On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Panthers 27-21. As we all know by now, the game was played under unthinkable circumstances following the horrifying murder/suicide by Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher just one day earlier. As details continue to emerge about the incident, and Belcher’s state of mind leading up to Saturday’s events, our hearts go out to the families of Belcher and his girlfriend, Kassandra Perkins. But most of all, our thoughts and prayers are with young Zoey Belcher, orphaned in the most tragic way imaginable at just 3 months old.
After the game, Chiefs QB Brady Quinn stepped up to the mic and delivered on of the more poignant statements we’ve heard yet about this whole situation. Quinn looks inward to ask what more he could have done to prevent this tragedy, and asks each of us to reflect on the bigger picture, and specifically how we relate to others in a social media-driven society.
It’s definitely worth a listen/read.
“What could I have done different? When you ask someone how they’re doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back ‘how are you doing’ are you really telling them the truth? We live in a society of social networks and Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine and stuff, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we’re more pre-occupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships we have in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually figure out if somebody is battling something deeper on the inside, than what they may be revealing on a day-to day basis.”
(Quinn speaks after Romeo Crennel declines to speak about what he witnessed in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday)
Throughout Sunday’s Chiefs-Ravens game, the hometown Kansas City fans booed quarterback Matt Cassel as they watched the Chiefs’ offense stumble toward a 9-6 loss. And with some good reason. Cassel threw for only 92 yards, with 2 interceptions and 2 lost fumbles, as the Chiefs fell to 1-4 on the year. Fans had come brandishing anti-Cassel signs, and at one point, a banner flew over Arrowhead Stadium that read: “WE DESERVE BETTER! FIRE PIOLI - BENCH CASSEL!”
Now, your run-of-the-mill booing and banner-flying is one thing. But during the 4th quarter, some Chiefs fans crossed the line of what most would consider good taste and sportsmanship by actually cheering when Cassel was knocked out of the game with a concussion after getting drilled by Haloti Ngata (VIDEO HERE).
After the game, Chiefs RT Eric Winston called out the Kansas City fans with a rant for the ages for what he called their “sickening” and “disgusting” behavior. It was an impassioned and eloquent statement by Winston, and is worth watching in its entirety (VIDEO BELOW) … but here are the money quotes (which is most of what he said):
“We are athletes, OK? We are athletes. We are not gladiators. This is not the Roman Coliseum. People pay their hard-earned money when they come in here and I believe they can boo, they can cheer and they can do whatever they want. Because I believe that. We are lucky to play this game. People … it’s hard economic times, and they still pay the money to do this.
“But when somebody gets hurt, there are long lasting ramifications to the game we play. Long lasting ramifications to the game we play. Alright? I’ve already kind of come to the understanding that I probably won’t live as long because I play this game and that’s OK, that’s a choice I’ve made and a choice all of us have made.
”But when you cheer, when you cheer somebody getting knocked out, I don’t care who it is, and it just so happened to be Matt Cassel — it’s sickening. It’s 100 percent sickening. I’ve never ever -and I’ve been in some rough times on some rough teams – I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life to play football than in that moment right there.
VIDEO OF WINSTON’S SPEECH AFTER THE JUMP
It was a busy Sunday in the NFL, with the New York Jets signing RB LaDanian Tomlinson, and the Cleveland Browns sending QB Brady Quinn to the Broncos for FB Peyton Hillis, 2 picks and a $5 footlong.
Tomlinson – the eighth leading rusher in NFL history – chose New York and Rex Ryan over joining Brett Favre in Minnesota, and believes that the Jets will give him a chance to contribute and win a championship. LDT (sorry, there’s only one LT in New York sports lore) will replace the recently-released Thomas Jones, and will back-up Shonne Green on the Jets depth chart.
Meanwhile, Mike Holmgren continues to clean house in Cleveland, trading former 1st round pick Quinn to Denver for a fullback and two late round picks. Ouch. In addition, the Browns traded another former 1st round pick – LB Kamerion Wembley – to the Raiders. Apparently Holmgren wants to start fresh, and thinks the duo of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are an improvement over the tag team of Quinn & Derek Anderson … we shall see. In the mean time, it’s back to the drawing board once again for Browns fans.
The video below is from 2007, but it suddenly became relevant again with the news that Browns QB Brady Quinn is dating Olympic Gymnast Alicia Sacramone.
You may remember Sacramone as the sassy, thickly built, silver-medal-winning gymnast who stole your heart Beijing 2008. I remember her from my dreams, and thanks to this video, from my nightmares:
TheDarkHorse has already said that Sacramone would automatically become the Browns 2nd best Linebacker. And if her sweet lovin’ had anything to do with Quinn’s 300-yd, 4-TD performance last week, Mangini had better get this girl a locker. They can use all the help they can get.
Since most of the nation had turned their attention elsewhere before the end of the Ravens/Browns MNF game (and who could blame them), you probably missed this one.
On the final play of the game, WR Josh Cribbs – perhaps the sole bright spot for Cleveland this year – was leveled by DE Dwan Edwards after pitching the ball on a hook-and-ladder play, and was taken to the hospital to be evaluated for a possible concussion. Cribbs was imnobilized on the field and carted off on a stretcher as a precautionary measure, but had all feeling in his extremities.
Here’s video of the play:
After the game, Ravens DE Trevor Pryce said the Browns shouldn’t have been running the play in the first place, with the game so far out of reach:
“Running a play like that when you’re down 16 — what are you trying to prove?” Pryce said. “I don’t understand it. I don’t want to say something like that, but heck, it’s the truth.
“Bad things happen when you do something like that. When people are running around like crazy, somebody’s going to get hurt. Dwan hit him because he had the ball. He didn’t try to hurt him. We prayed for Josh. I hope he’s OK. He’s a great player.”
Ummm … I’m pretty sure Cribbs didn’t have the ball anymore. In fact, he took 3 steps without it before getting crushed by Edwards. Some have even suggested that the hit may have been payback for an earlier play where Browns QB Brady Quinn went low at the knees of LB Terrell Suggs following an interception. Suggs did not return to the game, and the severity of his injury is not yet known. When asked if there was any retribution intended, Edwards said, “Absolutely not.”.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Cleveland, it turns out that the final play where Cribbs was hurt was set up by their fourth time out of the game. So the play should never have even happened. Yikes.
Now that T.O.’s leaked it to the world, we can put our magnifying glasses and fingerprint kits away and sit back and take in the glory of the Brady Quinn Era.
Quinn visited with the NFL Network this week to talk with Solomon Wilcox about play progression. It’s a good thing he’s got that down–checking off his first receiver may the norm this Sunday when his Browns host the Vikings. Cleveland is a horrendous 1-9 in season openers since returning to the league in 1999. To make things worse, each one of those games have been at home (their only win came in 2004, in a 20-3 content over the Ravens). There’s pressure on Eric Mangini to turn things around. As for Quinn, most of the Browns faithful have been calling for him to run the show since last season’s opening debacle vs. the Cowboys.
Time will tell if he lives up to the hype, but there’s no question he’s smarter than some of the other jokers they’ve put on the field.
Per beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini will not reveal his starting quarterback for Sunday’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
Cabot reports that Mangini will “tell the two quarterbacks in the ‘near future’ in separate conversations with each of them. He said he’ll explain to them why and how the decision was made. He said as a defensive coordinator, it’s difficult to prepare for an offense when the quarterback is unknown… He said he expects both quarterbacks to prepare as though they’re the starter.”
This is dangerous territory. We doubt the Minnesota Vikings are in awe of either quarterback. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson combined for one touchdown pass in the preseason–it’s not as if the Vikes are game planning for Joe Montana, only to discover, moments before kickoff, that Steve Young is starting.
The bigger concern for Cleveland is containing Adrian Peterson and finding a way to rush for more than 30 yards against Minnesota’s blistering defensive front. These head games equate to nothing, and Minnesota’s feathers are unruffled by this mystery.
As mentioned earlier today, we’ve been hearing chatter regarding a series of potential trades in the National Football League–including one that may permanently end the QB debate in Cleveland.
In the wake of the Cutler debacle, there was talk about Josh McDaniels pursuing a trade with the Browns for QB Brady Quinn. It never went down. Meanwhile, speculation about a Derek Anderson trade dates back to January 2008.
Tonight, on the eve of the 2009 season, the New England Patriots are without a solid backup for Tom Brady. With only two quarterbacks on the roster, something has to change.
There’s chatter all over the grid that Mangini’s decision to sit both Quinn and Anderson last night had a purpose: resting Quinn for the starting role in Week One, and positioning Anderson for a trade that will happen over the next 48 hours. People speculate that the Browns and Pats couldn’t be talking–the Belichick/Mangini feud would prevent that, right? Nonsense. If the deal makes sense for both coaches and both teams, the trigger will be pulled.
While Derek Anderson is far from perfect, he’s young with a cannon arm, and may appeal to Belichick in the same way Vinny Testaverde did in 1993, when Belichick made the decision to release Bernie Kosar, much to the horror of the entire city. (People forget that Vinny wasn’t even healthy when Bernie was cut, but he figured into the coach’s plans for 1994, and he helped lead the Browns to an 11-5 season and their most recent playoff win–over Bill Parcells and the Patriots, of all teams.)
People ripped on Vinny for his perceived lack of intelligence–and his knack for throwing costly interceptions. Belichick loved his arm, and fawned over his athleticism. Inherent to Anderson are some of those same strengths and weaknesses–when he thinks too much, and gets tight, he suffers. When he’s loose (we’ve said before that he should drink about three beers before every game), the guy just guns the ball all over the field. Anderson can be frustrating beyond comprehension–but he’s downright dangerous when he’s on. Besides, he’s toiled on a team that’s been in flux since the Reagan era. What would happen to Anderson under the guidance of Belichick and the Patriots? It’s a scary thought.
While Head Coach Eric Mangini hasn’t made the official announcement–and may continue to hold his tongue–everyone knows what’s coming: Brady Quinn will be named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. In no way did Quinn decisively vanquish Derek Anderson (who seems like he’d be much better with a few beers in him at gametime, loose and frenzied, just gunning it across the field like it’s his backyard), but he took care of business tonight in the team’s third–and most critical–preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. Check out the highlights here.
It’s questionable whether or not these preseason games provide adequate ground for a true quarterback competition–especially one as flimsy as this–it’s simply been a stage for the inevitable. Anderson, as always, flip-flops between white hot and ice cold. Meanwhile, we have no idea what Quinn can do over the course of a season, but he’s more Mangini’s style: controlled, orderly, and methodical.
In the eyes of many, Anderson needed to wipe Quinn off the field to win this job–he didn’t even throw a touchdown pass. Tonight, Quinn did, and while nobody in Pittsburgh is shaking in their shoes just yet, he will lead this team in 2009.