Tag:best blogs
Posted on: December 18, 2008 1:47 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2008 12:51 pm

Does London Fletcher actually have a point?

"I don't know if it was because I wasn't a first-round draft pick, I don't do some kind of dance when I make a 10-yard tackle, I don't go out and get arrested." -- Redskins MLB London Fletcher on why he wasn't select to the Pro Bowl.

London Fletcher said a lot of things Wednesday. At least more things than the modest linebacker is accustomed to. He also talked about London Fletcherhis "body of work," his goal to "play the game the way it's supposed to be played," and went so far as to compare himself to soap star Susan Lucci.

Where ya been all these years, London?

Whether we think Fletcher merits a Pro Bowl spot is debatable. I consider him borderline, but being someone who follows the Redskins closely, I appreciate his style of play and understand he played much of the year injured, without his fellow starting linebackers and on a team with little to no pass rush.

But there's one part of his statement that stuck out more than the rest. His claim about first-round picks being invited instead of him.

The man has a point. Removing special teams players and offensive lineman, 18 of the 30 NFC players selected this week were picked on the first day (1st and 2nd rounds). On the AFC side, 21 of the 30 players were picked on the first day. If you really want to skew the facts add the fullback position with the offensive lineman to reduce the total number to 29 on each side.

Regardless, Fletcher's point has some merit. Players selected on the first day of the draft appear to have a higher chance of reaching the Pro Bowl. Of course, there's the obvious conclusion that these players were good in college, drafted early and expected to be playing at a high level. But there may be something more.

The fans' vote counts for a third of the vote pool. And fans like to reaffirm that players their teams invested heavily in are in fact, paying off. That may be why a player like Reggie Wayne is going instead of say seventh-round pick T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who has 92 receptions and 904 yards despite catching balls from unheralded (that's putting it nicely) Ryan Fitzpatrick.

But what about linebackers, the position Fletcher plays? That's where things get difficult. Of the AFC's five linebackers, three were first-day picks. One (Joey Porter) was a third-round pick and one (James Harrison) went undrafted. Talk about a mountain to climb. On the NFC side, four of the five were first-day picks, including both middle linebackers. Lance Briggs was a third-round pick.

London Fletcher, as many know, was not drafted out of John Carroll in 1998. Since then, he has helped the Rams to a Super Bowl and led the 2000s in tackles. Call tackles a bogus stat if you will, but he also has 28 sacks from a position not known to record many, 14 interceptions, forced 11 fumbles and scored three times (not including the two safeties he's caused).

He'll never be Ray Lewis, despite having some similar stats. Lewis, since 1996, has 33 sacks, 28 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and three touchdowns scored, not including his one safety. Fletcher doesn't star in Madden ads or do Sunday night SportsCenter interviews.

But back to the first-day draft issue. Do you think Fletcher has a point? Do you think fans, and even players and coaches like to reaffirm highly drafted players as being more worthy than similar players drafted later? Or is there nothing to this, and Fletcher should just be happy he's made millions of dollars in a league that's often unkind to undrafted, undersized linebackers from non-BCS colleges?

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around

In Love with the Game, Mom's View found the quickest way to grab my attention -- a lovely blog on the merits, and growth of Ben Roethlisberger. A Pro Bowl snub, I say.

The Downunder View looks at the Magic's season to date. Rave reviews are thrown Dwight Howard's view, but the mystery is still out on what Courtney Lee is doing on this roster.

The Mets have had a productive offseason so far, but McNotables wants more. Namely Pat Burrell, Brad Penny and Jon Garland. That's not too much to ask, is it?

Speaking of the Magic, they sit No. 4 on The Blog's (by CBSSports.com popular blogger Harst) Top Five NBA teams.

Klick of the Day 

Some find this hilarious, others consider it extremely stupid

Posted on: December 15, 2008 11:37 am
Edited on: December 15, 2008 11:39 am

Two words to fix the Redskins: Steve Spagnuolo

A team hovering around .500 can be a lot of things. It can be a team going in the right direction (Chicago). It can be a team that caught some bad breaks (Philadelphia). It can be a team stuck in mediocrity because of unfortunate circumstances (Houston). It can also be a team that's a lot worse than its record. A team like the Redskins.

Don't let the four-game win streak in the early part of the season that got everybody talking. This team was never built to seriously compete. From its lack of pass rush to its lack of pass protection to its incompetent management structure, the Redskins were, to quote Vice President Ted Matthews in My Fellow Americans, "all just a big facade" (mispronounced fah-kade).

I have a plan to fix the Redskins and it goes so contrary to typical Kay Logic that I'm actually excited about this. My plan starts with two words: Steve Spagnuolo.

Yes, I want to see Diva Dan fire Jim Zorn and replace him with Spagnuolo. Let me explain.

First off, it guts the Giants of a key coach. That's always good. In the same vein, Spagnuolo knows the NFC East. He knows how to stop Tony Romo. He knows how to stop the Eagles. And you sure as hell know he'll know how to stop the Giants.

He's a defensive guy. In a perfect world where I own a team, I don't even bother interviewing offensive coaches for the head job. It just doesn't make sense. An offensive coordinator's job is move the football down the field in the most efficient way possible. OK, a noble task. But a defensive coordinator's job is to stop an offense dead in its tracks. So to be an offensive coordinator you just have to think you have a good system. But to be a defensive coordinator you have to know the offensive system you're playing each week and tailor your defense to it. So a defensive coordinator, by trade, is forced to know the ins and outs of an offense for a defense is dependent on how the offense lines up. An offense exists in a vacuum world of its own. Hiring a defensive coach means you get somebody with expertise on both sides of the ball. Plus, they're usually more badass.

What I really like about Spagnuolo is this: he finds ways to make the talent he has work, which is the complete opposite of what the Redskins currently do on offense. Jim Zorn, the offensive genius he is, is unable to use the pieces in front of him in an effective manner. But Spagnuolo, down Usi Umenyiora found ways to still get to the quarterback. He understands his personnel, which is something the Redskins coaches fail at time and again.

But is it worth disrupting stability AGAIN in Ashburn. Yes, but only in this situation. Only if it's with Double-S. Only if you provide him the proper assistant coaches (say, a savvy vet o-coordinator on offense like Norv Turner. And only if somebody like Norv Turner is done trying to be an unsuccessful head coach) and only if you say to yourself, "Diva Dan this is the last hire I make for three years barring something completely crazy. I repeat, this is the last head job hire barring something completely crazy. And that includes Bill Cowher saying he wants to coach again. That includes Urban Meyer saying he wants a new challenge. And that includes Bill Parcells saying D.C. has nice homes."

The Redskins need a coach from the defensive side of the ball. They haven't had one since Marty Schottenheimer was unjustly fired and it's evident year in and out. Offensive coaches are egomaniacs who can't keep a team composed. It makes sense, too. Offensive coaches are driven by the need to be creative and different. But this sport is all about being on the same page from the top to the bottom. And that's how you make a good defense, by everybody being on the same page.

On top of this drastic move, it's important to continue a. building through the draft, and b. always reinforcing your trenches through the draft. The Redskins must get younger, quicker and stronger on both sides of the trench if they ever want to succeed. No more skill players. No new quarterback. I'm sorry Jason Campbell, but you'll have to suffer through a new coordinator once again (but I promise it will be one who understands how to use your mobility). That is, unless a Stafford or Bradford drops to the middle of the first round.

On top of all this, Diva Dan must empower a proper VP of player personnel. Vinny Cerrato has proven that his one strength, late round draft picks, is not enough to make up for his free agent and trade oversights. Look at what happens when you have a VP of player personnel with a vision, as is the case in Miami or Atlanta.

Washington is still a destination for coaches and players, but it won't be for long. There will come a point where the tradition of mediocrity will begin to outweigh the tradition of excellence forged by Jack Kent Cooke. Go for gold one more time, Diva Dan, but do it knowing that this move is it, and it must be backed with time-honored ways of running a football team. Not say, by conducting a coaching search only to end up with the guy you brought in to run the offense as head coach.

P.S. Ditch the West Coast offense and fine anybody at Redskins Park that uses the words "west," "coast" and "offense" in a sentence.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

From the Windy City (aka 'Go), What K Thinks presents a wish list for '09, including a college football playoff and a Bears team featuring a certain Cardinals wide receiver.

A new blog enters the fray, "HART" OF THE PACK, and the blogger puts the Packers' disappointing '09 campaign in perspective and offers a few remedies for Green Bay.

The Bengals outplayed the Redskins Sunday, which is something Keepin' Score -- Bengals, Reds, Wings hasn't seen much of, including a pleasant goalline stand. However, the win has a downer -- a potentially happy Mike Brown.

The suits (well, not really since nobody here wears suits) at CBSSports.com think the "run a proper website," but What the [expletive] has a few pointers, including fixing the rating and warning systems and ushering in posting functionality that's say circa 2007 instead of 1997.

Klick of the Day

Greatest urinal cake protest EVER

Posted on: December 5, 2008 12:39 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2008 12:40 pm

Vincent Jackson teaches me another fantasy lesson

For the second time in three weeks I made a cardinal Fantasy sin. Hopefully, somebody out there learns from my mistakes, for surely, I am not.

Two weeks ago I sat Michael Turner for Derrick Ward. All Turner went on to do was rumble for four touchdowns. And there was much rejoicing from my opponent.

This week, in the first round of my Fantasy playoffs, I done did it again. I benched Vincent Jackson vs. the Raiders. All V-Jax went on to do Vincent Jacksonwas catch five balls (half of the total Philip Rivers completed) for 148 yards and a touchdown. This is otherwise known as 23.3 Fantasy points.

I had my reasons for not starting V-Jax. The Raiders play tremendous pass defense, not allowing a 300-yard passer since October 12. The Raiders also play horrendous run defense, which led me to believe San Diego's gameplan would go along the lines of "run LT left, run LT right, run LT right again..."

And on top of it, V-Jax let me down last week, dropping a goose egg. But that's exactly why I should have started Jackson. There aren't many rules to Fantasy football, but one I firmly believe in (yet didn't practice because I'm a moron!) was when a good-to-great player has a horrendous week, always start him the next week. Nothing motivates a player more than having to prove himself. Plus, all week long you can imagine the conversations between Jackson, Rivers and his coaches. "So we lost last week and guess what, I didn't get any catches. Think there's a correlation there guys? Hmmm? Hmmm?"

Coaches are reactionary, which means when a good player gets snuffed out they do one of two things -- see it as a sign the player doesn't get 'it' and is hence worthy of being subbed out or see it as a sign they didn't scheme the game properly. The Chargers clearly thought the latter and hence, made it a point to get Jackson the ball.

I didn't get to enjoy any of the fruits of the coaching staff's and Vincent Jackson's labor. On top of it, I'm sure my current crop (Hines Ward, Domenick Hixon and Bernard Berrian) of starting wide receivers will underachieve.

So learn from me, please. If a good-to-great player is coming off a horrid week, always start him. I'll give you one other time this burned me as evidence of this theory. Two weeks ago Hines Ward was limited to one catch vs. the Bengals. It was a good catch, for 37 yards. But most of the game Ward was used as a blocker as the Steelers ran up 121 yards on the ground. The next week vs. the Patriots Hines Ward caught five balls, one of which was a touchdown.

You may be saying to yourself, Eric, what you're really getting at is -- week in and out just start your good players and it all evens out. True, but in Fantasy football, where owners are always looking for that edge, it sometimes is fashionable to bench decent players coming off bad weeks. What I'm saying is, the trick may be to bench players coming off good weeks and always start good-to-great players coming off real, real, real bad weeks.

I didn't start Jackson after his real, real, real bad week and it may lead to me having a real, real, real bad playoff experience.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

Imagine Urban Meyer pacing the sidelines as coach of Notre Dame. Keepin' Score -- Bengals, Reds, Wings wonders out loud if the Gators coach just may one day jump ship for one of his self proclaimed dream jobs.

Our own scribe, Larry Dobrow, saved the Reds this past week. Now it's The Ibisch Dish's turn to examine Cincinnati. With players like Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez and Joey Votto, things aren't looking so bad in the Queen City.

The Leafs raised the jersey of Wendell Clark to the rafters. Yes, Wendell Clark. RV's day-to-day rumblings dug the ol' mustache, but doesn't get this move by Toronto.

Who is Randy Smith? A former two-time NBA All-Star and the subject of The Eye of the HurricaneDij's solid series: NBA Flashback.

Klick of the Day 

Derrick Rose breaks Andre Miller's ankle

Posted on: December 3, 2008 11:32 am
Edited on: December 3, 2008 11:45 am

What if the Wiz had never traded Devin Harris?

Sometimes it's fun to rewrite history.

Just ask Oliver Stone.

So what if the Wizards had never traded Devin Harris to the Mavericks for Antawn Jamison?Devin Harris

How would the Wizards have fared since 2004 and how would they be right now? It's anybody guess what would have been, but what could be?

That's an attractive proposition.

A true point guard in a town that hasn't had one since Rod Strickland left during the 2000-'01 season?

A lineup of Harris, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, insert PF here, and JaVale McGee?

Taking away Antawn Jamison is almost heretical. He's been the one rock in a lineup full of shredded ligaments and cartilage since the team acquired him. He's a solid citizen, a tremendous teammate and a heckuva offensive player.

But he's a small forward in a power forward's body, and hardly a rare commodity in today's basketball marketplace.

An electrifying point guard, meanwhile, is tough to come by.

A Devin Harris-powered Wizards could have a completely different consistency to them. It would free up Arenas to play more off the ball, if he ever gets healthy, and give the team the one thing it most sorely needs -- a ball distributer.

It also would have given the Wizards the opportunity to part ways with Arenas, which until the team gets the star on the court, seems more and more attractive considering the crop of free agents in two seasons.While it's hard to, and unfair to condemn the injured, it just feels like locking up Arenas for what the Wizards did was a crippling move. It seemed more like the Knicks locking Allan Houston in the late '90s than it did the T-Wolves locking up Kevin Garnett. Arenas is a tremendous player when healthy, but so much of what he does relies on his knees. And those knees are in serious jeopardy of never being fully healthy. Had the Wizards been in control of Devin Harris, the pressure may not have been there to sign Arenas and the team could have enjoyed cap flexibility over the next half dozen years. Particularly as someone like Carmelo Anthony, a Baltimore native, enters the free-agent market.

It's always easy to go back and muddle with history. But with each passing game it seems like the Wizards did the cardinal sin in basketball -- traded away a young point guard for an aging star forward. 

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

Under interim coach Ed Tapscott the Wizards are 2-2 including last night's win over the Nets. Sports breaks down how the team is different with Easy Ed at the helm.

There once was a time in New York when Plaxico Burress was just a tall, gifted wide receiver not meeting his potential. The Blue Streak remembers the way the city was when the Michigan State product came via Pittsburgh as the potential pass-catching savior for the franchise.

The Wizards, again on the mind of our bloggers, are the subject of The Truth is bout to be told. With a little help from "that Space Jam water" the team rallies in the second half last night to beat Devin Harris and the Nets.

The Rockets went 1-2 last week, which was unacceptable for Houston Rockets '08-'09. Like every season, it's a matter of staying healthy for Rick Adelman's club.

Klick of the Day 

A Plaxico Burress Story

Posted on: November 17, 2008 1:03 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2008 1:15 pm

Six games left, Turner should get me my hooch

With six games to go, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

Not about the Redskins, who look more and more mediocre as the weeks go on, but about my Michael Turner-L.T. wager.

Way back when in late August, or maybe it was early September, a buddy of mine from college, Esquire Toledo, and I wagered who would have the better season: LaDainian Tomlinson or his one-time handcuff, Michael Turner?

I took Turner. He took L.T.

The running back who took three of the following statistical categories would be deemed winner, and the loser woulMichal turnerd have to hand-deliver a bottle of at-least-12-year-old scotch to the victor.

  1. 100-yard games
  2. Rushing yards
  3. Total touchdowns

I figured this was the season L.T.'s body would give out on him. I figured without his trusty fullback, Lorenzo Neal, L.T. wouldn't get those 5-to-7 yard scampers he's accustomed to. I also figured L.T. would continue his evolution into Marshall Faulk, which meant less carries and more receptions.

As for Michael Turner, I figured the Falcons didn't pay him all that money not to use and abuse him. I figured the Falcons' offensive line had the foundation to be a good running team. And I figured new coach Mike Smith would use the Jacksonville model of run, baby, run, to exhaustion in Atlanta.

Really, I figured, wouldn't it be ironic if the grasshopper bested the sensai?

Eleven weeks into the season I'm figuring to be the owner of a bottle of 12-year-old Aberlour Speyside single malt scotch whisky. Either that or a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, but I'll leave the decision to Esquire Toledo when he brings it to our Fort Lauderdale office.

Here's the breakdown through 11 weeks:

                               100-yard games | Rushing yards | Total touchdowns
Michael Turner:         4 100-yard games | 971 yards | 9 touchdowns
LaDainian Tomlinson: 2 100-yard games | 686 yards | 6 touchdowns

Here's Turner's remaining six games:

Nov 23 Carolina 
Nov 30 @San Diego 
Dec 7 @New Orleans 
Dec 14 Tampa Bay 
Dec 21 @Minnesota 
Dec 28 St. Louis 

Here's L.T.'s remaining six games:

Nov 23 Indianapolis
Nov 30 Atlanta 
Dec 4 Oakland 
Dec 14 @Kansas City
Dec 21 @Tampa Bay
Dec 28 Denver

Turner's are tougher, with only mouth-watering contests vs. New Orleans and St. Louis, but I like a told-ya-so game vs. San Diego and Minnesota could be without its big run-stuffing Williams duo by Dec. 21.

L.T. should thrive against Indianapolis, Oakland, Kansas City and Denver.

But I have a nearly 300-yard head start and two 100-yard rushing games. Plus, the Chargers look like rhymes-with-Mitt and have devolved into a pass-first team. Throw in a loss to Indy next week coupled with a Denver win vs. Oakland and the Chargers could be playing for the draft in two weeks, thereby hampering the need to truck out L.T. week in and out.

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good about this, but not as good as I'll feel sippin' on some scotch in six weeks. Scotch, scotch, scotch...

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around 

At 4-6 the Chargers may miss the playoffs this season. That has Sports Girl hoping the franchise cleans house, starting with a new GM and coach.

Not only should Mark Cuban be concerned about the SEC, his Mavs are in the 20s of two NBA Power Rankings. The Eye of the HurricaneDij has Dallas at 21 and the Guaranteed To Raise Sports IQs has them at 25.

The Rockets are an enigma. Stars are struggling, but role players are keeping Houston above .500. Houston Rockets '08-'09 breaks down the week that was for Yao and friends.

With the Rotten Apple Cup set to determine the worst team in college football, The Greek Speaks highlights the duel and the other infamous eight in The Not So Top 10: Week 12.

Klick of the Day 

Kind of like Hitler, but cuter

Posted on: November 5, 2008 1:15 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2008 1:18 pm

Who drives me nuts at the gym: FutureMan

The future of working outIn last week's episode of People Who Drive Eric Nuts at the Gym, we (who is this we? This isn't written by a group of people, you moron!) looked at  WalkisEndlesslyusBetweenusSets.

This week's entry has little to do with extended narcissistic breaks between deadlifts or a complete lack of form during group workouts like NoFormusFemalus. Rather, this is strictly a fashion issue. So if we may go Bravo on you for 250 or so words, this week's PAGDEN is FutureMan.

Who is FutureMan? He's the gentleman sporting the latest and greatest in gym attire, and looking oddly futuristic in doing so. This usually involves being covered head to toe in some sort of Under Armour-Nike Dry-Nike Shox-iPod Touch w/sweatproof cover and pedometer mishmash. This individual, inspired by his attire, can be typically seen working on machines lifting light amounts of weight and causing blindness to people who stare too long at the sheen radiating from his body.

But let's break it all down:

His habitat is ... around light weights, usually machines. Checking out the merch for sale at the gym. Sometimes spotted on elliptical machine.

You may notice him ... wearing bright colors, because you can't see any flesh on this breed of human, in skin tight, synthetic clothing.

What drives him nuts ... noticing another FutureMan gym patron with more futuristic attire on.

The deal with FutureMan is that he believes the clothes make the workout man. But there is good to FutureMan. Because sweat simply beads off the man and doesn't collect on his synthetic skin, there's rarely a residue left by him on machines.

Who drives you nuts at the gym (Maybe it's me, the person watching everybody else at the gym!)? Next week we'll have another PAGDEN.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around

The Greek Speaks presents The Best Damn Poll In The Land's Top 25 for week 10. As usual, it's better than anything spat out by a computer.

Random Thoughts about Stuff has some pretty wild thoughts about what the Dodgers should do this offseason, including acquiring Jake Peavy and sending Andruw Jones back where he came from.

It's been nearly two days since the Allen Iverson-Chauncey Billups blockbuster wend down. Thoughts of Basketball weighs in, with plenty of criticism for all parties.

Lastly, if you like Minnesota sports, check in on Minnesota Homer, who breaks down all the teams in the Great Lake State.

Klick of the Day 

Making the most of having one line on The Sopranos (NSFW: language)

Posted on: October 21, 2008 1:23 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2008 1:39 pm

People who drive me nuts at gym: NoFormusFemales

You've noticed this person before. Maybe you are this person. Maybe you have your own person.

Maybe I'm this person to you. Woman

This person drive me nuts.

(Eric, we've been down this road before. More people drive you nuts than don't)

True, but this particular person falls into a nice category -- people at the gym who drive Eric nuts or PAGDEN.

Today's PAGDEN is NoFormusFemalus.

Habitat: A structured class, possibly kickboxing, boxing or some sort of cardio.

You may notice her ... at the front of the class, at the front of a jog, at the front of any exercise involving getting from point a to point b to point c.

What drives her nuts: Uncertainty. Not knowing if it's 30 crunches or 35 sends her world into chaos, and her...

...Distinguishing habits: Sacrificing form for speed. If the task is 20 curls, she'll race through those 20 by ignoring things like extending the biceps fully, or breathing.

Co-habituating with NoFormusFemales means listening to her complain about the pace of the class and why things are so easy.

(Eric, it sure is amazing how easy things are when you don't give a damn about actually doing the task at hand, ain't it?)

That's how I get through work! Ba-zing.

The deal with NoFormusFemales is she's all about fitness. But she puts more emphasis on the destination than the journey. Watching somebody do that drives me nuts.

Who drives you nuts at the gym? Next Tuesday we'll have another PAGDEN.

On to the best CBSSports.com blogs ... around

Tony Allen says he's better than James Posey, and if he's right he'll confirm why he's one of The Eye of the HurricaneDij's 5 NBA Role Players to Watch.

Last week it was Whoever the guy who tells Mike Nolan to challenge plays is. This week it's Cowboys owner Jerry Jones receiving Tarkus Malarkus' Corner's Idiot of the Week Honor.

How does 7-4 and 4-4 in the Big XII sound to Huskers fans? We Believe expects that to be how the cookie crumbles in year one of Bo Pellini.

Jeremy Shockey and Mike Tyson have a lot in common -- surrogate father figures, bat tempers, poor judgement -- according to The Blue Streak. It's a tremendous history lesson and insightful read about the Saints tight end.
Klick of the Day

A simple "I object" would do
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com