Thursday, August 04, 2011

Checking for Cheez Teds Under the Hood...

Well then.  Quite the little week we had there, wasn't it?  The sports landscape as we know it was, to a certain degree, reshaped, and now we're headlong into the usual end of Summer sports orgy that just a few weeks ago looked as if it might never come to fruition.  But it has.  The NFL is back, with it's uber-condensed off season burning up the news wire; and Major League Baseball is hitting it's Summer stride,  heading towards another stretch run in which all the teams that really matter should be right there with a shot to win it right up through the first weeks of Fall.  Yeah, sorry Pittsburgh.  That means you're probably out.  Which is just as well, too.  It's bad enough that we have to deal with both of the Ryan brothers and the boisterous "Cheez Teds" in Philly, right now.  Adding a second legit team for the city of Pittsburgh to yap about is just something I don't need...
This kid gets it!
Cheez Teds: The official leftover snack
of the pro sports ghetto

What I do need, is an outlet for all these thoughts and impressions I've been bottling up for the past week and a half.  Or rather, thanks to Al Gore and the millions of Interweb nerds to follow, I already have that outlet, and I just need to get around to utilizing it.  That's "Rooch-eese" for "it's time to get writing".  Had I said it in Cheez Ted-eese, it probably would have just more or less been me unknowingly urinating on myself and drunkenly touting the merits of a fictitious boxer than it would have been me actually talking.  Great if I were sending in an audition tape to Cops, but not exactly how I'm trying to get my weekly column started...

Maybe some day, when I decide to a piece on the finer points of eating dairy out of a can or booing my own players, I'll give that intro a second look.  But not today.  Today, I've got the mind of a hooded genius to dissect, and a few predictions concerning the red hot Red Sox that many of the fans probably aren't going to like.  I'll stop short of comparing them to the '01 Mariners, but trust me, you're probably not gonna be pumped...

I'll let you be the judge, tho.  Getcha read on, pimps...

Hi, my name is Erik.  But you can call me "Chode Beer"...
Red Sox Update
Last Week: 4-3
Overall: 68-41, 1 game ahead of NYY in AL East (Best record in AL)

It's like this.  You're sitting around with your buddies, and you realize you need some beer.  OK, no problem.  But when whichever of your friends lost the nose touching battle returns with the beer, you soon discover that he's purchased those tiny chode beers that I'm still not sure why they sell.  You know, the ones that look like they were designed by jockeys, and are clearly intended to somehow rip off the consumer.  "That's all they had", he says.  And while you're a little suspect that you're buddy didn't just make a mistake, you quickly come to a rather obvious conclusion.  "Barring a miracle, these aren't gonna get the job done"...

In case a thirsty midget stops by...
That's the Erik Bedard trade in a nutshell.  Or in a "tiny chode beer", if you will.  Theo went shopping, and besides the leaky case of O'Douls that turned out to be Rich Harden, the only thing he could find that seemed suitable was the oft injured but once hyped veteran lefty, Erik Bedard.  Or, as he'll now at least temporarily be known in these parts, "Chode Beer"...

We'll never know what deals Theo "didn't want to make", so it's kind of useless to speculate, but it is a shame that someone of Bedard's caliber was the best they could do.  Not just because he'll most likely get blasted into the minors faster than you could down a 6 pack bearing his new namesake, and end up on the wrong side of the media (he has a negative history in that department), but because with each passing week, it becomes more apparent that the team, as constituted, won't be anything special once they inevitably make the playoffs.  Which is a shame, because the offense they've built up there really deserves better...

We have a new front runner for AL MVP...
Now, let's not get it twisted, here.  The team is still coming off the best July in club history (.770 winning %), and they're still going to prove as a very dangerous out.  My concern going forward is, that with just Jon Lester and Josh Beckett serving as reliable arms in your rotation, having such a powerful offense really only puts you at a slight advantage over say the Yankees in the AL Playoffs.  Once you get to the World Series, forget it.  Either the Phillies, or whoever beat them, are going to have you beat in the pitching department, too.      Hey, I know it sounds pessimistic as Hell, especially predicting that some random squad well have better pitching, but it's just that I know adding that 3rd quality arm at the deadline would have put them over the top, and it's a little frustrating to see them hanging back with the pack...

That's why, it's become more important than ever for this team to lock up 1st place overall in the AL, and home field advantage through the playoffs.  3rd quality starter be damned, I like their chances against anyone in the AL when they get the extra game on Yawkee Way.  It's just when they have to travel to Texas, their          most likely destination should they falter, that I start to worry.  A worry that would definitely had been lessened had say, Matt Garza walked through that door at the deadline.  But hey, I'm not here to speculate about possible deals...(Garza's 1-1 with a 2.43 ERA over his last 5 starts, if you need him)

Remember, when the season began, I didn't think the Sox would win the World Series, or even the division.  After watching them through 60% of the season, however, I had changed my tune.  Mostly due to the fact that the offense is the best I've ever seen.  Now, after answering the loss of Clay Buchholz with the addition of Erik Bedard, I can't help but feel that I'm right back where I started.  Great offense, suspect starting pitching, and a team whose chances I don't particularly love when they make the playoffs.  Still a very good team, that should go without saying.  They're in 1st place in the league's toughest division.  But we're talking about going after the brass ring, and I just don't think they've done all they could to put themselves in the best position to take it down...

Erik? Is that YOU?!
Pretty harsh words for a division leader coming off an epic month, I know, but like I said, those words come from a caring place, not one of impossibly high standards or dislike.  I can't help but think that, while we'll enjoy every last one of Ellsbury's walk off's and Adrian's wall balls for the Summer to come, when we look back on this season, we'll all agree on this.  Had we had one more legitimate starting pitcher, this team really might have been unstoppable.  That doesn't mean they can't and won't succeed, it just means that the window is closed where they could have removed all doubt as to who was the clear cut favorite.  Now, they'll just have to be content to slum it with the rest of the contenders...

Ya know, unless "Chode Beer" magically turns into one of those 36 packs I saw in Long Beach...

Seriously, though.  I am enjoying the Hell out of having the 2 front runners for MVP (Ellsbury & Gonzalez) on this team.  Don't think I'm not.  This is the best offense this town has ever seen, at least in my lifetime.  It's just that, again, I don't see why they couldn't go the extra mile to ensure that offense had a worthy pitching staff to back it up.  Oh well, we'll see.  Hope I'm wrong.  Certainly wouldn't be the 1st time...

This Week: vs CLE, vs NYY, @ MINN

Now, let's get to some football...

Little Bill & probably the only other guy
who would have tried this...
Under the Hood...

Bill Belichick is a genius when it comes to football, there's no doubting that.  But I have to wonder, after opening up this abbreviated training camp with the radical shift from the base 3-4 to the base 4-3 defense, is this a case of the genius having too much time to think, OR just the latest example of hooded enigma being one step ahead of his competitors and critics?  Much like with the Red Sox, we won't know these answers til we see some results, but one thing is for sure.  The little Bon Jovi fan with a penchant for complex defensive schemes is up to his old tricks.  Keeping us guessing, and hopefully, winning football games...

It's a bold move, to be sure, and let me make sure everybody knows it.  The Patriots have NOT ever run a base 4-3, with 4 down lineman, under Bill Belichick.  Belichick himself said that HE has never run such a defense his entire career as a head coach.  They're adding guys on the end that rush the pass (still don't know who, exactly), guys in the middle who collapse the pocket (Haynesworth), and they're moving Jerod Mayo from the inside to the outside.  This is not a variation of the 3-4.  It's not some package that they're going to run now and again.  It's a shift in philosophy.  From having the D-lineman occupy blockers, to having them push up field and, as Albert Haynesworth so delicately put it, "kill the quarterback".  It's a change that a lot of fans are going to like, now all we have to do is see if it works...
That's a rare cat, right there.

I think it will.  I loved the 3-4, but I think Bill couldn't really run it the way he wanted to anymore once Richard Seymour left town.  That guy's got a unique skill set, and once he wasn't there to set that edge, the formation just wasn't nearly as dynamic.  Still productive, but not nearly at the same level of efficiency.  I'm thinking it's that thought process that got Bill looking at his roster, and realizing that just a few moves here and there, and he could mold the talent he accrued while building his 3-4 into one Hell of a 4-3.  The biggest of those moves being, both figuratively and literally, the acquisition of defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth...

Let's be clear on this, though.  I don't think Bill switched to a 4-3 because he got Haynesworth, a prototypical and productive 4-3 D-tackle.  I think he got Haynesworth because he had already made up his mind to switch to the 4-3.  So it doesn't all rest on Big Al's shoulders, although to have him "show up" on a weekly basis would obviously be ideal.  Nope, this one's on the coach.  He felt the need to make a change, he's made that change, and there's no way he would have let it all hang in the balance based on one particularly temperamental player.  Was bringing in Hayneswoth a gamble?  Of course it was.  Just not one I feel Bill Belichick would have felt comfortable betting his whole bankroll on...

They're exciting times, this much is certain.  Bill's like the Steve Jobs of this, and we all can't wait to take a look at his latest innovation.  And like Jobs, I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before everyone else is trying to copy and chase his latest success...even though most of the league is already in a 4-3....oh, well you know what I mean.  I'm sure the Hoodie will still rock their collective worlds...

Oh and before I go, and while I'm talking football, allow me to just hit on a few things:

Just a couple of weird fat kids havin' some fun...
*The Ryan brothers (Rex and Dallas DC Rob) are great for football.  Plain and simple.  Whether or not I'd want them speaking on behalf of my team, is another story.  But they're good for football.  Splashing trash talk in the media, joking around with other coaches.  That's what sports should be all about, and I applaud them for being themselves and letting we as the fans reap the hilarious benefits...

...oh and if their antics distract their team enough so that they never win the Super Bowl, well that's just a bonus...

*During the lockout I said, and I quote!: "You know one of the first things that's going to happen when this thing ends? A bunch of people are going to finally learn how to say Nnamdi Asomugh's (Nahm-Dee Ah-soom-wa) name." 

So tell me, was I right?  You're damn straight I was, and not only have they learned his name, but they've skipped right over that in anointing him as the off season's biggest acquisition.  And his addition (along with a few other free agents being dubbed the "Heat" of the NFL) has suddenly vaulted the Eagles to the level of undisputed kings of the NFC.  You hear that, Green Bay?  You hear that, Atlanta?

Uh oh. Here comes the chunky soup!
Listen, Asomugh is a fine player, I just don't think he's a "game changer".  Asante Samuel, his partner now in Pihlly.  He's a game changer.  Asumogh is just a real good cover corner.  Case in point.  I know he saw the fewest passes in the NFL the last 2 seasons, but over his last FOUR dude has only had 1 interception.  ONE!    No, "right place right time".  No "deflections".  Just 1 freaking pick!  Again, I'm not saying the guy can't cover, he's made it well known that he can.  I just don't think he's going to have nearly the impact that a lot of fans, and apparently all of his free agent suitors do...

We'll see.  I'd like nothing more than to be right so I can tell all those Cheez Teds what they can do with their greasy meat tubes.  Then again, I'm not so sure I wanna see that.  Instead I'll just hope that either A) I'm right, and their defense underwhelms OR B) Their defense is ill, and they make it all the way to the Super Bowl...where Albert Haynesworth (if he's still on the roster, God willing) eats Michael Vick, and the Eagles lose to the Patriots (AGAIN) in the Super Bowl.  Yeah, that would work, too.  And if someone on the Eagles starts puking again, maybe due to seeing one grown man eat another, then that would just be tops.  And if the puke were made of that gross cheez steak...OK, OK, now I'm just fantasizing...

So there you have it, friends.  Took a look at the Sox, the Pats, a few greasy Teds, and now I'll leave you to finish off your week and enjoy another Summer weekend.  I for one will be partaking in a delicious pig roast, so be very jealous.  Unless you too, are going, in which case I'm sure I'll find another way to make you jealous while we're there.  Just make sure you don't bring a 6 pack of Erik Bedards.  That would make things far too easy on me...

Be good, Teds.  And I'll catch you on the flipman...

Teddy Williams...




Derek & The Teds said...

I will also be attending the Ted Pig this weekend. Or would it be a Pig Ted... Hey there Pig ted! Yup, I like that one better.

Great analysis on the switch up of the 3-4 to the 4-3 D Rooch. Never quite understood why you would run one of the other beyond personel.
I also agree that the Ryan brothers are great for football. Although I HATE the J.E.T.S, teds, teds, teds. I do very much enjoy listening to the fatman talk ever since last year's HBO special.

I still do not know how to say Nnamdi Asomugh's name but I am getting there. I was thinking of taking the Eagles Defense second in my fantasy draft this year now.......

Brett Ferruccio said...

Yeah, now you should just take the Pats D. Unless of course TJ Duckett is on the board...

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