I’m just saying…the Browns selected Braylon Edwards the same year Aaron Rodgers was drafted.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs into the end zone past Atlanta Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter during their NFC Divisional NFL playoff football game in Atlanta January 15, 2011. REUTERS/Rich Addicks (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

I haven’t done this column in a couple of weeks but after this weekend’s games, I thought it was an appropriate time to bring it back.

So here’s the latest installment of “I’m just saying…,” NFL Divisional Round-style.

– Colts fans after Nick Folk missed that chip shot field goal in the first quarter of the Jets-Patriots game on Sunday: “Oh come on!”

– After the Packers-Falcons game, I took a quick look at the stats sheet and saw that Aaron Rodgers was 31-of-36 passing for 366 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. My first reaction was: He had five incompletions?!

– Hey, when your team is up 25 points late in the third quarter and all you need to do is run some clock, why wouldn’t you call a halfback pass with Matt Forte and risk turning the ball over? You keep doing your thing, Mike Martz.

– Rex Ryan just beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history) in back-to-back weeks using two different game plans. Say what you want about his mouth, but the guy knows defense.

– If I’m a team that needs a defensive coordinator, I’m on the phone right now with Rob Ryan. I want that gene pool designing my defenses.

– Most defenders would sacrifice one of their limbs to have a free shot at Jay Cutler when he’s running with the ball towards the end zone. But instead of delivering a punishing blow, Seattle safety Earl Thomas tried to bring the quarterback down by osmosis on Cutler’s touchdown run in the second quarter on Sunday. Somewhere, Ndamukong Suh is weeping.

– Matt Ryan after the game on why he threw the sideline pass that Tramon Williams intercepted and returned for a touchdown instead of throwing the ball away: “Well, I thought if Williams was anything like our corners, he would be playing 10 yards off the ball and I’d be able to pick up an easy seven yards.”

– I know where I’ve seen Bears’ O-lineman Frank Omiyale before: he doubles as a turnstile at Halas Hall during the weekdays.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Three free agent moves that made sense, three that didn’t and three that have yet to happen

Even though we’re not even a week into the NFL free agency period, there is still plenty to talk about. Below are three free agency moves that made sense, three that didn’t and three that have yet to happen.

Three moves that made sense:

1. The Giants beefing up their defense with the signings of Canty, Boley and Bernard.
Two years ago, New York befuddled a previously unbeaten Patriots team in Super Bowl XLIII with a constant barrage of pressure from its defensive front four. With that in mind, GM Jerry Reese decided to add more talent to his front seven this offseason with the signings of Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard and Michael Boley. Canty and Bernard will beef up the interior of the Giants’ defensive line by adding both size and strength, as well as hopefully boost the production of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora on the outside. Not too many people have heard of Boley, but before he got lost in the shuffle last year in Atlanta, he was on his way to a promising career. Surrounded by the right talent and given the opportunity to play to his strengths in the right system, Boley could become a Pro Bowler someday and eventually excel in New York. They still have to figure out what to do with Plaxico Burress, but thanks to the signings of these three defensive players (coupled with the sensible deal the team signed running back Brandon Jacobs to), the Giants have had one of the best offseasons of any team in the league.

Read the rest after the jump...

Falcons to sign free agent TE L.J. Smith?

According to a report by the National Football Post, the Falcons have set their eyes on free agent L.J. Smith (Eagles), who became the best tight end on the market after the Titans placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Bo Scaife.

The Falcons brought in several run-blocking tight ends last offseason, but need to give quarterback Matt Ryan a better pass-catching target at the position. Smith has been unable to stay healthy the past two years, but he certainly has the size, speed and hands to upgrade the tight end spot and as long as the Falcons don’t overpay, he could be a quality signing.

One notion surrounding Atlanta’s interest in Smith is that Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew, who is arguably the best tight end prospect in the draft and a player many mocks have the Falcons taking at No. 24, hurt his stock when he only ran a 4.8-forty at the scouting combine. But the more realistic idea is that the Falcons want to shore up their need for a pass-catching tight end before the draft, so then in April they can turn their sole attention to the multiple holes they have on defense.

Read the rest after the jump...

NFL Playoff Preview: Falcons defense must rise to occasion

Entering their playoff game with the Arizona Cardinals this Saturday, all of the talk – and for good reason – for Atlanta seems to surround rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, head coach Mike Smith and the Falcons’ impressive turnaround from a dysfunctional 4-12 team to an 11-5 Super Bowl contender.

But while it’s fun to shine the light on Ryan and the Falcons’ feel good story, more attention should be paid to Atlanta’s defense. Because it’ll be the play of Keith Brooking, John Abraham, Lawyer Milloy and the rest of the Falcons’ defensive unit that determines if Atlanta will move beyond Arizona this weekend.

The Falcons will score, this much we know. Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White and Jerious Norwood lead an offense that has averaged close to 25 points per game and are playing against a defense that at times, has resembled a revolving door to the end zone this season.

But how will Atlanta’s defense matchup against a veteran quarterback in Kurt Warner that has a trio of 1,000-yard receivers at his disposal in Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston? Can the Falcons’ secondary of Foxworth, Coleman, Milloy and youngster Chris Houston contain the Cardinals’ explosive offense or will they be another victim to Arizona’s impressive passing attack?

The key might be whether or not Milloy is healthy. He hurt his back in the team’s playoff-clinching win over the Vikings in Week 16 and sat out the Falcons’ Week 17 win over the Rams. If he’s ready to go, he’ll play a huge role in taking away an Arizona running game that averages just over 70 yards per game. And if Atlanta’s front seven can contain the run on its own, Milloy can better help in coverage and hopefully limit the Cards’ big-strike potential.

Not many defensive backfields can line up and take on Boldin, Fitzgerald and Breaston in man-to-man coverage, and the Falcons are no-exception. While Dominique Foxworth has been solid since an early-season trade with Denver, Chris Houston is still learning the position and has been known to give up the big play at times. The Falcons will have to commit their safeties to help in coverage, which means Atlanta’s front seven must take away the run on its own.

Another huge factor is whether or not the Falcons can generate a pass rush without having to commit extra defenders. The team has done an outstanding job rotating its defensive linemen this season and it’s led to Abraham having his best season as a pro. He and Babineaux have been fantastic at getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks all year, but it would go a long way in helping Atlanta’s success if second-year end Jamaal Anderson could give them anything in terms of a pass rush.

If the Falcons are to beat the Cardinals on Saturday, it’ll be vital that Ryan and the offense get an early lead by pounding Michael Turner on the ground. This will keep the Cardinals’ offense on the sidelines and hopefully force Arizona to be one-dimensional. If Atlanta can build a double-digit lead, then Abraham and the rest of the Falcon defensive line can think pass first and get pressure on Warner. If they can force a turnover or two, they can put the game away in the second half and bleed the clock with their outstanding running game.

Related Posts