Mass. College Football: Locals Invited To NFL Rookie Mini Camps

Merrimack's Isaiah Voegeli signed his undrafted free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday! (Photo Credit: Merrimack College Athletics)

Merrimack’s Isaiah Voegeli signed his undrafted free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday! (Photo Credit: Merrimack College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

As noted on our blog yesterday, Bentley University graduate student Nick Halloran was invited to this weekend’s New England Patriots’ Rookie Mini Camp.

“Just amazing news, not a better way to start the day,” Halloran told the Boston Globe on Tuesday.

Halloran isn’t the only local college football player to earn an invite to a rookie mini camp this weekend as Framingham State’s James Muirhead will attempt to earn a spot with the St. Louis Rams, while Middlebury College’s Ryan Moores, who prepped at Governor’s Academy, will tryout with the Atlanta Falcons.

“I’m braced for it,” Muirhead told the Brockton Enterprise on Tuesday. “I understand what’s going to happen. But you know what? I’m not there to make any friends. I’m there to compete. I’m going there to get a job.”

Merrimack College’s Isaiah Voegeli became the fourth player in program history to sign with a professional team as the Hyannis native inked his name on an undrafted free agent contract Monday with the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity,” Voegeli said in the college’s release.  “I can’t thank head coach Dan Curran enough for his help and guidance and preparation to get me to this point. This is a dream come true that I’ve dreamt about since I was 7, to just have a shot and I’ve been blessed this opportunity.”

Voegeli will leave the North Andover campus as the all-time receiver in multiple receiving categories, which includes catches (211) and yards (3,554). He also ranks second in program history with 34 touchdown receptions, too.

Prior to this year’s NFL Draft, the Boston Herald reported that Muirhead, Voegeli and Moores, along with Assumption College’s Nick Haag and Boston College’s Jim Noel worked out with the Falcons, Patriots and New Orleans Saints.

New England To Face St. Louis In London

By NoontimeSports.com 

UPDATE: 9AM Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 – Sources have confirmed that the New England Patriots will indeed travel across the pond next season to face the St. Louis Rams.

8AM Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 – According to ProFootballTalk.com, as well as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it’s believed that the New England Patriots will travel to London, England next season to face the St. Louis Rams.

Over the past few years, the NFL has played one game overseas at Wembley Stadium, and yes, the Patriots have already made an appearance across the pond when they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009.

NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, has expressed previously that he’d like to have one squad make London their home in the future, and according to sources, it’s believed  that the Rams could become Great Britain’s team.

Rams owner  Stan Kroenke is quite familiar with London, especially since he overseas an English football club, too.

Daily Noontime – January 20, 2012

Nathan Horton and the Boston Bruins capped off their road swing with a 4-1 victory on Thursday! (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday, wahoo! Here are some headlines and news to kick-start the final day of the workweek, enjoy!

* The Boston Bruin ended their four-game road trip with a 2-2 record, as they defeated the New Jersey Devils, 4-1. The Black and Gold notched four goals in the third period, as Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton, Gregory Campbell and Chris Kelly all scored for Boston, while Tim Thomas deflected 30 saves between the pipes. Boston will return to the ice on Saturday afternoon when they host the New York Rangers at the TD Garden.

* Boston Celtics President of Operations Danny Ainge told WEEI, (Boston Sports Radio) on Thursday that he was stating the obvious about dealing the “Big-3.” Although, he did admit if there is a decent deal on the table, he’ll most likely pull the trigger.

* Rajon Rondo told the media on Thursday that he’s doubtful for Friday’s contest against the Phoenix Suns, which means Avery Bradley, will most likely be the starting guard.

* According to various reports – the New England Patriots are “believed” to be the AFC foe that’ll face the St. Louis Rams next year in London, England. The Patriots last played overseas in 2009 when they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NFL News: Raheem Morris Fired, Rams and Colts Make Changes

Raheem Morris and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with 10 consecutive losses! (Photo Credit: BucStop.com)

By Brian Willwerth 

On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began a much-needed housecleaning. They fired head coach Raheem Morris. All of his assistants were canned, too.

It was pretty clear to, well, everyone that Morris had lost this team. A promising 4-2 season ended up as a 4-12 disappointment. Ten consecutive losses – many of them of the blowout variety, including Sunday’s hilarious, (and I mean that sarcastically) 45-24 drubbing at the hands of the Falcons. The score was 42-0 before halftime.

The 10-game losing streak matches the team’s longest ever in a single season, back in 1977. Over the final ten games, the Bucs gave up 31 or more points seven times.

Morris went 17-31 in his three seasons, and that includes last year’s surprising 10-6 campaign.

The defense allowed 494 points this season. Yes, that’s dead-last in the NFL. No other Tampa Bay team has allowed as much.  They gave up an average of 156 yards per game on the ground. Yes, that’s dead-last in the NFL. They were third from the bottom in total yards allowed per game, (394.) Only New England and Green Bay ranked lower in that category – no joking.

Quarterback Josh Freeman threw only six interceptions last year. This year? 22.

On the subject of turnovers, guess where the Bucs rank in that category? Yes, dead-last.

Other NFL News: 

* The St. Louis Rams fired their head coach Steve Spagnuolo, and general manager Bill Devaney. The Rams went 2-14 this season, as well as tied for the worst record in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts.

* Speaking of the Colts, they’re shaking things up as well. They’ve fired vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian. Indy, like St. Louis, won only two games this season, and will have the first pick in the NFL draft.

Breaking Down The NFC Playoff Picture

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

By Brian Willwerth 

With one week to go in the regular season, here’s the lowdown on the NFC playoff picture….

The Green Bay Packers will be the No. 1 seed. They’ve won the North, and have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The San Francisco 49ers are champions of the West. They can clinch the No. 2 seed and first-round bye if they beat the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday.

The New Orleans Saints won the South last night, with Drew Brees’ record-breaking performance.  They can still get a bye if they beat Carolina, and San Francisco falters.

The  Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons are the wild cards. That’s etched in stone.

The real drama lies in the NFC East, where the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will face off in a winner-take-all showdown in primetime at the Meadowlands. The winner wins the division; the loser is out. Think NBC is licking its chops?

Daily Noontime – December 13, 2011

Marshawn Lynch rushed for 100 yards and a TD on Monday, as Seattle defeated St. Louis on Monday! (Photo Credit: Zimbio)

Happy Tuesday to all, and welcome to another edition of the Daily Noontime! Here’s some quality news and headlines, enjoy! 

Headlines: 

Marshawn Lynch not only rushed for 100 yards on Monday against the St. Louis Rams, but also, he kept his consecutive touchdown streak intact, as the Seattle Seahawks won, 30-13.

* The Miami Dolphins officially fired head coach Tony Sparano on Monday, and also announced that the organization is looking for a young Don Shula.

* Despite being shown the door on Monday, former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is certain that he’ll return to the sidelines soon.

* On Monday, the former Boston Celtics guard Delonte West inked his name on a Dallas Mavericks contract that’s worth $1.8 million.

* Chauncey Billups found himself a new team for the upcoming season on Monday, as he officially joined the Los Angles Clippers.

* According to various reports, former Penn State assistant Jerry Sandusky waived his preliminary hearing.

Games to Watch: 

* Los Angles at Boston (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Detroit at Pittsburgh (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Philadelphia at Washington (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

Here’s the great Bill Cosby talking about the one and only Tim Tebow, enjoy! 

NFL Week 10 — Sunday Afternoon/Evening Scoreboard

By Brian Willwerth 

SAINTS 26, FALCONS 23 (OT) – We’ll start at the Georgia Dome for our Game of the Day: a huge NFC South matchup, a fourth-quarter rally, and a bold coaching move that did not pay off. Atlanta rallied from a 10-point deficit late in the game, tying it up on Matt Bryant’s 27-yard FG on the final play of regulation. Then in OT, Falcons’ coach Mike Smith decided to go for it on 4th and inches on his own 30-yard line. But Michael Turner was stuffed. New Orleans took over, and won it on John Kasay’s 26-yard FG. For all the New England fans out there, Smith’s decision brought back memories of Bill Belichick’s 4th down gamble against the Colts a few years ago.

RAMS 13, BROWNS 12 – Did St. Louis win, or did Cleveland just blow it? Browns kicker Phil Dawson made four FG’s, and had a chance to win the game. But he was partially victimized by a bad snap, and shanked a 22-yarder with just over two minutes to go. Stephen Jackson rushed for 128 yards in the Rams’ victory.

STEELERS 24, BENGALS 17 – This was another big divisional game, and it also lived up to the hype. At Paul Brown Stadium, Rashard Mendenhall rushed for two touchdowns. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton threw a pair of TD passes, but was picked off twice in the fourth quarter.

COWBOYS 44, BILLS 7 – This was blowout city. It was a spectacular day for QB Tony Romo. He was 23-of-26 for 270 yards and three touchdowns as Dallas improved to [5-4]. Buffalo, after getting off to such a good start, has lost three of its last four.

JAGUARS 17, COLTS 3 – For those of you who thought this might be Indianapolis’ best chance to get its first win, think again. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Jags. Colts’ QB Curtis Painter threw two interceptions, and was yanked for the second week in a row.  Indianapolis is [0-10].  The Colts have their bye next week.

BRONCOS 17 – CHIEFS 10 – Here’s the stat of the day. Denver QB Tim Tebow completed two passes in this game – TWO. But one of them went for a touchdown to Eric Decker. Tebow also ran for a score, as Denver pulled off a big divisional win on the road at Arrowhead. This is the first time in Broncos’ history they have won a game while completing two or fewer passes.

DOLPHINS 20 – REDSKINS 9 – In Miami, the Dolphins won their second in a row after losing seven straight to open the season. Reggie Bush rushed for two touchdowns. Washington QB Rex Grossman was intercepted twice.

CARDINALS 21 – EAGLES 17 – Arizona won its second in a row, coming from behind to win at Philadelphia. John Skelton threw three touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Earl Doucet with 1:53 left. This is the fifth time this season the Eagles have blown a lead in the fourth quarter. Philly WR DeSean Jackson was benched for this game for missing a team meeting.

TEXANS 37 – BUCCANEERS 9 – This was another blowout city. On the first play of the game, Matt Schaub threw an 80-yard TD pass to Jacoby Jones, and that set the tone for the rest of the day. Arian Foster, Ben Tate and former Buc Derrick Ward all ran for scores. Tampa Bay turned it over four times. Houston is [7-3] and in great shape in the AFC South.

TITANS 30 – PANTHERS 10 – Charlotte was also blowout city. Tennessee’s Chris Johnson ran for 130 yards and a touchdown. The Titans’ defense also sacked Cam Newton five times.

49ERS 27 – GIANTS 20 – This was a terrific game in San Francisco, with possibly a first-round bye at stake. The 49ers scored 15 points in a span of 1:05 early in the 4th quarter, and then held off a furious rally by the Giants. It ended when Eli Manning’s fourth down pass inside the red zone, which was batted down by Justin Smith in the final minute. San Francisco is now [8-1] on the season.

SEAHAWKS 22 -RAVENS 17 – Here’s the upset of the day. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown as Seattle stunned Baltimore. It was the Seahawks’ defense – not the Ravens’ – that was the story, forcing three turnovers.

BEARS 37 – LIONS 13   — At Soldier Field, it was all Chicago, all the time. The Bears’ defense forced six turnovers. They picked off Matthew Stafford four times, returning two of them for touchdowns. Stafford threw a whopping 63 passes.  With the game out of reach, one of the interceptions ended with a big fight on the field between the two teams. Punches were thrown. Chicago’s D.J. Moore was ejected from the game. Think these two teams like each other?

PATRIOTS 37 – JETS 16   — In the night game, New England took sole possession of first place in the AFC East with a convincing victory at the Meadowlands. Tom Brady threw for 329 yards. Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 113 yards and two TD’s. Andre Carter had 4.5 sacks. Jets QB Mark Sanchez was picked off twice, one of them returned for a touchdown by Rob Ninkovich.

NFL Week Eight – Rapid Reactions/Thoughts

Ray Rice rushed for three scores against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, and helped his team rally to score 24-points in the second half!

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been a rather interesting season.

No one would have imagined that after roughly eight weeks, (excluding Monday’s game between Kansas City and San Diego), Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Detroit would be in contention for playoff spots.

Did anyone expect the Indianapolis Colts or Miami Dolphins to be winless, especially after eight weeks of the regular season?

Finally, who truly believed that Matt Hasselbeck and the Tennessee Titans were going to be a good team?

Again, it’s been quite an up-and-down season, but here are some rapid reactions and thoughts from Sunday’s slate, enjoy.

Philadelphia Runs Past Dallas’s Defense: Against the Cowboys defense, which was ranked first in the league against the run, the Eagles rushed for 239-yards and two scores thanks to LeSean McCoy, who finished the game with 185 yards on 30 carries, and quarterback Michael Vick, who added 50 yards on seven carries.

Indeed, Rob Ryan’s defense has experienced a great deal of success this season against the run, but perhaps a game like Sunday’s against the Eagles might help sure up the front seven for the remainder of the season.

Both squads are currently in a three-way tie for second place with Washington, and two games behind New York.

Blame Game – Bill Belichick:Against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick once again proved that he’s human.

In the fourth quarter, Belichick chose not to challenge a Rob Gronkowski catch, which appeared to be a touchdown. He also elected to attempt an onside-kick that completely failed.

In some ways, many fans might consider this the second coming of 4th-and-2 from ’09 against the Colts, but all in all, there’ll certainly be a lot of questions directed toward the field general on Monday at Gillette Stadium when he meets with the media.

Great Endings: Sunday featured some bizarre, yet interesting endings.

In Baltimore, running back Ray Rice finished the game with three touchdowns, and 63 yards on 18 carries, as the Ravens beat the Arizona Cardinals, 30-27. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 31-of-51 passes for 336 yards, but didn’t toss a single touchdown.

In Carolina, Christian Ponder led the Minnesota Vikings down the field, and set up a Ryan Longwell field goal, which helped the “Purple People Eaters” defeat the Panthers, 24-21, as well as end snap a two-game losing streak.

In New Jersey, the New York Giants rallied to score 10-points during the final quarter to beat Miami, 20-17. Quarterback Eli Manning connected with wide receiver Victor Cruz on a 25-yard pass late in the final quarter, which secured the win for Big Blue.

Finally, in St. Louis, the Rams snapped their six-game losing streak by upsetting the New Orleans Saints, 31-21. Running back Steven Jackson rushed for 159 yards and two scores, while quarterback A.J. Feeley completed 20-of-37 passes for 175 yards and tossed one touchdown too. Saints quarterback Drew Brees finished the game with one touchdown and two interceptions.

NFL Week Seven – News and Notes

Josh Freeman and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to earn an impressive win in London on Sunday against the Chicago Bears!

By NoontimeSports.com 

The seventh week of the NFL is this Sunday, but before it’s officially kick-off, let’s provide some news, notes and links.

* It’s official, the Washington Redskins will indeed start quarterback John Beck this weekend against the Carolina Panthers, but according to Joe Theisman, he’s not too happy with the decision.

* The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears will play the annual London game this weekend, but unlike the team from the “Windy City,” the squad from Florida departed across the pond on Monday.

* According to a recent report on NFL.com, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was added to the AskMen.com’s most influential list.

* According to a source, the Oakland Raiders will indeed start Carson Palmer this weekend at quarterback against the Kansas City Chiefs.

* News sources have confirmed that St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford won’t miss his team’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, despite his recent high ankle sprain.

Analyzing Three NFL Winless Teams – Indianapolis, Miami and St. Louis

Can Manning help Painter lead the Indianapolis Colts to one win this season?

By Matt Noonan 

After six weeks, we have one undefeated team, (Green Bay) and three winless squads, (Indianapolis, Miami and St. Louis), but which organization is the absolute worse?

Which squad do you think has the best chance to end the season with no wins?

Is it possible to state that all three teams are vying for the number one spot in the NFL Draft, so they can select Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck?

Well, here are a few thoughts and ideas on all three teams, as well as their remaining schedule.

Indianapolis Colts [0-6] – I think it’s time the Colts throw in the towel and start praying for Andrew Luck’s help.

We all knew once the season began that Indianapolis wouldn’t be the same without Peyton Manning, who’s still recovering from neck surgery. Yet, while he’s not on the field with his teammates, cameras have caught him talking with players, coaches and even backup quarterback Curtis Painter, which is a good thing, right?

Overall, I don’t see this team winning one game this year. They’ll contend against their divisional foes, which include Houston, Jacksonville and Tennessee, but again, they won’t secure a single win this season. Opponents have trampled over their defense, while their offense hasn’t secured more than 90-yards on the ground.

Seriously, they’re pathetic, but I guess all teams have to go through tough times, right?

Miami Dolphins [0-5] – The Dolphins are bad, real bad.

Against the New York “Football” Jets, they looked completely unmotivated. Backup quarterback Matt Moore was flustered, despite completing 16-of-34 passes for 204 yards and two interceptions, and the defense struggled to contain Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense, which registered two touchdowns.

Miami has been embarrassed twice on national television this season by New England and New York, but have challenged Cleveland, Houston and San Diego.

Will they win one game this season? I think so, but am not too confident. They have to face New England and New York again, as well as play Buffalo, Oakland, Dallas, and Philadelphia, which won’t be easy. Yet, if I had to make a bold prediction, they’ll finish with one with this season.

St. Louis Rams [0-5] – It’s hard to believe, but the Rams are once again the laughing stock of the NFL.

After a somewhat decent and successful season last year, head coach Steve Spagnuolo doesn’t seem to have an answer for his young squad’s demise. However, the Rams have lost numerous players due to injuries this season and currently are ranked 32nd in points scored per game, while their defense has allowed the most rushing yards.

Looking ahead to the remainder of their schedule, the Rams could certainly muster a few wins against Arizona, Dallas, Seattle and possibly, Cincinnati. I don’t see this team finishing with a winless record, but instead, two or three wins.