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Mocking a Draft... 2014
Category: NFL

                    

    Well folks, it’s that time of year once again. The baseball season is underway, the NBA and NHL have their playoffs in full swing… and yet, all we want to talk about is FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL! On May 8th, the futures of NFL franchises across the country will be decided as the 2014 NFL Draft kicks off. Every self-professed expert and their mother have thrown their mock drafts out there… so I figured it was about time to throw mine out there as well.

   The draft can be a funny thing. You go in looking at players who were absolute studs in college, thinking there is no way they’ll fall flat on their faces in the NFL. Look at the beast of a linebacker that came out of Alabama in 2010, Rolando McLain. A lot of people thought the Raiders made a solid pick at the time… now he’s out of the league. In that same draft, another linebacker NaVorro Bowman out of Penn State lasted into the third round… and he’s the Pro Bowler. The point is, it’s all conjecture at this point… you THINK you know something and how a guy would fit somewhere, and you don’t really know. Hell, think the 49ers wouldn’t love a mulligan on the 2005 draft, where they got Alex Smith #1 overall instead of Aaron Rodgers? No doubt about it.

   It’s kind of like a guessing game for grownups… so here goes my attempt at mocking the draft. The first pick will be who I think they’ll actually draft… the second pick will be who I would draft if I were running all 32 NFL franchises.

 

  1. Houston Texans- DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina.

My pick: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.

  The Texans have a few needs, mainly at QB, RB, OL, S. For the most part, it is considered outlandish to pick either a safety or running back this high in a draft, especially with the expendable nature of running backs in the league today. The question then becomes this: Do you draft for need, or take the best player on the board? This is a deep draft for quarterbacks, and the team just hired a “QB guru” in Bill O’Brien from Penn State. In this spot, the Texans grab the freak of nature that is Clowney and pair him with J.J. Watt on the outside, giving the defense two bookend guys who can harass opposing quarterbacks.

   If I’m running the show in Houston, I grab the local kid, the seat filler, the guy that I think is a future league MVP in Johnny Manziel. For me, the guy just has the “it” factor. The attitude he brings with him would have been an issue in the NFL of yesteryear… but I think his “swagger” as the kids call it helps him fit right into today’s NFL locker room.

 

  1. St. Louis Rams- OT Greg Robinson, Auburn.

My pick: Same.

   The Rams needs include OL, WR, S, CB, and some would say QB. I would be amongst those who say quarterback is a question mark, with Sam Bradford struggling thus far in his NFL career. You also have to look at the system they use, which is Jeff Fisher’s offense. Fisher loves to “pound the rock”, which apparently didn’t rub off on his protégé Jim Schwartz… so they would love to get ahold of a big, road grader like Robinson. If they can’t trade down, the Rams take Robinson here.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars- QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida.

My pick: DE Jadaveon Clowney, South Carolina.

   You name it, the Jags need it! They made a few nice additions in free agency, but this is a team in need of a boatload of talent if they hope to do any more winning. Bortles really burst onto the scene this year, leading UCF to a win over Penn State, and eventually a win over favored Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. He’s the 6’5” prototype bodied type of quarterback that teams dream about. The cons: he played at a small school and operated mostly out of the shotgun at UCF, and struggled against some top tier competition (Ohio State in 2012, South Carolina in 2013). He has a lot of upside, and is worth the risk of a top ten pick.

   If Clowney is available here, the Jags will pounce on him. Widely considered the top talent of the draft, he won’t make it past #3, if he even makes it past #1 and 2.

  1. Cleveland Browns- WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson.

My pick: QB Blake Bortles, UCF.

   The Browns have a good sized list of needs on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense, aside from some depth, is fairly stout. Their needs include QB, RB, OL, WR. If Watkins falls to four, they could easily make that pick and pair him with Josh Gordon, giving the team’s QB the best set of options a Browns QB has had in a long, long time… whomever that ends up being.

   If Bortles is there at four, the Browns take him. If 1-3 pass on Manziel, the Browns should take him and thank the folks in the front offices of Houston, St. Louis, and Jacksonville, because they’ve finally broken the QB curse. If I’m Cleveland and I want my quarterback of the future out of this crop, I get him now while I have my pick of the litter. Bortles, as discussed earlier, has his flaws, but he’s got a ton of upside and should be a solid NFL QB.

  1. Oakland Raiders- OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.

My pick: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson.

   Mack is the second best pass rushing prospect in the draft behind Clowney, and should help the Raiders get over the loss of Lamarr Houston to the Bears. Mack may end up being an upgrade over Houston, as he is a great instinctive player who is all over the field. If Clowney’s character and work ethic issues end up derailing his career, Mack may end up being the guy we talk about as the best defensive player to come out of the 2014 draft a few years down the line.

   The Raiders drafting a receiver… nearly as cliché as the Lions doing so. But, Watkins is a massive talent, and if the Raiders fall in love with one thing, it’s a receiver with speed. Watkins has that, and if he’s on the board, the Raiders are compelled to take him.

  1. Atlanta Falcons- OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M.

My pick: Same.

    The Falcons needs include DL, OL, TE. If Mack is on the board, they’ll be tempted; but protecting a guy they have over $100 million invested in with Matt Ryan wins out here.

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA.

My pick: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo.

   The Bucs have needs, including DL, TE, OL, WR, and CB… and getting a top tier pass rusher here would be their idea of heaven. The stock on Barr seems to be dropping of late, but he’s an athletic, versatile player who would fit Lovie Smith’s scheme well. If Mack were there, the Bucs may very well think it is Christmas.

  1. Minnesota Vikings- QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M.

My pick: LB CJ Mosley, Alabama.  

    In my draft, Manziel is already off the board… here, it is not the case. The Vikings get a guy who, in my opinion, is a new incarnation of Minnesota legend Fran Tarkenton by drafting Johnny Football, and the memories of Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman, and Matt Cassell from last season begin to fade far, far away from memory. If the Vikings end up with Manziel, they will win the NFC North next season.  

   The Vikings have a big need at quarterback, but they also have a big hole at linebacker with Chad Greenway getting older, slower, and more expensive by the day. Mosley fills that need, and the Vikings gamble on a different QB later in the draft; a McCarron, Murray or Mettenberger.  

  1. Buffalo Bills- OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan.

My pick: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA.

    The Bills made their choice last year to go after a quarterback, and go their QB of the future in E.J. Manuel in what some (especially me) would call a questionable move. That said, you have to protect that investment, and Lewan fits the bill.

   If a pass rusher like Barr is still available, the Bills will snap him up.

  1. Detroit Lions- CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State.

My pick: Same.

    The Lions have a long list of needs, including CB, S, WR, OL, DE, but getting Gilbert here gives them the best cover corner available in the draft. He’s got good size, so he matches up well with bigger receivers, and is a play maker in the secondary. The downside is his abilities helping on the run and making tackles, which is lacking. Mike Evans of A&M is another possibility here, as is TE Eric Ebron of North Carolina… but if the Lions use another top ten pick on an offensive player, I will just lose my freaking mind! On the defensive side of the ball, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama is another possibility, but I think Gilbert is the best call for the Lions here.

  1. Tennessee Titans- S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama.

My pick: Same.

    Clinton-Dix, despite his ridiculous “first name”, is no laughing matter on the field. The Titans needs include S, DL, QB, and with most of the big pass rushers off the board and the QB talent left not exactly blowing current starter Jake Locker out of the water at this point, Clinton-Dix gives the Titans the most likely contributor from day one.

  1. New York Giants- LB CJ Mosley, Alabama.

My pick: OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan.

    The Giants have some pretty big holes to fill on both sides of the ball, so there is no pick that is outside the imagination. They have needs at LB, CB, OL, and WR. If Mosley is there, he gives the Giants a solid presence inside reminiscent of the days Harry Carson roamed the middle of the field in New Jersey.

     I say the Giants take Lewan in order to protect Eli Manning and give this team a shot at winning the always unpredictable NFC East. They could easily go for Eric Ebron or Mike Evans as well here, or one of the two first-round quality corners left like Dennard or Roby.

  1. St.Louis Rams- WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M.

  My pick: Same.

    The Rams grabbed some protection for Bradford already in this round, and they’re picking again. This time, they’ll get Bradford a big target outside in Evans. FS Calvin Pryor of Louisville is another possibility here, but I think Evans is too big of a talent for the Rams to pass up on here.

  1. Chicago Bears- DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State.

My pick: DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame.

   Either way, you would think the Bears would seek to shore up the hole left by the departure of Henry Melton in the middle of their defense with their top overall pick. Some say Jernigan is the top candidate for that role, while I would say Nix is probably the best overall DT in this draft. I just think Nix is the better space-eater of the two, but Jernigan does have better pass rush ability.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State.

My pick: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State.

   The Steelers have a number of ways they can go here; CB, S, OL, and WR are all needs. The top three OT’s are all gone, and #15 overall is far too early for a guard, unless you’re looking at an elite level talent. Roby is a bit of a reach this high, as he compares to 3-4 other corners who should be available in the second round; but he does fill that need for them. For my money, Benjamin is the best pick here. He’s got the size and catch radius you really look for in an outside target, he should translate well to the NFL.

  1. Dallas Cowboys- S Calvin Pryor, Louisville.

My pick: Same.

   The Cowboys are in desperate need of back end help for their secondary, and Pryor is the best player available to fill that need. They could draft a defensive lineman or corner, but Pryor seems to fit the bill best.

  1. Baltimore Ravens- WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State.  

My pick: DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame.

    The Ravens have a few needs, OL and WR being two of them. This is a fairly deep draft at WR talent-wise, but with the top three guys now off the board, I think Baltimore waits on that position and grabs a solid defensive lineman to add to their stockpile in Tuitt. If Benjamin were there, he would give Flacco a big WR to target opposite Torrey and Steve Smith.

  1. New York Jets- TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina.

My pick: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State.

    The Jets have a number of needs, not the least of which is at corner. They could go with a WR, OL, CB, TE, or even another DL, but I like them to target the defensive side of the ball this year early in the draft with Roby. Ebron gives young QB Geno Smith a safety valve while they continue to search for the answer at WR that free-agent signing Eric Decker might just help to shore up.

  1. Miami Dolphins- OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame.

My pick: Same.

    With the departure of half their offensive line from last year (and it wasn’t all that effective to begin with) mid-season due to the bullying scandal, the Dolphins are desperate to shore up the line. Signing Branden Albert was a step in the right direction, while they did overpay, but they still need to get protection for Ryan Tannehill. Martin is the best fit at this point of the draft.

  1. Arizona Cardinals- QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville.

My pick: Same.

    Bridgewater at #20 overall would have sounded a bit crazy a few months back, but his stock has gone down, and the Cardinals have needed a quarterback since Kurt Warner walked out the door. Carson Palmer played admirably last year, but he’s at the end of the line as an NFL starter, maybe a year or two ahead of him. This gives Bridgewater a year or so to learn from Palmer and develop.

  1. Green Bay Packers- OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State.

My pick: TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina.

     The Packers have needs at TE, S, and LB, and Shazier certainly helps fill that void if Ebron is already off the board. If Ebron falls here, I’m sure the Packers would shit a brick of joy after the likely loss of Jermichael Finley.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Marquise Lee, U$C

My pick: Same.

    The Eagles have a few needs on the defensive side of the ball, but the corners, safeties, and linebackers that would make sense in the first round are all but taken. Marquise Lee gives the Eagles a playmaking threat to replace DeSean Jackson.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs- DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame.

My pick: OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State.

    Either way you look at it, the Chiefs are looking to add to their pass rush. They could use a WR, but there are better options available in the second round than any guy you can safely take here.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State.

My pick: Same.

    The Bengals needs include corner, safety, and linebacker, and Dennard is the best player still available that fills a need for this playoff-ready team. Some might say it’s time to look at a new quarterback in Cincy… but I say give the ginger another year to figure out that whole playoff thing.

  1. San Diego Chargers- DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame.

My pick: DT Tommy Jernigan, Florida State.

    The Chargers got to the playoffs last year, and the defense was a strength once again. That said, they could use a little beef in the middle, and that’s where Nix or Jernigan come in.

  1. Cleveland Browns- OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State.

My pick: RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State.

    The Browns snagged WR Sammy Watkins earlier in the “who they’ll probably pick” version of this draft, so in this version I’ll go with Jackson, the best guard in the draft to keep whomever the quarterback is upright to throw to Watkins/Gordon.

   In my version, I went with Blake Bortles, so here I’ll go with a workhorse running back who fits the AFC North mentality well in Carlos Hyde.

  1. New Orleans Saints- CB Jason Verrett, Texas Christian University.

My pick: OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State.

   The Saints have a few needs, and none are extreme, so they can really afford to go with the best player available here. Verrett fills a need at corner, and gives the Saints D the kind of edge they’ve been missing… but he may be a bit of a reach in the first round. For my draft, I’ll go with Jackson, who replaces the departed Carl Nicks as a starting guard.

  1. Carolina Panthers- WR Davante Adams, Fresno State.

My pick: WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi.

    These two compare fairly evenly, with Moncrief having an advantage in height and speed, but Adams gives you more consistency. Cam Newton needs a new #1-4 target at WR, so either way grabbing one here is almost a must for the Panthers.

  1. New England Patriots- DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota.

My pick: Same.

   Hageman seems to fit that Patriots mold, but he is a bit of a boom or bust type of prospect. He’s been compared to former Patriot Richard Seymour in his abilities.

  1. San Francisco 49ers- OLB/DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State.

My pick: Same.

    Lawrence is a hybrid DE/OLB (depending on scheme) that can give the 49ers the insurance they need in case Aldon Smith’s stupidity finally gets the best of him.  Kony Ealy may be another option here, but I look for the 49ers to go for a pass rusher with all four top corners off the board.

  1. Denver Broncos- DE Kony Ealy, Missouri.

My pick: DE Ed Stinson, Alabama.

   The Broncos two biggest needs, OL and CB, are both far past their limits in terms of being a reach here… Ealy and Stinson provide additional depth along the defensive line.

  1. Seattle Seahawks- WR Donte Moncrief, Mississippi.

My pick: WR Jarvis Landry, Louisiana State.

   The Seahawks are a rare, run-first offense, but even they need to air it out from time to time to keep teams honest. With the loss of Golden Tate, they are in need of a new target for Russell Wilson.

 

    Well, there you have it folks. Thanks for checking out my mock draft, and be sure to let me know what you think about it in the comment section below! Thanks as always for reading.

Weekly Grumble with IHM
Category: FEATURED

 

  Hello folks, and welcome to another Weekly Grumble with IHM. A nice little buffet of things to get to today, spanning all four major leagues here in North America, as well as some college news. So, without any further adieu… let’s get to it.

A lot on the police blotter over the past couple of days, and it’s not just the NFL. That is the norm, usually an arrest or two each week for an NFL player, but this week the NHL, college football, and the NBA decided to get in on that action. Jonas Valanciunas got popped for a DUI, then responded with career night three days later with 26 points, 12 rebounds against the 76ers. Dante Cunningham wanted a piece of that spotlight, too, as he picked up dual arrests; one for felony domestic assault on his girlfriend, and again later in the week for sending her threatening text messages. The NHL threw their name into the hat as well, with Ryan Malone of the Lightning getting popped early this morning for DUI and cocaine possession. MLB is even in on the action with Tigers reliever Evan Reed under suspicion in a sexual assault case.

Dorial Green-Beckham of Missouri, who was once the most highly recruited player of his class but chose Mizzou to stay close to family, was dismissed from the team following yet another arrest for burglary, although ultimately no charges were filed based on the complainant’s “fear of reprisal”. This of course was the last straw after a string of arrests for Beckham over the two years he’s been at Missouri. Being a star player, you have to give Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel some credit for doing the right thing despite the player’s status. He’s also been popped multiple times on possession of marijuana, although he has somehow never been charged in those cases, either. Either way, he looks like a guy that is destined to go the Josh Gordon route to the NFL… but comes with considerably more baggage than Gordon did, and less production for his career. But, at 6-6, 225 and coming off a season in which he scored 12 TDs on 59 catches, someone in the NFL will take a chance on him… hell, there will probably be a LINE of teams waiting to take a chance on him.

It’s not that the NFL has been a bunch of choir boys this week… they have had their share of unwanted headlines as well. There is the whole Colin Kaepernick/Quinton Patton/Ricardo Lockette thing, even though Kaepernick is the only one grabbing headlines there, despite no actual charges being filed. The whole story sounds like a work to me, but I suppose you never know. Plus they do still have the whole Aaron Hernandez thing out there.

Sticking with some NFL headlines for a moment here, how about former Pro Bowler Shawnie Merriman’s new career choice? Seems he’s trading the gridiron for the squared circle after signing with the WWE. One thing is for sure, he’s got the PED use part down pat… just has to work on those matt skills.

HOF linebacker Carl Banks thinks comparisons of Lawrence Taylor and Jadaveon Clowney are “foolish”. I couldn’t agree more… Clowney isn’t a pedophilic piece of shit! Why drag his name down.

Andre Roberts, who signed with the Redskins in hopes of being the #2 receiver there, is apparently frustrated by the teams’ signing of DeSean Jackson, because he is now apparently right back where he was in Arizona. But, much to his chagrin, a better option came along. The question is, is crying to the media really going to help your case? Probably not. Maybe you’ll get lucky and Jackson will break a leg or tear his knee up, and you’ll get your #2 spot back. Keep reaching high.

Roger Staubach has given his ringing endorsement to Johnny Football… saying he’d use the first overall pick on Manziel. Personally, I think the guy has the most upside of any QB in this draft, and if you’re going to take a quarterback anyhow, why not go for the guy with the most promise. I think when all is said and done the guy will go down as a hybrid mix of Brett Favre and Fran Tarkenton. So what do you think Gabbers… are you on mine and Roger Staubach’s side, or are you with Jaws in thinking that Manziel is a bust waiting to happen?

Good news in Major League Baseball as the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman is ready to throw a few bullpen sessions, just shy of a month after being hit by a line drive in the face late in spring training. Glad to hear it, because that was pretty nasty.

Before I call it a day, I’d like to congratulate the Red Wings on their 23rd consecutive playoff appearance, extending their own major professional sport record. It was close this year, with the Wings barely skating into the 8th spot in the East, and it’s unlikely that they’ll get past Boston, who is likely the best team in the league, but 23 years in a row for any team, in any sport is pretty damned impressive. It speaks volumes to both the abilities of Mike Illitch as an owner and Ken Holland as a GM.

That’s all I’ve got this time around ladies and gents. Thanks as always for reading, and for any comments you leave on the way out. Enjoy your first real spring weekend, Gabbers.

                                                                                   

Weekly Grumble with IHM
Category: FEATURED

 

  Hello folks, and welcome to this week’s second grumble with IHM. This week, we’ve seen some great baseball, including Opening Day (in America anyhow) and a loss for every team in the league but one. The one team left undefeated, the Detroit Tigers.

  The Tigers were able to pick up walk-off wins in their first two games against the Royals, including a win Wednesday despite new closer Joe Nathan’s best efforts, thanks to a walk off single by new second baseman Ian Kinsler. Friday, things were a little less close. The Tigers jumped out to an early 4-2 lead, then sat through an hour long rain delay to resume play and end up winning it 10-4, thanks to home runs by OF’s Torii Hunter and Raji Davis, as well as Miguel Cabrera’s first of the season. Miguel Cabrera’s two run shot in the 8th provided some historical significance, as he became the 5th player in MLB history with 2,000 hits, 300+ HRs, and 1200+ RBI over their first 12 seasons. He came into the day just four hits shy of the milestone, and proceeded to go 4-5. He joined a pretty impressive list of players in the process, including Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, and Albert Pujols.

  As a part of my efforts to remove myself as much from ESPN as possible, I have been trying to give Fox Sports 1 more of a shot recently. While I still can’t stand the two tools they have on their “SportsCenter” esque “Fox Sports Live”, I have come to enjoy the MLB Whiparound show they have put together, which includes a local guy in Ryan Field as the anchor, and Gabe Kapler/Frank Thomas as analysts. Pretty solid stuff, with some nice live look-ins along with the day’s highlights. Today, I get to watch the Cleveland-Minnesota game followed by the Dodgers-Giants game… two nationally televised games and neither one involves Boston or New York. Sounds like a winner to me! Sorry Boston fans, but thanks to ESPN, you are pretty much on par with the Yankees in terms of coverage now.

  In other MLB news, Masahiro Tanaka made his MLB debut, going seven innings and allowing two runs while striking out eight en route to his first MLB win over the Jays.

  I’m not sure how often any of you get a chance to watch Mike Trout play, but the next time you do take it. Going into captain obvious mode here… but this guy is good… damn good. At every aspect of the game. While Miguel Cabrera might be the best hitter in baseball right now, this kid is the best overall player in baseball right now. He’s becoming the kind of player you expect something special every at bat, or every time someone hits a ball to center field. The throw he made to nail a guy at the plate last night was one of the best damn throws I’ve seen made in a Major League game this side of Roberto Clemente’s highlight reel. If this kid stays healthy, we could be mentioning him in the same breath as guys like Clemente, Mays, Mantle, etc. The scary thing is, he probably STILL isn’t as good as he’s going to get.

   Yasiel Puig is back in the news for the wrong reasons again, this time after being late to BP before Friday’s game. As a result, old man Mattingly benched Puig for the Dodgers home opener, playing Matt Kemp instead. Must be a hell of a problem to have, pulling Kemp off the bench to replace a starter. No word yet if Mattingly made any reference to Puig’s sideburns while he was being read the riot act (bonus points to anyone who got that Simpson’s reference).

  DeSean Jackson called being released by the Eagles “disrespectful” in an interview with ESPN’s biggest blowhard Stephen A. Smith. On a side note… STOP IT with the fake glasses already. I don’t know if you all actually saw the interview between these two idiots, but Jackson was wearing a pair of glasses that looked like he was in fucking sixth grade shop class. It doesn’t make you look any smarter; it makes you look like a fucking tool.

  Speaking of “that’s enough already”, I’d like to send another one of those out to the band “Five Finger Death Punch” after hearing their terrible, awful, disappointment to humanity cover of the Animal’s House of the Rising Sun. This comes after their cover of “Bad Company”… not quite as bad, but definitely no Bad Company. Because of the upsetting nature of this attempt at a cover, they’ve been added to my enemies list, which I may or may not update every week based upon the popularity of this segment.

  ESPN has spent a week now hyping up Kevin Durant’s pursuit of Michael Jordan’s streak of 40 straight games with 25 or more points… and yesterday Durant’s 28 point effort was just enough to tie Jordan for the longest streak of 25 point games. Of course, ESPN failed to mention that was the record for the past two years, and it marks the halfway point for the actual record, held by Wilt Chamberlain who did so in 80 straight games in a single season.

  Doug McDermott won the Wooden Award as the nation’s top basketball player after averaging 27 points per game for Creighton in his senior year.

  That’s all I’ve got for today folks. Thanks as always for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out. Enjoy your weekend Gabbers.

 

Mid-Weekly Grumble with IHM
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

  Well folks, it's Wednesday, and normally you'd be getting a taste of the buzz from the bleachers in this spot... but for one week only we're going to adjust the programming here at the Gab while AFD takes his honeymoon through the bourbon trail in Kentucky alongside his new spouse.

  Before I get into the grumbling, I'd like to take a minute to promote something near and dear to me, the fact that today is World Autism Day. As many of you know, my son has autism, a disorder that affects nearly every aspect of his, and as a result, my life. The idea of this day is to raise awareness of the disorder, and to shine a light on the fact that despite the fact that it affects one in every 68 children born in the United States, it is still largely under researched and poorly understood. The CDC has monitored diagnoses of Autism through the years, and back in 2000 the number was just one in 150. This is turning into a major epidemic in this country, and somehow there is yet to be a large-scale call to action to find out why and how this is happening. There are many theories out there, but without cold-hard facts they will remain just that. 

  Major League Baseball has stepped up to the plate for the cause as well, with 27 teams holding Autism Awareness nights in which portions of ticket sales will benefit Autism Speaks. The Tigers work with a different charity, Jack's Place for Autism, a more local charity that focuses more on research and treatment. Both are great causes, and everything these teams are doing is a big help.

  Speaking of Major League Baseball, how about that opening day, eh? Nice slate of games, including the Tigers 4-3 win over Kansas City at Comerica Park. New addition Alex Gonzalez came through with the walk-off triple, and the Tigers won despite a shaky start out of Justin Verlander. Consider that Gonzalez was acquired in the middle of last week after the team learned Jose Iglesies would be out for the entire season, and you'll see just how crazy that is! They take the field again later today against the Royals.

  Hometown boy Neil Walker came up big for the Pirates as they picked up the win in their opener, 1-0 in ten innings on Walker's home run. The Giants came from behind to get the Diamondbacks 9-8 thanks to Buster Posey's two run home run in the 9th. All-in-all, not a bad way to start the season. Damn am I glad baseball is back!

  DeSean Jackson's wait in the unemployment line wasn't very long as he signed a three-year deal with the Washington Redskins yesterday. Rumor was he was set to head out to San Fransisco if the Skins didn't get a deal done. This move does a lot to improve the Redskin offense, so long as he doesn't go all Aaron Hernandez on anybody. Now all they need to do is to get that whole defense thing figured out.

  The Final Four is set for the NCAA tournament, as Kentucky beat Michigan and UConn topped Michigan State this Sunday to join Wisconsin and Florida in Arlington, Texas. At this point, I'm just rooting for anyone but Kentucky... because fuck John Calipari, that's why! Should be fun to watch.

  Tiger Woods is out of the Masters for the first time in twenty years due to back problems. Maybe now they can actually focus on someone that is actually WINNING THE DAMN TOURNAMENT! All I can say there is, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

  That's all I've got for today folks. Thanks as always for reading, and for any comments you leave on the way out. Enjoy your hump day, Gabbers.

Weekly Grumble with IHM
Category: FEATURED

Well folks, it's that time of week again. Time for yet another visit from your resident grumbler, IHateMillen. This one will be short though likely not sweet, as I have a rather pressing engagement to attend to today; standing by my brother's side as he enters the bonds of holy matrimony. Just twelve hours from now my little brother AFD joins the ranks of the married men here at the Gab. I'll say it here before I say it there; may you and your wife find nothing but happiness as you begin your journey of life together as a married couple.

  On to the business at hand, which has been mainly business speak as far as baseball is concerned these days. Yesterdays big news was the record breaking ten year, $296 million dollar deal the Tigers signed Miguel Cabrera to. While I like the idea of making Miggy a Tiger for the rest of his career, I always hate a contract that ends when a player is over forty. It never seems to work out well. That said, if the Tigers win even a single World Series in that span, it's money well spent.

  Not to be outdone, peremnial MVP runner up (in his first two MLB seasons that is) Mike Trout got himself a big pay raise, going from a rookie base salary to a six year, 144.5 million dollar pact with the Angels. For a guy that averages 28.5 HRs, 30+ steals, 90 or so RBI, from the freaking leadoff spot. As good as Miggy is and as much as I enjoy watching him play, one day Trout will be a better player than he is, and he'll rack up plenty of awards on top of his AL ROY trophy and Gold Gloves.

  The biggest loser in all of this seems to be Max Scherzer, who turned down a six year deal worth a reported $24 million annually, because he and his shit eating cockmaster of an agent Scott Boras wanted eight years. Something tells me he'll be kicking himself for not taking that money, because what we saw from Scherzer in 2013 is likely the best we'll EVER see out of him. This guy isn't even a #1 starter... and the Tigers even offering him that much money is pathetic. If I'm Dave Dombrowski I'm trading him TODAY, while his value is as high as it's ever going to get. I'm also kicking myself for trading Doug Fister and not this clown.

  The other big story late this week has been the pro day of Johnny Football... because, get this, he threw a fucking football while wearing pads! I know, hard to imagine, but a quarterback threw a football while wearing shoulder pads AND a helmet. I know we're all missing football, but give me a freaking break!

   DeSean Jackson was released by the Eagles today, citing his work ethic and attitude. They stopped fielding trade offers for him and released him, saying they didn't want to dump all his problems on any team. On the plus side for Eagle fans, exactly ZERO dollars of his contract was guaranteed... so there is that. On the downside, Riley Cooper is now your #1 receiver, and Mark Sanchez is your backup QB.

  As for the Lions, there is no news on restructuring DT Ndamukong Suh's deal, proving exactly the kind of guy he is... $22.5 million against the cap for a DT is absolute garbage. Thank Christ for the NFL's new rookie salary scale.

  We've got the field all set for the Elite 8, with Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky and UConn joining Florida, Dayton, Arizona and Wisconsin in the bid for a trip to Texas for the Final Four. Should have ourselves a nice slate of games the rest of the way.

  That's all I've got for today folks. Thanks for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out. Enjoy your weekend, Gabbers.

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