Wednesday, May 27, 2009
CONTENDER 1!: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
-I love Quinton. He's hilarious, he has completely disregarded the need for any kind of ground game outside of "GET THA FUCK OFFA ME!" and "BITCH IMA PUNCH AND SLAM YO ASS!", and best of all he can actually beat the hell out of people who know that. The differences between Rashad and Rampage though, sadly, aren't very big. The only difference is Rampage has better striking (he could be the best boxer in the UFC) and his blocking is better. But the difference will look negligible when he fights Machida, who can't be hit by the slightly slower-than-Rashad strikes Rampage will throw. And Rampage sure as hell isn't taking Machida down.
-Also, let's throw Wanderlei Silva into this category as well. His strategy would be about the same, and after all, he's just too old.
CONTENDER 2!: Forrest Griffin
-Yes Griffin DID just lose to Rashad, who just lost to Machida, but Griffin was doing well in that fight until he got caught a couple times. If Forrest would stop underestimating his OWN jujitsu he might have-scratch that- WOULD have beaten Rashad. (It also wouldn't hurt if he started bleeding a little... it seems like he can't win if his face isnt soaked in blood). If Griffin can do that against Machida he may very well have a chance on the ground. standing, Forrest is best when using his kicks... and kicks are what Machida loves. Forrest is an extremely intelligent fighter, so he'll probably take the fight to the ground. If he succeeds in that he may be able to beat Lyoto... but it's still only a tiny chance because Lyoto is no slouch on the ground either.
THREAT?: He has a shot... maybe 25%
CONTENDER 3!: Anderson "The Spider" Silva
-The reason Silva is listed at number 3 here is because I don't think he'll pull his head out of his ass fast enough and Forrest is going to knock him unconcious. HOWEVER, if he does manage to awaken his killer instinct fighting Forrest (which is 100% what Dana White and Joe Silva are trying to do at UFC 101) the Spider will be Lyoto's toughest test. It would be the meeting of two fighters who appear, from all angles, to be invincible. Silva has so many different ways to hurt you its (seemingly) impossible to read his attacks. It is this quality that could prove to be the only REAL threat to a long, long Machida title defense.
THREAT?: If he's back to his old self; 50-50 chance. If he's not, we won't have to worry about it.
FINAL CONTENDER: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
-I am only adding Shogun so I can dis him. This guy was so unprepared and unconditioned for the Coleman fight that he couldn't knock out a guy WHO WAS DEAD for 3 full rounds. Then he knocks out Chuck Liddell and people think he's back? Are you nuts? EVERYBODY KNOCKS OUT LIDDELL! The guy blocks with his face! Shogun has one more shot to impress against somebody (winner of Griffin-Silva or maybe Rashad Evans) before I pronounce him dead for good. He hasn't looked impressive for about 18 months. Threaten Jesus? I don't think so.
THREAT?: FUCK AND NO.
Essentially, Machida is doing something I have always wondered about. These days fighters seem absolutely sure that the way to victory in MMA is through either Boxing or Muay Thai, a solid wrestling base, and/or BJJ skills. But what if somebody actually mastered a different martial art? Stepped outside the box? Machida has done that and the results aren't that surprising. His footwork is probably the prettiest thing I've ever seen, he has no hesitation to exploit an opening, and his strikes are dead on. He is the closest thing to an unbeatable fighter there is. Enjoy watching him while you can until he inevitably rises to Heaven to reign over us for a millenia.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
1. Kyle Orton is a good quarterback.
2. Jay Cutler is a better quarterback than Kyle Orton
3. The Broncos have a more talented skill set on offense than the Bears.
This has led me to form the opinion that Kyle Orton will put up better numbers for the Broncos than he did for the Bears, but he will not put up the numbers Jay Cutler did in that same offense. Likewise, Jay Cutler will put up less impressive numbers in Chicago than he did in Denver, but will be much better than Kyle Orton was for the Bears last year. This makes any direct comparison between the statistics of the two absolutely pointless. That's why this article by some tool at the InDenver Times (InDenver? What the hell..?) named Hunter Ansley, entitled "The case for Kyle Orton as an upgrade" is a bit...well...terrible. So today I'm going to break this thing down. His quotes in italics.
There is now an unmistakable intertwinement lashing the New England Patriots to the Denver Broncos. When the second-biggest name in Broncos history walked away from the sidelines after an abysmal home stretch that saw the franchise drown in the wake of a possible playoff birth, Pat Bowlen turned to the Patriots and happily plucked their freshest face. From that moment on, there has been no mistaking whose team this is. The Broncos belong to Josh McDaniels.The rest of the rope comes from seemingly parallel circumstances that, on the surface, appeared damning to the future success of each program. For the Patriots it was the sickening deflation of watching Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard clear Tom Brady’s schedule. There’s still no word on the exact amount Giselle paid for all that extra “Tom time.”
I would suggest to anyone who is interested in writing something that will be read by the public that they should first glance at the Six Rules written by George Orwell in "Politics and the English Language," specifically Rule No.2 - never use a long word where a short one will do. "Unmistakeable intertwinement?" Seriously? How hard is it to say "there's an unmistakeable connection" or "they will forever be linked?" Anyways, apparently the euphemism for Pat Bowlen canning the most successful coach in Bronco's history is that he "walked away from the sidelines" The last two sentences of this paragraph are just pure garbage. I honestly can't tell what he means by "The rest of the rope comes from seemingly parallel circumstances that, on the surface, appeared damning to the future success of each program." He says in the next sentence that the damning circumstance for the Patriots is the destruction of Tom Brady's knee, which, given Bill Belichick's intelligence, would seem to dictate that he's probably well on his way to recovery or else they'd not have tossed Cassel away. And is he implicating that Giselle paid Bernard Pollard to take out Tom Brady's knee? Seriously...I have no idea what that lame attempt at a joke was meant to do.
But for the Broncos, the saga was more grueling, more excruciating, and so scintillatingly drawn out. Watching McDaniels and Jay Cutler slowly dig the trench between them was a tedious task. The fans in Denver weren’t afforded the luxury of having a split-second decision forcefully made for them. We watched. And we waited. And we all knew the eventual outcome, regardless of our allegiance. And when it came, the decision to trade Cutler was less painful than the process that preceded it.
Those poor Denver fans. It's not like they've mercilessly attacked every QB from Brian Griese (which I'm totally behind) to a relatively successful Jake Plummer in an unfair comparison to one of the top five quarterbacks of all time, one that, you know, retired a decade ago.
Now there is a new hope, though at first glance his springs seem less eternal. Kyle Orton is the 40-watt to Cutler’s halogen. But if you paid any attention in 2008, the electrician on the scene is tailor-made for the situation. If McDaniels can conjure an 11-win season out of a Brady-less Patriots team, how could anyone else be up to the task of replacing the most talented prima donna Mile High has ever seen?
"His springs seem less eternal." My lord I have never seen someone so bad at trying to make a clever play on words. I don't believe the expression has ever referred to actual, mechanical springs, which he's using here to talk about.....Kyle's....arms...? Also, I forgot Josh McDaniel's conjured an 11 win season out the Patriots. That Belichick asshole probably just took all the credit. It must have been hard to conjure 11 wins out of a team that only had a back up quarterback with four years of experience in the system, one of the best receiving corps in the league, a stellar offensive line, a top of the line defense, and one of the best (and most evil) head coaches ever. I mean he engineered one hell of a turnaround from a team that was a pathetic 16-0 last year.
There was an aftershock of dismay when the fans around Denver learned that divisional rival Kansas City had landed McDaniels’ golden goose, Matt Cassell. And when Orton, the man who had unselfishly charged himself with bringing the neck beard into the public eye, donned a different shade of orange and blue, the discontent blossomed.
Actually, I bet the dismay was more along the lines of "why the fuck are we going after Matt Cassel when Cutler is better?" And don't try to get on our good sides by mentioning the glorious neckbeard.
But what exactly did the Broncos get in Orton?
He’s certainly no Cutler. His arm won’t team with the ball to leave welts on receivers’ stomachs. But it is strong. Strong enough to battle the winds that whip through Soldier Field on a weekly basis. He won’t scramble like a bat out of hell to pick up a 3rd and 10, but he can move. He has consistently shown the ability to listen to his internal clock and evade pressure long enough to avoid statue status.
Other quarterbacks whose arms have been strong enough to throw in the overrated wind at Soldier Field- Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Brian Griese, Chris Chandler, Craig Krenzel, Steve Walsh. All textbook examples of strong arms. I want you to note in this paragraph how he dismisses Cutler's ability to run for first downs and praises Orton's ability not to get sacked. It'll be important later.
Perhaps more important, he won’t force passes into triple coverage because of a fallible sense of hubris in his arm strength. Orton has been labeled a “safe quarterback.” While that stigma may cause cringes in the guts of those used to watching a take-no-prisoners gunslinger whip the ball across the field, it should be viewed as an upgrade.
This is my favorite myth ever- the caretaker quarterback. Proponents of this theory usually point to Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson and say that you don't need a good quarterback to win the Superbowl. Its mostly crap. True, you can make the quarterback far less important if you happen to have one of the greatest defenses of all time, but for the most part a working offense is necessary to get anywhere in the NFL. Kyle was not a "safe quarterback" for the first half of the year he was flinging it with the best of them and made smart decisions. Then the ankle injury occurred, and while it slowed him briefly, it cannot be the sole reason for the incredibly poor decisions, and I really hate saying this, that he made down the stretch last year during his 121-221, 54.8%, 1,195 yd, 170.7 ypg, 5.4 YPA, 8 td, 8 int, 67.2 rating second half. Some of the awful interceptions thrown in the game at Minnesota, the miracle win against Green Bay, and the poor game against the Saints were just plain terrible passes.
There’s no denying the fact that Cutler was forced to pass more often than Einstein in elementary school, but the sidelines exist for a reason. There is a back to each end zone that provides more intelligent quarterbacks with a safe haven for the ball when the receivers are hidden behind defenders. Cutler ignored these areas more times than not. His 18 interceptions were second only to the aging Brett Favre’s. Orton and his 12 picks took a back seat to Cutler. His numbers had him tied with Peyton Manning and ahead of Tony Romo and Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger.
Actually Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was four and was mostly a poor student in his early years, and a few teachers actually described him as mentally slow, so there goes yet another of his lame attempts at wordplay. Also, way to point out, while apparently making the argument that interceptions are just the worst team destroying thing ever, that the Super Bowl Champion Quarterback had more of them than Kyle Orton. Also, I'll take 25-18 vs 18-12.
I know what everyone is thinking. Cutler may have turned it over at an accelerated rate, but he sure scored more. But take a look at the seasons both were having before Orton injured his ankle in week nine. Through eight games, Cutler had found the end zone 15 times through the air, but he’d also found an opponent on 10 occasions. Orton was looking like his team’s MVP with an efficiently productive 10-4 ratio. The Broncos were 4-4, having just dropped three straight contests. The Bears were 5-3 coming off of back-to-back victories.
Everyone is thinking that because its true. And logical. And its why Jay Cutler is a better quarterback. And apparently, the fact that Bears were 1 game better than the Broncos at the half is proof positive that Kyle is better than Cutler....how? Whether the Bears had won two in a row the Broncos had lost 3 in a row is irrelevant...it's one game.
And before you tell me the Bears defense was light years ahead of Denver’s, I’ll remind you that a mere 40 yards per game separated the two statistically. Is it just me, or is Orton’s facial hair looking a little less unkempt and a little more chic?
Wow. This is just an awful use of statistics. For the record that "mere" 40 yards difference was the difference between the Bears 21st ranked defense and the Broncos 29th. Hell, if its just a mere 40 yards, lets subtract 40 yards from the Bears and see where that puts them...oh, apparently that makes them a top 10 defense. Which they clearly weren't. Also, the Bears allowed 21.9 ppg, the Broncos allowed 28.0 ppg. So yeah, as crappy as the Bears defense was last year, they Were light years ahead of the Denver.
Now factor in the truth that in Chicago he played behind a line that allowed 29 sacks while Cutler roamed free behind the NFL’s best blockers and was only taken to the turf a dozen times. And the weapons around each passer? It’s not even close. Kleenex Jay was gifted with Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler. Gillette Orton had . . . Devin Hester. When you get right down to it, bringing in a guy who enjoyed even a deli slice of success with perhaps the worst receiving corps in the country is a good move when you consider the skill-spike in playmakers he’ll now get to utilize. Orton will only get better with upgraded talent fighting beside him. Yes, he will miss Matt Forte in the backfield, but the Broncos just plucked Knowshon Moreno with the 12th pick. There wasn’t a more talented runner in the draft who catches the ball as well as the newest face of the Denver ground game.
See this is why I told you to pay attention earlier when he ignored Cutler's mobility but praised Orton's ability to avoid the rush. Here he points out how many times Orton got sacked and ignores the possibility that Cutler's mobility contributed to the low number of times he was sacked. You know what's a better move than bringing in a guy who had a little amount of success last year with a less talented offense than the one he's moving to? Keeping the guy who had a Lot of success with that same offense.
Pat Bowlen works in mysterious ways. Though it may have been viewed as literally dropping the ball, missing out on Cassell was the best thing that could have happened to this franchise. If Cutler’s departure was a foregone conclusion, and it was, then bringing in a quarterback who fits McDaniels’ system as well as his former New England protégé was a coup.
Ho. Ly. Shit. Did this guy literally just switch gears in the middle of an article about Orton being an upgrade over Cutler into Orton being an upgrade over Cassel...who was never a Bronco? That's just horrible writing.
Orton has been playing in a Chicago system that stressed his weaknesses. He was never a smooth fit in a vertical scheme. Finding a round hole for a circular quarterback is paramount. I don’t care how good of a kayaker you are, you’ll always lose to a cyclist in a road race. This is a quarterback who put up 31 touchdowns against only five interceptions in a collegiate offense that more closely resembles what McDaniels will do than any other offense in the league. And what was Cassell doing during Orton’s spectacular senior season? He was in his final year of modeling Trojans ball caps while studying the moles on the back of Pete Carroll’s neck.
Wait. The Bears have a vertical scheme? Is that why Orton only attempted 59 passes longer than 20 yards out of his 465 attempts for a whopping 12.6%? You're right, Ron Turner's a regular Air Coryell. Also, I can say that whatever Orton or Cassell did in college is irrelevant now, given that they're both in their 5th year in the NFL and Cassell performed well (albeit as a system quarterback) last year, proving his lack of college experience was probably mitigated by three years learning the system behind one of the best quarterbacks in history.
So, while Cassell may have been the popular choice to replace Cutler, this season will see Brady’s former backup work to avoid a sophomore slump for the first time since his second year of high school football. Orton, on the other hand, will be settling in as a fifth-year veteran of the league. While Cassell gazed at his cuticles grasping a clipboard on so many sidelines, Orton was learning by doing at the highest level in the world. His arm is stronger. His active career has been longer, and his future is brighter because you cannot inject experience into a player. I don’t care what Major League Baseball says.
Orton was drafted in 2005. Cassell was drafted in 2005. Meaning...wait for it, yes, Cassell is actually Not a sophomore, and is in fact also a fifth year veteran, one with 30 career games vs. Orton's...33. Orton has been a full time starter for two of his four previous years, and sat the bench the two years in between, Cassell has been a full time starter for one year. The difference in experience between the two is hardly that extreme. Also, way to end with yet another horrible, horrible joke. This guy's so horrible at his job I'm astounded he doesn't work for the Sun Times.
Well, Kyle, good luck in Denver, just don't answer any of this guy's questions.
Monday, May 18, 2009
0-1, 5.87 ERA, 2.35 WHIP, .300 BAA
3-1, 2.90 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, .216 BAA
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.041 WHIP, .167 BAA
Those are three stat lines important to this discussion. The first is Neal Cotts' line this year, which we can all pretty much assume by now just isn't going to get better, given his 4.55 career era and 1.466 career WHIP. The second is what Sean Marshall has done in his career as a reliever (vs. 15-23, 4.73 ERA, 1.425 WHIP, .269 BAA starting). The third is what Randy Wells has done in the first 16.1 innings of his major league career, and its why he needs to be the fifth starter for the foreseeable future.
Now I don't know that Randy Wells is capable of continuing to pitch all that effectively as the fifth starter. His career minor league numbers are pretty decent (43-27, 3.74 ERA, 1.336 WHIP) and he was off to the best start of his career at Iowa before the call up, so that gives some reasons for optimism. The fact of the matter is that this team will be better if Wells continues to pitch quality innings as the fifth starter when Zambrano comes back and Marshall moves to the pen and makes Neal Cotts completely irrelevant. There's really no downside to this unless one considers Sean Marshall's feelings, which I don't. If Wells works as the fifth starter, Marshall immediately makes the bullpen more effective, which as we all know is a necessity as so far the only pitchers that have been reliable more often than not are Marmol and Angel Guzman. If Marshall moves to the pen not only does he fill the LOOGY role that, while overrated, seems important to Lou, but he's a guy Lou has faith in and will pitch in a much bigger role than that as well. If Wells starts to fumble you can always move Marshall back to the rotation.
I've heard some pretty inane arguments against this move, from "Marshall deserves it" to "call up a lefty from Iowa." The problem with the first argument is simple. Who cares? Yeah, I too think Sean Marshall could develop into a solid middle of the rotation starter. The problem? He hasn't particularly grabbed the job by the balls with his 4.73 ERA as a starter. If he deserves it so much, he could probably have taken it by now. This team needs to win now, and Marshall is more helpful to them in the pen at this time. In the future he may benefit them more in the rotation, in which case....he goes back. It's not rocket science, people. The second one sounds great. The only problem is there's not a single left hander at Iowa or even the entire minor league system who is even on the 40 man roster. Not a single one. This means there'd have to be several moves to displace someone from the roster and call up either Jason Waddell (5.73 ERA), Jayson Ruhlman (10.57 ERA) or journeyman JR Mathes. I'm not really all that inspired by those options.
So we're left with the fact that Wells should start, if only for a few games to see if he's a real big leaguer or just a mirage, and Marshall should go to the pen, more because of Neal Cotts' failings rather than his own. Sorry Sean, but this is how its gotta be.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I don't know whether the 39-year-old Favre has another season in him, but I'd like to find out. Because for all the Favre-related complaining and eye-rolling by his critics and skeptics, the NFL is more interesting with him than without him.
If Favre and his sometimes knuckleheaded agent, Bus Cook (see Cook's comments comparing his client Jay Cutler to Tom Brady and the Manning brothers), manipulated the circumstances to create a 2009 opportunity with the Vikings, then good for them. After all, the Packers manipulated the circumstances to limit Favre's playing opportunities in 2008. All's fair in trade clauses and retirement announcements.
Tarvaris Jackson has potential, but we've been saying that for three years now. Jackson has never completed more than 59.1 percent of his passes in any of those three seasons. If the Vikings were convinced he was the answer, they wouldn't be chatting with Favre.
The same goes for Sage Rosenfels, whom the Houston Texans traded for a 2009 fourth-round pick. As a backup and five-game starter, Rosenfels thrilled Texans fans with a 6-touchdown, 10-interception season. So now you know why the Vikings are talking to Favre.
They play the Rams in St. Louis, Baltimore at home, then go to Pittsburgh, followed by a trip to Green Bay on Nov. 1. Think about it: Favre at Lambeau … in purple.
Then it's home games against Detroit, Seattle and Chicago, a road trip to Arizona, home against Cincy, away games at Carolina and Chicago (Dec. 28) and then home against the Giants.
Do the math because I can't. I have no idea how it will play out, but I'm guessing the rest of the NFC North would rather face the Vikings without Favre in the lineup.
But if he can still play, and compete, and win, then there's nothing wrong with another retirement reversal. Vikings fans won't mind; why should you?
Monday, May 4, 2009
1. Try not to freak out about Zambrano. Two, three starts and he'll be back.
2. BOBBY SCALES. That is all.
Name: Tyler Sam Houston
Height: 6'2'' Weight: 210 lbs.
Bats: Left Throws: Right
Years as a Cub: 1996-1999
Tyler Houston showing the kind of prodigious power that earned him a .388 slugging % as a Cub.
During the 1996 season, the Cubs third basemen- Leo Gomez, Dave Magadan, and Jose Hernandez, and their back up catchers, Mike Hubbard and Brian Dorsett, all played like garbage. The Cubs responded to this situation by trading for former first round pick C/3B Tyler Houston of the Braves, which was somehow supposed to fix that.
Houston actually played fairly well for the Cubs in 1996, appearing in 46 games (including 27 as a catcher and 9 at third), and hit .339/2/19/.382/.452, for a respectable .834 OPS. In 1997, however, Houston's offensive prowess regressed considerably, and he posted just a .260/2/28/.290/.342 line in 72 games, 12 of which came at third base. In 1998 Houston played well in the first half, splitting playing time with Scott Servais and Sandy Martinez at catcher and Jose Hernandez and Kevin Orie at third. After a .295/5/17/.323/.477 start, he hit just .234/4/16/.273/.353 to finish the season.
The 1999 season was the first year in which Houston featured prominently as a third baseman for the Cubs. The results were poor. After Gary Gaetti's miserable start exposed the stupidity of the Cubs front office re-signing a 40 year old third baseman, Cub fans were exposed to 63 games (51 starts) of Tyler at third base, during which time he rewarded the Cubs with a .233/9/27/.309/.386 line to go along with a 13 errors at the hot corner, adding up to a miserable .910 fielding % (league average at third that year- .955). The Cubs finally decided they had seen enough and shipped Houston the Cleveland Indians for Richard Negrette. Houston went on to play with the Brewers, Dodgers, and Phillies before retiring in 2003. In case you think Tyler's major league career was lacking in highlights, he had a three homer game on July 9, 2000 against the Detroit Tigers. According to his Wikipedia entry, it was the first time in Brewers history a back up catcher received a curtain call, a statistic the Brewers apparently keep.