Philly connection strikes in South Florida

During the 2009 regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense lived and died by the big play.

And it looks like the Pro Bowlers from Philly’s 11-5 squad packed their quick-strike capabilities in their suitcases for the 2010 Pro Bowl.

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb hit Philly teammate/wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a 58-yard touchdown in the third quarter of Sunday’s NFL Pro Bowl to give the NFC team a 24-17 led at Sun Life Financial Stadium.

So far for the game, Jackson has hauled in four receptions for 82 yards on five targets. The second-year speedster has found the end zone twice and is currently a leading candidate for the game’s MVP award.

Unfortunately for the NFC, the lead didn’t last long.

Jaguars quarterback David Garrard just hit Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson for a 48-yard touchdown, tying the score at 24 a piece with 13:19 to play in the third quarter.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

NFL announces All-Decade Team

Sunday night isn’t just about celebrating the best (or second best, or third best, or even fourth best) players in the NFL, it’s also about honoring the best of the past decade.

The NFL announced the All-Decade team Sunday night. The teams were chosen by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee members.

Darren Sharper (Saints), Peyton Manning (Colts) and Dwight Freeney (Colts) will represent the All-Decade Team in next week’s Super Bowl.

Let the debate begin.

The NFL All-Decade Team-2000s

Head Coaches: Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy


Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning
Running Backs: Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James, LaDainian Tomlinson
Wide Receivers: Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens
Tight Ends: Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez
Fullback: Lorenzo Neal
Offensive Tackles: Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden, Orlando Pace, William Roaf
Offensive Guards: Larry Allen, Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, Will Shields
Centers: Olin Kreutz, Kevin Mawae


Defensive Ends: Dwight Freeney, Julius Peppers, Michael Strahan, Jason Taylor
Defensive Tackles: La’Roi Glover, Warren Sapp, Richard Seymour, Kevin Williams
Linebackers: Derrick Brooks, Ray Lewis, Joey Porter, Zach Thomas, Brian Urlacher, DeMarcus Ware
Cornerbacks: Ronde Barber, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, Charles Woodson
Safeties: Brian Dawkins, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Darren Sharper


Punters: Shane Lechler, Brian Moorman
Kickers: David Akers, Adam Vinatieri
Punt Returners: Dante Hall, Devin Hester
Kick Returners: Joshua Cribbs, Dante Hall

Now, let me hear YOUR thoughts.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Report: Broken neck still an issue for DeCamillis

Nearly nine months after the Dallas Cowboys practice facility collapsed during a storm and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis suffered a broken neck, he’s still dealing with significant issues.

DeCamillis told Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News that he is looking forward to returning to Dallas after the Pro Bowl tonight to continue rehabilitation on his neck. The injury was such that he had to take pain killers to get through some games this season. As a coach.

“I won’t have anymore surgery but I really haven’t spent the time trying to rehab as much as I should have done,” DeCamillis told Archer. “I did some lifting stuff, but as far as the pain goes in my neck, I’ve got to do something to try to correct it or see if it can be corrected.”

When you need pain killers to get through games as a coach because the team’s practice facility fell apart in high winds and collapsed … what does that entitle one to? Job for life? Just asking.

If DeCamillis thinks he’s injured, though, he should check out what Bryant McKinnie has had to endure.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Biggs: NFL reviewing McKinnie case

The NFL is looking into the hell of a good time that Bryant McKinnie enjoyed in Miami instead of participating in some of the mandatory Pro Bowl events known as practice.

McKinnie was dismissed from the NFC team on Saturday, and according to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the league is exploring the possibility of fining McKinnie in addition to the fact that he will not receive a game check.

McKinnie was kicked off the team when it was too late to add another offensive tackle, leaving the NFC quarterback potentially in danger.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is not considering a suspension for McKinnie at this point. The league wanted more attention for its all-star game by moving it to the site of the Super Bowl and playing it in the week between the conference championship games and Super Bowl. It’s succeeded, but McKinnie is not bringing the NFL and its players the kind of focus anyone was seeking.

McKinnie has been suspended by the league for four games in 2008 for his role in a brawl outside a Miami nightclub. He was also a central figure in the Love Boat incident on Lake Minnetonka.

Through his Twitter account, McKinnie tried to explain Saturday that he backed out of the game because of injuries. The league has made it clear that is not the case, and his former teammate at the University of Miami, Willis McGahee, even made fun of him, calling it bull****. McKinnie made reference to his social schedule throughout the week via his Twitter account.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Biggs: Hebert to march in drag today

Bobby Hebert will march in drag in the French Quarter today.

The one-time Pro Bowl quarterback picked up the microphone where New Orleans sports talker Buddy Diliberto left off in 2005, and one of the promises DIliberto made was that if the Saints ever reached the Super Bowl, he’d parade down Bourbon Street in drag. Hebert is going to make good for him today, according to Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“This thing has grown unbelievably,” Hebert told Hummer. “They were talking about hundreds of guys doing it. Including those who actually like to cross dress.”

Hebert, who has been doing radio work in the Big Easy for nearly a decade, followed Diliberto at WWL radio. His daughter Cammy, who works in the fashion industry, and his wife, Joan, will help him with his get-up and makeup.

Hebert will then spend the week in Miami for the Super Bowl before returning to the Big Easy for the weekend and the most celebrated game in the history of the New Orleans franchise. That’s where the party will be after all.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Biggs: Panthers hire special teams coach

The Carolina Panthers have filled their need for a special teams coach, promoting Jeff Rodgers from within to take the place of the departed Danny Crossman.

Rodgers was an assistant under Crossman this past season and was a special teams assistant for five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Crossman was fired after the season by John Fox.

“Jeff is an outstanding young coach and I am confident he will do an excellent job,” Fox said in a statement.

Crossman landed a job with the Detroit Lions and coached in the Senior Bowl this past week.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Peppers: I could end up anywhere in 2010

Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers made more than $1 million per game playing in Carolina last season, but he has no clue as to whether or not he’ll be back with the team in 2010.

“Anywhere is a potential landing spot,” Peppers told the Associated Press recently. “I’m not going to say I want to play for any team or I prefer to play anywhere, because I really haven’t thought about it. I haven’t thought about playing for x, y or z.”

The free agent defensive end was hit with the restrictive franchise tag last year by the Panthers, which prevented him from leaving Carolina to sign with another team. The deal included a $1.5 million bonus for earning a trip to the Pro Bowl, which Peppers will play in Sunday night.

The eight-year veteran is coming off a season in which he amassed 42 tackles (36 solo), 10.5 sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles and scored one touchdown for the 8-8 Carolina Panthers.

Peppers has recorded 25 sacks over the past two seasons, which ranks fifth in the NFL during that time span. Should the Panthers choose to place the franchise tag on him again in 2010, it would require them to pay him a salary of more than $20 million for just one season.

Several teams have been rumored to be interested in acquiring the services of the former North Carolina Tar Heel, one of which being the New England Patriots, who could use the help getting after the passer.

The Patriots defense racked up just 31 total sacks in 2009, good for 23rd in the NFL.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

Sunday at the Post


“Remain in peace in the unity of God and walk blindly in the clear straight path of your obligations…If God wishes more from you, his inspiration will make you know it.” — J.D. Salinger, 1958

I’m sure many of you have read “The Catcher in the Rye.” Some may have liked the book, others may have hated it, but for me, it was one of the first books I read that I just couldn’t put down. I loved Holden Caulfield and loved the fact that the author, J.D. Salinger, went to Valley Forge Military, as I did.

The reclusive Salinger died last week at the age of 91, which I found ironic. Last week in the Sunday Post, I included a quote from the movie “Finding Forester,” which is very loosely based on a character who had some similarities to Salinger. Salinger had been living in his cabin in Cornish, N.H., surrounded by a six-foot-high fence to keep strangers away and protect his privacy. But like the character in “Finding Forester,” he wrote every day for his own pleasure. As the Forester character told Jamal, “Whatever we write in this apartment stays in this apartment.” Nothing Salinger wrote has left his cabin. Maybe now we might see some of his works.

“In the manner of a great Indian composer of the 16th Century, Swami Haridas, who would sing and play only for God, Mr. Salinger ceased to publish in the early ’60s and now evidently writes only for God or for himself — the two are not strictly divided in the Vedantic philosophy which informed so much of what Salinger wrote (and with which I also share a strong affinity). To the untutored — or perhaps far too tutored and jaded literary sensibility — such a refusal of publicity would appear to be nothing more than a failure of nerve, a childish refusal to enjoy fame.” — Sam Buntz, The Dartmouth


“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.” — Francis Bacon

1. It was with great sadness that I heard the news of the passing of former CBS announcer and local Philadelphia sportscaster Tom Brookshier. Brookie was a former Eagles player who rose to fame being on the No. 1 team at CBS with his partner, Pat Summerall. Summerall was asked about Brookie when he left CBS and was quoted saying, “I won’t miss Brookie on Sunday, but I’m going to miss the hell out of him on Saturday night.” The two had a great friendship as well as a great partnership on the air. He will be missed.

2. I have never seen a player get more attention than Tim Tebow received last week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Tebow was in and out of the hospital all week with a viral infection, but he didn’t miss a practice or the game. He didn’t back down from the challenge of playing and seemed to relish the opportunity to compete.

3. Kurt Warner’s retirement on Friday wasn’t a surprise, but his positive outlook regarding Matt Leinart had to make the Cardinals coaching staff feel a little better. Leinart will be given the chance to show he can be the man, but the word coming out of Arizona is that the Cards will make sure there’s competition in camp. Might be a place where Derek Anderson ends up once he’s let go by the Browns.

4. Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Mike Martz have a great relationship, and despite the concerns about hiring Martz as offensive coordinator, the Bears would be smart to make this move. Martz can handle quarterback Jay Cutler and put the Bears’ passing game on par with the Vikings and Packers.

5. The hiring of former Redskins head coach Jim Zorn as Ravens quarterbacks coach will be key in the development of Joe Flacco. Flacco needs to take a giant step next season in terms of his development and growth as a player, and Zorn might be the perfect person to help. Cam Cameron, the team’s offensive coordinator, is often critical of Flacco, which has strained their relationship on occasion. But with Zorn as a buffer, it might help Flacco learn to be more open to coaching and not hear it as criticism.

6. Defensive linemen Brandon Graham of Michigan and Dan Williams of Tennessee looked very impressive at the Senior Bowl, and their performances will certainly help their draft stock.

7. This week in Miami, the National Football Post staff will be providing daily news and notes from the game as we get ready for the Super Bowl. Make sure you check back early and often.


“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.” — Mohandas Gandhi

Philosophy is Back in Business by Dov Seidman

A great story on the relief effort going on in Haiti from Dr. Mark Hyman


“All philosophy lies in two words, sustain and abstain.” — Epictetus

Came across this excellent blog to help everyone perform at a higher level — or at least try to. The Blog is called Talking Story with Rosa and offers very practical advice.

From the Web site:

Talking Story is a blog published by The Ho‘ohana Community, champion of the values-based Managing with Aloha workplace movement. Updated at least twice a week, Talking Story features the most current writing of author, entrepreneur and manager’s advocate Rosa Say — that’s me. I spend most of each day as a business coach working to make organizational culture healthier, and my intention is to provide you with easy to use workplace resources that are the result of our day-to-day lessons learned: Talking Story helps me do so.

I mostly write about values, management and leadership, for I work within businesses large and small as the founder of Say Leadership Coaching. However, here on Talking Story we get very individual and personal, and we apply management and leadership theory to our self-management and self-leadership practices, looking for our daily opportunities to do so. We get real with the stuff we learn. We own up to our responsibility to be a bit better every day, improving our world by merit of our good example. We talk story, and we walk our talk.

Here is an example:

The Basics: What is it?

The Daily 5 Minutes (D5M) is a conversation you give to another person, as a gift of your full attention and good intentions. It is a new conversation: When you invite them to “Take 5” with you, they know the conversational agenda is of their choosing, and you are giving them your all-in listening time so they will feel completely heard and valued.

The D5M has been a workplace practice taught by me, organizational culture coach Rosa Say, for nearly two decades now, and it continues
to deliver stellar results. It is core to the Managing with Aloha philosophy, a values-based curriculum brought to workplaces so they can be as healthy as possible.

I shared more about the D5M history in a recent posting on Joyful Jubilant Learning this past summer if you are interested in reading the full story: Learning to Listen with The Daily Five Minutes. The D5M was put into practice long before I was an author, consultant and coach teaching workshops: It was created within my work as a manager leading other managers as well, to fill a need and communications void, one which we encountered daily.

Our workplaces are only as healthy as the people within them, and what the D5M does is help us shape the relationships which matter most to us in our day-to-day living. We in the Ho‘ohana Community of Talking Story practice, teach and coach the Daily 5 Minutes freely (i.e. free of charge; this is not a sales page) because:

It’s simple (to learn).
It’s easy to do (as a useful practice)
Once it’s your daily habit, you can’t fail at it.
(This post elaborates on each of these three things.)
The Daily 5 Minutes helps you be more effective in communicating with the people who surround you. Day by day, 5 short minutes at a time, you build up your confidence — and significantly enhance a relationship you have with another person.

Listening better, so you can respond better (the basics of what you do when D5M-ing) turns into the 5-minute building blocks of greater managerial self-esteem, whether you adopt the practice:
to improve your approachability (think you’re approachable?)
to learn self-management and self-leadership through better conversations, or
to manage and lead others as well with better communication established in conversational agreements.


“Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.” — Warren G. Bennis

A must watch. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, talking to Dov Seidman about integrity in companies and the difference between a sustainable organization and a solution based on organization.


“Memory is the mother of all wisdom.” — Aeschylus

This comes from Dr. Michael of South Florida, who thought it would be a good thing to post what he thought were the quotes of the year from the Diner.

Here are the Top 10 Michael Lombardi quotes from the 2009-2010 NFL season. I started in September up until the present day to cover this last NFL season. The quotes are from DMN, Tavern Talk or Sunday at the Post and are from a wide array of world leaders, coaches, players, celebrities and two from the author himself, Mikey “the Boss’ underboss” Lombardi (the Boss being Springsteen)! The quotes are listed in order per the calendar day they appeared and the date on which they appeared is in parentheses next to each quote’s author.

10. (9/20/09) “Appeasement is the hope that the crocodile will eat you last.”

Arenas looking to finish off solid week with big game

MOBILE, Ala-Alabama cornerback Javier Arenas knows what’s at stake during Senior Bowl week.

The 2009 Associated Press All-American from Tampa wanted to work hard in practice, not just to help improve his stock for April’s NFL draft, but to get better as a player as well.

“I think I finished off strong, had a solid, solid week,” Arenas told me after practice on Thursday. “I could have done some things better. But for the most part, I was ok.”

Arenas measured in at 5085 and 195 pounds during Monday’s weigh-in. But once practice started later that afternoon, the speedy cornerback was looking to find ways to take his game to the next level.

“I learned a lot from them [Miami Dolphins coaching staff]. They are a professional coaching staff and it’s been great working with them.”

But it wasn’t just the coaches who helped Arenas elevate his game, it was the level of competition he got to face in practice this week that helped as well. When I asked Arenas if he was impressed by any of the wide receivers on the South team he’s been practicing against, he had nothing but praise.

“Every last one of them was impressive. The guys in the slot, the guys on the outside, every last one of them. They’re all great receivers. They’re here for a reason.”

In Arenas’ opinion, one of them stood out above the rest.

“[Dexter] McCluster, because he’s so quick.”

Arenas was a key member of a 2009 Crimson Tide team that went 14-0 and won the BCS National Championship earlier this month. In 13 games this season, Arenas racked up 70 tackles (46 solo), five sacks and five interceptions. He was voted 2009 First Team All-SEC at not only the cornerback position, but as a return specialist as well. Arenas returned 32 punts last year for 493 yards and one score.

Several draft experts feel that Arenas is best suited as a nickel cornerback playing in the slot at the next level, in addition to returning punts and kicks. But he looked solid in man coverage during one on one red zone drills this week, demonstrating good footwork and the ability to jam receivers at the line.

Despite the perception that he’s a situational cornerback, Arenas told me he feels he can play every down in the NFL.

“Playing outside, I was comfortable this week. More comfortable than ever. I know I can play on the outside in the NFL.”

We’ll get a chance to see how comfortable he is on the outside at 4:00pm eastern today when Arenas’ South team takes on the North in the 2010 Senior Bowl.

Follow us on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh @WesBunting

Here’s NFP Director of College Scouting Wes Bunting’s take on Arenas:

Javier Arenas: No. 28, CB, 5085, 195

A thick, well-built, do-it-all corner, Arenas shows up in so many different areas of the game. He’s a gifted kick returner who is dangerous in the open field. Arenas looks natural in the slot and on the outside, and he has the power to reroute receivers off the line. He’s fluid in space and has a good feel for zone coverage, finding the football quickly.

He displays the footwork and fluidity in his drop to be effective on the outside and looks good when asked to get out of his breaks. Arenas plays with a natural bend and is smooth with his footwork. He’s a strong tackler who takes good angles toward the play and consistently gets his man to the ground. He isn’t an elite size/speed guy, but he’s strong and gets up to speed quickly. His versatility will enhance his stock at the next level. Arenas looks like a gifted slot defender who could play in either a zone or man scheme.

Grade: 5.9

Weekend notes: a vote for Warner

Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the NFL yesterday, and I have a hard time believing that Hall of Fame voters will find a reason to keep him out of Canton. From my perspective, Warner’s career was so different in that he didn’t come into the league with any fan fare and no matter where he played — even when he was on top in St. Louis — it seemed that he was always trying to be replaced. Does he have good numbers? Of course, and he has a Super Bowl ring and two MVP trophies to go along with it. But, beyond that, he has a career that players like myself looked to as an example of how persistence and dedication to his craft eventually paid off.

I played with Kurt as a rookie in St. Louis back in 2000, and I will always remember how impressed I was with his professionalism and the way he treated everyone in the locker room: rookies, veterans, equipment managers, etc. It was all done with first class and he never took a practice or a meeting for granted. A true pro and someone I will miss watching on Sundays — because it is hard not to cheer for a guy that represents everything that is good about the NFL. Warner is a winner, he is first class and he deserves to be in Canton.

The talk of Mike Martz heading to Chicago has become more than just rumor as the Bears interviewed the former Rams head coach for their vacant — and newsworthy — offensive coordinator position that no one seems to want. I can only speak of Martz as a head coach when he was with the Rams, but I do believe he is brilliant when it comes to offensive play calling. But, even though I am a fan of Martz and what I think he can do with Bears QB Jay Cutler, the weapons on the outside in Chicago are anything but what he worked with in St. Louis. The scheme is perfect, but the tools to fit that scheme in Chicago are not. An interesting decision coming up for Lovie Smith and Bears GM Jerry Angelo, but one I would make. Cutler can’t get worse than 26 INTs, right?

We will get into more Super Bowl talk on Monday, but I am curious to see what type of game plan Saints head coach Sean Payton presents in the first quarter next Sunday night in Miami. Does he try to establish the ground game with Pierre Thomas and a sprinkle of Reggie Bush, or does he try and exposes the Colts corners in the vertical passing game? I do believe that the Saints are the one team that can keep pace with Manning and the Colts when it comes to putting points on the scoreboard, but do you really want a shootout with Indy? The Colts don’t need to run the ball to win because they treat the 3-step passing game as part of their running package, but the Saints still need to produce first downs and eat some of the clock with Thomas.

The Chargers’ Shawne Merriman wants a new deal with the Chargers, but with the OLB essentially a restricted free agent due to the possibility of an uncapped year, I don’t think this will be any different than what we saw with the Jets and Braylon Edwards. Expect San Diego to give Merriman the High Tender — which would require a team to give away a first and third-round pick to get the linebacker out of a Chargers uniform. Also, it gives San Diego another year to evaluate what they want to do with Merriman in the long term. In 2009, Merriman posted 36 tackles, 4 sacks and a forced fumble. Not the kind of stats to bring to the negotiating table when you are looking for a new deal. Production equals money in the NFL, and Merriman’s production shouldn’t equate to anything but a one-year tender.

I wrote about Ravens QB Troy Smith the other day and the possibility of a club — such as the Bills — making a play for the former Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State. The trade value I heard for Smith would likely equate to somewhere in middle- round value, and yesterday the QB said that he would like to play for his hometown Browns. A possibility? The NFP’s Michael Lombardi wrote yesterday that new Browns team president Mike Holmgren does not want to enter training camp with the QB position undecided, but once Cleveland opens their spring practices, it should be interesting to see if Holmgren likes what he sees from Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. Regardless, Smith is becoming a hot name already and we will find out more when free agency opens up in March if he is hot enough for a club to come and get him out of Baltimore — where he isn’t going to get a chance to play behind starter Joe Flacco.

The NFL brass usually leaves Mobile by mid-week of the Senior Bowl, especially when practices are scaled down, the pads come off and both teams get ready for today’s game. They will watch the tape from the game, but the practices are more important from a scouting perspective as coaches, GMs, etc. can get up close with the players, see them in one-on-one situations and essentially see more of them in terms of repetitions against the best seniors in the country. The game film will count for something — as coaches will see these prospects in live situations — but the week of practice is bigger for these rookie hopefuls in the first step of the draft process.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41