2013 NFL Week 7 – Lloyd’s Leftovers

1) Injuries — Every season there seems to be a week where fans and media see the “physicality” of the NFL game. It is truly “Next Man Up” time as marquee players like Colts WR Reggie Wayne (knee – season), Eagles QB Nick Foles (concussion), Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee – season), Bears QB Jay Cutler (groin – 4 to 5 games), Rams QB Sam Bradford (ACL – season), Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles – season) and many others went down for extended periods of time. Unfortunately for NFL GM’s there are not a lot of players left on the street, unless you are talking about unwanted retreads like Tim Tebow, T.O, Chad Johnson, and Richard Seymour.


2) Not so happy homecoming for Peyton Manning – Maybe it was the long heart-felt ovation from the Indy faithful, but Peyton wasn’t Peyton for a large portion of a 39-33 “road” loss to the upstart Colts (5-2). Denver (6-1) lost their chance for an undefeated season and their 17-game winning in one swoop. Manning’s final numbers were good (29-49, 386 pyds, 3 TDs, 1 INT) but he clearly rattled (sacked 4 times and hit 10 times). There was a 5 for 12 stretch where the 4-time MVP wobbled pass after pass, which many attributed to a big sack/FF/safety recovery by Manning’s former teammate Robert Mathis. I know it was only 1 game, but the Broncos now trail the undefeated Chiefs (7-0) and they look vulnerable in two big areas (Pass Defense and running the football — only 64 ryds). We will see if Manning and the rest of John Fox’s team can respond at home in Week 8 vs. the upstart Redskins (2-4)… BTW is there any question that the Colts will win the pitiful AFC South (2-game lead over TEN).


3) Some horrible QB play – I was once asked if this is the “Golden” age of NFL quarterbacks? To answer the question, “No Way”! Sure passing numbers are up, but Sunday showed that there are not even 32 QB’s who should be playing on a weekly basis in the NFL. Sure, Andy Dalton (24-34, 372 pyds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) had a “career” day as he led the Bengals (5-2) to a big 27-24 win over the Lions in a real shootout, but so many other signalcallers stunk-up the joint. I will start with new Eagles starter Nick Foles. After enduring a week of hearing that Foles was the next Unitas and “better” than injured former starter Michael Vick (hamstring) — including some fans saying that he was smarter — the 2nd year passer, making his 8th career start, was a “Deer in the Headlights”. In a horrible performance (), against the hated Cowboys, with the division lead on the line, Foles was too scared to make throws (too many checkdowns). And when he did have chances to make “big” game-changing throws (McCoy on a Wheel Route, a wide-open Avant in the endzone, Celek downfield along the sidelines, D-Jax deep, and many others) Foles looked like Tebow in terms of his accuracy and just plain didn’t take advantage of opportunities. Mercifully for Eagles’ fans, the tentative passer’s day ended in the 3rd quarter with a concussion after Cowboys DE George Selvie slammed Foles to the ground after he refused to throw the ball after holding it for what seemed to be an eternity (at least 7 seconds). We will see who Eagles rookie HC Chip Kelly picks to be his starter versus the Giants (1-6) in Week 8 at home — PHI has lost 9 straight at the Linc — but right now a gimpy Vick is probably his best option. Other lowlight quarterbacks in Week 7 were Eagles backup Matt Barkley (3 INTs), Vikings starter Josh Freeman (Why did they start him on MNF?… Completed under 40% of his passes ), Titans’ Jake Locker (Ineffective in his return from injury), Browns’ Brandon Weeden (Get ready for the draft CLE), Rams Kellen Clemens (average at best after replacing Bradford), Dolphins Ryan Tanneyhill (horrible 4th quarter) and Cardinals Carson Palmer (just looks old as he missed too throws)



2013 NFL Trade Deadline

Today is the 2013 NFL Trade Deadline and some players, like Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon, are rumored to be on the trading block

Today, Tuesday October 29th @ 4 PM EST is the 2013 NFL Trade Deadline.  And for the first time in a while, there is some “buzz” around the date.  Already the NFL saw the trades involving former Ravens OT Bryant McKinnie to the Miami Dolphins for picks, former Panthers LB Jon Beason to NY Giants for a late round draft pick and former Browns RB Trent Richardson to the Colts for picks including a 2014 first-rounder. 

Some of the rumored players that are said to be on the trading block include:

Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon
Bills QB Dennis Dixon
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald
Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez
Browns WR Josh Gordon
Eagles RB LeSean McCoy
Lions QB Kellen Moore
Giants WR Hakeem Nicks

However I never hold my breath around the trade deadline, as most trades in the NFL occur on draft day — due to teams unwilling to “give-up” a player until the offseason.  If any trades do happen at the 2013 NFL Trade Deadline, expect them to be something like the 2005 deal that sent former Niners QB Tim Rattay to the Tampa Bay Bucs for a future 6th rd pick .

Black History Month: The Roy Curry Story by Seth Schwartz

Before James Harris became the first black quarterback to start in the National Football League with the Buffalo Bills in 1969, there were several great college quarterbacks who didn’t get the opportunity.

 Who was the best among them can be left for debate, but a strong case can be made for Roy Curry.

 For two years [1961-62], Jackson State assembled a squad on par with any team in the country.

The Tigers, who were 9-2 and 10-1, lost to Florida A&M 14-8 in 1961 for the championship. In a rematch the following season, they beat the Rattlers 22-6 before 50,000 at the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami , Fla.  

A lethal threat running and passing, Curry was the trigger for a high-powered offense that averaged over 30 points a game. For two years, Curry averaged over 200 yards passing and 100 rushing as the Tigers threw 75 percent of the time. There was no shortage of weapons with receivers Willie Richardson [1,227 yards receiving his senior year, two-time pro bowler, 1963-71], Glouster Richardson [eight years, 67-74], Thomas Richardson (1969-70), tight end Al Greer [one season, 1963] and cornerback-running back-return specialist Speedy Duncan [four-time pro bowler, special teams ace 1964-74], offensive tackle Pappa Hayes [1965-66].

A stifling defense was anchored by: defensive ends Verlon Biggs [three-time pro bowler, 1965-74], Coy Bacon [three-time pro bowler, 1968-1983], defensive tackle Ben McGee [two-time pro bowler 1964-72], linebacker Roy Hilton [1965-75, defensive tackle Frank Molden [1965, 68, 69] and defensive back Taft Reed [1967] all of whom played professionally.

The University of Mississippi and USC both went undefeated and were voted national champions in 1962. It’s hard to figure how Jackson State would stack up against them.

Coming in to assist head coach John Merritt in 1961, Joe Gilliam Sr. was instrumental in Curry’s development. Installing a series of plays that were a precursor to the west coast offense, opposing defenses were outmatched mentally and physically.

“I really enjoyed coaching at Jackson State ,” said Gilliam, now 87, and working on his fifth book. “The kids had a thirst for knowledge and were a joy to work with.

“We used the option, drop back, play-action and rollout. Our plays looked the same when they started, but ended up having a number of options. Our offense was all over the field. Richardson was as good an athlete as you’ll find and could go up and get it. Speedy Duncan was a great player; we moved him around as a flanker and third down guy.

“Curry was a great runner and very tough; he was never hurt. We used him with a naked bootleg, power sweeps and a series of rollouts. He was very accurate and knew where to go with the ball.”

“At that time, the NFL was not ready for a black quarterback, period. Coaches wanted a pocket quarterback. If he had gone to Canada , he would’ve had a long career.”

Gilliam was quite familiar with the NFL’s approach toward black quarterbacks. A star quarterback from Steubenville Big Red High School , Ohio , Gilliam started as freshman at free safety and punt returner while George Taliaferro [the first black to be drafted in the NFL by the Bears in 1949] powered the offense as a running back helping Indiana University to a share of the national championship with Army.

Married with a child on the way, Gilliam received a monthly stipend from a Steubenville businessman-bookie who America came to know as Jimmy The Greek. After a year in the army, Gilliam finished his career as a two-time All-American quarterback-free safety [1948-49] at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia . In 1950, he received a contract from Green Bay Packers owner Curly Lambeau to play safety for $7,000. Convinced he could be a quarterback, Gilliam called Lambeau and asked if he could have a shot at the position.

“I said I’d like a chance to play quarterback,” said Gilliam. “He said, ‘There are no colored quarterbacks in the NFL.’

“I was sure I could play. We threw the ball a lot in college and I said I’d like an opportunity to play quarterback. He said the contract is for free safety and then added, ‘I’ll tell you again. There are no colored boys playing quarterback in the league.”

“I talked it over with my wife and decided if I can’t play quarterback, I didn’t want to play.”

By the early 1970s, the possibility of a black quarterbacking in the National Football League wasn’t a complete misnomer.

For years, star college quarterbacks were forced to change positions for a shot at playing professional football. Harris began his career with the Buffalo Bills in 1969 and had a few successful seasons [including a pro bowl in 1974] as a Rams starter during his 10 years in the league. Joe Gilliam Jr. [1972-75] had a brief run with the Steelers and Doug Williams had a nine-year tenure, beginning in 1978 which included a Super Bowl MVP in 1987 with the Washington Redskins. Warren Moon was not drafted out of the University of Washington and played with the Edmonton Eskimos in Canada for five years before embarking on a 17-year career, [in 1984] which included nine pro bowls and induction as the only black quarterback in the Hall of Fame.

In the last few years, a number of articles and documentaries have discussed the plight of the black quarterback, but Curry’s name never came up. Unfortunately, he was a decade too early. At this point, one can only speculate what type of career he would have had.  

After nine years in the NFL which included pro bowls in 1967 and 68, with the Colts legend Johnny Unitas and the 1970 season with Bob Griese in Miami , Richardson is well aware of what it took to excel.

“ Roy had all the tools to be a professional quarterback,” he said. “He was better than a lot of quarterbacks I played with. He was better than Griese [at the time], Earl Morrall and Gary Cuozzo. Roy could throw, run and had a great feel for the game. He was an accurate passer who had touch and was dangerous running the ball.”

After the 1962 season, a scout from the Canadian Football League told Curry, “You should come to Canada . You’ll never play quarterback in the NFL.”

“I wish I would’ve listened to him; I would’ve played there a long time,” he said.                                   

   Drafted in the 12th round by the Steelers, Curry’s 4.4-40 speed was contributing factor in making the squad. Coach Buddy Parker told Curry they wanted to use him similar to Paul Hornung as a runner-thrower, but his difficulty picking up the blocking schemes translated into a move as receiver.

Pro Bowl linebacker Andy Russell, who played on the Steelers 1974, 75 Super Bowls, was a rookie in 1963.

“ Roy was a gifted athlete who was very fast and could catch anything,” said Russell. “I had no idea he was a quarterback in college. It wasn’t easy [then]. There were very few blacks [Brady Keyes, John Baker, Bob Ferguson, Joe Womack and John Henry Johnson] and coach Parker hated rookies.”  

By mid-season, Curry was finding a comfort zone on special teams and at receiver.

Playing in six games, he made an impression when the Steelers hosted the Chicago Bears at Forbes Field three days after President Kennedy was assassinated. Beating cornerback Rosey Taylor on a corner route, Curry caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ed Brown as the Steelers tied the Bears 17-17. Just over a month later, the Bears beat the Giants 14-10 for the championship at Wrigley Field.

Against Philadelphia the following week with a chilly below 32 degree temperature, Curry was summoned from the bench. Accelerating for an overthrown pass, he pulled a hamstring. In practice the next week he aggravated the injury further.

The following season, his hamstring was on the mend, but not 100 percent and he was released at the end of training camp.

In 1965, Curry tried out with the Bears. Keeping pace in practice, Curry survived a couple bone-rattling hits by rookie middle linebacker Dick Butkus. A strained hamstring at the end of training camp moved coach George Halas to put him on the taxi squad. Curry opted to retire, a decision he still regrets.

“Biggest mistake of my life,” Curry stated. “Halas was doing me a favor; I just wasn’t thinking.”

A few weeks later, receiver Jimmy Jones broke his collarbone during warmups and Jim Hill was activated. Curry came back in 1966, but his hamstring wouldn’t hold up and he moved into coaching.

James Harris was in high school at nearby Monroe , La. , when he saw the aerial show Jackson State put on against Grambling in Ruston .

“You could see they were running NFL routes and the Richardson was a pro prospect,” said Harris, a senior personal executive with the Detroit Lions. “The kind of throws Curry made, you knew he was a special talent and a student of the game. From what I saw he had everything you needed to play in the league.

“You felt bad that you couldn’t find out how good he could be, but Curry was one of many. There was a guy from my hometown, [Grambling quarterback] Mike Howell, who had to play defensive back for the Cleveland Browns [1965-72]. I think there were several guys who were denied an opportunity by the time and the system. I think there was a progression before me and a progression after me. Things really had to be perfect. There was an expression that you needed to have an ooh-wee arm [to make it].”

“You had Matthew Reed [Grambling, drafted by the Bills in 1973, played a year in the WFL and three years in Canada], Jim Kearney [Prairie View, who played 12 seasons at safety], David Mays [Texas Southern, made the Cleveland Browns as a free agent and played 1976, 77 and then one season for the Bills], Jimmy Jones [1973 USC graduate who played seven years in Canada] that might not have been stars, but could’ve back up.”  

Now 71, Curry enjoys retirement with his wife Carolyn of xx years. He lives in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood on the south side. His easy gait and amiable southern demeanor radiates a sense of warmth to friends and strangers. Always meticulously dressed, at 6-0 and still solid 195, Curry looks like he could still get behind center or model for men’s clothes.

It’s a feel-good story for Curry, who made his way out of a dead end. Growing up in Clarksdale , his dad, Lawrence , was a sharecropper and mother, River Lee, taught in a one room school. From age five–fifteen, Curry spent the summer and early part of the fall chopping and picking cotton on plantations in the area which included Hopson, Stovall and the 17,000 acre King & Anderson. The intensive labor helped chisel a physique that held up through many gridiron battles.

The youngest of four sisters and one brother who moved to Chicago before him, at 15, Curry began spending the summer working as a bus boy in Rogers Park on Chicago ’s north side. It was a significant pay increase and a respite from the stifling Mississippi heat.

A four-year starter at quarterback for Higgins High School, served Curry well as he excelled against very competitive schools at Tupelo, Corinth, Avery, Oxford, Columbus, Starkville and Aberdeen.

“The games were very competitive,” said Curry, who lettered in basketball and track. “You had teams with guys who had served in Korea and then came back and were playing at age 18 and 19. There were a lot of tough kids.”   

An assistant for two years at Dunbar Vocational and head coach for Robeson High School from 1969-2000, one of the highlights was his 1982 squad that went to the state championship with only 26 players. Winning 240 games of the 313 games he coached at Robeson [he retired in 2000], Curry was inducted into the Illinois Coaches Association Hall of Fame. A passionate teacher whose affection for the game was palpable, he left an indelible mark on his players and many coaches that he mentored in the Chicago Public League.

“Coach was a stickler for us knowing what to do,” said Mickey Pruitt, who was a running back and free safety on the 1980 group that lost to Mt. Carmel in the Prep Bowl and the 1982 team that had 14 of the 25 players going both ways. Pruitt played three seasons with the Bears and two with Dallas Cowboys which included the 1992 Super Bowl. “In practice we went over play after play so the game was more like a dress rehearsal. We always felt prepared; we knew everything he put together would work well.

“Coach loved to teach and he was always willing to help a lot of the other coaches. Going from what he taught made it easier for me in college [at Colorado ] and at the pro level to pick things up.”

2011 Regular Season Awards and All-Pro Teams

Maurice Jones-Drew lead the NFL in rushing with 1,606 yards. That was enough to make Taking it to the House's All-Pro team.


The 2011 regular season is in the books and it is now time for regular season awards and All-Pro teams.  There were some tough calls that had to be made, but ultimately these are the players most deserving (in my view).

MVP: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers was the best player on the planet for most of the season.  He had a 122.5 passer rating for the season.  45 TD and only 6 INT.  Three things that separated him from Drew Brees: head to head in Week 1 Rodgers’ Packers beat Brees’ Saints 42-34, Rodgers had 0 multiple interception games Brees had 5, and simply put Rodgers was the best player on the best team in football over the course of the whole season whereas Brees was the best player on the best team over the last 2 months of the season.

Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

In almost any other year Brees would have been the MVP also.  Brees was the best player in the NFL over the last 2 months of the season.  He set records for completion percentage (71.2%), and passing yardage (5,476).  He had a 110.6 quarterback rating for the season.  The Saints averaged 34.2 points per game, second to Green Bay.  Brees deserves some credit for the historic season he had, and this OPOY award recognizes him for that.

Defensive Player of the Year: Terrell Suggs, DE/OLB, Baltimore Ravens

This was another tough call to make.  Suggs was ultimately the choice not because of historic numbers (70 tackles, 14 sacks, 7 fourced fumbles, 2 INT), but because of his play in the two biggest games Baltimore played this season.  Everyone knew how much emphasis the Ravens put on winning the division and getting home-field in the playoffs.  The Ravens achieved those goals in part by defeating Steelers twice this season.  In those two games Suggs had 6 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 fourced fumbles, and 1 interception.  That’s why Suggs gets the nod here.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton lived up to and even exceeded some people’s expectations for his first season.  Newton set the record for passing yards by a rookie (4,051).  He had 35 total touchdowns (21 passing, 14 rushing).  The 14 rushing touchdowns were the most ever by a quarterback in a single season.  He had the most impact of any rookie.  Although Andy Dalton led the Bengals to the playoffs, Newton’s numbers and overall impact were greater.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aldon Smith, DE, San Francisco 49ers

The rookie from Missouri won this award, in my opinion, on Monday Night Football against the Steelers on December 19.  He had 2.5 sacks and harassed Ben Roethlisberger all night long (even through two power outages).  He was tied for fifth in the league with 14 sacks on the season, and is a big reason the 49ers defense was so good this season.  Von Miller’s injured wrist contributed to his play falling off the last month of the season.  That, along with Smith’s performance against the 49ers, cost him this award.

Coach of the year: Jim Harbough, San Francisco 49ers

Meeting most of your players for the first time 7 weeks before the season is a daunting task.  Pat Shurmur (4-12), John Fox (8-8), Mike Munchak (9-7), and Ron Rivera (6-10) all had the same task.  None of them did it better than Harbough.  He turned Alex Smith into a solid NFL quarterback leading a 13-3 team.  The 49ers clinched the division before Thanksgiving.  Their defense was dominant all season long.  They lost three games by a total of 15 points.  This should be a unanimous selection as I can’t think of anybody else coming close to the job Harbough did with this team.

Comeback Player of the Year: D’Qwell Jackson, LB, Cleveland Browns

Jackson missed all of the 2010 season and 10 games in the 2009 season due to a torn pectoral muscle.  He rebounded this season.  He finished second in the NFL with 158 tackles and had 3.5 sacks.  He was the best player on a solid defense.  He looks like he is the same player who led the NFL in tackles back in 2008.  Jackson is a feel-good story who proved he should get a long-term commitment from the Browns.

All-Pro Team


QB: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

RB: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles/ Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars

TE: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots/Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

WR: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions/ Wes Welker, New England Patriots/Victor Cruz, New York Giants

LT: Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns

LG: Evan Mathis, Philadelphia Eagles

C: Chris Myers, Houston Texans

RG: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens

RT: T.J. Lang, Green Bay Packers


DE: Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens/Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings

DT: Justin Smith, San Francisco 49ers/Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals 

OLB: Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers/NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers

MLB: Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs

CB: Darelle Revis, New York Jets/Carlos Rogers, San Francisco 49ers

FS: Dashon Goldson, San Francisco 49ers

SS: Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks

P: Andy Lee, San Francisco 49ers

K: Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders

KR: Devin Hester, Chicago Bears

PR: Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

Jason King is a contributing writer for Taking it to the House.  He can be reached at  jdk2032@yahoo.com.

Cowboys-Eagles face-off in Desperation Bowl by Lloyd Vance

Dallas Cowboys stadium will surely be rocking on Christmas Eve as the Cowboys and Eagles square-off in a “Desperation Bowl” with huge playoff implications.  Back in Week 8, the Eagles romped over the Cowboys 34-7

Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6), Saturday December 24th, 4:15 PM ET on FOX

Broadcast Team: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver

The 102nd meeting of the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys will be one of the bigger games in the second-to-last week of the 2011 NFL regular season.  Both the Eagles and the NFC East division-leading Cowboys will be looking to further clear-up the NFC’s muddled playoff picture by coming away with a win in a sure-fire “Desperation Bowl”.  Of course the stage for this game could be already set after the New York Giants (7-7) face the New York Jets (8-6) meet in the1:00 PM ETslot.  The Cowboys and Giants have been locked in a season-long battle for the NFC East crown and if the G-Men are able to pull off a win versus their in-stadium rival, then both Dallas and Philadelphia will experience different feelings heading into their rivalry game.  If the Giants win at1 PM, then the Eagles will be eliminated from playoff contention and the Cowboys win or lose will have to prepare themselves for an “All or Nothing” game in Week 17 against the Giants.

For what it is worth, my gut is telling me that the NY Jets seem to be riding a much stronger sense of momentum than the NY Giants – have lost 5 of their last 6 games – so it would not shock me if the Eagles-Cowboys game really will still matter come 4:15 PM ET.  Continue reading

2011 Philadelphia Eagles Notebook: December 20th Practice

Desperation will be in the air at Cowboys Stadium this Saturday as the Eagles (6-8) and Cowboys (6-8) renew their heated rivalry.  In preparation for the game, Taking It to the House’s Matt Lomabardo stopped by the Eagles’ Nova Care Complex on Tuesday December 20th and record this lockerroom interview footage


Eagles LB Brian Rolle talks about the challenge of facing the Cowboys


Eagles CB Joselio Hanson talks about the possibility of increased playing time due to Asante Samuel’s injured hamstring

2011 NFL Week 15 Remix by Lloyd Vance

 In a week full of upsets around the National Football League, none was bigger than Romeo Crennel’s Kansas City Chiefs handing the Green Bay Packers (13-1) their first loss of the season in a 19-14 win at Arrowhead Stadium

(Philadelphia, PA) — Week 15 of the 92nd NFL Season is in the books and even though the NFL’s slogan for the 2011 season is “Back to Football”, it should really be “This is One Wacky Season!!” From week to week fans have no idea where the next upset, game-winning field goal, or team entering/leaving the playoff race will come from next.  Remember what former Colts head coach Tony Dungy said about professional football this time of the year, “NFL football is really still about November and December”.

This week brought many upsets (7 teams with losing records beating teams with winning records); the surprising end of perfection (Chiefs shocked the formerly undefeated Green Bay Packers); thankfully the ending of an ugly winless streak (Colts finally got a win as quarterback Dan Orlovsky and WR Reggie Wayne led the way), playoff clinching moments (Steelers, Ravens, and Saints); Patriots finally muzzling Tebow Mania (Brady showed the youngster what a veteran superstar looks like); and some teams staying alive with playoff hopes in their eyes (Eagles, Bengals, Seahawks, and Cardinals). Continue reading