Monday, October 27, 2014

Stardom Cut Short

Many people love the game of baseball.  Some of us more than others, but sometimes we all forget that the players that play this great game are also people too.  For those of you who haven't already heard, Oscar Taveras was killed recently in a car accident.  Officials have no information about the accident just a conformation that Taveras and his girlfriend  died in the accident, according to

Taveras was one of the top prospects in the nation and in his time in the majors played well for the St. Louis Cardinals.  He had earned a job sharing starts in right field for the club.  but what all of us seem to forget is that he was a person too.  That he did have a life outside of baseball.  He had a family and a girlfriend in the Dominican Republic.  Even being a Milwaukee Brewers fan for all of these years, and absolutely despising the Cardinals, I am saddened to see that this happened.  He was a future star for the club and the Major League.  He will be missed.  And I leave you with his final hit of his career. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Exactly is Brett Favre's Legacy?

When you hear the name Joe Montana, you think of one of the best quarterbacks to play the game.  When you hear the names John Elway, Steve Young, Payton Manning, Johnny Unitis, and so on, you think of all great quarterbacks.  But when you hear the name Brett Favre, what do you think of?  A guy who threw more interceptions than any other quarterback?  A guy who went to the Green Bay Packers division rival, Minnesota Vikings?  A guy who had a sexting scandal when he was with the New York Jets?  You know what I think about?  One of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Brett Favre was drafted out of Southern Miss in 1991 in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons.  Let's just say, Favre didn't have the great relationship there with head coach Jerry Glanville.  Glanville even said that it would take a plane crash for Brett Favre to play in Atlanta.  Favre's career in Atlanta was short lived as he threw the ball four times, had no completions, and 2 interceptions.  What did Ron Wolf see in this guy?  Apparantley something because after the 1991 season, Wolf traded a first round pick to Atlanta for Brett Favre.  In the second game that year, the Packers were down 17-0 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at halftime so head coach Mike Holmgren decided to bench starting quarterback Don Majkowski and put in Brett Favre.  Favre ended up throwing his first pass as  Packer and his first complete pass to himself for a gain of -7 yards.  The Packers lost that game 31-3.  Majkowski would start the next game but get an injured ligement in his ankle.  Favre would come in and actually fumble four times but he would end up throwing the game-winning touchdown in that game against the Bengals with 13 seconds left and Favre would be the guy from there on out.  That year, Favre threw for 3,227 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.  From 1993 to 1995, Favre threw for 11,598 yards, 90 touchdowns, and 51 interceptions.  The year after that was simply put, magically.

Favre would work his magic in 1996, throwing for 3,899 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.  That year was special because it would the year Brett Favre would win his one and only Super Bowl Championship.  For the first time since 1967, Favre and the Packers were bringing the Lombardi Trophy home.  Throughout his career in Green Bay, Favre threw for 61,665 yards, 460 touchdowns, and 286 interceptions.  Although the interceptions may be a bit crazy, Favre threw for unbelieveable numbers in his career with the Packers.  He would leave the fans with great memories, such as his nearly perfect performance on Monday Night against the Raiders the night is father died or how about when he won the Super Bowl and ran off the field, helmet held high?  Although he left the Packers with an interception, Favre in 2007 threw for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns and took the Packers to the NFC Championship. 

The drama would begin after that as Favre announced his retirement.  After an offseason with Green Bay planning to move foward with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback, Favre decided he still wanted to play football.  The Packers would trade him away to the New York Jets that year and that to was short-lived.  After his season with the Jets, Favre was going to retire again, becoming a free agent.  However, Minnesota Vikings players such as Jared Allen flew to Favre's Mississippi home and convinced him to come out of retirement and play for the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers division rival.  Favre actually had one of the best years of his career in Minnesota, as he threw for 4,202 yards, 33 touchdowns, and a career-low as a starter, 7 interceptions.  Although all seemed in good in Minnesota, fate reared its ugly head in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints that year as Favre would throw an interception toward the end of the game, allowing the Saints to kick a game winning field goal.  Favre almost knew that was his last chance at the Super Bowl but had to have realized that's what he gets for going to the Vikings.  Or maybe he didn't.  Who knows.  All I know is Favre would play one more year after that and would hardly play due to injury.  Favre suited up, injured and all, for one last game against the Chicago Bears against the Minnesota Vikings on a Monday Night at TCF Bank Stadium as the Metrodome had a collapsed roof.  Favre would be sacked by Corey Wooten and that would be the end of his career. 

Favre still finished his 20 year career with a passer rating of 86.0, 71,838 yards, and 508 touchdown passes.  So why write this?  Well Payton Manning just broke Favre's record of 508 touchdown passes and it only seems fitting.  Many talk about Payton's legacy, but the legacy of Brett Favre is hardly talked about.  Now how would I define Brett Favre?  I would define him as one of the best, most exciting, and most contraversal quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.  I would also say that watching Favre play quarterback for many years as a Packer was an honor and privelage and as a fan, I thank him for all the memories.  Brett, we can't wait till you come home. 

Image from:

Sunday, October 19, 2014



Never have I ever been this embarrassed this year to call myself a Chicago Bears fan who goes to a school in Wisconsin. Okay, maybe there was that one time where I lost that bet earlier in the season, but that's besides the point here.

If you weren't too busy celebrating the Packers victory or suppressing what just happened a few hours ago, you know by now that the Bears just lost yet another home game. Oh, but it gets better. They are now 3-4 for the season, and three of those losses took place in Soldier Field. Wait, there's more! Want to know who they lost to today and what the score was? That would be the Miami Dolphins, and the final score was 27-14.

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm already mentally preparing myself for all the Jay Cutler jokes I'm bound to get this week.

Now, according to several reports, we know that there was a whole lot of arguing and fighting after game. Brandon Marshall reportedly called out Jay Cutler and kicker Robbie Gould, and people had to be restrained and taken out of the locker room. You know, all that typical "team in disarray" stuff you hear about almost every year, many of these cases stemming from teams that people predicted to actually be contenders in a way.

Question: Why don't they take that intensity, use it on the field, and stop putting fans on an embarrassing roller coaster of a season?

The Bears are supposed to contend for the NFC North. They're supposed to put up major points on the board in their second year under head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler is supposed have a dark horse MVP-caliber year. The defense was supposed to be better with all the acquisitions in the offseason.

So...where is THAT Chicago Bears team?

Let's look at what the Bears have done this season. So far, they have:

  • Lost to the Bills, of all teams, in Week 1. The Bills!!
  • Came back in dramatic fashion against the 49ers on Sunday Night Football
  • beat the Jets on Monday Night Football, but everyone knows that was luck
  • Lost to the Packers. Enough said.
  • Thanks to turnovers, lost a winnable game against the Panthers 
  • Made the Falcons look stupid, and then...
  • Made the Dolphins make them look like the stupid ones
Long story short, this season has been deceiving if anything. When they win, they look like the NFC North contenders that they should be (with the exception of that Jets game). Oh, but when they lose, it's absolutely atrocious. It's miserable. It's ugly. Better yet, it's worthy of Randy Orton showing up out of nowhere, hitting me with an RKO, and putting my fandom out of it's misery. 

I mean, have you seen those Vines lately? Okay, sorry, off topic again.

I get it, Chicago. I get that our defense is bad, and it doesn't help that someone gets hurt every single game. I get that Cutler likes to occasionally, borderline frequently, catch a case of the Rex Grossman (if you're a Bears fan, you know what I mean. Same goes for you, Packer fans). I get Jeffery and Marshall has been hurt and Matt Forte started slow. But after what happened today, I'm not sure how I can bring myself to defend a team who doesn't have an identity. Honestly, can the real Chicago Bears, whoever you are, please just stand up?

Please, for the love of my Great Aunt Petunia...just. Win. Consistently (preferably at home, too). Better yet, pick an identity and stick with it.

I don't have a Great Aunt Petunia, but you get the point. I can settle for a home victory at the very least.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


For the first time in over 5 years, the playoffs are back in the Chicago Cubs’ vocabulary. With the announcement from Theo Epstein,  that playoffs were the team’s number one goal for the 2015 season, morale has risen amongst Cubs fans. After a long and tedious "rebuild", the future of the Cubs looks bright. Despite a losing record for the 2014 campaign, the Cubs in the latter half of the season did manage to play .500 baseball, an impressive stat for being such a young team. With the additions of young prospects: Jorge Soler, Arismendy Alcantara, and Javier Baez, the big league roster showed a great improvement offensively. Complimented with a solid bullpen and impressive starting pitching from younger pitchers like Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada. Even so, the Cubs still have stars that are expected to be called-up next year and in the years to come including Kris Bryant, Albert Almora, Kyle Schwarber, and many more.

Despite the remarkable play from young prospects, the Cubs should be looking to add some veteran pitching this winter. With pitchers like Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields on the market this offseason, the Cubs have a great selection to choose from. On top of that, the Cubs should look into solidifying the catcher position. Unfortunately injury prone Wellington Castillo underperformed again this season compiling a .237 batting average, 13 home runs and only 46 RBI’s. Russell Martin is currently the top catcher this offseason and would be a nice upgrade in the Cubs’ line-up next season. 

Incorporating some veterans with post-season experience will be a nice compliment to the young stars and should create a good mix of young and experienced ball players that can compete at a high level next year. Plus, with the expected arrival of Kris Bryant next season, the Cubs look to add another offensive powerhouse to the line-up. Though, at the end of the day it is all speculation, but if Theo Epstein and the front office play their cards right this offseason, playoffs will be back in the Cubs’ vocabulary.

Monday, October 13, 2014

College got it Right
's wide right and the final score is 37-37.  Wait a minute! A tie?!  Professional games don't end in a tie!  Unless you count the 2002 MLB All-star game.  But back to football, these guys are out there playing their hearts out trying to get another W for their teams and the game just ends.

As a fan you are sitting there wondering what just happened.  You're expecting one of the teams to win and the game just ends.  Although the Bengals should have won on that last second field goal, but that's besides the point.

The NFL needs to be like the college game when it comes to overtime.  This may in fact be the final push for that.  Have both the teams start at the opponents 40 yard line and work your way to the end zone.  It will be a more of an intense game because it allows one thing, hope.

In the current system, as a fan, you know that if one team drives down the field and scores a touchdown it's over.  But if we add a little hope does it make it a better game?

Now your team has a chance to rebuttal the other team and try and score.  This keeps happening until someone wins the game.  This is probably the best thing for the NFL and everyone (but maybe the players) is happy.  The fans get more game to watch, the organization is happy because it gives the fans an opportunity to spend more money on things like concessions, and the NFL is happy because the fans are happy.

The players may not be happy because this provides another opportunity for them to get injured.  You have to remember though, these are the same guys that make millions of dollars for playing a game.  Playing a game that most of us played from a very young age.

We'll see what happens next season.  I'm looking at you Roger Goodell.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Johnny Man-Who??

We're supposed to be seeing something, rather someone, different from the Cleveland Browns.

We're supposed to be talking about them almost every single week. We're supposed to be witnessing a whole new kind of flair and swagger. We're supposed to be witnessing a type of Mania that almost rivals "Hulkamania", brother. Simply put, we were supposed to see the Browns suck and rookie sensation Johnny Manziel ride in on his white horse near midseason. 

Cleveland, for the most part, wanted it. Texas A&M fans wanted it. I wanted it. Admit it, even you wanted it. We all, deep down, wanted it.

And Brian Hoyer does. Not. Care. At all.

The Brian Hoyer-led Browns, now fresh off a 31-10 beatdown of the Pittsburgh Steelers, have a 3-2 record. That puts them at third in the AFC North behind Baltimore and Cincinnati, who are tied for first. It's also worth mentioning that if the playoffs were to start TODAY (yes, I know it's too early to say that), they'd just barely miss the playoffs. As far as individually, Hoyer is a top-20 quarterback in the yardage category (1,007) and ranked 8th in Total QBR (75.4). You know what they say about numbers: They don't lie.

So why are people hardly buying what Hoyer is selling? It's time to give credit where credit is due, and believe me, Hoyer deserves a lot of credit.

Let us not forget that Hoyer has quite the backstory, too. He's a hometown kid who has bounced around several teams in his career, came to Cleveland last year and won games for them before his season was cut short thanks to an ACL injury. Let me say that again. Hoyer won games. The Cleveland Browns won games! Forget the fact that it was the Browns: 

A team from Cleveland won games!! Hardly anything wins Cleveland! Just look at the Cavaliers once LeBron James left. 

He seems like a really nice guy, but I guarantee that if you asked him, Hoyer would be damned if he let some kid who has almost a Tebow-esque media circus behind him take his job. Hoyer is essentially the underdog here, as he's been for really most of his career. You know how America is with underdogs. We LOVE them.

Anyone who knows me knows I adore Manziel, and I'm still hoping to see him start some games for the Browns. If Hoyer keeps this up, though, I can surely wait. I love the underdog just as much as America does.

I'm not saying Hoyer is going to lead the Browns to the Super Bowl anytime soon. Yet, at the very least, it's time to start entertaining the idea that he could squeak them into the playoffs. For now, he's finally giving Browns fans reasons to cheer.

Side note: it's a good year to love Cleveland sports, huh? LeBron's back, now this? Go crazy, Cleveland. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

City of Broken Dreams

Show of hands: Who expected to see the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers meet up in the World Series this year? If you're like me, then this was something that you were craving for the moment the first pitch of this year's MLB Playoffs was thrown.

Think about it for a second. On one hand you have a team with an enigmatic superstar (Yasiel Puig), a superstar whose rise, fall, and second rising is almost as dramatic as Batman's in The Dark Knight Trilogy (Matt Kemp), and someone who should get a lot of MVP consideration (Clayton Kershaw). On the other hand, you have a team with a surefire future Hall of Famer (Albert Pujols), another superstar with dramatic rises and falls (Josh Hamilton), and the heir to MLB's "face of the league" throne vacated by the now-retired Derek Jeter (Mike Trout). Not to mention both teams have other pretty key players as well.

It's perfect. It's Hollywood, both geographically (kind of) and figuratively. It's even more of a ratings grabber than World Series' typically are, if that's even possible.

Ain't no Series like a West Coast Series because a West Coast Series doesn't stop, right? Right?!?

Wrong, and for two reasons:
  1. It would eventually have to stop to get a World Champion.
  2. It isn't happening, since both teams have been eliminated in their respective League Divisional Series'.
For the Angels, they not only lost to the Kansas City Royals. They were swept. Swept! The best team in baseball was swept by a team who hasn't had a sniff of the postseason since 1985, but could easily be pegged as the "Team of Fate". The Dodgers recently lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, but they at least salvaged a game in that series.

Okay, maybe I should have seen that Dodgers one coming, seeing that it seems like the Cardinals are a mainstay in the NLCS as of recent years. But still.

Sure, this is the time of year where we're supposed to expect the underdog to come out on top, and not just in baseball. Anyone else watch college football around this time of year every year? David always tends to get the better of Goliath, and the MLB Playoffs are no exception. For those like me who wanted an LA World Series, this kind of sucks. A lot.

But hey, cheer up Los Angeles sports fans! The Kings, Clippers, and Lakers are all starting their respective seasons soon. If all else fails, you have Hollywood. And for fans of both LA baseball teams here in Wisconsin, the Packers are tied for first.

Plus, Aaron Rodgers is from California. That counts for something, right?

Call it a Comeback

            From Green Bay’s Thursday night stomping of Minnesota, to New England conquering Cincinnati on Monday, week five of the NFL season was arguably the most exciting of the young season. In between the Packers and Patriots victories saw nine games in which the team that won, did so in comeback fashion. Of those nine teams to come back and win, five of them did so after being down by double digits. While Carolina and Buffalo both came back from fourteen down, both games were overshadowed by Cleveland’s incredible twenty-five point comeback to beat Tennessee.      

            On paper, the Tennessee, Cleveland game should have been a close one, and if you just looked at the final score, it was. What makes this game so incredible is way Cleveland came back. To be down 28-3 before halftime means neither offense nor defense played at all. And while it appeared the defense got their act together after halftime, the Browns still only scored and additional three points by the end of the third.

            By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, there was no reason to believe that the Browns were coming back. Then out of nowhere the Cleveland offense took off and went on to score sixteen unanswered points and the defense held off a last drive effort to win the game. The question is, who deserves the most credit for the Browns victory? Was it Cleveland’s offense for finding a way to score in the fourth? Was it Cleveland’s defense for not allowing the Titans to score in the second half? Was it Tennessee’s defense for allowing the Browns for score sixteen points in the final quarter? Or was it Tennessee’s offense for not putting any points on the board in the second half? I think the answer is Cleveland’s offense, more specifically the offense of line. The Brown’s o-line only allowed one sack in the game which allowed Brian Hoyer to remain healthy throughout the game. Though losing Jake Locker didn’t help Tennessee’s case.

Indeed, What Defines a Game Manager?

On Tuesday, Hawk Talk got heated as the discussion of who was a game manager at the quarterback position was thrown in many different directions.  Through all that arguing, we were all wrong.  Here's the real truth.  You can't be a game manager and play in the NFL in today's game.  If that's the case, you'll end up on the bench, just like E.J. Manuel did.

The conversation of Alex Smith being a game manager has always been a popular discussion.  But seriously, watch him play.  He's not a game manager.  Sure he hands the ball off to Jamal Charles but he makes a lot of plays with the limited recievers he has.  Dwayne Bowe is his best wide reciever and after that, its hard to imagine Junior Hemingway, Donnie Avery, and A.J Jenkins even coming close to a second reciever.  In reality, Travis Kelce is Alex Smith's only threat as a target.  Bowe as problems with his hands and I mean that literally.  It actually hurts his fingers really bad which is why he has trouble catching the ball a lot.  So really, they only have Travis Kelce.  Alex Smith was the 49ers quarterback for quite sometime before he got hurt and Colin Kaepernick took over.  Smith was then traded to the Chiefs where he took them back to the playoffs a year ago.  Although they lost in the first round to the Colts, Smith made plays in big games.  Not only can Smith make plays with his arm, he can also make plays with his feet.  I'm sorry but Alex Smith is not a game manager.  A year ago Smith threw for 3,313 yards, 23 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions.  He also had a passer rating of 89.1.  This, by the way, was Alex Smith's best season in the NFL.  So far this year, Smith already has 9 touchdown passes, 1,066 yards, 4 interceptions, and a passer rating of 91.3.  Alex Smith is no game manager.

Yesterday, Brian Hoyer was a hot topic on Hawk Talk.  Brian Hoyer has bounced around as a backup quarterback in his career.  He started his careeer for three years with the Patriots, went to the Steelers for a year, then the Cardinals for a year, and has now been with the Browns for two years.  He got his chance to start last year when Brandon Weeden was benched.  In those three games, Hoyer had 615 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 ints and also brought a spark to this team.  We saw a very small sample size of Hoyer last year.  When he did play, he led a spark under this team.  They were 2-1 under Hoyer before he broke his leg and now Hoyer returns as the quarterback for the Browns this year.  Thus far this season, Hoyer has 6 touchdowns, only 1 interception, 1,008 yards, and a passer rating of 97.7.  Brian Hoyer can throw the ball.  Go back and actually take time to watch highlights.  Don't just assume.  Don't just judge without watching.  Go look and see what he does.  You can say the same about Alex Smith.  Go watch him and see what he does before judging what he may be categorized as.

So what does define a game manager?  Well trust me, if your a starting quarterback in the NFL today, your not a game manager.  E.J Manuel was almost the closest and now he's on the bench.  The league is not only faster, but its also evolved to a passing league.  The Trent Dilfer type quarterback would never last in today's game.  In fact, that Ravens offense that won the Super Bowl, even with Jamal Lewis, would not last in today's game.  The league has changed so much in the last decade or so that a game managing quarterback would not survive in the league today.

Yesterday on the show, if you listened in, we said a lot of stupid things to make our cases.  The fact is, if your a game manager in today's game, you will not see yourself as a starting quarterback on game day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cinderella Story

The Kansas City Royals are going to the ALCS. Yes, you read that right.

If you would have told me before the season that the Royals would have swept the Angels in three games to advance to the ALCS I would have laughed at you. The Royals haven't been in the playoffs since 1985. Who would have expected them to sweep the Angels to advance to the ALCS, let alone make the playoffs? But, here we are with the Royals set to take on the Baltimore Orioles in a best of seven series, winner representing the American League in the World Series. 

The Royals finished second to the Detroit Tigers in the Central Division by one game, and had to play a one game wild card playoff against the Oakland A's to get into the playoffs. The Royals then took down the MLB's top record Angels with a quick three games. 

Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler have powered the team that drafted them all the way to the ALCS by absolutely hitting the cover off the ball. After finishing last in the MLB in home runs as a team, Moustakas and Hosmer have both hit two huge, clutch, go ahead homers to help the Royals move on. 

The Royals are just finding ways to win. It's fun to watch. How long until the clock strikes midnight on this team? I'm not sure. The Orioles are a tough, complete team who easily disposed of the Tigers in the first round of the playoffs. But, with that being said, the Royals are rolling right now. The fans are excited and they're feeding off of that. I feel the Royals will take down the O's in five games to advance to the World Series. 

Here's why: the O's have been a top the AL East what feels like forever. They were expected to be where they are now. The pressure is fully on them. No one expected the Royals to be here, and if you say you did, your pants are on fire because you are a liar. The Royals are just enjoying and making the most of their opportunity. They're playing loose and having fun. They have nothing to lose. That's why I'm taking the Royals in five games. Will they win the World Series? Check back later for more on that. 

Andrew Lowe 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Odd Man Out?

Last Thursday, when I was watching the Vikings/Packers game, I noticed that Jeff Janis,  rookie reciever from Saginaw Valley State, got some playing time in the forth quarter.  It got me thinking how much talent this guy actually has.  He's almost like a faster Jordy Nelson.  Now what about Davante Adams?  The guy can catch everything.  He has showed up in big third down situations already this year and clearly Green Bay likes him as the number three reciever right now.  One would assume the Packers will re-sign Randall Cobb and of course have one of the best recievers in the game, Jordy Nelson.  They also have rookie reciever Jared Abbrederis, who will miss this season due to a torn ACL.  Where am I going with this?  Well, if the Packers have Nelson, Cobb, Adams, Janis, and Abbrederies, that leaves one man has the odd man out after this season.

At 6'2", 218 pounds, Jarett Boykin has been with the Packers since 2012 and showed alot of promise last year.  He came up with a ton of big catches late in the season with Matt Flynn as the quarterback, especially in the comeback game against the Minnesota Vikings.  However, this year Boykin has had his struggles.

On top of his struggles on the field, he's also been dealing with a nagging groin injury.  As much as I personally like Jarrett Boykin, if he can't get back to form by the end of the year, his job could be in question next year.  Now I know this is a long time from now but I'm sure its something the Packers and Boykin himself are already thinking about. 

It's no secret that the Packers were big fans of Jared Abbrederies and Jeff Janis and with both of them set for a bigger role next year, Jarrett Boykin's job with the Packers could be in question.  It may not be because he's a bad reciever but if he isn't healthy and Abbrederies and Janis are, Boykin's odds of making this team won't be very good, especially if Adams continues to play well this year.

An undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech, Boykin shocked most Packer fans with how well he was able to perform his first two years.  However, this season, although its still young, has not looked good for number 11 and hopefully he can turn things around to prove me wrong.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

He's only Human

After giving up an astounding 8 earned runs, we as fans have come to realize that Clayton Kershaw may in fact be human.  He could not be hit during the entire regular season.  Teams would cower when they say that it was Kershaw pitching that day.  He has developed that much of a luster.  Maybe he isn't as good as everyone is making him out to be.  Maybe his entire season was a fluke.  Maybe the Dodgers should be worried about him.

Okay hold the phone.  For those of you thinking that right now, he's still Clayton Kershaw.  The same guy that went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA and 239 strikeouts.  He is still the best pitcher in the Majors.  Playoff baseball is just different.  You are facing the best teams in your respective leagues.

Let's not forget about the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Dodgers did actually play them.  The Cardinals offense was due.  They have way too many weapons to not have a good offense.

Even Justin Verlander had a bad game on his MVP/Cy Young run.  Kershaw will bounce back.  He is way too talented of a pitcher not to.  We'll see the Kershaw we all know his next time out.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Cowboys, Romo begin Playoff Push

Don't laugh just yet at the title.  Many belief that Tony Romo is simply a choke artist and always will be.  Well here is me telling you to not let history fool you.  No matter what he did in the past, Romo and this Cowboys team could be set to win now. 
The Cowboys, offensively, are as good as the NFC's best.  On top of having Demarco Murray at running back, they have Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams as their one and two recievers.  They also have the veteran Jason Witten at tight end and now have an offensive line with three first round picks in center Travis Frederick, right guard Zack Martin, and top-five left tackle Tyron Smith.  Those three are also complimented by veteran right tackle Doug Free and left guard Ronald Leary.  This offensive line can create holes for any running back in the NFL and they are part of the reason Demarco Murray is so successful on top of the fact that he's a stud. 
Defensively, they struggle with talent on the defensive line.  With high second round pick Demarcus Lawerance hurt, the Cowboys go with George Selvie and Jeremy Mincey at the defensive end positions while pro-bowler Henry Melton and Nick Hayden cover the defensive tackle positions.  They are stacked at linebacker with Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, and Rolando McClain, who is filling in for the injured Sean Lee.  They have some talent at the corner position with Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, and Morris Claibourne.  However, where they struggle is at the safety position.  Barry Church has looked pretty good for the Cowboys the past couple years but they have yet to cover the strong safety position, currently played by J.J. Wilcox.  They need to add a talent back there.
However, this team is already much better than it was a year ago.  Now let's turn to Tony Romo.  Everyone says he's a choke artist, but for Tony, its a fresh start.  Romo is coming off of back surgery and he is now protected by the best offensive line he's ever had in Dallas.  On top of that, he finally has receiving targets to throw to in Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams and his favorite target, Jason Witten.  Romo may be sidelined during practice with his back but it's getting better and better each day.  Romo has performed better and better as the season goes on and the Cowboys are very much alive in a division that really only features the Philadelphia Eagles as a true threat.  For Dallas, and for Romo, they could prove all the haters wrong this year and win this division.

Young Bucks Ready to Shine

For the Milwaukee Bucks, it was time to take a step back and really look in the mirror and see what was wrong.  It's been quite sometime since the Bucks have had a memorable team.  The phrase that becomes way over used is "The Bucks suck."  Now it's time for me to disagree.  Have they sucked?  Yes they have.  The Bucks haven't won an NBA Championship since 1971 and have not won another one.
Over the past few seasons, the Bucks have simply been average.  In 2009, the Bucks went 34-48.  In 2010, they went 46-36 and made the playoffs as a 6th seed and lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round (Atlanta won series 4-3).  The next year in 2011, the Bucks went 35-47 and in 2012, 31-35.  In 2013, the Bucks made their return to the playoffs behind Brandon Jennings and Monte Ellis with a 38-44 record and the 8th seed in the East.  They would lose to the Miami Heat in the first round (Miami won the series 4-0).  Last season was probably the most depressing season in Bucks history.
Last year, the Milwaukee Bucks went a franchise worse 15-67.  This comes after they added 10 new players.  They let Monte Ellis walk.  They traded away Brandon Jennings to the Pistons for Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton.  Then they traded J.J. Redick away in a three-team trade to the Clippers who also received Jared Dudley from the Suns in the deal.  The Suns received Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler while the Bucks received two second round picks (The Bucks would later acquire Caron Butler in a separate trade).  However, in the worst season in franchise history, good things did happen.
The Bucks did their scouting homework and landed Giannis Antetokounmpo from Greece in the first round with the 14th pick.  Last year, Giannis averaged 6.8 points per game, 1.9 assist per game, and 4.4 rebounds per game.  However, he only averaged 24.6 minutes per game.  In that time, Antetokounmpo showed off his 6'11" height and his massive wing span.  He is a clear matchup nightmare for any team and was an asset the Bucks need to get more involved.  They also won in the trade with the Pistons as Brandon Knight was a stud at the point guard position, averaging 17.9 points per game, 4.9 assists per game, and 3.5 rebounds per game.  This was easily the best season of Brandon Knight's 3-year career and the Bucks look like they found a stud in the trade that sent Jennings to Detroit.  Khris Middleton didn't turn out bad either, averaging 12.1 points per game. 
On top of those three, the Bucks still have former first round pick John Henson and former first round pick Larry Sanders.  People always seem to forget that Larry Sanders hardly played for Milwaukee last year and is determined to re-define himself this season.  Henson, meanwhile, did his part, averaging 11.1 points per game as the Bucks center last year.  O.J. Mayo will also look to rebound this year as last year he had the worst year of his career.  In the first day of practice, Mayo said he simply didn't want to talk about last year.  He, and this team, want to move on and prove people they aren't the embarrassment of a 15-67 season.
The biggest thing that could have happened for Milwaukee happened when they picked 2nd in the NBA Draft.  They drafted a guy who was the most NBA ready guy in the draft, Jabari Parker, small forward out of Duke.  Parker can add an average around 18 points per game to this team if he lives up to expectations and will easily be the face of the franchise.  Fans of Milwaukee are excited for Jabari as he looks rebuild this franchise.
For all those people who say the Bucks suck, that's okay.  I guarantee no team will shock people more this year than the Milwaukee Bucks.  They play in the weak Eastern Conference, and if you ask me, I believe they can have a 30 win season.  The playoffs will be a reach but honestly they have the talent.  When I see Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Larry Sanders, John Henson, Khris Middleton, and Nate Wolters, I'm excited about this team.  The future that this team has will shine.  Speaking of shining, don't be surprised if the Young Bucks begin to shine this year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No rest for the weary

Some of the first things that you will think about when someone says the New England Patriots are Tom Brady and winning.  But this hasn't been the case this year.  This year the Patriots have seemed to do nothing but struggle to get through each game on their schedule.  The team has not been playing up to the hype that is always built around them.  Brady is 81/137 for 791 yards 4 touchdowns and has thrown 2 interceptions.  These are decent numbers, but they definitely are not Brady numbers.

Maybe it's his lack of weapons around him.  His leading receiver on the team is Julian Edelman, who was in fact a quarterback in college.  Next down the line would be Brandon LaFell, who isn't a bad receiver but he is far from being a number one.  Rob Gronkowski has not been playing very well and seems to constantly be getting injured and there is a definite lack of a running game.

But skill positions aside it really is the offensive line that is causing this team to fail.  They never seem to get any of the praise but it is in fact an offensive line that really drives the entire football team.  If you have a good offensive line that allows for your quarterback to be protected and be able to make the throws that he is expected to make.  It allows for the run game to get going, which leads to a greater time of possession.  Greater time of possession leads to a more rested defense and allows them to play their best game.  So having a good offensive line really is key for a team.

If the patriots had a more experienced, more talented, more gelled offensive line, maybe Brady would in fact have more than 2 seconds to throw the ball.  We all saw in the Kansas City Chiefs game how bad this line really is.  It looks as if the Chiefs were lining up against a high school offensive line.  Brady was constantly scrambling, or on his back.

Now Brady is getting up there in age but he still has what it takes to play quarterback, and play well in the NFL.  The Patriots just have to put the right players around him.