PED Use Not Only a Problem in Major League Baseball but in The NFL Too

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In the wake of the Alex Rodriguez PED circus I thought that it would be relevant to discuss the NFL players that have been suspended for parts of the 2013-2014 NFL regular season.  Now understand that the MLB and NFL do have separate rules regarding PED’s but what it boils to is players trying to gain an edge over their opponents no matter the sport.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar – Linebacker- St. Louis Rams – 4 Games

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A Boston College graduate that was part of the New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl Champion team.  Dunbar was pegged to be the starting middle linebacker for the St. Louis Rams week one but his four game suspensions handed down from the league for PED use will put that on hold until week 5.  St. Louis’s defense is good but no team can afford to lose a guy who they are depending on to be a starter and I believe that the Rams will suffer from his lose.

Asa Jackson – Cornerback – Baltimore Ravens – 8 Games

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Jackson was an unknown on the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Champion team of 2012 and maybe the departure of a lot of defensive veterans pressure him to up his performance and take PED’s.  Truthfully I cannot tell you why Jackson took PED’s but what I can tell you is that he won’t be receiving a paycheck for eight weeks.  This is Jackson’s second violation of the NFL’s PED policy as he also tested positive for Adderall in 2012 serving a four game suspension.  When will Jackson get the message?

Bruce Irvin – Outside Linebacker – Seattle Seahawks – 4 Games

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Irvin is the best player on this list and the Seahawks are going to suffer from him not playing the first four games of the 2013 season.  Irvin is coming off his rookie season where he recorded 8 sacks and going into this year Pete Carroll was looking for Irvin to be the number one pass rusher on the Seattle front line.  Unfortunately that will have to wait until after the Seahawks week four matchup against the Texans to get on the field.

DeMarcus Love – Left Tackle – Minnesota Vikings – 4 Games

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The most Love has done in his career that is relevant to anyone is he protected Ryan Mallet’s blind side at Arkansas.  Love’s professional career has not gone well after being drafted by the Vikings in the 6th round of the 2011 draft.  He was inactive for the entire 2011 season and in 2012 Minnesota took Matt Kalil with their first pick in the 2012 draft and has not only taken Love’s position at left tackle but also gave Kahlil his number 75.  Don’t think the absence of Love is going to hurt the Vikings performance in the first four games.

Will Hill – Safety – New York Giants – Four Games

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Mr. Hill is also a second offender of the NFL’s and got off a little easier than Asa Jackson who I spoke about earlier.  Hill didn’t receive a greater punishment from the NFL this time because he violated a different violation of the leagues PED policy (whoopie!!!).  Last season Hill tested positive for Adderall and was suspended four games.  This time around it was a different drug that has not been named by the media or NFL yet but some speculate it is Marijuana.  Hill was looking to be in the dime packages for the Giants but now has to deal with this suspension.

Weslye Saunders – Tight End – Indianapolis Colts – 8 Games

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Weslye (no that is not a typo) is another second time offender of the NFL PED policy and he is not getting off as easy as Will Hill.  Saunders is being hit with an 8 game suspension for his second positive test of a drug that has yet to be disclosed but is definitely on the list of drugs that the NFL does not allow.  In 2012 as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers was suspended four games for using Adderall and following the newest 8 game suspension for Saunders he was cut by the Indianapolis Colts.  Struggling there buddy, try and work a little harder and maybe you’ll make a team.

Gabe Miller – Tight End – Chicago Bears – 4 Games

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Miller was recently signed by the Chicago Bears off of their practice squad to fill the hole left at third tight end spot on the depth chart.  The drug Miller was using to violate the NFL PED policy is unknown but if he’s taking it and he’s only on the practice squad than I would suggest pursuing a career in another field.  Miller is probably the most irrelevant guy on this list right in front of DeMarcus Love.

That rounds out the list for now but I am sure that I will be adding names to this list as the season goes on.  Von Miller is waiting to hear from the league about his appeal of his suspension for drug use in the coming weeks.

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5 Things We Learned: Suggestions Are Welcome Edition

1) The AFC belongs to the Houston Texans. The Texans embarrassed their competition on Sunday, in the form of the Baltimore Ravens by hanging a 40-spot on them. The Texans are in a class of their own. There are only two other teams in the AFC that may be able to give Houston a run for its money and they are the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Thankfully for Houston, they face the Patriots in a couple of weeks, and we will get to see a (hopeful) preview of the AFC Championship Game.

2) Cam Newton equals Vince Young. Both men enjoyed great success on the field during their college football days. Both saw themselves go very high in the draft. But as we are all witnessing, neither of them knows how to deal with losing a few games.
Cam’s post-game interview had “I’m about to lose my mind if we win again,” all over it. The fact is, the guy is not ‘The Guy.’

He is used to being coddled, and now that he is being asked to step up and be a leader, he is having a difficult time playing a different role. Cam couldn’t lead me to the water at a beach, let alone lead his teammates in a game for 60 minutes.
3) Just give Robert Griffin, III the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award now! Is this even up for debate? Nope, didn’t think so. The guy is putting his team in a position to win week in and week out with very average wideouts. Had it not been for the subpar coverage of cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, RG3 would have come in the house of the defending champs and shown up Mr. 4th Quarter himself, Eli Manning. If the Redskins get a themselves a good wide receiver, who can stay healthy (Yes, I’m talking to you Garcon), they will have a great offense for years to come.
4) No one wants to play vs. the Chicago Bears defense right now. And you can’t blame them! That defense is making quarterbacks around the league fearful to snap the ball on long plays, knowing that the fast pass-rush is headed their way. Over their last 4 games, the Bears have held their opponent your scoring 3 times. This defense looks eerily similar to a 2006 Bears group that was able to carry the franchise all the way to a 2006 Bears group that was able to carry the franchise all the way to a super bowl trip. Stay tuned…

5) You can confidently pick up the quarterback playing vs. New Orleans, and the runningback facing Buffalo each week and be confident in them going off! The Saints rank 30th in net passing yards per game, while the Bills are dead last on the NFL in rushing yards per game. The rankings speak for themselves. Feel comfortable acquiring each of these position players vs. these two teams going forward.

#BookIt
-Cam Newton will be asking for even more suggestions after the Chicago Bears are done with him.
-If Michael Vick has another 3 turnover game, he’ll be benched.
-The Falcons will NOT be undefeated after Sunday.

This week’s recipient of The McKayla Is Not Impressed Award goes to the human suggestion box, Cam Newton. No one feels sorry for you. Not because you are making millions of dollars playing a recreational sport, but because you lose like a 5-year-old in a game of Red Light, Green Light. You put on that sulky Jay Cutler face and expect people to feel sorry for you. Keep your chip up and learn to lose like a man, instead of whining to the media that you are running out of solutions. Here’s a suggestion, learn to hit your wide-open receivers in the red zone.

5 Things We Learned: The Seattle Screwjob Edition

1) If players can be flagged for throwing the ball at fellow players, then coaches should be reprimanded for throwing the game. Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, you should be ashamed of yourself. Schwartz took full blame for the loss after the game (which he should), but that doesn’t change the fact that it was arguably one of the dumbest play-calls on fourth down since Belichick went for it deep in his own territory versus the Colts.

“I was getting ready to call timeout,” said Schwartz after the game, who said the play was an attempt to draw the Titans offside. Jim, we are still waiting for you to call that timeout. Quarterback Shaun Hill telegraphed that QB Sneak the moment he broke the huddle.

It was fourth-and-1. All Schwartz had to do was send Jason Hanson, who was 4/4 on the day, out for the 24-yard field goal, thus displaying trust in his defense to get one more stop. Sounds too easy right?! It’s a move like that which makes a player on the defense start to question the coach’s play-calling on the offensive side of the ball.

Then there is Miami Dolphins first-year head coach Joe Philbin. Joe, is there any conclusive evidence to suggest that icing the kicker actually works? Because if there is, I am dying to get my hands on that data. It’s bad enough coach Philbin believes if a coach calls for time the moment before the place-holder asks for the ball to be snapped, the kicker will miss the ensuing field goal. What makes this even more of a face-palm moment is the Dolphins were able to successfully block the kick!

Coach Philbin, I get it. You’re a superstitious individual. I am too. When the Giants were getting steam-rolled in the first half of their week 2 game vs Tampa Bay, I found myself scratching my head a lot. Then, at half time, my friend’s sister texted me and implored that the four of us switch seats for the second half. Nothing else seemed to be working at the time, so we did switch. And what do you know, the Giants came roaring back to win on the shoulders of a career-day from quarterback Eli Manning.

Did I actually believe I had any impact on the Giants performance in the second half? In the moment, of course I did, but in reality the answer is no. Did Philbin really believe his timeout call was going to ice Nick Folk? As Timbaland and Nelly Furtado would say, “Nope. Didn’t think so.”

2) Panic should ensue in New Orleans right about…NOW!

You’re the New Orleans Saints and you’re 0-2 going into week 3. You’re down on yourselves for the disappointing start to the season (as you should be.) But then the football gods hear your sorrows, and they give you the gift of the Kansas City Chiefs at home. What more could you ask for?! To the credit of the Saints, it has taken monster performances from their 3 previous opponents to keep them winless:

-Robert Griffin, III threw for 320 yards and 2 scores, with the addition of 42 rushing yards on the side for good measure.

-Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers, as a team, rushed for 219 total yards on 41 carries.

-Jamaal Charles gutted the Saints defense for 233 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Needless to say, to beat the Saints, a team needs to have at least one player with a breakout game. They’re not getting blown out. The Saints simply aren’t closing out games, as this past Sunday’s overtime performance displayed. Blame the lack of coach Sean Payton’s missing presence on the sidelines all you want, but the reality is the Saints look flat, and even more so, beatable. If anything, the absence of Payton should inspire them and bring out more passion in their game, and yet, the opposite is occurring. More often than not, when something/someone is taken from you, you will do whatever it takes to retrieve it. Maybe the Saints don’t want it bad enough.

Now, the Saints have to travel up north to take on the very pissed off Green Bay Packers. This game may very well determine if the Saints can make one final push to turn their season around, or if they should start scouting for their top 10 pick in next season’s NFL draft. According to nfl.com, since 1990, only 5 NFL teams have started the season 0-3 and still made the playoffs. With the depth that is in the NFC this season, the Saints would need to play near perfect football, and need a lot of teams to fall off immediately.

3) It is time to cut ties with Chris Johnson on your fantasy team. I take this learned lesson especially personal because I was one of those fantasy players who felt Chris Johnson’s holdout two season’s ago would not stop him from being a 1500-yard rusher in 2011, at the minimum. Boy was I wrong. Fast forward to this past August and there I was, like many of you, sitting there with a second round pick and thinking, “I have to take him here.” Now together, we are all face-palming the decision to have drafted him at all.

Through three games, Chris Johnson is averaging a mere 1.4 yards per carry. Per espn.com and the Elias Sports Bureau, among those who have the minimum 6.25 per game to qualify, Johnson ranks dead last at number 51. As I have stated in previous weeks, this is the year of the backup running back, and there are plenty of players out there who can amass the measly eight fantasy points he has put up thus far. Drop him now, while there are still valuable players on the waiver wire, because he is done.

4) Goodell Logic. I certainly can’t take credit for the name of this (shout-out to WFAN’s Evan Roberts), but I definitely subscribe to this theory that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell approves moves that make you scratch your head. In this case, the weekly Thursday night football game, which every team plays in at some point during the regular season.

Goodell Logic allowed the Baltimore Ravens to play in the prime-time game on Sunday night, only to have them play once again this Thursday evening vs the Cleveland Browns. That makes no sense whatsoever. Regardless of who they are playing, teams should not have to play a football game on 3 days rest. Nothing good can come of that, except the NFL making more money by having people tune into its network channel every Thursday.

Sadly, nothing will be brought to the table to end this until players start to get injured because of these short turn-around weeks. Be on the lookout though, because Goodell Logic is bound to punish your favorite team at some point this season.

5) The Sunday night game featuring the Ravens and Patriots may have been the worst officiated game this season…until we all witnessed the screwjob that was Seattle vs. Green Bay.

No need to rehash what has already been beaten into the ground over the last 48 hours. The officiating of those two nationally televised games was abysmal! The final play should not have been ruled a touchdown at all. It was clear as day (apparently not if you were on the field and wearing stripes it wasn’t) that Golden Tate did not have possession, simultaneous possession, anything, and yet the refs still ruled in favor of the Seahawks.
I really want to believe professional sports are never rigged, Tim Donaghy aside, but then officials blow calls like that and it makes me wonder if Roger Goodell runs the NFL, or if Vince McMahon and the writers at WWE are the ones calling the shots. The ending to the football game delivered from a ratings perspective, something Vince McMahon has seen the WWE excel at. Fact is, when the conclusion of Monday Night Raw seems less fixed than the outcome of a professional football, we as a fan base, and as a culture, have failed ourselves.

#BookIt

-The New York Jets are done. You know the rest of your season is bleak when one of the backup running backs is being converted into cornerback.

-Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback in Philly as long as he healthy. Head coach Andy Reid wasn’t fooling anyone when he told reporters that Vick was their quarterback for now. What are his other options?

-The blown call in Monday night’s game changed the landscape of the NFC playoff picture. Just wait.

-If the Saints lose on Sunday, they are not making the playoffs. If the Saints win on Sunday, they are not making the playoffs.

-Rob Gronkowski will not be as effective as last season until: A) Aaron Hernandez returns B) Josh McDaniels actually figures out what he is doing with that offense…whichever happens first.

In Week 3, McKayla is certainly not impressed with the Green Bay Packers. This is truly meant for guard T.J. Lang and cornerback M.D. Jennings. Had the two of you done your jobs just a tiny bit better, your team would not have been on the wrong side of a horrendous call.

Mr. Lang, had your offensive line had a pulse in the first half, the game would not have had to come down to the final Hail Mary. Mr. Jennings, all you had to do was swat the football down, up, to the left; any direction your heart so desired. That is football 101. Instead you chose to go for your individual defensive player fantasy points and be a hero to your own team. McKayla is not impressed, and neither is anyone that witnessed you selfishly catch the ball on that last play.