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March 10, 2010

Mock Draft #2

So here is my full first round draft. Enjoy.

1. Rams- Sam Bradford- QB, Oklahoma
I think the Rams need to address the QB of the future issue but think they should trade back to get their guy.

2. Lions- Ndamukong Suh- DT, Nebraska
Suh could be the best player in the draft and this should solidify the Lions re-built line for years.

3. Bucs- Gerald McCoy- DT, Oklahoma
Tampa lucks out and gets one of the two impact DT's in the draft to help one of the worst run defenses in the league last year.

4. Redskins- Russel Okung- OT, Oklahoma State
Shanahan loves to run the ball and he needs to build his O-line to run his zone scheme. Okung is a great run blocker and is a great start

5. Chiefs- Eric Berry- S, Tennessee
Chiefs get arguably the best player in the draft. Should have an immediate impact in the Chiefs 3-4 defense.

6. Seahawks- Trent Williams- OT, Oklahoma
This team has a lot of holes but everything starts with the lines. Seahawks need to rebuild their aging line.

7. Browns- Joe Haden- CB, Florida
Best corner in the draft and the Browns are in desperate need of DB's who can play, at all.

8. Raiders- Anthony Davis- OT, Rutgers
I'm banking on the Raiders actually making a smart move and taking an offensive tackle. Davis at the age of 20 has a lot of potential and that could be enough to convince Davis.

9. Bills- Dez Bryant- WR, Oklahoma State
TO was a joke in Buffalo and they need a big time WR. They could easily go NT to start building their 3-4 D but Bryant might be too good to pass up.

10. Jags- Derrick Morgan- DE, Georgia Tech
Kampman was a nice addition but they still need help. Morgan is a sack machine who plays well against the run.

11. Broncos- Mike Iupati- OG, Idaho
I've been reading Broncos are going to a power run scheme. Iupati is a physical and powerful guard who should help that transition.

12. Dolphins- Rolando McClain, Alabama
McClain is the perfect type of player for the Dolphins. He's a smart, hard nosed football player who is 3-4 ready.

13. 49ers- Brian Buluga- OT, Iowa
Athletic and powerful who'll fit well in the power running game they run. Plus they need a tackle opposite Staley to really solidify the line.

14. Seahawks- Jimmy Claussen- QB, Norte Dame
Claussen slides a bit due to other teams needs. Seahawks get their QB of the future with their second pick in the 1st round.

15. Giants- Jason Pierre-Paul- DE, South Florida
Pierre-Paul shot up draft charts this last season and should cash in. Giants need to get younger along the D-line and Pierre-Paul is a good start.

16. Titans- Carlos Dunlap- DE, Florida
Titans might need to reach for a DE with this pick due to the loss of Van-Den Bosch and Kearse. Dunlap has his issues but it's hard to deny his on-field talent.

17. 49ers- Earl Thomas- S, Texas
49ers were lit up in the air this last season. Thomas is a ball hawk who can play both safety and corner back.

18. Steelers- Kyle WIlson- CB, Boise State
Steelers really need help in the secondary. Wilson is a great cover man who can stay with just about anyone and doesn't lose his man in the open field.

19. Falcons- Everson Griffen- DE, USC
Falcons need someone to put pressure on the QB. Griffen is a well built DE who has a quick first step off the snap.

20. Texans- CJ Spiller- RB, Clemson
Texans could not be more happy with this scenario. Spiller is a threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball. Plus he can't nearly fumble as much as the other guys, right?

21. Bengels- Jermaine Gresham- TE, Oklahoma
Bengals need to add an impact TE. Gresham is great in the passing game and is big enough to help in the blocking game. Plus he adds a safety valve for Palmer when Ocho is covered.

22. Patriots- Jared Odrick- DT, Penn State
Patriots need a 3-4 DE to replace Seymour. Odrick is mobile enough to hold up in this position and big enough to move inside if the Pats want him too.

23. Packers- Jerry Hughes- DE, TCU
Could be the best edge rusher in the draft. He can easily play OLB in the 3-4 and cause nightmares for QB's with his speed and size. Remember he's a converted RB from high school so he has the footwork to play in the open field.

24. Eagles- Taylor Mays- S, USC
I don't care how much he may have been exposed last year. You can't ignore his rare blend of LB size with 4.4 speed. In the unpredictable Phili D Mays could be a force.

25. Ravens- Aaron Hernandez- TE, Florida
Ravens have always had the defense to compete every year. It's time they focus on providing weapons for Flacco. Hernandez provides the Ravens with a safety blanket to allow Flacco to check down to when the play breaks down.

26. Cardinals- Bruce Campbell- OT, Mayland
Whisenhunt is a great offensive coach. Campbell is a freakish athlete who needs a little time and the right coach to groom him. Might just be the perfect fit for the Cardinals new run more offense.

27. Cowboys- Arrelious Benn- WR, Illinois
Roy Williams is not in the Cowboys long term plans. Benn is a big target who runs clean routes. He's also a great run blocker on the outside which is a bonus for Dallas's 3 headed back field.

28. Chargers- Ryan Matthews- RB, Fresno State
Chargers will need a new featured back to replace LT. Matthews needs work in the passing game but is otherwise a complete RB. Plus he has a great nose for the end zone.

29 New York Jets- Dan Williams, DT- Tennessee
Jets add some youth a size to a young front 7. Williams could easily go as high as top 15 so the Jets get lucky he slips down to them.

30Vikings- Maurkice Pouncey- C, Florida
Pouncey is a starter from day one either at Guard or Center. Regardless of their QB their future lies with running the ball and Pouncey provides a future force along the line.

31 Colts- Devin McCourtry- CB, Rutgers
Colts just loss Marlin Jackson and were exposed when they failed to get pressure on the QB with their front 4. McCourty is flying up draft boards right now and is a physical player who disrupts routes.

32. Saints- Sean Weatherspoon- OLB, Missouri
A nice player who can play right away. He's not going to do anyone thing special but can contribute in a playmaking defense like the Saints.

February 20, 2010

Ranking the All-Star Games

I remember growing up I couldn't wait for All-Star games, regardless of the sport. I loved watching all the skills competitions, they meant nothing but it was just so exciting to watch. It was also to see the best players in the world all compete on the same stage. I remember going to games and punching my All-Star game ballots. It was always hard to ignore my biases and pick the most deserving players over my favorite team. I normally would fill one out with the players I felt deserved it the most. having the best season, and then one with just my favorite teams players.
I started to think, which game is the best game? Putting it all into consideration (events, quality of the game, player participation, ect..) which is the most exciting game to watch as a fan? Which sports got it right and who needs to start making some changes. Well here is just one man's opinions, ranking them worst to best.

NFL Pro Bowl

Not a lot to be honest. I do like they're making the effort to improve the game. They moved it to the week before the Super Bowl and also to the same site as the Super Bowl. I don't think this idea actually paid off at all but they made the effort to improve something that's clearly broken. I think the one area the NFL does a great job in is choosing the right players for the game. I don't normally hear too much arguing that a certain player got snubbed for a guy who didn't deserve it. Also normally everyone gets a good amount of playing time so you can see your favorite player.

This should be a lot easier to write then the pros portion. Let's be honest, no one cares about the Pro Bowl. The game set rules place to prevent injuries to players, which makes sense, but it just takes so much away from the game. It doesn't even resemble football. Plus the games are normally not even that exciting. They're not overly high scoring to keep the fans interested. With the changes made this year you did not have any participants from the Colts or Saints and players on teams who were knocked out of the playoffs were reluctant to play in the game. David Gerrard, with all due respect, had no right playing in an All Star Game this year and yet, there he was. Just doesn't seem right. It's also the only game that does not travel. It does not allow the common fan to ever see the game in person.

Possible Changes?
I really have no idea. I honestly think they should scrap the game altogether. Instead add a skills competition. They do this for High School and College players. It doesn't get a lot of hype but it is rather entertaining to watch. Get the QB's to an accuracy competition or maybe a best 40 time. It might not catch on but the Pro Bowl itself I don't ever see being popular.

NBA All-Star Weekend

I really enjoy the contests around the All Star game. The Rookie/Sophomore game looks nothing like basketball but it's a fun game to watch. The players go out and have fun and get to let loose a bit. It's good to see some guys who may never get a chance to play in the big game to enjoy the festivities for a year or two. The Three-Point contest is always fun to watch. It's something we've all played with our friends growing up, and, hell, as grown ups. The Dunk Contest had taken a lot of slack over the best players not participating but that has never really been the case. In the 80's you had Jordan, Nique, and Dr. J but have you ever watched those contests? They're awful. 360's? Reverse dunks? The best dunkers aren't always the best players. Plus it's not like Dwight Howard is some slouch. All and all the game is exciting. You get to see players run up and down the court and play an uptempo game. Normally the game ends up to be a pretty close game and keeps the fans involved.

The biggest reason why this game is higher on my list is the player selection process. Basketball fans are clearly the most ignorant set of fans. I understand the game is for the fans and they should get to see who they want to see but really? Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady should have never even been considered for the game this year. Yet as the voting went one McGrady finally faded away in the end but still Iverson was voted in. That's simply a joke. Iverson had no right playing in that game. I realize due to an unfortunate family illness he was unable to participate but that doesn't mean it should be overlooked. Plus a guy like David Lee, who was plenty deserving, was going to be overlooked because his team is playing poorly. He was finally able to get in due to Iverson's absence. The overall teams performance should not prevent that player from participating in the All Star game.

Possible Changes
Add a common sense rule. If a player who we all know has no right to be in that game then get rid of him. Get a more deserving player in the game who was also high in the fan votes. Plus is a player who plays on a bad team can be voted in then why should the coaches not consider those same players. Coaches need to scrap that thought process and just pick the best players. The game could of course use more defense. You have guys like Al Horford who are there because what they do on defense. Still, I have no idea how to improve the defense played in the game. The fans want to see a lot of scoring and the ally-oops so I don't see this ever changing.

NHL All-Star Game
I must admit I do not watch much Hockey. I like the game and tend to get into it once the playoffs roll around I'll watch. I know the big names and I understand the game. I just simply don't watch enough to know the players after the big names. Yet, just about every year I catch myself watching the All-Star games and skills competitions. The game is very exciting. It's normally pretty high scoring and if it isn't it means the goalies are playing great. Either way it's exciting to see a high number of goals or some great saves. The Skills competitions are also a lot of fun to watch. You normally get the best players to do it and they all get into it. The NHL has also implemented a rule I love. If a player is chosen to participate in the All-Star game chooses not to in some capacity he'll be suspended one game either before or after the All-Star game. Now if a player is injured then he will not be subject to this rule. This also doesn't mean the player has to play in the game. He just needs to be participate in anything from a autograph session, skills competition, or the game. The game is for the fans and players owe it to the fans to at least show up and be there. I love the fact the NHL put a rule in place to help deter the thought of players not participating and thinks about the fans.

I really don't have many cons because my lack of knowledge of the sport. I think if I had anymore interest in the sport this could be number 1 on my list. The NHL really just does not do enough marketing to draw in new fans. They've changed formats (West vs East and North America vs World) to try and draw interest but it just hasn't worked. The NHL would do itself a huge favor if it would market this game more and draw in more fans. I know a lot of people who wish they were bigger hockey fans but just can't seem to get into it. This game could be that answer.

Possible Changes?
Play this game outdoors. The outdoor game draws in people who don't normally watch hockey games. If you were to play this game at Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium it'd be a big hit for the hard core fans and even the average hockey fan. The game will simply market itself and you might even create new fans in the process.

Baseball All-Star Game

This is the only All-Star game that actually resembles a real game. The players still pitch and hit the same way they normally would in a real game. They'll play just as hard at the plate as they do in the field. Due to the nature of the sport there's a lot less chance of an injury occurring so the players aren't playing softer. Maybe my favorite part is that every team has a player represented. Yes it creates some snubs each year and maybe some players who should be there don't get in due to this rule. Still, I love the fact that even a fan of a horrible team can say they had at least one All-Star. It gives every a fan in every market an excuse to watch the game every year. I also must admit that I just love baseball and my bias takes over in the end. I love the Home Run Derby. It's a great event and its simple. No need to try and tweak. The game is great because you can just see how much fun the players have during it. From Randy Johnson throwing behind John Kruk to A-Rod giving up his position so Cal Ripken could play shortstop one last time are great moments. I just don't see that in the other games and this is why I'll tune in every year.

Again, I love this game. It's hard for me to find a con in the game. With that being said I'll keep it simple. Scrap the idea that the winner gets home field in the World Series. The game is supposed to be fun and by making it mean something takes away from that. The other problem I have is that when the game is actually on the line the best hitters are on the bench. The fans want to see Albert Pujols up to bat with the game on the line, not Dan Uggla (who is a very good player, just not a fan favorite at this point).

Possible Changes
I already said it but again, get rid of the "This One Counts" idea. Good thought but bad idea. I realize that no team wants to see a pitcher get hurt. I think they should allow each team to pick 3-4 reserve pitchers in case the game does hit extra innings. These pitchers would only be allowed to enter the game if it goes into extra innings. Also positional players should be allowed to re-enter the game. This way we can see the best players in the game when the game is on the line.

February 3, 2010

Brett Favre's Legacy

I've sat on this blog for a almost two weeks now and put a lot of thought into this. Foolishly assuming that Brett Favre is actually done with playing football, the question is how will he be remembered?

Of course when you think about Favre it's hard to ignore the last couple of seasons. Favre toyed with fans announcing his retirement twice and then later deciding to come back to play both times. The year in New York is almost considered a lost season. He played with Jet's fans and gave them hope before fading at the end of the season. We all knew he was done in New York after that Dolphins game, the bigger question was if he was done with Football.

For the next few months Favre's won't he or will circus was all the rage. The Vikings were willing to do just about anything to get him to comeback and play while the Packers were willing to pay him $20 million to retire. When Brad Childress rolled up at the airport to pick up Favre at the a collective "$hit" was heard from Packer nation. Suddenly there was a civil war and loyal Packer fans were seen at the bar wearing purple and gold. Favre then spent the next 5 months slowing ripping out the heart of Packer fans as he lead the Vikings to the second best record in the NFC, including two victories over the Packers.

Then Favre, at the ancient age of 40 (in terms of Football) tore apart the Cowboys to put the Vikings one game away from another Super Bowl appearance. As the game against the Saints moved on it just seemed it was setting up for Favre to have that drive. The Vikings made mistake after mistake but were still right there with a chance to win. They were driving down the field and really just needed a few yards to set up a game winning Super Bowl. Favre then dropped back and had the space to run for those must needed yards when he did what he does. He saw a throw that shouldn't be made and tried to make it. When Tracy Porter picked that ball off you knew it was over. The Saints won the toss and after the one of the worst overtime drives I've ever seen, kicked a 42 yard field goal to end Favre's run.

Favre's numbers are hard to ignore. He is the all time leader in wins and touchdowns thrown. He won three MVP's in a row and lead his team to two straight Super Bowl appearances, winning one. The record that really stands out though is the consecutive games played streak. His toughness, above all other attributes, will be remembered over everything else. There's no denying his drive to play the game and that streak puts that drive into numbers. Weather his motivation was the streak alone, records, winning championships, or just pure love of the game it's still an amazing streak.

All and all you it's hard to argue that Favre is one of the best to ever play the game but I think too many people want to place Favre as one of the top 3 or 5 quarterbacks to ever play the game. Favre has the records that the average fan may view him as the greatest to ever play but this isn't Baseball. Records are just an after thought in Football. Football is about one thing, winning championships. You're career is judged based on how you play in the post season and Super Bowls you win. Favre has won just 1 Super Bowl.

Overall he has started 24 playoff games, more then any other quarterback in the history of the game. He's also lost 11 of those games, also more then any other quarterback in the history of the game (just ahead of Marino and Kelly).

To me this perfectly illustrates his career. He was great enough to get you there but maybe just too stubborn to get you to the top. For every great record he has it almost seems he has a "yeah but" record to follow. For every throw that makes your jaw drop in amazement his next one has you putting your head through a wall.

Favre is arguably the greatest regular season quarterback to ever play the game, the numbers would say the greatest. When the playoffs came around he was really just another quarterback. Favre, in my memory, never had that game in the playoffs that stands out. Favre's post season failures are remembered more then his successes.

At the end of the day I have one play that stands out in my mind. It was in 2004 during a regular season game against the Giants. The Packers were off to a slow start that season and this game wasn't looking any better. To add to it in the third quarter Favre took a big hit that left him with a concussion. After sitting out two plays Favre placed himself back in the game. The next play, his last in that game, was a 28 yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker. Favre simply did what he does. He ignored basic logic and took a chance, it just so happen to work out for him that time.

January 17, 2010

Initial Mock Draft

I love the NFL draft. I realize it may be one of the most overrated events in sports today. Every year you have your typical players in the draft. You have your "sure things", meaning they're solid, productive players but might have already peaked. You're going to have your "work-out warriors" who put up amazing combine numbers and it never translates to NFL talent, just look at Vernon Gholston and Mike Mamula. You have your sleepers, busts, character issues and injury risks that cause guys to move up and down all over draft boards without actually playing a game for 4 months.

All the work that goes into scouting and watching film and everyone can still get it wrong on a guy. For me and a few friends we get the chance to compare ourselves to the experts, we didn't do so well last year. We have limited resources compared to the experts so it's more of a guessing game for us. It gives us something to talk and argue about which we love to do.

It also, to me, really kicks off the new season. For most fans it brings hope to the new season. It also allows the fans to get a sense on what direction their favorite team is going. Are they thinking its time to rebuild? Are they adding a key player to get them into the playoffs? Or maybe a big time weapon to get them to a Super Bowl? While it is overrated, it's still one of my favorite sports events every year.

So, after all that, lets move on to my initial mock draft. For this one I'm just going to do picks 1 through 10. This is what I think the teams should do, not will do.

Due to a random pick of number 1 (Denver) or number 2 (Jacksonville) by a friend of mine Jacksonville gets the 10th pick. Thanks Ben.

1. St. Louis Rams- Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska

I think Suh is the most dominate player in the draft this year and should be the first player taken. The Rams have a TON of needs and DT is one of them but they need a QB over anything else. The Rams should attempt to trade back 3 or 4 picks and take the best QB in the draft. This is the perfect draft to do that in. Plenty of teams would love to have the explosive Suh line up for them and they don't have to pay him like you would most first round picks due to his position. The Rams could slide back, get their QB and maybe another pick, and not have to pay him first overall pick money. If they can't get the trade they like, then take the best player in the draft.

2. Detroit Lions- Russel Okung, OT Oklahoma State

Lions did a nice job last year in the draft getting their franchise QB, a nice target for him to throw to, and a very solid safety. Now they need to get someone to protect Stafford. Okung is a beast at 6-5, 300 pounds. He's been a starter one of the better rushing teams in college since his true freshmen year. The Lions cannot wait another round or another year to try and land a top notch left tackle to protect their biggest investment. This class is deep enough in defensive lineman where they could wait till the second round to try an land a impact player. Stafford got hurt this year due to a lack of protection, the Lions better try and fix it with this pick.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma

So far this is looking like a Big 12 All-American team. Because of how dominate Suh was this year McCoy has been completley over-looked this year. He's a bit smaller then most defensive tackles (6-4, 285 pounds) but he more then makes up for that with his quickness and speed. He plays very similar to another ex-Sooner DT, Tommie Harris. Tampa had one of the worst run defenses last year and McCoy would be a great start to help re-build that defensive line. Tampa might also be a team who would look to trade up to get Suh.

4. Washington Redskins- Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame

I really have no idea with this pick. With Shanahan in place he might look to land his future franchise QB with this pick. I think this might be another spot we could see a trade. Right now I have Clausen going here. I think the Redskins need to look to upgrade at the QB position. I think Campbell has not really had the best coaching in his career to grow but he has not shown any form of consistency to be counted on in the future. Clausen right now I think is the best QB prospect with Bradford right on his heels. Clausen showed a lot of toughness this year fighting back in a lot of games. He has a strong arm and showed to be more accurate this year along with better decision making. His long balls need some work though. He generally just tossed the ball up and allowed either Floyd or Tate to go up and get it.

5. Kansas City Chiefs- Eric Berry, S Tennessee

In some opinions Berry is the best player in this draft and I have a tough time arguing. He's been compared to Ed Reed for his play making ability. Berry also does a great job around the line of scrimmage stopping the run and disrupting the passing game. He's the type of player who could come in on day one and start making an impact. The Chiefs play out of the 3-4 and that would allow Berry more freedom to play near the line or be a ball hawk.

6. Seattle Seahawks- Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma

As much as I like Hasselback I think his best days are clearly behind him. He's in the twilight of his career and might just have a couple more years in him. Bradford would have been the first overall pick had he come out last year and now he sits at number 6, at least in this Draft. I would not be surprised to see him establish himself as the best QB in this draft once he starts throwing again and showing he's healthy. Until I see that I have him as the second best QB in the draft. He's extremely efficient and very accurate. He moves better then most give him credit for but still not that well. The one thing I really wanted to see from him this year was how he handles pressure. I didn't get the chance to see that due to his shoulder injury and I still see that as his biggest question mark.

7. Cleveland Browns- Rolando McClain, ILB Alabama

McClain would be a very good fit for the Browns. He's a smart player who relies on his great instincts. He's a very aggressive player and moves extremely well. He also comes from a pro-style 3-4 defense so there shouldn't be a hard transition period for him. He can come in and start from day one. McClain is a very solid tackler and can make a lot of plays in the run game. Thanks to his instincts he's not a guy who should be a liability in the passing game and could disrupt those underneath routes most teams love to use.

8. Oakland Raiders- Trent Williams, OT Oklahoma

Why won't this pick happen? Because Williams doesn't run a good 40 or jump through the roof, he's just a very good player. I actually think the Raiders will take Derrick Morgan or Taylor Mays here because of their athletic ability and that's what the Raiders do. Raiders couldn't protect their QB's and couldn't open up any holes for their running backs. Williams is a solid player and can protect well in the passing game. and is even better in the running game. He has plenty of experience where he should be able to start somewhere on the line right away.

9. Buffalo Bills- Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers

The Bills would love to see either Bradford or Clausen drop to them here. In this scenario that doesn't happen so they'll settle for one of the better tackle prospects to come out this year. Davis is very good in both the passing game and the running game and has a lot of strength. The one downfall I've heard on Davis is he can disappear at times and playing tackle in the NFL that could cost you your starting QB. Davis would be a nice addition to a team that needs to rebuild it's offensive line.

10. Jacksonville- Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State

I'm a sucker for big time WR's and Bryant is just that. He is very physical and a terrific athlete and should provide Jacksonville with a much needed weapon in the passing game. Sims-Walker was a nice surprise this year but is can't be the only target in the passing game. Holt is at the end or very near it in his great career. Bryant is a deep threat thanks to his great size and speed and is also tough enough to go over the middle. Once inside the red zone his leaping ability makes him almost impossible to defend. Jacksonville will not only benefit in the passing game thanks to this pick but it should open up Jones-Drew more without having 8 guys in the box most of the time.

So there you have it, my initial top 10. The East/West Shrine and Senior Bowl are still to be played and should a good measuring stick for a lot of players. After that we'll have the combine, college days, and personal work-outs to help determine how the draft will turn out. I'm sure once April rolls around one or two highly regarded prospects will fall well out of the first round and just as many guys no one knows will work their way into the first round.

January 9, 2010

Manning the MVP?????

I woke up this morning to a text message from ESPN alerts (which is one of the coolest things ever, you should sign up for it if you haven't already) saying that Peyton Manning has won his record 4th MVP. Before I could even close my phone I already knew what I was going to write about on here.

Manning had an MVP like season and is deserving of the honor, but not this year. He was not the MVP in football this year. I like Manning, I always have. Well that's not completely true, I was one of the guys who thought Leaf would be the better player. Once I realized how wrong I was I became a fan of Manning. I've always defended Manning in the Brady vs Manning debate but this time I just can't defend him.

Let's get his stats this year out of the way first. Manning had a QB rating of 99.9 (6th in the league), tossed 33 TD's (3rd in the league), 68.8% percentage (2nd in the league), and threw for 4,500 yards (2nd in the league). He definitely put up MVP type numbers compared to the rest of the league this year but he didn't lead the league in any major category (except wins and I will get to that). Plus he tossed 16 INT's, more then Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, and Joe Flacco to name a few. He also was 10th in the league for yards per attempt so it's not like everything he threw was a big play. Manning's numbers were good but you can easily make the argument, on stats alone, that there are other players who could have won the MVP this year just from the QB position.

So the big argument for Manning winning the award is the fact that he's the best player on the best team this year. He lead the Colts to 14 wins this year and without him they're probably not even a playoff team but there's a lot of guys in the league who are just as important to their team as Manning. No one can tell me that the Saints are nearly as good without Brees, or the Packers without Rodgers. Look at how big the loss of Troy Polamalu was to the Steelers success this year. There's a lot of players out there who are extremely important to their teams success and they can't win without them.

So yes, Manning was the best player on a team that won 14 games this year. His numbers compared to the rest of the QB's this year maybe aren't the best out there but definitely MVP worthy. But you look at the history of the game the year he had won't even rank in the top 10 for QB's. Why does the history of the game matter when deciding the MVP award for a single year. Manning tossing 33 TD's this year was the 32nd time it happened in NFL history. There have also been 18 4,500 yard passing season now. As far as the history of the game his season will rank as a great year, but not one of the best.

Chris Johnson, on the other hand, had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. He became only the 6th player in the history of the game to run for 2,000 yards. He set the record for the most yards from scrimmage. The Titans had next to nothing going in the passing game, outside of Johnson catching screen passes, so the opposing defense did nothing but try to stop him. You take Johnson away from that team they maybe win 3, 4 games this year.

Yes his team only won 8 games and they didn't make the playoffs and it's never easy to give the award to a guy like that but he had one of the best years in the history of the game and you cannot argue that. His team had zero passing game to speak of most of the year. He had no lead blocker and no real threat as a back-up to help spill him. The Titans defense was one of the worst in the league this year. Yet he still runs for 2,006 yards and sets the record for yards from scrimmage. Why punish a guy out of an award because his team sucks?

Manning has one of the best receivers in the game, one of the best tight ends, a very good running back, and a solid defense to pick him up from time to time. Manning had a few games where he didn't play that good this year. He had a few games where he tossed 3 INT's yet they still won. Manning has the team around him to help pick him up when he maybe isn't at his best. If Johnson was at his best his team still lost. Perfect example was week 2 vs the Texans. Johnson ran for 197 yards and had another 149 yards receiving. He scored 3 TD's (from 57 yards, 64 yards, and 91 yards!!!). Final score of the game, Texans 34, Titans 31. What more could he have done?

At the end of the day the best player on a team that won 14 games will overshadow the best player on a team that won 8 games and that's the biggest hole in my argument. So my question to all of you, outside on winning more games (Johnson was the only reason they even won 8 games), what type of numbers would Johnson have had to put up for him to win the award this year?

January 7, 2010

The Jose Canseco Effect

With the Hall of Fame class announced yesterday we saw Mark McGwire fall well short of the 75% of the votes he needed to get in. That really is no surprise to anyone. A bigger surprise was Roberto Alomar being left out in his first try. As far as second basemen are concerned his numbers are one of the best of all time. He was able to hit for a high average, surprising power at times, and very hard to keep off the base paths. He was also a premiere defensive player who was one of the smoothest glovemen I've ever seen at the position. What he did on the field should have easily granted him entry into the games elite but I think he was left out due to the generation he played in.

I have to question if some voters had steroids on the mind when casting their ballots on Alomar. Alomar has NEVER been linked to steroid use (as far as I know) and I'm not accusing him of anything. If I had to bet on it I'd say he was clean but I'm curious what the voters thought. Ten years ago I think he gets in.

It's sad to look at the players I watched growing up like this and trying to determine if they did or didn't take anything to help gain an edge but you have to do that now. Jose Canseco's books and confessions on steroid use in baseball will forever change how we view the great players during this last few decades. Canseco didn't tell us anything most baseball fans didn't already know but it wasn't something anyone wanted to talk about. We all had a good idea that players like Sosa, McGwire, and Canseco were up to something but we enjoyed seeing players hit the ball 500 feet and breaking all the big time records from the past. Even after Ken Caminiti's infamous Sports Illustrated story came out where he admitted to using steroids we acted shocked and told ourselves it was a isolated incident. It wasn't until Canseco started calling out our favorite players that we took notice.

That image of Sosa, Palmeiro, and McGwire sitting before congress wearing suits they must have bought before their steroid use (was it just me or were those suits way too tight on them) will be forever be burned into my memory. I remember watching McGwire telling us he did not want to talk about the past and thinking how bad I felt for the Maris family. I remember watching Sosa forget how to understand or speak the English language and almost being embarrassed to be a baseball fan. Then it was Palmeiro's turn and he took a stand, pointing his finger and adamantly proclaiming his innocence. Palmeiro's stance got me excited and I believed him. My thought was that Canseco pointed out a couple of obvious players and just tried to bring others down with him. Palmeiro was taking a stand for not just himself but for all the falsely accused players out there.

Then August 1st, 2005 came. Just two weeks after hitting his 500th Home Run, Palmeiro was suspended for testing positive for steroids. My faith for all players instantly went out the door and I no longer tried to fool myself into thinking it wasn't as widespread of a problem then what it really was. Palmeiro never played another game in the Major League again.

Canseco has changed how we look at players and their successes. My question is how will Canseco be viewed when it's all said and done. Will he be viewed as a hero? The guy who finally stood up and spoke out against all the players wrong doings. The guy who finally forced baseball to do something about his obvious drug problems. I do think he should be applauded for helping baseball change his drug policies and standards. No matter what you want to say he, in the end, did help clean up the game. But is he a hero? Far from.

Canseco spent his entire career cheating the game. I'm not dumb enough to think he was the first person to take steroids so I'm not one of those who say he introduced them to the game. Canseco was a good hitter with tremendous power. Early in his career he had a ton of speed and was the first ever 40-40 player. He was a below average, at best, defensive player. It's safe to say that without his ability to hit the ball a very long way his career would not have been as long as it was. Steroids made his career. He hit 462 career home runs, 38 short of the 500 milestone. After the 2001 season he went unsigned and never played again. Rumors from Canseco that he was being black-balled by baseball to ensure he'd never hit 500 home runs started to swirl. It was just a few years later "Juiced" would be published and the firestorm would begin. Now Canseco was making money again on baseball and steroids. It's one thing for a reporter write a book about this sort of thing. They never made millions cheating the game themselves like Canseco did. He gets the thought that the game was cheating him out of a milestone even though he cheated the game a long time before that.

Jose Canseco is the kind of guy that will do everything he can to keep his name in the paper or to make a buck. He has ZERO loyalty to anyone but himself and money. Since his book he has done bad reality TV series and even celebrity boxing. He has become a nothing more then a washed up steroid junkie clinging on to the little fame he may still have. While many will view him as a hero for opening baseballs eyes to it's steroid issue I'll always view him as a joke.

January 5, 2010

The Tim Tebow Debate

I'm going to start this first by saying I believe Tebow is one of the best college football players I've ever seen but not even close to one of the best quarterbacks. Tebow is the perfect quarterback for Urban Meyers spread option system and I don't think we'll ever see anybody run it better. Now, at the end of his amazing college career he's ready for the next step but several questions remain about his NFL prospects. If he an NFL QB? Where will he be drafted and by who? Should he play another position? Well I'm going to give my thoughts on all of this and then leave it to you to tell me otherwise.

Tim Tebow has publicly said that all he wants is the opportunity to play QB in the NFL. If he is given that chance and it does not appear it will work he'll move to another position. I have never been high on Tebow as an NFL QB and always thought he should switch positions.

I've seen several Florida games over the last few years and have seen plenty of Tebow. I've seen a guy who runs the option well and for the most part doesn't make mistakes. It wasn't until the Sugar Bowl I really saw Tebow open it up a bit and pick apart a defense with his arm. He made some very nice deep throws and even fit a few throws through a tight window. He showed me he is more accurate then I thought and can go over the top if need be. Tebow has done everything he's needed to do to earn the chance to play QB at the next level. I no longer think he should be viewed at any other position then QB.

People will say he has too much to work on and he's a project who might be 2 or 3 years away. If you make him a TE or a H-back how far away is he from making an impact? Probably 2 or 3 years and he might never get it. At least we all know he can actually play QB, we have no idea if he can catch, run clean routes, or even block.

He most likely won't ever be the kind of guy who is going to go out and win you a bunch of games and make the pro bowl every year. He can manage a game though and he's maybe one of the best leaders we've ever seen in the college game. He'll keep the offense on schedule and avoid making mistakes. If need be he can make some plays with his feet and has underrated arm strength to make plays down the field.

So now that I have him playing QB the question comes up who should draft him and at where in the draft. The notion that the Jaguars are going to drat him in the first round to sell more tickets is ridiculous. He's not a first round QB and the ploy won't work if he's sitting on the bench or they're losing games. So let's just end that talk right now, it's a dumb idea. Tebow is talented enough to be looked at maybe towards the end of the second round but I think he's slotted in the third round. He's going to be a game manager and you can't take a guy like that any earlier. SO I have him slotted in the third round, now the question is what team or teams should be looking at him.

Tebow should go to a younger team with young skilled players around him. He also needs to go to a team with a QB already in place so he can sit the bench for a year or two and learn. With the young skilled players they can all go through the growing pains with Tebow in practice and learn on the field. This way when Tebow is ready to take the field he has the players around him where he isn't going to have to go out there and make all the plays. He can allow his WR's and RB's to take the pressure off of him. I also think a younger coach would benefit Tebow. A guy with a lot of enthusiasm to work with Tebow. So what teams are we looking at then? Here's a few that I think would be a good fit in no particular order.

Arizona Cardinals

But what about Matt Lienart? I like Lienart and I think he can succeed in the NFL but I think his time in Arizona is done. Warner looks like he might be around for a few more years and with the way he plays there's no reason to think he can't play at a high level. Lienart is shown the door and in comes Tebow. Warner is one of the best QB's in the NFL to learn from and is always willing to help. They have one of the most dangerous young WR groups out there and an up and coming young RB. They can use a first round pick on a guy like Gresham or a second round pick on Aaron Hernandez. That gives Tebow, when he's eventually ready, 2 or 3 talented veteran WR to throw to, a RB who should be demanding respect from opposing defenses by that time, and TE he can grow with. It's a long shot but it makes sense.

Denver Broncos

McDaniels is very good coach when working with QB's. Brady had his best season ever under McDaniels system and Cassell was given nearly $70 millions after working with him. Denver has a young RB who can do a lot in the passing game as well. They'll most likely lose Marshall but given their draft position they may have a chance to land Dez Bryant who can grow with Tebow until he's ready. Orton, while nothing special, can play in the NFL and play well. He can hold the spot until Tebow is ready to go. Orton is also a game manager and Tebow can learn a lot from him about not making mistakes and being careful with the ball.

Minnesota Vikings

Who knows what Favre is going to do over the next couple of years. He could be back for a couple more years, he could retire after season, and then unretire, and then retire, OK you get it. Rodgers seemed to learn a lot sitting behind Favre so who says Tebow can't. Vikings have arguably the best RB in the league (Chris Johnson makes it an argument now) and Rice is looking like the real deal and he's really young. They have a talented TE who plays similar to Hernandez did for Florida. I think they'd need to add another threat in the passing game for this to really work. Childress is an offensive minded coach who Tebow should be able to develop under.

So there you have it. My thoughts in the Tim Tebow situation. I have wavered on this a lot over the last few years and might change my mind again. But for today, this was I thought about while in the shower. (That's so cheesy I just may need to use it all the time)