Video: Ray Lewis Hits Ahmard Hall, Knocks His Helmet Off

Ray Lewis may be 33 and in his 13th year as a pro, but there’s no doubt he hasn’t lost much over the years. As if you needed confirmation, Lewis sent a message with this bone-crushing hit on Ahmard Hall of the Titans in their playoff game. Fasten your seatbelt for this one:

It was like Hall ran into a brick wall on the play. Freakin Lewis can hit. The guy already destroyed Steelers rookie Rashard Mendenhall and knocked him out for the season earlier in the year and now he’s knocking Hall’s helmet off. Oh yeah, he’s still got it.

Video: Major Wright Major Hit on Manny Johnson in First Quarter

I’d like to say this hit set the tone for the game but that really wouldn’t be accurate considering it wasn’t much of a hard-hitting contest. Instead, I’ll just be satisfied to say this was probably the hardest hit of the game. Florida safety Major Wright displayed exquisite timing on this play when he crushed Oklahoma receiver Manny Johnson as soon as the ball was coming down. Let’s go to the video:

That was only like two minutes into the game. Other than that it was more of a cat and mouse type of thing rather than a physical football game since I would classify these teams as more finesse. Now if it were Jermaine Gresham on the receiving end of the hit, Oklahoma would have really been in trouble. How many plays did that guy come up with??

Brett Favre Only ‘Let Down Himself,’ Not His Jets Teammates

So Thomas Jones came out and spoke the truth about Brett Favre last week, saying in so many words that Favre should have been benched for stinking up the joint and killing the team with all his interceptions. Can’t argue with that, especially considering Favre was hurting the team by playing with his arm injury. Favre spoke with his local paper in Mississippi as is his usual offseason custom (maybe his way of giving back to the community), and decided to take the high road with Thomas Jones and the criticism. Sort of.

‘’As for as Thomas, I have not seen the comments,’’ Favre said. “To be honest, I am not worried about the comments, either. Was Thomas backed into a corner or in a bad mood when he said those things? I don’t know but ripping Thomas is not my nature.

“The bottom line is I didn’t play well in the final five games. It starts with me and it should. I am not ripping Thomas because that is not my nature. My expectations of myself are high and the only one that I let down was myself.’’

It’s that last line that troubles me. I understand he’s trying to deflect the criticism and make it seem like none of this talk bothers him — and it has to as long as he’s human — but you have to know that your play as a quarterback impacts the entire team. Heck, if anyone on a football team makes a mistake they’re letting the whole team down. That mentality by Favre confirms what I believed all along — that the Jets thing was about him — not the team. How can anyone look at the situation as anything but Favre letting his team down with his play?

Video: Tavaris Jackson Hit by Chris Clemons After Interception, Ouch

All I can say is good thing the Vikings have the rest of the year off so Tarvaris Jackson will have a chance to recover from this brutal hit. As if Chad Pennington didn’t already teach us why interceptions are bad, Jackson gives us another reason (turn down the volume):

Oh man, that’s really gotta hurt. He completely got decleated. He got lifted up like a foot in the air and slammed to the turf. My goodness was that brutal. The only thing worse than that hit was Jackson’s play all game. Sure, coming into a game in the 2nd half against the Lions defense when nobody has prepared for you is one thing. Lighting up Arizona when they’re taking the week off to celebrate a playoff berth has some meaning. The reality is Tarvaris Jackson cannot perform at a decent level on a consistent basis in this league. If Minnesota continues to run him out there at QB, they’re not going to be anything better than mediocre. It’s really too bad because both of their lines are great and so is their running game. Sad to see it all go to waste. Thanks to the Suave click of Tirico for the vid, via Ballhype.

I’d Hire Mike Shanahan in Two Seconds

Like many of you, I was shocked by the Mike Shanahan firing. I think it’s because of the strong association he has with the franchise; you just never expect a team to dump an icon like that. I understand the move and why Pat Bowlen wanted to make a change. The team hadn’t made the playoffs the past three years and was a .500 team. Worst of all, they became the first team in NFL history to blow a three game lead in the division with three games to play. Yes, I get all that and I understand how the Dolphins, Ravens, and Falcons proved turnarounds can happen overnight in the NFL. Still, I think you’ll have a hard time finding a finer coach in the NFL, one who can consistently deliver a more competitive team over the long haul than Mike Shanahan.

Even considering the collapse this season, are they forgetting that unexpected and impressive wins over the Jets and Falcons on the road put them in a position to clinch a playoff spot? Did the team not play well to get to that point? Furthermore, as I alluded to earlier, it’s the long term, consistent success that I believe shows the value of Shanahan and what makes him so good. In 14 seasons as the team’s head coach, they only had two losing season. Two. And those were of the 6 and 7 win variety — nothing totally embarrassing. Even when the team was rebuilding with a new quarterback — something that causes most coaches to have crappy seasons — the Broncos were not a bad team. Look at some of the longer tenured coaches around the league by comparison: Jeff Fisher had 4 and 5 win seasons after losing Steve McNair, Jon Gruden had 4 and 5 win seasons with the Bucs, and Jon Fox had three 7-win seasons.

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It’s Too Early to Count Out Tony Romo

I’ve heard a lot of criticism of Tony Romo the last few days and I understand where it’s coming from. The Cowboys were hyped up before the year began and brought in even more talent to an already talented team, acquiring Roy Williams mid-season. Despite a disappointing year, the Cowboys still could have made the playoffs by beating the Eagles on Sunday. Instead, they got thumped 44-6 with Tony Romo turning the ball over three times in an embarrassing loss. Much ado has been made lately about Romo’s December record, inability to step up in big games, and his tendency to turn the ball over. While Romo has disappointed in three of the final four games for the Cowboys, I still believe he is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the league who will get over the hump before long.

Let’s start with the pinkie injury. Take that away, the Cowboys beat the Rams and probably go 10-6 and make the playoffs. Still, given the injury, Romo threw for 26 touchdowns and nearly 3,500 yards in only 13 games, many of which he played despite injuries. Even after returning from the pinkie injury, he probably wasn’t 100%, and he got banged up pretty good against the Giants and Eagles to be sure. Secondly, this is only Romo’s second full season as a starting quarterback in the league. He’s still a young guy with a long career ahead of him. In his brief career he’s already shown a great ability to escape pass rushes and make plays, not to mention light up the scoreboard with tons of yardage and touchdowns (36 last year was a franchise record, 26 this year ain’t half bad). How many other quarterbacks in the league have done that the last two years? Not many.

Lastly, regarding this December choking nonsense, the guy plays in a tough division with some of the best defenses in football. Any quarterback will struggle against the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins defenses any time of year, let alone December when it’s hard for anyone to pass. Furthermore, the Cowboys had a hellish December this year playing four playoff teams including two on the road. Their December opponents of the Steelers, Giants, Ravens, and Eagles went a combined 44-18-1. That’s a tough path to the playoffs with defenses that would have made ANY quarterback in the NFL look bad. Yes, Romo threw costly picks against the Steelers and Ravens and fumbled too much against the Eagles, but the guy is still a good quarterback. Remember, Peyton Manning was a choker the first 8 or 9 years of his career, and Eli Manning was still looking awful as recently as November last year. I’m confident Romo will become a better caretaker of the football as he develops and that he’ll grow into a winner before long. Just wait.

Jets Choosing Favre Over Mangini?

So three more coaches were fired on Monday, further reinforcing the notion that there are two types of head coaches in the NFL: those who are fired and those who are going to be fired. Eric Mangini had a roller coaster ride going 10-6, 4-12, and now 9-7. The team seemed to peak in week 12 which is when they won their 5th straight game beating the Titans on the road. From there they went 1-4 to slip out of playoff contention, a span in which Brett Favre stunk up the joint with two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Favre also was playing with a bum shoulder and probably should have ceded the throne to Kellen Clemens if that were the case. While some players pledged their undying support for Mangini, others sang a different tune about the coaching:

“We’re out there busting our butts and (Favre) is turning the ball over,” said the player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his comments would be frowned upon by the organization. “You can’t win like that.

“We never got any rhythm on offense. Instead of us pounding the ball with TJ (Thomas Jones), we’re doing all of this other stuff. It’s not just me, a lot of guys weren’t happy with the play-calling. They (the coaches) were always catering to Favre instead of doing what we were built to do, which is run the ball.”

Let’s see, the Jets have used recent first round picks on two of their offensive lineman (D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold) and they signed Pro Bowl free agents Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, and Tony Richardson to bolster the blocking up front (T-Rich is a fullback). There’s a reason I took Thomas Jones in my fantasy league and that was it — with that line they could push people around. Maybe the coaches did screw up by leaving things up to Favre instead of pounding the ball more. It also seems like the Jets are making this move to entice Favre to return to the team. Maybe he didn’t fit in with Mangini and wanted a new coach to consider coming back. Or maybe, just maybe, the Jets want to enter the Bill Cowher sweepstakes.

(quote via FanHouse)