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Posted on: March 10, 2010 6:08 pm
 

Size Matters for 49ers GM Scot McCloughan

It's been said by many that Niners GM Scot McCloughan prefers drafting players based on size—the bigger the better.

I've always assumed, though, that he'd be willing to make exceptions under the right circumstances, in order to avoid missing out on a player with exceptional speed and skills that might be just a hair shorter than the competition.

Well, apparently, I've assumed wrong. Here it is in black and white from a Matthew Barrows article in the Sacramento Bee:

"I'll never lose sight of this, and maybe I'm a dinosaur in this, but it's a big man's game," said general manager Scot McCloughan . "That's from the standpoint of holding up through a season durability-wise, but also in the playoffs. You have to have some size and some power and strength, I think, to be a contender year in and year out."

Asked if after five years of drafting big-bodied players the 49ers could afford to go small, McCloughan shook his head.

"What I learned early from (former Packers general manager) Ron Wolf is if you draft an exception then you have a team of exceptions," he said. "...You can't go against your philosophy."

Ouch. Suddenly it all made sense.

McCloughan drafted Kentawn Balmer (6'5", 315 pounds) and Chilo Rachal (6'4", 315) in the 2008 draft while the speedy, playmaking wideout DeSean Jackson (5'10", 175) remained on the board.

A quick scan of the roster was again revealing—only one offensive player on the entire roster measured below six feet. That one is Frank Gore, who is 5'9" and was drafted before McCloughan's time.

How many defensive players? One—Tarell Brown (5'10", 193)—drafted in 2007, before Scotty came on board.

In the two years he's been drafting, not one player under 6'0" has been selected by the Niners. This changes everything.

Think about the names thrown around in mock drafts and fan message boards: CJ Spiller (5'11"), Earl Thomas (5'10"), Joe Haden (5'11"), Jahvid Best (5'10").

Now forget them, because they're not playing for the Niners. Not a chance, according to our GM. No exceptions, he said it himself.

So where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us with a different batch of names to consider as potential 49ers:

 

Taylor Mays (6'3", 230), FS, USC   

Never mind what the scouting report says about his struggles in coverage, this guy has to be high up on McCloughan's board. No way this size/speed combo at a position of need is getting past No. 17.

 

Ryan Matthews (6'0", 220), RB, Fresno St.

Barely makes the cut at just six feet, but is well over 200 pounds, which puts him ahead of C.J. Spiller on McCloughan's board I imagine (remember, no exceptions). Matthews ran a 4.45 at the combine and was the leading rusher in the NCAA last year.

 

Chris Cook (6'2", 212), CB, Virginia

Improved stock greatly with a solid Senior Bowl week, followed by a successful combine at which he ran the second-fastest time among CB's at 4.46. Not considered a first-round pick, but expected to go mid-second/early-third.  

 

Jared Veldheer (6'8", 312), OT, Hillsdale

The Niners most likely will be looking for a top-tier OT with our first pick, but should we miss out in the first or desire additional depth later, this guy will be on McCloughan's radar for sure. A Division-II standout with a huge frame, Veldheer impressed in all drills at the combine and may end up being a top-50 pick.

 

Terrence Cody (6'4", 354), DT, Alabama

By far the largest of the top-20 DT prospects, Cody was a standout for the National Champs. He actually weighed in at 370 for the Senior Bowl but slimmed down after receiving criticism for being overweight. Projects to be a nose tackle at the next level and is expected to be picked somewhere in the second round.

 

Chad Jones (6'3,230), SS, LSU

Jones was considered one of the top 10 best all-around athletes at the combine and has moved up on most draft boards, projecting to be a second-round pick. If the Niners decide that Dashan Goldson is the long term answer at free safety, then a strong safety would become an immediate need.

 

So there you have it—six names that are more likely to adorn the 49ers red and gold next season than many of the fan favorites because of McCloughan's size fetish.

For better or worse, this is the approach San Francisco's GM has decided to take in terms of acquiring talent via the draft. Whether or not it works remains to be seen, but 49ers fans everywhere are holding their collective breath in hopes that he knows what he's doing.

Posted on: October 7, 2009 3:59 pm
 

Crabtree signing a waste...

     Go ahead, tell me to get over it. Tell me that now that he's in red and gold we should embrace him. Tell me that it's not his fault. Tell me that he was surrounded by bad influences. Tell me that he received bad advice. Tell me that he's misunderstood, not a diva at all. Tell me that he still might make an impact on this years team.

And I'll tell you that you're wrong on every count.

Eugene Parker, Deion Sanders, and at some point MC Hammer?? have all been involved in the Crabtree fiasco. Am I to believe that now that he's signed the circus will end? Should I believe that he suddenly understands the error of his ways? When will teams learn from the Plaxico Burress' and Braylon Edwards of the world that this never works out.

The odds are so far stacked against Crabtree ever becoming a successful player in this league that every dime we just shelled out is money wasted:

For one, players that hold out into the season are almost never successful. (Emmitt Smith being the major exception). Bo Jackson was successful, but not for the team that originally drafted him). Also, players with gaudy statistics from spread offenses in college are rarely able to expand on that success in the NFL. And finally, selfish players that surround themselves with questionable influences are almost NEVER successful (Deion Sanders is one exception sadly). 

So feel free to wear your Crabtree jersey's proudly next Sunday. Go on and backtrack on everything that you've been saying for the past several weeks. Pretend that your criticisms of Crabtree are no longer valid, even though deep down you know that they are. Live in denial if you must, but I won't be there with you. 

Crabtree missed camp - when the new offensive system was installed. During the season, they spend their weekdays installing their gameplans for the upcoming game, which Crabtree will not understand in the least. He doesn't know the playbook, isn't in game shape, and is coming from a spread system into a traditional NFL pro style offense which is difficult enough if your in camp, but almost impossible to pick up on the fly in week five. 

Whatever he earns for being a member of our team this year is a waste. He won't contribute on or off the field. He will most likely waste whatever good will is currently being extended by loyal to a fault fans. He'll complain about not getting the ball enough at some point. He'll surely begin referring to himself in the third person at some point ("Michael Crabtree has to do what's best for Michael Crabtree. Michael Crabtree's just trying to be the best Michael Crabtree he can be, right Deion??")

Those of you suddenly on the wagon - and from what I've seen that's most of you - have quickly forgotten what it was like to have TO on the team. We might have cheered when he scored, but nobody liked him - nobody. And when he left, we let out a collective sigh, vowing to never be bitten by the proverbial snake ever again.

Well, the snake is back out of the bag. He has a different name, but he's still a snake. And you are all reaching out with your recently healed hand once again to pet the little guy...

well don't be surprised, and don't come crying to me when you get bit.
Posted on: May 19, 2009 4:36 pm
Edited on: May 19, 2009 4:40 pm
 

Whine and Cheese - Celtics, Spike Lee, and more..

Well, well, well. The Lakers and Celtics rematch in my mind was short-lived. The Lakers held up their end of the bargain, but the Celtics failed to do their part. To be fair, it didn’t really seem to me that Boston cared much. If you’ve ever seen the cinematic classic “Duece Bigalow: European Gigelow”, you might remember a character named  Earl McManus – played by former SNL castmember and king of the cameo, Norm McDonald – saying the following in an official meeting of male prostitutes: 

In thick Scottish accent:

“Three years ago, when this union told we man-whores, that we were to begin washing our private parts between customers, I strongly disagreed! But I did not stand up…  I’m ashamed to report to you gentlemen – I stood down!”  

(If you haven’t seen this scene, please do yourself a favor and check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNl8-7pDoNg 

Well, that’s what the Celtics did in game seven. They stood down. No fight at all left in the defending champions, which was sad to see – even for a Lakers fan that is technically a sworn enemy of the Celts. Either way, I was wrong about the Celtics, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Sometimes you go with your gut, and your gut betrays you. But let’s not dwell on the past. Looking ahead now, let’s dive right in to this week’s whine, starting with Dwight Howard
 

Howard resembles Tim Duncan

True, Duncan is a power forward and Howard plays mostly center,  and Howard is nowhere near as good as Tim Duncan in his prime – not yet – but he reminds me of Duncan in one respect: his game is boring to watch. There’s a reason the Finals have always received bad ratings when the Spurs were representing the West – they were boring. Parker, Ginobli, and Robinson occasionally added excitement, but Duncan was the star and he rarely channeled enthusiasm into the hearts and minds of NBA fans.  Arguably the best power forward ever to play the game (you could argue Malone, maybe Barkley), Duncan quietly scored, rebounded, and defended his team through the playoffs, all the while never really looking like he was into the game. 

            As fans, we want to see a guy that we either love or hate. We want to see Shaq barreling down the court after a two handed dunk, fists clenched, screaming wildly. We like to see Kobe shouting at Battier that he can’t guard him, Garnett slapping away the shot after a foul call, or Rasheed Wallace chasing down an official. We need to have guys like these to stir our own competitive juices, to make us pick a side even when our own team isn’t one of the choices. The fact is, I don’t really like Dwight Howard, but I don’t dislike him either. So as a guy that generally likes to pull for the underdogs, I’d like to see the Magic compete against the Cavs in the upcoming series, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to care if they don’t. 

Spike Lee’s Mancrush

                After seeing the preview for the Spike Lee documentary played ad nauseum for the week leading up Saturday’s debut, I finally caved in and set it up on the old DVR to record. Let’s just say that I wish I hadn’t, because that is time that I’ll never get back. Now, keep in mind that I’m a Lakers fan, and if anyone would enjoy this – apart from Spike, Kobe, and maybe Kobe’s family – it would be me. Guess again. It was a big puff piece, surrounding a very short window of Bryant’s NBA existence. It answered none of the questions that we would be interested in hearing, and basically ignored entirely the whole episode in Colorado. Now, I understand that it’s a very sensitive subject, but when you avoid it entirely you lose credibility as an impartial observer, which is essential in producing an entertaining biography/documentary. So thanks for nothing Mr. Lee, here’s a little whine coming your way.  

Michael Vick’s impending release

                Let the debate begin. I’ve heard it all. “He’s served his time”, or, “he’s paid his debt to society”, or the classic “everyone deserves a second chance”, but I’m still not buying it. Make all of the comparisons you want, but what this guy did is a reflection of an individual that can’t be fixed or reformed. You either have it in you to hold another living creature underwater until it stops moving – or you don’t.

               It’s not the same as hunting either, so don’t give me that. If you’re one of the many Americans that enjoy hunting, be it for food, or sport, or both – that’s acceptable. I don’t hunt, and never will, but I can understand those that do. My wife’s family are all hunters, and they do aim to kill when shooting at a deer. What they don’t do is gradually shoot each of the deer’s legs until it’s immobile, then walk over to it to give it a few good kicks in the head before dragging it home to electrocute and then ultimately drown it. See the difference?

               Dog fighting is a violent and cruel sport, but it’s part of the culture that Vick was raised in. If all he had done was sponsor dog fighting financially, I would be disgusted, but willing to forgive. If all he had done was host and bet on dog fights, I would accept his return to the NFL after serving a reasonable amount of time in prison. But that’s not what he did. He intentionally and without hesitation tortured and murdered defenseless animals. It’s not the same as domestic violence, where the woman has an opportunity to escape, nor is it the same as vehicular manslaughter – in which a person unintentionally causes the death of another. Both are despicable, but none are as bad as what Vick did. So he’s served his time – let him rejoin the rest of society. But don’t for one minute expect me argue for his return to the NFL, because I won’t. So for all of the pro-Vick sentiment that has begun to surface in the media these past few weeks – a present you with a great big steaming pile of whine. Shame on you. 


Wow, I really got carried away with the whine this week. Not much time or space left for the cheese so I’ll try to make it quick. What I liked this week in sports:  

Welcome back Andrew Bynum

           That sound that you hear is the proverbial lights coming back on in Mr. Bynum’s head. His body may have been healed and prepared to return at the beginning of this year’s postseason, but his mind clearly was not. Bynum struggled through the majority of the playoffs, waiting until it mattered most to remind Lakers fans why it is that we missed him in last year’s Finals against the Celtics.

            Bynum’s speed, size, and intensity were finally at the forefront in Sunday’s game seven victory over the depleted Rockets. Bynum was active on both ends of the court, shooting 6-7 from the field, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, two key blocks, and a steal – all in just 22 minutes of play. Hope you saved some for the next round ‘Drew, but for Sunday’s effort you get a get an extra helping of cheese.  

Kornheiser bids farewell

I understand that there has been a fair amount of Kornheiser hating going on for the past few years since he was added to the Monday Night Football lineup, but I never understood it. I’ve always like the guy on PTI, and thought he did a fine job on MNF. Some people hated Madden too, and I never got that either. Look, I know Kornheiser can be annoying at times, and he tends to take unpopular stances at times which can rub people the wrong way, but to say that MNF is better off without him isn’t true in my book. We’re stuck watching games every year while being forced to listen two announcers that are generally boring know-it-alls, like Aikman and Buck, or (god help me) Phil Simms and Jim Nantz.
 
            It’s nice from time to time to be able to watch a game while listening to that idiot friend of yours. The one that drinks too much and hardly pays attention to the game, but notices all the off-the-wall stuff that happens during the contest that most of us miss. It’s called comic relief, and I thought that Kornheiser delivered during his MNF tenure, not to mention the fact that these games are often terrible, and badly in need of something or someone that can kill time during the course of a stinker. So feel free to disagree – and I’m sure that some of you will – but Tony K gets a fat wedge of cheese from me for three years of commendable service in the MNF booth, and as always for being a part of the greatest show on television – PTI.


I’m sure that there’s plenty I missed, as usual, but this is a pretty good snapshot of how the world of sports looked this past week through this fan’s eyes. As always, please feel free to add your own whine or cheese to the comments below, even if my own writing abilities appear in the whine section, I’m sure I deserve it. Thanks again all for reading, we’ll see you next week.

 

 

Posted on: May 13, 2009 11:58 am
Edited on: May 13, 2009 3:36 pm
 

Lakers and Celtics rematch?

   The Lakers and Celtics are on a crash course for an NBA championship rematch. I know it might be hard to believe at the moment with the Cavs dominating in the east and the Nuggets looking like the better team in the West, but believe it. 
   With both winning game five in their respective series last night, the Lakers and Celts displayed their championship pedigree which in my book, is why they should be the favorites to advance to the NBA championship in 2009. Why you ask? Well, I'll tell you.

Coaching

   Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers are the two best coaches remaining in the playoffs. Both continue to put their players in a position to succeed, as displayed in last nights wins. Jackson -realizing his mistake in game four - went big against the Yao-less Rockets. Starting both seven footers (Gasol and Bynum) and the 6-8 Trever Ariza, the Lakers dominated in the paint from the get go.
    Doc Rivers continues to make the best of a difficult situation with Garnett out for the postseason. Rivers knows how to get the most out of the remaining players, including Eddie House, Glen Davis, and Stephon Marbury. Assuming the Celts advance, expect Rivers to have a solid gameplan drawn up for his team designed to slow down Lebron and make the rest of the Cavs roster beat them. In a seven game series, my money is still on the Celtics. 
    In contrast, George Karl and Mike Brown are solid - but not spectacular coaches. Karl's teams have exited in the first round in 7 of his last 8 postseason appearances, with the lone exception being the 52 win Bucks team that was bounced in the Conference finals. Mike Brown has just three seasons under his belt as a head coach, and although he has made the playoffs in all three, his postseason record was just 25-20 prior to this year, twice losing in the conference semi's. He did take the Cavs to the finals in 2007, but the east was weak that year, and he was clearly outcoached by Greg Popovich in a 4-0 series loss to the Spurs.

Deeper Rosters

I'll admit, the Cavs are deep this year, much more than in years past, but I still like the Celtics and Lakers to get better play off the bench in the conference finals. Let's take a look at the benches to see how they stack up:

Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Luke Walton, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic.

Celtics: Stephon Marbury, Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, and Mikki Moore.

Cavaliers: Joe Smith, Daniel Gibson, Wally Szczerbiak, Ben Wallace, and Sasha Pavlovic.

Nuggets: Chris Anderson, Dahntay Jones, Anthony Carter, and Linas Kleiza.

     As I said, the Cavs bench may end up playing well against the Celtics, but I still give Boston the edge. As for the Nuggets, I don't see how they keep up with the Lakers in a seven game series. This ain't Dallas we're talking about. When the starters rest in that series, the Lakers will be adding to their lead. 

Nuggets and Cavs are overrated 

     Before you fly off the handle, let me say that I respect what Cleveland did this year in the regular season - especially at home - but I still don't think that they're as good as advertised. I'd like to be impressed by their sweeps over the Pistons and Hawks, but I'm not. Neither of those teams showed up, and I have little doubt that the Celtics and Lakers would have easily dispatched these teams if given the chance. In contrast, how would the Cavs be doing if their first two rounds were against the Jazz and Rockets? Hard to say for sure, but my guess is that they would still be playing instead of resting.
     As for the Nuggets, they're the flavor of the month. The acquisition of Chauncy Billups has certainly made them a better team this year, but let's not forget that these guys had the same amount of wins in the regular season as the Blazers who are long gone. Add to that their 21-20 road record this season and it's hard to see how they're going to compete with the Lakers in a full seven game series. Granted, Denver has looked like a contender while playing the Mavs, but beating the Mavs in the postseason isn't exactly an indicator of future success.   

The fact is, we would all like to see Kobe vs. Lebron in the finals this year. I want it, you want it, and the NBA wants it so bad it can taste it. But I don't know if we'll get it. Conventional wisdom says that we will, but my gut tells me that we're much more likely to see a Boston - LA rematch. I hope I'm wrong, really I do, but I don' think that I will be. All things considered, these are my final predictions for the conference finals: 

-Lakers over Nuggets in five

-Celtics over Cavaliers in seven

I'm sure that you all agree with me (tongue planted firmly in cheek), but just in case you don't, I'll open up the floor for arguments sake. Discuss amongst yourselves.



 

 

Posted on: May 12, 2009 3:05 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2009 4:02 pm
 

Whine and Cheese - Big Baby, Cuban, and more...


Welcome to this weeks edition of whine and cheese boys and girls. The draft is over and attention has shifted back to the NBA playoffs and the second month of baseball season. so without further ado, let's get started with the whine:

Mark Cuban acts out

I’ve defended Cuban in the past. I mean, sure -he’s kind of a jerk and his act does get tired at times- but it’s still refreshing to see and owner that also seems to be a true fan. He sits courtside and passionately cheers for his team, and genuinely cares about whether or not his team contends (unlike Clips owner Donald Sterling for example). But he went too far this week after a game three loss to the Nuggets – talking smack to Kenyon Martin’s mom who was in the stands watching the game.

I understand he was upset with the call, but the anger should have been directed towards the officials, not an opposing player’s mom. In my opinion, Martin has every right to hand Cuban a sound beating without repercussion, for the simple fact that in the real world, talking trash to one’s mom would be met with the same. So Mr. Cuban, on behalf of the majority of sports nation: Please sit down and shut up, you’ve gone too far this time.

The Game 3 (non) call

Sorry Mavs fans, but I disagree with your assessment that the foul not being called was entirely the fault of the referees. There is some blame that does rest with them, but I think that the majority of the blame should fall on Antoine Wright. We’ve all seen it a thousand times, and opinions vary, but they shouldn’t. Everyone knows that in that situation with a foul to give, the idea isn’t just to commit the foul – but to make sure that the foul is committed so that there is no possibility of a shot. Grab him, hug him, whatever you have to do – but that shot should never have been taken if Wright was doing his job. I know that the NBA apologized and admitted error on the part of the officials, but the issue should never have existed, and I’m willing to bet that the next time Wright is expected to foul he’ll do it properly.

Roger Clemens

Alright Roger, enough is enough. You’re guilty. I know you’re guilty, the fans know you’re guilty, your friends (Pettitte and Knoblauch) know your guilty, my mom knows you’re guilty – and she doesn’t even know who you are. I argued with friends for years that Roger was on the juice. In 2004, at age 42, he posted the lowest ERA of his career which I found suspicious, but other’s seemed to think nothing of it – or just didn’t care. Either way, with evidence mounting it’s time for Roger to do what his buddy Andy did – just admit it and move on. Accept the consequences for your actions and save us all the empty denials on TV and radio. We do hate steroid users, but we hate liars even more.

Lakers Game 4

What in the world happened? Yao gets knocked out for the remainder of the playoffs, the Rockets are ripe for the picking, and you guys go out and lay an egg? Not a little chicken egg either, but a big, stinky, 3 pound ostrich egg. I can’t possibly imagine what caused the Lakers to play so bad that they were down by 29 at one point. Kobe played with all the passion of a preseason game, and Fisher was schooled by Aaron Brooks. Fish looked old while chasing the youngster around- Brooks finished with a career high 34 points. The Lakers still seem to lack that killer instinct, and it might cost them an opportunity to play in the Finals this year.


It will be interesting to see how the playoffs pan out in the West. One things for sure, you can bet that there will be plenty more for me to write about in next week’s whine session. That said, let’s move on to the cheese:

Houston Rockets

Short and sweet. Way to keep it together in game four. You had every right to pack it in, but you did just the opposite. As sports fans we’re constantly deluged with excuses from players and teams, so it’s a real treat to see a team that ignores the excuses and simply plays an inspired game.

Big Baby vs the Kid

Cheese to Big Baby Glen Davis for apologizing to the 12 year old boy that he bumped immediately after hitting the game winning shot in game four of the Celtics-Magic series. Understand that I don’t think that it was intentional, nor do I think that the kid’s father should have made an issue of it, but Big Baby kept it classy and ended the debate. Cheese for the shot too. This guy was not a shooter coming into the league, and has worked hard at learning to hit that midrange jumper. Looks like he’s got it down pat.

Manny Ramirez and the Roids

What? Manny in the cheese section? This can’t be right! Oh, but it is. I have to take a minute to congratulate Manny for his reasoning as to how he failed his drug test. Manny was quoted as saying, “Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility.”

Really? Really Manny? Hilarious. The drug that his doctor prescribed him – hCG – is generally prescribed by physicians to treat female fertility issues. What was the personal health issue Manny? Hmmm… having problems conceiving a child? Classic. Thanks Manny for the quote of the week, and welcome to the cheese section. We can all appreciate a man who either has a very good sense of humor, or is ridiculously stupid.

Toronto Blue Jays

The early dark horse candidate this year, the Jays sit atop the AL East at 22-12 – ahead of the Yanks, the Bosox, and the defending AL Champion Rays. The Jays rank first in the majors in BA (.294) and third in HR’s (44), not to mention the third best ERA (4.11) in the American League.  The Blue Jays have several young players paying dividends, including Adam Lind, Aaron Hill, and Travis Snyder. While the pitching staff – led by Roy Halladay – is progressing as well. I don’t know if they’ll be able to keep it up for the entire season, but cheese to them for topping the big spending Yanks and Red Sox early in the season.


That’s all for this week folks, hope you liked it. As always, feel free to comment, agree, disagree, or talk about my momma. Just kidding Cuban, jeez calm down.  
Posted on: May 5, 2009 2:36 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2009 2:40 pm
 

Whine and Cheese - Cinco De Mayo Edition

Welcome to the Cinco De Mayo edition of Whine and Cheese. It’s been a long week in sports and there has been plenty to celebrate and complain about, so let’s get started with the whine:

Celtics vs. Magic – Game One

Wish I hadn’t tuned in for this one, but I did. I wanted to see how the Magic would match up with the Celts minus Garnett, but instead was treated to one of the most boring playoff games in recent memory. Watching these two teams bounce shots of the rim in the second half was reminiscent of the “21” marathons between me and my older brother – ten minutes in and we’re out of breath, score deadlocked at four apiece. 

But seriously, I hope we can chalk up this game one performance to rust on the part of the Magic, and letdown on the part of the Celts, because I’m not the least bit interested in watching another four or five games like game one.

Kentucky Derby

This is a quick whine.  Shame on all of us for not briskly walking to the nearest offsite betting establishment and placing money on Mine That Bird in this weekend’s derby. The 50-1 longshot bolted from the back of the pack to win the race, leaving us all wishing that we had. Quick math: had we bet just $20, we would have won a cool grand. And if by chance you did bet on the longshot this weekend – congratulations – oh, and can I borrow fifty Bucks?

Drawing the foul

This applies to every game in the NBA postseason- because it happens in every game – but I am sick and tired of it. Pump faking, getting the defender in the air, and then “shooting” while jumping into the defender – creating the contact, but being awarded a foul. It’s ridiculous.

If some of these guys would spend as much time working on their outside shooting as they do perfecting this move, we’d actually have a little flow to the game. Instead we’re stuck watching guys pull this hack move. And one more while we’re on the subject:  driving the lane with no intention of taking a shot – just trying to draw the foul. Again, just ridiculous. If the NBA is really as serious as they say they are about putting a good product on the court, they’ll figure out a way to put an end to this.

Brett Favre

Nope, I’m not going to chastise Favre. He certainly has his issues, but this isn’t what I’m tired of. I’m tired of the media following this guy and reporting every little thing that he does. Listen folks, maybe he is kicking around the idea of coming back and maybe he isn’t. But the fact is, it’s not Brett making it an issue – it’s the media. 

I saw Trent Dilfer on Mike and Mike this morning saying that he texted Brett yesterday to find out what was going on- whether  he was coming back or not. According to Trent, Favre said ‘no’.  Thanks for getting to the bottom of that Trent. I’m sure we’ll all sleep better tonight.



Ok. Deep breath. Go to the happy place. Midgets riding tricycles, pitchers of beer, and stacks of cash. Or as the great comedian Greg Giraldo once mused: a city in Indonesia with a population of 28, where twenty six of them are hot chicks that will service you for a nickel – and the other two are dudes that give you nickels. Anyway, I’m calm now, so on with the cheese:

Bulls vs. Celtics

A bit of a disappointment that game seven didn’t go to overtime, but other than that this series was awesome. I’m not going to go so far as to call it the best ever – or even one of the best ever, as many in the media have dubbed it in their haste to make everything “the best ever” – but it was definitely the gem of this year’s first round.

Minus Garnett the Celtics played with intensity, and the young Bulls matched it. Some timely shooting and amazing interior play on both sides of the ball highlighted a very physical round one series between these two. A nice change of pace in an otherwise excruciatingly boring first round.

Lebron wins MVP

This could just as easily read “Kobe wins MVP” and you’d hear no argument from me, but if you had to chose this year I think that it’s safe to say that Lebron was definitely deserving. Obviously King James has improved his shooting and his defense over the past couple of years which is how he ultimately ended up winning the award this year.

It’s also worth mentioning, in my opinion, how well Lebron has grown into his stardom. This guy was hyped as much as any player coming out of high school, even though he had much room to improve. He was paid a King’s ransom and given every opportunity to become another overpaid, overrated, NBA star, but he didn’t. He worked on his game, he accepted the pressure, never blamed his teammates publicly when the Cavs struggled, and stayed out of trouble both on and off the court.

And it seems to have paid off this season. He’s led his Cavs to an NBA best 66 wins and has won his first MVP award, and has a very good chance of returning to the NBA Finals for the second time in his career. Best of luck Lebron, you’ve earned it.

Justice for Josh Beckett

As Rasheed Wallace use to say, “ the ball don’t lie”. Which translated means that karma can often intervene in order to right a wrong. And it has for Josh Beckett. He was suspended for six games as a result of his head hunting adventure in Anaheim – just days after the tragic death of Nick Adenhart. Beckett was not remorseful or apologetic.

He appealed the suspension and had it reduced to five games, which basically meant that he would be able to continue with his scheduled start – the MLB equivalent of not being suspended at all. So he got away scott free right? Ah, but the god’s had other ideas. Beckett has pitched in two games since the “suspension”, giving up eight runs on ten hits to the Yankees in five innings, and seven runs on ten hits to the Rays in 4 2/3 innings. Gotta love it. Sorry Sox fans, but this guy had it coming – and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.


And so that concludes this week’s edition of whine and cheese. Hope you enjoyed it, and as always thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with this interesting bit of rock n roll history:  

46 years ago, today: on a recommendation by George Harrison, Dick Rowe Head of A&R at Decca records, (and the man who turned down The Beatles), went to see The Rolling Stones play at Crawdaddy Club, London. The band was signed to the label within a week.  

(http://www.1800blogger.com/2009/05/
04/this-week-in-music-history-may-3
-%E2%80%93-may-9/
)

Posted on: April 28, 2009 10:58 am
Edited on: April 28, 2009 11:02 am
 

Whine and Cheese: Post Draft Edition

   It's finally over. All the hype, speculation, and rumor. The NFL Draft has come and gone and the boards are aflame with a mixture of excitement and regret. In this week's whine and cheese, I'd like to take time out to celebrate what I liked about the NFL draft, and whine about what I didn't. Let's dive right in and start with the whine:

Mr. Irrelevant

        I get it. It's all in good fun and no one's feelings are hurt. But what was once a silly little sidenote has become a bit of a production, and I think that the joke has run it's course. This year's Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop, will be whisked away to California where he'll take part in a press conference, a roast, and a presentation of the Lowsman Trophy - a "Heisman" like trophy depicting the player dropping the ball - all part of Irrelevant week. That sound you hear is the beating of a dead horse.  

Percy Harvin

       I'm not saying that I don't like the pick. I understand that at some point his talent is too hard to ignore. What I don't like is Harvin's chance of success in the league. Talent wise he'll be fine, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Harvin will be seeing the inside of commissioner Goodell's office within the next two years. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he'll become a fine upstanding citizen who enjoy's a long successful career. All I'm saying is, if I were a betting man (and I am), I'd be willing to bet that Harvin will be at a strip club near you behaving badly the moment his first check clears.

Knowshon Moreno to the Broncos

       I personally think that Knowshon was the best back in the draft - but the Broncos? Don't they need defense? There was plenty of talent at RB in the later rounds, which is where Shanahan would have found it. Instead, the Broncos select Moreno with Brian Orakpo and Brian Cushing still on the board. The did take Robert Ayers with their other first round pick, but with the trading of Cutler and then this pick - I just don't understand what the Broncos are trying to do in the post Shanahan era. Maybe they have a plan, but I don't see it.

 
Tampa Bay trading up in the first

       What was the point of this? They were at 19, and they trade up to 17 to take a guy (Josh Freeman) who was going to fall to 19 anyway? The last two teams left to pick were the Browns and the Broncos. Neither needs a QB, and I honestly don't believe that either was interested in Freeman, so why bother?

The Bengals still don't get it

       I mean, are they intentionally going out of their way to find these guys? It's similar to watching a person run into a brick wall over and over again - expecting that eventually they'll break through. Drafting Andre Smith, Michael Johnson, and then the belle of the ball - Bernard Scott - the Bengals showed us why everyone wants out of that town. Smith and Johnson have big time potential, but they will need serious motivation and the Bengals have shown time and time again that they aren't able to provide it. As for Scott, he's 25 years old, was suspended in High School, ended up playing for 4 different college teams including Central Arkansas where he was kicked off for "allegedly" hitting a coach. He's been arrested five times, including charges of stealing an IPod, fleeing a police officer, and giving false information to a police officer. Way to go Bungles, you have replaced the Lions as the most inept franchise in the league.


Enough of the whine, let's move on to the cheese. The following are picks that I loved. It's always a crapshoot, but in my opinion team's should be applauded for drafting smart.

Rams: Jason Smith, OT (Baylor)
      The Rams make the wise move and ignore the insanity that surrounds the top five of the draft, selecting Smith to replace the departed Orlando Pace. Smart pick, safe pick. Good for you Rams.

Packers: BJ Raji, DT (Boston College)
      Another sensible pick. They need defense, and they're switching to Dom Caper's 3-4 this year so they'll need a legit big man to play the nose. Never mind the "character issues" rumor that swirled around draft time, this dude will be fine. Heck, it was probably the Packer's that started the rumor so he would fall to them at nine.

49ers: Michael Crabtree, WR (Texas Tech)
      The Niners didn't expect him to drop, so they had their sights set on O-Line or D-Line. They'll be glad that they ended up picking the "best player available" instead of for need, because this guy is going to be a monster.

Ravens: Michael Oher, OT (Mississippi)
      Maybe the steal of the draft. The Ravens seize the opportunity to grab Oher at #23 solidifying their O-Line. He's a raw talent, which is why he didn't go higher, but don't be surprised if this guy plays a few games in Hawaii over the next several years.

The Patriots entire second round:
      Talk about value. Trading out of the first and ending up with four 2nd round picks, using three to pick up underrated talent on the defensive side of the ball, and a fourth adding depth on the O-Line. Patrick Chung, Darius Butler, and Ron Brace are all very talented, and should thrive under Belichik. Well played Pats, well played.

Jets: Shonn Greene, RB (Iowa)
      Smart move. Thomas Jones isn't going to be around much longer, and Greene should replace him nicely. The Jets traded up to make this pick like they did for Sanchez, which tells me that they're not worried about their D under new coach Rex Ryan. Good value here.

Cardinals: Rashad Johnson, S (Alabama)
     Top safety in the SEC last year. He's going to end up being a solid player for the Cards. They've quietly done very well the last few years in the draft. 

Bears: DJ Moore, DB (Vanderbilt) 
     Great value here in the fourth round. If Moore hung around for his senior year he might have been a first day pick in next year's draft. The Bears needed depth in their secondary, so this pick makes perfect sense.

Seahawks: Mike Teel, QB (Rutgers)
     Lots of speculation that the Seahawks would take Sanchez as an heir apparent to the aging and oft injured Hasselbeck. They instead snagged Curry, and then taking a page from the Pats playbook waited until the sixth round to find a QB project. Teel has the potential to become a starter in the league, and will be well served to sit for a year or two behind a quality mentor like Hasselbeck.



Plenty of other good picks in the draft, but these were my favorites. Feel free to add what I missed, and thanks again for taking the time to stick around for another edition of whine and cheese.















Posted on: April 21, 2009 4:45 pm
 

Whine and Cheese: NFL Draft Busts

    Alright boys and girls, just a few short days left before the 2009 NFL Draft. We've all read the mocks and heard the speculation. Most of it's going to turn out to be wrong, some of it will be right, and the rest will fall somewhere in the middle. For this edition of whine and cheese I'd like to review top ten draft busts in the past ten years - that is, players taken within the first ten picks. I'm sure there's a better way to say that, but I can't think of it. Anyway, moving on.

We all know about Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, David Carr, Ryan Leaf, Kyle Boller, and Alex Smith, so let's leave them out. In fact, let's leave QB's out altogether. We'll concentrate on guys that were top ten picks and projected to be Pro-Bowl type caliber players that never realized their potential. Keep in mind that these are in no particular order but you're welcome to chime in if you agree or disagree. So, let's get started:


Robert Gallery (Iowa), Tackle - Oakland Raiders

Gallery was selected with the second overall pick in 2004, and was expected to fill the left tackle spot for many years to come. The Raiders are known for their sometimes contreversial drafting strategy, however they played this one safe. Unfortunately, Gallery has yet to reward them for their trust in him, having basically flunked out as a left tackle in the NFL. He's basically a servicable guard right now, and hasn't shown the ability nor desire to become much more.

Vernon Gholston (Ohio St.), Linebacker - New York Jets

Mr. Workout Warrior himself was selected with the 6th overall pick in last year's draft. May be too soon to consider him a complete bust, but given the hype and expectations coming into the season, he has most certainly been a bust so far - not starting a single game and registering only five tackles in his rookie season. In contrast, the Jets previous two 1st round picks - Darelle Revis and D'Brickshaw Ferguson - both started 16 games as rookies.

Travis Taylor (Florida), Wide Receiver - Baltimore Ravens

Big things were expected of Taylor when he was selected with the tenth overall pick in the 2000 draft. Taylor did play five years for the Ravens, but maxed out in 2002 at 869 yards and six TD's. He moved around a bit after leaving the Raven's, but he's not lived up to the top ten pick. Peter Warrick was the fourth overall pick that same year, but I figured that his bust credentials are clearly in order - no need to retread over that well worn ground.

Taylor is however famous - or infamous - for his behavior. In 2007 he was tasered outside of a nightclub, he was also one of the players involved in the Vikings party boat scandal, and once showed up to a Raven's Halloween party dressed as Kobe - while his wife dressed as Kobe's accuser in the sexual assault trial. So, in other words, Travis Taylor is obviously a classy guy.  

Jamal Reynolds (Florida St.), Defensive End - Green Bay Packers

Once declared himself "the greatest defensive end the world has ever seen, period." The number ten pick in the 2001 draft, Reynolds disappeared in only three short years. After two poor years with the Packers - registering only two sacks - he was released. He played an additional season with the Browns, but was out of the league after that. Hope you invested some of that top ten money there Mr. Greatest of all time.

Mike Williams (Texas), Tackle - Buffalo Bills

The first Mike Williams to be a first round bust (his wide receiving counterpart would bust a few years later), he was taken with the 4th overall pick in the 2002 draft. At 360 pounds they figured he would fill the left tackle spot for the franchise, but he ended up spending more time in the buffet line than he did at left tackle. He was an okay run blocker, but an awful pass blocker. They attempted to move him to guard to salvage the pick, but it was no use. Williams hasn't played in an NFL game since 2005.

Johnathan Sullivan (Georgia), Defensive Tackle - New Orleans Saints

The Saints needed help on the D-Line (still do), so they grabbed Sullivan with the sixth overall pick. It turned out to be a wasted pick. After two subpar seasons with the Saints, he was traded to the Pats in 2006 for Bethel Johnson. Sullivan was dropped by the Pats in '06, but not before being arrested and charged with marijuana possession and several driving related offenses. He never played another down of NFL football, and should serve as a cautionary tale for those out there dying to grab B.J. Raji in the top ten of this year's draft.

Troy Williamson (South Carolina), Wide Receiver - Minnesota Vikings

Another player that benefitted from the combine, this high school track star wowed the scouts with a 4.32 forty time, prompting Minnesota to take him with the 7th overall pick in the 2005 draft as an heir apparent to the recently departed Randy Moss. However, in all of the excitement about his speed they forgot to do one thing - make sure he could catch. As it turned out, he couldn't, suffering from a constant case of the dropsies Williamson was eventually traded to the Jaguars, where he continues to play poorly.


So there you have it. Some not so big name guys that were drafted in the top ten and failed to live up to expectations. Keep them in mind when your screaming at your team this weekend to avoid the QB's for fear of the big bust. They come in all shapes and sizes folks, so buyer beware.

Other than that, have fun this weekend, and all the best to your team in the draft. And if by chance you happen to be in the Roanoke, Virginia area, feel free to stop by the local watering hole where I'll be enjoying fine food and beverage (wings and beer) - I'll be the guy in the Alex Smith jersey. Yeah, that Alex Smith. I wear my busts proudly.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com