Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Well, damn, now that Tebow has been wiped from the playoffs, what will we write about now? What's that you say? Oh yeah...how about playoff football you say? So, Tebow and the Broncos were revealed last Sunday just as most of us expected the Patriots to do. Let's face it, Tom Brady and the Patriots were just too experienced and too good for the one dimensional Denver offense. Brady looked playoff perfect and even had a chance to add a punt in his stats. A punt? With a chance to break the TD record, the Hoodie pulled back the reins on his pit bull offense. Bill Belichick has a heart, who knew?
Is this a kinder and gentler Bill Belichick?
Has he lost his edge?
Sunday's game was simply a tune up for the next playoff round and Belichick was already game planning for this week by the 4th quarter. Watching Brady carve up Denver's defense, I got the impression that Brady was sending a message with each laser he threw that he was still the best QB in football. I know that he would never admit it, but I know the competitor in Brady was a bit steamed that Brees had overshadowed him this year. Now Tom Brady had a great year, but Brees was the toast of the league for setting the new regular season yardage record. That kick quick was just a subtle statement that he would not set a record when the game was over. Think Brady doesn't care?
Oh yeah...he cares and is not afraid to tell anyone when he is pissed.
So, basketball on grass has taken a severe hit. The high powered Packer offense that was a buzz saw through the regular season; needed a tune up against the Giants. Aaron Rodgers looked human against the Giants. When Rodgers had time to throw, his receivers dropped passes. Although the Giants only sacked Rodgers 4 times, the pressure the Giants front four put on Rodgers completely discombobulated the Packer offense. What really stood out to me were two stats. The longest pass play for the Packers was 21 yards and Rodgers ran for 66 yards. Aaron Rodgers does not run for 66 yards unless someone is chasing him. And indeed there were 4 large men chasing Rodgers...all day long. The shoddy defense that the Packer offense was able to overshadow during the regular season; finally was their undoing. The Packers simply could not stop Eli Manning and his array of receivers. My fantasy team was hoping for a big day from Cruz, but Nicks decided to remind everyone who the #1 receiver was in Giant blue. Although I predicted the Packers would win, that Giant front four had me smelling upset. We have all heard that defense wins championships, it sure won at Lambeau last Sunday.
I really was pulling for the Texans to win last week. It was amazing that the Texans were even in this game, but I just did not see them beating the Ravens with a third string QB. Good times are ahead for this Texan bunch. They have all the pieces to at least be in a Super Bowl next year given Matt Schaub is healthy. How good was this Texan defense without Mario Williams. Yep, this team is gonna be trouble for the AFC for years to come. Arian Foster is a beast and was almost good enough to beat the Ravens with a third string QB. But, he did not and now the Ravens and Patriots will meet. I picked the Ravens to win it all at the beginning of the year, but I keep thinking about Joe Flacco and how bad he looked against the Texans defense. I have never been a Flacco fan, but I have a feeling that he will have much more success against the Patriot defense. The question is can Tom Brady have success against the Raven defense. I figure that this may be the last chance for this defense to get a ring and damn if I don't think that they will do it. As hard as it is to go against Brady, I think defense still matters this time of year. But of course, Belichick won't have Brady quick kicking next week...
This was the Vernon Davis that NFL fans have been expecting when he came into the league a few years ago. The conservative offense of the 49ers has kept this weapon under wraps most of the season. I never doubted that San Francisco had the defense to make a playoff run, but the blandness of their offense had me convinced that they would be out against the Saints. I knew that Justin Smith and Patrick Willis would be in beast mode; they were. But although they played a terrific game, it was the offense that had to make the plays in crunch time to put the Saints away. When it mattered most, Alex Smith went to the their secret weapon...Vernon Davis. Each team is looking to add the big play tight end and Davis' performance on Sunday placed him in the top tier of this group. As a Cowboy fan, I am very much conflicted. San Francisco vs the NY Giants does not leave me with a very pleasant choice. As happy as I was to see BOB's 49ers win, I have to say that the four big guys that made Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense look out of synch, will do more to Alex Smith. Have you ever noticed how much Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith look alike? I think after Sunday they will have something else in common. I love the 49ers defense, I just don't think they can beat the Giants defense. Of course, that Eli guy will have to have some success against the tough San Francisco defense too...
I know that it is probably cold where you are. Perhaps you are engrossed in hockey at the moment, but baseball is just around the corner. Selfishly, I enjoy this time of year. High school football is long over but the baseball season has not arrived. This time of year is when I get to work with my son in the cages. Soft toss, tee work, if the truth be told, I absolutely love it. In my next life I would be a baseball manager. It is something that I confess is under my skin. I am not sure when it happened. I enjoyed playing baseball when I was younger, but I loved to play football. As my kids got older, I put my game aside and began to coach. It was probably good that my two oldest are girls. I quickly picked up the fast pitch game and was soon hooked on coaching the game. My daughters enjoyed playing, but did not love the game. The time I spent coaching my daughters was really a special time. I learned to coach at the level of the play. They learned the game, but more importantly we made some great memories. My son, was a toddler at the beginning of this time, but he saw what was going on. At 2, he ran outside the fence at his sister's games and practiced his sliding in the gravel. At 5 he was allowed on the other side of the fence. Coaching my son was a different gig from coaching the girls. He loved the game. There was an intensity with my son that his sisters just did not have. My son has long out grown my coaching talent, but I still get part of December and January to whet my coaching jones. In truth, I just love to watch him hit. The next high school season begins January 28th and I can't wait...but until then I will enjoy the cage.
We still have a bit before Spring Training arrives, but the baseball talk has already begun. I read BOB's excellent blog today and his comments about the Yankees and Mariners got me to thinking. The trade of Michael Pineda to the Yankees for their top AAA player Jesus Montero. There was more to this trade, Seattle also sent 19 year old Jose Campos (very highly regarded) for Hector Noesi who appeared in relief for the Yankees last year. Why would the Mariners send a young stud pitcher to the Yankees for a player yet to prove that he can hit big league pitching? The reality of Seattle is that they have had an offensive void and the high profile hitters like Prince Fielder are not keen on hitting in the cavernous Safeco Field. Here is a lineup from last year's Mariners team:
2. Chone Figgins
3. Dustin Ackley
4. Mike Carp
5. Justin Smoak
6. Miguel Olivo
7. Franklin Gutierrez
8. Brendan Ryan
9. Jack WIlson
There were many variations of this lineup. Jack Cust, Milton Bradley and Ryan Langerhans saw time, but as you can see this lineup screams for power. Jesus Montero is listed as a catcher, but in reality he will probably be a DH. But given the track record in AAA, it is very possible that Montero is a player that hits 30 HRs and drives in 100 RBIs and this is what the Mariners have not had. In doing a bit of digging, I found another reason that Seattle let a talent like Pineda head to NY. Here is a short write up of pitching on the way:
Three of ‘em, actually: Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker or, as they’re known throughout the game, the reason Jack Zduriencik was OK trading a 23-years-old-tomorrow stud. Hultzen, the second overall pick in the draft last year, was ready to pitch in the big leagues the day he signed. The lefty could crack the rotation out of spring training like Pineda did in 2011. At latest, he should arrive by early summer. Paxton is another lefty with a fastball that runs into the high-90s who struck out 131 hitters over 95 innings between Class A and Double-A last year. While Hultzen and Paxton are 22 and 23, respectively, and relatively finished products, Walker didn’t turn 19 until August, by which time he had dominated the Midwest League. Hultzen and Paxton are near-certain rotation fixtures as long as their arms hold up. Walker is the potential ace, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound specimen with a right arm that looks custom made.
Now, I know that Pineda is a proven commodity, but when you are the Mariners, you have to take a chance to get a potential All Star bat in Montero. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out, but I have a hunch that Montero is the real deal. Do the Mariners win next year? No, but they will be able to offer a bit more offense for their fans.
Sad news emerged out of Detroit on Tuesday. Victor Martinez tore his ACL preparing for spring training. What a shame...sorry Tiger fans.
Thats all I have for today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey to ponder:
Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for "better treatment"? I'd ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you'd probably be able to get a lot of free games.
Sometimes I think I'd be better off dead. No, wait, not me, you.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own.