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Wright On

Florida Times-Union reporter Michael C. Wright covers the ins and outs of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In this blog, he'll share behind-the-scenes anecdotes not published within the pages of the T-U, in addition to offering up incessant ramblings about nothing such as road trips, crummy hotels and not-so-delicious press box food. Perhaps he'll even delve into serious discussions about NFL issues. So ask questions, participate in conversations, or just learn more about the Jags.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Blackout lifted

Jaguars fans will be able to watch Sunday’s season-opener against Tennessee on television. The club avoided a television blackout after ticket sales reached the blackout threshold before the 4 p.m. deadline.

Approximately 300 tickets remain that were returned by the Tennessee Titans.

“We’re tired of talking about tickets,” said Tim Connolly Jaguars senior vice president/business development. “We should be talking about the quality of players on our team. Going forward, we’ll do our best to get every game televised. Occasionally we won’t. When they’re not televised, we feel badly, but we’re not angry with anyone or upset. We know that people are doing the best they can.”

With approximately 1,700 tickets remaining on Thursday afternoon, the club asked the NFL for a 27-hour extension from the usual 1 p.m. Thursday deadline – which is 72 hours before kickoff – to 4 p.m. on Friday.

The club sold the majority of its tickets after Thursday afternoon and the Jaguars didn’t have to rely on a corporate sponsor to buy any remaining tickets. While there are approximately 300 tickets remaining, the NFL doesn’t count them for blackout purposes because they were returned by the opposing team.

The Jaguars have blacked out home openers twice (2003 and 2004) in their 13-year history.

Leftwich not likely to be a Raven

It appears that Baltimore is no longer interested in acquiring former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich.


The Ravens recently signed backup quarterback Kyle Boller to a one-year extension. There's still a possibility that Leftwich could join the Ravens. Baltimore could cut No. 3 quarterback Troy Smith and hope he clears waivers to be placed on the practice squad. That would open the door for a Leftwich signing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Top 101 NFL players

This list is likely to ruffle some feathers, but hey, it's all in fun. This is the Sporting News' top 101 players and I've got no clue as to why they skipped No. 35. Wouldn't that make this the"top 100"? Anyway, below the list is explanation as to how the magazine came up with the top players:

Sporting News Top 101
1. Peyton Manning, QB Colts (2).
2. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (3).
3. Champ Bailey, CB, Broncos (14).
4. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers (4).
5. Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts (8).
6. Julius Peppers, DE, Panthers (13).
7. Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals (6).
8. Walter Jones, OT, Seahawks (1).
9. Marvin Harrison, WR, Colts (47).
10. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers (24).
11. Shawne Merriman, LB, Chargers (11).
12. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers (5).
13. Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers (20).
14. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams (NR).
15. Chad Johnson, WR, Bengals (10).
16. Brian Urlacher, LB, Bears (7).
17. Ed Reed, S, Ravens (9).
18. Jason Taylor, DE, Dolphins (16).
19. Drew Brees, QB, Saints (73).
20. Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs (12).
21. Torry Holt, WR, Rams (19).
22. Richard Seymour, DE, Patriots (15).
23. Jamal Williams, DT, Chargers (98).
24. Reggie Bush, RB, Saints (NR).
25. Steve Hutchinson, G, Vikings (22).
26. Alge Crumpler, TE, Falcons (77).
27 Shaun Alexander, RB, Seahawks (30).
28. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans (97).
29. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Chiefs (33).
30. Jonathan Ogden, OT, Ravens (61).
31. Nate Clements, CB, 49ers (NR).
32. John Henderson, DT, Jaguars (58).
33. DeMarcus Ware, LB, Cowboys (NR).
34. Ray Lewis, LB, Ravens (52).
35. Orlando Pace, OT, Rams (32).
37. Kevin Williams, DT, Vikings (60).
38. Lance Briggs, LB, Bears (56).
39. Jeremy Shockey, TE, Giants (75).
40. Alan Faneca, G, Steelers (41).
41. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals (38).
42. Terrell Owens, WR, Cowboys (29).
43. Jammal Brown, OT, Saints (NR).
44. Bob Sanders, S, Colts (85).
45. Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals (46).
46. Asante Samuel, CB, Patriots (NR).
47. Marc Bulger, QB, Rams (71).
48. DeAngelo Hall, CB, Falcons (49).
49. Terence Newman, CB, Cowboys (80).
50. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers (NR).
51. Sean Taylor, S, Redskins (74).
52. Casey Hampton, DT, Steelers (NR).
53. Tommie Harris, DT, Bears (48).
54. Donovan McNabb, QB, Eagles (43).
55. Luis Castillo, DE, Chargers (NR).
56. Donald Driver, WR, Packers (NR).
57. Julian Peterson, LB, Seahawks (39).
58. Michael Strahan, DE, Giants (21).
59. Rashean Mathis, CB, Jaguars (NR).
60. Charles Grant, DE, Saints (NR).
61. Devin Hester, KR/PR/WR, Bears (NR).
62. Keith Bulluck, LB, Titans (45).
63. Adalius Thomas, LB, Patriots (NR).
64. Willie Anderson, OT, Bengals (NR).
65. Kris Jenkins, DT, Panthers (NR).
66. Will Smith, DE, Saints (94).
67. Joseph Addai, RB, Colts (NR).
68. Marcus Stroud, DT, Jaguars (28).
69. Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts (NR).
70. Terrell Suggs, LB, Ravens (NR).
71. Aaron Kampman, DE, Packers (NR).
72. Roy Williams, WR, Lions (NR).
73. Cory Redding, DT, Lions (NR).
74. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts (NR).
75. Bart Scott, LB, Ravens (NR).
76. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals (NR).
77. Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants (57).
78. Jonathan Vilma, LB, Jets (35).
79. Roy Williams, S, Cowboys (36).
80. Brian Westbrook, RB, Eagles (NR).
81. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots (23).
82. Shawn Andrews, G, Eagles (NR).
83. Adrian Wilson, S, Cardinals (72).
84. Chris McAlister, CB, Ravens (87).
85. Aaron Schobel, DE, Bills (NR).
86. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys (91).
87. Bryant McKinnie, OT, Vikings (NR).
88. Justin Smith, DE, Bengals (NR).
89. Logan Mankins, G, Patriots (NR).
90. Lofa Tatupu, LB, Seahawks (55).
91. Derrick Burgess, DE, Raiders (53).
92. Todd Heap, TE, Ravens (84).
93. Chris Samuels, OT, Redskins (95).
94. Shaun Rogers, DT, Lions (44).
95. Rudi Johnson, RB, Bengals (78).
96. Deuce McAllister, RB, Saints (NR).
97. Brian Waters, G, Chiefs (NR).
98. A.J. Hawk, LB, Packers (NR).
99. Larry Allen, G, 49ers (NR).
100. Kris Dielman, G, Chargers (NR).
101. Chris Snee, G, Giants (NR).

Rankings ’rithmetic
Trying to cull the best of the best from a group of nearly 1,700 playersis sort of like trying to find a Bears fan amid a collection of GreenBay denizens. But thanks to the personnel staffs of NFL teams, we wereable to pull it off.The NFL’s Top 101 players weren’t determined by a bunch ofsportswriters. No way. We went to the experts and asked them to rate the league’s top 50 players. We tabulated the votes of 10 personnel men, awarding 50 points for a first-place vote and one point for a 50th-place vote. And so on. From there, it was straight math.

The results aren’t completely scientific, but they do provide insight as to which players are most respected by those making the personnel decisions around the league. AFC teams have the cream. If having impact players translates into postseason success, the AFC is a good bet to win the Super Bowl for the fifth consecutive season. The AFC’s upper-tier teams are loaded with talent; five of the six clubs with six or more players in the Top 101 are in that conference.

How about overall?
The NFC has more ranked players, 53-48.
7: Colts, Ravens 6: Bengals, Chargers, Patriots, Saints 5: Cowboys 4: Bears, Eagles, Giants, Rams, Seahawks 3: Cardinals, Chiefs, 49ers, Jaguars, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Steelers, Vikings 2 Falcons, Redskins1: Bills, Broncos, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders, Texans, Titans 0: Browns, Buccaneers.

Where have all the QBs gone?
If our Top 101 is any indication, the league is in the throes of aquarterback crisis. Fourteen QBs made the list in 2006; this year: six. Injuries (Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Green, Daunte Culpepper), age (BrettFavre), retirement (Jake Plummer) and off-field problems (Michael Vick)contributed to the decline. But don’t be alarmed. Although the league doesn’t have enough quality starters to go around—and probably never will—a new wave of young quarterbacks is poised to break through. all QBs face: There are lots of superior defensive ends and linebackers attacking the backfield; they tied with wideouts for the most players on the list.Wide receivers 13, Defensive ends 13, Linebackers 13, Running backs 10, Defensive tackles 9, Guards 8, Offensive tackles 7, Cornerbacks 7, Safeties 7, Quarterbacks 6, Tight ends 6, Kickers 1, Returners 1, Centers 0, Fullbacks 0.