Friday, January 25, 2013

Kaepping off a season, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. With the Conference Championship Games over and done with, the Har-bowl is all set up. In just Kaepernick's ninth start as a pro, he put together an incredible performance to catapult the Niners into their first Super Bowl since 1994. At that time, Steve Young under center and Jerry Rice was still catching passes. What made Kaep's performance even more impressive, was that he played at that level just one week after his record setting game against Green Bay in the Divisional Round. For a young quarterback to have that kind of success and not read his own headlines really impresses me. I'll be honest, I was not supportive of Jim Harbaugh's decision to start Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith midway through the season. Especially since Smith had the highest completion percentage in the league at that time, and I don't think you should ever lose your job due to injury. Obviously Harbaugh made the correct decision, and now he is rewarded with a trip to New Orleans to face his brother on the other sideline.
Ray Lewis and the Ravens punched their ticket to Super Bowl 48 last Sunday. It wasn't an easy task, but shutting down the Patriots offense in the entire second half of the AFC Championship Game did the job. Quarterback Joe Flacco has been inconsistent over the past couple of years to say the least, but he's been money this postseason. Flacco now has the most road playoff wins in NFL history. Not Montana. Not Brady or Manning. Not even John Elway. Joe Flacco has been the man when it comes to Playoff football on the road in his career. The next thing on his list is a Super Bowl ring on his finger. He has a chance to get it next Sunday, but he will have to get past the stout 49er defense in order to get that type of jewelry.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Farewell Chip, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. As the clock expired and Chip Kelly was doused in yellow Gatorade, it seemed that would be the last time we would see Coach Kelly with the Oregon visor upon his head. Chip had lead the team to four consecutive BCS Bowls in four years, and won the last two trips. Arguably the most successful head coach Oregon has ever seen, looked poised to head to the NFL. When word got out that Chip would be returning for another shot at a Natty, you could almost hear the entire city of Eugene sigh in relief. Although it was thought he would be returning, I knew that it was just a matter of time before he headed to the Pros. That time ended up being sooner rather than later, as the Philadelphia Eagles announced their new coach would be none other than Chip Kelly. Even though I was a little dissapointed, I could not say I was surprised nor angry. For people to question the character of Kelly really gets on my nerves. Sure, I'm not happy with his decision to leave, but you have to be able to see where he is coming from. He has spent his four years in College and is now heading for the ultimate challenge. Coach Kelly has elevated this program to a level that we have never seen before, and left us in a pretty good situation (disregarding possible sanctions). Next season will not be the year to see if we can survive without Chip. There is so much returning talent on that Duck roster, the true test will be a few years from now when the new recruiting class must take over. To me, Mark Helfrich makes the most sense to be the head guy, instead of going out and chasing after Chris Peterson or somebody else. Oregon Football will live on, but Chip Kelly will surely be missed.