YouGabSports Blogs
Weekly Grumble with IHM 10/18
Category: FEATURED

 

  Well folks, it’s that time of the week again… time for another visit with your old pal IHM. This week, I got the opportunity to fill in for the legendary Ol’ Harry two days ago. Hope you enjoyed the trip OH, and you know I’ve got you covered any time you need it my friend. But now it’s Saturday… and time to sit back, relax… wait, that’s not what I do here… I rant, rave, and do the sort of things that develop ulcers! Well, at any rate, here’s the blog!

  While filling in for OH, I got into a discussion with BOB about what has happened to the sports card and collectibles industry. For me, this is an important subject, as I very much enjoyed (and still occasionally do enjoy) the hobby. Growing up, my father was an avid collector, and it was a great way for him, myself, and AFD to bond and spend some time together. Heck, me and AFD used to go to the KB Toy Store at the mall and split a $5 box of cards. We’d buy the box, split the packs, and make trades, swap doubles, offer the old man any cards he didn’t yet have or needed for a team set. A lot of very fun memories doing that. I can remember heading a mile up the road to the Diamond Connection (local card shop) and checking out all the display case cards (i.e. cards I couldn’t afford in my wildest dreams) and dropping my allowance money on a few packs of Upper Deck basketball/Topps baseball/etc.

  But then something happened; the collectibles end of the sports card hobby started moving in on the sports cards end. Memorabilia cards, autograph cards, “graded” cards, and “premium products” started flooding the markets and the prices started to skyrocket. Back in 1990, a pack of Topps Baseball cost fifty cents, affordable for just about anybody. Today, you’re looking at a minimum of $2.00 a pack, and that’s only if you find them at a store. You don’t see them at the grocery store any more… you have to go to one of the retail giants, such as Target or Walmart to find them… and then you have to wonder if some idiot already came through and sorted the entire freaking display box (“investors” will literally plop their fat, acne riddled, living in my mom’s basement ass down in an aisle and check every pack to see if it is a little thicker than the others, indicating a “hit”, or a memorabilia/autographed card. They literally spend all day driving from store to store to store doing this, then usually sell them on EBay.)

  Card shows were another thing we used to look forward to as a family… they would have them at local malls, etc., and there would be nearly a hundred booths packed into that mall, and there was always a current/former player signing autographs… FOR FREE! I got to meet plenty of Tigers legends this way, and I still have every autograph I picked up this way in an album. Some of the highlights included Mickey Lolitch, Aurelio Rodriguez, Denny McLean, Norm Cash, Gates Brown, and even Tony Clark during one of his more productive seasons with the Tigers (although the team was still terrible). Now, we have no more mall shows… in fact, we have to drive to a trade center twenty miles up the road to get to a card show in our area (and even that is becoming abysmal). While AFD has moved to Pennsylvania, my dad and I still make the trip on occasion to see if we can’t add a couple pieces to our collection. But even at the trade center things have taken a dive… the showroom used to be full of tables, and it now only takes up about half the room. There are no signers, and even when there are they charge $25-50 to have anything signed… not worth it to me, for sure. I’ve paid for an autograph once in my life, and that was to meet the legendary Ted Lindsay at the Diamond Connection… it was ten dollars and the proceeds went to children’s charities (mostly Autism research, which I didn’t know so much about then as I do now!) My dad had to spot me the extra five bucks of allowance money that week, but I’d say it was money well spent!

  And why are things drying up in the collecting business, you ask? People are being priced out. No longer can little kids afford to go spend their allowance money on a couple packs of cards… if your kid gets five bucks a week in allowance, they’re lucky if they can get two packs with that. Hell, most cards these days don’t even give you stats on the back… if they do, it’s one year and the career totals… not the full breakdown you’d get on a Topps base card back in the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s, etc. Anything from the 70’s and before you need to pay an arm and a leg for… and anything from the 80’s or 90’s is barely worth the cardboard it is printed on due to over production. You can’t collect an entire set; they have all these damn “variations” and insert sets that make that impossible. You can’t even build a team set anymore, which is what my dad always did, because most card companies don’t print cards of anybody that isn’t either a rookie or a known player. It is a sad state of affairs, for sure.

  But the biggest leeches in the business are the memorabilia dealers… the same ones that approach a guy like Todd Gurley or Jameis Winston and ask them to “sign a few items for them for a little pocket cash” knowing full well that it is a violation of NCAA rules. Sure, the players know it too, but most of these guys are flat broke (or close to it) and really need the money. These greasy faced freaks then turn around and sell what they paid maybe a hundred bucks for for thousands of dollars, after, of course, they get it “authenticated” by a company such as JSA, the company involved in the current scandal involving Winston and Gurley. Then there are the idiots buying this stuff… which will be worth the price of a footlong sandwich at Subway in a few years if either one craps out in the NFL… which really serves them right if they’re buying this kind of stuff knowing full well the athlete gets zero cut and some middle aged professional loser is the only one benefitting.

  Big night in sports Thursday night, as the Giants won the National League pennant, and the Patriots were able to hold off the surprisingly spry Jets with a blocked field goal in the final seconds.

  The Giants and Cardinals only played a five-game series… but it was a classic for sure. Some great finishes, including game five. The Cardinals held a 3-2 lead going into the 8th inning, but in the 8th, Michael Morse hit a solo shot to tie things up. In the bottom of the 9th, with two runners on, Travis Ishikawa sent a 401 foot bomb out of the ballpark to give the Giants the pennant, their third in the last five years.

  So starting Tuesday, the Giants and Royals play for baseball’s richest prize. Both teams should be at full rest, but recent history has the least rested team winning it all. Personally, I’m not a fan of either team, but how do you not root for the Royals here if you’re not a Giants fan? Hell, even if you ARE a Giants fan… NLCS MVP Madison Bumgarner takes the hill against “Big Game” James Shields for game one. Personally, I’ll take the Royals in six or seven… but this is going to be an evenly matched series… both teams seem to have a knack for getting a run when they need it, any way they can. Both teams are damn solid defensively, have solid rotations, and damn good bullpens. It might not be the “ratings bonanza” that Major League Baseball prays for, but it will be quality baseball between two deserving teams.

  The Patriots got a real scare Thursday night from Sexy Rexy and the Jets, but were able to block a 58-yard field goal attempt as time expired to escape Foxboro with the win, 27-25. The Jets outrushed the Patriots 218-63, but were unable to get the ball in the endzone, settling for four Nick Folk field goals on those drives. That Tom Brady guy wound up looking pretty solid, throwing for three TDs in the win as the Pats improved to 5-2. The Jets loss drops them to 1-6, and puts them in great position for that #1 pick in the 2015 draft!

  Good news for Jets fans... the team has dealt a conditional 2nd-4th round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for veteran WR/KR Percy Harvin. The bad news, they didn't throw in a quarterback in the deal... so you're still stuck with Geno Smith or Michael Vick. That, and the fact that Harvin has a grand total of 22 catches for 133 yards on the season.

  The Lions kicking woes continue… they signed Matt Prater to remedy the situation last week. Matt Prater, the guy who missed one field goal attempt all of last season… problem solved, right? WRONG! He proceeded to go 1/3 on field goal attempts, making the team 5/15 on the season. Since everything has to have a name now, I’m going to go ahead and call this the “Curse of Kickalicious”, the guy that all Lions fans wanted before the start of the 2013 season, but they went with David Akers instead (although even Akers is an upgrade over this shit!).

  The Lions face the Saints Sunday, and are likely to be without Calvin Johnson once again. As for the Saints, things are looking up in terms of Jimmy Graham’s availability for Sunday… great.

  Bad news for Browns fans, as C Alex Mack is now out for the season. Mack hadn’t missed an NFL game going into last week, but was injured during the Browns surprise win over the Steelers. Still, the Browns have a solid shot at another win this week as they play the winless Jaguars.

  The biggest college game of the weekend is the top five matchup of #2 Florida State and #5 Notre Dame in Tallahassee. Honestly, I don’t know how this one goes down, but I’ll be rooting for the Irish to pull off the road win… but after not being able to shut down North Carolina last week (luckily the offense stepped up and scored enough to win), I’m not all that confident here. The Seminole defense is a step or two better than the Tar Heels D.

  Other ranked vs. ranked games include #23 Stanford traveling to play #17 Arizona State for your late night viewing pleasure. In the Big12 we get two such games, as #15 Oklahoma State travels to Texas to play #12 TCU, who look to avenge their tough luck loss last week at Baylor. #14 Kansas State heads to Norman, Oklahoma to face the #11 Sooners. In the SEC (yeah, there’s always one SEC ranked vs. ranked game), #7 Alabama hosts the #21 Aggies of Texas A&M. Can Kenny Hill repeat Johnny Football’s upset performance against the Tide from two years ago? This Alabama team is ripe to be upset… their offense seems to have zero rhythm.

   Should be another fun day of college football today; hope everybody enjoys the games, or whatever else you decide to do with your day. Have a great weekend, Gabbers, and I’ll see you all next week.

LSU Week in (P)Review
Category: NCAA
Tags: LSU FLORIDA LES MILES KENTUCKY COLLEGE FOOTBALL MISSISSIPPI ST. TCU

I shared a couple of thoughts on the upcoming game with BOB earlier, but there are a few different LSU-related topics here.

I hadn’t really talked about just how LSU is coming along as a team and x’s and o’s in a couple of weeks, so I thought I’d do that now.

Miles tells reporters to

Miles tells reporters to “have a great day” before LSU beat Tennessee to win the SEC in 2007.

This last game was Les Miles 100th win at LSU. Maybe it’s appropriate that we didn’t beat Mississippi St. in the last second. It just would not have been fitting for win #100 to have been a blowout win over New Mexico St. Florida was the 23rd Les Miles win in which the Tigers trailed at some point in the fourth quarter. That’s nearly 1/4 of his wins.

Here is a video tribute I enjoyed:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmJ0FuTHPqI (I would note that Miles is not the “winningest” coach at LSU: Charles McClendon is still 37 wins ahead of him.)

To refer to one of his quotes in the video, it does seem like LSU’s game plan includes a “muddle around” period.

LSU is .500 in such games under Miles, much better than any other team. I read that Texas is second with 18 wins after trailing in the fourth quarter, but that’s against 32 losses.

I added a new section to the LSU/Florida rivalry blog about how this was similar to a couple other wins at the Swamp in the last 10 years.

I also wrote a complete LSU/Kentucky rivalry blog.

I was counting on Jeff Driskel to screw up and hoping Anthony Jennings didn’t screw up too badly, and that’s about what happened. I did think LSU would manage more than 110 passing yards for the game though (41 were on one play, and the only passes of more than 10 yards were in the fourth quarter). That’s the main problem that I didn’t foresee going into this season. I thought we would be consistently 225-250 yards per game passing by this point.

LSU does still average 205 per game, which isn’t good, but it’s deceivingly good nonetheless. It’s inflated by the Mississippi St. game where LSU threw for 341 yards, most of them in a second-half comeback effort.

The other major area of weakness so far has been rush defense, but I think this game was a much more reasonable gauge of that than Auburn or Mississippi St. were. LSU only allowed 123 rushing yards by Florida. That’s respectable against a team that had about twice as many rushes as completed passes. Especially a fairly competitive SEC team (they weren’t pretty games, but the Gators are 2-0 in the East) in a road game.

When I watched TCU on Saturday, I was reminded of the difficulties LSU had in kick coverage against the Horned Frogs last season. It was weird that they demonstrated precisely the problems I remembered, especially being that Dubose had run back a kick for a touchdown against LSU before.

LSU seems to have a reasonably good location punter. I don’t know why they waited until the last punt to kick it out of bounds. So basically they replaced the rush defense problems with the kick coverage problems. Otherwise, this might have been a somewhat comfortable win.

Back to the rush defense, this next game might tell a bit more. LSU has struggled in the past against the wildcat, but I don’t think Kentucky has the likes of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden. Also, the scouting reports indicate Kentucky has very little ability to throw from the wildcat, so that might be a comfort.

I think I’ll be more worried about the other plays. QB Patrick Towles has completed over 62% of his passes and has thrown for over 1500 yards (more than 8 yards per attempt). He also can throw to just about any wide receiver on the field, which can strain pass coverage of course.

On the other hand, many of those yards came against UT-Martin and Florida (which was a 3OT game). If you take out those two games, Kentucky has fewer passing yards per game than LSU does.

Towles can run a little bit though. He’s no Dak Prescott, but he ran for 59 yards against Ohio, for example.

I didn’t mention place-kicking earlier. I didn’t see anything wrong with the missed extra-point attempt other than it missing. Hopefully, that was just a fluke event. PK Colby Delahoussaye said he just got too close to the ball. At any rate, it was nice to make up for it with a 50-yard field goal. It’s good to know he can do that.

Not to delve into philosophy too much, but he probably wouldn’t have had a chance to win the game had he made the extra point. Florida likely would have gone for the end zone had they trailed by four. If rather than a tie game, Florida had a three-point lead on the last drive, Driskel may not have thrown the pass that was intercepted. If Florida had failed to score altogether, the kick at the end would not have been necessary either.

Anyway, because of some of the things I mentioned earlier (as well as the recent LSU-Kentucky games I wrote about in detail ), I ‘m thinking of doing a blog about crazy LSU wins. There was a fair number under Saban as well. Seasons like this one might be an exception (assuming we lose four or five instead of two or three)., but Saban’s teams tended to be a little more unpredictable overall, so that helped. I don’t think they had the same knack for falling behind teams they shouldn’t though.

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Irish Shu's Mid-season Review
Category: NCAA
Tags: College Football Notre Dame Shamrock series uniforms Rice Michigan Purdue Syracuse Stanford North Carolina Everett Golson Will Fuller

College football season is already half-done…DAMN!!!

(Yeah, this is my ex-wife when she saw my dick for the first time…I wish!)

…And so comes Irish Shu with his mid-season review to look back at the first 6 games for his beloved Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

The short version?  Well, they’re undefeated and ranked number 5 after their first 6 games, which is one win better than I had predicted by this point.  WELL DONE, INDEED! 

The biggest and best surprise has been a young-and-inexperienced, but very aggressive and game defense. 

New D-coordinator Brian Van Gorder (yeah, he DOES look like “Uncle Rico” from Napoleon Dynamite, doesn’t he?) loves to be aggressive and send the house on D, and the strategy has paid-off more than it has hurt the Irish.  The D did have an “off day” against North Carolina last weekend and was gashed for 43 points and over 500 yards in a game the Irish still won, but other than that, they’ve been solid.  Nationally, the D ranks 34th in total Defense with 348.3 yards per game and 8th in scoring D with 17.2 points per game (tied with Marshall)…VERY impressive when one considers the youth, plus the sloppy Carolina game being factored into that.

Offensively they have also been lighting it up…at least where the passing game is concerned. 

Quarterback Everett Golson has had a very good season overall thus far, going 135 of 216 on his passes for a 62.5% completion rate with 1,683 yards and 16 touchdowns against 4 interceptions.  Midway through the season he’s already thrown for 4 more touchdowns than he did in his entire freshman year when the Irish made it to the national championship game. He’s been sharing the wealth with most of his receivers, although Will Fuller has been the closest thing to his “go-to guy” with over 500 yards of receptions and 7 touchdowns…

However, Golson has also taken his lumps.  After being nearly-flawless in the first 3 games, he’s been doing an impression of “Turnover Tommy” from last year in the last 3 games.  His 4 interceptions all came in the last 3 games and 2 of those were pick-6’s, he has also fumbled 5 times in those same 3 games.  Against Carolina, his turnovers were especially costly as the Tar Heels cashed them in for 21 of their points, so the Irish were fortunate to win that one.

While the passing game is going well despite the turnovers, the running game could also be better.  The running-back-by-committee approach has gotten the Irish only 983 yards this year.  Granted, it could be worse, but more than half the nations’ teams are doing better in that category. 

In Notre Dame’s defense, though, it’s not all on Golson or the halfbacks.  The O-line has had a tough time with consistency on both pass protection and opening the running lanes, so there has been some shuffling with the O-line that has played-into that inconsistency.  They’ll need more time to gel.

With that, let’s recap the first half game-by-game:

RICE:  As far as season openers go, I could not have asked for better.  The Irish came-out firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball and routed the Owls 48-17.  

Everett Golson started his season with a bang, throwing 2 long touchdown passes to Fuller and CJ Prosise and running for 3 scores himself in what was his thus-far best played game.  The Irish D did allow the Owls to score on 2 long passes, but otherwise kept them in check and forced 2 turnovers to their none.  It was a good start over a Conference USA team which has quietly been putting a decent season together after their 0-3 start.  They’ve won their last 3 games since and have a manageable schedule left, so they could make it to a bowl game.

MICHIGAN:  So, Notre Dame “chickened out” by taking your team off the schedule, eh, Coach Brady Hoke?...they handed your teams’ ass to you 31-0, pal, that don’t sound like chickening out to me. 

In doing so, the Irish shut-out the hapless Wolverines for the first time since 1985, ending their NCAA-record streak of games without being shut out at 365.  Golson threw for 3 TD’s and 226 yards and the only Michigan player who had any success was receiver Devin Funchess who caught 9 passes for 107 yards…and has struggled with injuries since.  Michigan QB Devin Gardner otherwise screwed the pooch as he was responsible for 4 turnovers including 3 interceptions and a fumble.  He also threw a pick-6 in the closing seconds of the game that should have counted for 6 more points for ND, but didn’t due to a bullshit blocking call for a legal hit on Gardner after the threw the pick.  Since then?  Nothing but trouble for Meat Chicken: Hoke’s head is being called for as-is that of athletic director Dave Brandon, not only for his teams’ poor performance (the ND loss started a 4-game losing streak) but for his failure to protect QB Shane Morris after Morris took a shot to his head in the Minnesota game, got up woozy and was allowed to stay in the game…don’t even get my pal, the Beezer, started on that!

PURDUE:  The Boilermakers always seem to play tough against Notre Dame even in years where they play shitty against everyone else, and they did this time, as well. 

Wearing the coolest-looking “Shamrock Series” uniforms I’ve seen in years, the Irish did win 30-14, but started to look vulnerable when they let Purdue hang around for the first half before putting them away in the 2nd.  Golson was sacked 4 times, and the secondary started coming apart at the seams when safety Max Redfield was ejected for targeting, and 2 other backfield players left with injuries.  Still, the Irish got the win over a Purdue team that now sits at 3-4 and will be lucky to finish at .500 with the bulk of their Big Ten schedule left to go.

SYRACUSE:  An UGLY game, and not just because ‘Cuse wore those ugly gray uniforms, either. 

This was where Golson started his current struggles to maintain possession of the football as he threw his first 2 interceptions of the season and also lost 2 fumbles, but he also offset those mistakes by completing 82% of his passes, including a school-record 25 in a row at one point (one short of tying the NCAA record) and the Irish won 31-15.  5-star sophomore receiver Torii Hunter Jr. FINALLY recovered from his injuries and saw his first action as an Irish player as he caught his first TD pass in the win.  Will Fuller, being a rock for Golson, caught 2 other scores.  Syracuse, meanwhile, has struggled since then as they lost their starting QB in Terrell Hunt to a broken leg and have lost their last 4 games.  With the bulk of their ACC schedule left, they’ll be lucky to finish at .500.

STANFORD: Thus far, this has been the biggest game the Irish have played this year…and man, they really came through!  Both teams struggled on offense against each other’s tough D units and some very wet weather, and Notre Dame left some points off the board via 2 missed field goals and a Golson fumble on Stanford’s 10-yard-line, but the Irish D did just enough for the team to come away with a 17-14 win.  The highlight of the game was Golson’s 4th-and-11 touchdown pass to tight end Ben Koyack with a minute left to clinch the win. 

The Irish won’t face a stronger defense for the rest of the regular season, but it may not matter if the O keeps turning the ball over.  We shall see.  As for the Cardinal?  They did bounce-back to beat Wazzu last week and snow sit at 4-2 and back in the rankings at #23, but with #17 Arizona State, #9 Oregon, #20 Utah and a very good UCLA team still left for them to play, an appearance in the Pac-12 championship game and another Rose Bowl may be too much to ask of them.

NORTH CAROLINA:  PUKE!!!  Sloppiest, ugliest game the Irish have played this year.  

Golson remained turnover-prone with 4 of them and the Defense had their worst game in years as they yielded 43 points and 510 yards…however, it should be pointed out that the Tar Heels, with QB Marquise Williams running for a career-high 132 yards, really threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Irish, including a few Wildcat and gadget plays.  They also did some up-tempo no-huddle offense to keep ND from rotating defensive players in…it was an Irish win, though, 50-43, and also the highest-scoring game ever played at ND Stadium.  The Tar Heels, meanwhile, stand at 2-4 but the good news for them is that don’t play another ranked team for the rest of the season and, if they play anything like they did against Notre Dame (A BIG IF), most of those games are winnable for them.

So with the first 6 games in the books, we look ahead to the last 6…this is where the real test starts. 

Of course, the biggest game of the year looms as the Irish face the #2-ranked Seminoles at Florida State this Saturday night.  Can the Irish win it?  Hell yes!...but only if Golson stops turning the ball over and the defense goes back to playing the way they did before Carolina came to town.  After that, it doesn’t get much easier as the Irish have to then face 2 currently-ranked Pac-12 teams in Arizona State and USC, as well as a pretty good Louisville team and a Navy team which has been challenging in recent years.  It’s possible that Notre Dame could lose one of these games and still make the 4-team playoff, but I like their chances better if they finish undefeated…clean up the mistakes of the last 3 games, and they can.  If not, they’ll lose a couple.  We shall see.

Team health is not bad for this stage of the game – it does suck that their defensive captain in safety Austin Collinsworth has had trouble staying healthy and will miss the next 4 games with a shoulder injury – this after he missed the first couple of games with a bad knee.  Last years’ leading tackler in Linebacker Jarrett Grace has also not been able to return from his leg injury from last year, but other than that, they seem healthy overall.

And last, there has FINALLY been some finality regarding the 5 players on academic suspension which I referred to in my recent “Shit or get off the Pot” blog, as such:

  • Cornerback KeiVarae Russell and d-lineman Ishaq Williams both will not play the rest of this season, but hope to be back next year. 
  • Safety Eliar Hardy has been invited to return to the team and hopes to return to practice after the Florida State game. 
  • Receiver DaVaris Daniels and linebacker Kendall Moore both Tweeted that they are “done” at Notre Dame.

So now, at least, we can start to close the book on that one. 

We’ll see how the last 6 games play out!  GO IRISH!!!

Sports Friday with Hal: NFL NOTES AND MORE
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

 

Happy Friday!

 

I’m a busy bee and have been reduced to my old “Lurker” status here as I check in for a quick read. Like the great Steve Miller sings, “Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future”

 

 

So the New England Patriots are playing their division rival New York Jets in a monsoon on Thursday night so I will have this posted and ready to go before 8:30PM. A lot of fun storylines with talk of Darrelle Revis playing some wide receiver? Practice squad running back Jonas Gray stepping into the New England backfield? Jets tight end Jace Amaro finally putting together a good game last week.

 

STORY OF THE WEEK:

The best storyline is the the Bill Parcells book set to be released in a few weeks and news of the advance copy having plenty of juicy details about the divorce of Parcells-Belichick. Since the divorce--don’t forget--Parcells won nothing while Belichick won three Super Bowls and went to five.

 

That said, going back twenty years to what football in New England was pre-Parcells and Drew Bledsoe is almost comical. Whenever the team found the smallest measure of success, they found a way to ruin it in spectacular fashion. The Lisa Olsen Scandal. The Cocaine Scandal post getting Super Bowl shuffled in 1986. General Manager Pat Sullivan getting his ass kicked by Matt Millen and Howie Long after he taunted them after the Patriots upset the Raiders in the playoffs in ‘86. Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour failure nearly bankrupting the team owners. The debacle of drafting quarterback Tony Eason over Dan Marino. Steve Grogan, John Hannah, and Steve Nelson playing so many years for so many bad teams. Trading away the draft picks that became Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Cortez Kennedy. Head coach Chuck Fairbanks bailing on the team. Roughing the passer against Oakland in 1976. This list goes on and on and on and on and on. I am sure the Northeast Gabbers can add about 20 more without taxing their brains.

 

The Patriots owe a debt of gratitude to Parcells for sure, but kudos to Belichick for getting out from “Big Bill’s” shadow. Belichick has hinted at how he hated being linked to Parcells when he saw him as a defensive assistant coach who got the lucky break of taking on the Giants top position. Belichick always visibly reacted whenever a reporter made the mistake of referring to him as a Parcells protegee. Belichick really is a part of the Joe Collier coaching tree as Collier was the long-time defensive coach in Denver and where the “Orange Crush” 3-4 defense took root. Parcells was a Ray Perkins acolyte and Belichick was more established in his defensive philosophy prior to landing in New York. To lump Belichick into the Parcells family tree is really a stretch when you look at the differing styles and philosophies.

 

That said, I am really looking forward to Parcells’ book and gleaning a little more information about his ending in New England. Should be a fun read.

 

NFL NOTES:

 

I’ve been keeping my eyes on the AFC East as always as I write primarily about the Patriots, but in watching Buffalo the demise of C.J. Spiller has been eye-opening. While the benching of 2013 first-round draft pick quarterback E.J. Manuel has been the top story, the declining touches for Spiller has been shocking. He’s hit 15 carries just twice this season and against New England had just six carries after just ten against Detroit the week prior.

 

The offensive line in Buffalo is atrocious and Fred Jackson’s quick-decision running style is more conducive to toughing out yards after contact. Center Eric Wood is adequate and left tackle Cordy Glenn is excellent, but right tackle Seantrel Henderson and guards Erik Pears and Cyril Richardson are dreadful and not NFL starting quality.

 

Now, backup running back and former Philadelphia Eagle Bryce Brown is healthy at last and Spiller looks like the odd man out. Spiller is still effective in the return and passing game, and I believe the game tape does not lie: the problem is his poor blocking offensive line.

 

*

 

The Boston Hollywood Sports Guy returned to Grantland/ESPN this week as his three week suspension for criticizing of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Three weeks later and my life was no poorer not reading his “mailbag” or not listening to his podcast as I haven’t tuned in to that since probably 2007 a few weeks after it came out. Simmons reportedly was furious about the suspension but didn’t go on a public diatribe or anything.

 

On one hand, Simmons is the godfather to us all. Blogs were not even really a “thing” back in the nineties. Simmons actually is a good writer who was a bartender after not being able to break into the Boston sports reporting scene. Simmons started writing on AOL Digital City (ahh, the heady 90s go-go Internet days!) and had his own website: BostonSportsGuy.com. By 2001 he was onto the big time at ESPN. After a hiatus to join the Jimmy Kimmel show in Hollywood, he was back and soon had his site Grantland.com.

 

In the pre-ESPN days, I adored Simmons and his unique style of writing. Without him, would TSN have blogs? Would I have started my BostonSportPage.com blog in 2005? Would we be sitting around the Gab loving and sharing sports? Probably not. That said, he went from “Must Read” to “ehhh, whatever” in the past few years. It is hard to maintain momentum and there are a ton of imitators who have come and gone.

 

*

 

I was ecstatic to see Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll come out against the seven inactive players on game day. Currently, the NFL has a 53 man roster that receives full pay and counts against the salary. Randomly, the league has the team only be able to play 46 of the 53. They’re paying them but not playing them? Why?

 

Since I never heard a rational reason and having more healthy players able to contribute can limit teams using starters on special teams (Rob Gronkowski’s broken forearm in 2012 blocking on an extra point?) is a good thing, what the heck is the league doing? It seems ludicrous for teams to have to pay these players a full salary and sit them? Make it 46 players or keep it 53, but LET THEM PLAY.

 

*


Wow, got on a few tangents there. OK, folks, time for me to watch some Thursday Night Football. P.S. Kudos to IHM filling in superbly for the great O.H. here on Thursday. Be sure to swing by next door to check in with the always interesting, informative, and opinioned StorminNorman as well --->.

 

 

Have a great weekend!

 
Storminnorman's Sports Blog 10/17
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Royals MLB and a few other things.....

As I sat in the living room waiting ever so impatiently for my wife to hand me the laptop (because we are down to one) for the moment, I started remembering a few of the things I witnessed yesterday. Some things I never thought I would see happen again, and a few things I hope I never see again.

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Honestly, did anyone see this coming at the beginning of the year? I surely didn't, but then again if you had told me the Royals would be waiting the winner of the St. Louis-San Fransisco series to play in their first World Series since 1985, I might have asked you what you were smoking......

But let's give the Royals their due. How many offensively challeged teams step up and perform at the level they have for 8 straight games? For what they lack offensively, they sure have made up for it with their pitching. Herrera, Davis and Holland, have been as close to automatic as any staff in baseball, and at the right time. 

But I don't really think the Royals would be in the position they are in right now, if it wasn't for their manager Ned Yost. Yost seems to be in tune with every situation during the game, and isn't afraid to yank his starter because he knows his bullpen is the best in baseball, hands down.......

Thank you Jeff for the pic, I thought I would use it one more time.......

Before I go out on a limb and crown the Royals champs, I remember a 3 years back when the Tigers disposed of the Yankees, and had to wait for the Giants to win their series. A week is a long time to wait to play, even though I heard it mentioned by the Royals that it would be good for the bully, because they were used every game. Good for the batters no, it's going to take them a couple games to get back in the groove, and like in 2012, it could be too late.....

Damn Giants up 2-1, Panik hit a home run.

And since I have left, Adams and Tony Cruz hit home runs, might be going back to St. Louis after all, but that's what I thought last night......

So I thought I would touch on a few more things, I figured out the difference between the first game played between the Bruins and Wings. The Bruins came out with that bit of nasty that the Wings don't have with all the young players on their roster. The Bruins were able to basically bully the Wings just like they did in the first round of the playoffs last year. The Wings still lack the toughness to compete in the rough and tumble Eastern Conference, and unless they add a little toughness their playoff streak might end. Oh hell what am I thinking, there are only a few really good teams in the East and Detroit is one of them....

Chara looked the the middle school bully trying to take lunch money from the Wings players, but then again that's one of the reasons I love watching him play, he is so damn nasty.

Have a great weekend, and don't forget to turn to the left and check out what Hal has to say about football...

 

 

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