Three And Out: January 31, 2010


Philip Rivers defends Jay Cutler, the Chargers expected to take a hard look at pass rushers in the first round of the NFL Draft, and is the Packers vs Steelers the ultimate SuperBowl matchup?

PHILIP RIVERS DEFENDS JAY CUTLER

Over the years, Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler have often been compared against one another. As former division rivals, these two gunslingers have had their share of spats erupt on the field. Generally speaking, there seemed to have been a genuine disliking for the other.

But Rivers took to Cutler's defense recently, as Jay Cutler's MCL injury prevented him from playing effectively in the NFC Championship game, causing many people to question Cutler's toughness (while at the same time, Rivers famously played a 2007 playoff game with torn ACL and MCL ligaments).

“Me personally, I’d have to have been taken off in a cart,” Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That doesn’t mean I’d be right. If they knew he couldn’t throw the ball good, he wasn’t helping anybody...

“I’ll never say what he should have done. I can’t even say what I would have done in the same position. I do know I’m not coming out unless I can’t do anything, and maybe that’s how it was [for Cutler].”

CHARGERS DEFINITELY DRAFTING A PASS RUSHER IN THE FIRST ROUND?

Luckily for the Bolts, this year's draft class is loaded with pass rushers: a good sign for a team lacking impact players on defense. With Shawne Merriman officially a Buffalo Bill and Shaun Phillips a legal question mark at times, it would appear the Chargers would be interested in adding a player who fits the attacking 3-4 defensive scheme they plan to employ.

In this mock draft, Peter Schrager of FOX Sports predicts the Chargers will select Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri with the 18th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft:

"San Diego’s defense finished the season ranked No. 1 overall but lost coordinator Ron Rivera to Carolina. The Bolts could use another pass rusher from the OLB spot. Insert Smith, one of the draft’s more intriguing prospects. Though he played just two years at Missouri and missed some of his sophomore season with a broken leg, Smith was a high-impact player when he was on the field. In 2009, his freshman campaign, he recorded 19 tackles for a loss and 11-1/2 sacks. Smith should make for a nice fit in San Diego’s 3-4 defense."

STEELERS AND PACKERS: THE IDEAL SUPERBOWL MATCHUP?

Two of the most storied franchises in the NFL are set to square off against each other in what should be an excellent Super Bowl XLV matchup. Both teams feature stellar Quarterbacks with aggressive defenses,

Super Bowl 2011 odds at the moment point to the Packers winning it all, but it's not expected to be a runaway win by any means. Ben Roethlisberger is already a Champion multiple times over, and is looking to add another ring to his finger.

When the season opened for the Pittsburgh Steelers, they were stuck in the middle of pack when it came to Super Bowl XLV odds simply because Roethlisberger was serving a four-game suspension for a summer of bad decisions. Then they defiantly marched out to a 3-1 SU record thanks to some incredible play by their defense, revitalizing the faith in their Super Bowl XLV odds and hopes.

The Green Bay Packers suffered through a different type of letdown. Opening as one of the NFC’s favorite teams at the beginning of the season, the Packers saw one player after another fall prey to the injury bug. Most importantly, they lost their running back Ryan Grant and that in itself seemed like an injury that they wouldn’t be able to bounce back from.

Both conference champions, however, are living proof that winning isn’t about how many times you get knocked down – it’s always about how many times you can pick yourself up off the turf and get back in the game.

January 31, 2011

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