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Takeo Spikes: NFL Getting Carried Away With Fines for Defensive Players

I’m all for penalizing unnecessary roughness on the football field and discouraging late hits or helmet-to-helmet hits, but I believe the NFL has become too aggressive in doling out fines to defensive players. Take for instance the fine on Eric Smith of the Jets. Smith was just laying a normal hit on Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals, it just so happens that Boldin was severely injured on the play. No reason to fine Smith for the hit, but the NFL did. They’ve become fine-happy with guys like Hines Ward and have all but sent a message that players should think twice before delivering hard hits. At least that’s how 49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes said he felt when he was a guest on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio:

I think some of the fines have been kinda high as far as what’s been going on lately with defensive players. A lot of times when you go in to hit a quarterback or you’re going up to make a big hit on the receiver to try knock the ball away from him, as a defensive player you never want to think — you just want to react. That’s just the standard role of a defensive player. But now you find yourself doing that at times and that’s not good.

I completely agree with Spikes on the matter. They’ve made it so one-sided now where it seems like defensive players might be thinking twice about delivering hits because the NFL has made it clear they don’t want the play to get too rough. Aside from penalties, you know if you keep that motor going you could be facing some serious fines for delivering big hits. That’s not the way the league should be going. Only blatantly late hits, illegal hits, or helmet-to-helmet hits should be fined so as to maintain the integrity of the game and not compromise the mentality of defensive players.

Video: Mike Singletary Blows Up at Press Conference, Kicks Out Vernon Davis

It only took one game for me to learn something about Mike Singletary: I really like him as a head coach. It’s not for something stupid like his blowup/meltdown at the post-game press conference — it’s for standing up to a player and sending the message that the team is bigger than the player. This is a guy who has been there before and played the game the right way; he’s trying to pass that down to his team. This is honestly the way all locker rooms in all sports should be run (specifically the two-minute part of the video):

If you’re not sure what set this incident off (aside from San Francisco’s 2-6 record), it’s what transpired with Vernon Davis. Here’s what happened:

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An Injury to the Long Snapper the Difference in Giants/Steelers Game

It’s crazy to think that something seemingly so menial as a long snapper can be the difference in a football game, but that was the case for the Steelers and Giants on Sunday. Pittsburgh long snapper Greg Warren blew out his knee in the third quarter leaving the Steelers with few options for their punts. It was pretty much go for it on 4th down, or take your chances with the backup long snapper. And when I say backup long snapper, I’m not talking about a backup the way there’s a backup quarterback — with only 53 players on a game day roster, no team carries two long snappers. Linebacker James Harrison — who had never snapped before in a game — volunteered for the duties after fooling around with it during the past few training camps. The result was pretty brutal.

Harrison snapped the ball way over punter Mitch Berger’s head and out the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety. That tied the game at 14 in the 4th quarter and it also gave the ball back to the Giants with good field position. A few positive plays later, the Giants had the ball at the 2 and completed a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Kevin Boss to take the lead. At 14-12, the Steelers were in control of the game until that long snap doomed them. I still liked Mike Tomlin’s response to the question about the situation: Tomlin brushed aside the injury saying that they play with whatever they have and don’t make excuses. He also praised Harrison for stepping up and volunteering to assume the duties. Too bad something so small as an injury to their long snapper had to hinder their chances to win such a crucial game, but that is the life in the NFL.

Brett Favre Helping Opposing Teams Beat the Packers?

Look, holding the Packers hostage for about the past three years was pretty horrendous. Bitching that the organization didn’t pull off a trade for Randy Moss was not a good thing. Asking to come back and then demanding a trade is nuts. But spending hours on the phone with opposing teams that are getting set to face your former team — the Green Bay Packers — that’s almost unconscionable. That’s also the latest scoop from reliable information man, Jay Glazer. As he wrote on Sunday:

Several sources have told FOX Sports that Favre earlier this year phoned the Detroit Lions prior to their battle versus Favre’s old team, the Green Bay Packers, and gave them a rundown of the nuances of what Green Bay does on offense. According to the sources, Favre actually spent over an hour on the phone with Lions coaches, who were connected with Favre by then-team president Matt Millen.

Whattayouknow? Matt Millen was actually useful for something after all! Seriously though, if it’s true, that would be pretty pathetic on Favre’s part. It does appear as if he harbors some sort of animosity towards Packer management for their falling out, so I guess I wouldn’t be too shocked to hear it. And you know what, seems like Favre is quite the busy man on the phone anyway, so you can’t really discount this report. Good thing is though, whatever Favre is telling people doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference because the Packers are 4-3 without him. Green Bay 1, Brett Favre 0.

Kellen Winslow Is Not Happy with the Browns, GM Phil Savage

Though Kellen Winslow has quite the rocky past with the media, he has very little history here at LBS. Matter of fact, this might be a first in terms of mentions for K2. There was an easy opportunity I passed on last week when I chose not to get in the middle of Winslow’s “undisclosed illness” that caused him to miss the Monday night game against the Giants. I felt it was more important to respect K2’s privacy in the matter. Now Winslow has come out and explained he was sidelined by a staph infection which has been quite the killer in Cleveland. Staph infections have claimed seven players over the last four years, including a near-death situation for LeCharles Bentley. Winslow explained his frustration:

“A big reason I’m upset right now has to do with [the staph infection],” said Winslow. “I heard from Romeo Crennel and I heard from my position coach [Alfredo Roberts] when I was in the Clinic. I heard from my teammates. But I never heard from the main man — Phil Savage — and that really disappoints me. Sometimes I don’t even feel a part of this team.

“I feel I’ve done a lot for this team, played through a lot of pain and given it my all. I just thought there’d be a little more ‘how are you doing?’ by him.”

Winslow said he was so disgruntled that he held back from going T.O. or Ocho Cinco on the Browns. Furthermore, he restrained from requesting a trade from the team at the deadline. I admire all the pain K2 has played through and it does sound pretty inappropriate that Savage didn’t call him. Additionally, if Cleveland can’t get something as routine as medical care for its players down properly, I wouldn’t want to be around either. What the heck is their deal with those staph infections??

Video: Ike Hilliard Hit, Sandwiched by Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu, Ouch!

This hit on Ike Hilliard of the Buccaneers was so brutal it really makes you cringe. I really wonder if Jeff Garcia feels bad for putting Hilliard in such a bad situation. Even if it was the right throw to make, Garcia probably has some sorrow for the Hilliard family on that one. It’s like Hilliard ran into a cement wall. Check it out:

Probably something you missed while watching the Rays beat the Red Sox. Football is a brutal, brutal game. And in case you were wondering, both Ike Hilliard and Lofa Tatupu sustained concussions from the play. Not sure what happened with Hill, but it’s right up there with Hines Ward for hit of the week.

Hines Ward Hits Keith Rivers, Breaks His Jaw and Knocks Him Out for the Season

Hines Ward is notoriously one of the toughest players in the NFL. He’s been fined several times throughout his career for his brutal play, including an incident two weeks ago for unncessary roughness against the Ravens. Apparently the strain on his wallet hasn’t deterred him from bringing his physical play to the field. Check out this hit he delievered on Bengals rookie linebacker Keith Rivers that resulted in a broken jaw:

While there was nothing illegal about the hit, you can’t help but feel sorry for Rivers after taking that punishment. Lesson be learned: always go hard and stay on your toes when you’re occupying the same space as Hines Ward. Otherwise you’re going to wind up hurt.