WHO is the NFL’s Leading Rusher for 2011? UCLA’s Maurice Jones-Drew, that’s WHO — MoJo, who bounces off would-be tacklers like a PINBALL and was a BARGAIN for the Jags, runs like a MAGIC BUS for 169 yards in the finale to lock up the season’s Rushing Title
Extra, extra, read all about it — Extra! The 31 NFL teams who passed over Maurice Jones-Drew in the 2006 Draft are all telling themselves “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It’s now 5 years later, and Jones-Drew is the new Reigning King of All Running Backs. This season he gained 1606 yards, a whopping 242 yards more than his nearest competitor, and 520 yards more than ex-trojan Reggie Bush, who was drafted much higher than MJD, with much loftier expectations. And this was Bush’s best year ever by far, and no other ex-trojan came close. In fact, not one ex-trojan SKILL PLAYER made the Pro Bowl, like Jones-Drew did.
Not only is Mo at the top of the heap, but he has been one of the top scorers in the League ever since he became a Starter several years ago, despite playing on a lousy team. For all those years, Jacksonville has been poorly Coached by ex-trojan Jack Del Rio, who was finally relieved of his duties this year. Maybe next year, under a new Offensive philosophy, the Jags can ride the best RB in the World to more points and more wins. It won’t be easy, if young QB Blaine Gabbert doesn’t improve quickly. This year, as a Rookie, he was one of the worst Passers in the NFL, statistically… and that’s despite having the League’s best Rusher in his Backfield.
I’m sure Jones-Drew — the ultimate TEAM player — would gladly trade his Rushing Crown for a few more W’s, and a spot in the Playoffs. But he will have a lot of company as a spectator in the Postseason. A lot of his “friends” from U$C will also be watching on Television. Of course, Reggie Bush will be idle, since his Dolphins lost their first 7 games and got eliminated early on, meaning that Reggie was racking up all those yards in de facto “garbage time.” But some of his old trojan buddies came a lot closer to surviving, and choked away their chance in the season’s final week. Mark Sanchez’s Jets were still alive in Week 17, until his 3-Interception performance –against Bush’s Dolphins — sent them on early vacation with a 19-17 loss. Even with Bush out injured, Sanchez couldn’t protect the ball enough to beat the 10-loss Fins. Also going on hiatus with Sanchez are fellow $C-Jets RB Joe McKnight and WR Patrick Turner.
Sanchez wasn’t the only ex-troy QB to blow the Playoffs on Sunday. Thanks to a pathetic showing by Tim Tebow in Denver, Carson Palmer and the Raiders had a chance to win the AFC West, simply by beating the hapless San Diego Chargers — who had NOTHING to play for — in the friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum. But with the game still in reach with 4:36 left, Palmer threw a season-crushing Interception, as the Raiders went down, 38-26, allowing Tebow to back into the Playoffs. The BRIGHT side of that result is that Wide Receiver Matthew Willis and Defensive Back Rahim Moore are Bruin-Broncos.
Two other ex-trojan QB’s won’t be playing in the Postseason either — Matt Cassell suffered a season-ending injury, which actaully allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to IMPROVE and make a run at the Playoffs before faltering, and Houston back-up QB Matt Leinart also suffered a season-ending injury, allowing 3rd- stringer T.J. Yates to lead the team into the Postseason. Even though Leinart won’t be in uniform, Bruin fans should be rooting against the Texans, since ex-trojan (and “convicted” Steroid Abuser) Brian Cushing plays for the Houston Defense, as does fellow ex-trojan Shaun Cody.
Bruin fans won’t have to worry about the Redskins and Tight End Fred Davis, because the ex-trojan got suspended for the last 4 games of the season (thanks to substance abuse?), and that kept Washington from being able to advance. Too bad Davis’ back-up, Bruin Logan Paulsen, didn’t get enough targets to make up for Davis’ absence.
Also failing to make the Playoffs on Sunday were the Tennessee Titans, who feature ex-trojan Damian Williams at Wide Receiver. The Titans also have Jurrell Casey, an ex-trojan Defensive Tackle. Tennessee did what they had to do on Sunday, beating Houston, but they needed some other chips to fall, which didn’t. But don’t celebrate that too much — The Titans roster also includes three Bruins, in Dave Ball, Akeem Ayers, and Alterraun Verner.
Kenyon Coleman of Dallas also missed the Playoffs, when the Cowboys fell to the Giants on Sunday night. And of course, Marcedes Lewis, a teammate of Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, is also left behind. At least the Seattle Seahawks aren’t going to the Postseason, as Pete Carroll’s squad finished at 7-9 AGAIN, this time not surviving due to an all-time weak Division like they did last year. Carroll takes ex-u$c WR Mike Williams with him, to watch the Playoffs at a Sports Bar.
That means that not only didn’t any ex-trojan Skill Players make the Pro Bowl, but they won’t see any action in the Playoffs either. By the way, Jones-Drew wasn’t the only Bruin to get voted into the Pro Bowl — Matthew Slater of the Patiots made it as the AFC’s best Special Teams player, and Slater will get to demonstrate those impressive skills in two weeks, when New England hosts a Playoff game as the Conference’s #1 Seed. Slater took the Special Teams MVP baton from Brendon Ayanbadejo, a former winner, and Bruin, who will see action in the Playoffs for Baltimore. New England’s roster also includes Bruin Bret Lockett, but he is on the Injured Reserve list.
Even though the trojans have no important Offensive players to root against any more this season (Offensive Tackle Sam Baker of Atlanta, Guard Chilo Rachal of Frisco, and injured OT Charles Brown of the Saints don’t qualify), they will have nine Defensive participants (and one on IR) — In addition to the aforementioned Cushing and Cody, there is Sedrick Ellis of New Orleans, plus Rey Maualuga, Taylor Mays, and Frostee Rucker of Cinci (who also BACKED in), Lawrence Jackson of Detroit, Troy Polamalu of Pitt, and Clay Matthews of Green Bay. NY Giant Terrell Thomas is out for the year, but would still get a Ring, so I’d rather see another team win it all.
Of the 12 teams still standing, 9 of them have trojans on their rosters. None of those 9 teams have any Bruins, so it is a no-brainer to pull for all of them to lose. Unfortunately, those 9 include all 6 NFC teams, which means that there will be at least one ex-trojan on a Super Bowl roster. Of course, that person could end up as one of the goats, ala Troy Polamalu last year. As for the Bruins, 3 teams left have UCLA blood, all in the AFC — New England, Denver, and Baltimore. Coincidentally, those are the only 3 teams with NO ex-trojans, giving me 3 teams that I don’t have to root against. But considering my distaste for Denver QB Tim Tebow, and my disdain for New England Coach Bill Belichick, that means that Baltimore is the only team that I wouldn’t mind watching during the Lombardi Trophy celebration (even though the Ravens’ Bruin Ayanbadejo was part of the Defensive collapse that cost UCLA the National Championship in that re-scheduled Miami debacle over a decade ago).
Some trojan fans will point to all the ex-trojans in the Playoffs as proof of their Program’s greatness. Instead, you should look at it as proof of how CHEATING, by using cash payoffs to lure recruits, can collect so many Pro prospects to one school. And now it’s time for those cheaters to NOT prosper, in their SECOND stints as PAID Professionals.