Friday, August 19, 2011

Sports Q&A: NFL Mildly Burning Questions

By Jeffrey Boswell

Who would win a fight between Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan?

Apparently, Sanchez was hopping mad when Ryan came close to benching him last year after a string of subpar efforts. So mad, in fact, that Sanchez aired his feelings in the September issue of GQ (does that stand for Go Quietly) magazine, nearly 10 months after the near-benching.

As for a fight, it would be difficult to predict a winner. Ryan has a decided size advantage, while Sanchez could counter by using his good looks to "glamour" Ryan, a la a vampire on True Blood. However, in the "love-fest" that is the New York Jets, I'm pretty sure the two would end up having intercourse. That would be considered a draw, which makes sense, because neither Ryan nor Sanchez can win the big one.

Will the Titans pony up and make Chris Johnson the highest-paid running back in the NFL?

It's obvious Titans owner Bud Adams doesn't use his middle finger to write checks. The Titans have stated they are willing to make Johnson the highest-paid running back in the league. Johnson, perhaps, wants to be the highest-paid player in the league. Johnson deserves the former, and not the latter. The two sides should meet somewhere in the middle before Johnson runs away as fast as the fastest player in the league.

What type of impact will Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth have in New England?

If history is any indication, it will be the "Twitter And Quitter" show in Foxboro. Ochocinco's impact as of late has leaned more towards the social media arena, while Haynesworth's recent impact has merely been that of the footsteps of an overweight man hitting the ground with earthshaking force.

But Bill Belichick has a way with reclamation projects. Castaway players are much like his wardrobe — he takes used ones and makes them his own. Haynesworth and Ochocinco will be no different. Haynesworth passed his conditioning test on the first try, which is either a testament to Belichick's motivational abilities, or a testament to the simplicity of the Patriots' conditioning test. In any case, Haynesworth will be playing end in the New England defense, which should keep him fat and happy.

Ochocinco will be a reliable, if not a favorite, target of Tom Brady. His greatest contribution, however, may be in his loquaciousness, ready to offer witty sound bites and clever comebacks to the trash talk that is sure to come out of New York for what could very well be three games against the Jets. In addition, he should gain thousands of new followers on Twitter. Hopefully, Ochocinco's social media endeavors won't result in him falling on Belichick's 'Twit' list."

Browns quarterback Colt McCoy spent several days with Brett Favre in Mississippi during the lockout, learning the intricacies of the West Coast offense from the three-time NFL MVP. Was this a learning experience of a lifetime for young McCoy?

Absolutely. McCoy left Mississippi a more knowledgeable quarterback. Wisely, McCoy was careful not to overload his brain with information. Suffice it to say that he, like nearly everyone else, has had his fill of Favre.

But oh how the tables were turned. A person nearly half his age propositioned Favre, and not vice versa. Imagine McCoy's elation when Favre agreed to share with McCoy the wealth of knowledge and experience Favre has culled over his 20-year career. Imagine Favre's surprise when McCoy showed up and Favre realized that voice on the other end of the phone was a male. No matter what the situation, Favre just can't seem to say "no." After talking with McCoy, Favre's acceptance of McCoy's request was one text message to a 24-year-old for which Favre will definitely take responsibility. Favre's legendary generosity was again on display, as he showed McCoy more than most 24-year-old's could expect to see from a 41-year-old.

Can the Jets' Plaxico Burress recapture the form he displayed as a Giant before he spent 20 months in the slammer?

It's not often a player goes from the Giants to the Jets, so let's take a moment to appreciate the magnitude of Burress' situation. Okay, that was fun, and quick, unlike a 20-month stint in the hole. But Burress should be ready. This is his second New York to New York move; his first was going from the Giants to the Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, New York. So he's staying close to home, and Rome.

Burress will certainly be useful to the Jets cause, especially in red zone situations, but his age (34) and an already gimpy ankle make his durability questionable. He'll contribute, to the tune of 24 catches for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns, but his season will end in November due to a leg injury, albeit not of the self-inflicted type.

Will anything less than a Super Bowl win be considered a failure by the Philadelphia Eagles?

Yes. If Philly fails to at least make it to the Super Bowl, it won't be for lack of talent, it will be fatigue from hearing the words "team chemistry" much too often.

Of course, the Eagles are a Michael Vick pulled hamstring or bruised set of ribs from disaster. That disaster being Vince Young as the backup quarterback. Don't get me wrong, Young is a valuable addition to the Eagles as long as he's not forced into a starting scenario. Young's size and agility could make him useful in goal line situations. Vick will surely lead the Eagles offense into several goal line situations. That's when Young will come into play. As Vick heads to the bench on these occasions, Young enters to try a quarterback sneak. When that fails, he'll try a roll out to his right, and inevitably overthrow the tight end. That's when Vick will re-enter on third and goal to punch it in on a quarterback draw. It's a scenario that will be repeated often for the Eagles.

January 22, 2012. Mark that date on your calendar. That's when the streets of Philadelphia become awash in disgruntled and riotous Eagles fans after the Eagle fall to the Falcons in the NFC championship game.

Who will win the starting quarterback job in Carolina, Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen?

I'd like to answer by quoting Panthers coach Ron Rivera: "Do I have any other choices?"

No, you don't, Ron. Ironically, this is a quarterback battle that Jake Delhomme would actually have a chance of winning. Sadly, Delhomme is in Quarterback Limbo right now, which is the name of his sports bar in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Newton will get the starting job, but Clausen will perpetually be warming up on the Carolina sideline. Steve Smith goes eight games before his first reception of over 20 yards, and vents his frustration by punching former Panther Stephen Davis.

Eli Manning says he considers himself in the same class as Tom Brady. Is he right?

In an informal poll, nine of 10 NFL players didn't necessarily agree, but said they'd like some of what Manning is smoking.

Manning may believe he's in a class with Brady, but most people, particularly supermodels, disagree. Manning should strive to make more believable proclamations, like saying he's in the same class with Steve Grogan, or Norris Weese, or Philip Rivers (Manning was in the same class with Rivers, although Rivers will be sure to point out it was only a NFL draft class).

You have to admire Manning's confidence and belief in himself. But if you're going to make a statement, go big. He could have done that by claiming he's "in a class by himself." No one would be able to argue with that.

Where will the Dallas Cowboys finish in the NFC East?

According to Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, not first.

The NFL moved kickoffs from the 30- to the 35-yard line, a change designed to improve player safety by hopefully lessening the impact of high-speed collisions. What effects will the changes have on the game?

I guess we'll see fewer injuries. And practically every kickoff will result in a touchback, unless the Gramatica brothers, the Bahr brothers, and Gary Anderson suddenly return to the NFL.

On the plus side, fans' boredom during kickoffs will be allayed by an increase in touchdown kickoff returns of 108 yards or more.

Will James Harrison threaten to retire again from football?

No, Harrison will have no retirement plans, but he will guarantee that someone will "lay out" this year.

Who will adorn the cover of the Madden NFL 13?

Aaron Rodgers. However, if you look closely at the cover, you can see the image of Tim Tebow.

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