Dungy, and Fox).

4.  Bad refereeing:  A few bad calls or no calls disrupt the offense or cost the team the victory (They won’t call holding every play, right Belichick).

Look Peyton is one of the best QB’s I’ve ever seen play the game, and will go down as the Greatest Regular Season QB f All-time.  Peyton is way to good to be so average in the playoffs, so we will sit back and enjoy this great regular season, because we know doom and gloom awaits in the Postseason.

Raymond "Big Play" Miller @bprunsportsmenm

Raymond “Big Play” Miller
@bprunsportsmenm

The Read Option is here to Stay!

By:  Jason”Big J” Allen

Follow me and tell me why and how the Read option is a Fluke @UnsportsmenBigJ

A lot has been made of this new NFL, the “Passing/QB” league.  Now the most important person to a franchise is the Quarterback.  Gone are the days of the high paid, highly essential Running Backs, now running backs are as good as the Quarterback throwing the ball.  Look at the recent trade of Trent Richardson, this trade would have never been made in the 90’s or even the early ’00’s.  With these new rule changes and extra attention/protection to the Quarterback and Wide Receiver position, a lot of college “gimmicky” offenses are popping up more and more.  From the Fun ‘n’ Gun, Spread HD, Wildcat, and the Read Option, some of these college concepts have staying power and others don’t, but I’m here to tell or convince you that the Read Option is here to stay!

First thing is my deciding what is considered successful or having staying power.  If a team running the Read Option doesn’t win a Super Bowl doesn’t mean that the Offense is not successful.  If the Read Option never breaks offensive records and numbers doesn’t make it a failure.  My idea of success and staying power is know if you can run this offense in majority of situations, or create a culture of this offense that can win a good number of games.  The Fun ‘n’ Gun is/was successful, it won a lot with Warren Moon at the helm.  The Wildcat didn’t win anything, but Ronnie Brown running over the Patriots.  When I see the read Option I see a staying power for many reasons and here are some:

1.  Biggest reason I see the continued use and success of the Read Option is because of the evolution of the Athletic Quarterback.  This is not going away and with the Read Option it gives the athletic QB the opportunity to utilize another part of their skill set.  Imagine Terrell Pryor without the read option.  You thought about?  Yes you are correct he wouldn’t be in the league (holla at Tebow… who should be in the league with this offense).  The Read Option makes game planning against a QB with an average arm harder because of the ability to create with their legs.  This also eliminates the keep them in the pocket and make them pass, because now your not putting pressure on the QB which allows him to pick you apart on the back end.

2.  The Read Option gives running backs a rejuvenated career, especially average or over the hill running backs.  It helps take mileage off of running backs, because backside hits or being slowed by DEs and OLBs staying home.  Also you can run this offense with unspectacular running backs and make them look good.  Which means you can use committee style backfields and still have a dynamic running game.  The Read Option creates running lanes, look at Shady McCoy in Philly, regardless of Vick’s issues McCoy has had huge holes to make plays.  It helps running backs with a good ability to cut back (Gore, Lynch, and even Mcgahee), because the DE again have to stay home and can’t over pursue which creates a hole on the back cut.

3.  The Read Option is here to stay because you can do EVERYTHING you normally do in a typical offense with it.  If you want to power run attack, just move to the pistol.  If you want to get the ball deep, you can run play action out of the Read Option.  Almost every type of Offensive scheme you run can be accomplished with a Read Option twist.  This is what makes this offense so dynamic, unlike other “gimmick” offenses, it just doesn’t have one way to run it.  Some run it from the Pistol (San Fran), some run it from the Shotgun (Seattle), some have run it under center (Washington, Oakland).  The Read Option is an organic offense that an wear many faces.  Making it hard to know exactly what a team is trying to execute.

A lot of people are comparing this offense to the Wildcat.  It is not the Wildcat that used non-QBs (Ronnie Brown) or QBs with huge flaws in their game (Pat White).  Some say once QBs get injured teams will stop running the offense.  As for that argument; we see QBs getting injured while in the pocket, and most QBs in the Read Option type offense are told to get down, out of bounds, or don’t take on defenders.  Ask defenders how much/often they hit Russell Wilson.  Yet QBs like Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Ben Rothlisberger don’t use the Read Option, but are some of the most hit and sacked QBs in the league.  While Wilson, Kaepernick, and RG III (for the record RG III didn’t get injured running the Read Option got injured running out of the pocket on a broken play) are not being sacked as often.  Look at RG III recently with him not running the Read Option, he has been getting pummeled.  Lastly the thought that once defenses catch up they will neutralize it.  Well defenses have caught up to the West Coast offense, but when ran properly with the right personnel, it is still extremely dangerous and effective.  So all the doubters relax, this offense is here to stay as long as QBs are running and athletic.

Follow me and tell me why and how the Read option is a Fluke @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By: Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow Me @UnsportsmenBigJ

The average fan hates it.  The purist will take something over nothing.  Some view it as a way to get a glimpse of how good or bad a team will be.  I on the other hand look at PRESEASON games as a way to get a Fantasy Football edge.  I know I could just pick a fantasy football book at the local news stand (wait do those still exist or is that only in Metropolis?), view any NFL covering website with a Fantasy Football section (I enjoy Matthew Berry as much as the next guy), or you can rely on Fantasy Furnace ( @fantasyfurnace ).  I just rather look at the games themselves and breakdown what I see and go from there, so here is my list of things to watch in the Preseason that can help your fantasy football team:

1.  “I’m the Juggernaut Bitch!” Offensive Line Play-  Can they protect?  Are they opening up holes?  I watch the Falcons and we know the right side of the line is easy prey for speed rushers.  If you can’t open holes or protect the precious cargo that is a NFL QB then skill position fantasy numbers will look bad.  See the terrible Jay Cutler numbers, even Josh Freeman line in Tampa is looking shaky.  Look at the back ups, if a starter goes down so will your star players value.  If the 2nd teamers are still producing holes and a solid pocket then your good.  Also check how they move on counters, traps, and screens.  If the line is not fast or athletic enough to win those battles they wont win them in the regular season.

2.  “Don’t Sweat the Technique”, but really you should QB Play-  Does your QB get happy feet in the pocket?  Does your QB throw inaccurate passes or seems to be confused by the offense?  Then your QB is suffering from “Not Going to be Gooditis”.  For QB’s weapons and comfort are paramount.  If the QB can’t make the throws and pick up vanilla blitz packages in the Preseason then what do you think will happen in the Season?  Also don’t let the stats fool you, what kind of throws did he complete to go 6-10 120 yards and a td.  One big completion could have been a WR screen, or a slant that the WR broke and took to the house versus a 2nd team defense.  Was his 4 incompletions  On deep outs, a bad miss on a easy post pattern, or flag route?  You have to see those for yourself.  Don’t believe me, find Blaine Gabberts Preseason tape of last year, he looked great and turned out horrible.  They simplified the offense in Preseason to raise his comfort level.  Vice versa check out how bad Andy Dalton looked in his first Preseason, but he looked bad because the Bengels were running THEIR offense so he struggled, but by the time of the Regular Season he became more and more comfortable.  So again be careful of great stat lines by QB’s

3.  “Got the Moves like Jagger” RB and the eye test-  I’m sure you have watched a game and said he should have cut that back.  Well if you can see that and the RB didn’t that is a lack of vision.  You want your RB to jump out of the screen at you in Preseason.  I will be the first to say that Lamar Miller has not impressed me at all.  I do like Giovani Bernard, he has moves and hands.  When the RB breaks through the first layer of defense is he making defenders miss, running through arm tackles, or just falling when first contact?  It’s a reason that Spiller is still going high even if the Bills O-line is so-so at best, its the wiggle!  He makes people miss.  Players like Eddie Lacy scare me because its a 3 yards and cloud of dust mentality, or the reverse is the Brandon Jacobs syndrome, big guy that doesn’t want to “HULK SMASH” but rather Dance.  Again look for yards after contact, and if one defender is constantly tackling them.  Also small things like how good are they with blitz pick up (bad blitz pick up is a quick way t get you benched see David Wilson, and Montee Ball), and pass catching.  A guy that can’t be used on 3rd downs is not someone I really want on my team, unless you get them late or their name is Marshawn Lynch.

4.  “Just give me the DAMN Ball”  WR/TE-  Separation and Chemistry is 1 and 2 for me.  Can this WR/TE get open and does the QB look for them.  Why is Calvin Johnson so Dominate?  Yes the size and speed help, but he can get open and Stafford loves him.  Even Fitz is enjoying that love so far from Palmer.  Now I hate getting a one trick pony WR (this is looking at you Mike Wallace, prove us wrong), he can only go deep or can only work if another player can stretch the field or pack people underneath.  I know people are hailing Rob Housler as a huge sleeper, but everything I see in Preseason is he can’t get separation.  You look at Jordan Cameron, all he is doing is catching passes with a defender trying to keep up.  Also a big part of separation is good solid route running, it’s great you caught 5 passes in Preseason against a 3rd or 4th stringer but what did you do against the starters?  Also if the QB is not looking your way then have a good day with a doughnut as your fantasy points.  We all love Brandon Pettigrew size and etc, but he doesn’t get open and Stafford doesn’t look his way as much as you think.  Same goes with Martellus Bennett early with the Bears.  Keep an eye on the Floyd, Roberts combo in Arizona and which one Palmer loves the most after Fitz.

5.  DEF/Kickers-  Only rule I have is don’t pick them before your last two rounds.  Let the fools do that, in Preseason I’m just looking for play makers on Special Teams or on defense.  Nothing special because you can rent a Def or Kicker every week.

6.  “Styles make fights” Coaching-  Keep up with Coordinator changes and system turn overs.  Norv Turner new coordinator for the Browns, don’t be surprised if Weeden looks impressive.  Vick could have a resurgence, and Bruce Arians will make one of the RBs in Arizona worth a play once in a while.  Big Ben and Haley are getting along, for now!  Reid will raise Charles value (last year Grandpa Crennel killed me with not getting Charles the ball), and just boost the Chiefs Offense.  Keep an eye on Fasano in that offense, Reid likes TE.

I know this will not make you turn into a Preseason DVR’ing fiend, or sit down in a dark basement with NFL Films music playing in the background and go over coaches tape in Preseason.  Hopefully this will give you something extra to enjoy about Preseason games.  So why not let the games that don’t count, count for YOU, toward your Fantasy Football team.

For really fantasy football help, you know the usual, Sleepers, Bust, Booms, and Rookie candidates check out Fantasy Furnace

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By: Jason “Big J” Allen, Follow Me @UnsportsmenBigJ

“Charges don’t stick to dude, he’s Teflon” Jay-Z “The Ruler’s Back” This is the NFL, John “Teflon Don” Gotti, nothing seems to effect the NFL image, EVER!  I have felt this way for a while but recently reading Joseph Haas (great follow too @JerseyHaas) Dings & Dents: The NFL Image Problem it made me think “Why can’t the NFL go the way of the MLB, and NBA image wise?”  What makes the NFL so untouchable?  At one time or another both the NBA, and MLB was considered untouchable, but boy how the mighty have fallen.  So what sets the NFL apart?  Why does the bad image never hurt the NFL?  One huge reason is the NFL is marketed as the “Ultimate TEAM SPORT!”

Let’s start with the NBA, during its heyday the talent was great and the technical part of the game was amazing.  Less athletes but you had more skill on the floor.  The first hurdle the NBA hit was a drug problem in the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s.   Say what you want about the David Stern, but he spent a whole career as a Commish cleaning up that image.  Luckily with emerge of Magic/Bird, and later MJ he had the great thought to promote “SuperStars”.  Yes, come one come all and see these extraordinary men play basketball.  The NBA is the most “Star studded” league out of the majors three, and that was by design.  Stern basically said look at how my league just produces stars you can follow from college up to the big leagues.  Well eventually that backfired with straight from high school jumps, which lowered the skill on the court, and the adding of more franchises (less is sometimes more).  Also the drug image got replaced eventually over time with the “Thug persona”.  Who could forgot players coming to the arena looking like rappers?  So you marketed a league around individual SuperStars and when the SuperStars were not as talented, or represented a certain aspect of the society that the masses couldn’t relate to, the league, got a bad rap (no pun).  Now the NBA is making every player go Justin Timberlake “Suit and Tie” and we are starting to see the NBA fashion atmosphere come straight from the runway to the Press Conference.  I’m not to keen on the 1 year rule the league has mandated I think it should be closer to the NFL with 3 years so we can see these players grow overseas, or in college.  Also with the Stars actually being talented, and LBJ taking the spotlight to lead the league we are seeing a revamped image similar to the dare I say MJ years.

MLB is the perfect example of duality in image.  The MLB loved its status of “America’s Pasttime”, it had stars, excitement, and history.  The thing that hurt the MLB saved it all at the same time.  It’s history and reliance on numbers.  The MLB is probably the slowest evolving sport, look at its stance on replay.  Look how it refuses to put a better product on TV.  You have officially divided your fans MLB, the younger generation looks at you like a dinosaur because of your lack of technology and advancements, while the older generation looks at your PED issue as the destruction of the beloved stats.  When you have a drug problem that enhances performance, which enhances stats, it hurts the history of a sport that is so numbers and history orientated to a mockery.  Right now as I write your Home Run King was a PED user, and the league lacks the guts to do anything about it, because that would be change and we know the MLB is slow to do that.  So for the foreseeable future whenever we see a player jump in stats we will ask questions of how legit it is (Please let Puig be the real thing).  The MLB is directly responsible for its image of cheaters and old geezers, because it turned its head during the early reports of PED use.  The MLB turns its nose up at tech that can make the game better, or at least help get the call right (Angel Hernandez anyone).  Now because of the image you have made part of your culture you have a generation of kids growing up in the “Steroid era/PED era” and we are starting to see an apathy when it comes to cheaters.  Now the MLB is cleaning house and trying to slowly introduce technology, but it maybe a little to late to reclaim the #1 spot in America’s heart.

Now I know the NFL has had 30 arrest since the end of the Super Bowl, and right now one of the NFL’s stars is going through a trial that is revealing more horrendous acts every day.  Yet the Shield takes a bump, and like a good blacksmith the league continues to smooth it out.  Because the NFL is promoted as a team sport, and a next man up mentality its hard to associate the league with the acts of individuals.  Yes, the NFL promotes stars, you have your Peyton Manning who had a million commercials and SNL appearances, but did we forget that just 2 years ago we had a league with no Peyton Manning in it, and we still watched.  Imagine if the NBA lost LBJ for a year, would YOU watch?  Probably not.  In the NFL numbers don’t matter only wins Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning have some of the worse regular season stats of QB’s but yet they sit with 2 rings each.  We don’t call them a bum, because they win.  MLB you can have nasty numbers but turn up in the postseason and all everyone will point to is your average regular season’s when it’s HOF time (Curt Schilling is still not in HOF yet he helped revive and lead two snake bitten franchises to a World Series Championship).  Hell the NFL touted out Replacement players in 1987 and even Replacement Refs in two separate occasions (Fail Mary, the Nation will never forget) and we still watched.  This is all because the NFL never rests its head on one gimmick to be marketable.  The NFL never forgets its past, but always tries to push the envelope into the future, all while reminding America this is a team sport and one player will never destroy that image, even if its been 30 so far.  The NFL has Stars, the NFL has Stats, and the NFL has a image that everyone can get behind “Teamwork”.  So when it comes to an image to quote Lebron James and Lil’ Wayne the NFL “Ain’t got no worries!”

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

By: Jason “Big J” Allen

Follow me @UnSportsMenBigJ

Super Bowl champs to the toilet bowl champs.  This is the sentiment from a lot of Raven’s fans and NFL Fandom as a whole.  Well not so fast, trust in Ozzie!  Yes, TRUST IN OZZIE NEWSOME.  He is one of the best Football minds in the league, especially when it comes to building a team.  Remember the Ravens we an expansion team…  Well sorta.  Since 1996 he has typically put together a competitive team.  Everyone jumping off the cliff about the Ravens is forgetting some key things like, time, the New NFL, and the division.

            Now Ozzie Newsome has been the VP/Football Operations, and GM since 1996.  In that time frame he has 2 Super Bowl rings.  So every 8.5 years he delivers on a Super Bowl, which means the organization trust him and will give him nothing but TIME to build a contender.  If you are not making moves to save your job every year you can take a chance on players and take your time developing talent.  Most coaches, players, and GM’s don’t have that luxury, so every decision Ozzie makes is with a Sniper Rifle, not a hand gun, or should I say he has the bird eye view of his team and future.

            Secondly we are forgetting that we are in a “New NFL”, what does that mean?  Dominate defense out the window.  The league is about bend but don’t break mentality now.  Look at the Super Bowl, everyone knew the Niners were a better team, arguably better defense and offense.  Yet the Niners lost, why? The Ravens got touchdowns while the Niners had turnovers or field goals.  The most critical point of the game the Ravens Defense bent, but didn’t break.  Or rather held and didn’t fall (I’m with Jim that was a hold on Crabtree), so why have high paid defensive players?  Pollard, Kruger, Reed, Lewis, and etc, with those players the Ravens ranked 17th in total defense and lets not forget the Giants won a Super Bowl with a terrible defense and faced a Patriots team that was in the bottom two of defense that year.

            In this New NFL, its all about offense and more importantly the Quarterback.  Now you hav looked up your QB for the future, and I know everyone thought that Flacco deal was no good or he didn’t earn that money, but just think for a second, who out there is better that the Ravens could get?  NO-BODY!  So you look him up for your future and let’s be honest Flacco numbers are comparable to Eli Manning’s, and Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers and we hold them in higher status, why, because of Super Bowl rings.  Now Flacco has one so now he is worth the money.  Also with this new NFL, the CBA has made it that if you sign a 1st round pick, they can’t, repeat CAN’T renegotiate until the end of their third year.  This means you get younger players that you can develop on a rookie pay scale for 3 years.  Even worse for 2nd round picks where you have to wait 4 years before you can talk contract, sorry Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.  This all means that you have time to build a team for the future because everyone you drafted now can’t sniff new money until 2016.  Add that on top of Ozzie having time and now locking up his most important offensive weapon, we are starting to equal a smart move to dump the older junk this year.

            Lastly if I haven’t sold you on everything else, the most important thing is the AFC North.  There is no real contender, so this was the best time to rebuild.  You have the same old Browns that have an offensive core the Richardson, Gordon, but questions surrounding Weeden.  So the Browns may not be a contender, then you look at the Steelers that are basically doing the same thing the Ravens are doing.  The Steelers are trying to get young in a hurry to compete.  Just like Ozzie, Tomlin (Steelers have only had 3 Head Coaches in their franchise history) has time and an organization that stands behind their people.  So basically your greatest rival is occupying the same space you are, you went and grabbed a ring while they were rebuilding and now your rebuilding so when they are back you will be back.  Then you have the Bengals, who have a young core, have playoff experience and are looking to take the next step next year.  You may have to concede the division to them this year, because they are a young team that has taken bumps and now are ready to go, basically what you are looking to be 2 seasons from now.  So let them win the division for the next year or two, and then the Ravens can return to contend.

            So Raven fans and the NFL slow down on counting the Ravens out or not realizing the bigger picture; Ozzie Newsome is setting this team and franchise up with future success.  We also have no guarantee that the Ravens won’t be good, you still have a good Ray Rice, an amazing Torrey Smith, consistent Dennis Pitta, you added Elvis Dumervil to go along with Terrell Suggs.  The Ravens drafted a safety in Matt Elam that everyone was high on to replace Ed Reed, Arthur Brown that might be a 2nd round steal ala Navarro Bowmen for 49ers, Brandon Williams has a great motor just needs to refine his technique, and John Simon is a rare talent that needs to better work against the run.  Also if Ozzie let Anquan Bolden go he must have a lot of trust or saw a ton of potential in Tandon Doss who didn’t play a down last year because of a sports hernia.  So trust in Ozzie Newsome and doubt him “Nevermore!”

Jason "Big J" Allen  @UnsportsmenBigJ

Jason “Big J” Allen
@UnsportsmenBigJ

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