Friday, October 26, 2007


Living in the greater Washington, DC area I am hearing a lot about how this weekend is going to be telling for the Patriots. I remember a couple of weeks ago a lot of people talked about how the Cowboys were their first real test. The Dallas D was not up to the task.

All the people saying this is going to be a tough game for the Patriots point to the Redskins 5th ranked defense as to why. Sports writer Kevin Blackistone said Washington is, "the best defense they will be facing all year."

What none of these people are doing is looking at who Washington has done this against -

Miami (0-7) - 15th in yardage (333.1 ypg), 12th in scoring (22.3 ppg)

Philadelphia (2-4) - 8th in yardage (349.3 ypg), 21st in scoring (19.3 ppg)

NY Giants (5-2) - 9th in yardage (347.7 ypg), T-6th in scoring (26.7 ppg), (beat Washington 24-17)

Detroit (4-2) - 16th in yardage (328.5 ypg), 10th in scoring (23.3. ppg)

Green Bay (5-1) - 11th in yardage (339.3 ypg), 9th in scoring (23.7 ppg) (beat Washington 17-14)

Arizona (3-4) - 12th in yardage (337.0 ypg), T-14th in scoring (21.0 ppg)

Currently the Patriots are first in both categories with 432.9 ypg and 39.9 ppg. The 'Skins haven't faced a team like this yet. They haven't face receivers, an O-line, or a quarterback playing on this level yet.

The only winning team that the 'Skins managed to beat? Detroit, whom I still don't buy as legit. The two teams that beat them still came within a score of their average ppg. The teams they have beat each have major problems - the Eagles barely have a passing game, Miami barely has wideouts and is pitiful on defense, not to mention issues at quarterback. And of course Arizona has its own images at quarterback.

The Patriots have none of those issues.

Let the games begin.

Don't go into stand-up

Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder either thinks he was being funny, or he's just a moron.

During the week preceding the 'Phins game in London, Crowder claimed that he had no idea the people in London spoke English and then had the following to say to the Palm Beach Post -

“I couldn’t find London on a map if they didn’t have the names of the countries,” Crowder said. “I swear to God. I don’t know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that.
“I know (Washington Redskins linebacker) London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That’s the closest thing I know to London. He’s black, so I’m sure he’s not from London. I’m sure that’s a coincidental name.”

If he was purposely being obtuse because he thought it would be funny...well, then he's still a moron.

In high school in Georgia, Crowder carried a 3.5 grade point average and was a member of the National Honor Society with that GPA. Of course he carried that GPA in a state recently ranked 41st out of 50 in educational rankings. Crowder is not listed for any academic excellence for his time at Florida, a school not exactly known for its academics.

He is, however, listed for several mind-bogglingly stupid run-ins with the law while in college - assault, fighting with the police, vandalism.

If this is willful ignorance, or a joke, then Crowder should be admonished for perpetuating a damaging stereotype.

If he was being serious, then his high school needs to be taken to task for padding his grades.

Other than a high Wonderlic (which tests football intelligence), this guy hasn't demonstrated two brain-cells firing at the same time since college. And considering what he has demonstrated since high school, one has to wonder about the quality of education he received there.

Joke or not, right now there are a lot of people who should be embarrassed - Crowder being the first and foremost among them. His father, a former 'Phins player and former assistant coach at Penn State, every teacher he has ever had, and even his mother.

If he's doing it because he feels that being smart or demonstrating knowledge diminishes him in the eyes of the kids he hung with in Atlanta, then that's just sad.


The Schill is gone, baby...

My Life With the Thrill Schill Cult...

We have very likely witnessed Curt Schilling pitching his last game as a member of the Red Sox.

Sure, we could see him again in this series, but with the way things are going, I think it's unlikely. If Matsuzaka wins tomorrow, I wouldn't be surprised to see Beckett going in game four in order to shut the door.

If it was Schilling's last game, it was a four year run for the Sox that rivals that of any Boston home-grown product in recent history (for those who forgot, Schilling did come up through the Red Sox minor league system). The man is 6-1 with one no decision in the post-season for the Red Sox with the only loss coming against the Yankees in his first start of the bloody-sock series.

He has been clutch in the post season for Boston, more so than any Sox ace in recent memory (although Josh Beckett is pretty much right there with him after this post season). He sacrificed his body for the team, at the time, possibly his career for a ring, in order to bring the World Series trophy to Boston for the first time in 86 years.

He stuck it to the Yankees in a bloody sock and on a bad ankle.

The 40-year old Schilling will always be remembered fondly in Boston for being instrumental in breaking the World Series drought for the Hub of the Universe and Red Sox Nation. But it is time to cut ties. Schilling more often than not looked old during the regular season, and the Sox have young pitchers waiting in the wings like Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

It is time to move on.

Thank you, Curt. You've taken us on a helluva ride.

Georgia on my mind...

The Georgia State Supreme Court this morning ordered Genarlow Wilson freed, upholding a ruling by a Monroe County judge's finding that the 10-year sentence constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." In the 4-3 ruling, the court released the opinion that the intention of the law was misapplied in the Wilson case which was to prosecute those who preyed on children, not to moderate sexual activity between consenting minors.

It's about time they got that right.

Capital punishment...

Living in the greater DC area I have heard sports talk show hosts talk about how tough the Redskins defense is. At least two defenders have indirectly said they would win because the Patriots have yet to face anyone like them. My ten cents? I have no doubt the Patriots will win. My only question is whether or not DC can keep it close. I give their defense a shot at holding the Patriots below 30. However, I don't think that the 'Skins have enough offense to seal the deal against a team like the Pats.

The 'Skins are one of only two teams in the league that has not a single touchdown among the receiver corps. That's not going to get it done.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


The first game of the World Series decisively went the way of the Red Sox in a 13-1 thrashing of the hottest team in baseball.

Terry Francona, evidently is given to understatement. "I thought the whole night we did a good job taking what [they] gave us, laying off pitches out of the zone," said the Boston manager. A good job? Every Boston starter with the exception of Mike Lowell had at least one RBI, and Lowell still doubled, walked twice and scored a run. Every Boston starter with the exception of Jacoby Ellsbury had a hit, and he still had a run scored and a RBI.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle in his post game comments said that the Rockies are, "a no excuse ball club." Were I a fan of the C-Rocks, I would be thinking this morning that there was no excuse for that performance last night.

From the first inning until the Rockies pitching put up donuts from the sixth inning on, Colorado held the Sox scoreless in only the third inning and of the innings in which the Sox scored, only the second wasn't a multi-run inning.

A lot has been written recently about how good the Rockies pitching was this year. Several pundits said that the Rockies led the National League in ERA. As a matter of fact, ESPN's Jason Stark gives the Rockies an advantage both at the plate and in the rotation for the series.

From what I have been able to find, they were eighth out of 16 National League clubs in ERA with a 4.32 team ERA. Their hitters, however, led the NL with a .280 batting average in what is generally considered the MLB JV.

The Sox, on the other hand, led the AL with a 3.87 team ERA, and were fifth in the AL with a .279 batting average. Overall, the Red Sox had the second best pitching in the majors.

Stark even pointed out that the Rockies had more players in their lineup with more than 80 RBI's than the Sox. He didn't, however, point out that the Sox were fourth in the majors in RBI production with 829. The Rockies were fifth with 823...once again, playing in the inferior NL.

With the possibility of their mojo having been broken, even shattered last night, the Rockies might have a tough uphill fight to bring the first World Series trophy back to Colorado. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it's looking like the Red Sox are going to have the same sort of series against the Rockies they had against the Cardinals.

Sorry, Mr. Helton, maybe if the trade had worked out...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The sporting gods love irony....

Consider the following in the NFL -

The following head coaches, former offensive coordinators, were hired for their offensive acumen. These men were supposed to bring the "O" to teams that already had the defense in place -

Brian Billick, Ravens - offensive coordinator of the record setting Minnesota offense that featured Chris Carter and Randy Moss at wide receiver. Currently the 24th overall offense and head coach of team that at no time under his tenure was a top 16 offense.

Scott Linehan, Rams - Former offensive coordinator of the Vikings and Dolphins is head coach of the dead last offense in the league right now.

John Gruden, Buccaneers - The former Eagles offensive coordinator is presiding over a team that's 26th overall.

Sean Payton, Saints - This former Giants offensive coordinator currently has the 27th ranked offense.

Mike Shanahan, Broncos - Shanahan was an offensive coordinator many times over between college and the pros including previous stints with Denver and Oakland. Right now his offense is ranked 25th.

Andy Reid, Eagles - The former Green Bay offensive coordinator now presides over the 21st ranked offense.

Brad Childress, Vikings - The former Eagles coordinator was the hot commodity during the off-season coaching carousel before the 2006 season. Now there are whispers that he's already on his way out in Minnesota as his team struggles along with the 22nd ranked offense.

On the other side of the coin are former defensive coordinators Eric Mangini, Marvin Lewis, Wade Phillips, and Romeo Crennel whose teams are all ranked 20th or worse in overall defense.

Mangini, Jets - Those calling for the ouster of quarterback Chad Pennington might want to take a closer look at the Jets defense, currently ranked 28th overall.

Lewis, Bengals - The architect of the championship defense in Baltimore currently presides over the second worst defense in the league. Only the Dolphins are statistically worse.

Phillips, Cowboys - The man calling the plays on the sidelines in San Diego last year is now coaching a team with the 21st defense. Why again are so many people calling this the third best team in the league right now?

Crennel, Browns - The beleaguered Crennel has a legitimate chance of bringing the long-suffering Browns to the post-season in spite of a defense that currently ranks 30th due to a soft schedule. However, if the team fails to straighten out some the defensive failings between now and then, it's going to be one and done in the playoffs.

As for why I wrote this? The way the Patriots are going this season, Josh McDaniels is going to be the hot coaching commodity come the off-season. Of course general managers will ignore what they ignored with Brian Billick - the personnel. Does this make McDaniel a bad coach with good players?

Of course not.

However, in their quest to find their man, GM's make more out of results on the field in regards to a coach's hand in player performance in order to justify their hire. Sometimes the coach just has shinier toys to play with where they were.

Monday, October 22, 2007


The early information that's trickling out paints Cleveland's Paul Byrd as a fraud.

The self-proclaimed good Christian who says he would never cheat, said he was on a hormone treatment regimen that he claimed MLB and his team were aware of. He has been thrown under the bus by the Indians and MLB. The Indians who disavowed knowledge of his treatment regimen, and MLB who said he never had an exemption to receive hormone treatment with HGh. As a matter of fact, Indians GM Mark Shapiro said that his contact with Byrd concerning this issue began on Friday.

To make matters worse, Byrd obtained his prescription not from a medical doctor, but from a Florida dentist who was disbarred for fraud and incompetence.

Byrd reportedly spent $25,000.00 out of pocket for what he called a legitimate treatment for a pituitary problem. Personally, I'm a little surprised that the player's union has that bad a health insurance plan. Twenty-five grand out of pocket for a legit prescription? Yikes. That's one shitty co-pay he's got there.

Then of course there's the issue of the doctor who isn't a medical doctor and the fact that Byrd is evasive about when the problem was identified.

I would say, at this point, there is an outside chance he's telling the truth. Unfortunately, too much of what's coming out makes no sense - the doctor, the money, the source of the HGh, the evasiveness as to when it was determined he needed the treatment - in regards to a legitimate reason for taking the hormone.

Yankees braintrust - an oxymoron if ever there was one...

From 1977, Joe Torre's first year as a manager, until 1995 he had only five winning seasons. He was largely a mediocre manager until he was given the biggest freakin' payrolls in the history of American sport.

Since 1996 Torre has managed the Yankees to twelve straight playoff appearances and four World Series titles.

I am of the school that just about anybody could have success managing a line-up of all-stars either drafted or bought at every position. However, the last two seasons Joe Torre might have been the best manager in baseball.

As a Red Sox fan it pains me to say it, but given the Yankees pitching staff for the last two seasons, the fact that he got these yahoos to the playoffs both seasons is nothing short of amazing.

And as much as the Yankees are trying to make it appear that Torre turned them down, they made him an offer he had to refuse. He was fired. Twelve straight seasons in the post-season dance, and the man gets fired.

People that think that manager of the Yankees is the best job in major league sports hasn't taken a close look at the ownership they would have to answer to.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


On a night when Julio Lugo did everything he could to give the game away defensively, and JD Drew reverted for the first seven innings to being, well, JD Drew, Boston's rookies came up big. The AL East champions saw the rookie tandem from the far East, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, combine for seven innings and two earned runs.

Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury combined for three of Boston's eleven runs, with Pedroia knocking in five. In the seventh Ellsbury made a play on a ball hit to the triangle in center that normal mortals wouldn't have been able to run down, and then one helluva diving catch for the first out of the ninth. Way for the rooks to stand up and be counted.

Realistically, though, this game may well have turned on the call of a certain third base coach that might find himself collecting unemployment in Cleveland this winter.

Kenny Lofton likely would have scored from second on the hit to left in the top of the seventh inning, tying the game up. There's no telling how that might have changed the dynamic of the late innings when the Sox came to bat. That's the kind of mistake that gets coaches fired.

Instead of a tie game, the wheels fell off in the eighth as the Indians imploded.


For those keeping track - through seven games Tom Brady has 27 touchdowns. The new adjustment for the pace he's on? 61 for the season.

He's gotta slow down, right?

I've heard that Roger Goodell

Wants to bring professional football to South Florida and is considering Miami for an expansion franchise. The NFL figures there's a usable stadium, they just need a team.

42-7 by the half? That's just brutal.

Everything old is new again...

Is it just me, or did the last two Sundays of NFL action feel like 2002. The following quarterbacks either started, or replaced ineffective starters during those two days - Sage Rosenfels, Kurt Warner, Jeff Garcia, Vinny Testaverde, Kerry Collins, Tim Ratay and Damon Huard. Feel like yesterday, anyone?

Getting defensive...

When your team jumps out to a 42-7 lead by half-time, normally there's not a whole helluva lot to complain about...except in this case.

After half-time it was like the Patriots defense was thinking about what movie they were going to rent when they got home on Sunday night. After largely shutting down Miami through the first two quarters, the D spent much of the third and fourth quarters on their heels, getting ripped up by bottom of the roster running backs. It resulted in 14 points given up to a struggling Miami offense.

It's the second straight week that the Pats defense struggled against the run.

Bill Belichick is going to go to town on his defense this week. They deserve it. Up 49-14, these guys should have been playing with reckless abandon. Instead, they were just playing like wrecks.

Hard hits

Last night the Sox absolutely pasted the Indians 12-2. The offense? JD Drew knocked in five runs on a night when Manny and Big Papi struggled a little at the plate. Drew! In some quarters of Red Sox Nation that might be considered the fourth sign of the impending Apocalypse. Of course none of those people care because the Sox are one game closer to the World Series.

The Indians have now gone from up 3-1, to being on the brink. Yes the teams are tied 3-3, but all the pressure is on the Tribe now. After winning three straight by a combined score of 24-11, they have dropped two straight potential clinchers by a combined 19-3.

Overall, the Indians are 12 for 64 (.188) in those two games. They were 33 of 112 (.295) in their three wins. Somebody is wilting as the heat is getting turned up.

On top of all that, the Indians are about to get slammed with a major locker-room distraction.

Now I have to wonder about the Indians' chances.

Tonight is gonna be fun.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer...

A little piece of living football history was lost yesterday.

Former Green Bay Packer wide receiver Max McGee fell off the roof of his house while prepping it for the Minnesota winter. According to reports, efforts to revive McGee by Police who reported to the scene of the accident at 5:20 PM were unsuccessful.

McGee was the unlikely hero of Super Bowl I. Hung-over from the night before (he didn't think he was going to see the field), McGee caught the first touchdown in Super Bowl history after entering the game for Packers receiver Boyd Dowler who left the game with a shoulder injury. He went on to rack up 47 more yards in the big game (138), than he had for the entire 1967 season (91).

Rest well, big guy.

It's elementary, Watson...

The pundits are calling today's Patriots game a cake-walk, a gimme. They're already pencilling in the W. Do I think they're going to win? Yes. Do I think it's going to be easy? When's the last time that the Pats had an easy game in Miami?

The former Joe Robbie Stadium has been a personal house of horrors for Tom Brady (the team is 4-14 in its last 18 visits to Miami and Brady is 2-4).

Granted, Brady has not had the weapons at receiver he has this season. However, they're going into this game without Sammy Morris or Ben Watson and even with Laurence Maroney there's a fair chance that he will at least be limited due to the groin injury. This might be Kyle Eckel's chance to show the NFL he belongs. This is also going to be an opportunity for Marcellus Rivers to show the rest of the NFL that they made a mistake by letting him languish in the free-agent market.

It's supposed to be a hot and humid one in Miami today - a good day for sprinters, a good day for wide-outs.

It should be interesting.