Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The New Blog Home

Check me out at  Same old Cleavie, just a new updated location for the self proclaimed expert on all things sports related.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend Observations

I don't know how your fantasy football weekend went, but mine was a complete and total disaster.  In my trash talking league I only had one player (Peyton Manning) score in double digits and three players (CJ Spiller, Jordan Cameron, New Orleans defense) put up a 6 spot which makes me look more like a devil worshiper than a football expert.  In my hurt your feelings league things have gone from bad to worse.  Eddie Lacy, Wes Welker, and The Breesy were no match for RGIII, DeSean Jackson, and Vernon Davis.  At 1-5 it may be time to pull the plug on this experiment.  In my ego stroking work league I started Torrey Smith instead of Vincent Jackson.  That was a 27 point swing and I lost by .8 points.  The three teams that were 1-4 in this league all won their match ups.  Go figure.  There was plenty of fantasy frustration, but at least the Seahawks won.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Oregon won their football game.  As a 3rd generation UW alum loyal to the program that's all my conscience will allow me to say on this topic.  If I wasn't so loyal I'd tell you Oregon's dominant 3 touchdown victory at Husky Stadium was a masterful performance, Marcus Mariotta should win the Heisman, and Oregon should win the national championship. Excuse me while I vomit.

THE DENVER BRONCOS ARE NOT ALL THAT!  The biggest point spread favorites in the history of the NFL struggled against a winless team that loses by an average of 22 points a game.  a 35-19 victory is not impressive when you're playing the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Peyton Manning embarrassed himself, let down his fantasy owners, and cost Vegas millions of dollars.  Shame on him.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers pitching staffs deserve better.  Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw gave up 2 runs in two games yet trail the St. Louis Cardinals 0-2  Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, and the Tigers bullpen gave up 1 run over 16 innings, but leave Boston with the series tied 1-1.  You don't have to be a mathematician to realize the results should be different.

Arrowhead Stadium is the loudest Stadium in the NFL.  The Kansas City chiefs crowd reached 137.5 decibels on Sunday breaking the previous record of 136.6 set by the Seahawks fans a few weeks ago.  Congrats to them, but I still think Century Link Field is a tougher place to play.

Friday, October 11, 2013

SeahawkCentric: Seahawks Over Titans

When the Seahawks schedule came out I was looking forward to the homecoming of Jake Locker.  Locker was a big part of resurrecting the Huskies football program by unselfishly turning down $50,000,000 to return for his senior year.  Now I'm thankful he doesn't have to be on the field when the Tennessee Titans come to Century Link Field on Sunday.  It's not a good time to be a Seahawks opponent.

The Hawks suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday and are eager to get back on the winning track.  There's nothing worse than an angry, motivated Seahawks team looking to put on a dominant performance in front of the 12th man and the millions of doubters who recently jumped off the Seahawks bandwagon.  Locker is a legend in the 206 and doesn't deserve what the Seahawks would have done to him.  It's better he stays on the sidelines as an innocent bystander.

For the record I'm still drinking the Pete Carroll Cool-Aid.  I didn't see anything last Sunday that would suggest the Seahawks won't win the Super Bowl this year.  Certainly they could be better converting on 3rd down and eliminating big plays, but the formula for success remains the same.  Let Russell Wilson do his thing, play solid defense, and allow Marshawn "Beastmode" Lynch to run over opposing teams like a Caterpillar bulldozer.  Pretty simple right?

The Tennessee Titans are no match for the Seattle Seahawks.  Everyone knows this.  There is no chance the Titans will win the game on Sunday.  If the Hawks don't win by 15 or more points I'll shave off all my hair and throw my pinky ring in the lake.  A reckless statement perhaps, but I'll take my chances.  I'll chime in on Monday with all the juicy details of the Seahawks slaughter.  Until then let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is The UK Ready For The NFL?

Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced the NFL plans to play 3 games in London next year.  Goodell claims the NFL is growing in popularity overseas and the demand has reached a fever pitch.  The commissioner has even insinuated a future franchise in the UK is not out of the question.  Is NFL expansion on another continent a good idea?

Absolutely not.  Until Los Angeles gets a franchise (the 2nd largest market in the United States) how can you justify putting a team in London, England?  It doesn't make a lot of sense to bypass a city that already has a built in fanbase for the sake of trying to expand your product to other markets.  The NFL does just fine here in America without Europe's support.

In addition the travel time would be unfair to teams on the West Coast.  How can you expect Seattle, San Diego, or San Francisco to fly 5,000 miles to a place with a 6 hour time difference?  It's cool for a team to go over there every once in a while, but scheduling games at Wembley stadium on a consistent basis seems a little far fetched to me.  They can't play teams along the Eastern seaboard every game.

Football is not Futbol and the UK is not ready to embrace the NFL wholeheartedly.  They won't support an NFL franchise the same way they support Manchester United, Chelsea, or Tottenham.  I understand the NFL's desire to generate new revenue streams and capitalize on idol curiosity, but that doesn't mean putting teams at a disadvantage for the sake of a few more dollars (especially when your product generates 9 billion already).  I say if it ain't broke don't fix it.  Your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Why Josh Freeman Won't Succeed In Minnesota

After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Josh Freeman his career was at a crossroads.  It was uncertain whether or not he would get a second chance to redeem himself and prove all the doubters wrong.  In little or no time the Minnesota Vikings came calling.  Their not sold on the prospect of Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel leading their team to the playoffs and view Freeman as a viable option going forward.  Can Josh Freeman lead Minnesota to the promised land?

As much as I'm pulling for Josh I don't think Minnesota is an ideal fit for him.  He will certainly benefit from the league's top rusher in Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings will be happy to have a quarterback with a strong arm, but Freeman has yet to demonstrate he can run an offense with any consistency.  Over the years Josh has shown flashes of brilliance which is why the Vikings took a chance on him.  They are hoping he is the missing piece like Bret Favre was a few years ago. 

Minnesota will give Josh Freeman every opportunity to succeed which may ultimately be their undoing.  Although he has tremendous physical attributes he's always had a knack for throwing a costly interception or making a poor decision at critical times during the game.  What Minnesota needs is a game manager type like in the mold of Andy Dalton or Alex Smith.  When you have a tremendous running game and a stellar defense to rely on you don't need a quarterback that takes too many chances.

Of course I could be wrong.  Maybe all Josh Freeman needs to become a franchise quarterback again is a change of scenery and a coach that believes in him.  By all accounts the environment in Tampa was completely toxic stunting his growth and development.  When you don't get along with the head coach and your leadership is undermined at every turn it's difficult to be a productive player.  That being said it's the middle of the season and it's hard to re-invent yourself on the fly.  There are lots of things that have to fall into place to have a positive impact.  I don't see the stars aligning just right for Josh Freeman in Minnesota.  Your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

David Price Was Right

Dirk Hayhurst...COULDN'T hack it...Tom Verducci wasn't even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player.  SAVE IT NERDS.

David Price tweet after losing game 2 of the ALCS

Following Saturday's loss to the Boston Red Sox David Price fired back at critics in a Twitter rant that raised a few eyebrows.  In my opinion the subject matter wasn't that controversial, but the media had a field day with it.  They raked Price over the coals for his "insensitive" remarks and portrayed him as the instigator as opposed to the victim of this incident.  Was Price wrong for the comments he made?

Absolutely not.  If it wasn't for David Price the Rays wouldn't even be in the playoffs.  He pitched in must win/elimination games for over a month culminating with a clutch victory over Cleveland in the Wild Card game.  He's physically and emotionally drained and the last thing he needs is some no name nerds knit picking at his performance.

If it was Dennis Eckersley, Ron Darling, or Pedro Martinez making derogatory comments Price would have taken the criticism differently, but Verducci and Hayhurst?  Kick rocks.  David Price has accomplished way too much in his career to have to answer to a bunch of scrubs living vicariously through his experiences.  Perhaps I've watched a few too many Big Bang Theory episodes or Jesse Eisenberg movies, but this nerd revolution is getting out of hand.

Emotions run high in the playoffs.  Players get testy and overreact to things that typically wouldn't bother them.  David Price has since apologized for his outburst saying he feels humbled and ashamed.  Personally I think if reporters did a better job of staying in their lane (especially during the postseason) these confrontations would happen less frequently.  Your thoughts?

Monday, October 7, 2013

SeahawkCentric: Colts Over Seahawks

I didn't think I would have to address the details of a loss this entire season, but I'm mature enough to handle it.  The Seahawks quest for perfection came to a screeching halt Sunday with a loss to the Indianapolis Colts 34-28.

Instead of bashing the referees for ridiculous calls (safeties, phantom pass interference) or pointing fingers at one particular unit (special teams) I will take the high moral ground and give the Colts credit for a spectacular come from behind victory.  Andrew Luck was as good as advertised, T.Y. Hilton played the game of his life, and Adam Vinatieri proved why he's one of the greatest kickers in NFL history.  The Colts should be a factor in the AFC playoff race.

That being said the Seahawks had multiple opportunities to win the game.  I like the way Steven Hauschka knocked down 4 out of 5 field goal attempts, but that number of attempts is more indicative of stalled drives than his superior accuracy.  Although the Hawks gained more yards on the ground and in the air 3rd down conversions really hurt us.  Super Bowl teams don't make excuses though.  Time to pick our heads up and regroup.

We'll see how the team responds to adversity this week.  As you might guess I'm expecting an angry bunch that will practice with intensity and a sense of urgency.  I'll chime in on Friday with my prediction for the Titans game.  Until then let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Weekend Observations

It was a HORRIBLE football weekend in the 206, but at least the fantasy football gods showed me some love.  In my trash talking league I'm up by 40 points on the guy that shows me the least amount of respect.  Looks like I picked a good week to start David Wilson and Pierre Thomas.  Unless Julio Jones goes for 5 touchdowns and 400 yards I'll be in first place by the end of the night.

In my hurt your feelings league I'm up by 20, but my opponent has Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones.  Once again Julio is the fly in the ointment.  If I win this match up it will be a miracle given the fact my team revolted on me.  The week I decide to bench T.Y. Hilton and Mike Wallace they have the game of their lives just to spite me.  Hopefully the fantasy football gods will make them burn in hell for their insubordination.

In my ego stroking work league I squeaked out a victory by two points without playing a defense.  I forgot to activate Cincinnati after I picked them up off the waiver wire.  They scored 29 points  That kind of error would have cost me in my other leagues, but not the EWSL.  I'm having the trophy engraved with my name on it as we speak.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Maybe I'm getting old, but I think the biggest story to come out of the Stanford/UW game is Bishop Sankey's grandfather getting a chance to watch his grandson play after receiving a cornea transplant.  It's either old age or I'm trying to forget how the refs did my Huskies dirty.  Can't decide.

Minnesota Golphers head coach Jerry Kill had his 5th seizure before the Ohio St. game and was unable to join the team.  Not trying to sound like an a$$hole, but he probably needs to step down.  His health issues should be his primary concern and the uncertainty of his condition will eventually (if not already) hurt Minnesota's recruiting efforts.

Los Angeles beat Atlanta 13-6.  Although this sounds like a football score it was actually a baseball game.  Hard to believe the Dodgers are doing all this without Matt Kemp.

If I was Justin Verlander I'd be cussing out my teammates for their anemic offensive output on Saturday night.  If you pitch 7 scoreless innings and strike out 11 you should get the victory in a playoff game.  No excuses.

Friday, October 4, 2013

SeahawkCentric: Hawks Over Colts

The Seahawks face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and all the talk leading up to the game has been about Andrew Luck.  The so called experts have marveled over his underrated scrambling ability, his strong arm, and his pocket presence.  According to them Andrew Luck will go down in history as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and the Hawks will have their hands full at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Did I miss something?

They must have forgotten the "Chosen One" is about to play the Seattle Seahawks.  THE MIGHTY SEAHAWKS!!!  THE TEAM THAT WILL GO 16-0 THIS SEASON!!!  THE TEAM THAT PROVED LAST WEEK AGAINST THE HOUSTON TEXANS THEY WILL FIGHT TO THE END AND DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO WIN!!!  On paper it may seem like a difficult game to some, but make no mistake about it the Seahawks will come out victorious.

The Seahawks have more talent on both sides of the ball.  The Colts have no answer for the play making ability of Russell Wilson and no one on the Colts defense can stop Beastmode from doing his thing.  Luck, Richardson, and Reggie Wayne won't be able to move the ball against the Hawks defense (especially now that Bruce Irvin is back) and ultimately untimely turnovers will spell disaster for their team.  Just like the Texans found out it's only a matter of time before someone steps up to make a big play that changes the complexion of the game.

For the record I like Andrew Luck.  I think he's a good kid with a huge upside.  Unfortunately for him he's at the wrong place at the wrong time.  The 2013 Seahawks are a team of destiny and won't let the sorry ass Colts stand between them and immortality.

Indy is nothing more than roadkill on the journey to the Super Bowl.  I predict the Hawks will win 27-17 and Andrew Luck will throw at least two picks.  That's just the way the Hawks handle business.  I'll chime in on Monday after the victory with a recap of the slaughter.  Until then let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we? 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

World Series Scenarios

The MLB playoffs started this week with a play-in game in Arlington and wild card games in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  Although the new format makes for a more exciting and dramatic postseason it won't necessarily create a larger viewing audience.  Some potential World Series match ups could have the whole country tuning in while others may struggle to get better ratings than a re-run of Storage Wars.  It all depends on which teams hold up their end of the bargain.  Here's a list of the best and worst case scenarios for the World Series.

1.  The advertisers worst nightmare:  Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh.  The Tampa Bay Rays have established themselves as a perennial postseason threat while the Pirates are experiencing success we haven't seen since the Barry Bonds era.  That doesn't make them entertaining to watch however.  Your average fan can't name two players on either squad and could care less about who wins or loses.  If these two teams meet up in the World Series baseball will lose millions.

2.  For baseball purists only:  Oakland vs. St. Louis.  The A's and the Cardinals both have a storied tradition and a combined 20 World Series titles between them.  They play fundamentally sound baseball and no one player is bigger than the team.  That being said if you don't live in the Bay Area or near the Gateway Arch and your name isn't Peter Gammons or Buster Olney this series would probably bore you to death.

3.  Familiar and competitive:  Detroit vs. Atlanta.  This potential match up has a little sizzle to it.  Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera are former MVP's and the Braves are synonymous with winning.  There's enough storylines and intrigue to hold your interest through the final at bat.

4.  The royale with cheese match up:  Boston vs. Los Angeles.  There's more wanna be pretend Red Sox fans than the population of Canada (literally) and the Dodgers are the New
York Yankees of the west coast.  Everybody and their grandma will tune in to watch this slug fest.  Sponsors will give MLB a blank check and ask questions later.  There's so much love and hate for both of these teams the Nielsen ratings would go through the roof.   LA vs. Boston could actually make baseball relevant again.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NFL 1st Quarter Observations

Is it just me or is the 2013 NFL season flying by?  Seems like only yesterday I was watching preseason games trying to figure out who the Seahawks will play in the Super Bowl.  Now they're 4-0 and undeniably the best team in football.  Where has all the time gone?  It's too early to say how the season will eventually end up (except for the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl), but we have a pretty good idea the direction certain teams and players are headed.  Here is my analysis of the 1st quarter.

The coroner's list:  Oakland, New York, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Tampa are officially dead and have no chance of making the playoffs.  This was expected from the Raiders and Jaguars, but the Giants and Steelers are surprise 0-4 teams.  The Bucs are in complete disarray with no direction, leadership, and no solution for their problems.

Slow your roll list:  Chicago, Miami, and New England all have impressive records to start the season, but the 2nd quarter will expose them for the frauds they are.  The dolphins have no running game to speak of while the Bears and Patriots have fallen victim to the injury bug.  Don't be surprised if these teams end up .500 by midseason.

Fantasy duds:  If you have T.Y Hilton, Mike Wallace, Chris Johnson, CJ Spiller, Matt Schaub, Hakeem Nicks, Eli Manning, RGIII, or Michael Vick on your fantasy team it's time to go in a different direction.  They've played enough games for you to realize these players suck a$$.  I hate to admit it, but I have several of these players on my squads.  I'm trying to adjust my rosters as we speak.

Pretenders unworthy of the crown:  Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco are not who they claimed to be when the season started.  Super Bowl contenders they are not.

NFL MVP:  Drew Brees or Peyton Manning.  These guys might throw for 60 touchdowns a piece this year.  Can't think of anyone else that belongs in this conversation.

Potential Super Bowl teams:  Seattle, Denver, and New Orleans.  The Seahawks are the only team in the NFL with enough balance on both sides of the ball to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Coach Sark Is Headed To USC

I usually start out Monday with a recap of the weekend, but the events of Sunday morning take precedence today.  As you all know USC football coach Lane Kiffin was fired after an embarrassing loss to Arizona St.  The move was not unexpected given the team's performance this year and the pressure athletic director Pat Haden was receiving from the alumni.  The vacancy has caused mass hysteria and speculation as to who Kiffin's successor will be, but in my mind there's only one logical choice.

You might hear names like Jack Del Rio, Chris Peterson, or Kevin Sumlin thrown around, but University of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian is their first choice.  USC is not a program that can lay dormant or become irrelevant for long periods of time.  They have a fan base that is used to winning and won't tolerate failure (see Lane Kiffin).  Their next coach has to be able to make an immediate impact and change the current climate.

Steve Sarkisian has resurrected the Husky program in a short period of time with limited resources.  There have been some bumps in the road along the way, but for the most part coach Sark has done what he said he would do.  USC has taken notice and would love for him to reproduce the same results for the Trojans.  He said no the first time they asked and I suspect Southern Cal will make a Vito Corleone type proposal this time around.  To be honest the USC job provides perks and benefits the University of Washington simply can't offer.

Hopefully coach Sark has developed a soft spot for the Pacific Northwest and feels a sense of pride for what he's been able to accomplish with the Huskies.  Otherwise the allure of coaching one of the top programs in college football will be too much to pass up.  If money, power, and prestige are what motivates him he's as good as gone.

SeahawkCentric: A Recap Of The Texans Game

It took a little extra time, but eventually my beloved Seahawks prevailed against the Houston Texans 23-20 in overtime.  The more I think about it the outcome couldn't have turned out any better.  Instead of beating the Texans like a rented mule the Hawks inflicted a slow, painful, cruel defeat on the city of Houston. 

We let their team build up a false sense of confidence and at the last second (on a field goal no less) shattered their dreams with an improbable come from behind victory.  Blow outs are fairly easy to get over, but this kind of loss has a lingering effect.  It's safe to say this week's film session will be difficult to watch and might conjure up emotions of despair and self doubt.  Let's hope the Texans don't develop an inferiority complex.  Then again, let's hope they do.  Here's what impressed me about the Hawks win.

1.  The 2nd half shutout.  Matt Schaub looked like a Pro Bowler in the first half, but after a few adjustments the league's #1 defense gave up zero points in the 2nd half.  As predicted Matt Schaub folded like a bad poker hand when the pressure was on.

2.  Russell Wilson.  Russ didn't exactly put on a passing clinic, but he showed true grit scrambling away from defenders and picking up critical 1st downs.  Our captain put the team on his back and carried them to the promised land.  Without his confidence and never say die attitude the Seahawks could have easily lost the game. 

3.  Richard Sherman.  If you weren't convinced Richard Sherman is the best cover guy in the game Sunday's performance certainly changed your mind.  He's a game changer and someone that will make you pay if you test him over and over again.

4.  Doug Baldwin.  I don't know about you guys, but I think Doug Baldwin might be the team's most valuable player to this point.  Without his tip toe catches on the sidelines the Seahawks could be 2-2 and tied with the Niners in the NFC West.

The undefeated season I predicted is still a reality and the next victim on the schedule are the Indianapolis Colts.  I'll get back to you on Friday with my take on the game.  Until the Let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we? 

Friday, September 27, 2013

SeahawkCentric: Seahawks By 10 Over The Texans

If you pay attention to social media outlets, sports blogs, and informative websites around the country Seattle, WA is the epicenter of the football universe.  The Seahawks are gaining more and more respect everyday and Vegas has picked them to win the Super Bowl.  This is not surprising given the way Seattle has dismantled their first three opponents by an average of 19.7 points per game.  The next victim on the path to the Lombardi Trophy is the Houston Texans.

When the season started the Texans were a legitimate pick to go to the Super Bowl, but that was ages ago.  Now the Texans will be lucky to win their division much less face the Hawks in February.  Arian Foster is a shell of his former self and Matt Schaub folds like a bad poker hand when the pressure is on.  Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins are a formidable duo at the wide receiver position unless they play a team with 6'3 corners and the best safety in the game roaming around the secondary waiting to light them up.  Then they're just average.

The Seahawks on the other hand have everything going for them right now.  Russell Wilson found his groove again and the running game can't be stopped.  J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing will swear you need a special license to operate that bulldozer with the #24 on his back.  Beastmode will be in full effect.  As for the NFL's #1 defense?  Look for them to atone for last week's performance giving up 17 points and 265 yards to Jacksonville.  They have to take their frustration out on someone and that someone will be the Houston Texans.

Long story short, the Seahawks will smash the Texans like a bull in a China shop (I tried to use a metaphor Texans fans would understand).  I'll recap the victory on Monday with all the juicy details.  Until the next time lets all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spoiler Alert: The St. Louis Rams Beat The 49ers

On the surface this prediction may sound like it comes from a spiteful, vindictive, delusional place, but that's only half true.  Certainly everyone knows I have an irrational amount of hateration for the Niners and wish nothing but bad luck and misfortune upon them.  That doesn't mean I can't apply some objectivity and logic with regards to my analysis of their team (unless I'm in a SeahawkCentric state of mind then all bets are off).  That being said there are valid reasons St. Louis will pull off the upset tonight.

1.  The Aldon Smith factor.  The motto NFL teams like to follow when a players sustain injuries or get suspended is next man up.  That's easier said than done when the player in question is an All Pro and the heart and soul of your defense.  The loss of Aldon Smith has ruined the Niners season and the Rams will take advantage of his absence.

2.  The Tavon Austin factor.  I'm not just saying this because I need him to put up big fantasy points for me this week, I'm saying this because the 49ers secondary is suspect.  Without a dominant pass rush to rely on expect their corners to get torched.

3.  Colin Kaepernick is overrated.  The 800 pound elephant in the Bay Area right now is Colin Kaepernick is not exceptional.  The league is all about adjustments and the NFL has figured Colin Kaepernick out.  At least he got some cool commercials and a hot girlfriend out of the deal before getting exposed as a pretender.

4.  The Rams are tough at home.  Their record may not reflect it, but you need to bring your "A" game to get past the St. Louis Rams.  If you're not 100% healthy, clicking on all cylinders, or mentally prepared it's a difficult task to beat St. Louis in the Edward Jones Dome.  Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How Paul George Changed The NBA

Ordinarily I wouldn't divert attention away from the pigskin or the curve ball this time of year, but something monumental is taking place in the NBA.  The Indiana Pacers and small forward Paul George have agreed to terms on a contract extension worth 80-90 million.  On the surface it may seem like a fairly insignificant deal, but the signing gives us insight into the future of the league.  Here are 5 things we learned from this deal.

1.  The NBA is no longer about franchise players.  The MoHeatos started this trend and the fact Paul George chose to stay in a small market rather than test free agency is evidence the trend will continue.  The solo acts are few and far between.

2.  The East is the dominant conference.  For the first time in several decades the Eastern conference has more depth than the Western conference.  For the next 5 years stars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and now Paul George pretty much guarantee the East will produce the NBA champion during that time.

3.  Miami's reign can't last forever.  I still think Miami will squeeze out 2 or 3 more championships, but their window of opportunity is closing fast and their margin for error is zero.  Untimely injuries or free agent busts (Greg Oden, Michael Beasley) could derail their chance at immortality.

4.  The Lakers model is obsolete.  The Los Angeles Lakers can no longer sit around and wait for the biggest free agent on the market.  They must try to find a way to sign at least two.  The Dwightmare showed us LA can not rely solely on palm trees, Magic Johnson, and Jack Nicholson to attract big names.  The Lakers must adapt or become a non factor in the new NBA.

5.  The NBA draft is important again.  This statement mostly pertains to the small market teams, but the bigger markets need to take advantage as well.  The draft doesn't have a lot of depth so you have to make the selection count.  You need to pick Kawhi Leonard or Damian Lillard types instead of Wesley Johnson or Derrick Williams.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is Arian Foster The Voice Of Reason?

"I just feel strong about the injustice that the NCAA has been doing for years.  That's why I said what I said.  I'm not trying to throw anybody under the bus.  I feel like I shouldn't have to run from the NCAA anymore.  They're like bullies.  I'm not scared of them."

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster

On Friday Sports Illustrated posted an excerpt from an upcoming documentary where Arian Foster admits to receiving improper benefits while attending the University of Tennessee.  Instead of acting apologetic and remorseful Foster defended his actions and criticized the NCAA for their hypocrisy and exploitation of college athletes.  He then went on to say athletes should get paid otherwise the corruption will continue.  Does Arian have a legitimate point?

Yes and no.  Without question the universities make obscene amounts of money and their cut is guaranteed.  Massive TV contracts are in place, games are sold out years in advance, and alumni members flood the programs with free flowing cash.  Players on the other hand get no permissible benefits other than meals and education.

The problem is you can't pay student athletes based on the income they generate for the schools.  Should Johnny Football get the same amount of money as an alternate on the fencing team?  Can we really trust accountants not to add an extra zero or two for players that have big games or sell more memorabilia?  Would giving athletes cash deter the boosters and agents from engaging in illegal activity?

I understand what Arian Foster is trying to say.  It shouldn't be against the rules for student athletes to benefit from their participation in sports and the money generated should be allocated differently.  I don't think the players should be paid directly either.  That system would open an even bigger can of worms.  Who would oversee such a program and what would stop them from becoming completely corrupt?  If you ask me they should continue to provide players with "special" envelopes, but the administrations should pay less attention to those infractions.  Your thoughts?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Observations

The NFL games were so unpredictable this weekend I can't say as I'm surprised by the results of my fantasy football teams.  In my hurt your feelings league Coby Fleener, Mike Wallace, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Bush (yes I started Reggie Bush), and Tavon Austin combined for 11 points.  Not even The Breesy and the Bengals defense could help me avoid a loss with that sorry cast of characters.  In my trash talking league I'm down by 10, but I've got Peyton Manning starting tomorrow.  I'll count that as a win.

In my ego stroking work league I'm down by 47 points thanks to the Seahawks defense and Antonio Brown's career night.  I have Peyton and McFadden going still, but he has Demaryius Thomas and Matt Prater.  That loss will make for annoying, irritating water cooler conversation all week.  Damn you Vincent Jackson and Brandon Marshall!  In a weekend that saw Aaron Rodgers throw more interceptions than touchdowns and Detroit win in Washington for the first time in 74 years I won't beat myself up too much about my mediocre performance.  There's always the next opponent.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Maybe things aren't so bad in Cleveland after all.  Brian Hoyer threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns as the Browns beat the Vikings on the road 31-27.  It was especially nice because all three touchdowns went to Cameron Jordan.  Keep doing what you're doing kid!

Frisco, we have a problem!  The San Francisco 49ers have scored 1 touchdown in their last two games (with Colin Kaepernick averaging 140 yards) and All Pro linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by the team indefinitely.  The Niners have no chance to win the NFC West and I don't think they'll make the playoffs.

Pete Carroll showed his sensitive side resting the starters in the 3rd quarter of a 45-17 blowout over the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He must really like the Jags head coach Gus Bradley because I can't see him showing that much compassion for anyone else in the league.

Ohio St., Miami, Louisville, and Baylor all scored 70 or more points against their opponents over the weekend.  Maybe it's time to cut back on the cupcakes or at least schedule teams that can stay within 40 points.  What's the point of these kind of blowouts anyway?

Jon "Bones" Jones had a hell of a time with the Viking looking Alex Gustaffson Saturday, but ultimately retained his light heavyweight title by the slimmest of margins.  Now that Jones no longer appears invincible it's time to fight Anderson Silva.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Is Cleveland A Cursed Sports City?

"If you called to ask me what's going on with the Browns you might as well save your breath.  Don't nobody in Cleveland know what the fu*k is going on.  They're lucky I'm not a season ticket holder or I'd be down at the Browns office breaking some sh*t up! How are they gonna trade away our best player after the 2nd game of the season?  I can't understand it man."

Ken Roye:  Cleveland native.

I called my boy in Cleveland hoping to get some clarity and possible insight as to why the Cleveland Browns would trade their franchise player two games into the season, but as I expected he had no answers for me.  There is no logical explanation why Trent Richardson was dealt to the Indianapolis Colts 18 games into his career.  On the surface it seems like an impulsive move and a desperate attempt to correct the mistakes of the previous regime.  Did the organization make the right decision?

Absolutely not.  Trent Richardson was a top 3 pick last year and is considered one of the top young running backs in the NFL.  They traded him for a 1st round pick to a team that will most likely make the playoffs. There is no way to justify moving down 20 spots in the draft with no guarantee they will have an opportunity to select a player with greater or equal ability.

In addition, it sends a horrible message to the fans and the current Cleveland Browns players.  You can't trade your team's best player without giving the impression you don't care about the result of the 2013 season.  They will be lucky if the fans don't boycott the games and stop supporting the Browns all together.  Cleveland fans have suffered countless disappointments in the past and they can only take so much.

So who's to blame for this difficult situation surrounding the Browns organization?  In my opinion you have to point the finger at Mike Holmgren.  Although Holmgren had success in San Francisco, Green Bay, and Seattle there is no doubt his time in Cleveland was unproductive.  Although Holmgren has voiced his displeasure and confusion in the direction Cleveland is headed his personnel moves didn't make the team better and everyone involved is suffering the consequences.

The Trent Richardson trade is just another example that professional sports is a business first.  The Browns didn't even have the courtesy to tell Richardson he was being traded.  He had to find out on sports talk radio like everybody else.  You would think a franchise player deserved more respect, but at the end of the day he is nothing more than a commodity that can be traded and shipped away at a moments notice.  If this doesn't go the way ownership anticipates I'm not sure they will ever be able to regain the trust of Cleveland fans again.  The 216 deserves better.

SeahawkCentric: Seahawks Over Jacsonville By 40

You remember when you were a kid and right before your parents would give you a colossal ass whipping they would say "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you?"  That's how the Seahawks feel about the ass whipping they're about to put on Jacksonville this Sunday.  First year head coach Gus Bradley was an integral part of Seattle's success over the past few seasons and everyone wants to see him do well.  Unfortunately the Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in MASSIVE transition.  They have little or no talent on either side of the ball and it will take years before the Jags return to respectability.

On the flip side the Seahawks are a team that might not lose a game this year.  After an impressive win over the San Francisco 49ers the Hawks look virtually unstoppable.  The pass rush got a much needed boost with the return of Cliff Avril and Marshawn Lynch returned to Beastmode.  Russell hasn't been spectacular in the first two weeks of the season, but all that's about to change when he faces one of the league's worst defenses in the loudest stadium the world has ever seen.

There's a slight chance the Seahawks are looking ahead to their match up against Houston in two weeks, but I think this team is too disciplined to take anything for granted.  Pete Carroll has established a culture where every player understands the importance of performing at a high level against EVERY opponent.  This team won't suffer a letdown as many detractors have predicted.  In fact don't be surprised if the Seahawks score 50 points.  I'll be back on Monday with a recap of the Jacksonville beatdown.  Parental discretion is advised as the details may get ugly.  Until the next time let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Does Andy Reid Want Revenge?

One of the things I can't stand about sports is when a player or coach tells you a game with unique circumstances is just another game.  The Harbaugh's told us the Super Bowl was just another game.   They lied.  The Manning's told us the Giant and Broncos game last week was just another game.   They lied.  Today Andy Reid is returning to Philadelphia as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and he's telling everyone it's just another game.  He's lying.

You can't return to a place you spent the last 14 years and honestly say it's just another game.  Andy Reid dedicated his life to the Eagles organization leading them to 5 NFC championships and a Super Bowl appearance.  He took a chance on Donovan McNabb, resurrected the career of Michael Vick, lived through the Terrell Owens debacle, and put up with the obnoxious Philly fanbase.  As a human being with feelings and emotions I find it unrealistic Andy Reid will approach this game as if the Chiefs are playing Tennessee or Cleveland.

The fact of the matter is Andy Reid wants to win this game in the worst way.  He wants to stick it to all the nay sayers and show them he wasn't the problem in Philadelphia.  He wants to prove his system and style of coaching is still effective.  In short he wants to prove the Eagles made a mistake in letting him go.

If this were a made for TV movie the Chiefs would beat the Eagles on a last second play and Andy Reid would ride off into the sunset feeling vindicated.  Unfortunately this is no fairy tale.  The NFL is an unforgiving business that takes no prisoners.  The Eagles will walk all over the Chiefs sending Andy Reid back to Kansas City with his tail between his legs.  The new and improved Eagles offense is explosive and will be looking to make a point against their former leader.  In the end Andy Reid's homecoming will be bittersweet, but it won't be just another game.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Is Nebraska Football A Victim Of Its Past Success?

Bo Pelini and Tommy Frazier both want nothing but the best for Nebraska football.  That doesn't mean they have to like each other or share the same vision for the direction of the program.  After an embarrassing loss to UCLA last weekend Frazier questioned whether or not coach Pelini was making the right decisions with regards to personnel and schemes.  Coach Pelini fired back saying the university didn't need Tommy Fraizer or fair weathered fans around the football team.  These men are passionate about the teams success, but does Frazier have a right to openly criticize the current regime?

Yes and no.  It's an unwritten rule in college football that if you win a national championship or have an undefeated season (Frazier did both) you can say whatever you want.  It's the reward for bringing the university and the alumni exorbitant amounts of money, exposure, and recognition.

On the other hand superstars and legends of the past (especially quarterbacks) view things strictly from the era they played in.  College football has changed dramatically since 1995 and Nebraska is no longer at the top of the food chain.  They play in a different conference, lose major recruits to the SEC, and teams run a more complex style of offense and defense.  Perhaps Frazier shoul reference a calendar before leveling outdated, boilerplate criticisms.

There's no doubt a program's past success can put pressure on the coaches and players of the present and it's not uncommon for former greats and coaches to have philosophical differences.  Shane Mathews and Urban Meyer had this same problem at Florida.  Rich Rodriguez never impressed the alumni at Michigan.  Randy Shannon had issues with Michael Irvin and Clinton Portis during his tenure at Miami. 

The fans are ultimately the ones that suffer from these emotional outbursts.  The program loses solidarity and becomes split into bickering factions.  The only way to solve this situation is to win more games.  If Pelini turns this thing around he will silence Frazier and all the other critics.  If he continues to lead a mediocre football team he'll be replaced at season's end.  The ball is in his court.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Texas Rangers Will Not Make The Playoffs

For the last three seasons the Texas Rangers have been a force in the playoffs.   With back to back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011 and a near division title in 2012 one could argue the Rangers had supplanted the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers as the team to beat in the American League.  3 weeks ago Texas was on cruise control headed into the postseason with a comfortable lead over Oakland in the AL West.  Today they find themselves clinging to the final wildcard spot by a 1/2 game.  Will the Rangers pull it together and make it a 4th straight season in the playoffs?

Unfortunately no.  Texas has lost 9 of their last 10 games (including 7 in a row) while Oakland has won 8 out of 10 so the AL West is out of reach.  To make matters worse they play 10 of their last 13 games on the road with stops in Tampa, Kansas City, and Anaheim.  The other teams in the wildcard chase (Cleveland, New York, and Baltimore) have much easier schedules down the stretch.

Perhaps the Rangers should have kept the troubled Josh Hamilton for added protection in the line up.  Perhaps they should have made a trade before the deadline with the knowledge Nelson Cruz was going to miss 50 games for using performance enhancing drugs.  Whatever the case may be those decisions will probably cost skipper Ron Washington his job.  Expectations are high in Arlington and his relationship with team president Nolan Ryan is tenuous at best.  It's not his fault the team is underachieving, but ultimately he will be the fall guy.  The Rangers had a good run, but the party's over.

Monday, September 16, 2013

SeahawkCentric: A Recap Of The Niners Game

Our beloved Seattle Seahawks beat the snot piss out of the San Francisco 49ers 29-3 last night and I for one am not the least bit surprised.  Most of you can probably recite my blog post from Friday verbatim, but for those of you not familiar with my prophetic words lets go over the keys to victory once again.

1.  Colin Kaepernick is overrated.  CHECK.  3 picks and 127 yards passing is not impressive.

2.  Anquan Boldin is not Jerry Rice.  CHECK.  Boldin only caught one pass the entire game. 

3.  Marshawn Lynch will be in Beastmode.  CHECK.  Marshawn scored 3 touchdowns on the night.

4.  The 12th Man.  CHECK.  The 12th man broke the Guinness book of world records for the loudest outdoor crowd.

5.  Jermaine Kearse has 20/20 vision........ To be continued.

4 out of 5 isn't bad right?  The defense played lights out and they're only going to get better.  The return of Cliff Avril was a pleasant surprise that paid dividends with a sack and strip of Colin Kaepernick.  As he gets more comfortable in the schemes and back into playing shape I predict we'll see even more big plays.  Also, lets not forget Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin are coming back soon as well.  The defense has only given up one touchdown this season and their opponents average 5 points a game.  I shudder to think what will happen to Jacksonville next week.

I could go on and on about the Seahawks masterful performance.  What can't they do?  If everyone stays healthy the Seahawks could potentially end the season 16-0.  It's not out of the question after watching the Hawks dismantle the Super Bowl favorites in every facet of the game.  If this is the best competition the league has to offer you might as well put in your time off request at work right now and shop Expedia for the lowest prices to New York in February.  Until next time let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Weekend Observations

I won all of my fantasy football match ups in spectacular and/or dramatic fashion, but enough about me for once.  Let's get right into the main topic of the weekend shall we?  The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers came to Seattle last night and got their asses handed to them by the Seattle Seahawks 29-3.  Shame on me for thinking this would be a tough game.  In reality it was a beatdown of epic proportions.  The medical staff had to carry so many Niners off the field they earned a whopping $15,342.16 in overtime pay.  The beating was so bad Jim Harbaugh looked like a confused math professor that couldn't figure out how to use the quadratic formula to solve complex equations. 

You know it's bad when none of your Niner friends will answer their phones or respond to you on Facebook or Twitter.  Perhaps this is because they have nothing to say or maybe I'm trying to reach them during their therapy sessions.  It's still pretty funny I haven't heard a peep from those guys.  As I've said many times silence can be deafening.  I'm waiting for Kendrick Lamar to use this game as an example of what happens to weak, overrated rappers in one of his devastating verses.  Something tells me the power rankings will look a little different on ESPN and this week.  The debate about who's the best team in football is officially over.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Jadeveon Clowney is no longer the consensus #1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft.  That distinction now belongs to Teddy Bridgewater.  He might even pick up a Heisman Trophy and a national championship along the way.  If he's smart he'll leave school before getting caught with strippers, attending Miami Heat games, or signing his name 5,000 times for free.  Those activities can ruin your reputation and jeopardize your draft position.  Right?

The Houston Texans have found the heir apparent to Andre Johnson in rookie DeAndre Hopkins.  Now quarterback Matt Schaub can survey the ENTIRE field on passing downs as opposed to using his inner GPS to find the location of #80.  I should have taken Hopkins in fantasy when I had the chance.

I'm starting to think referees and judges have their own agenda when it comes to sporting events.  The refs in the Michigan/Akron game refused to call an obvious pass interference on the last play of the game and C.J. Ross scored the Mayweather/Alvarez contest a draw.  Not even Canelo's mom thought he won the fight.  Those refs and judges are either corrupt, have gambling debts, or their families have been kidnapped by terrorists.  There's no other excuse for those bogus decisions.

Reggie Bush is starting to remind me of Samuel L. Jackson's character Mr. Glass in the movie Unbreakable.  For the first 20 minutes of a game Bush looks like a Hall of Fame running back, but it's only a matter of time before he leaves the field with some freak injury.  Personally, I blame Kim Kardashian for his health problems.  He's never been the same since he got involved with that chick.

SHANKAPOTIMUS has reared its ugly head once again.  Tampa Bay Bucs kicker Ryan Lindell missed a 46 yard field goal with just over a minute to go that would have put his team up by 4.  Instead the Bucs gave the ball back to the Breesy and lost the game 16-14.  That shank will have a disastrous effect on the Bucs going forward.  Read my blog on the Butler Way to hear more on this subject.

Friday, September 13, 2013

SeahawkCentric: Seahawks Over Niners

Extra weight on the racks all week getting less sleep preparing for those She-Hawks.  I love hostile environments.  Imma feel right at home. ..

Anthony Dixon, San Francisco 49ers running back.

Some Seahawk fans were offended by the comments made by Anthony Dixon, but I wasn't. I was relieved.  The line has been crossed and the hateration can begin.  Now everyone can stop being politically correct and publicly polite.  These two teams don't like each other.  These fan bases despise one another.  There will be no love lost between the Niners and the Seahawks for the next decade and personally I'm ready to shave somebody's eyebrow off.  Got the clippers all warmed up and everything.

The bad blood is flowing and Sunday can't get here soon enough so the NFL's biggest rivalry can create a new chapter.  With the whole nation watching someone is going to be exposed as a pretender and forced to eat a big slice of humble pie.  Here are 5 reasons that someone will be the San Francisco 49ers.

1.  Colin Kaepernick is overrated.  Sure he had a field day against the Packers defense, but that doesn't mean he'll have success against the Legion of Boom.  His numbers were inflated last week and the Hawks will bring him back down to Earth.

2.  Anquan Boldin is not Jerry Rice.  How many 200 yard games do you think this guy is going to have this season?  The Seahawks have an answer for the Niners best receiver and his name is Richard Sherman.  Boldin won't gain more than 60 yards.

3.  Marshawn Lynch will be in Beastmode.  When is the last time you saw Marshawn Lynch have two bad games in a row?  41 yards last week against Carolina constitutes a bad game so he's due for a break out performance.

4.  Jermaine Kearse has 20/20 vision.  Now that Jermaine Kearse can see the football he's a mismatch for nickel backs.  The Lasik poster child will have a big game.

5.  The 12th man.  The CLINK is going to break the world record for the loudest outdoor crowd giving the Hawks a much needed boost of energy.  The Niners won't be able to hear themselves think and the frustration will lead to costly turnovers.

The Niners are going to get smacked around in every facet of the game.  If you have friends that are Niners fans make sure to rub this victory in with extra elbow grease.  That way they understand the road to the Super Bowl runs through the Emerald City and not the Bay Area.  We'll talk again on Monday to recap the Niner beatdown.  Until then let's keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Floyd Mayweather Jr. Beats Bruce Lee

There's no doubt Floyd Mayweather Jr. is pound for pound the best boxer on the planet right now.   He has a flawless record (44-0) that includes wins over former champions Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Diego Corrales, Ricky Hatton, Arturo Gatti, and Zab Judah.

Going into Saturday night's fight against Canelo Alvarez some people question whether or not Floyd will come out victorious.  Make no mistake about it Mayweather will beat Alvarez convincingly with a steady stream of straight rights to Canelo's forehead.  By the 10th round Alvarez won't see the punches coming and he'll go night night Kevin Hart style.  The outcome of that fight is a foregone conclusion.  The real question for Floyd is would he beaten Bruce Lee in his prime?

Absolutely.  In the squared ring Floyd has no equals.  Although Bruce Lee is a martial arts legend Mayweather is a bigger, stronger, faster fighter in the ring.  Bruce Lee's boxing skills were better than average, but certainly not on par with Floyd's.  Over 12 rounds the cumulative effect of power punches (and straight rights to the face) would have overwhelmed Bruce.  It would've been a lopsided victory for Mayweather.

In the octagon however, Bruce Lee would've massacred Floyd Mayweather Jr. The godfather of MMA would have the opportunity to use his legs, apply vicious holds, and take the fight to the ground.  I wouldn't be surprised if Floyd yelped out hitting high notes like Mariah Carey and pissed on himself from the pain caused by a well timed submission move.  Remember the first scene from Enter The Dragon?

They should make a video game featuring these guys so Lee and Mayweather fans could settle this argument once and for all.  XBOX isn't the most accurate indicator of how the fights would turn out, but it's the closest thing we have.  I got Floyd in the ring and Bruce in the octagon.  Anyone disagree?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

5 Reasons Boston College Will Beat USC

My man Walter Bailey picked Washington St. over USC last week and I thought he was crazy.  This week I'm taking it one step further by predicting the Trojans will lose their 2nd straight game to Boston College.  The men of Troy certainly have more talent than the Eagles and on paper this game shouldn't be close, but USC is a program spiraling out of control so none of that matters right now.  Here are 5 reasons Boston College will beat USC.

1.  The quarterback position.  It shouldn't take 3 weeks into the season to make a decision on the starter.  What that really means is the coaches don't have much confidence in Max Wittek or Cody Kessler.  By process of elimination someone had to get the nod (Kessler), but that doesn't mean the position is solidified or stable.

2.  Lane Kiffin.  The older brother of Tosh.0 is watching his dream job disappear before his very eyes.  Unless USC wins the remainder of their games this season the Trojans will have a new head coach next year.  That reality will cause Kiffin to hit the panic button and make irrational decisions during the game.

3.  Marquis Lee.  Anytime a team struggles to get their marquee player involved in the game you know there's a problem.  Marquis Lee is becoming frustrated to the point he's already called a players only meeting to rectify the situation.

4.  Defense.  Boston College has a solid defense that will take advantage of Cody Kessler's mistakes.  If WSU's defense can dominate the Trojans imagine what the Eagles will do?

5.  Fear of failure.  The USC offense plays like they're afraid to make a mistake and the defense plays like they have to hold their opponent scoreless.  That's too much pressure on both sides of the ball.  All the Eagles have to do is grab the lead and maintain it for 3 quarters.  USC will do the rest.

As you might recall I wrote a blog a few years ago about the demise of the USC Trojans so this scenario is not a surprise.  The fact of the matter is Lane Kiffin is not a very good coach, the players don't respond to adversity very well, and no one is afraid to play USC anymore.  Too bad the Washington Huskies don't have them on their schedule this year.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is Rafael Nadal The Next G.O.A.T.?

Rafael Nadal won the 2013 US Open with an impressive victory over Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to capture his 13th Grand Slam title.  He now trails only Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (17) for the most Grand Slam titles in the history of men's tennis.  Does his latest accomplishment put him in the conversation as the greatest player of all time?

In my opinion he's certainly a top 5 candidate.  He's won a major on every surface and held his own against the main rivals of his era Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.  He has no weaknesses to exploit and covers the court better than anyone else in the game.

The problem I have with Nadal is that he doesn't have a dominant shot.  Sampras had the big serve.  Agassi had the blistering service return.  McEnroe had the devastating volleys.  Federer has unbelievable wrist control.   Nadal is solid with his all around game, but none of his shots strike fear in his opponents.  That leaves him vulnerable against players that have a go to shot during critical points of a match.

Although Nadal has had health issues in the past he's only 26 years old so there's plenty of time to rack up Grand Slam titles.  Federer is on his way out leaving Djokovic (at present) as his only proven adversary.

If titles are how you measure greatness Nadal has a good chance to pass Federer and build a compelling case as the greatest player ever.  If total dominance in a particular facet of the game is your criteria Nadal comes up a bit short.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend Observations

The first weekend of the NFL season got under way and I must admit my fantasy football teams got off to a shaky start.  In my trash talking league I had Peyton manning score 51 points for me and I still lost.  How is this possible you ask?  Mike Wallace, David Wilson, CJ Spiller, and the Bengals defense combined for a whopping 3 points and I left Jordan Cameron on the bench.  He scored 16 points by himself.  Guess I'll be quiet this week.  In my hurt your feelings league I'm up by 19 points, but my opponent has Pierre Garcon, Antonio Gates, and the Texans defense going tonight.  Guess I'll have to be nice this week.  In my work league I'm up by 65 points and I still have Shady McCoy left to play.  That league doesn't really count though.  It's really just a league I joined to boost my ego and feel better about myself.  If I don't win the chip in that league I might retire from fantasy football forever.  It's a long season, but right now I'm a little concerned about the outcome.  Oh well, at least the Hawks won.  Next up are the hated San Francisco 49ers.  Should be a fun week making my Frisco friends feel like dirt.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

I don't say this very often, but congratulations to the Washington St. Cougars.  After pulling off the upset against the USC Trojans the Cougs are 1-1 and Lane Kiffin is sending out his resume to various NAIA schools.  Good luck Lane.  Just kidding.  I don't really wish you good luck.

Geno Smith sent me a text message that read, "Kick rocks Bitch!!  I told you to stop talking sh*t about me!  You picked up Tampa's defense cause you thought I was a scrub?  How you like me now?  APOLOGIZE!!"  I haven't returned the text yet, but when I do I'll reply, "Good win.  Is Lavonte David on the Jets payroll cause I don't think you guys win that game without him."

Serena Williams won her 5th US Open and 17th grand slam title with an impressive victory over Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7, 6-1.  It appears the reports of her demise were greatly exaggerated.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are 11-17 since August 8th.  During that time the Pirates have fallen out of first place and are playing for a wildcard spot.  Good thing MLB added that extra playoff team or the Pirates would still have the curse of Barry Bonds hanging over their heads.

SeahawkCentric: A Recap of The Panthers Game

It wasn't pretty, but the Seattle Seahawks remain undefeated with a gutsy victory over the Carolina Panthers 12-7.  Give the Seahawks credit for traveling across the country, holding Cam Newton to 125 yards passing (The lowest output of his professional career), and giving up a measly 7 points on the road.  Not every win is going to be a Picasso like performance and the Hawks certainly won this one ugly.  Still there were plenty of positives to take away from the game.

1.  The Seahawks proved they can win without Marshawn Lynch going into Beastmode.  The Carolina defense took away our biggest weapon, but other players stepped up and made plays.

2.  Russell Wilson stood up to a vicious pass rush and still managed to put up a 300 yard passing day.  Wilson was under duress the entire game, but in typical Russ fashion he kept his cool and made big throws when the team needed him.

3.  Jermaine Kearse should be the national spokesman for Lasik eye surgery.  Since Kearse had the procedure he looks like an all pro receiver out there on the field.  We wouldn't have won the game without him.

4.  Earl Thomas showed the entire team why you never quit on a play.  After missing a tackle the All Pro safety chased down D'Angelo Williams from the back and stripped him of the ball.  Who knows what the outcome of the game would have been without that effort.

I'm still drunk off the Pete Carroll Kool Aid and I hope you are too.  Next up are the much hated San Francisco 49ers.  Can't wait to watch the Hawks defense beat the snot piss out of Colin Kaepernick and listen to the 12th man make so much noise Jim Harbaugh will need a hearing aid for the rest of his life.  Those are kind of violent words, but that's how I feel.  I never said this blog was for the faint of heart or that my opinions wouldn't be over the top.  A Super Bowl year brings out the best and the worst in people.  Until the next time let's all keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we? 

Friday, September 6, 2013

NFC West Preview: Blog # 1,000

Ladies and gentlemen, family, friends, and followers, I'm pleased to announce this is my 1,000th blog post.  Don't know where all the time went, but it's been a blast.  Getting to interact with you guys on a daily basis and share my unique perspective on the sports world has been a wonderful experience.  It's nice to know my theories and opinions are thought provoking and lead to extended dialogue on whatever topic we are discussing.  For that reason I will continue to write.  The blog is an outlet for me and gives me the opportunity to let my voice be heard. 

Big shout out to Sharron Scott and Nancy Santos for supporting the blog from the beginning and special thanks to Tom Ruggiero, Stacey Strait, Bert Bush, Robert Brown, David Hall, MAD, D York, Ryan Roberson, Jerron Craig, Jameson Croney, Robin Woeltz, Aaron Braganza, Travis Dougherty, Meagan Schwieder, Lognar Barkdale, David Sanchez, Cameron Buford, and B3TZ Sports for the daily banter sessions.  Can't wait for the next 1,000.  We'll see how far I can take this thing!

As you guys may have noticed I saved my NFC West prediction for last.  In my mind it's a foregone conclusion the eventual Super Bowl winner is coming from this division.  It's the division with the NFL's biggest rivalry and the league's 2 best teams.  The trash talking between the Bay Area and the 206 is at an all time high and the chess boxing is off the charts.  For every move the Niners make the Seahawks counter.  For every transaction the Seahawks make the Niners respond.  There's not enough room at the top for the both of them so something's gotta give.  Can't wait to see who's left standing in February.  Here's how the NFC West will shake out.

Arizona Cardinals:  4-12

The good news is Carson Palmer is a significant upgrade at quarterback and Larry Fitzgerald should benefit with a bounce back season.  The bad news is they are caught in the crossfire of an all out street fight for NFC supremacy.  The two teams at the top can't afford losses to the Cards and the team in the middle of the pack (St. Louis) is trying to make a name for themselves Benny Blanco style.  The Cards need more talented players like Patrick Peterson before they can be a factor.

St. Louis.  8-8

While everyone is talking about San Francisco and Seattle the Rams are quietly building a solid franchise that will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.  It's not their time just yet so they will have to settle for moral victories and quality losses that give them valuable experience.  The Rams won't be pushed around for long and you better bring your "A" game if you expect to win against them this season.

San Francisco 49ers:  12-4

The defending NFC champions were oh so close to hoisting the Lombardi trophy last year and will stop at nothing to accomplish that goal.  The team has a dynamic quarterback, a tremendous defense, and a strong running game.  There's no reason to believe they won't be a huge factor in determining who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year.

Seattle Seahawks:  12-4

This is the year the Seattle Seahawks win their first Super Bowl.  I would like to say I'm being completely objective in my assessment, but that would be a lie.  I am emotionally and psychologically vested in the outcome of this season.  As my good friend Tony Samaniego would say, Super Bowl or suicide! There is some logic to my prediction however.  The Hawks have a strong running game, a top 5 defense, and a quarterback that has great athleticism and a tremendous work ethic.  The Niners will do their best to spoil the parade, but this is the year of the Hawks!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Is Jason Kidd Making A Mistake?

Since retiring from the NBA Jason Kidd has been a very busy man.  In July he took the position as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.  Although the decision seemed rather impulsive and somewhat risky his latest move is even more puzzling.  In a strange turn of events Jason Kidd is buying a portion of the Brooklyn Nets.  Does anyone see a problem with this?

I know there is no rule against coaches owning a stake in teams, but isn't this a conflict of interest?  Doesn't ownership make it difficult to hold him accountable for the team's performance?  If they play poorly will he fire himself?  Will the players be intimidated by his power and influence?  I know it's only 1/6 of 1%, but it sets a tone for how the entire organization perceives him. 

In addition, Jason Kidd 's lack of experience has to be a concern going forward.  Kidd has never coached at any level and he's only 4 1/2 months removed from his playing days.  That is an awkward transition to say the least.  Most (if not all) of the players he will end up coaching played with or against him their entire career.  What kind of relationship will they have once he starts telling them what to do?

To be perfectly honest, I think Jason Kidd is making a big mistake.  It's too soon after his playing days to make such a major commitment with regards to his time and money.  Why not take a year off to see what his life is like without basketball?  If he thinks coaching is in his blood why not do a stint as an assistant coach before taking a head coaching position?  I know this unique opportunity will probably never come up again, but Jason Kidd is biting off more than he can chew.  Only time will tell if he can be successful wearing so many different hats, but the odds are against him.  Good luck J Kidd.  You were one of my favorites as a player.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

AFC South Preview

The AFC South is a division with one sure thing and a lot of question marks.  One team has a quarterback that had one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the NFL, but can he duplicate those efforts?  Two teams have great running backs, but not much else.  This division will be won by process of elimination and only one team will make the playoffs.  Here is how the AFC South will shake out.

Houston Texans:  11-5

With two games against Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and Tennessee it should be fairly easy for Houston to win 11 games.  Although Arian Foster's health is a concern the Texans offense still has some potency with Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, and DeAndre Hopkins.  Couple that with a top 5 defense and Houston has the makings of a Super Bowl contender.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  6-10

Blaine Gabbert is better than he was last year, but he's still not very good.  It doesn't help that his most explosive receiver (Justin Blackmon) is suspended for the first 4 games of the season and appears to be a head case.  Maurice Jones-Drew is healthy and in the last year of his contract so the Jags will have a punchers chance in most games.  They don't have enough talent to win consistently though.

Tennessee Titans: 7-9

I expect Chris Johnson to have a bounce back season now that the offensive line is improved and the Titans will have more of a commitment to the run.  The problem is Jake Locker is not very accurate and costly turnovers may force them to abandon their game plan trying to come from behind.  I wouldn't be surprised if Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter by week 10.

Indianapolis Colts:  9-7

The Indianapolis Colts were able to catch teams by surprise and feed off the emotion of their coach last season. This year they have the NFL's undivided attention and no one will underestimate them.  Andrew Luck is a star in the making and TY Hilton is quickly becoming the heir apparent to Reggie Wayne, but the Colts won 6 games by 4 points or less last year.  I don't think they can do that again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

AFC North Preview

The AFC North has produced the AFC representative in the Super Bowl 3 of the last 4 years.  The division is known for strong defenses and teams committed to the run and this year will be no different.  That being said the North is in transition mode.  No longer can you pencil in Pittsburgh or Baltimore as the winner.  This season I predict there will be a new division winner with Super Bowl aspirations. Here is how the NFC North will shake out.

Baltimore Ravens:  10-6

The Ravens are the defending champions, but this is a new season and the 2013 squad barely resembles the one that won the Super Bowl.  The Ravens start this year without their emotional leader Ray Lewis, future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, dependable Anquan Boldin, and starting tight end Dennis Pitta.  That puts a lot of pressure on Joe Flacco and Ray Rice to perform at a high level.  For the first time in almost two decades it will be up to the offense to make big plays, a task easier said than done.

Cleveland Browns:  7-9

Norv Turner is not a great head coach, but if his only responsibility is to run the offense he can do wonders.  Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, and Jordan Cameron will all benefit from Turner's play calling and the defense won't have to stay on the field so long.  Joe Haden is a star in the making and if Barkevious Mingo can get healthy the Browns will be better than you think.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  9-7

The Steelers still have a top 5 quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, but they have lost their identity on defense.  Although Pittsburgh is still committed to stopping the run the defense is getting old (especially the secondary) and they're not what they used to be.  For that reason they will lose close games they are accustomed to winning and might miss the playoffs for a 2nd straight season.

Cincinnati Bengals:  11-5

On paper the Bengals have enough talent to make the Super Bowl.  The problem is this team has always struggled with the pressure of expectation.  Andy Dalton, Jermaine Gresham, AJ Green, and Giovani Bernard provide a great nucleus on offense and they have a top 10 defense so there's no physical limitation in taking the next step.  If they can overcome the mental obstacles we might see them playing for the Lombardi Trophy this year.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekend Observations

Over the weekend NFL teams cut their rosters down to 53 players.  Every year there are surprises and big names that get released as well as roster moves we thought were inevitable.  Tim Tebow and Matt Leinart were no brainers, but Vince Young, Greg McElroy, and Jonathan Dwyer were unexpected.  I thought VY did enough in the game against Seattle to earn a roster spot, but he's always been inconsistent.  Apparently the Jets thought Brady Quinn's availability made McElroy expendable and the Steelers thought their young backs were ready to step up and handle full time responsibilities.  I feel bad for these guys, but no use crying over spilled milk.  What's done is done and it's time for the regular season to begin.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

US men's tennis is on life support.  This year is the first time in the history of the US open no American player has made it to the 4th round.  From the looks of it there's no relief in sight.  Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Andy Roddick are not walking out on that court.

Benson Henderson couldn't make it out of the first round against Anthony Pettis and lost his lightweight title.  Styles make fights and Pettis seems to have Henderson's number for the time being.  I won't say this is the end of the Road for Benson, but Pettis is a major road block right about now.

Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his ACL on Saturday and will miss the entire season.  Mitchell sustained the injury celebrating after a Georgia touchdown.  You can't tell players not to get excited after big plays, but the Bulldogs need to curb their enthusiasm a bit.

The University of Washington opened their new stadium with a 38-6 thrashing of 19th ranked Boise St.  They did this without the services of the best tight end in the nation, Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  Could this be the year the Huskies turn things around and make it to a BCS Bowl game?

Friday, August 30, 2013

SeahawkCentric: A Recap Of The Raiders Game

The Seattle Seahawks finished the 2013 preseason 4-0 after dismantling the Oakland Raiders 22-6 last night.  Although beating the Raiders is the equivalent of pistol whipping a blind kid the Hawks showed once again they are primed for an epic Super Bowl run.  Thankfully there were no serious injuries and the team can begin to focus on how to stop Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.  The next few days will be difficult in terms of cutting the roster down to 53 players, but it is a necessary evil going forward.   Let's hope some of those players catch on with another team and continue to fulfill their dream of being an NFL player.  Here are some observations from the game.

Bruce Irvin showed flashes of brilliance at his new position and almost looked comfortable in pass coverage.  It's evident he still has a lot to learn, but hopefully he can be an asset when he returns from his four game suspension.

Stephen Williams made his presence felt with the first team and I'm confident we'll see much more of him during the season.  I hope his ability to fend off smaller defensive backs will lead to several touchdowns.

Steven Hauschka has more distance on his field goals this year.  This is a good thing because I have him on several of my fantasy teams.

Chris Harper may have let the moment overwhelm him.  With two critical drops last night I don't think this will be his year to make the team.

Benson Mayowa can stay.  With another sack and several quarterback hurries he's proven to be a pass rusher that can add depth to the rotating defensive linemen.

Until the next time let's keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is Johnny Football Too Big To Fail?

I usually try to refrain from blogging about the same subject over and over again, but the topic of Johnny Football is so volatile, polarizing, and controversial I had to address it one more time.

After being accused of signing thousands of autographs for money and questioned by the NCAA for over 6 hours Johnny Manziel has been suspended for the first half of the Aggies game vs. Rice on Saturday.  For dramatic effect I'll repeat that unbelievable statement, JOHNNY MANZIEL HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR EXACTLY ONE HALF OF ONE GAME FOR ALLEGEDLY SIGNING HIS NAME THOUSANDS OF TIMES FOR MONEY.  Does anyone have a problem with this statement?

If you do it's because you're expecting consistency and fairness from the NCAA as it relates to punishing athletes who receive improper benefits.  Somewhere Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, and Terrelle Pryor are wondering what the hell is going on.  They were raked over the coals and crucified for infractions far less severe than the Manziel accusations and their reputations were permanently damaged.  Why does Johnny get a free pass?

If you don't have a problem with a first half suspension it's probably because you don't care what Johnny Football does off the field, so long as he performs at a high level on the field.  Wins and losses are all that matters and you are curious to see if Manziel can duplicate the season he had last year.

Without question Johnny Football is receiving preferential treatment.  Is it racially motivated?  Is it financially motivated?  Are NCAA investigators in this day and age really unable to come up with any evidence of wrong doing?

Whatever the case may be it sets a dangerous precedence going forward.  You can't arbitrarily decide who to punish for NCAA violations.  The rules should apply to everyone equally.  Johnny Football doesn't deserve to play this season, but I'm glad he is.  I'm more curious to see if Texas A&M can beat Alabama and LSU than if he profited from signing his name over 4,000 times.  Hypocritical of me to say that isn't it? 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

AFC East Preview

Typically this division is a one team race and this year won't be any different.  The New York teams are in complete disarray and the team from South Florida has more questions than answers.  That being said this is the NFL and things can change from season to season.  Ok, I don't really believe that when it comes to the AFC East.  More likely than not Bob Kraft's team will come out victorious and the other teams will suck.  Here's how I think the division will shake out.

New England:  11-5

Tom Brady lost his security blanket, the defense is suspect, and the tight end position is an issue.  Even with all those changes they are the Patriots and they always find a way to win.  With 2 games against the Bills and 2 games against the Jets it's hard to believe New England won't win this division going away.

Miami Dolphins:  8-8

Lamar Miller better be as good as they think he is or the Dolphins will have a losing season.  Mike Wallace gives them an added dimension of speed, but Miami lost Dustin Kellar in preseason and haven't found another complimentary receiver to fill his shoes.  Ryan Tannehill is a year older and has big play capability, but not enough weapons to be dangerous.

Buffalo Bills:  6-10

CJ Spiller is a good fantasy player, but in the real world the Buffalo Bills won't make a lot of noise this year.  Anytime your franchise has a WSU quarterback penciled in as the opening day starter you know things are bad.  I'm giving them 6 games, but I wouldn't be surprised if they win less.

New York Jets:  4-12

Rex Ryan's final season as the head coach of the New York Jets will be uneventful.  The Jets have no running game, traded away Revis Island, and will start either Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez in the season opener.  This is a recipe for disaster.  The New York media will have a field day with this train wreck.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Does Sean Payton Deserve A Second Chance?

"Cleavie, I gotta tell you I was a big Sean Payton before all the bounty stuff, but now I can honestly say I've completely lost respect for the guy.  I just can't condone that kind of behavior. I don't think there's any place for it in the NFL."

John O'Malley

After serving a one year suspension for his role in the bounty scandal Sean Payton has returned as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.  Although Payton paid DEARLY for his past indiscretion it is clear there are football fans out there who feel he's done permanent damage to his reputation.  Does Sean Payton deserve a second chance?

To be fair, the length of Sean Payton's suspension was never really about the alleged bounties, it was about Roger Goodell establishing his presence of authority.  When Goodell told the Saints organization to stop the program Payton was defiant and chose not to listen.  Goodell wanted to make an example of the Saints and show the rest of the league what will happen if you disobey a direct order from the commissioner.

For the record I don't think the Saints were the only team that had this kind of program in place and I don't think Saints players set out to intentionally end someone's career.  The NFL is a brotherhood and there are unwritten rules.  Certain lines you just don't cross.  Football is a violent game and there are too many opportunities to get even or retaliate for malicious plays. If you notice past and present players never spoke negatively about the situation or thought their safety was in jeopardy.  Sean Payton paid his debt to society and that's all we can ask.  Your thoughts?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Observations

It was fantasy football draft weekend and I must say I'm pretty impressed with my squads.  What a surprise right?  I can honestly say I kept my emotions in check and made my selections based on empirical data, not who my favorite players are.  I still ended up with a few, but not as many as I would have liked.  Oh well, business is business and I want my chips!  Here's how my teams turned out:

Hurt Your Feelings League:

Drew Brees
Reggie Bush
Giovanni Bernard
Tavon Austin
T.Y. Hilton
Mike Wallace
Sebastian Janikowski
Cincinnati Defense

Trash Talking League:

Peyton Manning
CJ Spiller
David Wilson
Randall Cobb
Torrey Smith
Mike Wallace
David Akers
Houston Defense

Practice League:

Peyton Manning
Shady McCoy
David Wilson
Brandon Marshall
Vincent Jackson
Jared Cook
Steven Hauschka
Washington Defense

My trash talking team is probably the best, but my practice league has some suspect managers.  That will be the easiest league to win for me.  Here are some observations over the weekend.

Vince Young and Matt Leinart have made their way back to the NFL with Green Bay and Buffalo respectively.  I guess the draft class of 2006 has staying power after all.

The New York Jets quarterback situation is starting to look like a high school science project gone wrong.  Too many elements and none of them are achieving the desired results.  It's obvious the Jets can't win with Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez at the helm.

It's been reported Dwight Howard wanted the Lakers to amnesty Kobe Bryant and fire Mike D'Antoni before he would sign an extension.  I can understand the D'Antoni part, but getting rid of the Black Mamba?  He'll pay for that one.  Kobe has a long memory and he's an evil dude.  There will be hell to pay once he finds this out.

The Seattle Sounders drew 67, 385 fans to see the debut of Clint Dempsey yesterday.  That's the 2nd largest crowd in the history of the MLS.  Wow.  Hope Clint is all that!

SeahawkCentric: A Recap Of The Packers Game

The Seattle Seahawks won their 8th straight preseason game with a grind it out victory over the Green Bay Packers 17-10.  The Seahawks didn't annihilate their opponent like they did in the first two games this year, but a win is a win.  No one got hurt and the team continues to prepare for an epic Super Bowl run.  The 3rd preseason game is generally considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season so this performance has to be critiqued with a little more objectivity than the previous contests.  Here are some of the key points I noticed during the game.

The battle for the back up running back spot has shifted in the Christine Michael direction once again.  Michael proved the San Diego game wasn't a fluke with an impressive 43 yard touchdown run and a one handed reception that resulted in a 25 yard gain.  It will be hard to keep this guy off the field once the season starts.

Allen Bradford looks like the real deal.  In my opinion he's successfully made the transition from running back to linebacker and gives the Seahawks much needed depth at the position.  Whether it's keeping guys fresh or stepping in if someone gets hurt Bradford is becoming an important piece of the puzzle.

The offense hasn't had a lot of explosive plays down the field, but don't blame Stephen Williams for that.  He's definitely done his part with a touchdown reception in every game this preseason.  Outside of Golden Tate Williams is the Seahawks biggest threat at wide receiver until Percy Harvin comes back.

The Seahawks have to become more disciplined if they want to hoist the Lombardi trophy in February.  Championship teams simply don't give up 182 yards on 14 penalties.  Good teams will make the Seahawks pay for those mistakes and they'll have no one to blame but themselves for bad losses.  The penalties are correctable, but it must be addressed now before it becomes an irritating habit.

Practice makes perfect and so far the Seahawks have been "practicing" at a high level.  That's not to say there aren't areas that need improvement (The non-existent pass rush for example), but I still haven't seen a glaring weakness that makes me think this team won't be in New York on February 2nd, 2014.  I'm still drinking the Pete Carroll Kool-Aid.  Until the next time let's keep a SeahawkCentric state of mind shall we?


Friday, August 23, 2013

Fantasy Footbal Wildcard #5: Maurice Jones-Drew

Two years ago Maurice Jones-Drew was fantasy gold for me.  Plenty of yards from scrimmage, a generous number of touchdowns, and tremendous durability.  2012 however was a complete and total disaster.  MJD was mired in a contract dispute and held out the entire preseason.  That holdout led to injuries during the regular season and his production fell off dramatically.  Will 2013 be the year MJD gets back to his old self?

I certainly think so.  MJD is finally healthy again as he enters the final year of his contract.  Ownership was unwilling to re-negotiate last year and I suspect he's going to perform as if he deserves Chris Johnson type money.  Although he says the past is behind him I think he's still bitter about the way things transpired.

In addition, the Jacksonville offense still revolves around him.  Blaine Gabbert has improved over the summer, but he's not even close to being a better than average quarterback.  Justin Blackmon will start the year with a 4 game suspension and the defense doesn't exactly strike fear in their opponents.

From a fantasy perspective MJD is a top 5 back.  After Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Shady McCoy, and Trent Richardson you'd be hard pressed to name a better running back.  Some people would like to see him catch more passes out of the backfield, but when he's healthy he runs hard between the tackles and cashes in down around the goal line.  Depending on when you draft MJD can still anchor your team.  Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is Alabama The New Tailback U?

For the record I don't like Nick Saban.  I can't stand his demeanor, his attitude, or his self righteousness.  If someone told him he wasn't the best college football coach on the planet he'd probably have them stoned to death for insubordination.  He is the epitome of someone that thinks their sh*t doesn't stink.  That being said its become painfully obvious Saban has an eye for talent when it comes to running backs.

Mark Ingram won Heisman trophy during his time at Alabama and although he plays in a pass happy offense (Drew Brees threw for 5, 177 yards last year) he's still dependable between the tackles and near the goal line.

Trent Richardson is a star in the making (if he can stay healthy) up in Cleveland.  His combination of speed and power will make him a fantasy football favorite in leagues all across the country.

Eddie Lacy has Packer fans thinking Green Bay might actually have a running game this season.   He's made the most of his opportunities in the preseason and will most likely be the team's every down back.  He's definitely built for cold weather games at Lambeau.

Miami set the standard a few years back sending Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, and Willis McGahee to the pros in succession, but Alabama isn't far behind.  Sophomore TJ Yeldon is on track to pick up where Lacy left off and if he can live up to the hype it might be time to annoint Alabama the new tailback U.  Damn you Saban!  I hope you rot in hell!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NFC South Preview

The NFC South is one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL. The division has several high profile quarterbacks and one that's in the final year of his contract.  It will be a big surprise if two teams from this division make the playoffs so the outcome of the head to head meetings will be that much more significant.  Here is how the NFC South will shake out.

Tampa Bay:  8-8

This is a make or break year for Josh Freeman.  If he's not on his game the Bucs will struggle and most likely go in a different direction (Kirk Cousins) next year.  The running game is solid with Doug Martin and the defense will be much improved with the addition of Darrelle Revis, but the Freeman to Vincent Jackson hook up needs to produce at least 12 touchdowns.  If not they won't be able to keep up with the likes of Atlanta and New Orleans.

New Orleans:  10-6

Sean Payton is back.  In his absence Drew Brees threw for 5,177 yard, but that was out of necessity more so than efficiency.  Now that the coach is back there is more cohesion within the organization and less improvising.  Drew Brees will still be productive, but he won't have to carry the team on his shoulders the whole season.  With more balance and healthy players the Saints should return to the playoffs.

Atlanta:  9-7

The Falcons were a few plays away from the Super Bowl last year, but teams don't pick up where they left off to start the new season.  Certainly their offense is explosive with Matty Ice, Julio Jones, and Roddy White, but I'm not so sure they will have the same success this year.  The team is a year older and in the past has shown inconsistency following a playoff run.  The Falcons have the talent to make the Super Bowl, but not the mental toughness. 

Carolina:  7-9

Make no mistake about it, Cam Newton is a star.  He has the skill set to frustrate defenses and score a lot of fantasy points, but he can't do it all by himself.  The backfield has been suspect with Johnathan Stewart and D'Angelo Williams and Steve Smith is on his last legs.  Until they surround him with talent he will continue to be his own worst enemy.  He'll make costly turnovers forcing plays simply because he's the only one on the team that can make big plays.  The Panthers will show improvement, but this is not their year.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fantasy Football Madness

As you all know humility is not my strong suit, which is why I love fantasy football so much. It gives me an opportunity to irritate my friends and colleagues in a constructive manner.  For 14 weeks I intend to make their lives a miserable hell while displaying my infinite knowledge of the NFL and its players.  The goal this year is to get under some one's skin to the point I need round the clock security.  Some of you may think this attitude is shallow and arrogant and I would have to agree.   Nevertheless it's a lot of fun and I wouldn't have it any other way.  On the road to multiple fantasy football championships this year there are 5 keys to my success.

1.  Forget about what happened last year.

Players change teams (Wes Welker, Greg Jennings), suffer from nagging injuries (Gronk,RGIII, Arian Foster), and father time catches up with them (Phillip Rivers, Reggie Wayne).  Start fresh and keep the past in the past.

2.  Take calculated risks.

There are players out there who can make or break your season that don't get a lot of attention. If I think someone is going to have a break out season, but the experts disagree I follow my gut.  Cam Newton, Victor Cruz, And Alfred Morris were all considered a reach in their first season and look how those picks turned out.

3.  Make the first pick count.

Although I just told you I take calculated risks that doesn't pertain to my first pick in the draft.  That pick should be the anchor of my team and barring unforeseen injury the player that propels my teams to victory.  I can't afford to waste this pick on Michael Vick or Joe Flacco if Matt Stafford or Eli Manning are still available.

4.  Pick a dominant defense early.

Instead of stockpiling a team with mediocre running backs (Mark Ingram, Jonathan Dwyer) or marginal receivers (Malcolm Floyd, Darius Heyward-Bey) I pick a defense that generates a lot of turnovers.  In a close match up a sack, safety, or pick 6 can really come in handy.

5.  Follow the trends.

Tom Brady lost his security blanket.  Andy Reid is re-inventing himself in Kansas City.  Sean Payton is back at the helm I'm New Orleans.  Larry Fitzgerald has a real quarterback in Arizona.  It's important to understand how the changing landscape of the NFL can affect the production of certain players.