Arian Foster and Michael Vick Improbable Player of the Month Award Winners

The NFL released its Player of the Month of September awards on Thursday. The winners from the AFC were Texans running back Arian Foster on offense, Colts defensive end Robert Mathis on defense, and Bengals kicker Mike Nugent on special teams. The NFC winners were Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on offense, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews on defense, and Saints kick returner Courtney Roby on special teams. It may be easy to see now, but if you think back a year or two ago, you’ll realize how improbable it is that Vick and Foster are the offensive players of the month for September in the NFL.

Arian Foster ran for a franchise record 231 yards in Houston’s season-opening win over the Colts. In addition to the impressive opener, Foster leads the NFL with 502 yards from scrimmage and it helped him become the second Houston player in franchise history to win the award.

What makes his story so improbable is that he was just an undrafted player out of Tennessee last year. Foster split carries with several backs for the Vols in 2008, including Montario Hardesty. He ran just a 4.7 40 yard dash and wound up undrafted, though some teams expressed interest. The Texans signed him to a two-year deal, placed him on their practice squad, then added him on the roster late in the year. Foster ended up with 54 carries last year, scoring three touchdowns. This year, he won the starting job and has dominated since week one.

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Aaron Rodgers Picked Up Enemy’s Restaurant Check in Chicago

Packers Cardinals FootballWe like to think that Karma pays off for people, but a good deed done by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers does not seem to have come back to him. Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa told ESPN 1000 in Chicago that he, fellow linebacker Nick Roach, and Bears tight end Desmond Clark were all out to dinner and waiting for a table the night before their Monday Night Football game. The gentlemen did not have a reservation and did not receive the celebrity/athlete treatment, so were stuck sitting around like everybody else. While they were waiting, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walked in with his family and got seated.

Pisa obviously wasn’t happy that an enemy player was getting better service than him in his own city, so he complained. They trio of Bears got seated and proceeded to have their dinner. They apparently forgot about the seating issue but Rodgers didn’t. When the Bears players went to pay for their check, they were informed that Rodgers had already picked it up.

I don’t know what that’s all about. I’m sure it wasn’t a Dez Bryant-sized bill, but was Rodgers just being a nice guy? Was he hoping Tinoisamoa and Roach would take it easy on him? Was he making up for the restaurant’s blunder? Or was he just hoping for a little Karma heading into the game? Whatever his motivation, it’s too bad the good gesture didn’t come back to him. I’m sure it will work itself out in week 17.

Is This the Year Bill Cowher Replaces Tom Coughlin as Giants Head Coach?

He’s been out of football for so long, I almost forgot that Bill Cowher was still available as potential head coaching candidate in the NFL. Two years ago Boomer Esiason predicted Cowher would join Scott Pioli in Kansas City. That didn’t happen and Todd Haley seems to have led a turnaround. Back in January, Jerome Bettis predicted Cowher would replace Tom Coughlin in New York. The Giants hung onto Coughlin despite an 8-8 season, allowing him a 7th season on the job. But with a 1-2 start this year, might 2010 be Coughlin’s last season in New York?

If the wheels completely fall off this year, the Giants could part ways with Coughlin. The Mara family is patient and Coughlin certainly bought himself the benefit of the doubt by winning the Super Bowl. However, the Giants got throttled by the Colts, have committed a league-worst 10 turnovers, and appeared undisciplined when they committed 11 penalties in a loss to Tennessee.

Tom Coughlin is Mr. Discipline when it comes to coaching so I believe he’ll get the Giants back on track. I believe he’s a very good coach and that the Giants’ problems are correctable. Still, given the Giants schedule, I don’t see them winning more than nine games, if that. Another 8-8 season appears likely for this bunch, and I don’t think Coughlin would be fired with another .500 finish. He probably will be given another season to show what he can do.

Apparently this will have an impact on Bill Cowher who may be on the sidelines for another season. Though the Carolina job could open up, Jerome Bettis repeated his thoughts that Cowher would want to coach the Giants. Bettis says Cowher would be intrigued by a rebuilding situation but that he would want a proven quarterback. I’d say Eli Manning fits that bill much better than Jimmy Clausen. The Bus still thinks Cowher is out for Coughlin’s job, but I don’t think it will happen this year. Looks like another year off for the Chin.

Nick Collins Fight with Fan Video Completely Overblown

The NFL is reviewing an incident that took place in Chicago following the Bears/Packers game on Monday night. Green Bay safety Nick Collins, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness late in the game, went off on a fan as he was exiting the playing field.

Collins started yelling at the fan and then threw his mouthpiece at the fan. The fan seemed to have instigated by leaning over the railing to heckle Collins, using racial slurs according to the Green Bay safety. Additionally, cameras show the fan gave him the middle finger. Sports by Brooks has video of the incident which was captured by WITI cameras at the game.

Obviously we all want players to ignore fans and keep their composure at all times, but I wouldn’t classify Collins’ behavior as very bad. Maybe a small fine to remind him not to mess with the fans is in order, but to call this anything more than a minor incident would be inaccurate.

I’m all for protecting fans and their rights, but buying a ticket to a game does not entitle one to act like a complete jerk and hooligan. Fans need to be held responsible for their behavior at games and what this fan did seems to be equally as bad, if not worse than Collins. The whole incident was completely overblown.

Dez Bryant Treats Cowboys Teammates to $54,896 Dinner

Good news for the Dallas Cowboys regarding rookie Dez Bryant: the wide receiver seems to have made nice with his teammates after refusing to carry Roy Williams’ shoulder pads during training camp this summer.  At the time we saw nothing wrong with Bryant’s refusal, considering Williams has been somewhat of a bum since coming to Dallas from Detroit.  In retrospect, maybe the rookie should have just carried the pads like all the other newbies.

If he had, he might be $54,896 richer today.  That’s right, according to ESPN Dallas Dez Bryant treated his teammates to a $54,896 dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.  The original plan was to treat only the offense to dinner, but apparently Williams took the liberty of inviting the defense.  Needless to say, the gang was all there and brought their appetites.

Players supposedly ordered everything on the menu and took a few bottles of wine to go.  The fact that someone can dish out that amount of money for a dinner and continue living their life is amazing to me.  You would think Bryant’s teammates would cut him a bit of a break and keep the total to — oh I don’t know — under $10,000?  Would that be unreasonable?

Note to all NFL rookies of the future: just carry the shoulder pads like Travis Ivey did and accept the bad haircuts.  It could be a lot worse.

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 4

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0, +3)

There’s no question right now that this is the top defense in the NFL. We said before that if they could survive and go 2-2 in Roethlisberger’s absence they’d be okay. If they can beat the Ravens next week, no one in the AFC will be in better shape.

2. Indianapolis Colts (2-1, +3)

Their week one loss is looking more and more like a minor speed bump. Denver is one of the tougher places to play in the NFL and they controlled the game once again. Consider them back on track after the Texans caught them off guard.

3. New York Jets (2-1, +6)

Two huge wins in a row for the Jets as they were both against AFC East rivals and both without Revis for the most part. Whether Braylon Edwards should or should not have played, he helped the Jets earn a huge victory.

4. Atlanta Falcons (2-1, +8)

They knocked off the defending champs and looked damn good doing it. Matt Ryan looks like he’s recovered from the sophomore slump and Michael Turner appears to be healthy again. They’ve only lost to the Steelers, and you know how we feel about them.

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Charlie Weis Delayed Gall Bladder Surgery to Coach Chiefs

Coaches typically don’t get recognition for working through pain on Sundays but Charlie Weis may be an exception. The Kansas City Star tells us that Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis coached on Sunday despite knowing he needed emergency gall bladder surgery for an infection.

Weis apparently was ill beginning on Friday but delayed the surgery so he could coach on Sunday. His decision, however painful, paid off.

The Chiefs had their biggest offensive output of the season posting 31 points. Weis even got creative in the game, going for a reverse pass out of the single wing formation where quarterback Matt Cassel was lined up as the flanker. The result was a 45-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe that gave Kansas City a 17-3 lead.

Though we bashed Weis for having poor seasons at Notre Dame which resulted in his firing, it was the Irish’s defense that was the problem, not the offense. We always felt that he was much better suited as an offensive coordinator than a head coach and that appears to be the case.

Luckily the gall bladder infection does not appear to be a serious medical issue. Weis for some reason has been a magnet of health problems. He had a brush with death following a gastric bypass surgery gone wrong, this gall bladder problem, and of course there was the time he tore his ACL on the sidelines for Notre Dame. Now that he’s no longer on the Irish’s sidelines, he’s a lot more likable. We’re definitely wishing him the best.