Jets Trying Joe McKnight as Emergency Defensive Back

Joe McKnight’s career path has been far from what anyone could have expected. Recruited out of high school in Louisiana, McKnight was billed as “the next Reggie Bush.” He came to USC and never emerged from a talented, crowded backfield in Southern California. After a controversy over an SUV (which sources told LBS did in fact belong to his girlfriend), McKnight decided to leave school early for the pros. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Jets and has only seen carries in one game, back in week four against the Bills.

The subject of ridicule during HBO’s Hard Knocks training camp show, McKnight is now finding action as a defensive back. Coach Rex Ryan says McKnight has been working as a corner back — a position in which he excelled during high school — and that he will likely serve as an emergency, number five DB on Sunday. Ryan further boosted McKnight’s ego saying the rookie is “ready to explode” as a running back. Nothing like instilling some confidence in a young player. I don’t know about you, but I’m really hoping we get a chance to see McKnight play on the other end.

Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images

If the Vikings Lose Sunday, Will Brett Favre Finally Retire?

On Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers will face off for the second time this season in what is normally one of the most intense games of the NFL season. With a record of 3-6, the Vikings are playing partially to remain in the hunt, but mainly to salvage some pride from the remainder of the season. The Packers are obviously the superior team and will likely still be playing in January while the men in purple have gone home.

One man who may have more on the line this Sunday than anyone else is none other than Brett Favre. I hate to make a big deal out of Favre — consdidering he does a phenomenal job of that himself — but the reality is this could be his last NFL start.  Brett already said he plans to retire after the season, but he may not wait that long if Minnesota gets romped on Sunday.  Changes will need to be made within the Vikings organization, and head coach and quarterback would be logical areas to begin the transition.

It’s no secret this season has been the most hectic for No. 4.  Favre normally craves the spotlight, but I’m not sure he enjoys it in the form of sexual harassment allegations.  He’s “battled” numerous injuries over the course of the season.  I used quotations because even an orthopedist has accused Favre of milking his injuries.  There have now been rumblings of a shoulder injury headed into this weekend’s match-up.  Favre’s shoulder may actually be injured.  It may also be the perfect out if Minnesota loses and Tavaris Jackson takes over the quarterback duties.

If the Vikings fall to 3-7, Brad Childress could be fired and Favre could be benched.  From all we’ve come to know about him, do you really think Old Man Brett is going to leave the game of football on someone else’s terms, or as a backup quarterback?  Sunday could finally be end.

Miami Dolphins Home-Road Mythology

It really bugs me when I hear people call the Miami Dolphins a good road team and a bad home team. The Dolphins are 5-5 after getting shutout at home by the Bears on Thursday night 16-0. They’re now 1-4 at home but 4-1 on the road. That makes them a great road team and a bad home team, right? Wrong.

Myth: Because they’re 4-1 on the road, the Dolphins are a good road team.
Fact: The Dolphins’ easiest opponents happened to be road games. They’ve faced Buffalo, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Baltimore on the road. The teams they beat have a combined record of 12-24 while Baltimore (their lone road loss) is 6-3. The one good road win they had was at Green Bay, and it was the first week after the Packers lost several players to injuries (including Clay Matthews who missed the game).

Myth: Because they’re 1-4 at home, the Dolphins are a bad home team.
Fact: The Dolphins have faced some of the best teams in the league at home. They lost to the Jets on a Sunday night game, the Patriots on a Monday night game, the Steelers on a bad call, and the Bears on Thursday night. Those teams are all at least 6-3 and have a combined record of 27-10. Even their only home win came against the 5-4 Titans.

The reality is Miami is a solid team in the middle of the league. They’re good enough to hang with the best teams in the league but rarely beat them. They’re good enough to beat the more inferior competition and not play down to their opponents. Unfortunately they’ve had a difficult schedule, getting matched up with six teams that are at least 6-3. Now that’s some bad luck.

TGI Friday’s NFL Weekend Preview: Indianpolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

This series is brought to you by TGI Friday’s, where every Sunday means Food, Fun, & Football! Hut, hut, hut!

Why Should I Watch?

Patriots-Colts is really a match-up that needs no introduction, but we’ll give you one anyway. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady meet once again, with Manning having gotten the better of the Patriots in five out of the last six meetings. At the beginning of the decade, Bill Belichick owned Manning and the Colts. Indianapolis has completely turned that around and won more head-to-head games, playoff games, and championships than New England over the last four years. The two teams find themselves in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC. What else is new?

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Matt Millen Calls Rod Marinelli ‘One of the Best Coaches I Have Ever Been Around’

One of the biggest mysteries in the sports media world is how Matt Millen continues to get prime broadcasting jobs. Millen is the worst GM in the history of the NFL, having presided over the only 0-16 season in league history. The Detroit Lions went a pathetic 34-81 under his watch, absolutely destroying his credibility. Even if he’s smooth on air, how can anyone buy into what he says? It’s already been proven that his opinion is meaningless.

Maybe we’d leave the guy alone because we all know his opinion doesn’t mean squat, but when he has to insult our intelligence he’s asking for our fury. For instance, if you’re Matt Millen, interrupting the telecast to speak glowingly about Rod Marinelli is just not a good idea. Marinelli is the current defensive coordinator of the Bears and the former head coach of the Lions. He coached the only 0-16 team in league history. And here is what Millen said about him during the second quarter Thursday night:

“That guy right there is one of the best coaches I have ever been around. That’s Rod Marinelli, the defensive coordinator. Why is he so good? He is a phenomenal teacher. He makes sure everybody knows exactly what they do, learns how they learn, and then teaches it to each individual. And he’s a stud in terms of coaching his coaches.”

Man, everything he described would embody a fantastic coach. But how good can Marinelli be if his team never won a game in 2008 and they went 10-38 during his three-year tenure? That’s what makes the statement so laughable. Millen, we saw for ourselves how bad Marinelli is as a coach. If he were so good, his team wouldn’t have gone 0-16. That Millen still calls him one of the best coaches he’s ever been around serves to further confirm what we already knew: Millen has horrible judgment as an evaluator.

Carolina Panthers Announce Brian St. Pierre Will Start vs. Ravens Over Tony Pike

Back in 2007, the Carolina Panthers had so many injuries at quarterback they had to bring in then 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde to play quarterback for them. Testaverde wound up starting six games for them, going 2-4 as the team finished 7-9. Three years later, the Panthers have been forced to pick someone up off the streets to play quarterback because of injuries. Only this guy has far, far less experience than Testaverde.

Panthers coach John Fox announced Thursday morning Brian St. Pierre will start at quarterback Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. That’s the same Brian St. Pierre who was unemployed two weeks ago. The same Brian St. Pierre who has thrown just five career passes in the NFL. The man over whom St. Pierre was picked to start, rookie Tony Pike, has thrown more than double the passes in the NFL St. Pierre has — 12 all in week nine against the Saints.

The times we’ve pointed out when a team was stretching with the quarterback it elected to start in a game, the team lost badly. That list includes Todd Bauman for the Jags and Charlie Whitehurst for the Seahawks. Now we are literally talking about a guy off the street coming in to start at quarterback for the Panthers against the Ravens. I don’t know about you, but I’m talking Baltimore and laying the points.

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 11

1. New England Patriots (7-2, +3)

We didn’t want to drop the Pats too far down the list after their loss to the Browns, assuming it was a hiccup. They proved it was nothing but by going into Heinz Field and dominating the Steelers. Tom Brady picked a great time to have his best game of the year and their young defense got after Ben Roethlisberger.

2. New York Jets (7-2, +3)

You could argue the Jets have barely squeaked by mediocre teams the past two weeks, but they’ve done it on the road and it’s safe to say the Browns aren’t what they used to be. Squeezing out back-to-back overtime wins on the road proves that Rex Ryan’s team has enough toughness to make a deep run.

3. Atlanta Falcons (7-2, +4)

There we go. The Falcons have finally grabbed a win that doesn’t leave room for any “yeah, but…” skeptics. One of Atlanta’s two losses was against the Steelers week one on the road. Other than that, they’ve won seven of their last eight. With the Giants losing to Dallas, they become the clear-cut NFC favorite.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (6-3, +5)

How are teams going to stop Michael Vick? He looks better now than he ever had in Atlanta and is emerging as an MVP candidate. Not only is Vick making plays with his legs, he’s standing in the pocket and throwing the ball downfield. He makes the Eagles the most dangerous offense in football.

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