The Scores Report Interviews Buffalo Bills Brad Smith


One time, Brad Smith returned a kickoff 90 yards-with one shoe.  Another time, he scored on a 32 yard scamper via the ground. Yet another, he returned a blocked punt for a TUD. And I didn’t even mention the fact that last season he scored on a 32 yard receiving TUD against the rival Patriots.

His insane versatility on the field stretches to his local community as well, where he started the “Brad Smith True Foundation” to help kids in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio to promote “discipline, education and organized activity.”

Recently, The Scores Report spoke with him about his first season in Buffalo, his preferred position, and his recent stint as an intern/backstage interviewer at Men’s Health magazine.

BE: With the Jets, you had a 108-yard kickoff return for a TD, the longest in franchise history. What do you get more exhilaration out of: that or a 32-yard scamper for a TD?

Brad Smith: It doesn’t matter to me (laughs). If it’s running, blocking a kick, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is, did I do something to help my team win?

BE: Do you want to play QB more?

Brad Smith: I’m always a quarterback first — it’s what I’ve done my whole life. And I have fun doing it, but I’ve done all kinds of stuff. Whatever they ask me to do is what I’m going to do. That’s how I look at it man. Whatever I can do to help the team win is what I will do.

BE: With the Jets you were there from the transition between Eric Mangini to Rex Ryan. What was that like?

Brad Smith: It was a good transition. The support group they have there is unbelievable, from the training staff to the strength staff at the time, they all made it a smooth transition. Coach Mangini, I learned stuff I still use to prepare for games to this day from coach Mangini. He was one of the most detail-oriented coaches I’ve ever been around. Rex gets you to play and let it loose 100%, so you don’t have to think — I picked that up from Rex. We’ll see how it goes with coach Marrone.

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

Three keys for the Steelers to avoid another upset at the hands of the Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Ward (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of their NFL AFC Divisional playoff game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, 15 January 2011. The Steelers defeated the Ravens 31-24, and will advance to the AFC Championship game. EPA/DAVID MAXWELL fotoglif902601

One factor that the Jets have to their advantage this week is that they’ve already beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh once this season (22-17 in Week 15). But things could prove to be more difficult for New York this time around.

Below are three keys for the Steelers to avoid another upset.

1. The O-line must rebound.
The play of the O-line continues to be the biggest question mark surrounding this team. Flozell Adams was sick last week with the flu and could barely stand up, which is why he struggled so much against the Ravens. Ramon Foster deserves praise for moving to tackle when Adams left the game, but he continues to be a marginal blocker. Jonathan Scott gave up a handful of pressures and a sack against Baltimore and while Maurkice Pouncey played well overall, he had trouble moving the Ravens’ big defensive tackles at the goal line. In fact, the entire Steelers’ O-line had trouble at the goal line, which includes Chris Kemoeatu (who also made some stupid decisions after the whistle had been blown). What’s interesting is that the Steelers gained 377 total yards against the Jets in Week 15, which included 146 on the ground. They also had touchdown drives of 96 and 74 yards, so they’ve already proven that they can move the ball on Rex Ryan’s stingy defense. But can the O-line elevate their game after last week’s performance? They better, because Ryan has proved over the past two weeks that he can put together some of the best defensive game plans in the NFL.

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Colts hand away perfect season, lose to Jets

The Indianapolis Colts just answered the question of whether or not an undefeated season is more important than resting their starters: It’s not.

By benching Peyton Manning early in the second half on Sunday, the Colts surrendered their chance at a perfect season and subsequently lost to the Jets, 29-15. It was Indy’s first loss since October 27 of 2008.

After the game, head coach Jim Caldwell noted that a perfect season was never the Colts’ ultimate goal – a Super Bowl is. Some may argue that the Colts have an obligation to the fans (and to the Ravens, Broncos, Steelers, etc.) to leave Manning and the starters in, but what would have happened if Manning snapped his ACL in a meaningless (meaningless for Indy) game late in the season? What’s the point of going 16-0 or 15-1 and watching Curtis Painter lose in the Divisional Round of the playoffs?

I felt bad watching Manning on the sidelines, I really did. He’s a warrior and a competitor and the guy wants to be in every game. That’s why he wins and that’s why the Colts have had so much success over the past couple years.

That said, he can be mad on the sidelines all he wants because at least he’ll be healthy in three weeks when Indianapolis is playing for a chance at a Super Bowl. An undefeated season would have been great, but in one week nobody (not even Colts fans) are going to give a crap. This might be a story for the media, but it’s not to the Colts franchise. Again, in a week, nobody will care about this so hopefully the mainstream media doesn’t make an issue of it over the next week.

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Jets name Mark Sanchez starting quarterback

Even following his rough outing in the Jets’ second preseason game on Monday night, head coach Rex Ryan named rookie Mark Sanchez the team’s starting quarterback.


Despite a rough start against the Ravens in his last preseason game, Sanchez never lost his cool and battled back. The team has been impressed with his command of the huddle and the offense. Sources say the team has been impressed with how much he has not looked like a rookie. Drafted out of USC, Sanchez has gone 6-of-12 in two preseason games, with one touchdown pass and one interception.

Clemens, in his fourth season, is 9-of-14 for 84 yards in the preseason. He also has one score and one pick. Entering his fourth season with the Jets after being a second-round pick in 2006, Clemens also had a solid but unspectacular camp, but threw 12 interceptions compared to the rookie’s five.

I’m sure Ryan would have wanted a better performance out of Sanchez on Monday night before he made his decision official, but it’s not like Clemens did anything this summer to merit the job, so why delay the announcement?

The good news for Sanchez is that the Jets offensive line is solid. They also have a trio of backs in Leon Washington, Thomas Jones and rookie Shonn Greene that are more than capable of taking some of the pressure off Sanchez in his first year.

The bad news is that the Jets aren’t giving Sanchez a lot to work with in terms of receivers. Jerricho Cotchery is underrated and has been a consistent, productive receiver throughout his career. But he’s not a player that will keep defensive coordinators up at night and after him, the Jets will rely heavily on the inexperienced crop of Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney and Brad Smith.

If Sanchez continues to show the poise he did on Monday night when things weren’t going his way, he should do fine. That’s not to say that he’ll have a Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco-type rookie year and lead the Jets to the playoffs, but success can’t always measured in whether or not a quarterback can get his team to the postseason. (Especially if said quarterback is a rookie.)

Don’t go crazy on draft day and pick Sanchez in the middle rounds. He’s a rookie QB, and they’re notoriously undependable in fantasy circles, especially with all the depth available in leagues that only start one QB. It probably would have been better for the Jets WRs (especially Cotchery) if Clemens had won the job, as the two had shown a nice rapport in the past. Sanchez will no doubt have his ups and downs, so that means the Jets receivers are likely to as well.

Jets contact agent for Plaxico Burress

Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum revealed after the draft on Sunday that he contacted agent Drew Rosenhaus about Plaxico Burress’s pending legal situation.

Plaxico Burress“Consistent with our normal approach of performing our due diligence, we contacted Drew Rosenhaus several days ago prior to the draft to inquire about Plaxico’s pending legal situation,” said GM Mike Tannenbaum in a statement Sunday night. “However, we have had no discussions with Drew about Plaxico since that time.”

The Jets’ decision not to draft a wide receiver had nothing to do with their inquiry about the controversial Burress, according to a person with knowledge of the Jets’ thinking. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak for the club.

“The Jets kicked the tires a little bit but it hasn’t advanced beyond that,” said the person.

This just goes to prove that talent usually exceeds all else in professional sports. Even though a player was a jag off to his former team and was dumb enough to not only bring a loaded weapon into a nightclub, but actually try and secure that weapon in the band of his sweat pants (who wears sweat pants to a nightclub anyway?) only to shoot himself in the leg, he will still be given every opportunity to get back onto the field.

The Jets are freaking out that they don’t have enough quality receivers to give rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez – and they should be. If the season were to start tomorrow, the Jets would line up Jerricho Cotchery (who is talented, but probably can’t carry a thin receiving corps on his own) and either David Clowney or Brad Smith out wide. Not exactly Jerry Rice and John Taylor, you know?

Still, if Tannenbaum were smart, he’d stay away from Burress and let his legal situation run its course. Then maybe you can see what kind of mental and physical shape the guy is in, and whether or not Roger Goodell is even going to let him see the field next season. And even then, I still wouldn’t touch him with a 700-foot pole.

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