@TSFSports links for 8/22/13 (featuring Chuck Brown and Antionette Tuff) Pick your dream NFL skill positions

#SuperCam

Hate  him now, but he’s only going to get scary better…

You own the team, so here’s your shot to build a classic winner. Pick one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers and one tight end. Pick from different eras or rock with players from the current NFL. Pick whoever you want. Here’s my squad…do judge me…

Quarterback: Cam Newton

Y’all know I’m gonna shake it up right? You see the picture that heads this piece, so yeah, of course I’m going with Cam Newton. Cam is 6’5″, 245 durable pounds with a rocket arm, tremendous athleticism and all the charisma you need at his position (some will say too much but I’m no party crasher) to generate page views. His 7,920 yards are the most ever in a quarterback’s first two years and Cam also has a record 22 touchdowns on the ground to begin his NFL career. His 1,447 rushing yards and 100 first downs gained add possessions to the game. Down the stretch the last to seasons, he’s 9-3 and just has to put it all together for an entire season. He is the prototype as the league heads into an advanced stage of do it all quarterbacks because his size and strength will keep him on the field as the game’s athleticism also evolves. Many will say, “well, no “running” quarterback has done it so I’m sticking with the traditional pocket passer.” That’s cool and elite pocket passers will remain effective, but I’m going this way because if these great athletes armed with stellar minds are given the proper skill position weapons and a stout line early in their NFL life, they are taking over. Straight up. These cats are potentially 4k passers and 1k runners in the same season, so logic says a new era dawns. Although, I don’t like the pistol offense or the read option because it leaves QB’s vulnerable down field if they aren’t surrounded with talent to draw defenses away from available seams. Teams will begin to bring up line backers and pop the quarterback on every snap even if he pitches and that will wear on anyone over the course of the season. Running backs have thighs that will take a beating, but quarterbacks are built differently. Aaron Rodgers is athletic enough to run the pistol, but Green Bay would never risk the effect Rodgers loss will have on the franchise. Put these cats in more traditional offenses and give them the green light to run when they see fit. They’ve been doing so their whole life, so they understand when to run and when not to run. Those who don’t get that running for first downs instead of throwing the ball away is an advantage are seeing the game in short sight. Cam is that ultimate versatility and though many are down on him for whatever biased reasons, you cannot deny how he’s come out the box. These are the Carolina Panthers remember and the expectations of his team are heightened simply because of Newton. He needs elite level coaches and coordinators around him just as most elite quarterbacks throughout NFL history have been afforded. Will he make mistakes just as any QB before and after him? Of course, but did anyone care about the Panthers before Cam was drafted #1 overall and won Rookie of the Year after leading Auburn to the National Championship and winning the Heisman just the year before? Hell no.

record Cam But…he must rock with what surrounds him until Carolina brass gets their heads out of their asses and equips Ace Boogie with exceptional complimentary talent, he will be the scapegoat. I trust this will happen because every young stud signal caller storming the league has a better team from top to bottom…undeniably so. If you get the memo Carolina front office, the Panthers will be a successful franchise no matter what journalists, prognosticators,  former players or haters say and your pockets will be lined accordingly.  The ladies love him as well and that will boost publicity and ticket sales, so take advantage of the gift he provides. He’s running around or over most defenders and with the rest of the squad I’m choosing, his game would be mature enough to win vs. any contemporary. The rookies and Colin Kaepernick were the talk of the NFL last season despite the presence of Newton. Many were down on Cam, but people who understand the game know he actually had a pretty good season. This is a team game and very few incoming players had the fanfare of Newton. It’s time to win and consistency will begin to show with Cam and hopefully Mike Shula will bring out the best he has within. Sleep if you want on Cam Newton, but respect his game. If you don’t like him, that’s your problem.

Running backs: Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen

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We’ll never get the real story of Al Davis and Marcus Allen’s feud, but if they didn’t have beef, would the Raiders have drafted Bo Jackson? Probably…

When Bo Jackson was tackled that fateful day vs. Cincinnati and his hip destroyed, baseball and football fans gasped because they knew it was bad. It was the look in his eyes limping off the field and a realization Bo Jackson would never be the same physical anomaly he was before that day. Bo knew as well, and seeing him realize the reality in that moment was painful.

Pairing Bo with Marcus Allen, Al Davis had arguably the best backfield of all time besides what most likely would have been the best if Ernie Davis had lived and played with the GOAT Jim Brown. Marcus Allen had the build of a graceful wide receiver and Bo Jackson the build of hemi-powered truck. Kind of a shame that both were robbed of their prime through injury in Bo’s case and contention with ownership in Allen’s. Marcus Allen scored 145 touchdowns running and receiving (another 6 passing) and was one of the best short yardage backs to play the game. He wasn’t the fastest or strongest like surely Bo Jackson was, but his will to win was as apparent as any athlete in any sport. You would think that Bo would ask to be moved to fullback, but it was Allen with all his lankiness that made the request of Tom Flores. When he moved on to KC, was he fueled by what transpired during his years in silver and black? You know it, but it was as a Raider that made Allen a Hall of Famer. The 74 yard run vs. the Redskins in the Super Bowl still is one of the NFL’s greatest plays and despite all he accomplished in football before, during and after his days in Oakland and LA, one can only wonder if he could have been the NFL rushing yards leader hadn’t it been for the BS that went down with Davis. Nevertheless, 12,243 on the ground and another 5,411 as a pass catcher still ranks among the best to ever do it.

Bo Jackson on the other hand wanted to hit the hell out of the ball more than run with it. He was a football player bleeding baseballs and with all the debate about the steroid era, Bo could have been better than them all. On the football field he was everything a super man even in the locked and stocked NFL. Imagine what his career would have resembled had he not been injured. Surely he would have ran for 2k, and as fast and strong as he was, 30 touchdowns would not have been out of the question either. This was a dude winning the Heisman just as Marcus Allen did years before…

Mainly because of plays like this where he embarrassed a young Deion Sanders…

We know what B0 did to Brian Bosworth on Monday Night Football and we know how incredible an athlete Bo was overall, but what we don’t know is how he could have impacted two sports simultaneously like we’ve never seen since Jim Thorpe did his thing in the early 1900’s. Yeah, yeah, yeah, injuries are a part of sports, but in Bo’s case, think of it as if Michael Jordan had a career ending injury before he hit his athletic prime just to offer a comparative perspective.

Has a team ever had two players at the same time that could both have been the GOAT statistically at the same position? Nah.

Wide outs: Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and DeSean Jackson

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You can’t touch him one and one in the open field.

Some might be surprised I have Jukebox (my nickname for Jackson) on this squad. You shouldn’t be. Combined with the other two receivers here, DeSean Jackson would be murder on any defense. He also is able to break any punt return (I won’t do it to you Giants fans). Sike.

In 5 seasons, Jackson has caught274 balls for 4,785 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also has 4 returns for 6. It’s what he does in the open field and down the sideline that makes Jackson special. He would be a great compliment to the two below in a similar way Az Hakim was with Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Think of a great three point shooter paired with Michael and Scottie. Jackson is a fast as hell specialist and it’s a shame Philly doesn’t have that great number 1 so the world can see exactly what he can do. This is a big season for Jackson. I haven’t been his biggest fan and locker room exchanges between he and I weren’t always smooth, but man this young cat can fly. I dig his attitude despite some missteps the last few seasons and he will become a serious leader for the Eagles franchise as time goes by. I wish him well.

WR:Terrell Owens

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Eagles brass should have made it work.

1,078 catches, 15, 934 yards, and 156 touchdowns is spectacular. You don’t need to know football to understand those numbers are historically top level in the NFL. Those who say Terrell Owens is a borderline Hall of Fame player merely don’t like him. It’s that simple. Was he a great dude all the time, of course not, but on the field commitment? Few have been in his universe…ever. One of the most physically gifted receivers the game has seen, TO caught balls fearlessly over the middle, ran over linebackers and sprinted down the sideline pass defensive backs so many times, that because of how he’s viewed, most tend to forget how great he has been. Most point to his relationships with quarterbacks as why he’s a bad teammate, but flip it if you will and think of what he expects of himself. This was a player who came into the league and broke a receiver record in 2000 with Jerry Rice still on the team. Steve Young was his quarterback and the Niners were coming off a successful 11-5 season in 1995 when Owens was drafted in 1996. Stepping onto such a talented team, would spoil most players. Hall of Fame players were everywhere and to see that deteriorate over the years had to sting such a competitor. I liken it to Charles Barkley and the Sixers. Chuck had a similar situation coming out of Auburn and playing with Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Mo Cheeks, Bobby Jones and Andrew Toney. 

When the legends retired or moved on, the Sixers were a shell of the great teams of the past. The Sixers brass did not get on the ball and surround Chuck with the elite talent he played with early in his career while his peers’ management were loading up. Players want to win. It’s natural no matter who says otherwise. Of course there are different levels of commitment, but competitors want to win at all costs. Sometimes the business of the game gets in the way and players don’t really want to hear that because their time in sports is now. They don’t want to hear anything about a rebuilding process and some sulk. Why should mediocrity be accepted by players? I get the frustration Owens had in San Francisco after the greats moved on. He wanted that 49’ers ring given San Fran’s history of success and I don’t blame him.

I do blame him and Donovan McNabb as well for what went down in Philly. We don’t need to get into particulars, but suffice it to say, both men should have come to some sort of understanding given the relevance of the Eagles franchise at the time. The Eagles were at the top of the league and given his performance coming off a broken leg, Jeffrey Lurie should have given him a contract as soon as the Super Bowl gun sounded. Jeffrey Lurie made a mistake by not seizing the moment and the Eagles have yet to hit the stride they consistently were on during almost all of the past decade. All are accountable and neither player was quite the same after all that drama in Philadelphia and honestly, both blew it on a man to man level. By the time TO got to Dallas and later Cincy and Buffalo, the damage to his brand was done and few teams wanted to touch him. Despite all that, I still think he has something left and I want Terrell Owens on this team because he encompasses the spirit of the game on a true NFL level. He was clutch throughout the years and when he was unstoppable, now one could deny his on field superiority.

WR: Randy Moss

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Both Cunningham and Moss were robbed in 1998.

982 catches, 15, 292 yards and 157 touchdowns (1 by punt return).

Randy Moss had an outstanding career and will by widely known as the 2nd best receiver ever. I honestly wanted to go with the San Diego Chargers receiver corps (Kellen Winslow, Wes Chandler, Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson) of the late great Air Coryell years, but Randy Moss (and others listed here) was so stellar during his prime, he fits here. No diss to Jerry Rice, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Megatron Calvin Johnson, the newly enshrined Cris Carter or “The Playmaker”, Michael Irvin of course, but Moss stretched the field like no other. Imagine all the yardage Moss ran on go routes alone. Go routes he ran every game until the end. He caught the ball at the perfect height to prohibit defenders from having any chance of an interception, and even when blanketed by multiple defenders, Moss somehow made catches that seemed impossible. The rock just stuck to his hands. He was just unbelievable and it’s not a coincidence he was the number one option on the highest scoring teams in NFL history in Minnesota’s 15-1 season in 1998, and also New England’s undefeated year of 2007. 

Pictured with Randall Cunningham above, it would have been nice if that ’98 team won it all to give Randall the validation for being one of the first ultimate QB weapons. At the time he hooked up with Moss, the aforementioned Carter and Jake Reed, Cunningham was more a pocket passer and still had the arm to throw the ball where only Moss could reel it in. Moss played in 2 Super Bowls, but couldn’t get that ring. I’ll maintain that if the Titans drafted him, that one yard just short of the end zone would have been a touchdown. He was arguably the best receiver ever on the collegiate level and the buzz around Moss’ rookie year was sickdiculous. The year he and the tremendous Tom Brady couldn’t be stopped is one of the greatest offensive displays the game has witnessed. I thought Randy should have garnered more MVP votes though. Brady, whom won NFL MVP that season, set the record for touchdowns at 50 with 23 going to Moss. It’s safe to say, that record would not have been set sans Moss. I want Randy on this team because he, TO, Jackson and the tight end below would be impossible to stop and as entertaining as hell. I dig the touchdown celebration. Celebrations get the juices flowing and affect both sides of the ball in different ways. Emotion is a good thing and despite the NFL trying to eliminate all fun, I want more fun. These cats spend their whole career trying to get into the end zone and to make their playing days jobs regardless of the straight cash homie, is straight up stupid.

Tight end: Vernon Davis

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As athletic as any player in the game.

Imagine Vernon Davis running down hill on you mean, focused and big as hell. Will you get out the way? Try to go low and hope he doesn’t jump over you or try to be a man’s man and give him a super speed knock…hoping you don’t actually die doing so? Very few players in the league would give up their bodies and put a lick on 85. Vernon’s numbers don’t strike you as an all time player. He’s only been to one Pro Bowl and has yet to crack 1,000 yards, but his speed and power says he’s about to be one of the most prolific tight ends in the league. Mike Singletary broke Vernon Davis down, and the tight end out of Maryland readily admits he needed the straight no chaser Singletary approach to speed up his game play maturity. Coach probably looked at Davis  those eyes and said, man why aren’t you the best player in the league witcha big talented ass? He had his TO moment we all witnessed and if he continues to grow on and off the field, Davis will be scary in the Niners loaded offense. Tight ends don’t run 4.38  in the 40, but Vernon Davis does. He along with Gronk (get healthy bro) are the prototypes…the cats that get down field, run past you and ever so not subtly run over you. At any time during the game to keep the defense honest, San Francisco will use Davis to open up the total field for Gore and Kap to run free. My apologies Mr. Kellen Winslow, but I gotta go with your evolution.

Of course, this is all fantasy, but it would be great being in the huddle and hearing what all have to say to young Cam. I’d be most interested in Bo’s advice to anyone not on the same page with the rest of the team. Could you imagine Cam’s pretty ball to any of the receivers from anywhere on the field? Regardless if it was a quick strike for 6 or a 99 yard quarter eating drive, this would be incredible to watch and would add years to ever player listed here. I’d put this team up against any defense that has ever smashed offensive mouths and surely, the players paired with Cam would help his game develop tremendously. Give me your choices below, but for now, back to life, back to reality…

Hey, a brotha can dream right?

To the links…

ACLU: Secret program blacklists immigrants who are ‘perceived to be Muslim’ (Raw Story).

NSA reveals more secrets after court order (Big Story).

Egypt: Mass attacks on churches (Human Rights Watch).

Ask Ira: Is there a danger in waiting for buyout deadline? (Miami Sun-Sentinel).

How to become a ‘Trayvon Martin voter': Change Stand Your Ground laws (The Root).

Fox News’ Ed Henry Asks White House About ‘Three African-American’ Suspects In Chris Lane Murder (Mediaite).

The Legend of Jadeveon Clowney (NYT).

Marian McPartland, Jazz pianist and NPR radio staple, dies at 95 (NYT).

NCAA restores Marine’s eligibility to play football (NYT).

Von Miller suspended for 1st 6 games (Denver Post).

Crisis averted in Atlanta. Antionette Tuff is a straight up hero!

Chuck Brown was born on this day in 1936. Rest sir rest…

 

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