Now that the 2014 NFL Draft is in the rear-view mirror, find out who makes their way underneath Dave Dameshek’s white-hot light of shame. Check out the biggest draft-day blunders in this special edition of the Shek report.
Author Archives: dameshek
Troy Aikman was the No. 1 draft pick in 1989 — but what if Atlanta had drafted him? Dave Dameshek explores how future championships and Pro Football Hall of Fame careers become altered.
Strong effort here from Elliot Harrison on his pass at the all-time Steelers team…but allow me to respond (starters in BOLD):
QB: BEN ROETHLISBERGER, Terry Bradshaw, Kordell Stewart
That’s right – I’ve got Roethlisberger over Bradshaw. Let the bellyaching begin! Before you dash off angry missives about how dumb I am, consider that – for all of Bradshaw’s big-game greatness (proven by those four rings and two Super Bowl MVP trophies) – he never had to overcome what Roethlisberger has: an atrocious offensive line. Roethlisberger won one Super Bowl (vs Arizona) and lost another (vs Green Bay) in spite of playing behind one of the league’s ten worst lines. The good news is, if Roethlisberger doesn’t come out of the gate on fire, Bradshaw is there to take over. Bradshaw was no stranger to platooning early in his career, splitting snaps with Joe Gilliam. Why is Kordell the third-stringer? Because barring both the two guys ahead of him suffering mysterious MCL injuries, he won’t be under center. In the meantime, he’ll serve the offense well with a return to his more popular alter ego, “Slash”. And besides, who else is there? We know what Neil O’Donnell does when the pressure’s on in the big game.
RB: FRANCO HARRIS, JEROME BETTIS, Barry Foster, Willie Parker, Rocky Bleier, Merrill Hoge
Franco – maybe the most underrated Hall of Fame running back (yes, I realize that’s an oxymoron) – paired with the most durable big back ever, the Bus. Who’s the fullback and who’s the halfback? Who cares? Good luck stopping them. Fast Willie makes the team as our change-of-pace back, and Merrill Hoge will serve the team well as out-of-the-backfield pass-catcher (that is, if he ever makes it onto the field). And good ol’ Rocky? Well, he’s there to provide inspiration and grit.
WR: LYNN SWANN, JOHN STALLWORTH, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Louis Lipps, Antonio Brown
Don’t get caught up in their stats, Fantasyheads – Swann and Stallworth are two of the all-time best… especially in big games. You’re probably more familiar with Swann’s work because of the iconic midfield catch in X, but Stallworth made more than his share of huge plays on the big stage. The two fourth quarter bombs in XIV pulled that game out, and his two touchdown grabs in XIII – one a then-Super Bowl-record 75-yard sprint, the other a twisting catch of a Bradshaw floater between two Cowboy DBs. Plus, Hines Ward?! And Santonio Holmes?! That makes three Super Bowl MVPs. Good luck stopping them. Wait… did I say that already? Oh, and sorry, Yancy Thigpen: you had a good run, but you’ve been replaced A.B, who Ike Taylor says is the best receiver in the game today.
TE: HEATH MILLER, Bennie Cunningham, Eric Green
They block well, they catch even better. Anything else you want out of the position?
OT: LARRY BROWN, LEON SEARCY, Jon Kolb, Marvel Smith, Tunch Ilkin
G: ALAN FANECA, Steve Courson, Carleton Haselrig
C: MIKE WEBSTER
c/G: DERMONTTI DAWSON
Webster and Dawson are the “only” two Hall of Famers in this group (with Faneca a solid future candidate), but there’s plenty of experience across the line. We can also expect Dawson (who played one season at guard before switching to center) and Searcy to play with additional fire because of the embarrassing lack of Super Bowl rings on their fingers.
Onto the defense, where the seemingly big question is: 4-3 or 3-4? But clearly, the correct answer is 3-4. Too many great LBs.
DE: MEAN JOE GREENE, LC GREENWOOD, Dwight White, Ernie Stautner
NT: CASEY HAMPTON, Gary Dunn, Fats Holmes
We’re sliding Mean Joe (the NFL Network’s “#1 Steeler of All-Time) over to end in the 3-4, where he’ll combine with Casey Hampton to form the most impenetrable duo in the history of football. Power sweep? Meet the Steel Curtain. Even Vince Lombardi’s or Jimmy Johnson’s running attacks would be lucky to break even. Literally. They might even have negative rushing yards. [Side note: I’m not sure if Fats Holmes deserves to make the team over Aaron Smith, but in the name of justice, all members of the original Steel Curtain front four must to be on the team.]
OLB: JACK HAM, JAMES HARRISON, Joey Porter, Andy Russell
ILB: JACK LAMBERT, JAMES FARRIOR, Levon Kirkland, Lawrence Timmons
Linebacker is unquestionably the richest position for the most successful organization of the Super Bowl Era. Stars like Greg Lloyd, LaMarr Woodley, Bryan Hinkle, Kevin Greene, Jason Gildon and David Little – who’d be starting on other franchises’ all-time Ds – don’t even make the cut on this dominant team.
CB: MEL BLOUNT, ROD WOODSON, Ike Taylor, Dwayne Woodruff
Blount & Woodson: Two of the five best corners to ever play. Ever.
SS: TROY POLAMALU, Donnie Shell
FS: MIKE WAGNER
CB/S: Carnell Lake
Wagner plays ballhawk, Lake provides versatility, Shell punishes anyone who dares to run downfield, and Polamalu dominates in which ever fashion the game dictates.
K: Gary Anderson
P: Craig Colquitt
KR/PR: handled by Woodson/Lipps/Swann
I’d say the odds are better than 50/50 that the Steelers would get at least one touchdown on a return per game with this trio.
HEAD COACH: Chaz Noll
He’s too often ignored by the national media when history’s greatest coaches are discussed, but the man Myron Cope called the Emperor Chaz Noll is also the Man Most Responsible for Building The Steelers of the ‘70s (also known as: The Best Team Ever).
Dave Dameshek sits down with New England Patriots greats Deion Branch and Willie McGinest to debate if the Patriots of the 2000s deserve the title of greatest NFL dynasty ever.
This morning I wrote and re-wrote about 1200 words analyzing what I see as the keys to the game. I veered into the reasons why I’d like to Peyton Manning win and why I’d like to see Richard Sherman win. I outdid myself with pretentious platitudes about Percy Harvin and Von Miller and the 12th Man and the Mile High Fan and legalized weed and legacy and thugs and (the lack of) a wintery mix. Then I deleted it.
At this point, who cares what I or anyone thinks? Let’s just get to the game.
Warning: Do NOT continue reading if you don’t want to know the result of the Super Bowl.
(170-98 on the season)
P. Manning: 311 yds, TD, 2 INTs
K. Moreno: 17 carries, 44 yds, TD
W. Welker: 6 rec, 70 yds
D. Thomas: 3 rec, 68 yds, TD
R. Wilson: 290 yds, 44 yds rushing, TD
P. Harvin: 3 plays
D. Baldwin: 52-yd TD rec.
R. Sherman: INT
MVP: Marshawn Lynch (24 carries, 130 yds, TD)
Enjoy the game, everybody. I hope your team wins.
1. Walter Payton
2. Peyton List
3. Peyton Manning
4. Sean Payton
5. Gary Payton
7. Peyton Hillis
Q: What do the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Auburn Tigers have in common?
A(1): Each has played at least one post-season game in 2014
A(2): Heath Evans has played for all of them
What Forrest Gump was to pop culture in the second half of the 20th century, Evans is to football this month.
Evans – the smart fullback who spent ten seasons with the Hawks, Pats, Saints (and Dolphins) – now regularly shares his insights with you on NFL Network… and with me in the hallways of NFL Network whenever I can trap him for a few minutes.
Along with the heaps of great anecdotes about Jerry Rice’s time in Seattle, winning a ring in New Orleans, and watching the original Beast Mode run from the sidelines as a member of the Saints, Evans is especially insightful on the mindset of one Bill Belichick. Matter of fact, I’ve taken to calling him ‘The Hoodie Whisperer’. Evans’ admiration for his former coach runs deep (so deep, in fact, he even claims Belichick has a sense of humor!), but simultaneously demystifies ‘The Patriot Way’: To hear him tell it, there’s not some metaphysical magic at work. Rather, it’s Belichick’s practical trust in his players to not only know their own jobs, but – literally – the responsibility of every other teammate involved in any particular play design.
So I asked the Hoodie Whisperer what he expected from the Pats on Sunday.
“They’re gonna take the air of it.”
Really? Don’t you think the plan should be to just pick on Quentin Jammer all day?
“They’re gonna run the ball.”
Does that mean we’ll see a ton of LaGarrette Blount? Or might Belichick throw a curveball and go with Shane Vereen?
“No, Shane’s dropped some balls lately. Bill definitely doesn’t like that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of Stevan Ridley… (Denver DT Terrance) Knighton is real solid, but a guy like Ridley might be able to get some quick hitters past him.”
Like anybody else, the Hoodie Whisperer can’t talk for long about Belichick without getting around to Tom Brady.
What’s Brady like?
“As humble and nice a ‘superstar’ as there is… he’s really just one of the guys. He’s a really hard worker.”
Willie McGinest – another longtime Patriot-turned-NFL-Network-analyst – furthers this point: “Win or lose, when we got on that team plane to go home, Tom went straight to back of the plane, took up a whole row, turned on his laptop and started studying for next week.”
The Hoodie Whisperer: “Yep, you hear it about a lot of guys, but Tom honestly doesn’t care about his numbers. He only cares about winning.”
Yeah, but isn’t that true of every QB? Does Peyton Manning care about his stats?
“Peyton knows how many touchdowns he’s thrown, believe me.”
“I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think he thinks his touchdown passes give his team the best chance of winning.”
The Hoodie Whisperer is not what Broncos and some Colts fans call a “Peyton Hater”. In fact, he raves about what #18 can figure out about a defense – and how quickly he can figure it out – before every snap he takes. Virtually anyone who’s played against Peyton supports this.
This week, I also kibitzed with Terrell Suggs, who was on the field for the win against Manning’s Broncos last January in the divisional round. Did Suggs – who’s been trash-talking rival QBs since before Richard Sherman was catching passes at Stanford – have a withering crack about Peyton’s overtime interception?
“It showed Peyton’s character. He came into our locker room after the game… I’ve never seen that before… an opposing quarterback… and he and Ray Lewis talked like high school buddies for an hour. Made me say I’m no longer an adversary of Peyton Manning.”
The comment is especially stunning when held in sharp relief to his response about his feelings for Brady.
True or false, Suggs: you really don’t like Tom Brady.
“True… it’s football history… the whole thing… the knee pointing, the Brady Rule, all of it.”
To be fair, Suggs also says he’s “seeing his therapist” to quell said disdain… but my takeaway is this: Both Manning and Brady are good at football. Seriously. When you beat someone a lot, it tends to cause raw feelings.
Which leads me to another takeaway: The Hoodie Whisperer, T-Sizzle, and (at least 97% of) all pro football players are human beings. They work year ‘round with the goal of reaching the Super Bowl, but in seven of the past twelve seasons, they’ve instead had to sit and watch Brady or Peyton play in the big game. That means an inordinate number of an entire generation of football players have had an inordinate number of their seasons within their relatively brief football-playing lives ended by either Brady or Peyton. And you think you’ve got reasons to hate them? Come to think of it, we should be amazed we don’t hear more disdain for either guy. Instead, we hear almost nothing but respect and admiration.
So what’s any of this mean? And does any of it have an impact on Sunday’s game? Heath doesn’t know. Neither does Suggs. No one knows. One thing we do all know, though: two legacies are on the line. The winner will get a shot at immortality. The loser will be judged harshly. Except by his fellow players.
Warning: do NOT continue reading if you don’t want to know the results of Championship Sunday.
(4-0 last week; 170-96 on the season)
NE: J. Edelman – 7 rec, 90 yds, 2 TDs
DEN: P. Manning – 402 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
SF: F. Gore – 27 carries, 110 yds, TD
SEA: M. Lynch – 27 carries, 88 yds, TD
Enjoy the title games! I hope your team wins…