Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Cleveland Browns Did The Right Thing By Trading The #2 Pick


R.J. and I make fun of the Cleveland Browns on the forums of the BoSox Tavern Blog. We both seem to realize that the team has made some real bad decisions since coming back to the league (Tim Couch, Johnny Manziel, Trent Richardson, Courtney Brown, and Braylon Edwards just to name a few). Those names don't include the revolving door at G.M., Coach, President of Football Operations, Popcorn Vendors, Cheerleaders, and anybody else associated with this franchise. But this new regime that has been assembled since January has made a smart move by trading the #2 Pick in the 2016 draft to Philadelphia. Let's examine why.

1. Let's say that Carson Wentz has a Hall of Fame career. And he would have been the Browns pick at #2. It doesn't matter. Why? The Browns don't have the support staff on the field to make this happen. At best, Cleveland is 3 years away from considering a playoff run because of the lack of talent on the team. Can you see the team putting in a rookie Quarterback with an Offensive Line that is inadequate at best? As we have seen time and time again with this team, the Quarterback will eventually start shucking and ducking. (See David Carr in Houston to see the prime example of this). We know that RG III isn't a long term answer. He doesn't have the escapability that he had in his Rookie year. His ability to get injured does not bode well for playing all 16 games. Josh McCown? Same with injuries. So you bring in Wentz and there is no O-Line to keep him upright, you might as well start identifying your next QB three years from now. You know that he will get hit time and time again. A QB is only as good as his Offensive Line makes him. And there is a lack of an Offensive Line in Cleveland.

2. Hue Jackson. Hue has his man in RG III. I am going to assume that he was the one that convinced Upper Management that he can rehabilitate Griffin. He is known as a coach that can get the most out of his QB's. I trust the Head Coach to know what he wants to do with the team. RG III is a bargain if he regains what made him special in his rookie year. I don't think he can, but who am I to argue with Hue?

3. The picks acquired. While only getting a 3rd and 4th round pick this year, the #1 in 2017 and #2 in 2018 are the real value picks here. The Browns got those picks while going back 6 spots in the 2016 draft that they are not convinced has a Franchise QB available to them. So you get an unsexy pick at #8 like a DE or a LT (And yes I know they have Joe Thomas. That will come into play later in this post). It improves the team and brings in more new blood of players that are highly thought of. If the scouting department does it's job, we can see talent starting to accumulate in Cleveland.

4. Setting realistic expectations of the Cleveland fans. Each and every year, we hear Browns fans telling us that the team will surprise us by making the playoffs and showing why they have faith. Well, now they can face the cold hard reality that the team needs to rebuild everything. There should be nobody safe from being cut or traded. And this leads us into #5 which will anger Browns fans.

5. Trade Joe Thomas. Right now, this is the guy that you can truthfully say is the best player on the team. He is 31 years old. He is a valuable commodity for many teams. Now is the time to trade him. You can get at least another 1st Round pick if not more for him in a trade. Here is what I do if I am in the Cleveland Brass. I let word leak that Joe Thomas is available for the right price. I ask for a 1st Rounder in 2016 or 17. Also included is a 3rd or 4th rounder in 2017. And here is the key, a developmental QB that the team likes. That way, you add more pieces that are highly thought of, you get that mid round pick that makes teams good if they can find starters there and you possibly have your QB for the next 10 years if the developmental QB develops like you want while watching the game from the sidelines for a year or two.

The new and shiny QBs come out each and every year. And you can always grab one if you want. You know the price, but the Browns have the worst roster in the league and the past couple of drafts haven't satisfied anybody. The talent level needs to be improved in all facets of the team. A rookie QB will not do it for this franchise. Getting the picks they did from Philadelphia and the picks and possible parts from a Joe Thomas trade will allow the talent level to rise. And from that point, we will see if the Moneyball Gang for Football can get this franchise up off the floor (no, not laying right beside a passed out Johnny Manziel). Because right now, this team is the laughingstock of the league.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Found On Twitter: Bad Business Decisions


I only watched part of the fourth quarter of yesterday's Super Bowl, but at least I put more effort into turning on the TV than Cam Newton did to get that loose football. Or stick around for the post game news conference. I'm pretty sure a typical bathroom break is longer than that.

Remember when I said I liked Cam Newton? Scratch that. In one game, he went from being Superman to... the 2014 version of Cam Newton. He simply does not have the mental toughness to get the job done when it matters, or to be a leader when things get tough. That includes fighting for the ball when it's loose in front of you. Instead of pulling a John Elway and risking himself with the game on the line, Cam inexplicably pulled up as if he was scared to get hurt.

There is no excuse for this behavior, especially the walking out of the press conference part. Cam's not a kid anymore. He's 26 years old, and with the MVP trophy for better or worse he's now the face of the NFL. With that trophy comes certain responsibilities, and that includes taking the good with the bad on game day.

Superman? How about Bizarro?

Monday, January 25, 2016

This Ain't A Love Letter

Right now, Chargers fans are writing "love letters" to the Chargers to tell them they should stay in San Diego. I have one from the bottom of my Silver and Black heart I'd love to share with y'all. -- R.J. 

Dear Chargers,

You're probably expecting me to be just another NFL fan that will whisper sweet nothings in your ear about how I love you and want you to stay in San Diego. You're wrong. Dead wrong. But I write this letter out of love, and you deserve to hear me out.

Once upon a time, I bled powder blue and gold. I was proud to support you through thick and thin. In my case, it was mostly thin since you rarely enjoyed success after Alex Spanos bought the majority share of the team from Gene Klein in 1984. My time as a fan since then was filled with precious few good memories. I was thrilled when you won the 1994 AFC Championship. I even stayed up all night to help welcome you home to what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium when the players arrived from Pittsburgh. I also owned a custom made Stan Humphries jersey that I wore for a long time after he retired because he was such a good player whenever you needed a big play.

But those happy memories are also filled with many years of sadness. You hired Steve Ortmayer and Al Saunders to run the team into the ground in the late 1980s. You then hired Bobby Beathard, and I hated that he traded away almost all of our first round picks in the 1990s and couldn't agree to disagree with Bobby Ross. I thought Beathard lost his mind when he took the third overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, a future first round pick, a future second round pick, and Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf and shipped them to the Arizona Cardinals to move up one spot to select noted flag football enthusiast/franchise savior Ryan Leaf. I also had to put up with offensive guru Kevin Gilbride's inability to score points for a couple of seasons, followed by an overwhelmed Mike Riley who nearly completed the NFL's first "Imperfect Season" in 1999 before the Detroit Lions turned the trick in 2008.

When you hired John Butler in 2001, that was the first good thing Dean Spanos ever did since his father let him run the team seven years earlier. Butler drafted LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees with his first two draft picks that year, and then hired Marty Schottenheimer to coach them the following season. You were well on your way back to respectability until Butler's life was tragically cut short by cancer two years later. You could have hired a good general manager to succeed Butler, but predictably you settled on A.J. Smith's ego. With that choice, you destroyed your one chance to win a Super Bowl during my lifetime. I won't dissect what could have been if you had hung onto Drew Brees and done something different with the first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. My story ends earlier than that.

At the end of the last century, my city gave you a sweetheart of a stadium deal. We guaranteed a "sellout" by buying up all of the unsold tickets, and for about $80 million expanded then Jack Murphy Stadium's seating capacity. But that wasn't enough for you. You wanted more. Only a few years after the stadium expansion was completed, Alex Spanos was quoted by a self-employed journalist that he wanted a new stadium. For those of us who lived in San Diego at the time, it struck us as jealousy. The San Diego Padres, who were coming off a World Series appearance in 1998, got a new stadium after residents voted for it in the following election. You on the other hand were busy trying to cobble together that Leaf trade and were in no position to demand a new stadium.

But that didn't stop you from doing it anyway.

Since we were first introduced to Mark Fabiani in 2002, we have been told repeatedly by you and the local fish wrap (that's what I call the San Diego Union-Tribune, y'all) that you would leave us if we didn't build you a new stadium. That's when I realized your threat sounded all too familiar. If there's a common theme San Diego has with professional sports teams, it's not losing. It's horrible owners. We had Donald Sterling for a few years before he moved the Clippers to Los Angeles. We also had a very good San Diego Gulls hockey team in the old IHL that, like the Chargers, threatened to move to LA if they didn't get a new arena. They did exactly that in 1995 when they became the Los Angeles Ice Dogs. With two San Diego teams following through with threats to move to Los Angeles, I knew back then this would be the end game. That's why I "divorced" you and joined Raider Nation.

Even though I made my choice clear a long time ago, I still don't want you to stay in San Diego. I'm tired of my city feeling like they're in a loveless marriage with you. You should move to Los Angeles and cater to the 25% of your fan base that lives there. My city deserves an owner that is not only committed to winning, but wants to become part of the community. For the past dozen years or so you've had one eye on Los Angeles, and then Carson, while making one unappealing stadium proposal after another to show you're negotiating with my city in good faith.

So, what's the love part of this letter? I love that the NFL screwed you the way you screwed us. Whether you choose to stay here or move to Los Angeles, by the time the 2017 season rolls around you will become Southern California's third-favorite NFL team after the Rams and Raiders move to the area. Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire are Rams and Raiders territory. Those fans will never give you the support my city once did.

Do the right thing and make this divorce final. Either move to Los Angeles so we can attract another NFL team, or sell the Chargers to someone who will work with my city on a long term solution that works for everyone. We deserve better than the Spanos family and Mark Fabiani.

Good riddance,
R.J.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Drive For Five Hits Frisco TX

A True Symbol of Excellence At The Current Time
Well, here we go again. Friday Night, the Richmond Spiders visited the Fargodome to take on the North Dakota State Bison in the FCS Semifinals. The Fargodome has been a house of horrors for teams visiting in the playoffs. The last loss for the Bison at home during the playoffs was back in 1999 when they were a Division II team. Well, the Spiders didn't bring their bite this game. It was over in the 1st half when the Bison were ahead by 26 points. Add the 2 missed FG that the freshman kicker had and the Spiders could have been trampled more than they were.  The final score was 33-7. But the best drive of the game was the end of the 3rd Quarter into the 4th. The Bison held the ball for 10 minutes for 1 drive. That is controlling the pace of the game.

The Bison have now won 19 straight playoff games. In the past 5 years, their record is 70-5. We have graduated an entire class of players and changed head coaches, and it seems like we haven't missed a beat. There are kids that want to come into this program from around the country. The Bison recruit overlooked kids from the area of the Big 10 conference. NSDU rarely has a JUCO player or a player transfer from a FBS team either. The redshirt QB playing right now wanted to join the program from Florida. The Bison Nation footprint is being felt in the MAC recruiting circles because of the success that NDSU has had. They are the Alabama of the smaller Universities out there.

Early in January, The Bison will play for their 5th consecutive FCS title. And even if they fall short of that goal, they have proven once again that the program can absorb losing pro prospects and filling their shoes with players that have the drive to be a good as they can be and be a championship contender. That is the standard for the little football team from Fargo ND. #Bison Pride

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Patriots in Houston

Well, I may have found a solution to the photo posting issue here...the Blogger app for IOS.  So I'm going to post the pictures from my trip to see the Patriots beat the Texans in Houston first as a test, then finish the story later.
This place is huge.
From our club level seats.  Did I mention they were free?!
Zoomed in, so a little blurry.
L-R. My brother Tom, AA and his dad, who scored the tix.
Tried to get the Gronk TD spike and just missed.
This app seems to work, though am finding it awkward using a tablet to type a lot.  So I'll make it short and the pics are more interesting. We obviously had a great weekend of food, drink, golf and then capped off with the game. Patriots 27-6

Sick of Pete Rose

Just a little rant I posted to FB earlier.  I've been sick and tired of him long before this recent uptick in the need to feel sorry for/talk about him at all.  As long as Shoeless Joe stays out, keep Pete out.  Never liked the guy, even before the gambling stuff.

Can we please, please stop talking about that asshole Pete Rose?! Yeah, he's one of the all-time greats but he also bet on baseball, worst yet his own team and he's always been a walking, talking prick. I get near vomitous every time they start talking about him.

I know I'm now talking about him.  I don't care to debate, just wanted to vent.  Plus I just remembered I need to finalize this week's pick 'em and then do a quicky about my trip to Houston.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Brian France and NASCAR Need A Wake-Up Call

Do you know the expression "Jumping The Shark"? You know the episode of Happy Days where the Fonz decides to water ski and he jumps over the shark? You could never take that show seriously again and you always thought of that episode. Well, that is where NASCAR has gone since Matt Kenseth let his anger overrule good sense and intentionally wrecked Joey Logano. It has been thought that the NFL was the king of arbitrary rules since last season. I submit that is the dunderheads the run NASCAR. They have no clue and will arbitrarily enforce rules.

Let's start in Martinsville. Kenseth crushes Logano into a SAFER barrier and Logano can no longer continue.  NASCAR parks Kenseth for the rest of the race and decides on a 2 race suspension and a 6 month probation. Let's say something right here. I have no problem with the suspension. In fact, I would have made it the final 3 races of the year. The probation is longer that I thought it should be, but it is OK. Probation was reduced to the end of 2015 on appeal. So the reason that Kenseth was suspended for that amount of time is something that Brian France stated in the defense of the penalty given out:

"Going back to Richmond, we made it very clear that anybody in the industry, any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers," France said.
Go back and read that again. Any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships. Well, Matt Kenseth definitely did that. So, he and NASCAR are fine on that account. But what about the Danica Patrick badly performed takeout of David Gilliland? She was fined and points taken away. She was intentionally trying to alter the outcome of the event. She was causing a caution that should not have been. Do you know if things would have shaken out differently if she had not caused that caution? No you do not. Because maybe Jeff Gordon has a tire that blows 2 laps later. Every caution has an impact on the Chase and on the participants in the race. So why isn't NASCAR parking her ass on the bench just like Kenseth? Because then you would have drivers suspended each and every week.

Why would you have racers suspended each and every week? Because those racers who decide to dump a competitor intentionally should face the exact same penalty as Kenseth did. And we know that each and every racer out on a NASCAR track has a t one time or another wrecked a competitor because of anger. The regular season determines who is in the Chase and you cannot win the Chase without qualifying for it. With a straight face, how can you say that someone being taken out in Week 4 of the season doesn't impact the Chase? So let's say that Matt Kenseth takes out Eric Almirola during a race in Atlanta intentionally with 5 laps to go and they are going for the race win. NASCAR will not suspend the driver. Why? According to Brian France, that is just smart racing. That is wrong. Matt Kenseth has intentionally altered the outcome of an event and the chance for Almirola to advance to the Chase. But then you turn off some of your audience because their favorite driver is out of at least one race. And if you decide to suspend a fan favorite, then what is the business backlash if he is out at the same time you have suspended another top name? I understand that $$$ drives the sport, but let's get this straight.

And speaking of $$$, NASCAR will take this action and make money off of it. You don't think so? Then you don't remember Edwards taking out Keselowski at Atlanta. I saw that wreck this year in an advertisement for the NASCAR race in Atlanta. Wrecking each other is a part of the sport that is intriguing to people, whether it is deliberate or not. And what will bring in more $$$, according to NASCAR, it is a controversy about why the accident happened. NASCAR will allow footage of this wreck between Logano and Kenseth to permeate the airwaves in ads and NASCAR themselves will show this wreck in various instances, not just for news worthy things. 

So if what Mr. France states is a reason for Kenseth's suspension is true, then why isn't NASCAR investigating Kurt Busch's claim that Brad Keselowski intentionally wrecked Matt Kenseth before the Logano incident? It had an effect on the Chase because Kurt Busch was taken out during the wreck. Where is the questions to the #2 driver? I don't think that has been done. And has NASCAR talked to Busch after the claims? The wreck affected the chance of Kurt Busch to win the NASCAR title. Because the sanctioning body doesn't care. Oh, a tie rod came loose and that caused the wreck. Really? How do you know that? Kenseth says that his tire went flat and he couldn't turn. Maybe that is true. Did NASCAR investigate that? Probably not, because they parked him immediately after the wreck. I'm not saying that Kenseth wasn't lying, but if he says something, why don't you believe him but you do another racer in the exact same position?

In conclusion, NASCAR has always had their favorites and agendas. We knew about that in the 80's, 90's, and 2000's. After the Boys, have at it proclamation, fans were hoping that would be set aside. Well, with this incident, we know that the sanctioning body at the very least is incompetent, and probably hoping that controversy will bring back viewers and fans to the sport. The Kevin Harvick wrecking somebody at the start to get him into the next round of the Chase didn't bring them the controversy that they wanted, but they think that this might. The agendas are in full force, at least to me they are. And until they are put back on the back burner, the sanctioning body can kiss my lily white a**.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Wot? A Blog Challenge Missed?

I'm used to seeing a handful of regular users on the forums, so imagine my surprise this morning when I learned we have a Jets fan in the group. If I had remembered this last week, we could have had a spirited blog challenge this weekend between two teams that may fight for a playoff position in December.

Yes, you read that right. Both the Jets and the Raiders fighting for a playoff position. Don't worry, peeps. I'm not used to reading phrases like, "Raiders in the thick of the AFC playoff race" on sports web sites like Fox Sports in November either.

It's been awhile since I've celebrated a Raiders win here, and from all accounts I should get used to it. I didn't have TV coverage where I live, so I depended on Twitter to keep up with the game action. From all accounts, it looks like the Raiders receivers have greatly improved. As a group, they are now gaining a lot of yardage after the catch and making Derek Carr look like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. This has helped the Raiders jump out to big leads in the first half, something we have not seen in over a decade.

The Raiders defense briefly knocked both Jets quarterbacks out of the game, but part of that can be blamed on Geno Smith's lack of awareness. There was at least one run where he should have gone out of bounds, but instead absorbed a big hit while running along the sidelines for extra yardage. Even though he was injured during the first series, Ryan Fitzpatrick was forced to come in for a few plays while the Jets worked on getting Geno ready for another beating.

It was nice to see Charles Woodson get another INT. I don't know how many more years he's going to play, but it would be a crime not to have him in the Pro Bowl this season. He is playing his best football in years.

I'm not used to seeing the Raiders in second place in the AFC West division so late in the season. At the beginning of the year, I would have been happy with the Raiders finishing 7-9 knowing they would improve in the coming years. Now, I have to change my way of thinking. The Chargers have a terrible defense, injuries, and possibly the worst punt return team in NFL history. The Chiefs also have key injuries. Can the Raiders become a playoff team this year? They just might, and ironically it may depend on how the Jets do the rest of the season.

If there's good news for the Jets today, it's that they have no interest in Ryan Mallett. Hopefully for their sake, they can find a decent quarterback soon. That is the one position that's going to hold them back this season.