Friday, October 29, 2010

Ron Washington, The Machine, and Brian Wilson

Short post today since I'm on the road to visit the family. I was going to write up an article blasting Ron Washington's circus act last night, but Gregg Doyel's article on the subject killed it and made my efforts unnecessary. 

Karwatt brings you the ridiculousness that is Brian Wilson below. Enjoy

In the first video "The Machine" makes an appearance. It is believed that the machine is Pat Burrell. The Machine stays at Wilson's home, and I gotta be honest, he is built like Burrell.

Here is the famous Rome interview, where the machine allegedly calls Wilson toward the end of the interview.

Here are a couple more....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week 8 Picks

Last week didn’t go too well. My picks on teams to win weren’t that far off, but when they did win, they missed covering. Time to redeem myself

                       Daugherty                   Karwatt
Last Week:          3-9-1                      11-0-2
Season Total:      3-9-1                      11-0-2

San Francisco vs. Denver in London

Daugherty - DEN +1 
No matter how badly Denver got beaten, this is a terrible 49ers team that is now going to be starting Troy Smith. Carolina carved up SF via the air, and Denver’s strength is the passing game. Yet somehow the 49ers are one point favorites at a neutral site.

Karwatt - SF -1
I <3 Singletary

Jacksonville @ Dallas

Daugherty - Jacksonville +6.5
Every time I watch Jacksonville play I wonder how they turn into a dominant force twice a year when they play the Colts. I guess the Colts are their Super Bowl. John Kitna is a solid backup, but can you really bet on a Dallas team led by him to cover in his first week as a starter? I don’t.

Karwatt - Jacksonville +6.5
Two bad teams.  John Kitna may in fact lead the Cowboys to a victory, but not by more than 6 points.  Dallas is bad, but they may win a game now since it is meaningless.  Jacksonville has shown some signs of life.  Look for a close game Jax covers.

Washington @ Detroit

Daugherty - DET -2.5
I keep saying Washington isn’t that good. Well, let’s put it this way, if the opposing QB throws you the ball 4 times it helps to cover a lot of flaws. Don’t expect that to happen, and Detroit is much better than a normal 1-5 team.

Karwatt - DET -2.5
Detroit coming off a bye, and getting better every week, Calvin Johnson cant be stopped.  D Mcnabb has been as inaccurate as ever, and Ryan Torrain doesn't put fear in the opposing defense.

Green Bay @ N.Y. Jets

Daugherty - NYJ -6
The normal betting issues that come up here are the Jets coming off a bye and the Packers having a short week. Revis says he is 100% healthy, and I’m inclined to trust him. He takes away one weapon for Aaron Rodgers, and the IR already took away Finley. That doesn’t leave them with much on offense. If there is one issue with Rodgers in his career, it has been his tendency to not get rid of the football in time to avoid sacks. Well, you can bet that Rex Ryan will be putting pressure on him all night, and it could get ugly.

Karwatt - GB +6
Green Bay coming off a big time MNF win. Jets off a bye.....Advantage Jets right?? Wrong. Mark Sanchez is the most overrated player in the NFL.  He finally showed his true colors last week simply because defenses stopped dropping the balls thrown at them, and caught a couple. The Jets have a ton of talent, but that defense hasnt been as good as advertised.  I know Green Bay is banged up and Revis is back.  But look for Sanchez to throw a couple picks

Carolina @ St. Louis

Daugherty - STL -3
When your QB compares winning your first game with the champagne celebrations that went on after the MLB League Championship Series it isn’t a good sign. They’re just happy to not be winless. Bradford struggled a bit last week, but Carolina is just awful.

Karwatt - STL -3
Carolina won last week so that means they wont win another one for a while.  I like Sam Bradford, and this Rams team.  They lost a tough one last week, but look for them to bounce back.

Miami @ Cincinnati

Daugherty - Miami +1.5
I want to take the Bungles here, but I just can’t. Their secondary is too thin to deal with Brandon Marshall, and I think that determines the game. Carson Palmer heard my criticism last week and went off, but even that wasn’t enough to keep them from losing.

Karwatt - Miami +1.5 
After a hard fought win over Pittsburgh.....oh wait thats right the all-powerful referees of the NFL blew another call.....After a tough loss at home look for my Fins to go 4-0 on the road with a win at Cincinatti.  Cincy's offense looked like it finally got going last week, and Palmer looked better.  Miami is a better team.  If they address the red zone issues they will stop leaving points on the field and pull away from teams.  Look for more shots down the field to Marshall this week.  Miami will not only cover but win the game by 3.  If they don't I have a nice customized Dolphins hoodie for sale along with some other memorabilia.  In other words if they lose this one, it's draft mode

Buffalo @ Kansas City

Daugherty - KC -7.5
Guess who is ranked 2nd in passer rating coming into Week 8? If you guessed Harvard boy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, pat yourself on the back. Of course the 3rd ranked passer is Vince Young so I guess you can take that with a grain of salt. Coming off a heartbreaking loss, I just don’t see this being Buffalo’s week. That week is coming though.

Karwatt - KC -7.5
Buffalo had their chance for a win last week, over Baltimore which would have been great.  I think this game will be rather close.  But, like i said last week, I am now 5-0 this year betting with KC why stop now?? Vegas is finally starting to vlue them a little higher.  After they cover this week I may have to get off the KC bettingwagon

Tennessee @ San Diego 

Daugherty - Tenn +3.5
This is a tough one for me, but I will not be choosing SD until they actually prove me wrong. I like this game better if Collins plays because Vince will find a way to suck if he gets the start.

Karwatt - SD -3.5
I hate to do this but San Diego has to win at some point!  They also outplayed New England last week, had a couple bonehead mistakes, and missed a FG by a couple inches at the end of the game.  San Diego gets off the mat and wins by a TD.

Tampa Bay @ Arizona

Daugherty - Bucs +3
You’re telling me the Bucs and Cardinals are evenly matched on a neutral site? Please. This line makes no sense to me. Max Hall was so bad that they had to put Derek Anderson back in, and that tells you all you need to know. Plus, Josh Freeman is legit.

Karwatt - Bucs +3
Arizona is terrible, the Bucs are starting to buy in to raheem, and Freeman makes plays.  I like the Bucs to win this game.  Well, unless Kurt Warner makes his return this week. As JC would say "GO BUCS"

Seattle @ Oakland

Daugherty - Oak -2.5 
I know that Oakland is probably a bit overrated after their dismantling of Team Tebow last weekend, but Seattle is so much better at home than on the road. Oakland has plenty of talent, and as much as I hate Jason Campbell, a healthy Run DMC is a force to be reckoned with. I won’t have him on my bench in fantasy again this week, that’s for certain.

Karwatt - Sea +2.5
Marshawn Lynch can run me over in his car and flee the scene any time he wants.

Minnesota @ New England

Daugherty - NE -6.5
NE is faced with the prospect of facing either a banged up Favre or Tarvaris Jackson. They are probably hoping for Favre as surprising as that may sound. Either way, New England’s weakness is their pass defense, and it doesn’t look like Minnesota is going to be able to take advantage of that. Look for Brady to offer Favre a “How to Get Hollywood Actresses Seminar” like he offered Terrell Suggs. This just in, Favre was doing it all wrong.

 Karwatt - Minn +6.5
Changing my last name to Sterger for luck

Pittsburgh @ New Orleans

Daugherty - Pitt +1
This is the type of game that New Orleans is likely to win. It doesn’t make sense, but the Saints normally get up for big games at home. However, you also have the Atlanta game that disproves that to an extent. The fact of the matter is, the Steelers are just a lot better than the Saints. Drew Brees has thrown 10 Ints through seven games (He threw 11 all year in 2009), and he is making terrible decisions left and right. The Saints just can’t afford to do that against the Steelers. As I write this, Billy Shaughnessy and Kenny Human are packaging up some Oxycodone to send to Sean Payton. We’ll see if it works.

Karwatt - Pitt +1
Steelers over Saints  I want to pick the Saints so bad, but I just can't do it.  The Steelers are just better than the Saints on offense and on defense...

Houston @ Indianapolis

Daugherty - Indy -5.5
Hate this line. Colts are banged up, and are playing the team that dominated them on the ground in Week 1. It’s Jacob Tamme and Anthony Gonzalez time in Indy, but if anyone can make it work, it’s Peyton Manning. On a side note, are white pass catchers the new market inefficiency? The Colts are loaded with them.
In the end, take Peyton Manning in a night game. He’s 22-3 since 2005.

Karwatt - Indy -5.5 
Peyton at night.  Houston is up and down, and I think Peyton and the Colts owe them a little something.

Daugherty - TB +3
Karwatt - I will complain about Instant Replay

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Soccer Post to Rule Them All

It was suggested to me by one of our followers that we do a soccer post. At first I was hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed. Plus, everyone likes a multimedia filled blog. 

To begin this experience please watch this video, and follow it up by viewing the images I have selected for you. This is my view on soccer in a nutshell.

"The club indoor soccer team comes into the gym and expects me to stop shooting hoops so they can play footsie. It upsets my stomach." - Mike Armstrong

Let me know when the the next World Cup comes around.

Have Your Voice Heard

This has been a very successful first week for the blog. We received about 800 hits, a thanks from a national sports writer, and most importantly, a lot of positive feedback from the readers. 

Now, it's time for even more feedback from everyone. I'd like to get this to a point where there are some weekly posts that we write. As of right now, we have a reaction to Sunday's NFL games post that goes up on Monday and a NFL picks post that goes up on Thursday as our only weekly material. I'm currently planning to have a weekly "Links" article where we put up links to the big stories and articles circulating through the sports world, but that still leaves room for some other material.

Please use the comments section to suggest anything you would like to see or any other ideas you may have. If you don't have anything, just enjoy this magazine cover I found. 


YouCantPlayHere Contributors

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Best Sports Writers on Twitter

If you had told me two years ago that Twitter would be an essential medium for sports coverage I would have laughed at you. The only reason I even joined Twitter was to ask Chris Johnson to learn how to speak English when he posted this gem after losing to Peyton in the MVP ballot. A lot has changed since then. What originally began as a way for people to let others know what they were doing has now morphed into the place to go for up to the minute sports news, rumors, and commentary. ESPN requires all of their writers/analysts to be on Twitter and to post on it frequently, so basically everything that goes up on is posted first on Twitter.  Combine that with the ability to interact with the writers themselves and you have a clear winner. If only I had thought of it.

On that note, I have compiled a short ranking of sports writers that you should follow on Twitter.

Keith Law
(ESPN Bio) 
Keith Law joined in June 2006 as the lead baseball analyst for Scouts Inc., covering the majors, minors and amateurs. He appears regularly across the ESPN family of networks, providing analysis on all baseball topics.
Before joining ESPN, Law spent 4½ years with the Toronto Blue Jays as a special assistant to the general manager, and was previously a writer for Baseball Prospectus. He graduated from Harvard College and holds an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon.
Personally, I think Keith Law is the best writer/analyst in sports today. He’s the head of ESPN’s Scouts Inc, so he obviously spends a lot of time on prospects, but he also provides unrivaled big league analysis.
Baseball is going through a shift in thinking as the creation, understanding, and use of advanced statistics is dramatically changing the way players are evaluated. Part of the new age of MLB writers, Law is a major proponent of this advanced statistical analysis and isn’t afraid to take on the old school way of thinking. This in itself makes Law a must read for any baseball fan interested in truly understanding the game.
What separates Keith Law from your normal sports writer is his quick wit and snark. If you want to challenge Law on a subject you better bring your A-game or you will be smacked down. There’s a lot to be said for a writer whose ESPN chats provide tons of comedic value, to go along with the obvious informational value, and Law is by far the best at showcasing that mix. This also applies to his Twitter account. Whether it be owning people who ask stupid questions or posting snarky commentary on MLB games in real time, Keith Law is a fantastic follow.
The only drawback is that Law’s articles are mainly on ESPN Insider, but let’s be honest, any sports fan should fork over the dough for Insider ASAP.

Gregg Doyel

CBS Bio (Sums him up perfectly)

What is there to say about Mr. Doyel? He is a breath of fresh air in the world of scared sports writers. Unlike his hesitant counterparts in the industry, Doyel will take on any sports figure (including fellow writers) that  he deems deserving of criticism. Whether he is going after Jay Mariotti for being a woman beater and overall scum bag, Urban Meyer for running a program without any true penalties for breaking the law, or Pete Thamel of the NYT for his lack of journalistic integrity displayed in his articles on Eric Bledsoe and Enes Kanter, Doyel always brings the goods.

The best part about following Doyel on Twitter is his interaction with followers. This past Saturday, I was sitting in Commonwealth Stadium watching UK fumble their way to a loss against UGA when I read a reference to a bench clearing incident in the NLCS. Not being able to find any of the details, I sent Doyel a tweet to see if he could explain what happened. A couple minutes later I had a response detailing the entire incident.

Then there was the Colts Chiefs game where Peyton was playing horribly. After the fourth or fifth errant pass, I’m searching my phone and using Twitter to see if anyone had any insight on what was wrong. I saw Doyel mention that he thought Peyton had hurt his shoulder on one of the many hits he had taken by the KC defense, and naturally, I wanted to find out more. True to form, Doyel went through everything he had seen and we discussed the possible causes ranging from a shoulder injury to drunkenness. This is a national sports writer we are talking about, and it’s pretty damn impressive.

Bill Simmons

If you don’t know who Bill Simmons is, please end your hibernation and go to and read all of his recent articles. Thank me later

On Twitter he is good for plenty of humor. Odds of ever communicating with him are worse than winning the lottery, though. 

Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen

These guys don’t write that many articles, but following them on Twitter is a must for any NFL fan. They are the most connected guys in the sport, and they break news every day of the season.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Death of a Football Team

Let’s be honest, the days of smash mouth football where linebackers delivered hits designed to separate a player’s top half from their bottom are gone. Nowadays, offenses can score quicker than Rick Pitino at Porcinis, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that your team has more points on the board than the other team. This brings us to our topic of interest, turnovers.

Turnovers are the bane of any head coaches existence, and the team that loses the turnover battle is usually the one left sobbing when the clock reads 0:00.

Here are the teams in first and last place in turnover differential over the past 5 years and their records (notice anything interesting?):

Green Bay (-23) 4-12
Cincinnati (+25) 11-5 Won division

Oakland (-20) 2-14
Baltimore (+15) 13-3 Won division

Baltimore (-17) 5-11
San Diego (+24) 11-5 Won division

San Francisco (-17) 7-9
Miami (+17) 11-5 Won division

Detroit (-18) 2-14
Green Bay (+24) 11-5 Went to playoffs

It’s worth noting that other than the 08’ 49ers and the 09’ packers, the worst turnover differential has finished dead last and the best has won the division outright. The 49ers were probably helped by the fact that they got to play with the pre-Bradford rams, Seattle, and the Cardinals who wouldn’t have been able to stop their practice squad from scoring on them.

In fact, using 2005 as a starting point, only 11 out of 60 teams (18%) have made the NFL playoffs with a negative turnover differential. All of those teams made it with negative turnover differentials less than -4.

That brings us to the statistical anomalies that are the 2010 San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. The Chargers rank 1st in both offense and defense (this is not a typo), yet they sport a 2-5 record. How is that possible? Simple, they rank 2nd (-7) in the entire NFL in giveaways right behind the Jaguars (-10), who clearly aren’t faring much better this year.

The Cowboys post over 400 yards per game and hold opponents to under 281 yards/game (they rank 3rd in total defense), yet they too are 1-5 because of a -5 turnover differential. All the talent in the world won’t save you if you cannot convert yards into points and points into wins.

One only has to have watched the Chargers last game at the Patriots to understand this basic logic. They turned the ball over four times in the first half, which resulted in a 20-3 deficit. You can’t win football games when you put yourself in a 20-3 hole because of turnovers, ask Richard Goodman.

One thing is clear, if you can’t hang on to the ball, you might as well pencil yourself in for a season of frustration and disappointment.

Reactions to Sunday's Events

Sunday provided a lot of disappointment for my Week 7 picks. I missed multiple games by a point or two even though I picked the right team to win. The curse of the spread. Let's get into my reactions to the craziness of Week 7.

Packers vs. Vikings

Last night brought another performance that has become the status quo for Brett Favre. The difference now is that his age seems to have affected him just enough to make some of his normal magic turn into disaster. Though, we were a Percy Harvin foot from having another moment to add to the legacy.

The fireworks came in the postgame news conference with Brad Childress. Childress took shots at Favre’s decision making and chided him for not “playing within the system.” Did you really expect a QB like Favre to stay within the system? He hasn’t done it his entire career, and more importantly, he won a lot of games for the Vikings last year by playing outside of that system.

This is the same coach who previously said that the Vikings were a family and these things stayed in the family. Well, here he is bashing his QB right after a loss. Did Childress forget that he is one of the worst coaches in the NFL? That he is incompetent in clock management? Or, more importantly, that he lobbied Favre incessantly and visited him in Mississippi to get him to come back. So who is to blame here? Childress sure is hurling a lot of stones to be living in a glass house.

I hope everyone watched Trent Dilfer’s take on this situation last night. He crushed it.

The biggest news of the game got lost in the Childress Favre saga. Once again the officials show that they don’t know the rules. The overturning of the Visanthe Shiancoe catch in the end zone may have been the worst call I have seen in the NFL.

NFL Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 4 says: "If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control of it, it is a catch, provided that the player continues to maintain control." How in the world did the referee manage to say that Shiancoe didn’t have possession? As Chris Collinsworth said after the play was overturned, if that isn’t possession, there is no such thing as possession. That call ended up determining the game because Minnesota would have been in position to kick the game winning field goal instead of having to take shots at the end zone.

Steelers vs.  Dolphins

In what was the norm on Sunday, I lost this pick because of a single play. If Big Ben can hang on to the ball for a couple more feet, the Steelers make me money. Instead, he fumbles it away and introduces controversy into the game.

My counterpart will argue that the replay official blew the game again for the Dolphins, but I will take the opposite approach. While the play was called wrong initially, the replay result was still correct according to the replay rules. You cannot give the defense possession unless they clearly are shown recovering the ball. What occurred in this game was more of a pile where who knows how many times the ball changed hands. When interviewed, Roethlisberger said he had the ball under the pile until the officials told him it was a touchdown. Naturally, a QB is going to let go of the ball and not risk an injury for a useless recovery. This is exactly the situation the NFL was addressing when it instituted the clear recovery rule, and they got it right. In summary, blame the original call, not the replay official. 

The bigger story may be the Aaron Smith injury that ended his season. Let’s not forget last year when the Steelers went 6-2 only to miss the playoffs due to Smith and Polamalu getting hurt. Nothing is guaranteed in this league.

UPDATE Ex-VP of Officiating says the replay ruling was correct. Watch for yourself here. 6:00 in is the best replay

Browns vs. Saints

What has happened to Drew Brees? He has transitioned into a gunslinger for no apparent reason, and at least five of his picks have been on stupid decisions that he doesn’t make last year. He currently has 10 interceptions through seven games after having 11 through all of last season. Is that inverse mullet blocking his vision? Whatever the deal is, Brees better get with the program because he is killing his team going into what is a very tough stretch of games.

 I would like to take this moment to laugh at Ronnie Jones for spending $62 ($20 more than any other QB) on Brees in our auction draft this year. Bravo.

It was pretty funny to watch the Browns pull out all the stops and take a page out of the Sean Payton playbook with all their trickery. The Peyton Hillis direct snap followed by a pass to Colt McCoy was nothing short of classic, and the NFL record fake punt run was pretty good too. One has to wonder if Sean Payton’s inability to score opiates has negatively affected his play calling this year.

Bucs vs. Rams

Josh Freeman just keeps getting it done. It isn’t always pretty, but he has emerged as a leader on what could be the most underrated team in the NFL.

Freeman now has five 4th Quarter comebacks in seven career victories. Pretty impressive

Broncos vs. Raiders
Tebow wasn't the only one crying Sunday

This game could have pushed me over the edge if I hadn’t squeaked out a victory in fantasy football. Darren McFadden tells reporters that he is only 70% confident that he will play, much less be effective, and what does he do? Blows up for 4 TDs and 43 fantasy points.

Denver looked terrible. I bet London can’t wait to host the battle of two epic failures in San Francisco and Denver. Payback for 1776 and 1812 I say.

Eagles vs. Titans

Is Andy Reid really going to switch QBs on a weekly basis? Can't wait for Vick to come out and get shut down by the Colts sparking Reid to switch back to Kolb. Give someone the job and let them take over. You are only hurting the team by not letting one QB take the leadership role with the knowledge and confidence of the team. This back and forth makes it to where nobody knows who is going to start from week to week. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Warriors of the Philadelphia Phillies

First off, I don’t want this article to be taken as a Kellen Winslow moment in print. Obviously, the true warriors are located here, and if you choose one thing to read on this blog, let it be that website.

Onto the baseball version of warriors. The last two games of the NLCS have had moments that are growing increasingly rare in the game of baseball. No, I’m not talking about watching a fat first baseman strike out every AB and kick balls around the infield all while realizing that his $25 million contract doesn’t even start until 2012. I’m talking about certain players that have moments and performances where anyone who has ever played the game should think, “I would go to war with that guy.” These are the guys that you must have on your team to make it through the playoff grind. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the players who have exhibited these traits.

Ryan Madson

I’ve always been a fan of Ryan Madson (As much as anyone can really be a fan of a setup man), but he solidified his place on the warrior list during this NLCS.

I’m not sure how many people even noticed, but his defining moment came in game 4 a couple of days ago. Think back to the seventh inning, Phillies down one, one out, and Madson is facing Cody Ross with men on first and second. He induces a routine double play ball directly at Jimmy Rollins, but Rollins makes an ugly error. Instead of hanging his head, cursing the luck, or getting upset at Rollins, Madson simply looks at him and says “I got you.” What does he do? He gets another ground ball and they turn the inning ending double play. 

Immediately after seeing that performance I sent out an email praising him for being such a stud. Not only did he tell Rollins that he was going to pick him up, you could look at his face and tell that he KNEW he was going to get out of the jam unscathed. As if that wasn’t enough, Madson was called upon the next night in a huge situation and took apart the first three batters with surgical precision. I loved every minute of it.

Too often we see pitchers lose their cool in situations like that. Imagine Carlos Zambrano is on the mound instead of Madson. Is there any doubt that he gives up a hit? Not in my mind. There is a lot to be said for pitchers who take the mound with no doubt in their mind that they are going to get the job done. I’ll take the calm, almost robotic, confidence over a fiery pitcher any day……Which is a nice segue to the next member on the list.

Hardball Talk giving Madson his due credit

Roy Halladay

It’s no secret that I have a self-admitted love of the Doc. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can move into the reason Mr. Halladay places on this list.

Halladay toiled in relative obscurity in Toronto for 11 years before being traded to Philadelphia last offseason. Since coming to Philly, there have been numerous stories written about his legendary work ethic and the robotic, emotionless way he approaches each start. What people often missed during his tenure in Toronto was that Halladay seemed to be a pitcher from another era. In the days of overly specialized bullpen roles and pitchers who are pampered into thinking that a six inning start is a good thing, Halladay stands alone as the evidence of what used to be. During the regular season he had almost twice as many complete games (9) as he had games where he didn’t make it seven innings (5). A workhorse in the true sense of the word.

The first time I saw Halladay put the team on his back was at the beginning of the season in Atlanta. The Phillies had just lost a heartbreaking game where they were leading in the ninth inning and gave up multiple home runs. As soon as that game ended, I had a feeling that Halladay wasn’t going to give up the ball the next day. I patted myself on the back for my Nostradamus moment as Halladay cruised to a CG shutout.

Fast forward to the playoffs. After throwing just the second no-hitter in postseason history, in his first career postseason appearance, Halladay struggled a bit (by his standards) in his second start. The Phillies were down 3-1 in the series going into his third postseason start. The situation was similar to the game in Atlanta, and I was honestly expecting a repeat performance. However, what ended up happening may have even been more impressive. To anyone watching the game, Halladay looked off all night, but it wasn’t clear why until after the game. Word trickled out later that night that he had pulled his groin pitching to the first batter of the second inning. The groin injury necessitated a complete change in his approach since his velocity was sitting in the mid-80s instead of his normal low to mid-90s. The cutter and sinker that he normally thrives on were gone, and he was reduced to using mostly change-ups and curve balls. It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but Halladay fought through five more innings holding the Giants to only one run. In what was the biggest start of his career, there was no way he was leaving the game until he had given his team a chance to win. Who wouldn't want this guy as a teammate?

Some more views on Roy Halladay's performance last night

Chase Utley

If there is a position player in the league now that embodies a warrior on the field, it is Chase Utley. Long considered by many as the best all around player in baseball, Utley is one of those guys who leave everything on the field. In the last two years he has paid the full price for it as that playing style has resulted in DL trips and some gutsy battles through injuries. He is consistently at the top of the league in hit by pitches, and unfortunately, that takes its toll. In 2008, Utley led his team to the World Series title while suffering from the same hip ailment that caused A-Rod to miss two months of the next season. Then after off-season surgery that doctors predicted would cause him to miss all of April, where was Utley? Busting it in rehab and setting himself up to start opening day.

That has been the story throughout the past three years. While the injuries have sent him to the DL in each of the past two years, each time he has come back weeks ahead of schedule. Turn the page to this year, and we see Utley struggling in the playoffs. Although, to be fair, the Phillies as a team are a shell of their former selves offensively so far. I’ve heard multiple reports from scouts that Utley looks hurt, and given his history, it would not surprise me if he is once again banged up and battling through it. True to form, Utley is not using that as an excuse for his performance.

As much criticism as I lob at Charlie Manuel, I can’t help but think that his old school demeanor is at least partially responsible for the hard nose personality of this club. Charlie may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I guarantee you he is one tough S.O.B. Now if only he would take the time to focus on the tactical side of his job….

Has Urb Lost His Magic??

There was a time when Urban Meyer and company were on top of the world. Now look where they are. Losing to Missippi state and losing three games in a row is a far cry from winning two national championships in three years. The age old question that emerges during a bad stretch….How much of this falls on Urban Meyer?

I contend that Florida is more talented than anybody they will play this year with the exception of Alabama. So why are they so bad? I, myself, thought as long as Meyer was there Florida was a legit championship contender every year. Urban's physical health has been in question. We all know about his quick retirement and return at the end of last season. Does this have something to do with his lack of in game coaching this year.

Let me give you an example. Winning by three late in the LSU game, LSU lined up for a 50 plus yard field goal. I was sitting on my couch with my Dad, brew in hand. I turn to my Dad and said this is obviously going to be a fake. First thing that popped in my head was this.....

Now if I knew this was coming how did Urban fail to mention to his field goal block team, "Hey guys they may fake this, and they like the fake where the holder flips it over his head to the kicker." Or even put a safe block on where they play for a fake. Did anybody think Les Miles of all people was going to attempt a FG over 50 yards to tie the game as a last resort? I know I didn't.

It was easy to win with studs like Tebow, Louis Murphy, Percy, Spikes, Cooper, Harvey, and Dunlap( when he wasn't falling asleep at stop lights). I mean Wade Phillips could win with those guys. However, now that the Gators are not quite as talented, the team looks horrible. Even with the decrease in talent, they still have as much as anybody in the country.

Is Urban so inept at adapting his game plan to fit his team that he is going to run the option with Brantley and run nothing but dive plays with a small back who is the fastest man in the NCAA? I guess so because that is what he has done. The majority of the people in Gainesville are calling for offensive coordinator Steve Adazzio's head( even though he has the greatest first name ever), but Urb as the head coach, and the supposed offensive genius, deserves some if not most of blame. On the Adazzio note, having an O-Line coach as your offensive coordinator probably isn’t the best idea. I doubt he has much knowledge of coverages, and passing trees etc. Regardless, if you are Urban Meyer you don't lose 3 games in a row and lose to Mississippi State at home. Ironically, Mississippi State's head coach is Dan Mullen, Florida's former offensive coordinator. This leads me to believe Dan Mullen is the genius not Urb.

All this being said, Florida has enough playmakers on offense, and a good enough defense to start playing better. As long as Urban comes to the realization that Tebow is gone, and it’s time to run a real offense. A pro style passing attack is what they need. I believe they have the tools to do it, if Adazzio would get out of the way, and Urban gameplans around his current personnel, not the personnel he had at Utah or in the past few years at Florida.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NFL Week 7 Picks

Welcome to the first week of our NFL picks. Every week Karwatt and I will pick each game with the spread, and whoever has the worst record at the end of the year will be subject to ridicule and scorn. Bill Simmons eat your heart out.

Before we get started, we would like to wish Big N. Mike a happy birthday. One of our first followers, and a true pimp indeed. Mike, you'll like the Lock(e) of the week for sure. 

Pittsburgh @ Miami
Daugherty - Pittsburgh -3 
Pittsburgh is the best team in football now that Roethlisberger is back. To win this game, Henne is going to have to come through a few times, and I just don’t see that happening. [Insert bathroom stall joke here]
Karwatt - Miami +3
Miami has yet to play a complete game, and they have left a ton of points on the board. Pitt's D is tough, but Cameron Wake and Co. should be able to get to Ben a little bit, who cant be in midseason form in just his second start.  Mia is 0-2 at home and 3-0 on the road, time for that to change.  Plus, homer pick go Fins

Cincinnati @ Atlanta
·         Daugherty - Atlanta -3
      This line doesn’t make sense to me. Cincinnati is not Atlanta’s equal on a neutral site. Bill Simmons made the point around Week 4 that if they kept stats for dropped interceptions, Carson Palmer would lead the league. Then teams started catching those mistakes and the Bengals began showing their stripes. Combine that with the fact that I truly believe ATL is one of the best teams in the NFC, even after last week, and you have a lock at ATL -3
KarwattAtlanta -3 
Cincy has been brutal, and Carson has looked terrible.  Matty Ice is good in the dome, so expect a bounce back win by them this week.

Philadelphia @ Tennessee
·        Daugherty - Philly +3 
      Kolb starting is the right decision. If only he had some pit bull pictures to distract his competition with.....but I digress. He’s a stud, and the loss of DeSean Jackson doesn’t really hurt him since he and Jackson never looked on the same page to me. Tennessee is coming off a Monday night game, and they have big question marks at QB. Look for Tennessee to make up for this by trying to injure as many Eagles as possible with their dirty tactics.

·         Speaking of Tennessee, has there ever been a worse Monday Night Football game than this past one? Yet, I watched almost every snap praying for Chris Johnson to do something to save my fantasy team. It only took a meaningless 4th and 5 for him to finally break a TD run and save my week. Fantasy football is the only explanation for that terrible game having higher ratings than an epic Cliff Lee performance in the ALCS. Either that, or baseball is dead.
      Karwatt - Tennessee +3
      This is a coin flip, and I would stay away. However, i would jump on that over expect Kevin Kolb to put up points, and CJ to breakout. Slight edge to Tennessee because i like their pass rush, and the AFC is the better conference.

Washington @ Chicago
·         Daugherty - Chicago -3
      This just in. Washington is bad. They got shredded by a Colts running game that  never shreds anyone. On the other side of the ball, Ryan Torain ran a 4.71 40 at the combine, but he looks like he is even slower. Don’t expect the Bears D to bounce off of him like the Colts did. 
      Karwatt - Washington +3
      Have you seen Chicago's o line??  Washington shouldn't be the underdog in this game. There is too much credit given for home field advantage. Kick away from Hester, and Washington should be fine

Cleveland @ New Orleans
·         DaughertyCleveland +13 
      Cleveland is not that bad. The thought of starting Colt McCoy scares me a bit, but then I look back and see that the Saints are 1-5 against the spread and all is better. Plus, anything Max Hall can do, Colt McCoy can do better.
      Karwatt - Cleveland +13
      Cleveland isnt as bad as they played last wek...Feed Hillis and they should shorten the game and lose by a td or so, covering the spread.

Buffalo @ Baltimore
      Daugherty - Baltimore -13
            Has Buffalo shut it down yet? They should
      Karwatt - Not sold on joe Flacco. An emotional loss last week for the Ravens and Buffalo coming off a bye is a recipe for the game to be closer than expected. Of course Buffalo still loses.

San Francisco @ Carolina
Daugherty - San Francisco -3
I don’t really like this pick because San Francisco just isn’t as good as they should be. However, Carolina is even worse. Won’t be watching this game or betting on it.
Karwatt - Carolina is just really bad.  San Fran thinks they can still win that division, which they might...Alabama and Oregon might win that division, Frank Gore should have a huge day, and as long Alex Smith doesn't play terrible they will be fine.

St. Louis @ Tampa Bay
·         DaughertyTampa Bay -3
      Tough one. I really like this Tampa team, and I think they do just enough to win this game.
      Karwatt - St. Louis +3
      Bucs worst rush defense in the NFL, Steven jackson coming to town...Not a good recipe.  Josh Freeman can make some plays, but the Bucs dont stand a chance of stopping Steven Jackson.  Another note, the Bucs' starting RB is averaging around 2 yards per carry. They need to get Lagarret Blunt involved because Cadillac looks broken down

Arizona @ Seattle
·         DaughertySeattle -5.5
      Do you really expect Max Hall to go into the biggest home-field advantage in the NFL and succeed? Seattle at home is a different team as SF and San Diego found out. Plus, Pete Carrol is really adjusting well to having a salary cap. I wasn't sure he'd make the transition this quickly.
      Karwatt - Seattle -5.5
      Somehow Pete Carrol has the boys playing well, Hasselbeck looks pretty good.  Arizona not so much

New England @ San Diego
·         DaughertySan Diego -3
     In a game of QBs I truly hate, I will be rooting for Rivers to score me some fantasy points. The Pats suck on the road, and the Chargers have to play a good game eventually……right? 
      Karwatt - New England +3
      SD cant beat anyone.  I guess the logic behind this spread is that they have to start wnning at some point...Actually they don't.  However, it will be a close game. Phil Rivers and Malcom Floyd against the Pats secondary should yield quite a few points, but look for SD to find a way to lose late.

Oakland @ Denver
·         Daugherty - Denver -8.5 
      Jason Campbell or Kyle Boller? Does it really matter? Until Gradkowski comes back, I won’t be betting on Oakland.
      Karwatt - Who cares. Hopefully Oakland wins so the Pats don't get Mark Ingram with their first round pick next year.

Minnesota @ Green Bay
·         DaughertyMinnesota +2.5
      It might break GB’s hearts, but they are just too banged up to win this game. Favre tones down his celebratory text messages
      Karwatt - GB -2.5
      It is do or die time for GB. Favre will find charles woodson at some point. Slow down AP enough to make Favre throw a pick or two and let Rogers throw it all over the field.

New York Giants @ Dallas
o        DaughertyDallas -3.5
       Dallas evens up the celebration penalties to Wins ratio.
      Karwatt - Giants +3.5
      G-Men looking like the G-Men of 2008. They are rushing the passer, and Eli is minimizing mistakes....Dallas is Dallas. Romo will make some mistakes, and Wade Phillips will have his lack of discipline spilling over with more penalties.

Daugherty - ATL -3
Karwatt - ATL -3