Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More NFL Musical Chairs

This isn't NFL related but I have to mention that with my mid-major leanings I of course loved the George Mason upset. I'll say it again because it just feels so good. Screw you Billy Packer.

Anyway, back to NFL offseason happenings:

---How about that Aaron Brooks signing huh? The Raiders replaced one inconsistent-I want to throw up-after watching that pass- QB with a slightly more maddening, inconsistent-I want to crap my pants after watching that pass- QB. This is thrilling for Raider fans I'm sure. The Hater Nation does a good job of explaining the salivating excitement out there among the silver and black concerning this move.(& March 27th post)

Anyway, some are saying that this is a band-aid that will hold while they draft a QB and groom him. Maybe Young or Cutler if they are still available. Then again, who the hell knows with the Raiders. I know it's Al Davis but they can't be serious about Brooks as their future can they?

----I think Dante "I don't do lap dances, just dice" Culpepper is definitely an upgrade for the Dolphins. I know Brees was their first choice (for the right price) but Culpepper has got to inspire more confidence than what has been passing for QB play in Miami the last couple of years.

---Terrell Owens to Dallas. This is superb. I was getting lukewarm on my anti-Cowboy stance the past few years. Besides disliking Parcells (but really, who doesn't?) and being turned off by the obnoxious Jerry Jones, I haven't been able to entirely shake some of my gradeschool days affection when I worshipped Tony Dorsett. The past few years I have rooted for them to lose, but outright hatred was reserved for the Patriots. Aside from Jerry Jones' creepifying and possibly illegal move toward looking like my grandmother, I was finding it hard to direct a significant amount of negative karma their way. Problem solved. Now I've just got to locate my T.O. voodoo doll for a uniform change.

---In other prima-donna news, Keyshawn Johnson is a Panther now. Not a bad move but I think they are paying too much for him. But if Johnson is serious about fitting in, it might pay off.

---I also like Cleveland's signing of ex-Pat linebacker Willie McGinest. Nice addition to their defense.

---Speaking of ex-Patriots......just a great move by New England to let Adam Vinatieri go. Kudos. He has caused me and numerous others much grief over the past few years. Maybe he can help Manning understand that "clutch" doesn't mean that thingy next to the gas pedal. Then again maybe the Pats know know something we don't, as ESPN's Bill Simmons seems to think. Could it be that this dog has had his day? I mean he did blow a kick in the playoffs against the Broncos so apparently he misses occasionally in big games. Still I can't help myself, I'm giddy. Brady can still get them into field goal range like nobody else, but unless the next guy can kick in 4 feet of snow then I will rest easier. Somehow I don't think that will be the case for Pats fans. Mike D over at SportsBlah.com (Wed Mar 22nd) has a good post on a Patriot fan's dilemma of keeping faith in Belichick versus the unease at losing someone who has meant so much to New England.

-Also some say Edgerrin James will do fine in Arizona, while others think the O-line there will mean his stats will diminish dramatically. I think it will be somewhere in the middle. How's that for waffling? I think he will have about 1100 yards but his yard per carry average will be in the 3.8-4.1 range. He better get used to quicker snap counts as well. Warner is not quite the Ritalin candidate that Payton is.

---Ahhhhhh. The smell of NFL Europe League is in the air. Intoxicating isn't it? I was watching Dallas backup QB Drew Henson direct the offense for the Rhein Fire the other day, and I got to wondering what happens if he ultimately flames out of the NFL? My take is that at least he'll be rich and he can claim he fleeced both the Yankees and the Cowboys. That's a legacy I could live with.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mistake or Not? The Drew Brees situation

I guess it's about time I share my thoughts on recent happenings in the NFL's offseason.

Today's topic: Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers

I think San Diego is taking the biggest gamble of anyone this year. Before the Brees defection, I felt the Chargers (despite missing the playoffs last season) legitimately were capable of making a strong SuperBowl push this coming year. Now I don't think that happens. I said it during the season and I'll say it now. If they choose Rivers over Brees it will be a decision they regret. They are banking (or rather G.M. A.J. Smith is) on Philip Rivers making a Carson Palmer like transition. Good luck with that. If I was Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, I wouldn't hold my breath. Now if Rivers impresses or Brees shoulder makes him into another Chad Pennington, then obviously they made the right move but if your going to gamble, don't you take the higher odds? The odds would say that Brees has a better shot of rehabbing and continuing his rise as a Pro-Bowl caliber QB than Rivers has of becoming as good as Brees . And even if he does, it will most likely take at least 2 seasons as a starter for him to really become that good. Even Carson Palmer had a one year transition (albeit a pretty decent one) before he broke out. More often than not it turns into a situation of continually waiting for the light to turn on (Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller, etc.). With the Chargers looking better the last couple of years than they have since their SuperBowl year of 1995, fans aren't going to be patient with a step backward.

The interesting question in my mind is what would A.J. Smith have done if Brees hadn't got hurt. Would he still have thought Drew's price tag was too high? Would both quarterbacks still have been around this next season? Would he trade Rivers or would he still have wanted to develop him because he drafted him? Logic says that the Pennington-like horror scenario couple with the nightmare of trading Rivers who then turns into Carson Palmer would be what drove him to let Brees walk. But pride often trumps logic. I'm not so sure Brees wasn't gone no matter the circumstances.

I also have to question Brees' choice of New Orleans. I know they made him feel all warm and fuzzy and he really hasn't gotten that with the Chargers but could he have gone with the Dolphins or stayed with the Chargers for just a little less guaranteed money? Unless it was an eye-popping amount there is no reason to go to a re-building club with a winning history worse than the team you just left. The Dolphins are ready to win now and Brees could have been the missing link. Plus it's Florida for Hell's sake. Other than some hurricanes what's not to like? Again unless his other offers were significantly and ridiculously low then joining the Saints will be something he might regret in a year as well.

I'll have more to say on other off-season moves next week.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mid-Major Advocate

I was actually pretty annoyed with the tournament this weekend. The games I wanted to watch were not shown and the ones I cared about as much as I do a rectal exam were CBS's games of choice in my area. I'm looking forward to this tourney whittling down just for the fact that if there is a game I want to watch, I can.

-Teams that I picked that are still in the Sweet 16:
Duke, LSU, West Virginia, Texas, Memphis, Gonzaga, UCLA, Connecticut, Villanova, Boston College, Florida & Georgetown. Most of those were pretty easy to pick and most of you probably have the same teams in. Georgetown was a bit of surprise for me but I picked them based soley on my Hoya obsession when I was in 9th grade. Sometimes those 14-year old loyalties work out I guess. 12 out of 16 is not too bad but I didn't see Bradley, George Mason, Washington, & Wichita St. standing after the weekend was done. Still, I see this as Mid-Major validation. This has been happening the last few years and still Billy Packer and Nantz cry like my 3 year old when they feel too many of these "unworthy" teams get in. Well screw you Packer and Nantz. Yes, sometimes the best as well as the 2nd, 3rd, and even the 4th best teams in a Mid-Major conference are better than the bottom feeders of the major conferences. Hell, occasionally they are better than some of the top teams. Deal with it dumbasses.

My Utah State Ags didn't come through but George Mason beating North Carolina was one of the finer moments in the tournament. The Final Four still belongs to the Big Guys but on this first weekend it's all about upsets.

-Also, as you can tell I'm not the critic of the tournament committee that some were after the field was announced but what the hell were they thinking giving Tennessee a 2 seed. That was the easiest upset to call in the whole tourney so far. I'm confused as to how they got this ranking. They ended their regular season by blowing serveral games. They got ousted in their own conference tournament early, had a worse record than several teams with better resume's and they still managed to get the 2 seed. Huh?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Starbury" and the "Big Dance"

A couple of thoughts today:

First, what would we do without NBA players like Stephon "Starbury". I love guys like this. They continue to help idiots like myself feel less idiotic. The self proclaimed "best point guard in the league hands down" feels he has attempted to pass the ball enough this season and will now get back to what he does best. Shooting every time he comes down the floor.
In case you missed his quote here it is in all it's glory:
"I went into this year trying to do something, to put myself in a situation where we can win, OK?" To help the team win games. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. So, what do I do now, as far as the way I play? I go back to playing like Stephon Marbury, aka Starbury. I haven't been Starbury this year. I've been some other dude this year."

So what's funnier, the fact that he calls himself "Starbury", or that he actually feels like the last few years he has helped his team win games and been the best point guard in the league? I guess that would be why he has already been traded 3 times. He's in huge demand.

Other thoughts today involve the NCAA tournament.

I'm pleasantly surprised with my alma mater Utah State making the field. It was unexpected considering how many times they have been hosed in the past. They had no reason to believe this year was any different. I guess the game against Nevada in the WAC tourney final helped. They should have won but a blown layup with no time left forced the game into overtime where Nevada pulled out a squeaker. I think they'll get beat by Washington this week but you never know. After all the Aggies are a 12 seed and 12 seeds have had some success in the first round historically.

Some may have gripes (or just get purple and nearly pop a blood vessel like Billy Packer) over the fact that some mid-majors like Utah St. and Air Force made the field when Florida St. and Cincinnati didn't get in. No sympathy from me. Mid-majors consistently get screwed in the selection process (Two years ago Utah St. was ranked in the top 25 for the last month of the season, was 17-1 in league play, won 25 games and still didn't get in) so I could care less if some mediocre ACC or Big East team doesn't get in.

As far as seeding goes, I thought like everyone else that Tennessee got a gift with a 2 seed. Maybe they prove the naysayers wrong in the tourney but it doesn't change the fact that this was one of the worst high seed decisions ever.

I'm picking Memphis and Connecticut to make it to the finals with Memphis cutting down the nets.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Memory Wipe In Process

The NCAA has some real geniuses at work. You know that right? This is the organzation that brings us the BCS after all. I'm continually amazed by some of their punitive sanctions as well. Sometimes NCAA justice is more comedic than a Dave Chapelle appearance. You may know that Ohio State basketball has now been placed on 3 years probation for using an ineligible player under coach Jim O' Brien from 1999-2002. Penalties include having to payback tournament revenues from that time period. Fair enough. I don't see the problem with that. Where it gets a little weird and really ridiculous is when they take away wins from seasons that have already been played. They are even being forced to forfeit their 1999 Final Four appearance and take down the Final Four banner in their own arena. It never happened. Seriously. Wipe it from your memory. Actually, Michael Redd might want to forget this photo of him and Scoonie Penn ever occured. Thanks to the NCAA he is assured that it didn't. Additionally, if you happen to own any memorabilia concerning this event, which was not real, some nice gentlemen in shades and suits will be arriving shortly to dispose of it properly. You've been warned.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Duke, Gonzaga & Isaac Bruce

- I don't see the POY candidates Reddick and Morrison getting to the title game of the NCAA tournament and producing the game that the media and television would slobber over. If you shut either of them down then their teams don't have another go to guy. Besides Gonzaga nearly lost in the semi-final of their conference tournament and then should have lost in the finals to a Loyola team that was 12-18 at the time. Only a blown layup prevented the shocker. That is two near losses to San Diego and Loyola Marymount! Now San Diego has won 18 games this year so they are not a gimmee but Gonzaga is ranked in the top 5 of the nation for crying out loud! Too many close games this year to inferior teams. No way Gonzaga makes the Final Four.
I think Duke will be upset as well, although I could see them possibly making the Final Four and then losing in the semi-final game . Sheldon Williams can be awesome at times so he could pick up the slack if Reddick has an off night. But I think Connecticut or Villanova should be the favorite for this tournament. They don't rely as much on one guy and they just seem like better teams.

-On a football note, I have mixed emotions about Rams long-time standout wide receiver Isaac Bruce getting released from the team. He was great for a long time and defined Ram football. He was a good guy and had great hands. He had some clutch catches over the years that can never be forgotten by Ram fans. But the Rams needed the salary cap space and it isn't shocking that Bruce was a casualty of cost-cutting measures. The spectacular play of Torry Holt of the last few years and the emergence of Kevin Curtis and Shaun McDonald really have made Bruce a luxury but not a necessity. It's a sad move for Ram fans but one that realistically needed to be made.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A weak rationalization

You may have noticed a little less effort put into this site since the end of the football season. My posts have been infrequent and probably a little lame.

Two explanations for this. The first one is that I have new responsibilities at work (yes, this means I got a promotion, and no it doesn't mean that much more money. Bastards.) and I don't have the time that I had before to use company time and company internet services for the purposes God intended, ----surfing the internet and blogging. This could change as I figure out how best to manipulate my time and responsiblities and get back to what I do best at work, which is studying the benefits of 3 receiver and 4 receiver offensive sets against the cover 2 defense.
So with work out of the picture in terms of time to update this site then I have to try and do it at home. This means competing with a wife and 2 kids under 4 years old who have the nerve to demand more of my time. All right, so they don't have to twist my arm. I am kidding on that one. I like spending time with my family and since I didn't have a dad who liked to hang with me when I was a kid, I try to let my kids drive me as crazy as possible.

The second reason I haven't been posting as much is that I realize I just don't have the passion about other sports as I do football. And the offseason for football doesn't really get my juices flowing. I mean I'm interested in things like the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the draft, free agency, etc. but it's not enough for me to want to post thoughts on these things daily or even bi-weekly. As far as other sports go, I imagine I'll be into baseball a little more when the season gets cranked up. When March Madness rolls around I'll definitely be into college b-ball and I'll take an interest in the NBA when the playoffs roll around. But football is why I started this blog in the first place. I had thoughts about Pro and college football that I wanted to write down and a blog seemed as good as place as any. That way people had the opportunity to tell me what a dork I am for thinking the way I do. I was getting too uppity for my own good anyway.

So I figure until football season rolls around again I'll continue to do what I'm doing. That is, post about once a week on sports topics that catch my interest. I would like to update every Monday or Tuesday. So check back at the first of each week for some new nugget of wisdom (or crap) from yours truly. Thanks for sticking with me.