Rashard Mendenhall Retires

Now when most heard the news of Rashard Mendenhall’s retirement earlier today, many compared him to Ricky Williams for stepping away at only 26. Yet the player that came to The Chancellor’s mind was former RB Robert Smith who retired from the Minnesota Vikings after 2000 at the age of 28.

Retired at 26.

Retired at 26.

Talk radio exploded with “How could he walk away from millions of dollars?” Yet these same pundits would have barbecued him had he been one of those that hung on past his prime just for a check. Good morning my nation of cynics.

His reasons for retirement only need to satisfy him. It reminds me of Robert Smith’s retirement because he wanted to pursue other interests when he could stay a few more years. Citing his wish to walk away from the game for the sake of his future health is noble. After all hasn’t concussion and post career health been the major topic the last few NFL off-seasons??

The cynical fan whines and pines for players of a woe be gone era where they played for the love of the game. Yet can’t understand the player who is leaving the game because has waned. Don’t worry Mendenhall your decision is respected here and we wish you well with future writing endeavors and whatever you decide to do in life. There is a lot of life left after 26. Enjoy it.

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Free Agency Day 2: Rashard Mendenhall Signs With Cardinals

Mendenhall is headed to the desert.

Mendenhall is headed to the desert.

Former Pittsburgh Steeler workhorse signs a one year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. A deal like that tells The Chancellor that Mendenhall’s agent didn’t find a lot of suitors for his services and is going to have an incentive laden contract. Coming off the heels of RB Beanie Wells release yesterday there should have been a little more commitment from the Cardinals.

Last year he had an assortment of injuries yet is just 2 seasons from a 928 yard rushing performance in 2011. The Steelers feel that his best years are behind him. He should easily be able to best the 357 yards rushing performance by Stephens-Howlings last year. That was their leading rusher?? Yes… it was. The departed Beanie Wells only gained 234 yards.

With the Cardinals unsettled at quarterback and fields one of the league’s best defenses, Mendenhall and the running back they select in the draft will have ample opportunity. Don’t forget that Mendenhall had back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 2010 and 2011. So it’s not a case of being able to do it. It’s a question of how much does this 6th year back have left.

Understand that this is a make it or break it season for Mendenhall & Cardinal Head Coach Ken Wisenhunt. Their mission, should they choose to accept it, is be competitive in the NFC West over the improving Rams, NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, and tooling for a Super Bowl trip Seattle Seahawks. Good luck gentlemen.

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Taylor Blitz Times new logo!!

Taylor Blitz Times new logo!!

Packers 13th NFL Championship: Super Bowl XLV Recap

Wow!!  You can’t say enough great things about this Green Bay Packers team as champions.  In 1996 they arrived with all their big guns in Favre, Reggie White, and company.  Where this team had 16 men on injured reserve and lost leaders WR Donald Driver and CB Charles Woodson for much of the game.  Yet the constant was Aaron Rodgers who kept firing amidst a receiving corp that dropped a few.  When it counted Jordy Nelson and James Jones made up for earlier drops with critical catches in the fourth quarter on the final scoring drive.  They indeed brought the Lombardi Trophy home in a unique way and vanquished an accomplished opponent.  Lets take a look at things.

What was a strength of the Steelers would be the ability to run the ball with Rashard Mendenhall.  At times it seemed like the Steelers got away from their running game but a closer look and you saw that the Packers were successful against the run.  Aside from 17 and 15 yard gains, Mendenhall had 12 carries for 31 yards (2.8yd avg) and on several plays he had to break tackles in the backfield to gain positive yardage.  Evidenced by the shot he took in the 4th quarter from Clay Matthews which forced the 3rd and final Steeler turnover.

What was the defining storyline of this Super Bowl for me was for all the Steel Curtain talk, the Packers were outhitting the Steelers from the beginning of the game.  They tackled crisper and with more conviction. We never heard NFL Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu’s name called for any plays of significance and former Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison’s until a fourth quarter sack to give Pittsburgh a fighting chance.  Green Bay had problems protecting Rodgers all year yet seemed to keep the Steelers blitz at bay for much of the game.  Pittsburgh cornerbacks, a liability all year, were completely undressed before the nation.  Had the Packer receivers not dropped 6 passes the game would have been a blowout.

In fact had James Jones not dropped that skinny post where he was inside William Gay and even with Troy Polamalu, he would have been off to the races and the score would have swelled to 28-10.  It was the mid point of the 3rd quarter and another 18 point lead would have been too much to overcome.

Actually that point was when Nick Collins picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter, returning it for a 37 yard TD for a 14-0 lead.  No team had ever come back from a 10-0 deficit to win a Super Bowl game. (Redskins in XXII)  The Steeler gave it a valiant effort but could not overcome their mistakes and penalties.

Roethlisberger had a poor game, no other way to say it.  He did have a few good throws, the fourth quarter TD throw to Mike Wallace was a thing of beauty.  He was off for much of the night.  His throws were high and they seemed confused on that last drive in just lining up. Yes the Packers had good coverage but Roethlisberger detractors would cite his holding onto the ball too long with the Nick Collins interception.  The second interception was a poor decision also.  Yes the receiver needs to fight for the ball but he was clearly double covered.  When the Steelers defense gave Ben the ball back, on social media, the countenance that he was in position to win it again was echoed loudly.  Then Pittsburgh looked confused lining up after a terrible penalty by Keyaron Fox for a personal foul that backed the Steelers up.  Then three poor throws and it was over.

This is about the Green Bay Packers winning this Super Bowl, not the Steelers losing it.  Green Bay forced every Steeler mistake and only gave up a first half TD when two of their top three cornerbacks Woodson and Sam Shields left injured on consecutive plays right before.  Aaron Rodgers MVP performance easily places him in the upper echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL.  He lit Pittsburgh up finding Greg Jennings for two TDs and making a Super Bowl hero of Jordy Nelson, who caught 9 for 140 yards and a touchdown.  His stats on the day 24 of 39 for 309 yards, 3TDs & no interceptions.  If you factor in the dropped passes his stats would have been staggering.

There was a time during the 3rd quarter, after the James Jones drop, where Rodgers played with nervous feet and was off for two series.

When the Steelers trimmed the lead to 28-25 in the 4th quarter, Rodgers made the play of the game with his throw to Greg Jennings for 31 yards which reversed the momentum.  He drove the Packers to a field goal for the final score of 31-25 and the milking of the clock left the Steelers with just 2:07 for a final drive.  Rodgers was the MVP of this game upon further review however he did have some help.  James Starks did run for 52 yards on 11 carries that kept the Steelers off balance.  Clay Matthews, AJ Hawk and Nick Collins picked up the defensive slack and stopped Roethlisberger when it counted.

The Lombardi Trophy returns to Title Town…Aaron Rodgers enters the realm of the league’s best quarterback.  With 16 players on injured reserve, I don’t see teams picking them apart in free agency. The Green Bay Packers just won the Super Bowl with a second string football team!!  How can they not be the pick to win next year’s Super Bowl??  There will be time to answer that…for now congratulations Green Bay Packers 2010 World Champions.