Wednesday, September 30, 2009
What else is there to say? Carl Pavano, to put it lightly, struggled. The Twins aren't going to win much when their starter gives up 7 runs, especially with the lineup they've have to use due to the Morneau and Crede injuries.
Scott Baker takes the ball tomorrow, and he'll be charged with staving off elimination. A loss tomorrow eliminates the Twins from postseason contention.
And if you think that's depressing, wait until you see the future payroll obligations, which I'll detail in a few weeks.
2010 doesn't look so bad, so long as you don't mind the same rotation, minus Pavano, coming back (not a great idea, but defensible), the bullpen being filled internally (a good idea), and the lineup likely featuring Danny Valencia at 3B (a bad idea), a cheap veteran like Orlando Cabrera at SS or 2B (a defensible idea), and one of Nick Punto/Brendan Harris/Alexi Casilla/Matt Tolbert starting at the other middle infield position not filled by the veteran (a facepalm-worthy idea). That's what's affordable for about $80 million, gang. And $80 million would be a pretty significant payroll increase, even with the new stadium opening.
But 2011? You want to extend Joe Mauer for what's going to be a $25 million per year contract? Get ready for a team featuring Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Span, Gomez, Baker, Blackburn, Slowey (or Perkins, or Liriano, or a veteran starter making roughly $4-$5 mil a year, take your pick of one) and a bunch of guys who either aren't on currently on the roster or who will still be making the minimum. That's assuming an $80-$85 million dollar payroll.
And keep in mind, the Twins farm system kinda sucks right now, at least in terms of players in the upper minors who are MLB ready. So the replacements for rotation spots, the infield positions that aren't first base, and guys like Cuddy will probably have to come from outside the organization through trades. And nobody's giving up anything of value for guys like Delmon.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Hey, look: meaningful baseball's still being played in Minnesota. We haven't talked about that in awhile.
The Twins and Tigers kick off a four game set tomorrow, with the Twins likely needing to take at least three out of four games in order to have a chance at the postseason. After this series, the Tigers have a three game home set versus the White Sox, while the Twins come home to face the Royals. Unfortunately, Zack Grienke's scheduled to pitch in one of the three games.
Minnesota enters the series two games behind Detroit. The pitching matchups are as follows:
Monday: Blackburn (MIN) @ Porcello (DET)
Tuesday: Duensing (MIN) @ Verlander (DET)
Wednesday: Pavano (MIN) @ Bonine (DET)
Thursday: Baker (MIN) @ Robertson (DET)
The Twins have a clear advantage in the Monday and Wednesday matchups, and they need to take both games if they hope to win the required 3 out of 4. Facing Verlander on Tuesday is tough, even with how well Duensing's been pitching; making Tuesday's game against a pitcher of Verlander's ability a must-win is inviting disappointment. Scott Baker's always kind of hit or miss, but Nate Robertson's not exactly great himself. Hopefully, Baker pitches well Thursday and the Twins can take that game without much trouble.
We'll keep this post up through the week for any and all discussion of this series.
And I'd prefer not to talk about football right now. On Saturday, this happened. Then on Sunday, this happened, and this happened. All of which made me want to do alot of this
HT for pic
Friday, September 25, 2009
Due to a large workload this week, I didn’t have as much time this week to read all of the usual suspects in dipshittery. Sure, I was able to get to the big names – Simmons, King, Easterbrook, etc. But I missed out on the lesser names who put forth spew moronic shit – you know, Pete Prisco, Gregg Doyel, Clark Judge, Jason Whitlock, etc. So I can’t, in good conscience, give you an in-depth breakdown of Shit You Learned From The National Pundits This Week.
Instead, you’ll be subjected to a one-time only feature entitled….
Shit I Learned At The Bills Game Last Week
Yep, that’s right. Last weekend, I went to Buffalo for a Bills game. I hadn’t been to Buffalo in about 9 years, and I hadn’t been to a Bills game in Buffalo in about 15 years, back when I didn’t know what all the old men were talking about when they called Lonnie Johnson a shit-eating pussybasket. So this was kind of a new experience for me.
Since I don’t see any of you ever traveling to Buffalo for a football game – after all, if you want to watch mediocre football while seated amongst fat white people, you can just go to the Metrodome, TCF Bank Stadium, or the GldnKnight's house – I’ll try to portray exactly what watching a game in Buffalo is like. And I’ll do so with pictures, and without boring you with personal stories. Because they’re lame, and it’s not like anyone’s ever going to find the body anyway, so you wouldn't have any context.
A Bills game at Ralph Wilson Stadium is the closest thing I've seen to a college football atmosphere in an NFL stadium. I’ve been to the Metrodome, the Superdome, the Georgia Dome, Jacksonville’s stadium, and Dolphins Stadium (or Land Shark Stadium, or Jimmy Buffett’s Road Beef Stadium, or whatever it’s called now). And each of those stadiums feel sterile. Sure, they get loud at moments, but the seats are so far back from the field, and everything in the crowd is so controlled, that watching the game isn’t any kind of special experience. There's no excitetment in the crowd, no electricity in the air. Half the time, it feels like a damn study hall.
Watching a game at the vast majority of NFL stadiums doesn’t compare to watching a game in a big college stadium, which is fucking awesome, primarily because of the in-game atmosphere.
Well, Ralph Wilson Stadium has seats that are packed in pretty fucking tight, and they’re kind of right on top of the field. And the stadium is loud, and it even shakes a bit when a big play happens. And the Stadium never goes quiet, like it does at the 'Dome or Land Shark stadium, even during commercial breaks. Watching a game at the Ralph is more like watching a game in a college stadium than in a sterile NFL stadium.
Of course, the Ralph's not as nice, either. I’m willing to bet TCF Bank Stadium (let alone any new NFL stadium) blows Ralph Wilson Stadium away in terms of gadgets, food options, and overall cleanliness. But who fucking cares about that shit? Country club assholes who give their kids names like Landon and Ashton, that's who.
Anyway, to the brief picture show. I'm well aware that you’re not interested, because slideshows of other people's travels are fucking lame, but I do have many more boring photos. You can click the pictures to enlarge them. I think.
This picture perfectly captures Buffalo: an old, worn down factory and property that’s so worthless it can’t be given away. If you like North Minneapolis, you’ll LOVE Buffalo.
This is the outside of the Buffalo Bisons’ stadium. It’s actually a nice park, and I think it used to be the Twins’ AAA affiliate. Whatever. It's also a brief glimpse of the exciting area that is downtown Buffalo.
What you see here is two individuals walking on the sidewalk, with a case of beer under their arm, and drinking in front of law enforcement personnel, who did nothing but laugh.
There is such a thing as embracing your conference championships a bit too much.
This is a typical tailgate scene outside the stadium, except that these dipshits didn’t tie down their tent, and it flew away when a helicopter flew by. Also, that girl in the #51 jersey was the most attractive girl at the game, and probably in the city limits.
Some chumps bought an ambulance and painted the Bills logo on the side. The sirens still work. They drive it to games and grill on the engine. Buffalonians don’t have a lot going for them in life.
I bought seats in the 6th row in the corner of the end zone. The face value on these tickets was $60. Buffalo may not have many positives, but holy shit do they have cheap tickets. A season ticket package in the lower bowl is going to cost you around $1100 for two tickets. Sure, you have to watch the Bills, but that’s still a tremendous deal.
Also: the guy in the #15 jersey clearly fails life.
This was the view during the game. Again, $60. If ticket prices are going to stay that low, I hope Buffalo's economy never recovers. Now that they're on the verge of having the option of free healthcare, those people don't need jobs anyway.
Ronde Barber is my new favorite NFL player. Before the game, some jackasses were yelling at Barber while he warmed up. It wasn’t overly creative stuff, although a couple of the digs at him for being less famous than Tiki were amusing, but it also wasn’t racist, so, hey, small victories. Anyway, Barber, after completing a rep in the M drill, comes over and shakes the guys’ hands, talks to them, and basically tells them to keep bringing that shit because he’s going to shut them up, except he does so in a highly entertaining, self-depricating way. It was fucking awesome. Ronde Barber, creative shittalker. Didn’t expect that from him.
The GldnKnight served as FOX’s sideline reporter for the game.
Some military veterans were in attendance. During pre-game warm-ups, Kellen Winslow decided to acknowledge his fellow soldiers. That's also Jerramy Stevens in the background (click the picture to enlarge it). To my knowledge, he did NOT rape anyone.
Terrell Owens mugged for the camera. A little. You can see him on the far right, with the red hat on backwards (again, click to enlarge). He was the only guy to come out of the tunnel without his helmet on, and whenever he was warming up and a camera crew was nearby, his demeanor changed. Shocking, I know. I didn't get a picture of them, but those girls who "manage" him were also at the game. Unfortunately, I saw them, and drinking a liter of bleach has yet to remove the image from my memory.
All that said: I wore a T.O. jersey (and a fucking bandana) to the game, so I probably shouldn't be throwing stones at any other douchebags. You know, the whole don't-throw-stones-while-you-live-in-a-glass-house/pot-calling-the-kettle-black thing.
Byron Leftwich: not very good.
The place was rocking after Lee Evans’ early touchdown catch.
T.O., before he did anything notable.
Marcus Stroud’s a big dude, and when he tries to fire up the crowd, the crowd listens.
Eric Moulds, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, and a bunch of other old Bills were in town for the induction of Buffalo’s 50th anniversary team. Nearly all of Buffalo’s past greats were in town, with the exception of Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, and…
O.J. Simpson, who is still on the Wall of Fame. I wonder what he’s up to these days?
Regionally Televised Games This Week:
San Francisco (+7) over MINNESOTA
Brett Favre still can’t throw deep, which could be a problem eventually. And it may this week, because the 49ers have the defense to at least slow down the Vikings’ running game.
But it’s tough to envision San Francisco scoring enough points to win this game. The Vikes should be able to stack the box; with their defensive line, that should be enough to render Frank Gore fairly ineffective. Are you trusting Shaun Hill to win a tough road game? I’m not. But will I trust Brett Favre to cover against a tough defense? Nope.
Pittsburgh (-4) over CINCINNATI
Jesus, I can’t fucking believe this is the late game we’re getting in Minnesota. I have no desire to watch this game. I have no desire to talk about this game. Yes, I know the Bengals won last week, and it was adorable. But they won’t be able to protect Carson Palmer this week, and the Bengals won’t be able to run against the Steelers’ front.
Yeah, maybe Pittsburgh won’t run away with this game. Cincinnati’s defense is better than it’s been before. But that doesn’t mean this game will be interesting.
Indianapolis (+2.5) over ARIZONA
Neither Indianapolis nor Arizona have beat anyone of note, but when in doubt I’ll take the team with the better QB and better defense, especially when they’re getting points. This could be one of those games where each team goes over 400 yards of offense, yet the game is never really close.
Indianapolis probably has the running game to keep the Cardinals off the field enough to win the time of possession battle, and the Colts’ pass rush will probably force Warner into at least one turnover.
Carolina (+9) over DALLAS
Blech. This game sucks too. Carolina’s suddenly porous run defense will be worn down by the Cowboys’ ground game, even if Marion Barber can’t play. Tony Romo won’t have a chance to fuck up this game. The Cowboys may give up some points, though, because they’ll struggle to stop Carolina’s ground game. The Panthers cover, but the outcome is never really in doubt.
NEW ENGLAND (-4) over Atlanta. Something may be wrong with Brady, at least mechanically, but I’m still taking New England at home against an overrated Atlanta team.
Cleveland (+13.5) over BALTIMORE. I have little faith in Cleveland, but that’s a lot of points to leave on the board.
Green Bay (-7) over ST. LOUIS. Huge bounce back game for Green Bay – St. Louis can’t stop anyone, and they can’t protect Marc Bulger.
Jacksonville (+4) over HOUSTON. One more week before I concede the Jaguars blow.
Kansas City (+9) over PHILADELPHIA. If R. Mexico were under center, I’d take the home team, but I’m not taking Kevin Kolb.
N.Y. Giants (-7) over TAMPA BAY. Byron Leftwich isn’t mobile enough to elude New York’s pass rush, and the Giants should have no trouble moving the ball against a young Bucs defense.
Tennessee (+3) over N.Y. JETS. Desperation’s a stinky cologne, but desperation is a great reason for betting on a team.
DETROIT (+6) over Washington. So long as Matt Stafford can limit his crucial fuck ups to three or fewer, the Lions can win this game.
Chicago (-3) over SEATTLE. Jay Cutler should put up big numbers against a Seahawk defense that’s riddled with injuries.
BUFFALO (+6.5) over New Orleans. Buffalo has enough offense to keep this close, but they won’t outscore the Saints.
OAKLAND (+2) over Denver. Kyle Orton on the road? Fuck that noise.
SAN DIEGO (-6) over Miami. Chad Pennington has maybe one more week before he’s benched, and Ted Ginn may not be far behind.
Fuck You, Guy:
Kenny Phillips’ doctor.
Why the shit would he inform Phillips to play? I don’t have any attachment to Phillips, but the whole story behind this seems retarded.
Ill-Advised Fantasy Advice of the Week:
Start Lee Evans.
I know exactly what you're doing right now. ""Oh, more Bills shit.' *makes dismissive wanking motion*." And I kind of don't blame you.
Yes, Lee Evans is one of the most frustrating WRs to own, but this week the Bills play the Saints, meaning the Bills will probably throw the ball 45 times. Expect Evans to have a big game going against Jabari Greer, a corner Evans abused in practice while Greer was in Buffalo.
Shit That Will Piss Me Off This Week:
The Vikings starting 3-0.
I saw a guy wearing a Brett Favre Vikings jersey the other day. Up to this point, my day was all skittles and beer. This man was walking on the sidewalk, minding his own business. But upon seeing this goddamn cockchugger in a Favre jersey, I immediately went into a fit of road rage and wanted to run over him with my fucking car. Repeatedly. While his entire family watched, cried, and begged me to stop. At that moment, nothing would have made me happier.
I think I have a problem.
Retarded Prediction of the Week:
The Detroit Lions win a football game against an NFL team.
Washington hasn’t been overly impressive this year, and the Lions seem much better than the 2008 winless squad. Calvin Johnson should be able to find room in the Redskins’ secondary, and with the way Jason Campbell’s been playing, if the ‘Skins fall behind early they won’t be able to play catch up. Even against the Lions.
Monday, September 21, 2009
They should, but dear Jesus I hope they don't. The video - scroll ahead to 1:30:
If you can't get video at work, the exchange:
Reporter: Jacory, when the last time you had that kind of protection?
Jacory: Last night.
If you can't get video at work, the exchange:
Reporter: Jacory, when the last time you had that kind of protection?
Jacory: Last night.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Shit You Learned From The National Pundits This Week:
I should really just wait until I see Simmons’ column, because that’s a goldmine for trash, but we’ll go with what I’ve seen so far.
Every single 0-1 team's season is fucked.
Since we’re dealing with a one game sample size, everything from Week 1 is typically blown out of proportion. The worst offense, of course, is looking at Week 1 as if it’s a more worthwhile indicator of future success than any of the season’s other 17 weeks. Unfortunately, this happens EVERY GODDAMN YEAR. People rush to conclusions based on one week of play; most of the time, these conclusions end with writing off teams that suffer losses. Which is a fucking terrible idea.
Tennessee is not fucked. Miami is not fucked. Jacksonville is not fucked. Washington is not fucked. Buffalo is not fucked. All five of these squads lost to tough opponents on the road.
Arizona is also not fucked. Yeah, they lost to an average San Francisco team at home, but every team gets mulligan games.
Everyone else? Well, yeah, they may be fucked, but outside of Carolina and Chicago, none of them had high expectations anyway. And Chicago’s more fucked because of their injuries, and Carolina because, well, they may not have a QB. Speaking of Carolina's QB...
Jake Delhomme’s done.
You know, it is possible to rebound from a poor two game stretch. Really. Delhomme’s not the first good QB to have two consecutive abysmal games, and he certainly won’t be the last. Hell, Kurt Warner had a few awful seasons and he came back to be a Pro Bowl QB.
That said: would I bet on Delhomme turning back into the QB he was three years ago? Hell no. Have you SEEN that guy play? I'd rather have Spergon Wynn start than the current version of Delhomme.
Dallas is better without TO.
Dallas played the Bucs. Yes, they threw the ball well. Yes, nobody cursed at Tony Romo on the sidelines. Yes, nobody tried to kill themself as a cry for attention.
But they played the Bucs. When Dallas plays a team with an NFL caliber secondary, they’ll miss Owens, because Roy Williams isn’t beating any double teams.
Brad Childress: still a steakhead.
Actually, this is dead on.
When you’re a huge favorite who’s clearly more talented than your opponent, you don’t need to take unnecessary risks, such as starting the game with an onside kick. The last thing you want to do is give the other team any early momentum, which, you know, may happen if you give them the ball on your 35 yard line to open.
Good Lord, that kick was fucking moronic. Even Les Miles questioned Bradford's decision-making process.
San Francisco’s a legitimate contender in the NFC West.
The 49ers still can’t throw the ball, and Frank Gore couldn’t even run it against the decrepit Cardinals’ defense. When they flash the ability to make big plays on offense, I’ll start to get on board.
Philadelphia's the best team in the NFC.
Jake Delhomme handed them the game. With the way Delhomme was playing, no team would have lost to the Panthers on Sunday. Well, except for the Rams, Lions, and Browns.
Drew Brees is the MVP favorite.
He played the Lions.
Adrian Peterson is the MVP favorite.
He played the Browns.
Brett Favre is the missing link.
Again, he played the Browns. And outside of a nice deep throw to Sidney Rice (I think it was Rice) along the sideline, he didn’t really do anything that Tarvaris Jackson couldn’t have done. Well, except for have fun out there.
Bills fans are fucking idiots.
Yeah, this is true.
Regionally Televised Games:
Cincinnati (+9.5) over GREEN BAY
This game is on TV? Jesus. I’m glad I’m out of town this weekend.
Green Bay didn’t look great last weekend, especially on offense. And for as good as the Packers played on defense, Jay Cutler was gift-wrapping interceptions to them all game. His interceptions weren’t the type where DBs made great plays; he was hitting the Green Bay DBs in the chest. It was a very Grossman-esque performance from Cutler.
Still, the Packer defense held up pretty well against the run. And the offense was good enough to score against a decent Bears defense, so they shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring against the Bengals.
Cincinnati…well, they suffered a soul crushing loss to Denver. Sure, Denver sucks. But Cincinnati’s still good enough to cover here. They'll score enough points for this to finish as a one possession game.
Pittsburgh (-3) over CHICAGO
If Cutler thought he was going to have trouble throwing on Green Bay, wait until he sees Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s secondary may not be as good as Green Bay’s, but the Steelers should generate more of a pass rush than Green Bay did, and Chicago’s offensive line isn’t exactly stellar. Jay's going to spend most of the afternoon running for his life and helplessly lying flat on his back - just like how a date with Colonel Cool usually goes.
Pittsburgh can also limit the mediocre Chicago WR corps, and the Bears offensive line won’t be able to open many holes against the Steelers’ front. Chicago’s going to have trouble scoring more than 17 points unless they get some points off special teams or defense.
Chicago lost Brian Urlacher to a season ending injury. Which hurts. But even with Urlacher, the Bears defense wasn’t great. They don’t have much of a pass rush, the secondary is getting older, and, without Urlacher, stopping the run is dicey. Pittsburgh shouldn’t have trouble moving the ball on Chicago. Expect Pittsburgh to cruise to a surprisingly easy win, and for everyone in Chicago to PANIC.
DETROIT (+10) over Minnesota
The Vikings played pretty well last week. Adrian Peterson was a monster. Percy Harvin made some plays. Brett Favre didn’t throw any back-breaking INTs. The defense made Brady Quinn look…well, like Brady Quinn. Which means gay, of course. But still: the Vikings played the Browns. Who suck.
Granted, the Lions blow too. They couldn’t do anything to stop Drew Brees. But they did score 27 points, partially proving they actually have some weapons on offense. They’re not that bad.
And, really, I don’t trust the Vikings to cover a 10 point spread on the road. Against anyone. This team is coached by a jerkoff who opened the season with an onside kick. You think he’s a sure bet to have his team prepared for what’s an obvious letdown game against a shitty team?
New York Giants (+3) over DALLAS
Both New York and Dallas head into this game with 1-0 records. But the Giants actually beat a decent team last week, whereas the Cowboys beat the Bucs. And the Cowboys were, heading into the season, probably a weaker team than the Giants. One week hasn't convinced me that the Cowboys are suddenly some kind of juggernaut. They’re likely an 8-8 team, while the Giants are a 10-6 team that should pressure Tony Romo into mistakes and run the ball at will.
So long as Eli Manning doesn’t fuck anything up, New York covers and wins outright.
Indianapolis (-4) over MIAMI
The Colts looked solid last weekend. Their defense looked like it could *gasp!* be at least an average unit, and the offense wasn’t bad. But the offense also struggled to move the ball at times against a Jags defense that, well, isn’t a juggernaut itself. And without Anthony Gonzalez, the Colts may struggle to move the ball against teams that can shut down Reggie Wayne. The Dolphins aren’t one of those teams that can shut down Reggie Wayne. Miami’s secondary is their Achilles Heel. Well, at least on defense. Provided he gets at least average protection, Peyton Manning should have no difficulty topping 300 yards and 3 TDs.
For the Dolphins offensively, Chad Pennington and the entire WR corps are the Achilles heel. In fact, they’re more like an Achilles lower body. Miami has the ingredients for a solid running game, but if Pennington can’t take pressure off the running backs, Miami will struggle to move the ball on the ground.
JACKSONVILLE (-3) over Arizona. For at least one more week, I’m on the Jaguars bandwagon.
Carolina (+6) over ATLANTA. Betting on Atlanta looks like the classic “wow, this is too easy” game of the week.
TENNESSEE (-6.5) over Houston. Tennessee should have no trouble ramming the ball down Houston’s throat all afternoon, and their defense could put Matt Schaub in the hospital.
New England (-4) over NEW YORK JETS. The Jets are pretty good, but Belichick will have some tricks to confuse the rookie Mark Sanchez enough for the Pats to win this game by a touchdown.
PHILADELPHIA (-1) over New Orleans. New Orleans still has no defense, and they aren’t facing the Lions this week.
Oakland (+3) over KANSAS CITY. Kansas City narrowly lost to Baltimore on the road, and they get Matt Cassel back this week.
WASHINGTON (-10) over St. Louis. Marc Bulger’s done, so the Rams can’t score enough to cover this spread.
SAN FRANCISCO (-1) over Seattle. Seattle’s offensive line injuries kill them this week.
Tampa Bay (+5) over BUFFALO. Agonizing loss + injuries to key starters + off-the-field distractions + short week = letdown game where the Bills don’t cover.
DENVER (-3) over Cleveland. Denver’s going to start 3-0 on the way to a 4-12 finish.
Fuck You, Guy:
The Carolina Panthers Front Office.
Carolina’s wasting an awesome running game and Steve Smith by giving Jake Delhomme $20 million in guaranteed money. Granted, Carolina’s a pretty boring squad to watch, even when Delhomme’s good. But I’d still rather see them win the NFC South than the fucking Falcons. And gross stupidity should be chastised, not rewarded.
Seriously. $42.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed, for Jake fucking Delhomme. Even Bush and Obama administrations are laughing at that display of fiscal irresponsibility. (Hiyo! *high fives self*)
Ill-Advised Fantasy Tip of the Week:
Start Derrick Ward.
Buffalo lost their MLB, Paul Posluszny, for about 6 weeks. They’re replacing him with an undersized LB who’s never started in the NFL and who isn't any good. And he went to Vanderbilt. Which is also where Cutlerfucker went, along with one of my friends from high school. Judging by those two, I can guaran-fucking-tee you that Marcus Buggs, Posluszny's replacement, is also a HUGE jagoff.
Plus, in actual football news, Tampa’s got a good offensive line, and they’re likely to be run-heavy against a Bills team with an undersized front seven and good secondary.
Ward should get plenty of carries, and he’ll probably break at least one long run. He’s a perfect play in your #2 RB slot.
Fake Mailbag Question of the Week:
Q: Hey, dmk: Are the Bears in trouble?
A: Yes. Yes, they most certainly are.And not the cool kind of trouble that happens in porn, where the sexy prison guard comes to "teach you a lesson" while wearing nothing but lingerie, high heels, and a cop hat and twirling a baton.
No, Chicago's in real trouble. The Bears have already lost their best defensive player for the remainder of 2009. Last week, Jay Cutler looked awful. The WRs couldn’t get open. The offensive line was dicey. The pass rush wasn’t great.
Now, some of these problems can, and will, be corrected. Cutler will undoubtedly improve, and the young WRs will only get better with experience. But the offensive line isn’t improving overnight; they’re old, and it doesn’t seem like they have any guys who should immediately get better. And the pass rush is the same way; the defensive line is only getting older, and defensive ends aren’t something that gets better with age.
Chicago won’t be an awful team, but without Urlacher the defense isn’t much better than average. And the offense can’t carry them to much better than 8 wins.
Shit That Will Piss You Off This Week:
Denver starting 2-0.
Denver’s going to kick the shit out of Cleveland this week, and they’re probably going to start 3-0. Their schedule is perfect for it.
And then we’ll all get to hear about how Josh McDaniels was right, and Jay Cutler was a team cancer (or some other bullshit), and Brandon Marshall’s kicked that habit of beating his girlfriend because he found Jesus or something, and Barrel Man (who I met at Super Bowl 33. I can tell you from personal experience that Barrel Man is an asshole who actually believes he’s some kind of big deal) will reappear on national television and Christ I’m ready to stab someone.
Retarded Prediction of the Week:
Carolina upsets Atlanta on the road. Off the wall? Check. Unlikely? Check. Against all reason and logic? Check. Yeah, that seems retarded enough for me.
But Carolina actually has the running game to keep the Falcons’ offense off the field, and Steve Smith should be able to break free from the Atlanta secondary. Whether Carolina wins depends largely on whether Delhomme can get Smith the ball. For one week, I’ll say he can.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
For this week's edition of Droppin' the Anchor, I felt a preview of Saturday's contest at TCF Bank Stadium between Minnesota and Cal would be appropriate. After all, it's not very often that a top-10 team from outside the Big Ten comes to town to take on the Golden Gophers. In fact, it has been twenty years since a Minnesota team played host to a top-10 non-conference opponent. And no, it was not the 84-13 anal pillaging by Nebraska at the Dome. That was in 1983, but it was a 48-0 thrashing by the Cornhuskers in 1989.
To make things more amusing, the ranked opponent is the Golden Bears of California and the game is being played at brand-new TCF Bank Stadium now being called, "The Bank", for shorthand. If there ever was an appropriate place for a public "Golden Shower", I think Saturday at the Bank would be it. Come to think of it, that act would be a christening of some sorts for TCF Bank Stadium, kinda like this was a sendoff for the Metrodome. Get your tickets ASAP, dmk!!
As far as the game is concerned, the two-touchdown underdog Golden Gophers welcome the Golden Bears to Dinkytown fresh off a 20-10 win over Air Force. If any of you attended or watched last week's victory you know the performance left a lot to be desired for Minnesota, especially offensively. And although quarterback Adam Weber led Minnesota on three scoring drives of over 65 yards, it took until the 13:41 mark in the final quarter for the Gophers to find the endzone. Considering this might be the Gophers' toughest test of the season, the attack will have to be much sharper and less predictable than what has been shown out of Jedd Fisch's new offense. If the Gophers do start slow this week against the eighth-ranked Golden Bears, they could be staring at an insurmountable halftime deficit.
One other area to watch in this contest is Minnesota's running attack and it's ability to control the clock and keep the Golden Bears' offense off the field. Thus far, the Gophers are averaging almost four yards per carry on the ground in their first two games, but they have only attempted 56 total carries. California's defensive gameplan will likely revolve around stopping Weber and go-to receiver Eric Decker in the passing game, forcing the running game led by backs Duane Bennett and DeLeon Eskridge to pace the Gophers. A solid running game is imperative to this squad's 2009 success, as an realiable rushing attack will do wonders to open up the already prolific passing game. This needs to start Saturday for the Golden Gophers or else Cal's defense will cause fits for a one-dimensional passing offense.
California comes to Minnesota off two convincing victories in Berkeley over Maryland and Eastern Washington. This will be their first road contest of the season, and the Golden Bears will attempt to end their current four-game road losing streak which dates back a September victory at Washington State in 2008. In fact, the Bears have lost eight of their last nine road contests. Because of their road woes and the fact that kickoff will fall at 9 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, head coach Jeff Tedford and his staff decided to fly the Bears to Minnesota a day early, as they arrived earlier Thursday.
Needless to say, the key to this game is how the Minnesota defense handles the offensive firepower of California and its Heisman Trophy candidate running back Jahvid Best. A junior, Best has been named to the Pac-10 first team for two consecutive seasons and was third in the FBS in rushing in 2008. He is undoubtedly one of the premier, if not the premier tailback in the country and has gotten off to a blistering start this season. He has rushed for 281 yards in his first two contests and has four total touchdowns. The best way for Minnesota to slow Jahvid Best and the Cal running game is to use their size advantage and plug the running lanes which Cal will attempt to create. That way, it should force Best to have to change directions and hesitate before hitting a potential opening at full speed.
If somehow, the Gophers were able to shut down the Bears' shifty running back, they will still have to contend with quarterback Kevin Riley. Riley, also a junior, now has twelve career starts and has appeared to overcome his inaccurate arm which plagued him at times last season. Through the first two wins over Maryland and Eastern Washington, Riley has completed 30 of 46 passes with five touchdowns and no interceptions. If he can consistently complete 60 percent of his passes every game, the Bears should be in great shape at season's end.
AJR26's Outlook: I'd love to tell you I think the Gophers have a real chance at upsetting Cal, but to be honest I don't think there's a chance in hell. Cal will get on top early and then coast to a 14 to 20 point victory.
Pick: Golden Bears 38 Golden Gophers 21
FCS: Texas State at #15 TCU
Bobcats 7 Horned Frogs 39
Division II: #17 Wayne State (NE) at #8 Minnesota State-Mankato
Warriors 38 Mavericks 41
Division III: #1 Mount Union at #7 Ohio Northern
Purple Raiders 30 Polar Bears 15
Monday, September 14, 2009
As stated in my Droppin the Anchor season preview, I do not have access to Microsoft Word on my laptop. Couple that with the fact that I am going to Europe in a week and you can see why I have been seriously lacking in my Metrodome Experiences Countdown. I apologize for those of you that care. For this post, I will kill two birds with one stone and combine my eighth and seventh best moments from the Big Inflatible Toilet.
Metrodome Moment #8: Kent Hrbek's Number Gets Retired - August 13, 1995
I'll be honest with you and say that I do not remember much of this game. The Angels were very good that season and it was on the eve of their September meltdown. The Twins were really bad and we were sending our rookie stud named Brad Radke to the mound. We lost a close game, but the real reason my family and the other 37,000 plus were at the game was to honor Kent Hrbek the day his jersey was retired.
My eldest sister was and always will be the Kent Hrbek fan in our family. For some reason, I always liked Twins' catchers growing up, but for as long as I remember her favorite player was the Bloomington native. Needless to say, this was not a game we were going to miss. Sunday morning after church, the five Rossow's trekked up to the Dome for what turned out to be a very nice ceremony to honor Mr. Hrbek. His ceremony and jersey retirement is definitely worthy of a spot on my top Metrodome moments.
Metrodome Moment #7: Twins 6 Yankees 2 - July 29th, 2000
This is the only game on my list which is memorable for something other than what happened during or pertaining to the actual game. At this time, I was in high school, and prior to the season a few of my buddies and I decided to go to Twinsfest. As I remember, Twinsfest was offering a free, upper club ticket to ANY game during the 2000 season with paid admission to the pre-season festival at the Metrodome. Since the price to get into Twinsfest was a few bucks less than the cost of an upper club ticket, we decided to make a trip to the dome to get a ticket to a Yankees-Twins game for the regular season.
For people that have not followed or been fans of the Twins for the duration of the last two decades, that is what the organization used to do. Tickets to games against the Red Sox, Yankees and Brewers were not charged at a premium level, rather they were given away for basically half-price to a bunch of high school kids. The game was on a Saturday evening in July, so we decided to orchestrate a pregame rendovous at the local Dairy Queen, where most of us (including myself) worked during the summer. While at DQ, we busted out some poster paper and acryllic paint to make a poster that could possibly get us on television. Being 16-18 year old guys we decided on these two signs, each painted on a poster the length of five seats:
Sign 1: "BERT'S BOYS"
Sign 2: "SELIG SMOKES BUD"
For the first few innings of the game, we were holding up both signs side-by-side to no avail. Then, at a certain point someone decided that if we were serious about getting on TV, that we needed to ditch the sign which referred to baseball's commissioner smoking pot. WHAT A BRILLIANT IDEA.
Bert Blyleven Drops the F Bomb Video -
The next half inning, all of us scrunched together and held the "BERT'S BOYS" sign just below our faces. Sure enough, the cameraman on the first base side of the field zoomed in on us and the red light on the top of his camera turned on. We were on! This was being circled by Bert before there even was a Circle Me Bert feature on every damn Twins game .
After being circled by Bert Blyleven immediately following the commercial break, this exchange (or something of the like) took place between Bert and play-by-play man Dick Bremer:
Dick - "Looks like you got some big boys in that group."
Bert - "You can tell there sure are some good eaters in that bunch, right there."