Derek Carr named the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders


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The Oakland Raiders have named rookie quarterback Derek Carr the starter over Matt Schaub. Now Schaub will go back to his original role in the NFL (in Atlanta) as a backup quarterback.

 

Schaub has a horrible season last year with the Houston Texans and didn't impress in the preseason this year. Derek Carr showed enough to warrant beating out Schaub and will be the starter on opening day.

 

Carr was one of those hard to figure out quarterbacks coming into this year's draft. Some had him as one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the draft and some felt he was lower than that. He was drafted in the 2nd round this year by the Raiders.

 

Carr played very well in the final preseason game against the Seahawks and with Schaub battling an injury it makes sense to start Carr. Plus on a bad football team like the Raiders will no real playoff hopes Carr is the logical pick to start.

 

 When the rookie and veteran are close in talent and with little chance of post season play you go with the rookie to get him some experience and to see what he can offer. Schaub has no upside as his NFL career has clearly peaked.

 

For Derek Carr's sake I hope he has a better rookie season that his brother David did for the Houston Texans. David Carr was just abused with the Texans due to a bad offensive line and was shell shocked. He did play a good while as a backup but he never became a starter again.

 


Carolina Panthers bring Stephen Hill in for a look


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The Carolina Panthers have brought in former Jet wide receiver Stephen Hill for a tryout. Hill was released by the Jets despite being a second round draft pick two seasons ago. Hill has caught 45 passes and four touchdown receptions in his two seasons in New York.

 

Considered a bust Stephen Hill was released by the Jets but his physical ability warrants a team like the Carolina Panthers to take a look at him. Hill is 6 ft 4 inches tall and weights around 215 pounds. At the combine in 2012 Stephen Hill ran a 4.36 40 yard dash. Hill has two NFL seasons under his belt but is younger than Kelvin Benjamin!

 

Upon Hill's release his agent blasted the Jets and blamed their sorry quarterback situation with Hill's lack of success. He has a good point because the Jets quarterbacking has been pretty sorry over the last two years.

 

Most tall wide receivers that can fly get at least a second chance in the NFL. You can bet Hill will be motivated to show the Carolina Panthers what he can do. Hill won't be any help in the return game but possibly he could help out on coverage teams for the Panthers.

 

But frankly I see the possibility of Stephen Hill being a number 3 or 4 wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers if he gets signed and picks up the offense quickly. Carolina is an ideal situation for Hill because of their weak wide receiving unit, but great quarterback in Cam Newton. So if the Panthers offer him a deal Stephen Hill will sign it in under 4.36 seconds!


Can the Seattle Seahawks repeat as Super Bowl Champions?


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Can the Seattle Seahawks repeat as Super Bowl Champions? History says the Seahawks won't win back to back Super Bowls. Or at least recent history says so; the last team to do it was the Spygate New England Patriots teams in 2004-2005.

 

Today's NFL is set up for parody which makes it such a good league. Most teams have a decent chance of at least a playoff run and when in the post season anything can happen. But of course the Seahawks do have a chance to repeat as Super Bowl winners.

 

I just don't think the Seahawks can repeat as Super Bowl Champions. I don't even have them making it to the Big Game, my pick for the NFC is the Packers. There is a natural letdown when you win the title and also every team will be gunning for you during the next year.

 

Seattle does still have a dominating defense and their offense could be better this season and will be if Harvin stays healthy. Russell Wilson is improving and the coaching staff is great but I don't see them repeating.

 

The Seahawks play in the toughest division in the NFL. The 49ers, Rams and Cardinals are all capable of beating the Seahawks. Even without Sam Bradford I like the Rams to have a good season in 2014.

 

The Seahawks could also have a key injury or two that could derail their hopes of repeating as Super Bowl Champions. They proved capable of overcoming some injuries last year but it only takes a couple to top players to end your playoff hopes.So I think the Seahawks will be very competitive but as far as repeating as champions I find it unlikely.

  

 


Eight years of "The Mac Attack" on WFNZ in Charlotte North Carolina



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Today marks eight years of the Mac Attack on WFNZ. Regular readers (thank you for that) know I am all about some WFNZ sports radio out of Charlotte North Carolina.

 

It was eight years ago today that Chris McClain started The Mac Attack at noon on WFNZ.  When Gary Williams left to do golf television. McClain joined co-host Jim Celania and producers Travis Hancock and Colin Hoggard to do some very good morning sports radio.

 

Right after Chris McClain went to the morning show I interviewed him for the Yahoo Contributor Network. I will now post that interview here so Mac Attack fans can check it out. I just wanted to congratulate the Mac Attack team for eight great years of sports talk radio! Keep in mind this interview was done in 2009.

 

 

This is an interview with Chris McClain who has the morning radio show "The Mac Attack with Jim Celania" on WFNZ. I really enjoy listening to WFNZ out of Charlotte North Carolina and recently wrote an article about the radio station. In the article I kind of called out Mac for not replying to interview requests. My humble apologies go out to Mac and that communication error has been fixed.

 

  Mac did indeed agree to my interview request and took the time for it while getting ready to go to Super Bowl 43 in Tampa Florida. Since my previous WFNZ article there has been a programming change. Chris, Bone and Gump are taking the "Mac Attack" to the morning slot and will be joined by Jim Celania. Gary Williams from the Morning Sports Page has moved on to other opportunities in sports radio.

 

 

  The Frank and Buck show will now take over the afternoons before Mark Packer comes on with "Primetime with the Packman." What I find really interesting is that for one hour Mac, Celania, Frank and Buck will have one hour as WFNZ's "Four Horsemen" on a joint effort to bring us excellent sports radio in Charlotte North Carolina.

 

 

  I hope you all enjoy this interview with Mac from "The Mac Attack" on WFNZ and I also encourage you to give them a listen. And I would like to once again thank Chris McClain for this interview.

 

 

  Randy- How cool is it to actually have a career talking about sports?

 

 

  Mac- It is a dream come true to be able to do something you love. Even if it is peanuts and warm beer, that is a great thing. I would urge everyone to find their passion and make it a career.

 

 

  Randy- Did you pursue a sports radio career or just radio in general and just fell into sports radio?

 

 

  Mac- I wanted to be in sports radio all along. I made my first call a show when I was 7 and got hung up on by the host, after I tried to argue with him. Ever since then I had the bug.

 

 

  Randy- With the new promotion to the morning slot do you expect to have to shock collar Jim Celania?

 

 

  Mac- I was taught to respect my elders, so I hope to make my mama proud and not resort to that.

 

 

  Randy- Who was your favorite player from any sport that you have gotten to meet in person, while working in sports radio?

 

 

  Mac- Good question. I am a huge Ravens fan and got to hang with those guys when I was covering their Super Bowl 35 victory. Being in that winning locker room was a highlight no doubt.

 

 

  Randy- If you could pick any living broadcaster to co- host a show with you for a day, which would it be?

 

 

  Mac- Tony Kornheiser, I love his sense of humor. I wouldn't mind sitting in on the Howard Stern show either.

 

 

  Randy- Gump and Bone are moving to the morning slot with the Mac Attack. This tells me that you guys make a good team. How important are the producers to a radio show?

 

 

  Mac- They are very important. Everything from guests to all the production elements are their responsibility. You are only as strong as your support staff, they are my offensive linemen.

 

 

  Randy- Do you think Charlotte is a better sports town now than when you moved here?

 

 

  Mac- Certainly and I think it's only to get better as the Bobcats continue to improve and when the NASCAR hall of fame is up and running.

 

 

  Randy- Do you think Charlotte will have major league baseball in the next 10 years or so?

 

 

  Mac- I say at least 15 years and probably 20. I do believe it will happen eventually due to the insanely quick growth of the Queen City.

 

 

  Randy- Do you have a favorite frequent caller to the Mac Attack on WFNZ?

 

 

  Mac- I love them all! The Mac Attack is really like an extended community of guys hanging out and busting chops. Our resident grandpa, Doug from Lawndale does have a special place in my heart though.

 

 

  Randy- Thanks very much for your time and congratulations on moving the Mac Attack to the 6 am slot and on you baby that is on the way.

 

 

  Mac- Thanks for the support Randy, we couldn't do it without you guys listening and participating.

 

 

  I would like to add a special thanks to Chris McClain, CBS Radio and WFNZ the Franchise. And don't forget to check out "The Mac Attack with Jim Celania" starting Monday February 2nd 2009 at 6 am.

  

Will "Riverboat" Ron Rivera be back for the Carolina Panthers


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Will Carolina Panthers fans see "Riverboat" Ron Rivera again this season or will he revert back to his conservative nature? Last season Rivera played it close to the vest as the Panthers got off to their traditional slow start.

 

Then knowing his job was on the line Ron Rivera started to gamble more, going for it on 4th down often successfully. I know in his heart of hearts Ron Rivera is very conservative as many former defensive coordinators tend to be.

 

But with an offense that is sure to struggle and a great defense to back them up I think "Riverboat" Ron Rivera will be prowling the sidelines again for the Carolina Panthers. I just hope the fans that wanted him to go for it all the time forgive him when it does fail to pan out.

 

With the offensive line and wide receivers mostly new players or playing new positions, this team will rely heavily on the defense to stay in games this year. Luckily Ron Rivera, Mike Shula and company know how to coach this team and I think it will be competitive again this year.

 

The good thing for Ron Rivera is that the Carolina Panthers defense should be even better this season. The linebackers are very solid, the defensive line is improved and the secondary should be as good or better than last year.

 

So if "Riverboat" Ron does go for it on fourth down and miss it, the Panthers are in better shape to recover due to the defense. Sadly though the special teams will be less effective in giving the team good field position due to the loss of Ted Ginn.


Alex Smith gets a new contract from the Chiefs



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Alex Smith has signed a four year $68 million extension on his contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith went from bust material to solid NFL starter during his career with the 49ers and Chiefs.

 

The San Francisco 49ers shipped Alex Smith out to make room for Colin Kaepernick then gave Kap a much worse contract than what Smith has in Kansas City now. Alex Smith is a better quarterback than Colin Kaepernick is as the 49ers are finding out.

 

Alex Smith is perfect for the Chiefs who want to control the ball and win with defense. The fact that Andy Reid is coaching Smith makes him even better. Smith don't make many mistakes and he is very underrated as a quarterback.

 

Somewhere the Panthers Cam Newton is smiling and possibly making a Johnny Manziel money sign or two. While I am a big fan of Smith I think Cam Newton is better and the Panthers will have to top Smith's contact for Newton.

 

The Alex Smith contract shows that teams are willing to gamble on a good quarterback being able to win rather than always searching for a "Franchise" player at the position. I feel with some talent around him that Alex Smith could win a Super Bowl.

 

That is part of his problem with the Chiefs, other than Charles and the often suspended Dwayne Bowe; there is not much to help out Smith.  If the Chiefs can avoid a meltdown like last season's they should contend for a wildcard spot this year and maybe make the Broncos a little nervous in the AFC West Division.

Michael Sam suffers from the Tim Tebow effect


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Michael Sam was cut by the St Louis Rams and cleared waivers. That means Sam wasn't wanted by a single NFL team for their regular season roster, Now Michael Sam is free to sign with any team for their practice squad and will probably do so.

 

Yes I admit I would not be writing about Michael Sam being released if he wasn't the NFL's first openly gay player. But people want to talk about him and are searching Google like mad for him today.

 

I honestly thought Michael Sam showed enough in the preseason to make the Rams team. But they are loaded at defensive end and didn't have room for him. And the Rams would not have drafted Sam if they intended to cut him for being gay.

 

I do think Michael Sam suffers from the Tim Tebow effect. I believe that NFL teams don't see enough talent in Michael Sam to withstand the media and fan onslaught that signing him would bring.

 

Pass rushers are at a premium in the NFL and some team will be willing to try to develop Michael Sam on their practice squad. I think the Rams may put him on their practice squad unless a team that gives him more of a chance to play, offers him a spot.

 

Tim Tebow would be a second string quarterback somewhere in the NFL if coaches didn't dread all the attention he would bring. I am afraid Michael Sam is in the same boat but I think he gets a shot somewhere.

 

Sam's problem on the field is that he is a tweener. He is too slow to play NFL linebacker and too small to be a full time defensive end. But sometimes tweeners can make a place for themselves. One thing for sure Michael Sam is a football player

Ranking the top 10 fantasy football running backs



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Thanks for reading my ranking of the top 10 fantasy football running backs for 2014. I will go backwards from 10 to 1 and will account for the guys who catch the ball as well as are great runners. Feel free as always to heap praise or insults on my ranking of the fantasy football running backs in the comments below.

 

10 Zac Stacey- St. Louis Rams

 

I really like Stacey and with the Rams down to Shaun Hill at quarterback, Stacey will be the bell cow of the offense. I expect Zac Stacey to run for around 1,100 yards with 9 scores and add 30 to 35 pass receptions for the Rams this year.

 

9 Frank Gore- San Francisco 49ers

 

Gore will get lots of carries due to injuries to the other running backs. Gore has always been solid and while I predict a good year for him, he is going to slow down sometime.

 

8 DeMarco Murray- Dallas Cowboys

 

I would rank Murray in the top 5 fantasy football running backs if I thought he would be healthy for the whole season. Since he isn't likely to be I still rank him in the top 10. Murray is a threat to score anytime he has the ball.

 

7 Marshawn Lynch- Seattle Seahawks

 

I don't know how motivated Lynch will be after his brief holdout and natural letdown from winning the Super Bowl. Lynch will be targeted big time by every defense this year.

 

6 Adrian Peterson- Minnesota Vikings

 

Peterson is the best running back of his generation and it's not close. But he has taken a lot of punishment on bad teams in Minnesota. I think he is in the decline of his career but still nice to have on your fantasy roster.

 

5 Eddie Lacey- Green Bay Packers

 

Lacey was outstanding last year playing on a team missing its quarterback. Lacey will be even better this year with ole Discount Double Check back at the helm. I also like the Packers to go to the Super Bowl this year.

 

4 Matt Forte- Chicago Bears

 

Forte is the most underrated running back in the NFL. He can run the ball and is a good receiver as well. Look for Forte to have a great year if he and the Bears other offensive players stay healthy.

 

3 Ryan Matthews- San Diego Chargers

 

I have been a big Ryan Matthews fan since he entered the NFL. He was a bit of a late bloomer. He like Forte is a featured back who can also be a good weapon in the passing game. Playing the powder puff defenses in the AFC don't hurt him either.

 

2 Jamaal Charles- Kansas City Chiefs

 

Charles has had one bad knee injury so that is a concern but he is so darn good and will get lots of touches with the Chiefs, The fact that he is the only weapon there could hurt him as defenses will key on him but I think he is the 2nd best fantasy football running back out there.

 

1 LeSean McCoy- Philadelphia Eagles

 

McCoy was good before Chip Kelly but now he is the best running back in football. McCoy is great at running or catching passes. He has been a little dinged up in preseason but should be fine.

 

Ryan Mallett traded to the Houston Texans


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Ryan Mallett has been traded from the New England Patriots to the Houston Texans. Mallett was considered a talented but risky draft prospect when coming out of college. He sat on the bench behind Tom Brady and never played much but he didn't get arrested off the field either.

 

The Houston Texans were pretty desperate for a quarterback with the journeyman Fitzpatrick sucking it up there, New Texans coach Bill O'Brien was Mallett's offensive coordinator in New Englnad.

 

With rookie Jimmy Garoppolo now backing up Tom Brady the Patriots were able to deal Ryan Mallett to Houston. This is a good deal for all involved as the Patriots probably pick up a draft pick or two and the Texans get a potential starting quarterback.

 

Ryan Mallett has lots of talent but there were concerns that he would not be coachable in the NFL. Since he made it this long with the Patriots I assume he is ready to play in the NFL and could be VERY good for the Texans.

 

Then again he could be very average or worse. I don't often see the Patriots trading away good players especially in the AFC. And the Houston Texans are loaded at most of the positions except quarterback. If Mallett plays well the Texans are a playoff team right away.


Week 1 NFL Game Predictions


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Thanks for checking out my NFL game picks for week one of the 2014 season. I do straight NFL game predictions no point spreads. These week one NFL game picks may help you with your office football pool. I so these free NFL game predictions for each week of the season so please come back and check them out. As always you can heap praise or insults on my NFL game picks in the comments below.

 

Thursday Game

 

Green Bay Packers at the Seattle Seahawks

 

My pick for the NFC Super Bowl team, the Packers against last year's champs the Seattle Seahawks. We see the high flying finesse Packers taking on the ground and pound Seattle Seahawks. I think the Packers win it in the NFC but not here in Seattle's home opener in front of a geeked out 12th man. Seattle wins 24 to 21.

 

Sunday Games

 

New Orleans Saints at the Atlanta Falcons

 

Once upon a time Matt Ryan was almost unbeatable at home. Not these days and not against the Saints. New Orleans wins 28 to 17.

 

Minnesota Vikings at the St. Louis Rams

 

The Rams lost a quarterback and cut Michael Sam so they have been in the news. The Vikings are just slowly working on getting better. I like the Rams at home even with Shaun Hill to win 23 to 17.

 

Cleveland Browns at the Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Hoyer and the hapless Browns travel to Pittsburgh where the Steelers will win 24 to 10.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at the Philadelphia Eagles

 

The Jaguars show whether they have gotten any better and break out Toby Gerhart as a featured running back. Chip Kelly gets to find out if NFL defenses have figured out who to stop his offensive system. My free week one NFL game pick is that the Eagles win 27 to 17.

 

Oakland Raiders at the New York Jets

 

The Raiders travel to the Jets where they will lose 17 to 10.

 

Cincinnati Bengals at the Baltimore Ravens

 

The Bengals should be fighting it out with the Ravens for the division championship and get a leg up this week. The Bengals spoil the debut of Steve Smith in Baltimore with a 24 to 21 win.

 

Buffalo Bills at the Chicago Bears

 

I like the direction in which the Bills are headed but not enough to pick them to win in Chicago. The Bears win 21 to 17 in their home season opener against the Bills.

 

Washington Redskins at the Houston Texans

 

RG3 brings his team into Houston to face a nasty defense but the Texans have no quarterback. Then again the Redskins don't have one either. Houston wins 13 to 10.

 

Tennessee Titans at the Kansas City Chiefs

 

The Chiefs could be really good or really bad and the Titans should be somewhere in the middle this year. I like the Chiefs at home to win 17 to 14.

 

New England Patriots at the Miami Dolphins

 

The Patriots seem poised to have another great season but the Dolphins won't be bullied by Bill Belichick and company. I like New England to win a close one 27 to 24 in Miami.

 

Carolina Panthers at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

The Panthers take a banged up Cam Newton and his new O line and receivers to play Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers. I like the Panthers to get it done 17 to 13.

 

San Francisco 49ers at the Dallas Cowboys

 

This should be a decent game as I think Dallas is better than advertised and the 49ers are worse. That being said my week one NFL football pool pick is the 4i9ers win 17 to 14.

 

Indianapolis Colts at the Denver Broncos

 

Andrew Luck heads to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Air Fox offense. Peyton Manning will want to lay it on his old team for sure. My pick is the Broncos win 28 to 24.

 

Monday Night Games

 

New York Giants at the Detroit Lions

 

This game could get ugly as the Giants are in reverse and the Lions are trying to be Super Bowl contenders. My pick is the Lions win 31 to 20.

 

San Diego Chargers at the Arizona Cardinals

 

This should be a really nice game to cap off week one of the 2014 NFL season. I like both of these teams to have good seasons. My week one NFL game prediction is the Cardinals win 23 to 21.