Kassie’s NFL ReKap!!

I owe my friend Earl Crawford an apology. During a Twitter exchange yesterday, I made the statement that “the O(Carolina Panthers) looked about the same. D looked niiiice.” My exact words. Earl’s response, ” I don’t understand….yr 1 O was on fire .. running up and down the field .. yr 3 we struggling…” Now in my defense, I was late getting home from church and I had to make a run during the game for pizza and breadsticks so I did not get to watch the whole game. It was not until I took a good look at the box score that I truly understood where Earl was coming from. My bad Earl. You were absolutely right. Yesterday’s offense was dismal. Quarterback Cam Newton completed 16 of 23 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. Huh? Wait. What? Third year QB Newton ONLY had 125 yards? I need that to be a typo. Unfortunately, it is not. Newton did do a good job of spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, completing passes to five different players. However, that is just not enough. Now in his defense, this dismal offense was crippled by some dismal, conservative play calling. It was apparent that in order to beat the Seahawks, the Panthers were going to need a balanced attack. Surprisingly, the numbers say this is exactly what happened. 23 passing plays to 26 rushing plays. Well plays that netted yardage. So something is terribly wrong here. I saw too many dropped passes. I saw too many fumbles. And while I try not to “armchair coach,” I saw too many questionable play calls.

In year three of the Cam Newton offense, there should definitely be improvement from last year. The offensive line looked better. Newton seemed to be more patient in the pocket. And Steve Smith is still the fiery, ball snatching firecracker that he has been for the past 13 years. I agree with Newton and Smith when they say ” Everybody, let’s not panic now” but hey, something has got to give or somebody is going to be giving up a job soon.

Switching gears and speaking of giving, how about we give Seahawks QB Russell Wilson a round of applause. *insert applause* What sophomore slump? Wilson finished the day 25 of 33 for 320 yards and one touchdown. Things started out a little rough for Russell as he was under constant pressure from the Panthers front seven. However, once he got settled in, he managed the game like only he can. Scrambling when he needed to. Dropping back when necessary. Making throws on the run including a beautiful pass receiver Doug Baldwin. And of course, completing a beautiful game winning drive that culminated in a 43 yard touchdown pass to receiver Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter. That is just Russell being Russell. The other 31 teams better get used to it.


All summer I have been hyping myself up, it did not take much, for opening  Sunday. My San Francisco 49ers vs the Green Bay Packers. A rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional playoff game. You know the game where 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards. Yeah, that game.  Well all summer we heard about how the Packers were making adjustments so that they receive a repeat dose of what happened in January. Well, so much for that. Apparently the Packers thought Kaepernick could only beat them with his legs. Wrong. The arm proved to be just as lethal as Kaepernick lit up the Packers defense for 412 yards on 27 of 39 passes and three touchdowns. Huh? Wait. What? Looks like the Packers may need to go back to the drawing board once again. Ok, ok. Enough trash talk. For as much as I loved the way my 9ers looked yesterday, I am still extremely frustrated with our secondary. Too many missed tackles. Too many blow coverages. Too many missed assignments. Yesterday was essentially a shootout and it came down to which defense could hold. Thankfully, my 9ers defensive unit has been together for years and knows how to step up at just the right time. If it was not for that front seven then we might have had a different outcome. Fellow football fans have been telling me to calm down because Rodgers is a great QB who is going to torch secondaries constantly. Yeah, I know. However, I need to see some improvement out of our secondary and I am not seeing it. Remember, I was watching the 9ers when no one else was so that telling me that they are doing a good job will not work over here. If we are to, indeed, get ring number six then the secondary will have to step up in a major way. Teams will be looking to exploit that weakness. Now if everyone can get on the same page and play like rookie safety Eric Reid then it is curtains for everybody else! Bang! Bang! #NinerGang

Switch. My thoughts.

Speaking of curtains, the Pittsburgh Steel curtain may be closing. My goodness. They looked awful yesterday. So did those Jacksonville Jaguars. Sheesh.

Yeah Larry Fitzgerald! Snagged two touchdowns yesterday. Still top five in the WR department.

The New York Jets, with the assistance of a late hit penalty, won their opener. Yeah, I have seen this Lifetime movie before.

Speaking of Lifetime movies, the Dallas Cowboys one began last night with a win as well. We all know how this will play out. Maybe they will fool me. Eh, doubt it.

The New England Patriots needed late game heroics to beat the Buffalo Bills. I am not sure how to even interpret that. Any Given Sunday, I guess. Well almost.

The Chicago Bears beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Barely. That is a moot point though. As long as I get to sing “Bear Down.”

Miami beat the Browns, convincingly. However, they were not very impressive. Gotta love those Fins.

There was a Reggie Bush sighting in Detroit as the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings. Bush racked up 191 yards of total offense and one touchdown. He has not produced that much offense since USC. Ok, Maybe he has but none of you would be surprised if I was right.  Adrian Peterson was sighted too.  Ran straight to paydirt on his first carry. From 78 yards away. Really dude?

Andrew Luck’s Colts allllllmost lost to the Oakland Raiders. Heard the Raiders looked good though.

And lastly, the New Orleans Saints worked that voodoo magic on the Atlanta Falcons, who were not able to #RiseUp for the occasion. Better luck next time birds.

Football & Running: These Are Two of My Fa-Vo-Rite Things!!

Aaaaaah, what a great weekend. Anytime running and football are involved, it is ALWAYS a great time! So of course, you all recall my excitement from four days ago when August FIRST hit. The start of football season!! Well Saturday night was the National Football League Hall of Fame Enshrinement, one of my favorite events. I love to hear all the speeches where players, coaches and executives all talk about their childhoods, families, influential persons, coaches, former teammates, highs and lows and their dreams. Saturday night provided me with all of that. From former offensive tackle/guard Dallas Cowboys guard Larry Allen talking about his first date with his wife(I mean who does not love a a story that involves two whole chickens and a 40 ounce), to former Green Bay Packers linebacker, Dave Robinson, saying some of his friends and family were watching down on him, proud because of his induction, and that some of them may be looking up at him to former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver, Cris Carter, telling his mama(after having her stand up so he could pay homage to her), “Sit down Mama! You in the Hall of Fame!” The induction ceremony provided me with the opportunity to have the type of day Jimmy V said we all should have everyday. The speeches made me laugh, think and cry. To see these gentle giants essentially turn into giddy little kids before your very eyes as they soak in all that being enshrined into the Hall of Fame has to offer is truly a joyous occasion. CONGRATULATIONS to those previously named as well as legendary coach Bill Parcells, former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle, Jonathan Ogden(who was the Ravens very first draft pick and is also the first Raven to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame), former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle, Warren Sapp and former Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Curley Culp(who looks phenomenal for 67).

After an inspiring Saturday night, I set my sights on Sunday and you guessed it, running!! I rarely run on Sundays but I have been itching to connect with some new people in the area. I traveled over to the neighboring city of Winston-Salem to meet up with the Black Girls Run(BGR) Winston-Salem group. As much as my body tried to tell me, “hey, this is not what we do on Sundays”, I still pressed my way and I am glad that I did. I met a very nice group of ladies that included two women I already knew(Hey Tina and Sharolyn!). All of these women have a desire to live a healthy lifestyle, which includes running. I did a three mile run, that was not my best but hey I finished! Once you truly become a runner, you will learn that finishing is all that matters in the end. You can set time goals all you want. Sometimes you meet them. Sometimes you do not. However, if you finish you have already conquered the biggest task that laid in front of you on that trail/greenway/sidewalk/track. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The scenery was nice. The trail was nice. The weather was even nice for 6:15pm on a Sunday. I look forward to joining the ladies next Sunday!!

So there you have it. My weekend in a small nutshell. A little sample of what I got into. Fun all around.

SN: The annual Hall of Fame game was played Sunday night. It featured the Dallas Cowgirls and the Miami Dolphins. So yeah, while I am starving for some football, I am NOT that desperate.

Until next time…TOODELLS.

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

Almost Jerry. Alllllllmost…..


October 26, 1993. I still remember the breaking news from the sporting world that day. It was the day the Carolina Panthers were born and it was also the day I became a fan. In case you missed the memo, yes I am a 9ers and a Panthers fan regardless of what you say. You still can not question my fanhood!!! On this same day, I watched Jerry Richardson, owner of the Panthers, guarantee that the team would win a SuperBowl within their first 10 years of existence.

Fast forward to February 1, 2004, nine years after the Panthers first season(the Panthers started playing in 1995), SuperBowl XXXVIII(38). The Carolina Panthers vs. the New England Patriots. Could my Panthers really keep Jerry’s promise? After the way things had unfolded for my Panthers in the playoffs, anything was possible.

My Panthers easily dismissed the Dallas Cowboys in the first round to advance to a divisional playoff meeting with the St. Louis Rams. My Panthers were leading by 11 with three minutes to go when the improbable happened. The Rams tied the game!! In what will go down as one of the most exciting games I have ever watched, my Panthers managed to get the job done on the first play of the second overtime. QB Jake Delhomme hit WR Steve Smith in stride, the middle of the field for a 69 yard TD to send my Panthers to the NFC Championship. The clip of Delhomme celebrating that TD will never get old. Classic Jake :-}.

Next up was the opponent that stood between my Panthers and the SuperBowl, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles would play without their workhorse RB, Brian Westbrook and would later lose QB Donovan McNabb during the game due to an injury. My Panthers won 14-3 to advance to the big game.

Besides the fact that my team was playing in the game, one of the main reasons that this game stands out is because I was in Charlotte to watch the game. A friend was invited down by another friend and my friend invited me to come as well. Keep in mind that I lived a little over two hours from Charlotte and I had to be at work at 8:30 the next morning but of course that was not going to stop me from going to Charlotte for the anticipated celebration. We ate. We laughed. We cheered. We covered our eyes when Janet played peek-a-boo. And with about three minutes to go and the game tied, we began to prepare for the trip to downtown Charlotte to celebrate Jerry’s promise. We had full confidence in our team. Then former Patriot Adam Vinatieri happened. With four seconds left, he shattered the dreams of Jerry and millions of Panthers fans along the East Coast with a swift kick that sent the ball through the uprights and sent the New England Patriots home with the Lombardi Trophy.

As I drove home that night, well morning, I began to laugh because I could only imagine what time I would have been leaving Charlotte if we had won. I wondered what I would have told my supervisor when he would have caught me sleeping at my desk. I decided I would have told him the truth. He knew I was a die hard and he was a great sport when he lost our bet during the NFC Championship game(he was an Eagles fan). If we had won, I surely would not have been productive that day but it would have been well worth it!!!

The Dallas Wake-Up Call…

Seven days. That is all it took for the National Football League to be reeling from yet another tragedy.

Saturday morning, most of the world awoke to the news that Jerry Brown, a linebacker on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, was killed in a car accident. The accident was caused by his teammate and close friend, Josh Brent. Authorities say Brent was driving at a high rate of speed when his car hit a curb, flipping at least once and skidding approximately 900 feet before coming to rest. It is now known that Brent was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Awful. Just awful. Drunk driving claims yet another life. The statistics for fatalities as a result of drunk driving have not been released yet for 2012 since the year is not over. In 2011, there were 9, 878 fatalities, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2011 marked the first year that drunk driving fatalities were under 10,000. While that does give organizations whose main focus is to educate the country about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving, it is a difficult “victory” to celebrate when 9.878 people lost their lives as a result of the problem.

So once again, seven days later, we all ponder the question: why? Why get behind the wheel knowing you are drunk? Why not call someone to pick you up? Why do you need to drink that much in the first place?You would think after last week’s wake up call in which former Kansas City Chief Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend before committing suicide, players, would be placing more value on their lives as well as those around them. Instead, another mother has to bury her son because a man chose to make a bad decision that ultimately affects the lives of many. Sad. Just sad. To make matters worse, Saturday was not the first time Brent had driven under the influence. In 2009, Brent was charged with driving under the influence(DUI). He was given 60 days in jail. It is obvious that there is a disconnect somewhere when it comes to Brent, alcohol and driving.

Over the past few days, I have heard a lot of talk about NFL players and drinking. A lot of journalists seems to be suggesting that this is a league problem. This year alone, 18 NFL players have been arrested for suspicion of DUI, up from seven in the previous year. That breaks down to a percentage of .7%. However, drunk driving is not just an NFL problem, it is a nationwide problem and I fail to understand why. I do not understand getting behind a wheel drunk and risking the lives of others and well as your own. Most of us have access to family, friends and complete strangers who are willing to help us get to our desired destination if we are too drunk to drive. Well, I should not say us and we because I do not drink. Anymore. I made the decision to stop consuming alcohol nine years ago and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I now have the chance to be one of those people I just talked about. If a friend were to call and say, “Hey, I am too drunk to drive. Can you come pick me up?”, I would be there before they have a chance to find their keys and change their minds.

The NFL does believe that the issue of drunk driving is a very serious one.  However, I think it is time for the NFL to step up to the field and adopt a stricter policy when players are arrested for DUIs, especially multiple times. According to USA Today, 18 players have been arrested for suspicion of DUI, up from seven last year. Since 2000,177 players have been arrested for DUIs, most notably Donte Stallworth who struck and killed Mario Reyes as he was crossing the street one morning in March 2009. Stallworth admitted he had been drinking. Ultimately, Stallworth was given a 30 day jail sentence and settled out of court. Stallworth was suspended one year from the NFL but for me that does not seem to be enough. I know the league is made up of hundreds of players who do not drink and drive but one driving under the influence is too many.

While it is easy to make this out to be an NFL problem, like I said earlier, this is a nationwide problem.  Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death. Men are more likely to drink excessively than women are, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Men average 12.5 binge drinking episodes a year compared to 2.7 for women. Oddly enough, I suspect that the reason men tend to binge drink and then “assume” they are ok to drive, has a lot to do with what I talked about in my blog last week. Men are prideful. They do not like to ask for help. They do not like to show weakness. Telling another man that you are not capable of driving home implies that you are not capable of “handling your liquor.” All of this challenges your “manhood.”

The NFL is a major player, not only in our country but in this world. I hope the 2009 death of Reyes and the 2012 death of Brown serve as a catalyst to fight the “war” against drunk driving . The NFL has the opportunity to use these instances to educate their players as well as people around the globe that driving under the influence is dangerous, risky and stupid. One wake up call should be enough.

The weekender…

New format to The Weekender. Here it goes…

Wolfpack, LSU, tataskinz, cowgirlies, g-men lost. Bears D scored again and again. Bama & Notre Dame came back and won. Oregon beat USC in a shootout. Knicks gave NYC something to smile about. Jimmie Johnson won to keep his lead in The Chase. Panthers, Steelers, Dirty Birds, Seahawks and the Broncos won. Bama and K-State are still 1-2 in the BCS. And still no hockey.


Until next time….TOODELLS.

The Weekender

Aw man, the weekend is over. Five days until the next one!! And your weekend rekap is as follows….


The Cincinnati Reds clinched the NL central title. Hip Hop Hooray!

Taylor Heinicke, QB for Old Dominion University,  passed for 730 yards in a 64-61 win against New Hampshire. So this season we have had a QB pass for 736 yards(all-time divisions record) and another pass for 730 yards(Division-I record).  That is crazy and deserving of more than three sentences.

Gio Gonzalez is the first pitcher to reach the 20 win mark this year. #Natitude

Arkansas lost to Rutgers. It is amazing what a motorcycle ride will do to your program.

The Saints are 0-3 and the Cardinals are 3-0. No, that is not a typo.

Chris Paul revealed that his preference was the Clippers over the Lakers. Oh and he is still upset about Pau Gasol “sonning” him.

According to my mother, the cowgirlies won(I refuse to call them by their government name until they win 10 games) and the 9ers lost. Unfortunately, she is right.

22 year vet, Jim Thome, doubled in the go-ahead run in the Baltimore  Orioles win against the Boston Rex Sox. The Orioles remain one game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Jamaal Charles rushed for 233 yards and had 55 receiving yards. So glad he is on my fantasy team. *fist pump*

Oregon leaped over LSU to take the number two spot in the AP Poll. They remain number one in the gameday apparel poll.

After predicting a victory, Denny Hamlin made good on his promise winning in New Hampshire. Jimmie Johnson is now The Chase leader.

The NFLPA sent an open letter to the NFL owners asking them to reach an agreement with the locked out officials. Both sides met this weekend and the owners are still locked into their position.

The Texas Rangers defeated the Mariners 3-2. They maintained their four game lead over the A’s in the AL West.

Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 43 yard field goal as time expired to lift the Raiders to a 34-31 victory over the Steelers. No one lifted the 6’1, 258lb kicker during the post game celebration.

St. John’s men’s basketball coach Steve Lavin is eager to get back on the hardwood after missing most of last season recuperating from prostate cancer. Cheers to a great season Coach!

FSU defeated Clemson 49-37 on the backs for strong performances by EJ Manuel and Chris Thompson. Speaking of backs, Thompson broke his last year….

Stephon Marbury voiced his opinion saying he does not think Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are a good fit for the Knicks. When was the last time Marbury’s opinion was relevant?

Bill Gillespie resigned as men’s basketball coach at Texas Tech, citing health issues. Sooooo, that NCAA investigation had nothing to do with it????

The Wolfpack won!! Whoop!

So much to say about the Ravens-Patriots game. The courage and perseverance that Torrey Smith displayed despite learning of the death of his youngesr brother was truly inspiring. He had six catches for 127 yards and two TDs. The game ended with the Ravens Justin Tucker kicking a 27 yard FG that came as close to the upright as I have ever seen. Bill Belichick thought the field goal was no good, chased down a ref, grabbed him then sucked his teeth throughout his press conference. Too funny.


Until next time…TOODELLS.

Ladies, klass is in session….Football 101, Lesson 3

Alright ladies, how are you feeling?? Feeling more confident about this football thing? Are you loving it yet? Or are you still lost? No need to fear, Kassie is herrrrre!! Today I am going to talk about different plays and coverages that you will see from the offense and the defense. Remember, this applies to both college and pro football.

Offensive terms

Play action-A pass play that is designed to look like a running play. The purpose of this play is to fool the defense into thinking it is a run so the QB has a chance to find an open receiver.

Shotgun-This is a passing play where the QB typically lines up about five yards behind the line of scrimmage. This formation allows the QB to see what the defense is doing and make any necessary changes before the ball is snapped.

Throwing it away-When the QB deliberately throws the ball out of bounds or over the head of one of his receivers. A QB will throw the ball away sometimes if he can not find an open receiver or if he is in danger of losing yardage because of pressure from the defense.

Intentional grounding-This is called sometimes as a result of the QB throwing it away. A referee can determine that either there was no receiver within the vicinity of where the ball was thrown or that the receiver had no realistic chance to catch the ball. The penalty results in a loss of 10 yard and the team will also lose a down.

Pump fake-When the QB fakes like he is throwing the ball in hopes of throwing off the defenders which will give his receivers more time to run their routes

Defensive terms

Man to man-A defense designed where a defender is assigned to cover a specific receiver

Blitz-My favorite defensive play! Remember there are five offensive linemen and there are typically three or four defensive linemen. During a blitz, the defense will rush the offensive linemen using additional defensive players in hopes of sacking the QB, tackling the runner behind the line of scrimmage or rushing the QB’s throw. I have dreams of one day blitzing a QB, preferably Tom Brady and his short helmet :-}.

Zone coverage-A defensive set up where defenders are assigned to cover certain areas of the field and the receivers that venture into those areas

Double coverage-Two defenders are assigned to cover one receiver. If you see two defenders for one receiver, then this automatically tells you that this receiver has the potential to change the game at any moment and the defense knows that.

Bump and run-A defender can bump the receiver within the first five yards past the line of scrimmage. By bumping, the defender hopes to disrupt the route the receiver is trying to run. However, if the defender is not successful at disrupting then the defender will have to match the receiver stride for stride in an effort to keep the receiver from catching the ball.

Bonus term

Audible-When the QB changes the play at the line of scrimmage….it is that simple.

NFL Tidbits

There are 32 team in the NFL. Learn at least half before the end of the year.

The NFL is divided into two conferences: The National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. Each conference has 16 teams, divided into four divisions.

The New York Giants are the reigning Super Bowl Champions.

SuperBowl XLVII(47) will be held in New Orleans on February 3, 2013. Yes ladies, your man and some of your girlfriends will be M.I.A. for another 4.25 months. Sorry!!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most SuperBowls. They have six rings. The San Francsico 49ers(the only teams to win EVERY SuperBowl they have played in) and the Dallas Cowboys have won five.

Until next time…TOODELLS!!