Posted on: May 9, 2009 4:42 pm
 

Is there hope for this rotation?

The Phillies' biggest problem so far this year has been the starting pitching.  Going into today's games, their starters are dead last in the majors with a team ERA of 6.45, almost a full point higher than the 29th-ranked Red Sox (5.58).  The starters have also pitched fewer innings than any other staff in baseball, putting a heavy workload on a bullpen already missing one of its key components in J.C. Romero.  True, part of this is due to occurrances like Cole Hamels having to leave 2 starts early due to freak injuries, but it's mainly due to the performance of the starters.

Cole Hamels:  After missing most of spring training and his Opening Day start due to his elbow injury, and the resulting lack of sharpness in his first couple of starts, he's looked good in his last 3 starts (2 of which he left early due to the aforementioned freak injuries).  Last night against Atlanta, he was lights out for most of the game.  His location looked great and his changeup was totally on, especially in the first couple of innings when there was as much as a 10 MPH difference between the changeup and his fastball.  He's gotten off to a rocky start, but he'll most likely wind up with 15-18 wins and an ERA in the high-2.00s or low 3.00s, and he'll be going deeper into games as the season goes on.

Brett Myers:  I'm disappointed in what we've seen from him so far.  True, he's got the best numbers on the staff, but that's really not saying much at this point.  He's not as bad as he was before he was sent to AAA last year for a tuneup, but between the way he pitched when he came back, the fact that he dropped weight during the offseason and came into camp in great shape, and is in a contract year, i expected him to come roaring out with a monster season.  Hasn't happened so far.  Well, we could look at the bright side: if he keeps pitching like this, it won't cost the Phillies a lot to bring him back.

Jamie Moyer:  I'm a pretty regular listener to 950 ESPN, and Moyer's been getting hammered by public opinion more than National League bats this week (if you can believe that).  He definitely looked like the 46-year-old that he is in his start against the Mets this week, and while he hasn't been great this season, that's really the only one he's been torched in.  Don Tollefson brought up a good point about Moyer on his show this morning: he's one of those pitchers (like Greg Maddux), whose success depends on the umpires giving them the corners.  If the plate is getting squeezed, they're in trouble, and Moyer's run into a couple of umps like that during his starts this year.  All pitchers go through slumps, and if you look at Moyer's career, he's no exception.  During his career, he's been in worse spots than he is now, and he's managed to pull himself out.  If he doesn't break out of this by mid-June, i'll be worried.

Joe Blanton:  Blanton's going right now against the Braves, and through the first 3 innings, he's looking pretty good.  He had his best start of the season so far last Monday night in St. Louis, and he got off to a brutal start with Oakland last year before being dealt to the Phils, so hopefully he's coming around.

Chan Ho Park:  Honestly, i wasn't thrilled when they signed him this offseason.  He's only posted an ERA under 4.00 once since 2001 (last year as a middle reliever with the Dodgers), and even when he has been a starter, he hasn't hit 200 IP since 2001.  If you look at ability alone, i almost wonder why the Phillies ate the rest of Adam Eaton's contract AND are paying Park (except for the fact that Eaton complained about being bumped to the bullpen when he was getting shelled in 5 out of 6 starts and was by far the most unpopular Phillie here since arguably the Steve Jeltz-Juan Bell days).  He pitched great against the Mets the other night, but he's been bad the rest of the year.  If there's a change in the rotation, i think he's the first to go.

But what do they do?  The drumbeat for J.A. Happ has been getting louder all season, especially to replace Park or Moyer, but he's obviously not going to be more than a 4th or 5th starter at the major league level.  If he couldn't beat out Eaton in 2007 or 2008, or Park in spring training this year, don't hold your breath about him being your savior in the rotation.  Kyle Kendrick has turned out to be my worst fear: a Bruce Ruffin redux, a mid-season call-up who comes in and pitches great as a rookie, exceeding any expectations, then disappears into obscurity.  They have no pitchers in the high minors who are close to being called up and able to contribute, like Atlanta with Tommy Hanson, or Florida with David Price.

That leaves a trade as an option.  They really don't have any prospects to give up, and MLB doesn't allow teams to trade draft picks like other sports, so tyring to pry a good starter from a rebuilding team for prospects really isn't an option at this point.  There's the salary-dump/fire-sale option, which could be really interesting this year with the economy being the way it is.  I've never been a big fan of renting players, because that blows up in your face as much as it helps.  Well, we'll start seeing what's out there in about a month or so as teams decide if they can compete both on-field as well as financially.  Should get really interesting really soon.
Posted on: May 9, 2009 10:48 am
 

The Union? MLS Philly Could've Done a LOT Better

So MLS Philly has announced the name of the expansion franchise that will begin play next season...the Philadelphia Union.  They chose the name "Union" due to Philadelphia's role in the founding of the country, as well as the labor movement. 

Why they would want to do ANYTHING to link themselves to labor unions blows my mind.  While unions were once a good and necessary thing in this country, they have become as evil and corrupt as the corporations that they claim to stand up to.  In many ways, they've become corporations themselves.  And the damage that the unions have done in Philly far outweighs any good that has been done lately.  For example:

--A big reason that the city is in such dire financial straits are the excessive salaries, benefits, and pensions for the public employees unions (which should be outlawed anyway)
--The city has lost millions in business over the years due to excessive union regulations, territorial disputes between unions, and the "cost of doing business with the unions" (ie bribes and kickbacks)
--Philadlephia has a wonderful Election Day tradition of union goons tearing down campaign signs of opponents and threatening (and sometimes attacking) campaign workers and voters who support their opponents
--The unions have bought their way into city government and the city's Democratic Party (which has monopolistic control of Philadlephia) in order to get no-bid contracts and other benefits, costing the city millions of dollars over the years.

So yeah, I really want to be associated with THAT.  As far as acknowledging the city's role in the founding of the country, I would have much preferrred it if they had referenced the American Revolution.  The name Revolution would have been my first choice, but unfortunately it's been taken, and MLS is not the CFL (with their Sabercats and Saber Cats).  I would've been happy with two of the other names being thrown around, either Independence or Freedom, or working the name "Athletic" into it, in honor of the Philadelaphia Athletics.  Apparently they decided against Independence because they were afraid that newspapers would shorten it to "Indies", which i have no problem with (I mean, is anything taken away from the Yankees, Red Sox, Canadiens, or Celtics when they're refferred to as the Yanks, Sox (or Sawx), Habs, or Celts)?

And unfortunately, they're also going with an American-style sports name (location followed by nickname) as opposed to a traditional soccer-style name, such as Athletic FC (football club), or Indpendence AC or Freedom AC (athletic club).  One of the great moves that MLS has been making over the past few years (along with bringing top European teams to take on the MLS All-Stars instead of a traditional All-Star game, and building small, soccer-only stadiums) is the push to give their teams traditional soccer club names (FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, Chivas USA).  So they dropped the ball there, too.  It just could've been done SO much better.
Category: Soccer
Posted on: May 7, 2009 1:11 am
 

was i wrong about THIS guy

Like all sports fans, i have my opinions about moves that my team makes.  Some moves i like.  Some moves i hate (like pretty much EVERYTHING the Broncos have done this offseason except signing Brian Dawkins).  Sometimes i'm right, other times i'm wrong.  While i'm more than happy to brag about the things that i was right about, i'll also man up and admit when i was wrong.  This is one of the latter occasions.  The subject: Shane Victorino.

After the 2007 season, the Phillies had a choice to make: re-sign CF Aaron Rowand, or let him leave via free agency.  If Rowand went, the Phils would plug Shane Victorino into CF, and try to find another OF through free agency or a trade.  I wanted them to keep Rowand.  The guy had just come off an All-Star season, and while it was a contract year for him, he's not the kind of player who only goes all-out when he's playing for his next paycheck.  I didn't think Rowand could ever be "THE guy", the one you can buld a lineup around (which he's proven in San Francisco), but he proved that as a complimentary player in a stacked lineup like the Phillies have, he could put up big numbers.  He also proved that he's definitely a Philly-type player willing to run through a wall to make a play (or at least into one).

On the other hand, my opinion of Shane Victorino in the fall of 2007 was a little different.  I thought that he was a nice player, better suited as a role player either off the bench, or as a part-time player.  He's fast, and has a great arm, but i just didn't think he could get on base consistently enough to play every day, or be able to stand up to the rigors of being an every-day player.  And by putting Victorino in CF every day, they lost the ability to bounce him between CF and RF, necessitating the need for another OF.  The Phils decided to sign free agent Geoff Jenkins and platoon him and Jayson Werth in RF.  Yes, at the time, i felt it was the wrong move.  And yes, i was wrong.

Victorino has become the spark plug in CF that the Phillies have lacked since Lenny Dykstra (when he was healthy).  He played really well last year, and he's playing even better now, on pace to hit .307, with 27 HR, 128 RBI, 20 SB, and 155 runs scored.  He's also started to come through in clutch situations.  Meanwhile, Jayson Werth has proven that he's fully recovered from the wrist problems that he suffered while playing for the Dodgers (if you have any doubt about how badly wrist problems can affect a hitter, look at Derrick Lee).  When Victorino went on the DL early in 2008, he had a chance to play every day, and played so well that by the end of the season he was the starting RF.  He too is on pace to have an even better season than he had in 2008. 

So yes, i was wrong about not re-signing Aaron Rowand, but with the way 2008 turned out, i'll be more than happy to take my lumps for it.
Posted on: May 2, 2009 1:00 am
Edited on: May 16, 2009 9:27 pm
 

Why I love fantasy sports

Why do i love fantasy sports?  there are a bunch of reasons...there's the competition factor.  Bonding with friends through competition and trash-talking.  I love sports.  I've always been interested in the front office/player personnell and league administration side of sports (which comes in handy since I'm a Sports Management major).  And it frees me from suffering the brainless moves made by idiot owners, GMs, and coaches of teams that I'm a fan of (this is ESPECIALLY true right now since I'm a Broncos fan).  In fantasy sports, I'M the idiot owner/GM/coach.

I'm involved in many different sports, at different levels of interest.  Yes, i go as far as playing Fantasy NASCAR and Fantasy Premier League (English soccer for those who don't know), but with them, I'm at the level where i'll go check my lineup and the standings each week, but i don't do much more than that.  I'll do like the Tournament Pick 'em and playoff fantasy football on CBSSports.com, but for me, they're at the same level.  Make the picks, and hopefully i'll do good enough to win some cash.

Football, baseball, and hockey are different matters, however.  I orignally started playing fantasy sports in the early 90's, when i tracked everything myself, including pulling stats from the paper every day.  The leagues were all keeper leagues, and they all folded in 1995.  In the late 90's/early 2000's, i started to get back into it, playing in throwaway leagues on Sandbox (when it was a free site) and Yahoo!, and well as a commissioner league on Sportsline in 2000.  Then in 2005, i decided to restart MY leagues.  With the football and hockey leagues, i brought back the league names, as well as my first team in each league, doing what the NFL did with the Browns and treating the leagues like they were suspended for 10 years (with baseball, i just did that with my team, and not the league itself). 

For baseball, we have an 8-team keeper league, featuring disabled lists that have up to 6 players during the regular season, 25-man rosters, and minor-league rosters which we can keep up to 5 players on.  I write a 126-game regular season schedule and pull the scores every day (much better than pulling ALL the stats).  The schedule is written with home teams and away teams scheduled (for tiebreaking), and teams play in 3-game series.

In hockey, it's set up the same way.  The regular season is 76 games long, followed by the divisional playoffs and the finals.  It's a keeper league with 22-man active rosters, and an IR that holds up to 6 players.

Football is where it REALLY gets serious.  The league is IDP, and we start 22 players total.  We have 15 bench players, practice squads of up to 5 players, and an IR that expands to as many as 8 players during bye weeks.  The owners in all the leagues picked a city to base their teams in, and weather is a factor in the games.  We also do something called the Franchise Championship, which combines a team's on-field performance with a bunch of off-field factors taken into account such as payroll, attendance, and sales of tickets, merchandise, etc., to determine the overall best-run franchise in the league.  One of the things i strive for in my leagues is to give them an element of realism, and i do that in the way that they're run.

I know that there are some people who DESPISE fantasy leagues, and i've never really understood that.  There are the ones who say that they don't like it because it makes you root against your "real team".  I could see where they're coming from with that, but honestly, if one of my fantasy players are up against one of my "real teams", i'll root for my player to do good, but i still root for my "real team" to win.  There are other people who think it wrecks sports somehow, but i don't see that either.  If anything, i think it gets people MORE into sports, like gambling does (although for a better reason).  I think that, as a sports fan, it lets me get involved, and burn off some of the competitive energy i have since the days of being able to go outside and play a sport every day after school are long gone.
Posted on: April 26, 2009 9:51 pm
 

Broncos' 2009 Draft

this is just brutal...a continuation of the black hole this once-great franchise has found itself in since the end of last season...

i think Moreno could be a good NFL back, but he was NOT the pick to make here...i dont know that he's all that much better than some of the RBs drafted after him...and let's not forget that out of the 15 RBs the Broncos had on the roster going into the draft, while i wouldnt pencil any of them in for a trip to Canton as anything besides a paying customer, they have some decent backs...Selvin Young and Peyton Hillis played well before getting hurt, and Shanahan was pretty high on Torain, who never got to do much because of injury...and living here in Eagles country, i've seen Buckhalter's entire career close up...the Birds were really high on him, but 2 season-ending knee injuries allowed Westbrook to become the man here...but when Buckhalter was put in the game to spell Westbrok, he played pretty well...my point being, with ALL the other holes on this team, both inherited by and created by mcdouchebag, RB was not a concern that early in the draft...

it's been well-documented how bad the Broncos' D is...as much as i love high-scoring, offensive football, defense wins championships (as we saw up-close-and-personal last year)...and when you pretty much have to rebuild everything outside of Champ Bailey and B-Dawk, you have to start with the front 7, especially the D-line...instead they went from the other direction (when they even bothered to address the defense, that is), drafting only 1 LB and NO D-linemen...mcdouchebag has had a bug up his ass about Scheffler since day one for whatever reason, so he'll be gone after this year, but Richard Quinn in the 2nd round?  a guy who had 12 catches in his college career?

and then trying to come up with his own Tom Brady or Matt "Career Benchwarmer" Cassell by drafting Brandstater in the 6th round?  even IF that guy gets to the point where he can compete against the likes of Kyle Orton or Chris Simms for a starting job, you're looking at 2-3 years out...do you REALLY want Orton or Simms as your starting QB for that long?

don't even get me started about getting a 2nd round pick this year for what most likely will be a top-10 (or possibly top-5) pick next year...i'm ready to put my fist through the wall over that one...seriously, WTF!?!?!?!?!!?!!!!  i think i saw that in an episdoe of Leave it to Beaver, where Eddie Haskell gave The Beaver a shiny new quarter for a raggedy old $10 bill....

mcdouchebag is big on his 'system', but honestly, i cant figure out what the hell it is...it just seems to me like he's pulling stuff out of his ass because he has no clue what he's doing...i mean, he does realize that you generally only have 2 RBs on the field in an offensive formation, and 4 DBs in a standard defensive formation, right?

you look at where this team was 4 months ago, and obviously the defense needed to be laid waste to with an H-bomb and completely rebuilt (with the exception of Champ)...as much as i love Shanny, i could see the side of the argument about why he should've gone...but consider the fact that with an AVERAGE defense last year, this team wins 11-12 games and the division...now, 4 months removed from the end of the season, the defense is only incrementally better (because let's face it, it couldn't have been much worse), and now the offense is completely trashed...and the worst part of it all is the fact that it's not a case of you know we'll suffer this year, but things will be better next year...i don't get that feeling at all...i feel like in mcdouchebag's attempt to turn our team into the Denver Patriots, we wound up with the Rocky Mountain Raiders...i just have 6 words for you all:

2010 Broncos' Head Coach Bill Cowher...
Posted on: April 13, 2009 7:21 pm
 

a part of my childhood died today with Harry...

on this sad day....

wow, where to start?  i found out at about 2:30 or so when i logged onto cbssports.com and saw that yellow "Breaking News" box at the top of the screen...as i read it, i had the same exact reaction i had that day in September 1997, when i logged onto the Yahoo! home page and saw the headline about Richie Ashburn dying: i literally just gasped really loud, like my breath got taken away...ive been watching the game off and on today, and even with them talking about it, and showing clips, i dont think it's sunk in yet...

i love baseball, and i love the Phillies, and ive been a huge fan ever since i first got into sports when i was like 8, but i gotta admit, watching the games, and listening to them on the radio, just hasn't been the same for me since Richie died, and i think it'll be even worse now...i grew up listening to Harry and Richie calling games...it was one of the things that signified summertime to me...i remember playing baseball or home run in our backyard, or on Atari or Nintendo, and when we hit a home run, we'd do Harry's "Outta heeeeeeerrrrrree!" call...or me and Dan, my best friend growing up, would do our own version of his Mike Schmidt home run call whenever Schmitty would seemingly always pop up in a crucial situation: "Pops-him-up, Mich-ael Jack Sch-midt"...one of my favorite calls was his call of Schmitty's 500th home run...another one was the call at 4:40 in the AM one July day in 1993, at the end rain-delayed doubleheader, when the Phillies won, "On a game-winning hit by Mitchie-Pooooooo!!"...there were so many, though...

i'm just glad that Harry actually got to call the World Series win last year...a lot of you may not know this, but even though he was the play-by-play announcer for the Fightin's in 1980, he didn't actually call any of the games due to baseball's broadcasting rules at the time, which forbade the team's announcers from working postseason games (an idiotic rule which was later changed, in large part due to Harry not being able to call the Series)...and it's hard to believe that when he first came here in 1971, before he was the voice of the Phillies, he was unpopular with fans, because he was the guy who replaced Bill Campbell, another legend (still with us) in Philadelphia sports...when NFL Films lost John Facenda, known as "The Voice of God", if there was anyone who could come close to filling his shoes, it was Harry Kalas...

like i said before, listening to Harry and Richie call the Phillies games was a BIG part of summer for me...just the back-and-forth they had in the booth, especially when they'd do the trivia question...it was always great when the answer would be Richie...it's usually go something like this:

Harry:  This player led the National League in batting in 1955.
Richie:  How 'bout that Stan Musial?
H:  IN-correct.
R:  How 'bout that Duke Snider?
H:  Again, IN-correct.
R:  How 'bout that ME?
H:  Correct Whitey, you led the National League in hitting in 1955.

Then Richie would tell some story about his playing days...the two of them announced for some BAD Phillies teams, but they always made you want to watch...i miss that so much...this sucks....

anyway, i started a new tradition in the Ashburn League (the fantasy league that im commish of) last year (which was borrowed from the Red Sox) of posting the beginning of "The Green Fields of the Mind", by Bart Giamatti, on the last day of the season:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone. "

thanks for everything Harry...you will be missed... 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 2, 2009 5:06 pm
 

Give me Cutler, or give me death

To everybody from sportswriters and ex-QBs who don’t even qualify as “washed-up” because they are “never-weres” (I’m looking at YOU, Tim Hasselbeck), and everybody in between who says that Jay Cutler is a crybaby and the Broncos are better off without him, you are WRONG.  You’re talking about trading a 25-year-old, Pro Bowl franchise QB who has a cannon for an arm, who just came off a season leading his team to the # 2 ranking of all offenses in the league (with a revolving door at RB due to injuries).  In what universe does it make sense to trade this guy for Matt “Career Benchwarmer” Cassel?  If guys like Cutler are so easy to find, and he’s so much of a problem, then how come at least 10-12 teams have contacted the Broncos about acquiring him?

 

Oh, because he’s a “crybaby”, and pouting because they talked about trading him.  The history of pro sports is filled with great players who didn’t exactly have a great, friendly personality (and yes, there have even been a few criminals from time-to-time—shocking, I know).  Well, maybe it’s me, but if I’m anywhere in management on a team, from the owner down to the assistant coaches, I’d rather have guys who’d get pissed about me talking about trading them than a steady drumbeat of players who can’t wait to get out the door.  When the story about the trade for Cassel broke, if I was Pat Bowlen, Cutler’s reaction actually would’ve actually given me a sense of pride that I’d built my franchise to the point where my star player was seriously upset about the idea of trading him, and I would’ve stepped in right there to fix it.

 

People say, “it’s a business, and he has to get over it”, which is true.  As much as I’m on Cutler’s side in this (100%, for the record), he definitely could’ve handled this better on his end, and he does have to accept the fact that in pro sports, anyone can be traded (except a baseball player who is 10/5 or has a no-trade clause, or an NBA player who can’t be moved due to his contract and the NBA’s ridiculous salary cap rules).  At the same time, I don’t blame him for being pissed off, and worrying about where he stands with the team.  The head coach who drafted him and built the offense around him gets fired, but Bowlen says, “Jay’s our guy”.  Jeremy Bates, the QB coach, was let go even though Cutler specifically asked that he be kept on.  (Let’s take a minute here to remember that when it comes to coaching or player personnel moves, the franchise players aren’t necessarily asked for their opinion on a move, but are kept in the loop by management, and this pretty much goes on across the board in all sports, so, no, I don’t think that Cutler was being unreasonable when he asked if Bates could be kept on).  Cutler meets with McDaniels and they start to go over the playbook, and McDaniels tells Cutler that he’s excited to work with him.  Then, on the day Cutler leaves for Nashville, McDaniels is on the phone trying to trade him, and Cutler finds out from sources outside the Bronco organization.  Then, they bring in a scrub QB in Chris Simms, who’s thrown 2 passes in 2 years, as a backup who’s making more money than Cutler, the Pro Bowl starter.  Do you blame Cutler for being pissed, and for feeling that he can’t trust McDaniels, especially considering who his former employers are, and their reputation for less than above-board tactics?  I’ve been in situations where I’ve done great at my job, but my bosses come in and undercut me, and speak out of both sides of their mouth, and you know what, it sucks, and I was pissed, and got to the point where I couldn’t trust them, so yeah, I understand where he’s coming from on that.

 

But THAT’S why he’s a crybaby, and the team is better off without him?  Because he got pissed off when they weren’t honest with him?  If that’s the WORST you can say about this guy and his behavior, please, I’ll take him, and more like him.  It’s not like he did something selfish and careless by breaking his contract and riding his motorcycle into an SUV (Roethlisberger); says that he wants his contract torn up and extended (even though he’s over 30, with a history of injuries)—but only if you bring in better players on offense, otherwise don’t bother renegotiating (McNabb); got convicted of torturing and killing dogs and running an interstate gambling operation over it (not even going to mention that piece of sh**’s name); went to Cancun with his girlfriend the week before a playoff game—which he lost (Romo); or cares more about his “game” than his game (Leinart).  You never hear about Jay Cutler getting caught running someone down while they were DUI, or failing a drug test, or getting arrested on weapons charges. 

 

And I have to wonder, with all the people who are saying that “It’s a business, he needs to get over it”, how many of these same people rip a player for leaving a team he’s spent his entire career with in order to play for the highest bidder, and call him a mercenary and bemoan the fact that there’s no loyalty in sports any more, and that the players are only in it for the money?  Loyalty works both ways.  The Broncos created this mess by not showing loyalty to Cutler.  This might be McDaniels’ attempt to assert control over this team, but how many players in the locker room are thinking to themselves, “If they treated our franchise QB this way, how am I going to be treated?”  While loyalty should not be the be-all end-all when it comes to personnel decisions, it just makes sense to me that if a team shows loyalty to it’s players, most will be loyal back to the team.  Teams that operate this way are generally more successful, often times the atmosphere is so good that players are willing to give them a hometown discount, freeing up money for other moves, and you become an attractive place for players to want to go, be it through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

 

If Jay Cutler’s biggest crime is expecting the Broncos to show the same loyalty to him that he’s shown to them, and being pissed when they didn’t, then give me a team full of Cutlers. 

 

Posted on: March 25, 2009 12:37 am
 

Cutler vs. McDaniels

            I have been a Broncos fan for 25 years.  They were my second favorite team until that dark day in January 1991 when the Eagles fired Buddy Ryan.  I’ve been a fan through The Drive, The Fumble, 3 Super Bowl blowouts, Dan Reeves almost trading John Elway, the Elway-Reeves-Mike Shanahan drama, Head Coach Wade Phillips, the arrival of TD and the Mile High Salute, that crushing playoff loss at Mile High to second-year Jacksonville in 1996 (which I managed to block from my mind for 10 years until I saw it again on ESPN), 2 Super Bowl titles, the retirement of John Elway, an offense that could turn anyone into a 1000-yard rusher, a team that can put 30 points on the board while giving up 35, and the firing of Mike Shanahan.  I gotta say, with everything that’s happened with this team since the end of the season, the last time I was this disgusted with a team that I was a major fan of was when the Eagles fired Buddy.  There’s plenty of blame to go around, too.  One thing that everyone needs to keep in mind, though: there’s only a handful of people who know exactly who said what, how they said it, and who started what, so as much as I've been following this, there’s obviously areas I don’t have all the information on.

 

Jay Cutler:  Cutler needs to accept the fact that he’s still under contract to the Broncos for 3 more years, and depending on what’s in the new CBA, they might be able to keep his rights even longer by franchising him.  He also needs to accept the fact that it is a business, and that star players sometimes get traded.  If Cutler wants to get back at the Broncos for even CONSIDERING trading him for Cassel, he should come in, start learning the offense, and put up numbers in 2009 that it would take Cassel 2 seasons to reach.  No matter where he goes, he won’t find a better situation anytime soon than he’ll find in Denver.

            At the same time, you can’t blame him for being pissed.  When Pat Bowlen fired Shanahan, he said, “Jay’s our guy”.  He’s a guy who can be a top-5 QB in the NFL, a franchise passer who has the potential to be a Hall of Famer.  He’s a Pro Bowl QB who was going to be traded in a move that is a downgrade at the position no matter how you look at it.  And Cutler’s detractors are so quick to throw out the 17-20, never-won-a-playoff-game record, but Cutler’s job is to run the offense and put points on the board, and he’s done that.  The Broncos’ offense was one of the best in the league last year.  But their defense (which is not his responsibility in ANY way) blows, and gives up points faster than the offense can score them.  Break his record down farther: when the defense gives up less than 30 points, Cutler is 14-7; when they give up 21 points or less, he’s 13-1.  Doesn’t sound like a loser to me.  For comparison, a poster on the Denver Post website came up with the records of a few select QBs in games where their defenses gave up more than 30 points.  Here’s the list:

 

Tom Brady 5-8 (.384);

Peyton Manning 9-25 (.265);

Joe Montana 6-17 (.261);

Kurt Warner 6-22 (.214);

Jay Cutler 3-13 (.188);

Steve Young 4-19 (.174);

Ben Roethlisberger 2-10 (.167);

Brett Favre 8-42 (.160);

Terry Bradshaw 4-20-1 (.160);

Donovan McNabb 3-16 (.158);

John Elway 7-41 (.146);

Phyllis Rivers 1-8 (.111);

Jake Plummer 4-37 (.098), 0-10 w/the Broncos;

Troy Aikman 2-20 (.091);

Eli Manning 1-16 (.059);

Matt Cassel 0-4;

 

The Denver D gave up 30+ points 9 times in 2008; the only other QB that even approached numbers like that was one season when Indy gave up 30+ 7 times, and the Peyton-led Colts lost all 7 games.

 

I don’t know, seems like some pretty good QBs with some pretty crappy records when their defenses have shitty games.  And there are reports that more than 10 teams are interested in talking to the Broncos if they decide to trade him.  Obviously, he’s not THAT bad of a QB then.

 

Cutler should be in camp right now learning this offense, but these are voluntary workouts, and if the team is treating him as just any employee, he’s going to act like any employee and not attend the voluntary workouts.

 

Josh McDaniels:  Most of the blame for this lies strictly on him.  WHY in God’s name would you even CONSIDER trading a franchise QB for Matt Cassel?  I understand that when coaches take a new job, they’ll bring some players with them from their old team, but does he need THAT much of a safety blanket that he’d make that trade?  I don’t know, maybe he got spoiled by having Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady in New England, but franchise QBs aren’t that easy to find.  Ask the Lions, Bears, Vikings, Jets, 49ers, and Titans, among others.  There’s only one reason I’d think about doing that, and that would be if Cutler was the one great player on a horrible team, and you could pull off a Herschel Walker deal to rebuild your team.  But Denver isn’t that bad.  They’re a .500 team with holes, but any holes they could fill by making that trade wouldn’t make up for the gaping hole under center that trading Cutler would create.  Without Cutler last year, that team wins between 2 and 4 games.  With an average defense, they win 10-12 games. 

            And whatever happened with the trade talks, fucking man up and tell Cutler the truth.  Don’t tell him how excited you are to work with him, then turn around and talk about trading him when he flies home to Nashville the SAME DAY, and then try to lie about who started the talks.  Cutler’s main problem with this is that he’s felt lied to and disrespected, and I can’t exactly blame him considering where McDaniels has come from.  Even today, during the interviews that he was forced to give under NFL policy, he said “Jay’s our quarterback, but….”.  No buts.  Again, this idiot doesn’t fucking get it.  Then again, he’s NEVER been a head coach, not even in Pop Warner.

            That brings up another problem with him—his demeanor, attitude, whatever.  I don’t want my team run like the fucking Patriots.  I want to win, but there are other ways to win, and do it honestly, and with class.  In the last few years, look at the Steelers, or the Colts under Tony Dungy.  And while Bill Belicheat is a scumbag, his coaching tree (Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Al Groh, Nick Saban, and McDaniels) doesn’t exactly have the record of success of Bill Walsh’s coaching tree (Mike Holmgren, Jim Fassell, San Wyche, George Seifert, Dennis Green, Mike Sherman, Steve Mariucci, Mike McCarthy, Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, Jeff Fisher, Brian Billick, Andy Reid, Ray Rhodes, Jon Fox, Gary Kubiak, Jack del Rio, Mike Smith, Brad Childress, John Harbaugh, Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith, and Mike Tomlin, among others).

            McDaniels needs to fucking wise up, swallow his fucking pride, and fix this, as it’s a mess of his own doing.

 

Broncos management:  Pat Bowlen, who’s generally been one of the best owners in the league since he bought the Broncos 25 years ago, is fucking up BIG TIME here.  First, he fired Mike Shanahan because he wanted to take control of his team back, and “be more involved”.  Apparently, Shanahan was so involved in running the team that he was making decisions without informing Bowlen, including extending the contract of an assistant coach without telling the owner. 

            Part of his plan after firing Shanahan and restructuring the team’s front office was to take personnel duties away from the coach and give them to the general manager, but the only times I’ve ever heard GM Brian Xanders’ name mentioned was to say that he was present, as in “Pat Bowlen, Jay Cutler, Josh McDaniels, and Brian Xanders were present at the meeting”.  Between that and the fact that McDaniels is the only one talking about discussing trades with other teams (when he’s forced to talk about anything by the league), it really seems like he’s calling the personnel shots and Xanders is just an empty suit.

            So with all of Bowlen’s talk about being more involved with the team, what did he say to reporters last week when asked about the situation: he’s not getting involved.  What the FUCK?!?!  He’s also being pissy because his old buddy Jay isn’t returning his phone calls either.  He needs to step up and get these 2 together to straighten this out. 

 

Bus Cook:  Cutler’s agent.  If this is a ploy to get a new contract out of the Broncos (like has been reported in some places), it has to be one of the stupidest moves an agent has made since the Rosnehaus Plan to get more money from the Eagles for T.O.  Some people are comparing it to the Brett Favre situation last year (since Cook was his agent), but they’re totally different situations.  Getting Cutler shipped to Detroit is NOT in the best interest of his client.

 

            That’s what I have to say about it now.  I’m sure there will be more as events develop.

 

 

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
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