Tag: Sports pieces

My Tim Tebow Defense

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This will be blunt and quick.

Sam Bradford left the game today with a knee injury and may not return for a while.  A rumor mill got the wheels spinning on the Rams looking at Tim Tebow, which were never true and have been shot down by the team.   However, I felt the need to plant my flag here and ask why the hatred for Tebow.   What’s so wrong about a good guy who just wants a clean opportunity.   He is beloved and hated at the same time and sells jerseys and tickets but teams want no part of him.  The Tebow effect isn’t popular.  What did he do to deserve this?  A valid question.   I won’t sit here and say he will be a good long term quarterback for a team but he deserves a real shot to prove what he did in Denver was a fluke or something real.  A real shot is more than a few snaps and little game time.  That mean 11 games plus two playoff games like the Broncos gave Tebow to prove the doubters wrong.  Let’s rewind and tell the story.

For those of you that know me I am a Tim Tebow fan and have always supported his career and his football ability and attitude.  I feel like he was more than mistreated in New York, he was left out in the cold to watch his career freeze up.  The intense athletically gifted football player was deemed useless by a team that didn’t make the playoffs.  The Broncos didn’t need Tebow because they had Manning.  The Jets didn’t need Tebow because they had….gulp….Mark Sanchez.   I just threw up a little in my mouth.

After taking a 1-4 Denver Broncos team in 2011 to the playoffs and beating Pittsburgh before running into the Tom Brady train, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets when Denver signed Peyton Manning.  A reasonable move and a threat to the shaky throne of Mark Sanchez.  Here’s the problem.  The Jets never gave Tebow a true shot.  Please save me your givings about his preseason and practice time.  Tebow is a game time player and needs time to get rolling.   He can’t throw the football too well and isn’t mechanically gifted at the quarterback position.  However, the NFL is a results driven game.  Based on a win loss record.  Instead of playing Tebow, the Jets stuck with Sanchez and then went past Tebow to a third string QB and missed the playoffs and looked BAD doing so.   My biggest question with the Jets was this.  Why not start Tebow in those last two games when the playoffs are long gone and there is nothing left but entertainment value.   Why not play Tebow and fill the seats and maybe win a game?  It was the Jets that lost to Tebow near the end of the 2011 season on that Broncos comeback trail.   Did Rex Ryan sign Tebow to bring him in and lock him up?  Keep him from playing.  Tell me different.  Why would he NOT play the guy?  The loud mouth feet loving dude didn’t want to start Tebow, watch Tim win a game or make it interesting and then be asked the millionaire dollar question.  Which is, why stick with a guy who was hurting or throwing way too many INT’s in Sanchez without going to a guy who took down Pittsburgh a year before?   Ryan didn’t want that and basically shut Tebow down.

Yes, I know Denver had a great defense and Tebow usually plays a shitty 3 quarters.   However, in a game where the Vikings lit up the Broncos, Tebow led them back.  In several games that were close, Tebow found a way to win in Denver.  When the defense did enough, Tebow finished it, got the late drive and set up the field goal kicker.  It’s simple. The Broncos gave Tebow a shot when they were at the brink of going bust and the Jets wouldn’t do it.  Tebow deserves a real shot to prove what he did in Denver was real or not.  Please read my words here before you come back with 50 responses I have heard before.

You don’t like his religious fanaticism?  That’s fine.  Neither do I.  When athletes give all praise to an invisible being instead of the work of their own body, hard work and a few supporting characters, I laugh.  Trust me, I dealt with Kurt Warner and Albert Pujols dedicating late great heroics to the glory of the big man upstairs who loves human sacrifice.  Tebow loves his Jesus and that’s all him.  Still not a reason to hate the guy.

He has athletic skill and a freak of nature body that can work for an offense in the NFL.   Sure,he would be smart to be a tight end or fullback.   However, that isn’t his dream folks.  He wants another shot to be a QB and tell me why he doesn’t deserve it.  The Jacksonville Jaguars wanted nothing to do with the hometown kid(who could have SOLD OUT every seat in their stadium ) and are horrible and 0-7 and won’t be improving any time soon.  Tebow could have entertained those fans, filled seats and at least won a couple of those games.  Why not?  At least he could have made it fun.   Yeah, nice move Jaguars.  Deny the Gator his day in the sun.

Look, Tebow may get a shot and fail.   His magic may have ran out.  That’s fine and a good bet.  I want to know what he has left.  What can he do with an offense and team dedicated to him.  The only way he will be successful is if he isn’t the distraction.  He is the main attraction.   Give him a year.  I’ve seen plenty of St. Louis teams give whole seasons to worse quarterbacks.  I have seen plenty.  Why not see what the Tebow tank has left?   Most haters of Tebow are old school guys and stat driven fans.  They don’t see the meaning in his performance.  It’s something they can’t find on a chart, graph or calculator.  What Tebow has done can’t be easily quantified.  Sorry guys.  He is truly something else.

After the Jets waste of his talent and some time off( I won’t even include the Patriots fakeout), Tebow deserves a shot somewhere.  I don’t count preseason New England games either.  Give Tebow the real deal.  Give him 2 games.  Entertain your fans.  Why not?  Sports is at its base an entertainment business.

Rant over.  At the very least, Tebow could be a Hollywood show.  At best, he could win games, fill seats, and bring some excitement to a previously dead football environment.

Thanks for reading,

Buffa

PHOTO CREDIT-THE SPORTING NEWS

Rams Suddenly Comeback Kings

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Sometimes change comes in different forms, especially in sports.   It takes longer to notice than usual and even challenges your judgement.  As I watched the season opener of the St. Louis Rams, bad nightmares came back into my head.  Horrible penalties.  Broken down drives.  Secondary breakdowns.  Bad fumbles.   For some reason, I wanted to check the sideline for Scott Linehan feeling for the hair that had fallen from his head or Steve Spagnuolo on his knees desperately looking for a positive spin.  I looked for the various offensive coordinators that have tried to hustle fans into thinking touchdowns weren’t extinct but I would need a lineup card.  What were these band of misfit toys?

In the first 3 quarters of the football game, the Arizona Cardinals, equipped with a quarterback who can hit receivers and make quick reads, were making their move.  A 13-10 Rams lead was suddenly a 24-13 Cardinals march.  Like the cold water bottle lying in the middle of the desert, Carson Palmer flipped the switch on these Arizona receivers and made them fantasy hopefuls against our defenders at times.

At this time in the past 6 years, the Rams would fold up and die in front of their home crowd.   For years, the team punished out better judgement and made fools out of us for telling others they were our team no matter what.   As I struggled for hope yesterday, I remembered something.  Jeff Fisher is on that sideline.  Sam Bradford is out there and looks like The Sundance Kid before he stepped out in front of those guns.   Fearless and ready to lead instead of shell shocked.   This team looked different.  Who were these quick receivers catching passes and stretching the defense?  Who was the mini me version of Steven Jackson at tailback?  Who is that monstrous playmaking pencil charity producing tight end who makes Antonio Gates look like a lazy security guard?   The 2013 Rams are still a bloody mess readers but the one thing they aren’t coming to close to be calling is quitters.

The defense tightened up and starting getting to Palmer.  I am sure if you approached Palmer in a restaurant this week and suddenly said the name Robert Quinn, Carson would duck beneath a table.  Quinn had 3 sacks and a fumble recovery.  He rocked the veteran quarterback’s body and mind.   James Laurinaitis stuffed the run and gave the birds nowhere to go.  The secondary broke up a few passes.

And then, the offense engaged and took over, scoring 14 unanswered points, led by Bradford’s ability to play great 4th quarter football.   The kid completes passes, and suddenly showing an ability to move in the pocket and not freeze up during a pass rush.   At least three times, Bradford stepped up in the pocket and ran around and made a play.  On a late and vital two point conversion, he ran right up the gut for the extra points.   Tavon Austin on a post route.  Brian Quick on a slant.  Chris Givens anywhere Arizona future hall of famer Patrick Petersen wasn’t.   The real star of the day belonged to the biggest off season acquisition in my mind.    A man named Cook.

After fumbling a sure touchdown in the first quarter, Cook collected 2 touchdowns and over 120 yards receiving.   A man with the body of a semi truck and the breakaway ability of a Ram, Cook sliced and diced Cardinals defenders.   After coming up lame in his first real attempt at a touchdown, Cook finished strong like the rest of the team.   He is a game changing tight end and at that position, a cornerstone talent that may end up with better stats than Ricky Proehl.

The biggest difference I saw was the coaches ability to turn things up a notch in the second half instead of staying plain jane.  For the first three quarters, the offense was slightly quicker but lacked creativity.   Defenses could easily keep this in check.   Brian Schottenheimer unleashed a fresher set of plays that required daring playmakers.   Fisher tightened up the defense and let his coaches go to work.  The coaching staff adjusted to adversity and that is a first in years.

In short, the Rams took charge.  They didn’t welt and die in the spotlight of heightened expectations.  They rose up out of the ashes.  They came together and beat a divisional opponent.  This will mean a lot later when the race tightens up and this team looks for the flicker of hope in the dog days of the winter.  When things get cold and dry in a few months, this team will remember the win in the burning heat of the kickoff the season.  Unlike last year in Detroit, the St. Louis Rams got busy late instead of settling for a good effort.

There were problems.  Too many penalties after the whistle.   Cornerback Cortland Finnegan(a Fisher loyalist) committed two personal fouls that were simply heinous.  This was the bad side of Mr. Finnegan, a well known agitator with a history of losing his edge when desperately trying to get under the skin of opposing receivers.  For one game, he was trying to be Richie Incognito, the famous hothead who negated a long Steven Jackson run years ago after smacking a man’s helmet clean off.  Finnegan also got burned by Larry Fitzgerald, which isn’t as bad as the personal fouls.  Plenty of corners find themselves on the wrong side of Fitz, who looks rehabilitated with Palmer.  However, Finnegan has to be smarter.  He stood out the most in the overall lapses.  The Cook fumble and Bradford tipped pass(should have NEVER been thrown) for a pick 6 are also there.  These are real problems that could cause trouble down the road if not handled.

All mistakes aside, this group of football hounds smelt blood in the 4th quarter on Sunday and fought out a victory.  The Rams are 1-0.  Don’t go crazy yet.  There are 15 weeks to go.  Atlanta and Dallas await this team in the coming weeks.

For more of my thoughts, go to my site, http://www.doseofbuffa.com.

-Dan L. Buffa

@buffa82 on twitter

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