Saturday, February 28, 2009

So drops the other shoe

Ok, so now we know the rest of the story. Matt Cassel goes to KC for a 2nd round pick, #34 overall. Vrabel gets to tag along. First look shows this is a steal for the Chiefs. Look harder. The Pats had $29.7M committed to one position, out of a salary cap of $127M. Way too much. Matt had to go. There is a limited market for a starting QB (32 jobs in the NFL), and and even smaller market of teams with $14M of cap space to sign him. This was part of the risk of franchising him. There had to be maybe 3-5 teams with the cap space and the need for a starting QB. How many of them were willing to give up the compensation to the Pats to take Matt. None. That's why Vrabel gets thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Cassel was not going to be here beyond the 2008 season, even if Brady didn't get hurt. His contract was up. The Pats drafted Kevin O'Connell in the 3rd round as Cassel's replacement. This was a guy fighting for his life with Matt Gutierrez for the back up job, and most of us didn't want him at #2. The fact the The Chosen One went down for the season increased Cassel's value one hundred fold. He was forever a clipboard carrier. Now he's a marquis QB to build around. The injury to Brady, unfortunate as it was, turned Matt into a star, and got the Pats an extra pick at #34. I'm ok with the move. The only other move was to let him walk after the season as a free agent. Another good move by Dr. Belechick. The big question in my mind is, how to fill the hole at LB.

From the Chiefs point of view, this is a no lose situation. There are no guarantees that Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, or Josh Freeman are sure fire starters in the NFL. The Chiefs get a proven commodity at QB for the 34th pick. and Vrable. Good move.

Other Notes: The Jets picked up 2 time Pro Bowl CB Lito Sheppard from the Eagles for 2 draft picks. The Jets will tie him up with $27m over 4 years. Sheppard was 5th on the Eagles depth chart last year after a horrendous game vs. Arizona. The Eagles shopped Sheppard last year with no takers. Looks like a poor signing to me by the J-E-T-S...Safety Brian Dawkins signed with the Broncos. A 5 year deal to a 36 year old safety. I'd love to have him on a 2 year deal to replace Harrison. Five???? Pass...CB Liegh Bodden, formerly of Detroit, visited the Pats. Detroit? Yes I know he plated for RAC at Cleveland. Detroit? Ok seriously, the guy's 6-1", so he's not the usual smurf they've signed at CB. Detroit???...TE Chris Baker supposed to be a done deal to the Pats, according to Adam Schefter. He has a career high of 41 catches in 2007. I'm only loving this because it tweaks the Jets. Otherwise, I'm not so high on this deal.

Friday, February 27, 2009

What the hell are they doing?

Unless you're hiding under a rock, you undoubtedly know already the the Pats traded Mike Vrabel today for a handful of magic beans. I totally do not get this deal, based on face value. Since there is nothing official from the Pats on this, we have to assume this is part of a bigger deal. Speculation on the internet has him going to KC as part of a 3 way deal involving Cassel to Tampa, a deal to free up cap space, (3.3 million by some accounts) or even a move to help land Julius Peppers. Some forums have actually thought he'd be an outright cut, so any value for him is a good deal. Obviously Pioli sees some value. The question is, how much. Yes I know, in Bill we Trust. I'm willing to wait and see how this all pans out, but right now it creates a huge hole on a suspect defense. Thank god they don't play in April. Perhaps Shawn Crable, last year's 2nd round pick, is ready to contribute after a strong off season. You can bet the only one who knows is the good Dr. Belechick.

Other notes: Gaffney signs with Denver. While I like him, he's strictly a #4 WR. He can be replaced with a late round draft pick, a cheap vet free agent, or even a guy on the roster like Aiken or Matthew Slater. I'm ok with this move...Long Snapper Lonnie Paxton signed with Denver as well. 5.3 million over 5 years, with 1 mill up front. Too much for a specialist. I'm sure Dr. Belechick has someone in the wings ready to go...I like the Fred Taylor signing. You have to figure the writing is on the wall with Maroney, and this just brings more power to the backfield. I suspect he won't have big 'fantasy feature back' numbers, but he'll do well.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Daytona 500 Thoughts

Can you imagine the Super Bowl ending with 3:53 to go in the 3rd quarter? Calling the World Series in the 7th game after 4 scoreless innings? The Masters ending halfway thru the 3rd round? No? Well, NASCAR's biggest race of the year, the Super Bowl of auto racing ended after 152 of 200 scheduled laps.

Ho Hum.

Let's face it, NASCAR hasn't been the same since 2001. There is so much money at stake, no one wants to risk loss of points or sponsorship. Even the guys in the back are making a ton of dough. For the most part, no one steps out of line with their mouth off the track. And, nearly no one steps out of line with their car on the track.(ignoring Kyle Busch here) Play it safe, get the check. And this starts all the way at the top. Fox says "Boys, if we can call this by 7pm, we don't have to re-negotiate advertising deals for the folks on Family Guy." And NASCAR, following the money, obliges. If NASCAR can't sand up for the integrity of the sport and say "Hey wait a second, this is the biggest race of the season, we've got lights, lets come back at 10pm and finish this thing.", why would any of the drivers stick their neck out and say " _______ sucks" (ok, I am conveniently forgetting Smoke to make my point). It's all about the $$$$$. And as long as that's true, expect more Ho Hum races. It's just one of them racin' deals.

Race notes: I expected to blast FOX for explaining to me for the bazillionth time what drafting is and show me some lame graphic to back up their point. (imagine the NFL runnig a graphic explaining offsides) They didn't. They did go to the cutaway car and had Jeff Hammond explain in-race camber adjustments. I consider myself an educated fan, and while I may not be able to build a race car, my knowledge of racing adjustments is better than Cole Trickle's. I thought Hammond's explanation was very well done. All set with the stupid Mechanix gloves, however...Gavin Degraw, are you kidding me? That was the worst national anthem ever. Wow...with 82 to go, the 24 pitted before cutting a tire, lost a lap, and ended up 3rd in line, 1st guy a lap down, and got the lucky dog on the next caution. Say what you will, that's why the guy is always in the hunt to win...with 75 to go, Larry Mac said the guys were racing too hard for that point of the race. Check the radar, bud. Was more like 10-15 to go...Vickers admitted to blocking the 88 all the way down to the yellow line...Junior says to Bergeren "Yeah it was accidental" referring to wreck he started by tagging Vickers. My 10 year old son is a fan of the show Lie To Me and studies peoples facial expressions to see if they are lying. He yells out "He's Lying" at the TV. I agreed. I'd love to play poker with JR...DW holds the corporate line and says the Little E is truthful. Laughed my ass off. Just once I'd like to hear Darrell say "That boy is full of shit. He did it on purpose and he knows it. The guy can parallel park at 200 mph and he can't keep it off the other bubba? Come on boy, we know you got the 'sperience, fess up."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Before and After


A-roid and the steroid mess

Ok, so A-Rod told Peter Gammons the truth. Or his version of it, anyway. Yes, that what I said. The only reason he's saying what he saying is because he got caught. His name was leaked. Not fair to him, really, as there is 104 other guys that got bagged in 2003-04. He felt pressure to perform. Well, big shot, you signed the big contract. If you didn't want that pressure, sign for less, play in a smaller market, whatever. He's sorry and repentant now because he has to be. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds has shown these guys that being defiant is definitely not the way to go.
Look at these guys :

I'll grant you there have been training advantages and nutritional advantages and blah blah blah. These guys are built like comic book heroes. Bonds, McGwire, A-Roid, Brady Anderson and others are a bit more typical of this era of baseball players. Yes, Bonds and McQwire are bigger than most other steroid users. A-Rod's a big guy. But now we know it's not natural.
Look at players from the pre-steroid era:

George Foster (3rd from left) was the last guy to hit over 50 homers pre-steroid era, in 1977(52). He's a tall thin guy that could generate unreal bat speed. Check out Roger Maris (right). He hit 61 dingers in 1961, and while he's got muscles, he not built like post-roid Barry. More like pre-roid Barry (left). Most guys are built like George Brett. Regular guys.
Here's my point in all of this rambling: The whole era is a mess. Throw out all the numbers. Asterisk the whole lot. Out of the top 100 single seasons for home runs, 59 of them have come since 1996. That is astounding. No one did more than 49 in the entire 1980's. Out the top 100, 5 players made the list, Mike Schmidt in 1980 (48), Andre Dawson, McGwire (49) and George Bell (47) in 1987, and Kevin Mitchell in 1989 (47). The 70's were just as bleak, with Foster in '77,
Dave Kingman in 1979 (48), Willie Stargell (48)and Hank Aaron (47) in 1971, and Jim Rice in 1978 (46). 59 out of the top 100 came after 1993, the big explosion of power in 1996.
By putting an asterisk on the whole era, we will throw out some of the good with the bad. So be it. It may not be fair, but, as Dr. Belechick says, it is what it is.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Notes

My initial thoughts rank Super Bowl XXLIII behind XXXVI and last year. This was a great game, I was glad that I was not emotionally invested in either team and could enjoy it for the great game it was...BRUUUUUUUUUUUUCE kicked ass! The boys from the E Street Band bring home a great show worthy of Super Bowl billing. Rank it #2 behind U2, and that is saying something...Great catch by Santonio Holmes, great coverage by NBC, great job showing the catch was valid with the toe tap in the end zone...Joe Namath brings the trophy out without groping Suzy Kolber...Kurt Warner: 31 for 43 with 377 yards and 3 TD's. Good enough to sculpt a bust in Canton, Ohio if you ask me. The 3 top passing games in the Super Bowl get it done in crunch time....Larry Fitzgerald is a stud, when is his contract up?...same thing for Darrnell Dockett, what a great game he had...Doritos had great ads, especially with the crystal ball in the nuts...ditto for the surprising Castrol Oil ad. "These grease monkeys showed up and made me king!"... Danica Patrick, enhanced? Way too funny... Overall a very entertaining game, congrats to the Cardinals for showing up and not choking under the pressure. this was a eam people said were way over their head. Even I said they were a little bit away from being big game ready...A great way to end the NFL season... Lets bring on NASCAR.

Super Bowl Breakdown

This is a quick one, really. No long analysis of Kurt Warner's tendencies, The Steelers blitz packages, or how the rookie coaches match up. While I'm rooting for Kurt and the Cards, it comes down to one simple fact. Offenses sell tickets, defenses win championships.

Steelers 28, Cardinals 17

He Sucks, I Hate Him

I lifted this from, they lifted it from Dan Shaughnessy writes the The Chosen One has gone soft. Swimming and cuddling with a super model in Mexico? Making bazillions of dollars? Super Bowl hero? He doesn't look to hurt to me. It's official, he sucks, I hate him. Hurry up and get back on the field.