Friday, January 19, 2007

A Few Quick Observations

Calling all NFL General Managers - if you can get Ricky Williams and Michael Vick on your team you can have your very own NFL-version of Cheech and Chong...I'm just not really sure if Williams is more Cheech or more Chong.

People have talked this week about how Belichick failed in his plan to take away LaDanian Tomlinson, but I think that's presumptuous. I think Belichick took away the weapon he planned on - Antonio Gates. I think Belichick thought that if the Chargers offense could beat his team relying solely on Tomlinson, then so be it. Gates had one catch in the game.

Pundits are citing the vulnerability the Patriots showed last week against the Chargers as the reason the Colts will win this week. I wonder how closely they watched Manning try to give that game away in Baltimore? Also, Baltimore has a better defense than the Chargers and the Chargers have a better defense than the Colts.

Others cite the home game - of course overlooking that the Colts blew that advantage last year, that Brady is 10-0 in domes (including 2-0 at Indy, and 2-0 in Super Bowls), that Brady has a passer rating of 105 in domes, and that only one team in the NFL gave up fewer points than the Patriots this season. Also, I keep hearing about how the Colts are 9-0 at home...I remember hearing something about the Chargers being 8-0 at Qualcomm. I think I'm missing something...

Shawn Merriman saw the Light last weekend...Matt Light. Working primarily one on one with the Chargers' performance-enhanced pass rusher Light held Merriman to two tackles and one sack for no yards lost. A week after everyone was saying that there was no way Light could contain Merriman, now they're talking about the same with Dwight Freeney who was held without a sack by Light in the regular season meeting.

This is going to be a good weekend for football and I expect two close games in which any of the four teams could win.

Barry Bonds apologists - give it up already.

So, here's my theory on the JD Drew signing...I think the Red Sox came to a preliminary agreement with Drew, a Scott Boras client, in order to foster some goodwill with Boras and get Matsuzaka in the fold knowing that they had an out because of Drew's medical issues. I think it's possible Drew will be in a Sox cap come spring training, but not at anything near the price previously agreed to.

I am so tired of the Clemens thing. He will not have a 2.50 ERA pitching in the American League and the Sox already are shaping up to have some serious competition for the starting rotation. They don't need another geriatric in there. Heading into spring training these are the pitchers looking for a spot -

Schilling - will start
Papelbon - will start
Beckett - will start
Matsuzaka - will start
Wakefield - likely to start

Fighting for spot as a swingman or starter or trade bait -


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Weigh In and poor sportsmanship...

Well, down to 185.5 in the contest - 7.5 pounds overall. And on to the playoffs...

It was one hell of a weekend - and the closest series of contests I can recall. And before I really get into it, let me say that none of the teams looked particularly sharp, but boy was it competitive.

Colts 15, Ravens 6

Neither team looked good on offense and eventually the Ravens just looked tired on defense when they needed to come up with the big stop. On the other hand, one has to wonder A) Where Peyton Manning has been for the playoffs and B) Where their run defense was during the season, because the return of one player should not have an impact on how the rest of the team tackles.

Saints 27, Eagles 24

The Cinderella story came to an end in Philadelphia pretty much when Deuce McAllister dragged the entire Eagles defense into the endzone from five yards out. Sure, the Eagles still had a chance - but when one player just wants it more than the 11 he's dragging...well that's just a statement.
McCallister against Urlacher is going to be compelling football next week.

Bears 27, Seahawks 24

There were times that Seattle's offensive play calling puzzled me, but not as much, when the game was on the line, taking out Grant Wistrom on a third and long in overtime when they needed a pass rush.

And the controversial one...

Patriots 24, Chargers 21

The Patriots did not play well, and they won this game. They were out rushed almost 3 to 1, the Pats had 18 first downs to San Diego's 21, overall New England garnered 25 fewer total yards and lost the time of possession battle. That being said, I'm hearing a lot about how the Chargers gave the game away - and they did make mistakes at crucial moments, however, Roosevelt Colvin's interception of Philip Rivers was not like the interceptions Brady tossed into the chests of the Chargers defenders. Colvin made a highlight reel play to force a turnover. Vrabel strip sacked Philip Rivers. Shawn Merriman was supposed to terrorize Brady all day - he got to him once.
All that said, I do agree with the following from Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, "Talk about dumb, out-of-control teams. The Chargers lost to the Patriots mainly because New England was more professional, i.e., they didn't play idiot ball, as San Diego did. I don't need to go into the litany of stoopids the Chargers were guilty of, the "attitude" penalties, head butts, bumps, grinds, shoves ... the dropped balls, the fumbles, all of which cost dearly. Simply unprofessional, which was kind of surprising for a team at this level.
"A big thing was made out of some Patriots imitating Shawne Merriman's Lights Out sack dance after the game. Merriman ran down Brady for a zero-yards pursuit sack in the fourth quarter, but aside from that, he was practically invisible. Hey, pal, if you're gonna turn a spotlight on yourself, be ready for its heat as well as its light."
Tomlinson, who by all accounts is one of the classiest players in the league has managed to come off as a petty, and sore loser, but he got really bone-headed yesterday when he made the following comment, "and what message do you want to send our kids?"
So - Tomlinson would condone an 8 year old kid in a peewee game doing a sack dance? Sorry, but that's not really cool. Not to mention that a choreographed sack dance isn't a spontaneous celebration of a big play, it is meant to set a player apart and, no matter what anyone says, is taunting the other team. This doesn't take into account Tomlinson's use of setting an example for the kids as his defense for a teammate who was caught using steroids (and for the Merriman defenders, look up what he was caught using - the likelihood of that substance tainting a supplement that the chances of it tainting the supplement are virtually nil). Great example for the kids there, huh?
Do I condone the Patriots actions? No. But do I have a problem with someone pointing out how classy he is while defending a teammate's dance and refusing to shake hands after a game? Yes. You're football players, not Bob Fosse. You want to dance and not get mocked? Try out for the Met.