NFL News and Notes
*Of course, just because my boys didn't make the big game, doesn't mean I'm not going to preview it. It just so happens that seeing as there is a week+ to go before the game is actually played, that preview won't be this week. Tune it next week for all the Super Bowl news. Hey, just because the NFL forces the extra week down your throat, doesn't mean I have to oblige and cover the damn thing for two weeks. Take that Nation Football League! That's what you get for paying the refs to get your man Peyton into the big game! (joking...no seriously I am)
*I know what you're thinkin'. I should apologize to Mikey Vick since he is no longer facing any charges in his incident with the "black particulate" found in his stash/fake water bottle. But you know, somehow I just don't feel like I accused him of anything he didn't do. You know why the charges were dropped? Because it was more than likely a bunch of resin and roach clip remnants in that bottle, and the authorities knew it wasn't worth their time and energy to even bother trying to prosecute. I mean it smelled like weed didn't it? That was in the original report wasn't it? What? All of a sudden it doesn't smell like weed anymore? Right, cuz that makes a ton of sense. Hey, if you want to believe that the toy cops at the airport made a mistake, then go right ahead. But this guy ain't buying it. Listen, I'm not saying Vick should be bound in shackles and thrown in a clock tower for the rest of eternity, but please don't lie to my face about this and tell me it didn't happen just because there are no charges! On the bright side, I guess it saves us from 24/7 Court TV coverage of the Michael Vick trial which would inevitably give us the line...."If it wasn't lit, you must acquit".
Last Week: 0-2-0
'06-'07 Season: 52-38-7 (.572)
*Only one game left, and I'm truly undecided on which way I'm leaning. Super Bowl's with two week layoffs usually aren't close, but who is gonna blow who out? I'll mull it over for a week or so and prolly change my mind 25 times in the last minute. It's a big one though, no not because it's the Super Bowl, but I'm right at .500 for the post season and this could push me over the top.
There have been a number of coaching changes in the NFL, and I gotta say I don't understand most of the hirings. But then again, what do I know? I mean, I understand that there aren't just great coaches with NFL experience lying around somewhere looking for work, but some of these choices really make me scratch my head. And I'm all for giving younger guys a shot, but some of these leaps of faith seem absurd to me. Just because Eric Mangina had one decent season after being a coordinator for less than a year, that means everyone needs to rush out and hire the youngest and most inexperienced young go-getter they can find? Doesn't seem like a winning strategy to me, but like I said, what do I know.
Ken Wisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals was Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator
*Here's the first example of a hiring that I don't quite understand. While Wisenhunt has served his due in the league, what have any of his offensives in Pittsburgh done that's been so special? OK, so he drew up a couple of nice trick plays with Antwan Randle El, and it seemed like he was guiding Ben Rothelisberger along nicely, but that makes him deserving of his own job? Personally, I don't see how he even kept his own job in Pittsburgh this season. If I were Arizona, I would have gone out and signed the biggest defensive name I could have. That offensive talent in the desert should be good enough on it's own for the next 5 years or so barring they can get a few decent lineman. It's the D that's going to make or break them. Maybe they just subscribe to the theory that "Nobody beats the Whiz"? Well I'm pretty sure somebody can beat the Whiz, and it's going to be most of the offenses playing against him next season. Lucky for him he coaches in the NFC West. But make no mistake, expectations are no longer low in Tempe, and if he doesn't deliver he'll have to wait for Cowher to come out of retirement and hire his ass again.
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers was Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator
*When certain guys succeed, their staffs get raided for talent (i.e Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennell and Eric Mangini). Other times, when a coach succeeds, some of his coaching offspring from around the league are plucked. That's the deal with Tomlin. While he's only been D-coordinator for a season in Minnesota, he happens to be a member of the Tony Dungy coaching fraternity. Pretty big gamble, especially for a franchise that has only had 2 head coaches (Noll, Cowher) in like a million years. You know the Rooney family will give him time to succeed, and if they tolerated Cowher choking year after year in the playoffs, I'm sure Tomlin won't have too tough a time of providing them with the decent mediocrity they've grown used to in the Steel City.
Lane Kiffin, Oakland Radiers was USC Offensive Coordinator
*I may not have helped guide the merger between the NFL and the AFL, but at this point I'm fairly confident I could run a professional football team more successfully than Raiders owner Al Davis. And no, it's not because he looks like a constipated version of that freak that used to dance in the 6 Flags ads. (yea you thought that guy was out of your life didn't you?) He just hired a guy in Lane Kiffin that is younger than 9 of the current players on the Oakland roster. But this is Al's style. He likes to have a coach that he can control, a guy he can influence to make things the way Al really wants them. Funny thing is, this can only work out for Kiffin, not Oakland. Best case scenario is that Kiffin becomes such a hot young coach that he gets wooed away a la John Gruden. Worst case scenario is that Randy Moss and Warren Sapp haze their new coach until he either a) grows facial hair or b) loses so many games that Al has no choice but to yet again hire Art Shell. Seriously though, I get that owners want younger guys to relate to players in "today's NFL", but at what cost?
Kam Cameron, Miami Dolphins was San Diego Chargers Offensive Coordinator
*This is the perfect example of players getting a coach paid. I mean I'm sure Cameron works hard and knows the game very well, but don't sit there and tell me that LT, Gates, Rivers and Brees didn't get this guy his job. Those guys won't be able to help him in Miami, and don't think Wayne Huizenga won't be quick to toss him out on his ass if he can't deliver the Phins to the playoffs in the next 2 seasons. No small task, especially in a division where the Pats have things on lock, and the Jets and Bills have both taken massive strides over the past few seasons.
Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons was Louisville Head Coach
*Talk about waltzin' into a shit storm. No sooner is Petrino off the plane in the ATL when news hits about Mike Vick's magic water bottle. Not only that, but he has to deal with a fan base that is split between Vick and backup (and restricted free agent) Matt Schaub. Bobby has said he will open up the pre season with a battle for QB, but his job is tied to how well he can coach Michael Vick. His offense in Louisville was originally based around scrambling lefty Stefan Lefores, so he has experience with this type of player, but Vick is a totally different animal. Unless he can convince the Mike Vick Experience to hang in the pocket a little longer, then both he an Vick will probably be bolting Atlanta faster than Hawks season ticket holders.
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator was Miami Dolphins QB Coach
*This is a strange one, even for the never ending melodrama that is the Dallas Cowboys. After Bill Parcells resigned, all the talk was that there were no big name candidates left to fill such a high profile position. So, instead of searching for the "next big thing" as far as assistants go, Jerry Jones has decided to hire back guys that have already been through Dallas. Garrett is the first in this line. He was a backup in Big D behind Troy Aikman, and has spent the last 2 seasons as the Dolphin QB coach. I think that last statement speaks as to why he should have been fired by Miami, and not hired at a higher position. Uh...I mean...Didn't he do a great job coaching Culpepper, Harrington and Miss Cleo Lemon? This thing will only get uglier if Jones decides to stop looking for a new head coach and decides to promote Garrett right away, before he calls a single game as the OC. Not to mention, it's just weird when teams bring in a coordinator before they hire a head coach. So bizarre...
1. Kansas (17-3) 1
2. Florida (18-2) 2
3. Wisconsin (20-1) 3
4. UCLA (18-1) 4
5. Ohio St. (17-3) 6
6. Pittsburgh (18-3) 5
7. North Carolina (18-2) 8
8. Nevada (18-2) 7
9. Memphis (16-3) NR
10. Butler (18-2) NR
just missed: Marquette, Oregon, Oklahoma St., Duke
dropped: (9) Oklahoma St., (10) Alabama
Nancy Drew Pens Final Notes
Word on the street, is that the long dreaded, and previously thought to be finished, signing of JD Drew has been completed. Despite agreeing in principle on a 5 year $70 million deal on December 5th, the two sides had yet to agree on a clause in the contract that would allow the Sox to opt out of guaranteed money in the later years in case Drew's right shoulder flares up, until now. At least all the drama over his signing is over, but I want to say this one more time for effect. WE ARE GROSSLY OVERPAYING FOR THIS INJURY PRONE WUS!! In what was considered a "good year" for Drew last season, here were his numbers. .283 20 HR 100 RBI. Let's compare that to the seasonal averages for the recently departed Trot Nixon: .278 22 HR 86 RBI. Nixon was making $7.5 mil a season in Beantown, and JD is making $14 mil. Theo claims he's paying for protection in the 5 hole for Manny and Big Papi. Well Theo, for your sake, I hope he provides more protection for them than he has for his body over the course of his career. Don't worry Sox fans. You may miss Trot Nixon's hustle and grit in the Fenway outfield, but you won't be able to shake the fact that you're pretty sure you still see a #7 playing well below his contract value and sitting out more than his fair share of games. I'm beginning to think Drew's parents dubbed him JD (despite his name being David Jonathan) because he frustrated them so much that they were constantly finding themselves having to take shots of JD just to stand his presence. Well, if I look at it that way, this may not be a bad signing yet! Everybody drink!!
Danny and Doc Make Push for Oden, Durant....
The Celtics are doing the best possible thing right now, losing. And just when I thought they would ruin their lottery chances by beating the equally as awful Atlanta Hawks, they actually managed to blow an 18 point lead and lose their 9th straight! I guess Danny and Doc have finally figured out what they're good at....losing! But look out boys, last time the C's tried to tank a season to land a franchise center in the draft, the balls bounced the wrong way, and Tim Duncan landed in San Antonio. But lottery chances aside, I just don't get all the optimism in this town lately about all the young players on this team. Sure it's great that these guys are finally getting playing time, and yea I like what I've been seeing out of Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo and Delonte West, but those guys are just pieces. Even if the Celt's do manage to land Ohio St. center Greg Oden or Texas forward Kevin Durant in the draft, they will still be 3-4 years away from being a serious contender. And that's just in the Eastern Conference. Face it Celtic fans, this thing should have been blown up years ago (and no by "this thing" I don't mean Danny Ainge's house with his family inside), and the longer they wait, the longer it's going to take to rebuild....Again