Tag:Jason Pierre-Paul
Posted on: January 19, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 6:02 pm

Championship Game Matchups: Mankins vs. Ngata

Patriots guard Logan Mankins vs. Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata -- This is a battle of two perennial Pro Bowl players who haven't quite had the seasons that many expected. Even so, they're still good football players. Ngata has been blocked more this season than any other of his recent years. Mankins is a physical player who is among the NFL's best when he's at the top of his game. He has to move Ngata if the Patriots are to have any chance to run.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul vs. 49ers tackle Joe Staley -- It all starts for the Giants up front with Pierre-Paul. He is a physical freak who can influence the game with his pass rush. Staley is a solid player in pass protection, but the 49ers helped him a lot in the first game. I look for them to do the same here.

Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs vs. Patriots tackles Nate Solder and Matt Light -- Suggs is the best pass rusher for the Ravens, but he didn't get a sack last week against the Texans. Solder and Light shut out Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil last week. Suggs plays both sides on defense, so both players will have their chances against him. They can't allow him to get going. He tends to get sacks in bunches. 

Ravens center Matt Birk vs. Patriots defensive tackles Kyle Love and Vince Wilfork -- Birk isn't as powerful as he once was, so I would expect the Patriots to keep a player on his nose for most of the game. If they can control the middle, it will make it tough for Ray Rice to get going. In the 2009 game, Birk got a great block on Wilfork to spring Rice for an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game.

Giants receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz vs. 49ers corners Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown -- Nicks and Cruz are a handful for whoever they face. Nicks is big and fast, while Cruz is small and quick. Rogers has had an outstanding season, one that will get him a fat contract as a free agent. Brown has been solid. The 49ers used a lot of zone in the first meeting, so it will be interesting to see if they change it up.

49ers tight end Vernon Davis vs. Giants safeties Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle -- Davis had 180 receiving yards last week against the Saints, including the game-winning score in the final seconds. The 49ers love to move him around a lot in their formations, lining him up both wide and in-line. That makes him a tough player to defend. He did catch a touchdown pass in the first game between the teams in Week 10, but the Giants did a pretty good job on him most of that game. I would expect the two safeties to spend a lot of time on him. There's also a chance dime safety Deon Grant could play him some.

49ers outside linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith vs. Giants left tackle David Diehl -- There are some out there who think Diehl is horrible. He isn't. But he will have his hands full with Smith in passing situations. The rookie outside rusher from Missouri has become a real force off the edge. Diehl has to be able to hold up against him if Eli Manning is to have time to make big throws down the field.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Ravens safety Ed Reed -- How do you stop Gronkowski? You don't. You just have to hope to contain him. I would imagine that Reed, one of the best safeties ever, would spend time on him. He can run with Gronkowski, but the tight end has a huge edge in terms of size. 

Patriots receiver Wes Welker vs. Ravens corners Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams -- Other than Gronkowski and fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez, Welker is the only other real receiving threat.  He does most of his damage in the middle of the field. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens play one of their starting corners on him. Webb has had a Pro Bowl-type of season and had two picks last week. Williams has been a pleasant surprise. Nickel corner Jimmy Smith will also be in the mix. He is a rookie.

49ers quarterback Alex Smith vs. himself -- This is the biggest game of his life. Smith played well last week against the Saints when given the chance to throw. Was it his coming-out game or an aberration? We'll know by Sunday night. He sure looks more comfortable in the pocket now than the Smith we saw the past couple of seasons.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:07 pm

Divisional Round Matchups: Suggs vs. Brown

Texans left tackle Duane Brown vs. Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs -- Brown has been one of the better left tackles in the league. He has really improved in pass protection. Suggs is a force off the corner. He tends to get sacks in bunches, so Brown can't allow him to get going. If he does, it could be trouble for T.J. Yates.

Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody vs. Texans center Chris Myers -- If the Texans are gong to run the football, they have to move Cody off the line. That means Myers. He is good at taking the nose where he starts to go. But if Cody is playing him head up, it could be trouble for Myers to move him. He isn't that strong.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Packers left tackle Chad Clifton -- The last time the Giants played the Packers, Pierre-Paul had a big day against Marshall Newhouse, who was playing for the injured Clifton. With Clifton back, the Packers have to feel better about the pass protection. He is good at it. But he isn't a great run blocker.

Packers corner Tramon Williams vs. Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks -- Williams usually takes the team's top receiver if the Packers play a lot of man. They used him some on Nicks in the last meeting, and Nicks beat him for a long play. Even though Victor Cruz had a better season, Nicks is still the Giants top receiving threat.

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow vs. Patriots coach Bill Belichick -- Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for Tebow and the Broncos' gimmick offense. That will give him a big edge on Tebow. What does Belichick throw at him that will be different from the last meeting? I bet it's a lot. How well Tebow handles that will go a long way in determining if Denver can move the football.

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham vs. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis and others -- Graham is a huge part of the Saints offense. His ability to stretch the field as a tight end almost mandates a safety covers him, but word is the 49ers will try and handle him with Willis, one of the league's best cover linebacker. But you can bet the 49ers will also put a safety on him in other situations.

49ers defensive end/tackle Justin Smith vs. Saints guard Carl Nicks -- Smith is a 3-4 defensive end, but when the 49ers go to a sub-package, they put Aldon Smith next to Justin Smith, and he moves inside. That could put Justin Smith him on Nicks, one of the best guards in the NFL in a lot of passing situations. That's force vs. force.

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey vs. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski -- At times in his career, Bailey has played a lot of man coverage on tight ends. He is used to it with Antonio Gates in his division. I would imagine that the Broncos would put Bailey on Gronkowski some in this game in man coverage. I know I would.

Patriots corner Devin McCourty vs. Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas -- The Broncos have one real receiving threat, and that's Thomas. He is coming off a 204-yard receiving game last week against Pittsburgh. McCourty is a good player who had a bad year. He isn't a great man cover player, and was torched some early playing it, but he might be asked to come up big here. Kyle Arrington might also spend 

Texans receiver Andre Johnson vs. Ravens corner Lardarius Webb -- Johnson didn't play in the first meeting. This time, you can expect him to challenge the Baltimore corners down the field. Webb, who has had a good season, will likely spend a lot of the day on Johnson. That's a tough challenge for any corner.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 5:33 pm

Monday Musings: Carmichael Jr. deserves a look

Why isn't New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. getting any play on the head-coaching market? 

It has to be because the perception is that he's little more than an appendage for coach Sean Payton running the offense. But Carmichael Jr. has taken over as the play-caller in New Orleans. He did most of it -- with Payton's input -- in Saturday night's blowout of the Lions

 According to team sources, Payton has given Carmichael Jr. more and more of the offensive workload and more of the installation process. I wasn't sure how Carmichael Jr. would do leading a room, but the word according to team sources is that he would be good at it. I talked briefly with Carmichael Jr. after the Lions game and asked if he was getting any play for jobs, and he said he was not. I don't get it. 

The man is running the most explosive offense in the NFL. Yes, Payton has input. But shouldn't Carmichael Jr. be getting an interview somewhere? 

---You have to give Tim Tebow credit for making a handful of nice throws. But doesn't Demaryius Thomas deserve credit for turning a simple slant into an 80-yard touchdown to win the game? The guy made a great route adjustment on another throw for a big gain? Tebow did some good things. It was one of his better games. But let's not make him out to be John Elway.

---Marty Schottenheimer being interviewed by the Bucs is crazy. Look, he had some good year. But why not talk to some young coaches? There are good coaches out there. Let's get off the recycled coaches.

---I hear a lot of people coming down on Falcons coach Mike Smith. Some moron even suggested he be fired. What? The guy has gone to the playoffs three of his four seasons and he should be fired? Yes, the Falcons have had playoff disappointment under Smith, but only one of the three losses was at home. The Falcons need to be more aggressive on offense. That's the next step for this franchise.

---Lost in the all the Tebow-mania from Sunday's game was how well the Broncos tackles played. Rookie Orlando Franklin at right tackle and Ryan Clady at left tackle both had impressive days. Franklin's improvement from start to finish has been as good as any rookie in the league.

---So what happened to Brady Quinn playing? I guess not.

---When I watched the Texans beat the Bengals Saturday, I had to think about general manager Rick Smith and the great job he did in the off-season. He made some great moves and he doesn't get enough credit for the job he's done. If the Texans had quarterback Matt Schaub, they'd be a real threat to get to the Super Bowl. 

---Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul guaranteed that the Giants would beat the Packers. A lot will be made of that. It shouldn’t be. Nothing ever said during the week impacts a game. Ever.

---If the Lions don’t get a corner in free agency -- Carlos Rogers? -- it would be a big mistake. They also might want to draft one early in April. The secondary is horrible.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 5:51 pm

Week 17 Matchups: Packers O-line vs. Suh

Packers interior offensive line vs. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh -- The last time they played, Suh stomped on guard Evan Dietrich-Smith to earn a two-game suspension. In the first meeting last season, the Packers said Suh punched center Scott Wells on the final play (a kneel down) at the end of the game. That makes this worth watching all day long. 

Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins vs. Ravens guard Marshal Yanda -- Atkins should be in the Pro Bowl. Yanda is going to Hawaii. The last time these two met, Atkins got the best of him. He made some impressive plays against Yanda. Atkins is quick and strong, while Yanda is powerful. Should be an all-day battle.

Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Cowboys left tackle Doug Free -- Pierre-Paul is having his breakout season and had a sack in the last meeting between these teams. Free has struggled the past month, so this could be where the Giants get a huge edge. If Pierre-Paul can force a fumble or two, the Giants will win this game and the NFC East.

Jaguars tackle Eugene Monroe vs. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney -- Monroe has quietly had a good season. He has held up well in pass protection, one of the few on the Jaguars line who has. Freeney hasn't been his usual dominant self, but he can still be an explosive edge rusher. Monroe has to keep Freeney off Blaine Gabbert if the Jaguars are to have any chance to move the football through the air. Freeney could be the player that ruins the Colts' chances to get Andrew Luck.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson vs. Packers corner Tramon Williams -- In the first meeting, Williams did a great job shutting down Johnson in man coverage. Do the Packers play it that way again? Johnson has seen a lot of doubles the past month, but Green Bay has the confidence in Williams he can get the job done in man coverage.

Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter vs. Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake -- Hunter has been a season-long liability for the Jets offense. He has had problems with speed rushers. Wake happens to be one of those. Wake will force the Jets to help some. If Hunter is one-on-one, Wake will destroy him.

Bengals receiver A.J. Green vs. Ravens corners Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb -- Green didn't play in the first meeting between the teams because of a knee injury. But he is back healthy, which will cause problems for the Baltimore secondary. Smith and Webb are coming off a good game last week at Cleveland and Webb has had a Pro Bowl-type of season. They have to contain Green.

Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali vs. Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady ---Hali is an elite pass rusher who plays with a relentless style. Clady was an elite left tackle in 2009, but he's still battling to get there after a 2010 knee injury. He has played better this season than last. I would also expect the Chiefs to put Hali over rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin in some situations.

Texans outside linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed vs. Titans tackles Michael Roos and David Stewart -- Barwin and Reed have impressed as pass rushers since Mario Williams went down for the season. Roos and Stewart are one of the best tackle tandems in the league. The Titans have to keep those pass rushers off Matt Hasselbeck here. With the Texans locked into the third seed, the only issue is how much they will play.

Cowboys receivers Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Laurent Robinson vs. Giants corners Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Prince Amukamara -- The last time they played, the Cowboys got two long touchdown passes and should have had another late but Tony Romo missed a wide-open Austin. The Giants blew a lot of coverages in that game. They have to be better, even with Romo having the injured hand.

Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:24 pm

Week 16 Matchups: Hunter vs. Pierre-Paul

Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter vs. Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul  -- Hunter has had a rough season, and really struggled last week against the Eagles. Pierre-Paul is playing at a Pro Bowl level and is an all-day player. Hunter will get help, and he will need it.

Falcons defensive end John Abraham vs. Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod -- Abraham is coming off a three-sack game last week against Jacksonville. He played both the left and right side. But he should be opposite Bushrod here for most of the game. Bushrod is coming off a good game against Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.With Abraham healthy again, Bushrod has to come up big for Drew Brees.

Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks vs. Jets corner Darrelle Revis -- Some Giants players have talked that Revis Island doesn't really worry them. We'll see. Revis is a top-level corner, but he has been beat at times. Nicks is an explosive player who is coming off a game filled with drops, including a sure touchdown. Even so, he is capable of a 100-yard game against anybody, even Revis.

Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell vs. Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth -- Whitworth is one of the league's better tackles, while Campbell has quietly had a Pro Bowl season. He has been a force. Campbell isn't a speed rusher, so this will be about force. Get ready for a physical battle.

Bears defensive end Julius Peppers vs. Packers left tackle Marshall Newhouse -- Tamba Hali abused Newhouse last week in the Packers loss to the Chiefs. Peppers is a different type of player than Hali, but he is still a tough challenge in pass protection. If Peppers is constantly beating Newhouse, Aaron Rodgers could have problems throwing the football.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson vs. Chargers corners Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer -- Johnson lit up the Raiders last week for over 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns. The Chargers have had trouble with slowing down receivers at times this season, but they've been better the past month. Look for the Chargers to double Johnson, but even that might not be enough the way he's playing.

Patriots right tackle Nate Solder vs. Dolphins outside linebacker Cameron Wake -- In the opening game of the season, Solder, a rookie from Colorado, held Wake to one sack in the Patriots victory. Solder did a nice job on Von Miller last week and will start again this week for the injured Sebastian Vollmer. Wake started slow this season, but has looked more like he did in 2010 the second half of the season.

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey vs. Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork -- The Patriots move Wilfork around some, but there will be a lot of instances when he's nose up on Pouncey, a rising star as a rookie. Pouncey was a force last week against the Bills. If Reggie Bush is to have success running it this week, Pouncey will have to play big against Wilfork or Kyle Love, whoever is on his nose.

Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer vs. Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali -- Veldheer is coming off a great game against Lions defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosh, while Hali dominated Newhouse with three sacks. Veldheer held Hali without a sack in the first meeting between the teams.

Eagles center Jason Kelce vs. Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff -- If LeSean McCoy is to have success running the football Kelce has to handle Ratliff, who is having a good season after a so-so season in 2010. Kelce, a rookie starter, has had problems at times handling players on his nose.

Posted on: December 12, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 12:53 pm

Monday Musings: Titans hurt by bad play calls

If the Titans don't make the playoffs, which they probably won't, they might want to look to two horrible play calls late in their loss to the Saints. Twice in the final four minutes, Titans coach Mike Munchak and his staff made questionable decisions. 

Trailing 22-17 with just over three minutes left, the Titans faced a third-and-1 from the New Orleans 24. Instead of running the football to get a first down, the Titans threw into the end zone but the pass was incomplete. On fourth down, they ran a sneak and Jake Locker was stuffed.

Why not get the first down on third down and go from there? Bad move. Then the Titans got the ball back again with a 1:34 when the Saints foolishly passed on third down and the ball was incomplete on their possession.

 After two passes moved the ball to a first down at the New Orleans 45 with 48 seconds left, the Titans ran Chris Johnson inside. Why? They had no timeouts and they hit two passes in a row. That might have been the dumbest play call I've seen in 10 years. Johnson didn't gain a thing, but more importantly the Titans lost 20 seconds. 

So after a 40-yard completion from Locker to Washington put the ball on the New Orleans 5, the Titans had just seven seconds, time for two plays. Locker's pass was batted down on first down and he was sacked on second. Game over. Two bad play calls, but the run to Johnson on the final drive was the worst.

I just can't see the logic. Even if he pops it for 10, it's not worth the time that would be lost. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

---- They will blame Tony Romo. That's inevitable.

Romo missed a wide-open Miles Austin with his Cowboys leading the Giants 34-29 Sunday night on a third-down play that would have iced the game. Was it a bad throw? A little bit. Was Austin's perfect? Probably not.

But here's my problem: Why not try and get a first down?

The Cowboys went for the kill shot and it ended up killing them.  Facing a third-and-5 at their own 25 with just 2:33 left in the game, the Cowboys tried to go deep to Austin. They had success with deep balls earlier in the quarter, but everything has to be just right to hit them.

The Giants had one time out and the 2-minute warning. A first down essentially ends the game. So why not a short pass to Jason Witten? I like aggressive play-calling, but this was a situation that called for something safer. A first down wins the game. You don't need the touchdown.

As it turns out, the Giants ended up driving 58 yards to a game-winning touchdown.

Blame Romo all you want. I put that on the play that was called.

---I mentioned to you two weeks ago in my CBSSports.com Power Rankings that I thought T.J. Yates would be better than just average. The rookie is showing us that now. He has led the Texans to back-to-back drives to win games in the fourth quarter, the first rookie since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish that feat. What makes his game-winning drive against the Bengals even more impressive is that he did it without Andre Johnson, who missed the game with an injury. The Texans won't be an easy out in the playoffs, because Yates doesn't act like a rookie.

----Strategy Denver Broncos need to use: Tell Tim Tebow the opening kickoff is actually the overtime toss. Tebow seems to do nothing for three quarters, but flourishes in the fourth. He was horrible for three quarters against the Bears, but somehow found a way to pull it out in the fourth. He made some good throws in the fourth quarter. Of course, it took the illogical to give him even a chance, including Marion Barber's dumb decision to run out of bounds in the final two minutes. If the Bears take three knees -- or three Tebows -- they probably win the game.

---Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris better hope his team plays well in the final three games. After jumping to a 14-0 lead, the Bucs looked lifeless against the Jaguars, losing 41-14. At 4-9, Morris is in big trouble. 

---Maurice Jones-Drew had four touchdowns for the Jaguars against the Bucs. He is having a huge season. Jones-Drew is a tough guy who never backs down. But the scary thing for him is that he's going to be beat up and broken down by the time the Jaguars get good. Call it the "Steven Jackson Syndrome." Jones-Drew is all they have on offense for now.

---We had six passers throw for over 300 yards Sunday. Five won and Romo lost to Eli Manning, who threw for 400 yards. We had nine players go over 100 yards rushing. They went 4-5. You tell me? What's the right way to play?

---So much for Hue Jackson as coach of the year. The Raiders have been horrible the past two weeks. It's more than them just missing all that speed in Darren McFadden Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore

---If Tony Sparano goes in Miami, shouldn't general manager Jeff Ireland go with him? But word is Ireland has become close to owner Stephen Ross. Ireland's reputation in Dallas was that of a guy who made sure he got close to Bill Parcells. Isn't that considered "ass-kissing?"

--Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is a beast. He had two sacks and blocked the potential tying field goal. I loved that kid coming out of South Florida. He was raw, and most scouts downgraded him for that. But he has special athletic ability. The scary thing is he's still learning to play the position. With his long arms and reach, he should take on this nickname: The Condor.

---Come on, Scott O'Brien. You really think Tom Brady needs you in his face? You know what looked like to me? It was a coach trying to make his bones. Some will see that as a plus for O'Brien, standing up to a great. I don’t.

----I hate seeing players injured, but if Matt Hasselbeck's calf injury allows the Titans to start Jake Locker it will be a good thing for the organization. The Titans aren't going to the playoffs, so playing Locker will be good for the long-term health of the franchise.

---Where was Bears defensive end Julius Peppers on the Broncos last two drives? Anywhere? 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com