AFC East: flash point

Flash Point: Was hit on Welker dirty?

December, 1, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In my book, it's possible to be dirty but still within the rules.

What Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark did to New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker might fall into that category, but I open the floor for your opinions.

On a tipped ball late in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's 33-10 victory in Gillette Stadium, Clark delivered a booming shot into Welker's chest. The hit propelled Welker backwards, landing on the back of his head and that flat on his back.

The hit came before the whistle and with Welker a potential receiver on a deflected ball. But Clark received an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver. He could face disciplinary action from the NFL.

Welker didn't return to the field.

After the game, I asked Patriots coach Bill Belichick what he thought of the hit.

"I don't have anything to say about that right now," Belichick said.

Clark expressed remorse for the play.

"It was not like I was trying to be cheap," Clark said. "Anybody that comes across [the middle] it's my job to tackle them. The ball got tipped, but [the official] said I should not have left my feet. I do not know how to control that.

"I talked to Kevin Faulk and apologized. I could not find Welker after the game to tell him I was not trying to be dirty."

What do you think? Was Clark's hit dirty? Should he be fined for the hit?

Flash Point: Are Jets a Super Bowl team?

November, 23, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

Now that we're getting into crunch time, I'm unveiling "Flash Points," a new series in which you get to state your case on various issues in the highly competitive AFC East.

Those who make the NFL Nation rounds might find this running feature resembles Hot Topics on Mike Sando's NFC West blog. That's because I'm ripping off his idea and giving it a new name -- with his blessing.

With the inaugural Flash Point we'll examine whether the New York Jets truly are Super Bowl-caliber.

The Jets have been sensational, whacking the previously unblemished Tennessee Titans 34-13 in Nashville.

The Jets have won five games in a row and seven of their past eight. They're atop the AFC East with an 8-3 record.

But they've also been defeated by the Oakland Raiders and beat the Kansas City Chiefs by only four points.

How Flash Points will work on most issues, as with Sando's "Hot Topics," is you take a stance and present a reasoned argument. The best responses will be posted in a separate blog later in the week with me or an NFL expert adding perspective.

In other words, we're not looking for comments that declare "Jets rule!" or "Eric Mangini is a jerk!"

Are the Jets a legitimate Super Bowl team?

If so, why? If not, why not?