Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Baseball predictions.

With the 2007 baseball season kicking off tomorrow night, I have decided to do the same as my boii Davey and post my baseball predictions. Last season, well before I started this blog, I picked my Atlanta Braves to win the World Series over the New York Yankees. And well that worked out about as well as Norbit did at making me laugh. Obviously seeing how Norbit sucked donkey balls, my picks didn't quite work out. The Braves streak of 14 straight Division Championships snapped as they went 79-83 and finished third in the East thanks to a horrid bullpen. The New York Yankees on the other hand finished 97-65 and won the AL East but were knocked out of the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers. Well, here you go, my predictions.

NL East:

1.Atlanta Braves
2.New York Mets
3.Philadelphia Phillies
4.Florida Marlins
5.Washington Nationals

Yes, yes, I am a homer and I love every bit of it. Last year, the biggest reason why we didn't at least win the wild card is because of our abysmal bullpen. We didn't have a "real" closer until the All-Star break when we traded for Wickamania(aka Bob Wickman) and even then guys like Ken Ray, Jorge Sosa and Tyler"Kali"Yates to name a few, still found ways to fuck up our season. This year John Schuerholz number one goal going into the offseason was to fix this bullpen. And he went beyond the call of duty so to speak. First he traded often injured and overall mediocre starter, Horacio Ramirez to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Rafael Soriano, who is one of the best young pitchers in the game(when he's not getting hit in the head by Vlad) with a fastball that can reach upwards of 98 mph. The Mets have the highest powered offense in the National League yet again this year but their starting rotation is in shambles with the loss of Pedro Martinez due to injury. The Phillies, much like the Mets, have a great offense with the reining MVP(should have went to Pujols), Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley but their problem isn't the starting staff, it's more so the bullpen. And if I learned anything from last season it is if you don't have a solid pen, you won't win anything.

NL Central:

1.Milwaukee Brewers
2.St.Louis Cardinals
3.Chicago Cubs
4.Houston Astros
5.Cincinnati Reds
6.Pittsburgh Pirates

Wow, talk about a tough division to predict. There isn't a great team in this whole division but there are plenty of good teams and teams that have all the potential to be serious contender this year and years to come. I think the Brewers are the latter, they have instilled a plethora of young talent such as Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Bill Hall. And now they have a respectable starting rotation and bullpen. Look out for this team, they can be something special. I have the defending World Series Champions missing the playoffs this year for many reason. Primarily their pitching. They lost a lot this offseason, guys like Jeff Suppan, an d Jason Marquis and they replaced them with two relievers that have slim to no starting experience in Adam Wainwright and Brandon Looper. Wainwright was a starter converted into a reliever and then a closer so he should be just fine, but Looper is a career closer/set-up guy and I don't know how well he will take to going 6+ innings instead of 1 to 2 innings like he's done his entire career. The Chicago Cubs are tired of losing so they decided to break the bank in hopes of returning to playoffs. It's a shame that with the millions upon millions that they spent this offseason all they have to show for it is Mark DeRosa(career utility guy), Ted Lilly(never has had an ERA under 4.05 and more than two games over .500 as a starter) and the aforementioned Jason Marquis(who is more of an average spot starter than a #3 starter which he will be this year.)

NL West:

1.San Diego Padres
2.Arizona Diamondbacks (Wild Card)
3.Los Angeles Dodgers
4.Colorado Rockies
5.San Francisco Giants

The San Diego Padres have the best rotation in the National League this year. With returning starters, Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Clay Hensley and David Wells and then the signing of Greg Maddux only bolsters that staff. The outfield, primarily left field is a bit of a question mark, I don't know if Terrmel Sledge can handle the job, but we will have to wait and see. They have Adrian Gonzalez at first, who had a terrific season, newly signed second baseman, Marcus Giles and his twin brother, Brian Giles along with rookie of the year candidate, Kevin Kouzmanoff at third, the Padres are a good pick to have the best record this season. I have the Arizona Diamondbacks as the team that will represent the wild card this season partly because of their starting rotation, which is great with stars like the returning Cy Young, Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez and Randy Johnson. They also have a great team filled with young guys like Chris Young and Carlos Quentin in the outfield and Chad Tracy and Conor Jackson at the corner infield and rising star Stephen Drew at shortstop. I feel they may be a year away from being a deep playoff type team. The Los Angeles Dodgers could be a team that will finish anywhere from first to maybe even last. With the injury of Rafael Furcal, it could go a long way to setting this team back.

Awards:

Cy Young: John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves

Smoltz had this honor snatched from him last year because the bullpen cost him 6 wins but with a solid bullpen he should win it this year. I also wouldn't be surprised if Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs or Jake Peavy of the Padres snuck in and won it.

MVP: Albert Pujols, St.Louis Cardinals

He should have been awarded the NL MVP the past few years but has been edged out by the likes of Barry Bonds and Ryan Howard but I think he'll get it this year. But watch out for my guy, Andruw Jones, he's in a contract year this season and you can count on him having 40+ HR and 120+ RBI's.

Best Reliever: Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres

After having the second best season of his historic career last season, I look for him to have about the same season this year. Also, you can never count out Billy Wagner, the guy is amazing and if the starting staff can hold the lead for him, he'll shut it down 40+ times this year.

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Kouzmanoff, San Diego Padres

They traded highley touted second baseman, Josh Barfield to get him and he'll show everyone why this season. He'll probably hit 25+ homeruns even though he plays in Petco. If I had to take a runner up this year it'll probably be Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves

He announced that after next year he might call it a career and this year he has the best bullpen that he's has ever had in his illustrious career and with the Braves looking at the 2nd best record in the NL(in my opinion), he may get it. The only other guy that comes to mind would be Bud Black of the Padres.

AL East:

1.Boston Red Sox
2.New York Yankees
3.Toronto Blue Jays
4.Tampa Bay Devil Rays
5.Baltimore Orioles

I actually like what the Red Sox have done this offseason with winning the bidding war to get prized Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, the signing of J.D. Drew and the fact that they decided to keep Jonathan Papelbon as the closer. Add in Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the Red Sox are looking like they will avenge their third place finish from last season. They New York Yankees are a pretty popular pick to win the East too, due to their powerful offense and the fact that they are the Yankees. But this season the Yankees starting staff is bad, even though they signed former Yankee, Andy Pettitte. Their current rotation consist of Carl Pavano(he's also the opening day starter, why? I have no idea), Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Japanese pitcher, Kei Igawa and they had Jeff Karstens but he has just been placed on the 15-Day DL. So, they have the offense and defense to win a championship, but the pitching doesn't appear to be there. Also, the Toronto Blue Jays are always going to be around and could spoil things for the the top dogs so to speak.

AL Central:

1.Detroit Tigers
2.Cleveland Indians (Wild Card)
3.Chicago White Sox
4.Minnesota Twins
5.Kansas City Royals

The American League Central is by far the best division in baseball, four of the five teams could easily win the division but I see the Tigers winning it due to their pitching. They have a great starting staff and a very good bullpen. They did lose starter, Kenny Rogers for the first three months of the season due to a blood clot in his shoulder, but they have super prospect, Andrew Miller that can step up and fill his spot in the rotation so I don't think that will hurt them that much. Plus they filled a big move when they got Gary Sheffield from the Yankees, Sheffield will the Tiger's designated hitter and should supply some much needed power from the right side of the plate. The Cleveland Indians were a strong pick to go to the World Series last season but fell apart due to a horrible bullpen and no closer after they traded Wickman. But all that is fixed now, they signed Joe Borowski to close and their young guys like Fausto Carmona and Fernando Cabrera are developing quickly and should be great. To go along with that they have a very solid starting rotation with C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and rising star, Jeremy Sowers. And to add even more they have MVP candidates in Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, so the Indians are stacked. Why didn't I pick them again?

AL West:

1.Oakland Athletics
2.Los Angeles Angels
3.Texas Rangers
4.Seattle Mariners

Originally I had the Angels winning the division for the lone fact that the Athletics didn't re-sign Barry Zito and Bobby Crosby just can't stay healthy. But since looking at their staff which has Cy Young candidates like Rich Harden and Dan Haren and then Joe Blanton, Esteban Loaiza and Joe Kennedy, I have decided to go with the A's. The A's closer, Huston Street should be near the top in saves and along with Justin Duchscherer and Kiko Calero Oakland's bullpen looks to be strong. The only thing that will stop the A's from winning this year is their offense, well more so their power. But then again, I don't think Billy Beane gives a rat's ass about power numbers, he's all about on base percentage and stuff like that. But only Nick Swisher appears to be able to hit 25+ homeruns because Eric Chavez seems like he's not really the player he used to be and Mike Piazza is nearing retirement, but then again he did hit 22 last year as a catcher and this year he will be strictly the DH, so there is a chance. I like the Angels for a number of reason, they have great veterans like Vladimir Guerrero, John Lackey, Garret Anderson and Scot Shields plus they have great young guys like Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Jered Weaver and Ervin Santana. They have good offense, good pitching(both starting and relieving) and they have a great farm system the only thing they need is another power bat added in the middle of their line-up. As much as it pains me to say, that "power bat" may be Andruw Jones. Jones is in the final year of his contract and the Atlanta Braves will likely not re-sign him so they will probably trade him for some young pitching. If I had to put my money on it, I would say the trade would be something similar to this.

LAA: CF Andruw Jones
ATL: P Nick Adenhart, P Ervin Santana and maybe someone like OF Terry Evans.

This is just in my opinion of course, Nick Adenhart is a great prospect, easily the Angels second overall and their top pitching prospect and Santana is a young starter that has potential to be very good. Evans is listed as the Angels 10th best prospect and first among outfielders.

Awards:

Cy Young: Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins

It seems like Santana wins the award just about every year, and he deserves it. He's the most dominating pitcher in baseball right now and I don't think he's gonna stop embarrassing hitters with his fastball and change up anytime soon. Another player to look out for would be Rich Harden from Oakland. If he is able to stay healthy he's as good as anyone in the AL.

MVP: Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians

At first I had Vladimir Guerrero but since I changed my mind about them winning the West, i'll change my mind about the MVP. A lot of people are picking Grady Sizemore, but I feel his teammate, Hafner, puts up more "MVP like" numbers, such as homeruns and RBI's. Plus he had what, five grand slams last year? So yeah, I think it's a pretty solid pick.

Best Reliever
: Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox

I'm glad the Red Sox decided to keep him as the closer, and this decision should prove it was a good one. He had an ERA of 0.92 and 35 saves last year and I see him putting up similar season this year, but maybe more saves. Don't look past Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all-time is still throwing that devastating cutter and if his starting staff can pitch well he can still save 45+.

Rookie of the Year: Delmon Young, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

The kid can rake it, plain and simple. He'll hit 25+ HR's and should have around 80 RBI's. He's a great pick and with him, the Devil Rays have one of the best, young outfields in all of baseball and it will only get better when Elijah Dukes comes up in a couple of years. I don't really know if Daisuke Matsuzaka is considered a rookie, but if he is then he may very well win it, I see him winning 13-15 games this season and have a sub 3.30 ERA.

Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge, Cleveland Indians

If my predictions work out, then he will have lead a very, very young team from a 4th place finish all the way to a second place and a playoff birth in just one year. With that said, he'd definitely deserve every bit of this honor if this sequence of events plays out. Billy Beane would be my second choice to win.

NL Playoffs:

1st round-

The Atlanta Braves over the Arizona Diamondbacks

The San Diego Padres over the Milwaukee Brewers

2nd round-

The Atlanta Braves over the San Diego Padres

AL Playoffs:

1st round-

(4) Cleveland Indians over the (1) Boston Red Sox

(2)Detroit Tigers over the (3)Oakland Athletics

2nd round-

(4) Cleveland Indians over the (2) Detroit Tigers

World Series:

Atlanta Braves over the Cleveland Indians

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Denver Broncos (9-7)

2006 season: 9-7
Head Coach: Mike Shanahan
Offensive Coordinator: Rick Dennison
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Slowik
Pro-Bowl: Champ Bailey(CB), Al Wilson(ILB) and John Lynch(S)

Offense

The Denver Broncos offense was average yet again this season ranking 21st overall and averaging 19.9 points per game. The Broncos running game was great much like it has been for the last decade, ranking 8th overall and gaining 134.5 per game. Now the passing game on the other hand was in the bottom third in the league, the Broncos averaged just 174.9 passing yards per game. Part of that was the quarterback switch a little over midway through the season. Denver hasn't been satisfied with veteran Jake Plummer for a few years now and after throwing for 1,994 yards, 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions they finally pulled the plug and handed the job over to rookie quarterback Jay Cutler. In the five games Cutler started last season he threw for 1,001 yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 touchdowns. And his quarterback rating was 88.5 oppose to the 68.8 Plummer put up. Mike Shanahan proved yet again that they can put any runningback in their system and have him rush for 1,000 yards. Tatum Bell rushed for 1,025 yards and 2 touchdowns. His backup, Mike Bell, rushed for 677 and an impressive 8 rushing touchdowns. One of the biggest problems on the Broncos offense was the depth at wide receiver, or lack there of. Besides Javon Walker there wasn't much left. Rod Smith is great but his career is winding down so he's just not the player he used to be. They have Brandon Marshall who has a lot of talent and the Broncos love him, they feel he can be very good soon. Walker caught 69 balls for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns. Like I said Smith is in the decline and it's proven by his numbers, just 52 receptions, 512 yards and 3 touchdowns. It really seemed like rookie tight end, Tony Scheffler, didn't start playing well till Cutler took over. Scheffler quickly became Cutler's number one target and he caught 18 balls for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Denver Broncos had to deal with major tragedies on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. On offense, runningback Damien Nash suddenly collapsed at a benefit for his brother during the offseason and he sadly died. He was just 24 years old.

Defense

The Denver Broncos defense at the beginning of the season was one of the best we've seen in sometime. The way they completely dominated teams including the Ravens and Patriots to name a couple was amazing. They gave up just 44 points in the first 6 games including 7 or less in 5 of the 6 games(St.Louis scored 18 points in the first game of the season, all field goals). They did falter towards the end of the season, but they were still able to rank 14th overall. Against the run they ranked 12th, they gave up 113.3 yards and against the pass they ranked 21st allowing 212.9 per game. Now it should be mentioned about 190 of those passing yards were deliberately thrown to the opposite side of the field of Champ Bailey. The biggest reason why the Broncos missed out of the playoffs was a combination of injuries and inconsistency on both offense and defense. Al Wilson led the team in tackles last season with 101. He also added 1 sack and 4 passes defended. The Broncos are in a hurry to get rid of the star linebacker whether by trade or releasing. According to league sources a deal was in place to ship him to the Giants but it fell through. There are a lot of teams in the sweepstakes for him and he is likely to command at least a 3rd round draft choice. Champ Bailey came in second in voting in the defensive player of the year and he had one of the best seasons of his career getting career highs in tackles and interceptions. Bailey had 85 tackles, 10 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 11 passes defended and recovered 1 fumble. Despite playing in only 13 games, rookie defensive end, Elvis Dumervil led the team in sacks with 8.5. He had 17 tackles and 3 fumble recoveries. Like I had mentioned earlier the Broncos took a significant hit on their defense as a result to another tragedy. While in a car with teammate Javon Walker, Darrent Williams was shot and killed. Williams was a rising star in the NFL and having the best season of his career when he was murdered. He had 86 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries and 5 passes defended.

Special Teams

The Broncos special teams were decent overall. Their place kicking was very good. Long time Bronco, Jason Elam had the best season of his career hitting an outstanding 93.1% of his field goals including 27-29. Paul Ernster wasn't good in his first season as Denver's starting punter. He had an average of 41.7 per punt, 7 touchbacks and 23 punts inside the the 20 yard line. He ranked 29th out of a total of 32 punters. Denver's return game wasn't much better, they couldn't settle on a kick return and had 2 different players gain over 400 yards. Brian Clark had 512 yards and Quincy Morgan had 423 yards. Slain corner back, Darrent Williams served as the team's punt returner and gained 206 yards and an average of 8.2 per return.

Draft Notes

The Denver Broncos hold the 21st overall selection in this year's draft and it looks like they will use that pick to fill their need for an impact pass rusher. Their biggest need is adding depth at a number of positions. Such as defensive end, defensive tackle, corner back, wide receiver, runningback and linebacker. After trading for corner back, Dre' Bly, they filled a big whole after the tragic death of Darrent Williams but they still might look to add some youth in the later rounds. With the apparent trade of Al Wilson it might leave a gaping hole on their defense that must be filled. Even though the Broncos do have a good nucleus of solid defensive ends they don't really have an impact pass rusher, Dumervil may be that guy but he has yet to prove he can be an every down type player. And depth at defensive tackle and wide receiver is non-existent right now.

Positions that must be filled during this year's draft.

1. Wide Receiver
2. Defensive End
3. Safety
4. Defensive Tackle
5. Corner Back

WR:

Although the Denver Broncos will likely use their first round pick on a defensive end, I really feel their number one need is at wide receiver. They have Javon Walker who is great but besides him their is nothing in terms of depth. Rod Smith is getting older and his production was in a steady decline this season and Brandon Marshall has talent but he has yet to prove that he can be a starter in the NFL. But with that said, the Broncos will probably wait till the third round to fill this need. There is a lot of great talent this year at WR so the production from the 1st to the 3rd isn't that drastic. Look for Jason Hill out of Washington State, Paul Williams out of Fresno State and Jacoby Jones out of Lane College to still be available. All three guys are rising quickly up draft boards and all three are NFL ready players with great speed and hands.

DE:

The Broncos have good depth at defensive end, they have a lot of "good" players but they don't have a "great" defensive end. And by great I mean someone that can play every down and an impact pass rusher. In a lot of Mock Drafts the Broncos choice is Charles Johnson out of Georgia. He had a great junior season last year and is very similar to pro-bowl Charles Grant. he is a bit undersized but is a very good all-around defensive end that is effective against both the run and pass. But higher prospects such as Jarvis Moss out of Florida and Victor Abiamiri out of Notre Dame could easily slip into that number 21st pick.

S:


They don't really have someone that can succeed along side Pro-Bowler, John Lynch. Domonique Foxworth could be that guy but he is more of a corner back than a safety so the Broncos will probably look at getting one this year. Now who they choose depends on how big of a need they feel this is. The could take one in any round from the 2nd to the 7th. The could look at getting someone like Aaron Rouse out of Virginia Tech in the the 3rd round or even Michael Johnson out of Arizona in say the 4th or 5th round. Another guy to look at is Josh Gattis out of Wake Forrest, he is a 4 year starter that had his best year last year and he has the potential to be very good.

DT:

The Broncos don't have any depth at defensive tackle. Gerard Warren is a good starter but besides him there is no one. The obvious round to address this need would be in the 2nd or 3rd. Someone that has his stock rising is Brandon Mebane out of California, although he doesn't have the great potential to be an impact starter he is a solid athlete with good quickness and agility, he also a sure tackler with a lot of starting experience. If the Broncos are looking for someone with tremendous upside then look no further than Antonio Johnson out of Mississippi State. He only has 2 years under his belt of top tier opponents but he has the potential to be a steal this year.

CB:

The trade for Dre' Bly helps soften the blow at least on the field of the loss of Darrent Williams but they still could use some youth at corner and someone that could take over return duties. A couple of guys to look at are Eric Wright out of UNLV in the 2nd round, Josh Wilson out of Maryland in the third round or A.J. Davis out of NC State in the 4th to 6th round.

The Denver Broncos have a very good team and if they play up to their potential they could be an 11 to 12 win type of team. They have a lot of holes to fill and if they can have a good draft then look out for the Broncos in 2007.

R.I.P. Damien Nash and Darrent Williams


I love a good hockey Brawl!!!

This video is a few months old, but this may be the greatest hockey fight of all time! It's between a pee-wee hockey team, both sporting New York Islander's jerseys and straight throwing bows. Anyway, this is great, I mean the one kid(Chris Simon Jr?)took out like three kids and then capped it off by running away at the end. And of course, kinda like a white women in a horror movie, he fell down. Seriously I have never seen penguins fight, but if I do, this is exactly how I would imagine things would go down. Now Canada can't say i've never done anything for them, now that I have posted something on hockey. Enjoy.


Pee Wee Hockey Brawl - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Frank Gore is getting paid, signs a 4-year extension.

The San Francisco 49ers and runningback, Frank Gore, have agreed to a 4-year extension. In total the deal is a 5-year $28 million(he had 1 year left on his original contract). This deal comes after Frank Gore's outstanding season where he rushed for 1,650 yards and 1 touchdown. He also caught 61 balls for 485 yards and 1 touchdown. The former Miami Hurricane standout has proven to be one of the biggest steals in the draft after being selected in the 3rd round in 2003 because of a blown out knee. And after being the backup last season to Kevan Barlow, he was rewarded with the starting job this season and promptly led the NFC in rushing yards.

From ESPN.com,

ESPN.com has learned that the 49ers reached agreement with Gore on a four-year contract extension through 2011, with the deal averaging just shy of $7 million in terms of so-called "new money."

Gore will receive an initial signing bonus of $6.5 million and total guarantees of nearly $14 million. The contract will pay Gore $13.862 million in its first two seasons and $18.212 million in the first three years. Because Gore had one season remaining on his original rookie contract, the four-year extension creates a five-year deal, and the total value over the course of the five seasons is $28.012 million.

Base salaries are $450,000 (for 2007), $2.5 million (2008), $2.5 million (2009), $2.85 million (2010) and $2.9 million (2011). The contract includes a $4.165 million option bonus and roster bonuses of $1.75 million (2009), $1.85 million (2010) and $2 million (2011). Gore's full base salary of $2.5 million in 2009 is guaranteed.

I'm surprised he was able to wait this long.

If you haven't heard, the Cincinnati Bengal's wide receiver, Chris Henry, has run into more legal trouble after being cited for three traffic charges. The three charges were driving with a suspended license, making an illegal U-Turn and finally driving without a seatbelt.

This is what, his 4th arrest in the last 14 months and he still has charges pending for who knows what. If this latest charge sticks, then Henry will certainly be looking at some jail time, about 88 days in a Kentucky prison. Henry was convicted of a giving alcohol to minors a couple of months ago and was sentenced to 90 days in prison but only served 2 days and the rest of his sentence he was put on probation. It's true that these latest "crimes" aren't that serious, but his record almost makes Sidney Lowe Jr. look innocent.

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan released a statement Tuesday from the team that said, "While the incident involved a minor traffic matter, the club is frustrated that the issue arose at all. ... Chris's overall future with our team can be determined only after this and other pending matters are resolved by the NFL."

I love Henry's playing ability, the kid has amazing talent and with him the Bengal's have one of the best receiving corps in the NFL. Standing at 6'4", Henry is the Bengal's number one threat in the redzone and not having a decent tight end means we desperately need Henry to get his shit together. Like I said, I love him on the field but he's a idiot that thinks he has to be hard and shit off the field, and no matter what anyone tells him, whether it be his own coach, the Commissioner of the NFL or a judge, Henry is going to do what he wants to do. So if he doesn't do something soon, go ahead, cut him or suspend him for the year and let him go out and get himself put back into prison or worse, killed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Takeo Spikes traded to Philadelphia

Takeo spikes has been quietly requesting a change of scenior and on Monday night he was granted his wish. The Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to a trade that would send Bills linebacker, Takeo Spikes and quarterback, Kelly Holcomb to the the Eagles in exchange for defensive tackle, Darwin Walker and a 2008 draft pick(believed to be a late round selection).

"This is something that has been brewing," Bills general manager Marv Levy told The Associated Press. "Takeo is a good person, but we wanted to strengthen our defensive tackle. They've been looking for a linebacker and I think they wanted an experienced backup quarterback."

This is a great deal all around, the Bills had a glaring need at defensive tackle and the Eagles desperately needed a playmaking linebacker and the addition of a solid backup quarterback doesn't hurt either. Spikes is expected to replace Dhani Jones as a starter at strong side linebacker.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Braves send IF Tony Pena to Kansas City

Late Friday, the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Royals completed a deal that would send Braves' infielder, Tony Pena Jr. in exchange for for the Royal's pitcher, Erik Cordier. Pena is an excellent defender that over the past few weeks has showed some pop in his bat. He will likely battle the Royal's current shortstop, Angel Berroa for the starting role. Erick Cordier is a hard throwing starter that can top 98 MPH, but has missed a lot of time due to injuries. He missed all of the 2005 season and then needed to have Tommy John surgery in 2006, but when he returns(Probably in 2008, to be safe) he has the potential to be a very good starter.

"With this deal, we acquire a real power arm," Braves general manager John Schuerholz said. "He's a pitcher who -- before his Tommy John surgery -- was ranked near the top of [the Royals'] prospect list."

From the Braves Journal:

Erik Cordier is a bit more than a miscellaneous live arm; he was the Royals’ second-round pick in 2004 out of a Green Bay high school. However, he’s had a number of injuries, arm and otherwise, which have limited him to 21 career starts. He missed all of 2005 and needed Tommy John surgery during 2006. He won’t be able to throw for awhile. However, when he could throw he allegedly hit 98 on the radar gun, and next season he’ll be all of 22 years old.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Breaking News: The Houston Texans have released David Carr.

According to ESPN's, Michael Smith is reporting that the Houston Texans have released quarterback, David Carr. This makes no sense to me, obviously they were going to get rid of him one way or another, but David Carr still had some value, they could have traded him for at least a late round draft pick, 5th or later to a team like Miami, Oakland or Cleveland.

Now I expect Miami to end the talks with acquiring veteran quarterback, Trent Green from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2007 7th round pick and just sign Carr. The Dolphins are still $10M under the salary cap but you have to anticipate at least $5M going to sign draft picks, so about $5M, and that is more than enough to sign Carr.

Since being the #1 overall pick in 2002, David Carr hasn't been the player he was projected to be. Now say what you want to about him, I think he still can be a solid starter in the NFL if he can find a team with a decent offensive line. He has been able to put up decent enough numbers in Houston despite being put on his ass hundreds of times throughout his career in Houston. Houston's offensive line has been horrible and I feel that played a big part on why Carr has been a failure in NFL thus far. Let him move onto Miami where their offensive line is better than Houston's and lets see what he can do. Last season, David Carr threw for 2,767 yards, 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and 2 rushing touchdowns.

Cowboys sign safety Ken Hamlin.

As I was watching my Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-4, I noticed that the ticker at the bottom of the screen showed that the Dallas Cowboys have signed safety Ken Hamlin. If I can verify this, then it's a great move for the Cowboys who were in need of another safety that could play along side of Roy Williams. This also would mean the Cowboys could set their focus on improving other positions instead of safety during the draft such as cornerback and wide receiver. Oh well, so long Michael Griffin, hello Ken Hamlin.

Last season Ken Hamlin overcame a serious head injury and returned to form, making 96 tackles and 3 interceptions. He is fantastic against the run and is a big hitter and should be a star for the Cowboys. (Pun intended)

Update: NFL network's, Adam Schefter is now reporting the Hamlin deal.

"The Dallas Cowboys have reached agreement with free-agent safety Ken Hamlin on a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Hamlin also had visited the Saints, but he spent the past few days trying to finalize the deal with the Cowboys. Now Hamlin and Roy Williams will form one of the most formidable safety tandems in the league."

This is a great deal. Not only did they get a great, young player the Cowboys got a great, young CHEAP player. $2.5 million is nothing in today's market and a duo of Hamlin and Williams is going to be pretty scary in Big D.

2007 NCAA Tournament (The Sweet Sixteen)

Finally, a full night of entertaining basketball, both college and pro. The tip-off of the Sweet Sixteen was last night and all four of the games were gripping including 3 of the 4 coming down to the final moments.

(5) Tennessee- 84
(1) Ohio State- 85

Ron Lewis came up HUGE yet again and helped spark a historic 20-point comeback to knock off the 5th seeded Tennessee Volunteers, 85-84. At halftime the Vols were up by 17 and were seemingly cruising to a trip to the Elite 8, because not only did they have the hot shooting, Chris Lofton on their side they also had history with them. The biggest comeback in a NCAA Tournament game at the half that ended in Regulation was the 17 points erased by UNLV. And not only that, the Buckeye's leading scorer, Greg Oden, was on the bench most of the second half due to foul trouble.

"In this tournament, the two most important words are `survive' and `advance,' and we've been very, very fortunate the last couple of games to do those things," said Buckeyes coach Thad Matta.

With the absence of Greg Oden(played in just 18 minutes) for majority of the game, the Buckeyes looked to their terrific guards to win the game for them and they delivered. Ron Lewis had 18 of his 25 points in the second half and Mike Conely Jr. scored 9 of his 17 points from the free throw line including the game winner with 6.5 seconds left. Conley did miss his final free throw however and it was rebounded by the Vol's, Ramar Smith, who ran the court and put of a last second shot to only be swatted into the crowd by Oden as the buzzer went off.

"We played about as well in the first half, I think, as we can play," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "We're terribly disappointed. We've proven we can beat some of the best teams in the country. We've also proven we can come close to beating some of the best teams in the
country."

But with excellent guard play and a timely Oden block, the Buckeyes completed this amazing comeback and have advanced to the Elite 8 to face the Memphis Tigers.

(3) Texas A&M- 64
(2) Memphis- 65

I think it's pretty safe to say although Memphis was the higher seed, they were not favored to win Thursday night. With their leading scorer, Chris Douglas-Roberts, spraining his left ankle in the round before and whether or not he'd be able to play still up in the air and then you take into fact that the Aggie's were basically playing a home game(the game was played in San Antonio), I, for one, surely expected A&M to win. But Douglas-Roberts did play and he played well, scoring 15 points and playing 37 minutes, which led the team. Memphis has been known as a team that has a very deep bench and their bench shined Thursday, outscoring Texas A&M's, 26-14 and Jeremy Hunt outscored not only the bench of A&M's by himself, he also was the game's leading scorer with 19 off the bench.

The last person Memphis coach, John Calipari, would've wanted at the free throw line with the game on the line was Antonio Anderson. Anderson had missed two open lay-ups and had missed three consecutive free throws.

"I wanted to choke him at halftime," Memphis coach John Calipari said.

But alas, Anderson was the one that would be taking the two free throws, down by 1, with 3.1 remaining in the game, it was Anderson who had just 3 points at that point in the game and was just 1-6 from both the field and the line.

"When I got to the line I could see we were tired and deep down so was the other team. I just wanted to get the game over with," said Anderson, who finished with five points. "I missed free throws earlier, but I had the confidence I could knock them down."

And knock them down he did, Antonio Anderson was so clutch and he sank both of the free throws to give his Tiger's the lead. On the final play of the game, you would expect Acie Law, who had been give the nickname "Captain Clutch" for his flare for late game heroics, to get the last shot, but no. The last shot was taken by defensive specialist, Dominique Kirk, and his shot from just inside the half court line was short. Kirk, who was coming off of his best two games of the year, finished with just 4 points in his 28 minutes of play and he for mentioned Acie Law, struggled scoring just 13 points in his final college game.

(3) Pittsburgh- 55
(2) UCLA- 64

This game was just what most thought it would be, a grind-it-out defensive game. The second seeded UCLA Bruins were able to out last the pesky fifth seeded Pittsburgh Panthers in route to a 64-55 win. Both Ben Howland's Bruins and Jamie Dixon's Panthers played extraordinary defense, and the team's defenses barely allowed an open shot the entire game.

"It starts with our coach," point guard Darren Collison said. "He emphasizes defense all year long and we showed it pays to be physical."

The Bruins never trailed this game despite the less than mediocre shooting from the field. The Bruins shot .429(18-42) from the field and .385(5-13) from beyond the arc. I know, not good at all, but the Panthers were worse, they shot just .364(20-55) from the field and .438(7-16). With all the shots not falling, the Bruins had to find another way to score and they found it in the form of the free throw line. The Bruins were absolutely amazing from the stripe, shooting .885(23-26) as a team. That has to be one of the best shooting performances from a team with that much riding on the game and the lack of offense.

"We did a great job to knock down free throws, and it's a good thing we did because we weren't scoring a lot," forward Josh Shipp said. "I think we're just getting down to business and focusing on free throws."

Although Aaron Affalo's shooting troubles continued as he went 3-11 from the field, he was still able to score a game high, 17 points thanks to 10-10 shooting from the line. Affalo has to fight his way out of this shooting slump, eventually. Right? While Affalo is slumping, Darren Collison is doing the exact opposite. He's averaging about 13.5 ppg during the NCAA Tournament but even more impressive is his shooting percentage, which is around 63%. The Bruins will certainly need Collison to continue his good play and they desperately need their best player, Affalo, to step up if they hope to win against Kansas, who also advanced to the Elite Eight.

(4) Southern Illinois- 58
(1) Kansas- 61

The first seeded Kansas Jayhawks, were almost taken to the breaking point by the fourth seeded Southern Illinois
Salukis defense. The defense of the Salukis' is by far the best and it was almost enough to take down the immensely athletic Jayhawk team. Kansas' Brandon Rush scored 12 points on 6-6 shooting along with Darrell Arthur and Russell Robinson scoring 9 apiece , helped Kansas and coach, Bill Self avoid yet another embarrassing exit from the NCAA Tournament.

Kansas has many NBA caliber players on their roster and I highly doubt that they have had to work as hard as they did Thursday night to get points. Every shot was contested, and down low, despite being smaller, the Salukis' were tough on the Jayhawk's big men, Julian Wright(scored just 7 points, averages 12.1) and Sasha Kaun(scored only 2 points, averages 6).

"It shows that we can win whatever the circumstances are," said Kansas guard Mario Chalmers, who scored just nine points. "Everyone knows we like an uptempo game in the 80s, but we can take our time and slow it down with the best of them, too."

Southern Illinois' guard, Jamaal Tatum, kept the Salukis in the game scoring 19 points, 3 assists and 2 steals in his final college game. Tatum did not shoot well from three point range, shooting just 1-8. And he missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 8 seconds left.

"The shot I took is a shot I've practiced numerous times in the gym at night (and) in between classes," Tatum said. "It felt good. I don't know what to say."

Overall a very exciting night of college basketball and should be much of the same tonight. Here's the match-ups in the final night of the Sweet Sixteen.

(5) Butler
(1) Florida

(6) Vanderbilt
(2) Georgetown

(7) UNLV
(3) Oregon

(5) USC
(1) North Carolina

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Braves lock up McCann through 2012.

Just a few hours ago, the Atlanta Braves announced that they have signed All-Star catcher, Brian McCann to a 6-year $27.8M extension through 2012 and an option for 2013. McCann now becomes the highest paid player with less than two years of major league experience, passing up the deal Grady Sizemore signed with the Cleveland Indians last season, which was 6-years $23.45M. According the McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott, there could be escalators that could take the value of the contract to $29.8 million.

"This is a great deal for both parties," Abbott said. "I was really blown away that the Braves were willing to do this. This isn't something that they've traditionally done with players who have one-plus years of service."

The deal was done quickly despite the fact the Atlanta Braves have never offered a long-term deal to any player until they've completed their arbitration-eligible years, the Braves began contract-extension negotiations with both McCann and outfielder Jeff Francoeur at the beginning of March. Francoeur's has yet to be completed and it is believed that the counter offer that Fancoeur's agent, Steve Hammond, was nearly double the original offer the Braves had given him. Hopefully a deal can be worked out soon enough.

"Brian's age, his performance last year and the club's willingness allowed this to happen," Abbott said. "This is only something that happens when a club has great confidence in a player."

After hitting .333 with 24 HRs and 93 RBI's last year in his first full major league season it is no wonder the Braves wanted to lock up McCann. Not only did McCann receive an All-Star selection, he also received the NL's Silver Slugger award and showcased himself as the National League's best catcher. The only other catcher that had a higher batting average than McCann was the Minnesota Twin's, Joe Mauer, who hit .347 but only 13 HR's and 84 RBI's.

The possibility of Green to the Dolphins is "still likely".

According the Palm Beach Post, all that stands in the way of the Miami Dolphins acquiring veteran quarterback, Trent Green, is a restructured contract. If all sides can work out a deal then the former Pro-Bowl QB will be sent to Miami in exchange for a 2007 7th round draft pick. The 36-year old QB was injured in the Chiefs' first game against the Cincinnati Bengals when he collided, head first, with Bengal's defensive end, Robert Geathers. He sat out majority of the season with that severe concussion and in his absence emerged Damon Huard. Huard threw for 1,878 yards, 11 touchdowns and just 1 touchdown. I know, impressive right? That hell of half season earned him the nickname "Meast" given to him by a huge group of followers(ok, just two people and Meast is short for Man/Beast, yeah, sounded much better right before I went into )

Trent Green was less than spectacular in his return, throwing for just 1,342 yards, 7 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 8 games. The Dolphins want Green for another insurance policy for Daunte Culpepper, who rushed back from his injury(tore ACL, MCL, PCL and all the other "CL's") and was finally benched after 4 miserable games. It is still a suspect on whether Culpepper will be ready to go at the start of the 2007 season, and he should, I mean he's had almost two full years to recover. Green would likely get the starting job if he isn't ready to go over Cleo Lemon who started the Dolphin's final game.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8)

I asked Davey to help me out on the Team Reviews and he graciously accepted. So here is Davey's Jacksonville Team review.

2006 season : 8-8
Head Coach : Jack Del Rio
Offensive Coordinator : Mike Tice
Defensive Coordinator : Mike Smith
Pro-Bowl : Rasheen Mathis

Offense

If you try to make any sense of the 2006 season of the Jags, you will end up bleeding from your retina and muttering jibberish. The team finished 9th in the NFL in total points scored, they got to atleast 30 points in 5 of their games, yet they lost twice against Houston while scoring 7 and 10 points respectively in those games. It was inconsistency like that that led to an 8-8 record.

The big problem on offense was at quarterback. Byron Leftwich played in only 6 games before getting hurt again which meant that backup David Garrard got a lot of playing time. Garrard appeared in 11 games, totaling 1735 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. In Leftwich's 6 starts, he put up 1157 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Not the type of numbers that will blow you away...

The receiving corps was also not very stellar in '06. Everyone knows that the Lions have spent various high picks on receivers during the past couple of years but Jacksonville is not far behind. The team has picked receivers in the first round in 4 out of the last 7 years. R.J. Soward in 2000, Reggie Williams in '04, Matt Jones in '05 and Marcedes Lewis in '06. Soward is arguably the biggest bust in franchise history so far.

Matt Jones lead the team last season with 643 receiving yards while Williams was the leader with 52 catches. Both guys finished with 4 touchdowns, tied for tops on the team. Again, nothing pretty with those stats.

What was pretty though was Jacksonville's running game. Maurice Jones-Drew was picked in the 2nd round of the draft and was one of the brightest rookies on offense in the league. Jones-Drew finished with 941 yards and 13 touchdowns and perfectly complementing Fred Taylor, who himself had 1146 yards and 5 touchdowns. The running game was especially electrifying in their 44-17 trashing of the Colts. Jones-Drew had 166 yards and 2 Td's, while Taylor added 131 and 1 touchdown.

Defense

Jacksonville's defense did it's best to mirror the offensive unit in terms of inconsistency. The unit had finished 4th in points allowed, had two shut-outs (Jets, Steelers), played dominating in two other games versus the Giants and Eagles, yet allowed atleast 24 points in 7 of their games.

The defense did have an excuse though, because several key players got hit with injuries and ended up missing significant time. Marcus Stroud missed 5 games, stud linebacker Mike Peterson missed 11 games and the leader in the secondary, Donovan Darius missed 6 games.

John Henderson was great again in the middle, finishing with 51 tackles and 3.5 sacks. With Stroud and Henderson, Jacksonville has arguably the best defensive tackle combo in the game. Bobby McCray also had himself a nice season, finishing with 35 tackles and 10 sacks. In the secondary, Rasheen Mathis led the way with 63 tackles and a team leading 8 interceptions on his way to a Pro-Bowl selection.

The one area where the Jags defense did not fair very well was getting pressure on the quarterback. McCray had 10 sacks and the next closest player was Henderson with his 3.5.

Special Teams

Josh Scobee had a decent year, kicking 26 out of 32 field goals with a long of 48. Scobee was 14/18 in the 40 to 49 yard range and was 0/1 in the 50+ range and I'm sure that the Jags would like to see some improvement in that.

Chris Hanson managed the punting duties and did not put up very impressive numbers. He had an average of 40.6 yards, dropped 20 inside the 20 and had a long of 58. Not surprisingly, the Jags added Tony Yelk to the roster last week, a guy who was in the Falcons camp last year.

Maurice Jones-Drew returned kick-offs and did that pretty well. Drew finished with 860 return yards, a long of 93 and 1 Td. Alvin Pearlman on the other hand didn't create as much on his punt returns. Pearlman had only 283 yards, an average of 8.8 and a long run of 29.

Draft Notes

Some people think that the Jags need to try again at landing a first round receiver that will produce but I don't agree with that. The team already brought in Dennis Northcutt and even though Northcutt won't solve the receiving problems, I would give the younger guys one more year to prove themselves instead of taking yet another receiver in the first round.

Positions that must be addressed.

Safety
CB
DB
OLB
OT

Safety:

With Deon Grant signing with the Seattle Seahawks, the Jags suddenly find themselves with a big hole at the safety position. Some mock drafts have Florida's Reggie Nelson dropping to them at # 17, but Carolina, also needing a safety could very well take Nelson at # 14. I think the Jags will consider Nelson if he's available at # 17.

CB:

Rasheen Mathis had a great season but he can't do it all by himself. Brian Williams starts opposite of Mathis but only had 1 interception during the season and beyond that there isn't much depth. Pitt's Darrell Revis would be a great fit for the Jags if they decide to go corner in the first.

DE:

Bobby McCray did finish with 10 sacks but other than that the Jags did not put much pressure on the quarterback. A guy like Georgia's Quentin Moses would be a nice fit in the second round, to add depth and eventually get a starting role on that line along side Henderson and Stroud.

OLB:

Mike Peterson missed most of the year with injury but when he's back, he will be the guy that anchors that linebacking unit. But the Jags aren't very intimidating when it comes the outside linebackers. I'm looking at a guy like Rufus Alexander from Oklahoma that could be there when the Jags pick in the 3rd round. He would add depth and challenge for a starting spot next to Peterson.

OT:

I don't have much to say here, just that I think the team would do good to add some depth on the offensive line behind starters Maurice Williams and Khalif Barners. Maybe also a center for depth behind Meester and Norman.


During the 2006 season, there wasn't a team that was more inconsistent than the Jacksonville Jaguars. They had some very impressive victories over Dallas (24-17), Pittsburgh (9-0), the Jets (41-0), the Giants (26-7), Philly (13-6) and Indianapolis (44-17). But they also had very painful losses against Houston (twice!), Washington, Buffalo and Kansas City.

Jacksonville finished 8-8 and now the question becomes if they can play consistent every week. Byron Leftwich needs to step up and carry this team and someone of the receiving corps needs to start making some plays.

The running game should be one of the league's best and the same can be said for that nasty defense. But the Jags will not make it very far if they don't have certainty under center and wide receivers that can make plays.

--Davey

My Sports Talk's Mock Draft (Updated)

1. Oakland Raiders- JaMarcus Russell QB (LSU)

2. Detroit Lions- Brady Quinn QB (ND)

3. Cleveland Browns- Adrian Peterson RB (OU)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Calvin Johnson WR (GT)

5. Arizona Cardinals- Joe Thomas OT (WISC)

6. Washington Redskins- Gaines Adams DE (CLEM)

7. Minnesota Vikings- Jamaal Anderson DE (ARK)

8. Atlanta Falcons(f/HOU) - LaRon Landry S (LSU)

9. Miami Dolphins- Alan Branch DT (MICH)

10. Houston Texans(f/ATL)- Levi Brown OT (PSU)

11. San Francisco 49ers- Amobi Okoye DT (LOU)

12. Buffalo Bills- Marshawn Lynch RB (CAL)

13. St. Louis Rams- Patrick Willis ILB (MISS)

14. Carolina Panthers- Greg Olsen TE (MIA)

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Adam Carricker DE (NEB)

16. Green Bay Packers- Ted Ginn Jr. WR (OSU)

17. Jacksonville Jaguars- Reggie Nelson S (FLA)

18. Cincinnati Bengals- Leon Hall CB (MICH)

19. Tennesse Titans- Dwayne Bowe WR (LSU)

20. New York Giants- Chris Houston CB (ARK)

21. Denver Broncos- Jarvis Moss DE/LB (FLA)

22. Dallas Cowboys- Michael Griffin S (TEX)

23. Kansas City Chiefs- Dwayne Jarrett WR (USC)

24. New England Patriots(f/SEA)- Paul Posluszny OLB (PSU)

25. New York Jets- Darrell Revis CB (PITT)

26. Philadelphia Eagles- Jon Beason OLB (MIA)

27. New Orleans Saints- Aaron Ross CB (TEX)

28. New England Patriots- Brian Leonard FB/RB (RUTG)

29. Baltimore Ravens- Anthony Spencer DE/LB (PUR)

30. San Diego Chargers- Robert Meachem WR (TENN)

31. Chicago Bears- Joe Staley OT (C.MICH)

32. Indianapolis Colts- Justin Harrell DT (TENN)

The Falcons trade Matt Schaub to the Texans

The NFL Network's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to trade quarterback, Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans in exchange for second-round draft pick, and maybe other compensation, most likely money.

"By day's end, the Atlanta Falcons will trade backup quarterback Matt Schaub to the Houston Texans, according to NFL sources. The Texans will surrender a second-round draft pick, and there could be other compensation involved.

The trade has massive ramifications. The Texans have their quarterback of the future, which David Carr no longer is. The Falcons are reaffirming their faith in Michael Vick, who now also needs a new backup. And the Texans are out of the Brady Quinn derby, leaving the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins as possible landing spots."

Not only does this trade prove that the Falcons are indeed loyal to Michael Vick, this trade is surely to shake up the top-10 in the draft yet again. Over the past few weeks, reports that the Texans were heavily scouting Notre Dame's Brady Quinn and they were leaning towards taking him with their 8th overall pick come April. Well Obviously they will no longer have a need for him and will instead turn their focus on upgrading the secondary, runningback or the offensive line. Possibilities on who they will choose are Adrian Peterson, running back out of Oklahoma, Levi Brown, offensive tackle out of Penn State and LaRon Landry, safety out of LSU.

Updated: The deal is official now and it includes the Falcons and Texans swapping first round picks, the Falcons getting a 2nd round draft pick this season and next season.

HOU Gets: QB Matt Schaub and 2007 10th overall pick.

ATL Gets: 2007 8th overall pick, 2007 2nd round pick(39th overall) and 2008 2nd round pick.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New York Giants (8-8)

2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Gilbride
Defensive Coordinator: Steve Spagnuolo
Pro-Bowl: Tiki Barber(RB), Jeremy Shockey(TE), Antonio Pierce(MLB)

Offense

The New York Giant's offense this season was very inconsistent. At times it had both a high-powered running and passing game and sometimes it would be one or the other. With all these inconsistencies, mostly with Eli Manning, the Giants offense was just mediocre as a whole, ranking 14th. The G-Men's running game was far better than their passing game, getting 134.8 yards per game(7th) and the passing game got 191.1(19th). Eli Manning took a lot of heat this season and at times rightfully so, he threw for 3,244 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Manning's quarterback rating was a sub-par 77.0, obviously the Giants aren't going to be making many playoff appearances unless he is able to right the ship. The running game was the strong point this season, with Tiki Barber rushing for 1,662 yards and 5 touchdowns and Brandon Jacobs rushing for 425 yards and 9 touchdowns. New York didn't really have a receiver this season that put up huge numbers, no one really distanced themselves as the number one option. Plaxico Burress caught only 63 balls for 988 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jeremy Shockey led the team with 66 receptions, he also had 623 yards and 7 touchdowns. Barber also contributed with 58 receptions and 465 yards. About mid-way through the season, Tiki Barber announced that that it would be his last season. He stated that he would be retiring in order to pursue other interests. So obviously this is a huge leap in the wrong direction for the Giants, they have been successfully running a duo backfield for many years, and Jacobs ability to carry the load 25+ times a game remains to be seen. They did however trade for Reuben Droughns so he could be a solid replacement for Barber or he could be a bust, we'll have to wait and see.

Defense

The defense of the New York Giants was the exact opposite of the offense, it was in the bottom third overall and and it was better against the passing game and less effective against the running game. A big reason they allowed 228.1(28th) yards per game was injuries on the defensive line. Both Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora missed significant time due to injuries, Strahan having missed more 7 games had just 38 tackles and 3 sacks and Umenyiora had 31 tackles but still was able to lead the team in sacks with 6. Rookie defensive end, Mathias Kiwanuka did have a good season with 53 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 interceptions. Antonio Pierce led the team in tackles once again this year having racked up 137 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries and 1 interception, Pierce was selected to the Pro-Bowl. The Giants had great production from both safety positions, Gibril Wilson had 100 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions and Will Demps also had 100 tackles, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions.

Special Teams

Longtime Giant kicker, Jay Feely had his best statistical season of his career hitting 85.2% of his field goal attempts and 23-27 overall. And in return for his great season, he was released and signed by the Miami Dolphins. Jeff Feagles, on the other hand had the worst statistical season as a Giant with an average of just 40.2 per punt, only 3 touchbacks and 27 punts inside the 20 yard line. The returning duties were handled mostly by veteran runningback, Chad Morton. On punt returns he was quite bad having an average of just 9.2 and a total of 268 yards and kick returns were much better having averaged 21.6 per return and a total of 670 yards. I expect Sinorice Moss to take over the returning duties because Morton was released following the season.

Draft Notes

The New York Giants hold the 20th pick overall in this year's draft and they could go many different ways with that selection. They need a lot of help at cornerback, outside linebacker and offensive tackle and all could be upgraded by using this pick on one of them. I feel they will look to the defense side of the ball in the first round rather than the offensive line. They released Lavar Arrington and Carlos Emmons and are without replacements at the outside linebacker position so the consensus is that they will go that way. They also have needs at defensive tackle wide receiver and runningback.

Positions that must be addressed to during this year's draft.

1. Outside Linebacker
2. Cornerback
3. Offensive Tackle
4. Defensive Tackle
5. Runningback

OLB:

Having released two of their outside linebackers they have a blaring need that must be filled in either the 1st or 2nd round in April. If they go with the first round they could pick up guys like Paul Posluszny out of Penn State, Lawrence Timmons out of Florida State or Jon Beason out of Miami. Or they could wait until the second round and select someone like Stewart Bradley out of Nebraska. Either one of those guys would be an immediate upgrade and all could start immediately.

CB:

This is another need of the Giants and they may look to fill this need in the first round with a rising star, Chris Houston out of Arkansas or they could go with Marcus McCauley out of Fresno State who has likely slipped to a second round selection but he can still be a solid starter in the NFL. I really can't see them waiting till the 3rd round to draft a corner but if they do, guys like David Irons out of Auburn, Daymeion Hughes out of California and Fred Bennett out of South Carolina could all be viable options.

OT:

Having recently released starting left tackle, Luke Petitgout the Giants must find a replacement and some guys that would fill that hole nicely are Joe Staley out of Central Michigan, Arron Sears out of Tennessee and Tony Ugoh in the Arkansas could be had in the 2nd round and James Marten out of Boston College and Ryan Harris out of Notre Dame and Doug Free out of Northern Illinois could be selected in the third round. All guys have tremendous upside and are projected to be long-time starters.

DT:

I look for the Giants to start to look for a defensive tackle in the middle rounds, somewhere around the 3rd to 5th rounds. Someone that will probably still be around in the 4th or 5th round is Antonio Johnson out of Mississippi State. He is a extremely fast interior lineman with great size and lots of upside. The only knock on him is he doesn't have a lot of starts under his belt but he's one of those guys that has all the tools to be a great defensive force given the chance. Others that will still be available in the middle rounds are Marcus Thomas formally with Florida, Ola Dagunduro out of Nebraska and Joe Cohen out of Florida.

RB:

With the loss of Tiki Barber not only did he leave them with a hole to fill running the ball but also as a receiver out of the backfield. Some good receiving running backs are Brian Leonard out of Rutgers, he could be chosen in the 2nd round, Lorenzo Booker out of Florida State, Darius Walker out of Notre Dame and Tony Hunt out of Penn State.

The Giants have a good team, but they are tremendous underachievers. If Manning can play up to his potential, they can find a solid replacement for Tiki and their defense can play well I could definitely see them in the playoffs or even winning the NFC East next season.

Redskins deal safety, Adam Archuleta to the Bears


According to ESPN's, John Clayton, the Washington Redskins have agreed to deal safety, Adam Archuleta to the Chicago Bears for a 2007 6th round draft pick. Chicago is a great fit for Archleta primarily because of head coach Lovie Smith, who has coveted Archuleta ever since he took over as the Bears head coach in January 2004.

Lovie Smith was Archuleta's defensive coordinator while in St.Louis and the two have always had a good relationship. The Bears hope that the versatile safety can return to form and be as productive as he once was.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I present to you, the 2006-07 Virginia Tech Hokies!

So, the Virginia Tech Hokies' amazing 2006-07 season is now over with their disappointing loss to the 4th seeded Southern Illinois Salukis, 63-48. Although he didn't finish his Senior season the way he would have liked to, Zabian Dowdell was nothing short of brilliant this season averaging 17.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 3.1 assists per game. Like I said, he didn't have a good tournament at all, in the two games the Hokies were in, Dowdell averaged just 7.5 ppg. Another guy who had a great year was junior, Deron Washington. He scored 12 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Washington is a freak of an athlete with great range and a powerful dunker. Deron is expected, with guys like A.D. Vassallo(who averaged 11 ppg) and Nigel Munson to lead the Hokies next season. The Hokies will also be losing their starting point guard, Jamon Gordon and their starting center, Coleman Collins. Gordon averaged 11.4 ppg, 4.5 rbg and 4.5 apg and Collins averaged 7.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 1.3 bpg.

But with that said, I found a great video on youtube earlier today of the Hokies 06-07 season.

Another quick update on the NCAA Tournament.

So last time I checked in on how I was doing with my projections I was doing quite well with a record of 14-3 and although that was good, my other 114 brackets were struggling mightily, kind of like a new born giraffe trying to walk for the first time.I believe at one point I was 4% right in a bracket I submitted to ESPN. Pitiful, I know. But in the predictions I submitted on here I am still doing pretty well, at this point I have a record of 34-15 going into the Sweet Sixteen.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but this year's March Madness hasn't been as exciting as it has been. That is probably due to the fact that their are no lower seeds competing still. The highest seed that remains is UNLV, who is a 7 seed. There has been games that have been exciting and everything but as a whole, this year's tournament hasn't really been as fun with out all the major upsets that we have all become accustomed to. Both games that VCU played were down to the wire, had huge comebacks and had me on the edge of my seat. Xavier's two games aswell.

There isn't a "George Mason" this year, and the team that many thought that would be just that, Wintrop, went down against Oregon yesterday, 75-61. It was SI.com that proposed the question "Is the NCAA Tournament dull without major upsets?", and an astounding 82% of the voters agree with me, yes the tournament has lacked a little luster this year. I'm not trying to take any thunder from the teams that have won, but when a team is expected to win and they do, it just doesn't create the same headlines or stir that a team that is supposed to lose and isn't as good on paper does when they win.

Here's the matchups for the third round of the Tournament.

(4)Southern Illinois
(1)Kansas

(3)Texas A&M
(2)Memphis

(3)Pittsburgh
(2)UCLA

(5)Tennessee
(1)Ohio State

(5)Butler
(1)Florida

(6)Vanderbilt
(2)Georgetown

(7)UNLV
(3)Oregon

(5)USC
(1)North Carolina

Personally I prefer to throw down at the craps tables, buy hey, that's just me.

Late Sunday night at the Palms casino and resort in Las Vegas, newly signed Miami Dolphins outside linebacker, Joey Porter, got into a bit of a scuffle with Cincinnati Bengal's offensive tackle, Levi Jones.

"A fist fight between two NFL players broke out in the Palms casino on Sunday night, sources said. Joey Porter, an All-Pro linebacker who recently left the Pittsburgh Steelers to join the Miami Dolphins, brawled with Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Levi Jones, at about 6 p.m. at a blackjack table in the casino.

Jones, who suffered scratches, told Las Vegas police he would be filing charges against Porter. Sources said there has been bad blood between the two."

First of all, what kind of fight ends with just scratches? And second of all, a Cincinnati Bengal was in a fight, police were called and charges are being filed AND it's not against a Bengal? Wow.

Oh and I read this gem over at the NFL Fanhouse,

"According to a Vegas TV station, you don't get cited in Vegas for a fight unless a police officer actually sees it. So let that be a lesson: If you're going to get into a fight at a casino, look around to make sure no cops are watching."

So not only did they throw fisticuffs in a crowded casino with hundreds of cameras watching their every move, they did it in front of a cop. That is almost as dumb as blowing chunks out of the window when a cop is pulling you over for a suspected DWI, like that would ever happen. So all in all, what have we learned today? Well first apparently Joey Porter fights like catwoman, then, don't fight in front of the police(apparently they're not to keen on that) and finally we learned that I have horrible photoshopping skills.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tennessee Titans (8-8)

2006 season: 8-8
Head Coach: Jeff Fisher
Offensive Coordinator: Norm Chow
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Schwartz
Pro-Bowl: Vince Young(QB)

Offense

It took three games for Jeff Fisher to hand the starting quarterback job to rookie Vince Young and by Young's performance, he was three games too late. Not only did Young receive a selection to the Pro-Bowl he also was named the offensive rookie of the year. Young threw for 2,199 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and he also rushed for 552 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. Not necessarily "Pro-Bowl" worthy numbers but when you take into consideration where this team was before he took over the reins and the talent level and how they finished, then you could start to understand selection. Young was a huge reason, if not 100% of the reason why this team went from 0-5 and dead in the water to a playoff contender. Travis Henry emerged as the premiere back in the Music City, gaining 1,211 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. This had been his first 1000 yard season since 2003 with the Bills. As you could see by Young's yards, this team wasn't really a threat in the passing game. Although they had some talented receivers, they just never found a way to work them into their system, if that's a fair judgment. Drew Bennett was the Titan's leading receiver, making receptions for 737 yards and just 3 touchdowns. Brandon Jones led the team in touchdowns with 4, he also had 27 receptions for 384 yards. Obviously not the type of numbers that would strike fear in any defensive coordinators. They definitely took the term "winning ugly" to heart, because that's what they did, they played hideously and yet they found ways to win.

Defense

The Titan's defense as a whole was abysmal, ranking dead last overall in yards per game giving up 369.7. Even with such an atrocious defense, there were of course some bright spots. Long time Titan linebacker, Keith Bullock enjoyed the second best season of his career, statistically speaking. Bullock recorded 143 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. Actually Tennessee had great play from all three of their linebackers, David Thornton, who was signed during the offseason, had 107 tackles and Peter Sirmon had 88 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 interception. Also someone the Titans signed during the offseason that had a great year was Chris Hope. Hope had 121 tackles, 5 interceptions and 1 touchdown. Now onto Adam "Pacman" Jones. Aw, yes the guy that makes the Bengals' look like Gandhi. On the field, Jones was amazing, getting 62 tackles, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 4 interceptions and 1 touchdown. But off the field was an entirely different story. When Pacman wasn't getting arrested he was busy "makin it rain" at strip clubs and then chocking the strippers for picking up the money that he had just showered them with. Saying that they weren't "supposed to pick up the money until he gave them permission". Oh, but of course, come on people that's lesson one in "stripper's etiquette". Getting back to on the field matters, Kyle Vanden Bosch led the team in sacks once again, this year getting 6.5 along with 75 tackles.

Special Teams

Rob Bironas hit just 78.6% of his field goal attempts but all that was put aside with just one kick. A game winning 60 yarder against the Indianapolis Colts in week 12. Craig Hentrich, who had been with Tennessee for majority of his 14 year career, had a punt average of 42.7, 32 punts within the 20 yard line and 10 touchbacks. Bobby Wade had an excellent season returning kicks, getting 1,194 yards and an average of 23.9. And now this brings us back to our good ol' friend, Pacman Jones. Jones had a great season returning punts. Although he only had 440 yards, he made the most of it returning 3 punts for touchdowns. He also added 521 kick return yards.

Draft Notes

The Tennessee Titans hold the 19th pick in this year's draft and it is widely thought of that they will be taking a widereceiver with that pick. Since they lost Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade to free-agency they are without a true number one or even number two receiver. Other pressing needs are at cornerback, although Pacman Jones is quickly becoming a top corner in the NFL he has lost all the faith of his teammates and coaches meaning he may not return to the team. If he is released or traded than they will have a blaring need at an already depleted secondary. Also they really need help on their defensive line. They have absolutely no depth at either the end or the tackle position.

Positions that must be tended to during the draft.

1. WR
2. CB
3. DT
4. RB

WR:

Like I mentioned above, I like many others, believe the Titan's will select a widereceiver with their first selection. But there is some debate on who it will be. Some Mock's have them taking Dwayne Bowe of LSU, some have them taking Dwayne Jarrett of USC and some have them taking Ted Ginn Jr. Seeing as how I don't believe Ginn will still be there at 19 it's out of Bowe and Jarrett for me. Now Jarrett isn't a speed guy but he has the best hands in the draft and is being compared to another USC alum, Keyshawn Johnson. Bowe on the other hand is someone that runs pretty well, very good size and great leaping ability. I do think that the Titans are in need of someone that can both stretch the field and catch the ball, I feel Bowe can do both of these things and that is the reason I am slightly leaning towards them taking Bowe.

CB:

Whether or not they release the troubled Pacman Jones, they could use some depth at cornerback. Recently signed Nick Harper is a nice step in the right direction, but they still could use another young corner to play aside Jones/Harper and or the nickel. If they hold onto Jones then they might look to fill this need in either the 2nd or 3rd round, if they release/trade him then I wouldn't be surprised if they went with one in the first round. If they do go the first round, then they could look at Darrelle Revis out of Pittsburgh, Chris Houston out of Arkansas and Aaron Ross out of Texas.

DT:

I believe they will use their 2nd round pick on a defensive tackle because they really need help with Albert Haynesworth's future in Tennessee unclear and the fact that they just don't have depth they could look at getting the local kid, Justin Harrell out of Tennessee, DeMarcus Tyler out of N.C. State, or Quinn Pitcock. Just to name a few.

RB:

Travis Henry has moved onto Denver and even if they decide to hand the starting job over to Lendale White, the will surely look to get someone as a back up. I wouldn't expect them to look to fill this need to the middle rounds. They could look at someone like Dwayne Wright out of Fresno State who bounced back from missing pretty much the previous two season with a torn patella muscle. But he had a great season gaining 1,462 yards and 11 touchdonws. He's already married with two children and is a real "character" guy, someone the Titans probably could use right now. Also a rising star since the combine is Chris Henry out of Arizona. Before the combine he was a projected late round/free-agent type player but since running a 4.39 his stock has been soaring. He has never really been a starter and had just 165 carries last season(a career high) but in the right system and with some molding he could become a good back that could be a great tandem with White in a two back system.

I know I usually do 5 positions, but most of their needs are simply adding depth such as defensive end, offensive line, wr, s, cb, olb etc.

The Titans, I don't feel are an 8-8 team, with a now non-existent running game(unless White can come through) and no top receiver their offense will suffer this season. Their defense isn't getting any better so they could be in store for a long, long season. But then again, that's what many thought last season and they were a .500 team so with Vince Young as your quarterback, I guess anything is possible.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Virginia "Fucking" Tech....I am amazed yet again.

I can't say much, because I had 7 heart attacks during the final 5 minutes or so of the Hokies game and I have to go to the hospital...the Hokies came back after being down 13 to one of the best defenses in the Nation and we did it....WE WON!!! Deron Washington is my new hero, he did it all. He perfectly executed the full-court press and forced Illinois into about 170 turnovers, he came up with the game winning shot and he has some sweet hair. Damn, that was nerve racking, but we did, that's all that matters, Great win against a tough team. Oh and fuck Brian Randle...

Hokies win 54-52! We advance to face the winner of the Holy Cross/Southern Illinois game.


FIGHT DA POWAH!!!!

A conversation amongst friends.

Well the Hokies-Illini game is on right now and surprisingly me and Davey are both getting it. Here's a little sample of how are intuitive conversation is going at the moment.

Davey: Hey Jay, what are you doing?
Jay: oh you know...just the usual...
Davey: snorting lines of coke off of a Cambodian hooker?
Jay: no, no...i'm watching the Hokies game...I only do that on holidays.
Davey: Oh, I see how's H2kies doing?
Jay: Kicking ass and taking names...like always
Davey: Jay, they're losing
Jay: *sarcastic tone* uhh, Davey you don't have to be winning to be kicking ass..duh!
(Brian Randle scores)
Jay: Oh what the fuck, fuck that guy...I hear he kicks babies.
Davey: Hahahaha, now now...don't be starting rumors
Jay: whatever.....(Randle scores again) Oh what the fuck, fuck that guy...him and his unnecessary facial hair...he looks like fucking Juwan Howard. Go kick a baby you inconsiderate douche.
Davey: Hahahahahahaha...damn man, you killing me.
(Randle misses an alley-oop and it sails into the stands)
Jay: Hahahahahahaha...damn skippy he missed it, Deron Washington wouldn't have missed it.
Davey: Did you just use the phrase "damn skippy"?
Jay: Yeah...so?
Davey: oh never mind
(Offensive foul called on A.D. Vassallo)
Jay: Fuck that...offensive foul my ass...A.D., I demand you kick that man in the mouth...KICK HIM!
(Rich McBride hits a 3-pointer as he's falling down, and gets the foul)
Jay: fuck that...
Jay: fuck that....What happened to GRAVITY!!!...
Davey: Wow, come on, you gotta admit, that shot was nice
Jay: he cheated...I don't know how he did...but that bastard cheated
(Coleman Collins misses a break away dunk)
Jay: How do you miss an open dunk....what the hell...Oh now he's smiling...don't smile you thick necked muthafucka....
Jay: I take that back Mr. Collins...I just remembered you are a very large individual and you would beat me like Ike beats Tina.

More to come I suppose...it's halftime Illinois leads 29-21