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Bob Holtzman Says Steelers Have Trick Play Planned Against Ravens

This is a first.  I’m not even sure where to start with this, so first I’ll just tell you the deal for those of you who haven’t caught wind of this bizarre story.  According to Pro Football Talk, Bob Holtzman of ESPN is reporting that the Steelers have a trick play up their sleeve for their game against the Ravens.  Pittsburgh would have to catch Baltimore in the right defense, but the play is said to involve a pass being thrown by someone other than Ben Roethlisberger.  The first name that comes to mind is Antwaan Randle El, but Holtzman said he would be involved in the play in some other way — not making the pass.

Who’s more of an idiot in this situation: Holtzman or the two players who supposedly told him about the play?  The players obviously didn’t expect Holtzman to go public with the information, so in a way it’s his fault for breaking their trust. Or did they?

We’re talking about a trick play.  Trick plays are intended to catch the opponent off guard, obviously.  Why would the players tell a member of the media about a play they’ve designed for their most important game of the year if they didn’t want it getting out?  What benefit would they get from doing so?  Are they just close friends with Holtzman and wanted to let a buddy in on some Xs and Os?

Maybe the Steelers want the Ravens thinking about it and getting paranoid, thus making them slightly less aggressive on defense.  I realize that’s a complete reach, but I just don’t understand why you would tell a reporter something like that if you had no motive.  Then again, I’m probably giving Player A and Player B too much credit.

Bart Scott Threatens Wes Welker’s Career

As a Patriots fan, the trash being talked this week has made this into the longest football week of my life.  There was a time when I thought the anticipation of two weeks off before the Super Bowl would kill me, but this is much worse.  I realize that writing posts like this fuels the fire in some small way, but this one was worth mentioning.

The NFL league office contacted all eight remaining playoff teams this week to tell them to tone down the trash talk.  Antonio Cromartie was probably at the center of that warning after his explicit comments about Tom Brady, but Jets linebacker Bart Scott can’t be too far behind.  When he was asked about Wes Welker’s clever foot commentary, Scott had a warning for the Patriots receiver.

I’ll tell you what,” Scott told Newsday on Friday. “Be very careful what you say about our coach. His [Welker's] days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that.”

There has to be a fine coming for that, right?  It’s not that I think players should be fined for trash talk, but in a league where players are fined for touching the quarterback or criticizing the official after a game you would think threatening a player’s career would result in a lighter wallet.  It probably won’t.  Sunday can’t come quickly enough.

Steve Spagnuolo Says Giants Held Back in 2007 Regular Season Finale vs Patriots

Current Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo recently told the New York Daily News the New York Giants intentionally pulled back their defensive playcalling against the Patriots during the final game of the regular season in 2007. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for that Giants team. However, Spagnuolo said the fact that the defensive scheme was scaled back does not mean the team did not play hard or want to win:

“You know, as much as we wanted to win that game – all of us did – and we played it to win it, we made a decision defensively we weren’t going to jeopardize trying to win the Tampa Bay game by throwing out our whole game plan in the 16th game of the season. So there was a little bit of a pullback there.”

The Patriots won that game, with the Giants — who led the NFL sacks that year with 53 — only sacking Tom Brady once and giving up 356 yards passing. Despite the loss, the game seemed to serve as a catalyst for New York’s playoff and eventual Super Bowl run. Now it appears that maybe the contrast in defensive play calling between that game and the Super Bowl was what allowed the Giants to sack Brady five times in their Super Bowl victory. Though quarterback Eli Manning was named MVP of the game, anyone who watched knows the defensive line should have won the award collectively. And it looks like the sly behavior of the Giants coaches paid off.

Reggie Jackson on Jets Trash Talk: Shut Up and Play Football

The New York Jets talk more trash than arguably any football team in history. That’s their style. Whether it works or not remains to be seen, but it certainly annoys plenty of people. I’m sure it bothers their opponents, but we don’t really have a large enough sample size to determine if that helps or hurts the Jets on Sundays.

One thing is for sure — at least one New York Yankee legend has had enough it. Reggie Jackson has never been afraid to speak his mind, as we’ve shown you in the past, but he was speaking for a lot of people when he ripped the Jets Thursday on 1050 ESPN Radio.

What are you talking about? What are you doing? Shut up, play football,” Jackson told 1050 ESPN Radio. “What are you talking about [Patriots coach] Bill Belichick and these people for? Spend your time looking at film, spend your time knocking down a pass. What are you doing? You’re not affecting Brady; you’re wasting time.”

“Go look at the hardware, dude. Walk through the lobby up there and look at the stuff that’s there,” Jackson said. “You don’t have that, you don’t have anything close to that. You might want to shut up, you might learn something. Read, you might figure something out. Watch film, you might get educated. If not, you have a chance to get embarrassed on Sunday. I hope you don’t, because I like the Jets.”

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Foot Bowl: Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick, Doc and Del Playoff Picks


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JETS AT PATRIOTS, SUN 4:30PM ET, CBS

Doc’s Pick: Not even the finest trash talking and distractions from Rex Ryan will be able to save the Jets in this one. This won’t be a repeat of the 45-3 drubbing week 13, but the Pats are undefeated at home this year, playing stellar ball, and extremely focused. New York’s defense looked good against Indy and should be able to keep New England in check somewhat, but they won’t be able to keep up with the Pats who have scored at least 31 points in each of their past eight games. Patriots 27 Jets 20

Del’s Pick: I have no idea what the Jets think they have to gain by insulting Tom Brady all week, but we’ll see on Sunday.  If Brady has normal human emotions, he has to feel disrespected.  That might spell trouble for the Jets.  Like the Doc, I don’t see this being another blowout.  The Jets will try to keep Brady off the field and control the clock by establishing the run early.  That will also help them keep Mark Sanchez away from trouble.  On the flip side, New England will look to speed up the tempo and jump out to an early lead, forcing Mark Sanchez to beat them.  It would be tough to imagine New York beating a pissed off Tom Brady in Foxboro. Patriots 28 Jets 14

PACKERS AT FALCONS, SAT 8:00PM ET, FOX

Doc’s Pick: Another rematch, the Falcons got the better end of things in the week 12 meeting in Atlanta, winning 20-17. I know the Falcons are the top seed and that Matt Ryan has only lost twice at home in his career, but that doesn’t matter to me. Did you see this team Monday night against the Saints? Despite all their big names on offense, this team has not been moving the ball with ease. They’ve gotten turnovers on defense, as well as special teams and defensive scores in order to win games and blow opponents out, but their offense has been quite ordinary. They’ll struggle against Green Bay’s excellent defense. Contarily, the Packers’ offense looked great against Philadelphia. Mix in Green Bay’s newly found rushing attack, and they’ve become the team to beat. I picked Green Bay the first time these teams met and I think they’ll get it done this time. Packers 23 Falcons 17

Del’s Pick: Del picked the Packers as his NFC Champion before the season began, and at the moment there isn’t any need to go back on that prediction.  That being said, this will be the toughest test for Green Bay on their road to Dallas.  A few unfortunate plays resulted in the Packers losing 20-17 at the Georgia Dome week 12, but Green Bay could have easily won that game.  These two teams are matched pretty evenly on offense, but the Packers have the edge on defense with their stingy secondary.  If James Starks can run the ball the way he did against Philadelphia and off-set Michael “The Burner” Turner, Green Bay will be at a huge advantage.  A big play by Charles Woodson and the Packers secondary will be the difference in this one.
Packers 24 Falcons 21

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Wes Welker Makes Fun Of Rex Ryan’s Foot Fetish in Genius Fashion (Video)

This Rex Ryan foot fetish thing just can’t seem to get old.  Why should it?  When one of the most obnoxious figures in football has something this messed up in his personal life, we should all take time out of our days to have fun with it.  Wes Welker certainly did.  To the untrained ear, Welker’s press conference on Tuesday may have sounded like your typical boring Patriots Q&A.  The more alert listener was able to have a little more fun with it.  Check out the Wes Welker feet video:

Don’t even try to argue that people are reading too far into this.  There’s just no possible way that’s a coincidence.  No one uses that many foot cliches to talk about football.  People who can’t remember the names of their children come right out and say “f*** him.”  Those who have half a brain find a clever way to take a crap on the opponent.  Bravo, Wes.

UPDATE: Bill Belichick benched Welker for the start of the playoff game between the teams, likely because of this press conference.

Video: My Fox Boston on YouTube.

Kyle Turley: I Heard Dan Marino Got High Before Games

Former NFL lineman and first-round pick Kyle Turley was making the radio rounds on Thursday to promote a party he’s co-hosting at the Super Bowl on behalf of Gridiron Greats. The outspoken hot head already made headlines earlier in the day for ripping Brady Hoke who left Turley’s alma mater (San Diego State) to go coach at Michigan. That interview on XX Sports in San Diego had nothing on the interview he did with the Dan LeBatard Show on 790 the Ticket in Miami, as I learned via Steve Cofield.

Because Turley was promoting a Gridiron Greats party, he was asked about his partying habits. The conversation turned into one about weed, and one of the hosts asked Turley semi-jokingly, “Did you ever roll some [weed] before a game?” His answer blew the toupees off the old folks’ heads in South Florida:

“No, I never got the balls enough to do that. I heard Dan Marino did, down there in Miami. That’s a rumor, but I don’t know — you’d have to ask Danny. All those old pictures of him and his old hair, I wouldn’t pass it by him.”

Naturally the hosts were shocked, so they followed up asking for more details.

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