Daily Blog 2.0
Musings From The Hoodwood 8-19 NFL Preview Pt.2
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL

 

Greetings from the Hoodwood where the locals said a tough goodbye as we saw Princess Katie depart for Arizona. That’s the toughest part of my summer.

More of the NFL Preview Lets look to the South in order of predicted finish

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

2013: 11-5 Division Champs lost to New England in Divisional Round

Coach: Chuck Pagano 22-10 in 3 seasons in Indianapolis (23-12 overall)

Man on the Hot Seat: Trent Richardson is needing to assert himself as the team’s top running back with Ahmad Bradshaw pushing hard to take the

Fast Facts: The Colts have only missed the playoff once in the past 12 years

Pagano’s 22 wins are the most by a Colts Coach in his first two years since Tony Dungy

Hoosier Football: The Colts are the class of a very weak division, as long as Luck has his health, the Colts are the team to beat in the AFC South.

Tennessee Titans

2013: 7-9, Missed Playoffs

Coach: Ken Whisenhunt, 1st Season in Tennessee 49-53 overall in six seasons in Arizona

Man on the Hot Seat: Jake Locker has no more excuses, he is the starter and had better hit the ground running.

Fast Facts: The Titans five year playoff drought has matched their longest since they moved to the Volunteer state

Titan Talk: The Titans are a puzzle, no one can figure what structure their offense is supposed to be in. If they’re supposed to be a running team or develop a passing game under young Jake Locker. Ken Whisenhunt is a coach that can win, he made the moribund Cards fairly respectable but this team needs a direction and fast, if they start slow they could be watching the Colts gallop away fast

 

Houston Texans

2013: 2-14 Missed Playoffs (worst season since 2005)

Coach: Bill O’Brien 1st Season

Man on the Hot Seat: Ryan Fitzpatrick, the well-traveled vet has to fuel a turnaround of a team that has potential but fell hard under a bad season

Fast Facts: The Titans lost their last 14 straight games, the longest losing streak in Houston football history.

Lone Star Football: Bill O’Brien has to reconstruct a once up and coming franchise who just imploded badly last year and needs to get its collective mojo back, Matt Schaub got more or less run out on a rail and Ryan Fitzpatrick picks up the thread

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

2013: 4-12 Missed playoffs

Coach: Gus Bradley 2nd Season 4-12 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Chad Henne, how long he will he be able to keep the starting job with heir apparent

Fast Facts: The Jags are one of four teams to have never played in the Super Bowl

Life on the North Coast: I’m waiting for the Jags to LA talk to pop up again, with the Jags already headed to London again, the interest in this franchise has never been lower in its 20 year history and unlike the feline expansion cousin the Panthers they have yet to play for a Super Bowl and have no real franchise direction. Drafting local bred Blake Bortles is a nice step but will he spend his halcyon days in North Florida, SoCal or London?

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

2013: 11-5 Wild Card lost to Seattle in Wild Card Round

Coach: Sean Payton 73-39 in 6 seasons in New Orleans 79-43 overall

Man on the Hot Seat: Pierre Thomas, given the Saints pass happy offense clicked right back on with Payton’s return. Thomas must do enough to keep defenses honest

Fast Facts: The Saints have won 10+ games in each of Payton’s last four seasons

Big Easy Gridironers: The Saints are a dangerous team, if Drew Brees stays relatively hale this team can easily be playing in Arizona come February, blessed with a solid receiver corps and the indispensable Jimmy Graham at TE the Saints offense can put the points up. Their defense may be the most underrated in the game, if this team stays healthy I could see a deep run

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2013: 4-12 missed playoffs

Coach: Lovie Smith 1st season in Tampa;  84-66 overall in 9 seasons in Chicago

Man on the Hot Seat: Mike Glennon can he run the up-tempo offense that new coach Lovie Smith is implementing

Fast Fact: The Bucs play 3 late or prime time games in the season’s first 11 days then their remaining schedule is all 1p kickoffs

Bayfront Football: Lovie Smith takes over a team that was in full revolt after the disastrous reign of Greg Schiano and has plenty of young if unheralded talent at his disposal. Doug Martin looks to bounce back to his breakout status of 2012 after a poor 2013 that didn’t even have him lead the team in rushing, I like the Bucs to be a surprise team in the rugged NFC south

Carolina Panthers

2013: 12-4 Division Champs lost to San Francisco in Divisional Round

Coach: Ron Rivera 25-23 all in Carolina (25-24 overall)

Man on the Hot Seat: Cam Newton, after a solid season and getting the Panthers an unexpected division title he pressure is now on to keep the Panthers elite

Fast Facts: The Panthers 12 wins in 2013 matched a franchise high set in 1996 and matched in 2008

Marvin Lewis hold the team record for wins and losses

Big Cat Football: The Panthers took a massive leap in 2013 rolling to an unexpected division title by outdueling the Saints, but this scribe is still not really sold on the play of Cam Newton or the suspect running game. The defense is rock solid but I just see a team taking a step back here

Atlanta Falcons

2013: 4-12

Coach: Mike Smith 60-37 in 6 seasons in Atlanta, (61-40 overall)

Man on the Hot Seat: Steven Jackson came to the ATL in a hyped move but looked like a shell of his days in St. Louis if the Falcons want to be taken seriously he need to have a bounce back season

Fast Facts: The Falcons had a streak of 5 straight winning seasons, their longest in franchise history snapped with the 4-12 2013 campaign                                                                                                                                       

Mike Smith hold the team record for wins

Dirty South Pigskin: Injuries derailed the Falcons from the word go, and they never got on any kind of roll. A lack of a solid running game will hurt a good offense but the defense seems to have more questions than answers now. This is a deep and tough division and a team with that many questions on defense is in trouble from the jump and if Jackson is slow to comeback from a balk hamstring, you are asking too much from the redoubtable Matt Ryan.

Ill add more as the day goes. Until next post fellow sports fans…

 

 

 

FOOTBALL!
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Football FXFL NFL

Time has a great piece on why the Little League World Series is off to the greatest start ever

A rather unfortunate concomitant to the passing of Robin Williams is the fact that the Red Sox have not won on Ben Affleck’s birthday – August 15 - since the 1997 release of “Good Will Hunting.”   It just so happened this year was the 15th anniversary, but it just happened to be the same week his co-star committed suicide.   Just seems a little soon.   Of course, the odds really were against the Sox winning this year anyway.

With the Red Sox season in the tank, I couldn’t be any happier the NFL season is about to start.   

Now, never let it be said I’m wishing my summer away – I love summer – but with the Sox out of any kind of contention, the boy’s mind wanders to football.  I can watch any NFL game and be engaged.  I love the New England entry, but I actually care about what goes on elsewhere.  There’s only 16 games, so everything matters.  That seemingly arcane game now could be important later.

There’ll be an expansion of football this year as well – We all know Thursday and Sunday are NFL, and Saturdays are NCAA, and in some parts High School football takes up Friday nights – so where else can a football game fit in?

Wednesday.  For six Wednesdays in October and November a new developmental league will begin play – the Fall Experimental Football League, FXFL will have teams in six cities with the idea being to get the players some playing time that may get them some notice.  The first team to announce a logo and name is the Omaha Mammoths.  Now, I really have no idea how well this will go over, but I’m sure it will have more going for it than say the XFL – hard to know why they chose that unfortunate combination, just google FXFL and you’ll get a bunch of stuff on the doomed football  experiment.    He hate me. 

Maybe we should bring back “Mob Football.”  That would kick ass…because I’m not sure FXFL will.  Or we could all go skydiving.

In closing, I leave you with the World’s Funniest Joke – if only to pay a bit of a tribute to Robin.

 

NASCAR Update And Other Fast Stuff 8-17-14
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NASCAR Watkins Glen Michigan Tony Stewart ALS Bucket Challenge

                        

GET R DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNE GABBERS!!!!!! Yep. It's me again welcoming all you Gabbers and others to another one of my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. I love tractors. Would love to have one but I don't have a farm.  I haven't been down to The Buck to watch tractor sled pulls in a couple years. 

This sure has been a dark and miserable week. I'm still bummed about Robin Williams. There's been so much speculation on why he did it from depression to Parkison's diagnosis to money troubles. To me all these things are nothing to lose hope over. You deal with them. One at a time. It's life. But then again you have those nasty trolls on Twitter attacking his daughter Zelda. What did she ever do to deserve that? She suspended her social media accounts because of the trolls. Twitter has promised to look into troll controls and has suspended a few accounts over this.

We have some really mean ugly black souls spewing their blackness upon the world these days via the web. I watch a lot of You Tube videos and the one thing I hear a lot is the video makers complaining of those troubled individuals and how they go through and delete the negative comments so they don't overwhelm the page. Has the push to be so politically correct caused this negative back lash?

I know I'm sick of being sent to sensitivity, respect, peer to peer coaching and integrity classes at work. I think those classes inflame the situations further. I'm afraid to speak or show any emotions at work any more. Everyone is on hyper sensitive alert. It's almost like the end of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers (original movie) where everyone is pointing and screaming at the last remaining human. I feel just like that most of the time. 

ALS BUCKET CHALLENGE

One bright spot this week has been the ALS bucket Challenge. Not sure where it started but it's been fun watching the videos. Dale Jr is a Redskins fan. After practice this week linebacker Ryan Kerrigen and WR Pierre Garcon took their ice baths and challenged Dale Jr to do the same. So at Michigan he made a video in the garage area of him getting a bucket of ice dumped on him. He threw down the gauntlet to his crew chief Steve Letarte, Jimmie Johnson and Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Jimmie passed but said he'd write the check. Kevin Harvick made a video of him getting a bucket of ice water dumped on him by his wife. He issued challenges too. Sounds like a fun time.

KURT BUSCH SAYS HE"S INTERESTED IN THE DOUBLE AGAIN

This week he said he'd love to go through it all again next year. AND Michael Andretti has said repeatedly he'd love to have him come back to drive again. He feels that Kurt would become a favorite. A 6th place finish in a car you rarely drive is pretty awesome if you ask me. It will be great to see if Montoya can get his double set up for next year too. I would love to see both do it. It would be a first in history to have multiple drivers doing the Double at the same time.

STEWART FIASCO REVISITED

So like I said it's been a black week. Young Kevin Ward Jr was laid to rest Thursday and this Saturday the track where he died held a memorial for him and went racing per Ward Sr's wishes. He said his son would've wanted it that way. 

As for Stewart? He's not racing again this weekend. Jeff Burton will be stepping in. And there again it's been truely amazing the hatefulness and spewing of dark uneducated tweets and comments about Stewart and what happened. I know he's cultivated a tough guy image but he's not a homicidal maniac. I've read a lot. Some of those comments almost made me cry. A lot of the comments were from people who race or were there and gave good comments on what happened or how the cars react.

I know that these cars are set up to rock n roll as soon as you touch the throttle. They're light and go 90 to 120 mph. You steer by using your break and throttle together a long with the steering wheel. Most racers love these cars because they're so much zip, bang and drifting wow factor for the money. 

A comment from Cory Sparks a driver a couple cars behind Stewart said," From what I saw, Tony did everything in his power to turn down away from Kevin to avoid him. People say they heard the engine rev up and he gassed it. In a sprint car the only way to steer is with the rear wheel as much as you do the steering wheel. In my opinion what he did was he gassed it to turn down away from him."

I knew this is what I saw when I tried to explain the video. I thought he was using a combonation of the brake and gas but apparently only the gas. In another video it was put in slow mo and you can see the kid grab the wing of the car. This was just a really unfortunate turn of events. A young kid with hormones a blazing thought he was going to show everyone he wasn't taking crap from that NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

In reality he should've been looking to Stewart as an opportunity to show case his abilities to race with the big dawgs. After all he wanted to make it to the World of Outlaws. In that series as in NASCAR Nationwide, if you want better sponsorship or a better ride or to move up to Cup you get noticed by running up front and or beating the Sprint Cup interlopers on race day. Too bad this young man didn't see it that way.

Going forward I hope the parents find peace and understanding. I hope Stewart finds peace as well. I know he's deeply effected. Maybe something good could come from all this.

Dirt tracks around the Nation are instituting no getting out of the car rules. NASCAR has re-instated theirs. You may not exit the car unless it's on fire, smoke in the cockpit or fuel is leaking before the emergency crew gets there. It's a start.

                     

WATKINS GLEN RECAP

The Dinger wins. And what a trip it's been from a great ride at Penske to a drug test failure to a new ride on a lesser team. The single car team under dogs won. It was a battle between the Aussie Ambrose and the Dinger. Several restarts almost ruined his win. He even led 30 laps. The most of any one. The last time the #47 car saw a victory was back on March16, 1986. Jack Beebe owned the Buick that Morgan Shepherd drove to victory in Atlanta. 

Gordon was dominating the race when electrical troubles shut his car off and he ended his day 4 laps down. The Dinger got lucky.

7 laps in Harvick was in the pits because a bag full of bean bags used to bring the car up to weight came out from under the seat and got lodges under his pedals. This resulted in a $25,000 to crew chief Rodney Childers for not securing them properly. I thought only The Danica needed extra weight because of her small stature. If you picked her for your fantasy league last week you were rewarded with a 21st place finish. 

Lap 56 saw Newman go hard into the railing taking #95 McDowell with him. Both cars destroyed. Dale Jr claimed that car for his race car graveyard in his woods. This resulted in a 2 hour red flag while they fixed the railing.

With 9 to go Johnson goes around that makes it 3 weeks in a row the Danica finishes better than him. Scary.

All in all, a good race. Ambrose and the dinger gave us a great show. Congrats to the Dinger.

Top 15 finishers - Allmendinger - Ambrose - Ku Bu - Larson - Edwards - Logano - Harvick - Biffle - Kenseth - Vickers - Dale Jr - Kahne - Truex Jr - McMurray - Mears

MICHIGAN PREVIEW

Ok. Lots happening here. Ryan Truex who races in the #83 BK Racing Toyota wrecked big in practice. He was sent to the hospital and declared unfit to drive due to a concussion. JJ Yeley will sub for him.

Brother Martin Truex Jr was with his long time girlfriend Sherry Pollex while she recieved treatments for her ovarian cancer. He missed qualifying and practice. Matt Crafton of the truck series helped with practicing the car.

Michigan is a 2 mile track but it's fast. Usually long green flag runs that turn it into a fuel mileage race. They can go 5 wide at spots and they do. This track eats motors too. Last year Jimmie and Gilliland lost motors. 

Last years top 15 finishers - Logano - Harvick - Ku Bu - Menard - Bowyer - Ambrose - Kahne - Burton - Biffle - Edwards - Montoya - Keselowski - Newman - Stewart - Kenseth

Gordon - Has the pole again this week with a speed of 206.558 mph. Hendrick power. Top 10

Biffle - One of the fastest in practice. Top 10

Logano - Last years winner. He starts 2nd today. Barring any catastrophies...top 10

Ambrose - Is good at this track and usually finds himself in the top 10 at the end. I say yet again.

Larson - The rookie with the mostest. Top 10.

Ku Bu - Last practice speeds of 203.109 and 16th starting spot. If he don't self destruct...Top 10

Harvick - If the crew don't screw up, if he don't wreck and the levee don't break...top 10

Dale Jr - Starts 25th. That's a tall order to ask for a top 10 here but he's been extremely consistent this year. Gotta give it to him.

Keselowski - Starts 5th. Top 10

Edwards - Starts 3rd today. He's on a mission. Top 10

The Danica - Starts 14th today. Last year she was 21st and on the lead lap. Pretty good pick for this week.

Burton - Subbing for Stewart in the 314 if you need a semi cheap pick in your salary cap league. 

Johnson - Starts 30th today. Don't know what's going on with Jimmie but he's scaring me. 

Kenseth - Hamlin & Ky Bu are mired in 18th 21st & 24th. Ooo yuck

So it's to Michigan we go. Wishing all the Gabbers safe travels and happy grillin'. Did you here football is back? Not a rumor. It's true. Got to get my draft picks organized. Take care all.

And I'm outta here.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

Bad Penny is back, 8/16/14
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

Folks, let’s call last week what it was, a bunch of crap.  The death of Robin Williams, Ferguson, Social Media blowing up with hatred and ignorance and bullshit, insufferable talking heads everywhere spewing non-sense so much more so than normal, the ongoing Tony Stewart crap, and a sports talk media trying to lecture MLB on how to improve (yeah, like they have any business giving anybody  improvement advice).   

 “Gooooooooood-byyyyyyye Vietnaaaaam! That's right, I'm history... I'm outta here. I got the lucky ticket home, baby. Rollin, rollin, rollin'... keep them wagons rollin', rawhide! Yeah, that's right... the final Adrian Cronauer broadcast... and this one is brought to you by our friends at the Pentagon. Remember the people who brought you Korea? That's right, the U.S. Army. If it's being done correctly, here or abroad, it's probably not being done by the Army.”

--Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning, Vietnam), 1987

In this quote, “the people” in this quote is quite simply the media.  We can debate how Williams died and the other entire BS the media wants to yap about, but I choose not to do that here, only to say that he was one gifted entertainer, and that is how I will choose to remember him.  Well that, and his support of the military.  Hey Robin, In this world of foolishness and taking ourselves way too seriously, despite your own demons, you showed us through your humor that perhaps we should step back and just laugh, be silly on occasion, and more than that, be decent to one another.  Hey Robin, may you find peace!  May we in our lifetimes find peace, happiness, and a wonderful world:

Music.  Joe Bonamassa is starting to grow on me.                                  

Oh, sports?  Let's try some Baseball...

Baseball in general.  Hey, where has the art of the stolen base gone?

MLB – San Diego Baseball Franchise.  I was looking for something to write about baseball and I noticed this quiet little corner of MLB down in SD.  They’re 57-63 as of Friday, 7-3 in their last ten.  Here is a team that has played 120 games as of Friday, yet only five players have appeared in 90 games or more, and two more that have played 80 or more?  How the hell are they playing just below .500 ball with that kind of inconsistency?

It sure ain’t hitting: they’re dead last in team BA with a .226, and RBI’s (60 behind the two tied for second worst), and ranked #28 in HR.  In fact their RBI total is so bad, it is 102 RBI’s behind the MLB average (469 to SD’s 367).  The only guy who even remotely is having a good season is Seth Smith hitting .291 with 12 HR and 38 RBI.  Can somebody put out an APB for Jedd Gyorko (.196 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI) and Yonder Alonso (.240 BA, 7 HR, 27 RBI?). 

Pitching?  Guess who is #2 in MLB in ERA?  Yep, San Diego at 3.06 (Seattle is #1!).  They’re also in a three way tie for #3 in Avg (.234), #4 in HRs given up (86), #6 in WHIP, and #10 in team Strike outs.  Former Oakland A Tyson Ross is 11-10 with a 2.63 ERA with 160 SO and a .228 average, but Jesse Han is 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA with an average of .189 with a very low walk count and he holds it down into at least the 6th but mostly the 7th innings.

In the minor leagues, they seem to have a ton of pitching prospects, but not much else.  Their #1 prospect is a catcher struggling to hit in the minors, and at #6 seems to be some promise OF Rymer Liriano whose hitting .291 in 115 games down on the farm.  Other than that, everybody in MLB.com’s top ten is a pitcher and/or sitting at AA or below.  No real hope anytime soon.  Hell, I had to dig to #14 to find Reymond Fuentes at AAA batting .294 in 88 games.  No power, but he has more SB than most which isn’t much.

So what does San Diego do?  Well, considering Petco’s dimensions, they seem to be doing what they can, but with all the pitching talent they have stocked up on, it may not be a bad idea for them to start looking at going after some sticks.  

Oh, and to the San Diego Baseball franchise deserve props for?  Yeah, providing tix in the stadium for USN and USMC boot campers to attend a ball game.  Marching in and out of that place looks pretty cool.

 

Friday's Freakout with IHM
Category: Daily Blog 2.0

  Well folks, it's Friday morning and we have no post on the 2.0 side yet, so I'm going to go ahead and leave this here for a while...

  Football is on the way back in, with the NFL Preseason in full swing and college football just a few weeks away from kicking off. I don't know about you all, but I can't wait to see some games that count!

  With college football ready to have it's first playoff this year, which four teams do you see representing which of the power conferences? We all know no small schools are going to make it to the dance... but which big boy conference makes it there? Which ones get left out?

  Looking at the big programs and the schedules they have in front of them, I see Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma, and Stanford all taking a spot in the Football Final Four. That's right, no Big Ten... sorry guys. Ohio State loses one or two games, and Sparty does the same. As much as I'm rooting against Alabama and Florida State, I think they both run the table and take the one and two seeds. Oklahoma also runs the table, and Stanford takes the Pac-12 with one loss. Looking at the matchups, Alabama tops Stanford, and Oklahoma tops Florida State... then Oklahoma tops Bama to win the first NCAA Football playoff.

  So what are your picks, Gabbers? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.

  In Major League Baseball, Bud Selig's successor was named yesterday. It's the MLB COO Rob Manfred... who actually has a pair as opposed to Selig. Manfred wanted to go after Bonds, despite the absence of protocol between the Unoin and League, and force the Union to back up a cheat or allow a suspension to happen... but Selig opted to back out. Personally, I hope Manfred takes the Union to task every time it is possible.

  So with a new commissioner in place, I have this question for you... if you were named MLB commissioner, what rules do you change? What new rules do you put in place? Here's my list, but be sure to let me know what you would do in the comments below...

1. DH in both leagues. I know, I know, we want pitchers to be held accountable for beaning players, but I'm getting to that later on. Meanwhile, I'm not a fan of watching pitchers hack away when we could easily add a hundred points to the batting average of every #9 spot in baseball by getting rid of pitchers hitting. Sure, it's fun when a pitchers ends up getting a hit, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then.

2. If a pitcher plunks a batter and it results in injury, that pitcher is suspended as long as the hit batter is out. If there is no injury, take your base and STFU!

3. Only one Wild Card spot... the one game playoff is stupid and minimizes the regular season.

4. Best record gets home-field advantage. Same as with the one game playoff, having an exhibition for the fans determine something as important as home field in the World Series is just fucking ridiculous and minimizes the importance of the regular season. Stop the madness already.

5. Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe, etc., are all forgiven, and all eligible for the Hall of Fame. A new wing is dedicated to those who cheated or did something stupid to shame the sport... a Hall of Shame wing if you will. Displays will include one of Rose's betting slips, one of the needles Brian McNamee had laying around from his "buddy" Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds' caps from his days in Pittsburgh and his days in San Fransisco laid next to one another so the difference is clear, Mark McGwire's bottle of Andro, which was displayed prominently in his locker during the HR chase of '98... and so much more. Let them in... just don't forget what they've done to tarnish the sport.

6. No more writers voting for the Hall of Fame. Living Hall of Fame players/coaches/contributors will determine who joins their ranks... not the idiot sports writers who have made a joke of Hall of Fame voting in recent years.

  That's what I've got right now folks... be sure to add more rules in the comments below! Thanks for reading, and rejoice... it's Friday people!

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