Friday, February 29, 2008

With the 9th pick in the NFL Draft...

Touche` about Joe Buck. From his tone of voice, I can tell he is not a fan of Terrell Owens but I have no rock hard evidence to back it up. I’ve never been much a fan of him, but I’ll give him credit….actually I got nothing, I’m just not a fan of his.

Here’s my thing with McFadden. One top 5 player always slips, it never fails. It’s looking like its going to be him. We pick #9 and at that slot we are just high enough to get a great talent, but just low enough to miss out on the 3 or 4 “can’t miss” prospects each year. At #9, we obviously need defensive help, but not as much as everyone would think. Over the last eight games of the season, we held opponents to 20 points or less five times. In the first 8 games, we did it just once. Our secondary is young and played extremely well over that period. Our defensive line and linebackers, as you mentioned, were what needed improvement. Our linebackers were ravaged by injures. Ravaged. I hate to go TO on you but it was “Unfair man. It’s just really unfair.” You would have to assume nothing like that could hit the same core two years ago. Also there are no real linebackers that seem to pop out at me at #9. Same with our offensive line, injuries. Two years ago our offensive line was one of the brought spots in an 8-8 season but last year the injury bug hit it too. We had people playing multiple positions and our anchor, Willie Anderson, missed a good portion of the season while out other stud tackle, Levi Jones, played injured and it showed. The key to a great line is consistency and we did not have that at all. Again, you have to pray that one position doesn’t get hit like that again.

The defensive line was healthy, just pitiful. Chris Long, Glenn Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis and Vernon Gholston are all elite guys who could help us, but I think they will all be gone by 9. After the Giants success (read: ownage of Tom Brady), teams are going crazy for defensive lineman. I would love to trade up to get one of these guys but we rarely trade up. So unless we trade down, which I would also appreciate, we have to take the best player available i.e. McFadden. He would be an immediate upgrade as currently we have a powerless “power” back in Rudi Johnson. We have a solid backup in Kenny Watson. He played great this season but he doesn’t scare anyone and will be 30 at seasons start. We have a speedster named Dede Dorsey who has shown flashes but is too small and too raw to be a starter at this point. We have last season’s second round pick in Kenny Irons. He tore his ACL in the preseason and missed the entire year so we have no idea what we have in him. How his rehab is going would determine the McFadden pick. Last but not least we have Chris Perry who is the total package of what you would want in a running back. Sounds great until you remember he has hamstrings made from paper mache` and has played in 7 of our last 35 games. Logjam? Hardly. It would not surprise me if Johnson and/or Perry were cap casualties and Watson is a free agent after this upcoming season. McFadden is not my first option by far by if he falls, we’d have to at least consider it.

Yea I remember those struggling Tiger’s days myself. There’s a difference though. A team has to hit rock bottom before they can begin the come up. For the Bengals a couple years ago, it was the 2-14 season that led to an offseason that brought Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer. For the Tigers, it was that 119 loss season that led to the need for change and has brought the World Series appearance and high hopes for this season. The last 10 seasons, we have won from 66-85 games. Mediocrity at its finest! Just bad enough to warrant a change, but just good enough not to want to mess with too much. Every year the team will add an average free agent and the fans will tell themselves that he is the missing piece. Happens every year and I predict this year will be the same. Good Lord I hope I’m wrong.

-Tyler

Buck vs. Moss

Alright...good point about Joe Buck.
Still, that was not actually a play that occured on the field. That was a celebration after the fact...and I think his kids were watching, so he wanted to sound like a good father.
If you remember, Randy Moss made that touchdown catch on an Al Harris coverage blunder. Moss ran a slant-and-go, but Harris tried to jump the slant. Bad move. As soon as he jumped, Moss cut upfield, and was wide open for a long touchdown pass that iced the game. Now, Harris is known for being an agressive defender, but the Packers were running a massive blitz on the play. There were no safeties back with help, leaving Harris on an island with Moss. Bad coaching call? Maybe. But Harris knew this, and should not have left himself exposed like that. Also keep in mind that Harris couldn't catch up with a badly hobbled Randy Moss. Now keep in mind that Joe Buck siad NOTHING about this blown coverage. The biggest play of a big playoff game featuring division rivals comes on a blown coverage...and Joe Buck says nothing of that.
I used to love Joe Buck. I don't hate him now, but he has definitely lost something. That being said, he rarely (if ever) calls out players for their play on the field. He never even did this kind of stuff in his "prime".
Last but not least: your example took place in 2005. So, if we can say something like "Joe Buck hasn't said anything negative about a player since 2005", well...

McFadden to the Bengals? Wishful thinking, isn't it? Tell me this: how do you expect McFadden to make a huge difference with the Bengals line in the shape that it is currently in? Unless he can play offensive line or linebacker, I just don't see him making a ton of difference. Besides, if he comes in with Rudi Johnson still employed by the Bengals, Rudi may teach him some lessons like, "You can stay in this league longer if you fall down as soon as you're touched. Run hard for a year, so everyone thinks your great, then fall down every year after that. I do it. Shaun Alexander does it. And it has worked out pretty well for us."

Allow me to say this: if I EVER see you in a Red Sox or Yankees hat, I will literally beat you to death with your own shoe.
Although I can say that I know how you, a Reds fan, feels. I have been a Tigers fan my whole life. I remember really starting to follow them around '88 or '89. Up until 2006, I had never seen a Tigers team in the playoffs. Sure, they won the World Series in '84 and were in the playoffs in '87, but I was too young to remember those events. I suffered through many a losing season, including the 2003 season, when they lost 119 games. Had they not won on the last day of the season, they would have tied the all time record for losses in a season. Oh yes, I have suffered.
But look what can happen in a matter of years. We got some free agents, added a great manager, and made a quick turnaround. Granted, you have to have an owner willing to spend money on the team, but it could happen. The Reds have some talent. It's not completely outside the realm of possibility that they could have a good season in the year or two. I guess we'll have to see though.

-Dusty

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spring Training? You talkin bout spring training? Not even the actual season...spring training???

Are we talking about the same Joe Buck? The same Joe Buck that nearly had a coronary when Randy Moss fake mooned your Green Bay brethren? The Joe Buck that coined it “a disgusting act”? Buzz Killington himself?

Yea apparently the McFadden to the Cowboys rumor has legs. Jerry Jones is an Arkansas boy and is all about Darren McFadden. I understand wanting to upgrade from Julius Jones to McFadden, and if they can get rid of Roy Williams in the process, it’s a fantastic deal. The way Barber runs is great now, but he’ll be lucky to even live to 30 if he keeps it up. I know Jerry struck gold with the Herschel for Emmitt trade but I just don’t know how well it would work today. This is a different NFL. I’ve heard some talk of McFadden slipping down the draft board if the Cowboys don’t trade up to get him. With his great talent and questionable character, let’s just say I’ve already ordered mine.
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I’m a Reds fan. That should answer your inquiries about my level of “hypeness” for spring training. I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: The Reds will jump off to a great start and hear the “Have they finally put it together?” talk. Then we will lose an absurd amount of games, 17 out of 20 sounds about right. We will get it back together only after the inevitable Ken Griffey Junior trade and after the Brewers have locked up the division. We will finish with around 77 wins and wonder how great we could have been if we had pitching. That’s what will happen. It’s happened every year since 1998 and it’s not going to change now. The Reds disgust me. You don't happen to know where I might be able to find a Massachusetts Red Sox or New Jersey Yankees shirt? I've been with those teams through the ups and downs. You baseball fans with decent teams, ownership and something to root for make me sick!

-Tyler

Wha?!?!?!?!

Mike Brown got ejected?! Who saw this coming? I didn't think he got fired up over anything. As near as I could tell, he wasn't even sure he was supposed to be coaching an NBA team. This is fantastic!

Granted, there were some "questionable" (and I'm being nice) calls/non-calls, but I never thought I'd see Mike Brown get excited about anything.

The next thing I'm going to read is that Romeo Crennel killed a man in an act of rage...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Joe's (Buck and Simpson)

Now hold on a second there, kiddo. You're claiming that Joe Buck gave Favre teh kid gloves treatment? Joe Buck?! I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to give it a lot of thought before you answer: When's the last time you heard Joe Buck say something negative about anyone? I'm pretty sure he praised Joey Harrington this past year. Joe Buck? (Shakes head) I'm afraid you're gonna have to come harder than that to make a point.
Also, keep in mind that a lot of sportwriters did crucify Favre for that play.

The Cowboys can't honestly be thinking about trading Barder...can they? He's one of the hardest running backs currently playing. Plus, he's a fan favorite. McFadden would have to come in and play over his hype just to please those fans. That's not even mentioning what would happen to team chemistry when he gets the Simpson girls pregnant within two weeks of the first mini-camp. Aside from the obvious rift this would cause with Romo, I'm pretty sure Joe Simpson would kill him for doing something he always wanted to do.
I'm waiting for someone to make a run at Shawn Kemp. Give Travis Henry a couple of years, and he may eclipse Kemp. But McFadden is younger, and has more upside. No doubt the title will be his in a matter of years.

I'm working on Joe Budden, but it'll probably be a couple of weeks before I write anything. Sorry...it's just the way it goes.

Spring training starting soon. You hyped or what?

-Dusty

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Darren McLovin and the Gang...

I see your points but I still think he gets a bit of a pass. The interception that sealed the loss in the Giants game was described as a “questionable decision” by Joe Buck. Questionable? He had nothing, but he forced one up anyway and it may or may not have cost them the game. If Rex Grossman or even Eli Manning, at the time, made the same exact throw, they would have been crucified for it. I guess it comes with the territory of being a good QB because I’ve seen poor decisions by Tom Brady blamed on the receivers.


I am a believer in McFadden. He is an incredible athlete, as evidenced by his 4.27 40 yard dash time and seems to make cuts at just the right time. He played in the toughest conference in the country with a TERRIBLE quarterback. Arkansas had a good line but not an overpowering one. The guy has talent but talent alone won’t cut it in the league. Adrian Peterson fell into the perfect storm. He has a fantastic line with Hutchinson, Birk and McKinnie. He plays in the weakest division in the league and he has a good defense to help him out. Don’t get me wrong, Peterson is great and will only get better but there are a number of guys who could do well in that situation. I highly doubt McFadden will fall into a sweet gig like that. The knock on him is he fumbles too much and the he has “thin legs” and won’t be able to carry the load. The fumbling I can understand as a concern but thin legs? Reggie Bush was smaller coming out of college and picked up weight in the pros and I’m certain McFadden can do the same.


There is talk of the Cowboys trading up to get McFadden, which I thought was a great move at first. I heard rumors of both the Cowboys first round picks, and Roy Williams (coverage extraordinaire!!!) to the Dolphins for the number one overall pick, McFadden. A great deal for the Cowboys at first until I realized Bill Parcells is not that stupid. Then I heard Marion Barber was being substituted for Roy Williams, which would make a good trade for the Dolphins. A Barber-McFadden platoon could be lethal with the talent around them but I wouldn’t trade a proven back and two first round picks for McFadden. I am not high on picking a running back that high anyway. The career is too short, the salaries are too high and nearly all successful teams have a running back by committee. Brandon Jacobs, a fourth round pick, and Ahmad Bradshaw, a seventh round pick, have rings to prove the system works. Jerry Jones is just crazy (read: rich) enough to pull this off so who knows.


The one thing people aren’t saying about McFadden is how potent he is. Not on the field, but with the ladies. There are claims he has taken paternity tests for four different kids by four different women! And may have two more paternity tests to come! I know coach told him to “hit the hole with aggression” but there’s a limit. Goodness gracious, he’s on pace to put Shawn Kemp to shame.


Finally got around to finishing the Public Enemy Greatest Hits. I was pleasantly surprised with it. Chuck D has a great delivery and the mere thought of Flava Flav being relevant sends me into stitches. I can only imagine the impact it had when it first came out. However, it would never work today. Chuck D would come off as being preachy, people would claim the songs sound alike and you can’t “Crank Dat Terrordome!” so I doubt it would do well. I agree Chuck D puts more emotions into his music than Jay-Z but I think that is where it stops. Jay has him beat in metaphors, flow and double meanings among other things. I do plan on looking into more Public Enemy though.


-Tyler

The Van Gundy Boys

Oh, I almost forgot. I'm completely with you on the Van Gundy team. Best team currently working. I hope he doesn't go back to coaching for a couple of years. Between the three of them, I very rarely think, "What does that have to do with anything?" after hearing one of them make a point. Just a great team. I wish other announcers would listen to them and take notes.

-Dusty

In defense of Favre

You know how players are touted as underrated by someone, but before long everyone has picked up on it. So many people call him underrated that he becomes overrated. Off the top of my head, two big examples are Ben Wallace and Josh Howard.
Now...
I understand you talking about announcers using "kid gloves" on Favre. And that was true, a couple of years ago. When they went 4-12, and even the next year when they went 8-8, there were quite a few announcers and writers who made up all sorts of excuses as to how none of the Packers' problems were Favre's fault. I won't say that all of the problems had to do with Favre, but he definitely had a tough couple of years.
This past year, however, Favre had one of his best seasons in his career. Think about that. This guy is a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and he just had one of the best seasons of his career. At age 37. With one of the youngest teams in the league. The Packers had the worst running game in the league during the first half of the season, leaving the passing game as the only offense they had.
Yet, if you watched many Packers games this year, you would have heard announcers openly questioned his arm strength (especially after the Redskins game) and his motivation for coming back this past season at all. After the Philly game, announcers and writers were saying that he was washed up. He should have retired after the last season. He only came back to break the touchdown record. And so on.
Now, if you read much about football last year, you would also read a ton of writers talking about how most announcers and writers were treating him with kid gloves. Like I said, in the previous 2 seasons, perhaps they had a point. But not this past season...and this past season is when people were questioning his ability the most.
Talk about kid gloves all you want with Roy Williams and Ray Lewis. But, after this past year, I don't think anyone has any basis for claiming the kid gloves treatment with Favre.

Now, for next year...
Even if Favre goes, I think we have a shot with Aaron Rodgers to win the division. I've liked him ever since we drafted him. I've watched him in preseason games, and I've always been impressed with him. He seems accurate, poised, and incontrol. He has a nice "zip" on his passes. Whenever Favre retires, I believe we're in good hands with Rodgers. After seeing his performance against Dallas this past season, I believe that more than ever.
The defense is good, and I think they'll get better. The problem of Harris vs. Burress was not simply a problem of Harris vs. Burress. That, my friend, was a coaching breakdown, pure and simple. They like to play man-to-man, which works the majority of the time...but it didn't work in this situation. During halftime (at the very latest), the coaching staff should have made some changes in their game plan. Woodson was doing a great job with Toomer. They saw that Harris was getting beat. They needed to roll a safety over there to help him out. Burress is the Giants best receiver. The least they could have done was give him some help.
There were a couple of other times this season when I was concerned with the coaching decisions. Their game plan against Dallas was way off, and they lost their first meeting with the Bears due to a breakdown in coaching. Even against the Giants, they didn't get any pressure on Manning, which is what you need to do to win.
I am a fan of Ryan Grant. He's the perfect running back for that system. Make one cut, his the hole hard, and keep running. He has a great burst out of his inital cut, and he has breakaway speed in the open field. I don't know what else you can ask of a running back.
I do have some coaching concerns, but, other than that, I'm pretty excited about next year.

You're probably sick of hearing about the Packers. So...
Thoughts on the NFL Draft?
I keep hearing about McFadden. I heard him compared to Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson the other day.
But I never watched a Razorbacks game when I thought, "Boy, he's really good." He has speed, but, for the most part, he gets hit and falls down. Unless he has a huge hole and/or some open space to work with, I'm just not sure he's going to be an amazing NFL back. We'll see, I guess.

-Dusty

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jeff Van Gundy>>Joe Buck

Believe you me, I would love to hold Chad for a King’s ransom but let’s be real. I believe Terrell Owens went from San Fran to Philly for a 4th rounder. Moss went for a fourth rounder. Johnson is in the same category of elite receivers’ so I think two high picks should suffice. The problem with getting a veteran player back is that they make more money and may be less likely to buy into your “team philosophy”. Again I use the Redskins as an example as they seem to be the leading candidate. Yes, I would like a Santana Moss caliber player and draft picks in return but Snyder is notorious for overpaying players and I want no part of that. Also going from a playoff team in the league’s toughest division to a 7-9 team in a “meh” division may not work well for an established player. With a draft pick, we pick who we want and (attempt to) turn him into what we please. I actually think Chris Henry would fit in nicely, if we could only count on him to be behind the secondary as opposed to behind bars.

As to Roy Williams, he is living off his rookie year and great college career. His rookie year he busted heads and any coverage mishaps he had were written off as rookie mistakes. Newsflash: Williams just completed his sixth season. They aren’t rookie mistakes; he’s just not any good at coverage. Apparently he, Brett Favre and Ray Lewis have dirt on the commentators because these individuals, among others, are treated with kid gloves.

There is no question the Pack will win that division and be back in the playoffs. But are you really sold on Ryan Grant? What’s to stop teams from stuffing the box and forcing Favre into a mistake as the Giants did? No more “sneaking up” on teams this year. I can easily see the Packers winning the division, but in such a poor division would Favre retiring guarantee missing the playoffs? Will big wide receivers be able to give Al Harris the “Plaxico Burress special” from now on?

I’m not buying the chemistry deal. We have a small forward playing power forward and a shooting guard playing small forward. Our best player is third in shots attempted and is getting visibly frustrated by this. Our starting point guard only starts because he was just grossly overpaid, not because he has the most talent. If anything, our chemistry could use a good shakeup. Leaving things as is, has pretty much assured us a first round exit. I can’t see us beating the Pistons, Celtics, Cavs or Raptors in a 7 game series. A healthy Wizards team would give us trouble and we never seem to play well against the Hawks. Orlando Magic: Striving for Mediocrity since 1989.

I caught the Pistons-Suns catastrophe myself. First things first, the Pistons are the best team in the East and will be the number one seed by season’s end. Boston has really hit a rough spot. Two, don’t it all on Shaq. Rasheed Wallace is one of the bests post defenders in the league and Grant Hill didn’t help by refusing to hit a shot yesterday. Yes the Suns are 1-2 since Shaq began playing but they lost to a very good Laker’s team and the team likely to represent the East in the Finals. The schedule gets a little easier from here, but if they are losing by 30 to the Grizzlies, all bets are off. Three, kudos to Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson one of the great commenting teams out today. Breen keeps things on track and JVG and Jackson provide inside information and trade barbs as only former player-coaches could.

If the Cavs can get HALF the production they got from the new guys last night they are a threat. Seriously, just half. Add Boobie and Vareajo back into the mix and let King James do his thing and you are set. LeBron James has passed Kobe as the best player in the league in these eyes.

Public Enemy review coming next time.

-Tyler

Hatin' on Roy Williams (again)

I feel ya on Chad Johnson. I find it interesting that you would be willing to let him go for a couple of draft picks. Maybe it's just me, but the draft doesn't seem particularly deep this year. The Bengals would have to do something to make up for his big play ability...Chris Henry won't cut it. I would think that you'd want to get at least a speedster in return. But, like I said, that could just be me.

Here's the thing that absolutely baffles me about Roy Williams: he can't cover. Announcers know he can't cover. Fans know he can't cover. Coaches know he can't cover. So how is he always listed as one of the best safeties in the game? You say that you're not a GM because you wanted Williams to fall to the Bengals. Do you realize that the Cowboys would still take him when they did, knowing what they know?! I agree, he can't cover. He can hit, but only if he gets there in time. I understand how Ray Lewis and John Lynch still get love from the announcers; they are still being thought of as how good they were in their prime. It's a bit obnoxious, but I can understand it. But Roy Williams? I'm sorry, but I must have missed his prime. Where is all the respect coming from? I feel the same way about Reggie Bush. What has he done in the NFL? Nothing. So why is he constantly listed as a top-five running back? He won the Heisman? So did Gino Torretta.

In response to your Packers comment: I agree that a lot of things went well for us this past year. But the fact of the matter is that the Packers have a good team...and a young team. If Favre comes back, what's to stop us from making the playoffs again? Aside from a rash of injuries, I don't see us slumping this year. The defense played well the past couple of years, and I think they'll get better next year. The offense really came together last year. I'm particularly happy with the way the offensive line played together. Not only did we establish a running game, but we found a perfect running back to run that game. Will we go 13-3 again? Probably not. But who in the NFC North is going to win the title? Vikings may have a shot, if Jackson can play well next year. I think the Bears train came and went pretty quickly. And the Lions? They seemed good at the beginning of last year, but they fell apart fairly quickly. I'll give them a 7-9 record next year. I'm not saying it's a given, but the Packers have to be the overwhelming favorites to win the division next year.

Yeah...sorry about your Magic. Seems like they could've got something. Everyone wants an expiring contract. Maybe they didn't want to mess with the chemistry or anything. That's legitimate. The Pistons are good, the Cavs may be downright scary by the time the playoffs roll around, and the Celtics are doing well...but they're prone to their down games.
I watched the Celtics/Suns game this past Friday. I don't get to watch many games, so I was excited. One of the best teams in the East vs. one of the best teams in the West. You know what? It was boring. It was extremely boring. I think the Celtics had 30 points in the first half, and ended the game with 77 points. The Suns? 85 points. That's right...the final score was 85-77. There was a point where the Suns hadn't made a field goal in 12 minutes. TWELVE MINUTES! And they were still winning! The Suns are the highest scoring team in the league. Then, against the Pistons yesterday, they scored 86 in a massive loss. I don't want to pin any blame here, but do you think some of this might be due to Shaq? I know...he's playing hard. He's hustling. But how else do you explain their low point totals? Amare is playing out of his mind, and they're still only scoring 86? We'll see how this plays out, but I think the Suns might be regretting this trade right now.

The Cavs? Well...we'll see. They plastered the Grizzlies, but, well....they're the Grizzlies. I'll reserve judgment for when they play a team above the D-League level.

-Dusty

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chad for Favre and cash considerations

What made Reed the choice over Ware for me was the fact that we have a solid core of linebackers; we just can’t seem to keep them healthy. Twice this year we had two linebackers active. Two! Our secondary is solid but extremely young and his veteran leadership could do wonders. He can help stopping the run or playing the pass and good pass coverage has a positive effect on your pass rush and vice versa.

I’m glad we can agree on Ware. Unless you’ve actually watched him play, you probably have no idea who he is because he gets no publicity. The first time I really watched I remember thinking he was good, but it was a fluke game. Then he did it the next game I saw. And the next. The guy is a problem. I remember the year Roy Williams came out and was acclaimed the next “Can’t Miss” prospect, I prayed for him to fall to the Bengals. This is why I am not a general manager…yet. Now after many years of deliberation, I honestly wonder how he still has a starting job. He is a good hitter but terrible in coverage. They should really consider moving him to linebacker because the number of times receivers get behind him in a game is startling.

I think the Cavaliers easily won this trade simply because they got the four best players involved in the deal. Delonte West is a very solid guard and should platoon well when Boobie gets back. Wally is a great shooter and is capable of carrying the team for stretches of time. Joe Smith is a very solid player and is an upgrade over Gooden. He is a better scorer than Gooden but Gooden was a better rebounder and defender. This does not worry me because the Cavs have Wallace for that in addition to Big Z, Anderson Vareajo and King James himself. The Ben Wallace of yesteryear is gone but I think he can be very efficient on the Cavs. Yes, on offense they are playing 4 on 5 but LeBron James has to count for 1.5 or 2 men by himself. In limited minutes I can see Ben helping this team as an enforcer and someone who has been to the Promised Land before.

I HATE this trading deadline for my Orlando Magic. For one, the Cavs just jumped over us for the third best team in the league, behind Detroit and Boston. The 5th team in the standings, the Raptors, happen to play extremely well against us. The 6th team is a Wizards team treading water until Hibachi gets back. So naturally, we stand pat. We have around 16 million dollars in expiring contracts and a gaping hole at power forward, yet we stand pat. The freaking Hawks of Atlanta made a deal, yet we do nothing.

If I HAD to trade Chad? Hmmmm. He is a superstar and you never get equal value for a superstar so it would preferably have to be a combination of young talent and draft picks. Randy Moss went for a fourth rounder coming off a terrible season. Wes Welker went for a second and seventh and he only scored one touchdown the season prior. I figure Chad Johnson coming off his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl is worth at LEAST a first round pick. I’ll use the Redskins as a sample team because they appear to be the front runner. I would say a first rounder as well as a mid rounder. This would be ideal for me though: The Skins have to second round picks and some young talent. I would prefer a second round pick and a young player, like a Chris Cooley or LaRon Landry. I figure Cooley is off limits coming off a Pro Bowl appearance and Landry is off limits because of the Sean Taylor tragedy. Taking off my Bengal colored glasses, I would accept a first and a third or even both second round picks on this stipulation: Chad waives his signing bonus as a Bengal, as Daniel Snyder would gladly give him a new contract. If we trade him we take an 8 million dollar cap hit. If he agrees to waive than, then I’d take the deal. If not, no deal. Not to Washington, not anywhere.

-Tyler

Monsters check for DeMarcus Ware under their beds

I was fairly close to picking Ed Reed myself, but I figure a top-tier middle linebacker can make a bigger difference in most games than a safety could. Sure, Ed Reed is fantastic. He can make a game-changing interception or a big hit. And, like you said, he's incredibly smart. But unless he's in the box to stop the run, or playing for a slant in the middle of the field, I don't think he makes as big an impact as a good middle linebacker. But that's just me.

DeMarcus Ware scares me to death. When Dallas drafted him out of college, I said, "Well, Dallas' defense just got a lot better." And he continues to improve! It really is amazing to watch that guy. Here's what kills me about him: whenever I watch the Cowboys, he always seems to be the best player on that defense. And yet I hear more about Roy Williams than I do about DeMarcus Ware...and I don't think you want me to get started on Roy Williams. A lot of people know Ware has talent, but I'm not sure everyone knows exactly what this guy is capable of. He's an animal; an absolute monster.

Here's what I would like to see: someone splice the music for "The Good Life" into the "Flashing Lights" video. Now that would be fantastic.

I was glad to see a big trade deadline. This has to have been one of the busiest trading seasons in history, right? First we had all the big name players moving, now we have an 11 (!!!) player deal right at the trade deadline. That's crazy...and I was very excited to see something happen.
And you knew this question was coming:
Does this trade make the Cavs better? Larry Hughes had one good game (by my count) during his tenure with the Cavs, and Drew Gooden was ugly as sin. They get Wally (which should be huge with Gibson out for six weeks), a serviceable point guard in Delonte West, a fairly solid forward in Joe Smith, and Ben Wallace (I think he still has something left in the tank...we'll see). Would a great point guard have helped them more than these guys? I think so...but this isn't so bad. Unless Ben Wallace steps it back up, it appears that their defense has gotten worse while their offense has gotten better.
Agree? Disagree?

A question for you, a Bengals fan: if you had to trade Chad Johnson, who/what would you absolutely need in return to make the trade worth it?

-Dusty

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Kanye=Genius

Fair enough. I’d expect you to want him back and would question your fanhood if you didn’t. I’m just saying things seem to fall perfectly, well almost perfectly, for the Pack and I’m not so sure than can happen again. You have a target on your back and a little tougher schedule this year so I guess we shall see.

One player to add to the Bengals? It’d have to be between three players: Shawn Merriman, Demarcus Ware and Ed Reed.

Merriman-I do agree that he is overrated but he does one thing extremely well and that’s rush the passer. Our leading sacker, Robert Geathers had 3.5 sacks. Merriman had 12.5 in a “down year”.

Ware- I don’t know how much of Ware you’ve seen but this guy is criminally underrated. He is a pass rusher like Merriman (14 sacks), but a more complete linebacker.

Reed- Here’s my choice. Can deliver the big hit and cover with the best of them. Watching him play, you can see he’s one of the smartest players in the game. “Lock down” corners are dead and great safeties are taking their place.

Honorable mention: Adrian Peterson. He’s really good. Our running backs aren’t.
http://www.therundown.tv/headlines/discuss-this/explanation-of-kanye-wests-flashing-lights-music-video This helped me tremendously. It all makes sense now!

No more Larry Hughes for LeBron? Say it isn’t so.


-Tyler

Favre, and my NFL building block

You know that Favre's my boy, so I may be a bit biased. All the same, here's my answer:
I would absolutely love for him to come back for another year. I have to be honest, I was a bit worried at the beginning of the year. The offense didn't seem to be clicking, and Favre didn't look like his old self anymore. As the season went on, the offense started to click, and Favre was throwing bullets and throwing perfect touch passes like he was 28. At this point in his career, I though he would need a running game to win many games. He proved me (and a whole lot of other people) wrong when the Packers were winning games with the worst rushing attack in the league. Granted, they had a great offensive game plan, and a ton of talented receivers, but Favre was the piece that made it all work. If it wasn't for Brady's massive statistical season, Favre would have been a front runner for the MVP.
And we were soooooo close to the Super Bowl. I don't think he'll quit now that he's made it that close again. I think the offense will be better next year, as will the defense. I believe that Favre thinks the same thing. I think he'll be back. I hope he'll be back.

The first player I would take to build my team? I have had a hard time with this question. To answer it, I'll reference what I always do with my fantasy draft in Madden.
I always take a defensive player first. It's usually a shutdown corner...someone like Champ Bailey. However, I don't believe that Champ Bailey is as good in real life as he is in the land of video games (seriously..he's had an overall ranking 99 since 2002).
Besides, with the passing rules the way they are now, a shutdown corner isn't worth as much as he used to be. So I'm going to roll with a middle linebacker. Someone who can cover a receiver/tight end, but can also stuff the run. Someone who is quick. Someone who is smart. Someone who is always around the ball.
It's a tough decision. I watch A LOT of football, so I've seen pretty much everyone play quite a bit. This may come off a bit as a homer pick, but...
I'll take Nick Barnett, middle linebacker, Green Bay Packers. I will say that AJ Hawk ranks pretty high for me, too.
Allow me to explain.
Brian Urlacher would be an obvious choice to a lot of people. He can cover a lot of ground. He can stuff the run. He's tall. Plus, the media loves him. However, he has a history of back problems, which is never good. Also, he may be good, but he just doesn't impress me like he impresses most people.
Ray Lewis is washed up. He can still put a hit on someone if he can catch them...but he can't catch them. Announcers love him. I've heard announcers say, "What a tackle by Ray Lewis"...and he wasn't even on the screen. Well, I take that back. He ran in after the play was over and stood over the tackled man. Good for him.
Shawn Merriman? Don't even get me started. It's not even necessarily about the steroids. He's good, but he is extremely overrated. He's not even the best player on his own defense.
Barnett is always around the ball. He's quick, he's smart, he doesn't miss many tackles, he's good in coverage, etc. If you don't watch many Packers games, you might not understand. The next time they're on TV, though, watch him. You'll understand.
That's right...Nick Barnett.

Your turn.

-Dusty

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ashton Korver and more...

That’s funny, whenever I do a fantasy draft I make sure I pick up Korver, Mike Miller or sometimes both. You can’t lose. I agree about Utah being dangerous. Los Angele, San Antonio, Dallas and Phoenix are getting all the headlines and Utah keeps chugging along. Is there a better place than Utah for Kyle Korver, from a basketball and social standpoint?

At the request of our loyal reader, I will move on from the NBA…for now. Honestly, as a Packer’s fan, are you ready to see Favre hang it up? Yes he had a great regular season and with the Giants winning it all, the trophy really is up for grabs next year. But he fell apart in the playoffs and the man will be 39 next season. At what point does a fan want to see him step aside and let Rodgers take over? He’s been on the bench three years and has played well in his limited time. He has to get his chance one day…right?

Also, you can have one current NFL player on your team. Salary cap is out the window. Who do you take and why?

-Tyler

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

J-Kidd, and my 2005 obsession with Kyle Korver

So Kidd (finally) got traded to the Mavs. On second thought, maybe this isn't terrible for the Mavs. After all, they still have Jason Terry. Granted, he hasn't been terrific lately (and he's not as young as Harris is), but he's still a pretty good back-up point guard (even if he is more of a shooting guard).

One more thought for now...I have a test tomorrow, so I can't spend too much time on this tonight.

A lot has been made of Korver going to Utah...I know this. But I figured it was about time I said something about it.
I play NBA Live '05 on my Xbox (for some reason, no other version will work for me). No matter which team I decide to take over, my first order of business is trading for Kyle Korver. I put him in the line-up as a small forward. He usually just sits outside the three-point line. He doesn't really rebound, and he isn't tall enough to shoot over anyone. What he will do is make an open three-pointer. If he's open, he'll hit it. I think his overall rating is 53, but his three-point shooting is 92.
Here's my point: he may not be the best player on my team, but he makes my team better with his shooting ability. He opens up my offense for all kinds of stuff. Some days he'll score 6 points. Some days he'll score 30 points. But he always makes my team better. I'll say that having Kyle Korver allows me to win at least 6 more games a season than I would have without him.
A good pick-up for Utah. Those guys could be scary in the postseason.

-Dusty

Monday, February 18, 2008

All-Star Thoughts

My All-Star Observations:
1. I agree with LeBron assessment. Kidd won’t happen but someone like Andre Miller, a very underrated point guard, could do wonders for him and that team. Daniel Gibson is a great shooter but is NOT a point guard. Did you hear Stephen A. Smith talking about how Mother LeBron wants people to feel sorry for him because he doesn’t have Jason Kidd? I concur. A man who can do anything he wants on a basketball court at any time. The man who signed a 90 million dollar contract before he played a NBA game. The man who drove a Hummer in high school. I mean, can’t the guy catch a break? Somebody take away his shoelaces and belt.
PS- How funny was LeBron’s fake smile as he held up the MVP trophy but realized he had to go back to play with the Eric Snow’s of the world?


2. Bosh did look overmatched at times. He plays with a great point guard in Jose Calderon so I don’t know how he muffed some of those passes. I think he and Antawn Jamison won the “I should not be here but no one realizes it yet” Award for the night. Kudos to both.

3. Overall a great all star weekend. Yes the dunk contest was nice and the game was actually interesting but hats off to TNT. Good coverage and getting Charles Barkley involved as much as possible is all I can ask for. Barkley needs his own show and Kenny Smith needs to coach in the NBA. Period.

You raise very good points about Moss, and I am self admittedly viewing this through Bengal colored glasses, but the one thing Chad does that stats can’t be accounted for is taking up multiple defenders from his teammates. I can’t count the number of times Chad has been covered by a corner, safety and spied on by a linebacker. He is the reason Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry get one on one coverage. I just don’t see that with Moss, but I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

One last NBA tidbit and I’m out. Reggie Miller mentioned the All-Star game should go to a USA vs. the World format which sounds intriguing on the surface until you realize it would basically be Kidd/Kobe/LeBron/Garnett/Howard vs. Nash/Ginobli/Kirilenko?/Dirk/Yao. Not bad for starters but the bench is where the problem lies. Paul/Duncan/Carmelo come off the USA bench while the World is stuck with Ilgauskas/Bargnani/Carlos Arroyo? Ehh, not so much Reg. The idea Miller had that did stick with me was the NBA scrapping East vs. West playoff formats and seeding teams 1-16, based on record. Kenny Smith took it one step farther and suggested for the first round have East vs. West, to cut down on ridiculous travel time, and then from the second round on go to a 1-8 seeded format based on best record, regardless of conference. Thoughts?

-Tyler

NBA All-Star Game, Moss vs. Johnson, and the Hawks as a threat?

I have a couple of thoughts after watching the NBA All-Star Game:

1. LeBron has to play with a good point guard at some point. How much fun was it to watch Kidd set him up? This Kidd trade might not work out well for Dallas, but, if Cleveland were to get him, they could be a serious threat to the East. It won't happen, but it'd be great for the league if it did.

2. Chris Bosh may be good. He may be The Man in Toronto. He even made some good plays last night. But there were moments where he looked terrible. And I'm not even really thinking about him dribbling out the play clock when he got the ball on the baseline with 8 seconds remaining. I'm talking about the absolute torrent of great passes that came his way that he was not able to hold on to. Perhaps he's just not used to getting perfect passes near the basket. That is quite possible. But his hands looked like Kwame Brown's hands last night.

3. How awkward was Chris Sager's interview with Steve Nash? Nash was ready for the interview to be over after 45 seconds, yet Sager kept pulling him back to ask him more inane questions. I think the interview went over the two-and-a-half minute mark. If Nash wasn't so nice, that interview would have been over long before it actually was.

4. The game was much more entertaining than it was last year. It came down to the final 30 seconds, and I felt like I really had something invested in this game. Just a good time, all the way around.

5. Oh...congrats to your boy, Dwight Howard, for winning the slam dunk contest. Nevermind that the Superman "dunk" was more of a throw-in. And nevermind the fact that his off-the-back-of-the-backboard dunk was pretty similiar to Andre Iguodala's in 2006 (it is still an extremely difficult and ridiculously impressive dunk, though). Howard deserved to win that contest...but Green's cupcake dunk was pretty cool, too.

Done with the All-Star game/weekend. For now, anyway...

You talk about Santana Moss' lacking deep numbers. Alright...I hear you on that. You looked at his quarterbacks...and so did I. Sure, he played with Chad Pennington during his three-year peak. But, even at his absolute apex, Pennington could not throw a ball deeper than 30 yards with even a shred of accuracy (if he could get it that far at all). Let's see, who else? The shell of Mark Brunell. Brunell was a fantastic quarterback; I won't debate that. But, by the time Moss got him, he was in "the twilight of his career" (and that's being nice). He could barely throw a 10 yard crossing pattern, let alone a fly route. And now he has Jason Campbell. Campbell could be good one day. But I think he may have lead the league last year in "passes overthrown by more than 15 yards".
I have watched at least a part of every Redskins game (as well as every Bengals game) in the past 3 years. And I can confidently say this: Chad Johnson has more talent than Santana Moss. There's no question there. What sets Moss apart is his willingness to fight for a ball. He's a lot like Steve Smith in that respect. I've seen many games when Chad Johnson will passively try to catch a ball, which will sometimes result in a batted ball or an interception. On the other hand, it is very rare to see Moss give up on a ball. He will jump for that ball and battle with anyone else who thinks they're going to catch it. More often than not, he'll win.
That's the big difference for me. Johnson may have the talent, but Moss seems to want the ball more than Johnson does. If I'm building a team, I'll take Santana Moss over Chad Johnson any day.

Hawks? Scary? That's something I didn't think I would hear for another 15 years. Good for them. You can only assume that Horford will continue to get better (which should be more frightening for everyone else). Joe Johnson can still shoot. Giving them the rest of the year to gel with Bibby should be big. There are some pretty good teams coming out of the East (Detroit, Cleveland, Boston), but Atlanta may be able to jump into the top 5 next year. It sounds crazy, but it's completely believable.

-Dusty

Saturday, February 16, 2008

For shame...

No no, don’t get me wrong, Kidd/Nash/Parker should and will drive past Kidd with little resistance, but Kidd on the other end can hope to recoup some of those points and maybe wear them down a little bit. That’s all I am saying.

Bibby to the Hawks is a great deal. It makes too much sense and I demand an investigation as to how the Hawks made a competent deal. They get a good PG and basically lock up a lower seed in the East. The Kings get expiring contracts, a draft pick and a young big in Shelden “I look like a walrus” Williams. Great deal for both teams. I am a little disappointed because I actually wanted Walrus face on the Magic because he was decaying on the bench as Al Horford now resides in the post in Atlanta. This deal legitimately makes the Hawks scary...scary enough to get swept by the Celtics in the first round, but progress is a process.

Ok, now you’ve done it. There is no way Santana Moss is better than Chad Johnson. Yes Chad has had Carson Palmer but that includes Palmer’s rookie year, this seasons 20 interception version of Palmer and two seasons of Jon Kitna. Granted, one of those years was solid but he is still Jon Kitna. Moss has played with no slouches. He played with Chad Pennington during his best years and despite what you hear about him now, Pennington had a couple of good years. Moss has also had the benefit of a good running back (Curtis Martin/Clinton Portis) and in Washington a pass catching tight end in Chris Cooley, to help open the field. He has never had a Pro Bowl receiver opposite as Johnson has, but a true #1 makes his other receiver’s better. Playing opposite of Chad Johnson, Peter Warrick and TJ Houshmandzadeh had career years. Johnson didn’t have the benefit of a tight end to open up the middle of the field, or 1,500 yard rushers to keep the defense guessing. Rudi Johnson was solid but has never reached 1,500 yards.

Moss is quicker/faster than Johnson. That’s the only advantage he has and his lead is not as much as you think. You think this would help him as a deep threat. You would be wrong. Moss has a career long of 78 yards and no other seasons of a reception over 70 yards. Johnson has a career long of 82 and receptions of 70+ in his five of seven seasons. They have both been in the league seven years yet Johnson has over 200 more catches, nearly 3,000 more yards, 12 more touchdowns and almost 200 more first downs.

I haven’t seen ever Redskins game as I have with the Bengals these past few seasons but every time I watch Moss I see him drop at least one pass and lose yardage trying to nothing into something. I honestly don’t think he is a true #1, he needs a bigger receiver to play opposite of him. Someone who has led his conference in receiving yards 4 straight times, a feat no one has ever done. Someone who has made five consecutive Pro Bowls. Someone like Chad Johnson. It’s no surprise the Redskins are pursuing Johnson because he would be the true number one they have been lacking. Done.

-Tyler

Kidd, Moss vs. Johnson, and Barry Bonds

The game slows down in the playoffs. Okay...I'll go along with that. But, at the same time, that doesn't mean that Steve Nash, Chris Paul, or Tony Parker get any slower. Give those guys an inch and they'll take it to the hole, or at least get a good slash-and-kick out of it. With a liability like Kidd? I don't see it. Still, it'd be cool to see Kidd face-off against Nash in a playoff series.
Not that it matters, I guess, as it looks like this trade isn't going to happen.
But Bibby to the Hawks? That's not a bad trade for Atlanta...and you know LeBron is watching this and saying, "And I have the ghost of Larry Hughes..." (Of course, he did ask for Hughes a couple of years ago, but that's another story entirely.)

That's right...I believe that Santana Moss is better than Chad Johnson. I know, Johnson is good...but Moss just looks a bit more explosive. Give Moss a good quarterback and a decent second receiver, and I think he can do more damage than Johnson. I'm sorry, but that's what I've seen.

Here's what kills me about the Bonds thing: it was big story when they "found out" that he had failed a drug test after his single-season home run record season. But, a day later, when it is reported that he did not actually fail the test, I had to dig to find out about it. How messed up is that?

Flashing Lights: apparently, Kanye really pissed off that chick...

-Dusty

Friday, February 15, 2008

Flashing What?!?

Devean George’s agent has to win Agent of the Year right? Getting a guy with a career average of 6 points per game a no-trade clause? Remarkable. I’m with you though. I don’t see this pushing the Mavs over the top. Harris is a better scorer and perimeter defender. Kidd is a better passer and rebounder, but in Dallas some of those skills will be negated. The Mavericks have better big men than the Nets, so there goes a few of Kidd’s rebounds. Dallas runs a lot of isolation for Dirk and Josh Howard so there go a few assists as well. A benefit going unnoticed is that in the playoffs everything slows down. Kidd will easily be able to post up Nash/Parker/Paul and score himself or get easy baskets for others. Also seeing as how I am too young for Magic and Stockton’s prime, I can say Kidd is the best point guard I have ever seen play the game. He has the ability to turn Erick Dampier into a serviceable center the same way he did Todd MacCullough. I won’t count him out of the playoffs. Have there ever been more panic moves in one conference? I’m just waiting for Stephen A. Smith to leak a LeBron James to the Spurs or KG BACK to the Wolves' rumor, just so those teams can keep up. If I’m the Nets, I’m ecstatic and I don’t stop there. I shop Vince Carter for whatever I can get and maybe even Richard Jefferson if the price is right and officially enter the LeBron James Sweepstakes.

As a Bengal’s fan I could see Chad Johnson traded and it would honestly break my heart. This man put us back on the map. Yes the team won games two years ago, but nobody would have cared if it wasn’t for Chad. I can see him going to Washington though. For one, they will pay him whatever he likes. Second, he played with Jon Kitna AND Carson his first year so Jason Campbell with a couple years under his belt wouldn’t be the WORST thing in the world. Unless Johnson refuses to report to camp, I keep him. There is a misconception that the Bengals are still the offensive juggernaut they were in 2005, but that is simply not true. People hear the names, Palmer, Johnson, Houshmanzadeh, and assume we are just a defense away. Not true at all. Our offense is nowhere near the offense from 2005. Getting rid of Johnson would only hurt that even more. Unless we get an amazing offer for him, we have to keep him.

Did you just refer to Santana Moss as a “better version of Chad Johnson”? In what, Scrabble?!?

Hey Hey Hey. Easy on Bonds. He ALLEGEDLY failed a drug test after breaking the home run record. That myth has been busted: It was only a typo. It was obviously the other Barry Bonds. Duh.

Yes, I have seen the “Flashing Lights” and No, I don’t have a clue what was going on.

-Tyler

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mo' Clemens, The Mavs, Chad Johnson, and Barry Bonds (here's another hit)

It's been a long day, so I'll try to keep this short.

Seeing as how I don't have cable (poor me), I was not able to see any of the Clemens stuff. I wish I had been able to. All I have to go on are the video clips that espn.com chooses to show, and what they choose to write about. Here's what I've gathered: Clemens seems confident (but also seems guilty as hell), and McNamee, while looking like McLovin, seems extremely unsure of himself. My guess is that both are lying, but that Clemens did do steroids. Of this I am positive.
Something else I'm positive of: the next time Jose Canseco throws a pool party, I want an invite. That place seems wild.

How about George single-handedly saving the Mavs a couple of years down the line? With the amount of top-tier teams in the league, do you think the Mavs have a shot at winning the title this year with a broken-down Jason Kidd who is shooting at a 36% clip? On top of that, they'd trading a quick point guard (in a conference with Nash, Paul, Parker, etc.) for a guy who is a massive liability on the defensive end. Call me crazy, but I don't think this is the kind of trade that will get them over the hump.

Chad Johnson...will he be traded? I would imagine it will happen at some point, but probably not now. I know, the Bengals are declining again. But, if you were a receiver, why would you leave Carson Palmer? The rumors say Washington, and that makes no sense. At all. I can't see Johnson sharing the field with another #1 receiver in Santana Moss (a smaller, less-flashy, and better version of Chad Johnson). Also, if he's complaining now, what will he be saying when Jason Campbell (or, possibly Todd Collins, I suppose) starts whizzing passes 10 feet above his head. I think we should make a list of possible teams Chad Johnson would be happy playing for. I think it would be a very small list.

Last but not least: how's about Bonds failing a drug test a month after breaking the single-season home run record? Here's my initial reaction: I'm not even remotely surprised. I am, however, curious as to how this information didn't come out earlier. A failed drug test for someone who had just killed 73 home runs a month before...and this isn't big news? Certainly someone somewhere knew about this. This is along the same lines as the Spygate stuff. If someone knew that something this big happened, how has it not come up until now? I'm baffled by this. Completely baffled.

I'm tracking down Joe Budden as we speak...

One more question: have you seen the "Flashing Lights" video yet?

-Dusty

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I...Am....McLovin

Deal. I’ve downloaded the Greatest Hits and will let you know what I think about it when I’ve listened to it in its entirety. It’s still going to be hard to compare because of the impact made when songs like “Fight The Power” came out, things that can’t be measured in lyrics or delivery. But I am enjoying what I’m hearing. For Budden, I recommend Mood Muzik 2 or 3, or even just the song “Ten Minutes” from his self titled debut album. It’s funny you mention Chuck D’s passion and urgency in his voice because that’s what Budden brings.

I don’t know if you caught any of the hearing today but I watched a good portion of it and enjoyed it. I am now convinced the only reason this is being televised is because the men and women of Congress want TV time. Some had prepared jokes for Clemens. It was out of control. They don’t really care about if he used steroids; they just want a little face time. Also Brian McNamee looks strangely enough like McLovin’ and that cracks me up.

The thing that gets me about Spygate is that they possibly taped all of their Super Bowl opponents…and only won by 3 each time. Really? Is that what’s hot in the streets Belichick?

Chad Johnson gets traded to the . Say what?

-Tyler

Hip-Hop, Clemens and Spygate

Actually, I have never listened to Joe Budden. Tell you what: I'll check out Joe Budden if you get yourself familiar with Public Enemy. There was a Greatest Hits collection that came out a couple of years ago that is a fantastic place to start. Chuck D might not be the "best" rapper of all time (especially not now), but there's an anger and urgency in his voice that is very rare these days. I haven't heard many people who have come close to rivaling him. The only two that come to mind are Black Thought (from The Roots) and Pharoahe Monch. There may be others out there, but those are the two right off the top of my head.
So...yeah. Get yourself familiar with Public Enemy, and then we'll talk.
While I agree that it is extremely hard to compare rappers today and the rappers of yesteryear, Public Enemy holds up surprisingly well. I'm a Run DMC fan, and I don't mean to dog on them, but, if you go back and listen to their stuff now, it comes off as a bit cheesy. However, there are Public Enemy songs ("You're Gonna Get Yours", "Don't Believe the Hype", "Welcome to the Terrordome", etc.) that stack up pretty well against the hip-hop of today.
I'm with you on Common. Love that guy. He has gotten a bit more publicity lately (having albums produced by Kanye West, appearing in movies, doing an...ugh...Gap commercial, etc.), but his back catalog is largely overlooked, which is sad. I love Be as much as the next guy, but albums like Resurrection, Like Water for Chocolate, and even Electric Circus go largely unnoticed, and there's some brilliance on those albums.

Clemens should burn for this. All of it. And those were my thoughts before his BFF Andy Pettite sold him out, and he stammered like a schoolgirl in front of Congress. I kind of figured he had been juicing for a number of years, so I'm glad to see it coming around. While I'd love for him to get raked over the coals for this in the same way that Bonds was, it probably won't happen, and it's for one simple reason: Clemens is not a ballplayer. Serious accusations were rained down on Bonds while he was still playing. Not only that, he was chasing one of the most hallowed records in baseball. Had these accusations come down on Clemens as he was trying to get his 3,000 win, we would see the same backlash. I can guarantee you of that. But, with him kicking around in the Astros front office, we'll probably see some hatred thrown his way, but not in the way that Bonds was subjected to. It's sad, but it's true. Clemens should be forced to play this year, just so he'd have to endure something of that nature.
But...needles and beer cans? C'mon...that's a little too strange for my liking. If the next evidence that McNamee produces has to do with pictures taken outside Clemens' house in the wee small hours of the morning, I'm just going to stop paying attention.

Spygate 2? To be honest with you, I just don't care too much about it. First of all, they taped signals. Big deal. Do you know how much of a difference that makes? Pretty much none. Now they're accused of taping the Rams Super Bowl run through. Word is that they taped their redzone offense. Do you know how many times the Rams made it to the redzone in that Super Bowl? If my memory serves, they made it to the redzone once. Once! And they scored. The Rams lost that game because Kurt Warner was a ninny and couldn't concentrate in the face of a blitz. Did they have a camera there? I don't know, and, frankly, I don't care.
Now this Matt Walsh kid shows up, spouting off nonsense like, "I fear for my safety" and "I have information that can make the league look bad." Who cares about Matt Walsh? It just seems like he's looking for his 15 minutes, and he's milking it for all it's worth. I don't trust him. At all.
So...yeah. My main question about all of this is: Why did this comes out days before the Super Bowl? Couldn't he have come out with this information during the year? The whole thing just seems fishy to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Clemens Smlemens

Chuck D? While I admit I haven’t heard every Chuck D song, or Jay-Z song to be fair, I have heard enough to believe I don’t think he would be much competition for Jay-Z. Comparing different eras in rap is nearly as impossible as comparing different eras in basketball though. Yes Jerry West was great, but against Michael Jordan? Not so much. I see only a few viable competitors for Jay-Z. Notorious BIG, Big L, Nas, Common, Joe Budden. That’s the list.

The Notorious BIG and Big L are two for starts. The Notorious BIG and Big L are deceased so I guess that battle would be kinda hard to schedule.

Nas, is employed under Jay-Z at Def Jam so I don’t think that battle will be happening.

Common is intriguing but I feel he’s past the battling part of his career. It’s a bit of a shame too because few people know who he is or how talented he is.

Joe Budden is interesting. He was dropped from Def Jam by Jay-Z and has already put out a few subliminal shots at Jay-Z. This one could happen. Seriously, if you haven’t heard Budden I suggest you check him out.

I don’t mention Lupe because I don’t think he seems like the battling type, and I don’t think he would beef with his mentor. Also, if he truly has one album left before retiring, he would have nothing to gain from the battle.

Clemens is guilty in these eyes. The 7 year old syringes is a little, well actually its extremely weird, but could put Clemens and that juicing wife of his away if proven true. I have nothing against Clemens, I just think he should be vilified the same way Barry Bonds was. What say you?

Thoughts on Spygate Part 2?

-Tyler

Bron, The Legacy of Reggie Miller, Jay-Z, and Clemens

Good point about LeBron and Wade. It's not outside the realm of possibility, but it may happen one day, down the road, when they both want to win one last Championship.
Isiah may be gone by the end of the year. I'm completely with you on that. But are telling me that you trust a Knicks front office, run by Jimmy "Shake-and-Bake" Dolan by the way, to keep themselves together long enough to make that move? The Knicks seem like the second most logical choice (behind the Nets), but I have no faith (repeat: NO FAITH) in that front office. I'm like the opposite of George Michael right now.
Reggie Miller...overrated? Doesn't belong in the Hall? Yeah, you're probably right. But that doesn't mean I can forget about (even if I wanted to) his massive games against the Knicks. When he dropped 25 fourth quarter points against the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals...whew. I remember watching that in complete awe. He was hitting fadeaways from 5 feet outside the arc with a hand all up in his face. Absolutely unbelievable. One of the great playoff performances I have ever witnessed. Were there better players than him? Absolutely. But, if he gets into the Hall, it's mainly because of that game.

"Jay-Z hater"?! Now hold on there. I never said I hated him. In fact, I said I "didn't love him". That's not so bad. He has some fantastic stuff: Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint are amazing. He just sounds a bit bored. Also, I have a hard time calling someone "The Greatest of All Time", when he constantly refers to himself as such in pretty much every song he's ever done. He's an icon. He is loved the world over. That's fine. But "The Greatest of All Time"? He's not even the best RIGHT NOW...stack him up against Chuck D in his prime and we'll see how good he looks. Hammer? C'mon...Hammer was a joke (although it makes me sad to say it). Jigga blows Hammer out of the water...and Vanilla Ice too, while we're at it.
Hate? No...that's a strong word. I just don't think he's as good as everyone else (including himself) seems to think that he is.
Personally, I think Lupe lost a bit of passion between his albums. I think he got burnt out on the industry too soon (that's how it sounds in his interviews, anyway). Creatively, The Cool is better than Food & Liquor, but I do think he lost some of his passion. I'm still looking forward to his last album.

Clemens...innocent or guilty? (That's Roger, not Debbie)

-Dusty

Don’t buy that. Everyone in the NBA is friends. “Hey! You’re the same color as me and also have superfluous wealth! Let us become friends!” I’m sure LBJ and Wade of like each other but LeBron James said himself his goal is to become a “Global Icon”. I just don’t know if playing with another perimeter superstar will get him that.

Good point about Isaiah but even Isaiah knows the deal. If he’s still there, God forbid, what would make fans forget about every….questionable (and I’m being polite) deal he’s made like signing THE LeBron James? Honestly, I don’t think he’ll make it to next year. Fans would show up to boycott him but that’s just ticket sales for the Knicks. The fans are starting to grow apathetic, meaning less sales which means I don’t see Isaiah making it to the end of the season.

Don’t get me started on Reggie Miller. Easily the most overrated “superstar” of my lifetime. If he gets into the Hall of Fame…

You’re not the first Jay-Z hater I’ve encountered. You are all the same and I wish ill will on you all. It’s only fitting that you would hate the teacher but love the protégé. Is it so bad to want to emulate a man who’s debated as the Greatest of All Time and is worth over 400 million dollars? Would you rather have him copy MC Hammer? Is that what you want? All this makes me sound like a Lupe hater and I swear I’m not. He is very talented and a much needed breath of fresh air in rap. While his second album was better overall, I think his first had more great songs like “Hurt Me Soul” and “American Terrorist”.

http://www.traffickingmedia.com/index.php?id=155 Even his hardcore fans get bored! *In Arnold Schwarzenegger voice* But seriously, I enjoyed this video because it appears to be something few rappers would do. Maybe he does care about his craft...

For the record Joe Budden>>Lupe.

-Tyler

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bron Bron, Zeke, and the reason I don't love Jay-Z

You couldn't have rolled with Bron Bron and Wade in Chicago for even a minute? Really? It's a long shot, but Bron and Wade always talk about their friendship. You don't think they'd want to play on the same team? Really?
And let's forget about New York being the place for LeBron to firmly establish himself as the Global Icon. You seem to be under the assumption that Isiah isn't going to screw up the Knicks before Bron's contract is up. Can't you see Zeke going after Ben Wallace and throwing tons of money at him? I have a feeling this will happen sooner rather than later. Even if he is fired after the season, I can see someone else swooping in and making a mess of this entire situation. It's the Knicks. I remember when they were a force to be reckoned with. I remember hating Starks with a passion. I remember cheering like a madman (okay...madboy) for Reggie Miller when he torched them. A three in Starks face? There wasn't a whole lot better than that. But still, the Knicks were good for quite a while. It's a shame how far they have fallen. When I think of them now, I don't think of how good they were: I just think about their history of terrible front-office moves. With or without Zeke, I am confident that they can jack this deal up.
New Jersey is a bit better. I can almost see that.

Not to step on any toes here, but your description of Lupe's style fits my description of Jay-Z's style perfectly. That's the main reason I've never loved Jay-Z: he sounds ridiculously bored the majority of the time. I'll take Black Thought or Pharoahe Monch any day.

Me>>You

Why? WHY do you care about the Grammy’s? I didn’t even know it was on. Had I known, I would have flipped over to see Alicia Keys, and then went back to my regularly scheduled program. What’s wrong with Herbie Hancock? Rockit was quite a song and the robots in the video just brought it all home. What’s that you say? Rockit came out 25 years ago? Hmmm. Could have fooled me. That’s why you shouldn’t care about the Grammys. I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Hancock were proud and that’s about it.

Dwight, would you rather be feared or loved?
Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.
That exchange from The Office reminds me of Garnett. For better or worse.

Gerald Green has played in 27 games of his teams 49 games. A team that has won only 10 of those 49 games. I think the Gerald Green ship has set sail. Man can he jump though.

Time to straighten you out on this Wade and LeBron leaving town ordeal. Both LeBron and Wade’s deals end after the 2009-10 season, 2 and a half seasons from now. By then every bad contract the Knicks have except Zach Randolph will be expired. They will have buckets of cash to throw at LeBron. He’s a Yankee fan and his newest shoe even came in New York Yankee colors. Also, the Nets currently of New Jersey will have completed their move to Brooklyn under new owner Sean Carter. That’s Jay-Z for my melanin challenged friends. The same Jay-Z who happens to be good friends with LeBron James. They won’t have as much cap room as the Knicks but, here’s the kicker: Since LeBron signed with Nike I have heard about a clause in his contract that jumps to over 100 million dollars if he signs in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. I don’t think Chicago is his taste, as it will be Wade’s team. I like your theory but I can’t see LeBron wanting to follow in MJ’s AND Dwyane Wade’s footsteps. The Lakers belong to Kobe but he too is a free agent that year, so who knows. I think the Knicks are the choice. What better place than Basketball Mecca to turn yourself into the self-anointed “Global Icon”? My prediction? They will all take the mid-level exception to come to Orlando with Dwight Howard and we will not lose another game ever.

Yes, Graduation was Kanye’s worst album. Yes, The Cool>>Graduation. Yes, Lupe Fiasco is boring. It’s his voice. When listening to him, I can’t help but shake the feeling the he’d much be doing something other than rapping. He seems to rap because he’s good at it, much like Shawn Bradley was steered toward basketball because he was tired. He claims he will only release one more album and then retire. Sounds like someone who doesn’t love his craft. For the record, the best album I’ve heard this year is American Gangster by Jay-Z. Deal with that!

Grammys, Celts, Bulls, Lupe

You get boring at times. How do you like that?
You know what kills me? I still care about the Grammys. I don't care a ton about them, but I do care enough about them to get really mad every year at who wins. Even beyond who wins...I get mad at who is nominated.
I have absolutely nothing against Herbie Hancock. He's an innovator. He played with Miles Davis, and that always counts for something. That being said, there is no way on God's green earth that his new album should've won album of the year. But who was he up against? Amy Winehouse? (A pretty good album, but not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination) Foo Fighters? (Not even in their top-three albums as a band) Vince Gill? (VINCE GILL?!?!?!) Kanye West? (The worst album of his career) Yeah...I probably would've picked Herbie Hancock, too, if those were my only other options.
I could rant about the Grammys for hours on end...but I'll spare you right now.

Good point on Garnett's influence on the young players. I'm not sure if they're learning from him or they're scared to death of him, but he can definitely make an impact on that young team. I'm still going to keep one eye on Jefferson, though...we'll see how that turns out. I also really liked Gerald Green out of high school, and I keep thinking he'll turn into something. So far he has shown me next to nothing (aside from his slam dunk championship), but I still hold out a little bit of hope. Of course, I'm still waiting for Adrian McPherson to make it in the NFL...

You're going to have to forgive me for my lack of knowledge, but I believe one of our jobs is to start false rumors. So here's a good one I came up with while sitting in class today.
You mentioned Wade possibly heading to Chicago when his contract is up (which, I believe, ends in 2011). I believe Bron Bron's contract is up after the 2010 season. So here's what happens: Chicago sets itself up to have some cap room for free agency following 2010. They sign LeBron for less than everyone thinks, as they promise to sign Wade the following year. LeBron makes do with a less-than-stellar cast (although they'll probably be on par with what he's currently dealing with) for a year. After the 2011 season, Chicago signs Wade (if he's still alive). LeBron and Wade DESTROY the East for the next 7 years. There is also a possibility that the Bulls could score Carmelo Anthony at the end of his contract.
This is, of course, a long shot. But it's not completely outside the realm of possibility.

Lupe Fiasco?! Boring?! How many times did you listen to it? That album is amazing. He has an incredibly smooth flow, and the production is top-notch. There may be a song or two that may not be great, but it's definitely better than the Kanye's Graduation. And yes...I will fight you about this.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I agree Miami does sit pretty in this. My beef was more with Marion himself. Miami gets to rent Marion and decide if they would like to pursue him or not, my guess is that they will not. This leaves them with cap room, a high draft pick and Dwyane Wade. Not too shabby for rebuilding, other than the fact that I don’t know how long Wade will be around. After this year he has two years left on his contract and has not been shy about wanting to play in front of his hometown Chicago Bulls. Not saying he will leave, but it definitely wouldn’t surprise me

I agree with you but I’ll go against you because it’s so much fun. In the East there are three teams competing for the Finals, and as much as it pains me to say, my Orlando Magic are not one of them. Pistons, Celtics, Cavaliers. That’s the list. Laugh at the Cavs choice if you want but LeBron James is the best player in the league and is capable of doing anything on any given night. Pistons, yea they’re good, nothing new. The Celtics are intriguing, only because they only have 1 or 2 teams to compete with to get to the Finals. If KG makes it to the Finals, all bets are off. He will give 348% every night for 7 games, and anything can happen in the Finals. Paul Pierce is underrated in my opinion, as is the Celtics bench. If LeBron made it to the Finals with Eric Snow and co., ANYTHING is possible.

I honestly don’t think Boston will regret the KG-Jefferson deal. Even if they don’t win a ring, the impact he is having on Rondo/Big Baby and some of the younger guys has to count for something. Jefferson is turning out to be a fine player but he’s no KG. Here’s the thing: I’m not even a KG guy. He’s good and all but I’ll take Tim Duncan any day over him. Any day. Hmmm, that may be a future blog.

I didn’t like Graduation THAT much, but it is a solid album. Its replay value leaves something to desire but he’s not “cranking dat” anything so I’ll take it. I listened to Lupe’s album. It’s good but…he gets boring at time. There I said it.

-Tyler

Marion, Boston, etc.

I hear you on Marion. But don't you think there's a chance that this could work out well for Miami? Sure, he's playing with an ungodly amount of guys with no talent, but he's also playing with Wade, and that's gotta count for something...right?
I'm not saying it will work out perfectly, and I'm in no way saying that this will work out as well as Jordan and Pippen (whoever came up with that theory should be taken out back and shot), but it has a chance to work out well in a year or two.
Stay with me now.
Shaq's $20 million per year contract is gone. Just like Christmas. If I'm not mistaken, they have at least one expiring contract in White Chocolate (which is waaaaay too big), but I'm pretty sure they have one other contract off the books at the end of this year, as well.
If they don't do anything before the trading deadline, they'll have Wade and Marion playing together for the remainder of the year. They probably won't get a ton better, so they'll have a fairly high draft pick. On top of that, they'll have quite a bit of money to play with in free agency.
I'm not saying this will all work out for Miami. It could just as easily go down in flames. But I'm just saying that there's a possibility that this could work out pretty well for them.

Boston:
I hesitate to say anything about them, as I'm sick to death of Boston sports. But I have to ask: are you buying this Celtics team? They look good now, but I'm not so sure they're going to make a ton of noise in the playoffs. They have three superstars, which is fantastic for them. But all three of them are over 30. Garnett is still capable of murder when he's healthy. Pierce still has an insane amount of talent. Allen can shoot...but his knees are gone. All three are playing a ton of minutes this season. The only time they get a rest is when they're injured. Yeah, they have some serviceable young players (Rondo has shown flashes this season, and I've always like Glen Davis), but no one that can carry them. Do you think they'll have anything left for a deep playoff run?
Also, how do you feel about the trade for Garnett? I know...you can't measure Garnett in numbers alone. He brings an attitude to the team, as well. But, if I'm not mistaken, Jefferson is having (statistically speaking) a better season than Garnett. He's getting more touches because he's on a terrible team, but, if the Celtics don't win the Finals in the next couple of years, do you think they'll regret trading away Jefferson (who could be an absolute force of nature in a couple of years)?

I've typed a lot. But, before I go, I have one more question. Why do you like Kanye's Graduation so much? I keep trying, but nothing's working. I'm starting to think there's something wrong with you.

-Dusty

One last thing...

One last spin on the Shaq trade and I promise I will shut up about it. What is going through Shawn Marion’s mind? I find the particular brand of crack he smokes interesting. Why would you willingly leave a great point guard in Steve Nash? Did he not learn from Joe Johnson? Yes he’s averaging 20 for the Hawks but that’s like winning the NIT. Who cares?

Ask other players how they fared after leaving a great point guard. Kenyon Martin and Todd MacCulloch (Yes, THAT Todd MacCulloch) looked passable as NBA players with Jason Kidd passing to them. Quentin Richardson and even Tim Thomas showed pulses with Steve Nash passing him them the rock. Joe Johnson and Antonio McDyess’ numbers improved after leaving Nash and Kidd, respectively, but took on bigger roles on terrible teams. Johnson is floundering now and McDyess went to a Denver team that won 14 games his first year and never even reached .500 with him.

Now Marion gets a few months to strut his stuff looking for a big pay day. Here’s the catch: He’s going to have to do it with Marcus Banks, Smush Parker and the immortal White Chocolate to help him do so. I wouldn’t let that trio drive me to the bank, nonetheless try to help me break it with a big deal.

Now a guy who will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time he’s a free agent, a guy who relies on his athleticism is looking to be some teams go to guy? 30 years old? Relies on athleticism? 30 years old? See where I’m going here?

You’ve been warned (Team that signs Marion to a ridiculous contract).

-Tyler

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shaq-Daddy, Marion in Miami, and...baseball?

So...I'm confused. Does this mean you don't wear your Jake Voskuhl jersey proudly anymore? Sad...just sad.

Another reason why this move is fairly smart: The Suns are currently sitting at 34-15. Translation: They're pretty much a lock for the playoffs. They don't have to rush Shaq back from his injury. So, when he comes in, he'll be motivated (hopefully) and healthy. They have enough time to get him used to their style of offense in time to make some noise for the playoffs.
However...
What do we know about Shaq? He can be happy for a little while, but what happens when he's not getting as many touches as he would like? Will he get upset and talk to the media, or will he not care as long as they're winning? This is definitely something to keep an eye on.
And how will Marion and Banks fare in Miami? Marion could play well alongside Wade...but he may be upset about playing second fiddle again. Should be interesting.

And now, for a signing that was largely overlooked, due to the Super Bowl and the massive NBA trades:

The Detroit Tigers signed Curtis Granderson (my favorite player, as well as the best defensive centerfielder in the league) to a five-year, $30.25 million deal. For as good as he is now (and as good as he's going to be for a number of years), this is a bargain.
I know I know...Cleveland is good, Boston won the World Series this past year, and the Yankees are the Yankees...but I think that Detroit has a great shot to make some noise this year. With the additions of Cabrera, Willis and Renteria, this team has only gotten better. That's not even mentioning the fact that Maggs had a MONSTER year last year, and could repeat it again this year.
It's early, but the Tigers have a real shot next year. Now, if we could do something about that bullpen...

-Dusty

Shaq Diesel

The Suns win this trade. Easily.

Why the Suns Win
1. There is no way the Suns are beating the Spurs, Lakers or maybe even the Mavericks in a 7 game series with that roster. It hasn't happened the past 2 seasons and this post season would be no different. They had to do something.
2. Shaq is one of the smartest players in the league. He has seen every offensive and defensive scheme known to man. He can adapt to the Suns. Nash will get him a few easy buckets a game and his presence and keen eye for passing will get everyone more looks.
3. Marion is never as good in the playoffs as he is in the regular season. Lamar Odom owns Shawn Marion in the playoffs. Lamar f'n Odom.
4. Shaq will not be dominant Shaq of old, and the Suns don't need him to be. They just need some 25-30 quality minutes from him and some post defense from time to time. They have plenty of scorers
5. This allows Amare Stoudemire to move back to his natural position of power forward. The last playoff series Amare played at PF, he averaged 37 ppg against THE Time Duncan. His center then was Jake Voskhul. Shaq>>>>>>Myself>>>>>Jake Voskhul

-Tyler

And one more thing...

Everyone is talking about Shaq for Marion. I'm sorry, but does Marcus Banks not matter anymore? Since when have we stopped talking about Marcus Banks?
That would be like LeBron James going to Houston for McGrady, and no one talks about how Luther Head and Donyell Marshall were also involved.
Unacceptable.

-Dusty

Shaq to the Suns

So Shaq is in Phoenix? This should be fun to watch. A run-and-gun team partnering with an overweight, undermotived center with balky knees.
He could show up, whip himself into shape, and destroy the West on the way to yet another ring.
He could come off the bench to slow the game down a bit: bang down low with the bigs of the West.
His body could break down to the point where we'll see his knee fall off during a game.
Really, anything is possible.

Has there been a bigger year for superstar deals in the NBA? According to my sources (read: my memory and/or imagination), there hasn't been. Garnett and Allen in Boston. Gasol in LA. Shaq in Phoenix. Marion in Miami. And we've still got 2 weeks before the trade deadline. There are very strong indications that Kidd will be moving by that time, as well. Crazy stuff, man.

-Dusty

Hello

Welcome to our little blog. Let me tell you a little about what you can expect to find on here.

We watch sports. And movies. And TV. And we listen to tons of music. We also enjoy talking/debating/joking about all of these things.

So check back regularly for ongoing discussions about things of that nature. You may join in if you wish. Just post in the comments.

Here we go.