Sunday, October 31, 2010

Michael Beasley Might Have Been A Bargain

Wolves fans will get behind this sort of play:

Seriously, This is Considered Professional Insight in The NFL

I don't mean to pick on Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, but when he keeps saying incredibly stupid shit, it's hard not to pick on him.  And this?  THIS IS STUPID.

I quote (oops, I forgot that football blogs use the royal "We"):.  Here's Florio demonstrating that Royal We, to obscure the sheer insanity of his point:

With the Cowboys now at 1-5 and absent quarterback Tony Romo for six-to-eight weeks and possibly longer, conventional wisdom (and unconventional wisdom, and possibly conventional unwisdom) points to ongoing third-world performances from America's Team.

We're not sure we're ready to jump to that conclusion.  With the expectations gone, the pressure has evaporated.  The Cowboys can now go play football and not worry about the fact that they're supposed to be really good.

Let's assume a 9-7 is the minimum record needed to vie for the playoffs in the lackluster but parity-ridden NFC.  That means the Cowboys have to go 8-2 over their last 10 games, with Jon Kitna at the helm.  Does that not strike everyone as pure crazy pants talking?

But apparently, Mike Florio thinks, the question isn't about talent, but pressure on the QB, regardless of who the QB actually is!  The Cowboys can kick back and relax, knowing that the expectations are reduced because of who their QB is, and therefore, they will play much better than they did when they had a problematic, but talented QB.  This Dallas team will be better, under KITNA!  That would be hilariously stupid commentary, and I'd laugh at it, if this dude weren't getting time on NBC on Sundays to explain in his expert tone of voice about what's going on in the NFL.  

And lest anyone think I'm taking a quote out of context, it should be noted that the headline of the article I quote above was, "Don't count out the Cowboys just yet."

Let's be clear--count the Cowboys out.  And I'd suggest that you can completely disregard anyone who suggests otherwise.  

Mike Florio Knows How to Fix the NFL Labor Issue

Says Mike:  "So let's have some collective bargaining, guys.  Get together, get serious, get down to business, and get it done."

There you go, intractable parties, who are fighting over nothing less than a Billion Dollars per year!  Some schmuck on NBC thinks you should "get serious..and get it done."

If Mike Florio doesn't inspire you to rethink your positions, who will?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Old School Thursday: Dream Warriors

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Timberwolves Home Opener: Thoughts and Feelings

Yeah, sure there's a World Series Game 1.  One whose attention to I advocated for vociferously.  But how often do you get to watch two NBA teams play that combined for forty wins the previous year?

I don't care much about the Kings, except to mention it should be mentioned that they were without Tyreke Evans for this game (serving a one-game suspension for driving 120-130 mph in the off-season).  The Timberwolves were (and will continue to be) without the services of Martell Webster, thanks to his stupid back. Oh, and hey, let's all congratulate the Kings for winning their first game in October in seven years.  OK, Kings, congrats, now go away.

Quick take on the Wolves overall--considering all the new parts, they looked pretty good.  Losing to the likes of the Kings still hurts, but there's a lot of promise here.  Still a little spazzy on defense, often overrunning their run outs, or biting too hard on fakes.  Also led to some scrums on rebounds that didn't need to happen.  Generally pushed the ball well, but again--sometimes just a bit out of control, or taking jump shots way too early in the shot clock, when a great shot was maybe only a pass away.  Almost all the big men missed some gimmies down near the basket, including (uncharacteristically, Kevin Love, or KLOVE, who is apparently now blogging, and giving Bill Simmons the tinest bit of shit.)  

Real quick--Hey GQ?  How about you make each individual post linkable?  You know, LIKE A BLOG DOES.

Let's talk about some of these new Wolves a bit.

Luke Ridnour--started hot, continued shooting when he wasn't particularly hot and then got hot again at the end, and maybe played a little spazzy at times when I was expecting him to slow the game down a bit.  I'm a little suspicious of his official 3 turnovers, because it seemed like he had more than that.  But on the whole, you can't complain too much about one of your veteran acquisitions when he steps up in the first game of the season, and pumps in 20 efficient (8-13 FG, 2-2 FT) points, dishes six assists, and collects five boards.  That's solid, to say the least.

Michael Beasley--wasn't anywhere near as efficient (6-16) as Ridnour, but my goodness is that one athletic cat.  17 points, 7 boards--I do expect Beasley to continue to grow into his role on this team, and while his numbers may only improve marginally from that baseline stat, I have a hard time imagining that he'll shoot so low a percentage in future games.  He wasn't particularly wild shooting, as his rep suggests (1-1 3-PT) but he had some bad luck down near the basket.  A lot of those shots go in on other nights.  But as Wes Johnson matures (quickly!  see below!) and Martel Webster comes back, there will be fewer occasions for Beasley to necessarily be the lead dog in minutes (over 34 in this game).  That said, I think all of the maturity talk with Beasley was way overdone.  He was the Heat's second best player last year behind Dwayne Wade, which is exactly where you'd expect him to be.  He smoked some dope, he had some emotional health issues that he went and took care of--so basically, he's like every other 21 year old sudden millionaire in the world.  That's right--maybe you forgot--Beasley is 21 years old, still.

Nikola Pekovic didn't play even twelve minutes, but he was big and intimidating and went 3-3.  He showed some decent feet in the paint, and I still think he'll be one of those guys Wolves fans are talking about by the end of the year.  He'll take some time adjusting to what is and isn't a foul in the NBA (which, hell, is often a mystery to those of us who were born in this country) but he'll get there.  And when he does, he'll probably start stealing minutes from...

Darko Milicic.  He's a bit of conundrum.  There are times his hook shot looks like it couldn't possibly miss, and there are times it looks like he couldn't hit the broad side of the barn.  He's below 60% free throw shooting for his career, but he hit both of his tonight, but they weren't pretty, and on and on.  He's quick down the floor (no really, he is now), and throws the occasional dime to the wide open guy in the paint, but in the paint on defense, he sometimes looks slow, but then again, he blocked four shots tonight, and on and on.  There's very little doubt in my mind though, that he'll be the most consistent center (or part of a consistent center tandem) since the Wolves made Rasho Nesterovic famous and rich.  That's not saying much, but it says more about the Wolves history of starting centers than it does about Darko or Pekovic.

Anthony Tolliver.  Milicic wasn't the only Wolf with four blocked shots.  Creighton product Tolliver did as well.  I was surprised when he made the roster, despite the fact that he'd played well all pre-season.  He's just got an odd skill-set.  He's long (freakishly long arms, even), tall, and plays decent-to- very good help defense, but also likes to can 3's  (2-3 from there tonight).  I was about to say he may earn himself more playing time, but that seems kind of unlikely, as he was on the floor for 29 minutes (though he did generate a +6 while he was out there, so maybe?)

Wes Johnson--now here's a dude that is already pushing for more time.  He only played 18 minutes.  The Timberwolves went +14 with him on the court (team high).  He scored 13 points pretty efficiently, going 5-10 from all over the field (though he did miss his two attempted 3-pointers), and hitting 3-4 from the stripe.  He played some aggressive defense (which, combined with his rookie status, earned four fouls, and may have held down his time a bit).  But when you've got a guy who can do this (link in case the embed below is taken down) you go ahead and play him until he fouls out.  That's what I say, at least.  Remember when people were saying that he was a boring NBA pick?  One game in, and that's already blown up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Eight

Approaching mid-season, it is apparent that parity has leveled the NFL standings. But are they rising to a higher plateau, or merely sinking down to a common valley?

Sloppy though it is, that the defending Superbowl champs were beat down by the Browns (starting a rookie QB) epitomizes the zephyr-blown inconsistency of the 2010 season. Rising to the top? Your humble scribe ran the table, dear friends, and now has a view of the lead. If I can do it, dear friends, then so can you!

But I didn't nail all the bonus questions -- the Pits/Fins & Bucs/Rams had the closest games and Bucs/Rams combined for 18 penalties and 137 yards. The bonus question wasn't precisely worded, so I've given credit to those who answered Denver/Oakland, with 15 penalties and an embarrassing 158 yards.

Buffaloaf is the last winless team, which was +2 for Jess, Adw, Big BM and Josh.

1. Jess: 20 points (+2)
2. Ryan: 19 points (+1)
Adw: 19 points (+11)
3. Big BM: 18 points (+10)
3. MMMan: 15 points
4. Leftnut: 14 points
5. Barnyard: 8 points
6. Miwacar: 7 points (+1)
Josh: 7 points (+5)

Week Eight
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list is once again light: (+3)
Buffaloaf, Jaguars

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Titans: (+/-2) Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

Bonus Questions +2
6. Which game will have the greatest point differential?
7. Which game will be have the lowest combined score?

special thanks to our sponsor:

IDYFT Cup Update

1. Native Ameriskins: +2
2. Chicago Bears: +1
3. Green Bay Packers: 0
MN Vikings: 0
4. Detroit: -3

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sports Illustrated Ain't Being Honest With Their NBA Previews, pt 1

Sports Illustrated's NBA Preview is a fun read, and exciting as it also includes some NCAA Basketball preview shit, which is awesome.  For "fun" they include a Best Case and Worst Case Scenario for each NBA team.  Some best cases are pretty spot-on, and make sense, and all that good stuff.  Others seem less "best case" and more "what a delusional fan believes".  It leaves a reader wondering if they are trying to be funny, or what.

Case #1:  Denver Nuggets

"Carmelo Anthony wakes one morning in early winter, sees the snow-capped Rockies set against a clear blue sky and decides to sign a long-term deal.  Then he carries the Nuggets back to the conference finals."

Everyone in the NBA knows that this is simply not happening.  Anthony might lead the Nuggets to a playoff berth, but there is no way in hell he's signing a long term deal.  That horse ambled out of the wide-open barn door a couple of years ago.  And now that LeBron, Wade and Bosh have made it hip to not get all hung up being "The Guy", but instead assembling a kick-ass team, the very unlikely scenario of Carmelo staying in Denver became impossible to imagine.  Except by SI writers.  

When crafting best case Scenarios, SI, try to keep them in the realm of reality.  No one anywhere thinks that Carmelo is going to re-up with the Nuggets, beautiful skyline (overrated) or no.

Not the only overreach SI commits in their preview.  I'll hit others later.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Who's Ready for the Least Watched World Series in Decades?

Giants vs. Rangers!

Don't get me wrong--I fully expect an entertaining World Series, with two teams that dominated their respective League Championships, and who match up in very interesting ways.  But there's an adage, an old, tired one, about how Americans like to root for an underdog (as opposed to say, Jamaicans, who much prefer to root for overwhelming favorites).  But history shows that if two underdogs meet each other, Americans don't know who to root for, and don't really care.  I'm sure Fox is pulling their metaphorical hair out about the lack of East Coast teams.  

But I encourage you, dear reader, to pay attention to this World Series from the jump.  Because, as I said, it should be a great match-up starting with Game 1, and presumed starters Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee--both Cy Young winners in 2008 (Lincecum added another in 2009).  Both are on top of their games, and have pretty bad-ass hitters to face in this Series.  

Don't be dismayed, casual baseball fans--both of these teams proved themselves--there was no Game 7 miracle to get here.  The Rangers outscored the Yankees by a 2:1 ratio.  The Phillies 3-4-5 hitters were totally silenced against the Giants pitching.  Hell, both the Yankees and the Phillies enjoyed some questionable umpire calls to make their series even remotely close.  

This should be a great World Series.  Enjoy it!

Oh, and if you are looking for a decisive factor in deciding what team to root for--let me offer two--Josh Hamilton is an amazingly talented, heavy hitting Center Fielder for the Rangers.  But he's also a huge douche:  "My wife, Kate, when I was in the middle of my addiction, she prayed about it and she knew in her heart that the Lord was going to get me back into baseball, but it wouldn't be about baseball, it would be about sharing."

Also, George Bush (43) is rooting for the Rangers.  That's enough for me to root for the Giants, how about you?

Lionel Richie is the Best Goalie Ever

I bet if you Google "Commodores Ladies Soccer", you get Vanderbilt websites. That's proof that the internet is broken. (Doff of the cap to Kathy K.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ProFootballTalk Doesn't Like the NFLPA Looking After Union Members

To quote Mike Florio on the NFLPA's petition (which again, is nothing more than asking that fans support the status quo):  "Frankly, we don't recommend that anyone sign it in its current form, given that it is unfairly slanted toward the NFLPA's perspective.  If/when the league or the union unveil a petition aimed not at pressuring one side or the other but at both sides to get a fair deal done."

Who's this "we", Kemosabe?

Let's be clear on how Mike Florio thinks.  The Owners are trying to take One Billion Dollars out of the salary pool for players.  The players are against this (understandable).  The players ask that fans support the men who are risking (literally) life and limb.  Florio calls that "unfairly slanted."  Florio is waiting for a time in which both sides agree to a petition that everyone can sign.  Because that's how struggles between labor and ownership work.  

Is it still considered impolite to call something "retarded?"  Because that's fucking retarded.  If they have a petition that both sides agree to, than they have, by definition, an agreement.  No petition needed.  

"Hey, I'm here from Sharks Unlimited, and my friend here is from Chum Unlimited, and we have a petition we'd like you to sign stating that you like Oceans."  

Um, Mike Florio, the NFLPA isn't CNN.  They are allowed to be slanted in their perspective, and it isn't "unfair" to do so.  The NFLPA is "unfairly slanted" towards worker's rights in the same way that the AFL-CIO is.  I don't understand why Mike Florio thinks that it is the Union's job to help explain to fans why the Owners are right to take a billion dollars away from the workers.   That's the Owner's job.  And they can't do it, because they are a bunch of assholes sitting on their asses, collecting checks, wincing at big hits on the TV, because they know every big hit that goes out on the TV means another week they can't claim that the violence of the sport is overstated.

So, to be clear, in Mike Florio's mind--asking that the NFL go back to the agreement that the league blossomed under in a ridiculous way, way back in 2008 and 2009, is akin to supporting the players in a ridiculously unfair way. I look upon those halcyon years of last year and the year before, and think, "that sounds good to me."  Sign that petition.  Seriously.  SIGN THAT PETITION.

Old School Thursday: Eyedea and DJ Abilities

Not truly old school, but it certainly has that vibe.  RIP, Eyedea.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Seven

I had a feeling about the Patriots over the Ravens, but I talked myself out of it. Just like everyone else here except for Leftnut, who is excelling at the longshot. The lead is tied, with other competitors breathing down their necks. At the one-third mark, it's still anyone's ballgame.

1. Ryan: 18 pts (+2)
Jess: 18 pts (+5)
2. MuMuMan: 15 pts
3. Leftnut: 14 pts (+8)
4. Greg A: 10 pts (+1)
5. Adw: 8 pts
Barnyard: 8 pts (+1)
Big BM: 8 pts
6. Miwacar: 6 pts
7. Josh: 2 pts (+2)

Week Seven
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list: (+3)
Buffalo, Browns

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Titans: (+/-2) Pedophilia He-Gals at Tennessee Titans

Bonus Questions +2
6. Which game will be the closest?
7. Which game will have the most combined penalties?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Conduct Detrimental to the League

With the stunning alacrity that only a complete abdication to hypocrisy can make possible, the NFL has announced that those "devastating hits" which they have used in every advertisement since the beginning of the league are now punishable by suspension.

I'm pretty sure everyone in the sports world will offer their own take on why this is bullshit. They might hit the angle of multi-million dollar athletes, they might attack the league's Johnny-come-lately approach to player health after they retire, they might hit the angle of the erosion of what makes football the most popular sport in America.

Sure, I agree with all of that. And certainly some paid analyst will mention the impossible situation where, at a closing speed of forty miles per hour, a player will be suspended because he hit too hard. Even though pulling up could result in greater injury to the defender. Even though a suspension could follow any contact between either players' helmets and any other parts of their bodies. Even though ducking could bring a ballcarrier's helmet into the suspension zone in a split second. Even though a suspension could follow any contact deemed "devastating" by some faceless executive watching the tape in ultra slow-mo, whether or not helmets were involved.

I merely want to lend my voice to the bonfire which roars that this is hypocritical bullshit. The NFL obviously wants the league to have every game be a 59-60 barn burner with thousands of yards in passing every contest. But they also want to promote their product with awesome, slow-motion full contact football promotion.

Over the next week you will hear every sportsjack complaining about this ruling. The NFL is over-reacting, like every failing league (NBA, MLB) and will only dig themselves deeper into public approbation. Facing an ugly labor disagreement which could destroy the sport, the league is looking to gut its prime attraction. Fucking retarded.

You want to know what is conduct detrimental to the league? It's the Ravens having two fourth-and-inches opportunities at midfield, and punting both times ... to lose by three in overtime.

You want to know what is conduct detrimental to the league? Kellen Winslow, Junior, making an absolutely meaningless first down while losing 24-0, and celebrating like he just brought down the Roman Empire by himself.

By holding defensive players to an impossible standard, we'll see more career-ending knee injuries for ballcarriers as well as head/neck injuries among tacklers who try to adjust and keep their heads down. This is absolutely horrid, shit-flavored soup the league is serving us. I wish they would just go ahead and fuck themselves with the gentle swirling motion they seek to impose on my only favorite sport. Cause we're getting ... JACKED UP!

Are you ready for some sissball?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Todd Haley has Two Penises and is Very Proud of Them

I'm a mature man, with a very sophisticated sense of humor.

NFL's Labor Dispute via the Peter King Lens

Whether you loath him, or merely find him tolerable, Peter King is unquestionably considered by most observers as one of the journalistic NFL intelligentsia.  He votes for the NFL Hall of Fame; he's been one of SI's main writers on the USA's biggest sport since 1989.  He's had side jobs on TV since 2002.  He's undeniably one of the biggest names in NFL Journalism, and confident enough in that role that he can publicly proclaim that he was "transfixed" by a movie about Julia Child and a blogger who read Julia Child's book.

But that doesn't mean he can't get things wrong (I mean, aside from loving movies that are at widely considered remarkably average), and his new article on the NFL Labor Crisis in the most recent Sports Illustrated is an excellent case in point.  Some of the points I'm about to raise may seem minor, or overly technical, or just grasping, but taken together--King's article suggests, at best, a writer trying too hard to be "balanced", even though the facts don't really support that balance.  At worst?  Well, I'll let Peter speak for himself on that.  

Let's start with the lede, shall we?  It is constructed in that "balanced" way that journalists are so proud of these days, even though by being balanced, it serves to obscure some really basic truth.  King writes, right from the top: "They wouldn't dare. Would they? Would the players and the owners in the most lucrative league on the planet, with $9 billion in 2011 revenue at stake, play the biggest game of chicken in the history of sports labor? The NFL's collective bargaining set to expire in March 2011."

That, while technically true is about as misleading a journalist can be and still called a journalist (outside of Fox News).  Peter King never mentions why the agreement is set to expire in March of 2011.  Shockingly, King doesn't find it fit to mention that the CBA, when it was signed, was supposed to run through the 2012 season, but gave both sides the option to back out before then, and force a new deal.  At no point in his article does King say that the owners opted out, which is what they did.  From (a media source owned by the owners, and yet more willing to point out the facts than King:  "The 2006 extension, which could have continued through the 2012 season, gave both the NFL and the NFLPA an option to shorten the deal by one or two years. NFL clubs...voted unanimously to exercise that option."

The fact that King can't bring himself to mention that an opt-out is what started this crisis puts the rest of the article in question.

Another issue that King never addresses--he has one quote in his entire article, and it's an anonymous quote from "one influential NFL executive".  King quotes this executive as saying, "We have to find a way to get [NFLPA head] De[Maurice Smith] to see how good we all have it."  There's no counter-quote from a union rep anywhere in the article.  And again, no mention that it was the owners who opted out of the current deal, years before it was due to expire.  Who isn't seeing how good they all have it?  If you read King's article without any of the context that a real article would deliver, you would be lead to believe that the CBA was expiring naturally, and the players are grasping for more.  But that simply isn't the case.  The owners cancelled the deal, and if you read deep enough, you'll find out why, though it is through King's owner-influenced lens.  King identifies the Top Four Issues.

#1.  "The billion dollar giveback".  Some quick background--the owners and players share a pool of money. Right now, the owners take $1.4 BILLION off the top before the sharing.  And they now want an additional $1 Billion.  Owners say it's because they need that money to build their own stadiums.  King buys the owners line about this without even a second thought.  The argument goes like this--owners say, "Hey, all of a sudden, we have to build our own stadiums, when we used to rely on public money.  Since taxpayers got savvy, we are no longer able to get stadiums for free, and therefore, we need to take money out of the payroll so we can build new super-expensive stadiums."    King just accepts this as Gospel Truth, though I think a lot of questions about this argument could be made.  For example--hasn't every franchise that owns its own stadium seen their value go up, very quickly?  There is a reason the Washington Drunken Savages were the first franchise to be valued at $1 Billion, and one of those reasons was that they owned their own stadium.  According this article, the Giants are worth $1.18 Billion Dollars, and they had to spend $400 million to construct  the new Meadowlands.  So it will take them a few years to pay it off, sure.  But they are not destitute.  Especially when you consider that the public owners of the old Meadowlands (aka, taxpayers), still owe $110 million on a building that no longer exists!

#2  18 game schedule--I don't know why this is being mentioned by anybody.  Clearly, the NFL owners want it, because their fanbase isn't so willing to pay full price for pre-season games.  That's the only reason for it.  Don't anyone tell you otherwise.  It's bad for the players; it's bad for the game (in that in lessens the importance of each regular season game) and it's all about upping revenue streams.   Players hate it, because they don't get paid by the game, and they are the ones who are going to get physically hurt more often because of it.  This is the one point King accurately depicts the Union concerns, at least in part because it is too obvious to not get them right. 

#3  Sharing the Wealth--King shows some balls here, when he says that players get, "after some excluded fees, 60% of the total football revenue earned."  That's owner talk right there--"Hey, if you don't count the money we take out before the revenue share--which is $1.4 Billion Dollars, the players take 60% of the money home with them!"  Presumably, if the owners get their way, and add another $1 Billion to that take, they'll wait a year or two, and say "Not counting that $2.4 Billion we get right off the bat, the players are taking 70% of the money made on this game, and that's too high!"  The fallacy is obvious right?  It isn't revenue sharing if you are taking money out of the pot to begin with. It is really obvious, and yet Peter King treats it as if it were arcana that's too complicated to explain.  The NFLPA is quick to say (if King had asked them) that if you put that 1 Billion dollars back in the system, it's pretty much a 50/50 split, and considering that owners don't risk concussions or broken legs for 16-22 weeks in a row, that's pretty fair to them.  

#4 Pension.   The NFLPA has been clear about where money taken out of the system should go--to retirees.  The NLFPA has been willing to institute a Rookie Salary Cap similar to what the NBA has to help fund it.  It seems that owners might be on board, too.  If it weren't for the fact that they are trying to take  A BILLION DOLLARS out of the argument.  When King says that a major question for the pension fund is "where the money comes from" he's being somewhat disingenuous.  Everyone agrees that the money comes out of the exorbitant rookie pay.  The problem isn't where the money comes from; it's where the money goes.  The owners want to take that money, and they don't dig on giving that money to banged up retirees when it could be going to their newest yacht.  

Let's be clear.  The NFLPA had no problem with the old CBA.  The owners opted out.  The Owners are trying to take A Billion Dollars from men who risk their health on a weekly basis for 16-20 weeks a year.  But Peter King would like you to believe this is a battle between two equal sides.  Peter King is full of shit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Taiwan Explains The Favre Saga

Old School Thursday: Solomon Burke

normally, it's Old School Hip-Hop, but Solomon Burke passed away this week, and when a fucking legend dies, you give him his due.  Here's Burke doing a song that Otis made famous, and he's doing it well.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When You Put Your Dong Out There, It's Going to Get Hit


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Exciting NFL Trade: Harrison for Bell

Just kidding.  This isn't exciting for anyone.  Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell are slightly different players, but in both cases you are talking about two guys whose stats from last year are pretty impressive, but players that no team deems fit to be a starter.

These two teams have traded essentially slightly different versions of what they already had.  It's the equivalent of a lunch room trade involving a carton of 1% Fat Milk for a carton of Skim Milk.  Who gives a shit?

I'm guessing that the GM's for the teams involved were just bored.

Monday, October 11, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Six

Well how about them DC Skins? As the only contestant to pick them as the winner of the Clash, I feel like I ought to offer up some succor. Courtesy of Andre Carter and Lorenzo Alexander, this is what it looks like:

Standings [plus last winless team bonus pick]
1. Ryan: 16 pts (+2) [Car]
2. MMMan: 15 pts [Car]
3. Jess: 13 pts [Buff]
4. Greg A: 9 pts (+1) [Car]
5. Adw: 8 pts (+6) [Buff]
Big BM: 8 pts [Buff]
6. Barnyard: 7 pts (+4) [Car]
7. Leftnut: 6 pts [Car]
Miwacar: 6 pts [Lions]
8. Josh: 0 pts [Buff]

Week Six

1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list: (+3)
Rams, Lions, Browns

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Titans: (+/-2) Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Bonus Question
6. Which game will have the highest combined score? +2
(a clue: no one ever gets these right, so pick something fresh)

You Can Take a Wholesome Image Too Far

and this is how you do it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

IDYFT Cup Update

The Washington-Packers game was one of the most frustrating games I've been unfortunate enough to witness. But the Skins came away with a win, somehow. I can't imagine how fans of Green Bay must feel. But I'd like to try ...

Washington overcame their worst playcalling in memory, terribly inaccurate passing and allowing over 400 yards of offense. The most consistent offense was the pass interferences that Green Bay finally started getting called for. Laron Landry had another monster game with 13 tackles, FF and INT. Brian Orakpo had two sacks but was once again held on almost every play, drawing only a flag or two.

For most of the game I was screaming, "Run the fucking ball!" It didn't work. The offense is not Mike Shanahan's realm but Kyle Shanahan, who despite his success through the air in Houston, failed to develop a rushing attack (30th in 2009). Green Bay has an outstanding pass rush and good corners; their weakness is against the run especially up the middle. So Washington threw 49 times while surrendering five sacks and a lot of hits, and looked ugly doing so.

Running was less than an afterthought: 75% of the called plays were passes, a number that skewed upwards in the second half. Starting from the last drive of the third quarter until they were setting up the game-winning OT field goal, Washington called 29 passes and 3 runs. Like I said, I was screaming.

And yet Washington won with a couple big plays and crushing hits that left Green Bay receivers loathe to catch the ball. Once again, the defense saved the game with an early goal line stand. Yet again, Washington caused multiple massive injuries to their opponents. Once again, the defense forced a turnover at a critical time. Thanks for the boner INT, Rodgers! Enjoy your concussion!

1. Bears +2
2. Vikes +1
Skins +1
3. Packers -1
4. Lions -3

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Did You Know About the US - Poland Friendly?

I didn't.  Luckily, the folks at That's On Point did.  Sounds like Jermaine Jones is going to be a US Soccer baller.

For Me, College Basketball Season Basically Begins Tonight

Twins done.  Drunken Savages looking strictly OK.  Look for way-too-soon looks at the NCAA Hoops 2010 season shortly.  Don't expect Baylor to bounce back by the way.  If you haven't heard, Baylor's best scorer from last year and All-Name First Teamer LaceDarius Dunn (who was planning on returning this year) has been suspended not just from the team, but even from attending classes--just because he allegedly broke the jaw of the mother of his child.  Come on, Baylor.  Boys will be boys?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Old School Thursday: Das EFX

Still one of the weirdest stream of consciousness hits in hip-hop history.

Tom Brady is Beastmaster!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

DC Skins 2010: Season's Quarter

Washington, at 2-2, sits atop the rubble that is the NFC East. While their point differential is in the negative and this team is far from a finished product, Shanahan seems to have the Skins moving in the right direction.

At last season's quarter mark, Washington was also 2-2. But their victories were over the Rams and Bucs (a combined 4-28 last year) and they lost to the Lions. The Skins immediately drove off the road into a shit ditch, losing their next four and finishing 4-12.

How good are these 2010 DC Skins? Short answer: not especially.

Long answer: ah, you know I love long answers. Especially to questions that I, myself, have proposed.

The offensive line has been hampered by growing pains but they are finally starting to open a few running lanes. #46 Ryan Torain has emerged as a powerful and quick runner -- check out Torain sending an Eagles player ass-over-teakettle and scoring a TD. Pass protection has been pretty good but they'll miss Portis on blitz pickup. Washington is still waiting for WRs to emerge. McNabb has shown good poise and decision-making, but accuracy must improve.

Scoring: 18.2 ppg (19th) 3rd down: 25% (31st) Pass: 13th Run: 19th

This defense has both more potential and more current problems than the offense. The transition to the 3-4 has not been without its boners. DEs in coverage have yielded an unlimited buffet of first downs. Pass coverage is excellent for stretches, but good quarterbacks will find big holes to hit. Run defense seems to be improving. The emphasis on creating turnovers in key moments has already won two games. After leading the league on 4th down conversions last year, Washington has given up 6 of 7 this season, dead last in the league.

Scoring: 19.8 ppg (19th) 3rd down: 40% (8th) 1st downs allowed: last in NFC Pass: 31st Run: 12th

Special Teams
This unit has the most continuity, under coach Danny Smith; no wonder that it is easily the best part of this team. So long as our specialists don't injure themselves in warmups, special teams will be contributing more than their share in every future win. If Lil' Brandon Banks can hang on to the ball, they have their most dynamic PR since Brian Mitchell.

UPDATE: P Bidwell has been replaced by last year's P Hunter Smith, who was solid before suffering a late injury.

Kick Cover: 4th Kick Return: 8th Punt Cover: 7th Punt Return: 3rd FG%: 16th

Long Answer
in summation: it will take a lot of work to find their potential, but it's going to be a hard road. Remember, Washington has the 8th hardest schedule despite a 4-12 finish. They definitely play to the level of their competition, which may be a good thing.

Quick Comment: Twins vs. Yankees

Is it my imagination, or is this umpire all over the goddamn place on balls and strikes?

Monday, October 04, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Five

Well, I'm just getting my ass kicked by all you dilettantes. I clawed back and scored ... zero points again this week.

The reason for my losing is the Big Shoe I keep putting on, without tapping it out first. Once upon a time, I thought it was an old wives' tale about knocking the bugs out of your shoes before putting them on, living out here in the desert. But a few years back I knocked a healthy house spider out of my boot, with my toes upraised and ready. Since then, I've laced up both work boots and basketball shoes and made it a fair distance before conceding, yeah, that isn't just a bunched sock a-wiggling in my arch. Big Cool Freaky Beetles!

We're one quarter into the season and there's some right competition at the top. Down at the bottom, I remind all contestants -- and myself especially -- that the Big Shoe pick is the most important pick every week. Blow it, as I have done every week, and you're just the cramped bug suffocating under some heavy toes.

1. MuMuMan: 15 pts (+5)
2. Ryan: 14 pts (+5)
3. Jess: 13 pts (+6)
4. Greg A: 8 pts (+2)
Big BM: 8 pts
5. Miwacar: 6 pts
Leftnut: 6 pts* (+5)
6. Garwood: 4 pts
7. Barnyard: 3 pts (+2)
8. Adw: 2 pts
9. Josh: 0 pts

Week Five
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's (oddly, barely by a TD) underdog list: (+3)
Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, Cardinals

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of The Offensive Titans (+/-2):
Mean Gay Fudge Packers** vs. Washington Racist Iconographs

Bonus Questions +2
Blowout Bonus: which game will have the largest point differential?
Loser Bonus: which of the remaining winless teams (49ers, Lions, Panthers, Bills) will be the last to record a win?

* Leftnut has consistently (and bravely) picked against Pittsburgh as his most disliked team. That Houston is Leftnut's favorite team is now established (as of last week's picks). Or, Leftnut, sacrifice one point and finally tell us who your favorite team
really is.

** The Green Bay Packers were named for the Indian Packing Company, their first sponsor. They packed "meat" for the U.S. effort in the First World War. They shut down operations before Upton "The Jungle" Sinclair was able to prove that they were actually canning Native American flesh. Hollywood took the story and ran with it, resulting in "Soylent Green."

Finally, An End of the Stupidity

I've long wondered why Jared Allen's stupid ass sack dance didn't violate the rule the NFL established about celebrating with a knee to the ground (with exceptions for prayers).  Apparently, it does, and the NFL finally noticed.

So sadly, I guess last year's NFC Championship was the end of Tracy Porter's honoring of that celebration as well.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

In Justice

Wally the Beer Man, a Twins icon so heartwarming even I know about him, was busted in a sting operation for serving a minor. I'm sure the people of Minnesota are relieved that Wally's criminal activity has finally been stopped. For surely, a twenty-year-old with twelve ounces of suds would critically destroy the state and indeed, our great nation.

Imagine that your job involved undercover cops not just investigating, watching and harassing you, but that they actively tried to trick you into breaking the law -- even by first breaking the law themselves. Perhaps if the SEC used this technique, our entire economy wouldn't be in the urinal trough. Nope, they save this extrajudicial oppression for only the most clear and present danger to our way of life.

Thomas Jefferson would spit in your face, shitheads. Abraham Lincoln would shit on your face, spitheads.

There are links out of the Star Tribune story which will take you to social-networking support pages for Wally. If that's what you're into.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Noble Savage

Didn't you have to write a report about the "Noble Savage" in middle school English class? Maybe while defining naturalism vs. realism? Good, then we're all up to speed. I want to remind everyone that there's no room for nuance this Sunday: it's McNabb vs. Vick.

You remember Michael Vick. After the herpes and the bottle o' weed and middle fingers and me entertainingly defending him with vigor here, here and here, he went away for a little while. Because he's into this:

So in terms of football strategy, the pregame questions of can Washington's line protect McNabb and open up the run game, and can the porous defense regain its tenacity, run up against the brick wall of ethics.

And that Michael Vick, he's a dog of a different color. Ethics-wise.

Fucking Hail to DC Skins!

I let this slide a week, but might as well update it now.

1. Chicago Bears: +2
2. Minnesota Vikings: +1
3. DC Skins: 0
4. Green Bay Packers: -1
5. Detroit Depends: -2
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