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larryjohnson2006-200.jpg“It’s time for (Larry Johnson) to take the diaper off and go play.” – Dick Vermeil, 2004

I make no bones of the fact that I am a homer. I root for all things Kansas University and Kansas City, because that’s what I grew up with. But that means I root for the franchise, and if an individual player punks the franchise, I have problems with that.

The object of my ire this week is Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, who finally scored his first touchdown of the season in a romp agains the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that was starting a down lineman in their decimated linebacker corps.

Larry has done great things for the Chiefs, without a doubt. His previous two seasons, and the amazing ten-game clinic he put on in 2004 following a Priest Holmes injury, are worthy accomplishments which I will not denigrate. What I will take issue with is the fact that LJ seems to think that those stellar seasons have exempted him from any need for improvement.

The Chiefs’ running game thrived under Dick Vermiel because the passing game was so potent. Holmes and Johnson had an all-pro offensive line to run behind, the efficacy of which was proven by the success two very different runners had within the system. Under Herm Edwards, the system is different, the linemen are different, and the QB is different. Yards have been hard to come by, and Larry has pouted. In the Cincinnati game, he pulled his team out of the red zone by slamming the ball to the turf after a negative-yardage play, drawing a penalty. And this was in a game that his team was winning.

In addition, LJ’s poor blocking was extremely evident in this last weekend’s game. While I don’t expect him to get to every blitzer who comes through, I do expect him to look like he wants to. On a couple of replays, Johnson made minimal effort to stop defensive players from leveling his QB – it was just that obvious. Now, if I were paid to lug the rock, I wouldn’t want to block, either. But even I know that failure in the passing game leads to fewer opportunities in the running game.

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Now, to clear one thing up. I am not picking on Larry Johnson because I was spoiled by the high-flying Vermeil offense. I grew up with the likes of Christian Okoye and Barry Word in the Chiefs backfield, and I freaking loved it. LJ is my kind of runner, and I love it that he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and dish out punishment. I just want to see more determination and less pouting, QUITE FRANKLY.

Many Chiefs fans are also deploring LJ’s holdout this season, but I am not one of them. While I do wish it hadn’t been necessary, I believe that Larry’s demands were legitimate – he is the future of this organization, and he was ridden hard in 2006, to the tune of a record-setting 416 carries. Tack on a career-high 41 catches that went for two more TDs, and the Chiefs organization would seem to owe Larry Johnson one hell of a lot. The NFL does not have a history of taking care of its own, nor does Carl Peterson. Johnson deserved a raise, and he should have had it before camp started.

So, basically, it comes down to “yeah, things suck right now.” So the question then becomes: is our franchise back going to throw tantrums about it, or is he going to try a new approach? If Larry Johnson wants to be “the Man” in K.C., he has to make his detractors eat their words the way that winners always do – by refusing to play the victim, and showing what he’s really about.

The best revenge is living well. Just ask Peyton Manning.

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Yeah, we were just joking around in the comments section over at 82 Sluggo Win. Innocently enough. Talking about the most excellent movie “High Fidelity”. Some call it minor Cusack, but I say nay! Have you not seen “Serendipity”? Or his small role in “Con Air”? That is minor Cusack. This is a worthy entrant in the canon.

But then this question floated my way:

jonathantu said 49 minutes ago:

Extrapolator, top five fashion crimes perpetuated by Jimmy Johnson in the ’80s and ’90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great coach for his hair spray sins, is it better to volumize or fade away?

I laughed. But then I actually thought about it. That is a perfect end-of-the-week post, I said to myself, and set about to answer the question through the magic of Google image search.

Here are the answers:

jjmontage12.png

jjnumber2.jpg

jjhat.jpg

So there you have it, J-Tu. Now go back and listen to your old sad bastard music. See if I care.

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wolfebears.jpgFortune: You’re 5 foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 3 years. And you’re gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame Northern Illinois. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. Am I making myself clear? – Rudy

I don’t know what it is, but I love midget sports pros. Spud Webb, Pedro Powell, Dave Meggett. I love all of those guys. But this year’s man to watch is newly-minted Chicago Bears running back Garrett Wolfe, who takes the field at 5′ 7″ and 186 lbs.

Garrett is a Chicago native, so your mind automatically goes to “Oh, sure, they gave the local legend a free-agent tryout just to be nice”. Wrong. He was a third-round pick, a first day selection. Lovie (tee hee) must have checked out the stats Wolfe put up at Northern Illinois – over 5,000 yards rushing in his college career, an average of 160 yards per game over his three years as a Husky, and he racked up 353 yards in a single game against Ball State. He started all 12 games his senior season, so he’s durable despite his size. I assume the Bears plan to use him as more than a kick returner, since they used a 3rd round pick on him, so this could be an interesting season to watch.

Aside from that, I just love his demeanor. He’s no-nonsense and has that incredible sense of directness and focus about him. I guess you’d call it self-posession. Let’s see how that translates to the field of play:


I did not choose the music on this clip.


And, in this case, the music choice actually frightens me.

I could show you more, but you get the point. Plus, I’m not sure I could handle any of the other musical tributes handed out by the youtube community.

So, if you’re looking for an interesting story this season, check out the Flea. He looks like the real deal.

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peytonsulks.jpgThis blog is still… STILL not one year old yet. However, in the 11 months of printed chicanery that have elapsed, the only player in any sport to merit his own tag is Peyton Manning. Peyton was the subject of some of my earliest posts, which were linked by Deadspin and made me realize someone was actually reading. So I straightened up and rode the Indianapolis Pony for a while.

Here are last year’s posts

Since Peyton and Reggie are getting ready to play one another (well, technically, they’ll be alternating on offensive series, but don’t tell the NFL promotions department) tonight in the kickoff special for the NFL, I am cooking up a new entry to this canon of fine tomfoolery, but for now, go back and read the stuff you missed back when you never heard of me.

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32divesnooze.gifOther blogs might be celebrating the beginning of college football season with a best-this and most-exciting that, but I’m a realist. The first week of college football is mostly BCS teams beating up on the hoi polloi – sort of a glorified exhibition game.

So I’m going to celebrate those unheralded moments we’ll get to see so much of, starting tonight. Know them and love them, and they can become your friends. Maybe you can even invent a drinking game around them.

The Extrapolater presents: The Five Least Exciting Plays in Football

5. The Prevent defense – This oldie but a goodie comes in at #5 because it certainly has the potential for excitement in a close game. But most often, this will be employed when Blue Chip U. has Cow Chip U. beat by 30 and is simply trying to minimize the embarassment for both sides.

europuntkick.jpg4. The punt from midfield – Again, there is certainly potential for excitement, but it is rarely realized. The punter could, possibly, shank the punt into the cheerleader pyramid, but he probably won’t. The return man could, possibly, muff the handle or get cocky and refuse to call for a fair catch, but he probably won’t.

3. The Extra Point – For christ’s sake, it’s called the extra point. It’s not a necessary or even desired point. It’s flotsam and/or jetsam. The only chance for excitement is a bad snap, but even then, the only prudent course of action is to fall on the ball.

2. Fullback dive to end the first half – Done properly, there should be about a .0003% chance of something interesting happening on this play. The only danger points are the QB/center exchange, which is more like a broken play; the QB/FB handoff, which is usually aided by a target the size of Nebraska (hey there, Tom Rathman!); and the miniscule chance of a fumble. Miniscule, because only a brain-dead roughneck would try to gain yardage on this play. It’s “put the bread in the basket and fall down” time as the clock runs down to zero.

testaverdekneel.jpg1. The QB kneel-down – The only time a football fan screams out for the kneel-down is when his QB does something stupid and causes a turnover in a close game. Even those of us who see it as a necessary evil still hate it. Kneeling on the pigskin is not football, but if your team needs one more win to go undefeated, you’ll be baying for it like a bloodhound in heat.

As for the drinking game, I’ll have to think about it. If anyone wants to do a guest-post on the idea, I’m all ears email. Of course, if you want to just steal the idea and call it your own, I guess I left myself wide open for that.

DAMMIT!

Enjoy college football season, ever’body!

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UPDATE:  Our first attempt at scoring the boring play drinking game comes from Michael Litos at CAA: Life as a Mid Major:

Here’s a start: every three yard run inside the tackles nets a drink. Defensive guy gets off the ground whooping it up like he just blocked a punt for a game-winning touchdown nets an extra drink. That second part is open to interpretation–my game is a collaborative effort.

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We Are Kicker!

A friend of mine is cleaning out his football card collection. Bless his soul, he always gives me the Chiefs cards for free. He brought me a Nick Lowery card, which made my day.

We were laughing about the luxuriant Lowery moustache, and my buddy reminded me of this video, which needs no further introduction (unless you count the one given by the legendary Walter Payton).

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Still gearing up for football season.


The great Champ Bailey


Iowa’s Adam Shada vs. Purdue


UCLA’s Alterraun Verner vs. Arizona


Texas Longhorns’ Aaron Ross vs. Oklahoma State, showing concentration and sure hands.

Can’t wait for next week!

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