First, I have to get this off my chest. TJ Ward is an idiot and a dirty player. He should be fined and suspended. Instead, because the league doesn't really care about concussions and because his coach has no decision making power (really, you think Mangini holds the reigns over Holmsgren?), he will get away with little punishment. He even had the brashness to go to the media saying he would do it again. Roger Goodell should see that a raise his suspension from one to three games.
Why this outrage, you ask? In case you didn't see, TJ Ward laid a vicious hit on fellow rookie Jordan Shipley, when he aimed directly for Shipley's head. There is a video of it on YouTube; I have not put it up because the owners of said video apparently thought hitting an unprotected receiver in the head is some form of bravery (they are sick). Anyways, Shipley came out of the game with a concussion, and will miss the next game as well. I hate football players getting injured. There are some legit plays where defensive (or offensive) players play hard, make good hits, and sometimes, those lead to injuries. But when you are playing with malice in your heart, you shed that level of professionalism that entitles you to play the game.
After looking through some of TJ Ward's highlights on YouTube, I have come to the conclusion that he is a dirty player. He does hit hard, and I am not against that. But time and time again, you see him leading with his helmet, with no clear indication what he is hitting or what the ramifications are. Apparently, he has never been coached on proper hitting. That is indicative of a football-wide head-in-the-sand attitude to concussions and head injuries. But even though coaching may be blamed, the responsibility for the hit lies on TJ. I don't know him. He might be a nice guy, a good teammate, a hard worker. But he is a dirty football player, and that can and should negate all the rest.
1. Baltimore Ravens. That was a great win. Their defense is playing really well, and Flacco is starting to put it together.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers. A great start, now they get Ben back
3. Atlanta Falcons. I don't care about luck, they knocked off the champs.
4. New York Jets. I know, it was Buffalo. But Sanchez is looking good and LT is looking even better.
5. Houston Texans. They need to beat a good defense for me to trust them entirely.
6. Chicago Bears. Martz refuses to let Cutler get rid of the ball quick, refuses to max protect, and now must refuse to start Cutler because of an interception. I guess with last week's gushing, it all had to come down to earth.
7. New Orleans Saints. Just doing barely enough is not going to cut it.
8. New England Patriots. Told you they'd move up. I think this club could make a run.
9. Green Bay Packers. Still needs to solve that running game.
10. Kansas City Chiefs. Can't reward a bye team much.
11. Indianapolis Colts. What exactly happened?
12. Philadelphia Eagles. And Kolb is back in. What happens when Vick returns?
13. San Diego Chargers. Offensive explosion. Antonio Gates is having a ridiculous year, even by his standards.
14. Washington Redskins. Somehow, they are winning.
15. Cincinatti Bengals. They need their running game circa '09.
16. Denver Broncos. The offense is looking good still. Can the defense stop anyone?
17. Miami Dolphins. What happens when the run game isn't working?
18. New York Giants. Coughlin got their attention for a week.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So they beat some crappy teams. No playoff ambitions here.
20. Tennessee Titans. The defense is good again, but can Young show consistent effort and leadership?21. Minnesota Vikings. Need Vincent Jackson now?
22. Dallas Cowboys. Romo will never win a Super Bowl.
23. Saint Louis Rams. Bradford showing some promise.24. Jacksonville Jaguars. Where did that offense come from, especially without Mike Sims-Walker?
25. Detroit Lions. They are playing hard and when Stafford comes back...
26. Arizona Cardinals. Ugly
27. Seattle Seahawks. Ditto.
28. Cleveland Browns. Gutsy running game.
29. Oakland Raiders. Losing by 7 isn't bad. Letting them run all over is.
30. San Francisco 49ers. Need to rebuild around that defense. Running game is not what it needs to be.
31. Carolina Panthers. DeAngelo did well.
32. Buffalo Bills. Still lost. Their receivers are atrocious.