Archive for September, 2010
WATERCOOLER CHAT: REDS WIN DIVISION, DANTONIO HEART ATTACK, FITZPATRICK AT BILLS’ HOME, LEBRON ALPHA DOG
In baseball, after 15 years, finally some good news for the Cincinnati Reds. They have flown under the radar this season, but actually have a very good team — one that could compete for a World Series ring. And now… they’ll get their chance. Last night against the Houston Astros, Cincy’s slugger Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home-run shot in the bottom of the ninth to send the Reds to the playoffs. Wow! This team is used to finishing in last or second to last place. To win the division — now that’s something special. Hopefully, the Reds can make some serious noise in the playoffs. Cincinnati 3, Houston 2.
In college football, Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio recently suffered a heart attack. The Spartans have a strong team this year, and could compete in a major bowl. Well, it looks like the team will have its coach back on Saturday against #11 Wisconsin. However, because Dantonio is unable to roam the sidelines and physically exert himself, he will be coaching the game from the press box. Dantonio said he plans to recover from his heart attack just like any player would recover from any injury — by easing into it. He also joked about eating more vegetables, saying at a press conference, “At last check, I think I’ve had six of my eight helpings of vegetables [today]”
And in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills recently released their season’s starting quarterback Trent Edwards. The Bills opted to go with Harvard man Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, who actually had a fantastic game against New England last week. But, just a few days after his dismissal, Edwards has landed a new gig as back-up quarterback in Jacksonville. Current Jaguars QB Gerrard has been shaky this year, and having a back-up with Edwards’ experience could prove valuable. Plus, the Bills will play the Jags in Week 5, and the intelligence that Edwards will have for the coaching staff will prove invaluable.
Finally, in the NBA, the Miami Heat had their first loose practice session yesterday. And this wasn’t the fun-loving, big-smiling Big 3 we saw during the off-season. No. What we saw was a highly-focused intense LeBron James. He was barking orders at people, including fellow Big 3 member Dwayne Wade. Wade and James even had an argument. “That’s just me”, James said in a post-practice interview. However, many believe that James’ bossing around of Wade is him trying to show he’s the alpha-dog here and THEY are the support staff. He wants the headlines to read that LeBron James led the Heat to a title — not Wade. This experiment might end badly.No comments
WATERCOOLER CHAT: MNF SHOWDOWN, SF 49ERS FIRE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, ANTHONY STARTING SEASON AS NUGGET
Elsewhere in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers have had an abysmal side to their season. Their offense looks sloppy and lackluster. They decided to make an immediate change by firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. Apparently, Raye’s offensive play calling was poorly communicated and unimaginative. They were predictable, and, therefore, easy to stop. The Niners quarterbacks coach, Mike Johnson, will take over as offensive coordinator and will hopefully bring some life back to this putrid offense. They have a solid running game with Frank Gore, but they need to ignite their passing attack. Alex Smith is capable of good things, especially with weapons like tight-end Vernon Davis and last year’s high wide-receiver draft pick, Michael Crabtree. He just needs someone smart calling the shots.
This weekend, it was Week three in the NFL.
The New Orleans Saints are the defending Super Bowl champions. They’ve started off the season 2-0, even though they narrowly won each game. They may have a new challenger in the NFC South — the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons lost a defensive struggle in Week 1 to the Steelers, but absolutely pulverized the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. Could they upset the Saints? Drew Brees got going early, hitting Jeremy Shockey for a touchdown, but then Matt Ryan, aka Matty Ice, and the Falcons got going with their passing attack. It all came down to the end, when with the Falcons winning, the Saints’ Garrett Hartley booted a field goal to send the game to OT. It looked like the Saints were going to take the game, but the same guy who sent them to overtime, Hartley, MISSED THE EASY FIELD GOAL! The Falcons got another chance, and their kicker, Matt Bryant, kicked the game-winning field goal in OT. The Falcons may have arrived. Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24.
Elsewhere, in Kansas City, the Chiefs were looking to go 3-0. Make it known that the Chiefs have been the doormat of the NFL for the last five years. This season they’re playing with swagger, have an improved defense, and, most importantly, their stadium is FULL. These KC fans go crazy for the Chiefs when they’re good, and that can definitely be an advantage. However, they would have to knock off the 49ers, who gave the Saints a severe headache last week, and looked to be much improved. Well, none of that showed this week. The Niners looked horrible, and the Chiefs… they looked fantastic. Matt Cassel was the quarterback they wanted him to be, throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Their running backs, Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, each had close to 100 yards. KC is a very dynamic team and just might unseat the Chargers and win the AFC West. Kansas City 31, San Francisco 10.
Finally, on Sunday night football, it was what most expected to be a defensive battle between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Neither teams’ offense is really trustworthy, and this was sure to be a simple battle of toughness. There were points everywhere. Suddenly both the Jets’ and Dolphins’ offense clicked into gear, and it seemed to be a contest of which team would score last. Mark Sanchez finished with 256 yards and three touchdowns and the Dolphins’ Chad Henne finished with 363 yards and two touchdowns. Those are big passing numbers for the Dolphins. But, in the end, the Jets scored a touchdown in the last two minutes forcing Miami to drive the length of the field. And they did just that, with Brandon Marshall running it down to inside the 10. Could the Dolphins tie the game. Unfortunately, high-pressured red zone offense is not the Dolphins’ specialty, and their QB, Chad Henne, jus couldn’t connect with one of his receivers in the end zone. Game… over. Jets win — a heartbreak for a Dolphins team with high hopes. This only confirms that the NFC East will be a 3-way power struggle between the Jets, Dolphins, and Patriots. NY Jets 31, Miami 23.No comments
No big news out of the NFL today, which made way for other sports.
First up, in college football is was a featured Thursday night game between #19 Miami Hurricanes and Pittsburgh. Coming into the season, Pitt was favored to do some real damage in the Big East, even win it. They had a Heisman running-back candidate, and seemed to be poised to do some damage. However, they lost their opening game to Utah, and quickly saw their hopes and dreams disappear. Well, now they are 1-1, and looked to beat Miami on their own turf. Pitt was even favored to win the game. Unfortunately, it didn’t go down that way as Miami put an absolute stomping on the Panthers. Miami quarterback JaCory Harris had a spectacular game with 248 yards and two touchdowns. Miami still considers themselves a contender for a BCS bowl and plans to continue to crush the competition. Miami 31, Pitt 3.
And in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors fell under new ownership this summer, and with that comes changes. Their new owner, Mandalay Entertainment’s Peter Guber’s first mission was to get a new coach. Don Nelson has coached the Warriors the past few seasons, but turned 70 this year. More importantly, this Warriors’ team has a roster that is not suitable for Nelson’s fast-paced style of play. They will have to learn a new system, and it’s better that their new coach, Keith Smart, starts teaching that system with a healthy 5 weeks before the season. The main question in the coaching change is why didn’t it happen sooner.
Finally, in baseball, another record was set. Against the Toronto Bluejays, the Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki became the first player in American League history to have ten 200-hit seasons in a row. He’s currently tied with Pete Rose (also with ten) who spent his entire career in the National League. Unfortunately, Seattle failed to win the game or even score a run. Suzuki is still one of the best players in the game. The only tradgedy for Suzuki is that he’s spent most of his career playing for Seattle. Sure, they were good when Suzuki first got to the league, but they’ve been terrible the past five years. Suzuki is handsomely paid in Seattle (one reason for his stay), and has legions of Japanese fans (another reason), but one would hope that Suzuki might switch teams and finally get the World Series ring he deserves. Toronto 1, Seattle 0.No comments
In the NFL, after all the off-the-field drama surrounding Darrelle Revis this off-season, it looks like the Jets will be without him for at least a week or two. Revis suffered a slight hamstring injury last Sunday against the Patriots. It happened as Revis pulled up a yard short on Randy Moss’ one-handed touchdown grab. Without Revis in the line-up, the Jets are a different team. Revis is their shutdown corner. He’s responsible for taking out the other team’s best receiver. That forces the opposing quarterback to throw to inferior targets, or even worse, completely rely on the run game. The Jets will face the Miami Dolphins, who have their own star receiver in Brandon Marshall. Marshall could have quite a big game against the Jets on Sunday, unless the Jets other corner, Kyle Wilson, can shut him down.
Elsewhere in the NFL, the Chargers’ Vincent Jackson was looking for a new home. He needed to be traded by Wednesday’s afternoon trade deadline in order to be active for Week 5. The Chargers received a number of offers for Jackson, but didn’t like any of them. Apparently, the Vikings offered a second round draft pick and some other goodies, but the Chargers weren’t biting. Because San Diego let the trade deadline pass, Jackson is out for at least the first 6 weeks of the season. Many teams could seriously use Jackson’s big wide-receiver abilities, namely Minnesota and Washington who have very good quarterbacks but no great targets. But, for now, Jackson will stay on the sidelines.
And in Philadelphia, since the Eagles have decided to start Michael Vick over Kevin Kolb on Sunday, other teams are sniffing out that the Eagles are ready to go with Vick for the remainder of the season. Thus, reportedly, several teams have contacted the Eagles to try and obtain Kevin Kolb. Kolb is an above average quarterback and would be highly efficient on a team that just needs an offensive leader of some sort. The Raiders, Cardinals, and Bills come to mind. Kolb has a great arm and led the Eagles to a string of wins in Donovan McNabb’s absence. Most likely the Eagles will retain Kolb, especially since Michael Vick is no sure thing, but perhaps this is a chance for Philly to deal Kolb in exchange for some much needed help on defense.No comments
the NFL, the New Orleans Saints may have escaped a narrow loss against the 49ers, but it did come with a price. It looks like they lost their versatile weapon, Reggie Bush, for at least 6 weeks… maybe more. Bush broke his fibula, and when he’s not in the offense, it takes away a serious component to their typically explosive offense. When Bush is on the field, defenses aren’t sure whether he will run or run out for a pass. It confuses their coverage, and gives quarterback Drew Brees a sneaky little target anywhere on the field. Sure, the Saints will still be ok, but in a league this competitive, you need everything you’ve got to obtain a back-to-back Super Bowl ring. Hopefully, the Saints will get him back sooner than later.
Elsewhere in the NFL, NY Jets wide-receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested for a DUI. Edwards was brought in mid-way last season to revive the Jets passing attack. Going into this season, Edwards was supposed to have a major role as the #1 receiver until newly acquired Santonio Holmes is able to join the team after his 4-week suspension. However, even though Edwards got in some serious trouble with the law, the Jets still intend for him to play on Sunday. His only penalty — he won’t start. Seems like a weak enforcement of a serious offense.
And it looks like the Philadelphia Eagles have some uncertain upper management. Just yesterday at around noon, Eagles coach Andy Reid announced that Kevin Kolb would be the Eagles starting quarterback on Sunday. But, just one day later, it was reported that Michael Vick will actually be the starter. To be clear, Kevin Kolb passed all of his concussion examinations. He was cleared to play, so this decision has nothing to do with his physical health. This choice is all about talent level, and right now, the Eagles think Vick is the way to go in that department. Plus, by starting Vick, the Eagles are much more relevant to the media, and will have a greater possibility of getting TV time, which means more money.
Finally, in the NBA, Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony has recently announced that he wants to be traded. It was uncertain where he might end up, but just yesterday Anthony mentioned the two teams atop his wish list: New York and Chicago. If Carmelo went to the Knicks, that would put him back in his hometown, and pair him with Amar’e Stoudemire. That alone is a great team, but there’s rumor that superstar point guard Chris Paul might also try to go to New York and form a rival Big 3 to compete with the boys in Miami. Then again, if Carmelo chooses Chicago, they instantly become a title contender with Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah in place. The end result will be fascinating regardless.No comments
In the NFL, it was a much anticipated Monday Night Football between the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers. Going into the game, everybody thought it would be an absolute romp. The Saints were coming off an impressive opening day victory against the Minnesota Vikings, and the 49ers had just received a shellacking from the Seattle Seahawks. In fact, coming out of the pre-season, all anybody could talk about was the 49ers defense. To see the Seahawks shred them made many experts seriously doubt the Niners this year.
The game started with a 49ers safety, putting the Saints up immediately 2-0. And when a safety happens, it’s usually an indicator that a team is discombobulated. Then, Drew Brees marched down the field and found Reggie Bush in the end zone for a touchdown. Then, things started to change as the 49ers offense finally started to click. The Saints simply had no answer for Niners running back Frank Gore. He just kept driving it forward and picking up first downs. Gore finished the night with 112 yards and 2 touchdowns.
As the game reached it’s climax, the 49ers had just one more chance to tie it up. And, in unbelievable fashion, they stormed down the field and got a Frank Gore TD. Then, Niners quarterback Alex Smith was able to convert a 2-point conversion to tie up the game. Wow — the Niners and the Saints tied with just under 2 minutes to go. Unfortunately for San Fran… the Saints are led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league: Drew Brees. He drove the Saints down the field with ease, and then hit Marques Colston on a long pass to set up an easy game-winning field goal. Saints are 2-0 and the Niners are definitely alive. New Orleans 25, San Francisco 22.
Elsewhere in the NFL, it appears to be the season of the back-up quarterback. The Philadelphia Eagles are already going with Michael Vick, but Vick has publicly stated that he is OK being Kevin Kolb’s back-up. This isn’t exactly the showrunner Michael Vick we know. He’s not used to being second fiddle. But Vick said that Kolb is the team’s leader, and that he will do his best to keep things moving until he comes back. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers have decided to start rookie Jimmy Clausen out of Notre Dame next week after 2 very poor showings from Matt Moore, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will replace Trent Edwards in Buffalo. Buffalo is a venow confused team right now, and Fitzpatrick probably won’t solve that, but any change in Buffalo is always good in some regard.No comments
It was Week 2 action in the NFL:
First up, Brett Favre and the Vikings looked to rebound from an opening loss against the Miami Dolphins. It would be a battle of two of two solid defenses. However, the Vikings just couldn’t get in a rhythm. Receivers couldn’t get open, and Favre would have to force balls into crowded zones. That means… interceptions, as the Dolphins held them in check. But, in the end, the Vikings did have a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, they couldn’t convert after 4 downs, and now, Brett Favre and Vikes are 0-2, which the Dolphins suddenly find themselves 2-0 and in first place in the AFC East. Miami 14, Minnesota 10.
And in Tennessee, it would be a battle between two of the toughest defenses in the league — The Titans and The Steelers. The Titans were absolutely dominant in Week 1, and a win against the Steelers would prove that running back Chris Johnson and their high-powered offense could play against anybody. Well, yesterday, the Titans offense was horrendous. They couldn’t do jack. Troy Polamalu and the Pittsburgh defense held Chris Johnson, the best running back in the league, to only 34 yards. The Titans offense was so bad, that they pulled Vince Young out of the game after a few fumbles and interceptions, and replaced him with old man Kerry Collins (who actually led the Titans to home field advantage in 2008). That didn’t help though, and Pittsburgh continued to roll. The Steelers are now 2-0 and ready for anybody. Although they lost their back-up QB Dennis Dixon to an injury. Charlie Batch finished the game. The Steelers want their normal QB, Big Ben, back badly. Pittsburgh 19, Tennessee 11.
Then it was a match-up that sports fans everywhere dubbed, “The Hate Game” — The New England Patriots vs. The New York Jets. And that’s exactly correct — these teams hate each other. They both have reputations for being media prima donnas, and they’ve had bad blood ever since the Jets accused Bill Bellicheck of spying on them with cameras. Needless to say, both teams were looking forward to this game. Going into the game, many wondered whether the Jets offense would show up at all. They were dormant against the Ravens last week. Well, the game started out all Patriots. For their second touchdown, Brady hit Randy moss for a beautiful TD, which Randy Moss rubbed in by catching it with one hand. But then, in the second half, it was all Jets. They just caught fire. Mark Sanchez finished the game with 220 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and NO interceptions. And their defense smothered the Pats in the second half. Ladies and gentleman, the New York Jets are for real this season. NY Jets 28, New England 14.
Finally, in Washington, the Redskins were looking to go 2-0. That’s a very big deal for Redskins fans. And the Texans were also looking to go 2-0 — a very big deal for Texans fans. Basically, both franchises were trying to ignite their fan bases. The Redskins started off super hot, jumping out to a 20-7 lead. But the Texans came surging back in the second half behind a brilliant passing performance by Matt Schaub. They even blocked a field goal to give themselves a chance to win the game. They couldn’t win in regulation, but in overtime, the Texans Neil Rackers booted a game-winning field goal. Matt Schaub finished the day with an AMAZING 497 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. And it looks like Houston’s week 1 win against Indianapolis wasn’t a fluke. Houston 30, Washington 27.No comments
In the NFL, it’s official — Michael Vick will start on Sunday when the Eagles take on the Detroit Lions. Vick was out of football for two years because he was caught participating in an illegal dog fighting syndicate. At the time, Vick was one of the most exciting players in sports and was leading the Atlanta Falcons to a prominent level. Then, after serving time for his heinous crimes, Vick was given a second chance by Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles. However, last year Vick rode the bench behind Donovan McNabb. They used him on a couple of trick plays, but for the most part Vick was a reserve. Last week, Vick replaced the injured Kevin Kolb and the Green Bay Packers didn’t know what to do with him. He was running all over the place, threw a touchdown, and almost led the Eagles to a victory. They fell short, but now some think Vick will lead the offense for the remainder of the season. We’ll see how he does against Detroit.
Elsewhere in the NFL, it looks like San Diego Chargers star wide-receiver Vincent Jackson might get his own second chance. Jackson held out during the off-season and had to serve a three game suspension due to a DUI. There’s also another signing deadline that, if not met, would force Jackson to miss an additional three games. Reportedly, both the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins are interested in Jackson’s talents. If either team (or any other team) signs Jackson, he would be eligible to play in Week 5. Remember, however, it’s hard to just jump in and play receiver for another team. There is a steep learning curve trying to understand the myriad plays in the playbook. Then again, almost any team would seriously benefit from signing a super talented Vincent Jackson.
Finally, it’s a little early on to discuss, but the Super Bowl halftime act has been named. This is always a big deal every season, because it’s a prestigious honor. Ever since the Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson debacle, the mystery of who’s going to play the Super Bowl halftime has been quite intriguing. Last year, The Who took the stage, a year before Bruce Springsteen. Typically, it’s a music icon of some sort, and this year, a new band will join that pantheon. That’s right — The Black Eyed Peas will play the halftime show. When you think about it, the Black Eyed Peas have been making hits all decade. To hear them rattle off their favorite four hits will surely be a fun show to watch.No comments
In college football, Reggie Bush may have returned his Heisman and, in turn, admitted to a wrongdoing, but it turns out that his 2005 Heisman will not be passed on to anybody else. Many thought it should be awarded to Heisman runner-up Vince Young (now the QB of the Tennessee Titans), but the head of Heisman Trophy voting has said that will not happen. Why? Well, he said that the NCAA wants to keep looking to the future of the game and not be concerned with the past — especially with the dark tinged year of 2005. Plus, he stated that giving it to Vince Young isn’t exactly correct because who knows how the votes would have shaken out if Bush wasn’t in the running. That may have affected the voters opinions since Bush finished 900 votes ahead of Young. Either way, Bush is without a Heisman and the NCAA has decided to just move on.
In the NFL, the San Diego Chargers are facing a problem they haven’t faced in a while. Apparently, the Chargers are not sold out yet for their Sunday showdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If they don’t sell out, then the game will be blacked out, meaning that people in Southern California won’t be able to see it. In the NFL, you have to sell out or your game isn’t broadcast. The Chargers are, of course, blaming the recession for the lack of ticket sales (as they still have 10,000 to sell), but it is most likely because fans are seeing the downfall of the team. They typically sit atop the AFC West, but they just lost a game to the normally weak Kansas City Chiefs. Not good for the Bolts. This would be the first time they got blacked out since Drew Brees was their quarterback.
Finally, in the NBA, LeBron James has taken a major popularity hit. James was known to be the most popular and likable figure in the NBA. An unbelievable player and a teddy bear of a guy. But, since he decided to join the Heat on an ostentatious prime-time special he dubbed, “The Decision”, LeBron now finds himself as the sixth most unlikable player in sports. Not in the NBA, but in sports. This is a major fall from grace, and James will have to do a lot to rectify his positive image. However, LeBron James still has one thing on Kobe — the fans still voted LeBron as more likable than Mr. Bryant. So whom will people be rooting for if the Lakers meet the Heat in the finals. According to this study — nobody.No comments