Monday, October 31, 2011

Random Musings from Week 8

The lockout and subsequent new rules regarding practice are making Vegas odds-makers go crazy! Just when you think you've got a team pegged, they go and play the game of their life (ala the StL Rams) or play entirely craptastic for 45 minutes or so (ala the Balt Ravens). Here are a random collection of thoughts from the weekends games.

- What ever happened to the technique of form tackling most of us learned in junior high? I think a team that was just fundamentally sound could win the SuperBowl.

- The other technique that seems to be lost is the basics of playing cornerback. Backpedaling, staying over your feet and balanced, keeping one eye on the receiver and one on the ball, and reacting when the ball is in the air. It seems simple, and yet every week you see guys with bad technique get called for huge pass interference penalties. Terrible!

- Last year's QB draft appears to mimmick the trend of the last 20 years for QBs: about 50% hit and 50% miss. Cam is clearly a hit, Ponder looks like a hit so far (still wonder if he can stay healthy), and Dalton seems like a great bus-driver. Locker hasn't shown much (and I doubt he ever will) and Gabbert is lagging WAY behind his classmates. Total crapshoot! I am hoping to come up with a solid system for next year's draft.

- The Dolphins are the best 0-7 team I've ever seen. Their biggest issue is having an idiot for a head coach. If they want Luck, just keep Sparano. He'll guarantee to wrestle a loss for the jaws of Victory.

- This week proves that you can't take any team lightly. The Ravens, Giants and Saints all looked very lethargic in the first half of their games against lesser opponents, and got it kicked in and had to rally.

- Love the Rams in the throwback Blue and Yellow of LA. Apparently it worked for them too, and the Saints got scared and wet themselves.

- Joe Flacco is maddening. His intermediate accuracy is questionable, and his pocket presence is suspect. But he does rally well, and throws a nice deep ball (especially to Boldin). Glad I'm not a Ravens fan. But then again, I do root for Mark Sanchez (Good Grief!)

- I like Jack Del Rio and think he's getting a raw deal in Jacksonville. He has that defense giving all it's got, but his OC is terrible (only 13 runs by MJD!), and the lack of talent is on his GM. Hope Jack lands with a good organization on his next stop.

- Patrick Peterson is a badass! Looks like Zona has found this generation's Aeneas Williams.

- Let's take a look back at the 06 NFL Draft.
#1 Mario Williams - awesome player but without a position in the Texans new 3-4
#2 Reggie Bush - 2 100 yd games in 5 years. Bust
#3 Vince Young - Backup in Philly. Bust
#4 D'Brickashaw Ferguson - solid bookend for a consistant winner
#5 AJ Hawk - bit player for the Pack. Not worth the fifth pick

Hard to say the Jets actually won a draft, but gotta say that here. Also, 4 first rounders are currently starting for the Jets from that draft (Ferguson, Mangold, Cromartie, Holmes) Not too shabby.

- Leslie Frazier is just not a good coach. The Vikings are better than their record (especially with Ponder at QB) but bone-headed calls by Frazier and company keep costing his team. Hard to believe Vikings fans would miss the bald, nerdy Brad Childress.

- The Eagles are not suddenly good! As with everything in the NFL, it has to do with match-ups. The Eagles are built to beat the Cowboys. Awesome CBs to neutralize Bryant/Austin, fast DEs to speed rush Romo, and super speedy offensive weapons to kill the Dallas defensive plan. Any power rushing team is gonna make the Eagles go back to looking like they did before the bye week.

- While I firmly believe the Dolphins will eventually win a game, I'm not sure the Colts will. Bad QB, bad (but scrappy)Defense, bad Special Teams and really bad coaching from Caldwell is a recipe for Lions-esque disaster.

- What is wrong with the Saints? A D-Line full of fat guys who can't play, LBs who look slow and an offense that is trying to be a mixture of the old Oilers run-and-shoot and a power I run game with an O-Line that is suspect. Not sure at all about this team, and they probably aren't either internally.

- Speaking of teams with flaws, how about the Patriots having the worst defense statistically in the NFL? Bellichek's talent evaluation in the draft since the loss of Pioli and Dimitrioff is finally starting to catch up with the Evil Empire. Just like Holmgren in Seattle, I think good coaches who try to also be a GM just doesn't work, Good organizations have good structure and defined roles for the owner, GM and Head coach. Teamwork on the field and off wins championships!

- Credit Jim Harbaugh for getting his team to 6-1 record, and for finding a way to make Alex Smith not kill you, but when the playoffs come, expect the Niners to be a quick out. The last team to win a SB with a crappy QB was the 2000 Ravens, and while that 49er defense looks strong, it's not quite at that level (yet).

- More railing against terrible coaches, and this one's on Pete Carroll. In-game clock management (terrible), and personel decisions at QB (Whitehurst and Tavaris Really?!!). Those are pretty much the main job requirements for a head coach, and Pete gets an epic fail. Too bad he can't just cheat like he did at USC. HA!

- Can we all agree that Tebow is a great kid, but that he just isn't an NFL QB? An OC with some creativity (like the Panthers OC Chudinsky) could find a good way to use Tebow as a nice weapon and change of pace, and still have a legitimate QB for the normal offense. But apparently no one in Denver fits that description

- It appears as though the Lions, Bills and Bengals are legitimate contenders. Facing adversity and overcoming by squashing lesser opponents is the sign of a good team. Their next step will be winning a big game on the road against a good team. Then I'll be a real believer.

- While I loved the Steelers changing their entire identity to beat a Patriots team that has owned them over the last few years, it makes me question the validity of Pittsburgh as a whole. I'm thinking we will not have a rematch in the SuperBowl in Indy, at least on the AFC side.

- I guess it's a good thing Chris Johnson finally got his payday, because it looks like he sucks now. That contact will haunt that Titans franchise for years to come.

- Kudos to the NFL for telling refs to back off on the Pass Interference calls this week. While we don't need the old Dick "Night Train" Lane days of clotheslining WRs off the line, I want a little contact in my football. And please let someone hit a QB hard without a damn flag coming out at least once! Thank you

For more gold like this, please listen to "The Sports Narrative" podcast coming tomorrow night at this location or on iTunes. Email your comments to and you will get a mention on the show. And please help spread the word! Happy Halloween everyone! Be good and be well!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10.26.11 Podcast EP009

Jeff and Ramon mull over the NFL week 8 betting lines, talk superstition, and review the 2011 World Series.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Itunes Baby!

Hello Sports Fan!

Big news for this little venture we call The Sports Narrative. We can be found on iTunes now! Go to iTunes, click the podcast tab, then search for "The Sports Narrative Podcast" Please subscribe to our little show (even if you don't have time to listen) and it should automatically update the latest show when you log into your account. Positive reviews are also greatly appreciated. You will still be able to find the show here at this blog, in addition to all the great info you've come to love here. Thanks so much for all of your support, and spread the word to all that would be interested! Be good and Be well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10.18.11 Podcast EP008

Ramon and Jeff discuss the upcoming World Series, the history of fantasy sports, prognosticate NFL week 7, and touch on the death of Dan Wheldon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random Musings from the Weekend

Hey there, Sports Fans!

Gonna be some positive changes to the blog in the coming weeks. I've been a little neglectful of the old blog trying to get the podcast smoothed out and up on iTunes. But the new schedule will be as follows: Mondays - Random Musings Tuesday - Power Rankings Wednesday - Podcast Thursday - The Narrative in Print Friday - Picks from the Podcast. Hope this will serve to super-serve my followers and help spread the word. Oh, and follow me on Twitter for live in-game observations @sportsnarrative. Programming Note: This week the Podcast will be on Tuesday night to get a good World Series Preview. Thanks for your patronage and tell your friends.

Random Musings - Week 6

- I believe the Madden Curse has officially caught up to Payton Hillis. Way to go, Browns Fans, for dooming your guy! Of course the runner-up, Mike Vick, isn't faring much better.

- Jim Harbaugh is one hell of a coach (clearly) But he isn't making many friends outside of the Bay Area. Could cost his team later

- Here's the way you slow down that hurry-up offense that so many teams (the Patriots especially) have started to implement: when you tackle the ball carrier, pul his shoe off! He then either has to sub out of retie his shoe. It's not illegal, so why not!

- Despite having a lot of talent, the Cowboys are just not a good team. Too much sloppiness to take the next step

- Nice tribute to Al Davis with the eternal flame at the stadium at halftime. Though I was hoping they'd launch his corpse out of a cannon across the field. You know, in a touching way.

- The next player who tries the spontaneous lateral should be fined for stupidity. It never works and usually results in turnovers

- The Tampa Bay Bucs are a really young team and still a few years away from being really good.

- Speaking of the Bucs, Kellen Winslow Jr. is an idiot and a potential cancer. That team will get better when they replace him.

- Apparently it is really hard to coach from the bench, because it was the difference in the Saints winning and losing on Sunday.

- Dez Bryant is ridiculous! The Cowboys have got to find a way to get him the ball more and keep him healthy. He is the closest thing to Randy Moss the league has seen in a while, but needs the ball!

- The McNabb era in the NFL is officially over, and the Ponder era begins. I'm afraid the new QB will learn it's about coaching, not just being old and done.

- Andy Dalton is the best rookie QB out of last year's draft, and might be the first in the playoffs if he keeps it up. Impressive.

- Atlanta is not good. A bad OL and DL is killing them.

- I'm starting to feel really bad for the Rams. I knew their first 8 games were brutal, but they might not have anyone left to play the winnable games left in the second half of the season. At least their baseball team is good.

- Rex Grossman finally turned back into the Rex we all know, and now he's gone. John Beck isn't much better, but he'll get his shot now.

- Let's not bury the Jets just yet: their 3 losses are on the road at Oakland, Baltimore, and New England. Not any bad losses (yet). But they have got to beat the Dolphins tonight and San Diego next week at home to stay competitive in the AFC.

- The Eagles defense still sucks, they just caught the balls Rex threw at them. The Redskins should have won that game. And Vick got hurt again. Not good in Philly

- The Giants are easily the best team in the NFC East when they do what they do: run the ball and rush the passer. But don't let Eli throw it 41 times each week or you will lose.

- Prediction for the World Series: Rangers in 6 Series MVP Michael Young

Have a great week all! Be good and be well!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10.5.11 Podcast EP007

The guys ramble about professional sports teams relocation, the Manchester United - Liverpool rivalry, review week 5 NFL games, and prognosticate about week 6.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

10.5.11 podcast EP006

Jeff and Ramon recap the NFL week 4 and discuss the Texas - OU tradition. The guys touch on the MLB playoffs and pick NFL week 5 games.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10/4 Powers Rankings

Ah, the month of October. Perhaps the greatest month for sports fans each year. Football is in full swing, playoff baseball, college football rivalries, start of hockey and (usually) basketball season. In addition, the weather starts to cool, the leaves turn and we graduate from the leisure of summer into the constant stimulus of autumn. If you don't like sports in October, then you just don't like sports. This week's power rankings will include a "Beast" from each team: a player who the other team just has no answer for. While some teams have a few, I only chose 1 per, so deal with it. Enjoy!

1. Green Bay Packers (NC) Beast Man:  QB Aaron Rodgers - Has elevated himself to absolute elite Brady/Manning status with a ton of scary weapons

2. Baltimore Ravens (+1) Beast Man: DT Haloti Ngata - The Ravens D beat the New York Jets Sunday night by themselves, and the big Tongan in the middle is a big, big reason

3. New Orleans Saints (-1) Beast Man: TE Jimmy Graham - Adding yet another dimension to that already potent Saints offense, giving Drew Brees a safety valve who can break it

4. New England Patriots (NC) Beast Man: WR Wes Welker - The 5'9'' Welker is on pace to break the single season receptions record. Enough said.

5. Detroit Lions (+1) Beast Man: WR Calvin Johnson - Megatron is where the Lions go in the Red Zone, and their is nothing you can do about it

6. Tampa Bay (+6) Beast Man: QB Josh Freeman - The third year QB (drafted behind Mark Sanchez) brings his team from behind every week seemingly

7. Houston Texans (-2) Beast Man: RB Arian Foster - The Texans have been dreadful in the Red Zone without Foster, and now with Andre Johnson out, he becomes the focal point

8. Chicago Bears (NC) Beast Man: KR Devin Hester - Why on earth does anyone kick the ball to this guy? All-time leader in return TDs

9. San Diego Chargers (NC) Beast Man: WR Vincent Jackson - The way Rivers trusts this guy and just chucks it up to the 6'5'' WR, cornerbacks have to have nightmares on Saturday nights

10. Buffalo Bills (NC) Beast Man: RB Steven Jackson - A guy from no one wanted on a team no one liked with a coach no one would hire is leading the AFC East

11. New York Jets (NC) Beast Man: CB Darrelle Revis - Perhaps the only guy on the team living up to his billing. Best corner in the league, hands down

12. New York Giants (+2) Beast Man: DT Justin Tuck - Is the key to that impressive front line, but like every other Giant, battling injuries.

13. Atlanta Falcons (NC) Beast Man: WR Julio Jones - When Matt Ryan has more than 2 seconds to throw the ball, this rookie is dynamic and fast

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (-7) Beast Man: QB Ben Roethlisburger - Taking a beating and slinging it around has finally caught up with this overgrown ape and his foot

15. Oakland Raiders (+1) Beast Man: RB Darren McFadden - With visions of Bo Jackson on TECMO BOWL dancing in Raiders fans heads, Run DMC is the building block for the future

16. Tennessee Titans (+3) Beast Man: QB Matt Hasselback - There must have been some magic in that old silk QB they found, for this guy has the Titans dancing up the rankings quickly

17. Washington Redskins (+1) Beast Man: OLB Ryan Kerrigan - The rookie from Purdue not only made the position shift, but has been a dominate force through 4 games

18. San Francisco 49ers (+3) Beast Man: ILB Patrick Willis - The 49ers are 3-1 despite their QB because of an impressive defense led by Willis

19. Dallas Cowboys (-2) Beast Man: WR Dez Bryant - If the Boys can keep him healthy and out of trouble, this guy could be the next Randy Moss

20. Philadelphia Eagles (-5) Beast Man: DE Trent Cole - The "Dream Team's" nightmarish defense has been shredded up the middle, but Cole is unblockable off the edge

21. Carolina Panthers (-1) Beast Man: WR Steve Smith - With the addition of a QB, Steve Smith could finally return to dominate mode that all his trash talk says he is

22. Cincinnati Bengals (+2) Beast Man: ILB Rey Maualuga - Switching to the middle has made this defense stout, and made the Bengals respectable, if they can stay out of jail

23. Arizona Cardinals (-1) Beast Man: CB Patrick Peterson - Returning punts, locking down receivers and blitzing the QB. Not bad for a rookie

24. Cleveland Browns (-1) Beast Man: QB Colt McCoy - This might have been the hardest team to pick a beast. But Colt's will to win is what powers this team on

25. St Louis Rams (NC) Beast Man: RB Stephen Jackson - This team is so beaten up, they need a horse to ride on offense, and Jackson fills that roll when healthy

26. Seattle Seahawks (+1) Beast Man: KR Leon Washington - Wholly impotent offensively, the Hawks rely on the little guy to shorten the field

27. Kansas City Chiefs (+5) Beast Man: WR Dwayne Bowe - Just about the only real offensive weapon this team has left, yet he still gets open for big catched every week

28. Minnesota Vikings (-2) Beast Man: DE Jared Allen - The wild man off the edge plays his heart out every week, just to get it ripped out every week

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) Beast Man: RB Maurice Jones-Drew - The little bowling ball is still a fantasy stud, even playing with lesser talent around him

30. Miami Dolphins (-1) Beast Man: OLB Cameron Wake - One of the league's truly elite pass rushers, too bad he's not on a better team

31. Denver Broncos (-1) Beast Man: OLB Von Miller - Another rookie making a big impact, wish he'd been drafted by a 3-4 team though

32. Indianapolis Colts (-1) Beast Man: DE Dwight Freeney - A great effort from him and the defense the last two weeks, but still can't make up for the loss of Manning