Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cleveland Browns: Retaining, and Tagging Phil Dawson Is The Best Move Ever

Dawson doing what Dawson knows.

By Chris Mahl

February 22, 2011

2011 Has brought a new set of coaches, new set of standards and a whole new playbook to the shore of the Erie. There was all this speculation of who is going to be the new coach, will McCoy be the real QB (I so hope so) and what to do about our terrible wide receivers. I haven't written an article on here in awhile, I know I'm sorry you couldn't read my ramblings, but every day I have been wondering why the Browns went without resigning Phil Dawson. He is the Browns, he is a fellow dawg in the pound.

Phil, yes I feel I am on a first name basis with him, is the only Brown to stick with the team since its rebirth in 1999. 1999! This was before Saddam went down, before Brittany Spears' come back,or before anybody knew the name LeBron (you will lose!). Phil Dawson has been through coaching change after coaching change, he has been with the team since Cribbs was 16. Dawson is, I feel, the best kicker in the league right now. Here is why.

Lets be honest, we put him in the worst situations ever. Hey Phil, we are down by 24 and our offense can't score, can you hit a couple field goals and tie this thing up? The sad thing is, he will come damn close. He is the ninth most accurate kicker in the league and that is a gold medal in my book.

I cant hit a six-yard field goal with no wind, he his consistent 40+ yard field goals with hurricane winds off of Lake Erie. This past year he went 23 for 28 in field goals. That is 69 points, add that with his 28 point after makes and he has 97 points this year. The Browns themselves, with Dawson, scored 271, so crank my add machine and Dawson scored about 35 percent of the points in 2010-11 season. That is crazy that a kicker can be that kind of offensive machine, he is the most consistent part of the Cleveland Browns.

Many rookies and new comers to the teams need the wise man, the one that can sit there and tell you stories of the old times. The one that can help soothe the rookies into a team. It isn't just his on field accomplishments, but just his presence. If he was to kick in another uniform every die hard Browns fan would cringe every time our new kicker missed a field goal and say to themselves "WHERE'S DAWSON!"

Dawson is the image of the Browns, I want his fathead on my wall next to my Browns banners. He may not have the game winning points in the Super Bowl, but he is one of the most accomplished kickers in history and one of the most accurate in a place that can chew up and spit out kickers easily. The Browns should make it a point to keep Dawson until he retires. With this franchise tag, that wish is very likely coming true and I couldn't be happier.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2010 Ed Block Courage Award Winner: Aaron Kampman

February 21, 2011

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation will celebrate the 33nd annual Ed Block Courage Awards March 8 at Martin's West. One player from every NFL team will be honored for his commitment to the principles of courage and sportsmanship while serving as an inspiration in the locker rooms and community. In anticipation of the big night, PressBox is profiling each award winner.

DE Aaron Kampman has been named the Jacksonville Jaguars' 2010 Ed Block Courage Award recipient.

Kampman exemplifies courage and honor. His outstanding dedication and sportsmanship to his team have provided him the prestigious honor as the Ed Block Courage Award Recipient. Kampman is an inspiration and role model whose goal is to help the positive atmosphere among his teammates. Aaron is an outstanding spokesman and leader to young NFL athletes, and dedicated himself to making those around him better. Kampman is a true team player and leader on and off the field.

Kampman is a dedicated husband and father who takes pride in daily success.
Kampman suffered a significant football injury in November of 2009. He injured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee. The ACL is a significant knee stabilizer and makes playing professional football very difficult, if not impossible, without it. Kampman chose to have his ACL reconstructed and continue his NFL career. As a seasoned veteran, Kampman knew many around him that had suffered the similar injury and results were varied. For Kampman, the only option was to continue football and succeed. Aaron spent his 2010 offseason rehabilitating his knee and accomplished his goal of returning for the 2010 season.

Kampman returned to his role as team leader and successful defensive player, before tearing the ACL in his right knee in Week Eight of the 2010 season.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Dallas Clark Effect


February 10, 2011

One of the nice storylines that developed during the Colts tough march to the playoffs in 2010 was the emergence of tight end Jacob Tamme. After barely smelling the field through six weeks, many fans felt he was a savior of the season’s second half.

Deeper digging into the numbers indicates, however, that Dallas Clark is still the most important player on the Colts offense (not-named-Manning).

A direct comparison of Tamme to Clark would provide a surface-level indication that Clark was fairly replaced by Tamme. In his six games, Clark averaged 6.2 receptions and 57.8 yards per game, while Tamme averaged 6.7 receptions and 63.1 yards per game through the final ten games.

It wasn’t the tight end position that was impacted.

Consider the number put up by Reggie Wayne while Clark was healthy, and after he went down:

* w/ Clark: 6 games, 45 receptions, 602 yards, 2 touchdowns
* avg w/ Clark: 7.5 receptions, 100.3 yards per game
* w/out Clark: 10 games, 66 receptions, 753 yards, 4 touchdowns
* avg w/out Clark: 6.6 receptions, 75.3 yards per game

That’s a 25 percent drop in yards per game from Wayne during Clark’s absence, a strong number.

It’s easy to assume that Batman losing Robin would impact his production, but the consideration that Tamme was putting up similar/better numbers than Clark makes the dropoff from Wayne more intriguing. Certainly the entire free world wasn’t ignoring Tamme to double Wayne for ten weeks… right?

The bigger question is how Peyton Manning managed to have the biggest yard-producing season of his incredible career. He has always been known for making no-name players (like Tamme) into household names in only a couple short weeks.

But the impact of Clark’s injury is noticeable on Manning’s numbers as well.

The Colts averaged almost the same number of pass attempts per game without Clark (42.5) as they did with him (42.3). However, Manning’s completion percentage dropped by nearly two percent and 0.5 completions per game.

OK… so what? Half a completion? Two percent? Really?

Try these numbers on for size:

* w/ Clark: 319.3 yards, 2 TDs, 0.3 INT per game
* w/out Clark: 278.4 yards, 2 TDs, 1.5 INT per game

So Manning’s attempts and completions were nearly identical whether Clark was on the field or not. But he averaged 41 fewer yards per game (or 13 percent) without Clark. He also saw a 450% increase in his interceptions per game. Four hundred fifty percent!

Manning had a passer rating over 100 in four of the Colts first six games. In the final 10, without Clark, he broke the century mark only three more times.

The catalyst for the Colts offense is clearly Clark. For the Colts to make another run at postseason glory, they’ll need him to be healthy for a full season in 2011.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

St. Michael cheers on Steelers' Spaeth

By Frank Rajkowski

February 6, 2011
Ken Spaeth has done all this before.

But watching your son play in the Super Bowl never really gets old.

Spaeth is the father of former St. Michael-Albertville and University of Minnesota standout Matt Spaeth, now in his fourth season as a tight end with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who take on the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV at 5:30 p.m. (CST) today in Arlington, Texas.

And as he was two years ago, when the Steelers beat Arizona 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, Fla., Spaeth will be on hand today to cheer his son on.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” Spaeth said. “The Super Bowl is the game of the year and to have your son participating in it is pretty amazing.”

Spaeth, who himself played football at Nebraska and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, left for Texas this past Thursday. But he didn’t expect to spend too much time with Matt before the game.

“You get to see them a little bit,” Spaeth said. “They’re all pretty busy getting ready for the game. But you’re able to go out for supper with him and do stuff like that.”

Spaeth graduated from St. Michael-Albertville in 2002 after a career that saw him earn All-Wright County Conference two times.

Knights coach Earl Bauman said he was the first football player in his now-31 seasons at the school to go on to play at the Division I level.

“A lot of high school kids, when they get hurt, will leave the game,” Bauman said. “But I remember he dislocated one of his fingers in a playoff game and he ran over to the medical people. They pushed his finger back in and taped it up. He then sprinted right back onto the field and lined up again.”

Bauman said Spaeth maintains strong ties to the St. Michael and Albertville areas.

“He’s made a donation to the weight room at our school, he runs a camp for little kids, he puts on a golf tournament that raises money,” Bauman said.

“He is just an unbelievably super human being. Just a great young man.”

Friday, February 04, 2011

Marshal Yanda named to ProFootballFocus All-AFC North Team

January 27, 2011

Author: Khaled Elsayed

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)
It took a Super Bowl run to really remind how good Big Ben had been in the regular season. It was all the more impressive given the substandard protection he faced, and how he didn’t let that pressure affect him (just two regular season INT’s under pressure).

Running Back
Peyton Hillis (Cleveland Browns)
He runs, he catches and he blocks. Oh, and he hurdles like he’s at the Olympic Trials. Hillis is what you want in a running back.

Tight End
Todd Heap (Baltimore Ravens)
He wasn’t as good this year as he was in his 2009 renaissance, with his blocking falling off a cliff, but he still caused plenty of problems catching balls.

Tight End
Ben Watson (Cleveland Browns)
Watson added some versatility to a Browns team that lacked a TE capable of blocking and catching (even if Watson’s blocking wasn’t great all of the time).

Wide Receiver
Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh Steelers)
If you’re a cornerback, is there anything scarier than a guy like Mike Wallace running past you? There shouldn’t be, when he is picking up 21 yards per catch and 1,257 yards. Santonio who?

Wide Receiver
Derrick Mason (Baltimore Ravens)
Mr. Dependable does it again. Even with the veteran receivers brought in, Mason remained the guy the Ravens could rely on to make a play when needed.

Left Tackle
Andrew Whitworth (Cincinnati Bengals)
Led our offensive tackle rankings and only gave up three sacks all year, despite the Bengals throwing an awful lot. One of the truly underappreciated players in the league right now.

Left Guard
Ben Grubbs (Baltimore Ravens)
Grubbs had a legitimate case for a Pro Bowl spot, with some generally solid play. Did he ever dominate? No, but then was he never dominated either. Not many linemen we can say that about this year.

Matt Birk (Baltimore Ravens)
As good a season as there was a by a center and nobody seemed to notice it. Birk has been cheaper than Jason Brown and a much better player these past two years.

Right Guard
Bobbie Williams (Cincinnati Bengals)
We’d have like to have seen Williams do more with his run blocking, where for the first time he looked like age was catching him up. Still gave up less than a pressure per game.

Right Tackle
Marshal Yanda (Baltimore Ravens)
Forced to play RT by circumstance, Yanda responded superbly. An excellent run blocker, the biggest surprise was how comfortable he looked in pass protection.

Colts' Clark on Life-Saving Mission at Super Bowl

February 2, 2011

By Tim Harms

INDIANAPOLIS (Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011) – Every player headed to the Super Bowl is on a mission. The same can be said for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark. Although he won’t be playing in this year’s game, the two-time Super Bowl starter will be in Dallas Feb. 4 on a mission to educate women that heart disease is their No. 1 killer.

Clark will serve as national spokesman for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement. The mission became personal to Clark when his mother Jan passed away from a heart attack just three days prior to his high school graduation.

“Back in 1998, my mom passed away from a heart attack,” said Clark, who helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI in 2007. “Ever since, I’ve made it my mission to increase public awareness about heart disease. I’m happy to help the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women get the word out to ensure people understand the risks, know the signs of heart attack and realize how dangerous heart disease is to women.”

Feb. 4 is National Wear Red Day, a national observance on the first Friday of every February – American Heart Month. During the month, the association is calling attention to the fact that one of every three women die from heart disease, claiming more women’s lives annually than the next five causes combined, including all forms of cancer. Fortunately, 80 percent of cardiac events in women may be preventable.

“When we lost my mom, we lost the heart of my family,” Clark said. “That’s why it’s so important for people to understand the severity of this disease. Talk to your doctor about the risks and get the appropriate testing. This is something that can be prevented – women need to know that and they need to share this information with five women in their lives.”

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