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Kelly Slater Hangs Ten With Pro Bowlers

29 Jan
Kelly Slater and Pro Bowl Friends

By RJP Staff

During Pro Bowl week, surfing giant Kelly Slater went surfing with some giants of the gridiron. Tony Gonzalez, Drew Brees and Doug Flutie were among the current and former players to participate. The outing was taped for surf.transworld.net. There Justin Cote writes:

The surf was perfect for the NFL guys; 2-foot wind swell that broke way outside and gently rolled to the beach. Tony Gonzalez, who grew up in Huntington Beach and was even on the surf team in junior high, was the standout among the players, but Brees seemed to have the most fun, he even did a superman dive into the camera as I was filming him on a wave. It was as if he diving into the end zone for the winning TD.

I encourage you all to follow the link and watch the vids for yourself. If not, feel free to click on the image above to enlarge the collage.

SNP 001: Stylin’ and Profilin’ Victor Cruz

28 Jan

Behind the Scene of Victor Cruz's photoshoot for Latin Trends Magazine

By Chris McCoy

Whether you’re an avid football fan or just a casual spectator, by now you’ve probably heard of Giants WR Victor Cruz… or at least seen his end zone dance, but what else do you know about this budding star?

The Early Years

Victor Cruz was born to Blanca Cruz on November 11, 1986. He’s half black, half Puerto Rican; growing up with a Hispanic mother he’s bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. It’s ironic that the Giants signed him as an undrafted free agent, as he’s pretty much a homegrown kid, growing up in Paterson, NJ – about 20 miles from Manhattan.

Victor Cruz, representing Paterson Catholic, practices back in 2004 for the New Jersey North-South High School Football All-Star Game.

There he went to Paterson Catholic where he played basketball, but truly shined as a two way football star playing both wide receiver and defensive back for the Parochial Group 1 champions. His senior year he tallied 19 total touchdowns: 15 receiving, one rushing, one punt return, one kickoff return and one interception return, with the kickoff return and interception return amazingly coming within :30 seconds of game time of each other.  His play on the field earned him First Team All-North Jersey, First-Team All-Passaic County, First Team All-B.P.S.L., First Team Parochial All-State and Second- Team Associated Press All-State honors. He also played in the North-South All-Star Football Classic at Rutgers Stadium. After graduating in 2004, Cruz needed an extra semester at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine before moving on to the University of Massachusetts.

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Aaron Rodgers Named Sporting News Offensive Player of the Year

27 Jan

Not only did Rodgers lead Green Bay to a 14-1 regular season record, he put up incredible numbers. Rodgers' season stats: 4,643 passing yards 68.3 completion % 45 TDs 6 INTs, 257 rushing yards 3 TDs

via Sporting News

Aaron Rodgers put up the best season passer rating in history (122.5) with other-worldly numbers of 4,643 yards, 45 touchdown passes and six interceptions, and along the way he managed to make State Farm relevant again in the insurance industry. It was that kind of year for the reigning Super Bowl MVP, as seemingly everything he touched turned to gold during the Green Bay Packers’ 15-1 campaign. With 413½ votes from our pool of 632 NFL players, coaches and executives, Rodgers won handily over second-place Drew Brees (112 votes). NFC North opponents were left doing a double-take while trying to slow Rodgers, a seventh-year pro.

A few of their observations on his 2011 season:

Matt Toeaina, DT, Bears: “He’s just so composed. He’s cool in the pocket and very accurate. He’s got a good group of guys around him, and you can’t get him rattled. You pretty much feel that if you can get a quarterback rattled, you can do some damage. But Aaron Rodgers is just a true professional. He trusts the guys around him, and he’s well-deserving of player of the year.”

Tim Jennings, CB, Bears: “He’s consistent. He’s just one of those quarterbacks who is so elite. He knows the offense so well right now that he’s able to throw off defenses. He’s looking one way and then going back the other way without tipping anything off. It looks like he does a good job of critiquing himself because he is getting all flaws out of his game. It’s kind of hard to get a read off of him at all now. It’s like he’s driving a car and knows all the buttons, how to operate it, with that offense. Reading him is something our defense has to do a better job of … and honing in on that. And he’s so accurate. He’s just a good quarterback playing at a high level now.”
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106th & Park Salsa Battle: Victor Cruz vs. Rocsi Diaz

27 Jan

NFC Championship Preview

19 Jan

Can the Niners drag down the Giants again? Pictured: Niners CB Tarell Brown tackles Giants WR Hakeem Nicks

By Curtis M. Gaines

Thanks to a disheartening loss by Green Bay last week the road to the Super Bowl now goes through San Francisco.

Questions concerning San Francisco’s offense that have been posed since the beginning of the season came to fruition last week when San Francisco edged out the New Orleans Saints in what may very well have been the best game of the year, if not decade.

Those questions were answered with an explosion of exclamations starting with Alex Smith. Last week all doubt was lifted as Smith took the bull by the horns and led the San Francisco offense down the field, not once, but twice in the closing minutes of an emotional and intense game.

The naysayers that said Smith could not go head to head with a Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers were, for now, silenced. Against the Saints, it wasn’t the defense that bailed out the sluggish offense but quite the opposite, which could only mean great things to come for this young and hungry 49ers football team.

This week the resurgent New York Giants look to avenge its Week 10 loss to San Francisco and further its post-season as the NFC champions. This is not the same opponent San Francisco faced in Week 10. They are finally healthy at their running back position with Ahmad Bradshaw back from his cracked foot and their secondary is equally healthy.

However, this is not the same San Francisco team they faced earlier this season either. Judging from their play against Green Bay the Giants made a few mistakes that could prove detrimental if they choose to utilize the same defensive stratagem against San Francisco.

Rodgers exploited the Giants countless times Sunday capitalizing on their over-pursuing pass rush by stepping up into the pocket and scrambling for 66 yards and five first downs. This poses an interesting dilemma for New York this week against San Francisco. How will they fair against a run heavy offense? Will they have their defensive ends stay home to defend against pitches and reverses? Will they get the pressure they need to create problems for Alex Smith and force him into making bad decisions?

Kendall Hunter running past Spencer Paysinger for a Week 10 TD

Keep in mind when these two teams last met Frank Gore was held out of much of the game, but his backup Kendall Hunter ran six times for 40 yards and a score. With both running backs healthy it will be difficult for the Giants to gain any sort of defensive rhythm with Gore pounding between the tackles and Hunter eating up yards on pitch plays, screens and swing passes.

Because Gore and Hunter both are threats running between the tackle and as receivers, it would be a fallacy to think New York can key in on downs Hunter subs in for Gore and vice versa. Hunter, however, has a propensity to make big gains on plays outside of the tackles and screen plays which will spread the Giants defense and leave room for the 49ers to work the middle of the field and take vertical shots with Crabtree and Davis.

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NFL Banks $24 Billion In New TV Deal

6 Dec

By RJP Staff

SportsBusinessDaily.com says the NFL is about to prove that the rich get richer, and then some. The website is reporting that the league is close to an across-the-board renewal of its TV contracts that will boost rights fees by more than 60% and yield $24 billion over the next eight years!

The new deals would mean that CBS, NBC and Fox would pay an average of $1 billion a year to broadcast NFL games. Those networks’ current deals end after the 2013 season and would be extended through the 2021 season, according to the website. ESPN signed a new agreement with the league in September at a 63% increase in fees. The other deals might be completed within a month, SportsBusinessDaily.com says.

Procrastinator Alert: Week 13

4 Dec

Bootleg Cable: Chris McCoy's fantasy team in his NFL.com league

By Curtis M. Ganes and Chris McCoy

My conversation with Curtis about my team will show you a little bit about how his mind works, when he’s making his picks. Want to skip right to this week’s advice? CLICK HERE.

CG: So what you working with this week? I’ll go with who performed last week that you shouldn’t play.

CM: I got Beanie Wells, play him or sit him?

CG: Play him, definitely… Dallas is weak against the run; yet sporadic. Don’t get me wrong, I like Dallas D, but they are soft against the run. Who are your other players?

CM: My other RBs are Matt Forte, who’s been playing like ass the last couple weeks, and Mike Turner.

CG: That’s a tough matchup against Houston (Turner). Who else you got?

CM: WRs: Larry Fitzgerald, Stevie Johnson, Steve Smith, Brandon Lloyd, and Garcon, and at tight end I have Keller and Olson.

CG: Lloyd has played consistent since being traded at least a TD a game

 CM: Yeah, I’ve noticed – only played him once, though. He’s been my third wide receiver.

CG:  Should’ve played him… but don’t fret, I don’t think he falls off. Even against my Niners, they are soft in the secondary, plus they will be; or at least we all assume that. He makes a great FLEX play, but with your WRs he is definitely a WR2.

CM: So you like Lloyd vs SF over Steve Smith vs TB?

CG: Good question. I’m basing my initial advice on consistency. Lloyd is consistent, but u have a higher ceiling with Smith – he could go off. There’s a high risk/reward with Smith… your safe bet is LLOYD. If I was you and just needed to win matchup wise? I’d go Lloyd, in points league and behind in points like me I’d go S. Smith. Lloyd probably gets you 14 points plus or minus 5, while Steve will get u 10 plus or minus 10.

CM: LOL right!

CG: I’m a gambling dude… my advice is for safe bets, though. Go with Lloyd and Stevie.

CM: And sit Fitzgerald??

CG: Dallas’ pass defense is actually decent. They aren’t gonna let him get loose… Doucet gets loose this week and so does Wells. They’re playing in Dallas… bad… no go. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fitz got hurt.

CM: Don’t wish that on my team son!

CG: Play Lloyd and flex Fitz if you don’t have good flex options…. Forte against KC? Murdering!

CM: Think I should sit Turner then?

CG: Hmm… over Beanie?? Toss up –Houston’s no slouch against run, and with Dallas focusing on their pass rush more than the run Wells is your best bet.What u know is that he’s a beast and he’s healthy against a mediocre run defense. The question is will they have to pass to be in the game.

CM: The Cardinals suck, they wont be in it lol

CG: It’s turf though…one good block and he’s gone.

CM: True dat

CG: I’d gamble… the safe bet says play Turner, but if your going for homerun… play Wells, especially if your WR positions are iffy… and they are.

CM: yeah I’mma sit Turner, chicks love the long ball, lol.

CG: LMAO. Well it’s just a bad look either way. They aren’t division opponents; who knows how it’ll go, but that defense practices against Tate and Foster…that’s just saying SIT Turner. Not to mention ball control. How often is ATL going to get the ball… ATL is tough against the run too! I’d sit Foster this week as well. No one peeping that, they shut Sproles down.

CM: Think Vick is gonna ball for me in the playoffs? I’m leaning on Matty Ice right now.

CG: Naw Vick has no supportin cast; nothing to play for… they are out; no incentive.

Alright, on to the matchups

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