Friday, May 22, 2009

Cavs - Magic Game 2

If you don’t like the NBA, fine. But if you love basketball and you aren’t watching what’s happening, then I don’t know how to relate to you.

Here’s a breakdown for you. With one second left on the clock, the best player in the NBA hit a fadeaway three at the buzzer for the win. Does that sound exciting enough for you? Thus far, every conference finals game has come down to the last shot or last possession. It’s not like these teams are bad and it’s a battle of attrition. We’re seeing really talented teams playing at peak levels. I’m sucked in completely. I love what I’m seeing. If anyone tells you that the NBA is boring, then they’re simply not watching the games. It’s that simple.

I was way off on this series though. I thought for sure that Cleveland was going to roll Orlando, especially the way that they were playing. However, it has become abundantly clear that Orlando is a gutsy team that can simply shoot the lights out and plays pretty decent defense. I love Rashard Lewis, as I’ve said before. Hedo is pretty much the same player. Both have a sense for the dramatic. Courtney Lee is going to outstanding, if he’s not already. I don’t care much for Skip. I think Howard is a beast, but he’s limited. They are a fun team to watch. If this series doesn’t go seven games I’m going to be surprised.

As for Cleveland, they played well in stretches and it’s nice to see Pavlovic get some run. He’s a talented player but don’t understand how a European shooter shoots only 40something percent from the free throw line. Is that even genetically possible? For awhile there, I was seriously thinking that Mo Williams was on the take. He looked like garbage for long stretches. I mean, he’s a shooter, and how many open threes does LeBron need to get him before he catches fire? I don’t know if I’m in the proper mindset to talk about this but I cannot believe how much I hate Anderson Varejao and I like this Cavs team (ok, I like LeBron, but still). I hate Varejao for the same reason I hated John Stockton. He’s a whiny little B. How can he, in good conscience, grab a guy’s arm and pull him down to pretend like he’s been pushed? That’s straight out of the Stockton handbook. Also, he thinks he’s fouled EVERY SINGLE TIME HE DOES ANYTHING and continually whines to the refs. I hate him. I don’t think he’s the same as Joakim Noah because Noah doesn’t complain like Varejao does. I just can’t stand how much he cries, it drives me crazy. I’ll root for an outright villain before I root for an cheating little sissy like Varejao.

Now that that’s off of my chest I look forward to watching the rest of the series. A few non sequiturs:
  • That’s an incredible sport coat, shirt, and tie combo by Mike Brown. Dude looks sharp.
  • Is the voice that chants “DE-FENSE” a computer? The same voice announces who scores or who was fouled etc. It’s brutal. He needs to knock it off.
  • TNT’s floating camera, which gives me the feeling that I’m hanging by a noose in the rafters, is not appreciated
  • SVG looks either like a cop or an old Vietnam vet buddy who is still running heroin out of the country. Or both.

Denver v. LA

I am so pleased that I’m actually watching these NBA playoffs. These conference finals games are especially delectable, since each game has literally come down to the last possession.

The LA v. Denver game last night started out horribly because it looked like Denver’s players had spent their day off playing beach volleyball, lying in the sun, and blowing into Corona bottles—all while George Karl was trying to coax them back into their hotel rooms. Speaking of Karl, his face was so red and shiny last night that I couldn’t stop picturing him standing in the middle of the street, wearing a Tony Soprano robe, staring directly at the sun for 11 hours. You could have sautéed onions on his dome he was so hot. Also, I feared that his face was going to melt off from the heat (a la Raiders of the Lost Ark) when Denver allowed that inbounds play that went for a Pau Gasol dunk. That was absolutely amazing

Nevertheless, since LA looked terrible to begin game one (and won) and Denver looked terrible to begin game two (and won) I guess that means that starting out playing horribly is an advantage in this series.

I have one last thing about Karl’s appearance (or as I like to call it my “layup line”), his face is small. Really small. But his head is huge. It’s like his facial features are meant for a person with about 1/3 the size of his head. It’s not sweet to have a big head small face. But I guess that’s better than the alternative because you could have eyes on the top of your head, and that can’t look good.

Not sure if you knew this or not, but the TV cameras love Jack Nicholson. Hey, I love Colonel Jessup as well, but my goodness does he look terrible. They showed him sitting there and I couldn’t help but notice how extraordinarily flabby his belly is. It literally hangs down. Look, if you’re fat, it’s ok, but at least have the decency to put out a distended belly, not some horrible skin flap looking thing. I know that you’re old, Jack, but clean it up.

Now, about the game itself. I will continue to profess my love for Melo’s game, except his pouty, not getting back on defense b.s. that he must eradicate immediately. As such, my love is conditional. I’m hard to get. I enjoy watching Pau Gasol in the post, especially when he’s made up his mind that he’s going to score. He’s got great moves and is shockingly quick and aggressive when he wants to be. But then he gets semi-bullied by Kenyon Marin and he shuts down. It’s abundantly clear that you just need to push him around and hack him a little and he hates it. I do like him though, he shoots a great percentage and gets quality and garbage points.

I did not enjoy the officiating, as per usual, especially the 10 second delay blocking call that Dick Bavetta called on Nene (I think) and Kobe doing a full on two-handed shove in Dahnaty Jones’s back, causing him to fall on his face, right in front of Bavetta. Brutal.

A few other things about appearances, I’m doing left handed layups now, Andrew Bynum has the face of 14-year old, right down to the peach fuzz. It looks pretty clear to me that he’s never shaved before. Also, he’s huge. I don’t think he’s the second coming of Shaq or anything, but he’s a very quality big guy that shouldn’t be overpaid but probably will be.

I’ve said before how much I like Chauncey Billups. His game, demeanor, and everything are great. But he is kind of a weird-looking guy. I’ve said for years that he kind of looks like a long-lost Murphy brother, but a more accurate description is this. If, on that evolution scale (fish swimming, then getting on the beach and with its flippers turning into feet, then into an alligator and so on…) Eddie Murphy is the end of the evolution, then Chauncey is like 4-5 spots from him, with Eddie’s brother, Charlie Murphy right before Eddie. He just looks like a less evolved Murphy brother. But hey, I love the guy more than I love Eddie Murphy these days.

One final thing. I just read Bill Simmons’s mailbag this afternoon and saw this:

Editor's note: On Tuesday, examines the question of whether LeBron
James could play in the NFL. We talked to Bill Parcells, scouts, LeBron's high
school coaches and will have video of LeBron playing high school football.

Let it be known that I posted my take on this yesterday. If ESPN is the “Worldwide Leader” what does that make me?


I smell Cleveland by 15 tonight…

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Conference Finals and Gridiron LeBron

Since I’m pulling for a Denver v. Cleveland final it makes perfect sense that both teams would go on to lose their opening games.

But here is what I saw ...

I saw a determined, strong as a bull, Carmelo Anthony. He’s an absolute beast to handle in the post and there isn’t enough praise to heap on his wildly improved three-point range.

A pretty bad game out of Chauncey Billups (and certainly out of J.R. Smith), right down to missing free throws (including two-in-a-row) which was almost jarring to see. He, like Anthony Carter, failed to close out on LA threes and it ended up costing them the game. I don’t see a need to double anyone but Kobe occasionally because Denver’s big guys (Nene, Martin, Birdman) can manhandle LA’s big guys (Gasol, Odom, Bynum) straight up. Of course Gasol and Odom are going to win some battles, but don’t give Fisher, Farmar, and Ariza consistent wide-open threes, because those are the only shots that they can make. I saw too many occasions where Chauncey or some other guard could have at least given a token close-out, but didn’t. They can’t do that again. Those threes got LA back into the game, but if Denver doesn’t shoot terribly from the line, they win that game going away. I’m still confident that they will take this series. I don’t see LA getting that lucky again – of course, I don’t see Kenyon Martin shooting the ball as well as he did the other night either… but I do believe that Melo will continue to indefensible.

I’m surprised that Orlando was able to take that game from Cleveland, but only in the result. These two teams look very even to me, and here I thought that Orlando would be lucky to win one game. I have a soft spot in my heart for Rashard because of the whole Seattle thing, and he really looks fantastic. I love watching him take the ball strong to the hoop, which is enabled by his fantastic jumper. He’s a tough cover at 6’10 and as agile as he is. His defense is bad and always has been, but that’s not where his value is. Dwight Howard is a physical marvel, but I stand by my proclamations that his post game is garbage. I did see a decent-looking running hook shot out of him (with touch) that surprised me, but I only saw it once. He’s mostly a dunking machine, which is working well for him to the tune of 30 points last night… Mikaele Pietrius looks great, by the way. He looks nothing like any Euro player that I’ve ever seen, of course, he’s not white, but still. His mentality is completely different than most Euro players. He’s aggressive and strong and athletic. I like his game and he looks like he could, at the very least, make LeBron work on offensive (and some on defense). He should be playing 35 minutes a game.

Now, to Cleveland… that fourth quarter was disgusting offensive basketball. The four corners, let LeBron hold the ball at the top of the key for 22 seconds jab stepping, and launching a terrible fadeaway 23 foot jumper just isn’t working for me. He was screaming-teakettle hot for awhile, hitting every midrange jumper he tossed up. He also nearly catapulted himself to the ceiling after that backdoor dunk. One other thing, that helpside swat of Howard’s shot was so incredible because you could see it coming as LeBron crept away from his man when it was clear what Howard’s intentions were. I love watching him play… except when they run the four corners offense. Then it’s horrible to watch. LeBron is the best player in the game not just because he can score, but because he creates so much trouble for the other team. Limiting him to that stupid offense hurts their team. His teammates need to be in constant motion to that he can hit them as they get separation from their man. LeBron’s gifts are showcased when he gets easy buckets for himself or his teammates, not when he’s forcing nochance fadeaway jumpers. Those types of shots lead to losses because their deflating and no one else is involved. It’s just a bad scene.

Speaking of LeBron, given that he is 6’8 and anywhere between 260 and 275, couldn’t he play (and excel) just about anywhere on the field in the NFL except offensive line, defensive tackle, tailback, or fullback? Here is how I see it:

Quarterback: He has tremendous court vision and I see no reason why this wouldn’t translate to the NFL. Is there any part of you that thinks that he can’t throw a football 70 yards in the air? He has great anticipation, a key component for a QB’s accuracy. He is commonly mentioned as one of, if not the fastest guys in the NBA. He has great size. He is a great leader. I have no doubt that he’d be a Pro Bowl QB. I say this without pause even though I’ve never seen him throw a football. You see, I know how to spot talent. That’s my gift.
NFL Comparison: Ben Roethlisberger + Michael Vick

Wide Receiver: The position he played as a high school all-state player in Ohio. He has huge hands, unparalleled leaping ability, great size and strength, explosive speed and quickness. He’s a runaway semi-truck when he screams through the lane in hoops, I see him doing the same thing when careening through the secondary. Because he’s so tall, I’m sure that corners would attempt to get up under his pads and jam him, but because he’s so athletic and strong, he’d brush them off and fly by them. Those commercials depicting him playing for the Browns are not far off. He could also be the first player to dunk a football on the crossbar from the plane of the goal line. But would that be a safety if he crossed the goaline but never set foot in the end zone and the ball sailed out of bounds after he dunked? Technically he broke the plane, which would mean it’s a TD and he maintained possession as he was double pumping. Maybe I’ll ask the NFL what they think. For the record, I rule that a TD just for sheer awesomeness. Of course, LeBron would have to long jump 30 feet (or 7 ¾ inches past the WORLD RECORD) in football pads just to get to the back of the end zone, not to mention needing to get above the crossbar to do so. Look, I put nothing past him, not even setting a world record in the middle of an NFL game.
NFL Comparison: Larry Fitzgerald + Andre Johnson + Terrell Owens + Tony Gonzalez (in other words, the best WR in the NFL)
(As an aside, look at the photo of him and Pacman... notice anything weird about it? LeBron has a cell phone clipped to his pants... I'm saddened by this. He went from being quite possibly the coolest cat in the world to possibly 2nd or 3rd place... disappointing).

Tight End: For the same reasons that he’d be a great wide receiver, he’d be a great tight end, but would be clearly wasted here. He certainly has the size and strength to do it, but he’d be called on to block too much, which he could do, but it makes much more sense to send him downfield, constantly.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Gates + Tony Gonzalez + Shannon Sharpe

Defensive End: He would be an absolute terror getting after the QB, with his size and physicality. Because he is so fast, he’d have terrifying closing speed as well. Teams would have to game plan around him for sure. Because I don’t know how he tackles in the open field, this is the best place for him because he can just hone in and kill people without having to adjust too much. If you can’t picture LeBron putting a swim moving Jason Smith, dipping his shoulder, exploding into Marc Bulger, and subsequently wearing Bulger’s spine as a boa, then you have no eye for the inevitable.
NFL Comparison: Mario Williams + Julius Peppers

Linebacker: He may struggle here in space and because of his size, offensive linemen may be able to get great leverage on him and shove him around. That being said, since he guards point guards from time to time, I see no reason why he couldn’t handle fleet-footed WRs as well. He has fantastic body control so he’d be able to stay with shifty dudes with no problem. I also like the idea of him leaping over linemen to sack the QB. That reminds me of a story of my friend Josh who, for a time, played QB for his high school freshman team. He was lined up under center playing against North Thurston and took the snap only to be grabbed by his shoulders and yanked to the ground after each subsequent snap. The linebacker was lined up directly in front of the center and kept reaching across and throwing him to the ground. The linebacker’s name? Mike Sellers, who happens to carry the nickname “Big Mike.” Look, if you play in the NFL and the guys around you deem it appropriate to toss “Big” into your nickname, then you are one big S.O.B. At the time, Sellers was a freshman and was probably already 6’4 200+ lbs. As it is, he’s 6’4 285 starting at fullback for the Washington Redskins. I saw Sellers once at a club when we were both seniors in high school. I was 5’11 150 at the time. He was 6’4 245. He did not look like a normal human being, starting with the size of his head, which looked like an oscillating fan crossed with a pumpkin.
NFL Comparison: A much taller Shane Merriman (he’s best suited as a 3-4 OLB).

Defensive Back: He would be the largest DB in captivity, which would be so weird to see. He has such speed and range so it makes sense to put him at FS and just let him completely control the field. QBs would be terrified to throw it anywhere near him because the normal rules wouldn’t apply. QBs would never be able to put touch on a ball because he’d go up and get it everytime. Their only hope would be to throw on a line underneath or go for the deep, deep ball and hopefully overthrow him. I see him being less successful as a CB because while he’s able to stop and start on a dime and cover smaller guys, physically he just won’t be able to keep that up because the other dudes are just closer to the ground. I do like the imagine I have in my mind of him jumping about six feet in the air and picking off passes with one hand.
NFL Comparison: A ridiculously tall Ed Reed

Special Teams: He would be the best FG blocker of all time, again, just like the commercial. He’d be just like Finch in Wildcats, except he’s not a morbidly obese extortionist.

So there you have it. I guess I’ll need to him in EA Sports NCAA Football and let you know which position makes the most sense for him and report back. If you’re wondering, and I know you are, my preferences are, in order: FG Blocker, WR, FS, QB, DE, OLB, TE.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let Ron Mexico Play

Grant Hill sounds exactly like Tony Dungy. I mean exactly like him. I was listening to the radio this morning and Hill was on the Mike & Mike show, but before I realized who it was I just assumed that it was Dungy, probably on the show to talk about visiting Michael Vick in prison. But it was Hill and he didn’t have anything interesting to say. That’s no knock on Hill, it’s just that he’s one of those boring/nice guys who doesn’t add much to a broadcast because he’s not especially insightful, he’s definitely not funny, but he’s a nice enough, well-spoken (channeling the Chris Rock Colin Powell bit) guy, who is good looking, so he get opportunities. You know, exactly like Tiki Barber.

Regarding Vick, I’ve been reading about his imminent release from prison and the possibility that he’ll have to kneel before Zod before he’s reinstated. I’ve also read that if Goodell does reinstate him, that he may make him sit out some games to punish him for what he’s done. I guess because a 23-month prison sentence wasn’t punishment enough. Why does the NFL feel the need to tack on its own extra special suspension? Because he lied to almighty Goodell? Does the suspension have any meaning to Vick? Does Goodell think that this extra suspension will make Vick more remorseful for what he’s done? If Goodell doesn’t want “bad” guys in his league, then he simply should use Vick as a warning to all of the current and prospective players in the NFL and deny him reinstatement. F with me and you don’t play in this league. Plain and simple. This half-assed possible suspension serves no purpose, unless, of course, that Goodell is using the suspension as a passive-aggressive way of denying Vick reentry. He could impose a suspension that is so onerous (eight games, for instance) that would turn off nearly every team in the league because they’d have to sign Vick knowing that he couldn’t play for half of the season. That might essentially end Vick’s chances this year. Plus, if he does come back as a QB, then it would be even more difficult for him to assimilate because, as we’ve been told many times, NFL playbooks are difficult to learn.

That being said, this may not matter to some teams because I doubt very seriously that any team looking at him views him as a fulltime solution at QB. Because of the NFL’s copycat nature, Vick, through a strange twist of fate, may be coming back into the league at the right time. Because of the University of Arkansas’s success running the “Wildcat” with Darren McFadden, and the subsequent success that Miami had with the formation last year, suddenly teams are looking for a guy who can possibly run this scheme a few times per game. To wit, Miami nabbed West Virginia’s Pat White in the second round solely for this purpose. White is essentially Michael Vick. They’re about the same size, both are extremely elusive, and both are left-handed. Of course, White does not have nearly the arm strength that Vick has (or had, we don’t know if he still has it) but he’s far more accurate, and while White is fast, he’s not the Madden-99-speed fast that Vick is (or was). Actually, the guy that Pat White resembles the most is Seattle’s Seneca Wallace. For those of us Seattle fans who want to see more of Wallace, perhaps this the year because Holmgren has departed and the new regime is probably a little less conservative than he was offensively (on a consistent basis, I’m not talking about flanking him out wide for one play in one playoff game). It would be hard for them to be as conservative and impossible to be more conservative. Wallace may actually get some burn this year in certain packages and not just because Hasselbeck is hurt, but because it’s part of the game plan. But I digress…

Back to Vick, he’ll be 29-years-old next month, and I haven’t seen any footage of him running or throwing a football, but suffice to say, he’s going to be rusty. I doubt that he’s anywhere near tip-top shape, I’m guessing that a near superhero-level elite athlete like Vick can rebound with aplomb.

As an aside, with the advent of the Wildcat and Vick’s likely position running such an offense, it’s a good thing that he never had any problems with cats or else his comeback could go awry. Although I suppose that it’s possible that the authorities haven’t unearthed “Bad Pusseeezzz Kat Fightazzz,” the underground mountain lion fighting ring that Vick is financing.

Taking a look at current NFL rosters after the draft and free agency, here are each team’s QB situations.

AFC East:
New England: QB1 Tom Brady, QB2 Kevin O'Connell, QB3 Matt Gutierrez
New York Jets: QB1 Kellen Clemens, QB2 Mark Sanchez (R), QB3 Erik Ainge
Miami: QB1 Chad Pennington, QB2 Chad Henne, QB3 Pat White (R)
Buffalo: QB1 Trent Edwards, QB2 Ryan Fitzpatrick

AFC South:
Indianapolis: QB1 Peyton Manning, QB2 Jim Sorgi, QB3 Curtis Painter (R)
Jacksonville: QB1 David Garrard, QB2 Cleo Lemon, QB3 Todd Bouman
Tennessee: QB1 Kerry Collins, QB2 Vince Young, QB3 Patrick Ramsey
Houston: QB1 Matt Schaub, QB2 Dan Orlovsky

AFC North:
Pittsburgh: QB1 Ben Roethlisberger, QB2 Dennis Dixon, QB3 Charlie Batch
Baltimore: QB1 Joe Flacco, QB2 Troy Smith, QB3 John Beck
Cleveland: QB1 Brady Quinn, QB2 Derek Anderson, QB3 Brett Ratliff
Cincinnati: QB1 Carson Palmer, QB2 J.T. O'Sullivan, QB3 Jordan Palmer

AFC West:
Denver: QB1 Kyle Orton, QB2 Chris Simms, QB3 Tom Brandstater (R)
San Diego: QB1 Philip Rivers, QB2 Billy Volek, QB3 Charlie Whitehurst
Kansas City: QB1 Matt Cassel, QB2 Brodie Croyle, QB3 Tyler Thigpen
Oakland: QB1 JaMarcus Russell, QB2 Jeff Garcia, QB3 Andrew Walter

NFC East:
New York Giants: QB1 Eli Manning, QB2 David Carr, QB3 Rhett Bomar (R), QB4 Andre Woodson
Philadelphia: QB1 Donovan McNabb, QB2 Kevin Kolb, QB3 A.J. Feeley
Dallas: QB1 Tony Romo, QB2 Jon Kitna, QB3 Stephen McGee (R)
Washington: QB1 Jason Campbell, QB2 Todd Collins, QB3 Colt Brennan

NFC South:
Tampa Bay: QB1 Byron Leftwich, QB2 Luke McCown, QB3 Josh Freeman (R), Josh Johnson
Carolina: QB1 Jake Delhomme, QB2 Josh McCown, QB3 Matt Moore
Atlanta: QB1 Matt Ryan, QB2 Chris Redman, QB3 D.J. Shockley
New Orleans: QB1 Drew Brees, QB2 Mark Brunell (what?), QB3 Joey Harrington

NFC North:
Green Bay: QB1 Aaron Rodgers, QB2 Matt Flynn, QB3 Brian Brohm
Minnesota: QB1 Tarvaris Jackson, QB2 Sage Rosenfels, QB3 John David Booty
Chicago: QB1 Jay Cutler, QB2 Caleb Hanie, QB3 Brett Basanez
Detroit: QB1 Daunte Culpepper, QB2 Matthew Stafford (R), QB3 Drew Stanton

NFC West:
Arizona: QB1 Kurt Warner, QB2 Matt Leinart, QB3 Brian St. Pierre
Seattle: QB1 Matt Hasselbeck, QB2 Seneca Wallace, QB3 Mike Teel (R)
San Francisco: QB1 Shaun Hill, QB2 Damon Huard, QB3 Alex Smith
St. Louis: QB1 Marc Bulger, QB2 Kyle Boller, QB3 Brock Berlin

Any team with a young QB as a starter or as a starter of the future is likely out because the attention that Vick will receive will detract from the young QB’s development. Even if it’s best for young QBs to fly under the radar, I’ve got to think that the distractions from a media perspective will cause the young QB to harbor some resentment. So for that reason, the following teams are out: New York Jets (Sanchez and Clemons), Miami (Henne and White), Houston (Schaub, while he’s not exactly young, he hasn’t started much, plus he was Vick’s backup and I’m sure he’s telling the front office to stay the hell away), Baltimore (Flacco and Smith, kind of), Buffalo (Edwards), Cleveland (Quinn), Oakland (Russell), Washington (Campbell), Tampa Bay (Freeman and Johnson), Atlanta (Ryan and other reasons), Green Bay (Rodgers, Brohm, and Flynn), Chicago (Cutler – he would melt down), and Detroit (Stafford).
Similarly, any team that has an established core of three QBs that suit their needs or who don’t gamble on “character risks” (either they never have or have sworn off of them) will be eliminated. So the following teams are out: Indianapolis (they’ve got as solid 1 and 2 in the league and a pretty decent rookie in Painter at 3), Tennessee (after dealing with Vince Young, would they want to pick up Vick? I could see if they dumped VY, but not if they kept him), Cincinnati (come on, they can’t do it, right?), Kansas City (they’ve got a solid 1-3), New York Giants (Plaxed out), Philadelphia (McNabb still has it; despite Kolb’s meltdown, they still like him; Feeley is capable especially at no. 3), Dallas (Jerry Jones has to draw the line somewhere, doesn’t he?), Minnesota (while their QB situation is far from solid, they’re still holding the line for the stubbled one), and Seattle (for two reasons: 1. Ruskell is a slave to character, 2. Mora would never coach him again).

Some teams already have a player like Vick in the mix without the baggage, so they’d likely be out as well (I already mentioned Miami for different reasons): Pittsburgh (Dixon)
That leaves the following teams in play: New England, Jacksonville, Denver, San Diego, Carolina, New Orleans, Arizona, San Francisco, and St. Louis.

So let’s take a closer look at these remaining teams:

New England. Brady is coming off of his serious knee injury and we’re all expecting him to be fine, especially given that they let Cassel walk for a second rounder. But no one has seen Kevin O'Connell or Matt Gutierrez play any meaningful minutes. Vick would be surrounded by a team chockfull of veterans and would have no pressure to perform except in limited circumstances (or in case Brady goes down again). He would best be used in a package situation because New England’s offense requires an accurate passer and Vick has never been that.
Jacksonville. David Garrard is a good player who had a down year in ’08, but their backups are not inspiring. I’d be surprised if Cleo Lemon and Todd Bouman could beat Vick in a pie-eating contest much less for the number 2 job in Jacksonville. They’ve got a good running game and a revamped offensive line and a fairly basic offense. Vick could excel here as a package guy and as a backup.

Denver. No one knows what the hell is going on there. Kyle Orton is a nice QB, who can throw it around a little bit and might very well thrive under McDaniel’s guidance. Chris Simms is always going to be a guy who people are going to be disappointed in because he really looks like he should be better. The whole spleen thing really screwed him up and he hasn’t gotten any real action for a long time. No one knows if he’s any good or not, but if he was, it would make sense that he’d see the field given the lack of quality QB play in the league overall the last few years. I am unfamiliar with third-stringer Tom Brandstater. Vick would do well here in packages, but since the offense would be similar to what McDaniels ran in New England, it’s not well-suited to Vick’s strengths. Also, unless Vick could also play defense, I’m pretty sure everyone in Denver would be pissed. If he did join the team, he could wear No. 7 because no one of any note wore that number here, right?
San Diego. Billy Volek and Charlie Whitehurst at 2 and 3. Come on. Volek had some crazy games in Tennessee a few years ago, but he’s not that good and I’m sure that Clemson fans could tell you a thing or two about Whitehurst. Vick is clearly superior to both of those guys and you know how much he loves throwing to tight ends and even though Antonio Gates is getting old, he can still bring it. Plus they’ve got a great running game. San Diego looks very promising for Vick as a Wildcat QB and backup, even if Tomlinson might get upset about getting TD passes taken away from him.

Carolina. Jake Delhomme was as bad as he possibly could have been against Arizona in the playoffs last year. Josh McCown may be an able backup, but doesn’t seem to have much more ability than that. Matt Moore could grow into something given time, but he’s not going to threaten any number 2 guy out there right now, much less any starter. They have an absolutely fabulous running game featuring DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart aka “Double Trouble” formerly known as “Smash and Dash.” With the addition of Vick, I’d suggest that they change the moniker to “Boom Bash Dash” which, aside from sounding incredibly cool, actually fits their running styles and would be harrowing for D-coordinators to stop if all three were on the field at the same time. In case you’re wondering: Vick is “Boom” (as in “boom” he’s gone), “Bash” is Stewart (because of his bruising running style—and underrated speed), and “Dash” is Williams (because of his speed both in the hole and breakaway). Yes, I’m a loser.
New Orleans. I love Drew Brees and so does the City of New Orleans and his coach. Vick’s role here would be solely for Wildcat package purposes and to cause D-coordinators to dampen their khakis when he and Reggie Bush are on the field. They could run the legitimate veer option and gain 10 yards a pop. Believe it. The backup QB situation is pathetic here. I loved Mark Brunell—19 years ago at UW, now? Please. As for Joey Harrington. I’m not even going to waste my time. Let’s just say Vick has a good chance of making this team.

Arizona. Just as in New Orleans, Vick would go here as a Wildcat specialist. Warner is entrenched (obviously) and to the extent that Arizona still has faith in Leinart, it would be weird if he was pushed out in favor of Vick. I’m wholly unfamiliar with Brian St. Pierre. I doubt that Arizona would make this move. I don’t have much else to say here except that I look forward to them having a letdown year and Anquan Boldin playing for someone else (please).
San Francisco. Let’s be honest with each other here. San Francisco’s QB situation might be the worst in the league. I’ve been hearing about this as a team on the rise, but how could that be with these as your top three guys: Shaun Hill, Damon Huard, and Alex Smith? Get the hell out of here. There’s no chance. Huard has had his chances and has hung on in the league far longer than anyone could have anticipated and good for him for doing so, but get real. Alex Smith has been on death watch for years now (even though he did renegotiate his deal to stick around, everyone always says that he’s a really bright guy…). Vick could absolutely give this team some life, so much so that he could literally compete for the starting job.

St. Louis. Ok, St. Louis might be in a worse QB situation than San Francisco. That’s not entirely fair because Marc Bulger is still a nice player, but he’s suffered some injuries and there is no chance that either Kyle Boller or Brock Berlin will be successful. Boller has had numerous chances to make his way and has failed miserably. Berlin was awesome. In high school. Not since. Vick might be a good backup guy here and since they already have a guy who killed someone on their team, they could make room for a dog murderer.
Of the teams that I’ve decided could take a look at him for various reasons, I like Carolina, Jacksonville, and San Diego as my top three destinations for him. All three are in smallish markets, so the national spotlight would not shine too brightly on him or the team, he would be able to make a difference on winning teams by playing in spot situations, and he fits the personnel of the teams.

As a dog owner, I view Vick as a despicable human being and I wish (as he does, I’m sure) that he had the good sense to not commit those terrible acts (dude, a rape stand?), and I hope that he never has a chance to play again, or if he is, that he has to run from a pack of rabid dogs in order to gain reinstatement. As a football fan and a guy who is entertained simply by watching an incredible athlete run as fast as he can, I want Vick back in the game—or to watch a video of Vick running from said dogs, either one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Goodbye, Beantown

While I enjoyed all of the drama that Boston brought to the NBA playoffs these past two years, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm glad to see them go. They're missing one of their best players and what they've done without Garnett is admirable. We got to see two young big guys grow up and emerge as solid role players in Big Baby Davis and Kendrick Perkins. We got to see Rajon Rondo play the point guard position as well as anyone (he's even got some confidence in his jumper, watch out league...). We got to see Ray Allen's long-legged, busty jumper. And we got to see Paul Pierce coaxing more out of one of the most unathletic bodies that a superstar NBA swingman can posses in 2009. But they fell on their face in this game and ran into an Orlando team that simply played better, smarter, and hit huge shots time and time again. So that's it. I'm dying to see what Cleveland is going to do to them, though. They are a tough as nails team that has a completely healthy roster, and the best player in the game. I don't see this ending well for Orlando.
A few things about the game:
Reggie Miller said that Marcin Gortat is “just as athletic as Dwight Howard.” Look, that’s a very nice thing for Miller to say about Gortat, but with all due respect to Gortat's considerable abilities (afterall, he IS playing meaningful minutes for a team that is in the Eastern Conference Finals) but considering that Howard is one of the best athletes in the world in any sport (is Gortat even the best athlete from Poland?), it’s probably safe to say that Miller should rethink his comment. I know it’s hard to come up with things on the air, but you can’t just say something like that. At the very least, Marv should have made fun of him.

While Howard is a phenomenally rare athlete he simply has no ability to shoot the ball in the post, unless he’s attempting bury the ball and rim into the floor. I don’t mean to be too disparaging here, but when I watch him shoot, the first thing that comes to mind is a girl I went to high school with who would shoot without looking at the rim. Honestly, he just needs to slow down, and that may come in time, but we’ll see. As I've said before, I have my doubts.

It’s weird seeing a guy like Big Baby Davis, who is significantly less physically gifted than Howard, have a much more refined offensive game, but he definitely does.

While Howard had great anticipation to block shots and probably earned his defensive player of the year award, a 6’2 Rajon Rondo should not dunk on you. At the very least, Howard should have shoved Rondo’s ass to the ground. In fairness to Howard, he didn’t see Rondo soon enough, but still. It’s not the first time it’s happened.

Another thing that I’ve noticed during this series and many others is the reluctance of some guards to pass the ball when they have clear paths to the hoop for fear of getting their shots blocked. I suppose that they do this because so many guys in the NBA can shoot jumpers at a high percentage. As good as a Rashard Lewis jumper is from 25 feet, it seems like a Rafer Alston layin from 1 foot is better. Maybe he’d get his shot tossed back in his face, it’s still good to challenge dudes at the rim. I say this, but yet I’m sure I’d do the same thing if a 6’10 Kendrick Perkins was staring me in the face.

One last thing: Hey, Boston fans, just because your guys miss shots or something doesn’t go your way, doesn’t mean that your player was fouled, just so you know. Also, nice of these Great Boston Fans to stick around for the end of the game. At least they aren’t frontrunners.
My Zimbio
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