Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ineptitude, thy name is Raiders

The only thing dumber than the Oakland Raiders' decision to go for it with a QB sneak on 4th and inches to goal down by 9 inside 3 minutes to go after failing to punch it up the middle 3 times from the 1 is the ESPN crew's cheering on the decision. The money quote was, "Don't leave 7 off the board." Well, not only did they leave the 7 off the board, they left the 3 off the board AND burned their last timeout on a fruitless challenge. Then the Raiders jump offsides to bring it back beyond the 5 and make the game-clinching 1st down an inevitability. Please tell me that Ted Thompson is smart enough not to hire Norv Turner.

More bad news for tomorrow; on the strength of his 28 carries/203 yards day, Tiki Barber now has 1870 1860 rushing yards, 63 53 more than Shaun Alexander (Homer nod - New Year's Eve and math don't mix).

Full disclosure - I had the Giants minus 8, so despite the fact that this puts a hole in the Packers v Jets draft-day tiebreaker, I'm happy with Duh Raiders' ineptitude.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Chicago wants 2nd NFL franchise to bolster Olympic chances

ESPN is carrying an AP dispatch on Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's plans to use a second NFL franchise to build an 80,000-seat dome for the 2016 Olympics. This would be the same Chicago that rebuilt Soldier Field so that it had a capacity of only 61,500.

I know it's the wrong year to say this, but first they need to get ONE NFL franchise.

At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought.

While Mr. Shanoff's diatribes are extremely moronic, the two worst sports columns produced this year were produced in the last few days.

The first is this column by the vapid and incoherent Jason Whitlock in which he urges the Green Bay Packers to trade Brett Favre to the Raiders, espouses the view that Drew Brees may have played himself out of a job, and asserts that the only NFC team capable of winning the Super Bowl is the Redskins. If you printed this column onto a sheet of paper and attempted to light it on fire, the fire would run away screaming. Medusa couldn't bring herself to look at it. Scientists showed this column to Koko the Gorilla and she forgot all of her sign language. I had to use protective goggles just to produce this synopsis.

But as bad as Mr. Whitlock's mental fart was, Don Banks has surely topped him with the production of this column, which, when recently read aloud in front of a joint session of congress, resulted in the repeal of the First Amendment because, as Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold commented, "It's just not worth the risk." Whereas some authors have been known to sell their soul to Mephistopheles for an increase in talent, Mr. Banks has clearly acquired an extra soul in forfeiture of whatever talent had been there. This column is solely responsible for low American test scores, high gas prices, and water pollution. Palestinians are blaming this on Israelis, and vice versa.

Anyway, the column, which I read at great personal risk mind you, reexamines last years draft, and triumphantly declares Samkon Gado a Top 10 RB (going to Arizona at #8), Matt Jones at #4...you know what, I can't write anymore. There's just too much to criticize. Fortunately, Aaron Schatz does a bangup job of fisking this piece to smithereens:

Start at the beginning, where Banks has the 49ers taking Shawne Merriman instead of Alex Smith. Banks claims that the 49ers “could have saved money” by taking Merriman and then Ryan Fitzpatrick in the middle rounds. But if the 49ers had taken Merriman number one, he wouldn’t be making Merriman money. He’d be making Alex Smith money. The number one pick always makes number one pick money. So the 49ers would have saved nothing.

At number four, he gives Chicago Matt Jones. For the moment, let’s put aside the fact that nobody could have predicted the injury to Cedric Benson, as well as the fact that this injury doesn’t mean Benson won’t be excellent in future seasons. Instead, let me ask you: is Matt Jones really the third-best offensive player of the past draft? And is he really more valuable than a middle linebacker like Lofa Tatupu or Odell Thurman?

At number eight, he has Arizona taking Samkon Gado. Seriously, just drill a hole in my head to stop the pain.



The entire piece is quite good, and quickly restored much of the brain tissue that I lost while reading the aforementioned columns.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

This From The Dim-Wit at The Quickie

Shanoff strikes again, this time he's dissing Brett Favre. In today's Quickie Shanoff had this to say about Brett Favre's press conference yesterday:

This smacks of public posturing by an All-Pro media manipulator, and it's unfair to a team that needs to make huge decisions this offseason. (Yes, including how to handle the bigger-than-the-team Favre situation.)

What I saw in Favre's presser yesterday was a man speaking honestly and passionately about what will be the hardest decision of his life. He tried to make it clear to everyone that he did not know yet what to do, and that no large sign from the heavens had hit him telling him what to do. Basically he was saying stop the madness you will know as soon as I do.

Raffy Palmiero yesterday called a press conference and laid out this elaborate theory as to what might have led to his hot piss test. That was public posturing and an attempt at manipulating the media. When Michael Jordan called press conferences every two weeks and made no announcement on his retirement that was manipulation.

If this guy needs a reason to diss Favre then stick to the erratic decision making and bad interceptions. Favre is one of the most genuine people any of us will ever have the pleasure of meeting or knowing. That Favre speaks off the cuff and weekly at a scheduled press conference should be lauded, not seen as a way to manipulate anything.

Dan Shanoff is pathetic

Slow Thursday Morning Roundup

First, did anyone watch that Michigan Nebraska game? It was really a fantastic game. I hate that Nebraska is going spread, I am a HUGE fan of a well run option, nothing beas watching Air Force when they have a dialed in QB. That said, the Michigan Nebraska game was wide open and surprisingly exciting.

Tomorrow the Badger hockey team hosts the annual Badger Hockey Showdown. I really disliked the fact that the tourney got moved to Madison as it was a great opportunity to expand the fan base, but obviously with the opponent recognition levels dropping (seriously, Ferris State back to back champs) this was unreasonable. Anyway, tomorrow the Badgers play Western Michigan and Northern Michigan plays Wayne State. The Wisconsin Hockey Blog has a very nice roundup of the visiting teams and who to look out for.

Brett Favre spoke, and he spoke of retirement...and we will never hear the end of it...until he speaks of it again. Anyone else bored?

Rafael Palmeiro, still a lying shithead, but now a lying shithead with a conspiracy theory!

SI Writer Mark Bechtel thinks the world should join forces and play the World Baseball Classic without the United States because the Treasury Department won't allow Cuba to participate. Personally I hope a deal can be worked out and Cuba participates, and the United States hands those commie bastards a 11-0 drubbiing. I also hope that SI moves forward without this Mark Bechtel idiot.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Since were On This Train

I did a little googling around and found this mock draft. I only pasted the top five picks since that is what point I will try to make.



TEAM
POS
PLAYER
SCHOOL
1

Houston Texans
RB
Reggie Bush *
USC
Bush and Leinart have become the feature prospects of this draft. With Carr in town, Houston doesn’t need Leinart, but they do need a durable playmaker and Bush is exactly that. He can do it all and is definitely an upgrade over Domanick Davis. However, his presence could make this pick trade bait for a team (like Miami, Tampa Bay, Detroit or Arizona) trying to obtain Leinart.
2

New York Jets
QB
Matt Leinart
USC
Pennington’s elbow and shoulder injuries may prevent him from ever becoming the QB he once was. That said, the Jets need to get better here and Leinart is a two-time All-American who knows how to win. Testaverde can finally retire. However, don’t be surprised to see a team (like Miami, Tampa Bay, Detroit or Arizona) trade up with Houston to get Leinart with the #1 pick, in which case the Jets could land Reggie Bush with the #2 pick as the heir apparent to Curtis Martin.
3

San Francisco 49ers
DE
Mario Williams *
NC State
Nolan is committed to the 3-4 scheme, so Kiwanuka (a thinner edge rusher for the conventional 4-3) wouldn’t be a good fit. Williams rivals Kiwanuka in terms of his athleticism and pass-rushing ability. He also weighs in around 280 lbs., making him ideal for the 3-4 End position in San Francisco and is coming off a Junior season in which he led the ACC in sacks.
4

Tennessee Titans
OT
D'Brickshaw Ferguson
Virginia
The Titans are in the midst of a serious renovation project. They could go in any direction here. Ideally, they’d like to obtain Leinart as an eventual replacement for McNair (reuniting Leinart with former USC Coach and current Titan O Coordinator Norm Chow), but they’ll need a top 2 pick to get him. At #4, Ferguson is the best choice as a replacement for Fred Miller, lost to the Bears in free agency prior to the ’05 season.
5

Green Bay Packers
DE
Mathias Kiwanuka
Boston College
The Packers need a lot of help, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Kiwanuka will give Green Bay an elite edge-rusher who can line up at the opposite end of KGB.

At number 6 the guys at NFL report have New Orleans taking AJ Hawk. If it comes down to a choice between Kiwanuka and Hawk I would hope everyone in the organization would remember Jamal Reynolds and the pick would be Hawk.

As I mentioned in the comments section of Pauls post, I think we will pick fourth which according to this projection puts D'Brickshaw in the mix. If this scenario happens I don't see his pick as being wise. I believe Cleveland will covet Ferguson as will Detroit. That being the case we should trade out to Clev. at number 8 and take our chances that N.O., Tennessee and Baltimore let Hawk slide to us at that 8 position. It may happen if the deal is done late and Tennessee goes for Kiwanuka. The wild card here is N.O., they will surely go for D and if Kiwanuka is gone Hawk will probably be their guy. I don't see that as a bad thing though if we get Clevelands second rounder (40th overall) because we can still jump on Orien Harris at DT. Either Harris or Chad Greenway would look nice in Green and Gold and that 40th pick would also be a potential starter. That would give us three new starters with a reasonable chance for contribution and should upgrade our special teams immensely.

Of course if wishes were candy we'd all have a great Christmas.

Why You Should Always Draft Linemen

Somewhere around my office in Chicago, there is a chocolate factory. No oompa-loompas though. I checked. The factory makes the area around my office smell great most of the time and everyone around here appreciates the fact that it exists because the rest of the downtown area often smells like a mixture of stale beer and feces. (It is worth noting that the EPA doesn't share our fondness for chocolate, and has threatened to fine this company for their sweet-smelling emissions. Bastards.)

The Chocolate Factory produces two separate benefits. They make chocolate which is the primary benefit, but they also make the city smell better, which is a secondary benefit. More importantly, it is an uncompensated secondary benefit. Both offensive and defensive lineman are like chocolate factories in that they come with huge uncompensated secondary benefits.

Even bad receivers will get open if given enough time to do so, and even bad runningbacks, like Ron Dayne, can look great if the holes are big enough. If you have an all-pro lineman on your offensive line, he will perform his primary duty of offering protection and opening holes, but he will also improve the quality of your RBs and WRs. If Donald Driver has 8 seconds to get open instead of six he might produce as much as much as a Torry Holt. If Javon Walker has an extra 2-3 seconds he might produce like a TO. Robert Ferguson could possibly attain the level of a Scotty Vines...well...maybe not. But you get the idea. You get extra production from WRs without having to pay them any more money. You also reduce the risk of injury to your QB, and you can go el-cheapo on a RB.

On the flip side, a good RB will usually be helpless without some kind of line (Barry Sanders notwithstanding). Good WRs with no line may put up some garbage time numbers, but they probably won't be difference makers. See: Arizona.

A good defensive line will provide similar benefits. A corner that only has to cover a given WR for 4-5 seconds is an all-pro corner. Even Ahmad Carroll can avoid interfering with people for 4 seconds. I grant that you will see coverage sacks every so often, but it is much more common to see interceptions and hurried throws caused by the pass rush.

Most bad teams only pay lip service to this idea while attempting to cure all ills by upgrading skill positions. (See: Detroit (Williams, Jones, Williams, Rogers), and Houston (Johnson, Carr, Davis)) The truly great teams know that it's true, and stick to it.

RBs, WRs, and DBs aren't like chocolate factories. They're more like chocolate salesmen. They provide a valuable service to you, but what you pay for is exactly what you get.

Linemen are far and away the most valuable assets on any given team, and as a bonus, they are also frequently the best value.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What should the Packers do?

1. Win their finale to move down a few spots in the draft. Economically, drafting lower is always better. Remember, while Barry Sanders went 3rd overall in 1989, Emmitt Smith went 17th a year later in 1990. Note also that in 1990, Jeff George was the #1 overall pick. Mistakes at #1 are much more expensive than mistakes at #17.

2. Draft the best offensive lineman available. QBs look much better behind good lines, even if they're no good.

3. Draft the best linebacker available. This is a big weakness. Bigger than most people realize because of the inept Nick Barnett.

4. Cut Robert "Turd" Furgeson. He is probably the worst player in the NFL, with the possible exception of...

5. Ahmad Carroll. Cut him too. He is a complete disaster. Cut your losses.

6. Put Nick Barnett on the bench until he learns not to overpursue.

7. Sign Rod Gardner to a cheapo contract. If he turns into a malcontent, cut him.

8. Get Favre back.

Vicky

Vicky has improved this year, but he's still just barely above a replacement level player, just above Charlie Frye, Kyle Boller, and Jeff Garcia. He is the most valuable QB when he runs, but so what? I'm guessing that Mike Vrabel is the best LB when lined up at TE/FB, but you won't find him on the cover of any video game.

Vicky is paid to pass the ball. Running is nice, but it's just frosting on the cake. If there's no cake there, the frosting just congeals in a big pile of goo, possibly after being hit by Brian Urlacher.

Jake Delhomme, on the other hand, is much better than a replacement level player, just ahead of Ol' Number 4 this year. Delhomme's biggest problem is that he's a bit turnover prone, but he is obviously a superior passer. Vick actually looked pretty good over his last 2 games, but that really doesn't mean much. Over the same span, Kyle Boller looked like the second coming of Johnny Unitas.

I have little faith in Vick's ability to significantly improve at this point. I grant that it would help to have a competent WR, but he does have both Alge Crumpler and Warrick Dunn. Having excellent safety valves, as is the case with the Falcons, should lead to Vick having a nice completion percentage as he frequently checks down to the easy option, but this is not the case.

The NFC Pro Bowl QBs, sad as they are, should be Matt Hasselbeck, Drew Bledsoe, and Mark Brunell. Eli Manning is a nice story, but he, like Vick, is often wildly inaccurate, and if not for the excellent Giants' defense and Tiki Barber we might be focusing on young Eli's mistakes instead of his successes. He does, however, throw an excellent deep ball.

Vicky doesn't belong in the Pro Bowl. He's a maddening player; too small to play his natural position of WR (or RB), too terrible to play QB. His best quality is that he puts butts in the seats, but he'll never lead you to a Super Bowl.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Reggie Bush Sweepstakes watch

- Houston came to their senses in the 2nd half, blew a 13-10 halftime lead, and lost to Jacksonville 38-20. That eliminates Tennessee and Oakland (both of whom lost), as well as Detroit and Arizona (who also eliminated themselves by winning; I don't recall the exact timing).
- San Francisco blew their chance to ensure that the loser of their game with the Texans gets Bush and also eliminated themselves (their Strength of Schedule is too high, and head-to-head only matters if the SoS is the same) by coming from behind to beat St. Louis 24-20.
- New Orleans choked away their game against Detroit in the last 1:52, watching Jason Hanson kick the Lions' a 13-12 win as time expired in their last "home" game in San Antonio.
- You all know that the tag-team of Favre and Longwell gave the game to the Bears.

That leaves Houston at 2-13, and (in inverse order of Strength of Schedule as it stands after the Saturday Sunday games and thus in the order of picking) New Orleans, Green Bay (as Jib says, "It is finished."), NY Jets (playing Monday) and the eliminated-from-#1 San Francisco with 3 wins apiece. Next week's schedule looks like this:

- Seattle (with nothing left to play for) at Green Bay
- Houston at San Francisco (if Houston loses, they get Bush; if not, they probably don't because their SoS is currently stronger than everybody's except the Niners')
- New Orleans at Tampa Bay (Tampa's still fighting for both the division and a bye just the division with the Bears clinching the other bye)
- Buffalo at NY Jets (they're both playing out the schedule)

Of course, with the Trojan Heisman twins projected to be 1-2, do you really want the top 2 picks in the draft?

Revisions/extensions part 1 - added the bad news from Christmas.
Revisions/extensions part 2 - doing the math on the various possible Stength of Schedule after next week, I found that the Niners can't do the #1 repeat. I'll have the scenarios out Tuesday after I know whether to include the Jets as a contestant, but three things are certain if the Packers want the #1 draft choice - they must lose, Houston must win and New Orleans must not lose.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Cowboys good news/bad news

The good news for James; the Boys pulled off the 24-20 win over the Panthers to keep their playoff hopes alive (they need a win and a Redskin loss for a shot). The bad; ESPN is reporting that Parcells is considering retirement.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Vick Revisited

I wanted to address a comment made below and some emails I have received based on my criticism of Mike Vick, namely that Jake Delhomme is no better. Specifically the commenter b puts up Jakes numbers and says he should be run over as well. I don't really see your point b. Delhomme still owns Vick in the most important category (while putting up consistent numbers, so go to hell Bear fanatics) wins, and beats him in every other category except turnovers, and I would venture to guess he has a better completion to interception ratio since the Carolina running game isn't as good as Atlanta (it’s a guess because it is now 4 in the morning and not time to look up stats). The crop is terrible. I didn’t even go to the dried up well of QB rating because that is an overblown stat, much like batting average, rushing yards, and Mr. Vick himself.

I am not trying to tear on Atlanta or Mora (whom I personally really like) just Vick. The guy is overhyped and overpublicized to the point where he is either loved or hated. He is the epitome of a Sportscenter product. They created Mike Vick and just about every single analyst, anchor and sideline reporter is cupping his balls and holding on for dear life. I don’t respect Vick as an NFL quarterback because he hasn’t earned it. The fact that he is now spouting and pouting because everyone in the known universe isn’t agreeing with Sportscenter just makes him that much more umm, dislikeable.

You know who I do respect. I respect guys like Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck, Byron Leftwich, guys who came in with some expectations but built their reputation on their own. Palmer has made himself onto a superstar and Hasselbeck (giant fan of this guy by the way) is still best known for his overtime bravado even though he has been one of the most efficient passers in the league for a few years. These guys were not granted stardom based on four games and five or six explosive plays that make for nice highlight reel footage. If Vick ever becomes a decent quarterback I will begrudgingly give him his due, but until that time comes, I refuse to worship at the altar of hype.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Can't this season end already?

The latest word out of Green Bay is that Bubba Franks and BJ Sander are on the IR.

Mea Culpa

Earlier in the year I made the mistake of defending Robert Ferguson. The gist of my argument was that Ferguson was a demon on special teams and that his willingness to do the dirty over the middle routes in G.B.’s offense made him a valuable asset.
SHAME ON ME
I was going to write this mea culpa prior to Cliff Christl writing about this in yesterdays Urinal Sentinel. His finger-pointing article reminded me that I needed to get this out of the way because many of you were pretty adamant in your rejection of my arguments.
I WAS WRONG
I thought Ferguson should be given a shot at being a Receiver and I further thought that his shot would come this year. Well he got that shot and he has literally dropped the ball.
Ferguson is gun-shy on crossing routes and looks to lay down quicker then Chatman and Antonio Freeman combined.
I WAS MISTAKEN
I even gave Ferguson a pass early in the year because I thought it would take several games to shake off the clothes-line he took via Donovan Darius late last year. It’s been nineteen games (counting pre-season) and he looks more gutless than ever.
ONLY A SERVICEABLE WR
I’m not going to call the man a turd or call for him to be cut, but his position should be secure as the fourth WR and special teamer. That is his lot in the NFL and trying to make a purse out of this sows ear ain’t happening.

Congrats Ryan Suter

Madison native and former Milwaukee Admiral Ryan Suter netted the first NHL goal of his career last night as he got the scoring started in A Nashville Pradator housing of the Chicago Blackhawks.



Also, team Canada snubed Cujo, going with Martin Brodeur, Marty Turco and Roberto Luongo.

RE: Pro Bowl

I love this time of year, last year made it so much fun and I knew this year would be even better. Time to nitpick the probowl.

First, letting Sharper go proved to be the right move. While he has had a good season, that season would have been wasted in Green Bay. As it is, Nick Collins has played very well and gained some much needed experience for an inexperienced secondary. I am extremely pleased with the way that situation turned out, as the Packers have found at least one long term solution to a pressing problem. Second, Thompson let the guards go for monetary reasons. Depending on what he does this off season, when I assume he will begin to spend some of the money he has saved, it was the right move. A two win team is not one guard away from the Super Bowl (and before you say it, stop. There is no imaginable way they kept both free agent guards so they are really only one down).

Now on to what is fast becomming my favorite part of the NFL season. Tearing on the Mike Vick pro bowl selection. First, it is a little tougher this year since the QB's in the NFC are pretty weak. Hasselbeck is the only real pro bowler, and Vick and Delhomme rounding out the sorry squad.

First, lets put away the first argument, Vick makes the team win. Not this year. They are 8-6 and if they lose to Tampa Bay (Vick is 2-4 against them I believe, and has looked terrible except for the game previously this year) they are out of the playoffs. So he is currently at the helm of a marginal playoff team.

The next question is if not Ron Mexico then who? Easy. Eli Manning, Drew Bledsoe, Mark Brunell with outside attention to Brad Johnson and Chris Simms. All have better numbers than Vick, and each one is on a team with a record equal to or better than Mike Vicks Falcons.




First, lets look at touchdowns. Vick has thrown a respectable 13, putting him tied at ninth with recently benched Aaron Brooks. Manning (22), Bledsoe (21) and Brunell (20), not to mention Favre, McNabb and Bulger, each have far more than Vick. Vick does have 6 rushing TD's (19 total), which still doesn't pull him even with Manning (1 rushing TD, 23 total) Bledsoe (2 rushing TD, 23 total) or Brunell (0 rushing TD, 20 total).

Yards. Vick has 2136 passing yards and 534 rushing yards, putting him again at a respectable 2670. Manning (3314 passing, 69 rushing, 3383 total) Bledsoe (3188 passing, 50 rushing, 3238 total) and Brunell (2797 passing, 94 rushing, 2891 total) all tower over Vick as far as passing yards, and have a solid distance in total yardage.

Turnovers. Vick has thrown 12 interceptions (throwing 1 interception for every 15 completions) and fumbled 4 times, giving him a total of 16 turnovers. Brunell has thrown 8 interceptions (throwing 1 interception for every 30 completions) and fumbled 6 times for a total of 14 turnovers. Bledsoe has thrown 14 ints (1 for every 19 com.) and fumbled 7 times, for a total of 21 turnovers. Manning has thrown 16 int's (1 for every 16 comp) and fumbled twice, for a total of 18 turnovers.

Breaking it all down:

Vick - 8 wins, 19 TD's, 2670 Total Yards, 16 turnovers
Manning - 10 wins, 23 TD's, 3383 Total Yards, 18 turnovers
Bledsoe - 8 wins, 23 TD's, 3238 Total Yards, 21 Turnovers
Brunell - 8 wins, 23 TD's, 2891 Total Yards, 14 Turnovers

Manning is the obvious choice here, and really it seems to me that Vick is the fourth best on this list.

UPDATE: Well, to paraphrase Fred Smoot, 99% of the sports blog world may be covered by Deadspin, WisconsinSportsBar has the rest! If this is your first time here via Deadspin we are a group blog made up of, well, Wisconsin Sports Fans. Enjoy, poke around, and please tear on the Vikings and Bears in the comment section. Also, if you have a minute, go nominate Brian Elliott for the Hobey Baker.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pro Bowl teams announced

The NFL Pro Bowl teams were announced earlier today, and for the first time since 1999, no Packers were on the roster. However, there were two ex-Packers let go by Ted Thompson that made it (Mike Wahle, Darren Sharper). What exhibit does that make in my call to clean house, especially considering that Ray Rhodes was fired after that 1999 season?

Reggie Williams Owns Chad Johnson

The Jags Reggie Williams is a celebrating fool (or celebrating like a fool, you decide).

Unlike a TD celebration, which always seems to me like a guy celebrating his own individual accomplishment, celebrating a good block is actually celebrating a sacrifice made for the team. It's celebrating a team play.

I'd like to see offensive linemen adopt the habit. Pancake a defensive lineman? Moonwalk. Open up a hole for the running back on 3rd and short? Pop your collar. Fuck it, I think everyone should celebrate just doing their job... in fact, when you get your TPS reports in on time today, I think you should start salsa dancing right there in your boss's grill.



GB's Worst Nightmare

Wow, double whammy for our man GB. The Brewers have decided to give both Kane Davis and Russel Branyan a chance to make the club, giving them one year non guaranteed deals.



I fully expect Branyan to make the team, but Davis is much less likely, so don’t fret too much. The bullpen is too deep (and they will undoubtedly waste a spot on De La Rosa) to let Davis try and find himself again. He pops the catchers mitt but can’t work out of jams, not exactly an ideal reliever. Maybe he has a role as a set-up guy if he can figure it out, with someone like Wise being his relief, but you can never bring the guy in with bases loaded.

In other news Dan Kolb better get Boars under control or the Crew will have no problem letting the knucklehead go test the market. I think the Royals might be a situation he could probably handle, although their club is getting better so that might be too much pressure on his fragile psyche. He needs Yost and Castro and most especially Maddux to get him right, and if he wants to have another big contract year, he better spend two quality, cheap years in Milwaukee. Not signing in Milwaukee will be short term greedy and long term stupid.

Johnny Damon and Octavio Dotel just made the Yankees the new AL East frontrunner, and will leave the Sox and Orioles fighting for next to last. Another interesting note, what will Damon look like clean shaven with a high and tight?

The Cubs “solved” their problem in right field by signing Jacque Jones. He hit .250 last year with 20 plus home runs and talks like Mike Tyson. Enjoy your minor upgrade from Corey Patterson.

If You Do One Thing Today

Nominate Brian Elliott for Hobey Baker. For those who don't know the Hobey Baker is the hockey version of the Heismann. I believe nominations opened yesterday and you can nominate as many people as you'd like. Being an unabashed Badger hockey homer, I nominated just about the entire team.

In all honesty though, Elliott is the current front runner for the award, giving up more than three goals twice all season, and leading the defensively superb Badgers to the number one spot in the nation.

In browsing around this morning I stumbled onto a new blog, which is odd because I have been looking for a Badger hockey blog since this summer, and here one is and it has been around for a few months. He makes a strong point for the Badgers having a virtual sans collapse lock on the WCHA. Check him out and if so inclined, I think he could add something to the WisconsinSportsBar (and do a much better job covering the team than I have thus far).

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Film Session

Allright, I am back from the Swoll Temple (thats the gym) showered up and ready to go over some film.

First, sorry GB, I was a little harsh with the Gado comment. I was in a combative mood today and wanted to heat up our somewhat stagnant comment board. As an aside, I think we should all make a concerted effort to post on varying web sites to try and drive some more traffic to this place.

I am planning on just watching the Rodgers snaps so don't expect a lot of Favre commentary, but I do have to say that Favre knew on that third down throw to Driver at the end of the third quarter that the team had given up around him. That was absolutely disgusting.

I also will not be watching the defense. This is purely to see Rodgers. Read the comment section for today, does anyone else think steve is a carbon copy of Mariotti? Sheesh that guy could not get more negative, but I'd be willing to bet the moment Thompson turns this team around he will be all over his jock, a la Mariotti on Grossman. (Sorry Steve, that in fact was the bus).

Allright here we go.

He came out with an air of confidence, barking at either someone on the defense or a teammate.

First pass play (fumble): The end came from free from a nickel position and no one picked him up. Rodgers seemd to react a little late but there wasn't a heck of a lot he could do. That was one of those Billick plays, trick the kid and make him pay for inexperience. Odd defensive formations are his specialty and I don't really fault Rodgers. However, he was too quick with his play fake and didn't really sell the run.

This game is worthless. This is like the fourth quarter of a preseason game. No one is playing on either side of the ball.

1st-10 (underthrown deep out to the right): This is one of the toughest throws in football. Not many guys can zip it here, and zip is really unnecessary. This pass is a timing route, Driver ran it a little long based on hash marks, it's pretty tough to tell based on the camera angle however it looked like a poor route. As for Rodgers, he got back into his drop pretty well after the play action, but he bounced a little as he set up which unplanted his back foot. While Favre could make that throw from his back foot (and Jeff George could make it sitting down) most quarterbacks need the leverage, especially when a fifteen yard route is turned into 18. This underthrow looks to be all about footwork, which is why there is some minor arch on the ball.

2nd-1o (2 yard hitch to the left): Again, he doesn't get much zip on the ball but it is due to poor footwork. He should be throwing on the third step but he shuffles a little bit and throws off his back foot. While it is a little easier to throw off your back foot in this situation, your hips are swinging around thus helping your arm come through, the lack of a secure plant foor hurts Rodgers here.

3rd-8 (incomplete pass middle): Blitz comes free up the gut right in Rodgers face. Classic rookie quick release and the ball sails. Poor throw due to pressure.

4th-8 (complete to the right first down): This is a really nice throw, but overall poor execution. He never looks off the safety and pretty much stares Chapman down. Obviously on a out route in one on one coverage that isn't a huge deal, but it is something to work on, and something that was undoubtedly brought up today in the film room.

2nd-9 (incomplete) Nice decision here to throw the ball away. Once the corner didn't bite on the pump (a poorly sold pump) Rodgers rolled out and tried to buy the reciever time to get open. It looked basically like a one receiver route so he made a very good decision to dump it. Glaringly terrible blitz pick up by the running back, linebacker came through almost untouched.

3rd-9 (complete up the middle): Poorly sold play action, quick throw over the middle. Not a lot to say here, couldn't tell what the other receivers were doing.

4th-4 (10 yard completion up the middle): Very nice quick read and throw. This was a presnap decision, you find the end with the gap and you get him the ball quick and dirty. We used to run this play with a fake fumbled snap, worked great. Worked great here as well. Nicely thrown ball, zips it in there but doesn't try to kill anyone.

Everyone in for the Pack at this point is killing me. The guys with some talent look patehticly apathetic and the rest are no talent ass clowns.

2-12 (thrown away): Nice decision, something broke down. He probably could have run it for a yard or two but all in all, a good throw away.

3rd-12 (delay of game): impossible to tell who/what/why

3rd-goal 15: (interception): Well, there was no lack of arm strength there. He whizzed a nice tight spiral into triple coverage and it was picked off. Like most QB's, he throws a nicer ball rolling out to the right. This was a poor read and a bad decision. It was his first bad decision of the game. Seemed like a case of trying to do too much because there wasn't a lot to lose. He didn't rush the throw, didn't really panic, he just decided he thought he could fit it in there and went for it. Poor decision from the rookie, and you can expect more of that until he has about 20 starts or so, that seems to be the point when either you get it or you don't from a decision making standpoint.

2nd-7: (complete to the right): Another roll out, looked very strong. A nicer play action and a very nice throw to the sideline.

1st-10 (flat route): Designed Henderson play, nothing really to say. Executed as well as it can be.

2nd-7 (incomplete): Rushed throw, happy feet. Rodgers sort of anticipated pressure there and overshot Henderson.

And my DVR ended there. Damn.

Overall Analysis:

To be honest, this is pretty much what I expected to find when I heard a few people talking about arm strength. His arm looks fine, he has plenty of zip when he is flushed and when on the run. His problem is with his footwork, something that can easily be corrected since he will have an entire offseason with Bevell to work on him. The offense has somewhat different drop patterns than did Tedfords, and the focus on timing really makes it imperative that a QB has the proper footwork down.

Negatives: Sloppy footwork, throwing unbalanced, poor play action,.

Positives: Strong arm on the run, tightly thrown ball even off back foot, enthusiastic and confident presence, [mostly] good reads.

It was really not close to enough to be able to know what to expect, but looking past the numbers and actually watching the kid play, I am pleasantly surprised. Listening to you folks you would have thought the guy had the arm of Cade McNown and the decision making of Ryan Leaf. I'm not sayin he is going to be even a good quarterback, but in his first test he looked allright. I think once he has the opportunity to really work on his footwork and timing in the offseason he can flourish in this offense.

Just My Thoughts on Rodgers

Maybe I'm missing something, everyone keeps saying Rodgers arm strength is fine, I don't see it. The first two throws he made last night were on NFL type routes. The deep out to Driver that came up short (Driver was wide open) had a noticeable arc on the trajectory and it still came up short. Then he made the throw to the left on a much shorter out and it too arced and it left the WR hanging because it got there late and the WR got whacked because he couldn't turn and make a move. After that all the throws he was allowed to attempt were short over the middle routes, ala Tim Couch. Rodgers also underthrew Lee in the end zone so badly that Lee was not even in the T.V. picture when the pick occurred. He did make a nice throw to Chatman but it was a fade and you could tell Rossley was trying to settle him down. It was almost like a modified deep out route. Any over the top coverage would have gotten that one picked.
Bevell said Rodgers picked up the proper line call when Adalius Thomas blitzed but if he did the RB missed it badly because no one even attempted to slide over to that side.
The Ravens did stop blitzing on the last series, but that wasn't because Rodgers was adept at picking it up and burning them, it was more out of mercy I think.
He did go through his progressions well, you could see that on a couple check downs to the TE. You can tell he's not getting the snaps he needs in practice because everything he did was very deliberate. His footwork in the pocket was just o.k., but the pocket was collapsing around him, so I'll give him a pass on that.
I know I've been spoiled by watching Brett for so long but the kid needs work.
I tried to keep an open mind and objectively compare him to Eli Manning of last year and Chad Pennington of two years ago, in that respect he made the same 2 nice throws out of 10 that Eli did last year. I think he's closer to Pennington then Eli with the arm strength though.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, the game did not look to fast for him. He seemed to grasp everything going on around him (except the blind side hit, which is expected) and did have a nice presence in the pocket. He stood tall and kept his eyes downfield.

Interested to see what you guys thought.

Enough Pain in my life already

When the Score hit 14 to 3 in the first quarter I checked out and turned to my play station(actually the Tsars playstation)for entertainment. Since I am pushing 38 I have watched more than my fair share of bad Packer games so just said the hell with it. Funny thing is in the game I have reached a point where there is a T-Rex that you cannot kill and it keeps eating my ass so it was kind of like watching the Packer game after all.(metaphor's Tom)

Ok the fine crew of the Sherman and Thompson have run the RMS Packers into the big White thing floating ahead of us and we are sinking. Now we have to decide what we want to do. Do we do what the old pre Ron Wolf Packers would have done just rearrange the deck chairs and listen to the Band play on. Or do we accept this ship is going to the bottom fast and get ready to move on and rebuild and change how we do business as a team.(quick note no ship has been lost to icebergs after the Titanic sank due to changes made by the US Coast Guard)

I am with ESK in the lets suffer through a year or two of "real" rebuilding and get the program back on track. I have lived through the 30 years of wandering the desert already. To be honest I have no confidence in the current management to do the right thing no matter where we draft. I believe its time to accept the Brett Favre era is over and we have to move on. Last night was not a fair test for Rogers but tell you this he looked better than Kyle Orton has all year. With a good defense the Packers could win with Rogers.

There are so many holes on this team we need to consider trading down and getting multiple picks instead of pinning our hopes on one guy. Face it Reggie Bush would get killed running behind this offensive line. I don't think one guy is going to save us.

But the first thing that needs to be done is Sherman as to thrown under the bus. If he is allowed to stay we might as well sit down on a deck chair and enjoy the music

Regards,
GBfan

Schadenfreud

Not quite what I'm feeling this morning, but close. There outta be a word that describes misery enjoying the misery of others. Worst blowout ever on Monday Night Football.

But looking ahead to two meaningless games for the Packers, it's time Packer fans start loooking at the future. I'm going to suggest the Packers treat the remaining two games like the pre-season and have Favre only play one quarter each. The games are not only meaningless to the Packers, but they're meaningless to the Bears and the Seahawks, too. Spare Favre's life, keep him for another season, and let the quarterback of the future start getting some experience.

Packers Claim Rod Gardner

No idea why. I guess Thompson and Favre are the only ones who are trying anymore.

Read

Badger Alums Rafalski and Chelios Olympic Bound

Brian Rafalski, who played with Team USA and was a shoo-in for the Olympics, has indeed been named to the 2006 team. Chelios was on somewhat shakier ground as the team is in a bit of a transition to somewhat younger faces, leaving off the older Brian Leech from the defensive squad.

In addition to the two for America
, two former Badgers (Dany Heatley and Curtis Joseph) will also don Canadian sweaters.

Where'd Who Go??

Let me begin by saying I only watched the first quarter of the game last night and then hit the record button on the old DVR and went to dinner. It was pretty obvious what was going to happen and I wanted to see Rodgers play. I am looking forward to watching it later on this afternoon and breaking down his performance. From the article it sounds like he got tossed around a bit and had trouble holding onto the ball. That isn’t entirely unexpected. He was tossed into a game far out of hand behind a team that by all accounts had completely given up. What I will be looking at is his presnap reads and adjustments, release, and pocket presence. I appreciate any input you guys might have into what you saw and I will hopefully have my take up this afternoon or tomorrow. It shouldn’t take long, sounds like he didn’t stay on the field very long.

One thing I do like however, is his post game answers. I have been a big fan of this guy since I saw him on a QB challenge on Fox or CBS or something before the draft. The guy has a star quality and a nice arm. He blew away Smith (wow, talk about struggling…small hands, this guy is already being labeled a bust) and Orton and other also rans. He has been consistently honest and straightforward and has been able to come off as a team player while showing a supreme confidence in his abilities. He didn’t make excuses after the game, blaming himself for an underthrown ball and the inability to put points on the board. He didn’t bitch about blown blocking assignments (sounds like there were plenty against the buzzing Ravens) and he didn’t throw anyone under the bus. In this day and age that is somewhat astounding. Hell, even Grossman was calling out Orton last week.

The second point I want to make about Rodgers is that even if he is a bust, he could potentially save the Packers from making a Mandarich sized mistake. Whoever ends up reaching for Matt Leinert is going to be in for a massive disappointment. I think the Saints are going to end up being that team (organizational incompetence was not swept away with the Superdome). Leinert will go to a struggling team and struggling teams inevitably have shoddy lines. Shoddy lines allow pressure. Leinert has never really faced any pressure and when he has he either has struggled mightily or had the biggest safety valve in the land to dump the ball to. It is too early to give up on Rodgers right now, but if he doesn’t improve next year (and we can assume the Packers won’t improve greatly) they can maneuver to take either Brady Quinn or Vince Young, two guys who have played through adversity and know what it takes to will a team to victory, which is much different than guiding a team to victory.

When it comes down to it, I’ll take an absolutely terrible team once a decade over a mediocre team decade after decade. Oh, sorry NY Jets, didn’t see you over there.

Monday, December 19, 2005

More bad history

48-3 is the worst margin of defeat since 1980. All we can hope for is a Houston win in Week 17, them taking Reggie Bush, and Harlan cleaning house.

Plain and Simple

They QUIT...and it disgusts me!

I am grumpy because of the game

It is 34-3 Ravens at the end of the 3rd quarter as I write this, and I am grumpy because of the game. What a bunch of quitters. And stupid quitters at that-they quit after they already pissed away the #1 pick in the draft.

I am not grumpy because of the game

First, let me apologize for not posting here more frequently. Next, let me apologize for the rant-like quality of what is to follow.

You see, yesterday I saw my favorite team go from a contender to a pretender. From a possible division champ to an also-ran. They’ll be watching the playoffs from home, while there is a strong possibility that their most hated rival, the Washington Redskins, will be in the playoffs.

To add insult to injury, I have had to endure this morning the sympathy of Packer fans. Oh, little of it sincere, to be sure. But even mock sympathy is more than I can bear in my current pain and frustration.

Which is worse: watching the Dallas Cowboys lose a game in the final seconds after controlling the game for 55 minutes? Or watching them get embarrassed in an ass-kicking not seen since Australia beat the Dutch in Olympic baseball. Yes, the Cowboys got kicked in the Down Under Netherlands yesterday, and it wasn’t pretty.

To make matters worse, the Cowboys lost to their hated division foes, the force of darkness in the NFL, with an owner that makes Al Davis look like Santa Claus, I’m talkin’ ‘bout the evil Washington Redskins. A team so vile it can only be liked by members of Congress and people living on the federal payroll. A team where fat fans in drag (The Hogettes) are more attractive than the cheerleaders. And yet, this embodiment of everything wrong with the nation’s capital was able to crush America’s team. And to make matters still worse, the Darth Vader of the team, Joe Gibbs, took pity on the defeated good guys and asked the PA announcer to stop playing a song rubbing in the victory.

Swept by the forces of darkness, the quote of the day was not anything said on television. No, the quote of the day comes from my wife, who asked, “Are you grumpy because of the game?” “I AM NOT GRUMPY BECAUSE OF THE GAME.”

Of course, on the drive into work this morning I had to listen Bob and Brian on "The Hog" have their morning chat with Washington DC sports guy Steve Czaban, another Redskins fan.

Then, coming into the office, the office football geek comes up to me. Now, is it my fault that his fantasy football team has both Julius Jones and Marion Barber on it, and he started both of them because Warrick Dunn was facing the Bears? Was it my fault he listened to me when making his office pool selections when I said this was a revenge match, “a lock?” Was it my fault that when he called his bookie he decided to take the 3 point dog on the road?

“Nice job your Cowboys did on me yesterday.”

“Oh yeah? I hope your #1 draft pick in your fantasy football league next season goes on injured reserve with an advanced case of syphilis. Now leave me alone.”

I am not grumpy. Really.

Rex Grossman Is My Jesus!

Wow, it really doesn't take much to impress those brilliant Bears fans. Grossman comes in, throws for 97 yards and a pick, and is hailed as the greatest thing since Cade Mc...Moses Mor...Kordell Stew... oh forget it, he is the best Bears QB ever! Someone get him some shades and a headband! You only need one quess to know who was all over Grossman's jock this morning.

No matter how many body parts were frozen or how many toes were falling off, the lakefront temperature suddenly was a scorching 100 degrees. Because there was Rex Grossman, a quarterback with an arm and a clue and a far more serious purpose than Kyle Orton, entering a real game for the first time in 15 months and firing up a season-saving space heater for a would-be corpse.

Know what we've been saying about the Bears being a myth, a playoff pretender, a half a team? All the gloom melted and all the stakes changed Sunday night, when Rex in the City debuted in a minus-7 wind chill and warmed the bones of every fan who has waited two decades for a Super Bowl. I'm not suggesting a caravan to Detroit just yet, but with Orton, the Bears had no chance. With Grossman, there's hope.

''Maybe I gave us some momentum,'' he said after the 16-3 victory over the frozen, whiplashed Atlanta Falcons.

No, he administered CPR.


Wow. I sincerely hope back to back losses to Green Bay and Minnesota to end the season cause Mariotti some serious damage, at least enough so that he can no longer type.



Looks like the Washburn homecoming dream dies today. The Mariners are reportedly hammering out the final details in bringing him into the fold. It makes a lot of sense, that division is winnable to whichever team makes a few improvements and I like what the Mariners have done so far. At this point, I would say they are a prohibitive favorite in the division, as other teams have slipped a bit. Reportedly Washburn is getting four years and I imagine the figure will be pretty impressive when it is revealed. (By the way, we may have dodged a bullet considering a depleted Anaheim team let him leave and he is a fly ball pitcher…good for Seattle bad for Milwaukee).

In another homecoming story, Matt Katula will be snapping for the Ravens today. I am sure it’s a hell of a treat for him to play in Lambeau.

Happy Birthday Jake Plummer! Jake has proved to the nation that all it takes to go from goat to hero is cutting down the mistakes and growing a porn stash. Somewhere Ryan Leaf is gluing pubic hair to his face.



As to all the Packer defense bashing…don’t look now but according to NFL.com, the Packers have the #1 pass defense in the league.

Also on NFL.com, there seems to be a it of a Samkon Gado for ROY campaign ramping up.

"It seems to me that a very deserving player is going to get overlooked for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award. Samkon Gado has more total touchdowns (seven) than Heath Miller (six), Carnell Williams (six), and Ronnie Brown (five) so far this season, and he's accomplished that feat in half as many games. Will he gain recognition when the time comes? I sure hope so."


Makes some sense to me. If he can finish strong against three very good defenses in Baltimore, Chicago and Seattle I can see this going somewhere. He is almost assured of 700 yards and probably will have a couple more touchdowns. I don't really see other backs putting up those numbers with the terrible team Samkon has around him. It will be an interesting discussion.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

James we are here for you Bro if you need to talk

Ok I am putting into effect the intervention plan, Jib ESK and Steve need to head over to James house and remove anything which he could use to cause bodily harm to himself.

I will call the good people at Flanners and see what it would cost to replace his TV I am sure it has taken a bullet or two during this Cowboy/Redskin game.

Paul you start working on an insanity defense in case James ends up on the roof with a handgun.

Ched head is your guest room at the new place ready in case we need to spirit James out of the state until the heat cools down?

Remember James we tease because well because your a Cowboy fan. :)

If all else fails do what we sorry ass Packer fans have been doing all year. Keep telling yourself "its only a stupid game, its only a stupid game"

Regards,
GBfan

So The Guy Is A Fargin' EEDJIT, Does He Have To Prove It Daily?

Shanoff runs off at the mouth with his usual bravado, claiming credit for this GEM Of Wisdon:

FANTASY. REALITY.Before the NFL season began, I presented a hypothetical scenario to illustrate how fantasy football has changed the nature of being an NFL fan:Fantasy as the new reality.With most fantasy football leagues into their playoff rounds, let's revisit the hypothetical, because this is the week when it kicks in:Your team is in your fantasy league playoffs. To advance, one of your fantasy players must have a huge game against your real-life favorite team, contributing significantly to your real-life favorite team losing.Would you actually root against your favorite real-life team in order to secure your fantasy-league championship?(For the sake of argument, let's assume that your favorite real-life team has been eliminated from the playoffs. For example, you love the Lions, but to win your fantasy league playoff game, you need Carson Palmer to obliterate them.)My argument then was that even if the majority of fans would never actively root against their own team, enough fans would root against their own team to make it an extremely interesting phenomenon in today's poll and keep in mind that any result other than 100-0 is kind of remarkable.By the way, as I said in August, there's no shame in rooting against your uncompetitive real-life team in favor of your highly competitive fantasy team: It's just the new reality of being an NFL fan.

Last time I checked, my being a fan and the level to which I'm willing to take that obsession is my business. This guy is taking credit for the psyche of the American sports fan. Does anyone have a problem with that? The pretentiousness of this mental midget is astounding.

If I espouse on the conundrum of housewives hating dishwashing should I link to a previous posting, that I will use as evidence of fact? Of course not. Just because I rant once does not mean that rant will prove my point. The guy is an obvious hack. BTW the guy googles himself to see what others say about him. No problem many others do the same. Perhaps a negative link may be in order. Dan Shanoff is predictable, he fancies himself as cutting edge, but that is inaccurate. I can predict every position he will take one hour after each event he may write about. It's easy...back the player and his union...back the agent and his union...follow the ESPN line.


Does an original thought ever cross his mind? No, The New York Times and WaPo govern his edicts. Dan Shanoff is weak.

Quick Major League question for everyone

Since this is a sports bar (hey GB, can I get a Honey Weiss? Thanks), I figure it is the proper place to ask this question. I love the movie Major League, which I am watching right now, but two things have always bothered me. In the top of the 9th in the game against the White Sox, why isn't Jake Taylor in a full crouch? It seems like he is in a half squat/half stand. The other thing occurs in the bottom of the 9th. I don't think Willie Mays Hayes steps on third on the Jake Taylor bunt. Proper technique is for him to hit the corner of the bag, but at no point do I see that foot touch the base. The White Sox should have appealed that.

I'm just curious if I am the only person who has ever been bothered by those two things. I know that it is just a movie, but c'mon, it ain't that hard to put a catcher in a crouch or to get an actor to touch the bag as he rounds it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Chicago Daily News blog compares Kyle Orton to the Big Lebowksi

I don't recomend Chicago news sources too often, especially new ones like the Chicago Daily News, but this is pretty funny. One of the blogs at the site, Big Men, Tight Pants, compares Kyle Orton to the Big Lebowski. Of the 5 comparisons, I thought this one was the funniest:
5) The Dude’s nemesis in the film, “The Jesus”, is a sex offender often clad in skin tight purple clothing – Kyle Orton has the Minnesota Vikings.
Read the rest here.

Simmons on The Artest Soon to be Known as a Former Pacer.

This is interesting, no?

Anyway, here's the team that makes sense: Milwaukee. They have Bobby Simmons, who could be best described as Ron Artest Lite -- good teammate, good defender, reliable shooter, plays 3 positions, and he's decidedly un-crazy. They also have two big men (Dan Gadzuric and Jamaal Magliore) who could be intriguing for the Pacers -- possible upgrades over Scot Pollard and Jeff Foster. Just feels like something could work here. Plus, the city of Milwaukee has already survived Jeffrey Dahmer -- Artest would be a breeze by comparison. I think that's where he ends up. And if that gives him a chance to hang out on Latrell Sprewell's yacht during the summers, all the better.


I assume that Herb would never deal for such a screwed up guy, but if I was the GM and the opportunity presented itself I would pull the trigger on that puppy in a second.

RE: Branyan

I as going to post that Branyan story but got a little caught up in other things, but thanks for reminding me GB. I know you dislike the guy and have can reasonably be considered a Bill Hall fanboy, but there are other things to consider here.

Branyan will not be the starter and has no illusion of being the starter. Jeff Cirillo is currently a utility infielder, and Cory Hart can play (supposedly) the corner position and will be the fourth outfielder. These are, at the moment, the only reserve infielders in the organization with any real pro experience. Bench looks a touch thin no? There is zero power off the bench, and even if Blum makes the squad, the only power he has shown was last year in the spring when he hit something ridiculous like 9 homers. I think, looking at the roster, Branyan is an important part of this team since they let Helms go. I dislike Wes Helms the player as much as anyone, but he would be a nice option at this point. I think the Brewers thought they would be able to get something for Branyan, bullpen help or something, but since there have been no biters, the situation gets a little sticky. If the market hadn’t gotten all nutty I would have liked to see the Crew make a run at Joe Hometown Randa to back up Hall and take his spot at the All Star break when Hall reverts to form…just saying, its possible.

The reason I wanted to write about this however, was this cryptic quote which McCalvy seemingly didn’t follow up on:
He also thinks his relative value has been aided by the tougher steroids policy, which was unanimously approved by players last week. The new policy calls for a 50-game suspension without pay for a first offense, 100 games for a second offense and a lifetime ban for a third, and also includes a test for amphetamines.
"That's going to hurt a lot of players," Branyan said. "But not me. My power has always been legitimate."


So, um Russ, who are you throwing under the bus here? Seems to me he is implying a Brewer is/has been juicing. Nothing will come of this of course, but interesting nonetheless.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Oh I hope they let him go please please please

Hope springs eternal


Regards,
GBfan

Naughty Daunte

Hot off the newswire:
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and three other Minnesota Vikings were charged Thursday with three misdemeanors each for taking part in a bawdy boat party earlier this season on Lake Minnetonka. Culpepper, Bryant McKinnie, Fred Smoot and Moe Williams were charged with indecent conduct, disorderly conduct and lewd or lascivious conduct, according to court papers.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Almost 1/4 of the season report

Right the Milwaukee Bucks are 12-7 second in the NBA Central Division 3.5 behind the Detroit Pistons. While that is pretty impressive that record would get you first in the other two divisions.

They are also an obscene 10-1 against the Eastern Conference which yes is the weaker of the two conferences but still these are the team you play more so that is an outstanding record. Right now the Bucks would be the number 4 playoff team if the season ended today. I know we shouldn't get too excited but there are a number of positive signs pointing to this being a good to great year.

It seems like they are doing a good job of getting Bogut minutes but still letting him grow into the job. At this point I would be surprised if the Bucks don't make the playoffs some where in the 4 -6 slot.

Hopefully this trade me crap that Artest is hitting Indy with will hurt them and help the Bucks

One of the Basketball guys can do a deeper quarter way point of the season post if they want to. It just struck me that they are off to a pretty good start.

Regards,
GBfan

Monday, December 12, 2005

Samkon Gado's First NFL Pass.

The Detroit Lions probably should have won their Sunday night matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Sure, they made several incredibly bad plays that ended up costing them the game, like not trying to kick a FG at the end of the first half, and like Roy Williams dropping a likely touchdown late in the game, and like getting stuffed on 4th an goal at the Packer one yard line. But they also got screwed by the refs.

The bizarre sequence took place just after the aforementioned 4th and 1 stuffing. RB Samkon Gado took a handoff and followed FB Vonta Leach just over the right side, where there was a sizable hole. Unfortunately for Gado, Leach missed his lead block and one of the defensive linemen managed to shed his blocker, and Gado was drilled about one yard deep in his end zone. In a last ditch effort to avoid a safety, he hurled the ball forward with both hands. It landed at about the 2 foot line at the feet of Leach who had turned around, probably to warn Gado that he was about to be hit very hard. While this was going on, Packer lineman Mark Tauscher was called for holding. Replays showed that the holding almost certainly occurred in the end zone. Gado was called for intentional ground, Tauscher for holding (declined originally) and a safety was awarded. At this point, Packer coach Mike Sherman tossed a challenge flag.

What happened next is truly mind boggling. It is laden with officiating mistakes and it may hurt your brain. You've been warned.

Intentional grounding, to the best of my knowledge, is not challengeable, however, the refs used this opportunity to reconsider the play. After discussing the play for what seemed like several hours they decided that Gado was outside the pocket when he threw his "pass" and that he did get it back to the line of scrimmage, and therefore the "grounding" was allowed. I believe that the grounding should have been allowed, but not for that reason. I think that the rule that they cited only applies to the QB (I'm fairly certain that I have seen it called that way before on a halfback option), however Gado did target and eligible receiver (Leach) so I'm OK with it.

They also decided that Tauscher's holding took place outside of the end zone even though at no point during the play was Tauscher outside of the end zone, and his tackle-like block resulted in both he and a Detroit lineman being tied up on the ground several yards deep in the end zone. This penalty should have resulted in a safety.

At no point did they ever actually look at a replay, and Green Bay was not charged with a timeout. They were basically given an extra ten minutes to argue, and somehow, they managed to get the officials to change their minds, even though the officials had basically been correct in the first place.

I'm not sure that I've ever seen anything like it, but I'll take any win at this point.

Detroit is just a complete train wreck at this point. The Packers were sloppy and terrible as well, but at least I saw some signs of life (although Ahmad Carroll is going to give me heart trouble if he isn't replaced). I would love to see Detroit play Houston right now. Together I'm convinced that they could come up with the most creative loss in NFL history.

Well they stoled that one didn't they

Once again the Defense played well above their talent level. Holding the Lions to those two field goals in the first quarter then that heroic goal line stand. Lets give Grady Jackson credit he isn't playing like a man who doesn't want to be here I hope they bring him back next year. Al Harris has had a great year and Cole is a up an comer.

Now the Offense we have said it before and I will say it again Whitticker doesn't belong on an NFL Football Field he is terrible. I thought Favre was going to bitch slap him last night.

While I am happy they won last night I will temper my joy with the knowledge they should have lost. The Refs were just terrible Taush was holding in the Endzone everyone in the Western world could see that. I also have to say it Chris Chambers is 3 times the receiver Turd Ferguson will ever be.

At the moment I believe the Pack has the Third pick. Shame Houston has thrown the last three games and yes I believe they are throwing them three last losses all in the fourth quarter. Houston should have 4 wins and be out of the Reggie Bush sweepstakes lol.

Ok I will make this prediction Pack will lose two of the next three games but cost the Bears the Division with a win on Christmas day. But by doing that they will cost themselves Reggie Bush.

Well argue amongst yourselves lol. Kudos to the Packer fans for filling Lambeu and showing the world we are still the best fans on the planet.

Regards,
GBFan

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Reggie Bush sweepstakes, Week 13 - Packers win the game, lose the sweeps

Houston 10 @ Tennessee 13 - The Texans choked away a 10-3 lead to remain alone in last. Please, please screw up and take Leinart.

Oakland 10 @ NY Jets 26 - Brooks Bollinger just played the Jets out of the sweepstakes (14/26, 119 yards, 1 TD through the air, 6 rushes for 56 yards on the ground). They might get the consolation prize from Texas.

San Francisco 3 @ Seattle 41 - Bad news; the Seahawks didn't look past the Niners.

Detroit 16 @ Green Bay 19 - Scratch the Pack from the Reggie Bush sweepstakes as well. Samkon "Sammy the Bull" Gado doesn't want to be replaced just yet.

Tiebreaker info - first, strength of schedule is used (going into today, the Niners had the higher SOS, which would give the Packers the higher pick), then if that's tied, it goes to the normal conference tiebreaker (which if all things remain equal at 2-12, also favors the Pack at no worse than the #2 pick on the basis of identical conference records and the Niners victory over common-opponent Tampa Bay).

Update #1 - added the SanFran/Seattle final and some tiebreaker info.

Update #2 - added the Detroit/Green Bay final and altered the post time and title some.

Sammy the Bull, quarterback?

On a piss-poorly-designed and -executed play from the Packers' own goal line, Samkon Gado had the presence of mind to intentionally fumble the ball out of the end zone and past the line of scrimmage on the fly to avoid the safety (it was recovered by the block-whiffing Vonta Leach). The initial ruling was a declined holding penalty outside the end zone on Mark Tauscher (never mind he was 3 yards deep in the end zone and it thus should have been ruled a safety) and an accepted intentional grounding in the end zone. Sherman threw the challenge flag, and upon further review (no replay, so no charged challenge), the refs ruled Gado outside of the tackle box, and that his fumble/pass was a legal, incomplete pass.

That heads-up play saved the game for the Pack. Packers win! Packers win! PACKERS WIN!!!!

Time to renew my call to take away the tickets of scalping season-ticket holders

When Roy Freaking Williams does a Lambeau Leap into a copse of Lions fans AT LAMBEAU, that's beyond ridiculous.

If you're going to tonight's game

...You might want to check this out.
ESPN: The Truck, the cable sports network's interactive experience for fans, will be parked a few blocks from Lambeau Field before Sunday's Packers game against the Detroit Lions.

Among other things, the 53-foot, 18-wheeler includes a "SportsCenter" desk replica. Fans can take home an "audition" DVD of themselves on that set.
...The truck will be parked from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Patriot Mortgage Services parking lot, 1241 Lombardi Access Road, Green Bay.

The truck is in town because ESPN will televise the game at 7:30 p.m. People without cable or satellite still can see the game because it also will be broadcast by WFRV, Channel 5.

Among other interactive attractions in the truck is ESPN The Magazine, with fans being able to take home a picture posing for the cover; a kiosk with new video games; and ESPN Classic/SportsCentury, featuring special moments and people in sports, including a Hall of Fame.

Admission is free.

I thought this might happen

After seeing the Badger Hockey team lost to last place Michigan Tech Friday night I had the feeling that the Carebears might not be the only team to be spanked in the Kohl Center Saturday.

Well I was right the Badger Mens Hockey team were not looking past Tech Saturday night winning as a number one ranked team should over a last place team. 7-0 was the final score. I think its good they got a quick reminder that they are only human at this stage of the season. It will help them keep thier minds on the ice. It has to be hard when your the number one team to not just assume your going to win. You want a bit of swagger but every now and then its good to have a game like Friday night so everyone gets refocused.


Regards,
GBfan

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Badgers defeat Carebears 77-63

Dateline Kohl center today a superior Wisconsin Basketball team defeated the newest sacrificial lamb of the Big East, the Marquette University Carebears. The Badgers also easily covered the 9 point spread on the game. What we have here is two teams going in opposite directions lol going to be a long long long long year for you carebear fans out there.

I love it when the good guys win.

Here we go Carebears Here we go Here we go Carebears here we go :)

Regards,
GBfan

Friday, December 09, 2005

It's too easy this week.

Take the Chiefs (+3) over the Cowboys,
and the Bears (+6) over the Steelers.

Merry Christmas.

Why No Clement?

There have been slight rumblings about why the Brewers didn’t pull the trigger on Matt Clement. Someone brought it up in the comments and I think it should be addressed.

First, Matt Clement does not want to be a Brewer. He made that clear last year when the Brewers were willing to give him a better overall package than the Red Sox, but he went to Boston. It’s understandable if you think he just wanted to win a championship or whatever, but that isn’t exactly how the folks who know took it. He dislikes Milwaukee and did not want to be a Brewer, I assume the same holds true.

Second, the Brewers are not in a position to win the division next season. Realistically I would like to see them contend for the division, or at least the wild card but with the shaky defense (Hardy a bigger concern than Hall, come on ched head!?!) and an inexperienced lineup, I expect them to be +/- five games from last year and the rest of the NL (in general) to be a lot better. With the things the Braves and Mets have done, the wild card could be extremely tough. Given this, paying a pitcher who got hit in the face and was never the same $19.3 million for 2 years of service would handcuff the Brewers and Melvin.

Third, in the end, the deal was for Jackson, a left handed bat with pop, and bullpen help. Bush may make a run at the fifth spot in the rotation but even if he doesn’t, he will help in the pen.

The big deal was getting a guy with tremendous upside in Jackson. He will be stating his career probably as the third starter in 2007. Matt Clement would be ending his Brewer career as the second starter in 2007. I’ll take the former any day of the week. Jackson is only 22 and will be, almost a can’t miss, the second big starter necessary to make a strong playoff run. A staff headed by Sheets, Jackson, Capuano, Hendrickson, X could be incredibly dominant in 2007. The Brewers will have to resist the temptation to bring up Jackson this year and let him grow as the #3 pitcher in AAA and bring him up with Hendrickson in 2007.

Clement would have been one of those handcuff signings that Sal Bando would have made. A nice splash that would have made casual observers happy and made the die hards wring their hands. Signing Clement would have required the Brewers to put all their eggs in the 2007 basket, and restart the rotation in 08. This way, the Brewers rotation will just start to blossom in 07 and 08, and could be special for years to come.

This was the right move and the Brewers got as much as you can expect for a .280 under 20 HR first basemen. Despite the hype and fan love, Overbay was/is not a special player, he was just a very consistent player on an incredibly inconsistent team. The Brewers got a steal from a team that has been reaching and mortgaging its future and we should all be jumping for joy.

Doug Melvin is the new Ron Wolf.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Oh the possibilities!

The Brewers have a stacked outfield. Granted Krynzel has plummeted lately, but he is a guy who can be kept on the bench andh elp out in many ways, but the other guys have real trade value. Cruz, Jenkins, Clark, Hart, Gross, Gwynn Jr and Brad Nelson are all on the 40 man roster right now (Lee is the only OF untouchable). I am guessing the Brewers acquired Gross to not only add depth, but add trade possibilities both for today (unlikely) and at the All Star break. If Jenkins can come out on fire, look for him to go mid season if not earlier to free up money and room to season a younger kid. I think we have to look at next year as a seasoning year for 2007, when the Crew will be going full boar. I still think the Brewers win 85ish games next year, but with the inexperience of the infield, you have to expect some very real growing pains. Here is the lineup as I see it, and if the Crew gets moving on a quantity (OF and pitching prospects) for quality (starting pitching, bullpen help, catching prospects) trade today, I will update accordingly.

1 – Clark CF
2 – Weeks 2B
3 – Lee RF
4 – Fielder 1B
5 – Jenkins LF
6 – Hall 3B
7 – Hardy SS
8 – Clark C
9 – Sheets, Capuano, Davis, Ohka, Bush
Long Relief – Helling
Middle Relief – Capellan, Eveland, Wise, Adams
Set Up – Kolb
Closer – Turnbow
Bench – Moeller, Cirillo, Branyan, Gross, Hart, Cruz

I am a big fan of that roster, but I think Branyan and some outfielders will be dealt for either bullpen or middle infield help.

A mini-Sexson?

First let me say that my damn social calendar got in the way of scooping you on this, which angered me greatly. I was sitting at a regulars party for a bar on Brady when I got the call and naturally I thought of you guys immediately. Namely, I thought “which one of those bastards is going to beat me to this.”

First, I am luke warm on the trade. It bolsters the one spot where the Brewers aren’t deep, young pitching. Dave Bush, as I mentioned yesterday, had a bit of a rough go last year and got killed by left handed hitters. He is a big guy, at 6-2, and only 26

Banks had a bit of a rough rookie outing, and the stat which worries me is that he only went about 5.5 innings per start. He gave up 142 hits in 136 innings. However, I think the Brewers have a pretty damn good track record of evaluating pitching so I am willing to bet this guy will be contributing to the rotation by the All Star break, after working a bit with guru Mike Maddux and will probably develop into a reliable 3 or four. He is young, big, and has good command. It seems he had a bit of an Obermueller complex, allowing himself to get rattled. Of everything, that worries me the most. You can’t coach confidence.

Jackson (the player to be named later after the rule 5) is the #6 prospect in the Toronto system according to John Sickels. I like him a lot. The Blue Jays gave him a bit of the Nick Neugebauer treatment, really pushing him hard through the system and his numbers suffered because of it. It wouldn’t be a terrible idea for the Brewers to send him to Huntsville to start the season, make sure he maintain his confidence, and move him up to AAA if he is ready. Don’t expect to see this guy this year, actually, hope to not see this guy this year. He automatically becomes one of the Brewers top prospects and could figure huge into the 2007 season, which is when I believe the Brewers will be ready to be a very real power.

Gabe Gross was an interesting addition. It is obvious the Brewers had no interest in Hillenbrand, a very smart move. Sickels has Gross as the #12 prospect in Toronto, and he grades out pretty much as a AAAA guy, the dreaded tweener. The most important thing, however, is that there will be no pressure on him. Had he stayed in Toronto he probably would have become the scape goat for their lack of left handed production. This way, he fills the spot of a left handed contact-with-power bat lost with Overbay. He will be fighting with guys like Cruz and Hart for a big league roster spot. He had a ridiculous spring training last year, but was unable to repeat that in the summer. He still hit almost .300 with a solid on base percentage.

The Brewers really got a TON for Overbay. They got two guys who could be the tail of their rotation for years to come, solid guys who will really compliment Sheets for the long haul. It isn’t necessarily something to get excited about, and it is more of an insiders trade, somewhat like the Sexson trade, which will potentially pay massive dividends in the future.

I think the Brewers will make one more significant move, maybe not til after the holidays, and get more bullpen help for Branyan (thus the addition of Gross, the left handed bat). The Kolb move might allow them to keep Branyan, but I hope not.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Overbay traded to Blue Jays

Just heard about this Fox Sports is reporting Lyle is going to Toronto details

Ok ESK is this a good deal?

night all
GBfan

Some Packer thoughts for this coming Sunday

This Sunday will be a test of Packer fandum, It will be interesting to see if every seat in the house is full. You have a late Sunday night game on what is going to be a freezing cold night and two really bad football teams. My guess is a lot of people will be given tickets by their friends who are season ticket holders. I have already checked the really fraking cold game at Lambeu Field box on my life to do list(Last years lost to Jacksonville) so I will be watching from the comfort of my easy chair.

This may be the last game the Pack wins all year. Of the last 4 games this is their best chance at a win, you have a dome team which is disarray coming in to play on what will be "Frozen Tundra" of course this means Detroit will win going away lol.

Anyone want to set the over/under on INT's thrown by Brett lol. I hate to say it but just like most Brewers seasons before this last one I just want to get the Packer season over with. Then we can fire Sherman and hire Mooch and really get this death spiral started. Its the 1970's all over again.

Oh well our time to play the role of bottom feeders it cant last for 30 years right lol

Regards,
GBfan

Kolb for Obermueller

In a ludicrously drawn out move (seriously about three weeks in the making) the Brewers have finally gotten Danny Kolb back from the Braves for Wes Obermueller.

Realistically, this is a no lose situation for the Brewers. Obermueller was not going to figure into the plans for next year as anything other than a long reliever, a role which Eveland, Helling, and any number of young up and comers can fill as well as Wes. They gave up a guy whose only role would have been mop up duty for a guy with great potential. If Kolb can regain any of his peak form, he could be a lights out eigth inning guy. Better still, with the potential talent in the Brewers pen (remember, I said potential talent) there is no pressure on Danny to perform. He gets a clean slate and the Brewers gain a (theoretically) great back of the rotation guy.

MARCH MADNESS: EVERY GAME FREE!!

I am a fan of CBS. I like some of their TV shows, big fan of How I Met Your Mother, I like Simms and I like cbssportsline. Today, I fell in love with CBS.

This year, CBS has shifted NCAA March Madness on Demand to an ad-supported service in an effort to gain more viewers. The move is in line with CBS' online strategy in news and elsewhere.

"We felt it was time to continue the evolution to an ad-supported free model that will be the biggest growth down the road," said Michael Aresco, senior vice president of programming at CBS Sports.

In addition to the games, there will be streaming video available of news conferences before and after the games, as well as interviews with players and coaches. Games in the Web viewer's local markets will be blacked out, much as the NCAA tournament coverage on a DirecTV subscription package.

"What we're looking to do is create as many platforms for our content as possible as long as we don't see any significant erosion to CBS Sports," Aresco said.

CBS Digital Media chief Larry Kramer said that the announcement was indicative of what's happening in the media industry and the maturing of broadband.


Key line: ad supported free model. All out of market games will now be available, FOR FREE!, online. Made my day...Go UConn!

Mr. Anna Benson to Royals?

We all remember Anna, the wife of Mets pitcher Kris. He found her in a strip club somewhere, made her his wife and took her to Pittsburgh. He was subsequently traded to New York where she appeared on some radio show prodly proclaiming that if she ever caught Kris cheating on her, she would sleep with the entire team, including the groundskeepers. (Whispers are that this was a big selling point in GM Omar Minaya's wooing of free agents). Anyway, the couple may be heading to Kansas City, and Matt Stairs has reportedly already hired a bevy of high class hookers to tempt Kris.


This was all just an excuse to bring back, at least for this week, whe Humoday tradition! Anna Benson ladies and gentlemen...

Whispers From Dallas...

Rumors are flying this morning, some more concrete than others. Pending a physical the Cubs have aquired their center fielder and leadoff man, Juan Pierre, improving their lineup immensely. They are also looking at getting Milton Malcontent Bradley, who would probably thrive for two years with Dusty as his mentor. This would greatly improve the team in my opinion, and make an Abreau for Prior deal ridiculous.

Funny man Steve Klein is again on the move, this time going to San Francisco from Baltimore for the pitch tipping back of the rotation disaster LaTroy Hawkins. Maybe the guys in the American League haven’t heard about his glove giveaways, but since I have, I doubt they haven’t.

Pirates are out of the Overbay hunt, as they moved lefty Dave Williams to Cincy fort he Mayor, Sean Casey. I like the way this lineup is shaping up. They have incredible balance, with Jason Bay locked up and the middle of their infield solid, they look to be pretty darn good (.500 or so) especially if Jack Wilson hits like he did the year before last. That rotation anchored by my boy Duke and Oliver Perez can be something special.

Boras is still being pretty damn silent. No news on Washburn, other than that the Angels have zero interest in resigning him, nothing on Damon, nothing on Weaver. In addition, Boras has made his closer, Trevor Hoffman, a bundle of money by just hanging tight and letting teams froth at the mouth for his services, playing the waiting game will work for him, but killed the two best available free agent catchers.

Nomar to the Yankees? To play center field?!? It’s out there. Also, Nomar to the Blue Jays. Looks like that whole one year $2 million deal Nomar was looking at last week is quickly turning into two or three years and twice the iron per because of the diverse cast of characters interested in him.

Olerud retires. I was sort of hoping the Crew would pick him up once the Sox inevitably dropped him to try and coach up Fielder and be a defensive first basemen for late in games.

Speaking of the Brewers…

Overbay to Toronto for Shea Hillenbrand and second year pitcher David Bush? Throwing Hillenbrand in the deal makes sense, until you realize he is an awful defensive first basemen. Daivid Bush is a big kid with a lot of promise, but he got eaten alive by left handed hitting last year. I would personally be disappointed if this was the big move, and Bush would probably struggle to make the rotation ahead of Helling or Eveland (who will supposedly get a shot this spring).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

12-0-1

The Colts are heading towards a possible perfect season and endless comparisons to the 1972 Miami Dolphins. And anytime the 1972 Miami Dolphins come up in stories, so to does one of my biggest pet peeves: The phrase, "The only undefeated team in NFL history." You can accurately call the Dolphins the only perfect team in NFL history, you can call them the only undefeated and untied team in NFL history, but you cannot call them the only undefeated team in NFL history. The 1929 Green Bay Packers were also undefeated at 12-0-1.

Javon Walker Fires Rosenhaus

Details here.

Belated Baseball: Sickels Top 20 Prospects

I totally forgot about this but as I was scourign the web trying to find the catcher I want in a deal with any of the teams interested in Overbay, I stumbled on Mr. Sickels (might as well be Mr. Minor Leagues) pre-season break down of the best prospects in Milwaukees farm system. No surprise Fielder and Weeks are one and two. The best part was the wrap up:

The Brewers have a bright future if their pitching holds up. It wouldn't surprise me if they won their division next year, at least if the Cardinals start to show their age.


Pretty pretty pretty good.

Baseball Season Begins!

Okay, so I'm a day late, but yesterday was all about the World Baseball Classic (or whatever they are calling it) and Buck Martinez, and it sort of seemed like people didn't want to step on what eventually could become one of the biggest moments in baseball historty.

ll be listening to mlb homeplate on XM all morning (they are live from winter meetings so have literally up to the second updates) so stop by often this morning to hear all the big news. This morning the breaking news was that the Blue Jays locked up another pitcher, giving A.J. Burnett a loooong (5 years $55 million) contract to a man with a career losing record and incredible stuff. NL pitchers moving to the AL have struggled lately so this signing might be a Pavano sized bust. In division news, the Cardinals shored up their depth signing Gary Bennet to back up the backstop and utility man Deivi Cruz. These are the types of moves GM’s pride themselves on, and while neither of these guys are the caliber of insider signings that Grudzielanek was last year, they could prove important, especially on the defensive side. The best news this morning is that the Cardinls lost out to the Blue Jays in getting Burnett and that Matt Morris might be heading out of Slou.

In former beloved Brewer news, Mark Loretta will reportedly be traded (possibly as early as today) to the Red Sox. Brilliant move on their part, shoring up the infield and bringing a great guy into the clubhouse.

Ned Yost is going to try and be on the morning radio show with Mark Patrick and the man of the hour, Buck Martinez in a few minutes. Talks are starting to heat up with Overbay, as the Pirates, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Orioles are all trying to pry him away. It seems all the “we can hold him til the all star break” talk is having the desired effect, as teams are battling each other to get him. Kip Wells, Mark Redman, Matt Clement and any number of young prospect pitchers are what teams are offering. I haven’t had time to look at the young catching but with the Pirates losing Kendall last year, the Red Sox possible going with Mirabelli as an every day guy I can’t imagine the Pirates or Sox are very strong behind the dish. Hidden in the Overbay talk is the shopping of Russel Branyan, who will probably bring in a middle to late reliever. It would be ann important deal to make and could really strengthen and add experience to a bullpen in need of consistency and playoff hunt experience.

Boras has been unusually silent and seems to be focusing most of his attention on trying to convince people Johnny Damon deserves a 7 year deal. Anyone who actually gives this guy seven years deserves to be called an “idiot.”

Cubs targeting Pierre, Bradley and an off the wall Abreau for Prior deal.




Ned Yost this morning:

- Sheets will be an important part of Team USA in the baseball World Cup
- Sheets rehab going perfect
- Stressed Fielders minor league option (toeing company line: not pressing to move Lyle, need a really good offer, mentioned relief and starting pitching)
- Weeks in for breakout year, Fielder will be “with work, an average defender at first base” not exactly glowing
- Yount and Svuem there to improve defense, compares Hardy to Yount defensively
- No good news, but Yost is a fantastic interview.

I spent the weekend in Minnesota watching the greatest Badger hockey team since 1988 beat the hell out of the Gophers. The Badgers outplayed the Gophers for 110 of the 120 minutes in the two games. Up 4-1 on Friday night, the Badgers let up in the last ten minutes allowing two more which really pissed me off, since this was the first time all year Bucky has allowed more than 2 goals. In reality, Minnesota had a ton of scoring opportunities in the last two minutes and probably should have tied it, but Elliott played incredible (as he has all year, which is why he is the early season Hoby Baker favorite). Saturday was total utter domination and the Badgers proved they combine a above average offense with one of the greatest defenses I have ever seen. I was literally in awe, as were most of the obnoxious Gopher fans who literally had nothing to say after their team got whipped up and down the ice. The 8 point lead the Badgers have in the WCHA, along with this weekends games against Michigan Tech (at least 3 points are necessary) will basically lock the title for the Badgers. This is going to be a special season, and the Frozen Four is in Milwaukee! Get your tickets ASAP.

Correction lol

Counting the SeaHawk blow out of the iggles last night 13-0 in the NFL over the last two weeks lol

Regards,
GBFan

Monday, December 05, 2005

Out Of The Loop

Sorry guys but I moved into my new digs on Thursday and won't have cable or internet until Tuesday. Down in D.C. last week so I couldn't even access the Bar. This is my first chance back at the office so I'm getting caught up. Missed the challenge on Thursday but heck yea I would have taken the 6....and you would have beaten my ASS. Black Saturday for the Black Knights.
With that win the Seamen (ha ha) take an overall 50-49-7 lead in the series. Bobby Ross has the Knights pointed in the right direction though so I expect better things in the future, hows that for a wait til next year whine.
I'll be in and out of the bar for the next week or two while I get the house in order but for now I'm just really really happy to no longer be a Marylander and am now a full fledged Pennsatuckian, that's what the blue-state guys call us uneducated hicks from the wilds of Southwestern Penn.

One Nitpicky Point About The Packer Game.

I doubt that this would have mattered very much, and had Mike Sherman noticed the mistake he could have challenged it, so it's also partially his fault, but that botched handoff between Favre and Gado was actually an incomplete forward pass, and should have been ruled as such. When the Bear interior linemen blew up the play they stopped Favre from handing the ball to Gado when Gado was still behind him. Instead, Favre ended up trying to pitch the ball forward, to no avail.

Refs are bad about this. In the Kansas City-Denver game Trent Green bounced a ball on a WR screen to Dante Hall. The refs immediately blew the ball dead, but the pass was clearly backwards.

Whether or not a pass is forward is sort of a big deal, after all.

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